Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Find-A-Grave -- Shemp Howard

I love Shemp of the Three Stooges.

I've been watching the films after he replaced Curly.

Shemp is genuinely and wildly funny. I laughed really hard when Moe got his foot crushed by a car falling on it. When they got him out, Shemp says, "So how was it? Pretty heavy?" Something like that. A funny, funny line.

Here's Shemp's final resting place. He's in a mausoleum, slid into a wall. He died in 1955.

I'm not going to "leave a note" at his grave's webpage, unless there's some indication that he's been reading them. But what would I say if I did? "Uh, Shemp, hi. Sorry you're dead. Some people, you may know, groan when they see you're going to be in the film instead of Curly. I love Curly, too, but I don't groan (anymore), because I think you're very great. How are the other three? Are they where you are? Do all Stooges go to heaven?"

Monday, March 30, 2009


I just saw an article at Huff Post on how getting rid of clutter might not do good things for you. I didn't actually read it but I think the gist of it was just that, going by the first sentence and headline.

It always seems to me like it'd do good. But I haven't ever been able to do it. Maybe I'll need that. Maybe I'll sell that. Maybe, maybe, maybe. And there are actually things I need all the time. But if I didn't have it I'd probably be able to manage somehow. And just because I have this thing, I don't have some other thing and am able to get along OK.

It's spring, and that's the time to spring clean. I've got the bug if not the time and follow through.

I feel like I would feel better if I were to look at my room and see fewer things and those things in some kind of order. As it is, I'm sitting in the most cluttered room that (perhaps) I could imagine.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Don't Blame Drug Addicts?

I'm amazed at the ferocity of the right wingers and how little it takes to get their shorts in a knot. In the Bush years we had the whole thing about "Don't blame America for 9/11" when there were those who were trying to do so. Including, as I recall, Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson. But there were others -- like talking about social responsibility, understanding terrorists, etc. -- who made it sound like causes had effects, that sort of thing, and that it wasn't just that the "terr'ists hated our freedoms."

OK, point taken. Blaming America isn't the way to go.

So now Hillary Clinton goes to Mexico and says some of the problems Mexico is having with drug cartels and beheadings thereby has something to do with our drug problem in the United States, drug dealers and addicts. And wouldn't you know it, here comes the right wingers (one I heard of, this guy Bill Sammons from Fox; even Chris Matthews jumped on this dead end bandwagon)! "It's Blame America First all over again."

Excuse me. But in this case there is some cause and there is some effect. Now I know you can't easily say which came first, the chicken or the egg (actually I think you can, obviously the chicken -- "Let there be chickens, and there were chickens), but you can say there is a distinct correlation between supply and demand when it comes to illegal drugs.

And anyway, since when did drug dealers and addicts become the kind of Americans we feel like standing up for? "Hey, Clinton, what are you doing besmirching our patriotic drug dealers and addicts?" Don't these cretins cause pain and suffering for all our society? We don't have to say they are America, and that when you insult them you're insulting us all.

C'mon, at least have a brain. Do you hate Obama and Clinton SO MUCH that you just have to reflexively fight the same churlish fights of the Bush years and the first Clinton years at every whipstitch? It's ridiculous.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

I'm Loving Shemp

The other day I made the necessary transition from Curly to Shemp in my quest to watch all the Three Stooges' Columbia short films. Curly had to go and have a stroke on me, meaning he dropped out of the group. (Just because it happened a long time ago, before I was even born, I still take these things very personally.)

I've seen Shemp over the years. I'm sure I remember some of these from childhood. We always watched the Stooges on TV at my grandparents. And definitely the one about "I have a sister this high, I have a brother this high" ("Fright Night"), to me is the classic Shemp scene. Very memorable to me. Some of the others, just speaking of the first Shemp episodes, I've seen on video cassettes, since "Six Pants" and "Brideless Groom" are, I believe, commonly duplicated, being out of copyright somehow.

Reading up on it, in "Brideless Groom," I read Shemp actually had his nose broken in the scene where the young lady is slapping him and finally slugs him.

These are very funny films. Shemp does a marvelous job. There's quite a different vibe from the Curly films. But Shemp is not lacking anything when it comes to being an entertaining and wonderful Stooge. And Larry and Moe never lost a thing either. I laughed out loud several times, but once unexpectedly, when Shemp has a fishbowl stuck on his head (in "Hold That Lion"). He's going "glub, blug," etc., trying to tell Moe and Larry to get it off. Moe says, "What'd he say?" And Larry just repeats the nonsense "glub" stuff. Moe's mad. It's a funny funny scene.

Friday, March 27, 2009

You Say You Want A Revolution?

"You go carryin' pictures of Tom Delay,
You ain't gonna make it with anyone anyway."

Michelle Bachmann, the crazy lady in Congress, against whom I proudly gave money in the last election (should have been more), is calling for a revolution. Right here in the United States!

In short, she thinks Barack Obama is a tyrant, that he is making "the people suffer and mourn," and that he's taking us down "the lane of economic Marxism." In short, she's a wacko. You know, they had a bill the other day that presidential candidates should have to show their birth certificate. Maybe we need a few rules for congressional candidates too, like needing to have a working knowledge of reality. And perhaps a commitment to reason.

Where was she, anyway, when we were being governed by certifiable criminals, in the Bush years? You know these guys are actually afraid of being charged as war criminals, because they would very likely be found guilty. If anyone should have been calling for a revolution, it seems like it'd be in a situation where the cause was explicitly manifest. But no, our Democratic congressmen and women were working through legitimate electoral means. Bush was crap, of course -- Cheney too -- but we weren't as worked up as all that, at least to the point of trying to overthrow the government, for crying out loud. You'd think these conservative radicals would at least wait till Obama knows his way around the White House.

Bachmann was crazy before the last election, going on Hardball and essentially saying that the others in Congress hated America. This is the level of her thinking, moronic. Then she backed up and said she didn't say it. Then ... I don't know what all she said. You don't expect truth to come out of their lying mouths.

By the way, this whole "Revolution" thing was part of an interview with Sean Hannity, so you can tell that actual treason is in the air.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Blender Magazine

The NY Times says, "Blender magazine is ceasing publication with its April issue..."

What?! This is too coincidental. I was seriously just on the verge of subscribing. That's true! I'm glad I didn't, or my $10 or $17.97 might have gone down the drain. I saw they had a terrific deal on the little card that comes with the magazine, with the subscription price working out to 50 cents an issue. At the newsstand it is $4.99 per copy.

When did I first hear of Blender magazine? Just this past Sunday. This is true. What timing. I was at the Walgreen's ... and I don't usually buy magazines ... hardly ever ... when I decided to do a little fun Sunday afternoon reading. And, what do we have here? A cool Kelly Clarkson cover, something called Blender. Never heard of it. $4.99? A little high, but that's what they're getting these days. So I bought it.

And since Sunday I've been thinking, I need to get that card going. Or subscribe online.

And now, Thursday, wham, they're out of business! Good, good grief.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

President Smart

Tom Shales today twice refers to President Obama as President Wonderful, as in this:

So it was that even though Obama did look tired, and had to wrestle with a seemingly faulty prompting device, and wasn't quite as energetic as in many of his other TV appearances, he still came out victorious -- not just President Wonderful but President Feel-Good as well.
I didn't think Obama looked all that tired, really, not compared to what a normal guy would look like with his schedule and demands. And as far as being energetic, there's something about him -- probably so -- that consciously sets a tone and sticks to it. He's conveying a point of view by his manner, quiet confidence. That's the President Feel-Good side.

He also clearly was President Wonderful, or as we would term it here at our place, President Smart. As in, "I can't believe how smart he is!" and "Isn't he smart!?" He is smart. He's got it going on, and, maybe as a counterpoint, he has the advantage of having followed George Bush as president. There aren't many advantages to doing that -- look up "apocalyptic" and "rubble" in the dictionary -- but coming across as very smart is one thing he can claim.

I'm still 100% on board for anything Obama wants to do. And Congress crosses him at their own peril. Yeah, I'm looking right at you, stinking Republican members of that august body!

In other news, Bobby Jindal, in a bit of self-deprecating humor, said his recent speech rebutting President Obama is no longer allowed to be played at Gitmo. Was it ever? We need to look into that.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Obama: Republicans Against Whatever Anyone Else Is For

President Obama sums up the situation exactly as we've seen it play out:

"I do think that the Republican Party right now hasn't sort of figured out what it's for," Obama said in a White House interview with The Courier-Journal and reporters from five other newspapers. "And so, as a proxy, they've just decided 'we're going to be against whatever the other side is for.' That's not what's needed in an economic crisis."
In other words the Republicans have zero principles. They're just making it up as they go along. It's like they're looking for the five minute argument room (Monty Python), and are just automatically gainsaying anything the other side says.

It would certainly be hard to believe their principles would be so diametrically opposite to the president's, that anything and everything is the worse possible alternative he could come up with and that they automatically have a better solution, although they can never really say what it is.

Republicans. We don't need them. We don't want them. Go away. They're pulling for failure. They actually want Americans to suffer. Nice, huh?

Monday, March 23, 2009

This Is Too Cool - Jindal Vs. The Volcano

Remember this clown, Gov. Bobby Jindal, and his outrage over spending money for "volcano monitoring"? To him it's just a big fat waste of time and money.

This is too cool. How would you like to be him now? One of the very volcanoes this money was to be used to monitor actually erupted! Alaska's Mount Redoubt.

One important stat: "Between 1980 and 1990, volcanoes worldwide killed at least 26,000 people and caused 450,000 people to flee their homes, according to the USGS."

Jindal made fun of volcano monitoring like a month ago. Who could predict Mount Redoubt would erupt just like that? Certainly not Jindal! Ha ha ha!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Republicans Pessimistic On Economy

Have I ever mentioned how repulsed I am by Republicans, especially the Republican crooks in Congress and government? My feelings haven't softened up any, and things are getting worse for them the more they rag on President Obama and wish our country down the drain. Disgusting bunch.

Now we have this bombshell from the NY Times: "G.O.P. Wary of White House Optimism on Economy." That's right. Big surprise. They don't see any good in any policy unless it's their own slipshod party making the decisions. If Bush twiddled his thumbs and shredded the Constitution, that's no problem. But if anyone else makes a decision with the idea of improving things for the general well being of the country, the Republicans are right there with their big wet blanket. Maybe that's the big tent they always say they have. A big wet tent that looks like a big wet blanket and performs the same function.

Here's the lede to the story:

A top economic adviser to President Obama said on Sunday that she was confident that the economy would begin to rebound this year, a message starkly contradicted by Republican leaders who expressed doubts about the growing deficit.
They don't say "We hope so!" "Wouldn't that be great!" "More power to him!" "People will be suffering less now!" Nothing like that. They simply "starkly contradicted" it, expressing doubts, talking it down, lest things improve and we get the country back on track. Filthy, vile bunch of ne'er-do-wells.

We need people in this country to be on the same page. Enough political gamesmanship. Let the common good be something held in common. There's plenty of progress to be made and plenty of credit to go 'round. But no, if you're suffering in this bad economy, to the Republicans that's great news!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Texas Longhorn Mushroom

That was a big, odd looking mushroom at the place we ate at yesterday. I'm calling it a Texas Longhorn Mushroom.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Questioning My Sanity

The news is the stuff of all oddballs, all the time. Sometimes I'm seriously wondering if I'm insane and reading it wrong. I very well could be. In which case this won't make a bit of sense, but will be like all the papers flapping on the wall in the movie, "A Beautiful Mind."

President Obama makes a joke about the Special Olympics? I love the guy but c'mon. Does he have a secret plan or is he just trying to feed himself to the conservatives? I see that on the headlines and I have to wince.

World's deadliest spider found in Tulsa, no antidote for its bite, if there is a bite?

A suicide forest in Japan?

Joe The Plumber tells a gathering of conservatives he's "horny"? Of course plumbers are all about pipes and fittings and things. As for sex among conservatives, all I can think of is David Vitter, diapers and hookers. They're a self-loathing bunch and I'm sure their action is very much a dead end affair.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Digitize Your Life

I've been giving serious thought (and follow through) to the idea of digitizing my life. That is, to collect all the papers and things I have, and I have boxes of them, then scanning them and putting them on a hard drive, then getting rid of the papers.

There are several issues involved though. Including the time it takes to do that. I see there are faster scanners but I hate to have to spend a lot of money getting a new scanner. My present scanner is fairly slow but still I could get the job done. Being slow, though, each stack of paper is almost like a mountain. Each one has to be put in there, given a file name, then hope I could ever find it again if I needed it; likely I won't need each and every one.

Another issue is the reliability of hard drives. How do I know that the hard drive I have will be working five years from now? But the stack of paper I know would likely make it, excluding a fire or some other disaster. Should I make copies of copies of copies, multiple hard drives, burning CDs and DVDs? Then if something gets renamed it can be very confusing. I have a certain sentimentality about some of the papers but not much. It's just I'd like to be able to reference one if I ever needed to. To digitize it all, though, is spending time on things, in addition, that I will never need.

I see also that they have scanners that can make the scans into searchable pdf files. Well, at this point, who knows, maybe that's a level of detail I don't need. Still, it sounds like something that would make everything easier to find.

I've been doing a little of this over the years. I am gung ho for it for a while, but then the enormity of the task usually wears down my resolve.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

To Catch A CEO

It seems like there's enough shenanigans going on at these big businesses, people getting disgusting amounts of cash for doing a bad job, that it's ridiculous. What kind of company pays people like this? And where can I apply? I could use a job like that, somewhere where I need a fleet of wheelbarrows to transport my Christmas bonus home.

As far as the latest public outrage goes, through bailing them out with borrowed taxpayer money only to have them turn around and give bigger bonuses, it's in the headlines in really big print. So that means everyone's even more outraged, lest each of us misses an opportunity. Probably the biggest problem with it is they're doing it right under our nose. Now we're worrying whether someone's contracts are being upheld. I think that's a good thing, to keep contracts. But if they would have been completely out of business without the help, at that point it seems like company survival and the country's economy are more important. I know if I wrecked my father's car one day, then said, "But you promised I could use the car next Saturday," he'd probably have said that indeed was his promise, but since you wrecked the car there's nothing left to drive!

We need to get Chris Hansen of "To Catch A Predator" fame to set up a house somewhere and lure these CEOs out, so we can catch them on film. Put out the word on an internet business chatline that there's some cute bonuses looking for a good time. Then they show up at the house, someone calls out that the bonuses need to slip into something more comfortable, then Chris pops out of nowhere to ask them, "So what are you doing here?" He would go on to explain, despite their many objections that they had no evil capitalist intent, that it didn't look good for them. "I got the transcript right here. And the bonus clearly said it was 14 billion." Nah, that doesn't make any sense.

Probably my favorite anti-CEO remark these days is this one, that we can "fire them." Ha ha. If I have a job where I just made $40 million, please, go ahead and fire me. What ever will I do next?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

St. Patrick's Day

I'm not a big fan of saints, in general. There's a couple saints I like. I think I mentioned Terese of Lisieux, the Little Flower. I have a few pictures of her and even a statue that I got at a garage sale. The statue was either a quarter or a dollar, and it's very gnarly. That's a bad picture of it. The skin is more white in fact than it appears in the picture.

I'm trying to think how I discovered her. I originally had a card but I didn't think much about it. But at some point I heard the story of her dropping roses on everybody on earth. Then I read her life story and it was very charming, although the discipline seemed very severe.

The other saint I have any idea about (except the biggies like St. Paul, Mary, etc.) is a guy named Sharbel. I don't know much about him either except I bought a book about him on eBay once for some reason. He was a hermit in Lebanon. And it's been a while since I looked at the book, so I can't remember why he ever appealed to me, except he looks crazy with holiness in the artwork that pilgrims made about his apparitions. I should look up Sharbel and see why I like him.

But today is St. Patrick's Day. He's got a lock on March 17, it would seem. No other saint in all of heaven can dislodge him.

We don't normally think of every day as some kind of saint's day. I'm not Catholic so I don't pay any attention to this stuff, virtually. But I got a calendar at a Mexican restaurant, and it tells of the various saints' days. It's in Spanish, so looking at today, that is "San Patricio." But yesterday, March 16, was the day for San Heriberto, the day before was the day for San Raymundo. Tomorrow is the day for San Narciso Ob., and the 19th is the day for San Jose. It goes on like that, apparently everyday. St. Therese's day is Oct. 1. I don't know if Sharbel has his own day. But if he doesn't have one, maybe I'll make one. I'll have to dislodge one of these other unknowns.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Dick Cheney

Dick Cheney is a scumbag. And the rest of the "Republican cabal" are scumbags, too. But he's a huge one.

Way to go, Robert Gibbs!

These guys -- Bush, Cheney, the other weasels -- were crooks and scoundrels. Down with them! America is better off without them.

Good riddance.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Traumatic Transition

The new Three Stooges volume is out this week. I knew it was coming in March but not exactly what week.

Here's an interesting snippet from the NY Times:

THE THREE STOOGES COLLECTION, VOL. 5: 1946-1948 Sony continues its series of meticulously restored Three Stooges shorts with 25 titles that bridge the traumatic transition from Curly to Shemp. ($24.96, not rated)
I like the phrase there. The episodes in this collection "bridge the traumatic transition from Curly to Shemp."

Shemp has his own thing, various delights that are uniquely Shemp. I've been guilty over the years of going "Oh, it's a Shemp one!" but now I'm over that, I hope. I like Shemp OK. His "bee bee bee bee" noise, his "I have a brother this high," the way his hair goes crazy when he's being punished in various ways...

I've watched Shemp but not as much as Curly, so I hope the transition isn't too traumatic. It was probably traumatic for the Stooges. Curly was a brother, then Shemp came back into the act with Curly's troubles.

The problem with Shemp isn't so much Shemp, but the iconic look of a guy with bangs, a guy with frizzy hair, and a guy with a butch that you need.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

A Uniter, Not A Divider

Scott Wilson has an article in the Washington Post, wringing his hands that President Obama shouldn't pin our economic crisis on George W. Bush. The premise is that Obama campaigned as someone who wanted to rise above partisanship.

Piffle. Rising above partisanship doesn't mean you ignore the plain truth of the matter. Nor does it mean taking the blame for eight years of failure and mismanagement. That would be a cushy job, huh? You have someone who burns down the house, then you step into the rubble and say, "Look at the house that I destroyed!"

Plus, there's an obvious problem with part of the premise of this paragraph:

Upon entering the White House in 2001, Bush pinned the lackluster economy on his predecessor, using the "Clinton recession" to successfully argue in favor of tax cuts that won some Democratic support. But for Obama, who built his candidacy on a promise to rise above Washington's divisive partisan traditions -- winning over many independent voters and moderate Republicans in the process -- blaming his predecessor holds special risks. [my emphasis]
As I recall the 2000 election, George Bush declared himself "a uniter, not a divider," and he promised to 'reach across the aisle' much as he had done as governor of Texas. He didn't come into office promising to govern as a hyper-partisan. How fast we forget!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Who Knew I Was Ultra Right?

I'm not ultra right, and can barely stand the hotheads, wingnuts, liars, and frauds who are. I don't watch or listen to these goofs, except a minute here, a minute there, or maybe if I'm stuck in a waiting room. Even then I'd rather step outside in the below zero temperatures than to be subjected to it.

So these people like Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin, there's nothing to me. I can't say they're dead to me because they were never alive.

But I read something today at Daily Kos -- maybe I heard something about it a few days ago -- that these clowns, who think they speak for average Americans (c'mon, they're elites if anyone is), "surround us," whoever the "us" is supposed to be. Me, I guess. So I clicked on the link at DKos, and guess what? Their "principles" are mostly common sense stuff that almost anyone could find agreement with, at least according to their own standard of "at least seven" out of the nine.

I suppose actual atheists would disagree with the one about God. For me, God is not a problem whatsoever, and it'd be my true opinion that even atheists could interpret that, if they knew about it, in a broader way, like with Paul Tillich, being their "ultimate concern." But set that aside.

Here's the list of principles and a few nudges from me.

The Nine Principles

1. America is good. - Yes, I think America is good. But what is America except "We the People"? And it's clear that the right wingers, like everyone else, don't think all Americans are good. Their political opposition, the people they're against at this very minute, and of course prisoners, murderers. Not everyone is good. As a concept, America is good, but there's no reality without the people and living up to your values. I've never been anywhere but America. I've always believed in the place. That doesn't mean everything is unambiguously "good." But by and large, sure, America's not just good, it's great!

2. I believe in God and He is the Center of my Life. - If you believe in God, follow the highest values. Don't make excuses, but apply yourself to the highest things and stay on the path.

3. I must always try to be a more honest person than I was yesterday. - It's good to have the motivation toward self improvement. I would have phrased this "principle" slightly differently. Rather than just centering in on honesty, they have the "12 values" following, I would have concentrated this statement on those values as a whole. Such as "I must always try to live out my values more and more." Honesty is great. I love honesty, tempered with mercy, but honesty in business, dealings, etc., of course. As for this principle I don't want to be saying I wasn't an honest person yesterday, though.

4. The family is sacred. My spouse and I are the ultimate authority, not the government. - The word "sacred" bothers me in terms of the family. It seems like "sacred" is a word that should be used for God more and us less. Maybe "central" would be a better word, but I catch the drift; it's good. As for "My spouse and I," a lot of people don't have a spouse, and we know better than to say generally that we're "the ultimate authority." Because it depends on what it is. We're the ultimate authority on where we're going to live, where we're going to go to school, what our kids are going to read at home, etc., and on lots of other things. But the government obviously has authority over us. We can't park our car in the middle of the street. We can't proclaim ourselves divorced and have it be legal. We can't shoot our neighbors. We can't secede from the union, the United States and my family.

5. If you break the law you pay the penalty. Justice is blind and no one is above it. -- Of course I agree with this. It somewhat contradicts number 4, because you have to assume it's the government who's making you pay the penalty, unless vigilante justice is what they have in mind here.

6. I have a right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, but there is no guarantee of equal results. - Of course that's true.

7. I work hard for what I have and I will share it with who I want to. Government cannot force me to be charitable. - Of course that's true. Obviously government can force you to pay taxes, since there are laws (see number 5). And if you break the law you pay the penalty. But as for normal charity, number 7 is good.

8. It is not un-American for me to disagree with authority or to share my personal opinion. - People on the left said this for eight long years about the Bush administration. But in those years it was judged unpatriotic to disagree with authority. And sharing one's personal opinion could even get you death threats. I remember an idiotic restaurant that had a sign that said they wouldn't serve anyone who ordered "French fries." It had to be "Freedom fries" or no fries for you. It was Bush who said you're either with him or with the terrorists.

9. The government works for me. I do not answer to them, they answer to me. - I've said this repeatedly over the years. Everyone seems to forget, whether the president is George Bush or whoever, that he is our employee. He is in office to serve us.

I basically have no problem with the principles. They seem to have a "rough draft" quality to them and could have been phrased better, but hey!

The "12 values" are less ambiguous, more definite. They are:

* Honesty
* Reverence
* Hope
* Thrift
* Humility
* Charity
* Sincerity
* Moderation
* Hard Work
* Courage
* Personal Responsibility
* Gratitude

Each one of these is an excellent value.

And I'm not ultra right. So if they're looking for agreement by "surrounding" us, they got it!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

American Idol's New Rule

They had the "new rule" announced last night on American Idol. It is that the judges in the course of the season can "save" a person who receives the lowest number of votes that week if they feel he or she should have another shot. Then the next week they would say goodbye to two. And there would be no more saves the next week because the save can only be once in the season, anytime before the final five.

The weird thing is they showed Chris Daughtry and hinted that it would "save" someone like him who perhaps should have gone further in the competition. But he was in the final 4, so in his case it wouldn't have saved him.

Even if it would have saved him, he still might not have won. We all know Chris Daughtry is the greatest thing in the world (basically) now, but not everyone thought that at the time. Or he would've kept going on the show. I remember some criticism of him at the time as sounding the same every week, like he had one style and that was it. Personally I liked him, but I liked Taylor Hicks better.

The ones who were there were Taylor, Katharine McPhee, Elliott Yamin, and Chris. Taylor definitely had fan votes coming in from somewhere, since he was never in the bottom three ... until, of course, there were only three left. Elliott had some good things going on and has done pretty well since, better than I thought he would. Taylor's audience doesn't seem to be a big CD buying group, or downloaders. I've got his new one ordered. It must not be popular enough to be at the store because they didn't have it yesterday. Katharine came in second. As for my taste, she would have gone home in Chris' place, then Elliott, then have the final between Chris and Taylor.

I think it's a good rule to have, the new one. But you knew, since they can only do it once, they weren't going to waste it on Jorge or Jasmine. At this point things have to shake out and you can barely say they didn't have a good shot to show the goods. Only if it had been unbelievable, like Adam Lambert with the lowest number of votes. That would have been a disaster. They would've used it then.

Exciting stuff, huh? Better than politics really. It's superficial enough you can keep track of all the angles and you're not dealing with quite as many dishonest people. I hope.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

First Ones Voted Off

I wasn't unhappy with American Idol's results tonight. Everyone has to fall except one, so it's good to start with the bad ones. Or mediocre.

People have big dreams but not everyone's going to make it to the top. I should know. I've labored fruitlessly for years trying to realize my dream. It's been so long I forgot what it was. There was the dream I had when I was five of someday being a fireman. Never happened. But I'm sure that's not the dream I had in mind. Well, maybe it'll come to me.

So tonight we had Jasmine Murray going home first. I guess I didn't know her last night. I must have heard it at some point but when I heard it tonight it wasn't familiar. I thought she was very cute from the start. But... the performances seemed lackluster. Not terrible though.

The other one going home was Jorge Nunez, which has to make all of Puerto Rico mad. He was definitely a guy to be proud of, like Jasmine. A good guy, full of heart. He did a Michael Jackson song, "Never Can Say Goodbye," that was, again, not great. It didn't sound much better tonight. It wasn't jazzed up in any way. So I'm not sorry to see him go.

They have a new rule, that one time in the season the judges can "save" someone who was voted out. They didn't take advantage of the rule tonight, which was to be expected. At this point, just let things shake out as they must.

Kelly Clarkson did a hot version of her new record, "My Life Would Suck Without You." I just got her new CD today. Haven't had time to listen to it, and now that it's bedtime, I'll have to put off that pleasure till some other time.

I'm pulling for Adam Lambert all the way. He's the one!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Chuck Norris

Search around. There's links on it today. Something about Chuck Norris wanting to be President of Texas and to secede from the union, raising up armed cell groups that are apparently in place.

I haven't read every word on it, not even every other word, but it sounds like this is something people are seriously talking about. Maybe that should be a question. Chuck Norris, he's some kind of famous action hero from TV and the movies. Walker, right? I've never seen it, but I've heard of it. I'm sure the two kids in Taladega Nights were Walker and Texas Ranger. Plus, I think Chuck Norris is known for kickboxing? No? I do know that he was a supporter of Mike Huckabee for president. Because I remember Mike joking around, something about Chuck kicking the crap out of anyone who crossed him.

All that said, isn't it a crime to advocate armed uprisings and secession? I'm not a lawyer, but I thought there was something about that. And the phrase "cell groups," is that anything like "sleeper groups," late from Al Qaeda fame? Wouldn't a "cell group" being prepared for an uprising against the government of the United States at least almost be in that league? Would they be terrorizing the rest of us? Would that make them terrorists? Just wondering.

We do have that phrase in the oath our officials take, something about "enemies foreign and domestic." I think Timothy McVeigh would probably be classified as a domestic kind of enemy, at least when he started plotting and all that. Is this really where Chuck Norris wants to take his career? It doesn't sound like a very well thought out move. And what about Huckabee? Is there any problem with him "pallin' around" with these sorts of people?

Maybe it's all just a joke, snark, ha ha! I hope so.

Monday, March 09, 2009

The Last Days Of Pompeii

This is a movie I watched, "The Last Days of Pompeii," from 1935, starring Preston Foster, Alan Hale, and Basil Rathbone.

It's an oldie and it has its moments. It has a kind of old, stuffy feel to it, though, but it's still pretty good. We follow the career of Marcus (MARCVS on the gladiator showbill), who starts out as a blacksmith, becomes a gladiator, a horse trader, and on up the ladder to bigger and better things. He's always after more money, more power, even though he started out quite happy with what he had. But his wife and child were killed and that changed things.

Through killing another gladiator, he ends up adopting the guy's son. And Marcus is very devoted to his son, Flavius. After hearing a soothsayer saying Flavius will meet the greatest person in Judea, with some help coming his way, they go there, where Marcus's path crosses both Pontius Pilate and Jesus Christ. Jesus heals Flavius, which sticks in his mind years later as influential. Pilate actually becomes a family friend and is seen in scenes toward the end, years later.

There's a conflict between father and son on their values having to do with sending slaves to their death in the Arena. The son sides with the slaves, really because he has that influence from Jesus about "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." Marcus sees more value in making money off their death. This is building to Pompeii's eventual destruction by Vesuvius. And from that point what becomes of the characters, which would be a spoiler to say.

The sets are pretty good looking. The special effects are not bad. The movie's in black and white.

Sunday, March 08, 2009


Michelle, ma belle, these are words that go together well.

Everywhere I look, Michelle. The places I'm looking are the grocery store, and she's the cover girl du jour. Michelle must be spending five or six hours every day getting gussied up for photo shoots. She needs clothes of palinesque quantity to keep up the constant variety.

But there's one place she's not keeping covered -- and more power to her -- her arms. Are people so picky, so easily offended that we shouldn't be looking at someone's arms now? It seems like a fairly public part of the human body, after all. Michelle has a right to bare arms, like all of us. The Second Amendment.

She's a great looker. Very appealing. President Obama has a spring in his step whenever he's around her. Who wouldn't?

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Craziness Against Obama

There seems to be an undercurrent of craziness against President Obama, various websites that I see referred to at Daily Kos.

It's not exactly like our opposition to President Bush, but it does recall the countering remarks to any opposition to Bush, which was, "Why do you hate Bush?" The big emphasis there was on "hating" Bush even if it wasn't necessarily hatred. They were saying how irrational it was to not like Bush. In fact, it was downright unpatriotic, because, remember, you're either with Bush or you're with the terrorists.

And another thing about Bush was that as president that meant he couldn't be wrong. Whatever he said went. Whether it was lawful or against the law. He equaled the state. There was no daylight between the idea that the president thought it, said it, pronounced it and it being right. Am I the only one who remembers this?

But now we have a different president, and it would appear that the rule pertaining to presidents being right, being good, etc., has changed. Now there's every level of scurrilous thing against him. From Limbaugh and every Republican wanting Obama to "fail" to the idea that he's not a true American to the idea that it's OK to make threats against him. It's ridiculous. I saw one today referred to where the guy said he wanted to meet Obama and that Obama was "hiding behind" the Secret Service! Good grief, have they sunk that low?

Friday, March 06, 2009

In A Hazy Rush

I went to the movie Slumdog Millionaire. I sat in the front row. If you've seen it you know that it's pretty intense as far as screen movement, crowd scenes, excitement, everything being a rush.

Early on I was regretting being in the front row, but I think it looks stupid for people to always be moving about in the theater, so I settled in and let the film rush over me. That's an intense experience in and of itself.

I loved the movie, but my eyes and brain still haven't caught up to normal life. I'm sure my dreams tonight will be fanciful. I'll be in bed within 20 minutes.

When I came out everything had changed about the weather. It was colder and it was very very foggy. It was clear a while ago. And I still had to go to the grocery store and get milk. I was thinking while driving along that I might run over someone, it's so foggy. Hope not of course.

At the grocery store I'm noticing every strange detail. It's like one of those times when you're in a haze. Someone might grab me from behind and pull me into a field. I'm thinking of the movie. There's a big guy with baggy pants in front of me. There's a guy with a cartful of groceries but he's not exactly in line. Candy bars are smaller than they used to be but more expensive. There's a lady with a bottle of liquor asking if "You all have Red Bull?" The checkout girl looks scared and says, "I don't know what that is." No smile, no helpfulness. Outside I got a chill and thought about someone jumping me. But I unlocked the car and got going, and pulled on my seatbelt as I went through the foggy parking lot. I don't want to run over someone and forever associate seeing this movie with someone's death in the fog. It doesn't happen.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Haunted By Slipping Away

My thoughts are haunted by the football players stranded off the Florida coast. I keep thinking of the guy sitting on the flipped over boat and this idea that the others gave up and slipped away in the dark. Or thought they saw a light and swam for it.

If they literally gave up, that's such a shame. I think of people hanging on for years and years against overwhelming odds. I think I could make it two or three days, but I'm not in a position to know. I know I was dangling off a boat one time in conditions nowhere near what these guys faced. And it was tough, but not impossible.

The idea of giving up and slipping away -- I'm not judging it, by the way -- is such a final and ultimate sounding thing. Like not being hooked up to lifesaving equipment in the hospital but worse. Because they're in really good health, and they have to think through the things of life and death, of their family, all that, then finally let go. I would be thinking about it about an inch away from the last grasping of the boat. Either great acceptance or great regret. I would guess there'd be some prayer or meditation, then letting go if letting go was best; it doesn't seem like it would be. Or in place of meditation, maybe there'd be a kind of numbness, forgetfulness, like your daily consciousness shutting down as far as fear and even understanding goes. Then what, maybe the consciousness of light, big gates, the stuff of near death experiences. Some brain chemical stored up just for this occasion.

Thinking you see a light and trying to swim for it could be that exact thing.

It's a haunting idea. Just to think of being there day and night is enough to make you sick. But it'd be slick and cold. No place to stay sane for long.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Within You Without You

I've been away from the computer most of the day. Then I come home and notice there's been a full day of news, happening with or without me.

It's like Rip Van Winkle. He falls asleep and the world goes on. Or every corpse in town. They're dead and a'moldering and the world goes ahead full steam. You may have an opinion to add to the din, but if you don't ... no one cares.

How could you care? You don't keep track of every sleeping soul and whether he's alert enough to pay attention to the news. There's nothing I know about it. That's a fact.

So what has happened? Michael Steele did something else. He's again threatening the senators who don't toe the line. That's weird. The NFL guy who was found on the boat said the others just gave up and drifted away. That's very fast to just give up. The other guy thought he saw a light and swam for it, without his life jacket. They said he might not know what he's talking about because of the cold he suffered. I'm sure it was a nightmare. Rush Limbaugh wants to debate President Obama. This guy is a total clown. Guess which one I'm talking about.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

I Repent With Ashes

I woke up today feeling very guilty. Ouch. Like Michael Steele, I have sinned. Not just once, which still would be bad enough, but repeatedly. In such things -- the main thing, really -- as speaking against Rush Limbaugh. This ought not be done!

So, after a restless night, tossing and turning, sweating through my nightclothes, and giving it a lot of thought and prayer -- tortured prayer -- my only option this morning, my sincere choice, is to apologize publicly to Rush, who really is a great American, the voice of all of us.

Rush-- Let me say this. Please, don't wave me off. I will feel much better just getting it out. Sir, I just got done thinking about the things I just got done saying. And the conclusion I've come to is one of regret, sorrow. I don't even recognize myself, it's so bad. I'm a shell. I try to look in the mirror and what I see isn't me.

I opened my mouth -- what I thought was my mouth. I spoke what I thought I was thinking -- but what I was thinking wasn't right. It came out a mish mash of what my deeper, more inward thought was. The words flowed forth easily enough, but hearing them, then examining them later, they weren't right. It's like I was possessed by something -- an alien force. Weird feeling.

Now, sir, I know that just saying 'I'm sorry' is not enough. Anyone could say that, but what this calls for is reflection and restitution, if possible. I will reflect, strenuously, on what could have possessed me -- I seriously don't know at this point. Are there alien forces that can possess? Demons? Ideological bacteria I might have picked up somewhere? This is something for me to mull over. With reflection will come an effort to make it right, to smooth your feathers and those of your loyal audience that have been so terribly ruffled.

In the future, my liege, I hope you will be satisfied with the things I have to say. For it is my sole intention that they reflect your views and most worthy desires.

Monday, March 02, 2009

I Love It

Check around the internet today for the reports on Rush Limbaugh and Michael Steele at each other's throats. It's great. I love it.

With an ego as massive as Rush's and the desire of the Republicans not to sink further so massive, this could be a real civil war. May both sides lose.

Steele called Limbaugh an entertainer, his schtick incendiary and ugly. It's hard to disagree with that. For once a Republican telling the truth. But naturally this doesn't sit well with Rush and his moronic fans. Rush tells Steele that if he (Rush) were head of the Republicans he'd quit, given the state of things with them. And other crap along those lines.

This is better than I hoped for. But of course I hope for more, more, more. Keep it up. Keep losing. Go down. Don't get back up.

UPDATE - Oh, crazy! Michael Steele must not have a spine of steele. Instead he must be spineless. The full report is out on his apology to Rush and now his praise for Rush. He didn't mean anything by it. He said words without thinking. He found himself saying things that he didn't actually think. This is crazy. And this plays right into the Democratic storyline these days, that Rush is the actual head of the Republican party.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Another Month Gone

Another month of everyone's life is gone. February is now in the history books, in a manner of speaking. We press on with March, hoping to make something of it, so that when we get to the end of it, we can look back and say, "Hey, we did it."

For February, I can look back and say, "Hey, I did it." More or less. It was a good month, as months go. Every day is another day. I get up, do my various oblations and duties, then go to bed at the end of it. I believe I can say I pressed on, put up a good fight, struggled against the forces of darkness, yielded only seldomly, and now can be satisfied. All this happens with or without you anyway so you may as well do your best.

It's a sad thing to start off the day with Paul Harvey dying. I was never a listener of his in any intentional way. I just generally don't listen to the radio, period, so how could I be? I listen once in a while to XM, one of the music channels, never to the talk shows or news shows. But I've heard him, like when I'm at stores I'll hear him doing his trademark delivery. The AP called it a "staccato style." He definitely had a distinctive tone. It was a mixture of news, oddball stuff, and opinion, and advertising. I don't know what he advertised, but I'm thinking it was medical stuff and gadgets. Salve or something.

Paul Harvey was 90 years old.

Someday when I'm 90 (let's say it happens), I will have retired long before that. But Mr. Harvey must have loved doing his show and pleasing his fans. Seemed like a nice guy.