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, April 30, 2010

I'm Going KERA On Your Ass!

You know what I'm talking about. That's when they roll out the best stuff they have to offer and break in every 10 minutes for a 20 minute begging break.

OK, I don't have a bunch of greatness in the closet just waiting to roll it out. But, I am going on a begging expedition. The South 40 has a measly 24 followers, yet according to Google Analytics there are over 1,100 returning readers every month. Time to step it up folks!

I'm going to set our Pledge Goal at 50 followers. Just over twice that are signed up today. That's  reasonable... for now.

What do you get for signing up? First off you won't get a biodegradable totebag, a coffee mug or the complete DVD collection of Masterpiece Theater for a $250 donation. In fact you will get a better value! It will cost you absolutely jack for continued quality infotainment via the interwebs from yours truly. Second, you'll never get a telemarketer or stacks of junk mail begging for more. Third, I might actually put forth a bit of effort to keep up the high standards you've come to realize aren't being met on a daily basis around here.

That, my faithful readers, is worth the price of admission alone!

So get off your dead asses  please take the time out of your busy day and click the button on the right to sign up as a follower of The South 40. You'll be happy that you did and so will I. Don't make me get Rick Vanderslice and Bob Ray Sanders to start calling you in the middle of dinner.

I've got a totebag and I'm not afraid to use it!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Blah, Blah, Blah

  • Slow week around here and at work. Hence the return of Blah, Blah, Blah.
  • Several of my favorite bloggers have disappeared from the face of the blogosphere. Where did you guys go?
  • My yard is now officially a jungle.
  • I reset the fuel milage computer on my truck and now I'm getting almost 2 miles a gallon better mileage according to it. I might want to verify that with a calculator before I get too excited.
  • For the first time in what seems like forever I got a Tax Refund check yesterday. No calculator necessary to get excited about that.
  • Comedian Chelsea Handler, host of Chelsea Lately on E!, reportedly has a sex tape floating around. Why do I smell publicity bit? 
  • We are danger close to the return of 100 degree weather. I for one am not looking forward to it.
  • I'll see if I can't dig up something more interesting  for a post after work tonight. 

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Songs That Make You Rowdy

I saw a thread with that title on a message board I frequent and this was the first song that came to mind. Actually pretty much any AC/DC song with Bon Scott will do it. As "rebel without a cause" as I considered myself when I was a teenager, in all actuality I was a pretty sheltered hick from the sticks that knew more about Bob Wills than rock and roll.

That all changed when I joined the Coast Guard and got the hell outa Dodge, or Chico as the case may be. I was suddenly exposed to new people, new cultures and most importantly new music. The Zoo (KZEW) was a great rock station, but it was surprisingly limited in the content department. Such was not the case with The Camel (KMEL) in San Francisco or KISW (they had no cool nickname) in Seattle. I started hearing all kinds of new and interesting music that I never heard before and I liked it! But there was one band that really struck a chord with me and that was AC/DC. Bon Scott seemed to reach into my body and shake me by my spine.

I can't tell you how many cassettes I wore out listening to them while I was at sea. I wore out twice as many when we were in port. Spilled beer might have had something to do with the latter. Then "Highway To Hell" was released and the whole world discovered AC/DC. Sadly, it was to be the last album Bon Scott ever recorded before his death.

The band moved on with Brian Johnson on vocals, but to me they were never quite the same.

To this day when I hear the driving beat, over-amped guitar and howling vocals of an old school AC/DC song with Bon Scott I'm transported back to the late 70's and still feel that hand reaching inside me and shaking my spine. I've had more than one young person look at me like I'm a crazy old man when it happens.

You know what? I might just be, but one thing is for certain... Bon Scott LIVES!

Monday, April 26, 2010

This IS The Best Show On Television For A Reason

A wicked twist this tale takes.

To be honest, this season of Breaking Bad on AMC was starting to lag. It started with a bang, literally, with the introduction of The Cousins a pair of bloodthisty killers with absolutely no remorse bent on seeking revenge for the death of their cousin Tuco.

If you watched last season you know Tuco was the distributor for Mr. Walter White and Jesse, manufacturers of the best meth on the planet. He was killed in a shootout with Walt's brother in-law ( boy, those brother in-laws!) DEA Agent Hank Schrader. Agent Schrader is hot on the trail of our anti-heroes and comes ever so close to busting them redhanded trapped inside their mobile methlab. They are cornered with no way out.

When you're cornered with no way out...

They narrowly escape when Agent Schrader receives a call from a 911 dispatcher that his wife has been seriously injured in a car accident and rushes to be by her side. He soon discovers the call was bogus, but not before Walt and Jesse watch the RV crushed to oblivion along with any physical evidence. Agent Schrader is pissed. Now, it's personal.

Exciting, no? But wait, there's more.

Remember The Cousins? They haven't forgot about Walt. That's personal, too. The only thing standing between them and their vendetta with Mr. White is a powerful man, Pollos. He's Walt's new distributor and business partner. Even he is unable to control The Cousins bloodlust, but he can buy some time to recoup his investment by distracting them. He points them in the direction of the man that pulled the trigger on Tuco, Agent Schrader.

The weeks of setting this complex chain of events into motion are now apparent. The writers had to put all the pieces into place for this puzzle to come together. It makes for a dramatic, heart pounding, edge of your seat ride for the remainder of this season.

Breaking Bad, Sunday nights on AMC.

Don't miss it.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Worst SNL In 10 Years

This week's episode of SNL is just freaking awful. The opening sketch wasn't even remotely funny. Gabourey Sidibe was the host and she suuuuucked. 1st time I've switched off SNL in 10 years. Fortunately, HBO is airing the premier of "You Don't Know Jack". Al Pacino has received rave reviews for his portrayal of Dr. Jack Kevorkian.

Thanks Dr. Death, I was about to slash my wrist if I had to watch anymore of that SNL episode.

Friday, April 23, 2010

All Quiet On The Western Front

Not much going on around The South 40 this week. Still in recovery mode from vacation and getting caught up at work. It's amazing how much work can pile up when you're gone for a week.

I did watch part of a very interesting film last night titled Food, Inc. I'm going to have to see it from the beginning. More of how big corporations have taken control of our food supply and squeezed out the family farmer. It was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary and is very disturbing.

While you were watching the NFL Draft last night, we launched a new spy plane into orbit.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Hold My Beer And Watch This

As promised here's a couple pics of me pulling a stuck camper out of the mud at Texas Motor Speedway with my Suzuki Carry KEI truck. I'll be honest, I had my doubts about getting him out of the mud. That is a 3/4 ton Dodge Ram with a diesel engine pulling a fully loaded 30ft camper. My Suzuki only has a 660cc engine, but it has full 4 wheel drive with high and low range.

There were more than a few disbelievers, but the final tally was 5 Ford trucks and 2 Dodge trucks that I rescued from the muck. I had ATV owners asking me where they could buy one. I'll have video as soon as FedEx delivers the IEEE cord that I need to get the video on my computer.

Thanks to Littlesister over at Bootsnspurs for uploading these pics from her camera. She also has pics of "The Smoking Gun" custom built BBQ pits they have for sale at M/R Fabrication. Get your order in early!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Denny Hamlin Wins!

It was a 10 lap shootout to the finish, but Denny Hamlin held off Jimmy Johnson to win the Samsung Mobile 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.

The Big One

It came on Lap 317. Jeff Gordon in the wall and out of the race. That my friends is justice.

It's Hot Mom Day At The Races

We moved our season ticket seats a few rows up.

The view is wonderful.

TMS Update

Jeff Gordon is a cheating SOB! During a pitstop he pulled alongside Jeff Burton and blocked him from entering pit road. This forced Burton, who was in 2nd at the time, to hit the commitment cone and NASCAR penalized him. That sent Burton to the tail end of the pack.

The penalty should have been on Gordon for passing on pit road or passing under caution.

It must be nice to be the Golden Boy.

Gentlemen, (Finally) Start Your Engines!

We're finally underway at Texas Motor Speedway! They will be running both races back to back so this will be a long day of racing.

I'll try to keep you updated.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

What A Looooong Strange Trip It's Been

The weekend at Texas Motor Speedway was a wash out... literally. Who knew it was monsoon season in North Texas?

Things started out well enough enough on Thursday. I had to make 2 trips hauling stuff in from The South40 mothership. First was my Suzuki Carry filled with firewood and lawn furnature loaded on a flatbed trailer. Second was Battlestar Redneckia filled to the gills with food, beer, sodas, clothes and everything else you would need for a weekend at the track. That is except a phone charger for my Moto Q whick was on it's last battery bar. Like Roseanne Rosannadanna said, "It just goes to show you. It's always something."

I also told you about damn near electrocuting myself when I plugged into the generator. That fried my home theater system in Battlestar Redneckia and ended any TV/Radio/DVD for the weekend.

I got the bright idea of borrowing Littlesister's laptop and charging it with a USB cable. Yeah, I remembered the USB cable and forgot the charger. "The Darwin Award goes to..." Anyway she arrives with the laptop but for some odd reason it would recognise the the phone, but absolutely refused to charge it. And there went my contact with the outside world about 1 AM Saturday morning. Coincidently that was just about the time the monsoon arrived.

I already told you the Krista Voda saga. I was really hyped up about doing that interview in person. I had even conned/bribed a SPEED cameraman into shooting it for me with my video camera. I completely understand her not being able to get free for the interview. Their schedules are incredibly tight and constantly changing. Live TV is live TV. And with the weather their schedule went completely out the window as the TV crews had to scramble to fill a LOT of time. Que sera, sera.

Oh yeah, the weather. Friday night was the usual TMS version of Mardi Gras. Beads were flying! The ATV subculture was in full swing with vehicles of all shapes and forms cruising the camgrounds loaded down with drunken race fans. I may have fit into that category at one point. OK, I was solidly entrenched in that category.

Saturday morning it did not look good. The monsoon was open for bidness and bidness was good. The camground quickly turned into a swamp. What wasn't covered in water was covered in mud. The traffic turned the roads into muck. It went downhill like a ride thru Wolf Creek Pass in a truck with no brakes from there. Every time the skies would show promise of clearing, along came another band of rain. I was wearing my favorite pair of old Nike's that decided they had reached the end of the line right then. The soles started separating from the leather and that was the end of dry feet for the weekend. Thanks, Nike. I had no other shoes for backup.

I looked at it this way, some people pay big money for mud baths and my feet were getting some quality spa treatments for free. Always look on the bright side of life.

Sunday was just pure hell. The mud was 5-6 inches deep. Everything, and I do mean everything was wearing a thick coating of slick, brown, sloppy mud. Most campers had given up any hope of seeing racing and started to pull out. Well, they tried to pull out. Most just spun their wheels slinging mud on anything behind them. But in the middle of tragedy comes triumph. I broke out my 4 wheel drive Suzuki Carry and a tow strap. They laughed, I hit 4 wheel low range. Oh ye of little faith. I yanked them out of the mire with a stunned look on their faces. I didn't even have mud tires on it. I had street tires off a Honda Accord, "dinky little pizza cutters" as one guy described them.

In all I pulled out 4 Ford trucks and 2 Dodge trucks, one of them hooked to a 30ft 5th wheel camper. I'm going to have to put logo stickers on the door for each of them like fighter pilots do for their kills. I have stills or video of most of them that I'll post later. People were so impressed with the performance that they were asking me where they could buy one after they sell their Rhinos, Gators or Mules.

We finally decided it was time to call it quits and loaded up for the trip home. NASCAR has rescheduled both the Nationwide and Sprint Cup races for tomorrow starting at 11am.

Now if you'll excuse me there's a long hot bath with my name on it waiting for me. Calgon, take me away!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Never Say Never!

I woke up this morning to some great news. My interview is still on! What, me worry?

I can tell you now that it is with Krista Voda of FOX Sports!

Stay tuned...

UPDATE: OK, maybe you can say never once in a while. After having to reschedule from this morning, I got another call from Krista. She apologuised and regretably was not able to meet with me at the track for an interview due to a scheduling conflict with FOX Sports.

Looks like we will be doing it over the phone sometime next week.

These things happen...

Live From Texas MotorSpeedway

I had a big blog weekend planned, but so far it's not going well. I left my charger for my phone at home but Littlesister is going to bring me a laptop. Hopefully, not all is lost and I can get a few updates posted.

My big interview may not happen. I haven't heard back from her since Tuesday. It doesn't look good, but I'm not giving up hope just yet. Maybe I can still pull it off.

We have borrowed a large generator and we are using it to power all of our campers. 1 small problem, it was wired up for 3 phase and when I plugged my 110 cord into it I damn near electrocuted myself! It almost completely melted one of the prongs off my power cord and fried my home theater system in the RV.

I'm lucky it didn't do more damage!

So far, this trip hasn't shaped up like I had planned. But I'm not giving up hope just yet.

Stay tuned!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

They Don't Make Teachers Like They Used To

I had an interesting exchange at work last week. I had a customer who made it a point several times to let me know she was a school teacher. I think she was trying to get a discount. Good luck with that. Have you met my boss?

Anyway, she comes in one afternoon and buys a few things that total up to $3.88. She hands me 4 $1 bills and a $5 bill. She says she needs 5 $1 bills for change.

I told her to keep the 4 $1 bills and give me the $5. She got a very cross look on her face and said "I want 5 $1 bills!"

OK, math whizzes. Figure it out...

She obviously was never a student of Mr. Singleton or Coach Turner, yet she has a Teaching Certificate and I'm the dumbass redneck.

Remember That Volcano I Told You About?

Looks like it's still going strong. The ash plume has drifted from 15 miles away from my friend's house in Iceland and has forced the closing of airspace over the UK today. According to my friend this is the "small one" that erupted.

Here's a pic of the "big one" a few miles away that they are concerned about erupting.
Silly sheep. They have no clue...

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Crisis Averted

I started the pre-flight checklist on (did we ever officially name this?) Battlestar Redneckia. I've been working on the interior off and on the past several months, but I haven't touched the engine because it ran like a top the last trip to TMS. Maybe I should have paid a little more attention to the old girl.

After charging the battery, checking fluids, ect., I hopped in and turned the key. It's always been a bit quirky starting after sitting for a while. The old Quadrajet carbs are notorious about leaking the float bowl dry of gas if they sit for an extended period of time, so there is a ritual you must follow:

  1. Spin the starter for 10 seconds without touching the gas pedal to fill the empty float bowl.
  2. Pump the gas pedal to the floor 3 times to squirt gas into the carb.
  3. Spin the starter without touching the gas pedal.
If you follow these 3 simple rules the 350 Chevy engine will spring to life without fail. Except for last night...

It would not start even if my life depended on it. This was not good. I only had 1 day left before I had to hit the road. The campground was already paid for and I did not have a backup plan. I sat there thinking about all the things that could be wrong and decided it was time to go back to my shadetree mechanic roots. I had duct tape and bailing wire on standby if things got serious.

For this next part I guess I should issue a disclaimer from The South 40 Legal Department: Kids, DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME! That is unless you (think you) know what you're doing. I took my faithful old glass Coke bottle and filled it with gas. Then I removed the interior engine cover. It's built on a C30 van frame so it has the hump inside the cab next to the driver. Then I removed the air cleaner and dribbled some gas directly into the carb. I hit the key and it sprang to life for a second or two then died. I repeated the process a few times which should have been enough  for the fuel pump to suck gas out of the tank and into the carb. It didn't.

Now I knew the problem was fuel and not electrical. That was a good thing since electrical problems are a whole 'nother can of worms to deal with. Now I had 3 potential problems to diagnose. Bad fuel pump, clogged fuel filter or an empty fuel tank. Bad fuel pump was the worst case scenario and I was praying that wasn't the case. I'm sure that parts for a 1978 engine are getting hard to find or at least would have to wait for  one to be shipped. I didn't have the time to wait on a shipped part.

So I broke out the trusty Metrinch tool kit. If you don't have one of these, get one. It's the best tool kit I've ever owned. It fits metric and SAE with the same wrench or socket and it will not round off a nut or bolt head. It has never let me down when I needed it most. But, I digress.

I decided to remove the gas line from the carb and see if it was getting fuel that far. As I turned the pipenut I discovered to my horror that the metal fuel line was twisting along with the nut. NOT GOOD!!!! I said a prayer to Our Lady of Blessed Acceleration and turned the nut back the opposite direction and the line bent back into somewhat the same shape as it was before. I came to the conclusion not to do that again.

Next I crawled under the engine and removed the fuel lines from the pump. I should have been showered in gas, but they were both (feed and return) bone dry. I had just enough slack in them that I could get my lips around them and gave a good blow. There was little restriction in either, but I could hear bubbling in the gas tank, a promising sound. I reconnected the fuel lines, dribbled a little gas in the carb and hit the key.

There's nothing quite as sweet as the sound of an engine purring after you've been sweating getting it running again.

Breaking Out The Big Guns

Just got back from Brother In-Law's after taking my Suzuki Carry over to be loaded for the ride down to TMS. As I pulled in the driveway I saw our smoker for the weekend. AWESOME!!!

He says it makes "killer" ribs...

Monday, April 12, 2010

Those Were The Days...

You shoot a commercial like that today and several people are going to jail!

Barry's comment over at Liberally Lean reminded me of a favorite commercial Southwest Airlines once aired. Free cocktails, all 1st Class seating, "Stewardesses" in hot pants and Go-Go boots... It truly was the airline Love built!

I still remember my first flight on Southwest. It was a Friday night Hobby - Love flight and I was a "big for my age" 15 year old that looked 20 and was travelling alone. It was a flying party! I had no trouble getting free booze and was grooving on the hot, hot, hotttt stewardesses! (The 70's were awesome in case you missed being there!)

I'd always been enamored with flying and this was my first commercial flight. I made sure to get a window seat so I could watch all the wing movements and see just how fast we were moving on takeoff and landing. It was the fastest I'd ever gone and I wasn't going to miss a second of it!

As I said, it was a flying party that more resembled a Mardi Gras parade than a commuter flight. Booze, music, people dancing in the isles, couples making out while waiting their turn to get in the bathrooms...the whole 9 yards. Everything was greatness until we came in for a landing at Love Field.

Because I was sitting just behind the wing I had a perfect view of the starboard engine. Just as we touched down the pilot went full throttle and the engine roared. One little detail I was unaware of was the thrust reverser system on the early model 737's. The upper engine cowling was an integral part of slowing the aircraft down by throwing the jetwash forward over the wing. 

I did not know this.

All I saw as a buzzed up 15 year old first time flyer was a roaring engine at full throttle suddenly coming apart at over 200 miles an hour as we hit the runway. 

WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I can relate to that hysterical passenger in "Airplane!" where everyone is lined up waiting their turn to knock the snot out of her.

And don't call me Shirley!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Open Mike (Updated)

I told you a couple weeks ago I have secured an interview with the host of a network TV show this month that will be published here on The South 40. Altho I've done many interviews way back when I was a "radio personality", it's been a while since I've been in the interviewer's chair. Most of those were with country musicians like Dolly Parton, Toby Keith, Sylvia, Willie Nelson (boy, can I tell you some stories), Kris Kristofferson, Dwight Yoakam, ect... But, to say I'm a bit rusty is an understatement. I have the basic background questions ( how did you get here, what were your struggles, ect) down pat. But, I'm sure there's a few things you want to know that I've missed.

So I thought I'd open up the forum to see what you would ask.

Without divulging who it is just yet, I can tell you this much. It is a female. She hosts a nationally broadcast show and has worked with some legends of sports broadcasting.

If I use one of your questions I'll be sure to give you credit.

So fire away South 40 Nation!

EDIT: Seriously, 1 question... that's it?

This isn't a bit. I know there has to be something that you would want to ask a network sports anchor that battled the odds and worked her way up the food chain to a national gig if you had the chance and THIS is your chance.

I'll reveal who it is after I get final confirmation for the interview later this week.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Oh, The Humanity!

Somebody pass me the Geritol...

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Epic Fail

What happens when Somali pirates mistake USS Farragut for a merchant ship and open fire?

(Photo courtesy of Petty Officer 1st Class Cassandra Thompson)

Thursday, April 1, 2010

April Fools!

The Tarrant County district clerk needs to either wise up or develop a sense of humor.

From a story in today's Star Telegram:

Yesterday, Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage announced that KSCS's Terry Dorsey accepted his offer to legally change his name to for a year and get a tattoo for $100,000.

Tarrant County district clerk Tom Wilder freaked out. Expecting a herd of reporters and cameras to come flooding into the family law building he and his staff began scrambling around to make arrangements. After figuring out it was all just an April Fool's prank Wilder says he plans to write a very stern letter to TMS and KSCS. "I have a sense of humor, but this was not funny!"

I beg to differ, Mr. Wilder.