The stars at night are big and bright...

The stars at night are big and bright...
The stars at night are big and bright...

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Rockin' Chair New Year's Eve

I've watched Dick Clark from Times Square for as long as I can remember. He is an American icon. But sadly, he's no longer the oldest teenager in America. Since his stroke 4 years ago he's continued to host (albeit in a reduced capacity) Dick Clark's Rockin' New Years Eve. The first year it was a triumph of his spirit to survive hosting the show. Now, it's not.



I really hate to criticize his performance, but in the vernacular of broadasting he's not air quality anymore. It's kinda like Brett Farve. It's past time to hang up the cleats. The mind is eager and willing, but the body can no longer do the job.



Dick, be satisfied with putting the show together and getting it on the air. There's no need for you to be in front of the camera anymore. You've done a helluva job, but your time has past.
Clark... out. Get it?

Channel 8 put on another decent attempt at local programming with their BigD-NYE. Hard to miss the fact that Gordo Keith was relegated from host to 3rd banana behind Pete Delkis and Dale Hansen. Looks like Belo isn't as liberal with the airwaves as they were in years past.

Hey, at least it was local programming!

Footnote: Kellie Pickler, you look like a hoochie with that glitter makeup!

ATTENTION BRIDGEPORT: SKY IS NOT FALLING!


The world is not coming to an end! This is not Y2K! All IGA's will be open all day tomorrow!

You may think I'm being overly dramatic here. That is unless you went to IGA today. KOWABUNGA! The place was a madhouse!

I don't think I'm in danger of revealing any trade secrets here, but history shows New Year's Eve is not a big sales day for grocery stores and we scheduled accordingly. Boy, was that a mistake! We were swamped from the time we opened the doors to the time I made my tactical retreat. We had all the registers open (WalMart could take a lesson on that) and had anyone qualified to run a register working at one.

Today was also the day I make home deliveries so I wasn't able to help out as much as I could have. But trust me, I was multitasking my ass off. Take phone order, pull order, deliver order, RTB (return to base), work customer service window, pull 2 orders at once, pull 3rd order while they check out the other 2, stock shelves, deliver orders, RTB, make bank run, work express register, pull order, deliver, RTB ect,ect,ect.... lather, rinse, repeat.

The highlight of my day came an hour and a half after I should have ended my shift. I stayed around to help out and we ran out of bread. I went to the back brought out fresh bread and started filling the shelves. I had just finished filling the hamburger buns when a lady (and I use the term loosely) walked up and started digging thru the buns. She would pinch then discard a pack of buns and move on to the next. After the 7 or 8th pack, in a very polite tone I said "Ma'am, they're all the same date. I just put them out" in case she thought there were fresher buns on the shelf. She went from 0 to Bitch in .0002 milliseconds.

"I HAVE THE RIGHT TO CHOOSE!!!"

I just said "Yes, Ma'am you do." and she grabbed a pack of buns and walked off. The Butcher was standing next to me and was doing his best not to burst out in laughter. He knew what I wanted to say was "Yes Ma'am you do. But you don't have the right to make a total mess out of the shelf I just finished filling with the freshest bread possible in Wise County and ruin the ones you don't like for everyone else!" But, I didn't. I maintained an even strain and took a fish to the face for the team. Let me tell you, I'm am not paid enough to take the daily ration of abuse I get from some customers. Not nearly enough.


Bridgeport shoppers will be in for a cold dose of reality when Brookshire's opens (if it ever does). You think you hate WalMart? Brookshires is structured just like them. They are a corporate operation, not home owned. You won't be able to pick up the phone and talk to the owner anytime you want. As bad as you may think IGA is, you don't realise the level of personalized customer service we aim for. We really want to give you everything you desire and then some. But we are in Wise County, not the Metroplex. There are certain things we just can't do because of our floor space and location. But dang it, I'll bend over backwards to try and make it happen so my customer will be happy.


Once again, all our stores will be open regular hours New Years Day so no need to panic. There will still be food on the shelves.


So now if you will excuse me there is a big bottle of Maker's Mark bourbon that needs some "customer service".


Happy New Year, ya'll!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Movie of the Week: That Thing You Do!


This is one of my personal Top 10 favorite films. Anytime it is on, it's my default choice. That Thing You Do is a fun, snappy, innocent little 60's romp written, produced and directed by Tom Hanks. It stars Tom Everett Scott, Liv Tyler, Johnathon Schaech, Steve Zahn, Ethan Embry and of course, Tom Hanks. TTYD also has a slew of suppporting characters and cameos played by Peter Scolari, Rita Wilson, Chris Isaak, Kevin Pollak, and many more. It was the birth of his production company PlayTone that is responsable for many quality productions including Band of Brothers and From The Earth To The Moon. I've seen this film a hundred times, but tonight on Encore Love I saw an alternate version I've never seen before.

It was very interesting. You would think that the original, being a pet project of Tom Hanks, would be exactly what Hanks hand in mind for the screen. This "Extended Edition" had greatly expanded characters, back story and music. The story was told in a deeper, more serious tone than the lighthearted "original". There were new camera angles, expanded dialogue, alternate scene takes and song versions. It was a completely different film.

It was very intriguing to see how this story would play out after seeing it countless times before and knowing it by heart. What it turned out to be was a treat. It was like opening your favorite Christmas present again for the first time and finding a brand new, more complex, full bodied and thought provoking version.


Mr. White... I had no idea!!!

I know there are miles of film on the cutting room floor, but I had no appreciation the difference in editing could make. It was an enlightening experience bordering upon an epiphany and I don't have one of those often.






Friday, December 26, 2008

Welcome To The Circus!



Ryan over at West of Nowhere mentioned it was crazy at IGA around 6 pm the other day.

Bubba, you have no idea...

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A Musical Interlude





I wish I had someone to sing this to this Christmas.

Monday, December 22, 2008

I Loves Me Some Cabella's!


Went Christmas shopping today with my Brother in Law and we stopped by Cabella's. They had a great sale on Remington 700's with a Bushnell scope for $299. I decided I wanted a .300 Win Mag after seeing the one my nephew bought last week. The only one they had left had a really ugly stock.


They had several .270's but I like a larger round. Knockdown power is my friend! The salesman looked around and found a Model 710 in .300 Win Mag with a very good looking composite stock. I immediately fell in love with it but it was $369. The salesman then offered to sell it at the Model 700 sale price of $299.


SOLD!!!


When I went to check out I whipped out a "30% off any purchase" coupon I got in the mail. That knocked the price down to $209. I then used my Cabella's card and got and additional $100 off plus $15 in Cabella's points. There is also a mail-in rebate for $50.


Final price $44 !!!


This is the first brand new rifle I've ever owned and I can't be happier with the gun or the deal! A friend just told me " Carefull, you're gonna put an eye out, kid"!

I once shot both eyes out of a squirrel in a tree at 30 yards with a Marlin .30/30 saddle gun. Pan fried him with some okra, onions and potatoes.
I hope to get bigger game with this gun.

You're all invited to the first cook out!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Drool


The image does not do justice to these little bits of ambergris. One of my vendors cornered me a few months ago during a fundraiser for their kids. I signed up for a couple bags of cookies to be a nice guy.
O M F G !
These cookies are awesome!
Imagine little bite sized Oreo's dipped in white chocolate.
Greatness...

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Attention Bloggers

I feel the need to point out a neat little feature for those of you using Blogger.

Go to Blogger Dashboard.
Click Settings.
Click Comments.
Scroll down to "Comment Form Placement".
Check "Pop-up window".

What this does is open the comments form in a pop-up window instead of navigating you to a new page. It REALLY speeds things up and allows you to quickly go back and forth to the original post without losing everything you've typed.

Try it, you'll like it.

We return you now to our regular programming.....

I Predict Greatness

Clint Eastwood goes out on a limb and casts his latest film with unknown untrained actors.

...and a Happy New Year


Chrysler will shut all 30 of its plants for at least a month starting Dec. 19, and Ford said it will idle 9 of 15 North American assembly plants in the first week of January.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Cook Free or Die


I really like watching Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations. I know I've posted about this before, but Tony takes you off the beaten Tourista Trap tour and shows you the real food and lives of the locals.


Take tonight's show for example.


I've been to Jamaica before and I thought I did a pretty good job of escaping the aforementioned Tourist Trap tour. Apparently, I have no clue. Tony really gets down on the local level when sampling eateries and people that run them. I learned more about life in Jamaica watching Tony for an hour than I did spending a week there myself.


Are you really going to sit there and tell me that most people in Ocho Rios don't eat at the Sandals Resort? Turns out a street vendor with a 55 gallon oil drum barbecue pit serves more customers on a daily basis. I'm pretty sure it's tastier, too.


I also love Tony's attitude. "Isn't there a bar near here?"

Usually, there is...

90 Per Hour?

I watched a show on HBO the other night where a woman claimed to have 90 orgasms per hour fantasising about Stephen Colbert.

Trust me, it wasn't a 2 way street...

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Bridgeport Christmas Parade







Forgive me for the poor picture quality. It's the best I could do with my phone. It's got a crappy camera with bad motion focus and all the closeups are too blurry to make out.


It's like looking at a Picasso.


But trust me the parade was bigger than what I have to show. There were several other floats, The Mighty Marching Maroon and riders on horseback. Plus, Santa was there riding high atop the firetruck and all the little children were scrambling for candy in the streets.

Ah, good times... small town style.



Thursday, December 11, 2008

Stronger, Faster, Better Than He Was Before

No, I'm not talking about Col. Steve Austin. I'm referring to my new computer! It's an iBUYPOWER Gamer loaded with goodies like an AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+ CPU, NVIDIA GeForce 8400 GS video, 250 Gig harddrive and 2 Gigs of RAM. I also got it for $155 off at newegg.com. Greatness, eh?

Well, now for the bad news. It came with Windows Vista.

Jeesus H. Christ, how many computer platforms am I going to have to learn? I started with punchcards back in the 70's. Then there was Cobal, several versions of DOS, Windows 3.1, 95, 98, NT, ME, 2000, XP and now Vista. Each one a bigger powerdown to learn than the one before. Vista looks to be no different.

Plus, I have to reload all my programs and settings. I also lost a buttload of documents and forms I made for work on Excel (see aforementioned powerdown to learn). Hopefully I can get the old Dell to fire up one more time and stay running long enough for me to transfer the contents of my harddrive. But I'm going to have to buy a LAN cable before I can try that.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

BRRRRRR!!!!!

Definitely time to dig out the longjohns! Low tonight of 27 with sleet and snow possible.

Shiver me timbers!

Now watch UPS not deliver my new computer because of the weather....

Saturday, December 6, 2008

It's Dead Jim!

Well my faithful old Dell is kaput. Luckily I was able to keep it alive long enough to order a new system from Newegg.com.

So, the posts will be few until the new puter arrives. my main problem is I'm suddenly without Full Tilt Poker or Aces High.

Pardon me while I crawl to the corner and curl up in a fetal position...

Friday, December 5, 2008

Let's Rodeo!


It's National Finals Rodeo time in Las Vegas! Ya know, I still hate the NFR being in Las Vegas. The Thomas and Mack Arena is too small.
Did you know the NFR was originally in Dallas?


Anyway, here's how Round 1 went:


From The Associated Press


Luke Branquinho won the first round of steer wrestling on Thursday night in the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo to take the top spot in the world standings, while Billy Etbauer moved into the season lead in saddle bronc.


Branquinho, from Los Alamos, Calif., won with a time of 3.6 seconds to move up from second to first in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association world standings with $147,547. Curtis Cassidy of Canada was second in 3.7.


Wade Sumpter of Fowler, Colo., entered the NFR as the leader with $133,685, but was unable to place among the top six finishers with a time of 4.4 and fell to second place in the standings.
"I just think of it as 10 one-headers. Go at 'em and try to win as much as I can because you can't worry about the average," Branquinho said. "If you go win five, six or seven rounds, that pretty much takes care of it."


In saddle bronc riding, Etbauer, from Edmond, Okla., moved into first place by finishing second in the opening round with an 85.5 on Aces Full. Etbauer moved up from second to first in the standings with $153,624, while previous leader Cody Wright of Milford, Utah, didn't cash a check as one of the top six and fell to second with $145,192. Bryce Miller of Buffalo, S.D., won with an 89 on Knife Money.


In bareback riding, world leader Steven Dent of Mullen, Neb., remained in first place by placing second in the opening round with a score of 86.5 on Lunitic Fringe. Chris Harris of Itasca, Texas, won with an 88.5 on Power Play.


In team roping, Garrett Tonozzi of Fruita, Colo., and Kinney Harrell of San Angelo, Texas, won in 4.6 seconds. Tonozzi and Harrell entered the NFR as the 15th and final qualifiers. Former world champions Trevor Brazile of Decatur, Texas, and Patrick Smith of Midland, Texas, placed second in 4.8.


In tie-down roping, Hunter Herrin of Apache, Okla., won in 7.5 and remained second in the world with $134,390. Josh Peek of Pueblo, Colo., held the standings lead with $132,539, but didn't place with a time of 9.10 in the opening round.


"When you get out of the barrier and get your calf roped, you just have to get a time," Herrin said. "It's kind of been a problem out here in the past, but maybe I've matured a little bit to where I can just get it around their necks and tie them down."


Tyson Durfey of Colbert, Wash., was second in 7.7.


In barrel racing, Jill Moody of Letcher, S.D., who remained third in the world standings, won in 14.02, while standings leader Lindsay Sears of Canada was unable to place among the top six with a time of 14.24. Cassie Moseley of Farwell, Texas, was second in 14.06.


In bull riding, Bobby Welsh of Gillette, Wyo., took the round with a score of 89.5 on Reeces Pieces. Standings leader Chance Smart of Philadelphia, Miss., was fifth with an 85.5 on Night Moves and remained first with $164,908.


I need to meet a cute little Barrel Racer Girl.


Cowboy up ya'll!


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Book 'em Danno!

If you are a frequent reader then you know I hate thieves with a passion. I'll do whatever it takes to bring them to justice. If you're going to steal from me, you had better be damn good at it because I won't quit digging around until I catch you.

Such was "The Case Of The Reddy Whip Huffer". Ever since Diamond closed we inherited their customers. Unfortunately, we also inherited their thieves as well. Luckily, they are dumb thieves. I have been finding used Reddy Whip cans scattered around the store. Someone has been sucking the gas out of them for a cheap high.

Ya know, if you want to risk death sucking on a can of whip cream then by all means, go for it. Darwin wins. But pay for the stuff before you huff!

We have been watching closely for empty cans hidden on the isles and yesterday we knew within an hour of when it happened. It was just a matter of watching the surveillance video and finding out who it was. I had a couple of suspects, but it turns out they were completely innocent. It was a guy in his 30's doing it. Not some high school kid looking for a rebellious buzz. This guy was a grown man with a job and responsabilities and here he is sucking whip cream cans at the grocery store. God knows what else this guy has going on in his life.

Ted Danson says: You're a LOSER!

I took some snapshots of the video with my phone and showed them around to the employees with instructions not to approach him, but to notify the manager on duty and let us handle it.
I made sure the manager that relieved me got a good look as well.

I hadn't even made it home when my phone rang. It was the manager that relieved me letting me know they had just busted "The Huffer". He walked in right after I walked out. The cops were called and he was caught red(dy) handed.

I wonder if they serve Reddy Whip in jail? And that's got to be a beat down to explain to the other guys...
Hardened tattoo covered inmate #1: So, what are you in for Fish?
Fish: Sucking Reddy Whip at the IGA.
Hardened tattoo covered inmate #1: Oh really?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Survey Says...


When I started these ramblings from the middle of a Texas hayfield, never in my wildest dreams did I ever expect to have over 5,000 hits in less than a year. As of today according to Google Analytics the count is 5,195!

I feel like I should do something special like book the World's Largest Non-Nuclear Coast Guard Marching Band for a parade. Unfortunately, this is a non-profit gig and that's not in my budget so y'all will have to settle for my humble thanks. Hopefully my downhome wit and wisdom will keep you coming back for more. If that doesn't work then I'll have to break out the scantily clad... wait, I think somebody already has that idea covered...

Anyway, a big tip of the hat and my sincere thanks for stopping by!

Ya'll come back now, ya hear?

Monday, December 1, 2008

Breakfast Of Champions


OK, so maybe it's not your traditional country breakfast. You know orange juice, biscuits, gravy, eggs over easy, sausage, ham, bacon, pancakes with syrup and butter and a big glass of milk. But if you eat THAT for breakfast trust me you will soon be eating THIS.


Altho it is low cal (OK, the Dr.Pepper kinda screws that part up), it isn't very filling.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Man Vs Food


Just saw a new show being promo'd on the Travel Channel. Man vs Food. Yes, only one man can face all you can eat challenges from across the country! Tune in weekly to see if this lardass Adam Richman can choke down rediculous amounts of food within a specified time frame.


You know the bit. The obligitory trip to The Big Texan Steakhouse in Amarillo, The Big Foot Lodge in Memphis and other such places around the country where morons do their best to imitate Cool Hand Luke with the local cuisine. "No man can eat 50 eggs!"


This show jumped the shark before it even hit the airwaves.


Fail.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

What A Fun Week

I spent my 2 days off recovering from major oral surgery. Thanks go out to Little Sister who took the day off to chauffeur me around. I had to take Halcyon before the surgery and there was no way I could drive. I barely remember anything from the whole trip.

I woke up in the middle of the night monday and couldn't stop shivering. My was breathing hard and fast and I was pouring sweat. I finally forced myself to get out of bed and move around but it took a while to get to my feet. I was running a temp of 102 for a few hours before I got it back down. I still feel like I've been kicked in the head by a mule.

This is also our busiest week of the year at work so there's no calling in unless I'm dead. I made it thru my shift, but barely. Tomorrow should be interesting as well.

It doesn't look like I'll be eating any turkey either.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Must See TV: Dexter

Without a doubt Dexter is the best show on TV right now... and it only looks to get better. Michael C. Hall and Jimmy Smits should be looking at Emmy nominations for their performances and I wouldn't be shocked to see several more for this show. Great cast, great writing. You can't ask for more than that!

Get caught up with a 3 episode mini marathon of America's favorite serial killer this Saturday starting at 8:00pm on Showtime2.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Those Were The Days My Friend...

It sits there silently mocking me. Calling my name like some wicked temptress in the night. My secret addiction since I was a small boy. I could drink a gallon a day and still thirst for more.

Did I mention I love Egg Nog? I like it straight from the jug. I like it from a punchbowl. I like it from an old jelly jar. I like it from a crystal Bullwinkle holiday mug.

I know how a heroin or crack addict must feel when they're jonesing. There is sits, fresh and cold right in front of me... and I can't touch a drop of it. Because while it looks so innocent and wholesome it's actually the devil incarnate. Yes, Elsie's magical dairy product is in reality a do it yourself clogged artery kit.

After my angioplasty (that's where they run a wire from your groin up to your heart and do remote control repair work while you watch completely awake on 3 monitors) I was forced to switch to a healthy diet or die. It's a totally free choice. I mean I could continue to enjoy the finer things in life like butter, pizza, chicken fried steak and egg nog and die in a few months. Or I could wise up & cut fatty, cholesterol laden foods from my diet and live another 20 years.

I chose what was behind Door #2.

But DAMN, I miss me some egg nog.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Bucket List

Been there, done that. But, I digress...

  1. Go to Belize
  2. Fall in love again
  3. Leave a legacy in my Grandfather's name
  4. Cut one more radio commercial
  5. Drive a racecar
  6. Make a batch of shine
  7. Act in a film
  8. Pilot an aircraft
  9. Make a difference in a young kid's life
  10. Visit the Arizona Memorial

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Hey, Torquemada. Whaddaya say?

I'm not looking forward to tomorrow morning. The last two dentists I went to were supposed to be great. They seriously failed to live up to their press.

I'm trying a new one in Denton that a couple people I trust swear by. Normally that's the kiss of death, but a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do. Unless he's looking to attract the hot snaggletoothed babes.

Not exactly what I had in mind.

Heads Up!

Note the bag just out of reach in the top left of the photo.

From The AP:
A spacewalking astronaut accidentally let go of her tool bag Tuesday after a grease gun inside it exploded, and helplessly watched as the tote and everything inside floated away.

It was one of the largest items ever to be lost by a spacewalker, and occurred during an unprecedented attempt to clean and lube a gummed-up joint at the international space station. Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper was just starting to work on the joint when the mishap occurred.


She said her grease gun exploded, getting the dark gray stuff all over a camera and her gloves. While she was wiping everything off, the white, backpack-size bag slipped out of her grip, and she lost all her tools.

"Oh, great," she mumbled.

Earlier, the spacewalkers spotted a screw floating by, but were too far away to catch it. "I have no idea where it came from," Stefanyshyn-Piper told Mission Control.



NASA was not sure how the bag got loose; it should have been tethered to a larger equipment bag. Another unknown: why the grease gun discharged.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Extreme Makeover: The South 40 Edition

Finally getting some of the repairs made from the fire last January. I had a contractor lined up to do the job but he kept putting me off and finally he just bailed on me. The cold snap last week scared me enough to get the job done NOW. I'm still waiting on the money from the insurance company. They move at the speed of smell.

The guys I hired did a good job on the repairs under the house and are doing good work on the skirting. I decided to go back with 20 year metal siding instead of vinyl skirting. Stronger, more rodent proof and if it melts I don't have to worry about the house. It will be in ashes.

Yeah, I know the colors don't match. Now I have to repaint the house, but I've been wanting to do that for quite a while.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

One of These Things Is Not Like The Other...



What will they think of next? This is a disposable lighter / LED flashlight. It's incredibly handy. Who sits around and thinks of these things? Probably the same guy that thought of combining the cell phone with a digital camera.

Two totally unrelated items that wind up becoming a sensation.

Reminds me of a Family Guy bit...

How Reese's was created

Friday, November 14, 2008

God Help Me I Do Love It So...

I can't help it. I LOVE HEE HAW!


Please don't judge me harshly. I was born a poor white child. I am pure-d trailer trash. Hell, I'm worse than trailer trash, we couldn't afford to live in a trailer park like rich folk did. We lived on the parking lot of a rock trucking company. Hales Transportation.

Dad worked for Walter Hales starting 1965 and they held each other in high regard. Walter and Troyce are the finest people I've ever had the honor of knowing. They were the epitome of class and high society when I was growing up. I often visited their home with Dad. They had a pair of Poodles that used to scare the fool out of me when I was a kid! Walter became Mayor of Bridgeport after he sold his trucking company. He made a great contribution to the growth of Bridgeport and it's future as mayor.

I spoke with Troyce a few days ago while I was delivering groceries to one of my customers and she reminded me she could tell a few stories on me. She's only known me since I was 3 years old. She told me about a time she came to visit and I was about 3 sitting on my Graddad's lap eating a stalk of celery. Every time I took a bite I made my Granddad take one too. Troyce Hales is still a southern belle and the class of Bridgeport, Tx. I am a better man for knowing her.

I can't tell you how fortunate I am she only knows the good and cute stories about me.

There are a few I'd rather she not hear about, ever. But I seriously digress...

Back on topic... RFD-TV is one of my secret addictions. They have become a great purveyor of old country music programs like The Wilburn Brothers, POP! Goes The Country, Porter Waggoner and my personal favorite Hee Haw! Marty Stewart also has an excellent show on RFD.
I grew up watching Hee Haw every week when I was a kid. We were an old school country family. Well, maybe not family, we were dysfunctional at best but never family. Dad was a Bob Wills addict so any music on the TV or radio HAD to be country so HeeHaw was always safe to watch. Looking back at those old shows on RFD-TV really brings back some memories.

Where, oh where are you tonight?
Why did you leave me here all alone?
I searched the world over and thought I found true love,
You met another and PFFFFFFFFTTTT, you were gone!

Hello, my name is Mike and I'm a redneck.

"A profound and overwhelming experience"

From The BBC:
The first pictures of planets outside our solar system have been taken, two groups report in the journal Science.



Visible and infrared images have been snapped of a planet orbiting a star 25 light-years away. The planet is believed to be the coolest, lowest-mass object ever seen outside our own solar neighborhood.


Paul Kalas of the University of California led an international group that used the Hubble Space Telescope to image the region around a star called Fomalhaut.


The star has a massive ring of dust surrounding it that appears to have a cleanly groomed inner edge.


The team estimates that the planet, dubbed Fomalhaut b, is 11bn miles away from its star, about as massive as Jupiter and completes an orbit in about 870 years. It may also have a ring around it.

"I nearly had a heart attack at the end of May when I confirmed that Fomalhaut b orbits its parent star," Dr Kalas said. "It's a profound and overwhelming experience to lay eyes on a planet never before seen."




25 lightyears away? That's just around the corner, universe speaking. It makes you wonder about those UFO sightings now, don't it? Think about it, if they have the technology to travel a minimum of 25 lightyears you better freakin' hope they are Vulcan and not Romulan or Klingon!

If we ever do detect life on these planets that would throw a huge monkey wrench into the Judeo/Christian religious theology. Probably would screw with the Muslim's head pretty badly, too. I'm not too sure about all the other religions. I'm admittedly uneducated about them. Bottom line is it would derail most religions.

What does this mean? How will billions of faithful react to having the rug yanked out from under them? A newer testament? New prophets? New God(s)?

Brothers and sisters this could get real ugly real fast.

Just food for thought...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

BREAKING NEWS: Dale Is Rolling In His Grave


SPEED-TV is reporting that Dale Earnhardt, Inc has merged with Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sebates. Earnhardt/Ganassi will field a 4 car team featuring Aric Almarola, Juan Pablo Montoya, Martin Truex, Jr and a driver to be named later (#41).

Way to go Teresa...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veteran's Day

I've seen some remarks like "Why is the holiday on Tuesday?" around the net. There is a good reason why you didn't get a 3 day weekend. Veteran's Day was originally Armistice Day. The anniversary of the end of World War 1.

The war officially ended 90 years ago at 11am, November 11th, 1918, the "eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month". It is celebrated all around the world. After WW2 the name was changed to Veteran's Day in the US and Rememberance Day in the UK.

A big salute to my fellow Vets.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Wise County Decatur Messenger

Did you happen to notice the picture The Mess decided to use for the Bridgeport / Decatur game? I'd repost it here but there's probably some copywrite issue I'd rather not get into. Bridgeport hammered Decatur 56 - 7 and they show a picture of a Decatur receiver catching a pass. I guess since Decatur's "Air Attack" only managed to complete 2 passes all night long they thought The Eagles earned it over The Bulls.

Hey, at least The Index claims to be where it is from Bridgeport, not Wise County.

I Freakin' Won!



I am nothing if not a creature of habit. Last night on the ride home from work I was listening to the nationally syndicated show Speed Freaks on 105.3 FM. I love Freaks because it is not another "let's kiss NASCAR's ass" program. They are true racing fans and it shows. IRL, motocross, F1, NHRA, SCCA, and other types of racing get the same respect as NASCAR and they have no problem getting drivers on the show. It's very entertaining talk radio.


As they go to commercial there's a prize giveaway of car care products from Surf City Garage. I've never tried their stuff but it sounds like primo polish. They wanted caller #6 and gave out the number 86 - 69 - FREAKS (866- 937 - 3257). I decided to give it a shot, but my phone is a Moto Q. The numbers are on a QWERTY keyboard so the traditional numbers to letters conversion doesn't work. Luckily, I correctly dialed the number and it rang. I was sure caller #6 had long been picked since it was a national show, but I was happy that I managed to get the number right.


Well what do you know? Like my Daddy always said, "even a blind sow finds an acorn now and then". I won an assortment of Surf City products worth over $100! I plan to put them to good use on my new truck.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Thrill A Minute


You know it's sad when I can go 3 days without having anything worth posting about. But, such is my mundane existence.
I did pass a milestone. 2 years ago this week I had my heart surgery. I think I'm supposed to have my oil changed and tires rotated to keep up the warranty.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Back To Work

I don't care how long your vacation is... it's never long enough. The first day back is always a bitch, too. Today was no exception.

Now don't get me wrong, I don't dig ditches or unclog sewer lines for a living, but I'm still worn out by the end of the day. The sheer amount of political BS I have to maneuver between my employees is mind boggling. Somebody is always pissed off at somebodyelse about something. It's like they saved up a week's worth of it for me today. The funny thing is I am almost powerless to do anything about most of it. My main function is to stand there and let them vent toward me, nod my head compassionately, tell them I'll see what I can do and walk away.

It's the placebo effect.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Vacation Recap





Somebody for got to charge their PDA before they went to Texas Motor Speedway. I'm not mentioning any names or pointing any fingers, but you would have thought that person would have at least packed a charger for said PDA. Again, not pinning the blame on any one person...






So, the pictures and live blogging I promised you were not to be. That's probably a good thing now that it's all said and done because all you would have seen was a lot of dust. I mean a LOT of dust. The campground we were in seriously needs to do something about that.






The luxurious living quarters Brother In Law and I were told we'd stay in were not to be. We lost our freebie camper to paying customer that needed it on a jobsite. Fortunately the weather was perfect and we had a very nice tent to stay in. It would have been even nicer if someone had remembered to take their queen sized air mattress. But it was sitting beside the phone charger.






OK, enough bitching. This was a vacation and I did have a great time.






The truck race on Friday night was excellent. Those guys always put on an exciting show. After the race we headed back to camp and put on our costumes for Trick or Treating over at "Ti**y Row". Now that was the biggest letdown of the weekend. The police decided this party was not happening. They basicly flooded the street with cop cars and stopped anything that resembled adult entertainment from breaking out. I'm all for public safety, but c'mon guys... this is our Mardi Gras! So after a couple hours of everyone standing around looking at each other waiting for the cops to clear out we gave up and returned to our campground on the other side of the track. Things were a bit livelier over there but everyone agreed this year was not the party it had been previously. There was a much bigger crowd at the April race. I did hear Rachel Ray talking about getting loaded on moonshine jello shots at a campground party listening to 105.3FM. I looked around but never found her. Now THAT would have been a party. I had some special beads just for her.







There is a subculture in NASCAR campers that involves not walking from point A to point B. Golf carts, scooters, 4-wheelers, motorized toilets (I saw one) and anything else you can think of are all the rage. If you've been to a few races you know why. The place is huge. Lugging loaded icechests and gear around is for the birds. After the last race South40 readers will remember I bought a Suzuki Carry minitruck. That was a great purchase. We were able to cover a lot more ground and have a ton of fun meeting other people. It's 660cc gas engine allowed us to roam as long as we wanted without worrying about a battery running down and walking back. It's 4x4 ability also allowed us to bypass traffic and go cross country thru the dirt parking lots and over the high dirt berms while loaded down with passengers and icechests. The righthand drive also made it a great conversation piece. The steering wheel isn't on the wrong side, it's on the RIGHT side.






Saturday the Nationwide Series drivers took the track and had a great race. It was an exciting finish as Carl Edwards came thru the pack like rocket to finish 2nd. Kyle Busch managed to unite the crowd for the loudest "BOO!" I can remember hearing when he took a bow with the Checkered Flag after winning. Kind of appropriate with Halloween and all. Man, people hate them some Kyle Busch in Texas.






That night the real party got started. Bands were playing all over the place. The best of the bunch was just down the row from us in our campground. One of the area oilfield companies hired a band called Armadillo Express that put on a heck of a show. They were definitely the best I have ever seen out there and drew a huge crowd. I'd estimate 500 or so people were there. I took my Suzuki, put a few chairs in the back and parked near the edge of the stage. This worked out great. We were able to use it as a rally point for our group and it made for nice seating to enjoy the show. I was also able to use my laser projector to help add to the party.






While sitting back enjoying the band from my perch singing along to a great version of Shooter Jennings 4th of July, I noticed a Cute Little Racegirl standing all alone in the crowd. Nobody was asking her to dance. Clearly, something had to be done about this.




I hopped down and made my way thru the crowd just as the band started playing "Sweet Emotion". It took a bit of coaxing but I convinced her anyone can dance to Aerosmith. We would up dancing together for the rest of the night. Turns out she's single and lives near The South40! I now have an official CLR's phone number! I just have to force myself to adhere to the 3 day rule so I don't look like a desperate lonely internet blogger.








Sunday was the big day with the Sprint Cup race. The crowd had easily tripled from the day before and the campgrounds were much fuller, but none of them were full. We heard there were 75,000 unsold seats for the race. My niece and her friend came but they needed tickets. We decided to take my Suzuki and cruise the parking lots looking for tickets. We found several scalpers and the girls would up buying a pair of very good front stretch tickets for $40 each. To make sure the tickets were valid we drove to the gate and had them scanned. They were good!








We drove back to camp and ate lunch before the race. Those $5 hotdogs at the track are for the birds! Just as we were finishing lunch our host came by with 6 extra tickets. The girls quickly took 2 and headed back to the parking lot to sell the ones they bought. Not only did they sell them, they sold them for $75 each! After the race the made another $40 hauling people out of the racetrack on one of our golfcarts when 2 guys offered them $20 a piece for a ride.








Speaking of the race (that was the whole point of the weekend, right?) it was a humdinger! There was plenty of side by side racing, exciting pit strategy and wrecks for those looking for that. One of the highlights of the day was the wreck between Juan Pablo Montoya and David Gilliland. I had Dale,Jr on my scanner at the time and he was right behind them when it happened. He said they had been running into each other for 3 laps. Finally coming out of Turn 2 on lap 263 Gilliland decided to take Montoya out. He came from near the wall across 2 lanes and slammed into JPM's right rear sending them both into a spin right in front of Junior.








Jr remarked that driving like that would get you banned from the DMP (Dale's virtual racing team) and there was going to be a fight in the pits. Looks like NASCAR was thinking the same thing because they gave Gilliland a 5 lap penalty. He wound up taking it to the garage where the predicted fight almost broke out. JPM's crew chief managed to keep his driver out of the scuffle but the Jumbotrons showed the whole thing to the fans in the stands. I'm not a JPM fan, but there's no place for that kind of driving at TMS. Save it for Bristol.








Conspiracy theories were abound as Jamie McMurray was in the lead with 12 laps to go ahead of his Rousch/Fenway teammate and championship contender Carl Edwards. They called for McMurray to pit for fuel and Edwards stayed on the track and won the race. Edwards even remarked about "Ford fuel milage" on the scanner. Hmm, McMurray had the same amount of fuel as Edwards. But, Jamie's not fighting for a championship either.








After the race we made our way back to camp and decided not to spend the night. We ate dinner while the crowd thined out before breaking camp and heading for home. I finally made it home about midnight and immediately took a long hot shower to wash of the several layers of TMS dust off my tired sunburned body. Fortunately I had planned in a couple extra vacation days to recover because I sure needed it today.








BIL and I plan to get our own camp next race. It's fun to hang out with the group we do, but we tend to run out of energy before they do and it's tough to get some sleep with people constantly trying to wake you up and party with them.








All said and done with, everyone had fun and nobody got hurt. I also met a cute little racegirl.








Good times.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

A Tough Decision



Unless something drastic happens between now and Tuesday, I've made my pick for President.


The South40 officially supports Barak Obama.


This was not an easy decision for me. I have long been a fan of John McCain for his ability to reach across the isle and find compromise. But since his loss in 2000 he has sold out. He stopped being "The Maverick". He quit being the roadblock and started directing traffic for Bush. He decided do what it takes to win.


John McCain should have been the Republican nominee in 2000. Instead he was victim to one of the most malicious campaigns in political history to date when Karl Rove painted him as "The Manchurian Candidate" because McCain had said he was broken by the North Vietnamese under torture. He was "damaged goods".

That was just plain disgraceful. But as we would later see it was just SOP for Karl Rove.


That's all history. Or is it?

I'm seriously worried about all the hate I see on the interwebs toward Obama. Most prevalent is the (not so) masked racism. The "read between the lines" sarcasm and spin. It's really spooky if you think about it. Just look at almost any political thread at Liberally Lean or FlameWarriors... and that's just our little hunky dory community. There's more hate out there than most people want to admit.

It's time to move forward.

It's time to unite this country, regain our stature globally, and put our nation back on track.

Will taxes go up?

For some, yes. For others, no. If you make over $250,000 you will probably see an increase. But it's time to pay the fiddler. You can't continue to spend like there's no tomorrow when today IS tomorrow.
The old saying is if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Well... it's f'n broke in 3 pieces. We are in a renaissance period. It takes a renaissance man.

So, with that having been said, I hereby cast my full support to Barak Obama for President of The United States.



RRR is spinning in his grave.

Poll Results




You guys better hope that's Vulcans floating around out there...

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Ready? OK!

Spent most of the day making final preperations for this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway. Checklist is complete and we are go for liftoff. The forcast is calling for warm sunny skies all weekend.

Reason # 62 Why I Have DirecTv


You just can't find programing like this on network television.


Via Uncle Barky:

You can either watch this 90-minute "throwback to the old-school holiday variety show" on Nov. 21st or buy it to treasure and keep when the DVD hits stores just three days later.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Oh, Mr. Wizard!!!


Now that's cool! Or is it hot?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Threat Alert!

Full power to shields!

Why is it the crazy ones are always attracted to me? Yeah, I don't have a girlfriend. That does not mean I'm gay or don't like women. What it means is I've been thru 3 divorces and I'm not putting the sum of my estate at risk on a hormone whim.

I'm still looking for the "Kick Me" sign somebody taped on my back.

Just think... If I had a cute little racegirl to spend some time with...

I'm just sayin'.


Thursday, October 23, 2008

Weird Co-inky-dink

Bridgeport was very nearly without another grocery store tonight. As I am dragging my virus laden body around the store tonight I noticed something wasn't right. After all my years of trucking and running heavy equipment I have learned to distinguish the sound of properly running equipment vs something not quite right. It was the latter that caught my attention.

I always make an hourly check of things thruout the store. Primarily refrigeration. You would be surprised how much stuff has to be kept at proper temperature and how fast it can go bad if it's not. I had already made my walkdown a few minutes earlier and was just wandering thru the back of the store when it struck me the motor room (where the compressors are) didn't sound quite right. I opened the door and was greeted with a face full of white smoke. Holy snikies!

I did a quick look around and saw that 2 of my 4 midtemp compressors had shut down. But where was the smoke coming from? Scanning around, I found the culprit. An oil line had burst and was spraying hot oil directly onto the electric motors that run the compressors.

Generally speaking, that's a bad thing.

I shut down the entire rack before it (a) ran out of oil and burned up the compressors and / or (b) caught fire and burned the freaking store down. That's the same thing that happened at Diamond just a few weeks ago. Had I been just a few minutes later that's exactly what would have happened to us and Bridgeport would have been without a grocery store.

Hats off to Clyde Lamb Refrigeration. They were there within minutes of my call and had us up and running quickly.

Such is my job. Hours of boredom highlighted with moments of sheer pandemonium.

Cue John Williams


All that's missing is the London Symphony Orchestra playing in the background. This beautiful site is going on inside my body at the moment. It is a picture of influenza virus particles (brown) invading cilia (blue) in the airways of the human lung. BroInLaw was sick with it last week and now I've got it.


If you haven't had a flu shot yet, I suggest you get one before it's too late. I feel like I've been kicked by a mule.

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Return of South40 Slim


I decided to take a short roadtrip and headed off to Thackerville, Oklahoma and Winstar Casino. They had an 80 player tournament tonight and I signed up. $100 buy-in for $3,000 in chips. After my last outing to Comanche Red River I was confident that I would not make a fool of myself playing in a tournament. I also added a new twist wearing my sunglasses and Time Bandit hat. Luck is where you find it.


I did fairly well and had a respectable stack for quite a while, but good cards were hard to come by tonight. King eight treated me well as I won 3 hands with it in the hole, one of them all in. Other players even started to remark about my luck with it. Dance with the one that brung ya!


I made it thru the first break at the 90 minute mark and had $5-7000 in chips. The biggest stack at my table was around $20k. After the break they started shuffling players to fill tables. Apparently my table was going to be one of the finals because they kept filling our seats and the original players stayed put. This ment the competetion was getting tougher fast at my table as winners moved in.


As I said cards were hard to come by and slowly but surely I was losing my stack. I tried to keep from being a calling card, but when you have decent hole cards it's difficult not to pay to see the flop. As the blinds went up it was clear I had to make an aggressive move at a big pot or it was just a matter of time before I was gone.


I drew pocket aces and nobody called. I drew K Q and nobody called. You can't build a stack capturing blinds. For the next 9 or 10 hands I didn't have cards to call with.



I had around $3500 in chips left, the blinds were at $500 & $1000 and about to double on the next hand. I had a pair of Jacks(d, h) and was sitting in a power position at the table. I raised on the preflop bet and got 4 calls. The flop was not bad, 2c 10h 4s. The bet to me was $1,000. I went all in. 2 went with me, (8s,8h) (Qh, As). The cards were Ks, at the turn and 8c on the river. I lost to trip 8's and finished in 32nd.


Not a good finish, but it was better than 72nd.


Coming soon...
South40 Slim Rides Again!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Stuff I Never Knew

OK, stuff I never knew is a long freaking list and possibly the next continuing saga on The South40. But, I felt compelled to put this at the current #1 debut.

Did you know Habitat For Humanity sells their surplus?

I never knew this existed. Turns out that HFH gets a lot of donations they can't use. Instead of throwing it away they resell their excess. It's like going to a crapgame. You never know what to expect!

I ventured down to the HFH Restore in River Oaks in search of some replacement windows. What I found was a brand new Sears Kenmore High Capacity dryer that matched the washing machine I bought last spring.

Retail $559. My Cost $75

Check them out! All the money goes to a worthy cause so you get a "warm & fuzzy" to go along with a great deal.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Cheeky Monkey

Why you would watch anyone else is beyond me.

Devil Town

I should probably list this under "Must See TV". But since it's not a review, I feel confident in my decision to bypass that arena.

For fans of NBC's critically acclaimed drama Friday Night Lights you have a chance at a sneak preview of the upcoming season. If you are a DirecTv subscriber you can catch the new season in HiDef on The101 before it hits the NBC airwaves in 2009.

New episodes air Wednesday nights in HiDef only on DirecTv's The101.