Monday, December 31, 2007

Well, It's About Time...
...the closest I'll get to any sort of years' end retrospective thing...

2008? Can it be? Omigosh. Another year, almost in the books. If I could find the master clock that controlled the march of time, I'd take a sledgehammer to it. Just think of it, seconds wouldn't turn into hours, etc., etc., and we'd never get any older than we are right at this minute. But, as the character Holling VanCoeur said, on the old "Northern Exposure" TV show, "time will slip like water through your fingers, no matter how tightly closed they are. And if you think about it too much, it'll drive you crazy." So we have to tell ourselves not to think about it. We then focus on what not to think about. And the harder we try not to think about it, the more we think about it. So, let's think about time for a while. Tick, tock, tick, tock. We could visit the music charts for various perspectives on are 10 'Timely' tunes...

"Time Has Come Today", by the Chambers Bros. That's a cool tune, although you'll never hear it on oldies radio stations...I guess the song, which came out in 1968, is too 'extreme' for oldies-automated-or-satellited formats. Let's hear it for politically-correct radio. (Insert 'raspberry' here.) PFFFFFFFFT....

"Time", by the Alan Parsons Project...and it pretty much echoes what Holling VanCoeur said above..."Time...keeps flowing like a the sea...TO THE SEA.....and it's gone, forever...gone, foreverrrrrrrr...." QUICK! Take the needle off the record! I love the song, but not right now.....!!!

"Time" by Pink Floyd...pretty much mines the same territory as Alan Parsons, and expresses pretty-much the same mood. Which means, that if you play these two songs back-to-back enough times, you're more than twice as likely as the average musically ignorant person to climb an 80-foot tree, just for the pleasure of leaping off the top branch.

"Time Is Right" by Manfred Mann's Earth Band, from the mid-1970's album, "Nightingales and Bombers". The song closes with the refrain, "Time is right for quittin' time...Time...Time...TIME...TIMETIMETIMETIME......." The thot just occurred to me, that would be a great song for workers to "punch out" to.

"Out Of Time" by the Rolling Stones, recorded back when Keith Richard actually looked like a Human Being, back when Brian Jones was alive. His 'time' came in 1969, at the bottom of a swimming pool. But, Time never seems to run out for this band. They still march (or in Keith's case, stagger) onward. They've probably played this song onstage Countless Times by now.

"Time Of The Season" by the Zombies...this was a Big Hit Single back in 1969. It was recorded two years before that, on their "Odyssey and Oracle" album. Musical incubation, if you will. Only, when it was released as a single, The Zombies had Already Broken Up. I guess their "Time" had come...and gone...

"Time For Livin'" by The Association. Yeah, this little ditty seeks to relieve the omnipresent gloom and foreboding of the previous songs. It's cheery, sorta. I always liked The Association; great harmony vocals. Turns out, tho, that Time ran out for their bassist, Brian Cole, who died in 1972 from a drug overdose. Oh well.

"Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is" by Chicago, from back in the days when they actually had some credibility as a band...well, think about it...when someone asks you the time of day, it takes time to tell the person what time it is, and by then, time has advanced...OH, STOP IT!!! JUST STOP IT!!!! Okaaaaay...

"Time Machine" by Grand Funk Railroad, from their very first album, cut in 1969. "Hey Baby, Step into my Time Machine", sings lead guitarist Mark Farner. As long as it takes me back to when I was younger, I'd go for it. But only if I actually BECAME younger. Not this current older version of me, transported to, say, 1969. Why? I'd probably miss my computer too much.

"In The Time Of Our Lives" by Everybody's favorite band, the immortal Iron Butterfly, with a lead singer who sounded like God himself...the song begins with over a minute of buzzing, screeching, distorted, overmodulated guitars, crashing in the gloom as the voice of the supreme being speaketh...after all these years, I still pause in wonder when I hear this tune.

I'm sure there's a whole lot more songs out there that deal with the ever-swinging pendulum of the big cosmic timepiece that monitors our existence. But, really, I just wanted to see if I could think of 10 songs, and so I did, and I didn't even have to use lightweight almost-rock, such as "Isn't It Time" by the Babys, which came out in the mid-70s.

My achievements in '07? Well, I've lived in Oregon for over a year now. I've played a whole lotta guitar. I had the Worst Flu In The World, and lived to tell about it. And I've walked on the Beach many times. Just in case I don't type another post before years' end...thanks to all of you who stop and spend time here, and hopefully I'll write another post, suspiciously like this one, in a year from now...

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Must be the Internet holiday season!
I can't believe HOW MUCH JUNK MAIL I'm gettin' these days...

Every day, it's the same old thing. Check and answer e-mails, then, I'll either look thru the list of junk e-mails I receive, or if I don't feel like doing that, I'll just delete everything from my in-box page. The reason I look thru the junk e-mail list, is because sometimes, SOMETIMES, but not often, "real" mail ends up getting dumped into the Junk Mail Folder. Most days, I've been averaging about 75-100 junk mails, and that number jumps slightly on the weekends. But COME ON, guys, EASE UP! I tell ya, the ol' junk-mailers have really been pouring it on since "The Holidays" arrived this year.

Christmas is only one day behind us now, but, WHAM, BANG, just LOOK at my junk mail folder! In ONE DAY'S TIME, I got 320 of the damn things! 320! Gosh, I know people have to make a living doing something, but how am I supposed to respond to all of those? And, why would I want to respond to ONE of those? I think anyone who sends junk mail for a living should really begin to realize that the more junk mails I get, the more I'm prone to delete them all without even bothering to LOOK at the junk mail page. Do people get paid for sending these things out? Do they get sent out on a computer-generated schedule, giving the false impression an ACTUAL PERSON sent them? That's even WORSE. Crazy, man, crazy...

320 junk mails in one day. Of course, I'm not going to look at them all. I've looked at the first page of them, though, in my frantic search for something to blog about. Nope, ain't gonna open any of 'em, but here's a sampling of what I got on just the first page of my multitudinous in-box:

From: LOCAL SINGLES. Message: "NAUGHTY OR NICE? BROWSE SINGLES IN YOUR AREA!" My feedback: ominous holiday overtones here. I thot only Santa only found out who's naughty or nice." Not exactly "visions of sugarplums" here, eh?

From: VISTA SPRINT SPECIAL OFFER. Message: "VISTA PRINT FREE BUSINESS CARDS!" My feedback: I've got enough crap to clean up around here without having to put up with More Business Cards Than I'd Ever Use In Several Lifetimes.

From: NEW CRUSH MAIL. Message: "YOU HAVE ONE UNREAD CRUSH WAITING." If it sounds Too Good To Be True, It Probably Is. The only crush I've ever had is when I swam near a diving board once, and a guy sprung off the board and landed ON me. I was probably 8 or 9 then.

From: RING TONES. Message: "GET 10 FREE RINGTONES INSTANTLY!" I don't understand the fascination with ring tones. Why is it so cool to have just the right ring-tone? WHO CARES? Just answer the damn phone! But I don't even have a cell-phone. Although if I did, I'd probably install a "Black Sabbath 'Iron Man' ringtone". YEAHHHHH!

From CONGRATULATIONS! Message: "CONGRATULATIONS: DETAILS INSIDE!" Just for your information, Mr. Junk-mailer or Junk-mailer-bot, I have NEVER opened one of these. How can you congratulate me? You don't even know me! Bah humbug.

From FUEL PROMO. Message: "RUNNING LOW? FILL UP FOR FREE!" This one actually caught my eye. I could actually get a $1,000-dollar gas card. Here's the catch: The phrase, "Participation Required". I once clicked one such "Participate" thing, and spent the next 3 hours turning down offers, by-passing subscriptions, rejecting merchandise and putting the kibosh on coupons...I never did get to the page which actually Offered Me The Item For Real. No more!

From CELEBRITY CHEF. Message: "YOU HAVE BEEN SELECTED TO RECEIVE THE RACHEL RAY CELEBRITY CHEF PACKAGE!" She's the skinny woman with the big mouth on TV. The closest I ever get to "chef-dom" is making toast or putting Dinty Moore Roast Beef Royal soup-glop mix into the microwave.

From HEY!!!! Message: "WANNA SEE MY PICS?" Probably some beauty-queen wannabee who's had plenty of hard-knocks, advertising her nudity on ""...I could visit a junkyard and find less wear and, thanks, honey, don't need no floozies today.

Okay, you get the idea...the 9 messages above comprise roughly a third of a page of junk-mail listings, and, there's still 312 of these lugubriously STUPID things wanting me to respond to them. In order to do all of the stuff I need to do online, and still have time to respond to TEN junk mails, let alone 320 of them, I'd need feeding tubes, since I'd never be able to actually Get Away From The Computer For Any Duration Of Time. Of course I could probably set my junk mail "filter" on "high"...but who knows? I just might be missing something GOOD! Ya never know...

But lately, just lately, these unsolicited e-mails are beginning to creep into my e-mail INBOX with alarming regularity. I figure, "okay, this is where I use the spam button", and ZAP!, there go the wrongly-placed junk e-mails, off into some boiling cauldron of cyberspace purgatory. The only advantage to junk e-mails, far as I can see, is that it's a lot easier to toss THEM out than it is REAL garbage. So I'll end this post now, and then I'll go ZAP! all of my junk e-mails. I'm still thinkin' about that "Iron Man" ringtone, however...

The main difference between this blog-post and a junk e-mail is, that I haven't sent the following notice to hundreds of millions of computer users everywhere:


Saturday, December 22, 2007

Let's hope it's a good one...

"Christmas comes but once a year, and when it does, it brings good cheer", said the Beatles on one of the Christmas records they made in the '60s for members of their fan club. "And So This Is Christmas", John Lennon sang back in the early '70s. And that one phrase immediately indicates there is more to Christmas than Good Cheer; something in the way that phrase sounds, the way it strikes the ear, carries an implied foreboding. Christmas may bring good cheer, but it doesn't take away the misery around the world.

We're still fighting the so-called 'War on Terror'; our President's Bunker Mentality says that the U.S. will be there until victory is achieved. I don't think victory against such a nebulous cause can be won. Better to keep the terrorists out of our country, not waste lives seeking them out elsewhere. But the war drags on, And I don't have a lot of hope for the immediate future; far as I can see, the Prezzential debates have disintegrated into awful, fingerpointing dog-and-pony shows. Send in the clowns. Wait, they're already here...

Meanwhile, workers across the nation are being laid off, our economy outsources at every opportunity, millions of dollars are being spent on That Useless War, while people here starve and can't afford the medications and medical procedures they need to survive. Administrations and politicians come and go, and it's almost as if no one really has the power to get things done in this country. What are we doing to ourselves? Sometimes I think it's already too late, that the 'dream' died with Bobby Kennedy in '68.

But we still keep on "keepin' on". Maybe it's wise not to look at the big picture too often, lest we forget to try and keep our own 'little corners of the world' tidy. I'm grateful to be alive, to be in this country, to be a part of LIFE, however much of it I have left. In spite of the bumbling ways of this administration, I still have hope for this country. I'm hoping someone is out there who can make a difference. It's all such a big mess, though. It's gonna take a whole lotta someones to turn this ship around. Let's hope it happens.

Finally, a Christmas song that's even more relevant now than when it came out in 1972...

Merry Christmas, everyone...and, Mr. Bush, War is over if YOU want it.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Modern Conveniences...
Why aren't they more...well, "Convenient"?

I was in the mood to pay bills today. I actually looked forward to getting that dreary stuff done. Unfortunately, today was a dreary day. Gray and rainy. Rain, rain, rain. I can only think of one thing worse than rain. And that would be SNOW. I mean, I don't have to worry about "Rain-plows" blocking off the entrance to my driveway. So that's good. As long as the water doesn't wash my house away or "tsunami" me out of existence, I'll be okay. I don't get into town very often; the little post office a couple miles from me is a "satellite" office that closes at NOON. Gosh. I don't think I've been up before noon since my colonoscopy last October. And another little satellite post office 4 miles south of me CLOSED. Yep, a government business going out of business. Who said things couldn't get any worse? Which means that, to get to a post office, I have to drive a minimum of 7 or 8 miles to get there. And then stand in line. And wait. And wait. And wait. And since this is the Christmas mailing season, wait some more. And since it was so rainy today that a snorkel would've come in handy, after breakfast at a local eatery, I decided to go back home. Just not a good idea to be outside today. Unless you're a duck, that is. Quack!

So, I decided to pay my bills ONLINE. I had an electric bill, phone bill and cable TV bill that each beseeched me for immediate attention. Turns out all the websites wanted me to establish accounts, complete with account names, passwords, personal information, and wow...all of a sudden my brain began overloading. It was getting pretty complicated, and I didn't feel like doing any sort of masters'-degree research just to pay a damn then I resorted to paying by PHONE, and oh, what fun that was. I have two words for you: PHONE MENUS. Phone menus times three, that is. "If you have a business, press ONE. If you have a residential account, press TWO. If you want to listen to another automated voice, press THREE. If you are about to gobble cyanide-concentrate 'cos you can't take another MINUTE of this phone-menu runaround, press FOUR." And, it costs money to pay bills by phone; these utilities have "outside collectors" which then route the payment to where it's supposed to go. So, on top of paying your bill, you pay another $2.95 for the privilege of paying by phone. So, I ended up paying a 'paying fee' so I could pay my bills.. Now I ask ya, "is that Capitalism or what?"

All of these modern conveniences. Big deal, huh? I remember when a little portable record player which contained TUBES was considered hi-tech. I remember when a little six-transistor radio was just the coolest-ever thing to have, magically pulling radio waves out of the sky. My first troublesome encounter with modern technology was in TYPING class, back in high school. I learned to type on an old Royal "440" machine that was made out of CAST IRON...or at least heavy steel. That thing was like a tank with keys. And I could pound the keys and slam the carriage back for the next line like a white tornado, and I hit 73 words a minute. Not bad. I was a pretty heavy-handed typist, though. The following year, I took "Typing II", and oh my gosh, the class featured ELECTRIC typewriters. I'd 'pound out' a letter, and several of "that letter" ended up on the printed page. If I rested my thumb on the space bar, the typewriter would go, "brrrrrt-brrrrrt-brrrrrrrt", and all of a sudden I had blank lines on the page. My typing speed actually went DOWN on an electric typewriter.

I took another typing test, which qualified me to apply for a job that, in the end, I didn't qualify for, just a few years ago, and found that my typing speed actually INCREASED. I'm up to 75 words a minute now. I think the computer might've had something to do with that...not because I have any talent, but more because I've been online so doggone much over the years. That's good for posting purposes, only sometimes my hands move faster than my brain thinks, and that's when it takes me the greater part of 3 hours to edit, re-phrase, and edit some more until I get my post the way I want it. And just when I thot I was fast, I was talking to some secretary somewhere once while doing business over the phone, and I told her, "I type 75 words a minute". Her reply? "I type 120". That's almost physically impossible, ain't it? So, as Eric Burdon once sang (on the Animal's "The Twain Shall Meet" album from 1968), "no matter how fine you are...there is always somebody finer". I guess I've learned two lessons here. One, to drive to the post office to pay bills, even if it's 40 miles away, and two, never try to impress a secretary with your typing speed, 'cos she'll mercilessly SQUASH you.

You might've noticed I changed my blog's layout somewhat. Basically, I took a lot of garbage out of the sidebar; the little "gif image" of George Bush dancing just grew tiresome. Now the only junk you'll see on this site is what you're reading here. However, the Prezzidential Countdown clock is first and foremost here, and it's tick, tick, ticking away...

Breaking news: Rudy Giulani, one of hundreds of Prezzidential candidates who we're enduring these days, checked into a hospital yesterday; he felt ill, but nothing serious was found. Only thing I can imagine is, if he doesn't have an ulcer yet, running for Prezzident will definitely give him one. (Seen on MSNBC's 'Scarborough country', 3am, PST. That's all from the 'night copy' desk.)

Monday, December 17, 2007

Sometimes I wish I could thank them all...
For sharing their talents and giving us all their music...

Consumer note: Since this is a musical post, it ain't brief. Read it in shifts.

IN MY LIVING ROOM sits my record collection. Hundreds of pieces of plastic. All of those albums and singles each have something to share...some of those pieces of plastic pound my ears with hard rock, some provide sweet pop sentiments, some look at the world and comment on society's ills from the time period they represent, some entertain whimsically, and as cynical as I am about love, some of those pieces of plastic uplift my spirit, and give me a sense of hope. In any given record-listening session, I can veer from folk, to balladeering, to heavy funk, to country rock, to heavy metal, or's all music, after all. Yeah, there are things I don't like, and other things I haven't heard a whole lot of; as time goes on, I'm finding it's plain-old HARD to keep up on everybody. That's because, I spend time listening to my own favorite kinds of music, but as time marches onward, there are so many new artists popping up in every musical genre that I can't stay ahead of them all. But I try...when I'm out driving around, I tune my radio into an FM station which appears to play a good deal of newer music that's coming out. And, most of the stuff sounds okay, even to these old ears.

THERE ARE SOME ARTISTS, from back when I was growing up in the '60s and '70s, that I've never really had a chance to hear; case in point, how about Richie Havens? He's the black singer who led off "Woodstock" with a song called "Freedom" about being in the right place at the right time...and instantly, his name became known to millions of music fans. He had a chart hit, with a "live" version of George Harrison's "Here Comes The Sun" in 1970, and he recorded quite a few albums, three of which I've picked up at second-hand stores over the years and finally got around to hearing this weekend. Going to "Goodwill" and other such 2nd-hand stores is a good way to buy records I've been aware of in the past, but never got around to buying. I don't think I would've bought a Richie Havens album when he was a current artist; I was more a fan of the "groups" at the time. But, Richie's albums are tuneful, rhythmic, sometimes raw and driving, sometimes quietly melodic...what sets him apart is his "screech" of a voice which gives him a raw sort of "edgy" appeal; compelling stuff indeed. Think of him as a black psychedelic folkie; strange combination, but it really sets him apart.

A QUITE PROLIFIC MUSICIAN passed away over the weekend. His music is always creative, tightly arranged and polished...he's been all over the radio for the last 2 or 3 decades; he had a lot of pop hits, but his albums demonstrate his ability to effectively do pop, rock and roll, and sweet ballads, and on top of that, he wrote all of his own music. I saw him most recently on PBS, where he did an "Austin City Limits". Again, I' ve always been into rock and roll bands, so for a long time, most "solo" performers didn't register all that much with me. I first heard one of his records when I was working at a radio station in the '70s; I found an old "promo" copy, and gave it a spin, and I thot, "hey, this is pretty good..."

The artist? Dan Fogelberg. How many times was his pretty ballad, "Longer", sung at weddings? How many people felt the chill of a cold, gray, lonesome day when they heard "Same Auld Lang Syne", a song about connecting with an old flame after all those years, and then once again going "separate ways" many people, including me, rocked out to "The Language of Love"; that's right, there's Dan Fogleberg music that you can rock out to. A lot of music critics had very harsh words for him, but what do they know, right? To be as current as he was, for such a long time, and to be able to do many different musical styles such as he did, is talent, pure and simple. He was a multi-instrumentalist as well; layering many of the instruments played on his albums. Dan Fogelberg passed away yesterday (Sunday) due to prostate cancer. It's an old cliche, but the music does indeed "live on". I personally haven't played his records in years, but several of them are in my collection, and have been...for years. One of my favorite-ever records is the album he recorded with flautist Tim Weisberg, "Twin Sons of Different Mothers". On that record, he does an absolutely wonderful version of the old Hollies' song, "Tell Me To My Face". Talent indeed. I'm sad he's gone.

AN ARTIST WE ALMOST LOST not all that long ago is Neil Young, and I am a huge fan of his. Neil's quivering voice, his rudimentary yet highly effective guitar playing, and the vast range of material he records puts him way, way up there in my book. He was diagnosed with an aneurysm a few years back, and in-between diagnosis and surgery, he recorded the album "Prairie Wind"; I'd read that he wanted to get that album done just in case he didn't survive the operation. Well, he did and I'm glad. And, his new album, "Chrome Dreams II" just sounds better and better all the time. On that record, ballads and blistering rock tunes sit side by side; the range of material he does is staggering.

Over the weekend, I heard this 1992 album, "RAGGED GLORY " by Neil and his longtime backup group, Crazy Horse. No ballads here, that's for sure. Two of the songs are over 10 minutes long; several are over 5 minutes, and the whole thing rocks in glorious sloppiness as Neil literally squeezes the high notes out of his guitar and warbles forth. This album rocks with a vengeance. Great songs abound here, such as "Love And Only Love", "Days That Used To Be", "Love To Burn" and, a totally insane song that shouts, "Why do I Keep F*CKING UP???" Neil and company even do an old obscure '50s song, "Farmer John", and they literally blow the song to pieces, in all kinds of wrenching overmodulated heaviness and barely-in-key vocals. I am a big fan of Neil's ballads, too, but this is the stuff I absolutely love him for. You Go, Neil!!! I am always amazed by his ability to sing the most tender, lyrical songs, and then turn around and blister the ears with ragged, raw rock and roll.

I BOUGHT THE VINYL EDITION of this album back when it first came out. The only drawback of vinyl is that you can put just 'so much' music on each side before the LP begins to lose its frequency response. (Less space for the undulation of the grooves, you see.) "Ragged Glory" is a LONG album (over 60 minutes), and all of that was crammed onto ONE vinyl LP. As such, I'd have to turn up the volume way up, just to get decent sound output, and of course, when I did that, in addition to loud music, every imperfection in the vinyl also got amplified. Still, it's rock and roll. Well, recently, I just came into possession of a factory cassette tape of this album, and I dubbed it over to CD. Ah, no sound limitations (as long as I don't blow out my speakers, that is). Now I can hear this album as it was meant to be heard, loud, rude n' crude, in all its "Ragged Glory".

So, I'd like to thank the musicians for making the music that's helped me to enjoy the good times, and get through the bad times. Without music, I would have literally lost my mind. It's always been something very valuable--and therapeutic-- for me to turn to. You musicians out there have no idea how valuable you are to the rest of us. Thank you.

Friday, December 14, 2007

A new term for the Holidays...
..."holidays", you know, the ones with 'Christmas' in there somewhere...

EMBEDDED GIFTING...Have you ever heard of this term? You have? I haven't. It's where you buy something, and a portion of what you've paid for that item goes to some might pay $19.95 for a Deluxe Rotating Widget, for example, and the ad you saw, which induced (seduced?) you to pay for that item said something to the effect of, "for every purchase, the McGillicutty Widget Company will make a 50-cent donation to the United Nations' Fund to Assist the Widgetally-Deprived People of the World" or some such entity. Anyway, I read about 'Embedded Gifting" in the paper today, and it got me wondering, are these manufacturers/suppliers being benevolent, or are they upping the cost so that donations can be sent without costing anyone (except YOU, the buyer) any more moolah? As far as the almighty dollar is concerned, nothing surprises me anymore. I remember, as a kid, when either my folks or other relatives would give me a birthday card with MONEY inside. Now, I can fully endorse THAT type of "embedded gifting".

LATE-NIGHT TV VIEWING is a little bit better these days...the Don Imus replacement show on MSNBC, is now officially "Morning Joe". All of the MSNBC promos invite you to stop by for a "cup of Morning Joe", which, in this case, refers to Joe Scarborough and his cronies. At first, the show just seemed kinda awkward and staged, but, it seems a bit easier to watch these days. Joe and his crew are analytical and observant, they work well together, they inject humor into the proceedings, and it "feels" like the show is establishing a comfortable groove. Scarborough, himself a former Congressman, and his crew cover the political scene quite well. All that aside, I do miss the uproariousness of the Imus show...but "Morning Joe" is definitely filling a niche. The thought just struck me that, with a title like that, "Morning Joe" oughta be especially popular in SEATTLE. Java, anyone?

SO AM I MORE POLITICALLY INFORMED NOW? Actually, I'm more confused than ever, what with Democrats and Republicans each having multiple candidates at each dog-and-pony-show Prezzidential debate. I'm already tired of Election Season, and it won't be here for a long time yet. In a nutshell, there's some kind of money-scandal now brewing for ol' Giulani, John Edwards is Mormon And Proud Of It, one of Hillary's staffers launched unauthorized attacking info about Obama, so Hillary evidently got together with Obama and smoothed things over before today's Demo-debate; on the White House front, Dick Cheney is still a weasel and George Dubya still says "NU-CU-LAR", and although "waterboarding" has been used during during interrogations of Middle-east detainees recently, our Government had classified the technique as ILLEGAL some FORTY YEARS AGO. Reality "bites" sometimes, doesn't it?

EVERYTHING OLD IS NEW AGAIN: Today, on ye olde car radio, I heard a young chick singer singing, of all things, Pink Floyd's 1975 song, "Shine On You Crazy Diamond"...(the station I was listening to NEVER announces its artists)...she did a pretty good job on the song, but...she's female, therefore her voice can go HIGHER than a male's, but when it came time to hit the high notes in the song, she didn't. She just kinda tossed off the lyric phrase in an "I'm-so-detached-I'm-cool" manner. A couple of songs later, I heard an oh-so-serious young man singing in a hushed voice (they all seem to sing that way these days), and he was doing Neil Diamond's 1966 song, "Solitary Man". He didn't change the song's arrangements at all, so I was kinda wondering, "what's the point?" To put this in perspective, think of the 1960's singer Lou Christie recording the old 1920's song, "Yes, We Have No Bananas". That didn't happen, thankfully. Who's to blame for all of this? MICHAEL BOLTON and his ear-splitting, screeching version of the old song, "When A Man Loves A Woman", which killed everyone's ears a decade or so ago. Since then, old music is fair game, I guess...

SOFT PORN IN A COMMERCIAL: It's just gotta be. What else could it be? It's an ad for "Disaronno", some type of liquor beverage. The scene: Several yuppie-folk are whooping and hollering in some nice living-room-type-bar, and among them is a beautiful, tall, thin, red-headed Really Classy lady, who informs the bartender she'll have a "Disaronno on the rocks". Later in the commercial, her empty glass is resting on the bar; the bartender reaches for it. She grabs the bartender's hand and shakes her head, "no, no", very sensuously. Of course, this woman could probably wash clothes sensuously. Feeling her grasp, he looks up at her. She then takes an ice cube out of the empty glass, opens her mouth (again, sensuously), and proceeds to s-l-o-w-l-y bring the ice cube to her lips, looking (sensuously) at the bartender all the while. The camera cuts back to the bartender, who is grinning sorta wickedly, end of commercial. Sometimes, when I see this commercial, I think "huh? what?", and other times it makes me wish I was a bartender.

Honest, Coach, I thought it was Vitamin B: Evidently, a quite damning report on steroid usage was released yesterday, and many, many baseball players, with pitcher Roger Clemens, the guy who will throw at you if he doesn't like you, at the top of the list (he was evidently injected 80-odd times in the BUTT). The only positive thing to come out of all of this is that most of these players were revealed NOW, before they had to appear in front of a Congressional Steroid committee and tell lies, which could result in jail time, like what might happen to Barry Bonds. Remember the good ol' pre-steroid days? When all you had to do was eat your Wheaties? Meanwhile, Northwest Cable News has reported that "no current Mariners are involved" in what might turn out to be a huge scandal. Can't you just imagine Ichiro on steroids? He runs fast enough now; on 'roids, he'd probably break the sound barrier.

Finally, it is winter. Winter with a capital "Dubya". It's 2:20am; the current temperature on the Southern Oregon Coas is 38 degrees. There might, I repeat, MIGHT be frost tonite. 'Twas sunny today, no ice, no snow. And, to quote an old song, "That's the way, uh-huh, uh-huh, I like it, uh-huh-uh-huh..." (That's a tune I don't think I'll hear any new artists doing anytime soon.)

Monday, December 10, 2007

A menagerie of subjects...
...a heapin' helpin' of blogging gumbo; eat hearty!

Why didn't someone think of this before? For years and years, we've seen those plastic catsup (ketchup?) and mustard bottles at restaurants, which always came in handy; several years ago, the condiment people began putting their HOME products in plastic, squeezable bottles. Okay, well, maybe I'm behind the times, but it wasn't too long ago that I noticed you could buy JELLY in squeezable bottles...a pure stroke of genius! You don't have to worry about wasting jelly or getting the gooey, sticky stuff all over your hands. How about it, folks...creamy peanut butter in a squeeze bottle? I'm waiting for it. Although, if a manufacturer tried to put 'chunky' peanut butter in a squeeze bottle...someone's eye would get shot out by flying peanut pieces. Well, that's okay; just put a warning label on the side of the bottle...

He'll be worrying about more than just getting sacked: Quarterback MICHAEL VICK (New Orleans Saints?) has been sentenced to 23 months in prison for his dog-fighting activities; he's gotta be careful now; if he gets taken down in the exercise yard, chances are his tackler will be packing a SHANK. Why is it, that people who are set for life with millions of dollars seem to have these fatal flaws which cause them to throw it all away? (Can anyone say "O.J.", who was stupid enough to get involved in a gun-toting situation in Vegas, especially in the light of what happened, regarding his domestic situation on June 12, 1994?)

Who says I don't keep up on new music? Actually, I don't. Although, there's a fine new radio station here which mixes in recent popular laid-back music with stuff from the '70s and '80s; I just wish there was someone who'd open a mike every now and then and tell me who I was listening to. But, that station keeps annoying commercials to a minimum, so that's nice. So I do try to keep aware of new music, although its' a weak effort at best. But I try.
I actually found out about this new slice o'music online, and was able to hear a few tracks with my computer's media player. So, even for this old dinosaur, shopping for music takes twists and turns. That's how I found out about this collaboration between Robert Plant (the Led Zeppelin singer) and Alison Krauss, who I understand is quite famous in the world of country music, although I'd never heard of her until this disc came out. "Raising Sand" is a gentle, melodic, almost careful album; hushed harmonies abound in a laid-back country-folk sort of fusion, although it does rock once in a while. So I keep up on music, I guess, when it involves old musicians...and Plant ain't gettin' any younger. But he and she sound just fine. You might remember Plant's high-pitched wailing with Led Zeppelin; obviously he can't soar that high anymore, but he can still hit high notes, and does so here smoothly and delicately. Alison fits right in as she weaves her voice around Plant's. The entire album has an intimate feel; perfect late-nite music to wind down to.

Monday Night Football with a twist: The television broadcast of Monday Night Football annoys me to no end. Three commentators, all competing for space in which to say their inane somethings, and if that's not enough, there's 2 more on-field correspondents plus an irrelevant guest from The World Of Entertainment. So much verbage, so intense, all the time; it's enough to give ya a migraine. So tonight, I've got Monday Night Football on TV with the sound off, and instead, I'm listening to the Westwood-One radio broadcast, which ain't nearly as hyper. Only two commentators. And that's still one-too-many sometimes, but at least it's a step in the right direction.

Political garbage ad nauseum: What's this about the Prezzident continuing to prolong the Iraq war, even when it was recently found out that nukes hadn't been made over there for 4 years? And what's this about CIA tapes of torture sessions being destroyed by the powers that be? And lately, a former CIA agent has come out and said that "waterboarding" (where they tie you up and almost drown you), even though he thinks it 'goes too far', does produce results. Like, one of the 9/11 masterminds saying they didn't mean to kill so many people when they rammed airplanes into the World Trade Center. Yeah, rrrrrright. Maybe waterboarding's too good for guys like him. Meantime, one Prezzidential Candidate is trying to defend his Mormon faith; another is trying to justify his city's paying for security when he was having an affair while mayor of New York City; Oprah is endorsing Barack Obama, Bush is still bumbling in the White House and Vice President Cheney is still probably the one guy running this country. Like I said...AD NAUSEUM. This stuff makes me so sick, that I actually contemplated deleting this paragraph. Nah, I won't. It makes the rest of this post look good.

Well, there ya go; a complete post typed in less than 30 minutes. Just dashed right out there. Blogging spontaneity at its most blatant. Maybe I should do more of these. Meantime, the radio is beginning to fade a little bit, due to a weak nighttime signal, but no way am I going to switch on the TV volume, not as long as that airhead Tony Kornheiser is part of the crew!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

All Those Years Ago...
A look back at Time Magazine's Dec. 22, 1980 issue...

ON PAGE FIVE, there's an article about the little town of Plains, Georgia, and how things there never changed all that much in spite of the fact that it's the hometown of soon-to-be former President Jimmy Carter. On page 17, there's a story about the then-current Iran Hostage crisis, in which the 400th day in captivity of 52 Americans is observed; it would be 44 more days before they were freed. Turning to page 54, I find an article titled "The Seven Lean Years", which laments record oil prices, with 1980's final price increase projected to reach $30 dollars a barrel. That's THIRTY dollars.

FLIPPING BACK TO PAGE 39, I see a photo of India's Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and Soviet President Leonid Brezhnev standing side by side at an official reception, and Brezhnev looks even more unfriendly than Russia's current President, Vladdy Putin (who "oozes" KGB). On page 36 is positioned an article about Poland's then-(and probably still) tenuous relationship with the U.S.S.R., and a photo of Solidarity Union Leader Lech Walesa givin' 'em hell; no one ever hears about Walesa anymore.

OVER IN THE "PEOPLE" SECTION, on page 71, comedian/actor John Belushi is shown posing upon a high ridgetop in a still from the movie, "Continental Divide". Sounds like a movie that came and went pretty fast; I never heard much about it. And, an 81-year old James Cagney, one of the most famous actors ever, is pictured along with others in the artistic community who were slated to receive 'lifetime awards' from the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

FAST-FORWARDING TO PAGE 90, "TIME" record (that's RECORD) critic Jay Cocks writes about New Music Releases which would be great for holiday gift-giving; featured are such new albums as Bruce Springsteen's "The River", Stevie Wonder's "Hotter Than July", Blondie's "AutoAmerican" (the one with "The Tide Is High"), Steely Dan's "Gaucho" and "The Eagles: Live". All hot new releases, back then. No mention of Compact Discs, either. Those wouldn't happen for another 3 or 4 years. Those are all fine records, but my favorite of those new late-1980 albums he mentioned was "Remain In Light", a really wild album by the Talking Heads.

IN THE "LETTERS" SECTION, one of the subjects is a recent TIME article about the then-current morning TV shows. One letter-writer disagrees with the magazine; her reply stated that "Jane Pauley is an excellent news reader...and Tom Brokaw is far from frosty. He's competent and likable." Hmmm. Pauley and Brokaw. How about that. Written waaay before anyone had any idea who Bryant Gumbel is/was. You want 'frosty'? Gumbel was an ICE CUBE.

BUT MOSTLY, THE DECEMBER 22nd, 1980 issue of "TIME" Magazine (then priced at $1.50 a copy) was achingly noteworthy for another event altogether...

JOHN LENNON was gunned down in New York City, December 8th, 1980; 27 years ago today. And you know, it still feels like it happened yesterday. I remember reading the old book, "The Day Lincoln Was Shot", and a line uttered by the attending physician at Lincoln's bedside, immediately after the President died was, "now he belongs to the ages"...for some reason, that line stuck with me, and I guess it can be applied to Lennon as well. It's not that Lennon was any kind of great musician; he wasn't; but he belonged to us. I never really expected the Beatles to reunite, but was great to hear new Lennon music; the "Double Fantasy" album was released in October 1980, following a 5-year silence, a sort of self-imposed "exile" from the spotlight. After all these years, I still feel like he was 'taken away' from us. And it still makes me sad.

THE BEATLES had split apart 10 years before Lennon died; in that time, I'd come to enjoy their solo stuff; I was a fan of many then-current bands, so I wasn't one of those who obsessed on the Beatles getting back together; indeed, they all seemed to be doing just fine as separate entities. I just wish Lennon had lived; from all accounts, in late 1980, he was just getting re-started; he planned a whole lot of musical things to come, but unfortunately, never to be.

MANY OF JOHN'S 'solo' songs, such as "Imagine", "Mind Games", "Power To The People", "Happy Xmas", "#9 Dream" and "Instant Karma" were easily as vital to popular music as any Beatles' music. I re-acquainted myself with his "Imagine" album a couple of months ago, and it's One Great Album. It's almost a masterpiece. Maybe it is. It would have been fascinating to see where his music would've taken him, what he would have sung about. Perhaps music is an intangible thing, but it truly is the soundtrack of our lives...which explains the worldwide public reaction to his death.

MY OWN FEELINGS ON THIS: John Lennon was Mercilessly Taken Away From Us. How cruel. How insane. I Will Never Forget. I Can't. Those bullets fired on a December night 27 years ago took more than the life of one man; a piece of all of us was killed that night. I still feel rage and sadness when I think about it. The passing of George Harrison 6 years ago, however, serves to put everything more or less in its place. Two Beatles are gone now. Had Lennon lived, he'd currently be 67. Many musicians younger than that have died from natural causes. George Harrison was 58. Paul's still going strong, but frankly, I'm a little weary of the way he constantly promotes himself all of the time, like he's still got to prove something. Ringo, from all accounts, is having a good time and enjoying himself. Good for you, Richie.

THE BEATLES' GROUP AND SOLO MUSIC provided a sense of joy and melodic wonder which helped all of us fans to momentarily escape the drudgery of our everyday lives and go along for the ride; for that alone, I could never thank them enough. Their music, as a group and as solo artists has brought me countless hours of enjoyment for many years; the music lives on, and I'm glad it does. I've always wanted to thank all of the musicians who created such great songs for me to listen to. And if it was possible, I would first thank all of The Beatles, then I'd go from there. And, later on today, I'll play Lennon's "Shaved Fish" (greatest hits album)'s a custom with me. And I'll remember.


I still have my original copy of TIME magazine, that I bought in December, 1980...All Those Years Ago.

Friday, December 07, 2007

...uhhh, no thanks, I think I'll pass...

There are several 2-lane highways in Oregon that connect Interstate 5 to various points on the coast. I've driven on all of these connecting highways, on which you have to navigate an average of 60 to 70 miles before actually reaching the coast. That means, you've got to cross the coastal mountain range, and on at least two of these highways, there are tunnels drilled through the mountains. Just 'cos it ain't high here doesn't mean it ain't steep, after all. And judging from the steepness of the tunneled hillsides, I'm thinkin' the Chief Highway Engineer threw up his hands and said, "I've HAD it! No more HILLSIDES! Boys, we're goin' THROUGH!" That's my delusional take on it anyway.

My favorite route to the coast is Highway's a narrow road, barely any shoulders, and it twists and winds either up and down fairly steep and long hills, or along the undulations of a river which has carved its way through layers of rock. Off to your left you have a steep hillside, to your right, you have the river; the shoulder of the road might be 2 feet, and the road twists and winds around the curves in the river. Not a fun driving option, but out of all the 'connecting' interstate-to-coast hiways I've been on, ol' highway 38 is the's less 'twisty' and 'winding' than the other routes.

During the recent storm, it turns out a couple of boulders the size of a house (or bigger), in addition to a whole lot of dirt, gravel, smaller rocks and pieces of trees, came loose, spilled down the hillside, landing squarely on route 38. Here, a highway crew is surveying the situation. "Well, Joe, that's a purty big darn rock there, eh?" "Well, Zeke, I'll betcha we could make a whole lotta road gravel outta this one; how 'bout it, Clem?" "Well, Joe, I remember a similar rock fallin' on a road back in the great storm of 1996..."

Okay, okay, I'm being harshly stereotypical here...after all, highway crews do more than just look at things and make painfully obvious remarks. (I hope.) I'm sure they are genuinely concerned, as all dedicated state employees are. (I'm pushing it, huh?) Some folks, not knowing this happened, drove inland 20 or 30 miles before coming upon the mess, with crews telling they'd have to retrace their steps (well, tire tracks) and Return From Whence They Came. And if they wanted to access I-5, they'd not only have to "retrace", they'd have to head up or down hiway 101 (the Coastal Hiway) until they came to the next (hopefully not closed) connecting route. That would amount to, in some cases, a 1o0-mile(or more) detour.

However...and this is lane of the road was opened Thursday evening...some 3,000 cubic yards of material were cleared away. And, the event pictured above will cost $200,000 to clean up by the time all is said and done (or another storm blows in).

But, no matter how bad you've got it, someone else is worse a similar but not-really-similar situatiuon in Washington State, severe flooding rendered a portion of I-5 under water, effectively closing down the Interstate between Vancouver, Wash. and Tacoma. If someone wanted to go, say, from Seattle to Portland, they'd have to head up over Snoqualmie Pass, turn Right at Ellensburg, go thru Yakima, then cross the Columbia River (at Biggs), and head down I-84 into Portland. A lot of truckers said, "Thanks, but no thanks", and who could blame 'em? That's at least a 500-mile detour.

...and to think that all I was worrying about during the storm were mere TREES falling on me, not boulders half the size of the Rock of Gibraltar...

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

The calm BEHIND the storm...
Or, things coulda been worse, much worse...

I'm down here on the south coast of Oregon, about 120 miles north of California...and down here in these parts, well, you bet we had wind...and it actually got kinda scary. But, it could have been worse...there are folks on the coast north of me that won't have their power switched back on for DAYS yet... in comparison, my power was restored in a mere 12 hours (if you can call 12 hours 'mere'...) I heard the guy on the radio say a couple of days ago, "storm coming, you'd better go out and get provisions, flashlights, batteries and anything else you might need in a storm", so I went out and got TWO flashlights. And, I only misplaced one of them when I got home...I misplace a lot of things here. So, I had one flashlight, and two battery-powered radios to help me work through my weather-imposed 12-hour Dark Period. The weathermaps seemed to indicate that the brunt of the storm smacked into the central and northern Oregon coastline, as well as all of Washington's coast. Still, the winds down here were very, VERY strong...and, the folks at Pacific Power and Light deserve my heartfelt thanks; working hard thru the night, trying to get the power back on.

The storm really began making itself known early Tuesday afternoon. After a trip to the Post Office, I went to a restaurant, and got back home about 4:30pm. The winds were already whipping themselves into a frenzy; as I drove home I could feel the wind blowing against my car, which isn't exactly the most secure feeling ever....and when I arrived, the first thing I noticed: No Light When I Flipped On The Light Switch. Lately, the sun has been setting around 6pm, and it was already a dark day, what with ominous gray clouds everywhere. And as such, daytime "morphed" into night, and it got dark. I don't mean "just" dark. REALLY dark, as in, there's-no-lights-on-in-the-entire-neighborhood type of dark. And that's the way it stayed. I went into my TV room, where, of course, I couldn't watch TV...and the clock on the wall, an old electric analog model (it's gotta be 30 years old), was frozen at 2:33, which told me the lights had gone out a good two hours before I got home. Before total darkness set in, I closed the blinds so the parakeets wouldn't get scared again. Something blew past the house Monday night and scared them, and they flapped their wings madly in a sort of Parakeet Freak-Out before crashing to the cage floor. They slept better Tuesday night, so I guess I did good.

The location I'm in is not a low-lying river valley, it's actually quite rocky, and as such, wasn't vulnerable to flooding, even in this Really Severe Storm. I consider myself fortunate, seeing as how I live a mile and a half from the ocean, and I am thankful. I'm still getting used to the Oregon Coast; life can be sometimes very different down here. There are lots of trees around me, though, and as I sat in my dark TV room, listening to my little battery-powered transistor radio, I actually heard a couple of 'em snap in the distance. "CRACK! POP!" It was THAT sudden. And loud. Shiverr......tremble.....I was feeling kinda vulnerable, and there was nothing I could do except to wait the storm out, in darkness, without any conveniences. So there I was...listening to pine cones falling on my roof as the wind whooshed through the neighborhood, making all kinds of eerie sounds in the pitch-black darkness...once in a while, I'd switch the flashlight "on" just so I could see SOMETHING, anything...and then I'd turn it off again and continue to listen to the radio (and howling winds) in TOTAL darkness.

I contented myself with two main thoughts; first of all, the sound of branches scraping on the sides of my house meant that the trees which the branches were attached to hadn't FALLEN yet, and, secondly, for whatever reason, there aren't many trees to the west (seaward) side of me. The wind was blowing east, so I figured if a tree fell, it would fall on someone ELSE'S house. Not nice, I know. And, another thought that occurred to me was, that since I have homeowner's insurance, Nothing Would Happen To Me. After all, the one time I've had a car wreck was when I only had LIABILITY coverage. As proof, I've had full coverage on my present automobile since 2002, and have had no accidents since them. So I figured, with full Homeowners' insurance, a falling tree wouldn't mercilessly smash my house into bits. As you've probably already figured out by now, I'm pretty good at rationalizing things. Procrastination and rationalization; I do those things pretty doggone well.

In the storm's aftermath, I went walking on the beach today; the sea is still angry; huge waves were crashing against the cliffs, sending spray 50 feet into the air. The wind was still blowing, although with not nearly the velocity of Tuesday nite/Wednesday morning's 80-plus-mph gusts. The power of the ocean this time of year is amazing. I was standing on the beach, watching the waves crashing and smashing into the jetty, before hurling walls of water headlong into the cliffs and the bay beyond. Truly a sight to behold; so powerful, so ominous, so much energy, and I was right there watching it happen. I even climbed onto the jetty rocks, but the view from up there was intimidating...massive waves heading towards me, and I immediately climbed down and watched from a safer distance. While sitting on the jetty last spring, I got NAILED by a wave that crashed onto the rocks; it felt like the Pittsburgh Steelers' defensive line had pounded me into the ground. You gotta respect that ocean.

So, that's my tale. I felt like something of a pioneer in a way, having to get back to basics. Well, not exactly "basics"...I whiled away a couple of hours in the darkness early Wednesday morning playing Computer Pinball on my battery-powered I guess I'm not much of a "pioneer", either. I shut down the computer before I exhausted the battery, so I went to bed, listening to the battery-powered radio as I read by flashlight. I was almost done with my reading, ready to turn out the light, and The Power Came Back On, almost 12 hours after a tree (or trees) fell somewhere, electronically cutting hundreds of people in my neighborhood off from Society As We Know It. We may not have the snow, or bursting pipes, or ice that a lot of folks have in winter...but here on the coast, well, there's the weather...and that angry ol' ocean out there. She'll turn on ya if you give her half a chance.

Next time I go to the store, I think I'll get some CANDLES. Those definitely would've come in handy the other night. And maybe a battery-operated TV...maybe a battery-operated reading lamp...right now, I'm counting my blessings and my thoughts are with those whose homes were destroyed by this storm. It was a MEAN one!

Monday, December 03, 2007

If you've ever been told that, this would be the place!

EVERYONE KNOWS IT'S WINDY...Well, I'm counting down the's STORM TIME here on the southern Oregon coast. In addition, Garbage Day in my neck o'the woods is today (Monday). Not a good mix. So, I'm up late, but I suppose I'd be up late anyway. But this time around, Mother Nature is Letting Go...she's not shy; when she's not happy, she lets everyone know. So maybe I should stay up for a while. I've long thot that inclement weather comes about because "somebody just did something really wrong somewhere". (That's my neurotic side on display.) Anyway, I went out and checked, and my garbage can was blown over...thankfully the lid held tight, or the whole neighborhood would know what I've been having for dinner over the last week...wrappers, wrappers everywhere. Let's hope not. On Sunday, there were 100-mph wind gusts further up the coast; it's been windy on and off thru this evening into this morning.

The weather forecasters, who LIVE for times like this, are saying tides might be 40 feet higher than normal, Sunday, going into Monday...well, I'm a couple miles from the ocean, so there's land in-between me and the beach. It's about 1am right now, and I can hear the wind out there, over the TV volume...and occasionally, a quite-mighty gust rears up and makes its presence known. My parakeets, in their cage near the big window, got a 'wind scare' while trying to sleep...they don't know what's going on. So, I moved the 'keets away from the window and then went out and took the garbage can from curbside, and placed it back up next to the house. If the garbageman doesn't come today, well, that's okay. If all goes well, and I've got my fingers crossed, Monday will come and go without a tree falling on my house, my 'keets, or lil' ol' me. But I can hear that wind whipping out there as I type this. Oh, and for any kite-fliers in the vicinity...y'all better use some high-test'll need it!

SEEING AS HOW I'M GONNA BE UP ANYWAY...I tapped into WABC radio in New York City early this morning, and sure as shootin', the "I-Man", Don Imus, is back on the air. I was watching on that fateful morning last April when he uttered "the big no-no"...and I KNOW he didn't mean it; it was just a phrase that he uttered, and that's ALL. It was a phrase that was out there bouncing around in the 'vernacular'. He made the mistake of using that phrase over the mass media. He spent his first several minutes on the air going into a fairly detailed explanation of what down, but he put the blame squarely on himself for the "nappy" comment he used in tandem with the Rutgers' womens' basketball team. Imus explained that he and the Rutgers' lady basketball players had gotten together for a candid and sometimes emotional 4-hour session... and he said that in a way he was glad he had been fired...because otherwise it would've looked like he was trying to save his job. Imus said he already knew he'd been fired before meeting with the Rutgers team & coaches. I will tell you this unequivocally: Imus is NOT a racist.

So can Don Imus still be the "I-Man"? I think so. He said that the type of mistake he made would never again be uttered on his show, but that, otherwise, his show wouldn't change, and I have quotes: He said that (Vice President) "Dick Cheney is still a war criminal" and that "Hillary Clinton is still "Satan". That's how he referred to them before he got kicked off the air. That's not what got him into trouble. Judging from the ovation he got when he opened his show, he's still got a following. I am personally hoping that Imus can get past this, and he said he'd grown from this whole experience. And if he does so, he'll becomne that rarest of the rare: An old ornery coot who's set in his ways, with strong opinions, yet still capable of adapting. And, all the Prezzential candidates out there who are brave enough are going to find that appearing on Imus' show is going to get them a lot of exposure. John McCain appeared this morning. Although I don't think the I-Man is going to be interviewing "Satan" anytime soon. I only wish his program was on at a more convenient's 5am...I gotta go to bed...

MAYBE HE'S THE REASON FOR "MA" NATURE'S WRATH...Amazing, how sometimes, things get "circular", and something I wrote about before, comes back in a different form. In the first "section" (about the wind, etc.), I'd said that when the weather's bad, maybe it's Mother Nature's way of expressing displeasure with Someone Who's Done Something Really Bad? Well, if I had a radio station, I'd dedicate the late-70's song, "I Wouldn't Want To Be Like You", by the Alan Parsons Project, to Idaho Senator Larry Craig, who may just have a bit more to answer for this week. Four more young guys have come out, detailing their liaisions (I hope I spelled that right) with Senator Craig in past years. Is he the reason the wind's been blowing so hard this weekend? Of course, he could probably fill in for Ma Nature, because he's been such a WINDBAG about this whole mess he's gotten himself into. He said he'd resign, then he said he wouldn't. He confessed, and then said he was basically tricked into confessing. And, he waited a long time between getting arrested and telling his family. I imagine we'll be hearing a lot about Senator Craig this week.

YOU GOTTA LOVE THOSE PUBLIC-TV FUNDRAISERS (or not...) Sunday night, on PBS, the really great program featuring the late Roy Orbison ("A Black and White Night") was aired. When I first saw the program, "in progress", I thot, "a-ha, must be time for another FUNDRAISER", and sure enough! If this wasn't so evident, I'd consider myself clairvoyant. After all, PBS only shows the REALLY GREAT concerts when they've got their hands out, asking for money. But, I've seen my share of really great concerts on PBS, although when I see an old and gray Eric Clapton singing the same old blues songs he's sung for the last 50 years, as I saw on PBS Saturday night, I kinda wonder if he's really enjoying what he's doing, or kinda just 'going thru the motions...after all, when you're Eric Clapton, what else can you do; you're The Greatest Living Guitarist In The World; what's left? So I guess you just let yourself relax by playing insufferably simple blues songs. Oh, Eric did play some "Blind Faith" and "Derek & The Dominos" stuff, too, so I guess he can still rock. So he's not quite over the hill. But he's getting there. Big surprise: Stevie Winwood ("Gimme Some Lovin", remember that 1966 tune?) , appeared for several songs with Clapton. And, Winwood has not aged AT ALL. And, in addition to keyboards, he also plays a mean guitar.

It is now close to 5:30 in the morning. The house is still standing. The parakeets are asleep. No trees have fallen on my head yet. The wind comes and goes. Imus has been on the air for 2 and a half hours, and he hasn't lost his job yet. So, things are about as good as I can expect...for now, that is...