Sunday, February 28, 2010

A New Jimi Hendrix Album!

I must have been living under a rock not to hear that there's a new Jimi Hendrix album coming out in March. How can this be?

I was Walmart today and saw a CD single from it, with a bonus track, plus a free download of something else. So I got one. The new long player is called "Valleys of Neptune," which is what this CD single is entitled too.

The CD single has the title track, plus an previously unreleased alternate recording of "Peace In Mississippi." I have several Jimi Hendrix albums but haven't got them memorized that I would know how any of this fits together.

The free download track is "Red House," as recorded at Clark University in 1968. I used to download Hendrix stuff like crazy off of Usenet, so I probably had this at one time. But then I got rid of all those downloads. So it's nice to have this one as a legal download.

Being unfamiliar with all the details of Jimi's recording sessions, I'm still wondering how it could be that there is this album out there. Why wasn't it released before?

Also, this CD single is numbered! I didn't notice that at the store. I didn't see it until I was busy reading the back. At the store I was just trying to find one that didn't have a cracked case. I hate that when brand new CDs are setting at the store in cracked cases. I should over and look at Walmart's eggs and see if every other one is broken. Probably not. Anyway, I found a couple (out of a total of about 6) that weren't cracked. So I would guess the other numbers were around mine, which was a little over 9000 out of 15000. I don't want to say exactly what number I got, just in case there's some collecting marauders in the area looking for this particular one. Very paranoid.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

No Money For Inaction

I got a call from (I don't know what it's called) the Democratic Congressional Candidates fund or something. Telling me they're expecting quite a big battle this November, and that they would appreciate my support, etc.


As it turned out I was a nice guy. But, 1) I don't give money to people who call me on the phone. How do I know they are who they say they are? 2) I'm really in no mood to give our Democrats in Congress any money for their reelection, not that I'm hoping they lose ... I don't.

The thing is they've been a bunch of scoundrels, only not as bad as scoundrels as the Republicans. But I don't support scoundrels per se. Why are they scoundrels? Because they're doing the bidding of donors much higher up than I. Are they ever doing my bidding? If they are, I haven't noticed it.

I think this Congress has been crap. They can't get anything done. Instead of breaking the kneecaps of the Republicans and making a public spectacle of them, they've allowed the minority to dominate the political scene. If this is what we're supposed to be buying, I'll take a refund, thank you.

Friday, February 26, 2010

I'm Advertising XM Radio

This is funny.

I wrote a post the other day excoriating XM Radio for their terrible tactics against the customer when you're trying to cancel your account.

Now, because I mentioned XM Radio, ads for XM receivers are appearing on my blog. That's funny.

To be fair, their service is pretty good, you know, if you want to listen to the radio. It's always on, there aren't outages that I can recall. Yes, they switched the channels from a bunch of good ones to a bunch of semi-good or bad ones, but that's progress (snicker). I'm not a stick in the mud.

My own thing is simply this, that I quit listening to it along the way. The idea of having a radio in one solitary place in your house -- because you have to have the antenna out a southerly window -- doesn't lend itself to listening to the radio for hours (or even minutes on end). What am I going to do? Live in that room?

It's not that I wouldn't want to listen to it. Although also some of the work I do requires concentration and I can't have a radio playing all the time. Which is neither here nor there.

My objection to XM at this point was, when I went to cancel it they treated me like dirt under their feet. After having been a faithful customer over five years. At that point, simply thank me and wish me well. Who knows? I might've gone back to them if they only knew how to manage a nice breakup.

I Think "Get The SOB Done" Is Fairly Straightforward

The time for talk is through. The time for talk was through months ago. Congress, it's time to get the SOB done. Get health care reform done now. No more dilly-dallying and wasting time. We were in crisis mode a year ago.

If you can't look and see the corruption and obstructionism of the Republicans at this point, then all is lost. Your head is squarely where the toilet paper should be.

President Obama and the Democratic leaders met with the Republican idiots yesterday, and it would appear the pieces at the end were in the same place as when they went in. The Republicans want to start over, then next year start over again, then the next year start over again. In other words, they don't want to do anything positive, but simply want the country to circle the drain until we're all drained out. If it puts money in their pockets and enriches their masters, to them so much the better.

Now that we've bent over backwards and have twisted ourselves into a pretzel multiple times, may we please get the SOB done?!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Expiration Date Of Pizzas

I have one of the biggest pizza boxes possible in my fridge. There was no good place to put it so it's up over everything else, on top of the milk, the juice, etc. It's not even a shelf, the stuff below it is the shelf!

That makes it "real handy" for getting other things out. Not to mention it's also like an eclipse in there, since the box comes between the fridge light and everything else. It's like the big V spaceship hovering over the city.

Leading me to wonder, Why does pizza go bad so fast? It's been a couple days since we got it, and I'm pretty sure I'm not going to eat it at this point. But it was so wedged in there that I decided to leave it until I have more time to wrestle it out.

Still, two days and pizza's already a senior citizen. One day old it's applying for Social Security. At this point we're just offering it comfort measures until it's finally put down.

Further leading me to wonder, How long have you got to complain about a bad pizza at a restaurant? Wouldn't it be strange if you rang up the pizza place and said you had a complaint. "I have a complaint about a pizza I got." "Yes?" "It was 1978, and as I recall it was a little on the cold side before you got it to our table." "Uh, sir, this is 2010." And you can see how it'd go from there. They'd think you were crazy.

They'd probably hang up on you, but if they gave the complaint the seriousness it deserved, I think they'd still offer you something, a coupon good for 50% off another pizza. Just check the expiration date, that they didn't write in there "1980."

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Old Friends

With Facebook, I'm in something of a daily questioning mode with what to do with old friends.

I guess Facebook is pretty good for that, at least for getting reacquainted with them. And you don't really have to go at it full time, like trying to push a current friendship instead of just talking over old times. There really isn't much talking over old times (or anything), just quick comments.

If we post old photos, which I think is cool, we think about how it was "back in the day." And that's good. But that doesn't especially lead anywhere. Not that leading somewhere is the be all and end all of life. Just being there and being yourself is probably all that's called for.

I contacted an old friend the other day, and we've had a couple exchanges back and forth. I could see us actually being friends again. But there'd have to be some basis for it beyond old times. And I don't know what that could be.

It's a quandary, one I've probably mentioned before.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

An App That Recognizes You

Here's one!

So if you see someone aiming a phone at you and going through all the other motions, don't do anything. Because by then it's too late.

That's be a good one for church. You have a phone rigged over the door. Some stranger comes in, you call them by name, and they think it was divine revelation.

Or a bar. Like one "where everyone knows your name." Maybe they didn't know it five minutes ago, but they know it now that you're here.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Rep. Steve King Empathizes With Suicide Pilot

Wacko Congressman Steve King (Republican, of course) from Iowa, said he "empathizes" with the suicide pilot who took his plane into the IRS building in Texas and killed people.

To which we might ask, Are there really no limits for these despicable people anymore?

What happened to upholding the rule of law, encouraging the keeping of basic civic norms? Is the new norm for the Republican party simply to out-wacko the next guy?

Going further, Rep. King reportedly called on his listeners (at the CPAC meeting) to "implode" other IRS offices, whatever that means.

I assume he is aware that the tax system is part of the federal government, the same federal government that he is part of, and that it is staffed by actual human beings, who have families, feelings, and all the rest. It seems to me that their deaths and injuries would also be important, being American citizens. But, hey, that's just me.

When you're an actual Congressman, shouldn't you at least have a lick of sense?

The Longest 10 Minutes On Record

I'm in the process of attempting to make sure my XM radio account is canceled.

They can't make it easy. You need to dangle your loyal customers over a few hungry crocodiles for an hour or so before they can know beyond a shadow of a doubt that your status has been changed.

Enter this graphic:

Notice how long "certain features will be inaccessible." It looks like it says "for the next 10 minutes." Yes, by Joe, that's what it says. "The next 10 minutes."

The trouble is it also said that an hour ago. So ... go figure. To them 10 minutes is an hour. Which must mean my 5 year subscription is actually 30 years. There's 6 10's in an hour, so 6 times 5 being 30, I'll be listening to XM radio after I'm dead.

I have a feeling customer service isn't their specialty!

Dick Cheney's In The Hospital

Dick Cheney's in the hospital again. It's always interesting whenever one of these cretins takes sick, the kind of comments that people make on Twitter or in the comments column.

One, since he is indeed a worthless cretin, they're often trying to hew a middle path of hoping he gets better while allowing that he really is no good. Like your hope that someone gets better is not dependent upon the person being any good.

When it comes to this stuff, wishing someone gets better, it seems to me that it's basically a waste of time. I do it myself, though, like with friends, because friends know you, your thoughts matter to them. When Dick Cheney gets sick, it's pointless (in my opinion) to be wishing much in his direction, because he's not going to notice or appreciate it anyway.

Let's put it this way, he doesn't wish me anything when I get sick. Not that I get sick that often, but sometimes I don't feel well. I've never heard from Dick Cheney, or any other high muckety muck for that matter.

Do I wish Dick Cheney well? My wishes have nothing to do with it. Eventually everyone's going to die. It could be his time. Or maybe five years from now. Or maybe 10 years from now. Sometime in the next 100 years, one has to assume, he's going to meet his maker, good wishes or not.

I'll Never Subscribe To XM/Sirius Radio Again

Never, never, never.

Because of their cancellation process. What a terrible experience.

I've been an XM Radio subscriber for five years or more. But when I called to cancel it was like I was dirt under their feet.

You get one person, who wants your account number, name, address, and email address. OK, fine. Now I want to cancel. OK, instead of canceling your subscription, I need to transfer you to someone else. Then the next person wants your account number, name, address, and email address, and the reason you're calling. So if you're keeping track, this is two people who needed the same information. Meaning one of them is extraneous.

The second person is the one they've got there to talk you out of it. Why are you canceling? Is there anything we could do to keep this radio hooked up? We have a special that is so many months for this amount. From there it went downhill. I'm usually the nicest person in the world, but when a rude phone person comes on acting like it's a personal issue for them whether I'm using my radio, when I want the cancellation to take place, etc., I take exception.

In my case, I stated when I wanted the cancellation to take place, i.e., at the end of my subscription. Sound reasonable enough, right? The customer's always right. The customer's paid, he ought to have his account end when he wants it to end. No, that would be a mistake. The phone person knows best! And she's there to argue the point, inexplicably.

Really, why piss off your customers? Is this really that great for business, to leave a bad taste in your customers' mouth? Bleahhh!

Finally, I guess I got the phone person to realize that I'm the guy with the account, that I ought to be able to say what I want and what I'm paying for. But she definitely wasn't happy with it!

"Is there anything else I can do for you?" I asked for her supervisor, telling her she was very rude. But I couldn't talk to the supervisor because the supervisor's on the phone. (Yeah, likely story). I said I'd hold, but she said I couldn't hold because this phone call is ending ... right ... now ...

Looking on the internet, I see that others have had perhaps worse experiences than I. I don't know 100% that my subscription actually is canceled. But I guess I'll have to check back and hope I get a nicer person.

One thing I know for certain -- 100% -- is that if this is the way XM/Sirius handles "Listener Care," that they've lost at least one listener forever. No more. I don't recommend XM/Sirius for anyone. Listen to your iPod instead.

The service sucked after they merged anyway. They took away the channels I liked and added a bunch of garbage channels in their place. But it was a lot of fun at first. We enjoyed it at first.

(They said they might record the call for "quality assurances" or something. I hope they did. Listen to it. If that's the way you treat customers, don't be surprised when they don't come around again. Idiots.)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

A Very Romantic Story

Here's an interesting news item I found today, randomly searching a newspaper from 1895:

Darling Is Willing.
MILLER, S. D., June 1.—Rev. E. S.
Darling's attorneys, Ensall & Hawthorne,
from St. Paul, are still here in
their client's interest. Ensall says
Darling will gladly marry Miss Falting,
under certain conditions, but such
proposition has not yet been accepted
by her, though she may finally consent
to it.
That's from the Waterloo Daily Courier, Waterloo, Iowa, June 1, 1895, p. 4.

Very romantic stuff there! It's bad enough that they were haggling it out. But that it would also be printed in the newspaper, to me that's strange.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

How Many Trains Going By Would It Takes?

When I hear a train going by sometimes I start thinking about the damage that sound can do. This includes issues such as how many times does it take for the train to go by before it hurts anything?

But say you live somewhere where six or seven trains go by in a day. And you live fairly close. It seems like they'd be slowly shaking things off your shelf. It seems like I saw that one, a thing on a shelf jiggling with the vibrations and rumblings of the train.

Even more important would be the beams in your house or the foundation. You see some houses that are deteriorating -- going the way of all flesh. Or cracks form in the walls of your house or building. Some of it could just be the natural kinds of things, settlings, molecular rotting, things falling apart. But it seems to me that some of it could be caused and exacerbated by trains going by.

Figure it like this, a train going by one time wouldn't hurt too much. But the damage would be so incremental as to be unnoticeable. Like if you had six or seven trains a day multiplied by many years, 50-70 years, multiply it, that's a lot of trains!

If you can physically hear their whistles and rumbles with your ears, that's a vibration that your house is also "sensing." Things are moving, things are in motion, whether you know or realize it.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Guys Who Remove Snow From Roofs

Here's a tough job for you, anyone who has the business of removing snow from roofs.

Everything's against them. Like this, you haven't called them unless it's bad up there, deep, icy, crazy. Anything less, like with a normal year, you don't even think of it. Then it's cold out, of course. Then the snow and ice, all that, is very heavy. Because it's been up there for a while, getting whatever warmth a warm day gives, then going cold and frozen again.

Add to all that that it's up on a roof. So they have to tie cables to trees and around themselves in case they might slip and fall off.

One other thing. If it's bad enough for one person to get their roof cleaned, it's bad for everyone. And that means they have many appointments. So they have to work to all hours so they'll be free tomorrow for someone else.

The guy on TV who does the "Dirty Jobs" ought to try snow removal from roofs!

Thursday, February 18, 2010


The song and album, "Moondance" by Van Morrison is perpetually refreshing and nice.

I was just shuffling songs on iTunes in my library and they were like "yuck, yuck, yuck," skipping each one till it popped on "Moondance." It's good for any mood, and very soothing. Something I can listen to

I used to live somewhere (Iowa City) where a guy had a nightly program on the radio, and his program was called "Moondance," so he played this song at the opening, as the theme song each night. That might be overkill, since as I recall it was the whole song each time.

Hearing it, it's hard not to think back to that show. But I have other associations with the album over the years. The same good vibe always seems to be there.

I need a good vibe, so I hope this does it. Before I get an ulcer.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A Political Rant, Perhaps

I have enough on my mind tonight without launching into a full blown political rant.

Yes, I look at the news, at least superficially, the headlines. I see the whole thing about the Republicans and their constant obstructionism and rooting for the country's failure. It's dismal, they're dismal, scumbags.

Then on the other hand we have the Democrats, who for some reason get together and mutually tie their hands behind their backs, then insist they can't get anything done. The public might be crying out for progress, for action, but they're oblivious to it.

The word of the year is "bipartisanship," which of course is a terrible joke. If the Republicans weren't engaged in helping to run the country in a non-election year, please don't tell me you seriously think they're going to suddenly switch now. If anything it would've been the other way around.

Bipartisanship is a stupid concept at this point. And anyone who thinks we're going to get more by wishing for more bipartisanship is going to have a big fat goose egg to look back on as to their achievements. The way to get something done is this: When you have the power, get something done.

Republicans make me sick. But tying your hands behind your back and saying you can't get anything done without them also makes me sick. Just get something done. And give us a good reason to respect you.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees

I got my copy of "The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees" today. I was very nervous that I might not receive it, because Rhino's ordering process wasn't the best. At last check at their site, you could at least see you ordered it. But before that, for quite a while, it just said, "AAARGH! We ran into a technical issue that prevented us from loading the page you requested." Just last night it said that. And probably still today. But I don't need to check again, because I got it!

Fortunately they make better albums than they do websites. It came and it's a beautiful set. This is a very good reason for everyone to keep the CD around. You don't get a digital download with the terrific stuff they have in the way of packaging and extras.

One of the extras is the 45 rpm record pictured, acoustic versions of a couple of songs. Apparently there are enough takes of "Lady's Baby" that everyone in the world can have his own, so I might claim this one for myself. It's a nice acoustic version, called "Alternate Acoustic Version." I do like the one with the little kid though. "St. Matthew" sounds like a demo version of this Mike song. In terms of putting songs out on 45, these two of course would've never made it originally, but they make a nice collectible these days. They are on Rhino, PR7 522250. Both were previously unissued. "St. Matthew" is marked side 1 and the other side 2. Both are "produced by The Monkees," the (meaningless) credit line they insisted on at that time.

There's a bunch of information in the accompanying booklet. I went through some of it but still haven't read most of it. It's a lot of insider information about who wrote things and who really wrote them, who played on the tracks, etc. Whether there's still anything left to discover after the five deluxe issues out plus Andrew Sandoval's great book, I don't know. There's an amazing amount of detail out there about the tracks. A lot more than years ago when they left it all to your imagination.

For example, I never knew Keith Allison had anything to do with any of the tracks. I read in the booklet that he was involved in "Auntie's Municipal Court," I believe co-writing it and playing on it. Or that Mike called Micky who was somewhere up in the mountains and he came down to sing the song and they finished it up just like that. The way I always pictured it as a kid was a lot more orderly. They were standing there doing the songs, no calling up to the mountains!

The package comes with three discs. First is the original stereo album plus a bunch of extras, alternate tracks, different mixes, etc. Second is the original mono album, again with a bunch of extras. I listened to it first since I'd never heard the mono album. It was more rare. I don't know if we had an option of getting it where I got records in 1968. I wasn't so discerning at the time. I was just lucky to get anything.

The third disc is called "The Birds, The Bees & The Rarities." The only I heard on it so far is the "Monkees Adult Stereo 8 Spot," an advertisement for the Monkees albums on 8 track tape. Davy is heard commending the 8 track tape as like being right in the studio, how well you can hear the instruments. The 8 track tape is greatly ridiculed now, but he's kind of right, when I heard 8 track tapes the first time they sounded as nice as anything. I never heard them sound as great as they did that first time. But they did sound very good when they were brand new on a brand new player.

The box is bigger than a CD box. What you see in the picture is its true dimensions. And thicker, probably slightly over an inch. It has a "lenticular" version of the main cover graphic, which is one of those 3D things that you can move back and forth. That's cool. How they managed that I don't know. Unless it'd be from multiple images of the original cover artwork taken from slightly different angles. Or maybe a computer can do that separation, although I've never heard of it.

Inside are the three CD sleeves, cardboard, the booklet, a button relating to the album ("Tell somebody you love about The Birds, The Bees, and The Monkees"), a facsimile of an advertisement for the record and 8 track tape, plus one of the inner sleeves they used to have with Colgems LP releases, advertising the first five Monkee LPs. I always wondered why the first album and "Headquarters" were designated "Special," so that's a detail I'd like to know about.

A great looking (and sounding) set.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Crusty Renaissance Man

I've had this snippet of an article on my bulletin board for a few years. This is scanned off a photocopy of it, since the original was in a scrapbook I used to keep quite a few years ago, in the '80s.

I looked Millard Gilbertson up on the internet since I didn't have the article dated. He died in 1986.

Also, I didn't keep the rest of the article, just this little piece, so it's hard to see everything in context. But I guess I just wanted this little piece for the cautionary tale it told. Which is, Beware how you live, because when you die, maybe everything they say about you won't be good.

Hanson, whoever Hanson was, didn't do Millard Gilbertson's memory any good, that's for sure! Hanson never saw Gilbertson any other way but grouchy. Right there you know this has to be good!

Then, quoting Hanson, "If he liked you, Millard would do anything for you. If he didn't like someone, he wouldn't talk to them. There were many of those. It didn't take much of anything to make him mad. If someone crossed him, they never would get back on his good side."
Thanks a lot, Hanson!

The snippet, by the way, is from the Des Moines Register. And I don't have access to the rest of the article.

But, like I said, looking online, I found Millard passed away in 1986, so it's probably not too early to post this on the website. After all, his reputation has already been blared publicly in the Des Moines Register way back when.

As to part of Millard Gilbertson's actual obituary, taken from The Elgin Echo, Elgin, Iowa, April 2, 1986, p. 2:
Millard Arthur Gilbertson was born August 29, 1909, at rural Elgin, to Halvor and Berthina (Ruroden) Gilbertson. He lived and farmed all of his life in the Elgin area. He graduated from Elgin High School, and was baptized and confirmed at East Clermont Lutheran Church.

Millard enjoyed outside activities. He was very active on the Fayette County Conservation Board, and was an honorary member of the Elgin Historical Society.

Millard died Tuesday, March 25, 1986 at his home at the age of 76 years.
That's all great, but I like the unvarnished truth the way Hanson remembered it.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Battle Of The Vice Presidents

I only read a little bit of what Joe Biden had to say about Dick Cheney and the whole issue about how we should handle terrorists and terrorist suspeects.

First, let me say, Dick Cheney sickens me like few human beings can. I would rather look at fresh dog squat than see Dick Cheney. So anything he has to say, I have an instant revulsion toward it.

Joe Biden is right. Whatever he says. Because Dick Cheney is automatically wrong. The man's a criminal. There's no trust, zero trust for a crook like him. He needs to wither up and blow away. The sooner the better.

Now, throw into the mix, the original vice presidential idiot, Dan Quayle. Dan Quayle is in the news again. I thought he had withered up and blown away. But apparently no such luck. He was in the news saying that the Founding Fathers never intended for the Senate to function in a democratic way, like with majority votes on things. Which is kind of strange, because I remember the Republicans arguing differently a few years ago, i.e., that the filibuster was "unconstitutional." So these things must fluctuate depending on the fortunes of the Republicans.

Dan Quayle, though. I took some pictures of him one time and met him, I guess. We surely met, since we were both right there. He gave me a blank look like he wondered what I was doing. Taking pictures. But I'll spare everyone the pictures, assuming I could still find them after all this time.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Republicans ARE To Blame


Grassley's office issued a statement saying that Reid's move "sends a message that he wants to go partisan and blame Republicans.
That's an easy one. The Republicans have been intransigent, obstructionist, and just plain turds. If anyone is to blame for the troubles in Congress -- and someone clearly is -- it has to be the Republicans, who have systematically and cynically opposed everything.

There's no doubt about it, who's to blame. The Republicans, clearly and without a shadow of doubt.

And Grassley, offering his statement, may as well look in the mirror. He's been among the worst of the worst. "Death panels," anyone?

Friday, February 12, 2010

A Dizzy, Strange Feeling For Me

I don't usually get sick, so I don't think I'm sick.

But I woke up today with a dizzy, unbalanced feeling, and it's only gotten half better as the day's gone on.

I didn't get to bed till close to 11 and I get up at 5:30, so I thought maybe it was just sleep deprivation and problems that could go with that. But I stayed up for an hour or so and went back to bed. When I woke up I wasn't any better.

Since then I've been up (mostly) doing things. Most of the severe feelings of dizziness and being about to fall over have dissipated, but I'm still left with a strange feeling in my head, like everything could start spinning if I turned just the wrong way.

I hope it goes away all by itself without too much effort from me, such as having to go to the doctor.

I don't know what may be wrong. I've been thinking about buying more life insurance. So maybe I should get going on that.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Theory Of Gravity's Only Half True

The theory of gravity's only half true. And the way I believe, if something's only half true it's not true. If it's half false, it may as well be all false. So, unless someone can prove it to me beyond a shadow of a doubt, and I guarantee I won't listen, then I have no reason to believe it.

The same thing about all this so-called global warming. If it's cold out, that proves the theory of global warming is not true. And even if it's half true, see above, it's not true at all.

I keep hearing the self-appointed experts telling us there's a difference between climate and weather. That climate is the overall macro system and that weather is the micro, incidental, ever shifting phenomena of climate. To which I say, that's a lot of very big words, meant to confuse the issue. If you can't say it simple enough for a simple man like me to understand, then why waste so much hot air? I'm not listening!

OK, I hear you, what's this about gravity being only half true? Think about it. If I throw a ball up in the air, it's only falling half the time. Half the time it's going up. Proving that gravity is not a constant force. Therefore it could only be half true. Therefore it's not true at all.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Nature -- The Real Terrorist

I have a few snowdrifts in the yard I'd love to see sitting in jail. For trespassing. They're trespassing all over town, actually. And numerous 300 pound icicles are pulling the eaves down all over town, clogging up all our well designed waterways.

That's just me and my little town. Nationally, they're saying the snowstorm on the east coast is Snowocalypse and Snowmageddon. To which we might add Snowzilla, Snowkong, Snowqaeda, and Snowpublican. If we settle on Snowpublican, then we will have probably the best idea of the amount of damage, suffering, and misery the snow is able to bring.

Now, what's behind all this misery? Nature. The so-called benevolent force that makes up our environment and our very being. Meaning, if you really think about it, we have the seeds of the greatest terrorism in our very blood and being, because we're made of this terrible force called Nature. There really is nothing more insidious than Nature. Just think, you can't talk or even think about Nature without Nature itself, because it's what we are. If I try to peer around a corner to peek at Nature, Nature's right there over my shoulder looking with me! It's like trying to outrun your shadow. It can be done, if the sun's in the right place. But every time you look down, you notice it's caught up with you.

Now I read that New York has been shut down, essentially. And Washington, D.C. And they're not letting people into that field in Pennsylvania. The terrorist is laughing with glee, the terrorist called Nature.

Think about Al Qaeda. They're pipsqueaks compared to dreaded Nature. Yet if they put a firecracker in their underpants we think the world's coming to an end. Then Nature can cause untold death, misery, and expense -- running in the 100s of millions of dollars just to close down the government for a couple days -- and we take it in stride, saying "We can't do anything about it." Ho hum.

Somehow, someway, we need to retaliate. Like the Tea Party people say, I don't remember any attacks by Nature while Bush was president. Just sunshine and an occasional gentle rain.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

What's Happening In Politics?

Good grief.

Am I about getting sick of seeing President Obama, day after day, pursuing the Republicans like a jilted lover who can never get the message? At this point I wouldn't doubt it if he's got a ladder up against their house at night, peeking in their windows. The guy cares more about what the Republicans think about him than he does us. It's getting ridiculous.

He needs to get the message. They are actively working for his failure, the failure of his agenda, and the frittering away of his power and legacy. Actively, Mr. President, as in you down for the count.

Just do something, steamroll them, get the best of them. See those things dangling between their legs? Cut them off! I thought the President of the United States was "the most powerful man in the world." But here we have the daily spectacle of all these Lilliputians tying him down and dancing a jig on his forehead. I'm getting downright sick of it.

Then in other news, speaking of nut jobs, we have Sarah Palin out there running for president. She actually said it'd be "absurd" for her not to be considering a run for the presidency. I too often think of the word "absurd" in relation to Sarah Palin as president.

It's funny, I heard a quote she gave, something to the effect of, if she were president, she vowed that she wouldn't know any more about any issue than the common person knows! I would guess that'd be true, but it's a heck of a vow to make. Just speaking for myself, I want the president to know more about policies, intelligence, and all the rest than I know. I mean, I'm not the dumbest guy in the world. But my access to top level briefings is just not there. They haven't given me one yet! That's a heck of a vow she made!

It was reported -- I heard the quote -- that she thinks we ought to go to war with Iran. Just like that. War. Someone please spare us such ignorance. Remember, I haven't had any briefings, but even I know the next legitimate step in our relations with Iran is something short of all-out war.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Jack Murtha Died

I hadn't really heard of Jack Murtha till he stood up against something about President Bush's policy in Iraq. Then he became something of a hero to the left.

Then in more recent years, he seemed like he was on the outs, because of something, I don't know what, some kind of shady deals or something.

He looked like a no nonsense kind of guy, that kind of craggy look that lets you know you're dealing with someone who knows his own mind and will do what he thinks best.

It's too bad he had to go and die on us. And only 77 years old, if I'm remembering right.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Sarah Palin's Handprompter

It bothers me to see people write notes on their hand. I know a guy who'll do that once in a while. You tell him a phone number and he's scribbling it on his hand. Maybe it goes back to when I was a kid. My mom always said you shouldn't write on yourself, that the ink will hurt you. Anyway, we didn't go in for tattoos or any kind of body enhancement or defacement.

Well, whatever my past is in regards to this, here's what Sarah Palin's present is, writing notes on her hand for interview answers.

They have the picture at this link. She had written on her hand the very tough concepts to memorize: "Energy, Budget (or Tax) Cuts, and Lift America's spirits." They even have a picture of her referring to this impressive list. Oh, that is so pathetic! And she just had a speech in which she reportedly mocked President Obama for using a teleprompter! Here's some advice to Sarah Palin: "TELL IT TO THE HAND!"

You've got to HAND it to her, she's definitely got some ideas. Except they're not in her HEAD, they're on her HAND. If you ever get to meet Sarah Palin, please don't shake her HAND until after the speech. If too many people did, it'd be a blur and she'd be up there going, "Blub, galug, potaky." Too many smudges!

If she goes to a palm reader, the lady would say, "Your lifeline says you want to 'Lift America's Spirits.' How about going home and taking care of your kids? We don't want you. That would lift our spirits immediately!"

This woman -- face it, idiots -- is the dumbest woman in America. The idea of her ever being president is ridiculous in so many ways, you'd think anyone who'd suggest it would be committed to the nearest funny farm. Do we still have funny farms? We'll need some if people suggest her for president. It's totally ludicrous.

But the bright side of Sarah being president would be the short speeches we could look forward to. Whatever she can cram on her HAND! Just hold it up, we'll read it, and save time.

By the way, wasn't she using a teleprompter at her big speech at the Republican convention? I don't remember seeing her reading her HAND. But that was a lengthier speech, probably would have to be continued on her LEG.

"And in conclusion, my fellow Republicans, Blub, galug, potaky. And God bless the United States of America."

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Death Strikes Again

I had a sad experience today, hearing about a friend of mine who died.

He's a guy I see several times a week, and he seemed like he was always in pretty good health. I don't remember there ever being anything wrong with him.

But then, early this morning, in the 3-4 a.m. range, he apparently had a heart attack in his sleep and just died. No lingering, no hospital stay, no saying goodbye, nothing.

It's such a shocker to hear about it. It's so final. All those times I see him every week, he won't be showing up anymore. That'll be tough to get used to.

When I heard about the news, I was writing this post, a humor post about how "normal" I am. I mentioned it there when I resumed the writing. It turned out OK, I guess, but I had some good thoughts going. And the shock and the grief really changed it, no doubt.

Friday, February 05, 2010

A Bad Computer Malfunction

I had a bad computer malfunction today. One that can't be fixed easily, such as snapping the stupid thing back on. Good grief, what ever happened to simple functionality?

I have a laptop computer and the SHIFT key went bad, then went askew, then came off all together when I tried to straighten it. But it's a keyboard where the keys don't just pop on and off. They're on there with tiny little hooks that are obviously prone to disaster.

The shift key hasn't been working well for a few days. I push it and nothing happens. Before that it was the A key that wouldn't work. Then the shift key, which is just down from the A. So I thought maybe there was a piece of dirt under there. I spritzed it with the canned air and it seemed OK.

Then today the Shift key took in again with the problems, until the incident described above happened.

Now I have to get it fixed, which is not a simple matter ... especially if you have to send it in. That can take forever. And apparently they have to wipe the hard drive clean to its original factory specs. I don't want that! I worked like a dog to get this computer set up the way I want, with the programs I want on it.

So I'm going to call the computer shops and see what my other options are. This is insane.

It's an HP notebook computer. I'm not happy with them right now. And I won't forget this.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Palmer Cortlandt

I forgot to mention that James Mitchell died the other day, who played Palmer Cortlandt on "All My Children."

His actual name was Pete Cooney. I don't know how he got the name Palmer Cortlandt, unless he just adopted it when he left Pigeon Hollow. Dixie, his niece, was a Cooney as well.

I was glancing at a few websites and was reminded of a few of his story lines. One of the biggies was his interference in his daughter Nina's love life. She did get married to Cliff Warner. That's been a long time ago and I don't remember all the details. I know Nina had other love interests, such as a doctor, whose name I forget. I remember he pronounced "Sorry" as "Sore-y."

A couple of story lines I didn't see mentioned include these two (again, details are sketchy):

--Palmer had a treasure trove of art masterpieces in his basement or a secret room. He was a smuggler or bought them somehow on the black market. He essentially gave up Opal his wife over these pictures. Because he chose them over her.

--Palmer and Opal owned a restaurant called the "Chicken Shack." As I recall, Cortlandt (his electronics, computer company) was on the outs or was bought out, and so they started this little chicken restaurant. One of their employees was a relative's son, Del Hunkle. Also from Pigeon Hollow, and Dixie's half brother. She ended up giving him a kidney, which irked Palmer, to say the least. Del's father was named Seabone Hunkle. There were lots of comical bits with the "Chicken Shack." It was Palmer at his lowest, but also his funniest.

We always loved Palmer, such a devious, terrible guy!

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

John Edwards And Andrew Young

I watched Andrew Young's segment on "Hardball" tonight. It's kind of frightening how close John Edwards came to being president, or at least vice president.

Of course it would've been better if Kerry had beat Bush in 2004, which would've meant Edwards would've been veep. He would've been better than Cheney. Of course anyone would be!

The way Andrew Young described John Edwards, who was a dear friend for quite a while, is that he's someone with no ethics. So Bush, Cheney, Edwards... We could've done worse.

Still, it's definitely a good thing that he didn't get any farther in 2008 than he did, for many reasons.

The charges at the time didn't sound 100% credible and they didn't sound 100% incredible. I was guessing the truth was in the middle somewhere. But we, the common folk, were just sitting here in our homes. We couldn't figure it out until it was all exposed. Fortunately I was never a big Edwards fan, so I wasn't downcast to realize what a slime he was. I never gave him any money so I wasn't invested in him at all.

I met Edwards at a couple of events, one in 2003 and one in 2004. The first one was an intimate little setting -- not intimate in Edwards' terms, but intimate in the sense that there must've been less than 30 people in the room. He seemed very charming, but slick. He was very friendly, of course. In 2004 it was less intimate, because it was a packed place and a rousing speech. I really saw some old people fall in love with him at that, like they were under a spell. At the end of it, somehow I had gotten to the back of the room, right where he ended up coming toward, then would turn toward the door. By the time he got to me -- I believe we shook hands at that turn -- he looked like he was exhilarated by the whole thing. There was some real adulation. Then on to the next place!

By the time 2007 rolled around I had the chance to go see him, but I didn't want to. I'd already seen him in 2004, wasn't going to support him anyway, so what was the use? I drove by a place on my way to Walmart or to exercise or something and he was standing in the road, and it seems like he was doing an interview with a TV station. I should've gone to see him in '07, because that's where the real action was!

My opinion in 2007 was that he shouldn't be running for president, that he should be home enjoying his life with his wife, since she was so bad off. It seemed stupid to me for him to be running for president when he had bigger responsibilities with her. To me that fact alone showed he had some character problems. Little did I know what was really going on!

Andrew Young did a good job on "Hardball." Chris tried to trip him up once, calling him a "rat fink," but he still came out of it looking pretty good.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Country First?

Among the crazy findings in the Daily Kos/Research 2000 poll of Republicans, almost a quarter (23%) of Republicans think their state ought to secede from the union.

Wow. Every fourth Republican, give or take, wants to leave the United States of America behind!

What's this say about the Republicans' vaunted "patriotism"? Not much.

The highest percentage (33%) of Republicans who think this is in the south. So one in three southern Republicans want to leave the United States! I guess we can look forward to fewer chants of "USA! USA! USA!" coming out of their ignorant throats.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Tomorrow's Punxsutawney Phil's Big Day

It's just about rolled around again to Groundhog's Day, Punxsutawney Phil's big day in Pennsylvania.

Some guys in top hats will be hefting the groundhog high in the air, so he can check around for shadows, trying to determine and inform us about winter's remaining duration.

Then back in the cage. We'll catch you again next year.