Wednesday, January 30, 2008

No thanks, I prefer Toll House cookies

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti - It was lunchtime in one of Haiti's worst slums, and Charlene Dumas was eating mud.

With food prices rising, Haiti's poorest can't afford even a daily plate of rice, and some take desperate measures to fill their bellies.

Charlene, 16 with a 1-month-old son, has come to rely on a traditional Haitian remedy for hunger pangs: cookies made of dried yellow dirt from the country's central plateau.

The mud has long been prized by pregnant women and children here as an antacid and source of calcium. But in places such as Cité Soleil, the oceanside slum where Charlene shares a two-room house with her baby, five siblings and two unemployed parents, cookies made of dirt, salt and vegetable shortening have become a regular meal.

Though she likes their buttery, salty taste, Charlene said the cookies also give her stomach pains.

Is it just me, or is something wrong with a country where the people think nothing of eating dirt?


We've been getting hit with snowstorms around here; had a half a foot yesterday, couple of inches last night, and we are getting predictions from the weather oracles that we may get storms Friday and Sunday. Hurray for global warming!


Looks like I need to get into my heart doctor soon; the edema in my legs seems to have increased a bit, and my feet are looking somewhat large if I don't prop them up quite a bit during the day.


My playlist today seems to have a lot of oldies in it; half of the top ten is from my later teen years. Can't seem to get interested in the newer rock music; I prefer old rock, old country, blues and jazz. If I'm doing a lot of reading or studying, I usually put on baroque music, nothing like Bach or Vivaldi to stimulate the mind.
Any thoughts or interesting comments on this batch?

"(We Ain't Got) Nothin' Yet" by Blues Magoos
"All My Life" by Howlin' Wolf
"In the Mood" by Glenn Miller
"3 O'Clock in the Morning Blues" by Ike & Tina Turner
"Seceret Agent Man" by Johnny Rivers
"Cruisin' With the Duece" by Quarterflash
"Fresh Garbage" by Spirit
"I Know You're Out There Somewhere" by The Moody Blues
"Tube Snake Boogie" by ZZ Top
"Highwayman" by The Highwaymen

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Something different

A little video someone (not me) put together with one of my favorite performers doing one of my favorite songs. If you're over 30, you can probably identify with this one quite easily, especially sung by this lady.

Sometimes It's A Bitch

Written by Jon Bon Jovi and Billy Falcon.

Well I've run through rainbows and castles of candy
I cried a river of tears from the pain
I try to dance with what life has to hand me
My partner's been pleasure my partner's been pain

There are days when I swear I could fly like an eagle
And dark desperate hours that nobody sees
My arms stretched triumphant on top of the mountain
My head in my hands down on my knees

Sometimes it's a bitch sometimes it's a breeze
Sometimes love's blind and sometimes it sees
Sometimes it's roses and, sometimes it's weeds
Sometimes it's a bitch sometimes it's a breeze

I've reached in darkness and come out with treasure
I've laid down with love and I woke up with lies
What's it all worth only the heart can measure
It's not what's in the mirror but what's left inside

Sometimes it's a bitch sometimes it's a breeze
Sometimes love's blind and sometimes it sees
Sometimes it's roses and, sometimes it's weeds
Sometimes it's a bitch sometimes it's a breeze

You gotta take it as it comes
Sometimes it don't come easy

I've run through rainbows and castles of candy
And I've cried a river of tears from the pain
I tried to dance with what life had to hand me
And if I could I'd do it all over again

Sometimes it's a bitch sometimes it's a breeze
Sometimes love's blind and sometimes it sees
Sometimes it's roses and, sometimes it's weeds
Sometimes it's a bitch sometimes it's a breeze
Sometimes the picture just ain't what it seems
You get what you want but it's not what you need
Sometimes it's a bitch sometimes it's a breeze
Well it's a breeze it's a breeze it's a breeze

Dealing with winter

Figured I'd start the day off without a rant.
My wife mailed this to me; it actually isn't that far off...

Degrees of Cold

60 degrees F: Southern Californians shiver uncontrollably. People in New England sunbathe.

50 degrees F: New Yorkers try to turn on the heat. People in New England plant gardens.

40 degrees F: Italian and English cars won't start. People in New England drive with the windows down.

32 degrees F: Distilled water freezes. The water in Moosehead Lake in Maine gets thicker.

20 degrees F: Floridians don coats, thermal underwear, gloves and wool hats. People in New England throw on a flannel shirt.

15 degrees F: New York landlords finally turn up the heat. People in New England have a last cookout before it gets cold.

0 degrees F: All the people in Miami die. New Englanders close their windows.

10 degrees below zero: Californians fly away to Mexico. The girl scouts in New England are selling cookies door to door.

25 degrees below zero: Hollywood disintegrates. People in New England get out their winter coats.

40 degrees below zero: Washington runs out of hot air. People in New England let their dogs sleep indoors.

100 degrees below zero: Santa Claus abandons the North Pole. New Englanders get frustrated because they can't start their 'kahs.'

460 degrees below zero: All atomic motion stops--absolute zero on the Kelvin scale. People in New England start saying, 'Cold 'nuff for ya?'

500 degrees below zero: Hell freezes over and the Red Sox win the World Series.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Toy registration?

A Cornish village drama group has had to register a toy gun with the police to comply with health and safety rules.

Carnon Downs drama group in Cornwall have also had to keep their plastic cutlasses and wooden swords locked up for the pantomime, Robinson Crusoe.

Drama group co-director Linda Barker said: "The cutlasses count as weapons even though they are replicas and made of plastic and apparently they could be mistaken for real ones.

"Our only gun was a panto pistol which produces a flag with the word bang on it.

"Our local police at Truro were fantastic and they have registered the gun, the two plastic cutlasses and our six wooden swords."

Wow. What can you say to that, other than WTF?


Thank you to all the people who dropped with good wishes. I ended up having a rack of babyback ribs, battered fries, salad, and a 24 oz mug of an excellent porter that is brewed special for the establishment at which my wife took me. Luckily my cholesterol is under control...


Got about 9 inches of snow here, and it is coming down fast; in a while I am going to have to go out and swing a snow shovel; that should take care of some of the extra calories I splurged on over the weekend.

Running an odd mix in my playlist today, as you can tell from the top ten:

"Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town" by Waylon Jennings
"Veteran of the Psychic Wars" by Blue Öyster Cult
"Turn the Page" by Bob Seger
"Guinnevere" by Crosby, Stills and Nash
"Tumbling Tumbleweeds" by Eddy Arnold
"You Don't Have to Say You Love Me" by Dusty Springfield
"It's My Life" by The Animals
"Long Haired Country Boy" by The Charlie Daniels Band
"La Grange" by ZZ Top
"The Last Time I Saw Paris" by Dave Brubeck

Any comments, reflections, or what-not?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

More babbling from an old coot...

Looks like it's been a week since I last posted; I don't know how some people do multiple postings every day. They're probably more organized than me, as can be seen in the content of my blogging. My brain tends to wander around aimlessly, dropping bits and pieces from my thoughts as I go.

I tried to keep up with the presidential candidates, but have decided to wait a while after watching them for a bit. It seems like once they get in front of a microphone, they go into something that sounds suspiciously like the adults in the "Peanuts" cartoons: "Wah-wah, wah-wah, wah-wah." Every time they get up to talk, they grab a shovel and start slinging the bullshit right and left. And both parties seem to be guilty; the only difference is in the size and shape of the shovels. Maybe once they get to the bottom of the pile they will start talking sense. Of course that is making the assumption that the Fourth Estate can actually do a professional job, rather than weaving the usual skein of drivel as they do so well.

Normally around here we get a brief thaw in the middle of January, but not this year. It was 10°F when I got up at 600, and now at 1730 it has gotten up to 15°F. W00t! The cold weather and lack of decent sunlight seems to be affecting some people with the blahs; I know it has smacked me good. Sometimes I think apathy is worse than depression, at least with depression you can kill some time by moping.

Finally got around to doing some reading; just finished the latest Repairman Jack novel; I got hooked on those years ago. Tomorrow I'll be starting on A Distant Mirror by Barbara W. Tuchman. Mike over at mike-istan posted about it and it sounded promising. It's a little more modern than most of the history I tend to read about Europe, but it definitely looks worthwhile.

Saturday night I'll be going off my dieting somewhat; Sunday I turn 56, so a steak dinner (or maybe ribs; depends on my mood that night) sounded like a good way to celebrate/mourn the occasion.

Again, today's playlist tends to be oldies; I think most of these first ten predate the majority of the readers here. Any thoughts or comments about them?

"Lili Marlene" by Dave Brubeck
"Summer Wind" by Frank Sinatra
"Carefree Highway" by Gordon Lightfoot
"Days of Wine and Roses" by Henry Mancini
"Living in the Past " by Jethro Tull
"Castles Made of Sand" by Jimi Hendrix
"Songs to Aging Children Come" by Joni Mitchell
"White Rabbit" by Jefferson Airplane
"She's a Fool" by Lesley Gore
"Sweet Dreams" by Patsy Cline

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

You really have to wonder about some people...

Even for the once-notorious Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood, it may have been a first: Two men were arrested on Tuesday after pushing a corpse, seated in an office chair, along the sidewalk to a check-cashing store to cash the dead man’s Social Security check, the police said.

When Virgilio Cintron, 66, died at his apartment at 436 West 52nd Street recently, his roommate and a friend saw an opportunity to cash his $355 check, the police said.

They did not go about it the easy way, the police said, choosing a ruse that resembled the plot of “Weekend at Bernie’s,” a film about two young men who prop up their dead employer to pretend that he is alive.

“Hell’s Kitchen has a rich history,” said Paul J. Browne, a police spokesman, “but this is one for the books.”

There was no sign of foul play in Mr. Cintron’s death, he added.

The roommate, James P. O’Hare, and his friend, David J. Dalaia, both 65 and unemployed, placed Mr. Cintron’s body in the chair and wheeled it around the corner, south along Ninth Avenue on Tuesday afternoon, the police said. The men parked the chair with the corpse in front of Pay-O-Matic at 763 Ninth Avenue, a check-cashing business that Mr. Cintron had patronized.

They went inside to present the check, but a clerk said Mr. Cintron would have to cash it himself, and asked where he was, the police said.

“He is outside,” Mr. O’Hare said, indicating the body in the chair, according to Mr. Browne.

The two men started to bring the chair inside, but it was too late.

Their sidewalk procession had already attracted the stares of passers-by who were startled by the sight of the body flopping from side to side as the two men tried to prop it up, the police said. The late Mr. Cintron was dressed in a faded black T-shirt and blue-and-white sneakers. His pants were pulled up part of the way, and his midsection was covered by a jacket, the police said. While the two men were inside the check-cashing office, a small crowd had gathered around the chair. A detective, Travis Rapp, eating a late lunch at a nearby Empanada Mama saw the crowd and notified the Midtown North station house.

Police officers and an ambulance arrived as the two men were trying to maneuver the corpse and chair into the check-cashing office.

The two men were taken into custody and questioned. The police said they were considering charging them with check-cashing fraud.

Mr. Cintron’s body was taken to a hospital morgue. The medical examiner’s office said its preliminary assessment was that he had died of natural causes within the past 24 hours.

Some people are total idiots.


Some old, some not as old, haven't seen much new that I like, other than a few country and jazz recordings.

"Rock of Ages" by Def Leppard
"I Wanna Go Back" by Eddie Money
"Wooden Ships" by Crosby, Stills and Nash
"Hold Me" by Fleetwood Mac
"The Witching Hour" by John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers "Harlem Nocturne" by Lewis Ray Cammarata
"Homeward Bound" by Simon & Garfunkel
"Are You Sitting Comfortably?" by The Moody Blues
"She's Not There" by The Zombies
"Baba O'Riley" by The Who

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Sounds slightly familiar...

SINGAPORE (AP) -- Male macaque monkeys pay for sex by grooming females, according to a recent study that suggests the primates may treat sex as a commodity.

"In primate societies, grooming is the underlying fabric of it all," Dr. Michael Gumert, a primatologist at the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, said in a telephone interview Saturday.

Gumert found after a male grooms a female, the likelihood that she will engage in sexual activity with the male was about three times more than if the grooming had not occurred.

And as with other commodities, the value of sex is affected by supply and demand factors: A male would spend more time grooming a female if there were fewer females in the vicinity.

"And when the female supply is higher, the male spends less time on grooming ... The mating actually becomes cheaper depending on the market," Gumert said.

I guess it's the monkey equivalent of "dinner and a movie".


No over-riding theme of today's playlist, but like the rest of the list, most of the top ten are older rock songs.

"Sharp Dressed Man" by ZZ Top
"Lawyers, Guns and Money" by Warren Zevon
"Brown Eyed Girl" by Van Morrison
"I Won't Back Down" by Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers
"Sympathy for the Devil" by The Rolling Stones
"Let's Live for Today" by The Grass Roots
"Ride My See-Saw" by The Moody Blues
"I Must Be the Devil" by The Box Tops
"Midnight Rider" by The Allman Brothers Band
"The Battle of Evermore" by Led Zeppelin

Friday, January 04, 2008

Heat wave

It is just after noon here; and things are melting outside; it is 44ºF outside. This is the first time it has gone above freezing in a couple of weeks, so there is a lot of snow and ice outside that needs the warmer air, especially since we may have another snowstorm this weekend. If it gets up to 50º, I may have to put on my short pants and take a walk.
Was looking at my sitemeter this morning; I don't put much stock in how high it is, but I do like to see where people are coming from.
This one is a little weird, however:

What was interesting was the form of my blog that he was reading:


Top ten from today's playlist:

"Burnin' for You" by Blue Öyster Cult
"Sky Pilot" by Eric Burdon and the Animals
"Gear Jammer" by George Thorogood
"Maybellene" by Chuck Berry
"I Fall to Pieces" by Patsy Cline
"One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer" by John Lee Hooker
"The Lonely Bull" by Herb Alpert
"Find Another Fool" by Quarterflash
"Never My Love" by The Association
"I've Always Been Crazy" by Waylon Jennings

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Cell phones cause traffic problems

Cell phone usage is being blamed for several problems this week as a University of Utah study found that cell phone usage on highways causes traffic jams.

David Strayer, a psychology professor at the University of Utah, said new research not only showed that the cars of drivers talking on cell phones tended to move slower, but also that the conversational activity tends to cause traffic to show down.

"At the end of the day, the average person's commute is longer because of that person who is on the cell phone right in front of them," Strayer said in a statement. "That SOB on the cell phone is slowing you down and making you late."

Another news flash from the No-Shit-Sherlock department; wonder how much they spent in time, money, and man-hours researching something that anyone who had to drive in traffic knew already? I'm constantly getting stuck behind some jackass who is weaving along under the speed limit because he/she is busy yammering into a phone instead of focusing on the large piece of metal that they are propelling alone a street. My advice to these people is simple:

Pull the phone out of your ear and your head out of your ass.

We'll all get there faster and in one piece.


I was in an odd mood this morning when putting together my playlist for the day; I ended up with a long list of nothing but female pop/rock singers, some from way back, some newer. After a shuffle, these ended up in the top ten. Any fans out there?

"The Tide Is High" by Blondie
"Total Eclipse of the Heart" by Bonnie Tyler
"I Only Want to Be With You" by Dusty Springfield
"Different Drum" by Linda Ronstadt
"Orinoco Flow" by Enya
"You Ain't So Tough" by Heart
"Bette Davis Eyes" by Kim Carnes
"If Not For You" by Olivia Newton-John
"Maybe I Know" by Lesley Gore
"Fire and Ice" by Pat Benatar