Thursday, June 28, 2012

Keep on Truckin'


I don't really know from trucks.  Aside from financing some old beaters back in the day for some good ol' boys to haul hay down from Nebraska & South Dakota, I don't even know anything about prices and values.  Heck, I just learned a couple of weeks ago what a 'glider' is.

But, if I had a ton of excess money, I'd probably buy one of these. If a big rig can be called 'sexy', this one is:

2009 Navistar International Lonestar Harley-Davidson edition big rig

Apparently Volkswagen agrees with me, as they're trying to buy the U.S. truckmaker.

Not so sexy?  My Dad's 1966 Scout 800 that he had when I was a kid.  But I learned to drive a stick shift at the deer lease in it, and we pulled FJ-40s out of the Trinity River bottoms over by Telephone Pole Hill back in the day.

(Representative pic - not Dad's actual Scout)

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Stayin' Alive

A tribute to Robin Gibb, who isn't, that was sent to me:

h/t: Cathy

Monday, June 25, 2012

The Next Generation

Part of the Summer Series, in which Pastor Brandon proves he is not cool, dogging on his father-in-law's appreciation of The Beach Boys, and admitting he listens to...Bieber.  Bieber!  That just ain't right.  And he derides those who think quality music ended with the '60s.  It didn't, of course - it ended with the '70s.

The message that Brandon was trying to get across was about our responsibility to pass the faith from generation to generation.  Of course, not being cool, he totally missed that this was exactly what Messrs. Buckingham, Fleetwood, and McVie (with the missus), and Ms. Nicks had chronicled regarding the chosen people's recognition, after crossing the Jordan River, God's promise of faithfulness the next generation, namely: "I can still hear you saying you would never break the Chain."

Well, I suppose Fleetwood Mac in the late '70s got its inspiration more from a mountain of white powder than from the Mount of Olives, so the above paragraph may [duh!] be largely fanciful.  Nonetheless, the point is valid that in accepting God's gift, we are obliged to teach and share it with the next generation.

Summer Series - Next Generation from Keystone Church on Vimeo.

Back to seriousness.  In the dialogue between Brandon and youth pastor Rob Patterson (begins @ 30:00), Rob shares the heartbreak of an 8th grade girl whose mother drops her off at the mall, saying "Get out of the car, whore!" (33:00), as well as the hope that that girl will hear an entirely different message, surrounded by Christ's love, at Keystone.

Let us be the salt and light to the broken world.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Fellowship & testimony

This weekend, a good friend had a get together for some friends who are moving out of state, to one of those places that has snow from November to March, being near a Great Lake.  Yuck!

Luckily, they are originally from that area, so it won't be a total culture shock.  One of their sons, who lives there, is a single father of two, and their being nearby will be an immense blessing to him and his daughters.  But, they will be missed by the friends they made in Texas.

Although most of us didn't need an excuse to eat Mexican food - the spiritual nourishment of the fellowship we shared was much more important.  Dew, with his lovely wife, and good looking kids (they get it from his wife) was there, as was Todd the Pastor Blogger (but Dew gave the blessing).

Todd gave testimony about his recent mission trip to Nicaragua, during which he - I am not making this up - taught them to speak English.  He wasn't sure how much of our language they really learned, but I can tell you that he is the consummate storyteller, and no matter what language he spoke, he had their complete attention.  Of course, the main message was that of God's love - which is not dependent on any particular idiom.

He also reported that his experience gave him new appreciation of the infinite character of God, and of his own minute-ness.  While I understand the awe and wonder of our Heavenly Father, I think Todd's selling himself a bit short (no pun intended, at this time).  Sure, compared to God's majesty, we are but specks - but we are important to the One who created us, as the Bible teaches that not a sparrow falls from the tree without God's knowledge, and that He knows the number of hairs on our heads (this last may not be the best analogy in the instant case).

Dew also gave testimony about his week serving at a church camp in Indian Territory (Oklahoma) - detailing utter exhaustion from the frenetic pace of activities, paired with the adrenaline rush and spiritual high from seeing God's work in the lives of the youth.  Clearly, he'd been deeply moved by the experience.  I tried, with my best interrogative skills, to get him to confess that the exhaustion had been the result of post-curfew beer-and-poker parties, but he was resolute.

Toni, our evening's coordinator (she has an app for that - she has an app for everything!) did a great job arranging the time and place, and had her hands full with her 9-month old grandson - Thanks, Toni!

Marilyn & Art, wishing you the best on your move, and blessings always - you will be missed!


As noted in Friday's post, I've recovered sufficiently to attempt mowing.  So Saturday I mowed my yard, as well as most of a relative's yard (about three times the size of mine).  With a 22" push mower.
  • I found that the best methodology for starting the machines was to hold the pull rope with my [mending side] hand, and push the mower away with my left.  My mower (Honda-powered), and the other Briggs-engined, both started on the first pull, for which I was most grateful.
  • This morning after church, I returned to finish another 50'x60' area, plus a bit of bar ditch.
  • This evening, informed by RPM's cautionary tale comment, inspired by every 'get back on the horse and ride' motivational speech, and unfettered by common sense, I dusted off and mounted (don't get your pulse racing, Dew) the two-wheeled machine of death.
  • My goal today was to condition myself to favor the rear brake and build that into 'muscle memory'.
  • Having already pre-programmed 9-1-1, Lucas Funeral Home/Laidlaw Waste Services into my cellphone, I cautiously started my ride.  About a block from the house, the loop of my right shoelace meshed between the chain and drive sprocket - but with the cool and calm of Charles Bronson, I back-pedaled, coasted to the curb, and double knotted the laces to keep them  out of the way.
  • I rode within a quarter-mile of the creekbed where I'd wiped out last weekend, but on account of the two still functioning brain cells, opted to keep [mostly] on pavement today.  During the ride, I passed through about 3 ginormous 'clouds' of gnats - yielding me as much protein as a Whataburger Double-Double, but without lettuce and tomato.
  • Keeping in mind how much I could safely carry on the handlebars, I stopped by the grocery store for some odds and ends on the return trip.  While I was there, I went to the restroom - wiping off about three dozen gnats that I hadn't ingested from my face and neck.
  • About a block from the house, I realized that out of the 15, 18 or 21 gears, I'd used exactly one for the approximately 5 mile ride.
  • Give me the yellow jersey!
  • Or Sheryl Crow...

Snoop Dog in da house of God?

Well, that ought to get the Heavenly host of angels talking.

But it's not exactly like that.  This is actually from last week's sermon, on Father's Day.  Some technical gremlins on the Vimeo server kept it from being available earlier in the week.

'Uncle' Brandon reminds us that God has done all the work, through the life, death, burial & resurrection of Jesus Christ, to redeem us despite our brokenness, and create a living relationship with our heavenly Father.  Baptism is the outward manifestestation of our acceptance of God's gift.

Summer Series - Baptism from Keystone Church on Vimeo.

He even surmises that if Snoop Dog came to Keystone Church, he would get saved.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Retractions, errors, omissions, corrections and updates

Or, just general miscellanea.
  • East of Jackistan¹, between Wizard Wells and RAB, there are a couple of lovely ponderosas - one on the south side of 114/380 (closer to Vineyard), and the other on the north, nearer RAB.  Both appear to have clear, spring fed tanks.
  • Now that the Shiner dad who dispatched his daughter's rapist has been no-billed, and the Penn State assistant coach has been convicted, maybe child molesters will get the message that that kind of stuff isn't well regarded by decent folks.
  • The Startlegram reports that a well connected woman helped someone dispose of a body.
  • Well, duh!  Everyone knows the old axiom: "Friends help you move - Good friends help you move bodies."
  • Supply your own caption:

  • I don't think "Transition" refers to the photochromic lenses.
  • Update: Regarding the hawt [married] blonde who emailed me awhile back about being inattentive for not noticing her in her black Corvette convertible - Daughter and I saw her [and her husband] at the home center last weekend (she came over and gave me a hug) - and finally, I saw her a couple of times in the Corvette on the way home this week, and waved.
  • Ya suppose Bo, Sara, and Dori Belle are enrolled here?:
  • Neither is Sienna.
  • Correction: I recently wrote that I thought Grant Stinchfield may have attended my high school.  I meant Brendan Higgins.  And I still don't know for sure - I didn't attend reunion weekend earlier this month, so didn't get to ask anyone.
  • I sort of think I understand internet cookies and the notion that the interwebs track interests in order to push advertising they think will interest you.  What doesn't make sense is that my IQ-challenged phone sends me crawlers about helping Barack Obama get re-elected or downloading the latest Nicki Minaj track.  Hop-Sing, Sam-Sung, or whoever built my phone - are you really paying attention?
  • When I first saw this, I thought maybe it was one of those laundry places that attracts customers by serving beer, as in 'Laumdronat' could be the slurred pronunciation of Laundromat.  But it doesn't say anything about beer.

WWDHS - "Give Us Dirty Laumdry"?
  • Not sure the [Free Admission] Washing Machine Museum's gonna make my bucket list.
  • (At the MW Vietnam Veterans Memorial) This is the hugest walking stick insect I've ever seen.  Daughter, who is never afraid of anything, was reluctant to pick it up:

Stick, you're in the Army now.  Try to blend in...

  • From about three weeks ago - One of the first graduates from BNHS:

  •  Out near PK, we saw some deer wandering through an RV park.  Though I missed the exact moment, this one came up and licked Daughter's hand:

The deer whisperer

¹ h/t RPM

Friday, June 22, 2012

Betcha didn't know...

Bill Cosby keeps a weekend home in Jack County:

Do Jon Bovi live here?

Have a nice day...

...but don't trespass!

When trucks were made of metal

Back when I was in high school and college, my Dad had a truck about the same year as this one, with a 318. 

That truck did a lot of work.

I probably shouldn't skydive...

  • My valiant attempt to effect my own demise last weekend having failed, I spent much of this week hobbled (but still going to work, as that's how I was raised).
  • On level ground, my mountain bike's front brake cannot exert sufficient stopping power to somersault the bicycle.
  • Running down a 5' dry creekbed embankment with a 41" wheelbase, 26" tyres, and a 42" saddle height topped with a ~198# rider, even a slight friction on the front brake is sufficient to initiate a forward rotation about the front axle.  You do the physics.
  • In an instant, I'd slammed into the dirt with my right shoulder, forearm, and head.  Stunned, I lay in the dirt for a few seconds.  Daughter rushed over and handed me my eyeglasses, which had been thrown clear.
  • I stood up, but for some time could not breathe.  Finally, I picked the bike up and walked it up the other embankment, then walked Daughter's bike across also, and then I brushed the dirt off my shirt and denim shorts.
  • At a nearby convenience store, we got a sports drink, and I cleaned up in the restroom.  I was sore, but we rode for another couple of miles or so.  We attended a community outdoor concert that evening, but drove the car, as the pain was beginning to make itself known.
  • Daughter asked "Daddy, shouldn't you have that looked at?"
  • Well, I probably should have, but the memory of the eye-soul sons of bastidges who held me hostage for four days two years ago in a large building with lots of windows south of downtown Fort Worth (not to mention the uninsured portion I'm still paying on), compelled me to report "I'll be OK in a couple of days."
  • Five to be exact.  Finally I can do the moves to the chicken dance, and the ribs are just slightly sore/tender.  Although a sneeze today did feel like I'd just met Brutus' dagger in the Roman Senate.
  • I hope to be able to start the lawn mower tomorrow.
  • I should probably wear steel-toed shoes...

And Another

Which in this context has nothing to do with extracurricular dalliances, rather, referring to the moral decay which has infested even once hallowed halls.

Seems that classlessness is not limited to newcomers, as evidenced by news today that invited guests at a 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue gayfest thought it would be cute to pose, middle fingers raised, below the official portrait of the 40th President of the United States - a man whose sense of decency and rectitude compelled him to always wear a suit jacket in the Oval Office.

Of course, within a couple of elections (, I shan't), it was known as the Oral Office.  While the Left assiduously assailed the intelligence of POTUS 43, W did not demean the Office.

Apparently, one of the LGBT activists was miffed because "Ronald Reagan has blood on his hands," he said. "The man was in the White House as AIDS exploded."

So, we're to understand that Ronald Reagan, not rampant casual circus-sex¹ relations, propagated the HIV/AIDS virus.  Somewhere, in some Twilight Zone parallel universe, the activist's statement may make sense.

But I doubt it.

¹ No offense intended to RBB&B

Paradigm Shift

I wrote a 'Happy Juneteenth' post earlier this week, but chose not to publish it, lest someone get an incorrect impression.

Nonetheless, I had noted that my 'people', as best I know, came to this country post-War Between the States, and pre-Ellis Island.  They weren't slave owners, and also weren't necessarily huddled masses - just folks coming to build a decent, respectable life.  By the 1920s, maybe earlier, my great-grandfather (whom I never met as he died when my Dad was three) was Chief of Police of a small midwest town.

Immigrants today don't seem to have the same desire to assimilate, or to maintain a semblance of decorum/respectability:

The navy blue shirt reads "-*-- all Cowboy Haters"
the * being the Dallas Cowboys Star

Somehow, I don't see #74 Bob Lilly wearing that shirt.  Ever.

Stay classy, Señor!


For Sale: Air!  Only $9.97 a can.

I'm waiting until they add anti-oxidants.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day

The mosque-like auditorium weirds me out a bit, but still a great song:

Saturday, June 16, 2012

All hail Jon Bovi

No, not these guys.

These guys, Blaze of Glory:

If I hadn't attempted suicide on two wheels earlier in the day (thankfully, I broke the fall with my right shoulder, some ribs, and my head), daughter and I would've ridden our bikes to the concert - but with me acting like a cripple, we drove instead.

The singer was quite good, and I'm not sure Richie Sambora has any licks that Blaze's guitarist couldn't duplicate.

Then again, here's the real thing:

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


Here's the Red Jacket crew, hunting hogs in the Louisiana swamp, with flintlock rifles and muskets.

I don't think Daughter and I will go quite so primitive (I don't even have a flintlock), but it does kinda look like fun.

Boudreaux he say watch out for dem gators in dat swamp!  Dey gonna bit ya, boy!

Sears = USPS?

It's an anagram - if you rearrange the letters to the venerable retailer, you get USPS.

OK, obviously not.  But, based on my experience, they do have a lot in common.

Owing to frustration with a string trimmer (I've replaced the carb, and rebuilt it twice), I've been looking for a dedicated edger, mainly on Craigslist.  I like the McLane,  as well as some of the Craftsman models.  Unfortunately, I haven't found just what I'm looking for.

So recently on lunch I decided to go to a Sears Outlet that features power lawn & garden tools.  No edgers on display, but a clerk asks if he can help.

"Sure, looking for a gas edger - not the string trimmer kind."

"Oh, we just got a couple in.  Let me check."

After five minutes he returns with a dolly and a NIB edger, no visible transit damage.  He opens the box, and it's pretty much what I'm looking for.  158cc B&S 550 engine, four wheels, trenching option (for burying LV cable, I suppose).  (Digression: I've taken the Myers-Briggs & Stratton test probably close to a dozen times and still don't know what I want to be when I grow up.)

Craftsman 158cc 4 Cycle Gas Edger- 49 State at

"How much is it?" I ask.  He looks at me as though the question caught him by surprise.

For the next ten or twelve minutes, the clerk, another clerk, and their supervisor (who really could've been mistaken for a postal employee) try to find a price for this boxed and labeled piece of equipment.  Actually I think their data connection failed when the telephone handset broke in two trying to insert it into the 150 baud modem acoustic coupler.  Finally, they announced a price, clarifying that it was in dollars.  Dang, all I had on me were yuan!

It didn't seem out of line, but since I wanted to check it vis-à-vis the regular retail store price (turns out it's about $80 less), I thanked the clerk and returned to work.

While the crack staff were summoning the pricing wizards, I'd spent some time walking around the showroom, checking out this and that power tool.  As a little kid, many hours were spent in Sears stores, which in those days were bustling places. Later, I can recall shopping at the Sears outlets in Grand Prairie, Hampton & Illinois in Dallas, and on Denton Highway in Haltom City, and back in the day you could score some reasonably good bargains on scratch-n-dent or refurb merchandise.  But today's SR & Co. seems to have the same mindset as Radio Shack ("You've got questions - we've got blank expressions!"), offering unremarkable goods at a slight premium, coupled with uninspired service.  With todays category-killer big box stores, as well as online retailers, it amounts to, as the Wharton MBAs say: a lose-lose proposition.

So, at this point I think I'll pursue a Craigslist entry - after all, the guy already has a price in mind.

image 0

Monday, June 11, 2012

Summer Series - Guest Pastor

Eric Bryant from Gateway Church in Austin delivers this week's message, reminding us that it's not what we get out of Church, but how we show the world His love.

Also, it's OK to note that some of the best pastors have no hair.

Summer Series - Loving Unlikeable People from Keystone Church on Vimeo.

Déjà Vu...yet again

OK, this is getting weird.   A couple of weeks ago, I started listening to the CD changer in the car (yeah, I don't have a 6 terabyte flash drive jukebox - yet).

One aftertoon, as I walked from my office building across the parking lot, I found myself humming: "La la la la la la la la / la la la la la la la".  I clicked the door unlock, got in the car, and turned the key.

The engine started, the stereo cranked up: "Tin soldiers and Nixon's coming / we're finally on our own...", perfectly synchro-meshed with the soundtrack that'd been running in my head just moments earlier.

"Man, that's weird!", I thought¹, before reasoning that my subconscious (which is way smarter than me, by the way, and better looking) self had simply picked up the mental soundtrack where it'd left off when I parked that morning.

Fair enough.

I'd been searching for a scope base for a poodle-shooter I'm upgrading, so I drove to the Hallowed Place - Cabela's - to see if they had the model I sought.  Two or three more songs had played from the CD since I'd left the office.   I found a space and parked the car.

Looking to the right, this is what I saw:

Touché.  By now, I'm thinking "There's some really cool karma going on here."  And I began to plan how to journalize this on my blog, if for no other reason than to one-up my friend Todd the Blogger by spinning a thin premise into a long tale.

But the truck graphic also made me ponder "Maybe Combat Kevin or Her Majesty actually know the folks out at Crazy Horse Ranch, and maybe there's fewer degrees of Kevin Bacon than previously theorized."  I snapped the picture with my phone camera and commenced shopping.  And after not finding what I was looking for in Valhalla (later special-ordered from CheaperThanDirt), I pretty much forgot the episode, figuratively gathering dust behind some LP records and open reel [Maxell] tapes in the cobwebs of my mind.

Until today.

Firing up the Commodore 64 after work, I adjusted the cat's whisker to tune into the Blogadelphia frequency and today's post.   Then I clicked on the link on the last line.

Doo-doo, doo-doo / doo-doo, doo-doo.

I bet any minute Allen Funt is gonna walk up to me...and rip off his [latex] reveal Rod Serling!

¹ Yes, I often think in italics.  It helps clear the mind.

Saturday, June 9, 2012


Not really, but for fans of Top Gear, here's:

Image Detail


Two bundles for $3.00.  Only at RaceTrac.

Get yours for the upcoming cold June nights in Texas...

Pray for me

I recently noted that I'd begun setting aside Saturday mornings for domestic work (I am seriously domestic-challenged), after a lengthy [20+ years] hiatus.

Now comes news that shakes me to my core.

I knew those devices were dangerous.

But with enough of Sienna's cast-off fur lying around to spin into wool parkas for an Arctic expedition team, I had to bite the bullet and fire up the Hoover.

Image Detail

I just hope I don't incur $400M in damages - my MasterCard doesn't go that high.

Wonder if they make Nair for dogs?

Edit: I replaced the image because the URL shown on the other image was possibly causing issues.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Darlin' is he gone?

An old song by Ry Cooder, with a kind of Zydeco feel:

And the more accessible version that I've known for about 35+ years¹:

¹For those who track vital statistics, at least two of the musicians in the Ronstadt vid are now playing underground concerts: Kenny Edwards (bass) and Andrew Gold.  Sharp eyes will of course note guitarist Robert "Waddy" Wachtel on slide, not dead, who has for many years been bandleader for Stephanie Lynn Nicks.