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» My Favorite Christmas carol
(Also FaceBooked)

» Where's Waldo?
Yesterday I watched a press conference that President Obama called to discuss the tax cut issue. Former President Clinton was there. At one point Mr. Obama turned to Mr. Clinton and excused himself saying that he had to leave, he'd kept the first lady waiting long enough. So Mr. Clinton hung around and continued the press conference. So I was left wondering, "Who's the Prez?" as well as "Where the &%*# is he going!?"
» Get Back
I watched Lennon NYC the other night. After seeing and hearing him interact with Yoko I think a lot of people - including me - have been overly critical of her. She might not be all that as an artist but they sure seemed to be happy as a couple. That has to count for something.

» A timely repost
In light of the recent demise of Davis-Kidd Booksellers in Nashville. Originally posted, 11/22/07.

A Future Reminiscence
» Some observations on Adam Ross's Scene article
(apologies to the SNL writers)

"So I parked in the movie theater's garage — a 25-minute trip door to door."
Twenty-five minutes? Really?! I walked that route for months during construction and my worst time was around ten minutes and that was when I was walking at a Waddler's pace.

"...surrounded by three chain bookstores within a five-mile radius..."
Really?! The  closest store - within that distance - is the Border's on West End. The next nearest stores are Borders and B&N  . . . in Williamson county, ten miles or more away if you're driving. I suppose it is closer by Harrier jet.

"...the move back to Green Hills..."
DK never left Green Hills so could not have moved 'back'.

" passage was blocked by a tower..."
Really?! That's some tower, like Orthanc or Barad-Dur? Were there any Orcs around? Now that would be a path-blocker!

"Why is it that something I could buy in Kroger is taking the place of a book?"
I didn't know Kroger carried Loveless Cafe Peach Preserves. Bisquik yes, Loveless - really?! Well, it's on that, apparently, impassable monolith because A LOTTA PEOPLE BOUGHT IT. Sorry for the shouting . . .

"...first at the lower end of a much smaller Green Hills Mall, then relocated to an airy space in Grace's Plaza..."
Wrongo Bongo, the store originated in a small space on the east side of Hillsboro in a space somewhat across the street from Grace's. The store moved into Grace's Plaza from the mall location you reference in August of 1988. I know this because it was my first day of work at DK. I even got a T-shirt!

"...ISBN numbers..."   (sic)
The 'N' in 'ISBN' stands for 'number'. Just so you know.

An earlier, semi-related post here
» They're HEEEEeeeer . . .
(Spring, 2010)
Since I've had no TV for a couple of months now I've made some observations:

I'm eating less and eating better. I find I'm satisfied after a modest meal.

I'm reading more. Along with books I'm enjoying reading a newspaper in the evening, especially when the weather is fine enough to sit outside. I feel a closer connection with what I read in the paper, more so than TV news or even radio news.

I'm enjoying the radio even more. Way back when, before I ever even owned a TV set, my principal connection with the rest of the world - media-wise - was radio. I  had no TV, there were no vcrs or dvds. So I sat with a window open and listened to the radio. Principally public radio. Back then, there were a lot more programs like Sherlock Holmes, it was the early days of  Prairie Home Companion and there were many programs of interest beyond simply news. Voices in the Wind, Martin Bookspan, etc.

As I enjoy this rediscovered sense of liberation I can only wonder what else could I get shed of to lighten the burden of the techno age? Already many friends and family resort to superficial contact via email or text as a substitute for genuine relationship. (One family member texted "Happy Birthday" rather than make the call.) I often wonder how many people they are texting or emailing at the same time as they are me.

Ah, the glow of radio tubes in the dark.

I guess you could say I'm e-gressing.

(And seven months later)

I've reacquired a TV set. More like I've been reacquired. I had a few bucks stashed away and, while watching movies on a small iBook screen is better than nothing, it lacks something. So I decided to treat myself to a larger screen, mainly for watching movies on DVD, but also for some programming on PBS which I miss.

I've  spent the last several months researching the technology behind current television, down to the physics behind LED edge illumination and CCFL backlighting, along with the pros and cons of both. I researched product-failure rates and repair statistics. I was down to standard deviations man! Budget constraints prevented the purchase of a full-array LED backlit panel, but I narrowed my search down to a handful of makes and models and I knew what features came with what model, what was a necessity, what was a luxury and those add-ons that served no purpose but to take up space on the spec sheet.

In plain words, it was one of the few times in my life I could tell you-know-what from shinola.
(During one of my store visits, as I explained to a fellow shopper why she didn't really need the "optical out" feature since the particular model had a 1/8" headphone jack, and with a set of decent, powered computer speakers, she could jack-in to the headphone jack and get sound that was about as good as her ears could hear - barring the rather great expense of upgrading to a separate sound system - and pocket a tidy piece of change. I was offered a job by the sales manager, but that's another story.)

I settled on a set that was fairly light on geegaws but has one of the best LCD panels in the trade,* high manufacturing standards, good enough TV speakers, and a failure/return rate that was statistically insignificant. It also came with a decent remote, Note to shoppers: the two biggest complaints from customers - assuming the picture is up to snuff - is crummy sound and an inadequate, unresponsive, hard-to-use remote control.
(*How do I know this? A year ago or so I replaced an LCD panel in a laptop computer, and I learned some things.)

The apogee of my birthday treat called for a good supper accompanied by a bit of superior whisky and a bottle or two of good nut brown ale (Lazy Magnolia Pecan Nut Brown Ale) and an uninterrupted viewing of Fellowship Of The Ring and "The Two Towers". I got started in plenty of time, but I forgot to plan on the unexpected.

I'd done my homework, you know, shinola, standard deviation, panel brightness formulas - NITS for crying-out-loud! I knew what I knew. But as I've come to learn, and have remarked to others, it isn't what I know I don't know that concerns me; it's what I don't know that I don't  know that's the problem. (Let that roll around in your cortex for a while.)

Getting my new TV - or electronic LCD movie screen as I prefer to think of it - inside the maison garage, I set about unpacking, knowing with certainty that I was maybe twenty minutes from uncapping the ale and the opening music to "Fellowship". And then I came to the assembly of the stand.

The "instructions" - such as they were - consisted of a sort of pictograph that was meant to accompany all sets and all screen sizes of all sets by this manufacturer. My mind went blank, or more correctly into some sort of fugue state. I'd been thinking in terms of luminous intensity and the calculation and translation of effective viewing area, not ancient forms of symbol drawing! Eventually I abandoned the "instructions" and went with thinking intuitively and logically and finally got it assembled. I seemed to be missing a washer and screw assembly, which was odd as the "instructions" seemed to indicate I'd have one left over, which means I was two short. But no matter.

I had done a good job of planning space, getting cables organized, etc. so that all I'd have to do is make a couple of connections and push the button baby! I must have forgone my logical thinking in my excitement as after having connected everything I realized it was all backward. In my desire to work efficiently I'd turned the set around so the back was accessible and I wouldn't have to work in a confined space. The way I was set up I had lots of light and plenty of room. And I got everything connected with little problem, except for that whole, now I gotta turn the screen around to face me which means it's all connected backward and I'll have to disconnect it all and do it again, part. But by this time that was nothing and it took me only about five minutes to set things in order.

I enjoyed my movie-viewing experience immensely and was about ready to go outside, enjoy the quiet of a late November night, with a bit of very fine bourbon, when I decided, 'what they hey', I'll connect the antenna to the set just to see what's on.

My friends, that was my main mistake, 'cause what I got was the sensorial equivalent of civilian Gitmo and I realized something:

I really hate TV, not the television as a device, but TeeVee as a social entity. After only a few minutes I could feel parts of  my brain crying out, "make it stop, please, make it stop!" It took only two-hundred and seventy-three days or so but I know now that I can't handle the assault of commercials, high-key omnipresent graphics and information overload that comes with the modern TeeVee experience.

Odius Keith Olberman and windbag Sean Hannity point fingers and whine about the other, eventually resorting to the last recourse of the foolish and immature: name-calling. (The two, and others of their ilk should be given bibs before their telecasts lest they ruin their shirts with all the pablum and spittle that flies from their mouths.)

TeeVee pitchmen and women - they looked so human! - scream at me to buy this, one day only, doors open at five a.m.!

Oily headed rascals bellow at me about sending in a donation so that God can open the windows of heaven allowing me into the continuous flow . . .

Talking babies, singing cats, shows in syndication that only last two years. What's happened while I've been away? Or is this the way it's always been and only now do I see it? That night I had fitful sleep and disjointed, nightmarish dreams, a sort of sleeping psychosis.

And the average American watches twenty-odd hours of this . . . this stuff? And children even more?

No wonder . . . no wonder . . .

I'm retuning my antenna to receive PBS only, and let the rest of the transmission continue on its fiendish flight to that special level of Dante's Purgatory. In the meantime, I'm taking my newspaper, my coffee and a chair and retiring - even if only temporarily - to a sunny spot in my front yard.

» Pelican makes a pal in London park |
Pelican makes a pal in London park |
» Defending The American Dream
When I heard that during the latest election "cycle" I had no idea what that meant. And I wanted to ask the proponents of that sentiment, "What da hay'ull does that mean?!" Now, courtesy of the New York Times, we have visible evidence - as if we needed any more - that American citizens think about as much as choosing political leaders as we do about shopping for toothpast, coffee, toilet tissue and beer.

No, most voters probably put more thought into whether to go low-foam-latte or skim-milk-mocha-frappe' than into their choices for political office. What's next? Voting machines at urinals? How about voting via the pizza delivery service?

I say to *&%^ (someplace else) with voting anywhere but your precinct. What's the matter with having to stand in line for a while to vote? During the first elections in Iraq people stood in line for hours just to be able to drop a piece of paper in a box. I'm not suggesting paper-ballot-box-dropping, but son of a biscuit eater! I can just hear the conversations at the Quiki-Mart checkout/voting "booth":

Are we ready to check out yet?
Ooo! I need deodorant!
Get me some foot powder . . . make sure it's earth-friendly!
What about ketchup?
We've got plenty.
Yeah, but it's made by that awful Kerry woman's family.
Oh, right . . . plus it's full of high-fructose corn syrup!
How about this?
Well, it says 'non-toxic and safe for pets'.
Is that it? Can we please go now?
Wait, where are the children?
We left them at my mom's house, remember?
Oh . . . whew! That's a relief!
Look! This line is self-check.
Baby, will you get me a copy of US weekly?
Aw geez, are you kidding me? Oh, hey, Jen has a new haircut, a new beau AND a new outlook.
Pickup a copy of O also . . . we can share!
You are the sweetest . . . wait, did we vote? They have voting kiosks, did we vote?
Do we have to now? We've got three weeks!
Uh, duh? I'm not standing in line at that awful public high school auditorium ever again,
                I drive a Saab for godsake . . .

Awright . . . okay . . . so who are we voting for?
Who did we vote for last time?
I dunno.
I dunno either, seems so long ago . . . and that woman in front of us has more than fifteen items!

» When Life Hands You Gershwin, You Take It
I'm used to noise from booming auto stereos, construction, traffic, crows and such so it was with a bit of interstellactic confustication that I had an auditory hallucination earlier. I had the windows open and was doing chores around maison garage when I heard the distinct melody of He Loves & She Loves being played, apparently on a grand piano. I was about ready to run anyway so I took my water and out the door I  stepped. I live across the street from a small to middlin' size university; my front door faces the "quad". There were chairs and tables and people milling about, and that whole Gershwin thing.

I set out and jogged around for an hour or so eventually coming back through the acre or so that constitutes said quad as people were taking down tables and stacking chairs. I stopped to ask what had been the occasion. I was told, "Oh, just a lunch for the employees."
I persisted: "But I saw a grand piano and somebody was playing Gershwin."

"That was one of the teachers from the music department. They do this for the employees every once in a while."

Well, if you work for a place that periodically, on fine October afternoons, decides to treat you to Le Dejeuner Sur L'herbe, be grateful.

My conclusion: "I like lunch . . . , and I knew what that guy was playin', ergo "Will work for Gershwin."
» Tree
I was out for a jog yesterday afternoon when I passed this tree. The pictures can't really capture the scale of this tree. Interesting branch pattern. Reminded me of something out of Tolkien. When I got home I got my modest Fuji digital camera and drove over and took a few pictures. Might go back and ask the residents if I can go into the yard and take a few pictures up closer looking up from the base.


If you click the image it should open a larger size in a separate window.

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