Saturday, September 30, 2006

Image is everything.

I was visiting a couple of friends at their office today. I try to do that regularly; we talk about their business, my business and all sorts of interesting stuff. We've been friends for 20 years, and relate with the kind of relaxed looseness that's only possible after years of familiarity.

Which doesn't have much to do with what I'm mildly amused by right now. But I wanted to say nice things about M. & S.

S. had a bottle on his desk. I assumed it was water. But I was wrong; I read the label and found that it was, instead, "pH-balanced hydration fluid."


Damn skippy. I didn't dare taste it; that small bottle cost more than the equivalent volume of certain other fluids I sometimes like to ingest. But, hell, it sure looked like water.

This was just another instance in the continuing saga of The World Passing Mr Scribbler By. I still remember being stunned when "designer water" took off. Sure, there was a time when I had bottled water at my pad, but that was because the stuff coming out of the tap where I lived tasted suspiciously like industrial waste. Even the cats wouldn't drink it.

But I never thought you could get away with charging a price for pint bottles of water that would buy you a gallon of gasoline.

You sure can when you call it "hydration fluid."

Why I Am Not Rich, reason #7,263.

Somehow, we got around to talking about his company's name. I suggested a new name, one that would polish the somewhat stodgy image presented by the current moniker. It was easy: I took his last name and spelled it phonetically, with a "z" at the end in place of the existing "s."

He looked puzzled. "It doesn't say anything about what we do," he said.

I pointed out that this was unnecessary. The new name is, I suggested, Urban, Edgy, Trend-Setting. It has the final "z," just like "Boyz in the 'Hood." And even if it doesn't mean a damn thing or explain a damn thing, neither does "google." Or "Lucent." Or, for that matter, "Enron."

He laughed. I am about as unUrban, unEdgy and unTrend-Setting as you can get.

As I was leaving, he was doodling on a sketchpad. Working out an urban, edgy, hip logo from of the name I suggested.

Image, after all, is Everything.

"Inhumane" executions

If there is any single event that can stand as a model for the wrong-headedness of our society, it is a series of court hearings taking place in Northern California.

A judge, one Jeremy Fogel, has halted all executions in the state. Why? Because he is concerned that the method of execution -- injection of lethal substances -- may somehow be "inhumane."

Let me see if I understand this: Fogel has put the execution of Michael Morales -- the next prisoner in line for the Big Needle -- on hold because he might experience a few moments of discomfort before the lights go out forever.

I wish Terri Winchell could testify in this case. She was 17 in 1981 when Morales raped her, beat her with a hammer and stabbed her. But no one seems particularly concerned with whether her final moments might have been a little bit uncomfortable.

Instead, time and money are being spent to make sure that Morales doesn't feel a thing when he pays the price for the atrocity he committed. He has had 25 years of life that Terri Winchell was denied, 25 years of regular meals, free medical care and lawyers working to keep him alive.

By the time Winchell's body was found, no one could bring her back to life.

Okay. I'll say right now that if Morales wants a big shot of heroin or a couple of slugs of Jack Black before the execution, I'm all for it. Anything to ensure that this vermin gets what he so richly deserves.

But, on the other hand, if he has a few moments of hideous pain that make those last seconds endless, that make him eager to die if only to stop the agony, I'm perfectly okay with that, too.

As far as I'm concerned, those who oppose the death penalty and/or make the comfort of the execution method an issue are missing an essential point.

In this instance, the essential point was named Terri Winchell.

Putting Morales to death won't bring her back, but it will keep him from committing another hideous crime. And it will mean there is one less violent killer for society to support.

When Morales is, at long last, executed, his suffering, if any, will be inconsequential when compared to his victim's last moments.

And that is what judges, lawyers, and assorted do-gooders should bear in mind.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

GCotW...the midweek edition!

Saw this handsome dude while I was out walking yesterday....

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

From the shadows... interested party watches the gulls and pelicans eating lunch....

Random images...

...from an afternoon walk.

Some people must get bored pitching shoes over power/phone lines, as this coffee cup (at least I think it's a coffee cup!) attests...

But shoes are still the favorites, and this pair has lasted a long time on the wires...

I don't know what this plant might be, but it seemed to be thriving in the afternoon warmth....

Mouse-brain maps

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports that scientists, working under a grant from multi-zillionaire Paul Allen, have developed a "map" of a mouse's brain.

This is very cool.

I need a copy, pronto. I'm pretty damn good at reading circuit diagrams, and I could make use of the "map."

Granted, the mousie-mind is probably more highly developed than mine. After all, the little rodents seem, in general, pretty contented with their lot. When was the last time you saw one in a bad mood?

Be that as it may, I might be able to figure out, with careful study, which wires I could snip to right my mental ship. Perhaps all it would take is bypassing a processing-unit or two, adding a resistor to a line where the wires overheat.

Certainly, there are some burned-out components, and a few unused networking and command-and-control modules that could profitably be yanked out.

It surely wouldn't hurt to use a mouse-brain map to make essential repairs to the old noggin. I might actually be able to improve the design a bit.

And what could possibly go wrong? I might be more useful to society if I spent my days propelling a wheel. At worst, I already have an affinity for cheese.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Fish ladders

According to our local newsrag, there is a need to build "fish ladders" to allow salmon to get over/around dams in Northern California.

After I took a moment to smile at the images a "fish ladder" can generate, I realized that I wish someone would build something similar for me.

A dam is, after all, nothing more than an oversized wall, and I feel as if I have one of those planted square in my path. There's no ladder that I can see to get me over its peak.

Salmon-like, I've made my way upstream against some pretty strong currents. But this is one big wall.

There are certain things people cannot do alone, and I seem to be stuck against one.

Monday, September 25, 2006

My camera...

...with recharged batteries, went outside today...

...but it didn't find many interesting things to focus on...

Actually, didn't find anything interesting. I don't know why I like these!

I'm a loser!

You damn betcha I am...I lose stuff all the time. Always have, for that matter; as a child, I was forever misplacing things. And the reaction when I would confess my carelessness never varied: my father would decree some sort of punishment that would last until I managed to recover whatever-it-was. In the end, I think I found almost all those items, and have followed a similar pattern since (minus the punishment, of course).

Recently, I lost my watch. for two months I went around without it. All the time, it was in my small rolltop desk. Why it was there, I have no idea, unless I put it there during one of my attempts to straighten out the clutter around here.

Now, it's batteries. My camera dropped dead last night, so I did what I always do: I popped the batteries into the charger and went looking for an already-recharged set to put in. Couldn't find 'em.

A year or so back, I had three sets of rechargable AAs for this express purpose. Twelve in all. I never had to fear being caught with a useless camera for lack of power; nor did I have to wait 14 hours for the stupid things to charge before taking pictures again.

Last night, I had the four in the charger, and no more.

So I sat down and did some thinking. Four in the charger...where were the rest?

Two were simple to trace. They're in Germany now, loaned to a friend whose own little digi died at a crucial moment. I hope she recharges them when they go limp instead of just tossing 'em.

That should have left me with six more, yes?

I found the two that had been kept with their brothers who are now in Germany. So all I needed was two more, and I could resume normal operation.

I've looked all over the place. In desperation, I pulled out two bags I carted around with me when I was in Europe a year ago. One, which has more pockets than a pile of Levi's at Wally-Mart, yielded nothing. The other, in which I stashed various information packets, my press credentials and other random bits of paper, gave up 120 Kronor (left over from Sweden) and five Euros.

And one battery.

Now I have seven. That's no more useful to me than four. And I piddled away the better part of an hour on the fruitless hunt.

So it's off to Radio Shack. Wonder if they take Kronor and Euros?

POST-SCRIPTICAL THOUGHT: There is a box in my office closet into which I toss stuff that I probably should throw away, but can never bring myself to part with. Old, old press badges, "souvenier" lapel pins, pens with interesting logos (but no ink), and the like.

Can't think of a way to build the suspense, so I'll just say that I found one more little green AA rechargeable lying in there amid the other detritus....

Pack-ratishness can be good. Sometimes. Not often

Sunday, September 24, 2006


...and a photo of a Buddhist gathering in the local park....

This is something I haven't seen before in the five years I've been here. Up to now, it's all been Christians and heathens....

GCotW Plus...'s a beautiful afternoon here Where The Ghetto Meets The Sea...

A perfect day to receive some very very good news, which is that Anne, a dear friend who has been quite ill, is on the road to recovery.

And so, though the rest of you are encouraged to enjoy, this Gratuitous Cat of the Week -- or should I say Gratuitous Guard Cat of the Week? -- is dedicated, with love and continued good wishes for a speedy return to full health, to her....

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Who needs a skateboard?

The video quality is poor (and that's putting it mildly) but go here and watch.

Be sure you stay with it to the end.

You'll be amazed.

Time flies...

...when you're not having fun, too!

I started in to write an article earlier today. Had my facts and opinions all formulated and ready to go. Not that many words required, either. The kind of thing I've always been able to speed through as if it was a short beer.

Suddenly, it was 5:00 in the afternoon, and I was still staring at a blank page.

Oh, I tried. Laid down a few ledes, but none of them was up to the job of grabbing the reader and pulling him (or her) into the story.

PARENTHETICAL THOUGHT: When I began writing, 'way back in the dawn of time, I used a typewriter. Remember typewriters? I wasn't hip to computers at all, until a tech-y friend went out and bought me one. In those days, I would have been up to my rump in crumpled sheets of typing paper at this point. Things are much, much better now, at least in this particular situation....

Here is where I run into one of the big drawbacks attending my current poor mood: I am more critical of my work than any editor I know. When things are going well, that's one of the reasons much of my stuff hits print without change; I've already weeded out the crap, polished the rough diamond, tightened all the verbal fasteners so everything stays together.

But when things are not going well, I am hyper-critical. I don't rate anything I do very highly.

A SEMI-PARENTHETICAL DEVIATION FROM THE MAIN SUBJECT: I received a letter today from a man whose creations I had profiled in a story. In part, the letter said:"...your gift for words is truly deft and precise. My family and friends were amazed at my accomplishments, brought to life in your article." Oddly enough, the story to which he referred was one I sent off with some hesitation; it had the bad fortune to be written on a very bad day for me....

So I've put more mileage on my "delete" key than any other today. It's amazing how much time that can consume. Of course attempts to salvage various versions of the vital first paragraphs were subjected to salvage attempts. None worked; each ultimately sank like a stone.

I'm not about to give up, though. I can't. This one is due first thing Monday.

I do know a sure cure for writer's block, but it is, alas, not available to me these days.

So I'll ignore the whole thing for a while longer, and try again.

Ain't that a hell of a way to spend a weekend!

Friday, September 22, 2006


That's my activity for this evening.

I am being visited by ghosts from the past. There would be more, but the box containing some old recordings I'd like to be listening to right now is, if I'm lucky, somewhere on its journey back to me.

Those tapes, which a friend has transferred to CDs, mean a lot. They remind me of glorious days. Some were made before I was born, though I knew and revered the man who made them, and once had a chance to play the same instrument on which they were made. Others were the result of my own collaboration with the same man, a brilliant musician who lost none of his skill with age.

But never mind that.

Like Joe Gillis, floating in Norma Desmond's pool in Sunset Boulevard, I find myself, more and more often, telling my story in past tense. That is, I assure you, involuntary. I would like to believe that more achievements -- and more happiness -- lie ahead. But I see few signs of it.

Not that all my memories of the past have to do with music. I'm thinking about a warm day in the East, when I shared an outdoor shower with a lovely lady. We had lots of soapy fun before heading off to enjoy burgers and beer.

And I remember a visit to a bar in NYC's Grand Central Station with the same lady. We got pleasantly buzzed on martinis before riding the commuter train back to her I recall, we saw fireflies that night....

And I remember a day when another woman told me she loved me, and could not imagine life without me.

And I remember a day when I was lionized for an article I wrote. On that same day, a check arrived, for a sum that more than compensated me for the time and effort I had put in.

And I remember a day when a magazine I created and edited received fulsome praise.

And I remember the day when a beautiful, talented woman (the one who could not imagine her life without me) told me she wanted to marry me.

All these memories have one thing in common: they are memories, the remnants of promises and dreams unfulfilled.

That is why I feel more comfortable in the past than the in the present. I can see my mistakes, but I can also see that I had hope.

If I choose to look at the good moments, I must look backwards.

So I look into the past, when there were still possibilities and dreams.

And I look to tomorrow with dread.

Bubba flips out!

Yes, our former president, Bill "I did not have sex with that woman" Clinton, is mightily upset that people think he was a wee bit lax in his handling of terrorists...

Of course he had ten years to sock it to Osama bin Laden. He had plenty of opportunity to lay down some heavy retribution for several terrorist attacks that happened while he was smokin' cigars in the Oval Office, too. Unfortunately, he had other things on his mind....

But I'm sure the army of Clintonistas will rejoice at his spirited defense of himself. They don't care about the truth any more than he does.

Especially when it concerns yet another of his many failures.

Thursday, September 21, 2006


This picture, which I took earlier today, is a visual metaphor for where I am at the moment...

...there are people all around me but I am utterly alone, stuck in traffic that isn't going my way, sealed in my shell.

I have a great deal of anger built up about many things: my so-called "relationships," the idiots who are slamming this nation while enjoying its many benefits, my own fight to keep my head above water, and much more.

But no one is listening, so why should I go into a rant?

I am alone. Everything I have believed has proven false.

Where do I go from here?

I would give the rest of my life for a moment when someone touches me.

Tomorrow, I will have repaired my shell. Maybe. I will perhaps be able to act as if I am part of this world, will be able to express my opinions coherently, will again be part of this strange civilization.

Tonight, I only want to feel the touch of someone who cares, who is willing to abide by their promises and commitments.

All around me, on the radio, in newspapers, are idiots. Haters, whiners, selfish people. In real life, there is no one close enough to calm me.

Forgive me for my honesty. For tonight, as every night for the last six months, I am alone.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

A shift in the wind...

...has brought a pall of smoke to the sky Where The Ghetto Meets The Sea...

The fires that produced the smoke are a long way away. The closest is perhaps 50 miles north of here. But they are massive fires; one has been burning for more than a week and is still nowhere close to being contained after consuming tens of thousands of acres of brush and forest.

It must be awful the closer one gets. In fact, I know it is; I have lived in areas that were threatened by fires. It is bad enough here.

There is a strange end-of-the-world feeling around here tonight. Maybe I'm the only one who feels it.

SEMI-PARENTHETICAL UPDATE: The smoke seems less pervasive now. Perhaps the slight breeze is clearing it away, or at least thinning it out. I can no longer smell it.

What next?

First this...

Then, today, this...

I expect to see a stove, or maybe a refrigerator, soon....

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

This tunnel...

...has light at the end of it.

It was nice to be in one that does. For once.

Monday, September 18, 2006

I will not...

...lose my mind tonight. I will not be like the guy in my neighborhood who goes for midday walks in his pajamas. I will not become what my brother calls a Gimme Dollar Man.

I. Will. Not.

But I've had plenty of provocation. Hassles over work, finding out that the streets around here will again be no-parking zones (for four days) for the benefit of a motion-picture production company....

PARENTHETICAL THOUGHT: I bet those pesky movie-makers, who are given all the access they want around here, never film near our City Councilboob's house. She never has parking and noise problems with them; nor do they tell her to stay off the sidewalks or get the hell out of their shot. She probably gets a cut of the permit fees. She may be incompetent when it comes to her constituents, but she seems to have an unerring instinct for raking in publicity and money....

Oh, there's more. A package I'm expecting, checks I'm expecting, stuff like that. Stuff that never seems to show up when promised.

And I have to do jury duty next month.

In fact, instead of going on and on and on about the usual run of garbage that's upsetting me -- which, after all, differs mainly in detail from virtually every other day for the past six months and includes some endless misery I don't feel like writing about -- I think I'll go fix myself something to eat.

A nice salad.

A nice spinach salad.

I'll garnish it with some nice mercury-laced tuna.

Bon appetit, pal.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Another old crock...

...and no, no self-portraits despite the title!

While on my walk today, I saw this...

Which was attached to the radiator of this...

A 1925 Dodge Bros. touring car...

The driver sits tall inside on a leather bench, with four mighty cylinders to command...

And everyone rides on solid steel wheels...

A popular accessory from the 1920s: spare gas, oil and water, each in its own can strapped to the running board...

A bonus GCotW!

When I set out to capture a Gratuitous Cat of the Week this morning, I didn't expect to to find drama! The photo sequence tells the story....

These three were enjoying a relaxing morning in the park...

But they were not alone...

The visitor got just a wee bit too close...

The moment of tension was short-lived, and they soon relaxed their vigilance...

Saturday, September 16, 2006

It's lunch time... the park.

Ordinarily, the raccoons are nocturnal. This one must have been extra-hungry.

I can't afFord...

...a dandy ride like this, but I can look when someone leaves it out in my vicinty...

It's a '33...

With Ford's first Deco-style "streamline" grille shell...

And the Sign of the Flathead on the hubcaps...

Friday, September 15, 2006

Another reason I despise Mexico...

...and our own government, which kowtows to the corrupt Mexican government every chance it gets.

Duane "Dog" Chapman, a bounty hunter...

...was arrested in Hawaii and faces extradition to Mexico. Chapman's crime is that he went into Mexico and retrieved a convicted rapist, one Andrew Luster, who had jumped bail and fled to safety there.

This upset the Mexican government.

Of course this is the same Mexican government that will not turn over one of its citizens who is believed to have shot and killed a Los Angeles Sheriff in cold blood. The evidence appears to be indisputable, yet the Mexicans refuse to send the suspect here for trial. Yes, they said they would, but somehow they just haven't found time to get around to it, more than six months after agreeing to ship him back.

A strange reaction. Does "Luster" sound like a Mexican name to you?

Chapman went into Mexico to collar a convicted criminal. Such low-lifes have it pretty good in Mexico, as long as they have enough money for la mordida.

I, for one, am sick of Mexico -- and its citizens, including the lawbreakers -- getting preferntial treatment from our government, and every request that the slimeball politicians South of the Border make being instantly fulfilled.

It's time for a change in our government's attitudes.

I only hope common sense and decency will somehow appear and Chapman will be freed before he becomes a victim of the rampant corruption above and below the border.

Civilized? I think not.

I am sickened by this article on the BBC website.

We hear so much from Islam's apologists, protests that their religion is misunderstood in the West, that it is a religion of peace and equality. And yet, we see so many instances of brutality and senseless violence committed in the name of Allah.

Forget, for a few minutes, the kidnapings of Westerners who are then beheaded on tape. Forget the vicious attacks on civilians. Forget the insane "holy war" mentality that will not end until the world is subjugated by Islam. Forget the mindless hatred of Jews.

I would like to hear a rational, honest explanation for this.

I do not believe it can be explained.

At this moment, my tolerance has just about vanished.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Poll dancing

Tonight, for the first time, a national polling organization called me to get my opinions on the upcoming elections. I spent about 10 minutes talking to a "researcher" who seemed to have some difficulty in reading the words on her question sheet....

The process explained a lot.

For example, the questions tend to ask "will you support x or y for the office of z?" No room, therefore, for someone like me to say: "I will vote for x, because y makes me want to vomit."

Yes, there were follow-up questions meant to measure what I think about the way x, the incumbent, is functioning. Explaining how one feels about the incompetence of said individual takes much more than "agree strongly, agree, disagree, disagree strongly." The word "f*ckw*t" wasn't heard once, alas.

Or consider bond issues, which seem to intrigue the poll-takers. I am against bond issues on principle; we pay plenty of taxes as it is, so if the crooks in Sacramento (or Washington) can't manage on what they already extort from us, why should I give them more and put myself, not to mention future generations, deeper into debt? It has nothing to do with whether I feel children should have health care, damnit!

Likewise, one of the issues here is Indian gambling. I am in favor of the tribes getting a fair shake. But giving them casinos, which in reality enrich a few while the rest go on as miserably as before, isn't the answer. I am not against the tribes; I simply do not want gambling parlors strewn about the countryside. No matter who runs them.

Somehow, I suspect I came out as wanting children to die of loathsome diseases while Indians starve along the roadsides.

If they would break the questions down into smaller, more digestible chunks, they might get a better picture of what people really think. I consider myself conservative in some ways, liberal in others, and moderate in the rest. So don't ask me if I am one of the three in general as if it defines me; it depends on the issue.

But never mind that. If you see an answer to a poll question that indicates 89% of white Californians feel that oppressed minorities should be chained to walls and tortured, know that the question is the culprit, not the people who answered it.

And what is this "identify your race" crap, anyway? Mainly, I'm white, but if you analyze the blood you'll find other races -- including at least one Indian tribe -- represented.

P.S. I said "other." As they say in Noo Yawk, "skroom!"

I will never respect a poll again. They say more about those who write the questions than those who answer them.

And if you ever see a poll in which 78% of those polled thought a is a miserable, incompetent *ssh*l* whose only chance of winning is that he/she is running against worthless sack of sh*t b, you'll know I got fed up and started my own polling organization.

It's the little things...

...that are driving me up a tree today.

There are three companies hauling trash away from this apartment and others that share the alley below my window. Two make pickups twice a week. Therefore, I can count on noise -- and dust -- from monster disposal trucks on a daily basis. The trucks have noisy mechanical devices to lift the bins, and loud, shrill beepers that sound when they back up;

My neighbor, the demented pianist, has been playing "Star Eyes" (a tune I love) for the last two hours. He has yet to get the chord progressions right, and seems not to know the bridge;

It's gas-powered leaf-blower day;

Someone is using a table saw somewhere nearby;

My fan has developed an annoying tick, probably a sign of imminent failure.

If the big things don't drive me mad, you may be sure the little things will.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Since I have nothing to say...

...or, at least, nothing I feel like saying, here's a shot of a criminal puppy violating the local leash law...

His owner did hook him up a moment later, and he was a well-behaved little guy. At the moment I snapped his pic, he was fascinated by a Schnauzer walking past.

Monday, September 11, 2006

The president speaks on 9/11...

...and I cannot believe he is rational. His world view is so far from reality as to border on delusional.


He is promoting some twisted notion of "bringing democracy to the Middle East," as if tens of millions of suffering Iraqis, Iranians, Syrians, Saudis and others had personally begged him to come to their aid. As if the United States is somehow responsible for making these countries "free."

We have to do this? What about them? Let them build their own nations in the form they want, and if we can help in some way after they have proven that they can carry at least most of their own load, that is a different matter.

He has once again flat-out distorted the truth when he talks about "pursuing terrorists and those who harbor them." If he really meant that, we would have long ago lowered the boom on Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Iran. Instead, we call the first two nations "partners in the war on terror," and pursue "diplomacy" while the third develops nuclear weapons.

This is the same man who babbles about "securing our borders" while he continues to advocate allowing illegals to flow unimpeded across the same borders.

The number of Americans who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan during the "war on terror" is rapidly closing in on the number of innocents killed on 9/11/01. The more than $300 billion dribbled away into the desert sands would have rebuilt the World Trade Center several times over.

Saddam Hussein was a "threat we could not ignore?" Fine. Bush should have sent in a hit team to off him.

This may be George Bush's "Ideological struggle for the 21st Century," but it is not mine. Nor, I believe, is it that of most Americans.

The true "ideological struggle" is to free the United States of the hermetically sealed culture of self-righteousness, political opportunism, divisiveness and greed in Washington. It is to make this nation secure. It is to move decisively and forcefully against any genuine threat we face, to reply to any attack in a way that will dissuade others from attacking.

A "free, democratic society" already exists in the Middle East. It is called Israel. In recent months, Bush has shown that he does not have the moral courage to stand by them, was willing to abandon them to the mercies of the corrupt, useless United Nations in the name of "diplomacy."

I repeat: the man is not rational.

In a perfect world, I would welcome the elections of 2006 and 2008 as a means to root out the lunacy that prevails in our capital.

Unfortunately, the alternatives we have to choose from would not be any better. They are motivated by ideologies equally reprehensible, inflexible and unrealistic. Bush's sins of commission would be replaced by sins of omission, and vice versa.

I do not believe the best course of action after 9/11 would have been to take no action, to talk, pass resolutions and negotiate with a very real enemy.

But neither do I believe that the attacks on our country justify wanton military adventures against people we don't like.

If this is indeed a "war on terror," then let us fight it like a war. And win.

If it is a battle to bring "democracy" to the "moms and dads of the Middle East," let us bring it to an immediate end. That is not our battle. It is not working, will not work.

My only hope is that the American people will eventually come to their senses, and realize that neither the administration nor the opposition are even remotely qualified to lead this nation.

I hope we can find sensible leaders before it is too late to clean up the hideous mess our current crop of politicians has made.

Sunday, September 10, 2006


The horror of 9/11/01 seems as fresh in my mind as if it had happened yesterday.

I was listening to the radio – it was just before 6:00 a.m. in California – when the first bulletins came in. I turned on the television and sat shocked and transfixed as the World Trade Center was attacked. We all have seen the scenes of panic, heroism and destruction on an unimaginable scale replayed often, but it is the since-suppressed raw video of people falling to their deaths from the upper floors of the Towers, the live, as-it-happened terror that remains indelibly in my mind.

Innocent people were dying in airplanes and buildings because of a madman. A Muslim madman, who caused all this to happen in the name of his religion.

After a while, the replays, partial information, rumors and misinformation became a blur for me. I remember the aftermath well: at the time, I lived under one leg of the approach pattern for a major airport, and was used to the constant sound of aircraft. Suddenly, it stopped. In the days that followed, each time the silence was broken the aircraft heard and sometimes seen were military and that, too, was unsettling.

Memorials, speeches, firemen and others collecting donations for those who fell...amid the sorrow, there was a growing sense of community, a willingness to confront the outrage perpetrated on all of us.

And, for a moment, it seemed we had a government that would rise to the occasion. It didn’t take long for that notion to dissipate.

In the first days, George Bush seemed to be on the brink of greatness. And then, he went off the rails.

The five years that have passed have shown, sadly, that our “leaders” have learned nothing. The mastermind of the heinous attack still lives, unpunished. Those who supported him – which, lest we forget, includes our “friends” the Saudis – have not been called to account. The Taliban and al Qaeda still function with far more freedom than one would expect. A new bureaucracy, giving employment to political hacks who are unqualified to work in a taco stand, has been established.

George Bush developed a sick fixation on Saddam Hussein (probably because the Iraqi ruler wanted to assassinate Bush’s daddy), and thereby added unnecessarily to the American death toll. His political opponents have reduced the victims to numbers, a political tool with which to attack the administration.

So where are we now, five years later? It’s business as usual, with the loved ones and friends of the almost 3000 victims of 9/11, and the friends and loved ones of the thousands killed in pointless battle since, reduced to irrelevant footnotes.

In the days after 9/11, it seemed we would visit condign punishment on those who were responsible. Today, the politicos in Washington are showing themselves to be the shallow, squabbling, self-absorbed fools we feared they would be.

We have not served the victims well. Quick, closely targeted action might well have saved us from the continuing mess. But that is beyond the partisan whiners. Whether they urge us to “stay the course” or “stop the war,” we lose.

Sadly, it appears that those who died on 9/11 died in vain. Bush, his supporters, and those who toe the Democrat party line in opposition to him, should be ashamed of themselves. They continue to mine the destruction and death of that awful day for personal and political gain, point fingers instead of shouldering the burden of avenging the dead and protecting the living. We should be ashamed of ourselves for keeping all of them in office.

The nightmare continues.

But most ordinary Americans remember the clear images and issues of 9/11. We honor those who died, pray that such a disaster will never occur again.

It’s a shame that our “servants” in Washington cannot do likewise.


Went for a walk this morning in hopes of finding a Gratuitous Cat of the Week. I found two, one of whom is a repeat "winner..."

Then I came back here, where the cat who is never gratuitous lives....

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Afternoon of a friend

So I drove down to San Diego as planned, and spent a warm afternoon with warm Dorrie. She lives in Germany, but we haven't managed to meet on the occasions when my travels have taken me there. When she's here on holiday, the 300-mile round trip is no problem.

We spent much of the afternoon wandering around San Diego's Balboa Park, a place I haven't seen since before some of you were born....

I love the elaborate architecture in vogue in the early 1900s when the Park's main buildings were built....

This building, with wood and steel open lattice-work, houses a fascinating array of plants...

And looks like this from inside...

Open-sided walkways fascinate me...

It was a relaxing time. We talked and enjoyed each other's company (at least I enjoyed hers!) and perfect weather.

Later, we went to Coronado and briefly explored the Hotel Del Coronado. No pictures; the original, striking buildings have so many new structures around them that getting the shots I wanted was impossible.

And then, we went to dinner. But not for fish...

All in all, a great afternoon, for which I am most grateful to a very sweet lady.

PARENTHETICAL THOUGHT: Thanks to Dorrie's Dad, the Boatswain, here's a pic of Dorrie with some miscellaneous old guy who staggered into the picture....

Friday, September 08, 2006

On the road... San Diego, there to enjoy the second annual meet-up with a sweet lady. She's a good friend, and wonderful company.

When I return (assuming I don't get arrested at the Border Patrol checkpoint or skooshed on the road by some Mexican 18-wheeler with bad brakes), in all probablility I'll have an announcement, unrelated to today's fun, to make.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

It could work!

A couple of friends sent me this picture of a proposal for the rebuilding of New Orleans....

I don't know about you, but I think the idea has real merit!

I don't gotta show you no stinking First Amendment!

It seems there is a big uproar over ABC's upcoming "docu-drama" about the events leading up to 9/11.

DISCLAIMER: I'll admit right up front I haven't seen it in advance.

But neither has Harry Reid, a motor-mouth Senator who is babbling about how "false" and disgusting it is, nor have numerous Democrat politcos who are raising such an unholy ruckus about it. Nor, for that matter, has Bill Clinton seen it, though he's apparently quite upset that it portrays his administration's incompetence in dealing with terrorists. The ex-Prez wants ABC to edit it, or make it go away.

Such hypocrisy!

One -- at least one who has had some experience with the lefties' vicious attack-dog tactics -- has to marvel that the ABC show is sending them into such a tizzy. After all, they are perfectly free to offer their own views, which they are of course doing, over and over, about the events depicted. And they'll get plenty of coverage, thanks to all their pals in the media.

Or could it be that they are perhaps worried that the miniseries shows off the Bubba Clan's inability to react to anything beyond sleazy sex acts and crooked land deals too clearly?

We'll never know the truth. It might help if we could see the documents ex-Clintonista Sandy Berger pilfered from the National Archives, but that's another story.

Okay, it's only television, and I probably won't watch the show anyway.

What bothers me is this: how would the leftozoids react if George Bush had wanted cuts in the blatantly partisan "Farenheit 9/11," and demanded it not be shown if changes weren't made to satisfy him? What if his minions set up an organized pressure campaign to force Michael Moore to tell it their way?

You know how they'd react, at least if you're not blinded by rabid partisanship. They loved that film, and wouldn't yet have stopped yammering about "censorship" if any Republican had asked for cuts or corrections.

Don't tell me "this is different."

Censorship is censorship, regardless of who advocates it. To see the leaders of the party of "rights and freedom" yapping about wanting cesnorship is both amusing and troubling.

Go read this, authored in part by the reprehensible Senators Reid and Schumer, and note the implied threat to ABC/Disney contained therein. Note also that they offer no facts to back their assualt; all they can do is whine and threaten, and rely on the opinions of former Clinton staffers who obviously have an axe to grind. Their quote from Thomas Kean of the 9/11 Commission is at odds with what I have heard him say in interviews, but since the source quoted is the New York Times, I would expect partisan inaccuracy. Normal procedure for them.

Let's face it: The long string of U.S. mistakes made in dealing with the Middle East and criminal Muslim elements in that region began long ago. Some might say -- accurately, I think -- that it began with that idiot Jimmy Carter.

And the mistakes did not end on 9/12/01. Nor have they ended yet.

Frankly, I believe that a documentary that honestly told the story accurately would result in Washington D.C. becoming a ghost town after the next elections. And it would knock both the current president and several ex-presidents off the pedestals their fanatical followers have set them on.

Be that as it may. We cannot know what the truth is about 9/11 and what led up to it. And, to be honest, the producers of the ABC film don't know either. The only people who do know are so incredibly partisan -- on both sides -- that their views are not to be trusted.

That Clinton and his cadre of worshipers/apologists can be demanding and expecting censorship merely increases the stench of hypocrisy that envelops their party and their beliefs. They, who routinely lie and distort, expect to be able to get away with branding parts of the show as "lies."

I guess there are good lies and bad lies in their world.

It's a damn shame that such low-lifes are the only alternative currently available to the bumbling fools now in charge.

POSTSCRIPT: Appaently, Disney/ABC is caving in and is making "edits" to the program. They claim the alterations don't change anything, but even if that is true -- which I doubt -- it is an amazing act of cowardice.

In addition, Scholastic Magazines' website, which had posted a study guide built around the show for teachers to use with pupils, has yanked it. I guess only the sanitized, politically correct, approved-by-the-lefties version of history is acceptable. Even if it glosses over the truth of some major Clintonian failures and drops all the blame in Bush's lap. Especially if that's what it does. So much for the truth....

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

As George Bush said...

..."There's an old saying in Tennessee — I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again."

I've been fooled. Oh boy, have I been fooled. And I'm not even as incoherent as ol' GWB. I think things through, and am very deliberate when I finally make decisions.

Even so, I was fooled.

I believed what someone told me. I believed the someone in question loved me, as she said she did. I dared to imagine a future -- with her encouragement and agreement -- in which I would make that someone happy by giving her the love and respect she had been missing.

Was I ever wrong, Jim.

She didn't want respect. She wanted something far different, which she found elsewhere.

Sure, I'm positive he claims to respect her. All men -- including me -- have claimed to respect a woman who lets us get some. That's a male thing, though some of us outgrow it.

The sad thing is that I really did respect her.

No longer.

I admit I would say anything to get into a girl's knickers. When I was 15, that is. It worked on 15 year-old chicks.

Now, I have this foolish romantic notion that a promise is a promise, that a declaration of wanting to spend the rest of your life with another actually means something.

I mean, this was a (supposedly) adult woman.

Was I ever wrong in this instance.

I won't "get fooled again."

Some friends don't abandon you... I have been reminded lately by my pal Hobbes, who has again taken to spending time on a chair in the office since my stress and depression levels have been increasing. It's comforting to know he's there when I'm trying to work....

Obviously, it's an exhausting job....

The most noble thing I have ever done... to restrain myself from writing what my hurt, venegeful self wants to write.

Instead, I will end this horrible, painful day with a couple of random photos taken while I was stuck on the freeway this afternoon.

It's damn pathetic when the only bright spot of the day was seeing a '59 Buick trapped in traffic with me...

And, though summer is supposed to be drawing to a close, it was damned hot here today....

Amazing: I have again concealed the truth. I'm proud of myself. I'm still a gentleman.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Things are...

...awful beyond belief.

Actually, they are worse than that, and are getting worse still with each passing moment.

And that's all I can say without dipping into parts of my vocabulary I seldom use in public. I'm damned if I do, damned if I don't.

So I won't. No sense in injuring bystanders when I explode.

Things just aren't working out the way they were supposed to, Jim.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Labor day...

...was quiet here. Illegal aliens were supposed to hold some kind of mass march/rally not far away, but they decided to take the day off, too.

So it was just another quiet, late-summer day...

It was warm, but not uncomfortably so, with a nice breeze. The desert got the thunderstorms we were promised, and even a flash flood or two. We had the normal amount of water...

PARENTHETICAL THOUGHT: The city has once again fenced off my favorite walking route. Until someone makes a late-night run at it with a good pair of wire cutters, that is....