...busting up my brains for the words

Monday, October 31, 2005

A step forward

Happy Halloween everyone!

It's a beautiful Fall day. Perfect for trick o' treating, if that's what you would choose to do on a Monday evening when weekends seem to serve the purpose just fine for most ghouls. Oh sure, children don't trick or treat on any day in their neighborhood but Halloween proper. Various organized events for kids may well fall on the abutting weekend, but knocking on the door down the street is for tonight.
I've lived in my Uptown home for 12 years now and I've never seen a trick or treating kid at my door...ever. And that includes those years that I had the lights on and had a bowl of Butterfingers on hand.

Anyways, Halloween is not really what I had sat down to write about today. I call this post "A step forward" because I just finished doing some one-armed yard work. And ya know what?
Not only did I accomplish a thing or two with just one arm, but I actually enjoyed it. Maybe that shouldn't be a surprise to me, but it was. I think I feared I would be angry or sad or slip into depression to do yard work with just one arm. So, instead I watched tv or walked Lake Calhoun or slept. But today I felt up to it and trimmed some brush on a walkway, hauled some plants indoors, pulled up a border fence...little things. Felt good.

Rather than debilitating me from doing much of anything, the free time I have off work and a newfound willingness to do those little chores may end up becoming a boon for my domestic upkeep. Gee...maybe tomorrow I should vacuum the stairs.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

My progress

On September 22nd, a jogger zigged suddenly in front of my bicycle causing me to crash and break my left elbow.
I've had two surgical procedures in an attempt to repair my shattered bones. My arm is still in a splint, wrapped in bandages. The pain-killing medicant, percacet, is all gone and I am now gobbling Extra Strength Tylenol like Skittles the day after Halloween (or, as the old timers call it, All Hallows Eve). So, I'm constantly coping with low-level pain. It always hurts. The only thing I can do about it is try and think of other things.
I have a post-operative appointment with my surgeon's assistant on Tuesday. It is my prayer that this exam will show evidence that my latest operation was a stunning success and I may then proceed with standard physical therapy and get my life back. I do not even want to contemplate any other scenario, so I won't go there. This will be my second post-operative examination. At the first one, my stupid arm was wobbling like a door swinging on a loose hinge. That discovery led to my second operation and what probably amounts to a month of delay in the healing process. So, I think it's clear we want an excellent prognosis for old Scottyboy this time.
Once again, I thank my readers and those who know me, for your well wishes and expressed concerns. I am still clinging to the belief that that which does not kill us makes us stronger. This experience has deepened my gratitude for a healthy life and my profound respect for those creatures who have to cope with matters more serious than a broken arm. Of those creatures (I say "creatures" partly because it's Halloween season, and also because I am an animal lover), I say they are a great inspiration.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

White heat

Click the above title to access Internet Movie data base's profile of this movie.

As I've bragged before, I'm a movie buff. So imagine my surprise when I discovered just last night that I had never seen this movie! I'd thought I had. Somehow, it never got attended to until I clicked on it in my NetFlix browser just last week. I was open to NetFlix's "Recommended" pages and something inside my brain questioned my familiarity with it.
I knew it was the picture in which Cagney's character was fixated upon his mother; "Top of the world, Ma! Top of the world!" But everybody knows that. It's one of cinema's most recognizable and oft-quoted lines. What would it hurt to see it again?, I mused.

When scene after scene rolled past my eyes and I wondered how long my apparent nap must have lasted way back when I'd thought I was watching White Heat, it dawned on me that I'd merely thought I'd seen it because I caught the last ten minutes once while surfing past Turner Classic Movies.
Once I realized my error, I actually got pretty excited. Hey!, this is a pretty cool movie I'm watching here. I've never been real big on Cagney. There are some decent informative loaded extras in the disk. Director Marty Scorcese points out that his character is interesting in comparison to his character in The Roaring Twenties. (another movie I'm pretty sure I only caught on cable).

To say the least, Cagney's performance really is incredible here. I had no doubt whatsoever that his character, Cody Jarrett, really did experience pain in his skull that was like "a red-hot buzz saw". I saw the pain in his face.
Another interesting note is actor Steve Cochran as Big Ed. Talk about an actor fitting the perfect type! Everything about Big Ed is perfect for film noir; the suits, the hair, the detached manner. I was pretty sure while watching Cochran in White Heat that Frank Miller had studied everything in his screen presence for a recreation in Sin City. While I may have been right in the "detachment" department, I'm certainly not right about the hair.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

A coming fight

Here's a reprint of a post I wrote today in BowieNet's Politics and Religion message board in response to the news that Miers has withdrawn her nomination.

I'm very disappointed in my fellow Republicans for not trusting Ws judgment.
I think Harriet Miers is a fine woman and was treated very unfairly by far too many Republicans.
I don't know if this weakens W further. I suspect it does. I guess we won't know until we see how W tries to fix this.
He's a shrewd politician.

But mostly, I think Republicans shot themselves in the foot by routing Miers out. They did it by engaging in the same foul tactics they grumble the Democrats use. That is, they want to know how she thinks. They don't want knowledge, they want certainty. They politicize the bench where politics and politiking should be absent.
America is ill right now over its Courts. Smooth sailing for Miers would have been the best remedy for the health of the nation. And I think that was Ws aim in his selection of her. Rather than picking a hot-button judge with a baggage-laden past and necessarily provoking the debate to flair hotter, we now have many partisans itching for a fight over the proper Constitutional philosophy of the Judiciary.

Although I must admit, some say it's a fight that should be fought.

I'm afraid Miers' withdrawal might well signal some very nasty politics coming down the pipes.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Letter to lileks

I labored for many untold minutes on writing this short letter, emailing it to Lileks and then, ultimately dragging and dropping my saved letter into Firefox's browser's view of Blogger text editor and publishing. IE for Mac mysteriously works well with some functions, not at all in others.

Dear James. We are all very excited that your next book is out; Mommy Knows Worst. I have a question about the title, which perhaps would be handily answered for me if I just bought the book. And perhaps I shall, as I am laid up with a broken arm and could use some therapeutic text/image interpretations, both humorous and insightful. For this is what it seems to me a James Lileks book is. Has one yet been written that has no pictures? Jackie Gleason was a good actor. Even if he were "a fine actor", I doubt we'd say so. "Fine" is reserved for actors like Larry Olivier. Yes, he had an inner buoyance. Isn't Don Rickles in the fat club? I think he had good membership standing with the fat, the bald and the funny clubs. Rickles also had good inner bouyancy. Is there a James Lileks virtual stalker blog? I know about "LiliksWatch" but it's dried up. I'd like to buy another book from you. Please publish a book of your very best mail, electronic and dead tree sources both. But I haven't asked my question yet. Assuming the new title is a riff on the television show from the '60s entitled Father Knows Best, why isn't your new title Mother Knows Worst? My uneducated guess is that someone has already used it. A quick search at Amazon shows not a one. Why "Mommy", James? Why? If there isn't a virtual Lileks stalker, there oughta be. I think there is at least one layer of intrigue going on in your writing that merits additional scrutiny. Of course, I am not volunteering for the job. And of course, your private life should be respected and kept as private as you should wish it to be.

Being the meter traffic whore I am, I'll be sure to point out to you any reply Mr. Lileks may leave. Also, the editor [ed...ah, that would be me.] wishes to note that some misspellings were corrected in the letter before publishing this post.

UPDATE: Nothing yet. Let me put a little bait on the hook...a link to the author.

ADDITIONAL UPDATE: As you can see, I have the obligatory hyperlinks to Amazon *dot* com's purchasing page for Mommy Knows Worst and, just as importantly, to Lileks *dot* com, so a Technorati scan will point to this posted letter.
But today I take it up a notch. For I am now broadcasting that I have just used my Mastercard to purchase one copy for myself and one copy for my actual mother, or "Mommy", as Lileks would call her.
At least, reading the title cues me into the spelling of "worst". Few of us would be surprised to learn he's written a book about outdated and outlandish home practices with accompanying poorly lit photographs of mommys and liver wurst sausages.

Put Gnat through college. Buy this book in preparation for the day you are laid up in bed with your own illness or broken arm.

UPDATE THURS: Just heard Lileks' appearance on the Hugh Hewitt Show. He didn't answer any of my questions. But then, no one raised them, either. And still no answer in my email inbox.

UPDATE FRI: I got an email yesterday from Amazon *dot* com informing me that both I and my "Mommy" should expect our new Lileks books to be delivered between Tuesday Nov. 1st and the 3rd. The air is crackling with excitement. Soon, very soon, I will be flipping through dead tree pages of old photos with accompanying interpretations in text written by the one and only Jimmy Leeks. I wonder if my mother will appreciate this.

UPDATE SAT: No glimmer of an answer from Lileks. Of course there isn't any glimmer of an answer. He's busy these days trying to sell books. But I see my link is tracking in Technorati. The good news is that my meter is gradually climbing a little bit due to the untold thousands of devoted Lileks readers who check this blog in order to discover if Lileks answers his fan mail. Even the dull ones.

UPDATE SUN: Still no reply to my letter. Last night as I was tucking myself into bed, I ruminated on this post. Why am I doing this? It's not fair to Lileks to challenge him to reply. I certainly don't expect he will, nor that he is obligated to. I guess I'm doing it because I'm both curious and bored; a strange, irrational combination of motives. If this post is offensive to Mr. Lileks, then I apologize. My guess is that he either doesn't know about it because he is too busy writing and promoting, or that he pities me for my pathetic impulses.
In any case, I look forward to receiving my copy of Mommy Knows Worst this week. You can be sure I will review it in this blog. Since I'm an unhinged, pathological fan of Lileks' writing and off-the-wall humor, you should expect a glowingly favorable review. As I'd mentioned, I bought a copy for my mother, too. So I will be telling of her reactions as well. She's in her mid-70s, so her impressions will go a long way toward saying if this book makes for good gift-giving. After all, my mother was active raising 6 children in the 1960s, so she has first-hand experience in the subject.

UPDATE HALLOWEEN: Nothing. I'm a little embarrassed over this post now. I think it's silly and rather selfish of me to have written it in the first place. Why I would want to inconvenience Lileks, a wonderful humorist and a fine person, is beyond me. Unless.....hmmmm, I cooked up this idea right after I was released from the hospital and was prescribed daily doses of percacet. Is it possible this whole thing is a fever dream brought on by percacet? I'm saying yeah because I'd much rather blame drugs than my own inborn sense of decency or lack thereof.

UPDATE NOV. 1: I've received my copy of this book today. This will be my final update to this post. I'll write my review in a new, specially designated post. Unfortunately, my mother did not receive hers yet. Hopefully tomorrow.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Surgery recovery

I just returned home yesterday from my second operation on my shattered left elbow. I don't think it's a good idea for a blogger to publish the fact that he or she will not be home for a few days.

I hope I am now on the mend. A nurse told me as soon as I became cognizant out of surgery that my surgeon felt things went well. That gave me quite a bit to be thankful for.

Now I am on pain killer and my pain is moderating to previously manageable levels. I'm working on a ginormous cherry coke and am about to watch Constantine, starring Keanu Reeves.

I did a dumb thing in surgery. When I was reeling with pain, doped up on anesthesia, I cried out, "Saddam! Saddam did this to me!"
One of the surgeon's assistants said, "Saddam? Are you delirious?"

Instantly, I realized that my little joke was unnecessary, inconsiderate and inappropriate. "I am sorry", I said. "Mild political commentary. I apologize. I am a fool. I love you".

They must hear a lot of foolish talk in the operating room, so I hope they have forgiven me. After all, here are these many dedicated professionals trying to save my arm and reconstruct my life, and I'm calling them Saddam?

It was of little or no surprise next day after I'd been assessed and interviews were conducted, someone put this question to me: "Do you believe that anyone is intentionally trying to kill or harm you?"

"Interesting question. No."
I hope that will be the end of the matter. Thank you, people of the medical health field, for doing all you can to help me.

Update: During my viewing of Constantine, I kept screaming out. "Saddam! Saddam! Stop the torture!" This movie is really bad in my opinion. I watched much of it out of the corner of my eye as I surfed the Web. We might use this movie to extract information at Gitmo, except such measures would be worse than the Gulags of the Soviets and the concentration camps of the Nazis.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Still hurting

Readers of this blog know my elbow is broken.

Sorry about my light posting. I shall return.

In the meanwhile, Michelle Malkin reminds us of the U.S.S. Cole.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Flyover state endorsement

I'm a flyover state Republican supporter of President George W. Bush. I helped get W reelected to four more years in the White House because I have good reasons to trust him and trust his nominations to the Supreme Court.

A less elitist Republican would be difficult to find in this country than myself. And it is elitist Republicans on the coasts who threaten to rend the Republican Party over nominee Miers.

Take a moment to read MN GOP State Chairperson, Ron Carey's list of qualifications that back up W's selection of Miers to the bench.

If you haven't done so yet, sign the Minnesota GOP petition of support for W's choice.

It wasn't the elites on the coasts who got W reelected. It was flyover state Americans who done it.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Made the scene

Seeing as how I have tomorrow off work, due to my broken arm, I went to Keegan's Pub this evening for Trivia Nite.
I'd wanted to do the same last week, but I was visiting my folks last week.

I'm glad I went, though my team did no win. I ran into Hammerswing 75 and another blogger who I didn't know well, unfortunately. I think his blog is Residual Forces.
I was quickly teamed with Flash and Wog. We got very close to 50% right, and I would readily credit my teammates for most of the correct answers.
It was also good to finally make the acquaintance of EckerNet.

When I'd left the house, I had forgotten about Trivia Nite. When I'd set out of doors about a quarter before 8, I'd thought I was merely going to a local restaurant for dinner. I'd let my cat outside and thought I'd be back in less than an hour to let her back inside. For some reason, I remembered today was Thursday, and hence Trivis Nite.

Getting home a little over three hours later, Zazu is fine. She'd developed a monstrous appetite. And I satisfied mine with Guinness Steak Pie, a few extra stouts and some friendly conversation.

I'm glad I went. Have you read Al Gore's speech yet? In it, he bemoans the demise of democracy, due in part to the effects of television. Well, John Stewart is on David Letterman as I write this. And I want to say that democracy is in fine health, Al Gore is hilarious comedy, Letterman is pathetic and John Stewart takes himself too seriously to be funny.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Conservatives wanted a fight

Matt Margolis of Blogs For Bush weighs in with this comment on W's nomination of Harriet Miers:

I believe most of us conservatives were hoping for a nominee that would have outraged Democrats, such as Janice Rogers Brown, Priscilla Owen, or Miguel Estrada. We wanted a fight.

As I said yesterday, we should trust W. We admire and reelected him because he makes good on his word. And a recognized conservative choice that would outrage liberal Democrats would keep the country's open wounds festering, rather than healing.

I trust we have a good, constructionist conservative nominee in Miers. I have no reason to believe otherwise.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Harriet miers

Yesterday W announced his nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court. Not surprisingly, I support her because I trust George W. Bush.
There are many Republicans who'd wanted a good, solid, proven conservative, not only to faithfully uphold the constitution, but also to stick it to the liberals. Anyone who has seen the liberals go crazy over W's leadership knows that his nomination of J. Michael Luttig or Janice Brown would have sent them into a wild frenzy for years to come.

What I trust W has done is he has made a choice that will go a long, long way toward healing the nation over ideological differences. And we should not be overly surprised by such a choice, though most of us had never heard of Harriet Evan Miers before yesterday. She represents a clean break from the poison that has injected the nation over Roe v. Wade. She's golden.

The main danger now, so far as I can see is the threat of Republicans' discontent over the president's choice. New York Democratic Senator Charles Schumer tried to drive a wedge between Republicans in his pleasure regarding the avoidance of a proven conservative judge. We must not hand Schumer any such satisfaction. Rather, we should trust W. And why shouldn't we trust W? He is a great president who says what he is going to do and then does it. He has promised a conservative nominee for the Supreme Court. His relationship with Harriet Miers is very close and he knows her well.

This choice should be a unifier for the country, if I am not mistaken. W's record as Governor of Texas was marked as an administration that worked with Democrats to get things done. It is clear that a more proven conservative judge nominee would have further entrenched Democrats in their opposition to the Republicans.

This nomination in the person of Harriet Miers demonstrates that the adults are in power in Washington, D.C.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Negative waves

Elitist actor Donald Sutherland, who has a distinguished career as a Hollywood actor, is also now a commentator on current politics. Oh good. Just what the country needs just now, for we have far, far too many people who play-act they are other people and keep a zipper on their true, inner thoughts and feelings and opinions.

Sutherland has been in movies as diverse as M*A*S*H, JFK and Kelly's Heroes. He's also been a guest voice on The Simpsons and he has a role as a somewhat creepy Republican on Commander And Chief if the reviews I've heard are anywhere near accurate.

Now Drudge reports that Sutherland says;

Choking back tears, COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF star Donald Sutherland warned this week: President Bush "will destroy our lives!"

The star of the new ABC drama, which follows the first woman President of the United States, lashed out at the real White House during a dramatic sit down interview with the BBC.

Sutherland ripped Bush and his administration for the war and Hurricane Katrina fallout.

"They were inept. The were inadequate to the task, and they lied," Sutherland charged.

"And they were insulting, and they were vindictive. And they were heartless. They did not care. They do not care. They do not care about Iraqi people. They do not care about the families of dead soldiers. They only care about profit."

At one point during the session, Sutherland started crying: "We stolen our children's future... We have children. We have children. How dare we take their legacy from them. How dare we. It's shameful. What we are doing to our world."

Sutherland went on rip Karl Rove's "methods and means" against people like Cindy Sheehan.

"We're back to burning books in Germany," Sutherland said of NBC's editing out of Kanye West's comment on Bush during a hurricane relief telethon.

Gimme a break. I'm not much of a tv guy, but isn't Donald Sutherland's son, Kiefer Sutherland, in a show called 24-Hours, depicting Arab Islamic terrorists as the bad guys? What's going on here? Another example set previously by Mike and Chris Wallace on father-son political polarity?

It disappoints me when a great actor of iconic proportions such as Donald Sutherland comes out with such negative statements, revealing such a simple worldview.
In Kelly's Heroes, Sutherland played sergeant Oddball. He was an anachronistic character for a WWII movie. But he had a "can-do" attitude that propelled him to get the job done.
At one point, when I believe it may have been Don Rickles' character admonished Oddball that he'd never be able to blow up the bridge before the Germans crossed it said;

"Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves? Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here?"

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Mac problems/pc problems

I am ecstatic that I am now back online.
I'd had a long standing problem with my Mac mouse. I also was in need of additional memory, so I thought. Memory is a funny thing with computers. Computers seem to work for awhile immediately after installing memory. When they fail shortly thereafter, there is difficulty in recognizing the cause. After all, it worked for a while!
So, I'd thought my problem was due to my mouse. When installing a new mouse did nothing to alleviate my problem, I was forced to rethink the series of events. I'd had a helpful conversation with a couple of nice folks at First Tech this afternoon. When he'd mentioned that sometimes they find that memory is the source of such a problem, that planted a seed in my mind.
Could it be that though my Mac worked fine immediately after installing additional memory, that this became a problem and caused an inability to register anything on my monitor?
Could it?
Well, that is exactly how I regained my connectivity with the Internet and brought my monitor to life. I simply removed my memory strip.

Hello world!

Don't even get me started with my pc. I managed to completely foul it up back last spring or so. I messed it up so bad, System Restore and my cd burner were both rendered useless, along with most other functions. So now I am in the position where I must locate any important files I'd saved onto it, transpose the information by hand into written records onto paper, and then blow away my hard drive and reconfigure it. Fortunately, those are bound to be few, as I am not a high-powered computer filer.
The good news is that I will then have a fresh, unpolluted pc as well as my Mac, which will then be networked.

So, there is now an obvious question in my mind. If I remove another memory strip (hopefully of smaller size), and then reinstall this memory strip that caused my recent problem, will I gain additional memory?
I suppose I should delay that issue, as 256 MBs is what I now have and that is plenty for the small tasks I delegate to this Mac.