Monday, August 18, 2014

This Just In!

1. According to the New York post, a Russian man was attacked by a bear. As the bear was ready to attack, the man's phone rand with a Justin Bieber ring tone. The bear turned and ran into the woods.

One smart bear. He knows good music from bad.

2. From the Drudge report and UPI:" Medical marijuana smokers in San Diego say the city has forced their pot shops to locate in remote areas and that means the drives to and from will increase air pollution--- and ultimately harm their lungs. On top of that, some patients without cars, will now have to grow their own marijuana plants, an activity that further contributes to global warming."

I sure hope a judge throws this out and charges them with stupidy.What next? The whole thing is an oxymoron. You do have to give them credit to being eco-friendly while getting stoned.

3. A Florida man accused of killing his roommate used his iPhone to ask Siri how to hide the dead body, according to evidence presented at trial.
Strangely, the Palm Beach Post reports that Siri actually responded to Pedro Bravo's request, giving suggestions like: "Swamps. Reservoirs. Metal foundries. Dumps."
Aside from wondering what Apple's programmers might have been thinking, can this sort of Siri "testimony" be used as evidence ?

The defense attorney will place an IPHONE on the stand for questioning and of course Siri will not understand the quetion.

4. A small Minnesota village has a new mayor. Duke, the dog is Cormorant's newest mayor.
The 12 people who live there elected the 7-year-old dog as its leader.
Duke may not understand politics too well but he's been doing a great job guarding the town. He even makes sure cars aren't going past the speed limit.Duke will be sworn in on Sunday. He won't be getting a salary, but a pet store has agreed to donate a year's supply of food to reward Duke for his service.

Now there's a town that knows what to do. Friendly, loyal, honest and will work for food. We need more politcians like Duke. The only thing the town has to worry about is a sex scandal with the dogs of Cormorant. He's still a politician.

5. San Francisco strip club host job fair. With a better economy the club finds itself short of strippers who have been hired at other jobs.

 Now there's an HR department I can get behind.

6. According to the Austrian Times, Bernhard Pauer, a priest with the Diocese of Linz, went to police after parishioners said they recognized their church in the video.
After the footage was screened on local television, a tipster came forward and said he recognized the woman's breasts. Horsching police were then able to track down the 24-year-old amateur video star, who confessed. She now faces charges of offending religious feeling and desecration of a church.

 Mr. Tipster, you got some "splaning" to do.

7. I've been pondering underwear lately. What is the big deal about Hanes underwear beating their chest that they are now tagless? That's not even a close to my biggest underwear problem. Secondly, is it tidy-whiteys or tighty-whiteys? Today's underwear laundry tip of the day. Wear the colored ones because you don't have to separate the coloreds from the whites. Diversity in my underwear drawer saves time.

8. According to the Huffington Post, a man in Grimsby England decided to light a fire cracker in his cargo shorts. He light it. It went off. His pants were torn to shreds. His leg looked like it had been hit by an asteroid.  His friend who was videoing the event called him a "dopey bastard".

Ya think?

9 Recently Comcast has received some bad publicity, including recordings of a Comcast employee berating a customer, who was trying to cancel his service. The employee berated him in every way and kept offering freebees if he would keep he service. The customer said no to every thing. Just cancel, cancel, cancel, cancel. The treatment was awful and somewhat disturbing. Later the company apologized and that the employees had gone a bit (?) over board, but also said this was part of the training for the special forces for customer retention employees. Really? The conversation lasted eight and a half minutes. You can check it out on YouTube.

Wow! Training employees to insult would be cancelers is quite a atep backward for the term Customer Service. How did that work out for you Comcast?

10. Two gunman jumped from behind some bushes an topped a woman of her chicken nugget meal. The men demanded money from her and fired a shot into the air and then fled with her #7 combo meal from McDonalds.

A lot depends on the size of the McNuggets. The 20 piece size carries a higher penalty, not to mention armed robbery.

And that's the news, or not.


Saturday, August 16, 2014

The Sound of Silence

It was a summer night at the lake. I walked down to the pier that extended out into the water about forty feet. Across the yard fireflies showed their tiny yellow beacons to light the night, ever so slightly and soundlessly. The lake was without a ripple, as smooth as glass. The temperature and humidity fit together in a perfect balance of comfort. I lay down on the wooden planks and looked up at the bright light of a full moon and the twinkling of the stars against the darkness of the night. It was a golden silence, occasionally punctuated by the sounds of summer at the lake, a screen door slamming, some conversation and laughter of people having a good time. There were sounds of clicking crickets and crooking frogs, hidden somewhere in the grass. Even the noises fit into the silence, like the music of a symphony.  It was a perfect storm of silence and peace. It was a moment of Nirvana here on earth.

Suddenly, the sound of a stereo reverberated from across the lake. It was Simon and Garfunkel singing, The Sound of Silence in perfect harmony.

                                             Hello darkness, my old friend,
                                            I've come to talk with you again,
                                           Because a vision softly creeping,
                                         Left its seeds while I was sleeping,
                                     And the vision that was planted in my brain
                                                        Still remains
                                                Within the sound of silence.

And all was right with the world.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Ring a Ding Ding!

I did not grow up in an era where we did not have phones, although I have been to rural areas in my early days where they had no phones service. I have, however, have witnessed the evolution of telephonic communications from near the start.

My life started when there were party lines, as well as private numbers. A real opeator would answer when you picked up the phone with, "number please?" you would then give her a four digit number of your party. Long distance was accomplished by asking for the "long distant operator." Our number was 2703.

Next came the rotary dial. Finger in the number and pull the rotor right, then when the dial returned back the second number was dialed and so on.

Next was push buttons. Phone numbers were also expressed in words, Pennsylvania 6-5000. When the phone company decided to go to seven digit numbers only, no prefixes, people were up in arms. How are we supposed to remember all those numbers. Next came area codes. Holy cow, another three digits to remember. Just when we got used to knowing various area codes, they split the code into more area codes. Holy crap, but we survived the numbers invasion.

Next was the wireless remote phone, where we could pace around the room while we talked. Certainly as a boon to the Type "A" personality.

Of course the voice answering machine created a convenience for you and your friends, when someone called and you were away. Imagine that before, if someone called they would have to call back. What a damned inconvenience by today's standards. You kids got it easy.

When the first cell phones was introduced, it was like talking into a phone the size of a shoe. The cell phones began to shrink in size. I must admit, I was a late comer to the cell phone. When it made me look like an old man, I got my first cell phone. we all moved through generation after generation of smart phones. Wow, what it can do. The wonders of this new communications phenomenon hit me as I was driving down the road with my friend, Carolina, in Minnesota, and she was talking to her mom in Mexico. I can literally access the world from anywhere. We have come so far in my lifetime, and I am a participant, like the Man of the 21st Century I am.

The cell phone becomes an extension of yourself like an arm. If we forget it or are in a area where there is no service we feel lost. Anxiety sets in. Gosh nobody can reach me to see if I can go to lunch. I heard a line the other day that captured what we see everyday when out and about. "Where shall we go tonight to watch our phones and text?"

Today I forgot my phone at the coffee shop. I discovered it was missing when I was driving down the highway. Crap! Too late and too much trouble to turn around. However, my first thought was to call them and see if they found it. A light went on. They have my phone I can't call, dumb ass. Dah?

Of course now we don't have to call. We can text, avoiding personal contact.  Ever call someone just after they text you and immediately called them and got no answer.?Hell, they had their phone in their hand ten seconds ago.

That brings the question, Has the current communications tools taken away too much personal contact? The answer is, yes, but it has also let people keep in contact more often. I'll prefer the later. Facebook is an issue for some people, on occasion me, but when Mark died, it was comforting to see the posts from his friends. They still post on occasion. It allows me to look at moments of his life. I have recordings of his voice, his appearance on Celebrity Apprentice, his remarkable photos put to music and his documentation of Hurricane Sandy. I have the last post he made the night he died. It is sad, but also heartwarming to have an electronic album of Mark as he was.

I don't know what the next big thing is, but it's always something and it will be exciting. It's been a great ride. so far.

Have a nice day.


Sunday, August 3, 2014

Goin' to the Dogs!

From the Coronado Eagle Journal, July 30,2014.

                                        “Yappy Hour” at the Hotel Del
“Join animal lovers and Wizard of Oz enthusiast alike at the Oz-themed “Yappy Hour” where dogs can lap up complimentary Evian water and yappatizers (organic dog food treats) , while their owners sip on Oz-inspired such as Kanas Twister and Ruby Slippers on Sundays in August from 4 p.m. to at the Sun Deck Bar & Grill located at the Hotel Del Coronado.”

I hardly know what to say, but, of course I will.

First of all, I don’t think a dog really cares if its Evian Water or not. This is an animal who often drinks from the toilet. “Organic Happitizers?” This is an animal that will eat its own vomit on occasion. Don’t forget they can often be spotted licking their butt in public. So it’s more about the owners self-gratification than trying to make their dogs feel special. They will sip on their “Foo Foo” cocktails at $15.00 a pop and watch their dogs mingle with other dogs sniffing each others asses. God forbid, if a Mongrel showed up. A Mongrel is a true American, a mixture. This superficial gathering is what replaced Ron’s Garage Band after 19 years of weekend music, that was a cornerstone to summer weekends in Coronado.

I don’t have anything against dogs. Dogs are friendly, loyal and company to the lonely. They are also very promiscuous. If they can’t find a willing doggy in heat, they will hump your leg. They are wonderful pets. I would like having a dog, if it weren’t for the taking them out all the time to do their business. In these cases doggy bathroom needs take precedence over a nice time on a date. “Oh, I have to get home. My dog needs to go out, “Bye.”

Let’s talk about the other side of doggy bathroom habits. Leash them up and make sure their little costume is on properly. We wouldn’t want them to catch a chill. Get them outside where they sniff around for those who has peed there before. After things are considered all right, they lift their leg and pee on the wall, tree or bush. The world is their toilet. Classy.!!!!The walk continues until the dog feels the urge to poop. He squats, poops and then the owner pick it up with a little baggy.  If another dog is encountered, they sniff each other's butt. This act gives a dog the information on the other dog, its gender, emotional state, diet and more. A dog has a second olfactory system that's known as Jacobson's Organ. Its nerves direct chemical information it detects directly into the brain so there's no interference from odors. Now you know everything you wanted to known about Fido's anal fascination. (Source: I Googled it.Yes, I Googled it.) Sort of like a proctologist examination. Oh ,and let’s not forget when they return home, they often lick their balls in the middle of the room, if they have them. Gross. Have they no shame?

A cat is different. He or she is not your friend, EVER. Cats always have an attitude. If they could talk, and they got a phone call, they would tell you to take a message. They don’t give a damn if you are home from tough day. They only are loviy, when they had a hard day of sleeping or are hungry. The good thing is that they have a bathroom filled with absorbent material, and they cover up their stuff afterwords. They actually get pissed if you leave them at home when you go on a couple of day’s trips. We had a cat left alone, and he peed in the corner of my office. I don’t like cats, but at lest they have good bathroom habits, unless you have pissed them off.

A friend of mine was scheduled to go out with a woman he had met online. She called to tell him she would have to cancel, because her dog had “separation anxiety.”  WTF is that all about?. As we talked more about dogs and dating, he told of a woman he went out with had three dogs. That got my sense of humor going. I said, “Picture this. You are on the couch making out and three dogs bounce into the room and right on top of the moment. But that is not be the worst part of my imaginary tale. She laughed hysterically at the dogs behavior. My advice, Run, Michael, Run away as fast as you can.”

I have to give dogs credit because they are “chick magnets”. Female dog lovers will always make conversation with other dog lovers they meet on the exercise and bathroom walks. A conversation is struck up, while the dogs sniff each other's asses.

They say, masters begin to look like their dogs. I agree. You know who you are.

The movie, Best in Show, captures the world the “Yappy Hour” type of dogs and the people who love them. I also catch the Westminster Dog Show, every once in a while. I love the action of the handlers (great waddlers or prancers) and the so serious words of the announcer.

I know I have pissed a lot of people off with this commentary.

One last thing. Every female dog should have a male poodle for a friend.

Bow Woo!

Have a nice day and stay out of the dog poop.

Sammy Carl. 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

How Do You Spell Frustration ?-- Golf

Several years ago my friend, Loren Morey, moved to Seattle to become president of a Japanese company, Nichira Seafoods. Loren’s life was “business” almost every waking moment.  His wife, as well of some of his friends, had always urged him to take up something besides business as a hobby. He always vowed to fly his plane more, but seldom did. He had reluctantly and not seriously played golf at various business meetings because everybody else did.  He finally took up the sport with his usual focused zeal.  He joined a top Seattle country club, bought a set of Calloway golf clubs, took lessons and practiced faithfully. 

One day he was on the driving range at his club searching for the formula for golfing success. A man set up behind him and began to hit some balls. My friend didn’t pay much attention to him except for the noises of golfing frustration emitting behind him. During a brief pause in his own practice, he turned and saw that the man was Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, hacking away. Bill Gates is known for complete focus and dedication to his business. 

Gates was recently married, and I’m sure his wife, just like Loren’s, constantly urged him to find a form of relaxation and leisure separate from the stresses of the business world.  This is a man, who once wrote a column on biotechnology, “Biotechnology is not my line of work, but I enjoy following the progress as a hobby.”  BIOTECHNOLGY AS A HOBBY???  Bill, you really do need a hobby! 

So there was Bill Gates, moaning and groaning through the frustrations that forever are part of the game. Golf is humbling to all who attempt to play it -- even the richest man in the world. Golf is a great equalizer. Perhaps more people should take up the game.

Note:  A short article in the Minneapolis StarTribune on September 14, 1996, told of Bill Gates winning low net honors in a scramble in the Wayne-Dalton/Richard Karn Celebrity Golf Classic in Seattle. The prize was a couple of Wayne Dalton garage doors.  Bill’s house has a 36 car garage. He’ll need to win again next year and many more years to come.

Have a nice day!


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Where Have All the Heroes Gone?

People seem to have a need for role models and heroes.  Too often our heroes disappoint us and we wonder why.  The “why” is that they are human beings and as human beings they are subject to the weaknesses and frailties of the human spirit that is part of all of us.  No one is perfect and we all make mistakes and exercise poor judgment as we live our lives. 

Charles Barkley was right to some degree that when he stated he was “not a role model”. People have a tendency to confuse celebrityism with heroism. Celebrities and athletes can let you down because they are human beings with all of the warts we all carry around.  Need we look further than the tragic story of O.J. Simpson. We are emphasizing superficial values, not basic moral and intellectual virtues.

Role models should first and foremost come from your family, your teachers and/or other people who made a difference in your life.  These are the people that can affect your life, its paths and its ultimate outcome.  They helped you define who you are.  But the American family and our the educational system are in trouble.  Is it any wonder that our moral character is in a state confusion and decline?

Dr. George Sheehan in his book, On Running, made an observation about heroes.  It is something we might all want to consider.

"Where have all the heroes gone?  They've gone with the simplicities and the pieties and the easy answers of another era.  Our lack of heroes is an indication of the maturity of our age, a realization that the every man has come into his own and has the capability of making a success out of his life.  Success rests with having the courage and the endurance and, above all, the will to become the person you are, however peculiar that may be.

Then you will be able to say, I have found my hero and he is me."

Have a nice day.


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Writing for Fun and Exercise

I write for my own pleasure, and, hopefully, for the small enjoyment it may provide my family and friends.  However, there are times when my thoughts turn to submission (send it in) -- but not yet, anyway.

As I have begun to think of myself as a writer (three books and a Blog), I have become aware that writing, like most every other endeavor in today’s American life, has its own vocabulary, language, associations, groups, workshops, conferences, how-to-books, newsletters and trade magazines.  It’s own a little society, operating in its own little world.

The language of writing and the writer has begun to work its way into my conversations and thoughts.  I can’t help it.  I want to at least appear to be a member of the literary personhood (politically correct word as opposed to brotherhood, sisterhood, fraternity, sorority, etc.). However, there are things about the language of the writing crowd (politically correct again) that I don’t like very much. I write for fun and exercise.  I guess I’m not serious enough about my writing to be caught sitting at some writer’s workshop with a group of Ernest Hemingway or Maya Angelo “wannabes” with their little round, steel-rimmed glasses (both regular and sun) discussing the artistic, intellectual, elitism of being a writer.  “My inner-most thoughts flow from my soul through the magic wand of my pen and onto a tear-stained page that blankly stares into my chocolate brown, tear-filled eyes.”  I don’t think so!  I write on a computer, and the only tears in my eyes are from the eye-strain caused by staring at the screen too long.

I am just not smart enough to be an artistic, intellectual, elitist writer, or reader for that matter.  Must all writing carry a deeper intellectual meaning beneath its surface?  I guess I’m an intellectual surfer who falls off the board if the water (or something) gets too deep.  Let me give you an example of some writing that is beyond my intellectual depth.  In the 1992 book of the winners of the prestigious O. Henry Awards was the following quote from one of the winners about his prize-winning short story:  “For me a story is a narrative space framed by formal intervals.  In the case of this story, I am principally interested in a rather loose triangle composed through the relations of a pressing, needful, musical, unrelated speech and two silences: That of assured capability fallen into kind of entropic chaos, and that of the explosive insight of creative vision.”    HUH?????

Isn’t there something to be said in the art of the written word about clarity of thought in the understandable English of most of us less-gifted dweebs in the general population?  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not putting down this higher level of writing, but it’s not for me, actually it’s beyond me.  Writing at an artistic level maybe self-fulfilling masturbation to some, but they probably won’t make a very good living at it.  However, artistic, intellectual writing is not about money, unless, of course, it’s government funding.  I think elitist writer-talk is high-falutin’, haughty, high-brow, uppity, look down your nose and, well -- snooty.  That’s it, -- snooty.  Writers and their vocabulary can be snooty.  Writers only talk snooty, they dress distinctively un-snooty, unless, of course, they are in the company of others of their genre, then their dress is distinctively snooty and the rest of us are dressed distinctively, un-snooty.  Snooty can be confusing.  I am a plain English, un-snooty type guy.  I think?  I guess I have confused myself.

There is even a book that helps us use and understand the words of the writer’s language -- The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms -- snooty.   Take some of the words we writers like to use. Memoir -- French -- snooty.  Avant garde -- French -- snooty.  Genre -- French -- snooty.  French words used in English conversation are snooty. 

A memoir is an autobiography or life stories of the person writing it.  How about plain, “I’m writing my life story.”?  Rather than a haughty, affected, “I’m writing a mem-whah.

Avant garde represents leading-edge, new stuff.  I can’t think of a quote -- avant garde is too new and avant garde.

Genre is a style or type of art form.  For our purposes we use it to describe the kind of writing we do.  The use of the word genre in writing circles is like a zodiac pick-up line at a poetry reading.  “Hi, what’s your genre?”  (the hoped for answer, erotica (snooty Latin word for dirty writing) is seldom heard, however).  Genre is my least favorite snooty writer word.  What’s wrong with calling a piece what it is: fiction, micro fiction, flash fiction, sudden fiction, non-fiction, creative non-fiction (oxy-moron), essays, articles (newspaper and magazine), biography, autobiography, life stories, plays, (stage, screen and television), poetry, prose, short stories, novels, novellas, free-writing, journaling, journalism, technical, copy, freelance, -- the list of plain English words about writing and types of writing goes on and on. 

How about a simple, “What do you write?”  “I write ______.”  (Fill in the blank in plain English).

One of the most common terms in the language of both writer and reader is the word piece.  “She wrote a wonderful piece.”  “Did you see the piece in the paper?”  I used piece in the above paragraph.  A piece includes all of the above mentioned genres (the snooty word creeps in to my conversation no matter how I try to be un-snooty.  I guess that makes me a “real” writer -- snooty).

Why do we use the generic word piece to describe just about everything we write instead of simple straight forward terms like articles, essays, short stories, book, etc.?  Here’s my explanation of the word piece in its literary sense.  Piece, as in piece of pie .  A piece of pie is a slice of pie.  A piece is a slice of life.

That’s my piece and I’m sticking to it!

Now, if you’ll excuse me I must go and pick up my new glasses.

Samuel C. Arnold,