Monday, December 31, 2012

Money, it's a gas

Which, most of you have probably noticed, has gone up over 20 cents the past two weeks.

Don't go over the cliff -Grab that cash with both hands and make a stash...

CA$H: Treasure/Heart from Keystone Church on Vimeo.

Oh no!

Don't be that guy!

Which leads me to The Donald's Consumer Corner - Underwear Edition:

On the "Buy" list:

  • (Good) Starter brand boxer briefs - good fit, seams form a 'pouch' to keep stuff organized, average leg fit.
  • (Better) Gildan boxer briefs - excellent fit & waistband, well-defined 'pouch', snug leg openings.  Rated a best buy.
"Don't Buy" list:
  • Faded Glory boxer briefs - flimsy waistband, poor form, oversize leg openings.  Use them to clean your aluminum car/SUV rims (after laundering).
You're welcome.

But you should still wear something over them if your shades are open or anyone else is in the house...


The church I attend is sort of  'cutting edge', or, to traditionalists, weird.  Loud music, laughter, and less emphasis on 'hell-fire and brimstone' - although our Pastor frequently reminds that God is "the sin killer".

This week I got a mailer from Fellowship Church in Grapevine.  The pastor who had a "bed-in" (with his wife) on the roof of his church, directing congregants to have sex for seven days (not continuously, I assume).  Anyway, suffice it to say I believe they're a little farther 'out there' than my church.

Here's their latest mailer:

What Would Jesus Say To...

What would Jesus say to Katy Perry, Lance Armstrong (looks like he's riding by the takeout window at the Last Supper), Ellen DeGeneres, LeBron James, Jerry Jones, and Kim Kardashian?

I admit I don't really know much about Katy Perry, other than the general impression she's a pop-twit.  I thought you had to be able to collect Social Security before you could be a blue-hair.

Armstrong?  That might could be an interesting conversation.  The Td'F doping committee may not know everything, but God does.

He might tell Ellen to just sit still and eat her dinner.

"LeBron, we didn't name that Bible after you.  How about you marry one of your baby-mommas?"

To Jerry Jones, it would probably be "Dude, why do you keep trying to kiss me?"

And to Kim K.: "Go and sin no more."  Or maybe, "Just go away, and take all your sisters with you."

Well, that's my take on the upcoming Fellowship series.  Pastor Ed Young may have a different angle. YMMV.

And Jesus might have a different opinion, altogether.

[In unison] "Jesus might have a different opinion."

Saturday, December 29, 2012

I found them!

People kept insinuating, and I sometimes agree, that I'd lost them:

Although, labeling is sometimes misleading...

I think those need to go in the buttstock of the M6 Scout.

It's the time of the signs

...or, er, sign of the times.


 A family has 40 electronic tech devices confiscated as a demonstration/experiment on the Steve Harvey show, forcing them to - gasp! - actually communicate with one another. Ironically, the intro to the video is an ad for a tablet device.

Full disclosure: As I write this, my TV is running in the den, and my cellphone hotspot is providing the link for my PC.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas Message...

Away from the computer for the last two days, here's Keystone's Christmas message:

Christmas 2012 Greeting from Keystone Church on Vimeo.

I hope you all had a very merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Deadlines and Schedules!

Who needs 'em?

After wrestling with doing things 'my way' for the majority of my turns out I do.

In the past few years, I've learned, and accepted, that I actually perform better with deadlines, than when I 'freeform' my time.  Not sure why I resisted so long, but am trying to gain better time management skills to make better use of the 86,400 seconds each day.

Maybe an old dog can learn new tricks.

Now, if I could just hire a secretary...

Un-American Greetings?

In which Brandon reminds us to set aside the Hallmark version of the birth of Christ, and remember that these were ordinary people (shepherds) going about their work when the angels appeared to them. The shepherds weren't Biblical scholars or seminary students, and were likely as astonished, even terrified, as you or I would be.

But the angel of the Lord allayed their fears and told them of the good news.

Amen Series Part 5 - Invite from Keystone Church on Vimeo.

In this broken world, now as then, we need to remember the Good News.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Sensationalism much?

Any firearm related mishap is serious, inasmuch as most are avoidable if proper handling protocol is strictly observed.  However, this news story seems a bit weak when it comes to facts and context. The 12-gauge "bullet"?

C'mon, is it too much to expect news readers to at least have some kind of desk reference to keep from sounding like total idiots?

As far as context, I'm sure many of the readers of this blog would be aware that pheasants are typically hunted with shells loaded with #4, #5 (somewhat uncommon size, but I've used them before), or #6 shot.

The smaller pellets, like 7-1/2 to 9, are typical for dove or quail, while larger pellets BB through #1, 2, and 3, are common for duck and geese hunting.  #4 could be used for ducks or pheasants.

Using the midrange (#5) and assuming 1-1/4 oz. loads, we would expect a bit over 200 pellets in the charge.  Further assuming use of an improved cylinder or modified choke and typical dispersion, one could estimate (based on the 15 pellets) a distance from the father's muzzle to his son's head at about 18-24 yards.  Absent a perforation of the jugular or carotid artery, as alluded in the news story, this is not likely to be a life-threatening wound (for expert discussion on gunshot wounds, I would have to defer to field editor Combat Kevin).

Now, before I sound like an idiot, I am in no way trivializing this accident afield.  Firearms safety - whether centerfire rifle, shotgun, blackpowder, or rimfire - or even archery or pea-shooters - is always paramount.  The son's life may not have been seriously threatened, but the reporter is correct in saying that different projectiles (larger pellets, or slugs) fired from the same gun at the same distance, could've had drastically different outcomes.  As well, eye protection is always prudent - even a small pellet at considerable distance could put an eye out.

About fifteen years ago, a wealthy scion peckerwood had been invited to join our pheasant hunt in NW Kansas.  He arrived with a Benelli pistol-grip shotgun with an 8 round magazine tube extending to the muzzle (while this is totally legal for non-migratory birds such as pheasants, it's, uh, not so sporting) that he'd just bought at Oshman's a day or two earlier.  A couple of times that hunt, the guy emptied that magazine, and two or three times he rained some shot down on his fellow hunters - no injuries, but he did chip the eyeglasses of a guy who was walking nearest to me.  Ronald Reagan would've been right to tell us to 'duck' - this fellow's sense of shooting angles was a bit like Dick Cheney's.

He wasn't invited back.

So, returning to the question posed in this post's headline - sensationalism, or no?  Looking past the style errors of the reporter, any reminder to use proper precautions with firearms is a good lesson.

Let's all be careful out there...

Mystery solved

About a year or so ago, I posted this picture, asking readers if they knew what the image represented:

Over the weekend, cutting through the Albertson's parking lot on the way to Home Depot, I saw a minivan in the loading lane, with just such a sticker on the side window.  I parked and walked over to the van, whose driver was texting while waiting for someone to come out of the store.

Keeping a safe distance from the driver's window so as not to appear threatening (cause you know how intimidating middle age white guys can be), I approached the vehicle.  The woman looked up from her phone, looked me over, determined I was harmless, and rolled down the window.

Turns out the logo is from Fellowship of the Sword, a group that it not a church, but operates revival retreats in a half dozen states, including one in the Texas Hill Country.  The organization is based in West Fort Worth/White Settlement.  I remember when I attended a singles group at Gateway a few years back, several people there were very excited about involvement/attending FTS activities.

Google results appear to indicate that some regard FTS as 'cult-like', though it's not clear to me whether there's any basis to that or not. I know a woman who attended a Methodist (very mainstream) retreat many years ago that had some elements I regarded as cultist, so it may just be a subjective matter of perspective.  And apparently ABC News thinks all defenders of traditional marriage are Westboro Baptist sympathizers.

Anyway, the mystery is no more.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

What would Bad, Bad Leroy Brown do?

Comes today news from the land of Lincoln that a Federal appellate court has ruled Illinois' absolute ban on CCW to be unconstitutional.  As you may know, that state is one of the last remaining that does not allow any provision for private citizens - you know, regular people - to carry concealed firearms.

Of course, the typical hue and cry from leftists, liberals and hoplophobes has followed.  Apparently, if jus' folks could legally carry handguns in the Windy City, it might cause that town to have a crime problem, and people might start shooting and killing each other.

What?  Oh...

Gee, this naturally leaves me all kinds of confused, Wally, on account of since I was a little kid and stuff, I always thought it was already legal - ya' know, Bad, Bad Leroy Brown havin' that "thirty-two gun in his pocket for fun" and all...

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Legendary Roy Clark

Looking for something else (as usual), I stumbled across these songs.

I don't think I've heard this first one in nearly 40 years:

And who but Mr. Clark could sing this tender praise and worship love ballad?:

Rolling along

This is a Mazda 929...

...which, coincidentally, is the number of posts
 my blog counter says I've published.


Steinsuppe ist good food!

The picture that follows is from a couple of weeks ago.  After stuffing myself at Mom & Dad's for Thanksgiving, I noticed that Mother had set the bird's carcass aside on the kitchen counter, so I asked what she was going to do with it.  She didn't seem too enthusiastic about stripping it down for the last bits.

So, she seemed relieved when I offered to take it home, and she bagged it up in a zip-loc for me.

Ein.  The next morning, I spent about 10 minutes with a paring knife, cutting away the last meat from the bone, and ending up with about a pound or so.  Then I boiled the remainder for stock.

Zwei.  I cooked some wide spinach noodles, and some short-cut linguine, and set them aside.

Drei.  Two carrots, peeled and wavy-cut, brought to a boil in the stock.

Vier.  In a crock pot, I started with one generic (probably Aldi) can of chicken-noodle soup, to which I added a can of lowfat cream of mushroom soup.

Fünf.  Combined the turkey bits, noodles, and carrots with the canned soup, adding the stock until the desired consistency was reached.

Sechs.  Whoa, let me catch my breath - it's been a while since I got to Sechs!

Sieben.  A couple of Stunden in the crock pot, und...voilà!:

A tryptophantasmagoric treat!

Acht.  Essen!  I can't bake for shucks, since it requires precise measuring and temperatures and timing and stuff.  But give me a crock pot, and a handful of ingredients, and I can always come up with some pretty good comfort food.

I thought I was in dire straits when I found that my metal box of Nabisco Premium Saltine crackers was empty.  But, rummaging through the pantry, I found some Kroger thin & crispy wheat saltines as substitutes. 

They are the saltines - they are the saltines that swing!

Edit:  I guess I'm a trend-setter.  Today, Heidi Klum published ideas for spicing up ordinary soups.

Museum of [almost] Modern Art

OK, it was actually my garage - although it is in serious need of a curator.

Rummaging through some boxes trying to consolidate stuff I could throw out, I came across the item pictured below, which I'm sure most of you would agree, is a work of art unto itself:

A fired .375 Holland & Holland Magnum W-W Super cartridge.

Originally named [in 1912] the .375 Belted Rimless Nitro-Express, the round was the second design to feature a 'belt' near the case head to establish headspace.  Lacking a strong shoulder, it would not have been suitable for a true rimless design, and a rim would've created feeding issues from the box or blind magazines of the bolt actions that were replacing break-open double rifles.

Capable of generating over 4600 ft/pounds of muzzle energy, the .375 H&H Magnum is considered one of the most popular calibers for African game due to its versatility, and is more than enough rifle for taking any large game in North America.  I wouldn't recommend it for Texas deer, unless you're lining up a half dozen side-by-side (but make sure you've got plenty of tags).

From wikipedia - the .375 H&H Mag and .338 Win. Mag

About 20 years  ago, one of my customers told me he'd just sold his Ruger #1 Tropical in this caliber, for $300.  I could've cried.

I guess in my dotage, I can enjoy reminiscing about the 20th century, and America.


Question and Amen, that is.

In this episode, Brandon takes congregants' questions, some as they are texted from the audience.

The Amen Series Q&A - Sunday, December 2nd, 2012 - 9:15 AM from Keystone Church on Vimeo.

Awhile back, the Dew posed the question: "Why does Keystone occasionally include secular music in its services?"  Brandon answers the question here, stating that this church doesn't have walls to keep the popular culture out, and certainly doesn't try to keep the sacred, the good news, in.  If a song is deemed to have relevance to a topic, even a song that's spiritually 'flawed', the worship & praise team will work to 'redeem' the song.  Supposedly, there was much staff discussion about Drop It Like It's Hot (apparently a Snoop Dogg ditty) - the title of a recent series.  The lyrics were deemed un-redeemable (I wouldn't know...), but the bass/beat was kept, in the hope that when audience members next heard it, they would associate a positive, not negative, message with it.

BTW, my 'street' name is Donn Dogg.   (Like 52 year old white dudes have 'street' names...)


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

More from Nick, Bob and John

Some guys' fantasies are to go to baseball camp, or rock-star camp, the Playboy mansion grotto, or astronaut camp (actually, that would be cool).

One of mine woulda been to go to folksinging camp.


This song is also further proof that Robert Zimmerman's songs were often best interpreted by others.

Thong Thumb Blues?

As far as I know, Sister Myotis does not attend Keystone Church.

But judging from her prodigious use of the "Amens", I think she may have been watching the recent Vimeo sermons on the interwebs.

Maybe Todd the Pastor Blogger will use this some Sunday when he's got 'pastor writing block'?

 h/t: Bryan McL

Friday, November 30, 2012

Not so sure thing

A version of this scene cropped up in my dream last night.


I mean, you're not supposed to strike out in your own dream, right?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Fiscal Cliff's nuggets o' wisdom

Cliff goes 'fiscal':

You know, if you study history, you'll learn that lowering the marginal
income tax rate, as Jack Kennedy and Ronald Reagan did,
results in increased collections to the public coffers.


Monday, November 26, 2012

Another Hollywood Square?

This won't go over well in Gomorrah-by-the-Sea.

Actor Angus T. Jones, the 'half' of Two and a Half Men, has urged fans to not watch the show, saying it is 'filth'.

I don't disagree.  While I've never actually sat and watched a complete episode, it's been A/V wallpaper in my den many evenings while I was doing something else, probably blogging.  And one can't help but notice that a good amount of the show is not appropriate for households with kids, especially in the time slot where it runs.  Over the weekend, I saw a [re-run] snippet on 33.1 UHF where Charlie Sheen is rolling doobies on his kitchen table.


Am also not much the fan of How I Met Your Mother, but, IMO, the trashiest sit-com I've seen is Two Broke Girls.  Sexual innuendo and blatant smut abound, at approximately 15 to 20 second intervals.  To paraphrase the late Richard Pryor, those chicks probably got a VD that would scare the $#!@ out of penicillin!

Sure, I'm a prude, but not a humorless one.  Mildly ribald comedy certainly has its place, but it's not in prime viewing time.  And there's little mild about much of the current crop of shows.

There's no indication that Angus Jones is following in the footsteps of Growing Pains' Kirk Cameron, but, if he did, that wouldn't be such a bad thing.

A toast to Clarence Odbody

Just in case my angel drops in this season, I'm prepared for my annual viewing of It's a Wonderful Life.  (Actually, I have it on DVD and VHS, B&W and colorized - though I haven't seen that one.)

"Mulled wine, heavy on the cinnamon and light on the cloves.  Off with you, me lad, and be lively!"

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Save a man, ride a manatee?

From the strange news file comes a report that a Florida woman has been fined for riding a manatee, a species protected by the Florida Manatee Sanctuary Act.  Although signs are apparently posted warning of interactions between humans and the marine mammals, the woman disregarded them, as well as requests from bystanders to leave the creature be.

The news article even posted a picture, prompting the question: Which one is the manatee?

Thankfully, as far as I know (no marine biologist I) people cannot interbreed with the sea creatures, as one would hate to see the result of such a union depicted above - Oh, the humanatee!


Friday, November 23, 2012

Back to the '80s with Mr. Alamo!

Just because...

It took me a week to get the sand out of my skivvies after doing those scenes...

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

CPO Sharkey's Greatest Hits!

As we segue from the Kingston Trio's performance on the Jack Benny Program, to Jack Benny at the head table of a Dean Martin Celebrity Roast, we find Don Rickles zinging the California Governor - and the Governor giving back as good as he gets:

Thank goodness Maude Frickert was not like today's teachers, and apparently didn't have any inappropriate relationships with young Ronnie in Tampico.

Over a decade later, Rickles is at it again, this time at the second inaugural party for President Ronald Reagan:

I'm Going Home

Watching the Ken Burns documentary on the Dust Bowl reminded me of this old song, from the Kingston Trio.

This lineup is known as the second KT incarnation, Dave Guard having been replaced by John Stewart.  Long after his Trio days, Stewart had a mild comeback in the late '70s "...turnin' music into gold", assisted by Lindsey Buckingham, who'd learned his fingerpicking style listening to KT records.

For those apt to note such things, Nick Reynolds (left), passed away 10/1/08, and John Stewart (right) passed 1/19/08. Bob Shane (center) is still living.

Amen, y'all

Not sure how many installments will be in this series, but here's the first.

Amen Series Part 1 - AMEN! from Keystone Church on Vimeo.

The Rest of the Story

In the past, I've sung the praises of ordering auto parts online from

Today, I was off from work, and decided to take advantage of the great weather to install the new [less dusting] ceramic front disc pads I'd ordered recently.  Got out the floor jack (yeah, I'd so like to get one of those lightweight aluminum ones...) and the lug wrench.  In short order I was removing the brake caliper assembly from its mount, and popping out the old pads.

Into the house for the new pads.

Ruh-roh!  The new pads were about half the size of the old ones.

Size matters...

Those might stop a Craftsman lawn tractor, but not so much my 3400# car.  Knowing I'd carefully screened the selections when I'd ordered them, making sure I got front discs for cars like mine that have front disc/rear drum systems, I readied myself to take RockAuto to task for sending me the wrong pads.

But first I checked the box, and the packing slip, and my online order confirmation.  While waiting for the customer service agent to answer, I went to my order archive, just to be prepared. 

Oops!  Looks like somehow, despite my efforts to ensure the correct part, I'd clicked the button for the part below it.  Although it took a couple of minutes to get an agent on the line (after the English/Spanish/German prompts) - the guy I spoke with had perfect English, and even used some of the same colloquialisms as I do.  He got my information to send email instructions, including a shipping label, to return the parts - turns out RockAuto's call center is not in New Dehli or Mumbai, but in Madison, WI.  I told him it was nice to speak with a onshore customer service rep.

Within three minutes, I had an email with instructions for returning the parts.

Thankfully, the old pads were not yet critical, so they'll be fine until the new ones arrive.

Thanksgiving week fun

Although some of the colleges had classes this week, my Daughter is out of school all week for the holiday.

Last night, I took her and a friend to a church bowling party.  The church had rented six lanes - from the looks of it, I think each lane was full up with 8 bowlers - and provided pizza, sodas, and snacks.

I think she got the spare on this one...

An M&M reindeer

Daughter's was the third highest score!

Observing some of the folks not part of the church group, I was reminded of the truth of this quote from Arthur:  "Normally, one must go to a bowling alley to meet a woman of your stature." - Sir John Gielgud as Hobson.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Unpopular Mechanic

I got an invoice today for a new subscription to Popular Mechanics - the magazine - not pictures of Manny, Moe & Jack.  I now receive both Popular Science and Pop Mech, the better to keep abreast of technology developments.

Speaking of Manny, Moe and Jack - well, I guess you could call me 'the accidental mechanic' - and a not particularly popular one, at that.  If I told you I do mechanic work for therapy, or because it's 'cathartic', I would be lying to you.  I do it so I'll have transportation.

I would like sometime to build a stripped down hot rod.  Something without a PCM and 53 sensors.  Maybe  even with, gasp!, a carburetor and manual choke.  Room to turn a wrench  Parts you can see and identify.  But that's in the future.

This past weekend I was dealing with a balky idle on my passenger sedan.  Using the SUV as a daily commuter was making me cross (at least every trip to the QT/RaceTrac), so I'd ordered new platinum SplitFires, plug wires, and air plenum gaskets from

What would be a 20 minute job on a classic car took well over two hours.  Sure, the front bank of plugs (the engine sits side-a-ways) were easily accessible.  But the rear bank of plugs, and distributor coil pack - well, let's just say it rhymes with "witch".  To access those puppies, one must remove the air filter box, the throttle body, EGR, PCV tube, various other vacuum lines and sensor plugs, and 8 bolts securing the air plenum to the intake risers.  Then, I put my left foot in, I took my left foot out, and did the hokey-pokey...

Well, it sorta seemed that way.

Here's what it looked like with everything removed.  The paper towels are in the intake ports to prevent FOD from entering.  The red heater hose is a southern-engineered setup - attached to a shop vac - to extract any grit or dirt from the plug wells.  The 3/8" ratchet is attached to an extension, longer than my...finger...with the plug socket.  Not pictured is the air impact wrench that was required to break loose the bolts holding the EGR body to its bracket on the air plenum.

To prevent any air leaks, I installed new gaskets on the air plenum where it meets the intake risers (where the paper towels are seen).  Dutifully gapped the plugs at .054" (these are SplitFires, woo-hoo - they'll probably double my mileage - if I use magnets on the fuel line...), swabbed the contacts on the new ignition wires with a Q-tip with a wee dab of conductive grease, and installed some new cable sleeves anyplace where the cables wanted to touch each other.

Finally, I put it all back together, and didn't even have any leftovers.  I did have to charge the battery, since I hadn't driven the car in a while.

I even turned the oil filler cap right side up...ya gotta take pride in your work.

Drove it to work today - runs stronger, but still an occasional hiccup at idle, though it hasn't thrown a code yet.  This evening, I pulled the idle air valve (visible above in the 1:00 position above the EGR diaphragm) and cleaned the plunger with carb/choke spray and gave it a shot of WD-40.  We'll see tomorrow how this works out.

I wish I had a Model A.  Or maybe a '49 Chevy.


Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Olympics may be over...

...but you can still order your own mini-luge - Now on Sale @ Northern Tool & Equipment, $34.99!

Seriously?  That just looks so wrong...

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Can you say 'Bad Idea'?

This looks like an accident waiting to happen:

Oops, wrong magazine/speed loader!  I think there are better and safer ways of doing realistic simulation.

I wouldn't want to be the insurance carrier on that one.

More classic fun

Kinda like watching a Conway/Korman bit:

Although Brooks battled the bottle earlier in his life, which gave him insight in creating the character, he was actually sober during the heyday of his career.

Is anybody goin' to San Antone, or even Oklahoma?

I see where Charley Pride is appearing at WinStar on November 25.  Very reasonable ticket prices.

As a kid, I think we nearly wore out a couple of Mr. Pride's 8-tracks in my Dad's Scout.

Part owner of the Texas Rangers

Friday, November 16, 2012


...Navy, Air Force and Marines.

I...wanna bomb Tehran all night...

You know, if the U.S. or Israel does finally have to put the kibosh on Iranian nutcase Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, it would be kinda funny if the first wave of bombs, bombers, AC-130s or A-10s had nose art of "The Demon" - the onstage persona of Israeli-born Chaim Weitz, a/k/a Gene Simmons.

h/t: qdub

Ding-dong, the Wicked Witch is dead

No, not Nancy Pelosi - she's alive and well AFAIK.

I'm speaking of Verizon DSL - from which I just un-subscribed this week.

Verizon, since rolling out its FIOS fiber optic service several years ago, has spent untold sums of money trying to entice me, and other Neanderthals, to upgrade to their SOTA¹ network.  Slick Madison Avenue marketing pieces, fake FedEx packages, sky banners, stripper-grams - OK, maybe not stripper-grams, all with the intent of luring me to fork over at least one Franklin a month to them.

Trouble is, I don't need blazing fast speeds (I'm not a gamer), or 2759 TV channels, or a POTS landline.  I just need something to connect the ol' Timex-Sinclair personal computing device to the ARPANET so I can get a few electronical mail messages and maybe send out an SOS in these days of Armageddon.  A couple of Green Giant lima bean cans with copper wire instead of string, figuratively speaking, would work just about right.

So, several years ago, I had upgraded from d-d-d-dial-up to D-D-DSL for the not unreasonable tariff of about fifteen GWs per lunar cycle.  Life was good.

But, of course, the Wicked Witch still wanted to seduce me.  Being strong of faith (but mainly weak of wallet), I was able to resist.  Ever resourceful, she started turning up the heat, kind of like the frog in the water experiment.  $19.95 - [grumble, grumble].   $24.95 [grumble, teeth gnashing].  Then I did the apparently unforgivable, I cancelled my POTS.  Shortly thereafter I got a notice that without an associated POTS, the [384K] DSL service would be $39.95, plus a boatload of taxes and fees, totaling about $43 per month.

I'd had enough - but where to turn?  Charter uses essentially the same playbook - they'll give decent rates IF you bundle all their services, which I don't need or want.  DISH gives a reasonable six- or twelve- month trial rate, with a 24 month commitment - the dollar cost averaging makes it not such the great deal.  And Clear Wireless, which at one time could be had for about $25, must've thought I was a leper or something, because their coverage map seems to have avoided my neighborhood - it looks like Mitt Romney sitting in the audience at the BET Awards.  (I once borrowed a friend's Clear modem, and the service worked just fine, even if their map didn't indicate it).  But Clear's rates and commitment requirements went up, making it not much more desirable than the Witch.  And ATT's U-Verse counterpart to FIOS, is about $20 for 3Mbps, but isn't offered in my neck of the weeds.

At last, my cellphone company decided if it wanted to stay in business, it would have to come off the porch and let Chad & Ranjit run with the big dogs. They started offering mobile hotspotting on select 4G phones, some even with generous rebates!  I figured I'd have to connect a wi-fi dongle and double sine wave generator to the acoustic coupler to the Timex-Sinclair, and create a 47 character super secret password (that even Paula Broadwell doesn't know) using exactly 11 uppercase, 7 special characters, and 5 numbers, just to keep the neighbors from hacking into the unpublished drafts (Stronger than Sominex!) of Sonnet 116.  Instead, when I got the new communicator, I found I can just USB tether it, keeping the battery charged, and eliminating any security concerns.

Beam me up!

Ironically, after upgrading to 4G and mobile hotspot service, my monthly phone bill went down by $5.

And the Witch's bill went down by 100%!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

They're packing...

...but do they support your right to do the same?

A HuffPo article about well-known public figures who carry, or at least own or shoot firearms.

Some are obvious, like Selleck, Lambert, and Eastwood.  But Whoopi Goldberg a member of the NRA - call me skeptical.

And who knew that gonzo guitarist Uncle Ted Nugent had guns?   ;-)

It's good to have friends

...or is it?
My Friend is a Vampire Bumper from Keystone Church on Vimeo.

This morning...

Actually, I don't know from which service this was recorded, but she brought the house down:

Mean - Taylor Swift (Cover Song) from Keystone Church on Vimeo.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Taurus 1968

From the jazz/prog-psy rock band Spirit, which featured Jay Ferguson (pre-Thunder Island) - an instrumental containing a few measures you might recognize:

No, the airship guys lifted the licks from Spirit, for whom they'd opened a year or so prior, but they let that part of the song remain [fundamentally] the same. Rock and roll fans would not be denied.

Rip van Donald

I feel kinda like Jack T. Colton this morning, Michael Douglas' character in Romancing the Stone.

After finding shelter in a crashed DC-3 drug transport, Colton, who's been smuggling exotic birds for years, opens a copy of Rolling Stone and reads that the Doobie Brothers have broken up, and exclaims in surprise.  (It's a couple of scenes prior to putting some moves on the then-hawt Kathleen Turner/Joan Wilder.)

Anyway, I got an email ad from J C Penney (see, I'm not exclusive to Kohl's), featuring their IZOD collection.  I looked a couple o' things, and noticed there weren't no reptile insignia.

Now, back in the day, I went to prep school, but was not a preppie.  Just to march to a different drum, I had a sweatshirt featuring an upright alligator with an insignia of a dude.  Nonetheless, I also had one IZOD/Lacoste polo shirt, sort of the same way some guys own only one suit.

After a bit of googling, I found that IZOD and Lacoste divorced in 1993.

Just call me the fashion caveman.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Kohl's or no Kohl's?

I didn't receive any Kohl's flyers today, but if I had, they likely would have been addressed to me, and that's OK.  I don't share the dog blogger's angst with the midwestern retailer.

However, like The Todd, I did receive not one, but two, pieces of mail addressed to a woman who has not lived here for over five years.  In fact, the only addressed mail (the rest being third-class bird cage lining) in my box today was addressed to said woman.

You'd think with all the super-computer data mining out there, they could keep track of who lives where.

Maybe it's good to be single

Consider the case of a Vermont dude who's now room temperature after his loving wife drove into a tree to clear her online dating schedule.

Right of way?

OK, between an airplane and an SUV, who has the right of way?

WFAA posted video of a single engine Cessna landing at Aero Valley Northwest Regional Airport Saturday.  The new pilot's wife was recording his first solo landing.

All was going well until an SUV crossing the flight path at the north end of the runway failed to stop and yield to the oncoming aircraft.

As the video shows, the aircraft's right main landing gear was clipped off on the SUV's roof.  Ouch!

Now, if you're not familiar with this airport, and only saw this video, you might wonder why a road runs right next to the end of the runway - and the simple answer is - to get to the other side.  The road in question is not a thoroughfare - it accesses only other airplane related addresses (hangars/homes/businesses) that are related to the airport.  It is the way in and out from the east section of the airport (that is, unless you drive across the middle of the runway), so no one driving over there can claim that they were going from point 'A' to 'B' and didn't know there was an airport there.

As it happens, the SUV driver has apparently admitted he's made that crossing several times before to eat at an airport café, so clearly he's aware of the runway. It was daylight and the weather was clear.

The report mentions there's no stop sign, other than painted on the roadway, at the edges of the crossing.  That's because things that stick up out of the ground next to runways are frowned upon, especially so by pilots of low-wing aircraft.  However, if memory serves, the airport entrance monument sign, just before the crossing, does alert automobile drivers to be alert for landing and departing aircraft.

I've made that same crossing dozens of times by car, and have [as co-pilot] landed or taken off there a few times as well, and have had occasion to drive on runway/taxiways at other facilities.  The point is, at such places it's imperative to carefully scan the area, both on the ground or in the air, for moving aircraft, and that apparently didn't happen here.

Thankfully, no one was killed or seriously injured.

Friday, November 2, 2012

More Jeepery

This is not an old style Jeep, but it does have, uh, a snorkel - see if you can spot it:

Some parts pictured may be non-OEM.

British Montgomery Gentry

The Todd suggested I'd have better odds joining these country rockers than becoming British nobility.

He might be right.

Dang, that is a sad song - if the dude had knowed she was comin' back, he coulda moved or at least changed the locks or sumthin'...

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Get your Woody on!

Um, you know, the wood grained Jeep Grand Wagoneer.

It seems there's an outfit in Kerrville that restores the classic body styles.

Delivery Trailer

I'm kinda partial to the old Traveler series.

Where's my Zoot suit!

About three or four weeks ago, I bought these nifty brogue/wingtips at Kohl's on sale.  Since I spent quite a bit of time trying to find my size (and customer service checking other stores' inventory), I gently requested to  get the 'additional 30%' discount - which they did.

They turned out to be some of the most comfortable shoes I've ever worn.

Unfortunately, once I got them home, I thought the shade of tan was too light (at the time, they were all one color).  As I happened to have a jar of Burt's Bees Almond Milk and Beeswax hand creme on the desk (hey, if it's good for live skin, it oughta work on dead skin, huh?), I thought I'd darken part of the leather to see what effect might be achieved.

Now, if Jas. K. Wilson Jos. A. Bank happens to be including Zoot suits in their 70% off sale this weekend, I'm set.

'Course, for that style, I may have to look at K & G Menswear...

Click here for the jacket I would wear on my Scottish Highlands hunting estate (to which I would drive in my Morgan 3-wheeler, below).  Elbow patches, I assume, could be added by my tailor.

On the way to looking for something else

I found something else - a 2012 Morgan 3-wheeler:

File:2012 US-spec Morgan 3-wheeler.jpg

If I ever become part of the British gentry, I'm getting one of these.

0-60 in 4.5 seconds.

Two great qualities life are Patience, and Wisdom - this guy has both:


h/t: qdub


A little bit o' greatness from the email bag today:

Thanks, Mom & Dad!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Bleed to Love Her

This really originated as a Lindsey solo effort, but I couldn't resist this version with the whole band (including Chris).  As well, all of the solo versions seem to be audience videos, with poor sound.

Lives changing

Happy Birthday!

Awakening - 8 Year Celebration from Keystone Church on Vimeo.

And the guest pastor's sermon:

I Heart My Church Weekend - Jay Strack from Keystone Church on Vimeo.

At least it's not 666...

My blogstats indicator tells me I've now published 888 posts.  Woo-hoo!

It also tells me that there are 80 still in draft status.

Kinda makes you wonder just how bad does a post have to be to be the one out of eleven that gets rejected, huh?

John Wilkes Booth was Agent 007?

Or so it might appear from the juxtaposition of these movie posters.

Booth.  John Wilkes Booth. I guess he changed his name later.  Perhaps the Monarchy was still miffed about the outcome of the 1812 unpleasantries?

Picture credit: Jeff Hoover

But honestly, I think it's a conspiracy - I don't think 007 really did it.  After all, that PPK/S is marginal against normal sized humans, much less one three times life size...

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Obama phone! Obama phone!

Here at your local source for free goodies!  Get 'em while they last!

P. T. Barnum said it

There's one born every minute - and sometimes they take over people's houses!

(This is the trailer/bumper only)

I'm Raising Little Vampires Bumper from Keystone Church on Vimeo.

This is the trailer/bumper with the full sermon:

I'm Raising Little Vampires from Keystone Church on Vimeo.

The Scarlet Manifesto

The author of this book was on the radio this morning.  Seems that women initiating adulterous affairs is on the rise.


I guess there's a lot of women trying to get in touch with their inner Carrie Bradshaw or Hester Prynne out there.

Or maybe it's like Baskin-Robbins - they want to try all 31 flavors (that may be a low number for some gals...)

And then there's the case of teen bombshell Courtney Stodden, married to the creepy old guy.  (OK, he's not really old - he's my age - but when you pair my age with a teenager - well, that is defined as creepy.)

(Note to guy: Wearing a condom on your head may make you feel hip, but it doesn't make you 30 years younger.  Just sayin'.)

Seems she has phone sex with her old high school boyfriend, even while her husband's in the room.  Double creepy.

Although, dude, don't you know anything?  Ya shoulda seen it coming.  They never really break it off with their high school lovers.

Lastly, today's news reveals that a Brazilian 20 year old has auctioned her virginity online for $780K (a male counterpart only got $3000 - where's the gender equality here?).  She say it's not prostitution if she only does it once (which sort of reminds me of the punch line to an old joke). Well, isn't that special?

Today's culture makes the folks of Sodom & Gomorrah look like pikers.  I think the statue in Rio de Janeiro is weeping.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Working with Vampires

WWDD - What would Daniel Do?

Daniel is traveling tonight on a plane - I can see the red tail lights heading for Spain...

No, not that Daniel.

I Work With A Vampire from Keystone Church on Vimeo.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Don't be the one who sucks...

...the life out of other people.

But, for those people in your life who suck...the life out of you - there's hope:

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Introducing the Wrist-twist

So simple - even a woman can use it!  In Gloria Steinem's book, this would have to rank somewhere near the 'I think I'll keep her' Geritol commercials.

There's a reason it didn't appear on production models. Those 5" wrist twist discs probably seemed all cool and Jetson-y on the test track, but lacking any mechanical advantage, probably not so much so on a twisty mountain road with a failed PS pump, broken v-belt, or stalled engine.

 Besides, how ya gonna steer with your left femur while you, unlatch her, uh, embrace that cute young thing sitting in the middle of that big ol' bench seat¹?

¹ Featured test car not equipped with front bench seat.

Tactical Flowers

To Glock, or not to Glock...underwater?

I saw this on AOL, but it's appearing on some other blogs also.

These are tactical defensive rounds (Starfire/BlackTalon/GoldenSaber) fired into water, leaving perfectly opened petals.  The gemstones have been added, of course, unless you buy your ammo at Tiffany's.

Go here for the full article and more pictures.

Apparently, that .357 Sig isn't so much of an underwater torpedo...but I still want one.

Sunday, September 30, 2012


Recently, I posted a comment (in rational and polite terms) on a local blog, expressing an opposing opinion to the blog author's, as I sometimes do.

My comment was one of four, out of seventy-plus comments, scribed with attribution (i.e. not by 'anonymous').  As a matter of full disclosure, I have on rare occasions posted anonymously - to avoid riducule from trolls, or sometimes to leave a silly comment, but not to insult or 'flame' other posters.

So I should not have been surprised to see, a few comments after mine, the following: And from the Donald who would know all about incompetent as he is one! Hey, Donald, what exactly have you done lately?

Mind you, about 65 comments followed mine, with the preceding being the only one that referenced me, so I could easily enough write it off as typical chatter from the one of the minions of trolls who frequent that blog. On the other hand, I could take it at face value (not knowing whether this is from someone I know or not).

Exploring the latter option, even if only for the sake of discussion,  I would have to truthfully admit, that, yeah, I've made mistakes in my life.  They weren't given to me by my parents, bad circumstances, mean people, or any other third parties - Whatever they are, I own them.  And I have the responsibility to deal with what can be corrected, and not repeat prior mis-steps.

I suppose the takeaway could be that I shouldn't have used my name with the comment - but that would be the wrong lesson.  The better lesson is that I have a renewed duty to not post anonymously, even on the stupid stuff - if I'm gonna write it, I'll put my name next to it, or not write it at all. 

This week's study lesson was on honesty: with self, with God, with others.  I hope the lesson wasn't lost on me.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Oak Cliff boy done good

From Oak Cliff's W. H. Adamson High School¹, to your blog-host's own NTSU (UNT for y'all newcomers), and then Gomorrah by the Sea (Los Angeles for the uninitiated) and back, here's the man who's keeping Western musical heritage alive.


¹ A couple of years ago, I was training a new hire who'd graduated from Adamson (and later, UNT) - he had no idea who Murphey was.  Other notable alumni from WHAHS include Jim Wright '39, MMM and Ray Wylie Hubbard in '63, and B. W. Stevenson '67.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

S, G & W?

Every other channel will of course be running Moon River, but here are a couple of other songs I remember from back in the day:

 Ed Ames, Harry Belafonte, and The Brothers Four also did great versions of this, as well.

How about a duet?

Here, Andy sits in for James Taylor to make S&G a trio:


Aww, heck, let's go for a quartet - PPM & A, doing Dylan:

 The 21st century will have some pretty big shoes to fill to replace the talent we've lost from the 20th.

Don't bother commenting that The Donald's an old fart - that's a given.  You know it, I know it, the American people know it...

Friday, September 21, 2012

Pride without prejudice

Have you ever met someone who was always right?  Not necessarily obnoxious, but always with an answer, brilliantly reasoned, and reasonably well articulated, for everything?

I'm sure we all have.

A discussion about Pride in a study group I'm in gave rise to the thought: "What would be the effect of years of contact with such a person?"  Would it give rise to resentment, loathing, anger?

I'm not saying I know the answer, but it was an interesting discussion.  Here are some references to Pride.
From Scripture: Pride only breeds quarrels, but wisdom is found in those who take advice. - Proverbs 13:10  Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. - Proverbs 16:18

Literature: "The essential vice, the utmost evil, is Pride.  Unchastity, greed, drunkenness, and all that, are mere flea-bites in comparison: it was through Pride that the devil became the devil.  Pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind." - C. S. Lewis

From the King of the Road: It's my belief Pride is the chief cause in the decline in the number of husbands and wives.

Edit: I originally posted a Ringo Starr version of Roger Miller's song which I first became acquainted with through Neil Diamond.  But this version is better, I think. 

And, of course, no S116 blogpost is complete without a Henley reference, where apropos: Pride and competition cannot fill these empty arms.

 True that.

Lover's Cross

Well, the media outlets that normally wouldn't touch a story about faith and Christianity issues with a ten foot pole are all atwitter, nattering about an allegation from some very old papyrus bits, that Jesus had a wife.

While I don't entirely know the motivation here, it's reported that it could be a 'game-changer' with respect to   "women's issues" and the definition of marriage, although I haven't been able to make it through the contortions to follow that logic.

In any case, my faith and belief in Jesus Christ as Lord and Redeemer is not conditioned on His marital status.  But these days, many strange things are afoot, so maybe someone will have surreptitiously recorded the Lamb of God, and it will get posted on the YouTube.

And while I don't know, and don't particularly believe that Jesus was married, I do know that the late Jim Croce was:

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Rich & Big

Scanning stations today, I heard this for the first time (driving through Boyd, not that it matters) - double checked to see if it was KSCS or KLTY (both are preset on my radio, to the right of KZPS).

Save a soul, say a prayer.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Hello, Fort Worth!

On September 22, 2012, the USS Fort Worth will be commissioned in Galveston.

I guess it was too much trouble to try to get it up the Trinity...

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


...the other Canadian power trio.  Heard this on the radio today.

  This, boys and girls, is rock-n-roll:


 Rik Emmett's vocals can go head to head with Geddy Lee's any day, I think.

But, who told him it was OK to wear that, uh, whatever that is?  (Wonder if the Dew has one of those in his wardrobe?)

Monday, September 10, 2012

He Stopped Loving Her Today

But He didn't.

Pastor Brandon says his Twitter poll showed Geo. Jones came in first place with the saddest/most depressing country song ever.  Thankfully, he didn't try to sing much of it...

When the Storm Comes - Loneliness from Keystone Church on Vimeo.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

I love a car show

I happened across a car show on the way to Wal-Mart after Church yesterday. Here's a beautiful '61 Coupe Deville:

I always thought of Lycoming as making airplane motors:

Yes, those blinking lights are the charging indicators for the flux capacitor.

The Durango in the background is a Zombie Hunter, with a flamethrower on the roof:

And reverse angle:

Speaking of flamethrowers, check the spark plugs on the pipes of this ultimate rat-rod.  Wonder what that camshaft is out of?

I want this!  From what I could tell, the driver gets in through that little front hatch - since I'm nearing my target weight of 190#, I'm pretty sure I could get in there, but I might bump my head.  Interestingly, this has a gas engine, not diesel.  When it left, the guy's wife rode in the turret to spot for him.

An immaculate classic C-10 Cheyenne engine & bay:

Tim Taylor would drool over this (and so would I):

Not from the car show, but a visit to O'Reilly's earlier in the day: