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, April 28, 2016

But will Fannie Flagg be on the panel?

ABC has announced the revival of my favorite game show. Match Game will be part of their summer prime time game show schedule. Alec Baldwin will be the host. The late, great Gene Rayburn was the original host of the show where celebrities were asked to fill in the strategically placed blank in a sentence.

The show originally ran in the 60's but the revamped 70's version quickly became the #1 show in daytime television. One of the key factors in the show's loose vibe was the fact it was shot on a Saturday when the stars were off work from their regular jobs and were oftenly well lubricated.

You can still watch reruns of Match Game on GSN and BUZZR.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Arby's: Why not challenge your stomach to a fight?

I had to go to Decatur yesterday to turn in some receipts to the USDA for the bermuda grass I planted a couple weeks ago. It was early afternoon and I hadn't eaten all day so I decided to grab a bite at Arby's. I do loves me some curly fries. As usual, they gave me 3 times as much Arby's & Horsey sauce than I needed and not 1 damned packet of ketchup.

Around 3a.m. the shock and awe strike began. It was definitely a stealth attack because I was taken by complete surprise. The assault has been non-stop since it began. I've deployed some Immodium as defense but it's clearly out gunned. Looks like I'm just going to have to ride this one out.

Oh, Jon Stewart... Why didn't I listen when you tried to warn me?

Monday, April 18, 2016

Transformers assemble!

I'm gonna Komatsu like a spider monkey!

From FOX Sports:
Remember the days when the winner of an argument was decided by who could win in a fight?

Nowadays, if two companies are arguing over something such as a construction contract, they would probably both place a bid and the company who lost would go home.

Not these guys, however, as they fought each other on the streets of Hebei in Xinjang county in China on Saturday in their plant machinery.

The dispute, which went viral on LiveLeak, was the result of two companies competing for a construction contract. The construction industry has recently fallen on hard times in China and many workers have lost their jobs.

Though the battle starts with just two industrial vehicles, more join in as the fight escalates, and two machines end up getting tipped over.

No reports of any arrests or injuries have been made public.

The King is dead. Long live The King.

It was just a few weeks ago that I posted about one of my favorite bloggers getting back in the saddle again. Unfortunately, it was a short lived return. As the Coconuts Drop, a daily review of life and events in Maya Beach, Belize has ceased to exist on the interwebs. It's author has deleted the blog and the archives are no longer available.

This is a huge loss to the blogosphere. Barnacle Bill was an outstanding humorist and an even better photographer. After the blog disappeared I reached out to him and he told me that writing had become a chore instead of an intellectual release. I can certainly identify with that. I used to post on a daily basis and now, as you well know, it's a hit and miss proposition if I post anything at all.

Bill already had quite a bit on his plate running a 2 bungalow seaside resort in a little slice of heaven known as Maya Beach. Recently he was appointed as the Area Warden for the US Embassy in Belize. Top that off with he and Adriane building a new home and you can see why blogging went from the front burner to the back and then completely off the stove altogether.

I spent a week at Barnacle Bill's a few years ago and it was the best vacation I've ever had. BTW, their resort is still open and one of the top rated vacation spots on the Placencia peninsula. I highly recommend you booking a week at Barnacle Bill's Beach Bungalows as soon as possible. It's as close as you'll ever get to paradise with a couple world class eateries within walking distance.

Here's a video I put together chronicling my visit in 2012 and some of the Mayan ruins in Southern Belize. I had to change the audio track due to copyright issues so the music stops early into the video, but it's the pictures that really matter.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Pfister? I hardly know her!

A couple years ago I had to replace my kitchen faucet that came with the house. After some careful consideration I chose a Pfister (formerly Price Pfister) 'Shelton' model with a combination sprayer and detachable neck. It was quite an upgrade over the plain jane base model that came with the house and the price was right. It wasn't the most expensive nor was it the cheapest and it looked like a quality product that would cost much more than it did.

I was more or less pleased with the faucet until a couple weeks ago when the sprayer sprung a leak. It came with a lifetime warranty so I called their customer service hotline. I was expecting the normal paperwork nightmare and subsequent warranty denial. Naturally I had no idea where the original paperwork was or if I even registered the purchase with the manufacturer.

Much to my surprise there was no maze of buttons to push or being put on hold, the lady I spoke with was in California, not India or The Philippines, she spoke very clear English and didn't ask for any paperwork. All she wanted to know was when and where I bought it. The best answer I could give was "roughly 2 years ago" at Lowe's. She didn't even ask for the part number even though I had already looked it up. Then she very politely apologised for the defect and gave me a tracking number for the replacement part she was sending.

The only thing they didn't do was ship the part overnight, but I really didn't care. It was bar none the best customer service experience I've ever had. Coincidentally their motto is "It's the experience that matters."

If I ever have to replace another faucet, it will most definitely be with a Pfister. I strongly urge you to do the same. You won't regret it.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

This is not a drill... Abandon Ship!

Wow. That was one mean and ugly storm that blew through here yesterday afternoon. I was watching it on radar and saw it was heading straight for the South 40 proper. For the first time in my life I said "F**K THIS!", got in my truck, left the house and headed for a safer area.

I got lucky. The worst part of the storm skirted just north of me. All I got was high wind and rain, but a few miles North of me in Sunset is where the video was shot.

Here's some pics I took before I abandoned ship. You can click them to enlarge.
 Looking North
 Looking West
Those birds were SOL
 Looking Northwest
North for the last time when I decided to GTFO

That wall cloud had quite a bit of rotation going on. You may notice how dark it is to the left. That's what really bothered me because it was heading straight toward me. Luckily, as I said before it skirted just North of my house. 

I rode out a tornado here in '03. I watched my ceiling move up and down 3-4 inches. I honestly thought it was going to rip off. It uprooted my steel wellhouse and flew it 400 yards across the pasture. I'm not sure exactly how much it weighed, but it took 3 grown men to tip it over onto a utility trailer and put it back in place. Tipping it was all we could do, there was no lifting it off the ground. I'm guessing it was close to 800lbs.

Anyway after that, I decided no more riding the storm out. Cue REO Speedwagon.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Salute to the Hardest Working Man in Show Business

A sincere get well soon to our local blogging deity at Liberally Lean from the Land of Dairy Queen. In case you're unaware, he's had some sort of serious medical issue. I won't even speculate on what it was even though I've watched every episode of Dr. Kildare, Marcus Welby, St. Elsewhere and ER.

Instead I'll just send him positive thoughts and hope for a speedy and full recovery.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Sid Miller, Conservative Republican

Remember our friend from Stephenville, Sid Miller? He's the guy that spent over $55,000 remodelling his office, raised fees on farmers and supermarkets, illegally hired friends without offering the jobs to the public, gave out more in bonuses in his first 9 months in office than his predecessor did in his first 2 and a half years and spent state money to fly to Oklahoma to get "The Jesus Shot".

Well, there's more...

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — State Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller used taxpayer money and campaign cash last year to fly to Mississippi to compete in a rodeo.

Records obtained by the Houston Chronicle show Miller spent nearly $2,000 on the three-day trip to Jackson, Mississippi.

He competed in calf-roping events at the Dixie National Rodeo and won $880.

Miller did not have any scheduled meetings or events other than the horse show, according to his calendar.

"It was a personal trip so he could compete in a rodeo," Texas Department of Agriculture spokeswoman Lucy Nashed said.

Texas law prohibits officeholders from using state money or campaign funds for travel that's personal in nature.

Miller later wrote a check from his campaign account to reimburse the state for his flights.

He defended the campaign expense by saying that he spoke with people at the rodeo who donated to his campaign.

It was earlier disclosed that Miller's office withheld public records indicating he traveled to Oklahoma on a taxpayer-funded trip for a medical procedure.

Read the full story in The Houston Chronicle.

Friday, April 8, 2016

USS Fort Worth Severely Damaged in Singapore

An apparent failure by the crew to follow procedures has left the USS Fort Worth stranded in Singapore. According to a story from Bloomberg lube oil wasn't supplied to the combining gears that allow the ship to combine it's diesel engines and gas turbines. That caused "extensive damage" and will require extensive and lengthy repairs.

Navy personnel must open up the damaged section and flush out its lubrication system “over a long period of time”, then they must determine the extent of the damage. It will be a long and tedious procedure.

The ship is still able to operate solely on it's gas turbines and the decision is being made on whether to make repairs in Singapore or return to the US and repair.

The foul up resulted in the ship's Captain being relieved of his post.

The Fort Worth was on a 16-month deployment to Asia as proof of the Navy’s “rebalance” to the Pacific.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Now THAT'S a knife!

I was unable to embed the story from KAUZ in Wichita Falls but you can find it at the link below.

Crews with the Bowie Knife project have been working for more than a year to build a world record setting monument and on Monday, that goal was met.

The $160,000 project took two years of planning and the approval from the community to complete, making Monday a big day, not only for those who have spent so much time working on it, but for the resident and business owners in Bowie.

While completely funded through donations, the monument stands more than 20 feet and is expected to be a huge tourist attraction.

“We anticipate it will bring somewhere to the excess of $1-million per year and tourism dollars into town,” Van Bazie, a member of the Bowie Knife Committee said.

Highway 287 passes right through Bowie and officials are hoping that the potentially world record setting knife will make drives stop and pull over to take a look at the spectacle. Which could mean they also pull over for a drink or a snack. Leading to more money being spent in Bowie.

The Knife is located at Pelham Park will be monitored by cameras, that will not only provide security but, officials will also use the cameras to help track how many people come to the park to see the knife.

Although the knife is pretty cool, I think they may have GREATLY overestimated the economic impact. In excess of $1M a year? Umm, good luck with that.

No word on if Crocodile Dundee will be attending the dedication ceremony later this year.

For reference, here's the previous World record holder in Idaho.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

L'Agriculture Est Fin

38 acres plowed, planted and packed with Giant Bermuda. I don't mind telling you this year really kicked my ass and I more than earned that cold beer.

Farming, how do I hate thee. Let me count the ways...

First, I had to hire a mechanic to work on my tractor after I broke an injector line. Luckily he's damn good and was able to braze it back together instead of me having to buy a new set.

Second, I had to call him back to help me work on the plow. Last year I replaced several discs and bearings on the plow I had borrowed. Unfortunately, I didn't replace ALL the bearings and 2 more went out just as I got started. I probably could have done the job myself, but as previously stated my mechanic is damn good. He did in a couple of hours what would have taken me a couple of days and did a better job than I ever could.

Third, it took me 3 times to get the seed and fertilizer covered. The first time should have been enough, but I came up about 8 acres short. The math was off somewhere in figuring the coverage overlap to get the pounds per acre right. Coach Turner would not be proud of my algebra. I went back and bought more and came up short again. This time I underestimated the area.

So as the saying goes, third time's the charm. I actually had a little left over this time (I wasn't about to come up short again) and used the extra to make sure all my corners were well covered.

Fourth, as I was packing the seed in with a roller I made the discovery that the seat on my tractor was locked in the full up position instead of floating. It was only moving a few inches compared to the foot or more of shock absorption it was capable. I had been beating my back to a pulp for no good reason other than I was a moron. That last hour was like riding in a Cadillac compared to the previous days spent bouncing like a bean in a rattle. I think I might be an inch or two shorter than I was before I started.

The good news is all the hard work is done. Now all I have to do is pray for a little rain and that I get a good stand. I will have to mow for weeds in a couple months, but other than that I'm done and have satisfied my obligation to the contract I signed with the USDA. They should be reimbursing me for a good chunk of the cash I spent putting the grass in. (Would have been a bigger chunk if I didn't have to go back twice for more fertilizer and seed.) But now I'll have twice the hay I previously did (if it grows).