Wednesday, March 24, 2010

...come in and dine at my blog smorgasbord. Eat hearty!
So you don't think Global Warming is For Real: The countries of India and Bangladesh have fought for ages over which country controls New Moore Island, a piece of rock located just off the India/Bangladesh coast, and Mother Nature has stepped in to solve this dispute: The Island, which had only about 10 square miles to begin with, is Gone. Kaput. Finito. The End. It is (well, 'was') located a few miles off the coastal area where the India/Bangladesh border is. Experts say if the sea rises by three more feet, much of the Bangladesh coast will be underwater, and 20 million people will be deplaced. The only positive thing I can say about this situation is that Snorkeling will become a way of life in that part of the world. And that's not very positive.
The case of the Magic $2.3 million dollars: Maybe I should've been a college football coach. Some coaches look like they've never played football in their lives. One such coach is Mike Belotti, who coached the University of Oregon's team. Well, he's no longer the coach. He's gonna be providing color commentary on ESPN soon. Congratulations to him, eh? And to ease the transition, the UO is gonna pay him $2.3 million dollars. For what, no one knows for sure. That amount is the result of a Verbal, not written, agreement. The University of Oregon will pay him $600,000 dollars by May 1st, and he'll get monthly installments of $25,000 until the $2.3 million dollar total is met, which means he'll be getting more per month than a lot of people make in a year for a very, very long time. A solid, 24-carat Golden Parachute, that.
Is this how Coach Dennis Erickson got started? You know, the guy who says he's gonna be in one place forever, then quits to go someplace else the next day, negotiating new wage deals all along the way. Who knows how much money Erickson's getting from who knows how many different sources? Back to Belotti, though. He gets to quit undergoing pressure from rabid UO fans, he gets a nice cushy job at ESPN, who'll pay him at least hundreds of thousand--or millions--of dollars per year. Plus he'll still be getting all that University of Oregon money. This is an issue that ain't gonna go away soon. It's getting a lot of press these days. Me, I still keep thinking of students paying ever-increasing amounts for tuition and then I think of Belotti and how overpaid he's becoming by the minute. It ain't right.
Seems like Politics ain't very politically correct: The big Health Care bill passed. It'll soon become reality. It had a lot of adjustments made to it, by the House and Senate. And a lot of people are griping about it. I don't know how the Health Care Bill is gonna affect us all. But I do know that President Obama was elected in part because he said way back then that Health Care was one of his biggest concerns. I'm positive that the bill underwent many, many changes and revisions in the giant political mouse-maze that is the House and Senate. Remember the Clinton administration, and how Hillary's proposal of Health Care got all blown to smithereens? But Obama got it through. Maybe he's liked better than Hillary, who's serving as an ambassador mainly so she'll stay out of Obama's hair. Health Care is Here, I hope. This government needs to do more for its people. If it takes adjusting to, we'll adjust. Here's to the future.
Our fragmented, dysfunctional society: This next lil' tidbit makes me think that I Don't Know How Things Work Anymore. Seems a High School canceled its High School Prom, because a female student wanted to bring her girlfriend. That's right, the exclusion of two lesbian students was too much for the School to deal with, so it canceled the prom instead. Way to go, rah-rah-rah, what a bunch of school administration lamebrains trying to put their stamp on society. Sure, I'm confused by the existence of same-sex couples, but to cancel a prom over one such couple? So even though I am uncomfortable with the idea of same-sex relationships, yes, I guess I'm defending them. How about that! Sometimes society confuses me more than ever; this is one of those times. All because the poor little school adminsitrators couldn't endure a little controversy. This happened in Jackson, Mississippi, by the way. Be sure and write the administrators about this as soon as you can. They'd love to hear from you.
Why does my computer do that? This happens more than I'd like it to. Sometimes, when I'm posting e-mails, blogs or whatever else, I'll need to "go back in" and make revisions, and when I'm putting new copy into a paragraph, my cursor will begin gobbling up what I typed before, instead of pushing the words back. So I find that first I have to find the errant phrase, single-space it down, then go back up and type my revision, after which I go back to the half-eaten copy and move it back up to where I made the revision. Why does that happen? Computer users, does this happen to you? I've used various computers over the years, and this has happened with each. Maybe it has something to do with me being online waaay too long, which has been known to happen from time to time.
Ugly Record Covers, Forward March: I recently found a book in a thrift store which pictured The Worst 100 record covers of all-time. Most of the records were instructional-type records, or cheap Religious records for sale at a Church Revival Near You. I suppose this record is an instructional record, but it's not pictured in the book. How could a record like this be ugly?

I'm sure it sold in the millions... "Teaching Your Parakeet To Talk", issued by the Hartz-Mountain people; one side features a lady saying, "Pretty Bird", "Hello Baby", "Hello, Pretty Bird", ad nauseum, so that your 'keet will hear the record and break out in a speech that rivals the Gettysburg Address, and you'll be amazed! What a dream that is, because all the while, the dumb bird couldn't care any less about what it's hearing and just sits there on the Perch of Ignorance. The record's label sports a picture of a Parakeet, just in case you get so absorbed in the record that you've forgotten what your bird looks like. I actually have this record in my collection. On the other side, are recordings of Actual Talking by Parakeets, which sound something like this: "skreep chik chik errrrk shisssh chik chik". You can hear words if you Really Listen Hard, the way you listened to The Beatles' "Strawberry Fields Forever" played backwards so you could hear the secret message surreptitiously contained in the grooves.
I'm currently in the process of recording albums I don't really care about onto CD so I can give the vinyl to Goodwill. Have you ever heard of the new reality series, "Hoarders"? Hoarders basically buy everything they've ever wanted, several times over, and they don't throw anything away, which results in full shopping bags piled sky high all over the house, containing clothes, canned foods, electronic devices, detergent, more canned food, more clothes, and perhaps even scattered parts of a Volkswagen Transmission amongst the clutter. And if you want to go from room to room, you have to make yourself a path up, around and through all the bagfuls of stuff you'll never, ever use for anything. These people are sorta-mentally-ill, and hey, I resemble that. I have bought TONS of records for 50 cents or a dollar at thrift stores, and while that's given me the chance to hear a whole lotsa different music, the tonnage of vinyl that's followed me around for years is getting thinned out. I'm no spring chicken, and I can't haul 50-pound boxes of vinyl from place to place like I used to do. I've donated four boxes of LP's to Goodwill so far; I'd estimate that I've reduced my collection by 500 albums now. Most people never buy that many records in their LIFETIME. Among the records I've given away is this piece o' plastic which is featured in that Book of Ugly Album Covers:

Orleans: Waking and Dreaming (1976): And you thought All Rock Musicians looked good. Uhhh...if I'm in a band, I make it a point never to be this intimate with my musical associates. No thanks. Ironically, though, this was just about the most popular album they released. In spite of the cover. After all, it contains the big-boss Orleans hit single of 1976, "Still The One", which the ABC Television Network picked up and used as the soundtrack to promo spots featuring upcoming New Shows...ABC's way of letting its viewers know that Their Network is Still The One! The song was a big hit; it's got a good melody, the guitar work and the vocals are okay, but the cover IS awful, ain't it? I don't think I'd like to share a sauna with these guys anytime soon. The second guy from the left seems to be pointing at his bandmate's NIPPLE. Shiverr....I'm kinda getting the creeps now...
While going thru my record collection, I was looking at the albums I have by Supertramp, and oh my gosh, I found what has to be one of The Ugliest Album Covers of all time, and it's not even in the Ugly Covers book I've referred to. And, no doubt, this is cover depicts an unsettling image. How could the record company have expected it to sell? I only know that if I slaved away for ages in the recording studio trying to get everything Just Right, why would I then allow the results of my musical trials and tribulations to be enclosed in a cover that looks like THIS...
Here it is..."Indelibly Stamped", one of Supertramp's earlier albums. Ha Ha Ha, see the Tattoos...Indelibly Stamped all over this guy's (I think it's a guy...) chest. It's supposed to be a joke. Well, the cover is a joke, except that it's not funny. In short, This is one of the MOST AWFUL ALBUM COVERS I HAVE EVER SEEN. I feel my dinner coming back up now...agh. Maybe there's some truth to the theory that Musicians and Record Executives are Just Stoned All The Time. "Hey, bro...pretty album cover, maaan...hey, let me have another hit, maaan..."
A record cover is supposed to say something about the music the record contains. I'm not really sure what this cover's saying, though. I wouldn't think an up-and-coming group (well, up-and-coming in the back in the early '70s) could afford to use such a rotten sleeve design. I've found that an ugly record jacket will steer me away from buying the record. I got this one for 50 cents at a thrift store, but I do know I wouldn't have paid full price for it. It's ugly. Butt-Ugly. Oh great. Next thing I know, I'll find an album cover with a photo of someone's butt on it. They're even throwing the word "butt" into commercials these days, like it's cool to use slang describing one's posterior. I heard the word in a ladies' jeans commercial. Spoken by a cooing female. I guess I'm shocked by that. I don't know. There are so many assaulting messages out there invading my sensibilities that I think I'm getting desensitized.

Speaking of assaulting images, I'm right now, seeing, on TV, young guys who are putting hooks into their skin and hanging from those hooks on the "Most Daring" program on "Tru-TV", the program that proclaims, "Not Reality...ACTUALITY!" which is awkward for me, because I was taught that an "Actuality" is a piece of outside material that's is used in a network newscast. You know, when a newscaster says, "'s correspondent Joe Blow, from Hell, with a report on Global Warming..."

Friday, March 19, 2010

...and who knows; they'll probably outlive us all...

Seagulls and cockroaches...when the human race dies out altogether, and when 99% of the world's animals on earth have died out...there'll be Seagulls and Cockroaches. And, the Cockroaches had better beware. I've seen a seagull eat a starfish, and cockroaches to them might be like Barbeque Potato Chips are to us. KA-RUNCH!!! The overall sentiment is that seagulls are nothing more than Rats with Wings. A seagull's role is fairly crucial, though...basically they eat all the junk that's left over after all the other animals are done gorging themselves.

Yes, the mighty Seagull is a scavenger. They can eat almost anything. I should know; I tossed a chicken bone near a seagull, and "GULP", it was gone, just like that. To do that, seagulls must have digestive enzymes stronger than Sulfuric Acid. Seagulls are basically everywhere, except for the desert, where you'll find the Buzzard. I do know that I've seen seagulls far inland from the ocean...whereas I've never seen a Buzzard on the Coast. Seagulls rule, eh?

Since I'm no world traveler, I have to depend on television to prove my'll see Seagulls on "CSI: Miami" as well as old "NYPD Blue" reruns. You can watch a Seattle Mariners Baseball game ('Home' or 'Away' game, it doesn't matter), and, yep, the seagulls are lookin' for highly expensive food scraps such as the half-empty forty-dollar bag of Cheeze puffs amongst the rows of seats. (In home AND away games.) The question one must ask is "where Aren't They?" Antarctica, maybe?
We all know they're hardy enough to make it thru a -20 degree cold snap, although I have to ask, "if seagulls can fly, why do they stay inland and freeze when they don't have to?" Size might have something to do with that, for the gulls at the Ocean are quite a bit larger than their inland counterparts. So perhaps a smaller inland Seagull would rather beg for breadcrusts on the frozen snow, than go coastward to tangle with their Much Bigger cousins. If you equate that to, say, motorcycles, a group of smaller inland-seagulls facing off against larger coast seagulls would probably be like a bunch of nerds on scooters going to California to square off with Hell's Angels.

I love to watch seagulls fly. They're so graceful as they glide upon the wind. If there's anything to reincarnation, I think I'd like to try being a seagull for a while. Only, I would avoid the squabbles of the flock whenever someone tosses food bits out the car window. I'd work alone. I'd go and try to find a fish or a crab on a rock or a beach, by myself. Then I'd glide upon the wind some more. I have seen Ocean Seagulls dive into the ocean to get food. Pelicans don't quite have the market cornered just yet in that department. Gulls down here will follow a Pelican, and when the Pelican strikes the water, there the gulls are, trying to rob Mr. Pelican of his hard-earned food. Before I sign up to be a bird in my next life, however, I'll have to conquer my acrophobia. Seagulls don't seem to have a fear of heights. And so, seagulls...this post, and the following pictures, is/are for you...

First of all, there aren't that many ducks around this area, so it's important for one to keep their seagulls in a row...presented below in groups of two, three, and four...

The Coastal Seagulls all really get bruised and battered, and some days when the wind blows really hard, they won't even make an attempt to fly. So they hunker down on the blacktop, warmed by the sun. Some of the seagulls down here really are regal-appearing, with sharp definition of colors and impeccably groomed feathers, unless, of course, they're competing for food...
And, the next three pictures show the Seagull as a versatile flying machine. They can bend and twist mid-flight if they need to, and change directions in an instant. Seagulls will pick up a live crab, fly fairly high, drop crab on beach, go get crab, and repeat process until crab has no life left. So, they are intelligent enough to use gravity as an aid. Finally, they can eat STARFISH. I'd like to see a buzzard try THAT.

In flight, seagulls are just amazing. Based upon casual observation, it appears that gulls are very economical fliers, making it look so easy. I've spent countless hours watching seagulls. Something about their graceful playing upon the wind seems to ease my mind, and if I could Squawk in Seagull-ese, I'd thank 'em personally. I've taken a lot of photos down here, and in a lot of them, a Seagull has swooped out of nowhere into the picture. They're everywhere, ain't they?
A lot of you might just be asking yourselves right about now, "Why a post on Seagulls?" Well, and it has to be said, This Post Is For The Birds. Squawk!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

...Or, perhaps, it just goes around in circles...

Note: This blog will resolve itself, albeit in convoluted fashion. It's all inter-connected (as opposed to outer-connected?) It'll make sense in the long run. I hope.
YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT, RIGHT? That's what "they" say, whoever "they" are. They're generally correct, though. With that in mind, I'm more concered with the foods I'm eating, from a digestive standpoint. When I consider what to buy at the grocery store, a large part of my purchase decisions have to do with, "hey, this stuff is really good and I want it, but how well will it navigate through my system?" While shopping, I passed the big Frito-Lay rack that held all kinds of snacks, including Chee-Tos. I love 'em way too much, but they're salty and starchy, and wiping a longing tear from my eye, I headed for another aisle instead. (Snif) I'm dancing all around this topic, but hopefully you get the idea of what I'm trying to say here. To quote an oft-utilized slogan, "it all comes out in the end." That doesn't stop me from sometimes being foolish. Last night, I bought one of those big-big Nestle's Crunch Bars. Shame on me! That doesn't happen often, though. I've largely been substiting Bananas for snacks, chips or candy bars. So, if it's true that if "you are what you eat", I guess my consumption of Bananas must mean I have appeal. (Really, you shoulda seen that one coming.)
YOU ARE WHAT YOU HEAR, RIGHT? Have you ever heard of an earworm? You can hear 'em everywhere you go, on the car radio, in a music store, on a TV commercial...and when you hear a certain song, it can crawl right inside your brain and fester Big Time. The only known cure for an earworm, is to go out, buy the song, take it home, and listen to it no less than 37 times so you can drive that ugly old earworm outta your skull. I had a bad earworm a few years back. It revolved around a song, "Baby Don't You Do It" by a group called The Chosen Few, which came out on a small label in Charlotte, North Carolina. How about that, "The North Carolina Sound". Who knew? I'd found a copy in a Salvation Army Thrift Store when I was a kid, but for whatever reason, after a few years I didn't have the record anymore. So, I hadn't heard the Chosen Few's version song in close to 30 years, but what happened was, I kept hearing other versions of the song by other artists in the meantime.
The Who, for instance, recorded it as a B-side of a single, and I was really disappointed with their version. One of the Motown groups recorded the original version of that song before The Who (or the Chosen Few) got hold of it, but every time I heard those other versions, I kept hearing the Chosen Few's version in my mind and it drove me NUTS. Finally, in exasperation, I put out an all-points-bulletin on Ebay for the Chosen Few's version of 'Baby Don't Do It', and a guy from Montana answered me (how that obscure record ever got to Montana, I'll never know) and said he had a copy of it that he'd part with for $40. Yikes! We're talking about a little 7" vinyl record. Even though that price bordered on extortion, I bought it, couldn't wait to hear it, and it sounds even BETTER to me these days than it did when I was a kid. That particular earworm has departed from my skull. One less bat in my belfry.
YOU ARE WHAT YOU WHISTLE, RIGHT? I was shopping at the Grocery Store tonight, and whilst making critical decisions on what brand of milk to buy, I kept hearing a little melody that threatened to become an earworm. That was an hour and a half ago, and now, sitting in the La-Z-Boy, it's still trying to burrow its way inside my skull. And let me tell ya, there's plenty of room in there. As long as it doesn't damage my one remaining brain cell, I've got room for it. Anyway, I got to the checkstand to pay for my stuff, and still, I heard that melody. So I paid for my stuff, and headed out to the car, where I STILL kept hearing it. I kept trying to figure out what the tune was...whatever it was, it was definitely an annoying little ditty which was beginning to burrow into MY brain...right now my brain is fighting with my repression mechanism in a quest for Total Control Of My Sanity...
It turned out that a customer shopping the same time I was and who was also heading to his car, had his own demonic personal earworm which he was trying to dislodge by whistling its melody...(that can help with an earworm, but not always.)
The tune he was whistling was from "The Wizard Of Oz", that song we all know and love, "If I Only Had A Brain". If you are what you whistle, this poor guy's got it bad. Is he losing his marbles? Does he really not have a Brain? A shrink might conclude it's a Cry for Help, especially if you cannot dissuade yourself for whistling That Particular song In Public. Dr. Phil might say it's a manifestation of a desire to fully reveal himself to those around him. Sigmund Freud might view it as some sort of compensation, as if the guy wishing for, but not getting sexual prowess was using his whistling as a sort of defense-mechanism-substitute. And Pavlov just might experiment with a chronic whistler, trying to get his dog to salivate after the first notes are warbled out.
I promised that everything here was connected, if in a very elliptical way, and so it is. After all, if 'If I only Had A Brain' earwormed its way inside of my skull...I'd go BANANAS!

Monday, March 08, 2010

...this time he wants me to buy the Jupiter Jack!
Oh my gosh. It's the Resurrection. And it's not even Easter yet. How long ago did Billy May depart this planet? He IS dead, right? Maybe he's in an underground bunker somewhere where no irate customers who've bought more stuff than they'll ever use due to the persuasion power of the Loudest Announcer Ever can get at him for beating them in the eardrums with his incessant urging them to buy this or that or whatever else. Billy Mays was never a very slick salesman. No subtle exercises in mental manipulation did he ever employ. What he did was beat his customers over the head (aiming for their ears) with his message, "Buy! BUY! BUY!!! AND THEN BUY SOME MORE!!!"

So Billy's selling the Jupiter Jack; I saw it, I really did saw it (oops; I'm sounding like Tweety Bird here...ahem)...anyway, in this commercial, Billy tests out the system thusly as he drives his gas-hog down the turnpike:

Rrrrring!!!. Billy's secretary calls him. "HI, IT'S BILLY!!!"
SECRETARY: (wincing due to Billy's harsh voice) "Billy, we need you this afternoon for a pre-production meeting."
... the secretary cannot stop the ringing in her ears...and then yells over the phone:
(It should be noted here that Billy long ago contracted severe tinntinnitus thru his own skull, since he speaks so loudly.)
SECRETARY: (screaming louder than ever) "WHAAAA? WHHHAT? ALL OF A SUDDEN I CAN'T HARDLY UNDERSTAND YOU!!!" (her eardrums are sizzlin' now...)
It's at this point Billy gets pulled over by the State Patrol. Billy's charged with distracted driving, plus breaking a noise ordinance. Not for a bad muffler or excessive radio volume; it had to do with the State Trooper hearing Billy's voice a half-mile away. Needless to say, the commercial had to be done over again. His secretary was using ear plugs the next time around. It should be noted here that people who talk, even handless, over their cellphones are Still "Distracted Drivers" and hands-free cellphones are not that much safer.

I watched an old Mariners' game (from July '09) this evening, and what I think happened was that Fox Sports Northwest played the game, with all the old commercials left in as a way to chew up broadcast time, since the network has nothing else to do now that the Olympics, and the NFL season are all over with. And the NBA is not an option with me. So, FSN played it safe by airing old Mariners games, since people like me salivate whenever we hear that Mariners' baseball anthem shocking us all out of our Sports Withdrawals. Baseball! Yeah! Just Crack That Bat and I'll be tuned in! Even with Rick Rizzs' ceaseless unrelenting constant without-a-pause broadcasting style, I'm ready. Come on, Baseball, Get With It! I'll even spring for the Rye Bread and Mustard...GO! GO! GO! Excuse me for a moment...wiping the drool off my chin before it shorts out my computer keyboard...
Looking over this posting, it's probably an unnecessary and superfluous bit of communication. Good thing the Federal Communications Commission doesn't preside over cyberspace. Yet.