Saturday, February 28, 2015

Snowmelt Saturday

OK, enough snow and ice - let's get back to Texas weather...
  • It was fun at first, but I was starting to get cabin fever.
  • Beforer:
  • Afterer:
Hello, hello, hello - Is there anybody in there...?
  • The roof ice formed sort of a visor on the windshield, with the wipers carving out a 2-3" undercut.  Don't worry, visibility was excellent in all directions.
  • The initial nitwittery following the Eddie Ray Routh conviction/sentencing seemed to subside pretty quickly.  I was surprised that a lot of people's opinions on the case seemed to hinge on what they perceived was Chris Kyle's character - whether they thought he was a hero or villain.  If I had been on the jury, it would have been a non-issue.  Routh killed two men who had not harmed him in any way.
  • Clemens' quote about lies and statistics is a favorite of mine.  The nabob on the Oscars who nattered something about more black men incarcerated in the U.S. today than were held under slavery established his reputation as a liberal darling - even though the comparison was neither particularly relevant, nor was it accurate.
  • Taking those in reverse order, it's inaccurate, because it's simply not true.  Rudimentary fact checking shows that around 1860 there were nearly four million slaves, an astonishingly high number certainly - almost 13 percent of the population.  But the number of persons incarcerated in the U.S. - of all stripes - as of 2011 was a bit under three million.  African-Americans account for roughly 15% of the U.S. population, about 46 million people.  But even if we assume a 3:1 disproportional representation in the prison/jail population, there'd still only be 1.3-1.4 million blacks incarcerated, about a third as many as were slaves, despite a 10-fold population increase.
  • On the relevance front, what exactly would be the proper ratio of slaves to prisoners?  The institution of slavery was, of course, wrong.  It exists no more, so the comparison is meaningless, except as an ersatz factoid.  While it's true that the U.S. incarcerates a larger percentage of its population than any other country, and there's room for honest debate as to why that is and whether it should be the case, using made up statistics doesn't add to the discussion.
  • The always colorful late Molly 'Shoot-from-the-lip' Ivins once penned a column wailing about the injustice of there being more Federal Firearms Licensees (many - or most - of whom were so-called 'kitchen table' dealers) than McDonald's franchises.  I'm somewhat familiar with ratio analysis, but for the life of me, I'd never seen an expected range for that ratio.  Another utterly useless statistic.
  • In some ways, I'm a natural skeptic.  Watching a PBS show about tea, I heard the claim that Bangladesh consumes 55 million kilograms of tea leaves per year.  My BS meter went on alert, until I researched the population of Bangladesh, did the math, and found that it works out to about 3/4 pound of tea leaves per person.  I can believe that.
  • If this girl had been in your high school class, would you have dated her?
Yes, you would have.  In your Dreams.
  • I like Michael Che on SNL's Weekend Update, but they need to lose the Riblet (Bobby Moynihan) bit.  Moynihan's Drunk Uncle is OK, but Riblet just isn't funny.
  • To make a sammich awesome, 'splooge' slather some of this on your bread:
Not for the benefit of Mr. Kite.
  • I snagged some poppy seed kaiser rolls at the Kroger and used the horseradish mustard to make the Wurst Semmel in the history of alles Semmels.  As Hans Mueller hat gesagt: Unsere Wurst ist der beste!   Yummy?  Javoll!  (Edit: Maybe they are Chia seeds - wonder if they'll help fill in that thinning spot on my scalp...?)
  • When I was in 7th and 8th grades, there was a Delikatessen about 2-1/2 blocks from the Villa, our school's Junior High building.  While there was a student-run concession in the school that sold Wurstsemmels between B and C periods for about 10 Schillings (back when the exchange rate was about AS 20 = 1 USD), they often ran out and the lines were long - so three or four of us would run down to the Deli to get our own, fresh Semmels.  At least until the administration caught wind of it, and put the kibosh on our swash-buckling ruffian enterprise.
  • I'm a virtual teetotaler these days, but an artisinal sandwich masterpiece called out for something other than my world famous iced tea house blend.  So I copped a Sierra Nevada IPA from a six-pack I was going to give a friend.
The [made in U.S.A.] Hamm's church-key was a necessary accoutrement 
- this ain't no twist-off bottle.
  • It's all good.  I'll just make up a mixed six-pack with some Pumpkin Ale and no one'll be the wiser, Bud.
  • Ruh-roh!  I just Googled 'splooge'.  Where was Inigo Montoya when I was writing this post?  I do not think it means what I thought it meant.  That'll teach me to co-opt terms from other bloggers - I thought it was just a made-up word.
  • Tonight's church service was most excellent.  Brandon and Susan co-delivered the message.  It was the last in the "This is Bliss" series about marriage.   In an earlier installment, Brandon criticized the '50 Shades...' franchise by name;  Susan referenced it indirectly tonight. It's been a great series, albeit one that's left me feeling all dressed up and no place to go...
  • This was on the Kroger newsstand:
If I get much closer, people are gonna look at me funny (funnier?)
  • I grant you that chick is probably super-hawt (I didn't open the mag to check it out), but I would contest that she is 'the most desirable woman in the world'.  By whose standards?  What constitutes 'desirable'?

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

We came, we's getting warmer

But not by much, although at present the prospect of snow tonight doesn't look to be all that daunting.  So, other than watching the ice melt, what else is going on?
  • Sea crawfish are washing ashore on Newport Beach.  Thibodeaux is on his way.
  • Mike Rowe argues ability over sheepskins.  I agree with MR - I have a college degree, but I've worked with others who also do, who couldn't pour...and I've also worked with some extremely talented folks who for whatever reason (money, time) didn't attend college, but knew how to get the job done.
  • Waffle House pursues symbiotic business opportunity.  Seems like a match...
  • Does Richard ---- know about this?
  • It was probably inevitable, but since Brian Williams was sacked/sidelined, the Left had to find someone on the Right to attack.  I'm not a huge O'Reilly fan, what with all that killing and stuff, and it may be an apples-to-potatoes comparison, inasmuch as O'R is a commentator, not a journalist.  We'll see how this plays out.  I understood the concern for BW's judgment, given his position, but not the vitriol that some seemed to have.
  • The circus blogger had a mention of Jimmy Webb this morning.
  • As I don't really keep up too much with the entertainment world, I was unaware that Reba McEntire was Kelly Clarkson's MIL.  (And now that I do know, other than blogging, I have absolutely no use for the information.)
  • Caught an AM radio advert pitching oil or oil wells, saying that some of the largest fortunes in the country have been made from oil.  Sounds to me like an enterprising attempt to shore up oil futures by bringing uninformed rubes into the market.  Not that it wouldn't be possible for someone to take a stake at the bottom and cash out at a profit in the future, but to me it sounds like the oil they're selling comes from snakes.
  • Later on, a similar pitch for silver.  That's right Scout, silver - hiyo!  Two words: Hunt. Brothers.
  • Mark Levin's screed is like fingernails on a chalk-board to me.  Happened to hear him illustrate a 'point' by using the last line of Hotel California.  Dude, stop doing that - that's MY schtick.
  • Son is on his first business trip, landed at Orange County this morning and texted me a picture of the 9' John Wayne statue.  I texted him back, saying "Look at the notation on the base - it was cast at a foundry in Dublin...Texas."
  • No surprises here.  Some of the coolest folks are from the Sunflower State.  Even Alf.  But not that Alf.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Ghost Rider in the Sky...again!

Not sure how I've managed to scoop Murphy's Law with this story, but a decommissioned B-52H (technically, long-term storage) from AMARG has been resurrected to replace another BUFF that was fire-damaged last year at Barksdale AFB.

Back when I was taking flying lessons, it was not possible to fly in a 100 year old airplane - they didn't exist.  Now, there's talk - probably fanciful - that the B-52 might still be around at 100.

Anyway, here's to the 54 year olds!

Sunday, February 22, 2015


Second, I think, in a series:

What can it be?

Oh, yeah...that was in Planet of the Apes, right?

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Saturday Somnambulations

  • So, the week warms up to decent weather, and now we're looking to start next week with sleet.
  • Well, it is winter.  At least the Trinity isn't frozen over.
  • I had a meeting in the city 'Where the East Peters Out' this week, so on a lark I took the TRE (shades of Amon Carter).  You can still see the motorcycle/4WD trails south of the Rock Island line, both east and west of TX-360.  I used to ride my 80cc trailbike, and later 100cc enduro there as an adolescent.  Before that, I can recall my Dad driving up Telephone Pole Hill in his Scout 800, and also using it to winch out FJ-40s.  (Not ragging on the FJ40 - he later had a couple of them himself).
  • Farther east¹, there's massive wetlands/swamp areas both north and south of the rail line, near the Bell station.  They looked like they could keep the whole metromess stocked in mosquitoes for a full season.  Former strip mining pits, I think.
  • Kinda weird to stop at Irving Downtown.  My first bank account was at Irving Bank & Trust, which had a 6 or 7 story office building a stone's throw from the station, and was the tallest building in downtown Irving.  My first elementary school was named for one of the directors.  Now there's just a single story Chase Bank on that site.
  • You could make a category of Trivial Pursuit - Banking Edition trying to remember what bank acquired or merged with another.
  • I saw the ball fields, now part of the Trinity River Greenbelt, where I had YMCA football practice in 5th or 6th grade.
  • Arriving at Union Station, I decided to answer nature's call before catching the DART connector.  I was the only white person. In. The. Lobby.
  • Since I was running early, I decided to do some sightseeing and ride the rails south of Dallas.
 A Rolls-Royce up on blocks...sure, why not?

 Tribal Public art at the Illinois or Kiest station
  • On one of the segments, a guy who was a cross between Tracy Morgan and Eddie Ray Routh boarded the DART train, talking angrily on his cellphone with earbuds/inline mic.  I'm glad I was facing away, as the thought bubble above my head would've looked like Phil Hartman's Sinatra talking to Chris Rock's Luther Campbell: "Can't understand a word, pal.", as I wondered if even June Cleaver could translate his rant.  I could make out several GDs, as well as this sort of sentence, "Checkmate n----r, that's what's the f--k!"  When I deboarded to catch the return line to downtown, I was the only melanin-challenged person waiting on the platform (of about 20-25 people).
More art.
  • I appreciate the tagger's RKBA sentiment, but I'm not sure a tanker car is the proper forum for expressing it:
Klicken Sie, um zu vergrößern
  • There was a pretty strong police (DPD and DART) presence near the West End station.  I tend to be pretty 'law-and-order', but still had to chuckle watching some officers glide around on their 3-wheeler Segways (I wonder if they have built-in donut hole dispensers?).  And it was downright odd watching three officers interrogating a man on a platform bench because he wouldn't show them ID.
  • I had a Filet-o-Fish sammich at the West End golden arches.  Supposedly, McDs is updating the FoF recipe, but apparently it hasn't rolled out nationwide.
  • If you're waiting for a DART train, beware of the grackles in the trees above the sidewalk next to the platform.  You're welcome.
  • The South Side condos were once the Sears Roebuck distribution center, allegedly its first operation outside of Chicago, somewhat analogous to the Montgomery Wards building on West Seventh.  They're now condos:
Kinda surprised that the management permits satellite dishes on the building.
  • Not for sure about this, but I think that the old I-H parts house in Dallas in the late '60s was between the Sears and [what's now] Gilley's.
  • Using a cellphone camera through a perforated window shade film can approximate an 8mm image:
All clear today on the grassy knoll.
Photo courtesy of The Donald Rabinowitzapruder.
  • I had a mid-day regional pass, and boarded the DART line for my return trip within the stated time range, but my connecting TRE was not scheduled to depart Union Station until 50 minutes after the mid-day expired.  Wanting to do the right thing - or at least not incur a $75 fine - I asked the DART conductor who was walking through (I was already seated on the train) if I was g-t-g or if I needed to buy another ticket (I did, of course, point out that I'd boarded the DART within the allotted time).
  • Maybe because I was dressed like Eddie Murphy's 'White Like Me' dude, he looked at my ticket and said "I'm not really sure, but don't worry, Sir, there's not any ticket checkers on this run.  If anyone asks you, just tell them you talked with me."
  • And sure enough, no one asked me about my ticket.
¹ Correction: The TX-360 CentrePort station is actually east of the Hurst/Bell station.

Thursday, February 19, 2015


The downside to this photo, of course, is that
The General is not wearing his ivory-grip Colt SAA.

Arbeitsplätze sind die wichtigsten Dinge, in denen ein Mensch kann sich verwöhnen lassen. Es zeigen sich alle, die sich am besten; es beseitigt alles, was ist. Alle Kämpfer für die Freiheit wollen die Arbeitsplätze. Der feige ist der, der seine Angst vor ihm zu Gewalt. Ein Job, und lieben zu können, die Sie wünschen, sind die duftenden Essenzen der Persönlichkeit. Wir suchen Aufträge für unsere deutschen Kameraden.

The above photo is NOT captioned in German, since Germany didn't win WWII, and because Old Blood and Guts didn't say a darned thing about finding Fritz und Helmut living wage jobs so that they'd stop bombing London, sinking ships in the Atlantic, and toasting Hebrews in Poland. Instead, he said "No bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country." and he sicced the United States Third Army on those jerries - not to hand them job applications and CareerBuilder upgrade offers, but to shoot them.

That poor spokes-bimbo at Foggy Bottom trying to articulate the administration's plan to appease the terrorists would be in over her head on a Slip-n-Slide.  The truth is there is a battle going on, and a President long before the spokes-twit was born said eloquently, if not in a genteel way, "If you've got them by the balls, their hearts and minds will follow."

If you thought that last quote was from LBJ, you may be forgiven, as he was reported to have said it.  But it was earlier said by one of the Rushmore Presidents - in 1906, Theodore Roosevelt so responded to a question posed by his aide, one Lt. Douglas  MacArthur.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Mittwoch Musings

I've started keeping a note sheet of random thoughts:
  • I don't know if there's much controversy regarding how to make tuna salad, but my recipe includes 2 minced hard-boiled eggs, a can of tuna (in spring water), a dollop of Calder's Horseradish Sauce, 2-1/4 dollops of Miracle Whip, 1-1/2 dollops of pickle relish, and 3/4 dollop of crunchy onion bits.
  • Maverick that I am, I eschew (excuse me!) the Imperial and metric systems of measurement, preferring to use dollops instead.
  • It's tasty, and tangy.
  • My church is running a new series - This is Bliss:
  • This was the scene in the lobby last weekend:
They had to hold that pose for about 25-30 minutes.
  • After the opening praise music, there was a well-choreographed dance number in which three attendants each came up the side aisles, then joined by the wedding couple, and one of the associate pastors in the 'role' of celebrant.  
  • The sermon itself was on Abraham and Sarah.
  • Recently saw this at the Kroger: 
Seriously, for one bottle?  It's still beer...
  • When I saw this on the checkout rack, I have to confess that my surprise was not so great at Kirk Douglas being married 60 years as it was that he was still alive. 
Good for him/them.
  • I am taking a couple of classes, but don't look for me in "And Another...", as a) The profs are dudes; b) The classes are online:

  • Took Sienna for a long walk Sunday afternoon, along the way saw this:

"I'm Batman!"
(No zoom or cropping was used to make this photo.  
I wonder if it made rabbit ear shadows/silhouettes after I left?)
  • So, did I step on it after?  No, I didn't.  It was minding its own business, and was gracious enough to let me photograph it, so live-and-let-live.  I am glad, though, that my experience wasn't similar to the guy photographing the gorilla.
  • Was blessed to have middle son join me for the men's group meeting at church Monday evening.  Unfortunately, it was the last session of the series.  We got ice cream treats at the new Dairy Queen after.  It'd been over 15 years since there was a DQ in town, glad to see them return.
  • Back in the day, the DQ was next to THE bank (although there was also an S&L in town).  Now there is a DQ again, and there are at least 8 banks represented (that I can think of). Can we trade three of the banks for another DQ?
  • Wish I could remember why the original one closed.  My recollection was that the franchisee got over-extended, but that somehow the franchise contracts were tied up in the court system, preventing anyone else from operating in those outlets' markets.  It seems that the stores in Watauga, Richland Hills, Keller, Haltom City, Roanoke, and NRH all closed around the same time.
  • Until the recent new wave of stores - which are très nice - I had to sate my DQ appetite at the Northside FW (not so hot), Rhome (OK), Decatur (decent), west Weatherford (OK), or Mineral Wells (I like the quirky one on N. Oak; on SE 1st Street, not so much), and I think maybe I went to the one in B'port about three times (decent).  
  • I like what this chick's trying to do, but doubt it's totally true.
  • With all due respect to Sam Elliott (I've never worn a mustache without a beard or corresponding goatee, but if I could rock a 'stache like Sam, I would), this was what was for dinner Tuesday night:
Mmm, Deer Pork!  Is that near Houston?
  • Sunday's walk's shuffle play included: Doolin-Dalton/Desperado Reprise ("The queen of diamonds let you down, She was just an empty fable..."); Baez' Diamonds & Rust ("Our breath comes out white clouds/Mingles and hangs in the air..."), and also performing former paramour Robby Z's Forever Young ("May you have a strong foundation/When the winds of changes shift..."); Murph's Once a Drifter ("So here I am, uncertain again/Headed for no place to go."); Lovely Linda's (with the writer providing harmony vocal) Prisoner in Disguise ("You think the love you never had might save you/But true love takes a little time...") and Rivers of Babylon ("So let the words of our mouth/And the meditations of our hearts/Be acceptable in thy sight..."); Donald Hugh's They're Not Here, They're Not Coming ("Would they pile into the saucer/Find Orlando's rat and hug it?/Go screaming through the universe/Just to get McNuggets?") and For My Wedding ("So what makes us any different from all the others/Who have tried and failed before us?"); and Stevie/Lindsey/Mick & John's Say You Will ("Somethin' in you put a hold on my heart/It's hard to believe now.")
  • Talk about lucky, just a few hundred yards from the end of our walk, Sienna decided to answer nature's call, in a solid way.  Providence was smiling on Der Donald, though, as she was less than 50' from one of those dispensing stations with the reusable plastic grocery bags.  It may not be the only such station along the trail, but it's the only one I can think of.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Oh, Sunny Saturday...

Wow, just wow - you know the northeast is envious of Texas weather today.
  • To that point, a long-long-ago FG (can I borrow that term, CK?) texted me this morning with pics of her driveway, somewhere in Ohio, the undisturbed snow on either side at least 2' deep.
  • While doing some chores around the house, was listening to KXT and heard the Indigo Girls' Galileo, which I had not heard in forever.  As I listened, I remembered that the harmony background vocals were Jackson Browne and David Crosby's.
  • Normally, I'm not affected by caffeine, and have long maintained that I could drink 2 cups of coffee at a late evening event and still fall asleep five minutes from my head hitting the pillow.  So, it's made it difficult for me to empathize with insomniacs.  
  • But lately, my locust or cicadian rhythms have gotten off track - like maybe their tympanies are out of tune or something. Despite going to be around midnight last night, I did not reach any restful sleep until after 5:00a, just fits and starts of maybe 5-10 minutes.  I blame it on the smart phone, though I did have my second cup of coffee around 9:00p.
  • Speaking of REM - sort of - hearing Galileo send me to my dusty trove of CDs.  I put on the 'Girls eponymous CD from 1989, which happens to feature Peter Buck and Michael Stipe.
  • When others bashed Jay Leno, I was usually a defender.  Even though he was widely criticized as not being the worthy successor to Johnny, I thought that he managed to capture the middle-America ethos of his predecessor better than the Indiana-raised Letterman, who I believed relied too heavily on 'inside baseball' banter with Paul Shaffer.
  • Anyway, while I would still enjoy watching his cars bits, I think he acted the a$$ in dissing former Miami Heat cheerleader and Bachelorette Trista Sutter, née Rehn, as being an airhead.  Look, if you're getting, or got, millions to fake interview people on your show, it's probably poor form to insult your guests, even years after the fact. 
  • Maybe I'm also partial, inasmuch as she actually married the 'bachelor' Ryan despite the whole contrived nature of the show, and is apparently still married, which in today's world strikes me as something of an accomplishment.
  • Leno also lost standing in my eyes when he backed out of performing for this year's SHOT Show, the gun show for manufacturers, distributors and retailers, when he 'learned' that it was associated with guns.  For real?
  • I attended a couple of SHOT shows in the '90s, when they were held at the Dallas Convention Center.  Since then, they migrated to Orlando, which has a huge CC, possibly with a stop at NOLA, but have now apparently become permanently attached to LVNV.
  • I probably wouldn't recognize one today.  Used to enjoy being able to pick up and caress handle a $50,000 Italian shotgun, or a fine British double rifle, but apparently the 'black rifle' segment now dominates the scene.  Not hatin' here, but it's not my main area of interest.
  • It was all the more enjoyable that the component bullet manufacturers: Nosler, Hornady, Sierra, Speer, Barnes, etc, had huge bins of 'sample' component projectiles that you could scoop up by the handfuls and dump into your swag bag.  Same for gun lube makers, featuring small packets (think soy sauce packs) of whatever space age super non-gumming zero frictionizing snake oil that could turn your Davis or Jennings pot metal heater into a Walther, Sig, or Kimber.  Or at least so it seemed. 
  • If I win the lottery tonight, I will indulge my inner - wait, who am I kidding? - eccentric, and buy one of these:
Homely, yet in this livery, somehow dignified.

  • Or maybe this one:

  • Embracing my abstemious eccentric - ya only got 
    one driver, why do you need two headlights?

    • But not quite this eccentric: 

    • Formerly owned by Dr. Severinsen?
      • I made a pot of chili earlier this week.  Now, some of you will say that I did not, in fact, make any chili at all, as I used diced chicken (it had been in the freezer and I needed to use it before it started getting 'freezer burn'), and - gasp! - beans (not solamente 'chili' beans, pero también frijoles negros).  If I were entering an ICS competition, and with all due respect to Terlingua (Viva, Jerry J!), you would of course be correct.
      • But this chili weren't built to win no award other than approval from the singular gastronome el Donaldo.  And in that it succeeded, featuring roasted poblano & bell peppers, tomatoes, and cebolla roja, lean ground turkey, with the camp cook's proprietary (and never the same twice) secret blend of  'round about twelve herbs and spices (allegedly including comino, sage, cayenne/black/white pepper, paprika...sorry, I can't reveal more or it wouldn't be secret anymore, now would it?).
      • On the subject of chili, some wrench turner named Carroll Shelby said: "It's what you want when you make it. You can put in anything you feel like at the time...make it one way one time, another time, a little different.  Make it up to suit your mood."  Also, a couple of guys, Wm. Albert Gebhardt of New Braunfels, and Lyman T. Davis (who had a pet wolf named Kaiser Bill) of Corsicana, had respective brands making and selling chili - some of it con frijoles - some threescore and more years before a couple of Dallas (!) newspaper scribblers¹ decided that  beans weren't no part of the recipe.
      • There, I feel better now.
      ¹ Don't worry, pards, I'm smilin' when I'm sayin' that...