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February 29, 2008

You didn't even count your bullets
Eric Red

enD Of ParadisE by Envy
Click images for desktop size: "enD Of ParadisE" by Envy
Still feeling rough. No worries. I'm used to it.
Funny thing about pain. We're human. We always get used to it.
A guy named Frankl did a study. Wrote a book about it. He was a concentration camp survivor. That kind of life gives your theories about pain and suffering a gravitas you can't claim to in any other way. He survived Auschwitz. One of the few. His wife died in Belsen. He never got to see her again once the Nazi's separated them. He didn't even know she was dead until after the war.
The Last Woman On Earth 1950 His book, "Man's Search For Meaning" was my introduction to Existentialism. Now I disagree a bit with his concept of "Existential Analysis" when I read the book I didn't know what I was to learn.
The guy who gave me the book when I was eleven years old ran a health food stand by the beach. I used to really like his tuna salad sandwich with avocado, bean sprouts and muenster cheese.
When he served me I saw a tattoo of a number on his right wrist. Being a kid I had it in my head that he was a convict and that the tattoo was his prison number. (I watched a lot of science fiction movies and tattooing people, especially prisoners, was the great sign of Big Brother and totalitarianism. According to the movies these were bad things. I agreed then and now. I haven't learned much since I was a kid I guess.)
One day I was really spent. It was a 5 foot day with the santana's blowing hard. I was a total wiggle butt surfer and even then my body was screaming to relax. That's my excuse anyway.
I asked the guy what he'd been in prison for.
He stiffened. "What do you ask me something like that for?" He had an accent but I didn't understand that. I was a kid. Everybody sounded foreign to me.
"Your tattoo. That means you were in prison, right?"
He went and made another order while I ate my sandwich. When he came back he asked me if I knew about the Nazi's. Of course I had. I had TV, I saw the movies. I watched "Hogan's Heroes". "They're the bad guys".
He agreed.
When he came back to clear my plate he gave me a dog eared paperback. It had a black cover. He said, "I was a prisoner but not how you mean. Maxfiel Parrish
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Maxfield Parrish
Read this. It will tell you things."
Comic books were the only reading I enjoyed. I stayed away from the stand for a month because I was afraid the tattooed owner would ask me if I'd read the book.
My craving for tuna salad sandwiches with avocado and muenster cheese started to overwhelm me, mainly because my mom refused to buy bean sprouts or muenster cheese. So I read the book.
"Man's Search For Meaning" is not great reading for an eleven year old. The translation keeps it simple, easy enough to read so that the horrors that the concentration camp survivors endured become more memorable than the way they coped with and survived.
I had a lot of Jewish friends. Before reading the book the only thing I knew about them and their heritage was that they got extra days off from school.
The things in that book terrified me in a way I didn't understand. This wasn't like giant monsters and death rays. This was something clinical and debased and cruel. French Faster Pussycat Kil Kill I didn't know how people could survive the concentration camps or why'd they'd want to.
Bored at study hall in the school library I looked up "Existentialism". It lead me Albert Camus and Jean Paul Sartre. (I think a lot of Camus talent, much less of Sartre) It didn't answer the questions. I don't know what the questions were but I knew these guys didn't have them or the answers.
In one of the books there was a quote from Raymond Chandler. It lead me to read "The Simple Art Of Murder". I thought most of it, at the time, was twaddle about books I'd never read or care about, but then I got to that classic bit, "Down these mean streets a man must go . . . " It didn't answer anything but it came closest to explaining me to myself.
I still didn't have a clue as to how people could inflict suffering like that on another but at least I knew that not grasping that insanity didn't mean I was much different from anyone else. Some would call this attitude of mine "classical stoicism," which is way too fancy for me. Call it what it is, just getting by.
The holocaust and genocide still leave me unsettled. A horror too big to grasp. I can imagine an infinite universe but I can't imagine an infinite capacity for cruelty, evil or even good. Maybe that's why I've never been famous, merely notorious.
I took the book back to the health food stand. All he said was, "I was wondering when you'd bring it back."
I was afraid to look at him. I never asked him about his experiences in the camps. He told me he'd been at Triblinka that was all. I once got close to asking him why he didn't have a skin graft and have the tattoo removed. I don't know why I didn't. Its the kind of stupid question Gilda's Flypaper by Philip Castle
Click images for desktop size: "Gilda Flypaper" by Philip Castle
only a kid could get away with asking, and even then only on a sunny day when the sun was making rainbows in the spindrift in the background.
When I am suffering I always remember eating tuna salad with avocado, bean sprouts and muenster cheese. Sometimes I can taste it. It doesn't make the pain go away but it makes it endurable. Even when I know the pain is only at a plateau and will never really abate again it doesn't destroy my outlook on life. The Holocaust was too severe for that little piece of knowledge.
The pain does make me crabby though. Not much I can do about that. Its what they're talking about when they talk about "fighting against leukemia," or "his struggles with diabetes." Empty words to describe an empty experience.
I'm glad I don't have to explain this kind of stuff too often especially Aelita 1924 to my little blind dog. He's got a way of dealing with these things.
He has to wear clothes to protect his skin from his own wild chewing. They make him look cute. Sometimes he gets his clothes pulled up and around him goofy.
Recently he got his clothes pulled around him so that he could only walk on three legs.
I was working in the office and heard this funny clum clumpity splat cumpity clump splat noise, over and over. My little blind dog hobbled into the office and went straight to his usual space, at my feet. He never complained or whined. He'd woken up and realized he only had three legs. He digested this and went on with his life. He woke and thought, "this is just the way life is from now on." He went looking for me cause he likes sleeping near me. Maybe he's protecting me from the darkness. I don't know. When I freed his leg he tested it and then went back to sleep.
Men are not dogs.
We should at least act as well as they do.
Too often we don't.

February 28, 2008

You can't cheat an honest man so never smarten up a sucker or wise up a chump
WC Fields

Edmund DuLac
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Edmund DuLac
I've seen an amazing increase in spam lately. Rough estimates are I've won about 1 billion in lotteries I never entered. I've had about 2 billion left to me by dead relatives I never knew I had. My puppy and I have had our bank accounts our paypal accounts and our other personal information compromised about 80 times, all at banks where we don't have accounts. Hangmen Also Die And the usual suspects offering us great penny stock tips and the usual porn sites and sexual enhancements.
I resent the ones offering money the most.
There are too many people driven to desperation in our world today where cash is the only solution. It takes sociopathic guts to steal from people. It takes a sheer coward to steal from you and not be able to look you in the face.
Con men used to at least be entertaining. They used to give you a show as they fleeced you. The Flim Flam Men were always known and usually endured until they robbed the wrong person of too much.
They even made movies about them, Oscar winning movies where the con men were the heroes! ("The Sting" for only one of them."
Now the cowardly ilk advertise in the papers or people who are multilingual. Its a lot more convincing to get emails from someone who can at least approximate the language, I guess. But they advertise in the newspapers and the newspapers take the ads . . .
Its like a legitimate business now. Why not. They've only prosecuted one spammer. The government must condone it or they'd do something to stop it. In a lot of ways the government condones it. I've gotten spam from political candidates . . .
Considering that the government allowed Comcast to hijack the investigative meeting to discuss the despicable acts committed by Comcast its not a great surprise. (Net neutrality and tiered pricing are ugly cruel things that need to be abolished and not encouraged. The government disagrees. They don't care about the people anymore it seems.)
In China and Russia they are openly and actively recruiting hackers and programmers. I do wonder if anyone ever bought anything they saw advertised when their browser has been hijacked by a malicious script?
Do Us All A Favor
Click images for desktop size: "Do Us All A Favor"
Someone must or they wouldn't invest so much money in getting it done. The self centered self righteous jerks we keep electing wouldn't keep approving these tactics. They wouldn't ignore the deplorable acts of Microsoft and the lesser companies who emulate them. (Microsoft gets fined over a billion in Europe but gets a nudge nudge and a wink in the USA).
Maybe they view all of this corruption of something as pretty as the computer and the internet as just another poor tax, like the insane profits of the oil companies (who will again set records for the low taxes they will pay.)
There used to a great operating system for computers: BeOS. It was elegant, refined, powerful and ran on machines that stuttered with Windows and Macs running 9.0.
BeOS had features 10 years ago that are just now The Big Store entering into Windows Vista and Mac OSX. (Indexed searches - integration of OpenGL etc)
Microsoft pointedly and fixedly destroyed the company. It did so illegally. Microsoft got prosecuted. Of course this was after they accomplished their goals and bankrupted the little BeOS company.
They had to pay the BeOS stockholders a lot of money and they got fined 100 million. Microsoft never paid of course. I'm sure it was quite legal on their side, the not paying I mean, but once again no one in power was watching out for us; the little guys who just wanted to have some fun on our computers or make a little web site about our hobby or the club we belong to. No one in power cares about the little guys like you and me communicating with each other.
I thought that was supposed to be their job, to look out for us and t understand things we didn't grasp and to make sure we could live a free and a happy people. I thought they were meant to safeguard us, not to encourage the slugs to rape and pillage us.
I guess I was wrong. Again.
I'm just not feeling human. A long strident rant because I got some junk mail in my email folder. I'm not human today.
Still feeling sick. Still worried about my little blind dog who still is keeping me up all night. Still worried about money and desires unfulfilled.
I shouldn't rant about things I can't change just because I can't reach out at them and give them a kick in the pants.

February 27, 2008

A lot of fellows nowadays have a B.A., M.D., or Ph.D. Unfortunately, they don't have a J.O.B
Fats Domino

Steam Insect By Conte
Click images for desktop size: "Steam Insect" by Conte
I am often overwhelmed with a desire to make stuff. Unfortunately my handiwork invariably looks like . . . pretty bad.
I'm good with electronics. I can solder and wire fine, sometimes better than fine. Most of my electronics, even today, I've messed with and "improved".
When we sold the recording studio we were able to pay off all our debts Creature From The Black Lagoon - 1954 by selling my customized Neve analog board. The board was superb. I'd spent a few years customizing it . . . actually repairing it. The only way we could afford a Neve back then was to buy a pretty trashed out one from the Record Plant and gut it.
The buyer was stoked until he opened it up and realized that the board had nothing but Hi Q components but we had reconfigured it and added in my own fillips that his tech couldn't grasp what we had done. Fortunately for me he hired a new tech who loved the board. (Including the fact that I'd built my pirate radio station from Army Surplus walkie talkies and stashed it inside the board so I could be in the car and listen to what was happening in the studio . . . or play the outboard CD changer. Back then I knew about shielding for RF interference . . . )
I got away with it on the Neve because I already had that beautiful Neve case. All my other projects; my homemade cases and boxes looked like . . . pretty poor.
I once built an Signal tracker and stuffed it into a tomato paste can . . . That was the best of my cases . . .
I once made some bookcases for my home office. They looked . . . acceptable. They held up for almost a year! Which is far better than some of my old home built recorders, amps and PA's. I'd be pleased if those cases lasted through 2 gigs. But the tone! Ah, the tone . . . while watching a speaker cabinet disintegrate while ripping through a power chord gallup can be used as entertainment, its daunting to have to put the whole thing back together again.
My eyes are bad now. So bad I can't pour over circuits and copper wrappings with my old sense of elegance and hot solder burning style. I can't even be sure now if they'll work until I plug them in.
Celtic Princess
Click images for desktop size: "Celtic Princess" by Unknown
I can't even get my busted iRobot to work again.
I remain fascinated with Steam punk. Mainly because the cases are what make them punk. And the cases are so graceful and bordering on the right side of campy tacky.
I feel confident that if I even attempted one it would somehow melt into a glob of foil and brass in a month. But what a glorious month it would be!
So when I get these creative urges, these handicraft flings I work on this site.
I spent an inordinate amount of time making a movie of some pictures of my puppy. They were pictures I had thought I had lost in the great hard drive crash of '06, they move me a lot so it was time well spent in my opinion.
I also have been grappling with my movie catalog. A lot of collectors have been griping that a straight alphabetical listing is too difficult to search. I also don't have a search engine easily attached to the movie listing.
I'm working on it.
The Blob 1958 As a stop gap I've added another link to the little bar up top. This will take you to the catalog broken down by genre.
Its not as pretty as the straight alphabetical listing but it is serviceable.
Clicking on a title will open up the listing to give you pertinent details and, in most cases, a picture/poster from the movie.
People click through so fast I need to explain this. Since no one is probably going to read these detailed instructions I'll probably have to explain them again and then again.
Macintosh now seems to natively support SQLite databases. I'm working on setting up the queries in my movie database so it will spit things out in a more friendly fashion. The idea of transferring the database to the server is appealing . . . and difficult. I'm still working on that too.
Right now the genres are arranged pretty creepily. Like the "A"s list as _ Adult Animation etc. And the pages like "D" are stupid long and take a bit of time to download (D for Drama, see?"
But now you can go to "K" and see all the Kung Fu movies or "Z" to see all the Zombie flics.
Feel free to send me corrections.

On the other front there was a big police stand off about 50 yards from my home! It was on the local news and made to sound terribly dramatic.
A two hour car chase, armed man, SWAT teams YOW!
I found out about it when I took out the garbage and was wondering why the cops were blocking the street. My puppy barked at the cops. I told her good girl. I still don't trust any cop until I can see they are worth it.
Butterflies and love
Click images for desktop size: "Butterflies And Love" by Anonymous
The standoff seems to have gone on for hours and in the end NO ONE WAS HURT!
LAPD would have blown the place up with too many tear gas shells that would eventually burned the place down (see how the handled the SLA back in the 70's, that's still their approach).
There's something to be said for small town living. No one was hurt. No one was shot. No one was a hero and no one was a villain.
I like that.

In my quest for World Champion Snow fighter; I seem to have been beaten.
I feel generally unwell. My body is sore and feels like I've been in a fight or an overtime game.
Its the kind of unwell where I'd seriously consider taking off work for the day. So you know its semi-serious!
I'll be fine. I have a new doctor now! I hope I like him.

My little blind puppy is hanging on. He's still eating and when he's not feeling miserable he perky and ready for fun!
I pray I'm reading him right and that he's enjoying life and not suffering. I would despise myself if I was letting him suffer.

February 25, 2008

An excellent man, he hasn't an enemy in the world; and his friends don't like him
Oscar Wilde

The Wolf Man
Click images for desktop size: "The Wolfman" by Universal Studios
Well my Oscar wishes (by proxy) and hopes and predictions were all routinely smashed last night.
I didn't watch them. Couldn't be bothered. Sad how things change.
I'm still vaguely stunned that "No Country For Old Men" won best picture. Its not very good. I can't imagine anyone remembering this in 5 years time. Maybe if everyone had gotten run over by a truck at the end or something. It was just unsettling a movie and not in any good way. Unsettling in that it kept promising but never delivered.
Tommy Lee Jones wand the killer were the best things in it. But it kept missing a core of something.
Twelve O'Clock High My figuring is that "Michael Clayton" and "There Will Be Blood" split the best picture vote. All the SAG members probably wanted to reward Tommy Lee Jones and hence "No Country" slunk in.
The only thing that bothers me is that I can't for the life of me think of an American movie this year that I thought should win Best Picture.
That is depressing.
I guess "Underdog", "Aqua Teen Hunger Force" and "Gone Baby Gone" were the ones I enjoyed the most . . . I'm serious. Every other movie was Asian or European. I count a lot more disappointments than hits . . .
At least Casey Affleck didn't get the award for Best Supporting. I don't think his performance was even worth a nomination. I have to admit I have a weird thing about siblings who follow their successful family members to Hollywood.
Its gone on forever and will continue. I think of Eric and Julia Roberts (most people forget that he splashed big in Star 80" and "Pope Of Greenwich Village"), Gary and Jake Busey, even Brittany Spears and whatever her sister's name is.
Oddly my senseless prejudice doesn't extend to Hollywood families and their children entering the business. Probably because I grew up with those kids. The cliche is right. Its hard to be prejudiced against something you know.
Brittney Spears has sure turned into a mess. I remember a buddy of mine commenting about her career, back when she first started out, that she'd be doing hardcore porn in 10 years. It hasn't fallen that hard but its uncomfortingly close.
Where Ever I May Go
Click images for desktop size: "Where Ever I May Go" by Anonymous
Compared to Spears Christina Aguileria is merely a train wreck. Spears is like watching a drunk stagger down the street, trip and fall into oncoming traffic.
Its hard to figure Spears out. I mean Shirley Temple never went through this. If you look at Jackie Cooper it gets closer to the Spears fiasco, but the closest parallel I find is Annette Funicello. They both started on the same TV show.
Its pretty apt, Funicello was the big breakout star on the Mickey Mouse Club. She had her own following and for the most part that following was pretty carnal.
Funicello had a string of hit records (Jamaica Ska is pretty interesting) and did all those ultra cool Beach Party flics.
But she never turned her life into a carnival. Its seems naive to say those old stars were better behaved or better raised. It is too cynical to believe that the press was being kind or ignorant or unaware. Gossip mags were hotter sellers then than now really). Girls Under 21 And its seems foolishly optimistic to think that its all the prying eyes of the internet.
I can't even buy that as an excuse for Jennifer Lopez to score six million dollars for her baby pics.
Its a conundrum, for sure. What has changed? Celebrity is still the same monster, the world's changed but the people in it haven't changed that much, not that much at all.
I guess that's my reason for celebrity, something worthless to think about so I don't think about things like my little blind dog.
I was really afraid I was going to lose him last night. He had one of his attacks. Woke me at 1:25. The attack lasted until 2:15. It wasn't the worst he'd had recently but each of them make me worry whether his time has come.
Today he's gotten all perky and annoyingly nudgey.
I still worry.
I walked to the drug store and got my meds today.
I like listening to my music when I walk but the weather takes a lot of the pleasure out. I re-injured my hip flexor scrabbling around (BUT NOT FALLING) on all the ice. I have to play close attention to each step. Even when the sidewalk looks clear there are patches with my name on them.
I did get to study some of the better kept sidewalks and I think I've picked up on a little secret about scattering salt!
Who ever knew there were salt secrets!
I plan to try them out later today.
If you want to be worried about me, worry about this: I'm excited about trying out my new salt strategy!

February 24, 2008

The first thing that you should do when you win an Oscar is thank God. The second thing you should do is forget it. The third thing you should do is call your agent and tell him you need a job.
Rod Steiger

Thunderbolts-Marvel Comics
Click images for desktop size: "Thunderbolts" by Marvel Comics
Its Oscar night.
I liked it better when it was on Mondays. It was always a good and justified excuse for leaving work.
Even the cops looked the other way on Oscar night. If you weren't doing anything too dangerous you could get away with most anything.
The streets were deserted because everyone was someplace watching the Oscars.
Roma In LA, even if you never had any plans to make a movie or to be a star, everyone ran their Oscar acceptance speech through their head.
Winning the Oscar was that one moment when you got even with the world. When anybody had ever rejected or neglected you had to stand up and see that you were the best, you had made it. You were something that they would never be.
If living well is the best revenge then the Oscar was the same dish with pesto and chili sauce. Who didn't want to stand up there before the entire world.
Marlon Brando and George C Scott for two.
Scott, when he won for "Patton", was making a stand to stop the silly competition between actors. His powerful message was defused when Goldie Hawn made the announcement with a giggling "Oh my god!"
Brando was trying to make a political statement about Indian Rights when he sent Sacheen Little Feather up to refuse his Oscar for "The Godfather". His message got undercut when Little Feather appeared nude in Oui magazine. Oui was sort of a raunchy sequel to Playboy.
Hollywood seduces. Beauty, money and fame are powerful things. I grew up in them and didn't even realize that they existed until I wasn't there. They never went any place.
There's no particular artistic inspiration to be found in a lust for wealth power and fame.
Jimmy Pickering accepted his Oscar for best animated short subject wearing a tux with a wildly spinning bow tie.
James Cameron knew what it was like to be god.
Transferring The Bear Knife
Click images for desktop size: "Transferring The Bear Knife" by Unknown
Peter Jackson continued his quest to be the man you'd least like to sit next to you on a subway. Which is a different kind of power and arrogance we've all seen before.
The Oscars seem to be less and less meaningful.
They were always about money and fame but now it looks like they're only about money and fame.
Who can forget Slim Pickens killing his chances for an Oscar and nearly wrecking his career by shamelessly begging for the recognition. Now a days that sort of pandering is de rigeur, which doesn't mean much except the talent is no longer there.
I worked in the tech end of movies. I used to feel smug because I always felt that on the tech and the writing end of things no one could touch the Hollywood product. No matter what committee tried to ruin a movie the sheer talent would win out in the end.
Now the Asians with fewer resources have taken more and more of that away from us. Their tech stuff is blowing things away and redefining State Of The Art.
The South Koreans have even co-opted the Hollywood staple: The Magic Of Sheer Entertainment.
A ludicrously minor film like "Highway Star" brings in the music and the heavyweight actors to make a light souffle that leaves you with nothing but smiles and the feeling of being entertained.
Foxy Brown There's nothing wrong with entertaining people and taking them outside the world they live in for 90 minutes. It used to be our greatest strength. You're not ignoring the world when you make this kind of movie. You're expanding it to fill up the voids and the empty spaces with some light that lets people see their fellows with compassion and a glimmer of understanding. When an actor exposes a bit of the character's soul in a way that leaves you smiling it enables us to see that bit of soul in each other. That's always a special thing.
When did I become so strident?
Anyway, now you can place bets on the Oscars. They give odds.
Since there's no football to pick you have to put up with my incredibly fallible Oscar picks. I'm doing the Best Pictures but the only Awards I care about are the tech ones . . .

"Atonement" - The safest thing to write about is childhood. Lee Harper pulled it off with skill and by putting in the greatest drama that Americans can witness, a racist murder trial. John Knowles and J.D. Salinger both attempted it and had some success. ("A Separate Peace" and "Catcher In The Rye" respectively) "Atonement" is a catholic guilt trip. Its set in the 30's but uses that as an excuse to "purdy" up and hide the emotional flaws. I thought it was hackneyed and cliched.
When Faulkner won the Nobel Prize for literature for his book "A Fable" it was pointed out that the plot was the same as "All The Kings Men". Faulkner's response was something like, "A plagiarist steals, the great artist steals but then makes it his own." The guys making "Atonement" are not great artists.

Marvel Heroes
Click images for desktop size: "Marvel Heroes" by Marvel Comics
"Juno" - When I saw this film I thought it was okay. Nothing more. I thought it was one of the better teen comedies, right up there with "Chicken Chronicles". That its cheap cardboard characters and poorly realized and blatantly false issues revolving around teen pregnancy should be considered Oscar worthy is the curse of the Baby Boomers and the nasty influence they've had on the world. (A lot of that venom is from having to always do Beatle's covers at gigs). This movie offers nothing and smacks of trying to show todays kids that Hollywood is still "hep".

"Michael Clayton" - This is one of those movies that's been made for no other reason than to win Oscars. Its directed by Sydney Pollack ("Tootsie", "Out Of Africa") a guy who can make the most intense moments go through you like spoiled chicken marinated in bad soy sauce. No matter how important the situation in life he can make it appear trivial and not get in the way of the stars. This is the film I'd pick as the possible winner.

"No Country For Old Men" - When the Coen Brothers made "Blood Simple" the casting director told me that these guys were going to be a force in Hollywood. He was right. This movie is mildly entertaining. The Giant Leeches It tries to hide its exploitation movie roots by giving us a totally downer of an ending. This was an old trick by the guys who couldn't grasp Wittgenstein or existentialism. If everybody dies it means that everything that happened before must have significance. Right?
Its not a bad movie but its got a long way to go before you could imagine this as great.

"There Will Be Blood" - I love lurid title! I found this movie to be a turgid exercise in over indulgence and lack of control. A real turgid mess about money. It took me 6 attempts to sit through it. And I could barely remember what happened before. It drips phony significance from every frame. The actors are out of control and the director's main task was to keep them from stepping on each others lines. It also offers up smacked around kids. All of this adds up to Oscar dynamite! Art is like medicine that is good for you. My pick to win cause its the movie I liked least that will be forgotten soonest.

February 22, 2008

I like the sounds of destruction

Rust And Dirt
Click images for desktop size: "Rust & Dirt"
I walked myself to the hospital yesterday. Emergency room.
About a 3.5 mile walk. Funny thing, I felt better the more I was moving. Would have been great if I'd had a dog with me.
Dirty Mary And Crazy Larry I was bleeding and it was embarrassing bleeding. Not blood gushing stuff.
It was from eating a jalapeno pepper for dinner the night before. I remember thinking how odd that I hadn't eaten a pepper in such a long time . . . It wasn't until I was sitting in emergency that I remembered.
I got scoped out. I re-opened my ulcer, which was caused by too many pills that I have to take to stay alive.
Sometimes this life is tedious.
They looked at other stuff. I strained my shoulder. It still hurts. Seems it was a mild separation. I can accept that. I remember having to pop it back into place but I'm surprised that it still causes me pain. I used to heal so well.
And I strained my right hip flexor. That was from shoveling snow and slipping on ice.
I am working on Zen Master status on snow shoveling. I need to hurry that up. Its snowing now.
That was a joke . . . hurrying up Zen . . . they're seldom as funny when you have to explain them . . . especially when they're not that funny to start with.

I've gotten a couple of emails chastising me for my opinions about Tobe Hooper. No one defending him but trying to convince me that Wes Craven was then the new Romero.
Well, I thought "Last House On The Left" had a great ad campaign, "Keep repeating to yourself its only a movie! Its only a movie!" but I thought it was only mildly interesting. Better was the speculation about all the different versions in there that had even better gore and splatter.
Anime by Mota
Click images for desktop size: "Anime Wallpaper" by Mota
I saw it first in downtown LA. One of the other films on the triple bill was, "They Call Her One Eye" (originally "Thriller-A Grim Film"). "One Eye" was definitely more disturbing.
It wasn't until Craven did "The Hills Have Eyes" that I thought he might be a serious talent. But he sold out to Hollywood too quickly for me.
"The Hills Have Eyes" was staggering. While "Last House" was just a more explicit retelling of Bergman's "The Virgin Spring" "Hills" was an Adlerian exploration of a Freudian psychic nightmare. And it had dogs!
But then came the dreck. The Freddie Krueger movies and that almost entertaining piece of B tripe, "Swamp Thing". Craven was never a prophet. He worked for the money until he became bankrupt. (as in bereft of talent and ideas, not short of cash.)
When you start making art for the money instead of wanting to tell a story you become something that I can respect but I can never love.
George Romero has been quirky but he never sold out. He went to Dario Argento for financing and turned his back on Hollywood cash and what he perceived as the compromises he'd be unwilling to make.
The Edge Of Hell Its sad that even Jim Jarmusch finally gave in to Hollywood bucks, so only George, standing out there in Pennsylvania, all alone is the only guy with nothing to be ashamed of in his career. He always stayed true to his vision, even when we didn't know what the heck he was talking about.

My friend sent me a link showing that this web site is slanted towards males . . . I can't figure out what that means.
This site also points out that I have no advertisement. I appreciate that. Further my domain name is worth between 800 and 1200 bucks!
The basis for this seems sketchy to me. I figure the domain name is worth the 10 bucks a year it costs to keep it.
But I have been toying with the idea of trying to do some web site design, maybe to earn a few bucks.
I don't know if that infringes on my no-ad policy. I have to think about that.
Its just that through stubbornness and without any desire to learn anything I've gotten pretty good with media and the basics of web design. I don't know. It sounds desperate to me but maybe I am desperate.
You might not know about this, unless you have kids or work for an uptight company, but there is an entire industry built around filtering the internet. For schools I think this is a decent idea.
I remember when you could do a search for lemon pie and get 2 recipes and 45 porn sites.
My puppies site still gets heavy spam for bestiality sites.
But the nice thing is that more and school systems are opening up their filters so that the kids can see her page and photos and little movies. Becasue her site is powered by Movable Type it is automatically blacklisted as a "BLOG". I wonder why they restrict blogs out of hand. Laziness? Or do they all have "ADULT CONTENT" like this one?
Rhino Bliss By Lawn Elf
Click images for desktop size: "Rhino Bliss" by Lawn Elf
That pleases me. I always like it when a hospital or school lets the kids see my puppy. Its pretty humbling and scary.
A ten year old girl wrote me a while ago and explained to me how she had found a way to circumvent her schools filters! It was very detailed and made a great tutorial. Even I could follow it!
Ten years old! That's why I don't worry too much about the future. Although I did vaguely worry about what other sites she was checking out. I liked that she didn't write to me but that she wrote to my puppy.
Although I still have not changed my policy of ever eating an unwrapped, unsealed food given to me by a child, no matter how much love is in their heart.

February 20, 2008

When You coming back Red Ryder?
Mark Medoff

New York City Madness by Tim Melideo
Click images for desktop size: "New York City Madness" by Tim Melideo
I think the main reason I hate grocery shopping isn't just the money. Its the enforced reminder that I'm no longer perfect.

Brute Force Finished watching "Valley Of Elah". I still tend to watch movies in chapters, putting them down to resume later. Only the really great movies can hold my attention for a full 90 minutes. They have to be unworldly to keep me interested for two whole hours. Longer than that and I figure the filmmakers don't know how to go about telling their story. (Their are a few exceptions, just a few).
"Valley Of Elah": It was a pretty turgid mess. Obvious, pretentious and meandering.
Susan Sarandon gave one of the most vapid empty performances I've ever seen. It was staggering in the way she conveyed nothing and gave no depth to any part of her character. It wasn't so much that like all these characters were made of card board but hers she played like it was a stiff pice of saran wrap.
They were giving Charlize Therzon plenty of face time and all she could do was be boring, obvious and a anti-illustration of of everything the heavy handed direction was preaching about (as regards women). It was an unrestrained performance that paid no dividends.
In spite of all this, or maybe because of it, Tommy Lee Jones gave one of the most memorable performances in movie history. He was brilliant. The only talent Paul Haggis (director/writer - "Crash") showed was in not getting in his way.
Jones has always been good, sometimes remarkable, but he's never had a showcase where he could keep such a high level going. The character, as written, was pretty much a stupid mess with no foundation or real sense. Jones forgot about it and gave the character an inner monologue that never falters. He doesn't burn or smolder he simply exists and lives.
The genius of his performance is in keeping himself shuttered but still letting us, the audience, know that the thoughts dreams and anguish burn inside of him. The character lies to his friends, but with no tools other than his face and voice he lies convincingly and lets us know exactly why he is lying. It is always human and always true to the person he is.
Anime by Mota
Click images for desktop size: "Anime" by Mota
Jones takes a hunk of creepy cardboard and creates a human being out of it. I've seen the other performances nominated. I expect Jones won't win the Oscar which would be a shame, but not a sin.
At least he'll get more work.

For some reason Jones performance got me to drifting thoughts about great movies that had no acting ability, where the filmmakers had told there story so well and convincingly that lesser talented actors contributed instead of distracting from the story.
Probably the best horror film ever made was "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre". It had everything. Bright sunlight and dripping oozing cadavers. It shocked and it horrified and still does today. Every minus became a plus. Bad acting somehow made the characters seem more real. It made them not laughable but identifiable.
Even Marilyn Burns high pitched screaming throughout (normally an aggravating feature of grind house horror) seemed to be a keening note in a drum and bass line of depravity.
Chafed Elbows And Scorpio Rising The cheap Fuji stock and daedo lighting kit that were so unimpressive in other grind house flics added the surreal quality of a home movie to the story. It was such an impressive connotation of reality that it became a cliche, an effect strived for less effectively in "The Blair Witch Project" and "Cloverfield".
In Texas Chainsaw the blazing sunshine and the unexpected dances in light and darkness made the arcane rooms of savage sculpture and cannibal art seem too close and easy to touch. Like you'd accepted an invitation to that creepy kids house because he had some cool comics to trade and you walked into the ultimate joke and were more stunned that he didn't mind the sense of savage filth than you were by the filth itself.
In that one movie Tobe Hooper took over from George Romero as the new clear eyed sober voice of unspeakable nightmares. Or so it seemed.
And then what happened
The only people still working are Director Tobe Hooper and cinematographer Daniel Pearl.
Kim Henkel, the writer, has his name attached to things, but its only as an attachment. Like he keeps taking co-producer credit and money for all those Chainsaw remakes and sequels.
Marilyn Burns who seemed ready to rear her bloody laughing head into the same B Movie status as Lianna Quigley does cameos.
Ed Neal, the wine stained hitchhiker with a straight razor has gotten work doing Japanese TV shows and other sorts of day player bits.
Purple Rain
Click images for desktop size: "Purple Rain"
Daniel Pearl found Chainsaw was nothing more than an intro to Hollywood. A note from your mom to a successful producer she dated in High School.
He worked hard. I met him when he was DP on a Pia Zadora music video. He wouldn't even talk about Chainsaw except with heavy anger. He shot "Alien vs Predator 2: Requiem".
Hooper followed up Chainsaw with a Hollywood movie, "Eaten Alive".
It proved that Neville Brand could act as creepy as he looked. It also managed to forever my long standing crush and desire for the once beautiful Carolyn Jones (Morticia, come back to me!!).
It looked like almost any other cheapo horror film, but it could also be read as a talent looking to learn the Hollywood system, the crews, and the actors. If you had a kind heart and great hopes.
Next up for Hooper was "Poltergeist". Big money, big cast, Steven Speilberg producing. It could have been something and then it wasn't. It was just another ghost story with glitzy production values and the start of CGI.
Dillinger Plenty of sequels and then the TV series. People made a lot of money but the audience looking for something more were jilted.
After that Hooper spent his time making the worst kind of slumming fodder, "Funhouse", a remake of Abel Ferrara's "The Toolbox Murders", all weak and watery stuff that wouldn't wake up a patron in any grind house theater.
Its sad and only proves that sometimes inspiration and madness only strike once.

When I first decided to keep a personal web site it was to force me to spend some time each day to reconsider and think about what I was doing and where I'd gone and why.
It was intended to force me to become human again.
There were the other perks I've mentioned previously. It still serves that purpose. It makes me reflect instead of hurtling head on. (Hurtling is what I think I'm best at.)
For a guy who finds it hard to read emails longer than 4 mails and is a master of writing one line responses all these words perplex. I like it broken up with the pictures. I spend more time choosing, editing the pictures than the words.
Aladdin - Maxfield Parrish
Click images for desktop size: "Aladdin" by Maxfield Parrish
ecto, the tool I use for laying out and posting to this site, is up to Beta 33! This one has seemed a huge step backwards. Its addressing some of those crazy things for other people but forgetting about guys like me.
It does odd things with images. So that I have to re-upload them via ftp. Which is just annoying and not that big a deal.
What is a big deal is that its not being true WYSIWYG at present. MarsEdit, a competitor, has taken the clue from some of the innovations in ecto and now does some of the tasks better! Regrettably it doesn't do everything that ecto does and does somethings important to me far worse.

My friend has gone on a job interview today. I'm pleased. Its a lot easier to suffer and complain at a job that stresses you than endure the grief of being judged by someone you might dislike.
People can get used to anything. Its hard to ignore inertia and get moving. I'm proud that she's trying.

February 19, 2008

Just roll me on down the aisle

JW McGinnis
Click images for desktop size: "Book Cover" by JW McGinnis
One of those days where all I feel is the waiting.
Life in stasis.
Of course the waiting is for money.
I know a whole lot of guys who'll insist the only things worth waiting for are women and money, and generally in that order.
Th Big Bird Cage From that the general supposition is that you need money for the women . . . or vice versa. Not sure. I am sure that time and education has taught us that's not really true.
Waiting for my tax refund. Got it in my head that the tiny pice of money will solve some issues, relieve some stress.
I have a friend who has a retirement plan. He buys a lottery ticket every week. Always picks the same set of numbers and one quick pick. I never thought much of his plan but at least it was a plan.
I have noticed that people are different with money. I think its might even be a genetic thing. Maybe there's a capitalistic gene.
You give some people five hundred bucks and in a month they'll turn that into a thousand, in two months four thousand. Then there are guys who'll get five hundred and pay off some bills and save a third. Then there are guys who get themselves a new toy. We all have friends who'll use the money to pay off some bills and then feel so good about that they'll go off and buy a gift for the girl friend or wife and get themselves a new toy and end up a g-ball in the hole.
Not required to be the root of all evil but sure as the full moon doesn't give a damn about your broken heart when you look at most of the superficial problems we all have it always seems the root is money.
School lunches and designer shoes. Money.

Edmund Dulac
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Edmund DuLac
My friends who jobs I was stressing about yesterday seem to have had better times of it.
I'm all for that. I'm all for people having a better time with their stress than I have.
For my friend with the job bad review one of her superiors stepped forward and told the bigger boss that the comments attributed to her were false.
In a court of law that one statement would be enough to get the whole kaboodle tossed out. When the crux of one statement is found to be made of whole cloth lies the courts will bounce the whole package as unreliable. Or maybe that's the old days way of handling it. Justice has always been transitory. Look, the Senate just made it justice for the FBI and ATT&T to spy on you, listen to your phone calls and read your email. Six years ago that would have been injustice.
Don't know much about how corporations handle things like this. I'd guess they'll do whatever till save them money and keep the unions out of their shops.
Bride Of Frankenstein At least the fear of unions, the fear of having to treat your family of employees fairly and equitably is enough for that at least. (Corporations get like snippy men - They claim they want to treat people fairly they just don't want to be forced into it . . . that's why they use threats and intimidations and lies to keep unions out of their shops . . . )
At least it looks like she'll be as alright as you can be working in a corporation. They still haven't fixed the health insurance issue.
My other friend ended up working completely left alone yesterday. She worked about twelve hours and discovered she likes her job. The hell comes from other people. No surprise there. Even Sartre realized that correctly.
Sartre just left out the part about money.

February 18, 2008

Heaven and hell don't exist in the next world. They're here in this one.
Tadashi Imai

Happy Morning
Click images for desktop size: "Happy Morning" by Anonymous
It was a quiet weekend for me.
I spent most of it fighting the ice storms and playing with the puppies. Smells almost like good times.
With all my wild ice and snow fighting I never even fell once. I slipped a few times but I never fell.
For the first weekend with no football and waiting for Spring Training to start, those nebulous weekends, it was pretty good.
The Wolf Man 1941 For me, at least.
For my friends it appears that their jobs have ended in the pit of "office politics". Not the everyday kind but the venal.
For one its a matter of coping with rude people who don't relate to any one else's humanity, only their own. Of course they demand you recognize their rights as they blithely amble along ignoring everyone else's.
An intelligent manager starts to prune these sorts well. It looks like they may have by moving them out of one branch and dumping them all in my friends.
She is dreading going in to work.
I empathize. Once on a climbing surfari my buddy Mark and I got jobs repairing glass houses for a huge indoor nursery.
Of course neither us imagined or had a vague clue as to what this job entailed.
It appeared that you had to find broken panes of glass and replace them. Your about 3 stories above the ground and you had to clamber up the glass roof using a series of "ladders". These wooden things were a two by one and had six inch slats nailed crossways on the single support for you to clamber up on.
If you put a foot or, worse, a hand wrong you punched it strait through a hunk of glass.
They gave us a weird tool belt harness that carried a putty knife, putty and a glass cutter. We had to cut the panes of glass to fit while we balanced on the perch.
We cut our hands constantly on slivers of glass. You couldn't wear gloves well as they just slipped as you tried to climb. We watched two guys fall through the rook and one slide down to the bottom.
Creating The War Shield
Click images for desktop size: "Creating The War Shield" by Unknown
This was all done in the heat and the glare of a glass desert that left your eyes tearing and your skin baking.
There was no question why they hired day labor for this and no question why they paid a whole dime more than minimum wage.
Four hours into it I dropped one of my finely cut panes of glass and watched it fall to the floor. I watched it break in half on a taut wire and then take what seemed a half day as it bounced around of different obstructions before finally disintegrating when it finally struck the pipes and concrete on the bottom.
It wasn't a big stretch to imagine that being my body.
When the lunch whistle finally blew Mark and I didn't even discuss it. We quit.
I was glad Mark was more persistent than me. He actually got our money for the half day. Cleared nearly thirty bucks. Enough for a tank of gas and a sandwich.
I imagine my friend sees her job the same way Mark and I saw climbing up on that glass roof when we had a chance to escape. I'm sad she feels that way. Sadder that I don't have a quick solution.
Pickpocket We only needed a meal and some gas so it was easy to walk away.
Another friend works for a store that sells coffee. That big international one that keeps building and competing with itself.
It pretends to be a bit hip and a bit aware. But like Nike using child labor and Apple using Chinese camps the hipness fades away when making even more money is most important than anything else.
She's held the job for three years. Struggles to keep it because the money is poor but they offer Health Insurance.
To stay alive in the new America you have to do that too often.
She's had the job three years and watched the young and old move around. Like McDonalds this company preys on the young and aged.
In three years she seen a lot of managers and a lot of District Managers (the Simon Legree role I'd guess) come and go. Not to promotions but to out the door.
Her last manager had some issues. She had a lot of rage but she was the tight buddy of the new district manager who it appears like the grandesse of passing out jobs.
This manager lasted two months. She was incompetent. She did a faux pax that cost my friend her insurance.
Maybe it wasn't an error. For her final official act she decided to give my friend her performance review. Now the shock is all there.
What idiot lets a short term employee who is quitting in an incompetent huff give a performance review to a long term employee of good standing?
There's a quick and dirty answer to that but no quick and easy solution.
Jo In Wyoming - Edward Hopper
Click images for desktop size: "Jo In Wyoming" by Edward Hopper
That saddens me too.
And as an American when confronted with that special feeling of helplessness I let my mind wander tot he Oscars.
The Oscars are rapidly becoming irrelevant. I guess they always have been as a fair measure of quality. I think their biggest appeal was that moment of standing up there in front of the world and getting to say, "Hey Mom!"
I think the nominees this year are sad. I mean Johnny Depp for that piece of garbage ultra flop Sweeny Todd? Juno? A pretty dull slightly progressive teen comedy that clubs its final message home with a bric a brat bat?
And the foreign nominees are worse. No Chinese films, no Korean and no Asian! Unless you want to include that mind numbing Russian mess as Asian. Mind numbing must mean good. Like "The Blair Witch Project" and "Cloverfield" clever is passing for talent and being depressing and boring is passing for art.
This is why playing with puppies and fighting ice storms is a good weekend.

February 15, 2008

Don't you care about me anymore Mikey?
Douglas Sirk

Positively No Smoking - Tiffany Fallon
Click images for desktop size: "Positively No Smoking" by Tiffany Fallon
When companies are posting record profits and their stock price keeps falling, that tells you something.
When gas and oil companies are trebling their record net profits and the gas prices don't drop and the workers don't get a raise that tells you something more.
Tobor The Great When the quality of your life can be ensured with an injection of 5 or 600 bucks that tells you all you need to know.
You do the things you have to in order to make it through. Shave every other day to cut down on the cost of a razor blade. Make the coffee a little bit weaker cause its better to have weak coffee than to have no coffee at all.
It does make what you've got taste better. It makes love seem more real. The good shines like a buried marble peeking out looking for only a glimmer of a sunbeam.
The politicians who don't have a clue as to what to do, except to protect what they have in their bank accounts, manage to throw up some pretty distractions.
The economists all pretend they have an answer. Some do. Most of the ideas work for a few years and then blow up in our faces. Corporations don't care if you live or die and they have a lot of talent invested in figuring out loop holes.
Funny though. Some good things, even some great things have come out of the depressions and recessions of the past. Many of them better than the stuff that happens in the good times.
In the great depression we got Woody Guthrie. We got the unions so we could stand together and get a living wage. It took nearly 60 years for corruption and Republicans to destroy them.
Comic Books flourished. A dime could buy you 3 loaves of day old bread or days of fantasy.
And we got Raymond Chandler.
We wouldn't have any of that and much more if the country hadn't been nearly destroyed by incompetent politicians and uncaring corporations. I've been reading a book: "Killer In The Rain".
Its a book that Chandler would never let come out in his lifetime. He was insecure about his skill, not definite in his genius. I think he was probably insufferable but not about his skill and art. The Dark Knight
Click images for desktop size: "The Dark Knight" by DC Comics and Warner Bros
If, like me, you think Chandler is one of the great 20th century writers, its a lucky thing that executors of estates and heirs don't care much about a man's feelings when there's money to be made.
Chandler had what he considered to be a serious flaw as a writer. He couldn't come up with enough good plots to move his stuff along. The plot was trivial in his work but he didn't want his stuff to turn into anything boring. His adage about poor writing "If you can't think of anything else to do have somebody come in with a gun," was a part of his self criticism.
Plots are hard. Chandler had all the tools, style, an ear for dialogue and a love of people that let him show us how they really are and still not hate them.
I guess his predicament is like being a great band but not having anybody able to write great songs. (The Byrds come to mind - super tight singing and playing but they only really shined when they did covers.)
White Heat What Chandler hated about the stories in "Killer In The Rain" is that they were all originally sold to pulp magazines. He assumed, rightly, that they were rapidly forgotten. In these stories are the beginnings of the plots of almost all his novels, plot and sometimes characters.
He thought that going back and reinventing dreams he's already had, meeting great characters he'd already introduced us to made him less of a writer, less of a man.
Certainly it must have seemed that way to him.
As a simple example though there's the character of Steve Skalla. Skalla was the beast of a man who moved behind the scenes in the incredible, "Farewell My Lovely". In the novel he's a brute, a killer who's only decent quality is the love he had for a woman, a woman who betrayed him. Even that betrayal does not tarnish his love for her.
All the highly entertaining plot mechanisms revolve around the tear inducing tough conclusion where Chandler insists nobility is not only the par vue of the genteel and wealthy, but that a deeper more permanent nobility exists in a man who can forget rage, hatred and violence and care only for love.
Steve Skalla was first introduced in the short story, "Try The Girl". Amazingly the character remains exactly the same. Chandler painted in in broader strokes and with fewer nuances but its the same man. In this story he's even tougher, even more understanding and a bit pathetic, but he remains a durable classic character.
Chandler was making the same points in the novel and the short story but in the short story its sort of clubbed home. He also tears away the veneer of the cultured by having them act more brutally than the giant brute would conceive.
Click images for desktop size: "Dominique" by Carlos Dega
The telling scene is in the house of Skalla's girl. He's never gotten to see her. There's a dead body there and the wife of the dead body. She'd been stalking her husband in a jealous rage.
When she finds him dead she assumes that the brute Skalla killed her man. She shoots him five times in the stomach.
Five bullets don't do much to slow Skalla down. The ever present detective takes the gun from her roughly. Skalla says, "Take it easy on her. Man the little ones hurt as much as the big ones, don't they?" (his only acknowledgment of being shot while he holds his guts in with both hands).
The up scale woman response to Skalla's protectiveness is to walk up to him and spit in his face. The detective jerks her away and throws her into a chair. Skalla says, "Don't be so rough, maybe she loved the guy."
1938 - Prison Without Bars.jpg "Maybe she loved the guy."
Its a beautiful line and a beautiful scene. Of course, in Chandler's world, Skalla didn't commit the crime he was assassinated for. He was taking the rap for the woman he loved, a woman he hadn't seen in 8 years, who hadn't written to him, had changed her name and well . . . that's love and that's Chandler.
In the novel it is even sadder and crueler but subtler than that.
I hurt my back yesterday. Chopping holes in the ice so the dogs and I can walk (or run around) without slipping and hurting ourselves . . . its just soreness and nothing else.
My little blind dog is more of a concern. He's not doing great. He had a bad night. I'll lounge around, heal and do my exercises even watch a couple movies. He'll only have me to comfort him. He ate today so I have hopes.
What else do we ever have.

February 13, 2008

Just a minute please

Click images for desktop size: "Weeki Wachee" by Unknown
There's a few things bugging me.
The RAIA, the Congress and baseball. Not necessarily in that order.
The RAIA has always bugged me. They are a bunch of jerks who view people only as walking wallets, sort of like the worst kind of pimps you find in the seedier parts of town.
twilight_people_(1973).jpg This is the group set up to make sure that the records were made to the same specs so that all records could play them. They were sort of like a 50's version of THX Sound.
Then when the record companies decided they didn't want to pay the record artists any more money the protected that.
Its one of the interesting things they touched on early in "The Soprano's". It was common practice to sign acts to record records. They never got paid, even though the record companies were dumping thousands to DJ's to bribe them to play the records. That led to the payola scandal. The RAIA was a part of that.
They justified it all somehow: The acts, they claimed, benefited because they got free advertisement. They didn't get paid but they got to keep all the money from playing clubs and concerts . . . which promoted the records but they never bothered to justify that part so there's no official line there.
As to the payola a a lot of DJ's lost there jobs and ruined their careers and lives. No record company went out of business. No record company exec went to jail or got fired.
I guess, you could say the RAIA did a good job for them.
Now the RAIA says that when you buy a record or a CD or a digital download you don't own anything. You've bought air. You're allowed to listen to it at their grace. And the rapidly escalating prices are so that the musicians will get paid their fair share, except now they want to cut the musicians share from 9% to 4%.
Click images for desktop size: "Angry Shark" by Anonymous
Don't confuse the RAIA with ASCAP or BMI. ASCAP and BMI collect money to pay to the writers of the songs. The RAIA has no connection to the musicians or writers. They only represents the suits who hate music but like money.

And now the Senate has completed the rape of the Constitution. They increased unilaterally the right of our Government to spy on us . . . by a 67 to 31 vote. Rah!
Amazing that the constitution which has done pretty well for 220 years has suddenly found itself obsolete after 8 years of George Bush. Some of the Supreme Court Justices are even saying nonsense about how the Constitution is outmoded and no longer valid . . . they're Bush appointees of course.
For some reason every thing that comes out of a conservative mouth lately sounds more and more like the old commie rhetoric, rhetoric we were taught to fear and take with skepticism.
Underworld I guess you really do become what you hate most.
Clinton didn't attend to vote on the measure. Obama has remained silent. The Republicans are all for it.
Its the old, "the guilty don't deserve any rights" and the innocent don't need any rights.
I think I'm going to vote for whatever sacrificial lamb the Green Party is running this year. Nothing can be worse than supporting the wholesale merchandising and destruction of America.

Then we have the new witch hunt, the new McCarthyism - Steroids.
I remember when Lyle Alzado died. He was a killer line backer for the Raiders back when the Raiders were good.
He died because of steroids and Human Growth Hormone. He died directly because he wanted to be bigger and stronger.
I remember Canadian Ben Johnson blowing Carl Lewis off at the starting line and setting a world record because of steroids.
And I remember the NCAA barring Oklahoma's Brian Bosworth from a bowl game because of steroids. (Bosworth was a bust for the Seahawks - but he did make an amusing movie, "Stone Cold").
Nobody reacted then, when it could have done some good.
When I was coaching in Texas its impossible to believe how many of my kids came to me and asked if I thought they would benefit from juicing up.
At first I thought they were trying one on to see if I'd bite. They were serious.
Of course I told them no and explained all the pitfalls and told them about Lyle Alzado etc. I worry most now about the kids who didn't ask me.
I never had a kid come back from summer break 25 pounds heavier and 20% stronger. I don't know how I would have handled it. Probably the wrong way.
Astro Boy
Click images for desktop size: "Astro Boy" by Makaski Inc
Instead of protecting the kids and not just punishing them we have a stupid congressional investigation.
One the one hand our country is falling apart but we take massive amounts of time and man hours and money to protect our entertainments so that they can be sold more readily to us.
As much as I think that this investigation is wrong headed and not geared to accomplish anything meaningful (There'll be no penalties for the owners who demanded bigger faster athletes, or to the coaches who turned their eyes away and only viewed the results. There'll be no lessons for the vulnerable children, there'll only be Joe McCarthy style headlines for the witch hunters who bring down the biggest stars.) I've been following the testimony of Roger Clemens. I would like him to be innocent. I would like to think he did all he has done out of toughness and stubbornness and a lively arm.
The Descent After the inept display by congress today I really don't know. Clearly most of the committee have already made up their minds as to how they're going to decide and proceed. Most of the questions weren't fair and slanted in an ugly way.
Henry Waxman is the head of the committee. He was also my congressman for an incredible amount of years. I always thought of him as a Hollywood lobbyist. I voted for him because my unions recommended him. He was the kind of Congressman who sent you a survey at election time so you could tell him what he needed to be doing. It was multiple choice and there was no space to write anything down. You had to put your own stamp on it to mail it in, proof he wasn't corrupt I guess.
Waxman did not behave very properly I thought. He didn't keep things smooth and fair in a pursuit of the truth. He accepted things at face value and without a sense of fairness. He let cruel things be said to Clemens, cruel things that were not in pursuit of truth but sounded more like a punter who dropped a hundred bucks on a game Clemens pitched in.
I want Clemens to be drug free. I will be disappointed if he took drugs.
But I don't think America will be a better or a worse place to live in no matter what he has done.

February 12, 2008

I like girls who talk in sentences
I like girls who roll their eyes

Ultimate Fantastic Four
Click images for desktop size: "Ultimate Fantastic Four" by Marvel Comics
Whenever you got a mess of guys together we only talk about four things: Sports (which includes cars - driving to work every day is a sport if you do it right), Money, and Women. Most often its about women. (The fourth topic is that there's always a mopey one who wants to talk about himself, usually about his problems with women. 1958 - Attack Of The 50Ft Woman.jpgSometimes his problem with A Woman, and sometimes his problem with THE Woman. You have to be careful talking about THE Woman as she may not know that she is THE Woman.)
The subject of women almost never encompasses women like Maria Fearing or Madame Curie or even Hilary Clinton. After the topic meanders from general "hotness" to "how many" (the old quality vs quantity discussions) invariably the mood shifts to, "What is their problem?"
In "What is their problem?" if the their were about an ethnic group, religious group or even a political organization there might be quiet tremors or excessive zeal in propounding vague and sketchy arguments that depend more on volume than on a distillation of available info. Most would find that sort of "their" to be offensive.
Because the "their" is women and because "they" outnumber us the subject seems to have no taboos. Except that mothers can only be revered to in properly reverential tones or mocked in such a way that well, its like the scene in "The Virginian": "Smile when you say that."
Other than that the topic is wide open, from physical displays to physical talents to finally, "I just don't get them."
(I've had to attend enough bridal and baby showers to know that men aren't alone in this. Most of the time I've been dismayed at how women can be even more graphic and detail oriented than men. Once I was eavesdropping and heard a friend girlfriend describe their sex life so completely I had to avoid him for months. He never did figure out what my problem with him was. I'm a guy and there are limits on how much I want to know about my friends. I've never eavesdropped since.)
Click images for desktop size: "Girl" by Vadimir
Finally the conversation will finally turn to the "I just don't get them" topic. (This is "get them" in the understanding sense, not in the quantity sense.)
And we don't get them. Women bewilder us.
Guys can walk around for days and in all seriousness not have a thought in their heads. I call it "white noise". We don't think, we react and thrive on reflexes. we don't consider much and are usually surprised when our actions create a reaction.
The most intelligent thoughtful professor, psychiatrist, psychologists I know are all the same way. We can spend a week considering the deep thought like, "If I had a truck load of Dinty Moore stew, enough to last me a lifetime, would I be able to just check it all and go live in a cabin on top of a hill?"
Which is why when our girl friends ask us to pick up something at the store we will always forget. It doesn't fit into our Dinty Moore equation.
Of course their are the sensitive types in any group who'll go on and explain women to us. We usually glaze over and start thinking about last weeks game. For the rest of our lives we'll look a bit askance at the sensitive guy until we decide it was just his game to pull chicks.
another mans poison.jpg Of course there was always one guy who listened in with a touch a amusement, a wry grin on his face and a soft look in his eyes.
We all knew what that all meant. He was in love and thought he knew something the rest of us didn't. He did.
The amusement was because he knew that sooner or later we would know what he knew. We would learn what he was learning.
When we had the knowledge it won't be as much fun to talk about women anymore. We might talk more about money or even (shudder) about ourselves.
We'd stop looking at every women we met as a challenge or a conquest. We'd start to see that women can be something more than that. Much more, they can even be friends.
They could be friends, lovers and something more. Something that is a necessary part of life. A person who shares with you and exposes her soul to you and looks into you and sees more of your soul than you ever thought you'd be comfortable allowing anyone to see.
And it's all right. In fact, its good.
And maybe I've become the guy with the amused attitude and the wry grin. Maybe I've finally learned what it means to love and be loved.

February 11, 2008

I love them all, not just a few
The Grodes

Surrender To The Light - Michael Parkes
Click images for desktop size: "Surrender To The Light" by Michael Parkes
I like women.
Not just the price for being a heterosexual. I like women as people, as different to men, as right side brain thinkers and left side brain processors.
I like women.
13 Frightened Girls There's the women who make you feel like a million bucks for a little while. Until you wake up in the morning and find your wallet and car keys are missing and you have to borrow bus fare from your next door neighbor who you've never talked to before.
There are the playful women who want to be your mistress and your best buddy.
For some women its more important that you fall in love with them, more important than the fact that they don't love, probably don't even like you.
There's the women who want to pay their own way, want to be seen as an equal at least in monetary things, but still leave you out there alone when it matters the most.
There are women who are stronger than any man could ever hope to be, who can hold a families world of weight on their shoulders as if it were nothing, who never blanch, only cry to themselves and scold themselves for doing so. These women build homes and have love for everyone who matters.
There are women who look at you with longing eyes even though they know that you can't fill the bill or fit into their fantasies, fantasies they hide deep within themselves and hope you'll care enough to dig out.
Some women look like a dream and it costs every cent of 400 bucks a day to keep that dream intact.
Some women are a dream and are neither here nor there but always there and then.
There are he angry women who fight with you about everything and can keep the fight going all the time. They're even angrier when you finally, quietly, slip away to heal.
Three Women - Rajasthani
Click images for desktop size: "Three Women" by Rajasthani
There are women who hate you for things that have nothing to do with you, and they always call you at 3 in the morning to tell you about it but they never answer why or how this hatred came to be.
Some women condemn you for anonymous crimes in their past and see you as only a symbol of the hurt they carry around inside.
There are organized women who keep a palm pilot and a filofax and are always squeezing you in on Friday. They pick the restaurant and always have to go before you can say you hate that place and they've alread said, "Meet you there at 7ish". They're always rushed and always glad to see you and always leave just before the check shows up.
Some women have a hollowness that permeates to them. They look to you to fill and repair them.
Female And The Flesh -1955 There are women who've formed their own lives and aren't afraid to welcome you into it.
There are women who see you as a chunk of concrete that they will mold and break into the image they have of whatever a man should be but their vision is messed up and all they do is break you.
Then there are the reformers. They like you because your cute and your dark and maybe kind of bad and they think they'll pixey you into the light and then you'll be Prince Charming and your motorcylce will become a black stallion that only cantors along frothy beaches.
There are women who dream and then forget the dream because, even today, they're only just a girl.
There are the women who reshape themselves to make it seem that they are a part of your dream and they never act but only react because they don't want to see you ever wake up and see them as they really are.
There are women who build empires with a ruthless dispassion that terrifies and they expect you too see them as only a flesh and blood woman.
Then there are women like my friend. Who stand proud of what they are and what they have done. Who see you as an equal. Who are nervous about giving of themselves but courageous enough to try. Who can accept your flaws and imperfections as easily as they see your strengths and prowess. Who is strong enough to love you for what you are and to be loved for what she is. To put up with your crap and to still love you after a fight. To tell you secrets and to help when you've got problems and not afraid to look for help when she has problems. Who probably aren't offended by a catalog like this.
I like women.
I think there are more women as individuals then there are men.
Guys are lucky in that way.

February 10, 2008

Five dollars for this shirt and I only got two years wearing of it
Dario Argento

Sans Titre - Love 1008
Click images for desktop size: "Sans Titre" by Love 1008
I used to have a friend named Chris. Chris published a fanzine. It wasn't like most of the fanzines I read or played around with, his was angry. It took itself seriously but had enough of a sense of humor to get away with being angry and serious.
The Set Up What drew m to Chris and his magazine was his interest in the "Cinema Of Transgression". Nick Zedd used the little zine to promote a lot of his more political rhetoric and personal hype and propaganda. Zedd and Chris parted acrimoniously. It was more than sort of inevitable.
Chris was sincere and not blind to his idol's clay feet.
My interest, at that time, was more in a fringe member of the "Transgression" clique, Richard Kern.
I liked Kern's movies. I liked the politics of them. I liked the politics of his shooting style and his use of film and his excitement over film as opposed to video.
I liked how the punk movement tied into his own vision and how he melded his own edgy world view with the nihilistic values and charged sexuality and promoted celibacy of the punk thing.
I wasn't blind to the fetish element in some of his work but it wasn't what interested me. I was surprised that Kern is now making more off of heavy coffee table books of his fetish photography than he ever made from his movies.
While it was Zedd who was getting Time Square openings with Scorsesee and glitterati attention Kern kept making films that got shown on a sheet at the punk clubs in New York while the next band set up. It was cool and sometimes Kern's little movies even got billing over the bands. (At least on the fly sheet hand outs.)
Kern was involved with East Coast Punk Diva Lydia Lunch, who ended up involved with Black Flag frontman, Henry Rollins. They did poetry readings together . . . actually Lydia would yell at people in the crowd. If any of them yelled back Henry would jump off stage and beat them up.
In a time when the Kipper Kids, two grown men, would appear at clubs naked, wearing bathing caps and throw paint and blood on the audience I guess that yelling at people and then beating them up qualifies as a poetry reading.
One of the Kipper Kids married Bette Midler. Henry Rollins is now doing direct to video horror films and MC'ing some whack reality game show.
Click images for desktop size: "Shy" by Any Mouse
Time does ruin everything.
Anyway, back to Chris.
Eventually Chris moved to LA and got some other crazy to finance his little zine as a semi-serious, nasty and cynical FILM MAGAZINE! With full color covers and national distribution. Rah!
Now the main thing that reminded me of Chris this week is that he LOVED to get abusive phone calls and letters. He loved hate mail to the point that he would not pay bills so that he'd get collection letters and phone calls.
He enjoyed fighting with people. He liked the little battles.
Maybe it kept him in shape for the big wars ahead, I don't know. It was the overwhelming thing I remember of him.
Even though I remember him fondly and warmly, I don't share his enjoyment of hate mail. Notes and letters from people I don't know or barely know, especially notes that I think are intended to hurt me don't faze me at all. I hope I don't anger anyone by saying Killer Bait Formerly Too Late For Tears I look at them with detached id sometimes wry amusement. I'd like to get a clever one.
People whom I know and like on the other hand, their displeasure doesn't stress me but I don't disregard it.
Well except for the one berating me for not posting my brilliant analysis of the Pro Bowl . . . Have they played that yet? Does anyone know the score? Does anyone remember who won last years Pro Bowl?
Most of the, I guess, justifiable flack comes from the "Comments" thing.
I recently turned on comments here, more as an experiment to see how well they are working so I could consider turning them on for my puppy's blog.
Movable Type now uses a thing called Askimet to filter out spam comments. For my puppy's site it works well enough and mixing it with other tools lets me selectively allow certain ips and identifiers comments through with no problem.
Here I get about 50 spam comments an hour. To prohibit them going through to either being published or moderated I've had to set the security so high that it seems ALL comments get reported as spam . . .
Moratality 2 - Akjareshe
Click images for desktop size: "Mortality 2" by Akjareshe
This really doesn't bother me that much.
I've been trying to scan through the comments and glean out any real things. Like casinos and sex sites are pretty easy to discern. Some of them are more clever, at least clever enough for me to have to look at them more closely and find them annoying.
I did pull a couple of comments out of the spam, all from strangers as I recall. One I actually wasn't sure was genuine . . . it might have been spam, I just wasn't sure and on that day I decided to let it through.
On most days I find myself looking at a about half, getting bored and annoyed and just dumping them all. Recently I'm down to looking at the first page of 50 and then just dumping them all . . .
So if you're mad a t me because your carefully worded retort isn't published I'm sorry, blame me for being lazy but not for being uncaring.
Better yet blame the spammers. Or "Blame Canada".
Better yet email me and ask me to publish your comment. I do like reading what you have to say.
I always have.

February 8, 2008

Don't I know you from someplace?

Anime Wallpaper
Click images for desktop size: "Anime Wall" by MangaMan
This morning I got an email from an old "friend". Friend is in quotes because a friend probably wouldn't send me an email like this. A "friend" would . . .
The link was to myheitagefiles.com. They've created this rather nifty web app that scans a photo of you and then cross references certain traits to its database of celebrities finally coming up with a percentile based match. Then it will create a short video morphing and combining your and the celebrities portrait I guess to confound you with how little the two of you look alike.
The Long Goodbye I won't tell my friends name. He clearly has enough shame in his life to deal with. His email had the note, "I bet they match you with Richard Gere!"
Back in the 80's I used to get told I looked a lot like Richard Gere . . . I also got told once I looked like Ronnie Milsap (a country western guy) I guess because we both wore shades on stage.
I used to hate Richard Gere, not personally and not for anything he'd actually done. In fact he's been a pretty outstanding advocate for human rights in Tibet, not the easiest cause to stand up for and oddly not a very popular one. He's calmly and with calm self effacing humor stood proud about his belief in Bhuddism, another not very PR related subject.
I had a friend who worked with closely with him on "Breathless". He said he was a decent guy and much easier to deal with then most celebrity actors.
So I'm at a loss as to why I hate Richard Gere.
Then I remember. "American Gigolo". He became an image and an icon for some creepy stuff. But more to the point I used to love Armani shirts (still do, I guess, just haven't bought any in such a long time that they now seem beyond extravagantly expensive). After "American Gigolo" I couldn't wear an Armani shirt without someone pointing and saying "American Gigolo" or some crack from the movie.
I guess if you're gong to hate someone its best to have an inane and totally trivial reason and logic behind it.
I don't hate the costumer who put Gere into Armani, or even Paul Schrader for okaying that he wear it. I decided to take the cowardly and easy way out and despise the icon for reducing the size of my wardrobe . . .
First Love - Romero Britto
Click images for desktop size: "First Love" by Romero Britto
I was in the studio when one of the women who worked with us told us this story about Gere. Her boyfriend was an emergency doctor at Cedars Sinai and he related to her what she related to me; the mini-scandal about gerbils in rectums.
To my disgrace I felt a grim satisfaction at the shame of my nemesis's embarrassment. That's the price and reward for blind irrational hatred, I think.
Back to my friend's email. I uploaded a rather ugly but handy pic. I watched the web app make a big cool production out of scanning my face and slashing through its database when it came back that the celebrity I most resembled, out of the thousands in their database was . . . Richard Gere . . .
I sent the links to my friend here and to her ever loving credit she couldn't see the resemblance at all.
The Naked Kiss That is why she is my friend.
That and because she can tolerate a guy who still carries a passionate dislike for a good person who got a job that made me not wear a half dozen shirts . . .

I'm using the latest beta of ecto. Beta 31 . . . and I have to admit that amongst all the constant and sundry changes a few of them actually please me. While I can't break from my "work flow" and stop using MarsEdit for the final touches of my posts ecto is probably the best app going for maintaining Movable Type, WordPress, Drupal etc.
Very cool. I'm happy with it past just wanting it to work and make my life easier. It now is making things much simpler. It has a way to go yet but it is on track and moving ahead quickly.

Yesterday I was pleased to come to the conclusion that I have finally gotten all my blood levels back in check. After this timid conclusion I read an online piece in the New York Times about a recent study that had to end early. It seems that strict and excessive control of blood sugars were causing too many death in the study group . . . I'm on what they call a "strict and excessive control" plan . . .
They ended the study after 4 years because people were dropping dead on them. Way too many.
Spokesmen said that they hadn't analyzed the data yet but were already saying things like, "maybe those people were all sicker than we thought" . . .
They did agree that cholesterol levels and blood pressure are a contributing factor and my blood pressure and cholesterol are all excellent.
I also know that the reason for my "strict etc" plan has more to do with the blood chemistry changes from all the chemo's but its still disquieting hearing about people dying willy nilly because of one of the diseases you're carrying around . . .
Beware Of Angels
Click images for desktop size: "Beware Of Angels" by Illegible
Not as disquieting as dying though.

And there's a new movie I'm dying to see this weekend! Turok: Son Of Stone.
Its based on an old comic book I remember from when I was kid. Its done in old school tacky Saturday Morning cartoon style animation but with gore and guys getting limbs cut off!
And its about Indians fighting DINOSAURS! Bow and arrow and a tomahawk against Tyrannosaurus Rex!
Entertainment doesn't get any better than this!
Indians fighting dinosaurs.
Well, at least I'm excited.
I get accused of not liking animation. Most animated movies bore me. I don't like any of the Disney stuff and feel justified since Disney wantonly killed a few dozen PUPPIES to make a turgid thing called "Snow Buddies".
I thought "Hoodwinked" was okay but remember none of those other animated movies had INDIANS. FIghting DINOSAURS!
I bet its great.

February 7, 2008

You don't know what those pink peggers mean to me
Eddie Cochran

Vertigo - Isil Metriel
Click images for desktop size: "Vertigo" by Isil Metriel
I like fashion.
I like trying to make your outside look like what's going on inside.
I like that fashion always changes. The new pushing out the old until we realize some of the old was pretty cool and then we bring it back.
The Guilty Its not considered uber-hip to like clothes. It implies that you judge a person by what he or she looks like . . .
Is there any one who doesn't do that? Maybe not judge, judge carries a harsh connotation, but you certainly form an opinion about someone based on the way they present themselves, the way they look.
I've only known one instance where that's time proven untrue. I know a lot of people and I've only met one guy who didn't just see a surface. He did at the start but he was able to look beyond that. Not lip service see beyond that but with a full and open heart see beyond that. Another guy named David was super good looking. He ran track and when he was out in the field the women's hearts were all fluttering. I heard more women make licentious remarks about David then I ever heard guys make, even in a locker room.
David was married. When he first introduced me to his wife I was taken back. She was most likely the homeliest woman I had ever seen.
When I got to know her I discovered she was also one of the most intelligent, aware, kind people I'd ever known. Blindly loyal, discerningly loving. She was a total package of all you could ever dream of in a person, on the inside . . . when you were around her it was easy to forget what she looked like.
David and she have three kids. They are deeply and fiercely in love with each other. They are good for each other.
Everyone else I've known or met doesn't have enough in them to look past the surface. It takes a lot of prodding, a lot of heart searching to see inside and ignore the outside. I'd say its rare.
For the rest of us we're attracted by what we see first. When you see someone in clothes, those clothes make a statement. Seeing someone out of their clothes makes a different statement, for sure. Between those two states of dress the first one is the way you're dressed.
Its not rules. Its not even common sense. Its just appreciating that people view you with either the same, wider or narrower perspective than you view others. Some mad geniuses can pull it off, not caring about their appearances. How many mad geniuses do you know? I know a couple. After they've had their talents acknowledged they still dressed the same way except on big nights, gallery openings or the like.
Yosemite - Matt Mosher
Click images for desktop size: "Yosemite" by Matt Mosher
Most often they dress to the max and develop an affectation. Tuxedo's with electric spinning bow ties come to mind. (seriously)
I always put a lot of thought into how I looked.
I don't much anymore. Mirrors aren't the friends they used to be.
I went through stages along with the rest of the youth of SoCal. I never went in for disco, but I did own a sparkly jacket from Fiorrucci's . . . it was on sale . . .
For punk I wore a denim jacket safety pinned with symmetrical patterns. If I was on stage I wore a cowboy tuxedo with a lot of pins and a Boris Badenov T-Shirt (from the Rocky and Bullwinkle Store).
The Killing Then it degraded to leather jeans and manga T-Shirts. Then in an up life jeans with black polished cotton shirts and burgundy chamois dangling from my wrists (which, contrary to opinion weren't a fashion statement. I sweat a lot and I kept getting shocks from mikes and guitar pick ups. They hurt. The chamois stopped most of them.)
And now I wear what I got. Supplemented by 10 minute raids to the department stores.
I still look and think about how this will make me look and then I don't think about it much anymore.

I've run all the experiments with Light Box. It is nifty and does almost everything I want.
It has some drawbacks. Its a javascript. Almost ll the people who still follow Microsoft turn off javascript . . . While Light Box does a totally cool job of displaying the full size pictures you can't just drag them off to your desk top. It takes a "right click and save link" to do that. And you have to leave the nifty Light Box interface to do that.
I have to give them some thought. I do like that its pretty simple to make the Light Box interface look how I want it and even beyond. Maybe I can change some of of the script.

February 6, 2008

Better start right now, feeling sorry for the one you love
The Rooks

Men In Hats - Dimage
Click images for desktop size: "Men In Hats" by Dimage
I love my dogs.
Out shoveling snow early this morning, a nasty heavy snow with an 3 inch undercurrent of re-freezing slush. I was shoveling because there's a promise of freezing rain (is that what I thought of as sleet?).
Snow Creature The pups were all out with me, gallivanting and having a wonderful time. The only problem I had with that is that they have to always be within the 3 X 3 area I declare as my personal space.
So fascinated with the idea that I might actually do something interesting that they had to be as close as possible. Clearly I've never done much interesting but if I ever should they can't bear the idea of missing it.
I liked their enthusiastic curiosity, even if it did make a drudge task longer and harder.
While laughing at them dogs made me think of Fifo and the old Fidonet. The fore runner of email.
Back in that ancient time of 14400 baud dial up modems it took a person to set up an electronic Bulletin Board, (BBS). Sometimes they were set up by lonely kids or lonelier men and women, as a way to talk to people somehow. Some guys were a bit more far seeing. The internet didn't exist but they conceived of an idea to build a network from from the disparate BBS's.
You joined Fido and your commitment was that you logged in at least 4 times a day and downloaded the Fido Mail. Then I, as a guy who logged into your BBS could go in and pick up my mail . . . at its best this meant I could get an email in less that 4 hours . . . In the days before the Bell break up, before MCI and Sprint this seemed rather incredible. When local calls were always free and snail mail took about a week from NYC and 2 weeks from Europe to get a long letter in four hours for FREE was, well, the start of something bigger.
With the internet came email, which was my personal favorite, and USENET, which I still adore (and enjoy the fact that it is, for the most part, pretty much ignored and neglected) and the WWW. So much information and it was just there. So cool. It was a kid who told me about it, how I could find almost everything on "the web".
Click images for desktop size: "Old" by Unknown
It was easy to imagine a new world, a world with information freely available to anyone, to everyone. All that information naturally led you to an informed opinion.
What goods an opinion unless you can lay it on somebody.
This led to a whole lot of personal "web pages". Just like in "real life" the opinions expressed were mighty extreme. And it always seemed that the more extreme the stand, the more out there and the insane the logic the more it was supported by links to other web pages written by similarly uneducated people. So you had uneducated distillation of facts being used to support another uneducated illogical distillation of facts where each of these peoples take their opinion and through some alchemy transform their opinions into hard facts.
The Strange Woman (I do put a lot of value into education. I have degrees, sure, but mine are in the arts which puts their value, especially when considering complicated matters, slightly below a trade school diploma. In fact I consider that a trade school diploma would be a better investment than an MFA. It takes training of a kind I don't have to absorb conflicting and sometimes con-contiguous info and pare it down to a single seed of truth. I don't have it and neither do any of the pandering jerks on TV and radio who sell cock-eyed opinions for sponsorship dollars.)
There was no way to comment on a web page. So the only thing to do was to create your own web page to refute the other guys claims. It was a lot of fun. It got so big that they invented the Web Log, like this one.
With a web log you didn't have to learn html you just started posting your opinions. And it just keeps growing.
Its freedom. I like that a plenty. You need no credentials you just need to get it out there and you're on the same footing, the same distribution level as the New York Times. (Same goes for music and books too!)
Superman - Jim Lee DC Comics
Click images for desktop size: "Superman" by Jim Lee & DC Comics
Anyway, that's what I was thinking about while I shoveled the snow and watched the dogs while they looked to see if I did anything interesting.

The primaries are sort of drawing to a conclusion.
I didn't get to vote. I still don't feel that strongly about anybody running to register with a party. There's not even anyone I hate enough to vote against them. That is a sorry state of affairs when with all this mess we're in no one can even rise vitriol. Sorry for me and the country. I'll vote for the candidates I guess after someone else decides who they should be.
I thought the primary results themselves were pretty interesting, and some of them even horrifying.
Fo the Democrats it looks like a dog fight between Clinton and Obama. You can see how this can only help the super underdog Republicans.
As a guy who once voted for Jerry Brown for Governor and then Mike Curb for Lt Governor I get kind of evilly wry at the idea of a Clinton/Obama ticket. It also seems like a sure loser somehow.
Suspiria I did notice that in the states Obama won, he won huge - landslide type figures. While where Clinton won she won by decent but hardly overpowering margins (except in New York and Arkansas where she cleaned up big time.)
For me the biggest shock was that Clinton took about 60% of the hispanic vote!
While I find something distasteful about Obama's plans to handle immigration I find Clinton's record to be disgusting. Maybe the guys already over the border don't want anyone else coming cross.
On the Republican side McCain seems like a slightly less evil Bush. I like that he's despised by for being too moderate a conservative. Only a declared racist idiot like Rush Limbaugh would take someone to task for being rational.
What has to be keeping the Democrats happy is that Huckabee too enough delegates to broker himself a position of power at the Republican convention.
Huckabee seems like a reasonable enough guy. And his opinions aren't lunacy when applied to a family but they seem mad dog theocracy when you take them and inflict them on a nation, especially a nation so deeply wounded by Bush and these same Republicans.
Huckabee seems one of those things I run into but can respect, a good man with wildly divergent opinions on life.
So that is my wildly uneducated but well informed opinion on the nation's politics.

I'm considering using Lightbox for the images here. Its a javascript that opens up a separate translucent window when you click on an image. I'm not sure if you can still grab the image and drag it to your desktop. I'm still experimenting.

February 5, 2008

I'm going to tell you how its going to be
Buddy Holly

Just A Face
Click images for desktop size: "Just A Face" by Anonymous
I remembered but I forgot to mention it. Which is the same as forgetting in most eyes.
Forty nine years ago on February 3 Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and JP "Jape" The Big Bopper" Richardson died.
They like to call it the day the music died.
Riot In Cell Block 11 There's been plenty written about Buddy Holly. He was a total teen genius. Cool enough to write the songs, self effacing enough to ask Gene Vincent for Gene's autograph, tough enough to play his guitar louder than anyone before him, self confident enough to walk out of a Nashville recording session because the punk kid from Texas knew the way he wanted his music to sound.
Holly has had Oscar nominated movies made about him. His songs are still covered by the oddest collection of bands imaginable. There's a mediocre play in London featuring a Buddy Holly imitator that's been running for 14 years. (The songs in it definitely are not rocking or rolling).
The coolest story I ever heard about him was during a magazine interview I did with Mamie Van Doren. She bought him up because Holly was going to be in "Girl's Town" with her and Eddie Cochran! (Cochran was in the final movie, very cool.) Both stars were at Van Doren's house practicing and trying out new tunes, playing on her piano . . . I think everybody knows about Buddy Holly.
People all know about Ritchie Valens too. The movie, La Bamba, still gets rented, still gets shown on TV and still barely gives a glimpse into the 19 year old hispanic kid who tore apart the nation. Listen to Valen's "Live at Pacoima High School" or to his acoustic basement demo of "Come On Lets Go" to understand the passion, the fun and the teen genius that was roiling in the nation. Maybe he was as troubled as they made him looked but his music was all about the love and the fun.
Yet nobody talks about the Big Bopper. Which is a shame.
When they show him in any of the movies he is always represented by some dull looking fat guy. If he gets to do anything its to play some light comic relief. The Bopper was more than that.
Anime by Mota
Click images for desktop size: "Anime" by Mota
He was at least the guy who bought pure sexual lust into the Top Ten.
He came out of East Texas, a town close to Louisiana, Beaumont.
I had a friend, an actor-songwriter-guitarist, who came out of Beaumont. It was Jape Richardson who turned him onto the entertainment world, who made him see that the world never could end at the horizon. My friend and I had breakfast two or three times a week. Whenever the conversation would lull - meaning when we weren't discussing our plans to take over Hollywood, he'd tell me about Boudan Sausage and working for JP Richardson at the little Rock & Roll radio station in East Texas.
None of the stories were spectacular. I guess, being a 12 year old gopher and watching Richardson set a world record by broadcasting straight for over 5 days, playing nothing but Rock & roll, counts as something beyond cool and certainly a memorable picture.
Slave Of The Cannibal God While none of the stories were spectacular they all painted a picture of a wild man held in check by responsibilities. Richardson had a wife and daughter. Richardson was cool and only needed a tiny bit of prodding, usually from himself, to go out on a tight wire. He wanted kicks. He got them. And during a time when the radio was the only window to a teenaged world of sunshine, surfing, hot rods, unrequited love and cheap sex The Big Bopper pointed the way.
He wrote Country Music Legend George Jones first number one record, "White Lightening". (Mighty mighty pleasing my pappy's corn squeezings). And followed that up with the Number 1 hit for Johnny Preston, "Running Bear". It sounded like a kid's song but it was cool and driven by The Bopper himself providing the Indian style doo wop background vocal.
He wrote a lot of very cool tunes even a totally whacked out of the stratosphere Christmas tune that is indispensable to my enjoying the season.
Of course the big one was "Chantilly Lace". The Bopper talking on the phone with the next object of his cool lust, "Oh baby you know what I like!" was more than a catch phrase, it was a way of life. So totally cool that JAYNE MANSFIELD recorded an answer record, pretending to be the girl on the other end of the line. ("That Makes It" I don't have a copy of it, which is also a shame.)
He did a "sequel" to "Chantilly Lace" (and lets face it, what lace would he be talking about when talking about a girl with pony tail hanging down, who giggled when she talks and wiggles when she walks, oh baby you know what I like! The lace at her throat? Only if the Bopper was into corsets.). Pin-Up_005-JW_Mcginnis.jpg
Click images for desktop size: "Book Cover" by JW McGinnis
It went beyond anything that had been recorded and hit the top 40. "The Big Bopper's Wedding" tore away all convention and said out loud what every teen age boy knew in his heart.
And then "The Big Bopper" died.
He gets treated like an after thought, a foot note to history. I think he was a lot more than that. I think a part of him would care but for the most part he'd just want to keep on drinking and keep on winking at the pretty girls as they walked by.
I like that.
I don't think I could convince anyone to feel the same way.
I like that too.

Our neighbor is moving in 10 days.
I regret that in my life I have never lost a good neighbor and gotten a better one in their place.
I've lost bad neighbors and gotten worse . . . Maybe it just means I'm due.
Money is still a problem. Isn't it always?

February 4, 2008

Do you know who is the sorriest person on earth?

Click images for desktop size: "Friends"
Yesterday was not a very good day.
As usual the Super Bowl was disappointing. The play was horrific except for the incredible work by the Giants front four. And the gave the MVP to Eli Manning? Not giving it to a member of the D-Line was a shocking disgrace.
The officiating was the worst I've seen in a game this year, let alone in a Super Bowl. In a close game the refs were a factor. I have no idea if the results would have been different but I dislike the idea that it could have been.
Force Of Evil Fox should pay two billion dollars to broadcast the game next year.
I can understand using the showcase to promote themselves but 6 hours of tedium featuring American Idol? The best thing about Ryan Seacrest is that when "American Idol" fades we'll never hear from that talentless boring yobbo again.
Tome Petty didn't embarrass himself. The NFL is run by old rich men. They have no feel for the community or for the people in it. The only thing that makes the NFL viable is the beauty of the game.
These are the fools who booked Sting and the Rolling Stones and thought they were hitting the pulse of America . . .
I'll never forget the 2001 World Bowl (NFL-Europe -defunct- Championship) when they thought they'd attract the young punters by booking a true youth Superstar - Coolio . . . that was in 2001 . . .
Tom Petty is going to be playing up here. Tickets are obscenely expensive. I've written to his manager and tried to cage a couple of free ones . . . who knows.
The Super Bowl pre-game stuff used to be a bit staid but within that confine it would sometimes show sparks of vitality.
Like before Super Bowl VI they showed a brilliant two hour documentary on a semi-pro football team from Pottsdale PA. It was an excellent film. It showed people playing the game for nothing with the same dedication and hard bite that every player in the NFL displays. It showed love and the blood of the game, a love stained only with the players own blood.
Click images for desktop size: "Bees" by Nature Photos
Or else there'd be some excellent footage from NFL Films. Always with creepy soundtracks but stuff you'd never get to see anywhere else, before or since. It was creative and had a sense of the beauty it was trying to impart.
Now the pre game seems like mainly marketing. I guess it was inevitable but I miss the old stuff. Which makes me feel really really old.

To complete the mediocre day I saw "John Rambo". It was everything "Rocky Balboa" wasn't. Mainly it was rotten!
No point and second rate action.
The only real interesting thing to me was that Stallone has been watching some Asian action flics.
The war and carnage sequences were swiped from the Red Chinese "Assembly". Hollywood did make them look a touch better but not to as devastating an effect.
Hell's Half Acre The film was also loaded with well known Thai stuntmen! There were heavily underused. They used a crew that were in the Thai "Born to Fight". In the Thai film some of these guys bounced from a helicopter to a moving truck bed to a motorcycle to the ground ALL IN ONE TAKE! Nothing near as jaw dropping here, which may have pleased them. Nice for them to make more money and not have to nearly kill yourself.
I never really met Stallone, except once on an elevator at Universal's Black Tower. I was surprised at how short he was. I actually thought he was an impersonator except when he got off on his floor their were an appropriate number of toadies greeting him with "Hello, Mr Stallone".
Thing is that this is the guy who married Brigette Neilsen after she introduced herself by sending him a nude life sized photo statue of herself.
I don't think he gets good advice and when he does he may not listen to it.
Everything that was good in "Rocky Balboa" is absolutely missing here. There's no real plot, just a device. No real characters, just faces that pop in and out. No empathy, no cheering, no feel that these are people being torn to shreds. And the Rambo character has nothing behind him. Nothing feels right.
"First Blood" directed by Ted Post was a very cool little movie that gave thrills and violent pleasure with a very loaded message.
"Rambo: First Blood 2" was kind of silly but still remembered emotions and people. It was cool head cracking fun.
"Rambo 3" was a mistake. An expensive one but a mistake.
People In The Sun - Edward Hopper
Click images for desktop size: "People In The Sun" by E Hopper
"John Rambo" is like a mescal nightmare you forget five minutes after you wake up and vomit.

My friend and I did get to watch "Ginji The Slasher". An odd movie I can't make up my mind about. That's usually a good sign, when you can't decide about a film.
Its a bout kamikaze pilots. Was there ever a more vicious looking weapon that the kamikaze zero?
Its about this fellow Ginji, who became a dark legend. After surviving his career as a kamikaze he tries to survive in war devastated Japan. The Americans are there and the Americans corrupt everything. In the imagery there are some pretty painful correlations to America's current involvement in Iraq.
His ex-commander has taken Ginji on as an employee, seducing him with promises of rebuilding Japan, I Was A Teenage Frankenstein getting the money and the power to correct the devastation. He betrays Ginji's trust and in a mad attempt to kill the ex-commander Ginji slaughters twenty of his boss's yakuza bodyguards.
Ginji believes his entire life was created so that he could be fated to die, to die with honor. Instead he ends up in prison for fifty years.
He comes out and the world has changed, His ex-commander is now a former Prime Minister of Japan who writes articles on marine biology while he plans to resurrect the draft and recreate Japan's armies. Ginji is a legend. Children play "Ginji The Slasher" games. But he is an old man and wants only to sit and wait until he can die.
The old world won't let him. The modern world is still terrified of him. Everyone wants something from him and he just wants to be left alone. Alone to die.
Its an interesting crazy film. Crazy in a Tashaki Miike "Ichi The Killer" sort of mode. Its not that frenetic. I guess it couldn't be when the lead is an 80 year old man. But while "Ichi The Killer" is wild and driven on hormones "Ginji The Slasher" is cool and full of thoughtfulness, hopes and dreams.
Its an excessive move with pretty imagery, gushing sword wounds, and a tiny bit of hope. I still don't quite know what I think of it.

February 3, 2008

Worst 18-1 team in history

Click images for desktop size: "Frankenstein" by Trace
You were right.
I was wrong.
The Giants front four played like a dream and Eli Manning delivered when it mattered.
Congratulations to the Giants' fans and to the team.

Most USC bowl games are more interesting than the Super Bowl

HK Pepnx II
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by H.R. Pepnx II
I really believe that, except the Super Bowl is the last game. Last game of the season.
There's still the Pro Bowl. I seldom watch it. They actually broadcast it in Europe! Didn't watch it then either.
They started the hype pretty late for this game. Sports Illustrated is saying that if the Patriots don't win they'll go down in history as the greatest disappointment ever . . . which seems more than a little bit harsh.
The only real stories are about Plaxico Buress running his mouth about Mark Of The Vampirean easy Giants victory then not practicing except for a 50 minute walk through. Maybe he thinks that way he'll be rested and his new found "chemistry" with Eli Manning will take over and win it for them.
There's been a little bit of sniping, not much, about Tom Brady's ankle. I wouldn't put too much into that. The only thing it will do is that every time Brady goes down or walks with a limp the announcers will get to talk about "the boot" and wonder if Brady will be able to continue.
Pete Carroll, USC head coach and former Patriot HC, said he can't see much of a chance for the Patriots to lose. "The Giants will have to hit him often and hard to have a chance." He predicts a two touchdown victory for New England.
Personally, I can see a rout, but not by the Giants.
Assuming that the Giants front four can step their game up and reek havoc on Brady there's still a decent running game.
The Giants line backers are going to have to account for Wes Welker out of the slot, Maroney and Faulk on the screens and the scary thought of Moss on the end around. They'll offer little support except on blitzes and blitzing Brady is a dangerous proposition. He picks up the blitz well and does a quick check down.
It will have to be line backer blitzes and they had best work because bringing a safety or CB on a blitz will mean that Stallworth, Gaffney and Moss will be virtually uncovered. They're studs and they can read the blitz too and will know to cut off their routes and give Brady a target.
Going the other way, the biggest joker is Buress. Its really hard to say how well he can play. Not practicing for nearly 2 weeks is not comforting. If Buress can go he can create some points for the Giants. Biomechanical Arm - Chris Conte
Click images for desktop size: "Biomechanical Arm" by Chris Conte
If he's not fit I'd expect some close calls and near catches and an occasional brilliant play, but the game will then go to screens and the TE.
The short passing game and the running game will chew up the clock and eat up chunks of yardage. Having seen this team before, and given Billichek's history on facing opponents with two weeks prep, I wouldn't expect that sort of offense to rack up a whole lot of points.
The Patriots will bring a lot of pressure. They think they can still rattle Manning. Maybe, but I think not. The biggest threat will still be the running game.
Casting aside the fact that I want to see history made. I want to see the winning team that still looks like outsiders make history. I want to see a 19-o team with this group of stars, misfits and cast offs do the impossible.
Putting that aside this could be the biggest rout in Super Bowl history with the Patriots leaving the field ready to do it all over again next year. Nightmare AlleyAnd remembering the last time an AFC came in heavily favored against an NFC team with nothing but a stout defense and a ball control offense I still feel the same way. (That was Buc's v Raiders where the Buc's blew them out.)
Patriots 49 Giants 27

I've gotten the link page semi-organized. It looks better (but is far from complete) and should be more useful.
At least you should be able to find things a bit easier.
There are still things to add especially for tools. I want to try and use more cross platform tools but find that most of the ones that will work on Macintosh and Windows to be rather poor.
Of course I'm thinking about some of the colors (getting the look unified, but distinct, easy to read but sooting) and getting my AJAX code re-written to do the nifty little previews. I still feel I need to apologize for the advertising. At least Snap let me choose non-profti adverts that benefit Save A Child.

February 1, 2008

No matters

Whirlwind Riders
Click images for desktop size: "Whirlwind Riders" by Unknown
Lot of snow . . .
I don't know if I'll ever get really used to it but while I was shoveling I had the thought of how sad it would be when this all goes away. I guess I rather like the cold and the white, somehow. I can't imagine why.
My Gun Is Quick Other than that its been a blank day. Not in a bad way. Just spent waiting, listening to the iPod while I shoveled snow. Remembering how much I love music and regretting, only lightly, that my hands cramp up painfully doing the simplest tasks.
I got a chance to review things here and get paid for the reviews . . . I was right to be sceptical.
The offer was to review things like BlackJack sites, poker sites . . . the same ones, I presume, that spam me constantly. The offer was six bucks a review but I had to not just give an opinion but give the post a title, put in specified links.
I might not have much but what I've got is worth at more than six bucks. At least to me.
Now, I'm just waiting for the Super Bowl. here's still not much hype about it. The biggest thing was that the Universal TV site is going to show all the Super Bowl commercials on the internet after the game . . . Rah! Commercials . . .
The other news on the game, in that vein, is that Toshiba has paid 2.7 million to air a spot promoting HDDVD. In the shortest format war to my memory, HDDVD has lost out pretty big to Sony's Blue Ray so that seems rather like throwing good money away. In this case it smells like repromoting 8 Track tapes.
That's really all there is.
My friend is back from her "training" for her new job. For good. At least as long as for good can ever mean.
We had Mexican food tonight.Abraxsis
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Abraxis
It wasn't terrible. It was southern Mexican which isn't my favorite. I liked the restaurant. They made it up special so maybe I'm to blame for not being more specific.
The owner was a pudgy woman who seemed really eager for us to be happy with her. She commented it was lonely in there tonight with the terrible snow.
She was also impressed witht he fact that I at least understood "menu spanish" and could ask about chile verde and salsa fresca. She must feel like she's a long way from home.
My puppy is now officially a snow dog. I like that she is happy. I like that she likes to romp in the drifts and face sternly into the whipping winds. I can't imagine what little fantasy is in her head. Its ok. She deserves her own private world.