The stars at night are big and bright...

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

Monday, March 31, 2008

I'm A Pilot

The Royal New Zealand Air Force's strike wing (jets) has never had a hostile engagement, but they make a mean music video.


Sunday, March 30, 2008

Good Lord, Am I Really That Old? or Welcome To Middle Age Crisisland

Working with a bunch of High School kids will definitely give you perspective. Being the self appointed king of the obscure reference( forgive me Dennis Miller) apparently does not help.

Tonight I came to reference Blazing Saddles. To my shock, none of the kids working had any idea what the heck I was talking about. Now if I had tried to discuss the significance of the Korean War or the Cuban embargo I would understand the lack of intellect on the subject. But Blazing Saddles???

What in the wide, wide world of sports is a goin' on here?

I definitely struck an unfriendly tone when I recited Gabby Johnson's alert of the approaching sheriff. They also had a less than understanding reception of the "laurel and hardy handshake to our new..."

1974 was a long time ago, even longer for those born ABS (After Blazing Saddles), it's twue, IT's TWUE!! But convincing them it's possibly the greatest comedy ever filmed and the context in which it was written is another matter. "Dude, Where's My Car?" or "Date Movie" apparently hold a higher esteem than a Mel Brooks film with today's young Americans.

I never wanted to be that old creepy guy everyone wants to avoid, but it looks like that is exactly where I have landed. So, to be proactive about it, I challenged (OK, threatened) my co-workers to a deluge of Blazing Saddles quotes until they watch the film and understand what the heck I am talking about. This is not just authentic frontier gibberish, it DOES express a courage seldom heard in this day and age!

Cruel and unusual? Please Baby, I'm NOT from Havana! For the greater good? You betcha!!

Whether they will understand the significance of the film or it's references to past cinematic greatness is unknown. But, failure to bring this film (uncut) to their attention is, at best, incompetence on my part.

How on earth would they ever learn of the awesome power of the CandyGram?
Screw you guys, I'm working for Mel Brooks!!!!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

And They Call It Puppy Love...

A rather disturbing story out of Denton County. The 17 year old son of 367th Judicial District Court Judge Lee Gabriel has been indicted on a charge of sexual assault and a second charge of indecency with a child. Robert Wyatt Evans of Sanger is 3 years and 12 days older than his 14 year old lover. In Texas when any minor is over 3 years older than the victim, it is considered sexual assault. It's really bad when it's a homosexual relationship and your Mom is the District Judge.

Both charges are second-degree felonies and carry penalties of two to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

This kid just royally screwed his future. (No pun intended) He was ranked eighth in his class and an all-state band member. Instead of heading off to college he'll more than likely be living out his own version of The Shawshank Redemption.

UPDATE: Robert Wyatt Evans pleaded “nolo contendere” to injury to a child, the elderly or disabled, a third-degree felony. He received five years intensive probation, deferred, which means that the rules he must adhere to are more stringent than regular probation. He successfully completed the probation, the case was not be entered as a conviction on his criminal record.

The O' Club

Long before my blogging days I was throwing out hot sports opinions on a rather obscure video game bulletin board. The game is Aces High and the forum on their BBS is The O' Club.

Now, The O' Club is not exactly what you would expect to find on a gamer site. The members are, for the most part, very educated and come from diverse backgrounds. I personally know of doctors, lawyers, engineers, drill instructors, bankers, artists and of course professional pilots from all over the world that post there on a daily basis. There are not many subjects you will not find discussed and debated there. It also is a great source for news and information. You will be surprised how fast you will find answers to things that have you stumped.

The membership tends to lean heavily to the conservative right, but that just makes it more interesting when discussing liberal viewpoints. You get to see exactly what the other side is thinking and why.

I highly reccomend you take the time to stop by and explore. You may just become as obsessed with it as I am.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Bridgeport High Gets It's Own Serial Killer

Well, to be honest I really doubt it's Bridgeport, Texas. I had to do a double take when I saw this on HDNet's "Nothing But Trailers" last night. The upcoming summer slasher flick Prom Night starring Brittany Snow is set at Bridgeport High School.
Man, is Decatur gonna be pissed. I wonder if they will show it at the Plaza Cinema III?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

This Is The End, My Friends

Tonight, CBS will air the series finale of Jericho. No amount of nuts will save the show this time. It's sad that such a great drama will leave the air. But, to be fair CBS did give the show quite a bit of hype this time around. The ratings just were not there.

Last season Jericho was pulling 10.5 million viewers in the fall. In the spring it dropped to 8.1 million. This season it's been averaging around 6 million. There's no one to blame but ourselves.

Edit: What a great episode. The writers really did a good job of tying up loose ends and plenty of action up to and including aerial combat between Allied States F-15's and F-16's of the Texas Air National Guard. Don't mess with Texas.

I'll give them credit, they left room for more episodes. They had every intention of another season.

So long Jericho, you will be missed.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Survey Says...

Wow, I'm more than a little disappointed in the results of the survey. Not only were there just 2 responses, they were both wrong.

I'll take obscure Texas references for $1000, Alex.

A "cedarhacker" is the nickname for someone that lives near the Brazos River in the region of Possum Kingdom Lake. I learned this the hard way while DJ/bartender/bouncer at The Old Corral Club south of Graham in Palo Pinto County. After a particularly bloody barfight one night someone made the comment "them cedarhackers are some tough SOB's".

I learned that cedarhackers were backwoods folk that cut down cedar trees and sold them as fenceposts for a living. This was before the days of steel T-posts. Swinging an axe all day and being out in the woods for weeks at a time made them some stout and ornery individuals. When them boys came to town they had 3 things on their mind: drinking, fighting and getting laid (not necessarily in that order). The name stuck and morphed into meaning any redneck or "Bubba" that lived out along the Brazos River near PK.

Altho the practice of using cedar fenceposts has long disappeared, (and trust me on this) there are plenty of people that still fit the bill as "cedarhackers". If you have any doubts, just head into a beerjoint on the west side of PK and try to pick up one of the local women. You'll find a cedarhacker sooner than you may think.

Actually, one will find you.

This concludes this edition of Who Wants To Learn An Obscure Texas Reference.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

John Adams

HBO does it again. This time it's the miniseries "John Adams" focusing on the Revolutionary War and the first 50 years of independence. Paul Giamatti will no doubt win an Emmy for his portrayal of our second President. Normally seen in lighter fare, Giamatti shows his acting chops in this role. Laura Linney also gives a magnificent performance as Abigail Adams.

Normally, my eyes glaze over when watching films about the revolution. Long, grandiose speeches and stoic portrayals are about as exciting as watching paint dry. In this case it's more like watching Rembrandt create a masterpiece. The story is given feeling and passion along with painstaking attention to detail. Perfect case in point is the fear of smallpox Abigail has. From scrubbing her floor on her hands and knees with a scour to the decision to inoculate herself and her children against the disease knowing full well that it could go horribly wrong and cause death. That was about as unsettling a scene as I have ever watched on TV.

It also breaks some stereotypes about our founding fathers. Take Thomas Jefferson for instance. I have always seen him depicted as a great orator, but here he is shown as a quiet introvert. Nobody really knows what he is thinking until he puts pen to paper and he does so with a magnificent prose and passion.

This is a Playtone production and it shows. Tom Hanks has once again raised the bar for quality. This should be required viewing for all students.

If you missed the first two episodes, they are being replayed thruout the week on the various HBO channels. New episodes on Sunday night. I can't recommend it highly enough.

RCR 1-2-3

Richard Childress did the Bristol Stomp with his first ever 1-2-3 finish.

I've decided to stop posting NASCAR results on a regular basis due to my work schedule. The results are widely known before I have a chance to post. I usually don't see the race until the next day and sometimes later.

So, not unlike a defeated candidate, I throw all my NASCAR support to fellow blogger and NASCAR media insider John Daly and The Daly Planet. Besides, John does a far better job of covering the NASCAR scene than I ever could. He has a great breakdown of NASCAR Now and This Week in NASCAR. Looks like Allen Bestwick has emerged from the ashes to avenge his not-so-polite ouster from Inside Winston Cup (yeah, I'm old school) and his demotion from play-by-play to pit reporter by NBC (who totally screwed the pooch going with Bill Webber).

FOX does a lot of things right in NASCARland, but firing Allen was not one of them. That has become apparent with the success of ESPN's "Monday Roundtable" edition of NASCAR Now. They just need to move the show to primetime instead of early afternoon with a latenight replay.

Fear not faithful motorsports fans, when I do find something extraordinary I will not hesitate to bring it to your attention.

Also a sneak peak, I will be camping at Texas Motor Speedway April 4, 5 & 6. I will try to document the madness and bring it to you as close to realtime as possible. Hey, is it my fault if young female race fans get feel the need to get drunk and expose their supple bodies to me?

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Those Cedarhackers Will Drink Anything!

Crazy story out of Santo in nearby Palo Pinto, County. . The TABC busted "Bayou Bob" Popplewell selling bootleg rattlesnake vodka. I have seen those TABC boys in action before. They live for moments like this. It must have looked like an old episode of SWAT when they went in.

Supposedly, this stuff is considered an aphrodisiac in Asian cultures and "Bayou Bob" has been exporting snakes and turtles to that region for quite some time. Where he screwed up was when he allegedly sold some to an undercover agent at his "Brazos River Rattlesnake Ranch".
Say it ain't so, Bob!

From what I can tell by pictures and story in the Startlegram, he was buying pints of cheap, rotgut vodka (Taaka, from the looks of the label) and just putting a snake in each bottle. He was not actually distilling any spirits himself. Heck, I'm pretty sure he was not even using Texas distilled spirits (Tito's Handmade Vodka). How big of a hypocrite can you be?

Git a rope...

I've seen people take shots of snake liquor on TV. I don't think you're gonna find a bottle of this at Bridgeport Discount Liquors nor would I want to.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

It's The World's Gone Crazy Cotillion

Wow, what a crazy night in the WC. Lifestar is called out to a major accident north of Chico right by my place. OnStar calls in a 2 car major accident near Cottondale, but rescuers were unable to locate any signs of one. Boonesville VFD responds to a structure fire and winds up in a tussle with the homeowner and has to call for assitance from the Sheriff's Office.

All this in the span of an hour! Aye carumba!

The Wisdom Of Icky Twerp

I guess there was a good reason my childhood revolved around getting home in time to watch Slam Bang Theater. This was great stuff! And as this clip shows, politics hasn't changed that much in 40 years.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Royale With Cheese, Please!

The lines were long this morning as McDonald's opened for business in Bridgeport. I was surprised to read in The Index that they will be open 24/7. Unless I'm mistaken that will make them the first 24 hour eatery in town. (Did the old "Y Cafe" stay open all night?)

I also noticed a new liquor store at the P&W Center, Moonshine Liquors.

Sniff, my little town is growing up...

I Always Knew She Was Hotter!

Now who'd a thunk it? Sweet, innocent Mary Ann likes Mary Jane! Thank God another doper has been taken into custody and America is once again safe from the demon weed.

We can all sleep better at night now?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Stanley, NO!

Payback's is a bitch! Wow, talk about some great TV. Jericho keeps cranking up the level of television drama. In tonight's closing scnes Stanley (Brad Beyer) extracts his vengence upon the man that murdered his sister Bonnie (Shoshannah Stern). Screw the big picture, this was personal.

CBS is a fool not to renew this series. It's simply the best network drama on the air. Hopefully, in the next few weeks we will find out the fate for a new season of Jericho. You can help! Episodes are available for download online and there are 2 episodes left. Those final 2 episodes should be greatness. You owe it to yourself to catch what could be the end of one of TV's great stories.

Let's hope there is a God and CBS brings the cast and crew of Jericho back one more time.

There is a great article about Brad Beyer here.

Ladies, you can thank me for the beefcake later...

Monday, March 10, 2008

How NOT to Conduct An Interview or When G33ks R3vol7

Wow, looks like the South By Southwest festival is going to get some unexpected publicity. In what should have been a mediocre event at best, the keynote interview of the SWSi (South by Southwest Interactive) guest 23 year old Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg by Business Week's Sarah Lacy went horribly, horribly wrong.

It seems Ms. Lacy had a bit of a problem figuring out who the interview was about. In what quickly became a stand up comic's worst nightmare, the hecklers had a feeding frenzy on the deer in the headlights.

She provoked the wrath of the crowd with long-winded, pointless stories, constant references to her past interviews with Zuckerberg, plugs for her upcoming book on Facebook, and her attitude that Facebook is all about her.

The crowd's grumbling of discontent broke into thunderous applause when, during one of Lacy's tortuous stories, Zuckerberg said, "You have to ask a question."

After that, the wheels fell off this interview train when someone yelled out, "Talk about something interesting!" to which Lacy replied, "You try doing what I do for a living!"

It was a quick meltdown into public speaking hell as the crowd turned on her.

Not content to let a dead horse go unbeaten, Lacy went to the interwebs and posted this on Twitter: "Seriously screw all you guys. I did my best to ask a range of things."

Ah, good times...

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Go Shrub!

A 1, 2 finish for Joe Gibbs Racing at Atlanta.

Details soon.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Oh Hell Yeah!!!

Quick hit from work. I just read in the Star-Telegram that three WW2 vintage bombers are on display at Alliance Airport thru Monday.

The Collings Foundation has a B-17, a B-24 and a B-25 there. For a $10 donation you can explore the interiors or for a paultry $425 you can actually go up in the vintage warbirds! For those unfamiliar with the history of these planes this is something big. The B-24 was manufactured in Ft. Worth in August 1944 at Consolidated Aircraft, now known as Lockheed/Martin.

Don't worry, if you can't make it to Alliance by Monday the planes will be in Denton thru Wednesday then at Love Field until March 23rd. See you there!

Friday, March 7, 2008

The Most Hated Woman In Texas

No, I'm not talking about Hillary. I'm talking about KXAS vice president of content development Susan Tully. The backlash from viewers over the firing of Rebecca Miller is loud. Blogs across the net are getting record posts from fans. Local TV critics Robert Philpot and Ed Bark have been flooded with mail from angry viewers.

I think the big problem is she was one of the last links to Harold Taft. In Harold we trust. His word was fact. He knew what he was doing and he knew what it took to forecast complex Texas weather. Heck, he invented TV weather! Rebecca was hand picked by Harold and everyone knew it. She had "the right stuff".

But let's face it, this isn't Harold's television anymore. This is corporate homogenized, ratings driven, dog eat dog TV. Channel 5 was "The Texas News". My grandparents tuned the Zenith in for few things, but they did for the Channel 5 news. They did because they trusted what they heard, not what the person on screen looked like.

Enter Susan Tully. She's from the northeast and most likely wants to get back there as fast as possible. Since she's exiled down here in Texas, she does'nt want to be surrounded by a bunch of yokels. She wants to put together a nice aircheck tape of programs that look good in New York or Philly so she can get "a real job" there.

First she canned Scott Chesner, another hand picked meteorologist by Harold, and brought in James Aydelott from Pennsylvania. She then set her sights on Rebecca, but viewers have had enough and are letting her know about it. Ms. Tully has requested that all inquiries regarding Rebecca Miller be directed to her. Please feel free to contact her by email or phone KXAS at 817-429-5555.

A letter from Rebecca is posted at Uncle Barky. Let's hope she finds a new home in D/FW soon. And let's hope Susan Tully finds her a new home in New England even sooner.

The Big C

Heard the news about Patrick Swayze. He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Then I read this shocking statistic. According to the National Cancer Institute, 37,000 people in the U.S. will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer this year – 33,000 will die from it.

In fact, it has the highest fatality rate of all cancers and the average life expectancy after diagnosis is three to six months. Wow...

Here it is in the year 2008 and we still have not found a cure for cancer. Yeah, the treatments have improved and are less barbaric. Early detection has greatly improved and lowered the numbers, but we still do not have a cure.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Harold Taft Is Spinning In His Grave

The last meteorologist hired by Harold Taft has been fired by Channel 5. Rebecca Miller's contract was not renewed even tho she wanted to stay. Network sweeper teams have already removed all traces of her and KXAS disavows any knowledge of her existence.

Full sketchy details at Uncle Barky.

Hopefully she will pop up on another station soon, but it will be strange to see her there.

I will always remember the first time I saw her on TV. Harold sent her out to cover a Hurricane in Louisiana. She was standing out in the rain with a hand held weather station. She was wearing a white shirt that quickly became soaked and it turned into a wet t-shirt contest right before your eyes. Greatness.

Hurry back Rebecca. I miss you already.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

G - O - L - D

You know when Evel Knevel calls you a fool, you might want to pay attention.

I heard about this on Russ Martin's show today. Daredevil Ken Carter prepares to jump a rocket powered Lincoln Continental over a MILE WIDE section of the St. Lawrence Seaway in 1979.

This is a clip from the documentary following the 5 year quest to jump the river entitled Devil At Your Heels. It is pure gold. I have to find a copy of this film!! The whole backstory of the jump is just crazy. Sounds like a perfect candidate for Movie of the Week.


Five years into the project, on September 26, 1979, everything finally seems in order: the ramp, the weather, even the rocket car, housed in the body of a Lincoln Continental. A Hollywood producer has underwritten the stunt for exclusive film rights, on the condition there be no live audience. Fire trucks, rescue boats and helicopters stand by as Carter straps himself in, and the countdown begins. However, a mere five seconds before takeoff, a mechanical failure forces him to abort the mission. Sadly, this is the closest he'll ever come to realizing his dream.

Nine days pass. The film crew suspects Carter has lost his nerve and, not wanting to lose any more money, secretly convinces Carter's friend Ken Powers hijack the stunt. Powers doesn't hesitate. With only a few spectators on hand, Powers blasts the car down the runway; meanwhile, Carter sits in his hotel room,unaware of what's afoot.

The bumpy ramp prevents the car from hitting the requisite 270 mph, going only 180 as it launches into the air. The wind immediately tears off its paneling as its parachutes halfway deploy. The car flies a paltry 506 feet, far short of a mile, and crash-lands in knee-deep water. Powers breaks eight vertebrae, three ribs, and a wrist. The footage is spectacular.

Carter soon discovers what happened and is understandably furious, exploding into a muffled rage behind his hotel room door. After spending five years and a million dollars chasing his dream, a backstabbing friend jumped his car off of his ramp, stealing his thunder.

Sadly, Carter was killed instantly in a car jump just a few years later.

Dialup warning: The clip is 4 minutes long, but well worth the wait. Trust me.

A Few Quick Hits

Sorry for the lack of posts lately, but I decided to follow the election results over at Liberally Lean. Let's just say it was'nt pretty.

Man, what are the writers at Jericho trying to do to me? First they killed off Johnston Green, now they killed off the smoking hot deaf girl! I did'nt see that one coming.

I have been fighting off this stomach flu for at least a week now. Today I go to DEFCON 2 and unleash the extra hot salsa from Casillas'. BURN IT OUT!!!

More later, if I survive...

Monday, March 3, 2008

Texas Weather: Part Deux

I sure misses me some Harold Taft right about now. This time yesterday it was 80 with a warm southern wind. Last night severe thunderstorms and tornadoes. Now this.

What's next?

When You're Hot, You're Hot

Carl Edwards makes it 2 in a row with a with a win today (Sunday) in Las Vegas.

Is That The Best You Got?!?!

OK, maybe it wasn't quite like Lt. Dan during the hurricane in Forrest Gump. But, it got mighty interesting for a few minutes when the squall line blew thru. The house was shaking and the wind sounded very strange as it howled thru the trees. I can just imagine what the exposed insulation under the house looks like now.

Pete Delkis showed some pretty ugly stuff blowing thru Bridgeport and Decatur on radar. Altho I noticed 5 wind shear warnings a full 2 minutes before he decided to pay attention to them. He was focused on trying to get his storm track software to plot the time into Ft.Worth. Screw Wise County, we don't have enogh viewers. I guess we'll see the results tomorrow.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Super Tuesday Poll

OK, I wasn't able to put the entire ballot up, so I concentrated on Presidential and Dist 61 races. Multiple votes choices are allowed so you can vote in both races.
Hopefully we will have a few more visitors than we have had lately (is this blog really that dull?)and we can get a peek at how the election will go.

Zogby, eat your heart out.

OK, Wise County. Vote early and vote often!!

Movie of the Week: The Andromeda Strain

More Science fact than science fiction, this movie was a huge hit when it was released back in 1971. It was a sample of things to come from author/screenwriter Michael Crichton and another solid success from producer/director Robert Wise.

A great cast featuring Arthur Hill, David Wayne, James Olsen and Katie Reid take us on a nightmare ride. Back in '71 outer space was still a big deal. We were going to the moon, sending deep space probes and launching satellites like they were bottle rockets. We were also deeply embedded in the Cold War. We were prepared to face a threat from Moscow, but were we ready to face one from somewhere in deep space?

This film shows us just how unprepared we could be.
When a small space probe satellite falls to earth in a remote village of New Mexico, all but two of the town's inhabitants—a squalling infant and an old wino suffering from acidosis—meet death as their blood turns to powder. After two reconnaisance pilots have also perished, mission control declares a national emergency ("Wildfire Alert") and requests that a thermonuclear explosion be set off to sterlize the town. But, due to a breakdown in communication equipment, the message never gets through to the White House.

As the two survivors and the recovered space capsule are transported to a mammoth five-story underground laboratory in Nevada, a team of scientists, biologist Jeremy Stone(Arthur Hill), microbiologist Ruth Leavitt(Katie Reid), blood chemistry authority Mark Hall(James Olsen), and pathologist Charles Dutton (David Wayne), set out to discover the nature of the deadly organism brought by the space probe.

While the team is being subjected to grueling hours of precautionary decontamination measures, they are informed that the laboratory complex is equipped with an automatic self-destruct device that will be triggered should the infection spread; only the red key, which is entrusted to Hall, can disarm the mechanism once it is activated. Through exhaustive tests, the team learns that the minute organism, dubbed the Andromeda Strain, is transmitted by air, that it is crystalline in structure, and that it reproduces at an accelerated rate in an oxygen-free atmosphere—it functions like an atomic reactor.

Because of this characteristic, the team correctly deduces that the child and the wino escaped death by breathing so rapidly that very little oxygen entered their lungs. Consequently, when Dr. Dutton is exposed to contamination, he saves himself by increasing his breathing pace until he creates a respiratory alkalosis in his blood chemistry. But the Andromeda Strain has by now caused a degeneration in the lab's gasket seals, and the atomic self-destruct device is triggered.

With only five minutes to detonation, and a countdown blaring away on the PA system, Hall discovers that he is sealed off from a disconnect substation. Aware that if the bomb goes off the blast could cause a chain reaction in Andromeda mutations that would be impossible to stop, Hall forces his way into a prohibited area, fights off toxic fumes, dodges zaps from a radar-controlled laser gun, climbs a ladder to the top level of the laboratory complex, and, with seconds to spare, inserts his red key in a disconnect lock.

It was all very cutting edge stuff way back then. For those that were'nt around in the '70's it probably looks pretty hokey. But this movie scared the bejeezus out of me when I saw it the first time. It does'nt age particularly well because of the advances in technology, but it's still a great film. It would be a great one to remake.