Saturday, January 31, 2009

Spinning Wheels in the Snow

Spinning wheels in the snow takes on a whole new meaning with this picture.
From the archives: That is my great grandmother, Kaisa, in front. Her daughter Fanni follows her.
The photo was taken in Finland around 1930.

Bruce Springsteen and Walmart

I read with interest the latest hoopla over The Boss's deal with Walmart to sell his Greatest Hits CD.

Some fans were critical because Springsteen has been a longtime supporter of worker's rights, and Wal-Mart has faced criticism for its labor practices. Springsteen's team didn't vet the issue as closely as it should have, and that he "dropped the ball on it," he told the Times for a story to be published in Sunday editions and previewed on its Web site.

Now, I have to confess, Walmart has received a large share of my household income these past 10 years. I have a Super Walmart only two miles away. My neighbors work there. Great people who I enjoy seeing when I shop there. Yeah, I know about the non union stuff. Yeah I know about the cheap clothing from China, Bangladesh and other ends of the planet.

I know all this....and every Sunday I have to wrestle my conscience. Do I support my neighbors who really need a job and spend my money at Walmart? Or do I stand up against an anti union company whose merchandise largely comes from places I will never see, made by people who obviously have less than standard labor conditions and work for chicken feed?

Anyhow, this isn't about me. It's about The Boss. A guy with the nickname THE BOSS should know better. Or his managers should. Bruce Springsteen is the working man's hero. He is playing halftime at the Superbowl, for Chrissakes. The blue collar man's BIGGEST EVENT ON EARTH

this weekend.

So on some level this whole thing bothers people. I get it. I understand their gripe. As for The Boss, he said:

"It was a mistake. Our batting average is usually very good, but we missed
that one. Fans will call you on that stuff, as it should be."

But I'm pretty sure it won't affect record sales too much.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Let's Just Pretend We Like Winter White

Maybe I need a new look for work. Something whimsical.

Monday, January 26, 2009


I officially can't take this anymore.
I hate wearing all these layers of clothes. I hate my frozen car in the morning. I hate the furnace blasting away every 17 minutes waking me up at night. I hate the fact that my fingers are cold all the time. I really hate shoveling snow. I hate that first breath of air when I step outside in the morning. I hate the short evenings and long hours of darkness. I hate my high gas bill. I hate icy sidewalks. I hate trudging through snow. I hate standing in the cold putting gas in my car. I hate static electricity. I hate running out of washer fluid. I hate the person behind me who thinks I'm not driving fast enough. I hate dry skin. I hate chapped lips. I hate the dirty black ice-snow piling up in parking lots. I hate flat, hat-hair.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Sunday Morning Muse, January 25, 2009

No cake today.

My father, who would have been 82 on this day, has been gone over 10 years now. I wanted to honor him in some way this week, so I went to visit his grave. It's in one of those cemetaries that don't allow tombstones. There's these flat grave markers that make it easy for the caretaker to cut the grass. But now the snow is eight inches deep and there wasn't a grave to be seen. It was an empty field with an odd Christmas wreath on a tripod here and there.

I couldn't find dad. That was an odd feeling. I didn't like it.

Shortly before his death, I told dad I didn't like that cemetary. That I wouldn't be buried there. You see, I have my heart set on Oak Park. It has gnarled and twisted trees, a cliff, a hundred year old mausoleum with huge iron doors and rusted locks. A ghostly looking gate--- designed to keep people out.... or keep the dead in. And, best of all real monuments that are planted firmly in the ground to be seen all year round.

So, Dad, even though I couldn't visit you this week, I just want you to know I'm thinking of you.

I wish you were here to help shovel snow.

And to share some cake.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Who Will Save Your Soul? Jewel

She is just so.... real. Fearless, talented.

Stop In and Pet the Cat

How much money would you spend an hour to get to play with a cat? For some the answer is 7 - 10 dollars. I read a story in the news recently about Cat Cafes in Japan, where it is difficult to keep a pet, and many people choose to "pay for play." They stop in after work to relax and enjoy the company of a furry friend.

Reading the story made me think about the time I spend with Sweet Pea. When I first took her in, I remember telling her at 5:30 in the morning, "These are the rules... Coffee First, Cat food second."

That didn't last long. Now the first thing I do every morning is open a can of cat food. But it's a small sacrifice to pay. She is a dependable alarm clock, and has saved my butt a couple of times when I shut off the alarm instead of hitting the snooze button.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Just to be on the Safe Side

Justice Roberts got a second shot at administering the oath of office to Pres. Obama. I'm glad the men took the time to get it right. Now we won't have to listen to the right wingnuts yammering for the next four years that the first oath wasn't exactly right, so he really isn't President.

I haven't had the chance to write about how incredible the whole inauguration was. The outpouring of love and hope and emotions from the folks who went to Washington. The videos we saw of people all over the world, who are pulling for America.

Transparency in government, no torturing of people, ending the war in Iraq, leading by example on the environment, getting serious about new energy resources, the inclusion of people with differing opinions, putting Science back in the forefront--- all of these things are a 180 degree turn from what we have endured over the past 8 years. The swaggering cowboy is gone and in his place is a cool headed, intelligent, well spoken man who has a great ability to bring people together.

And I've heard several people this week who keep parroting the phrase.... "I didn't vote for him... but I hope he succeeds..." A few were sincere in their comments, but others were self serving. What came through loud and clear is they really want someone to fix this country's problems so their stocks will get out of the tank. So they will have a retirement. So they can drive a fancy car and fill it with gas. So their kids can actually afford to go to college someday.
So we don't end up in a soup line.

These are typically the same folks who whine about "libruls" who spend too much money, and socialists who want the government to take care of everything. To this I say, George Bush left us with over a Trillion dollars in debt....and spent hundreds of millions of your money to buy up Wall Street.


Yeah, you want this new guy to succeed.

Your future depends on it.

Monday, January 19, 2009

The. Worst. President. Ever.

One more day and we will begin to awaken from this nightmare of the self described "misunderestimated" George Bush. I'm not the first to say it by any means, but yes, we misunderestimated him, all right. No one thought in eight years we would be over a trillion dollars in debt, on the verge of economic collapse, with big banks failing, millions of jobs lost, major companies going under, and fighting two wars.

But George didn't screw all this up by himself.

Think Progress has a list of the Top 43 Appointees who assisted President Bush in his legacy of being the worse president ever. It's worth a look, because it serves as a how to list in terms of screwing up a country by picking bad people to do important jobs.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Sunday Morning Muse, January 18, 2009

As much as I'm looking forward to having Barack Obama as President of the United States, I must say I have absolutely no desire to attend the ceremonies in Washington, D.C. I hate porto-potties, crowds and cold temperatures.

Oh, I've heard people say it will be something to brag about in the future. Much like telling your grandchildren that you were there at the Gettysburg Address.

I concede that for those of you who want to be a part of history, I get it. It IS a big deal. Wear long underwear. But do it for YOURSELF. Because YOU want to be there and be, in a small way, a part of it. Enjoy the moment.

But I'm thinking these grandchildren will care less. I can hear these digital TV age precious little kids of the future saying,"Yeah, that's nice grandma, but why would you go stand out there in the cold, wait in long lines to use the bathroom, and suffer a miserable bus trip when you could have watched it in Hi-Def and had a much better view of what was going on?"

They have a point.

But grandma will be able to tell her own story about that day. What she saw, who she met and how she felt. And maybe-- she'll be able to convey that there is more to life than what you see on television.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Big Bang Theory- Talk Nerdy to Me

I don't want to wait till Monday Night. I need a dose of Sheldon. He makes me laugh.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Don't Stand So Close to Me

I watched with great interest the passengers standing on the wings of the USAirways jet that went down in the Hudson River. One guy who was interviewed told us in great detail what it was like to be on that plane... assuming "the position," the impact in the water, and then getting out of the exit doors onto the wings, with some people standing in waist-high water. He said the men let the women and children go first. These survivors have my greatest respect, not to mention the heroic efforts of the pilot who saved their lives by making such miraculous landing.

I noticed that I didn't see anyone going berserk. You see, I look for this behavior, because I relate to it. I would be the one person that would need to be hit over the head and then slung over someone's shoulder and carried off. You see, I have claustrophobia.
Shivers went down my back when I pictured these people, surviving the impact, and then, sitting strapped to their seats, realizing that they have to first find a way off that crowded plane, and then avoid drowning. This is traumatic for everyone, but no one, unless they have experienced it, knows the intense discomfort a claustrophic person goes through in far less dire circumstances. And put under that kind of duress? Well, I don't have words.
As a functioning claustrophobic, my secret doesn't often get out. I tend to take the stairs rather than the elevator, I rarely lock bathroom doors, which so far has gone without incident, and I am always on the edge of a crowd. And I never ride in the back seat of a two door car, and go to great lengths at times to avoid crawling under people or things.
So far I haven't gone berserk, so I'm doing something right.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Ditty Bops- Walk or Ride

And now... for some cheerful music on a 6 degree evening. I can't get enough of the Ditty Bops.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Hmmmmm, SAD?

I just re-read the past few of my posts. Do you think I have Seasonal Affective Disorder? Cabin Fever? Or maybe just a serious case of the blahs. At least I'm still typing coherently.

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Sunny Afternoon- The Kinks

Dreaming of Just Being Warm

I had this pleasant dream. I don't know who was in it, but they were friends I should have. Nice people, with picnic baskets and wine. It was a beautiful summer's day and we were at a club somewhere. There was music spilling out of the open doors of a bar, and everyone was on blankets sitting out on the green grass in the warm sunshine. HAPPY. People smiling.

I just suggested more hotdogs be brought outside for us to eat (from the bar's grill). . . and I stretched out on my blanket to soak up those rays of sunshine in that endless blue sky...

BLANG BLANG BLANG my stupid alarm went off and I woke up.

The real world came into focus at 5:30 am and I remembered where I was. In the dead of winter. More snow outside to scrape off the car. No sun. Just cold.

Still enduring.

Months to go.


Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Shining- Yakety Sax

See what snow can do to you?

The Sunday Morning Muse, January 11, 2009

I was wrong. We actually got 7 inches of snow here, instead of my 5 inch prediction. Some folks in the listening area actually got 11 inches, so I guess that really is a snow storm. Suki and I have been writing back and forth about snow. She loves it. Plans her life to be near it. I simply endure it.

I have dug two cars out this morning that were "plowed in" on the street. Actually worked up a sweat doing this, so it counts as my exercise for the week. I also climbed the "big hill" three times and managed not to have a heart attack. I think I can skip the stress test.

The other thing about the cold and snow is the this terrible ice that we call "black ice" around these parts. It's there but you don't see it. My mom's driveway goes down a steep hill that empties onto a main highway. I can't tell you how many times I have flirted with death going up or down that hill with a thin layer of ice on it, only to have the back end of the car swing sideways and start sliding out of control down the hill. If I do not gain control there are two options. I could crash into the telephone pole convieniently located at the bottom, or slide right into oncoming traffic going 50 miles an hour.

It's a crap game really. Each winter I roll the dice... on the ice. If I lose I could lose my life. If I live, I get to shovel more snow and ice.

That's my view of winter.

If I hit the lottery you can bet I will move SOUTH. I'll take my chances with hurricane season.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

CoCo Update- January 10, 2009

That cat can eat. Eight and a half pounds. A long way from the emaciated little creature consisting of fur, bones and teeth just two months ago. I took her to the vet for the first time yesterday. Shots, worm medicine, and a short office visit. 85 dollars. Pooping all over the exam table? Priceless.
But she was quickly forgiven. Unlike Sweet Pea who is a terror in the vet's office, CoCo was anxious at first, but warmed up to the staff right away, as they showered her with attention and were immediately taken by her big, owlish green eyes.

Snow Storm on the Way

Cleaning out the old computer I came across this picture of DaBum cleaning his driveway up there in Newfie. Now THAT is a big snow.

Down here in the States, the TV people have their knickers in a twist over the latest weather system headed this way. The whole "Storm Team" of meteorologists on one local station is tracking this big storm. Can you picture them in some high tech weather center? Arguing over where the low pressure will meet the high pressure and where the line between that wintry mix and the real snow will be?

Do you think they turn on the Weather Channel and compare notes before they decide for sure just how bad it will be? Or do they just hype the worst scenario... (to encourage the old people to get out in time to get milk and bread before we will all be snow bound until the Big Thaw in April?)

My guess is a total of 5 inches here. And that doesn't cover DaBum's Boots.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Trip Around the Sun- Jimmy Buffett

Enjoy the ride on the trip around the sun.

New Computer UP and Running... for the most part!

I didn't realize how horse and buggy era my old setup was until I starting tinkering with my new computer. This picture doesn't do it much justice. To begin with I have more cords than what I know what to do with.
And that speaker on top is one of my old ones.
I'm just glad to be online and have email access for now.
I forgot to "save" my old address book, so now I have also lost every friend in the world.
But I'm working on it.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

The Sunday Morning Muse, January 4, 2009

The muse is running a bit late today. I spent the morning travelling down memory lane going through about 120 floppy discs. I experienced a series of emotions opening up some pictures I hadn't seen in many years. For the most part it was fun but it was also an exercise in frustration because whatever format some of these cheap floppies were, they loaded very slowly or not at all. Or just froze up the screen completely, which is danger on my current outdated setup.
Pretty much everything I have learned about computers since 1982 has been through trial and error. My first year of college turned me off to computers almost entirely because, never having touched a computer before, I started with DOS...and wrote these horrible little programs with IF/THEN statements. Needless to say I did not sign up for Fortran or Cobalt or whatever it was called. It was boring and tedious, and to make matters worse my instructor wanted me to do Calculus homework with it, and I pretty much gave up. I wandered into the radio station instead and fell in love. And that was that.
Long about 1991 my father bought a computer... a 386 Packard Bell. It was thousands of dollars.
He did boring stuff like settle his checking account and keep track of the family budget. I convinced him that there was more to life than numbers, and we signed up for Prodigy, back when there were probably less than 100 "web" sites in the whole world. I amused myself making friends at online bulletin boards, and playing basic online games. The modems were so slow back then, my dad soon lost patience waiting for each page to load, and started playing the card games again.
I wish dad could see what I do now. He died in 1998, so he only saw the "infant" stages of the internet. I know he kicked himself for not buying Microsoft stock early on, as he had friends who did, and saw their wealth grow. Of course that was before the big Dot-com bust.
Well back to work. 63 more floppies to go through. Better get started. The new computer doesn't have a floppy drive. I really need to move on. If I find any really cool pix, I'll post them.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Zooming into the New Millennium, Late

I am pleased to announce the coming new addition to my family. No, it's not a cat. It's a beautiful new Acer Aspire computer with loads of speed and memory and even....gasp... a DVD player. I'm finally into the new millennium. It will be here next week.

My current computer served me well. It was put together much like Frankenstein in a basement somewhere eons ago, and then parts were salvaged from it and put into a new shell with a few new components and more memory a few years ago as an update. Since then it has survived not being shut off for months at a time, no windows updates for two years or more and I didn't defrag in so long that it took almost a day to do it when I finally got around to it.
I sweat change. I debated a long time over the best way for me to "transition" into a new computer. I am familiar with this one. I know its quirks, I know how far to go before it freezes up. I have it set up they way I want it. And now...everything will be different. Well, not really. As I understand it, part of the guts of this one will go into my new one and I'll get to keep everything on my hard drive. All smiles over that one.
Alas, no floppy disc drive. I may have to spend the weekend trying to convert some old ones to CD. If I can. I tried this once and it was an exercise in futility. Some data was lost forever.
But....this will all be worth it. Then I can coast for a few years.

Happy Day.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Coming Up on Two Years Old

Hard to believe I started The Goosepath just about two years ago. Now over 550 posts later I'm still out here typing away. For those of you who have stuck with me, I admire your loyalty. I'm not sure what reading this does for you, but for me it's a way to keep in touch, spread the word, share my world, bitch about some things, show off, and get the last word.
I'd like to think at least one of you bought a book I liked, or heard music you would never have heard before. I don't start out trying to change anyone's mind about anything. Just shine a light...with regard to politics, art, philosophy, religion, relationships, anything really.
Highs and lows. First the low... I miss posting some of Van Morrison's music. I really wanted to share my thoughts and feelings on how great his songs are. Now, under threats from the Web Share-iff (purposely spelled wrong to avoid searches)I don't share Van, or even listen to him at all much anymore. I lost interest. After thirteen years of buying CDs, reading books and listening to his concerts.
As for Highs... hearing from people is fun. Getting feedback. Also, and I don't mean this to be self serving, but just putting something out there. For anyone to read.
It's a thrill. It's a small way of contributing to the planet. Maybe sparking something. Who knows? The creative spirit works in mysterious ways... but the internet is the closest thing to the collective consciousness that Jung wrote about.
So, keep that bookmark. I'll be around for awhile. Thanks for your support.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

The Future's So Bright. . . I Gotta Wear Shades

Wanted something positive to start off the new year. Here's Timbuk 3.