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, March 31, 2012


I wandered into the computer room about noon today and fired that muther up only to discover a system fault on boot. My CPU cooler fan was dead. Thaaaat's great. Not one to be intimidated about performing open heart surgery on a computer, I pulled the cover off and started taking things apart. It was pretty simple really, 1 plug and 8 screws. 

I took the fan and headed to Radio Shack in Decatur in the vain hopes that they would stock one. No such luck. I decided to bite the bullet and drive to Fry's Electronics in Arlington. If they don't have it, it isn't made. It was a beautiful day for a drive and I decided to take full advantage of it cruising with the top down on the SLK. Great decision.

After fighting my way thru the North Ft. Worth construction mess (multiplied by π due to an accident) I made my way to Fry's, found the exact fan I needed and headed for the registers. Unfortunately, you can't get to the register at Fry's without finding a minimum of a half dozen things you desperately needed but never knew until you saw it on sale. I managed to get out for just under $100 after going in for a $7.99 fan.

On the way back I was passing an 18wheeler on 287 south of Rhome with the cruise set at 75 and Joe Walsh jamming away on the radio when I looked in the mirror and saw a black Volvo closing behind me at a pretty good clip. Being the nice guy I am, I gassed it a tad and got out of the way before they had to slow down. They zipped past me (I'm guessing they were going over 90) just as a DPS Trooper topped the hill. Man, those sirens are LOUD when you have the top down. Apparently the Volvo driver was a devout follower of Hunter S. Thompson's theory of Cops & Speeders... "Few people understand the psychology of dealing with a highway traffic cop. Your normal speeder will panic and immediately pull over to the side. This is wrong. It arouses contempt in the cop-heart. Make the bastard chase you. He will follow."

The Volvo braced for the G's and with a quick heel/toe made a hard right at high speed and headed down a dirt road in an attempt to ditch the trooper. True to form, the cop did indeed follow. I'd hate to be that guy right now. You can outrun a Crown Vic, but you can't outrun a Motorola.

I got home, slapped in the new fan (only to discover I installed it backwards and had to take it all apart and put it back together again) and Viola! Not only is the new CPU cooling fan up and running, it's a lot quieter than the old one when it was working.

 I also cleaned out about 5 pounds of dust that had accumulated inside my PC. Dust Bunny? I had a Dust Sasquatch.

Now I'm wondering just how much longer it will be before the rest of my computer starts to lay down on me. I'm backing everything up on the odd chance it craps out before I get my taxes done.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Why You Never Get Medical Procedures at Motel 6

Bum Rap: Woman Who Injected Silicone Into Buttocks Of Strippers Nationwide Pleads To Federal Felony Charge | The Smoking Gun

A Georgia woman who traveled the country administering silicone buttocks injections to female clients--including many strippers--pleaded guilty today to a federal felony charge stemming from her illegal business.

During an appearance in U.S. District Court in Baltimore, Kimberly Smedley copped to a conspiracy charge. A criminal information filed this month alleged that Smedley, 45, “traveled frequently” to Baltimore, Washington, D.C., Detroit, Philadelphia, and New York City to inject silicone “into the buttocks of customers for larger and fuller buttocks in exchange for money.”

Smedley faces a maximum five-year prison term when sentenced in mid-July. A plea agreement indicates that federal prosecutors will seek a $250,000 fine, in addition to about $8000 in restitution (that Smedley has agreed to pay).

Pictured above, Smedley is not a licensed medical practitioner. She also falsely represented to customers that the silicone she injected (which was stored in a plastic water jug) was medical grade. Instead, prosecutors disclosed, she used a substance intended for “metal or plastic lubrication, as an additive for paint and coatings, and furniture or automotive polishes.”

Food and Drug Administration agents determined that Smedley ordered “over 4920 pounds” of the substance “from one manufacturer alone” since 2003.

As part of her plea deal, Smedley acknowledged illegally administering silicone injections over an eight-year period ending late last year. She operated out of hotel rooms, where she used “super glue with cotton balls to cover the point of injection in an effort to prevent the silicone from leaking out,” according to a court filing. Smedley admitted charging between "$500 and $1600, always in cash, for each session where she typically injected silicone in 9 places on each side of the buttocks.”

On The Radar: Rush

Two-time Academy Award® winner Ron Howard (A Beautiful Mind, Frost/Nixon), teams once again with fellow two-time Academy Award® nominee, writer Peter Morgan (Frost/Nixon, The Queen), on Rush, a spectacular big-screen re-creation of the merciless 1970s rivalry between James Hunt and Niki Lauda.

The epic action-thriller stars Chris Hemsworth (The Avengers) as the charismatic Englishman James Hunt and Daniel Brühl (Inglourious Basterds) as the disciplined Austrian perfectionist Niki Lauda, whose clashes on the Grand Prix racetrack epitomized the contrast between these two extraordinary characters, a distinction reflected in their private lives.

Set against the sexy, glamorous and spectacular golden age of Formula 1 racing, Rush portrays the exhilarating true story of two of the greatest rivals the world has ever witnessed—handsome English playboy Hunt and his methodical, brilliant opponent, Lauda. Taking us into their personal lives on and off the track, Rush follows the two drivers as they push themselves to the breaking point of physical and psychological endurance, where there is no shortcut to victory and no margin for error. If you make one mistake, you die.

Also starring Olivia Wilde (TRON: Legacy) and Alexandra Maria Lara (The Reader), Rush is produced by Andrew Eaton (A Mighty Heart), Howard, Academy Award® winner Brian Grazer (Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind), Eric Fellner (Senna, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy), Morgan and Brian Oliver (Black Swan) and executive produced by Cross Creek Pictures, Exclusive Media and Todd Hallowell. Universal Pictures will distribute the film in North America. Rush is shooting on location in the U.K., Germany and Austria.

Ron Howard and Brian Grazier? You had me at Hello. This will be a fantastic film even if you don't like racing! Altho the storyline is completely different, it sounds a lot like Gran Prix (1966) starring James Garner. A fantastic film, by the way.

 Steve McQueen also made a similar open wheel film "Le Mans". But Gran Prix is the benchmark. Look for Rush to hit theaters in 2013.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

More Drones!

The Sand Flea weighs 11 lbs, can jump 30" in the air using CO2 powered pistons and can make 25 jumps before recharging.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


Got the munchies? Fridge empty and too buzzed to drive? 
Call TacoCopter
Some companies are born great, some companies achieve greatness, and some companies drop greatness on your face -- in the form of a taco. 

The latter certainly applied to one of the greatest fake startups ever: TacoCopter. The prank company drew headlines with its stated plan to use "flying robots" to deliver tacos to smartphone-ordering customers. Basically, they wanted to use automated helicopters to reign deliciousness down on people. It was genius.

It was also illegal. A short brainstorm of air-dropping tacos on customers uncovers a number of drawbacks, including but not limited to: What if the tacos hit somebody else? What if somebody steals your taco from the toy helicopter? What if the copter crashes into a building? What if the FAA opts to clear the skies of Mexican delivery? But all of this was besides the point.

If they didn't bring the salsa drop tank, your taco would be cold before they got back. Mission fail.

Maybe Driving To Vegas Wasn't Such A Bad Idea

LAS VEGAS -- Screaming "They're going to take us down!" a JetBlue pilot stormed through his plane rambling about a bomb and threats from Iraq Tuesday until passengers on the Las Vegas-bound flight tackled him to the ground just outside the cockpit, passengers said.

The captain of JetBlue Airways Flight 191 from New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport was taken to a hospital after suffering a "medical situation" on board that forced the co-pilot to take over the plane and land it in Amarillo, Texas, the airline said.

The unidentified pilot seemed disoriented, jittery and constantly sipped water when he first marched through the cabin, then began to rant about threats linked to Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan after crew members tried to calm him down in the back, passengers said.

"They're going to take us down. They're taking us down. They're going to take us down. Say the Lord's prayer. Say the Lord's prayer," the captain screamed, according to passenger Tony Antolino.

Josh Redick, who was sitting near the middle of the plane, said the captain seemed "irate" and was "spouting off about Afghanistan and souls and al-Qaida."

The outburst came weeks after an American Airlines flight attendant was taken off a plane for rambling about 9/11 and her fears the plane would crash. An aviation expert remembered only two or three cases in 40 years where a pilot had become mentally incapacitated during a flight.

Gabriel Schonzeit, who was sitting in the third row, said the captain said there could be a bomb on board the flight.

"He started screaming about al-Qaida and possibly a bomb on the plane and Iraq and Iran and about how we were all going down," Schonzeit told the Amarillo Globe-News.

The captain was tackled by several passengers after he tried to re-enter the cockpit, which had been locked by the co-pilot, the Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement.

Antolino, a security executive who said he sat in the 10th row, said he and three others pinned down the captain as he ran for the cockpit door and sat on him for about 20 minutes until the plane landed at Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport at 10 a.m.

"That's how we landed," he said. "There were four of us on top of him. ... Everybody else kind of took a seat and that's how we landed."

An off-duty airline captain who was a passenger on the flight entered the flight deck before landing in Amarillo and took over the duties of the ill captain, the airline said in a statement.

The captain was taken to a local medical facility after the plane landed, the airline said without elaborating.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

On The Radar: Dark Shadows

Directed by Tim Burton, starring Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Helena Bonham Carter, Jackie Earle Haley... A gothic-horror tale centering on the life of vampire Barnabas Collins and his run-ins with various monsters, witches, werewolves and ghosts. Based on the cult TV series, Dark Shadows opens May 11th, 2012.

This will be huge.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Bright Light City Set My Soul On Fire

I promised a debriefing from Vegas so here goes. It was a long ass drive! There have been a few changes since the last time I made that run, too. Most notably the new Mike O'Callaghan – Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge. You no longer drive over Hoover Dam. As a matter of fact you can't even see the dam from the bridge because of the high concrete gardrails. But, you can take the scenic route down to a viewing area.

I had planned to stay on Fremont Street, but all the rooms were booked for St. Patrick's Day, so I got a room at Stratosphere. That turned out to be a great move. I was impressed with how clean and shiny everything was. They've obviously had a renovation lately and it showed. It made Monte Carlo look like a dump. No stained and worn carpet. No malfunctioning a/c. Flatscreen TV. Everything was first rate. My new most favorite place to stay in Sin City.

The one good thing about driving my SLK there was being able to cruise The Strip with the top down. That is one very cool drive at night. The senses are almost overloaded with sight and sound coming at you from 360°. It was like being in a Top Gear video. I can scratch that off the Bucket List.

They had several block parties for St. Pat's, but Fremont Street Experience was not to be out done. There were several live bands and the place was flush with street performers. The $9.99 Prime Rib Dinner at 4 Queens wasn't bad either.

I didn't take in any shows, spent most of this trip playing Tournament Texas Hold 'em at Stratosphere. They had 3 of them daily. Tournament poker is different from cash games. Everyone starts with the same amount of chips, the blind bets go up every 20 minutes and you play for a share of the entry fees. The strategy is much different. I thought I did remarkably well playing against more experienced players. I made the final table in one tournament, but came up just short of winning any prize money.

I actually got interested in tournament poker from watching Celebrity Poker Showdown. I miss that show...

The drive back wasn't too bad except for a late winter storm that hit Arizona dumping over a foot of snow in blizzard conditions and had I-40 all screwed up. Sunday there was almost 200 miles of I-40 closed due to weather. By Monday most of it was cleared but there was still problems for westbound travelers. There was at least a 15 mile traffic jam east of Kingman. There were numerous cars and 18 wheelers that had crashed overnight littering the median and I did run into a few flurries and icy patches, but for the most part eastbound 40 was OK. I wanted to stop at Meteor Crater, but could see a storm closing in and I wanted to stay ahead of it.

It will likely be a while before I return and it definitely won't be in the SLK, but man I do love Las Vegas!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

You Can't Fix Stupid

The only info I have on this video is it was taken in Sharana, Afghanistan. The pilot was executing a maneuver known as "return to target". No one on the ground was killed and both pilots survived, possible criminal charges were laid.

Dumb, dumb, dumb.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Tales From The Strip

It's been kinda quiet around The South 40 because I haven't been around The South 40. I twisted off and drove to Las Vegas for St.Patrick's Day. Actually I didn't do it for St.Patrick's Day, it just coincided with my wild hair.

I spent 4 days in Sin City and will give you all some of the juicy details when I return to the homestead, (I'm posting this from Amarillo on the return trip, but what happens in Vegas, STAYS in Vegas) but for now let me tell you a few truths I learned this excursion...

  1. A Mercedes SLK280 is not built for a 1100 2200 mile road trip when you are 6"2'. But cruising with the top down on Las Vegas Blvd is very cool, so that sort of levels things out. No pain, no gain.
  2. The Stratosphere is MUCH nicer, cleaner AND cheaper than The Monte Carlo. I was shocked at how shiny and clean The Strat was compared to Monte Carlo. Their rooms were dirt cheap, too. Averaged $50 a night Thursday thru Sunday. It might be a little further up The Strip but The Deuce stops right outside and it's a 5 minute ride to the rest of the action on The Strip.
  3. I need more Texas Hold 'em practice. The skill level of players is much higher in Vegas than Winstar. But I did manage to make the final table and win 10th Place in a tournament on Saturday. Payouts started with 5th, but hey... it's a start. 
  4. The top level of The Stratosphere parking garage is a highly restricted area (and they are serious about it). Don't ask me how I found that out.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Blinded Me With Science

Northern Lights as viewed from the ISS.


Fox 4               News has additional cellphone video of the AA flight attendant freaking out. Now that we know she has a mental health issue, I don't see the point in airing the video. It has absolutely nothing to add but shock value and only serves to embarrass the flight attendant further. This stinks to high heaven of poor journalism solely for the sake of ratings.

I normally consider the local FOX affiliate KDFW separate from FOX News Channel and their tactics, but this story sure narrows that gap.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Like I Said..

I blogged about this guy and the atrocities he was committing over a year ago. He is evil incarnate, but Rush Limbaugh endorsed his campaign of terror in the name of anti-Obama (until he found out who Lord's Resistance Army actually was).

Now, the truth is raising it's ugly head and gone viral.

RGIII to Skins

FOX Sports' Jay Glazer says "it's a done deal". It makes perfect sense to me and I think he would be a good fit. The 'Skins need some positive leadership (and a decent QB) and RGIII can deliver. Just look at what Andy Dalton has accomplished in his first year at Cinci.

Personally I think Andy is a better QB than RGIII, but the 'Skins are a better organization in a much larger market. Look for RGIII to light up the NFC East the first 6 weeks before teams adjust their defenses.
<a href=';src=v5:embed::' target='_new' title='Glazer: Redskins trade for No. 2 pick' >Video: Glazer: Redskins trade for No. 2 pick</a>

Uh, No...

I'm a Mel Brooks fan and I'd love to see a Broadway production of Young Frankenstein. But there's no way in Hell I'm paying $112 plus service charge to sit in the nosebleed seats.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

NexGen Plane Pron

OK, I don't want to get stuck on a theme here, but the timing just worked out this way. Check out this ubercool test flight footage of the F35.


BTW, the hot rumor "on the radar" is that Top Gun 2 will feature Maverick (Tom Cruise) as an F35 Flight Instructor. The F35 is a single seater so Goose will have to ride along in spirit.

I predict Mav pulling some uber-leet ACM to fool a Syrian MIG29 (or ironicly an Iranian F14) pilot by switching to VTOL mode midflight.

"Hit the brakes and he'll fly right by."

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Pollo Fabuloso

I stopped by Mas Meats in Bridgeport for the first time yesterday. It was more of a convenience and curiosity stop than anything else. I was right there, hungry and looking for some chicken breasts. All they had was boneless/skinless marinated for $3.59 lb. 

YOWZA! Pretty sure Marketplace had bone in breast for .99 lb. 

I bought 4 anyway and as it turns out, it was worth it. I grilled them over some mesquite and you talk about good! Served with a garden salad and Hogue Late Harvest Reisling. Healthy and tasty. I was thoroughly impressed.

I'll definitely be back to sample their beef.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Just Plane Porn

The annual Heritage Flight Conference at Davis - Monthan AFB.
Thanks to Puma44 for the photos!

South40Vision... IN 3-D!!!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

On The Radar: American Horror Story

A bit of news on season 2 of FX's fantastically creepy American Horror Story. Gone are The Harmons (Connie Britton and Dylan McDermott), back are Constance (Jessica Lange), Tate (Evan Peters), Lily (Nora Montgomery) and Billie Dean (Sarah Paulson).

But don't rule anything out according to show creator Ryan Murphy,  “Anybody could pop up at any time,”.

AHS Season 2 debuts in October.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

On The Road Again

Made a quick hotshot run to Midland yesterday. Cha-Ching! That's a quick way to knock out a payment on the Mercedes and spend a beautiful day driving thru Texas at the same time.


I also got a bonus out of the deal. When I jumped on I-20, 4 Richard Childress Racing trucks went by and I fell in behind Kevin Harvick's rig. Unfortunately I didn't have my camera to take any pics and worse, I didn't have a radio in my pickup to talk to them. But it was cool to run in their convoy for a bit.

I was impressed with my GPS. I got instructions on how to get to where I was going, but they were pretty confusing. The yard was at the Midland Airport. THAT is one messed up place. Not sure who is responsible for drawing up the road plans on that place.  When I put the address in my GPS, it wasn't valid. But it gave me another address on the street and I chose that one. Lo and behold it guided me right to the gate.