Friday, November 30, 2007

What were you looking for, exactly?

It's fun every so often to check our stats and see some of the odd searches that bring visitors to Toner Mishap. Here, then, is another list in the conintuing series (and some of my comments on your searches):

parodies of nighthawks (still one of our most popular searches)

cruising urinals (i trust you're not getting the type of answers you're looking for at Toner Mishap)

enormous cocks (it's difficult to avoid rumors)

turn your hamster (into what?)

preparing for the depression (tip: stock up on Morrissey albums)

ashton kutcher jews (I'm guessing this a kabbalah thing)

christmas tip amount (popular at this time of year

your mother trebek (we enjoy Sean Connery impersonations)

that's not what your mother said (I'm *so* glad this phrase makes you think of us)

hard to find porn (is there really such a thing anymore?)

Did I, Or Didn't I?
The Perils of Co-blogging

Earlier today, the Misanthrope and I were speaking about Toner Mishap. He mentioned how much he would enjoy reading a post I had been considering, and though I didn't commit to posting it, the conversation quickly drifted to the efficacy of regular, daily posting in building and maintaining an audience. So did I promise to post for Friday, or didn't I? I honestly don't think I did, but I'm not sure our misanthropic friend would agree. And so, as I haven't prepared the post to which I earlier referred, you get this. Woo hoo!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Republican Debate

The English people believes itself to be free; it is gravely mistaken; it is free only during election of members of parliament; as soon as the members are elected, the people is enslaved; it is nothing. In the brief moment of its freedom, the English people makes such a use of that freedom that it deserves to lose it.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712–78), philosopher

What I have read of the Republican debate last night simply shows two things:

1. people are prejudiced, want their guns, believe in torture, and
2. that the Republican candidates for president are not looking to solve problems, but trying to create wedge issues.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Music that Encourages Debt

From a commercial point of view, if Christmas did not exist it would be necessary to invent it.
Katharine Whitehorn, journalist

As I get into the Christmas spirit, I have assembled all our holiday songs onto the iPod. It’s rather convenient to start from the top with Ray Davies’ “Thanksgiving Day” or play straight through from Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Diana Krall, Vince Guaraldi, Jane Monheit, Kenny G, Wynton Marsalis, The Tonight Show Band with Doc Severson, Jethro Tull to the one off specialties from "A Very Special Christmas" that features, Bruce Springsteen, Eurythmics, Stevie Nicks, Madonna, Bryan Adams, Bob Seger or more one-offs from Mick Jagger and Joss Stone, The Kinks, and John Lennon. Thankfully the iPod allows shuffling to mix it all up.

It sounds good until I start to realize that while I have 150 songs and 8.7 hours of melodious holiday music that I also have to wade through roughly:

6 Winter Wonderlands
5 White Christmases
4 Sleighrides
2 Silverbells
6 Silent Nights
4 Santa Claus is Coming to Towns
2 Come all ye Faithful
4 The Little Drummer Boys
4 Let it Snows
5 Jingle Bells
3 I’ll Be Home for Christmases
7 Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmases
4 Hark the Herald Angels Sings
3 Greensleeves
7 The Christmas Songs

Something interesting I noticed is that there are different titles to the same song. “The Little Drummer Boy” is also called “Little Drummer Boy,” “We Three Kings” also has a “We Five Kings” sibling.” Then there is a “Merry Christmas Baby” and “Merry Christmas Darling.”

Okay, I’ll admit that I actually like some of it for a little while, but soon I long for regular music because all these holiday tunes make the season seem like something from “Leave it to Beaver” or “Ozzie And Harriet” when really it’s just music that encourages over spending and debt.

Christmas, Ba humbug!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

My Daughter, The Artist

First, let me clearly state that this is the work of one of my three daughters, all of whom are talented artists. But this sketch my middle one (six years old) drew of a Giacometti sculpture we saw at MOCA just blew my mind.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Posters for a Monday Morning

I have long been of the opinion that if work were such a splendid thing the rich would have kept more of it for themselves.
Bruce Grocott, British Labour politician

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Longs Drugs and Booze

"I drink to drown my sorrows, but the accursed things have learned how to swim!"
Jose Frias, poet

I thought the elderly (yeah, yeah, I know in the eyes of many that includes me, but not to my eyes, yet) only went to Longs Drugs for prescription medicine, but now I know better.

hat tip to B2 for the quote

Saturday, November 24, 2007

The Monkees -- Going Down

Stupefaction, when it persists, becomes stupidity.
José Ortega y Gasset (1883–1955), essayist, philosopher

Try this test with someone who is knowledgeable about music. Let them hear this clip but don't let them know who it is, I guarantee they will be surprised.

This group (Mike, Davey, Micky and Peter) deserves to be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Additional Anti-Consumerist Thoughts

Is it too early for diatribes against the consumerization of Christmas? Or for pointing out disparities between the "have"s and the "have not"s? I guess not, if we consider that Thanksgiving is lumped in with the "holiday season." So given that the Misanthrope has already thrown the first punch, I'll tag him out and join in.

From Tom Lehrer's "Christmas Carol":
(you probably know the various traditional tunes for these verses)

Hark, the Herald Tribune sings,
Advertising wondrous things.

God rest ye merry merchants,
May ye make the Yuletide pay.

Angels we have heard on high,
Tell us to go out and buy!

From the Kinks' "Father Christmas":

Father Christmas, give us some money,
we got no time for your silly toys.
We'll beat you up if you don't hand it over;
give all the toys... to the little rich boys.

But give my daddy a job cause he needs one;
He's got lots of mouths to feed.

Have yourself a merry merry Christmas;
have yourself a good time.
But remember the kids who got nothin',
while youre drinkin' down your wine.

Black Friday Parking

Towns are full of people, houses full of tenants, hotels full of guests, trains full of travelers, cafés full of customers, parks full of promenaders, consulting-rooms of famous doctors full of patients, theatres full of spectators, and beaches full of bathers. What previously was, in general, no problem, now begins to be an everyday one, namely, to find room.
José Ortega y Gasset (1883–1955), Spanish essayist, philosopher

I decided that I would walk to Kohl’s department store this morning, it’s about a half mile from the house, and also get a cup of coffee from Coffee Bean and read the newspaper while people went crazy. I was too late.

Turning the corner to the shopping center, I was shocked. The parking lot was full at 7:30 a.m. This is Simi Valley, not the San Fernando Valley or the West Side. I took a picture and turned right around to make my own cup of coffee and read the newspaper in my reading chair.

A Message for Black Friday

…How can you smile when the reasons for smiling are wrong?
And if I’ve just messed up your thoughtless pleasures remember, if you wish,
this is just a Christmas song.

"Christmas Song" Ian Anderson, singer/songwriter for Jethro Tull

A tip of the hat to Monkeys for Helping; from where I pulled this picture, their link is down the right side.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Have a Great Thanksgiving

Society is composed of two great classes—those who have more dinners than appetite, and those who have more appetite than dinners.
Sébastien-Roch Nicolas de Chamfort (1741–94), writer

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

A Thanksgiving State of Mind

Are you going on Thanksgiving Day
To those family celebrations?
Passing on knowledge down through the years
At the gathering of generations
Every year it's the same routine
All over, all over
Come on over, it's Thanksgiving Day
"Thanksgiving Day" Ray Davies, singer/songwriter

I love Thanksgiving. It’s a day of stuffing, mashed potatoes with gravy, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, corn, rolls, pecan pie, and pumpkin pie. Images of Norman Rockwell abound as families come together for a communal meal. It’s a day of tradition in North America where we give thanks to the conclusion of harvest season (I suppose today it’s more like coming to the end of the tax season).

Thanksgiving is better than Christmas or Hanukkah because it is generally a two-day holiday because many companies seem to give the Friday after as an unofficial holiday. Christmas is one day at best, half day for Christmas Eve, and no days off for Hanukkah (that doesn’t seem fair). So, basically, Turkey Day becomes a four-day holiday.

Does Thanksgiving apply to the preparation or the meal? The holiday lasts only an hour if it is the meal, once the dinner is over the day is done until next year. It’s rather anticlimactic to realize that the hours and days of preparation and presentation just end up as a pile of dirty dishes and a week’s worth of leftovers. In reality it’s shorter than Christmas because at least kids can play with their
toys and adults can admire their new gift cards once everything has been unwrapped, but thanksgiving leaves everyone feeling stuffed, sleeping or nauseous.

Friday morning becomes a race to department stores for early morning discounts. Reporters and television cameras line up at the stores to in order to catch a glimpse of the hordes stampeding over the weaker or unfortunate who slip while greedily racing to grab whatever discount the first 50 shoppers receive for making a spectacle of themselves. Saturday and Sunday the relatives start packing up to go home with memories of another holiday that will only improve as the memory gets hazy.

It seems to me that Thanksgiving is more a state of mind than anything else.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Jets = Moronic Fans

It is even harder for the average ape to believe that he has descended from man.
H. L. Mencken (1880-1956), writer

This behavior is barbaric, disgusting and degrading even for the baboons gathered around to partake. And, any woman who succumbs to this or thinks she is being cute or sexy is wrong and is encouraging such despicable behavior.

The following is from the New York Times:

At halftime of the Jets’ home game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, several hundred men lined one of Giants Stadium’s two pedestrian ramps at Gate D. Three deep in some areas, they whistled and jumped up and down. Then they began an obscenity-laced chant, demanding that the few women in the gathering expose their breasts.

When one woman appeared to be on the verge of obliging, the hooting and hollering intensified. But then she walked away, and plastic beer bottles and spit went flying. Boos swept through the crowd of unsatisfied men.

The mood of previous Gate D crowds — captured on video clips posted on YouTube — sometimes bordered on hostile, not unlike the spirit of infamously aggressive European soccer hooligans. One clip online shows a woman being groped by a man standing next to her.

Sunday’s scene played out for about 20 minutes, and at least one woman granted the men’s request, setting off a roar as if the former star running back Curtis Martin had just scored a touchdown. Martin was actually nearby, being honored on the field in the official halftime show, which had a far less intense audience.

Throughout halftime, about 10 security guards in yellow jackets stood near the bottom of the circular, multilevel ramp, located beyond the stadium’s concourse of concession stands and restrooms. One of the guards was smoking a cigarette; many fans do the same during halftime on the giant ramps, which are located at each corner of the stadium. Another guard later said they were not permitted to do anything about the chants at Gate D because of free speech laws. Yet when a reporter tried to interview two security guards after halftime, he was detained in a holding room, threatened with arrest and asked to hand over his tape recorder.

The prices for sporting events are too high now for families, so I guess we can expect more of this type of low-life exhibition from the morally deprived who have a few bucks for a ticket or get the office tickets. What a shame.

Why My Wife Doesn't Always Like Watching Movies With Me

I watched the movie "Modigliani" the other day -- starring [Cuban] Andy Garcia as the Italian-Jewish painter -- and enjoyed it, as I do most biographies/biopics of painters. One sticking point: an art director with little sense of responsibility for historic typefaces. One example should suffice to outrage those of you who care about such matters (and though more would increase my credibility, it would do so at the risk of alienating the 99% of the audience who are, naturally, not typophiles).

Eurostile is one of the most important creations of the Italian font designer Aldo Novarese. The font reflects the Zeitgeist of the 1950s and 1960s, giving text a dynamic, modern feel. Eurostile is intended for headlines and small bodies of text. So what better place to put it than on a window in Paris circa 1914?

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Cleaning Up My Desktop

Meant to share this pic... how hard do you have to work to come up with a tie-in between Easter and Hot Wheels cars? "Easter Eggs-treme"? Really?

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Paying a Debt to Society

Why not whip the teacher when the pupil misbehaves?
Diogenes of Sinope [“The Cynic”] (c. 410–c. 320 BC), Greek philosopher, moralist.

Minus the orange vest, an elephant is doing community service for recklessly rampaging through a town after drinking rice beer.

Paris Hilton is pleased.

What Can I Do For Me
Certainly Not You

It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctly Native American criminal class except Congress [and, especially local politicians].
Mark Twain (1835–1910), author

This is an outrage. The Los Angeles Times has been reporting the past two days that Los Angeles City Council members will receive their fourth pay raise in two years. Other than CEOs or fired CEOs who else can expect such increases?

According to the article:
Municipal lawmakers in Los Angeles already are the highest paid in the nation. The new pay raise is the fourth they've received in the last 2 1/2 years, bringing the annual salary for council members to $178,789, and $232,426 for the mayor. Each has received a raise of at least $35,000 during that period -- a sum that is more than half the median household income for a family of four in Los Angeles County.

One day after elected officials in Los Angeles learned they were getting their fourth pay raise since 2005, six of the 18 said they would turn it down, while the remainder said they'd take it or did not comment.

This is the “let them eat cake” haughtiness of Councilman Tom LaBonge: he said he already works hard for his salary and will work even harder at his higher pay grade.
"I hope the people in the city who know me realize that the work I do -- and have done for 34 years -- is good work for the people of Los Angeles," he said.

I would like to see his constituents demand a new job description for his higher pay grade. After 34 years, I doubt he is still effective.

Council members who have accepted the pay increase:
Richard Alarcon, Councilman Yes**
Jose Huizar, Councilman Yes*
Jan Perry, Councilwoman Yes
Greig Smith, Councilman Yes**
Tony Cardenas, Councilman Yes**
Tom LaBonge, Councilman Yes
Ed Reyes, Councilman Yes
Herb Wesson, Councilman Yes
Rocky Delgadillo, City Attorney Yes
*Will give it to charity. **Had not commented by Thursday. Alarcon, Cardenas and Smith were out of town.

Where do these local politicians rank compared to national political leaders:

The annual salary of the president of the United States was increased to $400,000 per year, including a $50,000 expense allowance, effective January 1, 2001.

Vice President's Salary -- The salary of the vice president (for 2004) $202,900

Congress: Rank-and-File Members' Salary
The salary (2006) for rank-and-file members of the House and Senate is $165,200 per year.

Senate Leadership earn a bit more for being the boss
Majority Leader - $183,500
Minority Leader - $183,500
House Leadership
Speaker of the House - $212,100
Majority Leader - $183,500
Minority Leader - $183,500

Friday, November 16, 2007

What is Michael J. Fox Like?

A celebrity is one who is known to many persons he is glad he doesn’t know.
H. L. Mencken (1880–1956), journalist

The next time you ask a celebrity a stupid star-struck question, realize that you may have inspired a song or a punch line in a comedy sketch.

Have a question about "Back to the Future" for the guy who played "BIFF?" Yeah, so do a billion other people! Here's a song:

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

A Follower of Fashion

“Fashion is the science of appearance, and it inspires one with the desire to seem rather than to be.”
Henry Fielding (1707-1754)playwright,novelist

Taken from Ethical Exhibitionist; check out his site.

Drunken Pachyderms and Paris Hilton

He that drinks fast pays slow.
Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), sage

Hello, I'm Dumbo and I'm an Alcoholic .

This is too absurd not to comment upon. Here is the whole story from AP.

We have the woman, who became famous for being an heir to the person who made his last name eponymous with lodging away from home. She has taken being famous for being famous to new levels of absurdity. Apparently, now she is trying to restore her reputation after spending a few hours in jail for drunken driving by rehabilitating elephants. They'll never forget this ordeal.

It seems that Paris Hilton on a trip to Gauhati, India, decided to intervene on behalf of drunken pachyderms and begin a 12-step program for them. I kid you not, well I kid about the 12-step program.

Activists said a celebrity endorsement such as Hilton's was sure to raise awareness of the plight of the pachyderms that get drunk on farmers' homemade rice beer and then go on an inebriated rampage.

"The elephants get drunk all the time. It is becoming quite dangerous. We need to stop making alcohol available to them," said Hilton. And, I might add, to irresponsible celebrities who drive under the influence, neglect to wear undergarments, allow private sex videos to pollute the internet, and have sex and do drugs in public restrooms.

I have to believe that bombed, crapulent, elephants are far less a threat than rich, spoiled celebrities under the same conditions who influence and serve as role models for their mentally bankrupt sycophants. Maybe she should use her famous name to do something truly constructive to help society. There are hundreds of struggling non-profit organizations who could use the attention her name brings to honestly help people.

Where the hell is Elliot Mintz?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Personalized Shakespeare

"To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow, Creeps in this petty pace from day to day, To the last syllable of recorded time; And all our yesterdays have lighted fools The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle! Life's but a walking shadow; a poor player, That struts and frets his hour upon the stage, And then is heard no more: it is a taleTold by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing."
Shakespeare, writer--From Macbeth (V, v, 19)

I thought this was fun, so I borrowed it from Sporksforall.

William Shakespeare

Thou canst not say I did it: never shake
Thy gory misanthrope at me.

Which work of Shakespeare was the original quote from?

Get your own quotes:

Brush with Greatness

A talent for drama is not a talent for writing, but is an ability to articulate human relationships.*
Gore Vidal, novelist, essayist

Leaving the house on Sunday is a big deal for me; I rarely leave. Leaving the house on Sunday before I can even read the newspapers is near impossible, but when I received a group e-mail from Johnna Adams announcing that she was coming to town for a brief weekend stay to see a reading of her trilogy of plays, I had to leave the house. This is not my usual hyperbole; On The Mark has offered me tickets to the theater, the LA Philharmonic and other events and I politely declined.
I arrived at the Bootleg Theater, 2220 Beverly Blvd, at 10 a.m. to watch a reading of “Cockfighters” by Johnna Adams. Johnna arrived shortly thereafter. It was great to see her. We were co-workers for a couple of years; I even took a 10-minute playwriting class with her. I spent two weeks writing my short play about a high-tech toilet I found at Jack’s Shack. Johnna wrote her play during lunch one day and she had a true laugh out loud scene that just took your breath away. The class paused during the reading to wait for the laughter to die down. I didn’t embarrass myself with my play, but Johnna was the star student by a wide margin. She could have taught the class. Her credentials were better than the instructor’s, but it was for the pleasure of writing and encouraging a co-worker.

After a hug, a picture and some catching up, I was put to work collating a couple of extra scripts that still had pages missing. The actors arrived and greeted Johnna.

The seats were almost filled, the actors were seated in position, and the reading was started. This was simply a reading, which means the actors sit on the stage and read the script in front of them.

The narrator set the scene and the actors started reading. Within a few pages, the actors started acting; they could not help themselves as the characters were so well written they easily came to life, the play was engaging and suspenseful. I kept guessing who did what, but I was wrong. The ending was surprising and the entire play engaging.

After it was over and the applause stopped, I felt like some Midwest visitor in Hollywood who sees a celebrity. I didn’t know what to say accept how great the play was. Then her publisher arrived and Johnna gave me a bound copy of her play which I immediately had her autograph. I didn’t stay for the other two plays because I still had the Sunday papers to read and it was a gray drizzly day and I wanted to sit by the fire. There is only so much sacrifice one can make.

I guarantee you are going to hear about Johnna in one of the mainstream magazines very soon and she will be hailed as the next great New York playwright.

To keep current with Johnna check out her blog Blindsquirrel Blogging.

*Johnna has both a talent for drama and writing.

Monday, November 12, 2007

What Are We Fighting For?

The Government of the absolute majority instead of the Government of the people is but the Government of the strongest interests; and when not efficiently checked, it is the most tyrannical and oppressive that can be devised.
John Caldwell Calhoun (1782–1850), U.S. statesman

These photos were taken two years ago on my visit to Washington, D.C.

During those two years the Iraq war has progressed from bad to worse with soldier and civilian deaths continuing at unacceptable levels. Private security guards such as Blackwater have increased under the Bush gang’s ongoing quest to outsource and bankrupt the government.

When looking at those photos again, I thought had sad and embarrassed our founding fathers would be of both our leaders and the citizenry for allowing this to happen.

See Frank Rich's Sunday column


Do you know what a soldier is, young man? He’s the chap who makes it possible for civilised folk to despise war.
Allan Massie, author

Painting by John Singer Sargent

Dulce Et Decorum Est
By Wilfred Owen

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of disappointed shells that dropped behind.

GAS! Gas! Quick, boys!-- An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And floundering like a man in fire or lime.--
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,--
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Criminal Code of Conduct

Michael: My father is no different than any powerful man, any man with power, like a president or senator.
Kay Adams: Do you know how naive you sound, Michael? Presidents and senators don't have men killed.
Michael: Oh. Who's being naive, Kay?

“Godfather,” movie 1972

The Mafia's "Ten Commandments" as found on a newly arrested Mafia boss Salvatore Lo Piccolo, the reputed new boss of the Sicilian Mafia. It is thought to have been drawn up as a "guide to being a good mobster." As found on the BBC website

1. No-one can present himself directly to another of our friends. There must be a third person to do it.

2. Never look at the wives of friends.

3. Never be seen with cops.

4. Don't go to pubs and clubs.

5. Always being available for Cosa Nostra is a duty - even if your wife's about to give birth.

6. Appointments must absolutely be respected.

7. Wives must be treated with respect.

8. When asked for any information, the answer must be the truth.

9. Money cannot be appropriated if it belongs to others or to other families.

10. People who can't be part of Cosa Nostra: anyone who has a close relative in the police, anyone with a two-timing relative in the family, anyone who behaves badly and doesn't hold to moral values.

If you are in the mood now to hear the Godfather theme click here.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

RIP Norman Mailer

In America few people will trust you unless you are irreverent.
Norman Mailer (1923-2007), author

Here is the link to the New York Times story.

Norman Mailer, Pulitzer prize-winning author, is shown in in this Sept. 1984 photo. Mailer, the macho prince of American letters who for decades reigned as the country's literary conscience and provocateur, died of renal failure early Saturday. He was 84.

At different points in his life Mr. Mailer was a prodigious drinker and drug taker, a womanizer, a devoted family man, a would-be politician who ran for mayor of New York, a hipster existentialist, an antiwar protester, an opponent of women’s liberation and an all-purpose feuder and short-fused brawler, who with the slightest provocation would happily engage in head-butting, arm-wrestling and random punch-throwing. Boxing obsessed him and inspired some of his best writing. Any time he met a critic or a reviewer, even a friendly one, he would put up his fists and drop into a crouch.

On The Mark and I heard him speak at least a couple of times. One of my favorite events was his lecture on Picasso at the Design Center in Los Angeles in the mid-'90s. His book I enjoyed best was "The Executioner's Song." An incredible journey in the life of Gary Gilmore and his senseless killings.

Philip Roth has an poignant passage on Mailer in his new book "Exit Ghost."

Curb Your Enthusiasm
Larry Removes a Smoke Alarm

The tragedy of life is not that man loses, but that he almost wins.
Heywood Broun (1888–1939), journalist

This is a warning to the other smoke dectectors in my house.

Please don't do this at home, and regularly check and change your smoke detectors' batteries. The home you save may be yours. Larry paid the price for beating up his smoke detector.

A tip of the hat to On The Mark for reminding me of this episode.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Sleep Interruptus
Beep, Beep, Beep

Sleeping is no mean art: for its sake one must stay awake all day.
Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900), philosopher

Could somebody please tell me why smoke alarms always need to have the batteries replaced during the middle of the night?

Beep, Beep.


I try to fall back to sleep.

Beep, Beep.

Let me pull the covers over my ear, so I can’t hear it.

Beep, Beep.


I have to get up, drag out the library step ladder and disconnect the $#%@ smoke alarm and then attempt to go back to sleep.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

The Misanthrope at the Movies

Towns are full of people, houses full of tenants, hotels full of guests, trains full of travelers, cafés full of customers, parks full of promenaders, consulting-rooms of famous doctors full of patients, theatres full of spectators, and beaches full of bathers. What previously was, in general, no problem, now begins to be an everyday one, namely, to find room.
José Ortega y Gasset (1883–1955), Spanish essayist, philosopher

We went to the movies last Saturday afternoon, the 4 p.m. show in order to get the discount. We proceeded to the last row so no one would sit behind us chewing their popcorn in my ear (actually those are my requirements, wife could care less). Because it was still 20 minutes before the show started they had some commercial video playing that promoted the crap out of myriad television shows and upcoming movies.

Meanwhile the theater was filling up, and why not, it was the first weekend for "American Gangster", which did $40 plus million, I watched each person come in dreading that they would sit in front or beside us carrying their buckets of popcorn, barrels of diet Coke. We brought our own little bag of microwave popcorn and a couple of candies in a baggie.

A couple seated themselves in front of us even thought I attempted to keep my foot on the arm of the chair as long as I could without appearing to block the seat, the entire penultimate row was empty and he had to sit in front of us. I, of course, commented about that and he got up and moved to the center of the row, then the other five members of his family came in took up the middle section of the row. Another couple ignored my dirty shoe on the arm of the chair and sat down, he was huge so I kept my mouth shut.

The previews started and ended maybe 15 to 25 minutes later. Eventually the movie started and the family in the middle of the row in front of us spent the next 10 minutes, maybe longer unwrapping all their goodies.

From my perch atop the back row, I surveyed the crowd and realized that I paid nearly $20 to watch a movie with all these people. I once again decided it was not worth it to be subjected to noisy eaters, aisles with no leg room, tight uncomfortable seats, and people all around us. Hell, we could have been flying cross country for all this discomfort.

The only movie theater I will go to is the Arclight in Hollywood. It’s about a 30-minute drive, costs $2 to park, $11 for a ticket, but I can get the tickets in advance, select my seats online, and use the points from buying the tickets to get nearly free snacks. There are no commercials and the movie starts on time.

"American Gangster" was okay, but not great.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Cell Phone Revenge

The primary use of conversation is to satisfy the impulse to talk.
George Santayana (1863–1952), philosopher

Tip of the hat to Jack at Random Thoughts. You should even vote for him in the blog award competitions.

I just love this. I think I have watched it about 10 times already.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Grande Bad Ass, Please

How clever you are, my dear! You never mean a single word you say.
Oscar Wilde (1854–1900), playwright

Bad Ass… good to the last drop.

Tip of the hat to Poliblog, again. Cruising the site this story from the Arizona Republic shows we lack a sense of humor.

According to the company, the store's name derives from a legend, posted prominently at

"The native people of Kona, Hawaii, remember the days of the 'Bad Ass Ones.' The bellows of the donkeys could be heard echoing through the mountains as they hauled the heavy loads of coffee up and down the mountainside."

Despite the legend, Councilman Gary "Doc" Sullivan said the name shows "poor taste." The franchise is in his district.

"It's named after a donkey, but you know, this is still a family community, and I just feel stuff like that is inappropriate," said Sullivan, who is up for re-election Tuesday.

When finished, the Surprise shop will have a Hawaiian theme with palm trees and waves painted on the walls, Morrison said.

And despite the flap, Alexakos said she is confident all ages will turn out when the shop is complete.

The company is also in talks to open a Scottsdale franchise, though no location has been firmed up yet. Scottsdale had its own franchise naming battle last year with Pink Taco, a restaurant with a sexually suggestive name.

Bad Ass Coffee isn't the Valley's first donkey-themed business. Goodyear is home to Ass Kickin' Hot Sauce, a brand of Southwest Specialty Food Inc. that has been around since 1989.

Political Halloween

A passion for politics stems usually from an insatiable need, either for power, or for friendship and adulation, or a combination of both.
Fawn M. Brodie (1915–81), biographer

I figure I better post this before they use the copyright to render the link dead. A tip of the hat to Poliblog.

Monday, November 05, 2007

On The Mark -- Religion As Discipline

I was at the local park recently with my wife and 8-year-old son. My wife met an acquaintance who has a 6-year-old boy. The mothers got to talking about the frustrations and difficulties of keeping young, vibrant boys in line. The friend said, "I bring my child to church every Sunday. The only reason I do this is so I can tell him (when he's being bad), 'God is watching you right now, and if you don't knock it off, you're in big trouble." She said it works every time.

I was floored. I don't like to discuss religion, but I felt I couldn't just let it go, so I basically rephrased what she said in a question in a way that made it sound like I was flabbergasted.

From my perspective, I prefer to say, "I'm watching you right now, and if you don't knock if off, you're going to your room." Works every time.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Computer Down

Computers are incredibly fast, accurate and stupid. Human beings are incredibly slow, inaccurate and brilliant. Together they are powerful beyond imagination
Albert Einstein (1879-1955), scientist [boy, would he be surprised]

I won't be blogging again until Tuesday. My computer is in the shop.

I’ve Got the Blues

Feelin' low down, I'm blue
As I sit by the fire
I've got the blues

“I’ve Got the Blues,” Rolling Stones, Mick Jagger/Keith Richards

Where I really want to be right now.
It was building yesterday and hit today, I feel rather down and would love to be by myself away from the maddening, passive-aggressive crowds.

Here are the specs for the home pictured -- it's sold.

How Sweet it is…Cozy Log home situated on 3+/- acres just 3 miles outside the Village of Chester. Nice country setting with the house overlooking a large yard. White birches and nearby woods offer privacy. Little extras include built-ins and porcelain tub. Patio out back is perfect for enjoying the peace and quiet of this pretty Vermont property.
Style:Log Home
Acreage: 3+/-
Bedrooms: 2+ loft
Sq. Ft. :1,260+/-
Year Built:1965 and 1985

Hello, I Must Be Going

There comes a pause, for human strength
Will not endure to dance without cessation;
And everyone must reach the point at length
Of absolute prostration.

Lewis Carroll (1832–98), author

Thursday, November 01, 2007

My Favorite Things

If you had to name your top favorite things, and then write a song about them, what would they be? Here's what Maria did with that assignment:

1. Raindrops on roses
2. Whiskers on kittens
3. Bright copper kettles
4. Warm woolen mittens
5. Brown paper packages tied up with strings
6. Cream colored ponies
7. Crisp apple streudels
8. Doorbells
9. Sleigh bells
10. Schnitzel with noodles
11. Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings
12. Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes
13. Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes
14. Silver white winters that melt into springs

That's it -- her favorite things, all fourteen of them. If I were Maria, my list of favorite things could have been even shorter and still would have been better, given the story of her life:

1. Sick Nazis
2. Dead Nazis
3. Schnitzel with noodles (a girl's gotta eat)

The Five Stages of Blogging

If I die, I hope to go with my head on that typewriter. It's my battlefield.
Charles Bukowski (1920-1994), author

Stage One: Delirious
I have a blog, therefore I am and you are too. I can write whatever I want and about whomever I want. Watch me dazzle the world with pithy posts and incredible photography. People from around the world are coming to visit me and are leaving comments.

Stage Two: Joseph Pulitzer or King of the World
Let’s see if I publish at 9 p.m. on the west coast I can be among the first to publish for a new day on the east coast. I have always wanted to be a writer and editor. Now I have my own little hometown chronicle with worldwide circulation. I even have a witty name for my publication – it’s an anagram of my pseudonym, we are so clever.

Stage Three: WTF, This is Work!
Crap. Even Maureen Dowd doesn’t write this much. How the hell did Mike Royko do it? I am not getting one thin dime for all this effort. “Let’s face it, writing is hell,” William Styron, novelist.

Stage Four: The End is Near
If I can make the one year anniversary and one hundred thousand hits that will be great! The good-bye posts were awesome and we recognized by various blogs throughout the blogisphere. We’ll write occasionally as time allows.

Stage Five: Nothing Else in My Life and Bush is Still President
Thank goodness for YouTube which provides instant posts when one is too busy or can’t think of anything worthwhile. Thank goodness for smart, witty, commenters and their blogs, which also serve as inspiration.

A tip of the hat to Monkeys for Helping," which is where I stole the art from and reappropriated (corporate jargon).