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Tuesday, January 1, 2008     Happy New Year!
(11:57 am)

Another year, another dollar. . . So it seems sometimes. We spend more on groceries every week for the two of us than we used to spend for four people for a month. Milk was around a dollar a gallon when the kids were young. It's sometimes nearly four now. Gasoline? I don't even want to talk about that. That doesn't even account for the fact that we usually eat out a couple times a week on average, too. When the kids were small we might have eaten out once or twice a month.

Quote of the Day: "The proper behavior all through the holiday season is to be drunk. This drunkenness culminates on New Year's Eve, when you get so drunk you kiss the person you're married to."

-- P.J. O'Rourke

I'm not one for New Year's resolutions. I'm not big on setting goal, either. That may be why I seem to wander around like an individual atom in a demonstration of Brownian motion. I try to be in the eternal present, with only enough thought of the future to make it to the future. As I've said many times, and demonstrated through that tedious, protracted story I tell to demonstrate it, expectations will kill you. If you eliminate expectations, you can't be surprised at what happens. You can then realize that what happens is what's supposed to happen. This will lead to unexpected benefits in your life, too.

Today's Fortune, Cookie:

See above.

The arbitrary beginning of the new year at this point in the calendar gives up an opportunity to begin fresh, to start with a blank page and not worry about the ones we left half-filled just a few days ago. It's our chance to change, to improve behavior and clear cluttered thoughts. It's a new start on an old life, giving a sense of renewal, however short-lived. Placing the beginning of the year in the throes of winter makes little sense to me. But the Asians do it, too. Their year begins this year on February 7. The Jewish new year, Rosh Hoshanna, usually comes in September. That makes little sense to me either. If it were up to me, I'd place the beginning at either one of the equinoxes or one of the solstices. The most reasonable one, to my way of thinking is the spring equinox. Equally reasonable would be the winter solstice, which was about 10 days ago, where the days begin to get longer. Perhaps at one time that was the case, and because of errors in the calendar, it drifted forward over the centuries.

At any rate, I doubt I'll get anyone to change it now. It's one of those things that "We've always done it that way." And as we all know, those are some of the most difficult things to change, no matter how ridiculous, inconvenient, inefficient, or irrational they might be.


Thursday, January 3, 2008     Victory!
(7:25 pm)

West Virginia beat Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl last night, 48-28. Did my heart good. This morning the University officials named interim coach Bill Stewart as the new Head Coach. I hate to say it, but this may be a mistake. I don't think Coach Stewart is cream-of-the-crop, top-of-the-heap caliber. He's a nice guy and all and held the team together, but what will he do when he has to run the whole show. His record as a head coach is pretty dismal. Then there's the problem of having to put together a new staff, since Rodriguez the sneak is taking Calvin MaGee and some of the other coaches with him to Michigan. Then, there's recruiting. How many recruits are going to be as eager to play for Stewart as they were for Rodriquez? Next year may be okay, but the year after that will be telling. All we can do now is hang on and watch. . . and pray.

Quote of the Day: "There is a great spectacle, and that is the sea. There is a greater spectacle than the sea, and that is the sky. There is yet a greater spectacle than the sky, and that is the interior of the soul."

-- Victor Hugo

It's been cold and snowy lately. I had to go out earlier and srape the snow and ice off the van. Not my idea of a good time. I see where gas prices are supposed to hit $4.00 a gallon by mid-February. These damn Republicans cutting government oversight on corporate interests, and allowing outsourcing and privatization of government functions are ruining the economy. For starters, our measure of the health of our economy is based on how much we spend. That's not a good measure of things, and it tends to drive prices for goods, and particularly for services, higher. One telling example is that our Gross Domestic Product increased because of Hurrican Katrina. It would also do so because of other disasters, disease, and other calamities. The more we spend for healthcare, the greater the GDP. It's perverse.

Today's Fortune, Cookie:

Sounds painful. . .

New Year's Day, the NHL staged an outdoor hockey game in the Buffalo Bills Stadium. It was wonderful. It snowed. They had to delay the game several times to clear the ice. Pittsburgh beat Buffalo in a shootout. Sidney Crosby scored the winning goal. It was great.


Tuesday, January 8, 2008     LSU, National Champs?
(12:03 pm)

LSU defeated Ohio State in the BCS championship game last night, as expected. During the game they had a poll of the people willing to call in about who they thought had the best offence and defence this season. West Virginia got 68% of the vote. I think West Virginia has at least as legitimate a claim to being champs as do LSU, USC, and perhaps several other teams. Not Hawaii, however.

Today's Fortune, Cookie:

That's to go, please.

We've gone straight from Bowl Season to Bull Season. Yesterday was the last of the bowl games (Not counting senior bowls, etc.) and today is the New Hampshire primary. This is ridiculous. There's talk of candidates dropping out after today's results because of lack of money or percentages of the vote. That's depriving the rest of us of the choice. The candidates will be carved in stone before the West Virginia primary in May. There are even a couple states (Kentucky and Nebraska) who have primiaries in May too. And what about those in March and April, well after so-called "Super Tuesday on February 5." The whole freaking election will be set months before we even get to pretend we're part of the process. The constitution needs to be amended to force all primaries to the first Tuesday after the first Monday in May. That would cut down on the verbal slurry of the general election, too. Our political process itself lends to the separation of this country. We're soon to be headed down the same path as the tribal divisions in the Middle East, Africa, and (yes) even Europe. See what globalization hath wrought? It's making the corporations the effective governing entities instead of the legitimately elected governments of countries. Eventually when the United States is a loose confederation of several countries much like the European Union, the WTO will rule and global empire and none of us will have ever again any input into who decides our fate. We have to act now. It's nearly too late. One more Republican president and it won't be up to the United States anymore. It'll have to be someone with more concern for humanity and fairness, and who might that be? I haven't a clue.

Quote of the Day: "If you can cultivate wholesome mental states prior to sleep and allow them to continue right into sleep without getting distracted, then sleep itself becomes wholesome."

-- His Holiness the Dalai Lama

Digital Camera Image [2007_1217Image0003] (adjusted) [Canon EOS 20D, ISO 3200, 1/500, f/13, Partial Metering,Canon 17-85mm IS lens @85mm]
"City Sunset"

My domain seems to be waiting on something. Originally I started it up as a handy hints/web link site. That fizzled pretty fast. Next I recently started using it for a memoir. Since I made the first entry I've not been inspired to write anything else. My childhood, in the light of my current state of consciousness, was a dark place, and I'm not sure shining light on it will be to any purpose. Who knows, maybe will eventually be a place for my religious philosophy. Or maybe it'll be a repository of my tiny toy collection. . .


Friday, January 11, 2008     Winter's Back
(11:20 am)

Monday and Tuesday this week it was in the low 70's. Currently it's 45 degrees outside. Winter is making its bid. I think all this up and down and cold and variable humidity weather is starting to get to me. I feel like absolute crap, with no out of the ordinary specific complaint. It's like the inverse of the old Hanes commercial: I feel bad all under.


Saturday, January 19, 2008     S.A.D.
(1:01 pm)

I'd managed to avoid my seasonal depression the past couple of years, but this year it's seeped in around the edges like the hazy gray light of dawn creeping through every gap in the curtains. It's not as bad as previous years but it's noticeable. We've switched over to mostly compact fluourescent bulbs in preference to the full-spectrum incandescent. I don't think most of the energy efficient bulbs are full-spectrum. That's probably part of the difference. I'll be on the lookout for full-spectrum compact fluourescent bulbs. When I find them I'll have some regular compact bulbs to give away. Anyone interested?

Today's Fortune, Cookie:

Would that I could. . .  <**sigh**>

It's been over a week since I made an entry here, or written much of anything anywhere for that matter. More evidence of a mood dampening. I've not been playing much music either, and I've been improvising and composing nothing whatsoever. I hate being this way. At least I'm getting caught up on my sleep and reading.

Quote of the Day: "Experience is not what happens to a man, it's what a man does with what happens to him. "

-- Aldous Huxley

I've been stumbling over the word "kerfuffle" the past two days. I saw it in some context or the other online yesterday. Then last night during a hockey game they referred to a dust up near the players' bench as a 'kerfuffle.' This morning in the newspaper the headline of one of the letters to the editor read had the word in it. Unfortunately, in this last instance, the word was misspelled: kerfluffle. Shame! Most people probably don't even know the word, and now they'll go around spelling it wrong. I wasn't aware of the word until a couple years ago when I read the Outlander series of books by Diana Gabaldon. In the reading of these books I encountered a lot of words and phrases of Scottish origin of which I was previously unaware. See! Reading is good for you.


Monday, January 28, 2008     The Number 23
(1:12 pm)

We watched The Number 23 Saturday night. I used to semi-obsess about the number. I looked for and found it everywhere. Well, last night I got gas, picked Ann up from Macy's and went out to dinner. The tank held 8.888 gallons (8x8x8x8=32, which is 23 backwards). The tab for dinner was $23.69 (the 23 is obvious. Well, 69 is 23x3). I keep stumbling across the number now in just about everything. It's like that. Seems the number is primal in our consciousness or something. Maybe it's that we have 23 chromosome pairs. Or not. What about the old expression, "23 skiddoo"? Where'd that come from? Ever notice how many times the number 23 shows up in things? It's the room number is a lot of old movies. It's pretty damn well ubiquitous. The problem with 23 arises when you start ascribing meaning to it. Far as I know, the fact that it's around all the time and sometimes can follow you like a lost puppy has no significance whatsoever.

Quote of the Day: "We may smile or tremble at the king of liars who sits on the bench and orders us to tell, not only the truth, but the whole truth -- especially when we know the implication of that order. The whole truth would give us all the secrets of the universe."

-- Richard Rose, The Albigen Papers, paper one, p. 32

Richard Rose was a Zen master from Benwood, West Virginia (near Wheeling). He was a teacher of the first order. I'm sorry to have missed him. He died in 2005.

Today's Fortune, Cookie:

Peace & Quiet -- what a concept!

After that fortune, I have one more in the reserve. Guess it's time to have Chinese again. Maybe I could just buy a carton of fortune cookies. . .

Bonus Celebrity Quote of the Day: "I wasn't pandering. I was just telling her exactly what she wanted to hear."

-- Hugh Grant, in Music & Lyrics

I go through phases in my life. There have been several of a spiritual nature. I seem to be headed into another, perhaps the last, of those. I've had a number of satori experiences, but they seem to fade over time. One experience, however, has not faded, and that was the experience of death I had in 1998. Everything changed then, yet things are much the same. I feel more like I'm outside looking in, yet inside and unaware of being observed, at the same time. Oh yeah, and I get these odd feelings now and Zen. . .

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