Friday, October 28, 2005

Mischief Day

Whatever October 30 is called these days, it isn't going to be like the old days when one threw cabbages or sheared goats, not that that activity took place in my childhood's neighborhood. We were more into the egg-throwing, window-soaping, and merde a la flambe-ing. Not that I condone, these days, the former or the latter. Besides, it's tough finding goats and I've heard that they can put a spell on you. At least that's what my grandmother used to say.

This Sunday is my turn on the dj shift at WVUD. The Sunday show, The Morning After, that a bunch of us do (we all are carbon-dated to the Vinyl & Cassette Age of Music) is eclectic, which means we don't let the Man tell us what to play! Eclectic also means that, along with the weak 1,000 Watt signal the station operates on, the audience is limited to the Sunday Morning sleepers and readers who can't stand watching talking heads on Sunday morning. It's more of a show that keeps us older dj's off the streets on Sunday morning. Crime has dropped noticeably in the 9:00 - 12:00 morning hours thanks to this alternative of spending our time. You can listen to it over the internet here.

I'm still planning out the show. Each of us has their own musical taste and dj-ing style. My musical preferences cover a broad scope. Jazz & blues mainly, with dollops of R & R and music from other countries (sorry, can't stand labelling it World Music). Talking is at a minimum; why waste air time on my voice when I could be playing some tunes! I'm trying to incorporate some music for the day/season, i.e., Mischief Night and Halloween, so if anyone has suggestions, I'd be pleased to receive and consider them. There is always great autumnal music to play, so I may stay in that area. Don't want to rile up the listeners and have them engaging in property damage related activities. It's a sad sight seeing a middle-aged guy in sweats chucking eggs at condos; I'm here to help.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

I Hear a Symphony

From today's NYT Business section, an article by David Pogue discusses the Olive Symphony, put out by Olive. Simply put (all quoted items are directly from Mr. Pogue's article), the Symphony is an "iPod for the home stereo". At $900, that's a pretty hefty iPod, but here are some of the features. It has an 80 gigabyte hard drive, with possibility of storing 20,000 songs (in MP3 format, 2,000 in FLAC format (the lossless format that are "adored by classical music nuts"). A $1,100 model, Musica, has a 160 gigabyte hard drive.

Got tons of cd's that you don't want to be loading into Symphony? No need to take 3 weeks off form work to tackle that transfer problem. Olive's got a deal where you send them your cd's (not sure what the max is. You pay for the delivery to them and back. They'll do the downloading for free onto your Symphony hard drive.

Got records or old cassettes? You can connect your turntable or tape deck to the Symphony and turn the songs into digital tracks. The tough part will be getting rid of those beloved album covers; not sure if you can hook up a scanner to the Symphony and have those images loaded in as well.

You can connect your iPod oryour MP3 player and, since it has Wi-Fi capabilities, it can become part of your home network. In the works is a companion device, called a Sonata, a small, wireless receiver that hooks up to speakers or to a clock radio (say a Bose Wave Radio or a Cambridge Soundworks Radio ) would allow access to your music from any room in the house. There are limitations. If you're 20 rooms away, reception is lousy.

So for those of us with storage problems, here's a solution. Plus, it's easier to wrap your hands around all of your music with the Symphony than it would be around your record and cd collection. Which is good for those of us with possession issues.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Perhaps (only) to Sleep

Eric Gordy, blogging as East Ethnia, has announced that his blog is set for imminent departure. Come November 2005, he’s putting East Ethnia to sleep. His readers are hoping it's not a permanent sleep, just a long nap. He’s off to write a book and we wish him well, not only with the writing and the publishing, but also the selling. In the hierarchy of words assembling together to provide understanding, writing a book certainly still outranks daily intelligent blog postings.
At least for now.
Perhaps some day tenure track positions at colleges will include blog authoring as one of its requisites. I don’t see why not. How better to communicate your own and your college’s philosophy than to offer it up for any and all comers on the Internet? If you were picking your teachers at a college, what better way to get an idea of what they're like than to read their daily musings? Timothy Burke @ Swarthmore, Amardeep Singh @ Lehigh, A Zoology Prof, Paul Z Myers @ U. of Minnesota are all great examples of how a professor can intrigue a student to their college or to their classes. Eric Gordy @ Clark University fits snugly in with these folks.

East Ethnia has been up for less than a year. Mr. Gordy has done a magnificent job of inclusion and of acting as a touchbase for all things Slavic. With his wit and gentle prodding style, it was always a treat visiting his neighborhood. I can’t think of another site out there that would serve as an adequate substitute. His touch was both personal and professional.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Good House Blogging Seal of Approval

From Searchblog's entry where she posted her results from the referenced humor index test. Here with are my results. This 3 dimensional stuff makes me, I think, seem more complicated than I really am.

Care to let us know where you stand (or sit)? Here's the Three Variable Fun Test. Fast and painless.

As far as my results,

The Wit
(76% dark, 23% spontaneous, 10% vulgar)
your humor style:
(Can't explain the math on this. 76% + 23% + 10% = 109% ??? )

You like things edgy, subtle, and smart. I guess that means you're probably an intellectual, but don't take that to mean pretentious. You realize 'dumb' can be witty--after all isn't that the Simpsons' philosophy?--but rudeness for its own sake, 'gross-out' humor and most other things found in a fraternity leave you totally flat.

I guess you just have a more cerebral approach than most. You have the perfect mindset for a joke writer or staff writer.

Your sense of humor takes the most thought to appreciate, but it's also the best, in my opinion.

You probably loved "The Office".

PEOPLE LIKE YOU: Jon Stewart - Woody Allen - Ricky Gervais
(Hmmmm, these are all short guys. A message here?)

My test tracked 3 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:

You scored higher than 97% on darkness (DarkoV, none (too many) darker)
You scored higher than 1% on spontaneity (Guess I'm perpetually on Life's script)
You scored higher than 0% on vulgarity (must be that Sister Ignatious Aloysious still shuttling inside my noggin. "Darko, you are bold as brass and twice as brazen!" (But not foulmouthed))

Friday, October 21, 2005

Something to Say

An acquaintance of ours, a man jam-packed with personality and unique character tics, sprang, it seemed, fully quirky from the brains of his equally off-kilter parents. He regales us with stories of the first order whenever we are blessed with his company. For an apparently weather-related reason, a short bit that he had related to us came back to me the other day.

The story had to do with his parents and with their competitive streaks regarding personal injustices or incidents that were unloaded onto them.

It was a rather stormy night, with thunder shaking the foundation of their house and lightning bolts splitting trees in their expansive backyard. Peering through the curtains of a picture window staring out on the yard, his dad saw the hullabaloo and opted to turn on the tv set to catch the local station’s version of the maelstrom outside. You can guess what happened. Shortly after clicking on the tube, lightning struck and the tube blew up and the plastic casing starting melting and fuming. Excitedly, his dad got up and started searching for his wife, eager to let her know how close he was to getting struck. Ah HA! I’ve got one on her.
Unbeknownst to him, while he was watching an exploding tv, his wife was on a phone, a corded model. A bolt of lightening had also struck the phone, melting the wall mounted receiver and charring the phone cord. As she turned around to see what her ecstatic husband was screaming about, she smiled. Wow, had she a story to tell him!
Our friend’s father, bounding up stairs with the anticipation of a five yr old with a loose tooth, rounded the corner into the kitchen. There, he saw his wife, hair a bit crispy at the ends, cockeyed smile on her face, plastic-burning smell wisping in the room.
“Honey”, she said, “guess what just happened to me?”
He took it all in, and with a disgusted look, turned 180 and slinked back to the plastic pile melting in their living room. Foiled again.

I empathize with him most days. Like John Prine’s character from "Angel from Montgomery', I wonder

"how the hell can a person go to work in the morning
And come home in the evening and have nothing to say."

But, that’s how most days are. Predictably the same. No lightening bolts striking my monitor dead (along with a hoped for fireworks show from the bowels of the monitor). That’s where blogs come in quite handy. "Borrow"ing bits and pieces from here and there, incorporating them (hopefully seamlessly) into my dinner conversation, successfully sashaying through the one-course performance.
"Ah, there’s my dad/husband! Not the same drudge he was before."

As an example, tonight I’ll be using this blogbone that 2Blowhards posted today. Slick magazine covers. Their origin. Their pain. Their raison d'etre. I’ll be either enthralling the family or putting them to sleep face down in the chili. But either way, I’ll have something to say.

Note Bene: You may wonder, "How will he keep this plan going on without his spouse discovering his supper patter is Bidened?" Well, the ever-loving wife visits here once in a blue moon. My (admitted) spelling errors drive her off into the deep. So, this little conversational STP hint will stay between us.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Stooge Device of Choice

In recent blog entries by folks I regularly stalk, a common topic of comments or commentary on blogs came up. Outer Life is wavering between cutting them out or letting the unwashed masses in. Bleak Mouse is is in favor of letting the rabble opine on his blog entries and he's trying to persuade Searchblog to open herself up for comments. Mr. Mouse went so far as to comment on a Searchblog entry on a comment he concocted of his own blog entry. Confusing? Yes, it is dizzying. But it's all well worth it.

But, isn't that what good commenting is? Shouldn't it reflect an understanding of what a blogger is trying to say and then express a take on that topic? Some folks had mentioned on Outer Life's entry that commentary is, well, basically deadwood, dreck. They don't bother reading the comments as they add nothing or, in some cases, actually take away from the blogger's initial entry. There is some truth to that; sometimes commenters miss the boat completely on what the topic discussed was. I know that I have on occassion been at the dock while the ship's cruising out to sea. But, that's where commentary comes in to help you get on board. My mis-interpreting comments have been challenged by other readers of the same blog. Alerted by this, I go back and re-read the entry and see where I may have gone wrong on the path to enlightenment. In most cases when this has happened, the correcting comment was right and I've benefited from it by getting the point of what the original blog entry was about.

Are some comments just plain stupid? Absolutely! I've re-read some of my own comments on other folks' blogs and am thoroughly embarassed. Luckily for me, these other folks have been brought up right and their manners reflect a forgiving and an understanding nature. Comments at this site tend to be limited; most are by fellow bloggers loyal and kind to each other's entries. I truly appreciate each and every one of their additions to my blog. Their commentary tends to make my original entry much more interesting. The entry, rather than sitting on a diner stool, eating by itself, is now in a booth, playfully razzed by other occupants.

Which brings me to Ball Pein (or Pean or Peen) Hammers. Cowtown Pattie was recently discussing NPR Radio and somehow BP Hammers became involved. Always an interesting stopover, is Miss Pattie, and this entry got me to thinking about blog topics and commentary. An interesting entry is obviously a sure-fire way to get people talking. NPR & BP Hammers worked well with CP, getting people, including yours truly, all worked up about various things one can do nothing about but to reminisce.

Borrowing her tool (CP, I will return the hammer as soon as I've finished with it) for a moment, let me pose a question to you, this blog's reader.

If you were a Stooge (but your choices were limited to Curly, Larry, or Shemp), which of the following items would you like to be hit with?
O.K., the deal is, you will be hit with one of these items, you just have to pick the one that most appeals to your sense of decorum and level of acceptable pain.

1) Ball Pein Hammer
2) Radiator
3) Large Mallet
4) Shovel
5) Cookware
6) Cymbals
7) Wet Sock

Personally, I go for the radiator. The old cast iron and inundated style will certainly leave me with wavy hair, a look I've been trying to attain for a while.

This question will probably invite commentary from men, seeking the optimal item to be hit upside the head with. We are given choices; we will pick a choice.
The multi-thought-juggling side of our species will probably not be evaluating the choices as much as evaluating the idea of posing such a dumb question to begin with.
But Womens! Don't you see? The problems of NPR already been discussed. This entry concerns simple matters, simple choices, namely getting hit about the head. Hoepfully this entry will put that topic to rest. Permanently.

What thing you would most like to be grabbed with (ex. would be tongs) will be addressed at a later time. I'm sure you'll need a bit of time to recuperate.

CP, the hammer's all yours now.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Keepin' Up with Word Beats

(Larger version of the illustration available here). Communication with one's kids is key to maintaining one's sanity. So, when a friend introduced us to Slang 1 and then we noticed that Slang 2 flashcards were now also available, we immediately discerned we wouldn't get played by our offspring again. The learning experience was relatively painless, the only hurt involved laughing too hard at some of the flash cards. We now feel quite comfortable strolling through the neighborhood store checkout lines knowing we won't be dissed. Well, maybe we will be dissed, but we'll know we are and we'll register a facial reaction that will the young ones in their place.

In addition, here's another source of words, as pointed out by Silfay Hraka. This Wikipedia entry on the (as of now, but most certainly ever-growing) 123 new words added to the American language by The Simpsons has some words I've yet to hear spoken by non-cartoon characters. Must be a slower learning curve on that vocabulary. D'oh is now listed in the Oxford English Dictionary. Words march on.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

What's in Your Closet?

When I lived in Montreal (IMHO, one of the best cities in the world to live in. Maybe not one of the most beautiful cities to see, but definitely one of the best to live in), the week or so before and after July 1st were the most intense and nerve-rattling days of the year. July 1st was Moving Day. The balance of Canada recognizes this day as Canada Day. Leave it to Quebec to point their nose in a different direction. The majority of rental lease expired on June 30th, so early the next morning, moving vans were out in force, jockeying for parking spaces. Insurance companies dreaded this day as did the police who inevitably went through pads of traffic tickets writing up double and triple parked moving vans, fender-benders, and, uhmmm, intense conversations resulting in shiners and bloody noses. The moving companies were not restricted from jacking up their prices at this time, a fine example of the Supply & Demand principle of economics. Not wanting to break the rules of Supply/Demand, they would promptly triple or even quadruple their regular fees. And then, a week later, take 2-3 weeks off, living phat off the fat.

Memories of those days came back to me as I was driving around our neighborhood. A slew of single women living independently were getting married (independent of each other) and moving out. All, it seemed, on the same day. U-Hauls and private moving contractors were pulled up on sidewalks and on previously well-manicured lawns. It was a beautiful and crisp Fall day. Ramps and planks and jacks were positioned, ready for quick loading. Possessions were strewn about, while the packers were devising the jigsaw plans of how to fit 300 cubic feet of stuff into a 250 cubic foot truck. I slowed down as I drove past each deployment, a voyeur de choses de vie.
"Hmm, they had that color chair in the same room with that color sofa?"
"???, No they wouldn't have matched up those endtables with THAT bed!!"
"They don't manufacture that floor to ceiling aluminum coned light set any more, do they?"
"They could not be using those utensils for their cooking?!"

It was eye-opening and all too revelatory. It was a pornography of possessions. Out buck-naked in public, no strong windowless entrance door barring strangers' eyes, these folks' daily lives were picked apart by myself and other neighbors also driving slowly behind me. We were four-wheeled vultures, totally lacking in charm or graces. Why some of the Moved didn't squirt us with their water hoses or throw their Ikea-ware at us only indicated they were too consumed in their hasty logistics. That or they had class, which we 5-mile-an-hours obviously did not.

I've already planned our move, whenever that is in the distant future.
Middle of the night.
Moon-less sky, preferably a light sprinkling of rain to cut down the number of eyes poking through the neighbor's venetian blinds.
All items boxed or wrapped in paint tarps, revealling perhaps the shape but not the color scheme of things.

I'll be packing a rifle, ready to shoot out any Kleig lights turned on to blaze on our worldly possessions in their intimate state of decay.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Misleading Circumstances

It's come to my attention that the higher traffic drawn to this site was not connected with my postings and the resultant high caliber witty repartee n these postings.

(For clever and witty, go to:
Bleak Mouse
Whisky Prajer
Search Blog )

Rather, folks were image-googling for Iceland and this photo came up. Somehow that photo is connected to my blog site. Apologies go out to Mr. Anders Brownworth, whose photo it is. I've mentioned this photograph before as it's been consistently #1 in Google Image search for "Iceland". So, it's Mr. Brownworth' photographical skills that I've been coat-tailling on.

Rather than leave a bad taste in people's mouth when they arrive here expecting spectacular pix of Iceland (which is a spectacularly beautiful place), I set up some other picture links over there on the right, just below the Croatia Travelogue section. So, if you've come here for Iceland pix, you can at least leave here feeling less duped.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Men of Action

In a town close to where I knead the daily bread, life's doldrums are being perked up by the community's elected officials. Who needs cable when you've got these Men of Action around. When one's mental acuity is questioned, there's nothing more one can do but saddle up that mowing tractor. All that's missing is a hooping and a hollering of "Let's Roll". This latest escapade, allegedly shredding a newspaper and then leafblowing the tattered remains unto an alleged neighbour's property, may yet result in new legislation being passed here in the Small Wonder. Assault and Battery of Printed Matter. Unless, of course, that printed matter was the Smyrna Sun Times, which may be exempt from the "newspaper" classification.

Hiz Honor, da Mayor, has already been and is currently involved in other legal matters. Namely, the legitimacy of his holding the office.

This article noted that "Mayor Schaeffer defeated Mr. Mullen 678-676 after a nail-biting session of counting absentee ballots that allowed the mayor to overcome a 39-vote deficit from the machine ballots."

The (yet another!!) interesting part of this story is that the loser's attorney, Stephanie Hansen, used to be the president of New Castle County Council, a political body her husband, Chris Roberts, sat on as as a Councilman until he lost a re-election bid partially due to some untimely filed tax problems.

In Delaware the Six Degrees of Seperation rule is honed down to Two Degrees and that's what makes reading the Local section of the News-Journal, the unofficial newspaper for the state, so enjoyable. There's a pretty good chance you'll have met one or two of the characers written about each day. Might even read some of the bloggers jumping in on this story. Here's the initial blog that has been stirring, heating, overcooking the pot. Interesting reading. Stark un-edited vitriol of local character. It even made the NYT as part of a blogger's right to post! As Tip O'Neil may have said, had he still been alive, "All blogging is local."

As far as this Mayor-Councilman story is concerned, I'll be reading the paper and hoping for a tv series. Who knows? Perhaps the mayor's surveillance cameras can be hooked up to the local access channel of cable tv. Have your channel and live it too.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Getting Connections

Since 1996, our comfy little cave has been connected to that outside world of Internetia by telephone dial-up. The little engine that could of connectivity. It served us well and our provider was a small and local company that quickly responded to any problems. Heck, you were even able to talk to the prez of the place if it happened to be his shift. He kept his finger on the many pulses of the place; no pre-recorded polite androgynous voice going through a litany of questions before exhausting the reportoire of problems they would deal with, none of which one, of course, I was calling about!
Unfortunately, humans being what we are, we "evolved" into demanding, time-conscious speedoholics. A T1 line at work didn't help either; it was a daily drug promoting home use. Our quaint little provider was unable to provide the necessary hit. So, at least in this area, we were stuck with Comcast or Verizon, cable or DSL. After going through a simple analysis of needs, costs, and hook-up troubles I've heard discussed by well-mannered folks, who descended to obscenity-laced pontificating, we opted for DSL.

Verizon Communications is a portmanteau of the Latin word veritas (meaning truth) and the English word horizon. Which is all fine and dandy when one is in a boardroom in a " Naming and Branding Meditation Garden" discussing the diabolically odious "process of planting ideas in other people's heads". (Not that all copywriters are diabolical or odious or some combination of both).
However, when you are on the other end of the phone with what is supposedly a communications based company, it gets a bit frustrating since you've been on hold trying to communicate. Perhaps it was my mis-understanding of that word, communicate, that was causing this problem. As stated in definition variation #7, to communicate is to "transfer information from one molecule, cell, or organism to another, as by chemical or electrical signals or by behaviors." I was simply one moecule and my signals were probbaly not of the chemical nor the electrical type. That would explain why it took over an hour, on two successive nights, to get through. My signals were alkaline when they should have been acidic.
Yes, the calls were toll-free.
Yes, the respondent was apologetic and patient. Although, does reading a corporate statement of apology connote being apologetic? It's like the drone of "Our Father" in church; is it praying or simply expelling breathy sounds?
Signing up was incredibly easy and minimally time consuming.
It's the hooking up...Well, I won't go into the details. Boring and you've all probably been through similar globs of wasted time. Just a note that I'll be suing Verizon in a few years as the length of time I had the cordless phone pressed to my ear listening to their idiotic suggestions of how I can solve my own problems will have planted the seeds for either brain cancer or dementia. So, Yo Verizon! Have those settlement coffers open and ready to plunge into.

Ok. Ok. I just have to add one more gripe.
Verizon is a communications company. I'm taking a giant leap here and assuming that that means they know how to communicate. Turns out my (non)connection problem had to do with a line problem outside my house, i.e., something on their end of things. They had to come out to check the situation. They needed me to be there since access to their board was in the back of the house, which they could not get to unless someone was at home. Here now the discussion lining up their visit.

Verizon: We can have someone out there on Tuesday.
Me: What time?
Verizon: Between 8:00 and 5:00.
Me: I can't take off the whole day waiting for a techie to fix your problem. Can they call me an hour before?
Verizon: I'll put a note in the workorder, but we can't guarantee they'll call.
Me: O.K.
Verizon: So, that means you'll be there when they're there...
Me: Yes, as soon as they call, I'll be there within an hour.
Verizon: We can't guarantee they'll call.
Me: I can't guarantee I'll be there unless they call.
Verizon: Then, you won't be there?
Me: I guarantee I'll be there if you guarantee your folks will call me prior to arrival.
Verizon: Then, we can't come. Not without your guarantee.
Me: Aren't you in the communications field? Can't you communicate with me?
Verizon:..But we can't guarantee we'll communicate.
Me: I thought you folks were better than Comcast? They said they could guarantee a call...
Verizon: O.K., we'll call.
Me: Guarantee a call?
Verizon: Uhmmm, o.k., guarantee.

We'll see how this all turns out. I already miss my little internet provider. They didn't provide telephone service, but they sure did know how to communicate.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Flickr Test

Click for enlargement Just checking out how this Flickr thing works out. Reign in your judgmental beast, while I'm putzing. Thanks.

Oh, while I'm putzing, I'm sorry to say that I've had to turn on that special stand-up-against-the-wall spread-your-legs arms-high-and-up-over-your-head word verification option on the Comments section, as this site has been hit quite a few times with solicitation spam commentary of the very poorly written type. Hell, if that spam was a bit spiffier, I'd have let them post away. If there's poor writing to be posted at this site, I'll be more than happy to provide my own examples!

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Greetings from Slough

A visitor commented on It's Slough Time:

I live in Slough. Well, it gets worse actually, as I also work in Slough, in an office just outside the Slough Trading Estate (the biggest business park in Europe - doubtless why The Office was based there).

My daily trek from one side of Slough, 2 junctions down the M4 motorway to the office on the other side of Slough is the highlight of my day. I should like to point out however that I do not work in the paper distribution trade. Nor is my name Tim, Gareth or even Dawn.

My boss likes to think of himself as more of a chilled out entertainer than a boss, and will gladly offer me the benefit of his wisdom, regardless of need.

I'm pleased to have found your blog and plan to review it more thoroughly, to see what life there is outside Slough - what a concept!

We here in the blogosphere welcome you Randall of Slough (not sure if you've been knighted yet, so I opted out on "Sir"ing you) and hope for future visits. I will certainly be making my way your way to see what's brewing in Slough.

FCB suggested I catch up with my Slough reading by diving into "Slough", a poem by a Mr. John Betjeman.
The poem starts off with a bang, always the best way, I think, for verse to catch your attention.

"Come friendly bombs and rain on Slough,
It isn't fit for people now..."

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Sifting through Memory’s Muck to see what Floats

I’ve been memed by Cowtown Pattie on the 30th of September. Finally got this together after separating the truth from the “almost the truth” and the fiction from the phantasmagorical. Damn, she even made me dust off a calculator for one question!

10 Years Ago:
My dad had died. Compass had to be re-set.

5 Years Ago:
I was not hip-deep in college loans. FAFSA was just a bunch of letters mumbled together.

1 Year Ago:
Geez! That year was just....

…Driving back home, the mundane was intruded upon by a series of plastic coolers strewn on the highway by some beach-departing fool. Zigging and zagging on a weekday! A change from cruise control.

5 Snacks I Enjoy:
Crusty French or Italian bread with butter thinly spread topped with a dripping layer of farm-bought honey.
Wheat Farina. The slow-cook kind.
Little Debbie’s Oatmeal Cream Pies.
Grated McIntosh Apples with cinnamon and sugar.
Philadelphia Pretzel, with the little salt balls stuck to them.

5 Songs I Know All the Words To:
”Cotton Fields” (traditional) as performed by CCR (I include the “durn-durn-durn” of John Fogerty’s guitar-playing in my rendition. Even cats lift their heads when I “perform”)
“Thanks for the Memories”, (Robin & Rainger) as performed by Sarah Vaughn (she inserts her own lyrics in addition to the original ones) I don’t try to imitate the Sassy One’s voice a la David Sedaris’ imitation of Billie Holliday’s.
“This Must be the Place (Naïve Melody), Talking Heads
“Love & Happiness”, Al Green
“Dixie Chicken”, Little Feat, when Lowell George was still with us.

5 Things I’d Do with 100 Million Dollars:
(CP! Had to blow the dust off of my TI for this one.)
Well, $35M goes right off the top to the Feds, which they’ll probably go through completely in unsuccessfully prying T. DeLay out of Congress.
$15M to the ever-loving wife so that she can start up a Montessori School on her own terms and in her own vision.
$10M to carefully picked charities. Heifer International. Doctors without Borders. Amnesty Int’l. Habitat for Humanity. The Nature Conservancy.
$1M for kid’s college fund. Yeah, I know that seems like a lot, but this would allow them to REALLY stay in college for a few extra years.
$10M for land and a house near Baska, Krk. Extravagent, yes. But sheep and goats are expensive these days and I don't want to be mowing anything so they're well worth it.
$18M in combo of cd’s (the non-music kind) and mutual funds averaging a 10% earnings rate, allowing the fam to enjoy the rest of our lives in self-defined versions of productive work & pleasure.
$10M in a play-money pool. What the hell??! Open up a little kafica in the Land of the Croats so that I can be guaranteed a small table with 4 chairs under a red umbrella, right by the water. I get to make the cafe playlist, to the resulting consternation or pleasure of the customers.
The balance of the money? Remember that W.C. Fields movie where he inherits/wins a ton of money? Forgot the name, sorry. Anyway, the first thing he spends the money on is a fleet of automobiles. Non-descript black basic automobiles. He hires drivers for all of the cars, save one. He gets into that car and has all of the other cars get in line behind him. They drive around town. If he passes a driver who he thinks is driving atrociously, Fields immediately drives him off the road, crashing both his and the offending driver’s car. Fields then gets out of his car, whistles to the driver of the first car lined up behind him. The driver arrives, gets out of the car, and Fields gets in and repeats the same steps until he’s run out of the cars he’s bought. I may even smoke a cigar whilst driving around.

5 Places I’d Run Away To:
(Random order)
(Island of ) Krk
St John’s (US Virgin Islands)

5 Things I’d Never Wear:
I’m with CP, thong underwear. (I mean I’m with CP to NOT wear thongs)
Rugs of the hair sort
Aviator sunglasses..because I’m not an aviator and I’d never be able to look like one
Barry Manilow/Billy Joel/Dan Fogelberg t-shirt

5 Favorite TV Shows:
Little Rascals
Law & Order (First 3 seasons)
Daily Show
Bugs Bunny/Daffy Duck ‘toons
Gilmore Girls (Yeah, I’ll admit it. I’m a sucker for intelligent women talking at light speed with multiple references to movies, books, and esoterica…although this season is not shaping up well with the clever banter!)

5 Biggest Joys:
Caution!!! Sap’s a risin’!
The Wife.
The kids. Each is a unique joy, an occasional pain in the heart, and a daily indication that I (and The Wife) could make something so terrific.
Listening to that next new cd, having minimal pre-listening exposure and having gotten it based on a valued recommendation.
Running through all five senses when opening a new book. Smell of the pages as you turn. Crack of the binder when you open the book. Touch of the pages, especially when you forked over for the hardbound edition. Taking in the cover and back page photos, trying to tie them in with the words you’re reading. Taste? Well, I’ll leave that sense you your own imagination.

5 Favorite Toys:
CD-player in house.
CD-player in car.
Racks & Racks of books sticking their tongues out at me because they know I’d have to live to be 150 to read them all.
The OED.
Pocket Buck knife.

3 Fine Folks Who Can Now Consider Themselves Tagged:
My apologies and my congratulations.
Whisky Prajer
Delawhere (This’ll give him a topic to write about)
ChazzyG (Not as if you're not too busy...)

FCB over at Xenosphere also got tagged. Now this is an interesting read.

Damned if you do. Damned if you do.

Do you pick away at your own? Or. Do you brush your fingers through someone else's fur in search of grist for your blog mill? You're potentially booed for either, unless you can carry it off with elan. So, in no particular order, a list of blogs where nit-picking (of oneself or other miscreants) and elan successfully combine:
Whisky Prajer
Unkempt Women
Glory of Carnolia
Outer Life
Bleak Mouse
Texas Trifles
Lileks' Bleats
Sluggo Needs a Nap

Who woulda thunk Nit-Picking could be an art form?

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

It's Slough Time!

Checking the visitors to this fine display of time wasted, I noticed a certain (unknown)individual from Slough, England. For those fans of the original British"The Office", having someone from Slough deign to visit your humble web chateau is a day of exhortation and loud banging of cans. How can one not imagine that the person on the reading end of things is no one other than the "decent but long-suffering everyman Tim, whose ambition and imagination have been crushed out of him by the banality of the life he dreams uselessly of escaping."?
And if not Tim, then perehaps it was David Brent, who is " appalling as only reality can be"?
I'm not sure how to take in this visitation. Is this fine person of Slough so bored with his/her job/life/place in the material world that this was the only place left for them to come to?
Was an instant pick-up needed by this person to recover their wits from the (seemingly) slow hand ground pace of life's ambitions in Slough.

My apologies to this reader, if they happen to stop by again. I'm sure Slough is just as nice, if not nicer, than Scranton, PA, the site of the American version of "The Office".

'Nuff Said

Look. Look. See. See.

Clicking to here will start you off on this entry. Since it's not my Flickr site, I couldn't post the actual picture here. Sorry. Some days the best (and easiest) thing to note about is the accomplishments of another. Trolling through Croatia Flickr every few days always nets a few beauties. Ones you can keep on the hard drive; don't have to throw them back. Today, from the Flickerite with the nom de pixel of USU, comes this place to visit. Her sets are worth checking out. Quite the skill of the eye and of the mind; her photos all have a huour about them. This set is just one example of 17 sets she has available. Someone to keep an eye on.

The Place to Be

A link pointed out by a blogger I religiously read, Mr. Michael Manske at today's Glory of Carnolia was to the Real Post Reports site. Allegedly (and I'm quoting Mike here), the entries are written (for the most part) by people assigned to U.S. embassies around the world. The catch: They're written anonymously, so everyone is free to write what they really think about the place they're working in."

When I checked out the spiel on Zagreb, my birthplace, from Real Post Reports the following blurb jumped out:

"Zagreb is a great location for traveling to other cities. It is 5 hours. from Vienna or Venice, and 4 hours. from Budapest, and other locations in Eastern Europe. There is a nice movie theater at the Kaptol center, and a nice water park in Slovenia, only 45 minutes away.
Sounds like a tempting place to visit, no? Well,that is, if your visit consists of sleeping in Zagreb and then being awake in cities and places within a 5 hour radius of Zagreb. It's the place to be...if you really want to be at a lot of other places. I had never viewed the city in that way. It is the largest city in Croatia (please, no "size" jokes about either). It was the center of my world for a long time and a place I'd always thought of as a destination or a point of arrival, not as a place of temporary decampment. During one of the recent Winter Olympics, Bob Costas, in gushing about an Olympic skiing medal won by Janica Kostelic, said something to the effect of how "teeny, tiny Croatia has won another Olympic medal". Teeny is bad. Tiny added to it? That's just rubbing in the inconsequence of a country's existence. At the time of his comment, I'd actually thought it better that no medal was won. For the duration of those Olympics those three words, "teeny", "tiny", and "Croatia" became inseperable. Listeners, most probably unsure of its existence or location, probably thought it was the official name of the country. Republic of China (ROC). United States of America (USA). Teeny Tiny Croatia (TTC).
So, now, years after the TTC thing, it seeems that Zagreb has suffered the same awful fate of insignificance.

Now I'm living in the largest city in Delaware (again, please, no "size" jokes about either; easy pickings, those). Being relatively close to Philadelphia (30 minutes), New York (2 hours), Baltimore (1 hour), Washington DC (1.5 hours), and Boston (5 hours) makes it the Zagreb of the East Coast. For a while, the city's motto, displayed on rustic burnt engraved wooden signs at various points of entry was Wilmington, The Place to be Somebody. Which was a bit better than the previous Home of Tax-Free Shopping. The only problem is that most somebodies spent their time travelling to other cities, not spending their waking hours here. What were the chances of moving over 2,700 miles from my place of birth and ending up in such a similar geographical condition? Close to there, but not...there.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Pass it On

Just second ayeing Cowtown Pattie's have-a-look-see at Searchblog's entry. And while I'm seconding things, I most definitely want you to go to Bleak Mouse's reaction. The writing in both of these extra-fine blogs is always at a high standard. The duet the two seem to be singing lately, however, is sublime. The writing is bare and, at times, painful. I found myself hesitating through the reading of Bleak Mouse's take quite a few times; the combination of raw nerves and wonderfully crafted passages makes for a roller-coaster of a reading experience.

Searchblog is always a joy (if that word can be used in reference to depression) to visit. She described Bleak Mouse's take as getting to "the perverse nature of this depressive yin and yang". I'd describe her entries the same way, although I do feel queasy at times after visiting her site. She's coping with a serious malady and I leave (occasionally) laughing loudly. I will definitely have friends and family members read her recent entry that includes info on The Three Stooges. "See", I'll say, "Moe, Larry, and even Curly were more than hammer-to-the-head banging cretins. They were sublime and devious in subliminal punning!" Thanks for the Nyuk, Nyuk (do "Nyuk"'s ever occur singularly in Nature?), Ms. Searchblog.

Between the two of them, I'm sure the Black Dog will smile, even if only temporarily.

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