Sunday, May 31, 2009
Are you tired of seeing stories about some rube in Missouri who got nineteen thousand dollars for a cheese sandwich with Mother Mary's face on it? Of a yahoo in Minnesota finding a valuable Cheeto that looks like Jesus walking on water that he hawked for big bucks on Ebay? Some McJob kid who finds Moses on a potato in the fry basket and sells it for enough to get himself a used car?
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Friday, May 29, 2009
I got worried that he might be off the beam once he got home, so I called my sister and asked her to see if there were still any guns in the house.
Most of the rifles and shotguns and even handguns, he had given away. He'd kept one, loaded, in the closet, and my mother found and moved it.
I brought it home, so that if paranoia flared, nobody would get shot accidentally.
The revolver, an Iver Johnson .22 target model, was one my mother won at a raffle more than fifty years ago. It's an eight-shot, not much gun, and even in great condition, not worth much. But it was the first handgun I had a chance to shoot, that and a .22 High Standard semi-auto pistol that now belongs to my nephew, who also got the 16-gauge Browning.
Sometime in the near future, I'm going to take the oldest two grandsons out to the range to shoot Pop's gun. Seems appropriate, somehow ...
Thursday, May 28, 2009
So, just back from a babysitting session with my youngest grandson, and, while watching a video of The Wiggles -- those of you who have small children know all about them, and those of you who don't, well, you don't want to know ... I came across something most disturbing.
To the non-connoisseurs among you, The Wiggles are not nearly as bad as Barney the Dinosaur, as apt to cause diabetes as Bob the Builder, or as insipid as Dora the Explorer, because the music is actually not bad. The Australian version of Sesame Street, only aimed at two-year-olds. Blues Clues has the edge, but The Wiggles get by because you can dance to them.
Although the refrain, "Fruit salad, yummy, yummy ..." is going to take on a new meaning for me.
And of course, none of these are in the class with Boobah, which is flat-out an acid trip from the git-go. Guaranteed to blow your mind, trust me on this. I think I remember seeing them live in the woods somewhere in the Sixties -- a cross between The Body Snatchers and Orange Sunshine, with a dollop of Purple Haze. If you ever have a chance, watch an episode of Boobah. You'll never be the same.
Okay, okay, I've been stalling, I admit it. I might as well just say it. If you have small children, cover their eyes:
Wags the Dog and Henry the Octopus are cross-dressers.
It's true. They tried to hide it by using male actors to voice Wags and Henry, but inside those suits?
Girls. Girls, by all that's holy!
Not that there's anything wrong with being girls, some of my best friends are of the female persuasion, but what kind of example is this for our youth? Cross-dressing!
I mean, we all know about Tinky-Winky the Teletubby, who is queerer than a nine dollar bill, but this Wiggles business is much more insidious. Tinky-Winky is a gimme -- the name, the purse, c'mon, nobody is trying to hide anything there, easy for anybody to see it. But Wags? And Henry?
O, the calumny! O, the humanity!
Where is Jerry Falwell when we need him?
Oh, yeah, I forgot, he's dead. And if there is any justice in the cosmos, roasting on a spit six levels down in tropical Hades ...
Maybe Dan Quayle will step up.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
So I determined to learn how to play it, sort of, on the guitar. (You can't really play a canon with only one instrument because, like a round, you need at least two voices, and more are better. There are some guitarists who can use electric instruments, and by tapping, get both a bass and melody line echoing at the same time. That's not ever gonna happen here.)
I found a couple of versions, extracted what I could from them, added in my own flourishes, and have been, for the last several years, fiddling with it, adding in bits here, taking them out there.
On a good day, I can play it through from start to finish as clean as anything else I can manage. But every time I have turned on a microphone or a camera, I have developed a case of Red Light Fever (though in my case the go light on my mic is green) and, Lordy, Lordy somebody has to call the SPCA 'cause of all those clams I start hitting ...
Me and the dogs, I can play it clean, no sweat. Turn on the recorder, clunk! Every time I try to lay it down.
This is about as close as I have come lately. It is my current musical goal to be able to play the piece all the way through without a mistake, so this is the baseline ...
Darryl is old, and he sleeps on a towel on the glider on the patio. My father goes out and sits with him and combs his hair now and then.
Not my mother's cats, but if they don't show up for a couple meals, she goes looking for them. And when the weather gets bad, they sleep in the garage on a blanket she puts down for them.
My mother feeds the cats, along with about fifty varieties of birds -- all I saw when I was there were hummingbirds, sparrows, blackbirds, mockingbirds, jays, crows, woodpeckers, wrens, nut thatches, starlings, bluebirds, and doves, but there are a bunch who come at other times of the year -- and while she's slacked off on feeding the squirrels, there aren't any skinny ones in her yard.
But Darryl: My mother discovered when she was trying to sweep the pine needles off the back walk that Darryl would attack the broom. But here's the fun part:
Those of you who drop by here with any frequency will have noticed that that urine bag was up a long time. 'Twas because I was away from the keyboard. Away from the state. Almost away from the country, having spent the last five days in Louisiana ...
If you could hear my voice right now, it would be dripping with corn pone and chittlins, and you'd be looking around for the rest of the cast of Gone With the Wind ...
I went to visit my folks, to see how my father's Alzheimer's was progressing, and how the family was in general: Mother, sister, niece, nephew, grand-nieces, in-laws, and the old cats my mother feeds but which aren't her cats ...
But let's talk about the food:
Fried catfish tails. Fried shrimp, stuffed with blue crab meat. Fried hush puppies. Fried potatoes. Fried speckled trout. More hush puppies. Even one I'd never seen before -- fried corn on the cob. You roll it in cornmeal batter and drop it into the pot with the fish my brother-in-law caught.
The weather was pretty good for that part of the world this time of year. Raining when I got there, and raining when I left there, but between, mostly dry and cloudy, so it was only in the mid-eighties -- that's temperature Farenheit and relative humidity, for which the technical term is "muggy." I got to see Mike the Tiger's new cage, a four million dollar landscaped yard with a pool and lots of shade. My sister wondered about the tent-roof effect with heavy chain link that covered the place. That to keep people from throwing stuff in? she said.
I expect it's to keep the tiger in, I allowed. Being as how he can jump over that ten-foot tall wall with about as much effort as you'd exert stepping out of the bathtub ...
But no, really, let's talk about the food, not of all which is fried. Some of it is boiled, as in, take a thirty-gallon pot, drop in five pounds of new potatoes, stubby ears of corn, sausage, mushrooms, a whole bunch of cajun seasoning, and forty pounds of crawfish and crank up the propane burner out on the driveway until it is done.
There was a great macho moment, when my brother-in-law Gary and his son-in-law Eric, an ex-marine and deputy with the EBR Sheriff's department went to lift the pot off the fire. Each man put on a rubber glove and grabbed the wire handle.
Eric: Huh. That heat goes right through that rubber glove, doesn't it?
Gary: (I can't quote him exactly here, in case any of my family reads it, but he allowed as how my niece's husband might be less than manly.)
Eric: I've been drinking beer. I can hold onto it as long as you can.
So the two of them held onto the hot wire, looked at each other. Naturally, I couldn't find my camera. Eventually, there was a moment of unspoken mutual agreement and they put the pot down. When you go home, bring your ruler ...
But, no, really, let's talk about the food: Those before and after pictures of the crawfish, look at the after. That pile closest to the camera, that's mine ... (Only real coonasses suck the heads; the pansies like me just eat the claw and tail meat. My nephew Heath's girlfried was the sole cajun-style eater at the table. (Truth in advertising: My heap of et crawfish actually stops at that wadded-up napkin on top the pile -- those to the right belonged to my nephew.)
And I'm back, in one piece, and on a diet for a couple weeks to drop a few pounds.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
And they have booze -- seven microbrews on tap --
Laurelwood Tree Hugger Porter
Hopworks Deluxe Organic Ale (D.O.A.)
Lompoc C-Note Imperial IPA
Alameda El Torero IPA
Amnesia Dusty Trail Pale Ale
Cascade Raspberry Ale
On guest tap:
Ninkasi Double Believer Red
Great stuff, unless you are one of those Nazi monk-pee beer snobs, in which case nothing will please you anyhow. And wine. And hard liquor, in case you want a zombie or a mojiito or like that.
I had a grilled turkey and cheese sandwich, the Felipe, my wife had half a veggie sandwich, the Tasty Treat, which was more than enough for a normal appetite. Came with a couple of orange slices, those thick Kettle-style potato chips, and we had iced tea, all for for less than fifteen bucks -- hard to beat that for a lunch with words like "organic" and "fresh olive bread" "stone ground mustard" and "cilantro" and such connected to it.
Service was great, the place was clean, bright, and the food was excellent -- outstanding, even.
We'll go back, which is for me, the highest form of praise.
If you are looking for a place to have a quiet drink -- they are open in the evening and they have a happy hour -- or a great sandwich at a reasonable price, check it. They are on the corner of Third and Washington downtown. Tell them I sent you
Old joke in the silat class -- ask if anybody has a knife, and the sudden clicking of tactical folders opening, or fixed-blades rasping out of Kydex sheathing, will be loud enough to drown out a marching band ...
Those guys, you shoot at a distance and have done with it.
Personally, I think more than three is paranoid. Well, okay, maybe four.
It's not an expensive knife -- you can get one for around twenty-six bucks; nor is the steel the stuff of legends, AUS-8; still, it is surprisingly comfortable in one's hand, given the short handle -- open, the whole knife it's only a tad longer than four inches, and at two-and-a-half-ounces, light enough that you could carry it in a shirt pocket. Opens with a thumb-stud, no springs. You can get them plain or partially-serrated, with bead-blast natural or a blackened steel. Frame-lock, Steel on one side, FRN handle (fiberglass reinforced nylon) on the other, in assorted colors. Black. Sissy-green, like that.
Small enough so if you didn't want to use the reversible clip, you could hide it entirely in the watch pocket of a pair of blue jeans. (I have an ambiguous relationship with pocket clips on folding knives. On the one hand, they position the knife so it is exactly where you want it and you don't have to fish around in your pocket looking for it; on the other hand, anybody who looks can see the clip and assume -- rightly so -- there is a knife attached to it. If you hide it under a shirt, or jacket, then you have to clear those to get the thing into play. Plus I don't like the way a clip feels under my grip.)
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
... ve vant to pump you up!
Monday, May 18, 2009
Friday, May 15, 2009
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Monday, May 11, 2009
So, the future is all over the place. Check out the latest version of the airplane/car conversion ...
Friday, May 08, 2009
Wednesday, May 06, 2009
Tuesday, May 05, 2009
So, I got the galleys back on the Indiana Jones novel today. Pretty clean so far, a couple things I have to fix, nothing big. (I had a Japanese character utter a curse that, upon second examination, is a lot dirtier than I first thought, so I'll replace that with something milder. A couple typos, like that.)
Still scheduled for a fall release, I think, end of September, I believe.
Still reads pretty good to me, but, of course, I'm not completely objective about it ...
Monday, May 04, 2009
Courtesy of Skeifer, on the rec.music. makers.guitar.acoustic newsgroup:
A musician who has spent his entire life trying to get a record deal is extremely depressed. He's been turned down by every record company he's ever contacted. No one seems to recognize his unique genius.
So he comes up with an ingenious plan to get back at the record companies who have rejected him all his life.
He books time at a recording studio and instructs the sound engineer to record everything he says, and every sound he hears, and then copy it all onto five hundred CDs, and send one to every record company executive on the list that he hands the engineer.
The guy walks into the vocal booth. The red light is on, and he begins:
"This is a message for all you sycophantic, no-talent, stupid record company assholes who've ignored me all these years! I've dedicated my life to writing and performing beautiful, emotive, soul-touching music, and all you bastards do is discard my tapes and sign these
horrible, no-talent, ridiculous, stupid bands. Well, you bunch of morons, you dumb pricks, I've taken all I can of this puerile, shallow industry, and it's you who've driven me to this! Goodbye you heartless murderers of art!"
Whereupon, he puts a gun to his head and blows his brains out.
The sound engineer looks up from the console, hits the talk-back button, and says, "Okay. That's fine. I've got a good level. Let's go for one."
So, I am in a neighborhood association, and I am a reluctant member -- it is compulsory, one of those nine hundred papers we signed when we bought the house. Having never been in one of those before we moved here, I had no clue what they were about.
While I've always considered myself a masculine enough fellow -- I have two children and the family resemblance is obvious -- I don't really put myself into the tough-guy category. I don't leap up onto the table if I see a mouse, but I also don't care much for walking through a major spider web face-first in the early morning woods ...
Saturday, May 02, 2009
Friday, May 01, 2009
Two points for cleverness. Minus two because it's awfully close to reality ...