Saturday, May 31, 2008
One of the people opining brought up the Dallas Cowboy Stadium Scandal and added links to my webpages that deal with that issue. They tried to link both to the main page that details what Jerry Jones did to Arlington and comments from around the world that mostly verbalize outrage over the worst case of eminent domain abuse in American history.
A San Jose Mercury News opiner then thanked me for the fixed links and added some interesting information about how Arlington got snookered by Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys, which you can read below....
"Thanks for this, Durango.
The stadium proposal in Santa Clara, California, probably won't require any eminent domain seizures because the land is already in our Redevelopment Area.
But your updated links make clear - or should make clear - to certain stadium boosters here: There is a real human cost to "plopping" an NFL stadium down anywhere. And in our neighborhood, there's a lotta denial on that subject.
Eminent Domain abuses aside, the Dallas Cowboys stadium has another cost as well:
"...After Dallas rejected a $425 million dollar subsidy the City of Arlington taxpayers approved an up to $325 million subsidy to pay for up to one-half of the cost of land acquisition, construction, and infrastructure required for the new Cowboy stadium."
Let's hope that the development of all of that seized land makes it worthwhile to somebody. Here in Santa Clara, we'll have nothing else to go with our $1B stadium except for a Convention Center and a theme park.
Here's how Arlington will pay that back:
AUSTIN, Texas -- Fitch Ratings has assigned an 'A' rating to the Arlington, Texas (the city) $312.7 million Dallas Cowboys Complex special obligation bonds. The financing is composed of three series:
--$136.9 million tax-exempt special tax bonds, series 2005A;
--$152.9 million tax-exempt special tax auction-rate bonds, series 2005B;
--$22.9 million taxable special tax and revenue bonds, series 2005C.
Turns out that "A" grade is two grades down from AAA, or prime, and that means that Arlingtonians will be paying more to bondholders than they would for AA or AAA bonds.
Sounds like a raw deal to me.
If we hand a cash subsidy over to Dr. John York - we'll be selling bonds just for the privilege.
The lower our own bonds are rated, the more that Santa Clarans, now and in the future, will have to pay back to bondholders.
Golly, I can't wait."
I was quite surprised when I found out how they were linking to my stuff. It was in a totally delusional, far more delusional than even the Fort Worth Star-Telegram has ever been, description of Fort Worth. Describing Fort Worth as the cultural capital of the Southwest. And the top art and architecture city between the two coasts! And Fort Worth's zoo as ranked top in the country! Apparently Fort Worth is in a different country than San Diego, Seattle, New York City and Los Angeles.
I'll copy and paste the bizarro propaganda below.
But first I've gotta tell you the weirdest part of this warped description of Fort Worth. In the second sentence in the first paragraph we read the following, "Historic Downtown provides interesting architecture and wonderful entertainment for locals and visitors." Note the "Historic Downtown" link. They are linking to my take on downtown Fort Worth! It is not a flattering look. The TWU verbiage also mentions the Water Gardens. That is a pic from my Historic Downtown webpage, showing a sleeping homeless person in the Water Gardens.
Below is the amusingly weird verbiage from the TWU website. But, before you read that, I gotta say, you'll learn in the first sentence that Fort Worth is a model of urban planning. For who I shudder to wonder? At the end of the weird verbiage you'll read mention made of Heritage Park in this amazing model of urban planning. Heritage Park is in downtown Fort Worth. It is closed, surrounded by ugly cyclone fencing, a rundown eyesore. Go here for a look at the current state of this park in this model of urban planning.
From the Texas Wesleyan University website-----
"Fort Worth is a model of urban planning; you can visit different sections of town and find a variety of activities in their own distinctive settings. Historic Downtown provides interesting architecture and wonderful entertainment for locals and visitors. Friendly police patrol regularly on horseback, bicycle or segway and greet the visitors. Charming, unassuming, and remarkably unhurried, downtown's centerpiece, Sundance Square is 14 blocks of redbrick streets and late-19th-century buildings and has attractions that include the magnificent Bass Performance Hall (the permanent home to major performing arts organizations of Fort Worth including the symphony, ballet, opera, and live theater), a couple of cowboy museums, and a pair of Art Deco movie theaters. After lunch, you can relax and cool down in the sculptural Water Gardens, an oasis in the center of town. Downtown is visitor-friendly with sidewalks that invite strolling on the streets which are lit up like a Christmas tree at night. Sundance Square's restaurants and pubs are the heart of downtown nightlife and visitors can mingle with the out-going locals.
Fort Worth is considered the cultural capital of the Southwest, with a thriving performing arts scene and three of the most impressive small art museums in the country. Wealthy patrons (mostly from oil money) and an enthusiastic city welcomed some of the world's most celebrated architects to create the Kimbell Art Museum, Amon Carter Art Museum, and Museum of Modern Art which have made Fort Worth as perhaps the top art and architecture city between the two coasts. In the park-like Cultural District, along with the three art museums are the spacious and beautiful Botanical Gardens with its Japanese Gardens, Casa Manana (a theater-in-the-round under a geodesic dome), the Museum of Science and Natural History and its Omni Theater, the Will Rogers Center and Coliseum (home of national rodeos), the Log Cabin Village from pioneer days, and the Fort Worth Zoo, ranked top in the country. Fort Worth hosts the second largest park land space of any U.S. city. The scenic, green-belted Trinity River Trails provide runners and families 35 miles of natural-surfaced and paved paths linking the various parts of town with the several parks dotted along the way, like the Heritage Park downtown and the wooded Trinity Park in the Cultural District."
Friday, May 30, 2008
That is the world's #2 Hottest Royal in the photo, Hot Harry. So hot he had to take his shirt off.
Harry is the son of the late Princess Diana. I don't believe any DNA testing has been done to determine, for certain, who the father is.
UK Royals took the Top 4 Hot Spots. I've only heard of the first 2. I'd heard of none of the World's other Hot Royals either.
I'm so ignorant I didn't know that Sweden, Germany, Greece or Denmark even had royals. I knew the Arab countries were big on having Kings and Queens. 2 of them are Hot. I'm not totally fluent in Arab, but I think one of the Hot ones is a boy and the other a girl. I can't tell by their names, but #6 is a Sheik. I'm thinking that is Arab for Prince. And then at #17 we have a Sheika. Which I'm guessing is a girl Sheik.
The Sheik is from Dubai, the Sheika from the United Arab Emirates. #18 is also from an Arab country, Jordan, but she isn't a Sheika, she's a Princess. Africa has only 1 Hot Royal, coming in in last place, a Princess from Swaziland.
Here's the entire list for you to commit to memory.
01. Prince William (Britain)
02. Prince Harry (Britain)
03. Zara Phillips (Britain)
04. Princess Beatrice (Britain)
05. Charlotte Casiraghi (Monaco)
06. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum (Dubai)
07. Princess Victoria (Sweden)
08. Prince Azim (Brunei)
09. Prince Carl Philip (Sweden)
10. Andrea Casiraghi (Monaco)
11. Prince Albert von Thurn und Taxis (Germany)
12. Princess Madeline (Sweden)
13. Princess Theodora (Greece and Denmark)
14. Prince Wenzeslaus (Liechtenstein)
15. Princess Tsuguko (Japan)
16. Princess Sirivannavari (Thailand)
17. Sheikha Maitha bint Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum (United Arab Emirates)
18. Princess Iman bint Al Hussein (Jordan)
19. Prince Philippos (Greece and Denmark)
20. Princess Sikhanyiso (Swaziland)
Am I remembering correctly? Did there used to be a time when we would not have openly speculated on such a thing regarding a president? Is it somehow in bad taste?
I know a tempermental Puerto Rican who thinks one should not speak ill of the president. Or make fun of him. She thought it was in terribly bad taste to include Bush on a list of men who looked like old lesbians.
Yesterday I blogged some pics of Bush acting goofy at the Air Force Academy in Colorado, where he'd given a commencement speech and then proceeded to engage in some frat boy frolicking with the cadets.
This morning I see on my web stats that I've got a lot of people from the Air Force Academy looking at that particular blogging. I hope they don't take umbrage.
Now, watch the below video and see if you think Bush is an idiot.
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Well. Unbeknownst to me, the Star-Telegram has been running this little weekly video show on their website called DaFoWo Show. As in Dallas Forth Worth Show.
I tried to embed the video from this week, but that source code did not work. It's pretty funny, with one section tracking Fort Worth's current Gaydometer Reading. And another showing one of my kind, a hapless Northerner, coping with the Texas heat. You can view the video I could not embed at the Star-Telegram website by going here. I don't know how long it will be viewable til replaced by the next week's video.
I found an episode from a month or so ago, on YouTube that I am able to embed below. It's not quite as amusing as the current week's episode, but it's still pretty funny in a couple places.
It seems odd to me that so many hurricanes are named after people I know. Alma is one of the best Songbirds of the South, currently performing in various venues on the Texas Gulf Coast.
Alma does not like hurricanes.
I don't know what Alma's predicted trajectory is after she leaves Nicaragua and enters the Caribbean. I don't know if Alma is heading in Alma's direction.
During his speech Bush said the whole Iraq thing had been a learning experience, as in he said, "we learned from hard experience that newly liberated people cannot make political and economic progress unless they first have some measure of security."
Let's see, we invaded Iraq while bombing the hell out of the country in a program called "Shock & Awe." We then occupied Iraq, supposedly to make sure Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction.
Then, for some reason some Iraqis did not feel as if they'd been liberated, they felt like they'd been invaded and so they fought back, hoping to be liberated of the liberators.
I know if some other country didn't like America having weapons of mass destruction, which we do have, and if that country thought America's leader was a threat to the peace of the world, and if that country decided to invade America, with a Shock and Awe bombing of Washington, D.C., including the presidential palace known as the White House and if after the invasion that country captured our President, put him on trial and then executed him, well, I would be quite mad and I would become an insurgent doing anything I could to hurt the invaders.
And it would really make me mad to hear the leader of the country that had invaded America, and toppled our government, claim that we'd been liberated.
And on a totally different note. The photos in this post were taken yesterday during the graduation ceremony. Bush appears to be acting quite goofy, what with chest thumping a cadet and smoking cigars, among other things.
Meanwhile two more Americans were killed in Iraq yesterday during a battle at a place in Iraq called Donkey Island.
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
(The photo of Mount Rainier is the view from my big sister's place on Lake Meridian in Kent)
I believe I am heading that way in July. I've not been in Washington for over 2 years. When I'm gone this long it is a bit of an adjustment returning to the Evergreen State. First off, I'll be going from temps in the 100s to temps where the locals think they are having a heat wave when 2 days in a row temps are in the 80s. I'll feel very chilly. Til I acclimate.
Second off, the people will look to me like they've had the air let out of them. I first experienced this driving back for my mom and dad's 50th. It was in Colorado the people seemed to start looking deflated. And then I went into a Super Wal-Mart in Ontario, Oregon and it looked like everyone had just come from a 2 month stay at a health spa.
2004 was my last time in the Northwest during summer. That time Lulu plucked me from the airport and drug me to downtown Seattle to Pioneer Square to deliver some of her fabulous jewelry art to a gallery. I'd not been back in 3 years and I could not get over how many people were out and about in lively downtown Seattle. And how the vast majority looked like they'd had the air let out of them.
Fort Worth is so proud of being named the Liveliest Downtown in Texas. I wonder what a Fort Worther thinks when they see an actual lively downtown like Seattle's? With all its deflated people. It must be perplexing.
I'll be staying at my little sister's in Tacoma, where I'll play uncle to her babies, two cute poodles. The bulk of my time will be spent working with Operation Lulu. That should be fun. It always is.
(That is the Tacoma Dome in the pic, with Mount Rainier behind it. Both built with no eminent domain abuse.)
At some point in time my mom and dad will show up. I've not seen them in over 2 years. Today I learned I'll get to install some ceiling fans and chandeliers in my sister's house. I've not done something like that in awhile. I hope I don't electrocute myself.
I hope I manage to get over to Eastern Washington. I've not done that since 2004. I love spending time in Washington's Bavarian Village known as Leavenworth. When I first moved to Texas I read of a town here called Muenster, that promoted itself as if it were a Leavenworth type thing. It isn't. Leavenworth is Disneyesque in its attention to detail. Muenster was more like no one there knew where or what Bavaria is. Muenster did have a dusty German bakery and a German pizza parlor. I've no idea what that means.
It's the fresh fruit I really wanna go to Eastern Washington for. I've not had a good apricot in 4 years. I love apricots.
In Texas you can buy blackberries for about 3 bucks for a few ounces. In Washington blackberries grow everywhere. I intend to eat a lot of blackberries and have a lot of fresh blackberry milkshakes. And seafood. In Texas seafood is called catfish. I want cod. Or halibut. And some fresh out of the water dungeness crab. And oysters.
Since I moved to Texas all the berries that grow in Washington have now become known as Super Foods. I grew blueberries on my rooftop deck and never managed to eat all that I grew. I did not know, at the time, that they were Super Foods. Where I lived farms grew blueberries, raspberries and strawberries. But no blackberries, because they grow wild everywhere. It amazes me that blackberries are something you buy in a grocery store here in Texas.
I'll be blogging and doing a lot of video when I'm up north. I'm sure my thousands of readers will be eagerly anticipating that. I know I am.
Nick's wreck took place in Clearwater, Florida. On Sunday Hulk Hogan was driving his Mercedes and got into a 7 car pile-up. Also in Clearwater, Florida. I don't know if Hulk Hogan was drunk and speeding. I do know he is old enough to consume alcohol.
I also know jail conversations between Nick and his dad have been recorded and you can listen to them. In the one I listened to, Hulk Hogan trashes the guy that his son put into a coma. Nick says the guy in a coma was very negative.
On the recording I listened to there was not the slightest hint of remorse that the victim was in a coma. Instead, Nick was wanting his dad to help arrange for him to have a new reality show when he gets out of stir. A reality show detailing his comeback from being in jail.
Nick's main concern regarding his reality show was that he wanted to make as much money on it as possible.
Is there a petition somewhere we can sign to keep this kid from making money from doing jail time for being underage and driving drunk and putting someone in a coma?
You can listen here to Hulk Hogan and his jailbird son discuss the son's victim and his future. The son's future, I mean, not the victim's future. The two Hogan's don't seem to give a rat's ass about the victim.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
While walking I was listening to Rush Limbaugh. No, I am not a right wing nut job. I find him very amusing. And my cheap radio headphones only get one station clear, that being WBAP out of Dallas. And Limbaugh happens to be on the air when I walk or ride my bike.
So, today this woman calls up yammering about Barack Obama seeing dead people. It took awhile for Rush to sort out what she was talking about. Seems at the start of a Memorial Day speech in Las Cruces, New Mexico Obama gaffed when he said--
"On this Memorial Day, as our nation honors its unbroken line of fallen heroes -- and I see many of them in the audience here today -- our sense of patriotism is particularly strong."
Obama's official website quickly removed the unfortunate verbiage.
There seems to be a sort of cottage industry tracking Obama's Gaffes. He's repeated several times that his uncle helped liberate Treblinka and Auschwitz. Trouble is, the Russians liberated both those death camps. American troops did not enter Poland, which is where those death camps were located.
Maybe his uncle told Barack this and Barack never thought to question the story. Just like he didn't question his assertion that over 10,000 had died in a tornado in a small Kansas town.
And there's what I thought was a gaffe during a debate with Hillary, which I never read anyone questioning. It was about the administration's poor planning in Afghanistan and Iraq. Barack claimed that the U.S. army was stretched so thin by the Iraq deployment, with not enough guns, that our soldiers in Afghanistan at one point had to use guns they'd taken from dead Taliban. When he said that it just seemed ridiculous to me. I really can't see those in command not making sure their men have good ol' American guns, let alone having them use Taliban guns.
Maybe it wasn't a gaffe. But I sure don't recollect reading about any incidents like this. And one would think one would.
Below you can hear Obama make his Memorial Day Sixth Sense Gaffe at the start of his speech.
The Puerto Rican pays attention to beauty pageants. Miss Puerto Rico won Miss Universe awhile back. This caused much celebration on the island and a late night extra call to the mom on the island.
Puerto Rico is now all atwitter due to the first time ever being the focus of the American presidential race, with visits by all the Clintons, including Chelsea, and by Obama. The Clintons have spent more time on the island than Obama. Apparently Puerto Ricans like Hillary more than Barack.
That is certainly true of my local Puerto Rican. She gets down right nasty talking about Obama. Apparently Puerto Rican's are born with really bad tempers. Or so I've been told. My local Rican can get worked up almost over just about anything. One time she was screaming about something Arnold, the California governor, said along the lines of "Puerto Rican's are hot-blooded, violent people who are quick to anger." I said, "You are hot-blooded, violent people who are quick to anger."
"That may be true, but he shouldn't have said it," she said in anger mode without any sense of the irony.
My local Puerto Rican is very politically opinionated. But she has never voted. The United States came to possess Puerto Rico upon winning the Spanish-American War. We also took over Cuba and the Philippines. Cuba got its independence in 1902, the Philippines got theirs after WWII. But Puerto Rico remains a U.S. possession with a sort of Commonwealth arrangement. Puerto Ricans pay no federal taxes, yet get social security and food stamps.
In 1974 the Democratic National Committee decided it was a good idea to hold democrat presidential primaries on the island. But Puerto Ricans can not vote in the November election. With 63 voting delegates they will send more delegates to Denver than half the states. The reason the Democrats decided to let Puerto Ricans vote in a primary was to curry favor with the Puerto Ricans who were living in the states.
I don't know how this was supposed to work. The Puerto Rican's I've met are pretty independent thinking. Like my local Rican is the only person I know who likes George W. and she says she'd vote for Hillary or John McCain, but not for Barack.
People who talk about who they'd vote for and then don't vote somehow annoy me.
Monday, May 26, 2008
In a paid for by the city of Fort Worth full page advertisement in the Memorial Day Fort Worth Star-Telegram, in an article titled "Citywide Conversation to Shape Fort Worth's Future," Mayor Mike Moncrief is quoted as saying, "Usually, this council and I are the ones doing the talking, but this is our time to listen to you, Fort Worth. We want to hear the concerns, observations and suggestions of our residents as to how we can make the best city in the country even better for future generations."
Best city in the country? Delusions of grandeur is such a sad spectacle to see up close.
But, even weirder than that is this Citywide Conversation thing. The lead paragraph says, "It happened in 1963 and '92. Now, it's happening again---a citywide conversation to stimulate dialogue among Fort Worth residents."
So, twice in the past 45 years the Ruling Junta of Fort Worth has listened to its citizens? And now they are going to listen again?
Here's an idea. Rather than listening how about letting the citizens vote?
Soon bulldozers will begin leveling businesses and houses taken by eminent domain, in yet one more abuse of that legit concept, via its bastardized version as practiced in Texas, in order to destroy the confluence of two forks of the Trinity River at the north end of downtown Fort Worth, to build a lake, some canals and a flood control diversion channel.
The flood control thing had to be added so as to be able to have some sort of legit reason for this project so as to be able to secure Federal funds. Yes, that is right, you in the rest of America, some of your tax dollars are helping pay for this boondoggle.
A boondoggle, I forgot to mention, that the good citizen's of Fort Worth have not been allowed to vote for.
Dallas has a similar project that was in place when Fort Worth copied it. Major difference, the citizens of Dallas, living as they do in an enlightened democracy, got to vote for their Trinity River project. Unlike the Fort Worth project, the Dallas one makes sense, as in there is a huge flood plain that just sits there right now as open land, that will become a huge recreational lake, with 3 big signature, iconic image worthy bridges, crossing the lake into downtown Dallas.
In Fort Worth, which is not quite as enlightened a democracy as Dallas, and where the concepts of conflict of interest and nepotism hold no meaning, the son of Fort Worth's congresswoman, Kay Granger, he being J.D Granger, is earning $110,000 a year running the Trinity Uptown Project, which is what the Fort Worth boondoggle is known as.
One of Fort Worth's good politicians, former City Councilman, Clyde Picht, who has long opposed the boondoggle that the people of Fort Worth have not voted for, said the appointment of Granger's son is "asking for criticism" and that his knowledge of water district issues is "certainly more limited than most people."
Among the many aspects of this project that puzzle me, one is, I don't get how a Ruling Junta can ram through such a massive civic works project, one that involves taking its citizen's businesses and homes, without letting the citizens vote on the project. How is that legal?
And now the Fort Worth City Council is going to have a citywide conversation with the citizens of Fort Worth? And listen to them? If the past is an indicator of the future, if the citizens get feisty with the Mayor and the rest of the Ruling Junta, Mike Moncrief will simply walk away.
Meerkat Manor is all about a family of Meerkats known as the Whiskers and their travails in the Kalahari Desert in Africa. The last season of Meerkat Manor's most dramatic plot point was the murder by a cobra of the Whisker's dominant female, the Queen of the Kalahari known as Flower.
After Flower's murder, her daughter, Rocket Dog, took over. Flower's widower, Zaphod, found himself no longer the top dog in the manor and had to stoop to doing menial chores, like babysitting, til he finally decided to head out on a search for a new mate.
Zaphod almost successfully nailed another Meerkat Mob's top mama, but he was thwarted before he could get the job done.
Zaphod then made it back to the Whiskers. If I remember right that is about where we left the Whiskers when the last season ended. A new season called Meerkat Manor: The Next Generation is supposed to start June 6 on Animal Planet.
Below is a YouTube tribute to Flower.
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Speaking of World War I. Frank Woodruff Buckles is the last known American-born veteran of the First World War. Mr. Buckles was only 16 when he convinced an enlister that he was 21.
Mr. Buckles did not get stuck in the trenches during the war. He was stationed stateside, then the UK, France and Germany where he helped return prisoners of war back to Germany.
Frank Buckles was born February 1, 1901 which makes him one of the few men who were alive for both turn of the century September 01 terrorist attacks, that being the September 14, 1901 anarchist terrorist assassination of President William McKinley and the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
At 107 years old Frank Buckles still fires on all cylinders, daily giving interviews. He thinks the worst president in his lifetime is not George W. Bush, or Richard Nixon, but his very first president, that being the aforementioned William McKinley. Why, I do not know.
Mr. Buckley lifts weight daily and does about 50 sit-ups each morning in addition to his stretching routine.
Mr. Buckley has said he believes America should only go to war "when it's an emergency." He met President Bush at the White House on March 6, 2008. I don't know if Mr. Buckle let Mr. Bush know what he thought about the War in Iraq.
Frank Buckle wanted to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery. But he was not eligible. Friends and family took up his cause and eventually Ross Perot learned that Frank Buckle was being denied an Arlington burial. Within 2 weeks Mr. Perot had the White House giving Frank Buckle special approval to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
I was just a young whippersnapper when Dick Martin became known to pretty much everyone in America due to his super hit TV show known as Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In. There had been nothing on TV like Laugh-In prior to its debut in 1968.
It was the 1960s, the Hippie era of Love-Ins and Be-Ins. Hence, Laugh-In. Laugh-In had a psychedelic look to it and seemed very fast paced compared to what we were used to seeing on TV. Dick Martin and Dan Rowan were sort of the hosts, sort of observing the nuttiness around them with Dan Rowan being the straight man to Dick Martin's not so straight man. Laugh-In is where America first met Goldie Hawn and Lily Tomlin. And Tiny Tim and his Tiptoe Through the Tulips song.
Laugh-In brought all sortsa things to American culture. Catch phrases like "Verrrry Interesting!" "I didn't know that." "Easy for you to say!" "Look that up in your Funk and Wagnall!" "Go to your room!" "You bet your sweet bippy!" "Here comes de' Judge!" "Beautiful downtown Burbank!" "Have I reached the party to whom I am speaking?" "I just wanna swing!" "Blow in my ear and I'll follow you anywhere!" "Now that's a no-no!" "The devil made me do it!"
And the most famous Laugh-In catch phrase of all obviously is "Sock it to me!" Hubert Humphrey believed he lost to Nixon because Hubert declined being on Laugh-In, while Nixon agreed and to the amusement of the nation we got to see and hear Nixon say "Sock it to me?", turning the phrase into a quizzical question.
Dick Martin's sidekick, Dan Rowan, died in 1987. Over 20 years ago. Time flies way too fast.
Saturday, May 24, 2008
So, I think I'll take off for Athens and then go on to New York. I've not been to Athens before. It's supposed to be scenic.
Athens is about 30 miles south of Canton. Canton is about 100 miles east of Fort Worth. New York is about 13 miles east of Athens, near Lake Palestine.
So, what's the attraction in going to the Texas version of New York City you ask? Well, there's this Guided Adventure Tour thing with 6 ziplines called NY TX Zip Line Adventures. "Sky-High Thrills---Texas Style." I've long thought ziplines look fun, ever since seeing them on The Amazing Race.
From the NY Tex Zip Line Adventures website----
"Leave your fears behind..............as you experience the thrill of a lifetime at New York, Texas ZipLine Adventures. You will be on a guided adventure tour with 6 ziplines topped off with some of the most breathtaking 30-plus mile views of the East Texas Countryside. Your zipline adventure will take you soaring through towering pines, hardwoods and high above the rocky hillside of one of the highest elevations in East Texas."
Doesn't that sound fun? The New York area of Texas is known as the Piney Woods Region. It's the part of Texas that to me looks the most like parts of Western Washington, hilly and green with trees.
Hillary: "My husband did not wrap up the nomination in 1992 until he won the California primary somewhere in the middle of June, right? We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California. You know, I just, I don't understand it," she said in regards to abandoning the race.
Well, I sort of understand the reason for the brouhaha, what with raising the spectre of Barack Obama possibly being assassinated and thus, with her still in the race, I guess that would mean she would get the nomination by default. Or so her thinking goes.
I'd figured that Hillary was gonna keep plugging away gambling on the hope that gaffe prone Obama would commit a Super Gaffe between now and August, something that the supportive media would not be able to ignore, unlike when Obama said multiple times, with no sense of the obvious wrongness, that over 10,000 people had died in a tornado that struck a small Kansas town. Or recently when Obama let it be known he did not know how many states were in America when he said he'd been to all 57 states during his campaign. Does he think some of the Canadian provinces are states? Has anyone asked him.
Now, with Hillary's, to me, minor gaffe, this was not the first time she said the RFK thing. Back in March, in an interview in TIME magazine, she said pretty much the exact same thing. No brouhaha erupted that time though. Why? I can't help but wonder.
Ralph said George has, "dishonored the White House and brought a pattern of waste."
A meager crowd of supporters held signs like "Resign Bush-Cheney, Like Nixon-Agnew" and "From Katrina to Iraq, Colossal Failure."
Nader claimed Bush and Cheney are currently committing 5 impeachable offenses on a daily basis.
1) Criminal use of offense against Iraq.
2) Condoned and approved systematic torture.
3) Arresting thousands of Americans, then denying them habeas corpus and violating attorney/client privilege.
4) Signing 800 signing statements, precluding the president from actually having to follow the laws he signs.
5) The systematic spying on Americans without judicial approval.
I don't quite get #3. Thousands of Americans have been arrested? Why was I not informed of this? Who are they? Why were they arrested?
During my time on the planet there have been 2 impeachment attempts. Richard Nixon got in trouble being involved in a break-in at the Watergate. And then plotting to cover up the crime. No one died due to Watergate as far as I know. There were some other impeachment issues with Nixon other than Watergate, but none of those would have brought on impeachment hearings on their own without the Watergate Scandal. Nixon resigned before he could be impeached.
Bill Clinton was impeached over lying under oath regarding his nasty shenanigans with Paula Jones and Monica Lewinsky. The Clinton impeachment, in hindsight, seems terribly stupid and wrong. Though it was sadly entertaining at the time. And, again, no one died due to Clinton's little fib while under oath.
And now you have our current president. Believed by the majority of Americans to be woefully incompetent. Incompetence is not an impeachable offense. Maybe it should be. Of Nader's 5 impeachable offenses the only one that seems impeachment worthy is the Iraq debacle. As in why has there been no investigation into all the misinformation that was spewed by the administration to justify our first war ever where we were not the victims of an aggression, but were instead the aggressor?
In the words of Gerald Ford, his first spoken after taking over for Nixon, come next January it will be a happy day for America when our long national nightmare is over. If impeachment could hasten that day, that would likely be a good thing.
Friday, May 23, 2008
And so, in the same way I suffered Six Flags over Texas, twice, due to free passes, I suffered the new Indiana Jones movie.
Suffer, I say, because it was like being stuck on a multi-hour roller coaster ride. I gave up roller coasters for life back in 2000.
I enjoyed, for the most part, the previous Indiana Jones movies, particularly the first one, Raiders of the Lost Ark. I did not care for Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom for much the same reason Indian Jones & the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull wore out its welcome, that being both being way too frenetic. And ridiculous.
The new Indiana Jones movie is set in 1957, so for villains we get Soviet KGB baddies instead of evil Nazis, with the KGB baddies led by Irina Spalko, aka Cate Blanchett. The movie starts in Nevada where Mr. Jones miraculously survives a nuclear bomb blast. This after he'd discovered a crate holding the remains of an ET.
With the arrival of ET, early on in the movie, I had concerns with where the movie was heading. Where it was heading turned out to be Peru, after a guy named Mutt Williams, aka Shia LaBeouf, a shortie with a Brandoesque puffed up pompadour, tells Indy that an old colleague, Harold Oxley, aka John Hurt, has gone missing whilst looking for a crystal skull in Peru where he is not missing, but is locked up, nutsy kookoo, in a Peru insane asylum.
The powers of the skull were explained, but it was far too convoluted for me to remember. Suffice to say it had something to do with some long ago Conquistador and it has some supposed mystical powers that the Soviets want to acquire, much like the Nazis' desire for that Lost Ark.
Indy gets help from his girlfriend from the Raiders of the Lost Ark, Marion Ravenwood, aka Karen Allen. She's aged fairly well over the last 20 so years. During one of the many laborious, yet well done vehicle chases, Marion reveals to Indy that Mutt is his son. Didn't see that one coming.
Eventually Mr. Jones and his crew end up in a Mayan temple with 13 crystal skeletons. one missing its head. There's triple cross by a character I should have mentioned earlier, an old Indiana crony named Mac, who is a double agent pretending to work for the Soviets and then when they are in the Mayan temple Mac reveals he really is working for the Soviets, making him a triple agent.
Then the KGB baddie, Spalko, puts the crystal skull on the skeleton with the missing head. The skeleton then begins to talk. In an ancient Mayan dialect which Indy is able to translate. Something about a great gift. Spalko demands to know more, so the skeleton starts shooting info into her eyes. Which causes her to shake.
A portal to another dimension opens over the room. Oxley regains his sanity and matter of factly explains that the aliens travel between dimensions and taught the Mayans their advanced technology (the Mayans had advanced technology? What? TVs and airplanes?). Indy, Marion and their son, Mutt, narrowly escape the temple as the Soviet triple agent, Mac, gets sucked to another world.
The skeletons then morph into a single alien being that overflows the KGB baddie, Spalko, with too much knowledge, killing her. (I've always believed knowing too much was deadly)
And then as the temple falls apart, a flying saucer rises above the rubble and takes off into space. (I'm not making this up)
Indiana Jones is then made Associate Dean of the Archaeology Department. And marries Marion. ET did not attend the wedding.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
So, today I will use a Guest Star-Telegram Basher. Before I get to that, I must tell you that awhile back the Startlegram (misspelling intended, that's what locals often call this paper) had a makeover to supposedly improve the paper's readability. This changed the look of the paper and made it more in line with its content. As in it now it both looks and reads like a very small town newspaper, not the newspaper of record of a city of almost 700,000 people.
And then a few months ago, as the Startlegram continued to bleed money, and lose subscribers, they did a cost cutting move. They cut back on features, axed columns and fired employees, including their liaison with their readers, David House. These moves made the paper even thinner and even faster to read. As in there is much less to read.
And so, in today's Startlegram, in a Letter to the Editor, a reader from Arlington voiced his disdain regarding the Startlegram's plummeting quality.
Here is that letter-----
Voice of Reason Lost
I think the Star-Telegram has a death wish.
First, the management dumbed down and tarted up the format so that it looks like the My Weekly Reader that I read in elementary school.
Then, in an apparent effort to attract young readers, it emasculated the opinions section and changed another section heading from “Business” to “Work and Money.” Why not change from “Sports” to “Fun and Games”?
I find myself more and more reading opinions on The New York Times’ Web site. I didn’t think of doing that before the “new and improved” Star-Telegram debuted.
You’ve offended serious readers and haven’t attracted new, young readers. So what do you do when circulation nose-dives? Cut payroll costs.
This resulted in the final blow to mature, serious readers: Management, in an effort to appease the bean-counters, terminated several senior staff members, notably ombudsman David House.
David was a loyal supporter of the Star-Telegram. I had many conversations with him about the direction that the paper was taking, and he always defended management’s decisions. Too bad the loyalty didn’t cut both ways.
His was a voice of reason and one to whom many readers expressed their concerns. He was a good reader advocate and will be sorely missed by readers who actually read the paper.
— Brian Fels, Arlington
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
So, despite earlier saying I was not going to watch the finale of American Idol, I did catch the last 5 minutes.
One of the reasons I wasn't interested in watching was the so over the top pimping of the little high school David guy, last name Archeletta. On Tuesday the judges made it seem like the other David, Cook, was doggy doo-doo. And that Archeletta was a shoo-in. That seemed the consensus everywhere.
I remember thinking if there is any sense of good ol' American Justice in the viewing public this should piss them off and those fools who actually vote will vote for the Cook option. Cook is the one I earlier said, early on in the season, that he reminded me of one of my runty, ugly cousins.
And it's not just me who, early on, did not see anything positive about David Cook. That obnoxious, though amusing, Brit, Simon Cowell, early on told the one who used to look like my runty, ugly cousin, that he had no charisma.
Well, the one who used to look like my runty, ugly cousin is the winner, by millions of those pseudo votes which determine the winner, you know, votes where people can vote over and over again.
David Archelleta seemed to take the loss well. His dad, not so well.
YouTube lets viewers make comments about the videos. The Dallas Cowboy Stadium video has gotten several. I'll share a few and stick the video in question down below.
"Corporate greed eh? do you have any idea how much revinue is going to be brought in the entire region by that stadium? can you even comprehend the economic impact to the town? You are a propagnda extremist and not very well educated."
(Is this a Canadian I can't help but wonder? What with that "eh?" at the end of his first sentence. I've been bitch slapped by a Canadian? That hurts. The poor Cheesehead seems unaware that the existing Cowboy stadium, in Irving, has not brought any great impact to that town. The area around the current Cowboy stadium is pretty much devoid of development. This person is right about one thing though, as in it is pretty obvious I am not very well educated.)
COMMENT #2 (responding to the Canadian's comment)
"I'd guess this spelling/grammar challenged fool, with a simplistic concept of the economic impact of a football stadium, has been told many a time that he/she is not very well educated. Or just plain stupid."
"I'm as disgusted as you are about what was done in Arlington to get the Cowboys a new stadium. Don't these morons realize this isn't how this type thing is done in the rest of the country? Eminent domain exists so that the public can take private land for the public good. Like roads, hospitals and schools. Not for football stadiums. A person should be secure in their home and should be removed from their home for only the best of reasons."
COMMENT #4 (from one of Jerry Jones' victims)
"Thank you for this. My family were among the Dallas Cowboy's and Jerry Jones victims. We were forced out of our home of over 25 years. I will never forgive or forget this. A stadium could have been built without doing this to people. There is plenty of open land in Arlington. The shame of this will forever stain the town of Arlington and the Dallas Cowboys with Jerry Jones answering to God, in the unlikely chance that that it is to heaven he is going when he dies."
When Hamilton Jordan was in the national spotlight he was a young guy, in his early 30s, which is how I still remembered him. The Carter years don't seem all that long ago. But they were.
And then we have Ted Kennedy's Saturday's hospitalization for a suspected stroke turn into him having the worst type of brain cancer, that being malignant glioma, with a very bleak prognosis and limited treatment options. Some are lamenting this being the latest case of the Kennedy curse. I think not. Teddy Kennedy has lived a long life. It is a sad thing though. I hope he bucks the odds.
Moving to the frivolous. Last night I managed to watch pretty much the entire hour of the American Idol semi-finale. I don't care who wins, either David, Archeletta or Cook. I don't think I can make it through the 2 hour finale tonight. I don't think I could make it through it even if I cared who won. Or if I thought it mattered.
Kristi Yamaguchi won Dancing with the Stars last night. I did not watch it, though I sort of like that show. I like watching people do something that I'm pretty sure I could not do, no matter how much training or practice I put in. But there was no way I was going to watch that show's inflated 2 hour finale.
Moving from the ridiculous to the semi-sublime. Hillary beat Obama badly in Kentucky. While Obama beat Hillary not so badly in Oregon. Obama is very near having enough delegates to win the nomination, needing about 77 more. Hillary vowed last night to continue til every possible voter, of the remaining few, has the chance to vote for her.
I wish Hillary as good a luck as she deserves. Same to Ted Kennedy. Lesser so to the 2 finalists on American Idol, I just don't care this year. Did I care other years? I don't remember.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Apparently Brad Womack is the only bachelor on one of the Bachelor shows to reject all the women. Of his rejectees, the last one rejected, was DeAnna Pappas. In 6 short weeks, with cameras running, and relatively little time together, she'd decided she was madly in love with this Womack guy. And ready to marry him.
Last night it seemed to me that Brad Womack was made out to be some sort of Bad Man who'd broken not only DeAnna's heart, but the hearts of her family and friends and also all of America. I mean those few in America who watched. Now, to me, this Womack guy is the most sane person to have been on one of these type shows. I mean, if after only 6 weeks I had some woman, I barely knew, professing her crazy love for me, and desire to marry me, I'd search for the nearest hill to run to.
Poor DeAnna is sure she is going to find true love. Again. In six weeks. Because this time she is in charge.
You may remember that yesterday we learned that this show is loaded with Texans. Thus giving us in Texas a reason to watch. Well, before I bailed, it appeared to me that the Texas connections were ringers for an early boot. As in they seemed to have some serious personality issues. The Texans were not alone in that regard.
I hope DeAnna does not get her heart broken again. Although, apparently that makes for good television. I won't be watching.
Monday, May 19, 2008
The accompanying note said I was to take these photos as a cautionary warning as to what will happen to me if I don't stop with the heavy duty workouts and the muscle building steroids.
In the photo on the right it appears Carrot Top is using eye liner. It's been decades since I've used eye liner. And my hair has never been red. And I don't do heavy duty workouts or use steroids.
I take it as some sort of backhanded compliment that my rude correspondent assumed I did. I guess.
The supposed, not yet confirmed by Guinness, Tallest Cow is in Britain.
As the Whole World knows everything is Bigger in Texas and that Texans are prone to spinning Tall Tales, so it just seemed to me that there had to be a creature of the bovine persuasion, in Texas, taller than 6 foot 6.
So. Sunday I was up at Lake Grapevine, hiking the Knob Hills Trail. A herd of longhorns roams free in that area. They are friendly beasts, though they look dangerous.
One of the longhorns looked rather tall to me. I had no measuring stick with me. I don't know if the longhorn was a cow, bull or steer. I did not get a good look at its backside.
As you can see, from the photo above, the longhorn appears to be about a foot taller than me. That'd make it about 7 feet tall, 8 feet tall if you consider the horns.
Do I need to contact the Guinness people?
I admit that I do enjoy some of the reality shows. My favorite is Amazing Race. My least favorite of the genre is the bizarre find a mate reality shows. The first of that type, I believe, was ABC's The Bachelor. I did not watch it.
I believe one of the girls who got rejected from the first Bachelor then became The Bachelorette. That lucky bachelorette's name is Trista. She picked her bachelor and became one of the few to actually move on to getting married and having a baby. Usually the relationships on these shows is over by the time the show airs.
The Bachelor format has become a sort of plague on TV. There is currently one on the CW Network where a lonely farmer can't find a wife and so he somehow ended up on a show called The Farmer Wants a Wife. I've not watched it.
VH1 has had at least 3 of these find a mate shows. VH1's are particularly twisted. One is called Flavor of Love. It is currently running. I don't know, or care, if it's a fresh look for love. Or a re-run. Flavor of Love's love seeker is this guy I'd not heard of before, a rapper, named Flavor Flav. He'd been on The Surreal Live where he struck up a romance with Sylvester Stallone's ex, Brigitte Nielson. She and Flavor Flav then got their own reality show that was all about their disturbing romance. Brigitte Nielson has since been on yet another VH1 reality show all about celebs in rehab. Apparently Flavor Flav drove her to drink.
One of the rejects on the first Flavor of Love was this awful woman named Tiffany Pollard who called herself New York. She then got her own VH1 find a mate show called I Love New York. The first season's search for a mate ended badly, so there was a season two in which New York found true love with a guy she called Tailor Made. I thought this would surely lead to a follow up show called Tailor Made for New York. But, instead, season 3 will be called New York Goes to Hollywood. I don't know if she goes to Hollywood with Tailor Made.
There have been other meet a mate shows that follow the ABC formula, like a couple of Joe Millionaires, a couple seasons of one called Love or Money. I'm sure there are others that I don't know about or have forgotten.
The only other find a mate reality show I can think of is also on VH1. And it's the worst. Bret Michael's Rock of Love. There have been 2 seasons of this over the hill rocker's search for a good groupie. This one so appalls me I've blogged about it before.
Slight change of subject. I learned of the new Bachelorette show, starting up tonight, when I read this morning's Fort Worth Star-Telegram. The paper today managed to mention CBS news guy, Bob Schieffer, without telling us yet one more time that he grew up in Fort Worth, graduated from North Side High School and Texas Christian University. Or that he was born in Austin.
However, in the article about The Bachelorette it's all about the Texas connections. I'll copy it below for your amusement.
"Bachelor also-ran DeAnna Pappas returns, and this time it's her turn to do the choosing. Big North Texas contingent: Brian W., a high school football coach from Fort Worth (he's one of two Brian W.'s---bet that's confusing): Chris, who's in medical sales and is from Fort Worth and lives in Dallas; and Twilley, a debt manager who hails from Tulsa and lives in Dallas. And host Chris Harrison is from Dallas. Sheesh, I might actually have to watch this..."
Sheesh is right.
Sunday, May 18, 2008
So, yesterday I came upon a website called Mondo Newspapers that covers the top 100 American newspapers in depth, based on readership data from the Newspaper Association of America. The order on the list is determined by circulation. This, unfortunately, made USA Today the #1 paper in America.
#2 is the Wall Street Journal with a circulation of 5,147,565 with its content rated very good, its political bias leaning right and its credibility high.
The Dallas Morning News is #12 with a circulation of 1,086,383 with its content rated very good, it's political bias leaning left and its credibility rated high.
Meanwhile on the west side of the D/FW Metroplex the Fort Worth Star-Telegram is #45 with a circulation of 532,774 with its content rated average, its political bias liberal and its credibility moderate. I would have rated its credibility low, but what do I know?
Seattle has 2 major papers, the Seattle Times is #39 with a circulation of 564,028, with its content rated average, its political bias leaning left and its credibility moderate. Just like the Star-Telegram. However, the Seattle P-I, #41 with a circulation of 428,245 is also rated average for content, with a left leaning political bias, with the P-I's credibility rated high. Unlike the Star-Telegram.
Seattle's population is a bit over 500,000 in a metro area of about 2.5 million. Seattle's 2 papers have a combined circulation of 992,273. Fort Worth has a population of about 670,000 in a metro area of about 6 million. Yet the Star-Telegram only circulates 532,774 papers daily. I don't know what to conclude from this, but I do remember Seattle being named as having America's highest number of book buyers and library users. So, maybe more people know how to read up there and so the town is able to support 2 major newspapers.
I won't bore you any more than I already have by listing the stats for more newspapers. Suffice to say there are other newspapers besides the Seattle P-I, Dallas Morning News and WS Journal who rank high for credibility. That quality is also shared by the Chicago Tribune, the Washington Post and others I'm sure. I'm too lazy to look at each of the 100 on the list.
And the #1 Man Lesbian on pretty much everyone's list is Bruce Jenner. There seems to be a consensus that no good comes from a man getting an eyelift. That and some men need to get testosterone booster shots when they reach a certain age.
All this seems sort of rude to me. Yet I do recollect blogging about Bruce Jenner's reality show, Keeping Up With the Kardashians, and I do recollect commenting that Bruce and his butch wife look like a middle-aged lesbian couple. I've yet to find out how, besides his reality show, Bruce gets the money to live his extravagant lifestyle. I suspect he may have gotten a huge settlement from the plastic surgeon who botched his face.
Below, in no particular order, are some of the men who those devoted to this subject think look like semi-old lesbians. Some of them I can see why they think this, some others not so much.