Thursday, August 30, 2007

Full Moon?

Hi All!

Y'know, I haven't checked but I think the full moon happened a few days ago.

It must have been a humdinger, if the experiences of the last few days are any evidence.

I shall spare you 99% of the details in keeping with my new policy of avoiding posts where I describe the world as a dog and me being a fire hydrant.

An old client called out of the blue just lately and offered to take me to the BB King Blues dealy at the State Fair Grandstand tonight.

After the Suicide Commandos, I was well satisfied enough not to wish to trek back to the fair, but I guess I'll be forking over another $11 gate fee to see a concert for free.

Now if that doesn't sound like a super duper upper to YOU, than you are enjoying life more than me, but I'm not sure I envy you.

I take what I can get.


Sunday, August 26, 2007

Cloud Nine

Hi All!

Well I saw the Suicide Commandos for the first time in 30+ years. They were awfully far away compared to the old days, but god damn they haven't lost a beat.

Fountains of Wayne were icing on the cake, but judging from the crowd response and my own total bias, the Commandos upstaged those youngsters.

To top it off, the fireworks were the best I've ever seen at the Fair.

Of course, the weather was perfect.

Last night I went on a bus trip to a dirt track race in Wisconsin. It was a long night and by this afternoon I wasn't sure I could overcome the fatigue to "be there" for my Commandos. Laid down and suddenly decided that I was gonna fight thru it and get to the Fair.

Now I am so pumped that I will have a hard time getting to sleep.

What a night. What a weekend. Life can be really good.


Thursday, August 23, 2007

Jason Gets a Career Boost

Hi All!

According to Rush, the Twin Cities' own bloviating talk show host Jason Lewis will be given the golden EIB microphone for a couple of days at the end of next week.

I wonder how he is gonna fit his head through the door at KTLK today!



Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Secret of Sparse Blog Traffic

Hi All!

As I have said in the past, if you want to "get" my blog, read the quotes at the top of the page. Tonight a highly respected old acquaintance and newer friend told me he has a hard time reading me because he gets too depressed.

That may have been the icing on a cake that many others have built with their criticism of this experiment in existential, honest laying open of my life and my cynical opinions.

I have quit before, but I ain't gonna quit now. If you click on my grade school self-portrait you will see why my dad discouraged me from doing "art".

If you want Hints from Heloise or Stuart (Al Franken)'s daily affirmations, just go somewhere else.

Life sucks, mostly. Less for some, more for others. I fall somewhere in the middle. I REALLY DO face life with optimism -- I am convinced that I wouldn't be alive if I didn't grasp at the many straws of happiness that hover over me every day. Heck, my kid mowed the front lawn unbidden between monsoons.

Another kid hauled a crap load of books out of the basement at dumped them at Half-Price Books for the royal sum of $10. But we are rid of them. All the years of accumulated possessions stacked floor to ceiling in places like garages and basements could be wiped out overnight. Nature don't discriminate, so collectibles and keepsakes be damned.

When I read about people plunging to their deaths on a collapsing bridge or swept away by an invisible road wash out, I feel lucky and very selfish for wearing my hair shirt.

I am going to try to steer my blog toward sunnier climes.

Wish me luck.


Tuesday, August 21, 2007

No, I 'm Not QUITE Dead Yet

Hi All!

I don't want to go in the cart. I'm feeling much better. I think I'll go for a walk!

The worst thing about my malady is constant and overwhelming fatigue. Makes me sad and frustrated that when I am inspired to work my ass off to clean up years of accumulated mess, I can't even take a box up the basement stairs without having to sit down and recover.

Ah well...

Despite another symptom, "Brain Fog" I can still get around and I can still think and play trivia and write. I am starting to scare myself with trivia. I have been #1 in the nation twice this month out of thousands all over the country. Which profits me nothing except a feeling of pride and the belief that brain cells need exercise as much as the rest of the body.

I haven't written much because I have taken on the job of newsletter editor for my American Legion Club. A young fellow who was brought up using PCs does the desktop publishing work. I am but a hack wordsmith and cub reporter.

Here is an example of my work for the September issue. It's enough to make a liberal gag.

The Bright Red Shirt

I recently spent some down time enjoying the lakes and woods of NW Wisconsin. I happened to be proudly wearing my bright red Rosetown t-shirt one afternoon, when I stopped by a small tavern for a pit stop. There were about a dozen folks there and I got the typical once-over looks that one gets when a stranger shows up. I ordered a beverage and stared at the TV.

When my thirst was quenched, I was preparing to leave when a fellow a few seats away asked if I was "really" a Legion member. I affirmed that I was a SAL (Son of American Legion) and the ball was rolling. What had been a quick stop became a 3 hour non-stop conversation with a half-dozen folks with Legion ties.

Paul, a Vietnam vet complained that the Army supplied WWII C-rations to the soldiers in the field and told the story of how everyone learned to cram every available bit of edible food into their sacks while on base, because one deployed there were few that could willingly choke down those old C-rations. He was a member at Forest Lake and recommended the Hugo club for great food and drink. I told him that Rosetown isn't too shabby either!

Hal, a WWII vet, pointed outside to his mint 1958 T-Bird 4-door convertible. He was a member in Prior Lake for many years and finally sold the family farm for a park. With some of the proceeds he had invested $35 thousand to acquire his dream car. Unfortunately, his enjoyment of it was delayed when the car crushed one whole side of his body while being unloaded from the transport. Arm, leg, ribs and head were cracked. His fortune will likely increase when the lawyer is done settling with the shipping firm.

Terry said she had been an Auxiliary member at guess where? No place other than Rosetown, where she claims to have come for 40 years before moving north. I regret not having gotten her last name. I also met spouses and girl/boyfirends. I came away very happy to have shared so many great conversations, just as if I were at Rosetown. It was all because of my bright red Rosetown Legion t-shirt.


How to Annoy a Liberal

Hi All!

Why waste my talents preaching to the converted? My liberal friends should get a rise out of this, my front page story!


"An acquaintance asked me why on earth I would join The
American Legion. "Are you some sort of military nut?"
Well, if proudly and humbly associating with the men
and women who are living symbols of our defense of
freedom, I guess I am "nuts."

It is because of your sacrifices that America is the
bright, clear beacon of hope and freedom to those who
don't possess it.

I appreciate how much we owe to our men and women in
uniform today, as well as those who have already shed
blood for our freedom.

I have been most fortunate to have lived in times of
relative peace, when my service was not absolutely
required. It is because my forbearers fought evil in
both World Wars, Korea and Vietnam that I have lived
in relatively peaceful times.

Joining the Legion was a no-brainer for me. I wanted
to give something back, however modest.

It is up to all of us to strengthen our club by
spreading the word. If you know people who qualify,
recruit them to join or at least patronize the club
just as many of you were recruited to serve your

Step up and promote your club. Invite your friends and
relations to visit us for everyday food and beverages
and especially our frequent and fun events. Recommend
our wonderful hall to anyone planning a reception our
a meeting.

Patronize your club. Volunteer for events. Attend
meetings. Above all, spread the word.

I recently invited members of the Roseville Issues
Forum, an internet-based discussion group, to meet at
the club. 15 people, including City Council persons,
the City Manager and other local movers and shakers
and opinion leaders were introduced to us for the
first time and I heard many complements and admissions
that we did not fit their preconceptions of a Service

Too many people think of our clubhouses as dark and
dank rooms filled with cigarette smoke and smelling of
spilled beer, populated by lonely old souls who sit at
the bar and stare into space.

We need to disabuse these people of this notion and
the best way to do it is to invite them to visit, Our
place is warm and welcoming. We need to get the word

Don't hide your light under a bushel basket. We are
Legion Strong and Legion Proud. Don't take your club
for granted."

Take THAT, John Kerry lovers!


Monday, August 13, 2007

Synchronicity Rears Its Strange Head

Hi All!

I swear this is true.

A couple of ideas ago I thought of posting something about the timidity of the marshmallow tossing anti-war zealots.

I planned to compare their whining and ranting to the Buddhist monks in Vietnam who routinely protested the war by finding a busy intersection and immolating themsleves.

Now THAT's putting your money where your mouth is, I thought to write.

Today comes this story:

Yesterday a man took his own life by setting himself ablaze outside the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine. Another man drove past the scene with his family and penned an account of what he saw--and what he imagined it meant--for the Portsmouth (N.H.) Herald. The Herald published the article without revealing the author's name. We pick up the story with the anonymous author's arrival at home in Eliot, Maine:

Shocked, filled with disbelief, overwhelmed, we gathered for a group hug in our yard. We had witnessed a self-imposed human sacrifice. I briefly told my family the stunning scene of the Vietnamese Buddhist monk who was shown on the front pages of every major newspaper and on TV. He had performed this same sacrifice, an effort to stop the madness, the killings, the abuse in Vietnam.

Was this an effort by this buddha of Kittery to stop the madness in Iraq?

Apparently not. WMUR-TV of Manchester, N.H., reports today that the dead man has been identified as Nathan C. Gagner, 27, of Kittery. "Family and friends said that Gagner had been suffering from depression." It's a sad story, of course, but at least it won't end in American defeat the way the Vietnam one did.

I dunno, maybe "prescience" is the right word. Scary.


Wednesday, August 08, 2007

The Thing That Just Won't Die

Hi All!

At the risk of setting myself up for a fall, I can report that my appointment with the transplant doctor yesterday went very well...

Very well as in "little or no change."

I am still not sick enough to go on "The List" which is not necessarily a good thing. It is indeed ironic that you have to be at death's door to get a liver, while relatively (and I mean relatively) healthy candidates with better chances for a good outcome have to wait.

But that's the way it is. Supply is overwhelmed by demand so only the most critical cases have a shot at receiving a new lease on life.

I was told at least 4 years ago that I had mere months to live.

Since then, I have repeatedly been told the same thing.

I have shared this news with friends, family and others to the point that I am now sounding like the boy who cried wolf! Somehow the remaining bit of unscarred tissue is holding up beyond expectations.

For this I am obviously most grateful. My quality of life sucks but at least I am alive and in many small ways have accomplished things to help our household keep bumping along.

As with an old fan belt, that last bit of healthy tissue could go at any time. Meanwhile, barring that, I don't have to go back to the doctor until November.


Saturday, August 04, 2007

Wild 35W Bridge Collapse Theories

Hi All!

No, Bush and Pawlenty didn't plot it.

Why so few casualties?

4 out of 8 lanes were closed for repair, the two outer North and Southbound lanes were open, but there was nothing in the middle except the construction gear.

Therefore, the number of cars that could be on the bridge was half of normal.

What's more, traffic was slow and go. Imagine the scenario of all 8 lanes running cars through at 60-65mph?

Think of the chain reaction crashes behind the ends of the bridge if traffic weren't nearly stopped.

Think of the numbers of cars that would have flown off the edge.

Normally, without construction, at that time, the exit to Washington and the Metrodome would be slow and go, and all the other lanes would have been flowing at least 50-60mph, based on my hundreds of trips through there in that circumstance.

So, the bridge had perhaps 4 lanes pretty full of cars that were basically not moving much. Most rode the drop or managed to brake on the inclined portions of the collapse.

It could have been so so so much worse under normal circumstances.

Why Did the Bridge Collapse?

Way out on a limb on this one, but all the weight was on the far sides of the road, with the middle 4 lanes blocked for construction.

Dead weight, as traffic was crawling.

An imbalance?

Just had to post this to be able to claim credit in the unlikely event one or both of theses theories are shown to have held merit.

I have not to date heard them anywhere else.


Thursday, August 02, 2007

There But For The Grace of God

Hi All!

Well you all know about the shocking bridge collapse. As just one of hundreds of thousands who have made hundreds or thousands of trips over that bridge, it is creepy to think that it was ready to fall into the river.

My oldest crossed it less than an hour before it dropped.

I have always thought how ironic it would be to die accidentally instead of by liver failure.

Life is dangerous.