Sunday, May 31, 2015


I have been a fan of Cheez-Its since I was a kid. They were one of the few snacks that we had in the house when I was growing up. We didn't have potato chips or cookies around very often. Back in my youth there was not the plethora of snack foods that we have available today. Fewer choices was probably a good thing. The one snack choice I almost always had available was a handful of Cheez-Its. They were kept in the biggest of three glass canisters above the stove. The canister was big enough to hold a whole box so there was never an open box in the pantry. That also meant that I couldn't take the box to my room or couch. The canister was too big, heavy and breakable to lug around the house. That meant if you wanted some Cheez-Its you went to the kitchen and grabbed a handful or got a bowl and filled it. I was usually too lazy to do the bowl thing, so I consumed them a handful at a time. There was also another limiting factor and that would be Mom (and sometimes dad). The Cheez-Its were meant to be a treat, like ice cream or cookies or cake, and not a substitute meal. A few to tide you over until mealtime was OK, or a few after dinner and before bedtime. Funny, I have no memory what was in the other two canisters. Of course the picture below is all wrong. Everybody knows the largest jar belongs on the right and the small one on the left. 

In addition to the humans in the family, my dog's favorite treat was Cheez-Its, much preferred over dog biscuits. That glass canister that held the Cheez-Its was ground or sandblasted around the lid and rim of the jar. They were called ground glass canisters. It was almost impossible to remove the top silently. Every time anyone went for a snack my beloved dog was at the kitchen entrance looking very hungry and pleadingly. Believe me, she got her share. Cheez-Its were the reward my dad and I used to train her and teach her tricks. She learned quickly and well. She was my constant companion during my tween and teen years.  

Cheez-Its faded from my life after I left my parents home. They never left theirs. Anytime I went home there was that glass canister above the stove. Even when they finally moved into a retirement apartment the crackers were still there although the glass canister was gone. Both the grandsons had bowls of Cheez-Its served by Nana and Grandpa.

When my father lived with me in the last few years of his life I always had to make sure their were Cheez-Its in the cupboard. He didn't eat very many, but they had to be available when the urge struck. Once he was gone I stopped buying them on a regular basis. Maybe if I had a coupon or saw a new flavor I'd get a box. Often as not they would go stale before I finished the box. I'm not big on snack foods. I usually have some Triscuits and/or Wheat Thins around to eat with cheese dip. Sometimes I'll get a taste for chips and salsa or queso but not very often. The crackers and chips usually go stale before I reach the bottom of the box or bag. Thankfully I didn't inherit much of a snack or sweets gene.

So you ask, what brought this subject to mind? Well, Cheez-It has introduced a new line of snacks that are somewhere between the original cracker and chips. They are Cheez-It Crunch'd, a puffed version of the cracker. I had a coupon and they were on sale (my favorite combination) so I picked up a bag of the Hot & Spicy variety. They are in the chip section, not the cracker aisle. Well, these damn things are delicious. Flavorful, light, puffy, crunchy and just a tad spicy. I'm sure like most snacks I'll eat this bag and maybe buy one more. Then I will lose interest. That's my pattern. I'll see some new flavor of chips or crackers and give them a try. Even if I like them at first I'll grow tired of them or just not remember to buy them again. 

So, while I'm sure the new flavor and style of Cheez-Its will soon be gone from my pantry I'm glad it triggered some old and pleasant memories of that glass canister that sat on the shelf above the stove for all those years. I miss that glass jar full of crackers but mostly I miss the person who kept it full, my Mom.


Saturday, May 30, 2015

"Texas Rising"

Texas Rising is a TV miniseries on History (The History Channel). It is scheduled for five episodes, 10 hours. As the title indicates it is about the formation of what was to become the country of Texas then the state. It starts in the smoldering aftermath of the Alamo battle. 

Having lived in Texas for the past 30 or so years I was looking forward to this program. I watched the first two parts. All I can say is wow and not in a good way. As an entertainment vehicle it is pretty bad. It is fraught with stilted dialogue delivered badly. Bill Paxton, an actual Texan from Ft. Worth, plays Sam Houston but not very well. Jeffrey Dean Morgan plays "Deaf" Smith who somehow manages to always turn to the one talking so he can read lips and even hear when it fits the scene. There are a ton of stereotypical characters, some real historical characters and some invented. The bad acting apparently was very contagious and ran rampant among the cast. 

While parts of the scenery were beautiful, many of them were also unbelievable. The battle grounds looked unreal and staged. There were several artsy shots with mist, smoke, fire and sunlight used diffuse what the camera saw. 

The outdoor scenery also is not accurate. There are no mountains in the area around Goliad  and Victoria but there are some pretty big rocky ones in the show. I have been in that part of Texas and I immediately noticed it didn't look right on screen. I did some research and found that the series was filmed in Durango, Mexico. 

The second episode ends after the Goliad Massacre but before the Battle of San Jacinto. There are still three more two hour episodes airing on Mondays. The first two episodes are being repeated often on History so it will be easy to start at the beginning. I wouldn't bother.

So, this project started with a bad script, made it worse with bad acting, filmed in a location that does not match the real area and played very loose with the historical facts and characters. There is nothing to recommend it. I would have expected History to at least try to get the history correct. 

So the BillyJim47 rating for this ironically titled big mess is a solid "D".
View at your own risk.


Monday, May 25, 2015

Scattershooting 05-24-15

Scattershooting while wondering whatever happened to the great

Sunday's Summary

My incomplete recap of the week

During a walk this morning it felt very swampy. Saturated earth and sunshine makes for a steamy combination. So for ‪#‎MusicMonday let's have a little swamp-rock by those great purveyors of fish-head music, The Radiators. Here is Dedicated to You -

Nice walk this morning. There are tons of ducklings and goslings at Boys Ranch. There are warning signs at both ends of the Tara trail. Being a brave and fearless adventurer, I ignored the warnings and proceeded. The trail is actually in better shape than it was last week.

Geek stuff but interesting. I have been doing computer stuff since 1968 and the technology leaps are amazing.

Ironic that our Texas Republicans rail against the federal government interfering with states rights yet they see no problem overriding local rights, laws and elections.

The end of an era. Tonight (5/20) is the last episode of Late Show with David Letterman. I have watched Dave since he guest hosted for Johnny Carson and then started Late Night which aired after Johnny. I always watched him over Leno when they were on the air head to head. He was part of my daily viewing. Dave is the last of the late night hosts from The end of an era. Tonight is the last episode of Late Show with David Letterman. I have watched Dave since he guest hosted for Johnny Carson and then started Late Night which aired after Johnny. I always watched him over Leno when they were on the air head to head. He was part of my daily viewing. Dave is the last of the late night hosts from my generation. The new guys, Jimmy, Jimmy, Seth & James, don't do much for me. In fact they are often unwatchable. I'm hoping Stephen Colbert changes that. Thanks Dave for all the laughs. You will be missed.

I thought about it, but decided it seemed a little cramped -

Texas' iconic Waggoner Ranch for sale for $725 million

Good stuff from the Neville Brothers on Letterman.

The last Late Show with David Letterman was pretty damn good. No maudlin tears just the same irreverence we expect from Dave. Here is the whole last show.

This was a pretty damn good final top ten list. The Julia Louis-Dreyfus line is a classic.

Here is an appropriate ‪#‎SongSunday‬ selection for this Memorial Weekend. The Statler Brothers have been retired for over a decade and although this song refers to the Vietnam War it applies to all Veterans. Enjoy More Than A Name On The Wall -

The softball Gators win their super-regional and advance to the College World Series to defend their 2014 national championship.



Monday, May 18, 2015

Scattershooting 05-17-15

Scattershooting while wondering whatever happened to

Sunday's Summary

My incomplete recap of the week

As I watch all the flooding reports on the morning news I am thankful that I live across the street from Bedford Heights elementary school. There is a reason it has that name. I know because I have to go uphill to get home from all my bike rides or walks regardless of the direction. During these reenactments of the Noah's Ark story it is the best place to be. Hope all my D/FW friends are dry too.

For those of us who have lived with the drought conditions for the past few years this is amazing. Officials are warning some residents downstream from Lake Ray Roberts to be prepared to evacuate because the lake and dam may overflow. This is a 29,000+ acre lake that has risen 7½ feet in a week and 15 ft in the last few months. Mother Nature sure can turn a drought around in a hurry. We're fine for now mom, get to work on California.

Does this really surprise anyone who has seen the governor? Fugetaboutit.

Christie buys $300K of food & booze with NJ expense account

I've known Bono's Bar-B-Q is great since I was a kid. They come in #10 in this fan voted list of BBQ chains. Others on the list I've eaten at are #25 Dickey's, #20 Red Hot & Blue, #19 Woody's and #1 Sonny's. All good, but Bono's is my #1.
Time for breakfast after a long walk.

This could be dangerous.

Everyone Will Fill a Baseball Glove Flask With Gatorade, Right?

The sun has been out some today but it is still too wet to plow. This morning I walked through Chisholm Park and checked on the Aquatic Center rebuild. No work being done on the pools and water features. A couple of guys doing the brick/stone facade on one of the buildings. I'm betting they aren't ready to open by Memorial Day.

It appears that Firefox 38 has solved a long time problem on Linux Mint with playing DRM videos on Chrome or Firefox. I have always had problems with WatchESPN (ESPN3 & SEC+) when the feed was locked/restricted to those who had a valid cable/dish TV package. The feed would never start after I entered my credentials. As we speak, I am watching the Auburn @ Florida baseball game on SEC+ without problems, no hacks to make it work. I usually use Chrome, but I will gladly crank up Firefox to watch the Gators when needed. I just put Firefox in another workspace. I heard a rumor that Windows 10 will implement workspaces. Only about 20 years after Linux, longer than that for Unix.

Another music legend leaves us. The thrill truly is gone. RIP B.B. -

Congratulations to Adrian Beltre on his 400th home run.


For ‪#‎SongSunday‬ we go back fifty years. This was the number one song in the nation in May 1965. It was the second #1 tune by the great Beach Boys. One of my favorites back then and still is. Here is Help Me, Rhonda -

Very cool.

ASU player catches ball after being plunked


Thursday, May 14, 2015

Very Random Thoughts - April 2015

  • How come when you step on something barefooted on your home carpeting you can never find it? Doesn't matter how quickly you stop and go back, even if you think you haven't moved your foot.
  • My leftovers never come out to even portions. I usually have too much for one more meal but not enough for two.
  • Along the same lines. If you live alone get used to eating the same thing two or three times within a few days. 
  • According to one news analyst, Hillary Clinton has a complicated relationship with the truth. Exactly like every other politician.
  • There is a quote, I think attributed to Churchill - 

    "If You Are Not a Liberal at 25, You Have No Heart. If You Are Not a Conservative at 35 You Have No Brain." I must be backwards because I was conservative politically in my youth and now can't imagine why. Unfortunately fiscal conservatism and liberal social ideals can now no longer be mixed in the same person or party. 

  • There is a big difference between believing in something and thinking something is true. 
  • There seems to be an epidemic of police shootings and killings in the last few months. It is no different than it was a year ago, a decade ago or even a century ago, it's just on the news right now. There are lots of bad cops out there, either because they are incompetent, racists and/or bigots, power trippers or maybe criminals themselves. There are also many more good cops.
  • Wouldn't it seem prudent for Florida to be working to mitigate global climate change. Much of the state is only a couple of feet above sea level. Colorado can be a bit more cavalier.
  • Often "Conventional Wisdom" is not very wise or even true.
  • How can almost every race, religion, ethnicity, political party or group feel that they are persecuted and discriminated against? Somebody has to be wrong.
  • Is there any good reason that Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith are still on ESPN? Or anywhere on TV or the media?
  • Ever noticed that people who say "but I'm not complaining" always precede that statement with a string of complaints?
  • Where the hell does Superman change these days? There are very few phone booths and the public phones that are still around are those boxes on a poll. Is there an app for that? How about Superwoman?
  • I think I've mentioned this before, but it seems to be a requirement that when a TV reporter is on the scene for a live update that they find the least articulate person at the scene to make a comment. 
  • Why is it such a problem to find lethal injection drugs for executions yet doctors in Oregon do legally assisted suicides. Perhaps some stupid bureaucratic or court ordered BS. Or is it just incompetence?
  • Are legally assisted suicide laws really any different than DNR (do not resuscitate) laws? 
  • Would it be good or bad if human kids became self sufficient very early in their life like some species do?
  • Is it possible to label someone as judgemental without being judgemental yourself? 
  • Was wondering what the average number of "fight of the century" there are in a century. 
  • In sports after a player is injured we often hear that their return to action is "day to day". Aren't we all pretty much in that same situation? 
  • Do kids today even know what marbles are? How about yo-yos?


Monday, May 11, 2015

Scattershooting 05-10-15

Scattershooting while wondering whatever happened to the great 

Sunday's Summary

My incomplete recap of the week

Monday update. Just got the Android 5.1.1 OTA update this morning for my Nexus 7 (2013). Pretty small update, about 18 mb. Let's see how this works. I did have a few 5.1 glitches with WiFi and lockups.

This ‪#‎MusicMonday‬ song is a continuation of last week's theme when I posted Reminiscing by Little River Band and Traces by The Classics IV. This is the 1976 version by Marty Robbins which reached #1 on the Country Charts. Marty always had a fun when he performed. Here is Among My Souvenirs

And here is an earlier 1959 version by Connie Francis that reached #7 on the Top 100. The song was originally recorded in 1927 by the Paul Whiteman Orchestra - 

What's new in Bedford? A few observations from the past few days. There were kids in the pool this weekend, looked like the adults were staying on the deck. The Kroger flower tent is up in the parking lot, they probably need to build a permanent structure. Got my first mouthful of gnats this season, still taste terrible. The traffic circle at Cheek-Sparger/Central/Jackson is still a work in progress although you can now walk around it. The China Wok in the Kroger shopping center is now open, looks like standard Chinese fare. 

Euless has a new Dave & Busters. It's in the new development on the west side of 121 between Glade and Cheek Sparger. That's going to be a big shopping/eating area. I was by there a couple of weeks ago and none of the new buildings looked near completion. Guess I'll check it out again.

More stuff. New nearby customers for the new Dave & Busters.
Euless, Bedford agree on zoning for 37.1-acre multipurpose development

Hope you had a happy and safe Cinco de Mayo!
This is exactly what we need, more bowl games. 
Here is an unplanned music break. A certain old friend wanted a Golden Oldie this morning to get her day started. I picked this hit #1 from 1967 by Lulu that was also the title song of a Sidney Poitier movie which she was in. Here is To Sir With Love
This is the same song in 2007 by a then 58 year old Lulu. She still looked and sounded damn good to me.
Here is Lulu's version from 2010 on American Idol. This is not my favorite version. I think she fell into the trap of oversinging and overproducing that is the norm on Idol. Still not bad and she still looked fine.
Once every 25 or 30 years I splurge. Since I retired I usually wear sneakers or nothing mixed with flipflops or Topsiders. I have cowboy boots (required in Texas) and a few dress shoes left over from my working days for those special occasions. My Topsiders are at least 25 years old, maybe more. They have been worn thousands of times including a few times in the ocean. The tops are battered but still intact but the soles are fossilized and slippery, too slippery for my metal bike pedals. Today UPS delivered my new ones which cost substantially more. This could very well be the last pair I ever need. Maybe I'll have the old ones bronzed (kids, ask your parents or grandparents what bronzed means). Thanks for all the years of service old friends. 
Today (5/6) is Willie Mays' 84th birthday. He has been my favorite player since I was 4 or 5 years old when he was in New York. I think he is the best player ever and even if you disagree you have to admit he is among the top five. I feel lucky that I got to see him play live a few times when I lived in Atlanta. Another great player, Hank Aaron, was on that same field. Thanks Willie for all the joy you brought me during your magical career. Say Hey, Happy Birthday
While reporting on the rainstorms west of us and forecasting dire weather for us I heard a new term from our crack chief meteorologist. They are getting reports of hail size hail. Isn't pretty much all hail the size of hail. Maybe he meant hale size hail.
A sad day in baseball (5/7). Ass wipe A-roid officially passed the great Willie Mays for fourth place on the all-time home run leader board. Thankfully this didn't happen yesterday on Willie's birthday. 
I think my Nexus 7 (2013) just died. On power up it gets stuck on the Google logo. Tried a couple of recovery boots and a factory reset. Can't mount any directories. From all my research this usually means the motherboard is fried. Seems N7's are dying at a pretty good clip. Good job Asus and Google. Of course mine is out of warranty. Maybe tablet shopping is in my near term future. 

Happy Day to all Mothers. Thank you to the mothers of my two sons. Thank you to the mother of my two grandsons. Most of all thank you to my Mom. I wish I could tell you in person. I love you and miss you every day.
For this Mother's Day ‪#‎SongSunday‬ It seems appropriate to feature a song by my Mom's favorite singer. That would be the great Ella Fitzgerald. Mom had a couple of Ella's albums that she would play often. She would play them during the day so I would hear them after school or during the summers. Once dad got home from work the TV got turned on and the record player was off. Since the TV and big console record player were both in the living room it was an either/or situation. This reworked nursery rhyme was one of Ella's first big hits. It reached #1 in 1938. Here is A-Tisket, A-Tasket


Shania Twain - Still The One

I watched this concert on AXS Sunday night. It is the first of a sometimes Sunday nights country concert series. I thought this was a new concert as an introduction to Shania Twain's 2015 tour. In fact, it was a taping of her Las Vegas show at Caesar's Palace that she has been performing for the past two years. It runs for over 90 minutes.

This is a big lavish production with all the glitz of Vegas. It has elaborate sets, special effects, fancy lighting, costume changes, dancers, backup singers, many musicians and animals. It is not your grandfather's country concert. I guess Caesar's doesn't turn the big room over to someone with an acoustic guitar and a stool for two years. 

That's all OK, I am not a diehard old time country fan and I do like Shania. She has always straddled the fence between country and pop. Is she a country artist with pop influences or a pop artist with country influences. I think the answer is yes, it depends on the song. That's OK with me too. 

Shania flew in on a motorcycle for her entrance. It was coordinated with the huge video behind her. During the first few songs it was hard to tell if she was lip syncing or if it was just a delay in the audio system. The audio in these shows goes through all kinds of filters, special effects, computers and amps so sometimes there is a slight delay. Later in the show the sound and lips were on the same page. 

I won't go into the playlist, costume and set changes. Suffice it to say it was elaborate and well done. The supporting players were very good. This was a highly produced and rehearsed performance. Shania sounded good. She is not the most talented or powerful singer in the world nor is she bad singer. She does have an identifiable sound that works very well for the type of music she sings. Her vocal cord problems are behind her. I would be remiss if I did not mention that Shania is still absolutely gorgeous. She has been out of the limelight for about 10 years and will be 50 years old this year. She is aging very well.

I would recommend trying to catch this show if it is broadcast again or shows up on AXS on-demand. Here is a video of my favorite part of the concert. The horse is beautiful as is the rider. It is probably my favorite Shania Twain song and often shows up in my brain as an earworm. 


Sunday, May 3, 2015

Scattershooting 05-03-15

Scattershooting while wondering whatever happened to 

Sunday's Summary

My incomplete recap of the week

Where is Walter Cronkite when you need him?

NBC News finds Brian Williams embellished at least 11 times
If a MLB game is played without spectators is it really a ballgame? Wonder if they'll still have the PA announcer, walkup music, scoreboard graphics, etc. I assume the game will be on TV and radio. 
Not a great day for Gator Nation. Billy Donovan is one of the best coaches and people in sports. He will be missed in Gainesville. While I'm sad for the Gators lose, I wish Billy all the best and much success in the NBA. He is a class act. Thanks for 19 great years of Gators Basketball.
We lost another music legend yesterday. Ben E. King died at age 76. King sang with The Drifters before his long solo career. Here is his most famous song that reached #1 on the R&B charts and #4 on the Hot 100 in 1961 then reached #9 again in 1986 with the release of the movie by the same name. Besides being the recording artist, King co-wrote Stand By Me. RIP 
I just hope I'm still able to ride when this finally gets built.

Today (5/1) is the 24th anniversary of Nolan Ryan's 7th no-hitter, he was 44 years old. He has three more no-hitters than anyone else. Too bad the Rangers couldn't find a way to keep him here in the front office.
Also today (5/1) in baseball, Roid Boy Rodriguez hit his 660th drug aided home run thereby tying the great Willie Mays for fourth place on the all-time HR list. Officially the list is Bonds, Aaron, Ruth and Mays/A-Roid. My list is Aaron, Ruth and Mays. I feel privileged to have been able to see Hank and Willie play in person. They didn't use juice to achieve their records, just talent and hard work. 
Today is World Naked Gardening Day. If you are so inclined, get naked and plant a bulb. For those who are members of my generation, please put up warning signs before you start. Also, be very careful with the gardening tools and around bees, thorns and poison ivy. Happy Gardening.

Remember everybody, May is National Bike Month.
This tune came into my earbuds the other day when I was out walking. It is on my phone and comes on every so often but this time it hit home. It is one of my favorite songs. I love the message and I am a fan of Glenn Shorrock, the original lead singer of Little River Band (LRB). This song also always reminds me of another favorite song by another favorite singer. Look below for that one. LRB put out several good tunes in the 70's & 80's. This song reached #3 in 1978. For this ‪#‎SongSunday‬ I offer Reminiscing -
Here is the other song for this #SongSunday. It rose to #2 in 1969. It is by the Classics IV (who started in Jacksonville) with lead singer Dennis Yost. A great song -