Thursday, April 30, 2009

Durango Texas Going To Be On Japanese TV

A few days ago I got an email from a researcher for a Japanese TV production company in New York City telling me that one of his clients, "Nippon Television Network, is interested in using your video footage from the 2009 Sweetwater Rattlesnake Round-Up in a segment as part of a weekly prime-time TV program called "The Most Useful School in the World". The show is a family-oriented program that introduces a wide variety of subjects to its viewers."

The email said they were interested in licensing this footage for a one time only use and if interested, use one of the contact options to discuss licensing fees.

I had no idea what one might expect to be paid for such a thing, so my email reply pretty much said just that.

Then this morning I got another email from NYC. I'll paste the pertinent part below.

"Thanks for your quick response and I apologize for the delay. The producers of the segment want to pay you $3000 for the clip. It will be for one time use and broadcast only in Japan. The broadcast will only happen on terrestrial TV - i.e. no internet or DVD release or anything like that."

I thought about it while walking at Village Creek Natural Historic Area and when I got back here I replied, saying I'll do it.

And now just as I'm typing this blogging I get another email, with verbiage that would have puzzled me, as to why, if you'd told me that today I'd get an email with this phrase, "We just need to check in with the producers in Tokyo."

Ironically, during lunch I was watching The Military History Channel documentary on how close Japan came to having an atom bomb and the American B-52s firebombing of Tokyo.

The video that Nippon Television wants to use is the first video I made, about a week after I bought the camcorder. The YouTube version is below...

I'm Taking a Hike While Wal-Mart Milk Price Drops a Cent

That's the new observation deck that looks out on a bog at Village Creek Natural Historic Area. The bog used to be more of a pond, but now it's getting so thick with greenery that the greenery is coming up through the deck.

It was in this bog/pond that I saw my first water moccasins. A couple guys were staring at something. I stopped and asked what they were looking at. They pointed towards a small herd of snakes.

There were no signs of flooding, seen by me, when I walked through the park. I've no clue why it was closed 2 days ago, with the sign saying the closure was due to flooding.

It was very humid, dripping wet stuff from the trees today. I sort of liked it.

And on the Wal-Mart Milk Front. My one longtime reader may remember me complaining a time or two at Wal-Mart's milk price on the shelf being $1.98 but ringing up at $2.00 This "problem" had been happening for over a month at various Wal-Marts. Complaining brought no fix. Just a two cent refund.

So, I needed milk. I saw the big price sign had been changed to $1.97. But the price on the shelves still said $1.98. I fully expected the $1.97 milk to ring up at $2.00. And was shocked to see it rang up at $1.97.

Center for Diseae Control Swine Flu Announcement

In addition to not doing what's being done in the picture, the Center for Disease Control recommends....

Avoiding contact with ill persons.

When you cough or sneeze, cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or your sleeve (if you do not have a tissue). Throw used tissues in a trash can.

After you cough or sneeze, wash your hands with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand gel.

If you think you are ill with flu, avoid close contact with others as much as possible. Stay at home or in your hotel room. Seek medical care if you are severely ill (such as having trouble breathing). There are antiviral medications for prevention and treatment of Swine Flu that a doctor can prescribe. Do not go to work, school, or travel while ill.

The symptoms of Swine Flu in people are similar to the symptoms of seasonal flu in humans and may include:

* Fever (greater than 100°F or 37.8°C)
* Sore throat
* Cough
* Stuffy nose
* Chills
* Headache and body aches
* Fatigue

Swine Flu Death in Texas, Fort Worth Shuts Schools

Overnight the Swine Flu epidemic has gotten worse. I read in the Seattle P-I this morning that Washington now has confirmed cases.

As you can see in the picture of the Dallas Morning News we've had a Swine Flu death in Texas and Fort Worth has closed down its schools.

But, the most disturbing Swine Flu news this morning is the reason why they think this strain of the virus is killing healthy people, in addition to those who are usually more vulnerable to the flu, like the elderly or those with weak immune systems.

This strain of the flu virus triggers a strong immune system response in those with healthy immune systems, with the strong immune system response damaging the throat and lung tissue.

I believe I have a healthy immune system, due to the fact I rarely get sick. The main thing I remember about my worst case of the flu, back in the early 1990s was how it hurt to breathe, like my lungs were sore. So, I'm thinking if I get this new Swine Flu, I'm likely a goner.

In the meantime I guess I'll live each day with a lot of gusto, which this morning meant I went swimming.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Naked Sleepwalking in Texas

I'm having me a day. It started by having a bad night. I've not mentioned it before, because, well, it seems a bit embarrassing. But for awhile now I've had myself a little sleepwalking problem.

I always thought sleepwalking was a myth type thing, til it happened to me. I remember none of last night's sleepwalking.

But, I've been sort of able to piece last night's incident together. I believe I got up, started walking to my bathroom, then knocked over a little bookcase. This caused me to fall down.

The noise awakened others. I then left my bedroom and headed to the front door. By then I was being observed. Apparently I was speaking gibberish in what sounded like a language other than English. Then I got more lucid and began walking robotically, saying go away, I'm fine, I hurt my back.

Then I walked into the kitchen, turned on the light and began swatting imaginary cockroaches. After that I went back to bed. When I woke up this morning, late, I had no memory of any of what had happened.

Last week I had a very weird sleepwalking incident. I woke up, walked into the kitchen, made coffee, then opened the front door to get the paper. No paper. I came back inside, walked back in the kitchen, something seemed wrong, I walked back in my bedroom and saw that it was 1 in the morning. I turned off the coffee and went back to bed. Now, unlike last night's incident, I remembered the coffee incident.

So, I Googled for info about sleepwalking. I had no idea it is such a common problem. And it has been on the increase. Of late hotel and motel chains have made note of a big increase in the number of naked sleepwalkers, almost always men. I always sleep in the buff, so this makes me one of the epidemic of naked sleepwalkers.

The Wikipedia article on sleepwalking had several bits of info that hit bingo with my experience. One interesting thing I learned was in 1846 legal history was made in Massachusetts when Albert Tirrel was found not guilty of murder, arguing if he did commit the murder, he did it while sleepwalking. The sleepwalking defense earned him an acquittal.

So, I guess looking on the bright side of sleepwalking, I have myself a pretty good excuse if I do anything bad.

With last night's sleepwalking, and who knows what else went on, but by the time I got up I felt exhausted. This morning there was no swimming, stormy weather stopped any biking, hiking or roller blading. My only escape, today, was going to Sprouts Farmers Market and getting a lot of good stuff, and hopefully not a Swine Flu Virus from being in that crowded store today.

Dallas & Fort Worth: A Tale of Two City's Convention Center Hotels

Way back in December I got rid of that newspaper that was always managing to vex me, that being the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, replacing the vexation with the Dallas Morning News.

It is now almost May and I don't believe I've read a single thing in the Dallas paper that vexed me by being either stupid or just plain wrong.

The Dallas paper seems way more community minded than the Fort Worth paper. The Dallas paper does not seem to be some sort of Chamber of Commerce propaganda spewer. The Dallas paper seems to honestly and accurately cover issues.

Take the current debate, in Dallas, over building a taxpayer subsidized hotel for the Dallas Convention Center. Fort Worth recently opened a taxpayer subsidized hotel for its convention center where rarely anything convenes.

In Dallas, a grown up city with the representative democracy form of government, a vote by the citizens will determine if the citizens will build a taxpayer subsidized hotel. In Fort Worth such things are not put to a public vote. Including Fort Worth's Convention Center Hotel.

In Fort Worth when the hotel was being discussed, with the Ruling Junta insisting it was necessary in order to book conventions, I thought it odd that nothing was ever said, that I noticed, regarding the idea that if private business did not see it as a good idea to build a hotel, maybe the idea had a flaw.

In Dallas the idea that if private business did not see the value, then maybe the idea is flawed, is part of the discussion. Including the point that the real problem is not the lack of hotel causing a lack of conventions, but rather it is the lack of Dallas having attractions downtown that make people like the idea of convening there.

When Fort Worth had the hotel debate I don't recollect the real problem ever being mentioned. It's sort of a sore subject, I suppose, but it seems so obvious, unless your town is some sort of tourist draw you are not going to draw a lot of conventions.

Now, obviously some tourists do come to Dallas and Fort Worth. But not in the numbers that go to places like Orlando or San Fransisco or New York City or Chicago or New Orleans or Seattle or dozens of other American cities.

So, in Dallas it has entered into the Convention Center Hotel debate the idea that Dallas needs to work on being more attractive to tourists. Now, to me, Dallas already seems like it has a lot of good attractions, though of late the West End and Deep Ellum have gotten tired.

In Fort Worth the Ruling Junta has finally gotten around to fixing what would seem to me to be the biggest problem that caused convention bookers to balk, that being the unsightly mess that Lancaster Avenue was for years after the overhead 1-30 eyesore was removed.

Dallas has a lot of big downtown hotels. I've been to a convention in one. It was huge. I don't see why the taxpayers of Dallas would vote to build a $500 million hotel. It makes no sense to me. But the debate they are having in Dallas over the issue, does make sense to me, unlike debates in Fort Worth over similar issues.

Landslide Clyde ImPichting Fort Worth's Mayor Mike Moncrief

A few days ago I suggested that maybe it was a good idea to blindside Fort Worth's Ruling Junta and vote Fort Worth's current corrupt mayor out of office by electing Clyde Picht.

One of the Ruling Junta's anonymous shills commented on the blindsiding idea with this comment...

Picht was totally ineffective as a councilman. He would be even worse as Mayor. Blindsided? You people are blind to reality.

Near as I can tell, any ineffectiveness as a councilman was due to not being able to go against the dictates of the Ruling Junta.

In this morning's Fort Worth Star-Telegram, online version, there was one letter praising the amazing progress under the amazing leadership of Mayor Mike Moncrief, saying that "Fort Worth is continously complimented for the quality of life here."

Continuously complimented? By who? Who is doing this continuous complimenting of the amazing wonder that is Fort Worth? That verbiage seems suspiciously like the Star-Telegram's notorious green with envy type propaganda.

Another letter was in support of Clyde Picht becoming Fort Worth's mayor. That letter was perplexing because over and over again rather than calling the man Clyde Picht it used nClyde. What does nClyde mean?

Below are both letters, first the Ruling Junta shill and then the nClyde supporter....

Keep Moncrief at work

I, for one, am proud of the progress made in Fort Worth under the leadership of Mayor Mike Moncrief. Our city is continuously complimented for the quality of life here, and when you look at the opportunities here compared to other cities in Texas and the rest of the United States, we are very fortunate.

Moncrief is not afraid to speak his mind on sensitive matters, he is fair and equally concerned about all ethnicities and areas of our city. The dedication of Moncrief and his wife, Rosie, are beneficial to our city. It really bothers me when any of our community servants are criticized.

Pam Minick, Fort Worth

Clean the air

It is time to clean the air at City Hall.

Change is always healthy, and now is the time. Our city has been faced with financial challenges and growth that bring many challenges.

Citizens across the USA are beginning to clean their houses. Political leaders don’t need to serve for decades. Fort Worth deserves some better choices.

I am supporting Clyde Picht for mayor for the following reasons:

nClyde will act as an effective leader.
nClyde will know when to say no and will gather troops for support. Remember that the late Chuck Silcox and Clyde were the only council members who were not afraid to say “no.” They listened to their voters.
nClyde will treat residents politely and in a courteous manner.
nClyde has the time for this job. He is retired and has the experience. He needs no learning curve.
Help clean the house!

Peggy Terrell, Fort Worth

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Stopped From Having Fun In Texas

Earlier today I blogged about the Swine Flu and said I'd not heard of any cases in my county, that being Tarrant. Well, I heard on the radio, a couple hours later, that there have been 3 cases in Fort Worth, with one school closed so it could be fumigated.

Speaking of getting fumigated. Yesterday I had a Bug Man come and get rid of my cockroach pets. I'd grown bored with them and it was time for them to go. When the spraying was done the little devils started coming out of their hiding places. That was a bit unsettling. I had no idea I had so many cockroach pets. I could go days without seeing one. It took them awhile to die. I had to take everything out of my kitchen so the Bug Man could spray everywhere. That was way too close to being like moving.

The Bug Man suggested waiting til morning before putting the kitchen back together. So that's what I did first thing in the morning.

First thing in the morning, because I could not do my usual early morning swim, due to the pool getting shocked. If you don't shock a pool every once in awhile, bad things happen. Like at my first place in Texas, being a pool novice, the chemicals got out of whack and the pool turned a bad color of green. Had to bring in a pro to get it back clear. It was sort of disturbing to see how quickly chemicals turned the water back clear again. Where did all that green go?

So, with swimming not being possible, that stir crazy feeling came over me earlier than usual. I decided to go to Village Creek Natural Historical Area. As you can see in the picture at the top, I was thwarted. The park closed due to flooding.

So, I decided to drive to the Interlocken zone, which is another way into the park and where I could see Village Creek. It can be a bit wild when it goes into flood mode. But, I saw no signs of a flood. It was clear the creek had not even gone over the dam/bridge, which is what usually triggers a closure.

That's the dam/bridge in the picture. When the creek goes over the dam/bridge it leaves a lot of mud behind. There was no mud. Where I am in the picture is way past this side of the park's Park Closed sign.

It was perplexing as to why the park was closed.

I did see a new wildflower (that's it above) growing by the dam/bridge, which became the only bright moment in a dreary day. And now I'm really going stir crazy. But I'm not going to take off, again, as tempting as it is. Thunderstorms are predicted to roll in soon. We'll see. No sign of them yet.

World Naked Bike Ride Coming To Austin

At least 70 cities in at least 20 countries are taking part in this year's World Naked Bike Ride. The Southern Hemisphere rides have already taken place, back in March. The Northern Hemisphere's Naked Bike Rides take place Saturday, June 13.

I'm shocked, shocked I tell you, that neither Dallas or Fort Worth is on the list of 70 cities. But Austin is. Austin is the only Texas town on the list.

In my old home state, that being Washington, in addition to Seattle being one of the 70 cities, Bellingham is also on the list. Bellingham is a very nice college town about 20 miles from the border. It is closer to Vancouver than Seattle. Vancouver is also on the list of 70 cities. Which is no big surprise. The most heavily populated nude beach I have ever been naked at is in Vancouver at Wreck Beach.

I highly doubt I'll be going down to Austin for this event. I'll probably just participate, solo, at River Legacy Park.

And in other weird naked news. Nike, that's the sports shoe maker, not the Greek god, based in, I think, Eugene, Oregon, has a new commercial filmed at something called Bear Butte, where all these sports jocks sorts, like Olympic runners, go to train au naturel. In the commercial we see the runners running au naturel. Some of them are well known, I assume, to people who follow such things, which I don't.

I tell you, the world is just getting way too free-spirited. You can watch the Nike YouTube video below. But do not watch if seeing people running naked makes you queasy.

Not Catching Swine Flu in Texas

I don't know if we've had any confirmed Swine Flu cases here in Tarrant County, but I do know Dallas County has had 3 confirmed cases, which has closed one school and has people in a bit of a panic.

I have not been sick in a long time. I can't remember when I was last sick or what I was sick from.

But, I do remember having the flu way back in the early 1990s and it being, by far, the sickest, most miserable I've ever been. That particular flu bout happened while there was no epidemic going on. I knew no one else who had it that I could have caught it from.

So, I don't want to catch this Swine Flu thing. I guess that means avoiding any buffet lines, using the disinfectant tissues that are at the entry to most grocery stores, except for Wal-Mart. I guess for the duration Wal-Mart is to be avoided. That's probably always a good idea for people with weak immune systems. I suppose I should keep my distance from most humans til the danger passes.

In the meantime I'm having pork for lunch.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Singing in the Rain at Oakland Lake Park

Coming up on noon that dreaded stir crazy thing started creeping up on me. Lightning was no longer striking, the rain was no longer downpouring.

So, I decided to brave the elements and bumbershoot it to Oakland Lake Park. I was not alone. There were a lot of ducks also braving the elements. They didn't seem too happy about it. But there was a big flock of doves that seemed to be having a good time with a bird seed buffet a bird lover had tossed out for them.

There was a little group of 4 little ducks. Are they called ducklings? I don't know. I was concerned they'd been orphaned. They seemed too little to be on their own on the lake. By the time I walked by the little guys a second time a big duck had showed up. I assume it was mom.

I don't know what type bird that is in the first picture. Every time I got close the pair would fly off. They looked like a skinny, more colorful version of a regular duck.

So, that was my Mother Nature communing for the day. And now I await the arrival of a professional cockroach killer.

The Answer is Blowing in Texas

Incoming message from Don Young about Saturday's ultra-successful 2009 Prairie Fest....

The power of nature was in full evidence at Prairie Fest 2009. People power, flower power, green power, solar power and especially, wind power blossomed into an overwhelming success. Estimated attendance nearly doubled from 2008 to this obscure little corner of Fort Worth.

Why? The answer my friend is... nah, that's too easy. I want you to tell us what Prairie Fest means to you.


I personally thank the dozens of Volunteers with a capital V without whom this festival would have collapsed under its unexpected growth.

Thanks to our Sponsors and Exhibitors and Artists who helped us pay the bills and helped you learn how to live lighter on the Mother Earth.

We salute all the performers who shared with us their talents and time for a good cause.

Gigantic thanks goes to the Prairie Fest committee of dedicated people who devoted an enormous amount of time and energy to create essentially, a small town for a day.

We are grateful to all who attended Prairie Fest and brought their friends, family and pets. We worked hard to make your experience rewarding.

Thank goodness for email because I owe a big Thank You to thousands of people. It will take me awhile to get to all of you.

Final NOTE:

Of all the thousands of photos taken at the fest, one really illustrates, for me, the kind of day it was. See above, Brave Combo horn player, Jeffrey Barnes, in mid-song holding down the wind-challenged stage tent while singing harmony and anticipating his next solo. What a day. Thank you all!

Come back to the meadow soon where the answer is still blowin'.


Morning Morning Thunderstorm in Texas

That was the view out my patio door this morning about 6. Biggest Thunderstorm in a long time. It is now 4 hours later and it's still booming out there.

About an hour ago I got a direct hit that had this place rumbling like an earthquake. I'd not felt anything quite like it since my last earthquake, which would have been sometime in the last century.

I've never had any luck getting a picture of a lightning bolt before, til this morning. The strikes were coming so fast and furious it was easy.

I think I've mentioned before that I like to go swimming early in the morning. There are plenty of things taller than the swimming pool that lightning would strike first, so it seemed pretty safe to go swimming during a raging Thunderstorm. When you are already totally soaked by a downpour, the pool feels like relief from the cold.

I suspect there will be no hiking, biking or roller blading today. And for several days to follow if the weather forecast is correct. Which it seldom is.

Drinking Beer In Texas

Regarding Saturday's Prairie Fest at Tandy Hills Park some moronic imbecile opined about the price of the festival's beer with the following remark...

"At Prairie Fest some of the happy people may have been happy due to the beer and wine they may have consumed, but I doubt it. Beer was $3 a bottle. That's $18 a six pack. That's too much to pay for beer."

Which prompted someone with a more reasonable point of view to comment with the following...

Your comment about the beer was surprising considering the fact that a beer at Main Street Arts Fest went for about $5. a pop. We keep the prices lower than any other local fest AND we keep the beer quality higher AND we keep it icy cold AND it's served by gorgeous women (and a few hunky guys). No Coors, Miller or Bud here. Best of all, all of our beer income goes back to the park, as our non profit status requires. Additionally, we all work for love, including me all the volunteers who served the beer. No one draws a salary. Give us a break.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Sunday Mountain Biking With The Kids At River Legacy Park

It is taking some getting used to to get in the pool with the air temperature being warmer than the water. This is making the water feel cold, unlike going swimming in the middle of winter. I'm sure I'll adjust.

It has been a windy, cloudy Sunday here in North Texas. I went to River Legacy Park to pedal the mountain bike trail around noon.

There were a lot of people doing the same thing today. I tell you, this trail is getting way too popular. That's a good thing. I saw no wildlife today, except for humans. I saw one family of mountain bikers. You don't see that all that often. I wish I'd grown up in a family of mountain bikers. But that would have been impossible, because mountain bikes had not been invented when I was growing up. I did have a cool bike though. I think it was called a Sears Stratoliner. It had 2 speeds which you switched by back pedaling fast, but not hitting the brake. Very high tech.

I went two times around for a total of about 11.5 miles. At about the 9.5 mark it started to rain. I had to plot my escape strategy if the rain went into Texas Downpour mode. I figured I was about 1.5 miles from a paved trail. In Texas there are areas where if rain meets dirt it makes this incredibly sticky glue-like mud. That is the sort of dirt that is at River Legacy. Walking on it can quickly add 5 inches to your height. Which quickly turns me into potential NBA material.

The new section of trail, which I first pedaled only days ago, has now been ridden enough that it's been smoothed over and you can now pedal fast on it. I like the new section. I did not like it when I first pedaled it, mostly due to, I suppose, the need for it to get broken in.

So, that's been my exciting day. Oh, I forgot to mention, the second picture is of the new section of trail. It was so dark in there the flash went off.

To those who have never been to Texas, does it being so green surprise you? I remember before I moved here, I went to see the X-Files Movie, I think that's actually what it was called, in Seattle. The party with whom I went to the movie was not approving of the move to Texas. When the X-Files Movie started it was in a suburb of Dallas, with the Dallas skyline in the background. It was all brown and desert-looking. I leaned over to my fellow movie watcher and said it's not really like that, it's really green with a lot of trees. She said, yeah, sure.

Four months after I moved here the party in question came for a visit. It was April when that visit occurred, so it would have been very green, but I do not recollect bringing up the X-Files Movie moment of skepticism about the greenery of Texas.

America Celebrates Texas Seceding Again?

Apparently the rest of America has heard that Texas, well the governor of Texas, this guy named Rick Perry, who is mostly known for his good hair, is thinking it might be a good idea for Texas to secede from the Union. Again.

That really didn't work out all that great for Texas the last time they seceded. But then again, had they not, we would have Five Flags Over Texas. And that just sounds silly.

One of my very best Texas Humor Providers, Yvonne, sent me a funny YouTube video this morning that was inspired by the talk of Texas seceding again. This video maker seems to think this is a good idea.

Now, if you are a Texan, this little video might make you cranky because you might think Texas is being made fun of. Because, well it is. There are a lot of rather cranky comments to this video that are pretty funny. I can't print most of them due to my aversion to having profane spewing on my blog. You can go here and watch the video and be able to read the comments, or just watch the video below, without the comments, except for the one I copied below, because it was profanity free.

Like it or not, we are and will all remain Americans. Texas just can't handle being made fun's just how they are. What you people are doing here is basically what makes the rivalry between sports teams so rampant.... I bet you are both sports fans? Avid? There isn't much going on in sports right now so this is filling the void. Go do something constructive for both of your respective communities, and don't brag about it. Have a good night USA! Liberals: The US Flag is now owned by U

Tempting Eve & Naked Women in Dallas

Several years ago a scandal erupted here in Texas that became national news, of the snicker at something goofy in Texas genre. There was this nice little town north of Dallas called Pilot Point, a town that had attracted some creative artist sorts. The town also had its fair share of very prudish sorts. The two sorts went into conflict mode when the town's police and mayor gave an artist who had painted a mural of Eve being tempted with an apple, by God, a deadline to cover Eve's bare breasts. Or else.

Soon after that scandal erupted I was at Fair Park in Dallas and saw the statue in front of the Women's Museum and noticed she wasn't wearing much clothing. It struck me as ironic that no one was concerned about this work of art, with demands to cover her breasts, while a few miles north bare breasts were unsettling some people.

Years ago I webpaged Fair Park in Dallas, including the statue in front of the Women's Museum and the Pilot Point Naked Eve Scandal.

This morning I got the funniest feedback in a long time, from Jane Doe, all in high umbrage mode over what she felt were tacky, ignorant, arrogant, remarks, on my part, regarding that statue in front of the Women's Museum. I'm impressed Jane Doe could whip up so much agitation over this.

Below is Jane Doe's Feedback to my Eyes on Texas website...

I found your comments regarding the Women’s Museum in the Dallas State Fair Grounds to be very tacky, ignorant, and arrogant. For generations women have been excluded from history books, professional careers, and politics. Gender prejudice has been prevalent throughout our country’s history and despite this; many women have prevailed in their strength and courage. Although in the last century women have gained many rights and liberties, they still hold minority in government, executive positions, and world affairs. According to the 2007 US Census Bureau, women with a Bachelor’s Degree or higher earned on average 73% of the earnings of men with a Bachelor’s Degree or higher.

In response to your tacky comment regarding the statue near the front of the museum, I believe that your need to take a moment to review the characteristics of the world’s masterpieces before making such an arrogant statement. David by Michael Angelo is one of the most renowned masterpieces in our world’s art history. The statue stands 424 cm high and is an image of a young, unclothed male. The image is considered a tribute to masculinity and biblical history. The young male statue stands completely exposed, with his genital area in clear view. People do not view this statue with cheap eyes and no one considers this statue to be a homage to the world’s population of male exotic dancers (or rather “stripper” in you uneducated literary language).

All this considered, I think it only appropriate that we appreciate the under acknowledged heroines of our nation, and admire them for both their intellectual and spiritual beauty. I am very saddened to encounter an individual as narrow-minded as you. I hope that you find the courage to expand your horizons and open your heart to new areas of growth. As President Obama said, “I know my country has not perfected itself. At times, we’ve struggled to keep the promise of liberty and equality for all of our people. We’ve made our share of mistakes, and there are times when our actions around the world have not lived up to our best intentions.”

Your concerned equal rights humanitarian,
Jane Doe

Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Wind Blows, The Rain Holds: Prairie Fest 2009 A Huge Success

Well, I remembered (after a reminder) that today was the Prairie Fest and I managed to spend a couple hours at it, unlike last week's Fort Worth Main Street Arts Festival, which I forgot to go to.

Prairie Fest appeared way bigger than last year. I met Prairie Fest organizer, Don Young, for the first time. I said something about it being way bigger than last year. He told me it was 30% bigger. I don't know where that figure came from, but to my eyes there were at least twice as many people and way more cars parked on side streets, streets that did not have cars on them last year.

I did not get to hear the band Trigger Fish this year. I listened to the Blackland River Devils. That's another thing. Last there were just a few people listening to the band, this year there were a lot of people listening. Now that you've got me thinking about it, I'm guessing Prairie Fest more than doubled in size this year.

I took a lot of pictures and shot some video. It was very windy today. At one point I watched a canopy get blown apart. I quickly got out my video camera, and that quickly turned into me being asked to help. So I did. That quickly spun out of control as the wind continued to batter the tent. Eventually Don Young was called in to help get the destruction under control.

I'll get around to making a YouTube video later. Making videos is not the funnest thing for me. The novelty has worn off. I'm sort of a klutz at taking video. I'll have it in pause mode when I think it is in record mode, or vice versa. It's frustrating. And then this morning I finally figured out, after over a year, why the video does not seem as sharp as it used to, not that it ever was all that good. I somehow had it on manual focus, which overrode the auto-focus.

A lot of kids were having fun at the Prairie Fest today. I saw way too many dogs. I don't get why people bring dogs to things like this. Kids I understand, but not dogs.

That's the band I got to listen to this year, calling themselves the Blackland River Devils. Last year's Trigger Fish plays ol' time Rock 'n Roll, I knew the genre. I think the Blackland River Devils played sort of bluegrass country music. I'm not sure. It's not one of my few areas of any remote sort of expertise.

As the Blackland River Devils were warming up this little kid was having a real good time dancing in front of the stage. He was quite a good little dancer. But, when the real music started up he stopped the dancing and just listened. He probably started up dancing again when I wasn't paying any attention.

I got a call telling me I had to come take a picture of this booth where you could make these little dirt balls that contained wildflowers seeds, that you could then deposit on the land like a Texas Johnny Wildflowerseed.

The landscape painters were seeming to be having a bad time of it due to the high wind. It appeared that a lot of them had taken a break. I don't blame them. It was real windy.

This landscape painter had a more elaborate setup to protect her from the elements. But there was little protection from the wind.

A couple ladies manning a booth promoting a project I have promoted before, that being returning Heritage Park, in downtown Fort Worth, to its original glory.

These little cars looked sort of silly. I think they were called Passions. I'm not sure. I thought it'd be real uncomfortable inside, but instead I was amazed at how roomy it was, as in Cadillac type roomy. With no back seat and a little trunk. I'm guessing these are going to be very popular. Once the Great Depression II ends in another decade or so.

Finally, I got an answer to what the mysterious short metal fence that was added to the play area of Tandy Hills Park, months ago, was for. Apparently it was put there so cool looking Texas red white and blue type flag banners could be hung, along with a Prairie Fest sign.

There were quite a few kids in interesting garb wandering about. I think they were promoting some sort of performance thing of some sort. Or maybe they were being Prairie Fairies. I don't know. I guess I could have asked, but I really wasn't all that interested.

Prairie Fest attracts an interesting demographic that you don't see at most of the Texas events I've gone to. Let's just say the percentage of pickup trucks was very low, the percentage of small cars was very high. Walking back to my vehicle I saw 4 Prius's. And several little bitty Honda cars, the name of which I do not know. This felt more like walking through a Seattle parking lot than a Texas one.

At Prairie Fest you see a way lower percentage of overweight people than you do at most other Texas events. And the people, for the most part, were seeming happy and having a good time. Well, that's actually what it's like at pretty much any Texas event I've been to. At Prairie Fest some of the happy people may have been happy due to the beer and wine they may have consumed, but I doubt it. Beer was $3 a bottle. That's $18 a six pack. That's too much to pay for beer.

The Bedford Blues & BBQ is Back

I just got email from David W. letting me know that the Bedford Blues & BBQ is back. Bedford is one of what are known as the mid-cities. Those being small towns that are part of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex and are in the middle zone between the two big towns.

Usually Bedford is lumped together with Euless and Hurst.

If my memory is serving me correctly, and of late it has been very faulty, I believe the Bedford Blues & BBQ was a casualty of 9/11, when insurance costs went way up for events like this.

I know the Bedford Blues & BBQ was a popular, well attended event that I never attended.

The Bedford Blues & BBQ takes place Labor Day weekend, more precisely, September 5 & 6.

You can get more details, like directions and who's going to be singing the Blues by going to the Bedford Blues & BBQ website.

Blindsiding Fort Worth's Mayor Mike Moncrief

If you are a fan of Survivor you are also likely a fan of what is known as a blindside. That's when someone expecting to win is voted out of office, I mean, voted out of his tribe. A blindside is particularly satisfying if the one blindsided has been arrogant, cocky and way too sure of himself.

Fort Worth will soon have a mayoral election. Very very very few people vote in Fort Worth's mayoral elections. This basically leaves the decision as to who will be mayor up to the Ruling Junta, also known as the Fort Worth Oligarchy.

The current mayor of Fort Worth, Mike Moncrief, is running for mayor again. The natural gas industry wants to keep him in office. Mayor Moncrief has vested interests in the various companies drilling for gas that the city tries to regulate. In other parts of America this is what is known as a conflict of interest. Such things can have a person in all sorts of trouble, elsewhere.

I'm currently reading a book called Honor Killing, by David Stannard. It's about the infamous "Massie Affair" that riveted America in the early days of the Great Depression. The "Massie Affair" brought out in the open all sorts of bad things that had become accepted in Hawaii, which was then pretty much an isolated outpost.

As I read the sad details of how the Oligarchy that ruled Hawaii, acting in their own selfish interests, to the detriment of the majority, who were all minorities, Native Hawaiians, Philipinos, Japanese and others, I thought of how things are done here in Fort Worth.

At one point the Honolulu Ruling Junta decided a place called Waikiki would make nice beachfront property. So, without a vote of the people, including the people who had built elaborate fisheries and farms on this land, a primitive method of eminent domain was used and a beach, now famous, was made.

In Fort Worth a primitive form of eminent domain is being used to take property to build a lake, some canals and an un-needed flood diversion channel in a project called the Trinity River Vision, that the people of Fort Worth have not been allowed to vote on.

Mike Moncrief has 2 men running against him in this election, Clyde Picht and Louis McBee. Because so few people vote, Moncrief is expected to win again. In 2004 McBee filed an ethics complaint against Moncrief, regarding the Cabelas Scandal, to no avail.

Moncrief did not attend a League of Women Voter's debate last week, saying he was too busy doing the city's business, like an hour later, being in the same building as the debate, to help open a remodeled gallery. It would seem that more pertinent city business would be being brave enough to participate in a candidate's debate.

I'm thinking it's time for the citizens of Fort Worth to act like they live in a grown up city and get out and vote to blindside Mike Moncrief. And then start demanding to be allowed to vote on whatever fool thing the Ruling Junta comes up with, be it a Santa Fe Rail Market or a fake lake or subsidizing a convention center hotel or a sporting goods store.

I'm voting for Clyde Picht.

Friday, April 24, 2009

An Accidental Death in River Legacy Park

Due to circumstances beyond my control I was not able to go swimming early this morning. I'll attend to that necessity in a bit. But a late afternoon swim is just not the same thing.

I've been feeling a bit sub-par the last day or two. This morning my physical therapist, Dr. L.C., who usually tells me I over-do it, this time told me to get out and get that monkey off my back. I interpreted this to mean that I should go do something aerobic. And so I did.

I pedaled a couple times around the River Legacy Mountain Bike Trail. It was fun. The only wildlife I saw, besides humans, were 2 snakes, one of whom I ran over. I was going fast around a blind corner and before I could avoid it, I ran over a snake. I feel bad about it. I don't think I'm guilty of snakicide, due to the fact that there was absolutely no pre-meditation. However, I may have been slightly negligent, due to the fact that I was going awfully fast, it was a blind corner, I should have been more careful.

I am willing to plead guilty to involuntary snakeslaughter. It was a colorfully marked snake. Of what type, I have no idea. Both snakes, the one I killed and the other, were small. The snake I did not kill was a bright green one. I think they are called tree snakes.

The primroses were all over the place at River Legacy today. They may be my favorite Texas wildflower. They were the first I ever saw, back in spring of 1998, driving in from the west and seeing all these delicate, colorful flowers on the roadsides, starting south of Amarillo.

Tomorrow is Prairie Fest 2009. I hope, unlike last week's Fort Worth Main Street Arts Festival, I remember to go. I'm also supposed to go to some Chinese Tai Chi World Celebration thing in south Arlington tomorrow. But that's in the morning. And some of the people participating in that are also going to Prairie Fest, so somehow, I should have enough reminders to remember. I hope.

Acceptable Littering In Texas

Around noon I was on my way to River Legacy Park to go mountain biking. As I headed to the I-30 entry a pickup passed me. It being that blue pickup you see in the picture.

I took me a few seconds to get my camera out when I realized I wanted a picture. I was stopped at the light, waiting to take a left on to the freeway, as the pickup sped away.

I'm engaging in all that exposition to explain why I did not get a better picture. Why did I want a picture of this, you probably can't help but wonder. Well, this pickup was engaging in one of my Pet Texas Peeves.

In Texas some people use a very primitive garbage disposal method. They load their litter on to the bed of their pickup, or flatbed trailer. And then drive around while the wind blows their garbage away. In this case it was a lot of white paper material.

From all the pickups in that one picture you might conclude there are a lot of pickups in Texas. You would be correct.

I really don't understand the littering mentality in Texas. Despite all the "Don't Mess With Texas" signs, plenty of people do a lot of messing. I'm sure the vast majority of Texans are not litterers. Maybe it's because there are so many Texans the odds are you're going to have way too many messing it up for everyone else. Maybe that is why, relative to Texas, Washington and Oregon seem so litter-free. But when you get to Southern California it gets a bit messier, not a Texas-level of mess, but messier than it is further north.

I really think an increase in fines and sentencing litterers, caught in the act of using the Texas Garbage Disposal Method, to weekends on road clean-up crews is the way to go.

That and how about more and better public service anti-litter ads like I've always seen in Washington. I'm sure most of those Texas Litterers have a TV, and if the message is repeated often enough, eventually the Litterbugs might see the light.

It's worth a try. I certainly did not like all that white paper litter flying at me today. It's really windy here today. By now all that white paper litter is likely spread over a several county area. Maybe this actually is an efficient litter disposal method.

KFC KGC For Free

I do not know what I did that causes me to get an email once a week from The Colonel. I don't remember the last time I had Kentucky Fried Chicken.

In Cedar Hills, that's a town on the southern border of Dallas, there is a Kentucky Fried Chicken Buffet. That is likely the last place I had Kentucky Fried Chicken.

There is a town in the middle of Wyoming, named Rawlins, that has a KFC Buffet. I'd stopped there several times. It was very well run. Til the last time, that being in July of 2001.

I was driving myself up to Washington for my mom and dad's 50th Anniversary party. The first night I stayed in Pueblo, Colorado. That morning, as I got back on the road, I thought I should be in the Rawlins, Wyoming KFC Buffet zone by 1 or 2. As I got to the Rawlins exit I saw the KFC Buffet freeway exit sign. As I neared the KFC I could see it was real busy, so was McDonald's, there was a line out the door of the Subway. All the fast food places were packed. This may have been the first time I'd been in Rawlins at the height of tourist season.

And during the height of tourist season the Rawlins KFC Buffet is shut down. I can't tell you how disappointed I was, well, actually, I can. I was very disappointed. And hungry. I ended up going in a grocery store to find something to tide me over til I got to Little America, this oasis in the middle of nowhere when you cross Wyoming on Interstate 80.

I just remembered, I've also come across 2 other KFC buffets, have been to one in Pauls Valley, Oklahoma at least twice and once to one in Hays, Kansas. The Hays, Kansas one was nice and big, as in 2 stories with a stairway to the upper eating area.

So, back to the email I got today from The Colonel. It informed me that this coming Monday, that being April 27, KFC is giving out free samples of its new Kentucky Grilled Chicken. I've already read reviews of the new grilled version which were quite positive. I'd walk a mile for a free piece of chicken in these troubled economic times. Fortunately, for me, I have a Kentucky Fried/Grilled Chicken right across the street from me.

Prairie Notes: April 24, 2009--What's in a Name?

A timely, day before the 2009 Prairie Fest, message from Don Young. With video...

Many of you know that the late author and environmental crusader, Edward Abbey, is the spiritual godfather of Friends of Tandy Hills Natural Area (FOTHNA). Ed is best known for his account of Utah's canyon lands in his 1968 non-fiction classic, Desert Solitaire and his 1975 eco-activist-comic-novel, The Monkey Wrench Gang. Those two works bookend Ed's driving themes of gut-level appreciation and dutiful activism in support of our dwindling wild and special places.

Abbey wrote about many such places around the world including, prairies. In his semi-autobiographical 1988 novel, The Fool's Progress, he describes a road-trip from Tuscon, Arizona to his birthplace in Appalachia. Along the way, while passing through prairie country, he wrote the following:

"Prairie Country - and was there ever so gentle and undulant female and sweet a word as prairie. French derived from the Latin prataria, a meadow."

Undulant meaning here, a rising and falling motion, like waves of windblown grass and, in the case of THNA, the namesake hills. Female, meaning ... well, Ed was a ladies man, but I think he meant the protective and nurturing instincts more commonly associated with the childbearing species. I dare say that Ed would appreciate the undulant characteristics of the Tandy Hills greenbelt and applaud our unyielding efforts to nurture, protect and preserve it and all Texas prairie.

"Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit, and as vital to our lives as water and good bread. A civilization which destroys what little remains of the wild, the spare, the original, is cutting itself off from its origins and betraying the principle of civilization itself."

Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire

Please keep the mission of FOTHNA in mind when you visit Prairie Fest this Saturday, April 25th. We want you to have a good time at the fest, and we also need you as a Friend, throughout the year. Please take a moment and watch the video below.

Special NOTE:

Dr. Joe Kuban of Nolan Catholic High School in Fort Worth is a long time advocate for the preservation of THNA. He is local example of a hero who cares a great deal about protection of the wild and special. My hat is off to the valiant Dr. Kuban.

Read Joe's compelling story in a recent Fort Worth Star-Telegram report.

Special NOTE #2:

Read more about Prairie Fest in the current issue of Fort Worth Weekly.

Come to the meadow April 25th and find the spirit of Ed Abbey and Joe Kuban calling out to you.


The Texas Search For The World's Biggest Butt: Part 5

Ever since I blogged about seeing the biggest butt I'd ever seen, that big butt being spotted in my local neighborhood Wal-Mart, I've been amazed over and over again at how many people all over the world are looking for the World's Biggest Butt.

And just like the search for help in dealing with Only Child Syndrome, the search for the World's Biggest Butt seems to go in streaks.

For who knows what reason, this morning the Big Butt search seems to be in high gear, with one of the searchers seeming to morph the Big Butt search with Only Children Syndrome by searching for "big butt syndrome."

I did not realize the big butt phenomenon was a syndrome.

Looking at the various Big Butt search strings is interesting. In addition to "big butt syndrome" in the latest 50 blog visitors we have people looking for "world's biggest butts," and "the biggest butt" and "who has the world's largest butt" and "the world's biggest butt" and "the biggest butt in the world" and "bigbutt blogspot" and "huge butt blogspot" and "america's biggest butt."

I'm pretty sure I've seen one of America's Biggest Butts. If only I had my camera with me at the time.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Hot, Swimming, Hiking in a Bad Mood in Texas

The exercise endorphins are not doing their job today. Why I do not know.

I think, maybe, I may need to quit paying such close attention to the news. It's depressing. Usually, if anything, I am overly optimistic. But not right at this moment. Maybe I had a bad nightmare last night that I am not remembering.

The morning swim went well, but when I got out of the water I didn't feel all that energized. Maybe that had something to do with the fact that for the first time this year the air temperature was warmer than the water.

I got some bug bites yesterday. At least I assume that's what the red spots have been caused by. Maybe my foul mood is the result of insect venom being injected into me.

I continue to be made to feel dumb by two Washington women who keep beating me at Scrabble. I think they must be somehow cheating. Maybe I need to get the Scrabble for Dummies book.

At noon I did the usual hike around the Tandy Hills. Actually it was not the usual. At the top of each hill I was winded and had to bend over, hands on knees, to catch my breath. It was not being quite a Gar the Texan level of the vapors, but close. I think my blood sugar level was real low. I was really craving a non-diet Coke.

One thing did brighten my spirits a bit whilst hiking the Tandy Hills. That was all the Buttermilk Primroses I was seeing. Those bright yellow flowers almost make me feel as good as seeing the Redrock of Utah. Utah Redrock has a very mysterious, I dunno, borderline mystical effect on me. Goes back to the first time I saw it and it's been that way every time since.

That's what I really need. A road trip to Moab and some mountain biking on trails surrounded by Redrock and the best works of Mother Nature.

In the meantime I'll just stare at Buttermilk Primroses. And feel forlorn.

Saturday's April 25 Wildflower Love-In in Texas

This week's FW Weekly's Metro section has a nice article about a feisty Fort Worth pup that has grown up. That pup must be a prairie dog, I guess, because the article is about this coming Saturday's Prairie Fest, when the Tandy Hills will come alive with the sound of music singing to the wildflowers and a lot of people.

I did not know, til reading this article, that the first Prairie Fest took place on Don Young's front yard with a gathering of about 400 pissed-off environmentalists.

This year the City of Fort Worth is finally getting around to embracing the festival, which Don Young calls a "wildflower love-in."

At Prairie Fest there will be the aforementioned music, tours of the prairie and green power exhibits, plus food and beverages, including beer. There will also be around 20 landscape artists painting pictures of the landscape.

If the sun cooperates, the festival will be solar-powered.

Read the FW Weekly article here. Watch a video of some Triggerfish Prairie Fest music from last year, singing about losing paradise to a parking lot, below....

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Confessions of a Texas Drug Addict

I've got me some major monkeys on my back. Real bad habits. I seem to regularly add a new bad habit.

My only drug addiction used to be coffee. Every morning. Laying on the floor, reading the morning paper and drinking coffee. And getting all perked up. Hence the addiction.

Years passed and the coffee addiction seemed to be all I needed to keep me perky.

And then I discovered endorphins. Endorphins are some sort of feel good chemical that gets released when you stress your body aerobically. After some experimenting with various methods of delivering the chemical, I found that hiking, biking and roller blading, for about an hour a day, were enough to keep me happy.

But, eventually, I realized I was addicted. If I don't get my fix, like today, I get edgy, I can't focus, I feel tired.

Like I did today. So, about 4 in the afternoon I took off to River Legacy Park to get my endorphin fix on the mountain bike trail. It was HOT. In the 90s. Felt good. First shirt off, biking, day of the year. You can see by the shadow of me taking a picture, above, that it is late in the day. The later afternoon light makes the green of the River Legacy woods look almost spooky. I liked it.

I pedaled a bit over 10 miles. I did the new section, once, that being the new section I mentioned yesterday, during my sad tale of a flat tire and a bobcat encounter. Today I was able to see that that new section's mile of twist and turns actually only gains you about 20 feet when it joins the existing trail. Yesterday I guessed 50 feet. It'll be a nice addition once it gets broken in.

I saw no wildlife, except for humans, today. No snakes, wild boars, bobcats, armadillos or squirrels.

I just realized I forgot to mention my other drug addiction. The post-coffee morning swim in cold water. I believe the jolt of the cold releases adrenalin, which in turn releases endorphins, which in turn causes me to start the day off feeling way better than just having that morning coffee perk going on.

I fear today may be a precursor for a VERY HOT SUMMER. I escaped Texas last summer during the only period that went over the 100 degree mark. Maybe I'll escape the heat again this summer. It just won't be in Tacoma. That's for sure.

Texas Heat Wave Sprouts on Target

That's a look at my current state of weather, via WeatherBug, from about 10 minutes ago. As you can see we are nearing 90 with the high today getting to 95.

I have not turned on the A/C in here. Yet. I did run the A/C in my vehicle when I drove up to Southlake at noon.

Swimming, this morning, was very pleasant.

I fixed the flat tire on my bike before the torrid temps arrived. But, I don't know if I'm ready, yet, to venture out and ride the newly tubed bike in this heat. That and I've got other stuff to do.

In Southlake I went to Sprouts Farmers Market, like I usually do on Wednesday, pathetic repetitive creature of habit that I apparently am. It was extra warm in Sprouts. Maybe due to way too many people being in there.

On the way back here from Sprouts I dropped in on the Super Target that sits with its back to the Super Wal-Mart where I first got a gallon of milk that was supposed to cost $1.98 but for which I was charged the outrageous price of $2.00. Looking at my blog stats, I can now see I am not alone. Others are looking for the reason why Wal-Mart is being odd with their milk price.

The reason I went to Super Target was to return a vegetable oil sprayer that did not work. At Super Target you walk into what at noon appeared to be a practically empty store where the employees out number the few customers. Unlike at Super Wal-Mart, at Super Target you walk up to Customer Service and you are instantly acknowledged and helped. It took all of 20 seconds to get my money refunded.

I then told the Super Target Customer Service person about my recent experiences with Super Wal-Mart Customer Service and the bizarre milk price scam. She was appalled. I told her I'd blogged about it a couple times. She asked for and wrote down my blog address. Unlike the minimum wage morons that Wal-Mart mans its Customer Service with, this Super Target young lady seemed quite sharp.

Sprouts today was also a good customer service experience. I must have bought at least 30 different items. As always, not a single price mistake. And super fast, efficient, checkout.

So, now does the title of this particular blogging make sense? Texas Heat Wave Sprouts on Target. Makes sense to me.

Texas Accents Among Other Accents

When I first watched and listened to the Super Viral Susan Boyle YouTube video (if you have not seen this, stop reading this blog now and go watch it) I thought it was interesting how Susan spoke in such a thick Scottish accent that she was a tad hard for my American ears to understand. And then she started singing and the accent went bye-bye and the voice of an angel appeared in its place.

And then, after she was done singing and the audience calmed down enough for the judges to speak, I was struck by how different the English accent is, when well-spoken, from the more flourish-free American accent of Americans from some regions of America, like the Pacific Northwest.

Some versions of the English Accent, as spoken in the UK, are very easy to listen to. Is it called High English? I don't know. But it is easy to understand, unlike Cockney English, which can be funny to hear, but hard to understand.

Now, there are some regions of America with strong accents. Like Brooklyn. Or Boston. Or the South.

There are many variations of Southern Accents. Wikipedia has an interesting article on the subject. Even within a specific Southern Accent there are variations, like different types of Texas Accents.

There is an extreme version of the Texan Accent that I really have trouble understanding, almost as bad as Boomhower on King of the Hill. And then there is the lilting, warm honey Texas Accent that I can never get enough of listening to.

Gar the Texan is from the Midland-Odessa West Texas zone, same as where George W. Bush grew up. They have similar Texas accents, though Gar the Texan's can ebb strong and weak, particularly strong if he is having a case of the vapors. Gar the Texan is very articulate. When he uses polysyllabic words he pronounces them correctly, and thus sounds Texan and smart. With an accent.

Now, George W. Bush is not the most articulate man on the planet. When George W. pronounces a polysyllabic word he often gets it wrong. Such as when he tries to say "nuclear." I think the Texas Accent, combined with the mispronouncing, may have been part of what caused many to perceive George W. as not the brightest light ever to glow in the White House.

There are a lot of versions of English accents. I find the Canadian version very unpleasant. I think this may be partly caused by having lived most of my life near the border, with access to Canadian TV and plenty of Canadians. The Canadian Accent has this way of sounding as if they are inflecting everything they say with a self-doubting tone, even without adding "eh" to the end of virtually every sentence. It comes across, to my ears, as sounding insecure and unsure about what they are saying.

Some English Accents are so easy to listen to, like Australian. How does one accent variant end up sounding Australian and another Canadian? Canadians live mostly within 200 miles of America. Why have we not rubbed off on them more in this department? Well, to be fair, which is not my long suit, some Canadians do lose the annoying accent when they become American actors, like Michael J. Fox.

I find the Hybrid-English Accents very easy to listen to. Like Italian-English, they sound so charming. I can't think of any of the hybrids that don't sound like music to me. Russian-English, good thing. I like the Mexican-English Accent. Or any Spanish Speaking-English Accent, for that matter. Middle Eastern-English Accents sound good, with plenty of variations. Indian-English, as in the nation, not the Native Americans, can sound a bit insecure, like Canadian Accent, but the lilting, sing songy way of speaking Indian-English is quite pleasant to listen to.

As for Native American-English, it comes in a lot of versions. I have heard all sorts of Indian-American accents and have liked them all. Very easy to listen to. I once spent an hour talking to a Navajo at Monument Valley in Arizona. I can still remember his soft easy Navajo-American Accent. A lot of Native Americans pretty much lose any accent. That is particularly the case with a lot of Pacific Northwest Native Americans.

Why are there so many Indians and Indian Reservation Lands in Washington and so few in Texas? What did you Texans do with all the Indians?

Okay, I have started to digress. Time to stop talking about accents.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Wal-Mart's Milk Price Is Still Wrong

It seems like weeks now since I first blogged about Wal-Mart's Supercenters having big $1.98 signs above their milk, with that same $1.98 price repeated on the shelves for each type of milk, whole, 2%, 1% or skim.

I last bought milk last Friday, and blogged my two cents worth, along with a picture of the two cents I got for complaining to Wal-Mart's misnamed Customer Service.

It was on that day I learned why Wal-Mart is now making a lot of pricing errors. Because they no longer have a motivation to be careful, due to dropping their refund policy when they are caught making a mistake.

I do not know if it is true, or not, but one local told me the Texas State Legislature changed the law regarding pricing mistakes, removing the refund penalty that had provided a motivation for stores to not mislead their customers by putting one price on the shelf and charging another price at checkout.


And now, today, Tuesday, 4 days after I last got milk at Wal-Mart, I did so again. This time fully expecting it to still ring up at $2, but this time I was armed with my camera to take a picture of the big $1.98 sign. The other picture is, obviously, today's receipt. Unlike last Friday, I did not go to Customer Service to get my two cents. There was a line. I wouldn't have bothered even if there had been no line. I was hungry and wanted to go home and make tacos.

I wonder how much money those 2 extra pennies, or 1% surcharge, has added up to for Wal-Mart.