Saturday, March 29, 2008

They Took Storm ... We'll Take Sonics ...

They Took Storm ... We'll Take Sonics ...

Back in 2000 when the Seattle Storm logo was unveiled I wore my FC Seattle Storm jacket to Key Arena for the event. I recall there being a big of a hubbub over the name and whether it was free for the taking by the WNBA team ...

See ... the really vocal women's hoops fan base also REALLY wanted them to get the name Reign and bring it to the WNBA ... and the owner of the FC Seattle trademark was still using the Storm name for camps if not for an actual team ...

There are a few obvious parallels here that I will not expound upon, but let's just say there was a mild ruckus and threats of legal action ... apparently, the WNBA team either won or bought out the trademark holder ...

So ... with the naming of the MLS Seattle franchise in the fan voting stage, complete with controversy over the options and the "miracle" of a write in option suddenly appearing ... it's time for Sounders fans to put up or shut up, so to speak ...

But, here's the thing ... I can understand both sides of the argument on the use of the Sounders name ... but the Sounders name really isn't a name with 30+ years of continuity. There is a nice decade long gap in there with teams like Stars and Storm filling that void. When the Sounders name was brought back in 94 I was not entirely on board with it.

Are we to believe that MLS really vetoed Sounders and then let them add a write in option almost immediately after? I sense a bit of manipulation here; they didn't want to just commandeer the name, they want to create this apparent grass roots movement ...

Except ... I think it is time for payback ... Clay Clay says that Seattle can keep the name Supersonics ... and since the NBA will never be back ... how about the write in being Seattle Supersonics?

Green and gold anyone?

The Case For New Amsterdam ...

The Case For New Amsterdam ...

I am not a huge TV watcher. There are a bound to be a number of pretty good shows out there from the glimpses of them I get, so that's not it. It's just that I don't tend to focus a lot of time on my couch ... Well, lately I started watching New Amsterdam and I actually like it and I am wondering if it will continue after the mini-season run it is getting this Spring.

The very notion of immortality in a mortal world is one of the reasons I have always enjoyed vampire stories and some science fiction. A graphic novel titled The Alien Legion: A Grey Day To Die is one of my favorite comic stories for this very reason. So, the notion of an immortal detective in New York City looking for his true love in order to become mortal is something that I found myself interested in. It's a cool show. And, it seems like now is the time to go on record and state that I want to see this show succeed.

There is a lot about this show to recommend; not the least of which is that his one true love is Alexie Gilmore, who has now taken over as THE hottest doctor on TV.

It is weird to rave about something, and I am not really RAVING per se ... it is just that I like the show and would make the time to watch it ... something I really don't do that often ...

So ... FOX??? Consider this one vote to renew New Amsterdam.

Monday, March 24, 2008

The 67 Year Plan ...

The 67 Year Plan ...

The 1998 Rose Bowl was played between Wazzu and Michigan. Wazzu was making its first Rose Bowl appearance in 67 years against a team undefeated, ranked #1, and a historic power adding to its legacy. WSU played them toe to toe until the end, having a legit shot at winning.

It has also been 67 years since Wazzu was in a position like it is this week in basketball. In 1941 the Cougs lost in the championship game. The Sweet 16 match up on Thursday night against #1 overall seed North Carolina is the same sort of opportunity the 1998 Rose Bowl team faced.

Opportunites like this only come along every so often. Good luck guys. Go bust a whole lot of brackets ...

... and you Dawg fans should not fret ... your guys made the Sweet 16 of the CBI ... whatever that is ...

They Really Burned the Midnight Oil ...

They Really Burned the Midnight Oil ...

Months of planning and consulting and meetings ... and all MLS Seattle could come up with were Seattle FC, Seattle Republic, or Seattle Alliance?

That's all we get to vote on?

What, no Seattle Coffee or Seattle Software?

I do not believe it is necessary to hold on to the Sounders name forever, and really was not in favor of bringing the name back in 1994 ...

We had Seattle Sounders from 74-83 ...

We had FC Seattle from 84-90ish ...

We got Seattle Sounders back in 94 through this season ...

Are we really supposed to get excited about inverting FC Seattle to Seattle FC?

Are we really supposed to consider Seattle Republic to be an actually possible team name?

Seattle Alliance sounds like a youth select team name ...

I had heard Seattle International as a rumor; and that would be a light year improvement over the three options they burned the midnight oil to come up with ...

Any of these three names will simply lead to fans continuing to call the team the Sounders and continuing Sounders chants at games.

Bottom line is that if the three options discussed here are really the choices we are not being provided with viable options to choose from.

Just leaving the team named MLS Seattle makes more sense.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Substitute Teacher Art

Substitute Teacher Art

There are aspects to life as a sub that are crazy.

Sometimes we get funny stories.

Sometimes we we get really frustrated.

Sometimes we find ourselves hopping around to "Little Bunny Foo Foo" with a group of Kindergartners hoping no one has a hidden camera so as to not end up on You Tube.

And sometimes we get to play and do art projects.

Astronaut Ice Cream ...

Astronaut Ice Cream ...

Earlier this week my kids' school ran their annual science fair. It's actually a lot of fun. One of the reasons my daughter wanted to make certain to be there early was because the first X # of kids could get "Astronaut Ice Cream", which I mistakenly thought would be Dippin' Dots.


It's the freeze dried ice cream where they take all of the ice and cream out and leave whatever is left as a packed square of powder.

They gave me one.

So, I broke off a chunk of the ice cream and crunched down on it.

If you let it break apart and "melt" in your mouth it is like warm melted ice cream. Other than that, it is just weird.

Archive Project - Journal Samples ...

Archive Project - Journal Samples ...

This is a sampling of the last of the journal entries I recently typed up ... These are all from circa 1999-2004 ... I think ...


The notion that the customer is always right is perhaps the worst thing to ever happen to American culture.

The only thing the Democratic Party is lacking is the courage of its convictions.

"band width" - people throw it around like they know what it actually means

KMART - I remember the time Steve, Ron, and I were just going berserk at K-Mart. We - meaning me - was loaded up in a shopping cart and were going full steam all over the store, especially the back wall strait away. After a while the security guards stopped us and I never forgave KMart for that. I drive past it regularly and now it is gone and been remodeled into an Asian grocer that I occasionally shop at ...

I remember the Wildebeests games at the field near there that Jacob turned out to play his only soccer season on. I remember sporting success for the first time. I remember my dad on crutches from a knee operation. i remember running lap. It no longer looks like a dirt field, if I remember it as being so correctly and the pics do prove me right ....

When you act on your dreams as an adult it is not viewed as a positive characteristic. - I am sick of being held back and beaten down by the expectations of others, no matter the cost that era is over ...

There is this assumption that being against war makes one pro-the enemy. That's just simply not true. It means we see other options. Don't want people to die. Don't want to create more martyrs, believe that this is a son trying to outdo his father and see it as something that represents what is wrong with how we approach problems in a unilateral way.

Magic is not just about believing or wanting. It isn't about words or ingredients or books or objects. It's about immersion. Without that, the rest is not relevant, but with it, it is all of that and more. One doesn't lose ones self in magic, that is something else entirely. No, one finds ones self in magic and begins there.

It stares at me. how is it that I have a trained fish and not a trained dog? My dog is more like a cross between a cat and a two year old. The fish waits for food at the same spot in the upper right front corner of its tank. My dog gives me looks like my brothers cats when I call it ...

Why is it that you can remember more of what you did drunk years later as opposed to the next AM?

Once upon a time I accidentally punched a secret service agent in the jaw. A while later I had the prez in the telescopic sights of a camera.

Mr Rogers did the coin toss for the 2003 rose bowl ... I cannot describe how amazingly cool and weird that is ...

Tough love are the words someone needs to hear from someone who needs to say them. It's the look in the mirror the other person needs to do but really has not done. Unfortunately, it is too often dismissed as the white noise of criticism and not viewed as something helpful, or constructive ...

No matter how hard you try there is no such thing as closure. The past cant change and when the villains are gone they cant even be held accountable in a true sense of the word. All we can do is live forward, trying not to let the damage take control, even while we never forget.

Why do commuters have better antibiotics than humans?

The last protests to actually work in this country were the marches alongside empty buses in Montgomery AL with MLK. Decades ago. They are all white noise and self-satisfying now. Good intentions are nice, actual change takes work. Not just marching and going back to ones life.

What things used to cost is irrelevant to your budget. It might be interesting conversation but it doesn't change anything and usually just makes people feel worse.

Santa or Pro Wrestling? Which was the bigger deception in your life?

Would you ask the Devil if its been worth it? It is better to not even presume whether or not to rule in hell or serve in heaven. Those powers would mock our presumptions. There's bound to be a special place in Hell for those who presume they would be welcomed like heroes and for those who claim to choose to judge whether others are worthy of Heaven.

Hold music ... "Reunited" from Peaches & Herb is unacceptable as hold music at 630am on a Sunday morning.

A bunch of fat middle aged white guys with grey mustaches that all think being against everything makes them smarter than you ...

It's pretty #*(%ed up when you get to work on a Sunday morning before Starbucks opens.

It's pretty amazing how many people spend time, resources, etc ... to prevent other people from having sex.

Diversity at my school was Baptists, Mormons, and Catholics ...

I felt old for the first time when I was asked if I had "access to a cassette player".

I always thought that airliner peanuts was a cliche ... they really do it, that was the in flight meal.

People often do things which do not make obvious sense .

There are aspects of theme parks like Disneyland that I find tragic; the miserable looking people psyching themselves up to tell the people back home how much fun they had. They lie. They were in line the whole time. Theme parks are a tourist paradox.

Sometimes people need to hear things that they really do not want to hear, but they also need to hear it in a certain context or from a certain source in order to accept it ...

Candy is not an office supply.

Washing hands prior to peeing is also important.

There comes a point where you cant call, where you have waited too long.

There are 3 things I know about women. 1) They never get over anything. 2) They laugh when they are nervous. 3) They just move onto the next things that they are mad at you about and the old stuff is fresh again when/if/when it comes back up.

Corporations are countries now ... borders? laws? They choose which currency to do business in. They can have their own security that can function like its own legal system.

It's convenient today, all you have to do is find the church that validates what you want to hear or already believe. Then, since you are "comfortable" there, everything is okay. So much for absolute truths and authority of scripture. While it might bring people in, it continues to erode the foundation while everybody is happily preaching to the choir. The scriptures are not God, and should not be worshipped. Is it a lack of faith for those waiting for The Rapture to have 401ks? Are long term mortgages for them a form of fraud? Self righteousness does not help our national discourse. Blindly accepting things is far more dangerous. We do not have state run forcible evangelism.

The first view of a previously hidden tattoo is a wonderful gift.

I love stoppage time against a rival ... my team is up 1 with the ball and the opponent is chasing.

I'm cold.
It's June.
This should not be so.
Of course, I'm naked, it's a dreary night and I just got out of a really frickin' hot bath so my skin is adjusting still.
But ...
I don't want to be cold in June.
It would be warmer if i wasn't alone. The aquarium in the living room, the dog under the bed, and the cat on my legs don't quite count.
Were I to be so inclined, I suppose I could put on jammies or a sweatshirt or something. But, I will acclimate and warm up under the comforter soon enough for that to be both silly and overkill.
My eyes are getting very tired.
I am getting sleepy, so very, very sleepy.
The light switch is just inconvenient enough away to make me seriously consider just leaving it on. I do prefer to sleep with the light on. Technically, I prefer to sleep during the day and live nocturnally.
I am not afraid of the Dark.

I have a routine. I follow it. Occasionally; I veer from it, but not often. My breakfast is the same. My lunch rarely varies. I take a multi-vitamin. I always check my mail in the afternoon. My stuff is set out for the next day in advance. i crave change, but settle for something different for dinner or a new book. As much as I like new things I stick to the same things far more often. I love new music or ideas but I find comfort in my sameness. I rarely travel but know an awful lot about where I'll never go.

Finding post cards should not be so difficult. It should not take 13 tries to find a place that sells them, especially when the first 12 stops were at grocery stores, drug stores, convenience stores, and hotel lobbies. All of those stops were reasonable places to expect to find post cards. It made me begin to wonder whether or not post cards were legal in Texas. It took a book store before I found what I was looking for. Of course, by then, the next mail pickup would be on Monday afternoon, making the post cards post mark and mailing occur after we landed back home. Go figure.

Other cities you have never visited are other worlds.

Nothing ever exactly turns out exactly the way things are supposed to. Even with the most planning and discussion of variable it's never exactly now it's projected.
The science of the future is not exact.
this is not to say that when I brew a pot of coffee or make some toast something bizarre happen. I still usually get drinkable coffee and edible toast. but, sometimes it's just not quite right.
this is also not to say when I do something routine or mechanical that the results are going to be totally unpredictable. When i push on the brakes my truck stops. But, sometimes it jerks around a little.
Theory and practice require that tests me ran: controllable tests that can produce reasonably predictable and repeatable results. Scientists, good scientists any way, are experts at this; confirming and reconfirming results prior to accepting them. A single experiment or testimonial does not confirm a theory.
how people will react to something is not an exact science either. Even if there are precedents involved, exactly how a person or group will respond to something can vary.

In retrospect, I'm mostly disappointed that I didn't see Twisted Sister in concert back in the 80s. I am also still upset that my first presidential election the choice was between George Bush 41 and Michael Dukakis. I never got to vote against Reagan, even if that would have made Walter Mondale president.

Kids at the start of the 21st Century have it a lot f'ing harder than we had it in my day. There is no room for error for them. instantly labeled and tossed aside with the slightest mess up or bad stretch. It would absolutely suck to be a teenager today.

I dreamed of falling in the water. But, I woke up and everything was normal. The clock read 1:17Am. The TV was on with someone telling jokes. He wasn't very funny so instead of listening to him drone on i nudged my dog off my legs and staggered over to the TV to end the comedian's routine like on the old Gong Show.
i stretched and shook the cobwebs out of my head, despite myself. After a drink and a leak I returned to bed, leaving the light on and moving the dog again, who this time growled at me. Within minutes I was asleep, only this time I didn't fall in the water. This time I dreamed of money and cars and frogs and of sleeping in later.
The alarm went off at 5Am. I knew I could hit the snooze and cut out part of my morning routine, but that would irritate the wife and dogs, so I got up, only irritating the one dog this time.
I didn't feel rested.
That made it a normal morning.
Whatever that means.
Nobody else was up yet when I left, which is a goal and a good thing. Actually, the dog was still awake and glaring at me from my spot; lingering resentment toward me for having the audacity to get up when she was comfortable. She took the warm spot I left behind though.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Archive Project - College Essays #4

Archive Project - College Essays #4

Eve as a Metaphor:
Chaos and Punctuated Equilibrium in the Rise of Homo Sapiens
November 12, 1996
Anthropology 101 – WSU

(A – Impressive Intellectual Journey! Extremely interesting. Well done!)


The search for the first human ancestor is rich with unfolding questions about the very nature of human existence. Whether or not one believes in evolutionary theory or divine creation there is a common interest in finding Eve. There is either the first human divinely created ancestor or the first human ancestor of what would be considered to be Homo sapiens. In an evolutionary search for Eve a number of additional questions must be posed in order to get to the heart of the matter. There are a number of competing possibilities in regards to the evolutionary development of humans. There must be a unique aspect to the human brain that allows humans to interact with the world or else it is simply a matter of circumstances that allows each human to develop. The search for the first human ancestor requires an understanding of the limitations of the archaeological record and the willingness to extrapolate beyond the physical evidence. Despite the daunting task of trying to determine the who, what, where, when, and why of the first human ancestor it is an essential problem for science and philosophers that must be addressed head on. Some might say that it cannot be done. Eve existed, either divinely created or as the product of evolutionary developments, and we must try to find her through the mists of time.

Topic 1: Chaos and Punctuated Equilibrium in Human Evolution

Evolutionary theories attempt to define and describe the changing dynamic of life through time. There is significant argument over the prevailing theories of how life has evolved. There are those who would say life evolves slowly as adaptations and mutations are blended into the gene pool through time in what is called phyletic gradualism (Schultz & Lavenda, 1995: p87). There are those who would argue that the evolutionary record indicates a series of evolutionary leaps, there the line between the new and the old species is clear and abrupt in what is call punctuated equilibrium (Schultz & Lavenda, 1995: p89).
Phyletic gradualism has its merits in regards to the process of passing traits on to the next generation of a given species but is limited by its scope. Punctuated equilibrium is supported by the fossil record and goes farther in explaining when a new species emerges. In this sense phyletic gradualism becomes an explanation for the mechanism for the slow changes in a species between the abrupt bursts of change. The changes can be abrupt for many reasons. The geologic and fossil records show a number of significant defining lines between eras due to environmental changes brought on by glaciation, extraterrestrial impacts, and the shifting of the continents. The slow progress between the sudden shifts is the constant struggle for life and the adaptation necessary to remain in a given climate. For a species to survive the sudden shifts associated with ice ages it is necessary for relatively quick and abrupt adaptations. Some of these adaptations would be severe enough to define a newly emerging species over a short period of time where those who did not inherit those new traits would die off quickly and cease to reproduce.
There is a dynamic at work in the evolutionary process that is wrought with chance and a seemingly impossible to number set of variables (Hall, 1977: p44). The science that tries to work with defining dynamic forces that seem random but in fact have a degree of order within them is chaos. Chaos theorists do not accept that all disorder cannot be defined. If there is no order in what is seemingly random disorder then there could not be any reemergence of order to the system. Somewhere in the dynamic is order at a base level (Gleick, 1987: p317) even in nature.
Evolutionary models are a dynamic that beg for chaos theories to be applied to them (Hall, 1977: p183). The variables are only seemingly constant in that they never stop changing. Punctuated equilibrium in chaos is the period of order that emerges from the period of dynamic disorder of rapid changes in environment and adaptation to emerge a new species.

Topic 2: The Development of the Human Brain

The human brain is quite possibly a unique thing. It is unique in the sense of what it has accomplished in comparison to the other inhabitants of the planet. Biologically speaking, the human brain is incredibly similar to that of many other creatures (Sagan, 1977: p88). Somehow we have managed to utilize our brains in ways that other creatures have not, which could be the result of the subtle variances in our brains but could also be due to other physiological and evolutionary factors that are not as yet understood.
The complexity of the human brain is not it question. What is in question is; are the subtle differences in the human brain of such importance that they physiologically gave us a mental edge over others? Other primates are able to handle simple language and tool usage and share many features of our brains (Calvin, 1994: p101). It is apparent that the combination of subtle variations in our lobes and in the folds of our brains gives human brains their current capacities. The circumstances of biology and environment have allowed us to use those differences to our continued evolutionary advantage. Human evolution seems to have relied upon intelligence in the rise of Homo sapiens and is likely to be a defining factor in our ongoing evolution (Sagan, 1977: p199).

Topic 3: The Search for the First Human Ancestor

The search for Eve is a search for the defining line in evolution where we can claim to have emerged as Homo sapiens. The search includes direct fossil evidence of bone remains and indirect evidence in the form of artifacts or other environmental impacts. It is also helpful to know where to look for such evidence. The most prominent and promising evidence points to Africa for the first humans.
There have been a number of significant fossil finds over the years. From Lucy to more recently dated finds there is a record to trace back (Schultz & Lavenda, 1995: p154). However, the record is incomplete for a variety of reasons concerning the difficulty of remains surviving through time and the difficulty of finding those there to be found.
Genetic research holds some clues but it hampered by the same problems that the fossil record is hampered by. In fact, gene research relies on the fossil record for samples and data and requires even more of a fossil in the sense of what is usable for research. As a result of the myriad problems facing researchers the search for our ancestors is more often one of theory and conjecture based upon what little evidence is available for proof (Sagan & Druyan, 1992: p361). The line between Homo sapiens and the most recent ancestor keeps shifting (Shreeve, 1990: p52).


The search for Eve is as much a search for identity as it is a scientific undertaking. If there is a constant in behavior for all humans it is the search for what has come before and what came first. Historically, the questioning of our ancestry has not gone beyond myth and legend where we left everything up to supernatural forces beyond our control or understanding. Today we have found that there is physical evidence to trace and extrapolate from that has caused a continuance of the search for Eve through the scientific method.
It is apparent from the research that has been done that Homo sapiens rose over a long period of time. There were many steps along the way. The question is no longer one of “did we evolve?” but one of “how did we evolve?” Evidence is continuing to point toward rapid evolutionary leaps as we uncover the geologic record and find sudden changes in climate. Only a species that rapidly evolved could survive and thrive in a new environment. The dynamic is difficult to define and measure and even harder to prove. Competing theories will continue to test the veracity of the conclusion that we arose through a series of leaps and simply as the result of slow and steady changes.
The ability to manipulate the world with our minds is a defining aspect of our humanity. The human brain is able to perform complex functions without being absolutely unique. Human evolution could be related to our ancestral ability to use the brain. If our ancestors were the first to adapt rapidly not simply based on a physical trait but based on an ability to reason it is unlikely that will be found directly in the fossil record. Humans are physically ill suited to a number of the environments that they have survived and thrived in. It is the use of the mind to determine how to manipulate food, shelter, and clothing in various environments that is unique.
Since the rise of Homo sapiens is evidently linked to the rise of our intelligence; the search for Eve must include a definition of intelligence that is unique in that a variety of creatures are able to reason on certain levels. If one accepts the notion that a chimp using a stick to dig has made the mental leap to reason the use of a tool then we must define human intelligence as something broader (Gould, 1996:p43). To find something broader in human intelligence in the fossil record requires searching through other aspects of historical records including are and architecture.
It can be argued that human intelligence has led to a prolonged period of punctuated equilibrium. The rapid changes in technology and art over the past several centuries are but a blip in geologic time. The capacity of humanity to adapt and survive has been taken off the planet (Sagan, 1980: p314). We are part of a dynamic period of change in human evolution. The record will indicate that humans were going through a massive series of changes all contingent on the development of human intelligence during our lifetimes.
The search for Eve is often metaphorical and often poses more philosophical questions than the science can answer. As the search continues we continue to learn about our origins. As we search for the past humans continue to evolve forward at a remarkable rate. Knowing where we actually came from is important for wherever it is we are going.

Further Study

The search for the first human ancestor has an extensive number of areas for further study. The possibilities range from a general study of archaeology to the philosophical discussion of the nature of human existence. We are all attempting to analyze the evidence that is out there and must keep our eyes, ears, hearts, and minds open to the possibilities without disregarding unappealing evidence simply because it does not fit our paradigm for human ancestry.
A major area that would be worth increasing further study is the study of various chaos theories as they relate to evolution. The unfortunate problem with applying these theories is that they are potentially catch-alls that would be used to simply fill in the gaps of the historical record. Instead of striving to fill scientific voids or admitting that there is more work to be done it would be a simple matter to chalk it all up to an unpredictable dynamic. The similarities philosophically between such lazy science and the way in which creation myths have been used throughout human history to explain away the otherwise unexplainable are difficult to ignore. Chaos must be developed further and monitored for possible breakthroughs that could enhance the understanding of evolutionary development.

References Cited

Calvin, William. “The Emergence of Intelligence.” Scientific American. Oct. 1994: 100-107

Gleick, James. Chaos: Making a New Science. New York: Penguin, 1987.

Gould, Stephen Jay. “Creating the Creators.” Discover. Oct. 1996: 42-54.

Hall, George. Farewell to Darwin: The Unified Field Theory of Physics, The Genetic Process, & Psychology. St. Louis: Warren H. Green, Inc. 1977.

Sagan, Carl. Broca’s Brain: Reflections on the Romance of Science. New York: Ballantine, 1980.

Sagan, Carl and Druyan, Ann. Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors: A Search For Who We Are. New York, Random House, 1992.

Schultz, Emily and Lavenda, Robert. Anthropology: A Perspective on the Human Condition. Mountain View, CA: Mayfield, 1995.

Shreeve, James. “Argument Over a Woman.” Discover. Aug. 1990: 52-59

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

New York Taxi

New York Taxi

This is a piece that I wrote as part of a "Nanowrimo" project from 2004. It is pretty much non-fiction, as it is the best accounting I could make about a real taxi ride I had one evening while in Manhattan in June 2004 ... I always thought it would be cool to ride in a New York Taxi and have one of those "eccentric" drivers they have on TV and in movies ... I was wrong ...

It is about a cab ride and one seriously distracted New York cabbie.
There are so many images and cliches about cabbies in New York. Taxi set a tone. Movies always have a foreigner or a detached local or loner like DeNiro. In the news they are never native born. This guy took many of those cliches and lived them.
He was my evening tour guide back to my hotel: the metaphoric descendant of Julie, Your Cruise Director, sort of.
And, I needed directions, in many senses of the word.
From what I could tell, he was not certain about our current location, direction, or destination either. And, judging from superficial factors, much like me he didn't seem to be a native of these parts.
Trust or faith are crazy thing. They are somewhat logically necessary to survive but are equally illogical in concept and practice. It has become very clear that I cannot and should not trust this man behind the wheel farther than is necessary and that I really wish I had a seat belt as we lurch to sudden stops while he plays chicken with the lights and intersections. There are red lights, apparently on a timer or proximity trigger system, and he keeps waiting to brake until it is dangerously close to running the cab running the light. The cab lurches, my dinner rises and falls, the light turns green, no one runs a red from the side, we get through, he mutters to himself while rubbing his bald and shiny head in amazement; perhaps giving thanks in whatever language it is that he mutters in. I hope it is not my imagination but he seems surprised that we have not crashed as we coast through the ninth such intersection and I swear that I will never ride in a cab again.
He looks back and asks me to verify the address. I do. He nods and I cannot tell if it means that he understands or not. A few moments later we stop and he motions me to get out; we are a half a block away from my destination as I recognize the bagel joint I've eaten at for two days; the one with the spiritual descendant of the Soup Nazi at the counter. It is dark and late, but I would rather walk and risk it than remain in this cab any longer than is truly necessary.
Suddenly, the cabbie is panicked.
I stare at him blankly for several awful moments. He has forgotten to run the meter. He is distraught. I don't think this is a trick. I offer him a ten for the ride. After a moment he says, "Fine." I hand him the bill and step away. The cab speeds off, turns a corner, and is gone. I hope to never see him again. I fear that if I do see him again it will be on the news as he has killed some pedestrian or bike messenger.
Part of me wanted to memorize his name from the license information on display in the cab. But, I am actually glad that I did not.
It was like a ride I had with some Italian cops years earlier. They had a little Fiat, a siren, and a desperate foreigner that they could mess with. I never imagined that I could be more afraid riding in a car than what those Italian cops put me through. I was wrong. Tonight's ride was worse. Now, I must try to sleep if I can. The adrenalin and stress levels are so high I have to wonder if I will get to sleep tonight.
It's a good thing my body was decaffeinated years ago.
The streets of New York are as advertised. Part of me is wondering why I had a dream of coming here. Another is amazed that I made it here. I understand what Dorothy meant. I am standing near my hotel and alone in a city of millions far from home or a friendly face or a wagging tail.
But, I am out of the taxi.



This is a part of a piece that I wrote several years ago in a journal and decided to type up and tidy up and post here ...

What is a miracle?
It can't just be an amazing event.
It has to be something that is so rare and so unlikely as to be more than a mere statistical aberration or quirk of fate.
It has to come out of left field.
It has to be a surprise, even to those looking for it, wishing for it, hoping for it, or praying for it.
It has to confound those for whom it happens.
It has to be something truly, truly, truly needed.
My logical mind knows not how to ask for or pray for one, but I think I know how to wish and have to sometimes hope that a wish will be good enough.
I have to set aside rational thought, throw caution to the wind, and find myself asking to whomever can hear my thoughts and my heart of my need for a miracle.
One must temper one's anger at something they don't understand for something they do not really know if they deserve.
A miracle cannot just be for one person.
Oh, there can be one major recipient of the miracle; but the nature of such things means that there is a necessary ripple effect as a miracle's true ramifications are felt.
Since a miracle is not usually just for one person there has to be a sense of necessary detachment.
But, enough about that.
Miracles can happen, but waiting for them is foolish.
Go make your own miracles.

In praise of vinyl ...

In praise of vinyl ...

This is sort of an expansion of a point I made in a posting about music and generation gaps ...

A while back I got a new turntable. By new I do not mean "previously owned" but actually a new device that has a CD player, cassette player, and radio built in to it ... a truly great present.

So, one night when the kids were over I went and put on a record. "Oh ... they spin ..." I hear. I think Ringo was messing with me. But maybe not ... "Kids today!" ...

Anyways ... Getting a turntable, a new one has been cool. I have a stack of old vinyl ... Zep, Sabbath, collectible stuff, singles ... and I have been able to play them again after many years of simply storing them. What is old is new and fresh again ...

I am cautious about playing some of it, it is good eBay material.

Maybe it is a comfort thing, but they really do sound better. (Cue quotes from the movie The Rock starring Nicolas Cage):

[Goodspeed's Beatles album arrives at the office]
Stanley Goodspeed: Yes! She's here, bring it to me now, thank you Phil!
Isherwood: What's that? And why did you have it sent here?
Stanley Goodspeed: Carla wouldn't approve. She thinks it's dumb to spend $600 on an LP.
Isherwood: Carla's right. Why didn't you just spend $13 on a CD, man?
Stanley Goodspeed: Well, first of all, it's because I'm a Beatlemaniac. And second, these sound better.

But, every 4-5 songs you have to physically change the record. It is even worse if it is singles or you just want to play one song off a record. No wonder someone always had to be the DJ at a party. Now, just program a bunch of songs onto your laptop, plug it in, and let 'er rip ...

.2 percent of current record sales are vinyl (I can look up the reference or you can trust me) ... .2 percent is not a large percentage , but it turns out to still actually be a lot of money ... so vinyl is apparently still viable ...

I recently heard that Polaroid will no longer be making film for the classic instant photo cameras, yet here we are in 2008 and they still make vinyl ...

... because they sound better.

on rec ...

on rec ...

I kind of sometimes sort of like it when friends recommend something to me. But, here's the deal; if the movie or whatever sucks ... you don't get to recommend anything for a while or expect me to listen. Yes, taste is one's own, but if you are going to recommend something, know enough about the person to know if it makes sense to recommend to them what you are recommending ... seems obvious ...

You can't recommend the classics or the obvious ... it's like in High Fidelity ... you can't recommend Smells Like Teen Spirit ...

I am going to post recommendations here on occasion ... not links, because those have to be constantly updated ... but lists of things that make sense that I hope people would like ... things that may have been overlooked ...

1) Books: recent nonfiction - non-soccer

Bobby Fischer Goes To War
Bringing Down the House
Ciao, America!
The Black Swan
The Heroin Diaries

1a - (notable books that I read years ago that I still want on my shelf and mostly do not have)

The Clan of the Cave Bear
Where the Red Fern Grows
How to Eat Fried Worms
The Eternity Brigade
The HAB Theory
Garan the Eternal

2) Music: some great records I rediscovered I have with my new turntable and old box of cassettes

Ratt "Out of the Cellar"
Riot "Born in America"
Led Zep "In Through the Out Door"
Arcadia "So Red the Rose"
Power Station
The Allies "Emma Peel"
Dio era Sabbath
Metal Church "The Dark"

Other odd lists:

3) "recent" black and white movies

The Blair Witch Project
Sin City

4) submarine movies

Gray Lady Down
Das Boot
The Hunt for Red October
Crimson Tide
K19 The Widowmaker
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

5) columnists - as opposed to bloggers

Bill Simmons - The Sports Guy -
Bob Berman - Strange Universe - Astronomy Magazine

This is just a start ... maybe ...

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Brackets ...

This year I needed three brackets. One for showing the Cougs winning. One for showing the Zags winning. And, a third for showing no emotion and picking who I consider likely to win it all ... it's kind of interesting to see how a homer approach can affect the bracket in that one of the final four projections has to be dropped early as a result of an emotional pick ...

Once the Cougs had the 3 numbers that matter in the PAC 10 ... 20/10/4 ... and it was clear that the Zags were going to be at least an at-large bid school I knew that I would need to do this, if for nothing else my own sanity ...

So ... Georgetown it is ...

Brackets ...

Jackie Chan film fest ...

Jackie Chan film fest ...

I am a big fan of Jackie Chan films. I think he is a great performer and a very funny guy. Bruce Lee was right about him. However, much as other stars have risen from humble beginnings, Jackie paid his dues in making many low budget movies over a period of time before moving to bigger and better productions.

The following 8 (English overdubbed) videos are from the late 70s and early 80s and were loaned to me on VHS:

"New Fist of Fury"
"Shaolin Wooden Man"
"Dragon Fist"
"Spiritual Kung Fu"
"Snake Fist Fighter"
"To Kill With Intrigue"
"Half a Loaf of Kung Fu"
"Snake & Crane Arts of Shaolin"

It took a period of time but I managed to get through all 8 of them, finishing the last one just the other night.

Good Lord.

Bear in mind that I enjoy these sorts of movies.

The voices chosen for the characters rarely match up and often are clearly the same guy trying to sound different from character to character.

The fight scenes are often less realistic than bad pro wrestling and have terribly loud sound effects that are supposed to make for drama but only are distracting and accidentally funny.

In a few of the credits Jackie is referred to as Jacky.

At times the make up and wigs make it very clear that the older characters are really only 20 something actors in make up and wigs. Swords look like wood painted silver. All sorts of other examples could be made here about the production qualities.

I am not entirely certain that all of the English translations followed the script as sometimes the stories seemed really random. For instance, in one film Jackie is tricked into drinking a cup of a woman's blood, only to be told that by doing so will give him her abilities. I actually stared at the screen and said, "What!?" at that point.

Still, the value of these films is in their purity. They are honest and sincere and unapologetic and more fun to watch than a lot of big budget productions today.

Obama supporters ... it hasn't even started yet ...

Obama supporters ... it hasn't even started yet ...

I am a Democrat. I have participated in caucuses. At times I have had the opportunity to meet and greet and listen to major office holders from the Speaker of the House to local legislators. Normally, I am not a huge fan of prefacing comments with the previous comments, but I don't want random hate mail from people who don't understand that I want there to be a Democrat in the White House and that when all is said and done that I will be voting my usual pattern in November.

Barack Obama supporters ... yoo hoo ... it hasn't even started yet.

If your guy does get the nomination the gauntlet he is going to face is going to redefine politically ugly. Brace yourselves or get the #*(% out of the way.

The reason I say this is simple ... you have all placed him so high on a pedestal that it is really starting to border on Cult of Personality ...

The recent Rolling Stone cover is a perfect example ... the only thing missing was a halo ...

The whining indignation as the slightest critique of your guy has simply got to stop. Yes, you like him. Yes, he is a very charismatic fella. I think he will make a good Prez if elected. But, here's the thing ... the Clinton's haven't played anything approaching the hardball that is to come in the Fall ... I cannot listen to talk radio anymore because callers and hosts alike sound like they are about to cry over how unjust the criticism is ... as if this has never happened to a candidate before ...

See, there really is a "vast right wing conspiracy" ... and Barack Obama is going to run smack dab right into it ... The Dukakis era Willie Horton ad and the Swift Boat stuff is going to pale in comparison. If you continue to whine and cry now it is clear you are not ready for what is to come.

I agree that what is to come is unnecessary and reflects poorly on our political process and huge segments of the population, but that is an entirely different conversation for a different time. Right now, Obama supporters need to toughen up or their collective simpering will drive away support as there are people who will not want to be associated with the whining and crying ... you do not serve your cause or your candidate by calling in to Air America and crying to the choir.

This year I have chosen to step back and observe the process because I believe that all three of the top Democratic candidates were decent options. But John Edwards had four years to convince people without having to also work in the Senate and disappeared quickly. Hillary Clinton has seen her inevitability fade. Barack Obama went from rock star to legitimate candidate. It has been an interesting show. But, enough with the hero worship and whining indignity ... if he gets the nomination he needs better than that from you to rally support.

The worst is yet to come.

Judenhass Preview

Judenhass Preview

Dave Sim has done a remarkable job with Judenhass.

A few weeks back when "Secret Project One" was unveiled to be a reflection on The Holocaust my initial reaction was to understand why he would be hesitant to release it as his first big project since Cerebus ended. After reading the materials posted online however I came to an opposite conclusion; Dave NEEDS to bring this project to the marketplace.

I was provided with a preview copy of Judenhass from Paige at Corner Comics in Kenmore, and upon a full review of the book I have to say that I think Judenhass will not only do well, but will actually become a very important work. It would not surprise me at all to see Judenhass take off and become a book that crosses over into mainstream media and goes into multiple printings.

The artwork is both beautifully powerful and difficult to look at all at once due to the content, yet I was still drawn to it and found myself flipping back and forth through it.

The historical quotes are powerful and from a clear cross section of European culture and history; which is clearly the point of the work. Despite the clear cultural acceptance of each quote at the time I also found the John Paul II Catholic apology and Harry Truman reflections to be signs of hope.

Dave does a very good job of explaining the purpose of the project up front, presenting the project, and then in following up the art with notes on research and his documentation. Judenhass is quickly going to be finding itself dissected in academia, it should stand up to academic scrutiny due to the above mentioned factors.

I don't like to just rave in reviews but Judenhass deserves very high praise for its artistic quality and intellectual honesty.

Bellingham!!! Woo hoo ...

Bellingham!!! Woo hoo ...

Since early November 2004 when I went to Portland for a soccer game the farthest I have been from home is the south parking lot of the Tacoma Dome, a whopping 54ish miles from home ... bear in mind that in 2004 I went to Canada twice, NYC, and to Portland ... I was still married then ...

Now, this weekend I get to shuttle a friends spare - and for sale - car up to Bellingham ... which is just about 73 miles from the house ... a new post-divorce distance record for Jefferson!

The world traveler I have become ...

Monday, March 17, 2008

New and Improved Keeper Studios Online ...

New and Improved Keeper Studios Online ...

... the old Keeper Studios site is going away ...

... the new site will be at HTTP://

... the new site will be more streamlined and eventually have scans of old articles and other such items ...

... I will also be working to update the Keeper Studios myspace page to be less a personal site and more a companion to the new website and this blog ...

12/22/2009 Update - Tripod accounts canceled.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Dear New Sonics Ownership Group (part 5)

Dear New Sonics Ownership Group (part 5)

Clay ...

You win. It won't matter now. The Washington State Legislature has killed off any realistic hope of being able to fund an arena in the time frame that actually matters; between now and mid-April when the NBA votes on your relocation.

The lawsuit doesn't matter now. Maybe you will have to stay for a lame duck season or two. It won't matter now.

The NBA won't be back. David Stern is a stubborn bastard so that will never be allowed to happen. It won't matter now.

The guys who threw a huge offer at the state? It won't matter now.

Slade Gorton? It won't matter now.

The 2009 legislative session? Why bother. It won't matter now.

I am not a generally huge fan of sports subsidies. However, this is more than just about the Sonics; Seattle Center will be effectively killed off by this and the pending relocation of the Thunderbirds to Kent. The offered public private partnership plan was a good one and frankly better than the region deserved. It won't matter now.

If some of the most influential businessmen of this region and a major public push by a Democratic mayor and a Republican of some stature cannot move the legislature to do anything then it is actually over.

The politics of this region is so frozen that not doing anything is the only thing politicians are capable of doing. After all, it is not technically on the record that they voted against the latest proposal. It would take actual courage to go on the record and the Washington State Legislature is composed primarily of cowards. I would have more respect for the politicians if they would have actually voted on it. A NO vote takes the courage to actually go on the record, but not voting was chicken$#!+ politics, the only kind we have any more.

When the Sonics leave the politicians will wiggle and squirm and talk about how they didn't actually vote it down. No, they didn't. They just did the only thing they are capable of doing any more; putting it off until it doesn't matter or for so long that someone else has to deal with it. The basic career path now in the legislature is to do nothing and never go on the record so that one can move up the ladder with as little resistance or substance as possible.


The only thing the legislature is lacking is the courage of its convictions.

You won Clay. The rest is just a shell game now and a truly lame duck team.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

My private screening of Vantage Point ...

My private screening of Vantage Point ...

So I decide to use my last freebie movie ticket Monday night ... the 5:10 showing of Vantage Point ...

It's showing in the big auditorium at Alderwood 7; a very large room ... and when I walk in ... I am alone ... for a moment I ponder if I am in the correct theatre, but I already know that I am so I let it pass ... this is a lot like when my brother and I went to opening weekend of Howard the Duck and there were only six people there ... and it is a lot like when I went to Hamlet with Squirt on a Monday night at ten in Spokane and we were the only two people in the theatre and they could have closed if not for us and the staff glared at us as we left ...

Too many options ... I take my seat where I can kick up my feet on a railing ... nice ... there is only a few minutes until the lights go down and I can see the guy in the projector room fiddling around getting ready to start my - apparently - private screening ...

I watch the previews ... I am still alone ...

The only person in the theatre to watch a movie that was #1 at the box office a couple weeks ago and I am not a paying customer in the technical sense ...

And then ... as the final previews run ... an older couple comes in looking very confused over interrupting what is clearly my private screening ... and sits basically right behind me ... in this huge theatre and they sit right behind me ... hundreds of empty seats ... yes, all those seats and they choose the ones right behind me ...

As far as the movie itself? It's far from perfect ... but was worth the free price of admission and time involved ... actually ... it doesn't take itself too seriously, which is both a strength and a flaw ... very generic terrorists ... fairly generic presidential assistants ... that sort of thing ... I think they were trying to make a point about how we should respond to terrorists or something a popcorn movie it was interesting and made me jump a couple times ... it held my interest, but it would not be worth $9.75 ... or a Friday night ...

Harlem Globetrotters 02.22.08

Harlem Globetrotters vs. Washington Generals
Comcast Arena - Everett, WA

That was fun. A tense and close 60-57 come from behind victory by Harlem's finest as they extend their 37 year win streak over the hapless Washington Generals.

It appears that the current incarnation of the Harlem Globetrotters has brought back a lot of the old skits and jokes, which for a new generation was cool, and for me was nostalgic ...

A very fun time was had ...