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October 30, 2008

Do you hear them? The children of the night
Tod Browning

Pumpkins by Trablex
Click images for desktop size: "Pumpkins" by Trablex
Sometimes you have to accept things that, on the surface, seem unacceptable.
There was and is a lot of furor about OJ Simpson. He was found not guilty. White America went berserk.
Skeleton Man There were six cops tried for beating Rodney King. They admitted to beating him. There was the stunning home videotape of the cops standing around lazily waiting for their chance to night stick the guy. They got the trial moved to Simi Valley. And the six cops were found not guilty.
Seems kind of incredible. You had to accept it. Maybe it was just a brilliant stroke by the defense attorney, or maybe it was just like some lawyer pals of mine said, we have no idea what went through the minds of the jurors and the way the evidence seemed to them sitting in the lofty precipice of the jury box.
I know Simi Valley pretty well. A lot of friends moved there because MGM announced that it planned to dump its facility in Culver City and move all of its operations out to Simi Valley.
Most of the MGM infrastructure, the guys in the machine shop, prop department, all those guys who really make movies and are so good at their art that American movies really were the best made in the world for a long long time, moved there.
A 3 bedroom house in LA could be found, if you were lucky, for about $300,000 (at the time). A 4 bedroom house in SImi Valley was about $115,000. The LA house would be pretty ramshackle with 1930's wiring and plumbing. The SImi Valley house would be 10 years old or even new.
Not much to consider. The TV show "MASH" was already being shot in SImi Valley - yeah, it stood in Elvira
Click images for desktop size: "Elvira" by Robert Redmond
for Korea and did it well enough to fool people for a lot of years. "Little House on the Prairie" was shot there. The wild area around there was abundant and cheap. No massive per diem's to the government like you had to pay in LA.
So all these guys packed up and moved to what they hoped for in a better life.
Guys who used to work at McDonald Douglas making airplanes who were now making armatures for life sized King Kongs made the move and liked it.
One friend of mine who worked in the prop department lived in a mobile home on a chunk of land he'd bought for $90,000. To get a house for his wife and three THe Invisible Ghost kids seemed incredible.
After he moved in there was one of those flash floods we get in SOuthern Cal. It seemed there was a graveyard there where the undertaker had been cutting corners and he hadn't buried people quite as deeply as he should. After the flood he got up to survey the flood damage and found one of the 100 plus coffins the flood had dug up dumped on his front yard.
It probably had nothing to do with it but shortly thereafter MGM decided not to move to Simi Valley. There was an under used 8 lane high way built to accommodate the expected rush. Their were all those ancillary businesses that spring up around move studios - messengers, sfx labs, recording studios who suddenly had no promised clients.
A few of the techs stayed on, finding the commute to Culver City to not be too bad.
For the most part all those people who trusted the MGM promise found themselves stuck and they began to sell things off.
Forest Sprite by Evegney
Click images for desktop size: "Forest Sprite" by Evegney
There are a lot of cops in Southern Cal. Just in LA you've got LAPD and the LA County Sheriffs, the CHP and then all those little towns and suburbs like Beverly Hills who want their own local cops.
A lot of law.
A whole lot of those cops thought that Simi Valley was a huge bargain and so they moved there. In big bunches. Movie people, cops, the old timers, the newly weds looking to get a start in life and the cowboys and stuntmen made for an interesting community.
Cops probably don't seem so bad when you live in between a mess of them and share schools with their kids.
Even though LA cops are pretty notorious for being the most white racist group in the area.
So getting the Rodney King cop trial moved there made it pretty clear the cops would be acquitted. Even if there weren't any cops on the jury the entire jury The Cat Girl pool had to have fiends and neighbors who were cops.
Senator Ted Stevens wants a new trial. He doesn't want the trial in Washington, where the 7 crimes he was convicted of happened. He wants his new trial in his home state.
Somehow that doesn't seem quite right. I can understand that his greedy corruption hurt the people in Alaska the very most but the trial venue is supposed to be in the area where the crimes were perpetrated. Stevens wasn't busted for being a greedy pig bastard who took bribes from rich oil men. He was convicted for lying about it. For lying about it to his peers, his fellow Senators.
He's claiming that the people of Washington are not his peers. I guess this goes back to the Alaska secessionist views. He committed his crimes in Washington DC but finds the people of Washington DC to not be able to comprehend who he is and defer to him.
Fair deal I guess. Although the fact that Alaska has changed their laws to tweak them enough to allow a convicted fellow to vote for himself on election days makes it appear that it would be less likely that the people of America would be well served by a jury of our peers.
We live in a country governed by laws. People break laws, people interpret laws the way they see fit. Its an imperfect system but most of the time its the only system that seems to work.
For a Senator, a law maker, to deride the law seems to me to be ungainly. Laughable. That he's being allowed to run for re-election is just, well, Marion Berry style mind blowing.

I watched a film yesterday, "Cyber Girl". Its the new movie by Jae-young Kwak, the guy who made the delightful and moving, "My Sassy Girl" (moving means I got misty and sniffly watching it).
Gothic
Click images for desktop size: "Gothic" by Unknown
Oddly this most Korean of Film makers made the film in Japan with Japanese actors. It feels much more Japanese than Korean.
The plot is quixotic, which I don't mind. The hero, Jiro, is a loner, shopping for his own birthday present in a fancy department store when this strangely dressed beautiful girl appears and starts making eyes at him. Jiro watches the girl shop lift a designer outfit. She then follows Jiro and takes him on the most wonderful night of his life. There's no sexual contact, only the fun and life that come from sudden deep friendships.
They part in a sweet and sad way.
Jiro can't forget the crazy girl. He doesn't see her for a year. Then on November 22, 2008 she reappears in a big blasto "Terminator" kind of way. All splashy sfx. The beautiful girl is different. Just as attractive but powerful and robotic, not the delightful crazy girl from before.
Jiro finds her and they go to the same restaurant they went to the The Black Sleep year before. Only this time the girl saves Jiro from a mad killer gunman.
She tells Jiro she is a cyborg and shows him a tape of Jiro himself. Jiro from the future as a 90 year old crippled man. Jiro sent the cyborg back to save him from the gunman who in the original past had shot Jiro and crippled him.
The cyborg is beautiful but stiff and stilted. They spend all their time together. She's his quiet body guard. She also stops a lot of tragedy, accidents that killed children. She was programmed to do this by the Jiro from the future.
This takes about an hour of the film time and is tedious and dull as heck.
Having a gorgeous super woman robot at your disposal shouldn't be this boring.
Then the film gets interesting in its final third.
Predictably Jiro falls in love with the robot. She's so stiff and robotic it has little impact. Which is another flaw. He tells her to get lost. He can't take being so sexually aroused in his tiny world with Eye
Click images for desktop size: "Eye" by Unknown
not having any reciprocation. In a drunken outburst he tells the cyborg to get lost, that he never wants to see her again.
Of course when she vanishes Jiro misses her but keeps finding little signs that she is still out there looking over him and protecting him.
Then the film takes a rather astounding twist. There is a massive earthquake that devastates Tokyo. The effects are all from the small limited view of Jiro but they are astonishingly real and effective. Most effective is Jiro's and our confusion in trying to figure out what the hell is going on. Earthquake, atomic attack? There's nothing clear at first just that it is an all encompassing calamity.
Jiro's home is destroyed and he plummets to a certain death. The cyborg saves him, of course. The cyborg tries to take Jiro to a place of safety. As Tokyo is collapsing around them it is near impossible. The cyborg gets buried under a collapsing The Mole People skyscraper. Jiro is hanging by a pip over a burning chasm of doom.
The cyborg cuts herself in half to free herself so she can go and save Jiro. Jiro saved grabs her hugs her and tells her how much he loves her. She violently pushes him out of the way just as another collapsing building buries her under tons of rubble.
Jiro is stunned and heartbroken and wanders the night with the hundreds of other lonely and devastated survivors. Here the movie really works. Its impossible not to feel the inner terror and desolation of the world as they wander with everyone suffering the loss of home, family friends, things and love.
The next day Jiro goes and using only his hands digs through the mountain of rubble to find his cyborg. She dead or broken, whatever a cyborg becomes when it stops working. (Of note - to rescue him the cyborg loses its bottom half, which codifies the true extent of his love for the cyborg. It was made clear before that she had sex organs.)
He cries and again professes his love for her.
Then the film jumps 133 years to the future!
Its all very interesting stuff about Jiro's future self and the fate of the cyborg. She is auctioned off after Jiro's death. Her memory chip was still intact and she has learned to reciprocate Jiro's affections. The cyborgs new owners permit her to travel back to the past to see Jiro one last time.
This is a fascinating conceit. We re-watch almost the entirety of the cyborgs and Jiro's first meeting, only this time completely from the perspective of the cyborg. Its wrenchingly effective. She is so in love with him and so angry at his lack of understanding of the depth of her feelings. It wonderful and gripping.
I'd have been bitterly satisfied with the ending except they went The Pit and the Pendulem for the happy ending.
Back to the "present" of 2010. Jiro has just dug up the remnants of his cyborg love. As he again begins his lament and professions of love, the new cyborg appears, time traveled back again to live the rest of Jiro's life with them together.
Confusing movie. Not for the plot. That's actually taken care of with a master's ease. What's confusing is how excruciating the opening two thirds is especially when the final third is so wonderful.
I can't bring myself to watch it again but, aside from the final end, I'm very glad to have the last third locked forever in my memory.

Tomorrow is Halloween. I'm going to do stuff, including taking the dogs trick or treating, hence all the groovy Halloween pix today.
One of my money orders has finally been posted! This is small relief. Its the least of them but at least it did get there. I note they posted it as of Oct 23 - 8 days after I mailed it and it still took them 7 days after that to get it credited to my account!
Business.

October 29, 2008

Half the lies they tell about me aren't true
Yogi Berra

Starcraft 2
Click images for desktop size: "Starcraft 2" by Blizzard Entertainment
Why are they still playing baseball?
I've been avoiding baseball this year. I still have this fantasy that my arm will miraculously heal all on its own and then I'll be able to find a senior league and play. Play forever.
UFO Watching games is just a sort of negative, bitter sweet reminder that I'm no longer what I was. That's a hard thing for the heart and mind to swallow whole.
But baseball and Halloween? That just doesn't seem right. They might drag this on until November. Which is a real drag since this is, sadly, about the dullest World Series ever.
I figured it would be better. The Tampa Bay team is loaded with guys I watched at the Triple A level. What little I've seen is that they looked great in Triple A but merely adequate in the bigs. The World Series isn't supposed to be merely adequate.
Its supposed to be legendary and not on TV while I'm watching snow flakes fall on my puppy.
Its snowing here. And in my memory of baseball.

A lot of people were upset about my seeming defense of the Hells Angels. I don't think the Angels need any defense.
In Southern Cal you end up knowing a lot of people from the future and the past. Hair boys, car boys, bikers and surfers.
I never became a biker. I loved the surf too much and that gave me a freedom that I could hold in the hands and in my mind all day, every day. And when I finally got old enough to own and ride a bike I looked at Harley Sportsters. Thought they were cool but had more of a leaning towards Japanese crotch rockets.
I still do have a fondness for the memory of the bikers. Especially for their origins. They are as Forsaken Angel
Click images for desktop size: "Forsaken Angel" by Unknown
Californian as surfers and a Tommy's burger eaten in a convertible muscle car.
When the Angels started, I guess it was after World War II. They had Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome back then too, only then vets who displayed the symptoms were branded as weak and cowardly. Patton would walk around slapping all their faces if he could.
These lost souls found their homes to small, the world too oppressive. Like all Americans they looked to the west and drifted to California. Solitary figures without a home they found a release in the cheap motorcycles floating around and found it exhilarating. The drifters ended up drifting together. I'd guess the old military feeling of belonging to a group caused them to come up with a uniform: colors. A uniform that set them apart as well as setting them together.
I imagine that guy wearing the old style baggy jeans, parked with his stripped down Harley Electro Guide on one of the hills, looking out aUnder Aget the pounding surf of Malibu and the long silver ribbon of PCH, hunching his shoulders inside his army fatigue jacket, the sleeves discolored from the removed rank insignia and service badges. And what he saw in the California dawn was a place to be what he was with no war, no killing and less fear then he'd known in half a decade.
Then there was the Korean War, or "The Police Action." And there were more vets, more people ostracized from society. WWII vets were at least acknowledged as heroes. Vets from Korea were lucky that they weren't branded as traitors.
(A big part of my problem with McCain is his embracing being called a war hero for his actions in Viet Nam. McCain should be grateful for guys like William Ayres - who has NOT been found guilty of any terrorists acts - and all the underground and war protestors who humanized the soldiers. A soldier in Korea who behaved like McCain did in Viet Nam would have been court martialed. An officer, such as he was, would have been court martialed with the possibility of facing a firing squad. Korean vets who did far less than he faced far worse.)
And there was rock & roll. And there were the movies. Marlon Brando and Lee Marvin set the new Edmund Dulac
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Edmund Dulac
standard for bikers with "The Wild One". Based on an incident in northern California where a couple of biker gangs stopped for beer and a party "The Wild One" did for bikers what the Godfather movies did for the Mafia. It glorified and made it beautiful. Brando and Marvin were like the schizo image of bikers everywhere - the good and the bad so big and intense it took two stars to embody one individual biker.
The bikers grew and held steady and strong within themselves. Until the 60's when Roger Corman, Peter Fonda and Nancy Sinatra (!) made it seem wonderful again. A movie that was mainly guys riding their bikes to the glorious sound of Davie Allen and the Arrows. Heavenly Blues as played by Fonda became an instant icon and Vampire Circus aviator sunglasses the direguer fashion accessory for people who never saw a bike. Why not. Heavenly Blues who didn't even let death separate him from his buddy Bruce Dern. (The seminal scene where they steal Dern's body and prop him up and pass him the joint and the bottle still reverberates and affects today.)
And lord they made money. And a bunch of bikers had to be chagrined. Some of them got extra pay (like $50 a day) to be in the movie looking like themselves which meant they looked like nothing the world had ever seen before, and they watched as everyone else made money and more money.
Most seem to credit Sonny Barger for reacting to this and starting to register the Angels trademarks to try and pick up on the cash cow that was blossoming in front of them. Money.
I've met Angels, usually at Hollywood "too hip" parties or most often at Country Line. We'd play dominos and drink Mickey Big Mouth Malt Liquor. I never had any issues with them nor they with me. They were just guys.
Maybe the money and the toughness has led them to lives of "organized crime". I wouldn't know. I do know I don't trust lazy cops take on them. These are the same cops who are using Bush's whack anti-terrorist laws to brand black street gangs as terrorists so they can violate their civil rights and get away with it.
So whatever the Angels may have become or may not have become I'll keep my memory intact. Some of them probably are criminals, they probably were before they joined up with the Angels. The Angels might have been the only place where they could find a home. Everyone is entitled to a home.
"No one remembers the good we do. Everyone Remembers the bad."
Due to the state trashing my bank account I've had The Unholy Wife to pay my bills with Money Orders this month. Its been a mess. I sent them out 15 days ago and not one of them has been credited to my account . . .
This is frustrating and vaguely frightening. Todays task is to sort through this mess.
And to do some laundry and mop the floors while puppies with snow packed paws track all over everything.
The giant dog has suddenly gone lame. He's fine and in good spirits. He still runs and bounds like a maniac but then he'll suddenly stop and limp. For a while he'll barely be able to crawl up to his favorite perch on the sofa.
I'll be keeping an eye on him and hoping that this is as bad as it gets and its just a mild sprain from playing too hard.

October 27, 2008

Life must be understood backwards; but it must be lived forward
Soren Kierkegaard

Cracked Wheat
Click images for desktop size: "Cracked Wheat" by Unknown
When I was around 7 I remember being in the car with my new step-father and my mother. We were on a two lane highway going someplace I don't remember. It wasn't very important, to me anyway.
Robot Monster We were in a salmon cake colored Plymouth Belvedere, old but fancy, when suddenly I saw behind us a bunch of motorcycles: choppers.
In a few moments the car was surrounded by choppers. Big hairy brutes wearing Hells Angels colors, riding choppers. Some of the bikes were elegant and beautiful. Others were ratty and rusted while others were in the middle of their transformation. All of them glistened gloriously in the bright California sun.
It was a Hells Angel snake about 50 bikers just tearing up the highway.Ghosts
Click images for desktop size: "Ghosts" by Unknown

I heard my father yell at my mother, "Whatever you do DON'T look at them!" as he scrunched low behind the steering wheel. My step-father was the biggest adult I'd ever seen. I was fascinated that these bikers scared even him.
Of course I clung to the window staring at these guys. They were big, ugly brutes. They looked beautiful because they looked like freedom.
Some of them even waved at me but mainly they were focused on something else; on being free I'd have thought. For about five minutes the bikes roared past us. The snake trailed two abreast and when they reached the car they zipped and passed us on both sides. They counted only on their sheer presence to hold my step fathers fear in check to stop him from veering the car to either side and wiping one of them out.
It was incredibly exciting. Free to be anywhere they chose with their buddies who were just like them. That they scared the bejeezus out of adults was only a fringe benefit. What was cool was their Wall Of China
Click images for desktop size: "Wall Of China" by Unknown
arrogance in their sheer presence.
I read the papers and looked at adult books about the Hells Angels. For a while they were my icons. They represented everything I wanted to be.
That's how I discovered Hunter Thompson. I was about 10 when I read his book on the Hells Angels.
I never became a biker. I had a couple of friends who did. Two of them are dead and the others in prison. The two who died did so on the road. One smashed into a culvert on PCH. They figured he was doing over a hundred on his old Indian Chopper. The other smashed into a truck on the 405 during rush hour. The third is in prison. He was the "pick up man" in some sort of kidnapping. I never got the full details. He was just the guy who was supposed to pick up the money. When he did he was descended upon byShe Creature cops. I've seen enough movies to understand that.
If you go down to Venice Beach you always see the burned out bikers hanging around. Like the old norse crones who shared one eye and a tooth between the three of them you can see the drug wrecked bikers passing a joint and, you assume, their surviving brain cell as they laugh and tell stories that don't make a whole lot of sense. A lot like listening to Sky Saxon tell you about his plans for the future. (Sky Saxon and the old drug casualty bikers should be hired by the government to travel to high schools. Twenty minutes of listening to them talk is the surest inducement to not to drugs that I can imagine.)
I've been thinking about bikers because I've been reading this book: "At War With Hells Angels". War?
Its a bad book. I find it amusing. This is the third book this guy has, apparently written about the Angels. I think he's obsessive. The book is about the war between bikers in Illinois, Canada and Luis Royo
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Luis Royo
Scandinavia!
I'm a SoCal guy so I've always been a touch perplexed about how you can be a biker in a place where you can only ride about four months out of the year, but that's just my own personal concern. Who wouldn't want to be part of a family that represents freedom and fear?
This writer tries to paint the Angels as the new Mafia. Maybe its so but I'm befuddled by how you can be a secret crime organization when everything about you marks you as a biker. When you wear a uniform that is known throughout the world.
He paints the Angels as the ultimate evil in the world. I'm not exaggerating. He sees the Angels as evil incarnate and proof that God is in retreat!
I think he saw the totally cool movie "Stone Cold". Its the last great biker movie staring Brian Bosworth (Awesome line backer from Oklahoma who fizzled as a Seattle SeaHawk in the NFL - Bosworth's big claim to fame was being one of the first Scarlet Claw athletes suspended from the NCAA for steroid use, which prompted Bosworth to show up at the OU bowl game wearing a knee length T-Shirt that used the NCAA initials to spell out National Communists Against Athletes . . . strange. Maybe it was this attitude that kept him from being a movie star. He's pretty good here, especially as a debut.)
In "Stone Cold" Lance Henriksen gives his greatest performance as "Chains" the president and leader of "The Brotherhood". A Hells Angel's clone. Henriksen gives the movie the edge and movement towards greatness. He;s incredible and undefeatable. He raises evil on earth to giddy heights. Tres cool.
But even this fictitious character so brilliantly embodied cannot compare to the evil that this writer paints for the real world Angels.
The writer uses too many charts and diagrams to ever prove his point to me but I like that it reminds me of my child hood when I could think of nothing more gorgeous than ripping through the highways with my friends while my step-father cowered behind the wheel of his safe car.

Lots going on. All just life. The drains here are clogged. This is an old house and the clog is at a junction of ancient cast iron where PVC pipe has somehow been welded on. The runs of pipe are over thirty feet long! I have a six foot snake . . . So it will be interesting.

October 26, 2008

USC 17 Arizona 10

Wolf And Moon
Click images for desktop size: "Wolf and Moon" by Unknown
This is generally considered the half way point of the season. Its interesting to see the super powers that have died and the new blood pushing its way into the elite. The Colts aren't quite dead but fading fast. The Patriots are being dinged and beaten into Mutant submission. Jerry Jones hopes of making the Cowboys into the 90's New York Yankees is an experiment failing.
The "dominance" of the NFC East is a joke. The AFC and NFC West Dark Art Wallpapers 05.jpg
Click image: "Dark Girl" by Unknown
continue to be humorous aberrations. In fact the NFC is looking might peeked, while the AFC keeps bringing the slam.
Tennessee is looking past its over hyped QB and has become dominant. They're playing old fashioned football too perfection and proving it still has a place in the aerial world. Buffalo has learned how to win and does it by scrapping, scratching and fighting.
The only NFC team in the equation looks to be Tampa Bat, who are using a stifling defense and a ball management O to look a lot like an AFC team . . .
Last week I was 10-4. Pretty reasonable but not great. As usual I find myself cheering against myself on game day. The NFL is just entertainment. I still have no emotional connection to any of these teams. I just enjoy the pinnacle of athletic perfections.
Computer Girl
Click images for desktop size: "Computer Game Girl" by Unknown
My picks are in bold.

Buffalo at Miami - The Bills are looking stronger and stronger. Its still hard but not impossible to see them in the SuperBowl. They have the champions talent of always being able to do just enough. That's hard to do doing an entire season but look at how the Giants parlayed that ability in the playoffs last year. The Dolphins look better and better each week, win or lose, but the Bills should still be too much for them.

Oakland at Baltimore - At home the Raiders looked just good enough to upset the Jets. They did not look good. In fact the Jets looked terrible and only part of that was due to the Raiders. The Ravens are banged up but seem to be taking some sort of strange team bonding attitude after the recent "Bounty" scandal (Where Tyrell Suggs made comments that theOut Of the Past NFL is taking as threats to reward Ravens for injuring Steelers). Joe Flacco has faced better D's then the Raiders can muster. Raven pride will decimate the Raiders Offense. I look for McFadden to not have a great game.

Arizona at Carolina - The Panthers are overwhelming favorites in this one. I don't understand why. They have been, at best, inconsistent. Two of their wins have been blindly lucky and created by bad officiating. The Cardinals on the other hand have been punching up big numbers and are playing with an intensity and fire I didn't know they were capable of. Their division is so pokey that they have a chance to win it. They're taking that chance seriously.

Tampa Bay at Dallas - Loading up on convicts, malcontents and fringe attitude players has caught up to the Cowboys. Its not helped by having an older laid back coach who is forced to defer to a The Knave of Hearts - Maxfield Parrish
Click images for desktop size: "Knave of Hearts" by Maxfield Parrish
young hot headed OC. Romo, who is not a great QB, just a well trained one, going down should not cause a team to blow up like this. If you think about it they were blowing up before last week. Terrell Owens is making the situation unendurable. Who would have thought that in a week you'd see TO cursing out his QB while across the country Randy Moss was throwing blocks for his running backs! The Buccaneers are playing solid defense. Too bad Jon Gruden has to much ego to let someone else run their offense. Jeff Garcia has always given the Cowboys fits. This game is vital for both teams, more so for the Cowboys maybe, but I see the Buc's as being more capable of rising to the challenge.

Atlanta at Philadelphia - Matt Ryan of the falcons, looked amazing against the Bears. He should look good against the Eagles too. But the Eagles O and Donavan McNabb are much more of a threat than the Bears O. Its unsure if Brian Westbrook will be able Night Of the Bloody Apes to go, and if he does how well he'll be able to play, But picking against the Eagles at home against this kind of team is more than reckless.

Kansas City - New York Jets - The Chiefs have no running back, no quarterback and very little defense. The Jets are embarrassed after the defeat in Oakland. This has cruddy game of the week waiting to happen unless the Jets go crazy and Brett Favre decides to show that last weeks dismal performance was a one off.

San Diego at New Orleans - Game of the week and not just because its being played in London England. The Saints are this years hard luck team. Even Jeremy Shockey has started to show the strange attitude that made the Giants happy to get rid of this talented gutsy player. They've lost Reggie Bush, theirs an impending steroids scandal and all of that must seem 5000 miles away for them. The Chargers remain inconsistent and just rather daffy at times. I'm taking Dru Brees in front of Philip Rivers but it should still be a royal barn burner shoot-out!

St Louis at New England - The Rams have won two in a row! Who'd have thought. They should be feeling confident. The Patriots have lost Tom Brady and have now watched the end of Rodney Harrison's career. I think they'll pull together even harder and tougher. They may not make the playoffs this year. Still hard to say, but I don't expect them to lose to the Rams, even though the Rams do have the tools to exploit the Patriots defense.

Washington at Detroit - As pathetic as the Lions are and as bad as the front office wants to make RanDB by Richard Mohler
Click images for desktop size: "RanDB" by Richard Mohler
them I'm still tempted to pick them over this yo-yo Redskin squad. But the Lions are pathetic. This is the runner up cruddy game of the week.

Cleveland at Jacksonville - This is probably the roughest pick of the week. The Browns still seem to be struggling with their identity this season. The only chance they have for the play-offs is to win out. The Jaguars are almost a mirror image of the Browns. These are two teams squandering their talent and I can see no real reason why. I'm taking the Jaguars because of home field advantage. I have little confidence in that.

Cincinnati at Houston - Another, who cares, cruddy game. The Bengals have probably lost Carson Palmer for the season. The Texans are boring. This gamePickup will be torturous to watch.

Seattle at San Francisco - Cruddy game of the week. The SeaHawks with no QB, defense or running game. The 49ers fired Mike Nolan for not winning with no talent and cruddy draft picks. But the 49er's bought in Mike Singletary to HC, which is strangely exciting. You know that a game is boring when you're looking forward to seeing somebody coach . . .

Indianapolis at Tennessee - The Past meets the Future. I don't think the Titans will go undefeated this season but I also don't think that its the Colts who'll beat them. The match-ups are too stacked in the Titan's favor. The Colts don't have the front 7 to stop the Tennessee running game and when they start to commit the secondary can't play man well enough Reign Of Terror to shut out Kerry Collins. Tennessee also has just enough D to harry Manning and to humble the Colts running attack. It might be closer than I'd expect but probably not. A good Monday Night game, at least on paper. This is a change for the strange games the NFL has given ESPN this year. If they reach the saturation level they want for the NFL Neywork I expect TV games to become a litany of cruddy games of the week.

New York Giants at Pittsburgh - As much as I dislike the Steelers I dislike the Giants even more. Too over rated teams that do nothing but win. The Steelers have the juice to humble the Giants. The Giants are slumping right now. The NFC East is slumping right now so I can't see them juicing up for this one.

As usual these picks are only for reading and then pointing at me and laughing.

October 24, 2008

Be careful when they're working so hard to look so stupid
Dimitri Koslavo

Audrey Hepburn
Click images for desktop size: "Audrey Hepburn" by Unknown
Its pretty easy to get mad at corporations.
Its as easy as it is futile. Why rail against things too big and too far away to hurt.
Anyway the screwed up internet install isn't going to be fixed. It will be if I guarantee a blank check and pay $99 an hour to have the phone company come out to fix their error.
Mama's Dirty Girls Pretty good racket. Go out and screw stuff up and then charge major bucks to fix it. If it weren't the phone company you'd call it a cowboy scam and get the cops to bust them. But its Frankenstein
Click image: "Frankenstein" by Universal Studios
the phone company and we all know that the phone company and banks are sober businesses that are looking out for us . . .
So I ended up crawling through the rafters and the basement (boy, what a lot of spiders! Creepy cob webs for sure) and stringing my own wire.
Got it fixed well enough. Hurt myself, my body anyway, just a bit but nothing to complain about too harshly.
Its working as well as its going to. With some tweaks and study it will be working damn well.
It almost gave me a moment to be amused by the $99 per hour price from the phone company. 99? Like its a bargain? Now I can get all the spam mail I need. And still I wonder why George Bush and the NRC are spamming me . . .
My friend asked me a stumper question. I think it points to the mental blocks I have. She asked me when I was thirty where I expect to be today.
I have no answer. Thinking about it I just see a dull pitted lead door. I don't dream in that way. I don't live that way. I'm too focused on the now and surviving. Even waaay back then I lived in the You OnlY Live Twice by JW McGinnes
Click images for desktop size: "You Only Live Twice" by JW McGinnis
present with contingency plans for the future. I did what I wanted to do and/or what I needed to do and was always surprised by whatever happened.
Its the same sort of mental block that has the days a blur. These past few days. Without the discipline to sit down and review the days they lose their consistency. They mush into just being life.
I don't even really remember the movies I've watched. I have thought a lot that the Korean movie "A Man Who Was Superman" is probably going to end up being the best film I've seen in 2008.
A movie you find yourself thinking about in the middle of nowhere and when you remember it with a laugh or a tear is a damn fine movie. I wish someone else was talking about it. I can't believe it was made only for me, or that it bombed.Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye
I have been listening to a lot of music. In my quest to remove any RIAA music from my life I've been pretty successful. Plenty of great music not tainted by hook handed creatures sniggering in slimy alleys and with $5,000 suits.
One thing I discovered that startled me. I like the Ramones' track "She Talks To Rainbows" even though it seemed out of place.
It seems Joey Ramone wrote the track for n EP he produced for Ronnie Spector. Yeah, the lead singer for the Ronettes! Ronnie Spector's version of "She Talks To Rainbows" has a slower tempo and a cleaner sound with a much more confusing sexuality.
It makes a lot of sense and fits in perfectly with my enduring image of Joey Ramone. I remember being called and told to watch "The Morton Downey Show". Downey was an old big band style crooner who had launched a successful right wing hate show in New York. You know the kind that Fallen Angel by Melanie G
Click images for desktop size: "Fallen Angel" by Melanie G
Fox News does today, get people on just to yell and spit on them. Joey was on stage doing something with a group of people.
He got interviewed for about 10 seconds. Whatever he said was unintelligible. He was smiling and laughing and jostling, clearly so excited to be on the Morton Downey show that he couldn't put words together. Since Joey had just returned from Europe where the Ramones did a set on German TV that a lot of people, myself included, consider the greatest rock and roll performance ever put on the tube its hard to see why he was so excited. But he was and he loved it and I loved him for enjoying life so much.
So when I discovered that he also got Ronnie to cover one of my favorite Beach Boy tunes I had to take a cold shower! Ronnie Spector's cover of "Don't Worry Baby" is more than a touch awesome. That she even sings the line, "I should have kept my mouth shut Leopard Man when I start to brag about my car" is cool, that she invests it with a sensual purr that makes you think of her at 18, all cute and nubile, in jeans and a dirty white tank top with grease on her face and a monkey wrench in her hand is a credit to both artists.
That version reminded me of my third favorite version of the tune, my buddy John Blair's as Jon And The Nightriders doing a medley "Be My Baby-Don't Worry Baby" combines both the Ronettes and the Beach Boys in a pleasant musak-y way I'm fond of. I still wonder how John could afford to hire a string section!
I still love surf music. I really like The Vivisectors' double picking furious "House Of The Rising Sun". Its got more to do with the Animals version than the old country blues tune. Really mysterioso. I like it fine.
And in the mysterioso vein there's this band, Susan and The Surftones. I never much liked them. This Susan is a fine guitarist but her music left me sort of nowhere. Suddenly she's added a spooky Farfisia organ and that made her a better guitarist! (?) Anyway, Susan and The Surftones "Wipe Out" is very cool and fun. Its movie music for your life. I like that.
I also found this band from Arizona - home of the capable of greatness Supersuckers! This band isn't as awesome as the Supersuckers at their best but they seem more consistent. The Sand Rubies cover of the cool "(I'm Not Your) Stepping Stone" (and I still have a fondness for song titles that include parentheses) really rips! It makes the quixotic Sand Rubies' take on "Memories Are Made Of This" as exciting as it is weird.
It makes me appreciate Bill Lloyd's take on Ray Davie's defeatist "This is Where I Belong" seem inspiring and insightful. Missle To The Moon So its just been a rush of sound and images that play out best in my head and probably shouldn't be shared with anyone else.
My puppy remains fine and scrappy. The gentle dog still like to bite me and the giant dog is always bewildered as to why he's not everyone's favorite and best friend.
My friend is away for much of this - quarter end at her job which entail all nighters. That means I get to play everything a bit louder than would be considered mature.
For mature I've got the fake madrigals of The King Singers doing their cool weird cover of the Beatles "You've got to Hide Your Love Away". Which is a track I've never gotten and liked just the same. Pretty much just like my life.

October 23, 2008

Corporate America is good for us . . .Coprorate America says so

Aemoebasssss
Click images for desktop size: "Awmoebassss" by Unknown
21 Oct
No internet.
Phone company cut off the DSL line at 7:30 this morning. The tech to install the dry loop DSL line showed up at 9:30. He was done about 10:00 am.Journey to the Seventh Planet
Then . . . No DSL. The phone company screwed everything up. Only the phone company is allowed to work on phone company lines . . . no internet. And it stays and stays this way until the phone company finds the time to fix their error.
They were supposed to hook up the dry loop DSL and disconnect the regular phone line. They forgot to do that.
Called the phone company and they offered me a price to keep all the services that's about 25% of what we're paying them now. Little late in the game.
I asked why they could sell it to me now for that price when they couldn't afford to do that before. No answer.
It takes them 72 hours to disconnect the phone. Can't do anything about he DSL until the line is shut off.
Stupid idiots. Their mistake for 19 days and counting. Will they send me a check?
I doubt it.
I miss the internet.

23 Oct
Jury rigged the internet connection.
Land line is now off but internet is still not working. By connecting to the Dry Loop line in the basement i can get a poor connection. Slower speed and only 30% signal strength with a 12% s/n.
Still it works. Unless the dogs run past or the wind blows . . .
No concept of when the phone company will show up to rectify their gross stupidity.
Or was i stupidity or was it punishment? Punishment for their hemorrhaging customers?
Still, feels better to have communication again.

October 20, 2008

The internet hasn't died . . yet

N-Techno
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by N-Techno
I'm doing laundry.
I still have an issue with doing clothes in cold water. For some reason it just seems, unwholesome.
They look alright but I always wonder.
Doing laundry I end up thinking about adrenaline. Hot Car Girl Because doing laundry is as opposite to adrenaline as you can get, I guess.
I was making a list. I still love lists.
Tops in adrenaline:
  1. Sky diving - its as close as I'll ever get to flying. The drawbacks are its expensive. The training takes too long and is expensive. Its pretty easy to die doing it. Somehow none of that lessens the sheer rush of it.
  2. Surfing - There's no drawbacks to surfing. Ever. I remember a lot of non-surfers watching a bunch of guys sitting out at the break line staring off, praying for lines. "Monks of the sea" they liked to call us. I still have no idea what they're talking about. Its true that guys like me can sit out there and stare for hours and even when you're out there with your buds its still mainly quiet with the white noise coursing through your brain. It would never dawn on me to compare the white noise that sits as a substitute for thinking as being particularly Zen-ish. What do I know.
  3. Baseball - I still remember this. My nerves remember it, my muscles remember it. In college I had to go to my left and stab a line drive that was skittering about five inches off the grass. I somehow snagged it and kept my balance well enough to tag out the man on second who was advancing to third. Then I saw that the man who was on first had already reached second and was running all out to get back Show Down
    Click images for desktop size: "Kenny Stabler-Show Down" by NFL Films
    to first. A glimmered voice in my head said "triple play". I was deep in the hole but so stoked that I threw the ball about four feet over the first baseman's head. He jumped up and made the grab and managed to sweep the runner out. It was pure rush. I was disappointed the next day that there weren't headlines about it. I love baseball. Playing it, watching it, not so much.
  4. Coaching - Seeing a kid who thought he was clumsy and inept manage to catch a ball, turn and tight rope up the sideline to score has a beauty that excites and exhilarates. Seeing a wide body O-Lineman suddenly find he can be big and graceful and open up holes for the RB and keep the D-End off his QB. Or seeing a young girl who thinks she's plain and useless fire off the line in the 100 and end up winning from startIt The Terror From Outer Space to finish. These are things of greatness and to be a tiny part of that is something I might not be worthy of, but its still me there and I love it.
  5. Dogs - The first time a puppy comes to you because its frightened and needs reassurance. The first and every time they bring you a stick, or a toy and look to you to be the greatest and most fun thing in the entire universe; when they wake up afraid and confused and look for you to tell them its alright; when they look to communicate with you in terms that you should be able to understand. There's so little not to love about a dog. They're friends, not pets, not mere animals but important parts of a joyous cry for life.
  6. My friend - Hanging out with her is cool and exciting. Unless she's crabby then its still an adrenaline rush just not the good kind!
  7. Football - I used to have a weird schizo view of football. I loved playing it but I hated that my step-father had to, and in the NFL yet, and on a Championship team yet-ter still! When I was a Headless Horseman by Kay
    Click images for desktop size: "Headless Horseman" by Kay
    kid I enjoyed running around. In high school I was an animal and I enjoyed the power in my body. I liked physically punishing my opponent. I didn't cheat or play dirty but I did things that were not required or needed. No one stopped me either. In fact teammates and adult coaches encouraged and praised me. It wasn't until college ball and after being punished often with stadium step running and lots and lots of talks with my coach that I began to appreciate the beauty of the game. My own body began to rejoice in the game giving me nearly the same rush as dropping down a glassy 6 foot face that closed out in a stand up tube. More important than that is I still consider football the ultimate and best tool for teaching kids. It requires brains, memory and assimilation of disparate data. My zone blocking playbook for just the O-Line is 135 pages long. The players learn that they must I Married A Communist excel as an individual but supplant their individual goals to the goals of the greater good to succeed. And they have to implement all of this disparate info, all these complicated facts and rationalizations to a plan when they are near exhausted and hurting and maybe even afraid. When they have only themselves and their teammates to look to for support, when they'd much rather just lie down but instead they learn to rely on and to be relied on. What a beautiful game. I seldom get tired of watching it being played on any level, from Pee Wee ball to the NFL because inside of every game are several hundred stories, several hundred lessons that may have a commonality but are always individual and unique.
Seven is enough. I have to go put clothes in the dryer. You may notice that doing laundry doesn't make the list. Although I'm sort of enjoying the fact that I now have enough clothes to go over two weeks between laundry trips, I like it more because less laundry trips means lower electric bills and lower water bills. And I can tell myslef this is better for the enironment . . . Well, it is!

October 18, 2008

USC 69 Washington State 0

Subversive Beauty - Ritual by Luis Royo
Click images for desktop size: "Subversive Beauty-Ritual" by Luis Royo
I still seem to have the internet.
I guess I'm happy about that. The internet is important to me. I realize how many apps I use day to day that rely on being connected to the internet. My movie database, the weather report, the AppleTV all work best with an internet connection.Falcon's Alibi
On the Mac its rare to find an app that doesn't connect to the internet if only to check for updates.
I'm glad it has yet to go down.
But I am perplexed by the phone company. The swore, in writing, that it would be shut down on the 16th. Now they've screwed up all the correct things they were going to do. Gave me plenty of wrong and contradictory advice along with some great official confirmation Rex Vaudville Theater
Click image: "Rex Allen Theater, Aberdeen WA"
records.
The phone company screwing up is something you just expect. Nothing much to worry there. An exasperated sigh and you get down to sorting the invariable mess out.
But when it comes to being jerks you expect the phone company to be right there! Exact to the nano second. Sure, they can't do much well for the customer - that is always going to be screwed up. But when it comes to looking after their own self interest you expect them to be absolute unreasonable jerks.
It makes me feel unsettled somehow. Like a force has shifted, like a planet is out of its orbit and a sense of doom hangs as heavy in the air as dense as a hedge fund.
But then USC wins on the road and you know that the real world is still out there.

I made gluten free, sugar free, low fat cookies tonight. Yup. I made cookies from scratch.
I'm such a guy.
They were coconut cinnamon sugar cookies, only with Splenda instead of sugar.
I don't think they were very good. I'm probably wrong because the giant dog thought they were Tiger
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Unknown
tasty enough to steal 3 off the plate. He did his time in doggie prison with no complaint.

I also seem to have gotten my puppy's new postcard function to work okay. Today I am like a young god, of that there is no doubt. I have to do all the writing yet to introduce it and give the reason for it. I like it fine. I don't know how to tell the story that my puppy says needs to be told. She's always scant on those sort of details. I'm just supposed to do it well. I always fail.

I still follow all the teams where I coached or the schools where any of my kids went on to play for. I like when my kids do well of course. I like it best when one of my old teams do well. I hope it means that some of the things I believed in stayed with the team after I left and that those things are in some tiny way part of them doing well. I have such an ego.

Last week was a dismal week in this household for our NFL picks.Eyes Without A Face
I got quite a chuckle that my friend using her "Lucy Ricardo" method of picking games was a diminutive 6-8. It is not polite to laugh, so I managed to control myself.
All you can do is pat her on the head and remind her that these are manly things and maybe not the right thing for a woman to try and comprehend.
On the other hand the great experience I've had in this game, all the years of playing, coaching, studying, analyzing really paid off. There were an amazing amount of fluke plays and inexplicable upsets. That's what makes the game a beautiful thing I love. Still, bearing up under all of that I was still an hard fought and scintillating 6-8 in my picks . . .
As usual my picks are in bold.

Dallas at St Louis - The Rams won their first game of the year last week. Of course they did it against the Washington Redskins who appeared to be on the start of a real tear. Washington was my Survivor pick . . . so I'm out of that part of the contest. Now, since Washington has already beaten the Dallas Cowboys and since St Louis beat Washington you would think that I'd be picking the Rams (who do really have great looking uniforms and great helmets). The Cowboy are banged up, their starting QB broke the pinky finger on his throwing hand. So, of course I figure the Cowboys will win. I'm a glutton for punishment.

Princess - Anime
Click images for desktop size: "Princess Anime" by Unknown
Tennessee at Kansas City - The Chiefs only potent weapon, Larry Johnson, has been suspended for the game. The Titans are the only undefeated team in the NFL while the Chiefs are 1-4. Now, you would think that would mean that I would automatically pick the Chiefs. I also know and like Kerry Collins, the Titans QB. The Titans have a devastating running attack. One thing that sets an offensive line and lets them play outside of themselves is a running game. It makes their pass blocking trebly effective. Instead of having to bear up under constant bull rushing and LB hits and chips they get to attack and grind down the front seven. Vince Evans was more running back than QB. Kerry takes what his O-Line creates for him and has been, not spectacular, but steady and excellent. In the face of logic and despite the creepy Titan kit I have to go with them. This could be Gambling House a blow out shut out.

San Francisco at New York Giants - I have no emotional investment in the NFL. None at all. Its the reason I can enjoy this harmless pick 'em game. I loved the way the Cleveland Browns destroyed the Giants on Monday Night, even though I picked the Giants to win. It was a beautiful thing to see. Manning is banged up. If I looked as bone headed as he did I'd claim to be banged up too. an Francisco has aspirations. The Giants have to prove this was a fluke. They have to win. I can't see any way for the 49ers to do much more than show up and get a few good runs out of Frank Gore.

Baltimore at Miami - The Ravens were humiliated by the Colts last week. Really smashed. The Dolphins gave the hapless Houston Texans their first win of the season. They looked inept. Sadly, London After Midnight
Click images for desktop size: "London After Midnight" by Unknown
every single game that the underdog won last week appeared to be outrageously influenced by inept referee's. The NFL proves this by fining guys $5,000 for criminal hits that injure star players while saying that an official's call stunk the joint out and unfairly decided the outcome of the game will get you a $50,000 dollar fine . . . The fines go to the United Way, which is good and shows how gooney the priorities of the NFL have gotten under the leadership of Roger Goodell. No, I think the Ravens are closer to being a winning team than are the Dolphins. The Dolphins are scrappy after the loss which is a big team improvement. Scrapping about a defeat is better than accepting them as a part of life. The Ravens are angry. They're also more talented. Anger is stronger than scrappy.

San Diego at Buffalo - The Chargers humiliated the New England Patriots last Sunday. Sadly they did not look great while they were doing it. Tomlinson needs to heal up. Buffalo lost their first game but had the bye week to heal up. This is my game of the week. The young upstart Bills show they'll play with all they've got. They seem to play to the talent of Earth VS The Spider their opponent. They should be healed up and can take it to the Chargers. The Chargers will come and play hard too. But they look like a good team that could have been great. To me they seem to be playing for the paychecks. There's no heart there. No big play when they need it the most. They can roll when its easy but no heart when they have to struggle. I'll go with the heart. (And if I'd know San Diego was going to wear their baby blue kit last week I'd have picked them!)

New Orleans at Carolina - The Panthers QB used to be a Saint, way back when the HC their was in love with a guy who only had a two year career. That's How Delahomme ended up in Carolina. Delahomme gets up for the Saints. New Orleans is still banged up pretty badly and weeks away from getting healthy. But Dru Brees is, right now, the bet QB in the NFC. He's staggering. Take away any of his weapons and he still performs. Reggie Bush is becoming a stud. The Panther defense can't stop the Saints, only the ref's seem to be able to do that. The Saints can stop the Panthers often enough to pull off the win.

Minnesota at Chicago - If it weren't for Houston and Detroit playing this week, this would be my cruddy game. Two incredibly inconsistent teams here. The shock of last weeks stunning loss to the Falcons might have the Bears either exasperated or seeing blood. No one knows for sure and I'd guess that half the team feels one way and the rest the the other. The Vikings are great under achievers. I'm going with the Bears because of home field advantage. Bleh . . .

Pittsburgh at Cincinnati - Poor poor Bengals. One of two teams without a win. Carson Palmer still Summer '06 by Gailan
Click images for desktop size: "Summer '06" by Gailan
out and probably needing surgery. The Steelers are not fun to watch. I find Rothlisberger irritating and Troy Polomanu exhilarating. Taking the Steelers because I can't pick a team I feel sorry for.

Detroit at Houston - This is the CLASSIC cruddy game of the week. Detroit just traded their best WR to the Cowboys, so they've clearly given up on the season. They still have the record for worst road record in the last 10 years. They have no starting, healthy QB. They are a mess. The Texans just stink.

Cleveland at Washington - So what was the Brown's Kellen Winslow's mysterious illness that hospitalized him? And how was he cured? Did it have something to do with the Browns looking devastating against the Giants while they'd only looked inept before? I'm taking the Browns because I like the team and I just can't bear to pick the RedskinsGodzilla (still the most offensive nickname in sports) after costing me the survivor series contest! And how can you pick anyone who loses to the RAMS for pete's sake!

New York Jets at Oakland - After a week to rest up do you think Brett Favre is pleased to have to face the soft secondary and weak pass rush of the Raiders? Do you think he's dreaming of 6 more TD's, maybe even 7 in this game. I do.

Indianapolis at Green Bay - Last week the Colts said, "We are back!" I thought Manning looked panicky at times, even when the game was in coast mode. Last week the Packers looked tight losing a game that was theirs. Aaron Rogers made some highly entertaining throws. I really liked the ones that bounced five or ten yards in front of the receiver. I hadn't seen that since high school ball. The Packers are still without the great db Al Harris. He could take out any of the Colt WR. I just feel that the Packer D is still real and I think the COlts is old and not putting together good games let alone good series. They play well from the front but not well at all from behind. This will be a tight game with a Packer Hey Stop Stabbing Me win or a blow out (for the Colts). I have faith. And Rogers should be a bit more healed.

Denver at New England - The Patriots stinking the joint out saddens me. Matt was a USC QB. I liked that they say, "He never started a game for the Trojans but he's still good enough to start in the NFL!" No he isn't. Billinger isn't a genius. Maybe I could be a genius if I had Tom Brady playing for me. I'm still picking them because I still think the world of Jay Cutler and that the rest of the Bronco's stink. They look bad at Mile High and flat out terrible on the road.

Seattle 3 at Tampa Bay 28 - Prime time game that should be a real snorer. The good news is we all need a little bit of extra rest after the exciting football on Saturday!

But maybe Boston will force the game 7 and we can really be entertained. With the Dodgers out of it its hard for me to get stoked about the ACLS.
As usual my picks are for the general laughter of the unseen crowd and it is a sign of a serious disorder to take them seriously. You might be near as ill as me!

October 16, 2008

Life in these here

Radioactive
Click images for desktop size: "Radioactive" by Anonymous
Final word on internet status: It will go down today but will return on Oct 21st.
The lag is all the phone companies fault, mistakes (intentional or ?) and false information. Fixed now. Have a date for the dry loop DSL line to become active.
Happy Hooker Goes to Washington Worth rushing to beat the shutdown to let you (you being anyone who might care) know this.
One nice thing that happened. When the bank decided to give my money away (perhaps unlawfully, although they're in the clear) it overlapped with me sending them a money order.
The money order was returned to me by the bank! Returned for two reasons: a) the kid who sold me the MO at the Post office made a mistake! b) To correct the mistake the bank would have had to charge me more fees than the Money Order was for!
So I got the MO back and traded it in for new ones that were properly filled out so that I could pay my bills!
I'm nervous about trusting the Post Office with my credit rating (such as it may be) but having the money back removes a lot of stress for me and for us.
My puppy doesn't care unless I spend the money on her . . .
Back on the 21st or 22nd.

October 15, 2008

That's the way we like it

Nuklear
Click images for desktop size: "Nuklear" by Anonymous
Ted Bundy is the only serial killer who has ever claimed that he used pornography to get himself "up" for his killings.
He said this when he was 10 days away from his execution date. He said it to a right wing conservative D.A. and shrink. It was generally seen as a ploy to get his execution stayed. An example of the "help" he could be in their investigations into the sick world of the pervo killer.
False Colors This flew in the face of the accepted theory that porn and violent sex crimes were tenuously if at all connected. Of course, the right Dwight Frye
Click image: "Dwight Frye" by Universal Pictures
wing jumped on Bundy's assertions. It proved what they always knew. We all like it when someone "proves" a long held desperate view of the world. Even when the one supplying the proof is a sick lying monster desperate to not die.
The only other mention of porn and serial killers is from one of the Bianchi's (The Hillside Strangler). They used porn to relax when they weren't successful in arranging a kill on the night. Not really much of the same thing.
Its odd though, because, even while pornography has seemed rather useless to the bulk of crazed sex killers it hold a special place for child abusers.
On  Board The HMS Bellerophon by William Orchardson
Click images for desktop size: "Aboard the HMS Bellerophon" by William Orchardson
All child abuse is sexual, predatory and violent by nature. But even the child molesters who claim to "love" their victims seem to use child pornography. Not so much for inspiration but as an adjunct.
I'm no shrink at all. I don't know why this is. Its just something I've noticed. I also don't have a clue if their are guy out there who get off on child pornography who don't go out and actually molest kids.
But, like most of us I hope, I still find the victimization of those children to be a heinous crime and that even the casual viewing of that crime to be a crime in and of itself.
When I was asked to be a counselor to child abuse victims one of the parts of my training was to attend some group therapy sessions at a half way house forHouse On Haunted Hill child molesters.
I entered the program pretty unsympathetic. After a month and 8 sessions I was even more hardened and filled with hate filled rage towards them. With a particular rage directed towards their wives and other members of their support groups.
That might seem harsh. It probably is. I don't know what other reaction can be expected when you hear a woman excuse her spouses perversion because her son, her seven year old son, was always actin seductively. Then to hear another woman chime in about how her 9 year old daughter had always been a "tart" and blaming her daughter for seducing her husband and getting him into this trouble.
I thought I did well in not jumping up and kicking them all in the head. I was amazed that the molesters didn't stand up and accept their responsibility. This was a halfway house and these animals were months from being released. Its the only time I ever found myself wishing for the Untitled
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Unknown
death penalty.
When I was managing that Self Storage place I met my predecessor and her mother-in-law. My predecessor had 4 kids with her. The mother-in-law and her were arguing violently in front of the kids. It appears that the son/husband was in prison for having sex with the 12 year old step-daughter.
The mother-in-law's contention was that if my predecessor had been fulfilling her "wiverly" duties her son wouldn't had to have gone "sniffin'" to get have his God given needs taken care of.
My predecessor's retort was along the lines that her 12 year old daughter was a little whore who she had caught kissing some 12 year old boy.
I didn't slug anybody. I was pretty calm sounding too when I told them they'd have to leave or I'd be forced to call the cops. I wouldn't have called the cops because The Hooked Generation I figured the cops wouldn't shoot them.
See, there are always monsters out there. We just don't know how to recognize them. Because they're monsters we don't know how to kill them. It takes people a lot smarter than me to figure out how.
One of the first kids they asked me to see what a 10 year old boy. His step-father had raped the kid and then rented him out to his pedophile buddies. They made films of it.
Pretty fucked up stuff.
They asked me to talk to him. He wasn't catatonic but he wouldn't socialize and he hadn't spoken for over two years. Who could blame him?
We let monsters loose in his world. We fell short in our duty to protect him. We all fell short. I don't blame him for not talking or trusting anybody.
I went. I got bored being quiet so I babbled about sports. Everybody knows I don't need anybody to fill in quiet spaces when I'm thinking out loud about sports. I talked about considering every angle when attacking a defense, making plans and contingencies on what you might think a defender might do and what he should do and what he might do to disrupt the play.
I'm very good at babbling nonsense.
On about the fourth "session" the kid couldn't take my general stupidity about American football and my negative impressions about soccer. He told me to shut up.
What he actually said was, "David Beckham is brilliant."
I still don't like soccer or David Beckham but I was grateful to him that day for being brilliant.
New World Order by LawnElf
Click images for desktop size: "New World Order" by LawnElf
We talked about sports for a long time, that day and a lot of days after. I was sure I left each day with him amazed at how stupid I was. I have no argument against him thinking that.
I heard from that kid yesterday. He emailed me. He's scared. He's scared that he's going to become an abuser like his step father.
I understand that kind of fear. My own step father hated me. He didn't rape me. His cruelty hardly compares and a lot of people would say he was just raising me the best way he could. He just belittled me. Always told me I wasn't good enough or tough enough. When I was the MVP of my Pop Warner team he cursed me for not being tough enough to be a line man. When I made all state it was because there was a thin crop of RB's that year and if I had any brains I'd have become a QB, like him.Hunchback of Notre Dame I was too stupid to execute a game plan. At least according to him.
I used to worry that I'd treat my son the same way. One of the happiest days of my life was when my 4 year old son came to me and told me that he'd been playing with one of my "forbidden to touch" guitars and had cracked the neck. I was ecstatic that he wasn't afraid of me like I'd been afraid of my step-father.
That's just part of the nasty legacy of abuse. It destroys permanently as in forever.
So in my weak kneed and ignorant way I understand what the kid writing to me was trying to express.
I wrote back as best as I could. I have no idea if I was helpful. What help I could be.
Times like this I wish I was bigger, stronger, faster and richer. I've stood in court with kids who've been victimized by the people who were blessed with the chance to protect them. I wished then as I wish now that I was a a giant ugly monster who could terrify the adults who hurt them, that I could be the terrifying monster who they knew was on their side - like Gamera maybe.
I'm always pretty aware of how crabby, weak and cruel I can be. Pathetically it only bothers me when I need to be big, pure and strong. I can't even apologize for it. Its what I am.
I've been overseas for the last 3 presidential elections. Maybe that's why I'm so caught up in this one. Maybe its because with all the grief that's going on in the world and all the nastiness of politics I've just now noticed that no one is talking about protecting the children anymore.
Bush, a maggot who is escaping just prosecution for his crimes, has appointed a new Czar?!? to protect the rights of the wealthy thieves in the RAIA.
Night Train
Click images for desktop size: "Night Train" by Unknown
Why isn't there a czar to protect the kids from the adults?
Who's watching over them. England is so horrendous in watching over kid's rights, protecting kids that I used to smugly think that at least in the USA we all viewed it as our predominant responsibility to protect all of our children. Even convicts are revolted by the child molesters.
Its not like that anymore. We don't instinctively protect kids anymore. We allow home schooling, unsupervised home schooling. Just by doing it. No vetting. We cut off one more possible pathway for a child to escape from hell.
We've got candidates fighting about unborn kids but I don't hear a word about protecting the kids that are out there now. Out there and at risk. Out there afraid and left alone.
I wish I was bigger, and stronger and richer.In A Lonely Place
If I was maybe I could tell somebody that the rich and powerful don't need special protection, not when the smallest and weakest amongst us live life terrified of each new day, for all those days bring them is more pain and torment until all they have left is the solitude of refusing to feel.
I told the kid, he's still my kid, they all are. I've yet to hear any of them resent that or object to it - being my kid, so I'll stay in that belief even if its foolish, to go seek out some people I know. They're professionals. They'll do their best. They belief in kids as much as I do and they're a lot smarter than me. We all know being smarter than me is about the easiest thing in the world to be, but take my word for it: They're a lot smarter than me and they are near as strong and big and rich as I want to be.
They will help and stand with you.

My internet is guaranteed to die today.
I talked to the phone company yesterday. They blamed me, of course, for letting them tell me a bad date for the change over to Dry Loop DSL. They also talked about the bill. I told them we were switching everything over to get the phone bill cheap enough to be able to pay! The guy actually understood that but I doubt if he has much say in anything.
Blue
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Unknown
The only issue will be when it comes back on. It will come back on. I'm pretty sure of that. I just don't have a clue as to when.
So panicking. I'm fine and not ignoring any emails or anything like that. Matter of fact most won't even notice a difference.
Some might even be glad for the respite.
Maybe it will go so smoothly that I won't even notice the transition.
I have an unstinting faith in miracles.
I'm experimenting with my puppy's site to let kids send postcards from the site. To let them design and mail jpg postcards! Its the only project that I really need the internet for.
I even yelled at my puppy and my friend yesterday. These things get to me. My puppy derved it. She was acting up. Maybe not that much but enough. She knew it. As for yelling at my friend, its never okay to yell at people.

October 14, 2008

There's no clean way to make a hundred million dollars
Raymond chandler

N7129n7142: Hallas
Click images for desktop size: "N7129n7142:Hallas" by NASA
Yesterday the phone company was supposed to turn the phone line off so we could have the dry loop or "naked" DSL.
They didn't.
Dirty Harry Friday got a letter saying that today they would cut off all service for being past due on the account.
That will probably happen and probably on time.
The whole point is - if I'm not around that is no reason to panic. There's never any real reason to panic at all. Panic usually just messes stuff up anyway.
Everything will get sorted out. I still blame the State for going in and garnishing my bank account with no notice or attempts to contact me on what is now an officially disputed charge.
This will teach me to let down my guard and think that everything is A-OK.Bride Of Frankenstein
Click image: "Bride of Frankenstein" by Universal


So now I am nervous because everything is A-OK. My puppy is happy. The giant dog is laughing and the gentle dog is biting me. What could be better than that.
I still can't sleep with anything that could be interpreted as rest but I feel okay. Twingey, maybe the best word for it.
The election is bugging me the most. I keep trying to be fair and to understand. I'm chagrined that the candidate I like the most is the Democratic VP. The same way I'm terrified about the Republican VP candidate.
Palin is becoming more monstrous with each passing second. I wonder about the 30% of the people who think she's great. Of course I'm more frightened by the 10% who think Bush is doing a great job and that everything in the world is just, well, great, you know?

Dark by Mark Kempken
Click images for desktop size: "Dark" by Mark Kempen
"On April 29, 2008, 14 leaders of Alaska's black community met with Gov. Sarah Palin to voice discontent with her minority hiring record. Palin's response, which was first reported by journalist Earl Ofari Hutchinson, only compounded her icy relationship with her African-American constituents."
"Gwen Alexander, the president of the African-American Historical Society of Alaska, said that Palin stated defiantly that she had no intention to hire any minority staffers. And according to Bishop Dave Thomas, senior pastor of Anchorage-based African-American church Jesus Holy Temple, the Palin administration excluded black business owners from the Alaskan oil and gas pipeline board. "We wasn't even able or allowed to go into the meetings" to seek contracts for the pipeline, Thomas said."Destroy All Monsters
Palin further alienated Alaska's black community by becoming the first Alaskan governor in recent memory to not recognize the Juneteenth celebration of the emancipation proclamation. "She doesn't hire any black people, she doesn't have any on her staff, so it's not a surprise that she doesn't support our Juneteenth celebration," Alexander said.

So maybe the incredible scornful attacks on Obama aren't so much a campaign but Palin's and McCain's genuine feelings about minorities. (What a dreadful word to describe people).
While I understand McCain's fairly obvious misogynistic views I'm surprised that a 21st Century woman could be so adamantly anti-woman.
That's not my problem. Except it really is.
My problem is getting through today and then getting through tomorrow.
Sometimes its not that easy.
Keep forgetting to mention: I updated the Movie listings. Corrected a lot of stuff and added 200 more titles.
As to the stats if you go to the "genre" library there's a graph-y looking icon in the upper left. Click on that icon and you'll get a coolish bar graph of the entire collection. So if you've got 28 Cheh Chang titles you can see I've got 35! Which means I probably have something you don't. Let's trade!

October 13, 2008

Yeah, I'm just a barkeep now but once I was the govenor of a whole state
Preston Sturges

Clarence Holbrook Carter
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Clarence Holbrook Carter
Back in the 80's there was a proposition that got on the California ballot.
Lets call it Proposition H. That wasn't its name but I can't remember the number it had, something innocuous enough. Numbers make even great evil seem innocuous.
Day the World Ended Even the Holocaust - 25 million murdered dead is a number that can't convey the sheer terror that a picture of one Holocaust survivor carries, or the sickening horror of one of those blurry black and white mass graves of Auschwitz. Numbers, the great concealers.
Anyway, this Proposition was repellent to the max. It called for all homosexuals to register with the state. It required that no homosexual be allowed to teach in schools or reside in areas where they weren't wanted.
Basically it stopped short of demanding that homosexuals wear a branded H on their foreheads and being tattooed with ID numbers. It stopped short barely.
Of course everyone was pretty outraged that this proposition could ever make it on the ballot. The only ones supporting it where those scary "Deliverance" "The Hills Have Eyes" looking kind of guys who live out in China Lake, the Salton Sea or the Orange County. They supported it loud. Lots of badly designed bill boards and fliers on windshields.
A lot of the TV preachers were all for it too. "The bible says Adam and Eve not Adam and Adam! Send me your money," sort of stuff. TV preachers have to make a living too.
All the papers will filled with editorials screaming about the insanity of the proposition and proclaiming that even if passed it would surely die in the Supreme Court.
The people standing up for it were scary looking, physically scary looking. White Supremacists, anti-semites, NRA proponents. If you weren't that scary looking and stood up for it, for whatever reason Marily Monroe - Bus Stop
Click images for desktop size: "Marilyn Monroe - Bus Stop"
you got thrown into the mix and branded a good looking lunatic.
Even Wally George (Rebecca DeMornay's dad) who had a right wing UHF TV show where he had guests on so he could insult them and belittle them, steered clear of this topic. He was notoriously anti-gay but even this guy who was known to do anything to attract attention was noticeable in his silence.
The polls showed that the proposition didn't have a chance to pass. I think at one time its showed 88% against and 12% for with no undecideds. Everybody had an opinion and only a nut bar fringe weren't on the side of the angels.
Come election day a funny thing happened. The exit polls showed the proposition dying, but when the votes started to get counted . . . the first numbersDark Corner showed that about 20% of the ballots did not vote on the proposition. Early counts showed the proposition passing.
Eventually it failed by something like 50.5% to 49.5%. When the curtain was pulled in the voting booth I guess the monster comes out. Or maybe its just the anonymity factor. You wouldn't want anybody to know you're a homophobe racist but if no one knows . . . and remember that gay guy who snickered at you at the Beverly Design Center?
It didn't pass but it nearly did. Oddly it was the precincts that were predominantly Hispanic, Korean and Chinese and the large west side Jewish areas in LA that were over whelmingly against it, that made the final decision. I guess if I was of the ilk that would approve of this kind of stuff I could concoct a nice nasty theory about those would be the type of people who'd stick up for human rights and gays.
But it nearly passed. It nearly became law.
Since then I really don't trust polls.
And I'm perplexed that Sarah Palin is still being allowed to run for Vice President and that no one is screaming for her head or calling her a terrorist. She gave a tightly controlled interview where the Black Mesa
Click images for desktop size: "Black Mesa" by Unknown
press were only allowed to ask one question. A phone interview that was filtered and time delayed. No follow-up. Tame reporters.
Palin was found by an independent investigator to have abused her oath of office. Palin says she was found innocent of all charges . . . Which is pretty insane on the surface of it. Maybe she is that loony or maybe she's illiterate and her husband and her husband, the vice governor it seems, read her a heavily edited version. But she reads teleprompters so well. . . So she must be insane.
I could have accepted an apology. Like, "In the concern for my sister I allowed my judgement to become clouded to the point where I behaved poorly and allowed my staff to behave poorly. If it were not for the deep love I have for my family this terrible situation would never have happened. I fired Walter, which I had a right to do even with bad or even no cause, I stand by that Critters 2 decision as being in the best interest of my constituents. I will make the emails that I tried to conceal from my constituents available and they will show that I focused the largest body of my work for the betterment of the people of Alaska. I am sorry I have besmirched my record of good work with this petty squabbling that I allowed to get out of control."
Instead she ignores it. No, she insists it never happened. That she is clear and blameless, despite the evidence. Her support group says the report doesn't call for criminal prosecution so its nothing to worry about or discuss.
The polls show Palin is losing favor. So is McCain. I figure they're counting on the cowardly racism that nearly passed Proposition H. I fear we will have an enraged president who betrayed his fellow soldiers and his country for President.
Then we will have a vice president who might one day be president who has shown her racism and deep set beauty queen neurosis (fear of lack of perfection) that will turn to psychosis with the addition of power. They'll protect the rich whites and let the rest of us go to hell while China might decide its time to act on Mao's plan to conquer America when we are weak and divided. Ripe for the picking.

October 12, 2008

Arizona State University 0 USC 28
I started searching for a better way but I couldn't see the light
Climax Blues Band

Koln Dome Bridge
Click images for desktop size: "Koln Dome Bridge" - WWII Photo Post Bombing Run
During the pre-season yesterdays USC matchup with ASU was being hyped as being nearly as big a deal as LSU and Florida, Texas and Oklahoma, with the whole Pac 10 race dependent on its outcome . . . I remember that clearly. Born To Kill
But the way both teams played yesterday that seems like a nasty joke. Let me rephrase that - the way 3/4 of the teams played yesterday. The USC defense started out playing in a mediocre fashion letting the country's worst running attack lash them up cruelly, but as the USC offense played with more and more heartbreaking ineptness the defense rose like one and became an impregnable inspiring wall that refused to lose.
Dracula
Click images: "Dracula" by Universal Pictures
Five turnovers in the game most within 20 yards of the USC goal line and no touch downs allowed. ASU has last years Groza Award winner, the finest kicker in the country, one peculated to be a first round draft pick. Fili Moala blocked two of his field goal attempts to preserve the shutout.
Pete Carroll will , no doubt, take full responsibility for the offensive debacle. I put the blame on Steve Sarkasian, the Offensive Coordinator. Each week I'm pretty mystified, when I'm not horrified, by his play calling. He gives up on things or runs the same stupid play into the ground. He takes too many home run shots and doesn't give his young O-Line a chance to settle in and play to its level of talent.
Mark Sanchez has talent. He's a good kid. His talent and confidence are being undermined by this horrific refusal to play to his strengths, to protect him from his weaknesses and to protect him from the teams weaknesses.
Ultraviolet by Superville Design
Click images for desktop size: "Ultra Violet" by Superville Design
Look at how Texas has protected Colt McCoy. They never give up on the run, even when its failing. They wait for the home run to come to them. They manufacture the opportunities for McCoy instead of forcing him to make them himself. Same with Chase Daniels at Missouri.
I think Sanchez might have more talent than either of them but he' not being given a fair chance to show if he does or not.

The political scene is now horrifying. Even McCain is horrified at the rage and nastiness he has purposefully incited. The rampant racism his wife, his running mate and his commercials are setting off. He's trying to turn the name "Obama" into a synonym for "uppity ni**er". Its working.
Beyond The Door A man showed up at an McCain rally with a stuffed monkey with a hangman's noose around its neck and an Obama sticker on its forehead.
Some businesses are refusing to serve people with Obama bumper stickers on their cars.
"Georgia congressman and Civil Rights leader John Lewis, reacting to the increasingly incendiary atmosphere at McCain-Palin campaign rallies, condemned the GOP for using tactics that are creating a mood not unlike the one created by George Wallace, the former segregationist governor and presidential candidate. Lewis accused the Republicans of "sowing the seeds of hatred and division," and warned the McCain campaign that they are "playing with fire:"
"As one who was a victim of violence and hate during the height of the Civil Rights Movement, I am deeply disturbed by the negative tone of the McCain-Palin campaign," Lewis said in a statement. "Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin are sowing the seeds of hatred and division, and there is no need for this hostility in our political discourse."
The veteran Democrat even invoked one of the most divisive figures in recent U.S. history. "During another period, in the not too distant past, there was a governor of the state of Alabama named George Wallace who also became a presidential candidate. George Wallace never threw a bomb. He never fired a gun, but he created the climate and the conditions that encouraged vicious attacks against innocent Americans who were simply trying to exercise their constitutional rights. Because of this atmosphere of hate, four little girls were killed on Sunday morning when a Jeff Beck's Fender Esquire
Click images for desktop size: "Jeff Beck's Fender Esquire"
church was bombed in Birmingham, Alabama," said Lewis.
He warned, "As public figures with the power to influence and persuade, Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin are playing with fire, and if they are not careful, that fire will consume us all. They are playing a very dangerous game that disregards the value of the political process and cheapens our entire democracy. We can do better. The American people deserve better."
The McCain campaign responded by saying "that's not what we're doing!"
Of course they also said this about the release of the Branchflower report on Troopergate. Palin's response: "If you read the report, you will see that there was nothing unlawful or unethical about replacing a cabinet member," Palin said as boarded her campaign bus in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. "You got to read the report."
The first line of the report quotes the law and says thatCat People Palin violated state ethics law by trying to get her former brother-in-law fired from the state police, a state investigator's report for the bipartisan Legislative Council concluded Friday.
Palin says there was nothing unlawful or unethical, just read the report. And the report says? It was unlawful and unethical.
The McCain camp's claim of some pretty petty and horrifying abuses of power is that since the report makes no recommendation that criminal charges be leveled, it's therefore a case of "no harm, no foul."

Last weeks NFL picks provided some justification of my system as opposed to my friends.
Using her daffy system of team colors, nicknames and helmet design she was an absurdly ludicrous 7-7 in her picks. It is hard not to laugh at her flailing futility.
I, using my method of careful analysis, study of previous games, tendencies and my encyclopedic knowledge of the game burnished by years of Blaze Starr Goes Nudist coaching and playing finished the week a gloriously scrappy 7-7 . . .
My picks are in bold.

St Louis at Washington - After firing the head coach teams have a solid history of rebounding and winning the next game in which they're given no chance. That's the scenario for the Rams this week, after firing coach Mike Linehan . . . that's about the only hope the Rams have. Their offense guided by Steve Jackson and with Mark Bulger under center can be productive but the defense is a bad joke. I have no confidence in the Redskins except their helmets are red even though they are not as nifty as the Rams curly horned blue and gold affair. Still, the Redskins keep winning. I can't for the minute understand how, except they keep scoring more points than the other guys. This is my Survivor game pick of the week. I'm still alive in the contest which only has 1,225 still competing out of 100,000 plus!

Carolina at Tampa Bay - The Panthers are a surprisingly strong favorite here. This surprises me as the Buc's defense has looked incredibly stout and the Panthers have looked remarkably lucky. Sometimes luck is far better than skill or talent. This comes down to the Buc's wearing black and dark red while the Panthers wear baby blue! But for logo's the Panther is far cooler than the unchic pirate the Bucs are cursed with. This is almost a pic em!Cat Women On The Moon

Cincinnati at New York Jets - After the incredible performance two weeks ago destroying the Cardinals the Jets got a week off to heal up! The Bengals are busted up and in total disarray. Carson Palmer isn't starting with a weak commitment that he might get some playing time. The Bengals haven't won with Palmer and its impossible to win without him. The Bengal D has shown some resolution in the past few weeks but Brett Favre is excited about playing in New York now. Even though the Bengals have the coolest helmet in the NFL and the Jets have the creepiest I don't think that will be enough.

Oakland at New Orleans - The Saints are as unlucky as the Panthers have been lucky. The NFL aggravated the situation by their fines this week and by Goodell assuring the refs that they were doing a great job and not to worry about it . . . In their last game against the Vikings, 3 Vikings were fined for dirty play! BUT the largest fine was for the DB who ran back the blocked field goal Return of the Warriors by Charles Marion Russell
Click images for desktop size: "Return of the Warriors" by Charles Marion Russelll
for excessive celebration! The nasty and potentially fatal face mask tackle of Reggie Bush (which led to the game wrenching fumble) was only fined $7,500 . . . why to protect the players. The Players Union needs to replace Gene Upshaw quickly before Roger Goodell decimates the league! The Raiders have fired wunderkind Lane Kiffen, not too smart really. See the bounce back theory under the Rams game. Jamarcus Russell gets to come home to the SuperDome. The Saints are super busted up. Finally the Raiders kit is the di reguer classic standard for gang bangers and wannabees everywhere while the Saints kit is the highest in "eh- factor. A fleur ds lis? Still, despite all these facts I figure the Saints will blow them out. They need to.
Cool Hand Luke
Detroit at Minnesota - Poor poor Lions. I think they might win one or two games this year given they are overloaded with talent, even disgruntled talent. When they do win it will be a shock, whomever they beat. The Vikings are a joke to me. A dirty team who have very little to offer, especially considering the mountains of money they've spent on talent. But they do have purple kit (Someone in this household who is not me's favorite color) and there is no denying that viking horned helmet is very cool.

Baltimore at Indianapolis - This is a rough pick. The Colts have only won twice and they've looked insanely unimpressive in both wins. Even Peyton Manning has looked nearly human. The Ravens (who dress in black but have chosen a CROW for their logo) have looked impressive in all their games, extremely impressive. With the brand new stadium the Colts really are missing a big part of their home field advantage. In another situation I'd take them and Surf
Click images for desktop size: "Surf" by Unknown
the 3 points . . . I just changed my mind. The old fashioned horse shoe on the Colts logo has swayed me to go with my heart and the Ravens Joe Flacco tearing up a Bob Sanders-less Colt's D. This is my game of the week.

Chicago at Atlanta - The Bears appear to be this years schizo team, winning some games they shouldn't and inexplicably losing the easy ones. This should be one of the easy ones. I don't think the Falcon's Matt Ryan is quite ready yet to face a pass rush like the Bears can muster even without suspended tackles. (I do think that Smith did the right thing in suspending the tackle. Teams respond to discipline and resent favoritism and teammates getting away with stuff. The suspension should fire up the rest of the squad.) Coming off a career game Orton won't be quite as good but he won't need to be. Even though the Falcon's kit is eons cooler than the old school Bears gear I'm still taking the Bears!

Lily
Click images for desktop size: "Lily" by Unknown
Miami at Houston - Its been nearly 3 years since I picked the Dolphins to win one! Now I figure they'll let me down . . . if its because they wear teal and white as opposed to the Texans red and black I'll do something drastic! Chad Pennington is the leader the offense has needed since forever. Their defense is not as punishing as in previous years but it is pretty efficient. Houston looks good in struggling . . . They hung their future away when they passed over Reggie Bush and hired Craig Morton. In its history no one has ever managed to full on beat the Wing T formation. Its an offense designed not so much to win games as to keep them close enough to maybe win. The Dolphins have adapted it and are making it work in the high powered NFL.
Corruption
Jacksonville at Denver - The Bronco's keep winning even when they get exposed. I think Jay Cutler is a very good QB and his handling of his diabetes is inspiring. He makes a good role model. I don't think anything about any of the rest of the entire team. What they have going for them is Cutler and Mile High Stadium. Th Jaguars are more problematic. They have talent, they have fire, they have coaching and they're 2-3 . . . They need to win and to string together some big wins or the wide open AFC will have them sitting at home watching the playoffs on TV. As the Jaguars wear teal and have the snazzy snarling cat on their lids I'm picking them.

Green Bay at Seattle - The Packers are a team in transition. That's obvious as they've already lost as many games this season than they did all of last year. The Seahawks are just a bad team in a bad division. Aaron Rogers has shown he's a good NFL QB, but he's not shown he can play hurt. Lat week he was good but couldn't get his wracked body to its former level of excellence. Rogers may have damaged himself even more by playing last week in a game the Packers lost anyway. If he's spent the time healing I'd have them as the easy pick here. The Seattle Kingdome is a nasty place for visiting teams, especially teams who don't play there every year. I think that the Seahawks should pull the upset victory today. Beside a seagull, an albatross for gosh sakes, maybe the dorkiest logo Crescent Moons
Click images for desktop size: "Crescent Moons-Crop Circle"
in the NFL but its still more inspiring than a letter G!

Philadelphia at San Francisco - Brian Westbrook, the heart of the Eagles attack, is out with broken ribs. But they still have Donavan McNabb who is the heart and brains of the team. The 49ers have exceeded everyones limited expectations but face a team that is desperate for a win. And the Eagles kit is that lovely shade of metallic green. The eagle is a cool enough logo while the 49ers logo, unless its on Jerry Rice or Joe Montana, is just dumb.

Dallas at Arizona - After their strong comeback after the embarrassing defeat the Cardinals look like a force. The Cowboys dismal performance against the Redskins should have them fired up. They can't afford back to back losses if they expect a shot at making the playoffs. The paychecks should be enough to inspire the Cowboys to beat the Cardinals. NowCrimson Kimono I know the Cowboy C is a stupid logo, heck they don't even play in Dallas! But I've been to Arizona plenty of times and I have never seen a Cardinal in the whole state! So on that front the additional edge goes to the Cowboys.

New York Giants at Cleveland - Cruddy game of the week. The Browns are without their premiere player, Kellen Winslow. The Giants are healthy and must be chomping at the bit to play this depleted team. The Giants should win easily and it will be nothing but dull.

New England 24 at San Diego 20 - This is the Sunday night game and its a good one. The Brady-less Patriots are still an enigma. Their aging Defense still suspect. At times it shows its age but then suddenly rallies itself. The Chargers are also an enigmatic team. Has Ladainian Tomlinson taken too many hits. He's shown little of his brilliance of years past. Little and exciting Sproles has been more productive in pivotal situations. Now the Pat's logo, the colonial in a football crouch is an historically bad logo. The Charger lightning bolt is tres cool. If the Chargers were still wearing their powder blue kit of ages past they'd be an easy pick here. But its still hard for me to go against the Patriots until they've shown they've forgotten how to won.

As usual these picks are for you to use when picking on me and have no other value unless you enjoy throwing money away.

October 10, 2008

This is the time of life in which I'm living and I'll face each day with a smile
Arthur Lee

Hallowed Halls by Stag
Click images for desktop size: "Hallowed Halls" by Stag
I haven't been sleeping well.
It's that sort of half sleep half waking that makes me feel like I'm turning into General Sternwood without the money and the hot house orchids.Attack Of The Crab Monsters
For whatever reason I thought about my dogs. Not the ones living with me now but the dogs whose friendships have passed through my life.
I remember my third Belgian Shepherd, Penny. It was right after the big tragedy. Penny was recovering but her middle was so tightly wrapped with brown stained bandages that she looked like some sort of anorexic mummy.
I couldn't stand to be in the house that night so I took her and we checked into a motel on the Strip.Lon Chaney-Phantom of the Opera
Click image: "Lon Chaney-Phantom Of The Opera"
After we checked in I lay down on the bed. I became aware of all the activity outside my room and realized that I had checked into one of those joints used by the Sunset Strip streetwalkers for business.
That didn't bother in and of itself but lying there in that sin filled bed started to creep me out.
I threw the spread on the floor and laid down on it. Penny came over and with no preamble laid down beside me and pressed her damaged body hard against me. She rested her head on my stomach, looked at me and closed her eyes to sleep.
She made me feel loved. There's nothing ever wrong or cheap about feeling loved.
I remembered her body pressed against mine clearly with muscle and skin memory.
I remembered my little Texas dog. I used to get up at 3 AM or so to go down to the daily labor place. One day this puppy started to follow me. She waited outside the daily labor place while I waited inside to get no work. When it started to dawn I started to walk home. The puppy followed me.
Harbour Sunset by MattV8
Click images for desktop size: "Harbour Sunset" by MattV8
I remember how I was distraught about this. How I knew I couldn't afford to feed a dog. I was eating a 25 cent bag of microwave popcorn for my meal a day, on good days I was eating those 49 cent macaroni and cheese dinners. I lived in a room with a communal kitchen. No pets allowed. Taking care of a dog would be impossible.
I tried to tell the little pup this but she just keep dancing and play bounding around me. Other people started to pass us as the city began to wake up. The pup ignored them and just stuck close to me.
As worried and impossible as it was I was still thrilled to know that no matter how decrepit my station in life this little dog didn't care. She just loved me.
it went in a roundabout way but we took care of each other. I paid Angry Red Planet for her shots and her food by bartering with a vet. She let me help her on her large animal calls.
I remember the little pup snuffling and snorting at bulls who moo-ed at me too aggressively. But what I remember with present time resolution and 100,000:1 contrast is how much she loved me and trusted me.
And I remember the little blind dog who on first "sight" of me decided that we were best friends. Now and forever and that we'd been best friends before we ever knew each other.
I think that people who minimize the value of animals are sad and lonely people who can't get past the cruelty that burns itself across their tarnished hearts.
Not to diminish any person who has loved me or that I have loved I still think that the love I have for dogs and that they have had for me is the cleanest, least complicated and deepest that a man can feel.
Love between people is more intense and maybe a touch more important to our sanity and dealings and copings with a mad world, but its the unwavering love between a man and his dog that sets the zenith that people need to aspire to.
With all the bickering and squabbling I realized that I've probably gotten there. That realization let me sleep.

There's an article in Todays Guardian: "The Chameleon: Who is the real Sarah Palin?"
It takes a Brit paper to give an objective view of this woman. Or maybe i just think its objective A Dark Futurist by Maxfield Parrish
Click images for desktop size: "Dark Futurist" by Maxfield Parrish
because it fits my view of the woman.
There are some bits that actually make me feel some empathy, actually pity, for the woman. She's a monster, no doubt, but she's a human being as well. A conniving hate filled angry insecure scaredy cat, but a person beneath that.
It certainly looks like her ambition has put her in an ugly place where she's being manipulated rather cynically. Part of her monstrosity is in her rather sad need to be accepted by people who are even more unscrupulous than she is.
That is sad. A tragedy in some ways. It doesn't excuse her, nor does it justify here confounding ability to believe whatever "truth" she sputters out no matter how contradicting to the facts or even to her previous statements is the honest to Her God's truth.
All people are unique. All people share points in common. Palin is confirmed in my mind as being Beyond A Reasonable Doubt exactly like every other failed actress wannabee beauty queen that I've ever met.
Except Palin discovered politics. She started by get just over 600 people to think she was okay. That's not enough to fill an Equity Waiver show for a week. Her act would have closed after one night on Broadway, off-Broadway. But it made her happy. Her apparent incompetence didn't deter her. She was loved.
She become a blood lusting wench to appeal and keep her rather dowdy insecure husband in love with her. That all makes sense and it fits the known facts and makes what is happening now inevitable.
She's the superstar she always wanted to be. She'll view every vote she gets on election day like a ticket purchased to the Sarah movie and it will thrill her. No matter if it costs her her soul. She gave her soul away a long time ago. Maybe it was stolen from her. Not my problem to figure out.
Its a decent article. Worth reading.
I have to go play with my puppies. They think they have a strategy for beating me.

October 9, 2008

It's alright ma, I'm only bleeding
Bob Dylan

Darkness Over Grass
Click images for desktop size: "Darkness Over Grass" by Unknown
I'm not sure if I'm getting old or if I'm dying.
I don't think I have enough experience in either to say with certainty.
Decoy
I've been pretty bugged by the recent Mcain-Palin rallies. They look like the old Nazi hate rallies. They seem to have no real purpose except to exhort the crowd to a lynch mob frenzy. Not to go out and vote but to go out and hate and kill.
I mean Palin nor McCain have said or done anything about people screaming "Kill him!" and the like. McCain's odd choice of referring to us as his "fellow prisoners" smacks of inciting to riot. They're sure not trying to quell the hatred or the explicit racism.
You could be far less cynical than I am and think that the Frankenstein
Click images: "Frankenstein" by Universal Pictures
Republican strategy has gone to the limit of trying to incite on of the more moronic KKK right to lifer bomber types to go and assassinate Obama.
Given the naked loathing that McCain has displayed this is a pretty credible theory. As McCain reminds us he' a bad pilot with a hard set bigotry. He wouldn't flinch about walking into the White House in bloody shoes.
Sad but what else explains the non-reaction to a frothing crowd member screaming KILL HIM!", and then exciting the crowd to attack a black cameraman in the press pit?
I read the Todd Palin written answers to the Troopergate investigation. Boy, he sure runs the government up there. He claims that its just a spouse helping out his wife, but man . . . considering this thing was strained through three lawyers and not a spontaneous answering of questions its pretty chilling.
Not only was he running the government but he was a pretty non-stop gossip. Seems to spend a lot Emi by Skyoon
Click images for desktop size: "Emi" by Skyoon
of time slandering this guy where common sense would say to keep your private matters private.
It stinks a lot of Cheny's Black Government. This guy would implement that bleak plan pretty fully.

I installed the new AppleTV update 2.2 last week. Its pretty interesting. Some of the features it offers are useless to me. The Genius playlist thing is still just creepy to me.
What it does do that is useful is allow you to view the cast and credits while the movie is playing! This is pretty cool. Its an overlay window, semi-transparent.
The other feature is that it finally utilizes the chapter function of mp4's. It freezes the frame then opens up the chapter listing making it a simple task to go toConquest Of The North Pole the chapter you want.
this partially addresses the big issue of slow seek times in mp4's. Its elegant. It works. Its fun and its cool.
But most oddly the update has made a few of my movies unplayable!
The theory is that if iTunes can play it so can AppleTV. The problem appears to be with my movies that have Chinese soundtracks. Apparently when the AppleTV encounters a language (in this case Traditional Chinese) it messes with something that causes the movie to not display, even though it plays the sound just fine . . . What? Yeah.
I'm trying a suggestion and that's to open the mp4 in Quicktime and then change the coding that calls the soundtrack Traditional Chinese to English. (Under Quicktimes "Movie Properties" menu item) This sets something in the header that apparently fools the AppleTV into playing the file . . . what's nuts is that it works . . . This is a major foul up in my opinion and typical of the New Apple theory, which is way too much like the old Microsoft Theory - Just run it out there without testing it. Let the consumer find the bugs.
It also works for Korean and Japanese films. I haven't tried just changing the AAC track and not the AC3 track. I change them both. Its stupid tedious. But it works and is the simplest solution I've found until the next AppleTV update.
Before the update I had ATVFlash installed. This enabled me to set up an SSH connection so I could save some music and song files that were lost when the PB crashed. It had some other benefits like Web Browsing on the AppleTV (really stupid in execution) but mainly the ability to play DivX and Xvid files.
Marvel Heroes
Click images for desktop size: "Marvel Heroes"
As a lot of people use it for home movies etc this was very cool and useful.
To get the AppleTV update I had to wipe those apps off the system. But its cool. There a new FREE and open source solution that works much better!
Boxee is freely available via google code. It requires the old USB flash drive and that's about it.
It installs Boxee and XBMC. XBMC is a mildly interesting. I think it stands for Xbox Media Center. Its Windows roots are really apparent in its clunky interface and "skins" that sometimes work and sometimes forget important functions. (One that comes packaged with it forgot the stop button when watching a movie). Still they extend the usefulness of the AppleTV in little ways (displaying the time and the weather so it can be called up by just a flic of the remote) and big. It also easily handles DivX, Xvid and even Matroska (mkv).
It does not extend or improve the hardware.A Woman's Face Matroska files encoded at larger than 720p or higher than 5000 kb will still stutter and look like hell.
Boxee is based on XBMC but adds some interesting features. It promotes itself as a "social" tool. I'm not too big on social sites. Here it seems that you can recommend films to your "friends" etc. You have to wait for an invitation to join the Boxee network. It took them two days to answer my request. Once you log in Boxee gives you access to several music, TV and Movie sites. Pretty cool stuff, like Last.fm and CNN. Decent.
It also gives you access to the Internet Movie Archives. You can actually watch and download Public Domain films right from your AppleTV. This is a nice function.
Boxee also connects to IMDB and will tag and annotate your Xvid movies with posters cast list etc.
Hhhhmmmmm
Click images for desktop size: "Hhhhhmmmmm" by Unknown
Boxee comes with one pre-installed friend. You get to see his recommendations and what he last watched each time you log in. I have no idea how to get more friends or if you'd rally want to.
Boxee uses SMB file shares to connect back to your home computer. SMB is Windows based and a bit less secure than APF file sharing. It also takes a touch more memory but works well enough.
It also easily played the files the AppleTV choked on.
So with these nice clean adjustments I'm still enjoying the AppleTV. Best gift I ever gave someone . . . even if I do seem to use it the most . . .

October 8, 2008

Chairman of the bored
Iggy Pop

Bird in Hand by Scott Jackson
Click images for desktop size: "Bird In Hand" by Scott Jackson
Last nights debate: What a bore.
Nothing new. McCain still making the same outrageous claims/lies. I still don't believed he "suspended his campaign" to "fix" the economy.
His big plan to save home owners is something the Democrats fought for and already exists in the stupid bail out plan.
The Arena My only other impressions of McCain, other than his continued appearance of bigotry and nastiness combined with a healthy dose of cowardice, was his picking on Obama for getting a new projector for Adler Planetarium.
He made it sound like it was a $3 million dollar overhead projector like you use at small office meetings instead of a vital part of education. Like it was one of those very Republican cost over run things instead of a solid investment in kids.
Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde
Click image: Fredrick March as Dr Jekyll
Obama lost points with me for not pointing that out. He could have almost scored a point about McCain's strange obsession with earmarks. They're not necessarily all bad, sort of thing.
Obama said nothing new that I heard.
Tom Brokaw was an inept mess.
I was more surprised to discover that Palin, who is becoming an unfunny monster, watched the debate with Robert Dole.
I have a lot of respect for the Doles. I've had light contact with Senator Elizabeth Dole and found her concerned, helpful and a scrappy fighter for what's right. It disturbs me that he'd lend his considerable weight and good name to such a rusty piece of work like Palin.
Frenzy by Lawn Elf
Click images for desktop size: "Frenzy" by LawnElf
When I was reading the news today I almost missed a small obituary. Lloyd Thaxton passed away last night. He was 81. Rah. Suddenly all my pre-teen dreams and ambitions wrinkled up inside of me.
I liked Thaxton. I was very surprised to learn this morning that his Dance show was syndicated! We did the show twice. (Back when the band was The Outsiders).
Thaxton was that shiny type of early 60's two button in back ivy league cool. Dancing in a three piece suit.
He didn't disappoint like AM dj's always did. The wild voices on the radio always seemed to be owned by middle aged pattern baldness guys who were more concerned with their stock portfolios then with me having a wild and savage time. Or those tres coolThe Spider FM dj's who always looked pasty and decidedly uncool. Thaxton was a wild man, a fan and a celebrity.
Thaxton even made a record, a 45 single, Image Of A Surfer which makes me laugh while it tries to inject 50's cool with surfer cool. Its a pretty ridiculous track which suits me just fine.
Thaxton's show was a part of my childhood. His show was on after school, right after the Spaceman cartoon show and right before the B&W Charlie Chan or Roger Corman movie.
I used to go outside to play. I didn't have much interest in dancing teens who were to close to being adults for my taste. Gradually I found myself getting interested in the show. I remember seeing the first TV appearance of The Lovin' Spoonful. John Sebastian tried, unsuccessfully, to look cool playing an AUTOHARP!
I guess I was getting older because the things Thaxton talked about suddenly started sounding interesting to me. This is why I'm sure the show wasn't always syndicated. Most of what he talked about was what was going on in LA. Cool stuff, quasi-adult stuff that was going on right down the street! I noticed guys from the beach, surfers I idolized were on the show and they were dancing on dry land nearly as cool as they danced on the water.
I'll remember Lloyd Thaxton fondly for this and more. He was Channel 13's "Voice of Youth, The Voice of What's Happening!"

Last night, after the debate, I took the dogs for our usual walk around the house. We check all the doors, talk to the little blind dog and stuff. For At The Circus some unknown reason I decided to check my ebike. I broke one of the necessary wires to run it . . .
Yesterday my ebike and I were heroes! We saved the life of a little poodle dog and managed to peddle the two miles to get it back home. So its share of the hero's glory was to have me separate one of the wires in the cover of darkest night . . .
Its fixable, but I pulled the wire free from a clump of solder so its going to be an exact annoying repair . . . I'm trying to figure out how its the giant dog's fault. He thinks its the cat's fault. He may be right.
I've also been playing with the new update to AppleTV. Its got some cool features.
I've also installed Boxee and XMBC.
I'll try and remember to write about them tomorrow.

October 7, 2008

You're interefering with things man should leave alone!
Curt Simodak

Fresh Cocktail
Click images for desktop size: "Fresh Cocktail" by Unknown
I have to admit, I feel daunted.
Waiting for the shoe to drop daunted. Not where's my next meal coming from daunted. I mean if you need to feel daunted this is the way to go.
Zaat When life threatens to tumble you in some direction you don't want to go, when its apparent that being overwhelmed is just a phone call or an email away we turn to sports!
There its just games. Games that in childhood taught us how to be American. How to socialize, how to excel, how to prosper and survive in a world that made little sense.In The Heat Of The Night
As an adult sports form that window where we remember the excellence that was in our grasp, the simple beauty that was unfettered by expectations and was so much better than merely a dream.
Sports are safe, comforting, exciting and brilliant.
I watched the Saints - Vikings game last night. Of course I was stunned by the three brilliant punt returns by Reggie Bush. I was impressed with the Saints in general.
What stunned me was the continued inept officiating. The NFL ref's have been getting worse and worse each year. Last night inept calls again changed the outcome of the game.
In particular Reggie Bush made a good run to the viking 5 when he was flagrantly tackled by the Eye
Click images for desktop size: "Eye" by Unknown
face mask! It saved a touchdown and would only have been a 3 yard penalty so it was nasty and fine worthy but not an incredibly stupid penalty.
Since Bush was trying not to have his neck broken he fumbled the ball. No big deal as the penalty would let them keep it. To my horror the refs IGNORED the dangerous personal foul and gave the Vikings the ball.
They rewarded dirty play . . .
Since Sean Peyton has already been fined $15,000 for criticizing the depressing ineptness of the refs he has to keep his mouth shut. Even as he watched one of his star players have his career and life threatened by vicious play. Even as the flagrant foul played relentlessly on the replay boards.
The ref's ignored that. Maybe it was to get even with Peyton for White Slave showing them up the last time.
Even in college ranks the officiating has been degrading. I'd like to blame John McCain and George Bush, but it probably has more to do with instant replay.
It used to be that officials were under some pretty extreme pressure to get it right. There a dozens of good reason for this the first being to keep the game fair and safe.
Now none of the football refs are professional full time refs. They're mainly lawyers and executives who use their position on national TV every weekend to promote themselves and their business. It makes no sense to me but that's the way its been and that's the way its going to stay.
They can point to the NFL where there was recently a serious scandal with a crooked professional ref. And they can ignore that there was only one and that in baseball there's never been any . . .
But that's the way its going to be.
It seems to me that instant replay is destroying the football officials need to get it right.
If at your job they suddenly announced that it didn't matter how well you did your gig because they had another guy who was going to double check everything you did so if you made any mistakes, don't worry, he'll catch them.
Its the same way spell checkers have made us a nation of horrendous spellers when we step away from our computers.
There's just a whole lot less pressure, if any, to get it right. Games being lost because of bad officiating is one thing but the rising injury toll in the game is insane and I think its a direct result of Purple Hair
Click images for desktop size: "Purple Hair" by Unknown
poor officiating.
The NFL has something the college game doesn't have. They'll go back in and slap massive fines on players for dirty play. They'll even suspend players. Look at the tragic accident that befell Anquin Bolden and the dirty hit on the Saints' TE last night. What's frightening is that neither of those plays were flagged. The ref's depended on instant replay and the "front office" to do their job for them. They get lax and the game gets out of control.
It spills over to the college game too. Which is even sadder. Even though most spectators don't draw the line and realize that 90% of the kids playing the college game are NOT going to the NFL and they are NOT pro athletes, they are just kids and for them to face crippling injury due to an adult not doingThe Sound Of Music his job properly is a sin and a crime.

Well, the second presidential debate is tonight. I'm barely interested.
I hope that Obama shows class and ignores the personal attacks against Obama and his family, the pretty ugly scurrilous attacks of a guy who I still consider a traitor and a liar. Let the Mad Dog roll and talk about how we're going to get out of this mess that McCain and his pals created and nurtured.
How did McCain avoid jail time or get re-elected after confessing to his role in the S&L debacle?
I note that the stock market is still plummeting. Now that its come to light that when Lehman Brothers knew it was going to file the largest BK in history they were funneling all their cash to their top brass.
So it can't be any surprise that with the simple provision of no golden parachutes for banks taking House Of Frankenstein
Click images for desktop size: "Karloff-House Of Frankenstein" by Universal Pictures
the federal bail out that the patriotic bankers have decided to let the country go to hell. And John McCain agrees with them.
I still think that these guys deserve hard prison time for defrauding and stealing from the public.
Little nasty slime like Bonnie and Clyde became heroes because they robbed banks and shot bankers.
Its not going to happen but it should. Hang one banker and they'll all rethink their policies a bit clearer. Isn't that their attitude about us? Steal their home, steal their land, steal their life and the next guy won't be so eager to live a decent life.
So I hope Obama doesn't succumb to the scandalous lies of the despicable traitor and stays on course with lining out some sort of future for our country.

October 6, 2008

There are some days where it would be a terrible thing to be dead
Kenneth Patchen

City Line by Blurburger
Click images for desktop size: "City Lines" by Blurburger
The dog walk was a wonderful thing.
Such things always seem to be.
My heart was bursting with the good feeling I usually associate with 6 year olds on Christmas morning.
The Werewolf My puppy was appropriately nervous about all the strange new dogs but she still went over to greet our next door neighbor's dog. She was very pleased she got to smell his butt. She wouldn't let him smell hers! This made her think that she won . . . something, I guess.
Usually they only get to see each other through the fence so this was her excitement for the day.
The gentle dog was not gentle. He was very surly about these strange dogs milling about. He doesn't mind being submissive around the house but he wasn't going to take it from these dogs!
Tree
Click images for desktop size: "Tree" by Unknown
The giant dog was terrified. He almost always is. Like my puppy he doesn't care much for new things.
it all changed when we hit the trail. Sadly this walk was not very well attended. It was a beautiful day and the place is still magnificent. I continue to be impressed that a place that charges 100k for a wedding party would let a bunch of dogs roam free on its tended woods.
(Part of my agenda is to call them today to at least thank them and then to try and beg for permission to take the dogs there on our own . . . for free . . . )
Very soon we had the trail completely to ourselves. The dogs were ecstatic. They ran, found mud to step in and stink from. They explored and got covered with burrs and stenches. It was a wonderful Poodle Party
Click images for desktop size: "Poodle Party" by Unknown
day.

I'm still waiting for the internet service to get cut off. The phone, mobile and internet are all on the same phone bill. On Friday they cut off my friends mobile because we're late with the payment.
A while ago I managed to get a DSL service that costs about 25% of what the phone company charges. The DSL still come through on the phone companies line though. On October 13th they'll switch us over to a "Dry Loop DSL line". Which basically means its a phone line where you can't make or receive phone calls but you can still get DSL service.
The government makes them do this so you know the phone company isn't too stoked about it. I'm not sure why it takes so long for them to do this switch as theyWalk A Crooked Mile don't have to come to the house or anything. They just have to flip a switch somewhere.
I guess there could be so many switches that they have to have two weeks to track down the right one . . .
In any event, no phone line, no DSL, no internet . . . I've no idea if they'll wait until the 13th or cut off the phone earlier for non-payment.
When the dry loop DSL gets switched on (oh and its ADSL no matter what they're trying to call it) we'll have the Vonage line. With the extra monthly charge for the dry loop line (yes, of course they charge extra for it) the internet package and phone line will save about 60% per month. Not insubstantial. Worth a bit of inconvenience, for sure. Just don't think I'm dead if you don't hear from me until after the 13th. Even talking to the phone company they give no indication of what they might do.
Interesting how the internet has become a necessity Black Arrowso quickly. I think it took the car 40 years to become vital, the phone about 60 years. Even electricity took over 50 years to be required. I'd guess the internet took about 10?

One thing the internet has done is make politics more accessible. Even the Republican extremist mad men know how to use it. Although they won't to censor it and want to enlist the providers in this quest. They might succeed by destroying net neutrality which will give the utility companies more of our money and enable them to keep you from seeing stuff they don't want you to see.
Stuff like this: The Make Believe Maverick. This is a surprising clear and clean article. Sadly its in Rolling Stone. They seem to know where they're treading as they keep things very very precise and exact and verifiable.
They get involved in McCain's cooperation with the enemy when he was a prisoner of war but stop short of talking about the films he supposedly made. I guess its rumour and they have too many facts to show that McCain is not what he claims to be. He's no patriot and in the Korean War Dragon Lady
Click images for desktop size: "Dragon Lady" by Unknown
he would have been disgraced as a traitor.
Reading this and its clear that there are no brother POW's who would take the stage and stand alongside him.
Then there is this measured piece about Sarah Palin's Dislike of Minorities and Native Americans. The title is inflammatory. Its a nasty subject. The article is carefully considered and merely points out the facts. Palin is the governor of a state that we think of as being almost all white, but there is a 10% black population that Palin has assiduously ignored and kept down. She has also, apparently, done her best to hide and/or destroy the Native American Eskimo's. She has removed Native American's from almost all government posts and has no blacks in any positions.
The Tingler Pretty unthinkable and certainly unconsciousinable.
Especially from someone who is trying to tie 6 year old Barack Obama to the old SDS and Weathermen groups. Sort of ignoring the fact that to a lot of hippies and the like those groups were mildly heroically perceived in those days of war and protest she still seeks to align him even though the issue has already been examined and discarded as groundless.
Remember the lesson of Lyndon Johnson, "Make him deny it!"
I don't like Obama much. I like Joe Biden because he suddenly became human to me. But the scurrilous lies of McCain and harpy Palin have pushed me into the uncomfortable position of having to support Obama fervently. To let these sons and daughters of Nixon have a toe hold of power is revolting, dangerous and, with no exaggeration, could lead to the end of the world.
No one is too startled that Palin looks like a tax cheat. No one is surprised that she's a vindictive shrew who has used her power to illegally destroy a man who had the temerity to divorce her sister. What makes no sense is the Republican Party's desire to help her cover this up. So incendiary internet articles like this: The Storm Troopers Dark Side are to be expected and have a basis in being more honest that the people they're attacking.
See, I don't want to have a leader who's the same as me. I want a leader who's better than me. who I can look up to because of their intelligence, their empathy and their drive, not their ambition, bigotry, lies and hatred of the people they seek to lead.

October 5, 2008

Oregon 10 USC 44

Black Sand Beach by Lyle Kranchfield
Click images for desktop size: "Black Sand Beach" by Lyle Kranfield
So Friday rolls around and we head out for the concert. First we stop and have pizza! It is a continuation of my birthday after all . . .
I had the special. We go to this pizza joint because they do gluten free pizzas. My friend had a The Brain From Planet Arous gluten free Mediterranean thing. It was half the size but twice the price of my special but it was also twice as good, so I guess it balances all out.
After eating we hit the road. Its a long drive but at the end of it will be Alkaline Trio. Skiba and co. have been one of my favorite bands for a few years now and I'm really looking forward to it, willing to push through the crowd of "youngsters" to catch a glance at the band.
While we're driving and driving we listen to a radio station that's broadcasting live from the venue. They're not broadcasting the show. They're playing records that have nothing to do with the show . . . then they do a brief interview with band members, interviews that are totally dominated by a rather inept deejay . . .very annoying.
But Alkaline Trio come in and do an acoustic version of one of their "hits". Its very good and keeps the excitement up for the long long drive. We fill up with gas. Costs about 55 bucks. We're still stoked.
We hit some traffic but keep on pushing and pushing.
We finally go down some ragged streets and find the club. We enter the place just as Alkaline Trio are hitting the stage. Groovy.
The club is freaky. Its clearly an old disco. It has several of the old rear projection TV's scattered around the place with fuzzy old style cameras showing blurry on stage action. The plastic and the inflatable palm trees seem weird but make sense with the disco ball in the middle of the room and the old style disco lights subbing as stage lighting.
Fall To Pieces by Tony X
Click images for desktop size: "Fall To Pieces" by Tony X
You couldn't help but notice that the sound was dreadful. I'm sure you've noticed at concerts when they insist on playing tapes through the PA system before the lights go down how the sound is all clammy, boomy and just plain aggravating. It makes you worried that when the band comes on they're also going to sound that distant and cold. But then the band sounds just fine.
That's from playing recorded music through speakers designed for live sound. It works the opposite end of the tone scale but exactly the same way when you pipe a bands sound through speakers designed for recordings.
The band sounded terrible. The speakers were hissing and splatting all the high notes. They set up a nice vibration for the bass even though they didn't have enough bottom end to hear the notes you could at least feel them. The Erotic Adventures of Pinochhio
To make things worse they'd done little to change the joint from its disco roots. The place had a 30 foot ceiling and no baffles or even steamers to deflect the sound so all the highs just went spinning off into the ether and what was left of the mids were bounced around on concrete floors and tiled walls.
It sounded like crap. It was a huge ugly slab of feedback and harmonics.
I was annoyed but liked seeing the band live. The place was sold out Disco
Click images for desktop size: "Discos" by Unknown
and there were about 1,800 people there. The stage was only about 4 feet high so I picked through about a third of the crowd to find a safe place to stand. There was no mosh pit. I like the mosh, even when my job is to stand at the edge of it so my friend can mosh and feel safe. I become like the goalie, bouncing happy pogo-ers away from her, keeping them in play but keeping my friend safe. Sometimes I like a bit of slam dancing myself.
At this place, they seemed to just want to watch . . . There were a couple of guys who were trying to keep their day jobs but wanted to look like it was 1976. One guy did a mohawk, a short mohawk, with vaseline. Not very convincing but amusing. Two poor souls actually tried to crowd surf. I hope they were having fun because to me it looked sort of empty and nearly pathetic.
Untitled
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Unknown
I'd long wondered how a band could make such great records and still not be stars. Alkaline Trio weren't even headlining this gig . . . They were okay. Matt Skiba tried to connect with the audience and worked hard. The other two just limped along it seemed.
Their new drummer was too fussy for me. I liked the old drummer who was straight ahead and savage.
I was getting into it and thinking that they were alright. I thought they were starting to build momentum and would soon get the audience whipped up. They launched into "This Could Be Love" and they exploded. Even crappy sound and muddy instruments couldn't keep the power of the song down. Even stupid disco lights trying to emulate stupider hard rock light shows could The Golem kill the joy of seeing them do the song live.
Even when Skiba interrupted the song to try and get an audience sing along going during the bridge I was still with the band and thought that now the show had turned and it was going to start getting great!
And as the last note died Skiba said, "Goodnight!" and left the stage.
One lonely voice called for an encore but everyone else was turning for the bars.
They played for about 25 minutes . . .
Gee. I'm sure glad we drove three hours and paid 50 bucks a ticket to get to see you rehearse. It would have been nice if you'd done a sound check first.
I am no longer an Alkaline Trio fan.
I saw only one show that was worse. Long Beach Auditorium: Elvis Costello and the Attractions. The place was packed and they came out and played for 25 minutes.
Now, you'd already sensed that Costello was a fraud so it was easy to be angry with him and swear to never fall for his lying songs again.
I like Alkaline Trio and its disappointing to find out that they don't care about their fans or their audience. They didn't extend themselves. They barely tried. You owe an audience a glimpse of your soul. At least a feeling of the heat of the fire that burns inside. You don't rush off stage like you've got something more important to do.
I'm too old to be disappointed in heroes. At least now I know why Alkaline Trio aren't stars and don't Spider Web
Click images for desktop size: "Spider's Web" by Unknown
deserve to be.
Better than them were the Kipper KIds (one of whom married Bette Midler . . .) There act consisted of coming on stage stark naked except for old latex bathing caps and swimming goggles. Then they'd throw beans and cans of paint at each other until they were unholy messes. They could do that for 30 minutes.
At least you didn't feel ripped off when you watched their act.
Still, I had a great time. The drive was dark and spooky. The anticipation was great and seeing heroes crash and burn has its own attraction.
Another reason to never buy an RAIA sponsored recording ever again. And to check out local bands who work there asses off for beers and a smattering of applause.The Killers

Lat week I was a mediocre 7-6 in my NFL picks. My friend decided to make picks too and compete against me. Her criteria is the teams nick name, how cute their helmets are and whether or not Reggie Bush plays for them . . . she ended up being a mediocre 8-5 . . .
I'm not giving up though. Where would the fun be in that. As usual my picks are in bold.

Tennessee at Baltimore - From what I've seen the Titan's D is nearly as stout as Pittsburgh's. I liked the way the Ravens took it to the Steelers last week but they got pretty banged up. Kerry Collins has something to prove now that Vince Young has started practicing again. Flacco showed that he's ready for prime time, so while I wouldn't be surprised to see the Ravens pull this one out I have to thin the Titans will do enough to win.

Crow Head
Click images for desktop size: "Crow's Head" by Unknown
Kansas City at Carolina - I like the Chiefs Larry Johnson. I have since High School. He's showed that he can sometimes carry the team. I don't think he can do enough to keep the Panthers from scoring more than their fair share of points. I don't much care for the Panthers at all but at home they look like a solid pick.

Chicago at Detroit - Matt Millen was a great linebacker and a pretty poor front office exec. His getting fired still shouldn't affect the Lions play on the field. I'm skeptical about the Bears putting together back to back defensive efforts and they looked fine against the banged up Eagles. The Lions don't pose that much of a threat. Where they are strongest plays right into the superiority of the Bears. I've made this my survivor game. The one I have to win to stay in the running for the big prize! So, I'm not that skeptical The Mad Ghoul even with the Lion at home.

Atlanta at Green Bay - This pick is predicated on Aaron Rogers being well enough to at least play at 80% of his ability. He' shown he's a good player but hasn't stepped into great yet. Without him this will be a loss. The Falcons are an emotional team that believes in itself. If the Packers have too many 3 and outs the Falcons can put together enough drives to possibly win this.

Indianapolis at Houston - The Colts coming off a bye week. Manning with enough practice to be in opening game shape. The Texans stink.

San Diego at Miami - After the total dismemberment of the Patriots its tempting to go with the Dolphins at home. The Chargers have too many weapons and the new look Dolphins haven't put together back to back strong efforts. Brains say the Chargers have their backs against the walls and the SuperBowl in their hearts. The heart says the Dolphins have a big chip on their shoulder.

Washington at Philadelphia - The Redskins looked surprisingly strong in taking it to the Cowboys. I'm still not ready to concede that this is a good team. I'd look for the Eagles to tear them up. Brian Westbrook is back for them. He was the difference in the Bears game. Andy Reid teams don't lose many back to back. The Redskins can't get that high two weeks in a row, can they? My game of the week.

Seattle at New York Giants - Cruddy game of the The Mummy's Ghost week. The Giants will beat up on an inferior opponent and do it in the most boring way possible.

Tampa Bay at Denver - This is my upset of the week. I have no idea why the Bronco's are so heavily favored, last week the Chiefs destroyed them utterly. Tampa Bay is looking stronger and stronger. Do the bettors give that much credit to the friendly confines of Mile High? This is an upset I feel pretty comfortable with. If I bet I'd take the points and giggle.

New England at San Francisco - The Patriots were humiliated two weeks ago. They had the bye week to let the humiliation sink in. You have to figure they'll come out strongly and should contain Frank Gore and beat up on the 49er's QB. The Niners don't have enough D to totally stop even the Brady-less Patriot attack. I figure Pat's win but don't cover the ridiculous spread.

Eskimo Pin Up
Click images for desktop size: "Eskimo Pin Up" by Unknown
Cincinnati at Dallas - I feel sorry for the Bengals. I really do. Even if, miraculously, Carson Palmer can play he won't be 100%. In fact he stands a good chance of getting injured while trying to will the Bengals to a win.

Buffalo at Arizona - The Bills are playing to my expectation. So are the Cardinals. They were gutsy but still totally thrashed last week. They avoided near tragedy when Anquin Bolden got hit. Boldin's career might be over and that's sad. I expect the Bills to keep playing tough and doing enough to win.

Minnesota at New Orleans - How much worse can it get for theThe Snake Pit Saints. Sedrick Ellis is now out for 6 weeks. They keep getting people down. But Dru Brees might be the best QB in the NFL this season. Bush is playing solid ball and has his spectacular plays. The Viking D is the tyoe he could explode against. As depleted as the Saint's D is the Vikings O is so horrid, aside from Super Back Adrien Petersen, that the Saints should win a tight one at home.

Pittsburgh 10 Jacksonville 17 - This is my tie breaker game . . . I know, but they make you chose one like this. The Steelers were nothing but lucky last Monday night and now they have no running game. I'd expect Rothlisberger to be admiring the Florida sky a lot. He'll be on his back at leat 12 times tonight. He's healing but not 100%. The Jaguars are hungry and feeling right. I'd look for them to play loose and winning ball.

So, you may laugh now. These picks are for the pointed amusements of my enemies only . . .
I have a dog walk to attend today so I won't be able to watch and wonder what was going through my mind.
Tears for the Cubs. I'm shocked that they got swept. YAY for my Dodgers though. I never expected them to get this far.

October 3, 2008

Say a prayer for the hardworking people who need a leader but get gamblers instead
Mick Jagger

Discordia by Lawn Elf
Click images for desktop size: "Discordia" by LawnElf
The phone here is getting cut off. No quite sure when the dry DSL will be up and running.
So if I'm not posting or answering emails it is not a thing to panic over.
The Bonnie Parker Story With a tiny touch of luck (which I've been missing lots of lately) the transition will be seamless and this will be a useless bit of advisory . . or whatever you'd call it.
I have a busy weekend in front of me. Concert on Friday, USC vs Oregon on Saturday and then the big Dog Rescue walk on Sunday. So there'll be a lot to think about, to do and have fun with.
If the internet dies I'll miss you.
I watched the VP debate.
I was disappointed on one hand. Palin is a joke but she was on the safe side of embarrassing. I could use a laugh.
I was surprised I was so impressed and moved by Joe Biden.
My previous view of him was as a hack. Tonight he impressed me.
I was moved and impressed with all the stuff that everyone else was but what I liked the most that might get overlooked was when he spoke about maturing and changing in his views as he progressed and spent more time in office.
I didn't know about him losing his wife and daughter, maybe that led me to identify with him.
I didn't like that he wouldn't go along with gay marriage. I did like that he left that up to the decisions of the church, which leaves a tiny loop hole to recognize the feelings of people.
I don't like that Palin thinks that homosexuality is a life choice, like a life style.
I hated about her what you'd expect and I noticed everything that everyone else did - the cramming, speeches instead of answers.
I was just blindsided to discover that I like Joe Biden . . .

October 2, 2008

Furthermore, to hell with hate
Joe South

Darkness To Light by Shifted Reality
Click images for desktop size: "From Darkness To Light" by Shifted Reality
With the Dodgers and the Cubs both in the playoff's I can't lose! At least not in the first round. I was surprised that the Dodgers showed so much power. Not so surprised that the Cubs were held in check.
Scandal I hope it goes seven games and that the winner eviscerates the Phillies and gets to the world series. The series really should be the Cubs vs the Angels, but I'll take whatever happens!

Finished off the sick day by watching two more movies, watched them curled up and too hot underneath down like comforters.
Watched "The Rocker". Pretty bad comedy about a drummer who got kicked out of his band on the eve of their legendary success. The Bride Of Frankenstein
Click for desktop size: "Bride Of Frankenstein" by Universal
drummer stages a comeback twenty bitter years later with his nephews alternative rock band. It had a surprising number of good laughs in it. The acting was on a pretty decent level. The real surprise was they cast Pete Best (the drummer the Beatles kicked out of the band on the eve of their success) playing the replacement drummer.
The plot was wonky and the music was dreadful but I laughed aloud quite a few times. Much more enjoyable than it had any right to be.
We ended the night watching "10 Things I Promised My Dog". Now, I'm a sucker for Japanese dog movies. They are virtually their own genre.
They are remarkably gentle films. Extremely life like in their tragedy and conflict but always there are redeeming people about, always there is love and always there is a beautiful dog who behaves exactly like a dog and not like a movie star.Superman-DC Comics
Click images for desktop size: "Superman" by DC Comics

There's never a bad guy in these movies. There's never any dramatic conflict of that sort. The intrusions into the little world are always the product of fate, of life and its vagaries.
It works well for me. I always get misty when the dog passes away from old age.
The genre is so popular in Japan that they made a film that was a massive hit: "Always". It was a generic dog movie WITHOUT THE DOG!
I liked "Always" fine. I preferred "10 Things I Promised My Dog" because it has the cathartic release of getting me misty when the dog passed away at the end. "10 Things" had some great acting. The guy playing the father was superb. The dog was excellent, the girl was cute and bland. There was a classical guitarist. Sunset Boulevard He was actually playing live in the film. He was impressive as a player. Its always stunning when musicians play live in movies. It got Gary Busey his oscar nomination ("The Buddy Holly Story"). Its so effective in building its own little tension that its surprising its not done more often.
I can't recommend this one to anyone but fans of the genre. The director stuck too closely to the formula and didn't seek to expand or contract his vision within the genre like Anthony Mann did with the Western, or Don Seigal did with the prison movie. I enjoyed it immensely. It did what it was supposed to do well, exactly as was expected. That was its only flaw.
It got worried and agitated at all the right sports, laughed when I needed to relief the tension, excited at learning something that was obvious but seemed like a private insight. It did all you could expect and did it extremely well it just didn't Luis Royo
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Luis Royo
add anything new. In other words I wanted to love the movie, but instead I only liked it a lot. That's the weakness of the Japanese dog movies.
Like the rest of America I'm stoked about the Vice Presidential debate tonight. Sarah Palin has become the funniest TV character in decades. This is like the ultimate reality show comedy.
Every day she seems to top herself. I really don't know how she does it, how she keeps coming up with these great lines!
Yesterday was so totally cool when she accused Kate Couric of being unethical!! And she made it even funnier by claiming she knows that "pop quizzes" and reporting what a candidate says is unethical based on her community college degree in journalism!
She's a riot!
Terminator-The Sarah Connors Chronicles She nearly blew it with her commiserating about how "Joe Six Pack" she was by then pointing out how she had lost 20k in the market melt down . . . she seemed to think that everybody in America lost at least that much . . . sort of ignoring that all the people on minimum wage don't earn 20k in a year. I got the point of the joke but I thought it fell flat. I was sort of hoping she'd try and recover by giving us a flute solo but no such luck.
I do have to question the sanity of anyone who thinks this awesome comedienne could actually be in charge of anything more than a TV production house. I mean I think its clever that she screwed over the people in Alaska by charging them for transportation from her house to her house, and brilliant to charge them a per diem for sleeping in her own house. That's the kind of creative accounting that TV producers live by. But to be in actual charge of a whole lot of people? I keep thinking about RoseAnne. Maybe Palin could show us her private tattoos tonight.
I hope Sarah doesn't ket me down tonight.
I was seriously disappointed in Obama. He gave a good speech from the Senate floor. Pointing out the greed and government ineptitude that led to the stock market going off (it still has not crashed). He decried everything that needed decrying but he voted for it anyway. We're still giving rich lying stealing bastards our money.
That's not right.

October 1, 2008

The first thing we have to do to free our country is shoot all the bankers
Poncho Villa

Cotton Candy Explosion by Lawn Elf
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I'm feeling better today. My friend isn't.
I'm a bit worried. She's home sick again today.
Shaft's Big Score I'm still lucky enough to be feeling well enough to look over her. I've got her watching the old "The Cowboy and the Lady," where Gary Cooper again proves that he is the realization of the American male ideal and "Mamma Mia!" where Meryl Streep sings . . . Abba . . . And still deal with the nonsense in my own life.

Yesterday I got the letter from the bank explaining that the state had garnished my account . . . fully two weeks from the date it was done and 9 days from the date they did it.
It also explains that the $100 bucks the bank charges me for giving my money to someone without my knowledge or permission is non-refundable, even if this was done in error.
Great system. It goes well with charging $25 if you deposit a bad check.
The postal money order I mailed in still hasn't reached the bank. Their letter says they may charge me another $100 and hand over the balance to the state.
Its been two weeks since I mailed it. The post office says I have to fill out some forms and it will take a minimum of 90 days to get the money back.
Looks like I lose.
Like I said it wasn't that much money, but it was all I had. It was meant to pay my bills.

I gave my puppy a bath. She's very angry with me about it. I have to admit I have seen her dirtier, Bug by Richard Mohler
Click images for desktop size: "Bug" by Richard Mohler
and the water was only a dark gray and not its usual in black, so maybe I was pushing it . . . But she'll look beautiful at the dog walk on Sunday, maybe not to her but to me. I'm always proud of her but I think I deserve forgiveness for liking her to be clean and fluffy in public, even if the other dogs think she smells like flowers . . .
Tomorrow the giant dog get his bath and on Friday the gentle dog goes to the groomer to get clipped.
Beyond that I'm only looking forward to the Presidential debate. "Like all Americans" I will be extremely disappointed if Palin doesn't continue to make a fool of herself.
As a nation we deserve some big laffs.