Sunday, July 27, 2014

Scattershooting 07-27-14

Scattershooting while wondering whatever happened to the great

Sunday's Summary

My incomplete recap of the week

I haven't had this happen to me, but I have been buzzed, yelled and honked at and cut off at intersections. It's usually teenagers or rednecks (same maturity level) in a pickup truck. It amazes me how brave some people are when they are in a 5,000 lb. vehicle harassing a person on a 20 or 30 lb. bicycle or even a pedestrian wearing a 1 lb. pair of Nikes. Not sure if the truck in this video has a rolling coal modification or just a poorly maintained diesel. It does sound like crap. There are about 30 cyclist that this jerk smoked in the video.

Here's what happens when you follow an obscure sport. I set my DVR to record the 15th stage of the Tour de France (TDF). A fake golf tournament among old retired sports guys and some quasi celebrities with one of those wacky scoring systems (a point for this, 3 points for that, 6 points for something else, 107¾ points for a double quadruple eagle pigeon, etc.) was delayed by rain. So naturally NBC Sports preempted the premier cycling race of the year for a fake golf event.

The injuries keep on coming. Remember the strange situation of four catchers on the Rangers active roster? Well, we are down to three. Geovany Soto, who missed the first half of the season with knee surgery just got off the DL after the all-star break is back on the DL.
GO RANGERS! (to the infirmary)
Geovany Soto
These beverage containers for your bike are nice, but the beer caddy is $55 and the one for wine is $36. Genuine leather. That's a lot of money to carry PBRs or Ripple.

It appears that Facebook and the internet are able to survive without me. Because of circumstanced that were completely within my control, by choice, I have been mostly off the internet since Thursday. Just quick checks of emails and glances at other stuff. It was refreshing. Spent a few days with very good company doing fun stuff. Managed to come home from some Shreveport gambling with more money that I took. More than enough to pay for the meals, gas, etc. Always fun, but even better when you win.

Apparently my socks haven't thought this far ahead.

Let's have a duet for this #SongSunday. This song reached #1 in 1986. It was written by Burt Bacharach and his former wife Carole Bayer Sager. It turned out to be the biggest single ever for both singers. While both singers can tend to oversing at times, this number is more restrained. As a result it's a great rendition of a sad song with a well done video. Here is On My Own by Patti LaBelle and Michael McDonald.


There aren't too many blue laws left on the Texas books but this one hangs on. You can not buy beer or wine anywhere until noon on Sunday, 10:00 AM if it's with brunch. I needed groceries & beer so I had to wait until it got hot to ride to the store. Temperatures were bearable early this morning but damn hot by noon. My bike computer showed 107° on the way home from Kroger. Blue Laws can kill, repeal all Blue Laws.

I forgot to mention that after we got back from Shreveport we went to Matt's for dinner (after a dead battery adventure). Very good food, beverages and service once again. We forgot to ask for the senior discount and I'm sure our server didn't mention it because we look so young. We walked through Whole Foods after we ate. I was underwhelmed. Some good stuff, but nothing special except the higher prices. Looking forward to Sprouts opening in a few days.


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Scattershooting 07-20-14

Scattershooting while wondering whatever happened to the great

Sunday's Summary

My incomplete recap of the week

Well Rangers fans, this could be the best stretch of the season. Texas will not lose a game for the next four days. Enjoy the All Star break.


Finally got around to watching the premier of Extant, the CBS summer series starring Halle Berry. The best I can say is undecided. Not bad but not much watch TV either. Several stories going on this one. I guess I'll watch another episode before I make a decision on this one.

Once again the Prime Prep Academy is in the news and not for outstanding academic achievement. The school was co-founded by jerk, self-promoting, bigmouth Deion Sanders. About every six months the school shows up in the news, always for the wrong reasons. They are now threatened with lose of their Texas school charter. Here is Deion's articulate Tweet about the situation -
"Years of existence. In no form or fashion has me or my administration done any wrong regarding feeding or educating our students. TRUTH
— DeionSanders (@DeionSanders) July 15, 2014"

Apparently English and grammar are not priorities of the curriculum.

Good line by Jon Stewart tonight on The Daily Show while talking about the immigration issue. "We have always been a nation of immigrants who are against the newer immigrants."

There is a series airing on Encore Westerns called "Western Heroes of Gower Street" about the B movie westerns of the 1930's & 40's. The first one is about Roy Rogers. Old footage plus background information by film historians. Although I wasn't around in the 30's, I have seen many of these movies on TV. Good stuff.

The Colbert Report did a funny segment on our All Hat, No Cattle Governor Perry. The segment starts around 4:00 into the show, but there is also a funny line at the very top.

This may be a first. The Rangers currently have four catchers on their 25 man active roster. A couple of them are slated to play first base but it still is a strange roster. More proof of what a mess this season has been.

This is sad. It is becoming more obvious that Verizon is using it's power to squeeze more money out of the internet content providers. I'm sure Netflix isn't completely innocent either, but I think Verizon, my former employer, is mostly to blame here. Much as I bitch about AT&T U-verse, I hardly ever have buffering problems with Netflix on a much slower connection than the 75Mbps mentioned in this article.

I thought The Clymb was a shopping site for outdoor and sports stuff. Seems sometimes while you are outside you need to poop and The Clymb tells us how. One tip from me, avoid the pine cone option. I always thought that bears were the ultimate authorities on how to shit in the woods.


Let's go back to 1961 for today's #SongSunday. This is a song that reached #1 for three weeks that year. You can still hear it occasionally on oldie radio stations. It is the very strange The Lion Sleeps Tonight by the Tokens. I remember going to the Hendricks Ave. Youth Center (or was it called Southside Youth Center) after school with Joe Conselice. We would jump on a bus or hitchhike. There was a pool table in the room under the pool. We would shoot pool and listen to the juke box for an hour or so then catch a bus home. This song was on that juke box and we always played it, often multiple times. Fun times and a fun song. Wimoweh -

I may have missed the mark on #SongSunday. Today, July 20th, in 1965 Bob Dylan released Like A Rolling Stone which is recognized as one of the greatest rock songs. So here is a second song for this Sunday morning.

Oh joy. Went on the patio to fill the bird feeder and ran into a foul smell. It seems one of my doggy neighbors left a stinking steamy pile of poop about two feet from my railing. Bad news is we are back to the 90° days so it will stay steaming and stinking. Good news is it is back to 90° so I've closed the windows and turned on the A/C. Pick up after your dog you inconsiderate pet owners. Or teach them this trick.


James Garner - RIP

I'm very sad today. Another one of my favorite people died sometime yesterday. This is not a favorite person who I knew personally or one who I hung around with at school, the neighborhood, work or even the bar. No, this is a person I spent many hours with as a viewer of his movies and TV shows. He was pretty much around most of my life. He made me cry and he made me laugh, mostly laugh. Even when he made me cry I was glad I had spent time with him. I don't think he ever disappointed me. Sure, sometimes he was funnier or more compelling than other times, but he was always damn good. He even made bad scripts and production values tolerable.

Of course I'm talking about James Garner. We lost Jim on 7/19/14 at age 86. This is the worst celebrity death for me since Paul Newman passed in 2008 at age 83. They were easily my favorite actors of the last half of the twentieth century. A couple of others came close for a few years, like Burt Reynolds, but they all faded because of personal or career problems. Matthew McConaughey has a chance to be this generation's everyman star, but he is already in his 40's and has some strange behavior traits. James and Paul performed at a high level until the end. Neither had any significant scandals in their personal lives. They both had outside interests. They were both pretty boys but didn't act that way. Most importantly neither took themselves seriously but they took their work and responsibilities very seriously. Newman was married to Joanne Woodward for 50 years, Garner exceeded that by being married over 55 years to his first and only spouse, Lois.

I've probably seen most of the stuff Garner has done, both TV and movies. I am amazed that he didn't need to build a new wing on his home to store all his Emmy's and Oscars. He won one Emmy for Rockford and he never won an Oscar. He deserved many more. 

I am not going to recount James Garner's career here. There are plenty of articles and obituaries that have done that.

I have two questions for you - Did you ever see Jim give a bad performance? Would you like to sit down with him for a beer and a conversation? My answers are no, never and hell yes. Enough said.

At times even 86 years old is too young for some to die. Thank you for all the joy you brought to us Mr. Garner. You will be sorely missed. Have fun with Mr. Newman driving fast cars. Wish I could see that race. RIP.


Lazy Bike Ride Observations

I had a nice bike ride this morning. It will be the last day for our unseasonably cool snap. I went out at daybreak, around 6:30, and got back home about two hours later. It never got above 69° during the ride with light winds, perfect.

Here are a few observations from the ride.

  • Went by the new Whole Foods but they don't open until 8:00. You will all be happy to know that they have several bicycle parking spots. 
  • The Old Mayor's House has been torn down and the property is up for sale. Guess the folks at Next Wood Fired Bistro have given up on opening a new restaurant there although it looks like their garden is still going. 
  • Speaking of Next, they have finished their remodel and are open.
  • The new housing development next to the Colleyville police station has a street with entrances on Bluebonnet and right by the police station back gate. Looks like some utilities have been put in put still mostly a muddy mess.
  • Bluebonnet road is already showing damage from the heavy trucks going in and out of the new development.
  • The big house behind the Colleyville Center that usually has sheep mowing their large front yard has switched to cows.
  • Apparently the new Studio Movie Grill in Colleyville provides the neighborhood with music 24/7. The outdoor speakers were blasting at 7:00 even though the theater was closed. 
  • Stopped at Market Street for a cup of coffee, they open at 6:00. They have Peet's coffee & tea but my cup tasted bitter to me. Not a coffee connoisseur and I had a regular cup of joe, not the fancy stuff. 
  • Lotsa folks already at Lifetime Fitness Center by 7:15. Saw a couple of the Colleyville soccer moms in their cute little shorts, tank top, tennis shoes with pink shoelaces and pony tails going in. Nobody in the pool but a couple of guys on the tennis courts. By the way, they too have plenty of bicycle parking although there were no bicycles there. Lexus SUV's seem to be the vehicle of choice. 
  • Went by the donkeys' and llamas' house but they weren't out yet. The big pond at the house a couple of doors to the west had about 50 geese and a few ducks on the banks. Farther west I think I woke up a horse that was sleeping close to the road.
  • In spite of the fact that we had decent rain Wednesday night and Thursday, many sprinklers were going full blast. Several roads should be showing new growth since they too were being watered.
  • Seems every time I ride through the Colleyville neighborhoods there are more older homes for sale. These mostly medium size one story ranch style houses are disappearing fast. Once sold they are being replaced or significantly remodeled into McMansions. Often the property is divided and multiple McMansions with small lots are built. Is this progress? 
That's it for the morning ride. I probably need to head south or east or west for my next report.


Sunday, July 13, 2014

Scattershooting 07-13-14

Scattershooting while wondering whatever happened to the great

Sunday's Summary

My incomplete recap of the week

It's too bad Fox News doesn't have a review board for standards and balanced reporting. Same for MSNBC. Have no fear, as the BBC reduces access by climate deniers, I'm sure Fox will ramp up theirs.

Let's give credit where credit is due. It is almost impossible to allow the Houston Astros to score six runs in an inning. Well, the Rangers can do it. 

Be very careful around knives. I bought a new serrated knife yesterday. I came within a millimeter of slicing my finger when I was getting it out of it's packaging. No, no, I was never in danger from the knife blade. It was the damn industrial strength plastic it was encased in. Once cut with scissors that plastic is as sharp as the knife. It would probably be safer if we packaged the plastic in knives.
I think I want one. Would have loved this when I was growing up. We had some very tall pine trees in the back yard that would have been perfect anchors. Of course I would have had to dodge Mom's clothes lines. 

Watching Halle Berry on Letterman. In case you forgot, Halle is a fairly attractive woman.

Warning, do not go anywhere near 26 & Glade today (7/8). It is Opening day for the new Colleyville Whole Foods store. I expect every soccer mom in Colleyville to be there. I may stop by next week.

It's Softball Night in America. Big game tonight (7/9). This one could decide the league championship. Will WGTR bounce back after their lose last week? It's a rematch against the Broncos, the only team to beat WGTR in two seasons. 
Update - The boys  got back to their winning ways and are now tied for first place.
GO We Got the Runs!

Guess what day it is? No (7/10), we already past hump day. It's #TBT. Here are a couple of photos circa 1955 (maybe '54). It was the first trip my Nana Kelly made to Florida after we moved from New Jersey. In fact it was her first trip ever to Florida or anywhere outside the Northeast. Those of you who know my history may recognize two things here. The photos were taken at the Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine. I was obviously doing some early reconnaissance for later visits to the fort. The other is that I was apparently wearing cowboy clothes in preparation for my move to Texas in later years.

Because my Nana, Mom and Dad are dressed well, I would bet that we had lunch or brunch at the Ponce de Leon Hotel before going to the Castillo, mission and St. George St. Always loved St. Augustine.

As some of you may know, President Obama is in Texas and met with Governor Perry about illegal immigration. This is a serious problem but it seems that Perry, who has been in office since W's first term, forgets how old this problem is. This is not an Obama problem, it is an old national problem. Those of us who grew up in the south know that. I remember having thousands of Cuban immigrants/refugees back in the Eisenhower administration. BTW, here's the real problem, this sign should be in Spanish. The immigrants can't read it. They would stop for sure if they knew it was the US border.

Get the insect repellent out. A mosquito at Central & Cheeks-Sparger tested positive for West Niles.

This may come as a shock to those who remember me as a dominant NBA big man but I really don't give a damn where LeBron James plays basketball next season. I will admit though if I had a choice of Miami vs Cleveland I'd choose Florida. The less money and Cleveland choice indicates severe brain damage.

While it was only 99° officially (7/12), my patio thermometer was showing 101°. First time I've noticed triple digits this year although I did have a 105° reading one day last week on my bike. Direct sun and on a blacktop road. Welcome to Texas.

Like Dilbert, I made zero fashion decisions today.

I have lots of socks of which I have only two pair of dress black socks that are exactly the same. Last time I emptied the dryer I wound up with three of these socks. I can't remember if I have just lost a sock or just found one.

Let's try a little folk music for this #SongSunday. This is the 1964 song Four Strong Winds by Ian & Sylvia, whom many of you may not remember. They were a Canadian married couple that performed through the 1960's and part of the 70's until a divorce ended the duo. Tommy Ewart and I drove from USF in Tampa to Miami in his VW bug to see them perform in a small club in 1965 or 66. We stayed with friends or relatives of Tommy. The show was worth the drive. Enjoy -
Update - Tommy remembers that is was The Gaslight South Club in Coral Gables.

Here is the whole Ian & Sylvia Reunion Concert in 1986.


Thursday, July 10, 2014

Who Should Be The New Craig Ferguson?

Many of us are bummed that Craig Ferguson is leaving the Late Late Show. I may have a replacement. A little off the wall, but I think the fans of Craig would approve.

Craig is a recovering alcoholic and drug user. Craig is a Celt. Craig is a very proud naturalized US citizen. Craig is an energetic supporter of our troops. Craig is completely crazy. Craig is 52 years old.

My replacement candidate has all these same qualifications. He is a recovering alcoholic and drug user. He is a Celt. He is a very proud naturalized citizen. He is an energenic supporter of our troops. He is completely crazy. He is 55 years old. 

Any guesses yet? I think that last fact is a killer. Craig is 52, my candidate is 55. The networks always want to go younger. Jimmy Fallon was considerably younger than Jay Leno, Stephen Colbert is more than 15 years younger than Letterman. The one exception is Seth Meyers who is slightly older than Fallon but both are around 40.

The Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson was/is an oasis in the late night TV landscape. Letterman, Leno, Kimmel, Fallon, Meyers, Arsinio, Conan all did mostly the same show. A topical monologue, a comedy bit at the desk, an interview with a big star promoting their latest project, a lesser celebrity interview, maybe a comedian and a musical act. Craig hardly ever did a topical monologue but it was still funny. He didn't get the big stars and even when he did, he barely mentioned their big movie/TV show/tour/play/project. He often had on an obscure author or an international actor. He very rarely had a musical guest. 

Part of the difference between Ferguson's show and the others was the way CBS has treated that time slot for decades. They never have spent much money on the show. It started with Tom Snyder, two chairs, a table and a couple of ashtrays. The big difference was that Craig was different. He didn't seem to care how popular his brand of humor was. He wasn't concerned that the very good New Zealand author wasn't trending on social media. Craig was mostly funny and irreverent but when a serious guest came on with a serious issue, he showed great knowledge, insight and asked probing questions. For those that don't know, Craig Ferguson won a Peabody Award for his interview of Archbishop Desmond Tutu. The humor is bawdy and off center. Craig flirts with every woman who comes on the show and thankfully many play along and flirt back. He is also not afraid of dead air. An awkward pause is one of his classic bits. 

So, Mr. Ferguson is leaving and we need a new wacko. I think Stephen Colbert will be good as Letterman's replacement but I predict the show will be mostly a traditional late night show. Plug the network shows, get the big stars on to plug their movies, get the reality/social media bimbos on, have a musical guest. We need an off the wall non-conformist on the late night landscape.

Have any idea who my perfect but very obscure recommendation is? He already works for CBS. The scheduling may be a problem if he keeps both jobs, but it is possible. You can get a preview of his twisted mind (or lack of) now.

Still no guess? It is .................... David Feherty. He is an Irish born (Northern Ireland) US citizen with an extremely warped sense of humor. He hosts an interview show on Golf Channel so he has the basic talk show skill. He is not a professional comedian, but he has done monologues and is naturally funny. He is very curious about everything, as is Craig.

I know it's a stretch and I have no idea if David would even take the job if offered. That's my suggestion, what is yours? There have been no leaks from CBS so maybe I'm right.


Sunday, July 6, 2014

Scattershooting 07-06-14

Scattershooting while wondering whatever happened to the great

Sunday's Summary

My incomplete recap of the week

If anybody thinks we have heard the end of the Obamacare - Hobby Lobby (emphasis on lobby) situation, you are mistaken. The businesses and their lawyers will be pushing the limits of this decision for years to come. What parts of what laws must a corporation obey? It was a 5-4 decision today in favor of theocracy. Don't gloat, the next one may be 5-4 in the other direction. The line dividing individual freedoms vs. the good of society is always moving. As is the line between my freedoms and yours.

The only thing longer than a couple of innings of T-Ball is a NY Yankees game. Rays win in 12 innings.

So, good news they finally came out and recharged my AC today. Works great. Temp and humidity now bearable. Bad news, my inside unit is dripping condensation. Good news, that unit is in the ceiling above one of my bath tubs. It all drips into the tub. Other good news, I'm half deaf and probably won't be able to hear the drip, drip, drip... when I go to bed. Old age can be a blessing some days. Bad news, no answer at the office all afternoon. Left an online maintenance request on the complex web site. Very 2014.
UpdateWell they fixed the leak and also had to replace the door in the ceiling that covers the unit. The old one was a rusty, moldy mess. Unfortunately the less than great of our two maintenance guy did it after conferring with the more competent one. Pretty sloppy install and he trashed the bathroom. This guy moves at the speed of sloth. I'm going to hose down the bathroom now.
Update #2 - When I went to hose down the tub, I discovered that the idiot broke my shower head. Cracked the connection between the head and the hose.

A quick #TBT photo. Here is the 1956 Buick Beast that we had when I got my license. I drove it our sophomore & junior years. Solid white exterior with red & black interior. It had automatic transmission and an AM radio. That was it, no A/C, no power anything, steering, brakes or windows. It was a workout to drive and almost impossible to parallel park. I borrowed a neighbor's VW Bug to take my driving test in. The beauty of the Beast was that it could hold a large portion of our student body and often did. Anybody remember crowding into this classic car at a football game or at Bono's?

Happy Independence Day!

That was enjoyable. Spent the evening at and around the Bedford 4th Fest. The classic car show was a disappointment. Far fewer cars than past years although there was a 1957 Chevy Bel Air, the all time classic car. Then we saw top Bedford fire fighter Joe Lynn and had a nice conversation. Back to a very nearby neighborhood for beverages and a light dinner. Out to the driveway with chairs and cold beverages to watch the fireworks. There was a local opening act of fireworks in the Cul de Sac followed by the main act from the city. We were downwind from the launch site and were rained on by ash and embers. Kaboom!

Here is a timeless classic for #SongSunday. It is the Patsy Cline version of a song written by Willie Nelson. Amazingly this song was never a #1 hit but peaked at #2 on the country charts in 1962. Enjoy Crazy

We went to the relatively new Chop House Burger in Euless (121 @ Glade) for lunch today. This is not the same as Chop House Burgers (with an S in Arlington) We had the Chop House burger, Wine Country burger, truffle-parmesan fries and a couple of beers. Everything was good. The burgers look kind of small compared to the giant ones at other places but it was a little thicker than many and more than enough for lunch. My medium-rare burger came out more like medium-well but was still juicy. The fries are the small thin cut variety with crispy edges and ends. Just the way I like them. The menu is relatively small with only three choices for a beef burger plus a chicken, tuna, turkey or falafel version. The place was over half full on a Sunday around 1:00 PM. and the service was prompt and courteous. I'm sure I'll be back when I'm in the neighborhood.