Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Monday, November 29, 2010

RIP - Leslie Nielsen

Leslie Nielsen
b. : 11 February 1926
d. : 28 November 2010
. So long, Leslie Nielsen. I won't call you Shirley anymore. You were great in the Airplane! series, and fantastic as Frank Drebin in The Naked Gun films. But you also were an outstanding dramatic actor. And some of us geezers still remember you as Colonel Francis Marion in Walt Disney's The Swamp Fox. .

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Roger Waters Concert!

Yes, I had extremely high expectations for this concert, and yes, it lived up to them completely. Excellent music (The Wall, obviously) and a fantastic visual extravanganza. I'd tell yooze folks to go see him when he's in your town, but the tour is almost complete. He's got about 5 more dates in California; then he's done. .
Plus my ticket and dinner were birthday presents from Jason and Ryan! How kewl is that!? Thanks guys!

Friday, November 26, 2010

a Slate Fire Pit!

I had one more task scheduled for yesterday before friends arrived - put together the above-pictured Slate Fire Pit. Because Arizona does occasionally get cold enough to where one of these is downright comfortable when sitting on the back porch after dark. . The instructions promised me 15 minutes of entertainment putting this together. But I managed to stretch it out to 45 minutes, plus two skinned knuckles, and roughly 75 cusswords. . In the end, I got it together. Alas, it didn't get used, despite us being on the back porch until 9:00 PM or so.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

My schedule for today :
Watch some football.
Walk the dogs.
Watch some football.
Discusss political stuff on the back porch.
Watch some football.
Stuff myself silly on turkey and assorted side dishes.
Watch some football.
Sample every dessert.
Watch some football.
Dream about going to see Roger Waters tomorrow night.
Snack on leftovers.
Watch some basketball.
Doze off for a couple minutes.
Wake up, watch some basketball.
Laugh at those going shopping tomorrow.
Get told to make a Xmas list.
Have one more slice of pie. Mega-Burp!
Discuss philosophical stuff on the back porch.
Watch Sports Center.
Read some Bukowski poetry.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Dancing With The Stars

I admit it. I've watched more hours of this season's Dancing With The Stars than probably all the reality shows of the past put together. But that's only because it was on 1-2 hours every Monday and Tuesday night, and Liz was thoroughly hooked on it. So if we were still eating supper at 7:00 PM on those nights (and that's usually the case), I was forced to watch it. . Congratulations to Jennifer Gray. She truly deserved to win. At least it wasn't the baby-making Bristol Palin, who finished third and gave Mama TeaBagger entirely too much free air time. . Liz swore if Bristol won, she would never watch DWTS again. A hollow threat, you say? She was hooked on The Bachelor a few seasons ago when they did their phony ending of the guy dumping the winner for one of the losers. Liz said she'd never watch that show again, and to this day, she hasn't.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Frank Sinatra - September of My Years

Artist : Frank Sinatra
Album : September Of My Years (1965)
Genre : Easy Listening Overall Rating : 7½*/10
. I must be getting old, cuz I never used to be able to listen to Frank Sinatra. I converted this LP for a friend, and was surprised how many songs I recognized and how ...um... pleasing-to-the-ears the music was. . And it isn't just me. My carpool partner's 18-year-old son recently became a fan of Sinatra as well. Wow! I know The Beatles maintain their popularity from generation to generation, but I didn't know Old Blue Eyes has the same gift. . All in all, this was a pleasant surprise. I don't think it'll become one of my top ten favorite albums, but if you force me to do Easy Listening (and take away my Sarah Brightman CD's), this will be my first pick. . Album Tracks : (my favorites in pink) :
01. The September of My Years (3:15)
02. How Old Am I? (3:30)
03. Don't Wait Too Long (3:04)
04. It Gets Lonely Early (2:57)
05. This Is All I Ask (3:03)
06. Last Night When We Were Young (3:33)
07. The Man in the Looking Glass
08. It Was A Very Good Year (4:25)
09. When The Wind Was Green (3:22)
10. Hello, Young Lovers (3:41)
11. I See It Now (2:50)
12. Once Upon A Time (3:30)
13. September Song (3:30)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Quote for the Day

"Bacchus tells me that they have communicated with many peoples and they respect all forms of language, finding each beautiful in its own way. The language of this gray land is a flowing tongue in an alphabet long ago perfected. On writing, they are conflicted. It is necessary, but they warn that writing encourages forgetfulness and discourages memory and they are correct." (pgs. 407-08)
from The Charlemagne Pursuit, by Steve Berry)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Bambi Chess

and I just hate it when someone kills my Bambi's mother before I kill their Bambi's mother.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Arizona Spelling Note

Remember : You can't spell CRAZY without R-AZ. (kos)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


I have a relative and a co-worker who call themselves Libertarians. Both are insufferable. And both introduce their political viewpoint by saying, "I am a ...(dramatic pause plus an ever-so-slight sigh)... Libertarian". . Reading that sentence doesn't really convey the true sense of political righteousness they infuse into it, so find yourself a Libertarian, and (even though you already know the answer) ask them what political party they support. They'll be happy to tell you, using the full audio effect.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


This is an incredible close-up picture of the asteroid Itokawa, taken in 2005 by the Japanese space probe, Hayabusa. That shadow you see is of the spacecraft itself, which actually landed on the asteroid, gathered some cosmic dust, and brought it back to earth. You can read the full article about this here. Live long and prosper.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Working on "Porgy and Bess"

Porgy & Bess. I'm working on converting this from LP-to-CD. Same album cover, except the LP I have was issued by Columbia Records, not Philips. This soundtrack is not available as a CD. And in researching it, it appears very unlikely that it ever will be. . I also found an LP with the music from the Porgy & Bess Broadway musical, which goes all the way back to 1935 (the music, not the LP). It is not nearly as cool as this movie soundtrack is.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The world in 2050

I'm a time-traveler. I've been there. This is pretty much as it will happen. Except for China. They don't really invent Dimension-Hopping by 2050.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Melanie concert tonight!

Report to follow. Expect lots of gushing praise by me, as I've been a fan of hers for decades. Even though she isn't considered "cool".

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Sunday Punnery

I am a fan of puns. The more contrived, the better. So I was delighted last Sunday morning to find not one, but two strips with compound and groan-inducing puns. .

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Wednesday's Brain Teaser

Think of two words whose pronunciation changes when they are capitalized. Answer in the comments.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Quote for the day

He had his eye on her laundry, that small but steady gold mine, but her own attention was riveted on his hefty real estate. Their lives together would be fortified by the keen nip of greed, as each prayed daily to their household gods that the other would die first.
Many marriages endure for decades on this healthy basis, so I wished her well.
(from The Silver Pigs, by Lindsey Davis - page 258)

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Sunday Night Culture

Drinking hemlock apparently makes you turn green.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Concert tonight

We're off to see these two guys tonight. Everyone has heard of Elton John of course. But I'm surprised no one remembers Leon Russell. I do. And I found three of his LP's this afternoon. . Trivia Question : Elton John's real name is Reginald Dwight. When he made up his stage name, from whom did he pick the name "John"? (answer in the comments)

Friday, November 05, 2010

Midnight on the Water - David Bromberg Band

Artist : David Bromberg
Album : Midnight On The Water (1975)
Genre : Eclectic
Overall Rating : 9*/10
. Yet another fantastically-talented musician/songwriter who had limited fame for his 7-minute rendition of Mr. Bojangles in 1972. David Bromberg is a master of all sorts of instruments, and his music embraces all sorts of styles - rock, folk, bluegrass, country, just to name a few. . Midnight On The Water was his 1975 album. I found it in a the $1 bin at my local used-record store. What a great find! It has a nice mix of songs, some marvelous fiddling and guitar-picking, and number of familiar sing-along tunes, and Bonnie Raitt, Emmylou Harris, and Linda Ronstadt sneaking in to sing back-up vocals on a couple tracks. . Alas, it was scratched beyond belief and had one horrible forward-skip. My newly-purchased automatic hiss-pop-scratch removal software had its work cut out for it, and did an admirable job. There are only 2 tracks that it failed to clean up adequately. Trust me, they were incredibly damaged, and I'm quite satisfied with the results. Indeed, I would never have even attempted to manually clean the tracks up, and after converting it to CD, I had to euthanize the LP. . In summary, Midnight On The Water is highly recommended to all folk and/or bluegrass enthusiasts. Weird Fact : the order that the songs are listed on the back cover is totally messed up. I've never seen that before. However, the disk itself lists them correctly. 9 Stars. Pick it up today, and get acquainted with a musical genius. . Complete track listings (my favorite cuts in pink) :
01.) What A Wonderful World
02.) Yankee's Revenge
03.) I Like To Sleep Late In The Morning
04.) Nobody's
05.) Don't Put That Thing On Me
06.) Mr. Blue
07.) Dark Hollow
08.) If I Get Lucky
09.) The Joke's On Me
10.) Midnight On The Water
. Note To Mr. Bromberg : please-oh-please come to Phoenix one of these days!

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Quote for the day

"If you enjoyed laughing in the face of death, you might like to have a crack at High Saffron. One hundred merits, and all you have to do is take a look."
"I understand there's a one hundred percent fatality rate?"
"True. But up until the moment of death there was a one hundred percent survival rate. Really, I shouldn't let anything as meaningless as statistics put you off."
(pg. 178 of Jasper Fforde's Shades Of Grey)

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

RIP - Laika

RIP, Laika. You were the first animal to orbit the earth. They didn't tell you, but it was never planned to have you make it back to earth. Re-entry technology had not been invented, and 53 years ago, today, you gave your life in the name of Progress. . You can read the Wikipedia article about Laika here. It is doubtful that society - even in Russia - would stand for this today. Although in fairness, I'm hard-pressed to say how we could've gotten our rudimentary knowledge of life during spaceflight without sending an animal first. But jeez, we cooda sent a cat instead. That would've been okay. .
For the record, Laika was a three-year-old (estimated) stray that the Russians picked up off the streets of Moscow. TRIVIA QUESTION : Why did the Soviets choose to use strays during the early days of their space program? (Answer in the comments).

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Congratulations, SF Giants!

Congratulations are in order to the San Francisco Giants, who whupped my Texas Rangers in the World Series, 4-games-to-1. The Giants definitely were the better team, as their Pitching shut down our Hitting in no uncertain fashion. . I probably should feel worse about this, but San Francisco has been waiting a long time too - their last pennant was when they were still the New York Giants. And if we had to lose, I'd druther it was the Giants than teams like the Dodgers or the Braves. To boot, Tim Linceum is one kewl dude. Let's hear it for long-hairs! .
For my Rangers, the future looks quite bright. Cliff Lee has expressed an interest in returning, the chemistry on the team is superb, and we reportedly have a number of exciting youngsters in our farm system.
So we'll be content with our first two post-season series victories, our first-ever appearance in the World Series, and a thorough whupping of the New York Yankees. It was our best season ever, bar none. And last but not least, it should be noted that Alex Rodriguez finally fulfilled his promise to lead the Rangers to the World Series. Thanks, A-Rod!

Monday, November 01, 2010