Saturday, March 29, 2008

One Hundred Years From Now...
Funny what a person thinks about when his mind wanders...

I suppose this post was inevitable. After all, this blog is a reflection of things both external and internal; so, okay, here's something that's been bouncing around the vast empty caverns of my mind...I suppose this all came about since I became aware of some long-forgotten singers from many, many years ago. There is so much music from yesteryear I haven't heard; it's a whole 'nother world. A person could spend hours and hours on YouTube or various other sites, trying to hear everyone. But once you've heard a few singers and musicians from the past, then you come to find there are many, many more out there, lurking in the past, preserved on film or on disc, and it's amazing. All that music.

So you can look at all the different music, fads, musicians, songs, dances, forms of entertainment or whatever, over the last 100 years, and it's staggering. We've come all the way from primitive acoustic recording, where musicians gathered around a big speaker horn and played as forcefully as possible, all the way up to the point where almost anyone can have a studio in their home, which is equal to or surpasses professional studios of yesteryear. Look at all the fads...The Charleston...flappers...big band..."race" music (that's what Music by black artists was called waay back when)...the Duck-Tail...Folkies...Hippies...The Continental (a big dance craze of the '40s)...The Twist...The Beatles...Woodstock...The Aquarian Age...Disco...Punk...slam-dancing...Hip-Hop...Techno...and so on, and so forth. Paul Whiteman. Lee Morse. Frank Sinatra. Elvis. The Beatles. Led Zeppelin. Huey Lewis & The News. Hootie & The Blowfish. Ice-T. Tone Loc. American Idol. The New Christy Minstrels. The Dead Kennedys...and the many artists who are popular today; it's getting hard to keep with all the new faces...

Or, how about different modes of recorded sound? Evidently someone has made an audio recording of an old "Paper" recording, which pre-dates Thomas Edison by 20 years (roughly, the 1880's, I believe). Think about it, though...wax recordings on cylinders...the first "flat" one-sided 78rpm record...the first double-sided 78...then, long-playing 33rpm albums and 45rpm about the antiquated 4-track tape...which led to 8-tracks...then Cassette tapes came along (along with record company ads saying 'home taping kills music')...the demise of the phonograph record as CD's came along (many replacements for records had been launched unsuccessfully; I had a feeling, way back in 1983, though, that CD's would be the thing that (almost) obliterated vinyl...for many, the audio cassette is now a thing of the past, because CD recorders are widely available, but wait...there's mp3's out there, doing the same to the CD that the CD did to records...and who knows what else lurks out there in the wide wonderful field of home electronics?

And I haven't even touched upon other things which are hallmarks of eras past...gosh, where to start...The Model T. Doughboys. The Great Depression. The Roaring '20s. Prohibition. McCarthyism. JFK. RFK. Ford "Mustang". Martin Luther King, Jr. The Marlboro Man. Watergate. Reaganomics. Read My Lips, No New Taxes. Monica. Cheney's hunting accident. WPA. NASA. AFL-CIO. UPI. ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, PBS, and all of a sudden TONS of other channels. The Theater. Multi-plex theaters. VHS. DVD. Blu-Ray. Typewriters. Line-o-type. Pony Express. Western Union. Waiting a month for a letter from England. Computer chatting to people in any country you choose in real time. Pinball. Pong. Space Invaders. Pac-Man. Atari. X-box. (I'm starting to get dizzy here, what with all the 'rewinding' and 'fast-forwarding' I'm doing in this post...)

Okay, so what is the point of all of this? First of all, I don't claim to be any kind of innovator or visionary, but I look back at the many things that have happened since I was born, a little over a half-century ago. And as I backtrack further, into the early 1900's, all of a sudden it becomes obvious how much has been INVENTED...and the pace of innovation doesn't just double or triple, it increases exponentially, faster, faster, smaller, faster, more, more, more, all the time. And the point I am getting at is, over the last 100 years, so very much has been invented, so much has happened, so many issues, problems, policies, treaties, and on and on and on. We tend to think that this moment in time, the moment that we're in, the 'now', is the big thing. We think of the 20th century as the biggest-ever century because so many things came along in that time span...but...everything that we know, or operate, or associate with, utilize or program, has come along in just a small BLIP in time, soon to be outdated.

An old love song from the '40s, I believe, says something along the lines of, 'let's make the most of things now, because our small problems won't matter One Hundred Years From Now'. And, 'what is a hundred years'? In Cosmic Time, Not A Whole Heck Of A Lot. In a hundred years, everything we know NOW will be outmoded, outdated, packed away in mothballs, stored in attics, tossed away, discarded and pulverized. In another century, one day, someone will find the shell of an old laptop computer, similar to what I'm typing on right now, and think to himself, "my, how did folks manage to get by, way back in 2008?" I've been reading over all the trippy stuff I've typed here, and I 'spose there's only one logical way to end this post...enjoy the following song...which came out way back in 1969. (Forty years ago next year!)


...but we are okay in our shiny new car...look at us now, you can see we've come I am playing Electric Guitar...Look at the Progress...we've made...
--Lyrics from "Editorial", a 1968 song by Chad & Jeremy ("Of Cabbages & Kings" album)

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Waxing inconsistent with Hillary!
It's not so bad, she says, because she simply "mis-spoke"!

Gosh, Prezzidential Election Years are so much fun. Well, not every Prezzidential election year. But this one sure is. Hillary Clinton, for example, ain't gonna give up no matter how bad things get for her, in spite of the fact she has just about been mathematically eliminated as far as winning the Democratic Party's nomination. And now, she says she went back to Bosnia in 1996, back in her hubby's administration, and she had to land under fire and duck her head to avoid stray bullets before rhapsodizing with the troops who were then over there. Problem is, although the rhapsodizing may indeed have taken place, she landed under no such conditions, and the only time she ducked was when she tried not to bump her head on the top of the airplane's doorway. OOPS! When confronted about that, she said, "I MIS-SPOKE". That's because, I guess, she "mis-remembered".

Today, Hillary said that she's been against the North American Free Trade Agreement from "day one". But way back when, she was actually FOR it, and she helped get it APPROVED. OOPS! She mis-spoke again! The trade agreement, according to those in the know, caused a lot of workers in this country to LOSE their jobs. And of course, in addition to the rich high and mighty folks' votes she needs, she also needs to have Mr. and Mrs. Joe Bluecollar's votes as well. Mr. Bluecollar is one of the folks who lost his job due to NAFTA. But, you see, Hillary's got what I have termed as "Presidential Candidate's Privilege"...she MIS-SPOKE, and because she did, we're all supposed to believe her, and believe that she is against something she voted FOR, even though she implies she's ALWAYS been against it. But, when a politico says, "I MIS-SPOKE", well, all is forgiven. Right? Just erase the slate and start over. It never happened. I never said that. And if I said that, I mis-spoke. Right? Do you believe me? I want your vote.

No, I'm not typing all of the above because I am especially politically-informed this time around. I'm shamelessly leeching this data from the midnight re-airing of "Hardball". The host, Chris Mathews, most of the time is hard to endure; he's got one of those abrasive loud voices that can peel paint, but then again, that's a blessing when Prezzidential Candidates are being taken to task. He talks so LOUD, that No One Can Speak Over Him. All of a sudden right now, I'm thinking, "You GO, Chris"...when, a couple of months ago, I'd said right here in this blog that I couldn't stand watching him. My excuse? "Well, a couple of months ago, I mis-spoke, informed by views I wasn't qualified to have then, so this is really how I feel NOW...will I feel this way 'permanently', or just for a while? I don't know. While I'm at it, may I also sell you an Alaskan Tropical Vacation? Nome is really NICE this time of year!"

So, even though Hillary may have flexible logic and a startling ability to generate her version of Revisionist History, no matter what happens, no matter how many more delegates Mr. Obama wins, she's gonna hang in there and fragment the Democratic Party all she can, 'cos she's got a mission, a purpose, she's patriotic, she's loyal, steadfast, true....ZZZZZZZzzzzzzzz....and the following photo depiction describes her frame of mind as she answers her critics:

Now, there is one single solitary figure I haven't slandered or libeled in the last few posts...or at least, I haven't done it very much...did I just "mis-speak" again? If I did, it's only because I "mis-remembered". OOPS! Anyway, George W. Bush has pretty gotta feel fairly redundant these days, deflated of all purpose and relevancy, uttering a forced sentence here and there, as when he told us all recently that reaching the number of 4,000 now dead in the Iraq War is sad and regrettable and all the other things that a President says when he sticks to the script...anyway, ol' Dubya hasn't gotten his due in this blog lately. He's still the Prezzident, after all. And, recently, he actually had a pretty good day...

I'll bet even the folks at like this photo satire...

Meanwhile, all the MSNBC Vultures who feed on political road-kill are beginning to refer to Repubblican Prezzidential Nominee John McCain as "Teflon John" because the all of the Democrats' clanging and banging seems to be taking all the attention off him, even though he wants to "stay the course", and we should ALL be concerned about that. One McCain factoid, according to Dan Abrams, the talking head on the air right now, is that the the Senator has Missed More Votes than Any Other Healthy Senator. Your Tax Dollars In Action. John McCain's resemblance to the Pillsbury Doughboy is documented in the post directly below this one, by the way.

Actually, maybe every year should be a Prezzidential election year, 'cos it's so much fun to watch these politicians make fools of themselves. All Obama (remember him?) has to do is appear dignified and trustworthy, and he'll leave Hillary in the dust, 'cos after all, she's "asleep at the wheel" as one of Dan Abram's guests has just said, right now. OOPS! I mis-spoke...this program actually first aired 7 or 8 hours ago. My bad! Do you forgive me? By the way, Obama's on vacation this week in the Virgin Islands. That's a good strategy. Don't say anything to anyone, 'cos then you won't "mis-speak". And if he continues that, he's STILL gonna win the Democratic Nomination (An irresponsible projection on my part). Especially if Mme. Clinton continues to write Revisionist History.

To be fair, yes, I know Obama is trying to deal with this whole situation involving remarks that his Pastor has made over the years, remarks of an un-American nature. And I'm sure that he's got his flaws, too. I'm just not hearing a whole lot about them. And like in almost every other election, it'll be the candidate who "mis-speaks and mis-remembers" the least who wins. Or not. Maybe all a candidate needs these days is a state like FLORIDA, with plenty of "hanging chads" in the voting system. And having a Governor of that state as your brother, I'm sure, doesn't hurt your chances any. (That last sentiment was a rabble-rousing comment, designed to improve my ratings, by the way.)

Speaking of Dan Abrams, who got put back on the air, I guess, to Really Earn the money he's making at MSNBC (I think he was their legal consultant after he left the air a couple years ago), doesn't he kinda look like the proverbial "Deer In The Headlights?"

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

I can't believe I'm actually doing this...

I don't think anyone has an accurate idea of how much stuff they have until it's time for Spring Cleaning. Most of the year, I move stuff from pile to pile, oftentimes creating new piles when the piles I've assembled become too haphazard or disorganized. Yep, I spend most of the year organizing my piles of stuff into, well, better organized piles of stuff. So, one pile can subdivide itself, with my help, into two or three different piles. I don't spend a lot on things; a sizable amount of my possessions have come from thrift stores and second hand shops. Each time I bring stuff home, it goes into a pile until I can organize that pile by separating items into individual categories so I can Pile them into the right Pile. The thing is, I think Piles reproduce. All of a sudden, after a year of piling stuff, I find I have literally dozens of Piles. After all, a pile can only get so big before it collapses altogether...thus, they "morph" into smaller piles. Let a few months go by, and the piles reproduce, until there are so many piles of stuff that they threaten my very existence. The time has come for me to suck it up and just DEAL with it.

The last couple of days, I've rolled up my shirtsleeves (hard to do when wearing a short-sleeve shirt as I do most of the time) in order to open up more floor space and organize my many various piles of stuff into something less monolithic and threatening. Housecleaning is sort-of like a game of chess in terms of strategy..." if I move this there, and combine these two things in one location, then I'll have more open space...but wouldn't it be better if I put this one thing in that pile over there, because it's more like those things than those other things", and so on and so forth. Honestly, I can spend a couple of hours just thinking about where I want to put something. I suppose if I had a house the size of Graceland, then I wouldn't have to worry about every single square foot of floor space...but then again, there'd be more house to really, you lose either way. My Mom used to clean the house like the proverbial Texas tornado. It's become painfully obvious over the years that I don't have that housecleaning gene. 'Taint nowhere in my chemistry.

Actually, the bedroom and the TV room were relatively easy to clean up. Also, I discovered a novel way for cleaning crusty kitchen counters...all you have to do is get a small car window scraper, supply some elbow grease and go for it. I was surprised I'd thought of that when I did. I scraped all kinds of unidentifiable gunk offa them countertops. That car scraper has been sitting on one of the kitchen countertops for MONTHS now. But I didn't put "2 and 2" together 'till just the other day. I'm not the kind of person that can look at a situation and immediately spot the obvious course of action. Honestly, I don't know how I live with myself. But, a kitchen that formerly looked like the landing place of an atomic bomb could now (almost) qualify for the front cover of Better Homes and Gardens. The bedroom and TV room are very small, and I've actually added a little bit of floor space to the TV room by moving a couple of old plastic milk cartons that I use for lamp stands (and to pile stuff on), out into the living room, where I put them to better use, as foundations for a shelf which consists of a half-inch-thick slab of plywood that now is home to my (second-hand) stereo system. And the bonus: below that shelf, some extra-added Record storage! Yaaaay!!! In a 720 sq. foot dwelling, you take all the square feet you can get.

So tonight, I began cleaning the Living Room. It needed cleaning. Badly. The hardest part of organizing my living room was unhooking the stereo and moving it from where it was, in order to set up the shelf it now sits on, and then re-hooking all of the cables where they should go..."does this one go to 'tape out' or 'tape in' did I hook up the cassette deck to the amplifier before", etc. etc. That took me an hour and a half. Did I mention that I'm severely technically challenged? So I got the stereo hooked up. Of course, I had to test it to make sure I had put all the cables in the right places. Some folks have a little one-piece stereo system that does everything. Not me. I have a haphazard collection of old relic components that most folks haven't seen in years. My stereo amp even has an 8-TRACK RECORDER, although the track-change mechanism doesn't work anymore. It'll play the same track over and over until Armageddon unless I hit the "track change" button. Sidetrack time: a couple of months ago, a couple of the neighborhood kids knocked on my door and asked if I had any odd jobs they could do to make some money. They spotted my records, and saw my record player...and one of 'em asked me, "would you play a record? I've NEVER seen a record player PLAY before." And all of a sudden, I felt like an old dinosaur destined for the tar pit...

Back to my antiquated, dilapidated sound system...I finally hooked up the stereo correctly, and put some music on. That was my first mistake. I found myself in a state of trance, listening to music when I should've been CLEANING. After about an hour of listening, all of a sudden, the thot came to mind that "if I don't get going, I won't get finished until two weeks from tomorrow." Now, as far as I know, I can still sit down and chew gum at the same time, but obviously I can't listen to music and do anything constructive at the same time. So I got going again, not daring to cease motion, because if I did, I would once again "trance out" listening to music. It's a tug of war. I need music in order to ease the drudgery, but when I actually hear the music, I don't wanna do anything! And, I don't have the common sense it takes to put a record back after I play it.

So, oftentimes, after playing the record, I shove it back into the sleeve, and place it somewhere near me, Really Meaning To Put It Back Tomorrow. And so on, and so forth, and after about a month and a half, my living room looks like an old Radio Station Studio that's been hit by a tornado. Records, Sleeves, Compact Discs, Cassettes, and sometimes even, 8-tracks laying all over the place. ACK! TOO MUCH! ALL THESE PILES! I'VE GOT TO DO SOMETHING OR THEY'LL TAKE OVER MY HOUSE!!!!!!!! Finally, I thot, "the only way I'm gonna get anything done is to establish a Time Deadline." And I got moving again. This time, I was keeping track of the time, which made things a little easier. But after a while longer, I began to fizz. I'd been in the living room for going on six HOURS. And it was getting late. Not that it matters, but my brain was beginning to get tired of the drudgery of Housecleaning That Was Taking Much Too Long To Do. I used to get the same feeling when I "crammed" for tests in college. All of a sudden, say about 4 in the morning, I Just Couldn't Study Any More. My brain hit its limit. I couldn't absorb anything anymore. Hey, I pulled a "B" average that way! Although I'd immediately FORGET everything after taking the test I crammed for. So did I learn anything? I don't know.

So...I Stopped Cleaning, rearranging, heaving heavy boxes of records here and there, relocating shelf units and end tables, and putting stuff in one pile or another pile, and then yet another pile when the pile I'd originally put the stuff in didn't seem like quite the right pile. I have to ask, though, "do we ever really get anything clean when we clean house, or do we just move stuff around until it looks better?" I'm beginning to suspect the latter. My living room does look much better, though. And it is halfway done. Six Hours to get the Living Room half-done. If "Merry Maids", the housecleaning service, worked at that pace, well, the company's owners wouldn't be very Merry. But I'm proud of myself anyway. After all, I've been doing some constructive stuff around here, although I've just realized as I type this out in the TV room, that on the desk, off to my left, lurk a couple of suspicious little PILES of stuff are starting to grow again....

As I look back on this monstrous blog, I'm thinking to myself, "is anyone actually gonna READ all of this, especially after the second paragraph, when it becomes painfully obvious this is basically a post about HOUSEKEEPING?" Really...I'm beginning to bore MYSELF. But if you've read this far, well, I have a little visual award for you. I saw John McCain, the Repubblican Prezzidential candidate, on one of the news shows tonite. And when I saw him, I IMMEDIATELY thought of this "separated-at-birth" photo concept:

I suppose Senator McCain, He Who Wants To Stay The Course, will have enough "dough" on hand to wage a half-decent campaign. I'm just kinda thinkin', let's just Change the Course and fight terror here at home.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Around the world with McDonald's...
Something to think about next time YOU use the drive-thru...

I chatted tonight with a friend I haven't talked to in years. She was the first person I'd ever chatted with, back in 1999! I don't do chat rooms, and I don't have the Yahoo Messenger or the AOL Instant-message thing...if you have those things, you're vulnerable to people sending you viruses while chatting, and I just don't wanna put up with any more spam and I definitely don't need 487 keylogging devices tracking everything I'm typing. So I just don't do that stuff. However, Yahoo now has their super-deluxe e-mail that features instant-messaging thru the e-mail. Now, didn't either Yahoo or Microsoft, a while back, try to take over each other or something? I ask, because the New Yahoo Mail (which I'm still getting used to) looks an awful lot like Hotmail all of a sudden...and it kinda looks like Outlook Express, too. I don't know...I invest enough of my mental marbles just answering e-mails...let alone e-mails plus the added option of chatting from the in-box. Just Another Option Designed To Drive Me Insane. Anyway, now to the McDonald's part...

In the midst of my friend and I catching up, she told me she works for a company that handles drive-thru orders for McDonald's. "What?" I told her that didn't make sense...I mean, you drive up to the drive-thru speaker, you place your order, you drive forward 10 feet, give 'em your money; drive another 10 feet, git yer order, and then, zoom, you're outta there. You have to drive out fast 'cos you don't want to have anyone you know become aware that you actually EAT at McDonalds', after all. Well, my friend told me that in some markets, (one of them is here in Oregon), you can pull up to the McDonald's speaker sign, bark in your order, and someone in, say, one of the midwestern states will take your order, and then send the order BACK to the McDonald's that you're ordering at.

HUH? WHAT?????? And, get this: allegedly, doing it this way is supposed to actually be faster and more efficient than if a clerk 20 feet from where your car is presently sitting takes yer order. You're giving your order to someone a thousand miles away from you who relays that order BACK to the McDonald's where your car is sitting, spewing all kinds of gas fumes into the air, just idling away at zero miles-per-gallon. (After all, your car doesn't move when you idle. Hopefully, that is.) Believe me, I know what this feels like. I've spent hot summertime late afternoons In Line At A McDonalds' Drive-Thru, when I and everyone else got off work, waiting ages to get a burger I'd consume in ten minutes, with enough calories to last a lifetime.

But back to the "faster/more efficient" thing...I used to frequent a McDonald's early in the morning before my Cab Shift began. I'd go in there at 6 in the morning, and ALREADY the manager was yelling at the counter-people, the counter-people were yelling at each other, customers in the drive-thru were yelling into the speaker and counter-people were bumping into each other trying to get the orders filled, going to the stock room to get more of whatever had run out, and zooming all over the place, in and out of restrooms and the customer service area, trying to keep the place clean, while listening to their manager yelling at them because they weren't moving fast enough or working efficiently enough, and let me remind you, this was at 6 in the morning, which I suppose pretty much set the tone for the rest of the day. You see all of those smiling, fresh rosy-cheeked faces of the counter-workers on the McDonalds' sure ain't that way in REAL LIFE. It's ironic that McDonalds' serves what they call a "Happy" meal, since 75% of their workforce is disgruntled. Where's Ronald McDonald when you need him?

Maybe talking to drive-thru customers was the only tiny, small, infetismal meager pleasure that working at a McDonald's provided. Well, that's now been taken away. After all, much as being on a cell-phone, even a hands-free contraption, will interfere with your driving, taking customer orders and talking to them on a hands-free headset, I suppose, interferes with the speed and efficacy that a low-profit, git-em-in and git-em out operation (such as is Every Single McDonalds' On The Face Of The Earth) needs in order to get their vats of soybean-laden pseudo-burgers and french fries that taste like fiberglass insulation to their customers, who are also in the process of hurrying, hurrying, hurrying to whatever it is they are driving themselves crazy doing. It is cheaper, as McDonalds' sees it (at least in some markets) to give a customer order to someone thousands of miles away, only to have them instantly relay it back to a monitor screen at a franchise's counter, than for An Actual On-Premises Counter Worker to talk to said customer.

My friend said that "McDonald's pretty-much trusts us to relay the orders." My comment was "Well, Yeah!" And then I told her how silly I thot this whole McDonalds' thing is. Giving your order of a "McCholesterol" soybean-laden pseudo-burger (two pickles, sauce, cheese, crisco on a reconstituted low-grade white-bread bun with decorator sesame seeds designed not to grow) to someone halfway across the nation who inputs that order is NUTS. (Do you want fries with that?) Of course, you might be nuts for ordering it in the first place. And then it hit me. I came to the realization that I am the biggest-ever hypocrite to walk on the face of this earth. After all, whenever I'm having computer problems, I call Hewlett-Packard customer service, and talk to some guy in Bombay, INDIA, who I can barely understand. But I never thot I'd live to see the day when Fast Food is outsourced. Wow. All I know is, if McDonalds' workers move any faster ("efficiency" is always a nebulous thing), the Customer will end up getting his food Before He Orders It. Another reason I'm a hypocrite is 'cos I LOVE the Sausage-Egg McMuffin. And if a Mickey D's is ever built closer to my house, I'm in trouble. My cholesterol count will probably quadruple in a week.

You know what's scary about this whole deal? If Mickey D's (or anyone else's, I guess) computer-food-order-relay system is being done "wireless", sooner or later, everyone on Planet Earth with the proper signal-receiving equipment will know what you're having for lunch. Stop the world. I want to get off.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Remedial blog-posting 101...
In short, maybe I'm getting worse instead of better. Who knows?

I don't know what came over me last week. I was posting like a whirling dervish of a madman, just throwing up all kinds of stuff, higgledy-piggledy, all over the faded paint of the proverbial Brick Wall of this blogsite, hoping that something would stick. Well, I posted stuff, what can I say? I figure if you supply enough volume, there's gotta be some quality in there somewhere. So I'll just toss some more stuff your way and see what happens...

Weather Report: (my choice of topic right there should tell ya I'm getting worse) I think the theme song of the Southern Oregon Coast should be that toe-tapping 1971 hit by the Fortunes, "Here Comes That Rainy Day Feeling Again". But since the rain's been going on for so long, I think, actually, Creedence's 1970 message of doom, "Who'll Stop The Rain" would be a better fit. Although, "Showdown" by the Electric Light Orchestra seems to sum up the mood, both lyrically and metaphorically...the lyrics say, in part, "and it's Rainin'...all over the world...tonight, the longest night..." So yeah, we've had rain. The Beatles sang, "When the rain comes, they run and hide their heads"...that would be me who's hiding my head. If I wanna get wet, I'll take a shower. Being near both a bay and harbor, there's a lotta people around here with boats. It hasn't been great for boating lately, but on a sunny day last week, I saw a bumper sticker on the back of an old dinged-up pickup that said, "If you can read this, somebody stole my boat". Okaaay....

Music News: Well, of course the big development is that Heatheryoko Mills Lost BIG in the divorce settlement between her and Sir Former Beatle Paul. Yeah, she lost BIG, all right. She was only, I said ONLY, awarded a mere $45 million and change. She originally wanted enough money to buy the Taj Mahal, Mount Rushmore, and several small but tropically warm countries. My advice for Heather is two-pronged. First, "don't spend it all in one place." And, two, "Shut Up and GO AWAY." Speaking of things Beatle, I was sitting in a restaurant the other day. A lady was sitting with her husband and noticed my Grand Funk Railroad T-shirt. She told me that she saw The Beatles in concert at the Hollywood Bowl. Now, most people exaggerate such things in order to Be Somebody, but I think she was tellin' the truth. And for a moment, her and I were rabid teenagers talking about music. Then she & hubby left the restaurant, in the rain, to go back to whatever it is they do. He looked older than She, and was probably wondering, "what's my wife doing talking to That Freak"? I had the impression he was the Grumpy Sort. Harrumph. (No 'rush to judgment there', huh?)

Allegedly, the Economy's bad these days: Actually, I never know when the country's doing well and when it ain't...after all, it's hard to hang onto money, no matter where ya go or when ya go there. For instance, I was in a Radio Shack store picking up some audio cables, and just out of curiosity, I asked the clerk, "if I someday need a new AC adapter for my laptop computer, which I bought here, how much would it be?" And the clerk said, "EIGHTY DOLLARS". For an adapter. Wow. What goes into an adapter, a few cents' worth of wire and a few cents' worth of plastic? I guess Research and Development is responsible for a lot of that cost. Me, I think I'll just use electricians' tape on the adapter I have now. Both adapter and computer are exhibiting signs of wear. I've worn a big white spot in my computer's "left-click" mouse button, which USED to be painted a sort-of silver-grayish color. I'll just have to hope that computer keys don't start popping off the keyboard like mexican jumping beans. Boing!

Poli-ticks: John McCain appeared in Iraq (or Iran), I believe, recently, and made some waaaay-off-the-cuff remarks; he couldn't seem to remember who was warring with who, or who was being sent to train in what country before going back to their original country to fight..."AND THIS GUY IS RUNNING FOR PREZZIDENT?", exclaimed Keith Olbermann, a pretty good talking head, although his "special comments" are kinda overstated and overbearing. Keith's usually pretty accurate, but his "comments" are beginning to remind me of the average Church Pastor who takes an hour and a half to make his point, when anyone else could do the same thing in 15 minutes. Anyway, McCain went over there on a fact-finding mission. How many facts did he find? And, how much money "per fact" would that be? Those pointless political shuttles to wherever ain't free, ya know, Mr. McCain! I don't plan on going over there any time soon, and I can tell you some facts: We've been there too long. We Should Get the Heck Out. "Mission Accomplished" was achieved LONG ago. Et Cetera. Those are FREE facts.

Meantime, Barack Obama made an evidently first-quality high-moral-ground type of speech about 'things racial' the other day, and it was a pretty doggone good speech. As far as speeches go anyway. (Remember, all speeches are "just words". "Action" is something else altogether.) Meanwhile, Obama's campaign workers fanned out and told the public that Hillary will do anything to get elected, even if that means trashing the Democratic Party. So, Obama takes the high ground and leaves the dirty work to his supporters. That's poli-ticks in a nutshell. Meanwhile, Hillary agreed that Obama's speech was the right thing to do...she had to agree. If she hadn't, everyone would be calling her a racist. Pretty clever, there, neutralized Hillary's campaign for At Least One Day. Obama is set to give two more Timely Speeches over the next two days. Maybe he could give a Timely Speech every day and then we wouldn't have to listen to Hillary?

A Little Bit of Entertainment (very little): I was watching one of the channels I usually watch (A & E, perhaps?) when my jaw literally hit the floor when a program promo came on. The show (forgot the title!) is being hosted by Danny Bonaduce, the Partridge Family Bad Boy who is still Bad, and guess who his female co-host is? Someone who I think is a good fit. In short, they're BOTH atrocious...his co-host is gonna be TONYA HARDING, the homicidal Olympic skater who didn't have enough guts to bash Nancy Kerrigan herself. And they're gonna host a show about dumb people doing dumb things. I guess, in order to host a show, you've gotta be an expert on the subject matter. Bonaduce and Harding could each write a Masters' Thesis on Doing Dumb Things. Meantime, I'm beginning to ask myself, "just why do I pay for cable TV?"

Okay, I've covered all the bases here. Oh, gosh, speaking of bases, the Seattle Mariners lost an exhibition game the other day by a score of 14-3. Let's hope the Mariners do better this season than the stock market, in an alleged prolonged slump, will do this year!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

THE WAR IN IRAQ EXPLAINED... such a way, my "Comic-Book Mentality" can understand...

I tried reading a politically-oriented news article last week, and that was my first mistake. It was an article about Hillary and Obama, who both had to interrupt their various politicking activities to vote on some sort of bill that had something to do with the amount of taxes we're paying now, vs. how much we'll be paying in the future, and the further into the article I got, the more confused I got. I was looking for a SIMPLE, UNDERSTANDABLE explanation of what their votes would mean, and what affect their votes (if those votes were in the majority), would mean for us all. After all, ANY time a Politician does ANYTHING, it affects us all.

In the end, the article 'seemed' to say that if this bill is approved, we'll pay more in the near future so we don't have to pay so much more in the distant future...and that if we don't pay more in the near future, we'll pay much, much more in the distant future. At least, that's what I got out of the article. In life, we make choices, hopefully more 'Good' than 'Bad'. In politics, it seems 'choices' are Disgustingly Awful or Absolutely Rotten. I've long thought that the Government has us where it wants us. All them politicians are in Washington, D.C., and the rest of us aren't, so We Never Really Know What Goes On. (Omigosh, I'm starting to sound like one o' them Wacko-Conspiracy Theorists!)

The War In Iraq? I think the old saying, "No good can come from this" can be applied here. Allegedly, "mission-accomplished" was declared 'how many thousands of days ago'? War Budgets are proposed, War Budgets get overrun, more budgets are proposed, again, costs outweigh predictions, and so on and so forth. Now,I will be the first to admit that I have sort-of a "comic book mentality" when it comes to complicated stuff such as War Budgets. My eyes just glaze over. If this war was actually accomplishing anything, maybe I'd give the War Budget another evaluation. But this war-weary nation is, well, Weary. Maybe that's how government works. It waits for the rest of the nation to get weary, and then the Government can get by with anything 'cos the rest of us are all too punch-drunk to care anymore.

Anyway, a friend sent me a 'forward', and while I usually just toss all my 'forwards' into the recycle bin, the link he sent had the word "Comic" in it. That was all I needed. And here's what he sent. And it makes sense to me...and my comic-book mentality. Helpful hint: Click on the comic below. It enlarges. I'd hate for you to strain your eyes on my account...

Personally, I think the Government oughta give everyone in the nation, (whose income is under $50,000 a year) $20,000 dollars, and then spending the REST on tightening up our borders, enforcing gun laws, bringing down prescription costs and adopting a "FLAT" income tax so everyone pays their fair share of taxes. But that's just me. It all makes "common sense". (A precious commodity in Washington, D.C.)

In a related issue, I'm paying close to $3.50 a gallon of gas right now. I heard that somewhere in Hawaii, gas is now being sold for over $4.00 a gallon. The $4.00 Threshold Has Been Formally Crossed. Look for price increases at a filling-station near you. Soon, you'll have to re-mortgage your house in order to afford enough gas to put in your lawn mower.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Business of buying MONEY...
There sure are a heck of a lot of CURRENCY ads out there!

Coin see 'em all over the place. Sometimes the U.S. Gov't Mint will tout a Rare Find of Silver Dollars, or perhaps a batch of bright n' shiny uncirculated Proof coins is found in some bank vault, in someone's attic or at the depository of some rich Oil Baron who is now in High Office. And, lately, I've seen a bunch of ads for "special edition" coins not marketed by the U.S. Mint. Those non-Government Mint ads always feature a velvety-voiced announcer describing all of the luscious fine detail exhibited by the design of the coin, something like "and look at the cannonballs on this coin...luxuriously crafted, two-dimensional and perfectly ROUND", or some such thing. And towards the end of the ads, the announcer says the coins are coated with high-grade gold or silver or whatever.

The question I want answered is, what's the INSIDE of these non-U.S. Mint Coins made out of? Cheap pot metal? Compressed tinfoil? Whenever I see a coin ad which touts what the coin is COATED with, I always wonder about what are they not telling us...what's under the surface!? Enquiring minds want to know...because, I'm led to believe these non-Government-mint coins, which one pays collectors' prices for, are basically JUNK inside. Am I way off-base here? Has someone else wondered about this, too? And, why would I want to collect coins that aren't issued by the U.S. Government? Gosh, the making of coins is about the only thing the Government does RIGHT anymore!

My Dad used to collect coins. He didn't have a super-large collection, but he did have several rolls of 1878 Carson City (CC) Silver Dollars; I don't know whatever became of them. I myself keep a few coins laying around...old wheat-stalk pennies whenever I can find them, or coins from a year that is significant to me; my birth year, my high school graduation, my college graduation, etc. It's easy to collect pennies, 'cos they don't buy anything anymore. But largely, other than those few coins, it is an exercise in futility for me to collect coins. On the few times I've tried, I always end up Spending them sooner or later. For me, coin collecting makes about as much sense as collecting gasoline when you drive a car. In short, I Cannot Collect Coins. It's impossible. So I'm not even gonna try to collect all the State Quarters which have been minted over the last few years.

At one point, I had something like twelve Different States' quarters, but doggone it...they went into pinball machines or newspaper machines, or, I'd run out of money before the end of the month...stuff like that. So, I Will Never Really be a Coin Collector. Can't do it. Sorry. Speaking of those State Quarters...and I've seen advertisements for them...I'm sure this is one ad idea the U.S. Mint won't be broadcasting anytime soon... has given up trying to stop my defacing of their photos...

Really, those "non-Gov't. Mint" coin ads have intrigued me. What are the insides of coins made out of? I'm actually quite serious about this. I'm sure they're not Silver or Gold all the way thru. I'm betting on lead, zinc, or metal factory shavings. Anyone know? If so, please comment...

Friday, March 14, 2008

ANYONE can write a blog...
...but not just anyone can write TV commercials...

I must admit, I do like good TV commercials. That's why I stay with my Auto Insurance Provider. Yep, the "Gecko" has taken in a lot of my hard-earned cash over the years. All the other insurance companies beg and plead with me..."COMPARE OUR RATES! ARE YOU IN GOOD HANDS? SAVE MONEY WITH US! FOUR OUT OF FIVE DOCTORS HAVE OUR INSURANCE!" (Okay, I fibbed a little bit with that last claim. Most doctors are rich enough to buy their own insurance companies.)

Gosh, I remember so many old TV about Alka-Seltzer's old '60s commercials, showing the Jiggling Stomachs of people, as the announcer intoned the phrase, "No Matter What Shape Your Stomach Is In"...that was such a popular commercial, that a Los Angeles Instrumental Group, "The T-Bones" actually had a 1966 HIT with the extended version of that commercial's music. I remember the jingles from a lot of old Cigarette Commercials ("You've Got A Lot To Like with A Marlboro...filter, flavor, pack or box", for instance. And who can forget the old Wendy's Hamburgers commercial featuring that old lady shouting, "WHERE'S THE BEEF?" Immortal ads, those.

I had an idea for a commercial once, and I'm surprised no one ever thot of it. Either that or someone did submit the same idea and it ended up in the reject pile. I've always had visions of an Arrid Extra-Dry deodorant commercial with background music paraphrasing a song by Chicago that came out in the early 1980's..."You're the ROLL-ON in my life...You FIGHT PERSPIRATION" 'bout it, Madison Avenue? You can Steal this idea if you want. HERE IT IS!!! Okay, it's a bad idea, isn't it? Sorta like the other gem-of-wisdom-type of idea I had recently...

Swiped from If I don't attribute, they'll sue for my royalties...

This idea was rejected because the Powers That Be figured that the ASPCA wouldn't take kindly to the depiction of Feline Extortion...I guess it's back to "meow-meow-meow-meow"...because Cats Ask For It By Name, after all. Which I must admit, is a pretty intelligent slogan.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Life As We Know It is Over...MADONNA is now in
The ROCK AND ROLL Hall of Fame!

What the HELL? MADONNA???? Nothing she's ever sung brings the concept of Rock and Roll to mind...Madonna is probably one of the most adept women ever as far as marketing herself goes...and she needs all the help she can get, because she ain't that good looking and her voice is barely serviceable. Plus, she revealed that she took the drug "Ecstasy" while touring the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame building once upon a time. If she were any kind of rock and roller at all, she would've used acid or grass instead, ha ha...

I'm kidding there, but I maintain that NOTHING about MADONNA (who's making her 'point' in the picture at left) comes even CLOSE to even remotely having anything to do with the spirit of rock and roll. She's more a singing Marilyn Monroe poster than anything else. When her popularity began to wane, she published a table-top book called "SEX" which features more parts of her than I'd ever wanna see; she musta been thinking, "you've seen the best of me, now see the rest of me!" Uhhh, no reaction to the decision to include Madonna in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? PFFFFFFTHBT!!!!! Kinda makes me wanna ask, "How much did she pay the committee that approved her induction?"

Madonna's done basically everything she can to stay timely, current and relevant, and like a really bad case of the flu, she just won't go away. I've heard her music, and her bland brand of dance-pop is basically just generic manufactured musical garbage with a whole bunch of synthesizers and big echoey electronic drumbeats tossed in for good measure. It's awful stuff. Madonna is to Rock Music what Martha Stewart is to Homemaking. Bland and fashionably irrelevant.

Other inductees to the Rock and Roll Hall of fame include THE VENTURES (great group that never ever sung a note); they had big hits such as "Walk Don't Run", "Ram-Bunk-Shush", "Hawaii Five-O" and others. On the back of their albums, could be found the information, "The Ventures Proudly Play Mosrite Guitars". Well, all except the drummer, anyway... "Walk Don't Run" is one of my favorite-ever instrumentals; afterwards, they came out with "Walk Don't Run '64", which was drastically different, but equally as good. They shoulda recorded a different version of that song every year! They also recorded one album as the backup group for singer Bobby Vee, which turned out to be really great. Aside: Bobby Vee also recorded an album with The Crickets, Buddy Holly's old group. (By that time, Buddy was in Rock and Roll Heaven.)

Also making it into the Hall was JOHN "Cougar" MELLENCAMP, whose songs All Began To Sound The Same; "Small Town" was the last record of his I paid any attention to. My favorite song of his is "Pink Houses", a great song of deprivation and alienization; Mellencamp has always been kind-of a "Rock And Roll Working Class Hero", remaining true to his Midwestern roots. He had a heart attack a few years ago. Most rockers have addiction problems. Mellencamp's biggest problem is Cholesterol. And even tho I don't listen to him anymore, he wrote the most profound rock and roll lyric that Anyone Will Ever Write: "Oh yeah, life goes on, long after the thrill of livin' is gone". (from 'Jack and Diane') That is SOOOOO true.

Also inducted, THE DAVE CLARK FIVE , whose lead singer died a couple of weeks ago. The "DC5" were at one time one of the greatest threats to The Beatles in terms of popularity, back in the time when it seemed like a different "British Invasion" Rock and Roll group was #1 on the charts each week. One of the more interesting times in music for me, because a whole lot of American Bands formed at that time, and for a while, music was creative, interesting and FUN, with British and American bands sending their musical messages across the "pond" and back. Anyway, the DC5 was unusual in that their group leader was the DRUMMER. You don't see THAT very often. My favorite song of theirs? "Bits and Pieces", where the whole BAND actually stomps on the floor of the recording studio. STOMP! STOMP! STOMP!

This next inductee is someone you prob'ly never heard of: LEONARD COHEN, who's written some crafty songs (none of them hits), and he made a few records in the '70s to prove to the masses that He Could Not Sing At All. One of Cohen's most famous songs is "Suzanne", with the line, "you touch her perfect body with your mind" before getting lost in all kinds of pseudo-metaphoric imagery...I've heard some Cohen's albums, and they are all very morose and intellectually morbid in a really depressing kind-of way. And the only person in History whose voice is Worse than Leonard Cohen's is Kris Kristofferson...Cohen can't carry a "tune in a bucket"; Kristofferson CAN'T FIND the bucket. When Kristofferson sings, he sounds like a dying man in the middle of the Mojave desert, croaking out one last request: "water...Water...WATER..."

Finally, you won't know these inductees at all...KENNY GAMBLE & LEON HUFF , slick producers of "The Philadelphia Sound"..."Me and Mrs. Jones" by Billy Paul (1972) was one of the biggest Philly-Soul hits. They also produced an instrumental hit, "TSOP" (The Sound Of Philadelphia), which was recorded by Philadelphia Musicians under the name "MFSB", which allegedly meant "Mother, Father, Sister and Brother", while others to this day swears it stood for "Mother Fricking Son of a Beach". Another "Philadelphia Sound" hit produced by Gamble-Huff was "Back-Stabbers" by the O'Jays, which actually hit the top of the charts. WHAT THEY DO??? Or perhaps you might remember "When Will I See You Again" by The Three Degrees. G&H produced that one as well. Those were all good songs from the early '70s, recorded on Gamble & Huff's "Philadelphia International" label. I really don't think of this musical style as Rock and Roll, but I suppose if Madonna is "Rock and Roll", so is "Philly Soul". It's hummable; sounds good on the radio.

Finally, no, she wasn't elected into any hall of fame, but Martha Stewart (mentioned above), who could push a guy off the Golden Gate Bridge and keep that bland generic smirk on her face, is Officially Not On Home Detention Anymore. She's now doing commercials for Macy's. I have to ask, do Real Women in America actually follow any of Martha's stupid homemaking ideas? Pfffffthbt!!!

Monday, March 10, 2008

I'm INNOCENT of all charges!!!
The TAP WATER made me do it...

First, a little bit of'll put everything that follows into context. Or not...
"Scientists have detected low levels of a range of prescription drugs in the water supplies of 24 major metropolitan areas in the US. The drugs include antibiotics, anticonvulsants, mood stabilizers, and sex hormones. When people take medications, their bodies do not absorb them entirely, and some of the drugs are passed into the sewage system; some drugs are resistant to current wastewater treatment processes, and when the treated water is released back into the environment, it often ends up as part of the drinking water supply."
--News Article That Actually Appeared On This Here Blog Page. Take Heed!

THE POLITICAL CHUG-A-LUG: I've been reading that a lot of cities across these here United States have amounts of residual drugs in the water that course thru underground pipes, to water taps, such as wot you and I have, and into our drinking glasses or fountains. And, actually, that explains a lot of things. All you have to do is watch any crime program, like the ones on MSNBC or TruTV (formerly Court TV), and you'll see all kinds of folks who've gone away to prison due to Bad Choices they made while on Drugs. And, now we learn Drugs are in the Nation's Water Supply. I guess New York Governor Elliott Spitzer wasn't drinking bottled water when he made a Bad Choice and became involved with a $1500-dollar-an-hour 'professional lady'.

Today, Gov. Spitzer was weeping crocodile tears at the podium with his wife by his side as he tried in vain to explain his Bad Choice to the salivating media reps in the audience. She stood there gracefully, all the while waiting 'till she got him back home so she could bonk him on the head with a skillet. Perhaps it's time for Gov. Spitzer to switch from tap water to Aquafina (TM) before he Drops His Pants Again. Come to think of it, Idaho Senator Larry Craig must have been drinking some of that tainted tap water as well...he musta gulped a little more than his share at a Minneapolis Airport Drinking Fountain. After which he made his very own Bad Choice. Yeah, that's it. Hey, it's as good of an explanation as any...

DROWNING ON DRY LAND: Our Prezzident, who has approved unauthorized wiretapping, among other atrocities, has Come Right Out And Said that His Administration's information-gathering utilization technique of "Waterboarding", where you find your favorite Iraqi, Tie Him Down, and Pour Water over his head until he cries "Uncle" (or "Abdullah"), is legal and necessary, and yep, we're gonna keep waterboarding until, yea, verily, the last molecule of water hath disappeared from the earth. I offer these Bush Instances as Living Proof that drugs are flowing into the White House plumbing and out thru Dubya's tap, into his drinking glass, and into what's left of his Brain. After all, the conscious decision to torture a fellow Human Being is a bad choice, no matter who the 'torturee' is. I heartily recommend Bottled Water for Whoever is our next Prezzident. No more drug-saturated drinking water in the White House! Because THAT'S gotta be where a lot of Really Important bad choices seem to be made. They didn't call it "WATERgate" for nothin', ya know! (Now, that's REALLY convoluted.)

I did NOT perform this photo-satire. I am now stealing fotos from fellow bloggers. Who also think Bush is loony.

Actually, the drugs-in-the-water-systems scenario ALL STARTS TO MAKE SENSE NOW. In 2002, the great state of Florida was inundated with all kinds of waterbound semi-toxins (enough to affect but not kill a person), and hence, the vote count got screwed up somehow, and Prezzident Bush, lo and behold, became The Elected Leader. Bad choice, people! Then, four years later, enough folks in the electorate of This Great Nation were adversely affected by various water-based neurotoxins to actually Vote For George Bush To Be Prezzident Again. (Dopes electing a dope?) Talk about yer bad decisions...gosh, residual drugs filter themselves into the water supply and all hell breaks loose! A lady astronaut caught up in a Love Triangle. Dick Cheney shooting at people instead of ducks. Don Imus using the phrase "Nappy-Headed Ho's" on national TV. Ralph Nader announcing he was gonna run for Prezzident. Hillary Clinton actually thinking she's gonna BE Prezzident...and so on, and so forth. Tainted water proves there's a Bad Moon On The Rise.

HE KEEPS CHURNIN' 'EM OUT: Paul McCartney's long since reached the point where the total of his solo albums surpassed the sum total of fellow-former-Beatles Ringo, John and George put together. (In all fairness, John and George aren't recording anymore.) And now, Macca's released a 4-song, 12" EP, which features live performances at a RECORD store in L.A. last year. No labels on the record, either; instead, little rectangular stickers where the labels should be. Huh? What? Paul evidently wanted the record to look like a "bootleg" LP, but all of the other bootlegged albums I've seen have labels...even if there's no printing on the labels! And, an out-of-focus photo of he, playing his Legendary Hofner violin-shaped bass guitar, adorns the cover, which ends up which looking all "pixellated" like it was taken with a cheap webcam...although an out-of-focus photo does tend to hide those age's the album be the judge...

By the way, "E.P." means "Extended Play". These four songs are on a 12" record, which is capable of holding 45 or 50 minutes' worth of music. On Paul's 12" E.P., (which is titled "Amoeba's Secret") there's maybe 15 minutes of music, total...2 songs per side. That don't sound like "extended" play to me! But, the music is good. Lively versions of "That Was Me" and "Only Mama Knows" (from his latest LP, "Memory Almost Full"), along with live versions of "C-Moon" (an obscure song he first did with Wings in 1972) and "I Saw Her Standing There", on which Paul succeeds in rolling back the least until the song's over. Part of me thinks Paul is Quite Silly, promoting himself as if he's some starving musician looking for some recognition, but the Other Part of me is glad he's still doing what he's doing. You Go, Paul! Of course, Paul doesn't need encouragement from me. It's been reported he's coming out with an album of New Stuff later on this year.

Paul doesn't worry about Drugs in the water Supply...although he just might've accidentally taken a few gulps of regular old tap water just before he met and married Heather. I'm afraid that's going to be quite an expensive Bad Decision.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Miss Morse, My Mom, Mystery & Memories...
...this is one post that goes in all sorts of unexpected directions...

Looking back over my recent posts, I was a little shocked to see that I haven't blogged since Tuesday of This Week...well, wait, that's only three days and change. Still, I remember a long, long time ago when sometimes I'd blog a few times PER DAY. I've had a couple of days recently where I did fire off two posts in a sitting, but largely, I'm a bit more lackadaisacal than I used to be, in regards to posting here. I feel obligated to keep this blog current, but sometimes the brain cells just don't compute. In my defense, however, at least part of my blogging time is being kept up by another endeavor, which would be, trying to maintain my "Yahoo Group"...if you look off to your left, you'll see a little Yahoo Group rectangular button...that's my little venture, maintaining a sort of information depository regarding the obscure singer, Miss Lee Morse, who I discovered quite by accident while viewing videos on the YouTube site. Maintaining a Yahoo Group, I'm finding, takes a certain amount of dedication, especially when the subject of the group has gone unheard and unregarded by 95% of the American Public, and has been largely totally forgotten. She truly had a talent, and she deserves to be known about and HEARD.

Think about it...she possessed a three-octave vocal range. She had to be identified on her records as Miss Lee Morse, because she could sing low enough to sound like a man. Indeed, her vocal range is almost as low as mine (I know this, because sometimes I sing along to her music in the car). And then she could turn around and sing in a shrill soprano voice. She also played guitar, and wrote over one-third of the over-200 songs she recorded between 1924 and 1950. Hers was a turbulent life, and she lived hard and died fairly young. She recorded absolutely NOTHING between 1938 and 1950. Exactly why, I'm not sure. The latter part of her life is a mystery. And believe me, I've dug for information, only there isn't a lot of information to be had. What's really weird about this whole deal, is that I've been listening to music that was recorded, in some cases, over 80 years ago.

A 1925 record by Miss Lee 83-year-old little piece of musical history.

There is something about the quality of her voice, the songs she wrote, and the outside material she chose to sing, that somehow sounds very vital and very fresh, in spite of the generally tinny sound of those old '78s. She made three little movie "shorts", and when I saw her on those, I felt a connection to her. Something in her manner, her vocalizing, her accent (she had traces of a southern accent), just sounded very REAL to me. I reacted to her; when I saw her in those mini-movies, my jaw just dropped open. My reaction to her was intense. I couldn't believe how I reacted to her. Can you blame me? Look at her...

Miss Morse in the 1930 movie short, "A Million Me's". As Stevie Wonder sang, "Isn't She Lovely?"

Maybe I'm a mama's boy; I don't know. But maybe that's where it begins. My Mom had a low voice for a female. My Mom played a baritone ukelele and sang, mostly hymns, but she could get silly and do whimsical songs as well. Some of Miss Morse's songs are downright silly, including a gleeful little number she sang, "Animal Crackers"...a song that makes me smile every time I hear it. And as far as the accent, My Mom was born and raised in Texas. She always had a trace of her southern accent. Lee Morse's family came from Texas, although she wasn't born until long after her family had moved away from the "Lone Star State". And, in the late 1930's, she, with her (2nd) husband moved to and lived in Fort Worth, Texas, and she sang at various clubs in the area. Oh, by the way...My Mom was born and raised in...Fort Worth. There's even a chance that my great-great=grandparents on my Mom's side of the family lived in the Fort Worth area at the same time Miss Morse's parents did.

My Mom was born in 1925. When Lee Morse was singing in the Fort Worth area, Mom would've been between 10 and 15 years old. Lee Morse also sang on radio shows in the Fort Worth area, and there's a chance my Mom, as a young girl, may have heard Miss Morse. So now I'm really getting far-fetched, am I? Consider this...I remember, at various times while growing up, Mom would occasionally sing the old song, "Side By Side"..."travelin' along, singin' a song, Side By Side". Perhaps Mom remembered Kay Starr's version of that song from the early 1950's. That's very possible. But, imagine my surprise when I found out that Miss Lee Morse recorded that song in the late 1920's or early 1930's! My Mom had deep auburn hair which always flowed past her shoulders. I've read that Miss Lee Morse had auburn hair. My Mom always was very emotional, and from what I've read of Miss Morse, so was she. And my Mom could be VERY direct. As could Miss Morse, as old newspaper articles reveal. So when I saw Lee Morse's mini-films, I felt some sort of connection, a "deja vu" like maybe I'd known her, or someone like her, before...

So now you say that I'm getting really weird here? Maybe, perhaps. I don't know. I only know what I feel. Could it be that I saw some of my Mom's character, or at least a part of it, when I saw Miss Morse? Something in Miss Morse's music, that 80-year old music, registers itself into some deep part of my psyche. Miss Morse's music makes me FEEL things; everything from depression to out-of-control happiness. Miss Morse sings a song which contains the lyrics, "where'd ya get those eyes? Where'd ya get those ears?", and I can just imagine my Mom singing that. I remember that from 'somewhere'; I think Mom might've either said that or sung that. It was all so long ago. And something about the way Miss Morse expressed herself in those little movie-ettes, something in her eyes, something about her just HIT me. Does Miss Morse's music or image make me see a part of myself, or where I came from, perhaps? Sometimes I think there's a reason I accidentally discovered Miss Morse. Be that as it may, I'm glad I discovered her. Maybe there's a cosmic-sort of thing going on here, or maybe I'm just being silly. I don't know. Who knows?

Miss Lee Morse (1897-1954). This is what she might have looked like in living color.

The strange parallels continue. Miss Morse grew up in Idaho; Kooskia, to be exact. I grew up in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. I was born in 1954. That's the year she died. Her son was born in Wallace. My Dad operated a mining business in that town. Miss Morse and her husband and little boy, moved to Chewelah, Washington. Her husband is buried in the cemetery there. When I used to be a runner, I ran in the Chewelah "Chataqua" fun run, which went right past that Cemetery. Miss Morse sang at clubs in Spokane, Washington before she acquired national fame. I've lived and worked in Spokane. Later, she sang in Portland, Oregon. I've visited Portland more often than any other big city...except for Spokane. (Some might not say Spokane's a big city', I must admit). And, I ran the Portland Marathon in '93, '94 and '95. Sure, maybe all of this is just coincidence. It probably is. But still, it seems I've been in a lot of places she'd once was. And I am NOT well-traveled. Other than traveling back through time, that is...

I feel like it's partly up to me to keep Lee Morse's music and memory alive. Her music has given so much to me, it's the least I can do. And I don't mind, not one bit. You find out more about her at,,, or my own group, at: (or just hit the yahoo group button here on this blog). Listen to some of her music if you can. You might just be impressed.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Are you...Experienced....?
Alternate title: Don't believe ANYTHING I write about politics!

DANGER! DANGER! WARNING!!! Before you read this post, which I wrote last night, I have an UPDATE...I wrote in a recent post that there might be a (hopefully) remote possibility that Hillary and Obama would be forced to be running mates...OBAMA WAS ACTUALLY ASKED THAT QUESTION TODAY, but it gets worse...the 'asker' meant that HILLARY would be Prezzident and Obama would be Vice Prezzident. Oh my gosh. How many ways are there to spell "disaster"?

...and now, I return you to our regularly scheduled blog, already in progress...

Maaan. A couple weeks ago, I had pretty-much written off Hillary's chances at winning the Democratic Party's nomination, let alone the Prezzidency itself. She looked old and tired, she seemed like an irrelevant-to-anything has-been, and Barack Obama looked like the newest purveyor of "the dream", whatever that dream much as I'm uncomfortable with Hillary, though, she can't be written off just yet. In the primaries tonight, she won 3 of 4 states against Obama. Oh my gosh. Now the pundits are saying that Hillary's in the race until the (bitter?) end. She won't go away anytime soon. Why, all of a sudden, do I feel so resigned about this? Hillary came out with a political ad saying, "who would you trust at 3am when All Hell is breaking loose, someone like ME with a LOT of political experience, or a young upstart like Obama who has all the political experience of a small soap dish?" Well, that's not an exact quote, but you get the idea...

Some pundits said a while back that the Clintons Really Know How To Campaign. They know how to Win, and Resort To Whatever It Takes in order to win. Hillary conveniently aligned herself with the State of New York (read: Lotsa voters, lotsa delegates). Wait a minute...didn't the Clintons come from Arkansas? Huh? What? Then, she got herself elected to the Senate, and Immediately Became Powerful. That shoulda been a clue right there. A large state that's close to Washington, D.C., the center of power. Can you say "opportunistic"? I knew ya could...and, as a Woman, Hillary can beat up all she wants on Obama, but if he rips her apart into microscopic shreds, he'll look bad for beating up on a woman. So Hillary might just end up using her gender to its best advantage. So far, Obama has "risen above the fray", but that may not do him much good when Hillary drops an anvil on his head from the top of a 10-story building, flattening him. Bonk!

So what the heck am I doing writing about politics, and why should anyone read what I've written, yet alone believe any of it? Not that long ago, I wrote that Obama had the "mojo" workin' for him, but all of a sudden, he's dead in the water, kinda like a hydroplane with a blown engine. Well, maybe he hasn't blown his engine yet, but the boat's losing speed; that's what it feels like right about now. And a lot of this has to do with Obama's credibility coming into question. What has he done over the years? What important legislation has he sponsored? How many Unbelievable Miracles has he blessed the multitudes with during his Political Tenure? But more than anything, Hillary's going to say He's Not...Experienced. So don't trust him, because after all, She would have you believe that if he gets called out of bed at 3 in the morning to push a nuclear arms button, he'd probably send missiles to the wrong country. And if Hillary says Obama is a Remedial Politician with Virtually No Important Experience Whatsoever, (which is basically what she's saying), he can't retort by saying, "Hillary, you SLUT...You KNOW you're wrong, you pathological LIAR", 'cos if he uses his man-liness to fend off Hillary, he'll look like a Big Bully. At the same time, what good does it do to appear 'dignified', as Obama's Really Trying To Do, and LOSE?

As I'm typing this, Ms. Hillary is addressing her flock: "We don't need more promises, we need solutions". And that ol' familiar nagging feeling is returning: How can Anyone bring about the Changes Necessary To Cure All of our ills? If Hillary is elected Prezzident, how much political infighting, stalling and filibustering will there be just because She Is Hillary? Will she get caught in the quagmire of political infighting, kinda like what happened to Jimmy Carter, who presented himself as an outsider and No One In Congress Liked Him? Meanwhile, the Republicans are probably licking their chops: John McCain Will Be The Republican Prezzidential Candidate. And most likely, he'll be the Next Prezzident, due to the Democratic Party imploding upon itself 'cuz the forces of Clinton and Obama are so astronomically far apart. Ack. America, get ready for another 100 years in Iraq!

The big line in Hillary's commercials has been, "who would YOU trust to handle a National/International crisis at 3 in the morning?", but no one seems to be asking, "Madame candidate, are YOU any more experienced on that issue than Barack Obama, Pee Wee Herman or Donald Duck?" In short, No One Has That Kind Of Experience. When It Happens (God forbid), Whoever Is Prezzident will Deal With It WHEN it happens. I don't see anything Hillary's done in the last millenium which makes her any more qualified to Push The Button Or Decide Something Important. You gotta admit, though, that whoever came up with that ad copy probably has written One Of The Most Important Campaign Commercials Ever. Maybe she's trying to Push Obama's Button, hoping he self-destructs. I detest politics, I absolutely HATE 'em. But this is gonna be one of the most fascinating-ever Election Years. The choices: McCain, more of the same ol' same ol. Obama, diplomatic yet unproven. Hillary, experienced but LOUD. My advice to Obama? If Hillary brings a Rolling Pin to the next debate, you better run for cover!

At this point, you might be thinking to yourself that I'm not making any sense here. You might be asking yourself, "when will this post be OVER? And, what do I get for reading this diatribe?" Just for you, dear reader, I have supplied a little bit of comic (?) relief in the photo-satirized Important 60's Album Cover immediately below...

Egad. A Rock and Roll nightmare come true. Not much harmony in this group!

I'd make a terrible Prezzident. I'm not a morning person. Especially not a 3-in-the-morning person.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Am I being ENTERTAINED yet?
...or, am I just being sedated? I'm really not too sure...

Where's the Fire, and Where's the Rain?: Right now, a portion of James Taylor's latest concert DVD, "One Man Band" is playing on Our Local Public Television Station. Two conclusions about James Taylor: He CANNOT sing the blues well at all. And, he Cannot Rock. Oh, and one more conclusion: "You've Got A Friend" is just about the most annoying song in the universe, especially the line that goes, "they'll take your soul if you let don't you let them." Real intelligent, that line, huh? Following that, he did "Steamroller Blues", which is just about The Most Stupid Song Ever, and before he completed the first lyric line, I hit the "mute" button. Whoever invented the Television Remote needs to be inducted into the All-Time Smart Guys Hall Of Fame. The remote makes things (a little) more bearable when watching music on an Annoying Pledge Drive...although, it might actually be redundant to say "annoying" and "pledge drive" in the same sentence...

As you've undoubtedly found out if you've ever watched PBS musical shows during a pledge drive, just when you start groovin' to the music (if indeed you can 'groove' to James Taylor), the local PBS fundraisers come in during the breaks and say stuff like, "James Taylor is Such A Treasure, Such an important figure in music; I remember where I was when I heard my first James Taylor Song", yadda, yadda, yadda. SHUT UP!!! I don't need a bunch of soul-less yuppies who don't even know what music IS, telling me how I should think of James Taylor, or Any Other Performer. And, after they're done pontificating, then they try to "guilt" me..."you've been watching all these great shows on PBS, now step up and send us your life savings"...I kinda think PBS viewers would send in more money, to NOT have to see these pledge people. I'd pay 'em not to show James Taylor, actually...I don't hate him; "Fire and Rain" is one of my favorite tunes, but I just don't GET IT. Why do people think he's so good? I'm not kidding when I say I like John Denver more! How bad is that?

He may not be Young, but he's still Neil...Last week, I viewed a Neil Young DVD, titled "Heart Of Gold"...although that title might be a bit inaccurate, since it was actually the Premier Public Performance of Neil's "Prairie Wind" album that came out in 2004. Neil was going to have his big aneurysm operation the following week, so in a way, this was a "farewell" concert, I suppose, just in case he didn't make it thru the procedure. Nice to be able to say things worked out for Neil. He's still With Us, and I really treasure him. Many times I have heard Neil Young songs that seem to sum up what's going on within me, and I'm sure there's lots of his fans out there who feel the same way. He remains so restlessly creative, and I admire him unabashedly.

Anyway, "Heart Of Gold" is a really great concert video; onstage (at the old Original Grand Ol' Opry building) with him are musicians he's worked with for the last 30 years, and in between songs, Neil speaks to his audience respectfully...I enjoy the 'feel' of his countryish music, wistful, wan and forlorn...and he did plenty of that on the "Heart Of Gold" disc (which I managed to buy second-hand at a Blockbuster store for 5 of my better finds). In addition to music from his (then-new) "Prairie Wind" album, he also did some really sweet stuff from his 1992"Harvest Moon" album, and he reached back and did some oldies, and among them, yeah, he did "Heart Of Gold", which proves that Top-40 Music, if done right, can sound timeless. Neil's named one of his guitars "Hank". After all, it's Hank Williams' old guitar. And it came to life again during this concert. I recommend this video heartily. But you already guessed that...

Bland On The Run: Another place to look for Really Good "Finds" is in the wide wonderful world of Videotapes; lotsa people still have VHS players, and if you're one of them, you can find movies on VHS for $2 or $3 at any second-hand store; I've bought a lot of good movies that way. Recently, I came across Paul McCartney's "Get Back", (paid $2 bucks for it) which is actually a video of his 1992 concert performances, notable (I guess) 'cos it's the last tour Linda McCartney went on before she died. Thing is, Paul seems to just be re-hashing Mostly Old Stuff, (well, it is good old stuff), but "live", I'm sorry, his voice doesn't measure up, and the only interchange he can seem to muster up for his audience is the occasional "Are You Having A Good Time?", which is pretty much all he ever said when he was A Beatle.

I happen to think McCartney does One Thing Very Well: MUSIC. As a person, I've always seen him as somewhat "limited"; either he's not that bright, or he's just very careful in how he presents himself. I think the Real McCartney is somewhere in-between those extremes. Perhaps this music really sounded good, live, "at the concert", but watching it on VHS, I couldn't help but think that he performed mainly tired versions of Old Beatles Songs, but the audience didn't mind since they were In The Same Place A Former Beatle Was. Paul's released quite a few live albums over the years, and except for a few new songs at each concert, all of his concert stuff is BASICALLY THE SAME. Bland re-hashings of old Beatles and Wings stuff. Of course, his new "Memory Almost Full" album is REALLY good. It had to be. He needs to sell lotsa records to pay for his divorce from Hurricane Heather, after all.

So there's my report from the wide, but not necessarily wonderful, world of entertainment. There's no business like show business, I guess...