The stars at night are big and bright...

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

Thursday, December 31, 2015

When I make a mistake, it's a doozy!


I should know better than to rank TV shows. A) I'm not a professional critic and B) I don't see everything that's out there. Such is the case with my 'Top 10 of 2015' rankings last week and a very good program I hadn't seen on USA Network, Mr. Robot.

I'd skipped it because of the title. If there was ever a case of "don't judge a book by it's cover", this is it. There are no robots, androids or cyborgs in this show. What is in this show are a riveting dark and foreboding storyline full of very intriguing characters portrayed by extremely talented actors.

The cast is led by Rami Malek. The name may be unfamiliar to you, but his face is not. Malek has been in several highly rated projects, most notably as 'SNAFU' Shelton in HBO's The Pacific and Steve Dibiasi in the Tom Hanks/Julia Roberts film, Larry Crowne. His performance as psychotic genius hacker Elliot Alderson is his best yet. It's certainly worthy of an Emmy nod in a very competitive year. His performance has been nominated for a Golden Globe, Best Actor-Drama, a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series, a Critic's Choice Award for Best Actor in a Drama Series and a Satellite Award from the for Best Actor in a Series, Drama.

The show has also received a slew of other award nominations:

Golden Globes:
Best Television Series - Drama
Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television - Christian Slater

Critic's Choice Awards:
Best Drama Series
Best Guest Performer in a Drama Series - BD Wong
Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series - Christian Slater

International Press Academy Satellite Awards:
Best Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television -
Christian Slater
Best Television Series- Drama

It won:
Gotham Independent Film Award - Breakthrough Series
SXSW Festival - Audience Award
AFI Award - TV Program of the Year

Without giving any spoilers, the show is very topical with the storyline circling around an movement similar to Anonymous, Occupy Wall Street, corporations that are too big to fail and the financial crisis of 2008. You definitely need to watch the series from the beginning and pay very close attention. There's lots of little things that pay off later and some very technical computer goings on. Even if you don't understand all the hacking (and it's a major plotline) you will be drawn in by the drama and intrigue as the characters develop and reveal their backstories. If you think computers and hacking are a dull plotline, you couldn't be more wrong.

Season 2 is in production and is expected to premiere in July of 2016. The story's very complex and you never know what to expect next. USA just ran a Season 1 marathon. If you missed it, do yourself a favor and watch it online at usanetwork.com/mrrobot .

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Judgement Day is coming.


Remember this post? I declared not one bite of Blue Bell until the executives responsible for the deaths caused by their tainted product were held accountable. Looks like that day may actually be coming.

Report: Feds looking into Blue Bell listeria outbreak
CBS News reported Tuesday evening that the Justice Department is looking into the deadly listeria outbreak that forced Blue Bell ice cream to shut down earlier this year. CBS confirmed the investigation to College Station's KBTX.
The Justice Department is trying to determine what management knew about "potentially deadly hazards" at Blue Bell plants and when they knew it, CBS News says.

Products from Brenham-based Blue Bell are returning to store shelves in several states after a historic recall of the beloved ice cream in March. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention linked listeria in Blue Bell products to 10 illnesses and three deaths in four states since 2010.
In addition, Blue Bell is facing a federal lawsuit related to the outbreak. Food and Drug Administration investigators cited the company for widespread problems with cleaning and sanitation.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The Couchshank Redemption


It appears Ethan Couch watched the Shawshank Redemption and ran off to Zihuatanejo to spend the rest of his sentence sunning on the beach. Hopefully he paid very close attention to the part of the movie before they tarred the roof of the license plate factory and enjoyed a few cold brews like men. Because before he ran and jumped the border he was flirting with possibly violating his juvenile probation and at the worst spending time in reform school.

Now, he's more than likely going to big boy "pound me in the ass" prison. Just hope he's never watched Oz on HBO. It's got more than a few spoilers...


UPDATE: Stop the presses! (so to speak...) 

It looks like poor little Ethan isn't going to big boy pound me in the ass prison. At least not for very long anyway.

• Under Texas law, Couch, now 18, would be punished for his violation in the juvenile system.

• The maximum sentence that a juvenile judge can dish out for a violation of his juvenile probation is imprisonment in a juvenile facility until Couch turns 19, which is April 11, 2016.

• The DA wants to transfer Couch's sentence to adult court. But since this violation happened in the juvenile system, Couch effectively would start with a clean slate in the adult probation system. That is, the adult court judge could not punish Couch for violations he committed as a juvenile.

• At the time a judge reassesses Couch's probation in the adult system, he has the power to put Couch in adult jail for a maximum of 120 days.

Friday, December 25, 2015

I was told there would be no math.


A South 40 Christmas Tradition Continues

A Very Neglectful Oversight

I made a big mistake and left this off my favorite Christmas movie list. But, there's a good reason. I did not care for Peter Billingsley and didn't like this film when it was released. My opinion of it didn't change until recently. I guess it was a nostalgia bug (or TBS marathon brainwashing) that bit me and turned it into a traditional "must see". But for the majority of my life I thought this movie was junk and could care less if the kid shot his eye out. It was only the last 4 or 5 years that my opinion changed. Now I watch it several times every Christmas.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

My Favorite Christmas Movies

In no particular order (except #1)
1. It's a Wonderful Life
2. Die Hard
3. Scrooged
4. Christmas Vacation
5. Meet John Doe
My sentimental favorites are Meet John Doe and It's a Wonderful Life (Xuxu's petals!). But my overall favorite is Scrooged because my Dad would randomly quote a) Carol Kane as the Ghost of Christmas Present, "It's a TOASTER!" and b) Bill Murray's reaction "The bitch hit me with a toaster!"

Saturday, December 19, 2015

My Top 10 Shows of 2015

In no particular order (except #1):
1. Fargo (FX)
2. Justified (FX)
3. Man in the High Castle (Amazon)
4.The Brink (HBO)
5. Narcos (Netflix)
6. Better Call Saul (AMC)
7. Silicon Valley (HBO)
8. Archer (FX)
9. South Park (Comedy Central)
10. Big Time in Hollywood, Fla (Comedy Central)

Runners up:
The Middle (ABC)
The Goldbergs (ABC)
The Grinder (FOX)

Too late to qualify:
F is for Family (Netflix)


Friday, December 18, 2015

F is for Family

Ah, the 70's. When men were men and you measured distance by the number of beers you drank to get there. Comedian Bill Burr brings his childhood to life in this new animated series premiering today on Netflix.

It. is. greatness.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

It's on... It's off... It's back on again!





Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Sheriff Takes 2 1/2 Hour Lunch, Leaves 8 Weapons Unsecured

What could possibly go wrong?
On a relative scale which if these is worse?

A. He had a 2 hour 25 minute lunch
B. He had at least 8 weapons in his car including a sub-machine gun
C. Of the 8 weapons in his car 4 were personal and were redundant
D. His vehicle had no alarm
E. He apparently left weapons in plain sight
F. He ate at Saltgrass

Monday, December 7, 2015

Why I Avoid Going To The Doctor

So I had to go see the VA for my yearly checkup and get my BP meds renewed. While I was there I got a flu shot. An ounce of prevention and all that. Well lucky me, I picked up a cold while I was there and it's a doozy.

I've been hacking and coughing for the last 3 or 4 days. My head is plugged up, my chest is on fire and my throat feels like I've been gargling Drano.


Saturday, December 5, 2015

Friday, December 4, 2015

It's The World's Gone Crazy Cotillion

After the mass shooting in San Bernadino I saw this posted on a message board as warning signs of a terror attack:
Farooq Syed recently began growing out his beard.

His wife was the other shooter.

They dropped off their 6 month old child at granny's house before the shooting.

They wore body armor and carried cameras.
Then I did a quick search of Texas Open Carry which will be law in less than 30 days. This should make everything clear as mud now:



Thank goodness we thought this through before making it law of the land.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Amazon Prime Air v2.0

Jeremy Clarkson unveils the latest version of the Amazon Prime Air drone as only Jeremy Clarkson can.
 
Unfortunately unless they a)extend the range or b)build a distribution center in Wise County, I won't be getting any of these airborne deliveries.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Thursday, November 26, 2015

The Man in the High Castle


Ran across a discussion of this new series on Amazon Prime. The premise is it's 1962, the United States lost World War II and is divided up between Nazi Germany and the Japanese Empire. Everything East of the Rocky Mountains is part of the 3rd Reich. West of the Rockies is part of the Japanese Empire. Hitler is still alive and is a peace maker.

Intriguing to say the least.

I'm only on Episode 2, but the hook is set deep. I love period pieces to begin with, but this is beyond exceptional. I even ordered an Amazon Fire Stick so I can watch the remaining episodes on big screen instead of my computer monitor.

The all of Season 1 is available on Amazon Prime.

Greatness...




Monday, November 23, 2015

No Justice, No Peace

If you're not watching Fargo, you're missing the best show EVER made for television. I'm including The Sopranos and every other series ever made.

There is no show that has ever matched the week to week level of greatness this series has achieved. Writing, direction, photography, casting, set decoration.

If it doesn't sweep the Emmys there is no justice and I'm summoning Hanzee Dent to settle the score.

Well OK then


FX has renewed “Fargo” for a third installment, Variety has learned. The pickup comes in the midst of the anthology’s second season.

Creator Noah Hawley is set to return to the critically-acclaimed and award-winning series, along with exec producers Warren Littlefield, John Cameron and Joel and Ethan Coen.

Read more at Variety.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Get in the Zone...

No, I'm not referring to the Dallas Cowboys and their apparent allergy to entering the End Zone. I have neither the time nor the bandwidth to tackle that issue.

I had a very odd problem today. The alternator on my '06 F-350 wasn't charging. It had a lifetime warranty so I yanked it off and swapped it for another one at Autozone. Bought one there in the first place so if I had a problem on the road it would be an easy exchange. That turned out not to be the case because they couldn't find it in the computer, but I digress. We'll cover this later.

Put the new alternator on and the dang thing wouldn't charge. I checked everything that was obvious (wires, fuses, ect) but found nothing. Checked my Scangauge and no fault codes. There is no shame in admitting defeat, especially with a 6.0 Powerstroke. So I took it to a friend that is a former Ford tech and had done work for me in the past, including installing the alternator last February and showing me a really cool little kickstand on the belt tensioner to remove the serpentine belt after I had struggled with it for wayyy too long. He went over it and couldn't find the problem. 

After about an hour of testing fuses and connections he remembered something he had seen before. There is a wiring harness connector between the fender and right hand battery that goes to the 2nd alternator if you have one. If you don't have one it's just a loop or jumper connection. A mouse had chewed through the jumper wire. He said for some reason mice love that wire. A 10 cent crimp butt connector and everything started working.

Guess I should give Autozone credit for their alternator not being bad, but man it was quite the hassle getting them to honor the warranty because they couldn't find it in their computer. I know I bought it there because I posted about it talking to Ford techs on a Ford Truck forum when I bought it and even listed the Autozone part number (Duralast DL3668-8-11). Probably should have tested it before exchanging, too...

Anyway, sorry about that Autozone. But you need to step up that customer service a smidge. Thank goodness I wasn't on the road and had to exchange it. Now I have to dig out my 2014 tax receipts so they will re-enter it in their computer system. 

Saturday, November 14, 2015

2 over easy w/ sausage, scattered, smothered and covered.


The steak and eggs ain't bad either!

Update: This clip was from the Season 6 finale that aired Sunday. Tony went to Charleston, SC and was guided by Sean Brock. The highlight was dinner with Charleston resident Bill Murray. I had no idea he lived there and apparently he's reluctant to recommend others to move there.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Don't get sick in Bowie


Bowie Memorial Hospital is closing at 7 a.m. November 16th. 138 hospital employees and 336 jobs in the area will be affected.

A vote to form a Hospital District would have kept the facility open but was defeated by 138 votes. After a 2 hour deliberation board members voted to close the facility.

The nearest hospitals to Bowie will be Nocona General in Nocona (20mi) Clay County Memorial in Henrietta (27mi) and Wise Regional in Decatur (27mi).

Saturday, November 7, 2015

It gets worse.

If you thought that last story was shocking. You'd better sit down...

Three days after a 6-year-old boy was shot and killed by officers in a barrage of gunfire that also critically wounded the child’s father, authorities late Friday night arrested two of the four officers involved on one count each of second-degree murder and attempted second-degree murder.

Local deputy marshals Lt. Derrick Stafford, 32, and Norris Greenhouse Jr., 23, were on the scene when officers fired at least 18 rounds at an unarmed man and his son Tuesday night in Marksville, authorities said, after cornering the driver for unknown reasons following a chase.

State Police Superintendent Col. Mike Edmonson, who announced the arrests late Friday night as part of his agency’s investigation of the shooting, said of body camera footage of the incident: “It is one of the most disturbing scenes I have seen.”

Key details of the deadly episode remained a mystery even to the investigators early Friday, as two of the four agents in the event refused to speak to authorities 72 hours after the killing, prompting a rare public expression of misgivings toward officers by a law enforcement counterpart.

“It’s more concerning the longer it takes (for them) to talk to us,” said Edmonson earlier Friday. “All we want to know is what happened.”

Had his own troopers been involved in a similar altercation, he said, “we would have already interviewed them.”

Edmonson declined to say whether Stafford and Greenhouse were the two who were silent.

“Tonight is about Jeremy Mardis,” he said, referring to the first-grader shot to death. “That young man did not deserve to die like that.”

Jeremy was still in his seat belt at the time.

“That little boy was buckled in the front seat of that vehicle — and that is how he died,” Edmonson said.

Marksville Police Chief Elster Smith Jr., whose four officers were involved in the Tuesday night incident, said the other two lawmen involved are Lt. Jason Brouillette and Sgt. Kenneth Parnell.

More here, but it turns your stomach.

I hope they seek the Death Penalty.

Two New Jersey Policemen Convicted of Official Misconduct


After a five-week trial, an Essex County jury found Sean Courter, 35, of Englishtown, and Orlando Trinidad, 34, of Bloomfield, guilty of official misconduct, tampering with public records, falsifying public records and false swearing. Trinidad also was found guilty of simple assault. They face minimum prison sentences of five years.

A third police officer, Albert Sutterlin, pleaded guilty in October 2013 to falsifying and tampering with records. He resigned from the police department, according to the prosecutor's office.

The officers initially said the motorist, Marcus Jeter, tried to grab Courter's gun and struck Trinidad during a traffic stop on the Garden State Parkway in June 2012.

For almost a year, officials had to rely on dashboard video footage only from Courter's vehicle. Based on the initial police reports, Jeter was charged with eluding, resisting arrest, aggravated assault and attempting to disarm an officer. He later was convicted and sentenced to five years in prison.

But Jeter's lawyer requested video footage from a second camera, which was on the dashboard of another police vehicle that arrived on the scene. The footage clearly showed Jeter holding his hands in the air during the stop.
______________________________________________

Justice was served here and we need a lot more of it. Officers should be held accountable for their actions. This is a perfect example of why every officer should be required to wear a body camera. Cameras don't lie.

You can't use the excuse of a non-functioning camera either. If it don't work, neither do you. Would they take to the street if their gun didn't work?

The level of quality we've allowed law enforcement to sink is disgraceful. Joe Friday on his worst day wouldn't like it either.

I really try not to overload the board with stories like these, but then again I don't feel like I'm being a good American if I sit back and just let it happen.

Friday, November 6, 2015

As Wichita Falls, So Falls Wichita Falls


KFDX airs, retracts false report claiming Graham ISD promoted teacher under investigation

Despite a television news report to the contrary, the Graham Independent School District is not promoting the unidentified employee under investigation by local police, and the police are not seeking charges against a student who may be involved. The station later retracted the story.

A Wednesday night report allegedly compiled by Stephanie Garland of KFDX-TV in Wichita Falls, falsely claimed that an ongoing Graham police investigation into accusations of a student-employee relationship culminated in the punishment, and criminal prosecution, of the student and the promotion of the employee. The report aired on the station's 10 p.m. Wednesday newscast.

The story, which cites Graham Independent School District Superintendent Sonny Cruse, is entirely fabricated, Cruse said, except for the portion that states the investigation into the allegations is ongoing. Cruse said he missed the broadcast but found the story posted on the station's website at 10:19 p.m. Wednesday.

“I read it and it made me angry,” Cruse said. “I didn't speak with them (before the story aired).”

The district employee who is under investigation, an instructional aide, remains on administrative leave, Cruse told The Graham Leader Thursday morning.

The superintendent was alerted to the story by the school's resource officer, Ty Viehmann, Wednesday night and immediately contacted the reporter to clear things up.

Cruse said he spoke with the reporter after the report had aired, and Garland told him that she had a phone conversation with someone who identified himself as Cruse and made the statements she cited in her report.

“She sounded shocked,” Cruse said. “I told her — I was honest — I said, ‘I'm livid.' I said, ‘I'm very angry now because that is a total false report.'”

KFDX News Director Doug Bilyeu acknowledged the mistake and confirmed that Garland reported wrong information, but, as of press time, he could provide no further information on how this information was acquired.

Police Chief Tony Widner confirmed that he spoke with Garland on Wednesday evening and did nothing but confirm that the agency's investigation into the allegations is ongoing. The reporter, he said, assumed the information she had was correct and at no time asked the chief to confirm or deny her information.

On Oct. 16, the GISD and the GPD released statements confirming that the district and the agency were investigating allegations of an inappropriate relationship between an unidentified district employee and an unidentified student. No additional information has been released.

Cruse admitted to some frustration with the media and with the fact that retractions and story corrections are often downplayed.

“I watched it this morning, and they didn't lead with a retraction,” he said. “My experience is when people retract a story, they bury it. If it was a headline story, why is it not a headline retraction? People want us to be ethical; the media should be ethical also.”

On Thursday morning, Widner confirmed that the investigation into the original incident is ongoing and that the police are not seeking charges against any student related to the investigation.

Cruse said he is uncertain if the district can take legal action against the individual who misrepresented himself as the superintendent, but added he will reach out to the school district's attorney on the matter.
_________________________________________________________________

Journalism 101, folks. Fact check your sources, especially if it's volunteered info over the phone. That's not a mistake KFDX legend Megan Henderson (yeah, THAT Megan Henderson) would have made and I bet ol' Joe Brown is spinning in his grave.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Today In History

Howard Hughes' famous Spruce Goose H-4 Hercules took it's one and only flight and became the largest airplane ever to fly. After its completion, it was three times larger than the largest aircraft built before it. Now surpassed by the Antonov 225, it still holds the records for widest wingspan and the largest flying boat ever.

It now resides at the Evergreen Aviation Educational Center in McMinnville, Oregon.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Never seen this before

I've never seen a head coach High-5 the quarterback of the opposing team. But then not sure I've ever seen a quarterback like Trevone Boykin. That may have been his "Heisman moment".

Sunday, October 25, 2015

That's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see how it pays off...

A friend of mine, Tony Nunes, is an actor in LA. He's featured in a new series of Kellogg's commercials "Tony is Back". They are hilarious!

Monday, October 19, 2015

20% off anything at Jet.com


Get 20% off at Jet.com up to $50 off using code SURPRISE20 now through 10/31!

Per their restrictions, however -- WORKS FOR ALL CUSTOMERS! New customers only. Maximum discount $50. Offer expires 10/31/2015. Limit one per household. Offer cannot be applied to previous orders and cannot be combined with other offers or discounts. Offer is subject to change or cancellation. Brand, category and other restrictions may apply. Void where prohibited.


Thursday, October 15, 2015

There Is No Joy in Mudville






Years without a World Series title:
Rangers: 55
Astros: 54

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Longhorns Pregame Video


The Texas Longhorns, who have been struggling with a very tough season, were shown this motivational video before they stepped onto the field against the Oklahoma Sooners last Saturday.

It worked.

The 17 point underdog Longhorns defeated Oklahoma 24 - 17. 

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Mystery of the ISIS Toyotas solved

The Ron Paul Institute solves the mystery:
US foundation-funded Public Radio International (PRI) reported in a 2014 article titled, “This one Toyota pickup truck is at the top of the shopping list for the Free Syrian Army — and the Taliban,” that: 
Recently, when the US State Department resumed sending non-lethal aid to Syrian rebels, the delivery list included 43 Toyota trucks.
Hiluxes were on the Free Syrian Army’s wish list. Oubai Shahbander, a Washington-based advisor to the Syrian National Coalition, is a fan of the truck.
“Specific equipment like the Toyota Hiluxes are what we refer to as force enablers for the moderate opposition forces on the ground,” he adds. Shahbander says the US-supplied pickups will be delivering troops and supplies into battle. Some of the fleet will even become battlefield weapons.

Of course the Toyotas are just a drop in the bucket compared to the M1 Abrams main battle tanks and support equipment that we gave them.

Military Industrial Complex? Who could have imagined such a thing?


Monday, October 12, 2015

But Blue Bell is back!

Blue Bell workers detail unsanitary conditions inside plant

"The response I got at one point was, is that all you're going to do is come here and bitch every afternoon?" 


I've said it before and I'll say it again. Not one bite until the executives in charge are held accountable.

In Case You Missed The Game Saturday...

That's a fine looking hat!

Friday, October 9, 2015

Respect My Authoritah!



Wow, just... Wow. There's no excuse for that. None at all. Read the full story here

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

What's sweeter than Burleson's Honey?

Congratulations to the Houston Astros for winning their first American League postseason game!
Yankee fans were upset over the team celebrating on the mound at Yankee Stadium.
Too bad!!
The Colby Returns
Next stop: Kansas City!


Monday, October 5, 2015

Hey Buddy-san, Got a light?


Everything does down the pooper at 4:55.

Lessons learned:

  • A little lighter fluid goes a long way.
  • A little water does not.
  • Cardboard boxes are lousy fire extinguishers.

So How Did Your Weekend Go?

Personally, I watched Texas get embarrassed by TCU.

The next day I broke my left thumb working on a plow with a sledgehammer.
Trust me, I know what I'm doing.

Other than that, everything's copasetic.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Wind power so plentiful in Texas that producers sold it at a negative price.


Sounds crazy right? Well it happened just a few days ago. Texas set a new wind generated power record of almost 11,500 MW Sunday night a week ago, besting a previous record set in February. Because Texas has it's own power grid, and a few other factors, Texas wind energy producers couldn't sell excess production to other power grids and we suddenly had a surplus of power in Texas.

There was so much surplus wind energy the cost of electricity went from $17.49 to - $8.52 per megawatt-hour. They were paying utilities to take it off their hands! Let's hope this trend continues.

Read the whole crazy story at Slate.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Oh Hellll No

Do you see who the idiots are you've put in charge?

Get off the road, Tex!


I ran across this story the other day. They are moving the Big Tex neon sign to the State Fair permanently.

I actually used to manage the Centennial at Stemmons & Walnut Hill where Big Tex was. It was the 1st liquor store entering Dallas on 35 from the North. Not the World's best location. Sure you grabbed a lot of customers from the dry areas to the North, but you also had untold numbers of homeless/bums that lived in the woods and under the bridges you had to contend with. 

I came this > < close to getting sliced open by a homeless guy trying to steal a bottle of champagne one night. He took a swipe at me with his knife but dropped the bottle he was hiding under his jacket when he did. He hauled ass after it broke. I hauled ass from working there shortly afterward.

I spent 72 hours there with no electricity. A rock truck ran off the road and for whatever reason, it was 3 days before we got power back. Ever run a busy retail metro retail location on calculators, pencils and paper? Ever do it for 3 days and play (unofficially) armed guard after closing? 

It was an interesting job, but I honestly loved the company and the owners. Corporate VPs were a different story. Unfortunately Centennial was sold by Vantex to an investment group in 2010 and within 2 years they filed for bankruptcy.

Read the full story at The Dallas Morning News.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Cop Car

The latest film from the Cohen Brothers has flown under the radar more successfully than the B-2. But this Kevin Bacon helmed flick looks mighty tasty.

Objects may (NOT) be closer than they appear.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The beer will be called Highlander. "There can only be one."


AB Inbev (Budweiser) are in merger talks with SABMiller (Miller, Coors). There's something wrong with this country when the 3 most successful competitors become the same company. Beer, cars, you name it. This can't be good.

From the BBC.

It's Like, Tax Free Weed Day in Colorado, Man...


An accounting error has resulted in the very first tax free day for recreational marijuana buyers in Colorado.

The bizarre tax holiday is due to what Gov. Hickenlooper called a fiscal glitch in the state constitution. Value buyers may note that the holiday should shave about $20 off the price of a mid-grade ounce of marijuana. There could be huge crowds and hoarders.

September 16, 2015 was picked because an end-of-year fiscal report is due to be certified the previous day. According to state figures, $700 million worth of legal cannabis was sold in Colorado in 2014. The tax tally was $76 million. Pot taxes were projected to raise $70 million in 2014. They actually raised $58 million, but because overall tax collections exceeded projections, Colorado must ask voters for permission to keep the money. To comply with the requirement that the taxes revert to zero, lawmakers settled on a short one-day tax waiver.

A regular 2.9% sales tax still applies, as do medical marijuana taxes and local pot taxes.

Colorado’s Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights—also called TABOR—requires the state to issue refunds to taxpayers if the state’s spending or revenue collections exceed the previous projections. To try to avoid the refund requirement, legislators introduced HB 15-1367, creating a ballot initiative to allow Colorado voters to approve of the state keeping the $58 million in marijuana revenue.

Regardless of whether the ballot initiative passes, Colorado did lower the sales tax on marijuana from 10% to 8% beginning in July 2017. The tax holiday is expected to cost about $100,000, plus $3.6 million for a one-day elimination of the 15% excise tax.

For all the hoopla over pot taxes, Colorado still collects more tax revenue from alcohol.

Read the full story at Forbes.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Does anyone remember Silicone Alley?

I miss reading her blog. She was a hoot. I saw this posted somewhere and it reminded me of one of her old bits. Craigslist of the Week:


Saturday, September 12, 2015

Longmire Season 4



It's not that you come back, it's how you come back that matters. That's the tagline for Season 4 of the Netflix original series Longmire and it couldn't be more fitting. Pretty much everyone was shocked when A&E suddenly cancelled the series after being the network's most watched scripted show.

But as the old saying goes, you can't keep a good man down. Especially when Netflix is looking for good original shows. Boy, did they find it.

Robert Taylor, Katee Sackhoff and Lou Diamond Phillips return and so do the troubles for Absaroka County, Wyoming. That poor little county has to have the highest violent death rate per capita in the nation.

Beautifully shot, the rough Big Sky country is just as much a player as the actors.You may find yourself distracted from the story time to time by the beauty of the raw wilderness. At least I know I do.

There is good news/bad news to the new season. The bad news is there are only 10 episodes in Season 4. This is the 3rd time they've turned in a short season. Only 2013 had 13 episodes. The good news is they give you a full 10 episodes and then some. There are no commercials on Netflix and they knew that going into production, so the normal 48 minute episode runs closer to 58 minutes and a few are over an hour. They run more like short films than episodes of a TV show.

You definitely get your money's worth.

So if you like well written shows full of interesting characters that aren't set in a major metropolitan city, check out the Season 4 of Longmire on Netflix.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Another 1st for the USCG


U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Healy (WAGB 20), based at Pier 36 in Seattle, has arrived in the North Pole -- becoming the first U.S. surface ship to make the trip unaccompanied.

Healy's crew and science party left Dutch Harbor, Alaska on August 9th and arrived at the North Pole on Saturday.

According to a Coast Guard press release, Healy is the country's newest high-latitude vessel. It's a 420-foot, 16,000-ton, 30,000-horsepower icebreaker. It's capable of breaking more than 10 feet of ice, but Healy’s continuous icebreaking capacity as 4.5 feet at three knots, compared to the 6-foot icebreaking capacity of the Polar Star and its inactive sister ship, the Polar Sea. (What does continuously breaking 6 feet of ice sound like? Think giant fingernails on the world's largest chalkboard.)

USCGC Healy made it to the upper region on September 5th. The fact that most of the polar area is melting rapidly due to global warming means that valuable resources such as oil and minerals are there for the taking.

The Coast Guard's only active heavy polar icebreaker, Polar Star, is almost 10 years over its intended 30-year service lifespan; its sister ship, Polar Sea, went inactive in 2011 after an engine failure. Healy, began service in 2000, but it is a "medium polar icebreaker" primarily suited to supporting scientific research, the report found.

"Russia, on the other hand, has 40 icebreakers and another 11 planned or under construction," the White House said. President Vladimir Putin has also stepped up his country’s military deployments and permanent infrastructure in the region over the last few years, even going so far as to restore abandoned Soviet-era bases and claim ownership of the North Pole. Early last month, Russia submitted its latest claims over a vast swath of the Arctic Ocean to the United Nations,

"The Coast Guard has been operating here off Alaska since the 1860s," Captain Jason Hamilton said. "Healy continues that proud tradition and we clearly demonstrated the capability to provide access to the furthest regions of the planet."

Combined reports from The Navy Times, Arctic Newswire, Christian Science Monitor and I4U