Friday, September 29, 2006


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Six-term Republican Rep. Mark Foley of Florida resigned from the U.S. Congress on Friday following reports he sent sexually inappropriate e-mails to underage congressional interns.

Foley, chairman of the House caucus on missing and exploited children, said he would resign immediately.

I say vote em ALL out! Let's start over!

--- later ---

This sure has the Donkeys and Elephants roused from their sleep! These guys (and a few women) should all go get real jobs so we can bring in a new crew. It seems like they each paint the other side on everything as the blackest of black while they are the whitest of white... and they all march in lockstep to the party's flute. (...which Foley would like to see a picture of.)


I have come to believe that the lack of security surrounding electronic voting machines will throw another election. I have also come to believe that the republicans stole the last presidential election from Gore. Have to admit he's not been (seemingly) too bitter. I would be. Read about Ohio if you want more conspiracy.

But that's not why I am here today. I found another great lie.

They are like dandilions in spring - virtually everywhere. All you have to do is look.

There's a new technology which is called HD Radio. It "promises" CD quality on FM, what you've been used to on FM on AM. It can do this. Few people know about it. Some stations ARE broadcasting a separate HD signal along with their analog signal, but radios are expensive, relatively unknown and also unavailable. Terrestrial radio thinks this will beat back satellite radio because there's no fee.

BTW: I predict satellite radio will fold, or at least cease to exist as we know it today within a few years. Floating to earth will be the founders under golden parachutes. Their losses of billions will be seen as a mighty try. In fact, the business model is grossly flawed.

But that's not why I am here.

Today's lie is this: while the HD proponents are claiming CD quality, one major group I know, in a market I know, is pumping out "HD" at bit rates below, uh, WAY BELOW CD. In fact below normal FM - 32k if you know what that is. What's this mean? It means hammered crap audio. It means they are using the rest of the digital pipe for other crap. More streams of other crap means more opportunities for 'monetization.' But lies can be SPUN and there's the charm, you see.

I believe I know what can SAVE HD before it is stillborn, and offer it to the world: The angle: HD Fights Terrorism. That apparently is all it takes to change/ignore the constitution, spend/waste billions, etc. It ought to be enough to get America to turn their knobs.

Thursday, September 28, 2006


Wild nose hair and hay fever have combined to drive me NUTS today! Meds don't help. Trimmer didn't help. I need prayers!


I buy CDs from They are slow to get everything - sometimes you have to wait some weeks before they have the very latest discs - but are only $6. That's right. About $10 or more less than in-store. There are no "must buys" or any of that. They are all fresh normal CDs. One just came, which for some reason, won't play. This is the first problem I've ever had. Below is an E mail exchange with www.yourmusic. Read from the bottom up to get the right sequence. It's a WOWser!

Hello Robert,

Thank you for contacting us about your order number

We are sending a postage-paid label via postal mail to assist you with
the return of the original item. Please repackage the selection and send
it back to us when you receive the label.

To ensure the prompt processing of your return, please be sure to
include a note providing a brief description of the problem along with
your complete name and address and your original order number (as listed

We have already processed the replacement for you, and your new order
number is YM000284781.

We apologize for any inconvenience this has caused.


Carole Y.
Customer Service

For best service, please include this note with your reply.

Original Message Follows:

Robert Wood
SID: 0
Referring Company: CJ Affiliate Program

Not sure of order no., but Michael McDonald The Ultimate Collection
won't play on my CD players - they don't even see it as a disc! Am I
alone on this one? It appears perfect (no scratches, right out of the
box, etc. What should I do? Thanks!

Bob Wood

Server's system time (GMT): Tue Sep 26 15:16:40 2006


Before we moved here, one of the lowest rated tv (news) stations began to hire away the Big successful team, one by one. It was completed after a long sit-out by the male of the team, waiting for a non-compete to expire. This is the station we watch - it's a CBS affiliate. CBS might even own it, I'm not sure. Ratings are apparently coming up, but not #1. The station with very bad audio and shouting weak anchor woman is #1. (Hint: It ain't the quality so it must be the lead-ins or viewer habit, or voodoo.)

The station that the Big team came from runs a crawl under the news. I hate crawls as they make me work my eyes way too much. I can't resist reading them. (I hate TVs in restaurants for the same reason, as I am distracted away from Terri or our guests time and again!)

So the competing station with the new old Big anchor team recently added crawls. But they have only maybe 4 or 5 stories on that crawl that repeat ad nauseum. Perhaps their crawl generator doesn't have any capacity? Here's the amazing part: REPEATEDLY, night after night, there are errors in the crawl. I am tempted to call and lecture the news director on the proper use of "its" versus "it's!" Wouldn't you think a news director would watch the newscast and notice that someone has grade school punctuation problems?

Maybe it's the dumbing down of America.

Speaking of dumb, I read today that a candidate for president of Equador called Bush dimwitted, and refered to the recent Venuezuelan UN insult that Bush was the devil, as an insult to the devil! He said the devil was evil but intelligent! Yeah, they love our foreign policy.

Saw a commercial for Burger King in which "everybody's got the sits" was the clever line. The slab -o- road kill on a bun is so big you apparently have to sit to eat it. Wha?

I am surely losing my mind.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


"I am a candy corn addict."

"Hello Bob!"

"Every year stores jump start Halloween by putting out bins of candy corn, and its henchcandy, pumpkins, bats, witches and corncobs. I can resist at first, and out of season, because I know what happens next. Once I get started I can't stop. Just another few. Just bite the yellow heads off the kernels. Then just the white tips, then you have to finish the orange part from the middle. I know the differences between manufacturers. I know fake yellow corn cobs are bogus. Only Banana flavored corn husks are authentic! We don't even buy the bagged corn - we go bulk and shovel... my pancreas has fallen out from all the sugar and I drag it around behind me like an old bag lady drags her bags. The only thing that stops me sat each binge is the sugar high followed by the sugar coma that follows as sure as day follows night. I have lost all self respect. Surely this is tied to an unhappy childhood.

The supermarket is just up the street. And I just ran out again..."

Sunday, September 24, 2006


Netflixed to our DVD player, this movie has an impressive list of stars: Sir Ben Kingsley, Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, Lucy Liu, Stanley Tucci, Josh Hartnett.

I had put it into our list based on that, not really knowing what it was about. Later I read a bad review. I write bad review and I mean bad and also negative. Bad, because it was negative. The film wasn't.

It requires thought. In one of the 'extras' one of the actors says this attracted him because it was a movie that gave the audience some credit for being able to think.

No, it's not perfect. But it IS darn good, with impressive acting and a great script. I don't want to write about the plot since I could spoil it for those who take my tout. A warning: The beginning won't make immediate sense. Roll with it.

I will say the extra, wherein the stars discuss the film, is cool - you can feel the genuine affection they have for each other's talent and for being in a good, clever movie that's well done. None of this comes across as hype or PR... one of them said everyone on the crew - not just those scheduled that day - came onto the set to watch Kingsley and Freeman in a major scene they shared, just to see these great actors at their craft. I believe it.


Presented by Chevrolet... so you know it's All American.

It's about the high value hides and meat that you can get during a 20 day season in 22 Texas counties. Legally. So, no, this isn't the immigration thing gone ugly. We're talking 14 foot hides. 1000 pounds of meat. All you need is a 300 pound-test line and a big hook and stinky meat. Gators! No longer endangered-listed. Granny chompin', spiteful, sneaky, mean... these nasty bad boys take all the fun out of the swing over the swimming hole.

But now you can set a trap or go bow hunting. And drive your 2007 Tahoe for the Best Hunting Experience. God Bless Texas!

Friday, September 22, 2006


I hate taking the car/s in for service. They always seem to find something 'else.' 'Else' costs between $500 and $1000.

My feelings have evolved over years of bad service. Porsche was the WORST. They couldn't fix things even after 4 attempts.

Yesterday I took my car in. It's a 1998 Audio A6. Needs another set of tires, and, while they are at it, an oil change... I plan to keep it running a long time (am told the engine is a strong one) and I hope to not be back for service for another 6 months or more. So change the oil.

I also need a fix for where I pulled the front bumper loose on a too high curb at a movie theater. Oughta be a law! Weeellllll, they might be able to fix in the repair area or (minor chord music goes here) THE BODY SHOP.

At 8 years and counting, the car looks great, usually runs very well, is comfortable, and I like it very very much. But I don't need it perfect. I fear the call - "you need a new bumper..." That will take me into the THOUSANDS and it's just beyond the point of no return.

The longer I wait for the call the more ominous it becomes.

Oh - and service rep says - "New tires... do you want us to put them on the car?" This may be the dumb question of the month if not the year. I was stunned into politeness - "Yes, please." But later I thought up some snappy replies.

"No, I'll eat them here."

"No, just let me roll them along side the car."

---- Later ----

I call THEM. "Is my car ready?" "Oh yes, they just finished cleaning it up."

I drive to the dealership. About 45 minutes away.

The car has new tires and has been re-oiled. But they 'couldn't fix the bumper.' And the bill was wrong. And when I got home there's a piece missing which goes in the middle of one of the wheels.

I hate service.

I HATE service.

"Why didn't you TELL me it wasn't fixed?" "Well, it takes longer than a few days to get into the body shop." Get the drift? A conversation going nowhere. Bad communication. I will speak to the manager Monday when he returns from a trip. As I said to the cashier, isn't the profit on a new $80,000 car worth more than bad communication? I guess my next car - if an Audi, will perhaps be purchased somewhere else.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


Willie Nelson's bus was pulled over in Louisiana yesterday for a routine stop when the state trooper noticed what seemed to be the smell of the wicked weed wafting from the bus. Upon inspection, he located a bag 'o' dope and some magic mushrooms too. I'll wait while you get over the shock.

Maybe that Reggae CD he did was a clue.

Actually, the whole world has been doing a nudge nudge wink wink over WIllie's ganja follies for, oh, 30 years or more.

I have an idea - Willie is 73. Let's draw a line. Say, 60. Over 60 you can smoke dope or take the 'shrooms. You can't drive just like you can't get drunk and drive, but after 60 you should know what you are doing.

Why not have crimes which cost more the younger you are? Bank Robbery at 25 gets you 20 years. Bank Robbery at 75 gets you 6 months. It has to do with a complicated formula based on lifespan and remaining years. It also changes things a lot.

"I have a gun."

"Now where did I put it?"

"What? Speak up!"

And face it, at 60 if you're going to be fat, you're fat. Go for the oreos. Munchies are about the only pleasure you're going to get much of. So why not?

I don't know why the Po-lice don't read about the stars that flaunt their drug use, and follow-up on it anyway. I read that Bill Maher was quite the serious smoker of MaryJane. Yes, that Bill Maher. Geez, Bill why in the name of good paranoia would you let that get out? It's not like you blend in, either.

Back to Willie - turns out Willie's Bio-Diesel isn't his only farming subsidy. I say let him off. Then let's let everyone incarcerated for the same offense out. It costs too much to put them up behind bars and the war on drugs just doesn't work. It's a mssive drain. How about for one year we turn ther war on drugs funding into the war on hunger. Tax drugs. For a year. See what happens.

Hey, here's another radical idea - next presidential election - each candidate would have to have one debate in which all participants were stoned. You'd see them in a different light, perhaps revealing some, uh, subtext. Giggles, short term memory loss and munchies would trump rehearsed posturing. I'd like to see the fatty being passed podium to podium too.

Friday, September 15, 2006


The Sentinel. On paper, it should be good. Keifer Sutherland, Michael Douglas, Kim Bassinger. Somebody is trying to kill the president. A mole inside the secret service. Ooooo.

Trouble is, we only really see 3 people of any importance inside the SS and we know it isn't 2 of them. Big surprise. It's Mister Number Three. And the movie is full of confusion and too many scenes of people walking and not enough character development. Douglas doesn't look good. Bassinger does but isn't given much to do. Sutherland is the only guy with energy. The president is played by the guy who used to be Hammer if you remember that corny show.

What a mess!

How does this happen? Do they shoot a good film and then hack it to death in the editing process? Do test audiences ruin films? Or marketing departments? The director? I'd give a bad screenplay nasty marks.

Every one of the major stars has been in terrific projects. But not this time.

It must be embarrassing to be in such a visible stinker. There you are, 20 feet high, on screens, stinking. And it never goes away, thanks to DVD. You stink virtually forever. No wonder actors are nuts half the time. Their careers are in the hands of other people.

Imagine the retinue of a major star - publicist! - manager - agent - attorney - cpa -personal assistant - makeup person - stylist - housekeeper - nanny (possibly) - gardener. Everybody feeding off you. Eck! Oh - almost forgot - you really cannot trust these people since their livelihood depends on how well they suck up.

Thursday, September 14, 2006


When I "do" the pool chemistry I wear old big Elton-John 80s glasses, just in case there's any acid splash. And big rubber gloves.

When I was an early teen I played with chemistry sets and had acids way stronger than the ones you put into the pool. As I remember, and my memory might be wrong, some of the stronger concentrations didn't burn right away. There was, in effect, a delay. Then you were in trouble!

Today I carefully measured the readings and as always, needed to put a quart of acid into the pool. I thought I was being careful, but two drops splashed from the pool to my face and neck. IMMEDIATELY you know! It's a quick trot to douse it with water.

I don't know what you do if you fall in with the jug, because you'd hit the area with the acid in it AND the jug might explode - you never add water to acid, it's the rule: add acid to water. So whatever got into the bottle would cause a very violent reaction.

I've rinsed where the drops hit but I can still feel them burning.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


CBS TV & Radio’s Katie Couric saw her brief reign as network TV’s number one rated news anchor end Monday night. Couric dropped into third place behind NBC’s Brian Williams and ABC's Charlie Gibson.

Couric drew about 7.4 million viewers Monday night, down from around 13 million who tuned in for her debut on September 5.

She did well her first week... winning first place. Curiousity? Hype?

If it stays down, THEN what will they do? Imagine the meetings and gnashing of teeth! This could get interesting.

I think people have to get connected to her and get used to her style. Whether or not that happens remains to be seen.

For my money, Brian Williams is great. The best.

Monday, September 11, 2006


The LOST discs from last season are making their way to household Wood, and we are consuming them with gusto like Rosie O'Donnell at a free flannel shirt giveaway.

For this whole last season, when a show a promo would air, we'd cover our eyes and go nanananananananananananaaaaaa!

The show is held together nicely by the flashbacks. There's just enough of each character to keep the rhythm up. And darn if every show seems to end too soon!

It is a bit like Twin Peaks on Vacation... just nuts enough to intrigue (well, since the tropical polar bear, anyway.)

I won't give away any plot in case you are about to indulge this guilty pleasure.

Friday, September 08, 2006


If you are into conspiracy theories... this will ruin your calm.


The weatherman has a cockroach go up his leg. (Or maybe it was management?) Anyway, this is hilarious. Credit to Geoff Fox for pointing it out on HIS blog, which you can access to the right of this column.

In broadcasting they teach you to just keep going.

I imagine this guy is well-known and laughed at a lot now in his viewing area.

Speaking of weather - This is a longer piece but the funniest one by far is the first one. Well worth a look. Love the scream.

As long as we're at it, here's one where there's no english spoken but you'll get it completely. I laughed till I had tears.

Thursday, September 07, 2006


Ever call in to win something? Most people don't, but I am going to spill the telephone beans: when a radio station says, "Call Now" - if you get a fast busy signal, you didn't even get out of your local telephone office 'switch.' Let's say you are in a community 10 miles from the downtown radio station... fast busy means you were choked off at the local switch - your call didn't even get to the downtown normal-sounding 'busy.' Stations have special numbers designed to NOT blow out the whole system due to overloads. That's how they behave - only a few calls are allowed simultaneously from each area.

The way to get through is to use a CELLPHONE. There's no guarantee you will get through - but your chances go way up!

Also, if calling Ticketmaster when "Tickets go on sale" try the cell. Same idea. Also try a long distance market - say, some place far enough away that locals will not be going to the show near you - if you can get a local area coded Ticketmaster number for that area code - call that one.


I usually don't read it. I prefer to skip instructions pamphlets too. After all, the way something works should be obvious if it's well designed. Plus, I am a male.

Well, if you caught the lightheadness blogged below, I am happy to report that all is now well, and the mystery, luckily, wasn't a case for CSI. It turns out that the medication I take shouldn't be stopped cold turkey. (We were caught briefly between medical plans without paperwork.) Not taking the meds is what nailed me. Two days after restarting, I am fine.

After two days of rain the sun shone yesterday and it was cooler. I felt much better. I found some great music to listen to (on, dot977 is 80s pop music very nicely programmed!) and Terri and I dined lakeside. Ahhhhh. That's more like it.


I did catch a glimpse of Katie the Newsanchor on CBS. I have to agree with the reviewer who said she was most awkward while standing, less so while sitting. Does it seem to you that they are shooting DOWN at her? Or is it her eyes and the way she holds her head? Something diminished her.

Here's the deal: you have to own your space, and she doesn't yet. Another thought -I've seen this firsthand from working in a building with a TV station and knowing some TV people: the really great ones get "bigger" on TV - their presence commands attention. Katie doesn't. Not yet. Not in this role. But maybe in a month.

I got a kick out of the new music (spendy, eh?) and the nice new set (I like it) and the voice of Walter Cronkite introing her. All very nicely done.

Imagine the network nitwit nitpicking!


Why doesn't this blog spellchecker know the word BLOG?

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


The world lost the Crocodile Hunter. I am deeply saddened. Maybe it was his boyish enthusiasm that made him such an easy guy to like - maybe his sense of adventure... so many times I'd turn away from the screen and say don't DO THAT!!!

Last night CNN ran an old Larry King hour with Steve. I actually had some tears. Bet I wasn't alone.

Part of the tragedy was how it happened. Such a rare accident. If he had been snagged by a very poisonous snake he was handling, then you'd think too bad - his fault. But this seemed to be much more innocent.

I have video of Terri and I feeding Stingrays in Tahiti - standing among them in the ocean, being covered at times with their curiously soft bodies... nobody mentioned that the barbs are extremely painful, or even that you could conceivably take one in a place you would prefer to keep barbless.

My thoughts and feelings go out to Steve's wife and family. This is just so sad.


I have several hundred pages of websites. But my website building program may have been victim of the great hard drive failure. The tech - in Germany, I think... hasn't been really helpful - in fact - he GAVE UP! So I am faced with perhaps reloading the program - presumably on a new clean non-corrupt hard drive BUT maybe losing all the files associated with the websites.

My only recourse would be to start over or try to load the pages one by one back into the program. Which I am not inspired to do. At all.

Herr Teckmann doesn't respond.

Computers - gotta love em gotta hate em.

Monday, September 04, 2006


The fact that I can write this says a lot about friendship, technology, and maybe even medicine.

My computer, recently freed from virus (virii) hell, was still experiencing problems. Then the (should be) dreaded "Your computer is having hard disc trouble" warning popped up, with s strong recommendation that I run CHKDSK. I did. And there were several files/bytes/sectors (beats me) which were problematic and supposedly fixed. But problems continued. Subsequent CHKDSKs kept fixing more and more (although all was supposedly already fixed. This is what decay looks like.)

I consulted trusted friends who know more about computers than I. My biz partner and 30+ year friend in Florida suggested my hard disc may be the problem. Ditto my long time more techno-friend in Connecticut (he even builds computers). I ran CHKDSK more and it continued to find and fix things. But like Ms. Pak-Man, files were being gobbled up in the process. I turned to a neighbor and new friend - he's in the software biz - who really saved my buns by telling me (my board of computer directors was unanimous!) that it sure seemed like my hard drive was dying and I should immediately back up the whole shebang, replace the hard drive, etc.

I bought the software he suggested. Luckily it loaded. (It too suggested my hard drive was corrupt like a long term congressman under the thumb of special interests, and caught with a hooker at the Watergate!)

I shopped and bought two hard drives - an internal and external - both on sale and both at 250GB. $49.99 and $99.99 respectively. I then backed up the bad drive onto the external and got lost along the way. My neighbor, the most generously helpful guy, talked me off the ledge and we then successfully (this blog is testimony) mirrored the new external drive onto the new (they are easy to install - I did it myself) empty internal drive.

I have avoided - I think - a pretty catastrophic loss - won't know what doesn't work or is missing until I try more, but at least I am secure in the knowledge that my bad hard drive which holds my life as I know it today is fixed and also mirrored from now on.

The medicine part is that I am lightheaded. Not from my computer hassle, but I hope from the medication I stopped when the changing insurance plans didn't quite time together properly. When I move my eyes (open or close) I get a head rush of lightheadedness.

Even so, I did move about a ton and half of rock yesterday, walk the dog a mile each day, etc. I am hopeful that the medicine when resumed will take away what might be withdrawal. Otherwise, I have to go find a doctor since mine moved away.

Wish I could run CHKDSK on me.

Friday, September 01, 2006


Trapped again in the office by painters for the second day, I am streaming a jazz station from Toronto, and on the air is a man with whom I worked 30 years ago in Montreal. He hasn't changed a bit! He's still smooooooooooth, and the music, with which I am unfamiliar, helps my imprisonment.

Think about that: I am jumping both time and space. Pretty cool.


Here's an interesting development that will soon play out, perhaps as early as today: one of my prescriptions has run out (in fact, my only prescription - the one that prevents hair from gowing on my head) - well, my new doctor (the old one had an office that felt dirty and the doc gave Terri the creeps) moved to a rural community too far from here. I had seen him once. So technically I am doctorless and if he says I must be seen for a refill, I will go cold turkey while I seek a new guy/woman as my doc. Meanwhile, get the cranberry sauce ready.

Since I was such a vagabond, I have had, by my count, at least 17 doctors of the general practice stripe. All sorts of docs - good, bad, old, young, men, woman. The woman was in Montreal and one of the best - she actually sat down after the exam to talk, and listened. Even though there were people waiting... she cared. It mattered.

My favorites are not so lost in their assembly line of patients that you can enjoy some shared humanity. Since they make me nervous, I tend to joke. Since I mistrust authority I can be somewhat - what? - Mark Twainesque: a nice new work for skeptical.

Due to my mistrust, I usually save up about three problems before I go.

If you are the trusting type, I have a book for you to read.