Monday, August 15, 2005

Rise up this mornin', three little birds beside my doorstep. Singing sweet songs of melodies pure and true. Singin', this is my message to you-oo-oo.

I ran across an interesting site, if a bit alarmist. Having just paid for my first $ 40 tank of gas, it caught my eye. It discusses our finite supply of oil versus increasing demand. For instance, there are 1.3 billion Chinese. Only 1.3% of them own cars. That is going to change in a hurry.

Peak Oil.

Check it out. It definitely makes you think, and may even scare you into riding a sweet bike around.

Although, before you go egging SUV's, keep in mind that only 40% of our oil is burned by passenger cars. The remaining 60%, presumably, is burned to produce energy for our homes, to produce and transport goods and services, and to fuel the daily activities of various businesses and governmental entities... Or to power this laptop. Or my tv.

Nevertheless, it inspired me to bike more and drive less.

I wrote a little bit about books yesterday, but I wonder why I bothered. Nobody reads books anymore. I love movies as much as the next guy, and television is a great invention, but if I were forced to choose, I would definitely choose books.

I am a reading junkie. I read constantly: while I eat; when I sit down; when I go to bed every night for at least an hour. I have always been this way. My mom delights in telling stories of when I was a kid and a friend stopped by on a summer day and asked me to play, and I said, "No. I'm reading a book."

I am convinced that reading so much made me smarter than I would have been otherwise, and I know reading was the reason for my high standardized test scores. I also know that reading so much made me a better writer. (Ever notice that hardly anyone can write or even spell anymore? I'm talking about educated adults. It amazes me.)

UJ even once made fun of me, because I stopped at a wayside for him to go to the bathroom and when he came back, I was reading my book. I am constantly thinking of where my next fix will come from. When I travel, I bring 3-5 books, as I have tremendous fear of running out of reading material. I go through 40 - 50 books per year, on average. A little less than one a week.

It's a shame that television, video games and sugar are producing a generation of fat, borderline illiterate kids with ADD. But you can't force a kid to read a book. How can a book compete with X-Box?

I am going to terminate this rant, for fear of sounding like a grumpy old man.

And if you want a book recommendation, drop me a line telling me what genre you like, and I will be happy to respond.

I just read in Outside Magazine that only 45% of Americans are satisfied with their jobs. Nearly all are seeking more time off and a better work-life balance.

I guess too many of us are spending all that time and energy climbing the ladder, only to reach the top and find it was leaning against the wrong wall.

Don't wait for your ship to come in. Row out to meet it.


Note to fans of Ron Burgundy: Do not bother with the Wake Up Ron Burgundy disc. It is billed as another movie, but it is a side plot from Anchorman cobbled together from deleted scenes. There were a couple chuckles, but I found myself wishing I had just re-rented Anchorman. There is usually a reason deleted scenes get deleted.

Good night. Stay classy, San Diego.

Lump sat alone in a soggy marsh, totally motionless except for her heart.

Now we're cookin' with gas. I received a very touching guest blog entry from my buddy, Husker, written on the plane after dropping his daughter off at college. I will post it later this week.

The first installment of WWJD (What Would Joe Do), my very own Dear Abby/Miss Manners-type advice column, will also be up later this week. It involves a conundrum about the heady, hypnotic fragrance of a co-worker of the opposite sex.

Please feel free to email guest blog entries or questions for WWJD to

It is another gorgeous Montana day. I am going to take a nice, long run this afternoon.

There was a plane crash in Athens, Greece last week. There was a report today that all 121 bodies on the plane were frozen solid, even those who had been charred by flames in the crash. This was likely due to catastrophic cabin pressure failure at 35,000 feet. Either that, or not enough of those tiny blankets and pillows.

This story was oddly synchronistic with my reading schedule, as last Friday, I finished a book called Mayday by Nelson DeMille. The book was about a Concorde-like plane that flies very fast, at very high altitudes (60,000 feet). The plane gets hit by a military drone missle with no warhead, so it just rips through the plane without exploding. The book is quite descriptive regarding the physical and biological effect of sudden depressurization and lack of oxygen at 60,000 feet.

Next time you are flying somewhere, pick it up. Nice read. Actually, I like DeMille a lot. He wrote The General's Daughter, a good book which was butchered into a mediocre Travolta movie. His best, in my opinion, are The Gold Coast, a thriller about a disaffected lawyer (go figure) in a wealthy Long Island community who gets sucked into the world of his mafia neighbor, and Up Country, another thriller, about a Vietnam vet who returns 20 years later to revisit some memories, and ends up uncovering details about a massacre that certain people would like to leave buried.


I have received a series of emails from people back in Wisconsin, exhibiting a growing concern about my lifestyle as a Man of Leisure. I suspect it is the world-renowned, Upper Midwest, dawn-til-dusk work ethic at play, tiptoe-ing silently through the medulla oblongata and hippocampus while you read this journal chronicling my adventures and explorations, quietly prodding you, "Hey. This guy should be working. You're working. We're working. It's what we do."

Ignore that little gnome living in your brain.

I am still waiting for a response from Redford, and the Costco thing didn't pan out. I may become a poet. Or a shepherd. Or a poet-shepherd, tending to my flock whilst composing sonnets. I am looking into the whole Gentleman-Farmer thing, except I really don't like dirt, so I may need to hire some folks to handle the "Farming" part of the operation, freeing me to focus on the "Gentleman" part of the business.

The gnome is now clawing his way through your frontal lobe, and will soon commence hammering against the inside of your skull. If he becomes too unbearable, causing insatiable curiosity, send me an email. If I know you and like you, I will reply with a truthful synopsis of my financial and vocational situation. If I don't know you or if I don't like you, I will likely send you a polite, bullshit-laden response.

Wondering which response you get should cause the gnome to burst forth, fully formed, through your eye or nose, shake off your DNA and start pummeling your computer.

The Dude: "It was a 1972 Pontiac LeBaron."

Cop: "Color?"

"Green. Some brown, or, uh, rust, coloration."

"And was there anything of value in the car?"

"Huh? Oh. Yeah. Tape deck. Couple of Creedence tapes. And there was a, uh. . . my briefcase."

"In the briefcase?"

"Papers. Just papers. You know, my papers. Business papers."

"And what do you do, sir?"

"I'm unemployed."