Sunday, January 31, 2010

Celebrities Spotted At The Grammys

I caught a couple glimpses of Ringo Starr. He must've got a good seat.

I thought I saw Weird Al Yanokovic when Beyonce was coming out.

I just saw Eric Clapton on a commercial for a phone that looks like part of a guitar, a Fender. 

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Double You (W)

In my journeys at YouTube I came across some videos for these two darling looking young Japanese women, who, I discovered, went by the name of "W," sometimes spelled out "Double You."

As far as I knew, never having heard of them, they were a current act in Japan. I watched several of the very frenetic dancing videos they do, with a lot of dancing in which each one mirrors the dancing of the other. It's quite charming.

But then I started looking them up, like at Wikipedia, and they're not a current act but were current five years ago or so. But, going by memory, it sounds like whoever owned the act broke it up, disbanded them because they were minors and one of them got in some trouble. Apparently she was caught smoking, which doesn't sound like such a terrible offense, but I don't know all the cultural ramifications. The other thing she did, according to what I read, was to date a 37-year-old man. So it sounds like she got in trouble. I wonder what happened to the guy, since that would be a definite no-no here.

So, they as an act were gone before I ever heard of them. But we still have their videos on YouTube to occasionally enjoy, perhaps.

Friday, January 29, 2010

New Clocks Set To 10:10 (Thereabouts)

Probably everyone's noticed that advertisements for clocks and watches always have them set for 10:10, 10:11, or 10:12, something close to that. It's been something I've mentally noted over the years. And it's something I expect every time.

I was at Walmart the other day and noticed their clocks were all set the same way. So for whatever reason, that's the way it is. In the advertising world, it's always that time of day, getting a great start for their day or thinking about going to bed.

The picture is from 1960, from a YouTube video of Elvis Presley on the Frank Sinatra show. He was singing "Fame and Fortune." But look, even in 1960, this 10:10 rule was in effect. Making me wonder ... how far back does it go?

Thursday, January 28, 2010

I Don't Think It Was J.D. Salinger

When I lived in Iowa City starting in 1973, there was a bookstore right next to the bank downtown. Iowa City had a bunch of temporary buildings down the main street at the time. Among these was an early incarnation of Little Caesars Pizza, including a big statue of the Caesar. There was a sub store called "Bushnell's Turtle." And lots of other cool little shops.

At the main corner, where the bank was, just catty corner from the Pentacrest was a bookstore in one of these temp buildings. Corner of Washington and Clinton. Some brothers ran it, 2 or 3 brothers. Their last name, I think, started with B, but I can't remember the name of their store. I used to go in there all the time.*

Sitting by the door several times there was an old man on a chair. I heard people whispering that he might be J.D. Salinger. I looked at him several times and wondered. But I guess it probably wasn't, since J.D. lived out east somewhere (I heard since). He died today or yesterday. I heard about it today.

When you're young, the old man sitting there just might be J.D. Salinger. You're practically willing to believe anything.

UPDATE (Feb. 13, 2010) - I found it. It wasn't a B but an E, so the B wasn't doing me any good. The place was called Epstein's Bookstore. The brothers were Harry Epstein and Glen Epstein. There's a site here about Glen, who passed away. Over there they mention their bookstore was there from 1968-1978. I didn't find this (the name of the bookstore) by searching on Google, because I tried that. I found it by getting a subscription to In the Sept. 20, 1973 issue of the Iowa City Press-Citizen, page 1, it was announced that Harry Epstein was a candidate for the city council. That's the picture of him from the article.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Health Care Reform Would Be Good Politics

President Obama was half joking at the State of the Union when he said he didn't take on health care reform "because it's good politics."

Because we've had lots of problems with it in the last year, I guess.

The truth is, It would've been good politics to actually get something positive done for us and to sell it right. But they chose to muck it up and get it tangled up in one corrupt special interest after another. No, that's not good politics.

If we had some sense that they were on our side, that would've been good politics indeed.

Get it done.

Someone Was Yelling Something

I thought I heard some yelling at the State of the Union address.

But still ... no sign yet of the gatecrashers from a couple months ago. I was halfway expecting them to have chairs up by Vice President Biden.

And wouldn't it be great to have Balloon Boy sitting by Mrs. Obama, as an example of ... something. An example of a kid whose dreams were as big as his dad's ego.

The Joe Wilson Cam

I hope they have the Joe Wilson Cam ready tonight for the State of the Union speech. So we'll be able to see and hear any outbursts without missing a single thing.

He says he won't shout out this time, because "I'm a gentleman." Yeah? What were you last time? Did you become a gentleman since then?

UPDATE: You know he's sitting there saying to himself, "I can't make a peep. Everyone's waiting for me to mess up." By the way, the Republicans are a bunch of schoolyard bullies, idiots who don't know they're only hurting themselves (and their country.) They're so disgusting.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


I try to be efficient. Which means keeping good track of time.

But of course everything you do takes time. You have somewhere to be, like I do in a half an hour, you need to space it out -- your duties, hobbies, tasks -- to make sure that you get them wrapped up and are able to leave in time not to be late.

I'm always thinking about time, it seems. Even when I'm not conscious of it. There's plenty of times when I wake up about a minute before my alarm is set to go off. Some of that might be from habit. But since it's so close, some of it might also be your mind just mentally going over the time it is. Like there's some kind of internal counter, or little sands going through an inner timer.

I get up in the morning and go to feed the cat. And I'm thinking how much time it takes to do that, how much time (40 seconds) it takes to warm my bagel, how leisurely I can go to the bathroom while a cup of tea is brewing (3:20) and so forth. If I get back up to my computer at 7:10 a.m., that's good time, and so I have time to get a few things done...before the time comes when I have other things that I need to leave for.

I was looking at the baby book my Mom made when I was first born. Just the cards that people sent in honor of my birth. She has in there the exact time I was born. So maybe that's where I got it, out of her milk. But it's been my constant thing. Seconds here, minutes there, getting things done. Hoping time will go slowly, hoping it will go fast, depending on what I'm doing.

Time's up. I have something else I need to do .... now.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Obama Needs Two Terms

I don't know about President Obama. I want him to buckle down and do a fantastic job. Then I want him to run for office and get reelected.

The biggest reason I want him reelected is that the alternative is too terrible to contemplate. Because it would mean that one of the Republican scoundrels would be our president, assuming no one is going to subject President Obama to a Democratic primary.

He's all right. Come on. Yes, we're complaining a little, because we want some things accomplished. We don't want to waste a whole year on health care reform just to come up empty handed. You can't blame us, can you? Some of the crumbs on TV are saying we shouldn't have health care reform because the folks of Massachusetts voted for a Republican and thereby sent that message.

But as I recall, we voted for it in 2008 and also sent a message. Which should still be a message louder and clearer than what one state and a sliver of voters at that said. The Democrat didn't lose 100 to nothing. And it was only one state. We voted for President Obama in 2008 and we're still looking for our message to be heeded. Why don't the Republican scoundrels care about our message, if they care so much about what messages the voters supposedly are sending?

The actual truth, of course, is that the Republicans don't care about us whatsoever. They showed that through eight years of corruption in the Bush years. And they've showed it this last year in their cynical obstructionism. I wouldn't vote for a Republican at this point if they were the only choice. I think they are criminals, crooks, and scoundrels. And I don't see a flicker of difference between the various ones. Who would we get? The biggest idiot in the world, Sarah Palin? That's a revolting thought.

President Obama said he'd rather be a really good president with one term than a mediocre president with two. Whatever, good or mediocre, he needs two terms. If for no other reason than the Republicans would be 50 times worse.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Obama, Jobs, A New Direction Forward, Etc.

I like the signs I'm starting to see, that President Obama is going to get a grip on the Democrats' 2010 electoral fortunes and try to steer us away from the whirlpool of defeat. That's good.

Also he's going to be emphasizing jobs, which is what we need. We also needed health care, so hopefully that's not exactly toast. I sincerely hope he has a better ability to fight for jobs than he did for health care. Because if health care is an example of his ability to get something done, you may as well sign up for unemployment now.

The last year, in my opinion, has been crap. Of course we had the stimulus and it saved or created, they say, millions of jobs. That's good. And had the Republicans had their way, recall, they would've done nothing. So that would've been very bad.

But it was the whole health care thing that made the year crap. He needed to get in there and knock some heads and bust some kneecaps but he didn't do it. And so what happened? The special interests in charge of Congress steered the whole issue straight into the ditch. And our Congress-idiots want us to think they were looking out for our interests. Right, we're completely stupid.

Who was most culpable? The Democrats did a very poor job. But it is the Republicans who did the worst job, since they chose the path of civic vandalism. At least there were Democrats among the rest who had something of the public interest at heart. Among the Republicans there wasn't even one. And that's unforgivable.

Get to work, President Obama. Quit talking about what a "tizzy" we're all in and get something done. I hate hearing that folksy crap he says in speeches. I like him a lot, but it's time to dump the folksy "tizzy" stuff and get something done!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Non Stop Striptease With The Beatles

This is a picture from a video on YouTube.

I think I've seen most Beatles pictures, but I don't remember seeing this one.

It's interesting that there's a sign for "Non Stop Striptease" in the background.

As to the Beatles, they look great in the photo.

The video is for the song "Lovely Rita," and has a series of various Beatles pictures.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Crackling, Weird Night

It's a crackling, weird night in the land that I live. Following a crackling, weird day.

What's all the crackling from? The trees were coated with ice in the last few days, then with slightly warmer temperatures today and some wind, the ice is crashing down. But when it's just swaying up there it's making a crackling noise, as it all breaks and snaps.

So there's twigs and some limbs everywhere. It's terrifying for a dog when I take the dog out, because she doesn't know about the source of the problem. It's kind of scary for me too, because a few of the ice nuggets, some of them good size, were landing close to me. One on the head would hurt!

I went somewhere in the car a while ago, and I went under some trees on one particular street, and I got a crash of a nice size ice piece hitting the windshield. Maybe it wasn't so huge, but when it hits you going 25 to 30 mph, it makes a noise.

I wish it would warm up and do some melting. Otherwise the ice (on the sidewalks and streets) is just going to stay. What a mess.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Most Common Passwords

I read an article sometime recently, maybe this morning or yesterday, and I think it was at the NY Times, on the most common passwords.

Without looking at the article, it seems that "123456" is one of the most common passwords, accounting for about 5% of all passwords (or some staggering figure). I don't think they mentioned "abcdefg" as one, but I'd think that'd have to be a natural series for the lazy password maker.

Maybe if you mixed them up, like "a1b2c3d4," etc., you could come up with something tough to guess. You could be even tricker and go down, with the number for the "a" being the original number for the "d" or "e," and so forth, like "a5b4c3d2e1." That'd be a tough one to guess if it wasn't a recognizable series.

It also said that "password" is a common password. That's very lazy. I won't say what mine are or the sequences, etc., except some of them are trickier than that. I have a few that are "easy," but still not as easy as that.

The big problem with passwords is remembering what they are. Sometimes I need to hire a hacker just to figure out what my password is!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

January 20

Wow, it's been a whole year since Inauguration Day!

I remember how long it seemed from Election Day 2008 to January 20, 2009. We had that infernal, terrible George W. Bush in there. And one day was like an eternity with him.

I see President Obama put Bush in charge of something to do with Haiti. So of course there's no hope now.

But now we've got a whole year since those dark days of the Bush administration. And as it turns out, it hasn't been easy or all that positive.

I still think President Obama is doing a reasonably good job. I just don't think he fights very well. He seems to be a creampuff who doesn't mind getting his butt kicked on a daily basis. But hey, maybe he'll wise up now that we've lost the Senate seat in Massachusetts (of all places).

But even if he doesn't wise up, he's still not George W. Bush. And for that, he deserves our highest praise.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Postmortem From Massachusetts

The final final final results aren't in from Massachusetts yet. But the trends are such that it seems like Brown probably will win.

If I wake up and see a picture of Coakley smiling, holding a newspaper, "Brown Defeats Coakley," and it's like Truman, that'll be OK with me. But ... alas, it doesn't look like it is to be.

Which takes away our insurmountable 60 vote majority in the Senate. (Yeah, right.) The whole 60 vote thing was a joke anyway, when we had turncoats, traitors, and ne'er-do-wells in the caucus.

The Republicans will take a lot of joy in this, which of course they should. As for exactly what happened, I'll leave that to everyone else. But it seems to me, if the Democrats had stepped up earlier on health care and got the SOB done, they would've had something to campaign on, instead of just responding to tea party anger, etc. But no, they couldn't do that. Everyone had to be president! Everyone needed his or her cut.

So the postmortem is such that -- if we don't want to see it repeated in November -- we (they, our idiots in Congress) need to get their heads out of their collective rectum and get something done for the people.

By the way, we still need jobs out here. Are you listening, Democrats? Is Massachusetts a loud enough wake-up call for you? It's Massachusetts, for crying out loud, not Utah!

UPDATE: The T-shirt in the ad says: I'M TRYING TO SEE THINGS FROM YOUR POINT OF VIEW BUT IT IS HARD FOR ME TO STICK MY HEAD THAT FAR UP MY ASS. A fitting message for our Democrats in Congress. And the White House needs to take notice too.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Massachusetts Tomorrow

It's crappy to have a nailbiter in Massachusetts, of all places. What in the world?

And don't tell me people don't want health care reform. We voted on that in 2008 -- it was a centerpiece of the campaign. We knew what was being promised.

Anyway, who screwed things up in Massachusetts. The Kennedys had a lifetime lease on that Senate seat, so you'd think the Democrat would be a shoo-in.

Remember, Massachusetts, six years is a long time. Six long years. With an obstructionist Republican. Wow, to me it's a no-brainer. The Republican is a guaranteed evil guy.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Spooky Tears

Strange but true.

I have some records on my desk (45 rpm), recording some of them to MP3 files.

Then I went and made a cup of tea and brought it to my desk. Then I pulled the teabag out and set it aside. In the process there must have been a drop splashed. Five minutes later I looked over and there was a drop of tea on one of the records' labels.

What's the strange part? The record is called "Tears of Sorrow" by Nino Tempo & April Stevens.

Very spooky tears!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Health Care and Massachusetts

So now health care is supposedly hanging by a thread, depending on how the special election for senator turns out in Massachusetts, of all places.

Teddy Kennedy's old Senate seat is threatened by a Republican, who apparently is ahead in polls. And just like that, health care could down the tubes, because of one Republican. That's shameful.

Our congressional idiots should've had this SOB done last year, but no, they dilly-dallied around. Everyone had to be president for the day. Everyone had to be in the pocket of one interest or another. They couldn't just put the public good at the front of the line for once.

So now we come to this.

Hopefully the Democrats will maintain power. But if they do, how about doing good with it and getting something useful done, instead of throwing it down the drain?


Friday, January 15, 2010

I Don't Want The Dems To Lose ... BUT

I seriously think our country will be better off with continuing Democratic leadership and more of it. The Republicans have shown that they cannot be trusted when governing and they cannot be trusted when out of office. They're liars, cheats, and scum.

But the polls are starting to look bad for the Democrats, meaning, of course, that the only alternative (for some, not for me) is the Republicans. Boo, hiss. We suffered through eight long years of their constant misrule, and it seems like people would have something of a memory of this. But that's the way it goes. It's always "Throw the bums out," not realizing that the bums we'll be getting are worse than the bums we've got!

So I do not want the Democrats to lose. But ... if you govern like a bunch of prima donnas, fighting cats, and outright crooks, don't be surprised that someone eventually notices. The last year has not exactly been the display in Congress that I would've chosen. My own vision of this is for more people like Al Franken, who seem to be there for public service, the common good, and the well being of the country. Instead, we get ne'er-do-wells who are simply big pigs at the public trough. Like Ben Nelson, Joe Lieberman, and that ilk. Or foxes guarding the henhouse.

The Republicans, again, are worse. Putting our fate in their hands is so bad, you may as well cut your own throat now and cut out the middleman. Because, and you can take this to your failed bank, they'll be as monstrous as ever. Actually worse, since they have President Obama to oppose at every turn. That's their agenda and it ought to be obvious.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Frank Sinatra - Cycles

A few days ago I got a Frank Sinatra LP at the thrift store, which was "The World We Knew."

I went back today. They had the same records, but instead of being in a convenient box for browsing, they had them stacked up on top of one another. Making them impossible to look at in a decent way. Still, I pulled some out and got a few, including another Frank LP, this one called "Cycles."

It's in decent shape, the record. The cover, like the other one, has a big cataloging sticker on it, this one Number 340! So, someone kept track of their records that way ... or more likely they were part of a radio station's library.

When I got home I looked up "Cycles" on All Music and was disappointed to see this is supposed to be Frank's "weakest" album, a big 1½ stars. But that didn't discourage me, since I'm not personally as finicky as professional record reviewers. And I'm more likely to like it than some of these expert personages.

And that's the way it turned out. I think it's delightful. I'm not put off in the slightest, nor do I think the arrangements are boring, all that. It's good. What? It's really good.

The cover has an emotional kind of picture of Frank. It's a strange picture, since it was obviously from the same roll of film as the picture on the back of "The World We Knew." Same stuff setting around. But it seems to fit in with the record.

The pictures on the back of the cover are interesting in a different way. One is Frank with Tiny Tim! How classic! The other is Frank with George Harrison and Patti. It's hard to recognize George in the picture, but the liner notes fill in the ID. The liner notes, by the way, are more extensive, smaller print. I haven't read them entirely.

I like the album. Even "Little Green Apples," which is not always my favorite song in the world. Frank always sounds great.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A Pact With The Devil

Good grief, what can you say? The stupidity is just so stupid it's like performance art instead.

Pat Robertson, who someday will unfortunately have to hear those dreadful words, "Depart from me, I never knew you," has come out with his take on the Haiti tragedy. Which is that they had it coming because at some point in history a couple hundred years ago, or in the 1800s sometime, someone down there made "a pact with the Devil."

That is just so mind-numbingly moronic it floors you.

This is his "Christian" response. Not a very classy guy. Wow. 

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

What NBC Should Do

Who's in charge at NBC, morons?

Clearly Conan O'Brien should keep the Tonight Show. They had an arrangement, he waited all that time, Leno was out, and so that's the way it should be.

It's also clear that Conan has a love for the heritage of the show and wants to continue that. NBC, what their problem is exactly, I don't know. But whoever's in charge must have some serious problem indeed.

What they should do is call the whole thing off. Leave Conan in there. Let Jay go wherever.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Our Idiot Media

Harry Reid.

With all the problems we have.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Exercising My Memory

Like I said on one of my blogs last night, I'm watching the movie "Clambake," starring Elvis Presley.

And last night, one of the scenes that was coming up, that I was looking forward to, features the guy who played The Great Gildersleeve on radio many years ago. I can't think of the guy's name in real life. I'm trying to think of it right now.

I know of course that I could easily look it up on the internet, and I'd have it in about 10 seconds. But I'm trying to exercise my actual memory, because I know I have it there (1), and also because just looking everything up on the internet is very lazy, and eventually my memory is going to be mush if I don't use it.

What could it be? The guy's name? Uhhh, how do you remember anything? I'm thinking ... something Alexander. Doesn't sound exactly right. Going through the various phonetic sounds in my mind. Need to quit typing for a little bit and clear my mind. What is his name? I've got the "G"s of Great Gildersleeve in my mind, but that's a false path. It's ...  if I could just think of the first name, the last name would pop in. And vice versa. I felt like I was close, but nothing. Don something? Think "xxxxxxxxx as the Great Gildersleeve!"

I'm not coming up with it. That's what the internet has done to my mind. Made it mush. Keep thinking!

Don is just giving me Ameche, and of course that's not it. Harry? Frank? No, no. Boy, I don't feel at all close. It wasn't a show I listened to originally, since I wasn't even born. But I heard numerous episodes in the '80s when they played it on the radio in the town I lived in at the time.

This is terrible. I should be on the right track at least by now. Quit worrying. Let your mind go blank for a bit. It is -- what? It's not Fred something. Travis? I'll run through the alphabet. A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P (Peevey was a character); Perry sounds like maybe what it was. Something Perry. Q, R, S, , U, V, W, X, Y, Z. It has to be one of those! Perry is the closest I'm coming, I'm afraid.

OK, I'm looking it up on the internet. Here I go. Then I'll think I should've thought of it!

Well, I was close. His name was Harold Peary. Close to Perry. And I was actually thinking Hugh Perry, but I dismissed that.

Even though I couldn't remember it, I came halfway close. And at least I can go to bed tonight not driven crazy about it. Thank goodness for the internet!

Saturday, January 09, 2010

I Started Clambake

Since it was Elvis' birthday yesterday, and since I was thinking of Elvis quite a bit, I started the movie "Clambake" this morning (for my 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes in the evening exercise sessions.)

It's a light breezy movie, the kind of Elvis movie I like. One thing I can barely stand (I can't stand it) is to see Elvis in some serious role where he's in trouble, being beat up, or threatened in any way. I want the harmless stuff where Elvis might have girl troubles, but that's it.

In "Clambake" he's trying out the life of an average poor guy, since he's very rich in the movie. He wants girls to love him for himself, not his money. So he trades lives with a poor guy. It's got a lot of good stuff in it. Plus, getting to look at Elvis ...

I'm looking forward to the next 10 minutes of it (tonight's session), because I'm going to see the Great Gildersleeve, who is like a doorman at the hotel that Elvis stays at.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Elvis On Tour

Happy 75th birthday to the King of Rock 'n' Roll!

I caught quite a bit of the film "Elvis On Tour" on TV tonight. I've heard of this film but for some unknown reason had never seen it. It was great.

It seems like there's never been anyone quite as magical as Elvis Presley.

I was just a kid when he came on the scene, but somehow -- since my parents were fans -- my first record album as youngster, 5 or so, was an Elvis album. I only had one record of my own and that was it.

Of course I've been a big fan ever since. And now he's been gone quite a while. And yet this would only be his 75th birthday. He still means a lot to me.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Looking Through Old Files

I'm a saver. Notes, scraps of things, scrawled notes, irrelevant stuff. I've done a little better getting rid of stuff, but I do tend to have extensive files.

I was just looking at some of my files, searching around at random and seeing what popped up. I found a big scan of a Yellow Submarine poster that I swear I couldn't find one time when I was looking for it. And I'm sure I searched for the obvious file name yellowsubmarine.jpg. But to no avail. But tonight just looking here and there, there it was!

As I recall, I was looking either for a good picture of the Blue Meanies or the Apple Bonker. For a blog entry, but I don't remember which one.

In other files, I have some Old Time Radio files, which I keep thinking I might actually listen to. But listening to old radio shows demands real concentration. If you drift off for a second -- and I usually go quite a bit longer -- you've missed the whole thing, or the key thing.

I have lots of pictures, photos I've taken, not as many as a lot of people probably. But here's one, I was looking for pictures of a run down school I went into one time. I couldn't find them. I don't know what ever happened to them. This school was so run down, the farmer who owned it literally had put pig pens in it and used to keep hogs in it. The day I went in the pens were still there but the hogs were long gone.

I need to search and find those files. I can't believe they could really be gone.

UPDATE: I went away for about 10 minutes and searched, folder by folder, till I came across them. They were from 10-17-2003. And following will be the one that has some of the pig pens. But I don't have a good contextual shot, so you have to take my word for it that it's in an old school.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

The Republicans Burn Me Up

I don't typically watch shows like "Hardball," any of them. I don't even watch the more progressive ones, because there's something I can barely stomach, and that's giving the Republicans the microphone. I don't want to hear what proceedeth forth out of their lying yaps. I seriously don't!

Good grief. You can tell it's lies and spins at the first peep. And yet they give these crumbs a forum to spew their nonsense, hateful stuff. They're little more than worms, no offense to worms.

But tonight I had a sandwich to eat, so I sat in front of the TV and flipped it over to Hardball, and who would they have on but Ron Christie. And they played a clip of Michael Steele. Two of my least favorite people in the world, although they have some serious competition from all the other Republicans.

These guys defend the indefensible, the many instances of Republican hypocrisies. Perhaps the biggest instance of hypocrisy, which was no mentioned, which is never mentioned, is this: That when George W. Bush was president, the president could do no wrong by virtue simply of being the president! He was the law! He was the state! "L'etat est moi!" Unitary executive, all that. A trump over the Constitution. Kowtow, bow low, the Well Beloved Leader cometh forth! That was the Republicans' philosophy!

Now, how differently they speak. The president can do no right. Whatever he says, whatever he does, it's wrong. That burns me up. They are despicable in every way!

At least Chris Matthews got one big "Amen" out of me tonight, when he pointed out that the Republicans' constant criticism of President Obama is at the level of being nothing but absurdity. Amen and Amen to that!

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Staring At My Computer

I should've gone to bed an hour ago. I'm tired enough. But I guess I'm addicted to sitting here staring at my computer. Like I'm always expecting something different to happen.

I got a new one a few weeks ago, and you'd think the novelty would've worn off by now. But it hasn't. I'm still fascinated with it, watching it go fast, etc. I've had slow computers all my life ... I should say ever since I've had one.

But pretty soon my underlying discipline will come to the fore. I'm starting to get dizzy anyway. Sleep deprivation, since I get up everyday at 5:30 whether I want to or not.

The first thing I do is go to the bathroom. The second thing is I come in here and stare at the computer.

Monday, January 04, 2010

English Breakfast, Earl Grey, Lady Grey

Someone gave me a 60 teabag tin of Twinings tea for Christmas, including three of the big flavors, English Breakfast, Earl Grey, and Lady Grey.

The only one I've opened so far is Lady Grey, which is my favorite out of the three. But I like all three. It's a charming little tea, a charming little lady. Plus I like the blue packs!

For quite a while I've been drinking Constant Comment by Bigelow. And I had a cup or two today, in fact. It's great too.

Maybe I want Lady Grey because it's harder to get. I don't think that's the reason. But I wish it wasn't harder to get. I could order it, but that's a lot of trouble. Just sell it at the store!

I was at the World Market store the other day. And they had a big bag (100 teabags) of English Breakfast. And a big bag (also 100) of Earl Grey. But they didn't have a big bag of Lady Grey. I don't know why, but it's an odd coincidence ... because it's definitely not as well stocked other places either.

It's good stuff!

UPDATE: At this writing, amazon has six 20-count boxes of Lady Grey for $16.98. So that's $2.83 for a box. A great price. But then you have to factor in postage...but it wouldn't be that much more than it is at the store. In fact it might be less, depending on where you shop.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

My Travails With A Scanner

I've been busy the last days and a half, messing around with a scanner (two of them, actually) that I got.

The scanner is a Lexmark one, with a printer, a fax, etc., built in. It's supposed to be "easy install," which turned out not to be the case.

It probably would've been easy if this was an XP or Vista computer. Then the install disc would've been just great. But, according to the box, it was also good for Windows 7, only you need to get whatever you need at their website.

I went there and I couldn't find any directions on how to do it. As far as it seemed to me, I was just left high and dry.

You think, do I use the install disc? Who knows? I downloaded the driver for Windows 7, but the instructions were pretty clear that you needed to use the install disc, which loads who knows what. I know by hindsight what I should've done now, but I didn't know at the time.

Once you've done the install disc, I didn't see any instructions on what to do with the driver. I'm not the dumbest person in the world. But I would've appreciated some actual help.

I installed it, then I was using it. But I couldn't really use it because it kept telling me I needed something called Microsoft NET framework 2.0. So I'm wasting a terrible amount of time trying to get that. Instead, it turned out I didn't need that at all. That Windows 7 already has something that's more advanced than that. But as much messing around as I did with it, I'm lucky I didn't delete it or get something installed that was less. I definitely tried!

I'm doing scans with the scan button on the scanner. They're chopping off every time, some kind of insane auto cropping function. The "letter" size wouldn't work reliably. It was a mess. And I'm thinking, You mean every time I want to do a scan I have to go through all these options??

After an hour or so of complaining and tearing out hair, I thought, I could just try to install the driver that I downloaded (and forgot about). If it screws it up further, I can probably go back and delete the whole works, I thought. Anyway, what's the difference? It wasn't working anyway. It's not like it was going to mess it up.

I installed it and suddenly things started working. Hallelujah. Then it was a matter of figuring out the software that came with it. Nothing very advanced, nothing very good, but it worked. Not enough options in my opinion. I like precision when it comes to scanning, but it seems like we're going backwards in the scanning options we have.

Once it was working I felt a lot better. Today, then, I was thinking about VueScan, which I got for my old scanner. I wondered if it's work on this Lexmark printer, and it sure did. It has more options than the built-in software.

Today, then, I thought I might go get another one. Since the software's installed, if I have a printer/scanner at my office and one at my home -- both identical -- I can plug it in and everything will work.

That turned out to be true. But I was surprised that it was listed as two separate scanners, which I had to choose from, etc. I was hoping it wouldn't know the difference and it'd be just the same scanner.

I had lots of other travails, and still don't know the full story. The "mode: flatbed/doc reader" option disappeared from VueScan, and I bet I spent an hour and a half messing around with, looking for it. Finally I did something, I don't know what (at the office) and got it back. Disconnect this, unplug that, etc. So I did a bunch of scans.

Then I brought the computer back to the house and hooked it up to the other scanner. The "mode: flatbed/doc reader" option disappeared again. And so that meant more hair pulling, more grumbling, more headaches. Their help screen didn't give any useful information on the subject.

Finally, when nothing else would work -- unplugging, etc. -- I decided to restart the whole computer. I did and it said it was "reconfiguring" Windows, a very scary idea to me. But when it all came back up it worked again! Weird, though, it took away my desktop background, like yesterday as well, and it was just black as a background.

Now we're at a good place. I guess. I still don't know why it screwed up. And I don't want to be rebooting all the time. But at least it worked. I should say, it worked when I last used it. Who knows what might have gone wrong in the meantime?

Friday, January 01, 2010

My Time At The KU Women's Basketball Game

I was in Lawrence, KS, the other day, and had the opportunity to go to the University of Kansas women's basketball game at Allen Field House. It was very fun. I'm not a big sports guy, but there are rare cases where I have the opportunity to go to something. In this case, I accepted the opportunity, and it was fun.

I honestly hadn't been to a basketball game (or anything) for over 10 years, that I recall. I'll probably think of something and have to backtrack, but at this point I can't think of one.

I learned a few things I didn't know. I did know that James Naismith was the inventor of basketball. But I didn't know anything about Phog Allen, so that was interesting. He was, I think, a student who played basketball for Naismith, then became a coach himself, and went on to be legendary, the winningest coach.

We watched the game, which was great. They played Pepperdine, and didn't have much trouble with them. I think they won 82-63.

As interesting as the game was watching everything else going on. I loved the cheerleaders and the KU dance team, part of whom are seen in the photo. They did a lot of interesting things, little dance routines during time outs. And looked good.

They had a halftime program, two guys and a young woman, all from Canada, who were like gymnasts. the men held a big pliable beam and flipped the woman up in the air, and she always came down on the beam, and didn't fall. Very impressive.

They had an interesting crowd control system. There's some guys (and women) in orange vests who go down by the court every time there's a time out, watching the crowd to make sure we're not running on the court. And the coaches have police protection, university police. I don't know why precisely, unless people occasionally attack coaches out of some kind of anger for a bad call or to show up the other team. There weren't any attacks this particular day. And I saw one of the cops yawn, so he might've appreciated a little action.

After the game we went through the Hall of Fame. I saw a lot of historic artifacts about sports at Kansas.

All in all, it was a lovely time. I liked Allen Field House and everything about the University of Kansas sports department.