Monday, April 30, 2007

Uno de Mayo

Tomorrow, illegal aliens and their supporters will try to shut down downtown Los Angeles to call attention to their demands. The school district has asked students to come to school instead of joining the march, but will provide taxpayer-funded buses to take them home if they do go. Cardinal Roger Mahony, who is is as supportive of illegals as he is of pedophile priests, is quivering with anticipation that various political whores will show up to show solidarity.

What they want is for us to forget, as Jorge Bush and his gang of idiots, misguided limousine liberals, would-be slave owners and "concerned citizens" who wander around with loopy "born-again" smiles on their faces blathering about "diversity" have, that Jorge was once caught saying these words:

"People who are in this country illegally have broken the law."

I grant you that's a pretty dimwitted, simplistic statement -- as most of Jorge's comments are -- but the basic point is correct.

Yesterday, there was a pro-illegals rally at the local park. Not much of a turnout -- even though this area is full of illegals -- and no green-and-white buses waiting to offer free rides back to the border.

The latter raises a question: if I applied for a permit to hold a pro-marijuana rally at the park, would it be granted? And would the authorities look the other way if the crowd was full of Rastafarians puffing mightily on their spliffs?

I somehow doubt it.

At least the music would be better. The illegals' rally featured (at least at the time I walked by) some acoustic guitar-playing ex-hippie belting out 60s protest songs and a few politically correct "hits" you find on 99-cent CDs. The ganja-men could do much, much better.

It's a damn shame the illegals don't realize that they are nothing more than pawns in a larger agenda. Jorge doesn't give a rat's ass about them -- he wants to make his amigos in Mexico City happy. The politicians see them as voters and consumers of social services, both of which enhance their power. The Los Angeles Times, which illustrated the recent slowdown in home construction with a sob story about a woman in Mexico who isn't getting as many money orders from her illegal hubby in California, is looking for readers for its Spanish-language edition. The Catholic Church wants lots of devout Catholics who make lots of babies.

I feel no animus toward the illegals as people. At least the ones who don't belong to gangs, drive drunk, steal jobs from legal residents, drain social-service funds or get involved in crime.

But I believe they should all be returned to their countries of origin -- whether in North, Central or South America, Asia, Europe or Africa, or any damn place else -- immediately. If they want to live here, they must go through the same complex and expensive process legal immigrants follow.

This is the only nation on the face of the planet that tolerates such mass law-breaking. Most countries, in fact, tend to discourage immigration unless those applying are wealthy or so talented that no locals can compete. In fact, at the time I thought of applying to emigrate to Canada -- my then-wife was Canadian -- we had to have solid guarantees that I would never go into their version of the welfare system.

But what, you might ask, should we do about the poor babies who are born here (and thus are US citizens) whose illegal parents are deported?

Simple. My feeling is that the 14th Amendment was never intended to reward illegals who drop babies here. The stream of illegals who come here right before their babies are due to be born to get a free pass is testament to the folly of liberal interpretation of the Constitution.

I believe illegals have rights. Just like other criminals, they have the right to be tried and, if found guilty, punished. The same rights should be extended to those who aid and abet them. That includes Jorge, the late Ted Kennedy and all the other loons from the cesspool of alcoholism, senility and graft that is our current government.

Encouraging and rewarding people for breaking one law is the same as saying no law need be obeyed.

As I say, I have no bad feelings about anyone who comes from a foreign land. Their place of origin means nothing to me.

But when they flout our laws -- and are allowed to do so -- they are nothing more than common criminals in my book.

Think of it: 20 million criminals.

I wish our political, religious and social "leaders" cared as much about us as they do for criminals.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

GCotW

Until I downloaded and cropped this photo, I didn't realize that there were two Gratuitous Cats in the frame...



That's what happens when you restrict your field of vision to the camera's viewfinder.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

No more car photos!

Well, no more car piccies today. And no more today after these.

First, a '61 Cadillac...



One of my favorite cars to look at or drive, the sensational '72 Citroen SM. Wish I could afford one...



Since a bunch of people brought their Alfa Romeos to the show this morning, here's a Giulia coupe from the 1960s...



And my favorite Alfa from roughly the same era, the fast, fun and even practical Giulia Super sedan...



That's all for now.

Nautical nuttiness...

...at this morning's car show!

Anyone itching to hit the beaches couldn't do better than this early-1950s Willys Jeepster, complete with surfboard and palm-frond "roof"...



Note the license plate. The owner is a serious surfer, who obviously wants to be somewhere else...



As an alternative, you might want to consider the early-1960s Amphicar, a clever German device that is both boat and car...



Pull a lever, and the engine drives these two propellers instead of the wheels. Sadly, the Amphicar wasn't all that good in either of its roles...



More to come....

The usual Saturday car show...

...had so many cool rides show up that I'm breaking up the photos into several entries.

This 21st-century hot rod grabbed me...



It's a beautiful piece of design work...



Nicely finished, inside and out...



But it's probably somewhat uncomfortable to drive around in, with only a firewall -- and no glass panel -- between the interior and the engine...



More later....

Thursday, April 26, 2007

My lips are sealed...

...and I am keeping my typing fingers (all four of them) in restraints.

Be very, very grateful.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Someone has stolen my brain.

Or the really important bits of it, anyway.

I can still write, even managed to complete an article I was assigned yesterday*, but it takes an ungodly amount of effort. I've been feeling as if I'm just throwing out words...like little dung-balls, some stick and some just fall to the ground.

As some others have done, I should stop paying attention to the damn news. I could spend the next week writing rants if I thought I could organize my thoughts well enough to separate the topics.

I will simply say that, among other things, I'm wondering how long I would last speaking to a black audience if, like Hillary, I put on a hideous, patronizing parody of a down-South accent....**

And I'm wondering why we can't build two walls: one between the USA and Mexico, and one between us and the corrupt, traitorous bastards of both parties in Washington who are selling us out to whoever offers them enough graft.

Actually, I'm simply raging about these subjects because I don't want to write about all the things that are bugging me on a personal level.

The only remotely enjoyable part of the week has been a call today from a musician friend who lives in the Midwest and, like most musicians, does his work at night. After we yammered at each other for a good long while, he apologized for taking up so much of my work day. I told him no apology was necessary; our conversations are the only occasions when I can relax and talk about two of the three things*** I dig the most, both of which are currently denied me: music and (I'm paraphrasing here, out of simple decency) attractive female-types****.

I haven't had conversations of this kind on any regular basis since my music teacher died. Next to actually enjoying those pleasures directly, I need this.

So I can think and talk, but in those matters where I should be able to add the ability to come up with coherent paragraphs that, when combined, make up the kind of articles for which I'm "known"***** I seem to have run dry.

If you'll excuse me, I'm now going to unscrew the top of my skull and see what's in there. Maybe I can find something in the refrigerator that I can install as a replacement for the missing gray matter. Probably some exotic item I bought at Trader Joe's. Or at Tito's Tacos; who knows?

In the immortal words of Bart Simpson: "Later, grizzly dudes."


* Those few clients who pay promptly always move to the head of my schedule, deadlines be damned....

** Believe it or not, I can do a much more realistic version of same than Hillary's. I simply wouldn't have the guts to lay it down in front of a bunch of people for whom such accents are natural.

*** The third, money, I only want to have. Talking about it bores me.

**** His preference is for musical females, thus theoretically doubling the pleasure. But then he hasn't been bitten by one.

***** Yes, there are people in this country to actually know who I am and are avid readers of my work. I've met both of them!

Monday, April 23, 2007

What we have here...

...is a failure of inspiration.

I don't really give a damn about the work I'm doing right now, and when I read what I've written the indifference seems to stand out in big day-glo letters.

I think the "delete" key got more use today than any other. Lots of dry, uninteresting paragraphs went down the ol' cyber-oubliette; at this rate, I'll end up erasing every article I've ever written.

The photographer I usually work with called this afternoon. He was full of "x wants us to do a story about y" babble. Do I care? No. X is one of the slimy bastards who can hold stories for months without paying. Besides, y is not a subject that interests me at all.

This only matters because I have no other life right now than my miserable work. If other things were at least on the horizon and not just in fading memories and futile wishes, I could deal with cranking out crap pieces for crap magazines, and do it well.

I'm afraid I may have conveyed my lack of enthusiasm in the phone call.

Ask me if I care.

Oh, well. Tomorrow is another day.

I might wake up full of enthusiasm, ready, willing able to pump out words by the hundreds. I may be able to forget the late checks and the pitifully small numbers written on them. I could even turn out something I'd be proud to use as a sample of my work for prospective clients.

And monkeys might fly out of my butt.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

If I had a rope...

...I'd be at the end of it, you damn betcha.

I spent too much of this weekend trying to bolt words together for work, and finished perhaps a third of what I needed to do.

PARENTHETICAL LET-ME-ENTERTAIN-YOU THOUGHT: I did get next Sunday's Gratuitous Cat photo this morning...and it's a doozy!

So my new estimate is this: given the pace of my writing at the moment, I will have to sit here in front of this damn screen for the next six days to get caught up.

No days off. No distractions.

I could give you a list of things I'd rather be doing -- mainly things some of you get to do regularly, bless you, and everyone else wishes they could do -- but why bother?

Right now, I wish I could be working for someone of the opposite sex who is hot for my ass, and thus doesn't care if I'm good at what I do or not.

Not really. I'm just being bitter.

I'd just like to have some incentive beyond panic and basic survival, some distraction from sitting here pecking away at the keys.

I'd also like to not be angry, which is bad for both my health and creativity.

This reads like a cheap play for sympathy, but it's not. I don't want that. I want what I've earned, what was promised to me. I've done my bit, and more. Sadly, I've done most of it for people who don't give a damn about following through on their promises.

It's raining here, and I should be happy about that. Our rainfall totals are one-fifth what they should be.

But I'm not happy about much of anything right now.

Time to put on my hat and go for a walk.

This morning's walk...

...involved a certian amount of time walking with head down, thanks to Joan, who, among other accomplishments, takes superb photos of cement-scratchings. I found this one, which is a prevailing attitude Where The Ghetto Meets The Sea...



Of course this squirrel doesn't care. Someone gave him a cheese cracker and he thinks everything's just fine with the world....

GCotW

Another kitty-in-camo!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

What's wrong with this picture?

Two news items from today...

First, a story from the New York Times (I've added some emphasis):

At their first meeting with journalists since taking over Russia’s largest independent radio news network, the managers had startling news of their own: from now on, they said, at least 50 percent of the reports about Russia must be “positive.”

In addition, opposition leaders could not be mentioned on the air and the United States was to be portrayed as an enemy, journalists employed by the network, Russian News Service, say they were told by the new managers, >who are allies of the Kremlin.


Then, another piece from the same paper:

The Bush administration is offering Russia a new package of incentives to drop its strong opposition to American missile defense sites in Poland and the Czech Republic, including an invitation to begin linking some American and Russian antimissile systems, according to senior administration and military officials.

The package includes American offers to cooperate on developing defense technology and to share intelligence about common threats, as well as to permit Russian officials to inspect the future missile bases.


I can only conclude that either Vladimir Putin really sold Jorge Bush on the "we're buddies for life" act, or that Bush has been taking lessons from Nancy Pelosi.

Either way, I smell yet another big, fat rat.

We've been had. Again.

I should have been working...

...but I had to get and breathe some fresh air.

Wish I was out there! Either on the ship or 25 miles beyond. The city of Avalon is on this end of Catalina Island. Not that you can see it very often from here...



No desire on my part to be a pelican (I'd find their diet monotonous) but I love to watch the flocks fly by...



Back indoors now, and back to work.

So who are the "hos?"

Clearly not the Rutgers women's basketball team.

But after reading this story in Newsday, I'm beginning to get a pretty good idea of who might deserve such an appellation:

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. -- Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton finally dropped by Rutgers to meet with the school's women's basketball coach -- but the players themselves skipped the half-hour meeting, citing their studies and Imus fatigue.

Frankly, the players are showing class in the face of an opportunistic hand-holding session intended to make Hillary seem "compassionate." As if she gives a happy damn about anything but getting maximum political advantage from something that doesn't involve her at all.

But she still managed to get a couple of licks in, and these comments give us a good idea of which elements in our society are going to be the pampered "victims" if we are dumb enough to elect her.

While speaking to 700 students and faculty during her self-pimp-a-thon at Rutgers, She urged the crowd to take a "Rutgers pledge," to say, "Enough is enough, when women or minorities or the powerless are marginalized or degraded."

Prepare for the storm if you're not one of the chosen few, folks. It'll be Thoughtcrime time if she makes it into the Oval Office.

She wasn't through with her shameless pandering, though. And another would-be Democrat president is trotting along right behind her:

Later, the former first lady traveled to Manhattan to address Rev. Al Sharpton's National Action Network Convention, where she ravaged President George W. Bush, particularly over Iraq.

Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.)is scheduled to appear before the group Saturday. Both have courted the controversial preacher who led the effort to oust Imus.


I find it interesting that these two will kneel in front of a notorious hate-monger and racial extortionist like "Reverend" Al. At least now we know how low they will go when hunting votes.

As for Don Imus: if he didn't exist, the Democrats would have had to invent him.

They have nothing to offer aside from the perpetuation of "victims." Their "principles" consist of nothing more than selling themselves to the highest bidders.

God help us if our next president comes from among these whores.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Rambling rants...

...because my attention span is short. And because I see connections between them, and I don't think it's paranoia.

First, it has now been 94 days since George Bush's corrupt flunkies got Ramos and Compean thrown into prison.

Then, on a day when the stock market is reaching historic highs, out comes word (hidden away in the dark corners of the media) that more than 3 million Americans have lost their jobs in manufacturing since 2000. This supports my contention that stock manipulators don't care if the entire nation is on the breadlines so long as they can profit from low-wage overseas and illegal-alien labor.

Next week, the open-borders crowd in Washington (Jorge Bush and his administration, virtually all Democrat politicians and too damn many conservatives) are going to have to face the public as thousands of Americans head for D.C. to protest their heinous activities. Wish I could be there, though I know my two senators are among the most strident advocates of throwing the borders wide open.

Likewise, thousands -- perhaps tens of thousands -- of truckers will be protesting Jorge's insane order to give Mexican truckers free access to American highways. Despite the empty babble from Jorge's amigos about inspecting the trucks as they enter the U.S., they've been forced to admit that as a practical matter, only three out of 100 Mexican trucks can be inspected.

That means 97 out of 100 could be full of drugs, illegal immigrants or terrorists. And anyone who has seen Mexican trucks -- that would be me, among among millions of others -- should be terrified when they see those worn-out, badly-maintained rigs on our roads, driven by low-wage drivers who aren't restricted as to behind-the-wheel time or even trained as truckers.

So what's the deal here? Wall Street and a majority of our own government seem eager to sell out the citizens who keep them fat and sassy. With millions of Mexicans, Indians and Chinese happy to take slave-labor jobs, employers can cut wages and thus create more "jobs Americans won't do."

Every day, I'm more and more convinced that the survival of the nation is at stake, and only a radical change of personnel in government can save us.

By the way: has anyone in government noticed that North Korea has not taken a single step to live up to its side of the supposed nuclear "agreement" with the U.S.? Supposedly, it was to shut down its nuke plants a week ago....

One last rant: the very first person who needs to be booted out of DC is Sen. Harry Reid, followed by Jorge, Pelosi, Kennedy, Kerry and the rest. If Reid -- and his political allies -- had made it their mission to give Jorge a boot in the butt to make him get serious about winning and ending the so-called "war on terror" instead of yammering about how we've lost and should simply surrender to the forces that want to destroy us -- or, in the case of Nancy Pelosi, "engage them in dialog" by sucking up to murderers and terrorist enablers -- I might have some respect for them. As it is, I feel nothing but contempt. They are more cowardly than the French.

Thoughtless little pigs...

...are everywhere. And I'm not talking about Alec Baldwin's daughter, who didn't deserve to have his intemperate characterization of her spread all over the media.

Why did I start writing about that? I'm certainly not going to expose the thoughtless pigs, big and small, who have made my life more irritating than I could have managed on my own. It's tempting, but I've managed to suppress the urge up to now. Seems to be a good policy for the future, too.

That said, my evening with Mr Beam last night was not exactly as I would have liked. After a single shot, I felt stupid; the times when alcohol has not been a downer have always involved other people, whether lovers, friends or colleagues. I wound up making a big cup of hot chocolate and trundling off to bed.

Not exactly the picture of a two-fisted drinker any more, am I?

The general sense of frustration and irritation remains. How the hell do I get rid of it? I know what not to do, but I've always found the best cure for this mood is to have something good come along. Doesn't even have to relate to the source of the bad feelings, though any possible nice moments I can imagine would be connected to at least one of the things bugging me.

Not likely any will come along any time soon, though. My schedule for the next few months revolves entirely around doing work and finding more work. That is my reality.

I have not so much as looked at the story that has been an albatross around my neck this week and remains unfinished. I did turn out a couple of smaller, easier pieces, but all I'll get out of them is money (eventually). No satisfaction.

Oh well, enough whingeing.

I may be back later with rants. I don't see much beyond the borders of my life that doesn't anger me, either.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

All steamed up!

Before I forget -- and to prove I can still function when mildly inebriated -- I chanced on an unusual sight today.

I was driving back to my home Where The Ghetto Meets The Sea and happened to see a steam locomotive on the tracks near the docks...



This is an unusual sight, to say the least. Turns out that there's going to be a "Train Festival" on Saturday, and the locomotive was brought down -- under it's own steam, so to speak -- from Union Station in Los Angeles to join in the festivities.

Six or seven cars were attached to the big steamer for the 30-mile trip. One of them was this Pullman car, which appears -- if the "Pacific Sands" name is any indication -- to have served on the late, lamented Coast Starlight line before being retired...



On an adjacent track, a remarkably accurate replica of a Pacific Electric "Red Car" -- which provided mass transit throughout Southern California before the system was scrapped in the 1950s -- was sitting. The originals were scrapped, or sent to Japan to be converted into Toyotas, many years ago. At great expense, the city commissioned a couple of replicas, but the tracks that extended from the desert to downtown to the sea are gone, and they now run only along a small stretch of rail here...



I remember riding on the Red Cars as a small child. I remember riding behind steam locomotives, and hearing their far-off whistles as I lay in bed....

Now, the steam locomotives, and the Red Cars, are nothing more than curiosities, museum pieces.

I feel very old tonight.

It's that kind of day...

...and it has gotten more aggravating since my earlier bout of complaining.

I went to visit the photog and -- at last! -- pick up some material relevant to the actual story I was supposed to write, came home and found I could salvage the first two paragraphs (roughly 100 words out of 2000) as written. Essentially, while I can pick out a fact here or there from the rest, it's all junk now.

Worse, this is for a client who is one of the most irritating to deal with. Checks are slow in arriving, communication is sporadic and, frankly, the editor -- who, like all editors, considers himself an expert on everything that might appear in his magazine -- is a mindless shitweasel who probably can't tie his shoelaces without outside help. He never noticed the major discrepancies between photos and text.

So I dug into the work again, only to be distracted by the arrival of the mail. No checks. More important, no checks from this particular magazine, which I have been expecting for at least two weeks.

That, my friends, brought the whole mess to a screeching halt. Maybe I can pick up on that article tomorrow. Maybe.

This is a dangerous situation for me. I have made promises as far as writing and delivering articles, but promises made to me -- mainly involving payment for the work -- have not been kept. It's a one-way street, and not just with this one publication. I give, I'm promised a return, and don't get it. When I question this situation, I get mild hostility combined with wide-eyed innocence.

PARENTHETICAL WHILE-I'M-COMPLAINING THOUGHT: This mess reminds me of a woman I knew recently....

What I feel like doing is telling all these creeps to take their magazines and perform unnatural acts with them. But I won't. There are no alternatives for me right now to swallowing my pride and anger and cranking out more words.

And I have this worthless, unrewarding habit -- or so it seems when I compare my attitude to those of many others in my work and personal lives -- of being honest and doing what I promise to do.

Not tonight, though.

I'm going to do something I rarely allow myself to do these days: I'm going to dive into a nice deep pool full of Jim Beam.

Only for this evening, though.

I've had enough. And, sadly, the only socially acceptable outlet available to me is knocking back enough bourbon to dull, if not blot out, all my negative feelings.

Good grief!

Am I a chump, or what?

Some time ago, I mentioned that I'd been assigned to write an article made up of material from two old, old articles. I wasn't looking forward to the job, and in fact it has been a total pain in the ass from the get-go.

This morning, I had it done, and was giving it a final once-over prior to sending it to the editor when one paragraph set off a warning bell in my mind. It was simple enough; I wasn't certain if I had made an error due to sloppy writing in the original article or got my facts tangled. Either was possible.

Easy enough to be sure: all I had to do was call the guy who shot the pictures the magazine plans to run.

Surprise!

The story didn't match the subject in the photos!

They were similar, but the particular traits I babbled on about for two-thirds of the 2000-word total do not apply to what appears in the pictures.

Damn.

Damn.

Damn.

I've invested some serious time in this. All wasted.

The editor didn't bother to say anything about it, and neither did the photographer. The original story didn't match the photos; they never ran together. The photog sold the magazine another set of images with the same story.

I have to make a decision: do I drown myself now, or waste the rest of the day rewriting this turkey again?

The wet option looks pretty good right now....

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Just so you know...

...I'm still alive.

I can apply a few word to my mood tonight: angry, disappointed, frustrated, lonely, unsynchronized, tired, uninterested.

Today was not a great day. No reason to expect tomorrow to bring relief.

Rants and raves about the world in general, specific events or my personal "life" would be exercises in futility. As was work today.

Ask me a question, and I'll simply say: No comment.

That seems safest.

Tragedy and tastelessness

I haven't written about the evil that struck Virginia Tech yesterday. I have opinions but, just like all the newscasters, commentators and politicians who immediately jumped in to pontificate, I don't really know what the hell I'm talking about.

I can't ignore the aftermath, however. Some parents of VT students have called for the college's president to resign because he didn't do enough to prevent/stop the murders of 32 students and the suicide of the perpetrator.

I say he should be fired, too, but for a different reason: the man is clearly too stupid, tasteless and insensitive to hold any post more complex than burrito-wrapping. Why? Because anyone with the slightest sense of decency knows better than to start babbling about "beginning the healing process" and "gaining some closure (what an awful word that is!)" when some of those killed have not yet been positively identified.

Grief takes time. Mourning, raging and weeping are integral parts of loss, particularly when it occurs in such horrific circumstances. And dealing with them is a gradual process. To put a one-day time limit on them -- as this fool did by scheduling a "colloquium"-cum-memorial-service for this afternoon is asinine and damaging. Cut off the process and people become shallow and desensitized, or at best push down their grief, never a healthy thing.

The college president's speech at said "colloquium" was a weird mixture of expressing pain and pumping up the next speaker, Virginia's governor. The governor's speech was even stranger, part rah-rah "we can get over this," part old-time preacher-man and part political stump speech. Listening to it, I got the distinct impression he wasn't entirely certain where he was.

In fact, the only speaker who showed the slightest sense of taste and appropriateness was, amazingly enough, George Bush. For once, he was simple and human. Especially when contrasted with the two blowhards who preceded him at the podium.

When an event of sheer, unimaginable evil takes place, the aftermath is always bad enough. There is inevitable political posturing, demands that heads roll, second-guessing and Monday-morning quarterbacking, and ceaseless nauseating "commentary."

Why we have to further cheapen tragedy by inflicting new-age "closure," premature "healing" and grandstanding on the survivors is completely beyond me. Loss does not vanish overnight.

Monday, April 16, 2007

It's that time again!

I dropped into Petco today to pick up a fresh supply of the (expensive) food my cat eats, and found that the chihuahua races are on again this year!



I asked the clerk if I could enter Hobbes. Even if he's an old cat, I have no doubt he can still outrun any damn chihuahua in town.

She said he'd scare the doggies, and that would probably disqualify him.

Still the first Prize -- a $250 Petco gift card plus a three-night package at a hotel in San Diego -- is pretty darn impressive.

According to the rules, the first 300 chihuahuas can register online. Wonder what I could do to make a red cat look more like a small, short-haired dog?

Sunday, April 15, 2007

It's time for some people to pay the price.

I'm not talking about Don Imus, whom I disliked until the last few days, when he showed a great deal of class when compared to those who gleefully ran him out of his job.

I'm talking about the high-and-mighty moralists, the professional "victims" and agenda-driven jerks who piled on after Imus made a stupid remark, one of many he has made in his career.

Start with Les Moonves, the headman at CBS, who was perfectly happy to pay Imus millions of dollars each year to be offensive until he heard from a legion of black "victims" and suddenly got religion, so to speak.

Then consider Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, two race-baiting extortionists who have, over the years, caused more damage with their mouths and actions than Imus could in three lifetimes. Remember the Tawana Brawley case? Remember "Hymietown?" Where are their apologies for reprehensible behavior? Simple answer: because they are in the forefront of selling guilt to whites and casting the black population as perennial "victims" -- and making a damn fine living from doing so, mind you -- they are immune from the consequences of their words and actions.

Add in all those who have gone on Imus's show to further their careers, knowing full well what his act consists of, but now turn their back on him.

And, finally, add the Rutgers women's basketball team, who, in order to "stand strong" (as one of them put it) whimpered that Imus had "taken all the joy from their victory" and "scarred them for life." That, friends, is moral cowardice. Three words from Imus and they wanted, needed to have him fired? If any of them listen to and enjoy sexist, vicious, demeaning-to-women rap "music," as I suspect at least some do, their moral cowardice is deeper still.

The initial push to destroy Imus came from a left-wing group called "Media Matters," which has people watching TV and listening to the radio full-time in order to catch any slip of the tongue that can help further their agenda. One of their paid snitches picked up on Imus's comment and made sure every loudmouth liberal and professional victim in the country knew about it within minutes.

Free speech -- ain't it wonderful?

And while we're on the subject of apologies: Messrs Jackson and Sharpton would be on the hook for another big one -- along with a whole bunch of others -- if there was real justice in this country.

Sharpton and Jackson, along with the president and 80-plus professors at Duke University, a district attorney seeking re-election by showing the black population of Durham, NC that he was "on their side," Newsweek magazine, the New York Times and many more, decided the three Duke lacrosse players who were accused of rape by an apparently intoxicated stripper were guilty long before they faced a jury. Never mind the fact that the accuser, one Crystal Mangum, couldn't keep her story straight, never mind that the D.A. falsified evidence and suppressed DNA tests results that proved she was lying, never mind that at least two of the three players had solid proof they weren't even there when the so-called "rape" took place; all these "solid citizens" rushed to judgment because the men were white and the "victim" was black.

Who will make amends to these three?

They can legitimately claim to be "scarred for life."

Oddly enough, none of the three have yet called for Sharpton and Jackson to lose their "jobs." Nor have they insisted that the president of Duke, the professors, the staffs at Newsweek or the New York Times should be fired. Heck, they haven't even insisted that Mangum be arrested for filing a false police report.

I'm not as classy as they are, so I'll do it for them. Each one of them should pay, and pay big for the damage they caused.

It won't happen, of course.

It has taken far too long for race relations in this country to settle down as much as they have. The next great upheaval may well come when white people realize they have been played for fools by so-called "black leaders" and their cadres of professional victims. No scam, even when fronted by hard-core scammers like Sharpton and Jackson, lasts forever.

Oh yes, there's racism in this country. But all races engage in it and, these days, only one pays the big price.

Either we all will grow up and accept each others' failings without the kind of rancor that washed over Imus and the three Duke lacrosse players, or we will sink back into the swamp of racial divide and acrimony as Jackson, Sharpton, their followers and white liberals carrying the burden of phony "guilt" want us to.

Let he -- or she -- who can honestly say they have never spoken an insult cast the first stone.

That way, no stones will be cast, and we will live in a happier, more tolerant nation where the word "equality" really means something.

GCotW

Ready for anything, trusting no one, tense yet relaxed at the same time...

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Air show!

Not an official show as far as I've heard, but what else can you call it when someone's doing the whole full-flaps, gear-down, stand-it-on-its wing bit with a C-17* just outside your window?



* Thanks for the correction, lowandslow!

Four random photos...

...to finish up my 25 hours in Avalon.

The first is a sculpture inside the Casino Theatre auditorium. Its twin is on the opposite wall...



Looking toward home -- somewhere to the right of the ship -- at 6:30 am...



And looking across to downtown Avalon from the Casino, a few minutes later...



There was quite a crowd waiting for the ferry....

Friday, April 13, 2007

The Big Casino.

As you approach the casino, the first thing you see is the box office...



Which has nautical-Moderne murals on all the walls above and around it...



The semi-circular lobby...



I tried to get a photo of the auditorium last night after the movie ended. It wasn't easy to see with only the red footlights beneath the screen for illumination. So, naturally, I set the camera to the wrong exposure mode and got this washed-out, grainy result. Squint, and you can see a bit of the detail, including the mermaid painted above the proscenium's curved arch....



The indistinct shape you can see in the previous photo below and to the left of the screen is the theater's original pipe organ, which is played before the movies on Friday and Saturday night, as well as for special silent-movie presentations...



It's a magnificent old place, a classic movie palace that is being restored and maintained with respect for its history.

I'm back...

...from a two-day trip to Catalina Island. Before I left, I said it would be a day trip, no? But high winds and rough seas canceled the ferry service to and from the mainland yesterday afternoon, and I ended up returning about 21 hours late.

There are worse places to be stuck. This is the first view one gets of downtown Avalon after disembarking from the boat...



An incredible number of houses and condos have been built in and around Avalon since I spent a week here back in the '70s. It's a crowded yuppie-land now; it's always been a tourist haven, but seems to get pricier and more chi-chi by the hour...



But there are plenty of treats to see as you walk around. The Catalina Yacht Club, for example, has one of the oldest structures on the island...



Next door, this club seems to be a bit less snooty. Or maybe not...



And finally, the magnificent Casino, a movie theater downstairs and a gigantic ballroom upstairs. The Casino was built by the Wrigley (chewing gum) family in 1928 -- at the time, they owned the entire island -- and is beautifully maintained...



More pictures of the Casino in the next entry.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Worded out.

That's what I am. I have spent most of the day writing an article that should have taken me, at worst, maybe three hours. That's what happens when the focus of the piece has to be shifted slightly in mid-stream to satisfy the client. Turned out a quick, superficial rewrite wouldn't do it -- at least to me -- so I ended up cutting away everything I wrote last night and starting fresh.

I should write yet another piece tonight. No one has thrown any curves at me on this one; it's short and is really little more than a typing exercise.

But I don't wanna do it.

The pressure of what's due tomorrow and over the next ten days, coupled with the usual array of annoyances, has brought me to the stage in which I simply don't want to even think about the subject I'm paid to write about, much less commit words to print.

There are lots of things I'd like to think and write about but they don't make me any money. And right now, money is more vital to me than happiness.

Hell, I'm not entirely sure what happiness is. It's been a long damn time, and the last instance came at a terrible price.

That said, I'm going to do something different tomorrow. Rather than sit here pecking out words as my frustration mounts, I'm going to spend the day attending, for the first time in close to a decade, to my avocation.

There's no money in it -- just a free ferry ride to and from Catalina Island, with a lunch thrown in -- but the satisfaction of doing something I can do well, a combination of hands and ears that can only be done right or wrong, with no gray areas to drive me crazy, may calm me down a bit.

The only bad part is that this is one of perhaps five things I'd rather be doing than writing new versions of the same old stuff over and over. At the end of the day, the knowledge that this is a one-shot deal might weigh on my mind a bit.

But I'll take the chance.

Anything is better than fighting the word-demons.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The Pharaohs' Easter Picnic!

One of the largest -- and coolest -- car clubs in the South Bay got together at the park on Sunday to have a barbecue. They set up pi├▒atas and a "bouncy castle" for the kids and cooked up a mess of fine-smelling food.

Naturally, they all showed up in their shiny coches...



Except for this lone '55 Packard (which still got the low-rider treatment), they all brought their Chevvies...



I don't know if I dug this cool '49 Sedan Delivery (complete with metal sunshade over the windshield) the most...



...or this sharp '54 with Powerglide and spinners...



...or one of these fine, fine pre-war caruchas...



Couldn't hang around long enough to decide. Just sniffing all that BBQ was making me hon-greeee!

The Lenny Bruce Effect.

Years ago, I bought a copy of Lenny Bruce's autobiography, How to Talk Dirty and Influence People. I was reminded of one episode the other day: Bruce was on trial -- in San Francisco, I think -- for using what was then considered an obscenity in his nightclub routine. When writing about the trial, Bruce noted that people in the court (judges, attorneys, etc.) were repeating the banned word with great glee every time it popped up in testimony.

Lenny was surely exaggerating a bit for dramatic purposes, but the same effect is easy to see in the Don Imus controversy.

If I was Imus (a frightening thought) I'd be sending thank-you notes to Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. Think about it: Imus probably thought he was broadcasting to his usual audience on radio -- a couple dozen, judging from his show's ratings -- plus another handful who happened to be watching him on MSNBC, when up popped the devil! (so to speak).

Have you ever heard Imus? How this guy has kept his job over the years is a total mystery. When he's not mumbling, his patter is full of unfinished sentences that make no sense and disjointed musings that make one wonder how many of his brain cells still function.

PARENTHETICAL THOUGHT-CUM-DISCLAIMER: Several years ago I was spending some time in the East and on several occasions had to drive from where I was staying into New York City. I caught Imus on the radio a couple of times and managed to stick with his show for maybe 10 minutes at a time before switching stations. That's my total experience as an Imus listener. People more familiar with him say he's worse now.

So here's this guy whose regular listeners wouldn't fill a city transit bus making headlines all over the country. You can't buy publicity like that!

And his incredibly stupid comment showed up in every news report and every commentary. No one was content to report that it was dumb and derogatory; no, all had to repeat it. How many of those critics were snickering to themselves as they typed/spoke his words?

A lot, I'll bet.

(As in Lenny Bruce's trial: "Did you hear him, your honor? He said blah-blah-blah." "Man, how could he say blah-blah-blah?" "He probably enjoys saying blah-blah-blah!" "Only a pervert would say blah-blah-blah." And so on.)

While we're on the subject, I suggest that Messrs. Jackson and Sharpton send thank-you notes to Imus as well. Without idiots like him, they wouldn't have any reason to jump into the spotlight again. And every Imus-type incident helps them distance themselves from their own racist remarks and questionable past actions.

It's a win-win situation.

The only real losers, to me, are the members of the Rutgers womens' basketball team who were the objects of Imus's cheap crack. For them to say their joy at playing in a national championship was "taken away" by a brain-dead guy sitting in a broadcasting studio talking to a double-digit-size audience is pretty lame. In a situation like this, one is a "victim" only if they choose to be.

And Imus? He gets two weeks off and then will (probably) be back in the same old chair. He can afford it.

The best way to deal with his brand of idiocy is to ignore it. Which is what the vast majority of the population was doing until Jesse, Al and every news outlet in the known universe jumped on it.

Monday, April 09, 2007

I had something to say...

...but I've decided against saying it.

In fact, I have decided to restrain myself from commenting about at least three things that really burn me up.

Yeah, one is Jorge Bush (and other Washington liars, greedheads and losers). Another is my own pitiful efforts at working today.

Never mind the third. It should be filed under Old Business and shouldn't bother me at all. It does bug me, though. It offends my sense of justice.

So instead of writing a political and/or personal rant (the second of which might make me look even dumber than some previous entries have, if possible), I think I'll just jack it in for the night.

I see no point in further exposure of my gullibility, whether related to the voting booth, clients or a pretty face.

Who knows? With luck the Big One might hit tomorrow, and I can post photos of it.

Ugh.

It's time once again for me to find a way to get my brain working. Maybe a cycle through the dishwasher would help, or perhaps a few squirts of WD-40. If all else fails, I might poke around in there with a screwdriver and see if I can find the non-working parts.

Gotta do something.

It's one of the usual complaints: a lot of work to do, all on pretty short deadlines, combined with a total lack of any creative impulses coming from thar mess inside my skull.

The reasons for the inspiration shortage are the usual ones as well.

For some reason, that makes me think of something that happened many, many years ago. I hit a slow point in my then-career and was feeling disgusted with the whole thing. The woman I would later marry noticed that the Postal Service was hiring. As it happened, I was offered a job in my line of work a few weeks later, and the Post Office thing was dropped.

If I had hired on there, I would be two years away from retirement, with a nice pension and a lot of bennies.

But no. I went back to the job a lot of my friends envied. And later fell into this gig, which provokes the same response from people who don't know what it's really like.

Maybe I'll go stick my finger in a light socket, and see if 110 volts wakes up the gray matter.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

GCotW

Cats and fences just seem to be made for each other...

The sun finally sets...

...on the United Kingdom. Not the "British Empire;" that has been dead for more than a half-century, but rather the pitiful island now led by a spineless prime minister who seems, along with his government and current military leaders, to take the French approach to international relations as a model: talk big, then surrender at the earliest opportunity.

Now comes word that the 15 marines and sailors captured by the Iranians have been given permission to sell their "stories" to tabloids and television, for which they may receive as much as $500,000.

If I was one of them, I wouldn't be so damn quick to take advantage of this offer.

Compare their behavior to that of many past hostages, some of whom eventually lost their lives at the hands of their captors. They, for the most part, made it clear from the moment of capture that such little "cooperation" as they might have displayed -- and the majority did not cooperate at all -- was forced. In contrast, most of the 15 wasted no time in taking the easy way out, appearing in videos that depicted them as happy in the hands of the Iranians, admitting "guilt" and, in the case of the one female hostage, writing letters home criticizing her nation's policies.

Yes, they have since said they were "forced," "tortured" and subjected to intense pressure. That's hard to accept when one considers the long tradition of POWs remaining true to their nations and military codes of honor in much worse situations.

This is real Jane Fonda stuff. One wonders if the North Vietnamese gave Hanoi Jane sweets and souvenirs as she left....

The shame of the British hostages must be shared with their leaders. None acted courageous; to a man -- and woman -- they let the Iranians play them like pianos. From Tony Blair to the top brass in the military, they displayed the kind of moral weakness that virtually guarantees future illegal acts by the Iranians and their ilk will not only happen, but will go unpunished.

I won't call the 15 -- or at least those among them who played the Iranians' game so well -- cowards. I have never been in their situation.* But it is no stretch to see the UK's official responses to Iran's actions as driven by moral cowardice.

Not that our nation serves as any kind of beacon for doing things right these days. Nancy Pelosi and her apologists have proven that sucking up to terrorists for political advantage at home is the way of the future as long as the lefty-loons are in power, and Bush's pathetic mishandling of the very real need to protect ourselves against enemies whose aim is to destroy us proves that we don't have the guts to stand up for what's right any longer.

One can only wonder what Horatio Nelson, Margaret Thatcher, Theodore Roosevelt or George Patton would think of those who are in charge now.

And one can only wish that those British soldiers who have died in service to their nation could tell us what they think of the marines and sailors who shook hands with a terrorist and are now free to cash in on it.


* Others who have endured similar captivity and worse, have used the "c-word," however.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

I'll be spending Easter...

...sitting at this very desk, trying to get some work done.

I can only hope my ability to crank out salable work is resurrected tomorrow.

And I hope my miserable creep neighbors won't have their TVs, boomboxes and whatever cranked up tomorrow.

Yeah. Happy Easter.

Mine is going to lay a big fat egg, I'm afraid.

And it won't even be a painted one.

I can't buy a break...

...especially when I try to head out for a change of scene.

This morning, I decided to head for the desert in search of things to photograph and, with luck, a little sun. The typical gray spring/summer weather pattern has set in here; it doesn't do much for my spirits.

I hit the freeway, heading East. And got caught in a monstro traffic jam that resulted in my covering a whole ten miles in two hours. Once past that, there were other, shorter jam-ups.

So after four hours I gave up and turned around, never made the desert, never got out from under that depressing gray canopy.

I never even got away from hundreds of housing developments under construction or miles and miles of giant shopping malls.

Sadly, all this construction was taking place on what once was open land. Within my memory, in fact, there were miles of open space as the Los Angeles Basin gave way to open desert.

No more.

One of these days, I will learn not to go on drives like this, at least as long as I'm alone. When you don't even have someone to tell what was in, say, the little wide spot in the road known as Box Springs before the Wal-Mart/Target/Nordstrom centers sprouted, it's simply pointless to be there.

And my little foray contributed to my growing hatred of driving in Southern California. That's bad, because it's the place where I'm more-or-less forced to drive most of the time. During the last decade, any trip of more than five miles has become a white-knuckle exercise in accident avoidance.

A substantial part of the problem, to be frank, are the hordes of aging cars and fullsize vans, filled with more people than they were meant to carry, clogging the roads. Many of these have little stickers depicting red-white-green flags or bearing words such as "Guadalajara" on them, and their drivers clearly have no clue about the rudiments of safe driving. They know nothing about such basics as using turn signals, staying more than 10 feet behind the car ahead or making turns from the appropriate lane.

Call me racist if you like, but come out here and spend a day on the highway with me before you do.

So I sat in traffic, managed to avoid getting caught up in two full-on and maybe a dozen almost-accidents.

Yeah. Great, great fun.

Happy Saturday, y'all.

A little honesty would be nice...

...when Jorge Bush "visits" part of the border between Arizona and Mexico on Monday.

I'm absolutely certain he'll be babbling about "comprehensive immigration reform," telling us "family values don't stop at the border" and all the other no-borders crap he's been dishing out for years.

And, of course, he'll tell us how well his "enforcement" plans are working, even as the total number of illegals in this country edges up to the 21,000,000 mark.

What I'd like to see is some honesty for a change. I can imagine several photo-ops that would be far more appropriate than what we'll get thrown in our faces:

First, the picture of Jorge helping an illegal load bales of marijuana in his van for the trip into the heartland;

After that, we should see him picking up his envelope full of cash from some corrupt Mexican politician;

Then, he could personally arrest a few more Border Patrol agents;

Finally, he could sit at a table next to the remnants of the border fence, handing out green cards and welfare applications to the illegals as they cross into the USA. Hell, he could even offer some of them rides to Phoenix in his fleet of air-conditioned Chevy Suburbans.

Why not just come clean with the voters, Jorge? Stand up, face the cameras and say: "screw all you American citizens. Mah corporate friends need slave labor, mah Mexican pals need ta git the poor people out of their country, and they're gonna git what they want. Y'all don't like me, but they do, and ah'm gonna stick with mah friends."

In fact, better still, why not just step across that line and keep on heading South?

Friday, April 06, 2007

Too pooped to rant.

Yeah, I'm too worn out and dispirited to wrap my mind around Big Issues.

It's not that I have no opinions. I do. And of course I think I'm right 99% of the time.

Rather, the avalanche of idiocy has simply become overwhelming, and gets more so with each passing day.

I'll probably try again, but I'm afraid many of the rants will end up the way today's two attempts did: with me clicking the "delete" icon. I'm no big-time pundit, you know; there aren't many people eagerly awaiting each new blast.

Certainly, the people at whom they are aimed don't even know I exist.

This would be the perfect time to have some good personal news to write about, or interesting pictures to post.

Sorry, don't have either.

Maybe later.

Prejudiced!

I can't believe it: I'm prejudiced, and I have the egregious-but-hilarious (or hilarious-but-egregious, if you prefer) radio yakker, Bill Handel to thank for that.

Against whom, you may ask, am I prejudiced?

Gays, that's who.

This is unbelievable. I have been around, been friends with, liked and even loved gay people all through my adult years. And before, too. We're talking the whole wide wonderful world of gay-itude here, Jim: male, female and various stages in between.

But now, they're off my list.

This morning, Handel was interviewing the authors of a new book, Queens in the Kingdom: The Ultimate Gay and Lesbian Guide to Disney Theme Parks. I was smiling along with the discussion of "Gay Days" at the parks and all the rest. And why not? I've been to group events at Mouse-Land, and it's always more fun with a few thousand of your closest friends.

Then it all went sour.

One of them mentioned that a "Gay Day" fixture is selecting a particular ride on which singles can meet. Okay, that's cool, too.

And then he mentioned the chosen ride:

It's a Small World.

Seeya, gay-peeps. How am I supposed to respect anyone who voluntarily goes on that ride? Especially if, as I fear, a lot of them will be singing along....

Thursday, April 05, 2007

If you're a believer in Political Correctness...

...you probably ought to skip this post.

I confess that, despite all my efforts to be tolerant, inclusive, understanding and non-confrontational, I burst into laughter when I saw this headline on a Reuters story today:

Disney opens Fairy Tale Weddings to gay couples

I'm sorry. I really am.

I take it back. I'm not sorry at all.

Just insensitive.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

It's over!

Well, almost.

I had one more pile of dung to work my way through after the last entry here. I was called -- at the last minute -- to a meeting concerning a project I have been trying to put together for years. Like all previous meetings on the subject, it was inconclusive and incredibly frustrating. I feel as if I'm still at Square One with this situation. I'm almost out of patience with all involved.

Oh, well.

If you're looking for a reason to remember April 4th (something I never have trouble doing), the New York Times provided one today:

Nina Wang, reported to be the richest woman in Asia, who won control of her husband’s Hong Kong real-estate empire after a tumultuous legal melodrama that featured a vanishing tycoon, a presumed death, charges of forgery and adultery, opium and impossibly short skirts, died on Tuesday in Hong Kong. She was 69 and had lived in Hong Kong for many years.

Mrs. Wang’s spokesman, Ringo Wong, announced the death, giving no cause, The Associated Press reported yesterday.


Now, at last, I understand why I am an abject failure.

In all my 57 years, I have never been involved with vanishing tycoons or opium. Nor has my name been associated with forgery, and only peripherally with adultery.*

Or maybe I screwed up because I didn't hire Ringo Wong to be my mouthpiece.

That must be it. I'm putting in a call to ol' Ringo ASAP.

At least it's almost April 5th, and all the crap is over for another year.


* Impossibly short skirts have messed me up a time or two, I admit. Especially when the wearer chose to lift them for someone else as well as me....

Soft landings...

...can be less than pleasant, as this story from Reuters makes all too clear:

BEIJING (Reuters) - A Chinese woman survived a plunge from a sixth-floor balcony thanks to a convenient pile of excrement which broke her fall, local media said.

The accident happened when the woman was hanging out laundry on Monday in Nanjing, capital of the eastern province of Jiangsu, the Kuaibao tabloid said on its Web site (www.kuaibao.net).

"Workers happened to be emptying the building's septic tank, which had not been tended for a long time and had regularly blocked sewage pipes," the newspaper said.

"She probably stretched out too far and fell ... right on to a 20 cm-thick heap of excrement."

The woman suffered only slight injuries, the newspaper said.


Having landed in deep excreta more times than I care to think about, I know how she must have felt....

Almost through...

...the most difficult day of the year.

If I could have followed through on my ambitious plans to work, work, work -- I was being sarcastic in the previous mention of early-morning boozing -- today might not have been so unpleasant. But it didn't work out that way.

I've deleted the next six paragraphs of this. So let's leave it at that.

I'm not handling my annual numerological readjustment very well.

Numerology

Today's number:

57.

Jesus, that's awful. Even the lottery numbers don't go that high.

Wonder if anyone would notice if I started drinking right now?

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Relaxing...

...and, if only briefly, allowing myself to be distracted from, well, damn near everything else.

I decided to buy myself a present today, and so trotted down to the nearest music emporium to pick up two Diana Krall CDs to add to my collection.

The Girl in the Other Room is sensational. From This Moment On is sheer magic.

Damn, that woman can sing.

Tomorrow is not going to be much fun from what I can tell. But I don't care as much as I might. If things bug me too much, I'll throw From This Moment On in the changer, crank the volume way up and enjoy some of my favorite songs being performed by a musical goddess.

If you have only two discs in your music collection, one of them should be hers.

76 days and counting...

...since Quislings operating under Jorge Bush's orders threw Border Patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean in jail.

Unfortunately, most people seem to have forgotten this hideous abuse of power. The majority seem to feel that seeing our government kissing the asses of corrupt Mexican politicians and doing the bidding of drug cartels isn't very important.

CNN's Lou Dobbs cares, thank God.

Yesterday, he devoted his show to the case. You can read the transcript here. It is nauseating.

Worst, but not unexpected, is the continuing stream of lies and fabrications from Johnny Sutton who, with persecutor Debra Kanof, made sure an illegal-alien drug smuggler went free -- more than free -- while two American citizens doing their job were punished for crimes they did not commit.

In any kind of honest government, Sutton would be in jail. Of course it wouldn't be a problem for him; the illegals he'd meet in jail would treat him like a king.

If, as Sutton keeps saying, "the American people knew the facts" of the case, with all the double-dealing, lies and perversions of justice committed by the government, if they knew the laws broken by Sutton, Kanof and the rest, if they knew about the crooked agent, friend of the illegal-alien drug smuggler who dropped the dime on Compean and Ramos, if they really understood the government's hidden agenda, there would be mass demands for arrests and impeachments.

And Compean and Ramos would be free, would never have served so much as a minute in jail.

I can't say I'm surprised by the stench of corruption that hangs over Washington. But I am disappointed that the general public can't be bothered to take to the streets over the continuing injustices done to our citizens by the shitweasels in Washington.

Monday, April 02, 2007

It was a mistake...

...for me to have taken the weekend off.

I didn't do any work, didn't think about work, and now that Monday's here -- and almost gone -- I haven't been able to muster up any enthusiasm or creative ability. Sleeping through the day would have been more productive.

Part of this I blame on the first item on the agenda. My friend D., the photographer, has long had a habit of shooting assignments no one asked for. From time to time, he sends off piles of old photo-shoots to editors, who generally just send 'em right back. Last Friday, he made a sale, and it turns out these were photos for which I had written the accompanying article. I went through all my available files and couldn't find a copy*, so the editor sent me a Xerox of the manuscript. It arrived today.

I wrote it almost 15 years ago.

My writing style has changed a bit since then (for the better, I hope), and I felt a mild headache coming on as I read through this piece. It was dashed off in a hurry for a client who didn't pay much -- not that the current re-do will add perceptibly to my bank account, either -- and, worse, it left out some important facts on the subject I have learned in later years.

So instead of a near-freebie consisting of a shiny new lede and a few reworded phrases here and there, I'm basically doing the whole damn thing over from Ground Zero. And the editor wants it this week.

To tell the truth, I simply don't feel like writing this story. Or, for that matter, any of those waiting their turn for completion. There are a lot of minor reasons -- such as checks I'm still waiting on, months after they were due, and so on -- but I'm beginning to think the real deal-breaker is this:

My first foray into magazine pages hit the newsstands in July, 1986**. With over a thousand stories -- ranging from roughly 400-500 words to ten times as long -- in print, I've said every damn thing I'm going to be able to say about my subject area at least once. Or, in some cases, dozens of times.

I'm feeling a bit like Frank Sinatra, who had to have gotten tired of walking into gigs and always having some drunk call out "sing 'New York, New York,' Frank!"

I have to find some kind of distraction to get my head working right, Jim.

After all, I'm not getting any younger.

At least I'm not getting any older for another couple of days.


* My computer doesn't have a floppy drive, and thus I can't load the DOS-based writing program I used in those long-ago days. If I can't do that, I can't read my old stuff and, sadly, I am missing several dozen copies of magazines that have carried my stories over the years. Or, if I actually do have a copy of this particular piece, it's lost among the hundreds of magazines I did save.

** Just out of curiosity, I took a break from writing this, dragged it off the shelf and re-read it. Not bad at all.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

A photo I wish I'd taken...

...can be seen here.

Of course I wish I'd taken a lot of the photos Joan posts.

But this one is a classic. Look carefully before you read the text.

Where did the weekend go?

It's Sunday evening and I feel as if Saturday morning was mere moments ago.

Not that I buried my nose in work or anything like that. I have a great deal of writing to do in the week ahead, but will confess I didn't give it a thought during the past two days. Shouldn't have done that, but I didn't feel like dealing with it. So I didn't.

All I did was walk 11 miles (in three separate walks, one quite short) while letting my mind idle along in neutral, read a book, pay some attention to the cat and wash dishes.

That kind of life would drive me nuts if it lasted any longer than a weekend, but it felt pretty good.

Tonight I will make a list of everything I need to do in the week ahead. I'll do that right before I fall asleep so it doesn't mess up my mood.

Said mood is, if not particularly happy, at least not bad.

Don't tell me that's a good sign. It would be a better sign if I was actually optimistic, but there's not much evidence I should be, at least as of now.

Time to give the cat his dinner. None of which contains wheat gluten, thank God. Despite none of his victuals being on the recall list, I checked the ingredients immediately.

GCotW

This week, it's Gratuitous Cats, as my downstairs neighbor's two young kitties have a peep at the outside world through the window screen....