Thursday, May 31, 2012

I Guess It Is Just Me

The fact that anyone even debates the wisdom of things like overregulation of sodas, calories, and the like, baffles me to no end.

I caught a sound bite of Mayor Bloomberg, in which he claimed his efforts to control behavior either do, or will, add three years to average life expectancy.

Then he said the thing that blew me away, (I may have some words not verbatim here, but the meaning, I do have--and the last part is word for word) "If that isn't the role of government, then I don't know what is".

For once that elitist wannabe lord of the land said something with which I agree. Yes, you meddling dimwit-with-a-superiority-complex, you clearly do not know the proper role and function of government.

It is obvious that half the country hasn't any clear view in that respect or the rebuttal to this would not be debates over whether soft drinks are the culprit in the lives of the allegedly obese. The proper rebuttal is BUTT OUT, it is none of your business! Or perhaps a less kind two word retort ending in ".... you!!!!".

cute eh? There was a time when the average American would have been offended by such cute imperatives dished out in a paternalistic patronizing manor. "It's for a good cause" Blow me! ---apologies to more refined readers, I can't help it

We've seen the stuff of fiction, like the books 1984 and Brave New World, dangerously employed in our every day lives, bit by bit. Because so few spend time away from all the external input and conditioning, the bulk of the population is suffering from the slow boil syndrome.

That is the one illustrated by the scene of putting a frog in a pot of room temperature water, then heating up the pot ever so slowly. The creature doesn't know he's being cooked until it is too late. He's a goner.

I am regularly shocked by our pot of regulations and controls because I am way out of the mainstream. When I was working for a corporation I remember finally getting somewhat accustomed to the odd language, the pretense, the generally bizarre way highly regulated businesses, and those with government contracts think. They jump through hoops in order to keep the supply of doggy treats coming from their master.

And they train themselves to think and believe what has been dictated, recoiling from acknowledging the realities labeled tabu. Get the brainwash thing rolling and people finish it off on their own.

Being there exposed me more to general pop culture and the behavior of people who watch lots of popular TV. It influences them, and it influenced me. To a point. The extent to which even the main office of the corporation reflected the nonsense was a little frustrating to say the least. It was definitely something out of foresighted fiction I'd read many years ago.

When people hear something enough, through pop culture media, news, public service ads, political and charity grandstanders, etc., it sounds normal and becomes internalized as real and right. The majority of people are most readily receptive to controls and ideas which they see as affecting the behavior and finances of others, not themselves.

Incremental tyranny tends to work such that those not clearly being targeted feel rewarded for being normal and part of the big group who isn't weird, rich, or in defiance. They bask in a sense of solidarinosc.

Because there often is a kernel of evil doing which is targeted by great ideas their representatives concoct, the fact that they are being manipulated and duped is either ignored or missed altogether.

These days most people think their representatives and the people they hire to run governmental matters are somewhat corrupt. Most people don't think they are being presented the honest facts, but they are conditioned to conclude that this is how things are and only a fool complains about it. After all, what makes me or anyone else outside the loop think they know better?

What can you do about it? Ha! You can't do anything, so shut up! That's what I told Ghandi. Stubborn old fool.

One thing I might do is have a case of sugary drinks sent to Bloomberg's office. I'll tamper with them first to make sure they leak. No, I won't do that.

Just because I don't sway your statist central controlling government views doesn't mean I have not influenced anyone else. I actually have.

If you want to justify governmental personal behavior modification strategies by citing studies which indicate these measures are for our own good, be careful. Consider the studies done on things you may enjoy doing or eating.

What will you do when the wheel lands on some type of meat you enjoy, surfing, or bike riding, or other activity which is more dangerous than staying home? Is red meat still considered evil? I don't keep up. Eggs go off and on the list of killer foods. No way squid can get a free ride. Just the smell is enough to generate emergency legislation.

Actually, life itself tends to be fatal. Oh, that is not so ridiculous as I thought, they do seem to be heading toward outlawing living life, if not life itself.

I'm waiting for the fat tax to be levied according to Body Mass Index. Forget genetics or how you feel. You must conform!!

Beside the fact that no central authority has a right to tell free people what to eat and drink, some people appear to be healthier and happier with a little fat here and there.

If this was even close to a reasonably free country, statements like, "We must address our obesity crisis!" would never be entertained, and certainly not uttered with a straight face by any sane person.

All the "we" and "our" this and that talk does not land well on my ears. Speak for yourself. I'll address my own obesity crisis, if one exists, and it ain't my children, so don't talk to me about "our children are our greatest resource". It makes you sound like a slave trader.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

NYC Must Have No Real Problems

That is all I can conclude when the mayor and his posse have nothing better to do than to outlaw big non-diet Cokes.
All must be peace, love and tranquility when the long arm of the law has nowhere else to go but in your mouth.

Like The Drake Passage On a Rough Day

(pic source:993.6a00d83451b05569e20133ecd09d1e970b-900wi.jpg)
But frozen in time, covered with boulders and chaparral and other low lying green stuff, and scaled up a bit. There are trees here and there, rarely more than fifteen or twenty feet in height. That is pretty much what the landscape is like in my neck of the woods. Like the seas down there by Cape Horn, when the going gets tough, there is not much rhyme or reason, just ups and downs in all directions.

Imagine how it is in a boat rounding the Horn where the oceans meet violently on a day when warm and cold currents collide. Waves appear not in rows so much as in random chaos. As you plunge to the trough of one, you look up to see crests on all sides, not just in the direction you are heading.

Here the peaks and valleys are sometimes faced with ragged stone, often peppered with bus sized boulders, and often not. And from where I sit I can see the largest swells maybe 20 miles to the north, and the ones at my level closing off the view on the horizon five or ten miles away.

Always, it seems, the horizon is a pale, misty gray green. It is when it finds itself more than just a few miles in the distance.

I can picture this as a huge ocean to a race of giants. It could change color and resume its motion, and there you'd be. What would be the equivalent of 40 foot waves would be 400 or 4000 feet. I'm not being very precise with the scaling of this picture. The giants would be larger than anyone I know. That is safe to say.

The shape holds pretty much true. So, that is how it is. Someone was on my case because I could offer no acceptable verbal description. There it is. Throw in rabbits everywhere, some squirrels, rattle snakes, coyotes, couple of mountain lions, plenty of California rednecks, horsies, of course, random assorted oddities, and here we are.

Don't forget a bright blue sky most of the time. Way up there, not low like Miami. But then when it gets cloudy, the clouds are right down here with me, usually. The wet clouds. Once in awhile the puffy, decorative ones float around a few thousand feet up. Mostly, all that is not land is a clear confident blue, not unlike the blue seen on many computer screens.

Monday, May 28, 2012

When The Free Man's Mentality Clashes With Good Deeds

People, often including me, tend to think I am a bit unrealistic in my disdain for regulation and governmental oversight.

Today, I listened to various Memorial Day things on the car radio while watching a golden eagle soar against a clear, bright blue sky up on the Sunrise Highway. I could look down toward Pine Valley, and see peaks in all directions. I was at about 4000 feet and peaks in the distance at about 6000 feet. While taking in this bit of the American experience, I recalled how one of my best laid plans was rendered null and void by the usual suspects.

It was four years ago, almost to the day, that I first set foot in San Diego. Reviewing that adventure must have helped trigger the memory. That, and listening to various charity people on the radio discuss their wonderful efforts and how compassionate they are.

I'm not criticizing their work or who benefits. But the system is what it is, and no amount of self aggrandizement on the part of alleged non-profits can change that. I know it is impolite to say so.

When I lived in Memphis, I actually purchased a small condo in a high rise. It was on the tenth floor and had a little balcony that overlooked the parking lot and the wooded parks to the east. At that height one can see some distance. It is strange though how seeing only a few miles there seemed a big deal, whereas here I can see 8 or 9 miles from my deck. My friends in Point Loma can see the lights of Tijuana approximately 20 miles to the south.

Anyway, there were a couple of things which caused me to decide I could not live in the condo. I was experiencing a period of very heavy struggle with that pit which uncertainty, depression and isolation can facilitate. That 100 foot plus drop to the parking lot looked too inviting for comfort. Also, I thought the kind of living which involves gated parking lots, and elevators to reach home might be too confining, and could further my extreme tendency to isolate.

I elected to rent the place to others, while I continued to rent a place for me. Seems an odd arrangement, but I don't regret it. My rental was relatively dirt cheap and was in a good place, among trees, within walking distance of movies and stores.

The condo building was close to St Jude's Children's Hospital. I knew from various sources that people often need to stay for periods of time while their children undergo treatment for serious conditions.

I still remember, from my days working at the airport, the family who would fly in and out every now and then, who had a girl who was in late stages of cerebral palsy. I assumed that to be the condition. Her mother let me carry her onto the airplane and into her seat. She was light as a feather, maybe 14 or 15 years old.

I offered because the mom looked worn and exhausted, and I liked the girl. She knew what was up, and I could make her smile, almost laugh. Just one of those cases in which you feel love for someone without any reason. Something about her just glowed. And she obviously caught my irreverent humor and off the wall remarks.

I hatched a plan to rent my place cheaper than what hotels and such would cost, for months or weeks at a time, to families at the hospital. Not all of them qualify for the official charities' help but it is a real strain on them.

It wouldn't take very much for me to meet the dreaded condo association fees, insurance and that sort of thing. It would have been a win-win situation, and I know I would have really made it easy for people like my friends from the aiprort.

OH NO!!! You can't do that because the state and city and the hotel board consider such activity to be a hotel,, absolutely not. Don't even think about it.

Then the condo board started making rules that said if 50% of the units in the building were already rented out, then you could not rent your place. Two or three tycoons happened to own just about 50% of the units, which they rented.

I gave up the idea, and took it as a sign from Above that I needed to sell the place before I left Memphis for the great Western Unknown. Too much complication to hold onto it, rent it, and deal with ever changing regulations.

About the time my second renter moved in, they made a rule that they had to do some sort of background check on renters, and charge me a fee for it. Then they decided that if you had a renter, you had to pay a higher condo fee. Admittedly my renter looked a little shaggy, but I went on instinct and believed he'd pay up, and that he would make no trouble. In fact he was the type that would carry the old lady's groceries for her, voluntarily, so she didn't have to struggle with her wares and the elevator.

I think they resented someone not of the tycoon circle thinking his property rights were his to exercise as long as no harm or problems resulted. That is not how those places operate.

My renter paid on time every time. He'd had some hard times and was trying to get his life back in order. Most likely he'd not have satisfied the usual rental scrutiny, but he was probably a better tenant than the majority of those who do. If something needed work, he'd offer to help fix it or fix it himself.

Trying to quantify every aspect of human life in order to control it is proving over and over to be disastrous. Yet we ramp up the efforts in that direction. I am not sure of the proper, better paradigm, but I am sure it is worth attempting to shift the model. For one thing, it would help to employ more of the old school thing of deciding about a person face to face, rather than by feeding elements of resumes and reports into a computerized algorithm.

I happen to be suspect of the fact that due to our corrupt, ill conceived tax structure, that only officially approved charities count and are accepted. They become bureaucracies and corrupt, themselves. Or not. But it should not be so hard to do things individually without a bunch of hooplah. Of course you get no tax break, but the tax code is an ass, and shouldn't be such that you do or don't get a break.

At least the state of Tennessee and the City of Memphis were saved from a bootleg hotel competing for the business of people who have second mortgages, if that, so they can sink all they have into the costs of keeping up with a child going through cancer treatment and such in a distant town. I feel better knowing that all enterprises are so highly regulated. If government controls it, you know it is safe and good.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Lunaphobic Much?

I'm very disappointed that the senate voted to remove the word "lunatic" from all federal code. This probably means that you get no minority points and special status for being a lunatic.

Lunatics have been disenfranchised. The only hope for lunatics is if, like me, they also belong to other special groups. In my case, I can claim to be almost any minority other than woman--who technically are the majority--but never mind that. It pays to be in officially protected groups. We are all equal, but some are more equal. Hate crime laws tend to favor some over others.

Be sure to claim the right group or groups. That way people get punished more if they shoot you because they don't like your group. I'll RIP a whole lot better knowing that my assassin was motivated because of my Cherokee/Hispanic/African (proved by high cheek bones and gum pigment) heritage rather than because of my personality. Thank God for high cheek bones, and alleged family lore.

They stopped short of banning lunatics from federal office. It is sort of a pretend situation. We won't say "lunatic" no matter what happens, or who is speaking. If they banned lunatics from office, as well as printed word, the Capitol building would be a ghost town.

Like that guy from Georgia who was quizzing a general in a congressional hearing regarding moving troops to Guam. I forget why. This representative's concern wasn't to do with why. He was worried that adding so many people to the US base side of the island would "cause it to capsize".

That is right. An elected United States lawmaker feared that an island would capsize if too many people set foot on the military base. Flip that baby right over, spilling innocent civilians into the ocean, many of whom may not know how to swim.

We do not call such an elected official "lunatic", and certainly not "retarded". In politically incorrect truth, though, I fear he may be both. I guess he's in the right place; more insanity in DC than there is in Georgia. California gives them a run for the money, but that's off topic, sort of.

He wasn't joking. In this case you must be careful with pointing out that the man is a mental midget or people will accuse you of hating midgets. How to call someone in public office what they are in terms of philosophy, actions, and idiocy without violating the CODE, I don't know.

So, no more reference to "lunatic" in federal gibberish. We'll continue to use euphemisms like "bureaucrat", "congressman/woman", "senator", "president", "vice president", "czar", "secretary of (fill in the blank)", and on and on.

But we know you could just as easily say things like, "Lunatic In Chief", "lunatic of the Interior", "White House Press Lunatic", etc. and it would be fitting enough, even if not adherent to the Code of political correctness, which is ever evolving.

Somehow these lunatics think that by refusing to legally acknowledge the Lunatic community that they will reap benefit. Maybe they are planning on forcing people into the military or into some kind of community work. They always manage to protect themselves from the requirements they place on others.

I'll bet if they reinstate the draft, being a lunatic will no longer get you a deferment. That is where gays screwed up. If a draft comes back, they are going to wish they'd never pushed to be in the thick of war. Personally, I think they were duped, but that is their choice.

Now how are you going to avoid an insane draft? Claiming you are Cherokee won't help. It will no longer help to claim that you are gay. Equality of enslavement, and people pushed for it. I guess they forgot what a dark cloud that was, and what a political mess they made of that "police action".

It is a sad day when the feds pretend the lunatic community doesn't even exist. We deserve better. After all the fun and excitement we've brought to the world, to be treated like this is an outrage. I am calling for Lunatic Pride marches, nationwide, on my birthday in February, and/or on my invisible friend's birthday, next Friday.

Since gays stole the rainbow--which I still think should be public domain, no agenda or dogma attached--I guess we'll need some other kind of flag. I think that one with the crescent moon is fitting and attractive. We'll just lift it from the Islamic world. If the rainbow can be hijacked, so can the moon. Again, it is not p.c. to say so, but I guess using the flag for the lunatic community, at large, is really just broadening the hardcore base who already use it.

Lunacy is more rampant than one might think. For once this symbol can used by garden variety lunatics who rarely blow themselves or others to smithereens. A new political force is born.

It would seem we are now the victims of a lunaphobic Congress. Lunaphobia is the stuff of hate crimes. If a person attacks me for being crazy and doesn't get more stringent punishment than if he/she/it attacked me just for fun, I am going to be one angry lunatic.

Seriously, that would drive me mad.

PS: it is a grievous thing that we don't have any one word to replace the universal "he" pronoun. Alternating by sometimes using he and sometimes using she does not seem to convey the same universality that the, understood, non gender specific he did.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Don't Want To Lose It

Please don't let me lose it altogether, I ask to unknown powers. It would be easy to float into a disconnected state of mind which shuts out reality for good. Actually, it wouldn't be for better, though. I can feel that, so I resist the current of the fog that offers to carry me there.

What am I doing? I don't know. There are Mormons who want me to play in their choral group which is doing a show of some kind. The music is mostly semi-soft rock covers, and they have a couple of guitars, a keyboard, drums, a bas, and approximately six singers. How did I land there is hard to say.

First the Lutherans have me playing the death march on Good Friday, now the Mormons want me for Johnny B Good. And some other tunes. It's complicated, but the Lutherans did not try to Luthanize me and, so far, the Mormons haven't attempted to Mormonize me, nor have they mentioned Mitt Romney. The bummer is they haven't offered me a collection of wives as payment. I guess that could be a good thing.

Once again, I wonder if these musical forays are worth it. If I thought I was as good a player as I ought to be, I'd probably push it harder and feel better about it. As it is, I fear I am probably where I belong, considering my level of performance ability--playing in ensembles whose source and purpose are unknown to me, and in shows I've yet to understand.

I'm supposed to play something in Santee Friday night. I do not know where or why, or who is the audience. Mormons, I presume. Part of the problem is that I don't want to know too much. I am leery of inner church workings, particularly when secret handshakes and ritual may be involved.

I wish CopperCreek would become more active. But, part of the group has lucrative career activities to maintain, and another part is not healthy at the moment, and seems to be questioning the direction. I see the possibilities because the collective sound and sanity are rare. When dealing with anything in the music world, you have 2.5 strikes against you from the start because musicians are involved and they are all nuts.

So, I'm supposed to be there tonight for the big rehearsal, but J has once again neglected to email the time, address, and other pertinent particulars. This is the 3rd or 4th time that I will have to call, have to alter my day trying to figure out time and distance. I've half a mind to do nothing and if I do not hear, not show up.

But maybe I am being a baby if I go that route. It is annoying. Somehow it reminds me of my late father, rip. He never called but when I would call he'd act like we are never in touch and every time he'd ask for my phone number as if I'd never given it to him. Then he'd never use it.
The score sheet was at least 100 to 1, calls I made to him compared to calls I received from him.

Not that conversations were that much fun. All he wanted was dirt on my mother and brother, both of whom he was free to call. To be fair, I've discovered a certain respect for some of his qualities, and a sympathy for his difficulties and confusion in life. The man could work like no one I've ever known. It wasn't often for the best in the big picture but there is value in process.

The IRS ruined his later years, and ten years after he kicked, they figured out they'd illegally raped him for close to 500k more than they should have. I wonder how that would have altered his later years had they left him alone. His last wife is to be well compensated, I understand. A devious broad, but she did keep him off the streets and put up with him for a time.

That is how it is has become with J, who recruited me for one project, and that spilled over into the Mormon hooplah. "Let me get your email written down so I'm sure I have it right."

OK. Now you have my email for the fifth time. How about making use of it. he doesn't phone text, so that method of dispersing info is not there. Phone message is less reliable because of spotty connection up here, but it could be used as well. Although, I dislike getting much info on voicemail because I have to replay the whole message over and over to get the stuff written down. "Hi this is J, the adrressisonethritytwoohfivefourteenthstreetatfiveoclockandyoutakethegoopletyplopexitoffthe

Due to my iffy reception, voicemail is often not received in a timely fashion.

Invariably no address will be given. All I want is an address, and if the venue has a name, include that. So, that is the trouble with the voicemail method where this J outfit is concerned.

I liked the old physical answering machines which had easier control to focus on the meat of the message so I could stop, play back, etc. This cell voice mail requires enduring the entire message then playing the whole thing again if some number is in question or it is hard to understand the rapid fire delivery of the caller.

All that is just a shred of the trouble in my mind. Sort this shame of a garbage pile of a dwelling. This cottage ought to be a friggin showplace; view you would fly to some resort to have, well built, very nice place. Not much noise, save the choppers in the distance installing towers which are part of the corrupt project I can't influence. I've not shown the gratitude or respect this stroke of luck deserves.

All of a sudden I feel sad and lonely. That hasn't haunted me much for awhile. It is the mind's way of tempting me to mentally drift off into lala land and never come back. It is also a chance to beat the blues by doing everything I don't want to do. Face your life. That is what sorting and cleaning up requires. It is very hard for me because it wakes up that free floating grief.

Then there are the projects over in the world of political puppeteers; the ones who get their pals cabinet posts in this administration and who were instrumental in putting this wannabe king in office. It is good to have it, I know. But I cannot feel anything but under employed and sad about the sort of people who will benefit from my efforts. The good part is that I get some of their money in exchange.

My general state of mind is what they call in recovery, a dry drunk. So be it. I think it probably goes a bit deeper than that.

Step one, clean out the refrigerator of all the six month old milk, spoiled produce, and things which defy identification. We will chalk that up as one tiny battle won. A small victory.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Free Speech, rights and rights

It continually amazes me that so many people, often those in the media, in academia, definitely in government, and down the street, have so little idea of what the Bill of Rights is about, and what the difference is between a right and entitlement.

Sorry Joel, but I can't resist.

Today I heard some guy on the radio discussing whether a private company which fires a person because of comments posted on facebook has violated that person's 1st amendment right to free speech. I'd say that unless an employment contract which precluded such termination was in effect, then no, they violated nothing. We are assuming no libel or slander is involved.

Technically, I suppose it would be freedom of the press since we are dealing with the written word. But this scenario has nothing to do with the Bill of Rights.

A pe3rson is free to express himself, and others are free to fire him if the choose. People can quit their job over something the owner says or writes if they choose.

It matters not whether an employer is fair, it is his/her right to decline the person's services for whatever reason. Why do people stretch it to involve freedom of speech? or press?

The government cannot punish you for criticizing it, but people can refuse to do business with you, withhold friendship, etc. Being fired because you talked shop on facebook may be a poor reason, depending upon circumstances of the incident, but freedom of speech and press are not relevant to this kind case.

Talk show hosts are often limited in the scope of their reasoning abilities. The professor who called in was equally wrong in his assessment. Denying the employer's rights in the name of the 1st Amendment is a risky road to follow. Next thing you know the employee's right to quit will be in jeopardy.

By the reasoning I heard from these people, the government being forbidden to establish a state religion would apply to any group. so no religion could be established, and a religious school would be forbidden from exposing its students to that religion or any other.

The state cannot abridge speech or press, but your friends and employers can react to your expression. The state can't establish a religion, but you or the lady down the street can.

It seems clear enough to me. The confusion over it is nuts and will eventually lead to narrower rights and liberty, not more.

The Battle With Worthless Worry

The list of things of which we know very little, but think we should have a strong opinion, is lengthy. OJ, for example. I wasn't there and it was a circus. I still can't say I know what happened. Now someone has a book out claiming his deranged son did it. Why should I care or even give it a second thought?

Trayvon. I wasn't there and I do not know. What makes people take a view is the reaction to demagoguery and opportunism of those who jumped on the thing and made up stories, then tried to incite riots. I shouldn't worry about it. That one causes some worry because it has become a battle cry for openly racist aggression. Screw it, though. I'm in an area lacking in diversity, therefore lacking in the sort of violence common in my last locale, Memphis.

I get so inundated with information about things outside my own world that I forget what there is in my life worth doing. Obesity in children, and its resultant cries for regulation and people minding the business of strangers; hardly something I ought to waste any thought considering.

The only consideration, on the level of abstract principle, is that this is the downfall of the socialist philosophy. If we all share in the cost of healthcare and everything else, then that is used as the excuse to monitor the personal choices of others. That results in more rules and regs and restrictions on rights. It leads to being required to prove innocence without any indication of guilt having been established.

Those things are cumbersome when people like me can't shake thoughts of such remote manipulation and nonsense. None of that serves to help me live life with passion or even constructive direction. I'm not making a living by having opinions or thoughts about the ubiquitous debates regarding non issues.

I saw a report about a poll which asked if people thought Zimmerman shot the guy in self defense. A poll! They weren't quizzing witnesses, just random people. As if it is right that the uninformed public should have deeply held opinions regarding events which occurred somewhere else, involved strangers, of which they have very limited information. How can they possibly deem themselves eligible to make a reasonable call? Jerry Springer nation.

I remember when pandering talk shows first started that thing of someone giving two minutes worth of a complex issue then audience members would be called upon to give their idiotic assessment and advice. Better to be a voyeur into the insanity of others than to deal with your own sadness, anxiety or responsibilities.

Maybe that suicidal deer who ended up costing me over $500, and my insurance company over $3000, had the right idea. If you can't get it right, give up.

But, then, if you give up, how will you ever know if you could have made it over the obstacles and gained some traction? Maybe some little electrical anomaly in the brain would have nudged you into just enough action to put the construction process in motion.

Just something to get your mind off of The Great Pretense which has ruined anything regarding public information media and the authorities they promote. That covers so much ground; from war to public schools and universities, to helmet laws and, still hard to believe, obesity.

So much easier to look at the reports of events and governments, which could be pure fiction for all I know, than it is to control my own personal environment. The latter is something over which I do have a great deal of control. You'd think I'd exercise my authority and make it as good as it can be.

No doubt this has defined a mental disorder which carries a label. I don't think it is a brain tumor. Probably a form of perpetual grief which has lost its way, and forgotten its cause.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Old Dogs, New Trick

image from site,, under shoe tossing in Berlin. This is a job for duct tape

For those who are unaware, "dogs" is old timey slang for your feet, or you feets, if you prefer.

Recently, I was catching up on the trials and tribulations of The Class Factotum , who writes an informative and very entertaining blog. Far easier to read than mine. It covers everything from spousal abuse for fun, to tyrannical pets, and fake blind lady curmudgeons.

In the episode I was reading, tying shoes was the issue du jour. You never know what is going on there. They live in an area where people wash their cars in beer, so anything can happen.

I followed the link in her story which went to, and a guy actually discussed the whole shoe-tie thing in a video, but you can't really see what he's doing. It seems that some laces are more prone to come undone than others. With a little effort I was able to figure it out.

It's true! There is the old way, and a better way to tie a shoe.

The whole trick is when you make that first loop, force yourself to bring the other part around the opposite direction from what you habitually do. For the first time ever, I worked all day without having to tie the loops in an extra knot, and my shoes never came untied.

You know you have it right when the bow wants to lie horizontally across the top of the shoe, rather than the usual tendency for it to go along the longitudinal axis of your footwear.

I'm very surprised and pleased. All these years of wrong way tying.

Never have these shoes stayed tied. Never ever. Until today.

It gets a little confusing because I sometimes tie right handed, and sometimes left. Same concept applies. Maybe when this knowledge gets out there, tie shoes will make a comeback instead of falling prey to the vel-cro lobby and lazy slip ons.

As the photo, above, tends to scream out--perhaps some basics on how to lace shoes should make the rounds, as well as how to tie them.

Sunday, May 20, 2012


The solar eclipse was best experienced north of here, I think. A line from Oregon to somewhere in Texas.

That did not stop people from flocking to my favorite overlooks, some toting telescopes the size of the deer which attacked my car recently. It appeared that they had special lens covers or filters. Who knows. They were ready.

I vacated overlook #1 because it was too crowded, and drove a little way up the Sunrise Parkway.

There is a large unpaved section on each side of the road at a point maybe four miles from Thee 8. What was funny was that the vast majority of eclipse fans chose the west side, as if you could see the sun better from there. That left plenty of space for me to maintain 30 yards or more from the nearest vehicle. I like a generous helping of personal space when groups of strangers are about.

I chose to park with my back to the sun and read a book. As you can see, my clever way of recording this event was to position my side view mirror so that I could capture an image of the eclipsed sun with my phone cam. The result was breath taking, don't you agree?

I did make one a little dimmer. You can easily see how the moon was just beginning to obscure the sun in the first photo, and how it has almost totally blocked it out in the second, can't you?
Just spectacular.

Friday, May 18, 2012

If One Is Brilliantly Clever In a Vacuum, Does It Count?

Two posts down, I believe I was at a real peak in the art of clever. Not only that but the whole thing was based on pure fact. It is all true, I do have high cheek bones and ethnic gum evidence.

That is not the point. The point is that my accidental bursts of genius go unnoticed and unrewarded. Most geniuses can crank out brilliance day in and day out. I'm not of that group. Most of the time I am rather dull and dimwitted.

Then for a brief time, rarely more than 43 minutes, electric charges surge through my brain causing my mind to work really well. Then I go back to my semi-dream state which is cloudy, slow, gullible and dimwitted. The bursts of brilliance only come around maybe once every month or so. Rarely do they visit me at times when I can use them in any way.

That is why some people think I am a dimwit. They rarely see me in any other form. Then there are those who've seen evidence of my little jolts of thought, then get mad because they think the dullard persona is by choice and weakness of character. Little do they know that in dullsville mode I hardly comprehend their complicated insults and big words.

All that aside, I should get more credit and response when I am clever. It is so bad that I even left Rahul the lunatic spammer's comment in there.

Just thought I'd get that off my chest.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Double Edged Sword

If you wanted to contribute even $25 to someone's campaign, the feds require them to get your name, phone number, address.

Already donors to campaigns have been targeted by other campaigns. Those are big contributors, but I find it a threat nonetheless. With the level of computer technology and the ever growing insistence on putting people into data bases, I would not contribute to a campaign, even if I wanted to.

I understand why people go along with saying they want to know who is paying, but that knife cuts both ways. Just like most things. The big answer is to have severely limited government power so it is not so important to those who control money to have their guy in the catbird seat.

I guess I'm paranoid. I won't write to senators and representatives or sign petitions anymore. They want too much info, and I have no faith whatsoever that the information would never be used against me. Especially since I'd sign a petition to abolish most of the structure which controls the data, the guns, and much else.

Maybe one of these days I'll change my mind.

I Have High Cheek Bones, and Other Stuff

old family legend points to this man as my great grandpa. The resemblance is uncanny

One time a girlfriend thought the dark pigment in my lower gums was from rotten tissue and bad upkeep. It turns out, according to the dental lady examining my harmonica mouth, that this is typical of people who have Latin blood, and she seemed to imply Black blood, as well.

She seemed a bit worried that she'd crossed the line when she asked about ethnicities, as she explained it was due to the gum coloration. I wasn't bothered. I was wanting it in writing so I could send it to the chick who questioned my gum care.

Some people resist embracing their gene pool. It was not rot or poor hygiene, but pure genetics. That girl sure had me wrong. Probably a racist. Other than that, she was the bee's knees.

So, I plan to include exotic ethnic mix in my biography during my presidential campaign, and my senate run, should I lose the presidential race due to the color of my gums.:
"I was the first Latino (I kind of hate the terms, 'latina' and 'latino' for some reason. Sounds stupid to me), African, Cherokee in my neighborhood to own his own bicycle. All the other kids were White. Many of my relatives were also white. Although I tried to feel 'a part of', I always felt apart." - a sneak peek excerpt from my new bio.

Hey, if it is good enough for Harvard, it's good enough for me. I'm referring to the Scandinavian looking white chick running for office in Mass., or some other northeastern place, who claims she's Cherokee because she has high cheek bones.

Her cheek bones are no higher than mine, although I'm not sure how to prove that.

They say being touted as the first Native American woman law professor at Harvard had nothing to do with her getting the job. wink wink--and Al Sharpton would have still jumped on the Trayvon issue if they'd pointed out Zimmerman's Black heritage up front, rather than calling him a White Hispanic.

(see? I'm willing to call out racists even when we are ethnically similar)

So Liz is running for senate and people are questioning her claims of Native Americanism. If her references to family lore and proof of high cheek bones don't convince the skeptics, I don't know what will. People can be so bull headed.

People have often said I had high cheek bones, but never really explained what that means. I believe my bone structure is pretty much where it belongs. It is not like I have cheek bones framing my forehead.

I'm actually thrilled because this could open a host of job opportunities. Native American, African American, European American. If I wasn't so lazy, you'd see three hyphens that you could count for yourself and have proof of the total in my hyphen column. Just imagine I put them in.

Now all I need is to discover that I'm actually a woman and I am at the front of the line. When I was hiring, and for a so-called private company, the pressure was felt and it did influence hiring. If I could have scored a triple hyphen with gender issues, he/she/it would have been hired without an interview. Just to please the nitwits upstairs.

It should help me politically because I can claim to be one of almost any ethnic group you name. If only I could work some Asian in the mix, I'd be a hat trick plus one on the hyphens.

Wait minute, I think I have that hat trick plus one already. I should be able to include Hispanic or Latin. Habeas corpus and all that.

To think, all these years all I've claimed is to be an American with no hyphens, no claim to anyone's guilt, nothing. Now that I realize I'm a cornucopia of hyphens, I've noticed I am much more resentful and aware that even in traffic I'm treated unfairly. I suddenly want a huge government which will punish everyone not of my groups. Especially the rich ones.

High cheek bones, ethnic gum pigmentation, and an uncanny sense of rhythm. What more proof do you need?

I'm even thinking of hyphenating my last name. I heart hyphenated identity tags to separate me from the awful other people. I can't wait until the next census rolls around. t is so exciting to think about filling out forms in the future.

Back to the picture, ever notice how they always show politicians doing that exaggerated mouth thing when they talk? Like Donald Trump. I guess it makes them look like they are either going to fix the world by barfing on it, wet-kissing it, or swallowing it.

Most people don't do those labial gymnastics when speaking. Trump, politicians, some actors and singers. That's about it. Not too many people you encounter in normal life.

When my campaign gets rolling I don't expect to have that sort of photo floating around. There will be plenty of other ones for embarrassment purposes that my opponents will attempt to use. I'll shut them down by playing all the many ethnicity cards in my deck. Anyone who disagrees with me is anti-Hispanic, anti-Black, anti-White, and anti-Blues. Racists with no sense of rhythm.

Who wants to carry a label like that? I'm sure to soon be off limits to criticism in the press. I can hear the patronizers now, "he's a clean, articulate Indian...a real credit to his r..uh, peoples". I'm so excited to have finally discovered my true identity. Why I didn't put it together when the dentist gave me the hint, I don't know. Thank you, Elizabeth Warren!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

What I Ought To Be Doing

Many things can be found on the internet, but anything to do with dealing with or solving really serious life issues, aberrant thought patterns and the like is not there. The best you get are studies by government agencies and the assumption that you are enough in the loop to have easy healthcare access, or that you have the iron stomach it takes to seek some government agency's "help".

I know from experience that even when the healthcare is accessible, they do more harm than good 50% of the time, or more, when it comes to the syndrome of which I speak.

Some of us fall between all those cracks. So, what I should do is start at the beginning, and act out what I suggest, step by step. This is all for the man who finds himself tossing out pleas from that insidious lobbying organization, AARP; who finds himself alone and marginally isolated because he doesn't know how to do otherwise; who wonders if it is even worth trying to do anything.

There are a few people in that boat. Intelligent enough in many ways, but too damned dumb to survive well in society as we know it. Energetic in many situations, but too lazy to lift a finger for himself, left to his own company.

I should begin installments of the manual which, if followed, would turn that silent, invisible prison inside out. To make it legitimate, I would have to perform each step described. I'll get right to it.

But first, I'll sleep on it.

Not Quite Equal, A Sign of the Times

In the tradition of some being more equal than others, they fixed the discrepancy regarding the flimsy fender. It was clear that they did all they could, I guess.

Even so, the thump test indicates the left fender is slightly stouter than the new right fender. It is a factory fender, and maybe they reduced the metal content since they made the car. Who knows. It looks good, therefore it is good, be assured.

All else is probably OK in the world of my life. I played with the CopperCreek people last night and I feel like I am playing noticeably more confidently and competently than, possibly, ever.

That may be because I practice for five or ten minutes at a shot, several times a day, on average. For what I do, short sessions work best unless I am working on a particular thing that requires more time to master.

The guy who is putting together a thing that is supposed to pay is still a question mark. He seems like he can get it done, but until I see a big crowd out front, and the money, I hope for the best but expect nothing. To his credit, last time we practiced--Monday--he raved about how he really likes what I do. I'm embarrassingly encouraged and manipulated by flattery. I better watch out for that, because my rational side knows that flattery is cheap. Show me the money.

And hide the news. Unbelievable, the way people will take little rumors and smear people, incite racial wars, and generally stir fear. Equally insane is the way so many people buy into the nonsense.

In spite of the questions I am sometimes asked regarding how I would fix things (and the fact that my answers are discounted as unrealistic), I still maintain that government is the vehicle of choice for most evil. Individual conscience is the vehicle for most good.

Too bad so many have given conscience over to the dictates of authority, or just suspended it because they can, in exchange for the promise of a few crumbs. Or, in some cases, for great wealth.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Better to Look Good than to Feel Good

So, I get a call telling me my car is all done, ready to roll. I drive down there in the afternoon, and it looks OK. It was hot, bright, and I saw no point in overdoing the once over. Chances are, I'd not have found any issues just by looking.

The paint matched well and appeared to be smooth and silky. Good job. The car drove well, and I was glad to have it back.

I went over to Kevin's to practice with the CopperCreek people here on Ballistic Mountain. Kevin used to be a body shop worker and manager so, of course, he was interested in checking out the work. He agreed that it looked good, said he was nit picking but felt the hook go stand slight adjustment.

Then for some reason I lightly hit the fender on the side with the fat of the side of my hand. Hmm..that doesn't feel right. It feels flimsy. I went to the other side and it felt solid. Kevin took a look.

It seems they had not properly attached the fender liner that goes above the wheel and it must be missing the brace, internally which gives the fender some structural integrity.

Oh well, back to the shop in the morning. Quality control must be sorely lacking at this shop. Now I hope nothing falls off on the way in. Everything does look good, but as we all know, looks do not cover all the bases.

I'm trying to just keep cool and calm, knowing it will be OK, but if I were the manager at such a place of business and my people let a car go like this, I'd be bouncing off the ceiling and probably have complaints lodged against me for hurting the feelings of "workers". At least that is how it worked in the airlines. Never mind that lives and money were at stake. But that is another story which I refuse to tell.

I plan to calmly bring the manager out to the car, have him compare the two fenders, then answer the question, "Why is one side flimsy like a bad lie?".

Kevin thinks it could be fixed quickly. I prefer that because I don't want the hassle of another rental, even if I am not paying for it. I wouldn't be paying for it.

How can you forget the brace? That is like installing a floor on the second story and forgeting the columns and load bearing walls that support it.

File this under--if you don't already know, the quality of work in California is not the greatest, on average.

Customer service is not too bad, but anything which requires work like contracting, auto repair, etc., is usually done without regard to collateral damage, and not up to standards you'd expect.

Hoping for the best. These things should not be so tedious. They ought to know when something is right or not. After all, they are the alleged experts.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Auto Reviews--unscientific and devoid of technical analysis

After 24 hours in the Chevy Toobig Tahoe, Enterprise chick calls and says she can switch me to something less gas guzzling. When I spoke to the middle manager guy, whose name is on the business card they give you, the day before, he sounded like he was blowing smoke.

It only makes sense that since this company has tons of large vehicles, no doubt purchased before the ultra expensive gas scam went into full swing, that they'd pawn these off on those who have the least choice--insurance backed patrons who need transportation while their cars are being repaired.

For those whose insurance company has a deal with a particular rental outfit, the ability to shop around is greatly restricted. Besides, any ride is better than none.

The point is that I get it, and I think I know when they are not being quite honest. You should have seen the look on Anastasia's face when I told her I didn't believe much that her manager said, but that I understood wanting to keep the high demand cars available for those who had a choice. They've all been briefed. That is how it works in that kind of world. Those who face the public have little leeway and take the brunt of the cheesy dealing dictated from above.

That is how the business of customer service works. I wish it didn't, and a large number of those in that sort of job feel the same. It is the slight tinge of dishonesty coupled with systemic incompetence that causes them stress. And they are the ones subject to the wrath of often unreasonably entitlement minded customers, as well as those who are justifiably aggrieved.

So, the smallest thing they claim they have to offer amounts to a choice between a black Lincoln, which looks like a mafia hit-man's pimp ride, or a Kia Sorento, V6, and not so bad. I opted for the Sorento. It has proven to be surprisingly good on gas and very tight and nimble.

If you end up in one, though, beware. The shifter setup is not immediately clear. I thought I was in Drive, but I was in manual mode. That means if you bump the stick forward it goes up a gear and stays there, downward it goes to the next lower gear. There are six speeds in that transmission. It starts at whatever gear it was in when the stick kicked over to the left.

The only clear label is the D. I had no idea I'd kicked it into manual as I started up the ramp to The 8. It is close enough to the Enterprise lot that the fact that the car was not upshifting wasn't evident until I tried to accelerate up the ramp, which had virtually no shoulder for pulling over to take stock of things.

I thought it was defective, stuck, or something, so I tried to move the stick forward toward N. It did not go into neutral. I was thinking putting it in N then back to D might unstick the tranny. Because it never went to neutral, I tried several times, inadvertently upshifting and gaining the ability to merge with traffic and avoid stopping dead in the road.

It looked wrong but I decided to move the shifter to the right, which appeared to be an open track which would allow one to throw it into any gear, like R, which would be bad. It turns out that is where regular drive is located. I looked for every logical place on the instrument panel for an indicator which would give a read out of the gear.

Finally I saw the little D beside the odometer readout, in the same color as the numbers, and pushed up against the numbers as if the two were of the same sentence or message. Hmmm. Let me put the stick back to the left and see what happens to the odometer letter. Oh, it changed to a six. Bump the stick back, it becomes a five.

Great, now I get it. When I stopped I intended to examine the owner's manual to educate myself about this vehicle. I opened the glove box and nothing was there. Other things were more intuitive, actually moreso than in the Chevy Tahoe, so I've had no more serious questions. Never did find the manual.

They really should give you a basic rundown of important items, like how to make it go in situations in which you don't want to find yourself winding 5000 rpm in first gear at 20 mph.

It occurs to me frequently that I could do wonders for many companies' customer service departments. But I do not have much on paper that would induce them to hire me, even though it would pay them to do so.

The mouse-the-customer-and-employee school of business has gained a very strong foothold in the corporate world, making it a tough sell for someone who could show them a better way while improving their bottom line. They cannot see past that nickel on the table to pick up the dollar on the floor.

In short, if you are towing a trailer, maybe the Chevy Colossus is the vehicle for you. If not, it is not that great a thing. Depending upon what they cost, I can't say choosing the front wheel drive Kia Sorento would be a bad choice. It drives pleasantly, and is quite tight. Like most front drive cars it doesn't handle the washboard dirt road up Ballistic Mtn as smoothly as the Subaru. Something about the all wheel drive makes it less jarring. I do not know why. I noticed it had that jarring effect on a friend's Lexus, too.

There you have it. Oh, and the Kia cruises very nicely on the open highway, and its cruise control actually keeps the speed more constant than the Chevy or the Subaru. Both of those tend to gain too much speed on downhill stretches.

I should note that the Kia has 25000 miles on it and shows no signs of wear at all. It seems absolutely new and I'd have no problem believing it only had 2500 miles.

Thursday, May 10, 2012 a friggin handbasket!!!

I read the news today, oh boy

Seriously? Are the present big picture (and little picture) difficulties and problems, which have to do with the few proper functions of government, and the myriad of century old over reaches of same, actually there by design, and, to divert attention, we have campaign tactics of going back close to fifty years to dig up dirt from high school or before, and we put something called "attachment parenting" on the front page? (recent cover of Time magazine)

No, I'm not going to steal the pic and put here. The mom is hot, but the hotness dies with the look and the age of the kid and the whole thing. To each her own. I have a right to say you are nuts and full of pretense.

As far as parenting, even adherents to all aspects of The Great Pretense are aware that a huge problem is the limited number of parents per household, and the fact that so many expect school and everyone else to take responsibility.

I suppose a corollary to that is the fact that way too many people lack the sense of values required to teach a kid a code of conduct. In short, there are a lot of very stupid people running around with very minimal sense of right and wrong. Not long on conscience. And they are too dumb or selfish to know that they should not multiply.

It is safer to blame everyone else. Or suggest that nursing a child until he/she loses all his/her/its baby teeth is the new, revolutionary answer. Shoot, let 'em feed until they go to college, get drafted, or spend time in prison. But don't cut 'em off when they come home to visit. You can save a lot of money and time at Thanksgiving under this plan.

I've heard stories of Obama in high school and now, Romney. I wasn't there, and I have to wonder why someone, especially a lawyer, insists on coming up with such stories. Maybe true, maybe not.

In the latest allegation about Romney the victim is dead and his sister says it is ridiculous. She never heard the tale. Who cares? High school! I'm not a big fan of Mitt, but come on, is that all you got? I don't care about, and won't address the tales of Obama's early life, because it is not relevant to what is going on now.

Let's address the job and the philosophy regarding power and a host of other things--like weighing in on the Zimmerman case with no real information. Not your call, Barack. ou have that power, don't subvert the judicial system and local law enforcement for self aggrandizing grandstanding hijinx.

High school sucked because everyone from kids to teachers were insane. You should live a week in Miami high school back in my day. OK. Some days weren't bad. Mostly that place was devoid of values. It was cultural.

Regardless if you hate one these politicians or not, when the attack is garbage, resist jumping on just because others are. It makes it look like you have no analytical skills. I see the hair splitting come from both sides. I guess it is like wearing a Che T-shirt because ou heard it was cool. Talk to some old timer Cuban refugees, educate yourself before you go idolizing a psychopathic murderer.

And the thing of everyone who did or didn't have sex with a celebrity==rich and famous person, has got to go. If some one tries to grope an adult male, the gropee can walk away, get violent, cooperate, say "no thanks", etc. It is not worth millions or even hundreds. I have a feeling the women who come out in droves when the ball starts rolling against someone are making money.

I have no respect for lack of discretion. Playing people because they are wealthy or because you can hurt them due to their fame, and only doing so to satisfy your envy and greed, should be frowned upon. It certainly ought not be entertained seriously in the courts. That costs the taxpayer. Besides, it is wrong, banal, low down, and sleazy.

You should be warned now, if I get significant votes, both Obama's Chicago thug machine and Romney's wherever machine will have so much ammo on me it will make your head spin--fights in school, trouble, not very nice a few times.

There is a lot I did not know at 15 or 16 or 25. It is what it is. But if I have the right philosophy now, and am shown not to have committed capital offenses, and have demonstrably grown in character, you should judge by that and vote for me because I'm the only one who believes in individual liberty, puppies, and Subarus.

Sell the Car to Afford Gas in the Rental

A rental car is part of the insurance deal while they fix the damage Bambi's relative did to my car. By the way, at 7 this morning Ms Bambi was gone, Either she woke up and trotted off or someone picked her up and sold her to the glue factory. Coyotes wouldn't be that neat, and buzzards and crows wouldn't have had time to devour the poor critter.

All they had available was a Chevy Colossus--a Tahoe. You can visibly watch the dial on the gas meter move downward, even while parked with the engine off. It is an unnecessarily large vehicle. Big for the point of being big, or so it seems. It is OK to drive because the side mirrors are very good. They should be--the are in the adjacent lanes.

Anyway, I called the number on the card the pretty girl gave me and got the guy at the main office. He was clearly blowing smoke. I've been in companies, and been in middle management. I know the routine, especially when you get a by the book, leave the brain at home, sort of person.

Obviously, Enterprise ordered too many big vehicles before the gas prices went through the roof. Now no one wants to rent them, so if the insurance company's deal is with them, they can stick the desperate with cars that guzzle gas like a frat boy binge drinker.

I'll try to get back with Anastasia at the other location and see if we can't switch. She was on board with that when I left in this freight train of a ride. She did her part at first telling what a bargain I was getting because they normally rent for way more than what insurance is paying. To her credit, she did not stick to the story, and instead acknowledged the reasons I prefer a puddle jumper, and also et me know that all they had were gigantic cars at that moment.

That company man from the main office is sending all the stuff they can't rent to the collision center where people drop their deer damaged vehicles and pick up the loaner. It has now become a matter at beating him at this game.

I'll drop by tomorrow and bring a siphon hose, in case I can't get another car. I'll drain the gas from the monsters he sent there to screw the helpless. He knows if your car is toast, you have to have something or else you walk.

Al the while I felt lucky, though. There was a time, not long ago, when I would not have had the coverage or means to take care of this and have any alternative transportation. I think the car will come out of this is great shape. Poor babies could not find any cheap aftermarket or reconditioned parts, so they are going with all genuine factory goods. It think they expect to come out under 4k. Bumpers and fenders and such cost, not to mention labor.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


where was this guy before the deer crossed the road? Shooting this one in the butt, apparently. Wait a minute-is that a girl? Can't tell. Androgyny in camo gear. OK.

I've often noted that many of the wild animals in America have absolutely no regard for private property, human life, or rules of the road. My standard operating procedure is to take that fact into account when driving, experiencing the temptation to pet and cuddle bears, raccoons and the like, and when sleeping in the woods.

I'm the kind of guy who avoids rabbits, and even coyotes, when I'm driving, not to mention children and bicyclists. But, as luck would have it, I was unable to avoid Bambi. Maybe it was Bambi's mother.

The scene of the execution was not far from home, on the winding road from Alpine. Tonight I was in the mood to just slow poke, driving 35 and 40 mph on a 55 mph road, because there was no traffic. It had been dark for a short time.

So, as I rounded a curve I saw an animal start to enter the road ahead from the right. I began to slow but I was already close to the creature. It ran across, so I thought it was history, then it ran back across and I thought my dodge to the left had cleared it, then it did a 180 and dove into the front of the passenger side fender doing significant damage.

All the above took less than half a second. Bam! was the sound. And since the thing was to the side, it wasn't run over and didn't jar the car enough to set off airbags. I'm wondering if this rude animal wasn't depressed and intentionally entering into a fatal relationship with my vehicle. Fatal attraction.

After all, I thwarted its first two attempts. In the end BAMbi won.

My car seems drivable but maybe a little edgy. I'm lucky it pushed things in and not down onto the tire.

I'm also lucky there was no need to deal with El Cajon Highway patrol people. Now I have to get the car into an ElCajon body shop early to meet the insurance guy and pick up a rental. The first $500 of the repair is on me.

Once again I discover the hazards of California. There are times you just can't do anything. That is one of the reasons I chill on that road. But in all the time I've lived here that is only the second deer I've seen on that highway between Alpine and Descanso. Dusk and shortly after are the worst times for animal abuse. Animals abusing people and their property.

The worst part is that it is going to take forever to empty the car. I hope I find money in the process. The good thing is that I am lucky enough to have a means of getting it fixed, and I am unscathed. Too bad I'm not a carnivore. That was a big animal.

Oh Geez, while I am posting

With all the war, the debt, the gangs in the streets, trial by sensational media reports, etc., how did marriage become such a topic?

I am not sure I totally get gay marriage, as it seems a little different than my Ward and June Cleaver image of happy family bliss. But it really is not my business. Not in the political sense, because I don't even think government needs to be in that business. Were it not for tax structure and a few things, who would care?

If it is not defined or banned already, I'd vote against any definition or ban. I vote against anything that adds ink to the rules except for term limits.

Somehow I am now a mail-in only voter in CA. As near as I can tell, everyone out on my mountain is mail-in by default. I guess if you live more than five miles from a voting place they do that. I was able to vote to reduce the term limits of some state offices from 14 to 12 years. I guess 6 two year terms is plenty. I'd reduce it to three given the chance.

Here you can vote for anyone in the primaries for senate but not president. I was stuck with only the libertarian choices for president. I could have voted for a republican, democrat, or whatever on the senate one. I voted for the democrat I thought had the best chance of defeating Diane Feinstein. The woman is a crook and a menace.

For the last three years I've been surrounded by people opposed, vehemently, to the Sunrise Power Link project. According to Diane, there has been no opposition at all. I guess she missed the dozens of lawsuits, and thousands of letters she and others received. She and Arnold were on the same page on this--a bipartisan bit of corruption.

I doubt I'd vote for that person I thought would have a chance against Diane in the primaries, in the major election, should she win the nomination, because the only people close to my philosophy are not to be found in the democratic party. Libertarians won't win, although I think Ron Paul could have come close in the republican boondoggle had he not been ignored and shut out by the press as much as he was. I vote the philosophy, not the man. He's the only one with a clear philosophy.

For judges I voted for anyone who was not in the prosecutor's office. And for schoolboard and the like, anyone whose brief bio did not list being a public employee or official. So, the freelance writer got my vote for school board.

Being a scrooge I vote no on bond issues. If schools were managed and run as I see fit, then I could see putting money into my plans. More of the same? Nope.

I also voted no on raising tax on cigarettes. If they decide to tax beef under guise of heart disease research I'll vote no on that. The two things are analogous, and show how people think a thing won't get them, but miss the basic principle involved. Just wait, it will come around to bite those who think ripping off others, of whom they disapprove, is perfectly right.

Harmonica Endeavors and Semi-Reviews

Blablablablabla...evidently, I am driven to prolific midnight posting.

So, as I listened to the tunes I need to learn, it became evident that either he recalled the wrong keys, or else something made the prescribed key unfit. I do not believe the recording and playback somehow slowed or increased in speed because the one tune that I had been exposed to, so I knew what key was right, worked as it should.

I was able to find the key for most of the songs. On one I found I could use the chromatic with the button in. Is that C#? In other words Db? One was oddly in B, or B was all that would work.

So, I figured it was time to update the harp collection. No matter where I go, Lee Oskar harps, and most other suitable instruments are a lot of money. It turns out that has the best prices and selection for my purpose.

I've dealt with them in the past and they are reliable and honest. They also sell a little known brand called Bushman. It is a German made brand which doesn't outsource to odd countries, and they make a good harp which lends itself to overblows--the technique which allows you to bend a note up in pitch. Usual bending on harmonica is only down.

The price on these is pretty good and you can replace reed plates like on a Lee Oskar, so I got a few in major keys like Ab, Db, F#, and something else. I also go a Gminor in a Lee Oskar.

They have some cheapo harps that are a bargain but I didn't get them. A set of 12 in a durable case for $40. They send a lot of those overseas to military people, so if you know someone over in the thick of this stuff, let them know and they'll probably send them a cool set of harps.

It sounds like good practice harps. Sometimes a harp that plays but won't quite do what expensive ones do is good for working your ability to coax things so it is a piece of cake when you go to the hotshot harmonica.

I saved nearly $10 each by not getting the Lee Oskars, but I hope I don't regret it. I've had some Bushmans for a long time with good result. The trick is to get the one called Soul's Voice and not the Delta Frost. I've owned both, and the SV is more durable and cleaner sound. The cost is about the same.

For overblows people have been paying over 2 or 3 hundred dollars for customized marine bands and Golden Melody Hohners, and now companies are building them in a similar fashion to custom harps but they are still over $100 for one diatonic harp. Supposedly they overblow well so you can play them chromatically for the most part. Of course you are stuck with that particular key's sound characteristics, but it adds versatility.

Suzuki has come out with one I'd like to try someday. Like the customizers, they use a rosewood comb. I guess they have reeds of the right size and such which do well with the overblow bends, and they claim to be set up out of the box for it. That has to do with how reeds are offset, and zzzzzzz. Sorry, I was putting myself to sleep.

Anyway, I figure I better have the tools since I think the people I'm hooking up with are for real, and it could result in recording more than just for them. I'll know things are good when playing nets out in the black financially. So far it has cost me more to play than I've made. That is generally the case, however, I am beginning to think I may have more worth than that.

What I play is a limited thing, but it is a niche which few people fill, so, in reality, I have a better chance making it pay than most guitar players would, because there are so many of them, and usually they are the frontman. If they need what I do, they very rarely can lay down that track themselves. I'll try at any rate. It seems good female singers, who can sing back up or lead, may also fit a similar demand--but possibly moreso.

One thing for sure, this stuff is becoming highly challenging.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

How Many Trillion in Debt and Alarmed Over What?

People are sometimes annoyed at me--well one or two people--because I tend to question or point out items that governments take upon themselves to monitor or control, which I think they have no business even considering. I realize we elect people to office and the theory is that we are the government.

I do not, however, recall how it came under the purview of we the people, or they the government to oversee my body fat index. As if this country is not hemorrhaging money we do not have, tax dollars are spent on studies about obesity, and plans to control our behavior in the name of projected health care costs. Hey, die young and fat, and even if you run up the doctor bills a bit, it may all come out in the wash.

But that is predicated upon the dubious idea that everyone else is paying the doctor bills. See how socialism is a slippery slope? It leads to a type of thought that gives everyone the right to intrusively mind everyone else's business. And people just can't restrain themselves when that kind of power comes their way. This syndrome is quite evident already if you pay attention to various causes and efforts at changing behavior through taxation and official coercion.

It does strike me as arrogant and nervy for government officials to put out all this press about some big scare regarding obesity and the numbers they expect by 2030. Most of the House and Senate appear to be more than well fed. Maybe they just want to keep people off balance so they won't notice how they destroyed manufacturing and many other job opportunities through corrupt mismanagement, often of things they had no business managing.

I'm thinking my new belly may already be shrinking, but I encourage people to store up what they can because we're being robbed blind and run into bankruptcy, not to mention the assault on farms and food being conducted by the same people who gave us the fat police. You can take the phrase fat police two ways. Both fit.

And people wonder why I think no law is not necessarily more dangerous than governments gone wild.

I suggest buying up clothes with vertical stripes, and maybe dark colors. I hear that makes you appear thinner. You may not be pulled off to a re-education farm to reduce your BMI if you go for thin looking garb and keep a low profile.

What will be next, I wonder. If you had told me that governments would be in the business of wanting to discuss and control your diet and body fat fifteen or twenty years ago, I would have thought it was a joke.

Oh well. I don't really get angry. I just do all I can to not cooperate and to not have anything more to do with any government office or program than I have to. I hope never to utilize even medicare. I don't fault those who do. I just can't stand the forms, the people, or anything else involved with collecting a benefit from a system which I think creates its own demand. It is like me raiding my neighbor's refrigerator over and over until he can't afford to buy food, then offering to throw him some crumbs, provided he jumps through the hoops I arbitrarily design for him.

Then I point out how important my crumby program is and how much it helps. Forget that I helped create that demand. Spooky stuff.

Maybe they just came out with this in case Romney picks Christie for a running mate. It sets the stage for that being politically incorrect because he's rather over weight. Of course, I'm still supporting Ron Paul.

Not that I think it makes much difference, and I doubt things will ever be near perfect. But I like to say what I think while I still can, and often I feel cautious and paranoid about that. The western world is likely to experience a bit of upheaval in the coming years, and what shakes out may be interesting. It is unnecessary for it to have developed as it has, but it comes down to the greed for money and power of the populace as well as the people with the guns.

Constantly fighting expensive inconclusive wars takes a toll on resources. So does maintaining big blocks of dumbed down voting groups, and controlling every facet of life. They kind of go hand in hand though. Peace and freedom sound nice but people have not been educated in a way that promotes either. Their thinking has to change for those words to actually apply to the culture.

Monday, May 7, 2012

No, I Don't Even Like Playing Music

I use the term "music" very loosely. Maybe not as loosely as rappers or some other fringe elements do, but looser than I think is legitimate. I make noise, and occasionally it is mildly pleasant. Never is it really earth shaking in the way that some things are.

All this time and effort, then after a frustrating thing like yesterday, I want to run from the experience altogether. No desire at all to play. I just want to travel and sleep and eat spinach omelets with cheddar cheese and tomatoes and fried potatoes and sour cream, and oat meal and grits, and blueberry bagels, and potato chips later on.

In truth I find music major type classically trained musicians to be a pain, and I find the self taught catch as catch can types a pain. The worst to deal with are still guitar players who idolize off the wall writers of stupid songs, and who can't get it through their head that it is polite to let you know they are switching tunes and keys. These guys expect everyone to follow them but just try to get them to follow you and they are sunk.

I actually did that yesterday. I made them follow me in C minor. It was really only about 2 chords they needed. The mandolin guy caught on. The guitar guy was totally lost even when the other guy showed him. I know, I did it out of frustration and to see if it would dawn on the guy what a pain he'd been. At least I could accurately tell him the key.

Today, I am thinking I have no desire to play anything with anyone. I only want to find something useful to do that pumps blood to my brain. And I want a change of venue to something less fire prone.

Maybe the sub-tropics. Cuba, if we can oust Castro and any Che supporters. So, if Cuba ever frees up, I recommend seriously educating Carlos Santana before letting him in. Just keep Sean Penn and other Castro sycophants out. Put it in the constitution.

OK. So forget playing any music, and let's get this Cuba thing out of the way. Someone obviously had some reason for allowing that. I'm hungering for my sub tropical roots.

But for the ocean and geographical ambiance mostly. Miami has never been a very nice, easy, polite culture. Pre-Cuban influx it was dominated by the ruder elements of New York City culture, mixed in with other rude yankee influences. Then the Latin American take over just made the place a little louder, more colorful and less predictable. Not more polite as far as I know.

But now there is easily available Cuban coffee everywhere. Anyway, it is sub tropics and that is what I long for, sans the high powered city insanity and shallow culture.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Secret Hollywood TV Techniques

When I watch selected shows on Hulu, some contemporary, some not, I often notice things in dialog or acting which must have been taught at the same school.

One technique used in drama, more by actresses than actors (is it ok to say actress rather than female actor?) is the the to and fro eye dart. This is used when the actor is "searching" the eyes of the other character who may be saying something like, "Of course I don't love you anymore."

They will focus on a face shot of the searching character who is staring into the eyes of the other character. Many actors have mastered the technique of making their eyes shift quickly back and forth, but only just a little bit each way off of center. They can do it rapidly, like maybe 5 times or so in a second. It is supposed to convey earnest bewilderment, I think.

Remember that in your next audition.

Dialog is different and I need to make mental notes of all the typical phrases. Of course, just like in politics and news commentary, the phrase "at the end of the day" has become common. It replaced the over use of the phrase, "the bottom line is...".

Fictional characters will likely never stop "playing a hunch". I'm grateful that "and your point is?" hasn't run as far as it could have. "having a lot on my plate" found its way into many scripts, sometimes on every page, but seems to have faded. Now I only hear that from my brother.

I suppose "you're (he/she/it's) going down" is often about the easiest way to say it so that cliche is not quite as pure hollywood.

It is clear that some actors and/or directors come from whichever school thinks reciting lines with a full mouth of food is great for adding a realistic touch. They clearly have been taught the technique and they all do the eat and talk delivery identically. To avoid actually grossing everyone out while doing this is an acquired skill, considering you have to utter your lines audibly and articulately.

I think it is a stupid device. In real life, my friends rarely attempt that, and if they do, I generally let them know I have time to wait until they swallow before hearing what they have to say. Michael Landon, RIP, was a great proponent of the talk-with-food-in-mouth acting school. That is quite clear. He was also a fan of the fake uncontrollable laughter scene. It was a good time killer if the script was a little short, I guess.

I go great lengths of time without catching current TV, and even on hulu I still avoid any show with canned laughter. It is my little protest. Some people won't buy foreign products or shop Walmart. I boycott laff track driven entertainment.

I'm going to keep an eye out for other techniques so we can employ every cliche and seemingly pointless acting and scripting device when we create our own show.

While I am at it, I hope to discover why Alec Baldwin thinks he's funny. He simply is not. I've yet to find any humor in his humor.

Beach Blanket Bingo

In an odd twist of fate strangers call me every once in awhile these days regarding playing some kind of music with them. The latest call was from a guy whose name rang no bells, and I could not recall ever playing with him at any of the open mic venues or other events I've attended.

He said I played with him and his wife, who plays paercussions. His plan has to do with another charity event, and the details are still a little vague. I think he wants me to sit in with him and/or others.

Not wanting to limit my horizons too much I agreed to meet down at the beach to jam a little with him and some other people he said were showing up. He gives detailed resumes of whoever else is supposed to play, and I tune out such things. If you say you know Joe Dokes and he's famous or played with Bach or whatever, it means zilch to me.

All I care about is if I can fit with the people and if what they play is not completely abhorrent to me. That is a little negative but many guitar player/singers of the acoustic world tend to play things which seem like they lack real melody, and which contain chord changes that have no purpose as far as what makes sense and sounds pleasing to me.

Often the songs are famous and made someone tons of money. Usually things that did not grab me when they were rising in the marketplace, and things which I couldn't imagine wanting to cover.

So, I showed at Ocean Beach and after a second did recognize the guy. I still don't recall playing with him and his wife. A mandolin player and violin payer showed up. The violin was tentative but I liked how she played. The mandolin was not bad either. He seemed to know what he was doing and be capable of fitting with others better than the other three. I guess it worked out, but I cannot recreate even a shred of any of the songs in my head because they just didn't have whatever it is that memorable tunes have. They seemed like those tuneless odd songs Mike Douglas used to sing on his show.

I'm sure it works and sounds different to others. Maybe because I did not know the songs and how they sounded originally, I found no attachment to them. A lot of that going around--someone covers a tune in such a way that you can't even recognize it even though you know how the original sounds.

Maybe I'll play his benefit. Just for the exposure. It is probably a decent service that proceeds help fund. But, I confess, I'm not there because I think I am "doing good" or "giving back". I could care less about giving back because I haven't taken that much. If I were to give back it would go to family and friends who really deserve it and who have sacrificed for or because of me. Not random charities. That is how I roll.

It was a strange session, and I guess I added to it, but it seemed the guy did not really know the songs he was doing, and he never knew what key he was in. I finally just asked him to name a chord or two that would be involved and guessed it from there. I can find it but it is a pain. If I paid enough attention I would be able to know immediately the key just by hearing it. I'm working on paying attention.

I'm often finding people thinking they are in A when they are in E minor or D or G or something. Today most often they thought it was in C but it was actually in G. Close enough. They were in tune, and that is good. I just don't get the idea that this angle is going to move my experience and education forward. I'm turning into a snob maybe. Maybe not.

There is just a limit to how much I am willing to play that I don't find engaging.

I think I want to get a giant hot air balloon and make it my home. Just float around on the wind, sometimes waving to the people below while I eat popcorn, watch movies on my computer and just be lazy in the clouds.

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Ballistic Mountain, CA, United States
Like spring on a summer's day


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