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July 2002 Archives

Wednesday, July 31, 2002


Not long ago I wrote here about music that gives you goose bumps. Today like a good little geezer I ran out and bought Bruce Springsteen's The Rising. And man, there they are. A new producer has freshened up the sound, and it is delivering some very important messages. Bravo!

Sales and awards are around the corner, but that may not be what this guy mostly wants. Having big crowds respond to new music will doubtlessly be a bigger kick.

I'm ready for the mosh pit.

Monday, July 29, 2002

Bad Idea of the Week

The Damon Stoudamire youth basketball camp now under way at the University of Portland.

It doesn't hold water

Why in heaven's name is the Portland City Council trying to get rid of the Bull Run Watershed? Here is the city's most precious resource, one that is the envy of the nation, and for some reason our city leaders seem hellbent on giving it away. They're pushing some sort of regional water authority (another Tri-Met or Metro), to be run by people from places like Tigard and Hillsboro. No longer would Bull Run be managed from Portland City Hall, with Portland water needs coming first and other regional users paying a fee to the city for water. Instead, decisions would be made with the sprawling suburbs having a greater say -- possibly even control.

Next thing you know, the people of Portland will be joining their neighbors in bedroom communities like Wilsonville and Tualatin, drinking Willamette River water and paying top dollar for it.

Other than getting the system out of the incompetent hands that currently run the water bureau, what is in this for people of the City of Portland?

Saturday, July 27, 2002

As if I had a twin

Bill Keller had some great observations about the stock market and the Bush administration on the Saturday op-ed page of The New York Times (painless registration required to read it on line). He echoes some of the thoughts expressed here earlier in the month, but of course much more capably. Wish I'd written that!

Keller's recent work also includes some very thoughtful writing about the Catholic Church's problems, and a beautiful but excruciatingly truthful personal account of pregnancy and birth. Not to mention his nuclear terrorism expose'. Is this guy on the national speaker circuit yet? He ought to be.

Friday, July 26, 2002

This week's great ideas from the Bush White House

1. It's still important to get to work on privatizing Social Security.

2. What this country needs is a domestic snitch posse of UPS truck drivers.

These guys are unbelievable. But what's even more incredible is that all this will be forgotten with the great Alzheimer's that afflicts the voting public come every Presidential election.

Ugly, ugly, ugly

The Portland City Council has approved a plan to allow cell phone companies to jack up utility pole heights by 10 to 20 feet and stick cell antennas on top of them. As if the proliferation of cell antennas wasn't already a visual blight all over the city and region. As if utility poles weren't already the city's no. 1 eyesore. To say nothing of the fact that the jury is still out on the health effects of prolonged exposure to this type of microwave radiation. Or the fact that the city is supposed to revisit cell antenna siting issues in an organized way in 2003. By then, we will have scores of unsightly and possibly dangerous pole antennas to deal with. Once they're up, they'll never come down. So much for the review. And so much for the hope that the tangle of wires already cluttering Portland residents' views will ever be taken underground, where they belong. You can't bury a cell antenna.

Leave it to the Portland council to rush right out and give the cell people a bigger piece of the public right of way. I'm sure they will repay the favor come campaign contribution time.

Oh yes, I know, the city isn't supposed to consider health issues -- the vigilant watchdogs at the FCC are in charge of that, and everything's peachy there. And the cell companies are bitching that the city's fees are too high, so that must mean this is a great middle-of-the-road approach.

There was another path, folks. We could have decided that enough is enough, and that the providers will just have to make do with the many ugly sites they have already inflicted upon us.

The cliché offered by this dirty little industry is, "Everyone wants a cell phone, but nobody wants the antennas." You know what? Mostly everyone thinks there is a balance to be struck somewhere between instant communication and visual blight, and between instant communication and health risks. It may be that not everyone who wants a cell phone will be able to afford one because the antennas are unsafe, ugly, or both, and the number of cells is therefore limited.

There are supposedly 175,000 cell phones in Portland. Maybe that's enough.

Wednesday, July 24, 2002

Happy birthday to the East Bank Esplanade

The new walkway along the formerly abandoned east bank of the Willamette River in the heart of Portland turns one year old this week. It has been a wonderful addition to the city. The spectacular views it provides of downtown Portland have instantly made the Esplanade one of the top attractions in the state. The pathway provides a much needed transportation link for walkers, runners, skaters, and bikers; the resulting loop with Tom McCall Waterfront Park across the river has been a boon to the city's athletes and outdoor enthusiasts. And it's free -- free!

Don't tell the spoilsports at The Oregonian any of this. Their story on the anniversary of the Esplanade was a truly begrudging acknowledgment of the value of this project. Continued references to the $30 million price tag, and prominent repetition of the initial criticisms of the Esplanade from a year ago, show that the folks at The "0" still don't quite "get" the idea of a new, truly public asset on the Idaho side of the river. Here is the fourth paragraph of the story:

It is a "gift" that cost federal and local taxpayers about $30.5 million, an amount that has earned the esplanade a ranking among some as a signature example of government waste. Last summer, labor leaders representing city employees included the esplanade on a "Porkland" tour of costly public projects.

Dear fish wrap editors: Please do continue to list the price tags and remind us about public opinion. Like the $116 million being spent to expand the Oregon White Elephant Convention Center, against the clearly expressed wishes of the voters. Or the $350 million going out for North Portland light rail -- another City Hall toy that the public voted down. How about $115 million to re-do the football stadium at the state university? Or $6.8 million for new "high tech" parking meters -- as if the old ones couldn't be fixed for less? Security problems at the reservoirs? Forget spending $1 million a year for a security force -- no, no, in Portland, it's $142 million for covers! I don't recall the cost of the Pearl District Trolley being mentioned much when it turned a year old last week. (Reminder: $54 million to build, plus it runs a sizeable operating deficit. And now it will be expanded to connect the toney Pearl with the tonier RiverPlace. Perhaps they'll drive a golden spike into the last piece of rail.) And have you ever seen an accounting of the public money spent each year on the Oregonian's pet event, the Rose Festival? The present value of a perpetual stream of Rose Festival expenses paid out of public coffers would make interesting reading indeed.

The Esplanade is worth every penny spent on it so far, but there's a certain amount of pound-foolishness in its near future. Security has been reduced to zero. There's nary a call box, security camera, or even pay phone to be found along its length, which makes for an edgy experience after dark. And apparently the bicycle security patrol has been discontinued, which sounds like a recipe for disaster. If nothing else, the presence of those guards made a dent in the recklessness of the few daredevil bicycle racers and skaters who tend to create hazards for pedestrians along the Esplanade.

Despite these blue notes, this is an inspired and inspiring place, even with (as Robin Williams good-naturedly pointed out when he was here) the occasional smell of the sewage outfall pipes and the relentless roar of the freeway. Once again, good for the people of Portland.

Tuesday, July 23, 2002

Scary thought for the day

Congress has been screwing around with the federal budget the same way corporate executives have been screwing around with company financial statements.

Sounds right to me

Princeton economist Alan Blinder had a nice piece on the op-ed page of The New York Times on Sunday. (Painless free registration required to read it online.) He notes the current paradox -- economy doing fine, stock market tanking -- and concludes: "While changes in private-sector behavior will eventually fix many of today's accounting and corporate governance problems, the markets are clamoring for decisive government actions now."

Will the Bush administration respond in a way that will satisfy the markets? Unlikely, for two reasons.

First, it's too beholden to corporate interests to take them on. The Dick Cheney ad for Arthur Andersen says it all on this score.

Second, even if the Bushies wanted to clean up corporate America, there's a real question about their competence to do so. The accepted wisdom about this administration has been that, while the President may be dumb, he's surrounded by bright people. Maybe. They surely are stubborn people, ideologues who seize on times of crisis to make hay on their pet issues. A new super-domestic-security agency? Domestic police powers for the military? A year ago, these would have been laughable concepts. That the loss of thousands of innocent lives has somehow made these respectable ideas is a chilling thought. Is this what the 9/11 victims died for?

Anyway, the jury is still out on whether this group can lead. Their creativity and priorities have so far earned the same kinds of grades that the President got at Yale.

Monday, July 22, 2002

Thank God, they found her

The missing teen (see below) has been found safe and sound in Seattle. Whew.

OK, now pray for the stock market.

Deliver us from evil

A high school girl disappeared last evening from Tryon Creek State Park in Portland, where she went for her regular jog. The police have been looking for her for more than 24 hours now, and so far have nothing to show for their efforts.

I work right on the border of that park, and I was up at the office late yesterday around the time the girl disappeared. It's always a little spooky up there at nights and on weekends; I know because I've done all-nighters when circumstances have warranted, and I always function well when the building is largely empty. It's always seemed like just a matter of time before something bad happened to a young woman in that park. It's a place of extraordinary natural beauty, but it's in a growing metropolitan region that has lost its innocence.

I pray that there's a harmless reason for this person's disappearance, and that her safe return will be the happy beginning of a new wariness around the park. If you're up to it, do me a favor, take a few seconds and do the same. (I'm not exactly on the "A" list up there.)

Saturday, July 20, 2002

Split up the Ninth Circuit?

The stock market is tumbling, and we're on the brink of World War III. What better time for Congress to focus once again on the age-old question of whether to split up the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. What a waste of time, what a pleasant diversion from what really matters. So typical of our federal government.

What would splitting the Ninth Circuit accomplish? Would it create a more "conservative" circuit in the Northwest? I doubt it. Don't look now, but that controversial Pledge of Allegiance ruling was penned by my former employer, Judge Ted Goodwin, born and raised right here in Oregon and just an exile on Main Street in Pasadena. Would it decrease the circuit's reversal rate before the Supreme Court? Another dubious proposition. Would it create greater uniformity of decision within the region? Again, doubtful. Cut down on the judges' caseloads? Of course not. Would it successfully pare down a circuit that is too big? No -- any circuit that includes all of California will be unwieldy, and there is no serious proposal to split that state into two circuits.

Perhaps when the new circuits decided to hear a case "en banc," every judge on the respective new circuit would participate, and not just a dozen or so chosen by lot. Whoopdee doo.

The only real impetus for the renewed interest in dividing the Ninth Circuit is to slap that court in the face for its pledge decision, and many others that have displeased the masses in recent years. It makes no rational sense, but it feels good. As a way of releasing anger, it's a hell of a lot easier than telling the Saudis what we really think of them, or standing up to the stock option lobby. It's like suddenly pulling your money out of the stock market, as if cashing in one's losses somehow punished the corporate crooks who have already made off with your retirement.

So have fun, all ye hairpieces of Congress. Knock yourselves out.

Friday, July 19, 2002

News from the Oregon coast

After 72 hours away from computers, fax machines, newspapers, and even telephones (for most of the time), I have returned to cyberspace with the latest news from Manzanita and Cannon Beach, Oregon:

Absolutely nothing new is going on down there. It's the same old sleepy, goofy little northern Oregon coast.

And that's the beauty of it.

Why the stock market is panicking

It's really simple. Thanks again, Ralph Nader!

Monday, July 15, 2002

Goose bump music

Ever since I was a kid, I have had this thing about music. Every once in a while, I hear a familiar song and I get chills. Usually it's something I once listened to so many times I "wore it out," and now am coming back to after a long absence. Yesterday it was Robbie Robertson's Storyville. What a beautiful work.

Has this happened to any other readers out there? What music has given you the goose bumps? Shoot me an email at jackbogsblog@comcast.net. And let me know if it's o.k. to tell your tale here.

I've also been brooding lately about the question of the 10 music CDs you would want if they were the only 10 you could ever have. That's a complicated one, but at the moment I have Storyville on the list of possibles.

Saturday, July 13, 2002


I have long been in the camp that believes Bruce Springsteen can do no wrong, but his continuing to turn the ticket sales for his tours over to business as usual at Ticketmaster is a real disappointment. Bruce used to find ways to make sure his fans got to see him without having to pay a scalper. For a while he even insisted on a mail order option, and fans who knew about it could sometimes get a first or second row seat just by mailing in a money order.

With Ticketmaster, even standing in line at the arena box office gets you nowhere. If you're further back in the line than about third, you wind up with tickets on the roof.

The reason, of course, is that thousands of scalpers, amateur and professional, are bombarding the Ticketmaster server from all over the country the very nanosecond that tickets go on sale. Even a fan with a high-speed internet connection and three or four browsers going at once doesn't get to see a seat for the first 20 minutes, and by then all that's left are decidedly bad locations. The scalpers with the fancy computer programs have cleaned the place out.

What's really disgusting is that not a half hour later, there are the choice seats on eBay for $300 apiece or more. The seller's location could be 3,000 miles away from the site of the show. So the ripping-off continues, on an unprecedented scale. It's become a national pro-am event.

I suppose that Springsteen's decision to make the floor of the arena a mosh pit is his new way of avoiding the phenomenon of the scalpers charging $1500 for a front row ticket for his show. But Bruce, if that's your reasoning, just click over on eBay and you'll see that you've risked audience comfort to no avail.

Bands have tried to break the Ticketmaster stranglehold in the past, and failed. But if anyone could force a change in the way that monopoly operates, it's stars like Springsteen and Jimmy Buffett. For the sake of their fans, they ought to think outside the box on tickets, and force Ticketmaster to do the same. There has got to be more that could be done to remedy the current sorry state of affairs. Meanwhile, the fans' options are: (a) shell out $500, (b) get some really good binoculars, or (c) stay home and hope you see it on HBO.

Friday, July 12, 2002

Cirque du Fatigue

We went to the Cirque du Soleil travelling show Dralion tonight and came away disappointed. Here is a corporation taking a successful formula and watering it down past the point at which it has lost its flavor.

We loved Mystére when we saw it in Vegas, and we found Saltimbocca enjoyable when it visited Portland a couple of years ago. But Dralion is a mere shadow of either of the prior two shows, and it will probably be our last Cirque experience unless we get in to see O in Vegas.

Long-time Cirque fans can't help but be critical. What has traditionally made this troupe so great? First and foremost, raw athletic talent. This show had less than either of the previous versions. Most of the talent this time around is a large group of agile, young acrobats from Asia, probably China. Although they dutifully marched through their paces, they were obviously tired, and sometimes just plain scared. "Safety" wires did a lot of the heavy lifting, and there was no joy in the ring, absolutely none.

Next, music and choreography that is great in its own right and complements the action under the big top. This time around, the music was interesting, but it didn't fit the performers or the show. Here are these great Asian tumblers flying through hoops, while some gal in a Hollywood jungle costume is jumping around doing African dances like that lady in the stands at a Blazer game. And those Chinese girls just are not enthusiastic about trying to mimic the arm movements of a Russian ballerina.

Next, comedy that borders on the obnoxious but always redeems itself with cleverness. In Dralion, the clowns are just annoying timekillers, period. Next to them the San Diego Chicken would have seemed hysterical.

The atmosphere wasn't helped much by the fact that someone ripped off five figures' worth of choice costumes out of the Cirque tent early on in the Portland engagement. Some of the replacement costumes looked to be hurriedly stitched together with Christmas tinsel.

But even the best regalia in the world would not have brought this performance up to the $70 per ticket level that a Cirque show demands. These kids would do a great job at a walk-in pavilion at Epcot Center, but they ought to to fold the tent up before this organization mars its name any further.

Thursday, July 11, 2002

Blimp bliss

The Goodyear Blimp flew over Portland today, for the first time in a long time. My initial surprise at seeing it was about to lead to the usual deductive reasoning about what could have brought it here, when suddenly I realized what a warm feeling I was getting just looking at it.

In the several hours since, I have tried to lay my finger on a reason for this dirigible-induced euphoria. Maybe it's the shape of the blimp, reminiscent of a friendly cartoon whale.

Maybe it's nostalgia, for the days when seeing the blimp meant that it was a holiday, or that a special sporting event was taking place, or a big civic event. That something was going on nearby that was so big, so cool, that they brought the huge zeppelin in to be part of it. Of course, nowadays promotional blimps are a dime a dozen, but the one today had that old-time logo on it that brought back the days when there was only one commercial blimp in operation.

When I first gazed up at the blimp in my childhood, I could go to sporting events and civic events without thinking about how athletes are all spoiled, money-grubbing steroid-poppers and gangster wannabes, or how politicians of all parties are crooks, dummies, or both. Back then, I could look at a corporate logo like the Goodyear winged foot (I think that's what it is, isn't it?) without brooding about the evils of the military industrial complex, and the stealing that goes on in broad daylight, much less the cheating that goes on behind the corporate curtains.

Maybe I was just dehydrated in a hot car. But I loved seeing the blimp. Now I'm humming the old jingle, "Go, go, go, go, Goodyear! Da-da-dah-da-da-dah..."

Wednesday, July 10, 2002


Voice No. 1: Good afternoon, al Qaeda, death to America, my name is Muhammad, may I help you?

Voice No. 2: This is Colin Powell calling, for Osama bin Laden, please?

Voice No. 1: Sure, one moment.

OBL: Bin Laden here, death to America!

CP: Osama, this is Colin Powell, I...

OBL: Hallo? Hallo? I can't hear you. Hallo?

CP: Can you hear me now? I'm on Verizon.

OBL: Just barely. You are breaking up.

CP: Hey, look, Mr. bin Laden, this is Colin Powell. I'm calling to tell you that we know where you are, and we are coming to get you. Right now you are surrounded by 10,000 heavily armed troops, and there are several dozen fighter jets above you ready to back them up. Don Rumsfeld has his helmet on, and he's instructed the troops to kick ass and take names. It's over.

OBL: I will never surrender. You will have to kill me. Death to Dan Rather. Death to Connie Chung. Death to...

CP: Actually, sir, I'm calling to offer you a deal.

OBL: Deal?

CP: Yes. We don't want to kill you. We don't even need to break up al Qaeda. Actually, we just want to help you move to a new location.

DBL: And that location, what would it be?

CP: We need you to move to Bagdad.

Benefit of the doubt, running out?

Don't look now, but I think the average guy and gal will soon start to look past the current occupant of the White House to their next President. What is W. doing for us? It's 10 months after 9/11, and all we've done is round up some Taliban creeps and take them -- I am not making this up -- to Cuba! Oh, and we've locked up a couple of hundred people on our own soil, in total secret, with no lawyers allowed. Quite a few innocent lives have been lost, and lately we hear that the former frat president, now our President, is going to spend the next year spending billions to continue the family vendetta against that good old Satan Saddam.

The missiles will start flying in Iraq just in time (Bush thinks) to trigger a popularity spike that will get him re-elected. Fat chance!

The President's little mealy speech on corporate corruption did nothing to stop the stock market from tanking over the shenanigans of suits like Bush, Cheney, their Enron buddies, Arthur Andersen, WorldCom, and all the slimy executives who belong to the same creepy club. (It will be a long, long list before it's finished.) Beating up on some podunk potentate and periodically warning everybody in America to get ready for smallpox ain't exactly going to win people over while they're watching their 401(k)s drop like a rock.

Unless the Democratic Party does something really stupid, like a ticket with Hillary on it, it's looking like 4 and out for Junior, just like for Poppy.

Top 10 George W. Bush Strategies to Improve Corporate Ethics

10. All new magnifying glasses and steno pads for the SEC compliance unit

9. Bring back "cuss cups" at corporate board meetings

8. Shorten grace period for correcting misleading financial statements -- 24 hours after getting caught

7. CEO salaries capped at $1 billion per year, effective in 2010

6. From now on, all insider trading must be done on your own time

5. Hold corporate America to same high ethical standards adhered to by the White House over the past decade

4. All document shredding must be done manually

3. New sentence for securities fraud: 10 jillion years

2. Have public schoolchildren pray that Bush appointees to SEC and courts will suddenly start enforcing the laws that are already on the books

And the No. 1 George W. Bush Strategy to Improve Corporate Ethics:

1. Kill Saddam Hussein

Tuesday, July 9, 2002

Love/hate those webcams

Now that I am attached to cyberworld via a high-speed hookup, I am having a blast looking at webcams. Two of my favorites du jour are streaming videocams aimed at the beaches at my old college summer haunt of Belmar N.J.; and a nice minute-by-minute stillcam of an intersection in the East Village in New York City. The City of Portland and surroundings don't look bad, either. Many more await exploration! Any hot tips out there will receive recognition here.

On the other hand, I was a bit taken aback when I stumbled across aerial photos of my home on a City of Portland site. You just enter an address, click on "Explorer," find "Aerial photos" in the little drop-down menu, then zoom in tight to see if anything was left out on the lawn that day. If this is the stuff that the city puts on the web for free, imagine what more can be seen if you are willing to pay for it.

Then you go down to the 7-Eleven to buy a beer, and the clerk (young enough to be your daughter) demands to see your driver's license, whose bar code she dutifully swipes before ringing up your cold one. Who knows who's looking over those records. Sheesh.

Monday, July 8, 2002

The real downside of the tram

The proposal to run an aerial tram from Oregon Health Sciences University to an as-yet undeveloped tract being caled "North Macadam" is drawing lots of opposition, and for good reason. It will be ugly. It will pass over a once-treasured scenic corridor and further deface an already battered historic neighborhood. There are already too many cars in the area, and it will only attract more. And the public benefit is highly speculative at best. Supposedly OHSU will pack up for Hillsboro if its doctors are forced to ride a 10-minute shuttle bus between locations rather than a 3-minute tram. Hogwash.

To some observers, this is just another example of the real City Council of Portland -- namely, the five or so big real estate owners in town -- buying a toy and letting the neighborhoods and taxpayers pay for it. The city has already built a trolley so that the real mayor of Portland, Homer Williams, and his buddies can make even more money with their cash cows in the Pearl District. Why not a grossly out-of-place gondola so that they can do the same thing on the other end of downtown?

The current response to the outraged neighbors exhibits particular arrogance. If you're nice, maybe the city will buy your home for current market value (already badly depressed, of course, with the invasive construction that's about to begin). As if it is o.k. to run people out of their homes provided they get a check. And oh yes, we might get around to turning Front Avenue back into a street rather than a no-access freeway that divides your neighborhood. There is an empty promise that has been echoing around City Hall for well past a decade. The neighborhood deserves that one, and freedom from the tram to boot.

The real tragedy for the public arising from this tale is that, like all public transit, the tram will lose money and be a burden to taxpayers. The question no one seems to be raising is, Who will run the tram? Why, Tri-Met, of course. The same Tri-Met that already runs huge deficits and adds to the tax burdens of businesses throughout the region. Every rich doctor who rides up and down over the good people of Gibbs Street will be a few quarters out of the pocket of the average Joes trying to make a living down below. Even the biggest fans of light rail will have a hard time justifying this particular financial boondoggle.

Assuming for argument's sake that a tram is the right idea, the right people should be paying the bill for it. If OHSU and Mayor Williams need a tram that badly, they ought to have to build it and run it themselves.

Saturday, July 6, 2002

Resurrection of an R&B legend

The Portland Waterfront Blues Festival was graced with a joyous performance tonight by Howard Tate. Tate's appearance in Portland was part of his re-emergence from nearly three decades of obscurity after a series of stunning rhythm-and-blues recording sessions in the late 1960's with songwriter-producer Jerry Ragovoy. The story of Tate's recent rediscovery, preaching in a small church, has been told repeatedly over the past year or so. Click over onto eBay, and if you can find it at all, you can pay upwards of $100 for the long-out-of-print CD of Tate's legendary sessions. (And it's worth every penny.)

This is simply to report that Howard Tate is in fine spirits, good form, and great voice.

Resplendent in a turquoise-green suit with white shirt and tie, and backed by the Uptown Horns, Tate worked his way through about a dozen of his strongest numbers -- opening with "Stop," and adding "Ain't Nobody Home," "Part-Time Love," "How Blue Can You Get," "How Come My Bulldog Don't Bark," "I Learned it All the Hard Way," "Look at Granny Run Run," and the show-stopper, "Get it While You Can." Before "Get it," Tate paid tribute to Janis Joplin, who popularized the song after Tate's earlier recording. Then the crowd of festival-goers heard, most of them for the first time, the version that convinced Joplin that the song was definitely worth recording. (It is probably not coincidental that Joplin also covered "Cry Baby," first recorded by Tate's early singing partner, Garnett Mimms.)

Tate punctuated his singing with a falsetto that was amazingly supple for any singer, much less one in his 60s. Not a flashy performer, he nonetheless enjoyed the groove being laid down by the Uptowns, who proved a highly capable backup band in the tradition of the Mar-Keys, the MGs, and more recently the CBS Orchestra.

"This is my first time in Portland, and I'm having a great time here," Tate told the enthusiastic audience. Responding to a question shouted out from the lawn, he added, "I don't know; it's a miracle."

The question wasn't audible to most of the crowd. But the fact that Tate was alive, on stage in the Pacific Northwest sunset, and doing such a great job with these tunes that had once been given up for dead, truly is nothing short of miraculous.


Rosemary Clooney and Ted Williams, both gone in the same week. Here were two of the very best at what they did. As a kid in the late '50s and early '60s, I caught them as they were just past their primes, but they were formidable figures that we knew and appreciated, along with Sinatra, Garland, Mays, and Mantle.

More recently, I admired their toughness as age took its toll. Williams, the old coot, still had that winning smile that masked his stubbornness. Clooney made records right up to the end, with a voice gone husky in a lovable grandma kind of way. With Ted passes so much knowledge about the art of baseball, particularly how to hit one coming at you at 90 miles an hour; with Rosemary, so much knowledge about the history of popular music, and a wealth of experience in making the song do what its writer intended it to do -- sometimes more.

I can hear them now coming over a staticky radio in a '59 Oldsmobile cruising down the Garden State Parkway headed for Seaside Heights. We kids are jumping around in the back seat, the big folks up front, windows rolled down, maybe a cigar going.

So long, friends. We will miss you.

First post

In the beginning was the blog, and the blog was with Bog, and the blog was Bog. So many opinions, so little basis. So many ideas, so few of them good. So much information, so little of it useful. From my size 7½ head to cyberspace. Get ready, world, for the meanderings of my mind.

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