Sunday, October 30, 2005

Fallen Hero

Yesterday a letter arrived from my high school. They fingered my favorite and popular priest/teacher as guilty of sexual abuse. Where they once revered the man and used his name to drive fund-raising at this Catholic prep boys school, now they will strip his name from the building named as his memorial, and wipe his memory from fund-raising solicitations.

I had him in at least 6 classes over 4 years. He was brilliant, with multiple degrees. I remember raising my hand during a test - he came down to my side. I saw a loophole (they plagued me) and wanted to know if the question meant THIS or THAT. He then moved his lips to my ear, as if to whisper, and simply blew air! As if to blow out cobwebs. Funny!

The man died some years back, so there's no defense. I wonder if it IS all true - but the letter was pretty clear that their proof is sufficient. Cynically, I don't think they'd erase a still-earning dead man from their alumni fund-pledging machinery without good reason.

The whole thing is ugly.

I went looking via Google for more detail on that situation, didn't succeed, but found such a Grand Jury's list of clergy abuse within the Philadelphia Archdiocese, that it sickened me. It was a long, long list with graphic detail.

Where ARE the heroes?

Addendum: This has been wearing on me. The man died in 1980. Could it be the accusations are unfounded? I called the Head of the School and spoke with him. He assured me there was proof. And that others had come forward since the letter was published. I guess part of me was in denial. I never (thankfully) saw that side of the priest. I said, "Well, the world has lost one more hero." The Head of School said, "He was a hero to many - just one that screwed up."

But somehow that seems dismissive. If ANYONE should be held to higher standards, wouldn't it be priests?

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Hot Rod Chainsaw

Early Sunday mornings I walk the dog. On this particular Sunday the cool crisp air was split into fractals by the unmistakable sound of a two cycle engine. Since we live in a Gated Community where builders are not allowed to build on Sunday by a legal and binding statement in the development brochure, I thought maybe it was a scofflaw working on a cedar with a chainsaw. But, having cut my share of tree, I know the pitch just wasn’t quite right. Razor sharp, even at that early hour, I ran through the list of 2 cycle motors I have known: chain saw is already out, go-kart, maybe, lawnmower, no. Weedwacker, possible. The pitch kept changing, though, and that added a complication to the puzzle: uuuuhhhhhhhUUUHHHHHHHuuuuuhhhhhhHHHHHHH. Then idle, then power. And it was close, but not to be seen. The walk had turned into a puzzle. I detectived. The sound seemed to be getting louder but no one was in sight, and our development is relatively new and unbuilt. There was a perceptible Doppler shift, signaling an approach. As I looked deeper into the Treed Lots which Preserve Our Heritage and Pride In Nature, I saw nothing unusual. Then I noticed Jessie, my dog, looking up. Bingo! Some cheater of death was cutting through the air in a Paraglider!

A Paraglider is a parachute under which you suspend yourself. You slip on a harness onto which hangs a gas engine and a big fan/propeller. You take a few steps, the chute fills with air, you hit the throttle and step into the air. This guy was oblivious to my waving because he was either way too cool to wave or scared completely out of his mind.

Now, I am no novice to adrenaline. I am a private pilot, so I’ve been there and done that. I have flown Ultralights, sort of crashed two of them, and have broken my ankle falling off a skateboard. While in college, I drove a Vespa. I have push started VW Beetles in both forward and reverse. I have seen both versions of Flight of the Phoenix and watched Conn Air twice. Not surprisingly, on that Sunday morning I saw a niche open up.

If you are like me, and crave the ultimate in speed and thrills, I offer a partnership to any inventor who can tear himself away from American Chopper. May I introduce you to HOTROD CHAINSAW. Hotrod Chainsaw is, basically, a chain saw with a wheel on one end and a bicycle seat on the other. Once you get the hang of it, you will experience the Ultimate in speed and thrills. If you sat way too close to the screen watching Road Runner cartoons as a kid, or, better, later in life, this may be the experience of a lifetime! Note: to be used under adult supervision and only after signing a notarized waiver of liability.

Yesterday into the apparently congested skies over Our Slice Of Heaven ™, the SANYO blimp blimped. Again, Jessie looked up. (Whatever happened to Goodyear? How could they let this happen?) Where’s the thrill to blimping?

Local lore has it that someone in this development or darn close, has been seen flying in a JETPACK. That’s a really big knapsack with a jet engine in it a la Bond, James Bond, THUNDERBALL, 1965. This I have to see for myself. This is a prospect for Hotrod Chainsaw!

Friday, October 28, 2005


With the indictment of 'Scooter' Libby on perjury charges, President Bush is now even more tasty feed for his critics who are circling like vultures.

If Karl Rove is nailed - whew!

Bush already was suffering the lowest approval ratings of his presidency amid growing public unhappiness over the Iraq war, high gas prices/HUGE gas profits and the slow response to Hurricane Katrina.

The indictment came one day after his nominee for the Supreme Court, White House counsel Harriet Miers, was forced to withdraw in the face of a revolt by conservatives. From what I read, she was a flat out dumb choice.

I wonder how low Bush's approval rating can go and what drastic measures he might take to boost his standing. That's what worries me. That and that he appears lost. That and I see no hero on the horizon to save us.

Earth to Hollywood... Earth to Hollywood...

Sly Stallone will make Rambo IV (that's #4, not Intra-Venous) as well as Rocky #6 which will be called Rocky Balboa because #6 is a sign that it's a very old franchise. For those born AFTER the first Rockies.

In "number 6", Rocky will be unmercifully taunted by a neighbor in South Philly, who snaps Rocky's sans-a-belt pants, aggravating a groin pull. Ever the champ, Rocky bulks up on Ensure and seeks revenge.

Rocky will be seen in flashbacks to #1 as he races up the Philadelphia Art Museum steps. He will stare wistfully at the steps from a taxi window.

Listen: you can hear Burgess Meredith hacking in heaven.

In Rambo aka Hambone, he'll battle some evil - a girl goes missing - ooo - to seek justice as if he's Steven Seagal. Stallone is 59 and Jack Palance can take him. The film will cost $50 million to make. I predict DVDs will be out ten seconds after the debut. Then there's the Video Game and the Happy Meal Action Figures that squirt catsup instead of blood.

I don't blame Stallone for cashing in, but man, there must be NO creativity left in H'Wood!

I figure both films will be big hits with night security guards who wear their uniforms on their days off and still live with mom.

Oil company profits at all time high

I've written about it before. Something is wrong wrong wrong. What bothers me most is - even when the story is front page (as it is today here) - there's some political posturing by someone or other, e.g.: U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist on Tuesday called for hearings with oil companies on high energy costs amid calls for a windfall profits tax or other penalties on oil companies. But that's only what I'll call a "Prozacian sense of outrage." Or even grandstanding.

Earnings at Chevron's exploration and production business surged 43 percent to $3.32 billion, while the refining operations posted a more modest 17 percent rise in profit to $573 million.

Astounded? Try this: Exxon's quarterly revenue was a record for any publicly traded U.S. company: $100,000,000,000. Yes, a HUNDRED BILLION!!! And their profit was up 75% from last year.

We need someone to grab this story like a junk yard dog and not let go.

The self serving oil company quoted actually slapped its own back for doing a good job of managing the situation.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Workers return

It seems this is the way of the world. It's new to us, since other homes we bought were much farther along in process than this one, which we had designed and built.

The workers are back today. Sealing hallways and rooms in plastic sheeting as prep work.

We moved in in mid January. It's another round of fixing things.

I'm not whining, just warning those obsessives who might fall into the trap. Luckily, our builder supports the service, though it does take quite some time to get it all right.

Sometimes it's bad luck, a poorly done sub-contracting job, or just 'settling' as the house ages a bit.

Today they are retexturizing certain walls where cracks or other blemishes were noted. Then the painters will arrive. And the electrician will try to figure out why the bedroom fan makes such a hum (they've tried many fixes, including other fans!)

A cabinet door. A replacement deck plank. A broken front door window pane.

Meanwhile our 3rd landscaper went MIA in mid bid. Just as well: that money went into my surgery.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Another HALLMARK Card you won't see

So glad you got your catheter out
Bet it was with joy you made that loud shout!
Hope now there's no more tube in your life
Except the boob one you watch with your wife

It's a zip-edee-dooo-dah day (Uncle Remus gets song credit). Plenty of sunshine comin' my way! Treated myself to a pumpkin spiced latte and now a warm bath.


Nice to see Bush do something right!

Like air rushes in to fill a vacuum, it felt so good to read the universal praise for Bush's replacement for Alan Greenspan.

No matter what your political view, you have to admit Bush is one beleaguered man, caught in embarrassment after scandal (interestingly, I find it hard to find the right words - he seems inept - I sure hope that perception is wrong.) His approval rating has dropped and dropped. As I've written before, we WANT him to do well as we see ourselves (hopes, ambitions, self-image) somehow reflected in the man who leads.

No matter who you please you displease others of the opposing viewpoint - I get that. Still, the Bush presidency has been spectacularly UNimpressive.

Monday, October 24, 2005

The Weather Channel

Watching Wilma on CNN and The Weather Channel, I have to give the edge to CNN - why? More pictures. (It's that simple.) It's really not a matter of forecast or radar - they both do that as well as I can tell - but CNNs multi-screen setup with Wolf Blitzer standing there seems very effective to me.

As a former programmer (or programmer-in-waiting) I have always been fascinated by the idea behind and execution of The Weather Channel. Started as a one-trick-pony (like MTV), it branched into longer form (Storm Stories) and features (all sponsorable.) They even provide radio stations with reports (we took them in Minneapolis for a while, then dropped them because they were weak, in my opinion.)

One of these days, some weather reporter will get conked by shrapnel as they stand in the storm to report. It doesn't make a whole lot of sense. They tell the audience to stay out of harm's way WHILE THEY STAND IN IT!

Jim Cantore is head and shoulders above the rest of the men on TWC. And now, after watching today, I feel Stephanie Abrams is right up there in live reportage. She's VERY good... better on the road than in the studio. Pulled off some long standups with clarity and intelligence. That's not easy!

My friend on a boat in Wilma's bullseye

...he's living his dream - took his boat from Toronto all the way to Jensen Beach, Florida, where he lives on it. Last year he took two direct hits from hurricanes (and somehow made it through with no damage.) His plan was to run across the state -there's a waterway that allows that - but the bridge operators had split, so he rode out one storm tied to someone's dock. The other, he left the boat in its normal berth and evacuated to a friend's house till the eye, then went back quickly to resecure everything.

So now here's Wilma - and it appears that the eye will pass darn close to Jensen Beach. I sure hope all is okay.

In this day of cameras everywhere and instant communication, it is disconcerting to lose touch with someone close who is in harm's way. Easy to understand. Hard to experience.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Blogger is also ill?

If you see this, you should see POST OP below it. Seems that Blogger doesn't want my material. Conspiracy theorists, get to work!


The large white-almost-glowing modern building looms over the prairie like the special place it is. Best to avoid places like this when you can no matter how glorious the hospital appears.

Even with insurance it's unbelievably expensive.

It's risky. Despite 'best practices' people die there.

I couldn't help notice my bathroom looked a little dirty where the molding joined the floor and wall.

If the paperwork doesn't get you...

The doc said all went well, but I feel that the amount of pain was misrepresented. Then, perhaps I have a low pain threshold. There's no non-ickky way to write this - I have a weekend guest - a catheter. (Not to be confused with a catholic.) I can't wait to be done with this and get on with healing. It's necessary but gross.

I usually take about a day's course of pain pills on day one following something like this, then skip them. This time I am gobbling them like peanuts (at precisely the prescribed interval, of course.)

If I had been able to foresee what was waiting for me, I'm not so sure I'd have gone for this.

Anyway, that's my update. Still a little groggy from the last pill. (Good thing there's spell-check!)

The dog, Jessie, made it through her procedure too; though seems to have picked up a wheeze. We will watch her carefully.

Terri's car is still in surgery and will be there a few more days while they seek parts and new ways to flush money from our wallets.

Friday, October 21, 2005


The dog is in for a procedure for which she needs a general anesthesia. I go in for my procedure under a general, and Terri's car is also in for what I expect could be an expensive service. I must say we are doing our part for the economy today.

Call me naive (I just hope I answer the call after the procedure!) but our 20% of my surgical procedure (in and out - a 2 hour, out patient deal) is estimated at almost $3000! Sticker shock. That's a lot even if you get 'touched by an angel.'

Wednesday, October 19, 2005


Over the last few days I've received messages as if from my ISP. Each has an attachment. (I don't open!) One says my account is wrong - another that huge amounts of spam are coming out of my account. I believe neither is true and have alerted roadrunner. I also received several, "Your account is expiring if you don't verify at this address" from banks (we don't use) and services (we also don't use.)

Be careful!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

PVP and me.

It's not an operation (is it?) It's a procedure. Performed in a hospital under general anesthesia. And embarrassing to talk about - lucky for you - a little less so to write about. This WILL challenge my skills however, to avoid the gross out.

I write this to give hope for others challenged by the same condition. Okay, I write it to get a laugh. Heck. Reader's Digest says Laughter is The Best Medicine. And by the way - this blog does accept co-pay!

I have decided to go for it after exhausting the various meds which didn't help.

Have you ever been blinded at night by those new ultra bright headlights on the newer luxurymobiles? --- you know, the ones that vaporize deer? Well, this is sort of the same thing.

A "bus," with very VERY bright green headlights, drives up the tunnel till it approaches the toll booth at the exit of the tunnel where the headlights shine soOOO brightly, they actually vaporize the toll booth, allowing better traffic flow for the foreseeable future.

Most men either do or will need this sort of thing. Though I doubt Hallmark has cards.

Sorry you have to sneak
to take another leak
but glad the laser could shine
and make you feel so fine

Naaa. That's not it. How about...

Whenever you had to pee
I hope you didn't think of me
but now that you had Photoselective Vaporization of the Prostate
may your visits to the restroom be first rate!

The PVP (Photoselective Vaporization of the Prostate) procedure using the GreenLight laser system offers a unique and simple solution to BPH because it combines the effectiveness of TURP, the surgical "gold standard" with the safety, comfort and ease of a minimally invasive treatment.

The PVP procedure uses a very high powered laser to immediately vaporize and precisely remove enlarged prostate tissue.

Most patients return home a few short hours after the procedure and can return to normal, non-strenuous activities within days. PVP delivers the ultimate BPH solution - free from urinary symptoms, free from compromise, free to go!

Free to go. Nice wording there.

The doc says it takes about an hour and a half to 2 hours.

Friday is the day.


Monday, October 17, 2005

Missing Microphone

When we moved in January, I lost track of my professional microphone - a $1000 item. It was packed in an anonymous box in another box and I seriously doubt if the packers had the time or inclination or desire to swipe it.

And yet, it's missing in inaction.

Sitting in a hidey-hole under the stairs is a low ceilinged closet in which till just a few minutes ago, is my record collection in boxes. Each box weighs about - oh - 60 pounds, and there are 15 of them representing 20 linear feet of record albums. AND I DON'T EVEN HAVE A RECORD PLAYER!!! I've moved to CDs and SACDs and not looked back. Still, these are/were favorites, one day I hope to return to vinyl or sell the lot for some pirate's bounty!

Well, it's just been WEARING on me that I can't find that darn microphone (used for auditions for voice work:) Agent E mails script, I record in my studio, MP3 back. Neat. I've been using a vintage mic which is pretty good, but not the same as the really good one which is hiding somewhere in the last of the unopened boxes. Boxes like... the record album boxes.

So, resolve in hand, or wherever resolve resides, I decided to invade that cramped space and open those boxes. The albums were in the same vicinity as the microphone in the old home.

WHAP! Forget to duck! #1 Scalp de bald man.

Moving these boxes is hard when stooped (and not much easier when standing!)

I cut the tape on boxes 1 through 4. WHAP #2. Ouch. Forgot to duck again. Welt on!

And... WHAP #3 - this time I didn't bend down enough to crawl INTO the closet. Two OUT whaps - one IN WHAP! if you are keeping score. I didn't see stars but did see an Andy Gibb album.

...13, 14, it's gotta be, nooooo... not in 15... not in any of them. I move them back in, stacking and jeopardizing my back with each lift. Happily, no more whaps, but I'se bin slapped upside the hade a time or two 'n' been sweatin' hard all de livelong 30 minutes. Somewhere deep in a box in a box, the microphone defies the laws of this physical universe, and laughs.

The Food Pyramid.

Just a few calories ago, the government revised the food pyramid. You can see it at

It has a snazzy new logo with a stick figure dashing up the Steps To a Healthier You on the side of the pyramid. It’s supposed to be in better tune with our complicated modern life, the latest Scientific Thought, and reflect a customized pyramid which better fits our lifestyle, not that there’s anything wrong with that. They have an animation, a mini-poster for the art-impaired, and, “a wealth of ideas to help you get started to a healthier diet.”

In better tune – with modern life? Then why a pyramid? Isn’t that Egypto-elitist? Doesn’t that perhaps reflect a suspect cash infusion from the travel industry? How many people will EVER run up a pyramid? And if they do, why aren’t they carrying a six pack of bottled water? “Water, the Almost Food.” Because the water lobby is weak, that’s why.

See, that’s what’s wrong with government – no big thinkers. All around us we see sellouts and commercialization: Product placement; Endorsements; Co-promotions; Synergism! But does the government see this? Noooo. Instead of cribbing money from this or that entitlement program, why not some good old entrepreneurship in our leadership! What do you think McDonalds would pay to have that stickfigure run up the GOLDEN ARCHES?

But I wonder if the department of food thought this through? There could be a stickfigure of a mom in a stick minivan (note: sell van logo) or a guy carrying a laptop (note: sell computer logo) racing to catch a train (note: place Amtrak logo), while talking on his cellphone (note: sell cellphone logo). Boggles the mind, doesn’t it? THINK of the monetization possibilities which could all go to reducing the budget deficit!

And while we are free-thinking here, why not go wild and sell advertising space on the one, five and ten dollar bill? Some court is going to strike down In God We Trust anyway. Consider: “Reach Out and Touch Someone – AT&T.” Wouldn’t they pay a billion for umpteen gazillion impressions? And here’s the best part – those bills have a limited lifetime. The treasury is ALWAYS taking old worn out ones out of the supply and printing new ones. How many OTHER advertisers would wait in LINE? What do you think Target would pay to replace that odd eye and triangle with the Target logo bullseye? And why show an old building on the rear of the $10? Why not show the latest Las Vegas resort? Keep the Eagle. What do you think PETSMART would pay for a little banner?

But back to the Food Pyramid. Why not monetize “calories”? What would McDonalds pay to change the word to “McNutrients?”

Of course, we’d need an Office of Promotional Tie-In. I think $500,000,000 would get it kick started. Hey, why do we need zeros? They could just as well be tiny Target logos.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

You CAN go home.

The old house: not quite what we remembered!

We took a few days and drove back to The Woodlands, a planned community 45 miles north of Houston, where we lived in 1989 through 1991. It was a special time in a new neighborhood. Our street (we were first in) came together as friends and to this day those people remain bound in friendship and camaraderie, even though several of the folks have moved to others areas of the town or even farther into Houston. They are very very nice people. We had time to visit with several couples and it's as if we hadn't been gone a minute! What a treat!

We also spent time - fabulous time - that ended way too quickly, with some other close friends with whom we've vacationed and enjoy so much. Not former neighbors, but just the best of friends. Again, you pick up where you left off like not even a minute has passed!

We found ourselves staying at the Woodlands Resort where some champions Golf Tournament was going on. On Friday night as we returned to the resort, the lot closest to the area of our room was full, so we left the car in another lot. After breakfast Saturday, we returned it to the closer lot. As we pulled into a space, there were two gentlemen in front of us, talking. As one left the other, Terri said, "That's Arnold Palmer." Me, "No it isn't." She, "Yes it is." We get out of the car and the man is ten feet away. Me: "Mr. Palmer?" He turns. Sure enough. Me: "May I shake you hand?" He: "Sure," and he extends it and I smile a wide smile to match his, and say, "What a pleasure it is to meet you, sir!" Undoubtedly he's done that a million times but I got quite the thrill, because let's face it - you don't get to meet many living legends of any kind in your life time. I didn't want a picture (And I was carrying my camera) - didn't want an autograph either. I feel in a way those are simply too trivial and demeaning. I'd rather say something sincere and leave it at that.

Imagine that - shaking hands with Lance Armstrong a few weeks ago and now Arnold Palmer. I so admire anyone that good at whatever they do.

The whole weekend was magic. It simply doesn't get any better than that - super friends... great weather, food... though we found the old house a bit run down from the way we left it in 1991.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Home Sweet Home

Tomorrow we'll go back to the area we lived in, north of Houston - let's see... 14 years ago. We will see the home we bought brand new (actually before new - it was still under construction.) Will the passing home-years be a multiplier like dog-years and age it in leaps of decay, or will we see out former palace as it once was? I will take pictures. Stay blogged!

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

I Blog, therefore I am.

Exactly. It's a placeholder in life. A sign the ego carries that says, "This is me." A way to be noticed, accepted, to matter.

Some will say if that's all you've got to matter, you're a sad case. But that's not quite what I mean. I mean for your opinion or vibe or personality to score a resonance with another person. In today's world of distraction and hurry, a simple blog page may be one of the most intimate of encounters. Sad, isn't it?

I will write things I won't say. It'd be awkward to just launch into most of the subjects of a blog to strangers or even co-workers. A Blog digs deeper. Or can. A blog is a stream of disconnected musings. Conversation doesn't work that way.

I find writing quite different than speaking too. I think I profit from the time it takes to type - thoughts come out better. I find better words. I write with a rhythm and confidence that I don't find in most conversations. I have noticed that in conversation my language - word choice, sentence structure - changes depending on whose ear I have. If intimidated my IQ drops 30 points. If comfortable it runs full tilt.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Were you a friend?

I always liked the song A Rainy Night in Georgia by Brook Benton. Real melanchology, to paraphrase our President. Today it's a rainy day in Texas. My just-planted wildflower seeds will wash away, no doubt, but this will then beautify the neighbor's lot so I guess that's okay.

So I turn nostalgic because it fits the day's mood. And checking on the blog visitor locations (no names, just locations - that's all I get) I find visitors from some of the cities where I once lived. I am on city #15 so that spans quite a lot of territory. But I can't help but wonder if somehow someone who I knew once has reached out...

Moving so much, you lose friends due to the distance. It'd be so nice to reacquaint.

Pure Music.

I was given a radio station to program some years back. It promoed "an hour of pure music (or non-stop music) to start your workday." But the hour had traffic reports with short commercials in them. I took them out... the reports and commercials. How could anyone believe anything the station said when it blew its credibility on that?

But, to those who can't see the forest for the tress, promos aren't ads. "Yes they are," say the public - "ads FOR THE STATION." "But we don't mean it that way," would be the station's perspective.

We also had about 100 people - listeners - in a room for research. The researcher asked if there was anything in particular that bothered people about the station. One guy mentioned a particularly obnoxious commercial that ran all the time (= big advertiser). When asked if anyone agreed, almost 100 of 100 people raised their hands - fast! Think I could get that off the air? Nope.

Wonder how much of the political world is like that? Denial.


The average hour of TV in prime time now has 19 minutes of commercials and promos. I can't tell you how MANY but I've reads estimates as high as 45 different items in those pods o' spots.

But we take the fast lane, watching as much as possible on TiVo and missing all the interruption. Surely this luxury will be defeated by the nasty forces of commerce and the suits somewhere. Maybe Bush will declare TiVo a terrorist threat.

WMD = watching media decommercialized?

It's like zipping along a toll road at 65mph next to the poor masses bumper to bumper for miles. Ah, the good life.

Monday, October 10, 2005

LOST 2nd Season

LOST is running in Second Season form. Since we binged on Season One via DVD ('cept the last 4 episodes which we are about to savor) and since there should be an order to these things, we must:

1- not watch season 2 till on DVD, because it would be out of sync, spoil the suspense, reveal too much, etc.

2- avoid promos. Look - he's still alive! Look - new faces! Look - a startling development! So the promos pop up while watching TV and I roll my eyes back in my head and go "lalalalalalalalalalalalala" for 20 seconds.

Watching LOST has been like a teenager discovering a certain sin. (I'll not do that it is bad. What's that? I like that. I love that. More. More!!!!)

Read posts below - I started out thinking it was dumb, then was pimped out!)

An amazing thing

Lights flashed yellow or red at a major 3 way intersection crowded with multi-lane lines of cars in all directions. No police presence (though somewhere in the foggy rain a siren was heard - couldn't tell why.) And, as if choreographed, this side went, then that, then that one, all with courtesy and equality. It was a beutiful thing, which in some strange way, gave me hope for the future of man.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Brad Pitt reunited with Jennifer Aniston.*

At random:

Many seeds planted today. Much labor preparing soil. No heart attack. Several blisters. Beautiful day. 75 degrees and bright blue sky. I then went biking for first time this year. No heart attack, though big hill gave me the wobblies. Saved neighbor's tiny dog as it was escaping their compound. Was informed about giant owl lurking. Said to be big enough for NBA. My voice is shot and I don't know why.

My Jessica Biel post got almost no traffic. I looked it up - there were more than 5000 entries in blogs for her. Must be more creative. *Note title.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Fall planting.

I just planted 267,000 seeds. Seriously. I planted scarlet sage and blanketflower. No, I didn't count them, I'm not that obsessive. The seed farm gives quantity on the packets. And I have well over a million others to go. Many are California poppies. No doubt satellite photos will flag this land as Afganistan in Texas, but I don't think these are those poppies.

But let's take the 267,000. I know, first you might ask - why plant in the fall? Because in Texas that's what you DO!

I surveyed. I planned. I announced my arrival in loud voice to all things slithery. I raked. I broadcast the seeds. I sweat buckets. I showered. I took a pain pill left over from my oral surgery. I know I used muscles which are not the usual ones. They have begun a protest.

Of the 267,000 seeds, here's my breakdown:

Seed farm says about 76% are fertile.

That leaves 209,760.

Some no doubt landed on rocks or other non-growing media. Say, 15%.

That leaves 178,296.

Of those, 10% won't get enough sun.

That leaves 160,466.

You can see where this is going, can't you?

Mice: 10%: leaving 144,419

Birds: 30%: leaving 101,093

Seeds I stepped on and drove too deep: 5%: 96,039 left.

Drought and/or flooding rains: 30%: 67,227

General juju: 20%: 53,781

So, not bad - I made quite a dent. Next spring will uncover a blanket of color and I will be that much closer to nature.

I am starting to get muscle aches, but also a floating buzz. Maybe this farming thing is for me after all.

Jessica Biel sexiest woman on earth.

Says Esquire magazine.*

And I never heard of her. Now, assuming that they didn't pick Rita, the coffee girl at the Truck You Truck stop in Henderson, Nevada, or someone with more limited circulation, then this clearly shows I am out of touch. And that's troubling.

Esquire ran a gimmick where they revealed her in installments from the feet up... so horndog college and high school guys could assemble a life size poster for their own 'purposes.' My guess was Jessica Alba... she seems hot, is on a cresting wave of notariety.

But no, they picked someone who's been in the media and completely off my radar.

The troubling thing is I DON'T CARE. Is this because I've been busy, distracted, or my hormone levels are low? Yes, I am happily married, but I like to think I keep up on the - how to say this - state of the art.

*note this subject is possibly a blog traffic spiker. I will see and report back (see blog below this about that.) Jessica, in case you Google yourself (down boys!) and find this... I hope you don't feel used.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Another Addiction

I found a software program that counts visitors to my blogs. I've embedded it. This now tells me from where they logged on (no names, just locales. No need for paranoia!) Notice I have two blogs now (see right side of page for the other.) Now I find myself fascinated by the scope of the WWW reach, and addicted to looking it up and trying to guess if I know them or...? (WORLDWIDE web, Bob - get it?) Well, I know that's what it means, but can't imagine what posseses people FROM AROUND THE WORLD to visit my Blog? Is it the content or just serendipity?

My friend who knows about these things says I should create better headlines which will then show on search engines. He had some tennis babe on his (he had pictures from a match) and that spiked his visits.

So, the plot thinkens. Yes, that's a typo --- but an accurate one - I must think up new intriguing headlines and content to see if I can spike this thing. I only need 5mg of self indulgence a day - the rest is, uh, my gift to the world.... no, uh, trying to put a smile on an anonymous face... or... trying to reach out across cyberspace to find others who feel alone and say - you are not alone. It happens to me, too. This is pretty darn cool, you have to admit.

Change of Seasons

I survived the Polka/Christmas Music/Marching band/Beautiful music cassette-to-CD project I wrote about below. The phantom tunes have just about stopped playing in my head. I feel good about helping my Brother-In-Law, who is clearly from another generation than mine. Though for a while there, Stars and Stripes Forever seemed to be a prophetic title!

This is a time of change here in Texas. I say this for two reasons:


1- I sit here in sweat pants. For the first time in 4 1/2 months I am not barefoot and in shorts and T-shirt at the computer. A nasty cold front has arrived. Damn you, Fargo. Bismark, I read with glee, got a foot of snow yesterday. Winnipeg, I forgive you. It's 56 degrees outside. Inside the temp has only dropped 4 stinky degrees but it feels like a whole other thing. Maybe because it's a damp 74. I may make a run to Starbucks where I can huddle around a Grande.

I have become acclimatized to the 90s and 100s. I already miss them.

2- Trees are starting to turn. (Though some species don't drop till spring!)

Did I really read that some yutz got a Nobel prize for comparing swimming speeds in syrup versus water? Oh - I see - it's a joke: THE CEREMONY: The Prizes are awarded at a gala ceremony in Harvard's Sanders Theatre. 1200 splendidly eccentric spectators watch the winners step forward to accept their Prizes. The Prizes are physically handed to the winners by genuinely bemused genuine Nobel Laureates.

Well, heck, I could have turned my 'research' at IHOPS into a medal then. Just didn't know where to send in my sticky data.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

CHRISTMAS MUSIC aaaaarragghhhhhhhhh!

As you read below, I am knee-deep in brother-in-law's cassette to CD project. To do the best job I can, I had to bring the recording gear into the office with me. I have the music playing on headphones just loud enough to hear so I can tell when the cassettes' music ends - I can just make it out. It turns out the brain doesn't need much to grab and hold.
There are polkas, marches, easy listening music (he calls it dinner music) and now... Christmas music.

All of this stuff sticks in your head and I hear it when it isn't there. It's on a loop in my head and WON'T STOP. I had a mind-loop of the Beer Barrel Polka that went a day and a half and still echoes in my synapses. "Roll out the bar-rel... we'll have a bar-rel of fun...!" I MAY turn to self-medication.

Today is Christmas Music day. The irony is I got so sick of it when in radio and the station would play it non-stop for 40 hours or whatever... Christmas eve and day. THEN the trend, which we jumped on, was to play it for 6 weeks STRAIGHT - as YOUR CHRISTMAS MUSIC STATION.* It DOES pull a large audience (poor souls). I thought I escaped that life, but just four feet away as I type this, hark! Herald angels are singing....

I hope this counts as Purgatory time served.

* The problem is that there are only maybe 14 really well known, beloved Christmas songs. You play every version you can get but still, the repeat factor will drive your mind batty. I like Christmas. I even like the songs. Maybe once a year per song. Maybe.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Record from cassette to CD

My brother-in-law and I haven't had many conversations. No bad vibes, we just haven't spent much time together. And his e-mails are terse. So I was suprised to find one which asked a technical question. I like tech questions when it comes to audio! He wanted to know how to make a CD from a cassette. I explained it and added, "but if this doesn't make sense for you, I'd be glad to do it, just send it to me. No sweat." His next E dropped the bombs. Cluster bombs. "I have about 20 cassettes to copy."

I'm now looking through his collection and trying to figure out how to do this - I have the burner but the cassette player is putting out like a catholic girl after confession (sorry) - like very little output. I sleep on it. An ah-ha moment greets the day and my hand hits the very right adaptor I need to pull a signal out of the headphone output.

Now I fret about levels and fuss.

Then it hits me - he's dropped the needle on records (this is really cross-generational!) and hit record at the same time. This explains why everything is "upcut" - an upcut is where the beginning is missing. Because you can't record on the tape LEADER which is about 10 seconds of blank.

So I feel better. I am doing the best I can and persevering because our old casette player has no auto reverse... running back to check every few minutes.

And yet - it's family. It's what you do.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Binging on LOST

I admit it. (Several entries below I 'didn't get' LOST.)

Now that we've watched 8 episodes of season one, we get it. I am hooked through the cheek with a big barbed hook on 250 pound monofilament! I want to feed at the season one table non-stop... and at the rate we're going, that table will soon be empty of all but crumbs.

It's funny that in our TiVo household, where skipping commercials is an art form, the joy of the - fade to black, beat beat beat, next scene - DVD format of LOST is so... satisfying!

I still don't like the plot that brought a polar bear early on.

But especially enjoyed THE CONFIDENCE MAN revelation.

They even made the ditz-spoiled blonde babe human by giving her asthma.

And the Korean wife almost left her husband, learned to speak english behind his back. Ha!

And the rock star became a moth (you have to have watched for that to make sense: He kicked his drug habit and became a hero too.)

We'll do SEASON ONE then wait a year (purge) then BINGE again or get out of sequence.

LOST is an unexpectedly good FIND! Admittedly, we are late to the party of this hit show.

Saturday, October 01, 2005


is a movie based on the cancelled TV show FIREFLY. Original cast. After the show was bungled by Fox, airing its 11 episodes OUT OF ORDER, then dropping it, the DVD set sold 1,000,000 copies at about $40. Creator Joss (or Josh - I've seen it both ways) Whedon got backing to do a movie version.

A one sentence summary: Misfits and outcasts in space 500 years from now. As much a western (with shotguns and 6 shooters even!) as sci-fi. VERY difficult to explain but wonderfully explained on screen. I admit to haviing loved the series. My review: GO SEE IT. It's 100% fabulous.

Plot A+
Acting A+
Direction A++
Editing A+
Writing A++

Can you tell I liked it? LOVED it. Really - GO SEE IT.