Sunday, May 29, 2005

Sen. John Ford resigns

John Ford, the legendary hack from the african american community of memphis, has resigned from the Tennessee state senate. This is the guy who gets his female staffers pregnant, who shot a hand gun at a trucker on the interstate driving from the state assembly, and who waved a shotgun at a municipal worker in memphis who was working on his street and woke him up. This is the brother of Harold Ford, the former Congressman from memphis. And he is the uncle of Harold Ford Jr., who has just announced his candidancy for US Senate. Harold Ford Jr is a good guy, but his dad and uncle represented the "old" guard. To be more precise, John and harold were hold overs from the carpet bagging days, when freed men were put in office and expected to be stooges - so much of the slave culture still permeates the African American community. Harold Ford Jr. is the future - how does President Ford sound? But thank goodness John is out of office - he made a joke out of public service.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Running as Metaphor

The best book I've read on running marathons is "26.2 Trail of Truth," by Bruce Morrison,Hampton Roads Publishing, 891 Norfolk Square, Norfolk, VA 23502. (address is important because this book isn't carried in book stores). It really captures the emotion and feeling of running a marathon. Here is his preface poem:
Let it happen.
Run easy.
Life is fun.
But, it's a marathon.

Here is an excerpt from "Mile 22" "Value this moment. Just hang on. It is a valuable lesson this marathon teaches, learning to just keep going. There will be many times when just putting one foot in front of the other is required - to stop an admission of failure, just to keep going avoids defeat and retains the possibility of victory. You hurt, question, but keep going, strides adding inches and feet and yards and miles, with each step the destination is closer."

A marathon is a metaphor for life - your pace, your training, your confidence, your faith, your higher power, put one foot in front of the other, lean into it, with each step you are closer to your goal - I learned alot from running marathons. My last one was in 1993. I was running 1/2 marathons up until 2000. (I have suspended running pending back surgery - I only bike now).

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

voyager I

voyager I
Originally uploaded by recyclingfan.

Voyager I is leaving the solar system and entering interstellar space. If you want to know what that looks like, view an animation by NASA - you are riding on Voyager, looking backward as it leaves the solar system. First the sun becomes small, disappears, then solar wind......(wasn't it Einstein who imagined riding on a light wave, with time standing still?)

Monday, May 23, 2005

Iraq video with Tony Christie song

This video is a lot of fun - British Royal Marines in Iraq. You've got to smile at this. Lucky Pierre (the guys who "sings") seems like a fun guy. This is a take off on Peter Kay's video with the Tony Christie song - Kay is a tv personality (stand up comedian with his own show on the "tele") in england, made a video with UK "stars" appearing, and he is walking to the beat of the 70's song "Amarillo." It became a big hit in the UK - so the marines are parodying a pop video. Even if you dont get this, the marines video is still alot of fun.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Sandstorm in Iraq

Click here for an incredible video of an Iraqi sandstorm. I once saw a small dust storm in Oklahoma, but it was nothing like this.

Dance with Napolean Dynamite

This is great! Watch this before your next trip to the dance club, and learn some new moves. It takes a while to load but its worth it!

Crying While Eating

Originally uploaded by recyclingfan.
Ok, this is really weird, but its addictive. You have GOT to watch these videos of people who are "crying while eating." And their reasons are very funny....kind of in a sick way. very funny.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Walk on!

Here's a story from a year ago, about Vanderbilt university students who decide to "walk on" the football team. Division I teams have 85 scholarships players, but can roster up to 105 players. So, about 20 players can walk on as non scholarship players, if they can compete well enough. This story is about walk on players, and Nat True-Daniels is one of the players interviewed, and Nat is described as "one of the teams best options as kickoff specialist." Nat also said, "I couldn't really live without athletics."

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Closing Military Bases

Our fearless leader Donald Rumsfeld has announced his decisions regarding the BRAC 2005 process (Base Realignment and Closure). Here's how it works: Sec of Defense sends his recommendations to a Commission (appointed by Pres and confirmed by Senate), the Commission holds hearings, then sends their recommendations to President, then Pres. Bush sends his recommendations to the entire US Congress. At that point, Congress can do nothing and the President's recommendations become law. However, Congress vote to dismiss the recommendations (a Congressional Veto) and the entire BRAC process is cancelled. BRAC is set up by legislation passed by Congress to give the Executive Branch the intiative to close bases, and realign military operations, to save money and have a more efficient military operation (read that, "save money.") Politics and military spending, including the location of military bases, has always involved politics, in addition to military strategy. Politicians want Pentagon money spent in their home districts. So how to get politics out of military spending decisions? Let the Executive branch make the initial decisions, subject only to a Congressional veto that would vote down the entire BRAC recommendations (all or nothing). Now all these politicians are coming out to argue against base closures: Sen. Lieberman from Conn wants to block the closure of the New London sub base: those subs are part of the cold war, and we dont need two major sub bases. Besides, can you imagine the private sector development potential of all that land on the Connecticut River? Imagine the yaught clubs, condominiums and such that can be built there! Corporate office centers! Closing that base could result in more jobs, more investment. Its the bases in the middle of nowhere that pose the biggest problem, like Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota, home to half of our B1 bombers: there is nothing there, no hope for private sector investment, and republican senator John Thune who defeated Sen Daschle last year campaigned that he could better prevent the base from being closed (since he is a Repub and buddies with Bush - ha! BRAC doesnt operate that way, dummie). Dont forget, it was Congress who created the BRAC process, and the only way they can oppose one base closure is to veto the entire package (that was the way they designed it - so they would essentially write themselves out of the process, except for the veto part). The veto is what I have called the "drop dead" aspect of BRAC (I have written a paper on this subject, soon to be published): The executive branch is motivated to come up with bipartisan cuts, acceptable to Congress, or else all their work is for nothing (Congress vetos it). How much time so they have to save their bases? Not much: Congress decided that hearings would only take weeks, not months, to prevent opposition from forming (move quickly if you want to terminate a government program - see my "Terminating Public Programs" book). So are they guys really upset with base closures in their states, or are they simply playing politics with the voters? Rick Santorum from Pennsylvania initially supported the cuts in PA, until the Democrats attacked him and now he is vowing to fight the closures in PA - ha! As though he is really committed. I feel bad for the people around Ellsworth AF Base - all the restaurants, service industry, apartments, even the housing market will go down the tubes when that base closes - but we cant operate military bases as a kind of welfare for a local community. Maybe those people in S Dakota should move to New London CT - I've heard there is going to be an economic expansion there soon! That's the way it works.......(people in S Dakot and New London must have seen this coming 10 years ago with the end of the cold war).

Monday, May 09, 2005

Mom dog

Mom dog
Originally uploaded by recyclingfan.
This nursing mom found an abandoned 7 pound human infant, carried it back to where she was nursing her puppies, and later the infant was found an is now alive and well in a hospital. Infants are often abandoned in Kenya due to poverty. How can anyone believe that dog's or cat's lack souls?

Thursday, May 05, 2005

japanese train wreck

japanese train wreck
Originally uploaded by recyclingfan.
My son explained that trains in Japan run on time, all the time, and if a train is late the engineer gets punished. he has to work extra time, on menial tasks, as a form of punishment. So,as every student of organizational behavior knows, workers avoid punishment, and if that means going too fast (passengers reported that the train tipped to one side around the curve before it flew off the track) then that's risk the engineer will take. In this case the engineer was 25 yrs old, and 90 seconds late (which I understand is very very late in Japan). Remember Casey Jones from Jackson Tennessee, who crashed somewhere in Mississippi? "Casey Jones, hand upon the throttle, Casey Jones he's comin' 'round the bend, Casey Jones he didn't see the warning, and he's on his final journey to the promised land." to make sure I got the words of the song correct, I looked up Casey Jones on the internet, and I came up with a link to the TV series Casey Jones, featuring Alan Hale (Gilligan's Island) in 1958 - this show is so bad is good. It employes every racial and gender stereotype from the '50's!

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Pvt. England

Pvt. England
Originally uploaded by recyclingfan.
Lynndie England, one of the soldiers who were photographed abusing prisoners in Iraq, plea bargained but the judge threw it out. Turns out, she was not aware that the pictures taken were intended for some kind of public relations reason (to scare other prisoners? probably). If that is the case, then she can't say she is guilty, because unknowingly, she was part of an organized, ordered, task of intimidating prisoners ordered from above. This is getting complicated - in other words, her superiors had a reason for ordering this abuse, so she is innocent (maybe). Why haven't the people who did the ordering been charged? We go after the PFC's who can't give orders, but not the guys who give them? Her guidance counselor testified that she was oxygen deprived at birth, has severe learning disabilities, is naturally subordinate to those in authority. How did she get in the national guard? Standards are that low? Is that red beret an Airborne beret - which means she went to jump school? Can she get a civilian lawyer to defend her? Like The Dude says in Big Lebowski when the fascist Malibu chief of Police has arrested him: "I want a lawyer...get me William Kunstler!" She needs a good lawyer - I actually feel sorry for her. If she goes to jail, it will be for the crimes of the nation (can Bush be prosecuted once he leaves office? I think so and I think he should).

The Magnificent Ambersons

Originally uploaded by recyclingfan.
Wednesday May 4 TCM is playing Citizen Kane at 8:00 eastern time and following that is the Magnificent Ambersons. TMA is considered just as good as Citizen Kane, and has Joseph Cotton (Mr Leland from Kane, "you wouldn't have a cigar on you young man, would you? ") that's 4 1/2 hours of the best Orson Welles movies in one night!

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

james dean's porsche

james dean's porsche
Originally uploaded by recyclingfan.
you buy this replica NEW - looks like the real thing, definitely a racing car. This is the James Dean model, has his racing number on it. See more here.

tango cafe

tango cafe
Originally uploaded by recyclingfan.
It was raining and I didn't want to wait for my movie in the lobby of the squirrel hill cinema, so I ducked in a small cafe for a cup of coffee. What a surprise! It is the Tango Cafe, an Argentina cafe featuring deserts and sandwiches and the best coffee in pittsburgh. There are books inside about Argentina, there are alwasys latins talking spanish, and sometimes entertainment. I also read that sometimes they push the tables back and give tango lessons. Their sandwiches are great - they make their own bread and toast the sandwich - it is so good. They also have small meat rolls called empanados (sp?) kinda like a Argentina perogie for only $2 (but I am vegetarian and don't eat it, but customers rave about it.) There was an elderly lady there sunday who came in for her daily "fix" - one empanada. They also serve an Argentina health drink which I've heard you have to acquire a taste for.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Gram Parsons movie

Originally uploaded by recyclingfan.
Gram Parsons was the real deal - folk music, bluegrass music player who ended up playing keyboards for the Byrds. He brought a fusion of country western into rock through the Byrds - the Sweetheart of the Rodeo was the album that Rolling Stone still considers one of the greatest. This album featuring pedal steel guitar, banjo and so forth. I listened to it in college and immediately starting playing banjo (why I stopped I'll never know). in any event, this movie is about his death. He died after abusing his body with herion, amphetamines, booze etc. he was surrounded by stooges who didnt call an ambulance but tried to revive him by sticking ice cubes up his butt, and "trying" CPR (they said they didn't know how to do it but tried). Someone finally called an ambulance and even that crew sounded clueless (didnt try to revive him until they got to the hospital). As the Dude says in the Big Lebowski, "he had to feed the monkey." Anyway, his step dad wanted him buried in Louisiana to establish residency and claim inheritance, but meanwhile, his road manager decided to honor Grams wishes and steal the body and burn it in Joshua Tree national park. Somehow he gets a hippie hearse, steals the body at the airport and burns it. He turns himself in, gets fined for stealing the coffin, and never spend a day in jail. Step dad gets no inheritance, dies of alocohol poisoning shortly thereafter. There is a book about this, also stories in rolling stone: the stuff legend is made out of. This movie is stupid: it invents all sorts of extra characters, as though you needed to invent characters for this story. Also, none of Gram Parsons songs are played on the soundtrack - how screwed up is that? My favorite Parson song: I am a Pilgrim. Great song. Lead banjo throughout. His girlfriend was 25 yr old emmy lou harris, who subsequently recorded alot of his songs successfully (las vegas, sin city, wheels). So watch the film but then buy Sweetheart of the Rodeo. One of his best friends was Keith Richard, and with him as a friend, you dont need an enemy (Richard's drug use is legendary - he used to get full body blood transfusions because of his heroin addiction - mick jagger does a great imitation of him, incomprehensible speech, drugged mannerisms).

Sunday, May 01, 2005

marx bros music

marx bros music
Originally uploaded by recyclingfan.
Harpo on the harp, Chico on the piano. Harpo wanted to play the piano, but their mom only had money for his older brother chico to take lessons. But Harpo learned to play later in life. Both Chico and Harpo had comedy routines on the piano. In Night at the Opera, they are both surrounded by children as they play their funny routines - this isn't acting, they both loved children, and their children have memories of them both being very entertaining around children. They were far from perfect - they drank gambled etc. Chico was notorius for chasing women (as were all three) - Dick Cavett has this funny story about Chico meeting Tallula Bankhead, a famous and exotic actress at the time. "I really want to fuck you," he said. "And so you shall, you naughty boy," she replied in her exotic accent.

brain donors

brain donors
Originally uploaded by recyclingfan.
This is a very funny take off on the Marx Brothers' Night at the Opera. John Tuturro play Roland T. Flakfizer, a phony theatrical manager, similar to Groucho Marx's portrayal of Otis B. Driftwood in the original. There is even a woman who is the equivalent of Margaret Dumond's character, Mrs Claypool - the rich widow who Groucho flatters in order to marry her and get at her money - he is of course very insulting to her, but in ways she never comprehends. The closing scene, as with the original, is a riot - an opera gone completely absurb, total mayhem. Groucho once explained that his movies always tried to bring chaos to order; thus, he picks an opera, a very establishment oriented system, and brings absolute chaos to it. Unlike the original, Brain Donors doesnt have the scene on the ship where Chico and Harpo entertain on the piano and harp.


Originally uploaded by recyclingfan.
The 1971 Woody Allen movie Bananas is playing at the Regent Square theater sunday night. Funny movie. Great scenes. You can see the influence of Groucho Marx (Woody loved the Marx brothers - he used to watch their movies over and over again as a young child). Here are some quotes:
Memorable Quotes from
Bananas (1971)
Fielding Mellish: I object, your honor! This trial is a travesty. It's a travesty of a mockery of a sham of a mockery of a travesty of two mockeries of a sham.

Fielding Mellish: You're busy tonight?
Norma: Some old friends are coming over. We're gonna show some pornographic movies.
Fielding Mellish: You need an usher?

/>Nancy: Have you ever been to Denmark?
Fielding Mellish: I've been, yes... to the Vatican.
Nancy: The Vatican? The Vatican is in Rome.
Fielding Mellish: Well, they were doing so well in Rome that they opened one in Denmark.

Fielding Mellish: I once stole a pornographic book that was printed in braille. I used to rub the dirty parts.

Rebel Leader: You are accused of killing over a thousand innocent civilians. How do you plead?
Government Soldier: Guilty... but with an explanation.

Fielding Mellish: I love you, I love you.
Nancy: Oh, say it in French! Oh, please, say it in French!
Fielding Mellish: I don't know French.
Nancy: Oh, please... please!
Fielding Mellish: What about Hebrew?
Nancy: [disappointed] Oh.

Fielding Mellish: I was a nervous child - I was a bed wetter. When I was younger, I, uh, I used to sleep with an electric blanket and I was constantly electrocuting myself...

Nancy: I have to tell you something, and I don't know how to break it. Oh, Fielding...
Fielding Mellish: Why? Is something the matter? Am I... am I... Have you seen X-rays of me?
Nancy: I want to work with pygmies in Africa! I want to work with lepers in a leper colony! I don't think that you...
Fielding Mellish: I'm willing to...! No, it's perfectly okay with me! I like leprosy! If that's what you're asking me... I'm perfectly willing to... I like leprosy, I like cholera! I like all the major skin diseases!

Nancy: You're immature, Fielding.
Fielding Mellish: [whining] How am I immature?
Nancy: Well, emotionally, sexually, and intellectually.
Fielding Mellish: Yeah, but what other ways?
Fielding Mellish: [nervously speaking at a fundraiser dinner, while posing as the San Marcos president] Although the United States is a very rich country, and San Marcos is a very poor one, there are a great many things we have to offer your country in return for aid. For instance, there... there are locusts. We have more locusts. There are locusts of all races and creeds. These, these locusts, incidentally, are available at popular prices. And so, by the way, are most of the women of San Marcos. Now then, despite the tiny size of our nation, few people realize that we lead the world in hernias. They also fail to realize that before Columbus discovered your country, he... he stopped in San Marcos and contracted a disease which today can be cured with one shot of penicillin.