Sunday, January 27, 2008

Archive Project - Previously Unpublished Work #3

Archive Project - Previously Unpublished Work #3

The following is a review of a lecture by Dr. Stephen Hawking from 1993 that never ran in the magazines I was writing for at the time ...

Dr. Stephen Hawking - Seattle Opera House - July 1, 1993 (c) 1993

The concert event of the year for four digit IQ's and wannabees alike. A rock concert atmosphere dominated as rich old suits stood outside holding hand-written "Need Tickets" signs and inside purchased Hawking paraphernalia like kids buying t-shirts at a Metallica concert.

A packed house awaited the man of the hour, the man who can sell physics better than Madonna can sell sex, with the book sales to prove it. Stephen Hawking didn't disappoint his his fans. From his computer synthesized voice Hawking lectured us on life, the universe, and everything. The crowd hung on his every word, just hoping to understand something. Mostly, the words flew over all of our heads. He used words like "event horizon" and "baby universe" and explained them to us. All we could do was look up and try to catch a glimpse of his genius as it flew over our heads. The entire set up had a distinctly surreal quality. The Opera House had been turned into a lecture hall. Hawking sat in the middle of a barren stage with an assistant at a table with an overhead projector, the perfect TA.

The question and answer session was macabre. A question would be posed. Hawking would sit there for several minutes. He would say, "I will answer." It was like EF Hutton's biggest dream as the place would instantly fall silent. Most of the questions were interesting, a few were stupid, one man asked Hawking if Hawking thought the man could see the future since he had lucid dreams and claimed to be something called an "onironaut" (I don't have a clue how to spell that word). Nobody was too impressed with the lucid guy, including Hawking, who slammed him for being so stupid.

As I went home I thought of science classes I've taken. I just wished all science classes could be that cool . . . and have no tests at the end.

32 MB vs. 16 KB

32 MB vs. 16 KB

I recently dug out - and posted about - the 1983 Beige Model Texas Instruments TI99/4A that I got running was 4 times LESS powerful than the Commodore 64 ...

And then I was looking at the little flash drive unit in my bag the other night and I tried to do the math and it gave me a headache ...

The flash drive is smaller than my thumb and holds 32 MEGS and the TI is larger than a standard keyboard and has 16 K ...

I decided to do the math on the differentiation ...

1 megabyte equals 1,024 kilobytes ... so a 32 meg flashdrive holds 32,768 kilobytes ... meaning that the flashdrive holds 2,048 TIMES the information ...

The TI was $99 - and sold at a loss - in 1983 ... the flash drive is $5.99 ...
Wow ...

Friday, January 25, 2008

Teddy's Adventure In Outer Space

Teddy's Adventure In Outer Space

I was in fifth grade when I wrote a story as a class assignment. We were supposed to write a story so that it could be decided which of us would go to Seattle Pacific University for a day for a "Young Authors Conference". My story was selected and was titled "Teddy's Adventure In Outer Space".

It was a story about a small bear that ends up saving the earth from destruction. In a way it really was like a fifth grade version of The Hitchhikers Guide ... even though I had not read that story at that point ... the details are fuzzy ...

I remember two copies of the story were put together in book form with a classmate providing the art. One copy went and was then a part of the collection kept at the university.

Years later I tried to find the copy kept at the house, but to this day my mother has not been able to find it. At the same time I contacted Seattle Pacific and was informed that the collection was disbursed throughout Seattle schools. I remember contacting the school district and then was informed that these books were likely in classrooms ...

I have not given up hope that the house copy is still here, it would be unlike my mother to have tossed something like that and to be honest, there is a lot of stuff in my folks' house so it may yet turn up some day ...

Recently, as I have gone through old material I have wanted to try and track down the book. So, if by some strange and statistically improbable twist of fate a Seattle teacher reads this and can locate the book ...

Archive Project - Previously Unpublished Work #2 - Lost Angeles

Archive Project - Previously Unpublished Work #2 - Lost Angeles

Lost Angeles is a short story that might someday see print, but that I have decided to post here as it is something I still kind of like that I have written, and that does not happen very often. I am possibly going to include or reference Lost Angeles in some form in the Oxymoron project.


Lost Angeles, A Short Story ©1996

Being lost stinks. Men hate to admit this because it might mean that it's our fault or that we can't find our own way. It's probably some sort of evolutionary byproduct from our drag-the-women-around-by-the-hair-and-make-ugh-noises phase of development. Two men in a car that are lost might even be worse, where we still can't admit it while driving lest we risk emasculating ourselves in front of one of our brethren.
We were lost.
Lost Angeles has a way of doing that to a driver with its mish-mash and criss-cross of highways. Of course, we might as well as been lost in Bologna, Italy or some place like that, since neither of us had a clue about either place. At least we were in the US. It's not like we were sitting on a train in the middle of #*(%ing Switzerland with a bunch of drunk German soccer fans singing songs at 4AM and buying more beer at every stop.
Cigarette smoke so thick I'd smoked a pack just breathing normally.
"No thanks, I've already smoked two #*(%ing packs tonight!" I should have said to the guy the third time he offered me a smoke. No, I had to be the polite tourist. Besides, aren't people supposed to bum smokes off of others and not peddle them. You'd think the guy was a Tobacco Industry guy or some damn thing. Naw, he didn't look that sleazy.
We were just two guys lost while driving in LA and breathing its air.
It seemed like as good an excuse as any to get to see the area. A warm summer evening driving about as tourists. There wasn't a real agenda that night so why not?
Why not?
Los Angeles ...
... and man were we lost. The testosterone level in the car wouldn't allow us to confront the issue though.
"Only a few more minutes," my friend said.
Uh huh, I thought, a few more minutes to where?
"You're the driver," was all I replied.
That must have pissed him off. Next exit we pulled off and he headed on a beeline toward the nearest convenience store. We were on a tight budget, so he couldn't afford to pay for anything we could get elsewhere. Not at convenience store prices. It looked like it was the only place stupid enough to be open at this time of night in this neighborhood.
LA is supposed to be a hip hop happening place but nothing was going on. Hell, there should have been some gang fights in the streets or something if the tv reports up north were as accurate and trustworthy as they claimed to be. After watching my local news I should have been scared to think of LA, let alone travel there. I looked around, it was like the world's most heavily populated ghost town, at least where we were.
I remarked this brilliant observation to my friend.
He must have still been pissed off at me for knowing that we were lost and pointing it out to him despite the unwritten rules of masculinity.
This neighborhood had residents. There were lights on all over, window shades drawn, walls around homes. The places were like luxury fortresses.
"They're prisoners," my friend finally replied as we pulled up to the little store.
I didn't ask him exactly what he meant. There are such things as stupid questions after all, the people who think otherwise are wrong.
For some reason I decide to wait in the car. Like it might be gone if we turn our backs on it. I hate to wait in the car, it's like I'm helpless or in trouble or something.
"Wait in the car," my friend hadn't actually said it but these things can still be heard through the silence of a pissed off buddy's aura.
I spin the dial looking for English language stations. The Spanish stations are fun to listen to but I flunked French in High School and not Spanish so I can't understand a word. Sometimes though I think I get the point anyway, but that's another story.
There comes a point in your life when you realize that the rest of the world really doesn't speak English and talking really loud and really slow to these people simply does not help bridge the communications gap. It's a frightening moment of realization about the world. Especially when you are in the midst of these people and at their collective mercy. Moments like that and you'll wish you were bilingual. There's a lot more of them than there are of us. Suddenly, not flunking French makes a lot more sense than it did when I was seventeen. Hell, I have a hard enough time some days with English and I think in that language and have spoken it my whole life.
Amazingly, there are at least four stations playing the same hot hit hip song at the same time. The song doesn't get any better by the fourth station so I end up listening to a Dodger game for a minute. My friend hops back in the car by this point, changes the station back to that damn song - on a different station no less - and we head off again.
He didn't seem to have purchased anything and he's far too strait to have held up the place so he must have asked for direction. I smugly sit in silence, enduring the Top 40 crap my friend is so suddenly so interested in.
A few blocks later we pull over and stop on the side of the road. My friend gets out of the car and pops the hatch. For a little car with a hatch and a zillion miles per gallon it's surprisingly comfortable. The Japanese should be commended for such craftsmanship.
"The guy in the store threatened to shoot me," my friend says as he hops back in the car. I can't imagine that this is the first time he's been threatened like that in his life, I almost tell him but bite my tongue. He looks seriously agitated.
"What's with the sandles?" I actually do ask.
"The guy kept staring at my shoes and asking me if I was in a gang."
"At least he spoke English," I remark.
My friend does not laugh.
"Change your #*(%ing shoes at the next stop," my friend does not seem to be asking.
It seems like a long time until that next stop. In retrospect, those drunk, chain smoking German soccer fans were a lot less threatening. I just couldn't understand what they were saying other than some names. Rowdy enthusiasm from soccer fans in Europe would at first glance seem like a suicidal predicament. I heard later that their team had won and I felt better for the train crew who had to take them back. Of course, it took me two weeks to cough up all that shit out of my lungs. I really miss those people right now.
Too bad I didn't get any addresses. They can't complain that I don't write.
The names even escape me. They told and I was able to figure that out, like I said, since charades is the universal language.
The switch to sandles is made. I was better off travelling as a vagrant in a land where I didn't speak the language. They were a lot nicer to this English as an only language speaker over there than they are over here.
We pull into a motel.
Places like this are educational. You see them dimly lit in movies and everybody just knows that they are bad. the roaches scurry as the light goes on, which is enough reason to leave. Of course, we couldn't. Well, we wouldn't anyway, we just couldn't get our money back and didn't have enough money to go elsewhere. The little guy at the front desk said he could sell us some roach spray before disappearing into a back room.
"We're staying?" I dare ask.
"For eight hours."
"This is an hourly place."
"We bought eight hours ... we must look like a cute couple to that guy."
"I'll bet that crossed his mind."
"Don't let it cross yours."
There is no way I should dignify that with a response. So I do it anyway, "Yeah ... ight."
"I mean it."
"I know."
There is no reason whatsoever that I should have had to answer that question twice.
"This is twice in a row that we've gone to bed before ten. We're getting fucking old," I say.
The next day we get up early and cruise about town. We go to a soccer game there in LA. Other than us there were like three other people there who spoke English. I felt better.
The trick was to get back up North without getting lost again. Home to my familiar dangers ...
... where I don't need no stinking directions and can wear my shoes into a store in peace.

Archive Project - College Essays #3

PS 333 - Term Paper
December 14, 1995

Pot Shots at a Dead man: The Marx Brothers Get More Respect

Karl Marx has been dead for over a hundred years yet he is still being blamed for things he did not say. Marxism as it has developed and as it is called around the world has as many varied forms as practitioners. Much like the teachings of other controversial writers throughout history Marx is at best misunderstood and at worst categorically denounced. The maligning of Marx continues to this day. Critics of the Soviet Union point to the demise as proof of failure, yet the Communist Party continues to survive in post-Soviet Russia. Modern “philosophers” and commentators openly flail at Marx’s writings, mish-mashing them together as though they were not developed over time or with anything other than assumptions. It is easy to look at the failure of those who have claimed to be Marxists as a sort of proof of his philosophical ineptness. However, simply dismissing Marx completely based upon the failure of people decades after his death who took his thoughts in directions Marx may not have approved of is intellectually lazy and as dangerous as those who have blind faith in his ideas. Yet, the criticism continues. Vladimir Voinovich’s 1986 novel “Moscow 2042” is a tale that not only critiques the Soviet regime, but also seems to be a rejection of Marx with little direct evidence, only a cliché. Many modern “conservative thinkers” like former Reagan administration budget director David Stockman have looked to Marx as a direct opposite to their ideology, despite the fact that the two ideologies are mutually exclusive. Marx believed that his work was scientific. In order to validate any scientific theory it must be able to withstand scrutiny from both within and without and the test of time. Unfortunately the criticism of Marx has rarely been scientific itself. As the century of the “Red Scare” and various revolutions in Marx’s name comes to a close it is at least evident that Marxism has stood the time, so far.

A quick peek through the local phone book virtually anywhere in the country will lead to a startling discovery in regards to religion. There are a vast number of churches that all claim to be following the words of the same man yet they all disagree on the meaning of the words he used. Often the disagreements are over seemingly minor details of doctrine that to a neutral observer seem to be ridiculously unimportant yet to the people involved are of the utmost importance.

Marx reportedly once quipped the line, “I am not a Marxist.” The various interpretations and tangents from Marx’s words are easy to parallel to Christianity. The disputes over the words both men used to convey their thoughts have led to ongoing controversies amongst those that fundamentally claim to be in agreement while remaining at odds over the details. Marx himself would not find religious criticism to be valid, but here the problems in the interpretations and implementations of Christianity is being used to parallel Marxism.

Those that categorically deny any of Marx’s thoughts as valid seem to forget a common philosophical theme in Western Civilization. It is often heard that we are all “the sum of our experiences”. This notion that we are the sum is remarkably similar to a fundamental principle of Marxist thought, that “conditions of existence determines consciousness”. In fact, a fundamental aspect of how we in the West refer to ourselves as individuals is in line directly with Marxist thought. One can’t help but imagine Pat Robertson having an aneurysm thinking about that.

The fall of the Soviet Union has been well documented and yet is still not widely understood. To many it was a simple validation of the Cold War. To others it was an example of the inherent future of the world economy turning towards free market capitalism. The widespread belief is that it is the end of the “Red Menace” and Castro should just give up or die so that we can all just get along. The existence of The Peoples’ Republic of China and the continued political existence of the Communist Party in Russia are, of course, conveniently ignored in most news reports. The state of the Russian economy and political chaos in former Soviet Republics is also generally considered to be of minor concern to those in the West who continue their bravado.

Much like other great thinkers of history who put pen to paper or had their words recorded Marx is an easy target. The material is out their for anyone to read. However, where Marx developed his thought over decades, studying the works of other thinkers and constantly reworking his own thoughts, those who criticize can pick and choose the material they want to use to illustrate their points. Would that all debates be so easy. Marx himself is often a target of simple ridicule, like on T-shirts that have pictures of Groucho, Harpo, and Karl with the caption “I’m a Marxist” on them. A great thinker who had many ideas that were solid and many that upon scrutiny are questionable perhaps deserves better than to be lumped with a slapstick comedy team for a quick buck. Maybe Marx would appreciate the irony of his likeness becoming commercially viable, maybe not.

It is intellectually lazy to criticize in an incomplete manner, yet criticism of Marx is often done that way. This is not entirely unique to criticism of Marx, but it is so prevalent in the material available that it could almost go as a matter of course and stating it seems to be like telling the world that the sky is blue.
It is also un-scientific to be incomplete in criticism. Marx was nothing if not thorough in his studies. “Capital” is a colossal work by critical standards as are other works by Marx. If one is to critique Marx it should probably be by using similar standards of scholarly critique as he used himself. Marx continually attempted to get to the roots of things, to find their essence as it were. The essence of Marx is in his view that “conditions of existence determines consciousness”. Earlier, this view was looked at in the context of basic Western philosophy, however here it is looked at differently. Without an understanding of this seemingly simple statement one will get no where fast in critiquing Marx. For Marx if humanity could just get to the point where there was a stateless society with no individual ownership over the means of production a fair amount of good would be achieved. Mankind would be free to pursue labor and studies unencumbered by many of the forces that exploit it. This is a highly simplified example, but if the conditions of existence here are such that a person is not being exploited they would not know of exploitation even and therefore not seek to exploit others. In many ways Marx had a sincere belief that the ideal conditions of existence would only bring out the best in the species. Essentially, we are taught to exploit others and we do what we know and if we didn’t know to exploit others and did not need to to survive we would not. The logic itself is simple, but it definitely begs a lot of questions about the nature of man.

Marxism has taken many turns and tangents. The Marxism of Lenin and the Marxism of Mao are far different from each other, yet essentially claim to stem from the same roots. Within the Soviet Union there were many interpretations and alterations made to Leninism. Stalin initiated the massive planning apparatus that seems to contrast with the very notion of a stateless society. Gorbachev saw his socialist state simply cease to exist as the people chose to recognize another state in its place. None of this can be said to be an invalidation of Marxism. Yet, the immanent critique throughout the West is that it is. All the failure of the Soviet Union showed is the failure of those who ran the Soviet Union to keep a country together. Science requires experiments and Marxism as a scientific philosophy requires experiments to validate it. The failure of Marxist experiments in many ways could be argued to be proofs. Marx looked to advanced capitalist nations as the future communist states. Russia was not at the top of his list in regards to being a prime area for communist development. The fact that communism failed in Russia is a point for Marx here. Since an advanced capitalist state like the United States has not embraced the philosophy of Marx the jury should still be out and the verdict cannot be read.

Vladimir Voinovich is a writer who has fallen victim to blaming Marx for the failure of the Soviet Union with a confusing portrayal of “Marx’s vision” in the novel “Moscow 2042”. In the novel all aspects of the Soviet system are directly attributed to Marx, creating a parody of the ideas without an evident understanding of the philosophy of Marx himself. The massive planning apparatus of Stalin has attempted to plan all aspects of life down to the ridiculous possibility that there would be a “Bureau of Natural Functions” (p.238) which would monitor and regulate the bodily excrement of each member of society. To Voinovich, Marx seems to have had a vision of control over each person by the communist state, when in fact Marx had a vision of a stateless society without the direct control over people and their lives. It is evident that Voinovich is confusing and lumping together anything and everything that could be derived from Marx into Marx’s “vision”. What can be seen in this critique of Marx is Voinovich has taken the “fruits of the poisonous tree” approach. Essentially, if the root is bad then anything that grows from that must also be bad as well. However, Voinovich has confused the issue here by taking the poisonous tree theory in reverse. He doesn’t like the fruits from the tree so the roots must be bad, a fair bit of faulty logic here. Of course, “Moscow 2042” and the critique are not totally without merit. The novel is a strong parody of a Soviet system taken too far to a literal extreme. The novel is a compelling critique of the massive planning apparatus of Stalin. Too bad it is not what it claims to be, an in depth critique of “Marx’s vision”.

As the supposed “Republican Revolution” sweeps across America, conservative scholars are having a field day. The common belief is that free market capitalism is the be all and end all. Perhaps so. Perhaps not. The second common belief is that Marxism has been an utter and complete failure and American social experiments that seem to have Marxist overtones (read Welfare) should be abolished, after all the Soviets are gone. What they lack in research they at least make up for in zeal. Looking back to the end of the Cold War the rhetoric was stronger but the message was essentially the same. The United States has moved too far toward the Marxist ideals of a classless society in its attempts to alleviate poverty and redistribute wealth, to paraphrase the conservatives collectively.

Conservatives like David Stockman even experimented with Marxism in the 1960s. In his book “The Triumph of Politics” Stockman overviews his college experiments as nothing more than that a of a misguided youth, as though experimenting with philosophies can be written off in the same way as general rebellion in youth. Instead of becoming a juvenile delinquent many became something much worse, politically radical and bent on destroying our capitalist system. To Stockman and others, this was all just a bunch of foolishness that we eventually ridded ourselves of when the students of that era had to go get real jobs. There is a joke that conservatism begins when a liberal takes the first trip to the orthodontist to get the kids braces. Stockman takes this adage literally. His and others’ blind faith that capitalism is the be all and end all is as dangerous as the notion the Marxism is without worth. Capitalism has merits and drawbacks which will not be debated here, but to have blind faith in it is a scary thought. Where Stockman’s critique fails is that he blows off Marxist thought as “half baked” (p.21) while he commits the same “half baked” error of unquestioning faith in Reaganomics (p.395).

Stockman’s failure to separate Marx and Marxism from its eventual proponents is not entirely unexpected given the nature of things in the West. We live in a system which still lives by the politics of the Cold War. Since the Soviets were the bad guys, any and all attributes of what they believed in must be bad as well. Never mind the fact that some of what Marx thought had reasonable merits. The Soviets were a menace and hence there was a “Red Menace” out there. People have led entire political careers not clinging to any belief of their own but only an anti-belief in what they perceived as Marxism. Stockman grew up in this world as well.

The continuing critique of Marx in the manner thus far described in so pervasive as to have made it impossible to have an honest discussion of Marx with virtually anyone. When people in positions of power want to destroy an opposing viewpoint they will often embark upon dis-information campaigns to muddle a subject or to create such confusion that the subject becomes impossible. One of the greatest dis-information campaigns in history have been perpetuated upon the writings and philosophy of Karl Marx. Whether or not the work of Marx is with or without merit is not relevant to this part of this critique of the critique of Marx. If an idea does not have merit it seems logical to assume that it will sink under its own collective dead weight. Marxism and its various tangent offspring have never really been given an honest shake in the West. The powers that be in our capitalist system are obviously threatened by the revolutionary rhetoric in the material. Needless to say, a reaction to squelch and marginalize proponents of Marxism to a radical fringe is hardly unexpected. The extent to which opponents of Marxist thought have gone to discredit the most basic notions of Marxism is very extreme however. The appeal of a classless society where there is relative equality will be appealing to masses of people who are the “have nots”, the “haves” definitely recognized that a long time ago. Otherwise, there would be no logical reason to do anything but let Marx fade away.

Despite the massive campaign against Marxist thought, it still won’t go away. Marx’s impact on the world has been vast. The largest nation in the world in regards to population is still a “Marxist” state. Even when the Soviet Union fell the Communist
Party continued onward. There is apparently something in Marx and Marxism that has an appeal to people on many fundamental levels. Marx viewed the world through scientific eyes. He studied history, philosophy, economics, and other scholarly areas in order to better understand the world we live in. He may or may not be right. But to dismiss him and his work out of hand is a ridiculous notion. The only way to study Marx is to critique him on his own thorough, scientific terms. As a society we have not done that. If Marx and Marxism does not withstand a solid scientific scrutiny then so be it. What is objected to and critiqued here is the critique method that has been used for decades and permeates Western thought. In many ways the rejection of Marx has fueled the fire for capitalism, even in its worst moments. Yet, the critique of Marx remains weak and “half baked”. Marx would critique those who created revolutions in his name and so should we, but it should be done in a Marxist manner.

There has been no respect for Marx given even when credit is due. That is wrong.


McLellan, David. “Introduction: The Legacy of Marx”, Marxism After Marx, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, 1979).

Stockman, David A. The Triumph of Politics: Why the Reagan Revolution Failed, Harper & Row (New York, 1986).

Voinovich, Vladimir. Moscow 2042, Harcourt Brace Janovich (New York, 1987).

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Jefferson's Duran Duran Confession ...

*** Please note that this is actually a story that I have written for the Paul's Basement website that I am posting on the blog here as well ... so, you might find it there too in some form, likely with additional commentary from Jason ... ***

Jefferson's Duran Duran Confession ...

I am the Anti-Jason (or, How did I get here?): The Duran Duran Reunion Tour 2005 (March 9, 2005)

I feel like I need to confess it like a testimonial at an AA meeting.

My name is Jefferson, and I listen to the music of Duran Duran.

I do not believe that my selection as the Anti-Jason was entirely random. See, I have always believed that Jason hated me in high school. (I have in fact spoken to Jason about this and we did in fact dislike each other very much. Now we party together and he manages to get photos and videos of me singing karaoke online. Come to think of it, this is his way of showing that he still holds a grudge ...)

Amongst other things, what really stands out is an incident during rehearsals for the Mountlake Terrace High School production of Ten Little Indians. I was bored, tired, going through the motions at rehearsal one day and our director was getting frustrated. I was sitting in a chair and having a hard time staying awake, which even though I was playing an old fart was not method acting. Jason got upset with me and decided to show me how my part should be done. He was right, but it was clearly obvious after that in A.P.E.S. class that Jason no like Jefferson. It wasn't anything either of us spent a lot of time contemplating and is more obvious in retrospect, but I am pretty certain that it was so.

Years passed. I bumped into Jason on occasion at A.P.E.S. and MTHS reunions and the occasional other occasion like a Paul's Basement event. We even had coffee once a few years ago. Times change and it appears that whatever was there had passed with time.

Two years ago after and A.P.E.S. reunion several of us decided to go and see another reunion, Duran Duran.

Unlike the Summer 04 reunion of Judas Priest, this tour would not be a part of Ozzfest.

See, this is where the confessional part comes in ... I wanted to go and see Duran Duran in high school in 1984 but, wouldn't and couldn't admit it, so I did not go and quietly endured the stories of how "amazing" it was the next day from people I was not going to admit I was jealous of. I guess I was just not strong enough in 84 to admit I wanted to go ... There was apprehension about seeing a band that was so image oriented 20 years after their popular peak ... they had a new album that was not too bad, but they could never really expect to be relevant the way they were in 1983 ever again ... pop music will allow for the comeback and the retro nostalgia thing, but getting back to being actually influential just does not seem to happen ...

My tastes have always been varied; but high school, especially our high school, was clearly cut into groups defined by our respective tastes ... 20 years later I wish I had told people to piss off and had gone, but I cannot change the past ...

So, we had dinner as a group, caught up on what our kids are up to, and got ready to go ... But, the girls tix were across the EEC from ours so we were not all sitting together ... although we could see them when we gave the place a good once over ...

To review the show ... I think I was more impressed with them as a band than Jason was. to tell you the truth I had not really thought about them musically and artistically until then so maybe the bar was not real high ... It was a first class production and they were still obviously used to being "stars". Simon had a very good rapport with the audience ... I was expecting to enjoy it, just not as much as I did ... they played a much longer set than I had anticipated, mixing in new songs with the old ... I left very glad I had gone ...

Duran Duran is many things ... and one of them was always that they were a marketing machine ... their use of elaborate videos and sense of style propelled them past musically more gifted acts and gave them a cultural staying power beyond the one hit wonders and clones that their success spawned ... For instance, the tour program went way beyond cool with pop ups and cards and photos, and they had concert tees that were actually worth getting ... hardly something common any more ...

The crowd was a diverse mix of young and old ... the ladies in our row thought we were "together" and we kind of milked that, or at least Jason did when he kept bellowing "Simon! ... Simon!" over and over ... We missed the opening act (apparently to Max's dismay). I tend to see at least a part of most opening acts, just on General Principle, but in this instance the people watching and merchandise lines were more interesting to me ...

I have relayed this lesson to my kids, hoping to show them that their own tastes matter more than any perceptions others have about those tastes ... That way they won't miss out on something and have to wait for the reunion tour in 2028 ...

It's never too early ...

It's never too early ...

So ... I am going to start my birthday wish list for next summer ... this is only as of right now ... since it is six months from today ... oh, and this would work for Father's Day too ...

*(in no particular order)
**(tickets to things like shows, movies, or sporting events are ALWAYS acceptable)
***(music, movies, and books are also ALWAYS acceptable and in many ways actually preferred)

- One FITTED original M's or Seattle Pilots hat (or both) ...

- ECS argyle scarf

- WJF knit cap (blac or grey)

- One Liverpool FC home jersey (red)

- glasses (as in martini or tall skinny shot glasses for scotch), a nice shaker, & a wine carafe

- a display rack for my Thai Kickboxing belts (I am only a blue belt in TKB, but need to put them somewhere)

- Tsillan wine (white)

- a steamer (pan insert for vegetables)/ also a grinder bowl/mesh colander/"The Ove Glove" for the kitchen

- good sea salt/spicy dripping oil/peppercorns/balsamic vinegar/good evoo ....

- electric razor or groomer or toothbrush

- kilt materials (traditional Irish tartan)

- lace up boots (black, leather soles, good for country dancing)

- slippers (to replace the big shiny red Wazzu ones Dasher peed on)

- a small digital camera

- Cougar Gold Cheese

*** list is subject to change without notice and is only a representation of my current wish list as it is in no way complete ***

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Music can bridge generation gaps ...

Music can bridge generation gaps ...

From New Year's Eve to New Year's Eve to New Year's Eve ... the last few years have led me to believe that music does not need to be a chasm between generations, but can actually be a bridge ... I have had my son over for games and music the past three New Year's Eves and my daughter joined us this year. It is fun and playing the music is actually the point.

I read once where what we are into at 15, 35, and 50+ rarely varies from a pattern ... What we were into at 15 is our nostalgia music ... What we are into by the time we are 35 is what we have entrenched into us ... and what we listen to over 50 is the only stuff we will accept ... I do not remember where I read this and it is not an absolute, but it clearly makes sense ... EVERY era has its hits, misses, trends, fads, stars, one hit wonders, embarrassments, and guilty pleasures ... and each successive generation is convinced that the next one does not ... yet this pattern continues ...

Sifting back through time is easy; the KISW 80s show is good, because they have sifted through it to the good stuff and that is what is left, the good stuff, just not all the crap we had to listen to in between these songs when they were new. The same goes for my parents' generation and will go for my kids' generation.

Is there really any difference between pop music conceptually now and then? I don't think so. We had our Hannah Montana and it drove our parents nuts, too ...

My son got an MP3 player a while back and now so does my daughter ... kids, they just don't buy cd's any more ... anyways ... they both wanted to get some stuff on it and just maybe I had some stuff ... we have sorted through and sampled a variety of materials from my collection and both have found that there is some really cool stuff in there. Not many fourth graders had Led Zeppelin, Lacuna Coil, Alice in Chains, and Duran Duran (live, mind you) on their MP3 players. My daughter recently discovered some of the pop music I have like The Posies or Sting is really good too ... this is bonding over music, not fighting over it ...

The toughest part has been formats ... I have a large collection of old vinyl and cassettes ... and recently I got a new turntable ("Oh, they spin," Ringo observed) so I can play "In Through The Out Door" again in its original format ... and as Nicolas Cage oserved about records in "The Rock" ... "These sound better." But, I don't currently have a way to burn the albums onto a computer ... I know it can be done, but my old cassettes (I was once asked if I have access to a cassette player) also pretty much are stand alone items at this point ....

The kids have different tastes ... and they play their music for me and some of it is okay ... pop music is pop music after all ...

Presidential Campaign Moratorium is in Effect

Presidential Campaign Moratorium is in Effect

I am placing a 200 foot wall around me that is going to be mobile for the purposes of a presidential campaign moratorium.

I do not want to hear anything about any of the candidates at any time in the near future.

I pledge to not listen to talk radio, to change the channel whenever the news discusses the campaign, and to try and find radio and television stations showing the fewest commercials.

If anyone tries to talk to me about Hillary, McCain, Obama, or any of the other wannabees I will change the subject.

I will still be voting in the meaningless primary and general election. Please do not make me think about it any more than that.

My daughter has a soccer game that conveniently takes attending my local caucus right off the calendar next month.

I do not want to hear about Obama's background. He has been through local and state elections. He has written a book or two. His campaign has been going for a year now. Yet, whenever it is time to change the subject suddenly all of those resolved issues come out of the blue as though they were new again. This stuff has been beaten to death and yet still won't go away.

There is nothing about Hillary Clinton that has not been thoroughly dissected and overkilled. Is there anyone really still trying to make up their mind about her? Didn't think so. Please do not send me any emails about Hillary actually being a lesbian. I don't care if she turns out to be gay.

... and that is just one side of the ballot. Fred can go back to Hollywood. Rudy can go sulk in New York. 'nuff said ...

So ... this is likely to be the last posting about the presidential process, unless something so massive comes up that I cannot control myself and post anyway.

The moratorium is now in effect.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

"It's not square dancing, Punk!"

"It's not square dancing, Punk!"

So there I was one day, subbing in a high school class and wearing my black cowboy boots. A couple of the girls were commenting on how they liked the boots and the conversation turned to why I was wearing them. I told them. "These are my dancing boots," I said. A couple of the girls were aware enough to understand that they were for country dancing; as in two stepping. However, a couple of the boys, and one in particular thought we were discussing square dancing.

No. Country dancing is not square dancing.

This was hardly the first time I had found myself in a conversation about these boots. Some middle school kids were absolutely convinced that the black boots I was wearing were girly boots. Apparently, it is inconceivable that men would wear cowboy boots to them, only women. There is a lot I could say about that, but it really sort of explains itself. To sum it up; cowboy boots are not feminine, that is why they are cowboy boots and not cowgirl boots.

The high school kid thought it was funny and I mostly played along. "It's not square dancing, Punk!" I wanted to say ... but I was professional enough to leave out the "punk" part.

It's been a few years now since I took the time and effort to learn to dance. There are a lot of good things that have happened for me because of that choice. It was tough to force myself out there and it was therapeutic. I was flat out scared of the dance floor. Not that it was more crowded than any other I'd seen or been on, but it moved and swayed in such a way, with very good dancers, that I would simply watch for a while after the lesson and then simply turn and leave. It wasn't until I was a couple months into it when one night I found myself there very, very late, with no shortage of dance partners, that I finally felt it, but I don't listen to country, so I don't just hang out. I've been the guy needing encouragement. I have helped friends. I have been out there doing a dance like the schottische, with only two couples and a lot of newbies watching and wanting to learn.

It's all good.

But, it's NOT square dancing ... Punk!

Open Letter to Richard Branson and Virgin Galactic

Open Letter to Richard Branson and Virgin Galactic

Dear Mr. Branson,

I cannot begin to describe how much interest I have in the concept of and the potential success of Virgin Galactic. With a lifelong interest in Astronomy and related topics I found the news surrounding the suborbital rocket plane a few years ago to be worth logging into the Internet to follow.

If my circumstances enabled me to up and go I would find myself in New Mexico in a heartbeat to work in any capacity on the building of the spaceport and company. However, personal and family responsibilities make it impossible for me to move to New Mexico at this stage in my life. As much as I would like to, I just can't up and move. I do not consider my parenting responsibilities to be a burden; they are a privilege ... but it simply makes it impossible to go and work in whatever capacity I could for the development of the spaceport in New Mexico.

So, here's the thing. If there is anything that can be done from Seattle to work for Virgin Galactic then I am your man. Be it public relations, opening a sales office, or answering phones, I am totally interested in it. I know that there are competing interests in getting commercial space travel going but my gut tells me that Virgin Galactic has the right kind of head start to get this going in a big way.

Yes, I have signed up for updates from your company.

Yes, I will go through whatever channels there are to go through in order to apply when positions post.

But ... I’m your guy.

Just thought you should know.



All these lists ...

All these lists ...

Okay ... to my friends and random readers who stumble across this blog and have scrolled past these long lists of games and concerts and whatnot ... I think I am done with those for now ...

The Ephemera Project is functionally complete. As I gather more information or stumble across things I might add to existing lists.

The Archive Project is all those old articles that I have scanned and posted and other items that have never otherwise seen the light of day. The Archive Project isn't lists per se, so it really does not count.

The Oxymoron Project is the reason I started all those damn lists in the first place. Yes, I have had a maniacal obsession with lists and work from them all the time, but the soccer lists were necessary for the book research. I might have some updates, but they are basically complete as much as is reasonably possible at this time.

So ... long lists of raw data is not likely to be found on here much any more ...

The ridiculous soccer games lists # 3 - Seattle Sounders (Oxymoron Project) ...

The ridiculous soccer games lists # 3 - Seattle Sounders (Oxymoron Project) ...

The NASL list here is fairly complete, but does not include all scores. I have erred on the side of omission as opposed to just listing all games ... most of these NASL games would be at the Kingdome with a few exceptions ...

05-20-82 W 3-0 Manchester United
06-11-81 TA CUP
05-16-81 Vancouver Whitecaps
03-28-81 Los Angeles Aztecs
06-04-80 Edmonton Drillers
08-11-79 Vancouver Whitecaps
07-28-79 California Surf
07-21-79 Dallas Tornado
06-30-79 Portland Timbers
06-16-79 Memphis Rogues
05-26-79 Rochester Lancers
05-12-79 San Jose Earthquakes
05-05-79 San Diego Sockers
04-21-79 Los Angeles Aztecs
03-30-79 Tulsa Roughnecks
08-05-78 California Surf
07-23-78 Cosmos
06-24-78 Tulsa Roughnecks
06-17-78 Minnesota Kicks
05-27-78 Fort Lauderdale Strikers
05-13-78 San Jose Earthquakes
04-15-78 Toronto Metros
04-01-78 Colorado Caribou
09-28-77 L 0-2 Santos
08-28-77 L 1-2 Cosmos (@ Civic Stadium)
08-25-77 W 1-0 Los Angeles Aztecs
08-17-77 W 1-0 Minnesota Kicks
08-10-77 W 2-0 Vancouver Whitecaps (@ Empire Stadium)
08-04-77 W 5-0 Team Hawaii
07-20-77 W 1-0 Cosmos
07-15-77 W 3-1 Vancouver Whitecaps
06-29-77 L 0-1 (SO) Dallas Tornado
06-25-77 W 3-0 Tampa Bay Rowdies
06-18-77 W 3-0 Toronto Metros
05-28-77 L 1-2 Los Angeles Aztecs
05-25-77 W 2-0 Chelsea
05-21-77 L 0-1 San Jose Earthquakes
05-07-77 W 2-1 Saint Louis Stars
04-30-77 W 3-2 Portland Timbers
04-16-77 L 0-1 (OT) Minnesota Kicks
1976 Stuttgart
1976 Vancouver Playoff Games
07-31-76 W 1-0 (PK) Los Angeles Aztecs
07-24-76 W 3-2 Philadelphia Atoms
07-03-76 W 3-1 Minnesota Kicks
06-30-76 W 2-1 Dallas Tornado
06-19-76 W 4-0 San Diego Jaws
06-04-76 L 1-2 San Jose Earthquakes
05-02-76 W 1-0 Vancouver Whitecaps
04-25-76 W 1-0 (OT) Portland Timbers

11-11-80 Indoor Jamboree with Vancouver Whitecaps and Portland Timbers
1978 11-2 Reserves Team Win

APSL/A League/USL-1 Era

The 1994 games were at either the Tacoma Dome or Memorial Stadium. In 2002 they played a single game at what was then Seahawks Stadium and games from 03 since have mostly been there.

(USL1 Regular Season)
05-05-07 Seattle Sounders 1 Portland Timbers 0 – Qwest Field – W
05-18-07 Seattle Sounders 1 Rochester Raging Rhinos 1 – Qwest Field – T
08-01-07 Seattle Sounders 2 Portland Timbers 0 - Qwest Field - W
08-04-07 Seattle Sounders 1 Puerto Rico Islanders 0 - Qwest Field - W
09-06-07 Seattle Sounders 4 California Victory 0 - Qwest Field - W
(US Open Cup)
07-18-07 Seattle Sounders 3 CD Chivas USA 1 – Qwest Field – W (3rd Round)
08-07-07 Seattle Sounders 5 Colorado Rapids 0 - Qwest Field - W (Quarterfinal)
09-04-07 Seattle Sounders 1 FC Dallas 2 (AET) - Qwest Field - L (Semifinal)
(USL-1 Championship Game)
09-29-07 Seattle Sounders 4 Atlanta Silverbacks 0 - Starfire - W


09-09-06 W 2-1 Atlanta Silverbacks
07-22-06 W 3-1 Portland Timbers
07-18-06 T 1-1 Cardiff City FC
07-01-06 W 2-1 Miami FC
05-27-06 W 1-0 Vancouver Whitecaps
05-13-06 T 1-1 Minnesota Thunder
05-07-06 L 0-1 CD Chivas USA

10-01-05 T 1-1 (5-4 PK) Richmond Kickers
07-20-05 L 0-1 Sunderland
06-25-05 T 1-1 Vancouver Whitecaps
06-17-05 W 3-1 Bosnia (@Starfire)
05-25-05 W 1-0 Virginia Beach Mariners
05-21-05 T 0-0 Atlanta Silverbacks
05-14-05 W 1-0 Charleston Battery
05-11-05 W 1-0 Real Salt Lake
04-30-05 L 1-2 Portland Timbers
04-02-05 L 1-2 Gonzaga Bulldogs (@Pop Keeney)

08-28-04 L 1-3 Minnesota Thunder
08-07-04 W 2-0 Minnesota Thunder
07-13-04 W 4-2 Seattle Hibernian Saints
06-19-04 L 0-1 Rochester Raging Rhinos
05-15-04 L 0-1 Portland Timbers

09-12-03 L 0-1 Minnesota Thunder
08-27-03 L 1-5 Los Angeles Galaxy
08-22-03 L 1-2 Minnesota Thunder
08-05-03 W 1-0 San Jose Earthquakes (@Husky Field)
07-11-03 W 1-0 Milwaukie Rampage
06-07-03 W 2-1 (OT) Vancouver Whitecaps
05-28-03 T 0-0 San Jose Earthquakes

08-14-02 W 1-0 El Paso Patriots
07-28-02 W 4-1 Vancouver Whitecaps
07-17-02 L 3-4 (2OT) San Jose Earthquakes (@Interbay)
05-05-02 W 1-0 Portland Timbers

09-08-01 W 5-0 Vancouver Whitecaps
06-10-01 W 1-0 Minnesota Thunder
05-05-01 L 0-1 Vancouver Whitecaps

09-10-00 W 2-1 Bay Area Seals
07-08-00 W 1-0 Rochester Raging Rhinos
06-10-00 W 4-0 Spokane Shadow (@ Albi)

07-24-98 L 0-1 Nashville Metros
06-21-98 L 1-4 Colorado Rapids (@MPHS)

06-20-97 W 2-1 Orlando Sundogs
04-12-97 L 0-1 Vancouver 86ers

06-11-95 W 2-0 Atlanta Ruckus

09-17-94 W 1-0 Toronto Rockets
07-30-94 W 5-0 Vancouver 86ers
07-23-94 W 1-0 Colorado Foxes
06-11-94 W 2-1 UNAM Pumas
05-28-94 W 1-0 Canada


Sounders Women

06-19-04 L 0-1 Vancouver Whitecaps
07-28-02 W 4-3 (OT) Vancouver Breakers



For the past several years during Bush II: The Sequel I have watched as many on the right have had "I support President Bush and the Troops" bumper stickers on their cars and commentators have repeatedly stated that we should support the CIC no matter what.

Well ... a year from today that CIC could be President Hillary or President Obama if the Democrats win ...

Will they have "I support President Hillary and the Troops" bumper stickers or "I support President Obama and the Troops" bumper stickers? Will they still say, "Hillary/Obama is our CIC and we should be supporting her/him no matter what."?

Or, will the true colors come out?

This will be interesting ...

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Hunt the Wumpus

Hunt the Wumpus


From Wikipedia

Hunt the Wumpus is an early computer game, based on a simple hide-and-seek format featuring a mysterious monster (the Wumpus) that lurks deep inside a network of rooms.


Recently .... I dug through all of my old stuff and found a few old computers ... and by old computers I mean one of them is a TI99/4A like the one pictured above ... only mine is a tan color but basically the same, making it a 1983 model ... this thing had something like 16K memory meaning that the Commodore 64 was FOUR TIMES the computer that this thing was ...

Anyways ... I still had it and cleaned it up and it works and I have two games for it ... so the kids who have an XBox 360 with super graphics are now fighting over playing Hunt the Wumpus, because it is not simply retro ... it's the real thing ...

Green Screens Are Cool ...

Green Screens Are Cool ...

... in fact, they are kind of spooky ...

I got to the set a little earlier than I had planned for the commercial shoot on Friday, which gave me plenty of time to soak in the atmosphere of the studio and the entire production process.

Yes, I had to sit in the brightly lit room and get make up put on.

Yes, I had to go through wardrobe and have some one totally primp my collars and de-lint me.

Yes, I had to wait for the red light and be aware of the boom microphone at all times.

Yes, I had to repeat lines over and over again for an hour.

Yes, they actually sprayed my shoes with something so that they would not be shiny in the green room. In the whoodathunkit category I would not have imagined needing to dull my black shoes instead of shining them.

Yes, I had to take off my glasses.

Yes, it totally rocked.

See, when I walked into the actual studio from the make up chair the green glow of the green screen had me completely mesmerized. I also noted that the room was about as cold as I remember operating rooms feeling like, but that is a total digression.

The green is painted on the floor and the floor slopes up and there are no real corners per se. The studio ceiling was almost as high as a gym so until I really looked up I could not tell how deep the room went. Even then, it still seemed like it could be three feet or a hundred feet deep. The director joked that I should just run until I hit something if I really wanted to find the end. I ALMOST did, but that would have ended the thing badly and I was too interested to screw it up intentionally. I stood maybe five feet into the green facing the camera for the most part, but when I had to turn to walk around I genuinely felt like I could not tell where the floor and walls were. I have never been so momentarily disoriented in such a way. I was walking so gingerly that it could not have looked natural ...

... but it was still very, very cool.

Sherman Alexie, Clive Barker and Chris Jericho

Sherman Alexie, Clive Barker and Chris Jericho

Author events are really a hit or miss phenomena. A writer that enjoys the public side of the business of writing and things are great with the crowd is worth seeing. If you get one that really only is enduring it, then it is not so much fun.

Recently, I had the good fortune of listening to, meeting, and getting books signed by three writers in a short period of time. All three of these guys are interesting and even charismatic, so the events were well worth my time.

Chris Jericho is indeed that Chris Jericho, the pro wrestler. He is a great promo guy (meaning he can talk and make you listen). He also wrote a book about breaking into and clawing his way up the pro wrestling ladder to the big time. I look forward to reading it, because I haven't yet, but will soon. He was funny, great with the crowd just like in the ring, and seemed like a genuinely good guy. He threw us a lot of hints about his comeback to the ring, which occurred about a week after this signing ... and, he signed my Wrestlemania XIX program ...

Clive Barker is one of the most interesting readings or speakers I have ever seen. He has this deep gravelly voice with a think English accent. Instead of simply reading from his most recent novel (Mister B. Gone is quite good) he simply opened the floor to questions from the audience about any of his works. His answers were ... interesting. At one point I summoned the courage to get up and ask him a question; one about spiritual themes and alternative takes on conventionally accepted roles of religious figures ... and he went on very excited about my question, looking me in the eye for what turned out to be about eight minutes. My brother whispered, "Is he still answering your question?" and I did not feel like I could break eye contact to answer him with something other than and light nod and grunt. And he signed my copy the The Hellbound Heart, too ...

And then there was Sherman Alexie, who actually came first as this list is in reverse order of when I saw them somehow ... Sherman was joined by artist Ellen Forney for a discussion of his award winning novel, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian. Sherman is clearly comfortable in front of a crowd and did a nice job of creating a monologue using the materials in the novel. I had to wait until near the end of the autograph signing to get mine signed, but it was pretty cool to discuss the closure of The Combine in Pullman with him, since I saw him read poetry there when we were both at Wazzu ... Go Cougs!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Oxymoron Project - notes and excerpts ...

Oxymoron Project - notes and excerpts ...



Seattle Storm PCSL game at West Seattle Stadium

The feeling of being manic obsessive was not lost on me. The stadium was actually condemned and had more bird shit on the seats than wood stain. I wasn’t entirely certain about the league I was watching. The play was okay. The crowd was so small the PA guy was holding a conversation with someone else in my section and you could hear sideline conversations between an angry player and an assistant coach slash older player who had put himself in to the younger – and frankly weaker – player’s dismay.
A week earlier I was at the Rose Bowl with about a hundred thousand people at a game with a worldwide audience.
This was my summer of 1994.



Regrets of a sort

There are very few things I really regret. Most of those regrets are things that I did not do, not the things I have done.
There was a cheerleader. We were friends and on our way to a party the summer just before our senior year. I had soccer practice the next morning so I begged off staying late and went home, leaving her at the party with her friends. To this day I know it was because I just was not ready for a serious girlfriend, but this was truly stupid, and part of me thinks that she holds it against me to this day whenever I see her.
This was my summer of 1984.



World Cup notes

WCQ is now actually expected and being first in the group demanded.
We used to wonder if we ever COULD qualify and now there are expectations.
Times Change.

Sounders and Sonics

The Sonics have had a German, an Argentine, and players from Yugoslavia, Lithuania, considered a Brazilian, and drafted a guy from Senegal. Shouldn’t that be the Sounders’ roster?



Rose Bowl

I ate the place the people who spoke Spanish ate at. My brother in law looked at his hot dog and my Mexican food and wished he had too.

Sounders Opener

The 20K+ spoiled me in the 1970’s. I assumed it was all like that since Vancouver and Portland drew well and the TV games from Minnesota and San Jose had big numbers.
Looking up at a Sounders crowd in Memorial Stadium in 2001 was an unhappy experience. It hurt to go.



Kuwait game

We ran into Eric Wynalda. He signed our program, but was clearly not real excited about Coach Steve Sampson. His body language and tone gave him away, although he was trying not to sound critical of his coach.


At one point it was going to be my profession. And then it just stopped. I’ve never emotionally recovered in the workplace. Not getting the PHS job hurt.



New Sounders

I was sort of apprehensive about them bringing back the name.

Cameroon vs. Sweden

I left several hours before kickoff because of the reputation of LA traffic and I had never been to the Rose Bowl before. I got there and was parked, at the stadium, and in my seat something like four hours before kickoff. There were more ushers there than people. It was hot.



Tacoma Stars Wake

It was a funeral for a friend. “This really sucks,” I told the GM. I think he felt threatened. But, I didn’t mean to come across as angry with him; it was my frustration at the situation.



CSL Final

I took my cousin Brian up to Vancouver for the day and we went to the CSL Final. He gave me a hard time for getting a teal colored San Jose Sharks sweatshirt. I look back on that day fondly when I think of him or see his daughter.


The 1991 World Champions poster at my desk caused people to pause and ponder. Eight years later it would be a source of pride.



NCAA Final

I realized in the 6th overtime that going alone to games was okay and likely to continue to happen. It has not bothered me since.


In a weird way, the English ban from the Heysel Stadium disaster paved the way for a new league in the US and Canada as the Storm and other teams on the West Coast had to scramble to fill in dates and formed a small league; The WACS.



1983 is hardly a year of regrets; I did not catch a single Seattle Sounders final NASL season game at the Kingdome. I did not have my WDL until late in the season and there was no way my folks were going to let me drive into Downtown Seattle at that point.



Harry Redknapp

He was just sitting there shopping with his family and I am not mistaken now, that little kid with him played for Liverpool and England; Jamie Redknapp.

Junior Booster Section

There is just no way parents would send nine and ten year olds off on their own to a section of a stadium any more. We were right near where Dave Gillet broke his leg. We saw Jimmy Gabriel sub himself in. Pele was right there in front of us.

Soccer Bowl

The guy got caught because he tripped over a ten-year-old boy in the way … me. I got to run around the field with a flag in a parade of people. We made flags and signs to bring with us.


We went and met the Sounders at Sea-Tac. Mike England said, “Is that yer mum? You’ve got a pretty mum.”



Sounders and the Kingdome

I missed the first game with the Cosmos and Pele that year.
My first impression of the Kingdome was how huge it was and to wonder if it was finished. I had to touch it.
After shaking hands with Tony Chursky after a game during a victory lap I didn’t want anything to touch my hand. Maybe that was the root of my left hand abilities and not just the broken thumb I got later.
When the US played Canada I learned what the World Cup was and that Canada was a different country. I also learned I had to root against my favorite player if he played for the other team.
North Seattle Community College will always be a prison in my mind. As we would drive into games my father would threaten to drop us off on the way in, leading me to believe that the ugly gray buildings at Northgate were a prison. It was not until high school that I bothered to read the sign and realized it was a community college and not a jail.
I fell in love with the Kingdome in a way. I grew up there. Its death hurt me.


Being an American soccer fan has often felt oxymoronic, unpatriotic, openly sarcastic, self-righteous, and frustrating. Yet I was STILL downright obnoxious about it in college with a chip on my shoulder.

American soccer fans need to quit “educating” the public. It’s just not necessary any more. I watch old NASL highlights and wonder if it ever really was and how much the educational mentality was part of the problem. The play by play of renowned broadcaster Jim McKay was insufferably bad. It had to have actually hurt the “cause”.

The American sporting public needs no explanations; they get it better than soccer fans think. It’s part of the arrogance problem. Most just don’t like it. So freaking what? Yes, there are those in the media that actually try to kill it. This has gone on a long time.

Teaching my kids to play is sheer joy. I have promised myself I will be a good sports parent.
I drive past an old school or two sometimes just to go past the fields I played on in my first years of soccer. The kids have now each played on fields I played on, which is very cool.

Compared to his hatred of Notre Dame, I can respect my brother’s ongoing rooting interest for Roma. A South Dakota stripper stage named Roma with hair of a similar color as Roma’s jerseys? That makes sense to me. His support for Arsenal I still cannot fathom.

I have never taken a penalty kick in an outdoor game in my life.

I have never been carded in my life, even if I have deserved a few.



I love the game too much to ref it. I reffed three high school JV games in my life. There is just a part of me that hates to call fouls.
The little kids games I reffed where the ref stops and explains stuff and gives them a do over is more like coaching.

The ridiculous soccer games lists # 2 - FC Seattle Storm (Oxymoron Project) ...

The ridiculous soccer games list # 2 - FC Seattle Storm (Oxymoron Project) ...

FC Seattle Storm filled in the outdoor gap in Seattle between Sounders franchises. They "folded" after the 1990 season, but briefly re-appeared in the PCSL a few years later and I caught a couple of those games too.

This is an imperfect list as there are a few omissions that I cannot yet account for. I know I went to more games in 90, for example. Somewhere along the way my Storm game programs got tossed and it vexes me to this day. Also, games were generally played at Memorial Stadium in Seattle from 84-90, with the exception of a few games at Renton HS when the AstroTurf in Memorial caught fire in 86. In 93, the game was at Everett Memorial Stadium. In 94, it was at West Seattle Stadium.

07-06-84 L 1-2 New York Cosmos
04-24-86 L 2-3 Canada
05-27-86 L 0-1 Manchester City
xx-xx-86 L 1-2 Dundee FC
07-19-86 W 2-1 SC Cleveland
07-26-86 T 1-1 FC Portland
08-08-86 W 2-1 Los Angeles Heat
06-05-87 W 2-0 Norwich
07-10-87 W 2-1 Her Folge
07-15-87 L 0-1 Vancouver 86ers
06-xx-88 W 2-1 Middlesbrough
06-24-88 San Diego Nomads
06-26-88 W 2-0 Neza
07-09-88 W 3-2 (OT) Portland Timbers (w/Sounders reunion game)
07-30-88 W 5-0 San Jose Earthquakes (WSA Championship)
04-29-89 L 1-2 California Kickers
05-07-89 W 2-1 Vancouver 86ers
05-21-89 W 5-1 Arizona Condors
06-03-89 L 2-3 (OT) Portland Timbers
06-30-89 W 1-0 Real Santa Barbara
08-03-89 W 3-0 Victoria Vistas
05-21-90 W 1-0 Bournemouth
05-29-90 L 1-2 Dnepr
06-02-90 W 10-2 Arizona Condors
xx-xx-93 Okanagan Challenge
07-16-94 FV Storm


Oh ... and I decided to tuck this little list onto the end of something ... so I am going to just tuck it in here ...

Teams - Club & Country

Country (M)

Costa Rica
Hong Kong

Countries (W)
Trinidad and Tobago

Clubs (non-US/Canadian based leagues)
Manchester United
Manchester City
Dundee FC
Dundee United
Glasgow Celtic
Real Madrid
Her Folge
AS Roma
Vasco da Gama
Rosario Central

This Peru thing pictured here is a piece of memorabilia that I cannot for the life of me place. I don't remember ever seeing a team from Peru. I don't remember the Sounders or any other local team playing Peru. I vaguely recall it as a gift or something ... any information would be cool ...

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Archive Project - College Essays #2

Archive Project - College Essays #2

This is the second of a series of essays I found on old floppy discs ... This is from an English 201 class I took while working on my second BA from 95-96 ...

The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence:
Seeking Credibility and Little Green Men

Residents of a planet circling Alpha Centauri should be celebrating the Chicago Bulls 1991 NBA Championship any day now. It has only been a few months since CNN broadcasts about the end of Operation: Desert Storm could have traveled the four and a half light years to our nearest stellar neighbor to be picked up by possible residents. If those people are out there we could pick up their broadcasts as well. Listening for possible extraterrestrial life is a worthwhile venture that promises to probe the very real question so many people ask, “Are we alone?” Astronomers refer to the listening to interstellar radio frequencies The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence or SETI. In essence, we are listening to static from space while trying to tune in a station we only hope is actually out there.
Radio astronomy is a sub-discipline of astronomy that looks at the cosmos via radio waves and other carrier wave frequencies. Telescopes for radio astronomers search the non-visible spectrum for radiation signatures of stellar bodies and other radio transmission sources. Originally radio astronomy developed as a means for searching for hidden treasures in space like black holes, quasars, Big Bang background radiation, and pulsars. Today many radio astronomers are convinced that radio astronomy could be the tool that helps humanity determine if there is intelligent life beyond earth. Utilizing several massive radio telescopes and sophisticated computers an active search for extraterrestrial intelligence is underway. The program originally begun by NASA has been shifted to the private sector (Shostak 28).
Current technology allows radio astronomers to monitor over eight million possible frequencies. Computers then sift through the accumulated data for any possible repetitions or patterns that could indicate a non-natural source. The greatest scientific hurdle for radio astronomers is sorting through the static to rule out reflected radio transmissions from earth and natural interstellar emission sources like pulsars. A big fear for radio astronomers in active SETI search is that they could “discover” alien life only to have it turn out to be an Australian Top 40 station. Considering the vast amount of terrestrial radio wave activity, sorting through the static is a sizable chore (Shostak 29). Despite these daunting tasks radio astronomers continue the painstaking search through the millions of frequencies in hopes of finding out humanity is actually not alone in the universe.
The search for extraterrestrial intelligence faces other problems as well. NASA funded a large scale program that began scanning the heavens on October 12, 1992, the 500th anniversary of Columbus arrival in the Americas. Hopes were high in the astronomical community that a proper search could finally be done that could put to rest the extraterrestrial question one way or another. The plug was pulled within a few months by Congress in a bill sponsored by Nevada Democrat Richard Bryan, who was openly critical of the very nature of the project (Helmers 17).
Public funding for NASA projects is under the microscope due in part to NASA’s much publicized series of problems and tragedies like the Challenger explosion. The current political climate toward the federal budget and cutting spending by the government has NASA pondering the future of the organization itself, let alone a project such as SETI. After the federal plug was pulled private sources were able to get the program to continue running (Helmers 18). Using the sizable clout of Carl Sagan, the Planetary Society and the SETI Institute were able to raise the several million dollars necessary to run the program for at least a few years (Sagan, The Search 98). With or without NASA support the search for extraterrestrial intelligence continues.
The possibility of extraterrestrial life remains. Stories of UFO abductions and government conspiracies have turned a reasonable scientific venture into a scientific venture in search of credibility. Where UFO conspiracy theories focus on humanity as a victim of an evil alien presence they fail to take into account the known laws of physics in relation to time, speed, and space travel. As far as is currently understood true interstellar travel could only be accomplished over generations. Thus, the likely best chance of finding out if humanity is alone or not is by listening for their presence, not looking for hidden FBI files about evidence of alien infiltration in the United States government (Sagan, Dot 351). SETI researchers must stick with known physics and cannot afford themselves the luxury of ignoring physical laws if they ever wish to be taken seriously by the general public.
Humanity has reached a stage of technological development in the 20th Century that allows us to use carrier wave frequencies for communication and entertainment. A civilization in another part of the universe that has reached a similar stage of technological development could conceivably need to use carrier waves in the same way humanity does. An assumption regarding the laws of physics being universal and a society discovering the carrier wave must be taken into account. There are unimaginably many star systems out there where life could have arisen. It does not seem unreasonable to think that another species has developed radio (Sagan, Dot 66). The vast distances involved in interstellar communication mean that even if intelligent life exists and has reached our level on Alpha Centauri we would only be hearing their Top 40 from four and a half years ago today. If the nearest extraterrestrial life is not in the local group of stars but is instead tens of thousands of light years away and arose at roughly the same time as humanity to this technological level then it could be ten thousand years of listening to eight million channels of static before we hear the first songs from the alien equivalent of Elvis. Of course, if the supermarket tabloids are right we could hear any new songs Elvis has been working on any day now.
Even if we don’t hear them interstellar neighbors within fifty light years are beginning to hear us. Transmissions from earth have been strong enough since the 1930s to leave the earth and travel the vast distances to the stars (Sagan, The Search 96). Humanity’s wars, politics and entertainment programs go out into space every day for consumption by anybody out there interested in listening.
It is easy to view the SETI Project as a silly quest for little green men. Science fiction aside most people think of aliens being out there as a vague possibility at best. It is difficult to get people to admit that they think aliens exist. The very notion of such a thing is still viewed as childish fantasy.
Implications on humanity’s very nature of existence are brought up to the surface by the SETI Program. Humanity is currently the highest form of intelligent life known to exist in the universe. Religions discuss life after earth but not life other than on earth. The implications on theology should extraterrestrials actually exist are potentially quite staggering. It is safe to say that there are people who don’t want little green men to be out there.
Searching for extraterrestrial intelligence is a worthwhile venture for a variety of reasons beyond simply finding out if humanity is alone in the universe. The technological advances involved in breaking down and shifting through radio frequencies to over eight million discernible frequencies will have long term influence on telecommunications worldwide. The ability to shift through the static and narrow frequencies is going to allow greater worldwide communications networks to emerge (Helmers 16). As with most scientific endeavors a sort of fringe benefit exists with breakthroughs impacting other areas of technology and society.
We may not detect evidence of extraterrestrial intelligence during the current search or within our lifetimes. In fact, detection may never happen. Not detecting anything is not conclusive evidence that extraterrestrials don’t exist, it only means that we can’t hear them if they do. If they are out there and we do eventually detect them we will be faced with many new problems. What would we say in response to an interstellar message? How will we explain the Village People?

Works Cited

Helmers, Carl. “SETI as a Way to Encourage Public Awareness of Science.” SETIQuest Sept. 1994: 16-18.

Sagan, Carl. Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space. New York: Random House Inc., 1994.

Sagan, Carl. “The Search For Extraterrestrial Life.” Scientific American Oct. 1994: 92-99.

Shostak, Seth. “Listening For Life.” Astronomy Oct. 1992: 26-33.

Archive Project - Previously Unpublished Work #1 - "G.W.N.B."

Archive Project - Previously Unpublished Work #1 - "G.W.N.B."

This is the first in a series of previously unpublished work that I am posting here on the blog. This was an idea I had one night that I thought would make a good SNL skit ... that did not happen. Since I found it on an old floppy disc, this seemed like as good a place as any to post it.

"Girl With Nice Butt" (c)1998

Actress: I'm listed in the credits as the "Girl With Nice Butt"!

Agent: Yes you are.

Actress: This is humiliating ... !

Agent: That was your role.

Actress: I don't think you understand ...

Agent: ... no, I don't think you understand.

Actress: Puh-lease! This is my career that we're talking about here.

Agent: Yes we are.

Actress: Now do you understand?

Agent: I already told you that I understand.

Actress: RRRRRR!!!

Agent: Listen ... there's no need to overact here, that was your role and you knew it.

Actress: I had no idea it was going to be listed in the credits that way.

Agent: How did you think it was going to be listed?

Actress: I don't know ... "Girl On Street" or "Girl In Blue Dress" or something. Not "Girl With Nice Butt"!

Agent: "Girl On Street" was Jenna Grant.

Actress: You are kidding.

Agent: Nope.

Actress: Then why not "Girl In Blue Dress"?

Agent: Probably because you were wearing black hot pants.

Actress: I know what I was wearing and you know what I mean.

Agent: Your role was to walk down the street strutting your stuff so the male lead could rubberneck and have the female lead punch him in the shoulder. Whereby he says, "What? She had a nice butt."

Actress: I know what my role was.

Agent: You performed your role well.

Actress: Kiss my ...

Agent: Cute.

Actress: Never mind.

Agent: What are you so worried about anyway? It was a ten second non-speaking role. At least it was on a hit show. Maybe they'll ask you back for a dream episode or something.

Actress: My dad was there when I first saw it.

Agent: He didn't like the hot pants?

Actress: That was not the problem.

Agent: Go on.

Actress: I had him help me check the credits and he blurted out, "There you are, you're listed as the girl with nice butt." He called everybody to tell them.

Agent: That would be embarrassing.

Actress: It was humiliating!

Agent: You'll get over it.

Actress: No. I won't.

Agent: Years from now you'll laugh about it.

Actress: Years from now, one of those before they were stars shows will go and show this.

Agent: So? Be happy you got big enough for one of those shows.

Actress: So. I'll be referred to as the girl with nice butt forever.

Agent: I doubt that they will list that on any of those shows.

Actress: No?

Agent: No. They'll just show the scene of your ass wiggling down the sidewalk in hot pants. That's what you'll be known for.

Actress: Thanks, I feel better now.

Agent: At least you weren't crossing your legs for a bunch of slobs. You would never live that down. Years later even.

Actress: She ended up with some decent roles, a Golden Globe, and an Oscar nomination.

Agent: See ... you have nothing to worry about then.

Actress: What am I gonna do?

Agent: Wear baggy sweatpants so nobody can recognize your butt.

Actress: Thanks.

Agent: People will say, "Hey, I know that nice butt from somewhere."

Actress: That's not funny.

Agent: Actually, it is.

Actress: That's it then?

Agent: Yep.

Actress: I'm doomed.

Agent: No you're not.

Actress: How can you be so sure?

Agent: Because I called you in here for another role.

Actress: Really?!

Agent: It even has a line. You'll be "Girl With Tan Lines". Best of all, it's for Baywatch.

Archive Project - College Essays #1

Archive Project - College Essays #1

This is the first of a series of essays I found on old floppy discs ... This is from an English 201 class I took while working on my second BA from 95-96 ...

The American Dream, the United States Economy, & the Central Planning Elite:
You’ll Only Get as Far as They Let You

Bill Gates is the luckiest man in America. Not only is Bill Gates the wealthiest individual in America, but he did so despite significant odds and a system that does not desire for Bill Gates’ to happen. The United States economy is supposedly based upon the free market system and the notion that anyone can make themselves wealthy with a lot of hard work and a little luck. In fact, that is not true. The United States economy is a closed system with hurdles that are designed to allow for limited movement and the constant dangling of the proverbial carrot in front of those who wish to pursue the American Dream. This paper will discuss the notion of the American Dream as it relates to a supposedly free market economic system and the central planning elite that keep things the way they are.
The American Dream is generally accepted to be true. With a lot of hard work and effort, a little luck, and perseverance anyone can build the personal economic base to lead the good life (Calian 23). To an extent this is true. There are numerous cases of individuals going from rags to riches in the American mythos (Stockman 69). The economic system of the United States allows for the occasional millionaire to sprout from seemingly out of nowhere. Literature is continually pouring off the presses attempting to sell this idea to the public.
In other areas of media this is also true. It is difficult these days to turn on television without an infomercial on how to make a personal fortune in only a matter of minutes in your home with no money down (Miller 800). Of course, you have to send $39.95 to get the whole story. Selling the American Dream to those eager enough to plunk down the money could be the best way to make a quick buck in this country legally. Perhaps the best way to get rich quick is to write a book on how to get rich quick and sell it to anyone else who wants to get rich quick.
Many people seem to believe that the economy is a living entity. However it is more likely that what is generally accepted as the economy is actually a collective set of statistics based upon a somewhat chaotic system of trade. The terminology somewhat chaotic is used here because it is impossible to predict with any real degree of certainty how things will pan out in the economic sphere. Since there are parameters in place for trade it is possible to argue that the somewhat chaotic system of trade is actually a controlled dynamic (Munkirs 122).
No economic system could be measured if there was not a definable and accepted set of parameters from which to measure and of which to measure. Economies are measurable in that they are defined by specific economic activities (Carlstrom 1-4). The flaw in this notion is that not all activities are economically measurable. It is possible to place a quantitative measure on time spent engaged in a productive activity. It is possible to place a price for trade on a tangible item. It is even possible to place a price on an intangible activity or concept like service. What all of these ideas share is that the measure is based on accepted societal values (Munkirs 140).
Central planning is the design for the economy on a large scale from a focal point. In the United States central planning on the day to day level is at best a loose concept (Munkirs 45). However, on a large scale the economy of the United States is defined and controlled by a select few which we can refer to as the central planning elite.
The parameters of the United States Economy begin with our currency, which is determined by the Federal Reserve. Federal Reserve Notes are printed and valued and placed in circulation in increments of dollars, a concept called fiscal policy (Dederick 2). The Federal Reserve has a significant impact on all aspects of the American economic system since “The Fed” sets interest rates and fiscal policy that the rest of the main players in the economic system follow.
The economy is an accepted set of parameters. It is interesting to think about what it would be like if people simply stopped using money and went back to barter. In the modern era where virtually all economic activity is taxed it seems impossible. Any economic activity, be it sales of physical items, interest accrued, time worked, insurance purchased, services provided, or anything else is taxed (Stockman 230). If a piece of land is owned it is taxed on the value on an annual basis, whether it is in actual use or not. The government of the United States at all levels sees to it that all economic activity is reported and defined for taxation purposes.
Large corporations and a handful of wealthy individuals control the wealth in the United States and the general direction of the economy. With wealth comes power. Since the economy is defined in the terms accepted by the elite few they also can determine who gets access to capital resources. It takes money to make money. In very few instances is wealth created out of thin air (Lutz 122-123).
Bill Gates found a niche in the world that had not been economically exploited and went from a $75,000.00 investment in a computer program called DOS to being the richest man in America. He saw beyond the plan of the corporations and the elite few and the floodgates opened for him. Getting back to the concept that it is impossible to predict with absolute certainty economic trends it is possible to see why Gates was able to step in and make his fortune. The computer software industry today is now part of the central planning elite.
Banks could not exist without a significant degree of central economic planning. The financial system requires that there be rules and regulations and a definable measure for economic activity. Here the fiscal policy of the Federal Reserve rears its head to show where its impact is the greatest. Without the specific rules and constant tinkering by the Federal Reserve the United States economy would be subject to the radical swings in other nations (Dederick 2). Even in a country where the free market economy is revered there are few who would be willing to completely deregulate the financial system and take the risk of another 1929.
The central planning elite are those who have. It seems safe to assume that those who have wealth want to keep it. The concept of a central planning elite does not include a massive conspiracy theory of a handful of bankers and others in a dimly lit room planning the future of every citizen. The notion that we have a central planning elite is not a paranoid reaction to the economic status of the majority. What the central planning elite concept says is that there are a few people and corporations that control the majority of the wealth and therefore have the ability and power to keep things moving the way they want to. It seems logical to accept that people become defensive about there status and power when there is a risk of losing it. The central planning elite potentially have a lot to lose. To argue that the wealthy and powerful do not do everything in their collective power to stay that way in both actual and relative wealth ignores aspects of human nature having to deal with power relationships (Lutz 3).
The free market system has historically lead to periods of massive economic growth where individuals could rapidly gain wealth and power. Unfortunately those periods of economic growth have been punctuated by periods of massive and swift economic decline. Those who have the most to lose in a period of economic decline are those who have the economic power in society. By planning out a system with fewer abrupt economic changes the risk involved in economic life is lessened. Unfortunately for the majority it is harder to break in to the central planning elite as a result of more restrictive economic growth (Stockman 189).
We do have a limited free market economic system. Our economic system has parameters for competition and allows for most to enter the market arena. Anti-trust regulations do not allow for complete monopolies of industry except in specific areas deemed necessary as a matter of public policy. United States laws allow for monopolies in areas of utilities and other essential public services, but those areas are not areas in which personal fortunes or creativity is often focused. A competitive environment is allowed for in the economic system of the United States, but there are boundaries. Most of the boundaries have to do with how far upward an individual can move in economic status without throwing the entire system out of whack.
Competition does not always bring out the best in people. Many proponents of totally open free markets point to competition as the be all and end all for economic activity and growth. To many, a competitive environment only allows for prosperity. This blind faith in competition does not seem to take into account that competition also brings out the worst in people. When faced with the prospect of economic ruin or wealth people will do what is necessary to protect themselves and gain the wealth. A survey of those in poverty is not likely to find many saying anything at all about the glorious wonders of economic competition. It would hardly be mentally reassuring to wake up in poverty and think about how it’s fine because in a competitive environment people sometimes lose. Competition seems therefore as likely to bring out the worst in people as it is to bring out the best.
Since competition brings out unpredictable human responses it is necessary to create parameters for that competition. The anti-trust laws are but a part of those parameters. The United States Government has other laws on the books that allow for individuals to benefit from the fruits of their labor should they find a new economic niche. Patent laws and other intellectual property laws allow for new inventions to remain the property of those who create them (Feltenstein 16). Individuals have access to the court system against major corporations. Even with these laws on the books there are limitations. The resources of those in economically powerful positions allows for them to buy their way out of many problems.
There is a difference between making a living and making a life. Even in a planned system there is room for some movement in economic status. This room for movement is where the true American Dream resides. Even though the central planning elite generally do not allow for massive gains in wealth for the average citizen it is still possible to build a better economic life. Playing by the rules and within the parameters set is essential for this to happen. It is therefore no surprise to find that people are constantly buying in to the notion of the American Dream. The phrase buying in is used here instead of selling out. Selling out is in fact giving up. When someone sells out they are symbolically throwing their hands up, giving up who they are, and going on. Those who buy in are playing the economic game by the rules established but do not give up who they are at heart. It is all a matter of perspective
Central economic planning is generally assumed to exist on micro levels in corporations and only on macro levels in autocratic states (Bennett 36). The generally accepted view of the centrally planned economy is that of the former Soviet Union (Dembinski 23). Critics of Soviet economic policy point to the eventual economic collapse of the Soviet Economy as a proof that the free market economy is necessary (Bogomolov 145-147). However, this is a false dichotomy. It assumes that since the Soviets failed and the United States has a different system that the presumed failure of one system validates the continued existence of the other (Ladd 7-8). Free market theorists conveniently forget about the depressions caused throughout American history by unregulated economic activity.
The centrally planned economy in the Soviet Union based itself on predicting every detail of economic life in the country. The massive planning apparatus of the Soviet Union did not take into account the inherent unpredictability of economic activities. In the later years of the Soviet Union attempts were made to reform the system into a semi-open economy with specific parameters. The parameters of the Soviet system that were attempted were still more restrictive in regards to fiscal policy and intellectual property laws than the United States (Gorbachev 190). Essentially, the Soviets forgot about the carrot (Voinovich 214).
The United States economy is not as restrictive as the traditional Soviet model or even of the modified Soviet model under Gorbachev. The parameters set by the central planning elite in the United States leave room for the occasional glitch (Blazyca 21). Even though it upsets the status quo the occasional Bill Gates is necessary to continue the notion of the American Dream and to be consistent with the laws on the books. The belief that if one works hard enough they can be like Gates is a powerful motivating tool for the American public.
Even though it can be argued that there is a central planning elite in this country that controls the basic direction and sets the parameters for the economy it is also possible to argue just the opposite. An economic system on the scale of the United States is a dynamic that is beyond accurate measure at any one time. Without there being an actual conspiracy group in coordination it can be argued that this entire concept is just a paranoid delusion on the part of those who are bitter over the size of the slice of the economic pie that they were given. A strong argument can be made that it is simply impossible to control as much wealth as the United States has. To a point this argument has merits but it forgets that since the Great Depression of the 1930’s the United States Economy has not had the massive economic highs and lows that have punctuated its history. Only since the legal changes in the 1930’s and continued growth of regulations and corporate power has their been a period of relative economic peace. This is simply no coincidence. Those in economic power will simply not allow the United States economy to sway to the winds of radical changes in economic conditions.
The central planning elite in America control the parameters of the United States Economy. In this way they control the movement within the economic system as well. In this paper we have looked at the basic philosophical aspects of our economic system and studied how that economic system currently operates. Our economy is only what we choose to place definable measures upon. Basically, Bill Gates found a way though the system to become the wealthiest individual in America. A good life can be made within our economic system, but don’t expect to be another Bill Gates.

Works Cited
Bennett, John. The Economic Theory of Central Planning. New York: Blackwell, 1989.
Blazyca, George. Planning is Good for You: The Case for Popular Control. London: Pluto Press, 1983.
Bogomolov, Oleg. Market Forces in Planned Economies. Hampshire, England: MacMillan, 1990.
Calian, Carnegie. The Gospel According to the Wall Street Journal. Atlanta: Knox Press, 1975.
Carlstrom, Charles. “A Monetary Policy Paradox”. Economic Commentary 15 Aug. 1995: 1-4.
Dederick, Robert. “Understanding the Federal Reserve in 10 Easy Lessons”. Economic Times April 1995: 2.
Dembinski, Pawel. The Logic of the Planned Economy: The Seeds of Collapse. New York: Oxford University Press, 1991.
Feltenstein, Andrew. “The Role of Interest Rates During the Transition to a Market Economy”. Economics of Planning 27 (1994): 1-19.
Gorbachev, Mikhail. Perestroika: New Thinking for Our Country and the World. New York: Harper & Row, 1987.
Ladd, Everett. “Philosophical Differences Between the U.S. and Europe”. Economic Times June 1995: 7-8.
Lutz, Vera. Central Planning for the Market Economy. New York: Harlow, 1969.
Miller, Edythe. “Economic Regulation & the Social Contract: An Appraisal of Recent Developments in the Control of Telecommunications”. Journal of Economic Issues Sept. 1994: 799-818.
Munkirs, John. The Transformation of American Capitalism: From Competitive Market Structures to Centralized Private Sector Planning. Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 1985.
Stockman, David. The Triumph of Politics: Why the Reagan Revolution Failed. New York: Harper & Row, 1986.
Voinovich, Vladimir. Moscow 2042. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1987.