The Family (Or most of them)

The Family (Or most of them)
The Family

September 26, 2008

Within Without and what it's all about

Nostalgia's a beautiful, enduring thing that can't change.

Deep feeling and friendships are too. Quite often, at least in my life, all those things go hand in hand.

And blogging has given me plenty of all of that since May 2006.

It's given me a chance to show myself as the total doofus I am, in a sometimes revealing if embarrassing way, and to be myself, with warts and all.

I've been feeling nostalgic for a while, fact, I always am. I'm not so much in the here and now, and I know how that's supposedly a bad thing.

I never let go of the past. And I love that I don't.

I think who you are now is a huge product of where you've been.

And so that's always with me...where I am or whatever I am.

I cherish it, I laugh over it, I cry over it, I deliberate over it.

I play songs like Photograph and In My Life and other old songs that talk about what's happened before, that resonate with me, because everyone's a product now of what their past was before.

I know it sounds so simple, but it's so true...and I'm not sure everyone follows that (for me) reality.

I'm proud of what I was before because it has made who I am now, despite all the screwups and dumb decisions I've made in a very Doh! sort of way.

And I can't let go of that, because half the time, I don't KNOW who I am now.

I'll only know who I am now at some point in the future. And it's OK if you don't get that or don't agree with it or wonder how the hell I can say that. I'm not asking for anyone's approval.

So...who gives a shit about all that?

Well, I'm sure no one gets why I called this blog Snippets from Spaceship Orion.

And they sure as hell don't know why I picked Within Without as my handle, although that has now been transformed into Winky Weinerhead, at times.

And I'm going to explain that now. Because no one in their right mind would get it. And because someone on another blog recently said something to the effect of, "WW? WTF?"

Anyone who has visited this blog before knows of my association, at least on some level, with Homo Escapeons.

AKA Donn Coppens, aka Donnnnnn, aka Lord Tennisanyone, aka a million other totally ridiculous pseudonyms he takes on on virtually a daily basis.

Fortunately for him, unfortunately for me, we live in the same town.

I consider him a lifelong friend -- not because I've known him all my life, but because from the time we met in college, he instantly became my lifelong friend.

He knows me inside and out. And I know him inside and out.

I won't bore you with all the details, some of which I've posted about before in the past two years, such as cross-country skiing in the buff in -25C temperatures at 2 a.m. in the morning.

Suffice to say that we have, and always will, spend a lot of time together.

A few years ago, in what was one stage of my transition time from broken marriage to single-again existence, when I had actually bought a house that he helped me paint...

...He came over to play pool in my basement.

In what was a perfect fit for our off-kilter but totally in-synch friendship, the pool table was irreparably lopsided. Our balls, so to speak, always rolled to one side.

As I recall, I usually beat him, mercilessly.

But as had always transpired during our only-slightly-interrupted-by-marriage-and-work 25 previous years as friends, he gave me his gift of music.

His vast knowledge, his tastes which he knew didn't necessarily jibe with mine.

Donn is a music maestro or maven, a maverick who's in the know. All through our friendship, he has ALWAYS played music he has hoped I'd like.

Sometimes I have, sometimes I haven't.

In recent years, he's made tons of CDs for me and used his artistic talents and warped humour to illustrate them with his own covers that often were intended to embarrass me, or at least to show what was going on with him or me or us both.

See how he picked my worst possible photo below right and his best to make me look bad? (Just FYI, the pic of me was taken AFTER he insisted he and I get haircuts to look like goofy RCMP guys).

And to this day, he still does that.

Music is very much a unifying force between us, even despite his stinging criticisms of me when I don't like what he likes -- or when I go crazy over a song he DOESN'T like.

We used to play Stayin' Alive by the Bee Gees and do air guitar and air drums to it and do the whole John Travolta thing, laughin' the night away as we sipped on rye and Pepsi or rum and Pepsi or beers.

Or as we played Blackjack or Phase 10, which we still do.

I must confess, he usually beats me at those girly games. (Runs away laughing). But his lovely wife, Alice, usually beats the pants off us both.

Still, she gives me big close hugs, so I don't care...

Anyway, on one of those nights several years ago, when we were downstairs in my house blasting the music away -- I think it was the night he accidentally destroyed one of my speakers with his pool cue -- he put on some music I hadn't heard before.

He pulled out an album -- and I mean, an album, a black vinyl record, I believe -- by a group I had heard of before but had paid no attention to: The Ozark Mountain Daredevils.

I was blown away.

One of their songs was Spaceship Orion. Another was called Within Without.

Both spectacular songs with tons of acoustic guitar, which he knows I like. I believe he had just started blogging (in 2005, I think).

He was trying to get me to start blogging. I did, in 2006.

And I dubbed my blog Snippets from Spaceship Orion. And for my handle, I picked Within Without -- to signify my thoughts from Within being transferred Without.

That's that story.

And I'm stickin' to it.

The way I've got my blog set up, Spaceship Orion will play automatically when you click on my blog. If you want to listen to Within Without, it's at the top right side of my sidebar. Do as you will or won't.

September 24, 2008

THIS is (my) CNN

I think, sometimes, that CNN goes way over the top.

Let's face it, it's a money-making, profit-oriented media machine.

Its coverage of the O.J. Simpson chase and trial really vaulted it into the public consciousness -- at least for me -- and ever since then, it's gone wild.

In 2008, what CNN decides is news IS news.

And it decides virtually everything IS breaking news, whether it's of consequence or not, because viewers will glob on to that and stay glued to their TVs. And that's what CNN wants.

Having said that, CNN's coverage of Wednesday's decision by John McCain to suspend his campaign in order to deal with the financial crisis, followed by George Wacko Bush's retarded address to the nation, was superb.

So here are some of my favourite and not so favourite CNN celebrities. And let's face it, with their ratings, these people ARE celebrities, or at least huge media personalities.

OK, I declare -- my true political commentator hero is Bill Maher, who actually ISN'T a presidential candidate or a CNN employee but who should be one or the other or both.

The guy, to me, is amazing and gives me faith in the human race.

Maher is not only brilliant, but he's FUNNY brilliant, he's honest, he tells it like it is and helps those of us willing to listen to see through the bullshit that the American political/religious systems are.

He's on CNN (primarily Larry King Live) all the time, but the mainstream networks won't let him have the airtime he deserves because he's so "politically incorrect" that would embarrass those networks.

So instead, he's on HBO or something like that.

If he came here to do a show, I'd pay whatever it took to go and see him. This guy could save the world, but he's too smart to even attempt to try that.

If he ever ran for president, I'd investigate moving to the U.S., seeing if I could get citizenship and vote for him. I'm serious.

OK, so now on to CNN proper.

Guys like Wolf Blitzer, well, they're just the talking heads, although intelligent ones. They're the "sensible" journalist guys who can get all the spin doctors to spin their spin.

But then there's the stars.

And I'm tellin' you, Campbell Brown (below) is their rising star -- intelligent, beautiful, honest, gorgeous, voracious, hot, to the point, sexy...and did I say she was incredibly good-looking?

Thankfully, CNN isn't all about personality, good looks and political correctness.

That's where this guy (below) is so great. CNN has all their crapola political spinsters say their bit, then they get Jack Cafferty to weigh in.

And he says it exactly like it needs to be said.

John King's been around for a while, and he does a brilliant job (below).

He's smart, smooth, analytical and puts things into context without any spin. He's one of their go-to guys to really help people understand.

He does that.

Anderson Cooper, the guy whose show is known as 360, really does spin, however, as the title of his show suggests.

I think he's too smooth, he's too teflon, he's too perfect. He's everywhere. He's in Iraq one minute and in Tecumseh, W. Va., the next.

He's in the middle of a typhoon in Asia, and then he's got a raincoat on in New Orleans moments later warning about a hurricane.

And his hair never changes. Bleh.

Larry King is Larry King. Is he actually still alive or do they plop a puppet in that seat every night? And couldn't they give him tougher questions to ask?

But I have to admit some of the most personal, meaningful, honest revelations I've ever seen important world figures like Bill Clinton make have been uttered on Larry King Live.

That's got to be a reflection on King's ability to make those people open up enough and feel comfortable enough to say those things. King's a special journalist who can make things happen.

Lou Blobbs, I mean Dobbs, is a big blowhard.

When he interviews someone, it's all about him, not about them. He's got a big head, and that's good, because he's got a massive ego and it has to fit somewhere.

Glenn Beck, well, he's just a right-wing nut job.

He's just one of those smart-ass guys that, in grade school, you'd see up on the top of the hill and you'd want to go kick him in the gonads and shove him off just to shut him up.

Nancy Grace -- well, she's just out of control. CNN banished her to their Headline News subsidiary because she's so crazy.

Besides, they need something to combat all those crime shows and those stupid reality shows featuring Judge Judy and idiots like that.

I call it OTN -- the Outrage TV Network. Because that's what it's all about.

September 23, 2008

Sports is life (AKA: Shit Happens)

So, there might -- and I say MIGHT -- be an impression out there that pro sports is just a plastic collection of cliches, high pay, anabolic steroids or other drugs, athletically gifted punks who think they're high and mighty.

And for some, that is definitely true.

On Monday night, though, a 24-year-old kid from Erie, Penn., had to leave here to go home after his 15-year-old brother was shot to death in what, as of this writing, was an unexplained murder.

As usual, I cannot name him out of fear that people will Google his name and come to this blog. And that would be a bad thing because I'm the guy that had to write the story our paper published on Wednesday.

Suffice to say this young, talented guy came out of almost nowhere this football season, after being cast adrift by another team to the west of us, and became a star.

He was always smiling and super positive when I talked to him. He's smaller than me but he's an amazing defensive player. His trademark is his ability to do backwards flips to celebrate big plays.

In the pic below, he's on the right.

He's just a totally positive person, happy to be here. His Facebook page I found talks about how all he wants to focus on is being the player he is with the team that I cover.

But after the shooting death of his brother, he made an entry in his Facebook page, his status line. It read something like "when is this ever going to stop, how could this happen, why did God allow this to happen, it's crazy."

Here's a picture out of the newspaper in Erie of his brother, a 15-year-old whose shooting death, last I heard, still remained a mystery.

So if you're this player, or this player's family, what do you do? I'll have to talk to this player whenever he gets back. He's always been cordial. He did the back flip when I asked him to. He loves life.

And now he's got to accept death.

September 22, 2008

The Weekly Winky Weinerhead Award

He's such a BLOG HOG, you've seen him on here many times before.

He's always making an ass of himself. He started out being known as Homo Escapeons.
Then he started calling himself Donnnnn. Now I see he's calling himself Donny.

On Saturday, he phoned me up and invited himself over for "a drink."
He ended up staying the whole night.
And, in fact, he even went on my computer and designed an award in my honour using my initials and one of the smart-ass names he always refers to me as in Blogland.

September 20, 2008





OK, maybe not. My muscles have sagged, I wear glasses, I'm a bit past the stage of wearing muscle shirts -- but I still have more hair than HE does!
So in my last post, I talked about my organized chaos and promised I would actually clean it up.
Unfortunately, some people (HELLO, ANDREA!) actually held me to that commitment. Even though I had no true intention of following through on it, at least not immediately.
Andrea said I would have to go to my room if I didn't do a post showing I had cleaned up.
Another woman always used to threaten that I would have to go to HER room for being a bad boy. I kind of liked that idea better ;-)
But since I spend most of my time in MY room anyway, and since I had also been hung out to dry by MJ, Donnnnn and others, I figured I'd spend most of my Saturday...actually CLEANING UP.
You'll notice I have avoided updating you on the fridge. That's a larger project I will handle Sunday. For now, this will have to do, you pack of bloodthirsty clean freaks!
You can refer to the previous post, if you want, for before and after pictures.

OK, I know this is where the few visitors I have will spend most of their time when they're with me. I know MJ poked me in the ribs about having pix of Donnnnn there.

In between two pix of that bozo is a beautiful snapshot of his lovely wife and their son. So there. And there are lots of other pix of my family and loved ones.

I didn't touch a dang thing there today. The dust is all in the right place, the pix are all where they should be, the lights shine brightly when I turn them on, this is just perfect for me.

OK, the bathroom was very simple. Just throw a few items into a closet that no one can see and which I won't blog about, close those stupid 70s' era sliding mirror doors on the medicine cabinet and pretend it's clean.


This central location actually gets little use except by me. I use it as a writing area, bill paying centre, cooking area and otherwise. Of course my kids use it as an "I need to eat and make a mess" region.

Here is my super-human effort to clean it up. Don't think I moved out the stove or fridge or anything. I only do that once every 10 years.


OK, I emptied everything from the past six months or so and rinsed out the ugly white bacteria cultures that had formed on the bottom. What more could anyone ask?


Anna appeared to be asking if if I was some weirdo and if I was performing human sacrificial rituals with the candles and stuff, seeing as there had been a picture of me under that mirror.
I'm proud to say that I've removed the picture from that location and stuck it on my ceiling for any sacrifices that may be performed. What remains is pretty mundane and acceptable for appearances' sake, I believe.
Although in some future year, I actually WILL refinish the top of this dresser.

Like any sane person, I simply closed the closet doors.



(Eds note: When you don't have a place of your own, you tend to not have the pride or motivation to make it look nice. That's definitely the case in my circumstance)

September 17, 2008




I've been blogging about silly, inconsequential things like the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, the U.S. and Canada elections, beheadings, American war resisters and the Far Right.

I've been talking about the overall disorganized chaos on the planet and ignoring the organized chaos that's right in front of my nose, in my own life -- the kind that's my haven for sanity.

Chaos is chaos, you say? By definition, chaos IS disorganization, nothing else? I beg to differ.

The worst kind of chaos is the disorganized kind brought about by others that we really DON'T have any control over.

But there's another kind -- the "organized" kind -- that we all have lying around us on our messy desks, in our messy bedroom closets, in virtually ever facet of our messy lives.

The great thing about this organized chaos is it's all on ME. It's mine to control or, if I want, not control. It's mine to clean up (which I'm doing today) or, if I want, to leave just as it is.

It's my whatever number of square feet and no one else's. It's like a hot bath, my first cup of coffee in the morning, it's my soup for my soul, it's my trademark environment.


My bedroom closet...

I'll take out the recycling, don't worry...

Storage is storage...
The medicine cabinet (daughter's/female side)

Medicine cabinet (son's/mine/male side)

Daughter's bedroom closet (YIKES!)
Kitchen table/workstation/bills repository/overflow

Overpacked Fridge w/100's of items well past best before dates

TV/sound system/art/family/friends stand
Front Closet
Bedroom in disarray

Now I'm going to clean it all up -- just because I can.