Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Just a quick hit...
The critically acclaimed TV series Friday Night Lights returns tonight. Brand new episodes from it's 4th season can be seen on DirecTv's 101 Network. Or you can wait until it returns to NBC in the summer of 2010.
Monday, October 26, 2009
I came away impressed with both the staff and facilities. It took less than 2 hours start to finish.
Say what you will in support of Decatur's Hospital, we need more than one facility in The WC and Bridgeport is fulfilling that need.
I came away with something else. A certain brush with death and the H1N1 virus.
They had a special seating area for Swine Flu symptom patients about 15 feet away from where I was seated. The problem was they had to walk past me from the entrance and stand at the admission window 5 feet away, then walk directly past me again on their way to the "special flu seats". If you were in the room, you were in the kill zone.
After hearing the 2nd patient check in saying "I think I gots me the pig flu", I decided there was a better chance surviving in the severe thunderstorm that was raging outside and staged a tactical retreat.
All turned out well for the employee. Nothing broken, but she did have a severe contusion.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
My beloved Horned Frog are for real! I've been a Frog fan since I was a boy and stepped onto the field at Amon G. Carter. I was instantly hooked. Twice a National Champion (waaaaay back when FDR was in his first term) and eventually banished to oblivion when the Southwest Conference was imploded, the TCU Horned Frogs are back, Baby! They had a good run a few years ago with Ladanian Tomlinson in the backfield, but coach Gary Patterson has put together a true team and has these Frogs focused on higher ground.
Friday, October 23, 2009
- If you knew how close I've come to cashing out, moving to Vegas and becoming a professional poker player you would question my sanity.
- You would join a long list of people that have questioned my sanity.
- A FOX News exclusive!
- Random pic of the day.
- Own your own hunk of "God's Country" for under $500!!!
- NASCAR's Michael Waltrip has a DWI near miss.
- I predict the Sarah Palin interview will be Oprah's highest rated episode in the history of evar!
- I also predict Sarah Palin will crawl away licking her wounds. Oprah is not Katie Couric.
- Become an ordained Dudeist Priest!
- Why there are no Unicorns.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
From The San Antonio Express-News :
Jarrette Schule was cutting down trees on his rural property Tuesday in Comal County when he noticed a green metallic tube on the muddy ground.
“I had never seen it before,” said Schule, a 34-year-old Web developer. “I looked at it, and it kind of looked like a missile launcher.”
Schule took a closer look. It was a long, forest-green metal tube. A decal on it read: “Guided Missile and Launcher, Surface Attack.”
The launcher was deep in the wooded property far from the road, in an area he was familiar with.
“I don’t know if it fell out of something or if somebody just dumped it,” Schule said.
Schule’s property in Comal County is vacant, and he didn’t want to leave a missile launcher unattended. So he loaded it in his truck and took it to his house in the North Side neighborhood of the Ridge at Lookout Canyon.
But Schule spent Tuesday afternoon calling the FBI, Homeland Security, the Sheriff’s Department — every agency he could think of. He was stuck in a bureaucratic limbo.
“Everyone was handing it off to everybody else,” Schule said.
He was surprised at the amount of work it took to get the military to pick up its lost missile launcher.
Schule initially was nervous when he found the weapon. But as the hours passed, he did what most guys would do — marvel at the mind-blowing awesomeness of finding a missile launcher. He posted photos on Facebook and called his buddies, saying: “Guess what I found?”
Schule called the military police at Fort Sam. But their jurisdiction doesn’t extend off the post. Schule’s information was passed along to an Army criminal investigator, who visited Schule on Wednesday morning — about 19 hours after he started making phone calls.
The special agent walked into the house and saw the launcher sitting on the dining room table.
“She said this is the first time she ever encountered anything like this,” Schule said. “I got the impression it was kind of a big deal. Doesn’t happen every day, I guess.”
The decal on the launcher has a 13-digit “National Stock Number,” which is used to identify military equipment. The stock number is a match for launchers that fire Dragon surface-to-surface missiles, according to a database maintained by the U.S. Defense Logistics Information Service.
Military officials were unable to say Wednesday who last had the launcher and when it was lost. The launcher has a serial number that can be used to track the chain of custody. That will be part of the military’s investigation, said Phil Reidinger, spokesman for Fort Sam.
At Schule’s house, he and the Army investigator had to wait for about three more hours for an ordnance disposal team from Lackland AFB to confiscate the weapon.
The team arrived at about 1 p.m. Wednesday and retrieved the device, ending a crazy experience for Schule.
“I thought just driving down the road, someone would just know that I had a missile launcher in my truck,” Schule said, laughing. “You think that way about the government.
But really, you have to make an effort for them to come get their missile launcher.”
Monday, October 19, 2009
Saturday, October 17, 2009
The pilot, Daniel McGregor, 35, told a park ranger that he was able to free himself from the wreckage, according to Clint Johnson, senior investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board.
But as McGregor struggled to free Haber, the plane caught fire and he had to abandon his efforts, Johnson said.
Johnson said he didn't know if Haber was conscious -- or even alive -- at the time, but hoped to get that information from McGregor when he recovers sufficiently to be interviewed, probably in the next week or two, he said.
Nick Rodrick, a camper who drove McGregor out of the park, said McGregor told him that heavy winds coming down the valley "caught the plane wrong."
"He was pulling up trying to control the plane and he just lost it," Rodrick said.
McGregor told rangers he hit the trees at about 90 mph.
No one received an emergency locator signal from the plane, Johnson said. It was reported missing late Wednesday and a search was launched Thursday.
McGregor was walking while the search was under way, walking when the plane was found, walking when the trooper landed. It was seven miles to the road, and another eight to the unoccupied ranger cabin near the Igloo Creek campground.
The only two campers in the park were at that campground: Rodrick, 19, of Penacook, N.H., and buddy Jesse Hoagland, 20, of Loudon, N.H. The two aspiring filmmakers left home Sept. 25 on an adventure trip in a 1995 Chevy van, planning to produce a documentary of their travels.
Around 7 p.m., as dark was falling at the campground, Rodrick and Hoagland heard something in the distance.
"He thought it was a person, I thought it sounded like wolves," Rodrick said in a telephone interview Friday from Denali Park. "I was like, 'Don't worry about it.' And then we heard it again."
This time, it was clear. "Helloooo, hellloooo."
They walked to the entrance of the campground and spotted McGregor, wet and disheveled and obviously hurt, but coherent.
"He came staggering up to us," Rodrick said. "We saw him -- his fleece was all burned. It kind of freaked us out at first."
They got McGregor back to their campsite. They had no idea there had been a plane crash in the park or that a search had been under way all day.
"He told us he had lost a guy out there," Rodrick said. "He was really in rough shape."
They fed the man crackers, a granola bar and a banana and gave him water, Gatorade and a jacket. Their van was parked about five miles away at Teklanika Campground, the farthest that visitors are permitted to drive into the park this time of year. They set off for the van about 8 p.m.
"He was walking on his own," Rodrick said. "He told us he was starting to see things in the woods. You could tell he had been in the woods, with no food, no water. We kept him talking."
They got to the van but were out of cell phone range. As they headed toward the Parks Highway, they drove right by ranger headquarters near the park entrance. McGregor was finally able to reach someone on his phone, and they met some people at the headquarters of Denali Air, outside the park.
The pilot climbed into a car driven by a friend who was going to take him to a hospital, but they turned back after they called 911 and were told an ambulance was heading in their direction.
Moore, who is also a medic, examined McGregor in the car when it got back to Denali Air, then got him into an ambulance to Healy, the next town north of the park. There, he was met by an air ambulance that flew him to a burn center in Seattle, where he was reported in satisfactory condition.
Friday, October 16, 2009
I've been busy working on XRV-1 getting her ready. There was one repair I couldn't make. Welding the broken aluminum door frame. I don't have a welder, much less a mig. But, I DO have a BrotherInLaw! After work wednesday I cranked the ol' gal up, headed over to The Grasslands and let a professional do the job.
I need to get me a set of those obnoxious air horns that plays "Dixie" really loud when I roll up in someone's driveway like Cousin Eddie in Christmas Vacation. That would be classy.
I'm not the only one that's been busy. Little Sister and BrotherInLaw have really made progress on their new horse barn/cowgirl cave. The last time I was there it was just partial framework. Now they have it skinned, a vented roof and the upstairs cowgirl cave has a floor framed out. I was quite impressed, but didn't think to take any pictures. Somebody promised to post some over at BootsnSpurs.... still waiting on that.
As usual, he did a great job in a difficult situation. 30 year old thin cast aluminum is hard enough to weld on a worktable. He did it in place, surrounded by flammable material and it worked great. I would have burned the whole thing to the ground if I tried that. That's why I went to a pro.
My only stumbling block has been the water heater. The LP control board is dead but I found a HottRod electric conversion kit for under $90 at RVToast and got free FedEx shipping. I'll have nice hot showers on race weekend after all. I think that's something everyone will appreciate.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
- PJTP is now Blah, Blah, Blah. But, I'm keepin the roman numerals. They give the joint some class...
- Garth Brooks is making another comeback. This guy has more comebacks than Brett Favre. At least Chris Gaines is still dead.
- Some good news about the economy.
- Meghan McCain goes all Silicone Alley on us.
- United Supermarkets are opening a Distribution Center at Alliance.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
The answer is.... no.
If I have something to say, you'll know I said it.
Now go do that voodoo that you do so well....!!!!
A German man mooning at railway staff in a departing train got his trousers caught in a carriage door and ended up being dragged half naked along the platform, out of the station and onto the tracks.
The 22-year-old journalism student shoved his backside against the window of a low-slung double-decker train when staff forced him off for traveling without a ticket, according to Bremen police.
"It's a miracle he wasn't badly hurt," a spokesman said on Monday. "This sort of thing can end up killing you."
Instead, dangling by his trousers, the man got pulled along for about 200 meters, all the while managing to keep his legs away from the wheels of the train.
The ordeal ended when a passenger pulled the emergency brake. Rescue workers were called in, causing rail service between Bremen and Hamburg to be suspended for over an hour, delaying 23 trains.
The man -- unharmed except for cuts and bruises -- now faces charges of dangerous interference in rail transport, insulting the train staff, and may face a sizeable compensation claim for the delays he caused, police said.
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Saturday, October 10, 2009
No, you're not seeing double. Just a little backyard boxing between identical twins Ethan (black trunks) and Ian (blue trunks).
Guess which one just graduated from Boot Camp.
Kenneth is your Referee. 3 Rounds and keep it clean.
Now, let's get it on!
But when I find the gold, I bring it.
Last night on Real Time with Bill Mahr, one of his guests unveiled a plan to end world hunger.
I found this clip, WARNING: NSFW
How To Feed The World
(edit: better clip)
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
You know, I've had my share of dirty jobs. The worst was when I owned a truck and hauled bulk materials in an end dump. I basically drove a rock truck cross country hauling any and everything you can think of. The company I was leased to was rumored to be getting a huge government contract hauling HazMat "any day now". I was there for over 2 years and all we got were cheap loads nobody wanted.
3 months after I quit, they got that big fat contract and everybody got rich, except me. But, I digress.
One day I was in Houston and got dispatched to haul a load of fertilizer. My first clue it was not going to go well was the loading point, a City of Houston Wastewater Treatment Plant. It was exactly what you think it was, except it had been dried, powdered and renamed Humus. Look for it at your local garden center... I had to load and tarp the material then haul it to Florida. I think I might have set an unofficial World's Record time in tarping that trailer and it was not a rollover tarp. It was old school.
After 6 or 7 scalding hot showers at the first truckstop I could find I set out to Florida. I had an interesting exchange with a State Trooper at a Florida weight station, but that's a story for another time. When I reached my destination, I got a lesson in perspective. For as bad as I thought my situation was, I soon learned it could have been much, much worse.
Arriving at the fertilizer plant, I was told to back into a shed and dump my load. As soon as I did, along came a guy in a Bobcat skid-steer with no mask or protective gear of any kind unless you count the sweat stained wife-beater he was wearing. He ran full speed into the pile of material literally dredged from the bowels of the City of Houston and disappeared in a brown cloud. He stayed in that cloud for the next 20 minutes pushing the material into a feeder bin.
Suddenly, my day wasn't so bad after all.
Well, today I found a story that might just top that.
From The AP:
BRIDGEWATER, S.D. – Behind the freezer doors at a meat plant mysteriously abandoned by its owner, the 44 tons of bison meat managed to hold its own for months, masked by the brutal chill of two South Dakota winters.
Once the power was cut and spring thaw arrived, nature took over. And enough rotting meat to fill a high school gym did exactly what you'd expect: It stank.
It stank at the bank. It smelled at the law office. It reeked at the cafe. Even the jewelry store wasn't immune. Everyone in this tiny town could smell it, everywhere they went. A putrid odor so downright nasty the cleaners sent to mop up the gooey mess of liquefied meat — topped by a blanket of swarming white maggots and buzzed by a legion of flies — gave up after two days.
Mayor Marty Barattini said "This is a small town. We have just over 600 people, so that stench was enough to overwhelm the entire town."
Fed up with the smell, a brave crew of 18 city and county workers took matters into their own hands this summer and stormed the plant to haul away the putrid meat and take back their town. What came next was the biggest indignity: Three months after the cleanup, the owner still hasn't paid the $11,151 cleanup bill, and owes about $14,085 in unpaid property taxes on top of it.
"We tried to work with that guy," said a dismayed Barattini.
The saga of the smell began in January 2008, when owner Ilan Parente closed Bridgewater Quality Meats and moved the business to Dawson, Minn., as Noah's Ark Processors LLC. He left the boxed kosher bison meat behind, apparently to be sold to a pet food company. It stayed frozen until the electricity was cut off in December for lack of payment.
When the town about 40 miles away from Sioux Falls began to warm in the spring, the smell began to creep out. Some said the scent was like road kill. The mayor said he spent two tours of duty in Vietnam and could not recall smelling anything as bad.
"This is worse than rotten bodies," Barattini said.
The city sent a notice to Parente to remove the caustic cause, and he dispatched two workers who toiled without protective masks, clothing, equipment or access to water or electricity. Defeated by the mess, they quit after two days.
So city and county officials got permission from the South Dakota Animal Industry Board to go inside and finish. It then became clear that the source of the smell was the meat: 88,420 pounds, according to the scale at the Sioux Falls landfill, where the mess was hauled in five dump trucks and three extra-large trash bins.
The crews and a skid loader spent two days removing the meat, which had swollen so much that the shrink-wrapped bags had burst, which caused the stacked boxes to topple. Most crew members wore an oxygen mask and hazardous materials suit because of the strong ammonia odor. Crews cleaned the building with fire hoses and doused it with bleach.
City employee and volunteer firefighter Todd Letcher wore his fire gear. "I don't think anybody should ever do something like that," he said of the job. "That was bad."
Parente's phone number is disconnected and the attorney representing him, Mike Unke, declined to comment. A woman who answered the phone at the Minnesota business said Parente is no longer affiliated with it. Requests for someone to comment went unanswered.
Parente has said before that he checked the meat in May and found it iced over due to a broken water pipe. He's claimed the meat might have stunk but says he never put anyone in danger.
"I feel bad for the people of Bridgewater who had to live with the smell. But that's really where the extent of my feeling bad goes. It wasn't ever a health hazard to anyone," he told The Daily Republic of Mitchell in July.
The county spent about $5,000 on dump trucks and men to drive them, the city submitted a bill of $3,918 to Parente for trucking costs, landfill fees, attorney fees, overtime and pest control, and the fire department's cost came in at $2,233 for wages, air tanks, two fire trucks and clothing replacement.
Parente also owes $8,628 in back property taxes and interest on the business and $5,457 on a rural house he owns, according to McCoy County records. Bridgewater City Attorney Mike Fink said that the city is in the process of discussing a settlement to recoup the cleanup costs. Months after the massive cleanup, though, the city hasn't seen a dime.
The stink wasn't the first issue with the plant. Problems with the business started several years ago when the city's sewer system began getting stopped up because of blood and other parts going down the drain at Bridgewater Quality Meats.
The state Department of Environment and Natural Resources filed a civil lawsuit against Bridgewater Quality Meats in 2003 seeking $10,000 per day of violation for dumping between October 2001 to October 2003. The last action on the case was a delay issued in March 2008. If convicted and assessed every day of that period, the penalty could top $7 million.
The fate of the building is in limbo. Parente has a "for sale" sign up in the window, but so far, there haven't been any takers. The mayor says the building could be used again, "but it would take some work." So after all the mopping, slogging, bill-paying and legal wrangling, the mayor and his citizens are left with one small, but not insignificant, benefit.
The smell is gone.
Sunday, October 4, 2009
Trailer Park Boys is greatness from the great white north. They've been around for quite a while but the series is finally getting some serious exposure south of the border thanks to DirecTv's 101 Network.
The Boys have been around since 1999 when director Mike Clattenburg teamed up with Julian and Ricky played by John Paul Tremblay and Robb Wells and they made a low budget pilot movie. Think "My Name is Earl" without all the good intentions. That launched the hit series in 2001 and Mike Smith joined the cast as "Bubbles". In 2006 they hit the silver screen with "The Big Dirty".
The Boys have just released their swansong film "Countdown to Liquor Day" to rave reviews in Canada. No news on when it will be shown below the border. But you can see the trailer right here on The South 40.
TV Episodes can be seen on DirecTv's 101, YouTube and Hulu.
Friday, October 2, 2009
- OK, this is going to be a quickie. I only have 10 minutes before I leave for work...
- Sarah Palin's new book is #1 in prerelease. I won't be contributing to those sales figures. It's currently being translated into english.
- That cold front that came thru didn't leave a drop of rain at my place. It all passed north or south of me. Luckily, The South 40 is in good shape. My stocktanks have plenty of water.
- I had a mild case of the flu earlier this week. Hopefully now I'm good for the rest of the season.
- I finally found someone I have a lot in common with, find attractive and has a great sense of humor. Then I found out she has a boyfriend.
- I keep getting comments in Japanese from someone I can only assume is in Japan. They are definitely lost in translation.
- On the upside, I've become pretty good at using Babblefish.
Thursday, October 1, 2009
A Canadian circus tycoon, an American astronaut and a Russian cosmonaut blasted off in a spacecraft from the Kazakh steppe Wednesday on a journey to the International Space Station.
Minutes after lifting off from the Baikonur launch facility, the Soyuz capsule shed its rocket stages and entered orbit. On board were Cirque du Soleil founder and space tourist Guy Laliberte along with crew members Jeffrey Williams and Maxim Surayev.
Friends and family on the ground cheered and hugged one another when an announcement that the ship was in orbit came over the loudspeaker. They chanted "Guy! Guy!" and broke out singing Elton John's "Rocket Man."
Laliberte, an experienced stilt-walker and fire-breather dubbed the first clown in space, had donned a bulbous red nose and blew kisses to supporters before the launch. He has paid $35 million for the trip he plans to use to publicize the world's growing shortage of clean water.
Laliberte — who rose from being a street performer and accordionist to founding the circus arts and theater company Cirque du Soleil 25 years ago — is to return to Earth after 12 days. The 50-year-old is worth an estimated $2.5 billion and holds a 95 percent stake in the circus company.
Surayev, 37, and Williams, 51, plan to stay in orbit for 169 days. Williams is on his third space mission and recently became a grandfather.
"I'm glad he's up there — that's what he wanted to do," said the astronaut's wife, Anna-Marie. "Now all the training is behind us and he will just go up and do the mission."
Surayev hung a plush toy lion in front of him at the control panel to signal the beginning of weightlessness. He said his preteen daughters had kept the toy under their pillows to "make sure that the lion smells of home for the next six months."
Laliberte is the seventh paying space tourist to travel to the station and may be one of its last private visitors for several years as NASA retires its shuttle program and turns to the Russian space agency to ferry U.S. astronauts to the lab.
Space Adventures, which organized the private visits, will nevertheless aim to make sure more tourists get to visit the space station in the coming years, company CEO Eric Anderson said, suggesting the number of Russian Soyuz missions could be increased.
Be afraid. Be very afraid...