Monday, April 30, 2007

Because you just can't seem to get enough,
This Posting has been SUPERSIZED!

Something about this just feels wrong: There's a Brinks' Home Security commercial that airs in various forms; and the plot usually goes something like this: a criminal breaks into a house, he hears the alarm going off and runs away; the Mom takes her two kids into an upstairs bedroom; just then, the phone rings and it's a person from Brinks, wanting to know if everything is okay. Mom says "yeah", and the Brinks guy says, "I'll send help", and Mom says "Thank You". Something is wrong with this scenario, to me. Because if the criminal had wanted to, he could have attacked the Mom before scampering off, knowing full well it's gonna take the police a little while to get there. In short, if the criminal wants to get ya badly enough, he will. Or, if murder isn't on his mind, since he's already kicked in the door, he could run around the living room, take a few things and then scamper off. So did the "Security Service" really prevent anything here? Maybe, if the criminal was a rookie who was easily scared. Is a career criminal gonna scamper right away when he hears the alarm? Who knows? Whenever I see this commercial, I feel "incomplete" somehow. Like "something's missing" here.

At first, I thought, WHAT A DEAL!: I got a whole bunch of voucher coupons in the mail last week; each one of those coupons was worth $400 dollars toward the purchase of various items; one item caught my eye: I was informed I could save $400 on was a home entertainment center, which basically consisted of a 5-CD changer with 3-foot-high speakers. Well, with the $400 dollar savings my coupon would entitle me to, I could get this 5-CD changer for a measly $149.95! And then I thought about that. Dangerous things happen when I think. And the conclusion I came to was I've already GOT a similar 5-CD changer (a Panasonic, even!), and I'd bought the thing at the local K-mart for $129.95! The only difference was, it didn't include oversized speakers to go with it, but that's okay; the speakers that came with it work just fine. Buying a CD unit with that "savings" coupon would be like a gas station charging you 10 bucks a gallon, but they give you a $7-dollar-off-a-gallon coupon so you end up only paying $3 bucks a gallon. And maybe they'd throw in a free windshield-wipe or whatever. Corporate America is out there trying to get me to buy stuff by lulling me into contentment, not telling me they've inflated the original price and have given me a huge discount coupon, and the amount I end up sending in is the amount I would have paid somewhere else WITHOUT any coupon, the only difference being, they get my money, those shysters.

They care about my credit? That does not compute: Another commercial features a multi-benevolent firm which is all worried about your credit situation. How nice of them. They want you to buy a desktop computer and pay for it over time, and not only will you have a computer, you'll improve your credit rating in the bargain. And the premise is good, but something's rotten in Denmark here. (Why is it always "Denmark"?) The catch is, you pay something like $20 a week for the next YEAR or thereabouts...that's close to a thousand dollars for a new desktop computer. Hold on, trooper...Best Buy or Circuit City has desktop computers in the $400-$600 range these days. Laptop computers cost more than desktops, but I got this here lil' laptop for under $700. So, buying a computer the way these "credit" guys want you to, is like trying to get car insurance if you've been busted for not having insurance, which happened to me long ago. You have to pay MORE for your insurance, and you have to maintain that higher rate for three years before your rates can go down. You're getting penalized for not having insurance, in the same way you're getting penalized for your bad credit if you buy a new computer like they want you to do in this commercial.

Time to celebrate! Let's EAT! Maybe you can save money by not trying to save money? In an effort to save money and/or improve your credit, maybe you're hanging yourself out to dry even more? The Desiderata says this world is full of trickery and deceit, but that with all its broken dreams, "it's still a beautiful world; strive to be happy". So, you've decided not to go for these fantastically complicated offers. Look at all the money you've saved! Well, you might wanna go celebrate by going out to get something to eat. Right now, I'm watching a program on MSNBC called "Supersize Me"; it's aired several times and I've already seen it. The subject is McDonalds', and the guy featured in the program is eating breakfast, lunch and dinner at McDonald's for a MONTH. He gained weight, his cholesterol shot up, and he had mood swings. Doctors were worried about him, nutritionists were trying to get him to quit eating under the Golden Arches, and although she stuck by him, his vegan-organic wife thought he was crazy. So you might think you're saving $$$ by eating at McDonald's, but this program has shown that people can actually put their health in jeopardy by eating there. And doctors, as you might know, have no money-saving programs. None that I know of, anyway.

Just another day on the coast: I never cease to marvel at how fast the weather changes around here. Saturday, the coastal beach was totally socked in by fog. A couple of miles inland, no fog, but where I live, it was gray and gloomy. But on Sunday afternoon, skies were blue and visibility was unlimited Sunday afternoon, along with some fairly harsh winds. Not as harsh as on the day when I got hit by that wall of water (the ocean wave with my name on it, remember?), but the kite-flyers were out there today. And I went back to sit on the jetty where the water struck me last week. I let myself sit there for about 45 minutes, and listened to my gut when it said, "hey, you'd better get down from here now". As I walked up to the jetty, off in the distance I saw a small black spot on the beach. As I got closer, I realized it was a bird sitting motionless on the beach, its feet spread awkwardly on the ground. The bird was obviously dying, hanging on for a few last moments. It obviously had been washed up by the ocean; it looked as if a tidal wave had slammed into it. It still had energy enough to hold its head up, but it looked as if this poor little guy wasn't long for the world. And there wasn't a thing I or anyone else could do for the little fella. Awwwww. There's a fishermens' monument in the nearby little harbor town with the inscription, "the sea giveth and the sea taketh away." How true.

That "Supersize Me" program about McDonald's has been airing periodically on MSNBC for a few weeks now; you might want to check out the TV schedules; I'm sure it will air again. And yeah, eating there can be bad for ya, but I sure love the sausage-egg McMuffins!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

...closer to reality than you might think!

Clyde the Parakeet always did his best to be ever vigilant, because, after all, he wanted Bonnie, his longtime parakeet companion, to be safe and secure. He was also a dreamer; he fantasized about noble battles to undertake so he could make Bonnie see him for the bird he really was. He knew that Bonnie really lusted for a more macho, domineering parakeet, whereas Clyde was little and fairly passive. Clyde's main goal in life was to make Bonnie happy. Of course, Bonnie, with her destructive personality, could never be really happy, not unless she was destroying something. Her owner could put four italian breadsticks in the parakeet cage; she'd gnaw her way through 3 of them, before the ever-faithful little Clyde got halfway through 1 breadstick. That might have something to do with the fact that Bonnie recklessly tosses breadcrumbs all over the cage floor, while sweet little Clyde will delicately nibble at his breadstick, savoring every mouthful. And when Bonnie is done with her three breadsticks, she'll drive Clyde away from the breadstick he's been nibbling on. Relationships like this are many and well-documented; one immediate example I can think of is John and Yoko, but that's another story altogether.

In spite of Bonnie's constant aggressive behavior, it was obvious that little Clyde really loved her. Parakeets show affection towards each other by regurgitating food and giving it to the other parakeet, as Clyde did regularly with Bonnie. So not only does she eat 3/4's of the food in the cage, she probably gets half the food Clyde has eaten, too. This is the depth of affection that the ever-devoted Clyde consistently bestows upon the evil Bonnie, day after day after day. Two little blue-feathered parakeets, safely ensconced inside their cage, and one can imagine when Clyde sings while Bonnie preens her feathers, his song is something akin to Helen Reddy's record, "You and Me Against The World". Happy little Clyde, ever faithful, with absolutely no ulterior motives, in a relationship with the ever-scheming Bonnie, who has actually tried to uproot the food containers in the cage, and has been known to actually nibble on the cage door in unsuccessful attempts to escape and fly free. Little Clyde, deep down, likes it when Bonnie shows her dark side, and hopes that one day, she'll think that he can be as fierce and dominating as he thinks Bonnie wants him to be.

One lazy spring afternoon, while Bonnie and Clyde were taking a bird-nap, it happened. A scratching sound awoke Clyde, who is not a sound sleeper to begin with. A parakeet stranger, who looked suspiciously like Clyde, with a mixture of blue chest feathers and black wing feathers, had surreptitiously entered the cage, and it was easy to speculate that the stranger had his eyes on the parakeetily-voluptuous Bonnie. Of course, little Clyde would have none of that; Bonnie had been his "main squeeze" for over two years and he wasn't about to let a rival parakeet win Bonnie's affections. Clyde knew he wasn't a forceful or domineering parakeet, and he knew that Bonnie had a weakness for the strong silent type, which were the traits exhibited by the parakeet stranger. Little Clyde swallowed hard and prepared to do battle. He hopped up onto the high perch and prepared to face down the look-alike stranger. There he was, the parakeet stranger, at the other end of the high perch. Yep, a showdown. A stand-off. Only one parakeet was going to walk away from this situation. Clyde emitted a loud chirp, his way of saying, "this cage ain't big enough for the both of us."

Clyde took a step forward. The parakeet stranger took a step towards Clyde. Clyde took another step forward. The parakeet stranger took another step forward. Both stepped toward each other until they were literally standing beak-to-beak. All of a sudden, BAM!!! POW!!! The stranger smacks Clyde with an uppercut! "SQUAWK!!!" Clyde punches the intruder's solar plexus! "SCREECH!!!" The stranger levels a devastating blow, bending one of Clyde's wings out of shape! "AWK! AWWWWK!" Clyde head-butts the stranger in the chest! "SQUAWK!!!" Feathers flying in all directions! The Chirps and Squawks are multitudinous! Clyde then head-butts the stranger in the beak, sending him reeling towards the cage wall! Clyde then sees his big chance; he grabs the stranger's chest feathers with his feet, and bites the stranger's neck, and twists and pulls and tries to decapitate his challenger; Clyde is jumping, pulling, biting, gnashing, clawing and chewing; it's a fight to the death, and Clyde is pounding his opponent mercilessly, wings flapping, head-butting, kicking, grabbing his opponent with his feet; it was a scene of pandemonium, mayhem and uncontrollable devastation as the rabid, frenzied Clyde pummeled his opponent relentlessly; Clyde couldn't stop; his relationship with Bonnie was at stake, and he had to do everything within his power to defend her honor...

Bonnie, who had been asleep up until then, never suspected the presence of a parakeet stranger in her cage. She awoke to the commotion of Clyde doing battle fiercely, squawking like a madbird, pummeling someone or something for all it was worth. And in a moment of realization, she reasoned that poor little Clyde, the Walter Mitty of the bird world, sleep-flew to the upper perch, then sleepwalked and woke up when he bumped the mirror (which hung down from a chain from the top of the cage), then saw his reflection and thought it was another bird. She then brought Clyde back to reality with a loud "CHIRP!!!" which was her way of saying, "GET OVER HERE RIGHT NOW!!!" Clyde looked up from his frantic activity, and realizing how dumb he looked, emitted a small "chirp" (his way of saying, "yes, dear") and flew down to the lower perch, and settled in by Bonnie's side, secure in the knowledge that was no other parakeet was gonna mess with him for at last he'd shown Bonnie how tough he was. Then, Clyde once again snuggled up to Bonnie and resumed his bird-nap, while Bonnie, not daring to move lest she wake up Clyde again, looked around the cage for something else she could destroy once she decided that the bird-nap was over.

In reading over this post, I am reminded of an old Buck Owens song: "Beware of a Tall Dark (Parakeet) Stranger". One thing for sure, though...this ain't Mutual of Omaha's "Wild Kingdom". Marlon Perkins never observed anything like this.

The Beach Boys tell you to "Catch a Wave"...and I'll add,

You've probably heard that old Beach Boys' tune, where they're glorifying the surf, the sun, the babes laying on the beach, and all the other things that go with being on the ocean. Well, today, I caught a wave. Actually, it would be more accurate, though, to say that "the wave caught ME." I'll proceed to explain...

Today was one of those days when there was nothin' but blue sky everywhere, which can be something of a rarity here on the coast. More often than not, it'll be sunny everywhere else, but hanging over the coast, usually, is an innocuous but highly annoying strip of coastal fog, created by the clash of land and water temperatures. Today, though, no fog. Lots of sun. And quite a bit of wind, too. But it wasn't a cold wind; it was just right; a cool, moist wind. Breathing the ocean air is just amazing. You can just about taste the salt in the air. And visibility seaward was unlimited today. There, I've set this tale in motion...

Gosh, it was beautiful on the beach today. I drove out to a lookout point high above the beach, and it looked so good down there, that I just had to be on the beach. I drove down, parked my car, strolled out onto the beach, and walked about half a mile north along the beach, to where the rock jetty at the entrance to the bay is located. Between the north and south jetties, there's a fairly deep channel of water through which ocean vessels sail to or from the bay. Earlier in the day, I had tuned into the little coastal radio station, which features marine forecasts on a tape loop. Today's report said there were 4 to 8 foot ocean swells, and that pleasure craft under 40 feet were not allowed to "cross the bar" (between the two jetties), so I knew that water conditions would be turbulent.

One of my objectives down here is to try and become one with my environment. And, the power of the ocean endlessly fascinates me. So, I climbed to the top of the jetty and watched the huge waves as they crashed into the jetty and made their way into the bay. I had a perfect front-row seat for watching the fury of Mother Nature, with blue skies, an abundance of sunshine, and pelicans and seagulls flying overhead as the waves crashed against the jetty where I was sitting, shooting spray and foam all over the place. Well, you know "it's not nice to fool Mother Nature". And it might not be wise to tempt her, either. Waves were crashing all around me as I sat on top of the jetty, but largely, the spray was landing all around me, but not actually "getting me".

And I stayed there a bit too long, it turns out. For, there was a wave out there with my name on it. And Mother Nature was telling me, "this ocean ain't big enough for the both of us", but did I listen? Nooooooo. And then it happened. A wave headed toward where I was sitting, and CRASH! BOOM! WHAM! The wave SMACKED the jetty, and before I could move, a wall of water slammed into me, and it felt like I got hit by a defensive lineman...BAM! WHAM! CRASH! And I got absolutely DRENCHED. And got the wind knocked out of me besides. My hat, my coat, my glasses were inundated with salt water, which I also had in my eyes. Whew! So, I peeled myself from the rock I was sitting on, climbed down from the jetty, got my walking stick, and trudged a half-mile down the beach to where I was parked.

So how do I feel about this? Well, I tell ya, "it was somethin', all right." And I'll go back out there AGAIN and sit on the jetty, watching the enormity of the waves. But next time, maybe I won't stay there as long. Or maybe I won't sit on the jetty if "4 to 8-foot swells" are happening out there. That little radio station airs a piece of info about ocean safety, and it advises beachgoers "never turn your back on the ocean". Well, I didn't, but the ocean attacked me from the FRONT instead. But...I am glad I went through this. I not only saw, but FELT the power of the ocean. For something like this to happen to me, it was scary, but in a quite extraordinary way. And the weather forecast calls for blue skies all the rest of this week. By tomorrow, my clothes should be dry...and I think you know where I'll be.

Here it is; this is the culprit. The wave that had my name on it. From a distance, it looks like a harmlessly innocuous little bit of water, but let that thing slam you in the face, and "oh my". You consider that water weighs roughly 8 lbs. to the gallon...and it felt like I'd gotten struck by a whole lotta poundage. A veritable oceanic smackdown. Maybe next time I go and sit on the jetty, I'll wear a helmet in addition to a couple of raincoats. Couldn't hurt!

Well, all I need now are a Pirate's hat, an eye patch, a peg-leg, and a parrot sitting on my shoulder. Yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum! Well, I have parakeets and a bottle of Pepsi, so that'll hafta do.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Oh, great, this is just what I needed...
Another way to get hooked on computers...

It''s already hard enough to get to bed at a decent hour...what with e-mails, blog postings, computer pinball, buying stuff on Ebay, then another round (or 2 or 3) of e-mails, computer postings...well, I just found something else that could end up taking way too much of my time, and that is, going to "YouTube" and watching videos of some of my favorite bands from way back when. It's always a little disheartening to see a "reunion" of an old group, because they, well, look OLD. Ah, but with the magic of "YouTube", I can see them as I remember them from the album covers...and some of the groups I checked out last night were Grand Funk Railroad (my first favorite heavy band), then Chicago (I saw them twice in concert in the '70s); then I saw some footage of Badfinger, The Beatles, and Arthur Lee and Love...I spent close to 4 hours viewing old videos last nite, and all I can say is, "waaaaay coooool".

A Different Body of Water: I moved to Oregon to be near the ocean. And every time I enjoy an ocean view, I think to myself, "this is why I came here". And I have sat, like a bump on a log, on a bumpy log, and watched the tide come in for hours. I used to live in a town on a lake, though. And, there are two lakes right here in the town I live in; there is no high country around the lakes, so I wondered, "where does the water come from?", and one of the locals told me the lakes were spring-fed! These lakes, which are just off the main drag, are surrounded by lush forests and PAVED pathways zig-zagging all over the place. Honestly, you would never know there was a town 4 blocks to the south and another one several blocks to the north. And the fish were jumpin' in this lake. Best of all, it's all public. No signs warning people to stay off the beach. Now, that's just nice. And, today, I found the quiet calmness of a small lake very soothing. The ocean's always there if I want it. But today, being by this little lake was quite nice. Kids were out there fishing; that made me think of long ago when I used to catch perch off the dock. A good memory.

I am totally out of the loop: I'm watching ABC's "Nightline" program as I'm typing this. A promo announcement just came on saying how, if I wanted, I could go to ABC-TV's website, and I could watch previously aired full-length programs of "all of (my) favorite ABC shows". How nice of them. There's only one thing wrong with this scenario, and that is, I have not watched any prime-time programming for several years now. Whenever I've seen a "current" show, usually by accident, I end up thinking, "I've seen this story line before, but with different characters." Yep, I've seen it all before. (Aside: I must be getting old if I'm thinking that!) I honestly don't know what any of the hit shows are. I don't know who any of the actors/actresses are, so when I see a program promo for "Conan" or Jay Leno or whoever, and that promo says, "Tonight on Conan...(this actress)...(that actress)...and other assorted stupid stuff!", the names of the featured guests ring no bell whatsoever. Actually, I am watching old episodes of "CSI: Miami" broadcast on Court-TV. "CSI", to me, seems like a re-run of Court-TV's "forensic files" type TV shows I choose to pollute my mind with.

Varying degrees of "randomness": I used to have a 3-CD player which I really enjoyed. I could put it on "random play" and I never knew what would play next. Typically, it would play a couple songs from one disc, then one from the next disc, then 2 or 3 from the third disc. True random; I never knew what disc would play next, and I never knew what song would play, either. But that player gave up the ghost long ago. Well, I just bought an Emerson 6-CD player. Aha, I thot, "true random over 6 discs!" Ha. I think Emerson Corp. has a different idea of "random". The songs play at random, but according to the owner's manual, all of the songs on disc one would play randomly, then it would play all the songs on disc 2 randomly before going to disc 3, and so on. "Random", in a sense, but not "random all the way". I was prepared to live with that, though, because the manual said all six discs would play automatically when in "random" mode. Hah...that doesn't happen. All of Disc One plays randomly, then STOPS. I have to then tell it to play another disc. So the owner's manual LIED to me. The only way I can play all 6 discs automatically, is to play them in "regular", not 'random' mode. Good job, guys. Let's hear it for Corporate America. Pffffffffft!!!

Just out of curiosity, I went to a couple of merchandise sites that listed reviews of the abovementioned Emerson guy sent in an angry review saying, "STAY AWAY FROM THE EMERSON PLAYER". Obviously, he's a wise man. And, in retrospect, I should have titled this post, "Blogging At Random". Because I never know how these things are gonna turn out.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Okay, faithful readers, let's start off this post in a rhythm-and-blues vein...

For years I had a desktop that was bulky and weighed tons...
But now I've got a laptop, and it's also a lot of fun...
Except I keep hitting the wrong keys; I'm really paying my dues
And now I've got the finger-cramping, mistake-prone...


I never, ever, thought I'd one day possess a laptop computer. I'd see other people using them in coffee shops or on park benches or wherever, and I'd curiously look at their computer screens, trying hard to be unobtrusive so as not to interrupt whatever it was that the computer user was doing. Kinda makes me think of that old 60's song by a one-hit wonder group, The Nightcrawlers, which went, in part, "I won't let them stretch their see my Little Black Egg with the Little White Specks".

But, being dragged kicking and screaming all the way into the technical age of the "00's", I broke down and bought a laptop. Never mind that I was broke for about a month, eating lots of Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches for dinner (hey, a computer user suffers for his art). I got a laptop. It's got a fair amount of Megs and Ram and Gigs and Bells and Whistles and all the other stuff computers come with these days. But wouldn't you know it...the place where I bought this computer, the very next day, received a shipment of laptops that had More Megs and Ram and Gigs and Bytes and Bits and Nibbles, for about the same price. That's right, I'd only had my laptop for ONE DAY, and already it was on the road to obsolescence.

And I must admit, although I am not predisposed to actually take my computer somewhere else other than my residence, that I can use this addicting little machine in any room of the house. I can go out into my bright sunny kitchen and (attempt to) blog and listen to my parakeets, who are always having lovers' quarrels one minute and then the next minute they're cuddling and cleaning each others' feathers. A co-dependent relationship if I ever saw one. If you've got a bad back, and are bone-on-bone in the knees like I am, it's still pretty easy to tote around a little laptop. Right now I'm sitting in the La-Z-Boy with my feet propped up, laptop on lap, the Headline News channel on 'mute', and Bob Seger on the CD player in the background. (Sometimes life is good, ain't it?)

And that's what's happening, folks, everything is getting smaller. I mean, just go ahead and try to sit in your La-Z-Boy chair with a desktop computer in your lap. It just can't be done. The little teeny-tiny laptop computer. With a flat keyboard THAT I'M STILL NOT USED TO! I keep hitting wrong keys that take me to other screens, or turn my type into italics (that time, it was deliberate), or I get all kinds of mini-browsers popping up into my screen because I've hit a wrong key. I think its safe to say that flat laptop keyboards are not very ergonomic; to have at least a chance of not making more than 30 mistakes per every 100 characters you type, you've basically gotta hold your forearms over the computer, not resting your hand on anything, letting your hands and fingers dangle down, hopefully hitting the right keys every once in a while.

I've lost entire e-mails because I hit a combination of wrong keys that the computer interpreted as a set of commands to do something else. I must admit that this isn't quite as drastic as hitting the nuclear warhead button when you meant instead to hit the 'intercom' button, but it ranks right up there as a royal pain in the derriere. (ha ha, ever politically correct am I...yeah, rright) You have to remember that I learned how to type in 1970, in my sophomore year in high school on an old cast-iron Royal (TM) 440 typewriter. You had to have bionic fingers to punch the key, sending the little iron character-striker upward to meet the ribbon, and then you had to heave the carriage return with brute force to start the next line...and then the next year, they put us on ELECTRIC typewriters, where if you hold down the key for one second too long, you get something like "RRRRRRRKKKKKKKOOOOOOOOQQQQQQQQ" or whatever letter that you happened to accidentally hold down. At least this laptop doesn't do THAT...although if I hold down the 'shift' key for too long, 'Hot Keys' (whatever they are) will activate themselves.

Another thing I have to watch out for: When I get outta the La-Z-Boy to do something else, I've gotten into a (bad) habit of placing my laptop computer on the floor. While I have threatened in the past, repeatedly, that I'd like to "drop-kick my computer" (normal computer aggression), I don't wanna accidentally STEP on my computer! (You can't do THAT with a desktop, either.) Right now, the sound of a "computer crunch" under my big feet wouldn't exactly be music to my ears. Oh, by the way, here's a little joke: "What do desktop and laptop users snack on?" "Barbecued Computer Chips", ha ha ha...

Some other observations I've come away with lately, just lately...

The Media appears to be milking the Virginia Tech Shootings for all they're worth. In addition to reporting the event, they're reporting how other media are reporting the event, they're reporting how foreign countries are reporting on the event, they're reporting on what kind of equipment is being utilized to report the situation, they're interviewing kids on campus, they're waiting to report something with baited breath while they cover the memorial ceremony, they're going to the hometowns of the shooter as well as kids who survived and other kids who didn't make it. Grief abounding everywhere. The media trying to find someone or something to blame for letting the shooter continue his rampage after the a two-hour break; bringing in psychologists to analyze what was going thru the shooter's mind, airing the videotape of the assassin himself, and then today I heard a radio talk-show host saying how much NBC, who received the tape, failed us by broadcasting that tape. So it's now come full-circle. The media are pointing fingers at themselves. There's a fine line between reporting the news and making news of your own. Well, it's a 24-7 newsmarket these days. Gotta keep churnin' out them stories, after all.

An unmitigated tragedy, such as described in the paragraph above, has taken the focus off Don Imus (remember him?), and his unceremonious firing last week after he said a "racial no-no", in reference to some female basketball players. Well, the news has just come down the wire, that Imus' Producer, Bernard McGuirk, got fired Friday. Bernie was actually the first to say the word "Ho", after which Mr. Imus then picked up on that term and amplified it with a 'certain hairstyle descriptive term'...I still can't get over how those three little words (nap-word, head-word, ho-word) got him dumped with blazing speed, ending a life-spanning career, just like that. Although Imus was wrong, my own feeling on this is that there were a heck of a lot of people who wanted to 'Get' Imus, the way they seized upon his mistake like rabid piranhas on a cow in a jungle river. A feeding frenzy. Until the next feeding frenzy comes around. Like Virginia Tech.

I think it's time for me to take out a fork and eat some of the words I've printed on this blog. I am referring to a post I wrote a while back, which advised that, when you buy gas, don't look around for the best deal, because you'll spend more cash trying to find a good gas deal than if you just pull into the nearest pump. And I really did feel that way, too. Until I pulled into a gas station, where the price for regular unleaded is $3.15 per gallon!!! I live in a small town on the Oregon Coast. Gas prices are always higher here, right? I commented about this to a gas attendant, and he said, "hey, there's a lower price just down the street", and I ALMOST took his advice. Why I didn't, I'll never know. Must have had something to do with laziness and inconvenience. And going to the doctor's office and getting my blood drawn that day. Yeah, I just wanted to go home, so I could watch my co-dependent parakeets fight. Yeah, that had to be it. But I was tempted to go and look for cheaper gas! I suppose I could drive for about 80 or 100 miles until I get to the nearest interstate highway, hoping that gas is cheaper on a major thoroughfare. But I'd have to fill up again when I got back here. Sometimes ya just can't win.

Okay, now I'll write about something I know nothing about...Alberto Gonzales, one of Prezzident George Dubya Bushed's henchmen, was testifying before some committee or other about why a bunch of judges around the country got fired...we've all heard the line that "they all serve at the Prezzident's leisure", which means, that if Bush don't like ya, yer outta here! (I think Don Imus knows how that feels). Anyway, Gonzales was being asked a bunch of probing, but still rather mundane questions about his role in the firings, why the firings were happened, what justification was used in the firings, yadda, yadda yadda, and the big development was that he actually made the Guinness Book of World Records for "the most frequent usage of the phrase, 'I DON'T KNOW' in a single day, under oath". Here's an excerpt from Friday's proceedings:

SENATOR: "Can you please state your name?"
GONZALES: "I don't know".
SENATOR: "Well, you are Alberto Gonzales, right?"
GONZALES: "I don't know. I'll have to get back to you on that."

...and it was all downhill from there.

Meantime, I'll just cross my arthritic laptop computer fingers and hope that I've typed enough postings to survive the latest round of fierce blogger cuts at, a sort of "omnibus blog site" that lists people who are crazy enough to blog as much as I do. That's the Huckleberries Online blog site; that's where all 3 of my faithful readers learned about this here blog!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

This is a Multi-purpose blog post...
...this one will hop, skip and jump all over the place!

Virginia Tech Shooting: First, I felt horror at the degree of carnage. After which I thought, "not again". Yet another campus shooting spree. After which I once again thought that too many people in this country who shouldn't have guns, have guns anyway. I am not anti-gun, so you NRA enthusiasts don't have to get your dander up, but is there some kind of way to help insure guns don't get into the wrong hands? It's a different, more vicious world these days, and maybe gun laws need to be amended; perhaps tougher screening of potential gun owners is in order. I have no answers. I only know that shootings wouldn't happen without guns. And students would be safer. We would ALL be safer.

Social Security Cards: Not long ago, I got a new Social Security card. My old one was laminated, which is a big no-no. But something doesn't make sense to me here. Whenever a person gets a job, one of the first things he/she has to do is let the employer see the Social Security Card; a copy is made and put in the employee's file. Well, my new Social Security Card carries this admonishment: "DO NOT CARRY THIS CARD WITH YOU." Huh? What? So you can't carry the card with you when you go to apply for a job? If you don't show your card, you don't get the job. And, a requirement that the Oregon Drivers' License bureau imposes upon you, is that you must show them your Social Security Card. So, you have to, at least, "carry the card" for THAT purpose. "Do Not Carry This Card With You"? Well, we know that does not apply to drivers' licenses. You're stuck carrying one of those around with you FOREVER.

Life On The Coast: I found three "sand dollars" when I was walking on the ocean beach the other day. This is noteworthy because most of the sand dollars that wash up on the particular beach I stroll on are usually broken to bits. Not these. And I thought, "how totally cool." I also bought a pair of binoculars and gave them a good workout the other day. Oftentimes, one can see fishing boats way out there on the ocean, but it isn't until you've seen them out there thru binoculars, that you can appreciate what the fishermen undergo; the ocean may look placid, but even on a calm day, their vessels are pitching up and down and all over the place as the waves toss them about. Makes me glad I'm standing on terra firma. But then again, I've gotten carsick driving my own car. I get a queasy stomach on a ferris wheel. I could probably be a poster child for Dramamine.

I'm gonna miss Imus: Yes, I've beaten this topic to death; I think I wrote about it three times last week. I enjoy people who are individuals, who speak their minds, who can toss their opinions out there in a rough-and-tumble manner. You'll find characters like this all over the place, especially in the blue-collar world. I've met miners, forest service workers, mechanics, truck drivers, cowboys, rednecks and many other people whom I consider to be much more "real" than some white-shirted yuppie businessman who tries to be politically correct in everything he says and does. And, now, MSNBC has another time slot to be filled by young, eager, fresh-faced, politically correct and ultimately boring newspeople. Imus' slur was a huge transgression, but I, for one am gonna miss the tone he and his cronies established on a daily basis. Imus in the Morning, R.I.P.

Another year in my life slides on by: Over the weekend, I turned 53. I think I know how my parents felt when they said they had just quit counting the years. I didn't want to be 50, or 51, or 52. But after considering the alternative, I guess I had no choice. So I'm 53. And I find that I'm a heck of a lot older than many folks I see. And I find I'm grateful when I meet someone older than me, for it's then I don't feel like an antique. And, And, AND, I'm finding that those graying, wrinkle-prone individuals with a slow gait aren't that much older than me anymore. And, I, too, am the proud possessor of my own slow gate. And, just in case you're not aware of all the time that's slipped by, ruminate over this fun fact: Remember the Beatles' SGT. PEPPER album? It was released 40 YEARS ago (as of June 1st of this year).

A musical playground: Between the 1970's to midway thru the 1990's, I played drums for various local bands, and while I'm no Gene Krupa or Buddy Rich, I can do a fairly reasonable job of backing up musicians. Trouble is, I enjoy playing guitar more, and I am getting better on that as well. My take on all this is, "any idiot can play drums", but maybe not just any idiot. So I play drums, but it is much more fulfilling to play guitar, and besides, it's easier on my old aching back. I've been going to jam sessions down here in this little Oregon town, and one nite I made the mistake of offering to play drums for someone on stage. And now I have people wanting me to drum. "Not again", I'm thinking, for I really love to play guitar. Well, now I'm part of an aggregation that consists of a guitarist, a bassist, and me on drums, hosting a jam session. The cool part is that if there's a drummer out there who wants to play, then I get to play guitar. And, tonite, I got to play 'both'. I suppose I won't mind playing drums as long as they don't make me do the Judas Priest or Iron Maiden songbook; I'm too old to thrash about like that.

Thank God for Allopurinol: Back last year, I wrote a few posts about all of the pain I was going through, which came from GOUT. It is a type of arthritis; I like to think of it as an arthritic affliction that's carried around by the blood. People with gout either produce too much uric acid, or don't 'eliminate' enough of it. So, the uric acid, carried by the blood, gets into your joints, crystallizes and grinds away, and I've been told that pain from a severe gout attack rivals terminal cancer pain, and I think I'd believe that. I've been taking Allopurinol for close to a year now, and while I still have an arthritic twinge here and there, NO GOUT ATTACKS, and within reason, I can now eat pretty much what I want without having to worry about that old Gout Monster out there. Yeah, I've got bad knees and limited motion with my lower back the way it is, but I can put up with those. Gout left me defenseless and exhausted from the pain.

This is a post from deep inside my brain, or at least, the part of my brain that's still working after all these years. In fact, I've probably written the kind of post that I usually stay away from when visiting other people's blogs; you know, posts that contain useless personal observations that don't matter. Okay, I accept that. This is a mundane post. But, since I wrote it, I'd like to think it was uniquely mundane. At least you didn't need seasick pills to get through it!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Imus: A culture of meanness? I wonder...
I thought I was done with this subject, but I guess not...

A lot of the naysayers I'm seeing on political programs this weekend are decrying the "culture of meanness" exemplified on the now-defunct "Imus in the Morning" program...again, I'll admit that he went way over the top in his reference to the Rutgers' Basketball Women, but a culture of meanness? My own Dad could get really off-the-wall with his humor; I've heard put-down, fairly racy humor in coffee klatches (yes, I used to be a member of one long ago), and I hear people in everyday life using varying degrees of disparaging observations. Imus would refer to people as morons or war criminals or fat weasels; indeed, I've heard people refer to each other as such; I've used some of those references and so have many others I've spoken with. No, that doesn't imply any sort of justification, but since we're all imperfect beings (I subscribe to the "seed of Adam" theory), sometimes we hurt others' feelings, when we don't MEAN to hurt others' feelings. It happens to all of us. Sometimes, what we say doesn't come out "just right" and gets misinterpreted.

A culture of meanness? It is honorable that people are so politically-correct these days that they are in favor of removing all kinds of short-sighted references from our collective lexicons, but it just ain't gonna happen. Feelings are going to be hurt. People are going to poke fun. I've been damaged by things people have said about me, but life goes on. It just goes with the territory. Had I been in Imus' position, no, I would NOT have used the term, "Nappy-Headed Ho's" on my program; my own take is, that Imus must have thought that the term was common vernacular, and perhaps Imus thot he could use it, because the term was bandied about with alarming frequency long before he got hold of it. So, the climate for those remarks certainly existed. Imus certainly didn't use the term out of any spirit of meanness, but it's my feeling that somehow, the whole planet has become so damn sensitive that we get hung up on words, without hearing the message.

So now, I've just heard Tim Russert say on "Meet The Press", that Snoop Dogg has used the "n-word", the "h-word", several other "n-words", and "this word" and "that word"...and sooner or later this is going to become so exaggerated that one day, people will be offended when you tell them "have a good day"; and instead, perhaps we'll have to say, "have a g-word, d-word". I remember being offended by an Oscar Mayer commercial that said that "skinny kids and fat kids like Oscar Meyer's ultra-processed meat by-products" (okay, I was 'slightly' liberal with that quote), but I noticed that commercial because I was, and still am, fat, but no way am I going to sue the meatmaker for damages or cry out how injured I was because of what I'd heard. All we have, to convey our thoughts to each other, are words. There are many, many words out there. Everyone has a different frame of reference, and there are endless possibilities for hurting someone's feelings, somewhere.

I think we all make mistakes, and as evil and racist as the black community now thinks that Imus is, ALL DON IMUS DID WAS MAKE A MISTAKE. So let's get over it, people, and just try to do better in the days, weeks, months, years and eons to come. Should Don Imus have lost his job over this? I think the original platform MSNBC adopted, of a two-week removal, would have been the best way to go. Imus could have come back and done a better show. And, given the chance, I think he would have been just fine. Lessons learned the hard way, are the lessons learned the best, after all. But what sent Imus packing, pure and simple, were the economic ramifications of sponsors pulling out of his show. The major media have done what they felt they had to do. I watched Imus because his program was a lot like people I meet, almost every day; forthright, outspoken, opinionated, funny, quirky, and above all, human. And, because it was a refreshing break from the politically-correct pablum spewed out by the rest of society.

So, now that this post is over, I'll wish you "good night and good luck". (Or, good "n-word" and good "l-word".) I can imagine ol' Ed Murrow rolling over in his grave right about now.

It's what's in the GROOVES that count...
This old slogan of Gordy Records, a Motown label, really applies here...

Remember when AM radio used to be the main outlet for pop music? FM was mainly for classical music or the ever-oh-so-dry-and-clinical National Public radio. These days, FM is the main music vendor, and it seems that radio stations have to be "all-this" or "all-that". So, you can tune in one station and get your ears bombed by heavy, thrashing punk metal that has all the musicality of your average McCulloch chainsaw, then you can go to another station for nothing but '80s and 90's electric-techno-dance-subpop, and you can go to still another station for all the yee-haw-high-falootin-country-that-sounds-like-watered-down-rock and roll you can stand; the only thing that makes it country is that the singer has a 'twang' and they throw a steel guitar in there for good measure. Trouble is, I get bored with "one thing all the time", which is why, after a while, I find too much blues just repetitively boring; variety is the spice of life, after all, and to me, it's the spice in music as well.

I suppose that if you're looking for a wide variety of music on any one station, your best bet is to find a station that is "all-oldies". But even then, you're not going to hear Englebert Humperdinck and Steppenwolf on the station at the same time. Englebert's "Release Me" came out in 1967; it was a #4 hit here in the states, and in England, it actually prevented the Beatles' "Penny Lane"/"Strawberry Fields Forever" (allegedly the greatest single ever made) from reaching the #1 spot. Yep, "Release Me" was a #1 hit in England. Not bad for an out-of-fashion romantic crooner. But remember, that when the Beatles hit big over here, Bobby Vinton, another romantic crooner, kept on hitting the charts, and as much as I like good solid rock and roll, I like Bobby Vinton, too. A great song is a great song, no matter who performs it. And you couldn't lose with songs like "Blue Velvet", "Roses Are Red" or "Mr. Lonely".

As a matter of fact, in 1967, Bobby Vinton scored again with a remake of the old '50s song, "I Love How You Love Me". (Originally done by the Paris Sisters, I think.) 1967? "What, you say, wasn't that the year of flower power?" Well, yes it was...the first great rock festival was held that summer. (Monterey) I was only 13 at the time, but I remember how great all the music from '67 was. And, look at the names that appeared at the Monterey festival: The Mamas & Papas (pop/rock/folk), Jimi Hendrix (really heavy), The Who (heavy again), Hugh Masekela (jazz) and Otis Redding with a hard-charging set of funky soul. . On the radio in '67 were such diverse acts as Spanky and Our Gang (sort of a more-poppy Mamas & Papas), The Grass Roots (their "Let's Live For Today" was a huge hit, in a pop-rock vein), Aretha Franklin, soul sister #1, hit big with her treatment of "Respect", and that was right around the time the Beatles hit big with "All You Need Is Love". Eric Burdon and the Animals, who crafted a darkly mysterious blend of rock and blues, actually came out with a song about the Monterey Pop Festival; that, too, was a big hit.

Moving on into 1968, there was "bubblegum", which was a silly, bouncy, ultra-poppy kind of music, but hey, it was fun...songs like "Simon Says" by the 1910 Fruitgum Co., "Yummy Yummy Yummy" by the Ohio Express...The Rolling Stones had a huge heavy hit with "Jumping Jack Flash", and one of my favorite all-time songs came out that year, the 7-minute-plus symphonic opus, "MacArthur Park" by the actor, Richard Harris. Later that year, Jimi Hendrix came out with his stellar version of "All Along the Watchtower"; when you hear Bob Dylan's original version, it's amazing, the amount of imagination Hendrix had, to do "Watchtower" that way. And, how about 1968's "Born To Be Wild" by Steppenwolf, one of my favorite-ever bands...heavy, scorching, brooding rock and roll. I loved it all. The pop, the silly songs, the ballads, the rockers, and all of these types of music could be heard on any given rock station back then. Segregating popular music by breaking it down into "types" of music wasn't really done back then. Even country artists like Eddy Arnold, Jim Reeves, Johnny Cash, Tammy Wynette and Buck Owens made the pop charts in the 60's.

1969 was also a great year for music. Back in '68, and up through 1969 (and into 1970), Creedence Clearwater Revival recorded some absolutely immortal, heavy, yet back-to-the-roots stuff; "Green River" is my idea of the perfect rock single; driving heavy beat, great guitars over the top, combined with John Fogerty's screams...and chances are, after the radio station played "Green River", you might have heard "In The Year 2525" by Zager and Evans; then, you might have heard "Smile A Little Smile For Me", a beautiful pop ballad by the Flying Machine, then perhaps you'd hear "Get Back" by the Beatles, after which your ears might encounter, say, Elvis Presley's "Suspicious Minds" or perhaps Jay and the Americans' remake of an old Drifters' song, "This Magic Moment". To this day, my favorite record albums have a wide variety of music on them, not just "all loud" or "all fast" or "all heavy". I think this is how the Beatles remained ever-so-popular; in my mind, they could do it all. You would never know that "All You Need Is Love" was recorded by the same band, who, only 3 years earlier, recorded "I Want To Hold Your Hand".

I haven't even begun to enumerate all of the wildly diverse musical flavorings I've heard that I've taken to heart; I could write so much more; here, I've barely touched the tip of the iceberg. There is an oldies station down here in Oregon that airs tapes of Wolfman Jack; now I know why everyone thought he was so great. He had fun with the music, he had fun with those who called into his program, and his radio show was just fun. What's wrong with being goofy and silly? Unfortunately, these days, nothing is much fun anymore, especially today's alternative rock which just drones on and on morosely, or today's loud rock, that emphasizes impact over any semblance of melody; it's just ugly stuff. What's the point of this post? I suppose it would be, that there are lots of types of music out there, spread out over a whole lot of radio stations; but way back when, you could hear most all of it on your typical top-40 radio station. Those were the days my friend, we thot they'd never end, we used to dance forever and a day...

Special thanks to Mr. Raymond Pert for inspiring this post. You know who you are. And, I 'spose if I hit a bit of blogger burnout, I can always re-visit the little turntable in my head.

Friday, April 13, 2007

A Visit to a Ghostly Place...

The Cape Arago Lighthouse; easy to see, hard to get to...

I've been trying to get near this lighthouse for a long time. I've seen just about every lighthouse on the Oregon Coast; I've toured several of them. So it's ironic that the nearest lighthouse to where I live is just about totally inaccessible. Of course, when you find that you can't do something, well, that makes you want to do it that much more badly. I've been up and down the coastal road that goes past this lighthouse, but since there is no public access, you can't get much closer than a mile or two from it. I am not kidding, this lighthouse is THAT remote.

But I tried again today to go see it. There is a small dead-end road called "Lighthouse Way" that leads up to the lighthouse grounds, but there's a fence going across the road and signs blaring out with large typography, 'NO PUBLIC ACCESS'. So I went off-road, hiking on trails which I thought would lead me to some vantage point near the lighthouse. Well, I'm no world-famous explorer, and as such, I didn't realize that, as I walked the paths in the densely wooded coastal forest, that I was actually going around in a big circle; I'd walked almost back to the place I'd started walking from!

I came across a teenage couple who were walking around in the area, and they showed me around. Luckily, the teenage boy had once lived in a house near the lighthouse grounds. We navigated around that fence (I was looking all around for the 'fence police'; paranoid me...) and all of a sudden, THERE IT WAS. The Cape Arago lighthouse is on a big rock, offshore, and it's only accessible by a long wooden bridge about 50 feet above the water. And, there's a locked gate leading to the bridge. I felt like Moses, gazing out across the "promised land", knowing I'd never be able to climb the gate (which was about 10 feet high) and actually walk up to the lighthouse. But, I was closer than I'd ever been. And that was just fine, thank you.

I took a few pictures, but they didn't turn out too well because it was overcast, which means the sky and the ocean were a dismal gray; this is a photo taken from; but I did stand at the spot this picture was taken from. You can see the lighthouse sitting on the big rock, and in-between the tree in the foreground, and the lighthouse itself, there are steep cliffs which tumble into the water below. And I was happy to get this close. And, I was surprised to find that on the bluff where I was standing, sits a Native American Cemetery...gravestones near a steep cliff overlooking the ocean. Wow.

And I'll tell ya what...on the next clear day, I'm goin' back out there to really enjoy the place. As I stood on the rocky bluffs today, looking at the lighthouse and that cemetery, the wind was whipping 35-to-40 mile-an-hour gusts; and for a moment I felt as if I were standing on the edge of the world. But, I was sure lucky to meet that young couple that showed me this place. I guess I'm fast getting to know this area about as well as one of the locals now. Today, April 13th, marks exactly 4 months since I've moved here. And so the adventures continue.


One last Imus Scandal observation: I am just totally flabbergasted at the rapid demise of Don Imus, and in a way, it's a tragedy, for he brought clarity to the political scene. He did it with forthrightness, humor, a quirky point of view, in a totally original manner. And, we've all lost something here. For, whether you ever watched Imus or not, we've come one step closer to becoming a totally featureless society, where people can't be themselves without having someone throw sticks and stones, and then stamping their feet to ram the point home. We're only human. And we make mistakes. And Imus, in hindsight, made a HYOOOGE one. I was watching his program a week ago when he said that, and frankly, the comment just sailed over my head. In hindsight, though, I can see how people were offended.

In this world, we never quit learning about each other, and this thing called life can be difficult to navigate through at times. I am extremely taken aback by the harshness of the news media that reported this; how eagerly they reported, indeed, almost celebrated, the demise of, basically, one of their own. And, as far as Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson are concerned, I can't stand either of those two blowhards. I am not kidding; I hit 'mute' every time I see 'em on TV. There was something almost pathological behind Sharpton's repeated outcries for Imus' dismissal. Isaac Hayes, the singer/songwriter once recorded an album titled "Black Moses"; I wonder if Sharpton hopes his listeners will think of him as such, after this Imus thing?

I remember the good old days when it took a few years for a scandal to evolve from rumor and innuendo into absolute banishment (a la Watergate)...the drama used to hang on for a LONG time. So, I am amazed at the speed of this Imus scandal; I suppose things like that happen when your 15-minutes of fame expands to a lifetime's worth...sooner or later yer gonna fall, and Imus is gone. And, in a week's time, Imus lost both his TV and radio gigs; indeed, I heard several radio news broadcasts today that didn't even mention him. So it's on to the next big scandal or news story (sometimes it's hard to distinguish between the two). In a perfect world, someone would dig up some kinda juicy scandal involving Mr. Sharpton, who rode the anti-Imus bandwagon for all it was worth; I find Sharpton's exhortations as offensive in their own way as Don Imus' comments were. And, seeing what's happened to Don Imus, well, someone else can have my "15 minutes". I'll just lay low. It's safer that way.


After hearing about all of this scandal-stuff, don't ya just wanna go sit on a rock somewhere, gaze out over the water and think to yerself, "I'm sure glad I'm here, leading my own insignificant little life"?

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

...they can get you in a whole lotta trouble.

"NAPPY-HEADED HO'S!!!" There. I've said it. I suppose I'll get banned from and any sites that have linked to this blog. It would only be appropriate, after all. That's what's happened to Don Imus in the latest episode of his trials and tribulations. MSNBC has given him the axe, as of today, for his utterance of those three little words..."NAPPY-HEADED HO'S". Hmmm...somehow I should be offended by my utilization of that term here in this blog. This whole thing has become blown out of proportion. My own personal take on this is that people have wanted to "get" Imus for a long time, and Imus became easy prey. And, the term, "NAPPY-HEADED HO'S" became a rallying cry for every colored person who could conceivably be hurt by Imus' utterance.

The very Rev. Al Sharpton, who flaunts his power every chance he gets, appeared last night on national TV, and said he was gonna lean on people who appeared as guests on future Imus programs...A reverend, who preaches forgiveness yet practices extortion on his enemies. Then, baseball legend Cal Ripken, Jr. cancelled his appearance on the Imus program this week. If that had been all that happened, Imus might have been able to return to MSNBC after his initial two-week suspension. But then SPONSORS, the guys with the MONEY, threatened to pull their advertising, resulting in MSNBC losing tons of dollars. FOLLOW THE MONEY! And that's what MSNBC has done. The flow of money was jeopardized, and Imus is gone; pure and simple. I watched the Imus episode in which he uttered the phrase, "NAPPY-HEADED HO'S". Imus and his sports guy were exchanging banter about the Rutgers' womens' basketball team winning the national championship. And when Imus used that phrase, "NAPPY-HEADED HO'S", it was in the gist of general conversation relating to athletics and the aggressiveness and athletic physiques of the Rutgers' women's team. They're big ladies, after all. They're aggressive players, and they look like they're all TOUGH, and I sure wouldn't want to mess with any of 'em. That was the CONTEXT in which Imus used the phrase, "NAPPY-HEADED HO'S".

It's a phrase he shouldn't have used. He should have known better. And all of the newscasters are circling this Imus gaffe like ravenous sharks circling a swimmer in distress; those in the media are sure eager to make themselves look good by poo-pooing one of their fellow broadcasters. Complicating this picture further is the fact that everyone's got so many rights these days; everyone gets their feelings hurt so easily these days. Bill Maher alluded to Imus repeatedly apologizing, and Maher said, "if a guy apologizes over and over and it's still not accepted, then it's on the people who won't forgive him." It would appear that the phrase Jesus once used, "he who is without sin cast the first stone" applies everywhere except for the broadcast media.

"Kick 'em when they're up...kick 'em when they're down", Don Henley once sang. And so indeed, Imus' "dirty laundry" has been strung up for all to see. Let me turn to my record collection for a might remember a group called "WAR" me they were the Black Man's idea of what a rock and roll band should be. The rhythms were almost tribal-sounding, and they've always been one of my favorite bands. On their "All Day Music" album from the early '70s, side two, track one is an instrumental, the title of which is, "NAPPY HEAD". When I first heard that song, I was probably 18 or whatever, and back then, I didn't even know what a NAPPY HEAD even WAS. Then, several years later, Stevie Wonder, on his "Songs in the Key of Life" album, did a song called "I Wish", a song which yearns for the old days when he was "A NAPPY-HEADED boy". No one went after those musicians for putting the words "NAPPY HEAD/HEADED" into their songs.

Ah, but this ol' planet is becoming such a politically-correct place anymore. I don't want to go around hurting someone because of their race. But, life happens, things happen, get used to it and get OVER it. But Don Imus has been fired. And the world is a slightly less colorful place because of it. Now all I'll hear on MSNBC are up-and-coming, fresh and eager NEWS GEEKS, all spouting forth with glee, the news that one of their own has had his ASS KICKED OUTTA THE DOOR. And even though MSNBC has said it wants to do the right thing for company morale (since MSNBC has--what do you call them now?--"black employees"? "colored employees"? "minority employees"? Gosh, you can't say anything anymore...) it's the MONEY. ADVERTISERS THREATENED TO PULL THEIR SPOTS. I think, given the chance, people would have gotten over it, Imus would have amended his show, and life would have gone on.

I am SICK of hate-mongering religious demagogues calling for the crucifixion of someone who's made a mistake. I am SICK of the Al Sharptons and Jesse Jacksons of the world who blatantly use every possible opportunity to maximize whatever little fame and believability they have by leaping on a fashionable bandwagon, unforgiving, calling for someone's head. I am SICK of corporate executives who won't stand behind one of their own in times of crisis. Everybody's saying, "this time Imus has gone too far." No he hasn't! But he definitely uttered a phrase he shouldn't have uttered. Imus has gone too far, because all of the phony talking heads everywhere SAY he went too far. So, no more Imus, I guess. I must admit I have a stake in all this. I've been a fan of the program. The Imus program has been funny, fresh, insightful, hilarious and educational, and, to me, was so much better than anything else on TV, because real feelings were expressed. Jesse Jackson, right now, has called for a "renewed sensitivity", and on one hand, yes that is good. But perhaps that will foster a climate where anyone is afraid to say anything for fear that someone will have their precious little feelings all hurt so vewwy, vewwy badwy. Ahhhh....

This is my view, however wrong or one-sided someone who's reading this may think it is. How can we exist as a melting-pot society if we constantly have our guard up, just waiting for someone to say something which will hurt us so we can leap upon them and tell the whole entire world how evil, wicked, mean and nasty (and RACIST) so-and-so is for what he/she said? You don't think not I'm offended by the term, "Honkie"? If I heard a black TV or radio host say that, yes, it would catch my attention. But if it was proven to be a 'slip' and not a concentrated effort to alienate WHITES, I'd be able to continue listening to the person that said that. But, obviously, blacks don't want to give a 65-year-old white guy the same consideration. If you're black, white, American Indian, arab, aborigine or doesn't MATTER to me. We're all one society and we're in this thing called life together. As I see it, our society is so fragmented that we just can't seem to get along. I have no idea what the answer is to all of this, other than all of us being more considerate. Don't use racist terms. Don't be expecting someone to "diss" you so you can have something to protest. In the larger scope of things, we're all HUMAN. We all make MISTAKES.

I think society needs to increase TOLERATION of others and not be so harshly judgmental. But, perhaps, it's no good to be apologetic anymore. Don Imus has apologized over and over and he's offered to meet with the Rutgers' Womens' basketball team, and maybe, just maybe, he would have learned from all of this and as a result, he would have become a better broadcaster, and we all would have won. But alas, that's not to be.

BLOG UPDATE: DON IMUS HAS BEEN FIRED BY CBS RADIO; the news came down this afternoon (Thursday, April 12th). I was surprised at the sudden-ness of it; CBS had said that Imus' 'suspension' would begin Monday. But that's the same thing MSNBC said. I guess they don't do 'original thinking' at major media companies anymore. I'll tell ya one thing: If Imus lands on XM Satellite radio, watch the fur fly. After all, Howard Stern is on XM; he, too, got fired from MSNBC. An angry Imus is something to behold; he's already made a comment about all of the hypocrisy in the media. As a fan of his show (although, not of the remark he made), I wish him well no matter if he keeps on keepin' on in radio, or decides to retire; he is 66, after all.

Beware the IDES OF APRIL!!! got to the point where I couldn't put it off any further...

April 15th: A Day that will live in infamy: Julius Caesar was told to "beware the Ides of March". I guess the "15th" is the "ides", whatever that means. So it would only make sense that every month has an "ides". This is how my brain works. Welcome to my world. And, many people are all too aware of the "Ides of April" (April 15th)...yep, yew better git yer taxes done by then...although, this year, the "ides" is on a Sunday, so I 'spose you've got 'till Monday the 16th (the "day after the Ides") to pay, pay, and pay some more to your beloved federal and state governments. My own income picture has changed somewhat over the years; it's become a little more complicated. I used to do the "EZ" form, but that doesn't work for me anymore. And, I can't figure it all out. To me, a standard tax form looks about as complicated as any given page in an algebra textbook, so I just took all my stuff to "H & R Blockhead"...and, basically, I spent close to $200 to file a tax report, the conclusion of which is that I don't owe the government anything.

I'm in a new area; I don't know my way around here; otherwise, I'd have gone to the A.A.R.P. tax services, where senior citizens with tax experiences will do yer taxes for free. (It is a great program!) But I didn't know where the A.A.R.P. place was. And at this late date, I was too lazy to try and dig out the phone book, get an address, and study the map to find out how to get there. I just wanted to get the damn thing done. That's one of my bad traits; I get on a rampage, and basically I'm too impulsive for my own good. Well, that's an "Aries" for ya. We're kinda bullheaded when we're trying to achieve a goal. Ah, but since I didn't know where the A.A.R.P. place around here WAS, I went to "H & R Blockhead". And spent $200 to find out I didn't owe anything. Gosh, if I'm spending money like that, for an expense that tells me I'm basically "off scot-free", then I figure I'd be qualified to be a mid-level pencil-pushing bureaucrat on some high-falootin' Senator's pork-barrel budget, huh? I can just see myself now, approving the expense of taxpayer dollars for highways that go nowhere, and shoveling money out the door to finance studies of assaultive insect behavior on discarded banana peels. A few thousand should do it, here ya go. Yep, I'd be REAL GOOD with money!

The "H & R Blockhead" branch I went to was unique...or maybe not...I don't get around a lot anymore, so I don't know; anyway, the tax place was inside a WAL-MART. Even in this small Oregon Town, the Wal-Mart is almost as big as your average major airport, airplane hangars included. And, as I was answering the tax lady's questions, I was constantly being distracted by the merciless beep-beep-beep of the Wal-Mart cash registers...there were something like 10 or 12 or 200 cash registers all being operated at the same time, so the beeps came in no particular order, sometimes solitary beeps, then perhaps a few "beep clusters". I wonder if Wal-Mart store managers actually compute Wal-Mart's average daily intake in "beeps per minute"...again, that's how my brain works; sorry 'bout that. Something else I thot about as the tax lady asked me questions and punched buttons on her computer (no, her computer didn't beep)...I remember seeing sunshine and blue skies before I went to get my taxes done; it might have been a perfect day for going to an ocean beach, but there I was, a prisoner of the tax-lady's cubicle, all the while being mercilessly subjected to cash-register-beep-torture. You've probably heard Bob Dylan's "Stuck inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again"; my version of that would be "Stuck Inside a Wal-Mart with the tax-file Blues Again".

Ah, the "Ides of April". A day that will live in infamy. Quite a few disasters happened on that
day. Prezzident Lincoln was shot on April 14th and died on April 15th. The Titanic rammed an iceberg the nite of the 14th, and sunk on the 15th. And, besides being tax-deadline-day, it's also my birthday. Strangely appropriate somehow, huh? Finally, an old joke which fits here:

Student #1:" Do you know what today's English class subject will be?"
Student #2: "I think She's gonna talk about syntax."
Student #1: "You mean there's a tax on that, too?" (Insert rimshot)

Monday, April 09, 2007

...It just goes to show, even the mighty among us, can screw up...

Up front, Don Imus, the nationally-known broadcaster, whose program (is? was?), simulcast early weekday mornings on MSNBC, has come right out and said he stuck his foot in his mouth, referring to disparaging remarks he made last week about black women's basketball players on the Rutgers' University women's basketball team; he did that early Monday morning, profusely apologizing, not trying to weasel his way out of it, making no I credit Imus with admitting he was wrong...which is more than Prezzident Bush has done, concerning the issue of 'weapons of mass destruction' as a justification for our country fighting their civil war for them, a war we can't win.

Imus' show has been entertaining and informative, chock full of irreverent humor, great political guests, and somehow the whole political scene gets rendered into something that approaches a degree of understandability, and were it not for that show, I probably wouldn't be politically informed at all. Indeed, I have been taping Imus' show, so that I can watch it at a more convenient time (his show begins (began?) at 2:30 in the morning; it's a 3 and a half-hour show. And Imus doesn't pick on any one group; he spreads his vitriol around equally...he describes hapless politicians as "mouth breathers and weasels"; he has referred to Hillary Clinton as "Satan", the "worst person on the planet"; he's said vice-Prezzident Dick Cheney is a "war criminal"; he refers to one of his support staff as a "bald-headed stooge", and he refers to his overweight sports guy as a "fat moose", and this is all broadcast over national TV...or was...

I can't remember the name of the important black minister who passed away recently, but Imus couldn't say enough good things about him (this happened about a month ago), and the minister's wife, who was still in the grieving process, called Imus' show, and told Imus how good and supportive he'd been. In addition to that, Imus runs the "Imus Cattle Ranch for kids with cancer", and spends approximately half the year at the ranch, teaching kids with cancer how to rope cattle, and how to be a part of something, and how to toughen up and not let their cancer "define who they are". And black and white kids alike, with cancer, go to the Imus ranch. Imus has also raised the issue of sickle-cell anemia on his program, and has tried to increase awareness of that malady, which, predominantly affects blacks. By saying it 'predominantly affects blacks', am I a racist? I don't think so, but who knows what a black or other minority member might infer by reading this. And, conversely, Imus has received negative communications from white acquaintances for supporting black politicians, musicians and others. He said he's a "good person who said a bad thing", and I firmly believe him.

Imus is cantankerous, and thus far, I have found his on-air presentation refreshing and at times, I've laughed so hard at the antics of Imus and his crew that I thot I was gonna have a seizure. But underneath the image of a crusty old curmudgeon, Imus is a genuinely good person. He leaned on politicians and people in the business world, and helped to initiate a fund-drive for a huge physical-therapy center in Texas for disabled vets of the Iraq war, in addition to making a huge donation himself. So he's done a lot of good things. We've all done a lot of good things. And, we make mistakes. But I'm not surprised to hear that the Rev. Al Sharpton, as well as the ever-pathological political gadfly Jesse Jackson, who's somehow managed to turn his '15 minutes of fame' into an excruciating lifetime's worth, called for Imus to be fired. And, in a reciprocating gesture, MSNBC has decided not to air the Imus program for two weeks. I am watching the tape of Monday's Imus show right now, and it's obvious the wind's been knocked out of Imus; he feels awful about what he said and the way things have turned out, and a certain spark in Imus is missing right now; obviously, these recent developments are weighing heavily upon him.

None of us is perfect. And Imus needs to try and make this all better somehow, if that's at all possible. But at the same time, if he had referred to another, less-minority-related segment of society, he might not have gotten in as much trouble. The lesson I take from this is, if you're going to say something bad about someone, make sure they're not a member of a minority. But, being humans, we're prone to mistakes; we're prone to overconfidence, and we are prone to 'test the limits' and see what we can get by with. And Imus stepped over the line, and he's admitting it. Ah, but the shrill cry of the minorities rages on, and quite possibly, those with their own agendas are calling for the demise of Imus. I am fearful of the increasing homogenization of our society in which everything is politically-correct and no one wants to venture forth with anything uniquely forthright for fear of 'offending' someone.

Imus apologized on his show FRIDAY, before any of these outcries had hit the newspapers, TV, or radio stations...Imus has said his program "makes fun of everybody", and that there's a difference between "premeditated murder" and the "gun accidentally going off" and in this case, the 'gun went off' and all of this outcry happened. Had Imus been black, and had made disparaging remarks about white women basketball players, I wonder, would the outcome of all of this been different? I think it probably would have. Not that a white person has any right to "diss" someone of another race, but it seems that anytime someone in the "majority" says something, wham, bang, fourth-alarm. And, on the tape of Monday's show, which I'm watching as I type this post, Imus spent close to 20 minutes describing what he does on the show, and apologizing over and over again to anyone he might have offended. Chances are, that a lot of blacks won't be too offended by what Imus said, but leave it to the bigwigs of the "movement" to cry out in best shrill manner for someone else's head. Sharpton, Jackson and company attempting to whip blacks into a frenzy of sorts...I wonder if those who are crying out the loudest are trying to enhance their own self-importance as well as attempting to elevate the opinions others have of them. Oh, these "oh, they done me wrong" racially-motivated outcries. Sometimes this all just makes me sick. And now, going along with our homogenized, politically-correct society, MSNBC has removed Imus from the air for two weeks (if not longer, or forever).

I am going to state this so there is no doubt: I firmly believe NO ONE has the right to discriminate against ANYBODY. No one should say things to make someone else feel bad, whether that someone is of the same race or not. I have been discriminated against because I am fat and have ratty hair, so I know what it feels like. But I get really tired of these loud, blatant political flamethrowers who say they're trying to unite everyone, but by pointing out mistakes someone of a different race may commit, actually increase the division and separatism between the races. This is a different world, for sure. And it's getting to be a tougher place to be in. So, in two weeks, when the Imus program airs again (IF it airs again), how will it be different? I, for one, wouldn't want Imus to change one iota. Hopefully his judgment will be BETTER, so he doesn't "step in it" again, but if the irreverence and confrontational nature of the program is excised, it won't be worth watching.

Meantime Imus came down hard on Senator John McCain, who just returned from a tour of that entertaining resort city, Baghdad, Iraq. Sen. McCain said HE mis-spoke himself when he made remarks saying that the city was a safe place to be. Further proof that Imus is not a bigot...McCain is about as white as it gets. I think sometimes, that we human beings, supposedly the smartest creatures on the planet, just kinda bump along, running into this obstacle or that pothole, and we're all trying to navigate the best we can, and in the end, if we do more "good" than "bad", then we've led a pretty good life. I guess I wish that all of us, including ME, could go through life without offending anyone, but the more we say and the more we do, the greater the chance that we'll offend someone somewhere, deliberately or not. And I also wish that it were easier for us all to cut each other some slack when we screw up. Because we all screw up. Even someone as high and mighty as Imus. And now he's paying for it. Really paying.

Update: MSNBC has now said its suspension of the Imus program will begin April 15th, so this week's pre-suspension Imus broadcasts oughta be interesting.

The above diatribe (and believe me, I KNOW it's a diatribe) is a mixture of feelings I've carried around for years, and 'this Imus thing' served as a vehicle which enabled me once again to 'defrag' my mind. Heaven help us all as we try to negotiate the tricky undulations of the road of life.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Anything could appear in this post...
I'm blogging without a net as I wing it here. Anything can happen!

Time Passages: Springtime is the time I always think about Mom and Dad, who left this earth 6 years ago. Mom in March, Dad in May. April 4th was Dad's birthday. Six years. Can it really be that long? Mom would be 81 now, and Dad would be 90. I may now be a good 700 miles from where they rest in peace, but my memories of them do not fade...although, they might be starting to mellow a bit. Maybe time does that; puts all the bad stuff into soft-focus.

I never thought I'd find myself in this position: All my faithful readers (all 3 of them) know that I like rock and roll. Not heavy, speed, thrash-metal, just good basic melodic stuff, you know, Creedence, The Beatles...well, I've been known to veer off into Led Zeppelin territory once in a while too. At jam sessions the last couple of weeks, though, I found myself playing guitar while a guy was singing a song by the Eurythmics...and in another case, I found myself drumming while another guy was screaming out a Judas Priest song. In a million years, I would've never dreamed of playing music by those two artists. I guess music is music, huh?

Amazing, the difference 700 miles makes: We had sunshine on the ocean beaches this week. Yesterday, I sat out on the beach; the wind was blowing, and it was almost a warm wind, with temps up in the 60s. On the ocean! People were flying kites on the beach...and of course, various assorted games of "fetch" were going on. A dog chases a stick all day and he never gets tired of it. I always marvel at that. And at the price we pay for being human beings. Overactive imaginations, wanting too much, undergoing depression and disappointment. In my next life, maybe I can be a dog. As long as I'm not a chihuahua. Or a bird. As long as I'm not a parakeet.

Are they up to their old tricks again? The Seattle Mariners, the team I'll always suffer with, have hit a rough patch. But maybe they should be thankful Friday's game with Cleveland stopped short of being an official game. The game was 'called', due to SNOW. The M's were behind 4-0. The M's had lost their previous game 9-0. That's 13 runs not responded to by the M's. And they're having difficulties with a couple of their pitchers. Not time to say "uh-oh" just yet,'s obvious, by the outcomes of these two games, who had the better pitching. And it sure wasn't the M's. Ack...

You can tell this used to be a timber-industry area: There's a free little renegade newspaper in this area called the "Koos News". It's full of articles written by the locals, and classified ads are scattered helter-skelter, under no category headings whatsoever. And, as a salute to the almost-defunct timber industry, in the masthead of this little newspaper can be found the words: "Printed On Recycled Spotted Owl".

Sounds like good advice to me: I was sitting by the waterfront today, in my car, just kinda gazing at the world around me when I noticed a little remember, I was parked at, perhaps, 2 feet above sea level...and the sign said, "TSUNAMI WARNING ZONE: IN CASE OF EARTHQUAKE, HEAD INLAND, OR TO HIGHER GROUND." Okaaaay...yeah, all right, makes sense. Being from North Idaho, I can handle snow and ice (it tends to freak out the locals here), but I haven't endured a tsunami. Still, I know where to run. So, that's a good start.

Am I really that far behind the times? Many years ago, my brother-in-law gave me one of those cameras where the picture pops out after taking the foto; you know, like the ones they used on "NYPD BLUE", to take crime-scene photos with. Well, it takes Kodak 600 film, which costs about $15 for a pack of ten photos. And as the cashier was ringing up my film purchase, she said, "I didn't know anyone used that kind of film anymore." My conclusion? I guess I must be 'out of it'.

I didn't take my own advice: In a previous posting (you can find it if you scroll down a ways), I advised that if you didn't want to experience 'sticker shock' at the gas pumps, don't look at the price. You need gas anyway, right? So what good does it to look. Just fill up and go. But I am a hypocrite, because I looked at the readerboard that lists gas prices...this week, when I filled up...I paid $2.98 a gallon. Ouch. Never thot I'd see the day when a tank of gas costs more than CAMERA FILM!

The little motorboat that could: I was in a county park the other day. There, you can park near a ledge about 70 feet above the ocean. The seas actually have been quite calm, and a little motorboat (probably a 15-or 20-foot craft) ventured over the "bar" (the channel between the two jetties which connects the bay to the ocean), and headed out into the vast expanse of ocean. And what did the boat's driver do? He headed to a point about 100 feet (yes, FEET) from the jetty (he was about 1/4 mile from the beach) and he stopped and just SAT there for a while. Then he turned the boat back around and headed in. I can just see this guy drinking with all his buddies that night: "What did I do today? I went SAILING OUT ON THE OCEAN"! Yeah, rrrright...

Only on the coast: I can imagine a lifelong coastal resident who stumbles across this blog will think I'm nuts, but I notice different things, because I was landlocked for so long before moving here. There is a little radio station down here, 1610 on the dial, and the only thing the station broadcasts? Weather reports, ocean conditions and boating advice. 24 hours a day. No commercials either. Of course, not the most exciting radio station to listen to (it's nowhere in the ratings book, ha ha), but at times, I'm sure it comes in handy for the boaters way out there. And when the seas are rough, it'll tell you that small craft (like what I mentioned above) are prohibited from crossing the bar. I've seen waves so high on the bar, that a commercial fishing boat will disappear below the wave, and for a moment it can't be seen until it reaches the top of the next wave. Not for the gentle of constitution, obviously. Does anyone sell heavy-duty seasick-pills?

Well, folks, that's it for this go-round. I've tried "tightening up" on this post, my last few posts being long-winded, overblown with all kinds of exaggerated detail. And we already get all of that when we try to make sense out of what the politicians are saying. So, anyway, HAPPY EASTER to everyone!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

DID you snort your dad, or DIDN'T ya? Enquiring minds want to know!

I thought I'd heard it all. After all, didn't Ozzy Osbourne, the former rock star who is now a reality-show has-been, bite the head off a RAT at a record company's executive meeting once? Didn't Led Zeppelin put fish to a quite creative use when they stayed at a Seattle waterfront hotel after a concert? Didn't Chicago's guitarist, Terry Kath, kill himself whilst playing with a pistol? His last words were something to the effect of, "don't worry, it's not loaded." For fun, the Doors' Jim Morrison used to hang by his fingertips from a window ledge high above the streets of Los Angeles. There was a guitarist named Les Harvey, who was a member of the British band "Stone The Crows" (I actually have one of their albums) who was electrocuted when he was hanging onto a mike stand, and the mike shorted out...he held the stand in a death grip, quivering all over the place before letting go and dropping to the stage, dead, and the audience applauded, thinking it was part of the act...

So we've heard a lot of things about our universally loved (or loathed) rock stars, but, as I've found out: Just when you think you've heard it ALL, someone else will come along and throw a whole different angle at you that you weren't prepared for. That holds true in the business world, politics, media, entertainment, or whatever. And, I was presented with something that just left me stupefied, with my mouth open, totally AGHAST...and that was, a news report that Rolling Stone KEITH RICHARD said he had SNORTED HIS DAD! He mixed some of his dad's ashes in along with whatever drug (or detergent, or whatever) that he was snorting, and I am literally dumbfounded that someone could even IMAGINE doing something like that. That smacks of some sort of respiratory cannibalism, doesn't it? But then again, you have to consider your sources; after all, 'twas the same Keith Richard who was sitting in the top of a coconut tree (or whatever kind of tree) in the tropics last year when he fell outta the tree and hit his head. The reason he didn't DIE? He landed on his HEAD. Nothing in there to get HURT. And, back in the '70s, Keith Richard actually underwent a TOTAL TRANSFUSION to get all the drugs outta his system. I imagine Keith was the inspiration for Dow Chemical's slogan, "better living thru chemistry".

There is really nothing that can sink Keith's image any further; he's ingested so many drugs by now that he has been officially certified as a Living Corpse by the English Society of Funeral Directors; indeed, he shouldn't be alive. This proves, that if a nuclear holocaust wipes out the entire planet, Keith Richard will still be alive, along with the cockroaches. But lately, just lately, Keith has been involved in some kind of damage control; he's come out and said that he didn't really snort his dad, that he was just kidding. I don't know about that...after all, SNORTING YOUR DAD'S ASHES just ain't something you kid about. That is totally unimaginable, except, perhaps, to a depraved rock star who probably hasn't had a decent drug-high in ages because he's built up a tolerance to EVERYTHING...and sure, it is universally known that a "bad boy image" helps you if you're a rock star, but snorting your Dad's ashes? That goes beyond "bad", into the realm of "awfully creepy", and I just kinda think, "ACK." And if being a rock star is anything like being a politician, if you have to come out and say, "I didn't do/say that", WELL OF COURSE, YOU DID! And Bill Clinton DID inhale, and he DID have sex with that woman! In the White House library! On Government time! With a Government Employee!

So, Keith, I think you DID snort your dad! And the reason I think you DID is because you felt you had to come out and DENY it! Now, rock stars can say or do almost anything, and other than some sort of temporary shock value, no harm is done. But this...this...well, if I was one of Keith's bandmates, I'd think that if he's not actually going senile, that he is deranged, and as such, an embarrassment to the group.

I have a Rolling Stones Concert Video from 2002; they played at Madison Square Garden, and while Mick Jagger is jumping around, leaping all over the stage and running wind-sprints with microphone in hand, Keith either moves slowly, stabs weakly at his guitar or kneels, trying to catch his breath. In the foto at left, Mick isn't singing; he's shouting, "come on, Keith, stand up! I know you can do it!!!" There may be some truth to the rumor that Keith takes a swig of formaldehyde before a concert; that way, if he dies onstage, the audience members won't notice any difference.

BLOGGER'S UPDATE: After I wrote all the above, ABC-TV's "Nightline" program quoted someone as saying that only cockroaches and Keith Richard would survive the holocaust! Which I'd written here a couple hours previously! Truly, blogging in the psychic realm. At the beginning of tonite's "Nightline", host Martin Bashira (who was attempting to look 'thot-provoking'), wondered aloud for us all to hear, "this time Keith Richard might have gone too far." And who am I to disagree? A sign of the times: The "Nightline" correspondent intoned, "Could Keith Richard have actually SNORTED his father's ashes?" Did you, in your wildest dreams, ever think that question would be asked on national TV? Well, if the question were directed at anyone else, the answer would most probably be negatory. But with Keith Richard...who knows?

The Stones have been billed as the "World's Greatest Rock Band". Personally, I think they're the "World's Sloppiest Rock Band." And if they can hang around until after the nuclear holocaust, they may very well be "The World's ONLY Rock Band". And, if the rest of the Stones don't survive, well, ol' Keith will be touring solo.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

I don't think "it's a gas"...
...and it's definitely something not to get pumped up over!

Anguish by the gallon: I'm watching NWCN right now, and they featured a story about gas prices. No, the story didn't say that gas prices were falling, sorry. Turns out the west coast has the nation's highest gas prices; during the airing of that story, the cameras took views of gas-station signs where regular-unleaded was over $3.00 a gallon. So I shall offer you some great advice...when buying gas, you should:

*Take some valium, and if you don't have a prescription for that, go to the health food store and pick up some valerian, which is some kind of organic thing that is 'sposed to calm your nerves. And, bring a paper bag with you, and breathe into it. That way, you'll avoid hyperventilation when you find out how much you've spent at the pump. Which leads into the following advice:

*NEVER LOOK at the gas station's pricing signs; it won't do you any good. It's too expensive to go shopping around for gas. You need gas anyway, so just grit yer teeth and pull into the nearest gas station you can find. It's sort-of a monetary "out of sight, out of mind" thing. Which leads into the following advice:

*Try to use a debit or credit card when buying gas, and don't look at the prices, just slide yer card in n' out and pump your gas (or if yer in Oregon, let the attendant slide yer card). It's no less expensive that way, but at least you don't have to go thru the throes of actually seeing your cash disappear outta your wallet. It's a psychological sort of thing.

*Just assume you're getting overcharged, because, basically, you are getting overcharged. Redirect your frustrations at high gas prices by thinking to yourself that, "I really hate the oil companies, because those bastards are making record profits from the gas I'm buying." It's fun to be mad, after all, especially if you're mad at rich oil fatcats smoking expensive cigars and laughing at us.

Bloggers' note, especially for people not in the Northwest United States: NWCN stands for NorthWest Cable News. Which is a very informative network, although the disorganized weather presentations of Rebecca Stevenson are just kinda hard to listen to...

My gosh, they're undefeated! Remember the New York Mets back in the late '60's? Truly abominable, embarrassing, just awful a lot of the time. Well, if you'd like to experience that same feeling, all you have to do is be a Seattle Mariners' fan. I am. Strangely, the old Elvis song, "Now and then, there's a fool such as I" comes to mind. Ah, but the Mariners won their first game of the new season...and it only took them one game to do it. Young pitcher Felix Hernandez was throwing heat, and they hit pretty well, too. I suppose it doesn't have anything with coach Mike Hargrove growing facial hair, not at all. As a matter of fact, as the summer temps heat up, he might wanna shave it off. NO, MIKE, LEAVE THAT GOATEE ALONE! WE'RE WINNING!!! Another quality which one must have to be a Mariners' have to be irrational. Such as I. Unfortunately, not every M's pitcher throws 'high heat' like Felix. 161 games to go...

Goin' to college ain't what it used to be, evidently...Now, I know that things get quite psychotic in college as spring rolls around, for, finals aren't that far away, and students at colleges everywhere are trying to figure out how to party as much as possible and at the same time, get the highest grades possible. Wait, that's what I thought. There's probably a lot of college students out there who are more serious than I was. But I did have a 3.17 GPA. Of course, I didn't take courses such as Principles of Advanced Organizational Sociology, 400-level Calculus or Quantum Three-dimensional Physics Theories as applied to the Time-Space Continuum (!!!). But anyway...things are getting really strange these days. The other day, a student at the University of Idaho, where I went to school, was murdered. Then today in some sort of murder-suicide pact, two University of Washington students died. Which reminds us all, that guns kill. And too many people who shouldn't have guns, have access to them. I'm not anti-gun, I'm just saying...

I wish I coulda taken one of these classes! I frequent used bookstores and second-hand shops, and among my purchases oftentimes can be found biographies of musicians, books on popular music, books on entertainment in general and other similar items. And, I have also found rock and roll TEXTBOOKS. You heard me right, textbooks on ROCK AND ROLL. And I would have found those classes highly interesting. After all, as my Dad once said, "I have a turntable in my head." (I'll never forget that). Then, as I thumbed through the rock and roll textbooks I found, at the end of each chapter, STUDY QUESTIONS. And rather than listening to rock and roll because it was FUN, you had to listen to it and analyze the roll of the lead guitar in modern American musical expression or some such thing. Ack. Takes the fun out of it, huh?

I imagine tests were given in these 'Rock and Roll' classes. And you probably had to stand in front of the class and give a report on a topic such as "Aboriginal influences absorbed into rhythm and blues which later began to be filtered through the experiences of skinny English guitarists, who then returned the blues form to American Musicians", yadda yadda yadda. That ALSO takes the fun out of studying rock and roll. Neverrr mind, I guess. But I'll betcha one thing never ended up in the rock and roll textbooks: Ozzy Osbourne (of Black Sabbath) biting the head off a RAT at a company meeting. Now THAT'S history! Oh, and another thing that probably never was covered, especially at more conservative colleges: The ORIGINAL meaning of the term, "Rock And Roll". (It was originally a 'slang' term for, know, the activity that results from 'hooking up'...) Okay, now I'm embarrassed...

I actually proofread these blog entries several times. And the conclusion I've come to after reading this diatribe is, that if I had any common sense at all, postings of a more logical nature would be featured here. Which, in turn, would take all the fun out of blogging...