Friday, June 26, 2015

Summer's Here!

Everyone has their share of quirks, or idiosyncracies, and clearly, I've been blessed (or cursed) with as many as anyone.

Probably the one song that always conjures up summertime more than any other for me is this one.  I don't think it's ever failed to transport me back to warm summer evenings, evoking colored lights illuminating the trees of the courtyard at the Inn of Six Flags, or maybe one of the elevated patio decks at Cardinal Puff's.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Classic Harry Chapin

Even though I mailed an actual card earlier in the week, I called my Dad this afternoon to be sure to wish him a Happy Father's Day.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Wednesday's Winks

  • Probably a sure sign of getting old, but the amount of TV I watch (not that much) is about 50% reruns.
  • I've become a fan of Rules of Engagement.  I guess it's probably been out of production for a couple of years or so?  Some of the episodes are pre-Tamir (Timmy), but more are post.  He provided a good counterpoint to David Spade's character.  Audrey and Jeff are the backbone of the show, though.
  • Sometimes, I'll view part of How I Met Your Mother, but it just hasn't caught with me.  If I channel surf, will occasionally watch a few minutes of Big Bang Theory, but likewise, it doesn't hold my attention.
  • The rest of my TV repertoire is mostly PBS - documentaries or Nightly Business Review.  I dig Antiques Roadshow - a recent episode had an original iron frame Henry repeater, serial #64, valued at around $100K.  Not sure what happened to the History Detectives program; I enjoyed that one (and Elyse Luray is pretty easy on the eyes...).
Image result for henry repeater from antiques roadshow
  • There was a cool program on the other night about historical restorations.  That episode had an old steam locomotive and its tender rebuilt.  Others in the series are supposed to include old aircraft and ships.
Main Banner- Ultimate Restorations
  • Even watched a bit of Jesse James' Monster Garage, and [possibly spinoff] Monster House - both pretty much bread and circus fare.
  • I never can remember when M.A.S.H. airs, but managed to catch an episode where Col. Potter resists the temptation to have an affair.  It was an extremely well written installment within probably the best sit-com ever.
Image result for col. potter resists temptress MASH
  • If you grew up in the '50s or '60s with the last name Potter, Harry Bratsberg redeemed it from Lionel Blythe in the '70s.  Both fine actors.  Not sure what Mr. Radcliffe's character bodes for the name.
  • Recently read that if you're willing to hike a bit, you can access the site in the California hills where the outdoor scenes were filmed, though it's scarcely recognizable with the tents and buildings gone.  There's a website that features such stuff.
  • While doing a Rob Schneider routine at work, I accidentally embarrassed a kid (20-ish) the other day.  I was in the break room near the end of the day, and as he came in, I did the Richard Laymer bit, first saying his name normally, then with an -o after.  He, probably too young to remember the SNL character, but being a good sport, tried to play along by saying "I'm going home-o."
  • Fail.
  • He turned about three shades of red when I asked "How's that again?"
Image result for richard laymer
  • Not sure if it's a sign of the times or of the culture: At a 'big box' retailer the other day a guy carried in a large piece of unused merchandise requesting a refund.  Apparently he didn't have his receipt, and didn't have the credit/debit card on which it was purchased, so it couldn't be looked up.  The item was no longer stocked, so the store's inventory system showed a nominal value of just pennies.  He said he'd bought it for $40-50 just 2-3 weeks earlier, but the store's records indicated it'd been clearanced a couple of months ago at about $15.
  • He became insistent that he wasn't going to accept pennies, and didn't want to keep the merchandise.  A manager was summoned, who apparently approved a store credit refund of about $50.
  • A couple of days later, I was there again, and so was the guy - this time with a half-cart of stuff.  From what I could tell, he got hold of a different manager, not so accommodating as the earlier one, as the store only accepted a few of his items for return.
  • Apparently an example of 'retail clearance arbitrage', in which the grifter¹ purchases steep markdown merchandise, then returns it to the same or another retailer for full (or at least a greater) value.  The scam involves knowing the price points for various lines of merchandise, as well as the retailers' typical thresholds or guidelines regarding 'customer satisfaction'.  
  • It wouldn't be dishonest if he were simply selling it at a flea market or on Ebay.
  • My local weather watcher reported .81" of rain from midnight to 8:00a in my town.
¹ I had never used this word in a sentence before, and despite being a John Cusack fan, have not seen the similarly named movie. 

Monday, June 15, 2015

Monday Nitwittery

  • Today, the bobbleheads/bubbleheads at Fox News discuss the dangerous epidemic of citizens acquiring armored vehicles.
  • Sarcasm mine.
  • Seriously, the van was not milsurp.  Yeah, it's more hardened than your typical Econoline, but get real Fox News, the guy could've shot at DPDHQ from a freakin' Geo before fleeing the area.
  • Ultimately, the fortified van was no match for a/some .50 BMG round(s).
  • Do these idiot newsreaders think there are lots of folks likely to spend $100K or a half mil to acquire - and nefariously employ - actual surplus DOD materiel?   Doesn't seem likely to me.
  • Went for an after-dark bike ride last night.  Before leaving, I outfitted said bike with some lighting I'd acquired on clearance at the local ALDI: A strobing 5 LED handlebar headlight, a dangling 2 LED white LED flasher, and its counterpart red flasher that I hung from the rear luggage rack.  As well, the bike has had magneto powered red LEDs in the pedals for some time.
  • As I approached a fishing pond along the bike path, a fishing dude says "Oh, I'm sorry - I was just trying to get this line loose..."  I guess he thought I was a bike cop or P&W or something.
  • "Um, no problem" I said as I kept riding by.
  • My friend who serves as a local rain collector and reports to one of the TV stations sent an email that our town got .12" of rain today.  Woo-hoo!
  • Kids' mom emailed a short video today of Daughter in one of those indoor skydiving simulators - looks like fun.
  • FG¹ texted me today, asking if I'd seen the new Jurassic Park, or if more 'cerebral' fare would better suit.
  • Me, cerebral?  WTH? 

  • I don't think so, Tim². 
    • As I responded to Denney Crane recently, FG does not have this URL.  No one who's read the thoughts contained on this blogsite is gonna consider me cerebral.
    • Still, it made me chuckle.
    ¹ Apologies to KC for co-opting the term - I just don't really know how to refer to her.  As she's a wee bit my senior, GF sounds weird, and the term Lady-friend sounds ghey.

    ² Edit: When I wrote this post, I meant the tagline as a reference to Home Improvement's Tim Taylor.  But looking at the image, I'm given to ponder that it may be of Timmy Leary...

    Friday, June 12, 2015

    Freaky Friday

    Well, the world hasn't ended yet, but there's significant evidence that - culturally - we're doing our best to facilitate its demise.
    • I probably won't comment on the McKinney situation.  Doing so seems to have the unfortunate result of costing people jobs or friendships.  (Update:  Per the evening local news, there's a protest/counter-protest march planned from McKPDHQ to the County Courthouse.  Good grief!)
    • OK, one tidbit: I inquired of my date the other evening, over dinner, what 'we' thought of McKinney.
    • She: "Oh, it's another example of the militarization of the police."
    • Gently, I asked: "Really?  Have you seen the video?"
    • "I don't need to.  I know what it's about."
    • "Well, I saw it.  Let me give you a few details."
    • My takeaway from the resulting conversation is that we humans are our own worst enemies, and I was reminded of the fable of the blind men and an elephant.  
    • Of course, in the fable, comprehension was impeded by the blindness.  But there is none so deaf as those that will not hear; none so blind as those that will not see¹.  
    • Particularly puzzling to me as she is my age, with advanced degrees, and probably ten times as smart.
    • It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so².
    • Even though I am a man, I resisted the temptation to use either of those quotes, or to advance the conversation thread beyond explaining what was actually on the video.  Because I am not a stoopid man.  One does not argue with the female of the species.
    • Prior, we went to see Love & Mercy, the Brian Wilson biopic starring John Cusack.  I was initially surprised that it was in fairly limited release in the area, but realized after that even though it's a great film, most moviegoers under 45 just wouldn't get it.
    • Without spoiling anything, a few random thoughts from the movie, or at least Cusack.  There is a scene where he (as the 1980s Brian Wilson, is showing his girlfriend the constellations at an observatory - seemed to me to continue a motif established in The Sure Thing and Serendipity (both of which referenced Cassiopeia).  On their first date, he arrives at her apartment complex, but forgets the apartment number, so he's calling out for her from the lawn/courtyard below.  The scene framing was evocative of Say Anything, sans boombox.  In another part of the film, Cusack's depiction of Wilson's psychosis suggested he could be a great candidate to reprise Hoffman's Rain Man character.
    • I'm chapped that I can't find my CD of Wilson's 1998 release, Imagination.  Edit: Disc found, case still AWOL.
    • Two musical geniuses:

    • The third movement, Allegro, of this song reminds me of psychedelic bluegrass.
    • Last weekend, we went to the UTA planetarium to see the Pink Floyd lightshow.  It was pretty cool.  
    • Would've been better if the chairs reclined more.  And if you could have a glass or two of wine.
    • The music was from Dark Side of the Moon, of course, but I really wish it had included Comfortably Numb.
    • I was unaware that The Rolling Stones were playing AT&T Stadium that night, so it took almost an hour to get through traffic from UTA to a restaurant on the north side of Arlington.
    • Cabela's now sells drones.  We live in interesting times.
    • Odd realization today - it's the 33rd anniversary of my first wedding (not to the kids' mom). Wow.
    • After a Noahic month of May, we're dry again. I'm actually hoping for a few raindrops this weekend.
    • The kids' grandmother called oldest son to dispatch a snake from the shrubs at their house last night.  Daughter went with him to help in its apprehension.  All though I'm fairly ambivalent when it comes to the legless ones, I was proud that they asked if no one had any objections, they'd take the live serpent and release it elsewhere.
    • It now resides somewhere on or near the Circle T Ranch.
    ¹ Matthew Henry
    ² S. L. Clemens

    Friday, June 5, 2015

    Stupid is as stupid does - week in review

    Well, peering out from the view atop Mt. Ararat as the flood waters recede, it appears not all of the dumbocracy in the world got drowned out.

    • The nearly 50 year old sophomoron in Addison was on this evening's news, explaining that he was a hero for refusing to produce his driver's license and insurance during a traffic stop.  During the interview, Mr. Idjit was wearing a "911 was an inside job" t-shirt.  He must've removed his tinfoil hat for the cameras.
    • He's pleading not guilty, and fighting the charges, which - did I mention - included that his license and registration were also expired.  And who might represent this kook?  Yeah, he's represented, pro se.
    • I don't think even the circus blogger, who seems to sympathize disproportionately with nitwittery - at least if it challenges authority, especially police - would side with this guy.
    • And, speaking of nattering nabobs - those who cried foul about a Fort Worth SWAT officer using excessive force against the cornered suspect who'd closed down parts of  I-20 for a couple of hours during rush hour last week may need to do an about face.  The incident investigation has found that the suspect had gotten tangled in the officer's weapon sling, and the officer was wresting it free.  Apparently, post-Ferguson et al, media's appetite is insatiable for examples of police wrongdoing, real or imagined.  The officer has been returned to duty.
    • The saying, "Believe none of what you hear, half of what you see" seems to apply here.
    • The driver of the SWAT truck who brought the episode to a close is still in limbo, as apparently he was instructed not to sideswipe the fleeing vehicle.
    • Serendipity is a many splendored thing.  Even though I'm a fan of his movies, it's a pretty sure thing that John Cusack and I are poles apart politically.  And it's rare to hear a liberal say anything negative about the current POTUS, but Cusack has opined that this one is " bad or worse than Bush."
    • Kind of refreshing.
    • Whether he'd made that comment or not, I'm looking forward to seeing Love and Mercy, the Beach Boys/Brian Wilson biopic.
    • Let them eat cookies:  Even though we're not yet to June 21, we could be off to one crazy summer, celebrity-wise.  Patrick Stewart - Capt. Picard for you Trekkies - is criticising a UK magistrate for fining a baker who would not bake a cake with a pro-gay marriage slogan £500.  He says the baker should be free to accept, or deny, business as he sees fit.
    • Personally, the plethora of piss-ant personalities posturing for gay marriage cakes perplexes me.  It's not like bakers are monopolistic or even oligopolistic, and I doubt that many, irrespective of their religious faith, are apt to turn down business, unless the would-be customers are trying to be a real PITA.  Heck, if  one of the local cobblers wouldn't re-sole my boots because "I'm the NRA" or something, I'd take my business to the other one - problem solved.  (Full disclosure - I've done business with both of the local cobbler shops.)
    • But for the past six months or a year, you'd think the most pressing social issue was whether a gay couple could buy a damn wedding cake. Kudos to Sir Patrick for showing common sense.