Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Charter Communications Missing Channels Solution

Well. I've had me a day. It started with dealing with an off shore WaMu bank customer service center that specialized in gibberish.

It ended, well, it's not quite the end of the day yet, but by late late afternoon I'd solved my problem with Charter Communications lack of communicating as to why I can no longer watch Bravo or TCM.

Oh, Charter had explanations. But they were GIBBERISH.

So, this guy knocks on my door. He's from AT & T. Selling their new cable tv, phone and internet service. He quickly made quite a good case as to why I should dump Charter.

The number one thing that sold me is when the guy said AT & T does not use off shore customer support because they don't want to piss people off, they want to create good word of mouth. Like this blog.

Come October 14, AT & T will show up here and will install DVR's for 2 TV's. Converter boxes for 2 TVs. The Internet connection stuff and anything else needed. For way less than I've been paying that inept Charter Communications.

Once I'm up and running with my new AT & T system that is gonna be one fun call to Charter overseas to tell them I'm cancelling their crappy service.

America Not Number One In Alcohol Consumption

This afternoon I came across a list from the World Health Organization ranking the World's countries by how many liters of pure alcohol are consumed per capita per year in each country.

The United States did not do too well on this list. We aren't even in the Top 40. Little Luxembourg is the World's top consumer of booze at 15.56 liters per capita per year. The United States is #43 at a measly 8.44 liters. Luxembourg drinks almost twice as much as we do.

Australia drinks more than we do, coming in at #38 with 9.02 liters per. It's not much of a shock that Russia is drunker than us, #27 with 10.32 liters. France is drunker than the Russians at #17 with 11.43 liters. The United Kingdom almost cracked the Top Ten at #11 and 11.75 liters.

I guess it is no great surprise that the Irish are #2, drinking 13.69 liters of pure alcohol per capita per year.

America's neighbor to the north drinks less than we do, #50 with 8.00 liters. Maybe the Canuch's relative sobriety is due to excessive beer consumption with its lesser amount of alcohol than something like vodka.

Our neighbor to the south is way more sober than even the Canadians, coming in at #96 and only 4.50 liters per capita. Maybe the Mexicans don't drink their tequila and save it all for export.

It's a 4 way tie for most sober country at #197 and 0.00 liters of pure alcohol consumption per capita per year. The 4 totally sober places on the planet are Bangladesh, Somalia, Saudi Arabia and, this one is a surprise, one of the American territories, the United States Virgin Islands. I find that hard to believe.

You can look at the entire list by going here....

Washington Mutual Aggravation, Part II

I called Washington Mutual this morning. Once again, like I said yesterday, their account verification system is haywire. After a couple tries it gave me a hit #2 option to access a live banker.

I did so and got an Indian, I think, by Indian I don't mean Native American.

I explained the problem with them assessing a fee on a returned check that should not have been returned. I had to repeat myself multiple times due to each time the live Indian banker missed the drift.

Eventually he put me on hold. When he came back on he told me he was transferring me to his assistant manager, Eric.

I got to explain the problem again. Eric sounded as if he might have been an American in America. Eric eventually concluded the 2nd $12 fee was a mistake and he'd credit it back. I once more asked why the check was returned to the WaMu account on which it was drawn, with that account having plenty of money to cover the check. Eric said it did appear that that should not have happened. But that he couldn't verify it without seeing the other account.

Since I had that other account's verification info Eric agreed he could look at it. He did so and saw that 2 checks had been deposited on the 19th. But that he'd have to talk to his manager to figure out why the check drawn on that account was returned on the 25th, which, maybe coincidentally, was the day WaMu was taken over by the Feds.

Eric said he'd call me when he had an answer. So far, no call, and no crediting back to the 2nd account of the erroneous fee.

I hate banks and offshore customer support centers.

Chesapeake Energy's Rape of a Neighborhood

Yesterday I blogged about the damage being done by Chesapeake Energy to Scott Avenue in East Fort Worth, adjacent to the Tandy Hills Park Natural Area.

This morning I had incoming from Don Young, with pictures, on the same subject.....

Using the word "rape" as a metaphor should always be done sparingly and with sensitivity and only when people have grown numb to reality. In the case, I believe it is an apt word to describe the violence inflicted on the people whose lives are impacted by the action depicted in these photos. There is no better metaphor to express the sense of violation committed by Chesapeake Energy on this neighborhood and these extraordinarily rare and scenic prairie hills.

I urge you to come see for yourself what the City of Fort Worth has allowed to happen, once again, in east Fort Worth. The city staff, under the direction of Mayor Mike Moncrief, was presented with a clear choice: Deny the permit and risk a costly lawsuit or protect people and neighborhoods. In other words, enforce existing zoning regulations. No one said it would be easy or without risk. At the end of the day they chose to side with Chesapeake Energy and a handful of mineral owners.

Moncrief and staff did so with full knowledge of the negative impact to the neighborhood and nearby Tandy Hills Natural Area. They did so knowing that Chesapeake has plans to expand the drill site and add dangerous pipelines to the mix. Once again, they failed to do the right and honorable thing.

This latest attack should be more than enough reason to enact a moratorium on all new permits for gas drilling operations. Regardless of where you live in Fort Worth, this should concern you.
But, just being concerned does nothing. You, dear reader, must take direct action. Time is running out. Visit
FW-Credo.org to learn how you can make a difference.

Also, if you will, let Mayor Moncrief hear from you:

Don Young
P.O. Box 470041
Fort Worth, TX 76147

"God bless Fort Worth, Texas. Help us save some of it."

Monday, September 29, 2008

Washington Mutual Aggravation

When Washington Mutual, affectionately known as WaMu, went under last week we were assured this would cause no problems for existing account holders.

I beg to differ.

I have 2 WaMu accounts. On September 19 two large checks from the State of Texas were deposited.

A small check for only $100 was drawn on the first account and deposited into the 2nd account, that being the account I use for things like PayPal that I don't want to keep a lot of money in.

Today, September 29, I got a letter from WaMu telling me that I'd been assessed a $12 "Returned Deposit Item Fee" due to there being insufficient funds in the 1st account, that being the one in which a large deposit had been made 2 Friday's ago.

I then looked at my account online to learn I've been assessed a 2nd $12 fee which has been deducted as well as the original $100 check, which had been credited, but has now been debited from the 2nd account.

So, the other account, which has plenty of $ in it to cover the $100 check, has not had an overdraft fee or notice generated. So WaMu is charging the 2nd account a total of $24 dollars, claiming, even on the second attempt to run the check through, that there were still insufficient funds. Even though I could see, online, that there were.

Since it's all my money, I still have the $100. It just never left the 1st account. But I'm out the $24 in the second account. Which I'm fairly certain will be returned when I call and complain tomorrow.

The WaMu meltdown occurred right when this problem reared its ugly head. I suspect there is a connection.

When I opened the letter from WaMu I thought I'd just call them, since any other time there's been a problem they quickly fix it. Well. You call the toll-free number and get greeted with a cheery voice welcoming you to WaMu, now a proud part of Chase Bank. I was then asked to enter either my account number or the number on my debit card.

I tried the debit card first. Entered that, though it strained my eyes. Then I was asked to enter the last 4 digits of my S.S. card. Did so, to be told they didn't match. I was then asked to try again. Did so. Same result. Tried again, this time switching to the account number. Same result.

It was starting to annoy me, so I kept at it, a total of 7 times before I gave up. There is no way I incorrectly entered the numbers 7 times. Any other time I've called WaMu I instantly get through.

I've got the direct local number of my local WaMu guy. It was past banking hours. He'll get a call in the morning. I hope it doesn't make me cranky. If it does I guess I'll be joining all those other people who have withdrawn a total of multi $billions from WaMu, which is what hastened the meltdown and the Federal takeover.

A Comic Natural Gas Water Well Explosion

Incoming Barnett Shale natural gas drilling ruining the water supply humor from Don Young....

State Fair of Texas Comments and Questions

I keep getting a lot of questions about the State Fair of Texas, many of which I don't know the answer to. Some of which I do.

General Admission is $14. Kids under 48" get in for $10. If you are 60 or older it is also $10. Kids 2 and under are free. 60 and over is free every Thursday.

You can buy your Fair tickets at Kroger at a discount. Both General Admission and Season Passes.

The Fair opens at 10 am and closes at 10 pm on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday. On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursdays the Fair closes at 9 pm.

Official Fair parking is $10.

On Saturday and Sunday you can take the DART train to the Pearl Street Station where the State Fair provides shuttles to the Fair. The rest of the week DART isn't such a good option.

You can bring backpacks and food to the Fair. You go through a light security check at entry. It's not as bad as airport security.

I don't know if there are viewing screens outside the Cotton Bowl for fairgoers who just can't miss that Red River Shootout football game between Texas and Oklahoma. RV parking passes are available online. The only overnight RV parking is the night of the infamous football game. Why you would want to drag your RV to the Fair, but not to stay overnight, I do not know.

RV Parking with no hookups is $200. With electrical hook-up it's $275. If you are dragging a vehicle behind your RV it's another $75.

The Chevrolet Main Stage is free. You can see Jessica Simpson and Kellie Pickler there, among others who aren't familiar to me, like Michelle Branch, Jordan Pruitt, Kevin Fowler, Rodney Atkins, Bell Biv DeVoe and others.

The Midway operates on a slightly different time frame than the rest of the Fair and can shut down during bad weather.

I got a comment this morning on the YouTube video I made of last year's visit to the State Fair of Texas. I think it was from a little girl, judging by the syntax and the Internet nickname of diannadidi....

"i like state fair its awesome i like going on the log ride,going to aquaium,and going to see big tex!"

Chesapeake Energy's Destruction of Scott Avenue

Chesapeake Energy has begun its invasion of the Tandy Hills Park Natural Area Zone.

After Hiking a little bit on the Tandy Hills today I drove a couple blocks to look at Scott Avenue. That's the street that Chesapeake Energy wants to run a pipeline under homeowner's front yards. And use as the access point to the drill site.

There were multiples of the sign you see in the photo all along Scott Avenue. This particular one in the photo was in front of a house that also had a homemade sign to the left that says "NO GAS WELL ON SCOTT AVE."

Too late, the gas well appears to be on its way. There were several of what looked like abandoned homes on Scott Avenue. Many of the houses are quite large and of interesting design.

Scott Avenue already looks pretty messed up. I can see why those who live there are not feeling the love from the Barnett Shale that they are told to feel when they see Fort Worth buses. The worst hasn't even started. They have the drilling noise to look forward to. Then all those trucks breaking up the road and spewing a lot of dust. And after all that fun a pipeline will be run under their yards to carry non-odorized natural gas.

Back at Tandy Hills Park something odd has been constructed. It is near some playground type stuff, like swings. It appears to be a fence. But what does it fence in? Nothing. It is not perpendicular to the road, but at an angle. Why would the strapped for cash city of Fort Worth build this thing?

The only thing I can think of is it going to be a sign. I suspect Chesapeake Energy has paid the city of Fort Worth and are installing a sign telling the locals about the virtues of the nearby destruction of Scott Avenue. That should go over well...

Sarah Palin Saved From Witches By African

Well. Another surprise from Sarah Palin that I thought couldn't be true when I first heard it. But then, in my defense, my skepticism was heightened by the way the person telling me this worded it.

As in "Sarah Palin had some African cast a spell on her to keep her safe from witches."

The real story isn't quite that ridiculous sounding. Quite.

Three 3 years ago, Sarah Palin was in her Wasilla church where a visiting Kenyan pastor prayed for her protection from "witchcraft" in her run for office.

A video of this is on Sarah Palin's church website. Of course, the video is now going viral on the Internet in various forms, one of which you can watch below. The video shows Ms. Palin standing in front of Bishop Thomas Muthee in the Wasilla Assembly of God church. She holds her hands open as the preacher asks Jesus Christ to keep her safe from "every form of witchcraft."

"Come on, talk to God about this woman. We declare, save her from Satan," Muthee prays as two other guys place their hands on her shoulders. "Make her way my God. Bring finances her way even for the campaign in the name of Jesus. Use her to turn this nation the other way around."

The anti-witchcraft ceremony took place October 16, 2005. Sarah Palin formally announced her bid for governor 2 days later.

The Assembly of God is a Pentacostal church. I need to look that up. Seems like I remember nutty and Pentacostal going together before.

Sarah Palin Charged Victims For Rape Exam Kits

This morning I was talking to a New York Times reader about the Sarah Palin ongoing in-over-her-head meltdown. I was told that the New York Times had an article about Sarah Palin's town of Wasilla charging rape victims for the exam kit that police use to gather evidence.

I thought this was ridiculous. That it couldn't be true. But it was in the New York Times. That's not like some tabloid or the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. The NY Times is a respected, by many, real newspaper.

Googling quickly provided proof that this bizarre story is true.

After Sarah Palin became mayor of Wasilla, Alaska she did some budget slashing. It was decided to pass the costs of rape exams off to the victims. The exam kits cost ranges from $500 to $1200.

Sarah Palin also believes that an abortion should not be allowed for a rape victim.

Meanwhile, this charging the victims for rape exam kits became such an embarrassment to the rest of Alaska that the state legislature passed a law to stop it.

I thought, Wasilla is a little itty bitty town, how many rapes can there be in that little town? Well, apparently quite a few. Alaska's sex assault rate is America's worst, 2 and 1/2 times the rate for the other 49 states.

The Huffington Post has a good article about this Sarah Palin embarrassment.

Texas: Love It Or Leave It

Except for the last paragraph I could have written this letter to the editor that was in this morning's Fort Worth Star-Telegram. It's the Mike Moncrief addition in that last paragraph that vexed me. Fort Worth's corrupt mayor is part of what makes Fort Worth delightful and the fact of him being in Fort Worth is proof that it ain't all bad? That's perplexing. But all that came before that in this letter made sense.....

I was warned but am still surprised

I guess the reason I find the discourse in the Star-Telegram so incredible is that I am a relative newcomer to Fort Worth and to Texas.

I had been told (actually warned) about the “love it or leave it’ and “my country right or wrong” attitudes, the purposeful intermingling of church and state to achieve the religious right’s ends, the pervasive waste of resources here (i.e., pick-up/SUV heaven) and the general disdain for the less fortunate (just look at Texas’ ranking on any measure of commitment to social or educational services).

Whether the natives know it or not, Texas has, and continues to embellish, a well-deserved reputation as the most insular, regressive and politically inane state in the union.

What put me over the top was an article in the Sept. 22 paper about
abstinence-only sex education, which said that, although Texas receives more federal money than any other state, it shares the highest teen birth rate in the land with New Mexico. Forget that every objective study indicates abstinence-only sex education is blatantly ineffective; this thinly veiled effort by the religious right to ignore both science and truth (while, incidentally, spending $20 million tax dollars) is a sham and a shame.

If we’re serious about making any headway against teen pregnancy and STDs, abstinence must be taught in conjunction with contraception.

To end on a happier note, Fort Worth is a delightful place to live, and any town that can claim Bob Schieffer, Dan Jenkins, Mike Moncrief and the Carter and Bass families can’t be all bad!

— Rufus Schriber, Fort Worth

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Eating Like An Armadillo

I've been seeing a lot of armadillos at Village Creek Natural Historical Area. Yesterday while walking and today on my bike. They are sort of cute. Tootsie Tonasket thinks she wants to bring one home from here as a pet. Yesterday Mr. Ed picked one up and put it down on its back. The armadillo then rolled over and let out a squeaky bark noise and ran off. They can move pretty fast.

This morning I wore long pants for the first time in Texas since last winter. I went to Wal-Mart early, after swimming, even earlier.

The long pants are these Wranglers I bought up in Washington at the Shelton Wal-Mart the summer before I moved here. I thought I'd gotten the right size but when I got home I could barely get them on. They were not wearable. Then I thought I'd make these my fat pants. I knew I wanted to be skinnier so as to suffer the heat of Texas more bearably.

My goal was to be able to wear these Wrangler pants by the time I moved to Texas.

Well, that did not quite work out. Yes, by the time I moved I was able to wear them. But it was not comfortable.

Now. 10 years later, this morning, I found out that I can't wear my Wrangler Fat Pants anymore without a belt, lest I have yet one more Droopy Pants incident. And they are very comfortable. As in I could wear these on a plane.

So, this morning I found I'd lost more weight. I am in danger of dropping into the 150s. Why is this happening? It ain't like I'm trying to cause this. I think what's happened is I've been doing the early morning swimming in cold water. For quite a long swim. That must burn oodles of calories. Then later I'll go do something else physical. Obviously I'm burning up more calories than I'm eating.

Today I decided to change that. For breakfast I had 3 scrambled eggs with 6 pieces of bacon and two pieces of whole wheat bread smeared with butter. I just got done with lunch. I made homemade mac n' cheese with whole wheat noodles, a half pound of extra sharp cheese, lots of Parmesan and melted butter with onion sauteed in it. Plus deep-fried battered fish. And broccoli. And lemon-limeade made with real sugar.

I'm thinking this new program should stop or at least slow up this chronic weight loss. I tell you, it's a living hell being me.....

Taking The Trinity Rail Express Train To Dallas

This coming Friday I am going to do something eco-friendly. And new.

I'm taking the Trinity Railway Express, aka TRE, to Dallas. I need to go to a meeting in downtown Dallas. Taking the train seems like a sensible thing to do. It only cost 5 bucks. That's roundtrip. And once I'm in Dallas I can ride anything on the Dallas transit system with my TRE ticket.

The TRE runs from Fort Worth to Dallas. I'm in east Fort Worth, so my closest train station is in Richland Hills, about 2 miles north of here. Unlike anywhere in Seattle, it's free to park in the TRE parking lot.

Dallas has many many miles of light rail called Dallas Area Rapid Transit. DART for short. I've ridden DART before. It is a good thing.

I'm not quite certain how one gets from the Dallas terminus of the TRE train to downtown and if getting on DART is involved. I'm sure all will be revealed on Friday.

I have actually ridden a TRE train before. Last year the State Fair of Texas used a TRE train as one of its ways to shuttle fairgoers from remote parking lots to entry gates. It worked slick.

If I muck something up and get stuck in Dallas I've got a backup plan already worked out. It doesn't involve hitchhiking.

Sarah Palin, Katie Couric Interview & Russia

I'd been hearing comments regarding the 3 interviews Sarah Palin has given. I'd only seen a bit of one of them, that being the one with Charlie Gibson.

The Charlie Gibson bit, I saw, was the part of the interview where he asks Ms. Palin about the Bush Doctrine. She got a deer in the headlights look and stumbled for an answer.

Well, this did not bother me too much, because I could not have answered that question til a few weeks ago when I read Bob Woodward's State of Denial. I'm guessing the vast majority of Americans did not know there was something called the Bush Doctrine. It's not like there are an awful lot of us who would take any Doctrine of Bush as a serious thing.

And then this morning, I read a columnist who had gone from hoping Sarah Palin was up to the challenge to being totally sure she was in way over her head. The columnist said she'd lost count of the cringe-inducing moments and suggested Sarah Palin bow out now, before it gets worse.

I have now seen the cringe-inducing Sarah Palin interview with Katie Couric. It was way way way more cringe-inducing than I thought it could be.

I think Sarah Palin is a nice lady, very smart, but, she is not ready to be president. I like the lady. I felt sorry for her watching her make a fool of herself with no awareness she was doing so. She just is not ready for this.

The debate on Thursday should likely be the end of it. Already her polls numbers are dropping.

I think there may be some sort of twisted reverse sexism going on here. If a man picked for VP had sounded this stupid there would be an uproar. Remember Dan Quayle? He never came close to this level of ineptness. Remember the grief he got? I think come Thursday night the majority of us are going to be on the this ain't right bandwagon.

Below are two videos. When I read the print version of how Sarah Palin explained that Alaska's proximity to Russia gave her foreign policy experience, I thought it was just artful editing to make her sound stupid. But no, what actually came out of Ms. Palin's mouth might be the most astonishingly dumb thing I've ever heard a politician say. And that covers a lot of ground.

The second video covers more of the interview and displays woeful ignorance in other areas. Watching Ms. Palin try to come up with examples of John McCain taking the lead on economic issues was very cringe-worthy.....

Point Defiance Park and Exiles in Texas

When I was up in Tacoma I had myself a good time hiking all over Point Defiance Park. It's one of the biggest city parks in America. I YouTubed a video I made while hiking Point Defiance. This morning a nurse with the YouTube nickname of "flatsignedbooks" made a comment about the Point Defiance video. The Texas connection is what made it interesting. Apparently both me and "flatsignedbooks" are exiles in Texas from the Pacific Northwest.

Here's the comment and below that, the video.....

Hey man! Thanks for posting this. I am in Texas and these were my stomping grounds as a kid. I sure do miss the Pac N.W!

Paul Newman & James Dean

Below is a screen test for, I think, East of Eden. James Dean won that part. East of Eden was made in 1954 and in theaters in 1955. James Dean died in a car wreck in 1955. Paul Newman would live another 54 years after the below screen test was made. In the screen test both look so young. Probably because they were young. One did not get much older, the other lived to be an old man. I think living to be an old man is preferable to a car wreck.

Bad Taste, Good Taste, No Taste

Some wise guy once said good taste is better than bad taste, but bad taste is better than no taste.

I think it's in bad taste to talk about your own taste level. As in to say something like "I have extremely good taste." What an odd thing to say. That should be for others to judge, not oneself.

I knew this guy years ago, let's call him Bussell Fatz. He was one of the dumber people I've ever known. The dumber a person is the easier it is to be self-deluded, or so it has seemed to me. Bussell Fatz would often comment on other people's level of "class." And on his own high level of "class." He'd also talk about how artistic he was. And what good taste he had.

Bussell's artisticness consisted of making hideous wall hangings out of vinyl and carpet. He had no class, no artistic ability and really bad taste. It was a funny, sad spectacle to witness.

Bussell dated another former acquaintance of mine. They made quite a pair. Both self-proclaimers of extremely good taste. And high class. I remember seeing them together once and they had 5 different versions of plaid going on between the two of them.

That girl friend of Bussell's, in addition to having extremely good taste, was probably the biggest slob I have ever known. Totally slovenly. Living like a pig in a sty. How can one have extremely good taste and live like a pig? It's a perplexing conundrum. I don't think I'll devote much mental energy to this particular conundrum.

I like that word "conundrum."

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Tootsie Tonasket To Texas

Tootsie Tonasket called while I was walking at the Village Creek Natural Historical Area to inform me that she is coming to Texas and wants to go to the Texas State Fair. Tootsie asked if she can stay at my place. I didn't know what to say, so I said yeah, I guess so.

Tootsie also informed me that she wants to go to Joe T. Garcia's and have one of their legendary margaritas. I have not gone to Joe T. Garcia's in a long time. Not since they filled in the swimming pool.

Tootsie also informed me she wanted to go see that Lake Grapevine place I've written about before. I told Tootsie I really wouldn't have a lot of time to play tour guide.

Tootsie then informed me she also wanted to see the Fort Worth Stockyards and see the herd of longhorn walk down the street. And have BBQ at that Riscky's place she's seen on my Eyes on Texas website.

And how many days is it that you plan to be here I asked. 5 was the answer.

I guess I can handle 5 days of Tootsie Tonasket. But I hadn't planned on going to the State Fair of Texas this year.

My New Niece Evie

I've got a new niece named Evie.

Have I mentioned before that my little sister and little Kristin are foster parents? The first kids they took care of were named Abby and Emilie. Abby was under one year old. I forget how long they took care of Abby and Emilie, but it was a long time. And then the kids went to live with their grandparents in Colorado, where they continue to do well.

When I was up in Tacoma the Two Mommies got a call asking them if they could take a troubled boy under 10. At the time they had me in the house, my mom and dad and way too much raspberry canning going on. So, taking the boy was not doable. They already had way too much on their hands.

It amazes me that they are taking care of kids. It's a lot of work. And both my sister and Kristin already have stressful jobs.

They also run a very tidy house. And, unlike my other sister, they have no maid helping. Well, they did have me for a month. I did a lot of vaccuuming. And dish washing. To my impeccable standards.

They like a real peaceful, quiet house too, which further impresses me that they take on the responsibilty of taking care of a little kid. They have a tendency to cry and make noises.

My sister told me that Evie has gotten used to them and is happy all the time, like you see in the photo.

I forgot to mention, in addition to Evie, they also have two cute, high maintennance poodles, Blue and Max. The poodles currently have a minor medical issue involving allergies that has Max wearing one of those funny cone things around his neck. Poor Max. He's a funny poodle.

Paul Newman Killed By Lung Cancer at 83

I must be getting old. So many TV and movie stars who in my mind's eye are young, are actually old. Cloris Leachman in her early 80s. That surprised me.

And now to read that Paul Newman has died from lung cancer and that he was 83, well, both those facts surprised me.

Paul Newman was real good in several of my favorite movies. Like Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. He and Elizabeth Taylor were at their peak in that movie. Hud is another Paul Newman movie I've watched more than once.

I liked Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid when I saw it in a theater, long ago, but off the big screen and on to my TV, that movie did not entertain me on second viewing. But Paul Newman was good in it.

When I read it was lung cancer that was the cause of death I wondered if Paul Newman was a smoker. I figured not, due to him being behind all those healthy Newman's Own food products. But the photo would seem to indicate he smoked, maybe only in his younger years. Lung cancer is a nasty way to go.

I've gotta look up how old Elizabeth Taylor is...76. I've not seen her in several years.

First Presidential Debate Down, Two More To Go

I surprised myself last night. Even though I found it pretty much a boring snorefest I made it through last night's debate. The debate had none of those memorable type moments that so many previous Presidential debates have had.

Like Gerald Ford saying Eastern Europe was not under Soviet control. For those of you born post the 1970s, up til the collapse of the communism, Eastern Europe was behind what was called the Iron Curtain. Basically the countries that the Soviet Union occupied after World War II the Soviets turned into communist states. If one of the Soviet's communist "allies" got frisky, like Czechoslavakia did in 1968, the Soviets would invade and squash the rebellion.

This type thing was why it was a laugh producing gaffe when Gerald Ford made his unfortunate assertion. He really never recovered from that one incident.

The first President Bush had a memorable debate moment that hurt him when he looked at his watch, as if he was bored and anxious for the torture to end. But he was on a stage that included Clinton and Ross Perot. I really didn't think it all that odd that he'd check the time. But it bothered others.

Michael Dukakis had a bad debate moment when he coldly and robotically responded to a question regarding the death penalty and what his position on that issue would be if his wife, Kitty, were raped and murdered. That was one odd debate moment.

Al Gore had some bad debate moments when he'd do a heavy sigh in response to something coming out of George W.'s mouth. Now that almost the entire country has done similar sighing it now just seems like Al Gore was ahead of his time.

The first debate between Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan gave most of the country their first good look at Reagan. And he surprised a lot of people. He didn't come across as some sort of hardline right winger. Instead he came across as really likable, funny, and, well, presidential. While Jimmy Carter looked and sounded really weak, at one point Reagan zinging some Carter nonsense with his famous line, "There you go again." At the time it was a great debate moment.

So, last night, to my eyes and ears there were no memorable moments. John McCain seemed toned down. No flashes of crankiness. Barack Obama seemed less long-winded than usual, with fewer moments of speaking haltingly, like he has in previous debates. Obama seemed more forceful than he has before. Very measured.

McCain rarely looked at Obama, instead directing his attention to the moderator, Jim Lehrer. It made it look like McCain was ignoring Obama.

McCain repeated himself a few times. Whether this was due to him thinking he had to hammer in a point, or he forgot he'd already said it, who knows. I'm guessing an early sign of senility. Like twice he said he has not been awarded the Miss Congeniality title while in Washington.

All in all, I guess I'd call the debate a tie.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Tex Appeal at the State Fair of Texas

The State Fair of Texas started today in Dallas at Fair Park.

In my current condition I don't know if I'll be going to the fair this year. Or down to Round Top this weekend.

I'm not in the mood to walk. After years of bragging that I've cured myself from getting back aches, I've got one. I think I either overdid swimming or sitting at the computer. Or both.

I was listening to WBAP radio's news at noon and a fairgoer was going on and on about how delicious the 2008 Big Tex Choice winner was. To me it sounds disgusting. Chicken-fried bacon, using extra thick bacon, double-battered, breaded, then deep-fried. With either ranch or honey-mustard dipping sauce.

At the State Fair of Texas you can not use United States currency to buy things like food directly. You must wait in a line to buy coupons and then pay for your chicken-fried bacon with coupons. I don't know how many coupons the chicken-fried bacon costs. If I remember right last year it seemed like the Big Tex Choice foodstuff was in the 6-8 coupon range. A coupon is worth 50 cents.

If you don't use up all your coupons you can not turn them back into U.S. currency. You can save them for next year and use them at the fair. Unless something scandalous happens, like a few years back someone stole a lot of coupons from wherever the leftover coupons were stored after the end of the fair. So, they voided that year's coupons from being used at future State Fairs of Texas. This did not seem fair to me.

If I do go this year I am going to stay til it gets dark this time so I can watch the fireworks/light show. The first time I went to the fair the fireworks/light show was about the best of that type thing I'd ever seen. A huge globe rose out of the water and somehow images were projected onto the globe. Fireworks and laser beams shot all over the place.

This year the show is called Illumination Sensation. It fires up at 8 PM. In addition to the usual fireworks there is some sort of high-tech 3-D light screen and liquid fire fountains shooting flames skyward with computer generated graphics timed to music.

If I do go to this year's fair it will be on October 17. Jessica Simpson will be singing at the Chevrolet Main Stage. It's free, I think.

Maybe if my back doesn't get better I could do the fair in a wheelchair. That might be fun.

Chesapeake Energy Bulldozes Neighborhood

Important incoming from Don Young. But before I get to that I've got to tell you that a lot of people showed up for yesterday's Moratorium Rally, as in dozens upon dozens showed up before the Fort Worth Ruling Junta's last meeting with the people of Fort Worth in their "Talk Fort Worth" program.

On to the message from Don Young.....

As I type this at 10 am, 9/26/08, Chesapeake Energy crews are bulldozing into one of the last pieces of original Fort Worth Prairie and cutting dozens of giant trees at the east end of Scott Avenue in Fort Worth, Texas.

Scott Avenue is a very narrow and winding street and includes some historic homes, including the oldest occupied house in Fort Worth. The drilling rig that weighs in excess of 120,000 lbs. is expected to be transported down this street, possibly as soon as tomorrow morning.

This controversial gas drilling site is adjacent to Carter Avenue where Jerry Horton and other residents have been protesting a 16" high-pressure, un-odorized gas pipeline that Chesapeake wants to install under their front yards. It is also due west of Tandy Hills Natural Area, one of the most unique ecosystems in the state of Texas, according to biologist, Prof. Bruce Benz, of Texas Wesleyan University. It has been studied and catalogued by botanists all over the state, including Bob O'Kennon with the Botanical Research Institute of Texas (BRIT).

Despite all of this, the City of Fort Worth issued a permit to drill the Thomas 1H gas well last Tuesday and allow Chesapeake to access the remote site from Scott Avenue. The company was recently fined for beginning work on the site before receiving a permit.

A neighborhood gathering is scheduled for Saturday morning at 9 am.

Your support is needed to demonstrate to the City and Chesapeake that their actions are unacceptable. Come join us for a cup of coffee.

Map of 2900 Scott Avenue

Exit Beach Street off I-30 and drive north to Scott Ave. East on Scott to the dead-end. Park on Scott Avenue or nearby.

Don Young
P.O. Box 470041
Fort Worth, TX 76147

"God bless Fort Worth, Texas. Help us save some of it."

Survivor Gabon: Earth's Last Eden

Well, I continue being unable to watch more than an hour of TV. Last night I was sure I'd make it through the 2 hour Survivor premiere. I usually like Survivor. I thought the 2 hours would be some sort of improved intro that made it easier to get hooked.

Instead it turned out to be 2 episodes back to back. I bailed after barely making it through the first episode.

One of the things I like about Survivor is the locations. Exotic locales that I'll never see but would like to. But the Earth's Last Eden didn't thrill me too much.

It's always hard to get hooked on a new Survivor. It's too many people to keep track of and it takes awhile to get to know the quirks of their personalities. Or for there to be any sort of plot-line.

One strange thing, Survivor started out with a walk through the jungle, heading to a beach. The Survivors were dressed like they were going to work in an office. Most of the women in dresses. A couple of the guys in suits with ties. In the jungle.

I'm thinking Survivor is yet one more TV show I'm not going to be watching. What's wrong with me? I used to be so easily entertained.

Tonight's Uncertain Debate

The only convention speech I listened to in its entirety was Sarah Palin's. In all the years that there have been Presidential Debates I have only missed one, that being a debate between Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter. I'd gone picking apples in Eastern Washington with my mom and dad and we didn't make it back to the west side of the mountains in time for the debate.

So, even with my ability to watch much TV in serious decline I'm almost certain I'll muster the energy and focus to watch the debate if it happens tonight.

I'm guessing John McCain will let this play out all day long til it's time for him to hop on a plane bound for Mississippi with him telling reporters that enough progress had been made today that he felt okay about wasting his precious time debating Barack Obama.

Speaking of Barack Obama, why has Rush Limbaugh taken to calling him Barry? I've heard no one else call him Barry.

UPDATE: As usual, my prediction about tonight's debate was wrong. McCain did not wait til the last minute to announce he'd show up. Instead he let it be known this morning that he'd be in Mississippi tonight and head back to Washington immediately after to continue to try and prevent the Financial Pearl Harbor from happening.

Washington Mutual Survivor

My nerves are on edge. This morning I found in my inbox 5 emails sent just after midnight from a former acquaintance. I'm concerned she may be in the throes of some sort of meltdown. I've seen this happen before.

But what's really got my nerves on edge is the non-stop financial meltdown. No, I'm not talking about my personal non-stop financial meltdown, I'm talking about that other one to which they can't seem to agree on a solution in Washington, D.C., with a big meltdown at the White House yesterday.

Then to open the morning paper to read that my bank was seized by the Feds overnight in the biggest bank collapse in U.S. history, well, it just makes me nervous.

I'm guessing the new WaMu branch being built near me is likely not going to be opened.

This morning's woeful article about the WaMu collapse in the Seattle P-I said the collapse was precipitated by $16.7 billion in deposits being pulled since September 15.

I'm thinking maybe I should go pull 1 or 2 of my billions out of WaMu and put them somewhere safer. Though, supposedly the money is currently safe. But what if the warned about Financial Pearl Harbor happens? Will any money be safe if that happens, that isn't tucked under your mattress?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Hurricane Strikes Mexico

Alma, the Sweet Songbird of the South, singing this Saturday at the Tarpon Ice House in Port Aransas, sends me some amusing emails. Every once in awhile I'm not sure if one of the Alma emails has maybe crossed the line into the world of politically incorrect, or not.

Like this one Alma sent me today......

A Category 5 Hurricane Hits Mexico.

Two Million Mexicans Die and Over a Million are Injured.

The Country is Totally Ruined and the Government does not Know Where to Start and is Asking for Help to Rebuild.

The Rest of the World is in Shock.

Canada is Sending Troopers to Help the Mexican Army Control Riots.

Saudi Arabia is Sending Oil.

Other Latin American Countries are Sending Supplies.

The European Community (Except for France) is Sending Food and Money.

The United States, not to be Outdone, is Sending Two Million Non-English Speaking Mexicans to Replace the Ones Who Died.

God Bless America!

My Fabulous Tacoma Relatives

I was talking to one of my oodles of blog readers and was appalled that I'd left that blog reader with the impression that my dear little sister and equally dear little Kristin had created a nightmare for me while I was staying with them.

No. No. No. That is not correct. Kristin and Michele and Blue and Max made me feel like I was a King staying in some sort of 5 Star Hotel. I don't recollect ever being so pampered or treated so kindly.

There was not a single moment where I felt even in the slightest way uncomfortable or unwelcome. My entire time in their house I was talked to in the nicest, most respectful manner imaginable.

I'm sure I must have done at least one thing that got on someone's nerves, at least a little bit, but I heard nary a word about anything I might have done that wasn't kosher. Even though I knew I did some questionable things.

Like setting off the security alarm despite being told not to open a door.

Or burning steaks to a blackened crisp. They ate the charred remains as if they were the tastiest steaks they'd ever had, with nary a complaint. A few days later they even let me barbecue chicken using my multiple flipping method, despite it being horribly controversial and not allowed when I burned the steaks. Ironically if I'd used my multiple flipping method with the steaks, they wouldn't have been burned black.

When I forgot to water the backyard plants, killing several of them, not a word was said, the plants were simply replaced. To my embarrassed chagrin.

I could go on with more examples, but you get the drift. I absolutely totally enjoyed my stay with Kristin and Michele and Blue and Max. It was other parts of Tacoma that set my nerves on edge.

There, now the record has been set straight.

I Would Change My Name

A Hurricane Ike Survivor on TV....

I Vote For No One

A week ago John McCain said the American economy is fundamentally sound. Yesterday he suspended his presidential campaign and opted out of tomorrow's debate because the economy is now in crisis in dire need of his attention.

Meanwhile Joe Biden thinks FDR was President at the time of the 1929 stock market crash and that FDR spoke to the American people about the crash via television.

Which likely doesn't strike Sarah Palin as odd since she thinks the Founding Fathers initiated the Pledge of Allegiance and put it under God. At the same time she thinks banning books is a doable thing in a democracy in which freedom of speech is one of its founding tenets.

And then we have Barack Obama who thinks there are 57 or 58 American states. And who repeated over and over again that over 10,000 people died in a Kansas tornado. Among other gaffes.

I was appalled awhile back when I read that the majority of Americans could not tell you when the Civil War took place. I am more appalled that someone running for the highest office in the land doesn't intuitively know that 10,000 people dead from a tornado would be a disaster of historic proportions.

Or that the Pledge of Allegiance came about in the 1890's at the instigation of a preacher and that God didn't get added til the 1950's.

Or that FDR did not become President til 1932, 3 years after the stock market crash of 1929. And that the first look Americans got at TV occurred in 1939 at the New York World's Fair. Or that an American President did not talk to the American people via TV til long after 1929.

I'm thinking I don't think I can vote for any of these boobs we have to choose from this time. I'll just stay home and mutter the Pledge of Allegiance a dozen times come the first Tuesday in November.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

John McCain Suspends Campaign & Debate While Clay Aiken's Gay

Can't I have a peaceful lunch without hearing something shocking on Fox News?

It was bad enough to be told that Clay Aiken had shocked his fans and the rest of civilization with the news that he is a father. And gay. These revelations came via People Magazine.

I'd barely digested the shocking news about Clay Aiken when special breaking news had John McCain announce that he is suspending his campaign to return to Washington to participate in finding a solution to the financial crisis. This includes postponing Friday's debate and when that debate is held sometime next week, switching the subject from foreign policy to the economy.

McCain asked Barack Obama to do the same. To go along with the debate postponement and to return to Washington. They are both senators, after all. It seems the responsible thing to do.

But, I was looking forward to Friday's debate. I don't take postponed gratification well.

More Bad Gas News With Your Morning Coffee

Incoming from Don Young. A list of links to articles in the Star-Telegram, including the shocking one at the top of the list. Plus a wise saying from Confucious....

1) The Texas RRC voted unanimously, yesterday, to use Oil & Gas Clean-up Funds to speed up drilling permits. There ARE 49 other states to live in, you know. Choose carefully.

Click here to read the story.

2) Former Fort Mayor Bob Bolen has joined the Motley Fool Mayor's Chorus in singing the praises of urban gas drilling. I'm sure Moncrief and Barr requested this bit of corporate drivel.

Click here to read the story.

3) Do not underestimate the impact of the Thomas Drilling site in east Fort Worth. This 3-pronged assault on West Meadowbrook is THE Tipping Point for anyone paying attention. This is the Alarm Bell that must be answered. Be ready.

Click here to read the story.

4) Remember: Moratorium Rally Thursday afternoon at 5:30 pm.

5) "I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand."


Saggy Pants in Fort Worth

A couple days ago I was sitting out on Miss Puerto Rico's balcony watching the passing parade of humanity when a shirtless guy came into view. He strutted along with his pants about down to his knees with huge boxer shorts shining bright for all to see.

Miss Puerto Rico said, "That is just not appropriate." That sounded funny spoken with her accent.

I thought this pants down fad was just a D/FW Metroplex thing. I didn't see any pants down to the knees when I was up in the northwest. When I mentioned that it was nice seeing everyone wearing their pants properly I was told that that fad had come and gone a couple years ago.

Fort Worth and other towns in this metro zone have tried all sorts of things to get guys to pull up their pants. There are billboards around town as part of what is called the "Pull 'Em Up" campaign.

Apparently that campaign isn't going too well. Fort Worth's Mayor Mike Moncrief thinks the city should put up posters at various venues around the area, like the Fort Worth Zoo.

And put bumper stickers on the city's cars and trucks. So that, as Fort Worth's esteemed mayor said, "Wherever they go with their pants down around their ankles, they're going to see signs that say 'Don't do that.'"

I've got a much better solution. As in make the sagging pants thing not cool. I'm doing my part. I went out and about today with my pants sagging. Which you can see in the photo at the top. Sure, I got some curious looks. But I'm sure at least one saggy pants wearer saw me and thought to himself, "Geez, that ol' cracker looks like an f-ing fool. I ain't gonna do that anymore."

If Mayor Moncrief and the rest of the Ruling Junta would drop their pants and wear them down around their knees and visit local schools, I'm sure this stupid fad will come to an end quickly.

Or just wait it out. Most trends start on the coasts and then spread to the less trendy zones. Give it a few years and I'm sure the news that this goofy trend is no longer cool will spread to Fort Worth. Of course, hastening that awareness might be a good thing.

I don't think we need to worry about the girl participants in this fad. They seem to wear their saggy pants much more tastefully.

Let's Talk Moratorium Fort Worth

Fort Worth's Ruling Junta has decided to talk to the people of Fort Worth about their city for the 3rd time in something like 50 years. One of the opportunities for the people of Fort Worth to talk to the Ruling Junta takes place 6:30 PM Thursday, September 25 at Will Rogers Memorial Center Auditorium in the goofily named Fort Worth Cultural District.

At the same time that the Ruling Junta is listening to the people another group of concerned Fort Worth citizens will be holding a rally at the same location, a rally to give voice to the idea that Fort Worth's Ruling Junta should listen to the Fort Worth citizens who believe a more cautious course be taken regarding the massive drilling going on in the Fort Worth urban zone, the first time such activity has been allowed in a densely populated area.

You can find details of the Moratorium Rally here.

And, as if to rub salt in the wounds of those trying to chart a more cautious course, yesterday, on Tuesday, the Ruling Junta approved Chesapeake Energy's gas permit near Tandy Hills Park.

And now, back to the Ruling Junta's "Let's Talk Fort Worth" nonsense. In the Fort Worth Star-Telegram today there was a full page ad for the Talking Project and Thursday's listening session. The Ruling Junta even has a website devoted to this. Fort Worth is laying off workers, shortening library hours, among other things, due to a huge budget shortfall that is not being helped by any windfall from Barnett Shale, but they can afford full page ads and a website for their "Let's Talk Fort Worth" project.

Here's some typically deluded verbiage from one of the 2 full page propaganda ads that the Ruling Junta placed in today's paper....

"Fort Worth is a thriving, dynamic progressive city known for its cowboys and culture---everything from world class museums, corporate headquarters, and NASCAR to an abiding reverence for its unique Western heritage.

Today, Fort Worth is recognized as one of America's safest, most livable communities with plenty of fertile ground for economic growth. The city's successes and accomplishments are no accident, though. They are the result of thoughtful planning by city leaders who have been guided by the vision of the residents they serve."

It goes on and on from there. Where do I start? Progressive city? Known for its culture and cowboys? Known by whom? You in the rest of the country, do you know anything about Fort Worth? Known for its corporate headquarters? Radio Shack lost its headquarters, Pier One Imports lost theirs too, to, I think, Chesapeake Energy. Is that what they mean by "known?" As in known for corporate boondoggles?

Livable? With gas drilling going on all over town and hundreds of miles of pipelines being laid to carry odorless gas? That's livable? With homeowners being threatened with eminent domain unless they agree to have a pipeline shoved through their front yard. That's livable?

Fort Worth is known for being safe? The town couldn't even keep open its signature park at the north end of downtown, called Heritage Park, due to crime problems.

Thoughtful planning by the Ruling Junta? Huh? Where is there any evidence of any thoughtful planning? Has any member of the Ruling Junta thought maybe it'd be a good idea for Fort Worth to build some sidewalks, like what exist in actual progressive cities? You might want to start with something simple like that.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Fort Worth Urban Gas Drilling Moratorium Rally

Urgent message just in from Don Young.......


Urban Gas Drilling - Moratorium Rally


We are calling on the City of Fort Worth to impose an immediate MORATORIUM on all new gas drilling permits and pipeline activities until the City has a Master Plan that addresses the Total Impact of urban gas drilling production.


Thursday, Sept. 25, 2008

5:00 p.m. - begin gathering

5:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. - MORATORIUM RALLY

(Rally held prior to the City of Fort Worth's, "Let's Talk Fort Worth" event)



On public property in front of the Will Rogers Memorial Center Auditorium. (It's perfectly legal.)

3401 W. Lancaster Avenue - Fort Worth


1. Posters, Banners, signs
2. Cameras - Video & Digital
3. Friends, Family and Neighbors!

Dancing With The Stars & Cloris Leachman

Well, just as I thought would happen, I didn't make it through very much of last night's Dancing with the Stars. I made it almost through the first dance, that being one with a kid I've never heard of from a TV show I've never seen called Hannah Montana. He was dancing with Julianne Hough. She's won a couple times. She's a young blonde. Together their combined ages were less than 40.

Last night I didn't make it long enough to see the oldest person they've ever had on the show, 82 year old Cloris Leachman, dance with the oldest pro they've had on the show, named, I think, Corky Ballas, he being the dad of another of the pro dancers, that being Mark Ballas.

Cloris and Corky's combined age was something like 143. So, I found out I don't need to watch the show live. It's all been YouTubed. This takes out all the commercials and all the boring stuff that causes me to quit watching.

I've now seen Cloris do her dancing. She is very amusing, as you can see for yourself in the video below. She appears to be in great shape. So does Susan Lucci who is 61 or 62. I'll put the Susan Lucci video below the Cloris one. Dancing with the Stars is on again tonight. And again tomorrow night. As much as I enjoy watching people do stuff I know I can't do, I don't think I'll even try to watch.

King Tut and Big Tex and The Usurper

A few minutes ago I got an email from one of my Eyes on Texas viewers, Deborah Lane-Miller, very upset because she saw a news blurb that made her think that when the State Fair of Texas opens this Friday, September 26, that Big Tex will be standing next to what she called "Usurper of Big Tex."

Here's Miss Deborah's email....

I was horrified to see in the Quick news that in honor of the Tutankamun (?sp) exhibit there is a new statue standing NEXT TO BIG TEX! How inappropriate. If this is truly where it will be placed, I think this is absurd. Big Tex should not share his space or his limelight with anything else! I have been a faithful fair-goer for decades, as has my family. Please rethink this.

Deborah Lane-Miller

Well, I reassured Deborah that Big Tex was posing with "The Usurper" for a photo op only. That during the Fair "The Usurper" would be standing somewhere near the Fair's entrance.

What "The Usurper" actually is is a jackal-headed guardian of the dead called Anubis. Anubis is Egyptian. Anubis is at the State Fair of Texas to help promote the upcoming "Tutankhamen and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs" exhibit. He isn't here to usurp Big Tex.

Speaking of Big Tex, the big boy got new clothes this year, including a very bright yellow shirt.

New Dallas Cowboy Stadium Photo

Yesterday I was at the Super Wal-Mart across the street from the new Dallas Cowboy Stadium, for the first time in months.

So, I took a picture or two. The stadium has gotten huge looking. I should have taken a picture of the view from the east side. That really showed the size of the thing.

It looks like the roof is done. Glass is being installed on the sides. It's all very shiny and bright. The seats are being installed. I don't know what that big yellow and white rectangle thing is. I'm guessing it's some sort of electronic sign or maybe a giant video screen. I don't know why they'd want a giant video screen pointing towards Wal-Mart though.

Dozens of lawsuits, brought by people who believe their homes were stolen from them by the City of Arlington and Jerry Jones, continue to move forward.

Are You Mad At Me? Why Don't You Call?

Awhile back my mom, who I call whenever I get gas to tell her how much it currently costs, told me my sister wanted my mom to ask me what she'd done that had me mad at her.

I asked mom why my sister thought I was mad at her.

My mom said she thinks that because you don't call her anymore.

To which I said, but she never calls me, I'm always the caller, but I don't think she's mad at me due to not calling me.

The psychology of this perplexed me. So, I called my sister and asked her why she was mad at me. Why do you think I'm mad at you my sister asked? Because you never call me, I said.

I don't call because I'm afraid I'd be interrupting something, she said.

If it was interrupting something I wouldn't answer, I said.

Again, the psychology perplexes me.

Now, I have some people who call me all the time. I don't always answer. If they didn't call me I wouldn't think it was because they were mad at me. I have at least one person who no longer calls me due to being irrationally upset with me. But I don't miss those daily phone pesterings.

My biggest sister never calls me. I used to call her about once every couple weeks. But when I was up in Washington a couple years ago her behavior so appalled and annoyed me that I did not call her til about a month before I flew up there in July. Her behavior had not improved this most recent time up north. I wonder if my biggest sister accurately perceived that the lack of calls indicated I was not happy with her?

Probably not. These relatives of mine seldom seem to get anything right.

So, my new way of thinking is I'm assuming anyone who does not call me is mad at me. Why they would be mad at me is a mystery. I won't be calling any of them, well, except for my mom's gas calls. So, they can assume, accurately or not, that I am mad at them.

Oh, I'll likely call my sister who lives in Phoenix. She's a good phone talker. And it's not like she absolutely never calls me. She calls whenever a family friend or relative dies. And she called the morning of August 20 to ask how happy I was to be heading back to Texas. She'd also endured a long stay up north that coincided with part of my stay. We empathize with each other's pains.

However, my Phoenix sister's visiting up north pains are much less painful than mine. She's thinking of going up there again, soon. I don't plan a return to the northwest until 2018 at the earliest.

Lulu and the Beautyberry Bush

Yesterday I mentioned seeing a bush with berries that were an otherworldly color of purple.

Overnight one of my favorite Southern Belles, the soon to be in Texas, Miss Lulu, identified the purple berries as being from a Beautyberry Bush.

So, now I know what it is. I looked up Beautyberry Bush. The berries are edible, but not very tasty. Birds don't like them, so the berries stay on the bushes unmolested. I think I'll taste one when next I see one.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Veteran's Park, Fry's and a Bad Router

Today started off okay. I went swimming early. The water was cold. I liked it. That's not my swimming water you see in the photo. That's a pond at Veteran's Park in Arlington. Those are turtles sitting on the log. I like turtles, but not in water I swim in. I've had a turtle incident or two. Their heads look like a snake when they are swimming towards you. Not a good thing for a snakeaphobe to see.

A few hours after swimming I needed to go to Fry's to get a new network router. That's when the fun began. I like Fry's. I've bought a lot of computer stuff there. I've returned a lot of stuff to Fry's. They are always good about it.

On the way to Fry's I went to the aforementioned Veteran's Park in Arlington to go on a walk. I like Veteran's Park. I see some odd things there at times. Like Disc Golfers. And people dressed like pirates pretending to do battle with each other. Within the past year a Veteran's Memorial has been added to Veteran's Park. It's a nice memorial, except one thing about it sort of disturbs me. As in there are these two marble-like boxes that look like coffins. I don't know what else they could be intended to be.

Today as I walked along the paved trail I saw something amusing. Apparently yesterday someone was walking with someone named Sara and Sara got grumpy. So, Sara's co-walker made note of her grumpiness by chalking a message onto the sidewalk for all to see. I think I'll start leaving chalk messages when I experience moments of inappropriate grumpiness. I would have needed a whole box of chalk when I was up in Tacoma last summer.

Veteran's Park has this rather cool section of the park called the Wildscape. This is a demonstration zone showing Texans how they can landscape using native to Texas plants that require less water and less maintenance. Parts of the Wildscape are paved, other parts are bricked, other parts are a boardwalk and the rest is just a natural trail.

The Wildscape has a lot of flowers and herbs and things that grow what look like berries. One of the berry bushes has these clumps of whatever it is in the most unnatural shade of purple. My photo does not do justice to the color.

So, after I was done at Veteran's Park it was time to go to Fry's. I bought a router. Or so I thought. But, I had been misdirected by a Fry's employee, few of whom speak anything but an Indian dialect of English.

I left Fry's and headed to Arlington's Chinatown to get goodies at my favorite Asian Market. That went well. Got back here and quickly figured out I'd not been sold a router. So, back to Fry's. It is about 15 miles from here, maybe 20. Got to Fry's, got rid of the non-router, got an actual router. Got back here, plugged it in and all is well again in Durango World.

It doesn't take much to make me happy.