Sunday, December 21, 2014

Soul Revival

In the words of Don Henley:

A lot of things have happened
Since the last time we spoke
Some of them are funny
Some of 'em ain't no joke
And I trust you will forgive me
If I lay it on the line
I always thought you were a friend of mine

Actually, nothing really dire, though I have been too busy - or too lazy - to blog.

At the urging of an old friend, who told me I needed to take some 'me time', get some exercise, and walk my dog - I slipped the phone into my jacket yesterday, popped in my earbuds, leashed Sienna, and set out for a nice walk to clear my mind, if only for a while.

Here's some of what played on the shuffle list:
  • Heart - Dreamboat Annie  (...little ship of dreams)
  • Sweet Baby James Taylor - Never Die Young  (They were ring-around-the rosie children, we were circles around the sun...); Baby Boom Baby  (Something 'bout something that you had to do...); That's Why I'm Here  (Got your baby, got your blanket, got your bucket of beer...)
  • Mary-Chapin Carpenter - Come On Come On  (It's a loss you never get over the first time you lose...); Something of a Dreamer (But a dreamer's never cured...);  Slow Country Dance (And love's never easy or ever as true...)
Do I have to sit here?
  • Joe Walsh - Over and Over  (If you're looking for answers, open your eyes...)
  • Emmylou Harris - Easy From Now On  (It's a quarter moon in a ten cent town...)
  • Stephanie Lynn Nicks - Planets of the Universe (Let there be light in this lifetime...)
  • Dan Fogelberg - There's a Place in the World for a Gambler (There's a light in the depths of your darkness...)
Public art...
  • New Radicals - You Get What You Give (First we run and then we laugh till we cry...)
  • Michael Murphey - Loners (...disconnected, misdirected, loners - day by day we're learning to be loners
  • Karla Bonoff - Lose Again (Save me, free me from my heart this time...)
I'll sit here, but just for a second...
  • Linda Ronstadt - Hasten Down the Wind (Now he agrees he thinks she ought to be free...) 
  • Chicago - Wishing You Were Here (...So I guess that's how it is.)
  • Jackson Browne - For Everyman (...And hold out that strong and gentle Father's hand.);  Fountain of Sorrow  (...loneliness seems to spring from your life like a fountain from a pool.);  Here Come Those Tears Again  (Just when I was gonna make it through...); The Naked Ride Home  (I failed to hear the heart that was beating alone...)
  • Clapton - Wonderful Tonight  (...you just don't realize how much I love you.)
Willie Robertson - build a duck blind here!

As I'd taken an insulated mug of hot tea with me, on the return I made a pit stop at the rec center, conveniently featuring a baño accessible from outside (I tied Sienna to a door handle).  Glad I didn't have to take a seat...

Yeah, that would chill your cheeks.

But, they thoughtfully have a thermostat to keep it from getting too cold...


Monday, November 10, 2014

Great, just great...

Now comes another thing I'm going to have to have the doctor test for.

But, it could explain a lot...

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Exorcising the earworm

   Somehow or other, I thought of this song after church yesterday.  Unfortunately, I couldn't find the actual version that was in my mind - it's not the songwriter's edition (I recall a more spare arrangement, and more baritone vocal, a la Ed Ames or Ray Price, Bob Goulet or even Francis Albert - but I couldn't find evidence that any of them recorded the song).  The version in my head is well-phrased, some of it almost spoken (like Bill Shatner), then expanding into a full refrain.

   I'm certain I must have this on vinyl somewhere (or maybe my folks do), but just can't seem to place the singer.



Wiki says Howard Keel recorded the song, but I can't seem to find a copy.

Dedicated to

Sunday, September 28, 2014

'80s Flashback

Yo! Pete, what was with the poofy hair, dude?  OK, I guess it was just part of the scene at the time.



I like Peter Cetera, though I think he should have stayed with Chicago (never cared for Cetera's replacement, Bill Champlin). Although he had a decent solo run, he probably could take a lesson from Henley, who has coupled a more successful solo career with returning stints in his band.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Little Lies

A couple of takes on lies:




Sunday, September 21, 2014

Quit yo' complaining!

Don't be a largemouth...catch one!

Keystone Church redecorated, with the help of Bass Pro Shop, for this series.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Fall's around the corner

When the weather gets into the 60s at night (better yet, into the 50s) - it's camping weather.

This morning I got an email alert from Sam's Club, featuring this camping trailer:


At under $2400, it's not a bad deal - you can carry your ATV, dirt bikes, or bicycles to your camping place, offload them, and set up camp fairly quickly, with your sleeping quarters above the mud and rocks.

When I was a kid, my parents had an Appleby tent trailer - an aluminum bodied shell with a frame that held a canvas tent.  We used it extensively on trips to Oklahoma and Colorado.


Ours was silver, about the texture of an old tacklebox, but you get the idea.

You can sometimes find an old Appleby hull on Ebay or Craigslist, but replacing the canvas can run $800-$1000.

Another entrant in this genre can be found at Northern Tool, but it's a bit pricey compared to the LifeTime:

Another avenue might be to use a standard 5x8 trailer platform, and have a local welding shop fabricate some expanded steel side panels that would fold out to form the beds, then have a local upholstery shop modify the floor tub of an off-the-shelf  tent.  Total cost would probably run $1200-1500.  I don't have a requirement to haul an ATV, but being able to transport a KLR or DR-650 or a couple of mountain bikes would be a real plus.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Test time

So, the stupid HuffPo runs a dumb article about the 10 biggest turn-offs for women.

 I figure I must be off the charts on all of them - cause I ain't got no woman.

Since I regularly do self-evaluations at work, and my employees do self-evaluations (and then we discuss their self-evals before I send them on to HR - often with me offering stylistic spelling/punctuation/grammar tips so as to help them shine, and rarely, some content advice if I see a potentially career limiting statement, as in "I hate assisting our customers", for which I'd gently suggest the softer approach "Our customers can be a challenge at times.") I thought I'd get all Socratic and stuff, and see if there's any chance this blind ol' pig might one day find another acorn.

Without much further ado, here are the Top 10 chick turner-offers (allegedly), next to which I have rated myself on a 1-to-10 scale, with 1 being not guilty of that at all, and 10 meaning that I'm guilty as sin of that characteristic, and should probably get the chair for it.

Here we go:

  1. Being Ignored - 4    I think I try harder than the next guy to be attentive to a woman - the problem being they're more complex than a 777 cockpit, and I have difficulty being adept enough to discern which are the deal killer 'do not ignore' cues.
  2. The Wannabe Big Shot - 2    Me, a big shot?  Not likely - the only time I would even get close would be in doing a schtick, which would pretty much be recognized as such from the get-go.
  3. Self-Admiration - 3     OK, I wasn't I high school jock, and don't drive a sports car.  Should be relatively safe here.
  4. Preoccupation with Sex - 6     Not sure I remember what sex is, but back in the day I might have been more focused on it than I think I would be now.  Age'll do that to you.
  5. Chauvinism - 2     Other than a stupid bit I did way back when (which was meant to be a schtick, but was misinterpreted), I'm one of the least chauvinistic dudes around, especially considering my age.  I'd say I'm very respectful of gals women.
  6. Expecting the Woman to Take Care of the Kids - 7.5     Oops - I was bound to get nailed on something.  Although I was fairly active in Scouting with the boys, I, uh, was less so during the diaper years and with bedtime baths and such.  I don't deserve the chair on this one, but would probably get some jail time, maybe some suspended for good behavior.
  7. Paying too Much Attention to Other Women - 4     I don't think that I did much, although I recall hearing "I'm watching you" a time or two.  Nowadays, I'd definitely be mindful of Proverbs 5:18 and Ecclesiastes 9:9.
  8. The Not-So-Courteous Approach - 1     Like chauvinism, I'm pretty safe on this one.
  9. Poor Grooming Habits - 4.5     I've never been able to have hand-model fingernails and cuticles - it's a real challenge to keep dirt out from under them (that's why I carry a gentleman's pen-knife).  I do shower daily and use deodorant.
  10. Bad Pick Up Lines - 1     Heck, I don't have any pick up lines, bad or otherwise.
Now, to tally my score - it appears I averaged 3.5 across the spectrum.  You'd think being on the decent end of the scale I might be able to snag a female who isn't Karla Faye Tucker - maybe it's just a matter of time.



Sunday, August 24, 2014

My best friend

Rarely speaks, but is always there to nuzzle my hand and generally cheer me up when I'm down.


I hope I have been half as good to her as she is to me.



Monday, August 11, 2014

After the laughter

...the wave of dread - it hits us like a ton of lead:



   As we were closing up shop today, the word broke that Robin Williams was gone.   With all the things going on in the world today, I guess I couldn't say I was totally shocked - it's long been known that Williams battled demons and depression - and, let's face it, we've kind of become numb to many of life's senseless events.  But it certainly cast a melancholic pall over my thoughts.

   People of my age - who grew up shooting pterodactyls after school, before skeet was invented - probably became aware of Williams in his role as the alien Mork.  Of course then it was funny to have aliens in our homes.  And from there we watched him evolve into a comedy superstar and gifted actor.  I used to love to watch him on Carson - while at the same time feeling sorry for Johnny,  He wasn't a loose cannon, but more like a gimbal-mounted auto-cranked Gatling Gun running unattended.  In the days before DVRs, you had to hope for re-run segments of Williams' interviews, because you'd probably missed 2/3 of the gags.

   That Williams was a genius is undisputed.  His stream-of-consciousness delivery, impersonations, and range were like having Steve Allen, Carl Reiner, Sid Caesar, and Mel Brooks - maybe even with a little Rickles thrown in - in one person.  With the possible exception of Jonathan Winters, his zany, quirky humor was unrivalled.

   After leaving the office, my sadness ebbed and flowed with some of the tributes being given on the radio. As I got near home, I did nearly lose composure when my Daughter texted "Robin Williams died.  :("  We'd recently watched Patch Adams together.

  "I heard - it makes me very sad" was my response.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Thursday's themes

...though not, apparently, unified.

A couple of weeks ago, my ancient GE refrigerator tried to die on me. It was so old that the fan motor was made in the USA.  But this nifty Korean replacement ($31 @ Grainger's vs. $144 at the appliance parts house) has it back among the living.

Thank goodness for Grainger's!

Nostalgic 1950's miniwaves?  Really?

Lame.

Last week, at a trade group meeting, this was the view from my dinner table:

Back in the '70s, my Dad almost bought a DC-3,
for around $20K, though probably not quite like this one.

A diamond - it must be real - I found on a sidewalk outside a business. Probably 1.25 ct.  The gold paint overspray does not diminish its value in my eyes.

If only I had a fiancée...

Isn't driving a Beetle ghey enough?


This, al otro mano, is cool!  Very cool.

I really need to get a 'yak. I like the size of the cockpit on 
the one shown, but that dry hatch is ridiculously small.

Seen after church last weekend: 


The first things I noticed were the monster Brembos.

Earlier this week, oldest Son invited me to play disc golf (for my first time ever):

I got 1 par, 12 bogeys, and 5 double-bogeys.
I'll bet I can shave that by at least a half-dozen next time.

These shoes are probably cooler than I am:

I pulled the trousers up to show the shoes,
they are not high-water pants.

The bike named after the beer.  That is actually a 26" x 4" bike - the machete is there to give some proportion.  Yeah, the guy in sporting goods might have given me an odd look as I rode it down the back aisle, so what?

When the Apocalypse comes, there will be no gasoline 
for your car - this is a SUB.

 Same brush whacker, with my Zombie machete.  The brush whacker is $23 at Wally World.  For $6 at HFT, the machete is a better value.  Both are handy additions to my BOP.

I will fear no zombie!

Don't think me an ogre, but we have an upcoming promotion where I will really have to maximize my [highly talented but limited in number] front office staff's production.  When they exceed a certain time threshold with clients, I will step out of my office and give a signal to 'wind it up'.  Hopefully, they will hear the beeper going off in my office, and develop a sort of Pavlovian response so that I don't even have to intervene...

From the dollar store - programmable up to 99 minutes!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

¿No lo ve?

¿O no puedes ver, vato?

As I returned home from running some late evening errands, I caught an extended cover jam of this incomparable Marshall Tucker Band song wafting from the 'biker' bar about a kilometre from my casa.

This YouTube version, while good, is not so good as the extended version - Southern Rock at its finest.



If anybody asks - tell them you heard it from me.

And me?   Yo lo oí en una canción de amor.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Hosanna

This is one of my favorite songs that we sing at my church:

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Independence Day Festivities

Since we hadn't experienced sufficiently large crowds since the Ren-Fest, Daughter and I decided to check out the Panther Island Cinco de Mayo July 4th celebration, the photographic evidence of which is presented herewith.

Because I'm frugal cheap, we parked in the $5 lot at the apex of Henderson and White Settlement - I couldn't discern that the $10 parking was that much closer.  Upon getting into the festival grounds, we made our way over to the Rockin' the River area, as Daughter wanted to float out in the Trinity - against my gentle, fatherly advice.  Cabela's and TRWD sponsored tubes and life vests, enough to satisfy projected demand.  If only the idiot festival-goers hadn't lashed multiple tubes together (in excess of what they were actually using), while others, after leaving the water, used them as beach chairs (also still lashed together).  One white-trashy woman - lounging like a grounded Shamu or Moby Dyck on the beach - growled and snarled at several small children who attempted to pick up the apparently vacant tubes that were lashed to her lair.  Classy, ma'am, real classy.

Clogging, er, Rockin' the River, as the rapper implored 
"Hey, evahbody, let's get stoopid".
The crowd was quite obliging.

After about 25 minutes, we located an unused tube, and Daughter prepared to go into the pristine waters, lined with grass, bark, & twig debris for about the first 16" off the beach - which I'd kindly pointed out.  As the water came up just above knee level, her desire to float the Trinity was abated by a dead fish, also floating the Trinity, and out she came.

"I saw a dead fish."

"So, you're not going to paddle across the river?"

"Nope."

"Well, OK then.  Let's go get you rinsed off."

We found our way to a fresh water fountain/station where she rinsed off the mineral & nutrient-laden waters of the Trinity.  In a nearby tree, we saw this visitor:

Kinda creepy.
...and this one:

Wrong event, dude.

While festival food is usually outrageously expensive, we found some affordable ice cream from a van, and a $4 chopped beef sandwich to tide us over at this FW [temporary] landmark:

Riscky business.

Several minutes later, Daughter captured a [live] baby locust/cicada.  Since we were on the north side, should I say 'chicharra' instead?

Afterward, she carefully put him/her back on a tree.  In his 
autobiography, he'll write "I had my first encounter with 
a human before I even shed my first exoskeleton."

Some people had brought their own equipment - kudos to them.


Not all attendees were human:

These fair-goers had manners.

We decided to make our way to the other side of el Rio Trinidad, a feat that took nearly ten minutes on the 8' wide footbridge, inasmuch as the seemingly simple task of placing one pie ante del otro was not well understood by the fair-goers.

On the other side, we hydrated ourselves courtesy of a TRWD potable water dispensary trailer, then perused local vendor tents.  One of the first we came to featured bandanas (no problem there), and an interesting proprietress with more hardware than a Hillman jobber, and enough ink to run the second shift of the Startle-Gram.  Lots of piercing accessories,  tricot/spandex (?) wrestlers' masks (do I even want to know what that sub-culture is?  Likely not.), and last but not least, an amazing array of crack pipes.  Stay classy, Fort Worth!

"Daddy, what are those?"

"Uh, those are crack pipes."

"Oh."

Daughter was going to ride the inflatable zip-line, but upon seeing a 200' line for a 40' ride, she thought better of it.  She was obviously becoming more discerning as the afternoon progressed.  We exited the event perimeter and headed south toward the 7th street bridge, observing a posse of horse riders, hoping they were giving rides.

While I've no desire to immerse myself in the Trinity's waters, I would enjoy floating the Trinity in a canoe or 'yak:

Dude, there's serious traffic about 1/2 mile ahead...prepare to portage or take alternate route.

Hey, wouldn't that be fun to ride a bike on?:

I dig bridge architecture.

As I took this photo of the Trinity Playhouse from the river levee, I told Daughter that I was sitting within about 5' of where her mother and I watched Shakespeare in the Park (Merchant/Midsummer/Much Ado..., one of the M comedies, though at the time I was more interested in my date), eating grapes and cheese, drinking wine coolers, on one of our very first dates - over a decade before the turn of the century:

Today:  All's Well  That Ends Well?
More like Love's Labour's Lost.  Sigh.

The horses we'd been following were 'parked' on the playhouse grounds.  Seven of them, but apparently they weren't for hire.  We have no idea where the riders went.


We could have gone to some pretty snazzy dining establishments along the W7 strip, but we walked to Wendy's, near University, and ate for cheap.  While development has totally changed the face of that area, the Wendy's doesn't seem to have changed since the '80s.  There were two flat screen TVs in the dining room, one with Univision or Telemundo, and the other displaying ABC's What Would You Do? Guess which one had the volume turned up?

As it was by then dark, we made our way back east, encountering a large - but sparsely packed - group assembled behind the Montgomery Plaza, waiting to watch fireworks.  We hung out there for a bit, but surmised it wasn't going to be a great vantage point, so we made our way back toward White Settlement Road.  When we got past Angelo's and Omaha's, the show was just starting.  Rather than fight the crowds back at the event, we climbed atop our SUV in the parking lot:


I think we had the best seats in the house parking lot:




Burn, baby, burn!

Bang, pow, boom! 

And the grand finale:

Glaring red rockets.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

R U smarter than a kindergartner?


Some folks, not so much.

A college twit-chick, thinks it would be cool to 'sext' a photo of herself in her altogether to her BF, DaQuon.  (Little known fact: DaQuon was my birth name, until I shortened/Americanized it to simply 'Don'.  Or maybe it was just a nickname given to me by my Aunt Polly Esther.)

Unfortunately for twit-chick, she sent it to her Dad, who may about now be re-thinking that condo in Cambridge thing, and encouraging daughter dearest to check out the community college catalog.  Of course, entertainment media types, for whom Socrates' directive of examined lives simply means more video but no introspection, are recommending that she get the SnatchPic SnapChat app to prevent future embarrassing episodes.

Good grief!

But, theirs also gud nooz.  Dude in Washington, excited by being one of the first buyers of legal weed in that state, hams it up for the local press/media.  His boss at the staffing company sees the coverage (I know, I know, you're as surprised as I that he had a job),  and didn't so much share his enthusiasm (or maybe he'd called in sick so he could camp/chill out overnight to be one of the first customers).  The company asked him to take a pee test.  Apparently, like, man, they got rules against that sorta thing, and stuff.  You know how employers are - so oppressive/repressive and all.

He failed.  They fired him.  A classic case of what Confucius say: Play stupid game/win stupid prize.

And while it's a heartwarming story, you do have to feel sorry for the parents, who are now fearing that Harold, or whatever his name is, will never surrender his video game controller and  move out of their basement.  Maybe he can be an extra in Pineapple Express VI or somesuch.


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Damit wir es nicht vergessen.

Comes now news that Sears, Wal-Mart, and Amazon have removed a photographic poster depicting the famous Dachau Nazi concentration camp sign that reads: "Arbeit Macht Frei", after savvy shoppers allegedly complained that Nazi motifs just weren't in style this season.

Although the actual seller was a third party linked to the major retailers' sites, Sears & Wal-Mart wasted no time distancing themselves from the fact the poster had been linked at all.  And the Grandchildren of Holocaust Survivors organization suggested that the poster's listing implied that modern Nazis were the product's targeted customers.

Maybe.

Perhaps cadres of skinheads in Idaho decorate their walls with the AMF image.  But I take a different stance, believing that the grandparents of the Grandchildren of Holocaust Survivors would be outraged at that organiztion's myopic view.  As someone who personally met and shook hands with famed Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal (Vienna, 1974), I strongly counter that the survivors - and the souls of those who perished - would cry out not to blot the images from being displayed, but to ensure that successive generations would see the image, ask questions, and learn what those sonsofbitches did to their fellow human beings, lest we forget.


The image isn't pretty - it's not supposed to be.  But art - photographic decor in the instant case - is not always about pretty flowers and idyllic pastures & waterfalls.  Sometimes it makes you think.  That seems not excessively in vogue these days, much to the chagrin of my buddy So-crates.

That last line of the article torques me just a bit, as I find it to be either apocryphal, or someone's asinine attempt to be clever.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Truth or fiction?

This article reads like fiction to me.

Perhaps its saving grace is that it's comparing the U.S. to other nations' economic circumstances, and, in comparison, the U.S. seems less afflicted.  However, I think the article's overall tenor dismisses the gravity of our current circumstances.


Some recent history:
  • Aided by tax reforms from the 1980s (which were partially negated by record defense spending), the U.S. economy in the 1990s was very strong.  Combined with new financial franken-products (i.e. derivatives) and regulatory encouragement of lessening credit criteria (Community Reinvestment Act, et al), the stock market - particularly the tech sector and financials - soared.
  • By Y2K - which, through thorough planning at most company, organization, and government levels was itself a non-event - the exuberant irrationality party was coming to an end.  Venture capitalists had gotten stung funding too many tech deals written on the backs of bar napkins or rolling papers, pie-in-the-sky ideas with no cogent business plan or deliverables, no incoming cash flows. As well, investors (and regulators) had begun to wake up to the Alice-in-Wonderland house of cards that was derivatives trading.  The 'tech bubble' bursting was the result.
  • On the heels of major retreats of the stock market indices, the 9/11 attacks further eroded consumer confidence and security.  Many Americans instinctively cut back on spending.  Others, having never been acquainted with financial prudence, made no changes at all.  
  • To stimulate a stalling economy, the government looked to real estate to fill the void of the hobbled tech/financial sector.  Easy ("stated income") purchase money loans and liberalized equity lending helped the income statements of home builders, construction materials and home furnishings companies, lenders, car companies, and the economy in general.
  • But we had simply traded one bubble for another. The real estate chicaneries came home to roost in 2007-2009.  But where to turn?
  • With no shining beacon to guide the way, government attempted to shore up the economy by plugging leaks in the dike, and institutionalizing denial of financial realities (automaker and bank bailouts, extension of unemployment benefits) at great expense.  Quantitative Easing (QE) aimed to keep the economy afloat by providing cheap debt to fuel consumer spending - but even as borrowing rates hit record lows, many Americans decided (or had bankrupted themselves) to stop digging the hole further.  On the flip side, older Americans saw their CD nest eggs earning sub 1% APY for shorter term maturities.
Returning to the article, which states that U.S. banks have started lending again.  Yes, American financial institutions are lending.  But [qualified] borrowers are scarce.  With razor-thin - or in some cases negative - 
margins, even with competitive rates, the financial industry is seeing widespread diminution of loan portfolios in the form of early paydowns/payoffs.  Simply put, responsible borrowers are trying to shed, not increase, their debt loads.  Credit standards, already about as lax as they can be, can't be lowered any more without resulting in the collapse of the financial system.

The article also points to the roaring stock market, which just enthusiastically (exuberantly?) broke through the 17,000 level.  I believe this due not to the fundamental health of the equities comprising the indices, but an inflationary spiral resulting from deposit dollars seeking a higher return than what can be obtained in CDs. As the last of the longer term 'high rate' CDs are now matured or maturing, and no additional liquidity added into the mix, irrationality becomes the only explanation for a stable or increasing stock market index.

It's a subject of considerable debate whether there's validity in this comparison.

Well, that's my 2¢ worth for the morning.  For the record, I do not own, nor have I short sold, any securities mentioned in this post (I didn't mention any).

Is it any wonder?

Despite a lingering economic downturn, some people apparently still have either too much time on their hands, or are so enamored by fame, that they'll part with huge fortunes for what amounts to filth.

We are living in interesting times indeed.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Ephemeral requiem

The incomparable Roy Clark sings a Bill Anderson classic.  The song launched Clark's career in 1963 as his first to chart.  I have wonderful memories of this song from a well-worn 8-track that played in my Dad's '66 Scout 800, on weekends at the deer lease, or just trips to the hardware store.

While not part of the narrowly defined 'purist' years of the "Nashville Sound", the strings and overdone choruses (in the original release) fit the standard definition of the genre. The "Bakersfield Sound" was a backlash and influenced not just country artists (Merle Haggard, Buck Owens), but also the sounds of artists/acts such as the FBBs, early Eagles, CCR, the Byrds, and the Grateful Dead.  The 'Outlaw Country' of the '70s also nudged musical styles in a different direction (personal note:  Good Hearted Woman was the song that caused me to actually pull that black plastic button on the in-dash radio to pre-set a CM station, KSCS, on my car radio).

Dig those 'burns!

   Here's another version, embedding disabled.  Just look at all the talent in that room, including Bill Anderson!

   Contrary to a rumor (started here), the song is not a paean to a kidnapped Charlie McCarthy from his partner Edgar Bergen - not, I guess, that there's anything wrong with that.  Bergen always seemed to be upfront regarding his relationship with McCarthy.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Saturday somnambulations


No, I'm not really sleepwalking, just dusting out idle thoughts and cobwebs from the gray matter.
  • Driving to work this morning, I noted the area where the tow-plane pilot emergency landed his Cessna 188.  All things considered, I think he did a pretty good job under the circumstances.  The local news has cellphone video from a self-proclaimed YouTuber who recorded the landing.
  • The city by the bay is going to add suicide barriers to keep terminally desperate people from jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge, at a cost of $76M, and to the dismay of people who believe it will detract from the architectural beauty of the structure.  It's claimed that such barriers have prevented 100% of the suicides attempted where they've been installed. Over 1600 people have taken their final plunge since the bridge's construction; 46 last year.  Families of lost loved ones apparently lobbied for the barrier (and probably the engineering and contracting companies that would oblige its construction).  ""The time of healing can only begin when the steady drip-drip-drip of bodies into the raging waters has stopped," said Dana Barks of Napa, whose son, Donovan, jumped to his death in 2008."
  • It's California, but emblematic of the rot that's taken place in critical thinking across the nation.  While I don't think the barrier will enhance the view any, the aesthetic isn't the reason the plan should be nixed.  Nor, on principle, is the cost - though it's a stronger argument.  Simply put, the idea is stupid.  Sure, a silly net may deter or prevent 100% of would be self-murderers from committing the deed by jumping from the GGB.  But what about the Oakland Bay Bridge, jumping in front of one of Tony Bennett's 'little cable cars', leaping into the Grand Canyon, laying on the tracks of the City of New Orleans, jogging in Detroit - or even the mundane: car, gun, knife, pills, noose?  
  • In my life, I'm not unaware, unfamiliar or unaffected by the pain of suicide.
  • It's a slippery slope if we start putting nets around everything that a person could potentially use to effect their own demise.  There's not enough netting, webbing, and chain link in the world to prevent determined people from doing themselves in.  The folks in San Fran would do well to toss this mental jackoff (would it sound more genteel if I said 'masturbation' - just wondering) idea into the bay.
  • HuffPo's 'Divorce' column has an article titled: 3 Signs Your Wife Will Cheat On You.   "Zoie, 24, who began cheating just seven months into her marriage...36-year-old Kate, who cheated on her husband after five years...Bella, 48, began her affair three years into her marriage...Linda, 51, who divorced after 21 years of marriage but started cheating just six years in..."  Couldn't they just condense the list down to: 1) You're married to her - that's what a wife do, Ron Washington style?
  • The book I finished this week that purported to give advice about how to weather the impending global financial meltdown offers this sage advice, describing the New World Order Central Government: "We will need good and fair-minded leaders who place the interests of the many above the interests of the few. These people may be elected or volunteer.  There might be qualifications they must meet and their tenure might be months, years, decades, or life.  I don't know how all that will look.  But one thing I do know: They will be accountable for all their decisions to the people of the planet and they will be rewarded based on their results, not on expectations."   Now, that there is quite the blueprint for a successful OneWorld - those leaders are by gosh going to be accountable, even if there are no qualifications or tenure limitations.  Sounds well-thought out to me...
  • But it gets better: "I believe we will see at least one individual come forward to lead the group.  I think we will see a charismatic, singular global figure who will lead the world.  That person needs to be willing to stand up and step forward. That person lives today."  OK, dude, don't keep me in suspense.  Who is it?
  • Several paragraphs later, it's clear the author doesn't know.  "We have Mother Teresa.  We have Jesus Christ. We have Buddha.  We have Gandhi."  Oh my stars.  Readers of this blog know I am a Christian, but simply tossing Jesus Christ's name into a paragraph of pseudo-spirituality is an insult to Christianity and intelligence.  I wonder why he didn't just include Sting and Bono, as well?
  • A couple of chapters later, on the issue of health care: "...stop believing everything the doctors say.  Get second opinions for any treatment that will change the quality of life for the patients."  Look, I'm skeptical of the medical industry, but am I supposed to get a second opinion from a non-doctor?
  • By the end of the book, I realized I'd written more lucid term papers in high school, and in possibly one or two of my blogposts.  
  • Well, that latter might be a stretch...

Friday, June 27, 2014

Finally, I got some new material

OK, I admit it.  I've been phoning it in lately.  Easy-peasy music vids, a few hit-and-run posts.  But none of my trademark profound, pithy thoughts.  So here goes, as I try to recover my Muse:

  • How great is it that we've nearly made it through June without a 100° day?
  • An advertising banner towplane made an emergency landing not far from my office this afternoon.
  • I finished The Day After the Dollar Crashes last night.  At first I thought it was a good read, talking about the unsustainability of the debt spiral, and giving a fictionalized projection of what a financial meltdown might look like.  But in the last three chapters, the author exposed himself to be an idiot without any real clue as to how to recover from such a crisis.  Lots of utopian, New World Order, new-age pseudo-spiritual mumbo jumbo, but nothing practical.
  • Ironically, a lady asked me late this afternoon what I thought about an impending collapse of the financial system.  She'd been listening to someone on the radio, and maybe even the author of the aforementioned book.
  • I think there is a looming market correction/global financial episode/recalibration in the not distant future.  Exactly what it will look like, I don't have a clue.
  • A man in our office yesterday said he was buying real estate because of the uncertain times.
  • Since I'm not an investment advisor, I didn't challenge the statement.  But, if I were planning for civil unrest and anarchy, real estate wouldn't be my investment vehicle of choice (especially when we're nearing the top of the market), unless it intrinsically had some income producing ability (e.g. farmland, timber, minerals).  When the stuff hits the fan, a desperate government can impose just about any property tax rate it wishes, effectively confiscating the property.
  • My thought is that in a dystopian society, I would only want to own what I could personally defend.
  • I'm not a prepper, but I do have some water and enough long-term food stores that I could get by for a short while.  I wish I had a generator.
  • A book I saw in a resale shop recently:

  •  Since I didn't buy the book, I guess I'd better hope that someone like Chalupa Cabrito is around if I need a wound closed.
  • Middle son got six stitches yesterday, after a dog (of a breed not known as aggressive) bit him, possibly in a separation anxiety attack, at the kennel where he works part-time.
  • Last weekend I awakened from dream in which I'd been spending part of an evening, with a woman - platonically, but not without hopes - and we were walking out to our respective vehicles.  She got on her cellphone, and says to some person "OK, dawg, so do I get a second date?"  I was gonna walk her to her car, but I just turned and went straight to my own.
  • The next morning, my dream involved a girlfriend I had from about seventh grade through my junior year.  We were sort of reminiscing (cue Little River Band), and she says something like "Yeah, I really didn't like you."  That kind of jolted me awake.
  • Wow, striking out two dreams in a row.
  • So, was I the inspiration for all those John Cusack characters: Walter Gibson (The Sure Thing), Lloyd Dobler (Say Anything), Jonathan Trager (Serendipity)?
  • I don't even know how to kickbox.
An instant before Gib realizes Alison hasn't left on the bus.

How iconic is this?

This was from 2001 - he's got a few more miles on him.  I can relate.
  • If I ever crave pain enough that I start dating again, I think it would be cool to use Gib's pickup line: "You know, I've never met anyone like you before. Usually when I meet someone new I feel awkward and shy. But with you it's different. I can talk to you. You know what I'm thinking without my having to explain to you in fancy terms. We speak each other's unspoken language... fluently. I love you."  If she gets the reference and laughs, it'd be a really good sign.  If she doesn't, then she's probably younger than mid-forties - too much of a culture/generation gap.
  • My employees have been harassing me about a woman - about four years my senior - they believe is seeking a relationship.  Yes, there are indications that could be true, but I don't view them as definitive.  While she is attractive, and able to have an intelligent conversation, I'm thinking she's an α-female.  The witty repartee we have in my office would get to be a beat down if it were on a full-time basis.
  • I need someone more laid back, down-to-earth.  Like Sally Field in Murphy's Romance, maybe Amy Madigan's character in Field of Dreams.
  • Yeah, all my movie references are seriously dated.
  • One of my customers informed me yesterday that his [second] wife had moved out this past week.  Not his second wife this week, but the one he's been married to for about 8-9 years. 
  •  Apparently she didn't cotton to his demanding some accountability from her lazy kids.
  • It's not the first time I've seen this happen.
  • Makes me think maybe I'm OK- even better off - to live alone.  It's not like women have been lining up to audition anyway.
  • Here's HuffPo's take on married bliss.  Seriously, HuffPo, do you think any woman really believes #13?  Inconceivable. And I do know what that word means.
  • Since I finished what was supposed to be a 'serious' book, I'm moving on to Graham Nash's autobiography Wild Tales.  But, I've got a Barry Goldwater biography on my office credenza, so as not to get carried away by levity, and to maintain a veneer of gravitas.