An Elegant Time-Waster ~ Very Early Morning Thoughts

America’s Got Talent is an OK show – but when I was introduced to the “outside the US” versions, I came to realize there are some very good versions of that show around.   Several things define it for me, but perhaps the biggest on of all ~ there is no 90-second time limit.  The acts take as long as necessary to show what their talent is and how it works.  Here is the winner from 2009 who introduced me to real sand painting.

BTW, this really does have something to do with this post – I promise …

I have been watching sand paintings/painters for several years … until I ran into this interpretation of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. To quote:

” And today, we bring you the live-action sand animation of Hungarian artist Ferenc Cakó, who projects his work on a screen for a theatrical audience. These more sculptural forms may be more painstaking than traditional cel animation, and for that reason more rare, but they are also often much more interesting.”





And to give proper credit – here’s the site I found this…I have it bookmarked and visit it daily…It’s call “openculture” for a reason.

Very Early Morning Thoughts ~

It’s so dusty and messy in here, I had a problem opening the door.  I think I can say, that’s what happens when I go away for as long as I did! But, I’m back how – and need to get things back in order!


OK, maybe this place isn’t “quite” that bad, but I can’t really get going unless I work for a bit to make sure this blog I call my 2nd Life doesn’t end up looking as the next  one did.  >was having a little trouble believing these pictures…until I did a larger search – Oy!!


But now, I’m back …  A lot has gone on, and I’m ready to start sharing my stories!


An Elegant Moment In Time ~ Early Morning Thoughts

What happens when you take ~ 8 weeks of planning, 8 sound tracks of 60s through 90s music, 10,000 who auditioned, 400 chosen, 10 hidden cameras, and a terminal full of unsuspecting commuters? You get an amazing moment in time.

Here is a cell-phone commercial recently filmed in England … at a railway station during rush hour…

Of course, it took quite a bit of planning and rehearsal ….

I always get a bit teary/emotional seeing things such as this … hopefully, not too many commuters missed their trains ….

Side note ~ There are some advantages to being old(er). Years ago, on the old Alan Funt Candid Camera, in a supermarket ~ there was an announcement on the loudspeaker asking everyone to take a moment and dance. A waltz was played and the “plants” literally took unsuspecting shoppers in their arms and began to waltz with them. My family urben legend is that my uncle had written the show and suggested it as something they could do.

You Can’t Make These Up!! ~ Early Morning Thoughts

My dear friend EB sent me these pictures w/commentary in an e-mail recently. I just have to share them. These articles/headlines say it all . . . .

I would have guessed about 20
That’s a GREAT paint job I say . . .
Good going Captain Obvious!!
Who elected these people?
And they were expecting – what?

What goes around, comes around!!!
That is just mean ~

If you see him PLEASE call ~
Let me know how that works out for you ~

The Case Of The Missing … ~ Early Morning Thoughts

It was something out of an Agatha Christie mystery novel. Now, there certainly wasn’t the “clicketyclackety” of a train track or mysterious visions in dark tunnels or various instruments of death being looked over by a Belgian ~ but it was a mystery none-the-less.

We had hired a maintenance man for the complex ~ he worked for a week then mysteriously (OK ~ not so mysteriously) disappeared. I was awakened Sunday morning at 4:30am by someone telling me that my maintenance man was bleeding all over the road, and that I needed to come out and see what was going on – or what had happened at the least.

Not being at my best at 4:30am, unless it’s by choice (OK ~ I’ll draw a curtain of discretion about early morning awakenings!), I was less than thrilled about being drawn out of the confines of my apartment to something that was going to involve blood, flood or fire.

He, evidently, decided to intervene in an argument that was occurring on the street. The two people (one male and one female) thought that his intervention was 1) annoying and 2) not necessary ~ did what amounted to a smack down. This, according to initial reports, involved a cut on the head and being slightly shaken up. One thing I have learned over the years ~ make sure that you really are needed to get in the middle of an argument, or BOTH parties of the argument are very apt to turn on you, and you will come out the worse for wear.

My maintenance man had ~ as far as I knew ~ a head cut (which always looks worse than it is) and was slightly banged up.

The last I saw of him was as he was being spirited away in an ambulance. I really had no idea that the next couple of days were going to be as a James Bond movie (remember which one involved taking someone away in an ambulance?) without the car and gadgets to go with it. It seemed as if he had dropped off the face of the earth ~ or at least off the face of my complex.

I found out today, it was far more serious and injurious. He had a broken (not sprained) ankle, and the surgeons last night had to move tendons from the leg to repair tendon damage ~ to say nothing of the plate and screws that were now in his ankle.

Finally, today we got the “rest of the story” and realized that he was not damaged beyond recognition, nor was he incarcerated for the long term.

By now, I was convinced that the “Twilight Zone” had overcome me, and nothing was as it seemed. Because he had disappeared with the keys, I had spent $95 petty cash to get the locks re-done (which he had had the keys attached to his belt) and tried to make sense of what had happened. However, not knowing where he was and/or what had happened to him I was basically at a loss.

As I found out today, his cell phone had also disappeared during the altercation, and all his phone numbers were in the phone. Having faced a similar situation recently when my phone battery literally “died” and I couldn’t get any numbers from it ~ I could understand completely.

So now, I have a maintenance man in the hospital facing rehabilitation and wanting to work. This should prove an interesting combination.

And yet, life and the complex goes on ~ So, if you know of a maintenance man needing work … just let me know…

Complex Tales ~ Early Morning Thoughts

To paraphrase the Wicked Witch from the Wizard of Oz ~ “What a week! What a week! I”m melting!” Well ~ not really melting, but certainly glad that the week is over.

Two weeks ago, I landed a job after being out of work for “some” time. (that post here)

Anyone of a “certain” age, knows the difficulty of finding work. As I’ve said before, it’s not something that is even mentioned ~ but being “older” certainly figures in the minds of people doing the interviewing. I was sure the job was out there ~ I just hadn’t found it yet. Of course, the fact that my knees don’t work as they should was part of the problem as well. (As a side-note: anyone who has or is contemplating Wal-Mart, should definitely read —>Behind The Counter<— blog! Along with being very…um…amusing ~ it's a great eye opener!)

On June 11th I in essence, walked in and took over an apartment complex ~ as their new manager. One of a string of new managers, I was to find out. Those of you that live or have lived in apartments know the drill. Once a month, on the first (usually) of the month your rent is due. Failure to pay on the due date results in late fees and play THAT game too long and you’ll be evicted. On the property I’m managing, the tenants pay by the week. So, the work that I usually did over the month is compressed into a 7 day period instead of 30. At the end of the seven day period, I get to start it all over again. Of course, there are certain legal steps that apartments have to take when tenants decide not to pay – for whatever reason. These steps are also compressed into a one week period.

Fortunately, most of the tenants have gotten the picture and the idea. The day of the week they moved into the apartment is the day of the week their rent is due. (Not a really hard concept, but … there are a few who just seem to have trouble with that idea.) So, notices that we are going to file, cut off electricity (we pay the electric and they pay a small portion of what would be a LARGE bill to us) and lock them out…occurs quite quickly.

Under the previous ownership, the apartments suffered from all sort of problems, which we are currently trying to sort out. Some of the problems were/are physical and some were/are residential. Fortunately, with a little strong arm help from the corporate office (You have to love it when someone loves to play Rambo!) and some very friendly and helpful police officers ~ I have reason to believe that the last of the two-legged cockroaches have been somewhat forcibly removed decided to move elsewhere.

The complex itself has such a delightful variety of people that there’s never really a dull moment. I’ve got all kinds of ages, orientations, beliefs, outlooks and ideas. I have one fellow who two months ago was literally living on the street and through the efforts of someone ~ now has a job and is holding his own on rent, utilities and survival. I’ve got a 48 year old skateboarder who really should have been a hippie artist with a flower painted VW van. I have one gentleman in his late 30’s who is heavy into the whole “goth” culture. These are just some of the characters I will be introducing to you over the next several days. Oh and trust me, “corporate” will also be coming under the microscope. There are a LOT of interesting stories there.

And, of course, this was the week that my health decided to become less than perfect. The first week I was in/on the job, I had to spend 5 days (in hot and muggy Houston weather) in a very small office (I think they gutted a broom closet to make it ~ it seems smaller than a small cubicle) with no air conditioning. That was what did me in and tried to bring me down. I’ve held it together, and this afternoon I relaxed and dozed. Tomorrow is definitely a day of “do not disturb – or else!”

Right now, it takes me just over an hour (if the buses and such run as they should) to get to work, and a bit longer to get home at night. I will be moving onto/into the complex the end of the month … so there certainly will be tales of that as well.

–much more to follow

–wicked witch from Mego Museum

And Your Little Dog Too! ~ Early Morning Thoughts

One of my daily read favorite blogs is called “Don’t MAKE Me Get My Flying Monkeys!” I have to admit that the very first time I saw the title, I had to repress an enormous urge to shout: “I’ll get you and your little dog too!!!” As I have followed the blog over time, I have have found out just what a delightful person Laurie is and those connected to her as well.

Laurie ~ you have kept all of us so updated on your life, and then you began the series involving Dale and ALL that he has been going through in the hospital (to say nothing of your (1) hysterically (2) described (3) trip (4) – well, the drive (5) anyway – to get there). While convincing me all the more, that a hospital is not exactly the place to get well … at least Dale has been surrounded by love, care, concern, hope and a decided lack of fear. (If anyone hasn’t read it – now would be a good time to click on the link above ~ or the one –>RIGHT HERE<– )

Now, you are faced with the wrenching problem of having to leave for a time.

As much as I hate to leave Dale in this condition, I have work duties that have to be taken care of. Making the decision to go is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. I don’t see any way out of it and it is breaking my heart.

I know just how difficult that decision has been and is for you. There is such a sense of feeling that you will not be there — and not be there for Dale. However (comma) I want you to assure Dale:

I may not be physically present,
but my spirit remain.
My hope
is ringing
the hospital bed
on which

I may not be physically present,
but my concern
and love remain.
That love
has seeped
into the walls
the hospital bed
on which

I may not be physically present,
but my thoughts
and belief remain.
They will shine
from the corners above
the hospital bed
on which

I may not be physically present,
but I will see you
at every turn,
I will see you
in a stranger’s smile,
a word of greeting,
a moment of silence.
I will hear your voice
as I look out over
the valley,
as the cats play
terminator with
their cat pole,
as the wind comes across
my face
in the mornings.

No, I may not be
physically present ~
but I’ll be (insert favorite “cuss” here)>)
if you’re going to
me ~ yet!

(An aside to Wolf:)

As you know, I play a character on World of Warcraft … allow him to imbue your armor with +25 stamina, your chest plate with +16 Int, +5 Crit. I’m going to add +22 healing to your armbands and +16 healing to your ring of defense. Go forth young Warrior!!

–picture of the flying monkey was labeled as a Mattel toy. I’m sorry I don’t know the date of manufacture.
–seeping light picture from

I’m Thinking Of A ~ Late Night Thoughts

If you have never read “The Onion” you have missed a delightful collection of completely made-up fanciful and commentary articles. In October 2, 2002 they printed an article that shows they had their crystal ball completely polished – or at least pointed in the right direction. Thanks to durnMoose blogs for printing this article!

The Onion

RIAA Sues Radio Stations For Giving Away Free Music

LOS ANGELES-The Recording Industry Association of America filed a $7.1 billion lawsuit against the nation’s radio stations Monday, accusing them of freely distributing copyrighted music.

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Here is the complete article:

LOS ANGELES—The Recording Industry Association of America filed a $7.1 billion lawsuit against the nation’s radio stations Monday, accusing them of freely distributing copyrighted music.

“It’s criminal,” RIAA president Hilary Rosen said. “Anyone at any time can simply turn on a radio and hear a copyrighted song. Making matters worse, these radio stations often play the best, catchiest song off the album over and over until people get sick of it. Where is the incentive for people to go out and buy the album?”

According to Rosen, the radio stations acquire copies of RIAA artists’ CDs and then broadcast them using a special transmitter, making it possible for anyone with a compatible radio-wave receiver to listen to the songs.

“These radio stations are extremely popular,” Rosen said. “They flagrantly string our songs together in ‘uninterrupted music blocks’ of up to 70 minutes in length, broadcasting nearly one CD’s worth of product without a break, and they actually have the gall to allow businesses to advertise between songs. It’s bad enough that they’re giving away our music for free, but they’re actually making a profit off this scheme.”

RIAA attorney Russell Frackman said the lawsuit is intended to protect the artists.

“If this radio trend continues, it will severely damage a musician’s ability to earn a living off his music,” Frackman said. “[Metallica drummer] Lars Ulrich stopped in the other day wondering why his last royalty check was so small, and I didn’t know what to say. How do you tell a man who’s devoted his whole life to his music that someone is able to just give it away for free? That pirates are taking away his right to support himself with his craft?”

For the record companies and the RIAA, one of the most disturbing aspects of the radio-station broadcasts is that anyone with a receiver and an analog tape recorder can record the music and play it back at will.

“I’ve heard reports that children as young as 8 tape radio broadcasts for their own personal use,” Rosen said. “They listen to a channel that has a limited rotation of only the most popular songs—commonly called ‘Top 40’ stations—then hit the ‘record’ button when they hear the opening strains of the song they want. And how much are they paying for these songs? A big fat zip.”

Continued Rosen: “According to our research, there is one of these Top 40 stations in every major city in the country. This has to be stopped before the music industry’s entire economic infrastructure collapses.”

Especially distressing to the RIAA are radio stations’ “all-request hours,” when listeners call in to ask radio announcers, or “disc jockeys,” to play a certain song.

“What’s the point of putting out a new Ja Rule or Sum 41 album if people can just call up and hear any song off the album that they want?” Frackman asked. “In some instances, these stations actually have the nerve to let the caller ‘dedicate’ his act of thievery to a friend or lover. Could you imagine a bank letting somebody rob its vaults and then allowing the thief to thank his girlfriend Tricia and the whole gang down at Bumpy’s?”

Defenders of radio-based music distribution insist that the relatively poor sound quality of radio broadcasts negates the record companies’ charges.

“Radio doesn’t have the same sound quality as a CD,” said Paul “Cubby” Bryant, music director of New York radio station Z100, one of the nation’s largest distributors of free music and a defendant in the suit. “Real music lovers will still buy CDs. If anything, we’re exposing people to music they might not otherwise hear. These record companies should be thanking us, not suing us.”

Outraged by the RIAA suit, many radio listeners are threatening to boycott the record companies.

“All these companies care about is profits,” said Amy Legrand, 21, an avid Jacksonville, FL, radio user who surreptitiously records up to 10 songs a day off the radio. “Top 40 radio is taking the power out of the hands of the Ahmet Erteguns of the world and bringing it back to the people of Clear Channel and Infinity Broadcasting. It’s about time somebody finally stood up to those record-company fascists.”

And of course, we know that a couple of years later the RIAA began suing anyone they could possibly think of who might have a single song/CD in their possession that might be a copy. Aside from actually dealing with people who were making enormous quantities of music available, they have also gone after grandmother’s who had no idea how to operate a computer – and there is even a story floating around that they have sued at least three dead people.

Of course, they were a number of years behind ASCAP (another royalty organization) that was collecting money if a Girl Scout Camp sang “God Bless America” around the campfire, but that’s another post!

I was looking through “The Onion” archives and found this article dated November 30, 2005. At first glance, it seemed like just another Onion article that John Stewart might have used.

The Recording Industry Association of America announced Tuesday that it will be taking legal action against anyone discovered telling friends, acquaintances, or associates about new songs, artists, or albums. “We are merely exercising our right to defend our intellectual properties from unauthorized peer-to-peer notification of the existence of copyrighted material,” a press release signed by RIAA anti-piracy director Brad Buckles read. “We will aggressively prosecute those individuals who attempt to pirate our property by generating ‘buzz’ about any proprietary music, movies, or software, or enjoy same in the company of anyone other than themselves.” RIAA attorneys said they were also looking into the legality of word-of-mouth “favorites-sharing” sites, such as coffee shops, universities, and living rooms.

However – this week a serious bill began to make it’s way through the “hallowed halls” of Congress. Here are some of the key provisions:

Criminalize “attempting” to infringe copyright.
Federal law currently punishes not-for-profit copyright infringement with between 1 and 10 years in prison, but there has to be actual infringement that takes place. The IPPA would eliminate that requirement. (The Justice Department’s summary of the legislation says: “It is a general tenet of the criminal law that those who attempt to commit a crime but do not complete it are as morally culpable as those who succeed in doing so.”)

–Create a new crime of life imprisonment for using pirated software.
Anyone using counterfeit products who “recklessly causes or attempts to cause death” can be imprisoned for life. During a conference call, Justice Department officials gave the example of a hospital using pirated software instead of paying for it.

–Permit more wiretaps for piracy investigations.
Wiretaps would be authorized for investigations of Americans who are “attempting” to infringe copyrights.

–Allow computers to be seized more readily.
Specifically, property such as a PC “intended to be used in any manner” to commit a copyright crime would be subject to forfeiture, including civil asset forfeiture.

Any chuckling over The Onion article stopped. I was teaching in India when Indira Ghandi with a single stroke of a pen took all liberties away (including those afforded to those of us who were working there). Somehow, when I read/think about some of the things going on – or proposed, I hear faint sounds of the Sitar in the background.