Sunday, October 31

a steamy afternoon in Plano

Yesterday, HayJax and I went to Trish-Bob and Scott-Bob's for some lip-smackin' crawfish a steamer. There was nary a crawfish to be found; instead there were mussels, clams, boudin sausage, crabs, lobster, shrimp and all the fixin's (none on a stick).  Posted by Hello

Disclaimer: the photo above is what newspapers call a File Photo, from the Scott/Trish-Bob 2003 Crawfish Boil.

Saturday, October 30

in search of a sauteed lizard

It always takes a few minutes for the pharmacist to prepare a prescription (adding those warning labels that I shouldn't take the meds if I (Gene Bob) am pregnant).

Rather than cool my heels in the drugstore on Thursday, I strolled next door and grabbed lunch at El Pollo Feliz ("The Happy Chicken") which has been there for 4+ years (all 9 tables!). The chicken is prepared in "tierra caliente style" (hot earth) which is not that fried stuff so common elsewhere. It reminded me of el Pollo Loco ("The Crazy Chicken") which I enjoyed so much when I lived in southern California.
Note to self: remember to try the chicken at Boston Market (I always order the turkey, or the ham, or the meatloaf). Hey, that chain was Formerly Known As Boston Chicken, right?
The counter worker at El Pollo Feliz smiled approvingly when I opted for corn tortillas (versus flour). Before leaving, I snagged a menu, and noticed that they also sell quail (both stew and fried); T-Bone steak; pork chops; gyros (how's that for authentic Mexican?) and -- weekends only -- Plato de Iguana (you heard right: Iguana Plate).

Friday, October 29

Most Entertaining Race?

Michael King writes (in the Austin Chronicle): The most expensive and the most entertaining race thus far has been in CD 32 in Dallas, where 13-term CD 24 incumbent Martin Frost plopped himself into the Republican stronghold of incumbent Pete Sessions. .... Early talk was that Frost was toast – nobody's saying that now.
Hey - wait a minute! I live in that district! This would explain all those yard signs (half now covered in black spray paint, by one party or the other). The big signs are called "4-by-4's" because they are 4 feet square. Even so, the Dallas sign ordinances (§ 15A-13(a)) allow even larger ones - up to 20 square feet, or 8 feet tall. I heard that the small signs cost the campaign $5 each, and the 4x4's are $30 each. Hmm. So that's where all those campaign contributions are going.

Indeed, the charges and counter-charges have been flying fast and furious in CD [Congressional District] 32 .. I wonder if I can vote for None Of The Above? Oh wait .. I just remembered -- I've already voted. Never mind; it's time to calm down.

Thursday, October 28

looking for drugs in all the wrong places

I finally got The Letter from my doctor, along with my first-ever long-term prescription (one I expect to be on for the next dozen years, thanks to my ancestors). Since this will be recurring, I did the unthinkable: called several pharmacies to see who had the best price!

Since The Good Doctor's prescription didn't say "no generics," I found the generic name for mine, then Let My Fingers Do The Walking. In my case (your mileage may vary), the best price (by about 8%) was at CVS Pharmacy, followed closely by Walgreen's; then Eckerd (recently owned by JC Penney, then sold and set to be merged into CVS); Kroger Pharmacy and (highest - by about 45%!) Wal-Mart's Neighborhood Market. The only place who didn't give me an exact quote was Wal-Mart, who said the cost was (quote) "about $30" (CVS was just over $22).

Depending on the shelf life, maybe I should sneak over the border into Mexico and buy a year's supply? Let's see how the math works out:
  1. the nearest border town is probably Laredo (about 725 kilometers - 450 miles - away)
  2. my gas mileage is 13.2 kpl [kilometers per liter] - 31 mpg (highway)
  3. a tank of gasoline costs about $31
  4. my car's gas tank holds 60 liters (a bit less than 16 gallons)
  5. there are only country music stations south of San Antonio
  6. I am allergic to country music
  7. roundtrip airfare [Dallas-Harlingen (or El Paso)] is $220 (Southwest)
  8. roundtrip bus fare [Dallas-Laredo] via Greyhound is $72
  9. the number of armadillos increases exponentially as you leave the interstate highway
uh .. carry the two, divide by zero .. uh ...

Monday, October 25

Wolfpacks for Truth

Well, at least someone out there still has a sense of humor. ("The Real Story on George Bush's "Wolves" Commercial") came online after GWB's latest manipulation of the facts (as explained on Also, perhaps The Best Source for (okay, humourous) Election News remains .. The Onion.

The Bush Regime. Indeed. I'm looking for a local copy of the Something About W documentary. Anyone seen this in Dallas?

Memo to "Conservatives" (whatever that label means): do not view this (4.5 minute) "(Didn't Know I Was) UnAmerican" diddy (includes audio track).

Sunday, October 24

eat your peas & carrots! bark! bark!

I once read that dogs aren't carnivores by nature; they'll happily eat a vegetarian diet if that's what their owners feed them. Indeed, Beta the Wonder Dog enjoys the Grreat Choice Healthy Treats (Vegetable) that I find at PetSmart.

I recently met some folks promoting Petropolitan, which donates 100% of its profits to fight child hunger. Dog-biscuit flavors include Barking Banana Biscotti; Apple Banana Bark Bars; Apple Oat Bark Bars; Peanut Butter Banana Biscotti and (my favorite) Peas & Carrots Biscotti. Mmm, mmm, good.

Petropolitan appears to be affiliated with another anti-hunger site: The Great American Bake Sale.

Saturday, October 23

now I can sleep at night ...

It took about 17 minutes to Early Vote today (yes, the polls are open on the weekends, too). Of that 17 minutes, about 2 minutes were needed to actually vote, with the remainder spent standing in line (13 minutes) and verifying my identification and signing the voter form (2 minutes). The poll workers said it's been a week of long lines, but things have proceeded smoothly.

I noticed that Dallas County is using the iVotronic™ Touch Screen Voting System which is a different one than in years past. Once I was in front of the ballot, it went pretty quick. If you're familiar with a touchscreen, it's not hard. Just anticipate Fat Finger Disease for the occasional wrong choice (just touch again to correct any mistakes). I can only hope that no airheads were voting!

As an added bonus, the Rec Center was also selling the Dallas Passbook for $20 (which is $5 less than you'd pay online). Woo hoo!

Friday, October 22

what to watch on Nov 2: The Weather Channel

I predict the outcome of many races will come down to the weather on November 2nd; if it's a fair weather day, GWB will be coming home to Crawford. Republicans are better organized and vote early; it's well-known that Democrats won't vote when it rains.

There's lots of brush to clear on the back 40 in Crawford, and I know Miss Laura would be happy to have George's help around the ranch (keeping the terrorists from making off with the cattle and the eggs).

Every time I've gone to the Early Voting location, I see a long line. As in years past, Dallas County is using electronic voting machines (these are different than prior years). I've heard stories of "helpful" poll workers assisting people in voting, but if you've ever used a touchscreen anything before, it's not much of a challenge. The new ones make good use of color, and there's a final screen to make sure your votes go where you wanted them to go. The only downside: no paper trail (although the machines have battery backup, so even if there's a power failure, my vote should be preserved).

When Gene-Bob becomes King, there will be a practice voting machine in every precinct. You'll be given a list of things to vote for, and then you can't vote on a real machine until you've successfully scored 100% on the practice machine.

In his "Americans Are Stupid" series, Karl Rove unleased more of his scare-tactic ads (today) on the flip-flop states (reminiscent of Reagan's 1984 "bear in the woods" ad), so .. anything could happen.

Finally, it's just amazing that people don't learn from recent history: expect a repeat of Karl Rove's disgusting "whisper campaign" which doomed John McCain in 2000. McCain is such a quandary; I used to respect him, but his inability to Do The Right Thing (versus back the nominee who backstabbed him) baffles me. Then again, maybe McCain's following the advice from The Art of War: "Keep your friends close, but keep your enemies closer" and will surprise us with some choice revelations on Halloween?

wake up and smell the bagels

I ran into John-Bob (a former co-worker) at Einstein Bros Bagels. He said I appeared to have lost weight, and asked if it was due to a Bagel Diet. I replied that I only hang around these places and smell the bagels, rather than eat them.

Indeed, I'm back to counting calories (aiming at 1500-1800 per day) to try to control both my cholesterol and That Other Minor Problem. After a few days on this routine (writing down everything I eat), I've gained 2 pounds (go figure). I saw the doctor (read: complete physical, including my first-ever EKG) on Tuesday, and he promised a suggested treatment plan by the weekend. Honestly, I'm not expected a huge change in my lifestyle, but .. we'll see. Most of the blame has to be laid at my ancestor's feet; they're the ones who gave me Lousy Genes.

Thursday, October 21

Check, please!

I read on one of the many Urban Legends Reference Pages about Check 21 which begins in a few days. Sounds like something that will confuse some people (but not me, no-sir-ee!).

June (not a Bob) sent me a link to some of Ira's (also not a Bob) photography .. very cool stuff. He has what appear to be modern Texas houses in one gallery.

Wednesday, October 20

Jeff Greenfield is an idiot

okay, what can I say? i agree with Rick Perlstein's article about how "modern era" journalists have completely failed America. If you're interested (and you should be) then read Sucking Democracy Dry: The End of Democracy.

Tuesday, October 19

Good morning! Here is your blue screen of death!

I woke from a disturbing dream (a grander-scale repeat of 9/11), turned on the TV in the bedroom, and started flipping channels.

The local access channel (DCTV, channel 27) was frozen in time, with a message above the MADI Museum & Gallery promo saying "You have run out of space on drive C". Oops! Posted by Hello

Only once before have I seen a "public malfunction" of a PC, and that was when I tried to use an ATM, and instead of the familiar screen asking me to insert my card, I was presented with an OS/2 boot screen. Oops!

At least it didn't say "This space reserved" (several channels now sport this banner) Posted by Hello

Monday, October 18

on the cover of Time!

Hard to tell that this edited image is a hoax, huh? Posted by Hello

Sunday, October 17

Karl Rove: smart and slimy!

I don't know why Karl Rove would suddenly start telling the truth, after a legacy of doing everything necessary to make his candidate win. He would certainly scoff at Kerry's suggestion in Debate III: Integrity Matters. Rove ended the career of Texas Governor Ann Richards (possibly the finest human ever to walk the face of the Earth, and she rode a Harley!). In doing so, he catapulted GWB from a failed rich kid into the White House.

Today, he's back in the news: Rove Testifies In CIA Leak Probe (Associated Press). Expect him to lie, lie and then lie some more.

I've already seen Bush's Brain (the 2004 documentary of Rove's slimy tactics). Karl would suggest you shoplift the DVD, I'm sure. Then he'd deny that suggestion, but only after getting in your face to tell you what a lowlife you are (in front of your mother, no doubt). After watching Bush's Brain (including the Deleted Scenes on the DVD), Rove's tactics in this 2004 election should come as no surprise to anyone. Yes, this is what we've come to: Integrity In Politics means nothing.

Saturday, October 16

Living Room Candidate

If you enjoy watching political TV advertising (starting waaay back in 1952) you may like Living Room Candidate. And yes, they even have LBJ's famous 1964 "Daisy Ad" (back in the days when America did not vote for the Radical Right).

Tuesday, October 12

yet another mockumentary?

The Radical Right's Sinclair Broadcast Group plans to air a mockumentary disguised as newsworthy in the next few weeks on 62 stations, in blatant contempt for the FCC's rules about running blatant political hatchet jobs opinions disguised as news within 60 days of an election. I guess Rules are for Little People to Follow?

Personally, I prefer to go to the horse's mouth, and read what John Kerry actually said back in April 1971: John Kerry Testimony to Congress on Vietnam (if you must read this with pundit commentary, here's the digest version: Statement of John Kerry). Read it, then you decide. Wow .. what a concept.

Speaking of entertaining ... here are two amusing animations: 4,000 hours and Fool Me Once. Those in denial about GWB's brilliance would be best to avoid them.

Wednesday, October 6

liar, liar, pants on fire!

Lemme tell ya, there's a lot of web pages accusing the candidates of lying. I ran an unscientific test to see how many Google hits there were, if I searched for "John Doe " lies and (alternately) "John Doe lies". I won't be a pundit and interpret the results; rather, I'm simply posting those here for our amusement:
Google search term:"Name" lies"Name lies"
George W. Bush
(George Bush)
John Kerry426,000777
Dick Cheney156,000149
John Edwards75,50011

Republican lies675,000
Democrat lies501,500788

Worthwhile reading (after last night's Veep Debate): Pepe Escobar's article: Stretching Cheney

... and finally, Dick Cheney meant to say, but instead he said which (after some Swift [sic] redirection of a previously non-existant domain) points to an anti-Bush site. Oooooooops! -- Nice work, Dick!

Tuesday, October 5

Protecting Children Online

I attended a meeting of the Dallas Police Crime Watch tonight, and the subject was "Protecting Children Online" with Lt. Bill Walsh as the featured speaker.

Lt. Walsh supervises the local Internet Crimes against Children Task Force (there are 45 of these around the US). He gave a preso which showed the various ways that child molesters find innocent children, along with some real-life examples, including arrests here in the Metroplex.

interesting statistics:
a) 49% of children don't report solicitations for fear "dad" will cut Internet service;
b) the local police get about 5 tips/day for child porn.

He quoted several studies and articles, including some from the Journal of Adolescence; a Pew/Internet Teenage Life Online; and Operation Avalanche.

Suggestions on keeping your children safe online:
1) keep computer in common area (not bedroom);
2) establish ground rules (use parental controls, automatically limit time online);
3) discuss importance of telling adult - won't cut service;
4) know kid's online friends (don't list email address in ANY directory);
5) know about parental control software
6) avoid realname screen names (use abcd1234 versus SusieSmith99)
7) don't share password with anyone but a parent
(put in sealed envelope, for emergency use only)
8) beware of too much info in Instant Message profiles;
9) remember: people online are not who they appear to be (50 year old posing as 14);
10) check history file;
11) don't depend solely on protective technology - talk to your kids! -- keep communication lines open.

Web resources:;;;;

recommended books by gavin de becker:
The Gift of Fear and Protecting the Gift: Keeping Children and Teenagers Safe (And Parents Sane)

Monday, October 4

attack of the wild tree rats!

Another brutal Texas winter is approaching fast! How do I know? Well, for the past few days, the wild tree rats (aka grey squirrels) have been busy burying nuts across my yard. A pair of these vermin produces about 6 more every year, and they live about 7 years unless killed by one of their natural predators : a housecat, or an SUV speeding through my neighborhood. Once they're kilt [sic] you can fry `em up in a variety of ways.

There's entertaining Squirrel Info on memepool, although the stuff about squirrel-proofing a bird feeder is on the Looney Tunes side. I've used a squirrel baffle for many years, and it easily keeps them out of the feeder. What it does not do is keep them away from the base, after the bird-brained birds knock the seed to the ground.

Speaking of wild rats -- there's a (supposedly non-partisan) web site called Political .. I'll have to go there every few days to see how close this site is, to reality.

Speaking of reality -- the Political Sign Wars continue unabated. Tony Goolsby is a cranky 70-year old running for re-election; the Dallas Managed News endorsed his opponent -- a 50-something named Harriet Miller. The green-and-white signs of Goolsby are in sharp contrast to his challenger's red-and-white ones (which inexplicably emphasize HARRIET .. perhaps to avoid a comparison with Dallas Mayor Laura Miller, who is not up for re-election this year).

I spotted a yard sign advising me to
I'm waiting for her neighbor to place a balancing
sign Real Soon Now. Hey, it could happen. And it would be entertaining!

Sunday, October 3

¿California del sur no es importante?

I scored 43 of 71 on the True Test Of Your Southern-ness, which ranks me as a Southern sympathizer. Hmmm. I guess being born in Southern California doesn't make as Southern as I thought.

This afternoon (out of curiosity) I attended a meeting of the Dallas Area Interfaith [DAI] where the candidates for the TX-32 Congressional District were invited, along with officials from the Dallas Police Department, the Dallas Independent School District, and Dallas City Council (John Loza).

The Democratic incumbent -- Martin Frost was there -- but the CFRP Member (Pete $e$$ion$) was a no-show. An item in today's DMN said that $e$$ion$ stated that he doesn't want to be seen on the same stage; so much for letting your constituents know how you stand. There's a lot of acrimony in this race, when the TX-32 district was gerrymandered in one of those Special Sessions of the Texas Legislature. The inexperienced Republican expects to win because he expects the locals to vote partisan, and not consider his record. It's interesting that these two somehow agreed to participate in 5 debates (the first happened on September 12, and the next one will be Wednesday night).

About 500 people attended today's DAI meeting, and I was amused to see 8 school buses parked outside when I left .. many people didn't have cars. The meeting was bilingual, with some officials providing their own Spanish translation (most depended on someone else). The agenda didn't have the religious overtone that I expected; the primary topics were personal safety; education and immigration. Oftentimes the questions took longer than the answers!

I suspect this bilingual issue is part of The Future of Texas; many elementary school are already majority Hispanic. A 2003 United States Census Bureau survey shows Texas is 49.5 percent white; 35.3 percent Hispanic; 10.8 percent black; and 3 percent Asian.

Saturday, October 2

more hogwash
(Joseph Goebbels speaks)

"If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State."

-Dr. Joseph Goebbels, German Minister of Propaganda, 1933-1945

"In war, truth is the first casualty."

-Aeschylus (Greek playwright, died 456 BC)

"I will never apologize for the United States, ever. I don't care what the facts are."

-US President George H.W. Bush, August 1988
(a month after the USS Vincennes shot down a commercial airliner: Iran Air flight 655)

How To Lie .. (books available on a variety of topics)

Friday, October 1

Clarification and Enhancement of Subtle Nuances

I studied the 32-page Memorandum of Understanding between the candidates, and (since I have significant background) I'd like to offer some suggestions to the Commission on Presidential Debates for a Clarification and Enhancement of Subtle Nuances to the Memorandum of Understanding, before the next debate.
5. Rules Applicable to All Debates

(m) Candidates spouses must disclose their wardrobe choices no less than 72 hours prior to the debate, so that they do not clash onstage in a fashion faux pas.

(n) Candidates shall refrain from humming; giggling; chuckling; sniffling; coughing; cackling; wheezing; guffawing; whimpering or saying "Bhou-Zhee!". Flatulence is permitted as long as it does not exceed 35 decibels.

(o) At no time may the candidates roll their eyes toward the back of their heads more than 15 degrees from the horizon.

(p) Candidates are prohibited from placing either thumb against their nose and wiggling their fingers.

(q) Candidates may smirk no more than twice (2) per rebuttal.

(r) After the moderator asks a question, either candidate has the option of answering the question, or singing "Jimmy Crack Corn" or "It's A Small World", not to exceed two (2) minutes. Musical accompaniment is limited to a pocket-size device such as a harmonica or metronome. iPods are not permitted.

(s) Candidates should refrain from using potentially misunderstood colloquialisms such as "you betcher bottom dollar!"; "that dog won't hunt"; "big hat, no cattle"; "mama let's get yer grits on the stove"; "pyeu-whee! that'll make yer `maters rot"; "hoo Betty .. is it hot in here or is it just me?" and "you can put your boots in the oven, but that doesn't make them biscuits".

(t) Candidate shall wear either red or blue neckties corresponding with the Political Party Colors in use by CBS News on The Big Map during the 2000 General Election.