THIS BLOG IS MY BLOG. THIS BLOG IS MY BLOG. Welcome to the Home of Hyperopia.: February 2006

Monday, February 27, 2006

On Flamingo's PCH Chronicles - PLEBISCITE #2




Should Flamingo continue chronicling his ride up the PCH?
Absolutely. I loved the first two chapters.
Hell, yes. If he doesn't, I am afraid I will shrivel up and die.
Definitely, dude. He is a dreamy story teller.
Of course he should.
Yes. EOM.
Coja el yea cuál el infierno es él thinkin.
No. He should instead fly to Toronto and have his way with PDD.
Free polls from

Thursday, February 23, 2006


I saw a great vanity plate today on a Mini Cooper.


Luckily I was at a stop light when I saw the car, so I had around a minute to decipher it.

BLOG RESURRECTED (good name for a band)

Photo Credit: here

Wednesday, February 22, 2006


I submit that the blog linked below is highly indecent.


You can't just do that to people.

Some updating is essential.

I realize the subject matter might be a bit on the tragic side. But to just leave us hanging? That's not OK. If the news is so tragic you can't bring yourself to publish it, at least delete the blog.

I hope she was successful. My heart goes out to her.

Along with the above reprimands.

Photo Credits: here

Tuesday, February 21, 2006



Erin was right. I started up reading Harvey & Eck at the "regular" time this morning. It was about 8:15 a.m. There were a bit more than forty pages of the book yet to read. My goal was to be ready to leave for work by 8:45 a.m. I had allotted twenty to thirty minutes for the three-stage ritual preparation looming ahead of me, including reading my usual one-twelfth of her fine novel.

Well, the best laid plans of mice and men. The words, the story. The thrill, the agony. I just couldn't stop reading. The pages were turning themselves. The paragraphs were relentless.

Time - to me - stood still.

How would it end?
How would it end?
How would it end?

Thirty minutes later I was still sitting, still reading. Five minutes after that, those all too familiar feelings of joy and sorrow, elation and regret washed over me. I was spent. I had finished the book. I knew how it ended. I had completed the journey. Lives had opened and closed.

* * *
Harvey & Eck is a charming book, worthy of being cherished. This is a book I intend to read again (and in my view, this is about the highest compliment a reader can pay a novelist); there is deeper understanding to be achieved. As Harvey and Eck discovered (or did they?), there is truth to be gleaned from reliving experiences (or is there?). Life is the richer for memories, especially memories remembered. This book ably reminds us that time is a magnificent filter, capable of eroding our experiences until just the slender vein of truth remains. And that the truth is important.
Erin O'Brien has created something special and wonderful. I am grateful to her that she entrusted me with her book, inviting me to publish my thoughts about it on these pages. Of course it wasn't much of a gamble; my audience of three to four people will only help (or hurt) her in the Amazon beauty contest so much. But I am thrilled and blessed to be able to say, confidentially to Erin, of course, that I loved this book.

And now, as my review of Harvey & Eck (finally, you say) ends, I want to make sure that the book's future readers (whom I hope will be legion) are absolutely clear with regards to my position on the one most controversial topic contained in its pages:


Confidential to Grant Bailie (who commented, following my Day Five review, "I think you should have to give the book back"): I think you should examine why you posted that remark. I think if you really believed in Harvey & Eck, you would not have felt a need to come to its defence (or Erin's). You knew I was less than half-way through it. Assuming you've read it, you knew what I had yet to experience. Now that I've completed the book, I can say with confidence that Harvey & Eck did not require your protection (and neither did Erin).

Photo Credits: here

Sunday, February 19, 2006

On Harvey & Eck - DAY NINE

Most moving for me in the twenty-plus pages I just read of Harvey & Eck was the bit about John Dylan. I was wholly unprepared for this since: one, it doesn't have much if anything to do with Harvey or Eck (as far as I could tell); and two, coincidentally I've spent much of two recent commutes listening and almost crying to the last verse of Dar Williams' amazing song "When I Was a Boy" over and over (picture me blasting down the dark Houston freeways singing along in a chokey voice and desperately wanting to be a girl again so I could talk to my mother who passed away a little more than fifteen years ago). So I was deeply touched and awed and frightened and amazed at Erin's courage in tossing in this seemingly minor but I think intimately personal and probably emotionally crushing detail.

John Dylan, as described in the book, is an artist. An inspired artist who conceives of a bold and brilliant design and who manages that even greater achievement of getting the financing and team in place to make the vision a reality. And who, so tells Eck, commits suicide as the project is underway but before the work is complete.

Erin, my cyber-friend, I am sorry for your loss.

Reading those words in your book I thought it must have been brave, crazy, and/or necessary for you to include it. I doff my cap to you, "by duchess."

Harvey & Eck (click it, buy it!)

Photo Credits: here

Saturday, February 18, 2006

On Televised Plebiscites - Part 1

Lisa Rinna got the shaft. I like Jerry Rice fine, but he was totally outclassed.

(At least according to a friend of mine who emailed me her views on the matter immediately after the most recent broadcast of of Dancing With The Stars he was totally outclassed by Lisa who "put her heart & soul into it" only to lose to Jerry who certainly tried reasonably hard but was just a much lesser competitor.)

Accordingly, herewith follows my opinion [1] regarding currently popular televised plebiscites:
Dancing with the Stars needs to be treated differently than American Idol. In the case of American Idol, the votes are more likely to reflect people's opinions about the performer's merits just during American Idol, since the contestants are otherwise unknowns.

But where the contestants are popular stars from other arenas, the plebiscite might logically be skewed based on the relative popularity of the contestants outside the context of the dance competition. The contestants, the stars, are by definition well known outside the competition. The pre-existing biases of the fans will naturally manifest themselves in the vote independent of the contestants' performances. At least to an extent.

I guess Lisa's not laughing now, eh?

Well, neither are certain would-be fans of the show.

I'm all for a good old-fashioned plebiscite, but unjust ain't right.

[1] The views expressed in this post may or may not accurately reflect my views.

Photo Credits: here

Friday, February 17, 2006

Urine Trouble Now, Boy

There are a lot of things I want to share but can't. Luckily there is one thing I can share, don't want to share, but am going to share anyway:
  • I peed on my own shoe today. Just a drop.

Standing to urinate is disgusting and should only be done in the most dire of circumstances (i.e., public restrooms).

Thursday, February 16, 2006


For kicks, here's an update to my most-played list (top 10) on my office iTunes:
  1. Boyz-n-the-Hood by Dynamite Hack - 242 plays
  2. Mockingbird by Horseshoe - 236 plays
  3. Sangria Wine by Jerry Jeff Walker - 235 plays
  4. I'll Only Miss Her (When I Think of Her) by Harry Connick, Jr. - 226 plays
  5. Temporary Road by John Gorka - 206 plays [1]
  6. Real Emotional Girl by Randy Newman - 194 plays
  7. Two People by the Violent Femmes - 171 plays
  8. Lone Star State of Mind by Nanci Griffith - 166 plays [2]
  9. Dublin Blues by Guy Clark - 161 plays
  10. Mr. Brightside by The Killers - 154 plays

Honorable Mention: George by Southpaw Jones, one of my all-time favorite songs that somehow has slipped out of the top 10, tallying only 118 plays and currently sitting at the 17th most played song on my office iTunes.

[1] Special, special thanks to MEB and this chuff for their generosity and time invested in enabling me to enjoy this song again.

[2] Special thanks to Truth Girl for making this possible.

Photo credit: here

Sunday, February 12, 2006

On Harvey & Eck - DAY EIGHT

Holy Cleveland (erm, Toledo), I am like the Crunch! (At least to the extent Erin was just finally beginning to think I wouldn't ever get around to the final trimester of the twelve days of review. Probably not remotely to the extent of provoking a Harvey-esque carnal reaction in women. But I digress.)

I just discovered something about Harvey & Eck. Something structural. Something brilliant. Actually, I guess I should say that at least for me, this reader reading this book this time, I just experienced what I believe to be a discovery. About this book.

Only Erin could confirm her intention (as the author).

Anyway, I just decided that this book is like life (and pregnancy, as imagined/witnessed by me, a male). Structurally, among other things. I can't say more about how I think this book is like life structurally; buy the book yourself and figure it out! But I can say a couple of words about the "other things" ...

As in life (and pregnancy), in this book there are
fabulous highs and
frustrating lows.

Like life (and pregnancy), this book
enthralls (and confounds).

And like life (and pregancy), this
book amuses (and disgusts).

And the characters? Oh, the characters.

The characters in this book are undergoing a process. A process of experience. A process of discovery. A process of growth. Similarly, we, the players in this life, are undergoing a process. A process of experience.
Of course, whether any of us experiences a process of discovery and growth is less certain. Life certainly offers the opportunity. The world is awash in opportunity for discovery and growth. Character and courage matter. And can be discovered at the most unlikely of times. (Like if you're sitting on a bench in an art museum just about sure as shit that there ain't but down to go and how deep is this hole anyway?)

So ... here's hoping that I discover, in the remaining pages of Harvey & Eck I have yet to read, that Erin's characters continue to grow and to discover as I hope to continue to grow and discover (and as they are growing and discovering on the pages I've enjoyed most recently).

Photo Credit: here and here.

Friday, February 10, 2006

On Personal Views (Yours and Mine) - Part 1

Dan Crall, I hope you read this entry. And more than that, I hope you read this article by this guy. Looks like that guy (whose name is Paul Craig Roberts and whose columns are, I've just discovered, published on this website) has written 148 columns. I've only read the one referenced above. I liked what he had to say. I'm looking forward to reading the other 147 he's written plus the ones he'll write in the future. I love when I find a new columnist I like on Lew Rockwell's website.

Dan, I'm recommending the article to you because I think you'll like it.

There's an interesting phenomenon occurring in political thinking and writing now: people on the extreme left and people on the extreme right of the political spectrum have a lot of common ground right now.

This is not an idea that I came up with. Lew Rockwell is the first writer I saw note it. And Dan, I think I remember seeing you say something about that somewhere on your blog.

Anyway, check out
this article and let me know what you think.

That's it.


I'm out.

Photo credits:

Thursday, February 09, 2006

On Baseball - Part 1

As the grapefruit baseball season approaches, I am trying to decide which team will be my favorite this year. It is so difficult to pick a horse, so to speak, without knowing how the team's won-loss records are going to look at the end of the campaign. So I think I'll defer that choice for now.

But, regarding baseball I do have this observation to share:
  • When a person says, of a baseball player who has not had any of his at-bats end in outs or in reaching base on a fielder's choice or error, that such a player is "batting a thousand," that is just simply an incorrect statement. The player has a batting average of 1.000. That is ONE, not "a thousand."

Given this alarming bit of mis-information, it is no wonder kids these days are having so much trouble with numbers.

Photo credits: here

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

On Funny Money (Yours and Mine) - Part 2

We moved into our new house last week. As soon as I find the box where I stashed Harvey & Eck, the Twelve Days will recommence. But thankfully, I didn't misplace the internet. So I can read words by astute people about important things. For example ...

Back on economics briefly, here are a couple of sentences out of this article from Ron Paul that each person who has a net worth (deficit) denominated in U.S. dollars should ponder. Congressman Paul is writing about the Federal Reserve fiat money system, offering sage observations about the dangers posed thereby.

  1. [New Federal Reserve Chairman Ben] Bernanke's biggest challenge is the challenge of central banking itself: You can control some things, but not everything.
  2. In the Fed's case, it can control the quantity of money or the quality of it, but not both at the same time.

(emphasis mine)

The emphasized clause in item 1 is true. As much of life as central banking, actually.

I actually think the second sentence is not true. The Federal Reserve Bank could control the quantity of money and the quality thereof if they held the quantity of money constant or had some kind of tangible value supporting the quantity of money in circulation.

But of course we are at polar extremes from that kind of discipline. So much so that people commenting on the situation and people passing along commentator's views on the situation overlook that fact.

See you folks in Chile in 2015! Or Singapore, I guess.

Photo credit: here (the Federal Reserve itself!)

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

I am starting to really like the Arial font. I've been working the past few days on a bunch of documents for seismic licensing agreements and the like. Those things are written in Arial. That is one font that is easy to read.
  • The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog.
  • The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog.
  • The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog.
  • The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog.
  • The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog.
  • The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog.
  • The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog.

That's what my blogger has to offer. I'm considering changing my default font here on the Erin O'Brien Pimp Blog to Arial.


You know how hot a tin roof gets in Arkansas in the summer? You're hotter than that. Seriously.

Photo credits: here

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Words About Movies - BROKEN FLOWERS

With further apologies to Erin, last night I watched Broken Flowers. If you want to read a real review of this movie, click here. If you want to keep reading for my thoughts, see below.

The "independent" film thing that is so popular these days. The concept. It frustrates me. And that's not to say I don't like "independent" films. I do. I enjoyed watching Broken Flowers. But it didn't further me farther in any way that I am aware of.

The real problem, as I see it, is that a great many of these movies (these "independent films")are more snapshot than story. As a general matter, stories and fables and books and movies and theatre and the narrative tradition is about (or at least should be about, in my view) transferring experience and the wisdom derived therefrom without requiring the audience to undergo the experience whence the wisdom sprung (sprang?).

But a significant number of independent films no longer transfer wisdom. A significant number of independent films no longer even try to transfer wisdom. These movies simply let us play voyeur on the life and times of the people in the movie. In Broken Flowers, as in so many of these movies, at the end of the movie we don't know any more than we did at the beginning. The players themselves are just as lost. The stories are just as confused. There are just as many loose ends at the one hundred twenty minute mark as there were fifteen minutes into the show.

This is like real life, of course. But that doesn't make it helpful entertainment. When I purchase entertainment, I want answers. When I rent a movie and the movie tells me that the main character, a flawed and lonely fellow, may have a son by a woman he had a relationship with almost twenty years in the past, I want the main character to find out whether in fact this son exists. I do not require that the main character and his son, if his son in fact exists, make peace with one another for the water over the dam. But I do want them to at least meet.

There is too much ambiguity in today's "indepedent film."

There is too much uncertainty.

Now, there is good stuff there too. A significant number of today's "independent films" are just beautifully crafted. They contain lush and rich and full and evocative scenery. The production in lots of these movies is fantastic. Background noises meld magnificently with the primary action going on. The colors in these films are spectacular. The actors are consummate professionals (and just as an aside - I thought, to my surprise, Jessica Lange looked hot). Everybody involved does a great job building the product.

But the product isn't about anything.

There were two scenes in Broken Flowers where a passenger jet is shown taking off into an overcast sky. The jet rises against the overcast. From the angle of the viewer, light shines on the jet making it appear to be roughly the same color as the white-gray of the sky. There is a very tall, dark streetlight like the ones along freeways in the shot. In the first shot (which I think is towards the very beginning of the film), the streetlight is on the left and the plane rises from its base. The shot fades out as the jet gets towards the upper right-hand corner of the screen. In the second shot (which I think is towards the end of the film when the Bill Murray character nears the end of his journey), the streetlight is closer to the center. The shot fades out as the jet crosses near the top of the streetlight. No doubt the filmmaker did this on purpose. There is some symbolism at work here. I missed it. I thought the shots were gorgeous, though. They were motion pictures; a painting being drawn while we watch. But since the movie itself lacked any deeper meaning, the beauty of those two shots is all there is. Can something that lacks substance be symbolic?

Shakespeare already wrote about this phenomenon a few years back:

Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot,
full of sound and fury,

Signifying nothing.

But, according to the profit and loss statements for some of these filmmakers, beauty and professionalism seem to be enough to put butts in the seats. Maybe entertainment is entertainment. Maybe it doesn't have to be education as well. Maybe filmmakers are right to save their powder; why go to the effort to transfer wisdom if your customers don't require it (or want it).

Or maybe there is wisdom being transferred, and I'm the idiot.

Photo credits: here and here