Thursday, September 29, 2011

Gilbert Gottfried's real voice

At Film School Rejects. Also the real people behind some other famous comedians.

This may shock and dismay some of you, but I've always liked Gottfried and have always been greatly amused by him. I first saw him doing some stand-up on one of those late-night stand-up comedy shows back in the 80s and he had me ROFL. I even remember one of the jokes he did, about when he took away his pet turtle's staircase.

I know he was also a regular on SNL at one time but I've never seen any of those shows.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Weekend update

Well, if you hadn't heard of it yet, one of the local TV stations released all of my employing company's payroll information. Because they can, I guess. I think the biggest shocker for outsiders is that very few of us are overpaid. I don't suppose this will help anyone to learn that their water bills are high because they waste so much water by dumping it out on the ground (which most people refer to as "watering the lawn"). I can almost guarantee this is going to cause more internal problems than external. I have already looked over the spreadsheets myself and was amused more often than aggrieved. For example, I checked two people who I know were hired on the same day. Person #1 has applied himself well, doing his job better than almost everyone else in the department (by the way, this person is not me), and doing what was required of him. Person #2 (not me, either), has spent his entire time complaining about every little thing he could and at times simply refusing to do what he was hired to do. In a normal company, this would of course get you fired, but with my employer it's almost impossible to get fired, so he's still there. Person #1 got regular merit increases and eventually transferred to another department and now makes a couple thousand per year more than I do. Person #2 is still making basically the same amount at which he was hired. I got a big kick out of learning this.

In my wildest fantasies, I see some bigwig looking at this information and saying, "why didn't Person #2 ever get any raises?" and being told, "because he's a worthless f***off" and replying, "then why hasn't his sorry a** been fired?" That's only a fantasy, though. It won't happen.

Here's a mascot (a friendly stray dog) from Thursday. He followed me around for about half an hour down in the godforsaken bottom end of the Old Sky Harbor area.

My daughter has a history assignment in which she has to have her photo taken while standing next to at least 5 historical markers in our home county, and create a poster board with the photos and textual information regarding them. I took her photos with a regular (film) camera because it's just a lot easier to have it developed than to try and print decent digital pix, but I also took a few digital photos so she could begin writing up the text part of her assignment.

Here's the big marker in Sutherland Springs. If you click to enlarge you can probably read it all. By the way, the 1998 flood was worse than the 1913 flood, as far as water volume. It didn't result in as much property damage, nor cause any deaths (here), but as far as sheer volume of water, it was worse.

Here's one I didn't know about until just recently when my dad told me about it. Unfortunately I couldn't get any closer so my digital photo isn't readable, but this is an old homestead site that is still private property. The buildings you can see are both original, except for the a/c window unit on the house, I guess.

The first three shown here are all within just a few miles of my house. There was one other but I took close-up shots of it so we could read the photos and they don't look good enough to bother posting here (it's for an old oil field). This is the Polley family Cemetery, not far from what everyone now calls "the Polley mansion," but which its original owner called Whitehall. You can read this one easily.

This last one is several miles from my home but which I have family connections with. There were actually two markers here, but unfortunately I forgot to take a shot of the second, smaller marker, although we did get a film photo of it with my daughter. The cut-off part at the top says "Marcelina Community." I lived near here from the time I was about 4 to 6 years old. Those objects at the far top left are tombstones; there is a cemetery there also which as I mentioned has its own marker that I neglected to capture digitally. I have several relatives buried there, including my great-grandmother, whose grave is now lost and unknown. However, I showed the kids the approximate location of where about it's supposed to be according to my dad. She died when he was a little kid, and before a permanent marker could be erected over it, a tornado blew through that destroyed/displaced many of the small temporary markers they used back then. And of course, back then they didn't keep blueprints of the grave layouts, either. I also showed the kids where many of their relatives are buried; the last time I was there before today was for my great-uncle's funeral in 1992.

And finally I would like to direct your attention to a cool slideshow of Lovecraftian images assembled by my friend Babel, to the music of Shriekback's "Coelecanth."

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Denny Brooks - "San Antone"

Occasionally the topic comes up of "songs about San Antonio." And there are quite a few. Here's one that most people have never heard, or even heard of. I wish I could get a better quality recording of it, but it looks like this is the only one to be heard on the whole internet.

"San Antone" was written by Barry De Vorzon and sung by Denny Brooks. De Vorzon has written lots of pop and country songs as well as soundtracks. He even wrote the soundtrack for one of the greatest movies of all time: Night of the Creeps. Brooks was one of John Denver's backup musicians and recorded some stuff on his own but never achieved much fame.

This song was part of the soundtrack to Rolling Thunder (1977), which was partly filmed in San Antonio and which I've never seen, and then again was used in the opening scene of The Ninth Configuration (1980), which I have seen and is why I know about it.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

"The Land of the Free"

Deep in my gut I know this is going to happen. You will hear the truth of it second- and third-hand, and you won't want to believe it. The media will portray the incident as dutiful government agents against an extremist fringe group, and you will want to believe them. But then it will happen again. And again. And suddenly one those who have died or disappeared will be someone you know. Then your doubts will begin to grow, and you will become one of those in danger.


Border Patrol at HiLoBrow:

Perhaps more frighteningly, as Gillespie argues in Wired Shut, the issue is no longer about what is illegal but about what is possible, as defined by the private security forces we have hired to patrol the borders. No longer public servants, but for-profit corporations. No longer a political football where the debate is at least a matter of public record, but a set of lawyers quietly negotiating Terms of Service agreements, re-writing the borders of possibility at computational speed and enforcing them with software incapable of reason. This new territory is perhaps wider than the old, but the border enforcement is harsh: shoot first, ask questions later.

What troubles me most isn’t that there are borders (there always will be), or that they are different (they always change) but that while in the material world removal is manual and leaves evidence of its passage, in the digital it can destroy without leaving a mark. A redacted document shows, in effect, the action of redaction. The infamous Nixon tapes are not zeroed data, but rather contain an 18.5 minute over-dubbed section of physical tape whose contents historians still hope to recover. Aphrodite’s head still exists, even with her nose missing and a cross on her forehead, and even the Taliban have left enough of the Afghan Buddha statues that international organizations hope to rebuild them someday. But as we evolve into a future where almost all of our cultural output is fragile and digital, I wonder what becomes of the content rejected from the canon?

Very interesting article regarding the transitory and changeable nature of digital media.

NOTE: "Borders" in this article refers to metaphorical borders, not physical borders.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Steve Young - Rock Salt & Nails (1969)

I have been looking for this album for a while now, since I first tracked down the origin of the song "Seven Bridges Road." Steve Young is the guy who wrote it, and originally released it on this album.

Of course it's out of print. It was later released on CD but even that is out of print and available only as a collectible import. It is not even available as an mp3 download from either Amazon or Rhapsody.

I was able to find the "Seven Bridges Road" from this album* on YouTube, but it was in mono, so my search continued. Also I wanted to hear the rest of the album if possible. Note: I might go ahead and upload a stereo version to YouTube before too long, just for kicks.

So finally I found it. If you click here, it will take you to a country music forum wherein one of the moderators made the entire album available via streaming. Naturally, due to my own peculiar obsession/hobby-horse, I used my equipment to record the whole thing and create mp3 versions of my own for repeated listening and future reference.

So, for anyone trying to find this album, just follow the link.

*I say "the 'Seven Bridges Road' from this album" because he re-recorded it a second time for a later album, but more about that some other time.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Way to go, Blogger

You dumbass m************ s********.

Take something that works perfectly fine and make it more difficult.

If anyone is wondering what has set me off, they've changed the way images work so that you now have to go through an additional step to view full-sized large images.

And of course, this is on top of their outright lie about the maximum size of large images.

Worthless f****.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Agog, I am

This one's for El Capitan.

Kid blogging

I don't usually do this kind of thing because I think it's pointless and annoying for everyone except the person who wrote it, but...

Last night my son asked me to put these two songs on his mp3 player.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Not as elite as you might think

From 23 Creative Ways To Use Obsolete Technologies at

This struck me as quite funny, I guess because I used to be a pager repair tech. Especially because the third from left is a Motorola Elite. Motorola pagers pretty much peaked with the numeric-only Bravo Plus; after that they progressively got fancier, more sophisticated, less reliable and just plain suckier with every model. I think the Elite was the last alphanumeric one-way (that is, receive only) pager they made, and sucked more than any of the others. The picture is misleading, though, because the Elite didn't have a built-in belt clip. They all came with a clip sheath, which is all you would need to hang up your clothes with.

The other three look vaguely familiar, like I probably saw them but never worked on them. Numbers 2 and 4 especially seem to have the stink of Panasonic or possibly Uniden on them. Man I hated working on those brands of pagers.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Weekend update (a day late)

I don't usually go so long without posting something, but it's been a hard past several days at work, even though the heat has finally started slacking off. One of the bigwigs came up with a cunning plan that was supposed to eliminate overtime and reduce workload. Several people tried to tell him that it would actually guarantee overtime and increase workload, but since he's a bigwig no one can tell him he's wrong (they can, but it just bounces off).

He had another cunning plan for a new employee grading system for evaluating annual performance, however it so far has failed to make sense and one of his underlings (one of my overlings), screwed up and let a couple of us Excel nerds look at it. How's this: you put in a bunch of numbers to calculate employee performance and then at year's pulls a bunch of other numbers from somewhere else entirely that have nothing to do with the numbers you've been entering all year.


So now he's been informed that this is also wrong, but I don't expect that to have any effect, either. The true purpose of this new system, as far as I can tell, is to make everyone look exactly the same so they neither have to discipline nor reward anyone.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Texas Forest Service Fire Activity


First-hand experience with #5

Link here. Man, this just bugs the **** out of me. It happens to me constantly. When I'm on foot, I have started just turning around and walking the other way. This usually sends the idiot the message that it's time for him to go, and I'll take care of crossing the street myself.

If I'm driving, I usually resort to something I was told in defensive driving class a long time ago: look down and pretend to be messing with the radio.

If you see me and suddenly bring all traffic to a halt trying to get me to cross the street in front of you, I promise you I won't be the only one there calling you bad names.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

On Highbrowism

Another invariable earmark of the highbrow is his paucity of real achievement. Men both great and wise lived and died before he was ever thought of, but it was not for them that the term “highbrow” was coined. The real Simon pure specimen does not invent a telephone or build a bridge across the East River or direct great enterprises or write good plays or good books or compose music. If he were really to accomplish anything of practical value he would cease to be a prophet. Moreover, his attitude must be invariably one contemptuous of success. His school of thought is one that sneers at all recognized achievement and glorifies the undeserving. Therefore, no matter what form of learning the highbrow may affect or what theories he may advance concerning literature, art, the drama, Socialism, politics or any of the other matters of which he loves to discourse, we may be quite sure that we are not listening to one speaking with authority. I really do not know what measure of contempt and reproach the followers of Kate Smithers would mete out to a highbrow known to have written a single witty line, to have correctly drawn the human hand, to have led a political party, benefited the poor or been able to recognize at first sight any form of artistic real merit.

Very interesting read at HiLoBrow, reprinted from the original written by James L. Ford in 1900. I believe the current term for a "highbrow" is "hipster."

By the way, I discovered HiLoBrow recently when they linked to one of my vintage pipe ads at The Briar Files.


Here's a sample pic that I took last week with my new phone. Nothing special, but I finally was able to transfer my photos to my computer. It looked like the only way I could do it was either with a memory card reader or a bluetooth dongle (that word always makes me giggle). So today I finally got around to stopping at Wal-Mart and getting a dongle (hee hee).

I think this was taken in the Rimrock Trail area, on my regular cycle 2 route. I don't usually say much about this route because there's really nothing to say. I wish all my routes were as easy and quiet as this one. This is the route where I took that picture of the strange "training unicycle" or whatever it was a couple of years ago.

The camera is just the standard low-rung 1.3 megapixel, which I think is now about the bottom-of-the-line for phones, but the big difference between this and my old phone is that it actually takes a picture when you press the button instead of waiting several seconds and inevitably blurring the picture.

So, maybe I can try taking more work pix again.