Thursday, May 25, 2006

Ya Wanna Make A Bet?

Years and years ago – make that decades and decades ago – I took a nine months long cruise on the USS Ticonderoga CVA-14 from NAS Alameda to the Western Pacific and back.

The ship made port calls in Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii, Yokosuka, Japan, NAS Cubi Point, Subic Bay, Philippines, Buckner Bay, Okinawa, and the British Crown Colony of Hong Kong. At each point there was a docking/anchor pool. Of course the biggest of all was the docking pool when we got back home to Alameda. The winner of the pool was the sailor who chose the time closest to the time the horn sounded signaling that the ship was no longer underway but had ended that leg of her voyage.

I bring up this age-old Naval tradition to propose another pool. Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling were convicted today of being the rip-off artists they are and sentencing is scheduled for September 11. However, Lay has an ace in the hole in this matter; he is a close friend of the President.

Here’s my proposition: It's almost a sure thing that Dubya will pardon Lay sometime after the general election this November. Here’s the way I would handicap it: If the Republicans retain their majority in both houses then I think the pardon won’t come through until after Christmas of 2008. If both houses shift over to Democratic control thereby nullifying what Dubya claims to be programs, I think the pardon may come as early as late this year.

Put your money on the line there, shipmate.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

A Warm Spring Day

This has been a spring I’d like to be able to forget. January was the warmest and driest on record; not only for California, but the whole country. I did enjoy it while it lasted. February arrived and it stayed February-ish until just recently.

Rain records were set all over the state during the month of March, and I do recall seeing snow on the surrounding low-lying mountains. It would have been a nice contrast to see the fruit trees in blossom with snow on Mount Hamilton had the sun been shining. Alas, not much of that. Pretty dreary all in all. To cap that off, a case of sniffles developed into pneumonia and I spent a couple of days in the local “krankhaus.”

I had coughed so hard I separated a rib, or so I thought, and hied myself off to Good Sam. That’s where I found out that my “bad cold” was somewhat more serious. I spent my first thirty-one hours there on an IV drip and lots of pain killers. The first day was codeine-Tylenol with a morphine booster. I did fall in love with the nurse who shot me with the “M.” I often wonder if she was as beautiful as thought.

Hospitals don’t really cure one of illness; what they do is get one well enough that they feel confident that the patient won’t die until he or she is well outside the front door. I spent another couple of weeks recuperating at home on some fairly serious antibiotic.

All that’s gone now. I’m on the mend, well into mending actually, and today was a big step in that direction. We’ve got sunshine; California spring sunshine. I picked up a copy of the local free tabloid the other day and noticed a Delta Blues musician was playing on Sunday afternoon at the Blue Rock Shoot Coffee House in nearby Saratoga. It’s Sunday and I went.

Just what Doctor Clint ordered for Patient Clint. A sunny day, lots of pretty girls out walking, riding bicycles, or jogging, an excellent musician playing a vintage (ca. 1933) steel Dobro guitar, and a friendly venue.

Chris Burkhardt is a local musician who knows all my local blues heroes. He’s real. If you are near Silicon Valley you should check him out. If you’re not from here, there’s a couple of snippets of his work on his website. Check it out at

Life is good. I’m glad my “white count” (whateverthehell that is) didn’t get me off the planet this time.

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