Monday, February 28, 2005

From My Birds Notebook

My birdwatching has gone lax during the past year, especially the record-keeping, but I would like to get back to keeping some notes on them. But I am lazy, so instead of writing down every last detail for every day of the week as I previously did, I may just do something simple like this.

In the past week I’ve seen or heard the following birds:

1. house sparrows (very common around the planet)
2. pine warbler
3. chipping sparrows (not common in my area)
4. carolina wrens (my musical friend)
5. Inca doves (lovely bird, smaller than the other doves I see)
6. mourning doves
7. ringed turtledoves
8. cardinals
9. blue jays
10. grackles
11. red-shouldered hawk
12. American robins

Keep in mind that most of the time these are just my backyard birds, so it won’t very often be an exotic list.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

The Intelligent Man

"The intelligent man finds almost everything ridiculous, the sensible man hardly anything." — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Sheer Inability

"I have lost friends, some by death... others through sheer inability to cross the street." — Virginia Woolf (1882 - 1941)

Friday, February 25, 2005

Bob Dylan: Grumpy Old Man In The News

Beating Up The New Kids On The Block

None of the news stories I’ve located about Bob Dylan’s recent written remarks seem very detailed to me. Dylan, who has made himself famous half for his music and half (in my mind) for being a lousy interview and for giving insubstantial answers to all manner of questions, does not surprise me that much. Nothing I’ve found about those program notes so far has revealed more than the following:

BOB DYLAN has launched a withering attack on contemporary rock bands in the program notes for his latest American tour.

"I know there are groups at the top of the charts that are hailed as the saviors of rock'n'roll and all that, but they are amateurs. They don't know where the music comes from," he wrote, adding, "I wouldn't even think about playing music if I was born in these times... I'd probably turn to something like mathematics. That would interest me. Architecture would interest me. Something like that."

There you go—Dylan once again being a horse’s ass where no ass of any kind is called for. Just a grumpy old man, I guess. I like Bob, but not every minute of every day. It's his music, not his personality, that holds all the charm. I haven’t cared much for his opinions since I learned decades ago that he doesn’t care much what he says when he isn’t singing. Just listening to them, one would seldom confuse the sensibility of the songwriter and recording artist with the shit-headedness of this other one, Bob “Don’t bother me with making sense” Dylan.

I guess I’d be interested if anyone anywhere ever explains what this famous old grump meant, but I won’t cry if I don’t ever hear about it. I think he’s a sort of psychotic who doesn’t like being famous and won’t play along at all with those who want to worship him or put him on a pedestal or squeeze a single lucid remark out of him. I heard Dylan being interviewed on TV some weeks or months ago and he was the same unpleasant persona he’s always been with interviewers, almost impossible to know what he meant despite the fact that he was speaking English. Get hip, everybody; it is not his forte, it is not his desire to communicate. If you don’t wanna talk, Bob, then for Christ’s sake, shut up! Sing or depart—how can I miss you if you won’t go away!

Bust Paranoia At The Dylan Concert In Houston.

All this reminds me of a road trip I took about 30 years ago—1974 approximately—driving from Austin to Houston’s Astrodome. The couple that went with me had seen Dylan in concert before, but I’d never seen him, so it was important to me. I was a big fan of his at the time, so it seemed like a thing well worth doing. All the way there, Josie and Alan kept talking about how good it would be and I felt like nothing could go wrong.

Things Went Wrong

Just as we got into Houston’s tangled inner vortex of freeways, my rear wheel bearing burnt out on the Houston freeway before we got to the Astrodome and the brake fluid poured out.

"Hey, we're smoking back here!" Josie hollered, pointing out the back window.

I could smell it and see the smoke; I wondered if the car could catch on fire this way and how long it would take. I had to stop soon, even without any brakes. We were about to move from one busy freeway onto another even larger and busier one with a hell of a lot of traffic around us! I removed my foot from the gas pedal, then ran the car up a steep grassy incline, turned the ignition off as I was going up, then pulled the emergency brake as it rolled back down onto the concrete shoulder. We were stopped and we weren’t on the road, thank you Jesus! The three of us breathed a big sigh of relief. It was not anything I’d ever done before, stopping like that! I then got heaps of praise from my friends for not killing any of us. Frankly, I felt like congratulating me, too!

Paranoia Increases

It was hardly paranoia, though. I called my father a few towns away and described where the car was. I would later find out the battery was stolen before he could get there and tow the car. Fanatical fans that we were, we paid for a taxi and got to the concert on time. My friend Alan shoved his bottle of wine into my small backpack while I wasn’t watching, thus causing one of the rent-a-cops at the Astrodome to pay particular attention to a search of yours truly. The "security man" at one of the entrance checkpoints confiscated the wine bottle. I thought I was busted when he also searched all the pockets of the bag and found half a cigarette pack of some joints that I’d pre-rolled—the best weed I’d ever had back then. The security prick waved us on into the Astrodome, thereby stealing my pot. I walked away, going up the pedestrian ramp with jets on my feet; I didn’t want to have a formal discussion about legal technicalities.

Dylan was pretty good that evening. There were other performers, but I’ll be damned if I remember who they were. I stayed a little tense about the pot I’d lost, despite the fact that people were passing joints to me so fast I couldn’t tell where they were coming from. Most of it was inferior to the pot I’d brought with me, but after a while, of course, no further distinction could be made.

This was a long time before Dylan became a grumpy old man talking about the new bands being amateurs. Thing is, I remember when Dylan was a new act himself and various Adults used to say the same against him! I get grumpy like that nowadays, too, of course; I’m just glad there’s no one there writing it all down or taping it. Oh, wait, I forgot—I’m writing it all down! Well, some of it. Telling the dirt on myself. Che sera sera. Don’t talk like a dirtbag with the microphones on, Bob!

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Some Bloggish Observations

Am I Wrong?

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think it's possible that no blogger has more than a few non-bloggers in his audience. Nearly everyone who leaves comments in my blog is a blogger. Each time I become familiar with comments in other blogs, the same appears to be true—nothing but bloggers talking to one another. That isn't a bad thing, but it is curious. It may mean that blogs are very intensely participatory and do not otherwise prosper. Those who aren't interested enough to start a blog also aren't interested or bold enough to keep reading them for very long or making comments. That's just some conjecture on my part; I'm sure there are probably exceptions. I try to sample as many blogs as possible each week and nothing yet has suggested that I'm in a narrow part of The Blog World—nothing yet has disproven my blogger-only theory.


Some Bloggers (me) almost immediately become self-conscious, thus they talk about blogs and examine the writing process and templates and other coding more than write the blog posts or examine other subjects of interest. A lot of Bloggers, like me, act like some criminal trapped in one of those police interview rooms with a one-way mirror. People are staring in at us, we know that and we begin to fidget and to wonder WHO is out there! We are nervous and we want to go over and peek back through the mirror at them, but we know we can't see through it! Thus you get maniacs of all sorts, some subtle, some crazed prowlers like me—we all want some feedback!

Diary With Statements About Public And Private Issues

Quite a lot of these blogs that I see could be called "diaries with statements about the largest of public policy issues and the smallest of private dung heaps." Though not often called so, I guess "The Rat Squeaks", too, is a sort of Diary in which I talk to myself, confess things in my own and other people's voices, fall into trances, perform tirades, dance sideways and backwards, boogie naked and upside-down till the cows come home, smear boogers on the walls or under the armchairs, pander to total strangers, and wonder where all my old friends went. Not many followed me to Blogland—I probably stepped on their faces, their fingers, their pride, or something. Maybe they have the lack of patience with blogs that I have with other things. It's always something.

Here on the Internet, I have a constant new inflow of people to annoy. As time goes by, I find I can irritate, alienate, or scorch a man or woman wearing asbestos clothing at a hundred paces. I'm never aware of it until it's already happened. Once it's happened, I wonder how I could possibly not have seen it coming! I'm either very stupid or very insensitive. Neither characterization is complimentary to me, is it? But I'll go on for a while nonetheless.
"I wonder what the hell he means by that?" Pollyanna Piphany

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Joy To The World

I’m not very nervous about writing here most days, but maybe it’s because I’m not confiding things to you like some bloggers do. Serious things like the presence of pimples in the shape of Mona Lisa’s visage on my last girlfriend’s left ass-cheek and how they got there! I had photos of it until recently, but she took them away from me for showing them around!

Some of you are confiding or confessing such things at a mile a minute. It’s intriguing, but it’s very strange, the things that you divulge to strangers when you think no one knows who you are, except your friends, who already know you’re a—well, whatever. I guess my friends know what I am, too—and it’s not the front end of the horse—and they treat me accordingly!

Monday, February 21, 2005

Gonzo Journalist Thompson Eats A Bullet

It Was Tasty, Too

It's hard to absorb, but I find that I hardly know anyone any more to whom I could remark about Hunter S. Thompson, creator of Gonzo journalism, being dead today at 67. Of course, I can't help but feel we should just be surprised that he made it this far.

I recall that all my first encounters with his writing were in Rolling Stone, those interminable articles about fear and loathing, about talking football with Richard Nixon in a limousine—the craziest man in America mistaken for a "real" journalist and allowed to travel knee to knee with a presidential candidate because Nixon only wanted to talk football right then! Bizarre…

There's lots of stories about guns, booze, and drugs, and if I knew them all, then like Hunter I'd have to retrieve some of my brain cells before I could begin to tell them. He was a weird character, yet he was supposed to be the reporter, not a character. Never mind. He wrote much of it down, I guess, and you could read that. He also may have been one of the first bloggers, for that matter. Not in the sense of the daily post, but in the sense of interjecting himself so much into what he reported that "being Objective" ceased to be an issue.

I'm not sure Thompson is the kind of writer who makes sense through the decades, but of course he's only been dead about 10 minutes, so how can we know? Since I lived through some of the times as he was writing it, he made perfect sense to me then. It's been a few years since I read any of his stuff, so I wouldn't know if he did or didn't have some overweening reason to snuff himself. But he's gone now—I guess some of the demons he used to see came to get him finally. Either that or else all those harried desk clerks (whose rooms he used to wreck) caught up with him.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Actresses, Part Two

My cousin JW emailed me and had these to add to my previous list--not bad!

Laraine Day
Audrey Hepburn
Lauren Becall
Katherine Hepburn
Betty Grable
Ginger Rogers

I answered thus:

Yes, except

Laraine Day was good-lookin', but never got me very excited. Unless you got some films or photos I haven't seen! Like maybe in a pair of tight short pants?

Audrey Hepburn was very beautiful, but didn't get me hot. I didn't miss her when the movie was over. She very seldom seemed sexy, though she seemed like a very nice and lovable woman. Maybe my head is fixated in my youth, when she just seemed way too skinny to me! I grew up in the age of Marilyn Monroe, after all.

Lauren Bacall was very nice when she was young and juicy, but mostly looked like hell to me as she got older. Maybe she didn't get the right roles any more. Other people just kept liking her, but I was not one of them.

Katherine Hepburn I used to say that she was "beautiful at any age", but then she got rather extremely past the 60-something she was when I first said that! She was still Great, of course.

Betty Grable and Ginger Rogers Oh, yeah, I forgot these two girl-next-door sexpots! They were Hot even when the characters they played were so steeped in virtue!
Goodbye, Sweet Sandra Dee

Having heard that she died today at age 62, I regret to say that I didn't have Sandra Dee on this list of questionable honor. I liked her very much, nonetheless, without thinking of her as the greatest of sexpots or actresses. I would have wished her longer life and more of whatever she liked, but nobody asked my opinion about it.
"If life was fair, Elvis would be alive and all the impersonators would be dead." Johnny Carson

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Actresses I Am Or Have Been Crazy About

A List Of Theatrical Ladies I Find Attractive

Some of them are dead, others old and sagging. The rest are merely aging—like the rest of us, except with better hair stylists, makeup artists, and plastic surgeons. This list is long (170 women), so feel free to skip or skim it, depending on your patience level. It’s alphabetical, if you just want to glance around and see if any of your own favorites are here. There may be fifty too few or too many here; it's only my opinion that they are, or once were, Hot. See how many you've never bloody heard of.

1. Alison LaPlaca
2. Ally Sheedy
3. Amanda Donahoe
4. Amy Irving
5. Andrea Marcovicci
6. Angela Bassett
7. Anne Bancroft
8. Annette O'toole
9. Annie Potts
10. Barbara Babcock
11. Barbara Eden
12. Bebe Neuwirth
13. Beverly D'Angelo
14. Blair Brown
15. Blythe Danner
16. Brooke Adams
17. Brooke Shields
18. Candice Bergen
19. Carol Kane
20. Catherine Deneuve
21. Catherine Helmond
22. Catherine Hicks
23. Christina Ricci
24. Christine Lahti
25. Claire Bloom
26. Claire Danes
27. Claudette Colbert
28. Colleen Camp
29. Coral Browne
30. Cybill Shepherd
31. Deborah Foreman
32. Debra Winger
33. Diane Ladd
34. Dianne Wiest
35. Ellen Barkin
36. Ellen Burstyn
37. Elsa Lanchester
38. Faye Dunaway
39. Frances Sternhagen
40. Geena Davis
41. Gena Rowlands
42. Gloria Grahame
43. Goldie Hawn
44. Grace Kelly
45. Greer Garson
46. Halle Berry
47. Helen Hunt
48. Helen Mirren
49. Helen Shaver
50. Holly Hunter
51. Ida Lupino
52. Inger Stevens
53. Isabella Rosselini
54. Jacqueline Bisset
55. Jane Alexander
56. Jane Curtin
57. Jane Fonda
58. Jane Seymour
59. Janet Leigh
60. Jean Harlow
61. Jean Seberg
62. Jenna Elfman
63. Jennifer Jason Leigh
64. Jennifer Warren
65. Jessica Harper
66. Jessica Lange
67. Jill St. Johns
68. Joan Greenwood
69. Joan Hackett
70. Joanna Cassidy
71. Jodie Foster
72. Judith Ivey
73. Julie Andrews
74. Julie Christie
75. Julie Kavner
76. Julie London
77. Julie Newmar
78. Julie Walters
79. Juliette Lewis
80. June Allyson
81. June Lockhart
82. Karen Allen
83. Kate Capshaw
84. Kate Nelligan
85. Katherine Ross
86. Kathleen Turner
87. Kathryn Harrold
88. Katy Jurado
89. Kelly Preston
90. Kim Cattrall
91. Laura Dern
92. Laura San Giancomo
93. Lea Thompson
94. Lee Grant
95. Lee Remick
96. Leelee Sobieski
97. Leigh Taylor-Young
98. Lesley Ann Warren
99. Linda Cardellini
100. Lindsay Crouse
101. Lois Maxwell
102. Lonette McKee
103. Maggie Smith
104. Maria Conchita Alonso
105. Mariel Hemingway
106. Marisa Tomei
107. Mary Beth Hurt
108. Mary Gross
109. Mary Steenburgen
110. Mary-Louise Parker
111. Meg Ryan
112. Megan Follows
113. Melissa Hart
114. Michelle Pfeiffer
115. Minnie Driver
116. Molly Ringwald
117. Nancy Allen
118. Nastassja Kinski
119. Natalie Portman
120. Natalie Wood
121. Nicole Kidman
122. Patti D'arbanville
123. Patty Duke
124. Paula Kelly
125. Paula Prentiss
126. Penelope Ann Miller
127. Phoebe Cates
128. Piper Laurie
129. Polly Bergen
130. Rachel Ticotin
131. Rachel Ward
132. Rene Russo
133. Sally Field
134. Sally Kellerman
135. Sandy Dennis
136. Sean Young
137. Sela Ward
138. Shelley Fabares
139. Shelley Long
140. Sheree North
141. Shirley Jones
142. Shirley Maclaine
143. Sigourney Weaver
144. Sissy Spacek
145. Sondra Locke
146. Sonia Braga
147. Sophia Loren
148. Stella Stevens
149. Stockard Channing
150. Susan Anspach
151. Susan Dey
152. Susan Kohner
153. Susan Sarandon
154. Susan St. James
155. Susan Strasberg
156. Susannah York
157. Suzanne Pleshette
158. Sylvia Kristel
159. Teri Garr
160. Tess Harper
161. Theresa Russell
162. Tina Turner
163. Tippi Hedren
164. Tovah Feldshuh
165. Tuesday Weld
166. Valerie Perrine
167. Vanessa Redgrave
168. Victoria Principal
169. Virginia Madsen
170. Winona Ryder

Friday, February 18, 2005

I've Got The Site Meter Monkey Off My Back!

I am surprised to find that I am already past my pangs of "withdrawal" from Site Meter. I have so far felt little compulsion to go check the Site Meter stats. Being off this drug-like habit more than two weeks now, I already feel better. It's not my intention to bad-mouth Site Meter in particular—it's just the counter that I happen to have. If the number of site visits made by bogus entities did not make my stats so inaccurate, I would still be interested in the stats. Since the numbers twist, warp, misdirect, and inflate, I would hate to even restore the "grand total" count.

I do find it curious that not a single other blogger has observed this phenomenon and reported it to me. Maybe some of you have had experience of it and are just not concerned enough to yammer about it. I guess I could think that way if I weren't so compulsive a person. If the stats aren't going to be accurate, I don't want to have much to do with it! Like this, I can just continue to live in the void and leave those brain-destroying numbers alone. Counting those counter "hits" all the time was eating my soul.

I know all this is just more of the kind of info that is only of interest to other bloggers. But we should be frank; most of the people who read these blogs ARE other bloggers. Rare is the "civilian" that I encounter on "The Rat Squeaks" or the other blogs that I read. If there weren't so many blogs, I guess we could be considered incestuous and would eventually die out due to inbreeding. But that's not happening yet!

Thursday, February 17, 2005

I Can't Count

Comment Or Email!

There is only one way for me to know that any of you are there. Comment or Email! Oh, I'm sorry, I can't count. So, if there are any extremely smug or shy readers out there who've never considered that, have that consideration now—even if it makes you look like you're having a conniption fit. Write!

Teri Garr Again

I ran across the "I've Got A Secret" TV show early this morning and saw Teri Garr again. I wanted to watch her some more, but that's a pretty boring TV show. I used to watch it with a little interest when I was a kid, but this is asking too much of me! I've never seen a show (not since the old days) that so plainly had a small budget! I hope they spend the money they save on the talent—somebody's got to take care of Teri, for Christ's sake! If she starves to death, she may get her figure back, but then I'd never get a chance to boff her. I don't think there is any winning scenario to be found here. This is all too pitiful. I might have to go make a regular human friend, one who's alive and who knows I'm alive.

Intelligent Blogs List—Remarks

Take note—especially those of you on the Intelligent Blogs list—of the remarks, smart-aleck and/or explanatory, that are newly attached to each of the links. Rest your cursor on the link to see the remark. Some of the remarks will continue to change in days and weeks to come until I am adequately amused.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

You Can't Kid A Cat

Kiss-up Dogs

I like cats all right, but I don't have much affection for them and it's hard to believe that they have any for me. Of course, nothing in the world is as transparently, needfully, wildly affectionate or as steadfast as a dog, even if they are sloppy. No cat, and not many of the people you know—no, not even your mother or your children—are going to be as glad to see you when you come home as a dog will be.

As comedian George Carlin pointed out, a dog is so stupid that he's wildly glad to see you again 2 minutes after you left, when you're only coming back for a moment because you forgot your car keys.

The Cat's Ass

Dogs are indiscriminate and unremitting in their love; they don't throw fits and hold grudges against you (a great relief in any relationship!). I guess cats don't hold many grudges, either, but neither do they ever hold me in any high regard. My own opinion is that cats don't hold anyone in very high regard, but cat owners will argue that to the ends of the earth, I guess. I can think of many a cat I've known that was beautiful or cute, but not many that were recognizably fond of me or glad to see me. The "kitty-cat's asshole in the face" is NOT a friendly act—I'm sorry, cat-lovers, I don't buy it!

Dogs Can Be, Cats Can't

Dogs will practically line up to be nice to you. You can kid a dog along and get along, but you can't kid a cat. A cat either likes you or doesn't, finds you entertaining at the moment or not. A cat despises you if you're not cool. Sounds like a beatnik. And that's it. At least, that's it for those of us who don't speak "Catonese." Cats are so different from me or from dogs that if I didn't know better, I'd say that they came from another planet. They speak another language—one completely different from my own.

Many humans are cat people—I'm aware of that, of course. Oddly, most of my friends are. I always wonder why it never bothers some of my friends that cats sink their claws in us humans as far as possible? Dammit, that hurts!


I remember how in the Eighties I had a large collection of cacti, hand-raised from seed, something of which I was so stupidly proud that getting stabbed and stuck by the sharp cacti spines seldom bothered me, never upset me. Some were only as hurtful as small pointy sticks, but others were like beveled steel awls or slightly used razor blades. Recalling it now, that willingness to suffer for my beloved "living" hobby seems as crazy to me as it does to anyone else. Maybe cat people are like that about cats. One way or another, I guess we're all Bozos on this bus.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005


On the concrete wall, there was a series of newspaper photographs showing the lone Chinese student standing defiantly before the tanks in Tienemen square in Beijing. Below the photos had been painted a crude legend, hastily executed by some street artist with an aerosol can:

One Man Does Not Count—
So All Tyrannies Declare!

"It isn't really time or space that separates people, but states of mind." Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Monday, February 14, 2005

Going Home

"What other girl's so hip?" Johnathan asked her in a tipsy voice as he pointed to the stereo.

"Hip?" Sallye asked.


"Who? I lost track of what you were talking about." It was the seventies; there was too much pot, cigarette smoke, and wine in the room.

"Joni Mitchell, of course. You know, like writing a song lyric about 'pissing a tequila anaconda the full length of the parking lot'?"

"I don't know," she grinned. "It sounds kind of awful to me."

"What does?"

"Having to take a piss in a parking lot."

"Well, for a woman, yes. Of course. But it's been done. You know what it's like late at night at a bar. Sometimes, outdoors is cleaner. And what a wonderful image for it!"

"It is clever," she yawned.

It was getting late, and he didn't seem ready to go home. She wished he would, though. They'd had a nice time, but now it was late. They hadn't had sex, and they weren't going to. They were friends. Their good friend Phil had been there earlier, but he'd gone home an hour ago.

"Johnathan's always been like this," she thought. "Not knowing when to stop or when to go home."

She was aware, though she didn't care to dwell on it, that he was always on the verge of being in love with her, especially late at night like this. She was always hoping that he'd get over it. Being friends with someone like that was a burden that she found hard to explain to him; it was hard precisely because they were friends. Even after all these years, she'd never quite found the words. How could she explain it? If he couldn't understand it the first time and remember it, what else could she tell him?

She didn't want to kiss him or sleep with him any more than she wanted to have sex with any of her women friends. Possibly less—she'd already had the experience of sleeping with him! She liked his cleverness and his company, and she wanted his friendship very much, but that was it. Camaraderie and affection were not love! She seldom got all that excited any more about sex or romance, anyway, but if she told him that, they'd just have to stay up and discuss it equably until he made her sick. He loved to argue and discuss—she knew from experience that sometimes they were the same, sometimes not.

"This was fun," Sallye yawned. "But I've got to go to bed now."

He stared at her, suppressing his longing looks as much as he could, trying to look nonchalant. He ended up grinning.

"Yeah, I'd better be going home myself," he said, standing up like a beaten man.

Joni Mitchell's "Talk To Me" Lyrics

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Teri Garr Talks About Kissing Behinds

Why Would She Talk About That?

I remember a long time ago (maybe ten years) that I saw the actress Teri Garr on a late-night talk show, saying that if they use nuclear weapons in the next war, we can all just kiss our behinds goodbye! Original thinking. Someone should point out to the people who are fond of that cliché that it is an unaccomplishable feat for most of us.

"Probably the best we could manage would be to kiss one another's behinds goodbye," the talk show host should have said.

The Moon Shines

"I'm ready," the modern breed of actress would probably giggle, then stand on the host's desk facing the camera, bend forward and flip her skirt.

Teri Garr appeared nude a time or two in her acting career, but she's older now and probably tamer. I'm not sure if she'd volunteer for ass-kissing duty any more. Maybe, or maybe not. But if it was, as she postulated, the end of life as we know it, maybe it wouldn't have to be exotic Johnny Depp's pink posterior to make the notion, er, ah, palatable to her! Not even handsome Brad Pitt! Maybe anybody would do. After all, this was her idea as I remember it. But that was a while ago.

Oh How Lovely Women Are!

Now be sure to take note that I have not said anything the least bit defamatory about Ms. Garr. I've always liked her. She did used to be slimmer, but she still looks okay. I'm an older guy, I can take it. I'd jump on her bones myself given opportunity—maybe kiss her behind as requested—if she didn't object too vociferously. That's not defamatory, it's just haphazardly lustful. Just me being an old roué. I'd take her, I swear, if she were wrapped in pink cellophane or silk, dressed in lightweight leather or lace, scented faintly with peppermint, vanilla, or sandalwood... Ah, ah, ahhh! Oh, dear Jesus, hold me down, I'm having one of those flail-on-the-floor fuck-me fits! Don't worry, though—Teri Garr is safe. I wouldn't hurt Teri for the world. It's me who's in danger. I'm hanging by a spaghetti string.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Everyone Wants You To Be Happy

I hear it all the time, that everyone wants you to be happy, everybody wants you to be free. But I'm not all that sure. From what I can see, a lot of people don't know, or maybe just won't admit, that what they really want when they talk like politicians and philosophers about your happiness and freedom is that they want you to be just as goddamn miserable, normal, tied down, predictable, and dull as they are. Otherwise, they would themselves feel left out, overshadowed, or discriminated against. This is, more or less, how we ended up as a country full of embarrassed nobodies being led by confident moneyed interests. How could we not end up with a president like George Bush—a man who's a true representative of it all.

Friday, February 11, 2005

My Stupid Rules About "Intelligent Blogs"

How To Get On The List

How to get on my Intelligent Blogs list is easy, but vague: you just have to strike my fancy. Now that I am not running Site Meter, I am not checking those visitor's URL's anymore, so that's a source of fresh meat denied me at present. I may never return to doing so, because it's more aggravating to be subjected to sellers (spam-visitors, I guess you'd call them) who visit every site on earth just so that some of us will check back, as I was doing.

The only viable way left to get my attention is to send me an email or leave a comment. Make sure you leave me your link and, more than likely, I'll take the bait. I'll visit your site. All the rest is happenstance, hazard, chance—maybe I'll stumble across the next Intelligent Blog on some stranger's blogroll.

How To Fall Off The List

Just as I add blogs in a random, quixotic, and unpredictable manner, it's hard to know when one of them may wear thin, fall short of it's promise and become dull, annoy me, cease to be as well-written, turn out to be too republican or maybe way too born-again. Such duds or disappointments are soon jettisoned.

Another way that blogs gets dumped is that they cease to write at least moderately often—say three posts a week, on average. I use Bloglines to subscribe to more than 30 blogs, so it's no great waste of my time if you don't publish often. I seldom check your blog until Bloglines lets me know you have something new there. But beyond that, whether it's stupid or unfair, I don't feel right recommending blogs that don't keep trying to be entertaining. Bloggers can be lazy toads, I don't mind that, but if you can't maintain a presence for very long, then it will soon seem like you don't want to be there!

Infrequent posting is also a good way to not get on the list; I've started to add A Butterless Man several times because he's entertaining, but he just doesn't post very often. I butter him up when I can and hope it'll make him post more.

Falling In Love With Love

The final thing, possibly not the most sensible, is this, a sort of variation on the old cliché, "Love me, love my dog". In my part of Blogland, it means: "Like my blog, like me!" No, I don't mean you have to come over to my house. But I do mean that you have to eventually show that you have been engaged by my blog, engaged enough to leave a few comments, send a few emails, have a little bantering talk! These "conversations" may be superficial, but I like them! The people who have these brief dialogues with me may be shiftless—how else would they have time to piddle away on me—but I like that, too.

So that's how I fall in love with blogs and bloggers and that's how I fall out of love with them, too. Them's the rules. Do you have any rules, or are you all sweetness and light?

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Two Poems About Love

Life With Marie

She was delightful, calming,
Liberating and freshening to be with—
But for every exciting delight he took in her
He paid a debilitating price in guilt and apprehension.

But just so fine and fiery was she,
She made the colorless world
Seem ever drabber, even more dilute
When she was gone.


1st draft: 02/09/05
©2005 Ronald C. Southern

Guillotine Chat

I might like all of my lovers
To come back like ghosts for a visit,
But one at a time, please!
I wouldn't want them all to get together
Like jaded executioners for a guillotine chat.


2nd draft: 02/08/05
©2005 Ronald C. Southern

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Lost And Found And Lost Again

Searching For Old Friends

I've had various computers—about five, I think—one at a time, spread out over about 16 years. I was somewhat proficient with word processors and with some data base programs in a non-network environment when I finally got a chance in 2000 to get on the Internet at my local library. I decided that, given this powerful and fun new tool, it would be great fun to search for people I'd lost track of over the years. I admit it was mostly an exercise. It wasn't important for me to find most of them, but the effort slowly familiarized me with the workings of cyberspace. I was determined to do as much searching as possible via Internet and email. I had the time to spend and was successful several times, managing to locate a few old friends from 20 and even 30 years ago. Of course, finding them isn't always the long-lasting joy you hope for.

In the process, I discovered the usefulness of the sites like and other genealogy sites that help you research your Family Tree. Those connected me to various government sites, such as the Social Security Death Index (SSDI) and various state records of births, marriages, and deaths. I hardly even remember now how I utilized them, but I do recall it was useful.


One old friend, Ralph, had such a common first and last name that I needed to narrow the possibilities. Thus I went to the Texas marriage records and found him indirectly by searching for his first wife's name, first in marriage and then in the divorce records. I was able to match that to my friend's name. And thus I discovered his middle name—something I'd never known twenty years ago—and then I could search for Ralph by his correct full name! That was useful indeed.

I also remember learning later that the disappearance of some of those "public record" sites I had accessed through RootsWeb were in direct response to the 911 attacks. What was formerly seen as just innocently exploring your family tree was now suspicious behavior—you might be a terrorist searching for an American identity to hijack. By then I'd finished all my searches, so I wasn't inconvenienced, but I was sorry to see that others were now cut off from those information sources. That caution may have been sorted out by this time; I hope so, anyway.

Ralph Unstrung

I found that particular friend, Ralph, through a convoluted path; he was an old friend from Austin 20 years ago whom I'd last seen in Galveston. He turned out to have ended up almost back where he began, on the outskirts of Austin. We talked on the phone once and were quite friendly, but that was about all there was to it. His computer was broken, he said, and so he had no email and he was a family man now and had a world of new friends. I wrote Ralph a couple of snail-mails and got no answer—he never was much of a letter-writer. I guess he never fixed his computer—or if he did, he didn't care to say so. He's not so far away that I couldn't go there, yet I never go there. That's one found, but one gone, too.


I'm pretty sure I had identified another old friend, Von, in his Texas hometown, but that "find" was just left hanging in the air. I found his father (same exact name) listed in the Social Security Death Index and recognized that the address given at time of death was the same parental address Von had once given me years ago—I still had it written down in an old notebook. I wrote to that address, figuring that I had him nailed, but I got no answer. If it isn't him living at that address, it's someone using his family name, so I figure someone in his family is there. I'm not going to be a pest about it, so I guess Von will remain a mystery unless I just want to go kick his door in. There's another one down.

Wilfried From Germany

In high school 30 years before, I'd had a good friend, a foreign-exchange student from Germany. We had written for a year or two after high school, then we both got busy. By the time I started searching for him on the Internet, I had no info about him except his name. Thus, my search for him was straightforward, but long. There were hundreds of guys named Wilfried ________ listed on the Internet, some of them with email addresses. I wrote every single one who had an address. I read or skimmed many of the other sites, eliminating most of them by using such factors as age, appearance, or other details. Then, after hundreds of sites and dozens of emails sent, and even 15 or 20 "Sorry, not me" answers from various friendly Wilfrieds, I got an email response from The Right One! He was astonished and asked how I'd tracked him down! I was thrilled and asked him what the hell he'd been doing for thirty years! It had taken me twelve weeks to find him—about 72 actual hours, I estimate.

Wilfried and I both wrote a few long happy letters, exchanging info, even discovering that we were both birdwatchers! Then, without warning and despite how well suited to each other we seemed, he completely stopped writing. For a while I thought that maybe he'd been hit by a truck—how would I ever know? But then I Googled some more and contacted the people who hosted him when he was in America as a student and they informed me he was all right. At any rate, he was still alive. These mutual friends informed me he was sometimes subject to depression. I must have caught him during a very short period of non-depression! I haven't heard from Wilfried since 2001. That's a long spell of depression, if that's what it is. Wilfried was the old friend that I'd most wanted to track down, and it's really quite heartbreaking that he's disappeared into the quicksand of life. He's been lost and found, and now is lost again.


Another old friend, Rick, was not so close as some old friends, but I thought I'd always been fond of him. So I had, if I say so, but then I was knocked facedown in the dirt when he turned up and didn't know me! Rick had disappeared two decades ago in the direction of New York City and I found his name mentioned on an Internet site. I got someone to contact him where he now worked, elsewhere in New York. I was happy to get an email from Rick not long after; however, it turned out that he remembered people who were our mutual acquaintances, but not me. I remembered him so well, I thought, but I myself was not memorable! Sometimes one's ego has to take a mighty beating! I eventually served the fine purpose of getting Rick back in touch with one or two of the others, and he eventually claimed that he remembered me after all, but he never said a word that would tend toward confirmation of that claim, not by my standards. I concluded that he was being polite. I don't blame Rick or find him purposefully disagreeable, but locating him was not one of my best experiences in looking up old friends via the Internet. It is a good caveat to others who are considering being sentimental about the past, I guess.

Harvey, Another Fine Fellow

Harvey probably would have also been easy to find through other means than the Internet. Here was another I hadn't seen or heard from in twenty years. He was another of my old "hippie days" friends who turned out to be very political and seemingly very reality-based. He was both in business and had an Internet news site with a fair degree of regard among some state politicians and political reporters. I admired what he was doing, and he was very friendly, but I never got a chance to visit him and it seemed as if, via email, we didn't quite speak the same language any more. Certainly, I was not knowledgeable enough about state politics to fully comprehend his articles. So we made the effort, but we soon drifted out of one another's earshot. I think it was a case where I had the capacity to sustain an email-only relationship, but he, like most people, can't have an email relationship if they don't also physically see and hear you from time to time. He was another Fine Fellow fallen off the edge of the world. It was just the way the world worked.

Robert, Being Despised, Etc.

Oh, there are others I sought, but I'll cut the details. At least one other, Robert, busily answered me in a friendly manner at first, albeit vaguely. Then he seemed to actually remember me. I sensed that he was uncomfortable and wrote to tell him if that was the case, if he was remembering the bad parts, I'd understand if he didn't write any more. He didn't write any more. I didn't blame him, I had written him rather tentatively and had been surprised when he responded. Some people still have cause to despise you, it turns out, even when it's been thirty years since they despised you!

There were other people I searched for at very great length that year, but I never found a clue as to their whereabouts. I now know that working too hard and long on such matters is an investment in all the wrong things. Sayonara, John Bowen, still unfound. Happy trails, Sandy, Carmen, Candy, and the rest, lost in the turgid flesh of time.

Goodbye to you, boys and girls, Lost Ones all.

Addendum: P and M

I forgot one, I'm surprised to say. In fact, two, as it was a couple. P and M were close friends who borrowed a hundred dollars from me in Austin. I practically forced them to do it, as they kept saying how friends fell out sometimes about money and they wouldn't want that to happen to us! So they took the loan and a few months after disappeared completely from Austin. I was perplexed, but not about the money as much as about losing track of my friends. Year after year, I regretted that loss. Fifteen years passed and then I found them via the Internet. They were friendly and excited for a short while, but then the inevitable boredom set in and they didn't email much after that. I sighed and read the writing on the wall. I wasn't angry, but I did mention the borrowed money to them, just telling them that if it was ever convenient for them, I was poor enough that I could benefit by the repayment. At first, M answered and said she didn't remember the loan, but that they'd send it by first post. Then weeks passed; it never came. I don't know if P and M discussed it further and decided that I was a worthless shitass for asking for the money they didn't even remember borrowing. But at long last, I had arrived at the point where I could hold them responsible for stealing my little bit of money. For 15 years I'd held them blameless because I didn't know what had happened. I still don't know what happened, but now that they've stolen the money a second time, I feel I definitely have the right to resent it. It would have been far better if I hadn't found them, wouldn't it?

Words of Wisdom from A Butterless Man:

Professor: Next time, hold your penis steady and don't walk around while you pee.

Fergus: Okay, daddy.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Worship Your Own

You've got to have a goal, people say. Why, everyone's got a dream of some kind!

No, not the last time that I noticed. I checked my hoopla at the door along with my guns and libido. I take a little amusement, I admit, but even that is all verbal, visual, or auditory. It's been a long time since I jumped up and down about something sublimely self-polishing and ridiculous—you know, the way people carry on about sports teams, the Pope, or Michael Jackson in his white-man disguise. Have some dignity, people! At the very least, kneel down and worship your own dreams—if that's what you call 'em—not those of someone else.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

I Wish I Were Nice

I guess it goes without saying that I am an irritable person and therefore I am an irritable blogger. I wish it weren't true, I wish I were nice. Or, at the least I wish I were sane and didn't behave in an aberrant manner. I wish I could balance being so coldhearted one moment and so hotheaded the next with being some kind of even-natured pleasant soul. But I can get mad at the drop of a hat these days.

I walk about the house sometimes, getting angry at one inanimate object after another, including doorknobs, washcloths, light switches, drinking glasses, pencils, the garage door opener, the clothes washer, cabinet doors, screen doors, drawers, oversized garbage cans and undersized garbage bags. I curse aloud at Coke cans for making noise as loud as a bullet when I open one. I despise the repetitive mind-killing commercials I've been watching for the past six months or so.

I get mad at those I know well and at family members and even at people who might be able to do me some good some day. The oddest thing is that I get mad at other bloggers sometimes, people I don't even know. Sometimes they comment about me and use a word or phrase carelessly and I act like somebody just got my leg wet on purpose—you know how that occurs! And then I have to ask, "Why the hell would you say something like that?" And then it turns out they have no idea of having said anything much! No, most of them are not like my family, sentimental as a bunch of sick sheep one instant, then ready to quarrel like jumpy mad dogs (Irish setters come to mind) in an instant, unwilling to hear a single word the other party says.

I wish I were nice, sure, but it's in the blood, and I don't expect I'll ever be able to do a damn thing about it. Other members of my family don't treat Everyone like that, just each other. I myself am egalitarian and DO treat everyone that way. I'm just a mad dog, I don't know why. Sometimes, if not most times, I even bite myself. If you were thinking about coming here, about linking to my site, keep me on a short leash and yourself on a long one so you can pull yourself back home in helter-skelter time. When you get there, you can pull the leash back, withdraw the link, and check to see if you have all your fingers and toes.

I wish I were somebody else, I do—but not anybody that I know at present. Sometimes I wish I were dead, but that might be worse than merely being someone else. It's amazingly difficult most of the time to figure out what would be worse. Lately, though, it seems like whatever comes Next will be worse.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Trackbacks Are For What?

Dammit, What Are They For!

What I’d really like is for someone somewhere to explain Trackbacks! I’ve read explanations that made no sense whatsoever. I don’t know if I’m supposed to utilize Trackbacks in my blog form or if you’re supposed to do it. I don’t know if you’re supposed to utilize the Trackbacks in your blog for you or for me. I don’t know what the hell they’re for! They must be useful or why did someone invent them in the first place and why do they now persist? I’d sure like to see something plainly written that lets me know what to do, where to do it, and how.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Puckney's Bravado

He was eating breakfast in the Chuckwagon at the University of Texas main campus like he did most days when he saw the short dark-haired young woman coming toward him. Good things often happen around food, he thought.

"Fuck me," she said, shyly leaning forward to set down her food tray on his table.

The overage college student couldn't believe his luck. She was pretty enough for that and more. The problem was, they were in a crowded restaurant in broad daylight, and he'd never seen her before in his life.

"Pardon me?" he said incredulously.

"Puckney," she said more audibly, "my name is Puckney," and then she spelled it. He was a little relieved as well as a little disappointed, but didn't have time to dwell on it for she just kept talking.

"I saw you sitting over here and wondered if you'd mind if I asked you a question."

"I don't mind."

"Well, you know," she said and put her food on the table and sat down beside him, "I've seen you around before and thought you looked interesting."

She sounded a bit breathless. She was looking a little bit more at her Coke than at him.

"Hey, you aren't married, are you?" she asked as if the idea had just dawned on her.

"No, I'm not," he said, starting to be amused and titillated at the same time. This wasn't as good as what he first thought about what she'd said, but it was still pretty good. Very different from his usual conversations. It seemed promising.

"Puckney," he said. He couldn't resist saying it. "That isn't your first name, is it?"

"Oh, no!" she laughed. "My name is Donna. That's my first name."

"Why do you go around introducing yourself by your last name, then?"

"I—well, I don't know. It's just college life, I guess. The professors all refuse to call you by your first name, and all the girls at the dorm call me Puckney 'cause they think it's so funny, I don't know why."

He imagined that she did know why, but he could see where she wouldn't want to start conversations with strangers about it. Or maybe she thought that people had to know her for a while before such a vulgarity would dawn on them.

She obviously didn't know him. His brain went straight for the vulgar stuff. He was trying to be nice and not think it, she was so damnably puppy-dog cute, but he was having little luck. He wondered what her question was, but she seemed to have already forgotten it. maybe that was just some bravado she'd come up with to cover her embarrassment about speaking to a stranger.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Snooping Around On You Via Site Meter

Too Much Analysis

In the past I have used my Site Meter and Haloscan programs to snoop as much as I could on who's reading me, but I am near to finding it all pointless. It's interesting, but pointless. Lately I find out negative things, like maybe it feels good to see that I've gotten 25 or 30 hits, then I discover half of them are strangers doing Google or Yahoo image searches for The Same Image! They're all trying to find the same one scantily clad photo that I once linked to. The same ONE damn search for a Bettie Page photo (that I only linked to!) keeps turning up! Usually from different IP's or Domain names, so I guess it's not some old enemy at work. Nor a professional pest, either, or there'd probably be a far larger number of hits.

Modern Pork Rinds

There is some glitch going on at the least, because why would the searches only become prominent now, when that single link has been there for a long time? Why have my (very few) other images never yet been Googled? I used to NEVER get hits from image-searches! I very much get them now, and it's skewing my numbers to such a degree that there's no meaning left in my numbers! I even went back and changed the Page's photo link to something else, but I guess a cache or other demonic Internet device somewhere keeps throwing it back out there, regardless of what's current on my blog! Spam blogs are also arriving here and crapping on the visitor count, so those numbers are also misleading. The numbers don't mean shit anymore. (I also don't follow the hits back to any individual's origin anymore because of the Spam blogs. My curiosity about what stranger is visiting my site has been bitch-slapped into disinterest by the spammer blogs for porcelain pork rinds and other useful things.)

Goodbye, Mr. Meter

I contacted Site Meter who suggested the only way to stop the count is to delete the HTML for Site Meter. I don't know exactly what part of that he meant as being something more helpful than the obvious. Certainly, deleting Site Meter would stop it from doing anything! He's probably a busy man or my question was somehow moronic. Deleting Site Meter can't save me any money, but it might save me a bunch of pissed-away hours and minutes and a modicum of brain-cells. I think Larry Jones (at his revision99 site) led the way on this recently—it's like a bad habit you've gotta break, that's all. I wonder if Larry's taken up chewing gum or snorting heroin yet?

However, if anybody knows anything about a solution for this, let me know now before I do something rash, violent, rude, or illegal! Otherwise, it's cold turkey for me.