Sunday, November 25, 2012

Clouds Are In My Eyes

Bows and flows of angel hair and ice cream castles in the air And feather canyons everywhere, I've looked at clouds that way. 
Joni Mitchell, singer/song writer "Both Sides Now"

I love clouds. Watching them regally float by makes me feel as if I can ponder the world and its many issues. Having recently been to Kauai and waking up to what appeared to be a never-ending parade of morphed dirigibles that not only rivaled Macy’s, but put them to shame.  They had no strings 

Song interlude:
 I've got no strings
So I have fun
I'm not tied up to anyone
They've got strings
But you can see
There are no strings on me
 From Pinocchio, "I’ve Got No Strings"

Every morning I eagerly went to the window to view the clouds that covered the ocean like a top sheet on a neatly made bed. I watched as they tumbled by, some slowly evaporating, others expanding moving slowly as if they were royalty meandering by exuding elegance. 

From the painterly or the photographers’ point of view, clouds accent the mountains, enhance the sunrise, and magnify the sunset such that it often makes those who catch its pause to note the autumnal oranges, pastel pinks and blues.

Your mood can change based on the type of clouds coming over the horizon, but in Kauai they were generally light and fluffy transforming into whatever I imagined them to be as they blew from right to left following the trade winds.

Photographs by RJW

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Bond, James Bond

Q has blown up a dummy with an explosive pen
Q: Don't say it... 
James Bond: The writing is on the wall. 
Q: Along with the rest of him. 
From the movie "Dr. No"

My favorite actor portraying the indestructible super secret agent James Bond was Timothy Dalton. I thought that he was the dark, cold, and ruthless character Ian Flemming had in mind. Bond was modeled to resemble the musician Hoagy Carmichael.

Hoagy, who wrote Stardust Melody and many others

Craig is not bad, but he reminds me of Russia's President Vladimir Putin or deceased actor Roy Scheider.

 See the evidence for yourself--
Roy Scheider

Daniel Craig

Vladimir Putin
What James Bond should look like--

Timothy Dalton

The real James Bond --
Bond, James Bond

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Rolling Stones Doom & Gloom

Lost all that treasure in an overseas war It just goes to show you don't get what you paid for Battle to the rich and you worry about the poor Put my feet up on the couch And lock all the doors Hear a funky noise That's the tightening of the screeeeews
Jagger/Richards, The Rolling Stones "Doom and Gloom"

The ol' boys of rock and roll can still deliver.

War is Hell

“You know you've read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend.” 
Paul Sweeney

"The Yellow Birds" by Kevin Powers was a very moving and a very descriptive book. 

From Michiko Kakutani, the New York Times book reviewer:  Kevin Powers joined the Army when he was 17 and served as a machine-gunner in Iraq in 2004 and 2005. Drawing upon those experiences, he has written a remarkable first novel, one that stands with Tim O’Brien’s enduring Vietnam book, “The Things They Carried,” as a classic of contemporary war fiction. 

Throughout the book I felt his pain, fear, and sense of loss. There is also a sense of frustration with our military and how they care for our soldiers after going through battle.

I would also highly recommend reading "Matterhorn" by Karl Marlante. This book is about a troop in the jungles of Vietnam during the turbulent 1960s as well as bureaucratic nonsense that takes place in headquarters. This book made me feel even more compassion and admiration for our WWII vets who fought in the jungles of the Pacific.

Our soldiers who go into battle truly go through hell. Sadly too many people have no idea of all the ramifications of battle and the toll it takes on people. Of course those clueless people seem to be the ones the most hawkish and vocal about going to war.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Lincoln, the Movie

"Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration"
Abraham Lincoln (1809 – 1865), 16th U.S. President

Lincoln, the movie was phenomenal. Daniel Day Lewis will win best actor easily, the movie will win best picture, Spielberg will win best director, and Tony Kushner's screenplay. They won't have just won, they will have earned it. 

If you are not interested in politics, history, or the process works find another way to spend two plus hours.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Step Right Up

It gets rid of unwanted facial hair, it gets rid of embarrassing age spots,
It delivers a pizza, and it lengthens, and it strengthens
And it finds that slipper that's been at large
under the chaise lounge for several weeks
And it plays a mean Rhythm Master,
It makes excuses for unwanted lipstick on your collar
And it's only a dollar, step right up, it's only a dollar, step right up
 --Tom Waits, singer, song writer "Step Right Up"
I was asked do I want to make money selling products on Toner Mishap?

Subject: For the owner/writer of TONER MISHAP
 Hi ,
I work for ACME and wanted to reach out to you.
We came across your blog TONER MISHAP and thought you'd make a great person to work with for a mutually beneficial initiative we've started. We're looking to have a select group of bloggers like yourself pick out their favorite ACME products and then ideally mention them in a blog post. The product selection is quite varied so I'm sure you'll find something that fits perfectly with your blog.
To make this really fast & easy, we've developed a tool that guides you through everything. It even helps generate a blog post title and the actual content once you've chosen your products.
You can get started by visiting this url:
It should only take a couple minutes, but we would like to offer you an ACME gift certificate in exchange for your time if this sounds interesting to you.
All the best,

I replied with an uppercase NO.  What would my ethics be if I wrote about their merchandise by causally slipping in a surreptitious product plug without alerting you?  What if I did alert you and conveyed my weak little deal with the devil? There would be no credibility in my third-party endorsement. They would even give me a free gift certificate to write about their stuff and I still say NO!

I also wonder who would want someone with the pseudonym The Misanthrope to write about their tchotchkes? I don’t believe they even read this blog to see if the tone is right or if anything has been endorsed on this blog previously. Even if I used my real initials (RJW), which I don’t because I can’t remember my password the answer would still be NO.

So dear company representative, the answer today, tomorrow, and as long as I am asked for my opinion the reply will always be NO.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

On Writing

And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise.  The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.
Sylvia Plath (1932–1963), poet

Initially I was going to title this “Why I Write” because that is the standard phase used in most colleges and universities working off of the essay from George Orwell detailing his expedition to the world of writing. Instead I opted for the simple naming convention used by the father of essays Michel Eyquem de Montaigne, because I hope to emulate his philosophy, if not his style to write exploratory, free-floating pieces. His writing did not explain or teach anything, he just shared his thoughts. Here is my first such piece.

I have written for years, but not certain when I first declared that is what I wanted to do. I do recall in the 9th grade that I wanted to be on the school newspaper, but was too intimidated to sign up. Now that may seem a bit late, but I was very emotionally immature for my age.  As I navigate old age, I guess it doesn’t matter anymore if I have caught up or not, I am at least aware of that major flaw. When I got to high school and started hanging out with a new group of friends who said they were going to sign up for the journalism class, I was in.

The journalism class was a lot of fun. Writing stories for a girlfriend to help her pass the class and for me to get a date with her. Not sure if I really learned anything, except maybe the power of the press. When some players from the school football team wrote a letter to the editor, we had our cartoonist show the gym teacher writing on the chalkboard what the players should write. It was unfair on our part and got our absentee instructor in hot water too.

I moved on to college, two-year college first, known in California as junior college. One of my colleagues from the high-school paper served on the Jr. college paper with me. He covered sports and I wrote features about movies and music. I was qualified in neither area. I just happened to enjoy both. However, we did win awards for the best school newspaper in our division.

Fortunately back then it was not unusual to have a local town newspaper and my town had a nice one of about 20,000 circulation. I worked in the back shop where the paper was cut and pasted together from typesetters retyping the reporters’ stories, to paste-up professionals who expertly wielded Exacto knives as they followed the layout pages the managing editor sent back. The stories were run through hot waxing machines leaving a thin coating of wax on the back of the typeset article so it could be attached to full-size page that would be photographed to come out as a full-size negative, plated and then printed. Because I was on staff and a journalism major, I was able to intern and write stories.

I covered a major local brush fire. Knowing the hills were burning, I called the managing editor asking if I could rewrite press releases. She suggested I go to the fire and see what I could find. I was rewarded with a front-page story accompanied by a rare color photo (because color was just coming to the newspaper world). I parked my car, took a notebook and started interviewing residents who were evacuating with the worldly goods they could jam into a car or truck. I talked with a guy on his roof holding a hose, who planned to go down with the house. The winds were blowing and unbeknownst to me it was a very dangerous situation if the winds shifted. The fire captain drove by in his truck and told me to get in. I started interviewing him and asking questions about the cost of fighting such a blaze. The next day, I drove around town just to look at all the newspaper racks that had my story and byline above the fold.

I was able to write myriad stories for the local paper. However, when it came time to earn a living I fell into public relations. My first job upon graduation came from an ad in the department’s letter to journalism majors: reporter/photographer wanted — Six Flags Magic Mountain. I landed the job, not because of my skills, but because my boss was insecure and hired me because my PR instructor at the university was the National PR director for the amusement park chain. I was hired because I was networked with someone I had not even really known, nor did I want to know that PR flack because I thought I was a serious journalist. I sat in the back of the class and questioned most things with cynicism and disrespect.

One of my roles in this new job was to be the park photographer. I was given at top of the line Nikon F-1 or 2 with lens and a case of film. I went to the newspaper photographer, but was embarrassed that I was no longer a journalist. I waited until I could catch him in the darkroom away from the rest of the staff. I told him I purchased the camera and I asked him how to load the film, and if he could give me a few tips.  He asked how much I paid for the camera. I told him $250. He was shocked and asked if it was stolen. “No, why?” I had no idea there was more than $1,500 worth of equipment in that silver camera case. Public relations was now my profession, I confessed.

My first professional meeting at SFMM was about a new ride, Roaring Rapids, coming to the park. We were brainstorming how to get the media to cover the story. I was aghast that we would contrive an event for publicity. I called the managing editor and told him what I had witnessed. He just laughed.

I no longer do public relations, but the writing I do falls under marketing and my journalism and public relations background provide me with a skill set that not many have today, when it comes to writing.

One last story about my newspaper experience: I still worked at the local newspaper part-time proofreading while working full time at the amusement park. It was the Monday of Memorial Day weekend. The last reporter had gone home that evening around 8 p.m. or 9 p.m. The managing editor urgently came up to me and asked if I would cover a grocery store hold up with hostages at the Vons around the corner. I was there in a flash. I went to the police command post set up in the parking lot. I heard an officer report that suspect was not around, but the hostages were coming out. I took off running around the dark end of the strip-mall plaza. I heard rustling on the rooftop as I ran around the back of the building. I didn’t realize there were snipers on the roof. The editor of the paper showed up at the police command station and thankfully saw me take off because the snipers had me in their sites as a suspect running toward the hostages. The editor yelled that it was one of his reporters. I got a few brief quotes from a couple of the hostages, another front-page story, and again was blissfully ignorant of my brush with danger.

Covering news stories is exciting and is certainly not your everyday desk job. Ideally, I would have liked to have been a columnist where I could write on the current events or what was bothering me. I can’t think of a journalist who wouldn’t want that job. However, I am not sure there are many readers who appreciate my style of humor in that forum, which is to rant in a hyperbole sort of way that is viewed as negative. Maybe this essay falls under Orwell’s third reason, Historical impulse: Desire to see things as they are, to find out true facts and store them up  for the use of posterity.

I have been writing for Toner Mishap for years off and on. It was started as a way to vent and try to prevent the reelection of George Bush. This follows under number four on Orwell’s list of four reasons on why we write: Political purpose — …Desire to push the world in a certain direction, to alter other people’s idea of the kind of society that they should strive after.
I failed miserably, but the regular writing was great practice and the results were pleasing to me. Oh sure there were a number clunkers, but the good ones came like inspiration and I wondered how the hell did I think of that. Daily writing and a day job ended up conflicting with my time and even some of what I wrote about.

As Orwell wrote:
…I give all this background information because I do not think one can assess a writer’s motives without knowing something of his early development…

They say you can’t step in the same river twice and I plan to make this my platform for more serious writing. Maybe this falls under Orwell’s number one reason why we write: Sheer egoism — for a desire to seem clever, to be talked about, or to be remembered after death.  While I would not object to any of those benefits, I write first for myself. I have long ago given up writing for the masses. So, it’s true for me that ego and remuneration take a backseat to the act of making and the gratification of creation.

I guess that places TonerMishap under Orwell’s second reason: Aesthetic enthusiasm – Perception of beauty in the external world. Or, on the other hand, placing words in the right arrangement.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Hiking in Kauai

Our engineering departments build freeways which destroy a city or a landscape, in the process.  
Arthur Erickson (1924 – 2009), Canadian architect and urban planner

The beauty of Kauai is breathtaking and it's mostly because people cannot reach 90 percent of the island because of state laws and tough terrain. I think that is a wonderful situation.

I plan to write more when I get home, but here are some pictures of the Kalalau Trail. I have many more, but have yet to sort them out.

This is the most vivid rainbow I've ever seen
Photographs by RJW

Friday, November 09, 2012

The Road to Hanalei

"When a man tells you that he got rich through hard work, ask him: 'Whose?'" 
--Don Marquis, philosopher (1878-1937)

Not your typical roadside workers. These guys are hanging around to shore up falling rocks along the road to Hanalei Bay in Kauai November 7, 2012.

Photograph by DKW

Wednesday, November 07, 2012


Hello! It's great to be back. I look forward to posting again. I have to again get up to speed on everything, but over the next few days I will practice on posting a few things. This is where I am currently writing from.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Rumor has it...

Rumor has it that you'll soon be seeing new posts out here on Toner Mishap. No promises -- but it seems probable. Yes, people still come here. Why? Apparently because they're looking for Edward Hopper, Norman Rockwell, and Ice Cube. (One of these things is not like the others?)