Saturday, September 29, 2007

Assembly Bill 43

America owes most of its social prejudices to the exaggerated religious opinions of the different sects which were so instrumental in establishing the colonies.
James Fenimore Cooper (1789–1851), novelist

I recently discovered Neurotranscendence, the author of this blog is Teresa Morrison. The blog is interesting, and there is the bonus of her articles at the Advocate. Her most recent The "People v. Loving" points to out what should be obvious, but prejudice and fear continue to keep people ignorant.

Here is but a snippet of her excellent article:

So, yes, the "will of the people" speaks thunderously. I suppose it is fairly convenient to believe marriage should be reserved for a man and a woman when one happens to be heterosexual -- an estimated 90%-95% of the population. I imagine it was just as cozy to be racist in the 1960s, when a mid-decade Gallup poll indicated that 42% of Northern whites and 72% of Southern whites supported a ban on interracial marriage. The ratio of whites to blacks at the time was 89 to 11.

History would reveal how unjust it was then to put the rights of a few in the hands of the many. How is it that so many of us have unlearned such a simple, logical lesson?

Metrolink Commuting

If there is a look of human eyes that tells of perpetual loneliness, so there is also the familiar look that is the sign of perpetual crowds.
Alice Meynell (1847–1922), poet, essayist

Yesterday (actually Tuesday) I took the train for the first time in 15 years from my home to downtown Los Angeles. There was no particular reason, but I have been thinking about it for some time. Maybe the reason was that all my magazines were piling up and I was tossing many without even reading them.

This morning, I finished the LATimes and the Wall Street Journal and started on September’s issue of The Atlantic, with the cover headline blaring “Lessons of a Failed Presidency, which I proudly did not fold over since I live in a right-wing nut-job of a city. Most recently, my city that houses the Ronald Reagan Library, presented a local church with a $40,000 bill for anticipated police services because the church sheltered a woman whom authorities want to deport across the border, even though her husband and child are U.S. citizens. Never mind that it’s the job of police to protect and serve and not bill directly for such services. Now you know why I was flaunting the cover around.

However, the passengers were too busy chatting about the new television shows such as “Dancing with the Stars,” “CSI,” and reading the bible (that was the person next to me, when she wasn’t chatting on her cell phone). “Oh,” one woman blared, Marcel Marceau died. She was reading yesterday’s paper.

I love my car.

There are two seats of two facing each other and no leg room. I twisted and shifted a bit to avoid having my leg cramp up, but there truly is very little leg room. Seriously, who designed this Billy Barty (he was a vertically challenged person, or what used to be called a midget, for those younger readers checking in on Hopper or Bjork).

I used to take the Metrolink when it first started up from my right-wing city to downtown by in 1992-3, but found the car more efficient for getting home quicker. Also, the line of humanity crowding in a herdable line from the train to the subway depressed me; it reminded me of the beginning of “Joe Versus the Volcano.” (see Monday's post for a clip)

I love my car. I just hate oil companies and traffic.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Fired by E-Mail

An error is the more dangerous in proportion to the degree of truth which it contains.
Henri-Frédéric Amiel (1821–81), philosopher

The newest and most hideous method of letting go of employees is by e-mail, according to one of those self-serving company surveys, this one done for a communications company, The Marline Company.

Ten percent of U.S. employees say their company has used e-mail to fire or lay-off employees. I firmly believe there should be a law against such actions. Also, the employee should say he/she didn’t see it and continue to work.

This same survey also found that 5% of respondents had been the recipient of a humiliating e-mail that was copied to other individuals. This I believe should be a much higher figure or at least higher to make me feel better.

I once sent an e-mail stating that a certain so and so was an ass, but I ended up sending it to the ass. Guess who was the ass then? I immediately called him up and apologized. He was such an ass about it he didn’t even get mad.

I once sent wife an e-mail at work (we both worked there) asking why she didn’t invite me to spend the night at her place. She responded that I would need to wear a catcher’s mask and sleep with my shoes on. The second e-mail explained because her dogs would attack me while we slept, but the recipient didn’t get that e-mail, just the first one thinking we were into something kinky or weird. Wife attempted to track it down and delete it, but brought far more attention to it.

In any case, I try every hard to be like Dick Cheney and not put much in writing I don’t want used against me.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Do You Know Me…
Or Remember Me?

Egotism is usually subversive of sagacity.
Marianne Moore (1887–1972), poet

Remember this man? He was all ears during the 1992 presidential election. He was to Republicans what Ralph Nader was to Democrats in 2000.

Well this former presidential candidate and I believe billionaire is selling his copy of the Magna Carta, which is expected to bring him $20 to $30 million. How much more money does this guy need? maybe he could donate to a museum.

I pulled this from the National Archives & Records Administration

This heritage is most clearly apparent in our Bill of Rights. The fifth amendment guarantees

No person deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law

Written 575 years earlier, Magna Carta declares

No freeman shall be taken, imprisoned,...or in any other way destroyed...except by the lawful judgment of his peers, or by the law of the land. To no one will we sell, to none will we deny or delay, right or justice.

In 1957 the American Bar Association acknowledged the debt American law and constitutionalism had to Magna Carta and English common law by erecting a monument at Runnymede. Yet, as close as Magna Carta and American concepts of liberty are, they remain distinct. Magna Carta is a charter of ancient liberties guaranteed by a king to his subjects; the Constitution of the United States is the establishment of a government by and for "We the People."

Except when a power hungry administration wants to expand presidential powers beyond our created checks and balances.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

On The Mark -- Speaking Ahmadinejad

I had been having an ongoing debate internally about whether Mahmoud Ahmadinejad should have been allowed to speak at Columbia University. I really couldn't decide. If forced, I probably would have leaned against it because I do believe he is supplying our enemies with support, money and armament to kill our soldiers and therefore he shouldn't be allowed to step foot on our soil to further his agenda (not to mention his positions on the Holocaust and Israel -- as one person was quoted as saying: any enemy of Israel is an enemy of the U.S.). The U.N. is not U.S. soil, but an American university is an entirely different story.

What I find despicable, though, is the Columbia University president lambasting Ahmadinejad during the opening comments and introduction of the Iranian president. That was just a face-saving move on his part because of all the heat he was getting.

Sure, he had a right to voice his opinions. That was, after all, the pretext for inviting the Iranian president to speak. But if he was taking that position, he should have saved his opinions until after Ahmadinejad spoke.

Posted by On The Mark

Wall Street Journal Recognizes Toner Mishap

If I seem to boast more than is becoming, my excuse is that I brag for humanity rather than for myself.
Henry David Thoreau (1817–62), philosopher

Allow me to brag for a moment. I was checking the stats to see who had visited when I noticed the Wall Street Journal. I followed the link and Saturday’s online Wall Street Journal listed Toner Mishap’s On The Mark’s column about "Dead Jazz."

It’s another in a list of outside organizations that have recognized or directed readers to Toner Mishap. The following is the headline to Saturday's article:

Hit List: Les Paul
The musician and inventor on the guitar players he admires most
September 22, 2007; Page W2

Related Articles from the Online Journal
Paul Grabs Attention of Alienated Voters
How Not to Leak
Universal Music to Test Lifting Online-Sales Copy Protection
Blog Posts About This Topic
Les Paul: Still Chasing Sound
On The Mark -- Dead Jazz
More related content Powered by Sphere

Monday, September 24, 2007

RIP Marcel Marceau

Left eyebrow raised, right eyebrow raised.
Roger Moore, actor

Balls of Fury
In Other Words, I Love Ping Pong

It is the child in man that is the source of his uniqueness and creativeness, and the playground is the optimal milieu for the unfolding of his capacities and talents.
Eric Hoffer (1902–83), philosopher

I love Ping Pong

Ping Pong was a summer game in a friend’s garage when I was in high school. Then ping pong was escape from the shear hell of divorce and having to return home to my parents in my mid-thirties because I had no money, no job and lots of debt that was left to me to handle.

During those dark days, one of my oldest friends was between jobs too so we played ping pong for two or three months everyday several times a day. I’d be home and he would call and say let’s play or visa versa and we played.

Now that I am back on my feet and have purchased my second home since those days, we are again playing ping pong, but mostly on Friday or Saturday nights. However, there has been a change. I have gotten even better; as a matter of fact I am almost unbeatable.

I recently played a young, strapping kid (he’s twenty something) at a Hollywood/Beverly Hills bar and beat him 10 straight games. My friend brought over someone who was suppose to be very good and I beat him handily. A former police woman who is in great shape came over and I have heard others talk about how good she is – I beat her easily three or four times before she left threatening to return to win. I have yet to hear from her.

I am not egoistical enough to believe there is no one out there who can beat me, but I have to believe for an old amateur I must be pretty good. I have included a picture of my garage where unwitting challengers go home discouraged.

It’s lonely at the top.

*the photo is of my garage where I play great ping pong and terrible pool. Yes, there is a lack of tools as a hammer or screwdriver in my hands is the beginning of even more expensive repairs.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Go Angeles!!

Excellence encourages one about life generally; it shows the spiritual wealth of the world.
George Eliot (1819–80), novelist

Congratulations to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

This is an excellent organization from the owner, team management to caring about the fans.

That other Los Angeles baseball team from owner to management sucks and deserves to have its team eliminated from any post season play, but it won’t stop them from raising prices next year again.

Ultimate Fighting is Not a Sport

Barbarism is the absence of standards to which appeal can be made.
José Ortega y Gasset (1883–1955), essayist

Ultimate Fighting is very barbaric and does not appear to be a sport to me. I’ll be the
first to admit that I have never watched it longer than 30 seconds because I equate it to dog or cock fights; it seems to appeal the lowest levels of human nature.

Boxing used to be a sport, but now it seems a sport for suckers who are willing to pay $50 to cable companies.

I have I missed something about this growing Neanderthalic sport?

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Marijuana -- Don't Smoke it and Text

I don’t respond well to mellow, you know what I mean, if I get too mellow, I-I ripen and then rot.
Woody Allen, filmmaker

From the Wall Street Journal evening e-mail:

Wn2 Buy Sme Reefer?

In a cautionary tale regarding text messages that touch on sensitive topics, a 19-year-old West Virginia man was arrested after inadvertently alerting state troopers about a drug deal with an errant text message.

The Associated Press reports that Joshua Wayne Cadle, of Cross Lanes, W. Va., allegedly sent the text to what he thought was his friend's number. Unfortunately for him, the good people at the West Virginia State Police now use those digits. "He text messaged that and asked his friend if he wanted to buy some reefer," said Trooper B.H. Moore. Another trooper responded to the text, setting up a rendezvous and Mr. Cadle was taken into custody on Wednesday night in a shopping center parking lot.

He was charged with delivery of a controlled substance and possession with intent to deliver.

I am curious whether he was selling a large amount or just enough for personal use, in which case the trooper is a jerk, but at least he is not as stupid as the dealer.

Friday, September 21, 2007

If All Lawyers Were This good...

I find television very educational. Every time someone switches it on I go into another room and read a good book.
Groucho Marx (1895–1977),comic actor

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Annoy-a-Tron is a Success

“There are certain queer times and occasions in this strange mixed affair we call life when a man takes his whole universe for a vast practical joke”
Herman Melville (1819-1891), writer

I read this at the Treppenwitz blog:

A while back I was eating lunch at my desk and cruising a cool website for tchotchkes (gadgets and toys).

One of the items I found there, appropriately called 'The Annoyatron', was a complete waste of time and had absolutely no redeeming value whatsoever... except as a potential irritant and practical joke. So naturally I had to have it.

Simply put, this little wonder can be hidden just about anywhere (e.g., under the desk of they guy who has been stealing your coffee cream and munchies out of the office fridge for the past six months). It emits an incredibly irritating, high-pitched electronic chirp at random intervals of between 3 and 5 minutes.

The high frequency and relatively long interval between chirps make it virtually impossible to locate the Annoyatron... and it is pretty much guaranteed to drive the victim into a twitching, hair-pulling lather within an hour or two.

I had to have it. And, it worked like a charm over a two-day period.

Victim #1
First, I placed it in a co-worker’s office and came back after a couple of hours and said every time I walk by your office I hear beeps. That unleashed a volley of concern from her about her computer possibly going on the fritz or maybe it was that she was streaming her iPod from someone else’s file. In any case she was being bothered. Success! I fessed up and had a good laugh.

Victim #2
I placed the device in the light box over her computer. Again, I came into her office, which she shares with another co-worker, and I said, “Why do I keep hearing beeps from your office?” She explained that all her electronics were going on out and she was minutes away from unplugging her computer and taking it to IT support. I told her to check with me before she did that. She left the office and I moved the device over to her co-worker’s desk. He didn’t care and thought there was something wrong with the building. I admitted what I did and we had a good laugh.

Victim #3
A young, strapping athletic guy, 6-2, was asked about the beeping I heard from his cube. He was concerned that his phone was going out. I was using this for phycological advantage as we had a ping-pong match scheduled last night at Bixby’s bar at mid-Wilshire. I’ll write about the results of the match this weekend. I removed the device before telling him and placed it in victim #4’s office.

Victim #4
This was the best one. I came into his office used the usual line about hearing beeps from his office, but he was suspicious. I suggested he find it before something blows up. He doesn’t trust me for some reason. Let me just tell you that after I wrote about the cat of death he had the picture reproduced and placed on the back of my office door that I didn’t notice until around lunch.

I checked back a bit later and he had moved all his electronic equipment to one side of the desk to isolate the sound, he listened to the battery pack on his computer to see if that was making the noise. Since I was not hiding my smile, he watched my hands to see if I was controlling some sort of remote buzzer. I eventually showed him the device and had a good laugh.

The down side to this is I fear reprisals may be coming…

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Using God for Publicity

Lighthouses are more helpful than churches.
Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), writer

Looking for and successfully achieving much publicity, Nebraska Democratic State Senator Ernie Chambers has filed a lawsuit against the universal autarchy in a silly example to highlight frivolous lawsuits.

One of the reasons this has and will receive much more attention than it deserves is because reporters love nothing more than being able to write off-the-wall stories. This certainly qualifies

However, most of the reports are stating that he filed the suit in an effort to stop natural disasters from befalling the world.

Chambers filed a lawsuit against God in Douglas County Court Friday afternoon, accusing God of causing "fearsome floods, egregious earthquakes, horrendous hurricanes, terrifying tornadoes, pestilential plagues, ferocious famines, devastating droughts, genocidal wars, birth defects, and the like," personally I would have blamed it on the Bush gang. He also finds god responsible for having his chroniclers "disseminate in written form, said admissions, throughout the Earth in order to inspire fear, dread, anxiety, terror and uncertainty, in order to coerce obedience to Defendant's will."

Chambers said the lawsuit was triggered by a federal suit filed against a judge who recently barred words such as "rape" and "victim" from a sexual assault trial.

The accuser in the criminal case, Tory Bowen, sued Lancaster District Judge Jeffre Cheuvront, claiming that he violated her free speech rights.

Chambers said Bowen's lawsuit is inappropriate because the Nebraska Supreme Court has already considered the case and federal courts follow the decisions of state supreme courts on state matters.

"This lawsuit having been filed and being of such questionable merit creates a circumstance where my lawsuit is appropriately filed," Chambers said. "People might call it frivolous but if they read it they'll see there are very serious issues I have raised."

Tip of the hat to my compadre, B2

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Just Looking Redux

“Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen”
Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519), painter, sculptor, architect and engineer

Jack and Chandira played along and provided comments that I slightly edited from the "Just Looking" post below, which I have pulled and put front and center. Also, as promised Annabell gave us her thoughts while creating the art.

Below are our impressions of the art.

Jack's Shack said...
It reminds me of an entrance to a kitchen in a diner or coffee shop. I like it.

Chandira said...
I like her style, and that they both have a very different feel, and evoke different emotions. That bottom one reminds me of a nice comfy nook in a Starbucks somewhere, on a cold autumn day, after a long walk around the lake. The top one is far less 'comfortable', and I like that, too. I love the colours. That brown/purple mix is always fascinating. Was hoping for a bigger version if I double-clicked, but I like that the smaller version remains mysterious to my fuzzy eyesight. ;-)

The Misanthrope said...

I see books. The dark blueish spot appears as door handles to me. The three small squares toward the right remind me of windows that let the light in to the reading room, which gives it that yellow glow.

Annabell explains:

Study #4, 1997

Collagraph, Acrylic plate, ink, pastels In this piece one of a series of studies. I began with a piece of acrylic, taped off the work area, selected a more earth tone color palette while still maintaining a bright overall feel. The process involved applying the inks to the plate, then laying the rice paper, wooden spoon is then used to rub the ink onto the paper. Using more inks and pastels to further develop the shapes and colors. The colors I use are heavily influenced by my Latin heritage. I chose to play with basic shapes (circles, rectangles, squares, lines) to create a sense of harmony with activity. The results can be interpreted as a bit dark, yet playful and inviting. This study brought joy and general happiness to me.

Monday, September 17, 2007

On The Mark -- Dead Jazz

The only good thing about a jazz great dying is we get hear a lot of their music for a week on the radio. Last week an unsung great in the jazz world passed, pianist Joe Zawinul. Zawinul played a role in changing jazz in many different ways from the 1960s onward. I’m not a jazz biographer, but the song he is probably best known for (that he composed) is the bluesy “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy” when he was playing in the ‘60s with the sax great Cannonball Adderly. One thing that made the song so fascinating was Zawinul playing the electric piano – my guess is that it was the first time an electric piano was used with a classic jazz ensemble. The tune has since been played zillions of times by other jazz, blues and rock artists. It also was the beginning of breathing new life into jazz at a time when it was getting pummeled by rock – the Stones, the Beatles, etc.

When Miles Davis made his foray into jazz fusion, it was Zawinul at the synthesizer leading the way. When the great band, Weather Report, was leading the jazz fusion charge in the ‘70s and ‘80s (and keeping jazz alive), it was Zawinul at the keyboards (and Wayne Shorter on sax). I saw Zawinul with Weather Report “back then,” but it wasn’t until I saw him a few years ago at Catalina Bar & Grill, a local jazz club, that I really got to experience what he meant when he said (paraphrasing): music is not about chords and notes. Music is about atmosphere – what you feel in and around you. I felt like I was in his livingroom that night.

With all that said about jazz fusion, yesterday I heard a solo acoustic piano rendition by Zawinul of “My One and Only Love,” recorded in 1965. Wow.

Posted by On The Mark

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Talking to Myself
Exercising on the Elliptor

It is a sign of a dull nature to occupy oneself deeply in matters that concern the body; for instance, to be over much occupied about exercise, about eating and drinking, about easing oneself, about sexual intercourse.
Epictetus (c. 55–c. 135), Greek Stoic philosopher

I wish there was some sort of competition on elliptical machines. I’d like to know how I compare to others. It gets rather difficult to continually race one’s self. However, in order to do try and better my last numbers I sometimes assemble music that will get me moving quicker.

My most recent numbers were for 30 minutes, ramp level 6, which also works the quadriceps, gluteals, hamstrings and calves. I set the level for resistance for either 12 or 13 depending on how much energy I have. I burn 512 calories (which doesn’t really mean too much because that varies with age and weight, and it is just an estimate on these machines anyway, but what else do I have for comparison?), travel a distance of 3.26 miles, heart rate reaches a max of 171.

I attribute any gains to the music I select. I arranged the iPod exercise play list Saturday morning for battle. I rocked out pulling the levers and pushing pedals looking like a crazy maniac as listened to:

Vertigo – U2
Eat the Rich – Aerosmith
Big Ten-Inch Record – Aerosmith
Sweet Hitch-Hiker – John Fogerty
Falling in Love (is hard on the knees) – Aerosmith
Travelin’ Band – John Fogerty
Hey Tonight – John Fogerty
Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out – Bruce Springsteen
Baby, Please Don’t Go – Aerosmith
Centerfield – John Fogerty
Pink – Aerosmith
I Bet you Look good on the Dance Floor – Arctic Monkeys

Thursday, September 13, 2007

What If...
Avenue Q Added Larry Craig to its Cast

I think a lot of gay people who are not dealing with their homosexuality get into right-wing politics.
Armistead Maupin, journalist, author. Guardian (London, 22 April 1988)

This piece is very much worth watching. It's well chorographed/edited and it's only a minute and a half.

First-Draft of Bush Iraqi Speech

“…They passin’ the presidency around like a party joint. It go from the Bushes – the Clintons to the Bushes and back…
Mos Def, rapper / actor, from “Real Time with Bill Maher"

Toner Mishap has once again scored an early first draft of Bush's speech tonight. We are certain it will change, but it nonetheless gives you a flavor of what is in store for us.

Thank you, thank you, fellow and fellowette Americans.

It’s a pleasure to be here tonight at Crawford. Hey, how did all you legislators get in my living room? That’s just a little Frank Sinatra humor for my high-rollin’ donors. I know I am in the Oval office. I am just showing I can laugh at myself the same way the rest of the world laughs at me.

Let me level with you. This Iraqi situation. It's not gonna change. I have learned a trick or two from the oil companies. Raise them prices, lower them, raise again and even higher, than lower them a bit and the people are happy. See, I have raised the troop limits so that I can withdraw them to pre-surge levels and make you thankful for the reduction. Frankly this war is no longer mine. I get to hand it off to the next president, which will most likely be a Democrat. Now, now, bear with me.

Karl Rove (little turd blossom) is behind this strategy; we turn this mess over to the democrats and there is no way to get out of this disaster. The public which has a short memory will blame the democrats and then brother Jeb will be elected president in 2012. Just endure friends. All will be right again, hah, that’s another joke, right as in right wing. I am going to make more money than my buddy Bill Clinton on the speaker’s circuit.

Speaking of speeches, I would like a moment of silence for my speech coach, Alex, the African Grey parrot, who recently passed. He did a heckva job.

Shana Tova - Happy New Year

For there is no man so righteous on earth who does only good and never sins.
Ecclesiastes 7:20

For our Jewish readers and friends

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

September 11th

There is a heroism in crime as well as in virtue. Vice and infamy have their altars and their religion.
William Hazlitt (1778–1830), English essayist

Monday, September 10, 2007

Thanks Steve

Grief remains one of the few things that has the power to silence us. It is a whisper in the world and a clamor within.
Anna Quindlen, writer

Sometimes someone touches your life in just a small way, but their kindness and spirit is evident in major ways that even if you have not spoken to the person in at least 25 years maybe more you will never forget them.

It doesn’t matter that he had no idea how I felt. No one in his family will see this or know the nice memories I have of him. As a dumb kid he talked to me as if I were his equal, even though he was an adult and had served in Vietnam. He took me to a concert at UCLA Royce Hall at the spur of the moment to see something that I don’t recall, but he loved music and was a musician all his life.

Via e-mail I heard he passed away Sunday morning, which made me very sad, much sadder than I expected to feel.

Here’s to keeping your memory, Steve. My deepest sympathies to your immediate family and close relatives.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Sunday Morning Shuffle

How could a man be satisfied with a decision between such alternatives and under such circumstances?
George Eliot (1819–80), English novelist

Cleaning up the backyard the iPod shuffle produced:

1. "Man in the Long Black Coat" – Bob Dylan
2. "Town with No Cheer" – Tom Waits
3. "Cool Dry Place" – Traveling Wilburys
4. "How About You" – Bill Evans
5. "Baby Please Don’t Go" – Van Morrison
6. "Larry of Arabia" – Chico Hamilton
7. "All the Girls Love Alice" – Elton John
8. "Love’s The One and Only Thing" – Willie Nelson
9. "Jump on Top of Me" – The Rolling Stones
10. "I’ll Be Seeing You" – Tony Bennett

Talking to Myself
Movies and Television

I find television very educational. Every time someone switches it on I go into another room and read a good book.
Groucho Marx (1895–1977), comic actor

The newly remade western “3:10 to Yuma” starting Russell Crowe and Christian Bale is every bit as good as advertised. I read the Los Angeles Times movie review from Friday this morning it is pompous, but right on the money.

I had never seen the original "Yuma," but it’s due any day now once Netflix finds my movie that I mail back last week. "The Bourne Ultimatum" was the last movie at the theaters that I watched and it was enjoyable, but Yuma kept me on the edge of my sit and I had no idea how it was going to end or what was going to happen to certain characters.

Tonight one of my favorite HBO shows returns "Curb Your Enthusiasm," which is one of those shows you either love or hate. It seems as though it has been a while since it last show an original episode. Also, the new HBO show “Tell Me You Love Me” comes on tonight that is supposed to have so much sex that it’s boring.

Right now my favorite shows are “Californication” and “Weeds” on Showtime, followed

closely by “Saving Grace” on TNT. And, that is more than enough TV for me. As
it is, it takes all week to get these shows in. We record them and watch one or two per night as the week progresses.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Shuffling the iPod

It is the only sensual pleasure without vice [music].
Samuel Johnson (1709–84), author

I found this idea rather intriguing over at Incertus. Place your iPod on shuffle and list the first 10 songs that are played. I did it a couple of times.

My first random 10 songs were:

1 “Déjà vu” by Crosby Stills & Nash
2 “Scarlett Ribbons” by Willie Nelson
3 “Sweet Emily” by Leon Russell
4 “Jet” by Paul McCartney
5 “Fortunately – Vignette for Bed In” by John and Yoko Lennon
6 “Moonage Daydream” by David Bowie
7 “Turn, Turn, Turn” by Pete Seager
8 “My Ship” by Sonny Rollins
9 “City of New Orleans” by Willie Nelson
10 “Helpless Hoping” by Crosby Stills & Nash

I enjoyed it so much I did it again:

1 “The Part You Throw Away” by Tom Waits
2 “Got to Get You into My Life” by The Beatles
3 “A Woman Left Lonely” by Janis Joplin
4 “If you Really Want to be My Friend” by The Rolling Stones
5 “Isis” by Bob Dylan
6 “Torn and Frayed” by The Rolling Stones
7 “Jacksons, Monk and Rowe” by Elvis Costello
8 “Broken Promise Land" by Elvis Costello and Allen Toussain
9 “Learning How to Live” by Lucinda Williams
10 “Blue Suede Shoes” by Elvis Presley
I was reminded curious about what would come next so I continued to 13
11. “Mind Games” (home recording) by John Lennon
12 “Smells Like Teen Spirit by” Patti Smith
13 “Shoot the Moon” by Nora Jones

Friday, September 07, 2007

The Embarrassor in Chief

The United States has got some of the dumbest people in the world. I want you to know that we know that.
Ted Turner, businessman

President Bush is once again out embarrassing the country:

According to a story from the Associated press:

At the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, he said: "Thank you for being such a fine host for the OPEC summit," Bush said to Australian Prime Minister John Howard. Bush quickly corrected himself. "APEC summit," he said, joking that Howard had invited him to the OPEC summit next year (for the record, an impossibility, since neither Australia nor the U.S. are OPEC members).

The president's next goof went uncorrected — by him anyway. Talking about Howard's visit to Iraq last year to thank his country's soldiers serving there, Bush called them "Austrian troops."

That one was fixed for him. Though tapes of the speech clearly show Bush saying "Austrian," the official text released by the White House switched it to "Australian."

Then, speech done, Bush confidently headed out — the wrong way.

He strode away from the lectern on a path that would have sent him over a steep drop. Howard and others redirected the president to center stage, where there were steps leading down to the floor of the theater.

The event had inauspicious beginnings. Bush started 10 minutes late, so that APEC workers could hustle people out of the theater's balcony seating to fill the many empty portions of the main orchestra section below — which is most visible on camera.

Even resettled, the audience remained quiet throughout the president's remarks, applauding only when he was finished.

A logistical glitch added to the woes.

APEC security workers would not allow the members of the media who travel in Bush's motorcade to enter the Opera House along with him. This even though the journalists allowed into the president's entourage are extensively screened and guarded by the Secret Service, which has more stringent security standards than about any operation in the world. And even though they always accompany him into public events.

It would be so nice if the the betterment of the country he would leave early and take Dick Cheney with him.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

And Then There Were Two
RIP Luciano Pavarotti

Opera is where a guy gets stabbed in the back, and instead of dying, he sings.
Robert Burns(1759-1796), poet

In the audience here: Frank Sinatra and Gene Kelly.

Read the New York Times obit here.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

An Open Letter to the Woman on My Train
Who Doesn't Read Drink Labels

Dear lady on my train,

When you sat down next to me today on the train, I must admit that was already one strike against you -- I like my privacy, nose in my book, outside world tuned out. So sitting next to me was strike one.

But really, I can't hold that against you. After all, the seat was open -- and if you want to sit there and talk loudly to other passengers, I can't really be upset with you. Not justifiably so.


Here's what gets me -- you were sharing with a fellow passenger the joys of the nice, cold beverage you were consuming, even offering him a sip from the lip of the selfsame bottle. So generous, you!

You extolled the temperature, the taste, and the carbonation of this lovely lemonande beverage (and "lemonade" is what you called it). But here's a tip: "Mike's Hard Lemonade" is no sippin' lemonade; it's an alcoholic beverage, and not [technically] legally allowed for public consumption.

When your friend asked what was in it, and you said, "oh it's just lemonade -- but it's carbonated" he, wisely suspicious, did not take the proferred sip.

Perhaps you didn't see the label's message about alcohol content? Perhaps you missed the big warning on the bottle about pregnant women abstaining from drinking it? Perhaps buying it in a six-pack wasn't a clear enough sign?

Is it evil to have been secretly hoping for a cop to come drag you off to the stir? Well, if wishing you were in jail is wrong, I don't want to be right.

Rock and Roll Fantasy

One’s real life is so often the life that one does not lead.
Oscar Wilde (1854–1900), playwright

I had never seen this before, but there is a video that captures my rock and roll fantasy over at Jack’s. I absolutely love it, but I have to stop stealing his stuff, so you have to click over their to watch my dream life.

Monday, September 03, 2007

To You and Me

Let’s drink to the hard working people
Say a prayer for the common foot soldier
Spare a thought for his back-breaking work
Mick Jagger/Keith Richards, singer, song writers for the Rolling Stones

"Salt of the Earth" from the 9-11 concert at Madison Square Garden, nonetheless very apropos on this Labor Day and the coming anniversary of a day that will live in infamy.

Back to Work and Nothing has Changed

People are crazy and times are strange
I'm locked in tight, I'm out of range
I used to care, but things have changed
Bob Dylan, singer, song writer from "Things Have Changed"

As you prepare to settle into life after summer vacation, I highly recommend reading "Back to the Maddening Crowd" by Anything They Say.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

No Love in a Time of Cholera

We can’t do anything…. They just die and die and die, and they keep coming and coming and coming.
Florence Parent, physician. New York Times, (July 22, 1994), on the cholera epidemic among the Rwandan refugees.

Despite our unrelenting heat wave here in Southern California now, which many of you across the country will get soon enough, the people of Iraq and many other places around the world have it far worse on a daily basis. The story in Saturday’s Los Angeles Times regarding a Cholera outbreak in Iraq further demonstrates how bad we have made the situation for the people there.

A cholera outbreak in northern Iraq, where thousands of people have sought refuge from sectarian violence, is overwhelming hospitals and has killed as many as 10 people, and struck more than 80 people in Sulaymaniya and Kirkuk.

Aid agencies had warned of the possibility of a cholera outbreak as blazing summer heat settled in Iraq, where the infrastructure is shattered by war and neglect. The disease tends to appear in the summer because, as the temperature rises, Iraq’s chronic electricity shortages make it difficult to operate pumps at sewage and drinking water treatment plants, which leaves many people without clean water, according to the article in the LATimes.

It seems that we have made a bad situation in Iraq even worse.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Patience of a Saint

All God’s children are not beautiful. Most of God’s children are, in fact, barely presentable.
Fran Lebowitz, writer

Why I thought one child was plenty.

Tip of the hat to Monkeys for Helping. There will be more items coming from there. This site makes me laught out loud.