The stars at night are big and bright...

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

Sunday, May 30, 2010

And Now For Something Completely Different

If Dario Franchitti isn't the luckiest man on the planet, he's in the Top 5. Not only does he win the Indianapolis 500, he's married to Ashley Judd.

Let's be honest, he could be scrubbing sewer lines and married to Ashley Judd and still be in the Top 5.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Dennis Hopper

Legendary actor, director, writer most remembered for his role in Easy Rider.

I searched for quite a while before I chose this picture. Dennis Hopper was so much more than Billy, his character in Easy Rider. But in a way this picture sums up his life and career perfectly.

Hopper was a maverick in the truest sense. He went against the grain convinced his way was best and refused to compromise always pushing the envelope. Not always to a successful conclusion. How many people can say they were chased by John Wayne with a loaded gun in real life?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Art Linkletter

1912 - 2010
You could not help but like Art Linkletter. One of the first TV shows I remember watching ( besides The 3 Stooges and cartoons) was House Party. Mom had it on every weekday afternoon. My favorite bit was "Kids Say The Darndest Things".

From his dirt poor upbringing he rose to become a household name and one of the most popular hosts on television. You can read his obituary in The New York Times.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


I hung this poster outside the store the other day. It didn't take but a few hours before someone hung a church bake sale flyer over it.

I really wish I had seen them do it. I would have lost my job, but I guarantee you they would never do something like that without thinking ever again. It's sad that they even have to think about it in the first place..

Oh Dear Jesus Help Me, I'm a Republican

While hitting the local liquor store on a resup mission, I noticed a cool Texas shaped bottle near the checkout. Upon closer inspection it was for Republic Organic Tequila. Great, hooch made with authentic 100% burro crap fertilizer. I bought a fifth anyway, just for the bottle. It made a nice collectable and the price was not too outrageous for a fifth of 100% agave, about $35.

I chose the silver (or Plata) which is unaged straight out of the still and has never touched oak. Normally I drink Anejo for the smoother finish after aging in new oak barrels, but this was cheaper by a couple bucks and I was more interested in the bottle than the tequila. Generally speaking, I'm not a fan of boutique liquors that rely on gimmicky packaging and marketing to sell their stuff. I was in the business too long to not spot a crap product being pushed thru the system by marketing money. Usually it's from some investment guys that have never seen the factory or product that buy a batch cooked off by some independent at a discounted price and use marketing to sell bullshit for a profit.

Shocker... this is some great tequila.

Republic is extremely clean and smooth with absolutely no after bite. It is, as I like to say, sneaky smooth. One second everything is fine, then... WHAM!

Organic cactus hugger or not, Republic is some really good tequila! I'd rank it right up there with Don Julio, Patron or any of the other high end brands I've sampled. (And I've sampled quite a few)

Tom Nail and Ken MacKenzie appear to be the real deal and interested in turning out a quality product and not just another tourist trap hooch .

Monday, May 24, 2010

For Cory

For some reason I can't get the video to embed, but here's the story anyway...

Apparently my freakish skill at recalling old random TV/movie bits is legendary. Seems I have a shared chromosome or other genetic abnormality somewhere between Dennis Miller and Rainman. Like it or not, I am the King of the Obscure Reference.

Case in point. I ran into an old friend that I hadn't seen in a while at work last week. The first thing he said to me was "I thought about you a few weeks ago. I was talking to someone and we were trying to remember what was that character Dan Akroyd played that time on SNL?"

Immediately, without any further clues I answered "Fred Garvin, Male Prostitute."

Not Elwood Blues, not Julia Child, not Bass-O-Matic... Fred Garvin.

It's freaky.

I did the same thing once when I was working in Addison. My boss asked me about Lou Gherig and I answered with "Today, day, day. I consider myself, elf, elf... the luckiest man, an, an... on the face of the Earth, rth, rth."

It was the echo that sealed the deal.

Like I said, it's freaky. I can't help it.

I promise to use my gift against the forces of evil.

Redneck Radio

According to Richie Whitt's blog,  Lex and Terry are returning to the local airwaves. They will be joining 105.3 The Fan. Looks like The Jagger Mafia is about to get snuffed out.

Some real interesting comments posted over there like "If 105.3 is looking to up the ratings why bother with hiring L&T when they already have Russ Martin under contract and are paying him $1M a year?"

Also noted is the return of Greggo Williams to local airwaves. He is also turning up at 105.3 paired with Richie Whitt middays 11-3.

The Ticket's mock promo for these lineup changes should be classic.

Saturday, May 22, 2010


I'm having an old man moment.

I loaded Google Earth after the jet on the runway post over at Barryland.  Just for shits and giggles I looked at The South 40 and all that used to be part of it when I was a child. The images are from 2008, nearly 1/2 a century from the time I first explored that land. I still remember navigating across it in that old yellow Ford pickup loaded down with feed, my Granddad at the wheel smoking a Prince Albert he rolled himself.

What depressed me was when I took a closer look at the land my Granddad owned when I was a kid. "The old stomping grounds" where I had free rein and spent much sweat working on with the promise "one day all this will be yours" had changed.

Be very leery when someone you trust tells you "all this will be yours". It's a ploy for free labor.

OK, without getting too Draconian it didn't happen. But, I couldn't help from searching out a couple of my favorite old hideouts. Those were places that had so much beauty and privacy that they held a very special place in my heart. Those secret places that were mine and mine alone. My Fortresses of Solitude, if you will.

"Someday I'm going to build my house right here" kinda spots.

Apparently, I have extremely good taste. When I zoomed in on both locations I discovered that someone else appreciated the landscape just as much as I did. There were 2 very nice McMansions built directly on top of both my dream spots.

That kinda hurt.

I didn't really feel violated as much as I felt a profound sense of  loss. Gone forever were those special hideaways that were mine and mine alone when I was a child. I was Neil Armstrong, the only man ever to to set foot on and explore that sacred ground. Now, I'm not even a footnote in it's recorded history.

I am no longer Neil Armstrong. I'm Jim Lovell, forced to watch something I worked so hard for that was to be mine for all of history, and came so close only ripped away from my fingertips forever only to be gifted upon others. Life is hard.

If they find the 2 quarts of tequila I buried there I'm really gonna be hurt.

I have lost my essence, Mandrake.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Hello, and Welcome to 1984

How did this fly under my radar?
The Orwellian Prophecy has come true. Of course if you have nothing to hide there's no reason to be upset about the authorities being able to zoom in on you at any given time, right? 

The pro is they are cheaper than helicopters. I'm sure a federal grant or two is out there to buy one for anybody that wants one, and who wants to be the last cop on the block to get one?  The con is they are so cheap and easy to operate that they can be used by every law enforcement agency that can figure out a way to budget one and you can bet they will find something to do after they get bored with writing speeding tickets.

That bit about potential public safety applications including "Homeland Security", "tactical" and "not ruling anything out" bothers me.

Now that I think about it this is a boon for the economy. There is a whole new market out there for micro-weaponry. You thought the footage from Desert Storm was stunning when General Norman Schwarzkopf showed you bombs thru a window? Think laser guided grenades, tear gas rockets and taser darts.

Tasercam anyone?

Don't forget they will have a big nose, too. Money to be made there as well. Audio, video and FLIR applications in the name of public safety will turn some serious coin.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


I decided to do something productive yesterday and polish a sheet of aluminum to make a metal mirror for the RV. It's pretty simple to do, you just need the right tools. All it takes is a high speed grinder, a cloth wheel and some jeweler's rouge. I became plenty familiar with polishing metal in the Coast Guard and later when I drove 18 Wheelers. I've spent many a weekend polishing aluminum wheels and fuel tanks to a mirror finish.

OK, I don't have a grinder or jeweler's rouge, but I had the aluminum an knew where to get some rouge. I got up early and headed to The Chrome Shop in Bridgeport. Once there I realised my plan of using my drill instead of a grinder wasn't going to work. The cloth wheel had a much larger hole than my drill would chuck and they didn't have an adapter . I noticed they had some foam polishing balls and liquid rouge that might work. One small problem is nothing had a price tag. Good thing I asked before he charged me. The polishing ball was $40 and the polish was $25!

Holy $hit!

Time for Plan B. I'll head to AutoZone and buy something there. They have a drill attachment for polishing car wheels that looks like it might work and I bought a bottle of Mother's Metal polish to use.

Total time spent: 1 hour
Total money spent: $30

I get home, lay out the metal on a set of sawhorses and start polishing. One hour later I am no closer to getting a mirror finish than when I started. The buffer and polish are too soft to cut into the metal deep enough.

Plan C: Go to Lowes. I'll buy a high speed air grinder and cloth wheel there.

Fail! No cloth wheels and their air tools were sky high.

Plan D: WallyWorld. I found an air powered sander with 10,000 RPM for $29. More than enough speed to get the finish I'm looking for, but no cloth wheels. I bought the sander.

Next, I head to Tractor Supply in search of a cloth wheel. None to be found. Back to Bridgeport and PraxAir, A to Z, and Bridgeport Automotive. Fail, fail, fail. I finally pull back in at The Chrome Shop and buy the same cloth wheel and 2 sticks of jeweler's rouge I was looking at 3 hours earlier.

Total time spent: 4 1/2  hours
Money spent: $60

I get home with my new high speed air sander and discover that the cloth wheel will not mount up properly. The center hole is too big. I go to Wiley Hardware in Chico in search of an adapter. Luckily, they had one and the additional bolts it would take.

Get back home, plug in the air compressor and get to work. I soon learn I can polish for 10 seconds before I have to wait 1 minute for the air pressure to build back up. It's clear it will take a week at this pace so I decide to use my drill instead. It's got much slower RPM's, but it can sorta work.

Back again to Wiley Hardware in search of a different bolt that will fit my drill chuck.

Total time spent: 6 hours
Money spent: $70

I finally start to show some progress but the drill is just too slow to get the finish I need for a mirror. It looks more like vision at 4am after a night of binge drinking Kentucky Deluxe.

Project: Fail.

I didn't achieved the results I was looking for, but I haven't completely given up. Brother Inlaw has plenty of high speed electric grinders at his shop and he has a pontoon boat he wants polished. I now have the rouge and cloth wheel it will take to do that.

I smell alliance... Outwit, outplay, outlast.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Where Can I Lay Down A Bet?

I got $100 that says NBC's new series Outlaw doesn't make it thru 6 episodes. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Outlaw will debut Friday nights this fall on NBC. The series is about a renegade Supreme Court Justice (Jimmy Smits) that resigns his seat on the high court to open his own law firm.

Supposedly, the oppressed and poor will be avenged against overwhelming odds.

Today's review is brought to you by the letter F. 
Capitol F as in Fail.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Pacific

Tonight was the series finale of The Pacific on HBO. To say it was a masterpiece is an understatement. This entire series has been a privilege to watch. The things these men did and the conditions they endured to ensure you and I are living in a free country can never be repaid. Unfortunately, too many of them are no longer with us to personally thank for their service.

This final episode focused on post-war America and the men's reintegration to civilian life. For some it was an easy transition. For others things didn't go as well. The horrors of war lived on in their minds and dreams. Eugene Sledge was fortunate to have an understanding family that let him work thru those demons at his own pace.

I heard a lot of criticism early in the series from people comparing it to Band of Brothers. This series had to cover so much ground in so little time it was impossible to give each character and battle the same amount of attention that BoB was able to donate. It was also based on 3 different books focused on multiple groups instead of a single book focused on a single group. It would be more fair to compare The Pacific to From The Earth to The Moon. They could have easily made this a 30 hour series and still not covered everything that happened or developed all the characters involved. Both had a lot of ground to cover in a limited amount of time. One thing I can guarantee you is when you see Tom Hanks name attached to a patriotic piece, it will be done quality bar-none. I'd really like to see him do a series on the air battles of WWII.

If you haven't seen The Pacific, there will be a encore marathon presentation Memorial Day weekend on HBO. The first five episodes will air on Sunday and the final five on Monday. It is required viewing.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Saturday Off?

Holy cow!

Thru some strange twist of fate and/or scheduling I've wound up with a very rare Saturday off work. The last few times I've been off on a Saturday it's because I took a take vacation day. NASCAR weekend at TMS was the most recent and that was a rainout. Yes Krista, I haven't forgot. Today's forecast doesn't look much better.

But when I get lemons (like a day of is a lemon), I try to turn them into lemonade.

I might take a quick roadtrip to Winstar and play some poker. South40 Slim has been lurking in the shadows waiting for his triumphant return. I could get all Tim Taylor and do some much needed home improvements. Maybe use my psychic powers to channel Martha Stewart and clean this pigstye. I could even break out the lucky Justin black ostrich ropers and boot scoot with a few buckle bunnies at Northside. Or I could sit at home, deflower an innocent bottle of Maker's Mark while I grill a couple ribeyes (on sale at Chico Foods!) and watch The Hangover on HBO.

Survey says:

Chances of a DWI or unidentified feline in my bathroom <0. Chances of expanding my social calendar, about the same.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

All Together Now

Good Lord. If you thought last week was slow, this week is slower. I mean this week is slooooow.
This week is sooo slow...
How slow is it?
(I thought you'd never ask!)

It's so slow that:
  • A traffic jam on a county road in Alvord almost made the blog.
  • I experimented making the new James Bond martini but didn't have the proper ingredients so I made dirty martinis instead.
  • Work seems interesting now.
  • Someone set fire to a watermelon bin at work.
  • I made more dirty martinis and blogged about it.
  • I saw a snail drag racing a turtle.
  • My DVR asked me "Why bother?"
  • I got excited when All Around Wise showed up in my mailbox.

    Monday, May 10, 2010

    Boo F'n Hoo!

    No gardener, no housekeeper? How barbaric!

    A recent Dallas Morning News article tells of the downside of retiring and living in Belize. I think I'm a lot more Jerry Jeff than Scott Burns.

    My goal is to buy a small beachfront cabana down in Placencia and let the world kiss my pale white ass.

    It can be done. Barnacle is my Dude role model.

    The Dude

    The Barn

    From Traffic Command Unit 7

    Apparently, there is a bad wreck involving 3 18 wheelers with one overturned near Jeterville on 287 South.

    Sunday, May 9, 2010

    Happy Mother's Day

    If you missed SNL last night, you missed a classic. Betty White hosted for the first time and at 88 years young she's still got it.

    Of course there were the obligitory shock factor jokes coming from Grandma. That wasn't all Betty had to offer, but I have to admit the "She's a Lesbian!" skit with Special Guest Stars Amy Poehler, Ana Gasteyer, Tina Fey, Rachel Dratch, Maya Rudolph and Molly Shannon was pretty dang funny. Heck, the opening skit was funny for a change with a Lawrence Welk spoof. Her monologue, which usually bares a performer's weakness in front of a live audience, was greatness. Betty had them in the palm of her hand.

    The MacGruber bits followed by MacGruber commercials were starting to get a bit tiresome, but they were funny. I'll hold out for that movie to hit DVD, which from the looks of the previews won't be a long wait. There were also promo's for a new Betty White original series on TVLand called "Hot In Cleveland" co-starring Valerie Bertinelli, Jane Leeves and Wendie Malick. I have a feeling that won't even make it to DVD.

    The one weak point in the show was the "Scared Straight" skit which has never been funny. Even Betty couldn't save that bit, but she tried.

    All in all it was a very good episode and a far cry from the last live show. The ratings seem to back my opinion. Last night SNL won the night beating every other show, including those in primetime, with a 8.8/21 share. It was the highest rated SNL since John McCain's appearance in November 2008.

    Saturday, May 8, 2010

    Ancient Chinese Secret, Huh?

     A 59 year old chef in China passed out after a night of heavy drinking with his pals.  According to The Sun, his buddies decided instead of doing something juvenile like taking a Magic Marker to his face that they would go the extra mile and take it a bit more extreme. Like shoving a 50 centimeter Asian Swamp eel up his rectum instead. 

    Later after his "friends" figured out he was dead, they rushed him to the emergency room where doctors discovered the eel had eaten thru his bowels. 

    2 things: 

    1. Don't pass out around Chinese guys.
    2. If I'm found dead, there's no need to rush me to the ER.

    Thursday, May 6, 2010

    Everything Must Go!

    L.A. orders 439 medical marijuana dispensaries to close

    Los Angeles city prosecutors began notifying 439 medical marijuana dispensaries Tuesday that they must shut down by June 7, when the city's ordinance to regulate the stores takes effect. It's the first step in what could be a lengthy and expensive legal battle to regain control over pot sales.

    Under the new ordinance, only dispensaries that registered with the city after the council adopted the moratorium in 2007 will be allowed to operate. City officials estimate that more than 130 of the original 186 registered dispensaries are still in business.

    The Los Angeles Police Department cased the city to try to find every dispensary. Estimates from city officials and medical marijuana activists had ranged as high as 1,000. But Capt. Kevin McCarthy, who heads the LAPD's Gangs and Narcotics Division, said, "We came up with less than 600, which is good."

    Tuesday, May 4, 2010

    Technology Hates Me or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Camera

    A couple years ago I was wandering thru the Bowie WalMart and found several video cameras in the discount bin marked down to nearly nothing. Being the sucker for a bargain that I am (keyword: sucker) I fished thru them and found a little gem. It was a JVC Mini DV camera for under $100 with 3 different video connections, a large lcd screen and it took digital video.

    What a deal! JVC makes professional video cameras for TV production so it had a great pedigree. The only thing it didn't have was a flash drive for still photos. No big deal, I had another camera for still photos. So I bought it and mocked the fools at WallyWorld all the way home for selling it so cheap.

    I really had no use for a video camera, but it just couldn't pass up a deal like that. I think I used it once while on vacation at Lake Texoma chronicling my near death experience on Littlesister's boat when we hit a rogue wave . (I've still got that tape by the way.)  I never got around to transferring the video to my computer and put it in the closet.

    Last month on my trip to Texas Motor Speedway I decided to take it along and get some video of the "scenery" at the campground parties. You all know what happened that weekend, a torrential downpour  turned the place into a swamp. But I managed to show off the 4 wheel drive capability of my Suzuki Carry towing several stuck trucks and campers out of the muck. Don't judge a book by it's cover.

    I was anxious to post my minitruck glory on YouTube for all the world to see, but when I tried to connect the camera to my computer I discovered none of the ports (RCA/ S-Video/ IEEE 1394) would connect to my system. All I had were USB ports. OK, no problem I'll just get an IEEE 1394 to USB cable and do it that way. I found one on Amazon for under $10 and had it shipped.

    Man, will people be impressed when they see this video...

    The cable arrived in a few days and I anxiously connected it to my computer. This is where the fun starts. As soon as I plugged it into my USB port I get an error message saying Windows can not recognize the USB device. I click on the message for a solution and it tells me to unplug the device and reinstall the drivers.

    Uhh, there are no drivers. It's a digital camera. Windows Movie Maker can't find it, Media Player can't find it, nothing can find it. CRAP! I search online for an IEEE 1394 to USB driver and discover that there is no such thing. They are two different technologies and are not compatible even tho I have a conversion cable.

    OK, I'll go to Plan B and get an IEEE 1394 PCI card for my computer. They are cheap and easy to install. Problem, it won't fit. I only have 2 PCI slots on my motherboard. One has my modem, the other is covered by my video card cooling fan in the PCI Express slot.

    I'm not giving up that easy. I'll get this to work if it harelips everybody on Bear Creek! Plan C, I have a DVD recorder in my living room and I'll just record the video to that and then take the DVD and transfer the video to my computer from that. No worky. I can watch the video, but when I open the DVD in Windows to copy it there is a plethora of files, none of which are readable by Movie Maker.

    So if anyone wants to see the amazing video of my tiny Suzuki Carry towing full size trucks and campers out of the mud you're invited to come over to The South 40 and watch it in big screen glory in my living room. Just don't look for it on YouTube anytime soon.

    Can I interest anyone in a very slightly used digital video camera?

    Sunday, May 2, 2010

    If Your House Has More Wheels Than Your Car...

    I'm not generally a fan of musicals, much less live musical theater. It's just not a "guy thing" to do. I do believe the last live theater I attended was a High School play in which I was not even invited to perform. Snobbish bastards had no idea of the raw talent they passed up. But I'm not bitter. I might point out however that I was the only member of our class to wind up in show business, albeit a brief career. That is a whole 'nother post for another time. But, I digress.

    Looking at today's edition of The Star Telegram I ran across an article in the entertainment section about a new show at Circle Theater in Ft. Worth that might just get me to break that trend. "The Great American Trailer Park Musical" looks like it has my name written all over it. Low brow humor, trashy women and plenty of rednecks. That my friends sounds like a trifecta of greatness in my book.

    You can read the full review by Punch Shaw here or in today's Startlegram. It runs thru the 29th and the showtimes are 7:30pm Thursdays, 8pm Fridays and 2 shows on Saturdays at 3 & 8pm.

    It sounds like a hoot. I wonder if Circle Theater is BYOB?