Tuesday, May 31, 2005

BBC searches for Dylan's lost acting debut

Producers on Arena, the corporation's flagship arts programme, hope that one of the star's huge army of fans will have a copy of The Madhouse on Castle Street, which was aired just once, in 1963.

The programme, which features Dylan's first televised performance of Blowin' in the Wind is now classified as missing by the BBC.
Link to full story

UPA Finals

Wisconsin has a long pedigree, including the 2003 UPA Title, and it has perfected a style that relies on short passing and handler weaves until a huck opens up downfield...

.... The game starts as a clash of two styles: Queens’ loose flow offense against Wisconsin’s sewn-up weave-and-huck. It quickly degenerates into a hackfest, with both teams calling ticky-tack fouls...

...Wisconsin calls timeout, and Tom Burkly rallie [sic] his teammates. “We’ve done it before. Who’s gonna step up?” Gigo Valdivia answers the call, going long for a floater that everyone else misreads in the wind. 15’s. Cap is on, universe point. Stanford’s Josh Wiseman takes Bloodthirsty on his shoulders, flying for a 50 yard huck, then finding a spot in the crowd to catch a 20-yard hammer from Herbert...
Link to full article and final standings

Ah, yes. I think the Hodags were eliminated in the quarters by Colorado, which would go on to fight Brown (and lose) in the finals, but you're reading someone who has never figured out box scores in the sports page, and doesn't know a huck from a hackfest. In any case, the Wisconsin boys put up a valiant fight, and it's bittersweet comfort that they whupped Brown earlier this year.

Pictured (kinda) above, Matt in backwards cap listens intently to a Hodag coach listing the number of virgins he's slept with.

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Cities of the Dead

One of Peggy and my favorite moments on one of our favorite trips - to New Orleans - was a walking tour of St. Louis 1 cemetery; site of among other things, Marie Laveau's tomb (reputedly), and the Italian Mutual Benovolent Society tomb as seen in "Easy Rider."

You can get a taste of what we visited at immortelle.net, a comprehensive pictoral tour of New Orlean's cities of the dead.

You are here.

The Universe Reference Map from the National Geographic. A nice gift for anyone interested in this island universe, but what especially drew my attention was the "More Views" button, which links to a Flash window where you can zoom in and scroll through map detail.

via Cool Tools

Thursday, May 26, 2005

American Life in Poetry: Column 009


In eighteen lines--one long sentence--James Doyle evokes two settings: an actual parade and a remembered one. By dissolving time and contrasting the scenes, the poet helps us recognize the power of memory and the subtle ways it can move us.

The City's Oldest Known Survivor of the Great War

marches in uniform down the traffic stripe
at the center of the street, counts time
to the unseen web that has rearranged
the air around him, his left hand
stiff as a leather strap along his side,
the other saluting right through the decades
as if they weren't there, as if everyone under ninety
were pervasive fog the morning would dispel
in its own good time, as if the high school band
all flapping thighs and cuffs behind him
were as ghostly as the tumbleweed on every road
dead-ended in the present, all the ancient infantry
shoulder right, through a skein of bone, presenting arms
across the drift, nothing but empty graves now
to round off another century,
the sweet honey of the old cadence, the streets
going by at attention, the banners glistening with dew,
the wives and children blowing kisses.

James Doyle is the author of "The Silk at Her Throat," Cedar Hill, 1999. Poem copyright James Doyle and reprinted by permission of the author. This weekly column is supported by The Poetry Foundation, The Library of Congress, and the Department of English at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln.

For information on permissions and usage, or to download a PDF version of the column, visit www.americanlifeinpoetry.org.

Track those Hodags

Roberta writes...

Nationals begin tomorrow.
You can track the path of the Hodags at:


... It can be kind of fun to follow even if you don't know a
huck from a hole in the wall.
Hodag love!

Your Moment of Web Zen: Girl Geeks with Guns

To your left, the amazing, and strangely sexy, Chloe from 24 trading her usual weapons of choice - a keyboard and serious personality disorder - for an assault rifle.

To your right, blonde bombshell Xeni Jardin from BoingBoing, learning to "shoot with gravitas."

And directly across, the results of a Googlefight between the two.

Unsurprisingly, the lady whose name means "protector of sprouts" beats the pseudonymous Guatamalean -derived Xeniflores hands down.

It's a pity that Xeni isn't short for Xenophobia. Then I could have titled this "Greek Girl Geeks with Guns".

(Note Bene: using these keywords instead makes a closer decision)
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Now you too can know what it's like to live with a writer

Concerned that your spouse doesn't have minute-by-minute mood swings?

Always wondered what it would be like to live with someone who spends most of their time talking about stuff you can't follow?

Want to learn how to keep a fixed grin on your face while a fan gushes, "It must be wonderful to live with someone so, so... creative!"

Now, you too can live the exciting life of a writer's S.O. with the amazing WRITERBO!

via Neil GaimanPosted by Hello

Somewhere it is sunny. But it ain't here.Posted by Hello

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Sam and Nat Showdown

Kim Driscoll is running for mayor of Salem and she too is opposed to the statue. "Having a statue of Samantha Stevens [sic], although she is a good witch, and we all love the show, harkens back to a dark time," Driscoll declared.

"If people from Kansas come to our town and leave with a picture of a statue of Samantha Stevens [sic] instead of Nathaniel Hawthorne, it would be a tragedy if that's how they remembered Salem." Link to full article
Top 10 Reasons why I'd leave with a picture of Samantha Stephens rather than Nathaniel Hawthorne

10. Him: gloomy, guilt-ridden moralist. Her: perky, nose-twitchin’ witch.

9. Contrast and compare these writing styles...

Iffin, iffin” as written (and sung) by Serena

Iffin', iffin', iffin', iffin'.
Iffin' you wanna feel my embrace
Don't ya ever wash your face

Iffin' you really care for me
Don't ya comb your hair for me

Iffin' you wanna leave me weak and weepy
Ya gotta look wild and weird and creepy

Iffin', iffin', iffin', iffin'. Ya ya ya!

From “The Scarlet Letter.” Note that this is one effing sentence!

In accordance with this rule, it may safely be assumed that the forefathers of Boston had built the first prison-house, somewhere in the vicinity of Cornhill, almost as seasonably as they marked out the first burial-ground, on Isaac Johnson's lot, and round about his grave, which subsequently became the nucleus of all the congregated sepulchres in the old church-yard of King's Chapel.

8. Does anybody outside of a couple of pigeons know that he’s already got a statue in Salem.

7. Named daughter “Una” instead of "Tabitha."

6. Look above and tell the truth: which face would you want to wake up to every morning?

5. No evidence he ever wiggled nose.

4. Unlikely he was nicknamed “Nat” Hawthorne.

3. “House of Seven Gables” bombed in syndication.

2. Sam never called Salem “that abominable city.”

1. Hawthorne’s cousin, Eleanor Barstow Condit, never looked as good in a mini-skirt as Serena.

Posted by Hello

Monday, May 23, 2005

Google personalized page.

Google gets more Yahoo-like with the Google personalized homepage; currently in Beta from Google Labs.

I installed it over the weekend, and am still test-driving, but my initial reaction is positive. Like knowing whether I have gMail, and one-click access. Movie info is useful. Weather info is semi-useful (I can look out the window, too).

News has the potential to be useful if they work more on customization features. I'd like it tied into Google alerts, for instance, and custom feeds from the various blogs I monitor. But not a bad first step.
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Sunday, May 22, 2005

Bear sez, "Sounds like an overpriced rip-off to me"

The cats* - which can cost from $4,000 to $10,000 - are visually striking with their long necks and oversized ears, and they can be intimidating. They look like little leopards and grow to more than twice the size of normal cats. They love to leap and splash in water, and they don't mind taking long walks on a leash. Some people describe them as dogs in cats' bodies.
*Requires NY Times registration or dead mouse.Posted by Hello

Who is Vendyl Jones?

He divides his time between Texas and Israel. He's a Noahide guru. He's extremely knowledgeable in Torah, Talmud and Kabbalah sources dealing with Holy Temple issues. He published a book in 1959 predicting the precise outbreak of the Six Day War, and claims to be the only non-Jewish American to take part in the combat.

And he's spent most spent most of his life searching for the Ark of the Covenant. Vendyl Jones also claims his explorations were the inspiration for "Raiders of the Lost Ark".

The man who wrote the first draft of the film, Randolph Fillmore, was one of the volunteers who worked with Jones in 1977.

“I agreed to help him write the movie,” Jones said, “as long as – number one – he wouldn’t set it here (in Israel). Some people believe the ark is in Ethiopia or Egypt, some believe its in Constantinople or Rome. I just didn’t want it to be portrayed as being here. The second thing was, 'Don’t use my name.' So he didn’t. My name is Vendyl – V-E-N-D-Y-L. So he just dropped the first and last letters and it ended up Endy Jones.”
Jone believes he will uncover the ark by Tisha B'Av (Aug. 14).

Link to story (via BoingBoing)

More info on the fascinating Professor Jones.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Blood Type B? Consider becoming a Living Organ Donor

We are asking for your help in identifying people with Blood Type B that may consider being an organ donor, as well as raising funds for overcoming the challenges that face our family.
Kevin O'Neill is a 40-year-old man with cystic fibrosis who is on the double lung transplant list at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Due to his failing health, the wait may be too long for him to survive, but he has the option of a Living Donor Transplant. This procedure would require that two donors donate one of their five lobes to Kevin. If you can help, or know someone who might be able to help, you can find out more or contact Kevin at his site.

Friday, May 20, 2005

And Little Conchita's pussy is soooo happy...

A refrigerator magnet that everyone should have. And more "Childhood Memories" products here.

Which reminds me, I need to write about the time that Roberta and I almost closed down a Tortilla Flats restaurant as I told her the (true) story about my most infamous moment as a Google Answers Researcher: the "Have Small Cock, Need Small Rubber" incident.

via Maudie and April

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Bewitched Statue Watch Week 2 1/2

...the Exclusive Bewitched Samantha Stephens Black & White Edition Maquette! This mini maquette stands approximately 5-inches tall and features Samantha as she appeared in the black & white opening credits of the original television show! Sam rides her broom over a cityscape base, suspended by a clear acrylic rod.
via the mysterious Ms. Ima Sample and Maudie

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Hodag Love.

It is sometime shortly before noon, and the Wisconsin Hodags - Madison's Ultimate Frisbee team - is visibly drunk, but not without some reason.

For Madison, the sectionals are a chance to have a good time before the regional meets set in and ruin some of the fun. This explains - in part - the heavy drinking.

Imagine if you will the natural evolution of sport. Imagine the sports that have evolved to the highest conceivable level of refinement, sports that have been around for years, sports that are the end of a centuries-long process of evolution. These sports are soccer, basketball, baseball and polo.

Walter Frederick Morrison patented the Frisbee in 1955. The rules of Ultimate Frisbee were invented in New Jersey in the 1960s, but the game in its popular form wasn't around until the early 1970s. Rutgers and Princeton held the first intercollegiate game in 1972. The Ultimate Players Association was founded in 1979. This puts Ultimate Frisbee somewhere on the leading edge of the primordial ooze of sport.

Just as European noblemen once derided soccer as the sport of the drunken masses, so too does Ultimate invoke an unrefined label from some sports purists. The players in the Lake Superior sectional don't seem to care, even the ones wearing funny costumes. The one that sticks out the most on the men's side - costuming is more of a tradition on the women's teams, one player tells me - is the fellow from Madison decked out in a skin-tight hodag costume, complete with horns, face paint and tail.

Link to full article
Ah, college life. The intellectual pursuits. The walks down the Shaded Groves of Acadame.

Our nephew Matt's Ultimate Frisbee team, the Hodags from the University of Wisconsin - Madison are in the 2005 WPA College Championships! If I'm reading the seedings correctly, looks like the Hodags - currently ranked #3 in the standings - will play Hahvahhd first next Friday, the 27th in Corvallis, Oregon.

Tension, as my sister-in-law notes in an email, is beginning to mount.

Roberta forwarded an email from Matt which included a very funny pep talk from an "old Hodag and coach", which I'm tempted to reprint here... but won't, to save us all embarrassment, as it opens with:
In my twenty five years I've slept with several virgins.
...and goes downhill from there.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

American Life in Poetry: Column 008


Thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of poems have been written to express the grief of losing a parent. Many of the most telling of these attach the sense of loss to some object, some personal thing left behind, as in this elegy to her mother by a Nebraskan, Karma Larsen:

Milly Sorensen, January 16, 1922 - February 19, 2004

It was the moonflowers that surprised us.
Early summer we noticed the soft gray foliage.
She asked for seedpods every year but I never saw them in her garden.
Never knew what she did with them.
Exotic and tropical, not like her other flowers.
I expected her to throw them in the pasture maybe,
a gift to the coyotes. Huge, platterlike white flowers
shining in the night to soften their plaintive howling.
A sound I love; a reminder, even on the darkest night,
that manicured lawns don't surround me.

Midsummer they shot up, filled the small place by the back door,
sprawled over sidewalks, refused to be ignored.
Gaudy and awkward by day,
by night they were huge, soft, luminous.
Only this year, this year of her death
did they break free of their huge, prickly husks
and brighten the darkness she left.

Poem copyright by Karma Larsen, and reprinted by permission of the author. This weekly column is supported by The Poetry Foundation, The Library of Congress, and the Department of English at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. For information on permissions and usage, or to download a PDF version of the column, visit www.americanlifeinpoetry.org.


That's what the lady says, and she's serious.

Be sure to check out the "complements any decor--these photos prove it!!" link, too for action photos.

via the mega-workplace-productivity-busting Web Zen: Feline Zen 2005 BoingBoing posting.Posted by Hello

Well, they both have five lett-... No, that's not right either.

There are foreign movies, and there are porno movies, and there are foreign porno movies, but you've got to keep them straight.
The NY Times apologizes for somehow transcribing "foreign" as "porno."

(via Neil Gaiman)

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Bad Odor.

Lenin did leave us one valuable notion, one, at any rate. It was "Whom?" When you cannot understand a curious matter, ask yourself, "Whom? Whom does this benefit?"
Norman Mailer in a short article on the Newsweek "Koran" incident, which parallels my suspicions, paranoid character that I am.

The waters are black and deep, and it's hard to see what's moving below the surface. It's certainly too many episodes of 24, but I was thinking just a couple of days ago that there seemed to be a lot of weird shit going on in recent weeks... planes flying into restricted airspace near the White House; planes carrying suspected terrorists being diverted to Bangor; a truck carrying liquid ammonium nitrate and blasting caps crashing into the Wells, Maine turnpike exit on the same day that first suspected terrorist's plane lands in Bangor...

... and in all cases, the government says, "Never mind. Just an honest mistake. Never mind now. Go back to sleep."

via "The Huffington Post," which I'm taking on a trial run in my blogroll to your right.

Well, duh!

The female orgasm, she said, "is for fun."
Link to "A Critic Takes On the Logic of Female Orgasm," a NY Times article which may require an orgasm, sorry registration to read.

Today's obligatory 'Star Wars' post

Star Wars Last Supper

via (where else?) BoingBoing Posted by Hello

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

But it's special Darth Maul Red Marinara Sauce!

Fans complain bitterly about the contents of the swag bag received at a $500 charity Revenge of the Sith screening...

1. A bag from Reebok to hold the gifts
2. A light up lightsaber spoon that is found in Kellogs Cereal boxes
3. A Burger King Star Wars kid's toy
4. A single package of Star Wars fruit snacks
5. A small bag of Starbucks Coffee
6. A small tin of Starbucks mints
7. A coupon for a free whopper at Burger King
8. A discount card for 20% off at Kenneth Cole
9. A cd from an undiscovered singer
10. A bottle of marinara sauce
11. A lipstick
12. A box of tea
via Boingboing

The obligatory 'Stars Wars' post, yes?

While I'm not rabid about it as, say, Harlan Ellison who once answered the question about why he disliked Star Wars so much with, "it makes people stupid," friends are surprised that I've never been much of a SW fan, even before The Phantom Menace. For the record, I thought the first movie good Space Opera, the second the best story, and the third Lucas' remake of the first movie. I found the last two so unimpressive that I don't have an opinion about them at all.

The line above about "Space Opera" has something to do with it. Like deciding whether you're a Ginger or Mary Anne, Superman or Batman (I'm a Mary Anne/Batman - actually I'm a Mary Anne/Green Lantern, but that's too geeky to try to explain), tomato or tomahto kind of guy, you can roughly separate skiffy fans into space opera and hard science fans.

I'm more of a hard science, 2001 sort of guy, at least when it comes to movies. Heck, I even liked the sequel to 2001, 2010 ("Attempt no landing there," Peggy and I have been known to warn cats appraising forbidden places to jump) better than I did Star Wars. It wasn't so much the whole let's ignore physics, we made that planet in twelve parsecs thing as it was the pseudo-Republic Pictures story and dialogue. I can get into serial homages. I love the Indiana Jones trilogy, but I guess I'm more into Tarzan than Buck Rogers when it comes to serials, which makes me yet another sort of guy.

I'll probably go see Revenge of the Sith (piece of useless trivia here. Did you know that "Return of the Jedi" was originally "Revenge of the Jedi"? I used to own a promotional poster with the original title that I eventually sold) on the big screen, especially if I can talk Peg into it because I'm pretty sure that if not loving it, I'll at least like it. But all in all, I agree with Tom Spurgeon's "Ten Reasons I May Not See Star Wars III -- Revenge of the Sith," especially reason #3

Too young to imagine having sex with Princess Leia; too old to imagine having sex with Princess Leia's mom.

Bewitched Statue Watch Week 2

Keeping the home fires burning, while we wait for the June dedication. A non-article here in the Globe, the essence of which is that the critics are still criticizing.

Note to those complaining that they don't know what the statue will look like (it's Sam giving the finger to morons, baby. No, no, just kidding), they could have come here and found out.

If you want a peek at previous TV Land statues (including Bob Newhart and Mary Tyler Moore), you can take a virtual tour here.

Dick & Mimi

I sometimes think I should write an article with the working title of "Lifestyle of the Doing Okay and Semi-Famous", as in my 50-odd years, I've skirted -- usually only very glancingly -- the peripheries of fame. Not working too hard at it, I've:

1. Been insulted by Larry Niven.

2. Chaperoned Harlan Ellison's mother.

3. Interviewed Stephen King (twice).

4. Hung out with Tad Williams.

5. Had a post "cribbed" by Mark Evanier.

6. Had one of my review blurbs appear on a Kate Wilhelm novel.

7. Shown up in the credits/acknowledgements of various things.

The latest credit is the one that Doug Cooke recently put up for me and the other members of the Bikini Coalition, which was very nice of him.

To the left/above is a copy of one of the photos sans eBay watermark that the BC won at auction, and yes, that's still a capo.

Posted by Hello

Poker mindset


No Limit Hold `Em is about making good laydowns

Limit is about making good calls - Howard Lederer


No Limit is about trapping

Limit is about value betting - Jennifer Harmon
via 2 Hole Cards

Logos while U wait, $25.

I've been thinking of refreshing my Web site, which, as much as I like it, breaks (knowingly) several rules of "good" Web design, and is starting to get a bit long in the tooth.

If I do, I may try these guys. Kevin Kelley over at Cool Tools recently used them to design a logo for his True Films sub-venture (not a bad sub-site itself if you're looking for interesting documentary films), and I like the results he got.

GotLogos.com specializes in the design of site graphics, and more specifically, domain logos. Take a look through our extensive gallery. Oh, and here's the best part - only $25.00 per logo design! What are you waiting for?

Monday, May 16, 2005

Sitting Out.

Though I considered playing in last night's WPBT, I was still feeling a little burnt out from a loooong family event on Saturday, and just couldn't work up the proper `tude for what would be several hours of poker.

Between that, the small chance of a pay-off (at least compared to other WPBT events), and being iffy about whether I could make it to Vegas (Happy Birthday, btw, L.V.) even if by some chance I pulled the miracle off all decided me to pass on this one.

68 people played, not a bad number considering there were only 18 on board when I checked mid-day on Sunday. Congrats to Joe over at The Obituarium. Thanks to that little dwarf, unappreciative of fine poetry though he is, for setting it up. A fine full write-up, as always, is over at Pauly's.

Good luck to all at the live events in Vegas. "See" you all in the next on-line WPBT.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Your World Belongs to Us Now, Human.

Creepy big-eyed art from Margaret Keane. To the left, "Love Makes A World of Difference," which while a commendable sentiment, could as easily be entitled "Return to the Village of The Damned."

Note the big-eyed beagle center right, who looks like he just swallowed a bagel.

In the notes to the painting, the writer remarks, "...this painting should put the final nail in the coffin as to who really did the famous 'Big-Eyed Children' some 40+ years ago..."

Keane was discovered in the 1970s by Curator Tyler Stallings of the Laguna Art Museum, who first saw her work when K-mart sold cheap reproductions. Keane was married to Walter Keane, originally known as the artist of the "Big-Eyes." Margaret eventually sued Walter for taking credit for her work, and won the case after proving to the jury that she was indeed the artist by actually painting an oil painting right there in court. Her husband refused to do a painting, stating that he had a “sore shoulder.” There was also a scheduled Union Square "paint-off" in 1970, covered in Life magazine, where Margaret again produced a painting but Walter failed to attend.

Not surprisingly, Margaret divorced Walter and later moved to Hawaii, where, as far as I can determine, she is creating large-eyed progeny to this very day, a la "Island of Dr. Moreau."

via Drawn Posted by Hello

Of course I am...

I am:
William Gibson
The chief instigator of the "cyberpunk" wave of the 1980s, his razzle-dazzle futuristic intrigues were, for a while, the most imitated work in science fiction.

Which science fiction writer are you?

Update: As you've probably found if you went to take the "Which SF Author Are You" quiz, the site has had so many hits the owner's bandwidth allotment has been exceeded and the quiz is down until next (June, as of this writing) month. The price of popularity. A lot of sf fans play the quiz to see if they can get a certain author, based on their knowledge of that writer's personality (for example, it should be relatively easy to get say, Harlan Ellison or Jerry Pournelle).

Dylan's Hometown To Name Street After Him.

Kind of.

The sign is honorary only, meaning 7th Avenue will remain the official name of the street, and residents won't have to change their addresses, Brown said.

Friday, May 13, 2005

American Life in Poetry: Column 007


Leonard Nathan is a master of short poems in which two or three figures are placed on what can be seen to be a stage, as in a drama. Here, as in other poems like it, the speaker's sentences are rich with implications. This is the title work from Nathan's book from Orchises Press (1999):

The Potato Eaters

Sometimes, the naked taste of potato
reminds me of being poor.

The first bites are gratitude,
the rest, contented boredom.

The little kitchen still flickers
like a candle-lit room in a folktale.

Never again was my father so angry,
my mother so still as she set the table,

or I so much at home.

Reprinted by permission of the author, whose most recent book is "Tears of the Old Magician," Orchises Press, 2003. This weekly column is supported by The Poetry Foundation, The Library of Congress, and the Department of English at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. For information on permissions and usage, or to download a PDF version of the column, visit www.americanlifeinpoetry.org.

"People can buy Pepsi-Cola, but they can't pee in the street." - Walt Disney

1. Disneyland's original Tinker Bell was a 71-year-old Hungarian circus performer named Tiny Kline. The first to fly off the top of the Matterhorn on a zip line, she previously worked as a stunt aerialist, hanging from a flying airplane by her teeth.

2. High up inside the hollow Matterhorn, there's a basketball court. It's part of an employee break room. Los Angeles Lakers' center Vlade Divac has been up there to shoot hoops.
Two of 50 things you probably didn't know about Disneyland. See #9 for the Walt quote above.

via BoingBoing

Thursday, May 12, 2005

A noble experiment.

Kind of one of those headlines that writes itself doesn’t it, if not very well.

This is going to be a choppy WPBT tourney report. As far as I can tell Noble Poker, whose ins-and-outs I’m still learning, doesn’t keep results very long. So I’m doing this from memory, cribbing as necessary from the usual funny and detailed report at the Good Doctor’s.

Pauly, btw, misreported my going all-in with Big Slick last tourney, which ironically would be my last hand this time around.

I finished 26th in a field of 81 last night; playing relatively well, I felt. I built my stack up to near T3000 early in the tournament - at least one time winning the pot by accident when I mistakenly hit the “all-in” button while in the Big Blind with nothing (I think a Q3 off suit) and forced the rest of the bettors to fold. “The Hammer?” someone questioned, but I just did the virtual version of a Mona Lisa smile.

The cards were coming for me early and I was flopping two pair, straights and flushes regularly. While I was able to put paid to some attempted blind steals with those hands, I wasn’t able to capitalize on them as much as I would have liked. At that point in the tourney, the play at my first table was pretty tight and any serious raise would usually be met by an immediate fold. But one of my weaknesses is my reluctance to trap. All I usually see is the way I can be beaten at the turn or the river, even when I’ve flopped the best hand, and I tend to bet high to try to force drawers out. It’s a major flaw in my game that I know I have to work on if I’m to improve.

As an aside, one of the reasons that I love playing in the WPBT is the quality of play is so much better than your average freeroll and/or low buy-in tournament. Not all that surprising, of course. In my typical UB freeroll or Poker Stars low buy-in the chances would have been good that I would have tripled or quadrupled my stack with the hands I was getting, as there are always one or two people in those tournaments who will go all-in on a wish and a prayer, especially in the early rounds.

On the other hand, bad beats also abound in the UB and Poker Stars games too, and you’re as likely to be mouthing obscenities at the screen when someone pulls off a miracle as you are to win with the best flopped hand. In any case, it’s much more relaxing and enjoyable to play with people who play professionally, logically, and well – the occasional raise on the Hammer notwithstanding. It’s largely the reason I’m willing to lay out $22 or $33 – way beyond my normal buy-ins – to play WPBT tournaments.

As with Poker Stars, table moves at Noble happen at disconcerting speed; the disorientation is similar to suddenly being transported to the Jurassic Age and find you’re facing down a Tyrannosaurus. Unfortunately for me, a dinosaur who decided to take a few chomps on me was The Poker Geek, who was seated to my right at the new table I appeared at. The geek proceeded to flay me over several hands, either raising heavily into me, or stripping me of chips the few times I decided to show him down.

“Lordy, take me away from this place,” I mumbled as the geek grabbed another pot from me, and happily the Poker Gods took pity, and I found myself at yet another new table. Maudie was one of the players there, but Miz Maudie, she’s been having a hard week and she's not one for chatting much at the tables, so except for a short interchange about the Bewitched statue – a subject of fascination to us both –and Shelly Berman (more on that later), we didn’t talk.

Who knows? I may be something of a jinx for Maudie, as almost exactly the same thing happened as in the last WPBT tourney when we were together at a table. I glanced away from the screen for just a second – to move Bear whose boondockers had gone out of control and were spread across my keyboard – and when I looked back Maudie was off stage, telling the player who had just collected all her chips to have fun with them.

Iggy was knocked out at around the same time, too, somewhere in the mid-50s, I think.

Things start to get hazy in the 52-year-old mind at this point. I think all this happened late in the 1st hour, but may well have been early in the second. In any case, at the break I had around 1600 in chips, which got chipped away early with some bad bets and blind attrition in Hour 2 to circa T500.

I reluctantly went all-in against one player with a pair of deuces, the only thing that could be said about them. I believe s/he had a suited AJ and pulled another J at the flop, but since I was preparing to shut down for the night, I wasn’t paying the attention I should. But my luck, she decided she wanted to play awhile longer, and I sucked out a third deuce at the river.

“Wow,” someone noted in the chat box, as discerning a comment as I could make myself about my winning that hand.

The rest, till the end, is silence. The guy who eventually took me out about 10 minutes before the end of Hour 2 had “spaceman” in his screen name, had an enormous chip stack (I believe over T7000 when he faced me down), and may have been this blogger, but I could very well be wrong. I had off-suit AK and 1600 chips to my name, which seemed to be the stack I always had. I raised the minimum, T800, which in retrospect was a mistake. With only 800 left and at that level, I had already committed myself and may have given a signal to the spaceman that I was trying to buy the blinds on the cheap.

He was also on the small blind, I believe, which may have influenced his decision. In any case, he was the only caller to my raise. The flop was 8 something, something, no help to me, but now representing the pair that I should have been representing in the first place, I went all-in. Spaceman called and showed an 8 6 (!!), which you can either look at as a semi-loose play by someone who could afford to gamble, or more likely, a smart play by someone who had correctly put me on either two face cards or a small pair and decided to check it out with his two 8s.

Two more cards, but I was done on the turn when a 6 showed. My luck she kissed me on the forehead and murmured, “Another night, baby.”

The final four agreed to chop the second place money, which worked out to around $200+ each. And the BigPirate gets his shot at the WSOP bracelet. Full details are on Pauly’s site.

Peggy asked this morning what I thought about Noble, and my reaction was “Just Another Poker Site.” Nice graphics, speed acceptable, a little stark on the options. But nothing really to commend or to condemn. Unless I get lucky, I intend to play out what's left of my small stake and move back to the waters I'm comfortable swimming in.

Only thing that makes it stand out in my memory are the voice sound clips that play for calling/raising/folding, which sound as if they were recorded by Borscht Belt comedians. And if you’ve made it this far, that’s why Maudie, the Fat Guy and I were discussing Shelly Berman and Henny Youngman.

Posted by Hello

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

The million-dollar fortune cookie.

Well, actually the $100 to $500k fortune cookie, but still a pretty strange story. (link is to NY Times article which may [or may not] require registration depending on the mood The Gray Lady is in at the moment)

Powerball lottery officials suspected fraud: how could 110 players in the March 30 drawing get five of the six numbers right? That made them all second-prize winners, and considering the number of tickets sold in the 29 states where the game is played, there should have been only four or five....

...It took some time before they had their answer: the players got their numbers inside fortune cookies, and all the cookies came from the same factory in Long Island City, Queens...

Bewitched Statue Watch - Day 7 - The Statue Triumphant

POSTED: 7:25 am EDT May 11, 2005
UPDATED: 8:26 am EDT May 11, 2005

BOSTON -- Salem will soon be getting its "Bewitched" statue.

The city's redevelopmment authority voted unanimously Tuesday night to erect the statue in Lappin Park. The 9-foot-tall statue depicts the star of the 1960s television show "Bewitched" astride a broom.

Critics of the statue said it trivializes the tragedy of the city's 1692 witch trials, in which 20 people were put to death. But supporters -- including Mayor Stanley Usovicz said there is room for a little fun in the city too. The mayor hopes the statue will attract tourists who will then find out about the truth of the witch trials.

The statue is scheduled to go up on June 15.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Bewitched Statue Watch Day 6:

From The Washington Post

Tonight, the fate of the statue, which is already being cast at a foundry, will be determined by a vote of the Salem Redevelopment Authority. That organization owns Lappin Park, where Elizabeth Montgomery's character is slated for installation....

...So what does this thing look like? Good question. The network wants maximum ooohs when it whips the curtain off Samantha so it won't release photos or drawings. But the artists who designed the statue, at a place called StudioEIS in Brooklyn, shared a rendering of the piece on condition that it not appear in the newspaper.

So here's a description: Imagine Samantha, dressed in one of the sensible frocks she wore on the show, sitting on a broom, which is resting on a crescent moon. The moon, in turn, is resting on the top of a cloud, which is on a pedestal. Samantha is smiling and her left arm is turned up at the elbow. It's like she's saying, "It's a cinch to fly." Her legs are crossed at the ankles.

The sculptors' studio is owned and operated by Elliot and Ivan Schwartz, brothers who are best known for their casts of the Founding Fathers -- which can be found in such places as the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia -- and for commemorative objects for museums, including the Smithsonian.

Birds of Prey.

Mark Evanier has a post on DC Comics changing its logo. As Mark notes, for those of us of an age, there is only one DC logo that looks right.

The original NY Times article which you may or may not be able to read here, notes that the logo will be applied across DC media, including, the article says, the release of the short-lived TV series, "Birds of Prey" on DVD.

I was intense fan of BoP during its run, and eventually located a dealer who was offering the complete series as a bootleg DVD set. As an aside, this person, another rabid BoP fan, was so nice and so little profit-driven that unsolicited he replaced most of the set he had originally sold me with higher-quality versions as he came across them.

One of the things I really liked about BoP, but which probably contributed to its demise, was its unwillingness to cater to the general public. You were either a fanboy/girl who got it, or you were part of the hoi polloi that didn't. The writers and producers didn't seem to care one way or the other.

Birds of Prey is the story of Helena Kyle, aka, "The Huntress," the daughter of Batman and Catwoman. Helena is partnered with Barbara Gordon, who, if you're a comic book fan, you might remember as Batgirl, but is Batgirl no longer (most of the time). After a pre-series attack by the Joker, Barbara is confined (most of the time) to a wheelchair, and has taken the code name, "Oracle."

The two women are joined by Dinah, who, as the series evolves, we discover is the daughter of the Black Canary, who makes a guest appearance late in the series. Batman is off-stage throughout the series, having left Gotham City for reasons never fully explained. The three women are served by Alfred, though, but don't live in stately Wayne manor. Gotham City has been hit earlier by some type of disaster, where most of the old town has been destroyed, and the rebuilt metropolis (small "m") is now known as "New Gotham." Metahumans, which is the preferred DC term to protect the "S" branding and identity, prowl the streets.

See what I mean? If you're a comics fan, you probably understood all that, as it loosely follows most of the threads of DC Universe continuity (possibly not current continuity. I don't know the DC Universe as well as I once did when I could read off the entire roster of the Legion of Super-Pets without taking a breath).

But ask the Average Bear (who is next to my computer as I write this) and he'll probably say, "Batman has a daughter? And where's Robin?"

Mr. Robin, he's now Nightwing, but that's another story. There's a very good BoP fan site here where you can learn more. I wouldn't recommend the series to anyone but the most hard-core of comic book fans (except for those fans of the extremely easy-on-the-eyes Ashley Scott, too. You knew I was going to get that in somewhere, didn't you?), but if/when it does come out in "official" release, and shows up at your friendly neighborhood video store, you might want to rent an episode or two. You could be pleasantly surprised.

Perky no longer.

Thanks to the Tom Werner connection, if you live in the Boston area you hear a lot about Katie Couric whether you want to or not.

A blurb in today's Globe gossip column about Werner, Couric's on-again, off-again boy toy, being enlisted to buff up Katie's image led me to dig up the original NY Times article razzing her.

But "Today" has turned her popularity into a Marxist-style cult of personality. The camera fixates on Ms. Couric's legs during interviews, she performs in innumerable skits and stunts, and her clowning is given center stage even during news events. "Today" hit a low point in July, when Saddam Hussein appeared in a Baghdad courtroom to hear the charges he will face when he goes to trial as a war criminal. All the networks interrupted their programming to show live images of Mr. Hussein - all except NBC. "Today" stayed on Ms. Couric swatting shuttlecocks with the United States Olympic badminton team.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Time Traveller Convention Update

The convention was a success! Unfortunately, we had no confirmed time travelers visit us.
We did, however, have a great series of lectures, awesome bands, and even a DeLorean....
Link to the update. Link to my original post

Bewitched Statue Watch: Day 5...

In October of 1970 North Shore residents had an opportunity to see two of their local communities featured on the popular television sitcom "Bewitched."

A few months earlier a fire had burned down the Hollywood lot where the show was usually filmed. The producers then decided to shoot on location for the first time in the sitcom's history.

Two episodes, filmed primarily in Salem and Gloucester in June and July, were shown on consecutive Thursday nights in mid-October under the title "The Salem Saga." Then mayor Samuel Zoll designated Oct. 8, the day the first episode aired, as "Bewitched Day" in Salem.

The stars of the show, Elizabeth Montgomery and Dick Sargent, and the rest of the cast and crew of "Bewitched," stayed at the Hawthorne Hotel while filming in the area. Fans gathered outside the hotel and at film locations hoping to get an autograph or picture of two of television's most popular personalities.
Link to article, "First 'Bewitched' visit to Salem generated lots of excitement"
So I say to Ms. Harrison and the handful of people who bemoan this statue: Learn to believe in magic again.
Link to long-winded letter in "North Shore Sunday"

Links to various "Bewitched" posts by yours truly.

1975 Interview with John Lennon

via rec.music.beatles The poster notes that he thinks its circa 1975-76. It certainly has a mid-70s feel. Some fascinating stuff here...

"Game" was a magazine concerned with "men's interests" which was published in the 70s. I think it was a Paul Raymond publication. I only bought it for the articles, of course, which is amply proved by the fact that this cutting is all I have of the original mag. Undated, but probably 1975. I don't know if it was ever published anywhere else.


talks to Penny Grant about the Beatles, Mick Jagger, Bob Dylan, Salvador Dali and many others

JOHN LENNON is, without a doubt, one of the most charismatic and interesting people one could wish to meet. He's had more success than even today's pop stars can imagine, enough publicity to gratify the most go-getting publicist, and by no means least has more than a decade of beautiful music to his credit.

Lennon is currently a voluntary prisoner in the U.S.A. still fighting an interminable legal battle with the authorities over his presence. And until he gets a 'green card' or the final thumbs down that's where he'll stay. At present the legal climate seems to be becoming less harsh with a general feeling that a drugs bust shouldn't automatically make you a second class citizen; and at least one influential American columnist has gone on recordas saying that he thinks Lennon's struggle will be successful.

John himself can only watch and wait, and keep making music. 'It's still very much in the melting pot. I'm at some stage of appeal I believe. I have a lawyer who's doing it all and keeps me in touch. He tells me from time to time that this happened or that happened, then we talk about it. It seems to be going on and on. I wish they'd make up their minds.

'I miss England, but I'm not going to walk away from it all now! I've spent so much effort on it... I keep telling myself "When I get the green card" I'll do all sorts of things.'

A happy and relaxed Lennon is talking to me in his office, which looks down on the New York he's made his home. Looking at him, it's hard to believe that this is the so-called rebel with the awe-inspiring reputation for being 'difficult'. He's disarmingly friendly, intelligent and articulate, and above all sometimes painfully honest. He also seems delighted to see someone from 'home' - it would be an exaggeration to say he's homesick but one can detect a certain wistfulness when he talks of his native land.

'I just want to go back to Britain and see it, and have a cup of tea - not to perform or anything, just to be there. I know the English love me, and I love them. I'm one of them, no matter where I'm living.

'I know it's a bit hard if you've never left England and someone's living abroad, you can't really understand it. You think "why are they abroad, why have they left us? Why is so and so living in the South of France?" and wonder why John Osborne got furious at England, left and said such nasty things, and then came back and loved it ?

An Englishman is an Englishman wherever he lives. There are great colonies of English people in Spain and they have their ''real English pubs" and allit. Even if I took out American citizenship it would make no difference. I'd still be English, there ain't nothing going to change that.Even if I became Swahili, I'd be an English Swahili!'

It's been a long time since Lennon has been back to his native land, and thus since his friends and fans here have seen him 'live'. But they've not forgotten him: 'I get letters from England - I don't answer them too much because I'm lazy - saying "Don't forget get us". There's no way I could forget them, even if I tried or wanted to.'

But, of course, John now has many friends in the States too. 'People are so kind : they come up to me and say "Hi, John, how's your immigration ?" If it was up to them, I'm sure I'd be allowed to stay here. They don't really understand what all the fuss is about. There are still some places where they've got this crazy idea that the Beatles are all junkies, but mostly people know what's going on and they seem to be on side. If it was down to them I'd be given a passport if I wanted it.'

In the rock 'n' roll business many people commute between the States and England. This does provide Lennon with an opportunity to see many ex-colleagues and contemporaries. One in particular epitomises the sort of life John would like to lead if he was free to do so : 'Mick (Jagger) lives officially in France, but I see him every couple of months-he's always laughing about me being stuck here! He says "I've just come from Nicaragua, or from Paris, Munich or even London". That's how I'd be living if I was living anywhere: I'd have my base here because that's where all my stuff is now, but I wouldn't live permanently anywhere, I'd be moving around. I'd like a place in London too, if you're allowed to without actually "living" there, that is. There are so many regulations.'

Lennon's home in New York is a beautiful flat off Central Park in which he's lived for some time.

'I guess it's pretty good . . . it's in an old building that's really very European, on the park, and most of the rooms face the park. It's large enough to get a little lost in. Apartments are good: you don't have the
responsibility of the roof and gardens. My garden's Central Park and New York owns and looks after it for me!'

Unlike many of his fellow musicians, Lennon has chosen to make New York his home rather than Los Angeles. And it seems likely that if the US immigration authorities finally decide in his favour he'll retain a home there. Why live in New York rather than on the much warmer West coast where a flourishing colony of musicians already exists?

"It suits me here, and I'm more of a city person anyway. I always think it's easier to go from the city to the country than the other way round. If I went back to England I'd live in the heart of London. The only reason I left the centre of London where I once lived was because of the "Hard Day's Night"-that's what I call the Beatles' days. It got so bad I couldn't step outside the door. So I moved out to Ascot and Weybridge and all those places. I know I could live in town again now'

He tells some stories of events he's attended which confirmed his view that the less public functions he attended the better he liked it. The preview of the 'Sergeant Pepper' film was one.

'I thought to myself "I'm in town so I might as well go". You can get away with some of those things if they don't know you're going. But with that one it was deja vu-they'd built up this idea that I was gonna be there and that's when it happened.

'It was pretty wild. You've got to get out of the car and get clawed-like I said, a "Hard Day's Night". You know, at the Pepper thing most of the audience were watching me. They were even popping off with flashbulbs at me.

'At something like the Grammy Awards it's not quite so bad. There, anyone who's famous will do. It doesn't matter who you are, if you arrive in a big black car you must be somebody.'

'After the Pepper thing I didn't go to the "Tommy" thing although I was invited. I just couldn't face another one.'

This fear, or what one might almost call shyness has stopped Lennon doing many other things, including one he'd dearly like to do. To go and see Elvis Presley.

'I'm too embarrassed to go and see him. I'm scared it might be in Vegas or somewhere and they'd say "and sitting in the audience is ..." I wouldn't know where to put myself.'

The topic of Mr Presley had come up in conversation while we were discussing other musicians that he might like to work with, at times when he's not involved in his own personal musical project - on a production basis for example.

'I have occasionally got involved with other people-mostly Ringo on his albums. I'd love to do Elvis but I'd be too shy, I'd fall apart. I'd just be quivering. "Could you do it again Elvis?*' Can you imagine it? I just couldn't do it.' John laughs loudly at the very thought.

'I wouldn't mind doing Dylan -I wouldn't be scared of him. I think he needs a producer ... if you're reading this, Bob!'

One artist John did produce an album for was Harry Nilsson-a friend.

'I get offers, oh boy do I get offers-but I either have to respect an artist or he has to be a friend. I tend to go for friends. I did Harry because we were both getting drunk, and in the papers- only I was getting in the papers more than he was. So I said "hey, this won't do, let's do something creative. This is no sort of life here, lying on the floor of the Beverley Wilshire with headaches and glasses all around."

'So we did it. But unfortunately the guy had lost his voice. So I had the great Harry Nilsson talking (or more to the point singing) like Frogman Henry or Wolfman Jack!'

Of course, the artists most people would like to see him get involved with are the other ex-Beatles - preferably all at once and on a permanent basis! John has been asked so many times about the possibilities and probabilities of this happening that a smile of resignation comes on to his face at the mention of the others.

'It's strange the way people talk about them, as if we were enemies. You know, they were good blokes-I liked them, and I still do. You have to get on I with the people in your group if you choose to stay with them for all that time!

'When they come to the States I usually see them. Ringo and George are here a lot of the time and Paul sometimes comes via New York on his way to L.A. I've worked with Ringo and George both together and separately, and played with Paul- there were a lot of other people there too but everybody seemed
to be watching us!

'I was going down to New Orleans to help out on Paul's last album "Venus and Mars", but I was too busy being happy at the time. If you're reading this Paul, I'm sorry I couldn't make it ...

'Anyway, George has got his own label-Dark Horse, or whatever it's called-and Ringo's got his label. Do I want a label of my own? Not me. I don't want no more record companies. It's the label idea I like best. I like the idea of having a special little label on my records, but that's just artistic. I don't care who puts them out as long as they do it, sell them, and put their best efforts behind it. I'm just not interested, I wasn't really interested at the beginning, I just went along.

'You see what this business is here?' he queried, waving an expansive arm at the small office. "Just a phone in an office to look after the sheet music. I will not be a corporation -I'm Lennon music and that's it. But I'm pleased for the other two because that's what they wanted.

'As for our getting together again, I doubt it. For one thing we're hardly ever in the same place at the same time, and even if we were I doubt if we'd be in the same state of mind about it. I wouldn't mind though, I'll do anything for the money. Seriously though, folks. I just can't see it happening on any sort of permanent basis: we all lead such different lives now.'

Although each of that once legendary band is still very much on his musical feet, and the musicians themselves seem to have got over any personal animosities, it took a long time to sort out the legal position.

However, early "75 saw a settlement which finally sorted out some of the legal tangle. To musicians like Lennon no business matter is something they relish, so the interminable legal wrangling must have become a source of both inconvenience and frustration. Now much of it's over John has no reservations about discussing it:

'All it did actually was to get us paid directly-the main thing about the settlement was to release the monies to ourselves. It did not break all our ties with each other, because it's a bit more complicated than that and we're pretty well tied up in many ways.

'It was nice having the money come to me at last that I'd actually earned-although a lot of it's locked in England by laws until '77. We'll just have to hope the pound is still around in '77, or the dollar for that matter.

'Apple is now just a bank. It won't take artists-it can't function that way: it was hard enough to make it work while we were together. We certainly can't make it work the way we are now, so far apart. None of us could be in charge of looking after the artists.

'Have you seen the Apple building in Savile Row? I understand it's only a shell now, and they're doing all sorts of things to it. I don't want to see it-it was such a lovely old building. I don't even want to hear about it, it's so sad. Queen Anne, or whoever it was who "slept" there must be turning in her grave.'

Unlike many musicians, Lennon doesn't mind talking about money. He admits that 'as long as I've got enough to let me do what I want to do' it's not his prime concern, and wants to make it quite clear that money wasn't the reason he decided to live in the States.

'I didn't leave for tax reasons. In fact I was an idiot, I just came over here, and after I'd been here about six months decided to stay. If I'd done it properly I should have informed all the right authorities and I would have got one year's drop-out tax-some vast amount of money. I think I got some kind of a bargain later on but I missed the big bargain that everyone else leaves for. I just never thought about it ... goofy here missed it.

'You know, I recently heard a great malapropism 'Time wounds all heels"-very funny.

Anyway, I missed a million pounds or something. What I'm saying is, it'll come some other way, I'm not going to sweat about it.'

The Beatles' legal settlement was just one of the things to happen around that period which confirmed that a lot of the bad times were at an end-for John at least. 1974 had not been a good year.

'To me '74 was hell, and I'm glad to be out of it and still alive. Personally speaking it certainly was rough, and a lot of my friends thought it was pretty bad too.'

Much of that year was spent by John in Los Angeles, waiting for Phil Spector to 'recover' and give him back the tapes of eight tracks they'd recorded together for Lennon's 'Rock 'N' Roll' album.

'We did the first part in '73, then it sort of fell apart. Phil and I ... well, you could say we went barmy. Then Phil had a car accident . . .'

Which left Lennon at a loose end in L.A., getting drunk and hanging out with the rock fraternity-not wanting to leave in the belief that he stood a better chance of getting the tapes back by staying there.

So John waited and waited for the somewhat eccentric genius to emerge from what Lennon calls 'his castle-if you've ever seen his house you'll know what I mean'. It was a musically sterile period, and Lennon's personal life was also in a bad state. For he'd split up with his wife Yoko- a circumstance hardly calculated to enhance his good mental state.

'If I'm having a bad period then I just can't do anything right!'

Happily for all concerned, especially John, everything turned out well in the end. He got the tapes back and the 'Rock 'N' Roll" album was eventually finished-to be released not long after an album of his own work which many consider to be his finest ever. "Walls And Bridges'.

And then, of course, there's Yoko.

'We are back together now. and happier than over before. It's the old, old story-when you get someone back that you've lost its better than ever.'

It was the reconciliation which so involved John that he couldn't tear himself away to work with McCartney in New Orleans. And without wishing to sound starry eyed, Lennon looked like a man in love and at peace with the world when he spoke about Yoko. In fact it's rather like a fairy tale with a happy ending for the couple because Yoko was expecting their first baby (although they both have one child by a previous marriage) when I spoke to John. Although she has had miscarriages before, and 42 isn't the ideal age to have a child, they hope that this time will be the lucky one.

As if to prove that there are no hard feelings on any side, when I last saw her the beautiful May Pang (with whom Lennon was 'seen" during the marital rift) was still working for John as his secretary, although I understand she's not still doing so.

The way Yoko has been treated by many people has been a cause of considerable anger and unhappiness to John.

There was all this "John leaving his nice English wife and taking up with a mad Jap stuff"... the press especially were vicious. Linda had a lot of trouble with them too. but at least she looks a bit more like your traditional English wife, blonde hair, blue eyes and all that. There's definitely a lot of racism in it. Let's face it.

They said things about her in the press that were unbelievable. For one thing they called her an "ugly Jap"-she's not ugly, I don't marry ugly people. I, and as it happens a lot of my friends, think she's a beautiful woman. Secondly, even if she was ugly and I'd decided to marry a very ugly woman the press wouldn't normally say so. The most garbage looking person is usually written up as attractive, so why not Yoko even if she was ugly?

'Naturally I feel bitter about it. And I don't forget it just because they've forgotten it.'

John himself has come in for an awful lot of criticism over the years, so I asked what his attitude is to personal criticism and whether that upsets him as much.

'Let's take Salvador Dali for an example-I take him because he's a big exposed artist too (we won't discuss his work). So he puts his work on display or has an opening, and the reviewer reviews what he's wearing! Or the fact that he fell over drunk, or hit a fellow with a stick. That to me is irrelevant.

'One music paper reviewer whose name I don't know, gets hysterical about me whatever I do. Obviously he loves me-loves me so much he hates me. So whatever he reviews that's anything to do with me he just goes on and on, rambling about anything but the music. Because of that, what he says is invalid. I am a musician.

It's funny, you know, people think I can't take criticism because I sometimes write letters. I might write and say "hey, what do you mean, you dummy" because I like writing letters if I'm in the mood. I do dig
criticism, especially if it's to do with my work. It's helpful to know someone's watching. And if the praise is just praise for being John Lennon then it's just as invalid as non praise just because I'm John Lennon.

'Although it's easier to accept praise than hatred . . .'

In his time John has had to accept a lot of both of those, as well as adulation and bureaucratic victimisation. Recently there's been a spate of a strange type of flattery-the desire to immortalise John and the other Beatles before any of them are even dead. Take for example the stage play 'John, Paul, George, Ringo and Bert':

'Obviously I haven't had a chance to see it, although I sent them a happy opening message on tape. I don't know what it is or how the hell it is, or why it is, I just know it is. It makes me feel dead if you wanna know.
People writing things like that about us gives me the feeling that I've died already, but I haven't.'

Despite his personal trepidation about going, John didn't mind the 'Sergeant Pepper' film:

'1 enjoyed it, because I'd never seen the guy's work before. I think they reproduced the music well, very well in fact. And while we're talking about films, what about "Stardust"? It was written by Ray Connolly-white house indeed, with white bedrooms. Guess where he got that from? Ascot, where he always visited me and Yoko!'

Many artists try to immortalise themselves or their lives in their songs. Lennon may not be striving for any particular niche in posterity (although there's little doubt that he'll have one) but most of his music is personal.

'Yes, all my stuff's personal. It always has been, even "Help" was personal-a cry from the heart you might say. Maybe the lyrics got more refined as I became older, and got to the point more quickly, but they're
still just as personal.'

Thus beautiful if melancholy songs like 'Nobody Loves You When You're Down and Out" speak volumes about Lennon"s state of mind at the time-in this instance in 1974. that dreadful year. But, perhaps surprisingly, none of the Beatles have tried to follow in the footsteps of contemporary Pete Townshend with 'Tommy'.

'We did "Sergeant Pepper" and that'll do! Impressing people with the name "opera" doesn't interest me. To me it is, and probably always will be, the song I find interesting'

So there'll be no Lennon magnum opus, but a great many more brilliant and poignant songs if 'Walls And Bridges' is anything to go by.

1975 was a good year in contrast to its predecessor. Perhaps one of the best yet. Shortly after I saw John he and Yoko retired from public life to stay in a friend's house and await their baby.

By now you should know whether the happy event was indeed just that. A million and more fans hope that it will be, as a confirmation of their happy reunion. And ironically if there is another little Lennon it may do a lot to help John's immigration problems, for the child will be a U.S. citizen . . .

For the New Year John has a message for all, 'I said stay alive in '75-and that goes for '76 too.'

As we go to press we hear that John Lennon has won his appeal and has got his green card. This means he can now stay in America, or more to the point, he can leave America and return. Nice one John.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Jack Kerouac bobblehead doll heading to Hall of Fame

I've been trying to lay my hands on one of these since they were released in 2003, without any luck. The J.K. bobbleheads regularly show up on eBay selling for several hundred dollars each.

With only 1,000 produced and "the Jack Kerouac Estate [requiring] the mold to be broken so that unauthorized copies aren't made..." it's unlikely that my Scotty Nguyen bobblehead will have a shelf-mate soon.

(Thanks, Peggy!)

Jakob Dylan on his father...

"Yes," he said, taking a breath, "he was affectionate. When I was a kid, he was a god to me for all the right reasons. Other people have put that tag on him in some otherworldly sense. I say it as any kid who admired his dad and had a great relationship with him. He never missed a single Little League game I had. He's collected every home run ball I ever hit. And he's still affectionate to me." He paused and smiled. "Maybe he doesn't want people to know that," he said. "But I'll tell you, because it's my interview."
Lot of fascinating things in the article, including:
'When I'm listening to 'Subterranean Homesick Blues,' I'm grooving along just like you. But when I'm listening to 'Blood on the Tracks,' that's about my parents.'
Link to NY Times article which may or may not require a free registration.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Bewitched Statue Watch Day Three

"Witches are to Salem what the Red Sox are to Boston."
Link to "The Salem News" story. Link to another "The Salem News" story that keeps on witchily appearing and disappearing.

Also a link to a NPR story where, if you listen to the full report, you'll be rewarded with a short excerpt of someone (note to self: track this down*) singing the "Bewitched" theme.

*Tracked: Here's a link to an MP3 file of Ms. Peggy Lee singing the theme to "Bewitched."

via Harpies Bizarre where all things witchy can be foundPosted by Hello

Friday, May 06, 2005

Why the Blogfather is like Public Radio.

I need a new account at another poker site like I need a hole in the head, so I wasn’t happy to find that Iggy had set the new WPBT WSOP Satellite Tournament at a site I had never even heard of, “Noble Poker.”

I’ve been content with playing at Poker Stars and Ultimate Bet. My one attempt outside of those sites at Party Poker caused me to lose my stake within the space of a month; various poker blogger claims that Party was one big fish fry notwithstanding. Of course, the fact that I was trying to beat Party’s progressive tourneys probably had something to do with it. Or, who knows? Maybe I was one of the fish in the Party Poker Ocean. If so, I was happy to go back to the seas where I knew I could make a couple of bucks on a regular basis.

So, my first instinct was to take another pass on this tourney. But I started thinking about an exchange of emails I had with Iggy a month or so back where I thanked him for arranging/flogging the WPBT tournaments and hoped that he was getting some piece of the action from Party or Poker Stars for his efforts. And he replied he wasn’t seeing a dime from them.

Guinness & Pokercan be an irritating blog to visit, with those flashing banners, unrelenting shilling for bonus codes this and Poker Tracker that, wholesale quoting of stuff, and Iggy’s refusal to follow anything like the normal protocols of blogging such as separate, short, headlined posts that could be easily located again rather than the scrolling screeds he puts up.

But having said all that, I’ll note that I visit G&P on a near-daily basis. It’s a pretty good barometer of the state of poker, and especially the state of on-line poker, plus it saves me the trouble of reading RGP, which has as bad a noise-to-signal ratio as rec.music.dylan.

Iggy’s links to other poker blogs have led me to some excellent writing, at least one of which – Maudie’s – ended up on my permanent reading list. Needless to say, but I'll say it anyway, at least two people are going to the WSOP who wouldn't have been if not for Iggy's initial idea and tireless flogging. And Iggy, when he wants to, can come up with some excellent funny, original material, such as his trip to Aruba post and his wonderful post on the infamous “Fast Eddie.” You can find both by searching his site if you're interested.

All reasons, as I said, why I read G&P almost every day. So, I was driving up to Maine yesterday, listening to NPR, which was in one of its cyclic fund-raising campaigns, and the announcers were doing the whole “you pay for your newspaper, you pay for your Starbucks coffee, why do you think you should get a free ride from us?” guilt-trip gig. Answer, of course, is the same as why dogs like to orally clean their genitals, but that’s neither here nor there. They’re right, and every now and then I do make a donation because I use their services regularly, it’s near-impossible to listen to commercial radio, I’d miss them if they were gone, and they should make a buck from me.

They should make a buck from me. As should Iggy, for all he does for the poker blogger community. So, I’m using the little sign-up link that will let Iggy get some street cred and a few bonus dollars at Noble, and may he spend them in good health.

In the Big Scheme of Things, fhb is a very small fish in the poker blogger ocean, but if you’re a poker blogger/reader and you’re dithering about whether you want to go to the hassle of opening another account at yet another site and have somehow stumbled on this, think about what I’ve said.

See you on Wednesday. And thank you, Iggy.

WPBT WSOP Satellite Tournament
Noble Poker
Wednesday, May 11th, 9PM EST
$30 +3
Password: dahammer

A moment of Jack Russell Terrier Zen #2

via Mimi

And guess who just got HBO? Who sez reader comments don't have influence? Jack says, "Thanks!"

(Click on the photo to view a larger version)

Posted by Hello


The landscapers were supposed to take down the old crab-apple in our front yard yesterday, but there were so many buds on it that I asked them to take one final look before their getting the new tree; which would make taking the old one inevitable.

They called me while I was on the way to Maine - between York and Wells - and told me that while there were no guarantees, they now thought there was a possibility of saving it. "Trees either die of cold or drought," the arborist's voice crackled over the cell in a piece of inadvertent poetry, and I thought of a similar line in a poem by Jim Harrison. "It was a tough Winter on it. But I'll tell you the truth, Fred, even though I'll be losing money, if it was my tree, I'd try to save it. It must be close to 50 years old."

"Done," I said. "And thank you." I bought some tree fertilizer spikes when I came home late yesterday afternoon, ringed the now heavily pruned tree with them, and put back up the feeders. Our finches almost immediately re-appeared in golden flashes. I went to the garage, cut a piece of cardboard from a box and scrawled "REPRIEVED" on it in big, green Magic Marker letters. I hung the sign on the trunk where Peg would see it when she came home, to make her smile.

I can turn and see it now, old tree, bark peeling, limbs missing, but still here, maybe as old as I am. But still here. Reprieved.

Click on the image for a larger version (and thank you, Jill, for the idea to take a photo!) Posted by Hello

American Life in Poetry: Column 006


Rhyme has a way of lightening the spirit of a poem, and in this instance, the plural, spirits, is the appropriate word choice. Lots of readers can relate to "Sober Song," which originally appeared in North Dakota Quarterly. Barton Sutter is a Minnesota poet, essayist, and fiction writer who has won awards in all three genres.

Sober Song

Farewell to the starlight in whiskey,
So long to the sunshine in beer.
The booze made me cocky and frisky
But worried the man in the mirror.
Goodnight to the moonlight in brandy,
Adieu to the warmth of the wine.
I think I can finally stand me
Without a glass or a stein.
Bye-bye to the balm in the vodka,
Ta-ta to the menthol in gin.
I'm trying to do what I ought to,
Rejecting that snake medicine.
I won't miss the blackouts and vomit,
The accidents and regret.
If I can stay off the rotgut,
There might be a chance for me yet.
So so long to God in a bottle,
To the lies of rum and vermouth.
Let me slake my thirst with water
And the sweet, transparent truth.

Reprinted from "Farewell to the Starlight in Whiskey," Rochester: BOA Editions, 2004, by permission of the author. This weekly column is supported by The Poetry Foundation, The Library of Congress and the Department of English at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. For information on permissions and usage, or to download a PDF version of the column, visit www.americanlifeinpoetry.org.

Bewitched statue watch continued. Rhetorical question of the day:

``Do we need more kitsch?'' resident Meg Twohey said. ``We are giving out public space for a TV group to make money. I don't understand why we're doing it.''
Link to Boston Herald article

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

A moment of Jack Russell Terrier Zen

Thanks, Mimi!

more JRTZ moments

via Peg Posted by Hello

Enduring Love

is one of those quirky, little Brit movies that my sister-in-law, Roberta, loves (the Roberta "quirky Brit movie" genre would include such flicks as "Shirley Valentine" and "Sexy Beast").

Intrigued by a Boston Globe review of the DVD release, I hunted it up, and found the sole copy at our local Blockbuster. To give a moment to digression, I'm not a fan of chains, be it Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Best Buy, or Blockbuster. But the reality is that most of the small CD/DVD stores around here, whether purchase or rental, stock only the top sellers. Would that more of them would model themselves after the Toadstool Bookshop, which offers an eclectic selection of books far past the NY Times bestseller list. Given a choice, I always buy from the Toadstool, even giving up my B&N or Amazon discount in order to throw an independent bookseller business.

End of advertisement and digression and back to Enduring Love. The Globe reviewer had mentioned that the movie disappeared almost without a trace of public or critical comment after its theatrical release, not that much a surprise, I think, for anyone who sees the movie. With the exception of a haunting opening sequence involving a hot air balloon accident, the movie is long on atmosphere and short on action. An audience raised on the hyperkinetic entertainment of most popular movies was probably fiddling with its collective cell phone 20 minutes into the film. Another issue may be the sound quality, which to my ears is extremely muddy, at least on the DVD release. There are entire sequences, especially those involving two or more people in conversation, where I was struggling to make sense out of what was going on thanks to the low sound levels and the British habit of swallowing most words.

Having said all that, I'll also say that while Enduring Love can be extremely slow-paced, it is also very good, and well worth your time if you're looking for a movie out of the ordinary.

I went to bed last night thinking about love, and whether, as one of the characters maintains, if it is purely biologically-driven, what can it mean when you fall out of love? And if it is solely biologically-driven, where does homosexual love fit in?

I was also thinking about survivor's guilt, and the Prisoner's Dilemma, a variation of which is presented in the movie. If you're in a situation with a group where action on your part will allow you to survive but, if you take that action first, may mean that others will die, what do you do? If no one takes action, you may all survive, or you may all die. But the moment someone else takes action, your chances of survival decrease.

What do you do?

All those questions -- and more -- are asked in Enduring Love, probably another reason that the film failed at the box office. What's the last movie that made you think, that made you question assumptions, that made you ask the hard questions of yourself?