Friday, December 29, 2006

Well It's True That In My Manners....

....there's been something of a laps....

PS. I started the New Year with one of these, so it is only fitting I close with one too!

PPS. The blog will get a major upgrade within the next few days. Stay tuned!

Ewdards For Prez - Round Two.

I still think the Democratic primary nomination is Gore's, if he decides to have another crack at it. What I think is interesting about John Edwards digging his way into the race is not the man himself, but the mindset of people who are latching on to his candidacy and functioning as his campaign cheerleaders. I drive around a lot which affords me the luxury of channel surfing the radio. I sometimes listen to Air America to get a glimpse of the left perspective. The far left contingent, Randi Rhoads, Rachiel Maddows (*sp*) are enamored with him, and have been talking up his candidacy for months. What I don't get is why, to them, Edwards is so much better a candidate than Obama Barrack. Lets compare.

Edwards is young-ish, but Obama is the genuine article as far as youth goes. They are both one-term senators, but unlike Edwards, who wasn't polling well in his district and didn't seek a second term, and lost big in his party's presidential primaries, Obama is a politician on the rise who seems poised to be a multi-term senator if he chooses. Though his national political career is short, Edwards, through his attachment to Kerry, already comes off as part of the establishment, while Obama is indeed a fresh face. They both hold law degrees, but, unlike Edwards, Obama doesn't champion himself as a lawyer. I know that at least 2/3 of the ex-Presidents had been lawyers, but few of them, to the best of my knowledge, had used their lawyer status as a selling point. (Jeffeson came to hate the practice during his career as one). You know the old saying - everyone hates lawyers... until they need one! My question is this: How is Edwards going to make the case that we need one as President?

PS. Though it has much lower ratings, and they often come off as complete loons, I find Pacifica Radio broadcasts to be much more interesting and compelling radio fare than most of the Air Americas lineup, which comes across as nothing but bitter partisans who copy and employ the worst techniques commonly used by Rush to envoke emotional responses.

PPS. At first glance I thought the shirt read "Edwards is God" and immediately I wondered if Eric Clapton would sue.

Pseudo Hat Tip: Althouse, who lately seems to be taking up quite a bit of my time.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

If You Can Say It - You're A better Man Than I!


It's the term for people who fear the number 666.

Question: What is the term for people who invent words that are unpronounceable?

Hat Tip: BBC News via Slashdot.

Duke Rape Charges Dropped!

But he is still going to try and get the students for kidnapping and sexual offense charges. From the MSNBC article:

“It’s highly coincidental,” said defense attorney Joseph Cheshire, that the charges are being dropped a week after the director of a private DNA testing lab acknowledged that he initially, with Nifong’s knowledge, withheld from the defense test results showing none of the players’ DNA was found on or in the accuser’s body.

This prosecutor, having changed his story more times than the accuser, now has less credibility than she does in the case. How can this case still be judicated, how can he still be working as a prosecutor after this.

UPDATE!!! Well, that didn't take long. The North Carolina Bar has been looking into this since April. Good for them.

PS. Yes this was posted a week or so ago, but if I update it but don't move it up, no one will see the update. It's my blog and I can do what I want here.

God Help Me!!!

(Link Is Probably NSFW) I am horrifiied that I feel compelled to see THIS MOVIE!!!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

My Dad and the Red Guitar

Anyone who knows my family knows how much music has been intertwined into our little corner of the social quilt. Back in the ancient period classified as the 1970's BCD (Before Compact Disks), the siblings and I would sit around the table listening to our favorite LP's, singing and harmonize along with our favorite artists: Simon and Garfunkel, The Kingston Trio, Chad Mitchell Trio, Peter Paul and Mary, and The Eagles, just to name a few. Debbie sang in the Cal Poly San Luis Obisbo choir. Brenda, Jeff, and, later, Rob learned to play guitar. Mary Beth and I were in grade school and high school band together, MB playing trombone and clarinet, and I played baritone horn (we both quit because we hated the high school band teacher; we thought he wasn't very good at his job - hey, we were 16'ish and knew everything). Jeff, Rob and I are, or have been, in various bands for the last twenty years or so. So many memories of Mom learning to play piano. Debbie, Brenda, and Jeff still play the beast. Even I have tickled the keys at one time or another.

And then there is Dad. I would love to say that Dad was an orchestra conductor or a trombone player, or played the sax in a rock or swing band, but as far as I know, he didn't. There is only one musical instrument that comes to mind when I think of my father - a red, hollow body, electric guitar. I don't know what brand it was or if it was a collectors item; for all I know, it was an ordinary guitar. And I don't remember ever seeing him play the thing, and don't know if he ever did or could. It is not the playing of the instrument that brings it to mind, but more the departure of the thing that makes it so special. He sold it at the neighbors garage sale in or around 1973. I haven't a clue how much money he got for it or what it was actually worth, I just remember that it was a pretty red guitar.

So why is that red guitar so important? I'll explain.

Dad loved music too. He loved those groups we used to sing to, and when we would sing to those records, dad was there singing along, or more often just listening to the voices of his children. He would sing songs to us at bedtime when we were little kids. One favorite was "The Fox", another was a pirate shanty called "The Keeper of the Eddiestone Light". Dad was always curious about or bands, and was proud of his musician sons and daughters. But he never played. He never had time, what with raising six kids and all. I didn't think much about the guitar at the time, but later it became a symbol of sacrifice, a concept you only really understand when you become an adult. I never asked him about the guitar or why he sold it, but it came to represent the choices we make in life, to give up one thing for something more important - family.

One the day of his passing, during the last fading hours of his life, Debbie, Mary Beth and I sat in Dad's hospice room for some time, singing and harmonizing to songs from the first two Simon and Garfunkel albums. MB and I even included made up and joke lyrics - "fools said I you do not know, silence like a casserole (instead of cancer grows)", "and words, like silent raindrops fell, GO TO HELL". We laughed and cried. Dad was at that point a shell. Anyone who has been through the death watch of a loved one knows this final state; where most of the organs have stopped working, but the clock that controls the breathing reflex and the heart has not quite wound down. The man we knew as our father was already gone. But if some part of him was still there in those last moments of the man, Dad would have been thoroughly amused.

I love you Dad.

PS. In the song "Eddiestone Light", there is a lyric about the mother sitting on a buoy. Well, when we were kids, we didn't know there was a floaty thing called a buoy, so we could never understand why the mother would sit on a boy. Poor kid! He'll drown!! What a horrible woman!!!

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas

Just want to wish all y'all a Merry Christmas. I feel a feverish post coming, but I have to go to the pseudo-inlaws soon and don't have time to write. Talk soon.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006


Ha!!!! I beat you Bill Gates. I DARE, no, DOUBLE DARE you to sue me... oh crap! They have a patent on that "two"?!?!?!?

Hat Tip: The Onion via Madison Man via Althouse.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

My Father

It just dawned on me on an emotional level - my dad, before he slid into his final decline, asked if Greg, my partner, was coming to visit. My Dad accepted Greg as part of the family and wanted to see him before he passed away. Yes. I am crying. I love you dad.

Friday, December 08, 2006

My Dad -- The Teacher Toy

Read the post titled "In Memeory Of..." before reading this.

OK. Proceed!

I don't recall the exact year, but in the early 70's dad built a device that could have replaced the "Speak and Spell". About the size of a bread box, the "Teacher Toy" was made from a gutted reel-to-reel tape recorder. You would put a flash card in the slot on top of the box, push a button, and the card would move from left to right. The flash card was a standard index card that had a drawing of an object on one side and a strip of magnetic tape on the bottom of the other. As the card moved across the slot via a set of pulleys, the name and spelling of the pictured object would be read aloud from the speaker within the box. The one card I remember was a drawing of a trout. Because the "Teacher Toy" used flash cards, you could have an infinite number of objects to display and spell, unlike the "Speak and Spell", which is limited to the 12 items pre-programmed in the box. It may sound antiquated by today's technological standards, but for us the "Teacher Toy" was just short of magic.

My dad was Mr. Fix-It, and tinkered with all manner of devices, from radios and TV's, to just about every single car we ever owned. I'm not sure if I can call my dad an inventor, since the "Teacher Toy" is the only thing I can recall that he built from scratch, but since I am the 5th child of six, he may have built other things I'm not aware of. What I am sure of is that I inherited his talent for fixing stuff. That will be the topic of the next "My Dad" post.

PS. The picture of the trout was drawn by Dad. Did I forget to mention Dad was pretty talented with a pencil and drawing pad, a talent I definitely DID NOT inherit.

In memory of Bobby Lyle Alexander.

Born Sept. 8, 1930. Died Nov. 28, 2006.

Who was my dad?

It is a question I can't answer, because, well, I was not him. Who can really say who anyone is, since we all have thoughts and hopes and dreams that are never revealed to anyone else. Even the scribblings in a diarey don't scratch the surface of the question. How do you quantify the measure of "who we are", or in this case, "who he was"? When I sat down to write this post, my first impulse was to uligize him by saying something along the lines of "My father was a loving husband to his wife of 48 years, and a wonderful dad to his six children. He was an intelligent, quiet man. He was an electrical engineer, and worked as a computer programmer for IBM in the 60's, and later, during its construction, worked on the computer programing for the "Air Trans" shuttle system at Dallas Ft Worth Airport. Blah. Blah. Blah. This is just information; dry facts revealing no flavor of the man who was my father. I think the best way for me to describe his impact on my life is to post some of my fondest memories of him, and describe the ways he helped shape my life.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

No Title Seems To Fit

My dad passed away last Tuesday. Succumbed to emphysema. My heart is heavy, but I, and the family, are relieved at the same time. His quality of life had been horrible for the last few years, but especially the last one. He knew he would not make it through the holidays and said as much. I got to Washington with time enough to tell him I loved him through a window of consciousness, but also watch the man who was my father suffer through greater pain than I can possibly fathom as his system slowly shut down.

I am composing a post to honor him, but will not have time to finish. Greg and I are heading to San Luis Obisbo this afternoon for his company Christmas party, and since I just got home from Washington last night, there are lots of things to catch up on. Bills, etc.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Stuffing And Stuff...

First off, Happy T-Day!

I have sub'd three classes now. I am starting to feel a little less lost in the strange environment that is a class full of yahoo's. While I am taking steps to finalize the career change from pool guy to teacher, other things are moving along that make it hard to write about it.

My dad has been battling emphysema for many years now, and the disease is starting to progress faster than it has in the past. Dad smoked heavily until about 1992, when the Docs told him he had emphysema and wouldn't last another year if he didn't stop smoking. Emphysema, usually caused by smoking, is a degenerative condition caused by damage to the lung tissue that allows both absorption of oxygen and release of CO2 into and out of the blood stream. As of this morning, he is in the hospital in Seattle. I don't want to say he is battling for his life, but he is having a hard time breathing, even with the oxygen mask. He may have had a heart attack but they just can't tell yet exactly what is going on. Mom said he has a 50 / 50 chance of making it, but since the docs are not sure exactly what is going on, that prediction of odds on survival seem premature. But I may be flying up to Seattle on very short notice. So if you don't see any blog posts for a while, you'll know why.

Did I mention he also has diabetes?

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Dogs and Cats...

It's not just about living together anymore. At the gym, I overheard a couple of Republicans talking about this latest development in the erosion of social norms:

"We warned everyone this would happen if we didn't pass the FMA!"

Just kidding. That never happened. But still, thank God the Republicans are no longer in power. They certainly would have tried to amend the Constitution to prevent this sort of thing.

Hat Tip: Drudge

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Best Political Comment Of The Day... that I know of.

Dean Barnett at Hugh Hewitt, commenting on the "wisdom" of selecting former Republican senate majority leader Trent Lott as minority whip:

"Is it just me, or is it becoming increasingly apparent that the Republicans and Democrats are determined to engage in a two year dumb-off? If it weren’t for the fact that there are some very determined lunatics out there trying to kill us, this would be funny."

Hat Tip: Insta-P

I Am A Norwegian No Longer.... err, I mean virgin...

Well, today I taught my first class as a substitute. Subbing is harder than you would think. It was an 8th grade computer science class. The day went well enough - no one died or got sent to the office, and I didn't get flustered or freak when things didn't go smoothly, like when I lost the definitions web page I was using during the vocabulary exercise. The students didn't throw spit balls at me or anything. But, more than once, I felt very much out of my element. I definitely felt the pressure and uncertainty one feels when trying something really important for the first time, hoping they didn't screw anything up. I'm not ready to write about it yet as I'm still analyzing the experience, trying to figure out what I did right and what I need to improve on. I'm not freaked out over the experience too much, but I know I was very, very green. When I'm done absorbing the experience, I'll tell you all about the experience of the first time subbing job. But right now, I'd rather go have a beer, watch some tube, and relax for a spell. I must say, it was quite an experience.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Best Political Jabs... EVER!!!!

From an informal Christopher Hitchens interview on election night. On the prospect of George Allen losing his race in Virginia:

"I... think it would be very nice for Mr. Allen in Virginia to lose. He needs to relax and find something else to do in his life."

But the best line about the electorate, said without cracking a hint of smile, in the classic dry, droll, English, self evident manner:

"By all means, stupid people should be represented, but not by stupid people."

Hat Tip: Insta-P
WE WON!!!!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Observation Of The Day!

Pigeons are smart enough to play in the street without getting hit by cars. Can't say that of a human.

A comment by Adam Fastman (Somerville, Massachusetts) from This Article about the long term memory capabilities of birds.

Now I wonder if pigions would fair better than humans when designing electronic voting machines.

PS. What, did you really think I couldn't tie a story about bird brains to todays elections?

Friday, November 03, 2006

Pandora's Box...

... blasted opened with nuclear ambitions. It probably, no, certainly would have happened sooner or later. I've been arguing this inevitability for quite some time, the last two years at least, with the specter of N. Korea or Iran developing the capabilities. There is no way to stop it (and no Mr. Hewitt, nuking either country won't stop it, that would just make other countries feel more compelled to acquire it). But it would be very hard to argue our involvement in Iraq did not accelerate the process. Thank you very little, theocons.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Fill In The Blank

I was thinking about Kerry's statement and wondered where it could be more appropriate.

"You know, education, if you make the most of it, if you study hard and you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, you, you can do well. If you don’t, you get stuck _____________________."

The response jumped out at me like a cornered mouse; judging from the amount of drop-outs that work in the industry --- " Hollywood".

"...doing govenrment work".

"...being a Senator".

"...being the President".

"...working as a pool guy". (Ha Ha)

Any one else want to play?

Kerry On.

"You know, education, if you make the most of it, if you study hard and you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, you, you can do well. If you don’t, you get stuck in Iraq."

Go ahead. Just keep chewing on that elitist foot. Must be tasty. It's in his mouth so often. How can a politician be so tone deaf? Isn't this the same guy who showed up for a enviro-rally bashing SUV / gas guzzler owners, but during the same campaign shows up in Detroit to campaign and says he owns and drives a Dodge 600 and recently bought a Chrysler 300M and a Chevrolet SUV. Oh, but he doesn't own the SUV, his wife does. "The family has it. I don't have it". So I guess that makes that little bit of hypocrisy OK? Then there was the U.S. soldiers were in Iraq "terrorizing kids and children" comment he made earlier this year. Kerry is no smooth operator.

So maybe Kerry did mangle a joke. I've certainly butchered pretty much every joke I"ve ever tried to tell, so I'll take Kerry at his word. None the less, did he not hear how that sentence came out? It would have been very easy to recover by adding "Mr. Bush did not do his homework!". The right wing spin machine would still have had a field day, as they would have chopped up the audio to exclude the Bush reference, just as they chopped the audio on the Michael J Fox commercial to make it sound like Fox was saying Jim Talent is against all stem cell research (Hannity's lie). But these type of media manipulations are easy to refute. But Kerry now has his own verbal equivalent of a hanging chad. His intent simply was not clear or concise. Like it or not, regardless of what he intended, it sounded like he was talking about the troops.

As sad as Kerry's remarks were, I'm just as troubled by the response from the audience. They cheered. It appears many Democrat supporters still cling to the stereotype that the men and women who enlist in the military do so because, well, they're not smart enough to do anything else.

PS. I forgot that Kerry is one of those who got us "stuck" in Iraq since he voted for the war. I guess he didn't do his homework either.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The Truth Can Be Such A Tricky Thing

I'm not going to address his comments concerning Michael J Fox, as Mr. Fox is more than capable to defend himself, and Rush Limbaugh has apologized for the comments. I'll concentrate instead on the substance within the comments. Here's what Rush said about the Illinois Constitutional Amendment 2:

"All stem cell research is legal today in Missouri. Jim Talent does not seek to criminalize it, as Michael J. Fox asserts in his television commercial. The truth is that Amendment 2 would put human cloning in the Missouri Constitution. Michael J. Fox is participating in this disinformation campaign."

What the Illinois Amendment 2 says:

2006 Ballot Measure
Constitutional Amendment 2
Stem Cell Initiative

Submitted October 11, 2005

NOTICE: You are advised that the proposed constitutional amendment may change, repeal, or modify by implication or may be construed by some persons to change, repeal or modify by implication, the following provisions of the Constitution of Missouri – Sections 2, 10, 14, and 32 of Article I; Section 1 of Article II; Sections 1, 21, 22, 23, 28, 36, 39, 40, 41, and 42 of Article III; Sections 1, 14, 36(a), 37, 37(a), 39, and 52 of Article IV; Sections 5, 14, 17, 18, and 23, and subsection 17 of Section 27 of Article V; Sections 18(b), 18(c), 18(d), 18(k), 18(m), 19(a), 20, 31, 32(a), and 32(b) of Article VI; Section 9(a) of Article IX; Sections 1, 6, 11(a), 11(d), and 11(f) of Article X; and Section 3 or Article XI.

Be it resolved by the people of the state of Missouri that the Constitution be amended:

One new section is adopted by adding one new section to be known as section 38(d) of Article III to read as follows:

Section 38(d). 1. This section shall be known as the “ Missouri Stem Cell Research and Cures Initiative.”

2. To ensure that Missouri patients have access to stem cell therapies and cures, that Missouri researchers can conduct stem cell research in the state, and that all such research is conducted safely and ethically, any stem cell research permitted under federal law may be conducted in Missouri, and any stem cell therapies and cures permitted under federal law may be provided to patients in Missouri, subject to the requirements of federal law and only the following additional limitations and requirements:

(1) No person may clone or attempt to clone a human being.

OK. Rush is not lying in that statement, he's just horrifically misleading. The amendment DOES put cloning in the constitution... by BANNING IT!

PS. He's on right now, and he JUST NOW flat out lied. He just said that the amendment does not deal with stem cell research at all, that it is an attempt to legalize cloning.

Again from the bill: 2.(1) No person may clone or attempt to clone a human being.

PPS. I just realized why Rush is so upset over this amendment. He has no offspring to carry on his legacy. The amendment bans cloning. If this trend catches on, there will be no way for Rush to continue running his empire forever, and his brand of conservatism will die with him.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Pornography in the News... Literaly !!!

From an article running on the MSNBC news site: Federal prosecutors and the FBI in Connecticut are investigating whether a high-ranking staff member at one of the country's most venerable Anglican churches possessed child pornography, sources tell NBC News.

Isn't it funny that the very people who were sooo up in arms about the evils of pornograghy, religious conservatives / republicans, and passed all these stiff laws against it, are the ones who keep getting caught?

So you gotta let me know, da da,da. Da Da Da, Should I stay or should I go....

... or "What's it all about, Alfie???"

My blog cohort and friend Citizen Deux is questioning his place in the blog world, and whether he still has the drive to continue on the adventure that is blogging. What are my thoughts on the subject of blog retirement?

When playing in a band becomes more chore and less fun, I will put the bass in a closet, take a sabatical, and walk away from playing music for a while. I must admit I have thought about doing the same thing for my blog too. Some times it feels like a big waste of time. But then I think, how much time does it really take out of my day to write a post; I mean the thing that eats my spare time is visiting everyone elses blogs. So if I cut back on anything, it will be surfing through all the other sites.

I could take a few weeks off from blogging - a self imposed exile. For various reasons I have gone that long between posts on a few of occations. But in the end I couldn't quit. Hell, I'ld probably end up posting more during my exile than I do now. Anyway. I have a feeling we will all have alot to blather about with the elctions two weeks away.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Updates On Stuff....

The Car is working good. No more overheating on Grapevines, no more taching 4000 RPM's at 70 mph, and no more getting a sucky 19 MPG. The crappy 3 speed automatic tranny is now sitting on my garage floor. It's lighter by 100 lbs at least, and is getting about 24 on the highway. It handles better with the Full Time 4 Wheel Drive tranny delivering power to all 4's. The acceleration is still a bit choppy at times and there's a slight knock in cylinder # 3. I may have done some damage to one of the main bearings the last time it overheated. Even so, it's quite a fun car to drive. Very perky and nimble. Can't waite to get 'er in the snow. And if the engine problems get bad, well, I'll just throw a new one in it and that will be that. Did I mention I can't waite for the snow?

The Career change is on track, if going slower than I'ld like. I'm waiting for Fresno Unified to start calling. I bought some nice slacks this weekend, so clothing wise, I am be ready to be My Sub!

Politics??? I re-registered to vote, left the sad excuse of the Republican party, and am once again a card carrying Libertarian. All I need now is the card to come in the mail.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Truer Words.......

Lets all sing the Doom Song!

David Bernstein, one of the cool lawyer bloggers at The Volokh Conspiracy, offers his thoughts on the impending expiration of the Republican majority:

Looking Forward to a Republican Defeat?:

I don't blog about partisan politics that much, mostly because it doesn't interest me that much. I must say, however, that I'm not sorry the Republicans are poised to lose the House to the Democrats. The Republicans came in under a reformist platform in '94, and gradually lost their zeal for anything but reelection. By now, I can't think of a better advertisement for term limits than the Republican majority in the House, and I don't think I'll ever forgive Anthony Kennedy for his vote in U.S. Term Limits v. Thornton (declaring state-imposed term limits for federal office-holders unconstitutional), which was not only completely wrong on the merits, but allowed the culture of corruption (K Street, earmarks, etc.) and reelection-at-all-costs to transfer itself so quickly from the Democratic majority to the Republican majority, except that, by all indications, it has gotten worse. Twelve years of Republican control of the presidency from 1981 to 1993 led to a generation of lazy Republican sycophants who were more concerned about keeping their sinecures than in achieving any principled goals they had once believed in. The shock of defeat in '92 led directly to the Gingrich revolution, undone unfortunately because Gingrich was a much better revolutionary than leader (I still can't believe how he whined to the press about the seating arrangements on the airplane on the way back from Rabin's funeral, and I've never understood how he let Clinton get away with accusing the Republicans of "shutting down the government" when the Republicans actually passed a budget that Clinton vetoed!) Defeat for the Republicans in 2006 is even more richly deserved than in '92, and hopefully, if it does come, it will lead to a the emergence of a Repbulican presidential candidate in '08 and Congressional leaders who will restore some of the reformist fervor of the early Reagan and Gingrich years.

UPDATE: I should mention that I'm very disappointed that the Democrats haven't taken the opportunity to even remotely hint that they'll behave any better than the Republicans.

When did the Republicans jump the shark? For me it was the flap over veggi-girl. Citizen Deux is bieng coy about his feelings, or maybe he never saw the fin leave the water. For Scoot, I suppose it was when they were elected into office.

"Doom Song" courtesy of Invader Zim.

PS. Do know that I am not making fun of Terri Schiavo, MSRIP.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Friday, October 13, 2006

Album Cover Wars Pt 1.

It has begun...

Note: This cover isn't involved in the skirmish, but it should be.

Hat Tip: Althouse.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Cliffie ...

HERE is one of the songs you wanted. I'll get the other song for you tomorrow.

PS. For those not in the know, Cliffie is my guitarist in RareForm. We have a couple of gigs coming up and there are a few songs we need to learn. This is one of them. HERE are a couple of songs from RareForm.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

New Blogtopus Entry!

Welcome all to the site of Bryan and Sarah!

B is the original, and best, drummer for Chris Plays Guitar. I love working with him because he has an inherent feel for the groove, a steadyness, that so many drummers these days seem to lack. Sure it's geat to have fancy chops and be able to show off a bit, but if you don't or can't stay in the groove for the entire song after throwing down some nasty hi-hat work, then what's the point. B understands the "Pocket"! Sarah, B's wonderful wife, is a hoot, smart; she is tons of fun to be around.

Anyways, thanks to the Zera's for being good people.

PS. The Chris Plays Guitar link is fixed. So go visit, and enjoy the music.

Monday, October 02, 2006

How To Rebuild a Car! UPDATE 2.0

I'll tell you when I'm done.

I will be in grease monkey mode for the day. Today I am replacing the head gaskets in Murphy, the $500 87 Subaru Turbo Wagon. While I'm getting grimey, I figured I would change the transmission from the crappy 3 speed automatic that is in the car now, to the manual 5 spees Full Time 4 Wheel Drive tranny with locking differential. The current tranny gets horrible gas mileage, and the manual will do better, plus the manual will be more fun to drive. Wish me luck!

DAY 1 - Got the heads off and the crappy 3 speed auto tranny out of the cavity. Also had to remove both 23 spline half shafts to replace with 25 spliners. I started at about 10:00 AM and stopped around 7. Took a few breaks, did lunch, and waisted some time looking for misplaced ratchet or sockets. All in all - a very productive day.

DAY 2 - The day in a nutshell. The ultimate goal - to at least get the new tranny mounted. I had some extra jobs to do today (you know the equation, work = money = more Subie parts; this is like an adiction), so I started early, 7 AM'ish. I pulled the shift lever for the automatic, then went to work for a couple of hours. During the day I went to pick up the 25 sline halfshafts. Got home and found one of the new halfshafts was a 23 spliner. Crap! That means another trip to the store. I ended up doing a lot more running around than I wanted, waisting sevaral hours. I got the crappy 3 speed auto tranny out from underneath the car. Man - that thing is heavy! I forgot to secure the torque converter, so of coarse it came off and spilled tranny fluid everywhere. Funny thing is that when I was installing it a year and a half ago, I did the same thing. At the end of the day, I got the Full Time 4 Wheel Drive tranny up into the tranny bay, plus I also cleaned the cylinder heads and prepped them for install. I couldn't get the one halfshaft to slide onto the differential stub. I fear I have the wrong one. Will try again tomorrow. I think, if I get the halfshaft issues resolved, I will tomorrow have brought Murphy back to life.

DAY 3 - Have more work today and again started early. I managed to get the halfshaft on the tranny stub. It was just a matter of finding the right angle of attack. The stck shift is installed too. I forgot how short the throw is on the shift. Thats all for now. Today I will post some video bits documenting the job.

I worked more than I thought and only had a few hours to work on Murphy. I pulled the old auto pedal assy. (which includes pulling the steering wheel of coarse) and installed the new clutchy one. But I ended up taking the new one out to check if the accel pedal was tha same as the old one. The travel distance to the floor seemed awful short. Also, I had to dissasemble my dash because I couldn't get the speedo cable from the FT4WD tranny to stay on. So it was kinda a two-steps-forward-one-step-back kinda day.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Thursday, September 21, 2006

How Not To Drive, Pt 1

One time, in band camp....

The year - 1991.

At the time my ride was a 1979 Honda Accord hatch, a cute little FWD car purchased in a time of my life before I discovered the joy of 4WD, and the band equipment hauling mojo of a Subaru.

My college band "Outta Hand" used to practice in the art building at Fresno State (my drummer was palsey walsey with the dean of the art dept... kiss ass). We would smuggle beer and other "musician assistants" into the room where we practiced. Well I never smoke while I play because it makes me play crappy, and I didn't drink that night, though I can't be sure of that .

We ended practice around 10:30 pm and load the band stuff in our cars. I was the last to leave. To leave the school parking lot you had to make a turn around an island to get to the exit. Well, they had recently rebuilt and widened the island and, while the concrete was set, they hadn't filled in the island yet. So I make the turn around the thing like I normally do, but I guess that wasn't good enough or wide enough because the next thing I know I jump the island curb and ended up getting stuck, much like in cartoons where the car ends up balancing on the edge of a cliff. It had rained that week, the center of the island was a mud pit, and the front end of my car was stuck in the mud like a diving hippo. Since the car was front wheel drive, there was no hope of getting any traction and pulling myself out. Needless to say, the tow truck driver had a great laugh that night.

PS. Exhaust systems have always been my Achilles heel. The week before, I had, for the first time EVER, completely sealed the exhaust system after replacing the head gasket. No leaks at all. It was purring like a kitten. It figures I would completely trash it within a weeks time.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Five Years

Is it selfish,

To be happy to still be alive?

A day so long ago,

Yet still so close to the heart.

We were all changed, but at least we are still alive.

So many lives lost.

Gone forever but still in our hearts.

I breathe. In. Out. In. Out.

And I thank God I was not on a plane...

In a building...

Or on the streets...

In harms way on that fatefull day.

I cry today for those who were.

So much bitter sorrow.

The taste of anger and fear.

Yet I am here.

So I breathe. In. Out. In. Out.

Sometimes that's more than enough.

Maybe the spirits of those taken that day,

Or the essence of family and friends who have gone before,

Can feel through me the air I breathe.

So I breathe. In.

Oxygen flows from lung to heart.

And feel the comport.

It brings a smile.

I am happy.

I am here.

We are all here.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

I Am Free

Or maybe liberated... Mostly.

Today marks the end of my life as a pool boy.... mostly! I sold most of my accounts to a fellow sole proprietor pool jockey this afternoon. I have for the longest time been bored and exhausted by the line of work I was in. Some background is in order.

I started in the pool business in 1990, taking a part-time job at Leslies Pool Mart in order to pay rent / bills while finishing my last two years of college at Fresno State U. I didn't want to apply for the opening because I figured my class schedule would clash with the work schedule, as both were during day hours. Joel, the rather largish guy working there at the time, almost forced me to fill out an application anyway, insisting the job schedule was indeed flexible enough to accommodate school and work. He was right, but the job required working week-ends. Oh well, I was used to that. The manager was a very cool cat named Cheng. Yes the name is Chinese, but he is the most American person I know. He became a mentor and wonderful friend to this day. He even let me borrow his Vet once to go out on a date with a girl named Charity. I got none. Wonder why! But I digress...

During my senior year Cheng left the old store and opened his own called Swim World. I quit Leslies and helped him open his store. I worked there for six months. When I graduated from college, I left the pool business behind and headed to San Diego... the very next day! I had some money left over from my student loans and decided to hang out at the beach for a while. That is part of the truth. I had transferred from San Diego to Fresno to complete my degree, and wanted to be back there with my family and friends. OK the beach did sing her siren song in my ear. San Diego has a much larger gay community and is considered more gay friendly than Fresno, so I figured SD would be a better place to finish the process of resolving internal conflict and at last come to terms with reality that I'm kinda gay-ish. But the important thing is that I was done with the pool business.

When I ran out of money I went to work at the local Movie-Plex. Nine months later the dead-endedness of the job got to me and I went to work for a pool supply wholesale house called Pool Water Products. Worked there a year then move to LA to try and pursue a film career. Worked at a video processing firm, got bored, took a detour, got distracted by other opportunities that turned out to be a mirage, was humbled and deservedly smacked down by the hand of life, and ended up in San Diego a few months later. I needed a job ASAP, so I looked toward the field where I had the most experience and skill.

Action Spa Repair was the next line of pool / spa related employment. I have always been good with tools and fixing things like cars, and radios, and TV's, and cars (several Fresno State classmates still owe me CD's for auto work performed while in college), so the idea of becoming a spa repairman had strong appeal. It was a good match; I draw great satisfaction from the ability to fix things. I was happy to do the work and learn how to fix yet another type of machine, but the downside was that I usually had to work six days a week. I was getting annoyed that work took up so much time. It seemed all my friends had do much more time to play than I did (hey I was young). Another problem was finances. Randy, my boss, paid well, but the combination of school debts and debts incurred from my stupid mistake mentioned above was dragging me down financially. In early 96, Cheng called me to ask if I would come back to Fresno to manage his new store. This would look good on my resume, and since living in Fresno is much kinder to the wallet, I took the job.

The move to Fresno proved to be a good decision. I managed to get myself out of debt, had more free time to relax, and even -- gasp -- find love! After four years I was sick of working for the man, and decided to strike out on my own. In January of 2000 Frog's Pool Service and Spa Repair was born. The plan was to steer the business toward the more profitable spa repair side of things, and have just a few dozen pools to keep income flowing during periods when spa repair business was slow. Then in a year or two, when I earned all that money from spa repairs, Greg and I would move to San Diego. As it turned out the spa side of the business never really developed into a stable business, so I became a pool jockey. Meanwhile, we took advantage of the low real estate prices here and bought a really really cool house! So much for plans.

I have for the last few years found myself less and less enthusiastic of the realities of running your own business. Sure, you can earn good money, be your own boss, etc, etc. But it sucks watching the money you earn fly right back out of your wallet in order to buy the thing you need to keep the business going. It wasn't so bad when I started six years ago, but then, gas was selling for a buck twenty five or so per gallon. The three dollar plus prices for petrol have eaten into profits, and the price of pool chemicals, chlorine, acid, etc, has almost doubled in the last three years. And I am just burned out on the job. You can make a great deal of money in this line of work, but like any other job, you have to love the work or the challenges it presents to get the most out of it. It was time to move on.

Over the last several years I have been trying to position myself to be able to change careers. In 1998 I went back to college to earn a second degree as a geologist, specializing in seismology. Calculus killed that plan after the first semester. In late 2000 I took some IT networking courses offered by Cisco. The classes were free, but during the summer of 2001 I started missing too much time due to the summertime demands of my pool business. Plus the tech industry was still reeling from the tech bubble bust of 2000, so jobs were still quite scarce. What to do? What to do?

In late 2004, a new plan of attack took shape. Over the last several years I have discovered a love of history, especially the revolutionary period of 1776. I had also been studying economic / market concepts so I can one day be a wise(r) investor. I had flirted with the idea of teaching and the time felt ripe to pursue that goal. So I enrolled in the masters program for education at National University. When I was close to finishing with the core of my classes, I would sell the business, thus freeing my time to pursue a teaching career. As the winter of 2005 came to a close I was poised to sell my business and move into the role as a teacher. And there I stayed... until now!

I finished most of the school requirements in Feb of this year, but have not had the opportunity to move into the classroom, as selling the business turned out to be a lot more of a challenge that I had anticipated. I placed my ads in the local pool supply wholesale distributors in mid February, thinking that the route would sell quickly and I could be free to apply for subbing jobs within a month. I hate it when I'm wrong. I had a buyer lined up in March, but his finances fell through. In April, another buyer wanted to take a look at my route. But as bad luck would have it, a fellow spa repairman passed away during this period, and potential buyer #2 inherited the core of his business and now had no time to take on more responsibilities. During the summer I had a few nibbles here and there, but nothing came of them. Last month I struck gold. Bruce, a local pool man with 22 years experience was trying to expand his pool route, and set to buy pools from another serviceman. At the last minute the other serviceman decided to sell to someone else, and Bruce came across my ads and gave me a call.

This brings us to today. Yesterday, Bruce signed on the dotted line and purchased the bulk of my pool accounts. Teachers in California only get paid once a month, so as of this moment I am at least one month away from an official paycheck. But I am keeping a few pools to provide a bit of extra income during the time it takes to find and start a teaching job. And the funny thing is, that all of a sudden I am getting a few calls for spa repair jobs, so my income this month may not be as low as I expected. Funny how stuff just kinda works itself out. But the bottom line - I am free from the shackles of my old job. I am now free to pursue and start building a new career in teaching.

Friday, August 25, 2006

One Has Nothing To Do With The Other...

I'm going to San Diego for the week-end.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

A Response to CD

Citizen Deux said...

Sorry you are so sleepless. I can't agree with the Iraq observation. The bubbling over of the sectarian violence is our fault. The question is, how awful would it be if we simply left? And would more troops really make a difference?

The issue is policing and law and order. Something military personnel can not accomplish without draconian measures. Measures we are not willing to undertake.

So the question is whether Iraq continues to smolder until it flares up or dies down? And how long? We still have troops on the ground in the former Yugoslavia, whose populations grievances are far less violent than some of the Sunni and Shiite qualms (not to mention the provocation from Iran and Syria).

Iraq allows us two things, establish a government which is self determining in that nation. Act as a buffer to Iran and Syria without the ugly, religious problem of having troops in Saudi.

Remember the war is at three levels;

1) Nation States (sponsors and direct / indirect enemies - Iran, Syria, Pakistan (half), North Korea (logistics))
2) Transnational Actors - Al Queada, Al Ansar al Islam, Hezbollah, Hamas, etc.
3) Splinter Cells - Non-aligned agents who are either directly or indirectly tied to the above (the parlance of national security agencies)

Hang in there...

I was going to respond "in comment" but decided to respond as a post instead.

Yeah, I was tired and not reasoning on all cylinders. But I'm not sure what our presence now is accomplishing. It appears the coalition is no longer the main target of violence, which is good. It seems that after we offed Al Zawkari, something has shifted. Here is a thought. During the first elections, everyone was overjoyed that there was no outbreak of violence, sunni against shia or vise versa, though that was less likely since sunni didn't officially participate. Neither side wanted to be seen as the one spilling first blood. But now that the sectarian gloves are off, I doubt we will get through another election without bloodshed.

There really isn't much we can do to stop the different sects from blowing each other up. The problem is that they're targeting the civilian population, attempting to show that we are powerless to stop them. To me this is the point where the Iraqi police must be able to step up as an independent force and find ways to stop this. Gangs here in the US would never (hopefully) start blowing up civies, in part because there is no purpose to do so, but also because they know law enforcement would descend upon then like the dark angel of death. The Iraq police must become that same type of juggernaught and they won't achieve that until our military presence in the country is negligible.

I want to write more, but I must get my but out the door and go to work. Will write more later.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

I should be in bed...

... as it's 11:43 pm on a Wednesday evening, but thoughts of the future of the world are keeping me awake. Not awake as in "Oh My God We're Doomed" awake, more like "I can't believe the world is blind to the coming massive Middle East conflict" type of sleeplesness. The things that concern me are the same things that are concerning pretty much everyone else these days - Iran, Iraq, Isreal, and the rule of unintended consequences.

Iran, the concern. I didn't watch the Mike Wallace interview with Amahgonajihad the other night, so maybe I heard wrong. But did Mr. Wallace really say that Amahgonajihad seems like a nice guy??? This, after all the proclaimations by the Iranian leader about his goal to nuke Isreal off the map??? Next thing you know the guy is gonna apear on next months cover of "Homes and Gardens"? Did Wallace not get the memo?


My little brother is going to smile when he reads this. I now (ouch) painfully agree (ouch) that our action in Iraq (ouch) has become a failure (ouch). Ahhhh. That feels a little better. I still believe that the need to remove Saddam was pressing, even without the WMD's. But as should be obvious to all / most by now, this policy was doomed to fail without the help and cooperation from the world community. The critics were right. We didn't have enough boot on the ground from the get go, And of coarse without a very large multinational force to ensure stability, the violence, now mostly in the Sunni triangle, is sure to spread. Why won't it. Who is there to stop it. I was sooo hoping that the killing of Al Zawkari would settle things down, but the seeds of sectarian voilence that he helped plant, along with the Sad'r brigades, was already in full bloom well before we off'd him. This dreadful thing is going to spread now that we disrupted the power equalibrium between Iraq and Iran, as the latter has filled in the gap nicely, thank you very much.

Isreal. Unless the world gets off its collective butts and puts its foot down against terrorists groups, Isreal is doomed. On paper, the latest skirmish btween Isreal and Hezbolla is a draw. In real life, Hezbolla won. The modern terror war is as much a propaganda war as it is military. Hezbolla is aparently doing great PR work by quickly repairing damaged hospitals and schools, and rebuilding the damaged infrastructure. Of coarse Hezbolla also benefits directly the former because it aids in healing the wounded fighters so they can fight another day, and provides future soldiers through the teaching of the evils of jews and the west thus ensuring a steady supply of recruits for the next go around in the holy war. and the latter makes weapons aquisitions more efficient. Meanwhile, Isreals reputation as being inpenetrable is gone. They couldn't get anywhere near the goal of destroying Hezbolla's capabilities. Terrorists groups never have to win in a classical sense. For them, a non-loss is a win - "See, You cannot destroy us"! And the world can't, won't take any action that prevents Hezbolla from getting even stronger, since the latest brilliant cease fire provides no realistic means of stopping Iran and Syria from rearming Hezbolla and upgrading their weaponry. Nope. The world will not take decisive measures against terrorism until Tel Aviv is vaporized by a nuclear blast.

I will give credit to Bush for at least recognizing and having resolve to take strong actions to try and change the tribal nature of the Middle East, a strong catalist in the making of radical groups. Too bad our actions in Iraq has made things worse in the Middle East.

I will write more in a couple of days, but now that this is off my chest, I'm tired and am going to bed. And I know there are spelling errors galore. It's very late and I don't feel like running a spell check. So there!

Thursday, August 10, 2006


How long will it be before some one on the left, or Pat Buchanan, states that today's foiled terrorist plot is a direct result of Bushz illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq?

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

So That Explains It....

... the reason why Andy Roddick's performance on the tennis court has been so poor over the last year. He and Sharapova have been secretly dating during his on court slump. The careers of male tennis players always take a nose dive when said player finds himself entangled in romance. Sampras found Robin, lost on-court motivation. See Agassi's slump during Brooke. Love is only good in tennis when it's the score of your opponent! Andy, dump her now! Before it's too late!!!

Lawyers With A Sense Of Humor!

It Must Be The End Of The World!! Run For Your Lives!!....

Now lets eat....

Hat Tip: Brannon Denning, guest-blogging at Insta P

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Politics at a Glance.

Since my blog-friend Scoot was linked to the web-mag Slate because he wrote some political hub-bub, I figured, to get notice by the MSBM (Main Stream Blog Media) I'd give that same strategy a try, even though I know my ideas are less original than Scoots.

I'’ve lately been pondering (no, Ian, that is not swimming in a small body of water) about thelikelihoodd that the Dems are going to take at least one house in congress. Lets face it. if the political landscape remains similar to those we currently see, ceteris paribus, then the elections coming in November are the Dems to lose. I'’m convinced they will take at least one body of congress. I ask myself, the part of me that is politically detatched, what would be the consequences for the party in charge if they lose one house?

If the Dems take the House, we will almost certainly see impeachment hearings. Not great during a war, but who knows what the outcome will be. If those hearings stick to the torture and NSA spying issues, they may have a shot. If they try the "“Bush Lied"” meme, they will probably look like fools, as there are too many Dems who proclaimed, pre 9/11, pre G W Bush, that Saddam was hiding WMD's.

If the Dems take the Senate, the republicans can say ta-ta to any more Roberts / Alito type judges getting any chance of a fair shake in confirmation hearings.

No matter which house the Dems might win, you can bet there will be a boat load of investigations going on, either as a result of those that are currently stalled, or new ones. Either way, the Republicans are in for a very rough ride for the next two years.

Saturday, July 29, 2006



The Last Show...

The End of an Era (and Error).

And even as I type this, the plot thickens. Tonight is the Reunion / Farewell show for my band Chris Plays Guitar. The original members are getting together for one last hurrah! Patric, the bald guy in the middle is moving to LA tomorrow. Most of the songs we play are his originals, so on his departure, we are calling it a day. I kinda left the band in February, but they never found a permanent bass player, and I still played when we had gigs. So tonight is our swan song at our favorite place to play, our giggin' home, The Hook and Ladder. We were given the freedom to perform with no restrictions, to climb on the bar, to fall off, to set ourselves on fire. We had the run of the place. A band can't ask for much more than freedom -- except free beer. We got that too! I made a power point presentation last year about the band for a class project last year. Yes. Chris IS on fire. He burned his knee that night!

CPG accomplished a lot. We recorded two albums. Toured the state. OK, that's an exaggeration. We played Chula Visa, Long Beach, Ripon, Tulare... Oh, we played at The Pines Resort at the beautiful Bass Lake. When I joined this project almost three years ago, I had by far the most band / gig experience of anyone in the band. Not hard since this was the first official band the other guys had ever been in. I got the opportunity to watch them learn and become not only fantastic musicians, but great performers as well. To Pat, Chris, Jason, and Brian - I thank you all for the fun and helping me continue to grow as a musician.

And now for the Error. For a special treat, me, Chris, and a drummer also named Mike had formed a new band and were going to play a set of Police songs. I have always wanted to do a Police cover band and here was my opportunity. Mike had joined CPG last spring after drummer Brian left to join the Peace Corps. That didn't work out for Brian. Neither did Mike for CPG. He was in the band for about nine months. His tenure ended when he got kicked out of the band by Pat for skipping out of town the week-end we had booked and advertised a gig. If Mike had a family emergency or something like that, that would have been no problem. But that was not the case. Well, just moments ago, I got a call from Pat. It seems Pat moved Mikes drums a few inches back so that he could set up his guitar rig. This pissed Mike off, and even as I type, Mike is packing up his drums and going home. So the Police cover band come to a swift and unglorious end as Mike pulls a Sting and goes solo! Hey, Wait just one second! I'm the vocalist / bass player a la Sting. I should be the one storming out and breaking up the band!!! Anyway I am not going to vent on Mike; he's young. Maybe someday he'll mature and not be so quick to leave his fellow bandmates in the lurch. But I will not work with him again. He has the chops to be a fantastic drummer, but not the discipline.

So, in honor of the Police cover band that has... er, had no name, here is my rewrite of "Born in the Fifties"

We were born, born in the Sixties
Born. Born in the Sixties

My Mother cried
when Elvis Presley died
she said it was the CIA
But I knew better

Would they dropped the bomb on us
while we drank "Sex On The Beach"
we were the class the couldn't reach
'cause we knew better

We were born, born in the Sixties
Born. Born in the Sixties

And we screamed
when the Police sang Oh
but String went solo and broke up the band
Oh we should have known better

We wore parachute pants
and we learned to break-dance
we found our faith and prayed to Tammy Fay on the TV
Oh, we should have known better

We were born, born in the Sixties
Born. Born in the Sixties

We died our hair blond, and dressed like the freaks on MTV
We stood in line for hours, to watch Jaws, Star Wars, and E.T.
Ron and Nancy said "Just Say NO!"
to cocaine and angel dust
you don't understand us
we are not the Walrus
we ruined the future 'cause we all became teachers!

We were born, born in the Sixties
Born. Born in the Sixties....

Monday, July 24, 2006

Would I calm her down by throwing stones at her!

Here is perhaps the worst song ever recorded. I have dubbed it "The A-Bomb" over at Ann Althouse's Blog.

A little background. It's my junior year in college, 1991. One of my friends, Robert, was a big believer in the Rolling Stone album review staff. For him, they were THE authority on music, good vs bad. If the album received a five star rating, Tower Records in Fresno would be sure of at least one sale, such was Rob's almost religious confidence in the RS reviews. Rob would soon learn of the consequences of blind trust in anything Rolling Stone.

In an issue released early that year, the reviewers gave a "Best Of" album a "Five Star" rating. The group was an old sixties act called "The Move". Hardly anyone stateside would know of them, but they would, with drummer Bev Bevan and later Jeff Lynne in this project, later become the creative core of ELO. Lots of good music from them, so "The Move" would have to show a spark things to come. Right? One would think.

Well, upon purchasing the album, Rob headed to his house to play this RS anointed "Great collection of fine songs". I got a call from him demanding that I must hear this album. He wouldn't tell me why, but he was laughing on the phone as he made his request. Ten minutes later we were in front of my speakers, stereo remote in hand, finger on the CD play button. I couldn't believe my ears. The music coming from the speaker cones was, by far, the worst thing I had ever had the "joy" of listening to. It was soooo bad I had to hear the whole collection. The whole of the album comes across as something of a disk that mysteriously and unfortunately managed to escape to our universe from an alternate dimension, as the band sounds like The Shaggs on a bad acid trip. In this universe, instead of joining forming Black Sabbath, Ozzie Osbourn sings for the Demented Archies instead.

There are two songs that stand out as being the most merciless bad things ever burned into a vinyl disk. One is called “Disturbance”. It starts out somewhat OK, but devolves into a screaming, grunting mess at the end, as if to prove the character being described in the is really insane. But the piece de resistance is a song called “(Here We Go Round) The LemonTree. Here is the song. Here are the lyrics. Enjoy!

There's a girl next door to me who's round the bend
But she wonders why she can't make any friends
From her garden she could see me
In her silver plaid bikini
Singing, dancing round her fruit

Here we go round the lemon tree
Mister can you hear me
Here we go round the lemon tree
Mister don't come near me

Would I calm her down by throwing stones at her
If only I could make the right approach to her
Think I'd rather tame the tiger
Turn those lemons into cider
Still I'd like to get beside her


(silly bridge with violins)

Morning came and into action went my plans
Went to meet her dressed in bright green underpants
I crept in and sang discretely
Seemed to change her mind completely
Danced together singing sweetly

Here we go round...
blah, blah, blah

Sad thing is the more I listen to it, the more I start to like it. This must be some cruel form of brainwashing!

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Collateral Dammage Pisses Me Off!

Dammit! Just when I finally had forgiven the unjust, unforgiving world for THIS attrocity, I now find out about....

THIS. I am starting to really get pissed off at the peoples in the middle east, targeting innocent Subarus!!!! Where, Oh Where, Is Koffi Annon and the UN??? Amnesty Internash-G-L!!! The Red Crossmember!!! Can't someone do SOMETHING???

Friday, July 07, 2006

July 7, 2005

London Remebered.

I was angry when I wrote it, so I may not have expressed my thoughts as well as I could have in a calmer state. That said, a year later, I stand by those angry thoughts. We must continue to fight the Islamo-fascist movement where-ever and when-ever we can. Since we're already there, Iraq is as good a place as any. It still boils down to hope vs. resignation. Fight vs. flight. A chance at victory vs. certain defeat.

Life Imitates Art

This aside, from an article explaining the physics problems Superman would have if he used his powers here on Earth:

Marti points to a book called "Great Mambo Chicken," which tells of a scientific experiment in which a researcher put several chickens in a centrifuge and raised them in twice-normal gravity for months at a time. When they emerged, the chickens were stronger and had larger bones and muscles, and greater endurance. In other words, they were superchickens.


Wednesday, July 05, 2006

I'm Not Moved... Except Maybe To The Fridge.....

So did you hear the one about certain Hollywoods star going on a "Rolling Hunger Strike"? What is a "Rolling Hunger Strike" you ask? I'll let the good folks at fill you in on the story. But here is the good part:

"Other supporters, including Penn, Sarandon, novelist Alice Walker and actor Danny Glover will join a 'rolling" fast, a relay in which 2,700 activists pledge to refuse food for at least 24 hours, and then hand over to a comrade."

Hollywood stars starving themselves??? Yawn....

A more startling form of protest would be if Calista Flockhart or the Twin Peaks chick would have a pig-out, and NOT purge afterward!

Hat Tip: Insta and Freeman Hunt.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

My Prediction For The 2008 Presidencial Race (CD's not going to like this)

NOTE: I changed the title. I wrote "Pick", instead of "Prediction", implying that this is the guy that I endorse and want to win. This is not so. It is simply my evaluation of the race as it stands now. And remember, I could be totaly wrong. After all, I am just an average joe on the side lines of politics.

I've been meaning to post about this conclusion for a while. Being a conservative minded independent makes it hard to deal with, plus the fact that I have real issues with the guy and his penchant for sky-is-falling rehtoric, but I have come to the conclusion that Gore has a real shot at the Presidency in 2008.

His position on the war has been much more consistent than most other Dem, even if it's only because he was not in office and didn't have to vote on the resolution. Many in the nation have become war weary so the Republicans will have a hard time keeping the independent vote on their side. Plus, by 2008 we will almost certainly be in the process of troop withdrawal from Iraq. Throw in Gore's long term concern / obsession with the environment he scores Mega Points with the Kossacks and Hard Progressives and can translate into a win in the primaries.

He was VP during the 90's and presided over a tremendous economic boom. Never mind that it was built on an illusionary business model, the Dot Com's, and that the Clinton administration put the pin to the tech bubble when the DOJ sued Micro$oft in '98. And I mean really, when government officials start talking about how they may have beaten the economic cycle - buy bonds.

Anyway, presidential administrations generally get too much credit / blame for good / bad economic times, but Gore was VP and can be associated with the good economy of the '90s. Plus, they, both Dem president AND Republican congress, managed to accidentally run the government with a surplus, though the actual size of it was grossly exaggerated by combining the ten year projection with principles of ceteris paribus (all things stay the same) which, as a budgetary practice, should be against the law for the government to do that (and for me to use the term ceteris paribus).

"It was a simpler time!" (I'm quoting this from someone, and even though I don't know who, I don't want to be accused of plagiarism, so I give that person credit for the line, who ever it is). Times were good, for the most part, during Gore's tenure, and compared to the current terrorist threat the nation now faces, the '90s do seem like a simpler time, though the threat was there and the administration just chose to pass the hard decisions to the next guys. Regardless, if Gore plays his cards right, (left-of-center actually), he could foster a '90s nostalgia of sorts to appeal to the centrist vote.

'90s nostalgia = Popular AND Electoral win for presidency, IF he can manage to maybe, oh, win his home state of Tennessee.

Of coarse, it all depends on who the Republicans pick as their guy. Guliani trumps Hillary (God forbid she or Jeb run), but I don't think he trumps Gore. Is Newt the Republican ace-in-the-hole against the Big G.???

Monday, June 12, 2006

Officer Delicious! YUMMY!!!!

From WFTV, Florida:

"Commuters in West Palm Beach may have noticed the rather large woman sitting near one of the area's busiest intersection. But she was really a he.


"The undercover officer is dressed in drag to hand out tickets to people who run red lights. He goes by the code name 'Officer Delicious.'"

Shouldn't he / she be hanging out in the red light district catching Johns for soliciting prostitutes, instead of hanging out on a corner ticketing John for running red lights?

Hat Tip: V The K

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Question for Straight Guys.

Why does every straight guy of our generation know who Ron Jeremy is, but probably couldn't name more than two of the female porn stars he "worked" with, if any?

Train wreak of thought courtesy of Chris Althouse, who is courtesy of Ann Althouse.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Hold On To Jour Sombreros'....

... or file under "Some People Just Don't Know When To Quit!!!"

Conservatives who are upset over Bush's guest worker program are about to be given more ammo to bolster their case. I was listening to KFCF (not this KFCF, this one) the Fresno based arm of Pacifica Radio, and they were interviewing a rep from ANSWER. It seems our friends over there are infuriated and ablaze over Bush's proposal to station National Guard troops along the border and the idea of a guest worker program, and are planning a new set of protests. I applauded the organizers and participants of the May 1'st demonstrations for staging a well run, violence free march. But the repercussions of that march was on display last night in Bush's speech; that he felt the need to tackle an issue that had been in political limbo for the last twenty years. Because of his low polling numbers, Bush right now is the equivalent of the proverbial cornered cat, i.e. that is when they can be most dangerous. The protesters are throwing stones into the political pond with the expectation of being able to manipulate and control the effect of the ripples. Sorry, but you don't command the passions of the American citizen because you haven't convinced anyone other than the kool-aid drinking far, far left that the rights of citizenship should extend to those who steal across the border. Even Ted Kennedy seems to be against you.

UPDATE: It seems the Marxist over at ANSWER didn't waist any time. The Protest / Demonstrations are scheduled for TOMORROW and Thursday. Any gains that were made by the May Day protests will dissolve in a sea of anger after the next demonstrations, especially if there is any violence what so ever. And I expect violence because, unlike the last demonstration, which was populated by many average citizens and immigrants who are seeking a better life, tomorrows group will be dominated by the very rabble who decimated downtown Seattle a few years ago; those who live only to protest no matter what the protest, those have no respect for property or the authority against which they protest. Why? Because they're Neo-Marxists and have no respect for anything except the movement!

PS. Here is a clip from the ANSWER press release, which gives you a taste of their views on illegal immigration:

"As with every political program based on racism, the campaign against immigrant workers is based on dehumanizing, stereotypical lies and propaganda. Uprooted from their homelands by the process of corporate globalization and so-called Free Trade, which has led to massive unemployment, millions of workers from Mexico, Central America and elsewhere have migrated to the United States, where they are forced to take employment in low-paid, back-breaking jobs."

Forced?? FORCED?!?!?!?!?!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Dean Goes All.... Normal On Us!

This is really an update to North Dallas Thirty (who now lives in San Fran - you can take the man out of the town, but not the town out of the man) and a post on his blog called Message To Gays", which described anger, or a lack there of, from the left-gay community at Howard Dean for firing a gay staffer. Aravosis and Kos should be aflame today. Instapundit is reporting that Howard Dean appeared on the 700 Club and said marriage is "between a man and a woman". If I know my demented Dems like I think I know them, things should get fun and nasty!!!! The rabid Repubs will be using this for all they can.

Deans motivation, me thinks, is to try to make inroads into the traditional religious demographic and siphon off some votes, especially in the South, from disenchanted republican voters, without whom the Dems would have a very hard time winning the presidency in 2008. I'm not sure if my thoughts on this came out as clear as I would like (it's a morning thing). But I have to go work now so it will have to do.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Monday, May 08, 2006

I really don't mean to torture my audience, but...

V the K made me do it because he sent me this. So here is my reply. Believe it or not, this "Boy Band" was very, very hot in Asia during the 90's. They make great cars but should never, ever be allowed to export music. EVER!!! Enjoy!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

SexBots in the News!

Though she's an early prototype, she's already more lifelike than Al Gore.

Daddy has one of these at home, but his is like a balloon.

SLAP! "No... wire... hangers!"

Even their androids are cross-eyed.

Honey, don't touch the Mimes.

Uh Oh, Mommy's on pills again...

Hat Tip: Digg.

Someone Else Will Post It So I Won't Have To.. Pt 2

More criticism of Congress and Republicans. Libertarians / Lawyers have a thing or two to say. This is going to be a fun and nasty political season. I can't wait!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Say What??? ...... or not....

Volokh on a quote wrongly attributed to Thomas Jefferson.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

For some twisted reason, I never tire of looking at this picture. If you love Subaru's, or cars in general, it is both comical and sad. I amuse easily.

Hat Tip: Ultimate Subaru!

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Adventures in Overheat Land (the car, not the human).

While going to Downtown Fresno Thursday afternoon. Murphy, the $500 87 T-Wag blew a radiator hose. I was on the freeway, driving about 70, sudenly notice (or felt) something different. I looked in my rear view and noticed white smoke. I pulled off the freeway into downtown, I drove on, hoping to get to my destination not far away. I didn't quite get there. Murph died in the middle of an intersection, a few blocks from where I was trying to go. I pushed the car to the side of the road and popped the hood. The upper radiator hose dun blowed up. God I hope I didn't fry the engine trying to get to my destination.

So I called AAA and got a tow truck, and only had to wait twenty minutes for it to arrive. The tow driver asked if my car was AWD. I said no, it's 4WD. So he jacks up the back end, with the front wheels on ground. We are in the truck ready to go when I ask:

"By the way, why are you towing from the back"?

He says "Well on 4WD cars the front wheels are free when the transmition is in 2WD mode".

I then tell him that 4WD Subies and most other cars that have 4WD are normaly Front Wheel Drive when not in FWD. You would think a tow trunk driver would know these things .

Tow Guy then gets out of the truck and attaches a set of jacked wheels to Murph's front wheels. I'm sure there would not have been damage to the transaxle if the car rolled home on the front wheels, 4 1/2 miles away, but I'm glad that we didn't do it regardless.

So the lesson here is: Make sure you check that Tow Guys, or mechanics for that matter, know about your Subies.

Got the car home, hopped in the work truck, and went to Kragen Auto for the hose. I decided to get the lower hose too since I'm under the hood getting dirty. I also replaced the temp sensor to see if the bizzaro digi gauge temp readings would normalize (turn fan or headlights on and watch the thing spike). I replace the parts, put water in the rad, and Murph started right up . Yesterday, while driving around, the check engine light was on for a while, but is off now. I think an electrical connection to a sensor might have still been moist, but I'll keep an eye on it.

PS. The other lesson learned: When you change the head gaskets on your car, as I did a month ago, you should replace the radiator hoses (and other hoses) since you already have them off the engine!

Someone Else Will Post It So I Won't Have To...

I was going to post about how the Republicans deserve to lost; how it would be a long needed cleansing for the party. Well, someone else has gone and written that post and beat me to the punch, so now I don't have to work on composing the thing. I can take the day off. God I'm lazy!

Hat Tip: Glenn.

PS. After you read Scott's post, you may want to ponder what it will take to cleanse the Dems of their hyper-extremist anti-war affliction. Can the blinders be removed that prevents them from seeing the threat that the situation in the Middle East has become since Kohmeni's ascension to power in 79.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

My Next Computer Upgrade...

The RCA Spectra 70 .

It's the same computers the FBI now uses, according to one of the comments posted at the news site Caption This.

PS. I could go for this set-up, but I think it's probably out of my pricerange.

Click HERE for more fun old-timey computer pics.

PPS. I wonder if my dad used any of these models???

Saturday, April 15, 2006

What I Did On Friday

I found a pigeon having seizures on my back porch yesterday. It was flapping uncoordinatedly, and its eyes were blinking and twitching wildly. I thought it was dying and on its last legs. I was very sad as I felt I could do nothing for it. It reminded me of our parrot Emmet, the green-naped lorikeet that passed away about five years ago. I was thinking "Great, this thing has bird flu or something, and now Miss Bird, our current black-cap lorikeet who at this moment is sticking her tongue in my ear, could be exposed and die. I definitely didn't want to touch the thing so I use two pieces of cardboard as big birdie tongs and put the flailing pigeon in the bushes on the sid eof the house. I looked in on the bird from time to time, waiting for the inevitable so I could dispose of the poor thing. Well the inevitable never came. Instead of dying, it recovered within two hours, and eventually flew away. I seem to recall an article by bird and aviery expert Dick Schroeder about pigeons and epileptic seizures. Greg's mom suggested the pigeon ate fermented berries and got drunk. Man, I hope I don't look that out of it when I get drunk.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Observations On... The Buzzcut!!!

My comment concerning this topic at Althouse.

A few disadvantages to the buzz / smoothie cut:

1) They will expose the huge cavernous dents in your head.

2) If you play heavy metal guitar, you no longer have the long hair to swirl around whilst on stage. And the lack of hair draws even more attention to the hideous spandex!

3) Don't do a fresh smoothie in the middle of summer and then go jet skiing all day. Trust me. It's painful!!!

Monday, April 03, 2006

Did You Know Jack Bauer Plays Bass???

Well, as far as I know, he doesn't. He's far too busy.
Me, on the other hand....

Saturday, April 01, 2006

For Those Who Think....

... National Review Online is nothing but a bunch of Hard Line Right-Wing Kooks who do nothing but tow the party line, here is an example of how that view of them, along other political outlets, either Republican or Democrat, is often short sighted.

Friday, March 31, 2006


1) Republicans are preparing to bring the Federal Marriage Amendment to a vote. So I guess the plan from now on is to do this in all even-numbered years, and then throw the idea aside in odd-numbered ones? I know a lot of people support the FMA for principled reasons, but a decisive number of Republicans are clearly just picking on gays for political profit.

2) Republicans are leading a charge to subject "527 groups" to onerous regulations. A minority of them, again, have sincere and above-board reasons for doing this. Most of them just want to shut down groups that are trying to beat them in elections. For a majority to restrict the freedom of others to try to boot them out is pretty much a textbook definition of the abuse of power, isn't it?

Ramesh Ponnuru is a very conservative member of the NRO team, and I have disagreed with many of his political and philosophical positions. That being said, I think he hits the nail right on the head. This is another lame attempt by do-nothing Republican leaders to try and distract the base from their own shortcomings, much like the flag burning amendment was for the Newt crowd. The "FMA" again, when if failed so miserably the first time around. Problem with bringing this up again is, states are already passing state constitutional amendments banning gay marriage (boo), so why would you need to ban it federally, especially if you are supposed to be the party that favors states rights and small federal government? Restricting 527's will be seen as nothing more than another in a long line of actions aimed at trying to stifle competition and protect there incumbency, especially since their poll numbers continue to decline.

I have only remained registered as a republican because I think the best way to affect change in a party is to change from within, plus I like being the underdog out here in California. I had high hopes for both Bush and Arnold and both continue to disappoint greatly. Bush first ran on a platform which included overhauling baseline budget practices in congress, and Arnold on state spending reform. Each has completely abandoned these tenant's of fiscal responsibility, and are on track to ensure that taxes must be raised sharply in the future to pay for their financial callousness. The spending spree by both are completely reckless and stupid. These guys are running the government about as efficiently as GM has been running it's company. I'm tired of the excuse of the WOT to justify this financial binge.

OK. I'm done ranting. I just want to add that if the Republicans bring up either the FMA or more campaign spending restrictions, I will leave the party....

And no Scoot, I won't register as a Democrat. They have problems of their own, like being taken seriously on anything.

Monday, March 27, 2006

A Guest Blogger

dear moma. uncle mike sent me senior don gato, and spelled my nick-name wrong.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Away For A Week

I'm in Washington visiting my Mom and Dad. Mom is recovering from the single-double bypass surgery well enough, but still needs someone around for this and that. My older sister had flown in from Dallas and helped out for the last couple of weeks, but had to get back to Big-D or else lose her job, so I flew up to take her place. I won't be blogging much 'cause the parents only have a dail-up modem. I will have a good size blog soon.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Off Line???

You know how everyone has had a bad day now and then? Well mine was OK, but apparently the kind folks at Blogspot were having one. I haven't been able to access my blog for about a day as Blogspot has been busy transfering files from an old server to a newer one. The date on the post I linked is March 15th, but I expect they will post an update soon. The funny thing about this incident is that Chad over at Cake or Death had just switched back to Blogspot after trying Type Pad, and I wrote how I have had absolutely no problems with Blogspot. I guess that will teach me to open my big mouth.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

De Ja Vu All Over Again

I posted this on a friends blog, and thought it would look good here as well. It's all about my thoughts on the upcoming presidential run. I know, I know. It's early. But I have been thinking about it since the end of 2004. I admit it - I'm a political junkie!

I "LOVE" the game of politics, but find the stench and the repercussions of it all sometimes unbearable, regardless of the political party. Speaking of parties, It's like going to a frat party. You first walk in and find that some of the guys like politics, computers, comics, rugby, and music as much as you do. Yeah, you're sportin' intellectual wood, and maybe some other. And you think "Wow, this is soo cool. These guys are hot"! But after a couple of hours you step outside for some air and come back in to realize that:

A) God, this place stinks of dead beer, booze, vomit, and other nasty bodily gases, and,

B) you seem to be the only gay guy at the party and, even though they're cool with that, you can't talk to anyone on a serious level because, well, they're frat boys and don't do serious,

C) the straight guy you kinda had a crush on is either loudly banging some chick in the other room, was nice sober but is a freaking jerk when drunk, or,

D) you get to know him a lot more at the party and realize he is nothing but an uninteresting shallow spoiled brat after all, who thinks everyone, including you, are socially a step or two under him, and I don't mean under him in a good way.

Substitute the frat party with either political party, and the cute straight guy is a politician. Yep. That's politics in a nutshell!

I am curious about the list of presidential hopefuls, and who will get the nod. Though some are hoping for another chance for him, I don't think it will be McCain. I think it will either be The Mayor G., or, believe it or not, a rehabilitated Newt.

On the Dem side, I'm trying to get my little bro, who is a fairly liberal Democrat, to flesh out a list of potentials. He's not fond of Hil, but I think his wife is.

Some R's want Jeb to run. I would give up wine and chocolate and start dating tall women if that would prevent that. On the one hand, if he and Hillary got the nod, that would be the most nastily barbaric political fun that the world has ever seen! But then, GOD, haven't we had enough of these two families for one century???