Sunday, April 27, 2014

Scattershooting 04-27-14

Scattershooting while wondering whatever happened to the great

 Dick Groat

Sunday's Summary

My incomplete recap of the week

Good grief, the meteorologists on CBS11 have their jackets off. There are a couple of isolated thunderstorms southeast of Dallas. Had to change channels. Can't stand the hype about rain. BTW it's 82° and sunny at my place.

Damn, the channel 8 guy is coatless too, changed channels again.

Somehow the guy on FOX4 was able to do the weather with his jacket on and without the drama

Does anyone else find it ironic that Oscar Mayer has recalled hot dogs because they may contain cheese that is not listed on the ingredients. If you are eating hot dogs you obviously aren't too concerned about the ingredients. I can't wait to whip up some mechanically separated turkey and chicken for supper. Don't forget that pinch of sodium diacetate.
Oscar Mayer Classic Wieners -

Happy Earth Day (4/22). Hug a tree, conserve, reuse, recycle.

Last week was Navy Week here in D/FW. Kiss a sailor.

They were loading up the kitchen and bar equipment today (4/22) from the defunct Colleyville Cinema Grill. All the signs are already down. Wonder what will go into that big space? Two movie theaters have already failed in that location.

UpdateStudio Movie Grill is moving into the space and should open this spring.

Decided to eat lunch at Colleyville Town Center today before I did some grocery shopping. I had noticed a new place called Which Way. Didn't notice the first "h" and couldn't read the word pizza from across the parking lot so I thought it was a sandwich place. Nope, pizza, didn't want pizza. Went around the corner to McAllister's Deli which was fine. BTW, Which Way is not to be confused with Which Wich, which is a sandwich joint, in the same shopping center. How many which's and wich's are there in this story? I didn't see any witches.

More title bloat. Today (4/23) is Administrative Professionals Day which used to be Administrative Assistants Day which was once Secretaries Day. Whatever you call them, I had several damn good ones during my career. They saved my ass more times than I can count.

Time for #TBT. This edition consists of the angelic Mike Ryan and me. It's labelled Eucharistic Congress, Orlando, October 1959. I have many memories of being an altar boy but no recollection of this event and not sure exactly where the photo was shot. Mike and I were long time running buddies back then. A great guy. We didn't always dress this way. I don't know if I won or lost the coin toss for the lace surplice.

Time warp. Forgot I was watching something I recorded a few days ago. Paid attention to the severe storm weather bulletin until I realized that storm is long gone. Not the first time I've done this and probably not the last.

Not funny!

I have a bunch of juvenile sparrows visiting my patio. They are learning how to eat from the feeder or the ground but some still prefer mommy to feed them. Also some sibling rivalry going on. I think I have an additional new male cardinal too. Slightly different color and size than my old cardinal buddy. Fun to watch.

For your weekend planning. According to the professional chief meteorologist, if certain things happen we could have rain, if other things happen we could have severe storms and if still other things happen it could be worse or not as bad. Any rain also may occur early, late, both or not at all. Now I can lock in my weekend schedule.

Food for thought, if you are capable of that kind of brain activity -

Rode to the Target on Precinct Line today (4/25) and discovered two things. From the pedestrian bridge over Airport Freeway you can finally kind of figure out what it will look like when the construction is completed next year. The toll lanes are now defined in that area. Still a big mess though. The second discovery was Potbelly Sandwich Shop by the Starbucks. I had the Mediterranean:
Zippy Hummus, Feta, Artichoke Hearts, Crispy Cukes and
Roasted Red Peppers to which I added tomatoes, onions and hot peppers. Delicious. 

Just saw this in a Bed Bath & Beyond flyer. It's called a Chillsner® and costs $16.99. Nice idea, but a koozie is way cheaper (often free), more versatile and can sport a logo of your favorite team. What do you think?

We have a crisis here in Texas. I'm not sure if it is a real or manufactured crisis but it has our attention. There apparently is a lime shortage. Be it Mexican weather or Mexican drug cartels, there are fewer limes available and they cost more. Texas is dependent on limes for guacamole, Margaritas, fajitas and yes, Coronas with a lime slice for those who don't really like beer. I have four limes in the fridge and can't decide what to do with them. Should I use them like I usually do on a salad, as part of a marinade, in tea, a gin and tonic or some other consumption? Should I put them up for sale on eBay or put them in the safety deposit box? I'm thinking I'll probably just squeeze the suckers when needed. Lemons are not a good substitute.
Update: Today (4/27) limes were $1 each at the grocery store. A few days ago they were 5 for a $1. Real supply and demand or manufactured panic and hype?

Perfect -

Just watched an episode of This Old House. I always learn something from the show and am amazed by the skill of Tom Silva. If I had a bunch of money, I'd love to buy an old house and hire Tom to restore it. Maybe Norm could stop by to help out too.

From Twitter. God
Dress for the job you want, not the job you have. In many cases this will mean showing up to the interview in a pirate suit.
I should have tried this - aaaarrrrrrrrrggggggggg

I wonder how long it will be before folks begin bitching about the heat? We have officially reached 90° at D/FW today. The computer on my bike registered 98° in the direct sun. With the 25 mph winds I'm sure the wind/chill temp was only about 95°. BTW, I ain't bitchin', I love the hot weather but I could do without the winds.

If you haven't already, now is the time to switch to Chrome or Firefox.


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Why I Love Baseball Season

There are many reasons why I love the baseball season. In the next few paragraphs I'll let you know several of those reasons.

Always first on the list is that I love the game. I have always loved the game. I enjoyed playing when I was young, coaching when the kids were young and watching either live or on TV all my life. I have memories of watching baseball games on a gigantic black and white TV that probably had a 7" or 9" screen. That was back when I was under six years old and living in the metro NYC area. There were three teams in New York back then and it seemed one of the teams was almost always on TV. There were a lot of day games back then. Besides leading the nation in major league teams, NYC had the most TV stations. Atop that 9" gigantic TV was a set of rabbit ears antenna that picked up all the NYC stations, some of which were actually in New Jersey. I have no recollection of specific games, just a general memory. At the very end of my time in the NYC area Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays were just breaking in. Duke Snyder in Brooklyn was a little older. Three all star Hall of Fame center fielders in the same city. Somehow Willie Mays caught my attention and I became a huge fan. I still believe he is the best overall baseball player ever.
What is ironic, or maybe how it's supposed to work, is that my dad was a die hard Yankees fan. How could my favorite player be Willie Mays who played for the Giants? Somehow I carried those foggy images of Willie throughout my life. Of course I saw him on TV occasionally on the game of the week or an all-star game after we moved to Florida. Thankfully I did finally get to see Willie play in person when I moved to Atlanta in the late 1960's, first with the now San Francisco Giants and finally with the New York Mets. The fact that I got to see my favorite player on a fuzzy TV when I was four or five and then in person in my early twenties was great. It's another reason I love baseball. 

The first twenty years of my major league experience was mostly watching on TV with the occasional live minor league game. I had gone to a few MLB games live, but it was an event. That changed when I moved to Atlanta in the late 60's. I was able to go to several games each season. As many of you know, there is no comparison between a live game at the ballpark and one on TV. That Atlanta team I watched included a fair ballplayer by the name of Hank Aaron.
When I moved to Texas I had a new MLB team in the neighborhood. Not a particularly good team and not a particularly good stadium. I didn't really care. I was now able to go to a MLB game any time I wanted. There were no sellouts for the Rangers back then. I could get a cheap ticket for a good seat for almost any game on game day. The old ballpark was a mess but it sure was fun. There were usually about 10,000 fans there on a good night. Even that small crowd could overwhelm the concessions and restrooms. The whole bottom level of the stadium was often flooded.  Back then we went to games to drink beer and see the opposing team's stars since there were no stars on the Rangers.
Arlington Stadium

In the early 90's the Rangers got better. Not playoff better, but respectable. Nolan Ryan came to town to pitch. Supposedly an old man he managed to throw two more no-hitters (7 total), get his 300th win and 5,000th strike out. A young buck catcher named Ivan (Pudge) Rodriguez also joined the team. Maybe the best catcher to ever play the game and a joy to watch. 

The next chapter includes the new Rangers Ballpark in the middle 1990's and continued improvement of the team. It was a team with several Latino stars which played well in D/FW. The new ballpark was beautiful. Then came playoff baseball. The Rangers kept running into the Yankees in the first round so our post-season ended early. It was during this time that my youngest son caught the baseball fever. He and I went to Rangers games where he got to see his favorite player, Pudge Rodriguez. We also went to a few pre-season open house fan days where he got to see the locker room, hit in the Rangers batting cages and run the bases. He's became a fan forever. There is nothing better than going to a baseball game with your son, regardless of their age.
Rangers Ballpark

Finally in the 2010's the Rangers got to the World Series twice, but fell short. It was exciting. The whole area was pumped. I went to a couple of playoff games and the stadium was rocking.

Besides the live enjoyment, I love baseball season for the TV broadcasts. Since I get every Rangers game on my local cable Fox Sports SW, local TXA 21 or some national broadcasts on ESPN, MLB.TV or Fox, I have something enjoyable to watch every night. This is reality TV that is actually real. On the few nights the Rangers don't play or when they have a day game, there is usually another game on. I always watch the game live and record any other stuff on TV that I may want to watch later. During the game I have time to read, do computer stuff or any number of other things.

I almost always read, write or do some other activity when I watch TV. Baseball broadcasts are perfect for this. If needed I can mute the TV and still keep track of what's going on. I can even tune out for a couple of innings and catch up later.  

Baseball has given me joy for many, many years. I fully expect that to continue for at least a few more years. I'll watch any baseball game I come across from T-ball to the major leagues. You will never see any two games that are the same. Even after watching thousands of games you are apt to see something for the first time. There are hundreds of nuances to the game.

So, take me out to the ballgame. 


Sunday, April 20, 2014

Scattershooting 04-20-14

Scattershooting while wondering whatever happened to the great

 Nellie Fox

Sunday's Summary

My incomplete recap of the week

Will have to try this. I cook brown rice all the time and sometimes it is too al dente, too gummy or a little scorched on the bottom. Don't know how this method would work if you want to add other ingredients, herbs or spices while cooking the rice. Seems flavors wouldn't blend or concentrate as well. Chef William will be reporting back soon.

Update -  I tried this and the brown rice turned out great. Tender, separated and fluffy. Followed recipe exactly. Still have to figure out how to add flavors and ingredients. I usually cook brown rice in chicken stock when I use the normal method. ~ Chef William

Today's #TBT is a double header. On the top is my folks first house in Jacksonville circa 1954. Note the classic 1946 Pontiac in the carport. The house was green when we moved in but within a couple of years it got painted pink and stayed that color for the next 40 years. The one on the bottom is my first house in Valdosta circa 1975. That's a classic early 70's orange Datsun in the driveway. I think my green Vega is in the garage.

Saw a story on CBS 11 news about Bishop Michael Olson and Ft. Worth Diocese for Good Friday. He was celebrating the stations of the cross.

Another example of the lack of common sense in corporate America. The guy should get a raise and promotion, not be fired.

Looks like I'm safer biking here in the D/FW area than I would be back in my old hometown of Jacksonville. Somehow I survived my childhood going everywhere on my bike in Jax., even to the beach.

A reasoned take on the our climate by Ed Wallace -

The Day After Tomorrow

Went to the bike store today and then grabbed a Philly cheesesteak to go at the new Fred's Downtown Philly in the same shopping center. It's a casual order at the counter place with about 10 tables. They have a ton of sandwich and burger choices besides the cheesesteaks. Pretty good sandwich. Carlos was very friendly. I'll be back to try some other selections especially since I somehow find myself at the bike store so often. Give it a try at Harwood and Norwood on the Hurst-Bedford border.

On a morning walk today to Boys Ranch I saw two T-ball games, which is normal, and a modified cricket match, which is not normal. The cricket match was taking place on the tennis courts with about eight teenagers. They had the bat and the wickets but no pads and obviously not a proper playing field. Does Bedford need an official cricket field?

Lik-M-Aid for adults -


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Spendthrift or Tightwad

Are you a spendthrift or a tightwad? Probably like most people you are both. I know I am. It all depends on the circumstances. It's funny how we will freely spend money, even overspend, on some things and then begrudge spending on others. There are dozens of words and phases to describe these behaviors. Words like cheapskate, penny-pincher, skinflint, scrooge, miser, etc. On the other side there is squanderer, high roller, big spender, extravagant, etc. Spendthrift itself is one of those words that sounds like it should mean the opposite of what it does, like inflammable. 

Not only do each of us have some spendthrift and tightwad in us, but the different behaviors change over time. What we would willingly spend money on ten years ago may no longer interest us. Something that we once thought was a waste of money may now be one of our big expenditures. That hot expensive car you had to have at all costs gives way to a practical sedan later in life. Of course it may change again back to a flashy sports car even later in life.

I'm sure we are influenced by how we were raised. Was our family poor, middle class or rich? What was our parents' attitude and tendency toward money? What was the culture of our ethnic and social background? My generation's parents lived during the Great Depression. That made most of them very careful with their money overall but didn't necessarily stop selective extravagances. 

A big change in our spending lives occurs when we have kids. Not just the essentials like diapers and baby food but all the other stuff. Do we buy a utilitarian crib or the deluxe model? Do we get baby furniture and a few hundred toys that will never be used? Do we buy baby clothes at Walmart or a baby boutique knowing the baby doesn't care and will outgrow them in a few weeks? I suspect most of us overspend on our children, especially the first one. It's even worse with grandparents. It can be a huge expense if the kids are involved in sports. It can vary from as simple as a t-shirt, shorts and a pair of sneakers for some sports all the way to thousands of dollars for equipment, travel and private coaching for others. Have you ever been to a big youth softball or baseball tournament in the summer? The uniforms are top notch, the equipment is pro level, some of the coaches are professionals and the parking lot is filled with big, fully equipped recreational vehicles and tents. Were the parents even interested in the sport before little Bobby or little Bonnie started playing?

As our interests and hobbies change so does our spending. In my twenties I spent considerable dollars on photography equipment. For various reasons that hobby faded and I haven't owned more than a cheap point and shoot camera, until smartphones, for thirty years. I also didn't spend any money on bicycles, except for kid's bikes, until about eight years ago. I bought a relatively inexpensive bike, started riding and then became addicted. I now own two more expensive bikes, accessories, clothing and tools. I can't go into a bicycle shop without buying something even if I don't need anything. There are also things I hate spending money on. Some items I always look for the cheapest choice available if I can't avoid the purchase entirely. 

Frugality can also have other reasons. I enjoy scouring the grocery store ads and using coupons. However, I hardly ever look at other sales or take advantage of discounts for non-food shopping. I can think of no logical reason for my behavior. I can't tell you how many times I've had a restaurant coupon that has been left at home. I've even remembered to take the coupon into the restaurant only to forget to give it to the server or cashier. I usually realize my mistake on the way home. Yet I know some people who almost always go to restaurants based on a coupon or discount special. 

We all know people who will never pick up a dinner tab or buy a round of drinks. Those who have to pull out the calculator to split up the lunch check so they don't pay a penny more than their share. People who never tip more than the exact low side percentage they think is required. We probably all also know people who pick up every meal or drink tab and tip generously. What we may not know is that the one who appears to be cheap may make large donations to charities and the high roller may never take his family for a nice meal or vacation. 

It's just one more thing that makes us all different. Think how boring life would be if we all behaved the same.

So, what do you splurge on and what do you scrimp on? Is it different now than it was a few years ago? 


Sunday, April 13, 2014

Scattershooting 04-13-14

Scattershooting while wondering whatever happened to the great

 Eddie Matthews

Sunday's Summary

My incomplete recap of the week

Does anybody else find it ironic that the Duck Commander 500 was postponed due to rain. 

Another reminder of getting old. Last week it was the Rangers ballpark turning 20 years old. This week it is the IBM 360 computer line turning 50. April 1964 was the introduction. I started working working on them in April 1968.

For the third time this baseball season, the barely ranked #25 Gators beat the highly ranked #1 Seminoles. Tonight it was 8-0 in Tallahassee. 

The PBS program NOVA Inside Animal Minds: Bird Genius on Wednesday, 4/9 was fascinating. Animals are way smarter than we realize which probably means we aren't nearly as smart as we think we are. Available online.

Mother's Day and First Communion at Assumption. Mom and I in the back yard before going to church. #TBT — in Jacksonville, FL

While looking for a #TBT photo for today I came across this. Anybody remember these?

For all of you youngsters, it's the negatives from a Kodak Disc camera. They were around in the 1980's.

Proof that CBS made the right, I mean correct, choice.

This is information about the GM ignition switch problem that I have not seen on any of the numerous news reports. Sheds a little different light on the issue.

This should piss you off. The IRS has to pay Microsoft millions of our tax dollars for XP support. Maybe we can just send our tax payments directly to MS.

IRS tastes its own medicine, will pay Microsoft millions for Windows XP support