Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A rock-n-roll gem

If you're of my generation, look me in the eyes and tell me that this song doesn't transport you back to the skating rink, sandwiched between GFR's Locomotion and [ugh!] the BCR's Saturday Night, sometime in the mid '70s.  This clip is from 2005, and it appears Eric and the guys can still bring it:

If you were fortunate enough to bring a date, or find one at the roller-arena, you maybe later slow-skated to Chicago's Colour My World.


Sunday, December 25, 2011

A musical interlude

Q: So what happens when the physical Christmas presents lose their luster?

A: They end up in the Second Hand Store:

Here's wishing you the permanent Christmas present (in addition to all the fun stuff you unwrapped).

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Wishing you and your loved ones all of the blessings of the Christmas season, and always.


  • Dinner and Christmas with the kids @ my parents' on Thursday was great.
  • Word has it there will be a special guest at Christmas Eve church services.
  • No, not Santa.
  • I have previously noted my disdain for the 'Occupy' movement - apparently a ragtag bunch of hippies and trust fund kids who have enough spare time to camp out in, and make a mess of, city parks across the country.
  • If you're gonna protest, put some coherent thought into it, and do it this way instead.
  • I can see, and, uh, understand their point[s].
  • One of the Kardashian brood is coming to north Texas.  No black man is safe.
  • Awhile back I was going to write a post about the 'Kardashianation of America - Whoring Goes Mainstream', but figured I might end up in a Dennis Milleresque rant.  Moi? 
  • Baba Wawa interviews them and calls them 'talentless' to their faces, with which I agree.  Nonetheless, is she not using them to drive ratings of her program?
  • And, in discussing the whole lot of them as part of the content of this post, I suppose I am complicit, as well.
  • Week before last, Daughter bought me a living Rosemary shrub trimmed like a miniature Christmas tree, since I told her I wasn't putting up a tree this year.  I've so far used some of the leaves (a tiny portion) in some beef stew, and some spaghetti sauce.
  • Yum!
  • A light drizzle/freezing rain is falling outside my window.
  • Last Saturday I stopped at GV Mills mall on the way to Dallas to some friends' party, looking for something specific for Daughter.  I loathe crowds.
  • I'm not tall - 6'1" - but with boots on am tall enough to be seen, and I was on a mission. With my reading glasses perched on my nose (giving a stern visage), I must've looked like Robert Hays/Ted Stryker from Airplane.
  • Too bad no hippies or Moonies approached me.
  • Yesterday, with more time, I went there again - actually managed to find some things on the gift list.
  • I'm what you call 'a value shopper' cheap.  Whenever I go to that mall, I cruise the food court because most of the places have someone out front handing out samples.  Probably about 6 or 7 opportunities.  If you snag something in both directions, you can skip a meal.
  • Yeah, I kinda do the same thing at Sam's Club.
  • Here is an odd story.  And who uses a 9mm to shoot mice anyway?
  • Recently I was driving past the UPS depot in Fort Worth, just as the trucks were being dispatched - looked like an ant trail.
  • I noticed a couple of the trucks had integrated aerodynamic headlights - bet that adds a couple MPG to their fleet stats.
  • Medieval Times has a new show.  Our family went there for my 40th birthday.  I would think they should have a rotation of shows so it's not just a special occasion place to go.
  • Was doing some work around the house, listening to a Christmas CD of glass harmonium music by Denton native Donal Hinely (yes, I know that sounds similar to Don Henley, but it's a different guy).  I first heard him play at the Scarborough Renfest several years ago.  Very talented singer/songwriter, a showcase performer at the 2006 SXSW - apparently now based in Tennessee.
  • Of late I've sort of returned to the mode of doing housework on Saturday mornings, as I'd envisioned it when I was in college.   Crank up the tunes, vacuum, dust, do laundry and dishes, put stuff away.  Back then the house I had in mind looked something like Cardinal Puff's - wood floors and staircases, balconies.  It was a SMU hangout/beer garden, off of Greenville Ave, back in my high school/college days.  I Googled/Bing.birdseye'd it - now Ozona Grill & Bar - looks nothing like what I remember from back in the day.
  • I'm gonna try to make that more of a habit this coming year.  And I still want that house.
  • Have a blessed, Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Il Manifestus Mio

  • I've been making notes all week since I didn't have time to actually post - thankfully for you, I won't use them all at once.
  • Every time I saw a deer crossing sign this week, I had the urge to get some of those red LED bike flashers at the dollar store, drill a 1/4" hole through the sign with a cordless drill and mount the flasher behind the deer's nose.

  • Even though it's not specifically prohibited in the 10 commandments - I figured it was better to practice self discipline and go about my business. 
  • TxDoT likely would not have been amused.
  • Regarding the researchers looking for the Higgs bosun 'God particle' - I have an idea for a sit-com pilot about the wacky travails of some geeky quantum physics scientists: Bosun Buddies.
  • Probably would still be better than 75% of reality TV programming.
  • Meanwhile, Japanese scientists are tagging and releasing wild monkeys near the Fukushima (do not repeat 5 times fast) nuclear reactor, to determine the propagation patterns of radioactivity.
May or may not be actual Japanese test subjects...
  • Of course, we know how that will turn out.
  • Time magazine has named 'the protestor' as its person of the year.
  • What, exactly, has 'the protestor' accomplished?  He/she apparently doesn't do much work.
  • El Chupacabra wrote recently of an encounter with a woman whose husband didn't or wouldn't work.  I see a fair amount of that these days.
  • He noted that work is what men do - work at something we may not like until we can get to something we can tolerate or even enjoy - but work nonetheless to put food on the table, gas in the cars, etc.
  • Here's a guy who worked:

  • Another guy who works, from before sun-up, in hot and cold, dust and rain, is Around the Corner, whom I had the honor of meeting this afternoon by coincidence at the sporting goods store as I was running errands.
  • Of course I was dressed like a bum since I had just gone out to get oil/filter @ Wal-Mart for an upcoming oil change and ducked into the sporting goods store to get a quick Christmas present for one of the kids.
  • Nonetheless, it was a pleasant surprise to make W's acquaintance, though I regret that, in my haste to get to other stops, I missed meeting Mrs. W. 
  • Rats!
  • Well, it's getting late, I gotta make sure my sneakers are dry for going to the car wash tomorrow.
  • As in, I get to go to the car wash tomorrow.   ;-)

Put your hand in the hand

Brandon's father preached the message today:

Jesus Is ______ - Part 6 from Keystone Church on Vimeo.

I'm not clear about what he's referencing between Wm. T. Sherman and Robt. E. Lee - couldn't locate any corroboration for that.

Yep.  Dr. Thomas was right.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Randomosities, Part Deux

  • A news tidbit on my said Unsafe Sex More Likely After Drinking, Study Confirms.
  • Sheesh!  Ya suppose?  Wonder how much that study cost, and who paid.  Nah, I don't really want to know.
  • After yesterday's pizza-fest, I thought today I'd aim for a lunch in the sub-thousand calorie range, so I drove to the Kroger near my office for a can of hundred-some-odd calorie vegetable beef soup.
  • On the magazine aisle, the Cosmo cover shouted "50 Ways to Kinky Sex", or something like that.
  • Nice.  (Edit: Frequent/perceptive readers will note the sarcasm.)
  • In 1996, should've been Supreme Court jurist Robert Bork's book Slouching Towards Gomorrah: Modern Liberalism and American Decline was published.
  • Slouching towards Gomorrah?  Slouching? I don't believe it.
  • We're running headlong towards it.  Like that guy in the Impala with the jet engine.
  • The last Lockheed Martin F-22 rolled off the assembly line today.  From a once projected build out of 750 aircraft, iteratively reduced to 438, 339, then 277 - the final count was 187.  Wonder if they'll actually get used, or end up being too expensive to deploy, and, adding insult to injury, sent to Davis-Monthan to bake in the sun?

  • Are two UAV incidents in the past week coincidental to the end of the F-22, and threats to the JSF/F-35 program? Jet driver, author, patriot, blogger Thunder Tales is not so much the fan of UAVs replacing manned missions, but they are part of the arsenal, and will probably become more so.
  • In other aviation news, Southwest has ordered $19B worth of the latest, most fuel efficient B737s.  Not that I have occasion to fly them on my current job, but I'm a fan of the airline.
  • Having brushed up a couple of days ago on Braniff history, though, I hope that Southwest's finances will support those purchases. 
  • Scientists at CERN in Switzerland believe they are close to finding the Higgs bosun 'God particle', in the neighborhood of  114.4 and 131 gigaelectronvolts (GeV), using the 17 mile long Hadron supercollider.  They specifically think it might be hanging out at 126 GeV.
  • That's probably not where I would've looked - but, hey, I spent an hour and a half Sunday and Monday nights looking for my second pop rivet tool since the first one was missing the proper nosepiece I needed for the mandrels I was using - so, who am I to say?
  • I'd hate to have their Reliant Electric bill for that search.  And I found my riveter.
Bosun whistle
  • Couldn't they just whistle for it?
  • One more thing: I think they may have it backwards - God isn't the smallest thing in the Universe - He's the largest.
  • On History Detectives tonight, Wes Cowan and  Professor Tukufu Zuberi (née Antonio McDaniel) follow a story about .45 caliber slugs that were allegedly removed from the bodies of outlaws Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow.  It turned out that they were not from the fusillade that ended the robbers' careers, but apparently had been used to exonerate Bonnie's sister of the murder of police officers near Grapevine, Texas.
  • I've been aware of the significance of that intersection, NE corner of Dove Road and TX-114 in current day Southlake, for about 25 years.  Also, Clyde's sister used to be a regular exhibitor at area gun shows, selling books or memorabilia.
  • While I was blogging last night, I heard dry leaves rustling (Rustling leaves?  Through the Vatican?  Kinky.) outside my window, so I went out to investigate.  I found a possum, probably about 6-8 lbs, wandering about.  He ambled off, in no great hurry, when I was shining a flashlight in his eyes from two feet away.
  • I wouldn't hear him tonight, as the leaves are wet.
  • To further atone for yesterdays pizzapalooza, I had a baked potato with just a bit of olive butter and some julienne ham strips for dinner.

    Monday, December 12, 2011


    • "For $500, Alex: What do you call 70% of The Donald's thoughts and 90% of his blogposts?"
    • Well played, would-be Ken Jennings!
    • In today's HuffPo, conservative radio dude Michael Savage offers Newt Gingrich $1MM to drop out of the race, saying he'll "look like nothing more than what he is: a fat, old, white man."
    • And the point is? I'm fed up with the notion that in the 21st century, it's somehow verboten to run for office without some sort of diversity label. We've had two women run as VP candidates, and elected a half-black president (with a half-wit VP). I've been supportive of black candidates, Alan Keyes and Herman Cain, but I think it's pretty darn stupid that at a time when we're $15 trillion in the hole, this yahoo thinks that filling out the race bingo card is more important than putting forward the most qualified candidate.
    • Gimme a break!
    • Readers will note the return of eminent blogger Anobiter "Obi One & Only" That's All She Wrote on the left-hand column.  Welcome back!
    • A guy recreates a Darwin Awards scenario with a 1967 Impala like my Grandmother had. I'm calling BS on the 750 mph bus story, though. In 1975 or 1976, my friend Larry and I and my cousins got in some trouble from my Grandfather for getting said Impala stuck in a muddy pasture after doing donuts and our best impressions of Baretta and Starsky & Hutch. 

    • Well, that, and for having taken our .22 pistols with us after being told to leave them up at the farmhouse. Do I strike you as someone who'd do something like that?
    • My cousin Mike could've had a good career as a stunt-man, though.
    • After pulling the Impala out of the mud with his 4WD Dodge, and confiscating our sidearms, Grandpa, a few sheets to the wind, drove back toward the farmhouse. It was well after dark, and about halfway there, a few hundred yards from where we were, we saw his truck stop, and several shots were fired from our .22s.
    • Not knowing his intentions or direction of fire, we ducked behind the Impala until we saw the lights of the truck moving again.
    • A woman, again on HuffPo, of course, brags about how swell she and her husband are for not educating their four-year-old about God, stating "So, God, if you're out there, I hope you get where I'm coming from. I'm taking a pass for now."
    • Well, isn't that special? I know there was a big flap last Christmas about some local atheists' "Good Without God" marketing campaign. Know what? They're right. Folks can be perfectly good people, and do good stuff, with or without His help.
    • But those folks are missing the point. It's not about us. And while I can't say for certain, I don't think God is losing any sleep trying to get where [she's] coming from. I'm quite aware of Pascal's wager, but that's not why I believe. If she heard the same messages about God, and relationship with Him, as I do, she might feel differently.
    • What a gift that would be for her four-year-old.
    • I gotta stop reading Huffington Post articles.
    • Our office Christmas party was to have been Saturday night, but was cancelled due to the hostess having a family emergency. So, today we had a pizza luncheon in the office. With potato chips, cupcakes, cookies, crackers and cheez-whiz.
    • Cheez-whiz? I hadn't had that since college.
    • OK, I guess it was Easy Cheese - the dairy equivalent of Silly String.
    • So, considering the Lunch of Champions smorgasbord, I had chicken noodle soup for dinner and I'm drinking a cup of hot Yogi Detox tea as I write this post.  No, I'm not going all new age on you.
    • Last Friday I had dinner with Todd the Blogger, and Dew, at the former's house.  After, you guessed it, pizza, we watched Horrible Bosses.  I don't know if it was on the Dish or the Blu-Ray.
    • My pastor occasionally uses short movie clips at the beginning of sermons - I don't think there was a two minute segment of that movie that Pastor Todd could use in his.
    • Does anyone else feel their intelligence being insulted by the Reliant Energy commercials, with Troy Aikman, saying Reliant doesn't need celebrity endorsements?  As it happens, I was already a customer, but still feel it's a dumb premise.
    • Had been feeling a bit bummed about not having the kids this Christmas - break starts this Friday - until I got a text this afternoon from their mother offering them one evening next week so that we can do Christmas early.
    • Smile.

    Sunday, December 11, 2011

    Ask Me[n]

    This article comes from Ask Men via Fox News, posing the question: "Are we faced with too many choices in modern society?"

    I would venture to say that we are, at least speaking for myself.  I have also pondered similar questions regarding the over-saturation of the market share of the mind.

    Not suggesting here that people should have their choices limited, but acknowledging that for ADD folks like me, the best approach may be self-discipline to cut to the bare basics and try to live [deliberately] as simply as possible.  It also explains why I don't/shouldn't have cable/dish/FIOS - way too many things to watch - I'd go into meltdown.

    I'd be starry eyed from watching Mythbusters, Top Shot, How It's Made, Storage Wars, and Dirty Jobs (I do watch cable at the hotel, having nothing better to do, when I have to travel for work).

    The Living Vine

    Tarzan could not have found a better vine.

    Jesus Is ______ - Part 5 from Keystone Church on Vimeo.

    Can you QSL WB6ACU?

    I've recently wondered, if the economy/society craters locally/nationally/globally, then how will people communicate?  After all, cellphone networks, upon which we've all become reliant, would likely have their service interrupted.

    One answer might be amateur, 'ham' radio.  Shown here is radio operator WB6ACU:

    I understand he also plays the guitar...

    Dating Doldrums with Dr. Donald

    Occasionally I'll click on an online article about 'relationships', just to see if the other side is totally nuts, or, possibly if I am.  Today's article, by a gal named Jill Di Donato, has lists of qualities chicks look for in guys, and also, what she thinks guys look for in women.  Here's an excerpt, from the latter list:
    1. Is she promiscuous?
    2. Does she give another guy more attention than she gives me?
    3. Does she have a good relationship with her family? 
    4. Does she have her own sense of happiness?
    5. Is she intelligent?
    6. Is she overly jealous for no reason?
    7. Does she display good manners?
    8. Does she not answer my calls, especially at night?
    9. Does she put effort into taking care of herself?
    10. Is she an ethical person?
    I guess that's a start - some are deal killers (promiscuity), others might not be so much on my list.

    I'd also include "Does she text/call every five minutes?" When I was married, my wife would occasionally call me at the office with a question, but would always start with "Oh hey, I hate to bother you at work, but..."  The truth was that, in fact, it was never a bother, and I enjoyed hearing her voice.  I've known other guys whose wives call(ed) them incessantly and my brief post-divorce dating experience suggested to me that there weren't enough hours in the day to both work and respond to texts.

    The online dating sites seem to be chock full of gals with all their girlfriends at every bar in town, usually displaying [I assume] fake gang signs and such.  Pass.
    Another observation is that it's not so much women not taking care of themselves, but those whose wardrobes and cosmetic procedures would pay for a nice 4WD or a modest lake cabin, that would be a beat-down.  But women in frayed jeans and Metallica or Kenny Chesney concert t-shirts would also get a thumbs-down from me.

    Some common interests would be be a plus: Antique refinishing, home DIY, boating, hiking/camping, travel, concerts, museums, shooting sports.  I don't really consider the ubiquitous "fine wine, dining, cuddling, movie watching" to be really interests - those are things to do after doing something else.  Don't know if I speak for all guys here, but would really like to find that biblical 'helpmate' who'll stand by my side and help as partner - and, yeah, I have learned in recent years and fully acknowledge that I would be  obliged to reciprocate (I, uh, may have lacked this latter insight several years ago).

    Spontaneity - my ideal mate probably should have less of it than me, someone who'll reign in my crazier impulses.  But not a total stick-in-the-mud, either.

    Well, there you have it.  Looks like no wedding bells in my near future.  Guess I can save some money by not having to buy a second clawfoot bathtub overlooking the lake sunset.

    Oh, and on Cialis/Levitra/Viagra, too.

    RIP Harry Potter

    OK, that's Harry Morgan, aka Officer Bill Gannon/Col. Sherman Potter.

    (I took that picture about six months ago, figuring to use it in some sort of M.A.S.H. context - didn't know this would be it.)

    Tuesday, December 6, 2011

    Return to Resurrection

    Another awesome installment. 

    Jesus Is ______ - Part 4 from Keystone Church on Vimeo.

    I like the observation about the instant replay/reverse angle review - I often find in my life that things are not as they initially appear.

    Sunday, December 4, 2011

    Carl Sagan coulda told you

    OK, it's not the Eagles, but the guy does a reasonable interpretation of Don Henry.

    Friday, December 2, 2011

    Back Home Again - Life's Wonders

    After the better part of the week in our nation's republic's state's capital, it's good to be back home. Being away from the blogosphere for a while gives some time for reflection.

    A few weeks ago I had dinner with my daughter on a Thursday night. She'd brought along her homework and, after eating, we worked on her lessons there in the BBQ restaurant. Following some math exercises, she moved on to another subject, which asked her to list things of wonder.

    She, in turn, asked me about things of wonder in my life.

    My list included:
    • Witnessing my children being born. (Actually, I was not in the delivery room for one, but was able to see him shortly after delivery.)
    • Enjoying the beauty of my wife as she carried said children. (I always believed she was beautiful, just more so at those times.)
    • Having parents who are still alive, and married.
    • Living half a century in good health - I know, it doesn't seem a big thing, but not everyone does.
    I guess a lot of times I'm possibly more inclined, or at least as much as, to carry a mental list of the hurts or disappointments - to what purpose?  So, I appreciated the opportunity, in this season, to reflect and give thanks for the many blessings in my life.

    Sunday, November 27, 2011

    Pistol packing pastor

    It's a true statement that sometimes, in order to protect his flock, the shepherd must employ force to ward off the predators - at least I think that's where Brandon was going with this:

    Jesus Is ______ - Part 3 from Keystone Church on Vimeo.

    Not a pastor (but close), Paul Harvey often said: "Self Government won't work without self discipline." (A similar quote is also attributed to Alan Keyes). We frequently speak of "unlocking our potential", but we engage in activities that act as roadblocks to our success. If we change our thinking from God being the cosmic killjoy, and instead come to understand that as our Shepherd, His guidance, and following in his design for us, we will have the abundant life we desire.

    Vintage Genesis

    Tuesday, November 22, 2011

    November 22

    Actually, this pic was taken yesterday.

    Middle son and daughter trust dad (who  in turn relies on a
    sacrificial pedestrian up-street) to warn them if traffic is coming.

    I am about two weeks younger than John Jr. [was], so I don't have any direct recollections of the assassination, and we had not yet moved to north Texas.  However, as a child I remember reading the Life Book Four Days cover to cover several times, so that most of the images were etched in my mind years before I ever set foot in Dealey Plaza.

    (Another photograph, from an alternate angle, may or may not have been taken from the left side of the frame...)

    The deer huntress...

    (Embiggen bei klicken)

    At one point she was within 20 feet of them...

    Not all banking centers are alike?

    I guess not. This one is Cool!

    Friday, November 18, 2011

    Paul Bunyan-sized guitar talent

    Have you ever seen such a line-up of axe-men onstage?

    Thursday, November 17, 2011

    A rose by any other name

    Good for you, Tony!  Nobody knows where the heck 'Wheatland' is anyway. 

    Everybody knows Whiskey Flats!

    Sunday, November 13, 2011

    Our Daily Bread

    The sermon begins around the 7:00 mark, after some administrative comments.

    Jesus Is - Part 1 from Keystone Church on Vimeo.

    Saturday, November 12, 2011

    Waymore, here's how he done it...

    I don't use Mother's Best cornmeal - I have an affinity for Morrison's, having driven by the Morrison's Corn Kits plant every morning on the way to my college classes (at NTSU).

    Saturday, November 5, 2011

    Another thing to worry about?

    In case you're wondering how we devolve into chaos - this might be one way.

    And, it might indirectly make the case for getting your CHL - you might need it when the Occupy Your House squatter, with your gun[s] inside said house, refuses to exit.


    Wednesday, November 2, 2011

    Nice Boat

    The Navy commences testing of the USS Fort Worth:

    I'll bet that sucker could pull 50 skiers!

    Wonder if the Coasties would like some of those?

    Monday, October 31, 2011

    Photo Editors

    God bless their little hearts (and smaller brains).

    Over at Huffington Post, aka AOL News, we get this photo atop today's supposed 'gotcha' article about Presidential candidate Herman Cain's alleged inappropriate innuendo, language or gesturing back in the early '90s.

    To give gravity to the article, which posits that the Cain Train is in danger of derailing over this, the photo editor runs the following pic, which I will posit was not taken in conjunction with any questioning of the candidate about this issue, but which appears to show him perspiring under the withering glare of media scrutiny.

    Innocuous photo illustration?  Or deliberate subliminal messaging?

    Sunday, October 30, 2011

    Allesandro Volta

    ...if he were alive, would possibly be suing General Motors today for using his name in conjunction with their electric car (GM does not call it a hybrid since the gas engine is not mechanically coupled to the drivetrain).

    After reading a post over on Thunder Tales about the Volt, and having taken a brief test ride (with #1 son driving) in one last weekend at the airshow, I thought I'd do a little analysis of this vaunted new 'green' car technology, since I am (and so are you) kind of a shareholder in the company that makes this vehicle. 

    The car itself is inoffensive, and not uncomfortable - about the same form factor as the company's Cruze.  But, selling at a price point about $15-20,000 more than a comparably equipped conventionally powered Cruze, the question arises: Is it worth it?

    Chevy says the car has a range of about 35 miles on a charge.  Go beyond that, and the gas engine kicks in to power the generator to run the electric motors - becoming, essentially, a 35 mpg car, which is not too shabby. But, for the sake of the analysis, we'll stick with the assumption that one's daily driving is roughly equivalent to the car's battery range.

    The table below shows annual fuel spend for gas powered vehicles, based on average daily (7/365) miles driven, at various fuel efficiencies.

     @ $3.25/gallon
    25 mpg
    30 mpg
    35 mpg
    40 mpg
    25 miles/day
    30 miles/day
    35 miles/day
    40 miles/day

     Basically, we see a range of $741 to $1,898, at today's typical unleaded gas price of $3.25 per gallon.

    Chevy's website advertises "about $1.50 a day" for charging the batteries on the Volt.  Their assumption of 12¢/kWh for electricity, found in the footnotes, appears to be reasonable.  So, if one's driving is within the range delivered by the battery only, the annual anticipated spend (for electricity), would be $548.

    Subtracting the electricity cost from the range of conventional vehicle fuel costs, we get $193 to $1,350 as the cost penalty for driving a gas-powered vehicle - but [even for non-business majors], does that penalty, extended over a typical six year ownership ($1,158 to $8,500),  justify a front end premium (and/or interest carry) of $15-20,000 of your family's hard-earned money?

    Doesn't look like it to me. 

    Here's a suggestion...

    The whole notion of disproportionate sharing of the bounty...well, it's a disgrace.

    Whether it's 99% vs 1%, or 90/10, 80/20, or even 71/12.5, it's the principle that's important.

    Money, gravity, or Gummi Bears, it doesn't matter - fair is fair.

    And get the heck out of New York City, Atlanta, Dallas, Chicago, Oakland...etc!

    Actually, I may be a genius - we could get rid of the dirty, smelly hippies AND put furloughed NASA employees back to work!

    Saturday, October 29, 2011

    Wheel of Words...

    And now, a new feature at Sonnet 116 - Wheel of Words:

    _ _ _ , _ _, _ _ _ _ _ _, _ _ _ _ _ & _ _ _ _    _ _    _ _ _ _ _    _ _ _ _    _ _         _ _ _    _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _.

    Now, I suppose that looks a little daunting, doesn't it?  Also, I should point out that this is a before, after, and in-between/same name puzzle.  I'll throw in the standard RSTLN E if it'll help (although, for this help, I added a couple more words):

    _ _ _ ,  _ e,  e r n e s t,  _ _ l _ _  &      _ _ _ _      _ e     _ _ l l _     _ _ _ n      _ _     t _ e     s _ _ _ _ l _ _ r _             _ _ l l _    _ _ l _ _ t.

    Just for good measure, here's some clues: There goes Rhymin' Simon - Southwest Cuisine - in vino veritas - bad kid - TR.

    Vowels, just five dollars.

    Wish I had a Vanna...

    Friday, October 28, 2011

    Can you identify?

    I have seen these decals, sporadically, for about three or four years - have never determined what they mean.

    Anyone know?

    Wednesday, October 26, 2011

    Don't wax on/wax off

    The older I get, the more I get used to the notion that there are a ton of things about which I'm clueless.

    I know, you already knew that.

    Take the following, for instance - Eyebrow Threading:

    So, what the heck is eyebrow threading?  Turns out it's an alternative, used mostly in Indian and Asian cultures, using a fine cotton thread, to tweezing and waxing to remove unwanted hirsuteness.  (I think Todd the Blogger had this done to his entire head.)  The link was where I googled it to save you the effort - I suppose since I have the MetroPCS phone service, I could've just called my buds Chad and Ranjit to ask them.  I wonder if those dudes would help me curry favor with some up-and-coming Bollywood beauties?

    Apparently there's a similar procedure, using high tensile strength aircraft grade wire rope, to help Italian women remove their moustaches.

    Sunday, October 23, 2011

    FTW Alliance Airshow 2010

    Last week, oldest son mentioned the Airshow and invited me to go with him.  So today we drove out to the airport and enjoyed a beautiful North Texas day outdoors.

    This airplane was rebuilt from a worthless hulk, for the purpose of educating the public about the Tuskegee Airmen.  It crashed in 2004, killing its project leader, Don Hinz.  In testament to Mr. Hinz' dedication to the mission of telling the story, it was rebuilt again, and appears as you see it here, together with an IMAX type theatre trailer showing Rise Above, at various venues to educate new generations about overcoming circumstances.

    The duct below the P-51 is for the radiator (to cool the Rolls-Royce Packard Merlin V-12).  Something I learned today - The Meredith Effect: I did not previously know that the heated air after the radiator, creates additional thrust, in excess of the drag created by the duct, similar to a jet engine.

    Spacewalk, anyone?

    A restoration project completed by an Aero school in Tulsa:

    Son was disappointed to see most people pick up the infantry arms and immediately put their fingers on the trigger - even though these have been rendered inert.  I agree (didn't become an NRA certified firearms trainer for nothing.)

    Where are those prairie dogs?


    You know I'm an Eagles fan:

    F-15 Eagles

    CAF Mitchell B-25 "Devil Dog" and North American P-51 Mustang

    In the air...

    ...and on the ground...

    Jim Cavanaugh's TBM-3E Avenger  ("Poppy" Bush '41' flew one of these)
    Note B-25 "Devil Dog" tail in background.

    ...and in the air.

    That's not my Dad's Bonanza.

    The end of a perfect day, son poses in front of his idol, aerobatic pilot Sean Tucker's biplane.

    'Tis the Season...

    ...for ZOMBIES!

    Be careful - be prepared:

    Thanks to Shannon R for sending this!


    Taste and See

    This is a frequent refrain at my Church.  The notion being that Christianity is not an abstract concept to be simply studied - rather, we are designed to actually connect, all-in, with Christ's purpose.

    This morning's service began with ushers circulating with trays of Hershey's kisses (and cups of water) during the meet-and-greet your neighbor segment.  As I prefaced last week, some would see this as gimmickry, but it's just another small way that congregants are drawn in - not just to observe, but as participants in the service.

    God has an exquisite table set for us.  I don't want to read Bud Kennedy's food review of the banquet - I want to sit down and dig in!

    ALL IN: Taste & See from Keystone Church on Vimeo.

    Bon Appétit!

    Friday, October 21, 2011

    Not so Mean Green

    Dork Studly dude hopes that tonight's lawn mowing was the last for the season.

    Said dude is not actually that short - lacking a proper tripod (it's around here somewhere), photographer (also the photographee) improvised a makeshift perch for the camera, and crouched accordingly.

    Little Pink Riding Hood

    Grandma, what big teeth you have!

    Because dressing up the dog in pajamas never grows old.

    The Commies are coming...

    Well, I guess we should have known that in November 2008, but that's beside the point.  Apparently, pinkos have been emboldened since one of their own was elected to the highest office in the land.

    Comes now news that Lynchburg, Tennessee, the storied home of a certain popular libation (marketed with the imprimatur Lem Motlow, Proprietor), is faced with some budget woes.

    Who isn't these days? 

    The town, like other cities, counties, states, and the federal government, apparently has problems funding its schools and infrastructure repairs.

    But a Lynchburg resident is now trying to get the town council to slap a $10/barrel tax on the output of the town's largest employer, because, “We are entitled to more money from the only industry in the county – Jack Daniel’s distillery,” said Charles Rogers, a 75-year-old retiree and self-described “concerned citizen” of Moore County.

    This sounds a lot like William Francis "Willie" Sutton Jr.'s justification for robbing banks: "Because that's where the money is."¹

    Mr. Rogers goes on to attempt to rationalize his expropriation scheme by suggesting that the distiller's marketing use of imagery related to the quaint town is somehow a windfall to the company, and that the worldwide fame of Lynchburg (created solely by the Jack Daniel's distillery) puts an unfair burden on the town due to the quarter million visitors it draws every year.

    After telling Mr. Rogers something like: "Sir, you are a peterhead!", I would explain to the twit that where I'm from, cities and regions spend large amounts of money trying to lure people to the area, believing that those people will spend larger amounts of money that will help the local economy.  The supposition isn't without flaws, but, seriously, can this guy not see that Lynchburg is getting free publicity and a huge potential customer base, courtesy of the distillery, that other locales would thirst (and have to pay) for?  Maybe he should try to convince the Moore County commisioners that being a dry county surrounding the home of Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey is not a successful mixer for economic success.

    The more I see stories like this, I am convinced that Pat Buchanan's latest book title may be right: Suicide of a Superpower.

    ¹ Mr. Sutton disclaimed the quote in his autobiography stating it was made up by a reporter, but it is nonetheless attributed to him in popular culture.

    Thursday, October 20, 2011

    Ripley's Believe it or Not?

    A heartwarming story is making the rounds of an elderly Iowa couple, who, with mortal injuries sustained in a car crash, conclude their 72 year marriage, and time on earth, holding hands, expiring within a hour of one another.  One version of the story even has the husband, who passed first, continuing to show a pulse on the monitor - the pulse of his wife, whose hand he still clasped.

    Upon hearing this story on the radio this morning, I was already thinking of this song, just about the time one of the on-air personalities mentioned it.

    Of course, my other thought was of Poe's The Tell-Tale Heart...

    Tuesday, October 18, 2011

    How are you McFeelin'?

    As a former subscriber to various woodworking magazines such as Woodsmith, Fine Woodworking, Workbench, and This Old House, I get more than a few online adverts from the likes of Rockler, WoodCraft, and McFeely's - the latter offering a ton of specialty fasteners for home woodworkers and production cabinet shops, furniture makers, and boat builders alike.

    Yesterday, I opened the McFeely's ad and briefly perused it.  Part of it caught my attention:

    I'd sure hate to have technical difficulties on that web catalog, as it would be very awkward to have to contact the webmaster: "Uh, yeah, McFeely's?  I'm trying to access your screw portal and I can't get in."

    Seems they could have worded that better...

    Earworm Be Gone!

    You know what I'm talking about - that snippet or phrase of a song that just keeps repeating in your head.

    And for antedeluvian persons like myself, whose memory may or may not be slipping, it's made worse when one can't identify the song whence the phrase came.

    So, for the past two days, a bridge with the choral refrain of  "I know, I know...I know, I know...I know, I know" with a slight bass roll thrown in, has been mocking my mind, cluttering my consciousness, psearing my psyche.  I spent about 45 minutes this evening scouring my MP3 and WMA files, searching for the intrusive several bars of music.

    As with so many other things, you find what you're looking for...when you're not looking.  I'd gone to the kitchen to make dinner, when inspiration struck -


    Elvis?  Yes, Elvis.  No, not that one.  Declan Patrick Aloysius MacManus.


    Since you already know about earworms, you also already know that the only way to rid oneself of one is to foist it on others - so, dear readers, I present Elvis Costello: Accidents Will Happen.

    I like the part in the video where Kal-i-for-nia falls off into the Pacific.

    And, in case you were wondering - Yes, I have this on vinyl from when I was in high school.

    Monday, October 17, 2011


    From the Food desk:

    I've said it before - I'm a pot cook.  No, not a dopehead, just someone who throws ingredients together to create something tasty.  And in so doing, I rarely use any measuring devices, other than to determine how large or how many containers I need to store or freeze my latest creation.  I don't do baking, because it's much more exacting as to amounts, temperatures, and time.  Women can do baking.

    Tonight's was an especially good batch of homemade salsa, yielding about a quart and a half.  Here's what went into it:
    • 8 Roma tomatoes
    • 5 seedless black grapes
    • 3 Serrano peppers
    • 3 small garlic cloves
    • 2 Anaheim peppers
    • 2 sweet banana peppers
    • 1 gold bell pepper
    • 1 tomatillo
    • 1/2" slab of sweet yellow onion, coarsely chopped
    • 1 nectarine
    • 1 Bosc pear
    • 1 chunk dried mango from Sprouts
    • 1 can Rotel diced tomatoes with chilies & onions (the preservatives help the fresh batch keep longer - although I drain off part of the juice)
    • 1-1/2 tsp turbinado sugar
    • Dash of lemon juice
    • Sprinkle of dried cilantro
    • Coarse black pepper
    I chop most of it fairly coarsely, running the remainder through the blender.  Because I have a healthy respect for the e coli, salmonella and other nasties (even though I thoroughly wash all the ingredients before cutting them), I heat the whole batch to about 180° for several minutes before putting it into glass jars and refrigerating.

    This stuff is so good that tortilla chips are just a delivery mechanism.  The flavor profile starts off a bit sweet, but then the fire kicks in - but not too much. ¡Muy sabroso!

    Thoughts from the News

    An occasional feature, exclusively on Sonnet 116:

    Over the weekend, an interweb news article pronounced Herman Cain's Presidential aspriration to be in trouble, because he is said to have connections to the billionaire Koch brothers.
    • Gasp!  Has there ever been a confluence of money and politics before?
    • I could go for the easy quip and ask "What's the matter with brothers helping a brother out?"
    • OK, I just did.
    • But seriously, the article implied that having billionaire friends/supporters was a stain on Mr. Cain's character.
    • Are you kidding?
    • Do the names Soros, Pritzker, Eric Schmidt, Larry Page, George Lucas, David Geffen, Ken Griffin, Steven Spielberg somehow give no stigma to the incumbent President?  I'm not mentioning Gates and Buffett, as their political giving is not so partisan as the earlier group.
    • Seems like the pot calling the kettle.
    • On the Road Again - Obama takes a bus tour to North Carolina to stump for his $447 billion Stimulus II, er, jobs bill.  The President claims that independent outsiders say it could create up to 1.9 million permanent jobs.

    • That's a lot of people - a bit more than live in my whole county.
    • To give credibility to what I'm about to share, I have to disclose that I had a 750 Math SAT.
    • (Middle son got a 780 over the summer - 'course it's not as hard now as it was back in the 19XXs - we were only allowed a pocket abacus and our fingers and toes. ☺)
    • If the jobs plan performs to expectation, each created job would cost us, the taxpayers, a mere $235,263.
    • Now, I didn't attend Harvard Business School - I only have a pedestrian BBA from NTSU, um, UNT.  (My original diploma, which got misplaced years ago, said NTSU.)
    •  In any event, it doesn't sound like a very good ROI.
    • Confession: I used a scientific calculator from the Dollar Tree to do the Math.  Does that make me a divider - not a uniter?
    • With that kind of loopy logic emanating from the bus tour, I can't help wondering: Is the President borrowing Willie Nelson's bus?

    Sunday, October 16, 2011

    Cheers Church - Where No One Stands Alone

    I have to pinch myself sometimes. I attend a church where the lead guitarist sang Johnny Cash's Man in Black this morning prior to the sermon, and the pastor played the Cheers theme song as the congregation sang along, following with a snippet from '80s band The Smiths (as you know, I am not of the '80s, so it was unknown to me).

    A casual visitor might conclude that this is not a 'serious' Church, or that the pastor is a good entertainer/comedian. Traditional it is not, but the truth is that this Church uses the language of the people to reach them where they are and tell them the Good News.

    ALL IN: We Let No One Stand Alone from Keystone Church on Vimeo.

    Monday, October 10, 2011

    Rogue antelope

    It's not just the rogue pachyderms that'll get you:

    Edit: After I had already posted this, I saw that it was also on the Pied Piper's blog.

    Sunday, October 9, 2011

    Economics 101

    You know, if a lot of people abused the system like this guy, I'm thinking it might could hurt the economy:

    Friday, October 7, 2011

    Here's a strange...

    Seen somewhere in the vicinity of Ridglea - I have no idea what that's about - maybe a band?

    I even tried the Google - no luck.

    Driver's Edge

    I commented over on Combat Kevin's blog the other day that my middle son had taken a driving course at TMS last weekend.  Here's some pics:

    Yeah, he thought it was cool to get to drive a BMW.

    No, he didn't get to drive this.

    Hey, that's not factory stock, is it?

    It's had some work done.

    This is probably what they would've had me driving.

    The absurdity of media fully established when you have a white, middle-aged [self-described] socialist interviewer, MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell, taking businessman and Republican Presidential candidate Herman Cain to task for allegedly not being active enough in the Civil Rights movement.

    Mr. O'Donnell, the point of the Civil Rights movement was to ensure that equality of opportunity applied to everybody.  Mr. Cain found his opportunities and worked hard to become a success, and an inspiration to others - irrespective of skin color - showing that work and playing by the rules are the way to achieve the American Dream.   Who the heck are you to presume to lecture him and tell him that he should've been protesting on buses and attending marches, simply because he was a college-age black male in the 1960s?

    As John Stossel would surely say, "Give me a break!"


    As in - What would Jesus drive?

    I've read a lot of conjecture that he would eschew gas guzzlers and ostentation, and would instead drive something 'green', like a Prius or a SmartForTwo or Mini-Cooper.

    Or a Honda.

    Can you imagine my surprise this morning when I was passed by this crossover utility vehicle bearing the license plate (I couldn't discern the state) CHRIST?

    Pure speculation on my part, but I'm thinking it's not His first Honda - probably upgraded after being cramped with the Disciples, altogether in one Accord.

    But I'm still trying to get my mind around the vanity plates...

    Monday, October 3, 2011

    This makes some sense

    I normally shy away from celebrities' advice on social issues, health, nuclear engineering, politics, and economic theorties, mostly because there seems to be an inverse relationship between 'star' fame and intelligent discourse.  I figure that if they've put in the time and effort to rise to the top of their celebrity field, they might not have a strong grasp on matters of greater import.

    On the other hand, to be objective, that Greek dude So-crates from Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, once tweeted that "the unexamined life is not worth living" (East Texas philosopher Henley paid homage to the concept: "'s too long we've been living these unexamined lives.").  Examining mine, I conclude that I do my job pretty well, and I reserve the right to express my opinions - so I ought not begrudge the celebs voicing theirs - if I want my ideas to carry more weight, then I need to work to become more famous, or come up with better ideas.

    So, expecting little but keeping an open mind, I read the following story about a project John Ratzenberger (Cliff from Cheers) is working on, warning that the U.S. is on the precipice of becoming a third world country by having lost its productive capacity.  Ratzenberger co-founded the Nuts, Bolts and Thingamajigs Foundation, dedicated to raising awareness of skilled trades and engineering disciplines among young people.¹  So, he's underscoring what Lido Anthony Iacocca tried to tell us a generation ago: That becoming a service/information economy of financial advisors, manicurists, barristers and burger flippers is ultimately not sustainable and won't work.  We have to re-connect with reality and  produce something, or become subservient to those nations that do (hint: Mandarin is not easy to learn).

    Ratzenberger is apparently out of step with the left coast entertainment crowd, inasmuch as he is a Republican.   He has also, supposedly, been asked to run for Joseph Lieberman's Connecticut U. S. Senate seat in 2012.

    ¹ The Wikipedia