Wednesday, February 28, 2007

mission accomplished - TODAY!

game over

On the other hand, after reading this, I'm a bit less-concerned about Global Warming, since the Nuclear Winter should nicely balance out the greenhouse gas problem (especially since there would be far fewer people around to drive cars).

"Paranoia runs deep - into your life it will creep - it starts when you're always afraid..."

can't overlook this - Andy Borowitz today

Supreme Court Gives Gore’s Oscar to Bush

Stunning Reversal for Former Veep

Just days after former Vice President Al Gore received an Academy Award for his global warming documentary “An Inconvenient Truth,” the United States Supreme Court handed Mr. Gore a stunning reversal, stripping him of his Oscar and awarding it to President George W. Bush instead.

For Mr. Gore, who basked in the adulation of his Hollywood audience Sunday night, the high court’s decision to give his Oscar to President Bush was a cruel twist of fate, to say the least.

But in a 5-4 decision handed down Tuesday morning, the justices made it clear that they had taken the unprecedented step of stripping Mr. Gore of his Oscar because President Bush deserved it more.

“It is true that Al Gore has done a lot of talking about global warming,” wrote Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for the majority. “But President Bush has actually helped create global warming.”

In another setback for the former vice president, a group of scientists meeting in Oslo, Norway today said that Mr. Gore was growing at an unsustainable rate.

“The polar ice caps may be shrinking, but Al Gore is clearly expanding,” said Dr. Hiroshi Kyosuke of the University of Tokyo.

The scientists concluded that if Mr. Gore continues to expand at his current rate, he could cause the earth to spin off its axis by 2010, sending it hurtling into the sun.

“Here’s an inconvenient truth,” Dr. Kyosuke added. “Al’s got to stay away from those carbs.”

confession time

OK, how many of you, upon hearing that a suicide bomber struck the air-base where Cheney was meeting, and that he was unharmed, silently muttered to yourself, ' darn'?

Now, how many of you feel that admitting this in an email would get you a visit by a couple of guys who want to ask you 'a few questions'?

more on seeing old actors as young guys

I have one of those gizmos where you attach a bicycle and can use it as an exercise bike - bought it from a craigslist posting a couple of months ago.

I lately developed a routine where I stop working at noon, and cycle for an hour, watching old 'Perry Mason' shows on a little TV there in the basement. It's pretty diverting (I stop during commercials to check email, of course). Aside from guessing who done it, my greatest pleasure is looking for now-famous actors in small parts.

Yesterday's episode had a young guy who kinda looked like Rob Schneider, and it took me most of the show to realize it had to be - wait for it - Bill Shatner. Gosh, he must have been about 25. I continued cycling thru the credits, but they went by so quickly I couldn't confirm it. I don't see it as a screen credit on his Internet Movie database page, but I'm sure I recognized That Voice.

BTW, here's a page that explicitly mentions Bill as having appeared on 'Perry Mason'. So, who do you believe, me or your own eyes?

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

for people still mad at Nader

read this. Ralph is right, and we all know it. The enemy is not his 'ego' but the corporate Monster he has fought for 40 years.

Ralph is the real thing, and all the Clintons, Edwards, Obamas, and Bidens don't amount to a hill of beans, compared with his track record.

Remember, all you need to know about the modern world is that, whenever you see media ridiculing or blaming someone, it's always best to suspect that it's some powerful interest hoping to change the subject.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Academy Awards show buzz!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I don't care.

As every lover of film knows, these are meaningless. Again and again, superior films either lose to inferior films, or are totally ignored. Superior directors (like Scorsese) or superior actors (Peter O'Toole) are, over the years, unrecognized for their brilliant films, and, finally, given a sympathy award, late in their careers, for a film that may be good, but not great.

Last week, while stranded in the Minneapolis airport for 3 unexpected hours, I wandered around, looking for diversions. At the CD/DVD stand, they had the usual current hits, plus a rack of '2 for $20' DVDs. Surely, I thought to myself, I could find something cheap, to play on my laptop while waiting for my plane to Portland to board.

Scanning the titles, there was NOTHING I was remotely interested in. I went back to the non-discounted DVD rack, and, amid dozens of labels, there was only one that I felt would be excellent to buy and watch.

'Little Big Man', for $15.

Back in the early 70's, I took a class in college, that forever shaped my attitudes and appreciation for film. We viewed a series of amazing films - without it, I never would have seen classics like 'The Scarlet Empress' or 'The Fallen Idol'. But, it was 'Little Big Man' that totally blew me away. In the decades since, I bet I've seen it twice, and found that its humor, tragedy, wisdom, and astonishing cinematography hold up beautifully.

I didn't buy it in Minneapolis. Instead, cheapskate that I am, I put it on hold at our wonderful library when I got home. In less than three days, it arrived. Karen and I watched it last night (she could not remember ever having seen it).

Still brilliant, and, now that Dustin Hoffman is an old guy, it's breath-taking to see him as a VERY young guy (I could say more here, but no spoilers). Suffice it to say that Chief Dan George's final speech in the film still retains its amazing magic.

If it's been more than 20 years since you've seen this film, do it soon. Then, think about the arrogance of American Imperial power.

When it's over, I know you'll say "well, it's no 'Little Miss Sunshine'".

'Little Miss Sunshine', by the way, is quite amusing.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

an encouraging word

Last night, Karen and I went to a friend's house for the evening. She had invited about a dozen various people she knows - a couple of whom we had met before.

The purpose was to have everybody sit around and just talk about what concerns them. Naturally, the talk gravitated to political, social, and environmental stuff. I managed to limit myself to just a few major rants.

There was one older gent who didn't talk much most of the evening, but when he did, it was amazing. He said he had worked for years, for the State of Oregon, doing physical rehab with the Disabled. They offered him an attractive retirement package ten years ago. He took that deal, then continued to find a way to keep doing his work.

It also turns out that he described himself as 'more Left-wing than any of you can imagine', which naturally made me feel great. But, then it was revealed that he is also an Evangelical minister. I quickly mentally ran thru my evening's rants, to see if I had said anything particularly offensive about Faith - nothing too bad.

As the evening was breaking up, I walked over to him to shake his hand. I told him how floored I was to find a left-wing Christian fundamenalist and said "my sense is that you have lived very close to Jesus's message." He just smiled.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

yet another story that won't push Anna Nicole off of CNN

Interesting. And, in that light, we have this.

Bread and circuses - the best policy for any regime that has something to hide. I suppose that would include all of them.

Daffodils and other bulbs are up - Spring is starting early again. How nice, right?

Sunday, February 18, 2007

great to be home

After spending five days in ice-cold, geriatric land (Wisconsin). My Mom was doing better than I expected, and we managed to celebrate her 93rd birthday several times. She was tickled to have me around, and, of course, I played the requisite piano concerts for the crowd at her facility.

There have been changes there - one of the men, who I've known for over 4 years, died rather suddenly a couple of weeks ago, so there was a gloom, especially at meal-times. This guy was a real live-wire, always pulling good-natured pranks and lending a comic tone to most activities. When I was there in November, it was clear that he was declining somewhat, but I didn't expect him to be gone so soon.

Yesterday, as I sat in the lobby, I watched as his kids and grandkids made repeated trips to a truck outside, carrying his various possessions as they emptied his apartment. Then, later in the afternoon, a U-Haul pulled up, so that a new resident could unload. So it goes.

Long day of travelling today. I woke up at 4:30 (Milwaukee time), in order to be driving by the early side of 5, in order to get to the airport, turn in my rental, check in, and do Security. I made it to the gate with about 15 minutes to sit, before staggering onto the plane. It was still dark and I dozed a bit, before waking up and realizing that we hadn't left yet. There was some sort of mechanical problem, which delayed our takeoff for 45 mintes. Not to worry, though, since I had a 90 minute layover in Minneapolis.

Unfortunately, once we landed in Minneapolis, we got news of additional delays, and, all told, we were 3 hours late leaving for Portland. I spent most of that time walking around, looking at stores, and checking the monitors, as the departure kept getting pushed back, in 15 minute increments. It turned out to be mechanical problems with the plane, which was stuck in Detroit.

Needless to say, it made for a long day of travelling, and I didn't walk into my house until almost 5 pm. I unpacked, then ate a little dinner with Karen and talked to the dog and cats. It is great to be back in a place where you don't shiver with every breath.

Ben has a job interview tomorrow morning with a local Talk Radio station - a real job doing engineering, which he learned thru his volunteer work at KBOO. The down side is that this is a right-wing radio station (Sean Hannity, etc), but, if he gets the job, I anticipate being able to call in and harrass them "Uh oh - it's that Barry from Portland again". This might be fun.

Good night, all.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

winter in wisconsin

After flying most of the day, I arrived in Milwaukee late in the afternoon, picked up my rental car, and headed off onto the frozen freeway. Zipped up to Mequon, and got to my Mom's Assisted Living place around 6, just in time to attend the 'Hula Night' program, where a half-dozen local women, dressed in various South Seas costumes, performed 'authentic' hula dances, to the recorded sounds of Don Ho and others.

Talk about surreal. Mom was enjoying it, though.

It's now Thursday morning - clear and sunny, with over a foot of snow on the ground. Should get up to 20 today - highest temperature in a couple of weeks. My sister-in-law says she's ready to move back to Californina, but it's my brother who still loves it in the mid-west. Go figure.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Still Dead

While scanning channels last night, I was amazed to see that they are still flogging the Anna Nicole Smith story, as something we must all be very concerned about. Not that the utter uselessness of our media was ever in question, but, Jeez, isn't it a sad commentary on our supposedly enlightened times, that this beats out the other topics of the day, day after day.

My term for this assault, which you are free to appropriate (apologies to the North Vietnamese), is 'the Tit Offensive'. Run with it.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

the perfect metaphor for Spring 2007?

Bush and Cheney as Thelma and Louise. Unfortunately, the rest of us are trapped in the back seat, while they are deciding when to floor it.

On a lighter note, here's a joke from the archives:

George W. Bush goes to a primary school to talk about the war. After his talk he invites questions. One little boy puts up his hand, and the President asks him his name.


"And what is your question, Billy?"

"I have three questions," says the boy.

"First - why did the USA invade Iraq without the support of the UN?
Second - why are you President when Al Gore got more votes?
and Third - whatever happened to Osama bin Laden?"

Just then the bell rings for recess. George W Bush informs the children that they will continue after recess. When they resume, the President says: "Okay where were we? Oh that's right, question time. Who has a question?"

A different little boy puts his hand, George points him out and asks his name.


"And what is your question, Steve?"

"I have five questions:

First - why did the USA invade Iraq without the support of the UN?
Second - why are you President when Al Gore got more votes?
Third - whatever happened to Osama bin Laden?
Fourth - why did the recess bell go 20 minutes early?
and Fifth - what happened to Billy?"

Saturday, February 10, 2007

uh oh...

Ray McGovern is a perceptive commentator and this is pretty darn disturbing.

Still sick, but improving

Actually did some creative productive work yesterday, but was totally wiped out by dinner time. It's OK.

Saturday morning - the sky is mostly gray, but the Sun is up and shining brightly thru the trees as the clouds brighten.

Not only that, but I came across this article, that dispenses with the "we're all doomed" approach to future-forecasting, but, instead, recognizes that the world of Tomorrow is going to be vastly different from the Party we've been attending since World War II, and, rather than just bemoan the loss, the author lays out a bunch of ways to deal with it.

I can see that many folks will never be able to make the adjustment to this new way of life, so the whole thing will probably degenerate into mass hysteria and panic. It will be especially hard for my kids, who will have no idea how to function without reliable electricity, prepared foods, and microwave ovens.

Friday, February 09, 2007

THIS week sure evaporated

On Tuesday night, I started coughing.

Now it's Friday morning, and I spent virtually all day Wednesday and Thursday in bed, listening to the radio, sleeping, and getting up once in a while to see if I could walk.

I tried to work for about an hour yesterday, but found myself being more confused than productive - back to bed.

Still have the old-body ache, but no fever. Trying to get some work done today, but, after a couple of hours down here in the computer dungeon, I'm about ready to head back upstairs and take a break.

Meanwhile, Cheney has been revealed as having committed Treason, and all the media can talk about is adult diapers and Anna Nicole. The beat goes on.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Sunday, February 04, 2007

watch this

simply amazing.

I think about the Edward G Robinson character in 'Soylent Green', and fear that what we experience as 'everyday life' will be viewed the same way we were taught to think about the lives of the indolent, corrupt Roman nobles, just before their civilization collapsed. "How is it possible that they didn't see it coming?"

It's a peaceful Sunday morning, the WiFi signal is strong, the dishwasher is cleaning my dishes, and there's plenty of coffee, cereal, and canned goods in the cupboard. Is it all a dream?

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Getting bored by the Libby trial?

Read this!

Meanwhile, we had a fabulous evening, listening to a too-short set (there were 2 warm-up acts, the 2nd of which was far too long) by one of our favorite musicians, Paul Curreri. Never heard of him? Check it out. This is about the 4th time we've seen him in Portland, and he keeps getting better and better - fabulous guitar playing and idiosyncratic songs.

Actually, I've corresponded with him via email, and last night Karen and I went up to him after the show to introduce ourselves, get him to sign his latest CD, and tell him we'd host a house concert for him, his next time thru Portland, in April or May. Go buy his first album - this one.

Tonight - Winterfolk.