Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The year is almost at an end

Here's hoping that all of you have a good new year's day, and that 2009 is a good year for you.


I'll be glad when my shoulder gets better; hopefully I'll be able to get back to the gym on Friday or Monday, as long as I don't do much upper body stuff. At least my wife got over her dental problems before Christmas.
Christmas turned out well; nobody is rich, but we all did right by one another with stuff that counts. We also got a lot more snow the day after Christmas, but that is normal this time of year.

A shot of the house from the mailbox.

View to the west from the mailbox.


Too bad the Middle East couldn't calm down for a while, but I don't think that will ever happen. I'm afraid I don't have much sympathy for Gaza; they keep lobbing bombs at Israel and then piss and moan when Israel tosses some back. Seems like too much of that part of the world will always be back in the dark ages; a bunch of ignorant barbarian tribes starting skirmishes with other tribes. If it weren't for oil in that area, they would still be living in tents and living like their ancestors did hundreds of years ago, in the days of Hārūn al-Rashīd when their culture and technology peaked and then ground to a halt. Time to join the modern world, guys.


Tonight we're getting together with some friends from my wife's church, with everyone bringing food and drink. I'm not a member of her church (I'm not a member of any religion), but that doesn't really matter much to me or them; just some good friends getting together to welcome in the new year. I'll try to watch what I eat, since I haven't been getting as much exercise as usual since my shoulder started acting up, and I don't need to put on any more pounds. I may tip a few beers, but that's about it. I don't mind getting a mild buzz, but I don't care much for getting drunk; it makes you act like a fool, and you feel like hell the next day.


So what will the new year bring? I think the economy will get worse before it gets better. We didn't get into this mess overnight, and we won't get out by someone waving a magic wand.
Politics should be interesting (and not necessarily in a good way). I'm not a fan of socialism or Big Brother, and I think both will be increasing their foothold over the next few years. I get nervous any time the President and the Congress are in the same party; that party tends to get arrogant and bossy, no matter which party they are. I'd rather see it spread out more even, so that they all have to get together and work something out before passing another law or tax. From what I can see at this point, "Hope and Change" is just another meaningless slogan; what we will probably get is more of the same stuff we have had for the past few years until people get pissed off and dump the current batch out. Politics, like a lot of other things, tends to run in cycles; it tends to alternate between Bullshit and More Bullshit.


As usual, a lot of old stuff. Looks like this list has a lot of blues and older rock, with a smattering of country and classical.

"Hello Walls" by Willie Nelson
"Goin' Down Slow" by Howlin' Wolf
"Cat's in the Cradle" by Harry Chapin
"Baby Don't Do Me Wrong" by John Lee Hooker
"Beyond the Sea" by Bobby Darin
"Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way" by Waylon Jennings
"Air on the G string" by Bach and his time
"This Ain't the Summer of Love" by Blue Öyster Cult
"Maybellene" by Chuck Berry
"Crown of Creation" by Jefferson Airplane

When I pick out a playlist for the day, I tend to go down a list of stuff and just pick what I seem to be in the mood for until I get a couple dozen and then scramble them; it can sometimes change later in the day, that's when I sort through and pick out a new list. I guess the list sort of reflects my mood at the time, but I'll be damned if I can figure it out what it is today from my list.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Hope everyone has a great Christmas...

...or any other holiday you may be celebrating at this time. Whether Christian, Jewish, Pagan, agnostic, atheist, etc, I wish you the best.

I'm happy to say my wife(SandyG) is doing better; her pain is pretty well gone, and the swelling is hard to see if you are not looking for it. My tendinitis hasn't let up, but that doesn't matter to me as much.

This is a picture of our little tree we have been using the last few years; nothing special, but it works.

In case you're wondering about the funny looking star, it is homemade. Back when we
had only been married about a year, our top ornament broke. My wife cut out a star from a piece of cardboard, wrapped it in foil, and had me put it on top (that was back when we still got tall real trees.) It has become a tradition here after 30+ years, so we still use it.


I'm not big on Christmas music, so my playlist is looking as usual.

"And The Grass Won't Pay No Mind" by Mark Lindsay
"Bella Linda" by The Grass Roots
"Wolverton Mountain" by Claude King
"Water music suite no 2 in D" by Handel
"Twilight Zone" by Golden Earring
"867-5309/Jenny" by Tommy Tutone
"Abracadabra" by Steve Miller Band
"I Left My Heart in San Francisco" by Tony Bennett
"Midnight" by Spyro Gyra
"Hungry Like the Wolf" by Duran Duran

Monday, December 22, 2008

Do we REALLY need a white Christmas?

More snow; at least it's warm. It was 36º this morning, that's double what it has been lately. This is a shot looking to the west again; notice the mountains are invisible.

What I don't want is a lot of snow. I managed to get tendinitis in my right shoulder and can't use my arm very well; the tendinitis is in my biceps, deltoids, and a bit in the pectorals. Lifting my humerus parallel to the ground is extremely painful, and I seem to have no strength in my arm, so shoveling snow is a problem if this stuff keeps coming down.
My wife is the one who has serious problems though. On Friday she had a cracked tooth removed which is a routine operation, but it decided to become infected. Saturday night saw us at the dentist's office just before midnight. The antibiotics are doing their job, but the whole left side of her face is greatly swollen, and her eye is almost swollen shut and discolored. It makes her look like someone punched her in the face several times and blacked her eye. The pain was really bad, so now she is taking percodan, which is managing the pain. Hopefully she will be doing ok by Christmas.


This sounds a bit suspicious to me.

SANDY — Four men wearing ski masks broke into a home here Sunday night, tied up a woman and allegedly took tens of thousands of dollars in cash as well as a cache of weapons, according to police.

"They awakened the adult female and asked for money and guns," he said.

They took the woman to the living room where they forced her to show them where the safe was, then tied her up with a rope, Chapman said.

The robbers left the house with an estimated 49 handguns and an unknown number of rifles, he said. A man who also lives in the home, but was working at a Christmas Tree lot near 9000 South and State Street at the time, later told detectives there was an estimated $50,000 to $80,000 missing from his safe.

That much money and handguns in a safe, and the robbers knew about it. I have to wonder in what sort of business the owner was involved. Possibly he was a gun collector and just happened to have that much cash on hand for emergencies (neither one of these is illegal or evidence of a crime), but I tend to doubt it. And how did the robbers know all about them? Seems sort of fishy to me.


I know someone has to be familiar with at least a couple of these.

"La Bamba" by Los Lobos
"Loving You's a Dirty Job But Somebody's Gotta Do It" by Bonnie Tyler
"Embryonic Journey" by Jefferson Airplane
"One Of The Living" by Tina Turner
"Spinning Wheel" by Blood, Sweat & Tears
"Janis" by Country Joe & the Fish
"Suds in the Bucket" by Sara Evans
"Hey Joe" by Jimi Hendrix
"Lost in a Lost World" by The Moody Blues
"John the Revelator" from Blues Brothers 2000 soundtrack

Here's one from the list:

"Embryonic Journey" is an instrumental, and one of my favorites from the Sixties.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

What a crock

New York Gov. David Paterson is fighting obesity and budget deficits in a proposal for an 18 percent tax on soda and other sugary drinks.

The idea is to discourage consumption of high-caloric beverages and to raise $404 million in fiscal year 2009-2010 toward the state's multibillion dollar budget gap.

What's next, a tax on potato chips? I call foul on it being for health reasons; I think it's just a phony excuse to slap another tax on people. If your going to rob someone by jacking up their taxes, at least admit that you're screwing them; don't make up a bunch of bullshit that you're doing it for their own good.

We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office.
- Aesop


Freezing air blanketed much of the nation Tuesday, making roads hazardous in Texas and slowing recovery from ice storm blackouts in New England, in the second day of a bitter cold wave.

Temperatures were 20 below zero and lower across the northern Plains, and a band of snow, freezing rain and sleet stretched from Kansas and Nebraska along the Ohio Valley to Maine.

Dozens of schools closed in Kentucky and Tennessee because of slippery roads and salt truck crews started working before dawn. Up to a half-foot of snow had fallen in parts of Kentucky.

"It's pretty treacherous," said Jodi Shacklette, a Kentucky State Police dispatcher in Elizabethtown. "We're working wrecks just left and right."

Authorities in Lincoln, Neb., blamed some 20 accidents on the weather.

Al Gore, your phone is ringing...


Feeling sort of moody about music today. Some mellow, some not so much.

"Maggie May" by Rod Stewart
"Hungry Like the Wolf" by Duran Duran
"Saginaw, Michigan" by Lefty Frizzell
"A Fistful of Dollars" from the soundtrack
"The Four Seasons: Spring" by Vivaldi
"Let It Ride" by Bachman-Turner Overdrive
"Bullshitter's Lament" by Blues Traveler
"Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)" by Eurythmics
"Immigrant Song" by Led Zeppelin
"Hellraiser" by Lita Ford

Monday, December 15, 2008

That time of year

The time of the winter solstice is just about here; an old celebration in many cultures and places that is reflected in our culture as Christmas. Best wishes to all who celebrate a holiday at this time of year.
I have no religious beliefs of my own, but I like to respect the wishes and attitudes of those who do have faith; if a person is doing good and treating others with respect and compassion, who cares where they send their prayers?
It is almost time for a new year, whether for better or worse we will not know until it comes; all we can do is prepare for the worst and hope for the best.


Not too bad around here so far this winter; it has only been getting down into the twenties on the thermometer, which isn't bad. I remember times when I was younger that would bring the mercury down to -15º F every night for a couple of weeks at a time. To those in the northern US and Canada that may not sound too bad, but when combined with the altitude it can cut to the bone. Much as I hate snow, we could use some more around here. We got some this weekend, but where we need it is in the higher elevations; rainfall around here is practically nonexistent in the summer, so all of our water is dependent on winter snowfall in mountains.

This is a picture of the Oquirrh Mountains a few minutes to the west of me that I took from my front yard; the higher parts are blocked by a snowstorm (I took this picture Sunday morning). It is not a high range; I think the highest point is only 10620 feet in elevation. The Wasatch Mountains on the east side of the valley are taller, and more rugged. They are the ones that store the water for summer use. I don't have a picture of them, because they are a little farther away and are blocked from view in my neighborhood.


I'm not sure what the big deal is about Blagojevich; after all, he is a politician in Chicago; they have been electing crooks into office since the city was founded. During Prohibition it got even more corrupt when organized crime took over. Looking at the history of the last few governors, it is no surprise that this one is a crook also. I imagine there will be all sorts of shit flying around for a while yet; who knows who will get hit over the next few weeks. The media will be interesting to follow, they tend to edit the news according to their political beliefs, so if you want to know what is going on, you may wish to check several sources before believing anything. Personally, I don't trust a big percentage of the press.

"The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers."
-Thomas Jefferson

If that offends anyone from the Fourth Estate, too bad.


I remember when I was a kid, Nikita Khrushchev taking off his shoe at a UN meeting and pounding on a table with it. At the time I thought it sounded like a little kid throwing a tantrum, or a barbarian that had no idea of civilized behavior. Over the weekend some journalist character throws a shoe at the president, and all sorts of people act like he's a hero. Personally, I don't care for Bush. That does not mean that I approve of assholes insulting the office of the president. What I would like to do is slam one of my shoes up the journalist's ass while it is attached to my foot, just on principle.
Just my opinion.


The bailouts are getting more ridiculous all the time; we have a bunch of fools and crooks who put us in this state, and what happens? Everyone decides to let the same bunch of coprocephalics try to solve the problem by giving them more of our money to spend. Why the hell would you want someone of proven incompetence to solve a problem that they were instrumental in causing?

"Alexander Hamilton started the U.S. Treasury with nothing -- and that was the closest our country has ever been to being even."
-Will Rogers

"Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public."
-H. L. Mencken

“Washington is a stud farm for every jackass in the country.”
- Mark Twain


Tried to put together a playlist that was a little more upbeat in word and/or structure; mostly a lot of older pieces.

"Hell in a Bucket" by Grateful Dead
"And The Grass Won't Pay No Mind" by Mark Lindsay
"Vacation" by The Go-Go's
"She Comes In Colors" by Arthur Lee
"Chelsea Morning" by Judy Collins
"Hot Rod Lincoln" by Commander Cody
"Sugar Town" by Nancy Sinatra
"Burnin' for You" by Blue Öyster Cult
"Brown Eyed Girl" by Van Morrison
"98.6" by Keith

Monday, December 08, 2008

A meme

This meme has been going around so much that I think I am one of the last three people on the Internet that has not done it yet. The ones in boldface are the ones I've done:

100 things I've done.

1. Started your own blog.
2. Slept under the stars. (Some of my happiest childhood memories)
3. Played in a band.
4. Visited Hawaii.
5. Watched a meteor shower.
6. Given more than you can afford to charity.
7. Been to Disneyland. (Back in the late fifties; it's changed since then.)
8. Climbed a mountain. (Hiked up to the top of a mountain, does that count?)
9. Held a praying mantis. (Lots of times; I think they are cool.)
10. Sang a solo.
11. Bungee jumped. (HELL NO!)
12. Visited Paris. (Only Paris I've been to is Paris, Idaho)
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea.
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch.
15. Adopted a child.
16. Had food poisoning.
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty.
18. Grown your own vegetables.

19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France.
20. Slept on an overnight train.
21. Had a pillow fight.
22. Hitch hiked.
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill. (Hasn't everyone?)
24. Built a snow fort.
25. Held a lamb.
26. Gone skinny dipping.
27. Run a Marathon. (Are you kidding?)
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice.
29. Seen a total eclipse. (Only of the moon.)
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset.
31. Hit a home run.
32. Been on a cruise.
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person.
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors.
35. Seen an Amish community. (Drove by one years ago in Ohio)
36. Taught yourself a new language. (Not fluently)
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied.
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person.
39. Gone rock climbing.
40. Seen Michelangelo's David.
41. Sung karaoke.
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt. (Several times)
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant.
44. Visited Africa.
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight. (But it wasn't an ocean beach)
46. Been transported in an ambulance. (At least the second time I was conscious)
47. Had your portrait painted.
48. Gone deep sea fishing.
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person.
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling.
52. Kissed in the rain.
53. Played in the mud.
54. Gone to a drive-in theater. (Been to more drive-in theaters than indoor ones)
55. Been in a movie.
56. Visited the Great Wall of China.
57. Started a business.
58. Taken a martial arts class.
59. Visited Russia.
60. Served at a soup kitchen.
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies.
62. Gone whale watching.
63. Got flowers for no reason.
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma.
65. Gone sky diving. (NO FREAKIN' WAY!)
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp.
67. Bounced a check.
68. Flown in a helicopter.
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy. (Up in my closet I still have a teddy bear from when I was two years old)
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial.
71. Eaten Caviar.
72. Pieced a quilt.
73. Stood in Times Square.
74. Toured the Everglades.
75. Been fired from a job. (I have been laid-off more than once, however)
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London.
77. Broken a bone. (Lots of them)
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle.
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person.
80. Published a book. (Helped write a repair manual once, but it was just at the place I worked.)
81. Visited the Vatican.
82. Bought a brand new car. (More than once)
83. Walked in Jerusalem.
84. Had your picture in the newspaper.
85. Read the entire Bible. (It was a long time ago.)
86. Visited the White House.
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating. (Lots of times)
88. Had chickenpox.
89. Saved someone’s life. (Three separate times, as a matter of fact)
90. Sat on a jury. (Federal court for a bank robbery.)
91. Met someone famous. (Meh.)
92. Joined a book club.
93. Lost a loved one. (You don't get to be my age without that happening a few times.)
94. Had a baby.
95. Seen the Alamo in person.
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake. (I've floated in it; it is too buoyant in which to to swim.)
97. Been involved in a law suit.
98. Owned a cell phone.
99. Been stung by a bee.
100. Read an entire book in one day. (More than once.)

As you can tell, I don't get out much.


Playlist is sort of melancholy today; snowed this morning. Should be a few familiar ones in here to anyone who has ever had the blues.

"I Am a Rock" by Simon & Garfunkel
"With or Without You" by U2
"Sometimes in Winter" by Blood, Sweat & Tears
"Misery and the Blues" by Maria Muldaur
"It's Only Make Believe" by Conway Twitty
"The Thrill Is Gone" by B.B. King
"If You Could Read My Mind" by Gordon Lightfoot
"The Streets of Laredo" by Eddy Arnold
"Alone" by Heart
"Red, Red Wine" by Neil Diamond

Thursday, December 04, 2008

It's been a while

I was going to try and post more often, but you can see how that worked out. Seems like every time I think I might blog, something comes up; when I don't have anything to do, my mind goes blank or I don't feel up to it. It's amazing that some of my friends and readers still come here, considering how irregular my posting seems to be. For all of those who come here, thank you.

It's a little warmer than usual around here lately; we have been getting a wee bit of snow in the mountains, but no enough to do any good. Precipitation here in the valley has been almost nonexistent. It is getting too dry around here. Even with low temperatures, the lack of moisture could have deleterious effects on dormant vegetation. Hopefully we will get some rain soon, though I am not looking forward to snow. The air pressure has been acting like a yo-yo, so my joints have been very unhappy; some days I have to struggle to tie my shoes and walk to the mailbox, other days it just hurts without limiting me too much. Growing old really sucks.


I can't say I'm impressed with the federal government and their handling of the financial crisis. They all vote to bail out a bunch of incompetents, and then start asking for more money. From what I can see, all they are doing is trying to see who will kiss their asses for some money, and how much they pucker up will determine how much they get. The auto manufacturers are the ones that really annoy me; they do a piss-poor job of designing and making cars, and then want the taxpayers to save their butts, without giving any reason to doubt they will go belly-up again. It seems to me if they are going to get some loot from the deal, they should have to do some major restructuring. And the auto workers are going to have to come down off the clouds and join the rest of the working class in this country. They are not without blame in this.


I don't really understand India; they have a poorly trained police force (due to lack of funds, they say), but why is it they have enough money to have a nuclear weapons program? Seems to me if you want to protect your citizens, you start on the ground level. Of course, letting the people people protect themselves wouldn't hurt. Terrorists (who are cowards at heart, and don't try to convince me otherwise) look at places like Dombai the same way the crazies in this country look at schools and malls: as low-risk, target-rich environments.


I see where the firearms industry is doing well for right now; a lot of people feel that there is going to be an offensive against their 2nd Amendment rights under the new administration; I think they're right. Expect the federal government to chip away at the 2nd Amendment, the same way they have been chipping away at the rest of the Bill of Rights. If you don't think the Bill of Rights is being eroded, you haven't been paying attention. Of course, the mainstream media paints a different picture; they manage to distort facts, hide stuff, and tell plain-vanilla lies.

"If you don't read the newspaper you are uninformed, if you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed."
-Mark Twain

Mainly a lot of old stuff, from several different genres. There has to be at least one or two favorites in this bunch.

"Werewolves of London" by Warren Zevon
"Strange Days" by The Doors
"The Shadow of Your Smile" by Tony Bennett
"Homeward Bound" by Simon & Garfunkel
"Amarillo by Morning" by Terry Stafford
"Summertime" by Reneé Olstead
"In the Misty Moonlight" by Dean Martin
"Yesterday" by Marianne Faithfull
"Five Feet High and Rising" by Johnny Cash
"In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" by Iron Butterfly (long version)

This version of a classic blues/jazz song being sung by Reneé Olstead is one of the newer ones. She is a singer-actress who has been around for a few years. At the time of the video below she was 17, but has been singing this type of music since her early teens. You may have seen her in movies and on TV in the past couple of years.