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Saturday, September 1, 2007     Are You Ready For Some Football?
(9:44 am)

It's the first Saturday of college football season. A few games have already been played, though. I watched the LSU mauling of Mississippi State Thursday night and Washington's dismantling of Syracuse last night. Louisville already slaughtered Murray State (73-10!) and several other teams have made their debuts. Today is West Virginia's first game. They're ranked third in the nation behind LSU and USC. Today's opponent is Western Michigan. I can't wait! The game starts at 3:30. I love college football, especially Mountaineer football. I've got my little WV banner and my big WV flag flying. I'll be dressed in blue for the game with my WV ballcap and my WV 2006 Sugar Bowl mug. Whether the mug will be filled with coffee or bourbon remains to be seen.

Today's Fortune, Cookie:

How about if I just give them some of my bean soup?

They've clipped the Charleston Sternwheel Regatta from ten days to four, eliminated the West Virginia Symphony from the lineup, chased off most of the sternwheelers, eliminated the boat races, and now they've banned lawn chairs from the concert area. If they had set out to intentionally kill it off, I don't think they could have done so as efficiently. They still refer to it as "West Virginia's Biggest Party." I've got my doubts about that now. I remember in the Regatta's salad days when they had crowds approaching a million people. The throng is nowhere near a third of that now. It's a shame to see such a good time get ruined by will-intentioned idiots trying to "improve" something that quite frankly needed no improvement. That seems to be the way of things around here. The yuppies-that-be get a notion in their feeble little brains of how nice The East Village was in New York and they try to convert Capitol Street to the same thing, not cognizant of the fact that it takes a population of well over a million people in the immediate proximity to make The East Village work. They even go so far as to name the area, The Village District. Other things have followed similar paths. The Clay Center, which was originally supposed to be an Art Museum was changed to a Palace of the Arts and Sciences, with an emphasis on the exhibits and activities that the upper crust tend to enjoy. Essentially it's a place where folks can wear their white ties and tuxedos. It looks like a wanna-be Kennedy Center, and cost $20 Million more than the Guggenheim in Bilbao, Spain, which is a magnificient piece of architecture. The monied class in this burg have no imagination, no creativity, and no class, and they think they're hot shit. It amazes me. We'll never have a world-class building here or a notable festival as long as the Republicans-in-charge here are mired in their own little constricted view of things, we'll never have anything worthy of notice, but of course, since it all works for them, they'll think everything is just ducky.

Quote of the Day: "I've been making a list of the things they don't teach you at school. They don't teach you how to love somebody. They don't teach you how to be famous. They don't teach you how to be rich or how to be poor. They don't teach you how to walk away from someone you don't love any longer. They don't teach you how to know what's going on in someone else's mind. They don't teach you what to say to someone who's dying. They don't teach you anything worth knowing."

-- Neil Gaiman (English born American Novelist, Journalist, Screenwriter, Children's author and Comics writer of American Gods, amongst many others, b.1960)

I've been reading James Hilton's (no relation to Paris, I don't imagine) Lost Horizon. It's a pretty interesting book. His most widely-known novel was probably Good-by Mr. Chips. This book is where we get the term and concept, Shangra-La. It's not in my top one hundred of great books, but it's an interesting diversion worthy of several days effort before going to sleep.

Here's another of the flame fractal designs I've come up with recently. I wish I knew more about the technical details of these things, since all the programs seem to allow the tweaking of many parameters. I don't know what ranges the numbers should fall in or anything else about the mathematics of them. All I'm able to do is tweak with the more "pedestrian" tools, change the palettes, and edit in Photopaint or Photoshop after the fact. I've come up with some nice pieces, but I've seen others I'd like to be able to approximate and I have no notion how to do it. I'll keep trying. This piece is larger than my usual fare here once again, but I felt to make it any smaller would diminish its impact to the point of the flop of a wet rag on the tile.

Generated flame fractal, modified with Corel Photopaint and Photoshop
"Cosmic Wheat"

(8:26 pm)West Virginia 62 -- Western Michigan 24

It wasn't the prettiest of games, but I think it was instructive to the coach and players. I think next week Marshall will have a huge gold and blue problem. I wish Suddenlink would get ESPN2 HD. I love watching football in High Def. It's almost like being there on the field. Appalachian State defeated Michigan at Michigan today. This is the first time that Michigan had ever played a Division 1-AA team (formerly, now FCS team of Division 1). It's also the first time a Division 1-AA team (formerly) has ever beat an AP ranked Division 1-A (formerly, not BCS team of Division 1 -- I think I got all that right).

Ah, college football. . .


Monday, September 3, 2007     A Day for Labor
(12:10 pm)

Someone once asked me, "If there's a day set aside for Labor, why isn't there one for Management, too?" My reply, "There's no need. Management has the other 364 days."

Quote of the Day: "With all their faults, trade unions have done more for humanity than any other organization of men that ever existed. They have done more for decency, for honesty, for education, for the betterment of the race, for the developing of character in men, than any other association of men."

-- Clarence Darrow

It's been said that the hardest thing to do is to know how to do something well and sit silently by while someone else does it poorly. True, this a difficult thing to do, and without this ability skills would not be passed on to others, but even harder for me is to know how to do something well and sit idly by while someone else does it poorly, knowing that they'd gladly let you handle the task were you not infirm, restrained in some way, or otherwise physically incapable of doing it.

Today's fortune is from my pal, Em:

Today's Fortune, Cookie:

Unconventional?  Moi?

I had hoped to do something useful with my life. From certain perspectives, I may have done so, but in my own mind, so much is unfinished. So much has fallen short. So much is slathered with the butter of regret. Not only that but I can't seem to keep my car or my glasses clean.

Generated Fractal (no post processing)
"Rainbow Warrior"

Thursday, September 6, 2007     I'm Feelin' HotHotHot
(3:27 pm)

This summer has been brutal. It's 95 right now. Fortunately recent days have seen 20% humidity levels instead of the usual 100% we get most Augusts. It's so hot I can feel it from outside even though the temperature inside is in the 70's. Or at least I imagine I can.

Today's Fortune, Cookie:

. . . and one of 'em is named Earl.

My innocuous comments about Mae's CD and my taste in music have reaped massive derision from uninformed, inattentive, immature people. I won't bother to point you in their direction, since these opinions mean absolutely nothing. There were some people on one site who defended me in a somewhat timorous manner, for which I thank them. The ones who trashed my writing did so based on half-read passages, things taken completely out of context, misjudgments, and from what I can tell, hallucinations. There was even one person who commented that my 'blog' is a mess. Can this be demonstrated? I don't think so. It might not be flash-bang or arranged in the manner of blogspot or LiveJournal, but, tell you what folks, I've been around longer than either of those, and my way of doing things is better in my estimation, since you can start at the top and read in chronological order instead of going to the bottom to start, scrolling up, reading down, scrolling up, reading down, scrolling up, etc. Makes for a tedious time if you're catching up. Other than that, I can't see where this page is anything but orderly. Perhaps it's my writing that's the mess. I never claimed to be monolithic in my subject matter or in my thought processes. I'm just putting things out here for people to look at. Of course very few of my opinions on here go unchallenged, sometimes just in the reader's mind, other times in e-mail, guestbook entries, or some other site that I'm not immediately aware of. Some people. . .

Quote of the Day: "What an immense mass of evil must result...from allowing men to assume the right of anticipating what may happen. "

-- Leo Tolstoy

Did you finish War and Peace while you were at the beach? Okay, it wasn't that clever a comment -- it's just that you see attractive women in skimpy swimwear at the beach in movies and on television reading Tolstoy's classic, like they'll ever finish it looking like that, not while there is a single molecule of testosterone floating in on the tide.

NOTE: I've done it again. I made this entry and got interrupted and when I got back to the computer I neglected to upload it. A day late and a euro short again.


Friday, September 7, 2007     RE: the previous entry's note.
(11:03 am)

Once again proving that Thursday is Anything Can Happen Day.

Today's Fortune, Cookie:

Are you saying I should move?

I want to say a little more about what it is that I do here. Often times this is a place for me to 'talk to myself,' sort of a one-person sounding board. I work out ideas and compose thoughts to see if I can come back a few months later and still figure out what was going on in my head. I also like to get feedback from people who read this. Occasionally I get a thoughtful response to something I've written and in many cases this results in a backchannel conversation that results either in a modification of my outlook or a change in the other person's opinion on matters. More often however, I get nothing at all, or if I do it's someone pointing out my errors or shortcomings. Life appears to be like that for me. I'm just error-prone, stupid, and parochial in my thought.

Quote of the Day: "Art has absolutely no existence as veracity, as truth."

-- Marcel Duchamp

Anyone who has watched the Bravo program, Inside the Actor's Studio knows that James Lipton asks all his guests the questions from Bernard Pivot's Questionnaire. I thought I'd take the quiz myself. I'm not sure what it reveals about someone, but here goes. If you'd like to offer an analysis of my answers, feel free. I'd be delighted to read whatever you write.

What is your favourite word?

What is your least favorite word?

What turns you on?

What turns you off?

What is your favorite curse word?

What sound or noise do you love?
Rain on a metal roof

What sound or noise do you hate?
European emergency sirens

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
Film director

What profession would you not like to do?

If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
Hi honey, you're home.


Saturday, September 8, 2007     West Virginia 48 -- Marshall 23
(4:08 pm)

I really wish Suddenlink Cable would get ESPN2 HD. I also wish ESPN would not let Pam Ward do any more play-by-play for games I watch, preferably none at all. She has a voice that makes me tense for starters. Then, add to that the fact that she makes more mistakes than any other play-by-play announcer I've ever heard. I do not like the job she does.

The game had me worried for the first half, plus. At halftime, Marshall lead 13-6. It looked like someone had forced the teams to swap uniforms. Marshall looked more like a top ten team that West Virginia did. I'm glad things finally got straightened around. Steve Slaton got almost 150 yards rushing in the second half, which is a good thing since he only got 4 yards in the first stanza. Noel Devine didn't get a lot of playing time or a triple-digit total yards, but he did score two touchdowns. This kid is amazing. He's going to outshine Steve Slaton in the long run, although I doubt he's big enough to go on to the NFL. I hope the team gets their shit together enough to beat Maryland Thursday night and can roll over all their Big East foes. If they do, and someone manages to beat either LSU or USC, they could easily play for the big cookie.

Today's Fortune, Cookie:

But I like flowers. . . and side streets. . . and alleys. . . heh heh heh.

I have to wonder if West Virginia's performance in the first half will affect their number three ranking. I sure hope not, but depending on how the number 4, 5 and 6 teams do today, it might.

Quote of the Day: "We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical aid, but by an infinite expectation of the dawn."

-- Henry David Thoreau


Wednesday, September 12, 2007     Potpourri
(9:54 am)

Lots of things on my mind lately. I didn't make an entry here Monday or Tuesday, mainly because I was driving to Morgantown and back both days. The day I'd really like to be in Morgantown is tomorrow -- for the WVU-Maryland game. Monday on the way back it rained like hell. I had to slow down to 40 MPH on the Interstate. It wasn't because my Michelins wouldn't handle it, but because I couldn't see well enough to go any faster. That was quite a downpour. The rudeness and aggressiveness of people on the highway astonishes me. There are a good-sized contingent who seem to think normal highway driving is a competition. That's not hard to explain, given that everything in this society is primarily based on competition, even things that shouldn't be. It's sad.

Today's Fortune, Cookie:

Does it mean psychiatric help?

Anyone? Have you ever noticed that bad smells are specific to location? City bad smells are completely different from country bad smells. A bad smell in Missouri is not the same as one in West Virginia. I expect humidity and availabilty of materials have something to do with the variation.

Quote of the Day: "An abstract painting need in 50 years by no means look 'abstract' any longer."

-- Marcel Duchamp

Marcel had a lot to say, particularly about art that speaks to my spirit.

I had planned to write a lot more about a lot more things (hence the title of this entry), but suddenly I don't feel so good. I think I need to go lay back and put my feet up. Driving over 600 miles in two days has me worn down a little. I used to be able to do that and not think twice about it the next day, but since my trip to New Hampshire, where I drove over 1400 miles in a single day, I've had to limit my trips to 300 miles or less, and separate them by several days. Getting old sucks.


Sunday, September 16, 2007     Rest In Peace, Mae
(3:24 pm)

Mae Hershman, the long-time owner of The Southern Kitchen here in Charleston, has died. The fate of the restaurant is unknown at this time. Her sister says she'll keep it going until she can determine what Mae's wishes are. Her name was Delsie Mae, but I only ever knew her as Mae. She was a feisty old gal with a penchant for chickens. The restaurant is crammed to the rafters with ceramic roosters and hens, metal birds and any other variety of chicken figure you can imagine. I'm sure she had chickens embroidered on her cushions at home. Rest well, Mae. You deserve a respite from working long hours for over 80 years.

Quote of the Day: "You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you."

-- Leon Trotsky

Friday night, my son Sean and I did a duet act for the open stage at Unity. We did Pink Floyd's "Brain Damage" and a version of "House of the Rising Sun" that was as close to the Animals' version as anything. The short set was well received. Everyone loved our fedoras too.

Today's Fortune, Cookie:

Romance?  What's that?

I'm having problems with Musician's Friend. They owed me a next day FedEx shipping on my next order, so when I placed the order Thursday morning I expected to see it Friday morning. Well, it MIGHT be here tomorrow. At the very minimum, that's four days. Exactly what part of next day do you suppose they don't understand? The order I placed was trivial to them, but essential to me, and I had to change plans and put off some things I really wanted to do because of their inability to grasp a simple concept. Calling did nothing -- except perhaps to piss of the sales supervisor and cause him to cancel my order. If he did I'm really going to be pissed. If FedEx doesn't show up in the morning with a package for me, I'm calling back and I'll want to be speaking to someone higher up the food chain. I think their company has gotten to the point where the point of the business is the business and not the service they provide. So many large scale enterprises go this way and there's no way for the individual customer to work out a problem. It's love it or leave -- no other option. Pisses me off.


Wednesday, September 19, 2007     Zzounds Good To Me
(11:12 pm)

I've been buying music gear from Musician's Friend since 1990. That was about six years after they begain business. This last experience with them has convinced me that they've gotten too big to do a good job. I got HALF of my order today. I placed the order last Thursday morning. It was supposed to be shipped overnight FedEx. Well, actually it was, but the package wasn't shipped until yesterday. I called to check on the disposition of the other item and the girl I talked to said it would probably ship today. That make the overnight shipment taking a week to be sent and get here. That's ridiculous. I know they just moved to a new warehouse, but one would assume that they'd have things ready to roll before they moved in. It's a terrible thing to watch an organization you've dealt with over a long period of time disintegrate. They told me that no order ever ships on the day it's received. It takes 24 hours to validate the credit card. Why??? No other place I deal with online or via phone takes more than a few minutes, tops. I've gotten shipments from Europe quicker. A few months ago I placed an order with Musician's Friend and one with Zzounds on the same day (Thursday). The Musician's Friend order arrived in two installments, the last parcel on the following Thursday. All of the Zzounds order arrived Saturday morning. If they can do that, why can't Musician's Friend? I'm dealing with Zzounds or Sam Ash from now on. Musician's Friend has lost a loyal customer.

Today's Fortune, Cookie:

Do I need a certificate of authenticity?

Why is it that in the 50's, 60's and into the beginning of the 70's there was a gas station on every other corner? And they all had people to pump the gas for you, and they all made a profit. Today, the gas stations are sparce and you have to pump your own gas and it costs an arm and a leg and the stations barely manage to stay open. Yet, the oil companies have consistently made record and obscene profits. Reagan started this mess. Deregulation and corporate mergers have managed to concentrate wealth and power in the hands of very few people, and the rest of us are placed in thrall to these mercantile masters. Something's gotta give.

Quote of the Day: "The man who never alters his opinion is like standing water, and breeds reptiles of the mind."

-- William Blake

I can't wait to see what tomorrow will bring. Some mornings it's not worth the effort to chew through the straps. . . (Emo Phillips)


Monday, September 24, 2007     End of a Relationship
(1:56 pm)

My decade and three-quarters relationship with Musician's Friend, 17 of the 24 years of their existence, is over. I got the second half of my order this morning, 11 days after I ordered it. Overnight shipping where these people are concerned is pointless and meaningless. It seems like everything that could possibly go wrong does. Zzounds is my new first choice when ordering music gear online or over the phone. I feel kind of bad, since at one time I had a pretty good run with Musician's Friend, but the state to which they have deteriorated necessitates a change.

Today's Fortune, Cookie:

Let what go?

Researching some of the visitors to my web pages, I came across a cable company/broadband provider in France. It was relevatory. Everyone seems to think that having 128 channels, not counting the pay channels and the like on our cable company is pretty good, and that the new six Megabit Internet connection is speedy. Well, guess what? We're so far behind in the US. In France their high speed Internet is 30 Megabit -- five times what we have, and for roughly $10 a month less than here. Their cable service offers 250 channels for, again, less than we pay. Things in other parts of the world have gotten better quicker than they have here. We're sliding backward into a miasma of second-class status. Our cell phones operate on two competing systems, while those in the rest of the world use a single standard. Therefore, we don't get the latest and snazziest phones, or the best service. Some of our cell providers can't even interconnect with others. Our health care is the most expensive in the world and is way down the list as far as quality. Our infant mortality rate is higher than any other developed nation and our life expectancy is the lowest. And now to add insult to injury, the dollar has dropped in value to the point that it's on a par with the Canadian Loonie.

And our news get stranger, too. . .

Do what?

Quote of the Day: "He who rejects change is the architect of decay. The only human institution which rejects progress is the cemetery."

-- Harold Wilson

Yesterday, I heard the sweetest sounding guitar amplifier I've ever heard. It was an Ampeg Portaflex B 12 XT. It was made in 1967, all tube and looks like something out of a 1930's sci-fi serial. It's great. I'm thinking about buying it. Where to put it is the next problem. Right now I have a Fender Blues Jr. and a bass amp sitting in the living room. I need more space, particularly a bigger room for computer and music gear. I'd move it all upstairs to my art studio and seriously downsize that stuff if I had grounded outlets up there, but I don't so that's out of the question. Maybe I could get an electrician. . .


Friday, September 28, 2007     Friday Night Fight
(1:24 pm)

Today is the first real challenge of the season for the West Virginia Mountaineers. This evening they play the South Florida Bulls in Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. This is the stadium where the Tampa Bay Buccaneers play. Over 65,000 seats completely sold out. West Virginia is ranked 5th and South Florida is number 18 in the polls. Last year Coach Leavitt's boys sneaked by the Mounties 24-19. Hopefully this year will be vastly different with WVU on top by a considerable margin. West Virginia is a 6-1/2 to 7-1/2 point favorite. I hope and believe they will win by a lot more than that. So far this season they've always beat the spread. Here's to continuing that tradition.

Quote of the Day: "Scientology, how about that? You hold on to the tin cans and then this guy asks you a bunch of questions, and if you pay enough money you get to join the master race. How's that for a religion?"

-- Frank Zappa

I went to the flea market earlier to see John Bentley, to discuss that vintage amplifier I'm interested in. He wasn't there. I guess I'll try again tomorrow.

Today's Fortune, Cookie:

You know it baby!!

The Les Paul Model I really, really, really want costs about $5,200 -- the Custom Historic 1960 Les Paul Standard VOS model. I suppose I need to get my art or music career in high gear before I can justify or even merely afford something like that. I have well over that much in other guitars, cummulatively, but the most expensive outlay I made is just over $1,400 for any one instrument. Oh to have a room full of Les Pauls and other sweet chunks of wood!

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Potatoes have eyes, and so does this bean!
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