Wednesday, March 28

First walk of Spring 2007.

A walk in the park. Clint organized it as kind of a birthday thing. It was fun.

The water was actually warm. Got my feet wet and muddy.

Amy was working. Clint, Jen and I explored.

We caught up with Amy later for a couple drinks.

I can't wait till the colors turn green.

Friday, March 23

The Jacket.

“Academy Award Winner” Adrien Brody in his last couple of movies, has played loners existing in worlds of their own (in movies named appropriately for those worlds): The Pianist, The Village, and The Jacket.

Adrien Brody, with his everyday good looks, does a great job playing Gulf War vet Jack Starks. Co-star Keira Knightly, beautiful as ever, has a smaller but important part playing Jackie; a mysterious character and sometime love interest that interweaves herself into Jack’s life.

Jack is truly one unlucky guy.

A Marine sergeant in the Persian Gulf War in 1991, Starks smiles kindly at a native kid, who responds by shooting him in the head. This is the start. Things go white as Jack tells us, "I was 27 years old the first time I died."

Miraculously, he survives. That may have been good luck, but bad luck follows:

After a long recovery, Starks is seen a year later hitchhiking in his native Vermont, where he encounters a young woman, Jean (Kelly Lynch), with a small daughter, Jackie (Laura Marano), by the roadside. Jean has just about passed out and her beat up pickup has stalled.

Jack Starks quickly gets the truck going. Jean is so drunk that while nodding in and out of consciousness, she thinks he had tried to molest her daughter Jackie.

Jack continues on his way; this time hitching a ride with a young guy (Brad Renfro - very short appearance) who is promptly stopped by a highway patrolman. The driver immediately opens fire on the officer and flees the scene.

Starks, who was wounded in the crossfire and blacked out, is blamed for the cop's murder and promptly sentenced to an institution for the criminally insane.

Since he suffers from amnesia, Jack gets locked up in a mental asylum, under the care of doctors Kris Kristofferson (Cisko Pike 1972 - a classic) and Jennifer Jason Leigh. (I love her work.)

Dr. Kristofferson (creepy, intimidating) has a somewhat unorthodox “treatment” involving putting Jack in a strait-jacket, shooting him full of drugs and locking him in a morgue drawer for several hours on end.

Trapped in the drawer, Jack somehow manages to travel 15 years into the future to investigate his own untimely death.

He wakes up in what he will later discover is 2007, standing outside a diner in a snowswept landscape. He meets a cute goth gal (Keira Knightley) who seems strangely drawn to him.

And while at her house, he discovers ... his own dog tags. I like these things in movies. You must remember details and how they come into significance later. Here, his dog tags.

How can that be though? Time tripping? Clearly, she's the little girl, Jackie. But he can't be Starks, she insists, because Starks died, and not long after he was committed.

His death, then, is imminent, unless he can figure out how it happened and whether there's any way to prevent it....

Another version of the trailer:

Adrien Brody...Jack Starks
Keira Knightley...Jackie
Kris Kristofferson...Dr. Becker
Jennifer Jason Leigh...Dr. Lorenson
Brad Renfro...Stranger in station wagon
Kelly Lynch...Jean
Laura Marano...Young Jackie

"The Jacket" was written by Massy Tadjedin from a story by Tom Bleecker and Marc Rocco, and directed by John Maybury. Brian Eno, a favorite of mine does the score. (A small bit of trivia: he did the “Windows 95” startup sound, along with producing some work with T-Heads and U2, also working with Bowie – plus tons of other stuff.)

Help from:,1,2699773.story

Another movie I like. I think both Brody and Knightley were well cast and the movie itself (though dark at times) was entertaining. I liked the ending too. I thinking I should maybe do a lighter movie next time; A story of a boy and his dog sounds good. Old Yeller? Never mind.

Tuesday, March 20

Bong Hits 4 Jesus.

Five years later. I believe the student is now a young teacher in China, if I can believe the radio media (NPR). It's a lot about nothing (my opinion) but quite interesting with the attention it's garnered.

Wiki version:
In January 2002, students were released from Juneau-Douglas High School to watch the Olympic torch pass by. Frederick, running late that day, did not report to school before joining some friends on a sidewalk across the street. Frederick and his friends waited for the television cameras so they could unfurl a banner reading "Bong Hits 4 Jesus." When they displayed the banner, then-principal Deborah Morse ran across the street and seized it.

Morse initially suspended Joseph Frederick for five days for violating the school district's anti-drug policy, but increased the suspension to 10 days after he refused to give the names of his fellow participants and quoted
Thomas Jefferson on free speech. Frederick administratively appealed his suspension to the Superintendent, who denied his appeal but limited it to the time Frederick had already spent out of school prior to his appeal to the Superintendent (eight days).

Frederick then appealed to the Juneau School Board, which upheld the suspension on March 19, 2002. On April 25, 2002, Frederick filed a §1983 lawsuit against Morse and the school board in the United States District Court for the District of Alaska claiming they violated his federal and state constitutional rights to free speech.

Anchorage Daily News:
What did his banner mean?
A bong is a water pipe for smoking marijuana. As for the rest of it -- Frederick said he was wanted a nonsensical, funny, provocative phrase to get on TV and make a point about free speech.

School officials said the banner promoted drug use, violating school policy.

"I wasn't trying to spread any idea. I was just trying to assert my right."
-- Joseph Frederick

"Debate in a social studies class would be fine. That's protected and encouraged speech. But promotion of drug use outside class is not."
-- Current Juneau School Superintendent Peggy Cowan

CNN version:
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Supreme Court entered into a free-speech dispute Friday involving a high school student suspended over a "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" banner.
The justices accepted an appeal from a school board in Juneau, Alaska, after a federal appeals court allowed a lawsuit by the family of Joseph Frederick to proceed.

Frederick was suspended in 2002 after he unfurled the 14-foot-long banner -- a reference to marijuana use -- just outside school grounds as the Olympic torch relay moved through the Alaskan capital headed for the Winter Games in Salt Lake City, Utah.

"Bong," as noted in the appeal filed with the justices, "is a slang term for drug paraphernalia."
Even though Frederick was standing on a public sidewalk, school officials argue that he and other students were participating in a school-sponsored event. They had been let out of classes and were accompanied by their teachers.
Principal Deborah Morse ordered the 18-year-old senior to take down the sign, but he refused. That led to a 10-day suspension for violating a school policy by promoting illegal drug use.

He filed suit, saying his First Amendment rights were infringed upon. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, California, agreed, concluding the school could not show Frederick had disrupted the school's educational mission by showing a banner off campus.

A three-judge panel of the appeals court relied on the Supreme Court's famous 1969 "Tinker" case, in which two Iowa high students were allowed to continue wearing anti-Vietnam War armbands.

But the justices in other appeals involving free speech have ruled against students' ability to give sexually suggestive speech, and in favor of a school's right to restrict what is published in student newspapers.

Attorney Kenneth Starr, the former Whitewater prosecutor who investigated President Clinton's relationship with White House intern Monica Lewinsky, is representing the school board.

Starr, who is now dean of the law school at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California, urged the high court in his appeal brief to clear up the "doctrinal fog infecting student speech jurisprudence."

According to an Associated Press report, Starr is handling the case free of charge.
The case will test school's ability to regulate speech on illegal drugs, particularly when it is done off school grounds.

The appeal will likely be argued in late February, with a ruling expected by late June.

My thoughts:
On public property
Not on school grounds.

Free speech.

The Supreme Court will spend too much time on this; verdict in June.

I've seen worse things on bumper stickers, tee shirts, decals on the back windows of trucks, or (newly noticed by me) things hanging on truck hitches

Saturday, March 17

A couple for St Patrick's Day 2007.

Happy St Patricks day from Thin Lizzy ; most appropriately, Irish rockers. Yeah. Love those guys.

Here's hoping you have a chance at the first one (if you want) and you won't need the latter.

(Obviously video titles play a key here). Ha.

Thursday, March 15


(when I see this picture, anytime, it brings back memories - mystical in a way - for awhile I believed)

Spring is in the air. And with baseball fast approaching, it’s time to mention the unbelievable story of one of the most incredible rookie baseball players, EVER.

Non-sports fans, stay with me for a bit. It will be worth it. Trust me... Ha.

It’s spring training, 1985, St Petersburg Florida, New York Met training camp.

A pitching prospect that hadn’t decided whether to commit to a baseball career or one playing the French horn.

His name was Sidd Finch (Sidd being short for Siddhartha, an Indian mystic).

Sidd had never played baseball before.

He pitched with a hiking boot on his right foot and with a bare left foot.

The fastest previously recorded pitch clocked in at 103 mph.

His pitches could reach speeds of 168 mph.

All of this was expertly covered by well known author, George Plimpton (The Paper Lion)

John Fogerty, Centerfield

If you have some time and like fantasy, read the following. I smile thinking of it:

Long version as originally written (yes, I have the Sports Illustrated (one of my first ebay purchases)): Sidd Finch

A shorter version of the story is here or below this video.

The Who, Won’t get fooled again.

I just had to add, I saw them at Majestic Hills, Lake Geneva. Keith was still alive and he busted up one set of drums so bad they had to roll in another set. (they were on a skid or something??) My memory says he never missed a beat. Sure. I'm thinking he did miss one and I didn't notice.

I worked my way to the front. It was a small venue. I was about 15 feet from the stage. Roger swung the mike over the audience (and since I was so close I could have caught it). For a finale, they DID destroy their guitars. Pete finished in a frenzied glory. Lots of smoke, feedback and a little shock. Never saw anything like that before.

Sidd Finch.

In its edition for the first week of April, 1985 Sports Illustrated published an article by George Plimpton that described an incredible rookie baseball player who was training at the Mets camp in St. Petersburg, Florida. The player was named Sidd Finch (Sidd being short for Siddhartha, the Indian mystic in Hermann Hesse's book of the same name), and he could pitch a baseball at 168 mph with pinpoint accuracy. The fastest previous recorded speed for a pitch was 103 mph.

Finch had actually never played baseball before. He had been raised in an English orphanage before he was adopted by the archaeologist Francis Whyte-Finch who was later killed in an airplane crash in the Dhaulaglri mountain region of Nepal. Finch briefly attended Harvard before he headed to Tibet where he learned the teachings of the "great poet-saint Lama Milaraspa" and mastered "siddhi, namely the yogic mastery of mind-body." Through his Tibetan mind-body mastery, Finch had "learned the art of the pitch."

Finch showed up at the Mets camp in Florida, and so impressed their manager that he was invited to attend training camp. When pitching he looked, in the words of the catcher, "like a pretzel gone loony." Finch frequently wore a hiking boot on his right foot while pitching, his other foot being bare. His speed and power were so great that the catcher would only hear a small sound, "a little pft, pft-boom," before the ball would land in his glove, knocking him two or three feet back. One of the players declared that it was not "humanly possible" to hit Finch's pitches.

Unfortunately for the Mets, Finch had not yet decided whether to commit himself to a career as a baseball player, or to pursue a career as a French Horn player. He told the Mets management that he would let them know his decision on April 1.

Sports Illustrated received almost 2000 letters in response to the article, and it became one of their most famous stories ever. On April 8 they declared that Finch had held a press conference in which he said that he had lost the accuracy needed to throw his fastball and would therefore not be pursuing a career with the Mets. On April 15 they admitted that the story was a hoax.

George Plimpton actually left an obscure hint that the story was a hoax within the article itself (the non-obscure hint being that the story was absurd). The sub-heading of the article read: "He's a pitcher, part yogi and part recluse. Impressively liberated from our opulent life-style, Sidd's deciding about yoga —and his future in baseball." The first letter of each of these words, taken together, spells "H-a-p-p-y A-p-r-i-l F-o-o-l-s D-a-y."

In an odd follow-up, a baseball team in Old Orchard Beach, Maine, after reading the Sports Illustrated article, tried to invite Finch to its annual banquet. They received a reply that read, "The challenge is reaching the Eightfold Path of right belief or the ninth inning with the proper relief. May you have peace of mind." They announced that they interpreted the reply to mean that Finch would be attending their banquet. It is not known whether Finch did attend.

Monday, March 12

15 second video. Sunday nothing...

Sunday was warm and Monday, today, was even better. I'm told I should expect freezing weather this weekend. Typical.

I spent most of Sunday taking down my remaining Christmas decorations. Needed a ladder. I was waiting till it got warm. No one wants to see icicle lights hanging from the gutters when Spring approaches. Where did the time go?

While taking down and boxing the lights carefully for next year, I stepped into my next chore. Dog crap. Nothing like melting snow; a beautiful layer of white slowly revealing a forgotten yard and a winter's hidden treasures coming back to view for cleanup. That done, I took a break to watch the Nascar race. Boring video included.

By the way, son Clint went down to Atlanta area where tornadoes hit a couple of weeks ago. I lent him a camera and hope he took some good pictures. Coming soon, maybe... (he went down with someone that might be contracted to help clean up the mess.) There is still a lot of work needed down there.

15 sec vol 1
15 sec vol 2 and 3

Tuesday, March 6

Film noir, movie, Brick.

I like movies. I'll watch the popular ones and enjoy them with everyone else but I also try to see some that are not as well known but I feel are worth watching. This movie is called Brick.

Film Noir is one of my favorite film genre's; which primarily describes a look, a feel, in stylish Hollywood crime dramas. Hollywood's classic film noir period is generally regarded as stretching from the early 1940s to the late 1950s. Film noir of this era is associated with a low-key black-and-white visual style (shadows, steaming vents on darkened streets, reflections on a rainy pavement, snappy affected dialogue – I think Gilmore Girls set in the 1940’s.)

Further defined from the excellent reference wiki:“We'd be oversimplifying things in calling film noir oneiric (pertaining to dream), strange, erotic, ambivalent, and cruel...." by the French critics Raymond Borde and Etienne Chaumeton in their 1955 book Panorama du film noir américain 1941–1953 (A Panorama of American Film Noir). Gotta love that scene in the link (black and white). It is the essence of what I'm talking about.

However it’s defined, I know it when I see it.


This is a story of a loner who infiltrates high school cliques to investigate his ex-girlfriend's disappearance. When she goes missing, Brendan vows to uncover the truth; battling through the seedy dealings of his high-school crime ring to solve the mystery.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars as Brendan Frye, a junior-league Humphrey Bogart and his ex-girlfriend is Emily (Lost's Emilie de Ravin.- Claire Littleton).

He enlists the aid of his only true peer, the Brain, (and his only friend) Matt O'Leary; a Rubik's Cube obsessed, bespectacled, whiz kid.

Brendan's search sends him into a world of characters like rich-girl sophisticate Laura, intimidating Tugger, substance-abusing Dode, seductive Kara, jock Brad, and - most ominously - non-student, the Pin.

Only by gaining acceptance into the Pin's closely guarded inner circle of crime and punishment that Brendan will be able to uncover clues about Emily and the suspects that he is getting closer to. One of the best of the cast is Lukas Haas, playing Pin. He's sinister and effete, and still lives at home with his mother. Yes, his mother. I find that ironic.

Brick pays homage to film noir with similar story structures, notable characters, and a witty, quirky, well paced dialogue of a 30s/40s hard boiled detective thriller.

Directed by Rian Johnson, there are many great moments, camera angles, lighting, characters; never a lack of suspense while keeping the sense of film noir alive.

A sample of film noir dialog coming from Brendan (well quoted in other reviews so I’ll use too) in his locker-lined hall of the school to a bunch of adversaries: "Throw one at me if you want, hash head," he growls to one of a bunch of dopes threatening to punch him out. "I've got all five senses and I slept last night - that puts me six up on the lot of you."

From the soundtrack: Sister Ray, Velvet Underground.

Friday, March 2

A moment...

I always liked the movie Momento. Black and white (movie clips) pictures going one direction timewise while the movie itself is going the other way (you had to see the movie to understand - sorry). I only have one black and white picture included here, the pictures are reversed - last to first. This one, the last (first) one has a "Hebron" road sign in it. You can't believe how happy I was to see it.

I woke up to weather news on the radio that many local roads were closed because of blowing snow. Living in the sticks means a 10 - 15 mile trip to work via a country(ish) highway. Open fields border the highway, so if you are out in the open you can't see. Snow just takes over.

I started out this morning and got about a half a mile out into the country. One car ahead was already in a ditch with another stopped to help (in my lane). I slowed to a stop and was considering my options. Then, looking to my right, I saw a big, new, white sedan slowly drift into the snowbank next to me. The driver couldn't stop and rather than rear ending me, she took the snow bank - all in movie type slow motion. And that not being enough, I looked in the mirror and saw another car sliding towards me. I moved ahead about 10 feet and avoided my second accident of the morning.

With all traffic stalled, I turned around (not easily) and headed back home. Clint has a four wheel drive Jeep. I borrowed it. After trying a side road to work (lesser traveled - but lesser plowed) option, I regrouped and went back and drove to work on the original highway (the cars that almost hit me were still in the ditch). This time I followed a semi-trailer - they forge a path and you can always see them above the snow. Made it to work. Late.

That was the easy part. Getting home was worse.

Now I'm driving Clint's Jeep, of which I can't even work the radio properly. Four wheel drive but I'm uncomfortable driving. I left work while hearing on the radio that the road I was taking home was considered closed. Well, no one stands there and tells you you can't use it so I did (and I wasn't the only one - they were just discouraging usage of it). It eventually got me there; scary, white knuckle driving, but there.

I was driving so slow on the way home I was able to take a couple pictures. No danger. I was only going about 15 miles an hour.

Lastly, I'd like to add I really hate whiteouts.

You can't see where you are going, but because of that, you can't stop either or you risk being rear ended. There are a couple places where you have to drive about a length of a football field on faith - you can't see any oncoming cars or the road. You just hope the people coming the other direction are doing the same thing in their lane, not your's. The last two pictures were the first two taken.

One Momento in my life. And it worked out. Yea.

A day in my life. Beatles, A day in the life. (Bonus: quick photo clip of Mick and Marianne) I think.