Thursday, May 28, 2009

Most Beautiful Car

Fellow blogger DHamre has expressed a fondness for Aston Martin automobiles, and I can't fault that.

Recently, AOL ran a list of contenders to the throne, and this is one that I think merits serious consideration:

Alfa-Romeo 8C Competezione

I hope this atones, at least in part, for the earlier posting of the ugly chicks.

Don't Fence Me In

Something that few outside my family and a few friends know about me is that I like love to sleep outdoors. Not just outdoors in a tent, although I'm OK with that. And not outdoors like under I-35W at Rosedale - not yet, thankfully.

Lest any of you get the wrong idea, I do this with the normal complement of clothes that I wear to bed, not nekkid.

I enjoy sleeping on the back deck, under the moon and stars, a canopy of branches framing the night sky, leaves rustling in the breeze, falling asleep to the music of windchimes. Over the past two years, I've probably spent 75+ nights sans roof, including the entire month of October '08. My daughter also enjoys sleeping out-of-doors, as does my oldest son. I think my middle son is indifferent as to the practice. My dog loves it. But, as Spring fades and Summer looms, the opportunities dwindle as I don't like to sleep uncovered, and am not willing to risk more than my face and arms to the mosquitoes.

In the late fall or early winter, as in October, I left a queen sized Coleman mattress inflated, with two rectangular sleeping bags zipped together, for the whole month. My consecutive days outdoors ended when we started getting occasional overnight rain. Actually, the threat of rain is not always a deal breaker. Within the past 10 days, I awoke at 3:45 or so to a slight mist or sprinkling on my face. As it only lasted a few minutes, I stayed outdoors, and rather enjoyed the experience. A downpour would've sent me indoors.

More recently, it's catch-as-catch-can, as last night. I noted that it was very pleasant when I let the dog out before bedtime, so I used my impromptu plan, really no plan at all, unfolding my zero-gravity outdoor lounger and tossing a single rectangular army surplus bag on top (a mummy bag's just too confining). I put the doggie bed under the lounger and attached pupster's leash so she wouldn't go on walkabout. Everything was going swimmingly until about 2:15, when some kind of birds started making a heckuva racket. After about ten minutes though, I fell back asleep. If any intruder were to wander into the yard, pup would alert me with a low growl. Anyway, I woke up around 5:45, pretty well-rested.

Tonight's forecast low is about 62°. Maybe I can get one more night out before it's too hot to sleep outdoors.

Update: I don't think it made the forecast low, but by midnight it was fairly pleasant, even comfortable - just wish there'd been a bit of a breeze.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A North Texas blogging, uh, phenomenon, recently posted a picture of some, ah, persons from the recent Byron Nelson golf tournament at Las Colinas, herewith referred to as Exhibit A.


The commenters to the post, including this blogger, were not surprisingly nonplused.

I'd have thought nothing further of this, until this weekend I was sorting through the photos in my blog folder - you know, the random pix that you save, thinking you'll weave a story around them sometime.

Anyway, I came across the following, whom I thought looked not unlike the person on the right, above.

O cruel, cruel time...

This Just In...

This blog has been certified 100% 'Jon & Kate'-free! Don't know who they are, and don't want to.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Not Too Shabby

And a bit more dreamin':

Yamaha FZ1
Edit: The model shown is a 2008 in granite gray (I would've said graphite, but hey, it's their motorcycle). It was also offered in candy red. Curiously, the gold anodized front forks are not featured on the 2009 models.

Motorcycle Dreamin'

On these pages I have noted the desire to have a motorcycle, when finances permit. And, on the comments section of LandShark's blog, I opined that the Suzuki V-Strom, and possibly the KTM were high on my list.

Well, after watching Motor Week on Saturday, I'd like to add another. 3 cylinders totaling 1050 cm³, said to be good for about 110 hp.

Presenting the Triumph Tiger:

Fully dressed...

...and naked.

I like the second bike much better (surprisingly, the first is a 2005). Don't care for the stripes, the single headlamp, or the bulges on the front forks of the full dress bike, but would like to have the saddlebags available to attach to the naked bike if I decided to go on a weekend, or week-long, jaunt.

Ruger P-90

One of the other bloggers notes reading the owner's manual of his Ruger P-90 as one of his favorite literary pursuits.

While I can't necessarily disagree, I would note that shooting the P-90 is more fun than reading about it.

Unfortunately, this morning, the only shooting was with my Fuji FinePix. Herewith is a properly attired P-90, with Hogue aftermarket exotic wood grips and Hi-Viz sights. .380 and .32 shown for scale.

Harvey, part II

The last post was a run-on, based on the mention of James Stewart in the post prior to that.

This post is also a continuation, based on the previous mention of Harvey.

As a pooka, or sprite, Harvey's not often seen, so I thought I'd post this portrait of him, and me, commissioned about 18 years ago for a local stage production of the same name. He appears a bit mischievous here - though I can't say for sure, as the portrait artist painted from separate sittings. I do know that my dog gets that look sometimes, so possibly she's channeling his spirit.

The blog author with Harvey, circa 1991.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Heeere's Harvey...

I mentioned the actor James Stewart in passing in the last post.

Tonight I happened to tune into PBS and caught a documentary (?) about Jimmy Stewart, hosted by Johnny Carson. I think I'd seen parts of it before, but still, how great is that?

Clips from It's a Wonderful Life, Harvey, Winchester '73, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, including scenes with Duke Wayne and Henry Fonda. And interviews with Tim Conway, Carol Burnett, Kate Hepburn, Ronald Reagan, Clint Eastwood, Richard Dreyfuss and Sally Fields. Cool stuff.

But I do think it was cruel to air such a work featuring the great Johnny Carson, just a week before The Tonight Show heads to its final oblivion.

Saturday, May 23, 2009


I know I've been 'phoning it in' as of late, so am going to try to come up with some new material.

First, let me say that I'm no expert on the undead. Until recently, my main information about zombies came from Harry Belafonte's early '60s calypso folk tune (also covered by The Kingston Trio) Zombie Jamboree. I used to like Belafonte until I found out what a PItA he was politically, but his music still stands on its merits.

Anyway, among last weekend's video selections was: Undead or Alive, your typical, formulaic zombie/western/comedy/native american mysticism genre film. Say what?! And of course in the pantheon of great western actors: John Wayne, James Stewart, Ben Johnson, Clint Eastwood, this vehicle starred Chris Kattan. Chris Kattan? In a western? Say what?!²

Nonetheless, it was sort of fun, also featuring the guy from Desperate Housewives, and the short gay guy from several episodes of Boston Legal (or maybe late episodes of The Practice?) as a priest. And it really brought into focus the amount of, uh, dread the undead can wreak when you fail to heed the advice of Geronimo's neice, or something like that.

Which brings me around to news from the science front. I was probably as concerned as you on learning that soon there may be billions or trillions of newly created zombies underfoot, thanks to researchers at Texas A & M (way to go, Aggies!).

Where can I buy Zombie Strength Ortho Fire Ant Killer?

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Call Him Mr. Fulcrum?

This is stolen from Denney Crane.

Like 'Mythbusters' and some of the PBS shows, I like this because the guy's obviously put some thought into this.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Find the Shakespeare

I realized that I hadn't memorialized Dan Seals on my blog. I saw him in '77 or '78 at Six Flags, before he crossed over to country. On balance, I probably enjoyed his country works better (or maybe I don't want to admit that I listened to '70s pop music).

Monday, May 11, 2009

30th Class Reunion

I participated in a planning meeting last week for my upcoming class reunion next month. This is a big one.

Three decades.

Wow, where'd the time go?

Actually, our planning group (four of us), was only ten shy of a full [surviving] class reunion, since there are fourteen remaining. I guess you could say it was a small class. The wife of one of the out-of-town alums was reported to have remarked to him that "so many of your classmates are either dead or gay."

I guess that's sort of true. We started with 16, over the years learned that two are gay, and have lost two to tragic circumstances.

Anyway, we came up with a theme, a sort of menu, and drink list. With a group our size, it's easy to have whole families attend. Most of us started families late, so I don't think any of us has kids who've graduated college, but many of us have high-schoolers and grade schoolers. None in diapers, as far as I know.

Should be fun, even if there isn't any element of "Hey, do you remember me?"

The Blind Cowboy

I stole this from "That Dude's" blog:

Blind Cowboy

An old, blind cowboy wanders into an all-girl biker bar by mistake.

He finds his way to a bar stool and orders some coffee.

After sitting there for a while, he yells to the waiter, 'Hey, you wanna hear a blonde joke?'

The bar immediately falls absolutely silent.

In a very deep, husky voice, the woman next to him says, 'Before you tell that joke, Cowboy, I think it is only fair, given that you are blind, that you should know five things:

1. The bartender is a blonde girl with a baseball bat.

2. The bouncer is a blonde girl.

3. I'm a 6-foot tall, 175-pound blonde woman with a black belt in karate.

4. The woman sitting next to me is blonde and a professional weightlifter.

5. The lady to your right is blonde and a professional wrestler.

'Now, think about it seriously, Mister. Do you still wanna tell that joke?'

The blind cowboy thinks for a second, shakes his head, and mutters,

'No...not if I'm gonna have to explain it five times.'

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Quickie Movie Reviews

Since it was so wet this weekend, I ended up renting nine DVDs at the Family Video store, and got them back today before late fees start accruing. Here's some quick picks and pans:

Out Cold - Basically a bunch of stoners/slackers working in a ski resort in Alaska, playing pranks. Lee Majors as the hotshot Daddy Warbucks developer who tries to buy the resort and take it corporate. Recommendation: Don't bother.

Dr. Detroit - Husband and wife Dan Aykroyd and Donna Dixon in a comedy. I was busy making breakfast, but the few scenes I saw didn't cause me to want to watch it later.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest - As I have written previously, I'm trying to do some remedial movie watching of films of cultural significance. While I missed the first part of this one, cooking again, I caught most of it (had read the book in junior- or high school). It was fun to see Christopher Lloyd and Danny DeVito in some of their earliest roles. I didn't consider Louise Fletcher's Nurse Ratched as evil as I had envisioned her from the book.

Hooper - I wanted to show the kids that Reynolds' dramatic turn in Deliverance was somewhat of an anomaly, by juxtaposing it with some of his bubble-gum fare. Will probably rent The End, Cannonball Run, or Smoky and the Bandit as a tribute to Dom DeLuise. Cannonball would be a hoot just for the all-star cast.

James Bond: Quantum of Solace - I admit to not watching a single frame of this one. My middle son chose it and seemed to enjoy it. I liked Connery and Moore as Bond, wouldn't mind seeing Live and Let Die again, but otherwise not a huge Bond fan. In case you're wondering, as I was before msn.dictionary-ing it, a quantum is the opposite of plethora. Do you know what is a plethora?

Outlaw Justice - I guess I'm easy pickin's for Willie Nelson flicks, even after that last one that was a total dud. I figured Kristofferson and Travis Tritt couldn't hurt. And, I was pleasantly surprised when I saw that Waylon had a minor role and some narrative work (a la Dukes of Hazzard). Jonathan Banks, Victor Maitland's goon from Beverly Hills Cop, does a turn as an impotent Sheriff. Not cinematic gold, but one thumb up.

The Pursuit of Happyness - My disappointment was that I didn't have time to watch this, but have already seen it on the big screen and would've given it two thumbs up from my recollection.

I know this doesn't add up to nine movies. One was a unicorn movie for my daughter, and I just can't remember what the last one was.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Cabin Fever

With the unpredictable weather, and the dearth of entertainment venues due to the pig flu (e.g. Mayfest cancelled), it's been a quiet beginning to the weekend.

Having read the blogs of others, many of whom are much more familiar than I with classic films and literature, I have decided to rent at least one 'landmark' movie each weekend, the kind that could be described as what author and researcher E. D. Hirsch Jr. might've included in his treatises on cultural literacy.

I don't mean to say that it will be all Casablanca and African Queen type of fare (neither of which I've viewed in their entirety), but rather some of the common titles that most people of my generation should be familiar with. I've introduced my kids to It's A Wonderful Life (lots of times), Harvey (the original - the remake with Harry Anderson was OK, but Barry Bostwick would've been a better pick for Elwood Dowd), Cool Hand Luke, Butch Cassidy, Pale Rider, and Deliverance.

This weekend, we will watch, topically (see post below), One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, and have already watched Hooper (not necessarily a classic) and a forgettable buddy film with Joe Pesci and Danny Glover, Gone Fishin', both of which referenced Deliverance. Thanks to a commenter on my Must Love Dogs musings, I will include Dr. Zhivago on my future list.

This morning I had a song stuck in my head, so I dug out a 70's compilation CD with Beach Baby, by The First Class, a one-hit wonder from my junior-high years. Good stuff. Maybe some vintage Chicago later.

Happy wet weekend, everyone!

Edit: I was at the video store yesterday, Dr. Z will have to wait for a weekend when I don't have the kids - it's 200 minutes running time.

Friday, May 1, 2009


At one time, long ago, Rock-n-Roll was the voice of rebellion, of dissent.

But now, we've got the Rolling Stones' tours sponsored by Geritol and Depends. And instead of Sex, Drugs and Rock-n-Roll, it's more like Cialis is the sex drug of rock & roll.

Anyway, if KISS does another tour, may I meekly suggest that Suzuki should be its sponsor?

Sorry the Ace image didn't reproduce any larger...

Edit: The SD&RnR comment in the second ¶ is intended as an acknowledgment of the common perception, not acceptance of the drug culture.

For an insightful view of the role of dissent in the public discourse, I direct the gentle reader to the next to last verse of this song.