Saturday, September 30

Mayberry has been bulldozed

It's over 1050 miles from Cazenovia, Wisconsin to Everman, Texas* .. but I couldn't help but draw a parallel between them today.
* about 50 miles from my home in Dallas
Yesterday, a high school principal - John Klang - was shot & killed in Wisconsin after a 15 year old (Eric Hainstock), who felt he'd been teased by other students, decided he had to kill someone.

Coincidentally, the New York Times published an article today about Everman, Texas principal Anthony Price, who has decided that "corporal punishment" (spanking) is a proper way to instill discipline in his middle school.

One of the problems with corporal punishment in 2006 versus 1972 (when I was the age of the Wisconsin shooter) is that it's now (apparently) socially acceptable to bring guns to school, with the intent of killing as many of your classmates/teachers as possible. I can imagine one of principal Price's students, after receiving a spanking, going home to collect her parent's gun and returning to end the life of the man who humilated her.

I don't have an answer to this problem, but those who think they can turn the clock back to The Days of Mayberry are simply delusional.

Who Wants Fairness?

What's wrong with Fairness? Isn't that something we aspire to? Well, turns out the answer - in Rove-Cheney's America - is a resounding NO.

I was mired in traffic a few days ago and flipped on the AM band. While waiting for a traffic report, I heard a waif whining that "we just HAVE to win in November, or the Democrats will bring back The Fairness Doctrine, and that will mean The End of Talk Radio". Naturally, the host (one of the many right wing sociopaths) agreed.

Turns out several Democrats (including Louise Slaughter) have suggested reinstatement of The Fairness Doctrine (quashed in 1987 - during Reagan's presidency) -- which would force radio stations to give as much time to opponents as to Coulter/Limbaugh/their ilk. Also, since Everybody Knows™ that liberal talk radio always loses money, it would be harder for conservative talk radio to be financially viable.
Completely unrelated (ha!): today is the last day of Liberal Talk Radio in Dallas. The local Air America station (KXEB-AM) is turning into a Christian Republican station tomorrow.
I recently read Don't Think of an Elephant and thus find it humorous that The Left is finally starting to wake up and use the Right Wing's DoubleSpeak tactics. Although he's not the one who coined the term - merely popularized it (newspeak, oldspeak, doublethink) - it makes me want to re-read George Orwell's [1984].

Deep Thought: If only Orwell'd named his book [2004], he'd have hit it on the nose. Then he'd have to change his name to Nostradamus, I reckon.
Everybody Knows is a trademark of the state-run media (Fox "News"); Rush Limbaugh Productions; and the Christian Fascist Republican Party.

Friday, September 29

poll extension

I read about the security guards that were stationed at the Highland Park United Methodist Church (President Puppet's "home church in Dallas") when Garrison Keillor came to town Wednesday night. For those not from here, you should know that Highland Park is a whites-only (well, okay .. 99%) city surrounded by Dallas, and filled with some of the most caustic Republicans alive. Actually, they'd prefer it be named White Settlement, if that city name weren't already taken.

So, it didn't surprise me that Keillor was ordered not to even mention the name of his latest book (Homegrown Democrat), lest he offend those in attendance.
Dallas County Precinct 1226 (Highland Park)

87% voted for Bush in 2000
76% voted for Bush in 2004
Speaking of polls .. a recent Zogby poll revealed this of Americans:
73% can name all Three Stooges (Manny, Moe and Jack)
60% can name Superman's home planet (Krypton)
42% can name our three branches of government (Big, Bigger, Biggest)
37% can name which planet is closest to our own sun (Ecuador)
if they'd polled Highland Parkers separately, they'd have found:
83% know Terrell Owens' jersey number
64% know in their "heart of hearts" George W. Bush is the Second Coming of the Messiah
.. and to think Texans are widely thought to be Big Haired, Football Lovin', Corndog Eatin' Morons.

Monday, September 25

4 more for 43!

I wonder how many people even know what the 22nd Amendment to the US Constitution says?

If you'd like to create your own poster, go to the Parody Motivator Generator on and enjoy ...

call center translation

I thought it was just me, but after conversations with several friends, I've determined that others have trouble understanding the Indian wersion of English, too (call centers, etc.). With that in mind, I was on a call this morning and noted these misbronunzeations .. berhabs dis jart will be useful to others.

When listening to (studying?) "Indian English", I often detect a German influence (V vs. W) while the Mandarin influence appears at other times (short/choppy words):

the most common problem is switching [V] and [W]:
avare -> aware
ewaluate -> evaluate
less moo wahn -> let's move on
tventy -> twenty
ve -> we
veb zerfer -> web server
VIN-dose -> windows
vurked -> worked
WEHR-shun -> version
another common problem is with the letter [P] which often becomes a [B]:
BEEK-cher -> picture
berhabs dis jart -> perhaps this chart
BRAK-tee-kuhl -> practical
broblem -> problem
bro-NUN-ze-ay-shun -> pronunciation
durn da beige -> turn the page
eem-pah-tint -> important
sbark -> spark
next, they have problems with the [TH] sound, often morfing it into a [D]:
alldoe -> although
deese -> these
dirty -> thirty
dis is -> this is
dree -> three
drew da dore -> through the door
tohw-sense -> thousands
BAY-zis -> basis
BOKE-zis -> boxes
CHOON-ing -> tuning
coe-ing -> going
DAYGA-luke -> take a look
doan half -> don't have
kyde -> guide
quynt -> couldn't
TAYK-nee-cal -> technical
wod -> what
zekkund dry -> second try

Sunday, September 24

Democrat with a spine

I'd almost forgotten what a real US President sounds like. Worth watching: Fox "News" Sunday (Chris Wallace) interview with Bill Clinton. Also, don't miss the Comments.

Tuesday, September 19

Richardson ambience

It's not often that I find a hole-in-the-wall burger place. Part of the reason is that it's still about location-location-location. Most small burger places just couldn't compete with the chains, and have all but disappeared from the landscape. Or, at least it seems that way. Maybe there are more of these out there, but they're just so .. invisible.

A few Sundays ago I was in Richardson searching for a Japanese snack store that LayWah-Bob told me about (Aji Ichiban is at 201 S Greenville). After taking a wrong turn, I somehow found myself staring at:
Del's Charcoal Burgers
110 S McKinney Street, Richardson
This is one of those places you're unlikely to find unless you're looking for it. It's at the corner of Polk & McKinney - but this is a 3-block long McKinney Street - not in the same league as McKinney Avenue in downtown Dallas. Del's is closed on Sunday, but I promised myself I'd mosey back sometime soon. Today was the day; William-Bob and I met there to discuss The Future of Western Civilization, and feed our faces.

Unrelated: Del's Lemonade, somewhere in Rhode Island

Del's Charcoal Burgers, Richardson

Del's seats about 30 people, orders are placed/received from the counter, yet there is a TV in the corner (not tuned to FOX "News" - thankyouverymuch). The menu's pretty simple, and I have to wonder how they can support 3 employees, but .. it's been there many years so they're doing something right. I was mesmorized by the faux brick (atop concrete blocks) with life-size images of John Wayne, James Dean and Marilyn Monroe. The Christmas lights (luminarias?) add additional ambience, and it's obvious many of the clientele are regulars. Somehow, I was hoping Norm would drop in. Also noteworthy: "root beer refills - 50 cents"; green hot sauce at the table; lunch-only hours. Richardson is a dry city, with many restaurants avoiding it.

I wonder when Del's will add WiFi and valet parking?

Sunday, September 17

Quality Control

Looks like quality control at the M&M factory isn't what it used to be.

Unrelated: Miles and his mom went home yesterday, after arriving on Labor Day. Beta is deeply depressed, since she thought her old friend had come back permanently. She really enjoyed running and playing and running and playing and running and playing ...

Friday, September 15

attagirl, Molly

Worth reading: Molly Ivins' column about Ann Richards, published today.

My favorite? The story ending with "I am Mrs. Miles." Priceless.

Thursday, September 14

goodbye, Ann

I suspect what I'll remember most about Ann Richards is her oratory; one of the few things I've liked about living here is the occasional gust of creative Texas twang, and Ann was a master of it.

The classic Texas Iron photo of Ann Richards on a motorcycle.

I admire any woman who rides a Harley. Perhaps that's why I found Texas mildly acceptable when I moved here in 1993, when Ann Richards was governor. With that in mind, I was saddened when I Got The Memo soon after 10pm last night:
Former Texas Gov. Ann Richards died after a battle with cancer, a family spokeswoman said. She was 73.
Ann Richards was the last competent, decent human to be Texas Governor*. Since I was living in California at the time, I don't recall whether I knew of Ann Richards before July 1988, when she delivered her great keynote at the Democrat National Convention, but she struck me as a straight-shootin' person who would sometimes get herself into a wee bit of trouble; I can surely relate to that. Her demeanor is surely why I find Kinky Friedman's current campaign so refreshing, compared to the Career Politician (Rick Perry) who's there now.
*Texas Governors haven't always been useless twits like President Quagmire and (current) Rick "Pretty Hair" Perry, both brought to power by Karl Rove (the Turd Blossom). For an example of the slime this pond scum is able to create, look at the commentary at the bottom half of "Bush's war over gay marriage", where Dubya's election to Texas governor is documented.
Texas would do well with more Ann Richards. The best politicians are those who don't monitor their every breath for saying something that won't get them re-elected. There's a magnet on my refrigerator with a quote from Laurel Thatcher Ulrich:
Well Behaved Women Rarely Make History.
Ann Richards wasn't well behaved. I, for one, will miss her.

Additional commentary may be found on the right-wing Dallas Blog, and elsewhere.

Wednesday, September 13

DAL-IAH-AEX (then reverse)

Yesterday was a 4-flight day. I do enjoy the regional jets (ERJ-145) that Continental flies, even if it does mean enduring the joy of a layover at the Houston Bushport (IAH). The good news is that I didn't have to deal with DFW airport, and could just mosey over to Dallas Love Field (Continental has 2 gates; American has 3 and Southwest has the rest).

The only airlines that serve AEX (Alexandria England International) are Continental, Northwest and Delta; there's no direct service to Dallas anymore. In the past, I flew DFW-AEX on American Eagle but that route's inactive. Continental flies regional jets into AEX via IAH and Northwest is still using props .. the only Delta service is to ATL so not sure what equipment that entails. So, I went to Love Field and flew Continental (using my Delta FF#). Each segment was about 40 minutes airtime.

the PA filter

Several of the (too many) mailing lists I'm on arrives via digest. When a certain amount of time has passed, or a certain number of articles have arrived, I get an email with all the messages piled into one. Nothing new there; digests have been around for decades.

However, one of these digests has recently been infected with a Pompous Ass [PA]. About 50% of the traffic on this list is from His Pompousness. One of the things he loves to do is underscore words. Lots of them. A large percentage of every posting includes this annoyance. He's One Of Those People who lives solely to annoy the rest of us. His primary method is to belittle others, thinking that by doing so he is building himself up to be Larger Than Life. Finally, I've had enough.

Now, when I see his name in header-after-header, I've taken to deleting the entire digest rather than have to even look at any of his postings; this results in missing constructive comments from everyone else. As a result, I'm considering switching that list to Regular Delivery and then installing a filter to delete any message from the PA. I'll get a bit more email than before (multiple messages instead of a digest) but won't see any of the PA's traffic. It's a small price to pay.

Saturday, September 9

so long, Disney/ABC ?

I wonder how hard it will be to erase all references to the Disney/ABC network from my TiVo?

Given that they plan to air Karl Rove's [The Path to 9/11] (an obvious CFRP hack designed to help them retain power in the upcoming midterm elections), I plan to return the favor by:

1. removing Disney/ABC from my list of channels (the only other ones I've removed are the Mexican-language stations, and the religious channels - those with a bottom-of-the-screen number to call with donations, 24x7);

2. remove all Disney/ABC shows from my Season Pass™.

3. delete any Disney/ABC shows already recorded, but not yet viewed.

I'm sure their advertisers will be thrilled. The only one concerned seems to be FOX "News", which has had a monopoly on right-wing propaganda for the last several years. Now that Disney/ABC is turning into a right wing puppet, Fox's monopoly on lies has come to a screeching halt.

13 Sep update: just to close the loop .. ABC did broadcast this GOP-orchestrated hack, so I dutifully removed them from TiVo. Hence, they no longer exist. Biggest downside for me: no more ABC Nightline. Pity.

Friday, September 8


I caught a piece on one of the national news feeds saying that Fantasy Football was good for office morale, "only" requires an hour a day to participate, and that employers should encourage this behavior.

Well, excuse me, but I always thought the workplace was for work and not chewing up company bandwidth (and stockholder profits) on this - or any other Total Waste Of Time (TWOT). Then again, I find the vast majority of workplace conversations to be TWOTs. People seem okay on spending hours talking about their:
  • latest real estate/automobile/home appliance purchase
  • sports of any kind
  • poor child being misunderstood when he ran a red light and got an automated ticket
  • you name it -- absolutely zero talk about working with customers.
It must just be me; I don't get it. Sure, these conversations shouldn't be banned, but should be the exception, rather than the rule. If employers only paid for actual work performed, I suspect the 8-hour day would drop to less than two, easily.

Today's the day that Rambo goes back to his home. Here's a photo of him in his new diaper.

Unrelated: Paula and I dined with Jill-Bob at the Bavarian Grill last night (the lamb und Brussel Sprouts were tasty).

Tuesday, September 5

what a zoo!

menagerie \muh-NAJ-uh-ree; -NAZH-\, noun:
1. A collection of wild or unusual animals, especially for exhibition.
2. An enclosure where wild or unusual animals are kept or exhibited.
3. A diverse or varied group.
Normally, it's just me, Beta (the wonder dog) and a paracats. Then (Monday night) that expanded by two when Miles and his mom arrived for a visit.

I was off to work when one of the sales critters asked if I would feed with them and a customer. Sure, fine .. we ended up at Blue Fish (18149 Dallas Pkwy) for sushi. Back at the office (1:30?), I spotted an email from HayJax that she'd be dropping Rambo off at 2pm. Eek! Fortunately she was late, but the current tally is now:

3 dogs
2 cats
2 humans

The cats - now outnumbered for the first time in their (9) lives - have gone into hiding For The Duration.

I stopped at The Pet Store to get some supplies (diapers for Rambo - who whizzes on everything; treats for Beta; and a new toy (!) for me: a FURminator deShedding Tool ("it is not a brush" says the marketing propaganda). I wonder if it's time to bring out Larry The Laser Pointer to keep them all occupied?

Sunday, September 3

The Deli News Conspiracy

HayJax and I fed at Deli News Too this morning. It's a self-proclaimed "New York style deli" which is about as authentic as you can get in Dallas, now that Gilbert's went under.

I've been generally happy with Deli News, except for the hash browns. Call me mistaken, but aren't real hash browns supposed to be thinly chopped potatoes? The ones Deli News serves are more like their usual sliced (1/16? 1/8?) potatoes .. nothing special. Otherwise, they do try hard to please .. special orders seem to be the norm here, and the kitchen staff does a credible job.

I was mildly surprised how busy they were on a Sunday morning, smack dab in the middle of Labor Day weekend. Several of the usuals were there, along with several families with small children (what a disturbing trend!). Jill-Bob would hate the place for additional reasons: no cheese fries anywhere on the menu, and no beer.

Once, I asked why it's not named Deli News Also instead of Deli News Too, and didn't get a satisfactory answer. I smell a conspiracy. And it doesn't smell anything like real hash browns.

Speaking of The Saucer Crowd, only Tim, HayJax and I made it to Fish on Fire this past Friday. It's been open for several years and usually has a full parking lot, so a couple of us decided to give it a go. I had the [Wild-Caught Salmon Burger] which wasn't bad, although something other than French Fries would've been nice. It's casual .. reminds me of The Flying Fish in Addison a bit, except .. Fish on Fire kept the prior tenant's drive-thru window. It's the only seafood restaurant I know with such a feature*.
*Long John Silver's doesn't qualify; their "food" is mostly deep-fried breading with a little bit of fish/clams/chicken buried somewhere in the middle.
Meanwhile, there's this insignificant news item.