Friday, April 29

Canadian contraband

I drive by it a few times each month, but I never paid much attention to Richardson's AmeriCanadaRX (America-Canada Prescriptions?) until I noticed their ad in one of those 50-flyers-at-once inserts that lands in my mailbox each month. I heard that mail order pharmacies have become such big business in Canada that plans (by the Radical Right) to put them out of business would put several thousand Canadians out of work.

Unrelated: how did I miss Spamarama again? It's held in Austin every April Fool's Day. Hmmm.

Wednesday, April 27


A few days ago, one of my well-meaning acquaintances emailed this. I left the grammatical furballs intact, so's all-a-ya'll can see just how illiterit Texans kin be:
Your Texas Driver's License

This was news to me.; And trust me, I got my license out and looked.
It's really there; Something all Texans should know, especially since
this has received very little publicity. Your Texas driver's license has a phone number on the back, just above the bar code on the lower left side:; 1-800-525-5555. (It's VERY SMALL PRINT but it IS there.) This number can be called for emergency assistance on the highway or wherever you might have trouble while in your car. A service truck will be sent to you. This service is state operated, paid for with your tax dollars. If you are ever stranded, just call the number on your driver's is on the way. A state trooper will be sent to make sure all is well.
Being the Suspicious Old Fart that I am, I checked the phone number and found that it's used in AT LEAST ELEVEN states [Texas; Virginia; Ohio; New
Hampshire; Nebraska; Montana; Missouri; Maryland; Iowa; Florida;
Arizona] to direct you to Roadside Assistance (one way or another) ... I guess they figured [911] wasn't good enough. That said, there are pockets of the USA where [911] doesn't work, so maybe this is a good idea, after all. To that end, I programmed it into my cellphone, just in case.

Monday, April 25

Glee D'Jour

In a handful of change yesterday, I found a 2005 nickel (5 cent coin), featuring an American bison on the reverse side.

Apparently this is part of the Westward Journey Nickel Series™ which started recently. How could I have missed such a numismatic milestone?

I certainly hope the retail establishments across the country have trained their staffs to accept these new coins. I suspect countless numbers of seminars, briefings and boondoggles to distant lands (oops .. boondoggles are only for CFRP lawmakers) have been held to explain this traumatic impact upon the American Financial System.

I mentioned my shiny new friend (the nickel, remember?) to someone and was told that if I hang onto it for 50 years or so, it'll really be worth something. Hmmm .. I wonder what's the Net Present Value of $0.05 in the year 2055?

Saturday, April 23

day sleepers (the small, furry kind)

Mitchell Rasansky (Dallas City Council District 13) is an idiot.

Rather than spend a few minutes educating himself about something that could save some of his constituent's lives, he chose instead to make fun of a subject that he (obviously) knows absolutely nothing about. If this is the way he commonly approaches the concerns of his constituents, Rasansky should be voted out of office at the next opportunity.

The issue that pureed my garbanzos concerns three bat houses that a Boy Scout installed in Glen Cove Park [Forest Lane At Rosser Road, apparently], in hopes (50/50) of luring some Mexican Free-tail Bats (the official Texas state flying mammal). People in general seem to have some weird ideas about bats; they should edjicate themselves by A9'ing for [BAT FAQ] or (better?) nose around the Bat Conservation website.
Bats dine on insects, including yummy?! mosquitoes, which are among nature's most efficient disease transmitters. There's a list of mosquito-borne diseases such as the West Nile Virus; 5 types of encephalitis; malaria; etc. on the CDC's website.
Several years ago, I bought a bat house, but it never attracted any. It really demands a clear path to the eastern sunrise, which warms up the little critters (which prefer to snuggle close to each other).

Deep Thought #65: I should dig out my [DAY SLEEPER] sign (which I found in a local home improvement store) and place it next to the Bat House; maybe that'll attract a colony?

Sadly, I have too many trees to allow for easy egress and ingress but would be happy to put a couple dozen bat houses in the nearby park, if they'd agree to munch on the local mosquito population. Rasansky apparently prefers to poison the environment with pyrethrum (which not only kills indiscriminately, but has some nasty health effects - especially for kids with asthma).

Thursday, April 21

stick this on your tongue!

Maybe it's just me, but HealthStrips™ (from Momentus Solutions) seems to be a solution in search of a problem. It'll remind you of those film-like oral care strips that started showing up a few years ago (were Listerine PocketPaks® the first?) .. but these are a way to dispense vitamins and supplements without taking a pill.

Dare I ask how they can cram something like a pill into something as thin as a breath strip? Maybe it involves magic, but I'm just having a hard time buying this load of laundry. Maybe if the strip was an inch or so thick ...
Deep Thought #65: If the makers of Viagra, or Cialis, or Levitra start putting their product on these strips, maybe they'll be onto something. That assumes it doesn't have an adverse effect and make your tongue hard as a flagpole. If men thart thuddenly lithping, I'll know it's begun clinical trials.

Tuesday, April 19

planned obsolightscence

Who designed the 3-way light bulb? I'd like to flog them.

I only have a few lamps in my home that use 3-way bulbs, but every one of them is one pull-of-the-cord away from impending doom. Will the bulb work correctly, or will I be left in the dark? Spotted on the web:
A three-way bulb has two filaments in it. For the lowest setting, one filament comes on (it might be a 50 watt filament). For the next setting, the second filament comes on (it might be a 100 watt filament). For the third setting both come on, for a total of 150 watts. Look also at the end of the bulb's base and you will be able to see how the lamp controls the two filaments.
Yesterday, filament #2 burned out in one of my lamps, making it switch from [Off] to [50 watts] .. and that's it. I should take the lamp into the street, and repeatedly run over it with a steamroller. Alas, I don't have one of those, so the trashcan will have to suffice.

Sunday, April 17

Mochi-Mochi, ya'll

Have I inadvertently created a monster? I introduced Judy-Bob to Mikawaya's Mochi Ice Cream this weekend (I had some Green Tea flavor at home) and now she's addicted! I found it at May Hua in Plano, but Hong Kong Market Place (Walnut @ Audelia) also carries it. Best I can tell, Asia World Market in Richardson doesn't carry any ice cream. I haven't spotted Mochi in any of the non-Asian groceries yet, but I'll check from time to time.
Chance of finding Mochi at Wal-Mart: Z-E-R-O.
Trips to Asian grocery stores are entertaining; if nothing else, it opens your eyes to a world that doesn't revolve around the red meats that the American diet has devolved into; this diet's still centered around fish: fresh, frozen, or dried. Just stay away from the durian: pee-yew!

No sign yet of urchin-flavored ice cream, but I'm sure it's just a matter of time.

I've always liked the taste of lychee, but like anything else, if I consume it too often, the taste gets old. So, I picked up some "lychee pudding" (which is nothing like chocolate pudding); lychee yogurt; and a can of lychee drink. I decided against the lychee gummy (something like individually wrapped Gummy Bears), thinking I might overdose.

Unrelated: I stopped by North Haven Gardens (on Northaven -- only one H -- Road) to pick up some dried molasses. I will experiment with it this season, for fire ant control. Could Gene-Bob be going organic, whole hog? Stranger things have happened.

Wednesday, April 13

going organic

I went to the monthly meeting of the Dallas Sierra Club tonight. The guest speaker was Howard Garrett a/k/a the Dirt Doctor™. He is totally into organics, so if you even think chemicals are the only way to treat your lawn, then it's time to stop listening.

Stuff I learned:
  • "Garrett Juice" is Howard Garrett's concoction that can be bought, if you don't want to make your own. It's a liquid fertilizer;
  • Texas Organic Research Center
  • Tierra Verde is an Arlington golf course that's about 80% organic;
  • United States Green Building Council;
  • local organic success stories include Frito Lay's Plano headquarters ("organic since 1989"), Radio Shack - 38 acres in Southlake, and also Sabre Corp;
  • Soil Foodweb;
  • tree advice
    1. remove all ivy
    2. trees are supposed to FLARE as they exit ground (otherwise, roots are too deep)
    3. use "compost tea" to eliminate unhealthy (yellowing) plants and oak wilt disease (see "sick tree treatment")
  • Lambert's (214-350-8350) is an organic landscape contractor, and a member of the Texas Nursery and Landscape Association. Lambert's is affiliated with the Moore Tree Company;
  • air spade - "fancy sand blaster" for dirt;
  • 1000 year old tree - 3 miles north of Waco;
  • Garrett's best-selling books: Texas Bug Book and Texas Gardening - the Natural Way;
  • regarding mosquitos : the MosquitoNix™ misting system is okay if used with "plant oil" (BiOrganics and EcoEXEMPT™ are neurotoxins to invertebrates only) and they have a nice vanilla scent;
  • pyrethrum - very bad for kids with asthma, but used by City of Dallas as a spray for mosquitos (West Nile Virus);
  • spinosin (apparently the seeds and leaves of Ziziphus Spinosa) is a good fire ant bait. It appears to be Texas A&M's new recommended treatment
  • garlic tea - 30 day mosquito prevention;
  • Roundup™ is not as safe as it's marketed! (a new study shows it kills amphibians);
  • Green Light®'s goal is to provide effective, environmentally responsible products;
  • Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) is a good way to get rid of tent caterpillars;
  • lawn scalping only good in fall except in prep for overseeding;
  • philoremediation - removing toxins from soil;
  • hardpan is an impenetrable layer of soil, mostly due to compacting;
  • beneficial nematodes & molasses - fix grubworm problem (not organic gardening problem)
  • Safer (brand) products (not the same as the Safer Pest Control Project);
  • Garrett - "i've had no fireants in 12 yrs". He uses a mix of 20 pounds of dry molasses (per 1000 square feet) and says it provides "great fireant control". Also mentioned: orange-oil (but, it will burn grass);
  • George "Evil Empire" Bush's Crawford Ranch is 100% organic - this must be a closely guarded secret, lest his cronies in the chemical industry find out
  • after the monthly meeting, the Dallas Sierra Club often gathers at Papa's Pizza (on Beltline, in Addison)

Tuesday, April 12

Mr. Peabody Awards

In the "Betcha Didn't Know That!" department: the George Foster Peabody Award comes from the University of Georgia's Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. They recently announced their 64th Annual Peabody Award winners, which included one of my newfound favorites, LinkTV's Mosaic: World News From The Middle East.

Maybe I appreciate good journalism, after having been in that industry (fresh out of college, eons ago). That mini-career started in high school, when I somehow found myself as Sports Editor (and photographer) for the school paper. I think that was after someone stuck a 35mm camera in my hand and said "here - do this!" Eventually, they looked at my English grades and found I could write, and there ya have it.

In college, I earned a double-major, of which half was Broadcast Communications. Then, I landed a job for a few months as a "staff announcer" on a smalltown radio station, before leaving the microphone open one time too often (!) and being escorted out the door. It was the best thing that could've happened, since I despised that job. I ended up a few miles away, working as a news reporter for a radio station next to a major military base. I enjoyed myself, even acting as an investigative journalist a few times (when the situation merited). Being on the "deadline end of the mic" gives me appreciation for some reporters, and contempt for others.

Disclaimer: the Peabody Award was invented long before the Mr. (Hector) Peabody cartoon character from Rocky & Bullwinkle.

Unrelated #0: last week, I attended a Candidate's Forum hosted by the League of Women Voters of Dallas. A crew was there from Dallas Community Television (seen on Comcast cable 27A), but it has yet to air. I got an email from a DCTV staffer today saying that they're adding subtitles, etc. and it will be a few more days.

Unrelated #1: I lunched with Drew-Bob and Roger-Bob at the Addison Pointe today. From the moment I walked in the door, I could smell the cigarette smoke, which made their burgers taste like an ashtray. Ah, the ambiance.

Sunday, April 10

serapes and sombreros

Judy-Bob wanted to see an art exhibit at the Dallas Latino Cultural Center, so we moseyed by there on Saturday afternoon.

In honor of Latino culture, I threatened to wear a serape and a sombrero but instead just sampled the Pig Stew (okay, okay .. so guiso de puerco sounds more appetizing) at Monica Aca Y Alla (in nearby Deep Ellum).
The Latino Cultural Center doesn't get much Action on the weekend, apparently; although they're open from 11 until 4, by 2pm only 27 people had stopped in to have a look-see. Perhaps everyone moseyed west, to take in the Main Street Art Festival in Fort Worth.
Unrelated #0: The next time I mosey through East Texas (en route Shreveport) I may stop by to see some of the potteries in Marshall, which are undoubtedly low-tech to the max.

Unrelated #1: Trish-Bob turned me onto a show on Bravo: Showdog Moms & Dads, which is a reality show about the world of professional (?) dog shows. Yeee haaa.

Saturday, April 9

ah, springtime!

What a great way to start the day! I moseyed over to my PC to check email, then accessed a website (Dallas Homeowners League) to check the status of something, and kaBOOM!

I wonder how many other people have seen this screen? 

Friday, April 8

resisting temptation

I was nosing around Geoff's blog, and spotted a posting about his new digicam (Nikon 5600). Hmmm .. am I overdue for a new digicam? I wonder how long I can resist the temptation?

The digital camera that I use most often is the Canon, and I haul out the E-10 when a good lens (and lots of settings) is more important than shirt-pocket size and "movie mode". This is my fourth digicam:
  1. Sony Mavica FD-90 (acquired May 2000)
  2. Olympus C-2100 UZ (May 2001)
  3. Olympus E-10 (September 2002)
  4. Canon PowerShot S-230 (December 2002)
Paula still has the Sony (I think) and Jill-Bob bought the C-2100.

I still like Digital Photography Review's website the best, in part because of their side-by-side comparison feature. Heck, I thought it'd be entertaining to compare all four of my digicams (sorted by acquisition).

Depending on whether you can tell the difference between a 200dpi and 300dpi image, anything with 3.2 megapixels [MP] or higher will produce a good 8x10 inch print at 200dpi, but you'll need a 7.2 MP camera if you demand 300 dpi precision. Also, if you have a less-than-spectacular zoom lens, and/or tend to crop a lot, the more megapixels the merrier.

I recently printed quite a few 8x10 images, and they all look crisp to me (except for a few where I did some serious zoom-and-cropping) so I suspect I can live with my 3.2 and 4 MP cameras a while longer.

Thursday, April 7

Happy Bat Mitzvah, Trish-Bob!

Earlier today, I wandered 12 miles up the road to see Trish-Bob, the day before The Big Three-Five, and gifted her a Bat Mitzvah card and a circular pill sorter. She appeared pleased. Scott's taking her to a secret destination, and I'm betting that pill sorter will be packed in her luggage. Posted by Hello

iCID, RTFP: never assume

Discrete components are okay, up to a point. I've had CallerID at home for eons, but initially retrofitted my corded phones with separate boxes to perform the CallerID magic. Then I bought a cordless phone which had integrated CallerID (let's call it iCID). Then came my iCID television! Heck, I even suspect my washer/dryer of having iCID.

Finally, it is time to Take The Plunge (jump in with both feet, leap into the breach, leave a crossroads, make my move, pass the Rubicon, take the bull by the horns, bite the bullet) and update my corded phones to iCID. So, it's off to the web I go. Shopping for telephones at a retail store is pointless; I can never find the feature mix I want, at the price I want (as near to FREE as possible).

The new ones (Panasonic KX-TS3282W) arrived via DHL yesterday, and are now installed. They have a similar look-and-feel to my cordless units (I bought the same brand, so the Learning Curve would be less). In addition to iCID, they have a real directory (wow!), adjustable ring, and a buncha stuff that's not obvious. Guess I'll have to bite the bullet (ouch!) and Read The Fine (Fantastic?) Manual [RTFM].
Deep Thought #64: Why don't cordless/corded phones have downloadable RingTones (like cellphones)? I smell a Market Opportunity.

Unrelated: while in graduate school (when pterodactyls roamed the Earth) one of my professors wrote "RTP" on a student's quiz. The student asked what it meant, and was told Read The Problem. Obviously, he hadn't done so.

On another student's quiz, the prof had written "RTFP"; when the student complained of the assumed insult, he was told that it meant Read The Fine Print. Moral: never assume that You've Been Dissed.

Wednesday, April 6

day late, dollar short

You, my faithful readers, will be ecstatic to know that I updated the Sundry on Thursday blog one day early. Yeah, I know: WOW!

Judy-Bob told me about the "Wings of Freedom Tour" at Dallas Love Field's Frontiers of Flight Museum. Too bad I didn't know about the WoF Tour until after the fact. I wonder how that museum compares to the Cavanaugh Flight Museum (Addison Airport). Maybe I should call SkyHigh Airlines and book a flight today?

Tuesday, April 5

Tornado Watch

I could be wrong (it happened once before, a long time ago) but I think today is the first Tornado Watch of 2005 for the Metroplex:


Deep Thought # 63: ... and I thought a Tornado Watch was a timepiece worn during severe weather ...

Alas, today's Watch expires @ 9pm CDT.

Monday, April 4


The George turned 29 today: woo hoo!

Sunday, April 3

save me from myself

Best I can tell, I have 18 time keeping devices. Only 4 of those automatically update themselves for Daylight Saving Time: a wall clock, the DVD player and the CallerID boxes (attached to the wired phones).

So, at 2am I scampered around the house, adding one hour to every device, as I dutifully sprung forward. Did I miss any clocks? Probably.

I bought some DVDs, only to come home to discover that I already own 3 of them, so a return trip is in my future. Hmm .. I already logged all of these in my PDA so I wouldn't do this again. Only problem: I didn't take my PDA to the store. Argh! I suspect that retail stores secretly love returns, as it gets you back in their store (often the most difficult challenge with retail).

Saturday, April 2

Fare and Unbalanced

Fox "News" blew it Friday, by mis-translating an Italian news report and announcing the Pope's death more than 25 hours before it really happened. I'm tempted to buy the FOX Blocker, which is a nifty gadget that neuters the Radical Right's TV Channel. The only reason I won't buy it is because I don't watch Rupert Murdoch's laughable excuse for journalism.

Interestingly, there is no apology on their web site, as they refuse to take responsibility for anything. The least they could've done is rewrite the headline to:
Pope John Paul II Dead at 84

Friday, April 1

"ha ha" .. indeed!

Yes, I know it's April Fool's Day, but I have yet to use my Gift of Humor on anyone today. Well, the day's not over yet.

Speaking of humor, I TiVo'd Comedy Central's The Hollow Men recently, and watched it today. It reminds me of Kids in the Hall (a troupe of gay actors), but funnier. I'd suggest you watch it quickly; once the Radical Right discovers it, the show will be banned from US airwaves.

In the meantime, feel free to read yesterday's Sundry on Thursday posting. I'm catching up on some old PDA notes, and things there should return to normal Real Soon Now.

If you're looking for something serious to read today, may I suggest Digital Web Magazine's Innovative Design Inspired by Accessibility