Archive for January, 2009

Another Obama First

January 22, 2009

Looks like President Barrack Obama will get to keep his BlackBerry, I mean his African-AmericanBerry, after all.

Revenge on a Bank

January 22, 2009

In a short passage in his 1945 novel Cannery Row, John Steinbeck describes the Monterey, California laboratory of a central character of the book:

“There is a stairway up the front of the building and a door that opens into an office where there is a desk piled high with unopened mail, filing cabinets, and a safe with the door propped open. Once the safe got locked by mistake and no one knew the combination. And in the safe was an open can of sardines and a piece of Roquefort cheese. Before the combination could be sent by the maker of the lock, there was trouble in the safe. It was then that Doc devised a method for getting revenge on a bank if anyone should ever want to. “Rent a safety deposit box,” he said, “then deposit in it one whole fresh salmon and go away for six months.”

There Is a Time

January 14, 2009

Remember the bluegrass band from the Andy Griffith Show named The Darling Family? They were mountain folk who occasionally rode into Mayberry on an old flat bed truck to stir things up, picking tunes the whole time.

They were portrayed by a real band named The Dillards (after brothers Doug and Rodney Dillard).

I always thought it was funny how ‘the boys’ never talked on the show, but when they played, their music spoke volumes. It was only much later that I realized how accurate was this portrayal of the mountain people of NC and VA where this music came from. Not much talking, but they could draw together in a circle and play a hundred old mountain tunes with complete mastery.

Andy Griffith repeatedly gave the Dillards two or three minutes of his prime time TV slot and let them share this music with the world.

Here is an amazing song called There is a Time from an episode filmed in 1963. The woman singing is an actress who played the role of Charlene Darling on the show.

Time to Get a Grip

January 9, 2009

I got a text message yesterday from a friend that’s in town for a visit. We traded a few general texts over a day and a half and I ended with one asking her to call me Friday night to firm up our plan for Saturday. She left a voice mail.

Imagine my surprise when I listened to the message and realized I had a completely different person in mind when I was sending the messages. Now I have the same plans with a different friend.

Financial Tsunami

January 9, 2009

Remember the Indian Ocean tsunami that killed 250,000 people on the South Asian coast in 2004? Do you remember the descriptions or the video of the sea receding, exposing the sea floor and then thundering back as one gigantic, endless wave? I think we are riding the lip of that wave as it winds up to throw us back into the shore.

Who Needs a Teleprompter?

January 7, 2009

I just watched New York Governor David Patterson give his first State of the State address since taking office after former governor Eliot Spitzer resigned for being caught patronizing high-priced hookers. To quote George Costanza, Governor Patterson was boppin’ and riffin’ for the entire thing. It was remarkable to watch him give a detailed, impassioned and often hilarious address about the state of affairs in the state of New York. He never missed a beat even though he had no teleprompter displaying the text of a speech. And even if there had been a teleprompter in front of the governor, he would not have been able to use it. He’s blind.

He often held his hands behind his back or clasped in front of him, but occasionally would put them behind the ledge of the podium. Is it possible he had some kind of scrolling braille notes on the podium?

This guy is a natural.

Murky Future

January 4, 2009

I live near Canyon Road, which contains one of the Portland area’s largest clusters of automobile dealerships. I am working on a list of all of them, from the smallest used car operation to the largest dealerships. There’s a lot of new empty lots on Canyon and I expect more spaces will be vacant.

Diamond Motors near my bus route would seem to be at some risk. They have a lot full of $30,000 to $45,000 European used cars and SUVs. Tonight when I stopped for the photo we had ‘freezing fog’ and black ice. Treacherous conditions like the ones working over the car dealers.