Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The worse it TASTES, the better it WORKS...

This might end up being one of the most important posts I'll ever write. But, as stupid and silly as I can be sometimes about stuff that doesn't mean a tinkers' damn to anyone, there are times when I try to post things that will impart relevant info to those who wander here. Admittedly, that doesn't happen often here, but I do think this post is important. And, if you're over 50, I really do think this is something you need to know. Now let me begin...I'm afraid of doctors and hospitals. The last time I'd had any kind of invasive procedure done was when I had appendicitis, in 1968. In short, I'd never really had anything of significance done to me (other than scans or steroid shots) in 40 YEARS. And all of that changed TODAY. And I was scared sh*tless, just like Crosby, Stills and Nash at Woodstock..."this is our second gig, man; we're scared SH*TLESS", said Steven Stills to the assembled multitudes wallowing in the mud.

It all began back in September during that fateful visit to the medical clinic (where I STILL think I caught the flu). I had a blood test done, since I am still taking meds to control my uric acid level. If that stays under control, I don't have the horrible gout symptoms that I used to have, and let me tell you, Gout pain is the worst ever pain I've had in my 53 years on this planet. It's driven me to the emergency room a couple of times, and used to cripple me for weeks at a time. So I got pro-active, got it treated, and in terms of gout, overall, I'm doing just fine. The last blood test I took ended up revealing that I am, of all things, somewhat ANEMIC. Not enough iron. I'd also been feeling fairly fatigued, and still feel that way, but my doctor said that there could be internal bleeding contributing to that anemic state. And, he wanted me to have a COLONOSCOPY done. Ulp! I literally cringed in having something rammed up my (censored), but I agreed with the doctor. He referred me to another doctor; I made the appointment. That was two MONTHS ago. And finally today, which felt sorta like a medically-oriented D-day, arrived. Ulp.

Let me tell you here and now that the WORST part of a colonoscopy is the preparation. You can't eat anything the entire day before, although you can have clear liquids. The evening of the day before, you have to take a dose of the worst-tasting laxative on the planet (second in bitterness only to BATTERY ACID), and then you've gotta dose yourself with that stuff AGAIN, the morning of the big event. Lemme tell ya, folks, the rug between the TV room and the commode is almost worn out from all my trips back and forth. (Too much information, I know, but I'm being as tactful as I can.) Since I keep late hours, I just didn't bother going to I stayed up, obsessing on what I was about to go thru at the clinic in-between doses of battery-acid-flavored laxative. (Awful stuff, that.) There was one advantage to consuming the putrid totally KILLED any appetite I had, so getting through the last 12 hours of my medically-imposed fast was actually quite a breeze. I kept the CD player going, had the radio on, I was playing computer pinball; that's how I kept from totally freaking out, knowing that the hours I had left until my impending encounter with the mad doctor were evaporating faster than ice cubes sprinkled on the sands of Death Valley in mid-August.

I took a taxi to the clinic, because I was advised I shouldn't drive, since afterwards, I would probably still be loopy from the sedative that would keep me from hitting the ceiling during what the medical community lovingly terms as "the procedure". Loopier than usual, that is. And when I got to the clinic, I was sooooo scared; I mean, sheer terror was racing thru my mind; I tend to get carried away by all sorts of reckless imaginings. And I thought about turning around and walking out the door, because I WAS scared, almost frightened at the thot of having something shoved up my (censored). But, the cab I rode in had long since gone. I was stuck. So, the nurse showed me to my cot, and curtained me off from the rest of the pre-op room, and on went the proverbial paper gown. Judging from what goes on during a colonoscopy, I've at last found the answer to why those annoying gowns tie in the back, leaving one's (censored) unceremoniously hanging out for the whole world to see. Now, I am probably the world's most modest person. I don't even take my SHIRT off during the summer. So this occasion was totally foreign to every single solitary fiber of my BEING. After all, my big (censored) was going to be exhibited, prodded and invaded by total STRANGERS. ACK ACK ACK AAAAACKTHPTF!!!

As I lay on the cot, an IV drip was inserted into my right hand. Some form of sedation was inoculated into my hip, and after waiting a while, still fully conscious, I was wheeled into the colonoscopy chamber. Ack Ack AAAACK. The doctor then opened up my IV drip, removed the saline solution, and put more sedation chemicals into that IV. And immediately, the thought of "lethal injection" crossed my mind." So THIS is what the prisoner goes thru, I thot. I told the doctor, "hey, this might not work because I have difficulty getting to sleep sometimes." The doctor's assistant just laughed; evidently he knew something I didn't. I wish I could tell you more about exactly what I felt during the "procedure" ...but I wasn't there! I was unconscious thru the whole thing. More than usual, anyway. Next thing I knew, I was in the recovery room, and much like Peggy Lee, I wondered, "Is that All There IS?" And the nurse told me I'd come through everything just fine and after laying in the cot for a while longer, like a limp dish rag, she brought my clothes back in, and then told me to take a seat; the doctor would be with me in a moment.

While waiting for the doctor, I asked the nurse for something to drink...I was PARCHED from the previous night's laxative activity; my mouth felt as dry as the sand on the nearby Oregon Dunes. And the "Sierra Mist" (PepsiCo's attempt to steal the "7up" market) tasted truly, verily, like Nectar Of The Gods. As I sat there and sipped, waiting for the doctor, I remember being told I would be under "conscious sedation", but if I don't remember anything about "the procedure", how 'conscious' could I have been? Actually, though, I'm glad I don't remember. Soon enough, the doctor came by to post-consult me, and he had six interesting little photos with him, that back in the '60s, could have been used for a psychedelic poster. Only, these fotos were pictures of the INSIDE of my (censored), and it turns out that everything was just FINE. No polyps, no "snips" of anything "up there", no NOTHING. In short, I am JUST FINE. Wow. And I was told that even if something had to be "snipped", no pain would be felt; no nerve ends in there, you see.

I don't smoke, I don't drink anymore, and I don't do drugs, so I was fairly sure they wouldn't find anything, but it is nice to know for sure. And what I'm trying to tell you is, that no matter how gross, yucky or disgusting you might think having a colonoscopy rod (with a little camera on the tip) rammed into your (censored) may be, it is EASY to get through. The hard part is justifying it...I had to pay for the awful-tasting battery-acid flavored laxative; I'm co-paying for having something inserted up my (censored), and I'm trusting the welfare of my vulnerable (censored) to TOTAL STRANGERS. And all of those futile attempts at justification disappear instantly, however, when I think, "well, I'm 53, and all things considered, I am fortunate." And, I'm almost doing cartwheels to think that 10 to 15 years can elapse before I've gotta get it done again. Maybe by that time, perhaps the battery-acid-flavored laxative will be made to taste better. It couldn't taste any worse than it does at the present time.

They say 'what doesn't kill you makes you stronger'...and I'm happy to say that, I'm still alive. I didn't want to do this...but I am in my '50s. I'm at the age where things begin to happen to the body. And, I haven't slept for 25 hours now. And the pizza I ate when I got home was the first time I'd eaten in 31 hours. And you know what? It was worth it. And, looking back, the whole thing (except for the battery-acid-flavored laxative)...was EASY.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Can't you guys just PLEASE SHUT UP for a while?

I've watched TV Sports for ages. For some reason, whenever I tell someone who knows me that I watch sports, they can't believe it. I guess I don't look like a jock; I'm not especially rugged or rough, and whatever "macho" I have seems to be hidden in a shroud of self-doubt; I just try to navigate through life, not coming on too loud or too strong, and I try to be tactful and not speak out of turn. So I'm not the type of macho yeller and screamer who hangs out in sports bars or bowling alleys, and you'll never see me at a pool table or dartboard...I'm just not into that stuff. I used to do some of that when I was younger, but I don't now, and I don't miss it. Although, if I go into a bar and there's a pinball machine, well, I've just gotta play it. But I hardly ever go into bars anymore, either, and I don't miss that either.

I have a big beef with all of today's sports programs, and especially professional football games. Tonite's Monday Night Football crew has three people in the booth, plus a couple of breathless pseudo-reporters who report on every little scrape, scratch, or bump on the field, and if those don't happen, they'll tell you who in the crowd is eating what as they try to watch the game, attempting to get the most value for the money they've spent on overpriced game tickets. In short, there is not a single, solitary slice of SILENCE during a three-hour football game; everyone in the broadcast crew dives in to fill moments of silence with endless stupid philosophizing, quotes, stories, vignettes, statistics, developments or whatever. In short, they all YAK YAK YAK like a bunch of "Heckyll-and-Jeckyll" MAGPIES and it absolutely fricking drives me NUTS! I have to mute the game every once in a while; otherwise, I'll literally blow a GASKET.

The prevailing philosophy of Sports Broadcasting these days is to "fill every little teeny-tiny bit of silence with Something, Anything". And during the Monday Night Football's halftime show, it gets even worse. Tony Kornheiser, who should be FIRED because he's such a yammering loudmouth, gets into speed-shouting duels with a sports analyst, and they both argue back and forth, constantly talking over each other, yell, yell, yell, YAK, YAK, YAK, and it continues until I'm almost ready to SCREAM BLOODY MURDER, but I don't, you see, because my remote is in my hand, and the "mute" button gets hit again. I like it when a sports announcer can clarify what's happening down on the field, but I also need "space" to absorb what's going on, and when there's 3 announcers and correspondents, covering the game, THERE IS NO SILENCE!

Dave Niehaus, who broadcasts Seattle Mariners' games, and Joe Buck, who announces Fox's baseball games, both have the right idea. They speak deliberately, they don't rush anything, and in-between plays, they LET THE GAME DETERMINE ITS OWN RHYTHM. They'll pause, so that you can hear crowd noise and soak in the general ambience of the proceedings, and then they'll speak again for a little while. In short, they don't annoy you like THE MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL CREW does...contrast what Al Michaels and John Madden do on Sunday Night Football, with the current Monday Night Football crew...Michaels and Madden are down-to-earth, genuinely interesting sportscasters who don't talk, talk, talk, yammer, yammer, yammer all damn game long!. And, there's no Tony Kornheiser to explore every single angle of football that, in the long run, is just NOT IMPORTANT.

I think Tony Kornheiser should be BUMPED from Monday Night Football, not at the end of this season, but RIGHT NOW. I think that the Monday Night Football announcers should slow down and not try so hard to cover EVERYTHING. They tend to forget that the viewer can SEE WHAT'S GOING ON...GIVE US FANS SOME CREDIT, GUYS!!! And I'm sorry, but what is a female sports correspondent even DOING on the sidelines? I just don't get it. Women don't play professional football! Jeannie Zelasko, on Fox sports, doesn't play baseball. What are they doing, even INVOLVED in the games? Oh, yeah, right, a pretty face helps stabilize the ratings. Gotcha. Okay, women probably hate me now for that last comment, but I don't think men should be involved in women-only sports either.

I think I know where this whole sports-overinformation thing started. While listening to the over-informative Rick Rizzs broadcast Mariners baseball games, I noticed many years ago that he never shuts up; indeed, he never breathes! And I wondered where I'd heard that kind of broadcasting before...well, when I heard Bob Costas doing a baseball game, outta his mouth came all kinds of verbal accumulation in the form of flotsam, jetsam, and ephemera. So I blame Bob Costas, because that's who todays' young announcers wanted to Grow Up To Be. I just wanna say this to all sports announcers: It is okay NOT to talk sometimes. Take a breath. Take a pill. Or whatever. Guy, you're wearing out my ears! And now the Monday Night Football Announcers have brought a GUEST into the booth...oh, maaaaaan...FOUR mouths to listen to now...ackthptf...........

It's midway thru the third quarter of the Packers/Broncos game, and I've gotta end this post. My remote is calling me again. I've gotta reduce the TV volume. And if that doesn't work..."MUTE"!!!

Well, I guess baseball season is over...
It ain't over 'til it's over, but it's all over now...

The World Series ended last night, as the Boston Red Sox brought their brooms with them, and swept the Colorado Rockies in four straight. I'm sure that with the dawning of a new day, the Rockies will realize their team made some great strides this year, but, face it...losing is not fun, and they lost. Consider, if you will, that before the Red Sox won the Series in 2004, they hadn't been in a series for 86 YEARS. So the Rockies can't be feeling very good about this, 'cos who knows when they'll be in a series again...if ever. It's an "iffy" proposition all the way around. Sure, you've gotta have great players who can hit and pitch, but a certain amount of luck is needed, too. Balls bouncing your way; fielders missing your line drives, bad bounces on the infield turning a sure out into a base hit; you know, stuff like that. And if luck ain't with ya, it's gonna be a long season.

I had not seen Colorado play at all this past season; I torture myself by listening to or watching the yearly struggles of the Seattle Mariners, and as such, I rarely see any National League action. In the first two games of the series, Boston DOMINATED things, running up huge run tallies, and just punishing the Rockies, which had me thinking, "what makes Colorado so good, anyway?" As the series shifted from Boston to Denver, and the Rockies were playing on home turf, they began looking more comfortable, putting together hits and manufacturing runs, and also smacking the occasional home-run, and during those last two games, the Rockies had the Red Sox on the ropes a couple of times, but in the end, Boston's depth won out. Whatever the Rockies did, Boston did better. And in the end, Boston's pitching made all the difference. Closer Jonathon Papelbon's rocket right arm was devastating all series long...and especially last night.

The Rockies won something like 20 out of their last 21 regular-season games, just to get to the World Series. And like all the other major league teams (except for Boston, at least until their World Series victory euphoria ends), they hope they'll have something to smile about next year.

It looks like A-ROD wanted out: Alex Rodriguez is LEAVING THE YANKEES. Everyone knows he's making the largest salary in major league baseball, and will continue to make AT LEAST that, no matter who he ends up playing for. Presently, he's raking in $252 million over several seasons. Something like $5,000 for every at-bat. So why's he leaving? Well, he was playing for some of the most cynical and hardnosed fans in the baseball world, and his boss has never been a candidate for any kind of "Mr. Congeniality" award, ever. Well, you've heard the saying that "any kid can grow up to be President", but why would anyone want to? Talk about high pressure. By the same token, being a Yankee is a dream for a lot of players, but when one experiences all the pressure and bad vibes A-Rod, or anyone else who has been on the team receives, why would anyone want to be a New York Yankee? If ol' man Steinbrenner ain't on yer back, you've got the fans' pent-up hostility, plus the New York newspapers saying all kinds of nasty things about you.

I could belabor this point to death, much as I belabor points I've made in other blogs, but we all know that charts, graphs and pictures can oftentimes add much-needed clarity in achieving true understanding of a complicated situation, especially one that involves millions and millions of dollars. Major-league baseball players don't come cheap, after all, which necessitates those eight-dollar bottles of beer and ten-dollar hot dogs (that might be an exaggeration) that fans must buy, because after all, they're doing their duty by supporting Major League Baseball. Anyway, I have presented two pictures below...the first picture describes the aerodynamics of a baseball as it sails through the air...

Of course, if you're talking about a 98-mph baseball that Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon throws, the above diagram would actually need to show a tail of FLAMES, and quite possibly, the baseball would also need a NASA-type heat shield so it doesn't burn up before it reaches the catcher. Next up, I tailored the above diagram to represent the quandry that A-Rod presently finds himself immersed in. It's been customized to fit his present situation. After all, that $252 million (or what's left of it, since it's been a while since the Texas Rangers agreed to pay him that much before he left for New York to become a big star...) has gotta come from SOMEWHERE. This should, at least to a degree, portray ol' A-Rod's present situation...

The Texas Rangers have been funneling money to the New York Yankees in order to keep A-Rod's salary paid. Obviously, some kind of convoluted trade-plus-cash deal. I can just see it now: Pretty soon, the rest of the major league teams will be hearing from the Texas rangers, saying, "DON'T SIGN A-ROD, OR WE'LL GO BANKRUPT!" A-Rod's a great player, who set all kinds of records while a Yankee, but somehow, his batting average turned to almost zilch during the Yankees' numerous post-season appearances over the last few years. Maybe that huge wage he's being paid puts him under additional pressure. And then he tanks. That's my theory.

BLOG UPDATE: (11/28/2007) I heard recently that A-Rod actually RETURNED to the Yankees, albeit at a higher salary. That was probably the only move he could make, since he makes more per year than the average annual U.S. Gross National Product. Face it, no one else had the Really Big Bucks.

In writing this post, I was struck by a thought: People are often ridiculed if it's found out they pay attention to the goofy soap-operas which are still a presence on network TV. Heck, there's even a soap-opera network; how nuts is that? I don't need the soaps...I endure major-league baseball instead.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

So did I pass the "Free I.Q. Test"?
Maybe I should have my head examined sometime soon?

Up-front, I am a self-centered, self-absorbed blogger. I say that because I type my life away on this site, and I'm so pathetically ego-centric that I don't read any other blogs. Harrumph! But tonite, well, I went a-blog-readin'. I wanted to read about what other people felt about whatever stuff they were concerned with, and I read a few fairly amusing blogs, but alas, none so amusing as My Blog, or so I'd like to think, anyway. One of those blogsites had a link to a FREE I.Q. TEST, so I jumped in and basically fell for it. I clicked "go", and all of a sudden up popped all kinds of product offers that I had to turn down. Nope, don't want 'em. So, on one hand, maybe my I.Q. isn't so hot, because I fell victim to an obvious cyber-ploy, but then again, I turned down all the offers, so maybe my I.Q. is doing all right after all. And with that, I progressed to the FREE I.Q. TEST page.

I answered all kinds of weird test questions involving shapes, angles, reasoning, association, mathematics, historical knowledge and so forth, and on some of those questions, I didn't have a clue. Not only that, but I was taking a TEST on my own FREE TIME, so how dumb does THAT make me? I suppose I'm a vain person who wants someone to tell me I'm knowledgable, gifted and smart. And how dumb is that, because society is not conditioned to view things in a positive manner. It's my experience that rejection is always utilized more than approval. So, maybe I was excersing false hope under the misguided gold-plated fickle-finger of fate. But this was something I had to try. And I resolved firmly, to finish this test that I had started.

So I answered tons of questions on that free I.Q. test, because at my rapidly advancing age, I wanted to know how brain cells I'd lost since I'd last taken an I.Q. test. My gosh...questions like, "if X likes Z, and Z likes A, then X will also like A, true or false?"...I also encountered questions involving convoluted reasoning and general irrelevance; you know, qualities that most politicians need if they're gonna be successful. Finally, I reached the end of the test, and hit the "Submit" button. Oh boy! I was gonna see how SMART I am! Einstein, look out! Here I come!

Thing is, I never found out what my I.Q. was, because, after hitting "submit", I was directed to another web page that said (and I'm paraphrasing here), "while you are waiting for your I.Q. evaluation, please tell us about yourself". I was supposed to supply my full name, my phone number, my e-mail address, my residence address and all kindsa other stuff which would render me yet more vulnerable to receiving more junk mail than I already do whether it be in my Junk Mail folder, or in my residence mailbox. In short, I couldn't find out what my I.Q. was without revealing the kind of details that spammers lick their chops over. That's when I decided that "this is pure CRAP" and left my I.Q. results hanging in the air, because I didn't wanna supply all of cyberspace with the story of my life. I'd been manipulated ENOUGH. ZAP! I clicked the "X" in the upper right corner of my screen, and I was GONE. And maybe that was my most intelligent decision of the evening. So I guess my I.Q., which can fluctuate, depending on how stupid I am on any given day, is doing okay after all. There appears to be "judgment" in there somewhere.

This is what enticed me to take that I.Q. test. But somehow, I'm kinda thinkin' that the guy in the picture wouldn't have fallen for it. So maybe I'm more like the guy with the ice cream cone? Duhhhhhh...

Saturday, October 27, 2007

MONKEE-ING Around...
WARNING: If you are BRITISH, and SENSITIVE, proceed with caution!

I don't just collect Beatles' records. I collect all kinds of stuff; especially, obscure stuff I've read about, or items of musical notoreity, that have left their respective marks in the vast hallways of The Potentially Offensive...(no, I won't provide a picture of my "Two Virgins" album here, featuring a NUDE John and Yoko...suffice it to say, "it just ain't pretty.") I also collect Monkees' items; unfortunately, there isn't a whole lotta stuff out there to collect. I have three CD's (released by Rhino Records) that feature many, many of their previously-unreleased tracks (those three CD's total about 80 Monkees Unreleased Tracks); in addition, I have all of their albums, and all of their little 45rpm records. Unlike Beatles' U.S.A. singles, not all of the Monkees' 45's were issued with picture sleeves, but I have all of the picture sleeves that were issued with Monkees' 45's. And if you have to ask me what a '45' is, STOP READING NOW. You're not OLD enough to be reading this malarkey.

Back to the story: The Monkees were not allowed to play their own instruments on their first two albums, "The Monkees" and "More Of The Monkees". That didn't sit well with Peter Tork and Mike Nesmith, who were honest-to-goodness musicians. However, after much aggression between the group and the record company, they were allowed to play their own instruments, on their third album, "Headquarters", pictured here..

...and it's a great album, and one any group would be proud of. However, it did NOT contain any U.S. singles. Shows ya how DUMB the record company was. "Headquarters" contained some great songs, including several written by the Monkees themselves; Mike wrote three, and Micky, the drummer, wrote one, but ah, what a sweet little tune it rants and raves in an abstract manner (sorta like me); one of the lyric lines is "why don't you hate what I hate, kill who I kill to be free"...yep, that line was in a MONKEES' song. In that same song, Micky/The Monkees refer to the Beatles thusly: "The four kings of E.M.I. are sitting stately on the floor." EMI is the big worldwide conglomerate that the Beatles recorded for; the Beatles' English label (Parlophone) and American Label (Capitol) were included within the benevolent (or not) EMI corporate umbrella.

Back in '67, a couple of the Monkees actually went to England around the time the Beatles were recording "Sgt. Pepper"...I have a video of the sessions during the recording of Sgt. Pepper's closing song, "A Day In The Life", and it pictures Monkee Mike Nesmith and John Lennon sitting side-by-side, talking about who knows what (maybe they were swapping song lyrics, ha ha). Anyway, The Monkees' "Headquarters" album was released about a month after "Sgt. Pepper", back in the summer of 1967. The very last track on the "Headquarters" album is the one written by Micky (which I wrote about I'll write some more about it). The title of the song is (British folks, look away if you must) "RANDY SCOUSE GIT". The phrase is nowhere in the song, but that's the title, and this left the British record industry in a sort of a dead-end time-warp continuum...

For, you see, "Randy Scouse Git" was a very popular song in England. The record company wanted to put it out as a SINGLE. It was popular, in part, quite possibly because it mentioned the Beatles (who knows?), and we know that ALL British people, whether they know it or not, think of the Beatles as "Fab". "Gear", even. But, the phrase, "Randy Scouse Git" (the Monkees' song, remember?) is evidently patently OFFENSIVE to the British public. I hadn't known that until I read about it in a Monkees' biography several years ago. And then I found that English single on Ebay and I bought it, which re-awakened my sensibilities (what few of those are left) and I needed to find out MORE about this Monkees/Great Britain musical conflict...

Luckily for me, I knew just where to turn...way back when I first began going on the internet, I was heavily into instant-messaging, communicating with people of different cultures. (Now, I'm just a stodgy old hermit.) Back then, I made a good friend on the internet; she lives in England, and sends me all her wacky corporate jokes and forwards and I send her what little original stuff I am capable of coming up with. And she informed me as to the meaning of "Randy Scouse Git". I mean, we're going right to the SOURCE here...a genuine English Lass, with her feedback on this huge Monkee Musical Mystery...

She tells me the term "Randy" (which I had always thot of as meaning "somewhat wild") actually means one is in a state of, er, well, "intimate physical activity". Tho it's been a "long time", I haven't totally forgotten what "that" means. Next, she informed me that 'Scouse' refers to the Liverpool area of England, some sort of non-offensive descriptive, used in the same way a Texan would refer to someone from the Northern part of our nation as a "Yankee". (My Mom, who was a Texan, used that term ALL THE TIME.) And, finally, Ms. English Lady tells me that "Git", as applied to womenfolk, is somewhat analagous to calling your antagonistic Mother-In-Law a 'stupid old cow'. Okay, put 'em all together ("Randy Scouse Git"), and what you have is a horny, deranged person from the Northwestern part of England! Naturally, RCA (which issued Monkees' records in England) wasn't gonna use THAT for a, in a 1967 incident of 'Political-Correctness', here's what the record label did to "Randy Scouse Git":

...this is the ACTUAL RECORD I have in my collection. Now that I know it's OFFENSIVE, I'll treasure it always!

Yep, that's right. Instead of actually LISTENING TO THE RECORD, and coming up with a new title from another portion of the lyrics, some old "bum steer" (or 'cow', I guess) at "RCA England", gave the record the moniker, "Alternate Title"! Not very imaginative, but I guess that's par for the course for a a shirt-and-tie executive who writes memos and makes business deals in a drab London office all day long, while pretending that his boss' jokes are funny, all the while wondering what he's doing working there in the first place when the thot comes to him, "right, I've gotta keep the TAXMAN in filet mignon and Chateau Laffite '59." Add to all of this the fact that RCA was about the most conservative record labels on the planet at the time; it was a company that was totally INCAPABLE of promoting rock and roll. The "Jefferson Airplane", The "Guess Who" and The "Monkees" were pretty much all RCA had going for it in the world of Rock and Roll. Oh yeah, they had Elvis, but that's another thing entirely. So there ya go. The Monkees, The Big Corporation, and Early Political-Correctness. Who'dve thought???


I can just imagine, lurking out there are several English extremist groups armed with bombs, grenades and plastic explosives just dyin' to find out where I live so they can come over here, have a cup of tea, and then BOMB MY HOUSE as a result of reading this piece of idiocy. And, for that reason, I'll keep the name of my English source confidential as well. Although, I do wanna say, "thanks, dear, you know who you are!"

Friday, October 26, 2007

This was quite a day indeed...
It was so nice, it was almost otherworldly...

"This is why I came": Whenever I drive to the beach, and I get out of my car and take my first few steps on the sand, that's what I think, no matter what the weather's like. I've sat by the ocean during fog and high tides; I've walked against the strong coastal winds, sometimes struggling to keep my balance, and other days, like today...October 26th, not all that far from winter...well, today was a GLORIOUS day. I took my guitar and sat where the scrub grass meets the beach sand, about 100 feet from the ocean itself...and there was little wind, and it was WARM. Surprisingly warm. I played for no one, since I was just about the only person on the beach, and I played for two hours, in between swigs from my bottle of Dr. Pepper. Lakes, rivers, mountains, hills and trees are beautiful, yes, but something within me needs the extra-added "kick" the Ocean provides. And, that's why I came.

I almost got a 'house call': Last week, I had a consultation appointment with a doctor whom I was referred to by my doctor. They're both in the same building with offices right next to each other. Which meant I had to go into the same building where I think I caught the flu a couple months ago. Ulp! On the way to the appointment, I left a note for my original doctor, saying his reduction of my gout drug dosage didn't work, that my gout symptoms returned...and also that I'd felt dizziness ever since I'd first come down with the flu. The flu's gone now, but some dizziness remains. Would you believe, that today I got the next best thing to a HOUSE CALL? Yep, my DOCTOR actually called ME today and left an extensive message on my answering machine. He returned me to my original medication dosage, and he said my dizziness was probably the result of some viral ear infection that could take some time to resolve itself. Oh yeah? But the thing is, he actually called me and personally addressed my situation! That is very positive. And, on days like this, I can't help but feel there's hope, y'know?

The World Serious: Well, 'serious' because if the Colorado Rockies can't get it together in the next couple of days, the BoSox will have won the World Series for the second time since 2004. I heard a DJ say on the radio today that "while the Colorado Rockies may tout Christian principles, if they don't win tomorrow night, they don't have a prayer". (I guess the Rockies must be a fairly 'devotional' group o'fellas.) I do know the Rockies will need some 'divine intervention' if they're gonna win the 'Series'; so far it looks like Boston has a lot more depth on their team than does Colorado. In last night's game, I was really impressed with Boston's pitcher Curt ("bloody sock") Schilling. He can't throw as hard as he used to, but he used a wide pitch selection to confound the batters. This game may have taken more effort from him than when he was pitching long ago for the Arizona Cardinals, when he could toss "high heat" past the batters (Arizona won that World Series). This time around, Schilling PITCHED, outfoxing and confusing the Rockies' batters. Impressive.

She would have been 81 today: My Mom. My best friend when I was growing up. My Mom, who taught me to be considerate of others. My Mom, who took pride in my accomplishments. My Mom, who would keep dinner warm for me late at night when I came home from my grocery store job. My Mom, who would take me shopping at second-hand stores. My Mom, who always worried about me and cared about what I thought. My Mom, who I could talk to, REALLY talk to, when I was growing up. My Mom, who tried so hard to hold everything together for my sister and me when Dad was out on the road for weeks at a time. My Mom, who really did try to be the 'world's best Mother'. My Mom, singing spirituals as she played ukelele or keyboards; her music was ever-present in our house. My Mom, who I had last seen two days before she died. By then her cancer rendered her unable to move, and when I left her side, I prayed to God, that he would "come and take her". Mom, you are part of my life every single day. And I will never forget you.

I can't close this out without mentioning a TV commercial I just saw, for "Aqua-Pod" Water. That's right, WATER! It's packaged in a squat, funky-looking clear plastic bottle. And the announcer says, "your kids will drink more WATER because of the (squat, funky) shape of the Aqua-Pod BOTTLE." Huh? What? It's WATER, f'cryin' out loud. Kids want pop, juice, kool-aid, ANYTHING but water! I know; I used to be a kid! (Still am, sometimes.) The "down" side to "Aqua-Pod"? You not only have to keep your water bill paid, you pay extra for water in a bottle. Is this a messed-up world, or what?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

If there's ONE THING I hate...or is it's...

I TOTALLY DETEST "CEREMONY". And I was reminded of that this evening when I tuned in Fox Sports' broadcast of the World Series, game 1. For a half-hour before the game, Jeannie Zelasko (who I refuse to watch or listen to) and her former-baseball-player cronies were all rattling on and on about various aspects of baseball. I immediately hit the mute button, and didn't un-mute until just before golden-throated sportscaster Joe Buck and his trusty sidekick, "Quick Draw" McGarver, began doing the play-by-play. I'm pulling for the Sox, but I haven't seen Colorado play this season, and I understand they're good. I'll probably update this blog when the game's over. We all know the big reason FOX airs the World Series is so they can promote all of their moronic programs that I wouldn't watch if you duct-taped me to a chair in front of the TV and held a gun to my head. If indeed the TV was tuned to FOX, I'd say, "be merciful, and pull the trigger NOW!"

Whether it be the World Series or the Super Bowl or the Olympics, I just hate it when athletes are forced to run out to the middle of the field as the stadium announcer excruciatingly announces every player, one-by-one in best pompous official-sounding announcer-ese. BORING!!! Then, all during the sportscasts, the broadcast crew airs little "vignettes" about every player, so that by the end of the sporting event, you'll know what kind of food they like, what music they listen to, as well as their shoe size and whether they wear boxers or briefs, or in the case of female athletes, whether their bras are "living" or not. Irrelevant detail. WE DON'T NEED TO KNOW THAT MUCH, people!

I'm reminded of something else that had a lot of pomp and circumstance; our family used to go to a Lutheran Church...Stand-up for this, Sit-down for that, stand up again, sit down again...and then lay down and pass out as the Sermon bores you to death. I wouldn't be surprised if a per-capita survey of Lutherans showed they, as a group, are really healthy, probably 'cos they get an aerobic workout at every church service. How about GRADUATION ceremonies? You march in with the rest of your cap-and-cloaked peers, all lined up like a row of penguins, and then you sit for hours while you're bored to death with a listless graduation speech. BORING. And I went thru THREE graduations. All BORING. I woulda rathered they just mail my diploma home, but my folks made such a big thing out of going to see me graduate. Maybe I sound impetuous (in fact, I know I do), but I just despise doing things that I really don't like to do. Don't tell me "that's life". I already KNOW that.

I used to work out there in the business world; I've endured Chamber of Commerce functions, business ribbon-cuttings, staff meetings, presentations, seminars, luncheons, ceremonies, coffee klatches and all kinds of other stuff I could have easily lived without. I actually kinda enjoyed the coffee klatch until I realized it was really just more of the same B.S. I heard everywhere else. So, I quit coffee-klatching. And I didn't miss it a bit. Nor do I miss the rest of the stuff I've listed in this paragraph now. Sometimes I think that human beings complicate everything. Just go out there, keep it simple, do what you have to do, get it done, and then do something else you have to do. I don't like to stand around prognosticating, analyzing, predicting, or debating, and I don't like going to meetings of any kind. These days, I just "DO", and if I don't want to "DO", I "DON'T".

When I was out there in the work-a-day world, I came to a realization: STAFF meetings are basically nothing more than glorified chewing-out-sessions. Management takes the high road; rather than informing just one employee of his transgressions by telling him to his face, they instead assemble everyone under their tutelage, present the information 'just that one employee' should have heard, and instead, lay it on everyone, making EVERYONE in the department feel BAD. Oh, and you'd better not have a bad ATTITUDE either. And, that little "HANDBOOK" you're given when you go to work for someone? Handbooks are nothing more than an assembled packaging which lists the many ways you can lose your job. That way, if one day you walk into work and there's no longer a job for you, the boss doesn't have to tell you anything. "It's all in the Handbook", you see.

Wow. I've just read everything I've typed here. It began with the World Series and led to my total indictment of everyone in the human race. Well, I'm tired of jerks and wannabees and poseurs and egotists, and I don't like labels or political correctness or attention-seekers or demagogues or any other kind of "false prophets" that lurk out there. And sometimes I can't even stand MYSELF, but I'm stuck with me. So I try to keep things simple so I don't complicate things for me.

Blog Update: Boston avoided a shutout by winning game one of the World Series 13-1. And I switched channels as fast as I could. I don't need to hear know-nothing Fox sports people exalting themselves in the post-game show.

I'm thinking of some folks who may be losing their jobs soon. They work at a newspaper I used to read a lot, located in the area I used to live in. I wish all of them well. But it's a tough world out there. I know what it's like to face layoffs, having been laid off myself. It's never pretty. Hang in there, guys.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Insignificant Tidbits...
Think of this, if you will, as a sort of cyber-goulash...

*I posted quite some time ago that I had caught my latest bout of FLU at the doctor's clinic. Well, I went back there today and the doctor and said, "I don't think you caught it here; it takes 7 to 10 days before symptoms show up." All I know is, I had gone there on a Monday. I started feeling weird the following day. By Friday, several days later, I was down for the count. I still think that's where I caught it. Oh, by the way...I had no relapse (that I know of) after today's doctors' office visit. Maybe one way to be immune to the flu is to CATCH the flu?

*I'm watching Monday Night Football right now. And the broadcast would be a lot more enjoyable if there was some way I could edit out Tony Kornheiser's remarks. He's some sort of a sports critic, but to me he just sounds clueless and irrelevant. Go home, Tony! Probably, the same lame-brained TV executive who put Dennis Miller on MNF is the same one who thot Kornheiser would sound like some sort of statesman. Ack.

*I've had this laptop computer since February, and I am STILL not used to this little flat keyboard. I make so many MISTAKES typing on this little contraption. My fingers miss the angles and spaciousness of a traditional computer keyboard. And I keep accidentally hitting keys which cause my computer to do all kinds of weird stuff...I tell ya, I'd go back to a full-size machine, but it's hard to put a desktop computer in your lap, when sitting in the ol' La-Z-Boy, so I guess I'll just continue to suffer.

*Where's William Proxmire when you need him? He's the Senator who achieved notoreity by coming out with a yearly "Golden Fleece" award, given to gov't. agencies which waste the most money. I read today that NASA is NOT going to disclose the results of an air-safety survey it recently undertook as part of an $8.5 million-dollar safety project. Thousands of airplane pilots were contacted up until 2005. Since then, NASA has ordered the "contractor who conducted the survey" to delete all related data from its computers. Yep, this sounds like Golden Fleece to me! Pilots had reported an increase in mishaps such as "bird-strikes" and "near-misses". NASA thinks release of this data will "materially affect the public confidence...of the air carriers"...well, DUH. In the meantime, that's our tax money goin' down ye old proverbial drain. That's yer government, lookin' out fer YOU. In the meantime, I'll just stay on the ground.

*So it's the Colorado Rockies and the Boston Red Sox coming up in the "Rocks and Sox" World Series. (Some intelligent sports writer obviously came up with that...) I'd like to think the momentum is with the Red Sox, but I don't know a thing about Colorado. Except that it's waaaay up high in the atmosphere. Can the Sox handle the thin air? After the last few playoff games, I switched immediately to ESPN. That way I don't have to listen to Jeannie Zelasko, the FOX network's sports-siren. I just find her unlikable. What IS she doing on a sports show? Other than making all of the other commentators on the show hurry up their comments so she can speak once more into the camera before time runs out...

*I've had to slow down my Ebay buying for a while. It's property-tax time down here on the South Coast, and in a couple of months, it'll be home-insurance-time, closely followed by car-insurance-time. And I'll have all of that taken care of just in time to undergo income-tax-time. I think once you realize that money was never meant to be KEPT, then you'll feel better about alla those bills. True, money can't buy you happiness. But it can sure keep the creditors off your back.

*Finally, here's living proof that 45rpm singles are STILL BEING MADE. You have to special-order them, though, and oftentimes, they are import items, such as the Paul McCartney Record I've pictured below:

"Jenny Wren" is from Paul's previous album, "Chaos and Creation" from 2005. And, I also bought a single, "Dance Tonight" from his current album, "Memory Almost Full". But it's an ugly, specially-shaped single that is difficult to play. It's a special-edition 45-rpm record on an irregularly sized piece of plastic. Ugh. The song's great, but the single is hard to play! And it doesn't fit in the box with all the other 45's. Boo Hiss.....

This is Paul's newest single; the sleeve (L) and the record. What is it shaped like? Can anyone tell me? And not only that, it features the SAME SONG on both sides. Hmmm...usually Paul puts a non-album track on the B-side...yer not runnin' outta songs, are ya, Paul?


Okay, time for me to (mercifully) end things and watch the 2nd half of Monday Night Football. One thing I know for sure...I won't be seeing Jeannie Zelasko at the end of the game. Sometimes life is good.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Leaving the Cake out in the Rain...
...a lyrical look back at a 40-year-old song...

This post features the lyrics to an old song I've been listening to a lot lately. To my knowledge, it's the longest song ever to make the Top-40. "MacArthur Park" by the actor, Richard Harris. Seven minutes, 20 seconds long. And, a lot of people made fun of it, because of the lyrical line, "someone left the cake out in the rain; I don't think that I can take it, 'cos it took so long to bake it", and no matter how much I tried to explain the song to him, well, he kept his point of view. Since then, I've heard others make fun of the song, too. But you've gotta take all of this in CONTEXT. And the only way to do that, is to have ALL of the lyrics right in front of you. Here they are:

(First, the imagery of a dreamy, sunny day, or perhaps a fantasy thereof...we are introduced to a picture perfect, idyllic setting...)

Spring was never waiting for us girl,
It ran one step ahead as we followed in a dance...
Between the parted pages and were pressed,
In love's hot fevered iron on a striped pair of pants...

(and here's the part of the song that's usually singled out...the chorus:)

MacArthur's Park is melting in the dark,
All the sweet green icing flowing down...
Someone left the cake out in the rain...
I don't think that I can take it, 'cos it took so long to bake it,
And I'll never have that recipe again...oh no...

(then, the song takes us back to that glorious, idyllic afternoon...)

I recall the yellow cotton dress,
Foaming like a wave on the ground around your knees...
The birds like tender babies in your hands,
And the old men playing checkers by the trees...

(once again, the chorus:)

MacArthur's Park is melting in the dark,
All the sweet green icing flowing down,
Someone left the cake out in the rain...
I don't think that I can take it, 'cos it took so long to bake it
And I'll never have that recipe again...oh no...

(Hopefully all of this makes sense now: the 'cake' being symbolic of a goal achieved, then losing sight of that goal, and the fear of never being able to re-attain that goal, that objective...maybe a fear of aging, or losing one's way...)

And now, part two of the song: The music becomes quietly hushed; the tempo slows, as the song assumes an introspective tone...and the singer proceeds...

There will be another song for me, for I will sing it...
There will be another dream for me, someone will bring it.
I will drink the wine while it is warm,
And never let you catch me looking at the sun.
And after all the loves of my life, oh, after all the loves of my life,
You'll still be the one...

I will take my life into my hands, and I will use it...
I will win the worship in their eyes, and I will lose it...
I will have the things that I desire,
And let passion flow like rivers to the sky...
And after all the loves of my life, oh, after all the loves of my life,
I'll be thinking of you...and wondering why...

The lyrics in the above portion of the song are some of the most beautiful, wistful, and ultimately sad, lyrics I've ever come across. I've been impressed with this song, ever since I first heard it in 1967, when I was all of 13. And in-between those words and the final chorus comes a couple of minutes of whirling, dizzying, majestic instrumental music...and the final chorus comes in, and the record ends. And sometimes I just sit there looking at the turntable and think, "wow". And I usually end up playing it again. And again.

The song was written by Jim Webb, who also wrote such tunes as "By The Time I Get To Phoenix", "Up-Up and Away", "Wichita Lineman", "Galveston", and the 1974 song by Art Garfunkel, "All I Know". And even tho I like to rock...these Jim Webb songs are, in a word, 'otherworldly'. So why did I post this? I wanted to share.

By the way, "MacArthur Park" (since re-named) is a REAL place, located within the Los Angeles city limits somewhere, or so I was told. Finally, the post immediately below was written immediately before this one. You'll see the "MacArthur Park connection" there. After writing that...I had to write this. So there ya go.

Adventures In Sound...
It may or may not be a "sound" investment; who knows?
CONSUMER NOTE: This is a post about MUSIC. As such, it rambles extensively. You've been warned.

I tuned into PBS tonite, and saw a rerun of a program I saw last night, but since I was intrigued then, I decided to watch it again. It was "Austin City Limits", the concert show, and on it, I heard some pretty wild sounds from a group called "Explosions In The Sky". They play all-instrumental stuff, and they're pretty intense. And in between moments of intensity, they would play quiet passages and it was a case where the music took its own course, it seemed, and just "went places". The closest thing I've heard to what that group was doing, was on some old Pink Floyd stuff; the old Floyd song, "Careful With That Ax, Eugene" comes to mind. In both cases, with "Explosions In "The Sky" and Pink Floyd, the music, at any given moment can/could be loud, soft, beautiful, ugly, sedate and uncivilized. When hearing music like that, the journey is the thing. The Grateful Dead used to play that way, and so did Phish. I have Phish's "IT" DVD, and the telepathy between the band members is truly something to marvel at. (Phish, huh? They're fairly recent. I guess I'm not such a stick-in-the-mud after all.)

At the end of "Austin City Limits", after "Explosions in the Sky" was done, on came a small short ad (ad on PBS?) for the new album by Neil Young. "Huh? What?", I thot, "a new Neil Young album?" And I went to Ebay and bought it, sight unseen, and ear-unheard. I didn't read any reviews of it until after I ordered it. And what caught my eye was the review's mention that Neil's new album contains an 18-MINUTE song. Hmmmm. Intriguing. I always liked long songs. "MacArthur Park" at 7 minutes, 20 seconds. "Hey Jude" at 7 minutes, 11 seconds. Grand Funk's "Live" version of "Inside Looking Out" at 12 minutes, 22 seconds. Iron Butterfly's "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" at 17 minutes, 5 seconds. When the music stretches out, things can get interesting. I've read that the Beatles, during their madcap "White Album" sessions, once cut a 22-MINUTE version of "Helter Skelter". Their "White Album" edited version, somewhere in the neighborhood of 4 minutes, is wild enough. I'd LOVE to hear the 22-minute version! So, anyway, I've bought Neil Young's new album. A "sound" investment? Don't know yet. I'm just glad Neil continues to crank out music; I must have over 30 of his albums by now, maybe closer to 40. Neil, the ageless wonder.

Here's the front cover of Neil's "Chrome Dreams II" (a "Chrome Dreams I" was never formally released, tho songs which were supposed to be on that album ended up on such '70s Neil Young albums as "American Stars and Bars", according to what I've read.) I do hope I like this album more than I did "Living With War", his previous album. I thot that album was just a bit too spontaneous and sloppy. To me, it sounded like Neil went thru a couple takes, taught the song to his backup musicians in a coupla minutes, and off they went. Spontaneity is a good thing, but there's a fine line sometimes between 'spontaneous' and 'just kinda sloppy'. But hey, it's NEIL YOUNG. And the sloppiest Neil Young is still better than a lot of refined stuff by other artists.

As I'm typing this, I'm listening to a CD I made which consists solely of Paul McCartney B-sides. He's never stopped recording albums and singles; he goes like a musical Energizer bunny. Just keeps going. And, on probably 95% of his singles, Paul will place on the "b-sides" songs which are NOT available on any album! Paul seems to just dash off songs, and maybe the ones he thinks aren't so good, go on the B-sides. Well, over the years, Paul has made more singles than the total of John Lennon's, George Harrison's and Ringo Starr's combined. (Of course, Lennon and Harrison both have a pretty good excuse for not recording anymore.) Thing is, I've made an 80-minute CD of nothing but McCartney B-sides, and actually, some of his B-sides are pretty good. On the Capitol records CD re-issues of some of his '70s albums, solo and with Wings, can be found non-album McCartney "B"-sides which have been included as bonus tracks. This is how the record company gets us all to buy CD issues of albums we already have; they dangle a couple of 'bonus tracks' at the end of the CD, and we plunk down our moolah just so we can GET those extra tracks. And that's the way it goes in the record biz. At least on the 'buying' end.


I had someone tell me recently I should write more about music, since I seem to know my way around the topic. So I did that here. It may appear 'slapdash', but I bring about 30 years of listening and collecting to the table. That's not saying my opinion counts or anything, but I guess I always wanted to be a record critic. What a great job to have. The record companies send you free music, and then you write about it and get PAID for it. Yep, that would be my dream job.

Friday, October 19, 2007

To Everything, There is a Season...
...and it's amazing, what the ol' change o'season brings...

Summer's gone, winter's comin' on, down here on Oregon's south coast. And, the weather has definitely changed around here. I keep up on temperature readings around the Pacific Northwest, and even though it's a bit more chilly inland than here at night, I'll bet there's more RAIN out here this time of year. Yep, the rainy season's on the way; heck, it's here now. Yesterday, on the beach where I walk periodically, there was almost NO beach. There's the ocean, then the beach, then somewhat higher ground with bushes and small trees. It looked like "High Tide" had just happened; I could see the water was 'trying' to recede, but occasionally, a wave would just about cover the beach, leaving me only a few feet in which to walk. They say, "never turn your back on the ocean" with good reason. Down here, people have been swept out to sea by "sneaker" waves. I don't plan on having that happen to me anytime soon.

The photo below was stolen from (I believe in being honest about who I pilfer from; call it 'honor among thieves'.) It was taken in March '06, and although the weather was a little bit better, it graphically shows how high the wintertime ocean swells coming into the bay can get. I have actually sat on that rock jetty you see in the foreground (obviously, when the weather was milder), but the fall & winter winds blow quite fiercely, and the waves kick mightily.

This is near the entrance to the bay close to where I live; would you believe that in winter, oceangoing vessels have to go out to sea AGAINST those waves. I've seen some Coast Guard training videos where rescue boats try to access the ocean; they're tossed around like corks, totally disappearing at the bottom of the wave, and you can't SEE the boat 'till it reaches the top of the next wave. No, no, not for me. I'll admire the ocean from good ol' terra firma, thank you.

Thing is, I like this time of year just as much as I do the summer, for different reasons. In the summer, the sky is blue, and the ocean reflects that blue in a richer, deeper hue. And on days like that, the trees aren't 'just' green; they are a rich, deep, almost Emerald green. The sea air is moist and the temperatures don't get much over 75. The light summer ocean breeze refreshes and invigorates. Mmmmm. On days like that, all is well with the world. It is possible to catch a "natural buzz" on such a day at the ocean; I know, because it's happened to me. But, come fall/winter, things are a mite different...(again, foto courtesy of 'Webshots'...) contrast, the winter weather (as depicted above) becomes almost assaultive; the winds howl, and if you're standing on a rocky cliff above the ocean, the waves smack the land with so much force that you can feel the waves' impact all through your body. If that cliff you're standing on is 75 feet above the ocean, the top of the waves that strike that cliff might rise another 50 or 60 feet above you. I find that just tremendous. And I feel so small when the ocean is like that. It's therapeutic in that the sheer force of the ocean absolutely crushes my senses. Nothing like it. And it's amazing.

I used to KEEP UP on stuff like this: I was out today shopping for household cleaning items. Yep, that's me, "Mr. Excitement". Twas time to fumigate the house; probably a wise thing to do after having gone thru a fairly nasty bout of flu. I bought all my stuff at a K-mart store, pushing a shopping cart around the place, getting lost, thankful for the ever-patient clerks who steered me towards the items I needed. After doing that, I went back to the music department (I always know where THAT is), and lo and behold, I saw this here Compact Disc on display, and I was flabbergasted...

I usually know well in advance when a major artist is coming out with new music. But not this time! JOHN know, the voice of Creedence Clearwater Revival, and he's got a new album out, called "Revival"...and I thot, "wow, brand-new John Fogerty music"...I'm listening to it as I type this, and he sounds just fine, and he rocks pretty doggone hard as well. Only, when I "googled" the album so I could find the above cover photo, I found that it was released back in JULY...several months ago! I tell ya, I'm out of it. In this case, I wasn't aware of the music, but the music found me. I guess that lends some "Creedence" to my existence?

Still, heh heh, I do know a little SOMETHING, even though I'll probably never get to hear that "something". After Creedence broke up, John Fogerty released an album of country-type music as "The Blue Ridge Rangers". Then, in 1975, he released a self-titled album ("John Fogerty"), which had the fairly noteworthy song, "Almost Saturday Night" on it. Right around that time, he was involved in all kinds of music-biz litigation, but still he soldiered on and recorded another album, set for a 1976 release date. However, the Prezzident of the Record Company advised Fogerty not to release it, saying "it wasn't all that good." From what I've read, Fogerty agreed, and even though the album was finished, it stayed unreleased. I don't know about you, but I don't think Fogerty could ever record any BAD music. Oh well. Anyway, that unreleased album is/was called "Hoodoo", and I found a picture of the album cover...

A long time ago, I was shopping in a record store, and I found a single that featured two Fogerty songs I'd never heard; "You Got The Magic"/"Evil Thing"; I've had that single for about 30 years now. Turns out those two songs were part of the "Hoodoo" album. And I do know those two songs sound pretty doggone good to me. I would absolutely LOVE to hear the "Hoodoo" album. It's moments like that us record collectors live for.

And there I go again, running two separate topics totally into the ground within one single post. I don't think Readers' Digest would ever let me write for them...I have difficulty "condensing" things...

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Are We Just Banging Along Too Fast?
I mean, "hold on just a gol-darn moment, thar!!!"

Remember how everyone touted the advantage of Compact Discs over phonograph records, back in the mid-1980s, and all of a sudden, records weren't being made anymore and CD's were forced upon us all? And remember those Time-Life Music info-mercials that attempted to sell oldies on CD, and the program host would say, "you don't have to listen to SCRATCHY OLD RECORDS ANYMORE because it is all recorded CRYSTAL-CLEAR on CD's!!!" (Okay, that's not an exact quote, but that's pretty much what they said.) Well, last nite, while trying to watch TV and compute (and doing neither very well), on came an info-mercial from Time-Life advertising great-sounding 50's music that you can hear IN ANY ORDER YOU WANT!!! I thot "huh?" and dragged my nose out of the computer to focus on the TV.

It seems that Time-Life was advertising 50's music on MP3! Huh? What? That's right, on an MP3!!! And the lady in the commercial said, "no more CD's; everything is right here at your fingertips; just take the MP3 outta the box, plug in the headphones, and off you go!" (Again, not an exact quote, but that was the sentiment she expressed.) So now, it's been formally acknowledged by the powers that be, that CD's are now dinosaurs, and you're supposed to throw them all in the same tar-pit you threw all your record albums in, and get 50,000 songs that are stored in a single unit about the size of a MATCHBOX. I don't know, but to me, anything that plays back music should have some moving parts; I love to sit and watch the turntable go 'round while the music plays. I don't think it would be quite the same, to position an MP3 on the desk in front of you and watch IT.

Gotta lotta CD's to throw in the trash heap? Here's an alternative!

In the mid-1980's, Beatle George Harrison once expressed chagrin at the demise of the 45 rpm single record, which fell by the wayside first, then followed by LP's. (I shouldn't have to tell you what an LP is.) I'm paraphrasing here, but Harrison said something to the effect that the human race ends up "banging along too fast" (he actually used that phrase), throwing out this and that in the quest for progress and perfection, and yeah, I kinda agree. And I really thought I was "getting with it", when I bought a CD RECORDER last year, and now Time-Life tells me I'm behind the times again. TIME-LIFE's magazine division already is planning for obsolescence, as are newspapers all around the can read them ONLINE.

So what's going to happen when COMPUTERS are replaced with something else? I've already gone from a desktop to a laptop. I suppose in the future, laptops will be the size of an MP3, while MP3's will be reduced to the size of a computer chip and injected in your skin so you can have your music with you all the time.

In a recent post, I complained about Keith Olberman being on a football program. On his own program, though...he led off with a story tonite about Verizon, the nation's 2nd biggest telecommunications seems that Verizon, 94,000 times since 2005, 720 times without any kind of warrant, has provided information about its customers to the FEDS...and I suppose, again, the government will hide behind "executive privilege" and "national security". Shouldn't government GOVERN, not embark upon electronic witch-hunts?

No, that's not me. But that's how I feel when I get my Verizon bill.

This whole Verizon-info thing is kinda ominous, especially when you factor in who's (allegedly) in charge of this small irony that the Prezzident's daddy, who was also Prezzident, used to be in the CIA. Ooooooh! I'd better stop right there. I'm beginning to sound like a lamebrained wacko conspiracy theorist.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Why Am I Still Paying Bills by Mail?
...and, why have I been posting so much lately?

The answer to both of those questions is, "I don't know". Except that actually going somewhere to mail something provides me with a sort of social life. And as far as the posting goes, well, it's the TV company's fault. You see, if MY CABLE CHANNEL PROVIDER HAD "TBS", I'd be watching the baseball playoff games that aren't on FOX! The game between the Colorado Rockies and whoever it is they're playing is going on right now as I type this, and I can't STAND it! Well, all of the World Series games will be on Fox, so I'll see all of those. So, without a SECOND baseball game for me to watch tonite, there's more time to blog. Whoopee.

I thought it was a "convenience" store: Today, I had to get two money orders, and the nearest outlet for that is a little convenience store about 3 miles away from me, so into town I went. And, Verizon is now about $185 richer, and I also had to pay for something I've ordered on Ebay. (This particular Ebay seller doesn't use "paypal", doggone it!) So anyway, the clerk processed one money order, and that's when the money order machine RAN OUT. She said, "I can either refund your money or you can wait for my supervisor to get here"; the supervisor evidently had access to blank money orders...well, I don't like to wait...especially at a CONVENIENCE store, but what else could I do? So wait I did, and all turned out well, and that Ebay seller will soon be about $30 richer.

I guess Tony Blair ain't in office no mo': England, Britain, U.K. or whatever it's called is in the process of pulling its troops OUT of Iraq. I guess there's about 5,000 of them left over there, and soon, half of that amount will return to the land of the Pound-Sterling. And I read today that NONE of this country's Democratic Prezzidential Candidates wants to commit to having all of OUR troops pulled out by the end of the next first term. Meantime, Prezzident Bush still has over 400 days left in office. And he wants more and more money to fight the "war on terror" at the expense of American Citizens who don't have adequate wages, health care, or employment opportunities. There's nothing intelligent about this paragraph; rather, I'm just putting several things together in point-counterpoint fashion. Somethin's happenin' here; what it is, ain't exactly clear...

Now, this makes sense: A short letter to the editor in today's Eugene Register-Guard newspaper caught my eye; so much so that I am quoting THE ENTIRE THING: "A recent letter to the editor chides a previous writer as being un-American for being critical of our government, and suggests the author should move to Iran where criticism has severe consequences. If this idea were followed completely, citizens who criticize their government would live in countries that don't allow criticism, and citizens who don't criticize their government would live in tolerant countries. I think the wrong people are being asked to move." I LIKE that. And, I think everyone connected with this current Republican Prezzidential Administration should read it and take it to heart. Well, fairly soon, Bush and his henchmen will "move" from Washington, D.C. Something to look forward to.

I was a latecomer to computers: I guess people have been regularly going online since, what, the mid-80s? The early '90s? When DID Al Gore invented the internet, anyway? I first went online in 1997, so, a lot of computer machinery came and went long before I ever had my first e-mail address. Between 1974, when I had to use punch cards to program a mammoth computer the size of my living room (homework from a math class I took in college), and 1997, I didn't TOUCH a computer. As time went on, I'd heard of the internet, and e-mail, and instant messaging, but I didn't give a hoot; didn't want to know about any of that stuff. And nowadays, I wonder how I managed without computer access. Next thing you know, I'll be getting a video-phone that plays music and movies and has annoying ringtones and all of the other bells and whistles that everyone seems to need these days. Ack! Anyway, I have a coupla pix to show ya...and while they might be from your past, they're not from MY past...

Two ancient computers, which are now dinosaurs languishing in a tar pit somewhere...that's the "Compaq Portable 2" from 1986 (top) and the MacIntosh Portable, from 1989. Actually, that "Mac" looks not unlike a laptop computer; it even has a "trackball" there in the right corner, which is a spiffy way to 'mouse around'. But, that was then, this is now, and my little laptop computer (which I am almost, but not quite a slave to), with its touch-pad mouse and wireless connection really is the cat's pajamas. And when I bought it in February of this year, there was probably a more-updated model just waiting to replace it. There are several websites for old computers where you can see many more of these old dinosaurs.

Finally, one more computer thing: A couple of days ago, I downloaded a program called "Speedfree" which guaranteed to speed up my computer. And what effect did it have? It slowed DOWN my computer. So, like voters with the Republican Party in 2009, I gave ol' "Speedfree" the BOOT.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

It's the TIME...of the SEASON...

First of all, you've gotta believe I'm really cool for using the title of an old '60s song in this here blog title. (Who did the song? When did it come out? Answer at bottom of this post.)

And right now, I'm gettin' ready for SEATTLE SEAHAWKS football, on the Sunday Evening NBC football program. And the program is being introduced by some blonde female country singer who I've never seen before as she warbles forth her little football song. Sorry, no one should sing before a football game except Hank Williams Jr. As a matter of fact, Hank Jr. should sing the national anthem every time any televised sports program is presented. Anyway, I'm trying a sort of sports cross-fade this year...easing out of baseball and easing into football. Quitting sports cold-turkey can be painful, after all.

However, whilst cross-fading into football, I underwent a case of mild shock. I watched the last quarter of the New England game, and when that was over, I heard the familiar voice of Bob Costas as he prepared to wrap up the game...Bob Costas is obviously who Rick Rizzs (a Seattle Mariners sportscaster) wants to Costas, Rizzs will immerse you in all kinds of trivialities, factoids, useless information, and informative little trinkets that you'll immediately forget as soon as he says something else. And then, all of a sudden, I heard another voice come over the TV, and it's a voice that I've pretty-much tuned out over the last half a year...only, that voice is BACK...on a FOOTBALL show...and so I must ask you, dear reader, what's wrong with this picture?

...I'll tell you what's wrong with this picture...this is an MSNBC news-well-sorta-news guy, KEITH OLBERMANN, who is now lathering and smothering the sports-broadcast audience in multitudinous layers of smarminess, and he's on a football show with Bob Costas!!!!! (And, you all thot that Dennis Miller on Monday Nite Football was a bad idea!) So, even moreso, now, the separation between information and entertainment becomes blurred, as one entity cross-fades into another realm. So what's next? Tucker Carlson adding commentary to a pro wrestling show? Chris Mathews providing political analysis on the home shopping network? Tim Russert asking probing questions on a late-night Tupperware info-mercial? Dan Abrams providing us with sparkling legal analysis during a figure-skating program?

I know what's going on. NBC, the National Broadcasting Corporation, wants to Take Over The Entire World. NBC has its own satellite network, MSNBC, and if you work for MSNBC, you can expect to also do time on other shows which HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH WHY MSNBC HIRED YOU in the first place. Soon, I fully expect NBC newscasters to co-anchor the CBS Evening News (Katie needs all the help she can get), while MSNBC guys, such as whom I've referred to above, fill-in for ABC's "CHARLIE" Gibson, so he can get a little rest, since he also has to do show-prep and pseudo-broadcast for "Good Morning America". Obviously ABC is saving money here by having Gibson do both a MORNING show and an EVENING news broadcast. And they might just be riding a good horse to death in the process.

Actually, MSNBC is probably doing what it has to do. Have you ever tried to watch MSNBC for an entire evening? Chris Mathews runs right into Dan Abrams, who hands you off to Keith Olbermann, who then kicks you over to Tucker "the chipmunk" Carlson, who has lost any individuality he had by deciding not to wear a bow tie anymore. And during that evening on MSNBC, there are issues! Questions! Inferences! Analyzation! More Questions! Answers to those questions! Guests arguing with each other! Program hosts yelling over the guests! So MSNBC is having to farm out its on-air talent to OTHER programs, because WE, THE VIEWING AUDIENCE, ARE GETTING SICK OF THESE NEWS SHOWS!!! Well, seeing Keith Olbermann on a Sunday Football post-game show sure ain't gonna make me want to watch MORE of him, or for that matter, any of the MSNBC talking heads who cause me to switch the channel every time I see one of their ugly mugs. Honestly, being chained to a FOGHORN for 24 hours a day wouldn't be half as deafening as listening to Chris Mathews for half an hour. That guy has a voice that can Peel Paint!

In closing, the weekend is a time to not have to endure pundits, commentary, provocation, issues, concerns, legal and political crap and most of all, talking heads who sound like they know what they're talking about 'cos they have the best script-writers in the business. Except that now, on the weekends, we STILL have to endure Keith Olbermann between NBC Sunday football games. And that may just be the tip of the iceberg. Although, if I ever see Katie Couric providing football commentary for CBS, well, that's when I'm gonna drop-kick my TV.

...and now, I'll go listen to John Madden and Al Michaels do the Sunday Night NFL game. And I don't think Madden or Michaels plan on hosting "Meet The Press" anytime soon. Oh, by the way, "Time Of The Season", by The Zombies, was recorded in 1968, but didn't become a hit until after the group broke up.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

I never knew so many people cared!
...they're all out there, trying to make my life infinitely easier...

This is something I've been thinking about writing for a long, long time. What it's about, basically, concerns the bulk e-mails that end up in my mailbox. People I don't even KNOW want to provide for my every need and whim, and they must really want me to accept their help in the worst way, because they e-mail me night after night, taking time out of their busy schedules to make sure I have access to every creature comfort (they think) I need. Anyway, typically, after deleting all my bulk mail, I then surf the web, and then perhaps I'll engage in some real posting here, for instance. I write and write and write, and I still only have about 3 faithful readers. You know who you are. And I appreciate ya.

Tonight, after initially going on the internet, deleting all of my bulk mail (I receive upwards of 200 of them a day), and then surfing on the web, I shut down for a while so I could watch the Boston Red Sox give game 2 of the division series away to the Cleveland Indians, and it was a long took just under three hours to play the last 5 innings. And, when I got back online, I again checked my e-mail (after I had cleared it earlier), and found I had another 25 bulk e-mails mailed to me by all of these sweet altruistic bulk-mailing people who obviously care so much about me. Here's a sampling of the bulk mail that arrived in my e-mail account in that almost-three-hour-time-period this evening...

*One bulk mail wanted me to "BECOME PART OF THE MEDICAL INDUSTRY". Well, not this time around. After all, my latest flu attack originated at a Medical Professional Building, so I think I'll pass. I got so sick, I couldn't even go online for 3 days. And sick!

*Looking thru the bulk e-mail list, my attention was grabbed by a message saying that I've been invited to "RELAX ON A CRUISE THIS YEAR AT NO COST." Now, I assume this means an Ocean Cruise. Yeah, rrrright...sometimes I get carsick in my own car. I can get seasick walking across a mud puddle. Thanks anyway...with my luck I'd end up on Gilligan's Island. Hopefully with Mary Ann, that hot little lady...

*How about this? I ran across a bulk-e-mail offer saying I could get an "AMAZING RC CONTROL HELICOPTER DIRT CHEAP!" Now assuming this doesn't refer to a toy I really don't need right now, if instead it refers to a full-size model people can FLY in, well, I'd better not. Any more than 3 feet off the ground and I get acrophobia REAL BAD.

*Or, I could "JOIN THE BROTHERHOOD OF POLICE" according to another bulk e-mail. And I thot about it, but since I don't deal with rules & regulations very well, am non-athletic to the "nth" degree, I cannot run, and some days I cannot walk very well, oh, and the fact that I'm 53, so I'd be getting a late start on a cop career all tends to make me say, "thanx but no thanx" to the dedicated e-mailer who informed me of this opportunity.

*Still another e-mailer wanted me to "CONFIRM E-MAIL ADDRESS FOR WAL-MART SHIPMENT!" But this person must be exasperated with me, for the e-mail said this is their "FINAL ATTEMPT" to contact me. They must really want me, though...this is the 25th "final attempt" I've received. And I think WAL-MART is a greedy, moneygrubbing, out-sourcing, slave-labor institution, and I'd rather get my toenails pulled out than shop there! So I'll pass. You understand...

*An e-mail which I find (occasionally) intruiging, since I basically have no reselblance to any kind of an "intimate" life says that a "SECRET LOVER IS TRYING TO GET IN TOUCH WITH (ME)"...some days there will be several of these in my in-box. I've never been so popular! This is so good for my ego. I think. Let's see; I've just moved here, I know basically no one, so these must be REALLY REALLY SECRET PEOPLE who want my attention. I must be a real stud.

*Another bulk-mailer told me I could get "$1500 IN (MY) BANK ACCOUNT IN JUST ONE HOUR!" And of course, since this person really cares about me, there's no chance that the interest on this amount would be greater than the national debt, rrrright? I'll pass on this one, might take one hour for the $1500 to get into my bank account, but with today's bills, it takes about half that time to SPEND it all. I don't need to pay interest on money that I don't have anymore.

*Still more bulk e-mailers seemed to be concerned about my 'dating' activity. One bulk-baron invited to "CONNECT WITH MATURE SINGLES". Another wanted me to "CHECK OUT THE PERSONALS FOR TRUE LOVE". And one young enterprising (and hopefully female) bulk-mailer got right down to it by asking me, "HEY! WANNA SEE MY PICS?" And still another invited me to visit all kinds of "SINGLE PARENTS LOOKING FOR LOVE". Gosh. So many simultaneous opportunities; they all confuse me; I'm hesitant. I've met people older than ME who aren't mature. Maybe I'll just "look at some pics" and then bail.

*I've been invited to get low rates on auto insurance; to apply for new car financing, get an online college degree, lower my mortgage payment, and another e-mailer keeps sending me a message shouting, "CONGRATULATIONS!!!", when, personally, I haven't done anything in the last 50 years to be congratulated for.

And, it seems that the dedicated approach all of these selfless bulk-mail-people has infiltrated the ranks of unsolicited phone calls, too...Every weeknight about 6pm, the phone rings, and there's a kind-sounding tape-recorded voice telling me, "we've looked at your payments and credit situation, and WE CAN LOWER your monthly payments, so call us NOW!!!". Wow. They don't even know my name (my number is unlisted) and they've found my credit records. I'd go for that, except that I don't owe anyone any money, I have no outstanding debts, and my attention span is unfortunately shorter than the time it takes to listen to everything that taped phone-voice wants to tell me.

While I have never responded to any of these things, it just warms the cockles of my heart (if indeed the heart has any of those) to know that anytime I need whatever it is I need, that there are compassionate bulk-e-mailers out there who care about my welfare. And that makes me smile, REAL BIG, like this...

Nope, nope, nope...I don't look anything like this. If I did, I'd probably get bulk dental e-mails!

By the way, in the time it took me to proofread this post, I received another 7 bulk e-mails. Maybe, instead, someone could send me a can of SPAM instead. At least it's more nutritious.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Maybe he HASN'T left the building...

No, no, no...don't listen to the guy who writes this blog! OF COURSE Elvis has left the building, and he did so 30 years ago, and he ain't comin ' back anytime soon. But...there he is, right there on the TV screen...only this time, Elvis is still young, but his band members, his original band members, are OLD. How can this be? Well, right now, as I type this, I'm watching a fairly bizarre DVD called "Elvis Lives", and for a while, it was fairly believable, but it got old kinda fast. It seems that Elvis' vocals were edited from old concert footage and isolated, and then, the original band members (his '70s band, that is), got together and played "live" to Elvis' vocals, and to their credit, yeah, I guess they did a pretty good job. The drummer and the band conductor were listening to a "click-track" that kept them on time, and the rest of the band fell in, and it's a tight concert performance.

Elvis' concert footage was displayed on a HUGE screen at the center of the stage, with his band members on stage with Elvis' concert footage smack dab in the middle. Bizarre, yeah, but plausible to a point. The whole thing was actually quite believable as long as footage from one concert (the DVD begins with footage from "Aloha From Hawaii", the 1972 concert), but then the footage captures a slightly shorter-haired (and a little bit lighter) Elvis with footage from his Las Vegas early 70's concerts. Then, the footage hops back to 1968, with a slicked-back-and-sides Elvis during his 1968 NBC concert special. And while all this is going on, his original band members, who are all old and wrinkled and gray, are onstage, supplying the background music for this spectacle. And why have I lost interest in all this? I don't know. Phony? Maybe. Making money off a dead guy? Could be. Ultimately unbelievable? Well, yeah.

I guess this is one concert where Elvis didn't have to worry about being mobbed...

Elvis had the best stage band in the universe, but, curiously on this DVD, it's as if the sound has lost all its "punch"...what with the sterility of super-ultra-dandified-digital-audio processing, somehow, the dynamics of the music all fall in the mid-range, and the sound is just bland. And yet, this spectacle was presented live, and I can't believe the stadium in which it was held was full of rapt onlookers who still can't get enough of The King. And, at the end of this "concert", a stage announcer announces that "Elvis has left for Graceland". Hmmm, he's buried there, ain't he? Makes me wonder if he gets out often...I don't know; this whole deal feels kinda cheesy to me. Why did I buy the DVD? Out of curiosity. And it's good in a generic sort of way, but for my money, I'd rather just watch one of his old concerts; they're more exciting and "feel" more genuine. Even the late '70s "fat Elvis" concerts were more exciting (and more genuine) than what I witnessed tonight.

I got the same feeling from this Elvis thing as I did when I heard the Beatles' "Free As A Bird" and "Real Love" singles, featuring the late John Lennon's vocals with the three surviving Beatles plunking away in the background. It's the Beatles, for sure, but it really isn't. Usually, all the members of a group are alive when the song is finished. In these instances, crude cassette recordings of Lennon and his piano were overlaid with backing from the "Threetles", as they were known...since there were only three of them alive at the time. I think John Lennon would've felt sold down the river by Yoko Ono, who provided the tapes, and had he not been cremated, he probably would have been spinning in his grave (at Mach 3), had he known his songs would become Beatles records, because The Beatles were something he didn't want to go back to.

Back to Elvis...Admittedly, the technology is very, very good in this advanced era, but good technology doesn't necessarily mean better sound. Good rock and roll has always had a bit of "dirt" in it, and when the sound gets cleaned up too scientifically, somehow, the music just doesn't ring true; it's as if something in the "spirit of creation" was laundered and hung out to dry. And I'm sorry, guys, but Elvis has sounded much better than what was presented here. Admittedly, I questioned my sanity, and that question took form thusly: "Why did I buy this Elvis DVD? I coulda lived without it". But I'm not really insane. I know I'm not. I mean, really. If I'd been insane, I would've had an Elvis sighting like THIS...

Hey, there, pass me one o' them fried banana sandwiches...thank you...thank you very much...

I can think of an instance where technology made an album sound very good. George Harrison's "Brainwashed" album, released a year after he passed away, was produced so sympathetically that it sounds like George was still alive when the record was finished. He recorded vocals & guitar for all the songs, and left instructions on how he wanted it to sound. I was surprised, really I was, by how "natural" that record sounded.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

It's not even election year yet and I'm already thinking,

I suppose all of this political debating between the various Prezzidential-wannabees is a good thing, because after all, the more we hear, the more we know, right? Wait, this is politics, where the more ya hear just confuses ya more. Well, that's what it does to me. And there are so many televised mass-candidate debates lately, that from debate to debate, the whole thing comes off as a political version of "American Idol", where talking heads judge the candidates in the manner that Simon Cowhead judges the musical wannabees on "Idol". Last night, MSNBC's Joe Scarborough was talking about Fred Thompson, the actor who's been involved in politics for a while. It was Thompson's first debate of the year. Scarborough basically said that Thompson, in this campaign, looked ill-at-ease, and didn't appear as strong as he had in the past. I have a theory about all of this, however...

It's easy to spot physical changes in someone when you don't see them often. Well, Joe Scarborough is in a position where he probably sees almost everyone in politics several times a year. Therefore, he may not have noticed any 'cosmetic' changes Mr. Thompson has undergone, only that Thompson didn't seem to 'perform' as well in this debate as in debates past. Scarborough then showed a clip of Thompson's debate performance, and I saw a change right away. He's getting OLD, and with age comes feebleness and infirmity, or at least the perception thereof, and Mr. Thompson sure seemed to have really physically aged since the last time I'd seen him on TV, which was probably 3 or 4 years ago. Of course a person is gonna change, given that much time! And who knows, maybe in the next debate, Thompson will do just fine and level all of his opponents with scathing remarks and ponderous philosophies. Or not. And will it matter? I honestly don't know...

The talking heads on the all-night-news-channels have to always be analyzing, comparing, evaluating, prognosticating, gesticulating and all kindsa-mean-&-nasty-ugly-things...and they try to make a story out of every tiny little thing, because, face it, it's their job to be newsworthy. Who said this? Who said that? Who was weakest? Who was strongest? Who had the best hairstyle, and so forth. And you know, it just goes on and on and on. Yak, yak, yak. I find that nightly, there comes a point where I can't TAKE it anymore, and OFF goes the TV! And I'm finding it more difficult all the time to try and endure Dan Abrams, Chris Mathews, Tucker Carlson, Keith Olberman, and don't even get me started on the other pundits on the other networks. As nice as Tim Russert of "Meet The Press" might be, I'm sorry, that program makes me tune out as well. Maybe that's why I miss Don Imus so much. I personally think Imus oughta come back and absolutely call Al Sharpton every name in the book for being a racemongering pseudo-evangelical demagogue.

I think what blows me away the most about all of this political stuff is that THE ELECTION AIN'T UNTIL NOVEMBER OF NEXT YEAR! And, when this insane political madness which results from multitudinous candidates jockeying for position is over with, and the field gets whittled down a little bit, yes, I'll start trying to make up my mind about the candidates. But isn't this overkill, presenting these all-of-em-are-basically-the-same debates this far ahead of election time? I think it would be uproarious if every single American got so totally burned out on all the way-ahead-of-time politicking going on, that NO ONE VOTES when election time comes. I've asked it before: "What if they gave an election and no one came?" After all, the next Prezzident is probably the guy (or gal) that appears to be the most camera-ready, and not necessarily the one who's the smartest. And between now and November 2008, they'll have plenty of time to rehearse their various individual political diatribes.

Personally, I am looking for someone who will get us out of Iraq, and channel some of that mighty military money towards solving problems within our nation's borders. There are plenty of issues here to deal with; joblessness, inflation, gas prices, immigration reform, destitution, homelessness, dependence on foreign manufacturing and outsourcing, and equity in the tax system. I would firmly back a flat-tax that is fair for EVERYONE. Those would be some good issues for any candidate to chew upon whilst preparing for the next dog-and-pony-show-debate.

So what am I watching right now? The HISTORY channel. The subject is the "death road" high up in the Andes Mountains of South America. A one lane road high waaay up there, with thousands-of-feet dropoffs and no guardrails. So I guess, somewhere in the world, lurk more dangerous roads than hiway 101 here on the coast...or hiway 95 in North Idaho. Or any other twisty, winding 2-lanes that ensure you'll be grabbin' the steering wheel with white knuckles.