The stars at night are big and bright...

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

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Intruder Alert!

The South 40 has a new follower.

KERA would give you a Tote Bag or something for signing up.

Send me $300 and I'll find a T-Shirt that I'll "custom engrave" for you.

Pa! Pa!

I love old TV westerns. Maverick, Wanted: Dead or Alive, Gunsmoke, Have Gun / Will Travel, The Big Valley, Laredo, Wagon Train, Bonanza, Lawman. I'm a sucker for a classic TV western. But there was one series that was always my favorite, bar none... The Rifleman.

I never knew it was Sam Peckenpah's baby when I started watching The Rifleman in the 60's on Channel 11's Saturday night western lineup. I just knew it was a show about a father and son struggling in the old west depending on each other to survive. I may have never tried to emulate James Colburn's knife throwing cowboy in The Wild Bunch, but I broke more than one finger trying to duplicate Lucas McCain's rifle spin with my old lever action .22 (and so did about 99% of my friends) .

Two words that will be forever etched into my brain, even on my Alzheimer's riddled deathbed are "Pa! Pa!" You could also depend on the soundtrack to tell you the story even if you happened to lose track of what's going on when you ran to the fridge for a brew.. The show had to be ultra low budget because there were only about a half dozen music tracks used during the entire series and almost all revolved around the theme song. The rest were shootout/stressful scenes that also happened to have a theme song flavor. A change in speed or chord was all that was needed to indicated the mood/disposition of the scene. I hope that songwriter got his fair share of the residuals.

It really messed with my head when Chuck Connor's played a hippie sympathizer mad bomber in "The Mad Bomber" and the hip/shady bodyguard in Soylent Green. Lucas McCain would have never done that because Mark would have been disappointed in him.

You can get your weekly Rifleman fix Saturday mornings on AMC.

BTW, he fires 11 shots then reloads.  Or did he????

Friday, July 29, 2011

Speaking Of Heat

After 52 years, this film has still got it.
Well, nobody's perfect. But. Billy Wilder was WAY ahead of his time.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

ESPN Finally Gets It

From The Daly Planet:

As Dr. Jerry Punch faded in the booth time and time again, it became clear that ESPN needed to return the good doctor to pit road and bring in someone with a better play-by-play style of presentation. ESPN looked around and Vice President of Motorsports Rich Feinberg made a decision. It would be IndyCar and NHRA veteran Marty Reid taking over that role beginning in 2010.

Now in his second season, it's become clear that Reid's lack of a NASCAR history has handicapped him in the TV booth. After five months of working the Nationwide Series telecasts this year, Feinberg finally made a move. Just a week before ESPN starts its fifth season of Sprint Cup Series races, a new face would head the team.

After restarting his TV career in 2007 as a Nationwide Series pit road reporter, Bestwick finally gets the chance to return to the spotlight. While Reid will continue on the Nationwide telecasts, Bestick will call the Sprint Cup Series races for ESPN and ABC.

It seems ironic that rather than utilize Bestwick in this role from the beginning, it has taken ESPN five years to put the pieces of the puzzle in the right places. Now alongside of Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree, ESPN is poised for the first time to come at the final seventeen Sprint Cup Series races with Bestwick leading the charge.

In all the media releases, interviews and social media conversations over the past five seasons there has never been a moment where Bestwick has complained about his role, about any of his fellow announcers or even offered a negative comment.

During a media teleconference on Tuesday, Bestwick was asked how he felt about getting the opportunity to return to a TV role he enjoyed in a sport he cherished. He simply said it was an honor to get a tap on the shoulder from the coach asking him to get in the game and play.

Never was a broken leg more costly to a career. Allen Bestwick is arguably the best NASCAR announcer in the business. He worked his way thru the ranks and knows NASCAR inside out. He "gets it". He's charismatic, informed and above all, a professional. 

I miss the old days of watching him on Speedvision along with Johnny Benson, Kenny Schrader, Michael Waltrip and the occasional garbage truck emptying the dumpster in the alley behind the studio on Inside Winston Cup Racing. That show was wheels off in more ways than one but AB never failed to keep the circus train on the track and always signed off "see you next week, network executives willing".

His is a story of a genuinely good, hard working guy that had the rug yanked out from under him (not once, but twice!). But instead of giving up, he hung in there, did the grunt work without complaint and is once again at the top of the pack. There are few people that can call a race like Allen Bestwick and it's good to have him back where he belongs.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Had the a/c condenser fan replaced yesterday at Chico Auto Parts. Care to guess what it cost?

Less than I expected actually. Only $120 to replace the fan cowling and drain/recharge the a/c system. I was planning on a $200 minimum. But when you add the parts I already purchased ($120) and labor it all came to $240.

$240 for a repair that should have cost no more than $12 and done in the backyard with simple tools? I'm not blaming Chico Auto. The problem I have is with Dodge.

But at least I have frosty cool a/c hitting me in the face on the way to work instead of medium/well done grasshoppers at 60MPH with the window down.


I have a friend that thinks this song is hilarious. I had to explain it's a sad song, not a parody.

Not sure he really grasped the concept.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

I am a lineman for the county

CenturyLink is back up... for now.
Allegedly the problem was a circuit board near Killeen...

CenturyLink Out Again

Same song, 7th chorus.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Engineered Income

The condenser fan went out on my '02 Dodge Ram. As you know all too well, this is not the time of year to be without a/c in Texas, so I bought a replacement fan and shroud for $120.

$120 for a 12 volt plastic fan and shroud? That's a pretty darn good profit margin if you ask me, but then I'm not a Dodge engineer.

As I set about removing the fan shroud that was held on with only 2 bolts I discovered it was also the condenser mount. OK, I'll have to unbolt the condenser, but I cant get to the bolts because the refrigerant lines are holding everything in place and they are routed THRU the shroud not around it like any logical human being would do.

This means the lines will have to be taken apart to remove the condenser to change the shroud and replace the fan. That means having to drain the gas, then vacuum & recharge the a/c system. Yet another expense on top of replacing the fan.

What should have been a simple 30 minute backyard job (remember this was a 2 bolt deal when I started) has suddenly become a labor intensive task that can only be done in a well equipped shop by a trained technician with the proper tools and a credit card machine, simply because someone decided to route the a/c  lines an inch to the left when an inch to the right would have worked fine and be much, much simpler and user friendly to repair.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

What Up With That?

What's up with the nice new 4 lane divided concrete highway being constructed off 101 North of Bridgeport? Is that a new entrance to the off-road park?

They could have paved half of West Side for what that road cost!

Somebody send me some pics!

Breaking News:(Literally) CenturyLink Outage Texas

I might be slow, but I'm faster than The Messenger (and LLDQ)... Unless your ISP is someone other than CenturyLink/Embarq/Sprint you have been without service most of the last 24 hours.

In case you are keeping track (and I am for when I call for a rebate)  this is the 5th time in the last 30 days CenturyLink has gone offline.

Oh yeah, it's back on now...

Monday, July 18, 2011

Come Fly The Friendly Skies... For Free

Ingenious. I'm amazed Littlesister didn't think of this first.

From Forbes:

It goes something like this: The U.S. Mint, through a 2005 act of Congress, is required to place $1 billion worth of the golden presidential and Sacagewea dollars into circulation in an effort to stimulate general use. The only problem is, the coins haven't really caught on with the general public. But there is one group of people that have enthusiastically embraced their use: travel hackers, so called because they aggressively look for loopholes in promotional programs and for tips on travel websites for ways in which to make the best use of their travel dollars. Much of this "hacking" involves taking advantage of frequent flier programs in unique and innovative ways.

The dollar coin trick involves purchasing large amounts of coins with a frequent flier card, waiting for the Mint to ship the coins (free shipping!), and then taking the coins to the bank, where they are deposited and the money is used to pay the credit card charges. No money is lost, the frequent flier miles rack up, and travelers can use them for upgrades or completely free flights whenever they want. According to NPR's Planet Money, which broadcast a story about the scheme on Wednesday morning, the Mint caught on when some customers started buying hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of free coins, so it has since limited purchases to $1,000 every ten days. But 3,000 free frequent fliers miles per month still isn't a bad deal.

Contrary to some reports, the practice hasn't ended since the Mint enacted the new rules; it's only slowed down. You can find the web page for the Mint's coin program here.

30 Minutes or Less

Jesse Eisenberg, Danny Mc Bride, Aziz Ansari and Nick Swardson.
This could be great.

Box Cutter

I hate to say I told you so, but I told you so.
All Los Pollos Hermanos employees must wash hands before returning to work.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

6353 Juan Tabo, Apartment 6...Yeah.

The new season of the best show on TV starts this Sunday night on AMC when Breaking Bad returns. In case you live under a rock in a Geico commercial, Breaking Bad is the best show on TV and that is in no small credit to it's ensemble of writers, cast and cinematographers. Bryan Cranston is a cross between the Dad from Malcom in the Middle and Tony Montana in Scarface. The stark New Mexico desert gives a gritty backdrop to the wildly tangled web of hope, lies, desperation and good intentions of a mild mannered man that's been screwed over his entire life and is making one last desperate effort to provide for his family only to have that also go horribly wrong. Series creator Vince Gilligan has hand crafted a masterpiece from top to bottom.

Gut busting humor one minute and gritty crime drama like no other the next. The fact it comes from a basic cable network that relies on old movies to fill airtime is astounding. The fact that same basic cable network also produces Mad Men, The Walking Dead and The Killing is simply beyond comprehension.

AMC is the little network that could.

All the previous seasons and special online webisodes of  Breaking Bad are available at:

If you've never seen the show I highly recommend watching it from the begining and seeing the evolution of the characters, especially Walt and Jesse. Yeah I know, you've never seen the show despite my constant plugging and now you don't have time to watch it from the beginning. Well, you're in luck. Being the undisputed amateur media king of the Southwest blogosphere proper, I took the time to hunt down the Cliff Notes for you.

Here is Breaking Bad in 10 minutes.

Any show that can have you rooting for a chrystal meth cook can't be all bad. Tony Soprano ain't got squat on Walter White.

Did I mention it's the best show on TV?

Edit: Did I also mention I don't know the difference between Wantabo and Juan Tabo? Reason # 27 why I'm no longer a crackerjack journalist / cub reporter.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Netflix of the Week: Cancelled!

It's a dog eat dog world in the blog bit bidness. Less than a month after The South 40 retooled a dedicated recurring bit by plugging Netflix (free of charge I might add) they decided to jack the cost of their basic subscription rates 60%.

Add that on top of the recent DVD shipping debacle and the Tribal Council has spoken. The Netflix Tiki torch has been extinguished.

Movie Netflix Working Title of the Week will return after a brief hiatus.

Chloroform, chlorine... C'mon man, you're like MacGyver!

A quick webisode featuring Walt and Badger from the Breaking Bad archives.

The new season of the best show on TV debuts this Sunday night on AMC.
More to come...

Monday, July 11, 2011

Justin Timberlake: Ultimate Wingman

I've always liked Justin Timberlake. He can sing, dance, act, he's funny as hell and blog hit counter gold. I didn't think it was possible for him to be any cooler. I was wrong.

Now he's the ultimate wingman for a US Marine.

Last week (after reported watching Black Swan for the 132nd time) Sgt. Scott Moore, of the 3rd Battalion 2nd Marines in Musa Qala, Afghanistan set up a YouTube page and posted a video asking Mila Kunis to accompany him to the Marine Corps Ball on November 18th in Greenville, North Carolina.

During an interview with FOX News for their film Friends With Benefits, the reporter asked Kunis if she had seen the invitation and co-star Justin Timberlake immediately went to work for the Devil Dog.

“Have you seen this? Have you heard about this? You need to do it for your country,” Timberlake asked Kunis excitedly, before sending out a direct message to Moore. “I’m going to work on this, man. This needs to go down.”

After questioning her publicist if she knew about the invitation, the clearly flattered 27-year-old actress agreed.

“I’ll go, I’ll do it for you,” she said, turning to Timberlake. “Are you going to come?”

“They don’t want me! They want you,” Timberlake responded. “You need to do it for your country.”
Kunis agreed. “I’ll do it!”

Semper Fi, JT! You are the man!

I'm definitely going to see "Friends With Benefits" now. (Like I wasn't anyway.)
(R Rated Trailer)

Friday, July 8, 2011

How To Make A Pepsi Sammich

First off I apologize because this post is absolutely useless without pictures and I was right there with a camera and didn't shoot a single drive-by. This is a good example of why I'm no longer a cracker jack journalist / cub reporter.

If you've noticed a bread shortage at Allsup's and a few other stores in Wise County it's because the TriState bakery truck and the Pepsi truck smashed each other in front of Allsup's in Chico last Wednesday. It was a bread-splosion on 101 as a rock truck crashed thru the TriState truck's trailer filled with bread and split it in half. Buns were flying as the two sections of trailer spun around and wound up wrapped around the Pepsi truck sitting in Allsup's parking lot.


I was laughing so hard from the sight of it that I completely forgot about getting any pics or video. It was like a real life Top Gear bit. It would have definitely filled in the gap for the Liberally Lean vacation. Hopefully somebody out there has pics to share.

Edit: I have found an eyewitness with pics, but don't have them on my computer yet.

Netflix of the Week: Finally Updated

The Expendables

Apparently, the title was appropriate than I imagined because I didn't receive the BluRay that was scheduled to arrive on Tuesday or Wednesday or Thursday.

1 out of 3 isn't bad I guess, but this isn't what I was hoping for. I filed a missing DVD report so when it finally gets here, you'll get my 2 cents on what looks like to be a last gasp testosteronefest for Hollywood's aging action heroes.

Prove me wrong, please...

UPDATE: The BluRay finally arrived and unfortunately they didn't prove me wrong. Here's the plot...

ACT 1:Shoot, explosion, old guy doing karate, explosion, shoot, shoot, shoot, shoot, shoot, explosion, old guy doing karate, explosion.

ACT 2: Old guy gets horny for inappropriately younger girl. Shoot, explosion, shoot, shoot, shoot, old guy doing karate, shoot, explosion, explosion, explosion.

ACT 3: Old guy fights old guy both doing karate, shoot, shoot, shoot, old guy, old guy, explosion, old guy, explosion, shoot, shoot, old guy fights old guy while shooting yet another old guy, old guy gets inappropriately younger girl.

The End.

On a Sylvester Stallone film scale of 1 to 10 with 1 being Cliffhanger and 10 being Rambo, this film barely rates a Rocky 5.

On the plus side I've discovered YouTube has a good library of movies online for absolutely free.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

I Saw This In A Three Stooges Movie

A 19-year-old woman was arrested for allegedly trying to sneak her husband out of prison in a suitcase, according to authorities in the Mexican Caribbean state of Quintana Roo.
According to officials at the prison in the city of Chetumal, the state's capital, the woman identified as Maria del Mar Arjona was caught as she was leaving the prison, pulling a black-wheeled suitcase.
Authorities said that as she was walking up a staircase to leave the prison, Arjona hit the suitcase against the stairs. When something inside the bulky suitcase moved, guards noticed and stopped Arjona, who acted nervously. The guards then looked inside the suitcase and found her husband, Juan Ramirez Tijerina.
Cesar Manuel Castilla, a spokesman for Quintana Roo's Department of Public Safety, says that in any case it would have been extremely difficult for the inmate to escape in the suitcase.
"We have three inspection stations at the prison and he was caught in the first one," Castilla said. "In any case, she would have been asked to open the suitcase for inspection at the third and last inspection station. I don't know what they were thinking."
Pictures of the incident released by Quintana Roo's Department of Public Safety show the man curled up inside the suitcase in a fetal position. He was covering his face when the pictures where taken.
Ramirez is serving a sentence at the Chetumal prison after being convicted of federal drug trafficking charges.
He was immediately returned to his cell while Arjona was detained. She now faces multiple charges stemming from the Saturday incident. According to Castilla, Arjona is six months pregnant. She fell ill after being detained. Charges and a court appearance are pending while she recovers at a state hospital.
Arjona was at the prison for a conjugal visit, Castilla said.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Think I Blew My Knee Out

Took an impromptu trip to Lake Texoma yesterday to spend some time with Little Sister and BrotherInLaw. They were camped on an island and invited me to come with them. I wimped out and didn't spend the night because the heat was wearing me out. That and my knee was killing me!.

The lake is very low and shallow this year. When we pulled up to the island I jumped off the stern to help tie off the boat. They said it was waist deep. Well if you are an umpaloompah it was waist deep, for me it wasn't even knee deep. I jumped off standing up and hit bottom before I could bend my knees.

C R U N C H !

Now my left knee feels like somebody tried to take off my kneecap with a crowbar and filled it with gravel when I walk.

Happy Independence Day!

Saw this on CMT tonight. Who knew Rob Hawkins was so funny?

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Some Things Never Change

I remember the fireworks wars we had as kids using bottle rockets and roman candles. Somehow we survived without killing ourselves or burning down the neighborhood. At work yesterday, I overheard a conversation between a father and his sons that took me back to those golden days of yesteryear.

Sons: Dad can we get some roman candles at the fireworks stand??? 

Dad: Maybe, we'll see.

Sons: COOL!! Were gonna take hay bales and make forts and have a roman candle war!!!

Dad: Nooooooooooo!

Have a safe and happy 4th everybody. And please, no hay based forts near the fireworks.

I Hate Counting Inventory!

Just wanted to throw that out there for what it's worth. The good news is I lucked out and got a 4-Day weekend to make up for it.

We now return to your regularly scheduled program, already in progress.