Showing posts from February, 2012

Days Of Wine and Octane

I really will write something here soon.  Meanwhile, enjoy this funny-yet-sad piece of reality ..


Plenty to write about but not in a writing mood tonight, so I'll share a funny ...

Good Song

Had to hear and share this song this morning.

Only Two Days

The self-discovery journey I’ve been writing about for awhile was mostly my search for identity, but along the way I have learned a lot about how I react to things. I have a pattern. When I first face a situation I tend to project possible scenarios and sometimes act on those projections. My obsessive nature can take over at that point and I can get worked up over things that might never happen. Learning this kind of thing about oneself can come in handy for preventing embarrassing behavior or to help reduce stress by reducing obsessive over-thinking of negative projected scenarios.

Last week a new little medical situation developed and I began to react with my usual pattern. It is probably nothing serious but for a few minutes I contemplated one of those scenarios … one in which whatever is wrong turns out to be a rapidly expanding, incurable disease that will take my life in two or three days. There is no clear diagnosis yet but it is probably NOT the scenario I just described.

For …

Happy Mardi Gras!

As old as this song is, it is still a good representation of New Orleans music.  Enjoy.


Mardi Gras is always on a Tuesday but it’s different each year, coinciding with the Christian religious calendar that sets movable seasons and dates like Lent and Easter. The 2012 date is this Tuesday, February 21.

In New Orleans, it is a few weeks of ‘letting it all hang out’ style celebrating culminating in a day of total drunken craziness and debauchery. Well, it is also a family day for dressing in costumes and watching parades. Which end of that spectrum depends on what neighborhood you spend time in that day. I’ve seen both sides. I have also been to some of the more sane celebrations called Mardi Gras Balls, which are dress up pageantries of a costumed royal nature, during which the King and Queen of the Krewe (private club/organization) preside over the merriment.

Everyone should experience Mardi Gras once in their lives. It might be the only time you can participate in public drunkenness and near-nudity and not be arrested. Harming somebody will land you in jail, but not much …

Number Ten

This afternoon I’m watching the pole qualifying for next week’s Daytona 500. Drivers each drive two solo laps around the track. Those qualifying times determine where they will be when the race starts next week.

Five-time points champ Jimmie Johnson is still my favorite driver but I’m considering a change in my second fave. My contenders: Carl Edwards in the 99 car, partly because a friend of mine likes him and he was almost the points champ last year; Kevin Harvick number 29, partly because another friend likes him (a friend who has occasional track access); and Danica Patrick in the 10 car, because, well, because she’s both a gear head and hot. I also like the underdog sometimes, and she will be only the third female driver to compete in the Daytona 500. Did I mention she’s hot? She is also a good driver in the open-wheel world (Indy 500, etc.) and trying to break into NASCAR. She’s been in a few races but this will be her biggest to date.

Hopefully this is the year I finally go to a…

Another Point of View

About my post yesterday … in all fairness to the New Jersey Governor, let me tell you his feeling in the face of criticism relating to his decision to fly flags at half staff tomorrow to honor Whitney Houston.

From Entertainment Weekly:

Christie said he was not saying that Houston, who was born in Newark and was raised in nearby East Orange, is a role model. Instead, he said, Houston deserves the honor because of her huge cultural impact and as “a daughter of New Jersey.”

“I am disturbed by people who believe that because her ultimate demise — and we don’t know what is the cause of her death yet — but because of her history of substance abuse that somehow she’s forfeited the good things that she did in her life,” said the governor during a briefing in northern New Jersey. “I just reject that on a human level.”

The governor noted he has ordered flags flown at half-staff for all 31 fallen New Jersey soldiers and every fallen police officer during his time in office.

He also ordered flags lo…

Red Flag for the Governor

New Jersey Governor Christie wants flags in his state lowered to half-staff in honor of Whitney Houston.


Maybe that would have been a good idea if she had died in 1993, at the peak of her singing career and before she became the poster girl for substance abuse and self-destruction. But now? Before the release of toxicology reports that might point to drug overdose as the cause of death? After years of continued, self-directed, damaging behavior that destroyed her amazingly beautiful voice? After changing from "role model for singers chasing their dreams" to role model for "live and die like the disfunctionally famous"? For a singer whose answer to a televised interview question relating to her alleged crack use was something like "crack is cheap; I make too much money to use crack"?

Misplaced sympathy and inappropriate honor, Governor.

We should grieve for her death, feel bad for those who were close to her, learn from her mistakes and in some wa…

Channel Surfing

Much as I liked Whitney Houston I got tired of watching news channel talking heads talk about her Sunday so I surfed on ...

History Channel - watched an hour program about the Berlin Wall (a surprising architectural and engineering project).

More History - an hour about sugar. Really. Did you know wars were fought over it, including in part the American Revolution.

Another History - an hour about chocolate. Did you know it is an aphrodisiac? How did I miss that?

Surfing on. ... Bourne Supremacy, again. Saw part of it Saturday. Incredible car chase scene.

A program about generational topics, featuring a family of wing-walkers. I can't watch. Click.

A promo for a public TV program about drivers over 50. Hey! Drivers over 70, sure, but 50? Stop! I do dread eventually losing my ability to drive. My Dad's last day behind the wheel was in his upper 70s in the middle of his Parkinson's days. He sobbed.

Surfing on ... QVC: a 60" TV. Right! Next time I have an extra $1899.…

Valentine Assortment

So who was this Val guy anyway? Turns out he was a priest. A “holiday” related to love is named for a priest?! OK, according to a totally reliable, accurate source (my sarcastic description of Wikipedia), the saint of Saint Valentine’s Day is actually three or more Christian martyrs named Valentine, a common name in back in their day, circa 200 A.D. Martyrs? Love? My cynical side says that makes perfect sense.

Actually the “love” connection seems related to either a February celebration in ancient Rome (circa 400 A.D.) related to fertility or a 14th century Chaucer poem.

And then there’s that English nursery rhyme from the 1700s:

The rose is red, the violet's blue,
The honey's sweet, and so are you.
Thou art my love and I am thine;
I drew thee to my Valentine:
The lot was cast and then I drew,
And Fortune said it shou'd be you.

Methinks that’s either a tome about arranged marriage or a fancy ‘Personals’ ad from the days a few hundred years before online dating.

If you know me in…


Wow, what happened? After hearing about Whitney Houston's death I read several biographies to learn about the years since I stopped paying attention to her career and life.

She was one of my favorite singers in the late 80s and early 90s. Her voice was incredible, ranging from soft to angelic to soaring. She could sing everything from inspiring ballads to dance hits to the National Anthem. Music was destined to be a major part of her life; her mom was singer Cissy Houston, she is related to Dionne Warwick and her godmother was Aretha Franklin.

She looked great ... uhh, hot even. Then she married Bobby Brown. Not for me to judge; let's just say that coincided with what I believe was the beginning of the end.

It is always sad when a famous talented person dies at a young age, but her death doesn't surprise me all that much, given the turns her life took of late.

Fortunately we will always have evidence of her remarkable talent. Here are two examples:

A DMB Thing

Funny the way it is … you have a song in your head and it conjures up some meanings right before you go to bed … imagery, memories, a thought here, an observation there.

I am more or less a Dave Matthews fan. I especially like the band’s musicianship. First time I saw them in concert I was blown away by the fact that no matter how far their improvisation strayed it always resolved back into the song. Few bands can really do that. Second time I saw them was with the friend who first exposed me to their intricacies, which shed a different light on the experience. But the most remarkable part of that show was how they saved the most difficult song for the end.

Funny the way his songs run the range from fun to serious to complex to simple to sexy to incomprehensible. Every time I play his Groo Grux King CD, two songs stand out. One is partly quoted on the left column of this blog. Here is the other, which I heard tonight as I played the CD. It is a very thoughtful song; although I must …

Cool Quote About Friendship and Family


Car Geek Observations

Yes, I love cars … and trucks. I know a little about engines and specs and a lot about makes and models, especially older cars. I’ve owned twelve vehicles, many for less than eighteen months, three for more than five years. Five were new, the rest pre-owned. Two were trucks, three were wagons, the rest were 2 or 4 door sedans – no convertibles yet but I had one as a company vehicle for a month back in the 80s. I remember every make and model, years owned and approximate purchase price. Oddly, I have very few pictures of most of them.

Brand I hate the most: Chevrolet; I had one, it was the single worst car I’ve ever owned and I’ll probably never even consider one again, ever. Brand I’ve had the most: Ford (five of my twelve). I’m not really a Ford fan but they happened to make the vehicle I wanted most at those times. Two of my best and one of my worst were Fords. I would buy one again, maybe an Explorer. Cars I used to want but have never owned: Mercedes and Cadillac; not that interes…

The truth ...



Everyone should visit New Orleans at least once in their lives.

It’s crazy, cool, funky, lively, lazy, musical, quirky, humid, multicultural.

There is music in the streets. Bars don’t have to close unless they want to. The accent is not Southern and it’s not Cajun, but is has elements of both, with a little bit of Brooklynesque thrown in.

People there are resilient, tenacious and stubborn … at least the ones who moved back after Hurricane Katrina. Some say they are a little crazy or stupid for moving back. If you’re from there, you get it, even if you disagree with it. If you visit for more than four or five days, you might also understand.

If you grew up there, as I did, this sentence says it all: You can leave New Orleans but New Orleans never leaves you.

Love, peace and soul!

Don Cornelius, creator and host of Soul Train, died today at age 75, reportedly by suicide. I won’t pretend to know what his life was like or what drove him to kill himself, but I respect him as a man who followed his dreams and changed the face of television on many levels.

He was inspired by Dick Clark but had much more style and charted his own path in the world of music-related television.

There was still racial prejudice and segregation in the 1970s when that show began, but they usually didn't make it an issue. Soul Train was about music, culture and lifestyle for black youth but everyone could benefit from the experience. It was well done and fun to watch. I used to watch the show regularly and some of my favorite singers at the time were featured guests … Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, James Brown, even Michael Jackson. The dance line was cool … I never knew if those were just people who showed up to be on the show or if they were professional dancers. Either way, they wer…