Friday, August 11, 2017

Kettle calling the pot black

Ted has left a new comment on your post "Night of the Living Beach Boys!": 
You're an idiot for saying derogatory things about these fantastic artists. Sounds like you're jealous... 
Oddly enough, in my 13 years of blogging I have had very few trolls sending me love letters like the one above. Whoever Ted is (and I know he isn't my brother Ted...he doesn't use the Internet), he took umbrage at a post I made several years ago about the Grammy's. I'm assuming he is calling me an idiot for dissing on what's left of the Beach Boys for lip syncing  and shuffling across the stage while young performers actual play and sing.

Normally, I just delete comments like this and move on. But although Ted has an account on Blogger and left his name, he didn't provide any means of responding. Because if he writes a blog, he doesn't publicize it with his profile. Probably because trolls don't like to be trolled.

My problem with this is that when I comment on some stranger's blog, I at least have the cojones to not be anonymous. People can respond to my comments. But then again, I don't call strangers idiots. If I take issue with their opinions, I at least engage in civilized debate rather than leading with an insult. It tends to put a damper on communication.

That being said, Ted, I'll respond in a way I hope you understand, "I know you are, but what am I."


Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Game of Thrones on!



My latest binge-watching accomplishment has been watching all the past seasons of Game of Thrones just in time for the new season to start. I know I was late to the game, but once I got through the first season, I was hooked big time.

Not like other Game of Throne fans, I've encountered though. I didn't read the books. I can't remember half the names. But I am blown away by the amazing, intertwined plot lines. The production values and acting are pretty amazing, too.


The beauty of Game of Thrones is that it transcends time. It's a period production, but not of any period that actually existed. And the politics of the people who jockey to sit on the Iron Throne and rule the seven kingdoms is a bit too much like politics in general today.

The thing about Game of Thrones is that even the good people can be exceedingly bad. And the good don't always triumph. But the bad are more or less pretty consistently bad. But even they have their likable or vulnerable moments.

Unlike Twin Peaks, which I binged watched to prepare for the reprisal, Game of Thrones seems to have only gotten better over the years. The new Twin Peaks is just bat shit crazy and incomprehensible (but of course I still watch it).

I hate that this is the last season of Game of Thrones.  I could have been enjoying it for years.

Oh well, I always have the Walking Dead to catch up on.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Toys in the attic

Crazy
Toys in the attic, I am crazy
Truly gone fishing
They must have taken my marbles away
Crazy, toys in the attic he is crazy

--Pink Floyd, The Trial
Unless you totally avoid social media, the news, talking to co-workers and never leave your bed not to imagine that the world has truly gone crazy. It seems as though on a daily basis that violence erupts, some new scandal breaks and the lunatic in the Oval Office is tweeting gibberish.

Police seem to regularly be shooting unarmed people on routine traffic stops. Others are shot by stray bullets as they sit in their cars or walk down the street. Hatred seems to be the norm. Tolerance is low on both sides of the political spectrum.

For the most part, I am used to odd behavior. Seattle's weather has always been a magnet for the unhinged. I walked past Starbucks yesterday and a woman stood with outstretched arms spinning slowly. A supersoaker water gun sat on the table next to her.

No one around her paid any attention.

The homeless seem everywhere. Tent cities crop up under freeway overpasses. There is hardly a exit and entry ramp onto a major roadway that doesn't have someone standing there with a sign pleading for help.

And bipartisan politicians point fingers at each other and slip through legislation that broadens the gap between the haves and the have nots.


Monday, July 17, 2017

Come on baby light my fire

This photo will make more sense when you read the end of this post.

Having the Fourth of July fall on a Tuesday pretty much sucks, because, unless you took off Monday and Wednesday, you essentially had the equivalent of two Mondays. I didn't take off the Monday before the 4th or the Wednesday after the 4th since I was taking off the following  Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday to go camping. So my Independence Day was little more than a speed bump at the beginning of the work week.

I've taken to scanning old posts before writing new ones to avoid cleverly repeating myself and retelling the same stories of my faded childhood over and over. I have written several times about my pyromaniac childhood and my love for setting off fireworks on the 4th.  I'll spare you this year.

I will say that my desire to buy any fireworks has faded substantially in my old age. It has gone the same way as any vestige of patriotism I had in my youth. I was quite content with just building a fire in the fire pit in my back yard and watching my kids incinerate marshmallows.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Social is killing blogs


I blogged much more before social media turned many of us into over-sharers and shifted all of the cats on trampoline photos from e-mail to Facebook. While I post to Twitter and Facebook a few times a day, I am lucky if I post a couple of times a month to my blog.

It's just so easy to snap a photo of your lunch and post it to Instagram with five or six random hashtags than it is to think of something profound and expound upon it on Blogger. Now granted, whereas 28 people have voluntarily followed me on my blog, the people who like photos of what I'm eating tend to be random strangers who are trying to lure me to sketchy sites to look at porn.

Now I do have about 1,127 followers on Twitter (Blogger's note: A day after posting this, I was down to 1,125...who said social media marketing wasn't effective). A bulk of them are complete strangers whose primarily reason for following me is so I would follow them. I fell for this Ponzi scam for awhile until I began to figure out Twitter. Now I tend to only follow news and travel outlets. But even those inundate my Twitter feed with 20 different versions of the same headline. At least I was one of the first to know that Carrie Fisher's autopsy showed she had traces of alcohol, heroin, cocaine and ecstasy in her system when she had a heart attack (to which I retweeted that she had something more than the force strong in her).

And not one of the 1,127 people following me and hanging on my every Tweet liked my snarky comment. Now if I'd posted that on Facebook, at least one of my 161 closest Facebook friends would have at least liked it or given it a smiley face.

Friday, June 02, 2017

Twin Peeks


I didn't watch Twin Peaks when it originally aired in 1990. I was 32, just a year older than Kyle MacLachlan who starred as Agent Dale Cooper in the series. I have more in common with MacLachlan than just our ages. Besides both being Pisces, both of us have the state of Washington in common. He was born in Yakima, WA and went to college at the University of Washington and graduated in cum laude in 1982 with a BFA in Drama. I  went to college at Seattle University and graduated in 1982 with a BA in Journalism.

Uncanny isn't it.

The similarities basically end there. He went on to star in several movies and television series and moved to LA.  I went on to do marketing for a transit agency and stayed in the Seattle area. MacLachlan is also a bit taller than me. But I've been to Snoqualmie Falls where some of Twin Peaks was filmed.

Even more uncanny.


Monday, May 22, 2017

So funny everyone forgets to laugh


I'm not sure when I began to think I was funny (funny, ha-ha, not funny odd). I suppose like many shy, sensitive kids, I turned to humor as a defense mechanism. It was probably junior high when it really started to come out. I was always a pretty quiet kid. I would sit in class and kind of mumble comments to the kids sitting next to me. Eventually they would laugh and I felt like they liked me. I was hooked on my own brand of stand up at that point.

Though it did get me in trouble in this accelerated math class that was taught by a emotionally stunted guy who had been a whiz kid in math. He may have done well in college math, but he sucked as a teacher. He was always throwing tantrums in class and being early teenagers, we pushed as many buttons as we could find. Anyway, one day I was doing my usually covert (or so I thought) monologue to the kids around me and the teacher suddenly was in my face telling me to shut my fat mouth.

Apparently he didn't think I was funny.


Friday, May 12, 2017

Never the Mark Twain should meet


Up until a few weeks ago, I had read a few of Mark Twain's books, but I never really knew much about him. Then my son opted to be Mark Twain for a school project and I was suddenly immersed in the man's life.

Of course his real name was Samuel Langhorne Clemens. He used Mark Twain, a nautical term from his steamboat pilot days, as his pen name. I'm not sure why a pen name was necessary. Samuel Clemens seems like a perfectly fine author's name. But name aside, he was a complex person.

I watched a two-part Ken Burns documentary about Samuel/Mark's life. It was fascinating. And it drove home how influential he was in not only literature, but in the way people viewed the world. He was also a tragic character. He rose from a humble background in the small riverside town of Hannibal, Missouri and rose to worldwide fame as an author, humorist and lecturer. He amassed and lost a fortune during his lifetime.

Basically Samuel/Mark was a brilliant thinker, but a lousy business man. Although he accumulated large amounts of cash and married into a wealthy family, he was never satisfied with how much money he had and made poor investments to try and accumulate more but they only led to bankruptcy. That in turn led him to go on the lecture circuit and earn more money. Which led to time away from a family that was tragic in its own right. He buried several of his children and his wife before he died.


Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Does not compute


You know I can't resist a good "end of the world" story. And since Howard Camping let us down on the rapture and the end of the Mayan calendar didn't really mean end of days, all we have is Trump wagging his nasty rump at the North Koreans to give us doomsday fears.

But I ran across a new one the other day on Twitter. An article about the world running out of data space caught my eye. Apparently the dire predictions have been around for awhile. We are creating so much data posting photos and videos of our pets and kids on social media that even the mysterious cloud can't hold everything. The article said that even if we figured out a way to store data on every single atom, we'd run out of data space in a matter of years.

I don't claim to understand how we can run out of space for something that doesn't physically exist, but it started me thinking. I've been blogging away thinking that after I post my last post before heading off into the great unknown some day, it and the rest of Dizgraceland would hang around forever helping people solve the riddle of  Leon Spinks and determining whether clams are really happy. Now I find that we could run out of storage space and my life's work will likely be erased to make room for more videos of cats on trampolines.

BTW, my last post will likely be something whiny about repeating myself, being invisible and wondering why my blog never went viral.

Pause for a lugubrious howl.


Friday, April 14, 2017

April fools


Can't believe April Fools Day snuck by me without so much as a Whoopee Cushion or joy buzzer. I guess April Fools Day just feels redundant with you know who squatting in the White House muttering and tweeting jibba jabba.

Not that I had any practical jokes in mind. There is quite the write up about practical jokes on Wikipedia if you are interested in why they are called practical jokes. I think the article also is a practical example of people with too much time on their hands.

Sometimes I miss a time before Wikipedia and not being able to immerse myself in the minutia of useless things.

Pause for lugubrious howl.


Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Spring into inaction



I didn't post on my birthday as is my usual custom. Generally I get a bit down around then because birthdays have usually been a let down for me. But this year I was treated to a farm stay at a working farm in Sedro Woolley, Washington and it made me forget about me pushing 60.

I won't go into too many details since I posted more about it on my daddy blog.  But suffice it to say I had a blast just feeding cows and driving tractors. It was simple. It was good, hard work. And none of it involved a committee or an hour and a half meeting.

One of the cool things about the farm was that the owner bought it about eight years ago when he was the age I am now. He was this vibrant, smart guy who was patient and full of life. And he made me think about the direction of my life.


Monday, March 13, 2017

If a blog falls in the forest and there is no one there to read it, does it make a sound?

Dizgraceland ko·an: a paradoxical blog, used in cyberspace to demonstrate the inadequacy of logical reasoning and to provoke enlightenment. Or not.
I suppose I could have titled this post, "What is the sound of one blog clapping?" but that wouldn't make any sense. Nor would "Show me the blog you wrote before you were born." I think I'm fine with wondering if a blog falling in the forest with no one to read it makes a sound.

I remember having to write an essay in an 8th-grade creative writing class about whether a tree falling in the forest with no one there to hear it would make a sound. I blathered on for a page or two about there always being something to hear it (animals, insects, plants) so yes, it made a sound. It wasn't a very creative essay.

Yet here I am, 44 or so years later blathering on about the proverbial koan and its proverbial sounds. I have to admit I was feeling a bit maudlin about blogging today. Every now and then I check my stats and reread some of my posts from the early days of my blogging career that have been getting hits recently and marvel at the number of comments. The comments were from a group of regulars that I grew to think of as my virtual entourage.
Those were the days my friend
We thought they'd never end
We'd sing and dance forever and a day
We'd live the life we choose
We'd fight and never lose
For we were young and sure to have our way.
La la la la, Those were the days, oh yes those were the days
Oh my god, I'm breaking into maudlin songs mid blog post which is worse than my normal digressions or lugubrious howls.