I’ll be sorry but I don’t care

Haiko On Hanami by April Joy E Jasmin

Click images for desktop size: “Haiku On Hanami” by April Joy E Jasmin
My mother used to be terrified that she, being only fifteen years older than me and divorced, was going to deprive me and traumatize me. The only book, the only resource for new mothers then was Delinquent Schoolgirls Doctor Spock. She couldn’t go to her mother for advice. My grandmother hadn’t talked to her since my mother’s divorce. So my mother fumbled around and did the best she could figure out.
Sometimes this entailed taking me to work with her. When she was working at the concession counter at the drive-in movie theater going with her was very cool. I would sit at a picnic table on a concrete slab by the projection booth, right next to a blaring metal loud speaker and float into the movies while my mom’s teen co-workers inundated me with sugar-y soda, popcorn and ice cream.
It was in that state that I first saw “Godzilla”. A warm California night, the sea breeze and eucalyptus scenting the air and sixty feet of city munching reptile destroying everything adults hold dear. Perhaps my still holding love affair with Japanese jidai-geki movies has more to do with remembering a mother’s love than it does my fondness for giant lizards and men in rubber suits. I wouldn’t know. I’m more Adlerian than Freudian.
I liked monster movies. So did my mother but she worried so her next big plan to keep me from being deprived was a subscription to The Children’s Book Club.
This was some weird thing, probably from an ad in “Teen Mom’s Weekly”. For fifty nine cents a copy your child, meaning me, got a hard cover classic of children’s literature.
They were cheaply printed things. Thing I remember most were the super ragged edges of the pages. But I liked the books. I liked the stories in them. Classics is a pretty broad term. There were Hardy Boys stories, strange science fiction and “Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland”. I really liked that book at age 7. I liked the pictures and I liked the horrible things that happened to the little girl.
Purple Vectors

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At that stage of my life torturing little girls was a major part of my entertainment. Not real torture but stuff like dropping snails down their backs, stealing the heads from their dolls. Typical stuff. The one girl who thought it was cool and fought back instead of shrieking and threatening to tell on me became a life long friend.
So I liked that all the animals yelled at Alice, picked on her and tormented her. It kept my interest up.
I read that book and re-read it then got on with surfing, torturing little girls etc. In high school someone gave me a copy of Martin Gardener’s “The Annotated Alice”. I don’t remember who. It took me a long time before I started reading it. When I did start to get into it I was enthralled. It started my trek into Lewis Carroll fandom.
I recently got a copy of Jenny Woolf’s new book, “The Mystery of Lewis Carroll”. It’s a bit dry but it attempts to debunk some of the more bizarre suppositions about Charles Dodgson like that he wasThe Deadly Mantis actually Jack the Ripper. It also attempts to tackle the issue of his being a pedophile. That has always driven me crazy. I’ve read some persuasive arguments for it being so and I’ve tried to accept that he was a pedophile who never actually improperly touched or harmed a child.
That goes against my knowledge of pedophiles. When I took my training to help abused kids part of it was attending group therapy sessions and listening to child abusers. I think the plan was to get us trainees to have some compassion and empathy for the offensive Audrey Hepburn

Click images for desktop size: “Audrey Hepburn”
offenders.
It didn’t have any such effect. I have been alone with thrill killers, reputed Mafia hitmen, drug addicts, prostitutes and movie stars. At some level I’ve always felt a bond of humanity. Sometimes it was tenuous and difficult but it was always still there.
Prior to my meeting the child abusers the group I felt most distant from were the hard core crack addicts. They were so lizard brained that any cloudy memory they had of being human was only called on to try and manipulate.
Child abusers, the ultimate victimizers, didn’t have even that. To me they were an alien insect race that would be best served with a claw hammer and a room draped in plastic.
They have no control over their actions. They must abuse. So sordid and ingrained is their delusion that they speak often and in agreement that children are sexual seducers who lure them into the abusers horrific attacks and fantasies.
The thing is that they were all like this, all out of control. Even chemical and physical castration has not deterred child molesters from attacking children.
No matter how convincing the arguments it was hard, nearly impossible for me to put Dodgson in Rise on an Angel by Titusboy

Click images for desktop size: “Rise on an Angel” by Titusboy
this category, this misshapen lump. I could not even accept that he was a pedophile who had somehow managed to NOT harm children.
Ms Woolf’s book tries to address this issue while presenting an image of Carroll full and deep. She uses a few newly discovered letters, gets some interesting interpretations of available data from MD’s and such and uses a unique and solid bit of hard evidence.
She uses forensic accounting. Recently discovered are the complete bank records for Dodgson. From the first penny he spent till the decimation of his estate at his death. Financial records.
It seems odd. But so did bringing down Al Capone’s empire based on his financial records. It paints a picture of Carroll and Dodgson that I am much more in agreement with that any other previous. Meaning it jibes most closely to my own perceptions of a major part of my pantheontology.
Woolf’s writing style is a bit dry and prosaic but her observations are keen, her conclusions are onlyDevil Girl From Mars pedantic when strongly supported by evidence. It makes a good read and provides at least for the fans, which I am, a nice amount of dream time considering Dodgson/Carroll. My only complaint is that a bit too many words are spent rejecting some of the more inane conclusions about Dodgson.

I went for my stress tests on Wednesday. Interesting stuff. They made the mistake of leaving me alone in a room too long. I found a remarkable plastic model of a heart. It was dumped behind some boxes in a cupboard. I coveted it and considered stealing it. I didn’t. Not because of any high handed moral arguments or out of fear but because it occurred to me that it might only appear to be discarded and might be of service to some other poor slob stuck in my kind of hell.
The stress tests themselves were not all that difficult. The first one was on a treadmill. I was out fitted with all the ekg terminals and an x-ray machine was pointed at my chest.
Wally Wood

Click images for desktop size: “Untitled” by Wally Wood
It was hard getting my pulse over 100. Not that I’m that fit but because the treadmill didn’t offer up enough resistance and I was ordered to not bend over too much to accelerate so that the x-rays would hit the right spot.
After that we went to the stair masters. Due to my chemotherapy history they eschewed x-rays. Didn’t want to blast me with too much radiation in case I turned into a super hero I bet. So this time I climbed the unending staircase and was monitored by electrodes and sound waves. I could see the sonogram as I worked out. It was so incredibly cool looking at my heart beat. In motion I was trying to control it and make it do interesting things. That got me yelled at.
Don’t have all the results yet but what there is is good. My heart has healed. There are abnormalities but they have to be looked for rather than appearing as distorted lines and squibbles.
My vitals are all good. they doubled my blood pressure meds. Rah. My BP was 120 over 60, but they decided they want it even lower! Part of this is due to the congestive heart failure I had with theDouble Indemnity Lyrica. Then my BP was hovering around 190 over 80 due to all the fluid in my chest compressing everything. Getting my standard BP even lower will enable me to endure a real congestive heart attack (that’s what killed my grandmother when she was 98 . . .) They said I was on an extremely minmal dosage anyway and this would still have me below average.
Now I just wait for the rest of the results and the fitness and fury.
Just wanted to mention my puppy. She’s continued to be wonderful. She’s crazy and calm by turns. When I’m feeling more under the weather than usual she’s protective. When I’m feeling better she’s bossy and obnoxious, demanding her way. She’s my friend.
She’s been on a diet. She hates it. But we went to the pet store yesterday and she has lost nearly TWO POUNDS! Bringing her weight down to 71! Only six more pounds to go till she is her ideal weight!
She could care less about ideal weight. She’d rather have ice cream at all of her meals.

I’ve seen the future; it looks like yesterday

Fairytale Land by Monica Corduneau

Click images for desktop size: “Fairy Tale Land” by Monica Corduneau
“I’ve never said this to a white man before. I love you.”
I don’t get nervous about things being said to me like that. It was a customer as I counted out herAlien vs Predator $3,200 winnings. She didn’t give me a tip.
Nowadays most people don’t understand the use or the power of words. Crack, meth, liquor and TV have minimized the impact of everything but mostly words have come to mean less and less.
The sounds of words get used to mesmerize and manipulate. The clarity and evocative power of words and sentences has been lost to soundbites, which tend to be meaningless emotion grabbers without depth.
Sarah Palin, who used to faqscinate me until she quit the job she insisted she craved so that she’d be free to be greedy. She uses soundbites. She doesn’t even bother with words. She makes up sounds that sound like they have portent. It seems like the grunting of a caveman in a 10 thousand dollar suit.
Frank Capra made a movie. It was called “Meet John Doe”. It was one of those great populist dramas. Gary Cooper was “John Doe” a baseball pitcher who blew his arm out. In the middle of the great depression that meant he was now a hobo, riding the rails, looking for a days work. Barbara Stanwyck is a newspaper columnist who just got fired. In an act of spite Stanwyck publishes a shaggy dog story about how John Doe was mad about the state of the world. John Doe is so mad that he plans to commit a Zen Bhuddist protest and throw himself off of City Hall on Christmas Eve.
Gary Cooper gives radio speeches that barbara Stanwyck writes for him. They’re populist speeches that hold a pure clean vision for America. Mainly the populist themes of the times: employment, self esteem, distrust of the decadent rich, distrust of elected politicians who forget their constituency.
Hal 9000 by Maurico Fernandez Rosino

Click images for desktop size: “HAL 9000” by Maurico Fernandez Rosino
Gary Cooper’s character becomes a national hero. Clubs, form up: “The John Doe Society”. They agree with Cooper and the clubs form to collect signatures begging Cooper to not commit suicide.
The John Doe Clubs keep springing up all over America. Then Eddy Arnold comes forward. He’s a rich guy and begins to bank roll The John Doe Society. He turns a grass roots organization into a powerful political third party. He spends depression millions creating the clubs, controlling the people. He plans to ride them into the White House, making himself a ruler. A ruler not with populist ideals but with fascist Stalinist principals that insure the success of white upper crust Americans while grinding the poor and the middle class into a bloody stew to grease the corporate wheels of his personal progress.
Eddy Arnold rests by building his own private army and by installing the movie world’s best ever Christmas tree.
There’s a lot more plot to the movie. Cooper finds out about Arnold’s plans and plans to expose him. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes Arnold, rather than be exposed, destroys Cooper and the John Doe Society. If he can’t use it. He writes it off as a loss.
It all reminds me too much of Sarah Palin and Roger Ailes. Except there’s no Gary Cooper around to save us from them. And, like they say, there’s a sucker born every minute.
Palin has no mystery. She’s just a greed machine who couldn’t even finish out her sworn term of office because she was too greedy and feared her flame flickering out before she struck true gold. She’s the Marylin Monroe and Jane Russell

Click image: “Marlyn Monroe & Jane Russell”
Paris Hilton of politics.

Next night at work was the night of the crack heads. There’s an armed security guard who works with me. Most of the time he just sits and plays the games, he gambles almost 8 hours straight. I don’t know if he was absorbed in gambling or intimidated by the crack heads. Either’s possible. There were 14 of them in 3 cars: an Escalade and two Cadillac coupes. They were the sort of scum who couldn’t afford Caddies but sold enough crack to make a big enough down payment.
It didn’t mean anything to me. I kept them in line. They’d get aggro but aggro and bragging don’t impress me. I know tough. Been around plenty of scary people in my life. These jerks were just loud and used to scaring little old ladies. After each confrontation they’d come up to me and wanting to make friends. Like I’d want a coward for a friend.
No head cracking ensued. Mainly because taking even one of them out probably would have killed me. And mainly because I’d look at them and just feel pity. I hate the drugs. I hate the lizard brained monsters crack turns people into but I feel saddened that crack was all they have and turning them into lizard brains was the best choice for them, as they see it. Because creeps like Sarah Palin want to take away any dream of a future and leave all but their select few as despairing multitudes begging for just a little more.
Marek Okon

Click images for desktop size: “Untitled” by Marek Okon
The next night was worse, worse than crack heads. There seems to be a type of woman who hangs around these places. Usually they seem pretty harmless to me. They beg for gambling money.
They scam and hustle but its pretty harmless stuff to my mind. Its more their gambling addiction than purer forms of poverty. Usually they “borrow” a couple bucks in exchange for bringing the fatties money to me. As in, “Eighteen bucks on Miss Ambrose’s account and two on mine,” while they hand me a crumpled twenty. For many of these women the effort of standing up and walking 6 feet is worth 2 bucks. Or “loan me five and we’ll be partners and split anything I win.”
I don’t like that stuff but it’s better than robbery. I’ve talked to a few women about it but it doesn’t seem to have any impact. It annoys most of my co-workers, these people. I don’t see why. They only bug me when they get rude but most of the time they are only obnoxious to me.
There’s one of this group who fairly attractive i.e. not fat. She’s pretty low life. One of the securityApocalypse Now guards was hitting on her as was one of my co–workers. In the introductory conversation she always swings it around to her time in prison and how proud she is of her mother who is like Queen of the Yard.
Depressing stuff.
The girl talks but she comes off as just a tease. She’s just playing things out for the money and the attention.
So Thursday she’s working this dude, Ronnell. He’s a tall guy, a wanna be pimp sort. Wears tiny braids and a derby hat! In 2010 a derby hat looks pretty stupid to my eyes.
So the girl hustled him for a whole five bucks. It made me nervous because I dislike this guy Ronnell and get the idea that he thinks he’s suave and dangerous, in a way a guy who’s never set foot out of a small town can think he’s suave and dangerous. Too many movies, too much TV and very little life other than street corners.
Ronnell decided to collect on his “investment”. Fortunately caught him when he led the girl outside and slammed her against a wall and pressed hard against her. Fortunately stopped him before it My House

Click images for desktop size: “My Home” by Unknown
went any further than that. Sexual assault is slightly less disgusting than rape.
I asked the girl about calling the cops. She was startled. She was upset but nowhere near as upset as I’d expect. She hung around a couple of more hours.
The next morning my boss didn’t fight me about banning the guy permanently.

I was supposed to see the neurologist on Friday. I got an email canceling the appointment and rescheduling it for April 21!!
I think I’d rather have a slightly worse doctor who was a little it more available.
I called the office and found out the guy was sick. Occupational hazard style sickness.
This Wednesday I get to see the cardiologist. I have some high hopes here. It’s the stress test. I’m hoping to find out that the heat attacks have healed. I’m also hoping that the damage done by the Lyrica was only transitory.
So the weekend is nearly over and all I’ve done is recover physically enough to go into work tomorrow night.
It’s going to be a short week. I’m taking off the night of the stress test and then the next night as well. I want to pass the stress test and be deemed healthy.

It is better to know some of the questions than all of the answers
James Thurber

Hollywood
Click images for desktop size: “Hollywood” by Unknown
Rain and snow here. They’re not used to it. It locks the whole town into a deep panic. Strange. Two plow trucks with salt spreaders would make the whole thing pretty much a non-issue in a few hours.Blood Cult They do nothing despite dozens of accidents and fatalities. They do nothing and people keep driving. Except me. I keep walking.
The nasty weather makes being ordered to stay at home a bit easier to take. I saw the doc on Wednesday and got ordered to take it easy, to take off two days of work, to let my body heal.
My blood pressure is still high 144 over 80. Doc says it’s because of all the fluid in my chest. She was going to give me a lecture about walking out of the hospital but stopped when I said it was mainly because of the money. the hospital said I left because I wanted to go home and feed my puppy . . . that’s true but not all that’s true.
She also said, “The emergency doctor doesn’t understand how tough you are. Your previous doctor made notes all over the place but its hard to believe. I’ve been seeing you for six months and I barely believe it myself.”
There’s not much there for me so I let it lie. I don’t much like people thinking I’m so tough I can endure all the pain.
She sent me off to get more x-rays. I’m probably going to have to go to a Pulmonary doc. The Lyrica damaged my lungs some but there seems to be some calcification already present. The doc was under the impression I’d tested positive for TB!! I told her I thought I’d remember if I had.
I was worried, In London I had to get tested for TB every six months. I worked with a group called Blue Cross. I’d go out at night with a veterinarian to the homeless enclaves and we’d treat the dogs many of the homeless men and women kept for protection and companionship. Tuberculosis runs rampant in the homeless communities of Europe so I had to get the little skin pop test and chest x-rays far too often.
It was noted in my file that I had tested positive in one of those skin pop tests. The doc checked the computer records pretty quickly and found the positive for TB notation. A few years ago I needed a chest x-ray for Canadian immigration. It seems that the radiologist couldn’t think of any other reason that I would need an x-ray other than having tuberculosis so she checked a box on some Ferrari
Click images for desktop size: “Ferrari”
form or other.
I don’t have TB. I’m pretty glad about that but resentful about spending time having to think about it.
I got my chest x-ray and picked up my prescription drug refills. I’m going to hold off on any more neuropathic medicines and just deal with the pain with ibuprofen.
I’m supposed to see the neurologist on the 19th of this month. I decided I could survive the hurt until then. I don’t care for my neurologist much but he’s got a pretty fantastic world class rep. He’ll have to deal with the sudden breaking down of my bodies electrical system.
I have to say though, that other than taking one longish walk to the bank I’ve been pretty docile and being docile has gotten my leg under control. I haven’t taken any ibuprofen today at all.
I’ve gotten to listen to a lot of music. I like that. There’s four pretty special albums I’ve liked. All new but two are brand new and two are new collections of old stuff.
Alkaline Trios “This Addiction” is fine. So good it almost makes me forget how they are the worst The Bird With Crystal Plumage group I’ve ever had to endure live. Nearly forget but not quite. Every song is tinged with the memory of that horrific performance.
I’m also surprised by the Rob Zombie “Hellbilly Deluxe II”. Parts of it are savage and totally deluxe, like “The Devil’s Rejects” and “Halloween” were brutal savage celluloid dreams of evil. The other parts are like . . . Well, there’s a track, “The Cyd Charisse
Click image for desktop size: “Cyd Charisse”
Man Who Laughs” which starts out great then suddenly devolves into a totally inept 5 minute drum solo! Still, what’s great is very cool and what sucks can be ignored. Think “Halloween II” enacted on disc and you’d be pretty close to what the album is.
The release of The Blasters “Testament” is a surprise. Their complete Slash recordings. Slash was a music mag in LA that evolved into a record label pushing out 45’s and the occasional LP. I had a lot of contact with Phil and Dave Alvin for some reason or other. I thought the Blasters were a great band and that Dave was more into Buck Owens (which was are main point of camaraderie) than Little Richard. It was Dave who wrote the songs and Phil who promoted the band.
Getting bands to work is a miserable job. It can turn you into a miserable person. But Phil could sing and front a band for sure. And there’s plenty of evidence in these two CD’s that The Blasters should have been the saviours of music. Maybe they were.
Finally there’s the six CD collection from Buddy Holly. “Not Fade Away-The Complete Studio Recordings”. Someone pointed out that Holly’s “From the Original Master Tapes” was the first CD that showed what CD’s were sonically capable of. Prior to that disk most CD’s stuck to that insulting Japanese Art
Click images for desktop size: “Ancient Japanese Art” by Unknown
format of just using the old RIAA eq’ed for phono cartridge or cassette master tapes. They were pretty offensive sounding. Holly has never offended my ears.
The complete recordings has all the hits, some weird little tid bits, like Holly recording different versions of “That’ll Be The Day” inserting a different DJ’s name. I’d heard them before but never in what I guess you’d call a prestige collection. All the hits are there and they all rock like we’re all going to be young forever. There’s a lot of weird country stuff, complete with Texas fiddle stylings that are only of interest because Holly’s playing guitar.
My enforced vacation ends on Super Sunday. Coolness.
I’ve lost the picking games contest to my friend. Even if she picks the evil mechanized Colts I can’tAbsurd overtake her. Small victory for her which only proves she’s a cheater.
I’m picking the Saints for no other reason than the beauty of it. Little Dru Brees vs the evil Payton Manning. Hey, don’t believe those sweet and funny commercials. Payton Manning is evil. Would a nice guy ruthlessly carve up a defense like he has?
The Colts are boring and will probably win. That’s a shame. I like the wild uncontrollable offense the Brees directs. I like the flying by the seat off their pants defense the Saints throw out there. All the Colts offer is perfection. Perfection is boring.
Who dat think they gonna beat them Saints! I’ll be saying it and watching the game and hoping.
The Who for a halftime show?? Maybe 20 years ago . . .

That’s the whole trouble. You can’t ever find a place that’s nice and peaceful, because there isn’t any. You may think there is, but once you get there, when you’re not looking, somebody’ll sneak up and write “F*** you” right under your nose.

J.D. Salinger is dead and I’m not.

Fieroanimals
Click images for desktop size: “Fieroanimals” by Unknown

I think he’d appreciate that. I know I do.Zurich Film Festival
I keep trying to piece together the history of all this grief.
It was winter of 1999 when they told me I had lympho ballistic leukemia. The doc’s were worried because I took the news too calmly. Like there’s a choice.
The put me on the chemo’s that didn’t quite work. I mean, they did their thing. I went bald, it burned out my pancreas so I got the predicted diabetes. I dropped about 30 pounds of muscle mass. They just didn’t stop the leukemia.
They didn’t tell me, or maybe they did, that the second chemo, Lanvil or something close enough to that name, was laced with neuortoxins. I didn’t know until they told me a couple of months ago. Same time they told me that another of the chronic symptoms of diabetes was nerve degeneration. Diabetes was one of the contributing factors to the first heart attack.
Okay.
So a couple of weeks ago I got a fire in my thigh. Started at the middle of my back and ran all the way down to above my knee. Hurt pretty bad. I took massive doses of ibuprofen and that settled it down. The doc gave me this pill Lyrica. At first I liked it. It stopped the painful burning. The pain and ache it dealt with by making the whole thigh feel numb, but not in a bad explosive way. Just sort of dead flesh numb. I could handle it even if I couldn’t enjoy it.
I followed the directions carefully. One pill a day for a week then on day 7 double them up, one in the morning and one at night.
Fifty Five Drops
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I started the doubling up on Friday. On Sunday I noticed my feet and ankles were swollen to about twice their normal size. Real John Merrick style freaky ugly stuff.
I’d been noticing a pain in my chest when I was walking to work. Nothing over powering, but still there. I stopped taking the pill. Didn’t take my Sunday night pill before hoofing it in to work. There’s a severe hill at the start of the walk. When I got to the top the pain in my chest was pretty bad. It dropped me to one knee and I vomited up about two cups of liquid. Embarrassing stuff.
I called the doc first thing Monday. She was out so I talked to the Medical Student with the same last name as mine. She told me to stop taking the pills. Told her I already had. She said check back in two days.
It was a rough two days. The pain in the thigh came back, at least the burning was pretty subdued. Work was miserable. Its hard suffering in front of people who don’t care. I get no sick days. I had to work to get paid.Invasion of the Bee Girls
I walked back and forth to work. It was hard. I still got there.
I took comfort in the fact that my puppy didn’t seem too concerned. I was having a harder time breathing though and she slowed down when I started to gasp too hard. She still fought me for the bed. I considered it a win if I got a third of Fred and Ginger
Click images for desktop size: “Fred & Ginger”
it, about a foot.
I called the doc on Wednesday. My doc was in. She told me for me to be in that much distress it was important that I go to the emergency room. I told her I couldn’t afford that, which is true.
I went to work as usual. I was getting used to vomiting at the top of the hill. I kept trying to tell myself it was getting better. I put a wedge in the bed so my feet would be higher than my heart. I did all I could.
On Friday I walked home, took care of my puppy and walked over to the Emergency Room. Something of a mistake I think.
Having chest pain rushed me to the front of the queue. Which was cool VIP stuff. They did my EKG, chest X-Ray and BP. I was freaked out. I hate hospitals now. My BP was 194 over 94. I’d never seen it that high. At home, on Thursday, my BP was 112 over 65. At the hospital it never went lower than 155 over 75.
The EMG doc came in and said that my EKG looked fine. I studied the tape with him and asked him about my two heart attacks. The last EKG I had the heart attacks were real easy to see. He looked Regresa A Mi by Titusboy
Click images for desktop size: “Regresa A Mo” by Titusboy
harder and said, “I guess this could be them.”
That was when my BP dropped. I felt pretty good. My heart was healing. Even though conventional wisdom said it wouldn’t, it was. My program of acerbic self flagellation and puppy playing was working.
The next thing he was saying was that he still wanted me to stay in hospital overnight for observation. That shot my BP up again. I asked a simple question; “How much would that be?”
No body knew. It took 10 minutes to find somebody to tell me the base rate would be $3,200. I told them no thanks.
I had to sign a Discharged Against Medical Advice Form. Then they were in a big rush to get rid of me. I made the doc examine my feet and ankles. He said that he couldn’t see any swelling. I’m confident that I wasn’t hallucinating so I decided the EMG doc was a bigger idiot than he appeared. (And trust me, most doctors are idiots. A degree confers no wisdom.)Three Stooges
The blood tests came back and my enzymes showed I’d had an “incident” some days ago. They told me stay off my feet and to relax . . .
I had to stumble around to find my way out. I walked home. My puppy was distressed. She even let me lie down unmolested.
I figured that the pain would gradually fade away and that eventually I’d pass the disaster that was Lyrica out of my life.
I got a phone call Saturday morning. The X-Ray doctor was calling. She was alarmed that I wasn’t in hospital. She wanted to know if I was mobile. The X-rays showed a large amount of fluid in my chest cavity. I told her I was uncomfortable but not dying. She asked me to monitor things and to return to the hospital if pain got too bad or I were to pass out or collapse. (I avoided asking how I was going to get to the hospital if I was unconscious.) She agreed to fax or messenger my x-rays to my doctor asap.
This phone call really made me angry. I couldn’t believe the doc had rushed me out before they even looked at the x-ray. I told you doctors can be idiots.
And all I’ve gotten out of this is DO NOT EVER TAKE A DRUG THE BASTARDS ADVERTISE ON TV. Especially Lyrica. Congestive heart failure is one of their known possible side effects . . . And I love my puppy. Late at night I only have to whisper her name and she comes running happily to me. And I love my friend who puts up with me.
When I was young I thought I was twice as much man as anyone else. It sounded arrogant even to me. But I think I was right nonetheless. Because now I feel like about half a man but the funny thing is I’m still alive even if J.D. Salinger isn’t.

Freedom means the opportunity to be what we never thought we would be
Claude Monet

Fairy Tale by Titusboy
Click images for desktop size: “Fairy Tale” by Titusboy
It’s been a finite week. Beginning and an end. Lots of discoveries about my body. Things I probably didn’t need to know but . . . Village of the Damned
Like, my cruddy job leaves me to tired to have anything more than scrambled thoughts. I have moments but then the fatigue toxins hit. I need to organize my thoughts each day to keep the days separate. Otherwise, like now, they all run together into a gray block that goes from paycheck to paycheck with little in between.
I’ve even found it hard to focus in on a movie. I either fall asleep or find myself getting impatient.
My puppy grounds me. She’s still the same but she’s more important to me each day. Together we have our little adventures. Together we’re going to save this big old pit bull down the street. She takes care of herself and she takes care of me.
Today we walked to the pet store and weighed her. She’s lost one-fifth of a pound. I was pleased.
My big fear is that I’m going to drop one of my pills and she’ll pick it up, thinking its some kind of groovy treat or something. And I take a lot of pills. Too many pills.
The Lyrica hit me hard. I was waking up and walking across the room and it felt very clearly like I was walking up a steep hill. The capsule makes my chest feel heavy. I’m waking up with low blood sugars so it’s not a pretty combination. It feels like theres a little slot car motor in my chest and the axle is spinning and sputtering deep inside of me rotating my organs around some mad dance.
They seem to be doing their job though. The fire bright burning from my hip to my knee has died down and gradually the pain has gotten tolerable.
Lyrica is one of those drugs you have to introduce to your body gradually. On Friday I got up to the Sea Shore
Click images for desktop size: “Sea Shore” by Unknown
full dosage. It controlled the pain by making my thigh almost completely numb. Numb doesn’t hurt much and I can deal with it. I’m still walking to work everyday and walking back after. It’s a matter of will and I don’t have much choice.
Work is work. It doesn’t mean much. Just once I’d like to have a conversation with one of the customers that doesn’t end with them trying to involve me in some scam. There’s nothing there except a scant paycheck. Nothing at all.
I work, stumble in, feed my puppy, try and walk her. She has a new favorite stick that she keeps assiduous track of. She can find it under leaves in the middle of a thousand other sticks. She tries to get me to chase her for it. When I feebly try she giggles.
Then I just collapse. This week I’d wake up in pain after the pills ran out. I’d deal with that by taking more ibuprofen and then playing on the WDTV Live. I’ve hacked it up to where I’m almost happy Werewolf Of London with it.
In all my hacking around I did make one decision. I used to save all the movies to DVD’s. Now I realize that I can do better by storing them on external hard drives. I figure I can get 400 DVD’s on a 1.5 TB drive that I can get for about 80 bucks. Four hundred DVDs would cost me more than that. And the External HD has a much longer shelf life.
It goes along with my idea of keeping most of my music in lossless format instead of aac. (I haven’t used MP3 for years) In blind tests I can tell an MP3 from the original better than 805 of the time. With Yul Brenner
Click images for desktop size: “Yul Brenner”
aac it was about 30% of the time. aac sounds more open to me, less compressed and many fewer artifacts. Lossless makes the whole process moot. And on the iPod it starts to sound a whole lot like life when I’m walking around out there.
The only issue is that the iPod only plays Apple Lossless files. This is a weird codec which seems based on flac but is totally proprietary. I hate proprietary codecs. But its lossless so it’s no issue at all to dump them back and forth to and from flac if the need arises.
The lossless files have the airy openness and purity of joy. Of course my music collection has swollen to over 75 gigs and I can’t quite fit 300 songs on the iPod, but really, how often do I need more than four hours of music at a time.

I just woke up. Fell asleep in my chair . . . again.

One of the reasons for my confusion is that my bedrock is fading. There’s only three games left in the season. Three NFL games and then its over until August when we get to start it up all over Maria Magdalena
Click images for desktop size: “Maria Magdalena” by Unknown
again. With any luck in February the cardiologist will clear me and starting in August I’ll get to start coaching again.
But now the emptiness gets to settle in.
It doesn’t help that my friend has managed to jam up the computers so badly that she is beating me by NINE points for the season. My sense of justice hopes she get caught for the serious server hacking she must have been doing to change it so she was perfect last week! Of course I’m fond of her and the idea of her getting any more hassles upsets me slightly. But I’m not sure if that upsets me as much as being cheated of my natural superiority . . .

My picks in the two games are in bold.

New York Jets at Indianapolis – Yeah. I know that a Colts vs Saints SuperBowl has been in the cards since week 8 but the Jets shouldn’t be even be here. They may turn out to be like John McCay’s and Doug Williams’ Tampa Bay team that miraculously got to the Championship game onlyWorst Case Scenario to get easily throttled. But I’d rather believe in the dream than the reality. Payton Manning is a machine. If Tom Brady didn’t exist there’s no denying he’d be the greatest QB of this generation. But Rex Ryan’s defense is the type that can give him fits. And Ryan is creative enough to figure out a way to take Dallas Clark away from him. Reavis will shut out Reggie Wayne and that leaves him some talented receivers but the issue is whether that front seven will even give him a chance to check down and find them. The Colts can’t run the ball against the Jets, they’ve barely needed to run at all this season but today they need to be effective enough to use the play action. The Jets don’t have to sack Manning, they just need to knock him down a few times and be in his face, they can do that. On the other side of the Ball it’s the Jets solid running game and the wide eyed cockiness of Mark Sanchez, the Super Rookie who should have been taking the Trojans to the National Championship this season. Instead he decided to go to Untitled by Peter Tapang
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the Superbowl. I think there’s a good chance he can do it again or else Sanchez could end up being the new generation’s Doug Williams. Besides that, if the Colts ride Manning to victory it will be boring and predictable. If the Jets win it’s a beautiful drama filled with laughter and tears. Always go with the dream even if it’s doomed.

Minneapolis at New Orleans – The Game of the Year! This has everything you could want. The lowly Saints flying high riding a video game offense commanded by little Dru Brees. Brees makes my heart ache. He’s got the swagger and the toughness wrapped up with enthusiasm and the excitement of the game. He makes his good receivers great. Reggie Bush, who has added hard nosed toughness to his ballet like runs. Jeremy SHockey playing on one leg but still blocking and still catching touch downs. The Saints line will control the Vikings pass rush and might even hold the Saints to under 40 points. Maybe. But then the Vikings; Brett Favre. Brett Favre. The ultimate Witchfinder General gunslinger. Every time he takes his helmet off I’m shocked to see that patch of gray hair on his head. He’s a force and the greatest playmaker ever in the NFL. He specializes in making the impossible routine. But he also has the record for most INT’s in history. Sharper, Saints safety has a broken hand. That will save Brett at least one pick but two picks could turn this game around. Then there’s the beast, Adrien Petersen. He’s slowed down some, the beating of 17 games seems to have taken a toll. With a healthy Sedrick Ellis at tackle (TROJAN) the Saints nimble linebackers will find the gaps easy to shut down. Brett will find some pressure too enough for the Saints to win a shoot out. And if any team ever needed and deserved a Champion its New Orleans. Whichever team wins this game it will be exciting and fraught will the elegance and beauty of the game.

To be is to do
Immanuel Kant

ctrlaltsup by Couac
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The holidays were pretty good, but they already seem like a vivid dream.
My friend came down from Canada and bought the giant dog and the gentle dog with her. The giantTruck Stop Women dog was pretty much, “Oh, there you are. I want a cookie.” While the gentle dog was very glad to see me and showed it.
My puppy was her usual reserved self and just wanted to play fight everybody. The rescue dog wouldn’t stand for that and insisted on being the center of attention, which sort of ruined things but only a little.
We did the usual poor people Christmas stuff. And on her birthday I took my friend to a Korean Tofu Soup restaurant. I proposed and tried to make it not sound like a business deal. She said yes.
Services will be in March.
But my health keeps deteriorating. The latest is nerve damage in my leg. It hurts like a prairie fire at harvest time. It burns from just above my right hip all the way down to my right knee, the burning causes a lot of muscle cramping.
I keep examining the leg expecting to see swelling or blood but it just looks normal. I noticed my thighs are getting skinny but my calves look great!
Pain so bad went to the doctor. It was a hobbling trek. The doc pointed out that one of the first chemo’s I had was full of neurotoxins, that and the diabetes meant I could look forward to a lot of neuropathic pain and damage. She prescribed this drug Lyrica, 75 mgs. I found out it’s a controlled drug. First time taking it made me dopey, right now it makes me feel hungover and thick skinned. I don’t know if its helping the leg pain more than ibuprofen.
The doc gave me the usual lectures. I made her laugh a lot. I went straight from work and was cotton headed from lack of sleep. For some reason I’m always acerbic and funny when I’m struggling to stay awake.
The Giant Orion
Click images for desktop size: “The Giant Orion” by Unknown
They changed a few of my other drugs, mild changes.

One cool thing about my friend visiting was she bought along her AppleTV. The idea was that I’d either getting it working on her MacNook or I’d swap it for my WDTVLive. I got it working pretty quickly.
But I was able to compare the two. For beauty and ease of usage the AppleTV makes the WDTVLive look pretty stupid. It just works and requires nothing but intuition and curiosity.
In terms of playing media though the WDTVLive was like so much better. It really would come down to what you want to do with it. I’m running the WDTVlx Live hacked firmware from b-rad. That let me get the WDTV at least looking, not good, but not so horribly ugly. Like all Windows based machines the interface and networking are pig ugly and near hopeless. The hacked firmware improves some of that. It should be pointed out that the WDTV is one of the only media players that recognizes HTFS drives (Mac hard disks) so it gets plenty of points for that.Touch of Evil
I like the WDTV but only after a lot of work. I’d never be comfortable with my friend or kids using it. It’s fragile in its network connections, but robust in playing anything. It includes a file manager to let you delete, move or copy files right from the WDTV. Pretty stupid feature if you had kids. No way to restrict that that I can see either.

Last weeks playoffs I got perfectly. I was 0-4 . . . My friend was 3 of 4. I’m calling for a congressional investigation into game fixing.
My picks for this week are in bold.

Arizona at New Orleans – Last week against the Packers Kurt Warner looked incredible, pure Hall of Fame type play. A lot of people are saying he’s ready to blow it all open again this year and carry the Cardinals to the SuperBowl. The Saint’s have lost there last 3 games and are well rested. I think they’ll be plenty sharp especially Dru Brees, Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush. Sedrick Ellis should also be healed up. With him on the line the Saints line backers don’t have to fight off as many blocks and become an efficient unit. I want the Saints to win. I think they can slow down the Cardinal O enough to win a shoot out.

Baltimore at Indianapolis – Its tempting to go with the Ravens. They’re one of my favorite teams. I don’t much like the Colts but for the reasons I don’t like them (boring game plans, flawless execution, no fun or drama) is the reason they’ll probably win this going away. So I’m picking the Sandalwood by Pepper Vu
Click images for desktop size: “Sandalwood” by Pepper Vu
Colts but cheering for the Ravens.

Dallas at Minnesota – Suddenly everyone is calling for the Cowboys to get to the SuperBowl. The Cowboys stink. Their impressive wins come against the NFC East and a Saints team that had already clinched the first seed in the play offs. Brett Farve and Adrien Petersen are going to give the Cowboys more than they can handle while the front seven will destroy Tony Romo’s confidence.

New York Jets 17 at San Diego 31 – We NEED to see the Chargers against the Colts in the AFC Championship game. The Jets are playing strong inelegant football. The Chargers are just flying low and winning. I’m stoked fro this one.

There’s no justice there’s just us
Terry Pratchett

Untitled by 3D

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The holidays are over.
Sad. Bittersweet life.Tammy and the T-Rex
I’m one of those guys who sees the holidays as continuing until the SuperBowl, a bit more subdued maybe but blocking and tackling and guys trying to catch balls while other guys try and stop them always fills me with a sense of wonder and peace.
Now that the Bowl season is over its time to get into the NFL playoffs. The finest athletes in the world, blocking and tackling and trying to catch a ball.
The playoffs cap off what was a pretty dire NFL season. The quality of the football was pretty high but the scheduling made it so that there were a huge amount of meaningless poorly played games. I was talking to some guys who thought the Cleveland v Lions game was the best game of the year. That’s the one where the Lion’s Matt Stafford won the game with a touchdown pass with no time remaining.
What I saw was a pretty poorly played game with erratic execution. That doesn’t change what it means to the players and the players are always what makes any game fascinating.
As bad as the season was there were some bright glowing spots. There has to be.
The New Orleans Saints with Dru Brees cheerleading them and gut checking them to a 13-0 start was incredible. And The Cincinnati Bengals sweeping the AFC North was something that I couldn’t ignore and appreciate.
As it stands that’s my dream SuperBowl. Right now it’s not my prediction it’s just the SuperBowl I would like to see.
There’s a lot of things I like about the Bengals. There’s a strong USC connection, which I always like. Carson Palmer, the QB, coming back and playing like the elite QB he is. Keith Rivers and Rey Robert Crumb

Click images for desktop size: “Untitled” by Robert Crumb
Maleluga giving the Bengals a real playmaking defense and a dangerous front seven. And then they picked up Larry Johnson.
I knew Larry Johnson from State College High School. He was a phenomenal athlete then. I met his father and mother and his little brother Tony (who may be a better athlete but lacks Larry’s hard competitive edge). I know the kid and I know he’s not like the way the press has depicted him.
There are things about being an elite athlete that non-athletes never seem to get. They can’t imagine what its like to prepare your body to stretch it past the possible, the mindset that’s entailed in always believing you’re being better than your opponent. The stresses of tuning your body and your mind create a tension. Pop stars and classical musicians are permitted to have their affectations and tantrum demands. Its expected and respected. An athlete is only “permitted” to be either sullen or at least keep his mouth shut.
There’s been a lot of talk about Tom Brady being the NFL player of the decade. It would be really hard to make any arguments against that. The rings, the record and the duress and he definitelyTerminator falls into the “keep your mouth shut” category in his public life. But as awe inspiring as Brady is there’s a player on the Bengals who falls into a different category, The Player I Most Wished I’d Coached of the Decade. And that player would be Chad Ocho Cinco nee Johnson.
Ocho Cinco created one of the most wondrous moments in sports history. It was a week before Christmas and then Ocho Cinco scored a TD. I don’t remember the score or the situation or even who the opponent was. What I remember was Ocho Cinco scoring the TD and then running to a side line marker. He tilted the marker up and pulled out a giant Christmas stocking stuffed with loot. He then ran up and down the sidelines tossing Christmas presents to the fans.
It was glorious, it was ebullient and the greatest TD celebration that ever was or will be. The NFL fined him and banned all such actions so they’d never be again. They’ve completely erased the moment from their history. They took something fun and made it illegal because it detracted from the seriousness of the game.
I’ve been coaching for 20 years. Most of it working with the social inclusion of youth. Football is a Phish Food by tpgPhotography

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hard vicious game that I still contend is the best and ultimate way to show young people how to work to improve themselves to be the best that they can be so that they can fit into a plan and be part of a team so that the team can go forward and accomplish unbelievable things. And all of those kids took the lessons that our game had to teach them and used those lessons to succeed in a community and society that had previously written them off as wasted youth.
And that worked because our game is fun. The hours of gym work, the hours of practice for the scant minutes of game time were all just fun.
The NFL doesn’t much care about fun.
I worked with NFL Europe or the World Football League or whatever gooney name they were giving it for a while. It soon seemed to me that this league had only two purposes: For the owners to be able to take lavish European vacations that could be written off as business expense and to sell Through the Back Door more NFL merchandise. I met about half of the NFL owners of the time and a good chunk of Paul Taglibue’s staff.
It was only after Vince McMahon founded the X-Football League that anyone started to care about what they were putting on the field. Starting to use the League as a “minor” developmental league was Gene Kelly

Click images for desktop size: “Gene Kelly”
the solution but that was still secondary to expensive vacations and selling merchandise. Neither goal held any interest for me so I didn’t last long in the NFL Europe offices or fields.
But those are the kind of guys who never played the game who could look at Chad Ocho Cinco, an elite receiver who rejoiced in and loved our game and instead of catching the infectious fever that Ocho Cinco brings to the field they only saw something that needed to be eliminated.
Whatever these guys do for a good time I doubt it could ever interest me.
This year Ocho Cinco, in the midst of the best season the Bengals have ever had, after a blown pass interference that wasn’t called, Ocho Cinco tried to bribe the official with a dollar. It was humorous, it was fun and funny. It bought an NFL game up to a level of beauty and entertainment that I never thought it could recall.
Ocho Cinco was fined $50,000. He paid the fine and then matched the fine and made an equal donation to children’s charities. To understand NFL priorities remember that a cheap shot merits as little as a $3,000 fine. That’s like getting 30 days for assault and 15 years for dancing after midnight.
The Pull of Maybe by Blurburger

Click images for desktop size: “The Pull of Maybe” by Blurburger
Chad Henry, the other Bengals elite receiver died tragically this season in a shocking way. Ocho Cinco wanted to wear his jersey the weekend of Henry’s death. The NFL said no tributes to the dead unless they’re straight ahead white guys I figure. Ocho CInco stood his ground and the NFL promised him the heaviest fine it could levy. The Player’s Union actually stepped forward and said it would pay the fine on Ocho Cinco’s behalf. The NFL refused. Their intent was to punish Ocho Cinco if he dared to pay a tribute to his friend and teammate, a touching tribute that would have touched my heart and the heart’s of millions to see.
They took the joy and beauty out of the moment and Ocho Cinco sadly, if prudently, denied himself the simple Eulogy to his friend.
There’s a long list of things Ocho Cinco has done that appeal to me. When he had no receptions against Reavis in the season finale he gave Reavis credit for being great and never blamed his injured knee. He had one season where he went public with his despair at playing for loosing teamsThese Are the Damned and then came back and apologized for it and on and on.
Chad Ocho Cinco is a player that I think can be held up as an example to other young men. He works incredibly hard. He’s super fit. He runs excellent routes, helps his QB, is a good blocker. His game is constantly improving. And he has fun playing this sport at its highest level. He laughs and enjoys his status as a rich celebrity. HE cares for the children of his community in ways great and small. He’s turned the iPhone and the smart phone community into his own special place to reach out to fans and other players.
Chad Ocho Cinco is what I dreamed each of my players, my kids, might become. And I think he’s special and I hope to see him play in the SuperBowl catching a TD pass somersaulting out of the back of the end zone with the ball still in his hands.

At the end of the regular season I am leading my friend by one point. This is a testament to the genius and clear headed thinking I gave all my picks as well as a testament to the depths of feminine cheating and lucky guessing . . . Well, it is.
Due to some insightful scheduling 3 of this weeks 4 games are rematches from last week . . . That sure spells excitement not to mention a weird sense of deja vu.
My picks are in bold.

New York Jets at Cincinnati – The Jets won last week in a game that meant everything to them and nothing to the Bengals. The only thing that makes me nervous about this game is that the Bengals still won’t have Ray Maleluga. Their D needs his high rev motor back there. He’s a disruptive force who fits in well to the Bengals team. I also think Ocho Cinco will burn Reavis for one long TD.

Philadelphia at Dallas – Its hard for me to pick a team with Michael Vick. He has not held to his Midstream Encounter

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promises as far as I’m concerned. I was a supporter but he’s done minimal work with kids or on behalf of animals. Carson Palmer appears at his local animal shelter on Pet Adoption day for nothing but the joy of it. Where was Vick on that day? I think that was the condition for his release and for his reinstatement. It’s the NFL and only tickets and merchandise sales really matter.But I like the Cowboys D well enough but think their O is wreckless and erratic. The Eagles are even more erratic, remember they got bombed by the Raiders not that long ago. McNabb is too good a QB and too intense a leader to permit a replay of last weeks dismal performance.

Baltimore at New England – Game of the Week if only because it’s not a replay like the others. I like the Ravens and think they match up well with the Patriots. Brady has a broken finger to match his three broken ribs so it should be close.

Green Bay 28 at Arizona 21 – The packers blew the Cardinals out last week in a game that meant nothing to the Cards. The Packers should keep the swagger and Clay Matthews should delight in chasing down immobile Kurt Warner.

Merry Christmas baby, you sure do treat me right
Otis Redding

Merry Christmas Christmas eve.
Work started out hellacious but ended up being only creepy.Action Comics
Waiting for my friend to arrive. Thousand mile drive. She’s bringing 2 dogs. Big adventure for them. They’ve never been anywhere before.
Big adventure for her too. She hasn’t been as many places as she could have been.
I loaded up the iPod with a clashing mix of Christmas music (my kind of Christmas music) old stuff and new. When I walked to work the melange suddenly worked and I remembered those days when the car radio was my friend. The warped mixture of CHristmas music, garage and rock made sense and made me nostalgic for those times when cruising Tommy’s Hamburgers and talking about the Christmas surf made sense and all while the radio played our changing soundtrack.
The wonder of Christmas was long passed but there were still dreams of a new surf board, speakers for the car stereo, surprises galore, and maybe there was still some wonder. I remember sitting silent in the car with my buddies while we listened to the Bobs, The Trashmen, Chuck Berry and the Beach Boys all singing Christmas tunes mixed in with the latest top 40. I remembered that it felt good because the music and the guys were all friends that made the time of year something more.
Christmas eve.
I’m actually off Christmas Day, not with pay of course. My Christmas bonus was twenty bucks and a scratch off lottery ticket . . . couldn’t give you Christmas Day off with pay. “A poor excuse for picking a man’s pocket every December the twenty fifth!”
Shows you how much I’m worth to the company. This isn’t based on actual dollars or actual worth Santa Claus just their perception which there’s plenty of evidence is devious, convoluted and untrustworthy.
So I’m waiting for my friend to finish her big adventure drive with two big dogs who are bewildered at best. And, while I was walking home from work, I was thinking about Christmas and the Jesus thing.
I know some people like to think I’m very spiritual and full of faith. Which seems odd to me because they’re basing that on the fact that I believe in very little. I believe more in people than anything else. I was raised Catholic and one thing that is still true, once you’re a catholic you are always a catholic. I’ve heard guys described as Catholic Bhuddists and even Catholic atheists. But being Catholic it is always what defines you. It’s a pleasurable guilt thing.
So I guess my religious beliefs would be a bit of Catholic Pantheist Tao Swedenborgainism sort of thing. Which is a lot of words that don’t add up to much and that is pretty much about how I feel about most religions.
This doesn’t mean that I think anyone should be constricted in their beliefs. Even those whacky Captain Marvel scientology guys have that right. If they find peace in a hack failed sci-fi writers double talk that’s cool by me.
My big problem with those guys is their deceptive practices and the nasty co-opting of the rapture. I don’t think anyone has the right to do twisted things to other people because the world is going to end soon and because I’ve said the right words or read the right book all these bastards are going to die while I get spirited away by either angels or space ships.
I don’t like the rapture being used to justify being a jerk, or to excuse deceiving people for their own good. Other than that what you believe is always cool by me. Just don’t mess with the waves and the rocks, the reefs and the forests.
Charles Dodgson once wrote a letter to a friend who had turned agnostic and was starting to consider himself an atheist. Dodgson said some cool things about how his friends beliefs would not condemn him to hell or anything that retaliatory. But he wanted to convince him of the divinity of Jesus Christ because Dodgson seriously believed that believing in Christ would make his friend’s life more pleasant and enjoyable.
These were a couple of Oxford Don’s exchanging letters so a big part of the discourse was based around a whole lot of scholarly religioso stuff that escapes my interest. But there was one argument in Dodgson’s letters that I found compelling and simple.
Dodgson proposed that for over 1800 years various groups and governments had attempted to emphatically disprove the existence of Christ as the Messiah and they had failed.
The Three Kings I liked that. I don’t care much for anyone asking me to have blind faith, or compelling you to have faith because you needed it to believe. Too cyclical an argument for me.
The idea that the Romans of the time had the opportunity and the motive to disprove that Christ had risen from the grave and could not does resonate some. That the Christians bedeviled and eventually usurped the Roman empire despite brutal Roman oppression and constant attempts to malign and discredit Christ but they couldn’t is a pretty decent argument all the way around.
I mean why couldn’t they produce a couple of guys to say, “Hey, we saw Joe and Lou open up Christ’s grave and carry the body out!”
It would have benefited the Romans greatly and put a cabosh on the whole thing. When those guys Mark and Matthew were writing the gospels and stuff why didn’t the Romans pull out a guy to say,Donald Duck “He didn’t walk on water! There’s a sandbar on that sea. Anybody could have walked across it.”
And on and on. It Christmas so my thoughts drift towards Christ but I think the same argument applies to Bhudda and Mohammed and Moses and most divinities.
I like that there are people out there that we consider divine. And all those divinities started out as people. People who believed in something and wanted to help others.
Its kind of cool. The kind of cool I like.

So it will be hours until my friend arrives all safe and loud and raucous, I hope. The dogs will have to reacquaint themselves and they’ll be plenty of tussling and fighting, which spells a pretty exciting and Merry Christmas for me.
I hope all of you have a Merry Christmas. I’m certain its allowed. My thoughts are with you. Even if it feels like I’m ignoring you, I’m not. I just can’t do as much as I used to do.
Merry Christmas.

The more you can dream, the more you can do
Michael Korda

The Star My puppy and I took a two hour stroll. It was supposed to be an historic ice storm.
We weren’t very impressed. I only slipped 4 times, 1 near fall and 0 falls. It’s early in the season Calvin and Hobbes but I’d say I’m on track to winning winter.
One the near fall I had to wind mill my arms. The frozen shoulder barely hurt. It didn’t rotate around as much as I’d want but it worked. A few months ago I’d have just let the fall happen instead of enduring the pain of moving my arm. So I’m winning everywhere . . . except work. I hate my job. It’s the kind of job you have to hate. They don’t give you much choice.
I still think like a worker, a laborer, and that its us against them. Sadly, not many of my co-workers agree with me. I ignore them.
One of my coworkers was accused of stealing $1,200. Stupidly the accusation took place right in front of me, which is as stupid and as disorienting as it sounds. After a few moments of pretending I was unaware of what was going on my coworker began, in near tears to beg not to be fired. Management seemed, to me, to be taunting him, saying how this sort of thing usually meant instant termination.
I thought the scene crossed too many lines of decency and humanity. Its pretty bad to have to beg for a cruddy job, in this economy you often feel that sort of trembling fear and anxiety. I understand it too well. It’s the only reason I’m still working there.
I felt frozen, I didn’t want my coworker to see I’d seen his anguish. I tried talking to management directly and offered up a bit of defense and pointed out I shouldn’t be here for this sort of conversation, that it was demeaning for all 3 of us. I tried to offer up a stronger defense but I kept thinking of the new laptop with 4G dongle he’d shown me the day before, and how he was encouraging me to join him in spending a couple hundred bucks for gifts for the other workers.
Xmas I always believe that people are innocent and if they’re not then there are things and personalities that I can’t understand. The only ones I assume are guilty are governments, management and the powerful who view society as an impediment to their success.
My doubts must have been pretty strong because I couldn’t mount a more vigorous defense. I managed to finish up and leave offering up my support. It distracted me all the way home, thinking about the situation. I sent out 3 more resumes when I got home.
The next day I was stunned by an entire wall of edicts all demanding to be signed by me. I fumed and felt like walking out. They were mainly to prevent theft. I’m never to pleased to be accused of being a thief. I have a lot of things I can be called out on but not for being a petty thief. (I always work of the old edict about stealing from your employer: If you’re not stealing a minimum of 3 times your annual salary don’t do it. That includes taking pens or paperclips. I mean, you are going to get caught.)
It turns out the coworker offered to make up the shortage at $20 per month . . . that’s five years by Holiday Comics my calculator . . . great job security or I’m the fool for being honest. I mean, a five year zero interest loan . . .
That didn’t bug me near as much as the 18 new rules and procedures I had to stomach on Christmas week.
I didn’t walk out. Not more mature and level headed, just older and more fearful.

I’m enjoying having the TV. Still have mixed feelings about the WDTV Live. Odd thing is my feelings are very strong on loving and hating the device. My friend is coming to visit (with both the crazy dogs – which means my Christmas will be frenetic and most likely happy – just the way I like it!) and she’s bringing the AppleTV with her. It’s acting up in a way that’s affecting a couple thousand people and the New Apple, is of course, ignoring the problem. It’s a port problem that seems to have been launched with the new AppleTV 3.01 firmware.
I’ll get to compare the two, side by side and I’ll try to get it to work.
I did get to watch two of the best films I’ve seen this year. One’s even American made!
“Moon” was a well hyped low budget flic. I liked it. Found it amusing and liked the return of science fiction, as opposed to Sci-Fi, to movies. Its been pretty well hyped so not much need to go over it. I found it a nice reaffirmation of freedom and humanity. Something most American movies seem to ignore in the 21st century.
The other film was denser and more surprising. Since “Running on Karma” I’ve always figured Johnny To and Ka-Fai Wa as two monster talents waiting to explode. They’ve done some brilliant work separately and done some light collaborations. this is the first film since “Karma” where’ve Xmas they’ve worked together as a team.
The movie is different. Firstly it’s a FRENCH production! And stars French icon Johnny Hallyday! It starts off as a pretty standard though superbly made thriller, a move titled “Vengeance” makes it pretty obvious what we’re going to see. I figured there’d be some sort of culture conflict, Europe vs Asia sort of thing.
To and Wa are too smart for that, in fact the film proudly touts the humanity of us all, even amidst society’s killers. There are plenty of cool scenes and plenty of mayhem. The movie starts to turn at a picnic ground where the prey meets their families for dinner. The hunters stand by refusing to engage while the children are present.
Everyone gets shot up pretty badly. While the hunters administer to their wounds it turns out that Hallyday has a bullet in his skull that will cause him to become a total amnesiac with no long and a very spotty short term memory. An idea lifted in cloth from the cool “Memoir”. To is smart enough Action Comics to use that movie as a shorthand stop to dispense with boring exposition.
To uses the device effectively to get to his and Wa’s central theme, the nature, purity and need for revenge. When Hallyday’s memory finally goes he doesn’t remember pictures of his murdered daughter and grand children. He doesn’t even remember the meaning of the word revenge.
Anthony Wong gives a solid performance as the hired killer with values and morals as well as brains. Simon Yam plays the villain with over the top glee. Its important he be so despicable to prove the thesis of the movie.
Wong delivers Hallyday over to his pregnant wife and 8 children. He knows he and his crew are going off to die. Since Hallyday offered him everything he had for his revenge Wong leads him to the only safe place he knows.
There in the family Hallyday laughs and spends his days playing with the children. He’s happy perhaps for the only time in his life.
The children and mother are upset when the news of their father’s death makes the local news. Hallyday only has a polaroid of Wong to tell him that he even knows the man. But he feels the upset around him and feels some how responsible.
Confused and befuddled he falls to his knees at the edge of the ocean and he begins to pray. He has no memory of his religion but for To and Wa faith and belief are instinctual things. And in praying to nothing Hallyday is coming into the zen of his situation. Hallyday sits at the ocean locked in his meditations even as the tide rises and threatens to drown him, even after it recedes he stays locked in his position, until the ghosts of his memory seem to rise from the ocean. The people he has loved Santa and the people he has grown to trust and see as friends rise up and give him release with a kiss.
And Hallyday the blank man from another world rises from the beach and goes off to kill, to seek vengeance. And he’s aided cleverly and safely, by the children and the pregnant mother who need their own vengeance.
The idea of vengeance so elegantly woven into a high octane action movie is hard to conceive. It works for me and the film is enough of a hit to say To and Wa pulled it off.
I have a hard time accepting the organic necessity of revenge but that doesn’t stop this from being one powerful film that would rank as one of the years best in any year.

I mentioned before that my friend is driving down from Canada to see me for the holidays. I’m touched and pleased and worried. I hope the weather is calmed down enough for her trip to be uninteresting. She’ll have the two dogs with her. I don’t know if they’ll make the trek easier or more Santa Claus Funnies difficult. I’m looking forward to seeing them as well.
I’m poised to have a broke but excellent Christmas. What could be better.

I sort of lost interest in the NFL when the Saints lost tonight. The idea of two undefeated teams meeting in the SuperBowl was staggering and blissful. The Saints with Reggie Bush as the sun, Coulston as the wind and Drew Brees as the tired warrior bringing self esteem to a city and making that his primary goal despite the horrors that his own life have instilled filled me with a pride in the human race. I loved Brees leading the Saints in that pre-game high school rocking cheer. Seeing pros get as up and excited as kids is unique. The Saints may not have own them all but they won my heart. And sometimes a loss like this brings them down hard enough to reality to see them through to win the rest.
Pure crap such an important game was stuck on that dreary contentious NFL network. It should be banned by an act of congress and the NFL’s anti-trust exemption revoked.

My picks are in bold.

Indianapolis at Jacksonville – The Colts did their part and the Jaguars made it more than interesting.

Dallas at New Orleans – Curse this shabby Cowboys team.

Christmas Toys Chicago at Baltimore – The Ravens have disappointed this season but still have a shot a playoff spot. The Bears only interest is in drafting some wide receivers.

New England at Buffalo – When will be certain that Tom Brady is really back?

Arizona at Detroit – Two teams coming off embarassing losses. The Lions are used to that.

Cleveland at Kansas City – Cruddy game of the week. The Browns beat the Steelers?

Atlanta at New York Jets – Mark Sanchez should be back and Ryan has the Jets paying some D. The Falcons need more than an 80% Matt Ryan to compete.

Houston at St Louis – A game of no interest whatsoever!

Miami at Tennessee – Two teams whose play off dreams are fading fast, this could still be one of the better games this Sunday. Taking the Vince Young Titans because he’s playing inspired football Junior Partners 5.jpg and is pretty fun to watch.

Oakland at Denver – This game should stop the Broncos from achiving an 8-8 record after an 8-0 start!

Cincinnati at San Diego – Game of the Week. Chad Ocho Cinco invites his twitter followers out for breakfast the day before a game and then walks with them to Starbucks for coffee. Plans to wear his dead teammates jersey knowing he’ll be fined massively. A teammate dies and it will either inspire or deaden a team. I hope it inspires. This is my second fave team this year. The Chargers will probably when going away but where’s the beauty in that?

Tampa Bay at Seattle – Another who cares game.

San Francisco at Philadelphia – I like the 49ers. I don’t like the Eagles this year. They took Vick and lied to defend it. They have also played erratic football.

Green Bay at Pittsburgh – The Steelers lost to Cleveland . . . They should just cancel the rest of their season. Maybe they already have.

New York Giants at Washington – Big rivalry game or snooze fest?

Minnesota 41 at Carolina 14 – At sometime they most have thought this would be a relevant game. What records will Favre and Petersen break is the only thing of possible interest.

MERRY CHRISTMAS! Peace on Earth!

He was the greatest coach who ever lived; he could take his’n and beat yourn and then he’d take yourn and beat his’n
Bum Phillips

Korean Girl
Click images for desktop size: “Korean Girl” by Unknown
Tired. Just tired.
Need a break. I’m not going to get one. Just have to keep soldering on.JSA
Big fight at work. I had to work Thanksgiving Day. To my chagrin the place was packed. I’d hoped it would be empty so that the bosses would think it’d be worthless being open Christmas. But it was packed.
When the paychecks came was when there was the hassle. All my co workers worked 4 hours shifts and got paid for 12 hours. I worked an 8 hours shift and got paid for . . . 12 hours. To the bosses this was fair. They claim I got paid the same as everybody else. I don’t see how anybody but a boss could make that math work.
I took the day off to prevent me from freaking out and quitting. I bought a TV.
It’s a decent enough TV. I’d have liked bigger and better but I could afford this one. I got a 42″ Panasonic plasma for about $400. Lots of searching and coupons. I wanted plasma for the brighter picture and the wider viewing angle. Looking for now and into the future. After the LCD price fixing came to light today it also made sense.
For content I got a Western Digital TV Live. It lists for 120 but I got it for 50 from ebay. It’s okay. Adding on an external hard drive makes it compare okay to the AppleTV.
It’s a dense path to compare them. The AppleTV is simpler, has a more elegant interface and greater accessibility to internet content, mainly via hacks with Boxee and XBMC. The AppleTV is notoriously underpowered and greatly compromised as to formats it can play. Just another way that Apple has decided to compromise the product to appease content makers to the detriment of consumers. This is the new media age, the old refusing to acknowledge the future. Just fighting to gouge money from us while providing inferior product.
THE WDTV Live has a clunky interface, that’s fit more for nerds than for ease. With a USB WIFI card Leto by Artemus Rosakis
Click images for desktop size: “Leto” by Artemus Rosakis
it connects to everything on my little network and streams everything less than 1080p without a stutter. Xvid and DivX look cruddy. They’re dead end codecs and show it. MKV files look sparkling and breathtaking. The AppleTV used to stutter on 720p mkv files loaded on the hard drive! There’s not stutter at all on the WD.
Some content inexplicably gets out of sync on the WD. It makes no sense as I encode everything the same way. I can’t figure it out yet. Still with 1080p playback compared to AppleTV’s 1080i the WD has a distinct edge.
Of course there’s no iTunes integration in the WD. The WD also has a pretty poor access to the internet. It does YouTube, but without the AppleTV elegance. The WD has a nasty Flickr interface and no account sign on ability. One of the niftiest AppleTV features is the Flickr screensaver. The WD offers nothing but a flashing logo screensaver that is brutally ugly, something only a Windows user could tolerate.
I’ll write more when I use it. On the flash I’d prefer an AppleTV with 1080p and the versatility of the Souperman WD Live.
I’ve suffered through work coping with crack addicts in the parking lot (I thought smoking crack was so 90’s) attempted robberies and trying hard not to quit. I need to work. I need money, even small amounts.
On Wednesday I had my EMG test. I really wasn’t prepared for it. I got 5 separate calls urging me to show up, constantly reconfirming. I guess that should have been a clue as to what to expect. When I arrived at the clinic 3 people recognized me. One as the fellow with the black dog and 2 saw me as the man from “the casino”.
The test was pretty arduous. It lasted 3 and a half hours . . . The first part was attaching electrodes to various body parts and then shocking the hell out of me. On the computer this produced a pattern that looked like pink noise in an aiff editor. Just a block of jagged lines.
The next part was sticking needles into the nerves and then recording the electric pulse. This all hurt.
There was apparently three levels of damage to my nerves that had to be worked through. The first was from the neurotoxin laden chemo therapy from years ago. This was an abrupt sort of one time damage. The second is the nerve degeneration caused by diabetes. This is chronic but slow. The final one was limited to my right frozen shoulder, here the damage is from my “guarding” the arm so much as to have compressed and damaged the ulnar nerve. There is also traumatic damage. I was hurting to much to explain this was from the torture inflicted on me by the Canadian authorities.
The neurologist will examine the results and decide if there’s a fix. I’ll see him this Friday.
Lara Croft by Adam Hughes
Click images for desktop size: “Lara Croft” by Adam Hughes
All in all its been a rough couple of weeks. The only saving grace has been my puppy who never tires of delighting and caring for me. She’s a good girl who tolerates my shortcomings and endures my oafishness.
My puppy and thinking about football.
I’m concerned about USC. I think Pete Carroll is a brilliant football coach. I have no desire to see him leave the program. I want him to prosper again and I feel confident in him. Which doesn’t lessen the sting of this incredibly dire season. I think Carroll’s meltdown about Mark Sanchez leaving early is explained pretty much by the poor play of freshman Matt Barkley. The kid has talent but this year he showed nothing that would let me think he could take USC to the National Championship in 2010, 11 or 12. I now have higher hopes for stud QB Jessie Scroggins. I think he’ll press Barkley more than Corp or Mustain.
As the season progressed I saw no improvement in Barkley’s, footwork, his reads or his forcing of passes. He still locks onto his primary receiver and recognizes the outlet pass too late. As opponents got more film of him he was easy to adjust to.Star Wars in Concert
USC was victimized with far too many crippling injuries, starting with the devastating near fatal loss of Stefon Johnson. With the bizarre nature of Stefon’s injury coupled with the way the O and D line were pushed around its apparent to me that Carroll needs a new, invigorated Strength and Conditioning coach.
We also need a better O Coordinator. If Charlie Weiss hadn’t been an ass and made his scandalous actionable comments about Pete Carroll I fantasized about him being the O-Coordinator. He’d actually have been a good fit and would have aggravated Carroll as much as Norm Chow had, and that partnership produced Championships. But with his criminally cruel lies I honestly think the man should be banned from football for life.
Jeremy Bates did nothing to develop Barkley and his play calling was far too NFL and completely dull and unimaginative.
The Emerald Bowl is too soon to see if there will be any chance for this group to rebound next year.
A to the NFL it’s getting shocking in its mediocrity. Two weeks ago I was a very good 14-2 in my picks. Last week a not so stellar 10-6. I also got myself bounced out of the Survivor game by picking New England over Miami!

This week I’ve dreamed about the games and pondered them as I’ve walked and stalked the neighborhood with my puppy.
My picks are in bold.

Pittsburgh at Cleveland – Talk about a dire season. From SuperBowl Champs to getting hammered Little Men
Click images for desktop size: “Little Men” by Unknown
by the Browns. The Steelers are missing only one player, former Trojan Troy Polomanu. Without him it seems they are less than ordinary.

New Orleans at Atlanta – I’ve idolized Drew Brees since his days at Purdue and now he’s proved its all worthwhile. Undefeated and looking indestructible, the little guy still finds time to be one of the major charitable rebuilders of the still devastated New Orleans. He’s a great player who easily wears the demigod symbolism overcoming the suicide of his mother with his commitment to his community and his teammates. He is becoming legend and I want him to propel himself into history. The Falcons season is destructing with the injuries to Matt Ryan and Michael Turner. Ryan might come back this week but there’s no word on Turner. The Falcons need the duo to compete.

New York Jets at Tampa Bay – Mark Sanchez is squawking? He’s just a game manager right now Strange Invaders who needs to make a couple of plays a game. He’s a good kid who listens and learns. The Buccaneers are showing life and getting competitive but now there’s enough film for Ryan to adapt and fire up his under talented D.

Carolina at New England – The Patriots could be the biggest disappointment of 2009, except the Steelers seem to want that honor. They’re at home and Brady is a new father. That should be Natalie Wood
Click images for desktop size: “Natalie Wood”
enough for some inspired play. Carolina is . . . 52 men strong or something.

Cincinnati at Minnesota – Game of the Week. The Vikings need to rebound. They were totally dismantled by Arizona last week. The Bengals need to win to keep their confidence up as they continue to over achieve. The Vikings have to prove that last week was a blip. They may have lost home field advantage in the playoffs but they still need to win the division. I’m taking the Bengals because of Carson Palmer and my love for Chad Ocho Cinco. I wish I could force the NFL to let Chad celebrate his scores. His antics and tough play are the highlight of any given NFL week. This one will be a burner.

Buffalo at Kansas City – Cruddy game of the week. I don’t care that both teams are coming off of huge upset wins they stink.

Detroit at Baltimore – The Lions have decided to spare Matt Stafford a beating and sit him sown for this one. The Ravens will just be happy to get back onto a winning track I can’t see the Lions Lonesome Cowboy
Click images for desktop size: “Lonesome Cowboy” by NFL Films
stopping them from doing anything they want to do.

Green Bay at Chicago – The Packer D is real and solid. I wonder if the Bears have anyone checking Jay Cutler’s blood sugars. He is not as bad a player as he has looked. (I’m serious about the blood sugars)

Seattle at Houston – The Ho Hum game of the week. Two teams with nothing to play for. Why are we subjected to this?

Denver at Indianapolis – This could be interesting but probably not. The Colts are turning into monsters and the Broncos are working to stumble to finish the season at 500.

Miami at Jacksonville – This is a game that fails to fire the imagination. The Dolphins will be high off their stunning win over the Pats and the Jaguars will be desperate to save their jobs. It could prove interesting but won’t produce much good football.
Swamp Thing
Washington at Oakland – Cruddy game of the Week II. The Redskins couldn’t beat the Saints even though New Orleans was missing 4 starters. The Raiders beat somebody. We were all amazed.

St Louis at Tennessee – The Vince Young Titans hit the reality wall but the fantasy should start rolling again against the hapless Rams. Has Steve Jackson demanded a trade yet?

San Diego at Dallas – The Chargers are playing some decent football while the Cowboys are still pretending the NFC East is the toughest division in football . . . Philip Rivers or Tony Romo? Does Romo really think holding for field goals is going to spark the team? The HC agreed??

Arizona at San Francisco – The Cardinals look like they’re ready for another run deep in the playoffs while the 49er’s keep playing good football but just have too little talent to make it all work.

Philadelphia 27 at New York Giants 24 – The Giants look like a train wreck. The Eagles less so. I resent them allowing Michael Vick to contribute while not forcing him to honestly fulfill his promises to the community.