Some blather on the good...the bad...and the foo king ugg lee...FWIW.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

A farewell...for now.

No one reads this. So...I am signing off for the time being.

I have a new blog you may be interested in.

Ask me no questions...I just might lie!

I have had the opportunity of late of taking a few on-line “assessment” tests as part of job the application process. In fact, over the years I have been subjected to such quizzing on many occassion in my searches for corporate positions.

These tests range from 30 or 40 basic “what would you do if” questions...to 200 plus questions hoping to get some insight into my psychological state. Usually they are multiple choice things that are very redundant at best, ie, asking the same questions over and over again worded differenly each time. Here are couple of actual examples taken from these assessments...

Ex: You get upset when given specific directions on how to do your work.
A. Strongly agree. B. Agree. C. Disagree. D. Strongly disagree.


Ex: You are normally not an easy going person.
A. Strongly disagree. B. Disagree C. Agree. D. Strongly agree.

And so on.

I feel I probably do a good job at these invasive tests. If you really want to get hired, you attempt to answer them, not as honestly as possible, but as close as possible to what the administrator would favor. Let’s face it, we all have strengths and weaknesses...but why wear them on your sleeve for all to see? You want the job don't you?

Here is a short list of my Top 10 favorite (though fictional) assessment test questions.

1. I have the potential to be a serial killer.
A. Very likely. B. Likely. C. Unlikely. D. Don't ask me this question or I'll kill you.

2. People frequently tell me how bad my body odor is.
A. Very often. B. Often. C. Seldom. D. Only when I don't shower for a week or more.

3. I enjoy watching my subordinates squirm, suffer, and cry when I criticize their work.
A. Always. B. Most of the time. C. Once in a while. D. Only female employees.

4. At a social gathering, I enjoy starting arguments between other people.
A. Highly agree. B. Agree. C. Disagree. D. Highly disagree.

5. My most recent employer would describe me as cynical, vitriolic, caustic, and recalcitrant.
A. All the time. B. Once in a while. C. Only when necessary. D. Never on Sundays.

6. In school, I was often referred to as “that asshole who made fun of everybody”.
A. Everyday, everyone. B. Only in the showers at gym. C. Only to people who deserved it. D. Only to the new handicapped students.

7. At work I tend to do only what is necessary.
A. Strongly disagree. B. Disgree. C. Agree. D. What’s your point?

8. I have no problem with telling off my boss.
A. Strongly disagree. B. Disgree. C. Agree. D. Piss off!

9. It’s O.K. to call in sick to work only when...
A. You are too sick to work. B. You have a communicable disease. C. You can’t get out of bed. D. You are sick of work.

10. At work, you are the one person other people turn to when...
A. They have a problem. B. They need advice. C. They are feeling bad. D. When money is missing.

Remember...always answer these assessment questions honestly. Or, at least, try to remember what you said.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Snowstorm Sam

I resurrected a little slideshow video I did a couple of years ago, just after we adopted Sammy.

His racing name was Snowstorm Sam. Fortunately, for us, his racing record was less than spectacular. By the tatoos in his ears, we were able to do an internet search and find his records. Out of 29 races at a Tuscon dog track, he only won 3 of them. He is still the most loyal and affectionate dog I have ever had. And, he still weighs in at his racing weight (69 lbs) two years later. Contrary to popular belief, greyhounds are 45 mph couch potatoes sleeping upwards of 18 hours a day...on our bed! But when he does run, he reaches that speed in 3 seconds flat.

Monday, January 01, 2007

New Years Eve...and now, Day

(11:27 am)...Third down and five...Wisconsin on their own 37...he pumps, he fakes....wait...first this news bulletin...Marie Osmond has gotten fat!

The Rose Parade is over. I have no interest in college football, but I just may tune into the Rose Bowl Game...USC and Michigan (I think), so as not look like a wuss next week. We just packed away the lifelike Costco Xmas tree for another year...the one the with 1500 Italian twinkly lights. Loretta is vacuuming up the pine tree needles (yes, apparently even fake trees shed!).

Earlier, I cooked us each a 1/2 order of Eggs Benedict and homefries...then actually cleaned up the kitchen myself. We plan to “snack it” the rest of the day...cheese and crackers, celery and peanut butter, maybe a Prime Rib sandwich this afternoon (leftover from our homemade New Years Eve dinner).

Back to the Rose Parade. The highlights and lowlights. We didn’t see the whole thing in one shot. But it’s being broadcast over and over on various cable stations, including my favorite version: The KTLA Bob Eubanks edition, co-hosted by an unrecognizable named news babe out of La-La-Land. The highlight? The flyby of a B-1 Bomber flanked by a couple of F-22 Raptors, afterburners blazing just above Colorado Boulevard on their way back to Edwards Air Force Base. The lowlight? Some sort of giant butterfly-laden float with Marie Osmond perched and waving from the inside of a flower. Honestly, they should have just attached a hitch to her ass, put roller skates on her, and towed her down that Pasadena thoroughfare. Wow! The cherubic face and signature Osmond dental work is still descernable...but man...what a chubber! I didn’t watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade...but was she in it...floating down 34th street...tethered down with ropes held by 100 boy scouts? He’s a little bit Rock and Roll...she’s a little bit Country Biscuits and Sausage Gravy!

The weather here in the Central Valley is the nicest it has been in a few weeks...sunny, mild, with a few high clouds. I just remembered that Loretta and I talked about going for a ride in the ‘69 Porsche 912. Before we go, Loretta is going to light a few prayer candles, do a few incantations, and hope that we can get back home after the drive. It’s always an adventure taking out the 912...fun to drive, but there is anxiety concerning our odds of getting it started again.

We did stay home last night as planned...cooking a small Prime Rib with a Romaine heart salad and my own special Bleu Cheese Dressing. Loretta had a Pina Colada, I had a couple of Cuba LIbras. We watched Las Vegas Vacation, then Hostel. Yes, Hostel...Loretta wanted to watch a scary movie. Hostel is not as scary as it is gruesome...but fun to watch anyway. We hit the sack about 11:30 to watch the ball drop from the safety of our bed covers. It’s just too scary out there on New Years Eve. BTW...Dick Clark...what a trooper!

From my part time bartending days of long ago, I recall this evening as being referred to as: Amateur Night. Amateur Night in the bar business simply means all the amateur, once-a-year drinkers are out in force. For the most part, these fledgling embibers have no idea of what to drink, how much to drink, or how to act. Here was a typical exchange from one of those New Years Eves...

Me: "What'll ya' have miss?"
Miss: "Well, what is that greenish kinda drink that tastes like anise you make in a blender?"
Me: (rolling my eyes) "It's a Grasshopper miss...a Grasshopper".
Miss: "Oh...I don't want that. What is HE having?" (gesturing toward the oily beau-hunk with an open shirt, three medallions, and lots of chest hair at the end of the bar).
Me: "He's drinking boiler makers...shots and beers."
Miss: "Oooooh...I want that!"
(20 minutes later)
Me: "I’ll flip ya' to see who gets to clean up all that vomit".
Other bartender: "But she's laying in it...face down".
Me: "Yea...but her tits fell out when she barfed".
Other bartender: "Sweet! I'll do it."
Oily beau-hunk: "Buy her another shot and a beer on me".
Me: "Sweet".

Fun, huh?

Well, Happy New Year. May 2007 be fulfilling, prosperous, and safe.

Good chance that Marie Osmond will score a Nutri-System contract.

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Good Day Sacramento...yes, I have accepted your invitation to change the station!

Have you ever found yourself saying (to yourself or any person standing conveniently close to you), “How the heck did that person get on television?”

I say that to myself, or to any person in close proximity, all the time. “How in the world did that person get his or her charged coupled electrons splayed all over my expensive plasma television screen?” Yes, I know...I turned it on! But, it blows me away! To be fair, let’s include radio and film in that opening statement.

Now, I am not talking about good looks or bad looks here - although there is certainly enough aesthetic ugliness broadcast on T.V. and projected on gigantic theater screens to last us a lifetime. I am talking about just plain untalented, unfunny, uneducated, and unbelievely unappealing, unable-to-put-together-a-proper-sentence people. They have somehow convinced a power-to-be that we, the viewing public, would enjoy watching or listening to them in our homes.

Specifically, I need to focus on news...more specifically morning news “anchors”...in this diatribe of disgust. If I didn’t fine tune it to this genre, the blog administration people would run out of megabytes on their server with this post alone. The movies will get their own Hansen Rant at a later date.

A little history...

I spent fifteen years in radio broadcasting as a morning show announcer, DJ, program director, music director, and chief cook and bottle washer. I did it all for quite a while. Initially, working part time at the shittiest, fly-by-night A.M. and F.M. radio stations. I labored long hours in the morning, the afternoon, and late at night playing the dumbest music and running the nastiest local commercials on the planet. I was subjected to criticism and ridicule from the most vile of so-called program directors you will ever meet. Program directors at tiny radio stations who made Howard Stern’s Pig Vomit guy in Private Parts (played by Paul Giamatti BTW) look like your kindly Uncle Marvin. These small town station guardians of talent scrutinized my on-air work with a fine-toothed comb...all the while, conducting theirselves on the air without any regard for their own rules and regulations. Do what I say, not what I do! I recall one particular scathing critique session at a small, tobacco-smelling, hind-tit A.M. station in San Luis Obispo with a P.D. calling himself Rockin’ Ron. This was in 1976...I was 26. Rockin’ Ron was a tall, scroungy, goateed creep with shoulder length black hair. He always wore the same dirty jeans, Levy jacket, beat up cowboy boots, and some sort of record company (freebie) t-shirt for Boston, or Foreigner, or Peter Frampton. It went as follows:

Rockin’ Ron: “What the f*** do you think you’re doing?" (takes a big swig from a 16 ounce Colt 45 sitting on his desk).
Me: “Ummm...what do you mean?” (my eyes now averted to the five empty Colt 45 cans in the trash can next to his desk. He had just finished his four-hour program).
Rockin’ Ron: “I listened to your entire radio show last Sunday...and I didn’t hear one f***ing set of “the basics!”
Me: (face reddened with a combination of fear and growing anger) “Ummm...I thought I did”.
Rockin’ Ron: (takes the second, and last, big swig from the 16 ounce Colt 45) “Do you want this f***ing job?”
Me: (eyes momentarily averted to the empty Colt 45 can crashing into the trash can) “Ummm...yes!” (I really meant to say NO, but was too scared).
Rockin’ Ron: “Then take these six flash cards with you on your show today...and I don’t want to hear one single f***ing word other than what is written on these cards!”
Me: “O.K.”
Rockin’ Ron: (lets out a huge belch, the smell wafting across his desk, making my eyes instantly start watering). “Get out!”

I slowly and sheepishly backed out of his tiny office located in a storage closet near the studio. I could hear Rockin’ Ron fumbling around in the grocery bag that was sitting on his desk...the pop of the next Colt 45 can could be heard from two rooms away.

The six flash cards read: Time, Temperature, Artist, Song Title, Your Name, Call Letters. These were, and should still be, the Basics of radio on-air prattle.

Rockin’ Ron, despite his crassness and holier-than-thou attitude, taught me some valuable lessons about broadcasting. “Hansen,” he quipped, “if you can’t smoothly and effortlessly do the basics...then you can’t ad lib, be funny, or anything else on the air”. And Rockin’ Ron was right! He went on, “And, never say in a paragraph what you can say in a sentence”. On-air economics was of the essence in those days....and still should be today.

For the most part, our local morning T.V. show “anchors” either have not come from radio...or, in some cases, forgotten what they learned in those paying-your-dues days. They continue to blather on and on (seemingly) without any regard for the listener or the viewer. It is just one big verbal orgy of endless cackling, clucking, fumbling, giggling, and blathering about nothing. And to make things worse, most of them speak in a mind-boggling X-Gen velocity laced with “dudes”, and “likes”, and “ya’ knows”, and “whatevers”. It’s exasperating to watch at times. I thank the big broadcast guy in the sky when they finally go to the teleprompter and start reading a story lead-in. If we’re lucky, some of them have at least mastered the reading part...though not always. When they can’t even get through a short script without stuttering or stammering...it’s time for us to bail. Or, simply change the station.

Yes, I realize I have the right to change the station. These malingering morning misguided (so-called) journalists continually remind us of our right to turn them off if we don’t like it. What a brilliant rationalization. “If you don’t like it...piss off!”

At least most of the local evening news anchors in Sacramento were apparently (and rightly) hired because they had the ability to read well and to look pretty. They do what they were hired to do...be an attractive talking head. Unfortunately, even these high-paid puppets stray into unfamiliar territory on occassion...ad libbing and improvisation. No...no...no! Don’t do that! Don’t try to fly...your wings are not equipped for flight. You will crash to the earth like Icarus. In fact, you have no wings at all! Read...read...read! And that’s it.

And as for the morning T.V. talk show folk with no talent or ability for such off-the-cuff broadcast frivolity...get a radio job for while, or on weekends. Or, how about this...stop jerking each other off while watching your airchecks. You ain’t all that!

The biggest shame-on-you of all? The higher-ups who allow this to happen. What are they thinking?

There is some degree of merit to having high energy "personalities" on the air...the counter to the alternative of feigned sincerity from the other guys. But, there must be some sort of medium ground to all of this. How about some guidance from the producers? But maybe they need to spend some (more) time in radio as well.

The cluelessness runs throughout the hierarchy of...Good Day Sacramento!

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Oh what the heck...I’m making New Years resolutions

Me: “What are your New Years resolutions?”
Them: “Oh, I don’t do that?”
Me: “Do what?”
Them: “Make New Years resolutions”.
Me: “Why not?”
Them: “I just don’t dammit! Stop invading my space. It’s none of anyone’s business but mine!”
Me (running away and shouting over my shoulder): “Sorry! I can recommend a good therapist if you’re interested. Crazy bastard!”.

Them is any number of people I have asked that question in the past 40 years or so. It seems most everyone you ask don’t make New Years resolutions. Or do they?

I think, more accurately, most people really don’t like to talk about their resolutions. I know there are resolutions being made...they're just not being talked about on a one-to-one basis. After all, there are those surveys we have already been seeing on the news and the morning talk shows. So they must be revealing them to someone, somewhere.

It probably has something to do with them not wanting to look silly later on in the new year. You know, when at least half of their New Year’s promises have gone up in smoke...poof! Like when you run into Sally in June and you don’t recognize her because she has gained so much weight since New Years. Or Dan, whose resolution was to get that big promotion at work...and he is now unemployed. Or maybe Rita. One of her resolutions was to give up sex, stop being so promiscuous, and start going to church...and you just saw her on the Maury Show waiting for the results of a paternity test from the UPS guy.

We are simply afraid to fail. If we don’t set goals or make resolutions, then we won’t set ourselves up for failure. New Years resolutions are simply stated goals...no more, no less. And January 1st is just a date on the calendar, albeit a well-known date that is perfect for realigning one’s life. A date to adjust those goals if needed, the ones you made last August or last January.

There is nothing wrong with that! There is nothing shameful about changing, adjusting, realigning, or customizing your life’s goals and plans. It is perfectly normal. And, it is not failing if you don’t realize every one of them to the level you expected.

My New Years resolutions are simple and basic: Lose weight, make more money, be a more loving and caring husband, father, son, and friend, and to stop slouching. That last one is very important for me. It will help with my self-esteem. Standing up straight(er) and walking proud can really do wonders for some of us...or cause people to think you are an arrogant asshole.

So when someone tells you, “I don’t make resolutions”...they are probably lying to you. Don’t take it personal, they are simply revealing their insecurity.

Me: “Resolve away with reckless abandon. Quantity is better than quality here. The more you resolve, the more chances you have for success! Take those leaps of faith and follow your heart. Free your spirit. Quit your job and do what you have only dreamed of. I know of what I speak fellow traveler!”
Them: (running away and shouting over their shoulder): “Who asked you anyway? Crazy bastard!”

Friday, December 29, 2006


Dexter is not for everybody. Dexter is our favorite show right now. Dexter is one of the most original shows to come along in a quite a while.

For the last 12 Sundays, we have been glued to our television set at 7:00 pm (10:00 for the Pacific feed) even more so than we were for The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, or even Deadwood.

I think Dexter filled that Sunday night void for most of us, the void that happened with the ending of Six Feet Under a couple of years ago. Not to mention that weak season of Sopranos that ended with, not a bang, but with a whimper. Of course, the Sopranos returns in a couple of months with the final season, we are still committed to that dysfunctional New Jersey family. Deadwood also returns soon...being enthralled with the graphic bizarreness of this HBO series as well.

I stumbled upon Dexter just after it premiered. Got sucked in, then watched the first episode on demand. The premise of this hot Showtime series is really off-the-wall. The lead character, Dexter Morgan (played perfectly by Six Feet Under alumnus Michael C. Hall), is a serial killer. That is how the show marquees itself. In the character’s own words, “I’m Dexter. I’m a serial killer”. So why would you watch something that showcases itself in this manner? Well, if you are very religious, very sensitive, or very much one of those “morality types”...then stay away, it’s not for you...as so many other cable series are (not).

You see, Dexter Morgan is also a police forensic blood splatter expert, an adopted orphan, and a survivor from a gruesome childhood incident. This incident involved him being made to watch his mother being killed by a serial killer...with a chain saw. A caring police officer took him in, adopted him, and helped him deal with the obvious issues that might ensue from such an experience. Basically, his adopted father taught him how to deal with his tendencies to become a serial killer himself...by channeling that “energy” to a kind of vigilantism. Dexter “takes out” other serial killers who have gotten away with murder.

Due to his father’s police background and knowledge of forensics, he taught Dexter how to live this bizarre existence and not get caught. And, Dexter becomes a forensic expert himself (his day job), specifically, a blood spatter expert called in to consult and investigate the most heinous of crimes in the Miami area.

There are a number of side plots going on, including his struggle to have a “normal” relationship with a woman, his relationship with his adopted sister (who is also a police detective), and himself being pursued by a Miami serial killer. Any more details here would be considered “spoilers”...watch the show!

My daughter Jenifer and son-in-law Roth just spent two days with us for the holidays. Jen is a Sopranos, Six Feet Under, cable series “junky” (I say this with much affection). She had never seen Dexter as they do not have Showtime at home. In two days, she watched all 12 episodes on demand. The 12th episode was the season finale. It premiers again in March. I think she is hooked!

There are some gruesome scenes, but not gratuitous. Dexter is more of a murder mystery/ character study piece that also provides some great dark humor at times...thanks to Hall's sarcastic dialogue and smirky delivery. It has a great ensemble cast, most of which are not “name” actors...except for Michael C. Hall. All the characters seem to fit perfectly in this continuing story. All adding to the magnetism that draws you back week after week.

One big difference that Dexter offers over the last couple seasons of The Sopranos (for example) is that something happens interesting in every episode. Dexter “does away” with at least one bad guy (or girl) in every episode. Is this a perverted attraction for us Dexter fans? Perhaps.

It returns to Showtime in March with all new episodes. The producers do a good job of the usual, “Previously on Dexter...” promos. It makes it possible to join up with this Dexter fascination at any point in the season. But if you can watch it On Demand from the beginning, it will be much more affective...it really is a good show. It doesn’t come on until 10:00 pm, so keeping the little kids away should not be a problem...it ain’t for them! BTW...the 10:00 pm slot was a good move by the Showtime people. The Sopranos has held down the top Sunday 9:00 pm slot for a long time. There is no need to give up seeing the top dog of cable series season finale when it returns in early '07.

Dexter will win some Emmys and it will win Golden Globe awards (if you follow such things).

Tune in and get drawn in. And watch Dexter Morgan chop up really bad people into neat little pieces and toss them in the Atlantic ocean.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

He was much scarier to me than clowns were

I still retain a vivid memory from my early childhood about clowns.

I was never really scared of clowns, at least not in person. But somewhere around my 4th year, my parents took me to the movies to see The Greatest Show On Earth. I think it was at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood. In that flick, Jimmy Stewart played a clown. He actually was a doctor in exile, hiding behind the clown personna and makeup in the circus that Charleton Heston ran. In at least one scene, they showed a closeup of Stewart in the clown makeup that he never removed the whole movie. That image projected onto a fifty foot movie screen was etched in my four year old mind...and, I remember that it scared me shitless! My Dad had to take me out into the lobby to calm me down. I don't know if we ever returned to the theatre.

The only other time I was that frightened at that age was in the 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea "ride" at Disneyland. For those unitiated with early Disneyland fair, it was a walk-through exhibit of sorts, with diaramas from scenes in the move...including the giant squid part...a life-size squid viewed through the big Nautilus porthole. I lost it there as well! 'Nuff said?

And that brings us to Christmas and Santa. I don't think I was ever comfortable sitting on that guy's lap. Check him out in this photo of me from maybe 1955. He's scary! He was also smelly, grumpy, grabby, and impatient. But, it was the tradition and I did it.

I really had no desire to sit on this old fart's boney lap and tell him what I wanted for Christmas. I'm pretty sure I believed in the whole Santa Claus deception...but I definetly never bought into these guys being the actual Santa Claus. In fact, I distinctly recall my parents telling me that these were Santa's Helpers, not the real Santa Claus. I must have asked my mom and dad about seeing his real (black) hair under the cheap, fake beard. Or questioned why Santa smelled like that bottle of liquid my dad kept above the cupboards...or worse, like an old ashtray!

Look at my face in that photo. Stark, raving, fear. When is this thing going to be over? Why do they make me do these embarassing, undignified rituals? I don't care about the candy cane in my hand.

I'm pretty sure that I will get all the stuff I asked for regardless of whether or not I sit on this "clown's" lap. Can I get down now?