Wednesday, January 31, 2007

A Truly "imPECKable" Post...
...the dust is a-kickin' up at the Parakeet Ranch...

You have probably heard of weird old ladies who live with a whole bunch of cats, in a house where the interior is covered by spider webs and mousetraps...well, I'm not that bad (I hope!), but I have a couple of housemates. That's right, I GOT PARAKEETS! I don't want a dog; I don't want to have to pick up doggie-doo with my hands, and that's WITH a plastic glove on...I'm largely allergic to cats; something in the cat's fur...whenever I pet a cat, and then I touch my face, I break out and start sneezing, virtually gouging my eyeballs out because they're so red and irritated. So, I got Parakeets. A male and a female.

The male is just a cool little guy; he sings and chirps and flies around the cage. Whenever I'm playing a rock or a jazz record, he'll sing along; he won't move, but he sings his little heart out. If you think of a parakeet having the mentality of Red Skelton, well, that's my little male parakeet. The FEMALE parakeet is a whole different matter. She is bigger and fatter than the male, and she is possessive of EVERYTHING. If the male is eating out of a seed tray, she'll come over, peck at him, making him move. So the male goes to another seed tray, and she'll come over and peck him out of the way once again. She's actually knocked him off the perch a few times. The only time he gets a lot to eat is when she is GROOMING herself. I told a friend of mine about this situation, and he said, "you shoulda expected that. It's a FEMALE parakeet, after all." The Female parakeet basically has the mentality of your average Roller Derby Queen. BAM! PECK! SQUAWK!

I kinda think this is a case of parakeet 'tough love'. Because, the little male hangs in there, he survives, and all of a sudden the female will have a change of heart, and the parakeets get all lovey-dovey, grooming each other and cuddling. Awwwww.... But without warning, she'll change back into Rhoda, the homicidal monster parakeet. I'm probably spoiling 'em rotten, but I've bought them a lot of toys; little mirrors, little bell trees, things that dangle down from the top of the cage. Oh yeah, I've bought them those little seed-tree things. I buy two of everything, hoping that if the female chases him away from one of them, he can go peck away at the other, before she shoves him away from that one too. Then he'll go to where she was, and begin pecking again. The little male bird uses up a lot of calories in the process. The female bird? Well, she reminds me of women I've tried to have relationships with. I think I'll stay single.

In England, they refer to Parakeets as BUDGIES. And you might remember, back when singing groups were so popular, there were The Animals, The Critters, The Orioles, The Spaniels, The Byrds (well, that name comes close), and many other such bands whose names I can't remember right now. But, there was an unheard-of three-man rock band from England, and they called themselves, yes, you guessed it...BUDGIE! The thing that set Budgie apart was their use of really strange time signatures. The downbeat would always land in strange places, and it's music like that which really perks up my ears. I bought their music back when records were..."cheep" (sorry, I couldn't resist). I have several albums of theirs in my collection, one of which is titled "ImPECKable"...the front cover of the album is below...

You can see our fearless little bird-buddy here, flying straight into the path of danger, as the cat thinks, "LUNCH!" My little male parakeet is blue with dark wings; the female is blue with white wings. And you know, since I've had these dumb little birds, I've FELT better, mentally. Something about pets that makes you live in the present. I can watch them for hours and I have. They're ONLY birds. But it makes me think God knew what he was doing when he created creatures that can be domesticated. And it's nice to have some 'life' around me. I suppose cat ladies all feel the same way.

But, little parakeets (Budgies) are vulnerable creatures. Back when I was a kid, I felt sorry for the bird being in a cage, so I let him fly around the house. The neighbor's cat came in thru a front door I thot was closed, and, well let's just say, the bird didn't fly anymore that day. Or any other day. The 'keets cage is right near my living room window, and any day, I fully expect to see all the neighborhood cats standing themselves up by my window, licking their chops. But what if the tables were turned? And cats had to be afraid of parakeets in some weird "Wild Kingdom" parallel universe? It could happen...may I present, the BACK cover of the "ImPECKable" album...ta-daaaaa......
Hmmm...that would be a great idea for a horror movie..."Night of the Killer Parakeets" which imprisoned budgies from all over the world inhale something in the air which makes them grow and get stronger and they all bend apart the bars on their cages and exact revenge upon the human race.......

I've even named my parakeets. I wanted a couple of names that were "edgy", that would immediately convey a vivid image, and I think I made the right choice. Their names? BONNIE & CLYDE. Although, in this case, "Clyde" comes closer to resembling Jack Benny or Barney Rubble. I'm actually wondering if Bonnie will escape her cage, fly into my computer room and peck at me until I return to the bird cage. It could happen.


Something just hit me, as I was typing that last paragraph. Could it be? It's possible, it's possible...I have come upon one of the more important life's philosophies...for, I think I have found out where the term "HENpecked" comes from!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The ol' Blog rope-a-dope...
...if it works for boxing, it oughta work for blogging...

Muhammed Ali used a trick called "rope-a-dope" in which he would linger near the edge of the ring, lulling his opponent in close, and then, BAM!!! Followed by an unceremonious "thud" as the opponent went down. So I'm going to employ that tactic here. I'll just type a whole bunch of stuff that's drifting in and out of my mind, and while you are searching for something informative, you'll actually become lulled into reading this post 'til the very end. BAM!!!

Is he as Bushed as we are? Prezzident Bush entertained us all with his rousing State of the Union Speech recently. In fact, it was such an exciting and informative speech that immediately afterwards, his job approval rating plummeted to an all-time low of 30%. Actually, I didn't think he was doing THAT well, so go figure...isn't the idea of giving a speech, to ENHANCE the approval rating? BAM!!! (the sound of a backfire)

Something I saw while tailgating: Actually, I wasn't tailgating. I was second in line at a red light that's right at the top of a steep hill. I could tell the lady in front of me was driving a manual transmission auto; when she began to move after the light turned green, her car went backwards as she was engaging the clutch. I can imagine THAT intersection with an Idaho-type coating of ice. Her car drifted backwards toward mine, but her clutch engaged with a quarter-inch of room between her car and mine. And, she had an interesting bumper-sticker, which said, "never drive faster than your angel can fly". And I'm thinking MY angel prevented her car from hitting mine.

Shirtsleeve weather in January: It's been cold where I used to live; I saw a report on a regional TV news network that aired a story which happened up there, and there was still snow on the ground and ice on the roads. That ice caused a pickup truck to skid across a railroad crossing, and BAM!!! Crunch, grind...when your vehicle hits a train, you're not having a good day. January isn't quite over yet, but down here on the coast, I had to remove my light jacket, because it was getting HOT in the Post Office. Outside, the sun was blaring and the sky was a vivid light blue. I continue to marvel at the difference a few hundred miles southward makes. No snow? I think I can live with that. I can handle anything Oregon weather throws me, outside of a giant tsunami. If that happens, tho, I know where the high ground is.

Zal and Denny, workin' for a penny, tryin' to catch a fish on the line: Zal was Zal Yanovsky of the Lovin' Spoonful, and Denny was Denny Doherty of the Mamas & the Papas, and that lyric line comes from "Creeque Alley", a good-timey Mamas & Papas historical tale set to music. All of those bands knew and chummed with each other. "In a coffeehouse Sebastian sat"; Sebastian is John Sebastian, leader of the Lovin' Spoonful. "McGuinn and McGuire just a-catchin fire"...McGuinn is Roger McGuinn of the Byrds, and I believe McGuire was Barry McGuire, who sang "Eve of Destruction". I could go on and on, but I won't, other than to say that Denny of the Mamas & Papas passed away recently. I will go on record here and say that I loved everything the Mamas & Papas recorded. Absolutely wondrous vocals. That's Denny you hear on "Monday, Monday". Still can't trust that day...

Turned-on TV blues: Right now, as I'm typing this, a TV commercial is featuring a character named Billy Mays, who is hawking another valuable household product that you absolutely can't live without. He shouts in a high-pitched voice, exhorting the numerous attributes of whatever product he's advertising, whether it be dust-bunny eradicators or an X-27 dusting mop sold in tandem with a sheet of cloth that absorbs tons and tons of liquid. I suppose if you laid enough of them on the ocean bottom, there'd be no more high seas. Normally, when I see his bearded face, I hit the "mute" button; in this case I didn't...I was busy blogging, after all. Suffice it to say that Billy Mays has a voice that could peel paint. His voice is so irritating, that I'd rather listen to OPERA than listen to him.

BAM!!! I've just hit you with the realization that you've been rope-a-doped into reading my entire blogpost. Since I probably have attention deficit disorder, I've tried to keep the paragraphs short, otherwise I'll lose interest in what I'm typing. Think of this blog as a sort-of cyberworld salad bar, I guess...

Sunday, January 28, 2007

AAAH, debate springs eternal in blogdom. I have been taken to task by one who is supposedly 'in the know'. See the comments section of this post. And my response to it. Maybe I'm 'out of the loop' but I still can't help but feel manipulated as a consumer and collector of Beatles music. And I LOVE the Beatles. I just don't like how they're marketed...and marketed...and MARKETED...

All You Need Is Love...
...but wait, you're gonna need CASH too...

I've written before about the "new" Beatles' CD, called "Love". Basically, it's a re-worked pastiche of Beatles songs that consist of songs being melded into each other, even though the songs were never that recorded that way to begin with. As a matter of fact, I don't think Beatles' music was ever meant to be re-worked that way; after all, "music" is the group's monument, and monuments aren't supposed to change, right? Well, it's out of my hands, not that it was ever IN my hands to begin with. Starting with all three "Anthology" albums, Beatles' music was re-worked by earnest engineers, but it was never actually DONE that way to begin with, so in a sense, these producers and engineers are rewriting history, and I'll bet poor old John Lennon is spinning in his grave...wait, he was cremated, so any ashes of his flying around in the stratosphere are probably having nuclear reactions with each other over this.

But I've already written about this in a previous post; you can check the archives for November or December '06, and in that previous post, I commented in detail about the "artificiality" of new "Put-togethers" of Beatles' songs. Nice to hear in a 'fly-on-the-wall' sort of way, but essentially, not needed, and maybe a bit shady. Who needs to hear 8 minutes' worth of "A Day In The Life", where an early take was melded together with a 'middle' take in which you hear Mal Evans, one of the Beatles' assistants counting..."18...19...20...21..." (he was counting the empty bars of the song in which the big orchestral sound would be later inserted)...and all of that melded into a bit of the "finished" version...because I'm a collector, I've bought all that stuff, but at the same time I ALSO think I'm a fool. And I've got the entire "Anthology" series in three 3-record sets, IN ADDITION TO three 2-CD sets of the same thing.

Elsewhere in the "Anthology" series, we are treated to INSTRUMENTAL-ONLY takes of "Eleanor Rigby" and "Within You Without You"...and I was aghast! With all the never-released Beatles stuff that's never been issued, and THIS is what we get? Instrumentals? Good, maybe, if you're doing Karaoke, but otherwise, the bum's rush, indeed. But again, I'm a collector, so I've got the stuff. I suppose if another Beatles collector jumped off a cliff, I would too. There are two "new" songs on the "Anthology" albums; "Free As A Bird" and "Real Love". John was so anti-Beatle when he wrote those songs while under forced seclusion due to paranoia instilled by Yoko, virtually putting the formerly fierce Lennon under house-arrest conditions, that I'm sure, were he not cremated, he'd be doing CARTWHEELS in his grave at how the Beatles, with YOKO'S blessing, went grave-robbing, taking John's songs and letting the other "Threetles" hack away at them. Actually, the songs turned out pretty good, but I can't help but think there's something "Simply Shady" (a George Harrison song title) about this whole deal. Basically, Yoko gave the surviving Beatles old cassettes of some songs John recorded at home in the late '70s, and the Beatles put additional music and vocals in...a Beatles' reunion, even if one of those present actually 'wasn't there'.

Now, if you will, be patient with me here as I re-address the Beatles' "Love" CD, a picture of which you see up above. Not only has the CD been issued at regular price, which means collectors like me have to pay yet once again for songs we already have, there is a SPECIAL EDITION of this CD! "Great!", I thought, "maybe there's a DVD in it so I can SEE what's going on"...well, there IS a DVD in the Special Edition of "Love"...only, the DVD is "AUDIO ONLY"!!! Huh? WHAT? So I asked the clerk, "why do I wanna buy a DVD that I can't WATCH?" And he said, "Well, the DVD's sound is so much better than the regular DVD." Well, maybe if I had super sensitive audio analyzing equipment that costs 3 or 4 million dollars, maybe I could tell the difference. So, there's NO WAY I'm gonna buy the special edition! I'm already getting bilked just buying the standard-issue of "Love", which consists of songs I already have...

You know what got me started on this whole kick? You know, this situation where the surviving Beatles and Lennon's and Harrison's estate are basically spending who knows how many hours a week thinking of ways to gouge new money from the same old repertoire...I was looking at all of my Beatles' CD's. Each CD contains one album. About 30-45 minutes of music, average, for each of their original studio albums. Then, take into account that the average CD can hold almost 80 minutes worth of music. Then, also take into account, that old BEACH BOYS' albums, on the same record label (Capitol) are sold in the form of TWO albums on each CD, for the SAME PRICE (if not actually lower) than the Beatles' single-album CD's on Capitol. It just kinda looks like you'll find no such values in Pepperland, which has been taken over by the Blue Meanies once again.

The Beatles' music always will be great (for the most part). But...ALL YOU NEED are the original Beatles' albums on CD, along with the "Past Masters" CD's (which feature songs--issued on singles--that weren't issued on albums in England. Those English albums are the ones currently available here in the good ol' U.S.A. Originally in England, it was thot "bad practice" to put the same song on an album as well as on a single. American record companies made a MINT from putting singles on albums.) I suppose I run the risk of thoroughly confusing everyone who reads this by saying, that the 'original Beatles' albums on CD' were the song lineups used on their original ENGLISH albums. These ENGLISH albums were then released by the AMERICAN record company. Was this an admission by Capitol U.S.A. that they were wrong in chopping up the Beatles' original English Albums? Well, on, read on...

There were more American Beatles' albums than English Beatles albums, because the U.S.A. label, Capitol, would "shave" 2 or 3 songs off the British release, and once Capitol U.S.A. acquired enough "shaved off" songs, voila, another whole BEATLES album! In short, in England, there was no "Yesterday and Today" album, and neither was there a "Hey Jude" album, two albums made of pilfered Beatles songs from their English albums. Chalk another one up to American Capitalistic Greed. And, those shortened U.S.A. albums are now being released in box sets, the reasoning being, that American listeners will want CD's of the same American albums they used to listen to when they were getting into the Beatles. And I say, "WHAT??? Reissues of REPACKAGED Beatles' music? Ain't this goin' just a bit too FAR?"

The Beatles were actually involved in the song-by-song selection of their English albums, but once the tapes got over here, Capitol U.S.A. hacked away at them, shaving songs off, and the Beatles are all on record as despising the U.S. releases. In short, the argument is that the Beatles' English albums are put together they way THE BEATLES THEMSELVES wanted the music to be heard. And I agree. I will have no part of those Capitol U.S.A. Beatles albums box-sets; yes, I try to get Beatles music in all available configurations, but putting out the U.S.A. albums in box sets smacks me as being little short of utterly AWFUL. Besides...I've had their vinyl U.S.A. albums for YEARS.

AND NOW, I hear that there might be a commercial during this upcoming weekend's Super Bowl, which is going to advertise some sort of NEW BEATLES COLLECTION...don't you know this will just never end? Beatles on Ipod! Beatles on speaker-phone! The strains of the first-few notes of a Beatles song springing forth when you open a can of tomato soup! Criminals confessing their crimes, saying, "I Should Have Known Better"! How about an "Eleanor Rigby's" hi-priced fashion dept. store? Or a jeweler's commercial, saying, "put YOUR 'Lucy' in the sky...with DIAMONDS"!!!

So on one hand, yes, I'm still buying new Beatles' stuff. But it's getting to the place where I'm gonna have to draw the line. And, with my refusal to buy the Capitol Records box-sets of Beatles U.S.A. albums, I have done that. And I'm no skinflint, either. I have CD AND Vinyl copies of their English albums thru "Revolver" (1966) (Beginning with Sgt. Pepper, the Beatles' English and American albums featured the same songs). In addition, I have 2 or 3 copies of each of their American albums. I've tried to acquire "Mono" and "Stereo" copies of each album. Plus, I have their "'62-'66" and "67-70" hits collections, their "rock and roll music" and "love songs" albums (which feature their original songs packaged differently). I have the "Reel Music" album, which features, you guessed it, songs from their movies that I already had on their original U.S. albums which were re-worked versions of their English albums, and on and on and on. Back in 2001, you might remember the Beatles hit big with their album, "1", which is, yer right, a collection of number one singles, songs of which, you got it, are on albums and singles I ALREADY HAVE.

So, how do I end this rambling post about how Beatles collectors are getting SUCKED DRY by all of these duplicitory (is that a word?) releases...I was looking thru Beatles collectables on Ebay last week, and I came to a listing for, you guessed it, The Beatles' "LOVE" album. Only this listing said, "VINYL! ONLY 10,000 COPIES ARE GOING TO BE MADE! THESE'LL SELL FAST!!!" And I didn't want to, but I've plunked down the purchase price and hope to have said TOTALLY UNNECESSARY ALBUM in hand, sometime within the next two weeks. The only reason I'm buying this album is because it is a NEW collection. The Capitol U.S.A. CD box-sets I referred to above...are a duplication of ALREADY-REARRANGED Beatles albums. And I won't buy those. But I'll buy the "Love" Vinyl album, although I already have it on CD. Why? I'm just not sure... but I've read recently that Capitol Records, U.S.A. is going to MERGE with the British VIRGIN label. Which means Capitol will be marketing endless reissues of money-making recycled Beatle product to finance all of the LOSERS who record for the Virgin label. Follow the money!

In proofreading this post, I've come to realize just how insane I just be for putting up with all of this. Any normal person would think I need my head examined. How do I know that? Well, I'm beginning to think that MYSELF.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

A TOTAL COMPUTER MELTDOWN... was bound to happen sooner or later!!!

Actually, the computer I REPLACED my computer with melted down. The computer before that one caught a virus, and as a result, wouldn't move. A case of "computer constipation", if you will. So, a friend of mine who's into computers said, "well, I like to fix 'em, and I have one that works and I'll just trade ya". Okay...except, it wasn't okay. My replacement computer, from DAY ONE, made these weird grinding noises...crunch, grind, crunch, grind...I had to check the tower to make sure an electric pencil sharpener hadn't been installed in there somewhere! Anyway, when I got that computer down here to Oregon, I hooked it up to DSL...and it moved slower on DSL than it did on dial-up! I thot, "huh?", which I think every time something confuses me, which is often. A friend of mine down here said, "just go get a new hard drive, and I'll have ya up and running in no time flat." (Not his exact words, but close enough.) So, I thot, "yep, okay", and proceeded to do just that. I then ran into him last night and he said, "your mother-board's FRIED...the computer won't go anywhere or DO ANYTHING."

Okay, then. NO MORE SECOND-HAND COMPUTERS for this guy. It's sorta like buying a second-hand pair of blue jeans...the crotch ends up wearing out in a hurry, even though the jeans look good. (Aside: Jeans never look good on my body.) So, in a fit if impetuousness, I swallowed hard, concentrated all my gumption, and with my best John Wayne swagger, I burst open the doors of the local Radio Shack, and told the clerk, "Ah'm here to get a NEW COMPUTER...whatcha got?" (Severe artistic license there...) I am now a few hundred dollars poorer. There is no joy in Mudville; my wallet is depleted, and virtually shrinks in my hands, not wanting to show me its meager post-computer-dollar amount. Yes, I am the owner of a cowering wallet. Whimper, whine, whine, whine...but I am also the owner of a new HP PAVILION NOTEBOOK computer. Since my DSL modem also had wireless capabilities, all I had to do is PLUG-IN the computer and let 'er rip! (Of course, I had to perform many convoluted things, such as computer-registration at the HP website, updating the Adobe Acrobat, providing my eye color, hair color, shoe size and astrological sign. Well, I didn't do those last few, but you get the idea...basically, a lot of computer 'red tape'.)

What with my back (and indeed, my entire physique) the way it is...I ain't haulin' around no more heavy monitors or towers. Like John Wayne, I'll just git on mah horse, pullin' a wagon behind me, loaded with deceased computer parts, and head off to the cyber-version of Boot Hill. (There is a definite western theme brewing in this post, ain't thar?) I might as well get rid of the old computer. No one needs a paperweight THAT big! As I sit here typing away on a flat keyboard that takes some getting used to (remember, I learned to type on MANUAL clunker typewriters, moving over to the old style of computer keyboards whose keys are tiered a bit), I am frankly amazed that all of the capabilities of my old, big system (and more) are concentrated into this tiny little piece of computer equipment in front of me. Is it me, or is everything getting smaller these days? Speaking of smaller, I got a pair of headphones with this notebook computer. "THOSE are HEADPHONES?" Well, yeah. They consist basically of two inner-ear-plugs fastened together with a couple pieces of string. I would imagine those ear-plug units could actually fall inside your ear canal and get lost somewhere in your Eustachian tubes; and then you'd have to undergo some sort of cranial extraction process. That hurts to even think about it.

A comment on my earlier post concerning DOGGIE-STEPS has led me to believe I am too rough on a segment of society; namely those who are weak and/or frail who cannot pick up even the most lightweight furless chihuahua weasel-dog that probably weighs about six ounces. Okay, I stand corrected, and I apologize. And for heavens' sake, buy doggie-steps if you need them. But, since I am on the road to frailty (is that a word?), I have suitable pets for my approaching old age. (Maybe my old age is already here? Ack!) I've got PARAKEETS. A female and a male, who I have respectively named "Bonnie and Clyde". Renegade parakeets. So far, it's the female parakeet who I find weird. She sticks her head in the seed bin, comes up with a full beakful of seeds, and then violently shakes her head from side to side, throwing seeds all over my carpet! The little male parakeet just kinda looks up at the female parakeet and tries to keep the peace. The things us males have to put up with sometimes, I tell ya...

So anyway, I have a year's warranty on my new little notebook computer that, supposedly, I can take anywhere, tho I'm not sure why I'd want to. I have a one-year unconditional warranty, after all. Which means that my computer will go bad in exactly 366 days. A habit I'm trying to shake is reaching for the mouse...this machine has a little touch-pad instead of a mouse. But I find myself reaching for the mouse anyway. Which makes me about as dumb as a parakeet. Chirp!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Welcome to another post, I guess...
More of the same, only different. You know what I mean!

This post was not easy. I really had nothing to post. Which will become sorely evident as you read thru it. I used to post like a raving maniac. These days, I'm trying to post more like a subdued maniac. So, I just sat in front of my monitor, staring at the blank screen until inspiration came. Well, that never happened, but I typed some stuff anyway...

The State Of The Union: Prezzident Bush evidently said a whole bunch of words last night in his State of the Union address. Did I watch? Did I listen? I can't bear to. I just can't watch him; it just looks like he's gonna rupture any minute. His approval ratings are in the sewer; our nation doesn't want to be in this war; political committees have told our Prezzident that we need to change course. And the Prezzident is out of touch, just so out of touch. This last weekend was evidently little short of disastrous as far as our casualties in Iraq are concerned. We're all being urged to curb our energy consumption, yet how much energy are we using for fighter planes, hum-vees, tanks and the rest of the war machinery? The Iraq war is now basically a civil war. It's not our war. Look, we got rid of Saddam Hussein, we paved the way for Iraq's first democratic (well, as democratic as Iraq can be) elections; in my view, that nation is about as self-sufficient as it will ever be. So, MR. PREZZIDENT, we have already achieved our objectives. Let's get out of there, okay?

What are those OLD GUYS doing playing rock and roll?: Since I moved here last month, to ye olde Oregon Coast, I have been in more musical situations and met more ego-less musical people here, than in the last decade up in Coeur d'Alene. The bar we all jam in is owned by a guy who also owns a music store. So, he gets to test out all the guitars and guitar gizmos in a live musical environment. It is like a big musical playground, and I've been playing both drums and guitar. One thing I've noticed about the jams though...people who look old, balding and graying...they tend to play heavy metal stuff; one such aggregation got on stage tonight and began playing JUDAS PRIEST songs! Of course, this can't have anything to do with ME getting old, too. Or can it? People who are beginning to look OLD are playing newer music than I normally play! I guess I must be headed for the rock and roll rest home.

I remember when a Hard Drive meant traveling on a rough road: Okay, that's not especially intelligent, but I had to begin this segment somehow. My old computer is making a lot of rude noises lately. If you put your ear to the computer tower, it sounds like I've got computer termites. get the idea. I now have DSL and still my ol' machine moves slowly. I called tech-support at Verizon, and the tech lady actually got inside my computer thru some fancy program, and she determined my connection was good. I described my computer symptoms, and she basically told me my machine is dying a slow, agonizing cyber death. So I guess it's off to Radio Shack to go get a new hard drive. You know your computer's in sad shape when it moves slower on DSL than it does on dial-up.

Talk about sticking out like a sore thumb: I just saw a news report that caught my attention...a cattle farmer here in the northwest went out to feed his cattle, and who was mingling among them, but a SEA know, those huge seal-type creatures that zip up and down the the COASTAL waters. And it appears this particular sea lion swam up some sort of irrigation canal, THEN traveled on dry land, over a MILE, where he made some new bovine friends. I 'spose that's not without precedent; I have heard from locals down here that sea lions sometimes travel 25 or 30 miles upstream in their quest for food. They're BIG. And a little bit scary. I came within 20 feet of a large group of sea lions laying around on the harbor docks. And doggone it, that was one of the few times I DIDN'T have my camera with me.

Like I said, this wasn't a very inspired posting. The way I look at it, though, ANYONE can post when they have something to post about. It is the true dedicated blogging professional who grinds out the copy (sorta like my computer's hard drive), when there's really nothing to post about. I have to face the fact that if I hold my breath waiting for inspiration, I'll self-suffocate!

Monday, January 22, 2007

...I'm gonna let it shine, if no one steals it FIRST...

I've spent time in advertising sales (a long long LONG time ago), and also having worked in broadcasting, I've always paid attention to commercials, slogans, jingles (small bits of catchy ad music), so when something hits me wrong, as happens increasingly these days, I just kinda scratch my head and wonder, "how dumb do they think I am?" And when I don't think that, I think, "is it me or is there something wrong here?"

I've been seeing an ad on late-night TV which advertises an outdoor night-light with a long tube protruding from the bottom; you stick said tube in the ground, switch on the light, and voila, you have night-time illumination. Unfortunately, whoever named this product wasn't very illuminated at all. That's right, the commercial announcer with the god-like voice says the brand is "STEAL THESE LIGHTS". They're being sold for a "low, low price", says the announcer, and he goes thru the spiel of saying, "but gets better! If you buy 87 of these, you'll get 425 more FREE, just pay $6,000 dollars shipping and handling" (he really doesn't say that, but it's fun to exaggerate)...

These lights are great, saith the announcer, for outdoor parties, to put by steps or walkways, or whatever. And the BATTERIES in the lights will last for 10 years, because they are L.E.D.'s! Thing is, because these lights aren't permanently mounted, they're just stuck in the ground after all, designed to be used in the DARK...well, the typical partygoer could very easily "STEAL THESE LIGHTS!" Perhaps the manufacturer is utilizing the power of unconscious suggestion, which could turn partygoers or night-time passersby into thieves...hoping that the owner of the "Steal These Lights" lights will replace the lights by buying more "Steal These Lights" lights!

How about that...give the career criminals some serious competition...innocent night-time guests or passersby being turned, unknowingly, into criminals, all because they heard the "Steal These Lights" advertisement. And they ended up 'stealing the lights.' In all sincerity, I fully and firmly believe giving a product a name like "Steal These Lights" is akin to buying a sign that says, "swipe my wallet, I don't need the money" and hanging it around your neck. So, with all these new unconsciously-induced new criminals stealing lights all over the place, I ask you, how is an honest criminal supposed to make a living these days?

To phrase a COIN: Another late-night TV ad advertises a really special coin. It depicts the World Trade Center, and it does look like a really great investment. The background of the coin is GOLD and the Trade Center is depicted in Silver! And, you can actually "pull up" the Trade Center portion of the coin, and the Trade Center positions itself perpendicular to the gold surface of the coin, which shows the myriad skyscrapers of Manhattan. And, the coin is selling for a really affordable price, too. "But hurry", says the announcer, "because these new-fangled coin-things are sellin' like hotcakes!" (a crude paraphrase there, on my part).

OOH! OOH! I WANT ONE!!! Whoa, stop thar, boy!!! Okay, okay...let me catch my breath here. The announcer, talking about the coins says the silver and gold used for the coin comes from coinage or whatever stored at the World Trade Center, and after alla it's gone, there ain't no more coins to be made. The announcer goes on to say that the coins are plated in 24-Karat Gold and Silver, and donations will be made from the nice, I'm thinking...but wait a minute!!! Did the announcer say PLATED??? PLATED??? What are the insides of the coin made out of? Aluminum concentrate? Crushed tinfoil? Week old Swiss-cheese?

Well, you get the idea. All that glitters is gold, but only on the OUTSIDE of the coin. The only disclaimer I can see in this commercial is "not to be used for currency". Why? THE DAMN COIN AIN'T WORTH NOTHIN'!!! This ain't the only commercial I've seen for coins that WEREN'T made by the U.S. Government mint. And the script in the commercial says we're supposed to buy these in memory of those who perished in that horrific 9/11 incident. So, we're supposed to buy third-rate coins that aren't really all that valuable; in short, we're supposed to stand for being deceived all in the name of honoring our nation's victims of 9/11? So, I'll repeat the phrase I used in the preceding portion of this post: "Is it ME, or is something WRONG here?"

Even if I am incorrect in everything I've posted here, hopefully this will make you, dear reader, really analyze ANYTHING someone's trying to sell you, especially if it's on late-night TV. Like all these pills for those with "significant weight to lose", which jack up your metabolism and increase your heart-rate to about 5 million beats a minute. Well, "that's the word on the street", ha ha. Can this be good for you? NO. Lose weight the old way: Eat less and Exercise more. Don't end up in the county morgue because you wanted to lose 500 pounds by next Tuesday! (yet another sophmoric exaggeration, but you get the idea...)

The world IS going to the DOGS: Finally, the last late-night Teevee product that gets into my face in blatant fashion when I'm watching re-runs of "CSI: Miami" are Doggie-Steps. "Would you repeat, please? I didn't believe what you said." "I said DOGGIE STEPS!!!"; little steps put next to your bed, couch or microwave oven, so your little miniature microscopic, but hopefully house-trained pet can access said bed or couch (Not 'microwave oven') more easily. All I know is, we were always chasing our animals OFF beds, the couch, the kitchen counter, the top of the old cabinet stereo we had (okay, they never climbed on the kitchen counter or the cabinet stereo, but I like to use artistic license, what can I say?).

And now we're all supposed to shell out money so that our short-legged furry friends can get on the sofa or bed more EASILY? I will proceed to take this apart: Maybe people out there get little pint-sized runt dogs, because THEY DON'T WANT animals to get on the furniture. And, if you really really want Rover or Fido up on the bed, and Rover or Fido happens to be a small dog, how much can the dog weigh? In short, PICK UP THE DAMN ANIMAL AND PUT IT ON THE FURNITURE!!! Use your ARMS and lift your 5-or-10 pound pet UP, for cryin' out loud! And "Save, save, save", because you won't need "Doggie-Steps"!!!

Of course, I'm the biggest hypocrite on the planet. I bought a carpet-sweeper, microwave oven and electric can opener for my new place recently. I also bought one of those Ronco record-washers many years ago. And it didn't do any better of a job than a washcloth and liquid soap. And I need a new TV remote, too, even tho I customarily only sit 4 feet away from the idiot box on which I hear all of those annoying late-nite commercials. I think I need one of those little vacuum robots which clean the house all by itself....HELP!!!!!! I NEED TOO MUCH!

I had to add this little blurb that I just heard on the early, early, EARLY, NBC-insomniac news, and that is: Today is supposed to be the WORST DAY OF THE YEAR. "Experts", whoever they are, cite unkept New Years' resolutions, being broke, and lousy weather all heaping on the bad vibes. So, be warned. Today is Monday, which is ALWAYS bad. Only this Monday will be WORSE! Not a good day for someone to catch you stealing stuff, by any means.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Don't tell anyone, but I've eaten there...
--The confessions of a sausage-egg McMuffin maniac--

Back when I drove cab, I would begin the day with two of the above-mentioned breakfast sandwiches, and sometimes I'd add a little pre-formed patty of hashbrowns...or two...and, of course, some Seattle's you can wash down your prefabricated food with a splash o'Joe, and tell yourself that if the food isn't any good, well, at least the coffee is. I don't have 'em much anymore, but I have to admit here and now that I am a sucker for sausage-egg McMuffins. That sausage is so doggone good, I'm close to salivating on my keyboard and shorting it out, just thinking of that darned breakfast sandwich.

I've bought McDonalds' hamburgers; when you eat one of those, you put something in your stomach, but that doesn't do an awful lot except increase your cholesterol count. And the burgers have taste, but I'm not sure what I'm tasting. Not caring about that, I'd find myself in a rush, tired after a long hard day, so tired I was virtually catatonic, with only enough energy left to get out of my car, open my front door and fall on the couch. So in a situation like that, I'd ration my energy by heading for the nearest drive-thru window. "Two burgers and a shake", I'd bark into the virtually unintelligible speaker system, then I'd zip around to the window, pick up my stuff (well, it probably really isn't FOOD), and head for home.

I would surmise that if a survey was taken of customers who ate at fast-food places, I'd bet 70% of the customers go there because they're in a hurry, they're late, they're dead tired, or they have a bunch of screaming savage little spoiled brats, and the best way to shut them up is to stuff a burger in their rabid mouths. The main reason the 70% of customers go to fast food joints? To be able to shove something, anything, down their gullet in rapid-fire machine-gun fashion. The other 30% might actually go there for the FOOD itself. Maybe. I'll have to research that one.

Another thing...have you ever noticed that in the commercials, all the McDonalds' clerks are so happy, so preppie, so yuppie...I don't know about you, but in every McDonalds' I've seen, the manager is screaming, all the workers are moving frantically in all directions, and the counter people are in such a great big hurry they virtually throw the food AT you. The potato fryer is spitting out grease, beef-patties roll out of the ovens in best assembly-line style, and usually 2 or 3 of the varieties of soft drink are "out" for the moment until someone puts in a new tank of carbonized sugar-injected liquid drink fizz. Or, there's no coffee and you have to wait for 'em to make a fresh pot.

While all this is going on up front, the kids are back there in the McJungle playground, falling off things and killing themselves. And the parents sit at tables, watching their little ones raise all kinds of hell. The parents are so tired, so beat, so mentally ravaged that all they can do is stuff another burger into their yaps. That's kind-0f a portrayal of society in microcosm, ain't it? McDonalds' (and its competitors) do come in handy. They enable us to shoot something down the ol' esophagus so we can fight the distraction of hunger for a while. But is it "food"? Food is supposed to nourish, right? So my answer is, "I honestly don't know."

But, every town has 'em...a strip of burger and sandwich joints all up and down the main drag, screaming to all passersby with their big, loud, gaudy, instantly-recognizable trademarks. And I'll tell ya, it's a jungle out there...big corporations everywhere, stumbling all over themselves, trying to sell as many almost-artificial food items as they can. Well, let's hope that it doesn't come to THIS...

When I got this foto from www.spokesmanreview/blogs/hbo, they didn't ask, "do you want fries with that?"

Friday, January 19, 2007

Coast life is a BREEZE... big, constant breeze...

This would be a great place to fly a kite...there's always a breeze going on somewhere around here. It's those breezes that blow the clouds inland, which means that unlike Idaho, where the weather changes every ten minutes, it changes every 2 and a half minutes here on the Oregon Coast. One of the top stories on the small-town local news concerned the STOVE PELLET SHORTAGE here on the coast. It seems that everyone has been SO COLD DOWN HERE, and there are no stove pellets to be had anywhere around here. Mind you, it never gets below zero here...and even when the weather has been extreme, as it's been this winter, I've never seen a forecast low below 25 degrees...ABOVE zero. Here, then, is "me", on the other hand, having arrived a while back from North Idaho, where the HIGHS right now aren't reaching 25 degrees! I had to buy a new, thinner coat, because my winter jacket is TOO HOT down here. So I am bemusedly observing how things happen locally around here. I suppose if I live down here long enough, my blood will really get "thin", and then I'll freeze like everyone else here, but right now...I'm lovin' it, I really am.

It was foggy all day today. I suppose if I had gone a couple miles inland, I could've seen the sun. But there's something about the fog...placid...puts one in a reflective mood. Well, I've been busy doing all kinds of things this week, and it had been a WEEK since I've been to the coast...and I live practically ON the coast! So anyway, today I had a bowl of clam chowder in the little harbor town near here, then I went to the beach. The FOGGY beach. And the air outside was so damp that my coat got almost totally wet. but I didn't care. Not at all. No snow to walk thru. No ice to kill yourself on. I think I could get used to that. I walked the beach, looking for unbroken seashells, meandering all around the beach for an hour and a half. I saw people walking their dogs on the beach...seems all dogs just never get tired of playing "fetch"...I saw kids from the high school track team running up and down the beach...all of this going on, while visibility was one mile, tops. For all practical purposes, I had the whole beach to myself. The ocean washes up logs that I can sit on, to rest my achy feet and knees. Who's in a hurry, anyway?

The seas were choppy; really choppy today. Fishing boats were coming in from the ocean, and one of those vessels was having trouble was moving very slowly, dipping down into the waves so deeply that you couldn't see it until it reached the top of the wave again...(Confession: I love the ocean, but I ain't going out on it. I get seasick on a FERRIS WHEEL!) It was then that a Coast Guard boat came out into the harbor, and led the stricken vessel into the harbor. The boat was still moving slowly, and the Coast Guard boat assumed the same slow speed, there at the ready in case the other boat's engine gave out. There is a Coast Guard observation tower which overlooks the inlet; it sits upon a rock cliff about 40 feet above the ocean. And, on bad days, that overlook is manned heavily, taking radio reports from ships and giving directions to ships who are having difficulty finding their way. What's cool about this Coast Guard tower's location, is that anyone can drive up there, and sit atop that cliff and look out over the ocean. I am not kidding when I say that I've moved to a really fascinating place.

While this ISN'T the beach I was on, it indeed was FOGGY, and looked very similar to this view.

Obituary department: If you tune in to a typical network radio newscast at the top of the hour, if you hear a brief bit of music, that ALWAYS means that a musician died. Today, when the news came on, there it was, "California Dreamin'", and I thought, "uh oh, another one's gone". Another one indeed. DENNY DOHERTY, of the Mamas and the Papas, passed away at age 66, after a short illness. That's Denny's voice you hear, singing on "Monday, Monday". Which means that the group is now down to one "Mama", since Mama Cass, as well as group founder John Philips have already gone to Rock and Roll Heaven. Michelle, formerly John's wife, is the only survivor. I absolutely LOVED everything the Mama's and the Papa's did.

Even weathercasters have a sense of humor: Tonight, during the local news, the sportscaster reported on a local athlete who stands to make 8 million dollars, 'cos he's a professional-quality athlete. At the end of that segment, the newscast was close to being over; the lady anchor turned to the weatherman and said, "we can't pay you 8 million, but can you give us a weather update?" and the weatherman said, "how about 8 BUCKS?", and I thot that was hilarous! Of course, if that weatherman had been in the ever-neurotic Spokane, Washington market, he probably would've gotten the axe. "LET'S BE POLITICALLY CORRECT, PEOPLE! And NO JOKES! It's in the EMPLOYEE HANDBOOK!!!" Bla bla blahhhhh....

Take care, you all, and I'll do the same. Right now, I think I'll go listen to some Mamas and Papas records. Just dy-no-mite stuff. Monday, Monday...just can't trust that day...

Thursday, January 18, 2007

I've got a "BONIVA" to pick with you...
It's just gotta be one of the most LAZY-ASS commercials ever!

I saw a commercial that really irritated me. It runs along the lines of "In the year 2525, won't need no teeth, won't need no eyes...everything you think, do or say, is in the pill you took today"...and it points the way toward a future where we will never have to lift a finger to do anything. It is but the beginning of a new future, where human beings will be formless blobs with no muscle tissue; we'll all just sit around like flounders on the ocean's bottom...okay, let me tell you why I got so steamed over this...

"BONIVA" is a women's calcium supplement; it comes in pill form, and it's probably a really great thing. Women can take it and worry less about osteoporosis. That's a good thing. I applaud medical invention. I'm currently waiting for some kind of magic pill that provides 50 pounds of weight loss in the next half hour, and who knows, some pharmacy technician is researching that concept in his spare time.

The cute, petite, but obviously showing-her-age lady in the Boniva commercials is none other than Sally Field, the star of that long-forgotten, hopefully never-to-return '60's TV series, "The Singing Nun". In the commercial, she says she and her girlfriend were talking about medications which supply calcium. She said that her girlfriend has to make time ONCE A WEEK to take her calcium medication. (It only takes half a second to swallow a damn pill, right?)

Well, Sally told her friend that she, Sally, only has to take Boniva once a month. ONCE A MONTH! And her friend said, "Now that's something I can do!" Okay, let's take this apart...with the old medication, Sally's friend takes a pill once a week. HALF A SECOND A WEEK TO TAKE A PILL. Sally takes the new, improved medication. HALF A SECOND A MONTH TO TAKE A PILL.

I personally think BOTH of these ladies should take a pill...a SMART pill, if there's such a thing. Does anyone out there actually complain that they have to take ONE PILL, ONCE A WEEK? Hell, I'm not sick, nor seriously infirmed, but EACH NIGHT I take SIX pills! Three of those pills are for my gouty-arthritis, which I have to take THE REST OF MY LIFE. The other three pills are a very mild anti-depressant, which STILL WORKS after taking it DAILY for SIX YEARS!!!

That totals out to 2,190 pills I take in a 365 day year...add 6 pills for a leap year. Sally takes 12 Boniva pills a year. Sally's friend has been taking 52 pills a year, assuming she hasn't switched to Boniva yet. I am poking fun at this commercial, obviously, but I am somewhat alarmed and disgusted that people can be so damn LAZY. And do the people who write commercials think we're MORONS? You know, I am actually a bit STEAMED about this!

Whenever I've been a nuisance, or super-goofy or especially when I'm neurotic, in the past, people have told me to "take a pill". Well, I will. And when I do, then I'll only have to take 2,081 pills the rest of the year. How about I do a commercial and make serious cash? All the easier to afford PILLS with!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

...and you thought YOU were having a bad day...

I can't remember where this happened, but this is a news story that I have been following. You see, this lady had several cats, and she had a big plastic cat food dispenser in her garage. Ah, but lately, she noticed that the food was disappearing faster than usual, and she was wondering what was going on. One night, she went into the garage to put more cat food in the dispenser, when she noticed a REALLY FAT CAT stuck in the doggie-door that her cats would use to come in from outside and chow down. Well, you might remember that the cat food had been disappearing at an alarming rate. The lady put two and two together, and speculated that another cat from somewhere in the neighborhood had been coming in and pilfering cat food. A "cat burglar", if you will. Only, now, the thief was caught...wedged tightly in the small frame of the doggie door! Of course, I don't think things would've been any better for the cat, had it become stuck in a "kitty door"...anyway, this story has evidently made the NATIONAL NEWS, proving once and for all that we're so sick of Prezzident Bush, Politics in General, and the stupid Iraq war in particular, that we as a nation are HUNGRY for something, anything, to take our minds off the misery!

Well, of course everyone knows that CATS think they rule the world. Truly, house pets with an attitude. Always scheming, always pouncing on things, seemingly aloof all the time, having no use for humans other than as food providers. So, dear reader...may I take you on a tour of the typical CAT'S MIND...

photo pilfered from Come on, you guys, this one was just TOO EASY!

Another pet-related story caught my attention, and this one happened in Portland, Oregon; I'm not sure how widely circulated this one was...Portland's Tri-Met bus system recently became an animal carrier, only if for a little while. At the end of his shift, one of the Portland bus drivers was surprised to find a yellowish-white dog (looked like a lab-mix to me), cowering in the back of his bus; it turned out the dog actually got on the bus all by itself (all hail mounted video cameras!) and spent the day riding around the city. Reportedly, officials were p.o.'ed because the dog had no bus fare. I'M JUST KIDDING!!! The dog's name? Well, when news of this rapid-transit hound made the TV news, his owner stepped forth to claim him. And the dog's name...get this..."BUSTER"!!! A true case of serendipitous canine poetic justice!

So, really, those who are saying "the world is going to the dogs", are probably more correct than they will never know. Arf!

Monday, January 15, 2007

Don't believe everything you read...
...ESPECIALLY if you read it in this here blog!

Wow, I bet you won't find many bloggers who actually SAY THAT in their blog...everyone wants to be taken so doggone seriously these days, that the idea of whimsy and, yes, I'll say it, FUN, is largely nonexistent. So, I don't care about the war, I don't care about the government, I don't care about very much of anything. There, that cleans the slate. One new development, though, that I really didn't need to know; I just learned Saddam Hussein's half-brother and someone else were hanged in Iraq today...and one of those executed, dropped thru the trap-door with such force, that, according to the eager and earnest news correspondent, "his head was severed." And call me crazy, but that John Anderson song is going thru my mind right now..."they were SWINGIN'...just a SWINGIN'..."

I think the most important, newsworthy topic these days is the feud between Donald Trump, the quadrazillionbillionaire speculator/developer/prognosticator, and oh, yeah, TV executive, and Rosie O'Donnell, who is basically the LOUDMOUTH of the "View" show. Rosie dominates almost every facet of that show with her BIG MOUTH, and for me, renders it unwatchable. I used to tune in to find out how women think. Hmmm...maybe THAT'S why I'm no good at relationships. Oh, by the way, Mr. Trump, if yer reading this, and you like what you've read, I'll take donations. So please e-mail me. I'm on YOUR SIDE, ol' buddy, ol' pal...speaking of which, I need to take a crash course in engineering so I can do that thing that "the Donald" does with his hair, because if my scalp gets much barer, I'll need to re-structure the positioning of precious random strands of scalp hair. Ah, heck, what the hey, that's what hats were invented for. Something tells me, that with this paragraph, I've pretty much nixed any chance of a Trump contribution anytime soon.

Speaking of which, the hat I always wear is falling apart; it unravels more every time I put it on. It is fragmenting, coming apart piece by piece. I have no idea why. I mean, I've only worn it virtually every day for the past 7 YEARS. Lucky for me that I found a backup hat long ago, but I never wore it, because I didn't like it then, and I'm not sure I do now. But it covers the bald spot. There is a reason for this, PEOPLE!!! Have you ever tried to use a comb or brush when your scalp is SUNBURNED??? Actually, I have ratty hair that flies all over the place, so the hat kinda holds it down a bit and makes me look more "together" than I actually am.

So I moved from North Idaho down here to Oregon. And the snow followed me down. The year I choose to live here is one of the coldest and snowiest down here in recent history. I must admit I had to be careful, walking through the ONE-QUARTER-INCH OF SNOW that's in my yard. I have to use the front door, because the deck where my back door is located is frozen with rain that drips off the roof and freezes. Yes, frozen rain usually freezes. After it drops. Don't believe everything you read, but you can believe THAT. Right about now, all the Idaho folks sliding around on frozen roads and unceremoniously falling on concrete-textured ice that lurks under a couple feet of snow probably hate me, I think to myself as I'm out driving on BARE ROADS...

But, I'm living on the edge, I tell ya. This is TSUNAMI country, after all. And all the TV stations down here were advising us to STAY TUNED IN because there was an earthquake way over there in Japan, which could send a rapidly-moving wall of water our way. Only, that didn't happen. Me, I'm trying to find out why clam chowder is so expensive on the coast. Isn't the coast where the clams ARE??? A bowl of "chowdah" (That's how you say it if you're a Kennedy) averages near the $5.00 level around here. Returning to the weather, I told a couple of people here that it's nowhere near as cold here as Idaho, and they said, "after you spend some here, you'll think like us."

One topic has got me kind-of wondering about things up there in North Idaho. I am wondering how the local radio station sounds now, with its new transfusion of semi-eminently qualified talking heads sitting around the mike in the mornings. And, I've heard that the afternoon shift up there has been taken over by a long-time employee who has all the personality of a small soap dish (I borrowed that term from a National Lampoon record)...I had long thought that doo-woppin' oldies format is illogical, stupid and bumbling. "Oh, give me an example", you say. Okay...that station regularly plays "Liar, Liar" by the Castaways, which is NOT a doo-wop song! Game, set, match. (I almost sound like I know what I'm talking about here)

Speaking of SPORTS (well, I wasn't, but I am now, I guess), there is a perfectly good reason to root for the Seattle Seahawks, and that is, we become accustomed to the heavy load of grief we all carry when our beloved 'Hawks lose out (as they did Sunday in the playoffs), that by the time baseball season gets here, we just kinda take a Mariners' losing season in stride. And, that, of course, prepares you for the next football season, and so on, and so forth. "And they are LOSIN...Just a LOSIN'......"

But the main reason I told you not to believe everything you read, especially if you read it here, is, and I'll paraphrase an earlier post here which reveals me to be a phony, an egregious internet fibber...earlier, I'd said something to the effect of "this blog will will have less pictures in" And then I was looking through all of the programs inside my new computer that aren't portrayed by icons on my desktop, and lo, and behold, there was PictureIt "7"...which is the tool de jour if you're gonna do photo satire. So, the question is, have I lost my touch? I think so...

and the folks at thot they were safe! HA HA HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!

I have a little Beatles "news" thing on this blog that's "piqued" my curiosity; scroll down and it's on the left side of this page, down near the counter, which faithfully informs me how many people read this blog but probably don't believe everything they read...and they are wise. But there's a story about "Paul McCartney says he's done with women". Hey, his second wife, Heather, would've been enough to send me to the monastery. My Dad used to say..."a woman will scream at the sight of a mouse, but she'll tackle a man as big as a house." I didn't agree with him about much, but THAT is true. So now I'll quit while I'm ahead. (ahead of what?...)

Actually, all these years, I thot it was "peaked" my curiosity; my curiosity reached its peak. And then I saw it spelt "piqued" for the FIRST TIME recently. So I guess everything I know is wrong. I'm now beginning not to believe the stuff I write...

Friday, January 12, 2007

Look out, world, I've got DSL...
Faster than a bullet, leaping tall buildings, zoom, zoom, zoom...

Okay, okay, maybe I'm exaggerating a bit there. After all, this is the same old computer I had back up in Idaho, but when I moved here to Oregon, I got, bing, bing, you're online. What I'm really impressed with, is the speeds at which things are downloaded. I loaded in Windows Media Player 10, and a download which would've taken close to an hour with dial-up, took about 3, count 'em, THREE, minutes. Zing, Zing, Zoom!

Back when I signed up for it, I got a box full of cables, splitters, thermonuclear devices, and oh yes, a modem. And I thought, "what do I do with all of THIS." All of a sudden, I was struck down with an almighty case of techno-phobia, and I thot, "this is too much. I need help." So I called Verizon and arranged for a technician to come out. "It'll cost you $199 for a technician to come out", the Verizon phone consultant told me. I said, "whatever". She told me, "he'll be out three weeks from today on FRIDAY, and we don't know when he'll get there". Just great, I thot. I'm a prisoner of my house on the day he shows up. I can't go anywhere or do anything, just wait. Oh well, I thot, fine, I'll just watch him install the DSL and perhaps I'll learn something.

In the meantime, I went to use the computer at the Library, which is over 5 miles from where I live. I'd stick in a little magnetic card, which would hook me up to a timer. It started at 59:59. By, say, 45:15, I'd have my first e-mail done. By 30:00, I'd have a couple more done. By 20:45, I'd have a couple more done. And, typing at the speed of light, I'd get some more necessary computer stuff done by the time my time ran out. (I do type close to 80 wpm, and I thought I was fast, until I talked to a legal secretary who could do 120 words a minute! "Okay", I thought, "it's true that no matter how good you think you are, there's always someone better out there".)

Getting back to my own situation at home (that WAS what I was going to post about, originally), three weeks went by. Finally, the hallowed Friday upon which the technician was supposed to come out, arrived. I waited. And waited. And waited some more. By about 4:30, I thot, "this guy ain't gonna show." So I looked at my box of STUFF that Verizon sent me, and I thot, "well, let's give it a shot". After all, there was a step-by-step disc with verbal instructions, and pictures of what to do. Pictures, great! I can live with that. And guess what...after about four hours, I got the DSL installed myself. Then the next day, the technician arrived. Of course! I told him I didn't need him, that I'd figured it out, and he said, "great! I've got a whole bunch of work to do anyway, because of the windstorms we've been having around here." So it all worked out. I did something right. How about that. And I beat Verizon at its own game...I saved $199!!!

I've been really lambasting the weathercasters around here, lately...they make such a big deal over temperatures which are one or two degrees below the freezing level, and a little bit of ice on the roads here is such a big deal for them to report. Well, the area in which I used to live, while not a "major" market, was a larger-sized market. Down here, the media market is, well, not quite as big. As a result, the newscasts here are a bit more folksy. The media people here don't look perfect; they look more like average people. Average people who probably wouldn't be considered for employment in a major media market. And, the newscasters here are agreeable, nice people who do a fine job of presenting the news, and I really mean that. However...

There are two weather-casters here in Southern Oregon, who have obviously been "grandfathered in" to their markets. They've just gotta be lifelong diehards of this area; they don't have to be polished; they've been here forever, and hang on to their TV jobs sorta like a barnacle hangs onto the bottom of an oceangoing vessel. One weathercaster here is an older guy, and he's pretty shaky. He can't ad-lib to save his life; sometimes he begins his weather report in an illogical fashion, and when he talks to the newspeople at the end of the newscast, he doesn't make sense a lot of the time.

Another weathercaster down here has all the appeal of an alcoholic snake-oil salesman; I can't tell if he's just a jerk, who deliberately talks down to everyone, full of himself, thinking he's the greatest thing since sliced peaches, or if he really has had a few swigs before he went on-air. I had to watch him tonight just to see how bad he was gonna be. And he didn't disappoint. And to think I used to complain about a certain blonde KXLY-TV, Spokane, Washington weathercaster, who has a nasal voice that could peel the paint offa the side of yer house...

Lest you think I was stuck on myself when I was in radio, I never liked the way my voice sounded. I have a terrible on-air voice. I wanted to be "in the bizz", but I didn't have the chops. Or the personality. As far as "looks", well, I did have a "radio-face". In other words, not telegenic at all. Combine that with the pressurized, ego-centric world of broadcasting, and as much as I wanted to go into that field when I graduated from college, I'd never ever want to do that to myself again.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Baby, It's cold outside?
Or, someone's cold weather may be someone else's temperate weather...

This is the time of year when the WEATHER is the big story. TV Weather-casters, no longer relegated to a couple minutes 3/4ths of the way thru the broadcast, get to step right up to the plate and swing hard at the top of the news, gleefully rubbing their hands together as they offer up all their semi-confusing analyses of weather conditions, which we don't need to hear because we can see it all on the satellite weather map anyway.

In North Idaho, where I came from, single-digit lows are expected for Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights; it's Wednesday right now, so folks "back home" have a wee-little bit of time to try and protect their pipes as best as they can. Down here on the Oregon Coast, weathercasters are making much ado about frozen roads which probably won't get snowed on. The weathercaster said tonite that "if people see snow, they slow down, but if there's no snow, they don't", which is one of those logical gems that weather forecasters are so famous for.

In other words, you can't really see frozen rain on the roads, so take it easy. I think it's called "black ice", a term I haven't even heard used on the TV news down here. Lemme tell ya, "black ice" is an ultra-common term up where I used to live. I'm just kinda thinking that, after experiencing for YEARS, the weather "up there", I can handle almost anything Mother Nature throws at me down here. However, I have one little TRUE STORY which puts this all in perspective:

I was shopping at a local retail grocery outlet today (all right, "grocery store"), and was in the process of loading groceries into the back seat (oh, my aching back), when I saw one of the lady grocery checkers, evidently returning from her lunch hour; she had her coat on and her arms were tightly crossed in a body-hug as she proceeded to the store's entrance, and she was shivering; I looked up at her and I said, "you sound like you're freezing", and she said, "Brrrr! COLD!!!" And I thot, "huh?"

To sum all of this up, I had my coat on, but it was open. I wasn't shiverrrrring at all. The skies were overcast, it was not raining, the winds were light, and it was about 45 degrees. A perfect temperature for getting things done. And she, an area native, was shivering. I was tempted to tell her, "you should go to where I used to LIVE", but I didn't. After all, being new to the area, I don't want anyone to regard me as a smart-ass. Not right away, anyway...

Of course, one snowflake on the roads, or one broken egg on the freeways in Los Angeles can stop traffic for who knows how long...but if I lived down there, I'd probably think, "wow, it is so HOT here all the time!" Whether you can see the snow on the roads or slow down; always a good practice in the wintertime.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Oh no! It's gonna be cold! Ack!
...a weathercaster's way of saying, "THE SKY IS FALLING!"

Everyone's saying how cold it's gonna get over the next few days. I'm here on the Oregon coast, and the weather-guessers are saying, "pipes could freeze! A hard freeze is on the way! Watch out! If you don't drive carefully, your life is in jeopardy! Protect your first-born and everyone else by staying off the roads!" Yadda yadda yadda. Well, it is the season for snow. We, here, are supposed to get maybe an inch or two (if any at all), even though my former locality of North Idaho is "in for it", I guess. I've developed a habit of watching "Northwest Cable News", and as the temperatures scroll by at the bottom of the screen, I compare what it is "here", to "there". And there's usually a substantial difference in temperature between "here" and "there". "Here", being warmer virtually all the time...I don't know, I'm just not up to facing Old Man Winter anymore. For the last few years, "snow" has truly been a 4-letter word as far as I was concerned. I suppose "Rain" is a 4-letter word, tho. And we do have plenty of that. But, as I've said before, I DON'T HAVE TO SHOVEL RAIN!!! YAAAAY!!!

If I was in her shoes, I'd get outta there dept.: Turns out the paparazzi are chasing the new girlfriend of Prince William (or Edward? I can't keep 'em straight), in England. Shades of Princess Diana there. Already, the poor girl is having to endure a crush of camera-wielding photogs, who can't leave her alone as she goes to do the laundry, or pick up a loaf of bread, or whatever it is that a Prince's girlfriend does. I think one of the most effective things she could do, is hold a press conference, say she's breaking it off with her prince, and BLAME THE MEDIA. You couldn't PAY me to be a member of royalty. I'd buy a desert island, and exile myself promptly. The poor girl is "in for it", for sure. I hope she can handle the pressure.

The latest from Baseball's hall of Shame: "Wait, don't you mean, hall of FAME?" Well, in a way, yeah, I do. It was publicized today that Mark McGwire only got about 23 votes today, in his quest to be elected to the Hall of Fame. He, who hit, what, 73 home runs and set a new record not so long ago? At this point, I'd say that McGwire has about as much a chance of being elected to the Hall of Fame as Rafael Palmeiro, who was basically run out of Baltimore when steroids were discovered in his system, after testifying earlier, in Congress, that, no, he hadn't taken steroids. I don't know why everyone was so shocked. We should all be used to LYING in Congress by now! I watched a McGwire interview a while back; he said, "steroids don't make you a better hitter; you have to be able to hit in the first place." Granted. But maybe the 'roids make a difference once the ball is HIT? Let's ask Barry Bonds. He's gonna be playing this year...

Row, Row, Row your boat: Back in 1999, the wood-chip freighter "New Carissa" ended up beached on an Oregon coast beach, not far from where I am now. The Navy or Coast Guard or whoever tried to tow the New Carissa back out to sea. The New Carissa broke in HALF; one half of it floated 40 miles up the Oregon Coast before sinking, but the other half has been beached ever since. It was going to be removed this year, but that ain't gonna happen. There's only a three month "window" in which that can be done, in the Summer months before the tides get too severe to perform the removal operation. The reason it won't be done this year? It's gonna take too long for all the agencies concerned to make final financial determinations. The intent is there, but all the legalese is throwing a wrench into the works. So, you'll have at least another year to watch the beached, rusting half-hulk of the "New Carissa" to continue disintegrating into nothing useful. Kinda sounds like, when the "New Carissa" gets around to getting towed away, it'll probably fragment into dust, and then dump trucks will have to haul it away. Truly, a tale for the times.

Whoopee! Got my post done early! Jam nite tonite! I get to go out and abuse my guitar! In Public, even! Twaaaaaang!!!

Monday, January 08, 2007

The adaptation process continues...
...or, "coast life" adventures, volume 857...

I, being a transplant to the Oregon Coast, have been advised by well-wishers that it takes a couple of years to get comfortable in a new area. Of course, the town where I used to live was STILL taking getting used to, and I'd lived there for 40 YEARS. I'd stayed the same, but the town had changed, and it was getting just a bit too big and crazy for me.

There are probably only about 50,000 people, TOPS, in this county, spread out all over the place. But I am finding that I really have not sacrificed any of the creature comforts. There's cable TV, I'm online just like before, there are stores, shops, a nice library, and in addition to the ocean, there are quite a few lakes around here. Plus, unlike the area in North Idaho that I left, the cable TV outfit down here STILL carries the FOX network! Evidently the monolithic Time-Warner cable outfit bought out the bankrupt "Adelphia" cable outfit up there, and as a result, say some of the Coeur d'Alenians, service is worse and the bills are higher. And, Time-Warner didn't want to pay to carry the Fox network, so Fox said, "g'bye!!!"

While watching some of the weathercasts here, the weather-guesser on the news tonite forecast 22 degrees as tonight's low. He called that a HARD FREEZE, in which pipes burst. Oh, I should clarify, that was 22 degrees ABOVE zero. Huh? Back in Idaho, my pipes were just fine until the temperature at night began hovering around ZERO fahrenheit. On one of the TV stations down here, there is one "regional" news program that covers various towns, and there's a 10 minute segment midway thru that regional newscast, that features a separate LOCAL newscast, from that regional channel's LOCAL newsroom. I've never seen TV news done that way before. A novel concept, that!

One of my favorite things to do up in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, was to go to the local "java place", which I wrote a lot about in previous blog-entries here. Well, I was driving around in this area's old, funky uptown section last week, and I saw a sign on a coffee-shop that said, "opening January 8th". I thought, "well, they must be closed for the holidays". So, I went in today, and guess what...TODAY was their FIRST day in business! So I hope my finding that place and drinking a cuppa-Joe there was a good omen.

In North Idaho, it was common to hear someone say, "if you don't like the weather, wait ten minutes and it will change". Down here on the coast, cut that time in HALF, and you'd be at least fairly accurate. I drove down to the shore today to watch the waves crash upon the rocks. It was foggy out there; visibility was probably a quarter-mile...but, after a while, the fog blew away, revealing a glorious blue sky and an even more glorious SUN. So, I went a-walkin' on the beach. Cheaper than any other therapy I know of, for sure.

Tidbits and other exercises in the manifestation of glittering generalities:

*Spokane's South Hill Rapist, KEVIN COE, is evidently gonna undergo some sort of examination which will determine how dangerous he still is, after serving a quarter-century in prison. He could be kept behind bars, albeit in a nicer area, for the rest of his life. I've seen the footage where the cops are marching him down the hallway to the courtroom...and Coe still looks dangerous. It's all in the eyes. Ughhhh...

*Prezzident Bush wants to send more troops to Iraq, but that's not my "chief beef"...I understand that we bombed a location in SOMALIA, where (allegedly) Al-Qaida sympathizers have a concentration of sorts. THERE YA GO, GEORGE...let's make some MORE countries mad at us! We're already hated for forcing "democracy" upon countries who obviously don't want it!

*The Seattle Seahawks are gonna be playing the Chicago Bears this coming weekend in an effort to try to get to the Stupor Bowl. One radio sportscaster said, "if Chicago is cold, the Bears have a better chance of winning"; implying that if El Nino has its way and Chicago is warm, the Seahawks could win. So if yer goin' to Vegas, what do you bet on? Football, or the Weather? I feel sorry for Dallas QB Tony Romo, who fumbled away Dallas' chance to win, taking that field-goal snap and having the ball slip outta his hands. He can't be a very happy camper these days.

*These "erectile dysfunction" commercials have me confused. One features a guy & his wife sitting on a couch...he's watching football, cheering his team on; she's halfheartedly looking thru some catalog. Then, his bombshell-knockout-centerfold quality wife gets up, heads for the boudoir, raking her hand across his back and looking at him with obvious bedroom eyes. And this guy is young and virile. So I have to ask, who is gonna have erectile dysfunction with a wife who looks like THAT??? So he slaps in a blank VHS to record the rest of the game, then he follows his wife to the bedroom. to a couple of hours (or 15 minutes?) later when he's watching the game he taped so he could indulge in a bit of whoopee. His wife yells at him, "YOU RECORDED THE GAME? WHAT, WOULD YOU HAVE TURNED ME DOWN IF WE DIDN'T HAVE A VCR???"

Another one of those commercials says, "if the moment isn't right, you have 36 hours to decide when you can make whoopee". (Well, close enough) A man and his wife are coming home, obviously in an amorous mood. He puts the key in the door to open it, and the door opens, and several hundred people in the house greet the couple with "SURPRIIIIIISE!!!!" So, obviously, the moment isn't right. So when the moment IS right, what do they do? The next shot in the commercial shows them walking on a bluff above the ocean. Huh? Hey, man, you've only got 36 hours...don't waste your time WALKING, for cryin' out loud! I do plenty of walking and I don't need a 36-hour prescription for THAT...

Okaay...I've got my post done early...and I microwaved a TV dinner tonite, and managed NOT to poison myself (I'm not the best cook, y'know)....the La-Z-Boy awaiteth!

Sunday, January 07, 2007

New location, same old memories...
Or, a case of a "transplant's" memories being revealed...

I lived for an awfully long time in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. I embarked upon a venture, that of living somewhere else, and I'm really glad I had the chance to move away while I was still young enough to not really be too set in my ways (although I am a bit!) Well, today, I didn't do anything, go anywhere; I slept in, and I've been vegging-out all day. In my in-box, though, I found some photos of the Diamond Cup hydroplane race that used to be held in Coeur d'Alene, in the 60's, and I thot I'd post some of them here, for all of my North Idaho friends (hopefully there's a few out there) here they are...

There are 5 photos below from the 1960's of the Diamond Cup Races on Lake Coeur d'Alene in Idaho. In this first foto, you can see Cranes loading the hydros onto the waters of CDA Lake.

What you see in the photo below is the "Pit Area", located where the Tubbs Hill parking lot (where boat trailers are now parked) is located. The SeeWeeWanna cruise boat is in the background, and most of all, look to the right: NO REZZORT!!!

Below, you'll see the Miss San Diego being lowered into the lake. This was back in a non-confrontational age, in which there were no "Mr." hydroplanes, just "Miss", and no one cried out, "DISCRIMINATION!!!"

Below, here's another view of the Pit Area, this time looking southeast towards Tubbs Hill. As you can see, a lot of bells and whistles were needed in order to bring on the staging of all the big production involved in a hydroplane race.

In this last photo (below) you can see they Hydroplanes racing on CDA Lake with Stevens Point in the background. Note, NO NEW HOMES on the hillsides!

So, there's your proof that Coeur d'Alene actually DID host a hydroplane race, back when peaceful waters flowed and gas was probably 25 cents a gallon. Hope all of you are doing okay up there, and I'll post more about my new location (and anything else that may cross what's left of my mind) this week. For now, today, though, I'm content to share old memories.

By the way, I heard that Fox-TV, channel 3 on the former Adelphia system, has been REMOVED now that Time-Warner is doing the cable thing up there in CDA. What a rip! Weekend Mariners games air on Fox! (Hee hee, we have Fox down here!)

Saturday, January 06, 2007

The great "Seal" of the United States?
...who knows, I might have actually SEEN it today!

ARF, ARF, ARF...I was in the little harbor town near where I live in Oregon, and after breakfast at a nearby Cafe, on my way out to the car, I heard the loud barking of SEALS off in the distance. So, I went down to the docks to investigate. Much to my surprise, laying on the docks surrounding an empty boat slip, TEN SEALS were resting, and making all kinds of noize. They are huge and loud. And, a little scary, too. If you walk towards them, they'll rear up and bark at ya. So I wondered, "well, what if a fisherman has to get to his boat?" Just then, a fisherman walked by, toward the seals, to get to his boat. He had a big plastic bait bucket in his hand, and he swung the bucket around and growled at the seals, and many of them slunk off the docks and slipped into the water. So it seems the seals are all BARK and no BITE. But I'm not brave enough to test that theory anytime soon! I guess the seals also seek the shelter of the harbor's placid waters; it's a choppy ocean out there, especially this time of year.

In that harbor, I would estimate that there's just gotta be 200 fishing vessels moored there. It is great fun, just to walk on the docks and look at all the old boats. No fancy yachts, such as a certain notable IDAHO BUSINESSMAN has; these boats are all dinged up, pockmarked, and definitely show signs of being weatherbeaten. And that, along with many other things, exemplify the absolute charm this area has. And, the customers in the harbor restaurant were obviously fishermen, unshaved, in soiled clothes; obviously they'd either just come in from fishing or working on their boats. Can you imagine going 15 or 20 miles out, and staying out there for sometimes 2 weeks at a time? They sink their crab pots in the ocean, and come back in a couple days or so, when they think enough time's passed by, and hoist the (hopefully full) crab pots up into the boat. It's basically unprofitable for the fishermen to come in every night, so they stay out there until they've got more crabs than they know what to do with.

A "crab pot" is basically a big wire basket with crab bait in it. I think chicken is a good crab bait...something about that meat is appealing to crabs. Some of the non-boater local people sometimes drop crab pots off the docks in the harbor. I've seen them bring up crab pots with a few crabs in them. The crabs can only be "so small"; the little ones have to be turned loose. I was watching one crabber measure his catch; he came across a too-small crab, and set it on the dock, off to the side. The crab then scooted "sideways", as crabs are prone to do, and jumped back into the water. Maybe people here don't notice those things, but me, being a newbie, does. It's the little things like that which can make life so interesting down here. In the little harbor restaurant, there's a sign hung inside on one of the walls that says, "me and my old crab live here". At a souvenir shop, they sell T-shirts which feature a picture of a confused crab, and the slogan on the shirt says the wearer "caught crabs" in the harbor. So I guess, catching crabs can be a GOOD thing. Sometimes, anyway.

Other stuff: About time I stopped boring you with my details of the sea. Let's see, what's happened over the last month? Well, President Ford passed away. A kind man was he. And, at the time, I thought he was a Nazi for pardoning Prezzident Nixon...years later, though, I can see he did the right thing. Ford had explained in a '90s interview that the only way he could get all of the impeachment-things off his desk was to pardon Nixon and just get it all out of the way. And I can see his point. And, pardoning Nixon was a brave thing for him to do. He probably knew, when he issued the pardon, that he put the kibosh on his own re-election hopes.

Hang down your head, Saddam Hussein... poor guy, you're bound to die...and die he certainly did. I was absolutely surprised by the speed of his execution...the ink was barely dry on his documents of condemnation before he was taken to the Iraqi "necktie party" held in his honor. I suppose now, Hell has a new gatekeeper. I guess Saddam thought he was a martyr for the "cause", so he bravely faced what has to be an absolutely horrendous thing, having a noose fitted 'round your Adam's Apple. This whole thing reminds me of the Johnny Cash song: "Well, they're building a gallows outside my cell...and I've got 25 MINUTES TO GO..." So I wonder, did Saddam have 25 minutes? If so, that was probably 25 minutes too long for the families of the legions of innocent people he euthanized over the years.

It makes perfect sense...or not...first, a political committee studies the (un) feasibility of the war in Iraq, and makes all kinds of recommendations for us to get out of that war somehow. How much money did that study cost, by the way? So, Prezzident George W. Bush, that idiotic lame excuse for anything resembling a chief executive, who said he'd listen to all recommendations, heard everything and then said he wants to employ a "surge" mission. So, instead of the troops coming home, he's SENDING MORE TROOPS OVER THERE. And that's supposed to make us happy??? That's kinda like, when I was a kid, and my Mom would say, "don't do that", and I DID "do that" after which I got my fanny whacked. And get this, AMERICA...We, collectively, as a nation, were STUPID ENOUGH TO RE-ELECT HIM! Well, whack ol' Dubya on the fanny, because, obviously, if you hit him in the head, it wouldn't register!

Lastly, I wanted to share something with y'all, but I wasn't sure where or how to post it, so I'll just post it here. It's not for the faint of heart, so be warned! Go to: for an "alternative" view on politics...

Well, enough for now. Oh yeah, I forgot, January 6th, IN THE MIDDLE OF WINTER, it was over 50 degrees out today and NO SNOW. To all my Idaho friends, don't'll have weather like that in MARCH. Seriously, I hear that the snow's a-blowin' up drive really carefully, okay?

Friday, January 05, 2007

Living in a Parallel Universe...
This was something I really, really, needed to do...

Wow, 25 days since my last posting! I knew I was "in for it". After all, I'd made plans to move. And not just across town...I moved over 600 miles away. I first came to the Oregon Coast in September 2002. And it absolutely wrecked me. How? I couldn't get this place off my mind. I feel as if I were led here for some reason. I'd been back every year between then and now. And I decided, "I want to be part of this place for a while". So I'm here.

As the crow (or seagull, in this case) flies, I am approximately two miles away from the ocean. And if I drive north or south for 5 miles, I am ON the ocean. And, it's scary being somewhere else; after all, I'd lived in my previous location most all my life. But, whenever I've had the nerve to venture out down here, I've met nice people, and also have had soothing solitude, gazing at the vast expanse of ocean or watching the waves crash into the rocky cliffs that skirt the Oregon Coastline.

But, I knew I was "in for it", because of all the activity I knew I was going to undergo, in a move so far away. First, the pain of selling my old house. The crazy world of Real Estate just about drove me bonkers. Potential buyers, representatives, agents, and home inspectors all circling my property like vultures. But I sold it for quite a bit more than I paid for it, and bought a place down here. It took me 2 months to sell, but I 'spose that's par for the course. So all of the real-estate aggression was well worth it. I was able to buy a house down here and STILL put money in the bank. So I did good, I think.

So, I moved in on December 13th. And I'm still trying to get everything organized. On New Years' Eve, the day was bright and sunny, so I went to a beautiful park, located next to the ocean. The visitors' center is on a rocky cliff 75 feet above the ocean. Visibility is over 20 miles. The sky and ocean were deep blue. The waves crashed into the cliffs with so much force that the mist would shoot up into the sky, sometimes higher than the cliff I was standing on. And I can't get enough of it. I look at the endless horizon, where the ocean melts into the sky, and I knew I was supposed to come here, at least for a while, if not forever.

There's a little harbor town about 3 miles south of my house; a couple times a week, I just "hang" there, sometimes walking on the docks for closeup views of all the commercial fishing boats. Sometimes seals swim into the harbor, looking for fish scraps from the local processing plant, or they hang around the fishing boats, hoping the fishermen will throw 'em a piece of cold, dead fish. Other times, I walk on a little 2-mile stretch of beach just over the hill from the harbor.

At the south end of that little beach, on a HUGE rock offshore, sits a lighthouse. To the north of the beach, a rock wall ("Jetty") that was built between 1924 and 1929. The channel between that jetty and the jetty just across the inlet, to the north, provides big ships and small boats alike with a means of leaving the ocean to secure safety in inland waters, before continuing their respective journeys upon the turbulent waters of the Pacific Ocean.

The area I live in has about 30,000 people. I do not actually live in a city; I live on county land on a small dead-end highway, and there are residences all up and down the highway, so it's not like I'm out in the sticks or anything. So I'm not alone. But I can get alone in a hurry. I can have all the ocean beach I want; it's out there waiting for me. There are two small towns north of me, with shopping centers, grocery stores, even a Wal-Mart (which I try to stay away from), a multiplex theatre, etc., so all the amenities are here. Not that I need them all that much, for I don't. I did miss my computer, which was outta commission for a while, though.

I came here to meet new people, be a part of a new area, and try to find a new way to live this life. The "natives" here are folksy, conversational, and just plain nice. I stood in line at the Post Office, and the guy in front of me turned around and began talking to me, and I thot, "how cool". But, I can be alone here, and that is nice. Sitting in the city park of the town I recently left, I had people poking their noses into my business all the time. It's not that way here.

And, I've found some like-minded musicians who like to play, but don't do so with the typical "inflated ego" so many musicians seem to possess. I'm no great shakes as a guitarist or drummer, and neither are the people I'm jamming with. But, in a good jam, the creative process runs rampant. I found myself actually playing BASS the other night. Too much fun. (I don't wanna grow up, I'm a "Toys 'R Us" kid!!!) I am SO glad I came here, for very many reasons.

The future of this blogsite: In my many previous postings, I did a lot of "photoshop" things. Well, I now have a different computer without all those fancy photo programs. That's okay, though. I love to "photo-satire", but it's an excruciatingly time-consuming process. I'll comment on things, though, preferring to paint word-pictures. Instead of a picture, you'll get a thousand words, ha ha. So, while I may be far away, but I'm right here inside your computer monitor.

In closing, I know the perfect cure for homesickness, at least for me: A heapin' helpin' of HUCKLEBERRIES. ( I'm hungry all of a sudden!