Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Spiritual Stuff

Well, good news on the Dad front. The doctor up here who told him he had a month or two left is all wet. His cancer specialist at Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston says he's got a couple of years left, assuming his treatment stays where it's at. And in two year's time, who knows what other treatments will become available? My thought was "If you're a GP, and one of your patients is seeing a cancer specialist at a world renown cancer hospital, would you maybe leave the diagnosis/prognosis up to him?" As Paddy said today, imagine putting someone through a week of thinking you only had a few weeks left to begin with? But anyway, that's over. And I saw Dad today. He looked good--a lot better than he's been looking these last couple of weeks.
Julia asked Susan a day or so a go if she could be baptized. Susan talked to her about what it meant, and asked her why she wanted to do it.

"Because Jesus said we should," was her answer. Good answer, kid. Susan went on to ask her a few more questions, and engage in a little discussion. Then Julia said...

"Can I wear goggles?"

Look, honey, we're not SCUBA diving here! I guess she's not quite ready.

Working on: the NKM web site
Listening to: John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Friday, March 25, 2005

Terry Schiavo

May I ruminate on Terri Schiavo? And a little bit on the liberal media bias? Fine.

I followed a link on Ron's site to Newsday's coverage on the trial. There, they had a pictorial on the case--75 photos to be exact. I looked through them all. After I got about half way in, I noticed a trend. The first shot is a shot of some right-to-life people praying in front of a cross. Then there are a bunch of photos of people who side with Terri's parents. Photos of people being arrested for protesting the removal of the feeding tube. Photos of more protesters. Photos of Christians. Basically, Newsday found as many unflattering photos as they could showing people who support leaving/putting the feeding tube in. In fact, you have to go the the 58th of 75 photos before you find a picture of Michael Shiavo! You have to be sixty images in before you get a photo of Terri!!! Almost all the other photos are there to paint those who believe Terri should be allowed to live as raving lunatics.

My feelings are these: If I can't breathe on my own, or my heart can't beat on its own, then unplug me. If it's a feeding tube, leave it in. What if I were in a coma? I could breathe on my own, but due to the fact I'm unconscious, I can't eat. Would you not feed me then? Terri's conscious, for crying out loud. She looks around, smiles at her mother and listens when she speaks. If it were me, I'd leave the tube in.

But it's not me! The decision on pulling the plug is Michael Schiavo's. If he and is wife discussed it before hand (and I understand there's a question if they actually did or not), then that's where the decision belongs. The decision to pull my plug lies with Susan, my wife--not my Mom and Dad. Susan knows my feelings: pull a heart/lung machine, don't pull a feeding tube. (In fact, due to the legal skills of my sister, Susan and I have a living will, on paper, in the safe.) But it will be up to Susan, not my parents, to honor my wishes.

"For this cause, a man shall leave his father and his mother and shall cleave to his wife, and they shall become one flesh" (Genesis 2:24)

To make my thoughts clear: I don't think pulling a feeding tube is the right thing to do; other people may feel differently, and that's their right; if the courts allow the pulling of a feeding tube, and someone wants to, so be it--even though I don't agree; the decision of when to pull a plug is between husband and wife (or next of kin).

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

MI-5, which I hijacked from Maggie

Courtesy of the phrase Gnip Gnop falling out of my brain the other day...

1) What board/card game was your favorite to play as a child?
Clue was a big favorite mine. I always played Professor Plum. I had this really neat notebook system for keeping track of who had what in the notebook--little circles and squares and checks. I'd also keep track of what I showed to whom, in an effort to perhaps show them the same card twice. I was pretty good at it.

2) What board/card game is your favorite to play as an adult?
Trivial Pursuit wins hands down. Susan bought me a Star Wars edition, and we drag that out every now and again, and I absolutely cream her! Luckily for her, Julia's a little Star Wars fan, and is often a big help to Mommy.

3) What game did you want as a child, but never received?
Ahh, Gnip Gnop was one of those. Payday was another one. Eric and Laurie Hansen had Payday and Life, and we'd play those when we visited them. (Laurie and Eric had all kids of cool games, including a small pinball machine, Operation, Ants in the Pants, and Don't Break the Ice.)

4) What outside games did you play with your friends when you were young? What was your favorite? Why?
Kick the Can was fun. We also played a game called, ahem, Negro Knockin. Of course, it wasn't called Negro back then. But when you're a youngster, you don't always think about such things. I have no idea why it was called that. It involved sneaking around the neighborhood, peeking in the windows to find someone up, then pounding on the windows to wake them up. Melanie Yattaw was always big into this game, so Jim Snow (Melanie's next door neighbor) always got the first knock.

5) Have you ever considered buying a vintage game/toy that you used to own? What was it? Did you get it?
I have this memory of playing with ghostly Colorforms while at Aunt Ginny's house in Camden. When I was thinking about Gnip Gnop the other day, I remembered these Colorforms. I may try to snag a set off ebay. I also had this cool 'Undersea Adventure' diorama type thing, complete with boat, shark, shark cage, and other undersea creatures. I'd buy one of those if I could ever find one.

Feeing: ok
Listening to: (believe it or not) La Cucaracha

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Basic "What's going on in my life" stuff

My postin' is drying up. When I get home at night, I do a bunch of computer type stuff, and when I'm done I just shut down for the night. Anyway... I've been doing a bunch of little changes for the Kelly Ripa fan site. The owner told me today that she's ready to slow down a little. That's ok by me. I bet I've been doing an evenings work for her every week for a month or two. When you add in the other sites I'm trying to knock out, the brain's a little tired. Without that maintenence going on, I can start the Northern Kingdom web site in earnest. Two other sites (a nursing home and a contractor) haven't given me any info yet, so that's not happening yet. Then at the tradeshow this weekend (oh yeah, I worked Saturday and Sunday, thus no posts on those days), I picked up another guy who wants a site done.

In other news, some of you know about my Dad's current battle with renal cancer--which spread to his lungs and brain. We got news on Sunday that was a little unsettling. One doctor said his tumors were breaking up and disolving, and another doctor said no, the cancer was spreading, and he had a month or two left. Seems strange two doctors can have the same info, and yet reach such opposing conclusions. He goes down to Boston on Monday to see his specialist, Dr. Appleman. Next time you're praying, why not mention my Dad to God for me, ok?

In other bad, but not quite so depressing news, Matthew's got an ear infection. He's just getting over one, and now he's got one in the other ear. Yee haw. That explains his sleep (or lack thereof) patterns. He got me up at 5:30 this AM, and then didn't go back down. Punk.

In auction news, I've got a listing for Blind Albert running right now. There are two snare's I'm keeping my eye on. One is a Tama birdseye maple with Gladstone style 3-way tuning lugs. That means you can tune the bottom drum head from the top side of the drum. The seller doesn't say anything about this feature at all, so if you don't know what you're looking for, you won't notice it. Hopefully, it goes cheap. So I don't jinx anything, I'm not posting a link, but you can email me if you want the item #.

And lastly, in other work/auction news, I'm teaching an ebay class tomorrow night. Only one slot left. 14 students already signed up; it's going to be a big class.

Watching: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Listening to: Simply Red

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Friday, March 18, 2005

MI-5, Maggie Blue Style

1. What about Maine keeps you here? If you arenít from here, what brought you here? If you arenít from here, how does Maine compare to where you are from?
I'm a native. I can't think of living anywhere else. Although I'm no sailor, I need to be around the salt air. I remember coming back from a trip to DC, and I remember hitting the tidal flat in Yarmouth at low tide at like 11pm. Oh, that smell. I knew I was home then. I've never lived anywhere else, and no other place really appeals to me as much. As a freshman in college, I decided that I wanted to stay in Maine.

2. What is your favorite scenic setting in Maine and why? Is there a story you have that draws you to that place?
I prefer the shore to the woods. Growing up in Spruce Head, I have many memories of playing along the shore. For me, it's the little 1/4 mile stretch between the causeway at York's beach (near Lobster Lane Bookshop and Jeremy Alley's old house) and the bridge over to Spruce Head island proper (where Jason Butman and I played during the summers).

3. What is your all time favorite thing to do in the summer?
I like to take Julia to the beach near King's Island and search for little green crabs. (Ah, reliving my youth!) I like to canoe as well, and the week Susan and I canoed the Allaghash is a favorite memory.

4. Your favorite summer cocktail? Alcoholic or not. Favorite summer dish?
Cocktail proper? Probably gin and tonic. A couple of icy Rolling Rocks while washing the car is nice too. Frank Butler taught me the joy of a cold bottle of beer in a cool shower on a hot day. I break that out a couple of times every summer. Grant's Rocket Ade served from a shopping cart full of ice at the 4th of July parade in Thomaston is nice, too. And good old Coca Cola. (Man, if only they had those big glass bottles like when I was a kid, and Johnny Elwell would drive me and Jason Wilcox over to the Island Store for one from the chest cooler. There is nothing so refreshing as a cold Coke from a glass bottle. And not those little 10oz reissue jobs, either. The real pint size ones are the best.

(On a side note, some marketing guy my Dad knows says there are three perfect packages in the world: the womb, the egg, and the Coke bottle.)

5. If you could live anywhere (money is no object) where would it be and why?
Spruce Head. If not on the water, then near it. Not like the Saint George part of Spruce Head, not in the woods part. I need to be close enough to smell the clam flats. I'd like to hear the clang of the hardware against a metal sailing mast. The smell of a lobsterman's traps drying in the sunlight.

(On another side note, it's interesting how many smells I've brought up. And it's also interesting that many of the smells would probably be somewhat offensive to most people. Must be that same familiarity thing whereby farmers love the smell of hay and cow manure. That doesn't do it for me. But traps in the sun baking off the kelp and barnacles and urchins and slime. Hmm, hmm, good!)

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Dave's dead, baby. Dave's dead.

Have you been keeping track of Dave's blog? Probably not, as he usually only posts something about once every two weeks. Until the bum goes to Hawaii, that is. Then he blogs every day. "Woke up to sun, went surfing, ate Mahi, had a cocktail and cigar, played golf, went to the club, came home. Day 2: Woke up to sun, went surfing, ate Mahi..." I tell you, when this guy gets back to the office, we're gonna kill him!

In other news, it hasn't snowed yet today, and it only snowed a little yesterday!

Listening to: The Brand New Heavies

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Tuesday, March 15, 2005


If you misspell orgasm as "orgasam" in the Alta Vista image search, something like this comes up, probably much to chagrin of the searcher.

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Green Hornet Playlist

Several months ago, I finally got around to installing a CD player in the Green Hornet. Then in December, I had a couple of DJ gigs. After one of those gigs, I put my CD collection in the garage. Then Christmas came. And New Years. And Valentines day. CDs were still in the garage. Finally, about two weeks ago, I brought them back into the house. For those two months, I had the same dozen or so CD titles in the car, and most of those were Christmas tunes. Anyway, I brought the CDs inside, and changed out the car case with fresh listens. I just finished them up, and will be loading more. Hmm, good music. Gotta love it. The list? Oh, sure.

Shame and a Sin, Robert Cray
Sarah Shannon's eponymous CD
Pure Funk
John Coltrane's Lush Life
Ruckus by Galactic
Greatest Hits, Al Green
Jimi Hendrix Experience, Radio One
Norah Jones, Come Away With Me (a present from Susan)
Robert Randolph and the Family Band, Unclassified
Oye Como Va, The Dance Collection, Tito Puente
II, The Presidents of the United States of America
Grace Under Pressure, John Schofield

Check some of the samples. If they turn you on, let me know!

Listening to: Are you kidding?!
Just Finished: Chicken potato soup and grilled cheese

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Friday, March 11, 2005

Musical TV

OK, I got some music/tv related stuff I wanna throw at ya. First off, something I like to call "mic clapping." This seems to be very popular with young singers these days, especially those on American Idol. Now I'd much rather be watching the History channel or the Discovery Channel, or watching Saving Private Ryan or something like that. But Susan likes it, so I watch it. You know, the whole Jules vegetarian thing. Anyway, these people get up and sing. And of course, one hand is holding the microphone. So they can't clap their hands together. So what they do is, they take their mic hand, and clap it against the microphone. It annoys me so much, once one of them starts doing it, I can't watch. I look away. No real singer claps against their microphone. Why this group of hacks does is beyond me. This one chick was doing it all out of time, not even close to the downbeat. Then, she starts spanking the mic so hard, that the concussion actually telegraphs to the mic. She's hitting the thing so hard you can hear it. Idols, just hold onto the mic. Do all your other showmanship stuff with your other hand.

Next up, close captioning. In the Batty household, we have three baby modes: babies are being good, babies are crying, or babies are sleeping (or trying to get to sleep). In modes B and C, it's nessecary to have the close captioning on. In B, you can't hear the TV over the crying, and in C you keep it low to keep them from waking up. So I'm watching this Eric Clapton guitar-slingers concert on PBS. It's all about guitar players, up there wailing away on their axes. And, the show's got close captioning. This may be pretty politically incorrect, but how many deaf people are going to be watching a concert on TV? Anyway, PBS does an outstanding job on their close captioning. I saw stuff like:

"Guitar player returns to main theme."
"Drummer leads band in heavy riff."
"Guitar picks tender notes softly. Tempo increases. Now playing with urgency. Guitarist bends note wildly as band kicks percussively."

It was funny! Only PBS would put this kind of crafting in their close captioning. It's not just "Guitar strums." No. It's "guitarist coaxes butterfly wings from rosewood fretboard, while bassist allows wallowing murkiness of doom to emminate from utter darkness, and percussionist allows cymbals to sautee over medium flame."

I thought it was a hoot. Your mileage may vary, past performance is not indicitive of future results, people can (and do) lose money.

Just Watched: School of Rock
Listening to: Presidents of the United States of America

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

The Collectable MI-5

As thought up by moi...

1. What do you collect? Stamps, coins, records, baseball cards, what? Describe your collection.
Well, surprise surprise, I collect snare drums. For most people, the sound of the snare drum is what they think of when they think "drum." They come in such a wide range of sizes and materials, each one with a different sound. So for $300-$400, I can have a snare that sounds nothing like any other snare in my collection. And all my snares get played. They don't just sit on the shelf--they go on the road. Each different style I play, each room, and my mood at any given time--all of these factors go into choosing which snare I'll play that night. If you'd like to see the collection, it's here.

2. Was there something you used to collect but now don't? Why did you stop?
I used to collect stamps. Back in grade school, Eric Bunker, Bob Calderwood, and myself started a "Benjamin Franklin Stamp Club" at school. (See question #2 on this page.) We would get together once a week (I think) and talk stamps. There used to be a stamp collecting store in Thomaston, and I used to buy stamps mail order. I stopped in high school, I think, when the store closed and there was no club anymore. My cousin David then took up stamp collecting, so I gave him my collection. I have no idea where it is now. I still have five stamps in my collection: an Ahrens Fox fire engine stamp, three stamps (that were favorites back in my collecting days) that someone used to mail their MIS bill in with (even though the stamps were from 1974!!!), and a stamp from Grenada (I think) with a tarantula on it. The tarantula and fire engine were from my original collection.

3. What would be the "ultimate" thing to add to your collection?
Whoa, tough one. From a rarity standpoint, I'd like a Ludwig "Triumphal" model gold plated snare. There are only seven known, and Mike Curotto owns five of them! In reality though, I'd rather have a Rolling Bomber (and that could become reality) or an original gold lacquered Billy Gladstone (never going to happen).

4. What item in you collection is your favorite? Why?
The Tama Rosewood was something I hunted for years, and an old friend ended up selling me his. I'm now looking for a similar snare with great hardware so I can cannibalize it, and put nice hardware on the rosewood. (It's a little pitted.) Sound wise, though, this snare can do it all.

5. What do you not currently collect, but think might be cool to get into in the future?
I might like to get into collecting first day covers. Every time the postal service issues a new stamp, they set an official post office from which the stamp is released. You can then ask that post office to send you the stamp on an envelope, and it will be canceled with a special "First Day of Issue" mark. Some people make these beautiful envelopes with artwork of the theme of the stamp. Then, the stamp is affixed, canceled, and returned. So I could pick only the stamps I really like, they're easily stored, and cost way less than a snare! (Check out this Headless Horseman FDC. Cool, eh?)

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Wednesday, March 9, 2005

Hurray (or Hooray, or Who? Ray)

Maria's Back! Now I can get back into reading her little bit of sunshine every morning. She's always so positive--must be all that Florida sun!

Reading: Psalms
Listening To: John Coltrane Lush Life

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Tuesday, March 8, 2005

Snare Denial

With the purchase of the Holy Grail Tama Rosewood, I've had to expand the realm of what snares need to be in the collection. An 80s Tama bell brass needs to be added. A Ludwig slotted Coliseum. A Premier Heavy Rock Nine, a 9" deep, cast hoop monster with parallel snares. The shell is made of brass, but inside there's a ply of birch to mellow things out. Then, there's a felt strip on the top and bottom edge to control more overtones. It's just a weird beast. Anyway, I want one. So I'm perusing the drummer's newsgroup, and there's a post from Nick Amoroso. Nick's got more snare's than I do. He's crazy. So he mentions he's got a Heavy Rock 9 for sale, $350 includes shipping and a foam lined case.

I sent an email.

I spent several hours giggling with anticipation.

I was denied.

Just Finished: Tuna with Cheddar and Bacon on Toasted White
Listening To: Norah Jones

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Friday, March 4, 2005

Three Degrees of Mariska Hargitay

So Susan's watching American Idol the other night. Which means I'm watching it too. (Then Jules says "Well, if you like hamburgers give 'em a try sometime. Me, I can't usually eat 'em 'cause my girlfriend's a vegetarian. Which more or less makes me a vegetarian, but I sure love the taste of a good burger.") Anyway, there's this girl on there, and I comment that she looks kinda like the woman detective on Law and Order SVU. (Another show Susan watches, which means I watch it, and then Jules says...)

Anyway, Susan says "You mean she looks like Mariska Hargitay.

"Sure, if that's what her name is. I have no idea. What's her name on the show?" Susan can't remember. I guess Emma or some other old fashioned but not hideous name. So Susan goes to the Internet.

"It's Olivia," she says. "Oh, and guess what? Her mother is Jane Mansfield.

Pretty weird, huh. Like three degrees of separation or something.

Listening to: Tito Puente

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Paddy's March MI-5

1) Do you listen to Celtic music leading up to and on St. Patrick's Day? Do you celebrate St. Patrick's Day at all?
No, no Celtic music really. Do I celebrate it? No, not really. Ma (my paternal grandmother) usually makes the whole corned beef and cabbage thing, but I don't really like it too much. Corned beef sandwich. Love it. Boiled dinner? Not really.

2) Do you do anything to observe the Spring Equinox? Ever try the egg balancing act?
No spring equinox thing. I have tried the egg balancing act. It ended badly, and my left ear hasn't been the same since. Susan has actually completed the act, and never lets me forget it. She emerged embarrassed, but otherwise unscathed.

3) Does Easter entail any special ritual or tradition in your life?
Well, Easter is the day we celebrate the resurrection of the Savior, so that has special significance for me. One thing I don't like about Easter is this... Early Christians would celebrate Easter by greeting other Christians saying "He is risen." The other person would say "He is risen indeed." The tradition was brought to my church by Steve Bennett I think. Now every Easter, some one drags it up. For me, it's some empty, rote, now-meaningless tradition. "How are you?" Everyone says "good," regardless. Empty tradition. So it is with me with the "risen" thing. The only reason people say it is to get the reaction back. In my opinion, of course.

I also remember fondly Easter egg hunting in the woods behind Camden Hospital when Dad was employed there years ago. And, we still continue the egg hunt at my parents house, only now our kids are doing the hunting. Don't forget to check the ladle!

4) An early spring? Do you have a recollection of one to share?
Don't have one.

5) The Grapefruit League is getting underway this month, what do you think about the BoSox chances this year?
I love grapefruit juice! That's about all I have for that one.

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Thursday, March 3, 2005

New Twin Photo

Back in December, Susan was wearing her twin sling, carrying both boys out of Wal-Mart. This guy stopped her, identified himself as a portrait photographer, and asked to take a shot of the boys. Susan obliged. He gave her his card, and said he'd drop off a photo of his shot. Today, he dropped off this image. Be forwarned--it's big. But I wanted it to look as good on screen as it does in person. In person, you can really see the difference in the boys' eyes. So thanks to Gary Briechle. (He doesn't have a web site, or I'd link to it.)

Hey Gary--you want to talk to me about building you a website? :-)

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

Wednesday, March 2, 2005

I love you, Susan

It was on this day in 1989 that I asked Susan to be my girlfriend. 16 years (10 of them married) and three kids later, she's still my girlfriend. And we both know nothing but death will change that. That's a good feeling.

My wife totally rox!


Reading: Psalms
Listening to: Besame Mama, Poncho Sanchez

According to the prophecy of: Billy Rhythm [Link]

About me: