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Wednesday, December 1, 2004
(10:03 am)

The wind here this morning was fierce. It woke me up about four o'clock. It sounded like a large truck or a train. There were reports of 52 MPH winds in Parkersburg. I wonder how high they were here, 40 MPH that I know of.

Quote of the Day: "My mind is going. I can feel it." -- HAL 9000 (in 2001, A Space Odessey)

I know how you feel, HAL. . .

Here's another of the (mostly) ink pieces I've been doing lately. I started this series of work at least three, if not five years ago. There are probably close to a hundred of them now, the largest one being eight inches tall by 50 feet long. I'd love to do a show of these somewhere. I really think they'd go over well, but there's the expense of matting, framing, and otherwise mounting a large collection, which, at the present time, I can't afford. Hell, I can't afford lunch at this point.

Waveform series -- pen & ink on acid-free, coated stock
"Out of Time"

Thursday, December 2, 2004
(2:39 pm)

I pretty much live in tee-shirts and chinos or sweatpants. For the longest time I got Marlboro tee-shirts in exchange for the damage to my lungs. I also got a nice suede jacket and some other nifty prizes. After I quit smoking (seven years, 8 months, and 20 days ago) I started wearing Russell Athletic pocket-tees. I'd been in the habit of wearing shirts with pocket in which to keep my Marlboros, so I continued in that vein. It is handy to have a shirt pocket, but since I don't have the habit anymore, I can live without that extra pocket (except when I wear pocketless sweats, but that's another story). I've worn Russell Athletic shirts because they're heavier and softer than almost any of the others. But, they ain't cheap. I started looking for alternatives. Hanes, with their new no-tag tags are pretty cool, but they're not as heavy or soft as the Russell's. Fruit of the Loom tees -- you can spill a milkshake down the front and it'll roll right off, but they're a little on the scratchy side. Faded Glory! Now, that's a tee-shirt! Softer than any, heavy fabric, and they fit better than any I've tried. It's the little things that matter in life, and a good tee-shirt is one of those little things.

Quote of the Day: "Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself and know that everything in this life has a purpose. There are no mistakes, no coincidences, all events are blessings given to us to learn from. " -- Dr. Elizabeth Kebler-Ross (1926-) US writer, founder of the hospice care movement

As I was driving Ann to work this morning along Kanawha Boulevard, there was a fairyland scene of ice and fog on the river, the sun burning through the ice fog reflecting on the water, wisps of mist rising from the river. It was a nearly monochromatic scene, worthy of film or memory stick space. I had none of my cameras with me. Just as well, though; I'd have had to have dropped Ann off, driven back to the vantage point and parked, then crossed four lanes of traffic to take the shot. The atmospheric conditions around dawn and sunset change rapidly. The few minutes it would have taken were probably enough for conditions to have altered to the point where the beauty of it all would have been seriously diminished. Life's like that sometimes: it changes before you have a chance to react to it. Other times, it plods along at the pace of an old workhorse, snorting steam in the cold air. Mostly we have to accept more that we affect.

Digital Camera Image (cropped) [2004_1117Image0004]
"My old easel with David Lee painting in background"

Cooking has always been something I really enjoy doing. Since I hurt my leg, it's something I've done less and less. Since we moved to this house, my adventures in the kitchen have been, more often than not, merely heating something or making a meal out of a box and cans. I hate to even wash the dishes. The sinks in this house were installed with someone four-feet six-inches tall in mind from the look of it, and I'm 14 inches taller than that. I have trouble standing, moving around in a graceful manner, and getting down to get things from the bottom cabinets. I hate it. I used to really love to cook. I still do when Sean's here to help me, but rarely do I cook much of anything when it's just me and Ann or I'm alone. The other day, Sean and I created a nice meal of a ham steak that my son-in-law gave me on Thanksgiving, some garlic mashed red potatoes, Stovetop stuffing for pork and French cut green beans. There's scant counter space to use either the food processor or the blender or I might have attempted something more spirited. This morning I made creamed, chipped beef on toast (a/k/a Shit on a Shingle) for me and Sean. Mine's better made fresh than any out of a can or pouch. For dinner, since I'm by myself, I'll probably have soup.


Friday, December 3, 2004
(9:52 am)

Happy Birthday, Ann!

Everybody click the comment button and wish Ann a happy birthday. I'm sure her most-wished-for present would have been to have stayed in bed until about now.

Quote of the Day: "Creativity is essentially a lonely art. An even lonelier struggle. To some a blessing. To others a curse. It is in reality the ability to reach inside yourself and drag forth from your very soul an idea." -- Lou Dorfsman
(Lou Dorfsman worked at CBS for 30 years, first as art director for the CBS radio network and later as creative director for the entire company.)

I've been trying to work on some collàges. It's difficult. I'm used to having a work table situated next to a table where I can spread out the materials I want to choose from to make the collage. Now, with the missing table, I have to keep the materials in boxes and on shelves, etc. and can't scan the components to ascertain what I want for what element in the collage. I'll eventually figure out how to manage the materials in such a way that I can come close to duplicating the conditions that inspire me to collàge properly (according to my vision, that is). In the meantime, I'll struggle, fumble, and fall more often than not.

I was not made for a world where everything comes down to business and money. I am not comfortable in a world that is quantified to the last atom, as this one is becoming. I am not happy on a planet where passion is the subject of books and films, but if you exhibit any in "real life," they try to shout you down or shut you out. Don't rock the boat. Get with the program. Chill! Which brings me to my latest idea for a tee-shirt slogan:

Just say no to seratonin uptake inhibitors

Sunday, December 5, 2004
(3:04 am)

Yes, it's early in the morning. I just got back from driving a pick-up truck to Columbus about an hour ago. Now I'm unwinding.

Quote of the Day: "Do not brood over your past mistakes and failures as this will only fill your mind with grief, regret and depression. Do not repeat them in the future. " -- Swami Sivananda (Yoga master -- 1887-1963)

I took my camera with me, but since it was after dark by the time we finally got under way, I didn't take a single shot. Bummer! I bought a bottle of Aquafina water on the way back. It cost me $1.17 plus whatever Ohio extracts in the form of sales tax. That's a 20 ounce bottle. At that rate, it costs nearly six cents an ounce. A gallon would cost $7.40 cents a gallon. And we get incensed at the price of gasoline? Why does bottled water cost so much? There's no real reason except that the companies bottling it see us as suckers,and we oblige them. We need to start a campaign to get the cost of bottled water down to within reason.

Graphos pen & India Ink on coated acid-free stock ( 8 X 11 )
"Another in the series of waveform drawings"

I know I promised an explanation of these ink and pencil drawings, but now is not the time. I'm going to bed.


Monday, December 6, 2004
(4:00 pm)

Did you know that the average family premium (not counting co-pays and deductibles) for a preferred provider health plan is now more than $10,000 a year? That's in excess of what someone making minimum wage takes home in a year's time. Workers' wages have not increased in recent years, but CEO's compensation certainly has. Corporate profits have increased over 40% in the same span. Oh, yes, and then there's GeeWhiz's tax cuts, putting even more money into the hand of the well-off. Bushwhacker and God's Own Party had better watch their step. We verged on revolution until FDR put some controls over the massively upward distribution of wealth and steered the country back from the brink. Even the fabulously wealthy backed his efforts. We came out of it, albeit with the wartime economy precipitated by WWII. Now we have a president who cares nothing for and understands little of the ordinary lives most people lead, waging an unjust war while cutting taxes, piling up massive debt (owed primarily to foreigners), and 'dissing' our long-time allies and friends. You value-based simpletons fell for the cynical 'message' of the NeoCon chickenhawks and put the Moron in Chief back in the White House. It galls me that it was so easy, and that Kerry gave up without a fight. Well, we know who to take to the prom next time, huh? That is, if he's finished pulling up his knickers from this 'date' by then. We know he's easy. Can anyone say Skull & Bones?

Canada and other countries once enthusiastic to receive American emmigres are now restricting immigration from our lovely country. America! Love it or, well, just try to leave it.

Quote of the Day: "Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too. " -- Voltaire (François-Marie Arouet) French writer and philosopher, 1694-1778

The days this week that the temperature will be 60 and above will all be rainy. The day (Wednesday) that there will be no rain will also be the coldest day of the week. My leg hurts. I don't like this kind of weather much, cool and damp. Oh well, beggars can't winter in Palm Springs.


Tuesday, December 7, 2004
(1:14 pm)

I thought I'd throw in a different background from now until Christmas. I stole this background from Liberty's site. Her use of it is a little less "over the top" than is mine, but hey, it takes all flavors to make a Baskin-Robbins.

Quote of the Day: "God gave men both a penis and a brain but unfortunately not enough blood supply to run both at the same time." -- Robin Williams

It's 72 degrees here today. Heat Index is 77. I should get a quick shower and go roam about with my camera.

(7:36 pm)

Okay, I decided to have mercy and changed the background so you don't go blind trying to read the page.


Wednesday, December 8, 2004
(11:37 pm)

Digital Camera Image (cropped)  [2004_1207Image0005]
"You'll have to talk to my partner. . ."

Thursday, December 9, 2004
(9:05 am)

Dimebag Darrell is dead, shot multiple times on the stage of a nightclub in Columbus, Ohio, no doubt by a disgruntled fan out for vengance over the breakup of Pantera. It goes to show that none of us is safe anywhere at any time. Chaos is lurking just beyond our peripheral vision, waiting for its opportunity. And it's patient, pathologically so. The chaos was held at bay when I was growing up, but it's spread and intensified since I attained my majority. The United States is become its own past -- the Wild West. It started in the sixties, not with the revolutionaries and people clammoring for change, but with the damaged goods returning to "the real world" from the war in Viet Nam. It started with the proliferation of "security guards" and the paranoia of the monied class, fearful that some form of socialism might take hold in this country. More's the pity it didn't. It all started with the Tylenol® murders, with the pricking of the film that held chaos in containment during my childhood, that of civility and concern for others. We've devolved into a narcissistic state, caring only about own own interests. Who is responsible for all this? I see several culprits: television (and other ubiquitous) advertising, Conservatives, creation of the MBA degree, and world trade without world standards of living.

Quote of the Day: "To be great is to be misunderstood. " -- Ralph Waldo Emerson (American lecturer, poet, and essayist, 1803-1882)

Emerson has long been one of my favorite American writers. He was both a poet and an essayist. His essay, "Self Reliance" is the essay that got me interested in that literary form. I first read it in High School, and I've read it several times since. It never fails to inspire and calm my blood. We have gone so far away from Emerson's standard in modern times. I think everyone should read his essay and consider the lessons contained therein. It would behoove us more to be more self-reliant than it would to totally embrace the modern paradigm and continue to try to earn enough money to support such a lifestyle. In doing so we only enslave and enthrall ourselves to a master who cares little if anything for us beyond our ability to increase his wealth. Rely on youself and you can accept less from the Capitalist machine.

Digital Camera Image [2004_1206Image0004]

The picture above documents my inability to take a simple straight-forward documentary photograph of something. The West Virginia State Capitol is having the gold leaf on the dome refurbished. They've erected a shield against the weather so the workers can proceed with the delicate operation unimpeded. Most everyone has commented on how much the covering over the scaffolds looks like a condom. It's an instance of life imitating art: in the Empty Glass, there is an altered photograph of the capitol dome with a condom on the spire. Life has done it one better and covered the entire dome. I call the covering "the condome." (I'll wait for the booing to stop before I continue. . .)

Anyway, two more things about this project. One, see, the scaffolding on the outside of the protective sheath? It's become known as ribbed for her pleasure. (once again waiting for the booing to cease. . .) Back to my original premise that I am incapable of taking a straight-forward documentary photo. Notice how I artistically angled the camera to make the capitol tilt, and took the shot when there was a heavy mist? I also went around to the side where the bare trees would make a dramatic foreground to the shot. I wish I had more energy and impetus to go out and look for more shots like this, but I don't. I hardly remember to bring my camera along when I'm out and about.

I've recommended the Fujifilm FinePix S3100 camera to several people since I bought mine. Two of my online friends have subsequently purchased them. Pat (long-time online pal) is going nutso with hers. She's taking some nice shots. My friend in Pennsylvania, Bernadette, got hers first, and I haven't seen her since before Thanksgiving. I assume she's inspired and shooting everything in sight; that and holiday obligations keeping her from being around online much. If you're looking for an affordable digital camera, you really can't go wrong with the Fujifilm FinePix S3100 or S5100. I'm drooling over the S3 Pro myself. I haven't had the guts to look at the price on that baby.

Oh, I made some of my bean soup yesterday. About two gallons to be precise. I used a pound of ham, four pounds of beans, two medium yellow onions, carrots, celery, and the usual seasonings. I used two pounds of navy beans and two pounds of great northern just to get a little different taste. For the approximate recipe, see my entry for April 24,2000. The only real differences between that recipe and what I made yesterday is the inclusion of a different bean, and the addition of about a half-teaspoon of hand-rubbed sage leaves. If you try the recipe, you might want to increase the salt a little.

(12:36 pm)

More changes to the web site. I've reduced the font size one point. I think it looks better this way. The other pages since I started using style sheets will reflect this change as well. I also changed the font weight starting with this month. The previous months will stay at "normal" font weight, and therefore will look a little thinner than this and subsequent pages.


Friday, December 10, 2004
(9:10 am)

Idiots! Idiots! Idiots! People out driving at first light in moderately heavy fog with their lights off. What the hell are they thinking? Do you suppose they think they're saving on their electric bill? Idiots! Turn your damn lights on! And while you're at it, use your turn signals! Idiots!

In the battle between good and evil, evil always wins because evil is willing to do whatever it takes to win, not merely what it takes to win within the parameters of fairness and decency. We're being overrun by barbarians, those who drive in the fog without lights and those who assail us with unsolicited e-mails of a chopped, formed meat in a can nature. We're being attacked by corporate criminals, political opportunists, Islamic lunatics, fundamentalists of every stripe. There is nothing to make us suppose that reasonable people will ever prevail. Lest you think that you might be one of the reasonable people, look at what you believe. If you don't see vulnerabilities in it, or if you flatly refuse to examine your tenets and/or dogma, then you probably aren't reasonable, merely self-deluding. Socrates said, "The unexamined life is not worth living." He meant that we should examine our precepts, our dogma, not just our opinions using the underlying metaphysical assumptions as their basis. We need to periodically, if not continually, challenge our own metaphysical assumtions, those things we hold to be true and self-evident. Unless we can examine the foundation of our being, then the edifice built upon it cannot to be trusted to be sound.

Quote of the Day: "Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened. " -- Dr. Seuss (Theodore Geisel, 1904-1991)

Digital Camera Image [2004_1010Image0039]
"The Underwater World of Jacques Cousteau"
(The lake at Babcock)

I made some adjustments to my bean soup recipe. The original recipe was a bit heavy on the meat component. The version I made this week had a pound of ham and the recipe was twice the size of the one on my April 2000 page. This should be much better. I highly recommend the ham hock in place of the ham cubes if you don't mind the extra fat. If you're seriously watching fat, then you can use a relatively fat free ham (which I do) and if you can stand the flavor without any fat, leave out or decrease the quantity of the butter. Next time I make the soup, I'll try to be precise in my measurements and adjust the recipe again to more closely reflect reality. Usually my recipes are in my head and are just guidelines. When cooking, I rely on my sense of smell and my assessment of how close to "right" it looks. I never taste until I've determined it's done. Only rarely do I have to make any corrrections except for the addition of a little more salt.


Saturday, December 11, 2004
(6:49 pm)

I had a long chat with a local artist friend yesterday at Pro-Art. I should get out more. He walked over to Merrill's with me so I could get a lens cap and leash to go on my digital camera. The lens cap that came with it won't fit over the UV filter I'd put on the camera to protect the lens. Fujifilm included a lens leash with the camera. I wish more people would do it the way they do. The leash is twice the length of the one I got from Sigma. It's also doubled so that it can be looped through the hole on the lens cap for that purpose and on the other end through the slot on the camera where the strap attaches. The way Fujifilm does it makes so much more sense than any other I've seen.

Quote of the Day: "I love you not only for what you are, but for what I am when I am with you. I love you not only for what you have made of yourself, but for what you are making of me. I love you for the part of me that you bring out. " -- Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861)

I've been agonizing over a Christmas card design. I think I finally came up with a couple that I can put on blank cards and sent to my dearest friends. Let me know if you don't get yours.

Digital Camera Image (cropped) [2004_1203Image0006.JPG]
"Collage in Progress"

Now my Photoshop has stopped working. It'll load, but I can't even use the File menu to open a file. It just locks up. Damn! I'll probably try to reinstall the program tomorrow and see if that fixes the problem. I'm getting so tired of things not working, things giving me a hard time. I'm discouraged and weary of it all.


Sunday, December 12, 2004
(6:50 pm)

I'm sick again. I went for nearly five years without a cold or flu and now, this year, I've had two viral infections, one right on the heels of the other. I blame this house, my infirmity, and the general maliciousness of the universe.

Quote of the Day: "Humanity has advanced, when it has advanced, not because it has been sober, responsible, and cautious, but because it has been playful, rebellious, and immature. " -- Tim Robbins (1936 - )

I still haven't attempted to reload Photoshop or repair Windows or whatever it will take to correct some of my problems. It might be some time before you see another optimized graphic here. Corel Photopaint is acting up as well. I can still use it to a limited extent, but Photoshop 7 is just not working at all. I can still use Photoshop 5.0 LE, but it doesn't optimize as well as Version 7. I'll have to check ImageReady and see if I can use that. Somehow, I doubt it.

(8:08 pm)

I uninstalled Photoshop and re-installed it. It still did the same thing. I hit upon a notion -- I removed the graphics tablet and uninstalled the drivers and software for it. Bingo! Photoshop now functions again. Unfortunately, it still locks up when I try to re-install the plug-ins. Damn! Photpaint still hangs up when I try to use the drop down menus in the dialogue boxes. It gets so discouraging.


Monday, December 13, 2004
(8:34 am)


I'm going back to bed.

Quote of the Day: "One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we've been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We're no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It is simply too painful to acknowledge -- even to ourselves -- that we've been so credulous. " -- Carl Sagan

We've been Bushboozled!


Tuesday, December 14, 2004
(8:36 am)

Digital Camera Image (cold) [2004_1213Image0003]

Quote of the Day: "Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some stay for a while and leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never the same. " -- Flavia Weedn, Inspirational author

Still sick -- miserable. Throat, sinuses, nose, chest. Yuck.


Wednesday, December 15, 2004
(8:18 pm)

I spent most of the day in bed. Most of yesterday, too. I've been up since six -- the longest period of being out of bed since Monday. Ann was sick today, too. I think hers is mostly my having kept her up most of last night with my coughing and tossing about.

I hate being sick.

Today's Quote of the Day is taken from the"Opinion" page of the Charleston Gazette: "Doctors are the same as lawyers; the only difference is that lawyers merely rob you, whereas doctors rob you and kill you too." -- Anton Chekov (Russian playwright, 1860-1904)

Time to go watch mindless drivel on television until I get sleepy again. *cough*


Thursday, December 16, 2004
(11:02 am)

I'm feeling some better today. I've been awake and more-or-less up since before eight. I still have a goodly amount of congestion, but the sore throat and coughing spasms have abated somewhat. Still, my brain is mush. I don't understand these people who never get sick, never miss a stroke. Likewise, those who get sick and slog right through it like nothing's out of the ordinary except for the excess mucus and the coughing-sneezing. When I get sick, I get sick! The brain don't work. My coordination (such that it is to begin with) goes to shit. My ability to fend for myself evaporates. Right now, this is a bad thing, as Ann is still in bed, either sick with what I've got or from the effects of a new medication. Either way, I'm just letting her sleep, while I starve to death, naked. . . (just kidding -- I have my clothes on)

Quote of the Day: "Do not get tired of doing what is good. Don't get iscouraged and give up, for we will reap a harvest of blessing at the appropriate time. " -- Galatians 6:9

Here's a neat sight. The tall oak trees along Venable Avenue in Kanawha City look wonderful any time, but with a light dusting of snow, they take on a cathedral-like beauty:

Digital Camera Image [2004_1213Image0008]

The city doesn't have a sponsor for the fireworks on New Year's Eve this year. Kroger, who had sponsored it in years past is pleading poverty. If that's the case, shouldn't Wal-Mart, who Kroger always blames for their decline, foot the bill? No, not Wally-World. They're too strapped from big fireworks displays in Benton, Arkansas -- that and political contributions to conservative candidates.

We are having the annual Art Walk. I didn't notice when, but I did see a Steve Payne photograph that looked remarkably like one I took this fall:

Digital Camera Image [2004_1011Image0007]
"Near the Lake at Babcock"

The only differences in the shots, to me in my impaired state, seem to be his has fewer leaves on the branch and his background is more blurred. Hey, I'd have blurred the background on mine more, too, had it not been my first real outing with my new camera. I hadn't figured it out yet. Now, how can I make money with my photographs like Steve does? [NOTE: I'd have put a link to his shot on the Gazette site for comparison, but there doesn't seem to be a copy of it at the online site.]

(1:38 pm)

Yeah, I really do feel better. Haven't been back to bed all day, and guess what? This year's online Christmas Card is ready.

Merry Christmas

And for those so inclined, if you're used to the so-called "Magic Eye" pictures, you can use the focusing technique for those on this page and the animated background will really recede into the background.


Friday, December 17, 2004
(9:35 am)

Okay, I guess I over-exerted yesterday or something. I feel much worse today. I was up most of the night, coughing, gaging, blowing my nose. At least I got a little reading done. I have the Eckert lozenges with Zinc, Echinacea, and Vitamin C. Vitamin C really hurts my mucous membranes, you know, like, the inside of my mouth, throat, stomach. Those lozenges would be much more to my liking if they didn't have the abscorbic acid in there.

Quote of the Day: "The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them. " -- George Orwell

I need to mail a package for my sister, but I think that may have to wait until later in the day. The way I feel now, I may go back to bed for a while.

Digital Camera Image (cropped) [2004_1213Image0006]
"That's not a house. That's a Villa!"

That house on the hill smells like eight figures to me. Isn't it wonderful to live in a country where such opulence can be attained at the expense of people living in inadequate rental property with heating bills that probably exceed those the people living in this mansion pay?

Gee Whiz gave George Tenent, Tommy Franks, and Paul Bremer the Medal of Freedom, our country's highest civilian honor. If they were decent human beings they'd give them back, saying, "I don't deserve this award. No thanks." But since they aren't decent human beings, all previous living Medal of Freedom recipients should return theirs, along with a note saying that if the medal means no more than that, then they don't want it. This kind of protest will be lost on Beans-for-Brains, but I think it would be a magnificent gesture. If I had a medal of such stature, I'd be packaging it up right now.

(12:56 pm)

I put a link to the Christmas card for this year at the bottom of the page. I also added one to the front page. You might notice a seasonal difference on that page too. Don't worry, it'll revert to normal first of the year.


Saturday, December 18, 2004
(5:40 pm)

I woke up this morning with my eyes crusted shut. It took considerable effort to get them prised apart and functioning at an acceptable level. I decided I'd better head out to the Doc-in-a-box. Several hours later and nearly a hundred dollars lighter, I'm on my way to full recovery. I have a bacterial infection: eyes, throat, nose, sinuses. The antibiotics were cheap, only a $10 co-pay, but the eye drops were not on the HMO formulary, therefore $50 for 3 ml. Total price for the 3 ml. bottle is $62.99! That's $621 an ounce, almost $80,000 a gallon. A gallon weighs roughly 8.33 pounds. which makes this stuff worth $9,600 a pound, roughly 1-3/4 more precious than gold. And I lost my hat. I laid it on the chair at Wendy's and left without it. When I went back, naturally, it was gone.

On the right side of the editorial spread this morning our beloved Charleston Daily Mail editorial writers were lambasting those who dare to compare our peerless leader to Hitler, saying Hitler was a monster. Well. . .

Quote of the Day: "The greatness of every mighty organization embodying an idea in this world lies in the religious fanaticism and intolerance with which, fanatically convinced of its own right, it intolerantly imposes its will against all others. " -- Adolf Hitler

If you don't see the similarity, go back and watch the newsreels of Hitler and his pal Mussolini in action. Pay particular attention to the facial expressions and body language. Also, compare the attitudes of the men. All three are cowardly killers. Bush never passed up an opportunity to fry someone in the chair or administer lethal goop into a prisoner's veins when he was governor of Texas, even when the evidence overwhelmingly supported the prisoner's innocence. And look at Iraq, his opportunity to kill thousands with a signature. I doubt that Hitler ever killed anyone personally. How exactly does that make him different than GeeWhiz? I see the similarities all too clearly. We live in a fascist country. Whether we can pull out of it in time to avoid the more serious aspects of it in our daily lives remains to be seen.

Digital Camera Image (cropped - altered) [2004_1203Image0001]
"Moustache Au Naturel"

Monday, December 20, 2004
(11:11 am)

MY pre-Christmas depression is setting in. It's being abated somewhat by helping my friend Paul with a new collection of haiku. If you've not seen the page I keep for the haiku of Paul Curry Steele, you really should check it out.

Quote of the Day: "When I think of all the books I have read, and of the wise words I have heard spoken, and of the anxiety I have given to parents and grandparents, and of the hopes that I have had, all life weighed in the scales of my own life seems to me preparation for something that never happens. " -- W. B. Yeats

I think my illness is getting better, but I still don't feel very well. I had intended on doing some Christmas shopping today; finishing up, actually, but I think I'll postpone it until tomorrow or Wednesday when the temperatures are sufficient that maybe a few atoms are moving about. The side streets were slick with snow, ice, and the dreaded black ice this morning. I spun the tires and slid frequently when on the side streets. The boulevard and the other main arteries through town and the streets on the hillside were in pretty decent shape, though, but with the occasional patch of black ice along the boulevard. I assume it was a similar situation elsewhere.

The cold caused the moisture in the air in the house to condense and freeze on the windows. That makes the air even drier than usual. I can feel my skin desicating and cracking as I sit here. Oh, spring, wherefore art thou?


Wednesday, December 22, 2004
(9:36 pm)

Here's a little tip. Never, ever, vote for a Republican for Secretary of State. The Secretary of State in most states controls the elections. Need I say more? State of contention in 2000: Florida; Secretary of State: Republican. State of contention in 2004: Ohio; Secretary of State: Republican. West Virginia elected a Republican Secretary of State this past election. Michigan, a Blue State now has a Republican Secretary of State ( I know this because she sent me a Christmas e-card -- long story). I've seen Halliburton trucks roaming around in the city. What business do they have here? Is Halliburton the equivalent of the SA, the brown shirts in Nazi Germany? I'm getting paranoid.

Quote of the Day: "Every generation needs a new revolution."
-- Thomas Jefferson

Sixty degrees here today. Snow all melted by noon. I washed the minivan. By the end of the day, there was as much salt on it again as there was before I washed it. Another three bucks down the drain (literally).

People just piss me off, ya know? It seems no one has a sense of fair play. No one is considerate of anyone else in a public setting. No one seems to follow the rules of common courtesy. Yo, people, ever hear of taking turns? Waiting your place in line? Giving consideration to those less able to rush forward than you? What about turn signals? What about not blocking intersections? And I'll tell you what, the first son-of-a-bitch who causes me to hurt my leg by shoving by me to get in line or grab something is going to get cold-cocked. I've had it with rude, mean, and nasty people.


Thursday, December 23, 2004
(3:30 pm)

Wind chill today is 19. Christmas Eve and Christmas Night the temperature will be in single digits. Do you get the impression I am not thrilled? You'd be right.

Quote of the Day: "Our country is now geared to an arms economy bred in an artificially induced psychosis of war hysteria and an incessant propaganda of fear. " -- General Douglas MacArthur

I keep getting "returned" e-mails that were alledgedly sent by one of my e-mail addresses. Someone in Korea (currently) is spoofing one of my legitimate e-mail addresses to send out SPAM to millions of people. The mails that bounce get sent back to me, not the original sender. This pisses me off, as does the voluminous amount of unwanted, unsolicited e-mails I get every day. It's getting to the point where e-mail is almost useless. Fax machines seem to be magnets for unwanted advertising, too. The US Mail has been clogged with junk mail for years. Even our telephones aren't safe from callers we don't want. Cell phones will quickly follow once the numbers become public information. This is wrong. There should be global strictures on advertising. Anyone found to be using anything other than officially sanctioned means (i.e., television, radio, billboards, newspapers, magazines, or flyers) should be fined to the point that would make it undesirable for anyone to use alternate means of advertising. As-yet-undiscovered advertising venues should be prohibited rather than allowed, until such time as it is shown that these venues are not intrusive and can be blocked or ignored sucessfully. This includes things like labels on the outside of clothing, cars and buses painted with ads, skywriting, and the naming of sports venues after corporate sponsors. Let's use the fines from illicit advertising to support the public forums used for sports.

WIth the news of Celebrex being suspect as a contributing factor in heart disease and stroke, plus the fact that my HMO is going to start limiting what they pay for to "customary doses" of certain medications (read, Celebrex -- which isn't even on their formulary to begin with, and costs me a $50 co-pay every month), I guess I have to prepare myself for a life of continuous pain. I cut back to one 200 mg Celebrex a day (customary dosage) from the 400 mg I was taking, and in just three days, I have a lot more pain. I don't like this one little bit. But, what am I to do? I can't afford the outrageous price to buy the Celebrex out of pocket. 60 of the 200 mg capsules costs, out-of-hand, $240.99 -- half of that would be $120.50 -- add that to the $50 co-pay and the Celebrex would cost me $170.20 a month. That's on top of the co-pays for the two other medications I'm taking, plus a really hefty premium each month. It's getting to be where being pain free and over 40 is an expensive proposition, available only to the discriminating few.


Friday, December 24, 2004
(2:30 pm)

Ho ho ho.


Saturday, December 25, 2004
(2:30 pm)

Merry Christmas


Sunday, December 26, 2004
(12:00 pm)

I hope y'all had a nice Christmas. Mine was usual. We had a good time with the grandgirls. Ate too much, but less too much than normal. I'm ready for something new now. Hey, how about a whole new year? The coming one can't be worse than the one just past, can it? For one reason only, it can't be worse -- no Presidential Election.

Stay tuned.


Tuesday, December 28, 2004
(11:23 am)

It's warmer today, but I still feel the dismal of days recently passed. Here's a Christmas photo of our youngest grandgirl, Gretchen:

Digital Camera Image (cropped and stitched) [2004_1225Image0015.JPG and 2004_1225Image0016.JPG]
"Peekaboo with Uncle Sean"

Quote of the Day: "We all die frustrated; it is the greatest lesson we have to learn." -- Iain Pears (in An Instance of the Fingerpost)

Lost and Found Times will publish its last issue in January. For this publication I will grieve. The reasons John M. Bennett is ceasing publication are twofold: one, to devote more time to other printing projects, and two, because the new Ohio policy is to issue grants to projects that show some prospect of generating a profit. Huh? What are worthy projects that will never see a profit supposed to do? It's all being reduced to the marketplace ruling everything again. God, I'm disgusted with this country/world.


Wednesday, December 29, 2004
(1:33 pm)

The death toll in the Boxing Day Tsunami is now approaching 60,000. There are so many things wrong with a world that allows this to be. Yes, there was little chance of an earthquake/tsunami in the Indian Ocean, and therefore little desire for a warning system, but the fact that it has happened reveals the real need for one everywhere there is ocean front. There is also a need to bring the communications in these countries into line with those in the rest of the world, so that people stand a chance of survival in instances such as this. Another problem is overpopulation in these countries, coupled with poverty, causing people to live on the beaches. The countries affected by this disaster would do well to initiate some education, and give some incentives for smaller families. The so-called global economy plus modern medicine has made the traditional large family obsolete. Continuing to have large families is only increasing the misery on this planet.

Quote of the Day: "The way is not in the sky. The way is in the heart. " -- Gautama Siddharta, The Lord Buddha. (563-483 B.C.E.)

A more personal disaster, to me, is the loss of The Lost and Found Times. It is indicative, I suppose that in these Fascist times, we must only reward that which garners its own reward. There is no place for that which is out of the mainstream, and the mainstream hugs the right bank of the river, and is nostalgic, fearful, and unadventurous. LAFT was none of these things. It provided a refuge for those brave souls who dared to create something different, something decidedly not mainstream. Now, the solitary voice, the singular presence in the world, will be silenced by the fascist ideology, the marketplace-uber-alles group-think. We sacrifice our future to the gods of wealth and control. The revolution has been cancelled.

Digital Camera Image (cropped) [2004_1031Image0028]
"Mirror Mirror. . ."

Laidley Tower is one of my favorite buildings to take photographs of. It faithfully reflects the atmosphere and picks up interesting bits of the city as well.


Thursday, December 30, 2004
(3:47 pm)

Busy day. I had a couple pick ups and deliveries to make, went to two banks, got gas, ate out, went to the DMV to renew my registration on the van, went to the Post Office. I've paid for my latest acquisition of stamps. Got the rent check off. Finished up Paul Steele's latest batch of Haiku. I got a new medical card from my HMO in the mail. It seems my doctor of long standing no longer takes my insurance. Now I have to find a new Primary Care Physician. For the time being, they've assigned me to a Doc-in-a-box next to the Ashton Place Kroger. I doubt I'll stay with them for long.

Quote of the Day: "There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people for a purpose which is unattainable. "
-- Howard Zinn, U.S. historian

Banks are now charging a fee to use their ATM if your account is in a different bank. Most banks also charge you to use a "foreign" ATM, too, so you can be charged up to $4.00 or more for withdrawing your own money. Some banks charge $3.00 or $4.00 to cash a check if you don't have an account with them, even if the check is written on their bank. This is tantamount to theft! Banks used to realize that they were made possible by permission of the public and therefore felt obligated to provide services, such as check cashing, at no charge. Now all banks seem to feel obligated to do is find new ways to take as much of your money as possible through fees, interest, and commissions. If you bounce a check, most area banks charge $30 and that's in addition to whatever the merchant charges. It costs the bank roughly less than $2.00 to process an overdraft, so why are they allowed to "fine" people for overdrafts?



Friday, December 31, 2004
(11:31 am)

Looks like we made it through another one. Well, fasten your seatbelts, folks, 2005 looks like a bumpy ride from here.

Quote of the Day:
"Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne!
     "For auld lang syne, my dear,
     For auld lang syne.
     We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,
     For auld lang syne.
"And surely ye'll be your pint stowp!
And surely I'll be mine!
And we'll tak a cup o'kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.
"We twa hae run about the braes,
And pou'd the gowans fine;
But we've wander'd mony a weary fit,
Sin' auld lang syne.

"We twa hae paidl'd in the burn,
Frae morning sun till dine;
But seas between us braid hae roar'd
Sin' auld lang syne.

"And there's a hand, my trusty fere!
And gie's a hand o' thine!
And we'll tak a right gude-willie waught,
For auld lang syne."

-- Robert Burns

WVU vs. FLorida State in the Gator Bowl tomorrow at 12:30 on ABC. If you want to kill me, you'll know where I'll be for those four hours!


Total Hits for December 2004: 20,662*

* total of 30 days at 19,995 averaged and multiplied by 31 to yield 20,662.
There were no statistics available for December 13, thus necessitating this
scurrilous use of mathematics.

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