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KeithSpeak - July 2009



July 2, 2009


One after another, Susan and I gave all 3 dogs baths yesterday. You don’t think it’s arduous wrestling 100+ pound malamutes into a tub and keeping them there while they get shampooed and rinsed? Ha! Afterwards, two of them immediately rolled in dirt and made themselves “pretty”. The third just sulked. For the next six months, none of them will come near the bathroom, lest this egregious indignity repeat itself. Sigh.

July 3, 2009

In the movies, the west was tamed by macho men; in reality, it was children on donkeys.



July 4, 2009

For those of you who have pets or loved ones that will be traumatized by tonight’s fireworks, please spend time with them this evening to help them cope.


July 5, 2009

The Web is feeling stale. Comment sections are full of trolls, the same “news” gets recycled from site to site, innovation and bright ideas have been replaced by minor tweaks and endless copyright infringement lawsuits - really, who gives a hoot about the 500th smartphone this week, or the latest, smallest, newest, red netbook? And who isn’t sick of clueless politicians and hackneyed old media drooling over the newest iteration of what’s already old (My Space to Facebook to Twitter to...), or worse, their grousing about how the digital age has ruined their business model (the RIAA, the MPAA, newspapers...)? Surfing the Web now reveals a giant crap fest of repetition, rants, malware and dubious e-commerce. Ooh, exciting! If this is the maturation of the Net, ick, bring back the frontier, and dynamic invention, and a reason to get excited about the promise of the digital future, ‘cause this shite is boring me. I know what you’re thinking: Did Keith get up on the wrong side of the bed this morning? Maybe.


July 6, 2009


Have a nice day.


July 7, 2009

I talked to my Dad this morning and he told me he was busy programming Mom’s new iPod Touch that he was giving her as a birthday present. My folks are in their 80s! What spell has this Apple company wrought?!


July 8, 2009

I got a long e-mail in Afrikaans from an author in Namibia. Neither Google nor Babel Fish translate to or from Afrikaan, so I wrote back in English saying that I couldn’t read the e-mail and could he please resubmit it in another language (I understand that German is spoken by a large number of Namibians). Resubmit he did – in a tribal language that so confounded my computer’s ability to display the character set that a vast number of letters were replaced with either a ?, *, or left blank. Jeez, I again wrote that I couldn’t read the e-mail, and if it was truly important that I do, he must send it to me in English. The third time, he did. The irony of the whole thing? The letter was about communication and understanding.


July 9, 2009

I’m eating chocolate cake for breakfast. Nutrition? We don’t need no stinkin’ nutrition.


July 10, 2009


The jewels dripping off the wrist and neck and ankle and waist and hair and back and stomach of the terribly high society Georgina Geoffrey Jones, was both seriously excessive dead weight and arresting to see, something not lost on the officer who nearly caught the burglar of her baubles, a guy so weighed down by the stones and gold that he had to stop to catch his breath less than a block from the crime and unfortunately for him, right in front of a donut emporium that happened to be the haunt of Sgt. Clancy Clendenin, policemen first, donut lover second, who upon spying the laboring jewel thief leapt up, spilling his coffee and raspberry creme filled “Sparkie” all over his police pants, wounding both his uniform and pride, and even still, couldn’t make it out the door and to the street before the immensely lightened Georgina Geoffrey Jones caught up to and leapt upon the struggling criminal, subduing him with a karate chop to the testicles and a vicious bite to the nose, stopping just as suddenly while still astride the howling man, marveling not at the blood nor even the besmirched officer who appeared out of nowhere and took over from there, but her speed,  because she found she could now run like the wind without the weight of the rocks, an epiphany of such profound proportions that she was inspired to quit high society and weeks later won a bronze medal in the 1500 at the Barcelona Olympics. 


July 11, 2009

Long before Speedo, there was Irma Alva Dukeshaw, queen of bathing costume design. As you can see in this promotional photo from the Dukeshaw Collection, her most famous costume ever features the striped top of a bon vivant Devil’s Island prisoner – “It screams French bad boy!” wrote Irma in the catalogue, "Delicious, no?" Irma then had the savvy and guts to pair it with the sophistication and grandeur of a giant faux white belt. “That big honkin' belt gave this suit its caché”, declared Irma, who went on to mention that the extra high bottoms were an afterthought. Fortunately, the photographer of the catalogue knew that that yucca plant and an abandoned house in the background would best set off the monster thighs and sculpted guns of 1920s beefcake model Tad F. Cullimore, effectively making the suit the # 1 must have of the swimming season and cementing Irma’s reputation as the queen of bathing costume design, in the happy, heady days before it all went south the following year (see addendum). (Addendum: Tad F. Cullimore became the boy toy of Irma Alva Dukeshaw, but it was all to end badly with the next season’s collection that featured a long sleeved version, gathered at the wrist, which proved to be both stunning and disastrous, as the sleeves filled up with water to the point where the swimmer could no longer move their arms, effectively drowning a generation of fashion forward men, including Tad, off the coast of Santa Barbara, for which Irma did a 4-7 stretch in Folsom, effectively knocking her out of the bathing costume design game forever.)



July 12, 2009

It’s the weirdest thing, for the last week we have had dozens and dozens of seagulls flocking to one of our cherry trees to pluck fruit. Seagulls have webbed feet, so how are they managing to stay on the branches and move around the tree? Quite precariously actually. They land in the canopy and then hop, constantly flapping their wings to keep their balance. It’s kind of funny but mostly just weird to see these birds gathered in a tree.


July 13, 2009

Why can’t you just put your faith in yourself? You are an unlimited, conscience being capable of immense, extraordinary things. Why isn’t that enough? Why must there be some external thing, god or way that shows you “the way”? Wake up, you are the only real arbiter of your life, all the rest is dross.


July 15, 2009

Washing machine broke yesterday. Flooded part of the basement. Consumed a good part of the day dealing with the aftermath. Went to a party in the evening. Saw a bunch of old friends, met some new folk. Came home and had fitful dreams. All in all, yesterday was pretty much a wash. Pun intended.


July 16, 2009


                                           Have a nice day, again.


July 17, 2009

Had a door to door salesman come to our house yesterday. Who does that anymore? Actually it was kind of creepy and invasive. An unsolicited, unannounced salesman cold calling in the hopes of snaring a victim felt exactly like spam. After he left I looked up his company on the Internet. They had filed for bankruptcy 6 weeks ago. Real nice.


July 18, 2009

I have so much stuff to do today that all I have time for is to tell you that I have no time. Later, my pretties.


July 19, 2009

We have a bunch of gates at various places around our fenced acreage, and yesterday, we had three separate trespassing incidents at three different times with three different parties. Jeez, what do they think the fence is for?


July 20, 2009

I have a friend who is up to his old tricks. I can’t tell you why he quit them in the first place, but he’s at them again. Ok, if you must know, his wife grew tired of his tricks. She told him to learn some new ones, but he didn’t, they’re the same old tricks, so I’m guessing he’s killed her, maybe buried her in the back yard, because he’s at them again, and she wouldn't put up with that, no way, but really, what do I know?


July 21, 2009

I finally got around to cleaning out the barn. Three trailer trips to the dump, one to the recycling center, one to a place that recycles machine parts, oh, and one to the place that recycles used motor oil. I’m not a hoarder or saver when it comes to “stuff”. I rarely look at something I’m considering throwing away and say, Gee, I dunno, maybe I could use that at some point later in my life when I might need such a thing, which usually amounts to never, so if I leave it it will sit for even more years than it has already sat, you know, just in case - nope, me, I say pitch it. So the barn has all kinds of room in it now. Looking goooood. Hmm, I wonder what I will fill it up with next.


July 22, 2009

It's the middle of summer. It’s stupid hot. The furthest thing from your mind is...Santa. We think that’s just plain wrong. Because scary, scared or scarring, they’re all still Santas, even in July.





July 23, 2009


Fact 1.) Americans are aware of the cultural fact that the Japanese take their shoes off before entering a house, but did you know that is also true of Canadians? Unless granted permission by the owner, do not walk into a Canadian house with your shoes on, as this is a grievous insult, and will get you a slash to the shins with a nearby hockey stick, which is always within reach inside any Canadian home.

Fact 2.) Canadians call their Moms, Mum, just like the Brits. Canadians are, however, less colloquial about it. Instead of saying, as they do across the pond, “I’m going to visit me Mum for tea”, Canadians would say, “Let’s have Mum over for a coffee, and because she can’t help herself, she’ll do the laundry and cook us dinner too.”

Fact 3.) For generations, Canada’s biggest rivalry in hockey was with the Soviet Union. But after the Soviets stopped being the Soviets, that rivalry has shifted to south of the border. Whether many Americans know it or not, the U.S. has some tremendous hockey talent, but Canada has even more, and since Americans like being the best at everything, well, naturally they hate Canada for this. While not exactly a perfect storm, it's a bitter rivalry nonetheless.

Fact 4.) Canadians put butter on the bread of all their sandwiches. As a former American, I have never gotten used to this.

Fact 5.) Canadians are more forthright about money. If you just bought something, they’ll ask you how much you paid for it. They’ll ask you how much money you make at your job, what kind of inheritance your parents left you, how much the contractor charged to build your house. Americans don’t like public talk about their money. They like to talk money in private, in back rooms, under the table, with the door closed, and all recording devices turned off. Could this have anything to do with the current financial mess in the U.S.? Hey, I’m just sayin’...

Fact 6.) Americans know that Canadians are polite and genial, but did you know that we are also the best hockey players in the world? Oh, did I mention that already? Tee hee.

Fact 7.) And finally, apparently, the last thing Americans don’t know about Canadians? We love our universal health care system. The CBC had a contest to vote up the greatest Canadian of all time – the guy who won was the one who created and implemented universal health care. We love this cradle to grave system like you wouldn't believe, no matter what you’re being told about it down there, no matter how much we gripe about wait times up here.

Ok, that's all for now, but there might be more later, because we're so darned helpful and stuff.


July 25, 2009

Big windstorm with heat lightening last night. We got knocked off the Internet until mid-afternoon. Saaay, did you miss me? Did you guys even know I was gone?! ‘Cause I thought about you all the time. You never left my mind. Not even once. Not even when I was sleeping and watching TV shows and stuff. But we’re back together now. That’s all that matters. That nasty little separation is behind us. We can move forward as one, united, inseparable, together forever, unless of course we have high winds and heat lightening again tonight, then the togetherness thing is pretty much of a crap shoot, and we could be in the same boat tomorrow, with me saying the exact same things, except going on about the day after tomorrow's weather. Still... Where was I.


July 26, 2009

I spent an hour yesterday trying to change the clock on our DVR. Somehow the unit got set to two minutes earlier than it really is. So the end of every recorded show is cut off by two minutes, which is, as one would surmise, blood boiling. No problem, reset the time, right? Well get this - the clock is some automated gizmo that gets set when you plug the DVR in. There is no menu function to change it. Only it’s two minutes wrong every time you plug it in! I want to kill the company genius who thought that was a good idea, you know, so no one will have to trouble their wittle minds with changing the clock. The remote has 6,000 buttons, the manual is 87 pages long, but nothing for changing the time. Yes, I want to kill that person. Is that too much?


July 27, 2009

You don’t meet a lot of people named Gomer anymore. You notice that too?


July 28, 2009

At what point does this picture stop making sense.



July 29, 2009

Why must financial profit be the bottom line of everything? Why can’t people do things because it makes them feel good, or worthy, or helpful to others? Why can’t the personal satisfaction gained from the experience be enough? Why does making a monetary profit trump all other aspects of value in this life? Is making a profit the way to grow, mature, develop and become a purposeful human being?


July 30, 2009

At 7:00 this morning the dogs start barking like someone has arrived, and sure enough, there is a truck parked down at our barn. I go down there and this guy is appraising our tractor.

He asks me how much I want for it. I tell him it’s not for sale. He pulls out a newspaper ad with a tractor for sale and our address listed. I say there must be a mistake because our tractor is not for sale. He makes an offer anyway. I repeat my claim, he raises his offer, I look at him like he’s a five year old child asking for cookies just before dinner; he finally leaves. An hour later I call the newspaper. It’s a misprint. Instead of N.E., it should have listed the street as S.W. Before we get any more potential buyers, I close the gate across our driveway and pin a note to it explaining the mistake. I go back to my morning coffee, thinking about this misunderstanding, hoping our beloved tractor was not offended, wondering what the rest of my day will bring.


July 31, 2009

Oh, this is choice! My horoscope says that today I will possess spectacular power. Spectacular power! Mondo shivers, yes?! I’m just sitting here waiting for it to take hold. Stand back!


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KeithSpeak                                     August 2009


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