Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Current Thoughts and Wishes.

I meant to post something for Memorial Day, but obviously neglected to. I was going to mention that has a limited-time deal where you can look up old military records for free. It usually costs a subscription fee, but I think you can still do it just for registering, until June 6th or so. It's worth a look...

Anyway, speaking of memorializing, I've been thinking about mom a lot lately. Not a day goes by without it occurring to me to call her, or I think of something I want to ask her, or tell her. Of course then I realize it's too late. But it may not be too late for you and someone you love, and so I am going to publish something I didn't think I would.

This is the note that my sisters found among mom's things. It is neatly typed, and signed simply "mom." I haven't asked my siblings if they mind me putting it onto my dumb blog, but I can't imagine any of them objecting.

Mom wrote this seven or eight years before she died. I'm glad she was able to come to my and Donna's wedding after she wrote this. Donna and her family loved her, and I feel certain that mom had a good time at our somewhat unconventional ceremony. Sometimes I think Donna is having a harder time with her death than I am.


This letter is for all of you, for all of you have been my greatest accomplishment in life. I always considered myself pretty lucky to raise seven children and I'm proud to say that you were all "good kids."

I hope you all know that each one of you was special to me, even tho I never seemed to say "I love you"...

Sometimes I think I was selfish moving here as I will probably leave you with all my burdens like selling the house and getting rid of all the junk I've accumulated. Just take the things you want and give the rest to charity. Mainly tho, I DO NOT want a funeral - I want to be cremated and my ashes scattered over Dad's grave or the waters of Sunset Beach [North Carolina]. If there be time to donate my heart, liver or kidneys, I'd like you to do that too...

Now that I'm seventy years old and seen how quickly the years go by, I've finally realized that the best of times were the times we had together.

Your families are your treasures of life - always remember to love one another, be kind, hold your tongue and temper - words said in anger can be like a stab wound that leaves a scar forever.

Today, I have no riches or wealth to leave to you, only these final words - the best things in life really are free. Just to have a partner to love, little things like kisses and holding hands and laughing together, sharing a warm bed and children to bring you joy. Now that I look back at my life, I think - I had all that, didn't I? Yes, and I thank God every night for all of you.

My love be with you always,

Because dad is buried in a military cemetery, Mom thought that she couldn't be buried with him as she had remarried. This turned out not to be true. Mom's ashes will be interred with my father this month.

If you haven't told someone you love that you love them, go ahead and do it right now.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

The Fault Is Not in Our Stars.

remember with peace said...
i was disgusted reading your article. who cares what you think about the truth of the documentary? She has passed and should be remembered with more respect. don't judge others. it builds up and some day you'll be burned by the libra.

This comment was left for me in response to my post about the documentary The Last Days of Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes, which was shown on VH1 last week. At first I wrote a response to it, then changed it, then deleted it and wrote another, then decided to delete the comment entirely and ignore it. But now I've chosen to answer, as it is precisely this sort of thing that makes me despise most people, particularly simpletons such as "remember with peace."

First, I’ll directly address you, rwp. You found my site by Googling "lisa left eye lopez herbal cleansing." (Her name, incidentally, was Lopes, with an s, as evidenced by the 7000 times it was written on-screen during the film. Way to comprehend.) So right off the bat, I suspect you are a knucklehead who saw this movie and thought, "Hm, I'd like to know more about this highly questionable and possibly dangerous diet regimen endorsed by some reckless pop star dim-wit. Sounds right up my alley!"

As for the “burned by the libra” comment, well, I hate to break it to you, but astrology is a bunch of magical bullshit and the people who rely on it are sad and irrational. If you are looking to purify, cleanse or otherwise detoxify your body, please begin with your brain and wash away these absurd conceits. For me, that last line is beyond disgusting—it is nauseating, foolish, and, in particular, discouraging. But I’ll get back to that.

Now, as for your wondering who cares about what I think: I don’t care who cares what I think. But I thought it, and posted it, and if you are disgusted by it, so be it. I was merely examining the “truth of the documentary,” or rather the lack or distortion of it. Perhaps it was the film itself (that is, the filmmakers, or in this unusual case, chiefly the editor) that lacked respect for its subject, or more likely the viewers.

The notion of respect for human beings is one which I simply reject. People don’t deserve respect, despite every loudmouth imbecile incessantly demanding it for no reason. I respect art, concepts, nature. Things that are what they are. People are rarely what they appear to be, what they try to be, or what they themselves think they are. People’s rights deserve respect. Their actions, ideas, accomplishments, opinions (hey, how about that?) and even their intentions may deserve it. But requiring respect just for being? I don’t see it. And the notion of respecting a person’s memory is hard to divorce from that—respect earned for dying, however tragically, doesn’t register with me. (Dying heroically is another story, but again, that's an action.)

People are shit. (Ba-dum-BUM!) Not every person, but, you know, generally. We're the worst things in the universe (that we're aware of). We exhibit the unique trait of inflicting cruelty for no reason. I think it has something to do with our unearned intelligence. We are cruel because we know we can be. Sure, some other mammals exhibit cruelty, too; chimps and dolphins spring to mind, you know, the “smarter” ones. We’re just a notch above them. Somewhere along the line, our jawbones shifted and created greater cranial capacity, allowing our brains to grow, bringing about the development of advanced language and poof—chimps with checkbooks. (I sometimes think “ants between ice ages” is a more apt analogy, but in any case I didn’t mean to bring evolutionary theory into this mess of a blog-rant.)

Don’t get me wrong. There are many people I love, admire, even strive to emulate for their good qualities, but the truth of the matter is you never really know anyone. I’m sure many people go to their graves with truly black hearts, having harbored dark thoughts that they never acted upon. For instance, is a person a pedophile if they lusted after children but died having never actually molested any? I sometimes wonder about how many people had in fact gone the extra step and simply got away with it. I'm sure they are remembered with respect. Do they deserve it? Anyway, that's tangential.

As you may have surmised, I’m not a person who values religion. I have no use for it. I do, however, have a use for faith, irrational as that notion may seem. Too many people hold their religious faith like a guarantee to some greater reward, a golden ticket that they can lord over the non-believer. Many look for signs of angels or divinely-crafted images as proof of their faith, ignoring the contradiction inherent in such an idea. As I see it, that’s the point of faith—there can be no proof. Therein lies the absurdity, and yet the principle of faith is deeply instilled in the race, even for a cynical pragmatist such as myself.

My faith is rooted in—surprise!—human nature. Yes, I do believe it tends toward evil. You can peruse any major newspaper on any day and see a hundred reasons not to put your faith in humankind. That is all the more reason to cherish and encourage those who attempt to thwart our vulgar birthright. My faith lies in that next person I encounter--the belief that this person, in any given situation, will at least try to do the right thing, however subjective that idea is.

That is why I find your comment so discouraging. It is people like you, rwp, that make that faith harder and harder to summon. Superstitious. Easily offended. Determinedly unenlightened by facts and empirical evidence, preferring to indulge in stale pseudoscience and quackery. Eager to stifle another’s opinion because it doesn’t dovetail with your own.

As I've mentioned, I respect your right to your opinions and beliefs, however misguided and willfully ignorant they seem to me. Oh, there I go, judging again. (Good luck, by the way, with your own efforts to make it through life without investing any judgment. It seems to have gotten you this far.)

As the great philosopher Yau-Man Chan said, “Love many. Trust few. Harm none.” I’m genuinely sorry if you felt I did harm by posting my thoughts. I'm sure this little rant of mine has done nothing to assuage your dislike of me. Probably heightened it. Whatever. I mean, I personally don't think I'm lacking in compassion, but what the hell do I know. I’m only human.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Reality is Plural. (No They're Not!)

David Booth, an office manager in Cincinnati, described his nightmares as "like watching television." What he watched was a jetliner swerving and rolling in the sky, accompanied by the sound of failing engines, and then a horrifying crash. The same scenario haunted him for ten nights in a row.

On May 22th, 1979, he called the FAA, American Airlines, and a university psychiatrist. The FAA listened to the details of the dream and surmised that he was describing a DC-10. There was little else to taken from the dream, other than a feeling of dread.

That feeling could only have deepened when, four days later, an American Airlines DC-10 lost an engine seconds after take-off, dipping and rolling onto its lightened side, then hitting the ground and exploding.

All 271 aboard were killed, as were two on the ground; the cause was determined to be a single missing bolt. In retrospect, FAA investigators said, the dream did apparently describe the scene, Chicago's O'Hare International, but not closely enough. In addition to Booth's premonitions, Lindsay Wagner, TV's Bionic Woman, was scheduled to be on that flight, but canceled due to an uneasy feeling.

Booth has since gone on to create a fascinating website which spins a world-wide web of paranoid intrigue. He claims to have had another series of dreams (ten, natch) involving, as best as I can figure, a huge mass emerging in space which destroys the Earth. This was apparently supposed to occur a few years back. (No word on how that went.) His site doesn't offer much info on his current status--he is reported elsewhere as being "at death's door"--though there are many contributions by one "Sorcha Faal," a Russian scientist whose existence is in dispute among the curious folk populating this field. Some claim that Faal is actually Booth himself. The site is a wide-reaching conspiracy theorist's wet dream, linking every aspect of New World Order panic imaginable.

Here's some more "info" on Booth, courtesy another dippy website, this one by a woman who claims to be an emissary of the Zetas of Planet X. Another fella also takes Booth to task, although otherwise the information on their respective sites seems almost interchangeable. Take it all with a mine of salt (as if I had to tell you that)...

Friday, May 25, 2007

The Force is Strong in This One!

Seriously, after staring at this for a while, it looked like the ghost of Alec Guinness was hovering before before me for a good minute afterward.

Here are the instructions, as accompanying this drawing in my 1979 Star Wars Luke Skywalker's Activity Book, published by Random House:

"Luke knows that the Force will keep Obi-wan Kenobi alive forever. You, too, can feel Kenobi's presence. Just stare at the white dot on his picture for about 50 seconds. Try not to let your eyes wander. Then blink them quickly and look at a blank wall. Who's there?"

Today, as you may have heard, is the thirtieth anniversary of the release of Star Wars. The theater where it played its longest run in the US, the Westgate in Beaverton, was not too far from where I live now; alas, it was torn down last fall.

Although my love for the episode IV and V movies has not stood the test of time, I won't denigrate them here. I'll just fondly remember waiting on line with dad, playing with the toys for hours on end, and being inspired to make The Empire Spits Up.

TESU was the Super 8 reel that pals Jeff, Mike, Chris and I filmed one arduous day in 1981. I don't think we got far into the story, which, I believe, was simply the actual plot of The Empire Strikes Back with minor embellishments. I spent hours working on ape make-up for my approximation of Chewbacca. I had a fantastic, early-seventies makeup kit which you used to make rubber gorilla appliances. I've looked for it on the internets, but to no avail. For all the intensive work, I'm on screen for about two seconds. I also puppeteered a rubber Yoda (the one put out by Kenner), my work mostly consisting of nodding and ear-waggling as he sat in a tiny rocking chair.

Jeff directed, of course--it was, after all, a "Twentieth Century Jeff" production. I only recall him playing a guy who says "Fire!" Chris played Han Solo, and Mike played Luke, who in one scene activates his light saber only to find he was holding the hilt upside-down. Thus, via jump-cut, the blade suddenly appears down between his legs, nearly vaporizing his nuts. I don't remember much else, other than that the string-suspended X-Wing looked surprisingly cool flying around. And it was a warm day, of that I'm certain, as I was sweating like a constipated Sumo wrestler in my monkey get-up.

I wish I had pics to show you. Well, maybe someday you'll see the whole thing on YouTube. I know, I can't wait either!

Pix! Pix! Pix!

This is your WPIX Pixxx pal of the day, Felix Unger of The Odd Couple. If you are chosen to play the Pix video game, I think you'll get a bonus prize or something if you can name him...

Oh, wait, I thought it was 1981 for a second. It happens every day, more or less. The Pix game was played during the commercial breaks among afternoon cartoons on channel 11. The games were Intellivision video games. I think they used one called Sharp Shot, with four shooting games. I only remember them using the football passing and the spaceships. (The others were a submarine battle and some kind of mazes-and-monsters thing. I know because I have it.)

You could always tell which kids playing didn't have the phone near the TV, as they'd just blurt "PIX-PIX-PIXPIX-PIX-PIX-PIXPIXPIX-PIX!!!" I remember my pal Jeff telling me he saw the Pix contest one day and he heard an irate mother in the background yell "Jimmy, get the hell off the phone!"

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Who is This Snooping Busybody Looking at?

Monday, May 21, 2007

We're Doomed, Redux.

Much as the Fishworker lamented the dwindling of our intellectual giants, I now assert our inexorable damnation at the hands of Mother Nature. Well, you can't really put the blame on the old broad; she's just doing what comes naturally. It is we who force her hand, and create our own extinction.

Yes, I'm an alarmist. Alarm is called for, more and more each day. The polar ice cap, once predicted to melt and drown us all around 2050, now has an expiration date of around 2020. Thirteen years. Remember 1994? That was thirteen years ago. Seems like just yesterday, doesn't it? I still remember leaving the theater after seeing Eight Seconds, the bull-riding movie with the then-hot Luke Perry and then-non-Christian Stephen Baldwin, wishing I had walked out at least an hour earlier and asked for my money back. Well it's too late! Too late then, too late now! What was I thinking?

Back in the day, we filled the oceans with tires, hoping to make lovely, steel-belted reefs for the fishies. Now, those Firestone Snow-Biters careen wildly about the ocean floor, destroying everything in their path. Those oceans are being consumed by ever-increasing "dead zones," stagnant expanses where nothing can thrive. We've created an oil dependency that seemed reasonable at the time, not foreseeing that the conglomerates would ride that gusher until they squeezed out every last sticky drop, with no genuine interest in diverting finances to developing alternate energy sources for the inevitable day when that last drop, uh, dropped.

I could provide links to support my terrifying claims, but Jesus Christ! I have a life, people, so let me live some of it away from this infernal contraption (also an instrument of our demise, however amusing it is, with its vast resources of poker and pornography).

The reason I crank the Klaxon? Why does anyone, about anything? Because, alas, it finally hit home. For years now, probably close to two decades, your humble non-parader has made the effort to turn off the tap water while brushing his teeth. "Doing my part," as they say, even if only in a small way. I'm sure there are a thousand other ways I'm doing my part to make things worse, but this one little gesture made me feel better. Of course, it was the fact that I barely had to put any thought into it that was so comforting. That was also my folly.

Recently, I noticed a broken sprinkler head at a new housing development near my home, spouting what had to be gallons of water per minute. I passed it on my way to work one evening, and scowled at it, inanely. I then passed it the next evening. And again the next. For four fucking days I spied this sprinkler issuing forth a steady torrent of water, effectively negating my years of miserly conservation. Was there nothing that could have been done? Should I have called someone? Did anyone who could have stopped the deluge even know it was spewing? Who paid for that water, running pointlessly down the gutter?

I fear this is the ultimate lesson that's going to be taken from recycling and resource protection: no one will really care until it's too late.

Forget An Inconvenient Truth--I'm going to go watch The Road Warrior for the hundredth time. Maybe I'll even endure Waterworld again. Only now I'm going to take notes.

(If you are one who chooses to ignore the signs of our imminent self-destruction--and I don't blame you a bit--then just go back through this post and giggle at all the words and phrases that sound sorta dirty. You'll feel all better. "Doing my part," eh heh hee!)

Sunday, May 20, 2007

The Last Days of Bloggie May.

Okay, so I missed another day. I been busy! These floors aren't gonna sweep themselves, fer cryin out loud!

I just watched The Last Days of Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes--or skimmed through it, to be honest, as there's only so much astrology/numerology/holistic healing nonsense I can take. It wasn't bad, but the mystical element was a bunch of hooey, even more so after reading up on the facts, which are somewhat misrepresented by the film. Frankly, far from being other-worldly, it's an all-too-familiar story.

Lopes filmed herself and her new band as they spent a month in Honduras getting their act together, so to speak. To sum the whole thing up, she was a troubled gal who couldn't handle her notoriety, a dramatic attention-seeker who was probably not as talented as she was led to believe. Don't get me wrong, she seemed like a nice enough person, quite lovely even, but the many gifts we are told she possessed are simply not on display. She rapped and danced well, but her lyrics and art were fairly pedestrian, and the instrumental abilities she claimed are never evident in the film.

For someone who had spent as much time in rehab and therapy as she had, and who seems to have considered herself quite introspective and revealing, her explanations of her bad behavior and many arrests (including for the burning of her boyfriend's mansion) are shallow and lacking responsibility--lots of excuses and talk of her alternate personalities, "Nikki" and "Nina." She even shows off the words she carved into her forearm on different occasions with a sort of pride, as if the acts testified to her passion rather than her self-destructiveness.

The only part of the documentary that really left an impression on me is the final week of filming, because it's also the final week of her life. Her van, driven by her assistant, hits and kills a boy. (I have since read that the accident actually occurred on April 6th, more than two weeks before Lopes' death, but in the documentary it isn't presented until the end--I suppose for greater dramatic impact.) Because the boy's name was Lopez, she believes that a spirit is after her and snuffed the boy by mistake. A creepy coincidence, to be sure, but I'm guessing that randomly picking out a Lopez in Honduras is like picking out a Miller in Amish country. (Hell, in the 1990 US Census, Lopez ranked 32nd among most-common names.)

Part of her premonition rationalization has to do with the weird (but non-specific) dreams she'd been having, which the skeptic in me would guess were really attributable to her bizarre diet, consisting mainly of herbal cleansing drinks that apparently smelled like diarrhea. (Her band is even shown sneaking off to a market for junk food because they can't stand the crap she's been feeding them.) The film makes it seem as if the dreams precede the boy's death, but upon reading the facts, this doesn't appear entirely accurate. Most of the scenes with Lopes relating the dreams must have been filmed between the two accidents.

The last scene in Honduras shows the actual last scene of Lopes' life. The horrifying action freezes just as she loses control of her vehicle, which rolled into a ditch, killing her and injuring members of the band. Incredibly, seconds before the accident, Lopes is holding some sort of flat tin (containing decks of cards, perhaps) with the Coca-Cola logo prominently displayed. She holds it steady for the camera, which films from the passenger seat, while gazing seductively (and for way too long) into the lens, a pose she strikes many times during the movie. It looks like she's trying to mimic an advertisement, or maybe dropping in some product placement in hopes that Coke will fund the filming. (She is pretty much broke at this point, and has just had to pay for hospital and funeral bills, not to mention the cost of dragging her huge entourage to Central America.) When someone in the back seat asks to see the tin, Lopes hands it to her, and that's when the swerving begins.

One has to wonder if the camera was rolling during the accident that killed the child, and, if so, was there any attention-diverting horseplay going on inside the van. Apparently, the accident was never actually reported to the police, and no formal investigation was conducted, so I doubt any film was confiscated. In the reports I have read, the boy is described as simply walking--not running--into the path of the van.

Of course, you never really get the full story from even the most detailed documentary, and, as mentioned, I fast-forwarded quite a bit so my take on the flim is lacking. But the lessons to be had in all of this, as I see it? If you must shill, don't do it so shamelessly... and keep both eyes on the road.

Check out May 2007 for the follow-up, the title is something like "The Fault Lies Not in our Stars." I've been trying to make a link to that post but Blogger is being a total turd about it...

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Is There a Word Meaning "Adorable and Horrible at the Same Time?"

I saw a news report about a litter of chihuahua puppies born without front legs. This is the best YouTube video I could find of it, which someone videotaped off their TV. (Here's a direct link to the WCBS report and video.) The YouTube poster also wrote that this affliction is due to "over breading." I hate that--it makes them too dry! And now fewer drumsticks!

Thursday, May 17, 2007


Dammit! I logged on four minutes to midnight to make my daily blog post, and just missed Wednesday by seconds. All I wanted to say was:

Jerry Falwell died Tuesday.

Good riddance to bad, bigoted, politics-of-hate rubbish. Bet he's taking a blistering pitchfork up the keister as I type, and thinking how reincarnation suddenly doesn't seem like such a wicked idea.

Too bad he couldn't stick around for the "end times." He once spoke about the rapture (or whatever the hell it is) and how the righteous would just vanish to their reward as they were driving cars or piloting planes and such, leaving their woeful heathen passengers to crash and burn.

I always imagined a different scenario: The Ultimate Culling of the Vile. Picture all the hypocritical, judgmental, condemning, avaricious scum who persist in making this life miserable for anyone not in lockstep, being sucked into the ground for their sentence in perdition. Unlike Falwell's gleefully sadistic vision, there would be no ill effects for those left behind. Just the limo drivers of yer various evangelists, politicians, CEO's, etc., looking into the rear view mirror at a pile of sulphur-reeking clothes on the back seat and murmuring to themselves, "Where'd that asshole go? Eh, who cares, I'm sure he was just gonna stiff me again anyway."

Read this to find out more about what a swell guy Falwell was, an article by Max Blumenthal of The Nation...

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Ides of Bloggie May.

Check this out! Hold your clicky-thing and move the pic in any direction, and click and roll yer mouse wheel to zoom in and out.

View high resolution panorama on Prague 360

Thanks to Jeff from Prague 360 for permission to embed it. I found it on Neatorama, which I found through an ad in Mental Floss. Just in case the code crapped out on me, I wrote yer more typical blog-type stuff too. To wit:

So... I'm halfway through Bloggie May, further than I thought I'd get. I'm sick of it already. But it's lasted longer than the
Fishworks' Song-a-Day, didn't it? Hah!

The Survivor finale sucked, much as the Amazing Race's did. Yau-Man wuz robbed. Gilmore Girls ends tonight--schnickelfritz! But Rescue Me starts in a month, so yeah, we got that going for us, TV-wise.

Two things in life: TV-wise, and otherwise. Otherwise, not much going on. That I care to dispense globally, anyway. The wife n' I are swell. She's taken to calling me "Der Bingles." I don't know, but it sure makes her laugh.

It's 80 degrees today. That's too hot. I hate summer. The opposite of when I was a kid, but that's for obvious reasons. Actually, I think I liked winter best then. Now I like autumn, mainly because it anticipates winter. Adults are weird. But I was a weird kid too. I remember one summer afternoon when I was about ten, jumping out of the pool at one P.M. sharp, bringing a towel downstairs to the TV room, sitting on it soaking wet in my bathing suit and watching Nosferatu on channel 21. Odd boy.

I do way too many crosswords puzzles. I do the crazy-making one in Harper's, the Friday and Saturday NY Times (those are the tough ones), plus I bought a collection of 100 Fri-Sat puzzles. They say doing a crossword puzzle every day keeps you sharp. If I keep this up, I may stave off Alzheimer's--the one thing I was looking forward to about old age. I'm going to throw out the puzzle book and go see Delta Farce. I'm guessing it's like 79 minutes of someone waving their farts at you and giggling. Dementia, here I come!

From My Desktop to Yours.

My last post garnered a comment from an Italian blogger asking for a picture of my "PC table." I wasn't quite sure what that meant (though jgerardi's follow-up comment clued me in), thinking maybe it was some kind of computer jargon I wasn't familiar with. I went to their Blogger profile and found that, indeed, their blog simply features pics of the tables or whatever where folks have their computers.

I thought about submitting a pic, but then figured, screw them, I should just post one here. So I took a photo, but then I thought it would be funny to adorn my desk with random weird junk, as it is practically bare with only boring, functional items on it--crummy printer, cup of pens and Sharpies, drawer organizer. (I also thought it would be funny to put my computer on the back of The Feeb, naked on all fours. Funny... and hot. But far too complicated. He'd have to come all the way over here, there's moving the PC and all those wires, I'd have to patiently part his back hair to ensure it would sit right... Anyway.) So I grabbed a couple things and put them out.

Then I remembered that I have an item I wanted to put on eBay--a program from the 1958 Portland Parade of Roses. The Rose Festival is next month, so I wanted to get it on there while people might be searching the internets for such related crap. So I did that instead. So now I just have this pic, with only two (well, technically three) pieces of random weird junk.
So I promise to take another pic at some point with tons of stupid tchotchkes strewn about, and whomever can correctly identify the most within a certain time frame will get an appropriately worthless prize. In the meantime, what are the not-usually-there items in this picture? (Clicking on the pic for a closer look might help.) What's on the screen also ties in with my last post...

Sunday, May 13, 2007

New York, That Greasy, Grimy Town...

This is a neat clip of WOR (channel 9) footage from 1976, from the end of the noon newscast. It features a Loudon Wainwright III song over shots of a long-gone-and-much-lamented New York City.

The poster, tvnewsman, has tons of this stuff. I understand he now owns the master tapes of the guy I got most of my own commercial collection from. That officially makes tvnewsman the person I most envy in the world.

Happy Mother's Day, mom, and to all you other mothers.

Go Yau Man!

Another Anomalous Anniversary.

On this date in 1974, logger Jack Cochran was working with a crew in Oregon's Hood River National Forest. During his 10 A.M. break, he looked across a clearing and saw "a big hairy thing" standing about 50 yards away. Cochran was an artist specializing in animal studies, so he was able to size it up in the brief moment he saw it--he felt it was six and a half feet tall, with massive shoulders and completely covered in thick black hair. It walked away with athletic grace, disappearing into the trees.

The next day Cochran kept his eyes peeled but saw nothing. Two of his co-workers, however, went onto the woods for shade during their morning break, disturbing an enormous creature of similar description who rose up and strode quickly away. One of the men chased it but never saw it again. The sightings were reported to the Bigfoot Information Center of The Dalles, who investigated and found tracks.

A New York Times writer was quoted as commenting, "Many people have said that hallucinations or hoaxes would be unlikely to yield so tame and dull a story." (Check out other, more exciting Oregon Bigfoot sightings here.)

It seems to me, in this age of cell phone cameras and YouTube, that there should be more of these sightings captured and broadcast, or at least reports of people attempting to photograph strange things and the cameras failing, as electronics seemingly tend to do in such cases (see the writings of John Keel for theories about electromagnetic disturbance associated with various paranormal phenomena). Of course, when you go to YouTube and search for anything like this, even the most interesting footage is trailed by three-hundred comments along the lines of "this loks toatly fake nice monky siut dood roflmfao."

Here's a "Best of Bigfoot" compilation at YouTube. Some cool shots in there, and some nice monkey suits. Dood.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Fifty-Seven Years Ago Today...

...Paul Trent spotted "a strange thing like a very large lid of a dustbin" flying slowly over his farm near McMinnville, Oregon (about thirty-four miles from here). He described the silent saucer as 30 feet in diameter and shining like burnished silver. It stuck around for a few minutes and then went sailing off northwesterly over the skyline without smoke or vapor. He got a few snaps off before it did.

There was no mention of the anniversary in the Oregonian, other than an ad for the annual UFO Festival at McMenamin's Hotel Oregon (which is in McMinnville, natch). The festival's website has an interesting detailed write-up of the 1950 event (link in PDF format).

Of course, this isn't technically an anniversary, considering that all moments in time are occurring simultaneously. So if you happen to be in McMinnville near where the freaky flyer was seen, go outside right now and look up--it's still there!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

I'm Not So Goddamn Hot on Thursdays, Either.

Okay, I'm having a better day today. Thanks for asking.

I don't have a regular Monday to Friday, nine to five-type job, which I guess explains why I have nothing against any particular day, the way others hate Mondays and anticipate Fridays. I think of this because I was watching the Bill Kurtis special about the Virginia Tech killing spree, which dealt quite a bit with past school shootings. At one point, Kurtis refers to this type of crime as a "boys only" trend or something like that. I had heard this a number of times in the reportage of this massacre, and each time thought of Brenda Ann Spencer.

She was the 16-year-old girl who, in January 1979, used her Christmas-present rifle to calmly shoot at an elementary school across the street from her house, wounding eight students and killing the principal and a custodian. As the Zodiac killer once claimed he would someday do, she picked off the kiddies as they came bouncing off the bus. When caught, she said she did it because she didn't like Mondays, though she would later blame her bad day on PCP-laced pot and years of sexual abuse at the hands of her father. Read more about her at her Wikipedia page, which has links to a Snopes page and, of course, the lyrics to the Boomtown Rats hit "I Don't Like Mondays."

Maybe Spencer doesn't get mentioned as a pioneer of this notorious murderer's row because it wasn't her own school she pegged. In any case, it seems like an oversight to me. While I'm at it, here's a link to a site that auctions off killer-related items. I haven't been there, but Nancy Grace was all in a tizzy over it last night. That's reason enough to endorse it.

A Rocky Day.

I ran over a big raccoon on 217 this morning. I went back to make sure it wasn't just laying there suffering, and, nope, I killed it. I've been in a shit mood since.

It was a bloodless death, but its eyes were staring. I traveled past the scene a few hours later and it was gone. So I hope at least a full belly was gotten out of it.

I like to look at Joe Coleman paintings when I'm in a shit mood.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Guess Who This Is and I'll Eat My Shoe.

My profile photo seems to have caused consternation among regular readers. Here it is undoctored. Now can you tell who it is?
Click on the post title to find out, and here to read about the movie the pic is from (though I'm sure the Fishworker has figured it out by now).

Monday, May 07, 2007

Super Studs of the Seventies.

Can anyone tell me what movie this guy is from?
This is one of the many hair transplant ads found in the 70's Newsday TV Books I collect. Flipping through these books, one would think that Long Island was in the grip of a male pattern baldness epidemic. It's much more likely that thousands of schlubby Island fellas like this one just felt left out of the groovy free-love-n'-mucho-drugs loop, and figured a cheesy "hair system" was their ticket in.

I just can't shake the feeling that I've seen this guy in some low-budget flick of the era, something along the lines of Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things (but not that). And no, I'm not confusing him with Richard S. Castellano.

I wish I could have found the pic of Castellano that was run with his obituary in 1988. It was a close-up of his meaty mug, mouth agape mid-bellow, showcasing the furious gap in his teeth. I swear he was able to flare that gap like others do their nostrils. It almost seemed disrespectful to use the picture alongside his death notice, eliciting involuntary giggles as it did. The shot above, promoting his 1972 series The Super, was taken shortly after he became known through his role as Clemenza in The Godfather. My God, his funnel-shaped pants are a thing to behold--though they barely be holdin' his mighty grotch.

I was astounded to learn that Castellano was about 37 when he filmed that movie, younger than I am now. While it is strange to measure oneself against some guy who died twenty years ago, I must admit that, looking at this picture, I feel somewhat better about myself. And looking back at that first pic, the gruesome bald guy in the appalling shirt, well jeez, I'm Jack Lord compared to him!

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Oh, the Comedy!

The Hindenburg crashed seventy years ago today. Listen to an eyewitness account here, plus that weepy news guy is on there. I would make a joke about him, but I think it's still too soon.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Finger-lickin' Ducky!

I just remembered that today is Cinco de Mayo, whatever that means. (I prefer Miracle Whip anyway.) I also just remembered that I have two leftover Taco Bell soft tacos in the fridge. Fiesta!

Today was the Kentucky Derby. I just read on Google News who won and have already forgotten because I don't care, but I do remember that the winning horse was the first juvenile champ since Spectacular Bid in 1979. (If it relates to the 70's in any way, that I'll remember.) So I looked up the TV Guide from 1979, and it turns out that May 5th also fell on a Saturday then--indeed, that was the day Spectacular Bid won.

Checking out the Guide, I found that if you were a New York City stoner of the era, that night you'd be forced to make the late-night viewing choice between Carrie Fisher hosting SNL (Leia in a bikini, pre-Jedi!) or McCabe and Mrs. Miller on WABC. In other words, I couldn't find anything remotely interesting in that TV Guide, although, at 7:30 pm, I do like the dichotomy of the "Girl Scout Talent Spectacular" on channel 8 against Dance Fever, with the Village People presenting "Hot Cop." And when I say "presenting," I mean in the zoological sense.

I then went to an anagram site and found that "Kentucky Derby" produces any number of uninspiring permutations. Noticing (and mentally punctuating) "Be ducky, Ken--try!" made me think of this Newsday TV Book cover from July 1972:
This cover heralds the premiere of the limited-run summer series "The Ken Berry Wow Show." Although he's duckily dressed, Ken's weary expression doesn't exactly say 'wow' to me--indeed, the anagram could be what the photographer was urging the comedic hoofer, to no avail. Much wowier is an uncredited twenty-one-year-old Cheryl Ladd on the right. Check her out some 33 years later here. Hey, Kunath, is she a GILF or what?

Gilmores Gone.

It's been a week of disturbing news. At least three of the 10 Republican candidates at this Thursday's debate don't believe in evolution. Paris Hilton is going to jail, where she will undoubtedly be passed around like the inflatable sex doll that she is--I bet she'd even fit through the bars for easy cell-to-cell sharing. But worst of all--way, way worst of all--Gilmore Girls is done after seven seasons.

The Reuters article indicates that the show wasn't exactly canceled; it appears the actresses playing the titular girls (haw haw!) didn't accept whatever the network was offering. Well, all I can say to them is I hope you're happy--you made my wife cry! Yes, it's true. Donna had a sobbing fit for about half a minute, until she finally had no choice but to join me in my heartless, unsympathetic laughter.

Of course there is much speculation and boohooing over at the Google GG group, and from what I read in those posts, there is little hope of the last episode on May 15 being a series finale--it wasn't written that way, and it's too late for scenes to be reshot. When the show's creator left last season, she said she knew exactly how she wanted the last four eps to play out. Perhaps we'll never know, unless a TV movie deal pops up. What a gyp!

If you want to check out the show for yourself, it just began again from the beginning on ABC Family. The pilot was on today at its regular time of 5 pm, but they rerun episodes the following day at 11 am, meaning it will be on Monday at that time. Tape or TiVo it and then continue from there. I suppose the final season playing out now will be added to this syndication cycle.

It was a good run for a swell show. I'm gonna miss it. Sniff.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Requiescat En Pace, Gerbillus.

Today (or, fair enough, tomorrow) would be a good day to remember all your past pets, wouldn’t it? Don’t they deserve a little fond reminiscing, especially if it’s been years or even decades since you last thought of them?

I’ve mentioned Brandy and Sloopy, the family beagles, elsewhere in my writings, so a quick here’s-to-ya for them. But I also had a succession of rodents as a boy, the first being a pair of gerbils I had in the first grade whom I named Felix and Oscar.

I can’t say I recall them that fondly, like “Oh, that Felix, he sure did hog the water bottle after a long workout on the wheel!” Mostly I remember the fuzzy little fuckers noisily clamoring to get out of their cage, which they often did no matter how many clips I secured their wire lid with. I even resorted to stacking school books on top of the cage, but still they found a way to squeeze their chubby asses up and out, invariably making their way into the closet.

I do remember well the many nights spent pulling toy after toy from that closet and at last scooping up the biting bastards. Then, at some point much later, my brothers and I would get a yen for a monotonous round of Monopoly or Payday, and I’d retrieve the game to find half the money chewed to shreds and a hundred tiny turds stuck to the board.

Yeh, I remember those gerbils well. Little fuckers.

No gerbils of your own to mourn? Go here and pay your rodentia respects.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Turkey in May!

That's an idea of mine for the Turkey Association of America (if there is one). It's been months since the holiday season, which is certainly the big time of year for feasting on gobblers. So what the TAA should do, I surmise, is push those big birds at the mid-point of the off-season. Hence, "Turkey in May!"

Okay, there's gotta be a better name for it, but you get the idea, and so will everyone else. "Man, it's been months since we had a big ass turkey for dinner," jes-plain-folks'll say.
"Remember how good that was, last Christmas, remember that, Paw-Paw?"
"Yeah, I remember. Huh, turkey, that sounds good... Goddamn, we gotta get ourselves some fuckin' Turkey in May!"

For Mother's Day (13th), Armed Forces Day (19th), Memorial Day (28th), hell, it's even "Better Hearing and Speech" month--Turkey! And Cinco de Mayo--Turkey tacos!

The seventh would have been Darrin McGavin's 85th birthday. He's filmdom's most famous turkey lover! Plus, it's also Robert Browning's birthday--what smells better browning than Turkey? Other celeb b-days worth turkeying are Trent Reznor's on the 17th ("I want to stuff you like an animal!") and you can gobble a gobbler for Gobel--George, that is, on the 20th! This very day is the natal anniversary of Theodore Bikel and Baron von Richthofen! What the hell, eat some Turkey--had me mine last night!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

I Think I Got Something to Say to You...

...or not, but anyway that's my way of telling you it's Bloggie May! That's what I'm calling my experiment this month--to post something every single day for all thirty-one days of May. I'm not saying it will be expansive. I promise nothing more than maybe just a link or a random thought most days, but we shall see. I will also try to actually post each day, not just save up a bunch of drafts and unleash them at the appropriate time, which, naturally, I considered.

I've always wondered how there are people out there who can do this sort of thing, even posting multiple times in one day. I suppose A) these people "work" at their computers, and B) they don't have dial-up, which I do. (I'm not saying my connection speed is glacial, but keep in mind that I purchased this computer a long time ago by walking to a Best Buy located just across the Bering Sea.) Anyway, now I'll find out how they do it for myself.

So, announcing this fool's venture counts as my first post--let Bloggie May commence! And let me stupidly proclaim in advance: Mission accomplished!