Hear I Go Google!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Final Rough Draft: It's alive, alive!!!

Like a crazy (and sometime angry) scientist, I got those files up at Wordpress. I should have done that first. Easier. Let the blog site take the blame for the screw ups.

So, my little sister of a blog site, that is actually quite the looker once you get past the generic layout and sparse postings, has the goodies I promised to like 20+ emails on Christmas Eve.

Deepcenterfield.wordpress.com has all 3 files of Bringin' Gas and Dialin' 9: 100 Years of Professional Baseball Development (1908-2007).

I hate to be such a book whore. I mean, books should be discovered at Amazon or Barnes and Nobles since that is their natural habitat...Yeah, right!

To get past that, I think it will be very difficult to ever publish what I wrote.

For one, editing!!! I suck at it. And I need to do a ton of it.

Two: Finding that "special editor" that is on crack, smokes dope on the regular and has flushed his career down the toilet, and therefore, has nothing to lose by promoting a novelty act that is my 3-ringed, hell-on-wheels circus act. Good Luck on that.

Three: Would anyone but a baseball freak want to read it? You can always pick up ESPN's Baseball Encyclopedia or Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract to fill you need for all things concerning baseball. And they have the staff to properly analyze things I've only begun to look at.

Plus, they get Stats, Inc. to do the difficult work of compiling just how many times a mediocre pitcher pitched in below 50 degree weather on a Tuesday while his wife was engaged in a trist with the garbage man. (I'm saying 4 times out of 17...)

Four: Lastly, who pray tell am I to espouse dangerous theories such as Steroids were not the sole reason for the power explosions in the 1990's? What are my credentials? I am the FNG on the block, and people don't like the FNG. Putting my stamp and two cents on the topic, so that's like 43 cents???, is risky and publishers don't like risky. Bankable as in DO-RE-ME or Benjamins is more their modus operandi. (Amazon posted a big holiday of book selling.)

For me, I am not out for the money but the pleasure of seeing my work published.

I could go to a Vanity Press - yikes! - and that would assuage my desires of publication at a price. Not really the point of doing the work.

But the prospect of someone picking up my work and saying, "Yeah, this guy did some work on this. And he's not like every ESPN talking head. He did not tear down baseball players. He loves the sport..." That would be, pardon me, Fucking Cool.

Later on!!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

NO New Years' Haitus: So I've been off the internet farm for a while

For those that try to make it a point to stop by Hooverville, that place where I live with the tin cans, cardboard and porn mags for insulation, I duly wish you a pleasant New Year. 2007: Glad to have known you, but not too glad.

To those that I haven't been going to their blogs, again, my deepest regrets. I have been "guy, interrupted" by the holidays. I had to figure out a way to print on my Lexmark X75 that does not cost a fortune. (Burns through cartridges like Lindsay Lohan goes through GPS ankle bracelets.)

The Lexmark X75: As Homer Simpson says, "Stupid printer!"

Aside from that, the files are too big to send to anyone via email. The server times out. Or the size exceeds the attachment limit, etc. I zipped them. Split them in two. Now it looks like I'll send out 4 or 5 emails just to get it to some people that won't want to resemble them back together again. (Sorta defeats the purpose.)

So, unless I get it published, no one will ever see it. (Which is fine, I suppose. The tree in the forest analogy works for my life.)

But that's enough bitching and moaning for one post.

I wish all of you a pleasant, hangover-free, New Year. I hope you wind up in the arms of someone you care for deeply. Make Love. Not War. Tune in. But Don't Drop Out...(Yet.) Stay focused on your dreams and don't let the realities piss you off. Keep an eye on your day to day tasks, but don't them rule you into doing the same old bump and grind. Have some laughter at George Bush's expense. Try something new - but do things you have always done well for your best sanity.

That's all for now. Keep it FRESH TO DEATH!!!

Friday, December 14, 2007

New Baseball Songs: Hey they fit, don't they?

In keeping with the spirit of the holidays, you know, songs of the season, I am adding these to the mix of Baseball Songs. They seem to me fitting to play when thinking about The Steroid Era (1990-2005 or 06 or 07...)

Snow -Informer. Goes to those who cooperated: Kirk Radomski, a former Mets clubhouse attendant, and Brian McNamee, a former trainer for Mr. Roger Clemens. I'd think they fall under the category of informer, a.k.a. snitching bitch.

Disturbed - Down With the Sickness. After the report, one probably wonders if MLB is "down with a sickness."

Lemonheads - It's a shame about Ray. It's a shame about Roger "The Rocket" Clemens.

Red Hot Chili Peppers -Californication. Because the industry really fucked itself for money.

Dada - Dizz nee land. Quote:"I just flipped off President George, I'm going to Disneyland."

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Let the Games Begin: The George Mitchell Report

Having just watched the backend of the press conference and ESPN talking heads take on the matter, the George Mitchell Report may or may not be a final version. An early release included many other names not included in the final report accoridng to WSCR, The Score (670AM) in Chicago. But here are the "complete names" in the report:

Information Learned During this Investigation Concerning BALCO and Major League Baseball (8 players/ 3 active in MLB in 2007)From the report: "I requested interviews of all the major league players who had been publicly implicated in the BALCO case."

Marvin Benard, Barry Bonds, Bobby Estalella, Jason Giambi, Jeremy Giambi
Benito Santiago, Gary Sheffield, Randy Velarde

Information Regarding Purchases or Use of Performance Enhancing Substances by Players in Major League Baseball (53 players/ 18 active in MLB in 2007)From the report: "The following discussion is organized in roughly chronological order. Records do not exist to document every transaction described by witnesses. [Kirk] Radomski stated that, with one exception noted below, the payments he received from professional baseball players were for performance enhancing substances, as opposed to personal training or other services, and this assertion was confirmed by those players who agreed to speak with us about their dealings with him."

Lenny Dykstra, David Segui, Larry Bigbie, Brian Roberts, Jack Cust,Tim Laker
Josias Manzanillo, Todd Hundley, Mark Carreon, Hal Morris, Matt Franco
Rondell White, Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte, Chuck Knoblauch
Jason Grimsley, Gregg Zaun, David Justice, F.P. Santangelo
Glenallen Hill, Mo Vaughn, Denny Neagle, Ron Villone, Ryan Franklin
Chris Donnels, Todd Williams, Phil Hiatt, Kevin Young, Mike Lansing
Cody McKay, Kent Mercker, Adam Piatt, Miguel Tejada
Jason Christiansen, Mike Stanton, Stephen Randolph, Jerry Hairston, Jr.
Paul Lo Duca, Adam Riggs, Bart Miadich, Fernando Vina, Kevin Brown
Eric Gagné, Mike Bell, Matt Herges, Gary Bennett, Jr., Jim Parque
Brendan Donnelly, Chad Allen, Jeff Williams, Howie Clark
Exavier "Nook" Logan

Alleged Internet Purchases of Performance Enhancing Substances By Players in Major League Baseball (16 players, 8 active in MLB in 2007)From the report: "Since the initial news reports of the raid by New York and Florida law enforcement officials on Signature Pharmacy and several rejuvenation centers, the names of several current and former major league players have appeared in the media as alleged purchasers of performance enhancing substances through these operations. These include:

Rick Ankiel, Paul Byrd, Jay Gibbons, Troy Glaus, Jose Guillen
Jerry Hairston Jr., Gary Matthews, Jr., Scott Schoeneweis
David Bell, Jose Canseco, Jason Grimsley, Darren Holmes
John Rocker, Ismael Valdez, Matt Williams
Steve Woodard

Assuming this is it, I am not really impressed. Because from my cursory assessment (only cursory) the tying of Steroids to increases in Power (Slugging % rise, home runs hit) is invalidated since it does not include many, many more hitters of note. Steroids allowed many to stay in the game longer, recover from injuries quicker and stave of age-related performance woes, but DID not have the direct causation on the power outbursts.

To get to the real reason for this investigation, one has to go to the Collusion Era (1985-1987) where the players were shortchanged by owners on contracts and free agency. As a result, management parted ways with $280 million. This investigation is a guised retaliation for the players winning in a court battle. Because owners knew players were "juicing" since the early 1990's. However, financial considerations and the battles between management and players (1994) left the owners to bide their time, allow the game to recover (1998-2000), and then, strike the zone of most vulnerability: a player's character and integrity (2002-Present.)

Did the players listed do things unethically? Depends.

We let our own personal quirks about our appearance (which makes us appealing to the public--and could influence our career prospects) bother us, and attempt to modify them to fit our expected performace, and as a result, we improve ourselves and our prospects. Isn't that a form of cheating???

But was the real reason for this report to improve the game, protect our kids from negative role models and enhance the public awareness on the effects of steroids? No.

It was about money and financial concerns. Once the cat was out of the bag, about steroids, and fans voted with their purse not to care, and actually showed up in droves, the game was made. The owners knew it would not wreck their bottom lines. Instead, it only wrecked the players.

Revenge is incredibly sweet....

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Long Lost Mix Tape: You're feeling me if you are over 25

I was digging through some stuff when I found a early 90's mix tape. Compilation Music then kids was on tape. Just like before that, their were reel to reels, 8-tracks and 33-45-78 records. Scary to say it, but I was always making up mix tapes for potential girlfriends that never were in my league...(Hey, I was 16-21, you do that crap.)

So here's some the songs, via the Youtube channel:
The Shamen - Move Any Mountain. Techno laden, good beat, great lyrics for the genre, TERRIBLE video. DAMN TERRIBLE. I got into The Shamen for about 2 years.

New Order - Blue Monday. Awesome song in various incarnations. The drum licks on this spin are smokin'. Video of course has a raw feel...hogpog of images.

Pink Floyd - Comfortably Numb. For all the Floydheads in the city proper. Love the guitar work at the backend of this joint. (7:30-8:40) Live version was the one recorded on my mix - I saw them in 1993-94??? at University of Wisconsin. Awesome. Light show as per usual.

Dave Matthews Band - Best of What's Around. A very good song in any form. Very good and telling lyrics about love. Dave is quite the musician.

NIN - Closer. Now, the lyrics are rather tame. Then, I was quite "violated." Was quite the Club song for 1994-95. The VIDEO is still sick and off the hook!!!

The Cure -Just Like Heaven. I know, lame. But it was a mix tape in the early 1990's. Robert Smith did some killer work on other tunes. This one is way too commercial.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

A Superbad ID: Just call me McLovin

Yep, that's me from a June 1999 CSI employee id. (Not that CSI, the popular super-sleuth, technology-will-find-the-killer show, but Cold Storage Integrated.)

For some reason I was happy on this my first day working in a refrigerated warehouse of 380,000 square feet, 7,500 forward pick slots, over 30,000 reserve level, 95 dock doors, and nearly 200 pieces of lift equipment. Each day, CSI generally saw 200,000 hand picked cases shipped to nearly 400 Kroger destinations. The record, while I worked there, was 271,000 outbound about a week before Thanksgiving 2000.

I actually was a more than content while I spent my days creating labor standards, doing analysis on better efficiency, working on Pro Forma statements and going other places to see why this industry is so hard on people. (A good picker will handle 2,000 medium weight cases (average 13-15 lbs.) in a 8-hour shift at this place. (The house standard was between 195-200 cases per hour.)

I think most of all, I was finally in a niche that worked for me.

After a year there, I got to the point where I was doing other things that were positive. I took a Con Law course at IUPUI and joined up into a community organization. My time was spent well.
I didn't drink for over a year. I still went to bars, drinking diet coke or coke, but just more for the "scenery" than the practice of blowing off steam or getting beer muscles to join the typical fray of college, post-college stupidity. Sometimes it was relaxing, but under it all, a tension inside evidently built. I wanted more to come of the future.

My best friend, will call him Jethro, was moving in with his future wife. He hadn't exactly been a model character, but he was a long time cohort, defender and supporter of whatever our weird little minds came to as a crossroads.

He is a Green Bay Packer fan in Minnesota. He's a sharp dresser (unlike me.) Loves, absolutely loves music. (Was a producer at a now-defunct local Music station, 93.7 The Edge and a trumpet player at Purdue.) He was terrible with finances and used me as a calculator on more than one weekly phone convo. And we both found most of this noisy ass life amusing, at least then. (South Park was a soundtrack we really dug together.)

But I became "Superbad", at least in the minds of some, and sadly, to him.

We tend to overblow the bad deeds of people, to shame them into some conformity to the rules of an often harried society, and in a stark way, that happened to me. Around this Holiday time in 2000, as I faced my worst challenge - and made some rash and rude statements - my then best friend no longer wanted much to say or do with me. Avoidance was the operative word.

My concept of obtaining a meaningful relationship took a sharp and dangerous curve and I fell off the cliff of life. I went back to drinking. Didn't do much at work - except get an offer for a new job, which offered me an escape from the situation, but wasn't an escape - and starting hating all the people around me. I was mad at myself...guilty about things I wrote in an email.

I was so sorry.

I wish I had had McLovin's guidance somehow. Even in their raucous ride, these cops meant well for the kid.

In the end we all have to learn how to make it day by day with the losses, the lessons and inevitability that we are going to fuck up more than grow up...

But as Officer Michaels aptly put it in my case,"Prepare to get fucked by the long dick of the law."

It kinda is like that...

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Standard AND POOR: The Mortgage Concerns lead Bush to come along

Joke: How many idiots does it take to screw in a light bulb? (End of post the answer)

(Author's Note: I do not own a home. Nor Have I ever paid a mortgage...just rented for decade.)

With the current prospect of Mortgage resets and foreclosures and the potential Subprime egg foo yung on the lenders' faces, President Bush (via Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson Jr.) has unveiled a bailout program for potentially 1.8 million persons facing this debilitating situation.

This situation arose in early 2007 out of lending money to buy homes to people securing Low-Doc or No-Doc loans, those with minimal or no documentation, who, as a result, get higher interest rates on their Mortgages. The lenders such as Countrywide (see chart left) soon found that many defaulted on their mortgage, which in turn drove the stock down.

This lending practice is often seen as predatory, since the lender will take over the asset. However, since the price of real estate has plummeted in various areas of the country (Ohio, Michigan, Nevada and some large cities) the lender is now face with the reality of selling an asset at $.70-$.80 on the dollar.

Meanwhile, since the prices of real estate fell, other speculators and those who secured teaser rate ARMs are suddenly in mortgages where the reset rate is too high to pay, and the real estate price has dropped below the outstanding principal on the loan. (Upside down equity.)

From investopedia.com:

The use of teaser rates tends to grow dramatically during times when long-term interest rates move toward historical lows. Lenders stand to make much more money on ARMs if interest rates
, while borrowers with ARMs will be faced with high interest
payments. (This was the case in early-to-mid 2007 as the bond market reach very
high plateaus

But Along Came Paulson.

In the post-Katrina, Post-hoc 2006 election, the President's response to this is admirable, if (to me) politically motivated. The Republicans certainly don't want to see as too mean on hard-working, taxpaying, home-owning citizens, especially with a Presidential election laying out in the grassy knowl. And granted, many of these people need help to stave off foreclosure or homelessness.

But several questions arise:

1. How many of you have been bailed out after you made a financial decision that was unwise?

2. Do we think this is really about the borrowers or the lenders, who must maintain profitability and therefore, keep the borrowers paying something to them?

3. Is government interference healthy here?

4. Should I care if big corporation A goes under due to haphazard lending and market assessment?

5. What if these borrowers can't get long-term financing and default anyways?

6. Should the case-by-case situation be done electronically - to see who qualifies (not a $250,000-a-year earner), what the property value is (if over $750,000 for example, they might be declined) or whether there is a more efficient way to get renegotiated contracts?

As the NY Times reports:

Despite the criticism, the Bush plan is a significant change in an initial
reluctance to impose solutions. As recently as a month ago, Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. argued that lenders should try to work out new terms on a
case-by-case basis.

But Mr. Paulson and federal banking regulators became increasingly
impatient with the industry’s failure to produce a systematic, rapid approach to
evaluating borrowers. Sheila C. Bair, chairman of the Federal
Deposit Insurance Corporation
, proposed a comparatively radical plan to
permanently freeze rates on all subprime loans. Mr. Paulson rejected that idea,
but began to push for a standardized approach that would temporarily freeze
rates for many borrowers facing upward adjustments on their monthly payments.

Administration officials emphasized that the rate freeze was only one
part of a broader plan. Mr. Bush will also ask Congress to temporarily expand
the authority of states and localities to issue tax-exempt mortgage-revenue
bonds to help people refinance their mortgages. Treasury officials are also
pushing the industry to come up with a streamlined way to help subprime
borrowers refinance with a more conventional, lower-rate mortgage...

You don’t want to reward speculators,” said Senator John
of Arizona, who is running for the Republican nomination. “You’d
like to take each individual case on its own, but there’s no time to do that.
What’s important is to stop the bleeding

Whether this is called a workout plan or a bailout, I wonder exactly how deep is the crap the investment banks and financing companies are shovelling to the public. How far down will it go? That has been on the minds of people like (Erin Burnett, CNBC, below left) and numerous other talking heads at the various outlets.

The number of foreclosures in 2006 were 1.3 million, up by 42% from 2005. And based on filings in the 1st quarter of 2007, the number escalated even higher. Is there an end in sight? (The article linked appeared in April 2007.)

From Business Week article:
The same day Bush unveiled his plan, the Mortgage Bankers Assn. said that foreclosures had reached a record high in the third quarter. The share of mortgages that have entered foreclosure hit 0.78% in the quarter, up from the previous high of 0.65% set in the previous quarter. At the same time, delinquencies for all mortgages rose to 5.59%, from 5.12%, in the second quarter. None of the people who are delinquent or facing foreclosure will be helped by the plan.

The deal almost certainly won't stop the decline in housing prices. Investors are betting that there will be double-digit declines (BusinessWeek.com, 11/27/07) in home prices in nine of 10 major markets over the next year. The only exception is Chicago, and there the estimate is for a 5.6% drop in home prices (BusinessWeek.com, 11/27/07).

Now, Wall Street (investors) are pissed off now because:
1. Government interference in the precious free market is a no-no
2. They can not accurately predict what the market will do on the semi-predictable stocks, and thus their money will have to be on the sidelines, or lower yielding investments
3. Lawsuits can only arise, thus making it difficult to react
4. They will be just like the average, everyday, ordinary you and me (except richer)


No matter what the Standard & Poor 500 will still be moving tomorrow, and that is what it is all about, ain't it???

Answer: The United States Government.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Global Paradox?: A passage from a futurist in the Googleopoly, Ipodosphere or Youtubedome of Life

I picked up Mr. John Naisbitt book, Global Paradox (1994), at the Lowell Library for a $.25. So it was a decent investment to see what this 2-time #1 New York Times bestseller had to spew out. At least, it gives me something to look at on the toilet. (Yeah, I do that. Women: it's a guy thing. If I could have a TV set in my bathroom, or a versatile computer that would drop down in front of me, that would be ideal. Instead, it's a book - maybe a Playboy or two in a lifetime of learning...)

Anyways, back to the book. I was perusing this passage (pg. 24-25), and felt it had some today value:
The new surge for tribalism has resulted in an escalation of conflicts in many parts of the world. There are many places where ethnic or religious groups are being suppressed rather than celebrated. Some of those places, in addition to Bosnia-Herzegovina are:

  • Iran. The Islamic government is trying to do away with Baha'i minority by
    denying them education and jobs.
  • Sudan. The Muslim government in the north is brutally fighting rebellious black animist and Christians of the south rather than deal with their grievances. About 40,000 killed.
  • Tibet. 40 years of military occupation by the Chinese.
  • Iraq. Baghdad government's massive huma-rights violations against Kurds.
  • Papua New Guinea: The separatist movement...5,000 killed.
  • Bangladesh. Buddhist Chakmas have fought for seperation from this officially
    Islamic country for almost 20 years.
  • Fiji. Ethnic Indians vs. ethnic Fijians.
  • Burundi. thousands have been killed as a result of ethnic clashes...Hutus
    and... Tutsis.

Some people insist that the forces that are making the world into a single economy have seperated people from longstanding identities and have, at the same time, weakened the nation-state. Hence the violence in these troubled "hot spots." And that in the future, most armed conflict will be ethnically or tribally motived, rather than politically or economically motivated.

In fact, these economic and technological forces of change have weakened the nation-state, but they have strengthened, not seperated people from, longstanding identities. Language, culture, religion, and ethnic heritage reinforce people's sense of belonging. These are the bonds out of which will be created new communities. At the same time, the global community has embraced, at least in concept, the notion that there are basic human rights - although the East and West may well continue to argue over exactly what those rights are - that must be protected.

...War and other forms of aggression against fellow citizens will become, if not obsolete, at least increasingly intolerable. When the world is watching, a community's behavior is influenced by the anticipated reaction of its economic allies.

As you can see, Iran, Iraq and Sudan are still hot spots, 13 years later. The recent and prolonged entrenchment of the United States (The West) into Iraq (The East) has done very little toward obsolence of war...since of course, we are the most powerful nation-state in the World.

The Economic pressures are what we do...to get other countries to obey. (North Korea and Iran.) The backlash (against war) has happened; but with little ado really to the U.S. Economy directly.

China now is putting on the next Olympics, overlooking years of civil rights abuses, their complacent and complicit attitude toward Myanmar and current failures to make safe goods for people. (Meanwhile, their economy is overheating (10-15% growth per year) and their currency is depressed intentionally, while they hoard U.S. currency.)

The concept of basic human rights is just that: a concept. There is little movement toward a fundamental understanding of what accounts for human rights. The conversations recently about waterboarding (and torture) by the new Attorney General Michael Mukasey and potential U.S. President have been in a word, laughable. It is when these Western philosophies are as skewed as the Muslims (with the recent outrage over Gillian Gibbons, a British teacher, being jailed, threatened with death by extremists), that one must realize that we are no closer to working viewpoint on what people should be treated like, or the leaps of understanding needed to close this longstanding cultural gap.

The "new communities" that Naisbitt talked about are what I'll call the Googleopoly, Ipodosphere or Youtubedome. These techcenters are creating communities of vast proportions - founded on technology, email, blogging, chatting and all things communications related. But these places have only so much structure to them; people are constantly moving around in them to other communities. They are as transient as a homeless guy.

The real power only comes from the mega corporations that combine and collect data on us, the bottom feeders. Take today: News Corp. (Ruppert Murdock) is buying another social networking site in Linked In. (Another link to this pending deal.) This after owning Myspace.

Another Hong Kong billionaire (Li Ka-shing) took a $60 million dollar interest in Facebook, another large social network venture just recently.

Meanwhile, Yahoo 's Jerry Yang "felt sorrow" but has allowed the Chinese access to your personal correspondence to the result of the jailing of a journalist. Because Yang and Yahoo, "believe it's better to operate in that market and cooperate with authorities than not be there at all."

These capital ventures and pliable policies of top men, from various political and social fronts, reflect they aren't assisting you or me, the bottom feeders of technology and life, but instead, they are herding us up into a conglomeration of people to know all, see all and tell all about whenever WE (or I or You) get out of lockstep. Freedom and Rights are far from their thoughts.

Sure, we can blog about it. Or send up a Youtube video expressing our displeasure - like the Britney Spears freak. Or email our 100 closest friends on Myspace. But that chatter is just that: chatter. The plug can be pulled; the outrage silenced; the comments pulled; and we can be investigated, deemed "crazy", and no one really will get too fussy. (Look at how quickly the man in Florida, who said, "don't tase me bro!!!" disappeared.)

We can only try - but in the end, when I it's all been swell, and we've "towed the line", for the idea of Democracy, Capitalism and the American Way, we will soon see the greater damage done in allowing a few too many tyrants tells us what to do, when to do it, and how to be conformists to their world view.

That's my rant!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Songs of Rock: These aren't your grandpa's music

Motorhead's Ace of Spades - energy is a word.

Led Zeppelin's Dazed and Confused - John Bonham, as usual, does righteous justice to the skins.

Led doing Whole Lotta Love (just pictures) - blues-inspired (I wanna be your backdoor man), uses echo as a precursor to the main vocal (way down inside, woman), just fucking drives in parts. Shake for me girl!!!

Rush's YYZ live - named for the call letters of Toronto's airport, I like the framework of this as it shows off Alex Lifeson guitar work and Neil Peart on the skins. Geddy Lee on the bass is pretty tight too. As an added bonus: The Rhythm Method - Drum Solo is tacked on to the end of YYZ.

Kiss's Detriot Rock City live: Always a classic. Sound is a little rough. And no makeup...ah, what a tragedy.

The Who's Baba O'Riley live. This song has been inserted into movies and commercials galore. (And a House episode.) This coming from a band that was often overlooked because of the Stones and Beatles, except by those who knew music. Keith Moon was sorely missed after 1978. John Entwistle death was sad, but not too soon. Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey still are doing it though.

I wish I could go on, but the Library is closing!!!! Later !

Thursday, November 29, 2007

George Carlin: Message I read at Quiet Symphony

A Quiet Symphony posted this message from George Carlin, one of my favorite comedians of all:

The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but
shorter tempers, wider Freeways, but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but
have less, we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller
families, more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees but less sense,
more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more
medicine, but less wellness.

We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom. We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often. We've learned how to make a living, but not a life. We've added years to life not life to years. We've been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor. We conquered outer space but not inner space. We've done larger things, but not better things.We've cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We've conquered the atom, but not our prejudice. We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less. We've learned to rush, but not to wait. We build more
computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we
communicate less and less.

These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men and small character, steep profits and shallow relationships. These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses, but broken homes. These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill. It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the stockroom. A time when technology can bring this letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to share this insight, or to just hit delete...

Remember; spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going to be around forever. Remember, say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe,
because that little person soon will grow up and leave your side. Remember, to
give a warm hug to the one next to you, because that is the only treasure you
can give with your heart and it doesn't cost a cent. Remember, to say, "I love
you" to your partner and your loved ones, but most of all mean it. A kiss and an
embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep inside of you. Remember to hold
hands and cherish the moment for someday that person will not be there
again. Give time to love, give time to speak! And give time to share the precious
thoughts in your mind.

AND ALWAYS REMEMBER: Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.

George Carlin

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Career Path: Live Career.Com Assessment of Me

I've done these types of tests before, to gauge where I should go in my life, as far as a career.

According to Live Career my best options:

Your highest score was on Writing, which means that you
enjoy creative or technical writing. You are also likely to be interested in a
broad range subjects, so finding occupations that allow you to exercise these
interests would lead to higher work satisfaction for you. You also scored highly on Teaching / Social Service, indicating that you
enjoy instructing people in learning new things, helping people solve problems,
and assisting others
. Your high score on the Persuasive
means that you enjoy work which involves influencing, advising,
counseling, guiding, motivating or directing the activities of others.

On the downside:

Your lowest interest score was on Clerical. You’re not
likely to be fulfilled doing routine office work that involves filing,
record-keeping, word processing, operating office machines, attending to
details, and other repetitive office tasks
. You also showed low interest on Systematic, so you dislike routine assignments in which
order and persistent, steady effort are required
. Job security is
not so important to you
. Plus, you can tolerate frequent schedule
changes and situations in which you must make quick decisions. Finally, your low
score on Industrial Art means that you wouldn’t enjoy making or
repairing things using machinery, or by hand.

Next they defined my approach to work. That ought to be fun to look at!!!

My high scores:
Investigative types enjoy the challenge of problem solving in mathematics, technology, and sciences, and the abstract and practical ideas related to these areas. Applied science, such as engineering, technology or computer science may also be of interest to them. They can be technically creative.
Artistic types are often thought of as original and creative by others. Such people enjoy expressing themselves in artistic ways such as acting, dancing, creating music or visual art, or by expressing their ideas either through discussion or debate.
Social types are interested in helping to keep others emotionally or physically healthy, or in teaching others. They enjoy giving advice and working directly with people, either in groups or individually.

Med Scores:
Enterprising types are people-oriented. They like to talk to, influence and persuade others. They are confident, adventurous, assertive and show leadership.
Attentive types enjoy helping others, serving others' personal needs and looking after the comfort and well-being of others. They are happy in jobs requiring sociability, politeness, patience and a happy disposition.

Low Scores:
Conventional types enjoy supervising others in jobs where rules and tasks are well defined. They show careful attention to detail, are organized, follow instructions well and prefer jobs where their daily duties are regular and fixed.

Realistic types like physical activity, working with their hands, and are mechanically-inclined. They enjoy working outdoors and do not mind physical risks on the job.
After that, disappointingly, they skip to what they are really after - money.

They do try to guise this process as a way to get to a career. However, like MAPP (another assessment test they are tied to), they are really only interested in getting you to pay them $30, $50 or $100 or more for the analysis of what you need to be doing.
It is a fairly accurate portrait of me.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Oldies but Goodies: A few songs, a joke and a smile

Stevie Wonder on Sesame Street doing Superstition. Love the horn section!!!

The Rokes -Let's Live for Today. Grass Roots did the song too - more popularly.

Grass Roots doing it, introduced by Jimmy Durante (Ah cha cha cha!!)

And The Bee Gees live in 1997 doing 1970's classic Tragedy. Even a high voice doesn't mean they couldn't be cool!!!!

The Joke (on the cusp of another Middle East peace conference in Annapolis):

A older Jewish man was walking through the Golan Heights, in usual thought about what the world was, is and what it should be. By happenstance, he stumbled upon a partially cover lamp, with ancient decor and an odd shape. He picked it up and rubbed off the sparkling sand.

With a jolt, an eruption of gas from the lamp appeared. The Jewish man nearly stumbled and fell, but managed to keep his balance as he gripped the bottle. The gas took form; a genie of purple persuasion with bells and silken pajamas finally came into clear form.

"I am the genie of the lamp! I will grant you one wish of anything you desire - but only one! Choose wisely." The genie thundered.

"I wish for peace in the Middle Eastern countries, specifically Israel, Lebanon, Iran, Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Turkey," The Jewish man retorted.

The genie, paused, taken aback, and unfortunately proclaimed: "I am sorry dear friend. I can not grant you that wish. The complexities, ramifications and brutal history of this region is beyond my powers. I will grant you anything...anything at all, but alas, not that."

The man stood perplexed, then an idea: "Well, can I obtain a blowjob from my wife?"

"So......when you're saying peace, exactly what do you mean?"

(The joke was read in a GQ magazine some years ago.)


Monday, November 26, 2007

Cost of War: How (not) to spend a trillion (or more) dollars?

In the run up to the Iraqi and Afghanistan war (with a March 2003 invasion of Iraq), the Bush administration estimated the Iraq war would cost no more than $50 billion.
Ha! Ha! Fooled Ya!

Instead, depending on your accounting skills, interest payments, which United States dollars (2002 or 2007) you will use, or what counts as a military expenditure, the cost projections run from just over $1 Trillion to over $2.6 Trillion U.S. Dollars. Which it turns out will put it in the WWII ballpark (see above graphic of U.S. War Costs) of what it costs to wage war. Yikes!

NY Times things to buy:
  1. Universal Preschool ($35 Billion)

  2. Treating Heart Disease and Diabetes ($50 Billion)

My things that the United States could have bought with the $1,000,000,000,000 spent in Iraq:

· 4,000,000 homes at a price of $250,000 per pad. In the Midwest, this could reasonably get you a 3-bedroom, 2-bath, 2-car garage home. Given the current mortgage crisis, this would have been a pretty suite (get it, sweet) deal.

· Recently my local school district renovated the high school for $50,000,000. Figuring a 1,000-student facility, this purchase price could build 20,000 schools and educate 20,000,000 kids. More reasonably, I suspect 10,000 schools and 7.5-10 million kids.

· Create 1,000,000 millionaires. 1 in 300 existing Americans, could suddenly become wealthy enough to create businesses, go to school, purchase 1,000,000 cars, 1,000,000 homes and eat everyday without worry. The amount that would be put to use for entreprenuerial ventures would create plenty of wealth on the backside.

· A typical computer system (say a laptop) costs around $1,500 to $2,000 with added software packages, peripherals, security, etc. 500 systems for $1,000,000. One for every man, woman and child in America with $400,000,000,000 left over for high-end systems. Course it would be good for only 2-3 years. But then again, what good has this war been???

· Infrastructure in America is failing. Say a mile of pave road (4-lane with reasonable width) costs $2,000,000. 500,000 miles of road: Two hundred fifty - 2,000 miles in length Interstates. That's enough road to get to the moon and back comfortably.

· $500,000,000,000 payment on Federal Debt would strengthen the dollar a bit.

. $100 per barrel of oil. 10,000 barrels for $1,000,000. 10,000,000 barrels for 1 billion. This is only ½ days worth of usage…in America.

. Nuclear Power Plants are the most effecient of all electrical generators. The cost of a 1,000 MW plant is (estimated) at $5 Billion. Currently, 103 plants provide 20% of the nation's electrical energy. With the right spending we could up this to nearly 60% reliance on Nuclear Power - cost effectively. Too bad 3-Mile Island keeps on being brought up.

War spending is really never constructive at all.

Destruction is the goal. Though I realize we need to be secure, how about using some good old fashion diplomacy before going full tilt to war?

All Americans paid for this Bush-inspired Boondoggle.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Bonds Indictment: Unforgivable...that's what you are...???

In a not so sudden turn of events, Barry Bonds has been indicted on 4 counts of perjury and 1 count of obstruction of justice charges.

As The NY Times reports:

"The charges stem from his Dec. 4, 2003, testimony to a federal grand
jury. He denied knowingly taking steroids...The United States attorney’s office
for the Northern District of California has been investigating whether Mr. Bonds
perjured himself in December 2003 when he told a grand jury in San Francisco
that he did not knowingly use performance enhancing drugs, despite drastic
changes to his physique and documents with his name on them from 2001 to 2003 showing drug schedules

After these 4 years, and likely a huge amount of money spent on gathering evidence, chasing down witnesses and holding grand jury proceedings twice, they finally "got" him.

It really didn't surprise me that they waited this long. It was in some regards a better way to destroy the man, after setting the record, than say, stopping him from it before hand. For those that may disagree, it would have been seen as an isolated one case, one instance, of wrongdoing because it so happen that Bonds was about to break baseball's most hallowed record. By allowing him to break it (and not besmirching baseball mid-season), the prosecution now can proceed forward vigorously knowing out of sight, out of mind. And more importantly, how people feel about Bonds - dislike is only one word to describe - and how he will not be a sympathetic defendant.

One thing is for certain, Bonds will be considered for the "unforgivable list" of athletes that in some way made a dark stain on their chosen sport.

For myself, and not being a rooter for the Giants or in anyway enamored with Bonds, I do feel some sympathy for him. I know this was a planned attack on his singular achievement. So much so, that even our current President decided to make a statement via a spokesman about this, just an hour after it was handed down:

"The president is very disappointed to hear this," Bush spokesman Tony
Fratto said. "As this case is now in the criminal justice system, we will
refrain from any further specific comments about it. But clearly this is a sad
day for baseball."

Funny, this is coming from the former managing partner of the Texas Rangers (Bush) that traded for patient zero, Jose Canseco, whose usage of Performance Enhancers has been well known since the late 1980's. And the General Manager of Jose's initial team (A's): Sandy Alderson, now works for Bud Selig, the commissioner of baseball. Plenty of connections - and plenty of high ranking men in baseball that buried their head in the sand for years. (To the increase of revenues in the baseball from $2 billion in 1995 to $6 Billion this past year.)

Bonds is a victim of his own greed and place in history. He felt his pay was tied to hitting dingers into McCovey Cove - and it was - and his legacy as a baseball player was tied to his putting up outlandish numbers - and it probably was.

Do I feel Steroids alone did this for him? No, not exactly in the way people perceive it to be. Maybe it is more due to recovery from aches and pains, not gaining untold (and unmeasured, I might add) strength to crush that "bee ball" out of the yard.

It is my contention that the baseball, itself, was doctored up by 1994 to produce the ERA of extra base hits (doubles specifically), not just the jacks that sail mightily over the fence into new and improved dining areas of these ballyards.

IF Bonds is unforgivable...
Then baseball is unforgivable..TOO.

Other stories: ESPN report

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Governmental Reform: It may not be what you want, but I am open to suggestions, unlike politicians

To change the direction of this country, it is my belief that several initiatives should take place to rectify much of what has gone astray under the recent administration, and many prior ones. If I screw this up, well, at least I’m not going to run for office ever.

A. Term changes in Congress and the Presidency:
1) U.S. Representatives – 3 years, maximum of 5 terms or 15 total years.
2) U.S. Senator – 6 years, maximum 3 terms, maximum of 18 years, 1/2 up for election every 3 years.
3) President – 6 years, 1 term only: Vote of Confidence by U.S. Senate in 3rd year, but prior to the National Election.

Term limits are necessary to get people working on government instead of working to be elected for governance. It will still allow for adequate experience in the procedure and policy arenas, while introducing new blood into the mix regularly. The amount of time in total could be shortened - however, experience in governance is still needed.

The Vote of Confidence process is a way to reverse an election wrong without impeachment proceedings. As much as we can dislike a person for their subterfuges, some that are necessary in the world of governing, not all rise to a legal necessity of high crimes and misdemeanors. But when confidence flails in a leader, an immediate remedy of this sort should be available. A 60% supermajority would be needed to remove a President from office – with the Speaker of the House inserted as interim President until the National Election if the vote deems a removal. The Vote would take place 120 days before the November election cycle, or the 1st week in July after the 4th of July holiday.

This radical change in Presidential Power would be balanced by the Line-Item Veto for Military/Pentagon appropriations only. As commander-in-chief, it should fall under his purview to strike items or send back bills related to the proper working of the U.S. military. However, for non-Defense items, current limiting veto powers would still apply. In essence, military spending would be a separate bill from the Budget submitted yearly.

B. Department of Energy and Environmental Affairs.

Combining the Dept. of Energy & Interior, the goal is to step up coordination of Energy and Environmental concerns. With global warming concerns, energy impacts and our nation’s failing infrastructure tied in many ways together, it falls on this new office to carry out a new strategic plan.
Education of Americans – starting in elementary school – about impacts to, and betterment of, the environment would fall under this office, via a liaison to the Dept. of Education. By high school, a nationwide program in environment and business operations taught via Internet, computer and practical applications should be in operation by 2016.

Expenditures on nuclear power plants, eco-friendly fueling stations (subsidizing where necessary) and solar, wind, tidal & wave, hydropower and geo-thermal resources will be ramped up dramatically.

Businesses that make significant contributions in reduction of carbon emissions; work alongside government/university recommendations; or, design better technology or environment protecting services, will be given tax breaks in line with their work.

Individuals that do similar improvements will receive even greater incentives for a limited period of time. (3-5 years.)

Coordinating with other nations to achieve significant progress in favorable ideas for unilateral or multi-national energy plans and discussing cutting edge technologies to address energy shortfalls would be a high priority.

Lastly, national infrastructure would be reevaluated to optimize the distribution of future resources and properly design for the next 50-150 years of United States development. Agricultural, Eco-Industrial, Eco-Transportation and Electrical would be restructured to fit with energy and environmental models designed and developed by experts in Urban Planning and Environmental Protection.

C. Criminal Statutes & Punishment.
The laws of America have become too unwieldy to manage effectively. Sometimes, the task should be to clean up the criminal and civil code instead of adding more pages to the rule of law. State to state, the legal code is as varied as the legal representation received by defendants and the prosecutorial talent running the jurisdictions. As a result, it not only takes a law degree – it takes several men with law degrees to sometimes sort out what exactly a law means, or what it meant when it was applied. Somehow, simplicity needs to be a goal. Things like mandatory minimums, sentencing guidelines, archaic drug laws and technology related statutes need to be revised and gutted appropriately. A few specific thoughts are below:

  • The adversarial system has proven to have its flaws in the determination of justice toward our people. It works too hard on pinning guilt on one side or the other and works little to spell out the truth and reformation of the guilty party.
  • The criminalization of a variety of offenses is also weighing down America’s judicial system. The extreme and frivolous cost to provide shelter without dignity, without obligation to improve the inmate, without developing interpersonal skills of said inmate is actually causing more violence to occur while serving the sentence and further promotes it after service of their sentence in society.
  • Environment and genetics play more than just a passing role in our makeup as individuals. People instinctually are driven to what they know too well – ask any psychologist or psychiatrist. They take up the actions of their role models and care providers. Their genetic background is even more decisively influential than in others with less prevalent contact with negative influences due to how we find cyclical problems take place due to poor backgrounds and genetic misalignment.
  • In concert with that thought, I would ask for reduction of sentences for less heinous crimes to foster the reduction of convicts in the prison system. America is the most penal society in the world. (Over 2,200,000 prisoners) Why? Because many crimes involving lesser offenses are being considered for long jail time, instead of immediate rehabilitative and positive-reinforcing situations. We start many persons at such an early age toward a wrecked life, without nearly no possibility of correction, due to a society that judges the idea of someone "doing time" as being an irreparable human, not worthy of further consideration. It takes a long and lucky road to manage out of it. (Nearly 4 in 5 inmates come back.) It also takes love of an unusual sort, not found in many hearts I am afraid to say.
  • If this impetus was done appropriately the results would work in a decade or two of time – we would raise children in loving environments, remove at least the environmental aspect of destruction, give a better opportunity to make it out of the situations, and have punishment fit the crimes in many cases.

D. Education. A forward looking model should be worked out that addresses widening disparities in social-economic, racial and gender situations. With the advent and pervasive use of computer and applications, the balance of knowledge has (or can) shift to those whose access is greatest to the latest technology. Standards are often preached in regards to student’s achievement, however, those standards should also apply to teachers, whose goal is to enlighten minds, shape possibilities and grant access to knowledge both well-known and little-used.

Curriculum needs to incorporate business understanding, individual finance, understanding of media & its role and scientific topics to a greater degree. It may be wise to come up with 2-3 different learning tracts - based on curricula, not a student's level of achievement solely - to somehow improve each student's knowledge base related to their level of interest in certain subjects.

E. Foreign Policy.
Somehow, we should be engaging all nations in order to improve upon the ideal of the United Nations. Its main goals are peace and human dignity. With the environment so vital to all nations, whose climates stretch from rainforest to desert, plains to mountains, warm and tropical to cold and arctic, the interaction between all of us needs to be moving to a peaceful, unified future, not to sectionalism, religious affiliations or back to Nation-first WWI mentalities.

With the current war on terrorism, often shaped by political missteps, back alley deals and religious fanaticism, America has to open up lines of communication if we are going to succeed in improving trust and addressing, forcefully, those that are actually seeking to do the United States greatest harm.

To somehow improve the path other nations are on, by political discussions and incentives, not by threats and sanctions.

To further the development and strength of the United Nations – by championing the work of other member nations to address crises when they arise. Instead of insisting on a United States path, we should empower the Nations more often, to address economic, social and military issues. (This should be done within a Security framework that protects Americans foremost among the concerns.)

These are "just for beginners" - as to the improvement of our U.S. government.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Wisdom: From me? Naw, from a Rogue

I stopped by my friendly neighborhood Rogue Professor (Michael B. Dycus, Ph.D) for some sage advice.

Lately, I've been in foul and ghastly mood. It might have to do with the fumes I huffed in while driving my poor '91 Corrolla to its ultimate demise off dead car's curve. It racked up 320,000+ miles in the past 16 years, 100,000 while I was driving it over the past 3 years. In the end, the gas tank and fuel line corroded so bad, I was leaking plenty of gas.
Mine was Blue. And Rusty. And had 2 non-working doors.

(Sunday: I spent $25 dollars to complete a 75-mile route. Normally it takes $10-12. Monday: I spent $45. Realize that I wasn't given much of an option by my immediate family, who in their mindset, figure it's ok to do this. The mechanic was not "in" on Monday. So, I had to "make due." Tuesday: The car was deemed undriveable, well duh!, and my mother fretted over getting any other vehicle. Her sister said, "Well, I'm not going to get him another one. Will just have to call it quits on that paper route." Meanwhile, my mother finally worked out a deal for a '95 Taurus for $700. (Oh, I do the looking if I had a cent to my name. The money made on the route - well, I never see it. ))
Back to The Newspaper Chase, The Rogue Professor posted the following 10 Wisdoms:

10 Wisdom Keys
When you want something you've never had before, you must do something you've never done before.
In other words, you have to "break the pattern" of normalcy.
Something desired and unattainable under your current pattern of actions will only be acquired when said pattern of actions are changed to incorporate "inclusion" of the thing desired.
When you are where you belong--your "genius" will appear.
What's your passion?
What are you very good at or most interested in?
Whatever that "place" is, that's where your genius lives and will blossom.
Give that place an assignment(a goal), and it will surely bring itself to the fore.
What you can tolerate--you will not be able to change.
If you refuse to tolerate it--it must change.
There's not a more simple way to put it.
You have to get sick and tired of being sick and tired.
Once you've done that, things will change.
It's just one of those Laws.
What you make happen for others, will eventually cause a reciprocal action as well as attract like actions.
Doing good things---attracts good things.
This concept increases exponentially over time.
The Secret of your future is hidden in your daily Routine.
Habits create your future.
Whatever your current state of affairs are is the direct result of your daily habits, thoughts, and actions from childhood until now.
Change your thoughts and routine to fit the desired outcome of what you want for the future----your future becomes created.
Your rewards in life are decided by the kinds of "problems" you are willing to solve for others.
You are rewarded (paid) in direct proportion to your value to society.
Find a problem--locate or create a solution--then offer that solution, solving the problem.
Do this and the rewards come.
What you respect---you will attract.
Thoughts have a profound presence.
What you think about in terms of respect, creates actions.
The more solid the thought patterns, the greater attraction of the thing respected.
You can respect ideas, concepts, processes, systems and philosophies.
Find time to "sit at the feet of uncommon" people.
These are the ones who are successful.
Give them your attention (respect).
The results: you will learn more, and in doing so, attract more things to learn and incorporate.
If you insist on being a "taker" abundance will be much more difficult to acquire.
Instead, focus and concentrate on being a "creator" of values rather than just a "consumer" of values.
Create or introduce a value that provides a solution and abundance follows.
If you are not creating values, you are consuming values.
Value consumers seem to be caught up in the cogs of mediocrity--which only begets more mediocrity.
Utilize Belief, Acceptance, and Release.
Believe you can have what you desire.
Accept the fact that it will occur.
Release it--give it permission to occur.
These are probably the most profound, yet perfectly accurate concepts you will use and cultivate over time.
Plant an "uncommon seed", it will bring forth an "uncommon harvest".
What "uncommon seed" can you plant?
What value could you create or introduce?
Give this seed its "assignment" as you plant it.
It can only bring forth that " uncommon harvest"--the abundance you intend.

Latin for: "I will either find a way or make one"

I would say those last words are pretty decent thoughts to live by. I'd say most famously successful people, not through inheritance or their looks, have had to "MAKE A HOLE" in a situation in order to get their thoughts or ideas accomplished.
Anywho, I will try to follow these ideas - though they do remind me of other books (I dissed recently.)

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Blogging Hiatus: I need a break

Sorry to disappoint, but that is apart of life...
I won't be blogging too much here for a while. It is not for lack of topics - Leadership, Global Economy, Environment, Life in General - but it has to do with my current feelings...

I'd like to blame the weather change - Fall brings on depression in me - and the holidays.
I'd like to blame myself for not accomplishing much lately. Uninspired, tied down by relatives, finances, ghosts and goblins, etc.
I'd rather be anywhere else, with anyone else, but me.

Shifting gears is hard without the grease in the transmission. I clunk along, grinding my way through a desolate path. The flowers are dead. The animals mute. The eagles are gone.

It just doesn't get any worse than this...(Non-Miller Time.)
Time to travel to the Land of misfit people. Where I don't get the love - or the Led out - and the days spin in a mindless vortex sucking and sucking you all the way down the pipe.

Enough!!! I've heard that a thousand times in my waking and sleepy moments. The dawn gets better. It is darkest before the dawn. (Again.) Go to the light!!! See your way through!!!

Personal Power.

How to Win Friends and Influence People (Or how to con people and get them to do what you want...an all-time favorite of my worst enemy.)

These are a few of my least favorite things... set to a The Sound of Music:

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown papper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things...
If I also had a hammer...I'd hammer the neocons, Bush-lites, dumb DAs, Nancy Grace, Wild Bill O'Reilly, Dennis "I used to be funny AND had a career" Miller, women that don't eat, men that don't stop eating, people that deny Global Warming, Racism and think Capitalism is "super swell."

I don't need a Jeannie -- unless she looks like this -- but damn, I'd take States and Capitals to block Wink Martindale. Or maybe Baseball History for true Daily Double, Alex Trebek. Just give me a swing for the fence -- And I'll hit that sum bitch to the not-so-cheap seats.
As is, I get to promote the 2007 World Series DVD. (20% off 2007 World Series DVD set plus $1 shipping at A&E! Offer ends11/18/07.)
It was a quick, effective showing by the Sabermetric guided team from Beantown. They are doing it right...after four score and six years of defeatism...
If it takes me that long, The year will be 2068...
Adios for a while!!! (and for those that often stop by, I'll make it a point to visit your blogs. At least you deem me worth a visit.)
P.S. I would include another shameless picture of a beautiful woman, however, to decrease cries of exploitation, calls for censorship, and destruction of a blog, I'll pass...
It was though, very, very, very tempting....just couldn't find the woman that fit. ;)--X

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Scream Queens: It's all in the horror family

As we approach Halloween, AMC is running a ten-day marathon of horror films. All classics, filled with names you know, and some you don’t. (They need a Robert Osborne from TCM to do their movies.)

Janet Leigh (1927-2004) as Marion Crane in Psycho made showering for a young, pretty innocent girl/woman seem like a permanent hassle. I am by no means an expert on this movie, but it is very loosely based on the true-life story of Wisconsin psychopath Ed Gein, who murdered and mutilated women and pranced around at night, draped in their skin.

Nice guy – I suspect getting in touch with their skin was just “a phase.” (And it seems the weirdest ones are from Wisconsin–Illinois. Jeffrey Dahmer and Richard Speck come to mind. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre of Tobe Hooper is also "loosely based" , even more gruesomely, on this weirdo. Silence of the Lambs makes Hollywood profit off Gein's absolute sickness.)

Janet Leigh was more than a pretty, well-endowed starlet. She was in The Manchurian Candidate, Touch of Evil, Bye Bye Birdie, Holiday Affair and Angels in the Outfield. (Angels saw her as a reporter on a team that suddenly get the help it needs…Joe DiMaggio, Marilyn Monroe’s one oddly befitting love, appear in this vehicle. I think Janet is a better dame.)

Leigh had pretty decent range – and a comic side that became lost after her Psycho role.

Her offspring, Jamie Lee Curtis, made her big move into the business with her role in Halloween. This movie rocks, even today. The building to impending doom and the maniacal, steroid-enhanced strength of a unstoppable stalker are classic horror traits. (John Carpenter had to make the eerie music because he couldn’t afford a real orchestral arrangement – it worked out, since that is really the most memorable thing.)

Around the same time, Jamie and Janet appeared in The Fog (1980), with Hal Holbrook getting the “last-killed” moniker in the flick. This film drags, in my opinion, and neither one is really that good in it. (Not to sound perverted, but Janet still had a nice pair in 1980, at 52. Adrienne Barbeau also played in this film. Can you say “casting couch”? Or a director with a boob fetish? John Carpenter? No way? Yes, way.) Mrs. Jamie Lee Curtis (Guest) has gone onto a successful career in the movies, with A Fish Called Wanda and a Freaky Lindsay Lohan, and kids' books, Is There Really a Human Race?

Twenty years later, Halloween H20 came out with both Leigh and Curtis appearing once again together. I don’t remember much of this film; but I the critics actually enjoyed it much better than the other Halloween sequels.

Janet Leigh was sought after by plenty of men (and a woman.)

Howard Hughes wanted to bed her – or at least exploit her like some of his other glamour girls (Jane Russel in The Outlaw) while running RKO pictures. (See: Hughes' Jet Pilot with John Wayne below.) Hughes would have bored her with Ice Station Zebra – his bedtime fav – and no matter how much you’re worth, a woman has her limits to eccentricity.

Kirk Douglas, who starred with her in The Vikings, fantasized about her breasts after his stroke. (And AMC this morning followed up Halloween with The Fury, with Kurt Douglas, Amy Irving and Andrew Stevens. Coincidence? Or not?)

Tony Curtis married her only to screw that up. After a decade of decadence, running around with the Rat Pack, Curtis and Leigh were heading in different directions - personally and career wise. He was into some dope, among other things. So Hubby #3 was gone after a decade. Screen Harlet Marlene Deitrich evidently liked to go both ways – and made it known to Janet & Tony. Tony of course was game; Janet not so much.

Leigh would married 4 times; the last time lasting over 40 years to Robert Brandt, a stockbroker. Her first marital rodeo took place at 14, about the time Pearl Harbor, and was annulled after a day. Her second was to a musician that lasted only a short while longer. Then along came Tony Curtis when she was a rising star in the early 1950’s, and he was still, just another face in Hollywood's den of dames and don juans. Their marriage is compared to Cruise and Kidman in it's dynamics. And was similiarly not destined to last.

Her final hubby married her only hours after the divorce ink was dry to Tony. After that, Leigh was more interested in societal matters, once asked to be an ambassador to Finland during Johnson's administration.

Her contribution to the horror genre is remarkable given it was done cheaply (15,000 pounds), at a time when some actresses could get upwards of $500,000 per movie. She assisted Hitchcock to legendary status with a blood curling scream, a pert body and an understated, short role. And produced the next generation of horror films, via her daughter, Jamie Lee.