Saturday, October 24, 2009

Ready for My Close Up

Nature will bear the closest inspection. She invites us to lay our eye level with her smallest leaf, and take an insect view of its plain.
Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862), writer, poet

(click on the pictures for an even closer look)

This predatory, cannibalistic insect is known by his religious name Praying Mantis. He loves aphids, which is why he was allowed to remain. However, once I got a good look at him (I am assuming he is a him, but he could be a her), it would be very difficult for me to do anything other than pick him up and move him/her to another destination.

If his cousins, termites and cockroaches, come around they will be dealt with harshly.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

A Sunday of Sad Sinatra Songs

One and the same thing can at the same time be good, bad, and indifferent, e.g., music is good to the melancholy, bad to those who mourn, and neither good nor bad to the deaf.
Baruch Spinoza (1632 – 1677), philosopher

It’s Sunday morning for another 30 minutes and I have finished the Los Angeles Times and most of the New York Times. Prior to that listened to CBS "Sunday Morning" show, which featured Andy Williams and further confirmed why I never appreciated his milquetoast interpretations of popular standards. After that was the last 40 minutes of “Meet the Press,” with the politicians doing their version of he said, she said. It’s no wonder that this country has lost its way.

And, it’s no wonder that I am feeling melancholy. I drove just short of 300 miles yesterday taking my great aunt to see a retirement home that is comparable to a four-star hotel when matched up to her nursing facility with its hallways littered with patients asleep in their wheelchairs, and the new place is a $1,000 a month less. The day ended yesterday with auntie relying on a friend’s comment about “I read recently that when you move close to relatives they don’t visit you any more.” I have news for her, she will see me far less if she stays put because I am tired of that 120-mile round trip just to play Rummy 500. So, on top of everything else today I am fatigued. As I type this, I am listening to a Frank Sinatra mix that I call Frank Sinatra (sad). I also have Frank Sinatra (swinging) and Frank Sinatra (live).

My "sad" mix starts with “As Time Goes By” followed by classics from before I was born to his version in the ‘60s and finally in the mid-‘80s. On The Mark told me how he had complied a few of those versions and compared it to a listening version of comparing newly bottled to aged wine. I followed suit and made my list, which I listen to over and over.

As Time Goes By from “Point of No Return”
Don't Worry 'bout Me “Where Are You”
Don't Worry 'bout Me “Frank Sinatra Vegas, Live At The Sands January-February 1966”
Angel Eyes “Only the Lonely”
Angel Eyes "80th year Frank at Meadows Land”
One for My Baby (And One More for the Road) “Only the Lonely”
One more for the Road (And One for My Baby) “Sinatra at the Sands”
One more for the Road “Frank at Meadows Land”
I Can't Believe I'm Losing You “Softly, As I Leave You”
Hey Look, No Cryin' “She Shot Me Down”
Yesterday “My Way”
Drinking Again “Nothing But The Best”
Empty Tables “The Reprise Collection”
Thanks for the Memory “She Shot Me Down”
The Gal That Got Away/It Never Entered My Mind “The Reprise Collection”
Send in the Clowns “The Reprise Collection”
Don't Take Your Love from Me “Sinatra and Strings”
If You Go Away “My Way”
Didn't We “My Way”
In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning “In the Wee Small Hours”
My Heart Stood Still “The Concert Sinatra”
My Heart Stood Still "Sinatra 80th"

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Toner Mishap Turns 5
Welcome RJW

Life is like playing a violin in public and learning the instrument as one goes on.
Samuel Butler (1835 - 1902), novelist

Toner Mishap is five years old this month, Oct. 19th to be exact. Wow, where did the time go? I have had a lot fun with this blog and over the years. I have seen the pleasure and power of the blog from results of a company afraid of the bad publicity, the spiteful revenge of an alternate juror who tried his darnest to get The Misanthrope in trouble with the courts because he didn’t agree with The Misanthrope's political philosophy, the wrath of a judge who didn’t appreciate The Misanthrope's ruminations on jury duty (not the trial, a fine line the legal system doesn’t recognize), the anger of some loyal employee at a well known electronics store, who can’t recognize that his company suffers from severe lack of customer service, broadcasting daughter’s successes, to comments from a member of The Faces and a once touring member of the Rolling Stones.

Now the page has turned from over-the-top hyperbole to more honest writing and a lot less politics. Politics has turned into a sport of my side versus your side – the country be damned, so politics will be at a minimum going forward unless of course a friend is hurt by the nonsense of such politics like Alice or my daughter who falls into the gap between my policy and being full-time law student.

In any case, this is the rambling way of introducing RJW as the newest member of Toner Mishap and the minimizing of The Misanthrope (truly a softhearted palooka that only a few recognized as such -- softhearted, not so much palooka).

I hope you stick around and come back over the months, the years, and enjoy it all in the process.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Amateur Photography

What is written about a person or an event is frankly an interpretation, as are handmade visual statements, like paintings and drawings. Photographed images do not seem to be statements about the world so much as pieces of it, miniatures of reality that anyone can make or acquire.
Susan Sontag (1933 – 2004) author, literary theorist, and political activist from, "On Photography"

(U.S. High Diving Team '81, photo by RJW)

If I could have a second career it would be as a photographer. Granted, I am coming upon it a bit late, but I thoroughly enjoy it. Oh, I could put on my résumé that I was an official photographer and that I had photos published in newspapers around the country, picked up by Associated Press, The National Enquirer, but I just took it in stride being the official photographer for a major amusement park. I photographed Elton John, Rolling Stones’ keyboardist Ian McLagan, who was on ’81 tour; a runaway bear dragging its trainer on the ground; high divers; Michael Jackson wearing a Groucho Marx mustache and glasses while watching the Temptations; and various other miscellanies around the park. Sadly, I cannot find many of the photos, if I ever had them, but I did get a few good shoots. Still, I never viewed myself as a photographer.

(Mary Travers circa. '81 photo by RJW)

Photographers know what they were doing; know how to develop film, know how to mix chemicals make the photos highlight key aspects of the picture, and know lighting and exposure settings. Me, I would, and still do, take numerous photos hoping that one of the photos on the contact sheet spying it through a photographer’s loop would turn out once I sent it out to be developed.

However, today, I have a greater appreciation of the art of photography and realize how little I know, and today the camera is almost idiot proof and has so many features that you can experiment and even take pictures of something photographed numerous times and still eke out something original. Because I have the Toner Mishap soapbox, I can share my amateur photos with the world and I will as times goes by.

Thank you for your indulgence.

(Smothers Brothers, Tommy and Dick circa. '81, photo by RJW)

by RJW

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

A Brief Road Trip

“If you don't know where you're going, any road will take you there”

The long and winding road that runs along an awe-inspiring stretch of coast sends worries and anxieties straight over the cliff and allows one to appreciate and enjoy the picturesque landscape that every turn reveals on California’s Highway 1.

While I had planned to keep driving up to Oregon, the lovely San Francisco beckon me to stay, so I did since I had no agenda. It had been decades since I last visited San Francisco on my own time and that makes all the difference. The city by the bay is everything Los Angeles is not: vibrate, crisp, and fresh.

Those adjectives apply to the food too, which is delicious and even a sidewalk café features fabulous fare without having to call a friend of a friend to get into the newest food spot. Specialty stores such as The Whiskey Shop, Bill’s Khakis, Orvis, and many others dot the sidewalks. Cable cars or more like electric buses power about the city without belching clouds of exhaust or blocking traffic as it zigzags from curb to pavement.

A day and a night was enough to clear my head, any longer and coming back to Los Angeles would be even tougher. The ride home on Highway 1 was long and leisurely because I stopped to snap photos at every turnout since each location looked spectacular and gorgeous. Once I reviewed them on the computer, I thought every person with a camera must have a sunset picture and if you have visited any coast there are water shots, bridges, so I have nothing original, but I now have my requisite sunset, lighthouse, and ocean shots.

by RJW

Monday, October 05, 2009

Crosby, Stills and Nash
Amazingly Good

"Music, in performance, is a type of sculpture. The air in the performance is sculpted into something."
Frank Zappa (1940 – 1993), composer, electric guitarist, record producer, and film director

I am still in awe of the Crosby, Stills & Nash concert at the Greek Theater on Saturday, Oct. 3; those three men are incredibly talented singers, songwriters, and musicians. There is something about their three-part harmony that has a calming effect. The trio entered the stage to a standing ovation. Forty years ago they played the Greek for a seven-night, sold-out engagement. Graham Nash referred to the difference between now and then stating that there was no one in the trees this time around.

The show opened with “Helplessly Hoping” and “Wasted on the Way.” In the early going of the nearly two-and-a-half-hour concert David Crosby told us they were going to experiment and play some of their favorites by other artists that may appear on a new CD they are working on. The covers set started with the Rolling Stones’ “Ruby Tuesday,” and included James Taylor’s “You Can Close Your Eyes,” Bob Dylan’s “Girl from the North Country,” Allman Brothers’ “Midnight Rider,” and the Grateful Dead’s “Uncle John’s Band.” They also preformed: “Guinevere,” “A Dream For You,” “In Your Name,” “Our House,” then there was a short break.

As they promised the second half rocked with Stephen Stills singing and playing legendary guitar on “Love the One You’re With,” “Rock & Roll Woman” and throughout the second half. Stills is overlooked as a leading guitarist. Graham also mentioned that Stills played great guitar and had throughout the entire tour.

One of the many highlights of the evening was Crosby’s bluesy voice belting out “Almost Cut My Hair,” “Long Time Gone,” and “Wooden Ships” backed by Stills blistering guitar work.

Our seats were in the fourth row, DD center. It was an intimate setting with a barefooted Nash sipping red wine between songs, high fiving the people in front of us. I have seen a number of concerts over the years, but this easily ranks in the top five. And, adding to the wonderful evening, my friend R.O. let us park in his driveway, just a block or two away from the theater, so after the show it was a short walk down the hill into the car and zooming home listening to more CSN.

Note: Hendrix and I cut a bunch of stuff together. He was a very dear friend of mine, we were lonely in London together and hung out a lot. I left England suddenly, and years later I learned from Mitch Mitchell that Jimi had been looking for me everywhere – wanted me to join the Experience as the bass player, which would have been my greatest dream in life! It had something to do with a manager deciding it was a wrong career move and said, “we don’t know where he is.” I learned to play lead guitar from Jimi, he showed me the scales and said things like, “You begin by thinking about the chord position and base your improvisations on that Or he’d make some little remark like, F sharp is really cool, and we’d improvise until the inspiration began to ebb, then he’d look at me and say, “you drive.” You had to hear that cat play acoustic guitar! We once jammed for about five days, one long marathon session in my beach house in Malibu. The sheriff’s deputy overheard our guitar playing. When he found out it was us he asked permission to park his police car directly outside the house so he could listen in while he fielded radio calls. Told us not to worry about a thing, he’d be looking out for us. Stephen Stills, song notes on “Old Times Good Times” from the CSN box set.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Heart Attack and Grand

Heart Attack and Grand
Turn out more, turn out more
Hours piled high, looking for the door
It’s all about the deal and the dollar
And the workers do nothing but whimper and holler
Management pushes its brand
Everyone sees a tired corpse on heart attack and Grand

Saturday, October 03, 2009


“The greatest tragedy in America is not the destruction of our natural resources, though that tragedy is great. The truly great tragedy is the destruction of our human resources by our failure to fully utilize our abilities, which means that most men and women go to their graves with their music still in them.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes (1841–1935),justice of the Supreme Court of the United States

Reasons why not to listen to HR.

Tip of the hat to Random Thoughts