Saturday, December 31, 2011

Another Good Tour

Slow connection and tiredness prevent me from going into detail. I am in TX taking the fast way home, so I won't be stopping in Dallas. I need to return a little quicker, and this is taking awhile.

I was able to rest and have a thoroughly good visit with Fin and Bethany. It is a very pleasant place, away from the hectic city life, but close to a very cool town. That's all I am permitted to say regarding the location.

Bethany is expert at many things, one of them having. a knack for anticipating a guest's needs before they arrive. You just find this and that right there when you need it. I even had a choice of places to dwell--one was an rv which is very comfortable. I chose that since it was a new experience, and so much preparation had gone into making it a splendid resort accommodation. I would have moved in until evicted had I not felt the need to get home.

We had a good time; night time walks around the 'hood to check out the holiday decorations, and to walk Copper the wonder dog, great dinner in the cool town, Bethany's fresh blueberry pancakes, Fin's professional keyboard playing, and more.

Copper is allegedly a purebred breed of some kind, but he appears to be the only specimen of whatever breed he is. Basset hound is what I think the papers say, but he's more like a basset hound on stilts with a bit of alien thrown in. He's something else. I love the fact that he rarely barks (mostly if he sees a rabbit--rabbits to him are more alluring than crack is to a crack addict), but instead he just kind of grumbles under his breath in response to what's going on. He is quite a character. I've never known or seen a similar canine in appearance or behavior.

That is one cool dog.

Better go and hope this connection will handle posting this.

Happy New Year!

I'm very happy to be out and away from any of the New Year's hooplah

Friday, December 23, 2011

S Fla.

Here I am in Tavernier. Got here at midday to be greeted by the signature low lying puffy cumulus clouds and sunshine. 80 degrees and a gentle breeze. The water out in Florida bay has some definite greenish turquoise hue to it. I can see that from the living room and deck here at my brother's place. It has more of that turquoise color than I remember.

It changes, depending upon the light and other factors. Lots that azure color of water in the Caribbean and off of South Florida. It is pretty nice. Earlier today, as I was driving in, I was thinking that I have no use for Florida whatsoever. But then I got to Key Largo and before I was half way through that island I began to soften on the issue.

That's the end of my story.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Driving Tips /Unashamedly Racist Motel Review

Let me get the review out of the way.

First I should say that I have worked with many people from India and some are great while others are the kind of people ou want to run out of town--much like any other ethnic group. I consider white people an ethnic group as well, even though the definition of "ethnic" has come to mean all those not of european decent.

The Indians previously mentioned--the group that ought to go away--seem to buy up motels like crazy. Only one in two hundred fifty nice ones go into the hospitality business. Especially in the south. Please note, however that the Mr. Patel who runs a motel in Ponca City is not only hospitable and friendly, but he also maintains the place in tip top condition, does not pretend he "already gave you" the senior discount, AAA discount or other discounts advertised, when quoting a price without knowing if you are senior or have the AAA card.

The bad people do all of those things. They give you the rate, then you say you have AAA, if it is advertised, or you ask what age is considered senior. Then they say, "Oh, I already discounted it. The normal rate is 5 or 10 dollars more". Liars. And they are so cheap they set hot water temperature at roughly 98 degrees F.

Those people give foreigners from that part of the world a bad name. They cut every possible corner then wonder why people don't flock to their unkempt hovels. They soley prey upon the poor and ignorant, like me. I bite my thumb at them!

On the driving front, if it is raining cats and dogs, foggy and overcast, and you can hardly see two feet in front of you, turn on your lights! It may not help you see, but it goes a long way toward helping others see you. And don't do the parking lights routine. That is not for driving. It has been shown that for some reason you cannot judge the distance of parking lights on the front of a car as well as headlights.

Besides, when trucks kick up massive mist, or it is just foggy and rainy, headlights are a lot easier to see. If you have to be told to turn on your lights in the rain, and that it is so people can see you, you probably should just stay home and give your car to a veterans' organization.

Finally in Florida, toward the upper part. I cannot wait to get to the Keys. You can have the rest of this place. And after that I can't wait to get back across the Mississippi. It is nothing but traffic in the east.

I'm really being tough on the place. I'm sure it is only being overly tired that makes me this way. Memphis can do that do you all by itself. Except my friend's restaurant and a few things. The town just doesn't agree with me. Something about the mojo or vibe or joojoo or something.

I know I stepped over the line with the motel review, but you tell me you do not know what I'm talking about and that you do not feel relief when the inn keeper is more ethnically American. Any race or nationality can be that. It is a way of doing things, not a racial imperative. Oh hell. If you of are a certain mindset you would never get this anyway. Just telling the truth.

It poured rain all day from to the bottom of Alabama and Georgia. Part of the time I was in a tornado warning area, part of the time tornado watch, the rest just sheets of rain slapping everything around.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

No Jams Strange Days

No use going into it but it was a day like that.
Anyway the jam just didn't work out on any level. People have lives and some have more drama than others. Often one can get sucked into the aftermath of such things, carting people to and fro, carrying Christmas trees on your car against your will.

Out of here. Soon. Not soon enough.

Memphis and Restaurant Review

G1, for various reasons will not be able to jam tonight.

Last night I was able to get by his very nice house for the amp exchange. One pristine Mesa Boogie Blue Angel amp with 4 10 inch speakers in the cab--it is all one unit --for a 1966 vintage Fender Bassman amp with a Mesa speaker cab with one 12 inch speaker. Speaker cord and amp cover included. For some reason the bassman lends itself better to the harp, although I did like the Blue Angel.

But what a bear that Mesa was to load and unload in my car. Since it was one big unit, maneuvering it to fit in was a task. The new rig is two smaller, lighter units, and much easier to carry.

It looks like no electric jam tonight but probably a little acoustic get together with the bass player and his friends at his house, in the back yard by a big fire pit.

This brings me to the restaurant review. Bass player and his lovely wife bought a building in the artsy Cooper-Young district in Memphis. They converted into the coolest restaurant in the area. For whatever reason, they only serve breakfast and lunch, but they do cater night time parties and group events on site at night.

I had breakfast there this morning and was caught by surprise in every respect. The place is immediately comfortable and hospitable. It is hip without the usual over the top stuff usually done around here to announce that the place is chic. Those places end up being uncomfortable except to the special regular crowd of posers.

Stone Soup--the name of this establishment--is extraordinary in that it is ultra clean, very relaxed and has the sharpest, most competent staff I've seen just about anywhere.

All the bread and biscuits are made on site from scratch. If you know Memphis, the lady who used to own Buns On The Run now works at Stone. My tour included the kitchen which looks like the kind you see on those chef shows, except it may be cleaner.

The called it "oats" on the menu. I call it oat meal, and it was the best I have ever had; served with a side dish of raisons and one of brown sugar so you can doctor it up how you wish. Eggs cooked perfectly, in butter, I think. Something made them better. The biscuit was good enough that you could eat it without butter or anything and not complain, although I added butter because I could. I sampled the toast that was a slice about 2 inches thick, at least, and it was also good enough without adding a thing. They make great bread.

Another clue for me about a place is how they handle the simple task of cooking potatoes. It is surprising how most eateries struggle with that while pretending they are doing a good job. M hashbrowns were neither greasy nor undercooked. Not overcooked. I don't knw what they do but it comes out just right. Usually you have to pie on pepper or salt or something to make them edible. Like the bread, the hash browns are great as is.

Most of the time, places cook potatoes on whatever was used to cook greasy meat things and you can tell it. Here they don't tend to have that bleed over from one item to the next.

All I can say is that whether you are carnivore r not, this is THE place in Memphis for lunch and breakfast. Most likely they wil grow into a dinner joint, too.

Since breakfast and lunch are my favorites, I guess a place like this suits me better than most. If you are in Memphis, try it you will like it. Just south of Cafe Ole on Cooper.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Fighting Climate Change

Another early start today because I heard that high winds and probable blizzard conditions would hit Amarillo and part of Oklahoma starting at noon. So, I left very early before the sun was up--but I did not see the sun all day, so who knows.

Leaving the Albuquerque area, it looked hopeless. Snow and sleet was blowing so it was coming at me in a straight line rather than down like it is supposed to. It was foggy and cold as well.

I guess the trucks with salt or whatever they put on the road had been there just ahead of me on 40. I saw different ones taking exits in front of me. I think they even plowed a place or two.

It was a little dicey but fun. After awhile the winter stuff gave way to constant rain. It was like that all the way to Arakansas, with a ceiling of maybe 150 feet. Really. I passed a couple of those modern windmills--the stuff of windfarms and bird death--and you could not see the top blade for the clouds. It was a day of low visibility but since people in this part of the country are nuts I drove 70 to 80 miles per hour anyway, most of the time.

Too tired to comment much on the points of interest, but couldn't see too many of them. It made for a great ride. No time to get bored. I guess I like this sort of thing. I believe I covered more miles than yesterday, and as it proves out, it may be that gps lady did not lead me too far astray. Yesterdays scenery was well worth the mystery of where I was or whether I'd ever again see civilization. Highway 60 is a trip worth taking in AZ and part of New Mex.

The radio was saying not to travel or go out if you didn't have to. Once I got close to Amarillo, I was ahead of things enough that the rain quit changing to sleet and snow and the temp was above freezing so the threat of ice was no concern. Just wind and water and driving blind.

They were right, these Pirelli tires are good in wet weather. The time and miles flew by. I must have been in another dimension. I was never sleepy so I don't think I napped. But where did the time go? Must be true that it flies when you are having fun.

Only 200 and some miles to Memphis. Over 750 miles today. That is not a thing I would have planned or promised. So I arrive a day early.

My car is cleaner and shinier than it has been ever. Driving fast in hours and hours of rain will do wonders.

That's how you fight climate change--you haul ass down the road to a place where it is less threatening to your plans.


PS: by the way, I don't care if you think the globe is warming or going into an ice age--you are not going to change it, and I am highy skeptical of the notion that you or any other human has caused it. Whatever It is.
I know, what about the polar bears? So, where were you when T-Rex bit the dust? Huh? How about the buggy whip?

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Me Not Sure GPS Lady Not Crazy

So, I somehow left the atlas at home. I had a couple of google directions for different routes printed out but decided to trust the gps lady.

She took me through Tonto national wonderland or whatever it is called. Now I see a short jaunt up 77 would have hit I40, or Thee forty, if you prefer.

By the time I finally got to 40 I was talking like Tonto and ready to do something Tonto-ish. I don't know what that means.

It is possible I lost no time. I can't tell. I know I covered almost 750 miles today, and averaged a decent speed. I did not stop much, and when I did, it was not for long. My eyes complained, but held out until I found lodging that wasn't part of a casino emporium. Tonto no throw hard earned wampum in one arm bandit's mouth. Bad medicine. Tonto want to cut out him guts when bandit take money, give Tonto nothing.

One thing I will say, highway 60 is not short on really great scenery. Lots of snow covered mountainous canyon stuff. Snow covered plateaus, and platitudes.

I have no idea if I forgot something important when I left this morning. I do have the big amp that I am trading, some clothes, and a few other things. No tent. Too cold for that. I'm set if I need to make the car a short term dwelling though.

Remind me to raise hell with Subaru of El Cajon when I get back. It appears Gus, the mechanic, only replaced the top radiator hose, but I paid for top and bottom. The lower one is harder to see and I think he didn't do it. They always replace the factory crimp clamps with screw strap hose clamps. Ain't there on bottom hose.

I know they gave it to Gus because I heard the service writer say, I'm giving this one to Gus, pull it in his den of iniquity.

It'll be OK for now. But, I will insist they find a way to prove to me certain other items were done, which you can't tell from outside looking in. If I do this right, it could be a very good leverage item. I do not think this is standard fare for the other guys. Gus, however, is on my list and if it costs him his job, he would deserve it. It is all in writing what was requested and what he claims he did.

I am not one to go for firing people, but I have zero tolerance for intentional liars and thieves.

OK

Trying to beat it through Amarillo tomorrow before the snow hits.

Now that I revisit the maps site and add up the miles, I think Ms GPS Lady may have run me about 35 or 40 miles farther than need be. I refuse to believe it could be an more than that. Still, it may have cost time. I need that wire that hooks it up online to update her attitude and knowledge of modern roads. But this was by far the better way for less traffic, often 10 miles or more with absolutely no traffic, and for the better view.

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Spirit Hits

I'm almost in the mood to do backflips down the aisle of the Holy Roller Tabernacle Church of Imbalanced Sinners and Saints. The hope of seeing all the clan down in the FL keys, and some old friends along the way has finally sparked a bit of cheer in my heart.

I've accepted the fact that I won't get my house cleaned and spotless and totally uncluttered before I leave. I won't do the backlog of laundry--I'll be bringing the dirty clothes with me. There will be laundry facilities wherever I stay in Memphis, and in Tavernier.

I remembered to retrieve my Audix Fireball mic from my pal K, who owns the PA and practice place Copper Creek uses. I just leave the mic there most of the time.

This way, I can better experience the new amp when the trade is made in memphis, and I'll be set if a jam with the guys is possible. I know the bass player and drummer are up for it but G1, living a complicated life, may find it difficult to work in. Hopefully we'll all be able to play. He sounded really good last time, and as much as I have groused about him at times, it is not the same without him. I guess absence does sometimes make the heart grow fonder, even with cantankerous friends. Which of us that applies to probably depends upon the day in question.

Like Joel. Now there is a cranky dude. Yet, bright as he is, he would put that tag on me. Go figure. Another musician who plays stringed instruments, as well as little harp in days past. I figure it is a guitar thing--they just can't see that I am always right, and that my ego is justified, whereas their egos tend to cloud their world view.

Excitement is something I try to cultivate when I can. Age can make your outlook so dulled that you scoff at excitement and wonder. I think that is not the way to maintain vitality. I know I am less prone to feel those things than I once was, but I like to embrace awe and excitement when I can. It probably triggers some good brain chemistry.

When it comes down to it, I like this season. I'm all peace on earth, good will toward men, and especially, of course, toward women and wimmins. Not so much toward those who screwed up the language by taking universal pronouns absurdly personal. And maybe not toward those who continue to paste laff tracks in shows that have the potential of being OK on their own.

Maybe the eye scare has made me appreciate what I have a little bit more, and want to waste slightly less time than I do.

The Tourmobile is all set and ready to roll. I do like that car. When I get rich, I'l still probably drive that car or something Subaru. And maybe a Toyota FJ. It is FJ, isn't it? Well it is two letters of some kind.

The wind here is horrendous, so it looks like I'll have a hell of a head wind to start, unless it lets up soon.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Eye eye, Matey

So, Dr Pokeye says I passed the thumb in the eye test with flying colors and can resume normal activity. I didn't think to ask what is normal activity, but I did ask if there was any reason not to embark on a ballistic tour. He pretty much said to have at it, so I will.

Memphis friends expect me there on the 21st. It seems prudent to depart California sometime before that date.

It took being told that I've healed up splendidly for me to now feel like I am in trip mode. I consider myself fortunate in more than one way. They caught the eyes anomaly quick so they could fix it. I was able to pay them, although they would have worked just about any terms I could handle. And I was able to get the car maintenance up to date and find a way to take off down the road. I realize that the freedom and ability to take advantage of it are lucky things.

You never know what lies ahead, but for this moment, life is good enough. Some aspects of my existence to tend to confuse me a little but I probably should chalk that up to immaturity and being very slow to forget the sting some circumstances can bring. I'm like a guy who got burned by the stove so now I am overly cautious to the point that I am afraid to cook. Worse things befall people.

I wonder what I'll do when I get back. It doesn't seem like the status quo will be acceptable, or is acceptable, any more. When I consider the possibility that it may be as strange to be anyone else as it is to be me, I wonder how the world has managed to survive as well as it has. It certainly explains all the occupy activity, the political tangles, and other nonsense that hear about on the street. Those people just find it strange as hell to be alive and don't know what else to make of it.

Some people I know seem pretty content in a way that gives the impression that they do not find it strange to be who they are. This may take further study. Not sure how to measure it in the way I think of it. You can't really take their word for it because you'll get whiners and those who think we are talking victimization. Then they'll compete and the study will be totally bogus.

Clearly I need about a billion dollar grant to do this thing properly.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Shining Gets a Laugh Track



This just goes to show how influential a laff trak can be. Here we see how a horror/psychopathic killer can easily be mistaken for a clip from a sitcom.
Now, I would watch this kind of show with a laff track, but in general, if a show has canned laughter, I skip it.

If something was written as a comedy and can't stand on its own without telling me when to laugh, then the producers either have no faith in the material, or they assume the target audience is a bunch of morons who won't know how to react.

Many shows cue you to laugh at things that really aren't very funny. It conditions people to think like shallow Hollywood trash balls who think bratty disrespectful kids and adults are the stuff of humor. There are too many of those in real life for it to have much worthy of laughter in slapping their smarmy faces on the screen.

The end.

Snakedocs

My old band, the Memphis Snake Doctors (snake doctor is a dragon fly--country slang) now have a new site: http://www.memphissnakedoctors.com . They used my graphics from the Sun Studio CD, and the MP3's are ones I recorded with them.

The tough part is seeing some of the venues they've played since my departure which I would have loved to play. Can't have it all. I am vain enough that I always hope they miss me. They said they did when I was in Memphis last summer and we had a little jam session.

Looks like I'll be there again next week, provided I get the all clear from Dr Pokeye tomorrow. I doubt there will be a chance to jam, but maybe there will be. I hope so. At an rate I plan to leave with the amp I used at that jam. I'm trading a very nice Mesa Boogie Blue Angel for it. G1 sold it to me at a bargain, and now I'm trading it back to him for the Bassman rig which is more primo for harp. It should all be OK.

If you go to the site, hit the "about us" link, and there you will find the mp3's you can stream. On Chain of Fools I am there but very much in background, which was appropriate on that song. On the others the harmonica is way more up front. The keyboard guy on Fools was very good. He's played with all kinds of names which I forgot.

I should not be reading and writing much yet. Just thought I'd give them some publicity here in case anyone is curious. And feed my own ego, since the crazy purple dragonfly stuff was what I drew, and the harp on the mp3s being mine warms my heart.

Now I know I am an ego maniac because I find myself wishing they had more pictures of me instead of the new guy, Gary. I'm in one pic which says something about Sun studio. Sad to be so starved for attention. My mountain group, Copper Creek, likes to post pictures of me on their facebook accounts, but I am not very big on FB. I think it is the devil.

Often, gossip which you may prefer not be there gets put out and in my odd life, it can be a bit troublesome at times. Even so, I wouldn't mind if we had more chance to play. Maybe in the coming year we will.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Old Movie Review

Two movies that I still like even today are El Mariachi and the amped up sequel, Desperado.

The thing about Desperado is I like the music as much as anything. It has that Mexican electric stuff going as well as the acoustic. Killer soundtrack.

So, for a really well done low budget flick, El Mariachi, and for a super surreal, Mexican shoot em up with great music, and Salma Hayek, who was fine as fine can be in ---damned nine is giving trouble again so I have to write it out -nineteen ninety five.

I think I would love to own the Desperado soundtrack. I'm a sucker for that Spanish sound.

Can't Play the Blues

Must be the time of year. I am finding that being in a situation which requires that I don't play my harmonica music makes me start jonesing for it.

That's just the way it goes. No way I am taking any chances. Sometimes it is smart not to push something. I've probably pushed it a little by reading when I didn't need to and using the computer right now, and a few times working I may have taken a chance or two. Soon as I realize it I back off.

I'm kind of happy at Christmas, so I wouldn't be playing the sad blues anyway. After years of people being trained not to expect anything I don't feel the pressure which depresses a lot of people. And I don't expect anything. It is a good time to appreciate friends, family, and life in the USA. Anything that is a reminder that it is OK to be kind is a good thing.

People who have known me long enough know if I have loose cash, I'll spend it on them, and if not I won't. They never know from year to year what I might do. You don't have to be rich to create a little fun. Besides, a lot of people of means have no wish for more trinkets anyway, so what's with these psychotic shopping events?

And I don't want anyone to feel like they have to give me stuff. It took a long time to figure out that most people do not care about all the gift routine, as far as insisting people give them things. It's a gesture and can be fun. When it is only a trade or some stressful way to prove something the point gets lost.

I can always use some coal, and I think a hickory switch would be cool. That's why I've been as bad as I know how. I was bad other years too but I never got the coal and hickory switch they promised to the bad kids. I don't get it.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

So Far, So Good

Dr Pokeye checked things out and said I'm healing well. He also agrees with me that it is unlikely that my aggressive harmonica playing caused the eye situation.

He did, however, emphasize strongly that I need to avoid too much computer and reading, so I better listen. It shoud be all healed by this time next week. If so, then I guess it is road trip time. If not, plan B.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

TV and Tool Reviews

Due to the fact that I live in the hills, have no cable or satellite, and the TV antenna pulls in two stations at best, none at worst, I get my movies and else on Hulu. There was some series I got so involved with that I paid the few dollars to get the whole thing. Now I forgot what it was. Probably something no one would guess.

So, I decided to check out this series, Once Upon a Time, by the same people who created LOST (picture those letters floating away into space). It is about a town where everyone is a fairy tale figure but doesn't know it. The mayor of the town is the poison apple witch from Snow White. A real jerk lady.

They switch back and forth so you can see what was happening in fairy tale land before the CURSE, which landed them all in Storybrooke, Maine, not knowing that they don't know. It appears that they take a few liberties in spinning the yarn, mingling characters who were in separate tales and such. It is really hilarious and engaging.

Rumpelstiltskin is named Mr Gold in his Storybrooke incarnation. He runs the pawn shop. And the town shrink--psychologist, I guess-is Jiminy Cricket. It goes on from there, but that gives a clue. You know it's good if Rumpelstiltskin is there with his pawn shop.

I must again give kudos to the Milwaukee random orbital sander. That thing has held up through all kinds of use and abuse. Work needed doing today and I am trying to avoid eye stuff, or things that might vibrate like a sander. So, I had help and one guy ran that sander all day. A good item and it wasn't very expensive. Mid to low double digits I think. Anyway, I was happy to see it performing so well.

My help today was superb. These kids never stopped, caught on quick and took initiative. What a relief. No way this work could have been done before my planned trip. I say kids, but they are maybe 19 or 20 or so. The housekeeper's son and his pal. Legal American citizens doing the work the late Ted K claimed we wouldn't do.

And who'd have guessed? The son started taking to me about neutrinos. Oh, you may not recall--Sally does---there was some neutrino talk here awhile back. Anyway, that is not what I expected from young punk California kids. It was very cool to see that they wanted to learn what was what and then worked like crazy until we were done. They didn't even take a lunch break when I took my breakfast break. I brought a breakfast sandwich with me because it was a hectic morning, and didn't hit a stopping point until midday. Those guys just kept trucking.

That age and circumstance may have had the rug pulled out in some ways, but don't think they are all lazy. Not the case.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Shop Review: Mufflers

So, someone had an issue with a Cherokee muffler. Searching on line, trying to avoid the heart of El cajon--traffic and madness--I found Ed Hanson's muffler shop in Spring Valley, not far from the Target and Edward's inemas (C won't light up) in Rancho San Diego.

Ed has a real deal business, the kind that made America 1st world back in the good old days. A clean, state of the art facility with sober, competent, good natured techs who also possess better than average verbal skills, technical skills, and sense of humor. It was like I'd stumbled into an alternate universe where good enterprises could thrive. Ed and his wife run the office, although Ed also hangs in the shop and does some work when the spirit strikes him. He speaks quite highly of his employees, as if they are the best ever.

They charged my friend $35 for a repair which I would have thought cost much more. No trying to oversell. It was bizarre. Ed's been in the business since he was a kid. His father was in the business. Somehow he has maintained the interest and pride it takes to have a shop that probably equals those in muffler heaven.

It's good to find places like that because you never know when you might need them. I went because I thought it might be a leave it there operation. And I wanted to get out of the house.

Now I know where to go for exhaust system needs. And I discovered another off the charts first rate independent business. You can't build and run a place like that in Cuba.

Monday, December 5, 2011

I Wonder How things Really Work

Aside from the fact that any big time election contains no well heeled candidates who share my philosophy, I still can't help but pay attention here and there, and draw certain conclusions.

Clearly the powers that be in the Republican part are as set on keeping people divided on something other than philosophy as their brethren in the Democratic party. And like the last election and the one when Bush 1 went for a second term, they are out to lose.

I could be wrong but when Trump is hosting a major debate, I think the shark has been jumped. I'm so at odds, or think I am, with the prevailing Obama Democrat philosophy that I don't want him re-elected, but, Holy Smoke!, what is the opposition doing? Their front runner, at one time or another, has backed umpteen policies which are the same as those the present administration is pushing. The same ones that leave me cold, and concerned.

The whole thing feels a bit manipulated, considering the way only chosen candidates got attention before they had any support. It's a dog and pony show, and sometimes even looks real.

I may have to run again, and write myself in.

I shouldn't be doing this much writing or reading. I haven't read news, just heard it on the street, and on the radio. They make you feel like you ought to choose a team from those presented, but I have to say I am once again a lukewarm fan at best. No team trips my trigger. What they tend to do when they get the job has been rubbing me the wrong way, though.

Oh well. Vote for me. I promise not to play golf or basketball. And I will never ask myself how I can make your life better, won't give you a hard time for being fat, will refuse to differentiate between Americans based on ethnicity, who you screw, or anything else of that nature, won't pretend to be king, and will tell many lobby groups to screw off. I will piss off environmentalists, Wall Street, unions, and every other freedom killing, blood sucking group. If I live to serve a second term, I probably won't run.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Quarter of a century

25 years ago I crossed that bridge into the new century, my time, and gave up drinking alcohol. Haven't drank since, although I almost fooled myself into it a few years ago. For me that is a horrible idea.

In that time pedestrians have been much safer on sidewalks and streets, roadside mailboxes and fences have been safer, as well as your garden variety motorist. Though I never did encounter another motorist when I found myself cruising through gardens or farm fields.

I don't think I've done anything great, I just quit being a hazard and such a negative force in life. Hopefully, I've managed to net out on the positive side since then. Some people shouldn't do certain things that others can do without issue. Like many people shouldn't drive, be parents, gamble, or eat cake. My kryptonite, besides brainy women and those who won't take no for an answer, just happens to be a naturally occurring fluid which is a great solvent, disinfectant and homemade camp stove fuel.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Decisions and Reality


Can't do too much computer time or reading. A little eye situation arose.

To head off real trouble they nuked a vital piece of optical apparatus contained within my own seeing equipment with a laser (I say that with air quotes and pronounce it "Lay Zar" like Dr Evil).

If all goes well then I am able to take a road trip in two weeks. The catch is that this process was expensive and I used my trip money for it. I baragained the best I could and paying on the spot saved me five or six hundred dollars. I say saved me money but I don't feel like I saved much because I really mean I paid less than if I worked out a time thing or was billing insurance.

I see well and all that, but these sudden floater things nicked a tiny bit of the big disc behind them, so the spot weld the thing with a lay zar to prevent hypopoly fallingoffadaplaceitbelongs. There is a healing period involved and I'm not sposed to do much comuter and the like or do things which jar my eyes like bang my head on the floor or play blues harp the way I do. I tend to be a bit physical in that endeavor. One friend described it; "you play very aggressively".

It was one of those things which is best done right now, not later. I went for a follow up exam due to another exam which was the result of an initial exam. The actually stayed late to go ahead and do the deed right then and there. Basically a prevetative measure which is much easier than that which was being prevented.

The guy had a cool picture of BB King hugging his guitar. His son drew it with charcoal and something, maybe flax. Very good drawing.

So, now, do I dig up money from places I wanted to leave it and have even less later on than I already do? Hard to say. I may not see all my family together like this again, so I think do it if all heals as expected.

Once again I am kind of fortunate. Various circumstances led to catching this so early that it could be dealt with quickly with no open backed gowns or very costly, much more risky procedures. It is an inconvenience but it may also be one of those things that is needed to get my attention and cause me to deal with things differently. I know I need to do that.

I am also grateful for the less than 1% who invented technology, and perfected it to the point that they can shoot a light beam in your eye which doesn't affect any tissue except at the pin point place where they focus the beam. Would I care if they are mega rich as a result? No I would not. I do not care if they recycle or if they give to charity or if they drive gas guzzling vehicles with bad mufflers. They benefit the world more than all the celebrity preachers who tell you how to live combined.

And it is in one way or another an offshoot of a capitalist economic system that these things get done. Granted, there is corruption in the world and it often, if not always, involves governmental types using their power to skew the free market so that they get money and power from those they help. Hating everyone who creates things and gets rich is the wrong place to vent anger at the corrupt syndrome described.

I better stop. I won't proofread. Fingers are crossed that I can hit the road soon. If not, maybe it will prove to be some benefit in ways I can't see pr predict at this time. I bet I do make the trip.

It is not a situation which would be helped b medicinal or illicit marijuana. In a way that is good--one less expense.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Cooking Thought

A toasted peanut butter sandwich is a fine thing. But don't think it is without its own set of complications.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Fickle Sports Fan

If I'm not actually playing a sport, I rarely get overly involved in the emotional turmoil that comes from pulling for a particular team Of course teams from home cities and colleges are my first choices for the bit of emotion I do devote to fan activities.

I like football, and always have. It must be the neighborhood games when I was a kid. Most of the guys were bigger and older but I could run through and around them with a football. It is one of the best feelings I recall from elementary school. Life got complicated after that. It was one place in which time did not exist.

So, now that I am in San Diego, it is required that I be a Chargers fan. And I am, to a point. I see no way they'll get to any playoffs, but I don't keep up enough to know the ins and outs. The good thing is that I keep a few teams on deck so I can have a favorite when San Diego punks out. And they are punking out.

My favorites are not teams my die hard Chargers fan friends like at all. They actually have disdain for a couple of my secret favs. Like Denver and New England. Long story on the New England thing, but a nice one which stems from a cool event in my life.

I'm a Miami fan, of course. I was more of one back in the day when Shula was coach and Larry Czonka was playing. I like Green Bay, so I won't mind when they win it all.

People really get tribal when it comes to sports teams, and sometimes people get beaten, shot or stabbed at games. We used to think that was just the stuff of Europe and South America at soccer games. Maybe it is a measure of our true level of advancement as a species, I don't know. That sounds kind of bizarre and pretentious, but could be true.

If everyone was like me, people would not get killed or in fights at games, but the whole sports industry would be broke and probably fall apart. The people now employed in that industry would end up doing jobs that Americans won't do--whatever that means. And I would miss out on the enjoyment of watching a game now and then and switching my allegiance depending upon who's winning or I just happen to like.

Good thing everyone is not like me.

The Reluctant Love of Machines

Fortunately, I am not the only one who gets attached to a car, a bike, a computer or some other inanimate object. I say "fortunately" because irrational emotion loves company. Then again, maybe it is rational.

Now that I think of it, this kind of emotion could be why it grieves me to see people ignoring the brilliance, hard work and persistence it takes for someone to bring a good idea to fruition. Without such people, we'd be fanning ourselves to cool off on hot days, and we'd be walking in something less than well made footwear. Certainly we wouldn't be driving machines which can go 100 miles per hour or more, and which have been so refined that semi-imbeciles can operate them--maybe not well, but well enough to get a license, or fake it.

People who are responsible for making these things happen ought to be rich. Richer that 99% percent of the population. Richer than 99.99%. Why not? It is a very dangerous thing when talk of disdain for such people, regardless how the money was earned, becomes some kind of self righteous key to peer acceptance.

Disdain for dishonest people and people, like elected officials, who abuse power to enrich themselves, usually at taxpayer expense, makes sense. If you look at the basic tax code, and how much of the tax pie is paid by the wealthiest one percent, it ought to be evident that this talk of "their fair share" not being shouldered is not all that accurate a statement.

Those who use government to control markets, market share of an industry, to reap subsidies for bogus enterprises which pay the top dogs big bucks to fail, to bail out their company, etc, are crooks--pure and simple. I don't care if it is legal. That is the problem; government officials should not have the power to so blatantly peddle corruption. It's OK. Tons of people can't see that point, or flatly disagree. They think regulation works, but who is regulating the regulators?

You start blaming the richest one in one hundred and you certainly begin to persecute some very good people who simply do not deserve your anger. Chances are, some of those people did something which in one way or another saved your life, enabled you to travel and see things you'd never have seen, made a difference that you probably take for granted. They don't demand that you use what they created in a particular way, so I see no reason to demand that they use the wealth it earned them as I see fit.

Uh oh. Sidetracked. The real story is that I finally broke down and got new brakes and timing belt done here, as well as changed out transmission fluid and a few things; needed items which I would have a hard time doing myself up here in the dusty place where I park by my front door. My first choice was Sewall Subaru in Dallas, but I just couldn't put the brakes off longer. I could tell by feel and sound that I was getting close to the point at which no pad is left and you tear up drums and rotors.

New brakes are almost as much fun as new tires. As trashed as the interior of this car is from dirt, grease and whatnot, it may have been concerned that I didn't love it. I think it has been reassured and will be happy for another several thousand miles.

When you get that much work done they arrange for a rental car. I ended up with a 2012 Nissan Versa with only 3000 miles or so. It was nice and did the job.

What struck me, when I got back in my car is how few times in my life that I owned a car which was better than the car I rented. My car seems tighter, tracks better at highway speed, and is all round more solid. Not to mention better visibility and better performance uphill. Even though it is frightening how much some maintenance items cost, I felt quite fortunate as I drove home. And I am now ready for a road trip.

I suppose 103000 is not bad for a set of brakes. I'm certain this is the first brake job for this car. To think it only had about 30K when I bought it. Well, it has been a little over two years.

I guess I will have to examine the finances and see how thin it will cut things to take this Christmas trip. I'm pretty sure I can swing the fuel bill, but lodging may have to go by the wayside. I've got a plan so it won't be too uncomfortable.

No reason the car should actually run better, but it seems like it does. It really feels great. It told me it is ready, as soon as I replace that one fog light that went out.

While being shuttled over to pick up a car with a few other people, I discovered that they all love their Subarus and all were in for normal maintenance, not breakdowns. They also gave the service facility good reviews since they had been there before.

I wonder when that one lady was there. She was about forty thousand miles past time for a timing belt and was in to finally do that. Maybe she'd been in for all the other regular service things. I doubt it. Maybe just one or two of those fluid things or brakes or something. And what a surprise, I think only one of the people was possibly a lesbian.

I'm telling you, this car is crossing over. I'm not the only non gay person to own one.

I hope that doesn't mean I am losing my uniqueness.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Maybe I Am Somebody's Secret Boy Toy

You can't prove I wasn't Faye Dunaway's secret lover. It seems she was in Memphis sometimes when I was there. So was Jesse Jackson. So was Al Sharpton.

I was in the same town as Ted Kennedy, too, and Gloria Estephan. And Jim Morrison. And Abalonia, though I'm not sure how she spells her name; I was too busy fighting my shame as she took advantage of me.

I'm pretty sure, now that I think of it, that Herman Cain forced me to do the windmill in his hotel room. He hired people to kidnap me at that conference.

I'm only coming forward now for purely altruistic reasons. It has nothing to do with secret payoffs, politics, or my narcissistic desire to be on talk shows and in the news.

You can't prove I did not have forced or voluntary sex with any of the people I've listed. It may even be difficult to prove you didn't sexually harass or abuse me, or have a consensual affair with me at some point in my life. So, I'm going to your enemies, and the media to tell the sad tale of my involvement with you. Hope you understand.

One thing I never did was visit any universities in NY or Pennsylvania. But I am not sure I can prove that.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Kudos to GQ

I do not read GQ or any other magazine. However, in waiting rooms, like at the tire store or elsewhere, I do read boating mags, and other things of that nature, depending on what is available. I don't read GQ even if nothing is available but that and Cosmo. In that case, I read nothing. Cosmo because it is evil propaganda designed to warp minds, and GQ because they haven't figured out what a fashion plate I am. They don't write about me, then what's the point of reading their publication?

But this bit of news caught my attention; they just published a list of the "25 least influential people alive". Obama is #25 and John Boehner is #24. #3 is Ed Schutlz of The Ed Show. #1 is Tim Pawlenty, one time republican hopeful in the presidential contest debacle.

For some reason it cracks me up. It is pretty much true, I think. The article didn't give the entire list. They mention some other people who are unknown to me, so I saw no point in relaying those names. I know who these people are. Not always sure they know who they are, though.

Well, GQ's accountants and tax attorneys should probably gear up because I suspect a nasty audit by the IRS will soon befall them.

Just judging by the way the GM thing was handled--you know, when dealerships were forced to close and it seemed based on who that dealer's owners supported for president more than on profitability. They ended up having to back pedal a bit on that but it wasn't loudly stated in the news.

The point is that when you displease this administration you get screwed. That may be true of any administration. It is my belief that this is why no one ever opts to get rid of the IRS. If you are in power, it is like having your own private KGB.

Got to wonder what's up when the most influential (and I'm guessing here) media person is probably Jon Stewart, a comedian.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Barring Certain Possible Obstacles, the Journey is On

Never mind what the possible obstacles are. A little scare is generally a wake up call, and being very fortunate on a regular basis, in my case there is no problem.

The really good news is that G1 of Memphis Snakedocs, my old band, is going to come through with the amp trade. Sometimes I wish I'd been less mad at him at times in the past. I think I could have handled things better. I'm sure I could have.

Anyway, despite butting heads, we are friends. I guess, even in the old days, if he'd been in a bind and I could find a way to help, I would have. And, in most cases, I guess he'd have done the same.

I'll trade my Mesa Boogie for the Fender Bassman with the 12" speaker cab. It is better for playing my style of harmonica, and the other will serve better for his guitar adventures. I forget how many guitars he has now--maybe 13, if that is possible. And he rarely buys junk, if ever.

He sold me the Mesa for a song, relatively speaking, so trading it even for the Bassman means I am getting it for a song. I'd say I owe him one because I'd never have known what a suitable rig that is if I hadn't tried it when I was last through Memphis. He went to the trouble to bring it along when the guys set up everything to jam with me.

He's going to try to arrange for another jam of some kind when I go through on the 20th or 21st. That is the tentative time frame as things now stand. A few unexpected expenses came up which may cut into how I do this trip, but I have to go.

The new rig is so much easier to deal with, so I am more likely to try to find opportunities to use it.

This day was one in which I felt out of phase, like I must of said and done only stupid and offensive things for the last week. I don't really know specifics, just the way I felt.

Then Cliff, Kevin and Lauren, of Copper Creek, our group here on Ballistic Mtn, asked if I could make it to an open mic at a music store down toward El Cajon. At the last minute I found a way to make it. It was very quiet, low key, and lit up like retail stores tend to be. No ambiance in the mood light department.

Nice people. I say that because they gave me a good reception and acted like I was OK. Some of the regular hotshots--the ones that play other places and seem to be considered the big deal there, asked for "the harmonica guy" when they got up to play. So, I had my flattery fix for the day and it took my mind off of being paranoid and uncertain in my society of friends and acquaintances.

Not enough mics, and even though there was PA, I just played without any amplification. You could hear it throughout the room so it worked out. I just tried to play louder and really work on producing good tone. It is so easy to play harmonica sideman.

I may be a little bit not quite right in some ways, but I am pretty fortunate in how people treat me. I am very grateful for that. Kindness goes a long way, so never regret giving it out. You may never know the benefit it yields, but chances are a small gesture can be very uplifting to someone who needs it.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Little Late for Eulogy

Even so, since I just finished reading Sphere by Michael Crichton, I realize I am sorry he is no longer among the living. The guy was really quite brilliant.

I think I want to read State of Fear again. So, there you have it; Michael Crichton made his mark on the world and was head and shoulders above those who made movies from his works when it comes to imagination and intelligence. I doubt he owned a Che T-shirt. If he did, I have this thing all wrong.

TV Review--X Factor

How I ended up watching that is of no consequence. The odd show, X Factor has not darkened my own TV screen, though. However, it can be perversely addicting.

So, they have a few people on there that ought to be touring and recording. One guy in particular. I think his name is Jason and he works at a Taco place. No question that this guy is the real deal, and has something extra that is hard to define, and that can't be taught. I'd want him to front my band, if I were putting one together.

They canned the next best person. I figure, if you are going for someone who could record and perform, appeal to a large audience and who shows the potential to last, then why do they keep that obnoxious, bratty 12 year old rap creep? This kid is useless. But I have a theory about their refusal to get rid of him. More on that in a sec.

There's a girl on that show from Florida somewhere who is also a quality performer and singer. They did not can her yet. Actually Simon did at some earlier point in this fiasco, then went to her house and said come back, that he was wrong. Good thing because she's OK in my book.

Now what I think is up with this kid who has dubbed himself "Asstro" (spelling is mine, not his), is that his parents have some pull and the panel is under pressure not toss the little psychopath back in the psycho bucket. I don't know all the judges names, but I think the one on the far left, L.A. something is the kid's bio dad.

Asstro's mom is as full of bad attitude as her darling mutant offspring. I do not believe these people are poor, so I'm not buying any hard luck sympathy story that may or may not have been put forth. I haven't watched enough or been told enough to know if any such drivel was put in the mix.

Since that judge is her bio dad, and Mrs Asstro has threatened to go pubic with the whole sordid affair and ruin his life if little A gets booted, he puts up with the kid refusing to follow the same parameters all the other contestants are required to meet. The reason the rest of the panel buckled is that L.A? hired thugs and private investigators to dig up dirt on them, blackmail them and threaten bodily harm to their loved ones.

They don't know it was their beloved colleague who is behind it. So, the poster boy for why abortion ought to be legal, or even mandatory sometimes, gets to continue to have his time in the spotlight.

It just goes to show that life is not always fair, and especially in show biz, pushy creeps get more than they deserve. But, in the long run I still believe life has a way of making sure consequences catch up. Not everyone believes that, but I've noticed it often works out in fairly short order. I've seen big drug families and mafia types back in Miami, and it is amazing how their lives are so rich in tragedy of one sort or another. Ill gotten gains spend poorly.

Still, that doesn't let this panel off the hook. At least if Jason wins we'll know they have at least a shred of integrity. I've rarely seen anyone on national velvet or whatever it was called--that's right, American Idol--never seen any of those people who had that presence and pure magic this guy exudes. It really is rare. And the vocal is at once haunting, engaging, and real. Not one of those show tune, overly vain pretenders who learn how to appear to have heart.

I used to dislike Simon, but from what I've seen of this, he is the sanest of the crew of judges. The production crap behind the singers is way over the top, but maybe they have some unknown reason for all the glitz and nonsensical production numbers. Makes Elvis and Graceland look tasteful. And I liked Elvis in his early days, but believe me, he's not one you'd want doing your home decorating, or picking out your clothes.

So, I'm curious to see if they do the right thing in the end, and if they ever get rid of that creepy kid in this process. If not then this is a ripe opportunity for an investigative reporter to discover the corruption which has allowed Asstro to hold them hostage.

I may have it wrong and he might be Simon's secret son. But I get the idea that Simon doesn't like the kid but he's being forced to pretend the kid has some kind of value and character. He spun the kid's public displays of disrespect, whining, and baby -like behavior as "passion". He had to be up all night to come up with that.

My impression was that he was trying to figure out how to avoid saying the kid deserved to be there because of his talent and performances, and at the same time appear to be paying him a compliment. Yea, I think Simon was under duress as were the two high strung women on the panel. Something very fishy about this whole thing.

That's the trick though. Get you to watch just because you know something is up and because you hate the creep they won't can. It is almost as bad as shows that have a laff track. Clever and not so clever mental manipulation.

But seriously, that Jason guy could be a great addiction to the world of contemporary music. I wouldn't pin him to a genre because he could do rock, country, maybe jazz, R&B, pure blues and do it very well.

Maybe I should be a promoter and/or music producer. I know what works, even though those around me rarely believe it. My picks and ideas have panned out in small time ways and more remotely in the big picture.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Which News Source Has the Worst Writers?

AP has often been one of my favorites when it comes to using annoying or unbelievably trite cliches. Often their sentences get lost midway, losing all sense of coherence.

There are others in the news game who are nipping at AP's incredibly incompetent, biased heels.

Here's an example from NBC:
Both her and her family are likely far from destitute, so they don't need capital right now, but current tax laws mean she will likely sell off a large chunk of it before 2013.

Dear NBC "her" is not the word you were after there. The whole thing is very trashy, if your goal is a level of professionalism.

Breaking part of it out we have, "Her is likely far from destitute...", and you, NBC, be's far from having yo' head not way the hell up yo ask.

Maybe the Season

There are days, like today, when I feel a distinct lack of patience for anything, especially fellow humans who cross my path in any way. Or those who seem slightly pushy in whatever way.

Right now, I want to bolt from here, go far away and not have to deal with anyone. Not that there aren't swell, nice, together, fine people here who seem to think I should say hello every now and then--especially on holidays. It is just that I'd rather be off somewhere as a stranger, unknown to anyone for miles around.

These are times when you just swallow the restlessness, hoping that your presence enhances the experience for the others at the gathering. It usually works out.

I'm pretty sure my entire outlook and chemistry have changed in some way beginning several years ago. I care, but inside I think I may be flipping off half of humanity at any given moment. It's like I really don't know if I give a damn if I end up alone in life forever, or not. I used to say I did not want to be alone forever. Now I'm not so sure.

That's right, just drop by, use me as you will, and then who cares. I'm more inclined to strive to be a slut than to be a permanent husband. We are talking hetero here. I realize, in these times, one must spell it out or the assumptions run amok. I'm almost as ignorant as one form of interaction as the other these days, so who knows.

Anger is a strange thing. It could make you drive off a one thousand foot high bridge or kick the cat. It is almost like dope or alcohol, it can induce behavior which you know won't work out well later. This is why I never get angry or raging mad.

I just lie instead.

Auto Repair In Simplest Context

By simple context, I mean the easy stuff. So much is controlled by computer and sensor that it is hard to know what's what. The path of all that can be very contra-intuitive.

But there are many simple things which can affect the complex things. For example, if you are out of gas, the car won't run at all, yet the fix is easy enough that the dimmest of wits can do it.

Sometimes a problem can be sensed, but, due to the expense most problems represent, and the likelihood that it is too complex for the reluctant handyman to tackle safely, we don't even open the hood to take a look see. Just turn up the music volume or the talk radio, or open the windows a bit at highway speeds so that wind noise drowns out any audible irregularity.

Perhaps ignoring things which pose potential hardship can become a reflex. One may not even realize he is ignoring the red flags of imminent repair.

I noticed some odd behavior of my power steering a time or two while on my last land voyage. It was frequently herky jerky and peculiar in a parking lot situation.

Once in a rare while I'd hear a bit of squeak or squeal which quickly disappeared. Maybe a belt could use a little tightening. That is probably complicated so I'll think about it later. And the power steering pump must be shot and that is probably complicated. I'll look at it in my next life.

That steering thing seemed to be getting worse. Finally, while at a bank in Poway, I could take it no more. I decided to check to see if there was any steering fluid in there or if something else obvious might show up.

I pressed the outside of the belt which runs power steering and alternator and it felt tight enough. It is mostly covered so you can't see every detail. Then for some reason I reached in and felt underneath it. It is one of those low profile belts with a bunch of grooves in it, not the old style V-belt.

It not only felt like half the grove things were worn away and that it was falling apart, but I could feel a longitudinal split. If it had continued all the way around, then I'd be running on two skinny belts instead of one wide belt.

This thing could blow at any minute!

I got new belts from the parts place, and figured I could make it home. All I had was a multitool leatherman and a small crescent wrench in the car.

As it turns out, it is far easier to change these belts on a Subaru than on my old Honda. Dear Honda owner, check that main belt and be sure it is OK. It runs everything and is not easy to change out.

You can change the Subaru belt from up top, in front. No extreme reaching or difficulty. A few nuts and bolts come out or loosen, but nothing extreme.

I last put the belt on the Honda while working at the airport. It went south right there, or close enough that I made it in on the battery. I was in the special lot for supervisory people, close to the airport but outside.

I have no idea how I got to the parts place for the belt. Maybe someone gave me a ride, or I risked running down the battery.

What I do recall is having to work from underneath the car, in the middle of the night, in a light rain. It was raining on the hill when I changed the Subaru belt too. The Honda was more of an accomplishment, I can tell you. I got good at it because the first belt they gave me was the wrong one.

Somehow I got it worked out. Taxi cab I think. I rarely call anyone for anything and at that time in my life, I felt like a misfit and I was angry enough at everyone not to want to ask any favors.

The truth is, I am regularly angry at everyone to the point of being somewhat incommunicado. Or angry at myself. I don't get it a lot of the time so I avoid.

Either way, the Honda belt worked fine, and the Subaru belt resulted in no more power steering oddness. It did not seem like it was slipping that much but the thing is working far better. It is doing better at speed too. I guess it was slipping enough not to cut out as soon as it should so it made steering at lower speeds a bit funky at times.

So, a case of an easy fix which could have affected more complex systems. I had no idea their belts were so easy to change. Good move with a car supposed to go anywhere so you can be an environmental whiner. You can change the belts with minimal tools regardless where you are.

Monday, November 21, 2011

What? You Live Under A Rock?

The argument that illegals are necessary because the do the work that legal citizens in the USA refuse to do has never been overly convincing. At least, not to me.

I think it sidesteps the issue. In California, anyone of Mexican or South American descent, legal or not, has come to believe that un-hyphenated Americans won't clean houses, do yard work, landscaping, painting, and a host of other tasks. That is because they believe the self appointed leaders, even those who become mayor and have lived here all their lives in privilege.

My view on all that gets a little off the norm so I won't go into the folly of the DEA, the tax structure, and the distribution of tax funded benefits. That is not the topic here.

Recently I discovered that there is a guy living under a rock further up in the maze of dirt roads on Ballistic Mountain. I haven't actually seen his dwelling but I am told it consists of a sort of cave formed by three huge boulders. So, in reality, he does live under a rock.

This hill has many dips and little valleys creating sections which have trees, bugs, and more vegetation than exists at my place. As a result they actually have some form of landscaping. Well, even here, my landlord has flowers and plants and things, but they do their own work. But that is different.

Many people up the hill do not do their own work, the guy under the rock does it. He is not here legally. He charges how ever much plus breakfast and lunch when he does yard work. Fine and dandy. I would have thought they'd be hiring some of the miscreant youth who reside in this back country community. Guess not.

I'm assuming that they like hiring this guy because they think they are getting more work for less pay. Many people are like that.

So far he has only been linked to one questionable incident; he grabbed a lady's boob while doing work--presumably on her property.

What I find puzzling is that no one cares. She did, from what I understand. But to the hotshot of our equivalent of a homeowner's association I think the feeling of paying dirt wages outweighs the potential for danger to women and girls up here. He's allegedly a big fan of the rock dweller.

Very bizarre. Maybe they think the lady shouldn't have had her boob right there asking to be groped. Anyone would have given it a squeeze under such conditions. That seems to be the implied thinking.

Just another of those things that makes me wonder what else I don't know about this mountain. I was wondering how the guy managed to get anywhere to spend his money. He has a bicycle is the best I could discover, and he doesn't like to go into Alpine. That's because he's an illegal squatter who grabs breasts without asking or being invited to do so!

Maybe people include his shopping list when they go to town to buy their own supplies.

Yea, but what a bargain!! Illegal labor! No way he has any recourse. Or something like that. From what I've seen, they don't really get paid less than a desperate citizen would. My laissez faire mindset is such that I don't care who they hire. But the reasoning is often rather mushy.

I won't rat him out unless we cross paths and I think he poses and danger, or if he grabs me in some way.

The bigger picture here is that some people really do live under a rock. So that expression, "What, you live under a rock?" is not actually a rhetorical question when you get down to the nitty gritty.

Personally, I do not see rock man as a victim. I probably would not hire him, but who knows?
I may picket his cave with a sign complaining about him taking work away from me. I'm thinking of an Occupy the Rock protest.
Damn fat cats living in a cave on ez street. Talk about your 1%.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Finally, I Found the Ideal Candidate

A little uneasy with the Obama administration? Not convinced the alternatives seen in the Republican debates will be anything but Pelosi lite?

I found the guy that can beat Obama, won't take any flak from the media, could care less if you call him names---if you dare, whose grades and history are as vague as the president's, and who is not a political insider. Even less a crony of billionaire market manipulators than Barack (but then I'm less a player in crony capitalism than the big O, but no matter).

Ladies and gentlemen I give you Mr. H. Heidelbergensis. Worried about the gay vote? His first name is Homo. I dare you to make a crack about that to his face. And I can tell you, he is plenty territorial enough to put a big dent in the industries which abuse the integrity of our borders.

It's time we had a no nonsense president who doesn't owe anyone anything, doesn't even comprehend the idea of pandering to special interest groups, and could care less if you see him naked.

A distant relative of Homo Sapiens--probably a namesake--he's got all the breeding he needs for this job.



You really want change? Let's get rid of these mamby pamby wannabes and put someone in who is neither beholding to special interests nor the academic and financial elitists.

Put him in the next debate and I dare them to ask loaded questions, cut him off before he's finished, or smirk at his answers.

I know what you are thinking, but you are wrong.
Sure they thought that's what they were electing when they let Arnold be governor of California. Arnold was a cheap imitation and caved to every boondoggle scheme and special interest in the book.

Homo is who Arnold wishes he was. Arnold was merely a moral midget in a Homo suit. This guy is the real deal.

Homo Heidelbergensis for president! Bringing us back to basics. Homo: Stickin' It To The Man

No logo yet, but I'm sure someone will come up with one when Mr. Heidelbergensis comes from behind in the polls, as I'm sure he will.

Cooking With Hermits; part 112011

Today's tip is for a good breakfast omelet which includes green food groups as well as white and some other colors. If I didn't know better I wouldn't think this was any good.

What you do is heat a large pan on your hotplate while you get everything ready. That is because your hotplate takes its sweet time when it comes to heating things. If you have an actual stove, you should probably just set it on low for now.

Get a bowl out and don't forget where you put it.

Grab a handful of raw spinach. Wash it off in cold water, and shake it out. Then lay it on your handy cutting board and chop it up into little bitty pieces with your sort of sharp big knife. If yu kind of clump it up and make it into a cylindrical mass you can do that chef thing of holding the point of the knife down and feed the spinach in as you rotate the blade down like a paper cutter. Go fast and keep your fingers out of the way.

Then you clump it up the other way and chop like a maniac. It ain't rocket science so I guess no more explanation is needed.

Poor some half and half or milk in the bowl. Throw in a glob or two of sour cream. Add a dash of Richard's Delicious Seasoning or some Howling Wolf seasoning. If you don't have any, let me know and for $50.00(US) I'll send you some. Or just toss in some of the GOOD salt, maybe a bit of garlic powder and spit in it.

Mix that stuff up, then dump all that spinach in. If it doesn't look like you have too much spinach for any of this to make sense, then you don't have a enough. Mix it up a bit.

Dump two extra large eggs or three regular eggs in the bowl with the green mass you created. Mix it up well. Beat that sucker until blended well.

Put some butter or oil in the pan, if you didn't already do that. If you have a regular stove up the heat to medium or medium high.

Oh yea, you should have cut a bunch of slices of cheddar cheese by now. Don't forget where you put them.

Empty the bowl into the pan and mess with the pan so the mixture spreads out over the whole thing. I think m pan is twelve or fourteen inches, not sure. Lay the cheese on, and if you like bacon, you should have cooked some by now to a bacony crisp so you could put that on there too. If you want to add tomato and whatever else, go ahead. I prefer the tomato slices raw and put on the plate uncooked. Do what pleases you.

Cover the pan with your big stainless bowl or a normal lid if you have such exotic cookware. Go ahead and make some coffee.

By the time you are done making coffee or setting that process in motion the omelet will almost be done. When the cheese is melted it should be about ready.

If you can fold over from two sides so that it is folded in thirds. You can fold it in half if you must.

If you were really hungry, you probably had some hash browns going too, or maybe some grits, possibly toast as well. Put the omelet and all that other stuff on the plate. Pour yourself some cafe Cubano and chow down.

You will catch yourself exclaiming, "Holy smoke, this is great!! Who would have thought that greenish mess would have been edible? John0 is a genius and he doesn't even eat meat. He deserves the Nobel Peace prize--and may be the first person in awhile who actually earned it!"

People rarely make war while enjoying a good breakfast.

This process doesn't take very long. I've been pleasantly surprised how quick it is, and I have the slow heating hot plate. Sometimes I let the stuff cook while I take a shower or do whatever so I never feel like I am waiting around for it to cook.

I found it works out even though I couldn't imagine how so much spinach in there could possibly yield a good result. Must be that sharp cheddar makes everything work.

Send me a large self addressed stamped envelope--one of those with the wing nut looking fasteners, along with $38.50, and I'll mail you a hot, fresh custom made omelet like the one described. Add your own bacon.

Friday, November 18, 2011

All The Ballistics Over Achieve

It would be easier on the ego if those of my natal family and their offspring were dimwits. The one who used to wear ultra baggy pants and wanted his grandma to spike her hair has now just finished restoring a 100 year old printing press to working order and is printing out wedding junk on it.

Possibly I won't be invited, depending on how private or remote this thing is. I was not advised of another wedding in that bunch but they had just a few people and went to the Virgin Islands somewhere. No doubt they thought I'd not "fit" and couldn't afford it anyway. The fact that both items are correct kind of hurts but I can't hold that against them. Just the way it is.

I saw a short video of the press in operation and it looks like a new machine. It must have an electric motor powering it, or else it is operated by treadle. It could be one of those things that hooked to a belt from a shaft driven by a water wheel, like early textile machinery. The video did not have that wide a view. I did see a belt and the thing was continually in motion. A page was laid on, the rollers got inked, then went over the plate--a reindeer in this case--then it pressed the page and a hand exchanged the printed page for a fresh one, quickly.

That house he managed to buy and refurbish has as many machines and products of the young engineer's efforts as a scene from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. He's not as goofy or exuberant as Dick Van Dyke was in that, but he's a pretty cheerful sort in his way. Just don't cut across his yard.

When my nephews passed me up in lifetime achievements, income, and success of love life, it was hard to be as happy for them as I ought. Young punks. I taught them most of whatever they know. They were supposed to ignore the knowledge like I always have, then look back and say, "Uncle John0 was right. Guess he really is a genius".

It isn't going to go down like that. I take this as a sign that some people escape childhood with far less baggage than others. They are simply more stable than I have ever been. For that I am glad. I don't know of anyone in my family who could have survived what I have. I hope they take pity on me in later life.

That press is impressive. Oh, even I am groaning at that. But it is. A beautiful machine and looks like new from what I could see.

I always go through this thing of being sorry I'm not the big hero, or more than I am, when I know I will see my people soon. I do not think that is a healthy thing on my part. Most of what makes me more defective than the rest of them is not something I can change. The underachievement part could be changed and if I am to be honest I should just own it.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Kindergarten--Good or Evil?

In my case, I vote evil. You may not know this but I don't even think it was required when I was that age--younger than dirt. The kindertorture institutions were private, and apparently not expensive. My brother was spared the experience of kindergarten, and look how he turned out. (shining example of success, accomplishment, family and not really any stranger than I am. And not that much smarter--depending on how you measure smart, not any smarter)

The evil Mrs. Anderson was a kindly old woman on the surface, but in reality she was a nazi, man hating sadist. [maybe not nazi--it was Miami and most people like her treated everyone except Jewish kids like dirt]

Most of all she hated the truth, hated me I think, and loved the dogma only educational institutions and government could bring --at that time--the 'private sector' made great strides toward zealous enforcement of policy and rules which ignore context, morality and common sense over the years that followed. Much of it by government decree and example. But that's another story.

The big kids at the school, grades 1 through 3, had some good looking teachers who seemed to have better hobbies than pretending niceness while making the lives of misfits like me a living hell. Private school would have been a good fit for me, but I got shipped off to public school after Mrs Anderson's kindergarten weirdness.

I think the one and only thing I learned that year was that teachers were not necessarily to be trusted. And that truth was not the thing that sets you free when under the thumb at an educational facility. 1st grade landed me under one of Mrs Anderson's coven homeys, I think. Piece of work. It got better in subsequent years, sometimes.

Still, in my mind I figured it was me. I thought it was like with my father, something about me was just wrong and I could never guess on a given day what it was. It obviously changed and was rarely defined. Adults in authority were often mean and pissed off for reasons unknown. I was clueless, but inside I considered them cowards and never really believed I deserved any of their abuse.

At least I tried to hold to that throughout school, but I never did get how to play the game. That is why it was such a relief when I learned to make fake IDs at 15, and learned how to get beer and other alcohol.

I had to carry a hobo bundle on a stick. No fiddle for me

Foreshadowing is fine as a literary device, but I find it disconcerting to see it in one's own life history. Perhaps Mrs. Anderson was...THE DEVIL!!

She cast me as the lazy, no-account grasshopper in the play we put on--The Grasshopper and the Ants.

The goody goody kids were cast as industrious little ants, doing their goody goody work so they had plenty during winter or whatever it is. I should re-visit that grim tale. I actually did have to work at home. Those other kids didn't. It was an outrage.

I was like the lonely hobo outcast. The little goody goody collectivist bastards were all there together sitting around on stage. In I trod without a clue as to what was going on or why I was there. Was this type casting, was it a statement that at five years old I had been stamped the misfit who would be screwed forever for not being an ant?

My gut feeling is that Mrs Anderson was an evil witch and this play was part of a curse or spell she was casting on me, and that my father was in cahoots.

My mother went along like a nincompoop because she always deferred to her spouse at that time--best way to avoid listening to loud yelling. I think he was in on it because that is the only school or sporting event connected with me that he ever attended. I'm pretty sure he went along with witches and other evil doers because they'd give him pot or sex.

Guess he had more issues than I do, but I am naturally strong even though it may not be obvious. Stronger than most evil doers, and in some ways stronger than he was. In other ways he had some real gumption, though. Just not always put to optimal use.

I should have taken him under my wing at a young age. Didn't realize I probably could have pulled it off at the time. Too busy trying to figure out what it was they wanted to teach in school, and too busy second guessing myself because I couldn't make sense of authority and the culture of government institutions--schools.

Sometimes I feel as if I have been irresistibly compelled to be the grasshopper. The times I broke away required three times the effort the endeavor at hand actually required. I think it is the Mrs Anderson spell that I've been fighting all this time. Took me until now to put two and two together. I put some garlic powder on the popcorn and I bet that may have loosened the evil spirit's hold just enough for me to see a glimmer of the truth. Better late than never.

Now, how do we reverse this thing? Do I go find the final resting place of Mrs Anderson and use it for a urinal? I just do not know. Holy people will suggest I forgive her. OK, forgiven, but I still need to break the spell. This isn't about the late misanthropic teacher, it is about from now on in my life. Fulfilling my destiny and all that.

Let this be a lesson to you--if you leave your kid in the care of alleged educators, you better make sure they don't hate your kids even more than you do.

Did I Re-Review Sandpaper Already?

Too lazy to check.

3M, Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company--or so it used to officially be called--is a company that one would think makes things in Minnesota.

Their sandpaper is still the best I've found readily available. Home Depot has it. But it is not made in Minnesota or anywhere else in the USA. It is made in Canada. Maybe we can talk Canada into becoming a gigantic state. They might prefer to keep their independence from us, though. So that idea is probably never going to fly.

Wonder why they don't boot the queen. Oh well. They make great sandpaper. Maybe there is some advantage I can't see to them helping prop up Britain. We should all be good pals with the Brits, but being subjects of the queen or anyone is a creepy concept in my view. To each their own. I know diddly about the affairs of foreigners. Better for them to mind their business than for me to do it.

Doubt they really want to add us as a province, either. Pros and cons to everything. I don't know why we don't boot our own versions of royalty. It was never supposed to be monarchy lite. People want to serve a monarch or feudal lord. They just won't quit it.

The stuff at Ace Hardware just doesn't compare, especially the wet and dry. Gator, made in Finland by Finnies. It is OK, but if you have a choice get the 3M at home Depot or wherever else they sell it. Best bargain is the job pack. I've gone through a boat load of 220 grit, as well as 400 and 600 wet and dry.

I've also gone through the Ace excuse for sandpaper and it lasts about 64.7% as long, if that.

The other day I had reason to use sandpaper and I thought, Hey, you should again sing the praises of 3M's product, and ask why it isn't called Manitoba Mining and Manufacturing, since it is made somewhere up in Canuck land.

Did you know there are over 110,000 lakes in Manitoba? How do they have room for any housing except houseboats? I guess in winter they would be ice boats.

That's a place to watch--Canada may take the world by surprise and subjugate us all using high quality sandpaper. It will be a smooth transition ultimately. At least they almost speak American. Maybe more so than we do any more.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

How to Handle Holidays

There are many ways to approach the festive season. First, one must determine his/her/its holiday goal.

If you want to fuel your anxiety, and raise your level of misery, then watch all the TV ads and insist to yourself that your life be just like the guy who gives the woman the 20k diamond bracelet, like the family who has a big fireplace in a stately home and whose members are all good looking, well dressed and smiley. Convince yourself you must shower all with gifts beyond your paygrade or you are admitting failure and the world will end. Once you have spent some weeks soaking up the ads, comparing yourself in a less than favorable light, spend the rest of the season getting rip roaring drunk, especially at inopportune times, like when your kids wake up on Christmas morning, or when it is time to stand up the tree and decorate it.

If you want to enjoy the season, then just hope you have the good sense to appreciate the friends and family you have, the cleverness to not lead them to expect gifts and bribes which you can't afford, and the sense to know that good people appreciate it when whatever they do for you is accepted graciously with sincere gratitude.

It is mostly a choice. If your kids are being raised by peers, public school and TV, you are probably screwed. Resign yourself to the fact that they will be disappointed and have no clue what you are talking about if you try to discuss what is real and what really matters. Too late. You should have raised the little munchkins yourself.

If you aren't married, it is often a great stress reliever to break up with the current squeeze prior to Thanksgiving. That way you don't have someone placing uncomfortable expectations upon you. Especially if it is a female who is fond of jewelry store commercials. Get a big poster which expresses outrage at blood diamonds, or something like that. My view is that diamonds and those who promote them are the devil. Nothing good can come of the path they push.

You know you have trained your loved ones well if you can give them each a gift wrapped raisin and they react with a smile and a hug, telling you how happy they are you could be with them for the holidays.

Believe it or not, I think I actually have come very close to achieving that. The last part. You could never get away with that if you have kids in the picture. Hmmm. Maybe some of this explains why I am single. Oh well, my blood pressure is low and I know what it is like to be with the wrong person, so single is by no means the worst condition one can experience.

This is going to be a great Christmas season. I can see it now.

Generations and Quality and I Don't Know

You hear all this "greatest generation" talk because, in England, they were tougher than nails while the Germans were bombing them to pieces, after they naively pretended that there was nothing to worry about. A little friendly diplomacy would do the trick and peace would reign from now on.

For our part, we managed to bail out England, France, plus others, and a bunch of Asian crap as well. I doubt we will ever know the exact 100% truth about any of it. People who read a lot of history often think they know it all, but judging from more recent events and twisted way it is viewed, I doubt the most elegant, leather bound, heavily footnoted tome is going to adequately explain how and why people are moved en masse to blow each other to bits in any given instance.

I've been skeptical when it comes to calling my father's generation "the greatest generation" because they are the ones who gave us baby boomers, the suburban culture of cheating husbands and wives, ideas like "driving is a privilege", a petty sense of status and false pride based on nonsense, did I mention that they produced the baby boomers?

But in their defense they still had remnants of the idea that quality matters, and that one should at least revere values like honesty (regardless of one's practice of such principles), hard work, inventiveness, respect for others, etc. Men shouldn't hit women, and you definitely weren't supposed to call them bitch, whore (before we gave in to the ignorant who think it is said and spelled Ho), brag about the number of baby mommas we have around town. Idiocy may have been practiced to some degree, but it wasn't revered by that bunch.

The baby boomers are the ones who made the worship of total nonsense an art form. It began pretty early on in the game and the parents of the boomers played enough of a role.

When you really think of it, what actual value, what crumb of constructive idea, thought or action did James Dean represent? A confused and spoiled teen ager full of angst? Who cares? But the greatest and the boomers turned depressing anxiety into genius and role model. I can't say I believe James was reasonably either. He was famous.

I'm not just picking on JD here. Just trying to make the point. Maybe it explains why you call up a place and get run through computerized madness, and the quality of service is no good at all. Here we have all the technology which is supposed to make providing products and services easier, more efficient, cheaper, better, and all it serves to do is depersonalize both customer and vendor, and results in bad experience.

People who can think past the normal expected view at any given time saw this coming. I'm not talking about those who think invention, flight, and birth control are evil. I'm talking about those who create, but see how good things get put to bad use. It is not the fault of computers that they've been used to place a barrier between consumer and supplier rather than enhance communication. They work great when it comes to buying, but beyond that they are the wall. It needn't be that way. It is a bastardized view of business and capitalism that leads to that. I've worked for those people. They don't know it can be done honestly. Shallow pricks.

It is not the fault of technology that those who seek to rule use it to take freedom while telling the gullible baby boomers and their offspring it will make them safe and cozy. People have suckered for lies and accepted that they need others to lead them for so long that they accept any garbage thrown their way, especially if they can maybe get a dollar out of it, or be classed as a potential victim. Brats.

It is typical of current and past generations whose hypocrisy has become a cultural lie that must be believed. Like the flower children--all peace and love, innocence and honesty. Hell no. Flower children were and are, for the most part, greedy little brats who supplied the most love and piece to whomever had the drugs, the cool van, etc. And they were no more non-violent in the long run than the occupy wallstreet crowd.

There was a kernel of creativity and sense which got lost in the process. The "movement" was peppered heavily with phonies. And idiocy was revered. I remember hearing people self-righteously proclaim in that stoner, semi-valley girl tone, "Eiu, mon, I dewnt rally doo logic. I'm more in to feeling and intooition, like y'knoo mon" WTF? Ever try to reason and make a point without logic and to someone who does "not do" logic?

Anyway. If you wonder why your company and other companies are always halfway dishonest, and why it is so hard to function otherwise, I would suggest it is because of the power the greatest generation and their lunatic offspring have had in the realm of governing, corrupting, and controlling that which should not have been theirs to pervert.

I hope this made no sense to you because I may be angry at something else.

Some products are actually better now. Mostly we are dealing with degrees of respect, and a growing acceptance of an elite class of rulers, bosses, "thinkers" who pretend to know best but don't have any right to even think about my best or worst interests.

Cars are actually better now, but they cost a bundle. And they've been, unnecessarily, designed so that diagnostic and other work can't be done by a normal person without sophisticated equipment. That's the respect part. Like potato chip bags which won't open right--they split down the side so all the chips go everywhere. What's that about?

Maybe it is because I saw a documentary about The Who, and realized what a prick Roger Daltrey is today, and probably always was. But a lot of those guys were total jerks in reality. Did good work on stage but best off locked in a trunk between shows because they're jerks.

The greatest generation is unknown, and non-existent. Maybe the ones who founded this country were our best. But they weren't perfect either. At least they didn't give birth to the baby boomer generation.

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Same Things Repeat

There have been times in my life when I yielded to the pleading or push of others to make a choice that I thought was not so good. It usually involved something which falls in the foggy zone of my understanding, generally in the category of something social. Often I think that I must be weird and I guess x or y is what normal people do, so I acquiesce. It never works out. Or almost never, can't recall everything so I'll leave it at 1 time in 100 that it works out.

Certain situations seem to arise again and again which have similar characteristics. You do it over and over until you get it right. Or so I thought. if you aren't careful, it will sneak up on you again even though you thought that lesson had been learned.

I should know better than to let such trouble surface. I do know better, but it is easy to ignore it under some conditions. Wish I could be more explicit, but I can't. Anyway, I'm on top of it and not going to let it happen.

In other news, I guess in not much more than a month I'll be riding down that long lonesome highway once again. If all goes well I'll arrive in the sunny Keys in time for the Buena Noche party--I think that's what they call it even though I thought it was supposed to be bueno noche. Who knows. Cuban Spanish. I doubt they can understand one another. If I was in school I'd be expelled for saying that. But I mean it in the best possible sense.

I look forward to being in the Keys, not much to being in Miami, which is going to be part of the deal. That is one hyperactive place, especially on the roads. And Florida is a boring drive from north to south.

Yikes, now I'm talking myself into not wanting to do the drive. I'll find ways to make it interesting, I'm sure.

Dear Self Proclaimed 99%

If you are blocking traffic, or preventing an area from being used for its normal purpose -playground, sidewalk, etc-you are infringing on the rights and mobility of others. That is force. It is not peaceful.

I must be in the 1%. Who knew? Those claiming to be the 99% absolutely do not speak for me. Most couldn't relate to me anyway--they have too much money.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Fix is In, I Guess

In response to some complaints that the various media outlets are effectively enforcing a near blackout on certain candidates during debates, we get responses like this:

“We are in the business of kicking candidates out of the race,” CNN host Howard Kurtz responded.

They have decided it is up to them to decide who has a chance and who should be given voice. An already closed shop is being closed off even more. Some candidates are barely given time enough to introduce themselves in these kangaroo debates while others are encouraged to blather on and on.

The arrogance of news media is beyond the pale. They sincerely believe it is up to them to shape and narrow the choices of the unwashed masses. But many people believe in a class of ruling elites. Obviously I do not.

The whole thing is a bit questionable.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Random Compulsion to Think Out Loud

I call it thinking out loud if I write it here. It has a different feel than if I write it on paper or even in Word or Mac's version of that, Pages. Writing in the new post box has a different feel altogether.

One of the things I was thinking is that my favorite story from Mark Twain, of his work that I've read, is his short story, The Mysterious Stranger. It has to do with the variables in life which you can't see or predict.

Recently, I heard people discussing someone's suicide trying to think if they should have done something differently which might have changed the course of events. No one knew what he was up to, but in a morbid way some of those in the conversation seemed to think they could have changed it all. You don't know.

It may have been a chance event in his youth that resulted in all this. It may have been because he was forbidden from going to the movies with that cute girl, Gayle, when he was 12, and that led to another chance thing which landed him in bad comapny, and on and on. He was forced to cut the grass that day, didn't go the the movie, then went down the street and ran into Tony, who talked him into sniffing glue.

If he'd gone to the movies he'd be a physics professor at a large university in some great coastal city, have two intelligent well behaved kids, a wife who gets better looking every day, and he'd be happy as a clam, and alive.

Instead he led a troubled life, dropped out of college, flirted with various addictions, was a full blown alcoholic at an early age and his troubled brain and addled mind simply could not see life through the chaos.

All because his slave driving, nazi parents couldn't wait until later in the day that Saturday for him to mow the lawn. Or let it go until Sunday. Either they thought they were instilling a good work ethic, or else they were just dogmatic creeps who hated their children. Well, it could be that they had some obsession and/or compulsion related to length of grass or yardwork in general.

I don't remember the specific events in the story told by Mark Twain, but it was that sort of thing.

And if the guy above did NOT off himself, he would have entered the 10 items line at the grocery story behind Mary Smartypants, causing Barry Brilliant to choose another line, thereby preventing the chance meeting of Mary and Barry, who would have mated and produced the next Einstein, and also the next Joan of Arc. A very interesting brother and sister combination.

So, since things have gone as they have, all starting with the slave driving parents and the lawn, ending in the sad suicide, we can look forward to a brilliant scientist and one bad ass, freedom loving chick to enter the scene in a couple of decades.

See how it works? It is what we call the unknown factor which is everywhere in life. That covers many things in science, politics, etc. So ignore anyone who thinks there are only so many ways to skin a cat, or that skinning the cat won't lead to a different path than not skinning the cat. You just don't know.

That's why it sort of irks me when people go on about how could God let this or that happen. If you ever created an invention with moving parts and a control system you would understand. You build it, set it up and let it run.

If you are lucky, or the creation is lucky, when it breaks you can fix it. That's divine intervention. You didn't make it break. You just lovingly set your machine into operation, hoping for the best. So bad things happening neither proves nor disproves the God concept. I tend to think it is such a different deal than we traditionally think that it would be very mind blowing to actually know.

But in my own life, I swear it feels like something other dimensional saves my ass over and over, and occasionally sprinkles me with lucky dust. How that works, I haven't a clue. But, from the standpoint of building a working model, I don't really know how my own happy-parts work either. Glad for the good things, understood or not, and that's about all you need to know.

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Like spring on a summer's day

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