Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Pretty Cool

Look for it in November. Here's an article reviewing Microsoft Surface.

But where's the CTRL-ALT-DEL button?

UPDATE: I'm not sure if this is a high tech toy, or it can actually perform work.

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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

One Fat Lip and a Bruised Shin Bone later...

It's axiomatic in baseball that you MUST always stay in front of the ball (as an infielder) better to get beaned and have the ball drop in front of you than move to the left or right and allow the ball to get out of the infield. That concept is probably the hardest thing to teach to youngsters as they're learning the game. The mind has a natural inclination to avoid an eight ounce object hurtling toward you at 100+mph. As a matter of honor I never dodge the ball.

So it was on Sunday that we all packed up and went to Balboa Park for a game of "catch", did a couple of illegal things like drinking wine, beer and smoking cigarettes. It was a thrill I can tell you, as you might of guessed from a previous post I was on the lookout for the mounted police. Luckily, they did not show up.

After we'd bivouacked, I pick up my mitt and called to my brother to toss the ball around. My brother is a very good ball player although he admits to not picking up a baseball in a couple of years. It's a beautiful day in America's Finest City (San Diego) in a lovely pastoral setting (homeless folks notwithstanding) and we're enjoying America's Favorite pastime.

When you're playing catch you start off slow and close... to get warmed up.
Gradually, you drift farther and farther apart and start throwing the ball harder. That's how it works. No sense throwing out your arm in the first five minutes. After about 10 minutes, we're warmed up, now we're experimenting with knuckle balls, change ups, sliders, curves, et al. All in all we're having a great time.

As happens in this "game", a throw will occasionally get away from you. My brother throws a fast ball in the dirt, my honor at stake I stay in front of the ball but the ball misses the mitt. Instead, a 75mph (he'll dispute the speed) short hopped into my right shin bone.

Jeez, that hurt! !

Gawd, that more than hurt! ! !

Walk it off...

Don't be a wuss.

Alright, I'll be okay. So, we continue the game but to make it more interesting my brothers' son decides to join the fracas. Of course that is totally OK, we must as men (and fathers) hand down the great tradition of baseball to our progeny, he's new to baseball but seems a natural, unfortunately (and I'm not sure if it was the beer or the sun) his first throw to me missed the pocket of the mitt. Instead, the ball hit the heal of the glove (much like a foul tip- which has a tendency of accelerating the ball) and hit me right in the upper lip.

Jeez, that hurt! ! !

Gawd, that more than hurt! ! ! ! !

Walk it off...

Don't be a wuss.

Still, I trudged on and after about 20 minutes my brother was getting tired (well, we were both getting tired) and he started to lose control. Now I found myself in the "backstop" position, i.e., taking hits everywhere. Wrists, ankles, etc... My brother had sufficiently psyched himself out and had completely lost control.

Hey, it happens to everybody. Ask Trevor.

Today it's Tuesday. My shin is swollen, the lip has gone down, my wrists feel like James Caan's ankles in Misery.

Nothin' a bottle of Alleve won't cure.

My honor is intact and I am the Man!

Am I too old for this sh*t?

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Gimme Shoes

Check out Manolo's Shoe Blog No, it's not THE Manolo, but you won't be disappointed.

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Cats vs. Dogs...Who's Funnier?

Excerpts from a Dog's Daily Diary:

8:00 am - Dog food! My favorite thing!
9:00 am - A car ride! My favorite thing!
9:40 am - A walk in the park! My favorite thing!
10:30 am - Got rubbed and petted! My favorite thing
12:00 pm - Lunch! My favorite thing!
1:00 pm - Played in the yard! My favorite thing!
3:00 pm - Wagged my tail! My favorite thing!
5:00 pm - Milk Bones! My favorite thing!
7:00 pm - Got to play ball! My favorite thing!
8:00 pm - Wow! Watched TV with the people! My favorite thing!
11:00 pm - Sleeping on the bed! My favorite thing!

Excerpts from a Cat's Daily Diary:

Day 683 of my captivity: My captors continue to taunt me with bizarre little dangling objects. They dine lavishly on fresh meat, while the other inmates and I are fed hash or some sort of dry nuggets. Although I make my contempt for the rations perfectly clear, I nevertheless must eat something in order to keep up my strength.

The only thing that keeps me going is my dream of escape. In an attempt to disgust them, I once again vomit on the floor. Today I decapitated a mouse and dropped its headless body at their feet. I had hoped this would strike fear into their hearts, since it clearly demonstrates what I am capable of. However, they merely made condescending comments about what a "good little hunter" I am. The audacity!

There was some sort of assembly of their accomplices tonight. I was placed in solitary confinement for the duration of the event. However, I could hear the noises and smell the food. I overheard that my confinement was due to the power of "allergies." I must learn what this means, and how to use
it to my advantage.

Today I was almost successful in an attempt to assassinate one of my tormentors by weaving around his feet as he was walking. I must try this again tomorrow -- but at the top of the stairs.

I am convinced that the other prisoners here are flunkies and snitches. The dog receives special privileges. He is regularly released - and seems to be more than willing to return. He is obviously retarded! The bird has got to be an informant. I observe him communicate with the guards regularly. I am certain that he reports my every move. My captors have arranged protective custody for him in an elevated cell, so he is safe....... For now...

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Monday, May 28, 2007

Thank You

Today is Memorial Day, a day of reflection and a time to say thank you to those who have fallen in service to our country. As you head out the door today for the family picnic or barbeque, please take a moment and pray for those families who've lost loved ones and for a successful conclusion to the current troubles in Iraq. I don't have enough words to describe how thankful I am for the freedom that I and my family enjoys. So I'll let someone else do the talkin' for me.

Danny Boy

IN FLANDERS FIELDS the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place;
and in the sky The larks, still bravely singing,
fly Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead.
Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
God Bless them. And you.

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Sunday, May 27, 2007

Sunday Morning

This is one of my favorite Bob Marley and the Wailers tunes. Enjoy!

Sunday Morning

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Saturday, May 26, 2007

Gestalt Therapy

If I hear/see (fill in the blank) on more time, I'm gonna ...

I'll start...

Say, didn't this shop used to be that candle store?

Your turn.

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The Real Jack Sparrow

"His name was Bartholomew Roberts. The most successful raider in the history of piracy, he took prisoner an astounding 470 vessels, and so renowned was his ferocity that many of those ships were surrendered to him without a fight.
Black Bart was the nickname he was given - and not only because of his black locks and dark eyes. When this swashbuckling Welsh buccaneer had to fight for his prizes, he was merciless. "

Read the entire article here

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Friday, May 25, 2007

Remember that book?

Have you ever come across a reference to a book you read 30 + years ago? Wish you could remember the context of the book? Now you can. Here's a site a came across today that provides synopses on "old books".

It's called the Lost Books Archives.

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Thursday, May 24, 2007

File this under Fitting a Square Peg in a Round Hole

"PETERSBURG, Ky. — The entrance gates here are topped with metallic Stegosauruses. The grounds include a giant tyrannosaur standing amid the trees, and a stone-lined lobby sports varied sauropods. It could be like any other natural history museum, luring families with the promise of immense fossils and dinosaur adventures.

But step a little farther into the entrance hall, and you come upon a pastoral scene undreamt of by any natural history museum. Two prehistoric children play near a burbling waterfall, thoroughly at home in the natural world. Dinosaurs cavort nearby, their animatronic mechanisms turning them into alluring companions, their gaping mouths seeming not threatening, but almost welcoming, as an Apatosaurus munches on leaves a few yards away. "

The entire article is here:

I've never had a problem reconciling Genesis with Science, and evolution. As a matter of fact, I see a wonderful symmetry in "Let there be light", and the Big Bang. It is possible to believe in a Creator and be scientific at the same time. It's too bad this organization spent so much money to provide what is essentially a strange amusement park because I think they missed an opportunity to show how religion and science can co-exist rather than being mutually exclusive. It's also dangerous as some people will actually believe that humans and dinosaurs existed together.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Congratulations to Che Bella!

For winning a spot in San Diego Magazine's Best of San Diego 2007 as Best Upscale Garden Shop.
The June issue isn't on the newstands yet, but we've just received an advance copy. Thank you to the staff of San Diego Magazine and their readers for this honor we're just tickled pink!

By the way, if you caught May's issue of San Diego Magazine the W Hotel's Rice Restaurant is on the front cover. Check out the cool florals (eccheveria). Che Bella's work, naturally.

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Tell us what you really think.

This is an interesting blog by teachers on university life.

Check it out it's pretty funny.

Update: Students weigh in too.

Rate Your Students

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Who Knew?

The latest use for an iPod

Update: Apparently Apple isn't very happy about it.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Creatures of the Deep

Very cool photos of creatures in the deepest parts of the sea. I remember being fascinated as a kid reading a book with all these mysterious looking creatures. Second only to dinosaurs.

The photo's are here

Hat Tip: Popular Science Blog

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Hey, All You Ugly Guys

There's hope for you yet....

but you have to move to England.

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Saturday, May 19, 2007


What a guitar!

Update: A great history on the National Guitar.

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More from the Animal Kingdom (sort of)

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Cat Nation

If you're a cat person, you'll love this site.

Hat Tip: Pajamas Media

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Summertime Summertime Sum Sum Summertime

Hat tip: Tomarra's Blog

"This is for a ClosetFruit Friend-o-mine. Actually he's a summer fruit eater I'm still working on getting him to accept the joyous release of allowing his fruitier side to shine through.

Also it's an ode to every scrumptious neighborhood farmers market - get out there and consume your local organics everybody!

Also it's an homage to my SanDiegoAdoptedMama - Carla is as succulent as the juicy gems which she so freely serves up.

**RawFood Strawberry Cheesecake**

-Pick the ripest most fragrant perfectly ruby-red strawberries you can find from your local U-Pick or the motherlode stand around the corner from your crib. - Get yo'self a tub of creme fraiche (or sour cream will do perfectly in a white-trash-pinch), and a thingy of dark brown sugar (the browner the better - just like me @ the end of summer )

- Dip the bottom half in the creme - and then in the sugar

- Eat That Berry! (and then the next-n-the-next-n-the-next infinity)

Voila. Perfect Strawberry Summer Smiles for you and your

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Friday, May 18, 2007

Stuff that 20 somethings have no clue about

I was shaving this morning with my five blade razor (which gives a great shave)thinking I haven't knicked myself in years. It occurred to me that our newest generation of 20somethings probably have never knicked themselves shaving. Which naturally got me to thinking what else there was that has gone the way of the dodo and is completely out of their reality. I've compiled a list here, maybe you'd like to add to it.

The good old double edged safety razor.

Which naturally led to using this.

How about a rotary dial phone. Analog anyone?

God I loved the smell of mimeograph paper, it almost made the quiz worthwhile.

I haven't seen one of these babies in years!

or carbon paper for that matter. God I can remember getting most of the way through typing a document only to make a mistake and have to do the whole damn thing over again.

I really hated keypunch cards! One mis-stroke and you screwed the whole program. It took hours to find the bad card.

How many remember the old man in the back of TV looking for the bad vacuum tube. Worrying he might just electrocute himself.

and then taking the tube down to the drugstore to test it.

So what have I missed?

Update: There's this too.

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Tom Fat RIP

We'll miss you Tom, our heart and deepest sympathies goes out to Tom's family.

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Thursday, May 17, 2007

Ain't life terrible? says... Terrible (adj.)

Formidably great; Extreme in extent or degree; Intense

"They say that every snowflake is different. If that were true, how could the world go on? How could we ever get up off our knees? How could we ever recover from the the wonder of it?"

From "The Passion" by Jeanette Winterson

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

From the Brilliant Minds at CBS

Kids to rule reality on CBS
Show offers new take on 'Lord of the Flies'

The full text is here

I was going to let this one go, but now really what are we to make of this? Furthermore, if it's a hit what does it say about us?

"Rather than surviving on an island, the kiddies relocated to Bonanza City, N.M., a ghost town abandoned more than a century ago. Prodigal children live without parental supervision and modern comforts."

I don't know why they have to go all the way to New Mexico, they can shoot the whole show on Hollywood and Sunset Blvds.

"Goal for the kids is to build a functional society. They have to pass laws, choose leaders and build an economy. People familiar with the project said the kids may also be given choices between things they need (food and supplies) and things they want (think Nintendo Wii)."

I hope they paid attention in Civics class. Oh yeah, they haven't had it yet.

"Rather than weekly exits, each seg will end with a feel-good moment in which one kid is selected by his peers to earn a major reward."

Maybe a lollipop or a Red Rider BB gun .

Let them be children.

I leave you with this.

Song of Being a Child

When the child was a child
It walked with arms hanging
Wanted the stream to be a river and the river a torrent
And this puddle, the sea
When the child was a child, it didn't know
It was a child
Everything for it was filled with life and all life was one
Saw the horizon without trying to reach it
Couldn't rush itself And think on command
Was often terribly bored
And couldn't wait
Passed up greeting the moments
And prayed only with it's lips
When the child was a child
It didn't have an opinion about a thing
Had no habits
Often sat crossed-legged, took off running
Had a cow lick in it's hair
And didn't put on a face when photographed

When the child was a child
It was the time of the following questions
Why am I me and why not you
Why am I here and why not there
Why did time begin and where does space end
Isn't what I see and hear and smell
Just the appearance of the world in front of the world
Isn't life under the sun just a dream
Does evil actually exist in people
Who really are evil
Why can't it be that I who am
Wasn't before I was
And that sometime I, the I, I am
No longer will be the I, I am

When the child was a child
It gagged on spinach, on peas, on rice pudding
And on steamed cauliflower
And now eats all of it and not just because it has to
When the child was a child
It woke up once in a strange bed
And now time and time again
Many people seem beautiful to it
And now not so many and now only if it's lucky
It had a precise picture of paradise
And now can only vaguely conceive of it at best
It couldn't imagine nothingness
And today shudders in the face of it
Go for the ball
Which today rolls between it's legs
With it's I'm here it came
Into the house which now is empty

When the child was a child
It played with enthusiasm
And now only with such former concentration
Where it's work is concerned
When the game, task, activity, subject happens to be it's work

When the child was a child
It was enough to live on apples and bread. And it's still that way
When the child was a child berries fell
Only like berries into it's hand. And still do
The fresh walnuts made it's tongue raw. And still do
Atop each mountain it craved
Yet a higher mountain. And in each city it craved
Yet a bigger city. And still does
Reach for the cherries in the treetop
As elated as it still is today
Was shy in front of strangers. And still is
It waited for the first snow. And still waits that way
When the child was a child
It waited restlessly each day for the return of the loved one
And still waits that way
When the child was a child
It hurled a stick like a lance into a tree
And it's still quivering there today

The child, the child was a child
Was a child, was a child, was a child, was a child
Child, child, child
When the child, when the child, when the child
When the child, when the child
The child, child, child, child, child

And on and on and on and on, etc. And onward
With a sense of wonder
Upon the highest hill. Upon the highest hill
When the child was a child
Are you there
Shassas, shassas
Up on a highest hill
When the child was a child, was a child, was a child
Was a child, was a child, was a child, etc.

Van Morrison
The Philospher's Stone

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Monday, May 14, 2007

George Bailey

Well I hope everyone had a great weekend and made their moms proud. As is our tradition, we celebrated Mother's Day at Presidio Park. One of our favorite places in San Diego. High on a hill overlooking Old Town and the San Diego Bay it is one of the most serene spots in our lovely city. Why is it that the Church and the Government always own the best real estate?

The day was filled with sunshine, family, friends, fried chicken and all manner of food, copious quantities of beer and wine, guitars, baseball and Frisbee, and badminton thrown in for good measure.

All in all it was a lovely day.

It's times like this, that I like to take a step back with La (literally) from the brood and enjoy just watching all the activity. All our friends, loved ones, child and husband and reflect on how our life is truly blessed. As we watch them, I feel a sense of legacy. That after 31 years of marriage to my lovely La, we have something - not necessarily to show for it, it's more intangible than that.
It's more than satisfaction with our position in life, I'm proud and love all of them. It's that we'll be leaving one day and managed to make our little bit of earth better.

It's a Wonderful Life Mr. Bailey.

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Saturday, May 12, 2007

Happy Mother's Day!

No blogging tomorrow, so I'll leave this for all the Mom's out there.

A Song From "The Player Queen"

MY mother dandled me and sang,
"How young it is, how young!'
And made a golden cradle
That on a willow swung.
"He went away,' my mother sang,
"When I was brought to bed,'
And all the while her needle pulled
The gold and silver thread.
She pulled the thread and bit the thread
And made a golden gown,
And wept because she had dreamt that I
Was born to wear a crown.
"When she was got,' my mother sang,
I heard a sea-mew cry,
And saw a flake of the yellow foam
That dropped upon my thigh."
How therefore could she help but braid
The gold into my hair,
And dream that I should carry
The golden top of care?

William Butler Yeats

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Friday, May 11, 2007

Great News!

I picked up the guitar for the first time in 5 or 6 years and finally figured out how to execute this:

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Our Humanity

A touching story from the Washington Post.

Hat Tip: The Belmont Club

The most effective way to find and destroy a land mine is to step on it.

This has bad results, of course, if you're a human. But not so much if you're a robot and have as many legs as a centipede sticking out from your body. That's why Mark Tilden, a robotics physicist at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, built something like that. At the Yuma Test Grounds in Arizona, the autonomous robot, 5 feet long and modeled on a stick-insect, strutted out for a live-fire test and worked beautifully, he says. Every time it found a mine, blew it up and lost a limb, it picked itself up and readjusted to move forward on its remaining legs, continuing to clear a path through the minefield.

Finally it was down to one leg. Still, it pulled itself forward. Tilden was ecstatic. The machine was working splendidly.

The human in command of the exercise, however -- an Army colonel -- blew a fuse.

The colonel ordered the test stopped.

Why? asked Tilden. What's wrong?

The colonel just could not stand the pathos of watching the burned, scarred and crippled machine drag itself forward on its last leg.

This test, he charged, was inhumane.

I'm proud of that Colonel.

Although, I'm not sure which it is more inhumane to, the soldier/operator or the bot. It an amazing intrinsic ability we have to project our humanity onto things, pets, probably just about anything. It is the well from which we draw our empathy, our ability to feel and understand someone elses pain.

I'm sure there is a valid arguement to which the little robot critter is just a well engineered mass of nuts and bolts; that a soldier's life is more important than the robot. But I think that that Colonel was thinking of the soldier who had to drive that machine across the minefield, watching his "partner" taking it for the team - repeatedly. It would require more than nerves of steel to my mind, it would require a lessening of the heart. And that my friends is NOT what we're about is it?

Of course, in my own sick way I was thinking of this while I was reading the article:

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I'm not sure how I feel about this

I just stumbled across a blog called PostSecret it's a blog where people mail in postcards articulating a secret they've never told anyone.

Some are funny, some are sad, some are entertaining and some are inspirational. I guess the reason I'm ambivalent about PostSecret is because I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

But reviewing it again, it seems to serve the same function as the confessional. Allowing an individual to come clean in anonymous and safe environment.

So I'm going to add it the Blogs of Note section. Take a look and tell me what you think.

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Thursday, May 10, 2007

Funny Thing

That I mentioned Tom Waits after a posting about Frank Zappa. It's funny because I saw Tom Waits for the first time at a Zappa concert at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. I'm not sure it's still there, but it used to be a great venue.

Anyway, Tom was the opening act. My buddy and I had really great seats so we were really close, 4th row I think. So this guy comes out I've never heard of, in a scruffy thrift shop suit and white shirt and starts singing Ol' 55 (which he wrote by the way), his voice wasn't quite as gravelly back in those days, but still it was an extremis throaty. He had some quirky Joe Cockeresque mannerisms (although not palsy-like) and he was GREAT!

At some point during the set some guy is whistling loudly, either he thought Tom was great or he wants Tom to end his performance, it wasn't exactly clear to me which, but it was distracting. In mid verse, Tom stops, takes a long drag from his cigarette (which is perpetually hanging from his mouth), reaches into his inside coat pocket and takes out a Bud, takes a chug, puts it back in his pocket, leans towards the mike and says

"Eat my shorts, Sailor".

Then promptly resumed his tune where he'd left off.


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Wednesday, May 9, 2007

My Favorite Tom Waits Song

Somewhere (LP Version)

Actually I shouldv've titled this My Favorite version of this song.

Hat Tip for Napster: "Spectral Sky"

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Isn't that a great picture? Raised eyebrow challenging you to listen to what's in store. But pensive as well, he's dying you know. Altogether needlessly. Mr. Zappa died of prostate cancer, a totally treatable disease, it's a shame that he had die so young - in his mid fifties. I'll be 50 in August. If I'm not mistaken this was the last LP he made in conjunction with Ensemble Modern. Truly, it was his swan song. So why am I writing about Frank?

I guess I want to thank him publicly for expanding my musical horizon. You see, when I was a teenager, I was listening to The Who, Led Zeppelin, Jethro Tull, Alice Cooper (who Frank originally produced) and everything was hunky dory(David Bowie), I remember my best friend had just bought "Overnight Sensation" and as we listened to it I was amazed. The musicianship was nothing that I'd ever heard and Frank's guitar was nothing that I'd ever heard. Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Carlos Santana they never even came close to Frank's virtuosity. Of course, I appreciate the musicianship of Eric, Jimmy and Carlos but Frank was unreal.

Frank was a veritable farm of musicians, during his tenure he introduced such musicians as George Duke, Adrian Belew, Jean Luc Ponty, Captain Beefheart and Alice Cooper to name a few. I guess for me he raised the bar of music. He launched my exploration of all types of music, with simple writ:

That it must be played from the heart. Nothing else is real. That's why music is so banal today. It is completely NOT real. That said, I'm old enough to recognize the cycles the music business goes through - something exciting happens: rockabilly (Elvis), the British Invasion, Punk, Rap, Hip Hop, Grunge... The corporate world ALWAYS co-opts the music, and eventually there is a push back.

So I'm waiting for the push back. If you know it's happening, let me know.

In the meantime, thank Frank for his contribution to music.

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Sunday, May 6, 2007

Hearts do mend

Fragile Heart

Hello fragile heart.

Don't recede in times of doubt,
For the love is there for you.

Take that step and again another.
And you will find it true.

The world may not concede
A path on broadened plains.

From painful depths you can ascend
And shuffle off your chains.

Take me on my word for this
It is something I've endured.

I've walked that bitter mile
Over broken glass I've toured.

True hearts fall and mend again
And this you will not change

It is the fabric of a life
A rolling mountain range.

Around each peak will lay a valley
The land where life plays out.

Life's only what you make it.
On this point never doubt.

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Saturday, May 5, 2007

Support Your Local Florist

Amy Stewart, author of Flower Confidential (highly recommended reading by the way), wrote an Op-Ed piece in the NYT on Valentines Day, describing the challenges and the necessity of florists. You can read it here, but it’ll cost you $4.95.

So I’ll borrow heavily from it and you can get the gist.

“If a city is an ecosystem, the flower shop is perhaps its most vital and endangered habitat. In the last 15 years, the number of florists in the United States declined 17 percent. In 1992, there was a florist for every 9,300 Americans; now florists must serve, on average, more than 12,000 people each – if they serve them at all. Half of cut flower purchases are made at supermarkets now, and less than a third of American households buy flowers in a year. It’s now wonder that third-generation florists are closing their doors. But what if flower shops go extinct, what have we lost?”

Indeed. If there is artistry in floristry (and I can assure you there is), then that’s like saying what if Painting should go extinct. Something intangible would be lost as well. Flowers evoke emotion, much like music. This month Lily of the Valley is readily available, it’s really touching when women of a certain age come in, discover it and are transported back in time when they’re five years old again, running through fields of Lily of the Valley, you can see it their eyes. That gets me choked up just writing it.

Che Bella is a green sanctuary in a forest of concrete. It is not only flowers, or exquisite artistry, it is a vibe, and an experience. To come inside is to forget what’s outside the gates and celebrate the beauty of nature. More from Ms. Stewart:

“…flower shops have been the green spots of nature in the city. They mark the change of the season, even in the age of global commerce when roses come from Ecuador and orchid from Thailand and peonies from New Zealand. Gnarled branches of cherry blossoms emerge in shop windows in March, followed by a show of lilac so short that it will make even the most harried city dweller’s heart ache for the brevity of spring.”

This is particularly true in seasonally challenged San Diego.

Florists’ express the feelings you want to convey, and many times listen to the troubles of the forlorn. It’s kind of like being a bartender; we hear and see it all. Husbands who’ve been caught cheating trying to get back in good favor with their wives, grief stricken relatives trying to express they’re loss, gawky teenage boys furtively selecting a flower for a corsage for their prom date (it’s pretty comical, it’s almost like buying your first condom), Bridezilla, Bridezilla’s Mom, all handled with grace and aplomb.

“Florists don’t just celebrate nature; they celebrate us as well. New York City alone sees 169 marriages a day, 340 births and 157 deaths. Florists understand what it is that we cannot quite we cannot say at theses moments; they wrap up a few dozen delicate, ephemeral blossoms and rush them across town to do the job for us.”

It’s a great job; I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. That said, it’s not an easy job, just ask any florist. We’ve had more than a few come and go in the shop who thinking that it would be fun to work in a flower shop soon discover just what back breaking work it can be. Always cold and wet, lugging buckets of water, eternally cleaning and washing vases and buckets. Processing huge amounts of flowers (you didn’t think that what you purchased looked that way when it came in did you?), deadlines, deliveries…

Still it has its advantages. A word to the young single guys out there, if you want to meet girls work in a flower shop…

Just take my word for it.

One last comment from Amy:

“I once sat in a florist’s workroom on Valentine’s Day and I listened as desperate husbands and lovesick suitors called seeking the calm, good-natured help of a stranger who understood what was at stake. You can place your heart into the hands of a florist. Flower shops remind us who we are – fragile, transitory creatures, not nearly as tough as our suits and our briefcases make us look. They call our attention to the passing of spring, and to the fullness of love. Every city needs that.”

Amen to that!

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Friday, May 4, 2007

Lookin' out my back door.

Little Plum Tree

Little plum tree sing a song for me.
Sunny skies await to join your reverie.

Your leaves alight in brilliant hues
Of chartreuse shades that do refuse

To let you hide your beauty from my eyes.

Little plum tree spread your branches wide
Catch each ray of sun through mottled clouds has spied.

Make a home for the lonely dove
A nest she makes for spring's true love.

And waits for sweetened fruit to softly fall.

Little plum tree you are a gift from God.
From earth you rise to bow where angels do applaud.

All around you sway gentle friends
Touch the lemon tree whose love she sends.

And let's you know you'll never be alone.

Little plum tree enjoy this season's day
Embrace the sun till skies go cold and grey.

Another friend you've made in me
As I've watched you grow into the tree.

That caught my eye and in my heart does grow.

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The Salesman

This just happened yesterday. It's kinda funny.

My son and I were over at Victory Furniture/Treasures yesterday at the request of my wife to participate in a promotional event for a new line of Tommy Bahama indoor/outdoor furniture. Most of the store's employees were at the main Treasures store, so after having met my wife's manager and his wife and listened to a little live island music we decided to order a pizza and the five of us would eat back at Victory.

After the pizza arrived, I realized I needed something to wash it down with so I asked my wife if she could direct me to the kitchen. She told me my son knew where it was and so asked him to take me over to it. I followed him over to the corner of the store and past a lone salesman sitting at a desk near the kitchen. I acknowledged him and continued to get my water. After about a half a minute in the kitchen, my son was ready to go back to his pizza and he told me he was heading back.

I told him I was right behind him and that it was fine if he was ready to go back and eat. Already about five paces ahead of me, I watched my son begin to walk past the salesman's desk. Then I watched my son stop and heard the salesman say to my son,

"Hi, did you have a question?"

My son, not anticipating any response from the man sort of froze with a perplexed look on his face.

As I approached from behind, I said,


"What's four times six, divided by three?"

It was then the salesman's turn to freeze with a distinct rattled look on his face.

Of course, my comment was in jest but I think he thought I was serious.

Maybe he thought I was just being an over-protective dad but I was simply cracking wise as if to speak for my son.

Anyway, when my son and I got back to the Victory side of the store, my wife and her manager told me the guy is a bit of a head case.

Or maybe he just didn't know the answer.

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Thursday, May 3, 2007

My Lovely Design Team

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Motherless Child

Feelin' a little blue today...

Sometime I feel
Like a motherless child
Sometimes I feel
Like a motherless child
And sometimes I feel
Like a motherless child
A long...long way...from home

And sometimes I feel
Like I'm almost gone
Sometimes I feel
Like I'm almost gone
Sometimes I feel yeahehe
Like I'm all alone
A long...a looong wayee from home

Who’s got a shoulder when I need to cry
I feel restless and I don't know why
Cry for help, but still feel alone
Like a motherless child along way from home
Lord I'm lost I can't find my way
I'm dealing with the struggles in my day to day
My soul is weak and I wanna be strong
I try to run away but I've been running to long

I've been running to long...
I've been running to long

Who’s got a shoulder when I need to cry
I feel restless and I don't know why
Cry for help, but I still feel alone
Like a motherless child along way from home
Lord I'm lost I can't find my way
I'm dealing with the struggles in my day to day
My soul is weak and I wanna be strong
I try to run away but I've been running to long

I've been running to long...
I've been running to long
Like a motherless child
So lost and so long
Like a motherless child

Barbeque Bob (orignally)

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I heard a new word the other day listening to NPR, “MacGuffin”. Karen might be already familiar with this term but it was a new one to me.

Wikipedia says:

“A MacGuffin (sometimes McGuffin or Maguffin) is a plot device that motivates the characters and/or advances the story, but has little other relevance to the story.”

Alfred Hitchcock first introduced the term,
“"[We] have a name in the studio, and we call it the 'MacGuffin.' It is the mechanical element that usually crops up in any story. In crook stories it is most always the necklace and in spy stories it is most always the papers."

In other words, it’s a film sleight of hand meaning that what is obvious in the story, is not really relevant to the point the director is trying to make. The audience is following the story around the “necklace” or “papers”, and missing the drama unfolding between the actors.

Here’s an amusing anecdote told by Hitchcock explaining the origin of MacGuffin in a 1966 interview with Francois Trauffaut:

"It might be a Scottish name, taken from a story about two men in a train. One man says, 'What's that package up there in the baggage rack?' And the other answers, 'Oh that's a McGuffin.' The first one asks 'What's a MacGuffin?' 'Well' the other man says, 'It's an apparatus for trapping lions in the Scottish highlands.' The first man says, 'But there are no lions in the Scottish Highlands,' and the other one answers 'Well, then that's no McGuffin!' So you see, a McGuffin is nothing at all."

Rhetorically speaking I think this is called “falling for the obvious”.

Nice word, next time you’re in an interesting verbal “kerfuffle”, and someone’s concentrating on the minutiae, but completely missing your point,

Stop, and say “MacGuffin!”

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Tuesday, May 1, 2007

What Is An American

I don’t suspect Americans spend a lot of time thinking about what an American is exactly. But it's slow today and I’m bored. So what is this species “American”? Are we defined by our culture? If so, what is the American culture? defines culture this way:

6. Anthropology. the sum total of ways of living built up by a group of human beings and transmitted from one generation to another.

Well now, how many different ways of living are there in the U.S? A whole boatload I’d imagine. This definition works well in a homogenous society – Sweden for example, but the U.S.? Everyday, 300 million people practice ways of living peculiar to traditions transmitted from their descendants, trouble is their descendants are from someplace else, at least at some point or another. So what culture bubbles up from this milieu? Is it similar to poring all the paints in the box together and getting a brown-greenish mess? Or is it similar to this:

Where each family has a distinct culture apart from being American and the intersection is being American. Multiplied millions of times it becomes unwieldy to my mind. But perhaps this is true to a certain degree and helps explain our fascination with hyphenation, i.e., Italian-American, African-American, Mexican-American, Andthelistgoeson-American. It does not however, explain what exactly is IN the intersection.

I think a better explanation of what an American is, is this: We are who we are because of this simple statement:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,…

To be an American is to believe in an idea, that we are all free to be what we want to be, free to try, and free to fail. That no matter our societal or economic background we have an opportunity to make our lives better and this applies to EVERYBODY. Americans also believe that no man is above the law, as is embodied in our Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

To be an American you don’t even have to live here, you just have to believe in the idea. So now I’m off to that all American pastime…

Baseball. See ya!

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