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Thursday, March 1, 2007     Lions and Lambs and Groundhogs, Oh My!
(10:25 am)

Yesterday I saw buds on the trees by the parking lot at Kroger. Maybe that little furry prognosticator in Punxatawney was right after all. I know I won't be disappointed if he is. It's not quite 10:30 yet and the temperature is 57-degrees. It's not raining (yet!) either, so I guess March is coming in like a Lamb. Gotta keep an eye out for those lions though. They'll steal your Carne Asada fajita wraps, and maybe a leg for good measure. Can you tell I'm currently reading a Tom Robbins novel? He writes so colorfully and so well.


Quote of the Day: "Both the cockroach and the bird could get along very well without us, although the cockroach would miss us most."

-- Josepth Wood Krutch


Yesterday was my birthday If you'd been paying attention to the device on my main page you'd have known this. For some reason today it's gone. I wonder if it will magically reappear at some point during the year. I'll have to keep any eye on it. I won't say which birthday it was, just that it has lots of company. My wife did me in yesterday. She posted notes all over the place where she works and possibly other places telling whoever read it that it was my birthday. . . and listed the phone number. I got calls all day from strange women with sexy voices wishing me a happy one. I had my cake and ice cream (in moderation) at Golden Corral. On the way home something hit the windshield and pocked it. Now I'll be out a few hundred dollars to have the thing replaced. It's not in a spot where they can just fill the hole. And just when I was thinking I had saved a few bucks by not having to have new glasses this year and my rack-and-pinion repair being covered under original warranty. I'd already spent that savings on my birthday present to myself -- a guitar synthesizer. Oh well, I can cut back on other extravagances to make up for both.

In 1978 I discovered a new type of guitar pick -- The Landstrom Swedish Sharkfin. It opened up whole new worlds to me. Among the famous who used them was Tevor Rabin of Yes. I love the things. Won't use anything else if I can avoid it. Well, folks it was getting harder to avoid. The Landstrom company went out of business and the molds were sold. The sheet stock from which the picks were stamped became scarce. I had bought a dozen in 1982 or 1983 before the music store where I got them went out of operation. I still have two of the Landstrom picks, only one in decent shape. I also have two of the original ones I bought in 1978 that don't have the Landstrom name on the pick. They only say Sharkfin -- Sweden. They are so worn as to not possess the advantage of having a sharkfin. So, in essence I really only have one good pick and three badly worn ones. Not to worry -- I found a source! I think in 1982 when I last bought the picks, they cost me either 75 cents or a dollar each. The ones I found online come from The Netherlands and will only cost me €1.10 (that's about $1.45 at today's exchange rate -- thank goodness for PayPal!). I ordered ten of the red ones and six white ones to round out my stock. Unless I lose some of them (which has been known to happen) or someone steals them (also known to have happened) I should be set for life. I may even leave a few as my legacy.

John Bentley came by Tuesday to show me a guitar he'd picked up (eBay item number 260091224694) -- a 1981 Gibson L6-S. It's a fine playing guitar. It feels nice. There are a few condition issues, but nothing that really affects its playability. I noticed that John hadn't gotten any bids on it yet. I sure hope that changes. It wasn't what I needed or wanted, but I'm positive that it would be a great vintage working instrument for someone. It's similar to the PRS in its rotary switch. It has six positions for the two pickups -- neck, bridge, both, neck & bridge series, neck & bridge parallel in phase, neck & bridge parallel out of phase. It will give you a very wide range of useful and sweet sounds. If you like Les Pauls you'd love this. The body is bigger than the Paul but it's lighter than most. I think it will be as collectible as the LP at some point in the future. Better snatch it up while you still can.

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Friday, March 2, 2007     Procrastination
(3:49 pm)

I keep putting off work on my novel. I suffer doubts that it should be finished at all. I don't have a good handle on where it should go from where I abruptly left off on November 29. If I do manage to get it done, I think a decent screenplay could be derived from it. It might make a fair movie. I'll not say "film," as that would connote an artistic endeavor, which this would definitley not be. Maybe I'll hack away at it some this weekend.


Quote of the Day: "Banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies"

-- Thomas Jefferson


I'm all for progress, but what passes for it these days is often progress only to whomever makes or sells something. F'r'instance, tubes. Toothpaste, artist's colors, hand lotion, medications, and any number of other commodities used to come in metal tubes. In nearly all cases they now come in plastic tubes. As a general rule I refuse to buy artist's colors that come in plastic. It's not that I have anything against plastic per se, but if you're dealing with a tube, in most instances you don't want air to replace the material as it's squeezed out. For one thing, it's nearly impossible to acurately gauge how much is left in the tube. A full tube of hand cream, a half-empty one, and one that no more than a single smidgen can be coaxed out of all look identical sitting on the shelf. That's not the biggest problem either. If air replaces product as it's used then there is more possibility of oxidation and all that implies -- medicine goes bad, paint and lotions dry out, toothpaste thickens to the point of unusability. I'm sure there are other examples of "progress" making things more difficult and uncertain for the customer.

Something that's been weighing on my mind lately is the lack of availability of certain goods in this area, simply because there's not enough call for them for the merchants to justify carrying the stock. There are no Gibson Guitar dealers in the state except for Bluefield, and I don't think they carry any electrics. The reason? Gibson requires $100,000 initial inventory and some equally outrageous minimun order. I can't buy a Roland Guitar Synthesizer locally unless I order it. The places I checked with said they could order it for me, but I'd really like to play around with one before buying it, otherwise why not just purchase it online? I'm not about to drive to Columbus or Pittsburgh just to see if someone will let me hook one up to see how well I get along with it. Different foods aren't available here or are only obtainable at Wal-Mart because we don't have the population to support an ongoing stock of it. Things I used to be able to get have disappeared from shelves only to be replaced with other things that sell quicker. I like Braswell's Hot Chow Chow (since my own homemade supply has been consumed), but I can't find it anywhere anymore. Same with Progresso Hearty Black Bean Soup. Kroger used to carry Fructose, which is a good sweetener for diabetics for certain things, but now they don't have it. Neither does anyone else. Coconut Oil can only be had in one brand in one place. Some of the larger Kroger stores have some exotic foods, but none seems to carry the 99% fat free New England Clam Chowder anymore (which is actually better than the version with 11 or 14 g. of fat). It's like they use these Kroger Plus cards to see what I like so they can stop carrying it.

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Monday, March 5, 2007     Strange Dreams
(9:24 am)

Ann told me this morning that I mumbled something about cleaning the lawnmower after I finished mowing as she was leaving the bedroom. I was dreaming about mowing at the time, I suppose. The dream included other things such as meeting some friends from online who live in California, being sexually harrassed by a crazy white-trash woman with a pistol, cleaning up a three storey garage to keep the local juvenile delinquents from stealing things and/or getting hurt. All-in-all it was pretty odd dream. For those of you concerned, I did manage to disarm Ms. Tammy Trailer Trash, and none of the hoodlums stole anything or got injured.


Quote of the Day: "Few men have virtue to withstand the highest bidder."

-- George Washington


I decided to start a sometime feature (dependent mostly on how many fortune cookies are in the bag whenever I have Chinese takeout. Of course, if you like you can send me your cookie fortunes as well and I'll share them, too. Somewhere I have a small collection that I'd originally intended to use in collàge. Perhaps they'll resurface. Anyway, send your fortunes to:

J. Michael Mollohan
P.O. Box 534
Charleston, WV 25361-0534

Also, let me know where the fortunes came from (restaurant name and cookie label, if possible), and if you'd like your name listed with the fortune. I never seem to get any response from any of these little projects, but I keep hoping, you know, Dum Spiro Spero.


Today's Fortune, Cookie:

When in anger, sing the alphabet.


Saturday it sort of snowed here. At first the flakes were just wandering around, aimlessly, rather like a slow-motion demonstration of Brownian motion, or an abstract model of the movement of people at a cocktail party. Nothing actually seemed to hit the ground. Then the wind picked up and the flakes, while still not landing at least got a little more organinzed, if you can call moving up the street in unison much like the people in a certain vicinity uncoordinatedly drifting toward a horrendous accident organized. Finally gravity held sway and the flakes began to land and aggregate, particularly on my porch rug and the cars parked along the street. I guess the sidewalks and pavement were too warm and those unlucky enough to land there were immediately evaporated. A small accumulation began. My windshield was covered, as was the top of the van. Other vehicles suffered similar fates. I went inside for a few minutes and when I returned the air was calm, the precipitation had stopped, and the only evidence there ever was any was a slight ring around the skeletal remains of a mum bush beside the steps leading to the sidewalk.

My guitar synth is on the truck. It will probably ride around all over Charleston and environs all day and be delivered around supper time. I'd prefer to have it here earlier, but since it's coming to a residential address, they wait until they suppose that someone will be home from work. Well, since what little work I do manage is done from this chair in my dining room, that time window could pretty much be anything after 8:30 AM. I'd prefer earlier in the day, actually. I wonder if there's any way to have them change this?

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Friday, March 9, 2007     A New World
(1:25 pm)

In case you hadn't guessed, my guitar synthesizer got here around supper time Monday. I've been fiddling around with it (in some instances, quite literally!) all week. The pickup was a pain in the ass to get functioning properly. Of the five electric guitars I have and the one acoustic electric non-12-string the pickup would only work on two of them -- the Hamer and the Les Paul. It wouldn't even fit under the strings of the Strat or Tele. The Ibanez's bridge is totally wrong for it to work at all. Then, after mounting it provisionally on the Hamer I noted that the strings were too close together for the pickups to align properly. That only left the Les Paul. After much tinkering and adjusting (with the action on the Paul still too high) I managed to get it to work. After all that trouble, the first string wouldn't pick up right so there was the process of setting individual string sensitivities to be gone through. I've still not got it exactly right, but I'll get there. Let me say, though, overall, I love it!


Quote of the Day: "The trouble with America isn't that the poetry of life has turned to prose, but that it has turned to advertising copy"

-- Louis Kronenberger


Today's Fortune, Cookie:

You desire recognition and you will find it.


Warm today. It's 66 degrees right now. A day ago it was in the twenties. No wonder I hurt and don't feel well generally. I guess that old groundhog knew what he was talking about on the second of last month. I could use some springlike weather myself. I'd love to be able to get outside and do something other than shovel the sidewalk.

In the process of installing the divided digital pickup on my Les Paul and resetting the bridge so that the strings are in the same zip code as the frets, the strings have gotten funny feeling. They still sound like new strings, but they feel downright "sticky." I don't know what it is, but I'm loathe to change them until I get things pretty much set in concrete as far as the adjustments go. Having to change strings three or four times or more just to get the adjustments right gets a little expensive, even at just five bucks a pop.

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Monday, March 12, 2007     Daily Grind
(3:07 pm)

It seems like I take more and more weekends off from writing anything here. It's not that I don't have anything to say on weekends or even that this task has become like a job that I need time off from. I'm not really sure what the reason is. This weekend I was fairly busy. My son Sean and his girlfriend were in. They're engaged now. No date set as yet nor other plans, but soon I imagine. Ann and I went to the grocery store, out to eat, to Big!Lots, to the flea market, to brunch with Sean & Trish, and somewhere else I think. There were hockey games on Friday night and Saturday. We commisserated with the neighbors yesterday evening and I traded affection with their dogs. I should go wash the car today, but it's going to rain tomorrow so why bother? Today has been pretty much a down day.


Quote of the Day: "One always has to remember these days where the garbage pail is, because it's so easy to make sounds, and to put sounds together into something that appears to be music, but it's just as hard as it always was to make good music."

-- Robert Moog (1934-2005)


Earlier today I watched a movie about Bob Moog. He was my kind of person. He often saw the greater connection between things that most of us overlook or can't see at all in the first place. Part of this is likely due to his wife of many years being a retired philosopher. Watching this film made me realize how far I've drifted from my center and gave me clues as to how to get back there. Maybe once I do re-align my psyche I'll be able to accomplish more than I have been able to lately. I'd really love to get back into music in some way. I really don't have a clue how to do that at this point, however.


Today's Fortune, Cookie:

Enjoy!


I watched Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" last night. Several times he mentioned a scientist who's his friend. The fellow's name is Lonnie Thompson. I grew up in the same neigbborhood as him. We were in the boy scouts together. His brother Roscoe was one of my closest friends. Lonnie was a year behind me in school. He always was a smart fellow, well-grounded in the sciences, and level-headed. Very unlike me.

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007     Sorry, Kansas CIty
(10:39 pm)

The Penguins are staying in Pittsburgh! Hooray! I've been a Penguins fan since the Flames moved from Atlanta to Calgary. I became a Flames fan back in the mid-70's when the only thing beyond local channels on cable was "Superstation" WTBS, which happened to carry Flames games. I met several of the players on my frequent visits to Atlanta in the later 70's. After the Flames were relocated to Calgary, there was no hockey on cable for several years. Eventually in the 90's the cable sports channel from Pittsburgh was added and I started watching the Pens. I became a fan. The Penguins had just won the STanley Cup twice and Mario had lymphoma and was out for a couple years. Jagr was the hot new sensation. They were a good team. With the decline of the team and the problems with finances, etc. it was hard to stick with them, but I did. This year they're stupendous and now with the new deal for a state-of-the-art arena and a 30-year lease, it looks like I'll have my hockey for probably the rest of my life. Sorry Kansas City and Las Vegas. The Pens are staying put.

In other sports news. . . I am part owner of a couple of thoroughbred horses through Woodford Reserve Bourbon. I signed up when I bought my first bottle of the whiskey. Yesterday, on the tenth anniversary of my quitting smoking, Angle's Share won her third race. The first race, she showed, the second, placed, and the third time truly was the charm. Maybe one day in a year or two I'll have a Kentucky Derby winner on my resumé.


Quote of the Day: "I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all the kinds of things you can't see from the center."

-- Kurt Vonnegut


Today's Fortune, Cookie:

No limits!


I read in a computer magazine today that there are over 56 Million blogs now. Back when I started doing this, there were probably fewer than 100. I wonder if 56 Million is really an improvement.

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Thursday, March 15, 2007     Beware the Ides of March
(9:45 am)

Today is the 2,051st anniversary of the murder of Julius Caesar in the Roman Senate by the respectable members of that august body, including his "friend" Brutus and the noble (i.e., duplicitous) Cicero. [NOTE: it's not really the anniversary since the calendar has changed since then, but the notion of it having occurred on the Ides is close enough for it to stand as the placeholder in history for me.] Although, after the turmoil following Caesar's assassination Octavian (Caesar Augustus) proved to be a strong ruler, he was also a tyrant in more than name only, and Julius probably would have proven a more Republican ruler with fewer puritanical inclinations. It seems to me that the possibility of Julius Caesar escaping his bloody fate is or should have been one of the scenarios considered in the What If books.

Here's my auspicious horroscope for today:

Learn to deal with ambiguity by letting it exist. If you act too rapidly to try and make it go away, havoc could ensue. Often the solution becomes a much larger problem than the original situation.


Quote of the Day: "Make haste slowly"

-- Octavian (Caesar Augustus )


Bonus Quote of the Day: "Well done is quickly done."

-- Octavian (Caesar Augustus )


One thing you can say about Octavian is that he was succinct, terse even, if sometimes at odds with himself. Then again, perhaps he was of the mind of Marcel Duchamp when he said, "I have forced myself to contradict myself in order to avoid conforming to my own taste."


Today's Fortune, Cookie:

Doomed!


Today's theme seems to be ambiguity. That's okay, I rather enjoy such things. It's like someone (most likely Alan Watts or Robert Anton Wilson) said, "The opposite of truth is a lie, but the opposite of a great truth is often another great truth." Actually that could have come from Einstein, Oppenheimer, or any number of other great truth seekers. All this equivocation just kind of happened. I'd not intended it. Things just fell into place. Funny how that happens.

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Saturday, March 17, 2007     Happy St. Paddy's Day!
(4:09 pm)

I thought it an appropriate thing today for my web page to wear green. I'm clad all in green right down to my underware. I even used green aftershave this morning. I'm not sure that will make any difference. My luck is for shit lately. Lately? Ha!


Quote of the Day: "It is after you have lost your teeth that you can afford to buy steaks."

-- Pierre August Renoir


Renoir knows of which he speaks. With me, it's after I've lost my upper teeth and part of my jaw so I can't get dentures that I can afford steaks. I've been arguing with my HMO to get them to pay for the prosthesis and implants, but they seem stuck on the fact that it's a dental procedure, never mind that the reason I need the "dental procedure" is the result of a medical condition! Stupid bastards.


Today's Fortune, Cookie:

Day by day


I'm still looking for people to make music with. I'm doing pretty well with the Guitar Synth, but I'd really like to have some other human beings to jam with. Playing along with machines all the time isn't very fulfilling. It might help if I was better at it, then people would be clammoring to sit in with me and my band. *sigh*

Speaking of music, Jake Shimabukuro is going to be here tomorrow for the taping of Mountain Stage. This is one show I'd love to see live. In addition to Jake and his ukulele, Bruce Cockburn, Brave Combo, Nani Griffith, and Susan Werner are going to be here. Mountain Stage has gotten too upscale for me. Tickets are twenty bucks at the door, unless it's sold out, which it is a lot of the time, especially when it's a good show. Used to be the tickets were seven or eight dollars and the shows were at the Capitol Theater, which held twice as many people. Most of the time there, one or the other of the people involved in the show would comp me in anyway. Now, they don't do that, or they don't do it for me, at any rate, and tickets have gotten too dear. Add to that the situataion at home where Ann works a lot of Sundays and I have to pick her up from work during the hours of the show and it just makes going to Mountain Stage something I really can't do anymore -- one in a long, getting-longer list. . .

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Monday, March 19, 2007     Eerie Resonance
(10:37 am)

You ever notice how sometimes the newspaper horoscopes or the fortunes in fortune cookies eerily resonante with what's actually going on in your life? Today's newspaper horoscope was like that for me. Particularly the last sentence. . .


Today's Fortune, Cookie:

Don't think about it, just play.


Considering that I've bought new guitars lately and have been playing a lot more over the past few weeks, that sentence sent a little shiver up my spine (yes, contratary to popular belief, I am a cordate). Just play. Whoa. . .


Quote of the Day: "I believe in luck: how else can you explain the success of those you don't like?"

-- Jean Cocteau


I think that if I want to make a fortune I'd have to invent an electric razor that actually does shave as close as a blade, or perhaps a parcel delivery service that delivers everything in two to three days for the same price, and who delivers on weekends and doesn't ship packages to unnecessary depots before returning to the destination. UPS is on my shit list at the moment. Not only do they leave packages on my porch without getting a signature, they shipped one package from Kansas to Louisville to Lexington to South Charleston to Roanoke, Virginia, back to South Charleston before delivering it. What was the point of that? I ordered a vintage tweed guitar case for my strat. It was shipped on the 15th. It arrived at the depot in South Charleston the following evening (Friday). I checked the tracking on it this morning. It's still listed as at the depot, not "Out for Delivery" as it should be if it's on the box truck. The delivery date is listed as tomorrow. What conceivable reason could there be for a package to sit in a depot warehouse for three and a half days waiting to be delivered? Stupidity, and little else comes immediately to mind. People, that's no way to run a railroad!

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007     Vernal Equinox
(2:02 pm)

Spring starts at 8:07 PM today, or adjusted for the distance from the beginning of the meridian, at 8:49 in good ol' Charleston. I'm assuming this is correct from my reading of the time adjustments for sunrise and sunset in the Old Farmer's Almanac for 2007. Spring will be a welcome season for me this year. I will celebrate Mean Earraigh this year as an awakening, physically, mentally, and spiritually. I will then look forward to Beltane to celebrate the return of blood flowing through my body with the rising heat of May. I can't wait.


Quote of the Day: "When people are free to do what they please, they usually imitate each other."

-- Eric Hoffer


I'm becoming moderately proficient with my guitar synthesizer. I'm not exactly happy with the documentation that came with it, however. I discovered a function that is nowhere mentioned in either the manual for the snthesizer module or the pickup. If you press the up or down button on the pickup, it will move one patch in the direction indicated. If you hold the button down and press the other button it will cycle quickly through the patches, so you can arrive at your destination quicker than by repeatedly pressing the up or down button. This would be useful information and most people probably wouldn't stumble on it. Also, I'd like to have a little technical information, such as the pin outs on the 13-connector jack and perhaps some wiring diagrams. I'd love to get a ghost system from Stewart-McDonald and put it on my Hamer and install a pre-amp, volume control, 13-pin connector, and a couple switches so that I wouldn't have to have a lunky black thing with a loose cable attached to the top of my guitar in order to have synth access. I guess I could buy a guitar already equipped with such, but they seem to start around $1,500 (with the exception of a $1,000 Godin). Gibson has a new Les Paul with separated pickups, an ethernet connection and a breakout box to run the output from each string to a different destination. There's no mention of hooking it up to a Roland Guitar Synth, although with the separated outputs I'm sure it could be done, probably with an added cost box. There's no control onboard for the digital pickup either that I can discern. I'm a little disappointed, too, in that the separated pickup is mounted in exactly the same place as the Roland pickup on my Les Paul, and it looks just as much out of place. The only site I can find online that lists it for sale has a price of $3,999.97 -- three cents short of four grand. And it's blue. Of course for only two thousand more you can get the same guitar with Les Paul's autograph. I wonder if I can get that for my signature? I know, only on a check. . .


Today's Fortune, Cookie:

Sometimes traveling to a new places leads to a great transformation.


I wonder where I'm supposed to travel to? It surely can't be my doctor's appointment tomorrow or the pharmacy. Besides those aren't new places. Where could I go that I haven't been? Mississippi? I don't think I've been there. Paris. That's it, Paris.

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Friday, March 23, 2007     Button, Button, Who's Got the Button?
(11:22 am)

I'm not sure if I mentioned it before, but I've been looking for buttons. No, not the ones with holes that you sew on a shirt or something, but the ones with pins that have sayings or pictures or something to express an opinion. Apparently talk radio has killed buttons much like "Video Killed The Radio Star" (apologies to the Buggles). I usually keep a button on my guitar strap, since I've migrated from cow belly to suede to fabric. And now since I have an individual strap for each of my guitars I need buttons for them. I have a couple of pretty good ones -- a Schwa alien head and the "Don't Panic" button from the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy game. Ann tried to get me some, but could only find any at Hot Topic and they deal mostly with Metal bands or Metal-wannabe bands. The Tool ones are okay. Still I need something more expressive of my own sentiments. I looked all over town, high and low, and found exactly two Madonna buttons at Budget Tapes and Records. I've spray painted them glossy white and put stickers on them:

No @l;e^s!

Those suffice, but I'd prefer better. I looked at the flea market, in every nook and cranny I could think of. I found few patches as well. Seems those are too "Hippie" for current consumption. It finally occurred to me to look online. Almost immediately I found a site that filled my needs adequately if not perfectly. Northern Sun in addition to buttons has other shamelessly liberal merchandise. I ordered eough buttons for my current guitar straps and several news ones if I ever go that direction.


Today's Fortune, Cookie:

Sometimes traveling to a new places leads to a great transformation.


Anybody want to be my friend? Preference will be given to applicants who play musical instruments, especially bass, keyboard, drums, violin, and guitar.


Quote of the Day: "Wisdom is knowing what to do next; virtue is doing it."

-- David Starr Jordan


The rains are coming. My joints tell me so, as does the grayness of the sky. Sometimes I enjoy the rain, but those times are farther between the older I get, and rest assured, I am steadily getting older!

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Monday, March 26, 2007     Ah-ah-ah-AH
(10:17 am)

Choo!

Yup, it's spring all right. I was out earlier pulling weed from our meagre herb and flower bed. I had to quit because of the fearsome foursome: back pain, sneezing and watery eyes, fatigue, and vertigo. I've got fluid behind my ear drum on the right side and it makes me dizzy if I bend over and raise back up. Loads of fun. My doctor only suggested using anti-histamines. So far it's not working too well.


Quote of the Day: "The people in this neighborhood are animals. They'd steal Jesus if he wasn't nailed down."

-- Kinky Friedman (musician, comedian, and candidate for Governor of Texas)


It's time to have Chinese for dinner again. Today's is my last fortune. It's an auspicious one, however. Anyone who wants can send me fortunes from their cookies. My address is:

J. Michael Mollohan
P.O. Box 5534
Charleston, WV 25361-0534

Of course portraits of Hamilton, Jackson, Grant, and Franklin, especially on U.S. currency would be appreciated as well. Even Washington or Lincoln. Actually, anything you'd like to send me would be appreciated and, if desired, acknowledged privately or publicly. In advance, thank you all. Additionally, you can scan the fortunes in and email them to info@ide-a.net if you'd rather save the stamp.


Today's Fortune, Cookie:

Plans?  What plans?


It hit 85 degrees here yesterday, passing 80 inside the house. Such a sudden change in temperature makes me achy and lethargic. Too bad it doesn't make me sleepy. I hate just lounging around doing nothing except perhaps watching television. Hate it! I'd rather be banking dreams, stocking up on R.E.M.'s.

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Tuesday, March 27, 2007     Compaq ist Kaput!
(11:18 pm)

Yeah, it's late. This morning I got up and took Ann to a doctor's appointment. While she was in the doctor's office I went to the grocery store and picked up a few things. When we got home we did the yard work that desparately needed doing. I still have to do some trimming, but the trimmer has to recharge first. At any rate, I neglected to check my e-mail until after two this afternoon. When I sat down to check my messages, the computer was off. I pressed the power button. Nothing. I've checked everything I can think of to determine what the problem is, but I can find nothing obvious. I think it's gone. Now I'll have to buy a new machine. I really hate that. This computer wasn't even two years old. I'll never buy another Compaq or HP computer. I'll stick to Acer, Systemax, and Sony, maybe Toshiba or Gateway. For the time being I'm using either Ann's computer or the laptop. I'm doing this entry from the laptop. Fortunately I had good backups of both hard drives (I hope!).


Quote of the Day: "Humanity has the stars in its future, and that future is too important to be lost under the burden of juvenile folly and ignorant superstition."
 
-- Issac Asimov

West Virginia won its game tonight to go to the NIT final. I've always thought that they were snubbed for the NCAA tournament. They were ranked higher than some of the teams that were chosen for the big dance. They had better records than some of the NCAA chosen. They beat UCLA fer chrissakes! UCLA is in the final four. Maybe if they win the NIT people will take notice and think like I do. I think West Virginia gets snubbed for a lot of things simply because they're a second tier school from a small, poor state. I think something needs to be done about the lack of parity in college athletics. Everytime West Virginia gets a National Championship caliber coach in either football or basketball, after every unexpected season finish, the rumors are rampant about who will lure them away. So far we've been lucky, but luck won't last. Eventually someone will offer Rich Rodriguez or John Beilien more money than they can refuse and pay their buy-out. West Virginia will never have a consistently excellent team in any sport until the money is taken out of the equation. It seems to me that some manner of equity should be introduced into the process. How it is a real test of skill when some teams have the best that money can buy and others have to continually change coaches every time they get uppity and try to win a few games?

Pittsburgh beat the Washington Capitals tonight to clinch a Stanley Cup playoff spot. First time since 2001. The Pens are fun to watch again. I just wish our cable company would carry Vs. and FSN Pittsburgh in HD. I love watching hockey in HD. Nothing prettier. Well, except perhaps Dancing with the Stars. Shandi Finnessy is sooooo hot.

By the way, my order from Northern Sun came Saturday -- three days after I ordered it. Great service!

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Friday, March 30, 2007     Hasta La Vista, Vista
(11:02 am)

Last night I ordered a new computer. It cost me twice (or a little more) than the previous one. This one is being custom-built from top-notch components by a local company. Near as I can figure, it's costing me way less than a pre-configured machine that wouldn't match my needs exactly. This one might not either, but if not then that's my fault entirely. I should have it either tomorrow or Monday. [I'm hoping this goes better than the guitar I ordered three weeks ago yesterday that was supposed to be here in a week -- it's still not here! I'm starting to get mightily pissed.] The great thing about getting the computer this way, too, is that I can still get Windows XP instead of Vista. I was afraid I was going to have to get Vista, and I really hate buying into a Microsoft OS before the second service pack. Not to mention the plethora of software that I have that most likely wouldn't work with Vista. Generally, I hate getting a new computer. It takes up so much time getting it installed and working the way I want it, and the different physical requirements of a new machine almost always involves at least a modicum of rearrangement. This time, I'm having to do more than usual as I'm also trying to work my musical equipment better into the scheme of things. I think the best way to do that would be to move to a house with bigger rooms and better wiring.


Quote of the Day: "Human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives."
 
-- William James

The preceeding quote sounds like the essence of The Secret, that new age book that says you can have or be anything you visualize. This is the great lie of the successful. In saying such things they're not only justifying the wealth, success, and happiness of the most despicible cowards (Kim Jong Il comes to mind), but are also laying the blame for anyone's difficulties at their own feet, which may or may not be the case. It's rather like a social Darwinian version of Karma. In other words, it's bullshit.

My dining room needs to be just a foot wider. . . Visualize, dammit!

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Saturday, March 31, 2007     Rainy Daze
(3:11 pm)

I didn't want to get up this morning. I was toasty warm, comfortable and sleeping soundly. It's been raining since before I woke and the rain has continued most of the day. It's not rained hard, but it's been steady. In addition to making my joints ache the rain puts me in a melancholy mood. I feel like the external fog has been internalized. I have a mist in my brain.


Quote of the Day: "Take care to get what you like or you will be forced to like what you get "
 
-- George Bernard Shaw

I saw a show on PBS with Bill Gates and Warren Buffet answering questions from the University of Nebraska School of Business students. One smarmy little twit asked what they thought of a flat income tax, I believe, hoping to have them validate his neo-conservative, anti-egalitarian ideas. They didn't. Buffet said the tax is already too flat and that rich people should be paying a lot more. The idiot kid looked hearbroken. Gates and Buffet at least give lip service to egalitarian and philanthropic ideals.

I made chili earlier, had a small bowl for lunch, and already I'm tired of chili. That's highly unusual for me. Most times I could eat chili two meals a day, seven days a week. I think it's all part of my soggy mood.

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