Archive for December, 2004

Useful Information

December 30, 2004

Lifesaving, even.

Tom Sullivan, sitting in for Rush today, talked about one way to not get killed by a drunk driver on the road.

Two of the most common errors drunk drivers make are (a) driving without their headlights at night and (b) going the wrong way on the freeway.

And when they go the wrong way on the freeway, they invariably choose what they think is the right (slow) lane, which is actually the fast lane when they’re going the wrong way.

His advice? Never, ever, EVER hang out in the fast lane at night unless you can see taillights ahead of you in the same lane.

As for the other side of the coin… readers of this blog are, of course, far too intelligent and good-citizenly to do something so lame-brained as to get behind the wheel when impaired by too much holiday cheer… right? Right?

Let’s be safe and sane out there, people. CrankyBeach hath spoken.


Speaking Of Weather…

December 30, 2004

Were we? Oh.

Heavy rain here again. The local radio station just activated the emergency broadcast system with a flash flood warning, from Carmel Highlands south to Lucia.

I’m a few miles north of there, on high ground, so am not likely to get washed out to sea today, but I am worried about the folks who live in those coastal mountain canyons. The two people I know down there are both on high ground, but their ability to get in and out from their homes could certainly be compromised.

Jennifer’s “Family”

December 29, 2004

My niece came up from L.A. for Christmas. She brought two of her “children” with her.

This is Gus having a bath in diluted Listerine. This cuts down on the bacteria count, since bearded dragons who live in a terrarium have a tendency to lie around in their own –well. I don’t have to explain this, do I?

And here is Max basking in the sunlight after his bath. You can’t see it in the picture, but he’s missing most of his tail and a couple of back toes. He was the runt of the clutch and his litter-mates picked on him a lot.

These two critters are both males, and they are territorial, so they have to be kept separated, or they’ll fight. But, if they are watched, they can be allowed to run loose. Gus spent a bit of time under the grand piano, and Max spent a lot of time on a bed.

You know how clumsy puppies can’t get any traction when they try to run on a smooth floor? Bearded dragons are the same. Max tried to run down the uncarpeted hall, his little legs going a mile a minute but gaining no distance, and every now and then losing it altogether and going SPLAT! on his belly. We laughed our heads off.

Jennifer left her other two “children,” a pair of cats named Sophie and Cricket, in L.A. for the holiday. When they’re all at home, the lizards chase the cats, instead of the other way around.

Two Years Already

December 27, 2004
Two years ago yesterday Mary Margaret Case disappeared from everything but our memories. She was only 58 years old.

How does one explain Mary? Eternal optimist, didn’t know the meaning of the word ‘quit,’ a view of reality shared by no one else, a sharp mind and a warm heart. Her standard e-mail signature: “When life hands you lemons, forget lemonade! Make lemon chiffon pie!” Another of her favorite sayings: “No pressure, no diamonds.”

Two years already, and it’s still hard to believe she’s gone. I can’t bring myself to take her e-mail address out of my address book. Her son tells me she’s still on his instant messenger because he can’t bear to delete her.

Mary, how could you leave us like that? The three of us were supposed to have rocking chairs together on the porch of the old folks’ home. Now it’s just Kerry and me. And Lucy Ann, if she cares to join us there. But nothing is the same without you.

It’s such a cliche, but there’s no other way to say it. She may be gone, but she will never be forgotten. Mary, here’s lookin’ at you, kid.

To Whom It May Concern

December 23, 2004

Hugh Hefner was quoted as saying he didn’t believe Jesus was the Son of God any more than he (Hugh) was, but then also said that he does pray.

I can hear it now:

Our “To whom it may concern,”

who art “somewhere out there in the cosmos,”

“I-don’t-know-what” be thy name.

Feel free to take it further in the comments. 😉

There She Goes

December 23, 2004

Our young friend in Texas is about to become our young friend in Florida.

Yep… Sarahk the T-shirt babe is relocating, to be closer to Mr. Wonderful’s snuggles and kisses.

We wish you both all the very best… but let me hereby serve notice. If Mr. Wonderful ever turns into Mr. Not Quite, be assured that the entire blogosphere, led by the Monterey Bay Clue SquadTM (that would be Ith, Nin, Eclectra and CrankyBeach) will rise up en masse and administer an attitude adjustment on Mr. He-Better-Be-Watching-His-Back the likes of which has never been seen! (Never piss off a Ninjababe. You have been warned.)

That is, if Bikermommy and Spidade don’t beat us to it. 😉


December 23, 2004

… and quite thought-provoking too.

Mrs. du Toit has a must-read post about superstition, and how it relates to the annual frenzy over religious symbols in the public square:

…how is it then, that folks who claim to be atheists or secularists believe that having the cross, a crche, a menorah, or any number of other religious symbols in public display can actually hurt people?

What do they think these symbols can do? Do they honestly believe that if ordinary Joe citizen walks down Main Street, sees a nativity scene in the public park, that he will be suddenly overcome and overwhelmed, and this previously non-believer will be forced to adopt Christianity?

Near the end of the post she says this:

If someone fears a plastic doll in the shape of a baby Jesus, they have an irrational fear that that plastic doll is going to reach out and harm them–forcing them into a church, and sneaking into their mind like some sort of religious version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, causing them to believe things they wouldnt have believed, had they not seen the plastic doll. This is really nuts. People need to get over themselves.

Amen. Go read the whole thing.

P.S. Merry Christmas!

More Pitchforks

December 22, 2004

Away from the tenorly tenor and the Prozac bass… now it’s the lyric soprano. She’s not so bad… but if you ask me (and this is my blog so I will say so whether anybody asked or not, so there) a pipe organ was not meant to wheeze slow chords behind a lyric soprano. It was meant to play something loud and magnificent, like Bach’s Toccata and Fugue, or thunder along with the orchestra in Strauss’s Also Sprach Zarathustra.

Thus sprach CrankyBeach. Deal with it.

Pass The Pitchfork

December 22, 2004

I need to stick it in my brain.

Yep, you guessed it… more records to digitize. Today’s selection is a very tenorly tenor named Charles Turner. At least he’s better looking, in my opinion, than Tennessee Ernie Ford.

He has something else going for him. At least he belts out “I sing because I’m happy, I sing because I’m free” (from “His eye is on the sparrow”) like he means it. Poor old Tennessee Ernie sings the same tune in apparent desperate need of Prozac.

I will say one thing for these old hymn records. They are actually very easy to digitize, because they are all played at one dynamic level, the ubiquitous mezzo forte. The lack of variation in the volume, however, is part of what makes them so stultifyingly boring.

The last thing I tried to digitize before this project was a series of baroque trumpet recordings. Those go from very loud to very soft, and adjusting the recording volume is enough to make you pull your hair out. Just when you get it loud enough so you can hear the soft parts, that’s when the loud parts distort all out of recognition. Very tricky.


December 21, 2004

Out in the parking lot, right now, there are 4 cars parked in a row, all in varying colors of dirt.

No, the cars aren’t particularly dirty. They came that way.

Now, I know their manufacturers call them fancy things like “mystic gold” and “desert sand” and “sand dollar.”

But they’re really just dirt. Who would buy a car that color? That’s almost as bad as swamp.