Friday, October 31, 2008

Giant Caterpillar Roller Blading At Village Creek Natural Historic Area

I decided to go roller blading at Village Creek Natural Historic Area today. Roller blading there is a bit more adventurous than Quanah Parker Park. At Village Creek there are 4 hills you get to go down and back up. The hills curve and cause you to cross 2 dams at high speed.

I had my all time worst roller blade wreck at Village Creek. I never thought I'd go back there again on roller blades.

But today I did. It was fun. Just like at Quanah Parker Park, I found I didn't go down the Village Creek hills as fast as I used to, due to my need to put on some weight.

People with a lot of weight are so lucky. They get to go down hills fast and they can go in real cold water and not even feel it and don't even need to swim, they just bob up and down effortlessly due to their built-in auto inner tubes. I wish I could put on weight like that.

Back to today's blading. So, I'm rolling along and I looked down to see this big fuzzy thing, like a caterpillar on steroids, which is what I figured it was, eventually it would become one of those gigantic bat-like Texas moths that like to chase me when I'm wearing my wool cap.

In the photo above I'm stopped right above the giant caterpillar. In the photo on the right you see the giant caterpillar walking across the paved trail.

I think it was chasing me.

A Fort Worth Chesapeake Energy Bus & A Leak

After seeing them on the streets for months, today I was finally able to get a photo of one of the Fort Worth city buses covered with a Chesapeake Energy ad.

The ad says "Thanks Barnett Shale for 83,000 new jobs." The logo of Chesapeake Energy is all over the bus. As well as the web address.

I did not know the Barnett Shale had produced 83,000 new jobs. Now that the drillers are scaling back how many of those jobs have been un-produced?

A non-Chesapeake Barnett Shale natural gas drilling waste water disposal operation out near Aledo, that's in Parker County, west of Fort Worth, was shut down by the Texas Railroad Commission after drilling waste was found on the ground with evidence of an underground leak.

For some mysterious reason the Texas Railroad Commission oversees gas drilling operations.

Waste water from the drilling operations is stored in underground wells. The waste water contains salt, drilling chemicals, drilling mud and crude oil.

CES Saltwater Disposal was given a permit in May of 2007 to drill to a depth of 11,500 feet to pump waste water underground at the now shut down location near Aledo.

The shutdown disposal operation is near a housing development which gets its water from underground wells.

Why these people here in Texas, who rely so much on underground aquifers, would allow contaminated water to be pumped into wells, seems bizarre to me. Up in Washington state there is a serious problem with nuclear wastes at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation slowly migrating towards the Columbia River.

Why do these people here think that contaminated water underground is going to stay put? I see bad things in the future that are only being hinted at in the present. As in MAJOR ECOLOGICAL DISASTER.

Earthquake Shakes North Texas! Is Gas Drilling The Cause?

I thought Texas did not have earthquakes. I've been told that more than once. Where I used to live, in Washington, earthquakes were quite regular. That and mountains blowing up.

Where I lived, in Mount Vernon, we went through a series of localized earthquakes centered about 3 miles east of my house. It was day after day of quakes. I remember laying on my waterbed when one happened and the waves about tossed me out of bed. Another one I was sitting in my living room and I thought the windows were going to pop out. Another one I heard loud cracking and went into the kitchen to find a fault line had formed across my tile floor.

So, I thought my earthquake days were behind me. But then last night, coming up on midnight, we got hit with a series of quakes here in North Texas. The first struck about a half hour before midnight, centered 4 miles north of Grand Prairie. Grand Prairie is the town next to Arlington. I live in East Fort Worth, about 10 miles west of Grand Prairie. I think I felt the quake but thought it was a noisy truck.

The largest quake occurred just after midnight. A 3.0 centered 4 miles southwest of Irving. Irving is the town due west of Dallas where the Cowboys currently play football.

Several smaller quakes in the 2.0 range were felt, with the last shaker occurring around 3 in the morning.

Police were flooded with 100s of calls. Most people thought it was an explosion or a plane crash.

I remember when all this Barnett Shale drilling and fraccing started happening I thought to myself, good thing they don't have quakes here, as doing that much damage to the earth's upper crust would likely have a bad result up in Washington.

The same thought occurred to Fort Worth's wise sage, Don Young. Way back in August of 2007 Don Young wrote the following....

While vacationing recently in Marfa, Texas, I stumbled into a bookstore seeking shade and ran across an interesting book titled, Texas Earthquakes.

I thought to myself, We don't have earthquakes in Texas! The concept seemed counterintuitive. The authors of the book know better. Opening the book at random to page 70, I read the following:

"Three human activities that commonly induce earthquake activity are:

1) Injecting high pressure fluids into rock formations beneath the earth's surface.
2) Withdrawing large amounts of fluid or gas.
3) Construction of reservoirs and lakes."

Until very recently, the first 2 items have occurred only in remote parts of the state, away from densely populated areas. The Barnett-Shale play and subsequent fracing technology have changed all that.

According to the Texas Railroad Commission, in the year 2000, there were less than 10 gas wells in Tarrant County. Today, there are more than 1,000 with many more planned and thousands more in the immediate vicinity.

I'm not suggesting there is a serious risk from earthquakes in Tarrant County, there are far more serious risks from drilling, but, expanded gas drilling and injection wells in the north Texas region have moved us into uncharted territory.

To paraphrase Paul Harvey, "One fine day we may know, the rest of the story."

I fear we are doomed here in North Texas, doomed I tell you.

AT & T U-Verse Email Sending Solution

I keep seeing that people are coming to my blog looking for answers regarding how to send email using an existing email account with their new AT & T connection.

It wasn't easy, but I figured it out. No help from AT &T. I'd intended to post the solution, but I forgot.

There are several steps. I use Outlook Express. You may use a different email program that may require a different solution.

First off, log into your AT & T account. Find your way to your email account.

Click on 'options'. You'll see it on the upper right.

Now click on 'Mail Addresses' under the 'Management' heading.

Now click on 'Add'. Then enter the email address you want to be able to use as a sending email address. You will be sent an email to verify this address.

Now, back at Outlook Express. Click on 'tools', then 'accounts', then the email address you want to use and click 'Properties'.

Under the 'Servers' tab you'll need to make your Outgoing mail (SMTP) "".

At the bottom of the 'Servers' section check off "My server requires authentication".

Then click 'Settings'. Under Settings select 'Log on using'. Then enter your AT & T email address as the 'Account Name'. Enter your AT & T password in the 'Password' field. Click 'OK' and get outta there.

Now, click on the 'Advanced' tab. For 'Outgoing mail (SMTP) enter '465'. Put a check mark underneath that where it says 'This server requires a secure connection (SSL).

Hit 'OK' and you're done. You should now be able to send email using a non AT & T email address.

I know it sounds like an awful lot of bother. And it is a bother that AT & T should not make us go through. But it doesn't really take all that long. And after you get it done it works just fine.

Happy Texas Halloween

My Halloween started with a scary early morning swim. At midnight the temperature was 65. By this morning it'd gotten down to 59. The pool was warmer than yesterday so I lasted longer in it before frostbite began to work its magic on my extremities.

I don't get any trick or treaters here. Benefit of being behind a security gate. When I lived in Washington I'd get a lot of the little beggars. I don't miss them.

I think I may spend Halloween evening over on the balcony of Miss Puerto Rico where I'll have a bird's eye view of Halloween.

Do you like my Halloween costume? I am Leatherface of Texas Chainsaw Massacre fame. I haven't found a chainsaw yet. I think Miss Puerto Rico has one.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Obama the Socialist Communist Dictator Wannabe

The right wing wackos are starting to get scary in their desperate fear that they are about to lose the Presidential election. After the Fort Worth Star-Telegram endorsed Obama the paper been printing a lot of really scary letters to the editor from those convinced Obama is a Socialist, Communist, Muslim Terrorist.

I tell you, this is what our inept education system produces. A lot of erroneous thinking. I'd willingly wager the vast majority of the wackos could not coherently tell you what socialism is. Or communism.

I printed some of the scary Star-Telegram letters yesterday. There were quite a few more today. Plus a few reasonable sounding ones. One of the letter writers blamed this oddball opinion flood, that borders on hate speak, on the propaganda job being spewed on talk radio and Fox News. I can see why one might think that, because I thought the same thing, in that many of the letters seem to reflect the type overwrought nonsense I've been hearing on Rush Limbaugh.

It's riling up the nutcases, as witnessed by the letters and by an incident like the pair of Neo-Nazis being arrested due to their plot to kill dozens of blacks and assassinate Obama. The right wing media is engaging in the most shamefully irresponsible disservice to our country I've yet witnessed by those who should know and behave better.

Just take a look at today's Rush In A Hurray email newsletter that came in minutes ago....

On Today’s Show...

Obama's infomercial painted the image of an America so horrible, large people have to cut back on...snacks for their children. People actually get arthritis, too! This is not the real America. It's just people with tough times.

The Obama crowds seek a redeemer in a time of turmoil. It's not what he says, it's how he says it.

Pearl of Wisdom: "This Obama infomercial was a parade of victims. I feel sorry for these people waiting around for him to save them. This wasn't inspiring. There wasn't one example of Obama's leadership. He's a cold, angry, charismatic demagogue. It was like watching 30 minutes of one-minute campaign ads. Would you do that?"

Obama calls America selfish, and thinks "charity" is government taking your money to "be our brother's keeper." Hey, you have a brother subsisting in a hut, and your beloved aunt living in a Boston slum!

Obama's media manipulation tactics exposed in a pro-Hillary blog post? Could be.

Pearl of Wisdom: "Jack Welch was on CNBC with Larry Kudlow and Michelle Caruso-Cabrera. He was on fire about the truth of economics and the Barack plan."

Rush's Gut, Daily Tracking: It's hard to know what to call, when the press is so bias.

Pearl of Wisdom: "When you have an Obama advisor saying that Obama is not a black guy -- he's half white, and that's why Americans will vote for him -- and you have Obama making a joke about it on TV, it's all strategic. It's not just a joke, at all."

A Democrat caller for McCain. He's one of many.

Focus, you people. Step #1: Drag McCain over the finish line. Step #2: Rebuild the conservative movement. If you have to, tell yourself you're voting for Sarah Palin.

Pearl of Wisdom: "We've had over 3-1/2 times the polls this October as in October of 2004. It's information overload! We're being swamped with this tainted stuff."

Chesapeake Energy's Tandy Hills Obscene Gesture

In the above satelite view of the Tandy Hills Natural Area you can see some of the trails on the Tandy Hills, plus the location of the Chesapeake Energy drilling site and the location of the Mother Nature piece of guerrilla artwork I've made mention of before.

As my longtime reader may have noticed I go to the Tandy Hills and go hiking a couple times a week, weather permitting and it usually is.

But, before I talk about that I must digress and inform you that after two days of way too chilly I got back in the pool this morning. It was bracing, but I swam for at least 10 minutes. It was 55 this morning when I went swimming.

By the time I got to the Tandy Hills it was hot enough to overheat and require the removal of some clothing. I was not long into today's hiking when I saw that an unwelcome visitor had been erected since Monday, as in the Chesapeake Energy drill site's drilling tower was now in place and though I don't think they've begun drilling something was making an awful racket.

You can see and hear the Chesapeake operation all over the Tandy Hills. In the photos it looked to me as if Chesapeake Energy was engaging in an obscene gesture, directed at the skyline of beautiful downtown Fort Worth. That would seem to be a perfect visual metaphor for Chesapeake Energy and its CEO, Aubrey McClendon and how they and he run roughshod over people, towns and basketball teams.

Un Well In This Week's FW Weekly

I've not seen this week's FW Weekly yet, but always on the ball, Don Young has. He sent me a link to a very good article in the current issue in the Metropolis section written by Peter Gorman.

One of the victims in this story, Jim Ashford, lives in my neighborhood, in Riverbend Estates. I've heard the noise that's made him ill.

I don't think FW Weekly archives the articles in their Metroplis section, so in the interest of the public good I'll archive it here, as in below....


Concerns are mounting over health effects of gas drilling.


Charles Morgan can’t sleep at night. The low-frequency noise from the 11 gas compressors at an Anadarko facility about a mile from his home in the little Freestone County community of Lanely gives him such bad headaches that he frequently has to take a motel room to get away from it. Sometimes he just gets into his pickup or Volkswagen and drives to a country lane elsewhere in the county to get free of it. On other occasions he’s found himself in the hospital emergency room.

“The noise has ruptured one of my eardrums,” said the 65-year-old former Air Force major, who recently retired from his engineer’s job with the Texas prison system. “The pain in my head gets so bad I think I’ll die. My legs start jumping. My blood pressure goes sky high.”

What Morgan suffers from is vibroacoustic disease (VAD), described in Noise and Health, a respected international journal, as a “whole-body, systemic pathology,” marked by “[d]epressions, increased irritability and aggressiveness, a tendency for isolation, and decreased cognitive skills,” among other symptoms.

It’s brought on by excessive exposure to low-frequency noise, the kind you hear in airplanes, near wind turbines, and from natural gas compressor stations. It’s not well known in this country, and the leading researchers on it work in Europe. But it’s real.

Jim Ashford, who lives in the upscale gated community of Riverbend Estates in East Fort Worth, suffers from it as well. “I can’t sleep. I just lie in bed awake listening to that noise,” he said. The noise comes from three Chesapeake compressors about 2,700 feet from his house. “And because I can’t sleep, I’m irritable. I just hurt in general, and I find myself getting angry and snapping over things that I shouldn’t.”

Gwen Lachelt, director of the Oil and Gas Accountability Project, which works with urban and rural communities and tribal groups “to protect their homes and the environment from the devastating impacts of oil and gas development,” says noise abatement is a very important issue and is getting more important “as drilling gets closer to — and in Fort Worth’s case, comes into — urban areas.” The group has already convinced regulators in Colorado to take the noise issue seriously.

But VAD isn’t the only health problem that those in the vicinity of oil and gas operations need to watch out for. Two recent studies by the University of Colorado School of Public Health suggest that gas drilling and its accompanying activities, including compressor stations, may cause serious health problems for those nearby — that is, pretty much everyone in Fort Worth.

The researchers found that “neighborhoods, schools, and workers in close proximity to oil and gas activities may be at increased risk for cancer, cardiovascular disease, asthma, and other disorders,” due to industry pollutants. It’s critical, they said, for more study to be done on those dangers.

“There are so many areas of gas drilling that have long-term potential to affect the public health,” Lachelt said. “What chemicals are actually being used in the drilling and fraccing of wells? What emissions are coming off compressors and being released into the air? What is being evaporated from drill site pits, and how much harm will it do to people and animals in the long run? How much contaminated waste-pit water will wind up in our surface water and earth? There are just a host of issues that are not being studied and need to be studied if we’re going to get our arms around the danger these wells and everything connected with them might pose to people.”

Fears in North Texas seem to be increasing as more and more people report health problems that seem to be related to drilling — and find little in the way of regulation or real answers as to what the dangers are. At Fort Worth Weekly, the questions and worries arrive by e-mail and letter frequently. Some report noise-related health problems and worry about compressor-station emissions. Many have found their well water ruined and wonder what toxins they ingested before the levels got so high as to make the problem noticeable by sight and smell.

Renee Salzman lives in Arlington, about 700 feet from a new well at Davis and Division streets, and she’s sick. “I’ve had these severe headaches, and I’ve had to clear phlegm from my throat constantly for the last couple of weeks,” she said. “I work in a garage studio, and after a couple of hours, I’ve just got a horrible headache.” She’s convinced that her illness is connected to the well because her symptoms appeared when the drilling company “started filling up the retention pool with that toxic waste.” Her daughters, too, are suffering from headaches.

Susan De Los Santos, a member of the Fort Worth Gas Drilling Task Force, said her group “didn’t get to tackle environmental issues because we were told to wrap things up sooner than we wanted.” She’s convinced that the citizen representatives on the industry-heavy task force would support regulations requiring more recapture of emitted gases and toxins. The task force did meet with the city council to discuss environmental issues in a workshop, she said, so that the council would have some basis for addressing those issues when it comes time to redraw the city’s drilling ordinance.

Both studies by the Denver researchers relied heavily on reviews of literature — that is, gathering various pieces of research already done on health aspects of gas and oil drilling.

The first, published in August, reviewed literature on the health effects of exposure to chemicals used or produced in drilling. The list is long and frightening, with toxins ranging from arsenic and barium to radiation from radon, radium, and uranium.

Exposure to one group of the drilling-related chemicals, known as volatile organic compounds that include benzene and toluene, can put people at risk of developing leukemia, kidney and neurological diseases, as well as increasing the risk of renal and other cancers. (Toluene was one of the chemicals found in a North Texas aquifer a few months ago, downstream from a gas drilling site, water that killed and sickened livestock and made some farmland basically unusable.)

The study also looked at heavy exposure to diesel exhaust, a lung cancer hazard that can also increase risk of cardiovascular diseases, asthma, and respiratory infections. And researchers wrote that nitrogen and sulfuric oxide, the gases released from oil and gas production during flaring and from gas compressor stations, have been shown to increase the chance of deaths from respiratory and cardiovascular diseases as well as increasing the rate of premature births and low birth weights.

Other chemicals on the list: toxic metals, exposure to which can cause cancers, auto-immune diseases, and reproductive impairment; hydrogen sulfide, which can cause depression, weakness, and memory loss and can be fatal at high exposure levels; and fraccing fluid contaminants, the exact composition of which oil and gas companies refuse to reveal as proprietary information.

A follow-up paper released in September looked at the health impacts in Garfield County, Colorado, which has been heavily drilled for gas in the past several years. Medical researchers said the scant literature available, combined with preliminary studies of health status and air and water quality, indicated that Garfield County residents could be facing physical, psychological, and social problems because of the drilling.

Dr. Roxana Witter, lead writer on the studies, said in an interview that the findings are worrisome but preliminary. “My gut reaction is that I wouldn’t have my kids or mother or grandmother living near gas drilling because of the potential health risks,” she said. “The more thoughtful answer is that without data informing us what the exposures are, we cannot be specific about the hazards.”

The preliminary data from Garfield County, she said, suggests that known exposures to dangerous chemicals are a real concern. “But when someone says ‘I’m throwing up’, or ‘I’m constipated’, I want a physician to be able to answer the question of whether those things are related to gas drilling. So I want studies done. Without them there will always be doubts. We’re trying to bring science to this issue so that the agencies that are charged with protecting our health can have the data to do that.”

She urged that more studies, targeted specifically at the gas-drilling industry, be done. “I believe it’s vital that someone begins to do legitimate scientific monitoring of air, water, noise, and light in connection with oil and gas development — drilling and production — near urban areas,” she said. “There is a potential for serious effects, but the science is not yet there to explain it.”

Lachelt would also like to see more studies done but thinks the gas companies could do a lot even now to mitigate human and environmental contact with toxins if they chose to. “We want the companies to publicly disclose the chemicals they’re using in drilling and fraccing. And we want them to use technology to capture the emissions that come off compressors and wells during flaring,” she said. “British Petroleum has been working with green completion technologies” — systems to recapture gases that otherwise escape into the atmosphere — “on 40 percent of their new wells, and they’ve found they can break even on the deal financially by selling what they capture and then also eliminate an enormous amount of methane from being freed into the air.”

A technology called the closed-loop system can also eliminate most of the wastewater pits — where toxic water sits and evaporates into the air until it’s hauled away to injection wells — by recycling the chemical-infused water in a given well.

“At a bare minimum,” said Lachelt, “wastewater pits need to be lined, fluids have to be removed quickly, there shouldn’t be any onsite burial of pit waste, and closed-loop drilling should be standard operating technology. And we immediately need to insist that only nontoxic substances be used in drilling and fracturing a well.”

The real fear, she said, is that “the accumulation of toxins in the air and water might do major health damage as time goes by. Are we going to see more people getting cancers? The only way we’ll know is by having ongoing monitoring and health studies to see what’s really going into the air, onto the ground, and into our water systems.”

In the meantime, Jim Ashford and Charles Morgan don’t see an end to their sleepless nights.

Lisa Sumi, a noise specialist with the Oil and Gas Accountability Project, said that while the gas companies might claim that complaints like those from Morgan and Ashford are not connected to the compressors near their homes, in Colorado OGAP convinced the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission — equivalent to the Texas Railroad Commission — to recognize low-frequency noise as a very real issue.

“Now when someone complains, the owners of the compressor units have to take readings, and if there is low-frequency noise being emitted, they have to eliminate it. Period,” she said. “And it’s as simple as putting up a building around the compressor to contain the sound. It costs a little for the gas companies but makes them much better neighbors.”

IQ Test Confirms I Am Not An Idiot

I don't want to go into the details of how it came about, but last week I found myself in a situation where I found myself taking an IQ Test for the first time in my life.

The idea of taking such a test made me nervous. What if it confirmed one of my worst fears and I learned I was an idiot?

I'd taken a similar test, years ago, the Federal Government's GSA Test. I did well on that one, got a GSA 14 Rating. Whatever that means. Likely I qualified to be a mailman.

The IQ Test has a lot of very abstract type questions, more like puzzles. Some of them I had to ponder for a bit to figure out the answer. One of the questions totally baffled me and no amount of pondering led to anything but a wild guess.

When it was all over I learned my IQ is 133. Since I had no idea what that meant I feared it might mean I was an idiot. I was pleasantly surprised to learn it was quite the opposite. As in I'm at the far right end of that bell curve you see above, with idiots being on the far left. Unfortunately for me, I suspect most of the people I know are in the middle of that bell curve. Or lean to the left.

A few weeks ago I was talking to an Iraq War vet. He said an amusing thing. He said he is not prejudiced against anyone due to race, ethnicity, sex preferences, nothing of that sort. The one thing he was prejudiced against was stupid people.

I've always tended to not overtly let anyone know, for the most part, that I think what they are saying or doing or the way they are acting is stupid. I felt, who am I to judge. But now that I've got these new IQ 133 credentials I'm thinking I might start allowing myself the privilege of thinking, geez, are you stupid or what? I likely won't be saying it out loud.

I've known some people who I've characterized as having degraded thinking. That sounds nicer than saying I think they are stupid. I have only directly told one person that she had degraded thinking. The situation called for it. I still think I prefer the degraded thinking terminology to bluntly telling someone they are not worth listening to because they are stupid.

I'm thinking stupid is different than ignorant. It is possible to be an ignorant person, but not stupid. Most ignorant people are stupid in that they are stupidly being lazy about losing their ignorance, as in not trying to learn more about the world they live in. Or question their ignorant beliefs. An ignorant person can get rid of their ignorance. A stupid person is stuck being stupid. This doesn't mean you can't be President of the United States one day. Obviously.

Anyway, I'm pretty sure I've not offended anyone with my stupid talk. I highly doubt any of those on the downside of the IQ Bell Curve would read far enough to get to the stupid part of this particular blogging and you who have aren't on that part of the Bell Curve, so all is good.

I must go do something smart now.

Obama's Informercial Causes Me Nightmare

Last night I was engrossed in something on this computer at the time Obama's Infomercial came on at 7. Central Time. A bit after 7 I remembered I wanted to watch the Infomercial, so I turned on the TV, hit the pause button and went to make popcorn.

(I'm loving how this AT&T U-Verse DVR thing let's me watch TV on my own schedule)

So, after the popcorn was popped and the butter melted I hit the "play" button.

Now. Here is where it gets weird. By morning I was confused at to what I'd watched. I woke up thinking the Obama Infomercial was the most bizarrely surreal political thing I'd ever seen. And that it'd cost him the election.

It was a scene in the Infomercial where it appeared that Obama's head was sticking out of a field of green Astro-Turf. And then his arm and hand sort of came out of the Astro-Turf, waving around, gesturing. I sat there on my couch mesmerized as the Astro-Turf scene turned into an elaborate dancing musical production with Barack singing "I'm a Yankee Doodle Dandy" while dancing with Michelle while all sorts of Democrat notables were backup singers and dancers, including Bill and Hillary.

As I sat there mesmerized I remember hearing Rush Limbaugh yapping about some professor somewhere saying that Obama had a hypnotic effect on old women and teenagers. I'm neither, but this morning I thought, wow, I think I was hypnotized last night.

Then, the more I thought about, and after reading the morning paper with no mention in the commentary of the Obama Infomercial being strange and surreal, I slowly realized that what I thought I was remembering as viewing last night was actually a nightmare.

I confirmed this this morning when I asked someone else who had viewed the Obama Infomercial if there was a scene of Obama's head sticking out of Astro-Turf, morphing into a Busby Berkely singing and dancing routine.

I was told that none of that was in the Obama Infomercial. And that it was very well-done.

I've long known I have a problem regarding confusing my dreams and nightmares with reality. The trouble comes from the fact that my dreams and nightmares are cinematic in their detail. I live entire movies during the night. It's exhausting at times. And confusing.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Seattle Sonics aka Oklahoma City Thunder & Aubrey McClendon's Evil Grip

A few days ago I blogged about an FW Weekly article about Aubrey McClendon, he being the evil doer who is behind all sorts of nefarious dirty dealing, including lying to steal the Seattle Supersonics from Seattle.

When I read the FW Weekly article, I, with my problem about paying attention to details, did not notice that the cover photo of the notorious Aubrey McClendon had his evil grip around a hapless Seattle Sonic player. Number 35 whoever that is. Spencer Haywood? That shows how old I am and when I last paid close attention to the Sonics.

The Oklahoma City Thunder are now playing. The new season of the NBA is underway. If you want to see the former Sonics play, it costs you way way way way less than it did in Seattle. You can probably get airfare to hapless OKC, plus your game ticket, for less than the small fortune it cost to see a game in Seattle.

As in I saw an ad for the OKC Thunder a day or two ago where the tickets ranged from $10 to $20. That's Seattle prices from the 70s. Keep in mind, though, you'll be watching the game in a town that is not quite up to the standards of 1970s Seattle.

Several of the Seattle players are not at all happy about going from trendy, upscale, super fabulous Seattle to dowdy, out in the middle of nowhere, Oklahoma City. Several have left their family's behind, not wanting to move their kids to inferior schools.

I don't blame them. I like OK, I've met great OK people, but the schools, well, let me put it this way. I know a family who moved from my zone of Washington to Oklahoma. Their kids were average C students in Washington. In Oklahoma their kids were suddenly A students, top of their class. And very popular. The Okies thought they were British. Our Yankee accents can be confusing to the locals.

Meanwhile back in Seattle. They'll likely have a new NBA team in a year or two. It'll likely be called the Seattle Supersonics. There'll likely be a new basketball arena built. And Seattle people will have a great time booing and beating the OKC Thunder whenever they come to town.

Phone Interview With Michelle Obama Over Lobsters

After I heard my favorite amusing bloviator, Rush Limbaugh, rant about Michelle Obama's alleged lobster binging at the Waldorf-Astoria, I blogged about it. Since then any number of search strings looking for info about Mrs. Obama's supposed seafood binge causes my blog to show up and thus people to read my version of the scandal, followed by comments.

After 2 weeks of it not letting up I decided it was time someone somewhere asked Michelle Obama directly what was up with all that lobster. It was a little more difficult to get Mrs. Obama on the phone than some people I call, but I have my ways of getting through. I won't say I'm always totally scrupulous, but I'm always on the side of truth, justice and the American Way.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008, 11:45---2 Weeks after Lobster-Gate began, Mrs. Obama answered her cell phone. What follows is as accurate a transcript of the conversation that transpired that my limited technical abilities could muster....

Durango---Well, let's get right to it. On Wednesday, October 15, the afternoon of your husband's last debate, it has been alleged, all over the Internet, that you ordered lobster appetizers, 2 steamed lobsters, Iranian caviar and champagne from room service at the Waldorf-Astoria. Is this true?

Mrs. O---Why would I be in the Waldorf-Astoria the afternoon of my husband's last debate? I don't like lobster and I don't think I've ever tasted caviar that I liked, Iranian or otherwise.

Durango---Okay, but you aren't exactly denying being in the Waldorf-Astoria. Or eating lobster. You could eat it and not like it. And you could be in the Waldorf and later at the debate. And no one likes caviar.

Mrs. O---I'm not saying I couldn't or I didn't or I wouldn't.

Durango---What are you saying?

Mrs. O---I'm saying it's nobody's business, but mine, what I eat, when I eat it or where I eat it.

Durango---Yes, you can say it's nobody's business, but there are a lot of people out there, like Rush Limbaugh, who are making it their business, claiming that your expensive lobster habit proves you and your husband are elitists. Or something like that.

Mrs. O---(Laughing) I could not get my husband to eat something like lobster or caviar no matter what power of persuasion I used.

Durango---No one is talking about your husband's taste in lobster, it is your lobster gorging that has the country talking.

Mrs. O---I don't understand why people would worry about such a thing.

Durango---Well, there isn't a lot going on out there, that and I guess there is some worry that if you'd spend almost $500 at the Waldorf-Astoria, for some expensive seafood, fish eggs and booze, that you might be a real expensive First Lady ordering who knows what from who knows where for State Dinners. I guess there is some concern that we've never had an elitist with expensive tastes in the White House before.

Mrs. O--- I must admit I am very flattered that people think of me as an elitist with expensive tastes, that's one of the nicest compliments I've ever received, but it just isn't true. If anything, given my actual tastes, people might want to worry that I'll call up the Colonel and order in a ton of Kentucky Fried Chicken with all the fixin's for a State Dinner. If I'd been caught ordering from the KFC drive-up window would the Internet be all abuzz over my bad tastes? Sometimes you just can't win. So I don't try. Let people think what they want.

Durango---Are you saying this interview is over?

Mrs. O---Yes, and it has been very nice talking with you. Goodbye. Come see us in the White House. We'll order in. But not from the Waldorf.

Durango---Thanks for your time and for the invite to the White House. I'll be looking forward to it. Couldn't you just have the White House kitchen whip up some lobsters instead of ordering in?

Catching Gar Fish In Texas

There are a lot of disturbing things in the lakes of Texas. I've seen and swam with some of them.

I've been chased in Lake Grapevine by a Giant Turtle that at first I thought was a Water Moccasin.

I have seen Water Moccasin swimming in a lake.

The swim hole at Dinosaur Valley State Park has a sign warning potential swimmers to beware of potential Snapping Turtles. It was an inviting looking swim hole, but the Snapping Turtle warning stopped me from getting in the water.

The most disturbing thing I've seen in Texas water is the half alligator/half fish monster known as an Alligator Gar Fish aka Gator Gar Fish aka Gator Gar aka Gar Fish.

If I'm not mistaken Gar the Texan is named after Gar the Fish.

A few weeks after my first Gar Fish encounter I was at Lake Grapevine talking to these sunbathers and they told me the week before one of their boyfriends had stepped on the teeth of a Gar Fish right near where we were talking. That same day a pair of fishermen told me they'd seen 4 Water Moccasins swim out from under the dock. That was the same dock I escaped to when I was chased by the Giant Turtle. I assume the Giant Turtle was a Snapping Turtle, because it seemed to be snapping while it was chasing me.

If you've not heard of an Alligator Gar Fish or have not seen one, check out the video below and you'll see an example of the horror that lurks in lakes in Texas...

My Blood Pressue Is High

I had an early morning doctor's visit today. I was up by 5 am. I drank my usual amount of coffee while reading the morning paper and checking in on my computer.

I have had highly labile blood pressure readings for years. I hate going to see a doctor. No good ever comes of it. More often than not I lose an important body part.

The last time I lost an important body part, upon my first doctor's visit that ended up with the important body part loss, my blood pressure was through the roof. The doctor was quite concerned. I told him it was because I'm a nervous wreck due to the idea of losing an important body part. I told the doctor the blood pressure would quickly be back in healthy range.

I don't think he believed me. As I stood at the receptionist's counter, making my appointment to lose an important body part, another nurse snuck up behind me and started taking my blood pressure. It was much lower. See, I told the doctor, you made me nervous.

I remember one time, in Moab, taking my blood pressure on one of those supermarket blood pressure machines. If I remember right alarm bells went off. That particular high blood pressure incident was due to the fact that I was traveling with some difficult energy sucking people. When they finally left so did my high blood pressure. Like I said, it is highly labile.

I believe I was in danger of eminent stroke my entire time last summer up in Tacoma. I could tell my blood pressure was through the roof. I remember feeling my blood pressure start to drop as soon as I entered Sea-Tac airport for my return. As we lifted off I could tell my blood pressure had reduced to totally normal.

When my blood pressure is bad it can be in the 190/120 zone. When it's good it can be in the 110/60 zone.

I find it troubling that my blood pressure does not stay in the good range, no matter what is stressing me. I'm not overweight, I get a lot of exercise, I eat very nutritionally, I don't consume excessive amounts of alcoholic beverages unless I'm in the type situation that causes my blood pressure to rise, I don't put salt on anything, I'm not African-American, as far as I know. My one bad sin is I drink coffee.

I've quit coffee before due to the high blood pressure. Being off the caffeine drug for a month had no noticeable affect on the BP. Coffee withdrawal is a horrible thing. I don't want to go through that again.

Other than the high blood pressure apparently I am in excellent health. I am going to fix this high blood pressure problem of mine. Somehow. It has vexed me for way too long.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Christmas in Texas, Part II

I'd forgotten til I searched that I'd blogged about my aversion to Christmas already. Another indicator of my not so good memory.

The last several years I've gone to Miss Puerto Rico's company Christmas Party. Those have been fun. Except for last year. The previous years were at this place called Austin Ranch up by Lake Grapevine. Sort of a Dude Ranch. It is a cowboy themed place, big bar, unlimited booze, dance floor, music, gambling and a lot of food.

Then last year it was at this awful place called Dave & Buster's, sort of like a poor man's Gameworks. It was crowded. There was no music. No dancing. No gambling. No unlimited booze. But the food was good.

This year I figured I wasn't going to Miss Puerto Rico's Christmas party due to her being in Puerto Rico at the time.

But a couple days ago I was in Miss Puerto Rico's office and I popped in to say howdy to her boss who had been gone for a month. Her boss said howdy, then told me the Christmas Party is December 5. I said Miss Puerto Rico is gonna be on the island then. Miss Puerto Rico's boss then said I had to go with her, that the party wouldn't be the same without me. I then said, yippee, I have a date for the Christmas Party. This should be fun, Miss Puerto Rico's boss is very amusing.

As for the actual Christmas, one of those holidays I generally dread, due partly to my inability to comprehend why people go to such a fuss. This year I think I'll drive to Phoenix, unannounced, and surprise my mom and dad and sister. And my brother. I'll stay in a motel so as to not inconvenience anyone with my slovenly ways and bad habits.

You in Texas who are looking for a fun Texas Christmas thing to go to, go here to a webpage I made, not due to my love of the holiday. I had ulterior purposes.

Freezing in North Texas

It was 35 at midnight. 32 was the overnight low. I was not tempted to see if it was possible to get in the pool at these temperatures.

It was a bit cold in here early this morning. But I didn't feel like turning the furnace on. So, I put on a wool cap and layers of other things and bundled up like I was in Tacoma in summer.

About noon it'd thawed out enough and I'd warmed up enough and I'd sat at this computer long enough that I decided to go roller blading at Quanah Parker Park again.

You may remember, my one reader, that just 2 days ago I went roller blading at Quanah Parker Park and it was in the 80s and I was shirtless. Today I rollerbladed in sweatpants and wore my wool cap. And kept my shirt on, though I did take off an extra shirt by the time I started rolling, but I got a bit chilly in just a t-shirt.

It's supposed to get warm here in a couple days, again, but I think we've had a bad sample of an upcoming very cold winter.

Come To The Tandy Hills: Prairie Notes From Don Young

Prairie Notes: October 26, 2008
Orchids & Earth-movers

My Indian Summer Sunday Morning God, I Hate Gas Drilling Hike turned out to be more than expected. While evil-doers ripped into ancient prairie soil within earshot, I contemplated the contrast between short sighted human greed vs. Mother Nature's long term, yet fragile, superiority. blah blah blah. It's too early in the morning for such thoughts. I needed a distraction.

Nodding Ladies' Tresses, to be precise. (Spiranthes cernua to be more precise.) Distraction accomplished.

One year after record rainfall resulted in tall-grass heaven at Tandy Hills Natural Area, a nagging drought has severely stunted the autumn grasses and wildflowers. Nevertheless, Tandy Hills has a knack for surprises.

Over the years I have observed that these sparsely scattered orchids prefer an east-facing, partially shaded slope. That describes exactly the conditions where I spotted about a dozen blooming plants. Their fragrance is almost enough to make one forget the diesel-powered injustice being committed a short distance away.

Walking back up the hill, my eyes caught a fleeting glimpse of (I think) a Cooper's Hawk arching overhead. (Tandy Hills is home to a pair of them.) I am always struck by the speed of these birds of prey. They move so fast I've yet to get a proper ID on them.

The new drill pad next door has the hawks (and me) on full alert. While I worry they feast on escaping rodents. That may be good for their short term needs, but I worry about the long run. Their habitat has been reduced by another five acres and more acreage loss is probable. The air up there is more toxic than before. The noise, dust, polluted water, etc. from drilling operations is bound to put their health and safety at risk. I guess the same can be said for us bipedal primates who haven't yet escaped.

But worry not. Today we have orchids. Don't miss them.

Come to the meadow and get distracted from whatever is bothering you.



DY's convinced me. I'm in the need for distracting, so I think it's off to the Tandy Hills again today, in search of an orchid.

The Real Real Housewives of Atlanta

It turns out that the housewives on the Bravo TV show called The Real Housewives of Atlanta don't actually live in homes in Atlanta. They live in suburbs of Atlanta. If that is what it takes to be a Real Housewife of Atlanta I know of a couple very real Real Housewives of Atlanta, living in Cummings, on the outskirts of Atlanta. These Atlanta Housewives would make much more real reality TV than the ones on the Bravo show.

Speaking of which, I've now watched 3 episodes of The Real Housewives of Atlanta. It's just about the most appalling of this type show I've seen. Made more so by these sadly deluded, supposed housewives, over the top conspicuous consumption.

I was disturbed from the start by the one blonde, Kim Zolciak. Continued viewing of this unmarried "real" housewife added to the disturbance. She smokes constantly. Is seldom without a wine glass. Has bizarre delusions that she is going to be a country western singer. And most shocking, she is what I believe is called a "kept" woman. Supported by a guy she calls "Big Papa" because "Big Papa" is a supposed celebrity who doesn't his face or name to be on TV. Likely to keep his wife in the dark. Good luck.

It did not take long for Bravo TV viewers to uncover that supposed celebrity "Big Papa" is an Atlanta multi-millionaire real estate developer named Lee Najjar. In the very first episode Kim called up "Big Papa" and told him she wanted to go buy a new Cadillac Escalade. Fine he said. So Kim drove to the dealership and wrote a check for over $60K and drove away.

Kim claims to be 28. She looks pretty well worn for 28. She has a daughter who is 11. Not that there is anything wrong with that.

Let's shut up about the Kept Woman Kim and move on to Cleveland Cavalier basketball player Eric Snow's wife DeShawna. In the first episode we see the Snow's arrive at their new 15,000 square foot home. The Snow's had not seen it. Built it, bought it, sight unseen. The architect said she worked with DeShawna a grand total of 3 hours on the design.

DeShawna went on and on about how she's always known she was destined for great things. And now she has an Estate Manager, a personal maid, a cook, a nanny and I forget what else. Oh yeah, the DeShawn Snow Foundation. On the show we see DeShawn ineptly make plans, on the fly, to raise a million bucks for her foundation. Turns out that her foundation is a disaster. As reported by the Ripoff Report.

At one point DeShawn goes on about her and her family being devout churchgoers. That's fine with me. Then DeShawn tells us that they religiously tithe. Then we see her dropping a $25K check into the collection plate. Let's see, I suck at math, but I believe that's over $1.3 million a year. Which must mean the husband, Eric, makes about $13 million a year playing basketball.

Does it make you feel good, Cleveland Cavalier fans, to know what your hard earned money is being spent on?

Basically, near as I can tell, expect for maybe 2 exceptions, all these women on the Bravo show are basically kept women living very bizarre self-absorbed delusion filled lives that makes for some pretty funny, appalling TV viewing.

Fort Worth Star-Telegram Obama Endorsement Reaction

I guess it was to be expected, but it's still a bit disturbing, that being the reaction by some readers, as evidenced in Letters to the Editor in this morning's Star-Telegram, to the Star-Telegram's full page Sunday endorsement of Barack Obama for President.

There were several letters in support of the Star-Telegram's Obama endorsement. But those seemed reasonable and non-nutcase, so not as interesting. Below are a few of the Anti-Obama Endorsement letters....

I am so mad I could spit. I can’t believe the Star-Telegram would recommend a socialist/communist for president. Just give him a year and he will control the paper. The head honcho of the Star-Telegram should leave America because he is anti-American. Anyone who votes for the socialist/communist does not have America’s best interests at heart.

I will be laughing when he becomes the dictator and you will not have the freedom to print what you want to. It will come to pass and it will serve you right, you Obama-loving, anti-American socialists/communists (anyone who votes for Obama fits this description). You want redistribution of wealth, which is Marxist, not American.

America is dead as we know it. Four years of the socialist/communist Obama and we will be like Iran, Cuba, Russia (any country that is a dictatorship, we will be also).

— Pat Spencer, Fort Worth


The Star-Telegram recommended Barack Hussein Obama for president? By doing so, it also endorses the Democrat-controlled Congress. Just how ignorant is that?

So what’s the surprise? Another dog-and-pony show in an attempt to justify a factually unjustifiable endorsement? But it doesn’t work, at least not for those who will vote from the facts that have cast history from true cause and effect.

Obama will remain not only a far-left socialist, but one cultured in the belief of another more dangerous and inequitable dogma. Anyone of any insight at all knows what it is. It need not be rewritten, for the Obama voter not only denies it, but also by immoral compassion embraces it as their own. It is so ignorant that it defies its own recognition.

Many have hoped that this veil of ignorance will somehow be lifted between now and the Nov. 4 election. But the evidence is yet to be revealed.

For America’s sake, the “hope” remains that the majority of each state’s “citizen” voters will recognize the Obama facade and vote from reality rather than poor fiction.

— Richard M. Holbrook, Weatherford


Horrors! How could you recommend Barack Obama for president? The man has less than one term as a senator and you think he can run this country? Surely this is a Halloween joke!

I can take comfort in the fact that hardly anyone reads your newspaper anymore and even fewer take to heart what you endorse.

— Marian Ramsey, Fort Worth


It was with little surprise that I opened the Opinion section Sunday to see a full-page, fawning recommendation of Sen. Barack Obama. You’ve been telegraphing this at least since the end of the Democratic primaries, and for a paper whose internal editorial policy is to “Get Bush” (see, the folks you laid off talked), it brings little shock.

Being old enough to remember the first Obama, er, Carter administration, I believe that we are headed down the same old road, only this time the Iranians will have nukes. I also believe that the 13.5 percent home loan I first had as a result of that administration’s policies is just a start with this tax-and-spend bunch.

So, go ahead and continue using the low-angle Obama head shots to make him look heroic (see, I know how this works) and keep up the fawning. Maybe it will anger the moderate electorate to drive the election to Sen. John McCain.

I certainly hope so, for our sake.

— Gerry Nichols, Lakeside


I was astounded to see a whole page spread in your paper openly recommending Barack Obama for president. What everyone thinks about their choice for president is their own opinion. However, when a news outlet puts an editorial out that says the Star-Telegram recommends Barack Obama for president, I think that is overstepping the bounds of objective journalism.

Now, I know that you are trying to get away with this by putting this article in the Opinion section. I find it very hard to believe that every single person employed at your paper agrees with that statement that you printed. I would quit if I worked for a company that made blanket statements like that.

It is not about whether the article supported Obama. It is about the fact that your readers cannot count on objective journalism off the editorial page when you make blanket statements like that. This is yellow journalism in its finest.

— Jill Harper, Keller


I was so disappointed when I opened my paper Sunday and saw the huge picture and editorial recommendation for Barack Obama. I knew my hometown paper was liberal, but this is ridiculous!

Gov. Sarah Palin has much more experience in government than Obama, and Sen. John McCain has more experience than Obama and Sen. Joe Biden put together. Just because Obama is an elegant speaker doesn’t make him ready to lead and protect us! And that huge picture of him was overkill! I’m just disappointed in my paper!

— Carlye Arnold, Arlington


After seeing your recommendation of Barack Obama for president, the only reason I don’t cancel my subscription is that my wife uses the ads and coupons. Your paper will merely be a propaganda arm for the new “We will control everything” government under Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and Obama. Never in my lifetime — 13 presidential races — have I seen a serious candidate so unqualified under the normal meaning of the word.

— J Morris Johnston, Mansfield


I never thought I would see the day that the Star-Telegram would support the most unqualified presidential candidate ever to run. He has no military or leadership experience to be commander-in-chief.

He has very little government experience. He has no respect for the flag or national anthem. He is supported by the Islamic leaders of the world and has vowed to negotiate with them. He is obviously a socialist because of his medical and wealth redistribution policy. I suspect the founders of the Star-Telegram are turning over in their graves!

— Robert Rainey, Arlington

And now for a final letter, one of the letters in support of the Star-Telegram's decision to endorse Barack Obama.....

I’m sure you were getting a ton of nasty mail Monday morning thanks to your principled decision to endorse our next president, Sen. Barack Obama. As a Star-Telegram subscriber, I just want to say thank you! Your reasoning was logical and well-stated, and I sincerely hope it sways the few folks who are undecided. It is really gratifying to see my hometown paper make the right choice. I’ll be renewing my subscription to offset at least one of the cancellations I’m sure you’ve received.

— Anna Brosovic, Arlington

Monday, October 27, 2008

Northern Friends Vs. Southern Friends

When I spent what seemed like all winter up in Washington last summer, but which was actually only one long month, I was struck more than any previous visit by how differently people behaved. Bad manners. Really bad manners.

Down here in the South people are just more friendly. And they say howdy a lot. At first I didn't like this all that much, but I got used to it. Now I like it.

There are a couple Georgia Peaches, known as the 2 Chippys, the actual Real Housewives of Atlanta, Lulu and Laurie. I can tell they have the Southern Good-Hearted Hospitality Friend thing down to perfection. This evening Laurie sent me an amusing email that sort of represents ways it is different here in the South from the cold North...


NORTHERN FRIENDS: Never ask for food.

SOUTHERN FRIENDS: Always bring the food.

NORTHERN FRIENDS: Will say 'hello'.

SOUTHERN FRIENDS: Will give you a big hug and a kiss.

NORTHERN FRIENDS: Call your parents Mr. and Mrs.

SOUTHERN FRIENDS: Call your parents Mom and Dad

NORTHERN FRIENDS: Have never seen you cry.


NORTHERN FRIENDS: Will eat at your dinner table and leave.

SOUTHERN FRIENDS: Will spend hours there, talking, laughing, cleaning up, and just being together.

NORTHERN FRIENDS: Know a few things about you.

SOUTHERN FRIENDS: Could write a book with direct quotes from you.

NORTHERN FRIENDS: Will leave you behind if that's what the crowd is doing.

SOUTHERN FRIENDS: Will kick the whole crowd's back-ends that left you.

NORTHERN FRIENDS: Will knock on your door.

SOUTHERN FRIENDS: Walk right in and say, I'm home!

NORTHERN FRIENDS: Will visit you in the hospital when you're sick

SOUTHERN FRIENDS: Will cut your grass and clean your house then come spend the night with you in the hospital.

NORTHERN FRIENDS: Have you on speed dial

SOUTHERN FRIENDS: Have your number memorized

NORTHERN FRIENDS: Are for a while.


BLOGGER'S NOTE: The above has been slightly edited from its original form.

Sarah Palin & Barack Obama On Dancing With The Stars

I don't care how well Sarah and Barack dance together, I still want Cloris Leachman to win. Tonight on Dancing With The Stars Cloris will be dancing the Hip Hop. Whatever that is. It's supposed to be rather energetic, possibly taxing the seeming endlessly energetic 82 year old past the limit of what she can endure. Cloris is quite flexible for an older dame which you can see quite clearly in the photo.

Today's Rush Limbaugh Obama Bashing

I listened to Rush Limbaugh for a short while this morning whilst doing yoga prior to going to Tandy Hills Park where it was so windy and cold that I ended up running up and down the hills trying to get warm. A month ago this would have killed me due to overheating. But not today. Mr. Limbaugh seems to be getting increasingly into Bad Boy Territory with his Obama bashing. Mr. Obama is highly likely going to be our next President. The Obama bashing at this late date annoys me. Below is today's "Rush in a Hurry." That's an email newsletter summation of today's Rush Limbaugh Show. You get a good flavor from it as to what I mean by Bad Boy Bashing....

On Today’s Show...

Show Highlight: The real Barack Obama revealed himself in a 2001 radio interview. The audio reveals an angry man with disdain for the United States Constitution and the limits it places on government power in our lives.

Democrats say that talk about Obama's plans to redistribute wealth is a "distraction." No, it's the very core of this man's being! He wants to take wealth from those who work and spread it to those who don't.

Pearl of Wisdom: "Speculation about Obama's birth certificate isn't going to sway independents or change minds. With eight days to go, we need to focus on Obama, not the Woods Foundation or Ayers. Tie Barack Obama to Obama, and after we tie Obama to Obama, then tie him to Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, and what will happen to America if they get unchecked power."

An Orlando interviewer dares to question Biden on Obama's apparent Marxism and ACORN. Biden responds with rage and lies.

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. Our Founders put LIFE first, and guaranteed it. If you don't have life, you don't have a chance for anything else. The Supreme Court eliminated the right to life in Roe v. Wade, yet Obama says the courts aren't radical enough for him. What could be more radical than that?

Pearl of Wisdom: "Obama says the Constitution charters 'negative liberties.' He wants government to do things to people, and he's mad that the 'flawed' Constitution limits its role in our lives. He doesn't like the idea of liberty, and wants to change it!"

Who's adding reverb to Obama's voice so he sounds like God? (Remember his speech in Berlin?) The Messiah now says he's going to restore economic prosperity and a higher purpose to an embattled nation. The audacity! The American people don't look to a Castro or a Chavez to give them purpose.

People keep asking, "Rush, what're you going to do?" What he's been doing for 20 years! What are YOU going to do, folks, besides calling on Rush to do something?

Sleep, Swim & Ski in Texas

I woke up some time after 3 am. I could not get back to sleep. I heard the paper clunk outside about 4:30. So, I got up, made coffee and read the paper.

The Monday Fort Worth Star-Telegram was record-breaking thin this morning. It took about 5 minutes to read. Of the 4 or 5 sections in this morning's paper, 2 of them were devoted to sports.

The only news that was remotely interesting was about the Iraqis balking at the new agreement with the U.S. that prolongs our stay. What seems odd to me is we invaded a sovereign nation on the flimsiest of pretenses. That turned out to be wrong. And now we are being all legalistic as to what we want in an agreement with the Iraqi government or we'll take all our marbles and go home?

It got down to 43 last night. I did my regular icy morning swim earlier than usual due to being up so early, as in I was in the cold water soon after the sun came up. I did not last too long.

I was wanting to blog about a couple of TV shows that appall me. One I mentioned before, that being The Real Housewives of Atlanta on Bravo. The other being MTV's disturbing Parental Control pseudo reality show.

But I'm too tired right now to remember all that appalled me about both those shows. I've now watched 3 episodes of the Atlanta one. It is truly jaw-dropping great train wreck TV.

I should be back at full energy in a couple hours. I'm going to Tandy Hills in a bit. That always revives me.

Oh. The skiing photo at the top. That was taken my first winter in Texas, when I lived in a little town on the northern border of Fort Worth called Haslet. The mailbox was in Fort Worth, the house was in Haslet. Those are cross-country skis. I got good use out of them a couple winters ago when we had about 5 inches of snow. I went skiing at Veterans Park in Arlington.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Swimming & Roller Blading Weather in Texas

This morning, about 9, I went swimming. The water must have been warmer because I stayed in it about a half hour. Or maybe I'm getting way to used to being frigid. The low overnight was 53 here in Fort Worth.

There is a hot tub adjacent to the pool. I figured it would not be a good thing to get in it because getting out would feel way too cold. I've learned otherwise. Today after a half hour in the cold I got into the hot. Then I got back in the cold. And to my surprise that felt good. Basically I think I've totally de-sensitized my nerve endings.

By noon it was in the high 70s. I decided to go roller blading at Quanah Parker Park. The high here today, so far, has been 88. That's what it felt like when I sat on a bench putting on my roller blades.

It was hot enough that going roller blading shirtless seemed the only sensible thing to do. I thought that sort of thing was over for the year.

There was what seemed to be a slightly crazy lady walking the trail that leads out of Quanah Parker Park. She said something to me, so I stopped and said, pardon me, what did you say? What followed seemed to be gibberish, all said with a smile. She seemed harmless. But you never know with those crazy people types.

Fort Worth Star-Telegram Endorses Obama

That's right. Sunday's Star-Telegram devoted one full page of its puny 2 page Editorial Section to explaining their rationale for endorsing Barack Obama to be our next President.

The Star-Telegram's line of reasoning seemed pretty reasonable to me. But their endorsement of Obama had no impact on my vote because I've already voted.

I don't remember if the Star-Telegram endorsed John Kerry or George W. in 2004. I wasn't here at the time. I was up in ultra-liberal Washington where it seemed a foregone conclusion that Kerry would win and where I saw many protests against George W., including in my old hometown of Mount Vernon where dozens stood on the street corners by the county courthouse, waving memorable signs. Let me go see if I can find a photo I took that day.

In Washington there is a sub-cult of phonetic spellers. I guess that explains "shud."

Getting Lost Again At Bob Jones Park

I didn't get a chance to blog about yesterday's adventure yesterday because when I got back here I got an emergency call from Miss Puerto Rico that had me embroiled in Latina Psycho-Drama til bedtime.

Yesterday I went up to Bob Jones Park. That's near Lake Grapevine. The route to Bob Jones Park, from here, takes me by Sprouts Farmers Market, my favorite grocery store, so I went there after getting lost and after having Costco free samples for lunch.

I don't actually get lost at Bob Jones Park. Bob Jones Park is the access point to where it's easy to get lost. Trails lead out of the park to a maze of other trails that are so confusing there are directional signs. Eventually if you go in the right direction you'll come to Lake Grapevine. The lake is the lowest I've ever seen it at this location. The last time I was there many of the trails were flooded.

Yesterday I found myself on trails I'd not been on before. There were several intersecting trails with no directional signage. After about an hour and a half I had to admit I was lost. I like being lost. As long as it doesn't get dark. That happened to me one Christmas at Dinosaur Valley State Park. That time, just as I started to sort of panic, I recognized where I was and was able to escape before it got too dark.

Yesterday, I came upon the clump of cactus in the photo during the period when I was lost. The lost trail went through some interesting territory. I think long ago a house was at this location judging from piles of wood from a long collapsed building.

The reason I think this may have been the location of a house was due to something very very bizarre. As in there were hundreds of Mason canning jars on the ground, the likes of which I saw my mom and dad fill with raspberry jam when I was in Tacoma last summer. What seemed really strange was all the jars were intact. No one had had themselves a good time throwing rocks at them. I found all those intact Mason canning jars unsettling. They continue to haunt me this morning. I'll probably get over it by this afternoon.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Racial Tensions In Paris After Black Man Killed

A memorial service is being held today for 24 year old Brandon McClelland in Paris, Texas. McClelland was killed in what is being called, by some, a brutal and racist hate crime.

Paris is in East Texas. East Texas is also where Jasper is. About a year before I moved to Texas Jasper became infamous due to the horrible murder by 2 white guys of a man named James Byrd. Mr. Byrd was dragged to his death beneath a pickup.

Brandon McClelland was killed by being hit by a truck and dragged underneath the truck for about 70 feet.

Apparently Paris, Texas has a long history of tension between black and whites and the killing of Brandon McClelland has raised tensions once more.

When I moved to Texas, soon after the James Byrd murder, I thought I'd be living in a place where I'd experience racism up close and personal for the first time in my life. To the contrary I've seen nothing but people getting along well with each other during my entire time in Texas. I've not experienced anything even remotely that seemed at all racist.

The 2 men charged with killing McClelland, Shannon Finley and Charles Crostley, were friends with McClelland. They were all drinking buddies.

Paris is a dry Texas town. The three drinking buddies wanted beer. So they headed up to Oklahoma. On the way back, drinking beer, likely drunk, an argument broke out over who was sober enough to drive.

McClelland tired of the arguing and said he'd walk home. He took some beer and took off walking. That's when the driver of the pickup ran into and over him, dragging him 70 feet to his death.

The New Black Panthers are in Paris calling this a hate crime. Others say the only resemblance between the Paris crime and the James Byrd murder is both were black men and a vehicle was involved with 2 white men in it.

Finley and Crostley are in jail, charged with murder and evidence tampering. They drove through a car wash to try and remove McClelland's blood. This is not the first time Finley has been charged with murder. In 2003 McClelland copped a plea to manslaughter and was sentenced to 4 years.

Ironically, during Finley's previous murder trial the man he is now accused of killing, Brandon McClelland, pleaded guilty to perjury for providing a false alibi for Finley. McClelland was sentenced to 5 years probation and did some jail time when he violated the terms of his probation.

All of this could have been avoided if Paris was not a dry town. It's time to end prohibition in Paris.

Gas Falls Below $2 in Texas

A fresh gas price war has broken out in the south Fort Worth suburb of Burleson. RaceTrac and QT went below 2 bucks Thursday night, followed by other area gas stations on Friday.

If the pattern of the past couple weeks holds true, gas all over North Texas will be falling under $2 in a few days.

The price of natural gas has plummeted too. So, all of us who have our electricity rate tied to the price of natural gas will be seeing reduced electricity bills.

Meanwhile OPEC is cutting back production. Which, I guess, will eventually have the gas prices heading up again. Maybe.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Natural Refreshment at Village Creek Historical Area

By noon I'd grown weary of looking at a computer screen. The blue sky and the pleasant temperatures beckoned me outside. I decided to go to Village Creek Natural Historic Area Park to commune with nature and consult my travel guide book regarding my upcoming trip to South America.

This time of year for some reason the sun causes the leaves in the trees to glow like they are green light bulbs.

Where you see me sitting on a picnic table, reading, in the top photo, behind me, what you can't see, is a big pond. In that pond are a lot of turtles. And snakes. I
don't like sitting with my back to the snakes. There were a lot of frisky squirrels making a racket and making me a bit jumpy. Snakes make no noise when they slither up to you. At least I assume that to be the case. I've never actually had an incident where a snake slithered up to me.

A paved trail meanders through Village Creek Natural Historic Area. It crosses Village Creek in 2 places. Walking the Village Creek trail is very peaceful. For most of it you are under a tree canopy that is sort of jungle-like. River Legacy Park can be like that in places, too, but there are a lot more people at River Legacy. Village Creek is way more relaxing.

And you have all those Village Creek Indian spirits infusing their old homelands with some special voo-doo energy.

Cheryl Burke Has Got A Link To Me

Earlier today I blogged about Cheryl Burke and how a couple of insensitive obesity obsessers, Louis van Amstel and Maksim Chmerkovsky, had told TV Guide that they thought Cheryl Burke and Lacey Schwimmer, a pair of fellow pro dancers on Dancing With The Stars, were too fat.

So, I got back here from a salubrious visit to Village Creek Park, needed to clear my head from this morning's turmoil and checked in on my website stuff and found that my blog was getting a lot of hits from something called So, I clicked on and was pleasantly surprised to find that Cheryl Burke has made a link to my blog on her website.

I've always felt sort of connected to her. And now even more so.

Gas Price Falls Fast In Fort Worth

Just a couple days ago I bought a couple gallons for, I think, $2.61.

And now today my neighborhood QT is practically giving it away for $2.39.

There are no long lines like what happened a couple weeks ago when a local rogue station started a gas war by lowering his station's price to the what seemed like a bargain at the time, now outrageous price of $2.99.

As my longtime reader may remember, whenever I get gas I call my mom in Phoenix. Today I couldn't find my phone, so mom got no gas call. I feel bad about that. I guess I should go find my phone.

Ron Howard Takes His Shirt Off To Endorse Obama

Ron Howard has used a YouTube video to let the world know he wants Barack Obama to be our next President.

In the video Ron Howard takes his hat and his shirt off and becomes Opie Taylor talking to his Pa, Andy Griffith, asking Andy why people are so stubbornly resistant to change and wishing he was old enough to vote for Obama.

After that Ron Howard becomes Richie Cunningham and has a talk with the Fonz where the Fonz has trouble admitting he was wrong to have voted for Bush/Cheney twice as they've led us down a wrong path.

Then Richie becomes Ron Howard again who then expands on his endorsement of Barack Obama. None of this had any influence on my vote. Because I've already voted.

Cheryl Burke & Lacey Schwimmer Are Too Fat?

I was surprised this morning to learn that there are some out there who have even more twisted obesity obsessions than me.

I'm talking about Louis van Amstel and Maksim Chmerkovsky.

Who are they you ask? Well, I've admitted before that I enjoy Dancing With The Stars. As do a lot of other people. Up til last week it'd been the top-rated show in the country til CSI took over the top spot.

Louis van Amstel and Maksim Chmerkovsky are two of the professional dancers. People have been commenting that a couple of the female pro dancers, Cheryl Burke and Lacey Schwimmer, have gotten too chunky. They don't look chunky to me.

But in the latest issue of TV Guide Louis said "People look at this show to be inspired and think, ‘If I just work hard enough, I can look like that.” If they watch someone who’s dancing her butt off and she’s still heavy, they can be discouraged. You have to take that responsibility."

I can't imagine how anyone could look at Cheryl Burke dancing and think geez that tub of lard is such a fattie, even after all that exercise, I'm just not gonna try anymore. It's hopeless. That's Cheryl Burke in the bikini. Does that look fat to you?

Chmerkovsky thinks so. Maks, who is one of my favorites, he's funny, said when he first saw Cheryl Burke and Lacey Schwimmer at the start of the season he told them, "Guys, you know the camera adds 10 pounds, you have to do something about this."

Both Cheryl and Lacey are still in the competition. Maks had to quit when his Olympic volleyball partner, who's name I do not remember, got injured while twirling around the dance floor. Ballroom dancing is a very dangerous sport. Lots of injuries. But, 82 year old Cloris Leachman continues to hang in there, being very funny and getting standing ovations.