Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Be Gone a Bit

Well, me and Snug, were packin' up what little we got in a cardboard grip and strappin' it tight and grabbin' an umbrella in case it rains and were headin' to the Panhandle, to the Silver Valley, to the heart of the Cd'A Mining District and we'll see Mom and Pooh and Sissy and Snug'll wait in his crate while me and the girls see that movin' picture that's so popular, uh "Mama Mia", and so I reckon I won't be around here on the Interbeing as much as usual, but me and Snug, we'll see ya soon enough and ask for your blessings as we hit the long and lonesome road to Idaho.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Three Beautiful Things 08/25/08: Hearing Back, Wrinkles Gone, Slots Here

1. I was checking out at Albertson's several weeks ago and the youngster helping actually answered my question when I said, "How yooo doin'?" She told me about a double ear infection she contracted diving in a swimming hole up Fall Creek. I hadn't see her since and I was in her line this evening and asked her how her ears were doing and she's completely recovered. The turnaround occurred when she quit taking her antibiotics!

2. More wrinkles on my hand: the swelling is almost gone!

3. Oregon Lottery video machines have "The Big Easy" and "Free Game Frenzy", a couple of my favorite slot machines. I had no idea.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Three Beautiful Things 08/24/08: 1000th Post, Swelling Way Down, Burning Man Again - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more

1. This is my 1000th post on Kellogg Bloggin. It all began with Kellogg is My Paris and I've enjoyed posting in a variety of styles and moods, posting pictures and videos, and exploring gravely serious and whimsically silly aspects of my experience, all rooted in Kellogg, Idaho.

2. The swelling in my hand is nearly gone and I'm feeling renewed energy. This infection sapped me a little. This is good, what with a drive to Kellogg in my very near future.

3. I dropped Patrick off at Albertson's where he met some youngsters who, with him, will be heading to northwest Nevada to the unforgiving desert and the unpredictable happening, Burning Man.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Sibling Assignment #72: NIC Advice: You Must Flip Things Around

This sibling assignment came from Silver Valley Girl. Today she will be escorting her daughter the Princess to Coeur d'Alene to begin her freshman year at North Idaho College. So, she posed this assignment:
Since The Princess will be moving into her dorm room at NIC on Sunday, August 24th, let's post some advice, memories, information that could help her as she begins her first semester of college.

InlandEmpireGirl's presented her advice in the form of a list, here, and between the demands of the melodrama and getting The Princess moved into her dorm, Silver Valley Girl hasn't quite had time to compose her piece.

(Stock Photo)

The Princess starts classes at NIC tomorrow. I started classes at NIC thirty-six years ago.

I made two mistakes right away in my first semester that I never repeated in my ensuing 40,000 years of undergraduate and graduate work. First, I overscheduled myself. I panicked. I didn't see how I'd ever complete my courses. I dropped two of them and suddenly my courses were manageable and, to a degree, enjoyable -- as enjoyable as courses could be my first semester.

I approached college studies my first semester (and on into my second) the way I had in high school: working at the Zinc Plant, socializing, going to dances and concerts, playing basketball, visiting friends at their apartments all came first. I studied when I felt like it and did most of my work at the last minute or did it late.

In other words, my studies were an afterthought. Many days and nights passed when it didn't seem like I was going to college at all -- this was especially true once I turned nineteen, the drinking age then in Idaho. I skipped classes, turned in work late, had study spurts, but these spurts were out of desperation.

Before my second year in college, during the summer, I made a decision: I would flip things around.

I would put my studies first and hang out more with other people who did the same.

I went straight to the library between classes instead of listening to the jukebox and hanging out at the student union.

I studied every night. I kept up in my classes. My courses became fun and they were what I gave my best time and energy to.

I still partied, but usually only on Friday nights and sometimes Saturday and even that practice faded away as I became more involved with other serious students, including Eileen, whom I would later marry.

The flip is difficult to make. Old habits die hard.

But the flip has two great advantages to a person starting college.

First, giving your best time and energy to school relieves a lot of pressure. You don't get behind. You get more invested in your courses. You discover interests you didn't know you had. You give studies a chance to do for you what they are designed for.

Second, studying is cheap! I've told this to countless students over the years. No one has listened to me, but it's true. If you keep up with your studies you aren't shopping, eating out, going to as many movies, using gasoline, or doing the other things that drain your budget.

Studying only costs money if you have a pop or a cup of tea while you do it or if you eat Cheetos or some Ramen.

Otherwise, you are reading, writing, or calculating and once you have the books or the equipment, reading, writing, and calculating is free.

So, Princess, I hope you'll flip things and experience the pleasure that comes with making studies the center of your life.

It's stimulating.

It's cheap.

For me, it was a lot of fun.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Three Beautiful Things 08/23/08: Andrea, Vanessa, Molly

1. I ran into Andrea at Albertson's at the buy 2, get 2 free twelve packs of Pepsi display and we had a long and wonderful talk about dogs, her new place she's moving into, the fact of her recent marriage, LCC students from the past, and when was I going to get over to Andrea's place of employment and talk with John about retirement planning.

2. Then! Then I had a quick chat with Vanessa and she got me kind of fired up when she told me she thought she might go to Southern Oregon University when she's done at LCC and study Anthropology and Photojournalism together. That sounded splendid to me.

3. Molly left today to fly back to Texas. The beautiful thing? She didn't want to leave.

Back to School Dreams Begin

Maybe I should blame my sister. That's always fun. InlandEmpireGirl recently wrote a school nightmare she just had.

Maybe I should blame Snug. After all, he bit me, my right hand and wrist are swollen, I was running a fever, and I've been sleeping more. Result? I'm dreaming more.

Whatever the reason, I had my first school starts soon dream this morning.

It began with me having been assigned to teach a section of a speech course. I've never taught a speech course. I'm not qualified. But, I had to do it.

Furthermore, in my dream, I missed the first class meeting. It was a MWF section, so in my dream I headed to class on Wednesday, aware that my students had shown up on Monday, but not me.

As I approached my classroom, my students were seated in Eugene's Cuthbert Ampitheater,

and I had to get their attention, joke about having missed day one, and joke some more about having forgotten to bring the roll sheet, and joke even more about the fact that my friend and fellow teacher Jeff Harrison would be giving the course's opening lecture.

It turns out, in my dream, that two members of the speech faculty at LCC, Barbara and Suzanne, also attended this class session, rightfully skeptical about an English teacher giving a course in their area of specialty, as if anyone could teach a speech class.

It turns out Jeff's lecture was on the abuses of Jungian psychotherapeutic methods and he illustrated his lecture with brilliantly colored psychedelic illustrations that vividly lit up a screen for the students.

Jeff wasn't two slides into his lecture before Barbara pounced on what he was saying, challenging his every word. Our plan to draw upon his expertise in Jung as a way of getting a speech class underway failed miserably, but I jokingly intervened, said something clever that made the sea of students laugh and assured them that everything would be fine on Friday, even though I had forgotten to order a textbook for us to work with, but that I would cover that with class presentations easier to understand than a textbook would be.

Barbara and Suzanne were not amused.

I physcially shook myself awake.

I'd had enough of this angst riddled dream.

I'd love to hear from other teachers. Is it common for teachers to dream of facing an overwhelming number of students? Of not showing up for class? Of being unprepared for a teaching assignment? Of having other teachers observing and harshly criticizing one's class meeting? I've heard that teachers having standing undressed in front of class nightmares. I used to have this dream when I was in elementary school and dreamed I was playing football on the playground naked, but I don't think I've had this dream as a teacher.

I'd love to read comments/stories about dreams you've had about teaching or whatever profession you practice.

I Enjoy Going Out, Eating, In a Smokeless Room, And Yet.....

  • Chicago restricts personal freedom more than any US city, here.

  • American Lung Association of Oregon would like to see smoking banned everywhere at my place of employment.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Three Beautiful Things 08/22/08: Dog Bite Botox, Swelling Coming Down, Man Card at Risk (Again)

1. Dog bite Botox: Dog bite gets infected. Swells. Hand wrinkles gone.

2. Dog bite Botox is a short term remedy for hand wrinkles. Mine are coming back.

3. Plans are beginning to get concrete for a Sibling Outing in Spokane on Aug. 29. All I can say is that I will once again put my Man Card at risk: the day will end with a viewing of "Mama Mia". If I say my mom really wants to see it and I can't refuse seeing it with my mom and and my sisters can I get a pass?

Three Beautiful Things 08/21/08: Antibiotic, 7-Up, Chicken Soup

The bite Snug gave me has caused infection and given me a fever. The Deke and her kids went out and got me three things to help me heal:

1. Antibiotic.
2. 7-Up.
3. Chicken soup.

I should be better in no time!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Heady Stuff

  • Can't remember? Get some sleep. Snoozing makes you smarter.
  • No kidding: smarter brains are typically bigger.
  • Be sure to make time to think.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Three Beautiful Things 08/20/08: Louie, Snug Bite, Salary

1. A whole table of my North Idaho friends were having dinner tonight with Louie Dunbar who almost never gets to come back to the Silver Valley. They called me and I got to talk to each of them. It was really great to talk with Louie. I hope I'll get to see him one day soon in person. The last time I saw him was in '92 at our twenty year reunion. We provided play by play commentary while our classmates did the hokey-pokey.

2. I can type. It seems to be good physical therapy and seems to loosen up the hand Snug bit. Details, here.

3. The Deke came home from new faculty orientation with good news. She gets a full paycheck at the end of the month. We thought it would come in October. We were so wrong. The master's degree she earned at the U of O in French will place her higher on the pay schedule. The Deke's getting this job is better news all the time.

Urgent Care

One guy wearing a Xenon Cafe T-shirt had sliced his finger instead of lettuce; a hairdresser had an ice pack on top of her head; an elderly gentleman claiming to have no blood pressure had had a seizure in the parking lot got wheeled in by a Good Smaritan, a young man with severely short hair on the sides and a long wisp on top of his head, dressed in Gothware -- he didn't know the man --he was helping out; a huge guy in his twenties in a football jersey and baggy jeans just moved to Eugene and needed a prescription for his meds; a father sat with his two boys, one whom had taken a spill.

The cafe guy waited four hours to get called in. The football jersey guy did, too. The guy with the seizure got right in. I never saw the hairdresser get called. After three hours of the most patience I've ever seen in two little boys, the father and his boys went in.

I waited three and a half hours.

Snug bit my hand today. His paws were bandaged after having foxtails removed yesterday and while I removed the bandages from his front paw, he cried a little. I continued, being as careful as I know how, when I must have done something that really hurt him and he chomped on my right hand. (It's not stopping me from blogging.)

I decided I'd better get a tetanus shot.

I hadn't been to Peace Health's Urgent Care Center before. I've heard that McDonald's and other fast food restaurants make their restaurants unappealing to sit in so that people will move along, not stay long.

I thought the same strategy was at work in the Urgent Care Center.

How do they do it? I didn't see green filters in front of the lights. The walls weren't painted green. The chairs were all rust colored.

But the dim lighting combined with the patients holding their arms, keeping children quiet, bent over in wheelchairs, and suffering from chest pains gave the cramped lobby a green sheen.

I got called in. The doctor was nice. The nurse was nice. I got my shot. The nurse cleaned my wounds. She put band aids on them.

I came home.

Oh! When I realized my wait would be long I strolled to a local book store. I bought Bleak House. I tried to read. I had trouble concentrating. My wait was long enough though.

With a clear head, I might have finished it.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Three Beautiful Things 08/19/08: Foxtails Out, Paternal Pride, Jade Palace Carry Out

1. The vet calls the grass particles that wedge their way into Snug's paws foxtails. Snug had about six of them removed today, successfully. He's groggy, having been anesthetized. He's recovering.

2. I was enjoying a Cinnabon and a coffee at the Valley River Food Court this morning. I was wearing a Michigan State shirt. An elderly man hobbled over to me and asked if I went to Michigan State and then delighted me with the story of his daughter who went to med school there, practiced medicine for several years, and is now a professor at a med school he didn't mention. He glowed with pride.

3. Patrick came home. All three of the Deke's kids are home. This rarely happens. Our special food together is Chinese food from Jade Palace and we sat down at the table and enjoyed a buffet of Jade Palace delights.

He-Man Punctuation


I found this in the Boston Globe online:

Ben McIntire, writing in the Times of London, asserts: "Real men, goes the unwritten rule of American punctuation, don't use semi-colons." Read more, here.

That's crazy; I love the semi-colon.

Ain't I a real man?


Meet Kay Ryan the New Poet Laureate of the USA

Read about her here, here, and here.

Or watch her:


  • Steven A. Smith, editor of Spokane's daily newspaper, The Spokesman Review, has started a new blog where he's posting pieces regarding the changing landscape of running a newspaper, here.
  • Charles Murray says get rid of the B.A. degree, here.
  • Should the National Kidney Foundation stop considering itself an advocate for kidney patients? Kidney recipient Sally Satel wonders, here.
  • I enjoy keeping up on what's happening in Spokane and find that the blog Metro Spokane blends the earnest with the breezy.

Three Beautiful Things 08/18/08: Snarky, History, Cloudy

1. I went out to my work place to tie up some loose ends on a couple of projects and Margaret was there, too, and I got to unburden myself of some snarky comments that had been building up inside. Always good to get rid of those.

2. Having heard the band the Floydian Slips has inspired me to find footage of Pink Floyd from their hey day and to listen to interviews with the group, especially Roger Waters and David Gilmour. I've never been a big enough fan of Pink Floyd to dig deep into their music and their history, but that has changed.

3. All day the sky was cloudy, gray and air cool and damp: my favorite weather. No glare. No heat. Perfect. I'd be happy if the sun hid behind gray clouds every day.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Sibling Assignment #71: Shakespeare's Old Man Pity Party

InlandEmpireGirl decided that since we've reached assignment #71, she'd have us compose a post in honor of the number 71. Pretty random, but kinda cool, I think. InlandEmpireGirl post seventy-one word associations here and Silver Valley Girl listed seventy-one song titles out of the top one hundred from 1971 that she remembers, here. She turned eight years old in July '71.

Last night I while feeling transported by the Floydian Slips, a Pink Floyd tribute band, I suddenly flashed on an idea for this post. Sitting in the Cuthbert Amphitheater, I realized I had no idea what Shakespeare's Sonnet 71 had to say, so I committed myself to reflecting upon it and writing about it. So here it is, Sonnet 71:


No longer mourn for me when I am dead
Then you shall hear the surly sullen bell
Give warning to the world that I am fled
From this vile world with vilest worms to dwell:
Nay, if you read this line, remember not
The hand that writ it, for I love you so,
That I in your sweet thoughts would be forgot,
If thinking on me then should make you woe.
O! if, I say, you look upon this verse,
When I perhaps compounded am with clay,
Do not so much as my poor name rehearse;
But let your love even with my life decay;
Lest the wise world should look into your moan,
And mock you with me after I am gone.

One fact and then I'll reflect upon this sonnet. The first 126 of Shakespeare's 152 sonnets portray an older man addressing a younger man. I can't say for sure what their relationship is. Mentor? Lovers? Both? I don't know. In my opinion, though, Shakespeare portrayed a similar relationship between an older and a younger man in "The Merchant of Venice" between Antonio, the merchant of the title and an older man, and Bassanio, his young friend. Antonio's feelings for Bassanio run so deep, he's willing to die for their relationship.

Shakespeare's sonnet cycle gets complicated, sexy, dark, and fascinating after Sonnet 126 when the older man's mistress comes into the picture and we learn that the younger man has had an affair with her.

The old man's not happy.

But, that's later. Here, in Sonnet 71, the older man addresses death, one of his favorite subjects.

In this sonnet, he appears to be telling his protege to mourn no longer than the "surly sullen bell" that marks his death.

Have you ever had a grandparent or an old uncle or aunt or an elderly parent who does this? You offer him or her a ride to the store and it's exactly what s/he wants, but says something like, "Oh no. I don't want to bother you. You've got more important things to do. I'll ride the bus or call a cab. I have enough groceries for the next couple of hours."

The older man in this poem is just a little too insistent. Calling the bells "sullen" and "surly", repeating the word "vile"with its superlative "vilest" and referring to himself as "compounded by clay" are all strategies to rouse pity, not relieve the youth of it.

I don't think the older man means a word he says in this address to his protege.

The sonnet is completely ironic. The older man longs to be remembered. He wants to be mourned. He wants his protege to groan and moan.

It's ironic right to the end. The older man doesn't believe that the young man will be mocked if he grieves. He knows the young man's grief would be regarded as respectful.

What's difficult to respect in this sonnet is the older man's manipulative ways.

If Shakespeare were alive today, he might have liked the phrase "pity party" for its alliterative qualites and for how perfectly it captures just what the older man is up in this poem in feeling sorry for himself and his growing older.

Three Beautiful Things 08/17/08: Stepdaughter Slumber, Pink Floyd Slumber,

1. My stepdaughters went out on the town last night with Adrienne's husband, his brother and his partner, and with a longtime friend of Adrienne's and Nathan's. I envied them! But, late this morning I knocked on the Deke's door, peeked in, and my stepdaughters were sleeping on the Deke's bed and it was a sweet sight I haven't seen for years.

2. I love putting on an album, let it wash over me, and if it puts me to sleep, let it do so. The music provides soundtrack for my dreams. I did just that with Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here". I fell into slumber during the "Have a Cigar Track" and Snug woke me up during the album ending suite "Shine on You Crazy Diamond". God. Sleep and Pink Floyd are refreshing together. (So is sleep and The Grateful Dead. I used to love to sleep during long Jerry Garcia riffs at the Oakland Coliseum Arena! And not for bad reasons.)

3. If you'd like to find out what the two Corgis in our household have on their minds, the Deke has set up a blog for them. They are precocious dogs. Just go here.

Three Beautiful Things 08/16/08: Pink Floyd Lives, Cell Room Lives, Coolness Lives

1. Jeff called late in the afternoon to see if I wanted to go to the Cuthbert Amphitheater and hear the Floydian Slips, a Pink Floyd tribute band. His tickets were comps. Am I ever glad I went! Not only did I love hearing Pink Floyd's music so magnificently rendered, the band helped elevate my already high regard for Pink Floyd. Great night!

2. My high school classmate TO'R sent me a page of first-rate links related to Kellogg and we had a friendly back and forth about the value of my new header photo. I decided to stick with the photo since, to me, it epitomizes the work experience of growing up in Kellogg.

3. The Deke got an air conditioner in her room. Nathan installed it. Hallelujah!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Three Beautiful Things 08/15/08: Kidney Uplift, Attractive Youth, Subaru Body Work

1. My nephrologist liked what he saw when he read my lab results regarding my kidneys. Yes, I have reduced kidney function, but he assured me that I've been at the same level of function loss since I had meningitis back in 1999. He doesn't need to see me for another year unless a drastic change in my renal health occurs. This was a relief.

2. Mark and Carissa got married in a brief, lovely ceremony in Eugene's rustic Hendrick's Park. Carrisa and Mark are in their early twenties and so were many of their friends attending the wedding. I loved how great they all looked: young, colorful, full of energy, attractive. The spirit suffusing the wedding and reception was mirthful which added pleasure to the visual beauty of the evening.

3. It looks like the body work on the Subaru might be finshed by Wednesday, certainly by Thursday. I'm thinking I might leave for Kellogg on Friday so I can be there for the weekend. Arriving Friday would make it more likely that I could see a performance of "Phantoms of the Melodrama" at the Sixth Street Melodrama, directed by my sister, Carol (Silver Valley Girl). I hope I can get a ticket!

Kidney Update: Good News

Every bit of news from my kidney doctor today was good.

He told me my primary caretaker is cautious, a bit of a worrier (nothing wrong with that), but that the change in my numbers was not significant.

My numbers have remained constant ever since I had meningitis.

He's very happy with how I'm keeping my blood pressure under control and he liked how my cholesterol looked. These are the two things I must always be the most vigilant about so the medicine is working and I'm confident that my abstinence from alcohol is helping a lot, too.

I don't have to see my kidney doctor (nephrologist) for another year.

Too bad this weekend is so busy. I'd love to go to the casino to celebrate. But, I'll wait until I go to Kellogg and celebrate with Ed in Worley.

Too bad there's not a game called Kidney Kaboodle.

Thanks a lot for your concern.

PS Bob, Thanks for the tip on the China kidney. I'll keep it in mind if I need a spare.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Three Beautiful Things 08/14/08: Snug Calm, Snug on All Fours, It Still Runs

1. Snug was calm and cooperative as the vet looked at his infected paws and decided that she needs to probe them on Monday and extract the offending grass seed that is giving him trouble.

2. The infection of Snug's rear right paw has had him walking on three legs, but today he put the fourth back in action. Yes, gingerly, but it was heartening to see him walking on all fours again.

3. At least the Subaru still runs. That's the good thing. A guy in an Isuzu Trooper backed into the Deke at 24th and Hilyard and the hood is creased/buckled a bit and will need repair, but the Subaru still runs. That's the good thing.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Three Beautiful Things 08/13/08: Choke, Mugs-- -- but No Wallet, Old Bastard

1. Nine holes. One good shot: a nine iron that rocketed over a pond fronting the green to about six feet behind the pin, tucked in the back of the green. Then I three-putted. Shit.

2. The Subaru was broken into overnight. The Deke forgot to lock it. The good news: her black wallet was in the car, tucked in a dark slot beneath the radio, and the perps missed it. Why did they steal the Deke's St. Vinnie's mugs? The math games Deke bought for her students? Don't know. But they missed the wallet.

3. These older men were playing behind us at SuttonRidge today. On about the fifth or sixth hole we were walking to our tee shots and a ball flew over us, struck by one of the guys behind us. HE HIT INTO US! They had a cart and sped down to us to apologize. The guy who hit the offending tee shot said that he hadn't been hitting the ball well all day. He was shocked he hit one that far. I smiled broadly, and yelled across the fairway, "I said to Nathan that I'll bet the old bastard hadn't poked a good one all day!" The older guys loved that I said "old bastard" and laughed their way back down the fairway and the rest of our round continued without incident.

The Boston Stalker

About 7:30 this mornin, Nathan, Mark, and I spirited ourselves out to RiverRidge golf course. We trudged over to the driving range. I hadn't hit a golf ball for over two years, and striking practice balls reminded me of all my bad swing habits ingrained in my muscle memory. I still do all the bad shit hitting a golf ball I've done for forty-one years now, since I was thirteen.

But, I digress.

One of the odd features of the driving range is having background music. At one point I was faintly aware of a muzak version of a Chicago tune I couldnt remember the name of, but then I heard Boston's "Don't Look Back" which was kind of weird because Nathan put some Journey on when we drove out and we talked about high tenor voiced arena band front men and Nathan shared his low regard for the lead singer of Boston.

Well, this afternoon I suddenly had a hankering for Chinese buffet at Jade Palace, a restaurant in our neighborhood. I sat down, started to eat some BBQ pork and a few pot stickers along with BBQ chicken and vegetarian egg roll and some fried rice when suddenly I realized that the radio station playing in the Jade Palace had put Boston's "Don't Look Back" on and I was hearing it again.

Now, as I've written about before, I enjoy bands and songs that my friends with more refined tastes in rock music think is shit. Boston is one of those bands. So, I hummed along while munching on another pot sticker, but I suddenly had a weird feeling.

Was "Don't Look Back" stalking me? Was I being followed? I was in a state of mind vulnerable to such thoughts because our Subaru was ransacked last night. The perps swiped some mugs the Deke bought at St. Vincent's and some math dominoes and other stuff she bought at Target. They overlooked the Deke's wallet, though. It was in the car and the burglars didn't see didn't take it.

But, I digress.

I walked home from Jade Palace and started wondering if I was going to hear Boston's "Don't Look Back" coming out of bushes or blare out of a passing Vega. I didn't obey the song. I kept looking back.

So this evening, I went to Albertson's and bought a carton of ice cream and the Deke a bottle of wine. I bought five bucks worth of lottery scratch tickets and went over by the US bank ATM machine.

Slowly, eerily, tauntingly, even creepily, "Don't Look Back" came over the Albertson's sound system.

It was the Boston Stalker.

I cashed in my tickets for the 15 bucks I won. The woman at customer service stared for a few seconds at the my eyes darting suspiciously back and forth. She smiled, handed me my winnings and told me to have a good evening.

"Why wouldn't I?"

"I don't know. Just have a great evening. Enjoy yourself. You know. No regrets. Don't look back!"

I bolted to my car.

Three Beautiful Things 08/12/08: Fruity Downtown, Hark the Herald Angel Pasta Sings, Fore!

1. Downtown's Tuesday Farmer's Market sweetened my day: not the sight, but the smell of blueberries, strawberries, blackberries and other locally grown fruits. I bought six tomatoes.

2. Angel hair, fresh tomatoes, olive oil, lemon, garlic, pepper, fresh grated Parmesan cheese, combined, chilled make a fine summer evening meal. I'm not sure if I left anything out. I know I'd enjoy bleu cheese stuffed or garlic stuffed green olives with this dish, but we didn't have olives with it last night. If you want to give this a try, you are on your own. It's not a recipe dish around this house. It's a free for all.

3. Nathan came over and suggest he and I and the groom, his brother, Mark, play some golf tomorrow. I'm all for it, although I shuddered slightly. I haven't played since November 2005. Should be interesting...and a fun morning out.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Flowing Data: Numbers and Data Come Alive

Here's what the creators of the blog Flowing Data say about what they are up to:

We can use . . . data to understand more about ourselves and our surroundings as well as drive change. With this in mind, how can we help people realize the importance of the data around them? How can we use statistics to find meaning in our data? How can we provide and visualize this information to motivate action?

FlowingData explores these questions and highlights how statisticians, computer scientists, designers, and others are finding answers.

Flowing Data built a Beginner's Guide to Flowing Data, here.

I like these animations and graphics Flowing Data has created to make certain data come alive:

  • Watch the spread of Wal Mart stores in the USA, here.
  • Watch gasoline prices rise and fall from 1993 to now, here.
  • Here's a map of Olympic medals in bubble + geographic form, reflecting Athens, 2004.
  • Lastly, here is a short segment of the BBC program Britain from Above that shows data in action from the perspective of satellite technology:

King Lear and Jesse Ventura

Katrina, my good blog friend over at the exquisite Notes on a Napkin wrote in response to my recent post detailing the wild dream I had about Jesse Ventura and plastic surgery, here, wrote this comment:

And I thought I had weird dreams! Maybe this is your subconscious mind warning you of the ills of plastic surgery. I hope you're not considering having any work done, RP. It would be the death knell for your acting career, for one thing. It's hard to play King Lear when your skin is stretched so tight you can't blink, let alone evince all the requisite wrinkles that a good Lear demands.

I love the thought of ever being able to play the role of King Lear, but I barely have the chops to play an attendant to Cordelia.

However, I did attend a Halloween party in 1995 as King Lear:

Monday, August 11, 2008

Three Beautiful Things 08/11/08: Retirement and How Long Will I Live?, Who IS That Poet?, Maybe He Was a Boy Scout Leader

1. I went to a retirement workshop today. I'm probably screwed, but it sounded to me like people who plan for retirement and know they are screwed are happier than people who are screwed and didn't know it until they retired. I'm hoping when I visit my kidney doctor Friday that I'll learn something about how long he thinks I have to live because a lot of the planning around retirement seems to be about predicting how long one expects to live. I'll be able to provide for my loved ones better in the future if I can nail down my personal life expectancy more precisely.

2. Margaret and I got together for coffee to talk about our team teaching next school year. Our discussion was stymied from time to time. One of us would think a certain movie would be good for our course, but we couldn't remember its title; Margaret wanted to know what I did in my WR 122 course this past spring, and I couldn't recall; we thought we'd like to assign some poems by this woman who writes really good poems about daily life in coal mining country, but we don't remember who she is. We have our work cut out for us.

3. Kenton mailed me an interview that ran in the Harrison Sentinel or Beacon, I can't remember the paper's name, with a man whose name sounds vaguely familiar to me and I'm thinking if Kenton thought I'd enjoy the interview he thinks I'll know who the man is, but I can't remember him, so I emailed Kenton to find out if he was someone we knew in Boy Scouts. I hope Kenton can help me remember.

Reille Hunter Discusses Videographing John Edwards

Click the image


Sunday, August 10, 2008

Three Beautiful Things 08/10/08: Adrienne's Back, XM Golf, Wedding Bells Soon

1. The Deke's daughter Adrienne is in town again and it always lifts my spirits to have her at the house. She's funny, fascinating, and forthright. She's also very intelligent, perceptive, and insightful. She livens up our lives a lot.

2. I enjoyed listening to the PGA Championship on XM radio. I've probably written this about 100 times on this blog, but here's 101: I'm amazed by how much I enjoy listening to a golf tournament on the radio. (I also like listening to auto races on the radio.)

3. Adrienne's husband's brother Mark and his wife Carissa married each other recently. Getting married before their public ceremony helped with paperwork with the Navy for their housing. Their public ceremony is Friday. I met Carissa today at a get together at Mary's, Adrienne's mother-in-law and the Deke's close friend. It was fun seeing everyone and starting to feel the excitement that comes with the week leading up to a wedding ceremony.

My Happy List: 12 Examples of How I Lack Taste and Lack Class(iness)

Often, Dave F. Oliveria over at Huckleberries Online features lists that Angela at Happy Lists composes. Her blog is a lot of fun. Go over, click around, and see if you find her lists both charming and helpful.

Friday night I was driving home from Three Rivers Casino. I ate at the fish buffet, which I enjoyed a lot, especially the breaded shrimp, razor clams, and scallops. I realized that I have this idea in my head that people with good taste or people with class would sneer at the idea of eating breaded fish. It made me think further that a lot of things that people with good taste and class sneer at make me happy. As I drove home, I started composing a list in my head.

In no particular order, here is a happy list of a dozen things I enjoy, but that I hear people who have class and good taste sneer at:

1. Chewing tobacco. I chew tobacco in spurts. I go long periods of time without chewing tobacco. I know it's bad for my teeth, gums, blood pressure, and general hygiene. But when I'm on a chewing tobacco jag, it's a rich pleasure as I dip and tuck a pinch of Skoal Straight Long Cut between my lip and gum and enjoy the strong taste and the sensation of my salivary glands kicking into overdrive.

2. U.S. brewed macro-brewed lager beers. I don't drink much anymore. Alcohol seriously elevates my blood pressure, putting my already seriously compromised kidneys in more peril. When I did drink beer, though, I tried and enjoyed the whole range of ales, but eventually I realized that my fullest pleasure came from drinking Olympia, Budweiser, Miller, Pabst, Ranier, Coors, or any of the other mass produced American lagers. The reason was simple. I had a history with the taste of these beers. The smell and taste of these macro-lagers made the present more enjoyable by taking me back to my drinking days in Kellogg and Coeur d'Alene and Spokane, to poker games, nights of laughter and pool at the Kopper Keg and Jeckyll and Hydes or the Viking. The microbrewed ales held no history for me. All they did was taste good.

3. Coffee brewed at 7-11, gasoline filling station markets, casinos, and Denny's/Shari's/Perkins as well as coffee made from can brands like MJB, Folgers, Yuban as well as instant coffee. When it comes to coffee, my stance is very simple. I enjoy all kinds of coffee and I make a concerted effort to keep drinking cheap, mass produced coffee so that I'm never in a situation where I have to turn down a cup of coffee because it's not good enough for me. Consequently, I enjoy drinking coffee in the Silver Valley at Johnny's Bar or at my mother's house or at the Exxon in Kingston and can enjoy a cup of coffee anywhere on the road. I don't have to wait to find a Starbucks or any other premium coffee shop. I love it all, as long as I can throw some milk, cream, or powder in it.

4. Zip's. I long for Zips down here in Eugene. When I drive home to Kellogg, my first chance to get some Zips food is the Tri-Cities . Most often I go to the Zips at Ritzville. One of my favorite coffee mugs at home is my Zips mug. I'm not sure what it is. Maybe it's knowing that when the Deke was an undergraduate at Eastern Washington University, she read Moliere at the Zips in Cheney and that combination is so perfect to me that every visit to Zips is like making my way through Tartuffe, if only in my imagination.

5. Journey, Toto, Phil Collins/Genesis, Rare Earth, Huey Lewis, "Free Electric Band", Grand Funk Railroad, and any number of bands and songs I've read/heard snide comments made about in the last week or so. I love all the A-list bands from thirty to forty years ago. I love Led Zeppelin. I love the Rolling Stones. All of them. But as the seventies grew into the eighties, my best memories of stuff I enjoyed doing when the radio was on are not necessarily attached to the A-list bands. So, when I hear "Stop Can't Believin'", I have a complex of feelings and memories rise up in me that kicks "Black Dog" 's ass.

6. Slot machines. I enjoy the suspense. I like the visuals. I enjoy the noise. I like the random gratification. I enjoy being in the company of others who play slot machines. A great majority of the people playing slot machines are having fun, often with a spouse or a boy/girl friend, and the spirit of the place, to me, is good. I enjoy free pop and coffee. I enjoy how friendly the casino employees are and when I get hungry, I enjoy the food. Casinos and slot machines work for me. They take me out of my usual day to day world of essays, literature, films, serious questions, critical thinking, and evaluating student work and give me a chance to escape in a way I delight in.

7. Albertson's Doughnut Holes. I really like doughnuts. Period. I try to regulate myself, but the sugary and doughy pleasure of doughnut holes and scones and cinnamon rolls often give my day an uplift, especially in the morning.

8. Nalley's Chili. I love Nalley's original chili with a whole sleeve of saltine crackers; I often use the cracker instead of a spoon to lift the chili to my mouth. I limit myself, but on those occasions when I treat myself to Nalley's Chili, especially accompanied by a glass of cold milk, it's bliss.

9. Carlo Rossi Sangria Wine. Because I've almost totally quit drinking, it's been a while since I've treated myself to the inexpensive, fruity pleasure of Carlo Rossi's Sangria wine, but I used to sit at the counter in the kitchen, put "The Best of Neil Diamond" on the cd player, drink glass after glass of Sangria, sing along with Neil and expound about Neil Diamond's genius to anyone who would listen. Usually it was only me!

10. Albertson's Brand Sharp Cheddar Cheese. I've bought sharp cheddar cheese from Vermont and England, cheeses that were aged for multiple years, and liked them. But if I'm going to eat some cheap salami on a hunk of cheap baguette with French's yellow mustard, my preference for cheese is Albertson's sharp cheddar. Washed down with Diet Pepsi, it's like eating out of my dinner bucket at the Zinc Plant cell room again.

11. Taco Bell: Two Chalupas and One Taco Combo Meal plus an Extra Taco and a Diet Pepsi. I only indulge occasionally in this wonderful combo, but if I need a quick food fix or if I've been in a play and it's after midnight and I've got the munchies, nothing satisfies me like this combo meal at Taco Bell. It can be a good pick me up meal before rehearsal, too!

12. Meatloaf and Canned Green Beans. In August of 1998, the Deke and Molly and Patrick and I rolled into Blue Springs, Missouri. Right next to the Motel 6 where we had reservations was a Bob Evans restaurant and I was tired and hot after driving all the way to Blue Springs from Denver that day, and I ordered meat loaf and green beans and a Coke with a wedge of lemon and my love for meatloaf which had lain dormant for years was awakened. I love all meatloafs. I request meatloaf and canned green beans every year for my birthday dinner. Sometimes the Deke gets really good meat and that's great; sometimes the meatloaf is made from Yoke's discount ground beef and that's great, too. I just love meatloaf.

Jeez, that reminds me. I love the singer Meatloaf, too. Maybe for my next birthday I'll have a meatloaf dinner and have "Two Out of Three Ain't Bad" playing in the background!

Three Beautiful Things 08/09/08: Fleeting and Slight Fame!, TUBOB, Ahh...Cool Days

1. I'm happy. I loved receiving so many lovely comments after tnchick gave special notice to my "Clouds" photograph at Photo Hunt. It's been really fun.

2. TUBOB has been inspired by HBO commenter Kage Mann to write some stuff that has made me double up with laughter. I hope KMann can come to enjoy it, too.

3. I cannot believe how mild the weather has been this summer in Eugene. It's been wonderful not to have to suffer heat in the 90's, but have the temperature be in the upper 70's and lower 80's. It makes life easier for the dogs and for us humans, too!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Hey! Snug! Hand Over Your Man Card!

I'll have to remind the groomer next time: no powder blue ribbons on Snug's manly ears. ;)

Sunday Scribblings: Jesse Ventura Dreamin'

Jesse Ventura

This week's Sunday Scribblings topic is "Ask". For more ask posts, go here.

Somewhere deep in the mildewed cobwebs of the pickle jar-lined earthen wall cellar of my unconscious mind, Jesse Ventura has been lurking like a rogue Carpathian boar enraged for months by the throbbing of an abscessed tusk.

I have to ask, how did Jesse Ventura get into my head?

Moreover, why did I dream about him just before waking up this morning?

In my dream, Jesse was a washed up former action movie star. His unsuccessful plastic surgery left his face looking like a third grade girl playing Little Miss Muffet in a school pageant. Hulk Hogan, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Sylvester Stallone, Randy Savage, Steven Seagal, The Rock, Vin Diesel, Arnold Schwarzenagger, and Kimbo Slice circled around him, taunted him, and pushed him around, taking turns humiliating him, calling him names, tripping him, forearming him under the chin, and punching him in the face.

Suddenly, then, Jesse was in a situation similar to one I'd seen on YouTube this past week when members of the Christian motorcycle gang the Set Free Soldiers were providing security at some event and had rushed in and were tossing trouble makers aside.

Jesse Ventura tried to do the same, but was impotent, feeble, unable to stop any violence. The troublemakers laughed at his bravado and ineptitude. Jesse was irrelevant.

Then, suddenly a huge truck from a rental place like "Party City" hauled all this huge stuff for a big party Jesse wanted to throw that Jesse had rented and couldn't pay for and backed it into the bottom of the building housing Jesse's condo and violently smashed the building's foundations and thanks to Jesse's acting like he could pay for all this stuff he had no money for, the whole building was brought to the ground.

Mocked, humiliated, girl-faced, weak, homeless, and broke, Jesse tunnelled his way underneath a hospital and emerged at the side of a dying woman and heroically was able to quickly, miraculously transplant blood from his own system to hers, saving her life.

I woke up.

So I ask, what's this dream about? Why Jesse Ventura? Why the humiliation? Why the heroic ending?

I haven't a clue, but since the topic of the weekend is what it is, I thought I'd ask.

Three Beautiful Things 08/08/08: Prize Dog, Prized Photo, Breaded Fish

1. Snug's groomer praised Snug for being a very good dog, even when she took grass seeds out of his paws. I am very proud of Snug for behaving so well with his wonderful and lovely groomer. I'll post a picture or two tomorrow.

2. Over at Photo Hunt, tnchick highlights one photograph from the previous week and urges Photo Hunt participants to go see it. She chose my "cloud" picture, here, as the feature photo of the week. I'm honored!

3. I went to the seafood buffet at Three Rivers Casino this evening and as I ate breaded shrimp, razor clams, and scallops with red sauce, I had the delicious feeling of being back at the Friday fish feed at the Sunshine Inn in Kellogg in my youth.

Photo Hunt: Dark

Thursday morning, hiking in the dark shadows of the forest, this treed flip flop arrested my attention:

For other dark photos, go here.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Three Beautiful Things 08/07/08: Eugene Wealth, Snug's Burrs, Deke's Work

1. I get stuck going the same old routes between the same old places in Eugene and I've decided to get better acquainted with unfamiliar parts of today..Spring Blvd....see where (and how) some of the moneyed people around here live...the people on the hill...but the best part was the hike on the Ridgeline Trail: see pictures here.

2. Snug's fur was burry after our hike and he patiently trusted me as I pulled burr after burr after burr off of his ears, back fur, legs, and paws.

3. I enjoyed learning more about the Deke's fellow fourth grade teacher after they spent time together this afternoon.

Ducks Trump Scrape in Sheriff Race

On Wednesday, August 6th, Kellogg's almost daily newspaper ran a letter to the editor written by current Shoshone County sheriff Chuck Reynalds. Reynalds was defeated in the primary election for sheriff in May by Gary Yergler, who ran on a platform of honesty and integrity. Reynalds accused Yergler of having lied in a campaign brochure about earning a degree at North Idaho College and having submitted inaccurate or dishonest information on his Campaign Finanacial Disclocsure Report. You can read Reynalds' letter, here.

Pretty juicy stuff. I thought the Shoshone News Press might follow up on this letter and look into these allegations and at least ask Gary Yergler to comment. I thought it might be the top story in today's online edition of the Shoshone News Press.

But, no, it's just different in Kellogg.

Today's top story was headlined Students Learn About Duck Tagging. The picture accompanying the story is really sweet:

So far, though, nothing about Reynalds' accusations.

Hiking the Urban Forest

Skirting Eugene's south city boundary, the Ridgeline Trail cuts through forested hills easily accessed from several trail heads in or just outside the city limits. Snug and I entered the Ridgeline today from the Spring Blvd. trail head.

Being an urban forest, looking to the right, early on in our hike, the forest stretched up the mountain:

Looking to the left, stood the last of several houses, reflecting the affluence of many of the residents of Spring Blvd.:

Moss hanging on trees is plentiful on the Ridgeline Trail:

Snug loved this hike!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Three Beautiful Things 08/06/08: Juniper Pizza, Coffee at Theo's, Juicy Huckleberry

1. Juniper delivers pizza for Eugene's Cozmic Pizza and I ran into her as she was heading out for a delivery and we hadn't seen each other for a while and embraced and did some shorthand getting caught up.

2. Jeff and Margaret and I had coffee at Theo's Coffeehouse and discussed the virtues and failings of "No Country for Old Men" among other things. Our conversation was riveting. Time flew.

3. I am happy to learn that DFO at HBO will be using what I wrote about visiting Kellogg, Oregon, here, in his Huckleberries column in the Handle Extra in the Spokesman Review.

Missin' Crusin' with the Commancheros in Pinehurst


I won't be in the Silver Valley for Pinehurst Days this coming weekend.

That means I won't see the Commanchero's car show where over 150 shiny and classy cars will be on display.

But, a week or so ago, Antonette at Jottings from Jersey kindly sent me photos of this 1960 Pontiac Bonneville and it helped fill the inward void formed by my not being able to attend Pinehurst Days this year.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Three Beautiful Things 08/05/08: Moving Mountains, Joshing Katrina, Family Joke

1. I was about to give up on reading "Moving Mountains", a story about small town West Virginian citizens in Logan County working to win justice against Big Coal. I didn't feel well yesterday, so I gave it another go today and with a better mindset and better energy, the book is not only really picking up, it's got me surfing all over the World Wide Web researching people, events, and institutions associated with West Virginia.

2. I enjoyed giving Katrina some good-hearted ribbing over at Notes on a Napkin, here (in the can also see her response!).

3. I wrote an imagined conversation between my dad, Aunt Ruth (rip) and Cousin Sharon (rip) and sent it to InlandEmpireGirl and my dream came true: she thought it was really funny.

I'd post that made up dialogue here, but it's totally inside the family joking and wouldn't really register for those of you didn't know all the parties involved.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Three Beautiful Things 08/04/08: Law and Order, Madison Middle School, Summer of '93 Obsession

1. The Deke loves watching crime shows. Usually she watches on her computer. Tonight she was watching Law and Order in the living room and I watched an episode and enjoyed watching Jack McCoy figure out that the murdered publishing heiress's working class house painting second husband was having an affair with her seventeen year daughter and that the tender words he whispered in her ears while making love with her were the very same words he used when making love with the rich woman he met on a job, tender, flattering words that made both his stepdaughter and his client feel loved and wanted and special, something both women longed for. The case hinged on McCoy figuring this out.

2. Walking Snug up by Madison Middle School brought back enjoyable memories of when I umpired for youth baseball on the field near the school.

3. InlandEmpireGirl and I are sharing an obsession with the summer of 1993. IEG, Silver Valley Girl, her husband and daughter, all met at the Oregon Coast in the summer of '93, but Mom and Dad didn't come. We are trying to figure out what Mom and Dad were doing. If you are reading this and happen to know why Mom and Dad didn't come to Oregon that summer, please leave a comment. It will help me and my sister sleep much better.

Three Beautiful Things 08/03/08: Happy Visitors, Kellogg Sausages (Ha Ha), Dramatic Birth

1. Out of the blue, Chris and Melissa rapped on the door and dropped in for a wonderful visit. The Deke married Chris and Melissa. We don't see them often enough and it was vitalizing to get caught up and talk about some fun days from the past.

2. Mary came over for dinner and we had chicken and basil sausages and ate 'em like hot dogs. I tried to get a laugh by saying how eating these sausages took me back to the good old days in Kellogg when my dad used to fire up the bbq and grill chicken and basil sausages. I thought it was funny.....

3. One of my very favorite bloggers is Momma Gone Mad and she wrote a dramatic and moving post remembering the day her daughter Zoe was born on the eve of Zoe's fifth birthday. Go here and read it. It's unforgettable.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Have I Mentioned I Love Middle-Aged Women in Movies?

Well, I do.

In my previous listings, I forgot Allison Janney. Nice pre-Juno interview with her here.


Kellogg Crazy Days!!

The Shoshone News Press captures in one image just what a nutty, zany, off the wall, no holds barred event Kellogg Crazy Days really is:

Three Beautiful Things 08/02/08: Free Meal, Tennessee Chick, Affection

1. I had a free steak and eggs and hash browns and sourdough toast at the Trio Restaurant at the Three Rivers Casino and it had been ages since I'd had steak and eggs and I loved it.

2. I enjoyed very much hearing from tnchick, the woman who runs Photo Hunt(er). I was especially gratified that she enjoyed my take on the prompt "Clouds".

3. I had one of those moments I love with the Deke. A joke passed between us. We extended left hands, shook; I said, "You're a good kid, Deke" and she said, "So are you."

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Photo Hunt: Clouds

I almost never drink alcohol anymore.

Booze clouds my vision.

And my judgment

For other photos featuring clouds, go here.

Sunday Scribblings: Do I Have To?

Do I have to write on this week's prompt?

I'm gonna watch a movie.

For other Sunday Scribblings on the topic "Do I have to?" go here.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Three Beautiful Things 08/01/08: Morning Paper, Oreo Shake, Chocolate Milk

1. We are receiving two weeks worth of the Register Guard for free. The company is seducing us to subscribe to the paper again. I'm gonna. I really enjoy a newspaper with coffee in the morning and I enjoy finding out about the nutty things happening in this silly town.

2. I snuck out to Carl's Jr. this evening and along with a burger and fries I had an Oreo shake and it hit the spot. I wish I'd asked them to hold the whipped cream, though.

3. Just minutes ago I remembered that we have a can of Hershey's chocolate syrup in the ice box and an unopened jug of milk. So I had some chocolate milk before heading to bed. It was chocorious!

Oregon's Taylor Dune Trail: 15 Photographs

Not far south down Hwy 101 from Florence, OR is the Carter Lake Campground and the trail head for a short hike that skirts Taylor Lake, arrives at a viewpoint where a hiker can look out over the dunes and the ocean, and leads through the dunes to the beach itself.

Although not paved, the width, track, and pitch of the trail has been constructed to accommodate wheelchaired hikers.

Wednesday, I hiked along the small lake, to the viewpoint, and through the dunes to the beach Here are some of the pictures I snapped.

May I Say....

just for the record:

I won't be attending this weekend's Faerieworlds 2008.

You might understand why, here.