Wednesday, November 30, 2005

And you thought that rock stars...

...had some self respect.

Not so.

And I thought dinner at Chilis was upping the ante for kids' birthdays...

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Shaking Spears Endorses...

this man for President in 2008. And this man for his VP.

Enough of all this political posturing and tweaking of policies on the margins. No more emotionalism and pandering to the lowest common denominator. To hell with photo ops and silly debates.

We need to rebuild a flooded American city (preferably after adding at least 10 feet of landfill), and we're in a global war against a radical, nihilistic ideology.

The Chinese are salivating over Taiwan, and the North Koreans are loons with nukes.

The ayatollahs of Tehran are on a jihad to enrich uranium, Chavez wants to cut off our oil and nationalize Latin America, and the Europeans have given up on fighting for their civilization.

Our borders are wide open, and our domestic oil production capability is scandalously weak.

The Huns are nipping at our heals, and domestic factions are working overtime to weaken our resolve.

This country needs street-tough leadership. Rudy's clean-up of New York City is the right model for improving the quality of life in other U.S. cities, as well as many regions of the world. We should forget about compromising our values and policies for our "allies" and the siren's song of U.N. conferences, and cut to the chase: without American leadership, the world degenerates into the equivalent of a New Orleans Convention Center surrounded by a flooded cesspool.

Giuliani's leadership on 9/11 was brilliant, and he believes in results, not posturing. The modern presidency, in this day of terror, catastrophe, and conflict, is all about crisis management. No more campaigning on midnight basketball or saving ANWAR - we need serious men for serious times.

And if his VP wants to keep a lady friend in each city on taxpayer expense, so be it. Just make sure that the 82nd Airborne arrives when the country needs it.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

In my next life...

...it might be interesting to come back as a pre-Columbian head Inca (Inka):
"(The Inka) was carried on a golden litter - the Inka did not walk in
public....people left the roads along which he had to pass and, ascending the
hills on either side, (his subjects) worshipped and adored him by pulling out
their eyebrows and eyelashes. Minions collected and stored every object he
touched, food waste included, to ensure that no lesser persons could profane
these objects with their touch. The ground was too dirty to receive the
Inka's saliva so he always spat into the hand of a courtier. The courtier
wiped the spittle with a special cloth and stored it for safekeeping. Once
a year everything touched by the Inka - clothing, garbage, bedding, saliva - was
ceremoniously burned."

From "1491" by Charles C. Mann. pg. 76

Friday, August 12, 2005

Premature Evaluation

I'm only a third through this book but I'm enjoying it immensely, and I recommend it whole-heartedly.

Putting flesh on the bones of the Indian (yes, "Indian") civilizations in North & South America prior to Columbus' arrival. Not a romanticization, but a fresh look at what these civilizations were like, drawing on recent research and emphasizing the uniqueness and robustness of their societies.

Much of the book is speculative, but compelling evidence suggests that these peoples had a much greater impact on their natural environment and were remarkably complex. The New World inhabitants were not necessarily the backward stepchildren of Europe and Asia. Worth a look and more later.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Winner - Best Product Design:

2005 Shaking Spears Awards...here.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Epiphany

Spear Son angling on Paulina Lake, Oregon
Why does it often take physical separation from one's work and home to live in the moment? How do you extend the improvisation and sense of exploration that you get in a new environment to your daily life? How do you maintain the carefree fun of the vacation experience without abrogating your adult responsibilities? Or do you only appreciate the vacation because it's by definition not an everyday occurrence?
I don't know all the answers, but I'm getting closer. And it's taken over 40 years to start to figure it out. It ain't about external measures of success, or legitimacy, or worthiness. There's no objective template upon which you should gauge your life progress. And happiness isn't meant to be compared to another's experience. All of those self-help books, life plans, 7-step programs, Dr. Phil, and purpose-driven books are Fool's Gold at the end of life's rainbow.
It ain't about what others think and it ain't about what you think.
It's about setting the right rig to get a big mouth bass to bite on a spinnerbait while trolling. And if you succeed at that, everything else falls into place.

Spear Shaker at Yosemite Valley
It's a sin for those within a 2.5 hour drive to fail to visit Yosemite each year. Absolve me, Lord.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

It don't mean a thing...

...if it ain't got that swing.

This is one of those posts that laments the greatness of times past and the decline of today's youth culture.

Only this time I have a legitimate point.

Who swings in today's popular music world? Who's got that bouncy, off-beat rhythm that gets your fingers snapping, your body movin', and makes your soul want to dance? Where are those riffs and counterpoints? Where's that backbeat and behind-the-beat drumming? Where's that breezy attitude? Where's the SWING??

And I'm not really talking about Duke Ellington or Glenn Miller jazz. My preferred genre - blues/rock - can swing just like jazz, and Charlie Watts is the Master of rock swing. Keith Richards once stated for the record: "White drummers don't swing, except for Charlie Watts."

Chuck Berry played swing. Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits, not a swing band, played it brilliantly in "Sultans of Swing." (I saw him last weekend at the Greek in Berkeley). Brian Setzer, formerly of the Stray Cats, plays swing. Funk and cajun music, brilliantly performed by the Neville Brothers, swings.

But what contemporary artists are swingers? Not rap artists, not classic rock artists, not alternative grunge artists - no. All of their beats are manufactured drum loops and snare drums that sound like explosions.

David Matthews sometimes comes close, but he's too caught up with a band that has to rush the groove. Country music doesn't swing too much these days, unless you're listening to Alison Krauss & Union Station.

You've got to have a great drummer to swing. Classic rock greats (John Densmore of the Doors, Doug Clifford of Creedence Clearwater Revival) all had the jazz/swing sensibility that made the music take-off. Today's backbeats are manufactured by machines and just don't have the feel.

So my question remains: Where's the SWING? and what is this generation missing?

Thursday, July 21, 2005

If they have the video...

...of these two hapless terrorists who failed in their attempt at martyrdom, would it have any impact in de-glorifying the act in the minds of young, extremist Muslims?

These two scenes as described by eyewitnesses strike me as so pathetic and humiliating, perhaps replaying the events, assuming they were caught on tape, might shake some who are disposed to follow in their footsteps out of the grip of their brainwashing.

From the Sun:

“I turned round and there was a man lying with his arms outstretched on top
of a rucksack face up. “I went up to him and said: ‘Are you all right,
mate?’ But he just ignored me and kept his eyes shut.

“I looked back and saw him stand up looking disorientated and confused. He
walked to the back of the carriage, leaving the bag and his cap on the floor,
and I could see some copper wire showing out of the back of his T-shirt.

“He opened the emergency exit door and jumped down on to the tracks and
started walking away down the line heading west.”


Also from the Sun:

“There was this loud bang, I can’t describe it. Then there was a lot of
smoke coming from the bag.”

But the bomber remained where he was and DENIED he was
responsible.

“By now the bag was on the floor and he kept saying, ‘No, it’s not me, it’s
not me’. He was standing there all on his own in the middle of the carriage with
smoke coming from his backpack.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Quote of the Week

I've tried to avoid commenting on the London attacks. What is there left to say about the civilizational conflict that is ongoing, but which societal norms prohibit us from dealing with directly? And that has been said better by Hitchens and Steyn.

But this quote caught my eye. From the BBC:
The Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams said: "It is a huge fallacy to
suppose that one community is somehow more intrinsically prone to violence or
outrage than any another."
Past Archbishops of Canterbury have a long history of speaking nonsense, and the job description requires candidates to personify a twit, with a capital T, so this one is no exception.

But it does win the Quote of the Week.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Laboratory Rat

The Wichita Killer's plea today got me searching in vain for some explanation of his behavior. One paper suggests its neither nature or nurture -

Psychopathy is not associated with low birth weight, obstetric complications,
poor parenting, poverty, early psychological trauma or adverse experiences, and
indeed Robert Hare remarks ‘I can find no convincing evidence that psychopathy
is the direct result of early social or environmental factors’ (Hare, 1993, p.
170). No sound evidence of neuroanatomical correlates for psychopathic behavior
has been found, though an interesting (and highly significant) negative
correlation has been found in 18 psychopaths between the degree of psychopathy
and the size of the posterior half of the hippocampi bilaterally.

The authorities need to take advantage of Dennis Rader's guilty plea and upcoming life sentence and use him like a laboratory rat.


He needs to be scanned, probed, prodded, dissected, MRI'ed, X-rayed, zapped, interviewed, tested, drugged, interrogated, scoped, sampled, and biopsied.

We should use his capture as an opportunity to get closer to the bottom of why this behavior occurs, without concern about the subject.