The stars at night are big and bright...

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

Friday, June 27, 2008

AISD Uproar

I predicted this would get ugly. I was right. The AISD School Board denied Coach Curtis Enis' level III grievance. Story in today's WC Messenger Update. I'm surprised no DFW TV stations have picked up on this. They love a lynch mob.

The natives are restless and unfriendly drums are beating.

Edit: Seen the editorial in the sunday WC Messenger? This will get interesting...

Must See TV: Burn Notice

This is a great show! The first season slipped under my radar because it's hidden away on USA Network. It's smart, it's funny and it's completely believeable. It reminds me a lot of The Rockford Files, Magnum P.I. and Simon & Simon . Sometimes the hero get's his ass kicked.

Burn Notice has a great cast led by Jeffery Donovan as Michael Westen, a spy that has been "burned". As he tries to find out who signed his burn notice he makes his living helping people. Westen narrates everything that happens, and tells us gleefully about all the little tricks he is using. The show has a great visual style: lots of freeze frame shots when you least expect them.

Helping him are his old friend Sam (played by one of my favorites Bruce Campbell) and his trigger happy ex-girlfriend Fiona (the ever smokin' hot Gabrielle Anwar). He also has family issues. Sharon Gless plays his Mom, Madeline.

The new season starts next month, but for now you can catch reruns Thursday nights on USA. You can also download full episodes on Hulu or pick up the DVD.

Set DVR to kill.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

I Continue to be Mystified

I'm still stunned by all the traffic the lil' ol blog is raking in. You can add Buenos Aries, London, Prague and Normandy to the list!

Unfortunately, I'm not sure it's the cutting edge commentary and rapier wit that's drawing a crowd. It appears that my wistful comments about driving around listening to AC/DC in my Suzuki Carry has a nice picture of the Highway to Hell cover.

Thanks, Google Image Search! (I'll take 'em anyway I can get 'em!)

Speaking of cruising in my Carry, I've got something up my sleeve that I can't fully discuss yet. Needless to say it may be the biggest thing I've ever accomplished.

Stay tuned sports fans!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Amos Moses Lives!

A Florida kid goes swimming during a party and winds up in a life or death struggle with a 14 foot gator!

Here's a video link, but it took forever on dialup:

Monday, June 23, 2008


Just a quick hit here, but Mark Cuban has hit a Grand Slam with HDNetMovies! I don't know how he gained access to these films, but BRAVO sir!

Dirty Harry followed by Cool Hand Luke, in high-def. It doesn't get any better!

If you have an HDTV and don't have HDNetMovies, you don't have HDTV!

Hang On Baby Jesus, This Is Gonna Get Bumpy!

Wow, I really like this Feedjit widget. Now I can see who's looking at The South 40 and it's freaking amazing! I had no idea people from outside the WC checked it out, much less Canada, Belgium, New Zealand and China!

Holy frijoles!

Feedjit has also allowed me to check out a few new blogs, some of which are pretty f'n funny, like Calvin and Bubba . Hang in there Bubba!!!

As long as I'm rambling, I have a few words about the posters over at Liberally Lean . Those guys have become pretty callus lately. A post about a cute baby and out come the anonymous anti-abortion nutbags. A post about a family of 5 all killed in a car wreck and more venom from anonymous posters. If you want to be an asswipe, at least have the balls to post with an identity. You can't track the players without a scorecard... Know what I mean? That's why I ask everyone that posts comments here to please use some sort of ID. If you don't have a Google ID then make something up. You cooperation with this is greatly appreciated.

I also want to let all the NASCAR fans out there that haven't already become addicted to the Monday Roundtable Edition of NASCAR Now on ESPN2 to check it out. Allen Bestwick picks up right where he left off when he was ungloriously ousted from SPEED's Inside Winston Cup (yeah, I'm old school). The show is fast, funny and informative. AB is the premier announcer in NASCARland and his skills shine on this show.

The only problem with it is ESPN is constantly changing the airtime. It's scheduled for 4:30pm CDT, but it may come on at anytime if ESPN2 is showing another sport. This show is too good to be bounced around the schedule. If anyone at ESPN is listening, put the show on at 7pmCDT and let it compete heads up with This Week In NASCAR (SPEED's latest revamp of IWC). We're big boys and girls and know how to program our DVR's, but if you bounce the program from it's scheduled time we can't record it. Comprende, amigo?

Enough ranting for now. I have to put on some Shooter Jennings and get warmed up for a night of virtual dogfighting on Aces High.

Celebrity Deathwatch: George Carlin

Man, I have been doing too many of these lately and it's depressing me greatly to write this one.
George Carlin has passed away from heart failure. He was 71.

Comedian George Carlin, a counter-culture hero famed for his routines about drugs and dirty words, died of heart failure at a Los Angeles-area hospital on Sunday, a spokesman said.

Carlin, who had a history of heart and drug-dependency problems, died at Saint John's Health Center in Santa Monica about 6 p.m. PDT (9 p.m. EDT) after being admitted earlier in the afternoon for chest pains, spokesman Jeff Abraham told Reuters.

Known for his edgy, provocative material, Carlin achieved status as an anti-Establishment icon in the 1970s with stand-up bits full of drug references and a routine called "Seven Words You Can Never Say On Television." A regulatory battle over a radio broadcast of the routine ultimately reached the U.S. Supreme Court.

In the 1978 case, Federal Communications Commission vs. Pacifica Foundation, the top U.S. court ruled that the words cited in Carlin's routine were indecent, and that the government's broadcast regulator could ban them from being aired at times when children might be listening.

Carlin's comedic sensibility often came back to a central theme: humanity is doomed.

"I don't have any beliefs or allegiances. I don't believe in this country, I don't believe in religion, or a god, and I don't believe in all these man-made institutional ideas," he told Reuters in a 2001 interview.

Carlin, who wrote several books and performed in many television comedy specials, is survived by his wife Sally Wade, and daughter Kelly Carlin McCall.

He will be remembered for many edgy jokes. But my favorite will always be "the 7 dirty words".

Heaven just got funnier, whether he believes it or not.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Alvord ISD

Wow, looks like the battlelines have been drawn and the opening salvos fired at the Alvord school board.

It made page one, above the fold in this Sunday's WC Messenger. This will get ugly fast.
I know a few parents of AISD students and this fight has been brewing for a long time. The Coach Enis fiasco is just the latest shenanigans and apparently it was the straw that broke the camel's back.

If everything I was told becomes public, Superintendent John Trice's days are numbered. The natives are restless.

Movie Of The Week: The Train

This week's entry is John Frankenheimer's wartime thriller, The Train starring Burt Lancaster.

This is one of my favorite Burt Lancaster films. One of his "anti-war" war films. He stars as the French railroad worker (and Resistance member) Paul Labiche saddled with the task of saving the heritage of France without damaging it in the process.

The Train was the 1965 film that would prove to be one of the last major black and white studio releases. Burt Lancaster teamed with director John Frankenheimer for this superb action thriller in which a member of the French Resistance attempts to prevent a German officer from looting France's art treasures in the closing days of the war.

A standout WWII drama, loosely based on a true story. In 1944, as the Allies spread across France from the Normandy landings, the Nazis looted Paris art museums and loaded the works onto a train, with the intention of carrying them back to the Fatherland and selling or bartering them for scarce war materials. A fairly hare-brained scheme, to be sure, and in reality the train never made it further than a siding just east of the city, but that shouldn't hinder one's enjoyment of what turns out to be a classic action film.The centerpiece of the movie is a clash of wills between Von Waldheim, a cultured but iron-backed Nazi colonel (well-played by Paul Scofield) charged with getting the stolen artworks to Germany, and a taciturn railway troubleshooter named Labiche (Burt Lancaster).

Von Waldheim first enlists Labiche as 'insurance' against any monkey business during the train's journey. Labiche, though, happens to have Resistance connections and, with serious reservations, is drawn into a desperate, improvised plot to stop the train, preferably without damaging the precious artifacts inside.Although easily enjoyed as a straight action flick, what gives the film weight is the supporting story, in which Labiche at first argues against wasting precious lives on a few crates of paintings he's never seen, then gradually comes round as he begins to understand that the Nazis are effectively carrying off a large piece of the heart of France.

Beautiful deep-focus black and white photography, and solid supporting performances by a mostly French cast (of which Jeanne Moreau may be the best-known), convincingly evoke the bleak misery of the Occupation. John Frankenheimer's economical direction manages to present highly-charged action scenes without glossing over the human cost, as Von Waldheim exacts savage reprisals against escalating efforts to hinder the train's passage.

Lancaster, who performed his own stunts, is excellent, furiously athletic as he slides down ladders, leaps onto moving locomotives, and charges over ridges and fields in pursuit of the train. At the same time, he manages to effectively bring a subtle authenticity to his portrayal of the weary, fatalistic railwayman.

Finally, the action set-pieces are nothing short of stunning, and include the train's mad dash through an Allied carpet-bombing attack, a strafing raid on a speeding locomotive, and several wrecks and derailments, all staged full-scale with period equipment donated by the French national railway.

This is an excellent film and one of Lancaster's finest performances. Set DVR's to kill!

Friday, June 20, 2008


An unused life jacket from the Titanic will go under the hammer later this month in New York, Christie's auction house said on Wednesday.

Christie's, which estimated that the life preserver would sell for 30,620 pounds to 40,828 pounds, sold another Titanic life jacket last year in London for 60,727 pounds.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but they don't work well. I'd also like to know how they athenticated it was unused.

This Bud's For Sale

The nation's largest brewer may soon belong to Belgian-Brazilian giant InBev , makers of Stella Artois. I recently discovered Stella and I like it. Not sure how I feel about the sale. Kinda hate to see a great American company go overseas.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Purity Of Essence

Just in case you were worried about buying contaminated tomatoes, the ones for sale at IGA in Bridgeport come from fields that have been tested and certified salmonella free. The only problem is getting them before they sell out. Seems the word has gotten out and people have been stocking up.

It's a tomato run!

Retiring The Old Radiation King

Well I decided to drop a few sheckles on a new TV. (cringe) WalMart (/cringe) had the Vizio 42" plasmas on sale for $747. I eyeballed one last week and put it off hoping to find a better deal on a Father's Day sale, but it was not to be. So, what the hey!

It's a bit big for the bedroom, but I'll have to get over it. ;)

Actually the only problem I have with it is the illuminated logo on the bottom frame. I don't know why they thought it nessessary to do that, but it really detracts from the picture. Now I have to get the thing wall mounted. For the time being I'm going with Redneck Chic. It's sitting on top of my faithful old 27" Zenith cabinet.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Celebrity Deathwatch: Tim Russert

Meet The Press host Tim Russert has died at age 58 from an apparent heart attack. He had just returned from Italy a celebratory vacation after his son graduated from Boston College.
I was always impressed by him and his work. He was tough and even handed. If he had any personal political agenda, he never let it show on the air. He was a consumate professional.
JEFF IMMELT, CHAIRMAN AND CEO, GENERAL ELECTRIC: Everyone at GE and at NBC Universal is devastated by the loss of our colleague and friend Tim Russert. Tim was a giant in journalism and a face and a voice that America trusted. He earned that trust through hard work, love of his profession and, above all, through his enduring honesty and integrity. And most importantly, Tim was a wonderful human being who valued family and friends over all. We will miss him greatly. My sincerest sympathies go out to Tim's family and to the many people whose lives he touched.
JEFF ZUCKER, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, NBC UNIVERSAL:We are heartbroken at the sudden passing of Tim Russert. We have lost a beloved member of our NBC Universal family and the news world has lost one of its finest. The enormity of this loss cannot be overstated. More than a journalist, Tim was a remarkable family man. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Maureen, their son, Luke, and Tim's entire extended family.
STEVE CAPUS, PRESIDENT, NBC NEWS:This is a loss for the entire nation. Everyone at NBC News is in shock and absolutely devastated. He was our respected colleague, mentor, and dear friend. Words can not express our heartbreak. Our thoughts and prayers are with Maureen, Luke, Big Russ and all of Tim's family.
BOB SCHIEFFER: "Tim was the best of our profession. He asked the best questions and then he listened for the answer. We became very close friends over the years. He delighted in scooping me and I felt the same way when I scooped him. When you slipped one past ol' Russert, you felt as though you had hit a home run off the best pitcher in the league. I just loved Tim and I will miss him more than I can say, and my heart goes out to his son, Luke, and his wife, Maureen."
GEORGE STEPHANOPOLOUS: Tim loved everything about politics and journalism -- because he believed in it. Every Sunday morning he brought that passion to his table and made all of us better. My thoughts and prayers are with his family -- especially Maureen, Luke and his father Russ.

Heaven just got smarter.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Just Call Me "South 40 Slim"

Wow, have I been burning up the pavement here the past few days. Tonight I went to Devol, Oklahoma and played in the poker tournament at Comanche Red River Casino. To my surprise I didn't completely suck! I actually made it all the way to the final table.

Things started out slow. I couldn't draw a decent pair of cards to save my life. I felt like Felix Leiter in Casino Royale, "I'm bleeding chips!" But after a dealer switch my luck began to change. Slowly but surely I began to win a hand here and there. Before long I had a decent stack and I was back in the game.

I was apparently the unknown factor to everyone else as the small talk between the players made it apparent these people knew each other from previous play. I tried to remain quiet, still and emotionless to keep from giving off any tells (we'll come back to that later) and it seemed to be paying off.

I started working on the chip leader and before long I WAS the chip leader. I had a freaking $12,000 chip lead at one point! One by one I began to knock off players and others became intimidated by me. I was winning pots just by making a raise.

My adrenaline was pumping and it was everything I could do to keep from shaking like a leaf! Fortunately, it was freezing in there and it was easy to feign being cold instead of an anxiety attack. Then it happened. I made it to the final table.

It was time for the big boys and girls to play!

One problem with playing at an Indian casino is the absence of liquor. I was desperately in need of a shot to calm me down. I decided to walk it off during the break. It didn't work.

When play resumed I continued to win. Two players exited and then came the dealer change. It was the dealer I had when the tourney started and had such rotten luck. This was a bad sign. Just like that my luck went to pot. I would draw very good cards but couldn't do a thing with them. I had Big Slick(ace/king) 3 times and lost every stinking time. I started making mental mistakes like playing out of turn. That's pretty freaking amature and it showed everyone just how inexperienced I am.

I joked it off the first time it happened. But the second time was a giant neon sign. I had drawn a pair of tens and the flop was 3 queens. A boat! A player went "all in" with about half my chip count. The player before me had folded and I could have sworn the player before him had too. So when I defiantly called "all in" and pushed my chips in everyone looked at me.

Uh, it's not your turn dumbass!

Everyone folded. I won the pot but got many thanks for saving them a lot of money. The guy sitting next to me said "that's called a tell..." It was the beginning of the end. That would be the last hand I won. My final hand I was holding a pair of fours and there was nothing threatening showing. I went "all in" and the chip leader called. The river was an ace. I'll give you 3 guesses what he was holding...

I finished in 7th place.

Overall it was a good thing. I gained a lot of experience and made it a lot further than I had expected. Maybe I'm not ready to quit my job and move to Monte Carlo just yet.

Monday, June 9, 2008

A White Boy In The Sun

Ever sunburn your scalp? I don't recommend it.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

The Class of '08

Just got back from Harker Heights, Tx. The late Sheila Reed's daughters were graduating from High School. I can't begin to tell you how proud I am of her daughter Jenn.

After everything this poor girl has been thru in the last year, she still managed to graduate with Honors. She also made sure her older sister Karena, a cerebral palsy victim, got to cross the stage. For those of us that were close to Sheila this was a very emotional event.

On the way back from the Bell County Expo Center the sun passed behind a cloud and it was the most beautiful sunburst you have ever seen. We all agreed that Sheila was smiling down upon us.

Altho the acoustics of the Expo Center left much to be desired, overall I was impressed with the facility and the commencement. One thing I was particularly impressed with was the live video link they had with Camp Freedom in Iraq so the parents serving there could watch their children graduate. Very nice touch!

I was also impressed with the ride there and back in a Chevy HHR. Yeah, I know. Blasphemy coming from a Ford fan, but this was a very nice vehicle. Other than a tiny air leak somewhere on the passenger side, which can happen on any vehicle, I could find little to fault with it. The 35 MPG was very impressive especially when you consider we were over 70 MPH most of the way. I doubt my Suzuki Carry could equal that kind of performance.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Celebrity Deathwatch Trifecta: Jim McKay

Former ABC Wide World of Sports anchor Jim McKay has passed away.

Jim was always the consummate professional. His delivery was never forced, slanted or biased unlike many of his ABC colleagues, most notably Howard Cosell. Whether it was downhill skiing or cliff diving from Acapulco, you always heard the same calm, cool commentary from Jim McKay.

Unquestionably his finest moment was during the 1972 Olympics in Munich when he was suddenly thrust into the position of being a serious news journalist and all of the nation's eyes and ears were trained upon him. There were several different ways he could have reported the events as they unfolded, but for 16 hours without a break, he gave the same calm, cool delivery right to the bitter end.

"When I was a kid my father used to say our greatest hopes and our worst fears are seldom realized. Our worst fears have been realized tonight. They have now said there were eleven hostages; two were killed in their rooms yesterday morning, nine were killed at the airport tonight. They're all gone."

Friday, June 6, 2008

SNAFU Special

In case you did'nt know, and I'm afraid to guess how many of you don't, today is the 64th anniversary of the allies invasion of Normandy or as it is more commonly known D-day.

This was war on a scale almost none of us can comprehend. Watching Saving Private Ryan or Band of Brothers can give us a small idea of what happened, but in no way can we truly appreciate the massive effort it took. The numbers were astounding, the odds were long and the stakes were high. But these brave men did their jobs and got it done.

I was pleased to find this article in yesterday's Startlegram about Capt. Hank Moreland of Ballinger, Texas. Hank was a C-47 pilot and ferried troops and supplies during the war. Thru a twist of fate he is returning to France at age 90 to be reunited with his old friend that fought alongside him, SNAFU Special.

Salute to you, Capt. Moreland.

And if any of you happen to know or see a Vet today, be sure to thank them for serving our country.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Celebrity Deathwatch: Bo Diddly

Rock-and-roll pioneer Bo Diddley died early Monday morning (June 2), of heart failure, at his home in Archer, Florida. He was 79 years old.
He began working on the streets of Chicago's South Side, and later made his most important contribution to rock music with the pummeling "Bo Diddley beat." This instantly recognizable rhythm figure, drenched in tremolo, was featured on the 1955 single "Bo Diddley," his first release on Chicago's Checker Records.
Although he never really stopped working, Bo's biggest chart period was from the mid-1950s into the early '60s, with such memorable hits as "You Can't Judge a Book By the Cover," "Road Runner" and "Who Do You Love?" His influence, however, reverberated further. His 1957 "Mona" and 1959 "Crackin' Up" were covered by the Rolling Stones; and "I'm a Man," the flip side of "Bo Diddley," was resurrected (and kicked into overdrive) by the Yardbirds. And Bo's beat was the clear inspiration for the Buddy Holly hit "Not Fade Away" (which the Stones also covered), the 1958 Johnny Otis smash "Willie and the Hand Jive" (itself covered by Eric Clapton) and the Strangeloves' 1965 "I Want Candy" (which has been covered by everyone from Bow Wow Wow to Good Charlotte).

Since it's not possible to copyright a beat, Bo Diddley never received any royalties from the hits other musicians created around his trademark rhythm — a situation he always found annoying. There were other, less-remunerative compensations, though: In 1987, Bo was among the second round of legendary performers inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Heaven just got a new beat.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

The Former DPS Officer Turned Lame Duck Politician Robert Rankin Memorial Checkpoint And Toll Gate

Did you see where Wise County wants to install their own weigh station? County commissioners approved the thing. Their reason? (Besides keeping the cash from fines)

The recent wrecks involving trucks where car drivers were at fault.

I understand we have an abnormally large amount of truck traffic in the WC, but we also already have an abnormally large presence of police supervision. Trucks are allowed to carry overloads up to 84,000 lbs on every single load simply by purchasing a cheap (it used to be $200, it may have changed) permit that is good for 1 year. That permit allows trucks to carry 84,000 lbs per load on every single road in the state except load limit bridges.

The name for the new weigh station? How about the Former DPS Officer Turned Lame Duck Politician Robert Rankin Memorial Checkpoint And Toll Gate? (Rankin was the DPS Weights and Measures Officer for forever and a day in Wise County.)

No bias there at all...

The level of inspection they are proposing would be unequaled in the United States between Tennessee and California. 287 is a major southern cross country alternative to I-40 or I-10. How long do you think it will take for word to spread among truckers to avoid 287 because of the Decatur "gung ho" weighstation? Wouldn't the loss of traffic not only effect Decatur and Wise County, but also every town along the route from Amarillo to Little Rock?

The problem is not with junky, doped up, overweight trucks that tear up our roads and kill innocent law abiding citizens. The problem is with Darwin thinning the heard of inept car drivers and the state with giving away overload permits for quick cash. This is nothing more than a blatant move to raise money on the back of the trucking industry that would punish the lowest member of the foodchain, the already struggling truck driver.

I don't see any complaints or intrusive countermeasures about the state selling overload permits or designing dangerous intersections.

How about we require yearly driving tests for people over 65 and make them do a quick random safety checkup every time they drive thru Decatur?