Friday, January 28, 2005

yet another John post

Countdown to Curtains, out Tuesday. John Frusciante's final of six records in six months. These are lyrics from To Record Water for Only Ten Days

"Going Inside"
You don't throw your life away
Going inside

You get to know who's watching you
And who besides you resides
In your body
Where you're slow
Where you go doesn't matter
Cuz there will come a time
When time goes out the window
And you'll learn to drive out of focus
I'm you
and if anything unfolds it's supposed to

You don't throw your time away sitting still
I'm in a chain of memories

It's my will
And I had to consult some figures of my past
And I know someone after me
Will go right back
I'm not telling a view
I've got this night to unglue
I moved this fight away
By doing things there's no reason to do

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Microsoft blues

Well, it's seven days since uninstalling Windows XP Service Pack 2. I uninstalled it because it was making my computer behave strangely. Now, my computer sits unused, unable to run. All it does is turn on and turn off. I can't even get it to operate in safe mode. Microsoft said they'd send an XP CD within 7-10 days. I thought that since their software killed my computer, they should overnight it to me. They said I was lucky to be getting their $250 piece of software. Meanwhile, I use a borrowed computer for the basics but my work is on my computer. I haven't been able to contact anyone other than customer service at Microsoft. Customer service is a call center. Granted, they've been helpful but I'd like to talk to a head honcho. I now despise Microsoft.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Another John Frusciante post

Now for some good news. John Frusciante's new album Curtains is out! But it's only out in vinyl. His CD isn't out until Feb 1. John is the guitarist for the Red Hot Chili Peppers but he's also an amazing solo artist. Curtains is the last of six records in six months. But it's not just quantity. His music is incredible. All of it!
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Commuter train crash

A man who meant to kill himself, changed his mind, saved himself and killed 11 people and injured nearly 200. You just never know what's going to happen to you when you wake up in the morning.

P. Bush's healthy marriage

Another columnist was outed today for taking money to promote P. Bush's "healthy marriage initiative."
This is from the Washington Post:
In 2002, syndicated columnist Maggie Gallagher repeatedly defended
President Bush's push for a $300 million initiative encouraging marriage
as a way of strengthening families.

"The Bush marriage initiative would emphasize the importance of
marriage to poor couples" and "educate teens on the value of delaying
childbearing until marriage," she wrote in National Review Online, for
example, adding that this could "carry big payoffs down the road for taxpayers
and children."

But Gallagher failed to mention that she had a $21,500 contract with
the Department of Health and Human Services to help promote the
president's proposal. Her work under the contract, which ran from January
through October 2002, included drafting a magazine article for the HHS
official overseeing the initiative, writing brochures for the program and
conducting a briefing for department officials.

P. Bush said he put a stop to paying columnists to push his agenda.
The following is P. Bush's agenda:

“To encourage marriage and promote the well-being of children, I have proposed a healthy marriage initiative to help couples develop the skills and knowledge to form and sustain healthy marriages. Research has shown that, on average, children raised in households headed by married parents fare better than children who grow up in other family structures. Through education and counseling programs, faith-based, community, and government organizations promote healthy marriages and a better quality of life for children. By supporting responsible child-rearing and strong families, my Administration is seeking to ensure that every child can grow up in a safe and loving home.”

Personally, I think marriage in its current form is outdated and doesn't work for many people. I don't think marriage translates into a "loving home," although sometimes it can.
Maybe I'm a radical but I don't think "marriage" promotes the well-being of children. I think mature adults do, all kinds of mature adults be they married, unmarried, teachers, role models...
I don't think children's well-being has anything to do with two people legally entwined.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Toasted Pixel

I love this guy's story because I can relate. Tod Emko of New York City is able to experiment and do the things he really wants to do because he keeps a simple lifestyle. He pays $715 a month for a small apartment in NY. It's rent controlled and he's fortunate beyond belief. He sacrafices some of the things others might not to do the things he wants. With the money he saves he trained to run in a marathon, wrote a technology book and started a Web comic of his life at Here's the story in the New York Times

Monday, January 24, 2005

M blues

Tonight at the best pizza shop in town, The Pizza Bakery, someone thought that it would be wise to park his or her Mercedes sideways so that it took up three spaces on a busy pizza night. I took a picture cause I thought it was kind of funny. Perhaps they had a good reason? Easy wheelchair exit? NOT.
I'll post the pic later cause my XP CD has yet to arrive from Microsoft. My computer went bonkers after I installed the XP service pack 2. My advise, be cautious. Microsoft is supposed to call me tomorrow night in case my CD arrives early.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Squid guts

Well, we found a squid on Saturday. He was dead, of course, and his guts, which were gooey and white, like marshmallow, were puffed out. Even though I only saw one, the whole beach smelled of dead sea animals.
The beach, always amazing, was dotted with stacks of bamboo brought to the shore by the recent rains. People even built bamboo shacks on the beach. I took some great pics but because installing Windows XP Service Pack 2 made my compter go bonkers, I won't be able to post them until 7-10 days, when Microsoft is sending me a Windows XP CD.
Thanks to good friends, whom lent me their computer, I can at least get online.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Microsoft XP Service Pack 2 BIG problems

No blog yesterday. Microsoft killed my computer. I unwittingly installed Windows XP Service Pack 2 and my computer went nuts. So I uninstalled it and now all my computer does is turn on and turn off, repeatedly. I called Microsoft. The best they can do for me in send me a Windows XP CD – in 7-10 days and help me bring it back to life. I’m hoping I haven’t lost all my data. So consider this a warning about the service pack. Apparently, there have been a lot of problems and everyone knew about it except for meL I should know better. The MS tech support said it’s been “a nightmare” and MS even has a link: “Some programs seem to stop working after you install Windows XP Service Pack 2.” Thanks Microsoft. My next computer is a Mac.
Pass it on.
If anyone has any helpful suggestions to get me back sooner, please email me.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

American Idol

Ok. American Idol is my guilty pleasure and it’s the only TV I watch (except for my other guilty pleasures: Desperate Housewives and Oprah). Fox put out a release saying it didn't think that the ratings would be as high this year. Ha! What a PR scam. Watching American idol is like taking a sociology/psych class. We wonder how people can commit horrible crimes and yet never admit to it. They never admit it because they never admit it to themselves. They convince themselves they didn't do it and they believe it. Just watch American idol. Some people are really oblivious to the truth, so much that they’'ve deceived themselves. They believe they’re the best when they'’re awful. Then when they hear the truth, they call Simon an ***hole. Haven’t they watched the show before? That’s Simon'’s gimmick. So much denial. People work themselves into a lather. But watching those people makes me cringe. I prefer watching the reactions of the ones who do well. The thing that American idol does well is weave in the idol wannabe’s lives, so we care about them in some way. Good or bad, it amazes me that people have so much guts. I admire anyone who gets up there and auditions. So far, I'm rooting for rock n' roll man.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

John Frusciante

Yes, I know. I post a lot about John. But I want to share. Here is the photo that was in this past weekend's Los Angeles Times, courtesy of the Rampart's fan site.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Get Firefox!

This is why everyone needs to install the mighty Firefox browser.
Microsoft's IE is pop up and virus city. Firefox is easy to download and use. Get it, or at least learn about it, here . There are alternatives out there. I love my firefox. okay. nuff.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Irv Kluger

My former drum teacher was featured recently in the Las Vegas Sun. Yes, unfortunately, I spent too many years in Las Vegas. But that's another post.
Irv Kluger, now 83, is one of the most fascinating characters out there. It's people like him that make life interesting. He's always got a story. I remember he was impatient if I didn't catch on quick enough. Still, I learned a lot. I've recently started taking lessons again and either it's all coming back to me or I'm finally ready for drums. I tried guitar but it just wasn't for me.

By Jerry Fink


Irv Kluger remembers Artie Shaw.

Shaw (born Arthur Arshawsky in Brooklyn, N.Y.) was a legendary jazz clarinetist and big-band leader who made his indelible mark on the music world beginning in the '20s and continuing until he retired in 1954 at age 43.

Shaw died Dec. 30 at his home in Newbury Park, Calif. He was 94.

Among Shaw's most well-known works were "Frenesi," "Begin the Beguine," "Lady Be Good" and "Star Dust."

"The last time I saw Artie was, I believe, around 1996," recalled Kluger, the 83-year-old drummer who performed with Shaw, Benny Goodman and every other major bandleader of the 20th century. "He came to UNLV to give a lecture on music and life.

"He was a very bright man, very astute. When I came to see him he recognized me right away and hugged me -- he was a very warm person, very logical, very generous, one of best players in the world."

Kluger, who has led a jazz band Friday nights at Pogo's (2103 N. Decatur Blvd.) for 20 years, said Shaw's only flaw was a weakness for beautiful women.

Shaw, charismatic and handsome, was married eight times -- among his wives were Lana Turner and Ava Gardner.

"He didn't do any dumb things except marry the most beautiful girls in the world," Kluger said. "His only mistake was trying to turn them into sophisticated thinkers."

Kluger last spoke with Shaw on July 19, 2001 -- Kluger's 80th birthday.

"I had always had his number, but I never called him. I never called any of the bandleaders I worked for," Kluger said. "But I called him and his secretary answered.

"I told her who I was and five seconds later Artie was on the phone. He says, 'Irv, how old are you?' and I say, 'I'm 80 today,' and he says, 'You know how old I am?' and I say, 'No.' He says, 'I'm 91, and do you know my foot hurts?' "

The conversation was brief.

"He said he was writing a book -- it was over 1,000 pages at the time," Kluger said. "He loved to write."

Kluger is a musical genius who began earning his living with bands in his early teens.

"From the age of 13, I never called anyone for a job," he said. "They always called me."

Shaw's manager called him for the first time in 1949 and invited Kluger to join the band. They were together for a year.

"Artie paid great. Benny Goodman was terrible," Kluger said. "I never made less than $500 a week with Artie, but Goodman paid $125 -- and when he gave me the check I had the feeling he didn't want me to cash it, that he thought I should frame it."

Kluger said Shaw was serious about his music, and once when some of the guys in the band were cutting up and joking he brought the group together for a meeting.

"These are his exact words: 'Look, guys, people come to see me and hear my music. If you make fun of it they'll stop coming and I won't be able to pay these good salaries I'm paying you,' " Kluger said.

In 1950, Kluger left Shaw and joined the orchestra of a new show at the 46th Street Theatre in New York -- "Guys and Dolls."

Kluger was with the show for almost the entire three-year run at 46th Street, and then Shaw called him again. It was 1953.

In 1951, Shaw had quit music, as he did periodically, but then decided to give it one last shot.

"Artie calls me and says he needs me," Kluger recalled. "But I'm in 'Guys and Dolls' and when you were with a successful show your contract said they couldn't fire you and you couldn't quit.

"I say, 'Artie I can't quit, but they love you. You can get me out of the show, and I'll come with you.' "

So two months before the show ended, Kluger joined Shaw's memorable Gramercy 5 band.

"There were actually six of us," Kluger said.

Kluger performed with Shaw all over the country, including a 12-week gig at the Sahara's Casbar Lounge, in which the group performed from midnight until 6 a.m.

"My wife and I had breakfast with him almost every morning for 12 weeks," Kluger said. "He attracted a lot of people to our table -- like stars from Hollywood, dancers. A lot of people visited Artie."

In March 1954, after an engagement with Gramercy 5 at the Embers in New York, Shaw announced his retirement.

Kluger is proud of a quote Shaw once made: "I loved Irv's playing. He added something important to the band. He made contributions to the music while staying out of the way and allowing things to naturally unfold.

"Irv was always an up guy, with a lot of spark as a player and as a person."

The same might be said of Shaw.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

John Frusciante

My favorite musician John Frusciante was featured on the front page of the Los Angeles Times Calendar section today. The photo was awesome but I was disappointed with the story. As a writer and a fan, I felt the story had no depth, few details and focused too much on the past. I would guess that the writer hasn't listened much to John's music and he, perhaps, was on deadline. It wasn't an awful story. It was well written but didn't capture John. I'm going to write my own story, darn it, and post it here. As if I don't already have enough projects to work on.
This photo is courtesy of Ramparts, one of John's many fan sites.

Stormy Beach

Days like these I wouldn't want to live anywhere else except by the beach. It's been stormy for the past two weeks and the wind has been so strong that it has knocked over small children.
The beach takes on a different persona in the rain, one that is as beautiful as the sunny-day beach.
The waves haphazardly crash into one another on stormy days. The water is a different color with patches of seaweed. The sand is a different texture, much easier to walk in and the pelicans and seagulls have a heyday catching fish with no people around. Not a surfer in sight today and few others. The waves creeped all the way up to the lfe guard towers and washed up all kinds of goodies, a dead baby eel, clumps of seaweed and of course, the trash.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

God didn't do it

A Rabbi with an intriguing perspective of the tsunami disaster here.

We have to live with the leaders we have

Sometimes when I think about the war in Iraq I still get confused. Why are we there? Why are they fighting back? Wasn't it supposed to be in and out? This story in the NYT makes it clear who is fighting who and what the heck is going on. Although, it still doesn't make any sense and I wish it would be over right.........NOW! Did it work? Oh well.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Social Security nightmare

P. Bush’s idea of revamping social security is intriguing. The only thing is I can’t figure out what’s for real and what’s Bush bashing.
Here's one

The idea of being able to invest some of my money the way I choose seems like a good idea but I don’t know the details and I can’t glean any truths from all the conflicting and convoluted stories out there. I also am not sure whether investing is for everyone. Even learning the basics takes a lot of time. But if it were simple -- diverting money to a 401K-like account, for example, well then, that might work for everyone.
This is pro privatization
Here is an anti privatization site
Here's the Social Security site
Here's a not so optimistic Q&A from SS


I'm 35 years old. If nothing is done to improve Social Security, what can I expect to receive in retirement benefits from the program?


Unless changes are made, at age 73 your scheduled benefits could be reduced by 27 percent and could continue to be reduced every year thereafter from presently scheduled levels. See the Trustees Report


I'm 25 years old. If nothing is done to change Social Security, what can I expect to receive in retirement benefits from the program?


Unless changes are made, when you reach age 63 in 2042, benefits for all retirees could be cut by 27 percent and could continue to be reduced every year thereafter. If you lived to be 100 years old in 2079 (which will be more common by then), your scheduled benefits could be reduced by 33 percent from today's scheduled levels. See the Trustees Report

Monday, January 03, 2005

Rustling up donations

Did P. Bush really need to assign his dad and Clinton the task of rustling up donations from the American public? I think not. After talking to people and reading all the blogs out there, I would guess that the "generous American people," as we are called, already have donated and will donate as needed without the rustle or the hustle.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Do terrorists like chocolate?

Ever wonder what Osama and his lot do for fun, or what their day is like? Do they sit around in some palatial living room sipping chamomile tea (calming tea) plotting the end of Western culture?
Do they golf? Play badminton? Read?
Do they do anything for fun or is terror planning as fun as it gets?
Where do they come up with their ideas? Video games? TV?
Do they wake up, comb their hair and brush their teeth? Do they listen to music?
What do they eat for breakfast? Do they sing in the shower? Do they have any friends? Do they like chocolate?