Sunday, April 9, 2017

Panem et Circenses: Die Kulturindustrie


  •  Now, New and Improved, with Seven Whole Grains and the World's Smartest Trained Fleas!
  • While I have the best hopes for MAGA, there's part of me wondering if we're not already to the bread and circuses phase of our nation's existence. Neither political party seems to have the citizens' interests at heart, and governance has become a farce.  Popular culture is little more than an open cess-pit.
No shame, no solution
No remorse, no retribution
Just people selling T-shirts
Just opportunity to participate in the pathetic little circus
And winning, winning, winning.¹ 
...
Ah, it's open season here my friend
It always is; it always has been
Welcome, welcome to the U.S.A.
We're partying fools in the autumn of our heyday
And though we're running out of everything
We can't afford to quit
Before this binge is over
We've got to squeeze off one more hit
We're workin' it
...
But, the barons in the balcony are laughing
And pointing to the pit
They say, "Aw look, they've grown accustomed to the smell
Now, people love that sh*t
And we're workin' it".²

  • I may not be virtuous, but I try to avoid those things which I believe lack merit, and to live - as Socrates taught - an examined life.
  • In other news, I am pleased that Justice Gorsuch has been confirmed, made all the more sweet by the protestations of the likes of Chuck Schumer and Dianne Feinstein.  As many more intelligent than I have said, the SCOTUS picks are where the game's at for this administration. Sure, there are other important matters, but absent a Constitution-respecting Court, the Republic is as good as lost.
  • John O'Hurley has a one-man ode to a time when society had standards.  I respect that.
  • Flautist James Galway was on Carson show the other night with harp accompanist.  He is very talented, even if he didn't play Can't You See/Thick as a Brick/Sing Child, or even, I suppose, Stairway.
  • Comes now news that Nivea, makers of skin care lotions and potions, is under fire from the snowflakes for alleged racism.
 Humbly recommended by introspective, cultured bloggers.
  •  Although I carry the Nivea to work nearly every day, the Gold Bond Ultimate with Aloe, B, C, E and CoQ10 is probably a better restorative for my hands.
  • Journey is being inducted into the Rock and Roll HOF.  According to my demographic, I should be a fan, but for some reason, other than owning a copy of Infinity (I think), and liking two or three of their songs, they never really turned my crank.  Chacun à son goût, n'est-ce pas?
  • How 'bout dat?  I've now managed to use four languages in the creation of  this post.  And I've not even gotten to the Spanish yet.
  • As a kid, I was probably in a Sears store 2-3 times a month, usually with Dad to get tools.  And, I think we always had a catalog in the house.  It's painful watching the once great company die a slow death.  I would love to have a reason to shop with that firm, but in the present tense, there is no compelling value proposition to do so, whether at their retail locations or online.
  • I don't know if this is just Fox News whipping up stupid stories, or if the Left is really into this sort of mental onanism, but what possible talent does Chelsea Clinton bring to politics?
  • Just last blog-post I mentioned Trading Places, then the next night on Carson, Eddie Murphy was a guest, with - wait for it - a clip from Trading Places.
  • On the radio the other morning, Jody Dean said that his colleagues in the studio begged him to play Xanadu in connection with mentioning her appearance at Verizon that evening.  Xanadu, seriously?  His co-workers must be twits - Please Mister Please, or Have You Never Been Mellow, or even one of the Grease numbers would've better captured the essential ON-J.
  • It would be the same as characterizing Neil Diamond by playing Forever In Blue Jeans, or maybe that stupid duet with Barbra Streisand.
  • Wouldn't this sort of devalue the merits of a Stanford education?
  • I've pretty much confirmed that the curators for MeTV choose Carson re-run episodes to coincide with current events.  For the past few days, they've run shows featuring Don Rickles. 
  • I've mentioned before that as an adolescent, I was a fan of the likes of Redd Foxx, George Carlin, and Richard Pryor.  These days, I find I don't care to watch the old clips of Carlin (except in Bill & Ted) or Pryor (excepting the Wilder collaborations).  But Rickles' work seems to hold up well.
  • Mystery woman absent from recent dreams, but a few nights back there was a very odd sequence in which I was attempting to secure the rights to publicly perform Words, an old Bee Gees song.  No earthly idea where that came from.  I don't think I've even heard that song in decades.
  • Sometimes the juxtaposition of disparate art forms is pretty funny:
Starry, Starry Wars... 
 
¹/² The Garden of Allah, Workin' It - Henley et al

Monday, April 3, 2017

Monday Miscellany

  • When the time changed last month, it was probably the first time ever that I had actually changed all of the clocks beforehand.  A couple of them updated automatically by satellite signal, and of course my phone didn't need any intervention.
  • The folks in Britain have it considerably more difficult¹:
Do you know how long it takes to reset each henge?
  •  Que Sera: Supposedly new information reveals that singer/actress Doris Day is 95 years old - two years older than previous radiocarbon dating had indicated.
  • Until a couple of weeks ago, I didn't know, or had forgotten, that her late son, record producer Terry Melcher was connected to the Sharon Tate murders.  Melcher and his girlfriend Candice Bergen had rented the house from Rudy Altobelli before Sharon Tate and Roman Polanski.  Melcher had severed ties with Manson and declined to back his imagined musical career.  Even though Manson knew Melcher had moved out, he instructed his lackeys to kill the subsequent residents as a signal to the record producer.
  •  Can the poor little snowflakes please get a life?
  • A rather unfortunate photo²:
  • Back in the good old days, I enjoyed coming home from work in time to watch the evening network news - I think then the anchors were Jennings, Rather, and Brokaw.  I happened to be able to catch this evening's news, and most of it was bad: North Korea misbehaving, St. Petersburg bombing, looming nuclear option to confirm Judge Gorsuch.  On that last one, if that's what has to be done to confirm him, so be it, but it's a damn shame that first-class a-holes like Schumer & Feinstein are trying to 'Bork' this nominee.  I watched a clip of Al Franken sounding like a blithering idiot, which, considering, is probably unremarkable.  Would that Al Franken were in that gorilla suit at the end of Trading Places instead of the U.S. Senate.
  • An American classic:
Imagine the compliments: "That's a mighty fine Woodie you got there, Mister!

¹  h/t: Paul
²  h/t: #1 son
 

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Asunder Sunday

  • The world has gone to the, you know, the plural of what DJT allegedly like to grab, to wit: A four year old was suspended from pre-school for bringing a spent .22 rimfire casing to class.  I probably noted this in a prior post, but I once carried a .22 auto-loading pistol to class in my bookbag, where it stayed during the school day in my open faced locker at the back of the classroom.  No malicious intent, didn't brandish or show it to anyone.  Different times.
  • BoN guy recently had a post about punctuation, positing that the period ending a sentence should be followed by one - not two - spaces before beginning the next sentence.  The article he referenced was well written and documented, and made a compelling case for why this should be so.  Nonetheless, I prefer, and shall continue, to use two spaces following the period.  Period.
  • Speaking of BoNer: I thought his Chuck Berry tribute post - a nearly half-hour clip from the musician's appearance on the Tonight Show - was one of the most enjoyable I have seen, as it combined Chuck Berry with the great Johnny Carson.
  • Another odd dream a few days back.  I was riding shotgun in a large delivery van that had been semi-converted to a motorhome, but still retained sliding front driver and passenger doors, and an opening door at the rear.  My oldest son was seated at the dinette at the rear of the coach/van, with the back door open behind him.  A vaguely familiar woman was driving, and, as the wind was blowing past my open door, I was fiddling with the radio, which looked a lot like the radio in my college-era Datsun.  On two of the preset buttons, set for what would have been 92.5 and 98.7, they were playing Henley's Waiting Tables, from Cass County.  I'm not sure if that song has had radio airplay or not.
  • The next morning, my old buddy from high school called to invite me to join him and his wife to attend Henley's 70th birthday tour stop this summer at the AAC.
  • Leaving the grocery store a few evenings ago, the stunning new black Civic in front of me bore decals of Darth Vader and a Storm Trooper at the lower left and right corners of the rear window.  Its license plate frame read "My other ride destroyed Alderaan".   Mmmkay.  Alderaan, schmalderaan, I'm thinking the dude needs to take his Adderal.
  • A couple of days later, walking across a retail parking lot, a car with a license frame reading: "My other vehicle is a TARDIS".  I had to ask someone what a TARDIS is, although I was able to deduce from the other festoonery on the car that it was a Dr. Who reference.
  • The roads are getting infested with nerds.  If they're not texting, they're probably playing 7 Mages while driving.  Weep for the species.
  • For the record, I am pretty sure there are some games pre-loaded on my Android phone.  I have never played one.  Ever.
  • A few weeks ago, I purchased a Classical Forest CD featuring nature sounds superimposed over classical music standards.  Very nice for bedtime.
  • Picked up laundered shirts the other day - 5 shirts were about $7.00.  Ironically, two of those had been purchased in a group of six (actually, one was a goose down jacket) that I bought for $6.
  • This looks like an awesome fun combination:


  •  If you've read my scribblings here much at all, you know I wasn't much the fan of the prior administration at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.  But at a recent speech, the former VP opined that he "could've won the [2016] election", and I have to agree.  Certainly, parsing the statement, one notes that he hedged by saying "could've" instead of "would've", but in this case I think the case can be ably made that his chances would've been better than 50/50.  Not that I would've voted for him, mind you - just that his would've been a stronger candidacy than HRC's, a point that I made long before the election.
  • I'm in most aspects supportive of the current POTUS, mainly in the sense of restoring the U.S.'s competitiveness, and reversing some of the nitwittery that's plagued us, in some cases, over the past two decades.  Not a fan of his support for civil forfeiture (may have been more ad hoc than policy-driven).  I think it may be expected that he will operate to a degree like a bull in a china shop, which hopefully will break up some of the sclerosis plaguing our governance.
  • A young co-worker has loaned another co-worker his copy of Dead Pool, so that she can see the unicorn scene.  I've been told what it's about, but have no desire to see for myself.  
  • A few Saturdays ago, I woke up, let the dog out as per usual, then addressed my own morning constitutional, when I tactile-ly noticed a crusty deposit about my left nostril.  Upon checking into the looking-glass, I found that side of my face smeared with dried blood.  So, I returned to my bed-chamber, where I saw my pillow had about a 5"x7" glistening sanguine patch.  Apparently, I'd developed a spontaneous nosebleed maybe an hour or so before awakening.  It looked as tho' someone had been murd'red, but a cursory examination showed that I had not shot myself.  The next morning, I awakened cautiously.  The [new] pillow was clean, but I experience a brief drip on the way to the throne room, which quickly subsided.  Thankfully, no recurrences since.
  • I had placed the gimme t-shirt I was wearing in a bucket of cold water to try to rinse it out.  A few days later, doing laundry, I was amused by the irony that the shirt was from Carter Blood Care.
  • My current two-wheeled adventures:
 
  •  Mystery woman graced my dream again last night.  We were visiting a resort center near Bartlesville, Oklahoma.  I think I know why she was in my dream, but I have no idea why it was at that venue.
  • For those who do analogies, or might be preparing for the SAT/GRE, here ya go -  Don Henley : MWB :: U2 : BoN

Well, which is it?



Saturday, March 18, 2017

The [Satur-] Day the Music Died

  •  The Grandfather of Rock-n-Roll has died, but what a legacy he left.
  • As an avid, devoted reader of liner notes, I had apparently long since forgotten that (You Never Can Tell) C'est la Vie from Emmylou Harris' Luxury Liner LP was a Chuck Berry tune.

  • On my day off this week, I went to Cabela's.  On leaving, I was about to open my vehicle door when I noticed a hornet under the door handle.  Being a stud macho kinda dude, I was unfazed and simply took my key and brushed it away from the door handle.  It flew away from me, and I got in the SUV without incident.
  • I think even before the Presidential inauguration I wrote that we were in for a bumpy ride, and that has sort of been the case, although some of the crazy has subsided.  Still, there's the ongoing saga of the travel hiatus.  What's curious and puzzling to me is that we've seemingly arrived at the point where a relatively obscure appointed Federal district judge wields equal power to the elected Chief Executive.
  • If nothing else, this administration's term should be a bonanza for political science departments and political junkies, as it explores the disruption of the status quo and possibly long-observed conventions that may or may not have been Constitutionally based.
  • My personal view is that the judge's order will fail.  Having listened to some qualified legal minds, it appears that the jurist is extrapolating far beyond the scope of the EO to find a basis for stopping it.
  • What's wrong with this picture?  Call me jaded, but I'm presuming an idiot millennial sourced that photo.
Yeah, my inner 12 year old chuckled...           
  • There was a documentary on PBS last night about the composing duo of Burt Bacharach and Hal David.  Of course, their careers were intertwined with Dionne Warwick's, who came to their attention as a backup singer when the Drifter's recorded the duo's Mexican Divorce.  Having owned Nicolette Larson's eponymous debut album with that song on it (also featuring her Neil Young penned hit single Lotta Love) since it was released, I had no idea - or had once again long forgotton - that the song was Bacharach & David's.

  • From the bullet points on #2 & #7, one might think I was getting old.  Nah...
  • For a brief time in the mid '80s, I was a fan of   (not-quite-yet Mrs. Bacharach) Carole Bayer Sager's Sometimes Late at Night, mostly penned with her future (and now ex-) husband.  The album was kind of interesting as every song segued into the next, without a pause between songs.
  • Note to self: Referencing the '80s probably not helping with the aging thing, yo.
Choking me stop you.
  •   Coming home from Cabela's, I saw that one of my favorite resale shops had "All clothing $1".  I figured it'd be pretty well picked-over, but stopped in anyway.  A half hour later I left with a Tactical 5.11 heavyweight canvas shirt, a desert camo BDU shirt, an Orvis fishing shirt, Austin (Academy) short sleeve outdoorsman shirt, black mock turtleneck, and a goose down jacket - all for $6.  All the items were virtually indistinguishable from brand new.
  • Even though as conservatives, we may think we're in the process of righting the ship, there's still plenty of mush-headed thinking going on out there.  Just waiting for them to subpoena Dr. Zaius.
  • This past week I received perhaps the most surprising text ever, for me at least.
  •  My dream woman did not favor me last night, but I had an interesting dream sequence in which I was riding in a pack of mountain bikes.  While riding is one of my regular activities, I can't recall having ridden in a group of bikers.
 Good use of old street signs...at least temporarily.
  •  I’m supposed to respect my elders, but it’s getting harder and harder for me to find one now. 

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Thinking Man's Thursday

  • Despite the melatonin tablet, the woman who has been appearing in my dreams recently had only a cameo appearance last night.  Sigh.
  • I was at two dollar stores today, and in both cases forgot to buy a flyswatter.
  • Driving past an EECU branch tonight, I noticed that they still (Thursday), had not changed their time and temperature sign to reflect DST.  That would not have happened on my watch.
  • An independent filmmaker has debuted his supposed documentary at SXSW, positing that the guy whose death in Ferguson, MO, precipitated the BLM movement, did not actually rob the convenience store, but was/had just engaged in some friendly weed bargaining.  This would be considerably less idiotic if: 1) It were true; 2) The full convenience store surveillance sequence - about four minutes, not just thirty seconds - was used for the premise; 3) One ignores that the store did report a robbery.  In any event, the proximate cause - OK, the only cause - of the miscreant's demise, was that he reached into the police cruiser's window to try to snatch the officer's weapon.  That sort of thing is generally considered a poor choice.
  • Of course, there is a not inconsiderable portion of the population that will embrace the fiction, as well as many who will use it to try to foment racial unrest.
  • A TV commercial offers NightView glasses for night driving.  Best I can tell, it's the same concept that 20 years ago was marketed as BluBlocker.
  •   I got up early today to go to traffic court, making a mental checklist of nearly a half-dozen school zones on the way.  About a half mile from my house, I realized it was Spring Break.  I got to court with a half hour to spare.  I also had made arrangements to come into work late, but ended up arriving a few minutes earlier than I normally do, even after grabbing a McD breakfast burrito.
  • Speaking of McDs, my very first experience at the arches was at an old style location on the west side of Tulsa in the late '60s or very early '70s.  I can remember when they built one on Story Road in Irving in the early '70s.  When I was in college, McD was in my after-class rotation, along with BK, Taco Bell and Bueno, and Whataburger, resulting in my peak avoirdupois of about 215 imperial pounds.
  • Somewhat like Wal-Mart, I think McDonald's to a degree fell victim to its own success.  Although some of the criticism leveled at the fast food chain is arguably deserved, my impression is that they have made strides in adapting their menu to changing nutritional sensitivities, as well as upgrading their image beyond the clown theme to the point where you could almost feel comfortable having a casual business meeting there.  Well, sort of.
  • About 7 years ago, I got serious about shedding some excess poundage, and went from about a 208 average, to the lower-mid 190s.  For the past three or so years, I've been in a fairly consistent 175-177 range, which is commensurate with my height and bone structure. I'm no Jack LaLane, but I don't have any regular aches and pains.
  • One of the lines from last weekend's sermon that's been marinating in my mind this week is: "Comfort, pleasure, power, control, and respect are not inherently evil, unless employed or enjoyed with the wrong motive."
  • On a street in Colleyville, I passed many new McMansions scattered among older ranch-style homes.  Almost all of the new builds had small ponds or water features, averaging about 20'x40' in the front yard.  I guess if they have fish in the ponds, they won't become mosquito incubators, right?
  • The latest Russian relationship seeker to troll my email inbox bills herself as "Irina Honest", 29 years old.  Honey, to quote Donald Hugh, "You're looking for a younger man - not me."
  • The ladies at work seemed to think my dream quote to the mystery woman about never stopping having conversation was sort of romantical.  Maybe she'll grace my dreams again tonight.
  • The Donald's words of wisdom for today: "At the end of the day...it's midnight."

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Wookiee Wednesday

  •  There is a guy at my work who is about 6' 5" with a full beard.  So, of course, I good-naturedly refer to him as Bigfoot, Sasquatch, Paul Bunyan, and Chewbacca.  He seems to be cool with it.
  • The state Senate today approved a 'bathroom bill'.  I have to admit I haven't gotten too caught up in this issue, but, knowing that it was some kind of a thing, I did a double take at the dentist's office a couple of weeks back.  The new patient form had a line that read "What do you prefer to be called _______  Male ___  Female ___".  After first thinking, YGBKM!, I realized the first underline was for a nickname.
  • There is a horsefly the size of a DeHavilland Beaver on the mini-blind above my computer monitor, and I do not have a flyswatter handy.
  • I sometimes take a melatonin/vitamin B, or melatonin/valerian tablet before bedtime.  Recently I had a really odd dream where I had a Unimog truck, and the storyline also involved a woman I know, but I don't recall the details on that thread.  Then, a couple of nights ago, most of my family (kids, parents, ex-parents-in-law) were aboard - but not airborne - what must have been a jumbo jet (747 or A380) that was configured like a hotel lobby.  There were lots of Asians.  The family did not know I was not going on the trip (and I don't know where the trip was going).  A woman I know (same one as in the other dream) approached to pull me aside, asking, "can I have a conversation with you?"  I replied, sort of Casablanca-like, "Never stop having conversations with me."
  • I could sorta relate one of the dream's elements to some communication I'd received the prior day, but the rest was a mystery to me.
  • An attorney blogger always makes a fuss whenever there's a murder case without the body having been found.  While I understand the premise, here's something he should keep in mind, should he ever do such a case (I don't think he actually does murder cases).
At a courtroom in Oklahoma a man is on trial for murder.There is strong evidence indicating guilt; however, there is no corpse. In the defense's closing statement the lawyer, knowing that his client is guilty
 and that it looks like he'll probably be convicted, resorts to a clever trick.
"Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I have a surprise for you all," the lawyer says as he looks at his watch. "Within one minute, the person presumed dead in this case will walk into this court room,"
 he says, and he looks toward the courtroom door.
The jury, somewhat stunned, all look on eagerly. A minute passes. Nothing happens. Finally the lawyer says: "Actually, I made up the previous statement. But you all looked on with anticipation. 
I, therefore, put it to you that there is reasonable doubt in this case as to whether 
anyone was killed, and insist that you return a verdict of not guilty."
The jury, clearly confused, retires to deliberate. Within only a few minutes later, the jury returns
and a representative pronounces a verdict of guilty.
"But how?" inquires the lawyer. "You must have had some doubt; I saw all of you stare at the door."
Answers the representative: "Oh, we did look. But your client didn't." 
  • Awhile back, some grain/pantry moths hitchhiked their way into my kitchen in some dry dog food or bulk seeds.  I've been having a devil of a time trying to eradicate them. Finally I ordered some tacky strips with bug attractant from the big orange home center.  I opened one last night and placed the lure as directed.  Within just a couple of minutes, it looked like Woodstock hippies flocking to a free LSD kiosk.  I've also been throwing out any flour-based mixes in the pantry, which I disposed of in the hundred acre woods when I took my bike ride.
  • Silly youngsters at my work (not the carwash) did not know this song, so I was teaching it to them yesterday:

  • The thought occurred to me this morning: I wonder if [Dallas residents] Don Henley and GWB - who only live about a mile apart - ever run into each other at the grocery store or restaurants? 
  •  I also wonder if that woman (from bullet item #4) will be in my dreams tonight.