Thursday, August 27, 2009

An Old Toy and a Wandering Mind

I've just spent a little time with Roy Rogers and Trigger, thanks to an old View-Master I found while going through a cupboard. I think it might be a little older than the one in the piece Yarntangler shares with us in today's blog. I have to hand it to Kodak...the Kodachrome colors are bright, true and unfaded since about 1950 (the copyright date).

One of the pictures features Trigger and Trigger, Jr. with ole Roy smiling away between them. I'd forgotten there was a Trigger Jr.

I haven't thought about the "King of the Cowboys" for a long time. He was a pretty big deal to us kids growing up in the '50's. He was mostly in black and white for me, so seeing him in color and 3-D would have been quite a treat if I'd had one of those things back then.

My uncle had one.

Uncle Charles was the world traveler in the family. Us kids were sure he had millions stashed away some place, because he always seemed to have the latest and greatest of everything. If he was alive today he'd probably have a gazillion-inch plasma screen (he was the first in the family to have a color TV, and I remember waiting anxiously for Bonanza to come on, so we could watch a show that was actually in color) and a Wii.

Uncle Charles was not a millionaire. In fact, he was an Army Chaplain most of his life. His travel was courtesy of the "needs of the service", and he didn't always go to neat, exotic places. Of course, us kids were not discouraged from thinking that he did. We were being "protected" a la the 1950's. Several years later, he would preside as Yarntangler and I started our new life together, in a church now deemed too costly to survive by the Diocese of Springfield.

But in the 1950's he had a View-Master. And he had about a billion reels of 3-D pictures from Europe. We'd sit in a row on the living room couch, and pass the brown Bakelite viewer down the line, so we could each share in trips he'd taken to places like Lourdes and London. Hours would pass, and between the pictures and Uncle Charles' stories about the places and people in those far off lands, it was like a family vacation overseas.

Looking at my meager collection of reels from Mount Rushmore and the Badlands of South Dakota brought those evenings back to mind. Oh, and Roy Rogers, too. That old single reel might become a collector's item some day. I guess I'd better hang on to it. It might come in handy.

Blog at ya later

Monday, August 24, 2009

Rehabing and Repacking

My cardiac rehab instructor says it's time for me to start some upper body strength exercises this week...which is good news. It means I can do more things around the rig without getting into trouble. So, tomorrow we start cleaning out the storage bins, and rearranging everything to make more room.

That's probably where the trouble will begin:

I'm a big advocate of hanging onto things that will probably come in handy some day. Yarntangler, not so much.

She can't understand, for example, why I still have the old water pump that went belly-up last winter in Coffeyville. I also have the complete inner workings of the porch light I replaced two years ago, and a whole assortment of perfectly good wires, switches, connectors and only partially-scorched fusible links from a variety of other items. The uses for all of these are, of course, obvious. So I'm not too concerned about having to justify them.

I do admit, I haven't been able to figure out exactly what some of the things are, but they just look useful. I couldn't pass them up.

...And I'll probably never have a chance to get some of them again...

When we get to the basement storage bays, there may be a few surprises. Some of the items down there haven't seen the light of day since we first went on the road (has it been that long?) I have a feeling I may not recognize some of it. Or I may recognize it, decide I desperately need it for some stupid reason, and then have to find a place in which to pack it all over again.

There may be other surprises, too. Last winter there was a mouse incident and...well, you get the picture.

Anyhow, that will be our next adventure. And we won't even have to get on the road for it.

Blog at ya later,

Monday, July 20, 2009 I Was Saying,

Well, I'm back after a brief interruption for a heart attack and bypass surgery. At least I didn't fall asleep at the computer, like some people.

Seriously, though, I want to thank all my friends (and I found out there were a lot more than I'd thought) for all the cards, well wishes and prayers while I was recovering. Actually, I'm still recovering, but I've been told I'd better get a blog post done today. I haven't really changed: I'm still basically lazy, and tend to put things off.

If you're going to have a heart problem, Tucson is a great place to have it. I was in 2 different hospitals, St. Joseph's and the Tucson Heart Hospital. The nurses, techs, and doctors...all the staff... were first rate in both facilities. One big surprise for me was mealtime at the Heart Hospital. The food was excellent, and I got to order from a widely varied menu. So much for a bunch of hospital food jokes.

I do find the recovery process a bit frustrating. Not getting energetic as quickly as I'd expected...I guess it all takes time.

Anyway, I'm on the mend, and they even let me keep my beard. So thanks again for all your kindness to me and my family, and I'll be back. And next time, I'll attempt an entertaining post.

Blog at ya later,

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Geezerhood in One's Late 30's

I have officially been a Geezer for just over 2 years, now. However, I find that some people (say, oh, I dunno, Sage Words for example), can achieve certain levels of decrepitude at a much younger age. As evidence, I offer yesterday's lame excuse for a Blog entry.

Oh, I'm sooooooo tired. zzzzzzzzzzzz

The idea for our blogversation this month was quite simple: Sage posts, then I post, then...well, you get the idea. (If not, return to the lame excuse, and scroll down a little).

So now, we have experienced a lull in the conversation. It's kind of like sitting in the living room, talking to somebody, and looking over to find that person has drifted off to dreamland:

Just as you were making an extremely crucial point, in an impassioned, compelling manner.

Not that I was actually doing that, but I could have been. That's the point.

I think that calls for the creation of one more word to add to the next group of a million. (after which, we can hopefully find another tangent to go off on, as tradition requires.)

So, without further ado, I give you my final pre-subject-change addition to the Lexicon:

The act of substituting a brief whining session for lucid or semi-lucid posting on a personal blog. As in... "While expected to continue one of the world's great intellectual discussions, he turned to the well-worn wombification that he was tired, leaving the expectant masses aghast as he retired for the evening."

Blog at ya later,

Friday, June 12, 2009

On With the Progring

As we continue the linguistic bend in the conversation, you will note that Sage has contributed a new word to start us on our way to the 2-millionth new word in modern English. (Confused? Click here.) After cleverly using it in the title, I will endeavor to contribute a second, inspired just this evening during a trip to the Pizza shop.
As it happened, Sage and I were together, and after an arduous consultation with the menu, and a couple of phone calls to confirm the desired quantity of various toppings, we submitted our order and sat down for the customary wait. In this case, the predicted 20 minutes became considerably longer, thanks to the the fact that it was Friday night. But, no worries...MSNBC was on the courtesy TV for our edification. Which brings me to my contribution to the next million new American words:

Dunderpundit: n., A person, generally employed by a news service, empowered and intellectually qualified to engage in deep discussions of topics totally undeserving of such attention.

Now, allow me to use my new word in describing the fine programming from MSNBC that occupied the 30 or so minutes it took to actually prepare our repast. Over the course of that time, we heard from several of the network's best dunderpundits, who shared their opinions,

analyses and interpretations of a flap started this week when David Letterman told a stupid and tasteless joke involving the 14-year old daughter of Alaska's governor. We heard about the Governor's other, 18-year old daughter, and were informed in great detail about the background, context and other pertinent data relating to the impertinent remarks.

We were told, and told, and told. Clips were played from interviews with an outraged Sarah Palin, answering probing questions from the eminent Matt Lauer. These segments were then dissected by our intrepid analysts and explained in great detail. Just to make sure we grasped the momentousness of the issue. They were still talking when the pizza was ready.

Now, you may be thinking, "That's an awful lot of time to be devoting to some stupid joke on a late night TV show." But really, there must be a good reason for all the fuss. Right? Well, sure there is.

After all, what if somebody had missed the show, and not heard the tasteless joke? What if some people were unaware of the miffing of the Governor? What if it had all been allowed to just go away in the space of a couple of days, and we all turned our attention to things that really need discussion? Like the economy. Like the developing international mess, and our gutless, voiceless Congress?

See? We need to be infotained, so we can all feel like we're on top of the really important stuff. And that's what dunderpundits do. So, these people do serve a purpose. After all, Letterman has to maintain his ratings some way. Nothing like an outraged governor to fill that bill.

Yes, these folks deserve their own title, and their own place in the New Lexicon of America. Welcome to the next million, dunderpundits! Another segment of our fine, free press has now been further defined.

Blog at ya later,

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Another Twist in the Road

Sage Words decided to discuss the financial prowess of his (and his brother's) more tender years, leaving me to turn the conversation to more cultural topics, which I will do forthwith. But, in case you need to catch up, here's a link to Sage's most previous words, which contain links back to the rest of the conversation in case you need to catch up.

I have to admit, I was inspired by Yarntangler's blog today. She had a look at those funny little fake words blogger makes you type out to post a comment, and decided to have some fun with them. You should read it before proceeding.



So I have decided to take up her challenge, and in the spirit of revitalizing our language, offer the following definitions, complete with sentences illustrating their use:

Aggly…A contraction of “Agriculturally”, meaning something pertaining to farming. (He was aggly inclined like his father and grandfather before him.)

Braxessi…From the fictitious word “Braxessional”, meaning a place in which to clean your Brax Hatchet. Braxessi is the actual organic matter that must be cleaned from the blade after you’ve slain a Brax. (As he continued the hunt, Morglanthis found it more and more difficult to keep his blade free of braxessi.)

Catic…Pertaining to felines. (Licking one’s paws and hacking up fur balls are strictly catic activities.)

Deted…Having restored something that was previously removed. (John deleted the reference, but Angus, in a fit of pique, deted it.)

Epokyi…An advanced and far superior adhesive formulation. (When the epoxy failed to hold the pieces together, Bartholomew applied the epokyi without hesitation.)

Furbus…A long range public transportation vehicle. (While the Metro transit was fine for every day use, Penelope found it necessary to board the furbus for her trip to Bayonne.)

Gusalima…An alternative fuel processed from Lima beans, and yielding an average 77 miles per gallon in a motor home. (I’ve converted my Winnebago from gasoline to gusalima, and I’d never go back.)

Hecry…While originally used as an antonym for “shecry”, the word has now evolved to mean anything that would aggravate or confuse a male intellectual. (The student felt great satisfaction bringing up a hecry in the class discussion, much to the befuddlement of his professor.)

Imandeep…Adjective describing someone in a great deal of trouble; it evolved from a contracted phrase that was misspelled in its first incarnation. (The boy knew when he saw the teacher’s face that he was imandeep.)

Jogesing…A person who runs for exercise with a set of headphones, singing along with his or her ipod. (The jogesing is particularly annoying this morning.)

Knolog…A list of things that are known. (If I don’t remember what I found out about that, I’ll consult my knolog.

Loweble…The opposite of a Higheble. (Ugh! That loweble is disgusting.)

Madoom…An old west term for one’s ultimate destiny. (Ahm goin’ to meet madoom.)

Maybe not the most inspiring words I could have written, but they do manage to get the subject changed, and the conversational ball rolling (as in Rolling Home.)

Blog at ya later,

Monday, June 8, 2009

An Exercise in Digression

Well, the Visionary hasn't shared any New American Visions since June 2'nd, so I'm beginning to wonder if we've returned to a 2-way conversation. Looks like we have, at least for now, by default. So...let's continue apace.

I think Harry Stone is just the type of guy I had in mind in my S.C. analysis...and he has a distinct advantage over the others I mentioned, in that, although fictitious, he is still alive, at least in syndication. (for those of you who have become confused at this point due to lack of context, see Sage Words' last post, and follow the links contained therein as necessary. Thank you for your support.)

(my own,very original transitional phrase)

The World of High Finance, as seen from the perspective of the Our Government Leaders:

I've always been partial to cherry pie, so you can imagine my delight, when I photographed the Great Economic Recovery Plan and it turned out like that. What more could one ask for?

It was almost like winning the Lottery. I mean the BIG Lottery. The Grand Champion Lottery: POWER BALL .

Yessir!! That's what it felt like.

Until I got to thinking about it...

See, there was this guy in South Dakota who won the Big One this week. I mean a HUGE 30-state 232-million dollar single-winner payoff. He looked so Happy in that picture, with his giant check for that BIG Payoff...

Too bad he won't get what he was promised.


The Lotto Scam goes like this: The jackpot keeps building up to a wondrous amount...20-million dollars or so at a time, depending upon how many tickets get sold...we all keep pumping in the money and eventually somebody like Neal, or a bunch of workers from the local factory who chipped in every week for tickets, wins the prize.

Pictures are taken; gushing feature stories written; well is wished, and everybody is just as warm and fuzzy as they can be...including, and especially, the MEDIA. It's NEWS. OBOY!!!

Then, somewhere down there in the fine print, we find out that the check, and the big publicity picture is actually (gasp)...a lie. That's right. Our government (or if you prefer, governments) lied to us.

---Well, they don't put it that way...I mean it's the Government, so it's OK, right? "It's OK. Trust us. You elected us. Trust us."---


Neal, as it turns out, took the lump-sum payment. As punishment, he starts out with half the prize amount. (Why? Well, that's just the way it is. It might not seem fair to the winner, but really, it is. Really. Trust us)

232-million X .5 = (and here I rely on my trusty on-board calculator) 116-million.

116-million, minus Taxes (Gotta have our Taxes. How can you have a prize if you don't pay your Taxes!!??)

Or for that matter, "How can you have any pudding if you don't eat your meat!!??"

...sorry, Pink Floyd moment.

116-million, minus Taxes = 88.5 million for Neal.

Still not bad. But not 232-million, either.

Not what we were shown. (Remember in the Running Man, when everybody was shown pictures of "last season's winners" lounging on the beach, and later Arnold and The Girl found their rotting corpses in a locker room?...ya gotta love that movie.)

So, (Am I rambling yet? Really?) 232 = 88-and-a-half in Govspeak.

The point being...
When you hear a financial plan from the government...any'd best remember ole Neal, the 232...I mean 88.5...million dollar winner. (BTW, if Neal decides to give any of that away, his recipient can expect the IRS et al to conduct a 50 to 55% grabathon. Sorry Neal, I know you meant well.)

But I still like cherry pie. You can't let yourself get jaded about everything.

Blog at ya later,

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Welcome to the New Guy

In case you haven't heard the news, Sage Words is a proud new Godpapa today. He has a picture of young Johnathan on yesterday's post, along with a brief challenge for The Visionary and me.

I just want to start with a big Welcome to Life for Johnathan. Little (or maybe not so little) guy, you are now part of a large, loving family. You've made a lot of people happy by showing up...and pretty soon, Mom and Dad'll have a whole wardrobe of clothes that fit for you.

And now, for Sage's question of the day:

What type of person would I put on the US Supreme Court?


I'd like to see somebody like, say, James Iredell, or maybe Oliver Ellsworth or Alfred Moore. Those guys, I think, had a better idea of what their job was, than most of the candidates for and members of the High Court these days.

They served right around the turn of the century...the 19th century. In 1800, the Supreme Court moved, along with the rest of the Federal Government, from Philadelphia to the new Capitol, Washington DC. When they got there, they found out they had to share this building with a few other occupants:

This was the north wing of the Capitol, the only one ready at that point, and it was also used by the US House, the US Senate, the Library of Congress, the district courts and several other miscellaneous offices. The justices got to hold court in the basement.

When they were in town.

You see, part of the job in those days involved sitting in circuit courts all over the country. That meant each justice, assigned to his own area, had to travel. Had to deal with cases where they came up, listening to the people involved. And they travelled on their own. Sometimes (oh, the horror) on foot.

A lot more work...a lot lower pay...a lot less pretense, arrogance, and isolation from all things not Beltway. That kind of thing doesn't tend to infiltrate your work when you're trying to keep the mud off your boots on a five mile hike in the rain.

It sure would make a difference, wouldn't it?

Yeah, things are a little different these days, aren't they? Nicer digs for starters:

But what goes on inside that nice building has changed a lot, too. The justices hear only a few select cases each year. They cherry pick them according to the political climate, and they only listen to select, elite lawyers, deemed worthy to practice before their majesties (oops, that should be their honors. Sorry.)

It sure would be nice to have somebody among them who understood that a judge is supposed to INTERPRET EXISTING LAW, not legislate by ruling. That a judge is supposed to even the playing field for citizens under our constitution, not "revisit" our basic rights because it suits some politically powerful group. (That's how the right to life got trashed for unborn babies. Remember?)

What kind of person would I like to see on the High Court? There's a lot of room for diversity there. I don't much care about gender, ethnicity, geography or the other factors that seem so important to the pundits and the politicians.

Just about anybody with a real sense of honesty, integrity, and the actual role of the judiciary would do just fine.

Lots of luck finding somebody like that these days.

Maybe they all need a trip back to the basement.

Blog at ya later,

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Tag, Tag...You're, You're It, It.

Well, it won't take you long to catch up with Sage Words' end of the conversation this time, although, in fairness I should tell you he's in the midst of some events that are preoccupying his attention. It's short, but to the point. He's wrong, of course, about that rest of the world thing, but eventually he will inherit a fourth of it. He has to share with his brothers.

But, let us converse:

I couldn't agree more about the George Lucas thing. I'm not sure anybody could locate Michael Jackson's nose, though, even if we knew the exact moment it disappeared.

Speaking of Michael Jackson (or, as his father used to think of him, Meal Ticket), that brings up a use for time-travel, I think could be quite productive:

We could get to the roots of some of the great classic musical talents of all time:

The Nairobi Trio

Observe them in their formative years, so to speak.

Having now commented in a manner fairly responsive to your response to my observation in response to your first observation, I now hasten to digress....

There's a person called The Visionary who would like to join the conversation. Fine by me. (heh-heh) The motivation to get "Vis" into the blogosphere is this story out of San Diego.

You really should read the story before continuing. I mean, if I just summarized it, you'd think I was making it up...But, hey! It's Fox News. It's a Fair and Balanced report. (Must be; they're so fair and balanced their fairness and balancedness is copyrighted.)

Really, though, go ahead and read it.



Now, let me just say that although outraged, I cannot honestly say this surprises me. Kah-lee-Foah-nee-uh has taken the lead in stupidity, arrogance, and self-destructive behavior for lo, these many years.

The problem is, nobody in the state (and particularly in state government) is required to think. In fact that sort of thing is actively discouraged. That's what has made it the shining example of fiscal and moral responsibility that it is today.

Even greater strides are on the horizon, as the Great Ahnold introduces his sweeping cuts in all things educational and/or useful, while simultaneously boosting taxes on all things rational and/or productive (He's a multitasker). That'll teach those stupid voters to turn down Plan A.

(BTW: I just found this illustration of the real reason he sought the Governor's office:

...thanks to The BS Report -Gg.)

I should be able to say that if the victims take this bureaucratic outrage to federal court, they'll probably win, costly as it may be.

Unfortunately, I can't say that because we all know what's been happening to the Constitution over that past couple of decades; and Fearless Leader is busily stacking the Supreme Court even as we blog. Who needs basic moral courage and common sense when you can be politically correct, hey, Nancy? Hey Barbara? Hey Barack?

OK, enough of my ranting. Lets just all be grateful that we have a new form of communication with the White House now, as exemplified on NBC this week:

(They're not sheep, but you get the idea.)

Blog at ya Later,

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Let's Talk Month Begins

OK, so here we go with an experimental conversation, started yesterday by Sage Words. If you’re just catching up, note the later portion of his rant to get the context.

Did you check it? No? Go back and check it.


Now are we ready? Good.

See, I think your last sentence kind of hit it on the head, Sage. The New Journalism requires Caring, NOT understanding, or even comprehension. The new Icons are graduates of the Ted Baxter School of Broadcast Excellence, and in many ways we can see the influence of their mentor everywhere we look.

“Take off glasses, look concerned.”

Just one quick example…Election night…Wolf Blitzer…the new hologram graphic. “Its just like you’re standing right here next to me, but you’re not. It’s just a graphic! Wow! Wowiewowie! Wow!”

Now if we could just get that black outline off you, so you don't look so much like a cardboard cutout...

The election? Oh, yeah. The election. Well, we’ll get right to it…We’ve got the Greatest Election Team in Broadcasting, AND, these cool cool graphics….”

In his defense, he was probably talking to a green screen at the time…so what can you expect. That’s kind of the point here. Our media geniuses are so busy talking to the graphics, they’ve come to see the whole world as a green screen.

....No real point here; I just had to throw this one in.

OK. Idiots reading idiot cards (teleprompters in modern parlance). I guess I can stomach that. But the New Wisdom won’t let it rest there, will it? Sometimes the Product Placement poster boys and girls are re-named Commentators, and Allowed To Think.

That’s when we really get into trouble.

Intrepid Investigative Commentator Nancy Grace, for example, and her recent on-air (do they use that term any more?) conviction of Casey Anthony. Real class. But I’m sure she did her best. With what little grey matter she had to work with.


But then…

Remember The Running Man? Brave New World?

Remember 1984?

We’ve been getting our share of Newspeak over the past decade or so, and it seems the new Ministry of Truth is the media. No more competition, just big corporations (Rollerball?) running all the channels.

Dumbed down TV, Dumbed down schools.
Dumbed down sheep.

Remember The Time Machine?

Blog at ya later,

Monday, May 25, 2009

"May You Live in Interesting Times" (old curse I read about long ago, and can no longer attribute.)

Well, it's been an interesting weekend.
Our planned trip to New Mexico to be with YT's dad for the Holiday ended along I-10 about a half hour from Tucson, with transmission fluid all over the underside of our Cherokee. Turned out to be a blown fluid line. Not bad enough to call a major disaster, but it stopped us cold in Benson, where we enjoyed a motel stay, breakfast at Denny's and a limping trip home.

So last night was movie night. Went to a drive-in (a pretty unusual find these days...see YT's blog on the subject.)

YT is gradually becoming a Ben Stiller fan. She openly admitted to enjoying the "Night at the Museum" sequel. It was funnier than the first one, I thought, and a good evening's entertainment. The X-Men Wolverine movie playing with it was also good. I think YT liked it a little better then I did, (can't imagine what the attraction could be). A bit light in the script, if that sort of thing is important to you. The actors were all fine...but deserved more to work with.

The evening was a pleasant experience. For some odd reason we bumped into Sage and Chica in line, and ended up parking next to them. We spent a while talking about the old days of drive-ins with Sage and his brothers, and the playgrounds they used to have down under the screen, and all that greasy drive-in food that was really bad for you, but tasted so good. We ate lots of it because we didn't know any better back then, in the Olden Days.

Yeah, some times you end up having good times, for reasons you never planned on or suspected.
Blog at ya later,

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Trek is Back

I really wasn't sure going into the theater that I would like the new "Star Trek". After all, I was there for the original, short-lived series that started it all, and through the syndicated rebirth and finally the big screen series that launched all those other iterations of the Roddenberry universe. If it was true to the original, how much more was there to add to that story line without being repetitious? If it went its own way, on the other hand, where would all those details us trekkers have come to expect end up? A little nod or homage here and there wouldn't really do.

Happily, J.J. Abrams zeroed in on the soul of Star Trek, its characters, and then cast an extraordinary group of actors who kept them intact, and placed them into a fresh and promising place, where anything is possible in future stories.

I don't want to be a spoiler for the five people who haven't seen it yet, so I'll try to be vague on plot points...but we knew our old Friends in their new incarnations without having to be introduced by name. And, as a totally new story line emerged, we kept bumping into bits and pieces of the old universe we've come to know over the years, usually when it was least expected.

The result: a new franchise, which I believe will attract us old-school trekkers and a new generation (pardon the pun) of fans to carry it well beyond the original five-year mission (which is now an ongoing mission).

And there are lots of permutations out there waiting to be re-visited, thanks to a really clever plot device that literally reboots everything:

If you haven't seen it, I recommend you do...don't wait for the DVD. You'll want to be immersed in this one. Find the biggest screen you can, and enjoy.

Blog at ya later

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Memes, Tags and Other Stuff

I got "tagged" with a "meme" today. I'm not sure of the significance of that, but I have made inquiries. It seems the language I learned as a young English-speaking American has been surpassed, along with the technology I used to make a living.

I suppose it's only natural for language to evolve along with the societies that use it... and I have seen a lot of changes over time. Some words have completely different meanings now, others didn't exist a few years ago, and some that I still use are completely unknown to the English-speaking public at large.

Take "Tag" for example. When I was a kid, we played "tag" in the back yard. You tapped (or sometimes whacked, punched, or stomped depending on who you were playing with) the other player, then ran around trying to avoid being "tagged", and consequently becoming the dreaded "It". Great game.

In the cyberworld, “tag” means it’s your turn to write something on your blog, I guess. At least that’s what Yarntangler tells me…kind of like tag-team wrestling.

Then there’s “meme”. I tried pronouncing it “mehm”, leaving the final “e” silent, as I’d learned many years ago in grammar (do they use that word any more?) school. But I was told it is now "Mee-Mee", as in "Me! Me! Meeee!" (What the smart kids or the brown-noses used to say in class when they wanted to be called on). I’m also informed it means I am to copy the form, but not necessarily content of the tagger when I do my blog.

So, in the interest of not getting stuck in the past, here’s my Meme blog after being tagged by Yarntangler to come up with a list of eight somethings:

Eight Words I Don't Quite Completely Understand Anymore:


This is now a noun. Your program doesn't work? Maybe you got a bad install. When I was growing up, it was installation. Your installation was bad and whoever installed (verb) the program should have to do it again, or fix it at no extra charge. I've always thought installation was a perfectly good word. Install is shorter, though, and I guess the other advantage is that if something goes wrong, it's pretty hard to find anybody to pin it on. It's just a bad install.


This is a new term, more than a little reminiscent of "Newspeak", the language of Orwell's "1984". It's a little scary because it replaces "remove" or "delete", words with negative connotation. Uninstall means to remove the program completely, without having to actually say it. It reminds me of "ungood" the new "bad" in Orwell's book. (Hey. He wasn't too far from the mark with that date, either, was he?)


All of my references in the above paragraphs to problems, malfunctions, etc. have now been replaced by this co-opted term that formerly referred to matters of some general importance. Today, if your hard drive crashes and you lose everything in your computer, you have a hardware issue. If you have a ton of pictures in your computer, but see only a little window with a numbered "error" when you try to look at them, you have a software issue. Issues are resolved, at great expense, by guys with short-sleeved shirts speaking advanced forms of Newspeak while fully aware that you have no idea what they're saying. They do revert to Oldspeak when quoting the final charge.


There are a few variations of this one in play at the moment. You get a Service Pack every so often from Microsoft so your computer will keep working most of the time, and not let nasty Hacks (see below) get into your program through the Back Door (see below).
There is Customer Service available online, which means you get to allow somebody who works for Microsoft to Hack (see below) into your program through a Back Door (see below) that you open for him or her (pardon the oldspeak). This allows your Customer Service person to fix whatever went wrong with the Service Pack you just installed.
Finally, there is Process Service. This has nothing to do with computer processing or service of any kind. It retains its traditional meaning, and takes place when you try to use any of Microsoft's programs in ways they don't like.


Newspeak substitute for "He" or "She", applies to all variations. This one is the laziest translation into politically-sensitive gender reference I've seen so far. Instead of acknowledging that there are any differences between male and female persons, we'll just refer to everybody in the plural, whether there's more than one or not. It reduces the awkward "he or she" to one word. Thus we have our erudite News anchors telling us: "If anyone wants to apply for a free Government handout, they can fill out the forms and mail them in." etc.


I remember this word quite distinctly. It referred to writers. Not very good writers. In fact, it specifically meant bad writers who hammered out stuff every day to make a living. I was a hack for a long time. I wrote news. I wrote for radio. I wrote grammatically correct stories meant to be understood, but not necessarily remembered. And it worked: I don't remember a single story I ever wrote. In the olden days, before my time it also referred to a taxi, but I wouldn't expect anybody to remember that.
Today, it's become a verb and carries a badge of honor in certain nefarious circles. It means the act of getting into somebody else's computer. Without that person's consent or knowledge. One who can Hack is called a Hacker (rhymes with slacker, which has a similar connotation in a different context). Hackers write viruses, which are diseases for computer programs, and produce similar results to their biological counterparts.

7...Back Door:

I remember many an afternoon leaving home by the back door, running around in the neighborhood, getting dirty, then finally going back in for supper, again through the back door. It was the door we used instead of the front door, which was for company. It got a lot of use. Easy to understand. "Doo Doo Doo Lookin' out my back door".
Today, it means a hole in your computer program through which nasty things like viruses, worms and "who knows whatall" (as Aunt Bea would say) get in. Microsoft puts several thousand back doors into each new spiffy operating system it develops, then spends the next several years boarding them up as well as it can with "Service Packs" (see above). It gives the gang in Redland something to do between lattes.


This term has changed meaning rather rapidly. Not long ago, it meant declaring yourself totally broke, and getting sent to the bottom of the economic barrel in exchange for protection from creditors. It meant you started from scratch, had no credit, and could look forward to many many years of financial struggle. It carried shame with it.
Today, it means those who are irresponsible managers of a giant corporation's funds can file for it, get government money to bail them out, and receive a handsome bonus for being clever enough to think of it. No shame; it's just business.

Yep. Times have changed.
Blog at ya later,

Thursday, April 30, 2009


I've been sitting at the computer for about 2-and-a-half hours, and cannot come up with a single decent idea for a blog. So, I surfed a little and found a picture to illustrate my feelings this evening.

Here, then, is my 1000-word blog for today:

Blog at ya later (as soon as I get the keys back into the board),

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Caveat Emptor for the 21st Century

We’ve all grown up watching out for con artists and their ilk, who have been around since civilization started, and probably even before that. To one extent or another the buyer has always had to beware of what’s out there in the marketplace. And these days that has spread to the innocuous little screen we all spend time staring at most days…our comfy little home computers.

I suppose it was inevitable that I’d manage to get suckered in at some point…and it almost happened the other day. Yes, folks, I’m talking about:

It seemed like a simple little program to put some ads on my blog site…even had a trusted name, Google, very prominent in the promotion. So I filled out the little form, clicked it, and gave my credit card number to pay for “shipping”. What could go wrong? Right?


Here’s the thing. After ordering the “kit”, I decided to read the fine print, and went to the bottom of the page…where I found the line:
“This page has no connection to Google, which does not endorse this product.”

Hmmm. Wasn’t that the Google logo on the page? Well, no. It looked like it, but there were, well, differences. Subtle, but noticeable on second look.

After I clicked the fine print button, though, things got a little clearer, and a lot scarier:

I had, the rules assured me, committed to pay monthly fees of 24, 29 and 78 dollars respectively for three separate services never mentioned in the ad…unless I took action to cancel the agreement, in very specific and convoluted ways, within strict deadlines, etc. etc.
It reminded me of something I’d read quite a bit about:

Strictly speaking, this may not have been phishing in the classic sense, conducted via email. But the phisherman ended up with quite a catch…my credit card number, and a commitment that took the better part of my Monday to undo.

So…Just a word of warning folks…READ THE FINE PRINT FIRST. Before you send for the kit or anything else.

And don’t believe everything you read.

Case in point:

(Although I do know some people who believe that.)

Blog at ya later,

Friday, April 17, 2009

Susan and Kate

Remember Kate Smith? She brought a clear, strong voice to the American singing world years ago. When I was a young boy she was still going strong, bringing patriotic and religious music to television in black and white, and a conservative, respectable dress.

Kate has been dead for a couple of decades now, but I was reminded of her when I joined the many million YouTube viewers who heard this lady deliver a demanding selection from “Les Miserables” to a British talent show:

Susan Boyle, Blackburn Scotland

Kate Smith would belt out the long high notes, and put feelings into her music that touched me even at the tender age of whatever I was back in the mid-1950’s. She battled the “Fat Girl” image during her early career, and overcame that cynical “wisdom” from the “savvy” crowd of her own time.

Kate Smith 1909-1986

As did Kate Smith, Susan Boyle put the emphasis on what mattered: the talent that came from within, rather than the surface appearance. It was refreshing, and quite obviously unexpected for the theater-full of people watching the show as well as for the three judges, who ended up with not a small amount of egg on their faces.

It was a reminder to us all that we’ve become a little too caught up in the things Madison Avenue and it’s equivalents elsewhere have defined for us as being “vital”.

So thanks, Susan, for bring us back to earth. Let’s hope what one of the judges termed “the biggest wake-up call ever,” stays with us for a while.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter

Dig in. There's plenty for everyone!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Almost Easter

When I was growing up, Lent was a long, solemn vigil in what always seemed the grayest, wettest time of the New England year. Ceremonies were intoned in Latin, in a darkened church, and the sound of that long-dead language would set the cadence for the many days ahead. It was truly a time of serious reflection, and even though we were still very young, we got the message.

The nightly services, the Stations of the Cross, the incense. Somehow the silence had a weight to it in that big church, as we sat in hunched rows, waiting for our turns in the confessional. The whispered "Our Fathers" and "Hail Mary's" ricocheted off the curved ceiling and around the purple-covered statues. Rosary beads clicked together, bringing images to our young minds of bones in a shadow-infested graveyard.

It wasn't so much that we gave up candy, although we did. It wasn't so much that we spent more time in church, although we did. It wasn't so much that we stayed away from meat every day, not just on Friday, although we did. It was the combination of those things. A grayness that spread from the spot of ashes on our foreheads, and enveloped us with the sober knowledge that we had something to atone for.

And then, it was Easter. The covers came off the statues, flowers were everywhere, music filled every corner and there wasn't a shadow to be found. The priests wore white and gold, and everybody sang. There was joy in our new suits and shoes, in Mom's new dress and hat, in the big feast at home after Mass with all the relatives seated at the big wooden table.

We didn't just observe the season. We felt it. The somber days of Lent gave the celebration of Easter its true meaning for us. The meaning you can't put down on a piece of paper. The meaning that you hold inside your heart.

Those days were years ago, and things have changed a lot in the interim. That big church is closed now, and up for sale. They haven't prayed in Latin for a long time. I'm far removed in years and miles from old St. Francis Church. The nuns are gone, the priests are gone. The parish is gone.

Still, it hasn't disappeared completely. For some reason it came back to me tonight.

I wish you all a truly Happy Easter.

Blog at ya later,

Friday, April 10, 2009

First Quarter Report Card...Barack & company

So our new president is traveling these days, talking about the economy and relationships with other governments and pizza. I heard on a radio talk show today that a British news organization reported that the president (or his minions) had a pizza chef flown to England, along with his materials and business partner, to cater a lunch. OK, so maybe that's considered the proper way to impress a foreign power when you're out there "building relationships", or whatever Obama's doing right now. But it seems a little arrogant. A lot of what's gone on since he took office seems a little arrogant.

After all, he's told us in no uncertain terms that we all have to tighten our belts. People lose their jobs in droves, and Obama says it will get worse before it gets better; oh, and by the way how do you like Michelle's new dress, and the kids' new swing set? And let's order a pizza chef to fly over from the US to Europe so we can all have lunch.

That kind of thing used to be known as "conspicuous consumption". It was something rich people, usually newly rich people, did to brag without words about how much they had. It was intended to make others jealous, and it worked.

Well, Obama is newly powerful...and he wants his piece of Camelot. And I guess he's got it. The problem is with what we haven't gotten. Like a leaner, more responsible administration. Remember that?

I don't think he's done anything to make those massive changes in the way things are done in Washington. Cooperation? Bi-partisan effort? Remember that?

Remember how we were going to get a fresh, transparent administration, and cooperation across party lines? I don't see that happening.

I see a lot of posturing. I see overblown, phony outrage over bonuses paid to inept executives instead of substantial economic policy changes to make things better. (oops, did I just complain about a lack of substance? Is that politically incorrect? Should I just sit down and admire the speech maker's craft?)

I see the blame game, and the usual gullible reaction from the public. Scapegoats in the corporate world, and pressure from the government to fire the scapegoats. Tax their bonuses at 90%.* That's supposed to make it all better.

Fluff and arrogance. And complete disdain for ordinary, hard-working Americans. The government graciously takes a few dollars less out of the paychecks of those who still have jobs, and this is supposed to be our part of the "economic stimulus".

Where are the major investments in things like alternative energy? Where are the big projects that are supposed to create all those jobs so families can make it though this government-sponsored mess?

Where's all that help for education, so precious to the Obama campaign, as hundreds of teachers get their pink slips under the Obama administration?

Yes we can.

But we don't really want to, do we?

First Quarter Grade, C-
-Needs to improve

OK that's my rant for today. All vented.
Blog at ya later,

*What a great idea That is! Our legislators are always thinking, aren't they? "We'll scream bloody murder, then tax those bonuses and put the money where it the government. What, return it to taxpayers? Good one! Hahahahahah!"

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Chopper Malfunction

Today I am doing a visual blog. It will be really short, because the pain pills are starting to kick in.
Blog at ya later, with more enthusiasm.

PS..that guy doesn't look like me; he just looks like I feel.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Time To Play

I just found a bunch of new (to me, 'cause I'm not very observant) buttons on my blog posting today I'm going to try them out:
  • there are bullets
...and a tab to make the text different colors.
It has a button for spleelll chrkning
  1. one for numbers (but for some reason it looks just like a bullet)
and one to insert pictures...I've used this one several times before, but it never really gets old, so...

Here's Proof You Can Find Just About Anything On The Internet:

You may have noticed I used yet another feature there by changing the size of the font...

There's also a feature for adding videos, but I don't have any on my computer right now because (see yesterday's blog).

There are a few other buttons that scare me a little, so I'm going to quit before another hard drive bites the dust....

Well, OK, just one more:


Blog at ya later,

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Here's My Excuse

I'm hoping this attempt to post a blog will be more successful than my last effort. When I sat down to carry on with my one-daily blog for the month, the hard drive in my computer decided that three years was long enough, and promptly crashed, and burned:

What was unfortunate was the fact that this particular blog would have been a genuine masterpiece. (It was also unfortunate that I was unable to preserve my perfect record of a blog a day. But I think it's a sufficient excuse to let me continue I'm going to continue.)

What was fortunate about the situation was the presence of a genuine Geek in the family, who was able to come out to the rig, and tell us that our hard drive had crashed, and help us install a new one. (Which we did, taking up a day and evening.) Now the effort to recover what was on the crashed drive continues, in the capable hands of our family Geek.

At the same time our computer was crashing, there was this hissing noise from somewhere under the refrigerator, and things like the hall carpet mysteriously started getting wet. Yes friends, the appliances were in full revenge mode again. (See previous posts circa Christmas '08):

We did manage to spot the trouble this seems the water heater had sprung a leak at its intake valve, always a fun prospect...and the perfect opportunity to cut off the water supply to the entire rig and not wash for a couple of days.
So, today, after the leak had been fixed, I had a couple of other things to take care of before resuming my blogification...

Like the dishes:

...And the other stuff I couldn't find generic pictures for on the internet. (any ACTUAL pictures I might have of the rig are still in recovery mode, as you may recall from earlier in this tomb.)

Anyway, I'm back and happily at it again, and the 30 days of April proceed apace. (That piece of utterly overblown phraseology is the only remaining vestige of the "masterpiece" mentioned earlier.)

Blog at ya later,

Friday, April 3, 2009

Cat Duty

I’m about to brave evening traffic, sans Tom-Tom, for the sake of three cats who pretty much tolerate my services. I am allowed to clean the litter box, check the water, and replenish the food, provided I do it discreetly. You might think this is a bit much to put up with…but there are some good reasons to get behind the wheel and brave the streets of Tucson. To wit:
  • The cats belong to my temporarily absent son, who owns a big screen TV and lots of movies.
  • I am obligated, by reason of long-term marriage, to get the laundry done by a Yarntangler-imposed deadline.
  • I am shamelessly borrowing my son and daughter-in-law’s nice new washer and dryer.
  • Those appliances and the aforementioned TV can operate simultaneously.

So, off we go; me and the laundry headed across town with the setting sun in my eyes and the Tucson work force driving home with a vengeance. I try to imagine the GPS in its spot on the windshield, and the little female voice telling me to take the Interstate “Toward El Pahsaw”.

Eventually I make it to the house. Their Royal Highnesses are sprawled with their accustomed aplomb, and giving me the “Oh, are you here again?” look. I get the litter box cleaned, and check the food, and they grant silent, though reluctant, approval.

I smile to myself, start the laundry, and head for the living room, where the sequel to my guilty pleasure Special-Effects Fest awaits.

Time passes, my son comes home and we put on an extra movie, and eventually I make it back to the rig, and find…

…I have exactly fifteen minutes to get my blog posted for today, or forever live with the shame of not making it through day 3 of the April challenge. So, with no further ado, I present today’s blog:
(see above)

Blog at ya later,

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Getting Around in Spite of Myself

Since moving into the city this week, I’ve been doing a little more driving in traffic than I care to. I’m not a big fan of multiple lanes, and fast-moving streams of rival vehicles within inches of me as I try to pick my way over an unfamiliar route.

Modern technology came to my aid up until this week, and I guess I got a little spoiled. My son let me borrow his Tom-Tom, which tells you how to get around, turn by turn. It even gives you a heads-up on which direction you’ll be turning next, so you can change lanes before your fellow travelers spot your out-of-state plate, and lock you out. We also enjoy the sexy female voice’s often wretched attempt to pronounce street names.

Unfortunately for me, my son took the Tom-Tom with him on a recent trip, so now I’m back to the old Chamber of Commerce map (very creative and entertaining, but missing a few thousand crucial details).

Later this week, I’ll probably discuss driving in Tucson a bit more, but for today, I’ll just say I miss the Tom-Tom. I’ll also talk about my son’s cats, with whose maintenance I have been entrusted, my son’s extensive collection of movies, and the relationship between the two. For now, I’ll just say that I have not seen a street sign like this yet in Tucson:

…But given the ongoing improvements along Interstate 10, I expect to any time now.
Blog at ya later,

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Back for Another Month

Another month, another challenge. Yarntangler decided that things went so well in late 2008 with our 30 day blog challenge, we should do it again. So, here I am. The problem is, my brain's stuck in neutral at the moment, after not posting for a while. steps:

That's enough for today. First blog is in the history books.
Blog at ya later,

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Let 'im Eat Cake

Well, we’re finally in warm southern Arizona, where the temperature dropped and the snow fell briefly a few days ago, in celebration of our arrival. Sorry, Tucson…that sort of thing’s been happening to us lately. We really don’t do it on purpose.

We left New Mexico, and Yarntangler’s Dad and Step-Mom, after a nice visit featuring “Lady B” ’s famous New Mexico Random Cuisine. I always enjoy her meals, especially after we’ve been visiting for a few days, and the leftovers have had a chance to accumulate. It’s kind of like Forest Gump’s box of chocolates…while you know what’s been on the table the past couple days, you still never really know what you’re going to get. The possibilities are limitless, and delicious.

But there is one consistent item in all of Lady B’s meals for which I am always grateful: dessert.

I don’t get a lot of cake, or pie, or Jell-O, or ice cream as a rule. It’s just not practical here in the rig…so when I’m at Lady B’s table, I savor the cake, the cake and ice cream, the brownies, the chocolates, and the variety of other goodies offered at the end of the meal, before the meal, after the meal and at other random times during our visit.

So, thanks, Lady B, for all the good eatin’. We look forward to our next visit.
Blog at ya later,

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Back to the Basics

There’s a lot of optimism in the country today, thanks to our new president:

  • Black people are celebrating a milestone in their fight against lingering bigotry.

  • Young people, who made up the massive base that put our new president in office, are actually engaged and interested in what is happening.

  • In the worst economic climate we have seen in decades, there is hope today that things can work out.

Barack Obama has a lot on his plate, and the two wars and economic crisis everybody’s been talking about are just the most visible. It’s going to be a tough four years…maybe eight. But change, especially fundamental change, is always difficult.

We have reason to be optimistic. Barack Obama has broken the race barrier, and his election is no less significant than the abolition of Jim Crow laws and officially-sanctioned segregation. He was elected in spite of being a relative unknown, and he overcame major political heavy hitters in the process. He knows how to get things done…but I think he also realizes he’s not going to succeed on his own.

Our new president let us know, without the flourishes of fancy rhetoric we’ve heard in past inaugural speeches, that he’s not the only one who will have to roll up sleeves and get to work. While it will be up to him to deal with the politicians and power-brokers, the movers and shakers who infest the government and bureaucracy, we’ll have our own work to do. This is our fight at least as much as his.

This is our chance to stir from the semi-consciousness we’ve drifted into during the Bush and Clinton years. We’ve been willing to accept some poor decisions and deceptive schemes over those years. Politicians and bureaucrats have feathered their nests at our expense. Money changers have built financial sand castles and sold them to us. Fanatics and stone killers a world away have perceived us as a weak, soft target. Terrorists within our own land have gathered confidence, and increased their numbers. These things and more have happened because we allowed them to.

If things are going to change, we’ll need to stay involved in the business of our country. It was not just a Civil Rights corner that was turned today. President Obama made it clear this will have to again become a participatory government. We have to guide the change and stay aware of what our representatives are doing in Washington. We can’t just elect people and leave the decisions to them. That’s what got us where we are.

If you let a fungus grow inside a wall, it will look OK for a long time. You won’t notice anything, and gradually you’ll get used to the smell, and not even notice it. Then one day, you’ll die of a bad respiratory disease. That’s kind of where we are right now. Time to get out the pry bars and bleach.

The president can’t do it on his own. Time to wake up…to take responsibility and make sure our representatives know we’re here. Regularly. Time to make it unprofitable for corporations to stick to old technology so they can continue to charge outrageous fuel prices. Time to insist that when CEO’s commit fraud and bankrupt their companies that they go to prison, instead of retiring with their Golden Parachutes.

It’s going to be an uphill battle for our new president: Even as he was taking the oath of office, Wall Street was taking another dive. His work, and ours, is just beginning. He plans to hit the ground running. We’d better do the same…no more apathy as usual.
Blog at ya later,

Friday, January 9, 2009

The Rolling Home Rolls Again

Well, the rig has happy feet again. After a week in Tulsa, and some very good service from a local shop, the shimmy and shake in the front is a thing of the past, and two brand new tires are proudly mounted on the wheels. That means (tuh Dah) we hit the road in the morning (or early afternoon at the latest) and head south.

It’s been an adventure this year on the Kansas/Oklahoma stop, but as always good friends reached out and helped get us through. Thanks again to everyone who helped us finally make it out of Coffeyville, and an extra thanks to our friends Jim and Beverly, and all the folks at Tulsa’s Expo Square. We even got rid of the mouse that was giving us more than a single mouse’s worth of trouble. (More on that in an upcoming post).

It will be nice to get down into some warmer weather as we head into the thick of winter, but for me, the best thing is just getting back on the road. There’s something about moving down the highway, looking out your big picture window at an ever-changing panorama that has fascinated me from the beginning. It’s the knowledge that the whole, beautiful country is at your disposal, and that your back yard will be completely different tonight than it was last night.

We’ll be taking a different route this year than the last couple of times we’ve been in this area, so we’ll see a different part of Texas on our way to New Mexico, then on to Arizona and the big tall cacti and great desertscapes.

That’s it for now…just want to let you all know I’m still here.

Blog at ya later,