Tuesday, June 30, 2009

it's possible I just made a big mistake

I was down here in my computer dungeon, when there was a knock at the front door, and the dog started barking wildly (as he does these days, but that's a different story).

There were two men - one, I guess in his 30's (heavyset and goatee) and another, much younger, both wearing coats and ties (the first tip-off). The young guy was in front and said he wanted to invite me to a free program. I glanced at the brochure and saw that it was urging me to get ready for the 'End of the World'.

There was a graphic that seemed to refer to the Book of Revelations (there were horns and steam), so I instantly guessed that the topic was not going to be about the disappearance of Cheap Petroleum, so I politely declined to engage.

But, now that it's five minutes later, I am wondering if I should have asked for more details, before sending them on their way. After all, they looked so serious and I wouldn't want to be left behind.

Which reminds me of a blog comment I saw yesterday, where the writer referred to 'Jesus, the son of Joseph Christ'. You remember them - the Christ family, that lived in the hut down the road? They were always such fun at the neighborhood pot-lucks (turning the water into wine, etc).

Monday, June 29, 2009

joe the plumber is now joe the historian

...Referring to the Constitution as "almost like the Bible," Wurzelbacher said of the Founding Fathers: "They knew socialism doesn't work. They knew communism doesn't work."

sounds great, but: Constitution:
1789. Communist Manifesto: 1848.

What isn't working here is the American educational system, apparently.

Friday, June 26, 2009

michael - I'm not an expert but........

Why, oh why, the incessant playing of 'Thriller', when, as we all know, the best MJ song of all times is....

'Billie Jean'.

I mean, really.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

this time it's for real

Here's a jpg I captured from a web page back in 2003. I knew there was some reason I've been saving it all these years.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

so near and yet so far

I was pretty excited to get the announcement from Qwest (my DSL provider) that they have partnered with AT&T to give Qwest customers FREE access to the AT&T wifi network (think Starbucks, McDonalds, and airports).

I tried it with my phone (HTC 8525) the other day, but no luck. I confirmed this morning that my userid and password were correct, then saw the 'requirements' page that said SmartPhones were not currently supported.

Another 'WTF?' moment. Can anyone explain to me what difference that should make to them?

Meanwhile: I had to laugh.

still a clueless twit

Bush speaks his 'mind'.

Favorite quote: "Government does not create wealth."


How about Lincoln building the Transcontinental railroad, Eisenhower building the Interstate Highway system, and, um, there's that little DARPA project - what was that called? - oh, yes, now I remember - the one with all those tubes.

Not to mention Tang.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

just found!!!

Archival footage of Americans demonstrating when the Supreme Court selected George Bush as President in 2000.

Late update: oops, my bad, this is from Iran yesterday.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

look for the silver lining....

but you won't find it here - yikes!

big hat, no cattle

Do you know this phrase? I first heard it in a Randy Newman song.

It's what comes to mind as I hear the coverage of the election protests in Tehran, and I am thinking about my Fellow Americans, as a whole.

We talk big about how much we love our Democracy, and how we are the Home of the Brave, but when our own national elections were (to be charitable) compromised, did we march in the streets and show the world that we would not let injustice stand?

No, we allowed media and political bullies cow us cattle into accepting a coup, sanctioned by a Supreme Court stacked with political hacks. We had too much prosperity to lose, to stop working and show up. You all remember the result of that - I don't need to list the consequences.

Of course, it takes a healthy dose of media complicity to shield the populace from news about mass demonstrations, kinda like what happened in the run-up to the Iraq war here, and kinda like what is happening today in Iran, where the state-controlled media is not reporting on the hundreds of thousands marching in the street, demanding justice.

What gives me some hope is the vague sense that, perhaps, the lesson that the world learned from watching the US 2000 election was that it really is every citizen's responsibility to shout in the streets, when you see your media ignoring statistical impossibilities that suggest chicanery. Without that willingness to stand up and confront the evil-doers among us (you know who you are), we can never honestly call ourselves the Land of the Free, etc.

Just sayin'.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

i don't get twitter

I created my account in 2006, so I've thought about it.

Does anyone have a case where it provided something beyond what email, blogs, and text messages can do?

Seriously - is it just another case of vanity gone wild? Why else broadcast to the world the number of your followers?

We can't all be Jesus. God knows I've tried.

Friday, June 12, 2009

twilight zone stuff

Saw last night that an Italian woman who luckily missed the plane that went down in the Atlantic last week arrived safely home a couple of days later, where she was promptly killed in a car crash.

Updated: URL added and nationality corrected from German to Italian. Memory failing...

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

conspiracy theories, anyone?

Maybe it's my conditioning, but this sure makes my Spidey-senses tingle.

In other news, I'm proud to be an American again.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

synchronicity in everyday life

Yes, I know there are rational explanations for Synchronicity, but it's always jarring to be confronted with it happening.

Yesterday, I dropped by my local library to pick up a couple of videos - something to occupy my dreary evenings, until Karen returns from LA on Wednesday. There on the shelf, I saw a 50's Hitchcock film that, I am certain, I have never seen: "I Confess".

The current book I am reading is 'The Crucible of War', a long but fascinating history of the French and Indian War (or, from the perspective of the Europeans, the Seven Years War). This afternoon, I read the chapter on the battle of Quebec, which described in detail the physical features that determined the events of the battle that may have cemented the ultimate British victory (at a minimum, it provided an excuse in London for a grand celebration, with fireworks and much drinking).

Seeking a respite from the military history of the 1750s (not that it's not compelling), I loaded the DVD and fired up the special feature. I was immediately floored to find that the film takes place in....Quebec, with, apparently, many establishing shots showing the physical location of the city. What are the odds?

These things are probably happening all the time. At the moment, though, it seemed pretty eerie.

I have a meeting to go to in a couple of hours - when I return, I hope to sit down with a late dinner and a glass or two of wine, and watch the film, which promises to be an exquisite Hitchcock concoction, with amazing black-and-white photography, the usual Hitchcockian twists of guilt and innocence, and an electrifying performance by Montgomery Clift. What a treat.

yard work

Karen flew to LA Friday night, to spend 5 days with her mother and family down there. Sylvia is pushing 98 and, although she is still scheduled to come to Portland in early August, Karen wanted to check things out to make sure all is well.

So what do I do on my big Day Off? Yard work for hours, with the help of our regular weekend laborer, Rolando. The biggest impact I had was on one of the more-abandoned corners of the yard, that was quite overgrown with blackberries, weeds, tall grasses, and ivy. I cleared it all out, dug blackberries, hacked at ivy, dug suckers, etc. It was dirty, tiring work, and generated a whole new brush pile.

Also in that corner is our pet cemetery, now marking two cats and two guinea pigs. I gently cleared away the brush that was covering the markers, and spoke to the spirits of the animals there, thanking them for the companionship. Zacky was nearby, and, since he is to be the next resident there, I spent a long time holding him on my lap and stroking him, while he kvelled (a Yiddish word with inadequate translations) with a big smile.

To have that memory of him with me there, at that spot, being so happy and showing it, is a memory I will carry with me, long after the day I need to dig a hole and place his soon-to-be-worn-out body in it.

On that note, I need to leave now. I'm playing piano for a Jewish awards ceremony, starting in a half-hour. It's a paying gig, and I get breakfast, too. See y'all later.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

how time flies

Today, I just realized, is the 50th anniversary of my very first piano lesson.

How do I know that? My father carefully wrote 'June 4th, 1959' on my first lesson book, that I retained for years.

I'm finally beginning to make some progress in my playing. Must keep practicing.

Thank you, Miss Catlin - she was my teacher for many years, and I still vividly remember staring at the weird blood vessels that snaked across the backs of her hands.