Saturday, June 30, 2007

Something I DIDN'T NEED to be REMINDED of...
I'm already FEELING MY AGE, thank you...

Sometimes I really wrack (what's left of) my brain, in fervent desperation, trying to come up with something, ANYTHING to post. Well, not this time around. I innocently went into town today for a Chicken Fried Steak (breakfast of champions, after all), and of course, I can never have a restaurant meal without a newspaper. They just kinda go together, y'know? And, I came across an article that almost, but not quite, blew my mind. The article was about special health clubs for those over 50. Well, I guess as the baby 'boomers' get older and begin to 'fizz out', Athletic Clubs around the nation have, all of a sudden, discovered a new niche, that of catering to old folks. Now, wait a minute. I thought 50 was (relatively) young. Whenever someone in his '50s passes away, the general sentiment is usually that whoever passed was YOUNG. Hmmm; young in death, but old in life. Okay, I now know for sure that Everything I Know Is Wrong...

Some features of these geriatric health clubs? Well, for starters, no ignorant loudmouthed rap crap blasting out over the speaker system. That would be reason enough for me to join up right there. Also, the exercise machines will be outfitted with all kinds of special devices in order to make the act of exercising easier. Easy exercise? In a way, it makes sense, but "easy exercise"? I kinda thot the idea of a health club was to work out, pump up, do those 'reps', 1,2,3,4; you know, tough, hardcore exercising. But at these over-the-hill clubs, the exercise machines, I suppose, are tailored for those whose joints don't exactly help them move around in smooth, effortless motion. And, yes, I resemble that. And I 'spose I needed to do some relatively light working out after inhaling all of the 10,000 calories in that aforementioned Chicken Fried Steak. But, since I have two feet and two legs that work okay (for a little while, anyway), I guess I'll just walk. THAT'S free, at least for the time being.

I 'spose I should be ashamed of myself, but he's such an easy target...Anytime I see a photo depicting George W. Bush trying to be Prezzidential, I'm tempted to deface it somehow, but I can't go around defacing all the Dubya photos I see; there ain't that much time in a century. However, what's coming up here is Dubya with dear old Dad...
Another thing that makes me wonder why I pay for cable TV...You've heard of Gene Simmons, the former Kiss bass player who evidently has a six-foot tongue...well, KISS extended its collective 15-minutes of musical fame by painting their faces and appealing to teenagers who were barely experienced enough to operate a gumball machine. Gene Simmons, on his own, has stretched out his post-Kiss-3 minutes of fame to an agonizing degree by being the humorless, boorish, overdone subject of a reality show, "Gene Simmons' Family Jewels". Well, for all of you who are gluttons for punishment, coming up this Sunday, on the A&E network, is a Gene Simmons reality-show MARATHON...and for those of you who can't get enough of his tongue, you'll be able to view 14 CONSECUTIVE EPISODES of what is possibly A&E's worst series since the long-cancelled and not-missed "Growing Up Gotti" starring the daughter of a late mob boss and her spoiled-brat punk kids. Gosh. TV pretty much reeks these days, huh?

One of the objectives of this blog (what, this blog actually has a purpose?) is to showcase some of the oppression that the little guy faces in everyday society. Stuff that I've thought about, and others have thot about as well. And I have proof that someone's thought about this topic. In 1972, a Canadian group, The Five Man Electrical Band, recorded a song that turned into a monster hit called "Signs" know, "Signs, signs, everywhere a sign..." Now hear me out...this next photo could be described by Jerry Falwell's "Moral Majority" as sacreligious, but that was not my intent. It's just that the highly esteemed subject of this next photo came upon a sign...the sign is real; the depiction is not... I got me a pen and a paper, and I made up my own little sign; I said, "Thank you Lord for thinkin' 'bout me; I'm alive and doin' fine..."

The underwhelming qualities of weekend MSNBC: I've been watching MSNBC off and on for several years now; why, well, anymore I just don't know. On the weekends, the network largely dispenses with its current talk-show-debate-and-incessantly-analyze-everything that's going on format, and they instead run re-runs of programs about prisons, mysteries, and anything else they can think of to use up time. MSNBC has been re-running a lot of the same programs for OVER 5 YEARS NOW. And, I guess they don't care. Because, on some of those reruns, John Seigenthaler and Stone Phillips, two guys who have fallen by the wayside in the MSNBC/NBC organization, are oftentimes the featured hosts of these oft-repeated OLD programs. And they still manage to attract advertisers. Strange, huh? Of course, the early-morning former-Imus slot is pretty underwhelming, too; it consists of Joe Scarborough and his yuppie friends, who are becoming more unwatchable all the time. Can you say "train wreck?" I knew ya could...

I just thought of something else that could be included in the cold-drink machines at an over-50 health club...plastic bottles filled with that high-energy drink, "ENSURE". Personally, I think it's a great idea worth stealing. If "Ensure" doesn't replenish ya, nothing will, right?

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Back to THE SIMPLE LIFE in Hollywood...
The return of the definitive, if slightly anorexic, party girl...

How could I have been so ignorant? After all, I've heard Paris Hilton's name countless times lately on TV and radio. And, as I look back on my postings, I've barely mentioned her. How can that be? She's as great of a target as anything else out there. She practically begs you to make fun of her, satirize her, slander her, whatever, because she loves the attention. I mean, she has to. Otherwise, she'd probably go crazy. I'm sorta like Neil Young; in his song, "On The Beach", he writes, "I need a crowd of people, but I can't face them day to day". And there is something oddly fascinating about her shallow sort of manufactured fame; yep, an accurate indicator of the overall shallowness of our times.

I must admit, I veered away from MSNBC's breathless hype-oriented minute-by-minute coverage of her release from jail, but I saw clips, and for her, it was almost like going to the academy awards; the only thing missing was the red carpet from jail to limousine. At every intersection, the car had to slow for fans and paparazzi. Why is she famous? After all, she can't sing; she's never starred in a blockbuster movie, and she's not even all that good-looking; her face appears to be contorted into a permanent smirk. Oh, what, you say? She's a "Hilton" and she's rich? Yeah, that's gotta be it. And she's said that her 23 days in jail (I think that's how long she served) has truly turned her into a changed woman and has vastly broadened her outlook:

Welcome back, Paris, you goofy girl,, go out there and make us PROUD!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Welcome, my friends, to the blog that never ends...for this is

Wow...600 posts. Each time I visit my posting-page, it shows me the number of blog entries I've "committed", so I've been aware that I was approaching "600" for some time now. I am not sure how festive an occasion this is, but hey, I'll go "all out", by making each paragraph a different color. No room for stupid hats or party favors on the internet, after all. (Al Gore hasn't authorized them, ha ha.) And, I've been thinking about what I was going to post, once I reached this point. Hence, the not altogether original observation typed in green below...

I see this blog as sort of a "conduit" through which my thoughts flow, and in a way I feel like a phony, because, I am a lot more 'together' here, than I am in real life. I have anxiety attacks that at times make it hard for me to communicate. In the 'manic' phase of my bi-polarity, I feel like I must be 'tweaking' on something, although I've never actually 'tweaked' on anything in my life. I wish I could be more like the person I appear to be in this blog; you know, the casual, relaxed, yet sharply critical and knowledgable individual I try to be when I post here. And, one more observation: first red, then green paragraphs. Looks like a Christmas post, huh? Well, today (June 25th) means there's only 6 months 'til Christmas. Better get that holiday shopping done!

A blogsite I habitually visit time and time again was wondering, what a "blog-year" would be. Seems like ages, don't it? On that blogsite, I replied that if, say, the overall blogging average for everyone who blogs is twice a week, then, I suppose a blog-year would be somewhere around 600. (That's actually less than a calendar year's posting at two per week.) I began this blog in the fall of 2005, and posted like a madman, sometimes with two or three (or more) posts per day. Well, I just don't have the energy to post like that anymore, nor the desire, really. Although I seem to have stepped up production lately. Sometimes, I can still churn out 3 or 4 posts a week. And according to the handy-dandy little "counter" thing below, there are those from various sites who visit here. F'rinstance...

One noteworthy visit to my blog actually got me mentioned on some medical website! I was griping about how stupid the Sally Field commercials which advertise some sort of bone-density drug are...Sally's friend says she has to take her medication once a week, which is SO time-consuming, to which Sally says, she only has to take hers ONCE a month! Meantime I take at least 6 pills every night. I'd written, "do the people who write these commercials think we're MORONS?" And that got picked up by the medical community. I googled "Atmospheric Ruminations" one nite, and there it was! There I was, raisin' hell!

However, something quite noteworthy did (or, actually, didn't) happen to me today. Here in my little Oregon Coast town, I was driving into the downtown area (which I still don't know all that well yet) and I saw lights flashing in my rearview mirror! ACK!!! I began mentally tweaking. Help! The lady cop who got out asked me (as all cops do to everyone they stop), "do you know why I pulled you over?" And of course I gazed up at her with innocent doe-eyes and said, "no". Turns out I ran a red light! And get this: she gave me a WARNING! No ticket! I actually asked her, "are you cutting me a break?" And she said, "you don't want a ticket". I guess she'd had a good day or whatever. I didn't mean to sound chauvinistic about this, but I told her, "it's awfully sweet of you to do that". And then, I tried to rectify that, by saying she was "very professional". She let me go after running a red light. There is still some mercy in this world. If I'd run a red-light in the town I USED to live in, they would have thrown the book, the bookshelves and the entire LIBRARY at me.

Well, the time has come to shut down this 600th post. Hence, a paragraph in basic black. I've just heard Paris Hilton is going to be let out of jail in a few hours, to once again be a free (and slightly anorexic) do-nothing, talentless, image-oriented popular-sort-of-person who's never earned the celebrity she has. A changed woman, she says. Maybe I should've typed this paragraph in Orange, for THAT'S THE COLOR OF THE JAIL JUMP-SUIT SHE HAD TO WEAR while serving her time. I bet she didn't like the way it clashed with her bleached-blonde hair. Oh, there I go being "sharply critical" again, as if I were perfect or something. Hey, we need Paris Hilton. She gets our mind off all the other tragic news that's happening out there. For a while, anyway.

Well, how do I bring to a conclusion this historic (if not hysteric) 600th posting? Well, I suppose I'll observe this occasion by first shutting down this laptop computer, and then I'll finish off the box of "Cheese Nips" that I started last night. Yeah, that'll work.

A Place from my past...
...and I'll tell ya, I was there for a long time...

I had lived there for over 40 years. I went to school there, I graduated from high school there, and I worked there. I knew the place like the back of my hand. I left, because I needed to. And I am glad that I moved. The weather in my new locality is more temperate, the moist air here at sea level is great, and oh, that ocean...I'm getting to know people here, I'm making friends, playing plenty of guitar, so, I'm doing okay. Really. Still, I think of the old stomping grounds from time to time. Will I ever return? Yeah, probably, at least for visiting purposes. But I don't plan to go back for an extended period of time.

There are memories, good and bad, and it's nice to be in a place that you're familiar with, yet as the saying goes, "familiarity breeds contempt". I don't miss the runaway population growth in the area, nor do I fondly remember its freezing winters and hot summers. But yeah, I think of the place sometimes. And it is a beautiful place. In places, anyway. I've seen just about every postcard that refers to Coeur d'Alene, Idaho (sent my way via Ebay's 'alert' mechanism), but every now and then I'll receive something in the e-mail that I haven't yet the image below:

This is a place where I spent a lot of time thinking, pondering and daydreaming. It is now the "Rutledge Trailhead", located on the Centennial Trail, which parallels the old highway just east of town. This photo was taken, back in the 1940's, but the view then is very much the same as it is now, and it brings back a flood of memories. Whenever Coeur d'Alene's massive invasion of tourists became unbearable to deal with, when the City Park and Beach became so crowded that I didn't wanna be there, this is where I'd go.

Sometimes, I would listen to evening Seattle Mariners' games on the car radio, while parked here as the sun set, with stars shining from above and house lights shining from way across the lake. And, for years, back when I was a runner, I would run past this spot, which is located on the Centennial Trail, a paved pathway that spans the distance between Coeur d'Alene and Spokane, Washington, although it detours rather clumsily thru Post Falls, Idaho, some 12 miles east of Coeur d'Alene. And now, I can do the same thing at several spots along the Pacific Ocean. But I remember Coeur d'Alene. And I hope the spirit of the town survives the rampaging growth which threatens to turn it into "Suburbia, U.S.A."

I guess this is my way of saying "HI" to everyone up there; try not to 'fry' this summer; from what I've seen on Northwest Cable News, it's been rather warm up there lately.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Another meandering weekend post...
...oh, I know what you're thinking; "don't they all meander?"

Deadly deja vu all over again...The Mark Peterson case was splashed all over the news media back a couple of years ago. Basically, he eliminated his family in one fell swoop. And right now, ol' Mark's a resident of the San Quentin Crossbar Hotel, and unlike the Eagles, he CAN'T check out anytime he likes. And you would think that people would learn from news developments such as these. But, "naaaaaah"...seems another guy is accused of killing his pregnant wife, so he gets two, two, two murders for the price of one. And the guy's name is Bobby CUTTS. Oh, sometimes irony can be cruel. And no, I am not making light of this tragedy. I'm just thinking that people just never seem to learn, do they? For, no matter how much you want to kill someone, at last count, murder is illegal. Except in Iraq, I guess. Whoa...I'd better stop there...
Working on the night moves...Of course, you remember Bob Seger's big hit, "Night Moves". How can you forget? The radio virtually played the song to death. Seger's inspiration for that song comes from true life; he grew up in the midwest, and at night, teenagers would all meet at night, way out in the fields, on desolate roads and party to the radio as the headlights provided illumination. (That's the story as best as I can remember.) Seems like here on the Oregon Coast, the same thing happens, only differently; last night, several groups of teenagers were gathered around campfires on the beach after sunset...with the waves roaring in the background and the mist rolling in off the ocean as the fog horn could be heard in the background. It's sort of a passage of rites in a way. Kids in pickup trucks bring in a load of lumber which is then dumped on the beach and torched. And they gather 'round the flames in this social gathering. Kinda cool.
Junior comes back to Seattle...Ken Griffey Jr. returned to Seattle after a long absence as interleague play continued, with the Cincinatti Reds taking on the Mariners. So far, Cincinatti's won the first game, Seattle won last night's contest, with game 3 on Sunday afternoon. Ken Griffey, Jr. was a member of the Mariners for quite a long while before he went to Cincinatti, but during his time with the Mariners, he hit a buncha home runs and acrobatic defensive plays for him were virtually a daily thing. Griffey still has a large following in Seattle, so it's gotta be strange to root for one team, yet hope that Griffey, on the other team, hits one more homer in Seattle, something he hasn't done yet in the team's first two games. Anyway, being a Mariner can be a frustrating thing, and I wonder if Mr. Griffey ever had this thought bouncing around in his head...
The Seattle Mariners went to the division playoffs way way back in 1995. Will that ever happen again? Right now, they have an outside chance for the Wild Card, but their pitching still needs to get a little more consistent. Pitchers Jeff Weaver and Jared Washburn looked pretty good in their most recent outings, and Richie Sexson's bat is beginning to heat up. Hey, win or lose, I'll stick with the M's. Some people watch soap operas; me, I scope out Mariners' games. Blog update: "Junior" hit two home runs in today's game, which the Mariners won.
The saga of the long-lost 5th Beatle...His name was Stu Sutcliffe; a close friend of John Lennon. He was a painter, with immense artistic promise. During his time with the Beatles in the early '60s, after a gig, the Beatles got in a fight with jealous boyfriends of girls who admired the group, and poor ol' Stu got kicked in the head, and medical sources say his skull got dented by someone's boot, which later contributed to Stu's intense headaches and eventual death in 1962. Stu's picture can be found in the extreme left corner of the crowd on the Sgt. Pepper album cover, and his paintings are still being exhibited at various locations around the globe. What you'll see below is a rendering that Stu Sutcliffe did of John Lennon way, waaay back in the early days...quite a thought-provoking drawing...
Actually, the more I think about it, the subject of this painting looks a bit more like a guy named Pete Shotton, who had curly hair and played washboard in "The Quarrymen", a pre-fab group led by John Lennon. I've seen a couple of old Quarrymen pictures, so I have something to base this on. And I'm sure, since Sutcliffe knew Lennon, and Lennon knew Shotton, that all three knew of each other. Have I opened up a genuine bona fide rock and roll mystery here?
And, at this point, I am going to bring this batch of cyberspace gumbo (a bit of this, a pinch of that) to a merciful end. Since it's the wee-small-hours, I'm gonna work on the "night moves". In other words, "ZZZzzzz".

Saturday, June 23, 2007

No, I'm not a Communist, a Socialist or a Fascist...
...but I DID shop at WAL*MART today...

Sooner or later, Wal*Mart is gonna get ya. They have their ways, you know. They probably realize they don't have the best business reputation ever, and they probably also know that there are people who won't shop there unless they absolutely have to. So it happens that people like me find themselves contained within the vast auspices of the big-box store despite themselves. And, for better or for worse, this is my story. A true tale from the Naked City. I bought $30 in gasoline today (yaay, prices are finally below $3 a gallon), and I asked the attendant (after all, in Oregon, you can't fill yer own tank) where the nearest Qwik-Lube was, because even though I've spent half a year down here, I still don't know my way around town, because I don't really go to town a lot. And he said, "Wal*Mart, just down the road". Well, it being a sunny day and me not wanting to drive all over the place looking for another oil-changing facility...I 'caved' and went to Wal*Mart.

Actually, Wal*Mart had quite a reasonable price for oil-change and lube, reasonable enough that I also sprung for a cleaning of my fuel injection system. That assumes, of course, I can afford fuel, and so far, well, just barely. The fresh-faced Wal*Mart automotive attendant said it would take about an hour. And, the deal went down and Wal*Mart serviced my car. Now, this is where they get ya...where do you wait? Well, Wal*Mart has a waiting room, and as you walk down the hallway to the waiting room, why, you see the entire interior of the store stretching out in front of you, yea, verily hypnotizing you to come on in to Wally-World and look at all the cool, low-priced stuff that you can't absolutely live without! Remember the mind-numbing effects of the poppy field in "The Wizard Of Oz"? That's sorta how Wal*Mart got me. I must have been delusionally out of my mind, for I found myself stepping effortlessly into the Wal*Mart store, thinking, "Well, I'll only be waiting an hour; I might as well look around."

And I found myself in the music & movies section of the store. I suppose I could go into all sorts of mindless detail about the cardboard display of cheap DVD's in the middle of an aisle; it basically consists of a big cardboard box about 4 feet high, filled to the gills with DVD's in absolutely no order at all, so customers just stand around the big cardboard DVD container, rummaging through them, and tunneling their way down as far as they can reach, in hope of scoring their favorite movie for only $5.99. I bought one DVD from that world's-ever-most-disorganized-merchandise-display. And, looking up, the full-priced DVD's were nearby, as well as the CD's, and to make a long story short, I spent $50 on home entertainment stuff...and I still had yet to pay for my remember, the car I'd brought in to get serviced? So that's how Wal*Mart gets unsuspecting customers. Like me.

Ah, but I'm proud of myself because I did get my car serviced. My Dad woulda been proud of me, although he, being a real "man's man", probably would have chided me (or yelled at me), for not actually changing the oil myself. And yeah, even though I bought a whole bunch of stuff inside Wal*Mart whilst waiting for my car, at least I didn't commit the cardinal sin of going to the McDonald's, which is located in the Wal*Mart store I was at...


My definition of a Big Mac? Mystery Meat covered with Secret Sauce. But they do taste mighty good. Almost as good as the Sausage-Egg McMuffins. And that's how McDonald's gets ya!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Posting in the "Wee-Small Hours"...
...too wound up for sleep, so here I am again!

Breaking News that you can't live without: I'm watching MSNBC right now, and Mika Brzezenski (I'm not sure how to spell her name) read this news story: There was a "Nettle-Eating" competition on Great Britain, and the winner ate 58 feet of nettles! I guess a "nettle" is some prickly-sort of plant, which makes me wonder, "huh? what? Why would anyone want to do this?" Of course, I suppose that if you've got a scratchy throat, a nettle would be just the thing. I guess. It sounds awfully weird to me, this whole deal. By the way, Mika is the daughter of Zbignew Brzezenski, who was some sort of diplomat in the Carter administration, I believe. And, she was a Silver Medalist (skating) in the '72 Olympics! So there's a little trivia for ya. Mika is also the newsreader on "Morning Joe", which occupies the former Don Imus early-morning program slot.

Initially, I thought "Joe" (Joe Scarborough, actually) was the best of the wannabees MSNBC shuffled in and out of the former Imus slot. But, and I'm sorry, ol' Joe is just kinda wearing thin. He's no Imus. I guess that's the point. But Imus had an "edge" that Joe just doesn't have. Bland yuppie TV. Yep, that's where all my cable-TV payments are going. To watch people I have a hard time relating to. Imus, you out there anywhere? I am not kidding; "Morning Joe" is a train-wreck; he and his "crew" all try to sound quick-witted, and maybe they are, but except for Mika, the show is sophmoric and kinda difficult to endure. Joe's okay on his nightly MSNBC show, "Scarborough Country", but he's awfully hard to take in his newfound ad-lib program host capacity. I suppose that MSNBC is thinking, "well, at least he's not going to offend anyone". Playin' it safe.

Flip-flopping the flip-flops: New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, formerly a Democrat, then a Republican, has now become an Independent. And he says he's not running for Prezzident because he plans on finishing out his mayoral term. Let's see, flip, flop. Flop, flip. Flip, flop. So is he running or not? Who knows? At least he wouldn't be susceptible to any kind of subversive money-generating graft and corruption; he's rich, after all. Yeah, that's what we need; another rich Prezzident to represent the little people of this great nation. Oh, yeah, and don't forget to vote. ZZZZzzzzzzz...... Another question: if Mr. Bloomberg doesn't like being an Independent, what else can he become, assuming he doesn't wanna be a "D" or an "R"? If questions like this aren't being asked, they should be.

So what's this got to do with anything? Well, it actually does sorta tie in...

You may recall that I mentioned Great Britain in the above paragraph about the "nettle-eating-contest" above. (Aside: maybe I'm ignorant, but I'm not really sure what the difference is between "Great Britain" and "England". Then again, I suppose I'm not very enlightened.) Anyway, this quaint building is a neighborhood pub in the town of Norfolk, which is somewhere near London. How did I get this photo? One of my internet friends, Lisa, sent it. I've been going online for approximately 8 years now, (8 YEARS?), and I honestly can't remember how I started corresponding with her. She works for Del Monte, the British division thereof. Anyway, this building looks like the typical olde pub where you can hoist a pint of ale. Quaint. And olde. So if you're tired of the same old can hop a jet to England and drink here, mateys.
BLOG UPDATE: Lisa, the lovely lady who sent me the above photo, informs me that Norfolk ain't a town. She says it's a "county". In short, a 'finite' sort of district within the confines of Great Brittania. So the Pub would be in "The County of Norfolk, England", perhaps. If I haven't yet hit the nail on the head, at least I'm getting closer to it!

I actually had the item pictured here in this old advertisement...No, I didn't buy it new; I don't go back that far. But I found one of these old phonographs at a Goodwill Store back in the mid-90s. I don't have it anymore. Even though I had a good stereo system at the time, I still bought old phono's like this one. Heaven knows why. From the looks of this ad, this is a 1950s advertisement, so the phono was a good 40-years old when I bought it. And now, ladies and gentlemen, the ultimate in highly sophisticated portable listening pleasure...da-da-da-DAAAA...

This old clunker stereo, well, at least the model I had (which looks a lot like what's pictured here) had a tone-arm made out of heavy METAL, would you believe. The kind of stuff they make tanks out of. Well, not really, but you get the idea. Just the thing to chew up yer doo-wop. Shortly after I bought it, the needle/cartridge assembly fell OUT of the tone arm and I tried to shove the cartridge back up into the tone arm and it wouldn't stick. So there was the cartridge, hanging limply by a couple of small wires from the tone arm. Ah, but I had a bright idea: I had another cheap phonograph that was made out of something resembling thick cardboard, with a light plastic tone-arm. So, I installed 'that' tone arm onto 'this' phonograph. And it worked! But what an awful design for a record player. The speaker was so big that you couldn't see where to set the tone arm down unless you were standing up, looking down on the phonograph.

The saga of the dancing can of SPAM: On this blogsite, I used to feature a little dancing can of Spam, which was appropriate, since "Spam" is computer-ese for "largely unnecessary and unsolicited communication", which this blog consists largely of. Of course, the Hormel Company, makers of "Spam", is all up in arms; they don't like their chief meat by-product likened to internet garbage that no one wants to see. Well, I decided to give the dancing can of Spam the "Cold (Pork) Shoulder", but for those of you who wanna see what I'm talking about, here it is (sans the 'dancing' part):

The current picture on my blog (you may have to scroll down, it's on the left side of this page), is that of Homer, the ancient Greek author of "The Iliad" and "The Odyssey"...or was that "The Iliad and The Odyssey"...(I'm getting as annoying as Joe Scarborough here). And if old Homer doesn't work out, or I get tired of him, there's another picture waiting in the wings that I just might use:

This is Victor Hugo, and I really don't know much about him; but he looks authoritative enough, yet he seems to have a reflective gleam in his eye, as if he's holding the cards and he doesn't wanna reveal too much about himself, hence cultivating an air of mystery. I think he was a playwright, or a composer. I don't know, and it's after 4am, I got home late from the jam session tonight (exercises in elemental guitar torture), and okay, I'm beginning to wind down now; I fear the onslaught of Mr. Sandman's sledgehammer. "GO TO SLEEP NOW, OR ELSE!!!"

This post demonstrates the adverse results caused by sleep depravity. Or, maybe, just depravity in general.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Seems like every town has one...
...someone who's got more money than he knows what to do with...

In Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, there is such an individual. He owns newspapers around the country. He's built a big rezzort which sits on the lakeshore, and you can't miss it; indeed, if you look anywhere near the lake, you can't help but see it. He's built a golf course on the lake. But not just any golf course; this one has a floating green. He has a yacht, he has a huge home in town, he has another huge home across the lake somewhere.

The offices of his international corporation, supported by massive pillars, stretch out into the lake alongside his rezzort. He's since built a huge home on a dry, parched mountaintop in California, waaay up there where everyone can see it. And who knows next, where he'll put down roots...could be don't be surprised to see bulldozers and earthmovers in your neck of the woods...or desert...


He's everywhere! He's everywhere! I found that out a couple of years back when I was staying in a motel in Brookings, Oregon. He publishes phonebooks, too. And a commercial for his phonebook aired on the little TV station down there. I'm not kidding!

Maybe the old saying is true...
A picture really is worth 1,000 words...

I recently re-installed some picture-doctoring software on my computer; and it's fun to play around with images. I've long loved the fine art of photo-satire, although perhaps my version is probably not all that "fine". Still, it's really interesting to put my imagination into action (realizing fully well there are many who are better at this than I). So I have some visual elements for you to ponder. Hey, look at the bright side: There's no endless diatribes in this particular post. I seem to have posted a lot of those lately. So anyway...This first little project is one of those "I'd better save this now; it'll come in handy later on" type of things. And did it ever...

My original intention was to make fun of our Prezzident (well, there aren't many other targets easier than him), but the more I think about it, the more it's sadly true. Our country deserves better. We deserve better. And right now, we're not getting it from Washington, D.C.... the way, the boat you see here is made of CARDBOARD.

I don't see much hope in politics right now. And, I don't see things getting better in this nation for a long, long time. Many beneficial domestic programs have been cut, leaving more money with which to feed the greedy (and deadly) war machine. A war that continues despite the fact that the mission has been (allegedly) accomplished. And even if our next Prezzident is on the ball, well, it's going to take several ultra-competent administrations to turn this mess around. And I don't see much progress happening anytime soon.

Okay, now that I've totally bummed you out, let's go in another direction. I saw a photo this evening that just totally stopped me in my tracks. It touched something deep within me, and all I could do is just gaze in abject awe at this photo. I'm sure a clinical psychologist would have a lot of fun (and make a lot of money) trying to analyze me, but oh well! This photo is one I find unforgettable...

Evidently some firemen searched thru the rubble and found this little guy in a charred cage; somehow, he survived the blaze. And these firemen are giving this little fella oxygen. They coulda just turned their backs, thinking, "hey, it's only a rat, it doesn't matter", and no one would've cared. I think this photo is a magnificent statement, that deep within us all, is a desire to do some good, to care about something. And that is why we'll survive pathetic Presidential administrations like the one currently in power.

Okay, so we've gone in a couple of relatively serious directions here...and it's good to be serious, to think about things, to try and nagivate our way through this life in as peacefully as possible. But, we can't be serious all the time, right? RIGHT? I'm over half-a-century old, and even though countless others have had it harder and rougher than me, I've still seen a lot, been hurt a lot, and have been exposed to a lot. And in spite of it all, this little guy still brings a smile to my face...

...and it's little characters like this that remind me that I've got to quit being so rough on myself. An easy concept, difficult to realize. But as long as there are those who can bring happiness to others, there's hope. For all of us.

The first two photos in this post came from the good guys at And, I stand accused of defacing those photos. And we can thank the late Charles Schulz for Snoopy. And I thank you for stopping by my blogsite.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

...especially if you were a pop music fan...

Blogger's note: I, not having posted in several days, have basically laid it on pretty thick below. This is a long post. And not for the faint of heart, either. There. Doesn't that put you in a good mood now?

In the late '80s, the musical rumor mill began churning in full-tilt fashion about a band that no one could ever believe was about to "come together"...basically, the band consisted of big names from various points in the '50s, '60s and '70s. And, when I lived in North Idaho, I believe (although I can't be sure) that I was the first person in my town to get my hands on the album that resulted from this collaboration of big names...and, for once, an album lived up to its massive billing. It rocked, but there were ballads. It was serious, but it was fun. And, it was one of those rare albums that instantly brought a smile to my face when I heard it...and, unlike a lot of records, the tunes on this one were all (save for one tune) so infectuous, they were instantly committed to my memory...and with my memory, that's saying something. Here's a picture of the group:

Here they are, The TRAVELING WILBURYS...from l to r: George Harrison, Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, Jeff Lynne and Roy Orbison.

'Tis truly a musical rogue's gallery here: George Harrison (former Beatle), Tom Petty ("Heartbreakers" front man), Bob Dylan (who I thot would never be co-billed with anyone!), Jeff Lynne (founding member of the Electric Light Orchestra) and the legendary Roy Orbison, who passed away in 1989, a couple months after this album was released. For him, it was truly the "End Of The Line" (the title from the last song on the album, and the last recording he ever sang on). Everybody's really well-known here, except, perhaps, for Jeff Lynne, but it's his voice you hear on all of those ELO hits such as "Can't Get It Out Of My Head", "Strange Magic", "Mr. Blue Sky", "Turn To Stone" and many others. I had read in the newspaper about the impending release of this album, and immediately after reading that, I went right to the record store and put in a 'special order', and I was able to get the album on the day of its release, so I do believe I was the first person in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, to get the album. (Well, Idaho itself ain't very hip, but I'd like to think I was!)

Sadly, Roy Orbison passed away due to a massive heart attack; his heart hadn't been in the best condition and he'd had multiple-bypass surgery back in either the late '70s or early '80s. But one of the songs on the "Traveling Wilburys" album shows that he was just as good as ever; it's called "Not Alone Anymore", and I get chills just thinking about that song. Here's the same guy who sang "Pretty Woman", "Blue Bayou" and others, on an EIGHTIES record, and he sounds grrreat! Of course, George Harrison's vocals and slide guitar are all over the place, Tom Petty puts his characteristic voice to good use, and Bob Dylan wrote and sang a hilarious yet somehow epic tune, "Tweeter And The Monkey Man". There's only one song on that album that confounds me, "Margarita", which I just don't get, but maybe that's just me. A couple of years later, The Traveling Wilburys came out with their second album, called "Volume Three" (a little bit of George Harrison humor there), and even though that record didn't have Roy Orbison on it, it was pretty good, too. And, it's kinda rare; it wasn't the big hit that the first album was, and, since it came out in 1991, not that many vinyl copies were made. I've got one of those, too. I guess there's a Wilburys DVD coming out soon. I might just have to get it.

Well, here's some other tidbits from my life that no one probably cares about very much...

TWO-INCH-FINCH: I've found that laying eggs and converting them into hardy little bird-survivors is a quite chancy proposition. Not that I've personally laid any eggs, you understand. (Although I probably lay a literary "egg" every time I post.) Some eggs don't hatch, and some that do yield weak baby birds that don't survive. So, one of my pair of finch lost two of their little babies that way. And a third baby ESCAPED when I opened the cage door for cleaning, and it flew around the house, banged into a wall, injured itself and died the next day. But, some good news, too. In the big cage, there's two parent finch plus three little ones, and they all fly, hop and leap around the cage in every possible direction. In the other (smaller) cage, two parent finch had laid 8 eggs, but the other day, two of the eggs were on the floor of the cage, and one had been broken. Egg Rejects, I presume. So, they're sitting on 6 eggs right now, and I'll be happy if two of those hatch. And if that happens, I'll have to get another big cage. And, then NO MORE BREEDING! Finch are such fast breeders, that they actually use the "Polaroid method" of breeding..."Have you heard about the 60-second sex?" "Nope." "Got a Minute?" ha ha haaaaaaaaaa.......................

THE FORMER-IMUS-MSNBC-EARLY-MORNING-WATCH ad nauseum: For those of you who really need to know such things, Joe Scarborough and his pack of cohorts anchored the 3am-6am (PST) slot on MSNBC all last week. And, a black guy is one of the regulars on the show. Is he nappy-headed? Nope, he sports a shaved head. And it seems that about 78.325% of the time, Scarborough, The Black Guy, The Other White Guy, and the Attractive Female Newsreader are all talking about what people can and can't say on TV anymore as a result of the Don-Imus-Politically-Incorrect-Incident which forever instilled a yuppie-type-of-blandness to early-morning TV. (Have I set the record for hyphen-utilization in a paragraph yet?) And, rumors are circulating that perhaps MSNBC will settle upon Mr. Scarborough as permanent host of that much-beleaguered timeslot. Now, GET THIS: I've read that there's a chance that FOX NEWS wants DON IMUS to team up with ROSIE O'DONNELL on some sort of issue-oriented program. Should be fun to watch. Especially when Imus puts the choke hold on we've all been tempted to do, what with her outspoken bully tactics on "The View".

ZZZzzz(Snort!)zzzZZZ(Snort!)ZzZzZz(Snort!): Well, dear reader, those would be the sounds of SLEEP APNEA. How do I know? Because I'd been doing a LOT of that lately. And getting tired out of my mind in the process. It's amazing what a lack of sleep can do. Basically, you get so tired you either can't get depressed or you get more depressed. (Take yer pick.) I am now wearing a mask when I sleep. That mask is attached to a plastic hose, which is attached to a Frankensteinian device called a C-PAP machine, which blows air thru the hose, into the mask, into yer face. The theory is that as people age, their throat tissues begin to collapse during sleep, causing obstruction of ye olde airway, so the constant air pressure generated by said C-PAP machine keep that there airway open. Sounds logical. A novel concept. And, a person can comfortably exhale against the C-PAP's gentle air pressure. Which is a good thing. If you couldn't exhale, you'd pop like a balloon. Scary thought! So far, it's been working. I'm sleeping about 7 hours, and I seem to have more energy and a better attitude during the day. I'm just glad I don't sleepwalk. I'd probably break my neck, what with all that stuff hanging from my face! Either that or I'd kill myself tripping over a clanging, banging C-PAP machine hanging from a swinging air hose attached to my face by a mask.

I'm hoping that, as I blunder my way thru these long posts, that there's something of some sort of intrinsic value contained amongst all the verbage. So, it's a "quantity-vs.-quality" thing: The more I write, the greater chance something here will make sense. Or not.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Yet another way that I'm behind the times...
I Don't Watch "Reality TV" shows!

I can't bring myself to watch a lot of stuff on TV. For instance, I have never watched one single solitary minute of "American Idol". These poor kids are up there on stage, giving everything they've got, only to be pilloried by smarmy-know-it-all, talentless-hack judges. Sorry, I just don't like to see people shot down in public. Not my style.

I never watched a complete episode of whatever reality-show that Paris Hilton was in...although, it seems that what's happening in her life right now, being in JAIL, might make some great TV, especially if MSNBC happens to do one of their "Lockup" programs starring her. Paris says she's found God in jail. Gimme a break!

I don't watch the reality show starring Gene Simmons, the former bass player of KISS whose tongue could be used for a bullwhip. He is a smarmy and stupidly arrogant person who tries oh, so hard to act cool; I liked Kiss' music, but I don't care for him as a person. I just can't bring myself to watch crap like that.

I used to watch "Dog: The Bounty Hunter", and Duane 'Dog' Chapman is a good guy, surrounded by some good people, but I got tired of watching it, and haven't seen an episode in over a year now. I don't know why I got tired of it. I just did. Maybe because for every single new episode that's shown, 27 'repeat' episodes are transmitted.

I never watched "Wife Swap" or whatever that show was called; you know, where guys traded wives for a couple of weeks, with all hell breaking loose in both families. All hell was always breaking loose in our family, and my Dad didn't need to change wives for that to happen. So I don't need to see family turmoil on TV.

There is one show that I haven't even considered watching yet; it's called "Cris Angel: Mindfreak", and it's a show where good ol' Cris does Houdini-like escapes from impossible predicaments. I always get queasy watching things like that because I'm afraid the guy is gonna die before he can get himself out. But, there IS one episode of "Mindfreak" that I just might tune in for:

Another one o'them photos. You'd think they'd know by now that crazy pics like this are fair game.


And finally, I'll end this piece of sheer idiocy with a little piece of practical poetry: "When you shake a catsup bottle, first none comes out, and then a lot'l!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

A Musical "MAC ATTACK"...
Yep, Macca's new album has hit the streets...

...and I just got my copy, pre-ordered over Ebay. Not the edition Starbuck's is selling at its coffee shops, either; this one's the deluxe edition which features three bonus songs, plus Paul McCartney talking about the songs that ended up on his newest album, the title of which is "Memory Almost Full"...
Paul McCartney's plush new album proves he's still rockin'. And not in a chair, either.
Actually, for a 65-year-old guy, Paul McCartney is sounding pretty doggone good. His voice is getting a bit delicate and wobbly when he hits the high notes, but, hey, that's the effect 'age' has on most vocalists. He's still musically resourceful, although this is his second album in a row to rely on an 'outside' producer. Those in the know say that Paul is trying to "customize" his sound for the young adults of today, who've grown up on synthesized electronica. So what he appears to be doing here, is fitting in his "old school" style of composition with "new school" record production techniques. Is Paul selling out here? I don't know. Although the production sounds a bit strange to me, his songs and artistry (barely) win the battle. My only real problem with the album is the production. Everything has a sort of "ghostly dark edge" to it; the drums clang away, his voice has a more "flat" presence, and any semblance of "depth" is muted; no natural acoustics on this new album at all. Nothing echoes; so in a way, the album represents a warped, muted view of reality. My verdict? I think it's a fine album, although I do have my reservations about it.
So far, the critics are saying that Paul has thrown in lyrical comments on the various things that have happened in his life, and yes, I can see where that applies. Song topics include reflections on his younger days, allusions to both Linda and Heather (his gold-digging second wife), and even reflections on his own mortality, as he nears the end of that long and winding road. But, the first song on the album is the last one he recorded for it; a song that his little daughter liked so much, that he put it on the album for her, and it's a lyrically simple piece about coming on over to his place to dance. And, as is par for the course with McCartney, on this album, he rocks; he sings soft ballads, he's constructed full-blown emotional pieces, and he's filled them all with quite cryptic lyrics. So, the songs have their charm, even if the production tends to subdue the music on the album. It is possible that younger people will see absolutely nothing wrong with the production on this album. If you compare the sound of his 1995 "Flaming Pie" with the newest album, you'll see what I mean about differences in production. "Flaming Pie" sounds so much more alive. By the way, "Flaming Pie" is so good, it's almost scary.
I've listened to Macca's newest album three times now. ("Macca" is fanspeak for McCartney.) At first, the production of the album really, really alienated me. It features the same clanging, morose production that could be found on his previous two albums, "Driving Rain" and "Chaos and Creation in the Back Yard". I personally think Paul should have had longtime producer George Martin (who produced The Beatles) produce this newest effort. Martin also produced McCartney's 1982 album, "Tug of War", and it had a clear, crisp, deep sound, not the shallow-sort of audio deluge that can be heard on "Memory Almost Full". George Martin always knew how to get the best out of Paul McCartney. The production on "Memory Almost Full" makes the instruments as well as the singer, sound almost artificial. But, enough of the old Paul gets through, and after repeated listenings, the album does grow on me. This is probably as good as the "'07" version of Paul McCartney can sound. One reason he left Capitol Records and signed up with the Starbucks' Coffee label was because he wanted to reach a younger, more current market. That's okay, but hey, Paul, don't forget us longtime fans either, without whom you'd be a one-hit wonder performing your hit song 40 years later on Public TV fundraising programs.
One final observation...Paul's album, "Driving Rain", came out in 2001. Then, in 2005, "Chaos and Creation" came out. A four-year gap there. Well, 2007 ain't quite half-over yet, and, blam, another album! And it only took a year and a half! Paul's always been prolific, but this time around, he sure sped up production on the ol' musical assembly line. Okay, well, why did Paul come out with a new album so (relatively) soon? Well, let's see...maybe a balloon payment's due on his mansion...maybe the evil "Taxman" (whom George Harrison wrote about) has upped his percentage intake of McCartney's earnings (England has a horrific tax on people in show biz), and of course, Macca has a "brewing" situation with the most difficult woman in the universe, in a way, it is only fitting that he's recording on the Starbucks' COFFEE label...
Whatever the motivation, it's nice to hear some new McCartney music. Next up on the horizon? Remember when the Beatles got together in the mid-'9os, and put their voices and instruments on old John Lennon tapes? Well, there's one more old John Lennon tape which, rumor has it, McCartney, Harrison and Starr worked on, but it was never finished, and reportedly Macca plans on finishing it soon. A new Beatles record in 2007? Gosh, one can hope...

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Have you been SHARK-JUMPING lately?
Or, another take on an issue which has been beaten to death...

"Jumping the shark" evidently refers to situations where someone does highly illogical things in order to get attention. Evidently the phrase comes from the old "Happy Days" TV show, in which I heard Fonzie jumps his motorcycle over a shark-infested body of water, and allegedly, this was done late in the program's run in order to increase ratings. That, supposedly, is referred to as "jumping the shark". Well, I have another take on this issue:


That's all, folks! Short and sweet! I'm blogging on battery power and I'm just about out of energy. So is my computer. In closing...if you jump...jump high!

HEY, Where's the DANCING can of SPAM?
...hey, folks, I'm just trying to stay out of trouble here!

For those of you who've visited this blog a lot, and you've scrolled down to where you could see the little dancing can of Spam near my profile (located waaay down on the left side of this page), you'll now find it is GONE. You see, I'm laying low. The last thing I need is for the folks at Hormel (makers of Spam) filling up my e-mail and blogsite with threats of lawsuits, implying that Spam has something to do with computers. They're upset about the whole thing, actually. (There is another post on this blog, in either the April, May or June '07 archives, that details the whole Spam thing; read that if you must. Although I've been known to repeat myself ad nauseum, I'm not going to do that here.) So, here, replacing my can of Dancing Spam, is good ol' Homer:

Ol' Homer here, tried his best to figure out the world, but that was a confusing task eons ago when he was alive, and he'd probably have a cranial meltdown if he were alive today. I have to look at it this way: Not that I know that much, because I don't, but if any of us could be teleported back in time, say, to the Renaissance, or the Dark Ages, or the Medieval age, or perhaps to George W. Bush's cabinet, I bet we could confound and flabbergast folks far and wide with everything we know. So, ol' Homer's gonna appear here for a while. He looks earnest, doesn't he? But confused. I think he's trying to figure out what the heck the purpose of this blog is. Speaking of which, I'm trying to figure that out too. Oh, don't worry, Spam-fans; I still have the dancing Spam can in my files. I may use it again someday...


Well, with this next item, I'm only going to go back in time about four decades or thereabouts, before the advent of the cassette tape recorder, even. One year, I really desperately wanted a TAPE RECORDER for Christmas. And I got one! And you can see it in the old advertisement I've stolen off the 'net and posted below:

The recorder I had is the one that's pictured larger than all the other stuff in the ad. It was a Craig (registered trademark, at least then) Tape Recorder, and get this: It's the same model as the one that was always used in the old "Mission: Impossible" series. You know, the voice on the tape would say, "this tape will self-destruct in 5 seconds" and then the tape would fizz and melt and do all kinds of other mean, nasty and ugly things. The only size of reel that would fit on the little tape recorder was 3 INCHES in diameter. And the way you changed tape speed was to unscrew the little metal sleeve from the capstan (the revolving metal rod that comes in contact with the rubber pinch roller). "Sleeve On" meant your tape was playing/recording at 3 and 1/2 inches per second; "Sleeve Off" meant your tape was inching along at 1 and 7/8 I.P.S. Hey, it was "high tech" in the 1960's...

Well, as you know, everything is built to fall apart, and that's what happened to my little Craig tape-recorder. It featured what was known as the "T" control. "Fast Forward" and "Rewind" were at the upper ends of the "T", with "play" being at the bottom end of the "T". After I'd had it a couple of years, every time I put it in "play", a whole bunch of static would come out of the speaker, and then it would play EXTREMELY loud; something in there was evidently bypassing the volume control, or there was dirt in the switches or whatever. About five years ago, I saw one of those goofy little recorders at a Goodwill store, and I'm still kicking myself for not buying it. A chance to recapture memories, gone. I must be regressing. Or perhaps, fondly remembering. Or, "fondly regressing?" It's possible, I 'spose...

WEEKEND TOMFOOLERY: This, as you can tell, is not a very serious post, not really. Joe Scarborough hosted the former Imus/MSNBC slot all last week, the war in Iraq continues, The President still hasn't exhibited any leadership skills, it's raining once again on the Oregon Coast, and gas is still over three bucks a gallon. Need I go on? I didn't think you wanted me to. So, instead, a goofy little photo thing, straight out of the Wild Kingdom:

"Uh-oh, he's at it again", the folks at must be saying right about now...

Hey, it's the weekend. Gotta have some fun, right?

Well, since my social skills are about as bad as the featured creature above, I've gotta do something! Now, the word is out...this is what I do late on a Saturday night...yep, I guess I always did live 'on the edge', ha ha haaaaa........

Thursday, June 07, 2007

It's sounding like another case of Government Gobbledygook...
The Saga of the so-called "FOREVER" Stamp...

Blogger's note: I'm trying to work through this. I know I'm irritated by it, but I'm not sure why. As you read this post, you'll see me trying to untangle my brain cells here. It's painful.

The way that things work anymore, I take great stock in the saying "Everything You Know Is Wrong". And it's true! We're all living in a parallel universe, where nothing makes sense. And after reading an editorial about the "forever" stamp, I'm left with another case of "huh? what?" Maybe I'm nitpicking here, but something to me just ain't right about this whole deal., what is the definition of "forever"? Well, if something is "forever", then it doesn't change, right? Like the old song, "Please Love Me Forever" short, he wants her to be with him for always (and a day). "Forever" means something that will stand the test of time, unchanged. Like, "the Sun will rise and set forever"...only that may not be totally accurate, since the Sun is going to burn out in a few gazillion years...

When I heard about the U.S. Post Office's much-lauded "forever stamp", I thought, "HAH! Who are they kidding? NOTHING is forever!" The "forever" stamp costs 41 cents. And theoretically, if you buy several sheets of "forever" stamps and keep them for forty years, you will still be able to mail your letter with one of the 41-cent "forever" stamps that you bought long ago in '07. So even if a first-class stamp in the year 2047 costs $150 dollars, your 41-cent "forever" stamp you bought back in 2007 will suffice for the postage to send your letter in 2047. Stated another way, as long as you have old, existing "forever" stamps, they will cover your first-class postage rate, no matter how much postage rates increase. So that is one version of "forever", or at least, "forever" until you run out. Now things begin to get complicated...

Depends on what your definition of 'forever' is, I guess.

Okay, here's the rub. Once you run OUT of 41-cent "forever stamps", and say you bought several hundred sheets of them in 2007, and, as above, it is the year 2047 and a first-class stamp costs $150, and you need to buy new "forever stamps", a "forever" stamp will cost you $150, not 41 cents. In short, once you have used up your existing stock of 41-cent "forever stamps", you'll have to pay the going postage rate for "forever stamps", whatever that rate is, if postage rates become higher than your previous "forever" stamps could cover. Let's envision an easier-to-imagine scenario. If, say, stamps go up 4 cents to 45 cents, then a new "forever stamp" will increase from 41 to 45 cents. See how this works now?

So, you buy new "forever" stamps at whatever the rates are, and THOSE stamps will be good until you run out, perhaps at a time when "forever" stamps command a higher price than you paid for your previous batch of "forever" stamps, so you pay more for new "forever" stamps, and the process repeats into infinity. Hmmm...infinity? Maybe that's where the word "forever" comes in? It's basically a game of "postal price leap-frog". So actually, the postal increases you'll face when you run out of "forever" stamps will stand to be A WHOLE LOT MORE than if you had used regular stamps all along. Think about it. Stamps go up, what, 3 or 4 cents every couple of years? Well, say you have GOBS of forever stamps and it takes you several years to use them all up. Instead of price increases in small increments with regular stamps, the price differential between your old "forever" stamps and the new ones you'll have to buy could be HYOOOOGE. And you'd have a postal-caused heart attack. And you'd have to pay increased ambulance rates.

So, what is "forever" about all of this? In my book, "forever" stamps should be able to be purchased for 41 cents, FOREVER. After all, "forever" is FOREVER, right? A 41-cent "forever" stamp should always cost 41 cents! Ah, but that's not the way it works. For soon, it'll be a 45-cent "forever" stamp...and so on, and so forth. And, the only difference, as far as I can see, is that if you have old "forever" stamps, you won't have to buy small-value stamps to add on in order to meet the current postal rate. So, really, the word "forever", at least to me, is not an accurate description of these new-fangled stamps, but it sure sounds good, don't it?

So now, there are two types of stamps, the "forever" stamp and the regular run o'the mill stamp, and rates of both of those will only increase. Only, they'll increase at different levels. Monitoring both sets of increases means, more gov't expenditures. Plus, the printing of more kinds of stamps will also cost money, in terms of stamp design, the making of printing plates, additional printing labor, and so on and so forth, all translating once again, into more gov't expenditures. So, really, are we better off with "forever" stamps, or is this some sort of PR thing the government's doing to try and increase overall stamp sales?

Government, that's forever. Only, that WILL have the same value forever. Which is NOTHING. So, what would be a proper name for the so-called "forever" stamp? The "good-for-a-while" stamp? The "good-until-postage-rates-increase-more-than-a-nickel stamp?" Naaaah, waay too wordy. You'd need a bigger stamp. And that would cost more.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Just what this blog needed...
Things have been way too serious here lately!

Over the last couple of weeks, I ordered a couple of photo-manipulation gizmos over Ebay, and the two gizmos I have now pretty-much do what the "one" gizmo I had before does. It doesn't sound like I'm making progress, but at least I have something else to put in this blog now, other than ultra-serious longwinded diatribes. Hey, who cares about content, it's all about the image, right? (That's what Andre Agassi, the tennis bum, used to say on those old Kodak commercials.)

So, what I have here in this post are examples of pure tomfoolery. The world of photo satire. And as long as I can do this, I don't have to read newspapers or stay aware of current events in order to have something to post...unless I want to, that is. Anyway, photo-sabotage satire #1 involves a photo from my former hometown noozepaper, the Spokesman-Review. A kid shot a boar. But not just your average-sized boorish boar...this one is one heckuva HUGE boar. So I tampered with it...

Notice how craftily I alluded to political corruption in an otherwise innocent and highly unusual photo. Ah, but that doesn't have enough 'bite' for you, you say? (I can hear the murmurs of skepticism out there in cyberspace.) Okay, for those of you who want a more incisive commentary on today's news developments, well, in the news lately is a brewing skirmish between Prezzident Bush and Russian head honcho Vladdy Putin, a guy who just "oozes" a degree of sinister oppression. Observe...

But I imagine that some of you are just disgusted with anything of a political nature. There's just so much political stuff out there to be aware of; there has to be, to justify all of the 24-hour news channels which inundate us mercilessly and ceaselessly with just 'everything'. And even though these shows run everything into the ground, sometimes I have a hard time changing channels, especially when there's a healthy scandal brewing. But it is hard to stay ahead of everything. So, let's all focus on something we can relate to...namely, GAS PRICES:

Okay, that's pretty shameless. And obvious. Then again, it would be pretty cool to drive past a gas station and actually see a gas-price sign that contained these words! This particular sign is basically for those who are still brave enough to try and find out how much they're being gouged every time they fill up.

This next gas sign represents the mindless acceptance that things will just keep going up and up and up and there's no end in sight. Oh, gas prices might dip for a while, reaching a level that is only 40 or 50 cents a gallon above what it was last year before it skyrockets again. This is how we, the driving public, are lulled into submission. And, perhaps, you don't even want to know how much gas IS, because you'll get depressed. So you just bite the bullet, put the nozzle in the gas tank (or, have the attendant do it if you're in Oregon), and dump a few gallons in. If this is your outlook, this sign is for you:

Too much fun. Me and my little computer toys, having a bit of innocent fun. No harm intended. Although the KGB is probably kinda perturbed at the Bush/Putin thing. Aw, come on, guys, lighten up! And I'll have fun, fun, fun, 'till somebody takes my 'puter away. (Apologies to the Beach Boys there.)

And, on the MSNBC former-Imus slot this morning, Joe Scarborough is back in the saddle, which surprises me since Tucker Carlson was riding the rails yesterday. Wait...Carlson is humorless and devoid of I guess I'm not THAT surprised. That's all, folks!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

You have to be from NORTH IDAHO... order to fully appreciate this post!

Most all the time, I try to keep these posts "universal" in nature, so that anyone, from any locale can appreciate them. So pardon me, for one moment, as I put this "more selective" post here; it involves an area I used to live in, and a 'quite burning' issue up there...seems one of the lake beaches up there has been placed off-limits to sunbathers and swimmers. The rich property owners near the lake don't want the public on 'their' beach. Hmmm...fencing off a formerly public beach on a public waterway...I guess Michael Douglas was right, when he said in that stockbroker movie, "greed is good". So, North Idaho, this is for you!


Fencing off a former public beach on a public waterway is sorta like saying, "Stay off my sidewalk!" I suppose if people wanna swim bad enough, one of these days they'll have to be dropped from a helicopter into the lake!

A Lighthouse without a keeper...
Now, THAT'S what I call lonely...

"Sometimes I feel like I'm the loneliest of all creatures in the universe"...(A 1977 song by the Canadian Group, "Klaatu"...)

You've heard about the proverbial lonely life of a lighthouse keeper, all by himself, his only company being the huge lens he operates for ships to see from afar. Well, how about taking that loneliness a step further? Near where I live on the Oregon Coast, sits a lonely little lighthouse, on a rock off the mainland all by its lonesome self. It's boarded up, having been decommissioned last year. For quite a few years before that, no one was there because automation equipment had been installed, and when that happened, the keeper of the lighthouse wasn't needed anymore. So it was lonely before it got decommissioned. And now it's been stripped of its reason for existing. So there it sits, on a rock, 50 or so feet above the ocean, enduring the fury that the turbulent ocean throws its way. Ladies and Gentlemen, may I present the Cape Arago lighthouse...

There is no public access to this lighthouse; from where this picture was taken, is about as close to it as you can get, unless you want to risk life and limb getting to it. You see, the bridge that links it to the mainland is gated and locked, and it's on government property. In fact, the place this picture was taken from is also ultra-private property. Those who write about Oregon lighthouses have decried the fact that this one's so hard to get to. It's a lonely place, all right. I wonder if there's an appliance in there the Maytag Repairman can fix...

Here's another view; this picture was taken at a point to the south and east; the location is just so utterly desolate, yet it's starkly beautiful. I didn't take these pictures; I think they're from I remember thinking that it's a shame this lonely little lighthouse will probably never be turned into a public attraction. From what I've read, the elements have been so harsh over the years, that this is actually the third lighthouse built on this location. In previous years, when I'd been at this location, the lighthouse's beacon flashed on and off in its own peculiar pattern; ships were aware of the light-flash pattern, and could tell which lighthouse they were seeing; that way they knew where they were in regards to the coast. So now, it just sits there, its only regular visitors being seagulls, pelicans and cormorants. But it sits there majestically anyway, empty shell of a lighthouse that it is. But it wasn't always that way...

Long ago, there was activity surrounding the little lighthouse. As you can see, there were actually residences on this forbidding rock; this was back when one of the previous lighthouses sat there. I've read that the merciless ocean winds actually blew the earlier lighthouses apart; the one that's there now is fortified with steel beams encased in concrete. In short, the present-day shell of a lighthouse will probably be there forever. And, across the narrow channel that separates this lighthouse from the mainland, is located a Native American cemetery, with tombstones looking out over the ocean. I was extremely surprised to find an Indian cemetery there, complete with a miniature totem on the grounds. And I thot, what a beautiful place to spend eternity, with the fierce breezes whipping the ocean a good 50 to 75 feet below.

There is just 'something' about this stark, severe, forbidding and pristine ocean beauty that really captivates me. I can just sit at locations like this for hours, gazing, contemplating, and just 'being'. It makes me think that perhaps, even though this world can be a tumultuous place, we were meant to take time and enjoy the beauty of this planet. "For all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world", quoth the Desiderata. Take care. Strive to be happy.

I hope you enjoyed looking at this post half as much as I did putting it together. Many times my mind has been altered in a positive way whenever I've immersed myself in the environment. Sometimes it's nice just to get out there and BREATHE.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Coming down out of the atmosphere for...

I never thought I'd say this last year: I drove by the gas station where I usually put gas in the car (I used to say 'fill up' but with prices these days, ARE YOU KIDDING?), and I was almost overjoyed to see that gas had gone DOWN to only $3.28 a gallon. Okay, not almost overjoyed, but hopeful that gas will go down to $2.99 a gallon by this winter when all the tourists are gone and demand goes down. Okay, not hopeful, either...

Repeating myself in order to make a point: Everyone's making a big deal (and rightfully so) about the SGT. PEPPER album, the 40th anniversary of it thereof. And RIGHTFULLY so! (oh, I already said that.) (Can you tell I'm a Beatles fan?) (I wrote more about Sgt. Pepper a few days ago, so you might wanna check that post. Or not.) But there's another important (or not) date coming up: On August 16th of this year, Elvis will have been on that great big stage in the sky for the last 30 years. I have the single of "Hound Dog". It came out in 1956. It's a 51-year old piece of plastic!

Repeating myself.....part two: In another recent previous post, I went on and on and on (like I always do about everything else) about an old record by crooner JERRY VALE that I'd been searching for: "Two Purple Shadows"...well, I found it at, and I got my copy a few days ago. As a kid, I had it on a 78. The new copy I have is on a 45. And, it's also on a '33' LP. Confusion ran rampant among record companies in the '50s..."we don't know which speed is gonna be the most popular, so we'd better press 'em in every format." "Shadows" came out in 1953, three years before "Hound Dog" and 1 year before Elvis' first record, "That's All Right." And I never thought I'd mention Elvis Presley and Jerry Vale together in the same post. Oh, by the way, my "new" copy of the Jerry Vale record is a 54-year-old 45.

Can it really be half a year? Coming up the middle of this month, it'll be my 6-month anniversary of my move down here to ye olde Oregon Coast. I can't believe I've been here this long already. Wow. 6 months. And it feels like it's been half a year. Hmm. And walking on the beach these days, is just as cool of a thing to do as it was when I first got here. Aaaah. Last nite, about 9pm, I checked the temperature here; it was 51 degrees. Contrast that with 75 degrees up in North Idaho, where I used to live. I lived up there long enough to know that if it's 75 degrees at 9pm, it had to be a gazillion degrees at mid-afternoon. I don't like it that hot. Never have.

Hotsie, Totsie, another Nazi: I'm watching Northwest Cable News right now, and they're reporting that up in Renton, Washington, Nazi pamphlets have been found in the restroom of a coffeehouse; evidently the leaflets were interspersed in-between the paper towels in the dispenser. What a sick bunch. I've always thought, why should the Aryan Nations Church ever have had constitutional protection when among its aims were to endanger the lives of minority citizens? Isn't that a form of "overthrow", on a person-by-person basis? And so these losers can march down Main Street at any given time, just by doing the proper paperwork. Sheesh.

I still don't know why they call him "Sweet" Lou: A leopard can't change its spots, and neither can Lou Piniella. And we would never want him to, right? He's manager of the Chicago Cubs this season (at least), and he'd left the dugout recently to intellectually dispute a call with the third base ump. Okay, not intellectually. Lou got in the ump's face and then kicked dirt all over the ump's new alligator shoes. And in the process, got himself suspended indefinitely. Ah, come on. In this age of mercenary ballplayers and parity for every team, we need Lou to add some SPICE to the game!

Just another thing that makes me feel old: Paul McCartney will be 65 this year. 65! To his credit, he's still promoting himself for all he's worth, which won't be quite as much after soon-to-be-ex-wife Heather Mills gets through with him. So, ha ha, Paul's trying to get a 'leg up' on the situation by releasing another album; it's called 'Memory Almost Full' and it'll be out sometime this month, I guess. Just the thing to replace some of the millions of pence-bob-quid-pounds-sterling (or whatever English money is called) that Heather's gonna end up siphoning offa his bank account. The new album reportedly will contain songs about Heather, as well as Paul's first wife, Linda...the lady who actually CARED about him.

Here's a situation that's for the birds: I have two pair (pairs?) of finch. And they work fast. I got 'em about a month ago, and already, eggs are hatching. ACK! One pair of finch are really into this "parent" thing; at least one of 'em is in the nest at all times. And from what I can tell, underneath the parent finch are 5 really ugly little baby finch, with mouths eternally open. And the other pair? 4 unhatched eggs in that nest, and unusually, the female hardly ever sits in the nest, except when she's sleeping. She can't be bothered to sit in the nest when there's so much to do during the day, such as eating, squawking, and drinking, and then squawking some more...the male spends more time in the nest than she does during the day. Hmmm...maybe she plans it that way. Truly a liberated female finch.

The MSNBC early-morning watch, ad nauseum: Don Imus has now been off the air close to 2 months. All over three little words, that rhyme, respectively, with "happy", "breaded", "foe". Joe Scarborough was on all of last week, and he brings an easygoing outlook to early mornings. So I thot Scarborough would be on this week, since he's been doing fairly well, and I've read that the powers that be at MSNBC like the job he's doing. So who's doing the early-morning former-Imus slot today (early Monday as I write this)? Tucker Carlson, the uptight humorless yuppie MSNBC broadcast dweeb, who used to wear a bowtie. Tucker has a surprising resemblance to Punksatawney Phil, the world-famous groundhog who would just as soon be left alone.

One last little bit of good news: If you look at the little "countdown clock" on the left side of this page, underneath the dancing George W. Bush, you'll see that there are now less than 600 days left in his administration. And he will be in charge right up 'till the end, whether he's impeached or not, because it would take a couple of years just to get the impeachment machinery going. He might have to do a lot of fancy dancing, should that happen, but even if he was up to his eyeballs in subpeonas, he couldn't be any less effective of a leader than he is now.

This post is something of an experiment. And I may do this more often. You know, put my ignorance on display for all to see by boiling down complicated issues to a moronic conclusion. I find it easier to distort things if I'm brief. Sort of a "hit 'em quick and run" strategy. Did it work?

Saturday, June 02, 2007

SLEEPING ON DEMAND... far as I know, I didn't let anyone down...

Last night, I put on the performance of my life, although I wasn't there to witness it. Oh, don't worry, it's captured for posterity by all sorts of high-tech gadgets as well as 2 or 3 video cameras, operated by a total stranger. It sounds strange, I know, but such is my life. This all came about because I kept my appointment at the local SLEEP CLINIC, all the while wondering what I'd gotten myself into. Evidently my medical doctor saw some sort of RED FLAG when I visited him a couple months ago, and I thot it was really weird when he began asking me if I'd ever had sleep APNEA, and me, never having watched myself sleeping, because, you see, I'm usually asleep at the time, said, "I don't know". I say that quite a lot in reference to a lot of things. I AM THE TOUCHIEST SLEEPER IN THE UNIVERSE. And I was about ready to freak; how the HECK was I gonna sleep in a strange building, in a strange bed, ON DEMAND, for a person I DIDN'T EVEN KNOW???


First of all, I had to be asleep before 10PM. I'm a night owl; I never go to bed before at least 2am! But, thanks to internal fortification provided courtesy of "AMBIEN" (let's hear it for good drugs!), I felleth asleep shortly after the "sleep technician" attached all kinds of little cables all up and down my body, to a foreboding little machine sitting in the corner. By the time the Ambien took effect, the whole world coulda been watching me sleep, and I wouldn't have cared. I brought a book to read just in case, and I got thru maybe 2 pages. And, Boom. I fell asleep. Only to be awakened 3 or 4 hours later. That's what they do in hospitals and clinics; they make you go to sleep so they can wake you up again. This time, though, the aforementioned "sleep technician" came in with a little mask-sort-of-thing, attached to a hose, attached to another foreboding little machine in the corner. Basically, it was the machine's duty to propel a stream of air into me, the theory being that if you have sleep apnea, you're oxygen-deprived to a point, which adversely affects sleep, so the prevailing theory is, that if oxygen is pumped into your head, you'll sleep better. It took me about 5 or 10 minutes to get back to sleep, but I did get back to sleep. The Ambien was still (thankfully) doing its job. And I even entered some sort of dream cycle; I can't remember the dream; I only remember that I was dreaming. That's the way it usually goes with me.


I was awakened again at about 5:30AM, after which I'd been asleep for a grand total of almost 8 hours. Me, getting 8 hours of sleep? Wow, novel concept. And the sleep technician told me that after putting the little air machine over my mouth, I slept much more smoothly, and didn't toss and turn nearly as much. So the possibility does exist that I have been underslept most all of my life, if not in quantity, then surely in QUALITY. Does this mean that I won't have to go around tired out of my mind all the time? Ironically, ever since I made the appointment for this sleep-thing two weeks ago, I've been anxious about it, and I haven't been sleeping as well. I guess my doctor will study the results of this thing and get back to me. (It's another expensive 'office call' for him, can'tcha see?) And maybe then I'll have to go downtown to Honest Ed's used air-forcing respirators and see if I can get a good deal on one of 'em. In conclusion, I'm glad I was able to 'sleep on demand'. I sure wouldn't want to be going thru the throes of Sleep-Performance Anxiety, after all. Even tho it probably does happen to a lot of guys...

Actually, the sleep clinic I went to was a bit more sophisticated than this...


Comments about comments: One of my 3 faithful readers pointed out in the comments to another post, I may be putting readers to sleep because my posts are so doggone LONG. She compared my posts to "War and Peace", a book known for its immense thickness. I look at it this way...the struggles involved in worldwide War and Peace have gone on for centuries. So, I suppose I'll keep on writing monolithic posts. My posts have been longer as of late, though. I guess I feel I never put 'enough' in a post. I think the prevalent feeling is, "if I throw a whole bunch of words out there, I'm bound to come up with something that makes sense sooner or later". I know there are faster typists out there than me, but I can comfortably do about 75 words a minute, so when I think of something, "bam", down it goes in this here blog. So I think as fast as I type. Or, I think as slowly as I type. Either way, it's the same.


Tonight, the Seattle Mariners did their best to lose another game, but ended up with a win in spite of themselves; they had a 5-o lead when the mid-relief pitcher took over. And that pitcher didn't provide much relief, obviously. Another high spot of tonite's game, former designated hitter EDGAR MARTINEZ was inducted into the Mariners' Hall of Fame. Edgar is a class act, and justifiably, Seattle is proud of him. Best wishes, Edgar!