Tuesday, September 30, 2008

"Yeah, We've Got That"...
...unless they're talking about TRUST in Customers!

It all started when I visited a STAPLES' Office equipment store here in Southern Oregon this fine afternoon. Staples' is a big monolithic chain outfit that insitutes nationwide "Policy" for all its stores. ("Policy" being, "laws/rules set down in print so Employees Don't Have To Think For Themselves".) All I wanted to do was to make several photocopies of some items. When I asked if the clerk if could give me one of those little 'key-gizmos' with which to turn on the copy machine, he kept asking me if I was going to use my debit card or utilize an "exact-change" method"...finally, after he'd said that several times, I asked him what he meant by "exact change". I told the clerk that I didn't know how many copies I'd be making; I'd planned to run 'em off, then bring 'em up to the counter and pay for 'em, like always.
That's when he told me that Staples doesn't utilize the familiar pay-as-you-go method of making copies anymore. Either you have to know exactly how much you are gonna spend making copies, or you have to access your debit card to finance a purchase of copies which might, in my case, total a buck and a half, 'cos I didn't know how many copies I wanted to make, and I really don't like to open up my Debit Card for teeny-tiny amounts. In short, Staples' couldn't TRUST me enough to get a copier key from the clerk, and then walk 10 or 12 feet to the copy machine, make my copies in PLAIN SIGHT, then return to the counter, still in plain sight, and PAY! And you know what THAT is? It's pure unadulterated CHICKEN SHIT.

I was INSULTED. I have absolutely NO POLICE RECORD, I don't steal; I believe in being honest, and I conduct myself with HIGH PRINCIPLES. I asked the clerk, "what, do you think I'm going to actually STEAL $1.50 worth of copies and risk getting arrested for a buck and a half?"All the clerk could do was shrug his shoulders. So I went and found the manager; by this time I was getting REALLY ANGRY. I told him what I'd told the clerk..."what, do you think I'm going to STEAL COPIES and go on the RUN?" I can just see it now...FBI pictures of me in the Post Office, saying I'm "wanted" for photocopy theft...I gave the Manager a face-full of complaints, and there was nothing he could do about it. As Is Usually The Case In Business These Days.
Actually, he offered to make my copies for me. In short, he would've had to go get the almighty Photocopier Key himself, and he was gonna make the copies for me while I stood there waiting. I told him, "Don't make any special gestures for me". I don't want preferential treatment anywhere. I only ask that people treat me FAIRLY. For his part, the manager said that in the past, people have left the store without paying for their copies. Now, I'm not dumb; I asked him, "well, how many copies would a person have to steal to cause you guys to lose money?", and he told me about Someone involved with a local Democratic Party organization in this county, who photocopied a whole bunch of campaign literature (you know, the political crap you see stuffed beneath windshield wipers, on doorknobs, and such) and left without paying. Gosh. I was gonna vote Democrat in the upcoming election...
The manager used the old axiom, "a few people make it bad for everybody". Look...even if I PLANNED to steal, I can't run anymore! I've got vertigo and arthritis; it would be quite a sight, me on the run from the Photocopy Police. Something that came to mind later on...if, If, IF someone stole several crates of photocopies, ISN'T A CLERK ON DUTY TO SEE WHAT'S GOING ON??? You know, someone behind the counter Who Is Actually Paying Attention To His/Her Job so a potential COPY THIEF can't walk out with a pallet full of copies! I'm thinking, "well, you guys at Staples had better upgrade your POLICY and not let customers operate copy machines any more (whether they've prepaid or are using their debit cards) or something like THIS might happen...

OH MY GOSH! CAUGHT IN THE ACT! I'M TRYING TO STEAL A "STAPLES" COPY MACHINE HERE! SOMEBODY LOCK ME UP NOW! OH MY GOSH, DON'T LET ANYONE IN THE STORE ANYMORE JUST IN CASE THEY TRY TO STEAL OFFICE FURNITURE OR COMPUTER SYSTEMS! Well, I'm gonna make things easy for Staples'. They need not worry about lil' ol' me. I'll never go into one of their stores EVER AGAIN. And if I feel this way about "policy", how many others out there feel the way I do about this "don't trust anyone" type of business climate?

Hey, Staples...uh...the Economy is bad, you know...might not be a good time to implement CHICKEN-SHIT policies on customers who just want a few copies, who might come back in later and buy a printer, perhaps. I know I've been thinking about getting a printer someday...but now I know where I WON'T buy it. Harrumph! Obviously, the Next Level of Policy Development will see the Staples' chain instituting a policy of "Customer Hands-Off", in which Customers Can Never Touch A Staples' Copy Machine Ever Again. In that case, maybe Staples' would be better off taking the Copy Machines OFF the floor and puttin' em in the back room, next to the Time Clock.
There. "That Was Easy." Hell hath no fury like a Blogger Scorned. After leaving Staples, I went down to the 7-11 Store and made photocopies for 10 cents each, which is CHEAPER than Staples' charges anyway. I made 3 copies and spent thirty cents.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Welcome to my Clog...er, BLOG...
(This is what's known in the biz as a "QUICKIE" post...)

*SHE'S A TRAIN WRECK: Is it just me, or does Republican Vice-Presidential candidate SARAH PALIN sound Just Incredibly Dumb? On another forum, I called her an Idiot, a process which I'll repeat here. In my life, I have never called a woman an Idiot before. Something about puttin' 'em on a pedestal, I guess. Anyway, I've seen interview-fragments where Ms. Palin can't seem to speak with any logical-ness at all; sometimes, the woman can barely complete a sentence. Last night, I saw portions of Katy Couric's interview with Palin. And I had to turn away from the TV screen; like a train wreck, it was difficult to watch. Then I heard it said on Keith Olbermann's show, that it's an insult to Small-town America that Sarah Palin identifies with them. No, most small-town folks are WAY SMARTER...

*AND NOW, THE TOTAL IS 101: The Seattle Mariners lost their 101st game tonight. Three more games to go in a 162-game season, and, the Mariners have won 58 games. Fifty-eight. They are now 41 games out of first place. The Mariners are about as successful of a Baseball Team as Sarah Palin is in High Politics. (Nice tie-in there, huh?) Can the M's get 60 wins by the end of the season? I'll bet Las Vegas Oddsmakers are all over this one! (NOT.)

*WHAT IS JOHN McCAIN DOING?: Did anyone else see the clip of the David Letterman show, on which Dave said John McCain, who was supposed to be a guest, called him and said he had to cancel his appearance to rush to the airport and fly off to Washington, D.C. to save the economy? (A summit meeting or some such thing.) Dave thanked him for calling anyway...turns out, tho, that Letterman had access to the "live" feed of CBS in which McCain was on a set with Katie Couric, while makeup was being applied to 'whatever that thing is' on his jaw. Not exactly rushing off to D.C., eh, John? Mr. McCain, Do You Just Want To Concede The Election NOW?

A CASE IN COMPARATIVE ORNITHOLOGY: I've posted probably waaaay too much stuff about Jill, my little 5-year-old Meyers Parrot girl. She thinks I'm a bird. She tries to give me food from her beak; this is how parrots show affection. It's a bird thing. The other nite I was sitting in the ol' La-Z-Boy eating Sun Chips...she was sitting on my shoulder. And she began taking the chips out of my mouth! So now she'll squawk if I don't give her at least a few crumbs out of my mouth. Yeah, I know, "Gag." Well, so far, she hasn't got sick and I haven't come down with Bird Flu. Anyway, here's a picture of Little Jill feeding her face...

And, below, you'll see an Actual Postage Stamp depicting a Meyers' Parrot. The Meyers' is an African parrot; there are six subspecies, but you'll notice the coloring in the stamp below and the picture above are indeed quite similar.

I must confess I haven't kept up on my geography; I know "Bophuthatswana" is located somewhere in Africa, but am not sure where. Maybe it doesn't even exist anymore. The names of countries in that continent have changed so many times, I can't keep up with them anymore. You could say I'm inexperienced in Foreign Affairs. Well, I'm no worse off than Sarah Palin, even though parts of her state, Alaska, lie only 53 miles from the Soviet Union. In one of the sentences she tried to complete (remember the Couric interview?), she managed to point out that, well, different countries happen to lie next to each other, and since her state lies close to Russia, that makes her an expert. Or something like that. Lies indeed.

THIS NEXT PHOTO DIDN'T MAKE THE CUT: That's why it's posted HERE. Think of this blog as a sort of clearing-house, and once in a while, I've gotta sweep up all of the accumulated bits, bytes and nibbles lying (laying? Politicians "Lie", after all) around in my Files. Well, I took some more Oregon Photos today. And, I added them to the "Oregon Photos" link (see Left Margin)...anyway, here's ONE sample of what you'll see should you Click The Link...

Only two weeks ago, the sun was setting in a location approximate to the extreme right side of this photo. All of a sudden, we're losing a lot of daylight here. It seems like the days just kinda start to Fizz Out in September, sorta like what's happening to the McCain Ticket's chances of Winning The Election...

It was speculated (again, on the Olberman program) that maybe McCain was talking to Katie Couric because she had enough money in her own bank account to Save The Nation. Damn them 'politicks' anyway...they just keep nosing their way in here, clogging up my blog. Wait...maybe this whole blog is a clog. Ah-ha...now things are starting to (almost) make sense.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Maybe it's time for a Baseball Bail-out?
The SEATTLE MARINERS reach 100...

...100 Losses, that is, with Wednesday's loss to the Anaheim Angels. Come to think of it, that's more a "millstone" than a 'milestone'. Like this year's Economy, the '08 Seattle Mariners slumped. And slumped BIG. The M's reportedly paid its players a total sum of $119 Million Dollars this season. That's "million" with an "M". Perhaps I'm a very negative person, a product of these negative times, but I must say this season for the Seattle Mariners has been, well, 'negative'. I only know that it's gotten so bad, that this year, while watching or listening to their games, I've not only expected them to lose, I've WANTED them to lose, so I could then listen to the Mariners' post-game show and hear callers around the Northwest phone in their negativisms, and boy, there were negativisms-a-plenty to go around this year. "This player's gotta go!" "Why did the manager put This Guy in when That Guy shoulda been left in?" "The problem is with Management!" "The problem is with the Players!" and so on, and so forth. Baseball, turned into a soap opera.

I thought of something earlier this evening. And, an astounding revelation it was. Earlier in the season, some disgruntled fans were speculating that the Mariners could set something of a record, dishing out $119 Million Dollars for a team that had a possibility of losing 119 Games! And that would have been some kind of record, all right. A DUBIOUS record. Alas, there are only 4 games left in this season for the M's to lose. So somehow, that's supposed to soothe us fans? Ack. So, the '08 Season From Hell for the M's will soon be Done With, and will stumble towards a final conclusion before fizzling out altogether this weekend. And, the only way this could be described as a comedy of errors would be to say it's something of a Tragic Comedy, if indeed one of those can exist in the world of Baseball. Hitters couldn't hit. Pitchers couldn't pitch. Or when Pitchers pitched well, they got no run support. Just about the only way the M's could win a game was for the Starting Pitcher to throw a complete-game-shutout. And those don't happen very often. Especially in a season that's been so dismal that the M's can't even be "lovable" losers like the New York Mets were oh, so long ago. The Mariners are almost 40 games out of first place. FORTY. Yikes!

The Seattle Mariners' Moose (pictured above) must feel lonelier than the Maytag Repairman these days. I wouldn't blame the poor maligned mascot if, next year, he became the "Minnesota Moose", or perhaps the "Milwaukee Moose" (although that last one would be a stretch)...it's kinda difficult, I would bet, to try and rouse support among fans who have No Real Reason to attend the games (other than socialize and drink lots of expensive beer), since the Team will probably Never get to a World Series. Ever. The M's got close in 1995, when they won a tiebreaker only to lose in the playoffs. But that was 13 YEARS ago. (Something which Mariners Broadcaster Rick Rizzszszsszzz doesn't seem to realize, since He Brings It Up all the time Like It Happened Yesterday. Get over it, Rick!) The M's won 116 games in 2001, but were bounced out of the playoffs again. Some fans feel the team has been jinxed, saying they wouldn't be surprised if Safeco Field (the quadra-zillion dollar ballpark where the M's Play) was built on the site of an old Indian (whoops, Native American) cemetery. Jinxed? Hexed? That almost makes sense. I'm almost ready to believe that. Maybe I do. What Else could it be?

So I'm approaching this all from a distorted perspective, you say. So you say I'm endlessly negative and not thankful that we in the Northwest have our very own professional Baseball Team to root for. Maybe. You be the judge. The Seattle Times has a Mariners' Fan blog, which can be accessed at http://blog.seattletimes.nwsource.com/mariners/. There is no joy in Mudville.

Monday, September 22, 2008

"AtMoSpHeRiC RuMiNaTiOnS" goes ON LOCATION...
CAPE ARAGO STATE PARK, OREGON--At the end of an idyllic afternoon snapping pictures on the Oregon Coast, "Atmospheric Ruminations" came upon a genuine legitimate professional artist who was applying his craft to the Visible Scenery around him, and Your Chief Ruminator was on hand to witness the action, live and direct, AS IT HAPPENED. That 'Chief Ruminator', namely ME, then was able to use ultra-enhanced DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY to provide a unique (well, different, at least) union between the artist's perceptive qualities and my Digital Camera's own brand of technological capabilities, resulting in a veritable blend of comparative combination, and posted here for you all to WITNESS. (Talk about a Big Buildup; the rest of this post had better be good, huh?)
This afternoon, while stumbling up and down the coast, hoping to catch some Really Groovy Sunset Photos, I came upon ultra-professional artist JEFF HORN, a resident of Somewhere, Southern California (now, now, no 'booing' of Californians, okay?), and there he was, just a-paintin' away, doing his level best to depict one of the most beautiful settings in the known Universe...and I thot, How Cool It Would Be, to capture a picture of a person capturing a picture. So, I, the Chief Ruminator, cautiously approached this Craftsman of his Craft, and timidly asked him if I could take a picture of him painting what he was painting, kinda expecting to have him shoo me away because, of course, we all know about that elusive intangible known as "artistic temperment", but he graciously allowed me to capture him in The Creative Process...
In the photos below, you can observe The Artist At Work, capturing what I like to call "The Cape Arago Tree" (startlingly original title, eh?). When I first came to this part of the coast in 2002, I took a Polaroid (Yes, Polaroid, one of those old pop-outta-the-camera photos) of This Very Same Tree that appears to be losing its ongoing battle with the ever-blowing coastal breezes which blow virtually all the time. After the first photo (a 'perspective' shot, I guess), I crept a bit closer, hoping he wouldn't swat me with his paintbrush, and took the 2nd photo over his shoulder. And he just kept calmly painting away...
Pretty good, huh? He definitely knows his way around an Easel. And, these photos should put to rest the axiom that says something to the effect of, "we all see the world according to our own prejudices and frames of reference, so no two people ever see anything the same way", blah blah blah...in short, what I think is "green", you might see as "red"; if I see something "round", you'll think it's "oblong" or whatever. Well, All That flotsam is Just Pure Bunk, because the Tree that I saw with Mine Own Eyes was the same Tree on his Painting, and He put that very same Tree in his painting, using His Own Eyes and His Own Perception. Oh yeah, the brush and paint came in handy as well. But, How about that: People actually seeing things the same way. Maybe this is the way to achieve World Peace? Ahem...
Now, there is always the fear that I'm over-assuming with all of my non-malicious over-statements. There is always a chance that I Got It All Wrong. Wouldn't be the first time. However, The Proof Is In The Pudding. (I don't know what the hell THAT means, but it sounds good...I do know that I've never eaten Pudding that wasn't Pudding, so Pudding must be Pudding, I guess, regardless of what's been Put In The Pudding?) But there is a chance that I have Distorted The Issue, through my reckless attempts to Describe The Situation. So I leave it for Your Eyes To Behold...
Above, the Artist's Rendition. At Left, a Photo I took. Now, your Chief Atmospheric Ruminator (that would be me/I) couldn't accomplish a painting anywhere near that good over several lifetimes, and I assumed Mr. Horn had been diligently trying to portray every excruciating detail of the landscape in order to achieve the results that he achieved to achieve here. I asked him if he'd been out here all day, and he told me, "No, I've been painting for only about AN HOUR AND A HALF." Gosh. I'd say he's Pretty Good. I do believe that I Have Met The Next Immortal Artist Of Our Times. People like him Make It Look So Easy. But then again, The Great Ones Always Do. It's all I can do to draw a straight line (or a circle whose ends meet).
Yet, when I looked at his painting from a close-up perspective, it looked 'rather 'abstract'; but when you back away from the painting, all of those brush-strokes meld themselves into something that Looks More Like My Picture than My Picture does. He told me that he was using a sort of American version of "Impressionist Technique". In short, everything comes together to make the picture. So he sees the image, but paints an approximation of that image, which ends up looking EXACTLY like what he was painting. And I call that True Talent. Peerless. Thank you, Mr. Horn, for Letting Me Into Your World for a little while. Very interesting!
Jeff Horn, the Artistic Artist who Paints Paintings, evidently has a website located at http://www.hornart.com/, and I believe he can be contacted through that address, which would be a good thing, since I promised to send him copies of the photos I took...
Finally, before you escape my clutches, I wanna let you know that I've posted over 40 new Oregon Coastal fotos in my Oregon Coastal Foto slide-show (link at left). Consider that Fair Warning...

Friday, September 19, 2008

Doctor's Orders: NO TOURING!!!
...a case of having to say "NO" to a "YES-man"...

Weren't we all young once? I used to be, in a time long ago and far, far away. All of my favorite rock performers were young, full of life and energy, and living like there was tomorrow. But along the way, with the passing of the years, we're all getting old. Frail. Feeble. And We Need Rest, says the Doctor. And our favorite classic rockers had better watch how they move onstage, lest a leaping scissors-kick-jump while holding a microphone blows out a hip joint...

It turns out that one Rock singer who has aged very gracefully, Jon Anderson of YES, he of the high voice and mystical lyrics, has been told to rest for at least six months due to an acute respiratory condition he's developed. Anderson's voice is amazing; I have a couple of fairly recent "Yes" concerts on DVD, and on those, his voice is still high, mighty and pure. Usually as a singer ages, he/she loses some of their high register...but not Anderson. He still sounds GREAT. At least, on recent concert DVD's I have, he does. And from what I can tell of his stage presence, he seems to be a Very Nice Person. His picture is below...

I've always respected the musicianship of the members of YES. They play so effortlessly, so relaxed, and they make it look so easy; yet, the group's music is intricate; it abounds with almost impossible-to-play time signatures, and lyrics that don't really state much of anything concrete at all, but perhaps this is part of Yes' Master Plan. As intricate as the group's music is, so are the lyrics. They're the kind of lyrics you could read twenty times and get twenty different meanings from. In short, 'Yes' is a group I really like, although I'm never sure of what they're actually singing about. But one thing for sure; Jon Anderson's voice is not just a voice; it's an instrument that insures "Yes" music sounds otherworldly and mystical. In the group's concerts, Anderson would also strum rhythm guitar and help out with various percussion instruments. Hopefully, with time, his voice will get to soar again.

YES was all set to do their 40th anniversary tour this year, (can you imagine a musical group that's been together that long? Going on half a century!) but initially the group had to cancel, because of Anderson's medical situation. I read today that the group will go ahead and tour; in Anderson's place is a singer from a "Yes Tribute Band"; YES found about him through a YouTube video. The Computer Age Indeed.

This posting comes largely from a news article I read today; admittedly, Friday had crawled around and I only had one post for this week. (I feel a 'sense of duty' to 'something'...). But also, some of it comes from my having watched some of my favorite classic rockers on a VHS tape I recorded of the 2005 'Live 8' concerts. It's amazing, it really is, what age does to us. It shrinks us; it wrinkles us; it sucks all the color out of our hair...and causes all kinds of 'dysfunctions'. I mean, my favorite rockers were absolutely FEARLESS. They were young, flashy, balls-to-the-wall rebels. Well, while some of them still sound good, All of them are Getting Old.

For instance, "The Who" played at 'Live 8'. Pete Townshend, guitarist and chief songwriter, is totally Bald. And he didn't do the "windmill" thing ONE SINGLE TIME. (When he was younger, he would swing his arm clockwise, 'round and 'round and simultaneously bash his guitar, while doing aerobic jumping scissors-kicks.) Townshend now has to wear earplugs or some such thing onstage, because he's become at least partially deaf from the loud rock and roll his band specialized in over the years. I think at one time, The Who were voted "World's Loudest Rock Band". Or, was that "Blue Cheer"? Maybe it was "Deep Purple". Or a legion of others. In any case, they were ALL pretty loud. (In a GOOD way.)

Another band that played at 'Live 8' was Pink Floyd. David Gilmour, the group's guitarist, has lost almost all of his hair, but he still can sure play really good. Of course, 'The Floyd' never got all that wild in concert, so Gilmour never did leaping scissors-kicks onstage to begin with, which is probably a good thing. And of course, Rick Wright, keyboardist of that group, passed away this week (see post below this one). Cancer got him. Of course, in a lot of old Rock Band photos taken in the '60s and '70s, almost all of them feature group members holding cigarettes. And I'm sure inhalation of 'some kind of smoke', whether legit or illegal, has built up over the years and weakened the systems of those who partook 'til they withered away. Sad...

One of my absolute Heroes, someone I really treasure, Neil Young, had an operation for a brain aneurysm a few years back. Between his diagnosis and his operation, he recorded a concert DVD; he wanted to perform his music with a lot of his special musical friends just in case he didn't survive. Aneurysms, of course, can strike at any age, but still, when I'd read about Neil, it made me think a little bit more of my own mortality. But yet, I keep on breathing, eating, getting up every day...as John Lennon once said, "where there's life, there's hope". He said that in his last-ever interview back in 1980...

Look at the deaths of Rock and Rollers when they were Young. Car Crashes. Drug Overdoses. Electrocutions. Alcohol-induced poisoning. Plane Crashes. General Foolishness. And, tragically, assassinations and suicides. Long about the time Beatles guitarist George Harrison passed away in 2001 due to cancer, a news report I'd heard back then made me begin to realize that as Rockers age, they're going to go thru, what any of us who are over 50 and alive, as well as relatives and everyone else who's ever lived will be going thru or Has gone through. Things like Cancer. Respiratory Ailments. Broken Hips. Heart Attacks. Old Age. Not the devastatingly sudden Jimi Hendrix or Janis Joplin-type deaths anymore. Instead, unspectacular age-related cessations of life. The kind of things that'll happen to folks like Joe and Jane Six-pack who've worked 40-hour weeks all their lives and perhaps bought a few rock albums along with their basic life-sustaining necessities. "I'll Never Get Out Of This World Alive", sang Hank Williams, one of the last songs he ever wrote. He, a victim of alcohol poisoning on New Years' Day, 1953.

There. THAT oughta put you in a really great mood as you start your weekend. Hey, all I know is, even though my bad back makes it difficult to tote them boxes of records I have laying around the living room, the music still really, really sounds good...so my ears work, even if the rest of me malfunctions every now and then.


This is a post that built itself from the ground up, beginning with the article on the group YES. And it just kinda grew from there. So I can rest easy, knowing I've filled my '2 posts a week' quota. Until Monday or Tuesday, anyway...

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Proof that things could be better...
...or, "I read the news today, oh boy..."

That's what I get for trying to stay current. I just had to go out today and read the newspaper, and when things get so unrelievedly gloomy that even I (kinda) can begin to understand it, you know that Things indeed Could Be Better. One headline of note went something like this: "CANDIDATES LACK MESSAGE IN FACE OF ECONOMIC CRISIS". It's been said that this year's economic picture is the worst since the great depression of long, long ago. So, we turn to our leaders for inspiration. Right? We all know George W. Bush has nothing positive to offer; the man can barely complete a sentence. So what about those running for Prezzident?

According to an Associated Press Analysis-type article I spotted today, "...in a dizzying day of speeches and statements, neither (Senator John McCain or Senator Barack Obama) offered any fresh ideas for turning things around. Instead, each relied on the same vague, though vastly different, pitches sounded over the past few months for fixing what ails the country." One of these guys is gonna be LEADING our country come January. I've long thought that no matter who's President, what happens is gonna happen, anyway, because, well, face it, it's bigger than any of us. A monolithic bureaucracy in a representative democracy such as ours gets swallowed up by numerous financial blunders and widespread greed and corruption, and, who's gonna stop it? 'Cos if it could be stopped, it WOULDA been stopped by now. Conclusion: The two guys running for Prezzident don't have a CLUE. They just want your vote.

Truly a Sign Of The Times...

Meanwhile, an adjacent news article informed me that Sarah Palin, political demagoguess rescued from obscurity, Who Could Be The Next Vice Prezzident after being mayor of a village and then serving as Alaska Governor for a coupla years, is "UNLIKELY TO COOPERATE WITH PROBE". She doesn't wanna speak with an Independent Council about her firing of a public safety commissioner, which, evidently she had her Own Personal Reasons for doing. This after she previously said she would welcome the chance to set the record straight. Alaska Senator Hollis French said the McCain campaign would most likely get an "October Surprise", resulting from the investigation being conducted by the Alaska Senate Judiciary Committee. Way to go, Sarah! You're now enveloped in scandal before you've had a chance to bask in the afterglow of attaining dizzying political heights. I'll conclude this paragraph by saying that I couldn't find anything in the paper today about the Other Vice Prezzidential candidate, Joe Biden, so I'll just assume he's off plagiarizing someone somewhere, and I just haven't read about it yet.

Ah, but I saw a headline that made me feel all warm-and-fuzzy until I got to the VERY END of the article. Turns out that "CRUDE OIL CLOSED BELOW $100 (per Barrel) FOR THE FIRST TIME IN SIX MONTHS" (another headline)...wow, cool...I had visions of pulling up to a Gas Pump where I'd only have to pay, say, $2.50 a gallon (?)...because, you see, due to 'dramatic sell-offs' of oil due to various financial collapses (can you say 'Lehman Brothers'?), plus, the recent Hurricane Ike didn't cause as much damage to the Oil industry as expected, were (supposedly) good signs that oil prices would go down. HOLD ON, THAR...WHOA, NELLIE!!!...the last paragraph said, quote, "prices jumped above $4.00 a gallon in parts of the country as a 'precautionary shutdown' of Gulf Refineries caused gasoline shortages." So, Gas prices have gone Up! No, they're coming Down! OOPS! They're gonna go up a little bit! Then they're gonna go up MORE! This is just NUTS!

Good Grief, STOP, already! That's enough to make me wish I hadn't opened up the paper to begin with. Ah, but there's always the comics and other stuff (such as an article in today's paper about a guy who tried to hike from the California Border to the Columbia river), things which, you know, appeal to the lighter side. And of course, there's always the news and gossip about singers, musicians, what's on TV, etc., you know, stuff that has nothing to do with War or Politics. And then I read that RICK WRIGHT, a founding member of PINK FLOYD, a group I hold near and dear, passed away yesterday due to Cancer at the tender age of 65.

Richard Wright was Floyd's keyboardist; he provided much of the ultra-spaciness that created moody aural canvases upon which the Band Wove Its Otherworldly Spell. Wright also provided vocals for a few of Pink Floyd's songs; indeed, a lot of the time, his vocals sound almost like those of David Gilmour, Floyd's guitarist, which was truly a thing to behold when they sang harmony. (Roger Waters, the band's main songwriter, didn't really 'sing'; he kinda croaked and yelled a lot). Wright was more or less in the 'Background' of Pink Floyd's overall sound, but without him, things wouldn't have sounded the same. In the mid-1970's, during the 3-year gap between Pink Floyd albums "Animals" and "The Wall", Rick Wright came out with his one and only solo record...and its careful melodicism and hushed vocals display the qualities he brought to the band...

Here it is, Richard Wright's 1977 solo album, "Wet Dream", which I imagine is fairly hard to find these days; it didn't sell a lot when it first came out, didn't chart, and came and went without a trace...ah, but us dedicated Pink Floyd fans remember, don't we? That's 'cos we went out and got all the albums. We read Rolling Stone and other music magazines, and kept up on our favorite Bands. And hearing solo projects by group members is always interesting; it certainly was for me. Anyway, I'm sad that another musician's gone, but that's life...and death...I guess.

BLOG UPDATE: I found out that Richard Wright recorded another album in 1995; I've never heard it; I've never even SEEN it. I'm gonna have to check it out...

In preparation for writing this post (I actually prepared?) I took out the VHS of Pink Floyd's "Reunion" at the "Live 8" concerts back in 2005. The band split apart very acrimoniously in the early '80s, and the wounds cut deep; hearing and seeing them all back onstage was something Quite Historic. That, I believe, was Rick Wright's last performance. And the band sounded absolutely GREAT.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Ya just might wanna check your BANK ACCOUNT...

They're pretty devious, these internet entities that somehow weasel their way around the web and come away with your credit card numbers so they can BILL you, Yes, YOU, for FALSE charges. I checked my bank account online Sunday Evening, and saw a $17.95 charge from something called "24-hour Protect Plus", and I know for a FACT I've never heard of that firm. I "Googled" it, and found that many others besides me have been billed by 'Protect Plus' for something they didn't pay for. In one website, I found that "24-hour Protect Plus" had obtained its information, fraudently, no doubt, through Paypal, which I use when I buy stuff from Ebay. Paypal can be used to buy from a whole lotta different sites; you can send money thru it; it's sorta like a "Cyber Western Union" in that regard.

We all pay a price for convenience, though, don't we? In this case, the price is INCONVENIENCE. Not only did I have to call my bank's "800" number and inform them about these fraudulent charges from someone or something I've never heard of; I also, being the ultra-paranoid debit-card user, also asked the bank to VOID my existing card immediately and send me another one, which will take a week, maybe more. If I wanna draw out money between now and then, I've actually got to drive several miles to the BANK and do it the old-fashioned way. Plus, when my new card gets here, I've gotta go back to the bank, so they can ACTIVATE IT. Finally, I've then gotta go back into the Paypal system, take out all my old bank card numbers, and put the new numbers in. But I'll tell ya, I'm thinking seriously about not using Paypal anymore. It's truly a case having to resort back to the Old Ways that things were done, because if you buy anything online, you'll get HACKED. Are you paranoid yet? If not, you should be...they don't have to rifle thru your garbage anymore; they can just sit at their own little menacing hacker-laptops and steal yer vital data that way.

If all I had checked online was my bank balance, I would've missed this fraudulent charge. But, I also checked my "credit card authorizations", which are NOT listed along with the balance; it's up above, and doesn't drop down to the 'balance' section until the transaction finally goes through. This is a SERIOUS HEADS-UP to all of you who buy online. And take it from me, I'm NEVER serious in this blog. BUT I AM NOW! And keep checking your accounts faithfully. This is the THIRD time this has happened to me in 5 years. And if someone can hack into your private information, how many more people will get YOUR information from that 'someone'?


"Blogger.com", the site that administers this Blog, invited me to "update" my blog. I did, selecting the same lighthouse motif. In the process, I lost all my fun & games stuff...but I've replaced those with some other fun stuff...also, the 'New' Blogger enables me to post links without using clumsy Java Code. So, there's more links up there. And, I've still got the (newly customized) George W. Bush Prezzidential Countdown Clock, up above. Cool, huh?

Friday, September 12, 2008

Who the heck is SARAH PALIN?
And, how the HELL does McGain think she'll help him WIN???

All of a sudden, a former Alaska lady-mayor of a town you'd miss if you closed your eyes while someone else was driving you through it, who's only been Alaska's Governor for a coupla years, is now Potentially The Next Prezzident if John McLame wins and then expires thirty days into his administration. Some say the reason she was brought in on the Republican (Rethugglian?) ticket was to attract some of the women out there who were gonna vote for Hillary Clinton. Gosh...I thot we'd all dodged that bullet when Hillary Lost The Primaries to Barack Obama, who sure seems to have lost a lot of luster himself in the last few weeks...come on, Barack, start GIVIN' EM HELL, NOW!!! Palin's WORSE THAN HILLARY! But anyway, back the issue of Sarah Palin...you know, the lady who's UNFIT to be Vice-President of The 'Sweet Adelines', let alone of this NATION...
I understand McSame's campaign spent at least twenty minutes researching her background before telling the nation and, yea, the entire free (and captive) world that she's gonna be second-in-command. Shiverr me timbers, mateys...there's potential scandal following her: everything from "Pork" that she initially voted for, but then conveniently declared she couldn't stand the sight of (you know, that ugly 'bridges to nowhere' thing)...while Gov'nor of the State of Eternal Snow, she billed the STATE for 'per diem' while she lived in her OWN HOUSE (you know, that ugly Per Diem thing). And, she evidently got an Alaska State Trooper fired for personal reasons (you know, that 'troopergate' thing)...plus illicit and as-of-yet-unfounded rumours that she keeps a home aquarium full of Satanic Lizards (but those are just rumours, you understand). And, if so, did she bill the State of Alaska for Hartz-Mountain Satanic Lizard food?

So if a total crackpot, know-nothing, burned-out, oblivious ex-voter like ME has heard about all of this Palin Stuff, where are the Burning Sensational Scandals, why is the Republican Party Not In Complete And Utter Chaos trying to defend jabs from the Left and Right, and Why hasn't McVain denounced her, claiming he didn't know THIS stuff about her? It happened to Tom Eagleton, after all, so why not Sarah Palin? Well, I think I might know one reason why...when George McGovern dumped Tom Eagleton from the ticket, after it had been revealed Eagleton had undergone MENTAL THERAPY (gosh, we can't have a loony in the White House, after all), McGovern looked like a weak CAVER. Obviously, McDrain doesn't wanna look like a caver. Instead, now he looks like an IDIOT. She's shrill, opinionated, inexperienced, vindictive, and HARSH, from everything I've read about her. If this Republican Ticket, the way it is now, wins this fall, HEAVEN HELP US ALL.

Sarah Palin, being unavoidably restrained after Swearing 'In Tongues' at the height of TrooperGate.

I honestly don't know what to believe anymore. I don't know what anyone's telling us, as a nation, anymore. What we have, whether we vote Republican Or Democrat, is someone who is INEXPERIENCED, teamed up with a member of the Political Papacy (in other words, 'Politicians Forever or At Least Until They Die), and gosh, golly, gee-whiz, the potential for lame judgments and political doublespeak resulting from mass manipulation just abounds no matter who ya vote for. I've asked it before...what if they gave an election and No One Came? I 'spose I'd still vote Democratic...I figure, if politics is always corrupt (which it is), at least I'd be voting for a Different Kind of Corruption. It'll probably come down to flipping coins in the voting booth. Heads, Democrats, Tails, Republicans. Maybe I'll make it a 'best 2 out of 3'...

No wonder Prezzident Bushed (the Dubya version) is supporting McPain...one term under his rule, and all of a sudden, GWB's legacy (legacy?) won't look all that bad. In closing...this is just about as low as 'low' can get. Diminishing expectations. Go, fight, win, rah rah rah...ack.....

ONE MORE THING BEFORE I GO: The World has FORMALLY ENDED. I have posted my first-ever LINK in this blog. It contains photos of the Oregon Coast and Surrounding areas. You'll find it in the upper left margin, underneath the highly appropriate "George W. Bush Countdown Clock."

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Gold Suits & Rock and Roll...
...chasing that elusive dream of stardom thru the ages...

If you're a baby-boomer, you've probably seen the (in)famous album cover of "Elvis Presley's Greatest Hits, Volume 2', the one that shows not just 'one' Elvis, but many 'Elvii' splashed all over the place. It probably wasn't the most practical thing to wear while doing hip gyrations on stage, but it did get the point across...Elvis, the 'golden boy', even back then, had a ton of fans; indeed, the cover screams out, "50 MILLION ELVIS FANS CAN'T BE WRONG"...basically, Elvis' greedy manager, Tom Parker, issued this album while Elvis was In The Army, doing soft duty in Germany, and the album was designed as a stop-gap measure so folks back home wouldn't forget about The King.

Basically, the album was full of hit singles. Under Parker's management, Elvis' hits rarely came out on Studio Albums; instead, all "E's" singles were saved up for sure-fire Greatest Hits Albums. However, who knows how many more Elvis Albums might've been sold if, say, 1 or 2 singles, together with other studio tracks, had been put together on separate albums? And how do you wash a gold suit? But ya gotta admit, this was one of the Rock Era's more memorable album covers.

Now, how about a rock and roll album cover no one remembers? Folksinger Phil Ochs reached the end of the turbulent '60s, deciding that Protest Music, which he'd been doing all along, had gone pretty much down the tubes. So he got it in his mind that he would combine folk-protest songs with music by Buddy Holly and Elvis Presley, and he even went as far as to get his very own Gold Suit! His 1970 Carnegie Hall "Gold Suit" concert was a pretty wild affair. His dedicated New York fans booed him. They wanted him to stick to well-known protest songs, such as "I Ain't Marchin' Anymore", which he did sing at the concert. But, before getting into Buddy Holly and Elvis Presley music, this folksinger then sang "Mona Lisa" (the Conway Twitty Version) which totally confused the crowd. He then followed that with his version of Merle Haggard's "Okie From Muskogee", and yeah, the entire concert was pretty warped, although Phil's got a fine voice and does sing Elvis and Buddy Holly remarkably well. Phil's justification of the concert? He said that he was trying to "combine Elvis Presley with Che Guevara (a slain nationalist leader)", so I guess there was a method to his madness...maybe. Quite a bit of madness, nonetheless...

This is the back cover of Phil's 'Greatest Hits' album, replete with gold records and acknowledging that he didn't really have that many fans at all. He suffered from manic-depression, so he wasn't very 'logical' a lot of the time, but then again, a logical person might not have tried to sing folk songs in a Gold Suit. And, there are no 'hits' of his, or anyone else's, on this album; it featured all-new material which he wrote. He was advised against using the 'Greatest Hits' title, but he demanded the record company call it that. The album sold, maybe, 35,000 copies, and was the last of his studio albums released in his lifetime. Later on, Phil took some time off and went to Africa to explore for a while. He managed to get the expenses for that trip covered, for while over there, Phil recorded a single with African Tribal Musicians in the Swahili language, would you believe. I'm not kidding, that's the truth! Sadly, he passed away by his own hand in 1976. Marc Eliot's written a great Phil Ochs biography, "Death of a Rebel", should you want to research Mr. Ochs further. It's a great read.

It might sound like I've stretched the truth above, but honest, I haven't. It's crazy enough all by itself. As is this next little musical vignette: A record that was issued in 1969 is a true case of an Honest and Sincere Group who had basically No Talent At All. The music is amateurish, atonal, and just waaay 'out there', but eerily enough, after a few listens, it (almost) begins to make sense. The group consisted of three sisters who were forced to rehearse ad nauseum by their Dad in the basement room of their house in the backwaters of New Hampshire. Only 100 copies (yes, only a hundred) were distributed after all was said and done, but someone in the music business got hold of a copy, a DJ in New York actually played some of this album on the air, and later on, Frank Zappa said the record was better than anything the Beatles ever did. (Now THAT'S crazy...)

Here it is, folks...The Shaggs..."Philosophy of the World"...in which the title song (and I quote), says, "oh the rich people's got what the poor people want...and the poor people's got what the rich people want"...the guitars are out of tune, the tempos are ragged, and the vocals are, well, not really good at all. Yet, the primitive quality of this record really sets it apart...some critics have compared it to the free-radical jazz of Ornette Coleman, while others have called it the "worst album ever made".

So how did I get a hold this album if there were only 100 copies made available, most of those to radio stations? Well, the record was pressed periodically thru the '70s and '80s in small quantities, insuring its survival on the market, and then in 1999, someone actually conned RCA Victor records (a big, huge, monolithic national label) to re-issue it! I had read about the album in some long-forgotten book containing Record Reviews, when I saw the CD version in a Bargain Bin, I honestly had to hear how bad this album was...and lemme tell ya, folks, I try to keep an open mind, but I don't know...I think it's amazingly off-the-wall...but YOU be the judge...if yer brave enough...go ahead and click "Play" below. I dare ya. I double-dare ya...you really can't say "you've heard it all" 'til you've heard this...

Sounds kinda like three people, each in soundproof booths, playing at the same time and not being able to hear what their bandmates are doing, don't it? That's a starting point, I suppose. Actually it's not that bad; they do seem to be playing together at various points in the song, but wow...I'm wondering if any executives at RCA actually HEARD this disc...I mean, is this music? I suppose it is...but I'm not really sure...one of these days, I'd like to record songs I've written...but if I end up sounding like this...someone stop me, PLEASE!!!

Usually, I either lie a lot or at least stretch the truth in my posts. I thrive on inaccuracy and distortion, after all. But, sometimes Truth outdoes Fiction...and who knows, with the issuance of this post, maybe I'll start "Shagg-mania"! Or not...

Friday, September 05, 2008

"An overbearing entity... a seemingly unbeatable presence always to be reckoned with; whose experience, influence and skill threatens to defeat competitors with little effort."
(That definition of '800 Pound Gorilla' comes from http://www.urbandictionary.com/) and as such, provides a sort of justification for why I plod ever onward here in this blogsite...as the blogsite...goes rolling...along...)

Yep, here 'tis, folks, post number 800. A pretty hairy number. (It's Gorilla Hair you see on the numbers there.) I have more entries in this blog than Barry Bonds has home runs, and while his career is basically over, this blog goes on. And on. And on. How have I kept this thing going for so long? Simple. This particular blogsite is my mental 'dumping ground' for anything that strikes my fancy. Instead of having several different blogs about several different things, I'm lazy; I just throw everything in here, and let it sit and stew. Pure blogger's gumbo. Have a heapin' helpin'.
I don't really think this blogsite meets all the criteria included in the above definition of '800 pound gorilla'. True, this blog is an "overbearing entity". That much we know. "A seemingly unbeatable presence"? I'm not so sure about that. Even though I'd like to think I'm at least semi-intellectual with many valid thoughts running thru my mind, it turns out the more I write, the less I know, and the best I can ever hope for is to semi-accurately approximate whatever it is I'm writing about. "Influence and skill"? I'll be the first to admit I have none of the former, and of the latter, I do type relatively fast, which means my fingers can go as fast as my brain spews out the thoughts, but oftentimes I have to go back and let my rational side edit what I've typed 'cos my brain spins so fast I often don't make sense.
But, I 'spose this blog is something to be "reckoned with". I know I "reckon with" it at least a couple times a week. It's like I have some unspecified duty to keep putting stuff here. Can't quite figure that one out; it must have something to do with the fact that I think there are readers out there. I was even contacted thru the e-mails by someone who wanted to ADVERTISE here. I'm not kidding! In another instance, I'd written a post about how stupid and inconsequential actress Sally Field appears in her "Boniva" commercials, and one of the medical websites actually posted that post there! (Sally, you see, takes only one "Boniva" pill per month, because taking the 'other' pill means she has to find a few seconds once a week to take 'em, and we all know that's too much work for poor Sally. Now she has more time to put on her Habit and fly around...)
Before I end this post, I wanna tell you about a just-released slice of Music that I think is just great. Usually, when I get a new album (or CD), it takes me a while for the music to creep into my brain and get comfortable with it. Not so with BRIAN WILSON's new album, "That Lucky Old Sun". The music is framed by that old tune, yes, but in total, the album is a playfully musical Fantasy of the Southern California Lifestyle, and how, in the lyrics, Brian is acknowledging his own return to form after being away so many years. Brian had a severe mental breakdown back in the mid-sixties, suffering immense pressure from writing and arranging all the Beach Boys' songs, and getting them to sound 'just right' on record. Add to that the fact that the entire music business wanted a piece of him because he'd been labeled a "genius", and he just lost it, turning to drugs, avoiding reality, really suffering, and for many years, the best he could do was achieve a sort of catatonic existence in which the world just floated by as he withdrew deeper and deeper into himself.
The long-awaited song cycle, "Smile", originally supposed to be released back in 1967, went unreleased because Brian didn't have his act together. It was finally finished and released a couple of years ago, and it's a unique and idiosyncratic musical document, and I thought it was great that he'd finally put the ghost of "Smile" behind him. With that record, Brian addressed a past which had withdrawn from, and emerged the victor. And with this newest album, Brian announces to all doubters that indeed, He's Back. The first few songs examine the California dream, and the last few songs detail how long he'd been away, how much better he's feeling these days, and in one of the tunes, he fondly remembers his brothers, supporting each other with golden harmonies, and the music playing on the A.M. Radio.
Listening to this album for the second time in a day, it feels like, in a way, he 'crossed' the experimentalism of 'Sgt. Pepper' with the song-montage techniques of 'Abbey Road', but left in some of the good-natured whimsy of his own 'Smile', and this is just a wonderful, glorious album. My only complaint is that it's a 'bit short', clocking in at just over 38 minutes, but this is one of those rare occasions where a new album is an immediate favorite of mine, and it feels like I've heard this music for years. Which I have, actually. I always loved the Beach Boys' sound. And Brian Wilson was a HUGE part of that. This is DEFINITELY an album worth seeking out. I am amazed at the emotional intelligence Brian displays here.

What I didn't expect from this album, though, is how much BETTER Brian sounds here. He seems to have recaptured a lot of his high range, his vocals don't sound as forced as they did here and there on the "Smile" album, and the song-to-song flow is just absolutely perfect; you couldn't ask for more. I absolutely have gone NUTS over this album. It's just a wonderful piece of music from a long-departed Genius who never really left us, and yet he's BACK. Great job, Brian!
One of 'Lucky Old Sun's' tracks is a little 30-second tune, "Can't Wait Too Long". That song was (in theory, anyway) supposed to be on the Original Beach Boys' "Smile" album, which was SUPPOSED to come out in 1967. That never happened, of course. And when I bought the finally-finished (2005) version of "Smile", the song was nowhere to be found. I thot it had been discarded; those things happen. So I was totally surprised to find out it's included here. And with that, Brian links up with his past. And the rest of this record surpasses that past.
It's been a long time since I've been so excited about a new release. I just can't recommend it enough. So is Brian a "genius"? I don't know. But it's original music from an original talent. Now you can see why the Beach Boys were so great. Brian was the 'heartbeat' of the group's sound, and his newest album can stand proudly among the many classic Beach Boys' releases. For, this is classic music. As a rock station in Spokane, Washington used to say, "It doesn't have to be old to be a classic." How true.

My copy of 'Lucky Old Sun' is on vinyl, and when I opened it up, I noticed that the label on side 2 looked kinda 'puffy'. Evidently, two labels were loosely stuck to the label on the record, and I was able to peel those off. Stuff like that sometimes happens in the record-stamping process, and I thot, 'How Cool'. So I made a CD transfer of the album, using the extra labels to adorn the little CD booklet I made for it.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Maybe it's just a"SHAM"? Wow...
The Most Irritating TV Commercial Ever...so far, that is...

When someone is selling something, especially to the masses tuning in on their soon-to-be-obsolete non-digital TV sets, isn't it important that the person selling that product at least have a little bit of appeal? I'm sure you've seen those ultra-annoying ads for a thing called "Sham-Wow", if you watch the cable channels as much as I do. It's not bad enough that I'm having to endure a commercial for something I'd never consider buying in a zillion years, but the ragged-looking cheeseball that's selling the Sham-Wow product has got to be one of the most obnoxious characters I've ever SEEN selling something on the tube. He's even more obnoxious than Billy Mays, the guy with the black beard and whining, grating, screeching loud voice who's on the tube hawking every kind of wonder-widget-thing ever made. And believe me, when you're more obnoxious than Billy Mays, THAT'S obnoxious...

Here's Billy Mays, who hawks every kind of product known to man. He's gotta be the Premier of Product Purveyance, and he's SO EXCITED about whatever it is he's selling, be it "Space Bags", "Wonder-Stickum-Glue", or that waxy goofy stuff that you smear on your car's hood, you know, the stuff that protects your vehicle to such a degree that you can SET FIRE to the hood, and, by golly, the stuff will actually protect the paint from burning. He speaks at a level which would easily equal any major rock band in concert, and when I see him on my screen, I immediately reach for the remote and desperately mash the "mute" button. Because, unlike his car-hood product, Billy Mays Has A Voice That Can PEEL PAINT. If ever I have a TV Nightmare, he'll be the announcer... but, ol' Billy's gonna have to try a little bit harder to hang on to the title of "most unlistenable person on television now or any time within the last 50 years", because there's a young up-and-coming brat with some sort of boorish New-Yawk-Bronx-type accent that makes Billy Mays look like A Great Orator.

All I know is that the guy's first name is Vince, and I have never seen such a cheesy, sleazy, lower-than-your-average-used-car-salesperson-type hawking a product in all the time I've been watching TV. And believe me, I've seen a LOT of TV. This guy is so AWFUL that he has to actually throw out a bitchy remark to the TV crew filming him...halfway thru the commercial he barks out, "you following me, camera guy?" Toward the end of the commercial, while making a painfully obvious point about the indispensability of his product, he shrugs and says, "I don't know; it sells itself"...which makes me think what he's really saying is, "You're an IDIOT if you don't buy my product." While ol' Billy Mays makes me run for the remote, ol' Vince, here, makes me wanna throw a BRICK thru my TV!
If you watch this guy REAL close in the commercial, one edit shows how a "Sham-Wow" can suck up liquids through a square of Wet Carpet. He gets ready to place the Sham-Wow on the Carpet...you can see water leaking onto the countertop from under the carpet. Then, all of a sudden, the camera CUTS to him as he's placing the Sham-Wow ON the carpet square, but before he actually PLACES the Sham-Wow on the carpet square, the water that's leaked out is GONE. All that's left are a few cursory water droplets under the carpet itself. I must ask, "is this Sham-Wow, or just SHAM?" Gosh oh golly, Sham-Wow must be a really terrific product if it can SUCK UP THE WATER through wet carpet BEFORE it fully comes into contact with the carpet! Why, it's TOO GOOD to be TRUE!
All of a sudden, I've realized I don't need just one "Sham-Wow"; I want CASELOADS of them. I'll then ship them to New Orleans where they can suck up all the moisture deposited by Hurricane Gustav. And, best of all, you can just stack 'em up in one place near the city somewhere, and they'll miraculously suck up all the water that's soaking Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and several other southern states (that is, if ol' Vince is to be believed).

Finally, in reference to my jab at Used Car Salesmen, a little humor...
SALESMAN: "Start 'er up; this car's a real Opportunity."
CUSTOMER AFTER STARTING CAR: "Well, that's for sure; I can hear it KNOCKING."
(Like I said, a 'little' humor...)

Monday, September 01, 2008

Another Labor Day's come and gone...
...and ol' Mr. Summertime exits in a most pleasing way...
Each year at this time get a sort-of wistful feeling when Labor Day arrives; although, technically it's still Summer for a while yet, something just 'feels different'. Maybe it's a psychological thing, I don't know. When you fill up the bathtub, the extra water seeps out a small drain in the top part of the tub. That could be analogous to the days of Summer getting gradually shorter after June 21st. Once the plug is pulled, though, the water begins rushing down the drain, and, well, that's how it feels once Labor Day has come and gone.
I always look forward to the peace and quiet that present themselves this time of year, but at the same time, I can always feel time beginning to rush by as Autumn nears. All of a sudden, the days aren't getting gradually shorter; each day, quite a chunk of time is lost. I try not to think about time passing by, but it always crosses my mind nonetheless. So, all I really can do is appreciate some of the things I get to see, and all I have to do is drive a little ways to get there. So, just keep this photo in mind when Winter gets here. And it will get here. Shudder...

Here's hoping for a lot more sunshine between 'now' and those dark November and December days, which aren't all that far away. Feel free to return to this post anytime...especially this winter, when the pipes are bursting or the snow and ice are converting everyday activities into life-threatening incidents. And down here on the coast, I'll hope the winter winds don't reach 100 miles an hour this year. That's a little bit scary. Plus, I don't need a big pine tree falling on my house anytime soon. Even if I do have my homeowners' insurance paid up.

Last winter (earlier this year, actually) there were massive power outages all up and down the Washington and Oregon coasts. The only light I had for a while came from my laptop computer screen. Note to self: BUY CANDLES.