Monday, May 10, 2010

Monday haiku

Misty weather morn,
Greets the day with dreariness,
Summer lost its way!

Friday, May 07, 2010

Facebook vs. Blogger

Well, I now have a facebook page that has taken over my daily "input" to the web! I have not made a blog entry to this spot for quite some time. No one read it with any regularity nor did I link it to people often enough to increase its hit rate. It's a repository of a bunch of stuff from a travelog of Oregon to many poems and rants. Facebook provides a quick way to communicate with family and friends and is more interactive. But, I miss the opportunity a blog provides to "run on" with whatever comes to my mind. Maybe I can do a link on Facebook to my blog when I have something that's blogable but not Facebook material. I'll give that a try!

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

FOX News Now "Accurate"!

FOX News just changed it's slogan from "Fair and Balanced" to "Fair, Balanced, and Accurate!"
Just think, after all those years on the air they have finally admitted to being inaccurate. I should check in and see if they got rid of most of their liars. I bet I won't be surprised! I wonder what Colbert will make of it! It could ruin his show!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Obama & Michelle

We elected a new president and are fortunate that it is not McCain. I cannot imagine what it would be like with John McCain as President and Sarah Palin in the second chair. I don't think we would feel the same as we do with the Obamas. I don't think the world would feel the same either! I think we would be in trouble!

Mr. Obama has been President for about two months now and has been criticised by some for trying to work too hard and start action on so many things at once. It seems to me that it was not fair for him to began his shot at history by walking into the oval office on January 20th and inheriting a 1.3 trillion dollar deficit budget, two ongoing military actions, and the worse economic collapse since the 1930s.

He was elected because he had a vision that a clear majority of the American people shared centered around change and hope for a better future. He has been spending a lot of time cleaning up the mess left by the prior administration, but has pressed on with his own agenda as well, including improvements in education, a change in tax policy supporting the middle class, a new energy policy with a goal of becoming self supporting with clean renewable energy, an investment in the crumbling infrastucture of the country,and a plan for providing healthcare for every citizen. In foreign affairs he has promised a renewal of America's leadership in the world
with an open hand and cooperation with others towards peace and prosperity. Hillary Clinton, as his Secretary of State, has been on a plane around the world in the first two months, meeting with leaders, and setting up new agendas to solve festering problems left by the prior administration. It was strange to hear Obama repeating many times that it is not American policy to torture. One of the first actions he took was to order Guantanamo Bay prison be closed within a year and prisoners be brought to justice in front of Judges. He is removing the tarnish left by the policies of the last 8 years.

This next week is his first big trip to Europe as President. Unlike Bush, who was greeted with mobs and jeers, Obama will be greeted with huge crowds and cheers. The paparazzi will follow Michelle's every move and she will be on the front page of every tabloid every day, and the President will make headlines and friends while he is there. He won't grab and surprise Angela Merkel or do anything else that is dumb! He will make an impact and restore respect for our country.

What a relief!

Perpetual Blogs!

Been a while since I posted on this blog. I used to be prolific but have been spending time elsewhere and have not been inspired to write poetry, stories, memories or political rants on this site. It is not accessed by anybody often, so what I write here is mostly for my own record just so I don't lose it into the void. I would suppose that since Google seems to have unlimited memory space and will continue to expand as it gets loaded up with all the world's knowledge and all of the blogosphere's garbage, whatever I write here may exist for eternity. I bet though that at some point Google will put a drop dead time frame on individual blogs that will cause them to be erased if not used after a time. Maybe it will start at 100 years and as the sheer volume of bytes starts to overwhelm whatever system exists then perhaps the number of years will start to drop, and at some time long after my demise, all these memories and experiences and fair poetry will disappear erasing any chance for further human interaction.

Perhaps I can leave it to my son to continue during his life, and on and on! A perpetual blog passed from father to son or daughter down through the ages of my lineage. Just think what a historical picture of life that would provide over the generations.

The internet has changed the world and is still in its infancy. Future generations will be able to easily touch the past and have an understanding of their ancestry and the world that has past through blogs reflecting the personalities of individuals who spent the time to record a portion of their life on the internet.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Obama

Obama is on a trip to Iraq, Afghanistan, and a few other middle eastern spots. He also is visiting some of our European allies. McCain kept saying that he had been "on the ground' in Iraq and knew what was what, and Obama had not been there and was naive about what was needed. How could Obama say that the surge didn't work! He just did not have the experience to be the Commander in Chief and "WIN" in Iraq.

So now that Obama is in Iraq, McCain complains that his trip is just a political media show and without substance. The McCain camp complains that the media is "IN LOVE" with Obama and has a LIBERAL bias as usual. The three big network news anchors went on the plane with him and have had personal interviews at different sites during the trip. It all looks very "Presidential"! Obama is going to make a big speech in Germany. Shades of JFK! No doubt it will get international coverage in TV.

When McCain went, his campaign limited the invitations for the big guns from the press. He toured around in a baseball cap and a flak jacket surrounded by armed troops and helicopters.
Obama is causal and shooting baskets in the gym with the troops. He is meeting with all the heads of state wherever he is visiting. The President of Iraq agreed with his goal of starting to remove troops with a 16 month goal for the drawdown. It all looks very Presidential.

In a recent interview, McCain said that there was a lot of trouble along the border between Iraq and Afghanistan. Afghanistan has no border with Iraq. McCain still thinks that the name Chezkoslavakia is still on the map.

Poor old John!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

De-feated and De-famed--a political dirge

standing darkly in the corner,
a figure wrapped and cloaked,
his face turned toward the shadows,
twas not as he had hoped.

no more to see the lighted aisles,
of chambers filled with yore,
no more the soaring orator,
seen pacing on the floor.

fate had caught him finally,
and crushed him in it's vise,
his sins had caused a chilled effect,
an electorate turned wise.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Networking Overload

This week I have entered the world of Facebook, Linkin, and flickr. I went to
Facebook and established myself with a profile page and checked my address book for "friends' and lo and behold I had some in my book who were active and had sites. I sent out some invitations. I have a nephew who is a sophmore in high school who accepted and responded that his mother thought it was hilarious that I had a facebook site. Another older "friend' who responded said a friend of his invited him so he set something up, but thought that Facebook was skewed pretty young for him, and said he did most of his business networking through Linkin.com. I investigated that site and checked my address book, and found that my sister was on that site along with a few others. I did some invites on that site and spent some time completing my life history on a profile page.

It was interesting to me that (National) Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate, the company I work with as a Realtor, had a facebook site and it looked to be part of the network presence of the company with information about the company and entries on the wall from many Coldwell Banker Realtors around the company doing networking for referrals. That was a good idea, so I'm now on there too!

I had an account on flickr for picture sharing but hadn't done much with it for about a year. I renewed my acquaintance and decided to set up a family group to share pictures and comments and downloaded some family pictures into the group site, sent email invites to family members and, of course, my teenage nephew was also right on top of joining up on that one. He must be on the computer in all of his spare time. I notice he has lots of friends. Lots of them girls!

So now that I have my bio out to the world I wonder if I will be inundated with "friends" and 'business" and "family" to the point that I will be unable to handle the mass of communication I may have caused. It will be interesting to see what my workload will be in coming weeks to support all my reaching out activity. I hope that it is manageable and that I can keep the grapevine I have planted from dying from lack of regular watering and fertilization.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Fire Fatigue

A recent report on stress stated that a very high percentage of Americans lead very stressful lives, often losing sleep and taking medications for depression, headaches, and other ills caused by living with stress. Americans tend to work too much and relax too little compared to people in other countries. We are financially stressed, stressed by work, by mortgage payments, by family problems, politics, lack of healthcare, competition in everything, yadda, yadda, yadda!

We have our President and Vice President coming on TV every other day and warning us about terrorism, WWIII, and Atomic weapons. We see our soldiers getting shot at in Iraq and wonder why they are there. We see thousands of soldiers returning from battle without legs and arms and with terrible wounds, their lives changed forever, and wonder why. We wonder why our President vetoes healthcare for children which over 80% of the American people want but which costs about 15 billion more than he has decided he wants to spend on children's health over the next 5 years, while he asks for another 145 billion to spend in Iraq just for part of the next year, a war which is opposed by well over 70% of the American people.

And on top of all that, we who live in San Diego County must deal with the stress of watching TV reports 24/7 keeping us on top of what is happening to our neighbors because 400000 acres of the County burned for the last week.

While about 500000 people of the 3 million in San Diego county were asked to evacuate their property during the fires this week, almost every one of us was impacted in one way or another. If one wasn't in the path of a fire, and was lucky not to evacuate or worry about the fire itself, smoke and ash fell from the sky and permeated the air over much of the county. It did in Encinitas where I live and where I work in Del Mar. Every thing smells of smoke and ash inside and out.
Everyone knows someone who had to evacuate, or knows someone who know someone who lost a home to the fire . My wife's sister' husband's parents had to vacate their home and stayed with them for the week. When they were able to return to their neighborhood in Rancho Bernardo, their home was still standing but when they drove around the area there were 13 homes in their immediate neighborhood that had burned to the ground.

There are 3 million stories about life during the fires. I had gone through pre-op check-ups and counseling for a cateract removal in one eye that was scheduled for this last Tuesday. I had waited for a number of months to get it on the schedule with the VA. No doubt I had some stress of anticipation, but was glad it was going to finally get done, but with a phone call on Monday it was cancelled because the fires caused staffing problems at the hospital. Things have just not been normal with fires blazing around the county.

Living in America the last few years just seems to be filled with stress--that's for sure! I often wonder where one could go to escape such a stressful existance.

The conclusion I have reached is that our government leadership is at odds with the American people, and the American people are at odds with each other. There are few who are satisfied with what is is going on in their lives, and they don't know what to do about it. That is the primary cause of stress in America, and every other little stress like fire fatigue just adds to the pile. I guess I will go home and take a pill!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Year of the Bike--Part 4-The Olmo





On my Thursday ride last week I stopped as usual at Pacific Coast Cycles in Oceanside to look at Chuck's collection of old bikes and sit on a stool in the work area while Chuck worked on a bike. I noticed that in the lower rack on the south wall of the shop there was an old rusty small frame that looked beyond recovery. The badge said it was an Olmo, which was a very nice Italian vintage brand. I asked Chuck about it and he said that someone had brought it in and traded it for some service on another bike. While it was pretty rusty, worn, and missing parts (like the orig Campy derailleurs, the chain, etc.), Chuck said that the stem and bar probably could be recovered as well as the crank and that he could probably ebay some of what was left.

Chuck's primary new brand in the shop is Felt, and he was working on a new bike getting it ready for the "floor" inventory. He was cussing the latest innovation in brakes, which was the addition of small pull levers in the middle of the bar so that the rider could brake while riding with his hands on the bar top without going to the levers at the front drops. He said that very often the cables at these "intermediate" levers crimped a bit and caused the cables to catch when the levers on the drops were used. When he got a bike like that he had to unwrap the bars and make sure the cables were properly stretched and installed through the smaller levers. I have a early 80's Japanese bike which has the old Dia Compe "safety" pull lever attachments on the brake levers and the new pull levers on the Felt reminded me of those. What goes around comes around I guess. I can't imagine that those new mini levers will last for long on the typical road bike. Real "roadies" won't buy into them!

Then, Saturday morning, as usual, I got up early, went to Starbucks for a Venti Bold, and was off on my garage sale excursion looking for bikes, fishing gear, and golf stuff while listening to the fishing show "Let's Talk Hookup" on the radio. The Abacore bite was on and causing much excitment among the fishing set. Maybe next year will be the "Year of the Fish"!

I hit a garage sale just a couple blocks from my house and saw a couple bikes. One was a small frame Olmo, the other an older mountain bike. I asked the seller what he wanted for the bikes and he said " $25 bucks for the small road bike and $40 for the mountain bike". I looked at the Olmo and it looked all original except for the seat and pedals. I said, "Would you take 20 for it? He told me that it needed a new rear tire and thought 20 would be good. So, as I handed him the $20 bill, he said, "It's Italian, you know!" I nodded. (I didn't let on that I was THRILLED!)

When I got it home I gave it a good bath. It had obviously been sitting in a garage for a long time and was dirty and greasy. It cleaned up pretty good. It had the complete Campy Nouvo Record Groupo on it. It also still had the original Campy hubs and Italian wheelset. The rear derailleur was stamped Pat. 81 which dated the bike to 1981. It was a real cool bike with a lot of pantographing on it. The front crankset was pantographed with the Olmo name around the rings in blue, and green, red, and white color insets circled the rings. The stem had Guiseppe Olmo's signature on both sides with color insets, and the seatpost also had "Olmo" on four sides with color insets. It had a 3ttt stem and bar wrapped with what seemed to be the original blue bar tape, matched by blue cable covers for the brakes. The fork was capped in chrome with Olmo stamped in blue on both sides of the top. Most of the decals were still in fair to good condition. The Columbus 531 frame sticker was mostly worn off. The frame was biege and had the typical scratches and chips one would expect in a bike of its age, and which was probably not all that "treasured" over the years. There had been some touch ups made in the past on some of the chips, and I had a close matching paint and did a bit more.

The tires were tubular and the rear Continental tire was done for. The front was a newer Vittoria and usable. I bought some new tubular Vittorias to install. I will use the good old one for a spare. It is only a 52 cm frame which is to small for me, but I think it is a real find and a good collectible which I will keep and pair up with the 1971 Mondia I just rehabbed and intend to "hang" in the den. The Mondia currently resides in the den awaiting a "hanging" date, and the Olmo is in the living room and fun to look at. The Olmo is probably the most collectable and "arty" due to all the pantographing and color on various parts. I would guess that each part producer must have made parts which were custom for these Olmo production bikes.

When I ride up to Oceanside this week and stop in to see Chuck, he is going to do what he usually does when I tell him about finding this bike for 20 bucks. He will just shake his head and mumble, "People got no idea what they have". I may even bring it up for him to check out one day. He is about 5'8 and it may be a fit for him.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Year of the Bike--Part 3--The Univega Moto



Last weekend I found a UNIVEGA MODO which was like new at a garage sale which had a tag for $175. It looked like it was a 56 cm frame which was a bit small for me, but it had a Columbus steel frame and Compagnola Veloce components. There was nary a scratch on it. Not many people are willing to buy bikes for that kind of money at garage sales. Garage sale shoppers are not serious about riding bikes. Since I look for road bikes I can fix, ride, and resell, that is a good situation for me.

I happened to have just over $100 with me, so I offered the seller that amount and said that was all I had. He hemmed and hawed and said he had only ridden the bike about 5 times, and then said he would do it, and took my offer. He said he didn't want to fool around with ads and phone calls. I thought it was a good deal, thinking the bike was probably worth $350-450 in the used market.

I googled the bike when I got home and found that it was a bike that was about 5-7 years old and had sold for a MSRP of $899 when it was new. Not bad! The Campy Veloce components were generally considered about equal to Shimano 105, and the riding reviews from people who had one were positive, indicating that for the money it was a very good riding bike.

I wondered if it was big enough for me to ride and determined to set it up for my regular Sunday morning ride to Del Mar. The frame was about an inch shorter than what I had been riding, but the top tube was about the same and the distance from the seatpost to the back of the stem seemed a good fit. I adjusted the seat post up a bit and measured heights and lengths and it fit pretty good. My bike guru Chuck at Pacific Coast Cycles in Oceanside told me that raising the saddle on a bike that is too short for the rider really doesn't make it a fit because the weight balance of the rider and the bike is not as stable.

I thought I would try it anyway. I have noticed that very good riders and the pros riding in the Tour de France seem to have very high seatposts in comparison to the position of the top tube and handlebars and ride in a more crouched position than us mere mortals. Presumably that means that an advanced rider who is equal in height to me would be positioned on a bike that would have a shorter frame and longer reach than would be a "fit" for me. I would be on a bike that is a 58 cm and riding more upright, while he would be on a 55-56 cm and riding in a more flat aerodynamic position.

Sunday morning I was off to Del Mar. I was hopeful that the bike would work because it had all the modern conveniences of integrated shift levers, 9 speed rear cassette, and a three ring crankset. Wow! 27 gears! It rode fine! I was comfortable riding. It seemed to fit, although I was conscious of the smaller frame. There was a bigger gap between me and the top bar.

I think that I will ride it for awhile and see how it goes! I may even ride it up to see Chuck to get his views on the matter, although he is a vintage bike guy umimpressed by anything built after 1985. He always is interested in my garage sale finds and just smiles and shakes his head when I tell him what I pay for my "finds". My $5 1971 Mondia Special frame is my most notable find. Next is my 84 Bianchi frame with the original Campy Nouvo Record shifters and derailleurs that I also acquired for $5. And of course, the Dave Moulton 1987 30th Anniversary FUSO I bought for $75. Unfortunately, only the Bianchi was my size. The Mondia is almost restored and ready to be "hung" in the den. (I had to buy Campy vintage derailleurs, shifter levers, A campy hubbed vintage wheelset, and a 3ttt stem and handlebar on ebay, and found a vintage Brooks saddle at a garage sale.) The FUSO is residing with a friend who was looking for a quaility Italian component bike and is very happy with it (Columbus frame/Campy Record groupo).

If the Univega doesn't work out, there will be a very nice bike on the market at a favorable price for someone who will be thrilled to find such a nice fit in a quality bike that is "affordable".

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Bullshit! And Bush!

Today I was listening to Bush talking about the need to stay in Iraq or have our children face dire consequences in the future. I am getting really pissed off at that guy. I yelled BULLSHIT! three time at the radio.

I guess that was my primal scream today. I don't know if it helped, but it kind of felt good. When I got back to a computer I sent an email to both of California's Senators encouraging them to shut down the Iraqi War asap even if they have to impeach the sonofabitch and his vpsonofabitch.

Year of the Bike--part 2--Dave Moulton






I found a bike at a garage sale a few weeks ago. The seller had two of them--they were FUSOs, and I had never seen one and didn't know the name. But I recognized that the frames were Columbus and the components were Campognola. The price tags on them were 300 and 700 bucks, and I thought to myself that they were to much for me. The cheaper one had a bit of tarnish and pitting on some of the components, the front derailleur was broken at the clamp, but the frame was pristine and beautiful. I noted that " Dave Moulton, 30th Anniversary" was written on the left rear stay. I didn't know the name.

The bike was to small for me, but I had a friend who I knew was looking for an Italian bike like this, and I thought it would fit him. So I started to work on the price of the less expensive bike. It had tubular tires on it, which are a bit of a pain, I told the owner. (The more expensive bike had clinchers--much easier to handle) I also noted the tarnish and pitting on some of the components and the broken front derailleur. I got him down to $100 and told him I would have to think about it and I would get back to him. As I was getting his phone number I said, "I'll tell you what! I will give you $75 for it and won't even think about it. I'll just go home and get the cash and be right back. His wife piped up and said, "Oh Jerry, just get rid of it, it's been in the garage for 20 years!

So he agreed, and I gave him $20 to hold it for me until I got back with the rest of the money.

When I got it home I looked up Dave Moulton on the internet, and found that he had been a very well known frame maker who had started in England, and ultimately ended up in San Marcos, California with his own small bike building shop where he had turned out about 3000 FUSOs (his brand name) over the period from about 1982 to 1992. He built them all himself by hand with the help of a small staff and did them in lots of 5 frames at a time. They were sold primarily in high end bike shops in Southern California. The 30th Anniverary FUSO was built in 1987 since he had started in frame building in England in 1957. The bike I had cost $1500 in 1990, and the other one that had been priced at $700 was a more expensive model that had cost over $3000 back then. I was almost tempted to go back for it, but it had been small for me too! (In hindsight, I should have gone back for it and tried to get a price for it, though.)

I called my friend and told him of my find. I suggested he come take a look and see if it was a good fit for him. Bottom line, I traded it to him for the 1986 Trek Tri Series 700 he had bought at a garage sale for $100 a few weeks prior, knowing he was getting the better of me by far. But what are friends for. I sold his trade on craigslist for $260. His Bike shop said the FUSO might be worth up to $1000. Part of the deal I made with him, was that if he ever wanted to sell or get rid of it he had to give me a chance to buy it from him for $100. I think that bike will have a place of honor in his home for the rest of his riding days. I know that if it had been my size, I would have restored it by now and it would be my regular ride. When not being ridden it would be living with me in the den.

I emailed Dave Moulton through his web site and told him my story. He responded, and was glad to hear that I had rescued one of his bikes from a garage and got it back on the road.

He has a very good bike blog on Blogger and a web site. Google him up if you like bicycles.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The Year of the Bike--Part I

Last year I played golf once a week and my goal was to break 80 and get to a single digit handicap. It took some lessons and some persistance but I did it! It also took to much time. This year I decided to do bikes. My goal is to lose 30 lbs and get down to my high school graduation weight of 170 lbs. (That was in 1960.) About 10 years ago, I had an angioplasty performed to open a blood vessel in my heart. The doctor told my wife it was called "The Widow Maker". That was scary! I started a diet and rode 50 miles a week on a bike and lost 25 lbs to 175, so I know I can do it!!! Of course, I weakened and went off the food watch and my bike after about a year and went back up to my lifestyle weight of 200 lbs. By lifestyle I mean, eat what I want and don't excercise! Well I'll be 65 this year and I think I want to make it to at least 85, or give it my best try!
.
So I am on my bike, not eating sweets and fats and making good progress!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Blog Fatigue!

I can't believe that I have not been posting anything on this blog for months. Maybe it is because I direct no one to this site to read anything I write, so my attitude is that the words just sit in digital limbo forever, or until Google says "enough" all ready, and decides that there is nothing in this blog that demands storage forever. On the other hand, from what I read of Google, they are of a mind to be the library of life on this planet, and hope to capture all the written, and perhaps spoken and visual information that is produced by all of mankind. If there are a million chimps pounding on proverbial keyboards in the hope that a single poem or essay is produced, Google will probably be monitoring that as well. So, perhaps the entire existance of intelligence of all types on this Earth will be captured and stored in their digital depository forever.

The last person alive on Earth will be tasked with the job of sending the last huge email carrying the entire sum of all knowledge on a very powerful radio signal off into space where eons later it will be picked up by a huge array of antennas on a lump of dirt in a distant galaxy, causing elation among the inhabitants who, after centuries of monitoring emmissions from the universe around them, find that they are not unique beings and there was another civilization in another galaxy far, far, away.

Perhaps they will have the capability of sorting through the trillions of digital codes and picking out those of most importance to study, and their advanced society's Google will speed through the archive and pick some pieces from this blog.

It is not that I have not been writing lately. I have recently written some poetry, and I have also written a skit for an upcoming meeting. It is a meller drama and makes me laugh out loud each time I read it. I tend to write specific to the situation and the inspiration of the moment. I also occasionally contribute on a political posting site populated by right wing whackos, and real lefty libererals who basically hit the ball back and forth across the net at each other. No one there ever wins the game. It goes on and on until boredom sets in, the moderator ends the discussion, or it just peters out when no one makes further contribution. It is reflective of our society at the moment. There seem to be no moderates who post on the site. There is little agreement on any subject. I guess the middle is boring. The effective work of government, however, is just that--boring. War, guns, abortion, death penalty laws, racism! Conflicting views on those subjects are not boring when the far right and left are so far apart in agreement on what is best for our society. I think the moderate "middle" in the country is getting fed up. The GOP right has made such a mess that there will be a "boring" revolution where good leadership will be selected to find solutions and agreements and bring back good common sense to government. There is to much war, guns, abortion, death, and racism. It all needs plainly to be fixed.

The Bush Administration has this country so screwed up that each day is made more difficult by the events in the headlines. The Sun comes up and shines, but not with optimism. One tries to count the days when reason and competence returns to government, but alot of bad stuff can still happen in the next 1 1/2 years. It is tiring!

I think I shall set aside 15 minutes a week to write on this blog during the remainder of this year.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Bush Waking Up

Bush Waking Up!

RRRRRRRIIIIIIIINNNNNG! Drat! There goes the alarm! I wonder if I should get up today.
Maybe I should call Dick and see what he thinks. No. I shouldn't bother him. He is probably busy. Anyway, I'm not sure where he is today, probably in one of his "undisclosed" locations. I know! I'll call Tony Snow! He will know! Wait! Olberman had a bit on Countdown the other night about the 400 press questions that Tony answered "I don't know"! Tony won't know!

Let's see. I can't call Rumsfeld any more. Besides he would just say he knew when he probably really didn't. Who else would answer my call? Hummmm. Maybe I'll just stay in bed today and see how it looks tommorrow.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

To Be, The Grinch

To Be, The Grinch!

It's Xmas time, that's not so swell!
If you be nice, I'll ring your bell!
Don't give out gifts, or candy bars.
I'll knock your head off, clear to Mars!

Don't sing a song, that I can hear.
I'll slosh you with, a can of beer!
Don't wear some stupid, old red coat.
Pretend you're not an old gray goat!

It's not the time of year I like!
For me no gifts, no trees with light!
No cheers, no wreaths, no wish for me,
A happy new year, not to be!

A Grinch I am, and so I'll stay!
And as a Grinch, I'll have my way!
I'll be so mean, that all will know,
That no one else, could go so low!

And why, you say, I'm such a Grinch?
Why screw my face up, in a pinch?
To add some drama, to the season,
And that's just that, no other reason!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Political Crap--It's Over! GOP booted out!

What a relief! My wife will no longer receive any calls from Robert Redford or Bill Clinton touting California's prop 87 (Gas tax increase supporting alternate energy sources). She was always thrilled when she got one of those calls, and made sure that she let me know who was calling her, "Bob" or "Bill".

The Democrats, of which I am one, think that they scored a coup by sweeping the GOP out of both houses of congress. This change of power came about not because of a perception by voters that one party had a superior agenda than the other, but because the GOP had been so incompetent, corrupt, and destructive that voters would not support them again. It is not so much that the Democrats won, but moreso that the GOP got booted by a disgusted electorate.

Now it is up to Congress to actually do the work that the framers of the Constitution expected, i.e. be a check and balance on the powers of a Presidency that has run amok!

I was playing golf the other day with two other golfers in their late sixties/early seventies, and overheard one of them say something like, "Can you imagine being married to someone like Nancy Pelosi?" With the great division between Conservatives and Liberals that has developed since the Reagan years, I have learned to be "mum" when it comes to talking politics with anyone who has opposite views. But, I thought to myself, I doubted that Nancy would have any strong desire to marry or pay much attention at all to either of them, nor did I think that either of them would be able to match her intellect and accomplishment in any way. I cannot feel comfortable playing golf with either of them again, knowing that they would probably feel the same about me if they knew I was a liberal Democrat.

Are the American people, who are so diverse in their origins, becoming tribal based on their political parties?

It used to be that Conservatives and Liberals had many of the same notions about living in this country. There was disagreement, but also common ground for compromise, and actual accomplishment. Most often, government swung back and forth between the moderate left to the moderate right. The far right and far left wings of each party always were around and usually had their say, but stayed on the fringe of party platform and policy. I voted for George "I" for president because I thought he had the superior experience and ability to lead our country. When I saw how the Republicans in Congress acted when they took over in the mid 1990's, I vowed to myself that I would never vote for a Republican for any office again. I would have voted for Arnold for governor this time around, because I think he has seen the light, and is no longer catering to the right wing of his party, but to the needs of the State of California. I think that Maria probably hit him aside the head a few times after his fiasco with his special election propositions of over a year ago. But, I stuck with my vow. I voted a straight Democatic ticket.

I do not want to support any Republican who might contribute to the ability of the current GOP to control any part of government. That will be the case as long as they are driven by their right wing policies regarding God, gays, and gats!

But, this election is over and nationally the electorate voted with one voice against Bush and the Republican Congress which said, "We don't like it, we don't like it at all"! If we were a parlimentary system like England, Bush would be gone too! We have to live with him for two more years. I hope he got the message and starts acting in concert with the new Congress to respond with positive actions to the message sent!

It is interesting that on the first day after the election, Sec'y Rumsfeld resigned. I would have thought that if he had done that a week before the election, it would have been a positive sign that Bush was changing direction on Iraq. It might have made a difference with some voters and been a plus for the GOP. There is not much doubt that the resignation was in the works prior to election day. Was it another misjudgement as to timing?

I wonder what Bush will accomplish as a result of that move in the next few months. One thing I do know, more people will die every day until we are able to staunch the bleeding wound we opened in Iraq!

Friday, October 20, 2006

Political crap of the week.

1. The latest poll this week showed that Congress's approval rating is down to 16%. Does that mean that only 16% of the members of Congress should be re-elected? It wouldn't be a bad idea. Maybe we should oust anyone who supported the Iraq invasion without making the effort to find out the truth! I don't remember the percentage of those who did not vote in support. Maybe it was close to 16%. If everyone agreed to do that we would lose some very prominent Dems too! Shame on them!

2. Who is lying? Is it Dennis Hastlert or all the others who have come forward and given testimony before the House ethics commitee that they advised the House leadership, in some cases the Speaker personally, that gay Rep. Foley was fooling around with the teenage pages with inappropriate sexual communication? How could Dennis not remember those conversations? Expect him to resign as speaker! He should really resign from the House entirely for chosing politics over protection of underage teenagers in his charge from a sexual predator. What kind of people do we elect to represent us? It is outrageous!

3. George Bush, whose approval rating is around 30%, is going around the country appearing with some of the congressmen who are in peril of losing the upcoming election. It seems that he is only appearing with those who are in a fix and desperate. I saw him the other day standing next to a married congressman who had a girl friend who accused him of "choking" her. The congressman's latest campaign video showed him saying that he was sorry for his philandering and denied that he ever "choked" his mistress. He said he and his wife were very much in love and have reconciled, and that he hoped that his constituancy would re-elect him based on his record in congress and his ability to bring good things to his district, which I presumed to mean "pork". Is that the best we can do? Fortunately I think he is a goner.

George' topic in his speech was that voters should return Republicans to Congress so that he could continue the War on Terror, and that if the Democrats took over and "cut and ran", that the American people would be in greater danger and were sure to be attacked! It seems that I have heard that so many times now that it makes my eyes glaze over. What is sad, is that's all GWB has to talk about. He has had no success in his administration that would provide any traction with the voters. He has not yet faced the reality that 70% of the population thinks that he and the Republicans have made us more unsafe by his policies in his "War on Terror". Anyone who supports his supposition is deluded. I wonder if he really believes it himself.

The big question I have is: How long is it going to take us to clean up the huge mess that has been made by the Republican controlled government in the last 6 years?

4. Last week I stated that they should make Bob Ney and Duke Cunnigham roommates in prison,and they could cheat each other at Gin Rummy to pass the time of day. Bob only got about 2 years and the Duke is in for a lot longer. Perhaps Tom Delay may get a term that is more congruent with the Duke's. I guess they could make it a threesome. Then if Foley is clipped for perversion and shipped to the same facility, wouldn't that make a good mix? Just like it was when they all were in the halls of congress. Watch out! That is the making of quite a prison gang!

5. I heard a report today that North Korea told China that they were sorry they exploded an A bomb. Well, all right then!

6. One would think that we could all be doing better by using a bit more common sense, talking over problems, and seeking solutions that are in the best interest of everyone, not just one side or the other. "Either you are with us or you are against us" just doesn't seem to cut it as an effective political philosophy.

Friday, October 13, 2006

A week's worth of political crap!

OK!

1. We have child molesters in Congress. At least one of them was gay and was put in charge of a commitee to provide legislation to "protect children from child molesters". The GOP leadership in the House presumably knew of this guy's inappropriate contacts with the house pages (all young boys under 16) for some time and did nothing to stop it!

When the press found out and reported the activity there were actually House representitives and conservative political pundits who tried to make excuses for the perpetrator, and make light of the issue by comparing it to past Democratic sex scandals, which, by the way, did not usually include dalliance or pursuit of underage children.

And what did those past scandals have to do with the fact that someone in congress was preying or at the least attempting to prey on children who were in the charge of the House of Representitives as "pages".

Anyone who knew about this and did nothing should be punished, either buy the courts, or by the voters!

Can you imagine to depravity and corrupt nature we have allowed to develop in our government, by and for the people of the United States of America!

2. Bob Ney is going to plead guilty to taking bribes and be sentenced to prison for at least one year or more. He will probably join Randy "Duke" Cunningham and together they can cheat each other at gin rummy!

3. Our President keeps telling us that we are making great progress in Iraq and things are getting better. Of course he doesn't read the papers or watch the news on TV. Presumably his daily briefings are on how the Rose Garden is holding up as fall approaches. We have a President who is delusional and does not face reality.

4. North Korea has developed an atomic bomb capability! They are part of Bush's Axis of Evil!North Korea thinks that Bush is going to attack and that the bomb would be a deterrant. They are right! We only attack countries who do not have an atom bomb. Iran better hurry! Bush blames Clinton.

5. Hooray! The Budget deficit this year is only going to be 385 Billion dollars. However, I don't think that includes the separate accounting for paying the bills in Iraq. So maybe it is more like 600 Billion. We shall have to ask China, who is financing the whole thing, and slowly buying up America.

And that's the political crap for this week!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Golfing With an Old Guy

Golfing With An Old Guy

By Mark Worden

He hit it down the middle,
As usual!
But he just had a short cart ride,
To hit it again!

He was on the green
in four,
and made a 15 foot putt
for a bogey.

I said, "Great
net birdie, Bernie".
He said " I get three strokes
on this hole!"

I said, " Great net
eagle, Bernie"!
As I erased the number on
the score card!

Old golfers never die,
Their handicaps just go up,
until no one will bet
with them anymore.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Fridays 5 minute poem

The Golfing God

by Mark Worden


I took four lessons from a pro,
to straighten out my swing.
and tempoed downward fast to slow,
to make my driver zing!

I worked for months and saw no change,
but practiced when I could.
Each week I spent time at the range,
a'pounding on my wood.

Just playing once a week it seemed,
was not much time to groove,
Improving for my game to peak,
and keep my motion smooth.

I never broke an 80 score,
in all my bygone years,
but lately it has happened more,
Three times, to many cheers.

Besides the Golfing God's good will,
Perhaps my putting change,
has caused the ball to roll downhill,
fall in the cup, it's strange.

The putter seems to make the score,
saves strokes on every round,
as much as four, and sometimes more,
and that is just profound!

Oh why, oh why it happened now,
was it for goodness sake?,
Or did the Golfing God think "Wow!",
Let's give the guy a break!

Friday, July 21, 2006

Running out of words

It has been months since I have spent some time thinking about writing. To me that is what blogs are for--to satisfy the urge to write--and to take the time to think while doing it.

Why havn't I jumped on the blog lately? I used to be fairly consistant. On Friday of each week I usually made it a point to write a Friday 5 minute poem, or make a log entry of something that happened of interest during the week!

Perhaps I have not been in a mood to do poetry, or in a documentary frame of mind. I know that I have been out of sorts with the goings on around the world. I have been disappointed almost daily by what my country has become under the mis-guidance of the Bush presidency and the lack of sound thinking by the Republican congress. When our President has a news conference to brag about the fact that the budget deficit result is only going to be 300+ billion instead of over 400 billion this year, I wonder what might Bush think of as a failure for his administration. When he vetoes his first legislation in 6 years , a bi-partison bill allowing funding for limited stem cell research, mis-characterizing the process as saving lives of future children, I and everyone else with any common sense understands that his reason for doing so is strictly political to appease a small group of zealots at the expense of the rest of our society, and that his explanation for doing so is a lie, or at best a deception. Everyone knows that sooner or later this bill will get passed.

In the 6 years we have lived with the Bush administration and the lack of congressional oversight, we have made a big contribution to making the world a very dangerous place, and the reputation and influence of the United States in foreign affairs has plummeted. The credibility of our government has been shattered by the Bush administration's distortions, lies, and actions. To me and most of the rest of the world, based on experience, what our government says has no reliability and does not reflect reality. Action has often had no relation to the words expressing the intention.

It is depressing to think that we spend more on military might than the combined total of the rest of the world, and put people in power who think that the threat of force is the way to solutions of conflict in the world. Does anyone remember what it was like 6 years ago when Bush and the Neocon group that put him in power took over? There was a projected 400 billion budget surplus--with the possibility of continuing surpluses totaling a trillion over the next 10-15 years. That was going to be a positive to ensure the solvency of future baby boomer pay outs for social security and medicare, as well as paying down the national debt and controlling interest rates. Optimism was high for the future!

There was relative peace in the middle east with-on going negotiations making progress towards a settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict. There was on-going negotiation with North Korea regarding their atomic weapons program. Deals were being made or worked on across tables.

When Bush became President, everything stopped! Anything and anybody associated with the Clinton administration was discarded or ignored. Diplomacy in the middle east stopped. Instead, at the first opportunity we invaded Iraq, and created an "axis of evil" which cemented us into a position of opposition and conflict with countries where patience and diplomacy had been showing progress. We have a self proclaimed War President who thinks that's "cool"! Yes, there was 9/11. There were 19 zealots with boxcutters who pulled off an audacious attack. It opened the door for the Neocon plan for the middle east. Our response to the 19 "nuts" was an army of well over 100,000, an invasion of a country that had nothing to do with the 19 "nuts", and a continuing cost of 10s of thousands of lives, and 100s of billions of dollars. Who are the real "nuts' in this scenario??

So here we are. We are bogged down in a war that Bush started on a lie, and there seems to be no reasonable solution that will be to our advantage. The Israeli's are attacking Lebanon and may invade that soverign country, which has moved to a democratic government, but is unfortunately not strong enough to oppose and purge the terrorist elements within its borders. Hundreds of innocent bystanders are being killed and people are fleeing from a pending invasion. We are now powerless to intervene, but Bush seems to prefer that Israel keep up the bombing in any case. This conflict between Israel and the Arabs has been on-going for 60 years with no solution. By now everyone with any common sense knows there is no military solution. Every innocent civilian who is killed on each side of this conflict just creates a bigger open wound in the conflict.

Where are the wise men and women in our country who can provide world leadership. We must find them and elect them to positions of leadership.

I was born in 1942. I have lived with war my entire life and I am tired of it. None of the wars really solved anything. Oh, WWII may have been necessary, but who is to say that the truth of Hitler would not have caused his own generals and the German people to end his excesses and killing, with less damage than was done by the war.
The wars that have occurred since have all been mistakes by leaders who lead with deception. The Korean War was just a waste of lives which tore a country apart. It is still unresolved today. Vietnam was a great mis-judgement and built on lies just as the Iraqi invasion has been.

I wonder what it is like in a world without war. I don't suppose I will ever find out during my lifetime! Maybe I have just ran out of the words to complain or comment any more. Maybe it just feels that whatever is said just falls on deaf ears. It seems so plain to see!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

By Myself

I am by myself for a week. I helped her pack her old Volvo station wagon this morning and she took off for Santa Cruz to spend time baby sitting our daughter's rabbit "Pip" while our daughter is on a trip to the wilds of Wahington state.

She left me with a refridgerator filled with leftovers neatly done up in "plates" that I can pop in the microwave each evening for dinner. The rest I will scrounge for! As usual, she left me notes to ensure that the cat gets proper care, feeding times, litter box cleanup, and warnings about leaving the door open so she will not escape. (It would be a scar on my life if the cat somehow disappeared on my watch!)

There is direction for plant watering, both inside and out.

Her schedule will take her to some of her favorite coffee houses in Santa Cruz, with a stop in Santa Barbara coming and going for a shot at the Santa Barbara Brewing Company to fortify her on her journey.

Saturday she will visit our son at school in San Francisco and take him to lunch and shopping to stock his cupboard. We don't want any real "starving student" in the family! She has a family connection with San Francisco. Her great, great grandparents were there at the time of the great fire after the big One. The flames stopped just down the hill from their home which is still standing to this day. We tried to find it once!

My schedule will be the same as usual, work and the stuff I usually do. Only it will be done by myself.

Friday, January 20, 2006

AM/FM Dreaming

It's weird!

During the last couple of years I have taken to the habit of listening to the radio when I go to bed at night. I have earphones plugged in and generally listen to talk shows on AM radio, the late night news on PBS/BBC, sportstalk repeats, or now "Free" FM which is 24 hour talk during the week. I used to try to turn off the radio before I went to sleep, but it became the norm that I fell asleep with the headphones on with the talk show host murmuring in my ear about one of the hot topics of the day, with someone on the phone who had nothing better to do in the late evening. I think it was probably boring enough to have me just drift off!

Being a member of an age group that wakes in the middle of the night due to bladder pressure, and not being able to immediately fall back asleep, I became introduced to the middle of the night callers on the radio and found them to be a small but dedicated group of insomniacs, truck drivers, late night shift workers, and and a whole bunch of people who seem to be just too worried about the state of the world to get any sleep.

Larry King was once the real "King" of late night talk. I remember hearing his show on occasion perhaps 20 years ago. He seemed to know a little about everything and always had an answer for any question posed by a caller. As I moved up and down the dial, he seemed to be syndicated on every major station which had 50000 watts to boom out over the airwaves. What a great radio voice. He smoked alot which kept his voice deeeeep and mellow. It also gave him a triple by-pass. When he left for CNN it created a void, and after some shuffling about with a number of potential new "Kings of latenight", Art Bell changed late night radio into the world of the surreal with his guests posing the probability of lost civilizations on Mars, Bigfoot sightings, and aliens in UFOs snatching people for experiments, and then returning them to Earth with nothing except vague feelings and memories of their experience. Art Bell made his broadcast from his home in Parumph (sp?)in the high desert near Las Vegas, not too far from Area 51. Area 51 is best known as the place where aliens supposedly landed and were captured back in the early 1950's. It a super secret Air Force base where supposedly all the UFO's and mummified aliens are secreted by the government. It is an appropriate spot for Art to send out his radio waves. He was a star of the night that people who slept all night never knew. He created his own world populated by people who believed in weird ideas and beings who could not be proven to exist. But on the other hand no one could prove that they didn't exist either! That seemed to keep fantasy and superstition alive in the night! And what a great radio voice! It's a match for Larry.

I was fascinated with Art Bell for a while simply because of the novelty of listening to people who took seriously subjects which were completely outside reality. His show, Coast to Coast, is still on every night, but he hosts only on the weekend. George ?? is the host the rest of the week.
George carries on with the same subject matter, and with many of the same "expert" guests, but it is not the same without Art. I sometimes tune in on the weekend to hear Art's voice. His sound on the radio never failed to cause me to drift off to sleep quickly. I slept plugged into his show for most of the night. I have felt no unusual effects from it, as far as I know. But then all those callers who were whisked away for lab tests by aliens had nothing but vague feelings about their experiences either! Who knows what has been planted in my Psyche as I slept.
Now when I tune in I have problems staying with the topics. Somtimes there is a "real" topic being discussed, but most often the topic is absurd, and I wonder how anyone could seriously discuss it. I consider both George and Art as actors on the radio. I can't believe that they really believe the people they have on their show, and have to think that their support for the caller's claims and topics is just part of "show business". I wonder?

Last night my bedside radio went on the fritz. I think I wore out the AM/FM switch, and as much as I jiggled the switch, it failed to consistantly hold the volume and the frequency. It was just not an acceptable situation that I could live with for another night! I went to Fry's today and bought a new radio. It's digital and has presets for six AM and six PM stations. It has a special antenna that tunes into the AM frequency that broadcasts the atomic clock time from somewhere in Colorado. I plugged it in, and lo and behold, it picked up the frequency and set the time all by itself right to the second! I am on ATOMIC time! I set all the presets to the stations I usually shuffle between during the night. I plugged in the earphones and tested it all out. It seems a great improvement! Tonight's inauguration of my new radio will be exciting! I wonder if I will get any sleep!

I will start the evening as usual with KGO AM, then maybe pop over to KABC and see what Mr. KABC is up to, Then spend a few minutes to see what George's subject is on Coast to Coast on KFI or KOGO, and maybe end up back on KGO with my favorite lefty Bernie to see if his political rant of the night is palatable. Failing to find anything soothing at any of those spots, I may go to FM and 103.7 and check in on "free" FM talk, which at night is generally about sex and personal problems. That ought to get me to sleep. If the sandman is successful on that station, I will probably wake up to Adam Carrola (sp?) who took over for Howard Stern on the west coast this month. He is mildly amusing. Howard used to come on at 3 am here since his show started at 6 am in the Eastern time zone. The local station would run the first 3 hours live, then start it over at 6 am and run the full 4 hours to 10 am. If I woke up around 3 am, I usually tuned in. Howard had some interesting shows, but also was pretty good at drifting me off for another couple hours sleep too! I could catch some of what I missed on theway to work at 7-8 am. Adam's new show is out of LA and doesn't start live until 6 am. It comes on at 5 am with a repeat of the last hour of the show from the day before.

Talk radio has changed alot since Larry was the King. His show was sports, show business, or something about the news of the day. It was kind of like his show on CNN. He could have a Democrat on one night, and a Republican the next. Frank Sinatra could drop in. Most of late night now is either far to the right or way out on the left. There is alot of ranting going on! Listeners and callers tend to listen to the ranters they agree with. If someone calls in and disagrees with the rant, they usually get insulted and called names by the "Host". Most of the "Host's" are not polite to those who disagree with them. While I might be more prone to find the left side more palatable, I still look for a more moderate voice. There are also alot of sports talk stations I could listen to, but how many times can one rehash the last football game, or complain about some coach's inability to call the right play. I just can't get into it! I change stations alot before I fall asleep!

I think a digital tuner should last longer!

Weird, Huh!