Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Or, just when I thot I'd seen everything, I found out I hadn't...

Have you ever thought about something waaaay back there in your past, but your memories of "whatever it is" are so hazy, that you end up thinking, "it must be a figment of my imagination"...well, that was kinda how I regarded the old Boots n' Saddle Cafe, which I remembered my parents taking me to when I was a lil' tyke. It either got torn down, or burned down, long ago (mid-60's???). Previously, I've posted pictures of the Boots n' Saddle's interior, but I couldn't find an OUTSIDE shot. 'Til now...

Click the Pic for a larger depiction of this here image from the past...

Here it is, the Boots n' Saddle know that vacant flat space that's in-between O'Shea's Pub and that Yellow Motel/Campground on the west side of CDA Lake Drive (right across from Eduardo's restaurant)? Well, THAT is where THIS building WAS. I was really surprised to find this photo, and it proves that it is NOT "all in my head". Not at all. For, it actually existed, and this is PROOF.

I really am trying to cut back on my number of every two or three days...but when I saw THIS...well, I just had to post it. I am really excited that I found this photo! If you have any Boots n' Saddle memories, feel free to comment!

I'm no political animal, so I'll pose this question:
Can a Secretary of Defense be IMPEACHED?

I saw something in the paper today that made me hopping mad. Usually I don't care what politicians and government dweebs say, 'cos it's all "yadda yadda yadda" to me. But this little development really GOT me. It kinda made me think about what happened back in the '50s with the Joe McCarthy thing...where anyone who hadn't been perfect was suspected of being a other words, "if you're not TOTALLY with me, then you must be AGAINST me". That old argument has been the basis of a whole lotta propaganda over the years, and folks, it's happening again!!!

Out of the mouth of our not-so-illustrious Secretary of Defense, Donald "Rummy" Rumsfeld (who manages to live up/down to his nickname quite well), he compared skeptics of this
pathetic admistration's pathetic war in that pathetic country of Iraq to those people who wanted to try and negotiate with Adolph Hitler back before World War II got underway. In short, Rummy's saying, "if ya ain't FOR US, yer AGIN US!"

Whoa, just a minute thar, pard'ner...if people way back when wanted to try and negotiate with der Fuhrer, it was because they wanted to try and AVOID war. "War", you know, those nasty prolonged events which end up killing thousands of people. And anyone who questions THIS war that we are in NOW, is only trying to avoid any more casualties OVER THERE. We are trying to force democracy down the throats of countries who don't want it, so by doing what we're doing, we're making things WORSE, I'm thinking. I don't think we'll ever WIN this war. The best we'll ever be able to do is fix up things as best as we can, and GIT OUT!

Rumsfeld, in a speech before the American Legion, suggested that "negative news stories and criticism of the war sap the nation's will to fight in Iraq", according to the news article I read today. Not so very long ago, we learned how really awful the Vietnam War was, due to so-called "negative news stories". What, do we let our country blindly conduct war and get soldiers killed, and just SWEEP IT UNDER THE RUG? To me, that is what Rumsfeld is advocating. I don't know why we went to Iraq in the FIRST PLACE! What is the POINT of us BEING THERE? I just don't get it! Seems to me like ol' "Rummy" would just as soon stifle all debate, and that he'd just as soon not have this administration be accountable to the public AT ALL. This is dangerous, when you think about it.

I love our country. I love the fact we are free and we can express ourselves and have all these rights that a lot of countries don't give their people. I think it's really great. But I wonder, just because living in a "democracy" (note the quotes there) is great, does AMERICA have the right to go and invade any country it wants to, all in the name of shoving democracy down the throats of nations who don't conform to our idea of what they should BE? Where does this STOP? And, who's next? After all, there's lots of other countries around the world that terrorize their citizens. And, finally, how many people are gonna have to DIE in our efforts to change things around the world, especially since, when we LEAVE a particular country, chances are that country will revert back to what it was before we got there?

So I have written this post, which decries the actions my country is taking. Does that mean that I would be eligible to die in the "showers" at Auschwitz because I happen to DISAGREE with what MY COUNTRY is doing? Clearly, Donald Rumsfeld is an overt EMBARRASSMENT to our country. The only good he does by saying such incomprehensibly STUPID things, is that perhaps he takes the heat offa our Prezzident, to a degree. On the left side of this page, you'll see a 'countdown clock' which tells ya how long this pathetic administration will be bumbling and stumbling along. Each second that ticks by is "one second less". Let's hope that the NEXT administration will have more SENSE. It's much too late for THIS administration.

Yes, I know Rummy didn't actually say "anyone who disagrees with our war policy is a Nazi"...but to me, he might as well have. Personally, I don't think this administration has a CLUE. Not at ALL.

Sometimes it seems the entire human race has consumed
A big cup of "STUPID"....

I've found that there are days when everything works smoothly, everyone does what they're supposed to do, and everything seems to make sense. Today wasn't one of those days. It must be some sort of unconscious sociological thing, but I kept encountering situations that made me wonder how people manage to survive from day to day, in spite of themselves. It's just amazing, I tells ya...

I was driving down 7th Street in CDA today; I got to the stoplight on Lakeside Avenue, and there was one car ahead of me, stopped at the light. I stopped behind the motorist (2 ladies, I believe), and the light turned green. They just SAT there. I tapped my fingers on the steering wheel. They continued to SIT there. Motionless. I briefly "beeped" my horn. They continued to STILL sit there. I beeped again. Then one lady motioned, pointing upward, that the light had turned green. And they FINALLY got across the intersection.

Later on, I was heading north on 4th Street, ready to cross Sherman. The light turned green in my favor. No one was in the intersection. I was in the far lane. As I got ready to accelerate, a crowd of 7 or 8 twenty-somethings just barreled across the street in front of me, as if they were claiming eminent domain. These were well-dressed, touristy young people, who APPEARED to be smart enough to tell a Red Light from a Green Light. You would think, anyway. I had just left "Java On Sherman", and nowhere on their menu board is listed a "cup of Stupid". But someone's brewing it somewhere...

Finally, 'twas time to head home. I was heading east on Sherman. At the 3rd Street intersection, I saw a crowd of 10 or 12 people, and it appeared as if they were going to head across the street, only some of them wanted to cross the intersection westward, and some wanted to cross it northward. But there they all stood, talking amongst themselves, pointing at this and that, all furiously engaged in some sort of debate as to which direction they wanted to go. They reminded me of "The Retouchables", that gang of cops on the old Dick Tracy cartoon show. When the light changed in my favor, I got out of there, and glancing in my rearview mirror, there they were, still pointing, gesticulating and debating which way to go. I kinda thot "DAMMIT, JUST GO SOMEWHERE!!! ANYWHERE!!!"

I don't want to generalize and say that crowd consisted of tourists, but I really believe they were. They didn't have a clue. And it makes me wonder. Whenever I go somewhere which is unfamiliar to me, I try my best not to be a stupid, unconcerned, bumbling, gawking TOURIST...I kinda try to blend in with my surroundings. But I tell ya, it's days like these that makes me wonder just how the human race manages to survive, in spite of itself, day after day after day...

I saw something tonite on the tube that was bound to happen sooner or later. I saw it "live". So did everyone else who was watching, in addition to approximately 30,000 at Seattle's Safeco Field. Tonite, during the Seattle-Los Angeles game, Seattle reliever Rafael Soriano was hit IN THE HEAD after pitching to Vladimir Guerrero, the hitter. Guerrero is one of the strongest baseball players ever, and he swung, smacking the ball, sending it right towards the pitcher, who didn't have time to react. He was struck on the right side of his head, right behind the ear; he hit the ground, grimacing in pain, and was taken to Harborview Medical Center. Horrific. And the game wasn't over. Seattle eventually won, but the tempo of the game changed considerably after that harrowing occurrence. I have long thought that a pitcher is gonna get KILLED someday. That baseball was flying at over 100mph when it struck Soriano. Maybe someone should invent a pitching helmet?

I don't know if much was made of a rather historical occasion that happened 40 years ago yesterday (August 29th), but it's noteworthy to me, anyhow. It was 40 years ago that the Beatles made their last-ever concert appearance at Candlestick Park, San Francisco. Basically, the Beatles got tired of screaming fans who drowned out the music to such a degree that they could barely hear their instruments as they played. They did play "live" one more time, in January of 1969, when they did a few songs in the "Let It Be" movie. They played on a rooftop in London. The folks below could hear 'em, but except for a few people in nearby buildings, no one could see 'em. After about half an hour, the police shut 'em down. Which proves that not even the Beatles were immune from the law.

In closing, let me just say that I try not to drink anything out of that "cup of stupid", but sometimes it happens in spite of myself. Or, maybe it's something in the air we breathe. That would make more sense. Hopefully the major leagues will get smart and do something to protect its pitchers. That wouldn't be stupid at all!

Monday, August 28, 2006

Summer's almost gone, and winter's comin' on...
(Can you guess what song that phrase is in, and who did the song?)'ll find the answer below, in the little "italics" sign-off thing...

There are signs that the seasons are changing, but it's not an abrupt change, rather, the seasons "morph", one into another. It's like "Summer" gets old and weak this time of year, but hangs on as best as it can until Fall finally takes over. But those first days of Fall can be quite nice. I remember, as a student in Coeur d'Alene's old Jr. High building, the sweltering heat in our afternoon Social Studies class was virtually unbearable during the first week of September. Plus, the class was taught by a grouchy old bag, which didn't serve to make things any more pleasant...(that's not nice, I know).

One sign that summer is waning, is that the poor grass in the City Park is screaming out, "Uncle! Uncle! I've had enough!!!" Well, grass doesn't cry out...unless you listen closely. But, there's patches of dry, yellowish grass, and in one portion of the park, a shady area that hosts LOTS of picknickers, the grass is worn away altogether. The City Park is basically saying, "you've all loved me to death this summer; will you just please go away?" Well, Labor Day ain't that far away, so pretty soon, the Park will get its wish.

One sign that winter is over, and that spring is here, is when I begin noticing the reappearance of that pesky little insect, the FLY. I hate 'em, but what can ya do? But this time of the year, it's almost like the flies get more desperate in their search for things to corrupt with their many slimy germs. So, the flies get more obnoxious than usual. They buzz frantically around your head, they even crawl UP YOUR NOSE in search of hidden treasure. It's almost as if the flies can sense they don't have much time, so they have to get in their,"licks" while they can. (Ugh...what an awful picture I painted there...a new low for this blog.)

A welcome sign that summer is on the wane, though, is that my house is actually COOL ENOUGH to sleep in. The temperature may still soar in the daytimes, but with sunset getting earlier each night, the heat gives way without much of a struggle; quite unlike this past July 4th, which was one of the hottest, most humid, virtually unbearable days which I have EVER experienced. That night, I slept just inside my screen door, with the fan blowing on me. It's times like that when Arrid Extra-Dry is sold by the caseload. Ack. I really am not a big fan of summer. I am more of a "temperate" soul; give me bearable temperatures...not too hot, not too cold....but "just right"....

Of course, summer lingers on and everyone's trying to get out there and enjoy the warm temperatures. Who knows, by December 27th or whenever, when it's cold, frozen, wet, sloppy and slushy, I may remember July 4th more fondly. Anyway, the bicyclists, skaters and rollerbladers are still out and about, as I found out during my walk around city park this evening...I was almost run over by a BIKE RIDER ON A CELLPHONE. There he was, weaving around individuals and groups of people, which is difficult enough when yer steering with both hands. I'll say it again: He was on a damn CELLPHONE. And he just missed me. And if he'd have hit me, take into account my back is still really touchy, although better than it was this last winter. He woulda leveled me. I am actually a little ticked off about this, but "oh well", I guess. Anyway, be careful out there, and have a great "remainder of Summer"...the snow will be flyin' soon enough.

I'll close this post with a great photo of the old Fish Inn that I've never seen before...The Fish Inn was located east of town, just off Interstate 90, at the Harrison was north of the Interstate, and was a popular place for those who wanted a cold beer, and for those who liked to camp out. (And experience yet another "summer sensation"; namely, Mosquitoes. I hate 'em worse than FLIES!) Anyway, the Fish Inn, back in the late '40's/early '50's...

Wow, that's not a very big picture...I hope it see if it does, click on the picture. Anyway, you can see the old OLD highway at the top of the picture; that road is still there, but I ain't gonna drive it; look at that steep cliff and virtually no roadside barriers. You can see the cabins just west of the Fish building, and there was plenty of flat space for camping, too. The Fish burned down back in the '90s. But it was known far and wide. The Fish was obviously built long before the advent of pre-fabricated buildings. You sure don't see a lot of cookie-cutter "Fish" buildings scattered around the area!

I know that you just can't wait any longer to see if you guessed correctly, concerning the title of this blog..."Summer's almost gone, and winter's comin' on"...the song was called "GOTTA TRAVEL ON", by Billy Grammer, on Monument Records, from the early '60's, I believe. He had another hit with a song called "Bonaparte's Retreat".

Friday, August 25, 2006

Everything you know is WRONG...
Especially if you're a freakazoid who studies the solar system. Like me...

The world of astronomy was literally turned upside-down a coupla days back when we were all mercilessly informed that the planet PLUTO is no longer a planet! The argument has to do with Pluto's orbit around the sun. While all the other planets orbit the sun on an even plane, Pluto has an elliptical orbit that is both above and below the plane of all the other planets. Because that orbit is elliptical, and not a "circle", that means half the time, Pluto is closer to the Sun than Neptune. But the other half of the time, Pluto is farther away from the Sun than Neptune. Pluto takes a grand total of 248 years to revolve around the sun, substantially longer than Neptune's orbital time. Which also means an 80-year old man on earth would be a little more than 1/3rd of a year old on Pluto. File that information! You may need it someday. Or not.

Why can't people just leave well-enough alone? Why mess with the system? For 124 years at a time, Pluto IS the furthest planet from the sun. That's longer than anyone LIVES. So, WHO CARES? My argument is, that Pluto is a has its own Moon, after all. Pluto's orbit does not revolve around any of the other planets; it revolves around the SUN like the rest of the planets do! In the length of its orbit, it covers MORE miles than does Neptune, its closest neighbor. And, Pluto was discovered long ago by Clyde Tombaugh in 1930 when he noted that "something out there" was affecting the orbit of Neptune, some gravitational force that was altering Neptune's orbit. Little Pluto was BIG enough to affect Giant Neptune! If Pluto can be big enough to alter Neptune's orbit, I say Pluto's a PLANET. Another reason Pluto was de-classified was because, according to new scientist lingo, it was "not the dominant object in its region of space". Yet it was BIG enough to alter the orbit of a BIG, BIG planet!

When you're talking about millions and billions of miles away from the sun, things get a little crazy. Mercury, the nearest planet to the sun (and, in size, similar to Pluto) can't HELP but orbit the sun in an almost-perfect circle, just because it is so doggone close to the sun! Where the heck else could it go? But at the other end of the spectrum, Pluto has billions and zillions of miles to play with. Scientists speculate that Pluto was just innocuously drifting by, way out there in space, when the Sun captured it. Just as the Sun captured ALL THE OTHER PLANETS. Pluto is a PLANET, doggone it! It's orbit just happens to be a little bit messed up, that's all.

Ahhh, the ramifications of Pluto's re-definition will have wide-ranging effects on almost every level of society.. new science textbooks will have to be printed. Kids who learned the names of all the planets in the Solar System will now have to re-adjust their thinking. The world as we know it has come to an end. What's next? Will Saturn and Jupiter not be considered large planets anymore, because those spheres are nothing but a lot of GAS with a small solid core at the center (as one theory espouses)? Maybe ALL of the planets aren't "planets" AT ALL...instead, they could be classified as "circular-revolving giant ASTEROIDS". Wouldn't that make sense? After all, Pluto has now been re-classified as a "dwarf planet". Does that mean Mercury is also a "dwarf planet?" Mercury is so close to the sun, that it isn't the dominant "force" in its region of space, the SUN is.

Now I may sound like a raving idiot here (I resemble that remark), but the article which has my dandruff up here also contained remarks from those who disagree with Pluto's removal from the planetary ranks; one scientist remarked, "this ain't over, it's bad science." I don't know if it's necessarily BAD science, but I'm kinda thinking it's UNNECESSARY science! But I'm tellin' ya, the effects of this decision will be felt far and wide...

Oh, the scientific community is treading upon dangerous ground here. So in addition to planets, we now have "dwarf" planets. So what do you call a planet that is larger than a dwarf, but not as big as, say, a "huge" planet? After all, Earth is a "dwarf" compared to Neptune. And Neptune is only a "medium-sized" planet when compared to Jupiter. But Jupiter is almost all gas except in its very center, so is it a "huge" planet, or a "large dwarf" planet? (a small rock surrounded by icky gaseous matter...) So in the future, we'll have "semi-large" planets, "large dwarf" planets, "somewhere-in-between semi-large and large dwarf planets", "exceptionally huge small-large planets", and so on and so forth. In short, like the character Maurice said once on the old Northern Exposure TV show, "it's awfully hard to put the genie back in the bottle once you've let him out."

I was just about to end this post when I thought of something. You know how people who don't "fit in" with the rest of society are treated? They're given labels, they're sneered at unmercifully, they're made fun of and made to feel bad because of their differences from the rest of society. It happens every day. Everywhere. In all situations. I can't help but think this has now happened to small, ultra-cold, extra-desolate, sad, forlorn Pluto. Me, I've got a bottle of 7-up right here by my computer. So I'm gonna drink a toast to Pluto, and you're invited matter how "different" you may be...

"Here's to Pluto"
...a planetary meditation...

The scientists gave it the boot, oh
And now it is absolute-oh...
It's not big enough
And it's orbit is rough
I'm sad for poor little Pluto.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Even though I wish I could...

There's a fine line between "hobby" and "disease"...

Most everyone who knows me knows that if they have a question about pop music of the 60s or 70s (and some 80s), I can usually provide the answer. But, I'm such an antique anymore, that I still consider music after 1985 as "new" music. So I am now 20 years behind the times. Hmmm, I was just sitting here, passing the time, and all of a sudden, time passed me by! Strange how that works...anyway, when I was a kid, KVNI Radio here in CDA aired a little two-hour pop-music program from 9pm to 11pm Monday thru Saturday called "Sounds of the Town", and I listened religiously, almost every night between 1964 and 1969, when the program was unceremoniously dumped from the station's repertoire. I wrote KVNI an angry letter because they dumped my favorite radio program, but who listens to a 15-year old kid? But much of my musical education came from that show. It was a cool program; KVNI seemed to play the "cream of the crop" songs...and that little radio show provided a substantial part of my musical education. I bought my first two pop singles, "Turn Turn Turn" by the Byrds, and "She's Just My Style" by Gary Lewis & the Playboys at CDA's downtown J.C. Penney Store in 1965. I'd heard 'em on KVNI, after all. A friend of mine who runs a record shop says "record collecting is a DISEASE"...I'm afraid he's RIGHT.

Much later on, I would go record-buying at area 2nd-hand stores, and when I did, I realized how incomplete that little 2-hour KVNI radio show really was. An example...KVNI played "The Beat Goes On" and "I Got You Babe" by Sonny and Cher, and I've got both of those 45's. But, at the thrift shops, I found copies of "But You're Mine" and "Little Man", also by Sonny and Cher. Those records didn't chart very highly, but they were hits just the same. I never knew they were SINGLES until I found 'em at the thrift shop in the '80's! And, now that I'm dubbing a lot of my old 45's onto CD (giving away the 45's I don't wanna keep), I'm finding how much of that undervalued music is actually pretty good.

"Nobody But Me" by the "Human Beinz" was a huge hit in 1967...but I never knew that another song from that album, "Turn On Your Lovelight" was also released as a single until I found it in a thrift shop. The "Happenings" had a big late-60's hit with "I Got Rhythm", itself an updated version of an old George Gershwin song. Well, I was surprised to find a "Happenings" 45 of "Go Away Little Girl" which evidently also received airplay. I never even knew that single existed! So it's my theory that the Spokane Radio Stations, who played pop music all day long, played all kinds of stuff that the little 2-hour KVNI program missed! KVNI just covered the high spots, and they did a good job, but I'm finding I've missed a lot of music that I'm supposed to actually know about.

Other obscure singles I found at thrift shops include:

"Ballad of a Thin Man", the old Bob Dylan tune, done by the GRASS ROOTS, which came out before their first chart hit, "Let's Live For Today". How about that!

"Take What You Need" by Steppenwolf, released before the Wolf's first big hit, "Born To Be Wild". Again, I never knew that was even issued on a single!

"Tulsa", by Billy Joe Royal, the same guy who had previously sung "Down In The Boondocks"; I wasn't even AWARE of "Tulsa" until recently. It came out around 1970. Royal also released a song called "Hush" as a single. I know the song because the rock group DEEP PURPLE did it. Yep, I heard the re-make before I heard the original version!

The Hollies were a big group, and KVNI played their record, "Bus Stop" a LOT...but they never played their followup single, "Stop! Stop! Stop!" I found that song in a thrift-shop, and it's an odd little song, but it would've sounded great on the radio, as "Oldies-101' proves almost daily.

KVNI played "Little Things" by Bobby Goldsboro, but his first big hit was evidently a song called "See The Funny Little Clown", that I never even HEARD until just a few years ago. Why KVNI skipped that one, who knows? They played earlier AND later Goldsboro 45's, after all.

Remember "Wooly Bully" by Sam the Sham and the Pharoahs? KVNI played it to death, I loved it. Later on, KVNI played "Little Red Riding Hood" by the same group. But, I found Sam the Sham's single, "Ring-Dang-Doo" that was released in-between the other two; it's a great song, but I hadn't ever heard it until just a short time ago. Another single I never KNEW existed.

KVNI never played "Cloud Nine" by the Temptations; in fact, KVNI didn't play any Temptations songs that came out after 1967's "I Wish It Would Rain"; yet "Cloud Nine" was a big hit from 1969, when KVNI's rock and roll show was still on the air. So I'm getting around to further educating myself, hearing a lot of these old songs for the first time. There are many other such tunes I've dubbed onto CD, and I think, "I should keep this, and this, and this, and this..." But, I can't collect EVERYTHING!!!, I have to keep telling myself.

As far as the KINKS, that well-known British group, KVNI played "A Well Respected Man", their 1965 hit, but they didn't play other Kinks' songs that came out before and after. So, I missed such "Kinks Klassics" as "All Day and All Of The Night", "You Really Got Me", "Waterloo Sunset" and others. I never even HEARD another Kinks song on the radio until 1970, when the Spokane stations were playing "Lola".

I think I made a mistake by trying to collect EVERYTHING; it's impossible, it can't be done. I've made a conscious effort to try and hear every pop record I come across, and I've heard a lot of stuff. And I would buy PILES thrift-shop singles for cheap prices, even though I had quite a lot of those same songs on albums. Call me crazy. I'm still trying to rationalize that. So far, I can't. I would say that I'm probably giving away about half of my 45's, just keeping the ones I really treasure. Not that what I'm giving away is bad music; quite the contrary, but I can't collect everything. TOO MUCH! A few years back I gave away 14 BOXES of albums I didn't need, keeping the good stuff, which is still enough to fill up the bed of a pickup truck.

So I've decided to specialize in collecting Beatles' stuff (and the collection is still growing; it's amazing the many Beatles items out there that I WANT); I've pretty much put the kibosh on buying any other music for a while. Lately when I go to the junk shops, I buy less and less, just looking for the odd recorded artifact that can fill a hole in my collection. But I think there's hope for me. I am still interested in learning all I can about the 60's and 70's music I find so fascinating. Nowadays, KVNI features a "doo-wop" oldies format, so once again, I'm hearing a lot of music from the 50's that I'd never even been aware of. Old music that's new to me. Hey, I was just a lil' baby when some of that stuff came out. That's how I ran across the eternally WEIRD song by Jody Reynolds, "Endless Sleep", in which his girlfriend walks out in the ocean to drown herself, and he saves her from drowning. That song STILL makes me shiverrrrrr.

The plan is, for me to record a lot of 45's onto CD. When I play those CD's, yeah, the scratches and wear can be heard, but that's part of the charm of records. I plan to get a 200-CD changer and have my own "condensed" jukebox. It'll be fascinating to put it on 'random-play' and listen to it for hours. And it'll sound just like an old jukebox full of records.!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

I actually went out to a MOVIE!
I wanted to experience this one on a big screen...

I went out tonite to see my first movie at a theater in I don't know how many years. Most of the subjects that movies are about really aren't worth my time, and when a movie comes along that I have a vague interest in, I usually buy the DVD, or a second-hand VHS. What was the last movie I saw in a theater? I think it was the then-newest James Bond film, which was several years ago. I wanted to see "Titanic" on the big screen, and I wasn't disappointed; in fact, I paid to see it AGAIN. I also saw "Dead Man Walking"; for some reason, prison movies intrigue me. I must be a real sicko. I can almost count on one hand the amount of movies I've seen at a theater. But one such movie came along just recently, and I wanted the big-screen experience...

I went and saw "World Trade Center" tonight. This movie about the "9-11" disaster in New York was something I wanted to experience. Sure, there's editorializing that goes on in film, but that aside, I at least came away with a better idea of what happened, and how things looked on the day of the disaster. In a way, I was a little bit disappointed, because the movie focused primarily on two of the survivors that were rescued. Don't get me wrong; I'm glad they survived; I guess I was looking for a more "all-encompassing" story line. A short time ago, the "A&E" network showed its version of the "9-11" disaster, which was a bit more all-encompassing; but the "World Trade Center" movie did give a great visualization of the chaos and confusion happening on the streets, and the emotion involved with the two policemen rescued in the rubble and the turmoil their families went through was very gripping.

I think I liked the "A&E" film a little better. It was titled "Flight 93", which was the plane that crashed into the Pentagon. As that movie progressed, it did show some of the turmoil and confusion happening in New York, as well as the excruciating tension exemplified by the passengers on the doomed airplane who had already heard about the two planes crashing into the World Trade Center. Plus, there was the added tension of the passengers held hostage on the plane, in addition to air-traffic controllers who had the plane on the radar, but had no idea where it was going. Probably, the perfect "9-11" movie would have combined elements of both films I've described here.

On September 11, 2001, it was my day off from cab driving, and I slept in. I got up and went to a local restaurant, about 11 that morning. And there was "something in the air", and I had to ask the waitress, "did something happen today?" And after she told me, I had a pit in my stomach. A feeling of gloom and doom. And to this day, even though everyone says Osama Bin Laden and his ilk were responsible for this disaster, for the life of me, I can't understand why our country instead went to Iraq and deposed Sadam Hussein. I have never understood that. And if me, a virtual political idiot, wonders that, how many people who know more than I are also wondering that? Answer that one, President George Bush! Because right now we are shoving democracy down the throats of the Iraqis and getting our young soldiers killed in the process.

I don't understand why a movie house has to charge over FOUR DOLLARS for a coke! At conventional prices, soft-drinks are high-profit items. Oh well, now I'm prepared for sticker-shock should I ever go to a Mariners' game someday and pay 8 bucks for a glass of watered down beer...

Saturday, August 19, 2006

The passing of the seasons...
and various other scattered observations....

In a way, I hate to see the Summer Solstice come and go, because after that, the days get shorter, and if you obsess on it, you end up getting all depressed because fall's comin' and then winter's comin', and before ya know it, another year's come and gone and yer not gettin' any younger...(I'd better stop this train of thot or I'LL get depressed!)...but actually, I don't mind the days getting a bit shorter. I usually feel pressure to stay outside until at least sunset, and when the sun doesn't set until 9:30 or 10pm, it feels like the day is just a shade TOO long. And, since I don't go to bed until waaaay late, nowadays, it's still dark when I go to bed. I tend to get a little 'out of rhythm' when the days are SOOOO long. Something that a lot of folks miss out on, but I get to witness, because I keep such irregular hours...sitting by the side of the lake at twilight, as it becomes dark, I can gaze across the lake and see the lights of homes on the lake, and an occasional watercraft plying the dark waters...there's a wine commercial that advertises its product as being a nice part of the evening, "when daylight slips into something more comfortable", and that's how I view each evening's encroaching darkness. Some nites I'll just sit in my car by the edge of the lake; gazing at the dark expanse of water is peaceful; puts me in a very relaxed mind frame.

I think going to the ocean every year has kinda wrecked me; I feel this crazy need to be near water. Maybe in my next life I'll come back as a seagull, and if I see you trying to have a picnic, I'll squawk and beg for food from you. Lately, I've noticed that CDA Lake gets pretty "wavy" at night; must be the pull of the moon or something. The sound of the waves can be quite hypnotizing. Listening to the waves wash up on the shore is very, very restful; there are times when I've almost gone to sleep right there on the park bench from the repetition of the waves. I have a couple of CD's which have some formless "new age" music with waves in the background, and they are very restful to hear. Maybe the body automatically tunes into the rhythms of nature. And maybe in the course of living our lives, we don't pay attention to nature's rhythms...all the while compiling stress, anxiety and mental fatigue; that's a real problem in our society.

As night falls, it's time to go home. After being almost lulled into unconsciousness by the gently lapping lake waves, I have to drive up Sherman Avenue and get unceremoniously jolted into hyper-sensitivity as I pass the open bars with loud, obnoxious music booming and crashing out onto the street. I still wonder what happened to last year's highly-touted noise ordinance, under which, if you played your "stock" car radio too loud, you could get pulled over, let alone if you had a pair of double-woofer and triple-tweeter speakers in your back seat.

I don't know if I've posted this picture before...but here, a boat navigates Coeur d'Alene Lake, trying to get home before the sun sets. You know, long ago I used to go to the bars because I wanted to be "where it was happening", whatever "that" was. I don't do that anymore. I'll pass the throngs of people trying to be someone on Sherman Avenue, and head off to sit by the lake somewhere on my own...but I'm glad I went thru all that, because it makes me appreciate nature, solitude and peacefulness all that much more. I see the crowds standing out on the sidewalks of the open-ended bars, trying to be 'somebody', and I think to myself, "been there, done that". Yep, I used to close down the bars. Now, late nights, I make trips to the grocery store for milk. Could it be that Huey Lewis and the News, that '80's band, was right? Is it "hip to be square"? But as Charlie Rich once sang, "I still love to Rock and Roll...I'm just rolling with the flow". As long as the music isn't thundering forth from speakers taller than my house, that is.

But sometimes, if I hear nothing at all, that's okay, too. There are times I've spent hours online, with no noise in the background whatsoever. Can it be, really, that all we're really looking for, is to just "be comfortable"? I don't care about putting in 'appearances' anymore. I do find myself talking less, and perhaps withdrawing from people more than I used to. I like to be out and about, with life going on around me, but I feel better if I'm "observing" what's going on, than if I am "involved" in what's going on. More than anything, it's becoming more and more important for me to progress along at my own pace, whatever that pace may be. Maybe that's where the 'sitting by the lake at night' comes in. And maybe that's my 'comfortable pace'.

Over the years, I worked hard at whatever job I had. I was a member of the workforce from age 16 to age 50. I always felt best when I could 'believe' in the job I was doing. I've come close to having panic and anxiety attacks in the workplace, but I masked everything best as I could and just kept on "keeping on". I was told by a fairly-recent former employer, that I was the most honest part-timer that had ever worked there, which was nice; at least somebody saw something positive. I see people in the workplace today, and I remember. The grocery checkers who are tired out of their minds, trying to serve an endless sea of people. The same thing happens at the Java place; the clerks trying to keep all of the customers' orders straight. Sometimes I, as a customer, get really impatient with other customers! . I remember working in advertising sales, seeing numerous clients, trying to keep everything together. I remember just going, going, going like the energizer bunny, on the verge of mental exhaustion a lot of the time.

I remember dishwashing in a local restaurant, and being totally exhausted when I got home. Half the time, I didn't even have time to get out of my old dirty dishwashing clothes; the minute I laid down on the couch, I was GONE. ZZZZzzzzz. I've worked in light manufacturing, in hot noisy factories, doing mindless methodical jobs with co-workers tattling to the boss if I said or did anything they didn't like; I remember one cheap old lady who owned a print shop I worked in; she regularly shorted me on my "hours" and I couldn't do anything about it; I remember coming to my workplace on my own time, to fix something that had gone wrong, because the employee who was on shift at the time didn't know what to I see the people who wait on me, or ring up my purchase, or who are dusting the shelves or sweeping the floors, and I remember. The workplace is tough, unforgiving, and unrelenting. I don't miss it AT ALL.

So I guess nowadays, I'm just "being". Or trying to "be". It seems like living is a constant process of readjustment, and admittedly, this has been a really 'mental' year for me. I'm getting to the place in my life now, where I look back and I think, "how did I manage to do all that?" I find I have great empathy for all the 'little people' who are trying to make ends meet and become totally exhausted in the process, because I've done that; I know how they feel. What totally amazes me, though, is how people manage to have FAMILIES while doing all of whatever it is they have to do. In my book, those people are just absolutely superhuman and deserve as much respect as society can afford them. Every now and then, I'll see someone else sitting alone on a park bench. And I wonder what they're thinking about, or what they're trying to "work through" or resolve.

I remember, long ago, when I was driving cab full-time, 4 or 5 days a week, anywhere between 40-60 hours a week, and trying to subsist on the meager wages and virtually 'no tips' that a daytime driver gets. I'd hold it all together the best I could, and in the summer, after my shift was over, I'd head straight to City Park, find a picnic table, and just 'crash' there for a while. So perhaps I can adjust my outlook; usually I don't like large groups of noisy picknicking people, but I guess I have to accept that when those folks are in the park, maybe they're "letting off steam" from all the pressures they accrue in their lives. I think I can adjust my attitude to think that way. I used to hate the seagulls until I started feeding them, after all. I suppose what all this leads to is, if you're feeling pressure, try to let yourself 'off the hook', if only for a while.

I just decided to "let my brain go wherever" here. I've been posting a lot of real-world stuff lately, which is fun, it really is. But for some reason, I seem to be slowing down a bit in that regard. This blog is close to a year old now; I've posted almost 450 entries in that time. What's the future for this blog? Well, it'll "adjust", like we all have to do. Anyway, if you read all this, thanks for letting me "clean out the cobwebs" of my mind.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

According to what I read today,
I must be an INTELLECTUAL!

(heaven forbid...)

Is "intellectual" the right word? Well, let's approach it another way. I'm not totally losing my mind. Not yet, anyway. You've seen those commercials for women's chemically-laden false-hair-coloring in which a lady with nicer hair than anyone has a right to have says, "I'm not getting older, I'm getting BETTER". I kinda think that the babes who appear in those commercials have great looking hair TO BEGIN WITH. If some lady out there had the kind of frizzed-out, going-in-all-directions hair that I've got, the only substance that would allow her hair to hang luxuriously like the ladies in the TV commercials would be 30-weight MOTOR OIL.

But there it was, right thar in the article which said "After 60, the Crabbiest People are the Smartest People". In short, if yer over 60 and hate everything, and you've always been that way, you're not losing your mind. In other words, if you're over 60 and you smile and complacently accept everything and get along with your fellow man, you're on the fast track to senility. The logic in the article seemed to be, that if you reach a certain age, and you still have enough marbles to be mean and cratchety, then you're doing okay. So there you have it...if you're old, you have a RIGHT to be grouchy, crabby and intolerant; in fact, it's almost expected of you. (Did the person who wrote this article know my DAD? He only got meaner as time wore on.)

The article pretty much said that you can't change your personality in order to make yourself smarter, so you have to be an old grouch to begin with. In short, if you are a nice person and you're afraid you're gonna lose your mind as you age, you can't improve things by suddenly becoming grouchy. You have to be an old coot to begin with. I suppose there's research out there that indicates that if you're 'able' enough to form negative conclusions and pinpoint what's wrong with everything, you're using your brain, and your brain cells are in good shape, so therefore, you aren't senile. But you naturally have to be grouchy to begin with. Like me! So maybe there IS something to the old saying, "ignorance is bliss". Because I ain't got ANY bliss. But hopefully my brain will continue to function.

Off the streets and into the alleys dept.: (That's an old advertising slogan for a bowling alley, hence, it's appearance here). Our fair (or not) city hasn't had a bowling alley for the last couple years. Strange, huh? Anyway, Sunset Bowling Center is going to open once again for business, so that means the pins are gonna be flyin' once again. Not for me; I haven't bowled in 30 years, but once again, area residents will be able to immerse themselves in myriad leagues, and instead of sitting around, drinking beer and doing nothing, they'll now be able to sit around, drink beer and get up once in a while to toss a ball down the lane, trying all the while to stay out of the gutter. Hmmm...that would be a great slogan for a bowling alley...picture this: "Sunset Bowl, the place where it's OKAY for your mind to be in the gutter." I once bowled for a team...those seasons are LONG!!! You think the NBA season is long? It doesn't compare to a bowling league!

So crime doesn't pay? dept.: Don't tell that to Donald Paradis. He's getting $900,000 after getting out of prison for a murder that happened a long time ago. Is he guilty? I honestly don't know. It's safe to say he was "there at the time". He languished on Idaho's death row for many years. I suppose it's one of those "technical law things" that got him off death row and later freed him altogether. The officials quoted in today's newspaper article were careful to point out that Paradis never was found "not guilty". I guess all anyone can say now is, "Don, stay out of trouble, ok?"

I never thot I'd see the day dept.: A rather strange-looking guy, John Mark Karr, has evidently confessed to killing little Jonbenet Ramsey; he was arrested in Thailand last night, and evidently the Boulder, Colorado, police department, had its collective eye on him for quite a while. I still haven't yet heard how Karr came to be in the Ramsey's house, where Jonbenet's body was found. I had seen Mr. and Mrs. Ramsey appear on various programs down thru the years; I could tell Mr. Ramsey had nothing to do with it, but I wondered about Mrs. Ramsey for a while, especially in the light of Susan Smith and other infamous moms I've heard about. What a society we have, all the things that happen that end up clouding judgment. And I guess my judgment was clouded.

So there's been "an arrest in the case." It's going to be interesting, hearing all of the details as this case progresses. Tonight, the "news bar" on the screen of Fox News says that Karr was "with Jonbenet when she died". He himself has been quoted as saying her death was an "accident". Ack. The doubletalk has started. Could it be that in 2006, we are already having a "trial of the century"? Oops... guess I forgot about Scott Peterson...Okay, are we already having a SECOND "Trial of the Century"? What I don't "get", is that crimes just keep HAPPENING. Is the human race really that STUPID? I've spent a lifetime learning from the mistakes of others, and yes, my own, too. So I don't rob, cheat, steal, lie or kill people. But it keeps happening. All this crime. It just amazes me sometimes.

Oh, my aching back dept.: Assuming anyone gives a rip, I will update my medical condition. I went for a "followup" appointment at my back doctor. When I got there, a lady doctor who I don't remember seeing before fired off a bunch of questions from a sheet of paper she was holding. I had the impression they were "signing off" on me. I've been having steroid injections, but I can't have anymore for a while. The lady told me that one can only have so many steroids in their system in a given point of time. So I am trying to adjust to life without steroids, which would lessen the pain for about a month. It's tricky. I have good days, and days like yesterday, where I got up from a picnic table in the park, and while I tried to straighten into a standing position, my back went out and I almost lost my balance. I am looking into other things...and have considered acupuncture. I don't know if that would work for nerve pain, tho. Right now I'm trying "Doan's Pills". Better living thru chemistry, I guess. It is a case of "pain versus economics"...rather than fork out a cool 25K for a back operation (which might NOT make things better), I have to be really careful. I think we all take the ability to stand up and sit down for granted. With me, I have to figure out HOW I'm gonna do that. I do know that I wouldn't make it thru yer average Lutheran Church Service, with the amount of standing up and sitting down that goes on every Sunday morning! You can go to Church and get an aerobic workout at the same time.

And it's 1,2,3 strikes YER OUT! At the old ball game dept.: If the Seattle Mariners had any chance to try and win the AL West Pennant, those chances flew out the window the other day when they were swept in a 4-game series, and starting a new series tonite, they LOST again. I can't even remember the names of the teams who beat the M's, but it really doesn't matter. Everyone's beating 'em. The M's are tanking fast. They could probably get beaten by an average Little League team these days. Seriously, though, one fact emerges: The Mariners have basically had the same core of pitchers for YEARS. Moyer, Meche and Piniero, and they continue to lose. If the M's don't get some decisive starting pitching, they're gonna KEEP tanking. Jared Washburn, their newest starting pitcher, has done fairly well this year. But he's had better years, too. I really admire Jamie Moyer; he can't throw hard, according to Major League standards, but he's done a lot with his limited pitching speed. But when he's having a bad day, it's batting practice. And with Meche and Piniero, they're consistently inconsistent. Meche, especially, has tremendous natural ability. On any other job, when an employee can't "get it done", that employee gets fired or laid off or whatever. These guys are making millions. And it's just NOT HAPPENING. Hey, look, I love baseball; I'll watch the M's until the next Ice Age, but the M's need to search far and wide for NEW PITCHERS who can WIN consistently...

I should be ashamed. But I have no scruples, other than to say is where I got this pic.

Of course I'm a hypocrite, complaining about a team's pitching...these days, I wouldn't be able to get a hit in a game of T-ball. I'd have to have someone swing the bat for me, and then run for me. Oh, my aching back!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

It was 29 years ago today, oh boy...
Where were YOU on the day Elvis died?

I remember...early in the afternoon of August 16th, 1977, I was driving my little Datsun pickup down Buckeye Street in central Spokane, when the news came out over the radio that Elvis Presley had died. So much has been written about "The King", that I'm not about to try and say anything new; heck, it's all been said. A few observations, though. First, I've read that there was no one who could say "no" to Elvis, as far as his massive drug consumption and humonguous eating binges were concerned. Secondly, there was only "one" Elvis, who was supposed to single-handedly try to handle the eternal pressures that come with stardom...The Beatles were equally, if not more famous, but there were 4 of them, so at least they had each other. Still, that's a weak argument, because the Beatles individually, got sick of all the pressure, and indeed sick of each other as the group's end neared.

Back to Elvis; he just couldn't seem to say "no" to anyone. He couldn't tell his corrupt manager, Col. Tom Parker "no" when Parker pretty-much removed him from the stage and told him he had to make all of those stupid movies in the sixties. Elvis couldn't say "no" to producers who wanted him to record songs that were absolute garbage..."Queenie Wahini's Papaya"..."No Room to Rhumba in a Sports Car"..."Ito Eats"..."Wheels on my Heels"..."Fort Lauderdale Chamber of commerce"...and on and on. I've read "Elvis' Complete Recording Sessions", an excellent look at his career in the recording studio, and the book states that when Elvis tried to sing those dumb songs, he'd back off and get as far away from the microphone as he could, because he was so ashamed of what he had to do. In another instance, when forced to record another stupid movie-soundtrack song, he barked out, "What the H___ am I supposed to DO with S*** like this?"

I think, on the concert stage, was the only situation in which Elvis felt as if he were in control. And even in his later years, all hopped-up on dozens of medications at once, in spite of the fact he was so fat and in so much pain that he couldn't move, he had that VOICE. I have an out-of-focus DVD of his final performance, and he still sounds good. The theory has been brought forth that Elvis didn't want to go on the road anymore, so he committed suicide, and that's why he was found dead in the bathroom. I don't know. Anything's possible, I suppose. I think that he was a very complicated person...hateful yet compassionate; unreasonable yet compromising; private but concerned about of the few things he really cared about in his final years was his fans; even in his last concerts, he would banter with them, and during one song, he'd walk around to the back of the stage and wave to the people who sat back there in the balcony above.

Back in the '50's, my Mom had one of those little RCA Victor 45rpm-only record players that plugged into the back of a radio. And SHE had a copy of "Hound Dog". She also had a copy of "Love Me Tender". My conservative Mom had Elvis records...that in itself shows Elvis had a far-reaching influence. (My Dad couldn't STAND Elvis, let alone the Beatles!) And I liked "Hound Dog" even though I was only 4 or 5 when I first heard it. (Something cosmic is happening as I type this...Elvis' version of "Wooden Heart" is on the radio right now...) I've read that Elvis wanted to do all kinds of music. Hence, he could be the world's toughest rocker, then turn right around and bellow his way through "You Gave Me A Mountain", which came from a place deep within him. I think Elvis may have been a bit on the manic-depressive side. Many people who are "medicate" themselves, and boy, did he ever. It is what it is, though, a real tragedy.

Those who've written about Elvis have said that his 1976 version of the old Timi Yuro song, "Hurt", was his last really great moment in the studio. I was working at a little radio station in Sandpoint, Idaho when that record came out...when I'd first touched the tone arm to the record, out came a thunderous ""IIII'M.....SOOOOOOO.....HUUUUUUURT!!!!!!, I couldn't believe the force and power of his voice the first time I'd heard that record. Years later, I've read that Elvis was truly on his last legs by then; he was so depressed that he wouldn't go to the studio to make records, so RCA took the studio to him...a recording truck was parked outside his Graceland Mansion, and he recorded a very few songs there, "Hurt" being one of them. Also from what I've read, the very last vocal track he ever laid down was ironically, on the old Jim Reeves song, "He'll Have To Go". The backing track was previously recorded, and the next day Elvis emerged from his bedroom long enough to stick his vocal on the song. And not long after that...he was gone.

A lot of people joke about Elvis. Why? Perhaps because they, too, are vulnerable to the pressures that society heaps upon us all? It's even fashionable to joke about Elvis, but every time I hear one, I absolutely cringe. Hey, when he was great, he was absolutely untouchable. There will never be a voice like that again. It only got better, when in 1968, he filmed that "Comeback" special for NBC-TV. If anything, he sounded more powerful there, than on the early rock and roll records he initially became so famous for. My favorite Elvis tracks? "Hound Dog" (Great guitar solo there), "Too Much" (a dynamite song), "Little Sister" (which proved he could still rock when he got out of the Army), "Suspicious Minds" (a monster of a musical statement), and "Marie's The Name", what with that odd "G" to "E minor" chord structure...and he sounds great on it.

Here's a computer-enhanced rendering of what Elvis might look like were he still alive today.

If Elvis were still alive today, he'd be 72...I think that if he'd kept going, he could have been a great country artist along the lines of Johnny Cash or Merle Haggard; Elvis B-sides such as "Thinking of You" (the B-side of "My Boy", Elvis' 1974 single), showed that he'd have sounded really great in the country world. Another song of his, "For The Heart" (the B-side of the "Hurt" single from 1976), shows quite effectively that he would be able to handle a raucous 2-step tune as easily as Clint Black, Randy Travis, or any of the other country wannabees out there. But then again, perhaps Elvis' life couldn't have ended any other way. It is what it is. Or was.

Once I was playing guitar with a friend of mine in Spokane's Riverfront Park in 1977. I stood up on one of the hills in the park, looked at the downtown Spokane skyline, and bellowed out 'Heartbreak Hotel'. "WELLLL, SINCE MAH BAY-BEEEE LEFT ME......" Truly a moment for the ages. I'm not kidding. I actually did that.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Part 2 (and hopefully the last part) of a continuing GRIPE:
Me, the nicest guy in the universe actually telling people off?

I realize that I was really bitchy and whiny in my last post, what with my endless ramblings about getting interrupted by people while playing guitar. But, it was a therapeutic post, for I actually put "words" on my feelings, and my feelings made more sense to me. I'm no great musician, but I am somewhat creative; sometimes I don't play "songs"; I oftentimes will just "ramble", playing whatever chord pattern strikes my fancy. As I mentioned, if I don't want people to "kibbitz", I usually locate myself in a remote area of the park. The hope is, I won't be disturbed if I'm sitting by myself. Ah, but when you have a guitar in your hands, it's about as bad as mosquitos invading your personal space and you have no repellent handy. (By the way, I do carry a little pocket-sized insect-repelling spray. I got tired of being a human "salad bar" for mosquitos.)

Anyway, I was in the BACK of the park, where no one goes. I was strumming away, messing around with melodies and chords, just experimenting as I watched the lake and the birds flying round and round. And, off in the distance, two young guys were approaching me. I thot, "geez, I hope they don't say anything to me, because I'm not in the mood". I kept playing, trying to convey thru my body language that I didn't want to be disturbed. It didn't work. One of them came up to me, WHILE I WAS PLAYING, and said, "hey, man, can you play any NIRVANA?" First of all, what a damn stupid question that was. My hair is graying. I am OLD. DO I LOOK LIKE I'M GONNA KNOW ANY NIRVANA SONGS??? NO!!! Secondly, I've heard Nirvana's "Nevermind" album, and what a depressing, feel sorry-for-yourself overmodulated slice of music it is. You couldn't PAY me to play that stuff.

So I stopped playing guitar and addressed the young man. I said, "It isn't just you, but I don't know why people feel they can just come up and interrupt me in the middle of a song. You wouldn't interrupt someone who was sleeping or reading a BOOK, after all." I actually SAID THAT; the result of my having posted my "disturbance" sentiments on a prior post. The young guy backed off and he left with his friend. Look, I'm a NICE GUY, okay? But I absolutely HATE it when people put me in a place where I have to be RUDE. Because I DESPISE rudeness. Playing guitar is just what I do. I don't go to the park to be social. I go to be left alone so I can play. What's so wrong with THAT? My house is too HOT to stay in, in the afternoon; I have go go where I can tolerate the temperature! So I go to the park. I can not begin to convey the many times over the years I've played guitar, when people have come up and interrupted me. And then they leave, and I'm mad because I was interrupted, so I can't really play after that anyway. But I did feel a bit BETTER today, because I told 'em off!

I've got the music in me dept.: (okay, who did that song, and what year did it come out?) (answer in the italics print at the bottom of this post) There was an article in last Friday's Spokesman-Review written by a guy who's evidently not a young guy anymore. He was lamenting about reading a recent issue of "Billboard" magazine, and as he looked over the "Hot 100" record charts, he realized he didn't KNOW who anyone on the charts IS. He came up with some kind of 18, you know everything on the charts. Then, with each advancing year, you subtract several people on the charts, so that when you get to be 52 like me, your chart knowledge not only isn't ZERO, you're actually running a sort of "familiarity deficit". In short, the older you are, the less you know. Yep, that's me. I know less about EVERYTHING...including music. I thot I was 'sposed to get SMARTER as I got older. Guess not.

A tale of "Love" lost dept.: As I posted earlier, Arthur Lee, the leader and main songwriter of the group "Love", passed away August 3rd, due to complications from leukemia. And, I was wondering if Rolling Stone magazine (which has become a real sellout rag over the last 20 years) was even gonna MENTION Arthur Lee. After all, musicians such as Lee were the magazine's bread and butter back in the good ol' days. I don't know about you, but I just can't get used to the idea of Rolling Stone Magazines with cover photos of Christine Aguilera or the Backstreet Boys...ackthptf. Makes ya wanna cough up a hairball. I just did. Hack!!! Anyway, Rolling Stone magazine printed a FULL-PAGE article on Arthur Lee in its current issue. Lee was an innovative songwriter and a multi-instrumentalist. His biggest fault? He didn't want to go on tour when his group, "Love" was popular. He turned down an invitation to play the Monterey Pop Festival. Which meant that "Love" was popular in its home town, Los Angeles, but nowhere else. If you've never heard the album, "Forever Changes" by Love, you're really missing out. It's great. Honest. Honestly great!

Are you gonna put any pictures in this post? dept.: Well, sho'nuff, yes, I am. As a matter of fact, the motel I've pictured below got torn down, along with everything else in the general area, as the result of another instance of "land gobbling" by rabid, foaming-at-the-mouth developers who want to build big residential and business developments by the Spokane River (which empties Coeur d'Alene Lake), so that none of the local folks who don't have disposable income can get near it. In its most recent incarnation, this here motel was actually an apartment unit; I used to know several people who lived there. Well, the people who will one day live in this area will probably have lots of disposable income. They'll be near the river!

Alexander's motel, back in 1962, which was located on the frontage road (which used to be old Hiway 10), just to the east of Central Pre-Mix. If you've ever noticed the Fairwinds retirement complex, well, this former motel/later apartment complex, was located right thar in that general area, pard'ner. (What's with the cowboy lingo?) An observation...from what I've seen, if I had to live in the Fairwinds, I'd definitely develop a complex!

Baseball innovations dept.: The Seattle Mariners may not be a lot of things, but they definitely are creative! After winning quite a lot of games recently, they go on the road and decide to make things really interesting by losing 4 straight games in Texas. Tonite, against Oakland, they had the lead, then lost it when an Oakland Batter hit a 2-run homer. But that's not the real story. The M's, being creative as they are, decided not to lose in the same old way. They wanted to lose in a new way. In the top of the 9th, ICHIRO was PICKED OFF AT FIRST BASE!!! And the game was over. I've never seen that before. Picked off at 1st! Of course, sometimes if you see something interesting, you save it up so you can tell the grandkids. As far as this instance goes, however, it's prob'ly best to forget it. I firmly believe my prediction for this year's Mariners season will hold true. Just short of a .500 record. But the M's are improving. They've been pathetic in the past. Now, they're just unremarkable. Still, I keep tuning in to the Mariners games. Call me masochistic.

Okay, here's the answer to that musical question I posed a few overextended paragraphs ago..."I've got the music in me" was a hit by the Kiki Dee Band, and it came out in 1973. It was on the "Rocket Records" label, which was owned by Elton John, would you believe. Later on, Elton and Kiki had a huge number 1 smash with an innocuous little ditty, "Don't go breaking my heart". Yeah, it's not that great of a song, but it's better than anything Christine Aguilera will ever lay her vocal chords on. Over and out!

Friday, August 11, 2006

In search of some solitude...
Sometimes it's so hard trying to be LEFT ALONE...

Look, I care about my fellow human beings. I've always thought that the "five minutes" you spend with someone can make all the difference between them jumping out a window, versus feeling accepted by someone else and realizing that maybe things aren't so bad after all. Many times I've been in an "owly" mood, and the bright smile of the lady pouring coffee made all the difference, and I emerged from my total funk into a, well, "lesser" funk, which is about as good as it gets for me. But I am thankful for those moments. Sometimes I think I don't matter to anyone on the planet, and all of a sudden I'll see someone I know, we B.S. for a little while, and I've come away feeling better. So, what I'm about to post here is in total contradiction of all of the above. Hey, what can I say, I'm a flake. There. It's been said. Now I'll continue...

I love to play guitar outdoors. There is just something about sitting outside with nature going on around me that makes me play differently, somehow. I'll maybe start out playing something largely abstract, depending on whatever mood I'm in. I guess you could say I am playing "unconscious mood pieces", and when I'm "left alone", my mind is free to wander, and that translates into my playing. It's an intensely private time for me, when I do that. It's personal. But when people see me playing guitar, they come up to me, engage me in conversation, not realizing they are INTERRUPTING me. As I'm playing, they'll ask questions: "Oh, what kind of music do you play?" "Do you know any reggae or progressive rock or Pink Floyd?", and they expect me to stop mid-song, and actually REPLY to something they're asking. This happens all the time and it IRRITATES me. So, to send them on their way, I'll try to play something they know, but that's pressure. I'm uptight, because all of a sudden, I'm having to put on a show.

Sometimes I don't mind playing for others. If I'm sitting in a location where they're walking by, I'm usually feeling more positive and accepting of others. But if I'm sitting ALONE, in a corner of the park, or at a picnic table, ALL ALONE, can't people get the message and just LEAVE ME ALONE? I realize they mean well, but I don't like to be interrupted. The guitar is one of the only ways I can lessen my anxieties and depressions, but sometimes the guitar causes me MORE anxiety, as I realize, "oh, damn, someone's walking this way and I have to deal with them". You wouldn't interrupt someone if they were reading a book, or taking a nap on the grass, after all. Well, the guitar is a very HOLY thing for me. I guess I'm neurotic. I don't know. I'm sure I'll get all kinds of comments about this. And I don't want to play some STUPID song, if I'm in the middle of playing the notes or chord progressions that are bouncing around in my brain. Call it "daydreaming with guitar in hand". It's not that I'm that great of a guitarist; in fact, I don't think I'm all that great, and part of me is afraid if I flub someone's song, they'll think I am a skill-deprived idiot who should never get near a guitar. So that also makes me want to play privately. I don't have a whole lot of self-confidence, as you can tell.

Because I honestly care about peoples' feelings, I get put into an awkward position. If I was a total jerk, I'd probably tell them, "don't you realize you are interrupting me?" "Just because I have a guitar in my hands doesn't mean I want to TALK to you!" "How would you feel if I barged in on your family at DINNERTIME?" This is really how I feel about well-meaning people coming up, interrupting me; this really gets my goat and I don't know what to do about it. Maybe in microcosm, this is how the Beatles felt when nosy reporters always shoved microphones in front of them asking things like, "now that you've quit touring, are you still going to work together?" "Oh, you are? Will you be doing things separately, too?" "Can you see a time when the group will ever split up?" Ironically, many of those same reporters would come up to one of the Beatles after the group broke up, and ask, "what are the chances of you getting back together?" "Don't you think all of your fans want to see you back together?" And all of this time, the (former) Beatles were trying to just be PEOPLE. Well, that's what I am. A person who happens to have a guitar. That's ALL. The Beatles stopped performing because the crowds were too much. In order to progress, they had to get AWAY from people. Shortly after they did that, "Sgt. Pepper" came out. A studio masterpiece.

I don't understand why people feel they can interrupt me. It happens to me almost all of the time. So I've got a guitar and I happen to play it. Meanwhile, the mechanic uses his tools. The bank clerks use a computer program. A Chef uses a spatula. A plumber uses a plunger. Some people sew or collect stamps or read poetry. My guitar is like that. Nothing special. It is just what I DO. But for some reason, everyone who sees me playing, no matter HOW MUCH I TRY TO HIDE, thinks they can come up and meet a really cool person who'll drop everything he's doing to play them their favorite song, and I DON'T REALLY WANT TO. I wish there was a tactful way to just send them on their way, but I can't think of what to do. There is absolutely no reason to be fascinated or be in "awe" of someone playing their guitar. It's just what they do; it that person's way of expressing himself, of dealing with emotions and frustrations. I can't do brain surgery, after all. But I wouldn't go into a hospital, put on a sterilized gown, and then go into the operating room and ask the surgeon a bunch of questions while he's trying to operate!

Once, I was playing guitar alone at a picnic table, and a young guy, about 20, sat down AT my table without ASKING. He was asking me all kinds of questions: "Do You Write Your Own Music?" "What Kind of Music do you Like?" He wanted me to do an "original" song. "Have you written any original music?", he asked. I grunted 'yes'. "Oh, I'd really like to hear some of your original music!" HE JUST WOULDN'T SHUT THE F*** UP!!! I sat there motionless, playing very little for ten minutes until he went away. Where does rudeness begin in this situation? Do I have the right to tell people, "I JUST WANT TO BE LEFT ALONE SO I CAN PLAY!!!!!?????" I have written songs, and sometimes I've played them. But those are very private for me as well. I think I'd be a really terrible 'star'. I can see why Bob Dylan behaves like a total jerk to everyone who interviews him. He throws up a "wall"; in one of his documentary movies, he barks at an interviewer, "I CAN'T HELP IT IF SOME PEOPLE HAVE A PROBLEM WITH SOMETHING I WROTE." (And, no, I'm not comparing myself to Dylan, either.)

As you can see, this really, REALLY bugs me. I am not a public person just because I'm playing an instrument somewhere else than my living room. My guitar playing is personal to me. My own original songs are personal to me. Sometimes I have the feeling that 99% of the human race just doesn't know what "creative"-type people go through. Maybe I'm an oddball; I know I'm not that good of a player, but I like to do more than just be someone's "human jukebox". I hear things, I get into moods, I have to go somewhere, work them out, and if I have the guitar with me, that comes out in my playing. But I can't work things out when someone comes up to me and starts CLOGGING my brain full of THEIR ideas. Sometimes I think that most people are on "one level", and that a relatively few people are on "another level". I feel like I'm on "another level". Not that "my level" is any better, or anything like that. I'm just not one of these people who takes things lightly and I never have been, and I'll never be able to change that. At 52, I am who I am. It's disrespectful to interrupt someone. Of course, it's my own fault, I guess, that I am so terribly self-conscious. I realize as I'm writing this that if you're walking thru City Park and you see someone playing guitar, you may want to walk a wide circle around them. I've met some musicians, and all they wanna do is show off for the public. I've done that to a point, but I am really reclusive when I'm playing. I love people and care about them, but I kinda wish they'd just walk that "wide circle" around me when I'm playing. Listen from a distance if you must, if at all. And don't INTERRUPT me.

This is a post where I've been able to get a whole lotta pent-up things off my chest. Kinda therapeutic, actually. And it makes me think back to 2002 when I went to the Oregon Coast and played guitar on the beach with the waves crashing all around me. Pelicans flew overhead, Seagulls danced upon the wind, and I could swear there was one little seal out there who would poke his head out of the water and listen to me; he kept popping up in the same place over and over, and I could swear he heard the music. I love to be out in the world, but I feel like my "people skills" are rapidly diminishing. I read a "huckleberries" post that said people are losing the ability to communicate because they're on computer all the time. I literally had times where I was too nervous to speak, but as soon as I began playing guitar, I felt better. I don't really understand that. Maybe I've got brain cancer or something. Is this computer to blame for what I see as a sort of self-diminishing capability of interchange with my fellow humans? I don't think so, since the thoughts I've put here are things I've WANTED to say for a LONG time. You are more than welcome to comment, to tell me how YOU feel about all of these things; perhaps thru what you post here, I can find out "where I am", how "off-base" I am, etc.

I'll leave you all now with a little weird photo-satire I did. It's a "huckleberries online" ( photo, and it looked so gawdawful weird that when I first saw it, I just sat there and stared at the monitor in total awe. It really was a brain-stretcher. I may have used up my last working brain cell here...but anyway, it's your little reward for digging and tunneling your way through this obviously overstated post.

Peace, everybody...

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

It seems I am now collecting...
Please indulge me...this is one thing I know something about...

When I was working at a small radio station in Sandpoint in 1976, I was surprised that the Beatles' "Revolver" album track, "Got to get you into my life" (recorded in 1966), hit the charts ten years later! All through the 70's and '80s, (and even into the '90s), Beatles records have been reissued in various forms, following the relative demise of the Beatles' "Apple Corps" organization. Their U.S. Record Company, Capitol just went ahead and issued Beatles' songs in any combination that they felt would sell. The Beatles didn't like to have their records issued in this manner, but for a long time there was nothing they could do about it.

One such compilation was a 2-record set that came out in 1977, called "Love Songs". It's actually a classy-looking package, with a "wood grain"-simulated brown sleeve, with gold inlay printing. What the record company did, was take "softer" Beatles' songs, such as "If I Fell" or "And I Love Her", and assemble them in that 2-record set. Plans were made to issue two songs from that set, "Girl" (from Rubber Soul) and "You're Gonna Lose That Girl" (from the "Help!" soundtrack) as a single. So, some 16,000 picture sleeves were made, and a few radio-station 'promo' singles were issued, but that's where the story takes a left turn... turns out that Capitol decided NOT to release the single to the general public, for "whatever" reason. Yet they'd issued 16,000 picture sleeves (see above photo). Capitol recouped its investment by selling the sleeves to a relative few record-dealers around the country. Then, some enterprising sound bootlegger decided to go ahead and stamp out illicit bootleg copies of the single that was supposed to be in that picture sleeve. The bootleg copies were pressed on yellow vinyl for some reason. So what you see, in the photo above, is the "real" picture sleeve, alongside the yellow "bootleg" issue of "Girl/You're Gonna Lose That Girl". By the way, the design of the above sleeve uses the same design on the "Love Songs" compilation.

Anyway, when I saw this for sale, I jumped at the chance to get it. So I now have a Beatles record that wasn't MADE...legally, that is. And, the bootlegger went to great lengths to make this bootleg; the words "made by Capitol" are actually STAMPED into the vinyl near the label, something Capitol did on its legitimate pressings. Usually, "bootlegged" music doesn't sound all that good, but this record is in 'True Stereo', and it doesn't sound bad at all. Capitol did press a few "promo" copies for radio stations, but those feature BLACK vinyl.

The Beatles' "Apple" organization regrouped in the late '80s', and bought "issuing rights" from Capitol; shortly after that, the Capitol compilations "Love Songs", "Rock And Roll Music" and a few others issued in the '70s and '80s were taken off the market, in order to be replaced by "Authorized by the former Beatles" re-issues of other compilations, such as "Live at the BBC", "Beatles 1", etc. One collection that never made it to CD at all, is the must-have "Beatles Live at the Hollywood Bowl", recorded in 1964 and 1965, and issued in the l970's. I won a copy of that from a Spokane Radio Station shortly after it came out. I still have that copy.

Judging from what I've put in this post, I think my Dad was right: He used to (disparagingly) tell me that I had "a turntable in my head". Well, one can't get thru life without addictions, I suppose...and Beatles record-collecting is mine. Yeah, yeah, yeah...

Sometimes I can get so mad at myself...
...WELL, AREN'T I???

You know what? I hate to LOSE things. I'll get my mind on something, and then all of a sudden, I'll lose track of what I was doing when something else pops up. I've lost jobs that way. Too many different things happening. I'd forget what I'd originally been doing. At dinner, I've never been the sort to eat some veggies, some meat, some potatoes, etc. I'd eat "all of one" before having "any of the other". And I still DO that! That used to make my folks so mad. In whatever I accomplish, I am single-minded to a fault. (Single-minded may not be all that far away from SIMPLE-minded...)

And then all of a sudden, I can't find my car keys, which I HAD JUST A MINUTE AGO!!! So I have to go thru the house picking up this and moving that until I've driven myself crazy, only to find my keys buried under something that was originally right in front of me. And, perhaps the night before, I've made myself a note, such as "PAY ELECTRIC BILL TOMORROW", the next day, I'll hurry out the door, on the way to get a money order and send the thing in...that's when I realize I FORGOT the stub of the bill I was supposed to be paying!

This has happened to me so many times that I've ended up forgetting things that I've forgotten! It's embarrassing...I've gone somewhere to eat; after I'm done and I rise to pay the check, OOPS, I've forgotten my wallet! So then I have to make a mad dash home, get my money (assuming I can find my wallet), and zip back to the restaurant to pay! So, when I see someone else who's forgotten something, well, I can feel their pain...

I stole this foto from before anyone there could catch me in order to muzzle me. MMPH!'s times like these that I think of that old Elvis Presley song..."I Forgot to Remember to Forget". See, he's singing about a ladyfriend who is no longer with him. He is trying to forget her. But because he still thinks of her, he's forgotten that he's not supposed to think of her; i.e. he forgot to remember to forget her. A quite convoluted love story there. Too much for me to handle.

This is probably one of those totally unnecessary posts that perhaps you'd like to FORGET that you ever read. I can't remember when I've typed something so forgettable!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

My Oh My...

I accept the fact that the Seattle Mariners have never been to the World Series. I accept the fact they may never get to go to one. The way the M's tend to get dominated and overpowered by stronger teams is disheartening, and for some strange reason, the Mariners have committed more baserunning errors this season than in seasons past, if my memory serves me well (which, much of the time doesn't happen). I also feel a strange sort of reassurance each springtime when Messrs. Niehaus and Rizz take the airwaves; they seem like a couple of old friends. Yeah, Rizzs can lay it on thick, but you've gotta admit, he knows his baseball! The man is a treasure trove of trivia. (Say that 5 times fast!)

Most of the time when it's nice outside, I'll be in the park with my handy-dandy little transistor radio, listening to the game, and watching everything going on around me. Well, today was one of those humid days, and for some reason, I just did not feel good. I didn't have any coffee today; could I be a Java Junkie? Well, it's strange, the way things work out. I went home early, and switched on the TV before languishing in my La-Z-Boy...I really haven't watched much baseball on TV this year; I hate staying inside when it's nice out after all. But today, well, I just thought it best to get myself out of society and just go home.

Those of you who've read the newspaper or have seen replays on the news, or saw the game, in part or in entireity, know the outcome of tonite's game; Richie Sexson crushed a 96-mile-an-hour fastball in the bottom of the ninth, with the bases loaded and the score 1-1. It was a GRAND SLAM HOME RUN! Talk about true baseball theater! And it happened on one of the few nites I've watched baseball on TV. Strange how things work out. And I feel privileged to have seen that occur. Wow! My only criticism: The nickname the announcers have given Richie Sexson...they refer to him as "Sexsie"...perhaps some members of the female side of things might think so, but those announcers need to change that somehow. Please?

The "Picasa" program which sends photos to this blogsite has been re-worked, and it's pretty handy. I can post my photo on the typing page, and put everything together BEFORE it hits the internet. The old way necessitated that the 'photo-only' would appear on the internet, and then I'd have to go back in and write around that photo. The only hassle to all of this...I can't see it when I'm typing, but the little multi-colored "Picasa" logo is snuck in there at the end of each post. Then, when I've posted, I can go back into "edit" and take out the logo. Now that's a hassle. Before, I could take the logo out before my post hit the internet. Must be some sort of a corporate thing...but anyway, the Picasa logo 'should' be right here>>>>>> Posted by Picasa ...and so it was!

Going out on the lake is a good way to...

In my previous last coupla posts, I've railed on and on (and on) about how expensive everything seemed to be at a local downtown bazaar/artsy-fartsy-type craft event. OK, call me "Scrooge". But I just can't believe what people will pay for, and how much they'll pay for it. When it comes to rental rates for watercraft out on the lake, you'd think that someone was staging a floating bazaar/artsy-fartsy-craft event out there on the blue water...for instance, there's a rental outfit here in town; I won't mention their name, because I don't know if they're an independent business or if they operate in conjunction with the overpriced Coeur d'Alene Rezzort, which charges an arm and a leg (with other limbs optional) for all kinds of things, including powerboat rentals, which I understand can go for as much as $400 for a half-day.

You've seen those little personal watercrafts out there on the lake, zigzagging in back of bigger boats, while the FOOLS who operate them try to "jump" the boat's wake, taking the chance of killing themselves at a high rate of speed. Well, if you wanna be a thrillseeker on a little personal watercraft (which can hold 2-3 people), the going rate is $225.00 for a HALF-DAY; $350.00 for an ENTIRE DAY (look at how much you SAVE by keeping your watercraft for an entire day; hey, more opportunities to kill yourself that way!), and if you wanna rent the thing for a week, it costs just under $2,000. What I'm wondering is, can't you (almost) BUY a personal watercraft for that? The model number is VX-110, in case you want to search for costs. Me, I don't give a rat's (posterior).

If you REALLY wanna try to kill yourself, you can rent a little "Seadoo 3D", on which you stand while operating it. That makes you less stable on your watercraft, so when you jump that "boat's wake", you (and machine) could end up doing several end-over-end-flips in the air before crashing onto the lake's surface, you breaking your neck in the process. The rates for this little watercraft are: $325 a Day, $200 for Half a Day, and $1799 for a Week's worth of causing potential water-related disasters as you zip across the lake, causing the poor seaplanes up above to try and select a different landing route out there on the lake; unfortunately, when a seaplane 'commits' to landing in a particular spot, it can't really change direction all that fast. I firmly believe it's a wonder there haven't been any seaplane-related disasters out there on the lake because of idiots on buzzing watercrafts going in no "one" direction in particular for more than 25 seconds. It's gonna happen SOMEDAY, mark my words! And the Seaplane company will probably end up getting SUED for a seaplane-watercraft collision despite the fact that an IDIOT on a personal watercraft got in the seaplane's way!

This is the Seadoo 3D. Wanna get rid of your mother-in-law? Take her out for a ride on one of these!

Finally, I've seen a lot of those boxy, awkward-looking Pontoon boats out there; they look weird, but they cut the water pretty well, because of the pontoons. The brochure where I got all of these prices encourages the operators of these craft to "throw a party on the lake". Yep, that oughta keep the Kootenai County Water Cops busy. They will thank you for providing them with job security. Rentals for a pontoon boat are only $420.00 for a day, or $2275 for a week. Rumor has it that people who could afford these ATROCIOUS, MONEY-GRUBBING WATERCRAFT RENTAL RATES also bought overpriced footstools and metal sculptures at a craft booth in our fair city this past weekend. In other words, there's a LOTTA people out there on the lake, probably from somewhere else, with tons of disposable cash. And, these rental rates don't even cover the drop-off and pick-up DELIVERY FEES. If I was rich, I probably wouldn't rent a pontoon boat. Costs too much, after all. I'd opt for a smaller watercraft so I could afford a weekend in the Haggadone suite in the overpriced rezzort. And maybe play the overpriced rezzort golf course and see how many overpriced golf balls I could lose trying to hit the floating green.

I spent two hours in the Java place today (which was a lot cheaper than two hours of a watercraft rental!), and part of the reason I was there so long was the new Rolling Stone magazine on the coffee-shop's reading table. Inside the magazine was a great article on Led Zeppelin, "The heaviest band ever". Maybe "Zep" is an acquired taste for people who prefer things more on the "Englebert" side of things, but I've always loved 'em. Very creative music. And, there was also a nice article on the recently-departed Syd Barrett, the "Crazy Diamond" who "shone" when he was with Pink Floyd. I do hope, that in the next issue of Rolling Stone, they address the passing of one of rock's unsung heroes, Arthur Lee, who recorded some immortal music when he led the band "Love". If you want a really great piece of music, get the CD of their 1967 album, "Forever Changes". It is positively one of the best records EVER issued.


Me, I like to sit and look at the lake. So far, no one's been able to charge me for that. Yet.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

It may not have been a MARATHON...

As I stated in a previous post, I thot I might go downtown and look at more Art On The Green, because "accidents do happen". And, so I did. "Art on the Green" is a big city-wide event our humble little town hosts every year. You can find overpriced food, trinkets that everyone can live without, grossly priced high-to-the-sky pieces of artwork, and of course, paintings by area artists of dubious talent. It makes me want to buy a dozen tomatoes, let 'em get rotten, then throw 'em at a canvas...then display 'em at Art on the Green. I might win a prize!

No, I didn't go to the College where the main art-on-the-green stuff is located, and I didn't go to the Street Fair (that simultaneous event that consists of artists and merchants who were denied the chance to set up at the original "Art On The Green" thing)...but I did go through city park, which is in right in the middle of it all. "Art on the Green" to the west, "Street Fair" to the east, and "whatever it is in the Park" smack-dab in the middle. In the park, and everywhere else, hundreds of tented booths selling all kinds of crap. There was one booth in the park selling BARS OF SOAP. All kinds of natural-type soaps. Yep, just the thing I'm lookin' for on a 90-degree day in City Park. Another nearby booth was selling overpriced birdhouses. Uh, thanks but no thanks. I then progressed a little further down the sidewalk, and something else at one of the booths caught my eye. A wood-carver-type-merchant had a little wooden footstool, no more than a foot-and-a-half high, going for $145 DOLLARS. Uhhhh...I could probably find something similar at St. Vincent DePaul for 2 bucks.

I was in a fairly curious frame-of-mind, similar to when I'm walking up and down a mall, looking at all of the wares on display. As I walked further down the sidewalk in the park, among the many booths I passed, one featured some fancy three-dimensional metal sculptures of outdoor scenes; "layers" of metal representing items in the foreground of the picture, and other layers in the backgrounds representing faraway hills and mountains, etc. They did look really great. I wouldn't buy one, but they were interesting. At the front of the booth, there was a medium-sized metal "outdoor scene" sculpture...and the price was $745 DOLLARS!!! Just who do these merchants think GOES to Art on the Green? Well, they don't have a clue, so I'll tell ya. Most everyone who goes is on a budget and can't afford $745 for a metal wall-hanging sculpture or $145 for a damn footstool! Other booths had necklaces, earrings, ornaments, books, CD's, clothes, memorabilia, etc. etc. yadda-yadda-yadda. Nothing one couldn't live without.

My ultimate destination was the little concession stand at Memorial Field, across the street from the park. I wanted a German Sausage. In my last post, I wrote about a merchant at "Art on the Green" charging SIX DOLLARS for a German Sausage. HAH! So I guess I had a case of "German Sausage on the Brain" I had to have one. But I wasn't gonna pay 6 bucks. When I got to the concession stand, I got a german sausage with sauerkraut and a can of Pepsi for $3.50. THAT'S $2.50 LESS THAN THE "SAUSAGE-ONLY" price of the Sausage vendor in the Park! Six bucks for a german sausage from the park vendor? I never "SAUSAGE" a thing! And I caught the last couple of songs the Dennis Carey big-band group played in the nearby park bandshell. The group was great, but the sound system sounded tinny and cheesy, especially on the vocal microphones. The audio sounded more like a cheap boom-box being run through a microphone rather than actual live performers! But, Mr. Carey's band is talented, and they do a style of music I don't get to hear very often. Their last song was the old standard, "I Ain't Got Nobody"...but I'll bet Mr. Carey doesn't know that David Lee Roth, formerly of Van Halen, record a version of that tune in the 1980s. Mr. Carey probably has no idea who David Lee Roth IS.

Well, I wanted to take a walk through the park, but I couldn't, because after all, all of those overpriced booths full of JUNK lined the sidewalks. So, I got brave (and a little nervy) and walked all the way around the dike road and back, which is probably about a mile and a half total. That's a lot for me, since I've had all of these really bad back problems. I had to rest a few times when my back began to "tweak", but I made it! Of course, when I got back to the park, I just about passed out on the nearest bench I found. As the title of this post states, "it wasn't a marathon, but it felt like one." And I'm finding that when I "tense" my stomach muscles, it's a little easier for me to get up out of a chair or off a bench; that's something my physical therapist taught me. So, I'm having to consciously re-think the whole "standing and sitting" process. So anyway, like "they", whoever "they" are, say, "I'm tired, but it's a 'good tired'". The only thing that marred the weekend, was the smoke and haze that permeated our atmosphere throughout the weekend. Residue from forest fires, perhaps? I'd hate to think anyone was BURNING GRASS FIELDS yet. That's a whole 'nother issue. And this post is already too long. So, instead, I'll end it here, and reward ya with a little picture; after all, you read all of the above diatribe, so here's yer reward...

This is a rather odd little photograph, taken by the legendary Ross Hall; a night-time view of the old White Motel, which (I believe) was located at the end of East Sherman near the cemetery, on the property where the Bee Hive Homes currently are situated. I believe this photo was taken in the late '40s or early '50s; if you look closely, you can see an old car in the background. I haven't been getting a lot of good old photos lately, but as here, I'll post 'em when I gets 'em.

I've cut back on my posting. I feel I need to for a while. I've always been one of these people who thinks they don't do enough. But don't worry, I'm alive. But I do really gotta go now. After all, a bottle of Powerade Fruit Punch's chilling as I speak.