They'll pass over the money without even thinking about it; for it is money they have and peace they lack.
  -James Earl Jones "Field of Dreams"
and don't go mistaking paradise for that home across the road
  -Bob Dylan "Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest"

Thursday, January 29, 2009

When I Was Five I Killed Myself

When I was in college I knew a guy from Detroit. I had met him in freshman orientation and we kept in touch for a few years. At one point he dropped out of school and went to Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey clown school in Florida. (I suspect that this was AFTER the draft lottery that was held 12/1/69 during the first semester of our sophomore year.) He subsequently came back to school in Ann Arbor. We were not real close but I have several recollections of him. Other than occasionally using the "I knew a guy who dropped out and went to clown school" bit in conversation, I hadn't thought about him again until a few weeks ago when I got the idea to google his name.

Howard Buten lives in France, is a clinical pyschologist and is a recognized authority on autism. He is a performing artist known as Buffo the Clown and is well known in France. He has written several novels and received the Chevalier des Artes et Lettres in 1991. A novel that he wrote in English in 1981 was translated to French and has allegedly been read by 1 in 10 people in France, sort of a French Catcher in the Rye, according to the preface. It was re-released in the US in 2000 as "When I Was Five I Killed Myself" -- it was originally titled "Burt". It's about a 3rd grade boy who has emotional issues and is institutionalized. It is written convincingly in first person. I just finished reading it and recommend it highly.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

New stuff

Last weekend I brought home a Samsung CLP-315 Color Laser Printer. It was $149 at Office Max and seems to make high quality color prints. I also ordered a Dell Inspiron 518 which was delivered on Thursday. The last few PCs had been HPs. Probably anecdotal, but I had a LOT of problems with them. Our current desktop has a bad hard drive. So it made sense to go with Dell. Somebody at work gave me a code that got me a discount, saved about $50. I was able to custom order it, which makes it a lot better than buying from a retailer. I got 4GB RAM, a media card reader, Vista Home Premium, and NO productivity software. I like Vista so far. The only casualty would appear to be my scanner, which I can't get to work even though the vendor has drivers for Vista.

Monday, January 19, 2009


I was awakened at 7 AM yesterday to the sound of rock and roll music outside. WTF? Oh, the marathon. Indeed the band that would play at 7th Ave/Thomas was doing a sound check, warming up. I knew it was coming but had forgotten about it when I went to bed. Had enough time to get up, get breakfast, grab cameras and walk to the end of the street. The race starts at 7:40 and they take something like 12 minutes to get here. Pictures here.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Chris Bliss at Dodge Theatre

We went to see the Smothers Brothers at the Dodge last night. rode the Metro down, had dinner at Thai Elephant (which was packed!). The brothers were good, still had the ability to entertain, Tom is in his 70's but still acts like an impish little kid. We had great seats (third row, a little to the right of center). They were less topical than I expected them to be. Tom did make a comment about how the morons would not be running the country any more, but most of it was the usual shtick where he irritates his brother. One of the most amazing aspects was the opening act, Chris Bliss. I am sure that I have seen him somewhere before, maybe one of the Alice Cooper Christmas Pudding shows, but I am not sure when. Anyway, he was a very funny comic, better than most opening acts. He was done, it seemed, and we were satisfied, but he wanted to do one more thing. Maybe you have seen this before, but here is a video of him doing this bit somewhere else. You have to see this...