Friday, November 30, 2007


Thursday, November 29, 2007


Here are 23 fun quotes from the infamous writer and junkie, William S. Burroughs. Enjoy!

Sometimes paranoia's just having all the facts.

A paranoid is someone who knows a little of what's going on.

A functioning police state needs no police.

They tend to be suspicious, bristly, paranoid-type people with huge egos they push around like some elephantiasis victim with his distended testicles in a wheelbarrow terrified no doubt that some skulking ingrate of a clone student will sneak into his very brain and steal his genius work.

After one look at this planet any visitor from outer space would say 'I want to see the manager.'

America is not a young land: it is old and dirty and evil before the settlers, before the Indians. The evil is there waiting.

Most of the trouble in this world has been caused by folks who can't mind their own business, because they have no business of their own to mind, any more than a smallpox virus has.

Which came first, the intestine or the tapeworm?

Artists to my mind are the real architects of change, and not the political legislators who implement change after the fact.

Your mind will answer most questions if you learn to relax and wait for the answer.

I don’t care if people hate my guts; I assume most of them do. The important question is whether they are in a position to do anything about it.

Admittedly, a homosexual can be conditioned to react sexually to a woman, or to an old boot for that matter. In fact, both homo - and heterosexual experimental subjects have been conditioned to react sexually to an old boot, and you can save a lot of money that way.

No one owns life, but anyone who can pick up a frying pan owns death.

There couldn't be a society of people who didn't dream. They'd be dead in two weeks.

Black magic operates most effectively in preconscious, marginal areas. Casual curses are the most effective.

Nothing exists until or unless it is observed. An artist is making something exist by observing it. And his hope for other people is that they will also make it exist by observing it. I call it "creative observation." Creative viewing.

Be just and if you can't be just, be arbitrary.

America is not so much a nightmare as a non-dream. The American non-dream is precisely a move to wipe the dream out of existence. The dream is a spontaneous happening and therefore dangerous to a control system set up by the non-dreamers.

The way to kill a man or a nation is to cut off his dreams, the way the whites are taking care of the Indians: killing their dreams, their magic, their familiar spirits.

There is the pleasurable orgasm, like a rising sales graph, and there is the unpleasurable orgasm, slumping ominously like the Dow Jones in 1929.

To his secretary after a visit from Kurt Cobain: "There's something wrong with that boy. He frowns for no reason."

The dogma of science is that the will cannot possibly affect external forces, and I think that's just ridiculous. It's as bad as the church. My viewpoint is the exact contrary of the scientific viewpoint. I believe that if you run into somebody in the street it's for a reason. Among primitive people they say if someone was bitten by a snake he was murdered. I believe that.

Son, never listen to a priest or a policeman...the only thing they have is the key to the shithouse.

Monday, November 26, 2007



Night At The Museum - 1.5 out of 4 stars - starring Ben Stiller, among others. This pathetically formulaic "family entertainment" film was rolling along at about a 2.5 until Owen Wilson made his appearance as a cowboy using late 20th and early 21st century lingo. Wait a minute, now... wasn't this already done twice, in "Shanghai Noon" and "Shanghai Knights"? It was at this point that the movie slipped down into a large, wide, gaping comfort zone of non-thinking and went downhill from there. Lots and lots of cutish pablum to be feasted upon here. It gets more than a flat-out 1-star rating because of the scene where the monkey urinates on Stiller, but hey, if it takes urine to give a film even a partial redemption, that just about says it all, eh. Special effects are mildly amusing. Dick Van Dyke and Mickey Rooney are wasted in their roles through their being saddled with abysmal dialog.

1408 - 2.5 out of 4 stars - starring John Cusack. If you don't mind films that can't decide if they're horror films or mindbenders, or films that are maybe a bit of both, you may find some good things in this one despite some very maudlin moments. Cusack plays an arrogant author and "ghost hunter" who finds himself stuck in a room from which there is no escape. The predicted special effects are all here. Just when I was thinking this was an abysmal movie, it sucked me in. It is a nice movie to look at, despite flaws in plot logic and a formula that seems a bit on the stale side. Interesting twists in this film aren't large, but seem to have more to do with details. There is disturbing imagery galore, not the kind of stuff for kids or for those prone to nightmares. Heh heh heh!

The Number 23 - 3.5 out of 4 stars, starring Jim Carrey and Virginia Madsen. If you like "Fight Club" and "Memento" and consider them 4-star movies, as I do, you may find this movie to be of that same general type, although possibly not quite as well-executed as the others. While I find the first two mesmerizing, I find "The Number 23" merely captivating for the most part. Still, Jim Carrey showcases his "serious" talents as a likeable but slightly unstable character who becomes increasing self-aware as his obsession with the number 23 increases. Things fall apart, inexplicable synchronicities occur, and Carrey's character seems out of control until things are explained. Madsen is good as an understanding wife who doesn't want to lose her husband. Nice cinematography, some disturbing visuals. This one may cause you to think, and hopefully it won't cause you to become obsessed with numbers.


Magic by Bruce Springsteen - 4 out of 4 stars. This is a CD I was desperate to like after not having found much stimulating material in The Boss' catalog since 1987's "Tunnel of Love". I like it, and then some. The insanely-talented Springsteen took a bit of a side trip into dusty folkdom for a while and puttered around with his music. Twenty years after "Tunnel of Love" comes "Magic", and within it there is definitely wisdom and magic afoot. Springsteen isn't singing so much now about racing in the street, meetings across the river, or glory days as much as he sings about how he has matured as a human being. He's 58 now, and years have gone by to the tune of much exploration in many areas. The track "Girls In Their Summer Clothes" may best sum up where Bruce is today; there is plenty left about which to be optimistic, but younger days are old days now. The leadoff track, "Radio Nowhere" is like many songs from "Magic" in that it can be taken on multiple levels. In an example of tour de force songwriting, what at first seems to be Springsteen's scathing criticism about our nation's radio wasteland becomes a song about searching for something with which he can identify. Kick back with this one, rock out to some great music, and just say to yourself "Wow, this is real deal. This is what it's all about."

Long Road Out of Eden by The Eagles - 3 out of 4 stars. Why did it take the Eagles so many years to put out an album of new studio material? Glenn Frey said the band never broke up, it just took a 14-year vacation from 1980 to 1994, but even then with "Hell Freezes Over" there were only a couple of new songs. Since it took them that long to put out new material, do they sound all that much different than in the old days? To my ears, they sound reassuringly like they used to. For the most part, that is a good thing. Songs like "How Long" echo the days of "Lyin' Eyes", and "Busy Being Fabulous" sounds like some of Frey's or Don Henley's best solo material. My only real complaints about this new Eagles effort are that, in the words of J. Marquis, Timothy B. Schmidt seems like he is still trying to find other ways to sing "I Can't Tell You Why". I wish Joe Walsh did more singing, because I love his whiny, nasal voice; but his guitarwork shines like it always does. If you liked the Eagles way back when, you will probably like them now. They play some funk, they play some soulful tunes, they play some straight-ahead rock and roll. Oh, and one other major complaint I have about "Long Road Out of Eden": Discerning shoppers, consider yourselves warned: I had to enter our local Wal-Mart store in order to buy it because it is only sold through Wal-Mart, at least for now.

Friday, November 23, 2007


I have been tagged by Tattooed Atheist, who has an excellent blog called "Aye" (see links). Here is what I am required to do:

Post my earliest memory that is:
#1 Clear enough to include three details.
#2 Give my age.
#3 Pass it along to some other folks.

Well, first of all I'm 50 years old. One of my earliest memories is from when I was about three years old. My parents were still in bed, and I was up puttering around the house. I remember knowing I needed to be quiet so I wouldn't wake them. They used to give me Black Jack chewing gum when I was a little guy. I was in the bathroom, standing on the toilet, looking around in the medicine cabinet and found some things that looked like sticks of chewing gum, but they weren't the right size. They were wrapped in paper, but were firmer and smaller than sticks of gum. Turns out later when I asked my mom about them, she told me they were razor blades! Fun, fun, fun. The ones in the picture above are much older than the ones Dad had in the medicine cabinet, but you get the idea... small, colorful packages full of deadly, sharp little goodies.

I am going to pass this along to J.Marquis of "Major Conflict"! Hehehe

Friday, November 16, 2007


Thursday, November 15, 2007


Here is a picture of Zeke taken a few weeks ago. I still haven't fixed the date on my camera, so this was actually taken about two or three days after we found him. The vet said he was six or seven weeks old then, so we figure he is about ten weeks old now.

Bonnie has been very tolerant of Zeke, as you can see from the couch shot above, also taken a few weeks ago. He wants to play a LOT, and he had been tending to attack Bonnie, Abby and Mackie. Our three older kitties have been saints, in that they aren't beating up on him constantly. They will let him grab on to them, kick them, bite them, etc. until they have had enough... usually within 30 seconds they are cuffing him or pushing him away. Anyway, he was pestering them enough that we thought he needed a playmate:
This is Ziva. I took this picture of her last night. She is about 4-6 weeks older than Zeke, and is about a pound heavier. We adopted her from an animal shelter in Emmett, Idaho where my sister-in-law volunteers, and brought her home with us on Monday. For the first couple of days she was very nervous. She growled and hissed at all the other cats... but within two days, she and Zeke have hit it off well. They have been chasing each other all over the house, knocking over plants, breaking things, etc. It is not uncommon to see them sprinting throughout the house, or frantically wrestling with each other. Ziva doesn't bother the three older cats at all, and Zeke bothers them far less than he had been doing because he knows Ziva will play with him.
What a sweetie!

Baby Mackie doesn't mind Ziva at all. He is being very patient with the kittens, although in the above shot he does look a bit pissed off. It is probably because he wants to finish either Zeke or Ziva's food. That's good restraint you are practicing there, Mackie Boy! But...

...just like any of us who should be dieting, temptation often wins out! If you compare this picture of Mackie and Zeekie to one from a few weeks back, you might notice how much Zeke has grown... but Mackie still outweighs him by about 15 pounds; Mac weighs 17-18 pounds to 3 lbs. 3 oz. for Zeekie.

We thought it would be better to introduce a friend for Zeke now, instead of after Mac, Abby and Bonnie are gone. I'm guessing that the older three cats, ages 15, 14 and 13, will be around for a few more years in some combination. It is easier to introduce cats to each other when they are small, and Zeke would probably be 4 or 5 years old when the others have departed, making the introduction of a kitten then less likely to result in friendship... so... we are cat collectors. The number will eventually dwindle to two, but for now we have FIVE of them!

Time to go put away breakable items and "toddler-proof" the house... which we should have done BEFORE we brought Ziva home!!!

Thursday, November 08, 2007


Time once again to sing along! This one is to the tune of Sheb Woolley's "Purple People Eater". Enjoy!!

Well I was tryin’ to find a station I could hear for a while
When I heard his voice comin’ off the radio dial
I commenced to listen and I said ‘hooeee”
Sounds like a rightwing commentator to me

It was a jack-boot brown-shirt rightwing commentator
A big-assed bubbleheaded rightwing commentator
A puritanic super-manic rightwing commentator
Sure sounded good to me
Well I was drinking up the stuff from his Kool-Aid glass
And I started sayin’ what he said, it happened real fast
He started sayin’ Democrats are just a bunch of bums
And when he started into bashin’ Clinton I began to come!

It was a god-damned god-fearing rightwing commentator
A persecuted prostituted rightwing commentator
A really vile full-of-bile rightwing commentator
Sure sounded good to me
I said “Mr. Rightwing Commentator, what’s your lie?”
He said “Any lie that I can tell, ya know I’m gonna try,
But that isn’t really why I’m here, I’m here to wag the dog,
And I am here to tell you that the president is GOD!”

It was a well-loathed Karl Rove rightwing commentator
A David Duke make-ya-puke rightwing commentator
A bash-their-head-in Armageddon rightwing commentator
Sure sounded swell to me
And he blabbered on forever now, and this is what he said:
“If you don’t support the war then we will all be dead
Or excommunicated to a prison cold and damp
Or be arrested and incarcerated in a camp!”

It was a screw-the-poor money-whore rightwing commentator
A lib’rul-hatin’ masturbatin’ rightwing commentator
A bible-thumpin’ money-grubbin’ rightwing commentator
Sure sounds right to me

It was a tiny-donged war-mongerin’ rightwing commentator
A ravin’ rantin’ propagandin’ rightwing commentator
A hard-attackin’ Court-packin’ rightwing commentator
Sure sounds great to me
It was a story-fakin’ law-breakin’ rightwing commentator
A left-accusin’ drug-abusin’ rightwing commentator
A free junket butt-trumpet rightwing commentator
Sure sounds great to me
Yeah she sure sounds great to me
Yeah he sure sounds great to me
Yeah, it sure sounds great to me!!!

Saturday, November 03, 2007


I had been eagerly anticipating the release of the always enigmatic Neil Young's newest CD "Chrome Dreams II" for quite some time, in part because it contains several songs I have heard on bootlegged recordings for the last 10 to 15 years. After a few listens to his new album, I find myself perplexed. I find it to be a comfortable and reassuring listen, but I don't find it particularly exciting either.

It seems that life-changing experiences can mellow people out sometimes, as they often appear to gain a greater perspective in regard to humanity and to their own place within the world. I think Neil Young has found some great inner peace, but I think the music has lost some of its fire in the past ten years or so, most notably so since he had the surgery for his aneurysm. Thus, I'm not surprised that the music itself seems to lack some of the fire we used to hear in Young's work. I think it's cool that Neil has become a kind of spiritual guy and all (check out song titles like "Spirit Road", "The Believer", "No Hidden Path", "The Way", "Ever After" and "Shining Light"), but there doesn't seem to be a whole lot on "Chrome Dreams II" that smolders the way things used to with Young and his band Crazy Horse. I like his stuff more when he's smoldering. If I want to see and hear Neil in his present frame of mind circa 2006, I'll get out my copy of his film "Heart of Gold", as it is a wonderful testament to peace, humanity and friendship through music.

By all indications, Neil Young is in a comfort zone musically and life-wise. Even if I think such a comfort zone produces music that is in some ways less vital to me as a listener, I have to hand it to Neil. How many of us can get to the highly positive point in life where he seems to be now?

Of the songs Young gives us on "Chrome Dreams II" my favorite track is "The Way", the last one on the CD. It is a very atmospheric song, with lyrics suggesting that things are right there in front of us if we only look... we don't have to be lost. Young doesn't seem to be plugging any particular way to be "found", he just tells us we can find a way if we look for it. I also love the overly-long and horn-laden "Ordinary People"; this album's version of the song clocks in at a little over 18 minutes. It's a song I've heard many times on bootleg recordings over the past 10-15 years, and among Young's die-hard fans it has acquired a sort of legendary status. Lyrically it's all over the place and a bit confusing, but it seems to fit together pretty well after a few listens.

"Boxcar" is another tune from years ago that has been bootlegged many, many times. While "Ordinary People" appears to have been recorded by one of Young's "Blue Notes" band line-ups from the time of the "This Note's For You" album, "Boxcar" has been recently redone. I would have rather heard one of the original versions than a re-do, but I still like the tune. Of other songs on the CD, I think "Dirty Old Man" is amusing and fun, but highly out of place on the album in regard to the album's general mood. "No Hidden Path" is kind of a cool, long Neil jam tune and "Spirit Road" is electric enough... although I don't think either of those two tracks come very close to anything as intensely powerful as "Love and Only Love" or "Love to Burn" from the 1990 "Ragged Glory" album, for example.

I don't think "Chrome Dreams II" is going to find its way into bargain bins like other Young outings such as "Landing On Water", "Are You Passionate?", "Broken Arrow" or "Sleeps With Angels". I happen to think the latter two of those four albums are well above clearance-rack status, but (and no offense intended to hardcore Neil Young fans) I also believe there are some of his more recent releases which deserve to be $3.99 specials, i.e. the "Greendale" material in particular. I wouldn't rank "Chrome Dreams II" as highly as such "recent" Young classics as 1992's "Harvest Moon" or 1989's "Freedom" and the relatively-unknown but amazingly good "Eldorado" EP CD from about that same time (released only in Japan and Germany), but I definitely like "Chrome Dreams II" better than the seemingly desultory "Greendale" material, the blandly pleasant "Prairie Wind" and "Silver and Gold", the lyrically relevant but musically cobbled-together "Living With War", the warmed-over cold leftover live collection "Road Rock Vol. 1" (again, no offense intended toward hardcore fans) and the mostly unenjoyable (by my standards) "Are You Passionate". In other words, I will say I think "Chrome Dreams II" IS Neil Young's best release of the past ten years, but calling it that isn't really too much of a stretch for me considering that I find his recent output spotty at best. When it comes to Young's music, I suppose you could say I'm mired in the Neil Young period from Buffalo Springfield through 1996 when Young and Crazy Horse released his last one I got extremely enthused about, "Broken Arrow".

Neil Young is now releasing some older "live" recordings at long last, including a couple from Massey Hall and the Fillmore that are very, very good. I lurk on a wonderful internet discussion group called the Rust List, and in the mid-late 90's a number of "Rusties" who were impatient for the"archives" decided to collect their bootlegs of unreleased Neil Young songs into one collection that took up 3-4 full CDs, referring to it as "Archives Be Damned"! It is an amazing collection, and I still like to get it out and listen once in a while just to remind myself that if Neil Young wanted to he could release at least five or six hours of very good songs, mostly ones unheard by just about all of us.

I keep hoping his "archives" series will give us more than just live material, and that some of what we hear will not be older songs redone, as "Boxcar" has been on "Chrome Dreams II" and as I believe "Razor Love" was done on "Silver and Gold". I rather hope that we will get to hear his unreleased songs in their original forms, as in the recordings from 20-40 years ago. There is a lot of that music in his vaults. If he decides to get it out and share it, it will be cause for great joy for millions of his fans. He probably has enough "new" old material people have never heard, both live and studio, that he could release a couple of CDs a year for the next decade. Here's hoping he will do it. Of course it's up to Neil Young to do this, and for those of us who have been following him throughout his career, we know how unpredictable he can be... sometimes delightfully, but sometimes frustratingly so.

With all of that said, I see "Chrome Dreams II" as a kind of stopgap album. Neil Young loves playing relaxing music with his friends, which is what he is doing more of here, and that's fine. That's what playing music should be all about, really. But for me, "Chrome Dreams II" is more of a musical teaser than anything: will we get to hear the original "lost" "Chrome Dreams" album someday? That "lost" album is a subject for another time... and maybe Neil Young named his new album "Chrome Dreams II" as a statement of sorts, that the days of the original "Chrome Dreams" are now just the days that used to be. Who knows?

I also see this new CD as a musical snapshot of where Neil seems to be at his current station in life, a place in which he realizes, with thanks to whatever spirit he knows or seeks, that friends and the love of friends may be our most important earthly treasures. Then again, in some ways "Chrome Dreams II" almost has a feel of Young killing time and having fun while he readies more stuff for release from his vaults. Either way, it's all o.k. with me.

I find very little that is musically or lyrically immediate or profound about "Chrome Dreams II", but it is a very pleasant CD to hear. I certainly have to give it my Neil Young fan Seal of Approval. The most important thing to me, more important than whether or not Young still has a musical fire in his belly or whether he plans to release any of his unreleased songs, is knowing that he is alive, he is well, and he is still writing, playing and singing. Whatever Neil Young does, I will always be a fan and I will always listen. And if you listen to "Chrome Dreams II" too, I think you will probably find things worth hearing.

Friday, November 02, 2007


Check out the following link to see what is going on about 20 minutes from La Grande. Very cool stuff!

The anticipated online date for this project is during the next couple of months. There will be a total of 61 generators in all.


Every Friday is "POETS Day". What does this mean? It is an acronym:


Have a great weekend, all!