USC 34 Notre Dame 27

Untitled by Steve Argyle
Click images for desktop size: “Untitled” by Stephen Youll
Its been a long week. They all are, or at least seem to be. Lonely most of the time.A lot of things that seemed important became trivial or forgotten.
I’m just now shaking the cold. Two weeks. I felt congestion building up in my lungs. When I walkedJuvenile Jungle up the big hill at night it felt like pneumonia was going to win out for sure. Massive doses of Vitamin C seemed to do the trick there. I do not like the feeling of drowning on dry land.
The graveyard shift hours continue to weigh heavily on me. I remain just constantly exhausted, constantly in need of sleep. I keep dozing off like a narcoleptic. At least I don’t drive. It would be scary if I did. My puppy has taken it upon herself to lead me places. She knows better than I do when I’m walking in my sleep.
My days off are spent exhausted while I try and give my body some time to heal so I can survive the coming week. Pretty creepy cycle.
Work is the same. It’s a terrible job. I got another raise. That just seems odd to me. Money doesn’t make me hate the job any less. Two more people have quit. Couldn’t take the abuse from our customers.
I guess gamblers are abusive. It comes with being obsessed and unable to comprehend the rest of the world. I’ve snapped at a couple of them. They either apologize or else they get huffy and tell me how to do my job. Even old and crippled I can intimidate the latter group.
Also for reasons I can’t comprehend all my fellow employees hate each other. They probably hate me too but like to talk to me and tell me how much they hate the others. Since we only see each other about 15 minutes day this just seems stupid to me and a huge waste of vehement energy. The main complaint is that the other emplyees won’t do what they’re told and the only reaction is nasty gossip. Stupid. See?
My physical therapist came back from his conference this week. I went in. Even though the sessions are doing me a lot of good the traveling there just wears me out even more. At this session I got two more daily exercises. I’ve gotten the two tendons in my shoulder loose enough to start working on the third tendon.
My shoulder blade has also gotten locked in and I have to loosen it. The new exercises are so Supermom
Click images for desktop size: “Supermom” by Unknown
nothing looking but they are excruciating for me.
For the shoulder blades I have to put my hands against the wall and lock my elbows. I then have to raise my head and chest to the ceiling and then lower them while trying to raise the shoulder blades from the rib cage. When I do it right its electric. I seem to do them wrong most of the time.
The other requires a stick. I put one end in the palm of my hand and push it with the other hand as far back as I can stand, which is not very far.
My other personal high lights: I got a new pair of shoes, on sale; 90 bucks gotten for 40. I got a haircut – bad haircut. Amazon.com was for some unknown reason giving away the entire Mojo Nixon catalog! I like Mojo Nixon just enough to download his stuff for free. Further mystery: the stuff was only free in the US.
I got a couple of people asking me how I came to my conclusion of not wanting to work with the high school football team, especially since the coach said all the right things.Jeopardy
It might be difficult to explain even though it shines with crystal clarity in my mind. Every coach has certain things they want to do, would love to do with their teams on the field. They have a vision. In the NFL you get to draft players to fulfill that vision, you get to sign free agents to make it complete. It’s the same way a conductor goes about hiring musicians for his orchestra.
In college ball the coaches and staff get to recruit players who they feel can help them realize their vision.Its only in high school football and below that the coach has little say in who is going to play for him. For me this is one of the challenges and the great beauties of Mike Tyson
Click images for desktop size: “Mike Tyson”
this level of football when seen only as a game; that the coaches have to adapt and change their philosophies and hence grow alongside their players as they envision and dream of ways to win together. It’s a different relationship to the players and to the game.
I like a wide open game. Wide splits from my O-Line, a punishing FB and a zippy RB with a QB who can rifle the ball 30 yards down field on every play. Except you seldom get the players who fit the mold.
Some coaches stick to their diagram and they can teach well enough to win and every five or six years they produce a champion. But they still have to adapt if only begrudgingly.
I’ve had a 5’2 135 pound full back. I’ve had O-Lines where the heaviest player was my 180 pound tackle. I’ve had QB’s who had no accuracy further than 20 yards down field. But we all worked together and figured out ways to win.
The Wing T formation, of which the present day Wildcat formation is a variation, was invented by a coach who had small players and no defense. He came up with it as a way to control the ball and the clock, forcing a low scoring game and giving his kids a chance to win. The spread and the veer Swan King by Michael Parkes
Click images for desktop size: “Swan King” by Michael Parkes
were invented for the similar reasons.
Now the coach I was talking to liked to run a no huddle offense. That can be a very pretty thing to see and to execute. It requires experienced players who know the game well enough to react and play almost on pure reflex. Payton Manning and Tom Brady showed you can play an entire game that way. It increases your time with the ball and wears a defense down. But if you don’t have experienced players the nu huddle is a brutal thing to see, ugly and sad. You have QB;a making wrong reads, and WR’s running wrong routes and worst of all you have O-Linemen hesitating instead of attacking.
In football one-tenth of a second is the difference between a TD and a tackle for a loss. That’s why speed is so important. As are reflexes. A football player who has to stop and think even for a tenth of a second is a guy who is still standing there thinking while the play is over.
That is exactly the play I saw that night. The Head Coach was locked into running a no huddle It The Terror From Beyond Space offense even though he had no personnel that were equipped or ready to run it. That means that the coach cared more about his dreams and ambitions than he did about the players on the field. The team is 0-8. That kind of record breeds weird things in young men’s minds. Some forget about winning and just try and enjoy being on the team. Most begin to doubt themselves and their worth as players and as human beings as they see themselves failing miserably at executing their coach’s orders. I think that the coach is giving orders that shouldn’t have ever been given.
That he wasn’t willing to scrape the no huddle and work instead on executing his plays, in teaching how to figure the assignments and how to attack the assignments tells me the truth behind the words.
I could never work with a coach who places his tiny dreams over the hearts and ambitions of his players.
That’s all there is to it really.
My puppy remains. She’s doing well on her diet. She looks beautiful. To me she never stopped Conan by John Buscema
Click images for desktop size: “Conan and Red Sonja” by John Buscema
looking beautiful.
Her life has taken some upset again, not in a bad way, but upset is upset. My housemate got a new puppy from the shelter. He moved in on Tuesday I think.
He’s a rottweiller mix. He’s pretty goofy and lovable. My puppy hates him. He’s taken to “marking” everything she has, my bed, her bed etc. He gets too rambunctious and when my puppy tries to get him to back off he gets vicious with her. He wants to play but he’s too young, too wild and too big!
He’s bitten me a few times, play bites but they hurt. He doesn’t back down when you yelp like most dogs. He needs training but for right now he needs to realize he’s no longer in the shelter. He was there for 6 weeks and before that . . . He was a surrender but his owners couldn’t even be bothered to bring him into the shelter, they called the dog catcher and told him to pick it up or they’d kill it.
When he calms down he’s pretty nifty. My puppy still hates him but she’s willing to try playing with him and just turning her back on him when he doesn’t act “right”.Invasion of the Space Preachers
He’ll be fine. I just hope that the two of them can learn to play together. They both need rough and tumble playmates.

Last week I was an uninspiring 8-6 in my NFL picks. Well, uninspiring to someone with my lofty standards perhaps but to someone who was, oh, shall we say 7-7 a record of 8-6 must look very lofty and impressive indeed.
My friend was 7-7 last week. Her cheating finally caught up with her! She still leads for the season 52 to 50 . . . I believe she hacked the website but it would be beneath me to say that until I get the evidence. I make no accusations but I point out that she is leading and keeps beating me week in and week out. I only ask how is this possible?
I read a lot of columnists agreed with me that last weeks NFL schedule was the dreariest ever. This weeks is no better really.
The biggest news is that the NFL actually decided to not let an avowed racist own an NFL team. Rush Limbaugh, who describes the NFL as watching the Bloods vs the Crips, wanted to buy the St Louis Rams. A few players said that they would refuse to play for a boss who hated them because of their skin color. Fair deal.
As badly as Goodell has responded to the lack of parity in the league and his bumbling handling of Michael Vick at least he was quick to respond and refuse Limbaugh to purchase an NFL team.
Limbaugh, of course, blames the blacks and the liberals. He never apologized for being a racist. He never explained it or claimed it was said merely to pump up his ratings. He was appalled that he didn’t have a right to buy a team and make it all white, I guess.

My picks are in bold.

Sea Creature by Evegeny
Click images for desktop size: “Sea Creature” by Evegeny
Houston at Cincinnati– Last week Carson Palmer’s win against the Ravens was a thing of incredible beauty. They played a classy well ordered game against a what appeared to be a stronger team. The only way the woeful Texans win is if the Bengals fall asleep and relax against a mediocre opponent.

Detroit at Green Bay – This is saved from being a cruddy game of the week contender by Aaron Rodgers spirited play and that the Packer defense hasn’t curled up and died. Like all .500 teams the Packer’s main problem has been consistency. They should be able to put together a pretty complete game against the Lions. The Lions have improved a lot since last year but not enough to pose anything other than an upset threat. The win against Washington has sharpened the NFL, no one will over look them again.

St Louis at Jacksonville – Cruddy game of the week contender. As the team at the center of the The Killers Rush Limbaugh fiasco, well, a major distraction is what this woeful team needs. Anything would be better than thinking about the quality of football they’re playing. The Jaguars are one of those joker teams playing the elite teams well while messing up with everyone else. It would take an amazing amount of screw ups to lose to this Rams team.

Baltimore at Minnesota – Game of the Week Contender. The Ravens two losses were beautiful things, games that bought out the best in their opponents. They played sterling football and got beat via legendary efforts. This is still a great team but they’ve yet to rise to the level that lets them produce those super human efforts themselves. Meanwhile the Vikings are making the Bret Favre acquisition appear to be a genius move. Adrian Petersen is still the most fearsome back in the league and Favre is just the guy who can make a defense pay when it tries to misalign to contain the running threat. The Viking D is playing up to expectations which is just good enough. In Baltimore I’d pick the Ravens but in the Vikings DomeI have to go with Favre and Petersen.
Untitled by Al Moor
Click images for desktop size: “Untitled” by Al Moore

New York Giants at New Orleans – Game of the Week. Two undefeated teams. Both with attitude. The Giants are blue bloods, a team expected to win and the Saints, a team that got famous for having it fans show up wearing bags over their heads. Drew Brees is an elite QB and flanked with Pierre Thomas, Reggie Bush and a vengeful minded ex Giant in Jeremy Shockey, they produce one of the most potent and pretty offenses in NFL history. And the Saints Defense is suddenly looking fierce and serious. John Vilma has finally become the LB he was expected to be. The Giants O has been solid, good running game, Eli Manning has been consistent and his passing attack has barely noticed the lack of high quality receivers. Their D is slightly off looking but hasn’t really been challenged yet. They’ll be challenged today for sure. This should be business as usual for the Giants while the Saints are looking to be taken seriously. Normally I’d pick the business like team but this time I want the Saints to win so badly I scarcely care. This is a pick for my heart.Kiss And Kill

Cleveland at Pittsburgh – This is my survivor pick of the week. Only 2,993 people still in the Survivor contest. I wonder if the teams will wear those horrible throwback uniforms this week. Do they serve Rolling Rock in Three Rivers? I always think of that as Pittsburgh’s beer. Its probably some corporate NFL approved beer. I think my shoelace is untied. And that’s the more interesting things that cross my mind when thinking about this game.

Carolina at Tampa Bay – Cruddy Game of the Week contender. Maybe the Panthers are getting it together, I mean they finally won one . . . Their defense is a gawdawful mess which matches up well with the gawdawful Buccaneer offense. I expect a lot of Cadillac Williams up the middle . . . I have no idea what the major talent on the Panthers’ O will do. Not much from past experience. Which is okay because there’s not much the Buc’s can do to stop much of anything.

Kansas City at Washington – Cruddy Game of the Week. I’m picking the Chiefs because the Redskins are just too appalling to believe. How did they win 2 games? The Chiefs can’t be as bad as their record insists they are. Can they?

Philadelphia at Oakland – There’s talk of arresting the Raiders HC for punching one of his assistants . . . which is more hitting then the Raiders are doing on the field. If the Eagles lose this one they should force Vick to go apologize to the dogs he refused to visit (jerk) while the rest of the team should seek anominity by opening up a record store across the bridge in Berkeley.

Smokers
Click images for desktop size: “Smokers” by Unknown
Arizona at Seattle – In the papers, on Monday morning this game might look more interesting then it will be to watch. Hasslebeck has the Seahawks looking respectable while the Cardinals are committed to making last years Superbowl run look like a pure fluke.

Tennessee at New England – Here are two underperforming teams. At least the Patriots have looked solid. The Titans looked good in their season opening day loss and then have proceeded to totally disintegrate. Tom Brady’s getting more and more on stride and his supporting cast is getting healthier. The Patriots O-Line is looking cracked and suspect but that won’t be much of a problem against the Titans. I’d look for the Patriots to fatten up here and get completely well and confident.

Buffalo at New York Jets – After a record setting 3 wins reality hit Mark Sanchez hard with one loss where he looked terrible and another loss where the Jet defense was inept. Sanchez sent out a Kung Fu Mama tweet last night asking opinions on what movie he should watch. (Hangover, Angels and Demons, Terminator, Funny People, Public Enemies or Star Trek) Nothing fills me with confidence more than a relaxed QB, At home against a sketchy Bills defense Sanchez should completely on track. Trent Edwards and Terrell Owens have not looked very good. Marshall Lynch may have hit a wall in his career. They shouldn’t pose many threats for the Jet D.

Denver at San Diego – This is a good intriguing game. The Bronco’s have a jaw dropping looking record put together with fluke plays and the leagues strongest home field advantage. Are they real? This is a solid test in their division. The Chargers are 2-2 even while Philip Rivers is looking pure elite and near flawless. This is do or die for both teams and the best Monday Night game in ages. I’m looking for the Bronco’s to possibly getting exposed on national TV while the Chargers look to shine on the big stage.

Chicago 21 at Atlanta 20 – This is a good mid level game, like the type that should fill the NFL schedule (instead of all the cruddy games dominating the schedule now). I’ve flip flopped on this one a lot. It’s a good game to think about with Jay Cutler and Matt Ryan and two solid defenses. Neither team has much of a sustained running attack so it’s going to be an aerial fantasy. I think Cutler has a slight edge with his less than stellar receivers which includes the enigmatic but incredibly explosive Devin Hester. And this is one game where special teams could be a huge factor in which case the Bears have it all over the Falcons.

These picks are for amusement and ridiculing only any other use is just kind of foolish don’t you think?

Battles Without Honor or Humanity Kinji Fukasaku

Predator
Click images for desktop size: “Predator” by Unknown
One of the last memorable gigs as a band was at a benefit party. The party was being thrown by some slick, over priced arty magazine. Curse of Frankenstein-Horror of Dracula
It was one of those functions guaranteed to attract a lot of A & R people, heavy weights, stars etc. Plus the magazine was certain to give itself serious coverage. A cover story. What was amazing was that nobody in the band objected to any of the details or even the pay. It was the bands usual tact to find some highly objectionable reason to not doing these career boosting gigs . . . We had all been in too many bands and the music excited us but the business was something that just seemed to be in the way.
It was sort of miraculous that with our lack of promotion and ambition that the party promoters had even found us. Like we once got it together to mail out ONE CD of demo’s to a magazine. They picked it as the CD of the month. Wrote quite a bit about it. We all read the article, tired to take it with professional maturity and then basically did nothing. We rehearsed more and got together when we felt like it.
But we got this gig and agreed to it. I don’t know who set it up. The venue was huge, very nice. Had a full pub as sort of an attachment, It had two separate stages and an outdoor amphitheater that could hold a few hundred. We were scheduled to play in the amphitheater, the fourth act. I was irked we weren’t the closers but the band that was closing had a single in the charts and had a brief appearance on “Top of the Pops”. They were a techno-dance band and fought for closing.
I was standing at the bar, not drinking quietly, when this fellow started talking to me. I’m used to that. For some reason a guy not drinking at a free bar attracts more attention that a rowdy drunk.
This fellow was as tall as me, fair haired going to baldness. He wore khaki shorts, broken aviator Scarlet Cascade
Click images for desktop size: “Scarlet Cascade” by Unknown
sunglasses, a too large hawaiian shirt, white socks and Doc Martin boots. He was drinking tonic water and bitters.
He was excited about an act in one of the smaller stages. The act was some girl who shot sparks out of her body . . . he was so excited about it that it was contagious. I had no idea why it sounded exciting but he made it seem that way. We made a date to go see the woman’s act. Then our attention got diverted by the cute little hostesses who wanted us to stop our not drinking and do our sound checks. The guy in the hawaiian shirt was in a band too.
The little hostess who was assigned to take me to the staging area explained that he was the guitarist for “Siouxie and the Banshees”. She made it clear she wished she’d had him to baby sit instead of me as she explained he’d also played on some of the “Little Furry Creature” tracks. My only thoughts were that he sure didn’t come off like the original Goth guitarist, he was too likable for that.
We did our sound check and then did whatever we could to stave off boredom. The Hawaiian shirtDark Passage Goth guitarist came and found me. The acts were starting on the inside stages and the spark girl was starting soon.
Spark girl was the opening act. Big mistake. The woman walked on stage to some nondescript acid trance music. She wasn’t very pretty but she was fit. She knew how to appeal to guys. She was mostly The Wizard of Oz
Click image: “Wizard of Oz-Bewtween Takes”
nude. To keep it legal she had strips of black clunky metal pasted to strategic places on her body. On her head was some sort of clunky Grace Jones geometric thing. What was interesting was a high speed/power grinder in her hands.
She did some mildly salacious poses on a chair while she revved the grinder in time to the music. Suddenly she touched the grinder to her body which let off a huge shower of red and white fiery sparks. She then danced around some touching the grinder to the black strips and shooting sparks all over the place. It was great!
She ended the act by lying back on the floor and touching the grinder between her legs shooting a twenty foot shower of sparks over the audiences head.
I was pretty slack jawed. I was also starting to write songs that required an electric grinder accompaniment . . .
My time for being put in my creative place wasn’t over. The Hawaiian Shirted Goth guitarist was opening the show. He had a trio he’d put together just for this gig. They were a little raw but very competent.
The Goth guitarist took the stage in exactly what he’d been wearing. He played a pink Fender. It looked customized and had a lot more sustain than you usually get from a strat.
There were about 300 people there and he treated the audience like they were guests in his living Fractal Axes
Click images for desktop size: “Fractal Axes” by Unknown
room. He was the most relaxed entertainer I’d ever seen and he was totally chilled and, of course, great!
My memory of his set was just of it always being casual, friendly and driving. But his finale was shattering. He soloed on electric guitar doing a mind blasting cover of the Beastie Boys’ “(You Gotta) Fight To Party”. It is now one of my primal memories defining rock & roll.
Relaxed, self assured and able to get a few hundred people dancing to just your guitar. I was humbled, jealous and thoroughly enjoyed myself.
The only negative was thinking we have to follow that!
Out of the two bands that were supposed to play, one refused to follow him and the other had a late running drummer so suddenly we had to follow that!
We did okay. Had to work is all. Made for a great show. Everything was well received.
After the set we got approached by a few managers and A & people. Signed with a manager too but at the moment Goth Guitarist and I were anxious to get to the smaller stage. There was going to beDestroy All Monsters a female fire eater! We hoped for something similar to spark girl.
The fire eater was just okay. She wore a black bikini, was covered in interesting tattoos and did an interesting fire eating routine but she didn’t shoot a tower a flame 20 feet over the audience’s head from her vagina and after that precedent we couldn’t help but be disappointed.
Oh, yeah. The magazine came out. The article was big. Opened with a double page spread of the spark girl. I think she deserved the coverage. They ran three pix of the band and wrote about a page and a half about us. I thought it weird that they only gave Goth Guitarist two columns.
The new manager got us a couple of gigs and got us into a recording studio, We laid down about a half dozen tracks and had some fun but the drummer got married, the lead singer got a job and discovered that he enjoyed not sweating the rent and eating regular. The bass player and I got this game for the Playstation and it seemed life or death to us that we get it finished . . . So another rock and roll fantasy laid to rest there.

Working the graveyard shift is killing me. Not the jobs fault. I think I’d be having the same problem working any hours. I can’t sleep. The pain in my right arm just won’t allow it. The latest wrinkle is that I wake up and my right hand is vibrating wildly. Vibrating faster than I can consciously will it to. I’ve tried to convince myself that this is a good thing, that it means the muscles are loosening up or something.
The arm was miserable the first two nights of work. Hurt constantly. The two numb fingers felt like they were filling up with blood and were fixing to explode. They don’t look swollen or anything so Bulls On Parade by Olli Pekka Jauhiainen
Click images for desktop size: “Bulls on Parade” by Olli Pekka Jauhiainen
I’m lost as to what they might mean with all the hurting.
I’ve worked 10 straight days. This is the first day off. In that time I learned to fulfill my work duties and keep my arm protected enough that its only a distracting issue with the occasional burst of screaming agony.
The walking and being on my feet is tiresome. I have a 3.2 mile walk to and from work, which is probably a good thing for me. Except the final mile and a half coming home I discover that I’m almost crawling up the hills. I find that annoying.
Not walking on my day off I can feel my legs having a chance to recover and heal.
The job itself is inconsequential. I have little contact with my co-workers. I only deal with them at shift change. One is fine and the other is a nightmare, but I only have to see her for 15 minutes a day so it doesn’t wear too thin.
One thing that bugs me is the ever present cameras. I don’t like being looked at quite that much.The Deadly Mantis
As to the job. Its just that a job. I have no feelings about it at all really. Maybe just too tired to know what I might feel.
The only drag part is after the shooting incident of my first day the landlords have evicted them! They plan to move the place but everywhere they’ve talked about moving would be impossible for me to get to. So its now a temporary job. Rather annoying.
So I’ll get about 6 weeks in. I’ve restarted my job hunt, lightly right now but will step it up this week.

My puppy is now scheduled to be with me on Labor Day weekend. It think about that a lot. I want her with me. I keep seeing things that would interest her. I think about how how much faster my walk to work would be if she were there to help me along.
One interesting thing is that no one at my job has recognized me as her companion. Its about the only place I’ve been in this town where that’s happened. Too tired to make anything of that.
After she’s settled in and feeling comfortable I’m going to bring in a foster dog.

Ninety-nine percent of who you are is invisible and untouchable Buckminster Fuller

Steve Argyle When I was five I used to trade baseball cards with the other kids in my area. I didn’t have the cash to buy the packages of cards. Most of my cards came from the back of cereal boxes. For a whileLady SIngs the Blues Jello was putting baseball cards in their puddings. Trading those kind of cards put me in a lower trading class of kid.
When I was seven I discovered comics and surfing. We were kids. We didn’t have much money so we’d buy the comics we could and then go to the beach and swap them. I got to read the first “Spiderman” comic trading a “Jimmy Olsen” for it.
Stalactites We’d look askance at kids who bought “Archie Comics” or Harvey comics like “Richie Rich”. We lived for super heroes punching out bad guys. We loved that Spiderman made jokes while he duked it out with the Rhino. Batman, even when stupid, was always cool. The Fantastic Four were a bit stuffy but the Thing was cool.
Sometimes, on the flat days, one of the real surfers would loan us his board so we could paddle around in the ocean and work on our moves, usually practice trying to stand on the board. He’d trade us the use of his board for a couple of comics so he could have something to read while he prayed for a set.
When I was nine we’d get together and trade records. 45’s, albums were something you got for Christmas. We lived on 45’s, on songs not concepts.
Tatiana Valkovskaya These record swapping parties were out first interactions with girls where the main point wasn’t to torment the girls to see how much they could take before they started crying.
We’d listen to the music. Dance tentatively. Swap the records for things we thought were cooler. Sometimes a trade would depend on the quality of the song on the flip side.
When VHS tapes came out movies were like 70 bucks a piece! We’d swap them with friends. Grabbing an obscure movie or TV show some guy taped off of late night TV in his hometown. Looking for westerns and monsters. Searching for cool.
Who knew that those happy days, those days of learning to interact with society, to appreciate a groups similarities and to cherish our differences would be considered criminal activities today.
You can’t buy anything anymore. You can only rent.Invasion of the Bee Girls
Some rich jerks afraid of the future passed some laws. Instead of socializing for real and learning you have to sit and do as you’re told. Government by the minority, the tiny minority, the “ruling class”.
You can’t own a record or a comic. You are only renting it and you’re not allowed to trade it or let more than three other people listen to it.
It makes sense if you’re rich and want to get richer and if you hate people. Albert Gonzalez lies to congress and okays torture behind their back. Nothing is going to happen to him. He gets to write columns and gets paid too much for them laughing about how he screwed us all over in the illusion of keeping us safe. Meanwhile Roger Clemens, a baseball player gets persecuted because some groupie he befriended swears he gave Clemens some shots. The full weight of the FBI and the Justice Department is committed to destroying his life.
Dick Cheney brags about using torture to lie to us and to to deceive us and Obama says we have to move on from having thousands of our kids slaughtered and murdered due to the actions of this guy. We have to forget all about that. Obama thinks that lowering our self esteem and having the rest of the world think we’re sleazy scum sucking cowards is trivial. What’s important is that we imprison and criminalize that kid sitting in his room who wants to make friends, who wants others to hear a song and see the same image in their heads that the song conjured in his.
It used to be that you were in a band. You made a record. You could get 45’s stamped out in lots of Wading Through Despair by Resident ANgel 500. With a two color self-designed label they cost you 300 bucks. You’d haul a box of the 45’s o your shows and get your girl friends to hawk them for a buck apiece. If you got lucky you’d sell twenty at a show.
Later you’d get CD’s stamped out. With the jewel case and art they’d run about $2.50 a piece to make. You’d smile at your girl friends and get them to sell them at your shows for $5.
Now, it used to be that the RIAA sold records for you. But the recording artists didn’t get paid. They got to perform shows and they got to keep the gate. The major labels loved this deal.
The record stores made about $2 a sale, the record jobber – the guy who put the records in the store got about $3.50 and the label got about $5.50. Sometimes the labels would pay the publishers, if the publishers were big enough to sue the labels.
The RIAA loved it. They fought hard to keep it that way.
Then came the internet and the world changed. For the better most of us would say.
I can see it being illegal if I downloaded a mess of songs and tried to sell them to you. I can evenJourney to the Center of the Earth see file sharing services being questionable when somebody is making money. I mean the RIAA or some webmaster raking off cash, might be wrong.
These rich guys couldn’t be bothered to se the change in the world. They only saw threats to their mansions. About ten years ago Courtney Love wrote a brilliant piece telling how the RIAA screwed her and every other recording musician over. Steve Van Zandt has also come out strong about the abuse of musicians by the labels and the RIAA.
Radio Head and Nine Inch Nails are two bands who took the words to heart and were smart enough to see the world has changed and is changing.
So are a lot of other bands. They remember tape and they remember taping songs off the radio. They want their music heard. They want to touch people and to have their music move people. They want you to dance.
Up in the bar there’s a new link called jukebox. It’ll take you to a glitzy, funny (to me anyway) page where there are 40 songs that aren’t burdened with the little RIAA bug.
Who Wants to Dance by J Heppert The tunes are all there because they need to be heard. There are some great tunes there. Mostly awesome, at least if you like the music I like . . . These aren’t my favorites, not all of them at least. The criteria was what I played the most often.
These are the bands of the past and of the future.

The porch is finished enough to be used. It looks good. My friend loves it which is all that matters.
I’ve been stove up. The pain is pretty horrible.
I use a simple scale. See the leukemia made me take chemo. Chemo gave me diabetes. The diabetes gave me neuropathic pain. For the past couple of years the pain has been pretty unremitting.
Death would hurt more. I can live with this pain. I have to remember that when I feel like giving up.
I’m up to 20 units of insulin. I looked it up. 20 units is about the average. I still have to increase theLeon dosage. My blood sugars are still not under control. They gave me sugar pills. Big suckers they are, in case my dosage increase put me into a hypoglycemic coma. No where near any danger of that, at least not yet.
This is my friends last day of vacation. Memorial Day. She says its the best vacation she’s had in years. Usually she misses work but this time she’s dreading going back.
We’re going to the Chinese Buffet.
The foster dog is fitting in better. The only issue he really has, aside form his incredibly sloppy water drinking, is his constant play. Constant play is not a good thing. It sounds like it should be but he gets so cranked up he gets annoying, not just to people but even to the other dogs. Foster dog gets so wound up he’s nearly a threat. He’s a good dog though and is trying to understand.
Tonight is a coaching meeting. After the meeting we have to pick up my coaching kit. The tackling dummies, agility gear, first aid kit etc.
They don’t have a lock up at the practice field so we have to haul all this stuff around. On paper it sounds like a great kit though. That the kit includes an agility ladder and agility hurdles gives me a lot of cause for hope.
I hope my friend enjoys hr first ever coaches meeting. She’ll be there as an equal.

Do the leaves on the maple tree bloom or blossom

Untitled by Steve Argyle
Click images for desktop size: “Untitled” by Steve Argyle
Yesterday was filled with nothing else but dogs. Giant dog has decided that the foster dog is okay so long as he is playing with him and not with giant dog’s toys.Mad Monster Party
Foster dog would bring toys to me to throw and drop them in my lap. I would reach for them and discover that giant dog, who was sitting next to me, had deftly removed them. He was holding them angrily between his paws. Foster dog just went and got new ones. At one stage giant dog was holding three toys between his paws. He glared at me in case I had any funny ideas.
Even my puppy got slightly less disdainful. She initiated play. Of course the play was her game and could only be played by her rules.
When giant dog would play bound at foster dog gentle dog would join in by attacking giant dog! And then foster dog had to go to the vet.
If ever a dog needed a trip to the vet . . . doesn’t make it easier. He was a pain. There was an unfixed female beagle at the vet’s office. He was uncontrollable. I took him outside. This is the rescue service’s vet so we had no choice, but I soon saw that there was no exercise area. No grass at all except the little patch we were standing on, and that little patch was next to the highway. Cars went by too fast for me to be comfortable.
I wouldn’t have left my dog there.
Foster dog is going to be fixed, shot up and the have his dew claws removed. He has the ugliest dew claws I’ve ever seen on a dog. I’m amazed that he hasn’t hurt himself before this. They have to be removed. The healing process is long. Three weeks minimum. He’ll have to be crated and carried around some.
Poor guy. He’s still one of the happiest dogs I’ve ever seen. His life has been pretty miserable but he keeps playing and laughing. He keeps the world shaped in his image. I admire that. I hope he keeps his attitude after all this surgery.
The Last Supper by Da Vinci
Click images for desktop size: “The Last Supper” by Da Vinci
This surgery will make his life better but I always wonder if it will be worth it if he loses that gift of changing the world to his own joyous view.
Its one of the reason I go on so much about my health issues.
When the doctor’s tell you some bad news, you got this or that brand of cancer for example, and then detail the available cures they always seem to do it in a rush. When you ask for details they get brusque, especially about the side effects.
Something like, “You’ve got lympho ballistic leukemia. No big deal its curable.”
In my case it took over seven years to cure. I’ve been cured, or at least in remission for nearly two years. I’ve often felt like giving up, even recently. But I don’t regret still being alive. No matter how low I’ve fallen or how despair filled things have often seemed. When it comes to doctor’s and scuzzy insurance companies sucking up my money (This policy cover 100% of all costs of normal and average acceptable fees as decided by us you will be responsible for any additional charges as decided by your service provider.Mata Hari
Its been worth it to me. I have my puppy and I have my friend. I like the world well enough, I stubborn enough to enjoy things like music and songs and stories.
Its been worth it to me but it might not be worth it to someone else. When the doctor says, “I won’t lie to you,” or “I’m not going to sugar coat it,” its safe to assume that he’s going to enjoy being brutal, he won’t discuss things so you can have a clear idea of what’s in front of you, and that he’s been pretty much misleading you in things up till then.
Most people will be empathetic at first but they don’t know how to act. Most of us don’t much like confronting mortality. I sure don’t. I The Bride Of Frankenstein
Click images for desktop size: “The Bride of Frankenstein”
always planned to be immortal, spitting into microphones, running down fields while opponents tripped over their own feet trying to catch me with all the dogs who’ve ever lived with me cheering me on from the stands or the mosh pit.
When they find out your ill people shut it out of their front brain and work hard to drive it out of their back brain too. The light we see blinds us to all but itself.
They get dismissive or they avoid you. Or worse, they suck it up so every meeting becomes more a confrontation than a casual conversation. Your mind’s not working great either. You can’t ignore the moments of self pity where you won’t like yourself very much either.
I was kind of lucky and people really couldn’t notice. I’m pretty dour anyway. In almost any relationship there would come a point would someone would look at me a bit amazed and say, “I never realized it before, your really a pretty funny guy, like you tell a lot of jokes. I never knew you were joking!”
The only difference for me is that they stopped saying that.
I think, no, I know that people need to know what’s in front of them. They don’t need to know the Taoist Immortals by Fûgai Honko
Click images for desktop size: “Taoist Immortals” by Fûgai Honko
future but they have to know enough to make a decision they can live with, not live happily maybe but they have to see some joy out there at the end of it all.
Steve McQueen went through it all, even ended up in Mexico swallowing extract of peach pit (Laetrile) while two people I know killed themselves. One by driving head on into a fire truck that was enroute to a fire.
I miss them all but there’s no choice but to respect their decisions even if you regret their choices.
That’s all.

I’ve listened to the new Bob Dylan, “Together for Life” and the New Neil Young, “Fork in the Road”.
I like Neil Young. Everybody has had to sit through my Neil Young story. (Maybe that should be Neil Young Story – keep it capitalized so it enters myth). Me and my buddies hid on a hill at Point DumeThe Mole People and watched them build Bob Dylan’s house and got a rush when we saw Roger McQuinn, even ran down the hill to talk to him.
I still listen to their stuff, their old stuff.
Because I loved their old stuff so much I probably took it harder and more personally that I think this new tuff absolutely sucks. Too old, too used to a life of riches and wealth. Young at least seems to try and understand what’s going on in the world. He even has feeling for it but its not there in the music.
Dylan has lived in the legend cocoon so long that he’s forgotten what it means to be human, to be angry and sad. He writes about heartburn like it was heartbreak.
It makes me sad.
What cheered me was re-watching “Hustle and Flow” as I did the usual household chores. An old movie but still the best film ever about creating music. It works from points of extremity and hyperbole. Music does. What I keep finding touching is the fact that the people here are all dreaming and reaching for that dream and in struggling for it they regain the humanity that the world has sought to pull out of them. All the other movies that tried to tell this story forgot about the human part, they wasted my time telling me about being an inhuman legend.
Time to take the dogs for their walk.
Next week I have to meet the parents of the players of my team. I have to prepare a three minute speech about what to expect from me and what I want from them so that we can build their children into something the children can be proud of. And I have to do this while I’m laughing at the latest dog jokes. Then I have to get ready for poor foster dog to come back to his home.

Only the new born are innocent but we all get older Jean Pierre Melville

Love Like This by Lavakillu
Click images for desktop size: “Love Like This” by Lavakillu
This weekend suddenly got busy. In a nice way.
Saturday I have eight hours of kit fitting for kids 13 and under. I volunteered my friend to doHillbillys in a Haunted House registration (paperwork) for the kids. The foster puppy will arrive in the area on Saturday morning.
Lots of logistics, kennels to set up, food dishes to shift about. Then the decision on whether the new comer will be up to doing the dog walk on Sunday.
Not a bad time at all unless they stick me on 8 hours of fitting kids for helmets . . . shoulder pads are a lot easier and quicker. Pants and girdles are the easiest. I’ve got a feeling I’ll be doing a lot of helmets . . .

My friend says I was pretty upset Monday about the doctor. She also thinks she understands the doc thinking I was going to slug him.
I didn’t feel upset. A little bit down probably. I thought I was being as gentle with the doc as I could be.
Maybe I hide this kind of stuff from myself but not from her. Possible.
One thing that does upset me is Joe Biden appearing at the MPAA dinner. Biden went as the Vice President. He got a standing ovation for calling kids who download music and movies from the internet “thieves”.
This is just another step towards Obama’s campaign to criminalize kids sharing music.
Criminalizing downloading will save the RIAA and the MPAA serious money. They won’t have to hire scum bag PI firms to hack innocent people’s computers searching for “illegal” stuff. They’ll have the FBI do it for them. I doubt that the FBI will even have to get a warrant to do this. In the UK they’re already forcing the ISP’s to keep all the logs of everything anyone does on the internet. So do we. London Streets 1888 by TitusBoy
Click images for desktop size: “London Streets 1888” by TitusBoy
Bush’s lie was that it was to root out all those millions of terrorists. Nothing political about it they claim. Nobody would ever misuse all this data.
Obviously the FBI has done such a stellar job of removing crime that they have plenty of excess time to go trolling for 14 year olds scarfing down the top 40.
Then the rich jerks would save even more money. They wouldn’t have to hire sleazy ambulance chaser lawyers, the US Attorney’s office will prosecute the kids. Obama’s hired the scummiest of them to train the rest in being even a purer distilled kind of scum. They’ll get the kids jail time, probation time. Those services are all standing empty. The US Attorney has locked away all the rapists, child abusers etc and the prisons must be standing empty because everyone has been rehabilitated. Probation officers must be facing being laid off. (Of course America leads the world in having the largest percentage of its population in prison, we must be trying to beat our own record).Gun Crazy
And then the RIAA and MPAA can then ask the judge to award them money for the serious damage these children have done to their business. At twenty bucks a track times a billion or some other wretched formula. Obama himself puts the damage at $350,000 a track. Rah!
When Obama gets his law passed criminalizing the kids I’ll boycott every rich musician who doesn’t sign off of the RIAA. Like rich guys like Tony Bennett who shockingly claims he isn’t rich enough and wants to squeeze even more money out of people who just want to La Liseuse by Fragonard
Click images for desktop size: “La Liseuse” by Fragonard
listen to music.
This really bugs me. If I buy a car and loan it to a friend for the weekend this logic would make me a criminal.
According to the RIAA and the MPAA when I lay down my twenty bucks I haven’t bought anything. I don’t own the CD or the DVD they do. I can’t tape it or make a digital copy of it or let my friends hear it, play it at parties. Blockbuster can charge me to borrow it but I can’t loan it for free. I don’t know why. Neither do they. They just want all the money for the least amount of money.
They claim that me loaning my CD to a friend costs them thousands of dollars. They’re losing money! Well, not losing money just making a bit less but they want it all: No Compromise. Sales aren’t dropping becasue we’re churning out cruddy product its becasue I think I own something I paid them for.
Silliness that they’ve spent billions during the last 60 years to turn into law. Unfairness. The rich bullying the poor.
I wish I’d voted for McCain. Not that he’d have been any better but I figure he’d been inept at getting Lost in a Bad World
Click images for desktop size: “Los in a Bad World” by Unknown
this stuff done. He wouldn’t have the same deadly proficency that Obama has.
McCain would have hacked off our allies, like Canada, with the same stupidity and ignorance but he’d have been laughed at more than seen as real and threatening.
The comfort of incompetence.

There is something going on out there. I saw this video that I think everyone else in the world has already seen. Its just a little music thing. You can click here to see the YouTube version of this bunch of guys all over the world doing “Stand By Me”.
Its exciting and unexpected. It reminds me of why I wanted to play music. Getting rich would have been nice but mainly I wanted to make a joyful noise. I wanted to make people dance. I wanted to be heard. It looks like these guys have the same idea. Its a great mammouth effort. I’m buying the CD becasue the RIAA has nothing to do with them and the music is sweet.

Eight out of ten people are good; the other two are just unwise Tsui Shan Lee

Smoke By Felipe
Click images for desktop size: “Smoke” by Felipe
I’ve had a couple of bad days in a row here.
Tuesday the news of a child’s death started things poorly then there was nothing tragic but all little things that kept piling on; pictures falling and glass breaking sort of things, legal letters and grief. World Without End Just a cumulative effect that increased my weariness.
It carried over to Wednesday. Plenty of snowfall. It was the kind of snow that in London would have been called a blizzard, in L.A. it would have been seen as either a miracle or the first sign of the Apocalypse. Here it was Wednesday.
I was out shoveling snow and noticed that the front tire on the car was low. That’s been a problem lately. With all of our scrabbling and cutting expenses we’re just seeing a dim light ahead. Cars have a way of knowing when you’re about to get even.
I have an electric tire pump that plugs into the cigarette lighter. I Cocktail Party - Virtual Girl
Click image: “Party Girl” by Virtual Girl
filled the tire and while I was putting it away I decided to start the car. It wouldn’t start. No jumper cables. Weird clicking that sounded like but not quite like a solenoid clicking.
Some stress there. My friend was working at home. After a few hours of stressing she went out to see the car herself. It started right up . . . which was good in the long term, of course, but left my ego slightly dinged.
I spent a few hours making dog treats, drying sweet potatoes and apples. The dogs didn’t seem to like them, except for my puppy who’ll gladly eat anything.
My response to all this was to attempt to do something positive. Backing up the computer hard drive seemed like a good idea. Except I didn’t have enough space on the back up drive . . . no issues. I clone the drive and make it bootable. When faced with crunching space I normally wait for the app to back up the media files and then delete them from the back up drive. I don’t need them The Behemoth
Click images for desktop size: “The Behemoth” by Unknown
there in the face of a disastrous crash. Except this time I mistakingly deleted them from the main drive – 14 movies, about 56 gigs. All replaceable just tedious work copying them to the HD except I can’t remember what four of them were. I have to take that as a sign that they weren’t very important after all.
The skanky cat seems to have taken up residence in the dog house. She/he has found the food I put on top of the dog house (to keep it out of dog’s reach). It has also learned not to run from the dogs. The snuffling at it is preferable to being chased and trampled. I fear skanky cat may have found a home. I do see its footprints going over the fence so maybe it has a few different homes. I hope so.
We went to the Wushu show last night. It wasn’t Wushu. I like those shows. I saw a great one inWhere Danger Lives London at the Royal Opera House. Monks flashing swords and triple irons, smacking each other around. It was tres’ cool.
This was pure dance. Chinese traditional dancing is pretty cool. A lot of the Olympic gymnastics routines had their origins in Chinese dance. It was cool seeing dancers flash around, tumbling at flying and twisting in mid air. A few moves were excellent.
They had one number with 16 female drummers. Awesome stuff. Dancing and hitting the drums in a nifty syncopated beat. Then there was a number called The Dragon Drummers. 14 guys playing Chinese tambourines and flinging themselves around the stage. Finally, for me, there was a killer number with 16 chicks playing “Mongolian Chopsticks”. A bunch a reeds tied together that they played by banging the sticks against different body parts. Great sound and scary shaky rhythm.
My friend liked a Tibetan dance number. There was a lot of stomping around and nifty jumps. I slept through a big part of it or else I might have felt more positive about it.
The show did something else I found interesting. Instead of back drops they used a projector, a front projector. I thought that odd only because I’d have figured a rear projector would work better for them. Its a solid idea for a bus and truck show Transformers
Click images for desktop size: “Transformers” by Matell
and it let them do all these nifty SFX of saints descending from heaven and the like.
I was also stunned by all the costume changes. Conservative estimate there had to be at least 500 costume changes. All I could think about was doing the laundry. I figured the costumers had to be up all night washing and ironing. The costumes were nifty and impressive.
There were a couple of things I didn’t care for. They had two narrators who were kind of blah. They took turns speaking in Chinese while the other translated into English. Made some pretty superfluous info go twice as long and get twice as tedious.
I didn’t care for the heavy Westernization of the Chinese music. Personal preference. It was all original music that sounded like typical dance music with an Asian flair.7th Voyage Of Sinbad
Then to effect all the costume changes they had these “musical interludes” where individuals came out and did these heavy religious songs opera style. It was where I first started napping.
There was a woman who did a lovely number on the “ehru”. The ehru is that crazed two string Chinese violin. Her piece was interesting. I wondered where else she could find work as a virtuoso on such an obscure (by Western standards) instrument. Hers was the only endurable number.
All in all it was a pleasant enough evening with a couple of revelatory moments. I would have done the sound a LOT better. The soundman was in the same aisle as us and the same row. His work was poor. He amplified the orchestra pit so that a 20 piece band ended up sounding like a ghetto blaster. Very surprising. I still don’t understand the over mikeing. The light design was decent Pepper Project by Imaginary Friends Studio
Click images for desktop size: “Pepper Project” by Imaginary Friends Studio
especially when having to deal with the movie sized front projection system. That’s a problem I wouldn’t have wanted to deal with.
During the show intermission I got interviewed about the show by some local TV station. Why they picked out a guy in a leather coat, over a black pin stripe suit and a purple and white abstract art tie who was wearing sunglasses indoors is beyond me. I was excellent, as to be expected, and gave them plenty of footage. After 5 minutes I was getting uncomfortable. The light was cutting through my sunglasses and starting to hurt my eyes. I still don’t know why they went for me.
The evening was nice enough that neither us was too fussed about the parking ticket we found on the car at the end of the evening.
The snow was still blooming and the roads were a tedious exercise all the way home. We weren’tJules And Jim prepared to get home and discover that the next door neighbors had cleared the driveway by piling all the snow in front of our gate . . . about 4 and a half feet in front of the man gate and nearly 3 feet in front of the car gate.
I had to shovel. I was surprised when about halfway through the neighbor came out and helped me! I was glad. He said “Hey” and that’s all. That’s still more than he’s said to me in the time he’s been there.
We decided we really miss her old neighbor. I miss her two dogs and often wonder if they’re okay. One had a bad hip dysplasia but such a happy attitude I hope he survives.
The dogs were glad to see us. I missed them even if it was only about 5 hours.

I’ve been asked about my snow obsession. Part of it is because its so really new to me. The other is kind of a weird Archibald McLeish-Theodore Roethke sort of thing. Its my friend, see. I have this odd thing that I never want to skin of her shoes to ever have to touch snow or ice. Only sunlight.

Doctor said I just need a pocketful of nickels and a juke box to cure all my ills Carl Perkins

Psychopulse by 4AM One thing I hate about objective opinions is they’re hard to ignore or argue against.
I thought I was holding it together but I guess I’ve been a bit of a jerk these past few days.
Overcompensating. I keep feeling bad, plugging away at the pain pills but I’m still being a jerk.Robot Monster
When that’s the case its always a good idea to find something to pin the blame on.
I chose the cats: The stupid cat that lives with us and the skanky cat who I have to feed who resides in the dog house.
See how easy that is?
I like that cats exist now. I think cats are probably responsible for the recession, Cheny’s ability to torture people and Bush’s ability to Melinda Clarke illegally detain American citizens. And me being crabby. Its all part of a package.
Cats!
The skanky cat has now moved permanently into the dog house. The dogs don’t even care about it anymore. It has enough sense to not antagonize them and now that I’m putting its food out of the dogs reach they couldn’t care about it at all. Unlike the stupid cat the skanky cat doesn’t try and attack them and then run away thinking its faster than they are.
Cats. Grumble.
I forgot to mention that I’ve updated the film libraries. A bit over 3,300 movies now. Its slower updating thanks to the AppleTV. Where before I had to keep every movie I saw now I can just delete them. I wish I could delete them from my memory as easily. I still have shudders about “Semi-Pro” but I am pleased that I have absolutely no recall of “Eagle Eye” other than the trailer, I can’t remember a thing about it, which is probably a good thing.
I also cleaned a few things up, made corrections that sort of thing. I have to say it: I’m not selling movies or boot legging them. They’re for trade only.
Robert Crumb There’s no copy of “The Dark Knight”, which I thought was a turgid boringly long mess. Heath Ledger will probably get the Oscar. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences loves to give the Oscar to dead actors. I figure because the producers always vote them in. Any footage they have of Ledger become more valuable and dead actors can’t suddenly come back and demand 100 to 1,000 times more money and a percentage of the front end.
I still thought Ledger’s the Joker was a sloppy construction. Thew whole film was sloppy and sprawling in a bad way, like your fat uncle sprawling on the sofa watching baseball on a hot summer day way.
I still also don’t have a copy of “Gladiator”. I didn’t like that one either, even though one of my Seven Samurai better friends chides me over its exclusion. He thinks its the greatest movie ever made. He won’t trade me his copy. He and his girlfriend have just moved and taken on some new teaching positions so his plan to get a 50 inch plasma, and a Blu Ray player just he can watch “gladiator” over and over again have, thankfully, had to be put on hold.
You will find more Asian films, more action and monster movies. Some wannabee surfer thinks my By Kankei taste in movies is elitist. I think its cool that loving Godzilla and Chambara flics is now elitist.
Oh and click on the buttons and things in the movie pages. It will display the posters and descriptions.
After me picking Gene Vincent’s re-release of “The Day the World Turned Blue” and “A Million Shades of Blue” as my album of the year a friend sent me another 2008 re-release. Gene Vincent’s “Born To Be A Rolling Stone”. He’s right that “Rolling Stone” is a better over all album. The music is tighter, there are catchier tunes. “Rolling Stone” has been available for ever in one version or another. I have at least 3 CD’s of it. This new one is the best though. Remastered sweet and clean. They’ve bought up the lovely acoustic guitars and at times Parfume by Roebuck Gene’s voice shimmers. I’ll stick with the “Blue” albums though. Two first time on CD releases on a single disk. That’s very cool.
The album I’d love to see (hear) on CD is the odd one that Gene made in England with the Puppets. They were his band when he played the Blackpool Pier. Every day two shows a day. I think that was a happy year for Gene. The album is joyous, tight and exuberant as the days with the Blue Caps. Its almost all other versions of his hits but they are very very good. Having it remastered in the same way as these two disks would be very welcome indeed. The same with almost any of the Rebel Heart disks. (Reference for dedicated Gene fans – Rebel Heart has about 20 LPs featuring every scrap of Gene’s recordings, including stuff fans recorded in hotel rooms and the like – great stuff.)Secret Beyond the Door

The bowl season is looking interesting. Right now it appears that my opinion of the SEC and Big 12 are more accurate than the presses’. The Sec has decent defenses going against mediocre offenses and the Big 12 has good offenses going up against the worst defenses in the country.
Even Sports journalism has been caught up in the fall of journalism in this country. There won’t ever be another, “All the President’s Men”. They’ll just report the press releases as fact and go along with the hype.
Utah destroying “Number 1” Alabama in the Sugar Bowl and Misissippi dismantling Texas Tech yesterday sort of proves all of that. WHile the Pac 10 going 5-0 in the bowls while being called the worst BCS conference in the nation makes everything look kind of silly.
But nothing touches silliness as much as the NFL’s Wild Card Weekend.
Planning the Attack by Charles Russell I’m not a fan of the wild card games. Runner ups get a chance to go to the Super Bowl? It sells tickets though and I’ll, no doubt, watch all four games so, there you go.
I’m pretty much way out of the season prize but I’ll pick the games anyway.
In the final week of the regular season I picked an astonishing 9 games correctly. My friend, in her abysmal ignorance managed to get SIX games wrong. Pathetic. That she thinks her 10-6 record is superior to my 9-7 picks shows her woeful insight into this beautiful sport.
My picks are in bold.

Atlanta at Arizona – One of the more interesting games. The Cardinals only lost to the New York Giants at home. I’m still picking Atlanta and stunning rookie Matt Ryan. Although I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Cardinals jump out to an early lead and then just build on it this game smellsSpice World more like a shoot out. The Falcons have a better defense and the Cardinals have a better offense. It should be the most fun game. I’m still picking the Falcons because its fun to imagine Matt Ryan marching the Falcons down the field in the final minute on the winning drive.

Indianapolis at San Diego – The Colts are pretty heavy favorites here. Good reason. What is more embarrassing for the NFL, having the 8-8 Chargers when the AFC west or having an 8-8 team in the play offs at all! The Colts have managed to win on sheer will this season. They’re healthy and experienced. Tomlinson and Gates, the two best players the Chargers have sat out of practice this week. Normally that would bother me but the two of them are serious talents and probably benefited from the bye week. Philip Rivers is looking sharp and I can see them winning the shoot out. It took a great drive by Manning to beat them in the regular season. They should have learned something from that game.

Baltimore at Miami – The Dolphins are stoked by going from 1-15 to the play offs! Chad Pennington is stoked because they eliminated his old team from the play offs. The Ravens are angry. Angry because Matt Ryan got rookie of the year over their super rookie Joe Flacco. Angry that no one Beauty Contest Loser gives them a chance to advance to the Super Bowl. In the NFL angry always seems to trump happy.

Philadelphia 30 at Minnesota 27 – I don’t like the Eagles or the Vikings much. The Eagles have the D-Line to contain but not stop Adrien Petersen. They will make a joke of the lousy QB Jackson. The VIkings can pressure McNabb and contain Brian Westbrook but not all day. It should be close but only because the Eagles will let the Vikings dig out of a hole.

With my gaudy 60% accuracy rate at NFL picks only a total wastrel who wants to throw away his money would pay any attention to these picks . . . for amusement of my enemies only. You know who you are!

It’s a recession when your neighbour loses his job; it’s a depression when you lose yours Harry S. Truman

Modern Princess Its been a pretty good year.
Too much moving back and forth but a good year despite all that.
My friends birthday was sort of dull for her. It was fine for me. Her only present from me she gotA Detective Story too early. She had to go with me to the post office to pick it up and when we got there, despite my admonitions she read the box label . . . so I let her have it. The gift I mean. It was a set of knives. Not My Life and Yours very romantic but the sort of thing I think she likes . . .
We watched the klazzik, to our minds anyway, Japanese movie, “Dog Star”.
Its a simple movie with an exquisite conceit. A blind man is struck by a truck. His seeing eye dog, Shiro, survives. The blind man has not done enough good deeds to get into heaven. He decides to grant his best friend, Shiro, a request, a good deed. Shiro wants to be a human so he can go see the little girl who raised him.
Shiro becomes an adult male human, but still a dog inside. They avoid most of the cheap dog stuff laffs and let Shiro be a man who is a dog inside.
He meets his old owner and is overwhelmed with his joy. One of my fave scenes is when he asks her if she is happy now. When she says yes Shiro gets up and runs full speed around the school playground.
The scene that breaks me down is when Shiro, after all of their adventures, sits with the girl on the beach and finally convinces her that he is not just the love of her life but is truly her old dog Shiro, more than anything her devoted friend.
There’s a shot from behind where we see the girl sitting next to, not the man Shiro, but the dog Shiro as they stare into the clear night sky. It kills me even thinking about it. Its echoed later in the film with a heart rending sadness and beauty that is unshakeable.
I wish all my dogs could talk to me more fully instead of their struggles to communicate with me and my thick headed too human demeanor.
Its the end of the year today.
I can’t come up with more than the three films I’ve already discussed as the best of the year. “A Man Who Was Superman,” “The Underdog Patent OfficeKnight”, and “JCVD.” I know the point is to list five at least but any other films in the list would just diminish the major accomplishments of these three. “A Man Who Was Superman” is already in the top 25 of my all time favorites. I still can recall vivid scenes that make little sense outside the film. The sense being explaining their power – Superman standing at a garden hose covering himself with water. Five teenagers struggling to lift a car all wearing tropical cheap Hawaiian shirts. Its that kind of movie. Beauty is there and makes itself beautiful by recreating our world in a vivid way that time makes us ignore.
For music . . . As doomed as I found Alkaline Trio and their putrid show the Album “Agony & Irony” was excellent. The only guy who has yet to disappoint is Jack White. The Raconteurs, “Consolers of the Lonely” was fine and contained a few songs that I want to learn so I can dazzle people.Empire of the Ants
The best album was a reissue. I’ve only had scratched up copies of Gene Vincent’s “The Day the World Turned Blue” and “A Million Shades of Blue”. The high compression and tics and pops have become a part of the music. The CD re-issue of both albums is impressive. The remastering is excellent but its Gene himself who devours my soul.
The man could sing. He knew how to sell a song. Most of the music on the disk is trivial, at time horrendous like the 8 minute hippie dirge “Tush Hog” is unlistenable to me.
Even in the trivial numbers Gene displays a compelling emotive power that almost thinks the music is good. It makes me wish he hadn’t died a fat drunk. But if he hadn’t would have have been able to compose and ding like he did. The closest I can compare him to is Charlie “Bird” Parker. If their lives weren’t paeans to self destructiveness could they have heard the sounds they heard and been driven to make us understand?
I still know a lot of guys who’ll punch you out for even hinting that Gene wasn’t the greatest thing to ever happen in this life. As much as I love him some have taken umbrage with me. I’m not that violent about it. I just think that if you can’t be carried away by the beauty of Blue that Gene carried within him its only sad for you.

Another Face For the New Year you always need some “Auld Lang Syne” for your party. Here’s three.
Guy Lambardo and the Royal Canadians version is the standard, almost the original.
Me First and the Gimmie Gimmies bring a new funny life to the old tune. It rocks okay.
Lou Rawls brings a jaw dropping version. Its a solo accapela trip. I never new Rawls was this cool.

Best wishes for all into the New Year. Especially my friend, my friends and my puppies, past present and future.

Happy Christmas to all and to all a good night! Clement Moore

Frozen Tree by Far2way Its Christmas Eve.
Jackie Wilson’s “Joy To The World” I’m exhausted. About 9 inches of snow last night. Not a blizzard according to the local standards. Its just snow.Rudolph Comics
We went and delivered our Secret Santa gifts to all the houses walking through the non-blizzard. It was wonderful fun. I liked leaving big old footprints in all the fresh snow. I liked sticking the little dried veggie Santa packs in the doors and mailboxes. I expect half of them are already waiting for the garbage pick-up. I don’t care about that.
I still had to take the garbage out. Garbage men don’t get Christmas Eve off. Doesn’t seem fair.
When we came in from Secret Santa’ing I warned my friend that the man gate wasn’t closing properly and to be careful of the dogs. Of course I ignored my own good advice and when I was Frozen Tundra by NFL Films halfway down the drive with my arms full of garbage the giant dog suddenly bounded in front of me, went into play posture and leapt away. The gentle dog run past next, slowing down only to say high before he dashed along. My puppy came up beside me and asked if I needed a hand with anything . . .
I had to go out and stop too cars who were creeping along as the two big dogs ran back and forth across the street. Miraculously my puppy actually did a sit stay. I think she was amused.
Then I got my Christmas miracle. I yelled at the dogs and they very nonchalantly trotted up the drive way and waited for me to properly open the man gate so they could go back into their yard.
I discovered a stupid stray cat has taken up residence in the dog house in the yard. I put food outGirls Bravo for it and then fought with the dogs to not eat its cat food. I figure our stupid cat invited the stray in, told it what a sucker I was.
I didn’t get the Christmas cookies made. Shoveled an amazing amount of snow.
We also got a pretty nice Christmas present from Snow Boys by Subo Sitro my friends ex-secretary. Orchestra seats for the Chinese Wushu Show. How totally cool. The theater actually delivered them. He wouldn’t come in for coffee.
The only disappointment is that the ex-secretary won’t be joining us. I would have liked that too. I’m greedy that way.
Watching it snow was pretty. Last night should have been Christmas Eve. It was near perfect in tone, setting and silence.
“It’s always Christmas in my heart,” or some such in some song.

Christmas Eve is the time for some of the old traditional songs. Cool stuff that becomes loved via familiarity and repetition.
Lou Christie does an old fashioned take on “O Holy Night”. I always thought it was a bit arch that Christie toured with his sister who sang back up on all of his cool racy hits.
For some people its not Christmas until they get some Johnny Mathis and Percy Faith, for them Santa Is Coming here’s Johnny Mathis and Faith’s klazzik, “Sleigh Ride”.
Jackie Wilson was one of the greatest performers in music. He worked hard and knew how to inject emotion into a tune that didn’t involve just yelling and groveling (which are not bad things at all) Wilson laid his soul bare. Jackie Wilson’s “Joy To The World” is a bit too respectful to the original to really soar but it has a sweetness and power of its own.
Eric Johnson brings his refined technique to the fore on his touching version of “The First Nowell”.
El Vez put on the greatest Christmas Show I’ve ever seen at the Garage in Islington. He wore a plasticky Santa Claus suit that wobbled around insanely. The Elvettes wore Red fur trimmed mini skirts and red fur trimmed halter tops and Santa hats (faux fur of course). While his back up band,Santa Claus Funnies The Memphis Mariachis, wore white shirts, string ties with enameled Christmas Wreathes and Santa hats. El Vez did stuff like this cool “Feliz Navi-Nada”. For me you need El Vez to really believe its Christmas.
Not to be outdone very hip band It Dies Today does its own grind on “Feliz Navidad”.
Christmas Card In a similar vein Haste The Day rips through “O Come Emanuel”. Very fast and cool.
Semi techno band Belle and Sebastian do their own take on the tune with “O Come, O Come Emmanuel”.
Now we’ll take a break while The Beach Boys exhort you to give some toys to the kids Keola Beamer shows that the Hawaiian slack guitar is truly an awesome style with his “Do You Hear What I Hear”.
Pollo del Mar does an unforgettable version of “Carol of the Bells”.
While a jazz guitar legend shows he has chops. Chet Baker’s take on “Silent Night” will chill you out.
Christmas Night The Rooks were a nearly great band. They only did two albums but buried in there was a heartfelt christmas tune. The Rooks “Christmas Is Here” rocks well enough to not get embarrassing.
Darlene Love proves she’s got the key to Christmas in her heart with this cool “All Alone On Christmas”. This is the best version of the track I could find.
Jeff Beck can still fly with “Amazing Grace”. Its oddly lushly arranged but Beck’s guitar always soars.
One band that’s never done a Christmas song is Me First and the Gimmie Gimmies. They should. Maybe they already have. This raw version of a Jackson 5 number touches and warms the heart the way a Christmas song should. Until you hear Me First and the Gimmie Gimmies destroy “I’ll Be There” you’re missing a big part of the holiday feeling. At least the way I feel it.
I could go on for days. I could but I can’t. I have to help my puppy write her blog post. I’ve got a foot of snow to shovel and dogs to pet.
Merry Christmas.

Christmas is coming, it will soon be here Paul Fix

Forgotten Memories by Reece Townsend
Click images for desktop size: “Forgotten Memories” by Reece Townsend
Yesterday we go distracted.
We went out to get dog food and the feed store had a living Nativity scene. No people but plenty ofDennis the Menace sheep, a donkey and a CAMEL!!
The animals were all fat and happy. Maybe the donkey had a bit of consternation. He kept his ass (that’s a pun, son) under the heat lamp and mulishly refused to move!
Inside they had free hot cider and free candy canes! It was totally cool. No one, a couple of Santa
“Santa’s Sleigh” by Unknown
customers maybe, was agitated or cranked on anything but good will. We got food and a Christmas treat for the dogs.
My friend had spent a lot of time petting the lambs. When we got home we were disappointed that the giant dog, who is childishly jealous, didn’t seem to care or react to the sheep smells at all.
I wanted to take the dogs back to see the animals, which was probably a bad idea and vetoed by the driver.
It was still the nicest monderful Christmas thing I’d ever seen. Everyone was lost in it for a least a little while. We did some grocery shopping. Even in the middle of the day all the stores and parking lots were jammed and went home to recover.
I finished vacuum sealing the Secret Santa doggie treats. Our dogs are still bewildered by this bagging up of stuff that should belong to them.
Happy Holidays
Click images for desktop size: “Happy Holidays” by Unknown
I did some more shoveling. Then we tried to watch some movies. “Transporter 3” was a disappointment. Got up t the 2nd big fight scene then cut it off. Corey Yuen, the guy who directed the first one, knew how to film fights. This one has some dufus American so instead of watching the surprising speed and grace of Jason Stratham we get a lot of fast cuts and a mysteriously shaky camera that gets real annoying.
They’re also disemboweled the Frank Martin character, who used to be very cool, pragmatic and lacking in self doubt. They’ve added in the dreary remote bomb trip (75 feet from the car and you die) so I was quickly losing interest.
Then did get through “Fred Claus”. A not very good Christmas-y movie.Teen Beam
I wanted to see it because of the cast. Kevin Spacey as a Christmas villain is like YOW! Paul Giametti, the cool sociopath bad guy from “Shoot ‘Em Up” as Santa Claus! Rachel Weiz as the love interest then cameo’s by Frank Stallone, Steve Baldwin and Ken Clinton as other brothers who’s lives were destroyed by their famous siblings. (Oh, Fred Claus is Santa’s brother).
Weiz plays Vince Vaughn’s love interest. I’m still trying to figure out how a woman with such a thick Cruel Snowkids
“Cruel Snowkids” by Unknown
Brit accent got a job as a meter maid in Chicago. It made no sense, unless it was intended to make some sort of weird comment on U.S. immigration policies.
The film wast sort of nothing. I found myself thinking about “Deck the Halls’, last year’s Christmas flic starring MAtthew Broderick and Danny DeVito. At least that one had some glitzy lights and some unrepentant anarchy going for it. This just lay there and I found myself wondering how they got this heavy weight talent to appear in this mess.
We started to watch the old “Here Comes Mr Jordan”. I was enjoying it but my friend fell asleep. She needed the sleep. I was liking the movie too much to watch it by myself.
So I made mental plans for Christmas instead while watching the tepid Monday Night Football game.

Santa Claus
Click images for desktop size: “Santa” by Unknown
It seems Billy Idol has fans who were hacked by my saying Steve Steven’s thrashed out his talent by being Idol’s sideman. To soothe their jangled nerves at Christmas here’s Billy Idol doing his version of “Frosty The Snowman”. One of the great klazziks of Christmas music is Bob B Soxx and the Blue Jeans inspired rendition of “The Bells Of St Mary’s”. You’ll never be able to watch the old Bing Crosby movie in the same light again.
BB King is a living legend. He finally decided to record a Christmas album. Its as cool as you could want. What I’d expect from a man who offered to give his beloved guitar “Lucille” as a reward to anyone who’d return his little lost puppy. BB King’s “Christmas Celebration” proves the blues are for all year long.
John Water’s once wrote that he always wanted to write a thank you letter to his grandmother, “Thanks for the five dollars. I used it to buy crack cocaine and a porno mag”. In that light heWorld WIthout End released a Christmas album. Its not bad as proven by his choice of Big Dee Irwin and Little Eva’s “I Wish You A Merry Christmas”. Little Eva is the originator of “The Locomotion and she loco-motivates this track just fine.
Acceptance does an interesting version of “So This Is Christmas” which is just a re-titling of John Lennon’s “Happy Christmas (War id Over). The song gives no clue as to why it was re-titled.
Christmas Eve Eve is a good time to start getting traditional. The Blue Hawaiians do a pleasant take on “We Four Kings” while America contributes “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” to a weary world.

I still have cookies to make, presents to deliver and a few thousand Christmas emails for my puppy to go out. Have to deliver the presents tonight because it going to rain tomorrow . . .