Saturday, March 03, 2007

YouTube - Dropkick Murphys - Sunshine Highway

Leave it to the Murphys to remind us of the road we take every year, the road that takes us through Richmond. On our way to the Sunshine State...Two weeks to St. Patty's Day. But who the fook's countin'?YouTube - Dropkick Murphys - Sunshine Highway
Posting is still very much a hit or miss experience. Mostly miss. I'm batting about .021 and feel like I'm stepping up to the plate with Dice-K on the mound. Dice-K, for those of you who aren't Red Sox fans, is the Boston team's new starting pitcher.

Yes, it's baseball season again. The calender shouts, " It's nearly spring! " But the northwesterly breezes whisper, " Not yet. " Temperatures aren't supposed to get out of the 20s on Tuesday.

Donna have been living down here on the south coast of Rhode Island for about four years. Among the things we've learned is that spring's only a rumor here. It stays cold right through late May. The irony is that we always longed to live near the ocean. Endless summers were our dream. Endless winters is what we get, though.

Because of the wind that blows over the choppy waters of Block Island Sound.

Irony is everywhere.

The Sox play the Phillies this afternoon. I'll tape the game and watch it tonight, as I listen to the URI Rams basketball game. URI's playing Richmond, down there. Where it's warm.

Friday, March 02, 2007

YouTube - We Can't Make It Here Anymore - by James Mcmurtry

I think it's time to hear this one one more time...YouTube - We Can't Make It Here Anymore - by James Mcmurtry
The Washington Post is geting rave reviews for its stories about the deplorable conditions at Walter Reed Hospital's Building #18. Instead of giving the paper credit, I'm wondering: What took them so long?

These conditions have been known about for three years. The miltary brass knew. Wounded troops' families knew. Walter Reed isn't located in some far away place with a strange sounding name. It has the same zip code as The Washington Post. Papers like the Post have bureaus and correspondents all over the world, yet this is a story that's been unfolding in a place within walking distance of the Post newsroom.

So I'm not jumping on the Praise the Post bandwagon just yet.

As I read the stories, and see how the cable guys are picking it up, I can't help but recall how Geraldo Rivera made a name for himself. It was back in the early 1970s. Geraldo Rivera in 1972 won an Emmy for his report of neglect and abuse at a Staten Island facility for the mentally retarded. More than thirty years later, you look up " Tabloid TV " in the dictionary, Geraldo's mug shot is right over there in the margin. How far he, and we, have come.

Still. Where was Geraldo, or his journalistic heir or heiresses apparent two or three years ago, when this story should have been broken?

Yes, I'm happy to see the morons responsible for this outrage exposed. I'm pleased that the Secretary of the Army was fired today. I'm hopeful that conditions at Building # 18 will improve faster than you can say, " Cover your ass. "

But beyond that nothing much is going to happen. It's just another case of a bureaucracy doing what it does best. Fucking up, then when it's caught doing that, doing as little as humanly possible to patch things up. Look what happened with Katrina. One minute Mike Brown's getting patted on the back ( " Heck of a job, Brownie. " ) The next minute he's canned and a new boss, same as the old boss, is sitting in that big corner office.

Does this story have legs? No, it does not. It has one leg, and is missing an arm, and nobody will care come next Tuesday.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

More important to me than coffee in the morning is Imus in the morning. I wake up around 6 am and reach for my Am/Fm/short wave radio, which is about the same size as a paperback book. Imus drives me crazy. Too many commercials. Too much talk about autism and lung disease. Too much coughing. Too much of Bernie's sophomoric rants. Too little knowledge of sports shown by Imus's latest sports hack. Too much. Too little. But it's the first thing I reach out for when I wake up in the morning, so there must be something there. It can't all be bad. Can it?

What is it with Imus? Why is he so popular? Why's he a king and queen maker extraordinaire? I know someone who's a regular guest on his show. What this guy likes most about the I Man is his " authenticity. "

In other words, he's real.

A cranky, 65 year old, recovering alcoholic and substance abuser, lung diseased, chronic coughing man whose hair spills out from under his 10 gallon hat like dirty water from a broken main...

That's Don Imus. As I said, he drives me crazy, but I buy whatever he's selling. And for me, at least, he's that first cup of coffee, the first thing you look forward to upon waking up from the fever dream sleep you've been sleeping.
I seem to be back in the Progress Notes saddle. Computers have myriad faults and there are good reasons for steering clear of the things. But one very good thing about them is that they force you to think about things in different ways. They encourage you to brain storm, go the trial and error route. Take my latest problem for example.

I've been going days without being able to access the dashboard, which launches me onto the blank page upon which I scribble these words. Tried all kinds of things to correct the problem. Changed passwords. Attempted to create a whole new blog. Nothing worked.

Then I had a thought yesterday. I've been trying not to watch the cable guys during the day. It's all Anna Nicole all the time and I want nothing to do with it. Yet when I turned on my laptop the first page to come up on the screen is CNN. That's been my home page.

I got rid of that yesterday. Just randomly selected Google News as my new home page. And since then, I haven't had a problem accessing my dashboard.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Some random thoughts on this last day of a short month...

The Dow lost more than 400 points in yesterday's trading. It was a big story, but not big enough to knock Anna Nicole from her perch. The cable guys yesterday had a real story on their hands, one that required their reporters to learn something, and fast, about the ins and outs of Wall Street trading. By closing bell time yesterday, it was big news. By dinner time it was back to all Anna all the time.


I'm watching the Red Sox first spring training game this evening. Tomorrow's March. Next week we turn the clocks ahead. It snowed a few inches the other night, but it's melting as fast as butter on a hot skillet. Spring, with all its broken promises,looms. I'm looking forward to it, like someone looks forward to reconnecting with an old friend who's stabbed him in the back more than once.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

YouTube - I'm Shipping Up To Boston - Dropkick Murphys

Are you sitting down? Ya won't be when ya start watching and listening to this kick out the jambs band...YouTube - I'm Shipping Up To Boston - Dropkick Murphys

It's taken me three days to get to this point. Haven't been able to post anything since Friday. In the meantime I've been all over some other folks' blogs, like a june bug on a screen door. I go to write in Progress Notes and can't. So I go to Colin's blog. Jake's and Terry #1's blog. And bug them. Leave messages like some crazy person who's just learned how to use a telephone.

It's good to be back, but I'm not optimistic. It'll probably be another three days before I get to post again. What's going on here? Maybe it has something to do with that UFO they spotted recently at O'Hare. You haven't heard about that? I hadn't either, until I read an op-ed piece in the Providence Journal about it. As I was reading it I was waiting for the column to take a turn. I was expecting the author to get to some kind of punch line, let us readers in on the joke. But it was all dead serious. Something strange and unexplainable was seen by a lot of people.

Jesus, Mary and Joseph! Does this have something to do with St. Patrick's Day looming on the horizon? Are the Windy City Micks starting to drink heavily already?

Notice this UFO'Brian was seen above an airport calling itself " O'Hare. " The craft probably tried to land at Boston's Logan first. Then the crew heard all that racket: The Dropkick Murphys celebrating The Departed's win at the Oscar show.

" Them natives are restless, boyos, " is what one of the little ( green ) men said to each other.

I think it was Jung who wrote extensively about UFOs and what the deal with them might be. I may be completely wrong about this, but I seem to recall Jung saying something about us all needing things like UFOs, little green men and leprechauns. They serve some kind of purpose. Quasi crazy things designed to keep us from going completely insane.

Especially the O'Brians, McCarthys, and O'Malleys among us.

Speaking of the Murphys. I'm going to try to add some of their music to the blog. Stay tuned...

Friday, February 23, 2007

The Number 23 - Movies - Review - New York Times

Here's the Times review of " The Number 23. " The Number 23 - Movies - Review - New York Times
The actor Jim Carrey was on the Letterman show the other night. He came out to thunderous applause, sat down and informed the host that his name and Letterman's contain a total of 23 letters:


Carrey was on the show to promote his new movie: The Number 23. The flick's about a man who is obsessed with that number. Sees it everywhere. Finds it everywhere. Makes connections, connects the dots that add up to the number 23.

There was this patient on the psych unit where I worked. He was like that. It wasn't a number with which he was obsessed; it was street signs. Stop. Yield. Low Shoulder. Squeeze Left. Whatever the signs said, he thought they were speaking directly to him and that the words were a code. The thing I remember most clearly about this guy was how " normal " he seemed. He wasn't one of the frequent flyers, the chronically ill who kept coming to us. He held a good job. Had a wife and a family. A nice home. But he couldn't get those thoughts out of his head. He saw the signs, and they were driving him crazy.

I will not bore you with what was going on in his head, or what the signs may have represented ( Other kinds of signs? ) Suffice it to say, I thought about him when I heard Carrey talk about his latest project.

And I thought about this.

It was back in the early 1980s. I was senior writer for an ad agency in Hartford. There was this woman I'd befriended when we both had worked at another Hartford shop. K. was 11 years younger than me. Which would have made her 22 when we met. She was tall with long naturally blonde hair. She was athletic, having played for her college volleyball team. But she was no Tom Boy. Wore high heeled shoes and tight dresses.

K. and I did what friends do. We talked on the phone. I'd be sitting in my office and get the urge to call her.

" Hey McCarthy, what's up? "

" Wanna go out for a beer after work? "

" Sure. "

" Meet you at the Russian Lady? "

" 5:30? "

" 5:30. "

" See ya there. "

" See ya there. "

We'd meet, have a few drinks. Sometimes I'd go back to her place and we'd have one or two more.

I know what you're thinking. C'mon. You were more than just " friends. "

You'd be wrong. That's all we were. I had a wife, and she had a boyfriend. We had a heart to heart talk once about a guy with whom her boyfriend worked. He was cheating on his wife and she was appalled by his behavior.

I guess what I'm telling you is a When Terry Met Sally kind of story. Which raises the question: Can a man and a woman really be friends?

One day, as I was driving home from work, a thought occurred to me. K's father had a nickname: Bud. Her boyfriend's name was Billy.

Billy Bud.

That got me started. I began to follow E.M. Forster's advice: Only connect. I started connecting the dots. Came up with all kinds of " coincidences " related to the novelist Herman Melville.

Billy's " her man. "

Wow. That's what I thought.

K's parents had a cottage on a lake in New Hampshire. She invited Donna and me up for a weekend. On our way there I saw a sign: Entering Melvin Village.

MELvin VILLage. Melville.

K. had a hobby. She collected scrimshaw, which is, of course related to whaling, which is, of course, what Moby Dick is about. The name of the hockey team that played in the Hartford Civic Center in those days was The Hartford Whalers.

K. lived on a street called South Quaker Lane. Quakers play a major role in Melville's novel about a man's obsession. With a whale.

I could go on, but I won't.

But I will add this to this story. If you spell out my name and the name of the woman who was my friend, the letters add up to:


I am not making that up.
Might as well beat my editor, the right ( most of the time ) honorable Terrance Collins, to the punch. It's Geffen, not Geffin. Collins missed his calling; Max Perkins pales in comparison.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Obama’s Big Screen Test - New York Times

The following is an op-ed piece by New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd. Dowd recently interviewed Hollywood power broker David Geffin who had some interesting things to say about the former Beverly HillWillies. Read Dowd's piece and notice two things. Geffin's quote well into the piece about longing for the days when candidates were chosen " in smoke filled rooms. " Then go back to the beginning of the piece, where Dowd describes the room in which she is interviewing Geffin. " A crackling fire burns, " as they speak.

Where there is fire there is smoke. As David Byrne and those Talking Heads sang: Same as it ever was. Same as it ever was.

Obama’s Big Screen Test - New York Times
The country is eating the Anna Nicole Smith coverage up, like rats supping on vomit projected onto a cellar floor.

MSNBC is the worst, and no wonder. Dan Abrams is calling the shots. Before getting this job, Abrams had his own show on MSNBC. I couldn't watch it. Not just because of the subject matter, which was typically a lesser version of the Anna Nicole saga. It was him, Dan Abrams, who I couldn't stand to lay eyes on.

Abrams had been a legal correspondent for NBC Nightly News in the 90s. And a damn good one at that. Whenever there was a pithy Supreme Court story to cover, Dan Abrams got the nod, and did a hell of a job translating legalese into a language viewers like me could understand.

Then he got his own show. And started to make Geraldo look like Edward R. Murrow.

Yes, MSNBC is the worst. But CNN and Fox haven't been much better during this latest legal three ring circus. Abrams influence seems to be spreading, like blood and vomit on a cellar floor.