Sunday, September 30, 2007

The Sunday Morning Muse, September 30, 2007

Filming started in New York on the Sex and the City Movie. The internet is a funny thing. You can go to YouTube and actually watch the girls walking down the street during filming.... from the Crowd's point of view. Some fan with a movie camera uploading these things. I planned to do a follow up posting today on progress for the new movie. (My previous post here.)

It got me thinking how much I miss the show, so I watched it on TBS last evening. It was the one where Carrie goes to California on a train with Samantha as part of a Book Tour, and Mr. Big turns up at a reading event. It was classic Mr. Big/Carrie- with all the sexual tension between them, the flirtation, great clothes and body language. She really missed him when he left for California. And wanted to show it. He on the other hand was fixed on her book. Reading passages aloud, asking questions.... wanting clarification of different parts that were all about the way he treated her. She told him it was all "...just writing. It's in the past."

Having kept journals since I was a teenager I understood that statement all too well. It's just writing. It's the heat of the moment. When you go back and read that stuff, sometimes it is like reading about your life for the first time. We humans do not have great memories. And that is a good thing. Because that is how we HEAL.

In the end, they do have sex.

But, and here's the part that stuck out for me. You know how when Carrie always sort of sums things up at the end with a thought? At the end, she said, "Sometimes it isn't the journey, it is the destination."

And there you have it. The exception to my Blog Theme at the top of the page. It gave me something to muse about today.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Clean Air--- Into the Mystic

Stripped off all my clothes and put them straight into the hamper last night. I smelled like a firefighter. You guessed it, another evening in a smoky bar. Yuck, I hate smelling like that when I come home. It's enough to make a lot of people actually STAY home. This wouldn't have happened in Ireland, where a smoking ban has been in effect for four years now. I can't understand all the fuss over here. Pennsylvania is years behind, fighting over legislation with outcries of so called "civil liberties" taken away, fears about lost revenues, enforcement, etc. The whole debate rages on and on.

A group of doctors at a hospital in Belfast determined not only has air quality improved in the pubs, but musicians are getting better sound out of their instruments. (No doubt to me their singing has improved as well.)

. . . they wanted to check the impact of the smoking ban on the quality of traditional Irish music played in the smoke-free pubs. They managed to contact six of the seven Irish experts who work with the instruments. All said there was a strong smell of cigarette smoke from accordions played in a smoke-filled environment when they are opened. Soot-like dirt was deposited throughout the instrument.

"One repairer commented that the deposition of dirt could be substantial enough to affect the pitch of the reed."Two others claimed that if a musician tended to play in a particular key, that this could be determined from the distribution of dirt around particular reeds."

All the repairers were categorical that these signs had definitely improved in accordions they had worked on since the introduction of the smoking ban in Ireland. The doctors concluded the smoking ban has been "music to the ears of the people of Ireland."

In March 2004, Ireland outlawed smoking in every workplace including pubs and restaurants and even on fishing boats and in company cars. Anyone found breaching it faces a fine of up to 3,000 euros (4,254 dollars) and pubs run the risk of ultimately losing their licence.


Van Morrison somewhere is blowing into a nice clean saxophone reed... Into the Mystic. Ahhh. Clean Air.

Friday, September 28, 2007

One Semester of Spanish - Love Song

I laughed so hard the first time I saw this that I had to post it.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Fake Acupuncture-- It's Not a Joke

My intent is not to needle anyone about this, instead I'll just get to the point. I just read a study that claims to show that fake acupuncture is almost as good as the real thing for back pain. (The fake acupuncture isn't as deep with the needles, doesn't have the "manipulation," plus the needles aren't really inserted into the traditional "points.")

The gist of the study seems to reveal that part of it is the placebo effect, of course... mental attitude toward the therapy has a lot to do with it. But also just putting the needles in may release natural painkillers.... and open up blocked energy.

I fell on the ice awhile back. It was not pretty, but could have been worse. Pain management was something new to me. I've done heat therapy, electro stimulation, massage, chiropractic manipulation, pressure points, rubber ball movement therapy, the roller table (wow!!!), exercises and even reiki.
Fortunately, I have never had such terrible pain that I was motivated to have someone stick needles in me. (Though I probably would, if the pain ever got that bad.) I have leveled out, though I have occasional problems when I do stupid things like bully stuff around or get in awkward positions.) In the future, if I find myself in chronic pain again, perhaps I'd go for something in between.... like, don't stick the needles in really far, but do put them where they should be, and manipulate them... a little bit.

I'm a big believer in massage... for the body and the mind. And I seem to have a knack for finding pressure points. The relief is incredible.... especially for minor aches.... like after sports, or for neck tension... shoulders, etc. Massage was the only thing that truly helped my lower back, by loosening me up enough to be able to then exercise and strengthen that area.

Reiki, is an area I want to explore further. I've had a couple of treatments, and though it is out there a little further on the fringe of alternative treatments, I believe there is potential for results. I don't discount anything that involves basic touch and positive energy. We all certainly need more of that.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

The Sunday Morning Muse, September 23, 2007

Another week gone by. Just like THAT. Someone once said life is like roll of toilet paper, the more you use the faster it goes. And so it is. It's getting scary.

My muse this week is a professor from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. Randy Pausch, a 46-year-old computer science professor, who gave his last lecture this week and made national headlines for what is billed as his "lecture of a lifetime."

Being the cynic I am, when it was promo- ed on the evening news, as coming up next....I thought... here we go...another Good man dying-- salute to courage type story to drum up the ratings. I almost clicked past. I'm so glad I didn't. It really stirred me inside. Not with some cheap, passing, I feel sorry for some guy dying of cancer but what can I do- type of emotion. No. It aroused in me a series of emotions--- admiration, respect, and a sweet sadness . Then he inspired me to appreciate, to dream, to live-- and not for one minute feel sorry for him. Then when I knew what to expect and watched a second time, I had different feelings. I was angry that someone like him has to leave so soon, and others, ( insert your favorite vile person here, I'll choose Ann Coulter) live on. Using their life, not to live dreams, learn, educate others, but instead to spew hate and generally be a pain in the *ss, and use up air.

If you do nothing else today, listen to this. Here's the link. Enjoy!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Confessions of a Mafia Contract Killer

Woke up in the middle of the night and caught Coast to Coast. George Noory had a fascinating interview last night with Phillip Carlo the guy who writes the books about serial killers. He was talking about Richard"The Iceman" Kuklinski, the Polish serial killer turned contract killer for several Mob families. Some gory stuff. You gotta read the excerpts -

The woods of Bucks County(PA) were also a good place to get rid of bodies. By profession Richard was a contract killer, and the disposal of bodies was always a concern. Sometimes it was okay to leave the victims where they dropped, in alleys, parking lots, and garages. Other times they had to disappear. That was specifically requested. One time Richard left a victim in an ice-cold well for nearly two years—preserving the corpse—purposely seeking to confuse the authorities as to the accurate time of death, thus earning his eventual moniker: "Ice Man."

I learned that the Iceman's own death is surrounded in mystery. He died of "natural causes" shortly before he was to give testimony that would incriminate Sammy the Bull. It is so creepy that it could be a Sopranos plot line:

From this website, which has some great background information:

... he was scheduled to testify that he had killed a New Jersey police officer in the 1980s on the orders of former Gambino crime family underboss Sammy Gravano. A few days after Kuklinksi's death, prosecutors dropped all charges against Gravano, saying that without the hit man's testimony they had insufficient evidence to continue.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Remember When? The Slow Speed Chase- 1994

I still remember which bar stool I was seated on during the spectacle later to become known as the Slow Speed Chase. (Video highlights of that chase are available if you are bored enough right now to watch it.)
It was a typical Friday night at the bar, most of the regulars were there, so the noise level was pretty high. The TV was on but no one really paid attention until someone happened to notice the continuous video of the white Bronco. We all watched in silence for the first few minutes wondering what was going on. Then little by little the beer banter started, as people speculated about a daring suicide attempt or an unanticipated crash. At times someone shouted out in frustration.... "Why don't they shoot him? Take a shot at him!"
But we watched. After all, it was LIVE TV. Anything could happen.
He might even walk free someday.
-And he did.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Remembering Mike Royko

"Let people hang themselves with their own words. Nail every irony and
hypocrisy, every vicious stupidity."

- Studs Terkel (quoted in One More Time, The Best of Mike Royko)

Mike Royko-- a longtime newspaper columnist in Chicago, was born on this date in 1932. It's hard to believe he's been gone 10 years. I used to read his syndicated column, and especially enjoyed the ones that included Slats Grobnik, his alter ego. He would engage Slats in somewhat spirited "conversations" that revealed a slice of life in Chicago. He cut through bureaucracy and took on causes, frequently fighting for the average Joe. A 1999 Slate book review put it this way:

Why doesn't anyone write a newspaper column this good anymore? Royko wasn't
quite a Twain, or a Mencken, but his writing was distinctive and memorable and
in its time the closest thing to lasting literature in a daily paper. Royko could make you laugh and make you think, stir outrage at a heartless bureaucrat, or bring a tear to the eye when he flashed a glimpse of the heart hidden beneath his hard shell.

I read those columns when I was a young reporter myself.... though my medium was radio. I loved his writing style. I appreciated the wit, the humor, the way he made points but didn't have to get in people's faces or belittle them. Even today I find his insight appealing. He knew 10 years ago what motivated Rupert Murdoch:

From Wikipedia:

...however, he (Royko) left the Sun-Times after it was sold to a group headed by Rupert Murdoch, for whom Royko said he would never work. He famously claimed, "No self-respecting fish would be wrapped in a Murdoch paper" and that, "His goal is not quality journalism. His goal is vast power for Rupert Murdoch, political power."

Imagine if old Royko could see Murdoch today. If he can, then he is probably turning in his grave.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

The Sunday Morning Muse, September 16, 2007

I turned the furnace on last night. Each year I try to wait until October 1st, but that didn't happen this year. It's surely a financial thing-- no one wants to pay a gas bill for September that is high, but it is also a mental thing. Winter looms. (Fall is soooooo short.)

When the furnace awakes from summer sleep it is never happy. You get a horrid smell from whatever the furnace burns off that stinks. Then you wonder if it really is going to start up again, and .... just like that, it does. I live in an old house with what I call my World War Two Era furnace. Not the most efficient, it tends to heat up to the Bowels of Hell, then shut off and not erupt again until you feel a bit "chilly."

Oh, there will still be plenty of golf. I'll be losing balls in the fairway, hidden under the fallen leaves. I"m ready for fall sweaters, pumpkins and corn mazes, the latest Halloween costumes and that cool, crisp autumn air when you walk outside. Perhaps Indian Summer ahead.

But.... the furnace is awake now. And the air conditioner is asleep in the garage.

I Can't Laugh and I Can't Sing...

From the Punishment Fits the Crime Department, comes another Barry Manilow type sentence for noise ordinance violators. Who hasn't had pictures rattling on their walls at some point as some degenerate drives down the street with super amps blasting out their favorite stream of expletives:

From CBS 4 in Denver:

Judge Paul Sacco carries out the punishment about four times per year. (During the full hour of punishment, they were not allowed to chew gum, eat, drink, read or even sleep.) He said he believes the sentence fits the crime."When you have a person playing rap at extreme volumes all over the city, and they have to sit down and listen for an hour to Barry Manilow, its horrible punishment," he said.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Less Really is More

Still trying to control the clutter. Not only in my life, but in my head. People spend too much time rushing and not "being." A friend today reminded me the importance of giving "time" instead of a present. And when you think about it, it truly is the best "gift."

As for my clutter, I pass along a motivator, forwarded to me. This guy, Chris McNaught is also out there trying to eliminate the unnecessary things in his life. If you follow the link, you can see McNaught's place. Maybe a bit too sparse for me.... but I admire the guy.

My 500 Things

Less is more: it's a well-worn mantra, but not one that gains a lot of traction in our super-sized culture. This summer, Chris McNaught had an idea. Inspired by a woman who had winnowed her possessions to a paltry 300 items, Chris decided to make an inventory of his own stuff. He counted all the items in his house and garage, and noted them on a spreadsheet. The result: Chris owned
2,000 items.

So he immediately decided to clean house. The process isn't over, either, and he's continuing to make some key decisions - including whether or not to keep a childhood teddy bear.

Chris says that his home these days is simple, uncluttered, and filled with only the most meaningful items from his life. Having given away more than half of his possessions, Chris is well on his way to owning no more than 500 things.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

September 11, 2001 - Six Years Later

The shadow of September 11th will forever hang over us. I genuinely feel sorry for those who lost loved ones on that day. I will never pretend to know what those people are going through and how greatly their lives were affected. With no personal connection, I grieve in a different way. For the lost innocense and the feeling of vulnerability. For the younger people who will never know what it was like to travel about the country as easily as we used to, and now must wait through endless lines, and cast their bottles of shampoo into a barrel. And I grieve for our nation, as a whole. How all the good will of that day was squandered, and for how divided the people have become in this country. Perhaps the best way to mark this day is with silence. If we tone down all the rhetoric, shut off the radios and televisions and make an honest effort to just
take stock of what really matters to us and cherish that.... it may help us find common ground.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

My First Crush

You hang up. No You hang up.

The Sunday Morning Muse, September 9, 2007

I'm posting this very charming video I found on YouTube, called My First Crush. It's just endearing... and will evoke bittersweet memories that are sure to ring a chord in each of us. What attracted me to it was it's simplistic approach, the honesty, and cleverness of it. The creator put together a short cartoon illustrating real responses he solicited from others about their "first crush." I think everyone will recognize a bit of themselves.

I got to thinking about my own teenage years. A scene from my Jr. High Lunchroom, 1978: Boy sitting very close with one arm around me, whispering, laughing...stolen kisses. The teacher coming over and shaking his head. That kind of behavior, of course, was discouraged. "Those who can, do," my sweetie spoke up. "Those who can't--- teach."

I am smiling about that all these years later.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Separated at Birth

I am probably the last person in the world to pick up on this. But incase there are one or two others out there....

And Now... Something Completely Different

Okay, I'll admit it. I love golf. And... way back when, I listened to Alice Cooper. Even read his biography, called Me, Alice.

oh oh. I just checked Amazon....that old book --- from 1976, mind you, is worth 300 frigging dollars.... USED. Now... where is it? Did I loan it to someone in college? Take it back to the Library? ...... I digress. 300 bucks. who could go wrong buying his new book? It's called Alice Cooper, Golf Monster: My Twelve Steps to Becoming a Golf Addict .
UPDATE! 9/15/07
I mistakenly ordered the Audio CD of Alice Cooper reading the book. What a nice mistake! It 's proven to be a very enjoyable book... I love it. He talks about his life, drops enough names from Rock and Roll, and also in golf, to keep it interesting. It's relatable. Golfers out there, you can't help but like the guy. Who wouldn't want to take chipping lessons from John Daly? Music afficionados will be sure to find an anecdote or two that will give you a peak into the life of a rock star. The good, the bad, and how skinny little Vincent Furnier became Alice Cooper.

Bang and Post- Bang

No, I'm not talking about the Big Bang... I'm talking about Bert Berns' Bang Label which keeps re-releasing very old Van Morrison music, most of it of dubious quality.... from the 1960's Bang recording sessions, under dozens of different names. It really ticks me off. DO NOT BUY THIS STUFF. These people are bottom feeders trying to make a buck.

If you want to read a quick primer of Bang and Post Bang and what happened that led to this mess,with a partial list of what to avoid, go here. In addition to all the "recycled" Bang CDs mentioned there... I found another one just now... at called Forever Gold. Released THIS YEAR. Sheesh. Give it a break you money grubbing suckers. You can't fool us again.

If you want to hear good Van Morrison Music, go with Post Bang stuff. Look here. Go to Albums, then look under the heading Post Bang Van. Or you could end up doing what I did about 10 years ago now, and end up with a CD full of nonsense songs that Van made JUST TO GET OUT OF HIS CONTRACT. That Nonsense Songs link above has the actual MP3's... you can just click on them and it will play instantly. Classics ..... real SARCASTIC stuff:
Like this goodie here:

Royalty Check

I'm waiting
for my royalty check to come,
and it still hasn't come yet.
It's about a year over due.
I guess it's coming from the Big Royalty
Check in the sky.
I waited and the mailman never dropped it in my letterbox.
Oh, oh-oh, oh...I guess it's a Big Royalty Check in the sky.
baby.But you can't
beat the tax man
and me
all at once.


Or my all time favorite:

Ring Worm

I can see by the look on your face that you've got ringworm.

I'm very sorry but, I have to tell you that you've got ringworm.

It's a very common disease. Actually, you're very lucky to have

ringworm' cause you may have had somethin' else.

Oooh, aaahhh...Uuunnnhhhaaahhnnn...You've got ringworm.Oooh-oooh, oooh, oooh-oooh, oooh, oooh-oooh....

Sunday, September 2, 2007

The Sunday Morning Muse, September 2, 2007

The calendar doesn't say it yet , but it's fall. Temps in the 50s overnight.
Puffier clouds, less humidity. Here we go. Summer's over. All those things we were gonna do, and summer got away.

In another week or so I'll have completed another trip around the sun. Virgo Girl. Cutting up and freezing the last of the peppers. Putting away skimpy summer things. Looking for fall pants from last year that still fit.
Stopping at Farmer's Markets. Fall Cleaning. Rituals for the changing season.

I had coffee with a retired teacher today. Said it took a few years to get rid of that overwhelming "time to go back to work" feeling he got every September. I suppose for him it would take getting used to. When you think of 12 years of your own schooling, plus 4 years of college, plus 30 years teaching.... that's a total of 46 years of Septembers meaning "that month you go back to school."