Thursday, November 30, 2006

Catching Up

An object at rest tends to stay at rest and an object in motion tends to stay in motion
Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727) Newton's first law of motion

Bond, James Bond
I have been on vacation hanging around doing not much of anything too productive and Newton’s law really does apply, when I am at rest I pretty much stay at rest. My first day of vacation was to see the new James Bond Movie Casino Royale, which was outstanding. Certainly one of the top three Bond movies ever. But, hey, when an audience is building for "24" and the "Bourne Identity" series, the producers of Bond had better do something – and they did!

Ping Pong
I have been playing ping pong and I have found no one who can beat me. My childhood friend who still lives around the corner from my parents is my usual competitor, but he has slipped. We played hundreds of games about 10 years ago and the final score total to me winning by one game. So, we picked up a ping pong table and he is no longer a match for me. Without going to check the score, I believe I am ahead 35 to 7 games. We each have a skunk against the other; his was 7-0 mine was 11-1, which I content is more difficult since I have to score 10 points to his seven. Playing pool is a horse of another color. We don’t even bother to keep score there, he just kills me. On The Mark and I are a bit closer, but he wins the majority of the games in pool.

I finished reading “The Thirteenth Tale” by Diane Setterfield. I was not thrilled by the book at all, frankly very disappointed. The book I am reading now “All Governments Lie! The Life and Time s of Rebel Journalist I. F. Stone” by Myra MacPherson is outstanding. I have outlined so many pages it looks like a text book. Truly things in government and people never change and most likely never will. The oil companies among other companies were selling goods and supplies to the Nazis, and politics were very similar -- communists are today’s terrorists. Although, I have to say communists didn’t attack the U.S., but our government is using the same excuses to eliminate freedoms. Next up on my reading list is “Exile on Main St: A season in Hell with the Rolling Stones” by Robert Greenfield. I may start reading this to give myself a break from politics. I will share some of the Izzy stories in another post.

In October I walked over to City Hall in my growing town to complain about the water pooling in front of my driveway from city sprinklers since the streets have lifted because the trees' roots. No action. I called the name of the city engineer I was given and reached him (it was 5:50 a.m.) and he told me how it was probably my neighbors over watering, which I explained I had no neighbors above me. Then he warned me that it would be a while. I waited a week and left him another message. No reply. I wrote to his boss with the following opening line: I am rather surprised by the “I can’t get to you now” attitude exhibited by your group. I would expect something like that from the City of Los Angeles, but not the City of Simi. Within two days engineers were marking up the street, painting the grass, sticking in little flags to mark gas lines, but nothing has happened in two weeks. I actually expected that they would start jackhammering while I was home. I am glad they haven't, but I wonder when they will start.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Find that truck!

Anyone have any advice for tracking down a horrible truck driver?

He cut me and a few other drivers off this morning on the freeway by flying past in the right lane and forcing himself back into traffic when he ran out of room.

It was one of those big semis, all white, with a South Dakota license plate: UO60936. On the door was written "Jet's Express / California 337063" This happened at 7:40 a.m. today (Wednesday, November 29), heading south on the 5 freeway in Santa Clarita (CA), between the Lyons and McBean offramps.

I can't find a listing for Jet's Express in South Dakota, but I figure some of you bloggers must be of a similar mentality -- that is, it really steams you when someone does this, enough to make you write down the details hoping to one day see appropriate repercussions come to pass.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Dissing the Pigeons?

The last leg of my morning commute commences at the exit from a subway station in a field of pigeons.

Today, as I rode the elevator up to the light of day I was overcome by the high-pitched screechings of what I first took to be giant pigeons running amok through the city streets -- perhaps mutant offspring of the friendly, cooing variety to which I had grown accustomed.

But I then discovered that the source of the noise was a new device for deterring pigeons from gathering: a pole-mounted speaker broadcasting what I presume are thought to be pigeon-unfriendly squawks and squeaks at ear-splitting volume. This is apparently not limited to Los Angeles; I found similar efforts elsewhere.

Sadly, it is a miserable failure. The pigeons, having been forced from cozy nooks and crannies in the station structure through a months-long process of adding wires and spikes and, in the end, ugly metal plates, will not leave the flat, sandy area adjoining the station, and mill around the noisemaker without a care in the world (see photo).

Sure, there don't seem to be too many (I'm not really sure how many pigeons would be considered a "problem," but this isn't too bad), but those that gather there are deifnitely not being scared off... though we humans expressed loud, shared disgust with one another. And I almost missed the irony of pigeon spikes atop the pole; I guess this is the "belt and suspenders" approach: if they don't mind the sound, at least they can't poop on the pole.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Stab This Book

Alternate Titles for O.J. Simpson's New Book

The Internet

In Hell all the messages you ever left on answering machines [or comments left on blogs] will be played back to you.
Judy Horacek, cartoonist

I'm hopeful not everybody in the world has seen this except me.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Ben Lee rocks!

The wife and I went to Ben Lee's concert this evening with some friends, and we had a great time! Regular readers will recall that I entered and won a contest to make a video for his song "Catch My Disease," and the prize was four tix and backstage passes! We met Ben, chatted, and enjoyed the show. The picture above is of Ben in his gold "rock and roll" suit. (To preserve our feeble attempt at anonymity, I am not posting a photo of us and Ben.)

The Four Stages of Life

Most of us are about as eager to be changed as we were to be born, and go through our changes in a similar state of shock.
James Baldwin (1924–87), author

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Toner Mishap Exclusive…
Another Acquitted Murderer to be Interviewed and Write Book

The only thing that ever consoles man for the stupid things he does is the praise he always gives himself for doing them.
Oscar Wilde (1854–1900), playwright

It has been absolutely unofficially confirmed that Robert Blake is going write a book published by ReganBooks and do an interview with Fox, the network associated with neo-conservatism and family values.

Fox plans to broadcast an interview with Robert Blake in which the former television star discusses "how he would have committed" the point blank shooting in the head of his wife, Bonnie Lee Bakley, after dinning with her, for which he was acquitted, if he had done it, the network said.

Blake, in his own words, tells for the first time how he would have committed the murder if he were the one responsible for the crime," the network said in a statement. "In the television and publishing event of the decade, Blake describes how he would have put the gun to Bonnie Lee Bakley’s head while she was sitting in the car, which was parked on a side street around the corner from Vitello's Restaurant on Tujunga Boulevard in Studio City. And, how he would have told the police that he had gone back to the restaurant to get a gun he left at the table and was in the restaurant when the shooting occurred, if he had committed such a crime.

Judith Regan of ReganBooks, who is also publishing O.J. Simpson’s fictional "what if" book, has said she is on a mission to get all acquitted murderers to write books that can be read as confessionals.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

I didn't write this blog entry, but if I did...

I didn't write this blog entry, but if I did I would have logged in to my Blogger account and selected "Create Post." I would have typed in some words, and then hit "Publish Post."

But that's just hypothetical because, truthfully, I didn't write this blog entry. And I will not rest until the real writer is brought to justice!

How O.J. Did It [sic]

So O.J. Simpson is going to do an interview on how -- if he had killed ex-wife Nicole, which he still says he didn't... wait -- I can't believe this is actually happening! He is going to say what he would have done, if he had killed her? But he didn't? And we're letting him walk around free?

I wish I had links to those SNL sketches with Tim Meadows as O.J., but instead you'll have to settle for this from MadTV.


Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Jay Z/Russell Simmons Anti-Antisemitism PSA

Stereogum was making fun of this, but I actually think it's great to have this sort of messaging put out there. So Jay-Z is now on my "good guy" list (Russell Simmons has always been there).

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Thoughts on the Election

In every election in American history both parties have their clichés. The party that has the clichés that ring true wins.
Newt Gingrich, Republican politician

  • W’s political capital disappeared as fast as the country's budget surplus.

  • During the 2004 election, John Kerry said that foreign leaders told them they would like to see a change. For obvious reason he could not name names, but once Donald Rumsfeld was fired, country leaders spoke out about the positive change for the U.S. and the Iraq war. John Kerry was telling the truth.

  • I don’t believe Rumsfeld will have a Robert McNamara, Former Secretary of Defense under John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson, type of moment because he is just too full of himself to believe he can make a mistake.

  • Bush was very successful in one thing, he wanted to avenge his father’s presidency and he did. People long for the wisdom from father Bush and his advisors rather than a group of neo-cons with unrealistic views of the world.

  • As I predicted gas prices have already started to rise. It’s being attributed to inflationary dollars mean that the billions of dollars in oil profits are really not enough to keep pace with oil consumption.

  • It’s about time minimum wage is upped. City council members, city managers, congressional members all have their wages automatically increased. I have misplaced the article, but LA Council members make in the $200,000s, while city employees barely make ends meet with generous retirement packages that will eventually be taken away similar to airline pilots and others.

  • Democrats will be on their best behavior as they try to position themselves for 2008.

  • Keep an eye on John Edwards. I see a grass roots program building not unlike Jimmy Carter’s in 1976 – Jimmy who?

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Bush and Dell Computers

If you haven't seen this clip, in which it appears as though the Prez is shilling for is friend's computer company, check it out... and then tell me if I'm right in thinking it's a fake.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


It’s not the voting that’s democracy, it’s the counting.
Tom Stoppard, playwright

Monday, November 06, 2006

James Bond is...
The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

What do you think spies are: priests, saints and martyrs? They’re a squalid procession of vain fools, traitors too, yes; pansies, sadists and drunkards, people who play cowboys and Indians to brighten their rotten lives.
John Le Carré, novelist

The new James Bond, Daniel Craig reminds me of Illya Kuryakin (David McCallum), from The Man From U.N.C.L.E. I will happily give Craig a chance because I was never a fan of Pierce Brosnan or Roger Moore.

After Sean Connery, Timothy Dalton was by far the best and made the best two Bond movies. In another few days, I believe it’s Nov. 17 the new Bond premieres.

In the meantime, check out who Panthergirl over at The Dog's Breakfast thinks Craig resembles.

Here is some Bond trivia for you from Wikipedia”

  • Fleming was inspired by a real spy - Dushan Popov, a Serbian playboy that was a double agent for both British and Germans.
  • The James Bond franchise is currently the second all-time highest grossing film franchise in history, after Star Wars,[4] and one of the longest running film series in history, spanning 20 official films, 2 unofficial films, 1 TV episode based on Casino Royale, and a cartoon television series spinoff. Casino Royale, the twenty-first film will be released on 17 November 2006 with a follow-up film currently using the working title Bond 22 that will be released on 7 November 2008.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Rocky Balboa is Back
and Older than Ever

I want to keep fighting because it is the only thing that keeps me out of the hamburger joints. If I don’t fight, I’ll eat this planet.
George Foreman, boxer

I had to put the Sunday paper down and this short post when I saw an ad for the new Rocky Balboa movie. I was thrilled to see that Rocky Balboa gets into the ring of the head of AARP to knock the snot out him for violating privacy laws to send people invites to join their old people club.

I suspect it will be a twelve or fifteen rounder considering how old our heroic boxer is now.

Friday, November 03, 2006

It's the Devil's Fault

And oftentimes excusing of a fault
Doth make the fault the worser by th’excuse.
William Shakespeare (1564–1616), English dramatist, poet. Pembroke, in King John, act 4, sc. 2.

Let’s see what excuse the Rev. Ted Haggard will use for his reason for engaging in homosexual sex with a paid prostitute for the past three years pitching his fire-and-brimstone against gays from the pulpit:

Drugs: Haggard used methamphetamine; I predict he’ll blame his addition from over using allergy medicines,

Alcohol: This is the usual stand by excuse. If this is used expect rehab to be next up,

Satan: The devil made him do it.

Haggard supported an amendment to Colorado’s Constitution banning same-sex marriage, on which Coloradans will vote next week. He told a news outlet that the accusations might have been politically motivated. Isn’t that what all the Republicans and hypocritical clergy say?

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Funniest Pie Chart Ever - Really

Thanks, BoingBoing, for sharing.

Thanks for the Stardust Memories

Dante did not write in the age of malls, but he would have recognized Las Vegas, in any age, for what it is: a religion, a disease, a nightmare, a paradise for the misbegotten
Nick Tosches, writer (intro to the book “Literary Las Vegas”)

The Stardust Hotel is no more. The famed hotel closed its doors yesterday. The hotel opened its doors at noon July 2, 1958, according to the Los Angeles Times. It was the largest resort in the world, at the time, boasting 1,065 rooms. A portion of the casino’s history is written about by Nicholas Pileggi in the book Casino and dramatized in the movie “Casino” staring Robert De Niro.

I have a soft spot for the casino because my friend’s father was a professional gambler who made his bread and butter wages dealing at the card clubs in Gardena, but made his big bucks in Las Vegas. He arranged for his son and me to go to Las Vegas compliments of the Stardust. We got a mini-suite and gambling money.

I was 20 and had gone to the DMV, told them I lost my license and then received a temporary one that said I was 21, which worked in those days. That was a trip of many firsts. We were having a steak dinner and his dad ordered me a whiskey sour, which was my drink for a number of years; I learned to play craps; I learned how to bet baseball games; I saw my first topless show – the Lido de Paris from the front row, and then his dad gave us each $50 told us to get a hooker and be sure to use a condom. I, being the big chicken, opted to save my money, but my friend was already negotiating for us. No need to go into details, but once my friend started arguing that he wanted his money back; I thought a pimp was going to come in and kill us. Once that adventure was over, I being a bit of a germ nut threw all the linens into the hallway and had housekeeping replace everything.

I believe I did come home with money winning from both craps and the sports book.

We went back again with a group of guys, but I ran out of money and didn’t care that everything else was comp’ed, I needed to go home to study and my girlfriend, who eventually became Daughter’s mother was waiting for me. The group finally drove me to the airport and I had to run all the way to the gate, down the ramp (no terrorist threats in those days) and the jet (PSA) was pulling out. I placed my hands together in a prayer position and the pilot stopped the jet, pulled it forward, and allowed me to board.

The Las Vegas trips with On The Mark (stories for another post) started several years later and generally took place at the Desert Inn, which is also gone and is now the location of the Wynn hotel. I am confident most of my adventures in Las Vegas will stay in Vegas because I can no longer remember all the stuff, and the hotels are demolished.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Inflammatory question

Are certain religious leaders against birth control because unrestricted population growth leads to poverty, and poor people are fairly easy to control?