Those Lakers

Brother Steve asks in a comment (or maybe it was an email) if I am still following the Lakers.

Sadly, yes.  I say sadly because I am not sure that my relationship with same is entirely healthy.  I swear watching the games works me into a fiddle faddle; I start cursing and feel frustrated as hell when Kobie takes it into his head to start dribbling his ass hither and yon because, come hell or high water, he is going to put it up this time around.  I guess I just have some sort of personality conflict with Kobe.  Though on the upside—his stubbornness does lead him to some sublime moments.

Then I start cursing the refs.  And in the playoffs it is easy to curse them.  Because it’s the playoffs, they get uptight just like the players and start making stupid calls—things they have not called all season, and then they are worried the players might start hitting each other and they start calling technical fouls right and left at the drop of the hat, and then at the end of the game—if it is close—because they don’t want to be perceived as having determined a game they swallow their whistles and won’t blow them at all unless somebody is knocked flat and starts to bleed.

Very irritating.

Then I start cursing the announcers.  They say the same damn things over and over with the same clichés attached.  Thank god they are not talking as much about Mister Momentum anymore.  God, I got sick of that.  Mr. Momentum this and Mr. Momentum that.  I wanted to stick Mr. Momentum down their throats.  And very few people are calling a jump shot a “J.” Crap I hated that.

And if the Lakers start playing poorly, I start cursing Kobe, the refs, and the announcers, and it’s all pretty frustrating because sitting there cursing like that doesn’t do or change a damn thing.  Moreover I am a solitary curser.  I watch the games by myself.  Lots of people get together or go to a bar or something so they can curse along with everybody else.  Maybe as a cursing mob they feel empowered.  I just feel impotent.

Some people I know actually can’t watch the games.  They get sick with anxiety watching.  So they TiVo the games, and will watch them only after the game is over, and only if the Lakers win.  That way you can spare yourself a lot of agony.

But I don’t have a TiVo so I curse them live and in real time.

90 degrees!

Well, I am getting one class of student papers in and I am writing responses to them, and as I do so I feel increasingly weary, full of frustration and at one point feel as if I am going to pass out.  These are things I frequently feel responding to student writing, but the passing out part is a bit new. 

I become aware that my tiny closet converted office is really horribly stuffy, so I click on the weather and see that at 1 pm West Coast Time, the temperature in Goleta (that’s where I live) is 90 degrees!

90 degrees!  What the hell.  No wonder I feel as if I am going to pass out.  I need liquids, immediately.  And I certainly don’t need to be reading student papers.  Now I feel bad and wonder if I have been excessively harsh in some of my remarks because of near heat stroke!

90 degrees!  We went through all of last summer with out it ever reaching 90 degrees in our little condo located here in Goleta, CA, maybe a mile from the usually cooling Pacific.  I don’t know what’s up with the Pacific today, because it is not cooling anything.

This odd weather business started Friday night I think.  Carol and I were going through our getting to bed ritual.  Part of that is checking the weather because we had a cooler than usual winter and wanted to make sure we were not going to catch our death of cold or something.  So Carol checks the weather and it is 77 degrees at 10 pm at night.  I cannot remember the last time it has been 77 degrees at night.  So I figured somebody had screwed up at the weather station, and started clicking around on the web and found something called underground weather which listed the temp readings of every weather station in the Goleta, Santa Barbara area and sure enough it was 77 degrees though it dropped to 74 while I was looking.  It was really odd because all around Santa Barbara, down in Ventura and up the Coast the temp was in the 50’s but in Goleta and SB it was in the 70’s.

And now—let me check—

OK, I just got back from checking at 1:54 West Coast Time and it’s:

90 degrees!

I bet my students are not writing their papers.

First Cousins

Please find below the list of the grandchildren of William Berner Tingle and Bertha Mines Tingle as compiled by Jenny Lind Good Bannister:

Grandchildren in birth order:

Gordon Brockman (d.)                         9-5-44             Edith and Bill

William Nicholas Tingle (Nick)               12-14-45         WB and Joan

Neal Mines Tingle, Jr. (Rusty)               12-20-47         Neal and Doris

Susan Gayle Brockman Pittman            4-8-48             Edith and Bill

Stephen James Tingle                         4-11-48          WB and Joan

Jacks Berner Tingle                             2-25-49           Neal and Doris

Wayne Keith Brockman                        7-29-49           Edith and Bill

Elizabeth Nan Good Williamson            4-7-53             Addie and Ed

David Andrew Tingle (Dave?)               5-12-53           WB and Joan

Charlotte Ann Tingle                          11-17-54          Carl and Virginia

Lucy Day Tingle Dean                          4-4-55             Neal and Doris

Tony Kevin Tingle                               4-27-57           Neal and Doris

Theresa Brockman  Hershberger          7-31-58           Edith and Bill

Jenny Lind Good Bannister                  1-8-59             Addie and Ed

Catherine Louise Corbett (Cathy)         12-18-59         Mamie and Wylie

Janet Lowry Good Walston                  5-4-60             Addie and Ed

Daniel Jeffery Tingle (Dan)                 7-15-60           WB and Joan

Helen Elizabeth Corbett (Beth)              2-1-61             Mamie and Wylie

Edward Floyd Corbett                           10-2-63           Mamie and Wylie

Richard Berner Tingle (Ricky)               5-6-64             Douglas and Becky

Sam Fuller Tingle                                10-6-64           Neal and Doris

Amy Rebecca Tingle King                      5-4-66            Douglas and Becky

Cynthia Lee Good Stockman (Cyndi)       10-14-70        Addie and Ed

Emily Viola Tingle                                  6-10-76         Douglas and Becky


My blog has a search function.  Should you wish to refer to this list in the future, type in First Cousins and this page should come up.

Just yesterday I became a Facebook friend of Samantha Dobbins of Greenville, SC, whom I infer from the list above is the daughter of Sam Fuller Tingle, and the granddaughter of Neal and Doris.  Is this correct? 



In my readings on the development of the consumer society, I have come across this claim that in the first decades of the twentieth century the “self” constructed by that society changed. In the 19th

century, so goes the claim, “character” was cultivated; in the 1920’s however one can begin to see a change towards the cultivation of “personality.”

I may be wrong but I think that I did have some exposure to the cultivation of character as late as the 1950’s in the rural South.  After all, your average farmer tried to sell his crops, not his personality.

Character, of course, was cultivated first though the Bible, but I believe also that it was passed along in short sayings.

For example:

Waste not, Want Not.
A stitch in time, saves nine.
A penny saved is a penny earned.
Money doesn’t grow on trees.
If wishes were horses beggars would ride.
A place for everything and everything in its place.

Benjamin Franklin—a key figure in Weber’s The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism—cooked up a good number of these sayings (including some of the above); additionally:

Beware of little expenses. A small leak will sink a great ship.
Buy what thou hast no need of and ere long thou shalt sell thy necessities.

By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.
God helps those who help themselves.

These are fairly mundane sayings, practical in their import.  They are also doable by the individual.  Take care of the small things—not only because not doing so may lead to disaster—but because these small things are things a person can do.  And partly because they are things an individual can do, a person with character might be said to be self-activating.  He or she internalizes the rules of character and acts upon them (without reference to how these actions are perceived by others).

Driving today, while out shopping, I noticed that I turn on my turn signals, no matter what.  I am for example moving from the right lane to the left and though—I notice—there is no one in sight in either direction, I still signal I am moving into the left lane.

This might be a sign of character or perhaps of dumb habit.

I welcome other sayings.  I think I remember  Grandmother Tingle saying,  "Sweep the corners and the center will take care of itself."

Oh, Brother Steve would like to know the names of all our first cousins.  Not a small matter.  I have a partial list in my head.  If any one has a complete list, could you please post it and I will put it in an entry so all can refer to it, as occasion dictates.


Beach Sky

Carol and I continue our walks to the bluffs, but with the change in the clock we no longer arrive at sundown.  I have taken few pictures consequently since the sky appears uniformly bright and a bit glaring.  But the winds were up today and the wind surfers were out again:



Brother Dave and Sister in Law Teresa went to SF recently:

They took the trip out to Alcatraz:

About as far inside as a person wants to get:



The Bite of the Zombie

Brother Steve raises a technical question.  In the instance of the Zombie Strippers, how does the zombie virus know a person’s occupational status so that it might infect that person?  This implies a mighty intelligent virus, and Brother Steve imagines a scene worthy of Monty Python in which Eric Idle, in drag, asks people if they are strippers before passing along the virus to them.

This, while humorous, would make I suspect for a rather slow movie. 

I suspicion then that zombies, in Zombie Strippers, become zombies by the more traditional means of first being bitten by a zombie and then becoming one.  Traditional Zombie lore is very consistent on this point; if you are bitten by a Zombie you become one, no matter what you do.    In one film, a person, bitten in the forearm, had the foresight to cut off his entire arm in an attempt to halt the spread of the zombie bug throughout his system.  But even this radical attempt at cure, as I remember it, did not work.

Being gummed by an elderly toothless Zombie does not lead to zombieism; the skin must be broken.

Zombieism when passed in this form does not require the introduction of a hyper intelligent virus capable of knowing a person’s occupation.

But lacking the virus as an explanatory system, we are left with the problem of the first or final cause.  With it, we know where zombieism came from; the government did it.  This implies, however passingly, a critique of government as run by a bunch of callous indifferent idiots who risk the lives of all citizens in pursuit of some impossible scientific solution to something or other.

One is put in mind, for example, of that giant particle accelerator—17 miles long—in Europe that is going to be fired up some day soon in an attempt to duplicate astral events immediately after the big bang.  People are concerned—and scientists don’t deny the possibility—that banging particles together as they intend to do might produce a “black hole.”  The scientists, however, argue that even if this does occur the “black hole” will not be long enough to eat up the whole earth since it will last far less than a billionth of a second.

Romero, however, in his zombie flicks offers no explanation at all.  The dead simply get up and walk.  I prefer the non-explanation.  It suggests merely that something has gone terribly wrong or that there is stuff out there that we will never understand.  In Dawn of the Dead, one character (with no particular authority—I mean he does not necessarily speak for Romero, says cryptically, “The dead walk when hell is full.”  This is suggestive but scientifically speaking entirely speculative.


Traditional zombies in black and white…and demonstrating slow, wooden movement. 


I have very much appreciated and learned from comment upon my entry “Zombie Lore.”

I had thought that Zombie Strippers might be an addition to the small sub-genre of Zombie Comedy.  But Brother Steve’s description of said movie suggests otherwise.  Some Zombie movies are of course unintentionally funny; I think here of “Zombies on a Plane,” derived directly from the equally ridiculous, “Snakes on a Plane.”  “I Married a Zombie” clearly aimed in the direction of comedy, but missed the mark completely.  The little I was able to watch verged on the grotesque and in what one might call the more intimate scenes far, far too little was reserved for the imagination.  “Mexican Zombies In Texas” might be a comedy, but I will never watch it to find out.

Being a student of the Zombie Genre, I rented Shaun of the Dead as soon as it hit the shelves.  It remains to my mind the finest example (and perhaps only) of Zombie Comedy.  Made by the duo that later made Hot Fuzz, this film shows the conventions of zombie flicks a proper respect.  Liberal in its gore, though observing the conventions of good taste (relative to good taste as defined in Zombie Movies), this film celebrates the human spirit in its capacity for limitless stupidity and, I might add, not incidentally, male bonding.

The beetle browed protagonist survives.  But even more, so does his long time drinking buddy, a drink sodden dope, given to frequent flatulence, though he has been zombizied, in the act of saving the protagonist’s life.  The final scene in which the protagonist, in a shed out back of his house, plays video games with his zombie friend is, well, heart warming in its celebration of a bond of friendship so strong that it transcends the deep antagonism of zombie for humans and vice versa.

Had I seen the film in a theatre I would have stood and applauded, so moved was I.  But as usual while viewing a film, I was lying on the floor of the condo, with the cat in my lap, and in any case did not feel like getting up.


That’s Shaun on the right, with his bosum buddy to the left, not yet the zombie he will become (though he appears close to being a zombie in his natural state). 

Zombie Lore

Of George Romero’s three great zombie flicks—Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, and Day of the Dead—the last is the least good.  A bunch of normals, headed by lunk headed and sadistic military men taking care of a number of crazed scientists, live in a bunker underground.  They go out now and then and round up a few zombies and then the scientists do horrible things to the zombies to see if they can cure or control them.  By the time the normals are done with what they do, you start to wondering: who’s worse—the normals or the zombies.  Sort of Romero’s be nice to a Zombie movie, or the start of a society for the prevention of cruelty to zombies.

When I saw somebody had made a remake or redo of Day of the Dead, I decided to check it out. As I had with the remake of Dawn of the Dead—not as good as the original, in feel, or intent—more of an action flick, really, but with good production values.  And Ving Rhames who is always good.

Sadly, Day of the Dead’s resemblance to the original was purely coincidental.  Were I Romero I would sue, because if you are looking for a remake of Day of the Dead—this isn’t it at all.  More a pastiche or conglomeration of any number of Zombie flicks.

Also the zombies themselves have changed since Romero’s original conception.  The original Zombies in Night were, if you recollect, rather slow, dim witted and plodding creatures.  They were not capable of high speeds and sort of stumbled along woodenly, with their arms stretched out for no clear reason.  They were not all that strong either.  They captured their victims, if that is the word, mostly by overwhelming them with sheer numbers.  Your original zombies were really pack animals.  They would surrounded a person and then sort of fall all over him or her and then eat their brains out.  They were sad creatures who took no real pleasure in what they were doing—they just had to have those brains was all.

But the remake of Day had those new, upgraded zombies that have been around since at least 28 Days.  These zombies become zombies by the spread of some sort of virus—usually created by the government for the purposes of germ warfare—and they are like zombies on steroids.  All pumped up like PCP hop heads or something.  These guys can run really fast and in some cases they seem to be abnormally strong; I mean stronger than your normal human.  Additionally, these zombies seem to enjoy what they are doing—I mean ripping limbs off of people.  It’s like these sadists have watched too much TV.

I liked the old zombies better.  As I said, they were sort of sad—as if they had lost something and were looking for it by eating brains.  These new zombies, though, well, they seem to have pretty high self-esteem and more happy than not with being a zombie—because it’s sort of high.  I don’t know if this change in zombies reflects some deeper cultural change in society’s attitude towards zombies, or maybe they just make for faster action.

Anxiety Abatement

Started warming up on Friday, and wham! yesterday, Saturday, we hit 90.  Out of nowhere.  Today still supposed to be hot, but according to the weather service tomorrow promises a “tremendous” (their word) temperature drop of between 30 and 40 degrees.  These sudden comings and goings of hot air are called the Santa Ana, a phenomenon responsible for the occasional strange Christmas of 80 degrees or better.

On another front, the flood of anxiety that threatened to engulf me this last week (part of a three week long anxiety weather pattern) has abated somewhat.  I am reluctant even to mention it though, it being something of a knock-on-wood issue.  Knock-on-wood!  This weather pattern can be very unstable and the stuff could fly back in my face at any second.  If I could figure out why it has abated I might be able to figure out what started it—but I can’t figure out either.

Maybe it’s something I ate.

I was lying there watching TV last week some time.  I don’t know why but when I watch TV I don’t sit in a chair or on a sofa like most people.  For years I would lie down and stretch out on the floor with my head propped on the bottom of the sofa.  A year or so back though we got one of those TV chairs, a rocker sort of thing, that sits low down towards the floor, and I use that some, though sometimes I don’t sit on it, but drape myself, lying on my side across it, using it for some upper body support.

In any case, lying there watching TV (this was last week some time) and I become aware that I am about to have a righteous panic attack, complete with being unable to breathe.  I am quite positive, lying there, that I am going to die at any second, and if I don’t do that, I am positively doomed to experience a horrible lingering death that will utterly wipe away any possibility of what people used to call the “golden years.”  I mean, the jig is up. But then this voice comes into my head that says, in effect, “Hey Nick.  If you just think about right now, this moment, as you are lying here, you can see quite clearly that you are not dead or you couldn’t be thinking this thought, and further at this moment you have no concrete evidence either medical or experiential that you are going to die a lingering painful death.”

And strangely, thinking these thoughts, it was as if I had reached out and pushed the anxiety over to the side of my consciousness.  I even remembered to stomach breathe a little while.  Funny.  Odd.  The anxiety was still there, but more distant.

Who knows maybe thinking such thoughts on future occasions will help, though I rather doubt it.  Anxiety is a protean creature and slips up on you from all angles.  Still, I do wonder if perhaps at that moment I managed to push my way just a little bit towards the Zen now that promises some released from the wheel of transience.

April 10 Again

This memory business is started to agitate me.  I was watching TV and a commercial came on for an upcoming movie with Steve Carrell as Maxwell Smart of the show, Get Smart, produced by Mel Brooks, as I recollect.  In any case, I sat there for a good 15 minutes annoyed as hell that I could not remember the name of the guy that played Maxwell on the TV show.  Damn.

Finally, it came to me…Don Adams?  Is that right?  I refuse to look it up.  Then I got pissed that I could not remember the number of his trusty female side-kick.  That’s what she had: a number not a name.  So I am going like in my head 41?  22?  79? And after running through a bunch of numbers I hit 99.  I am pretty sure that’s her number and I think she was played by a person named Barbara Hershey…though I am not sure of that.

And like I am writing an email and all of a sudden I can’t remember the name of a colleague whose office is like two doors down from me and with whom I spoke last week.

God!  Right now, I am pretty sure I am forgetting something though I have no idea what it might be.

But for some damn reason, I have been remembering for weeks now that Joan died April 10, of last year, 2007.  So here it is April 10.  Jewish people traditionally light a candle on the anniversay, I guess it would be called, of the death of a close relative.  I have no candles and am afraid I would forget it and burn the condo down.

So I will put up a picture here of Joan from 1943. 1943?  But damn that was a long time ago.  No?


What the hell am I forgetting?