Tuesday, August 31

President Flipper

Gotta laugh at the continued incompetence of President Quagmire. Yesterday, He says the War On Terror can't be won, at which point the Democrats immediately began humping his leg. Oops .. Today he recants ("made a boo-boo"), and says the War On Terra can be won. What a flip-flopper!

This reminds me of the time when The Penguin Dick Cheney bashed Senator Kerry for using the word "sensitive" and then President Quagmire used The S Word about 24 hours later. Good thing those two work So Well Together. Oops .. forgot that Team Thing was just a façade .. more CFRP Spin Doctoring. Oops .. that's redundant, isn't it?

Gotta give the CFRP credit: every speech sounds like every other speech (they've become the Masters of Talking Points), so .. if you've heard one Kerry-bashing, you've heard them all. This goes back to the awful days of Ronald Reagan, when he Governed By Sound Bite, as if everyone in America suddenly contracted Attention Deficit Disorder and couldn't think for themselves.

It helps to balance what they say, by what you see with your own eyes. Supposedly the Swift Boat Liars For Bush only spent $2M, versus $42B (!) spent by MoveOn.org .. although the Swift Liars must be getting a great TV rate, since I haven't seen much-if-anything from MoveOn. I must be watching The Wrong Channel again.

The CFRP says the Democrats made themselves out to be something they're not - tough on terrorism (in Boston) and then turn around and made themselves out to be something they're not - moderate (in New York) barely 30 days later. These Radical Rights are trying to make themselves look like Normal Human Beings, when in reality they're being dragged around by their nose rings by the (Fundamentalist) Radical Right death squads of their party. Both parties just reek of slime, although only one party has Made Slime Into An Art Form.

Bizarre web site of the week: JohnKerryIsaDoucheBagButImVotingForHimAnyway (thanks to Michelle for the spot)

I think I'll just watch cartoons for the rest of the week, until New York is returned to the residents. Trivia: Democrats outregister the CFRP 5:1 in New York City.

I spotted something about BlogOn 2004 in someone's LinkedIn profile, so .. curious me .. I tracked it down. Turns out the event was July 22-23. Oh well ...

Sunday, August 29

Deep Thoughts on a Sunday Night

amusing lapel button of the week: 86 43; I wonder how many people will understand the (political) reference?

I watched an episode of Airline (UK edition) which follows EasyJet (similar in concept to our Southwest Airlines). Jolly Good! Last week, I watched a UK version of the game show [The Weakest Link] where the prizes were in Pounds Sterling. Also Jolly Good.

Then there is the "Most Borrowed Library Books" list for the week ending 28 August. Fascinating. Awe-inspiring. Also, there is this: the American Library Association's Most Frequently Challenged Books of 1990-2000. These are the books that parents have demanded that libraries remove from their shelves. Flashback to Fahrenheit 451. Not Jolly Good.

Best laugh of the night: the Speech Generator on BushSpeaks.com (close 2nd: Passion of the Swift Boat Liars for Bush)

Friday, August 27

If they've lost Garrison Keillor, they've lost middle America.

One of the many RSS feeds I watch pointed to We're Not in Lake Wobegon Anymore (subtitled "How did the Party of Lincoln and Liberty transmogrify into the party of Newt Gingrich's evil spawn and their Etch-A-Sketch president, a dull and rigid man, whose philosophy is a jumble of badly sutured body parts trying to walk?).

In case you don't know, Garrison Keillor is the genius behind radio's A Prairie Home Companion which begat the book Lake Wobegon Days, and is (IMHO) one of America's great authors.

Comment #1: Garrison needs to work on shorter subtitles.

Comment #2: If the GOP has lost Garrison Keillor, they've lost middle America. (okay, so I took poetic license with LBJ's famous VietNam war-era quote "If I've lost Cronkite, I've lost middle America.")

Thai a yellow ribbon round the olde oak tree ...

I attended one of the CareerConnection meetings today (specifically the International Business Professionals Group) which appears to be more into business networking than international issues, but .. they're an active group (17 attended today's session).

This networking session worked a lot like the Candidate Networking Lunch at Right Management on Tuesday; both reminded me of Group Speed Dating (you talk to 4 others for about 12 minutes, then switch tables). I'm not sure I made any contacts that will help on The Job Hunt, but .. you never know which will strike paydirt. After the meeting, four of us went to Noodle Wave in Richardson and had a yummy Thai lunch. They're also listed on DFW Thai.com which is a directory of Thai businesses - not just restaurants - in the Metroplex.

Thursday, August 26

can you spell h-u-m-i-d-i-t-y ?

Breathe a sigh of relief: Sundry on Thursday (week 12, no less) is now posted.

Okay, so I've heard of PC-based flight simulators for about 20 years, but what about one for 18-wheel tractor-trailers? Gotta git me one of these Interactive Truck Driving Simulators! It looks like a swell Christmas present.

I laughed when I read Taking a closer look at the War Medals of George W. Bush. Somebody has too much free time. I watched [The Daily Show] on Comedy Central on Tuesday night (John Kerry) and Wednesday night (Ed Gillespie, Führer of the Radical Right) and noted the similarities: both wore ties and walked on 2 legs (unlike Max Cleland, who showed up at GWB's Crawford ranch yesterday and was Shown The Door by the Secret Service)

It's not for everyone (something like 97% of all browsers are Microsoft's Internet Explorer) but for those seeking an alternative, check out the Browse Happy site.

Tuesday, August 24

Olympic Athlete Veterans for Truth

The time (earlier this month) when GWB showed he had no clue what Tribal Sovereignty meant was bad enough (see the Q&A with Mark Trahant, widely available on the web). It was like watching a high schooler asked to define a word he'd never heard before.

Now GWB can't even admit he hasn't watched the Olympics. What is so hard about him telling the truth, even for something this inconsequential? He could've answered "I really haven't watched the Olympics," but noooooo ... he had to (try to) lie:

REPORTER 1: You're not going to Athens this week, are you?

GWB: Athens, Texas?

REPORTER 1: Nope, the Olympics, in Greece.

GWB: Oh, the Olympics? No, I'm not.

REPORTER 2: Have you been watching them?

GWB: Oh, yeah, yeah, it's been exciting.

REPORTER 2: Any particular moment stand out?

GWB: Umm -- particular moment? I like the -- let's see -- uhhhh -- Iraqi soccer. I liked -- I liked seeing the Afghan woman carrying the flag coming in. I loved, uhh -- you know, our gymnasts. I've been watching the swimming. I've seen a lot, yeah. Listen, thank you all.

-- 23 August 2004

Monday, August 23

A President Aday Keeps the Meatloaf Away?

Word is that Marvin Lee Aday will accept a write-in vote for President. Wonder if that's possible on the electronic voting machines during Early Voting?

Google du juor: Bush "most corrupt" points to John Dean's Worse than Watergate book. Dean was Richard Nixon's legal counsel, so he presumably knows about corruption! Now age 65, Dean claims that the Bush administration is more secretive, deceptive and politically cynical than even Richard Nixon. Hmm .. strong words.

I might blow him off, if it weren't for numerous similar books by people like journalist Bob Woodward (Plan of Attack); journalist (and Pulitzer Prize winner) Ron Suskind's The Price of Loyalty; former Republican strategist Kevin Phillips' American Dynasty; investigative journalist Craig Unger's House of Bush, House of Saud, and the list goes on and on and on. Sure, they're all trying to sell books, but these are not people who are out of the loop, and all are putting their credibility on the line. Well, I'm not planning on purchasing any of them. Perhaps I should join a book discussion group and just listen to what others got out of these missives?

The New York Times 2004 Election Guide paints a very different picture than ElectoralVote.com and ElectionProjection.com. I wrote off Texas as a rational state a long time ago; people here confuse loyalty with morality, and the Yellow Dog Republican voters can't be reasoned with; they'd vote for Bush even if he was caught with an intern in the Oval Office.

The states I'm watching more carefully include Ohio, West Virginia and Michigan (where the Swift Boat Liars - VietNam Veterans who can't understand why we hated their war - funneled their money). The Radical Right must think the voters in Ohio, West Virginia and Michigan are complete morons, in the "repeat a lie often enough, and enough people will believe it to sway an election" rationale (which does work, sadly .. but it doesn't make these slimy tactics morally right). Having watched the CFRP smear campaigns for the past dozen years or so, none of this surprises me; they have turned into a "win at any cost" party and may have lost my vote for years to come.

1:30pm news flash: GWB says the Swift Boat Liars For Bush should stop their ads. This is a Catch-22: if they do stop, they will show that GWB was indeed pulling the strings. If they don't, they'll upset their Führer. My, oh my .. what will happen next?

Saturday, August 21

Who shot J.R.? Hey, wait .. this is 2004.

There's an article in today's Dallas Managed News about J.R. Ewing, the fictional oil tycoon portrayed by Larry Hagman (now 72, and in town to promote a DVD) in TV's Dallas.

In the article (titled "J.R. revived? Look in White House, Hagman says"), columnist Ed Bark quotes Hagman saying that J.R. was a failure, and GWB is running the White House in much the same way - incompetently. Wow.

The TV show aired from 1978-1991; it was off the air by the time I moved here, and I didn't watch it before then - but, I'll admit - one of the first things I did after moving was find the Ewing mansion, which is actually in Parker, Texas (20 miles northeast of Dallas) and across the road from a trailer park. If you don't count the huge "SF" [Southfork Ranch] on the side of the barn, you'll easily drive past; it's not terribly well marked.

Trivia: Porsche happily staged a 911 and a 924 in the "Who Shot J.R.?" episode. Gotta love product placement; when I worked in Los Angeles for Sun, we'd sometimes be asked for loaner computers by the movie and television studios, along with a technician to "make them do stuff".

Also, I still smile when I see "EWING DALLAS" on license plate frames; they're from [Ewing Buick-Pontiac-GMC] which just might be capitalizing on the name recognition. I'd bet dollars-to-doughnuts that the employees of that dealership grimace every day when Goober waltzes in, demanding to speak to J.R. about a car.

Friday, August 20

"doing a Newham" : I like it!

Thanks to BS (not a -Bob) for pointing me to Find-a-Drug. I promise I'll only run it when the UD Agent is down for maintenance.

Deep Thought #43: When someone says "it's not about the money ...", it is ALL about the money.

Case in point: Officials say Linux not a price ploy in Microsoft deal. The term "doing a Newham" refers to pushing Microsoft for lower licensing costs by threatening to "go Linux"; I find it hard to believe that Microsoft considers Linux to be serious competition. Last time I looked, Linux still had less than 3% of the server market share (and this is years after it became politically okay to deploy on something other than Microsoft).

Yesterday, I rendezvoused with Renegade at Culver's in McKinney, and sampled their Pot Roast Sandwich (2 thumbs up!) and a ButterBurger (okay, but not extraordinary). Renegade had the Philly Ribeye Sandwich, which extended well outside the bun (and vanished quickly from his plate). Since Culver's faces 75-Central and is next to a movieplex, I'm predicting it'll do well. Location, location, location is key to success as a QSR (so I've been told).

Finally, I got a free car wash yesterday (my gauge says 1.8" of rain) but still need to hand-wash the wheels. Gotta love organic brake shoes and that black carbon (graphite?) build-up. Hey, they do stop the car efficiently!

Thursday, August 19

The rain in Dallas falls mainly on the Palace

First: this week's Sundry on Thursday has a lot of stuff. The middle of August is a good time to (web)surf, I reckon.

If Gene Bob Were President ...

ALL outdoor cats would be destroyed, if they insist on living outdoors, because of their impact on the wild bird population (they're not native, and thus disrupt the Balance of Nature). New Zealand's already lost 40 species of our Fine Feathered Friends. Keep your cats indoors! Buy a litter box! If you have a rodent problem, buy mouse or rat traps.

Fast Food QSR in DFW

Somehow I wandered across the QSR Magazine [Quick Service Restaurant] site, where they list the Top 50 (fast food) Chains nationwide. I found it interesting that the Metroplex has 40 of those 50 chains (all but Hardees; Carl's Jr*; Checkers; White Castle; Del Taco; El Pollo Loco; Krystal; Bojangles; Papa Murphy's and In-n-Out Burger).

* for purposes of this entry, I listed Carl's Jr. although one can be found within an hour's drive; it's co-located in a Love's Truck Stop in Van, Texas (east of Dallas).

I found 2 units of Culver's in the area and plan to sample this chain Real Soon Now.

Spotted: 2002 Forbes article extolling the virtues of Dallas, and the Four Seasons Hotel. Hey, it's entertaining. I learned a few things. It won't blind you. Objects in the rear view are closer than they appear.

Beta's tummy

I'm concerned about Beta the Wonder Dog; she has an upset stomach. For the past day, she's been regurgitating bile and grass throughout the house. Often, she'll give me enough warning so as to get outside, but not always.

Now, she's not eating her regular food, and can't keep anything down. I gave her some fresh water and a Breathbuster dog biscuit, but (30 minutes later) that mix is now part of the carpet.

I hate to be a hypochondriac and take her to the vet, when all she did is chew on some bad grass in the backyard, but ...
9am update: If it were my upset stomach, I'd pop a Tums tablet, or maybe Mylanta liquid. I thought about this, then nosed around the web to see if that'd be safe for my canine friend. Indeed, there are several references to it helping with calcium problems, so I decided to give her a couple tablets. So far, so good. Time will tell?

Wednesday, August 18

1990 deja vu

I watched The Amazing Race 5 again last night; other than Cops, it's still the only reality show I enjoy (probably because it reminds me of my world travels).

In the scene on the bus to Mto wa Mbu ("Mosquito River" in Swahili), one of the Tanzanian drivers charged FIFTY TIMES the going rate ($150 vs $3). It reminded me of the cheating Greek merchants (when I visited Athens in October 1990) which made me never want to return. I hope those attending the 2004 Olympics aren't similarly gouged.
Funny/good stuff I remember about Athens: the winding streets of the Plaka; the Parthenon (and the photo badge in the Parthenon Museum); the Grande Bretagne (hotel); roasting chestnuts on the street corners; the mini-tank in front of the International Air Terminal.

While nosing around the web, I wandered across Athens Survival Guide (which I wish had existed when I travelled there!)
Deep thought #42: I haven't been to Europe since the debut of the Euro (January 2002). Life must be so much simpler, now that you don't have to exchange Greek drachmas for (German) Deutchmarks for Austrian marks every time you cross into another country, losing a little in each exchange. The only unhappy ones must be the European bankers, who made mini-fortunes on those exchanges. Noteworthy: Ireland is in the eurozone, but many European countries have yet to join, so we still have Hungarian florints; Great Britain's Pound Sterling; Swiss marks, etc.

Also (unrelated, but for those keeping score), the guy from Scotts returned yesterday, after the Very Scary Encounter with Gene Bob and his Lawnmower on Saturday.

Tuesday, August 17

of Labor Day and the 5 Hula Hoops

Only 18 days remain until Westfest (in West, Texas). It's been about 15 months since I got my fill of polka, so time for a refresher. Am hoping they sell Polka Dots this time.

Yahoo! Maps says West, Texas is about 90 miles and 2 hours away. Being the math whiz that I am, this assumes an average speed of 45mph. Guess I should get the horse and buggy out of the toolshed, so as to devolve to that speed.

Also (unrelated) a couple people have gathered in Greece for something called The Olympic Games. Not knowing much about it, I Googled it and found that the ancient Olympic Games began in 776 B.C. and continued to 393 A.D. (the 293rd Olympiad), then the modern Olympic games (re-)started in 1896. Certainly, this stuff pales in comparison with WestFest (above) but I thought I'd mention it anyway, being a full disclosure guy and all ...

Sunday, August 15

blood: what a ripoff!

I donated another unit of blood today; I'm getting to be a regular! My blood pressure was down to 110/78 which is the best it's been in years. Must be the lack of work-related stress.

You're allowed to give whole blood every 8 weeks, and it had been about 10 since my last visit. Even so, the screening questionaire has changed again.

I noticed that the money-for-sex questions are slightly different. Now they ask "have you paid for sex in the past year?", and "have you ever received money for sex?"

There may have been a change in the questions about which drugs you're on/ever taken, but I usually breeze past those rapidly since my pharmaceutical intake has always been minimal. It's still: 81mg aspirin (preventive) and 400 IU Vitamin E, twice daily (also preventive). I have switched to the natural (d- vs dl-) form of Vitamin E, after reading that it absorbs better, but the questionaire didn't want that detail.

Today, I noticed that the nurse said I could remove the bandage after 4 hours (I don't recall that advice before) so I waited 4 hours and 10 minutes before ripping it off.

Saturday, August 14

Scary August!

Summer vacations come to a screeching halt next week, when both Dallas and Richardson schools restart (Dallas on Monday, Richardson on Thursday). Summer vacations in more modern parts of the country end after Labor Day (first Monday in September), but not here.

It's been the coolest August I can remember since moving from California (in 1993). So, waiting until noon to mow the grass didn't seem odd today. Most summers, I cut the grass soon after 8am, since the heat can be less than splendid.

A few seconds after I started the lawnmower and made my way into the front yard, I spotted the Scotts Lawn Care truck parked at the edge of my lawn, ready to do the summer fertilization. I suspect they have A Rule for Encounters with Lawnmowers: a few seconds later, the truck darted away before I could talk to the driver. Maybe they'll return next week?

One of the things I like about Scott's is that they're more professional than Green Thumb (the company they bought), in that they always phone the prior day to let me know they're coming (so I don't leave Beta the Wonder Dog outside, to run away when the gate is opened).

Oftentimes, I only know they've been here by their miniature lawn signs, affixed to a plastic stake in the ground. Not to mention the invoice they wrap around the front doorknob.

Had I thought about it, I would've filmed this encounter for Home Movie Day, although I can't think of any audience that wouldn't be put soundly to sleep. Good thing everyone's watching the Olympics.

Thursday, August 12

growth concerns in Big D

Aside: I updated this week's edition of Sundry on Thursday, so please .. remain seated with your seatbelts fastened.

Tuesday afternoon, I attended a North Central Texas Council of Governments meeting at Dallas City Hall (regarding the Metroplex Mobility Plan - i.e. what road projects will get priority in the next 10+ years). I learned several things during the meeting:
  1. planners estimate an additional 100,000 people move into the MetroPlex every year;
  2. There's a 69-31 balance between Dallas and Ft. Worth (population, infrastructure);
  3. Emissions in 2025 are expected to be 80% less than now;
  4. Most road funding is now via the gasoline tax, but what happens if there's a big shift to electric/biodiesel? (this makes tollroads a fairer way to fund road projects);

    and then there were 4 tidbits I learned (as of July 2004) after the meeting:

  5. Gasoline taxes (state & federal) are 38.4¢/gallon in Texas;
  6. Of that 38.4¢/gallon, 20¢ is the Texas state portion;
  7. Gasoline taxes account for the 3rd largest tax revenue source;
  8. Gasoline taxes are highest in New York and lowest in Alaska.
This growth strains all our resources, and building roads takes more time than (for example) buying more trash trucks to solve the recycling problem. It may be tied with building aqueducts from far-away lakes to bring clean water into the area, but that's another serious problem being addressed by a different agency.

BTW, the Dallas City Hall building is easy to find; it sits next to the Convention Center and has a unique design, not unlike some other buildings downtown.

While trying to reach City Hall, I learned (quite by accident) that the fastest way to the Frank Crowley Courts Building (when I'm asked to be on a jury) is via the unnumbered Woodall Rodgers Freeway which bisects downtown Dallas (occasionally called Big D). If you take the Woodall Rodgers freeway to the western end (and don't follow the ramp onto I-35E), you'll be dumped onto Industrial Blvd about 2 blocks north of the courthouse parking - very cool!

Trivia: James Woodall Rodgers was the Dallas Mayor from 1939 to 1947.

Say what you want, but the Dallas skyline is unique and .. dare I say it .. attractive. Given the lack of any natural aesthetics in this area, it has evolved into one of the country's most recognizable downtowns. Someday (April Fools Day?) I'll post something about climbing the Dallas Mountains, or watching the barge traffic on the Trinity River. Hmmm.

Tuesday, August 10

Gene Bob, Master Chef

Last Sunday, I decided to (finally!) try baking my own pizza. And no - not the frozen kind that every grocery has by the hundreds. This one was made with fresh dough and fresh ingredients. All I had to do was transport it home and bake it in the safety of my own oven. And thus, the adventure began.

The place is Nick-N-Willy's Pizza, in the same building as the Starbucks at Coit/Campbell. It's not in a great location, and that may provide for cheaper rent than Starbucks, but probably costs them a lot of business. You have to know they're there.

I arrived at about 4pm, and waited 5 minutes or so while they tossed the pizza dough in the air, then added the cheese and other ingredients. I opted for the Monthly Special - Little Nell's Chicken BBQ pizza: olive oil glaze; mozzarella; barbecue chicken; fresh cilantro; red onions.

When I got it home, I heated the oven to 425F and inserted the pizza on the top rack. The instructions suggested I should "burst the bubbles" after about 3 minutes, so I did that, and then waited another 10 for it to bake to perfection. Well, almost. I remember when I bought the house that one oven runs about 25 degrees hot, but I can never remember which one. Now, I think it's the top one, since it cooked a wee bit crispy. I usually cook things at a lower temperature for a longer time, so it hasn't been a huge issue. Plus, there this other kitchen gadget that I use a lot more - called a microwave oven.

Anyhoo, Nick (or Willy's) pizza doesn't use a pizza pan; it cooks atop a sheet of parchment that Nick (or Willy) provides. If they hadn't told me, I might've thought the parchment would catch fire in the oven, but I trusted their instructions and there was no problem.

So, while watching [60 Minutes] on CBS, Beta the Wonder Dog enjoyed the breadcrust on the outer edge, and I salivated and drooled over the interior. Verdict? Thumbs up (although I might opt for something more exotic - like their Big Kahuna which is an Hawaiian pizza, but with Mandarin oranges as part of the mix). They also appear to have a standing deal on a traditional pepperoni ($5.99) for those less daring of you (yes, Jill-Bob .. this means you).

abandoned shopping carts (and the homeless problem)

One of my neighbors complained about some abandoned shopping carts being left in the neighborhood. This is undoubtedly the result of a neighbor who has no car. Now, if we could only get them to return the cart when they're done, instead of pushing into the nearest patch of knee-high weeds.

I pointed my neighbor to CartTronics which makes a device that locks the wheels of a shopping cart, when someone tries to remove them from the store's parking lot.

While searching for other companies with similar products, I wandered across the Homeless People's Network site. Another Google later, I found the Dallas Homeless Consortium which led me to both the National Coalition for the Homeless and the Texas Homeless Network.

This gives me the impression that resources are available for homeless people who want help. Many of them appear to NOT want help, preferring to steal a shopping cart (I'm sure they're not free) and then complain that Society Is Out To Get Them. I suspect there's no easy solution. I still see people with cardboard signs (often near the freeway offramps) claiming to be homeless and asking for money, even though the Dallas panhandling ordinance has been in effect since May 2003. I suspect most police (rightly) feel that they have better things to do, and only act when someone complains. I just can't help but be suspicious of these people, suspecting that a majority think this is easier than holding down a (minimum wage) job.

Reminds me of a line delivered by a 20-something a few years ago: "back in Ohio, we didn't have homeless people. We just called them [bums]."

Monday, August 9

melons, caves and UB-40

A few weeks ago, I heard that Blue Bell Creameries was making Cantaloupe & Cream ice cream, so I just had to track it down. I decided to try Tom Thumb first since they usually have a good supply of Blue Bell products and .. paydirt! .. I found it quickly. The label says PecoSweet, so this is undoubtedly made from Pecos, Texas melons. I'm surprised that the local ice cream chains (Marble Slab Creamery and Braum's) haven't dabbled in cantaloupe yet. No surprise that the national chains (e.g. Baskin Robbins) haven't caught on.

Aside #1: to get to Carlsbad Caverns from here, you take I-20 to Pecos and turn right, basically.

Aside #2: I added myself to the Labor Statistics today. This was all done over the web via the Texas Workforce Commission [TWC] website. So, when you hear that unemployment claims increased in August, think of me. The band UB-40 got its name from the Unemployment Benefits Form #40; pretty exciting trivia, huh?

Aside #3: we swept the opposing team at bowling tonight, and this should move us into the #3 slot, going into Position Week. Woo hoo.

Sunday, August 8

IHOP you remembered to spay your cat

Okay, I'll admit it: IHOP @ 4am was nothing like I expected, especially on a Sunday morning. This all started a week or so ago, when Erik the Redneck suggested we rendezvous there, since he'd be en route a 6am task at his employer (system maintenance happens when everyone's off the computers).

So, we arrived to find a very full parking lot and a mostly full interior .. and .. the majority didn't appear drunk! By the time we left, the crowd had vanished and the waitstaff had prepared the tables for a presumed breakfast crowd (which is why they ignored us .. after a quick delivery of our order while the crowd was there, our waiter mostly vanished).

The food was lackluster, too .. in the battle of Denny's vs. IHOP, I award Gene Bob's Golden Pancake Trophy™ to Denny's (without a doubt). Both of them pale in comparison to the non-chain breakfast spots in the area: Bic's; Bagelstein's; Charlie D's and Gilbert's (although none of them are open at 4am, so they're ineligible for the Golden Pancake Trophy).

Deep Thought #41: the pancake syrups included maple syrup, strawberry, blueberry and HOT. Since when is HOT a flavor?

Jill-Bob has forgotten how to blog, so I had to seek info myself on Slowing Down A CAT-astrophe: Keeping Pet Cats Indoors; several years ago, a vet told me that outdoor cats on average live only half as long as indoor ones. Along that vein, an owner of a birdfeed store told me that because domestic cats are a) not native to North America and b) seldom spayed/neutered, their out-of-control population threatens many bird species. Indeed, the article above says that 40 species of birds in New Zealand have become extinct because of their domestic feline overpopulation. Earlier this year, I watched a small cat carry off a newborn mockingbird from its nest in my front yard.

Somewhat related: Operation Noble Foster supports our troops by providing for in home foster placement of their cat(s) while they are called up. Part of that plan allows for spay/neutering, which is very cool.

Saturday, August 7

How many hours does it take to go to Japan by car?

This is a great project: Fool's World Map. The more of the comments I read, the more my sides hurt from laughing.

It reminds me of a large company meeting (circa 1994) on the University of California - Santa Cruz campus. At the end of the meeting, they announced where "Sunrise Club" would be held the following year, and they said "BALI" to which most of the Americans replied "Where's That?". Most of those present from outside the USA thought that was very funny; I found it very sad.

Friday, August 6

A Friday To Remember

I started today by reading the Thursday and Friday editions of the Dallas Managed News, since I never found time to put yesterday's in the (x)read column. Then, just prior to noon, I moseyed over to Addison's Most Boring Place and was entertained by JB and Brian, until Drew-Bob appeared and enthralled us with heart-stopping tales of his birth at Florence Nightingale Hospital (now part of Baylor Hospital). I autographed this week's copy of The Dallas Observer for Drew, and advised that -- one day -- it will fund his retirement.

Following that, I moseyed downtown to pick up my new license plates; the Records Building (squeezed between The Grassy Knoll and the John Neely Bryan Log Cabin) closes at 4pm and I arrived at 3:40 or so and braved the short line, walking out of the building at 4:01pm with new plates in hand. As I left downtown via Elm Street, I crossed over the X (painted in the road) which marks where Oswald's bullet landed, over 40 years ago. The Sixth Floor Museum is still the #1 tourist destination in Dallas.

Next stop was the grocery, where I found an "in-house special" of milk for 99c per gallon (versus $3.15 for the milk in the regular location). Am guessing this is for gallons whose "Sell By ..." date is today. Most of the time, I buy grocery items that are on sale since it provides the opportunity to grab something New! and Improved! which I'd normally not buy. Variety? It's the spice of life!

From the campaign trail

Some putz didn't like John Kerry's retort after the 3 bank robberies in Davenport, Iowa when he and GWB were campaigning 3 blocks apart (Wednesday). Kerry said something like "both the President and I have air-tight alibis". I was amused, but perhaps the robbery victims wouldn't see the humor.

And finally, I wonder how many of these "facts" are real?
Still undecided in the election? Just So You Know makes for fun reading.

Thursday, August 5

Yellow Dog Republicans

In 1928, opponents of Alabama's Tom Heflin said something like "I'd vote for a yellow dog if it were a Democrat," and thus the term Yellow Dog Democrat was born. At some point, that became attached to Texas, where Democrats reigned for several generations. Things have changed, and now Texans would vote for a yellow dog, if it were a Republican. I'm not sure when people stopped thinking before voting, but the sad state of affairs is exactly that.

Today, I see that Sen. John McCain of Arizona broke ranks and has come out against the latest ads being aired in Ohio, Wisconsin and West Virginia. It's enough to make me want to move to Arizona so I can vote for him.
Note: here is the Friday update to the GOP Smear Tactic
Unrelated: Sundry on Thursday is now updated for today. Please hold the applause.

Tuesday, August 3

what do you mean, "cut" ?

amusing site du juor: WhiteHouseWest.com (not to be confused with WesternWhiteHouse.org). Pro-Bushers (aka Red Staters) won't get the humor. Sometimes I think Will Ferrell's funny, othertimes .. not even. At least Ferrell doesn't give me the Adam Sandler reaction: I never find Sandler funny. Sad and pathetic, perhaps .. but not funny.

If you need even more political humor, see Mock the Vote 2004 at atomfilms.com

Monday, August 2

he shoots, he SCOREs!

Tomorrow, a representative from the local SCORE chapter will speak to those of us at the outplacement company. I haven't attended the "Exploring Entrepreneurship" session, but I probably will. I haven't thought much about starting my own business, because I've always worked for large companies. There's lots of good information on the SCORE website.

Sunday, August 1

summer reading list

  1. Ron Reagan's article in Esquire: The Case Against George W. Bush

  2. Richard A. Clarke's book: Against All Enemies: Inside America's War on Terror

  3. Justin A. Frank's book: Bush on the Couch: Inside the Mind of the President

  4. John W. Dean's book: Worse Than Watergate: The Secret Presidency of George W. Bush
No clue if any book is more fiction than fact, but they're guaranteed to be more useful than the stories of space aliens landing in Boise.

As to Ron Reagan's article, I like it (although Esquire's web formatting leaves a lot to be desired - I almost missed sections 2,3,4 and 5). Ron Jr. just doesn't strike me as someone who has ambitions for political office, so he comes off as very believable. Heck, next time you're in Dallas, stop by for a Moon Pie and an R-C, Ron. I'd be much obliged.