Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Couldn't Not Post This ...

Couldn't pass this one up, being a long-time fan of Strunk & White's The Elements of Style, still the best how-to-write book out there, for my money. Even so, one can take a joke when one gets skewered by it ...

Monday, November 26, 2012

Rock Bottom Remainders

As I was sitting here a little while ago,  I happened to think about the Rock Bottom Remainders. Those of you with a literary bent will probably recognize the name as that of the rock group put together by a bunch of New York Times Bestselling authors, ala Stephen King, Dave Barry, Amy Tan, Ridley Pearson, et al. They played gigs for charity, did tours, went to Memphis, lot of three-chord rock, like that. Retired now, so they say.

And I thought to myself, why, I need to write a tribute to them (sorta), so I whipped out the guitar, used the two most classic rock chord patterns for the verses and chorus, wrote some words and turned on the video cam.

It flowed, O it flowed so easily. I won't liken it to what you might think it flowed like, but from beginning to end, including the upload to YouTube? Eighty-two minutes.

I have to go to Costco now–we are running low on toilet paper. Just a coincidence, really. 

And apologies to the band, if any of them every catch wind of it ...

Rock Bottom Remainders

G,  D, Em, C

Well, the rich book writers they formed a band to sing
some rock and roll/, triple-chord rhythm and blues 
and little bit of soul/ They all went down to Memphis 
on a tour bus made of money/ and they gave themselves a 
name so ironic and so funny.


G, Em, C, D

Rock bottom remainders/
Rock bottom remainders/
For the books that nobody buys/
Rock bottom remainders/
Rock bottom remainders/
Oh, the rich writers you know they tell you lies.

‘Cause you won't see Stephen King in there, no Dave Barry, no 
Amy Tan/ they got more money than Scrooge McDuck, don't 
need no retirement plan/ but my last novel is just right there, way down on the bottom shelf/ remaindered book all alone all alone all alone all alone all by itself …


They all live in gated mansions/ with servants out the wazoo/ they eat paté from plates of gold, caviar and champagne too/ they got baseball teams and private jets
and TV stations galore/ and every time they write a book, they get a whole shitload more.


That’s what they do ...

Sunday, November 25, 2012


Caught the recent episode of Daryl Hall's home studio jam, with Joe Walsh. This is always fun, and when I first started watching it online a few years back, I was impressed with just how good Daryl's chops are. Man can play.

So, uh, can Joe Walsh.

As part of the show, they did a short interview with Walsh, in which he lamented the state of the music industry with some bitterness. Gone to hell, it has, you can't make any money in it any more, all the MP3 freebies stealing the record sales; plus a shitload of the music these days starts out with a drum machine and then has a bunch of virtual instruments laid onto tracks and auto-tuned and nobody really plays anything ...

All of which is true; however, coming from the lips of a man who was in James Gang and the Eagles, among others, and who gave us "Life's Been Good to Me So Far," is there more than a little irony in that ..

"Life's Been Good"

I have a mansion
Forget the price
Ain't never been there
They tell me it's nice

I live in hotels
Tear out the walls
I have accountants
Pay for it all

They say I'm crazy but I have a good time
I'm just looking for clues at the scene of the crime
Life's been good to me so far

My Maserati
Does one eighty-five
I lost my license
Now I don't drive

I have a limo
Ride in the back
I lock the doors
In case I'm attacked

I'm making records
My fans they can't wait
They write me letters
Tell me I'm great

So I got me an office
Gold records on the wall
Just leave a message
Maybe I'll call

Lucky I'm sane after all I've been through
(Everybody sing) I'm cool (He's cool)
I can't complain but sometimes I still do
Life's been good to me so far

I go to parties
Sometimes until four
It's hard to leave
When you can't find the door

It's tough to handle
This fortune and fame
Everybody's so different
I haven't changed

They say I'm lazy but it takes all my time
(Everybody sing) Oh yeah (Oh yeah)
I keep on going guess I'll never know why
Life's been good to me so far baby,
inside the Sad Cafe. 

Oh, My ...

Somehow I missed this one, but having seen it, it cannot be unseen, so I inflict it upon you, too ...

Friday, November 23, 2012

New Anthology Idea

Writer Trent Zelazny and editor and publisher Warren Lapine are noodling with the idea of an anthology of stories to honor Trent's father, Roger. The theme will be tales featuring characters from RZ's extensive list of books and stories, with one exception: Amber is off-limits.

One can contribute to the funding for this at Indiegogo, and I've already done so. Unless it gets funded, it will be invitation-only. I would love to get a chance to write something in Roger's universe, especially Lord of Light, my all-time favorite SF novel. (I have a scene in mind: Yama walks into Sam's bar and as they talk about old times, they are attacked by ... well, I won't give it away, just in case I get a shot at it ...)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Reviewer Cheat

According to the Book Reviewer's Code of Conduct, one is not supposed to review a book that nobody can get. Which is to say, that if the book's pub date is January and you get a review copy a couple months early, you aren't supposed to do the review and put it up because it will piss people off. 

Hey, here's this great book! You should read it!

And you go to find it and realize it hasn't been published yet? Makes you want to pound on the reviewer. Idiot! Why tell me about it if I can't get it?!

Given that set-up, I can't, therefore, tell you about Stephen Hunter's next Bob Lee Swagger novel, The Third Bullet. Because I have friends in high places, I managed to snag a copy–and thank you, Peter–seven weeks before it comes out. 

I can't tell you that it's the most intricate Bob the Nailer yet, that it runs about 475 pp, and gets deeply into the Kennedy assassination conspiracy theories, either. 

Can't say it's a bit wordy and convoluted, but like all of Hunter's work, it is stuffed to the brim with guns and ammo and all manner of twisty things that pay off in the end. Plus the odd bit of action here and there.

No, I'll have to wait until January to tell you these things. But if you are a Swagger fan, maybe it'll help to know that it's on its way, and if you get that gift certificate to iTunes or Powell's, you have something to spend it on ...

Fire Good!

Yesterday afternoon late my thermostat crapped out and died. It's been wonky for a while, and I kept meaning to replace it, but since it mostly worked, I put it off. It's about twenty-five years old, one of the first programmables, and it gave up the ghost. I fiddled with it, replaced the batteries, which I always thought were redundant–if the power goes off, I have a working thermostat, yay!–only the forced-air gas furnace doesn't blow, motor being electrical and all. And I need battery back up why ... ?

But the dead critter was beyond my expertise to resurrect.

Wasn't too cold, we could get by one night with the fireplace and the little electric heater, so we did.

I got on line, found that there are slew of new thermostats out there are programmable. Ran over to Lowe's and got one. (Actually, I ran over to Best Buy, which had them in stock, according to the internet, only to discover their webpage was not-so-accurate, they were out.) 

And why do I want one of those programmables? Chiefly because they pay for themselves pretty quick by turning the heat up or down automatically, thus saving us some energy costs. Yes, I could do it manually, like we did back in the old days. When we didn't have TV remotes, and had to hike fifty miles to school each day through the snow, uphill both ways, fighting off cave bears and sabertooth lions and all ...

So I found a neat toy, the Nest, which was created by the guys who gave us the iPod. Spendy, but let's face it, I got an iPad when I could have gotten a Nook or a Kindle a lot cheaper. I'm a Mac guy to the core.

The Nest is simple to operate: turn it up, turn it down. It learns your patterns and programs itself, though you can override it manually, and has all the bells and whistles, including an app you can put on your table or phone to change it via wi-fi from your easy chair or halfway around the world. Has a sensor that sees you coming and lights it up when you check it. 

Took about fifteen minutes to install, another ten to download the software updates and set it up. I haven't gotten online to get the app yet, no hurry, I just wanted heat, since it's supposed to get chilly tonight.

Onward and upward ...

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


To celebrate our anniversary, my spouse and I went out last evening to our favorite restaurant, a place not far that does rustic Italian food–simple dishes cooked well.

Really, really well. 

I'm not going to tell you the name of the place, which does a nice business, so as not to make it harder to get a table. If you really want to know, you can figure it out. (If you add a comment with the name in it to show me you did it, I'll delete it. My restaurant. Mine, mine, mine!)

The special was grilled duck breast on a bed of garlic mashed potatoes, with a a sauce that included Basalmic vinegar and figs, plus cooked kale. They had me at " ... grilled duck breast ..."

I can't begin to tell you how good it was. I would have picked the plate up to lick it, save that I used the last of the bread to wipe it clean enough it didn't look like it needed to be washed. Waitress said, "That's what the chef likes to see come back ..."

My wife had a homemade pasta dish with squash, also outstanding

We split a dessert–Tiramasu. In this case, it was lady finger cookies soaked in rum, covered in whipped cream and mascarpone and topped with grated chocolate. I had a glass of the fifteen-year-old tawny port to wash it down ...

So much for my healthy diet.

We don't eat this way often. Couldn't afford it, either in money or expanding waistlines and clogged arteries, but O my! Now and then such an indulgence is an absolute joy.

We stopped by the kitchen on the way out, gave the cooks a round of applause, and raved about the meal. Nice to see the chef smile.

Monday, November 19, 2012


Changed the strings on my guitar today, plus some clean-up you have to do once in a while--scrubbing the fretboard. Also dressed the first fret to alleviate some buzzing on the open E bass. You can so this by raising the nut, or gluing the groove flat and re-filing it, or if it's not bad, polishing the fret wire itself, using a nail file and buffing it. This is the easiest and quickest, and it worked fine.

I'll be retuning frequently for the next several sessions, but it will sound ever so much better once the strings settle in.

When the Rain Comes ...

First big fall rainstorm arrived here last night, wind, some branches down, inch and three-quarters rain so far today, steady enough to soak you before you get the dogs half a block.

Funny critters, my dogs. When it is drizzling, they will stand at the back door looking up at me as if I've gone mad–You don't expect us to go out there and pee, do you? And when I shove them outside, they will crab along next to the house under the overhang to find a spot to whiz. Yet walking leashed in a pouring rain doesn't seem to bother them. Probably because I have to go with them ...

Water is over the pedestrian bridge at the creek down the hill, and over the road on 150th, though I've seen it much deeper.

Warm, fortunately, mid-fifties, what they like to call The Pineapple Express, a low that sweeps up from the South Pacific and drenches everything; better than being buried in three feet of snow, by my lights. Hundred percent chance of rain today and tomorrow, dropping to ninety percent on Wednesday ...

Well, there you go. Welcome to the Pacific Northwet ...

And, oh, yeah, our forty-sixth wedding anniversary, too. Yeehaw.

Saturday, November 17, 2012


So, yesterday was full and interesting: Got woke up from a dead sleep at 5:30 a.m. by my two dogs going at each other like rabid wolves. I leaped out of bed and ran to the other end of the house. (Note: Not a good idea, generally. Strained my left calf muscle in the process. Sudden physical activity of this nature from a dead sleep? Better not.)

My wife was already up and about, so she got there first and shoved the hounds apart.

Jude, who is half again Layla's size, always gets the worst of it in such encounters. Time before this, she chomped on his foreleg, drew serious blood, and necessitated a visit to our vet that cost us half a house payment to get him fixed.

Yesterday was not so bad, but she still bit him hard enough to break the skin and have him limping badly all day. I bandaged it, dosed him with ASA and antibiotics and he's better today, but still gimping around. 

The joy of dogs. 

Spent I the morning thereafter working on a book draft. Then did several hours in the afternoon watching the youngest grandson. He's one who will actually go outside, and it's amazing what you can do with a mostly-used roll of electrical tape you find on the street, kicking it and tossing it hither and yon. Good thing, because the rains arrived early this a.m.

Came home, changed clothes, and went to dinner at the home of a couple we've known for thirty-odd years, and then we all drove to a nearby wine bar to have a glass and listen to a guy play and sing covers, accompanying himself on electric acoustic guitar. 

The guitarist had a Bose tower behind him and a fat book of songs, couple of Epiphone steel stringers, and did a lot of geezer soft- and alternative-rock, some folk, and country stuff. (Took requests, but didn't do "Mustang Sally ...")

Our friends really like the guy, told us what a great guitarist he was. He had a pleasant voice, a mellow repertoire, and most of what he did I knew the words to, and sang softly along, as did the rest of the folks watching, all of us baby boomers.

Interesting how your perspective changes if you are going down certain roads. While the guitarist was entertaining, he was doing basic Travis-fingerpicking rhythm behind his singing, all first position chords, nary a barre, and a lot of stuff in G. He'd toe his stomp box and give his voice a nice little delay on the choruses for a richer sound. He was comfortable in front of an audience, had good interaction and patter, and I liked his song choices.

Great guitarist? Not as such. 

Still, it goes to the Johnny Cash Theory–you can do a lot with three chords and the truth. Less can sometimes be more.

Last night, our power went out as the rains began to come down hard, aided by a vehicle smacking into a power pole around the corner, and something about the total quiet and darkness (and knowing that you have to get up in the morning and reset the clocks and restart your computer, nags at you as you lie there, so sleep was a bit sketchy. 

Just another interesting Friday ...

Another First World Problem

There are people in this country who have real problems. They have cancer, or some serious debilitating illness. They don't get enough to eat;  live in their cars; some are still without power weeks after the nasty east coast hurricane, so I don't get to seriously bitch about anything; still, there is a tiny thing I find perplexing ...

Costco, in its wisdom, began offering their monstro packages of toilet paper with extra sheets per role. Which, you'd think, is a good thing, right? Except that in Steve's house, the TP rollers are inset into the cabinets or close enough to the walls that you can't use this fat new roll upon these devices because it is too big to fit. Put it on, you can't unroll it; it simply tears off. So you leave it on the back of the toilet until enough has been unspooled until you can stick it on the roller, or you come up with one sheet when you grab it ...

I know, I know, it's like missing the little cutter when pull out a section of dental floss and winding up with two feet of the stuff in hand, boo hoo, but there you go ...

Friday, November 16, 2012


Got a phishing phone call this morning from somebody with a pronounced Indian accent wanting to fix my security code in my Windows™ operating system. 

I don't run Windows™ I said, and if I did, I wouldn't be giving out any information, nor taking any from some dweeb calling me on the phone, because that's not how security breaches are addressed, and if you don't know what my computer OS is? You are a liar.

He hung up on me. 

How rude ... 

A word to those of you who might not know this: You aren't going to get an email or phone call from your bank, internet service provider, computer company, or software maker asking you to give out personal information because they are trying to protect you. 

Anybody who does that is trying to rob you. Tell them nothing. 

We're not just talking about the guy from Nigeria who wants to send you ten million bucks, nor the one who tells you that you won the Spanish lottery even though you never entered it. Some of the emails look legitimate, there will be the company logo and all, and sometimes, the grammar will actually be mostly correct. 

Sometimes the giveaway is really funny. An official-looking email from Comcast™, telling your that your security has been breached and you need to send in your password so they can check it further: "Please to remit password for additional verifications please ..."

The folks at BoA or Citibank or Wells Fargo don't talk that way.

If your Caller ID says "Private?" Or even if it offers the name of a company? Don't go there. You can legally spoof Caller ID in most places, there are programs you can get to do it, and if there are security breaches of your OS, you can bet there will be notices on the net and in the local news. Reputable companies will never ask you for this stuff this way. Don't click on anything, put it straight into the trash and secure empty it right now. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Silent Movie

The Closet Musicians rock out "Mustang Sally." It being a Mack Rice song not in the public domain, I can't legally share the sound with you, but you can see the group, sans Anna, who shot the vid from her  little camera. (Long-time basketball fans will notice a lifesize poster of Clyde "The Glide" Drexler in the b.g. behind the washtub bass player ...)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Loons Speak

Post-election and the loons are out in force: I speak here of the movement in various places to secede from the union. Apparently there are a whole bunch of states with at least ten thousand signatures on such idiotic petitions, once again proving that nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of (at least some) of the American public. 

Gonna form your own country, Alabama? Crimson Tideland? How about you, Tex? Lone Starbeeria?

Bundle 'em altogther and you get ... Dumbfuckistan. 

Or maybe ... Bubbaland ...

Hey, you there, boy, lemme see yore pass-a-port! All right now, you read to me what it says, and don't lie to me ...

I recall that George W. Bush still had a 27% approval rate when he left office, and I wouldn't be at all surprised if most of those agitating to leave aren't smack dab in the middle of that bunch.

Speaking here as a son of Louisiana who grew up listening to folks tell me to save my Dixie cups 'cause the South will rise agin! It's been tried, folks. Didn't work then, certainly won't work now, and you really have to wonder: Has anybody thought this through, past sour grapes that the black guy got reëlected? 

If folks turned half the energy they spend on such stupidity toward making the country a better place? We could achieve paradise on this world, no need to wait until the next ...

Monday, November 12, 2012

Tower of Song

We saw Leonard Cohen in concert last night at the Rose Garden, the Old Ideas tour. They had the venue curtained off to make it smaller, what they call Theater of the Clouds, which seats four or five thousand, and it was sold out. We had good seats, and had ourselves a fine old time.

You probably know about Cohen, a Canadian-born poet who eventually got into putting his poems to music. He's been around forever, though we discovered him only about twenty-five years back. Came across him singing "Tower of Song" on some TV show and was instantly hooked by his deep voice and lyrics.

If you haven't heard him or of him, you almost certainly know his songs, which have been covered by all kinds of artists. "Bird on a Wire," "Suzanne," "Hallelujah." He writes about love and pain and sex and apparently knows a lot about them all.

His life story is fascinating, which story includes leaving showbiz and moving to a zen monastery at Mount Baldy, where he lived for years. Eventually, he left and went back out on the road. The reason given is that his manager ripped him off for millions and he was broke, but that wasn't really it.

Years of booze and cigarettes turned his voice into a basso profundo so deep I can't hit any of the bottom notes and have to sing his stuff up an octave. I bet his zen chants are something to hear.

Cohen got a standing ovation when he took the stage, dressed in his signature outfit: A dark  gray suit and fedora, and rightfully so: The man is seventy-eight years old. The show began around eight p.m. and ended around eleven-thirty, with a twenty minute break between sets. He stood most of the time, now and then he dropped into seiza (both knees down) , and when he popped back up from kneeling, he made it look effortless. All those years of zazen.

Sneaked in a couple of Oms, recited poetry to a soft jazzy background, took off his hat and bowed to each of the band or singers as they did solos, and they all got a chance. Well, except for the drummer, of course ...

He fronted a great group: Three back-up singers, a lead guitarist, acoustic guitarist, acoustic twelve-string and an oud–something that looks like a giant mandolin; a violinist, a bassist, a drummer, keyboardist. Cohen sang, played electric nylon string, a bit of rinky-tink keyboard, and even a mouth harp. As tight a group as I've ever heard, they had everything nailed perfectly. The audience sat there rapt, somebody occasionally yelling out, "We love you, Leonard!" He laughed and bantered with the audience as he ran through fifty-some years worth of albums.

I went to hear "Tower of Song," and "Hallelujah," "Ain't No Cure for Love," "Take This Waltz," "Everybody Knows," and "I'm Your Man," and he did all those and a whole lot more. One of the best shows we've ever seen.

Saturday, November 10, 2012


Back in the hippie era, after the Beatles got back from India, I got into yoga. I learned how to do mantra meditation and asanas, and I did both, twenty minutes or so each, twice a day. As a result, I was a much more mellow, live-and-let-live kind of fellow, and much more flexible physically than I had been before. 

Time passed, and as it did, I stopped meditating. Part of that was due to a come-to-realize moment aided by Krishnamurti's comment about mechanical meditation, i.e. the silent intoning of a mantra; part of it was because I found out that the teacher who'd given us the magic word was something of a fraud, and that kinda took the bloom off the rose. My personal magic sound was, in fact, the same as everybody else's "personal mantra" in our group. A stab to the soul, learning that.

And while I persisted in the asanas for a time, mostly as a precursor for my martial arts workout, those faded, too as life got in the way. You don't have to be a rubber band to do our style of silat. No kicking apples off the top of somebody's head.

As a result, I became less-mellow with stiffer muscles and joints. (Note: If you don't mind wading through the technical aspects of a study on meditation that ends up saying doing it does likely change how your mind works, check this out: Amygdala ...)

I was okay with the less-mellow part. And I knew the cure for the stiffness would be to do daily stretches or get back into yoga postures, but the breathing for asanas is pretty much the opposite of silat breathing, so that's something of a problem.

Still, those tight hamstrings needed something.

Enter the Sonicare™ electric toothbrush ...

Those of you who don't know, this device, run on a rechargeable battery, brushes your teeth for you. You push a button and move it the business end around in your mouth–keeping your lips closed so as not to spatter toothpaste hither and yon–and the oscillating brush scrubs away. It runs through a cycle, depending on the setting. Every thirty seconds, it beeps. On the "Clean and White" setting, you get three minutes at the top speed.

Okay, Steve, you got our attention. Pray explain, if you possibly can, how a toothbrush has squat to do with tight hamstring muscles? And keep it clean, will you? Sometimes my kid reads this blog ...

O ye of little faith ...

Crank up the Sonicare™ and at the same time, prop your left (or right, if you wish) foot onto the bathroom counter. Be careful with your balance, as you will be standing on the other foot and such a stance can be tricky. If you do this and fall down and break something, that's your lookout, I warned you, don't blame me. 

As the brush drones and does its thing, lean onto the propped up foot and feel the stretch in your hamstring muscles. You don't want to try to put your head on your knee, just a mild tug, less than comfortable, but not into major pain. Keeping your spine as straight as you can is also a good idea. Relax into the muscles and go deeper as tension permits.

Halfway through the cycle–three beeps–switch legs, and repeat. (Note: You'll, uh, want to move the propped foot down first ...)

When the brush stops, you are done. Foot down, spit, rinse, and presto! cleaner teeth and looser legs.

I mean, you are just standing there and it's not rocket science to move the toothbrush around, so you could do something else, and a minute and a half on each side is better than nothing. 

Over the last week I have been doing this and already I am more flexible. Maybe even a bit more mellow, being as a result, you know, less of a tight-ass ...

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Got Air?

Got into a discussion with Mushtaq on FB after he posted a note about a NoCal man who shot a couple burglars who broke into his house. The shooting was good, but the shooter was a convicted felon, so the deputies busted him for possession of a firearm. Dunno what his crime was, it doesn't say yet.

Which raises all kinds of right-to-protect-yourself questions, and what being a felon does to your ability to own guns.

If you kite checks or get caught with a reefer, I'd be inclined to cut you more slack on the no-felons-with-guns rule than if you were an armed robber or a killer. 

In California, if you are a felon (or even convicted of some kinds of misdemeanors,) you can't legally own or possess a firearm or even ammunition, and the law there specifies a firearm as any projectile weapon that uses some form of combustion to drive a missile through a barrel. It specifically excludes pellet and BB guns.

This disallows black powder, but not bows or crossbows or spearguns. The Green Arrow notwithstanding, a bow isn't that fast a weapon, you need to do it with one arrow most of the time, and in a house-defense against multiple attackers, even a PCP speargun, which means you can fire it multiple times without recharging, you do have to reload a spear after each round, not so good.

However, there are plenty of PCP (that's pre-charged pneumatic) pellet rifles that are powerful enough to drop a deer. They are spendy, but I'd guess legal to have under the bed at if you are an ex-con.

I did a bit of research and came up with this, a PCP handgun designed for small game. The Evanix Hunting Master AR6 uses .22 caliber pellets, and granted a .22 pistol is not a rhino-stopper; however, six rounds at 900-1000 fps would likely give a burglar pause, enough to make him think maybe this house was a bad idea.

Just for you felons who need a heater for home defense ...

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

The Mouse Strikes Back

Got a note from a fan about Disney's acquisition of Lucasfilm, and the possibility of doing Shadows of the Empire as a movie. The problem, of course, is that SOTE takes place between episodes V and VI, (The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.) Without a time machine, none of the actors could play the roles, them all being somewhat older than they were when the first trilogy was filmed.

I always thought it would make a fine animated movie, or maybe even a TV series. Given The Clone Wars on the tube, that's not beyond the realm of possibility. And the original actors could do the voices, which would be a selling point, I'd think.

Of course, I wouldn't make a nickel from such a project. I got paid well for the book, but don't have a piece of anything else; still, I'd love to see it.

Disney needs to make its money back, and Shadows was,  if I do say so myself, a great story, everybody but Han in it, and a nasty villain that Princess Leia knees in the nuts.

Are you listening, Mickey?

Monday, November 05, 2012

Last Political Post of the Cycle

Last Political Post of the Cycle: Tomorrow is election day for most of us. Some of us get to vote early, and I did so about a week back, so it's all over for me but the vigil.

Here's a deal for my Facebook friends on both sides of the aisle: 

If my guy wins, I won't crow about it. If he loses, I won't bitch about it. The people will have spoken, and while I have spent way too much time moaning and groaning about how blind and stupid the people can be -- George W. Bush? Twice? -- win, lose, draw, that's how it goes. 

I hope my FB friends will follow similar paths. If you are voting for the other guy and he wins or loses? Shut up about it either way. I expect that most people are sick of electoral politics by now, Lord knows I am, and even if you love the stuff, the best ice cream in the world will make you puke if you gobble too much of it.

No hard feelings from me to my friends on the other side of political aisles. I'm not ready to cut you loose because we differ on heartfelt issues. Reasonable people can disagree. Sometimes they should disagree.

But: If you persist in your high-fives, or pissing and moaning, depending on whether your guy wins or loses, for more than about two minutes? Unfriend me now because I will be reaching for that button to do it to you. Nobody likes a poor loser, and nobody likes a poor winner, either. Shut up already. Feel good or lick your wounds, but do it quietly.

If we've learned nothing else from the tsunami of half-truths and outright lies that have filled our radios and TVs for the last year, we should have learned that unless we stop trying to stab the other side in the back and work together, we won't be getting shit done in this country.

Whoever wins is going to have a mountain to move and a dull shovel with a warped handle with which to do it. Whatever promises he made, he cannot possibly keep them all, or even most of them, you can't possibly believe that if you have ever read a newspaper. If you step up to impede the man with the shovel, to make it worse, you are part of the problem and the very least you can do is get out of the way.


At the gym yesterday, working the pec deck, I got a bit too frisky. Angled my grip wrong, and strained my left wrist. I felt it give.

Well, crap. Here I was, not even halfway through my workout, and, well, crap. 

So I quit, wrapped it, iced it, and elevated it.

Um. That's what you are supposed to do. 

Remember when you were little and you did something wrong and your Momma or Daddy told you not to do it and you said to them, "But you do that all the time!" And they said, "Don't do like I do, do like I say!"

So here we are, children. When you get such an injury, stop what you are doing and RICE it (For those of you who missed the first aid lecture on Monday because you were too hung-over? That's Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation, which reduces swelling and inflammation and helps speed up the healing process by so doing.)

That's what I was supposed to do. Instead, I did what most of the guys I know would do, even though we all know better: I kept going and finished my workout ...

Bad Steve. Bad. 

So now I have Mr. Wrist taped up and I've been icing it and taking Ibuprofen and like that, but it is costing me more than it would have, had I done what I was supposed to do.

And whose fault is it?

I blame Romney. And maybe pomegranates. Ever tried to separate the seeds from the pith in those suckers? Big mess ...

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Words Fail ...

Time Change

So the fall-back day is here, we gain the hour we supposedly lost in the spring, by cutting it off one end and tying it back to the other ...

I did Orycon on Saturday. Was busy Friday, didn't go, and not today–I usually try to get all my panels and stuff done in two days. Didn't get to do a reading, too bad, I had a couple funny short stories I could have used, but no real complaints.

(Photo by C.P. Timmerman)

Though the hair sure is getting gray out there ...

Had a chance to visit briefly with some folks I enjoyed seeing. 

And a chance to realize how long I've been going to these things ...

After the Kung Fu/Wire Fu martial arts panel, which was interesting and well-attended, I was standing around afterward talking to a couple of martial artists I've known for a few decades. Interesting how the conversation goes with old guys versus younger ones. We all allowed as how we couldn't bust and bang like we did at twenty. How fighting smarter was not only better than fighting harder, it was pretty much the only reasonable option. 

Your physical hopes and expectations change because your abilities change. You have to live with some restrictions because this or that creaks and groans in ways they didn't when you were young and bulletproof. But you also have options because your skill allows you to cheat your way past some of that.

Does make you think ...

Friday, November 02, 2012

One More Song Track

Put up an old one I did, "Black Hearted Soul," swamp-blues, In the player down the page, or here ...

Got to Love This ...

The new iPad Mini ...

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Automobile Forensics

Walking the dogs this morning, and I came across the scene displayed in the pictures above. I think it's pretty easy to see what happened: 

A car or small truck came around the corner, hopped the curb, knocked over a speed limit sign and smacked into a tree. The tree held, the car's windshield shattered and sprayed glass.

That's the what. The "why" is pure speculation: Somebody drunk, maybe having some kind of medical problem, made the turn going too fast. Hit the curb hard enough to chip the concrete, so we are talking some kind of impact away from the rubber. I didn't see any skid marks on the road, but there were on the sidewalk and lawn, so they hit the brakes.

Maybe they were running from somebody. Maybe they were trying to kill themselves and did it on purpose. Can't tell any of that from the signs left behind. If I had to guess, I'd say it was a young man or woman who had been out to a Hallowe'en party, had too many, and lost control. 

Be fun to see if the local news has coverage of it, to see how close I might be in my guess ...