Wednesday, August 31

it's a long way to Tipperary

It's an 8-hour drive from Dallas to New Orleans (a distance of about 525 miles), so I was surprised to hear that some of those who were in the path of Hurricane Katrina ended up here. Was every motel between here and there full? What will happen when the mandatory evacuation order takes effect? That's a LOT of people to relocate (the 2000 census says 484,674).

Word is that those who ended up at the Superdome will soon be en route the Astrodome in Houston (a mere 350 miles away).

For years, I've known about calling

911 (emergency!) and
411 (directory information) and
611 (telephone service) and even
311 (city services)

but somehow I missed 211 (community services and volunteer opportunities). According to their website, dialing "211" works all across Texas.

PS: bonus points to anyone who knows that Tipperary is an Irish County. Pity points to anyone who knows the complete lyrics to the World War I song "It's a long way to Tipperary"

Tuesday, August 30

a night with Mrs. Venom

I attended a public hearing at a local high school last night. It started at 7 and I left about 9:10 .. people were still commenting, 3 minutes at a time. I sat next to a woman who came full of venom, and had to offer her comments of disagreement to anyone seated within 2-3 chairs.

Maybe I don't attend enough public hearings (ha!) but this one -- concerning a proposed commuter rail line stretching from DFW Airport to Plano -- brought out the worst in the crowd. Any speaker who was in favor was subject to immediate disdain by Mrs. Venom, and a few others who appear to know each other. They continued to mutter that this was a waste of time, and that the rail line will go through no matter what the public had to say. Only one of "her crowd" spoke (apparently a lawyer), and the moderator attempted to silence his excessive comments after about 4 minutes, while Mrs. Venom started yelling "LET HIM SPEAK!" as if it were okay to extend the comments if you were on her side, but unacceptable if you were for the new rail service.

Personally, I feel that the ushers (?) should have been provided Duct Tape to apply to the mouths of anyone who couldn't sit and listen. Since when did it become acceptable to bully people around by shouting them down? I guess that's been going on for centuries, but it's still sad to think that crowds lower themselves to this with little afterthought.

This morning, I felt suddenly queasy and briefly vomited (very unusual). Could this be Cause and Effect from sitting next to Mrs. Venom last night?

Sunday, August 28

Just Numbers

22,000 -
estimated Day One deaths in Nagasaki (9 August 1945)

23,646 -
estimate (minimum) of Iraqis killed in The Puppet's Oil War (begun 20/3/2003)

Japan provoked us; Iraq did not. In both cases, they're Just Numbers, not humans.

Unrelated: Katrina (Category 5 on the Saffir-Simpson scale .. maximum sustained winds @ 175 mph) is about to Come Knockin' on Naw'lins ... then again, those are Just Numbers, too, right? Posted by Picasa

Saturday, August 27

invaded by Californicans!

I was at a meeting at Dallas City Hall this morning, and decided to swoop into Half Price Books on the way home, looking for a paperback of one of Kinky's Mysteries (found one!). While there, I was amused to overhear a cellphone conversation from a guy saying
"yeah, I'm serious. I'd vote for him. (pause) So his name's Kinky .. so what?"
Very cool. I decided to celebrate and buy a book by Jesse Ventura (another unconventional .. who won the Minnesota governor's race).

Back in the car, I flipped on KXEB (AM 910), and heard about Protest Warrior (some freaks from the Radical Right) making their way to Crawford, Texas .. to show the world how Out Of Touch they are. Californians In Texas .. what's next? Locusts?

Unrelated #-1: different Californians coming to Texas: CNET tour: September 4 at the Frisco CompUSA. Nerd groupies! It might be worth a drive up there (to the Edge of the Universe) just to watch the "crowd".

Unrelated #-2: I finally got around to watching Salam Pax as the [Baghdad Blogger] (thanks, TiVo and LinkTV)

Wednesday, August 24

free gorilla bar .. but you gotta wait

There are times when I'm really happy I don't have 4 children under 7 in tow.

This afternoon, I succumbed to the advertising and decided I must have one of those new tropical flavored Slurpee® Beverages ("available only at 7-11!"). So, I waddled down to the nearest one, and .. stopped dead in my tracks. There, in front of the Slurpee machine, was a Thirty-Something Mom with four kids in tow.

Half of these younguns were barefoot and appeared under 4 years old, but they all were trying to concoct The Perfect Frozen Beverage, mixing any number of the five available flavors. There was a small pool of what I hope was water on the floor. One decided (after pouring an entire drink) that s/he didn't like the flavor, and proceeded to pour it into the trough, where it will eventually melt and re-enter the water supply. It was then time to pour another. The mother had a look somewhere between dumbfoundedness and impartiality. She wasn't annoyed .. merely in a trance. After 3 or 4 minutes, this Band of Five somehow squeezed away from the Frozen Beverage area, and headed straight for the Pressed Sugar (candy) aisle. Although she passed within a few inches, there was no eye contact. She was probably afraid I'd try to sweep her off her feet with an appropriate pickup line. Trust me, it wasn't gonna happen, darlin'.

Being the Slurpee Wizard that I am (!), I plucked a Slurpee Cup from the Slurpee Rack, then attached the rounded Slurpee Lid. In a single, effortless stroke (!) I then poured myself what I hoped to be a delicious frozen concoction, leaving a little room in the lid for expansion (recall that I'm a Slurpee Wizard .. I don't make the Slurpee Virgin mistake of filling it to the top). It was then time to insert the Slurpee Straw, pay, and leave.

Ah, but that was not to be. Although it only took me 24 seconds (!) I now found myself in line behind The Party of Five. In typical Soccer Mom fashion, the mom was shocked to find that the clerk expected her to pay for 5 drinks and at least a dozen pieces of candy. There was no lecture about eating healthy .. the intent was to add as much sugar as possible into their tiny metabolisms and get back in the Yukon.
Deep Thought #71: Remember the old days, when a family of five was able to fit in a passenger car? Ah, nostalgia. I hope she gets 8 miles to the gallon and has to refuel twice a day.
Anyway, Mom finally found a debit card, and then it was time to learn how to use the card swiper. Apparently this is the first time she'd ever seen one of these contraptions, and the clerk (with a thick Indian accent) tried to explain. It wasn't working. And my Delicious Frozen Concoction was starting to melt. Depression began to set in. Two more people had joined me in line.

Eventually (12 minutes later?) it was my turn at the register. Apparently I was a prize winner (?!), as the clerk announced that I was entitled to a "free gorilla bar". She motioned behind me, saying something unintelligible about "lower shelf". I started pointing, hoping for a nod when I got close. The tactic worked. As my finger neared the Nature Valley™ Granola Bars, her face lit into a smile as wide as an elephant in Mumbai. The "gorilla bar" turned out to be a granola bar, so now I had both frozen and non-frozen Goodness to consume.

If it hadn't taken 16 minutes, and it wasn't 101F outside, it might've been better. Next time I want a Slurpee, I'll wait until 3am, when the younguns are asleep and mom's not at the 7-11, learning how to swipe her debit card.

By the way .. the melted tropical flavored Slurpee wasn't good. Next time, it'll be the old reliable Cherry Coke flavor. Indeed.

Sunday, August 21

stars (neither movie, nor astrology)

Suddenly, I feel very old. All my life, I've heard the USA is composed of 50 states, but it turns out I was born when there were only 48! Alaska became a state on January 3, 1959 followed by Hawaii on Aug. 21, 1959. Since only 7 months passed between those events, I have to wonder how many rare 49-star flags exist.

Speaking of stars: Dan Halpern's article in The New Yorker:
LONE STAR: Kinky Friedman on the campaign trail

Saturday, August 20


I've been watching Mosaic (offered up by LinkTV) since April. This daily half-hour show is a compilation of news reports from television stations in the Middle East. It's interesting to try to figure out which ones are state-run propaganda, and which are the result of a "free press".

I've learned to cringe when the video feed from Tehran (Iran) appears; it frequently takes an extreme anti-Jewish view of whatever's happening in the region. It's almost as bad as watching Fox "News" and expecting impartiality. Example: When the Israeli settler in the West Bank shot and killed three Palestinians, the Tehran anchorwoman in a hijab (Islamic head scarf) matter-of-factly said that (quote) "Jews are taught to hate Arabs in school," and showed photos of older Arab women weeping, faces strained.
It's apparently okay for a Palestinian to sneak into Israel and blow himself up with as many Jews as possible (in the name of "martyrdom" - a very overused term) but an international jihad must be issued if a Jew attacks a Palestinian. Then again, Israeli retaliation is often very lopsided, which only fans the hatred.
In this country, we'd see "TV-Tehran" as inflammatory rhetoric, yet that's the only thing the Iranians are allowed to see, so they Must Believe It. TV-Tehran never presents both sides of the story.

Did you know that Arab maps commonly don't show Israel? How would you feel if USA were replaced by something else - not even acknowledged? Arab maps frequently show "Palestine" and not Israel. See for an Israeli view on the Arab-Israeli conflict. This reminds me of a book I read (years ago) where it became clear that there is no way that conflict will ever be settled; it seems that no one in that part of the world is willing to bury the hatchet, or let bygones be bygones. They simply cannot live peacefully with one another. That's why The Puppet's War (projected to end in 2009) is such a farce: the second we leave, it'll disintegrate into civil war (unless they're broken into 3 countries first: Kurd-Iraq, Sunni-Iraq and Shiite-Iraq). And then they'll be attacked by their neighbors (Turkey, Iran, Syria). That's just the way things are done Over There.

Friday, August 19

another day in the life

woke up late (9). fetched the paper. showered. went to the DMN Spin-Doctoring session at the Eisemann Centre. arrived just after speaker started. aside: why bother announcing a start time of 9:30 if you really mean 9:55? saw an AdMobile truck - those oughta be banned before someone gets killed watching it flip ads. stopped at Albertsons (bought Diet Coke, pluots, cottage cheese). fed at Whataburger (BBQ samwich, rings) : mostly yucky. came home to unload groceries. message from Rich .. called him back .. weekly report's ready, okay to bring it by (he did). emailed a cousin, asked why lawyer won't return my calls: he doesn't know, suggests 3 other local attorneys (I'll call them Monday). emailed another group: the last signs are ready (178) to install. HayJax IMs if Beta will petsit Rambo, like last year (sure, whynot). went to Lowe's, bought 7 boxes of #6 screws for the signs. slowed down to 20mph through yet another school zone. stopped at Sears for a cordless screwdriver (it was on sale - woohoo) .. told the clerk [no] when he offered a 2-year warranty for $5 more. went home, noticed Robert's house really is for sale ($800K - yeah, right). plugged screwdriver into wall to charge it (9 hours for first charge, much less therafter?). email from a volunteer to install 33 of the 178 signs .. I accept. her family (she, husband, 2 sons) pick up signs .. the youngest meets Beta for first time, survived lickfest. decided to catch up on some TiVo (Over There on FX; 2 days of The Daily Show; Amazing Race reruns (I delete them after the first few minutes); 3 days of Tonight Show monologues; LinkTV's Mosaic)). Halfway through, briefly consider one of those $5 pizzas from Little Caesar's .. decide not to bother, drink some water instead. TiVo done. Time for sleeep.

Thursday, August 18

is what Y2K was supposed to be?

The power failed at my home three (3) times yesterday (between about 5:15pm and 7:15pm) ... the last time for about 40 minutes. I'm guessing this had something to do with Monday night's storm .. perhaps TXU Electric Delivery was swapping out transformers or something? About 10 minutes into the last outage, I called to see if there was a projected repair time, and reached TXU Energy instead of TXU Electric Delivery (ah, deregulation). Guess I should update my hardcopy of Emergency Contact Numbers, eh? About half a dozen items changed in the 5 years since the Y2K update!

Fortunately, I found things to do around the house which didn't require electricity. It was all so very Amish. During the outage, I could hear traffic on the street outside, which was odd. In the summertime, I'm used to hearing the various fans (ceiling, air conditioner) and little else.

When I grew up (and pterodactyls roamed the Earth) we'd sometimes lose power for days at a time, after a storm (either thunder- or ice-) and it became second nature not to open the refrigerator or freezer unless you really had to do so (so the stuff inside wouldn't thaw and spoil). There were no portable phones in those days; today, my cordless phones depend on a powered base station, so they failed yesterday and I had to resort to one of my (gasp!) wired phones.

Good thing I didn't have to cook anything; I don't even own a Coleman Stove! And if the outage happened at night, I'd have been Up A Creek Without A Paddle, since I don't own a Coleman Lantern either (although I do have a sleeping bag around here somewhere).

I guess I should run a controlled test some day, to see what else depends solely on Electric Juice. Example: I'm certain the garage door can be opened manually, but how would I access the PDF of the manual to find out?

Wednesday, August 17


I've been watching/reading the different views of the Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, and continue to be baffled by the difference in population density. I'm not going to attempt repeating what's been written elsewhere (see Palestinian Technical Team: FAQ About Israel's Unilateral Disengagement if you're interested), but ...

depending on which numbers you use, it appears that the Israeli Jews in the Gaza Strip were living in some of the lowest population densities on Earth. No wonder they didn't want to move! It took significant searching for me to find a nearby area (Ellis County) with a similar low density:

Los Angeles CA           7,400/mi²
Gaza Strip/Arab 7,222/mi²
Plano TX 3,101/mi²
Lucas TX 345/mi²
Gaza Strip/Jew 162/mi²
Ellis County TX 118/mi²
Bottom line? The Gaza Strip Palestinians are living in a density similar to that of Los Angeles, while the Jews "across the street" were living in a density about half that of Lucas, Texas.

Tuesday, August 16

just another good ole boy

So far, the Dallas Managed News hasn't said much about Larry Northern - the rocket scientist who ran his pickup truck (dragging a pipe and chains) over several hundred small, white wooden crosses, hand-painted with the names of some (not all) American soldiers killed in President Quagmire's Oil War. He was arrested by the Crawford Sheriff's Department (good job, guys) and charged with criminal mischief. All this happened at "Camp Casey" where Cindy Sheehan is trying to make President Quagmire talk to her about His War.

.. Here's a photo of the crosses, before they were run over .. (photo is from the AP)

Now, if the rocket scientist was a black woman, he'd probably be Front Page News. No such luck: he's just a good ole' white boy, and obviously within his rahts to do what he did. The DMN will thus bury the story. However, since a few hundred others in the White House Press Corps are camped out near Crawford, and (gasp!) bored (otherwise baking in the Texas August sun), I'm guessing other news orgs will pick up the story.

Meanwhile, it's up to the blogosphere to cover this in depth. I found a good one at although there are many more, including and Lone Star Iconoclast.

The Managed News had exactly one line to say about it:
"A resident was arrested Monday night after authorities say he ran over hundreds of small wooden crosses bearing names of fallen U.S. soldiers."
Turns out (courtesy of Reuters) that the "resident" was none other than 59-year old Larry Northern of nearby Waco.
(begin speculation): let's just assume that there aren't a lot of people with that name in Waco. I Google'd [Larry Northern] and found a Waco Realtor by that name; he owns "Northern Realtors", and even has a published AOL address! Another article quotes him (2001) about the state of the real estate market in Crawford. His phone number matches one mentioned in connection with the San Antonio Rifle and Pistol Club; he participated in the Law Enforcement Challenge (apparently some Random Act of Courage in conjunction with a BBQ dinner). He was a 1964 graduate of Waco's Richfield High School.

Then again, there may be a few DOZEN folks by that name, livin' down there, in which case it'll take a spell to figger out who's who. (end speculation)
I can hardly wait for the Letters to the Editor to start pouring into the DMN, saying that Those Leftist Commies Who Are Protesting "Vacationing George" had it coming, and they're lucky that Larry Northern and some of his fellow Good Ole Boys didn't just take their huntin' rifles and shoot`em all, because the bad publicity is hurtin' his real estate business.

Once the dust settles, the Managed News will probably name Larry Northern "Man of the Year" for 2005 (following the 2004 fiasco where they named the traitorous Karl Rove to that position). Ah, Texas .. you've become so predictable.
UPDATE: Arrest In Texas Protest Cross-Up

Monday, August 15

squish, splash, crackle, pop

I waddled up to PSB tonight, to watch some friends (the legendary Crystal Ballers) win the summer bowling league. When I returned home, the sky darkened and I noticed power outages along Beltline (temporary STOP signs had been erected, so power must've been out for awhile). Fortunately, when I got home, the lights were still on, and Beta let me inside. Only once did the power fail during the thunderstorm - and only for about 30 seconds (the UPSes kept all my PCs up).

I checked the rain gauge: almost exactly 2 inches of rain. Woo hoo. Can I stand more August excitement?

Sunday, August 14

road trip: Dallas to Nevada

And you thought Texas was a big state. Did you know it's possible to drive from Dallas to Nevada and back, all before noon?

Oh, no! The Web has even discovered Royse City, Texas!

Unrelated #-1: While seeking data on The Puppet's Greatest Accomplishments (ha!), I wandered across the Toiletology site, which is the same thing, right?

Saturday, August 13

the joys of Sherman

I was wandering along Sherman Street in Richardson tonight, and found two things of note:

One: Sarah Bakery & Restaurant had a lot of cars outside, which stood out in this faux-warehouse district. If you can believe the comments, their Middle Eastern Cuisine is tasty, but the guy who runs the cash register is rude and obnoxious. Perhaps he's the guy who used to own Goff's Burgers before they moved across Hillcrest from SMU?

Two: this is an easy way to get to Kirin Court (Richardson's dim sum Chinese restaurant on the 2nd floor, southwest corner of Polk and Sherman - nearest freeway exit is 75-Central and Beltline).

Unrelated # sqrt(-1): In the "gotta git me one of them" department: The War on Terror T-shirt, Unix Geek Style. Priceless!

Unrelated # N/0: Yes, of course I updated the Sundry on Thursday blog. Do you think I'd leave you holding your breath?

Friday, August 12

Free Credit Report : impostors

I was pointed to an FTC site (The Federal Trade Commission's Information on Free Annual Credit Reports) after reading that more than 130 impostors of "Annual Credit" have gone online, trying to cheat consumers. Fascinating. I'd know there were 130+ different ways to misspellify those 3 little words ("Annual Credit Report")

Wednesday, August 10


You can rob me. You can starve me and you can beat me and you can kill me.
Just don't bore me.

- Clint Eastwood playing "Gunny" in Heartbreak Ridge (1986)

Tuesday, August 9

Instant Gratification Delayed

My eye doc called around 9am and said they have to reschedule my test for next week; apparently one of the techs decided to take the week off. {sigh} I guess my near-glaucoma will just have to wait. So, I spent a bit of time scoping out Yet Another Possible Job Lead. It's just so much easier when you can go to A9 and type
ABC Company sucks
in a search index, to get Instant Gratification.

The other spellbinding event of the day happened after 5pm : Microsoft's monthly Patch Tuesday event. Tonight, I downloaded another 9 or so "Urgent" patches, each of which threatened doom, gloom and a ticket to The Dukes of Hazzard if I didn't install it.

Good for a laugh: Microsoft's new Windows Genuine Advantage Validation Tool which only allows you to patch a properly licensed system. I wonder how many PintoSeconds will be needed before a hackaround is posted?

Monday, August 8

The Hawthorne Effect

I heard a news report that The Puppet's approval rating has reached yet another new low: 42% (38% think he's still doing a swell job with Iraq).
Can you say "Mission Accomplished"? Good; I knew you could.
The same news report mentioned that he's now reached almost 20% vacation time while in office - far out!

Unrelated: a couple days ago I was reading an item about Bumper Stickers (Frances Heussenstamm's 1971 study), and how they change people's opinions. Every time I see a [W] sticker on a vehicle, I try to move over a lane, since they're obviously ill-equipped to make good decisions about driving, either.

That item mentioned something about the "Hawthorne Effect" which I'd never heard of (did my grade school education fail me??). It got the name after a series of experiments at Western Electric Company's Hawthorne Plant in Chicago in 1927 (before Roger-Bob was born). Turns out this goes to the question of whether a subject will unconsciously modify her/his behavior if they know they're being watched. It's really an interesting study, with an outcome that I never would've predicted.

I wonder if The Puppet's Disapproval Rating is somehow due to His being watched? Hmmm.

Related items:
Bumper Sticker and the Cops and Human Behavior Experiments Black Panthers and the Police, not to mention The New Precision Journalism - Chapter 7

PS to William Bob: I guffawed heartily at Aside #33.333 .. Beta the Wonder Dog sniffed my person several times, to determine if I was all right.

Sunday, August 7

Click here, no .. there!

I'm sure it's just me, but whenever I encounter a website like Sheldrake Online where the majority of the hyperlinks say [Click here] I immediately brand the culprit a moron and move onto another site. I seldom - if ever - get past that Bad First Impression.

In my last job, I worked with a moron who thought [Click Here] was a good idea on web pages. What he couldn't seem to get into his birdlike brain was this scenario:

Teacher: Click where it says [Click Here].
Student: Which one? Eleven links say [Click Here]!
Teacher: Click the [Click Here] to the right of the phrase you want!
Student: Why not just make that phrase the place to click?
Teacher: Because [Click Here] just seemed to make sense.
Student: You're a moron.
Teacher: Perhaps. But I'm a moron with tenure.

Saturday, August 6

The Wo-ah

Although it ended 140 years ago, some ignert Southerners still cling to what they must consider The Glory Days of the South, when it was legal to own other people and to hang them from the nearest tree if they looked at you wrong. I'd offer than in many parts of The South, those feelings still exist, and will continue to do so for many, many generations yet to be born. Why? Because that's what their mammas and their pappas believe, and since they all Home School their younguns, that's what they're lernin.

I thought about this when I saw a query on a genealogy forum, saying their "proud ancestor" was in the War between the States in a specific outfit, etc. Since they didn't know this ancestor personally, how can they possibly say anything meaningful about him? I never knew my own American Civil War* ancestors (on both sides of The Mason-Dixon line) and they could've been Horse Thieves, as far as I know; I'm not about to deify them.
*yes, Civil War - some say "there was nothing civil about that war" and they may be right, but just because a word has more than one meaning doesn't mean you have to become a zealot, flying the Confederate Battle Flag to show How White You Are
Some of the more bizarre euphemisms include The War of Northern Aggression and (my favorite) The Recent Unpleasantness. There's a long list of alternate names for The War (pronounced Wo-ah) at (I guess was already taken).

Friday, August 5

Books, the dog

Last night, I wandered over to in Richardson, to catch up on the local Unix user group. When I first became aware of the group, they were meeting at the SGI office (which no longer exists) near LBJ-635 and Preston. Then, for several years, they met in the basement of a JC Penney building (which is being sold) near LBJ-635 and Coit. Now, they're meeting in a bookstore near 75-Central and Campbell.

As far as bookstores go, NerdBooks isn't a bad place. While I'm sure the bulk of their business is conducted via the web, Nerdbooks(.com) is a place where you can go inside and wander the aisles, sit down and read-before-buying, and then go to one of their kiosks and buy the book online (to get the web discount!). I even spotted a soda dispenser where one's thirst can be quenched while geeking out.

Also, I have high regard for any bookstore where a Dog is allowed to wander freely. The chocolate Lab(rador Retriever) who calls Nerdbooks home is named Books. Perhaps a better name would've been Biff, but that reference would be lost on 99.486% of the people. Books, the Dog is friendly, yet (like Beta the Wonder Dog) gravitates toward anyone who has food. At the Unix meetings, pizza is always available; some traditions continue for years. An annual $12 fee buys you as much guilt-free pizza as you can stuff in your face. Ah, life is good.

The last time I saw A Dog In A Bookstore (before last night) was when I'd go to Opamp Technical Books (Los Angeles) and would have to step over the sleeping dog ("Let Sleeping Does Lie") to find the manuscript of my choice. I never learned that dog's name; he was a German Shepherd Dog and was probably named Hans or Franz or something equally Deutsch.

The only other hi-tech bookstore I like in the Metroplex is the one inside MicroCenter (75-Central at Spring Valley) which is near Texas Instruments. The one at Fry's Electronics is laughable in comparison to both Nerdbooks and MicroCenter, unless you consider an entire aisle dedicated to "Dummies" books worthy of your time (granted, it's amusing to see titles as varied as Wine for Dummies; Sex for Dummies; Lawncare for Dummies (you get the idea ...)).

Thursday, August 4

quit fooling! who said that?

July 27 (Wednesday): am late for an evening, informal meeting. waddle into the bathroom, put left contact lens in eye. remove right lens, watch as it pops under the lens strainer. attempt to gently coax it to the surface. dreadful feeling as I watch the lens go down the drain, literally. decide not to attend meeting.

July 28 (Thursday): it's been 15 months since my last eye exam. decide to change from an optometrist in Plano to an opthalmologist in Richardson. call office, advise i'm a new patient. was told next available appointment is Thursday, August 11. i mention the reason i'm calling is due to lost contact lens. Hmm .. within seconds I'm told that they can see me Monday morning at 9am. go figure.

August 1 (Monday): eye exam is mostly uneventful, save for one itsy-bitsy detail: doc says i'm borderline for glaucoma. mom has it (the drug Xalatan was the clue .. a fact I'd stored on my ever-present PDA) and I'm nearsighted, so I'm "at risk". Bloody splendid. My eye pressure is 24 mm Hg but this could be a fluke; he wants to retest next week. He's aghast that the Plano doc didn't pick up on it. We did the dilation thing, took some eyeball photos, and (after signing a form to allow release of my records) doc says he'll get my prior retina/cornea/whetever photos for comparison. I leave, wearing a pair of those fashionable plastic-film sunglasses atop my glasses (post-dilation, the eyes are very light sensitive).

August 3 (Wednesday): doc's office calls my cell, leaves a message. I often go days between checking cellphone v-mail but today's an exception. replacement contact lens has arrived. I can go out in public again without the Coke™ bottles: woo hoo. Am now reading what I can (pre-Braille) about glaucoma, hoping to Ace The Test next week. If not, will investigate having Beta retrained to be a Seeing Eye Dog.

Wednesday, August 3

Zwillinge! (twins!)

Last night, it was off to the opening night of the Dallas Video Festival: Forgiving Dr. Mengele was showing at the Angelika.
... remarkable story of Auschwitz survivor and former Mengele twin Eva Mozes Kor and the transformation that led her to forgive her persecutor as an act of self-healing.
I'm not sure how long before (or if) this will make its way into the national independent theatres; few films attempt to deal with this dark subject. Without giving away the "plot" of this documentary, it would be hard to explain, but .. suffice it to say that there's more to this film than Eva Kor's opinions about forgiveness; it delves into a current day issue in the Middle East. It's an enormous lavendar elephant that few want to discuss; Eva Kor certainty doesn't.

Nosing around the web, I see two made-for-television movies: C.A.N.D.L.E.S.: The Story of the Mengele Twins (1990) and A&E Biography: Josef Mengele - Medical Madman of Auschwitz (1996) but nothing in wide release.

Related site: Children of Auschwitz Nazi Deadly Lab Experiments Survivors (CANDLES)

Tuesday, August 2

Hard to believe

A few days ago, the guy whose Toyota was rear-ended on Campbell Road left a message on my cell, calling to say thanks, and to advise that the Richardson Police caught up with the driver of the (mostly blue) Land Yacht.

Hard to believe, but .. he didn't have insurance. I know, I know .. you'd think that a responsible guy like that would have The Best Possible Insurance Policy, but .. in this case .. you'd be mistaken.

Monday, August 1

it's the pronunciation, stupid

The real reason that The Bush Regime changed "The War on Terror" to "The Global Struggle Against Violent Extremism" -- President Quagmire can't pronounce the word "Terror" .. it comes out as "Terra" every time. Ditto for his "nuclear/noocular" problem. He's still a unedjimicated dolt.

The new phrase may not exactly roll off the tongue, but President Quagmire will be able to deliver it with His trademark smirk completely intact.

Related: Michael Barone's hysterical column: Bush bashing fizzles. Maybe we should rename "Wayne's World" into "Barone's World"? I've not read his columns in the past, but this one strikes me as another hollow shell attempt to adhere to The Spin Machine.