Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Four, Three, Two.....Liftoff?

I think some of the media outlets are using Wall Street math to determine the end of the decade. I am seeing more and more "decade in review" stories, including in the Houston Chronicle. Uh......I hate to have to be the one to burst their bubble, in particular, the ones arguing that the decade started in 2000, so consequently, it ends in 2009. These people remind me of some of the grammar optional commenters who provide daily entertainment for the masses online, then when pinned down, respond with "hey, this ain't rocket surgery".......
Yes, the decade started at the END of 2000....and completed it's first year Jan.1, 2001. Last time I pulled out the abacus, and considered when the first year ended, then moved ten buttons, the end of the decade was at the end of the 10th year.......not the 9th. When our first grade teachers had us do the count to ten drill, how many of you started with zero and ended with nine? Like I said - Wall Street math......no money down, no credit check, and no payments until 2012.......no shit. On the other hand, I suppose it's easy to overlook that year of "no payments", huh? That is until you notice that by the time you start making those monthly notes, you start to notice that the cat has already shredded the end of that "new" sofa, or that the Chevy already has 40,000 miles on it, and is starting to make some funny noises and really pulls to the left...........

Monday, December 28, 2009

Fly Naked.........

.....which will likely eventually lead to a lot more passengers flying "united" (and not all of them necessarily on United jets). Seriously, can you think of a better answer? The body scan x-ray machine you say? well, first, when Nigerian Akumba Matata boarded his last flight in Amsterdam, enroute to becoming a martyr and celebrity, he allegedly was screened by one of the new "pecker checker" devices, and nothing was found. I say rather than spending billions on screening devices, just make all passengers surrender their clothing and board naked. Maybe issue them a unisex disposable jumpsuit to travel in, and let that be that. That should pretty much take all the guesswork out of flying, huh? It might cause a bit of a stir at first, and put a dent in air travel for a spell, but you have to believe that it will be a cheap solution in more ways than one. To begin with, unless I misread the part of the Islamic law I thought I read, it is unlikely any of the potential bomb carrying culprits will be allowed according to their religious beliefs, to board a plane in the buff. Of all the species of animals on the planet, maybe this is the catalyst that will give the one holdout, pause to reflect over the silly need they have to feel like they should cover what they were born with, which coincidentally, is the same equipment every other passenger on the flight was born with as well.

As long as our government finds it necessary to meddle in other cultures and attempt to tell them where they can live, how they can worship, and how they should run their governments, I suspect we will be stuck with the fact that a few of them are going to want to cause us harm.

I say rather than allow them to control us with fear and intimidation, and force us to try to stay one step ahead of barbarians who still use rocks as weapons by investing billions in technology, we just go back to the basics, and make 'em strip to get on the plane. Should work. Where do you want me to stack my clothes miss?

Friday, December 25, 2009

The Vatican Bowl

In the second annual Vatican Bowl, the Pope was sacked early by Susanna Maiolo for the second year in a row. The play was overturned, as she was penalized for unnecessary roughness on a Cardinal.

Merry Christmas _ Peace On Earth

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Extra Money for Christmas?

I just saw a little story on GMA about putting microchips under the skin of pets, to be able to locate them in the event they are stolen or wander off. Than made me smile, and remember fondly, an old friend I had back in Austin. I was at his house one day many years ago when we were much younger, and I noticed that he had a really cool new dog, and I asked what his name was. His answer? "Well I don't plan to have him long, but I guess I should name him, huh? I was thinking either "Lost Dog", or "Reward".....what do you think?"

Yes Victoria Lolita, There is a Santa,,,,hehe

Well, the Vicad has outdone themselves with one of their brain trusts coming up with the question of the day:
At what age should patents have the talk with their children about Santa........

Well, with the trend of earlier maturity, it is a fact that computers are even in kindergarden classrooms these days. I'd guess that many kids have already Googled Santa for an e-mail address, so they could ask for a new netbook, or a monster new gaming machine,and learned the news that way.
Otherwise, I would say that parents in Victoria should, now that the one of the young Advocate cubicle reporters has let the cat in the hat out of the bag, and alluded to the fact that there are "issues" with Santa, that some other parents had better be ready to come clean with their children who read the news in the paper or online on The Advocate. Seriously, I have looked at their bio photos, and even met some of these "reporters" in person. A couple aren't even tall enough to ride the rides at Disney World, and they look like they may need booster seats in their car. Then there is another one (I won't name names, but a month of the year comes to mind), who basically writes like a chilld. I mean, the very fact that the "question of the day" was about the non-subject, speaks volumes about the kiddie staff there. In all likelihood, the survey was originated by one of the reporters who was just told the truth themselves this year (sit down son, now that you have a job at the newspaper, and your own car, there is something I think your mom and I should tell you) and felt that it was such a blockbuster scoop of a story that it just had to be exposed. Lordy, I hope whoever decided on putting this in the paper, has already lost all their baby teeth, or they are in for another rude shock(but yet another story) soon as well..............
On the other hand, I can think of at least one or two among the news staff, who probably put their wisdom teeth under their pillow.

I must admit that I had to read this question twice, then try to guess which person's age they were surmising about, the parents or the kids. My first answer was going to be "age 27, because there are a lot of 27 year old parents around there these days that have children that are getting close to time to be measured for their quinceanera dresses".

To all my friends, Have a cool yule!

Monday, December 14, 2009

You Might Not Be A Dog Person If.........

yeah, I know sounds like "You might be a redneck......" Well, in truth, these do go hand in hand. I heard a story on the 10:00 news about an ordinance in Nassau Bay up here, that prohibited keeping dogs on chains in your yard. That reminded me of this old boy I knew down in Pasadena.....that's as in Gilley's - Pasa-git down-god gamn-dena, the blue collar capitol of Texas, just east of Houston, under the green cloud. This guy worked with me, and he came in one day telling me of a dog he got for his kid, that lived in his back yard. Now for my money, if the dog isn't allowed inside, you probably aren't cut out for a dog as a pet. Anyway, he'd come in daily with a new story of the dog's creativity in digging out of the yard and how he'd whupped it and made the fence stronger. Finally one day, when he'd just about given up, he came in and told of how he'd chained the poor creature to one of those patio umbrella concrete bases, and knew for sure he'd still be there when he got home. Next day he came in and said that the night before, on the way home, he encountered the dog two blocks away from the house backing up the street pulling that anchor behind him, making his escape. It was at that point I finally told him "Mark, I think that pooch is trying to tell you he'd like a change of residence". I can see putting Ol'Blue out front on a rope for some fresh air on occasion, but if you have a 7' wooden fence and your dog is still tied up and consistently manages to shed his restraints and scale the walls, it could be that you just weren't meant to be a dog owner. Take it from a dog person who has to kick the dog off the bed so I can sleep from time to time. If a dog likes you, he'll stick around..........might drive you up a wall, but they are about as faithful and loving a critter as you'll ever find...much more so than most humans.

The Chopper and The Crabtrap Christmas Tree

........ya gotta admit, nothing says Christmas like that huh? Okay, this is just a little plug for my hometown. I am unofficially sworn to not say it's name, other than.....Adrift, but I'll tell you that if you are driving toward the coast, and you see Barkett's, you are there. If you find yourself in Port O'Connor, you have gone too far. I mention Barkett's, because I have eaten there since I was twelve. I once waded San Antonio Bay nights and gigged the flounder that old man Barkett was famous for serving to his guests, and just a couple of nights ago, I treated myself to a plate of amazing fried oysters there, with a scrumptious salad and a baked potato and a couple of O-Rings for good measure. These days the place is owned and operated by my dear old friend and classmate, Frances, and while the Wurlitzer juke box and the cherry cokes are but a memory, the service and the seafood and Mr. Barkett's stuffed flounder recipe, lives on better than ever for this generation.

Now at the risk of a minor dent in Frances's business, but likely not, I'd be remiss if I did not mention the new Boiling Pot, right across the street from the old Try Inn Cafe....er......Barkett's I mean. I have to say, that while it is a different experience from a nice sit down dinner in a restaurant that observes the old tradition of "dishes" and utensils, there is a unique charm to having a butcher paper covered table with your own personal pile of boiled new potatoes, corn on the cobb, and shrimp, crabs, sausage, or crawfish and a claw cracker and a roll of paper towels to hold you until you hit the cleanup trough on your way out. Good food to be sure, and again nice folks to serve you with a smile. For the kids, there are alternative things on the menu that they will find more recognizable that a pile of what looks it was dropped out of the sack of a net onto the deck of a shrimpboat. The folks there, as evidenced by the photos, are working on getting into the spirit of the season, though I'll have to admit their's is the first Christmas tree I have ever seem built from crab traps with a hurricane lamp for the angel on top. As far as the chopper goes, well hell....I have a hard time thinking of any occasion that a beautiful Seadrift.....oops!, Custom Chopper doesn't spruce up just a little. So while you are in town, think about a trip down Main Street to Seadrift Custom Choppers and have a look at the bikes. Tell Butch I said hello............and if you see my boys in there drooling over the merchandise, tell them it's time to come home.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Seems Like Only Yesterday...........

"Houston the largest city to elect openly gay mayor"..........

Wow! Seems like only yesterday, that we allowed openly black and openly female candidates to be elected to public office, and not that long ago, for those two demographic groups to vote. What's next? A gay black woman candidate? When and where will it stop?

Folks I have news for you. We here in Houston have elected Annise Parker to public office on six different occasions. She has done us a damn good job. That is why she is our mayor elect rather than a shady lawyer. Had nothing to do with sexual orientation or skin color. The best person for the job won, and I can't remember the last time anyone even mentioned her sexuality around here, before said sleazy lawyer's campaign geniuses thought it might be nifty to mention that little irrelevant tidbit.

Just shows how the rest of the country is starved for "dirty laundry", listening to CNN and the networks. So I suppose in closing, I should offer at one little bit of such news in the sports world:

Number one on PGA Tour

Breaking newsFox News and CNN have just reported that Elin Nordegren moved to the top of the money list on the PGA Tour yesterday after ‘beating’ the world’s number one golfer.

The news came after the world’s number one golfer inadvertently played the wrong hole…

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Breaking News.......Literally

Funny how cubicle based information gathering for a story, coupled with just writing down the first words that come to mind and then publishing it as news without at least one other set of eyes looking at it, can be so telling and at the same time, not say much at all. I'd like to be able to say that hey, it's just an online story that will be corrected when they proof it, but all too often, that isn't the case, and these little filler stories make it into the print edition, verbatim, without the scrutiny of a second glance by one of forty editors.

The story in question, was posted last night. I do have to confess, that I am prone to be on the critical side of the reporting and writing at this particular publication, and on occasion, I will actually rewrite stories just to see how it looks my way.....maybe I am spoiled by being in a large market where print news has a more refined and dare I say, edited look. So.....here goes:

"A Chevy Camaro rear-ended a Ford truck on Moody and Water streets on Friday night. The wreck sent two people to a local hospital.

The driver of the Camaro failed to slow as he near a crossing and thus rear-ended the truck, which was stopped at a stoplight, according to preliminary reports offered by Officer Robert Dial".

First, it appears that the accident happened on two separate streets, rather than on a street near an intersection with another. Then there is the poor grammar and Shakespearish summary of what actually happened:

"The driver of the Camaro failed to slow as he near a crossing and thus rear-ended the truck, which was stopped at a stoplight"........
Thus rear ended the truck? (Hey, it could have been thus smacked into the truck).

If you are going to write it like that, you should at the very least continue in character with the next line......something like "Quoth the policeman". "Nevermore".

While I suppose I should be ashamed of myself, picking on a young reporter, navigating their way through a weekend night, in a rudderless ship, I think someone needs to point needed corrections out to them, (say.....an editor) rather allow them to post such writing and have it make it to print. I see it as a reflection on both the writer and the "buck stops here" editor, to allow such mangled words into print.
Said editor has gone out of his way to show his online readers and those who would question him, that HE has the last word. You'd think that that same anal retentive quality would spill over into his paying day job too, and be reflected in the quality of the product that hits the streets.......wouldn't you?

I think that if anyone is dropping the ball here, it is the editor, allowing that kind of rube writing to make it into print, while at the same time doing a disservice to the young reporters by not correcting their work and teaching them the trade of writing. It appears, as I had been told a while back, that the editing is essentially if it fits print it. That stories are edited more for length than content...........

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

News Sillies - I Say Tomato, You Say To-mah-to.....

.....Sarah Palin says "duck!".
In National news:
Seems some goofy Norwegian(named Olsen, no less)flung a couple of vegetables(to say fruits would be another point of debate, and not politically correct anyway), at the former pinup Governor, at a book signing in the Mall of America.... I've been to Minnesota many times during the winter. As in Fairbanks, with the short days, such behavior is not uncommon there this time of the year, and tends to escalate until the summer thaw actually......He probably should have packed some lefse, Old Style, and ludefisk, and gone ice fishing instead of to the mall.....

As an afterthought, there was a little research blurb in Yahoo News this morning. It was titled "Your Love Life Is In Your Hands"........
I assume they were referring to those droughts we all tend to experience, but then any number of teenage boys could have told us that.

On the local front:
The Houston Fire Department held a press conference today to announce the results of their investigation into accusations of departmental discrimination in the wake of racism and sexism claims by two female firefighters, one white, the other black, who reported incidents they claim were intended to intimidate them. At the news conference, the HFD official said that there were no widespread problems in the department.......it has been rumored, that a few others within the rank and file while agreeing with the report, suggested that as a way to improve morale in the department, it would be a good faith effort on the part of management to hire more white males, and fewer women, blacks, and don't ax, don' tells, yankees, and Katrina refugees.

(As a disclaimer I must add that I have the utmost admiration, and respect and appreciation of the job that most first responders do) I have heard stories of some others - from people who should know.....

And in traffic.......in a story reminiscent of the Vicad's propensity to create a story where there is none, there is a report of a car in the bayou, near Chimney Rock and Hillcroft. I say "story where there isn't one", because as anybody who drives in Houston traffic on a regular basis knows, traffic is usually light in the bayou at that time of the day anyway.

Then there is the unfolding Tiger Woods saga......seems two more women have come forward, one a Waffle House waitress and the other a porn star, to claim their own spot in line in the Tiger by the tail tryst chronicles. To compound Tiger's woes, at 2:30 AM EST, his milf-in-law was transported to the same hospital Tiger was on Friday, complaining of stomach pains. Rumors are that she actually choked on a Swedish meatball, when Tiger's wife told her how much he was offering her to stay married to him and to not leave him. In the ensuing confusion, she was injured when Elin attempted to perform the Heimlich maneuver on her with a nine iron........

Friday, December 4, 2009

Complacent Texas Defense Contractor Sleeps Through Contract Negotiations and Loses A Birds Nest On the Ground

This facility is ten miles west of my residence. Several of my neighbors are employed there. They have guaranteed jobs through January, last I heard. I don't think this was a Dems vs Republican'ts issue, as much as it was just a matter of complacency on the part of the fat cats wallowing in the spoils of the waning days of a prosperous last deal, failing to notice that the jig was almost up, and that maybe a bit of posturing and palm greasing and oh, research into who the competition might be, was in order. In other words, "you snooze, you lose". If I were them, rather than waiting on K. B.utchinsin, and Guvner Goodhair to whine and cry foul and try to get the apparently better bid tossed out, what if they tried a new approach, and went looking for another project to bid on? It's not like war is going out of fashion anytime soon. Hell, check with the Afghan gunmint, or the Chinese. We are so up to our butts in hock to some cultures we once regarded as third world, maybe it's time to pay the fiddler, and listen to the Chinese Commies piss and moan about having to put up with inferior products that say "Made in America" for a change.......

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

An Advocate Kind Of Day.......

I find myself really torn when tempted to pounce on the folks at the Victoria Advocate for their almost Laurel and Hardy slapstick approach to reporting, editing, and managing a daily newspaper. On the one hand, I try to tell myself to consider the caliber of the management, and the size of the market, and cut Cobler's Kids some slack for what they have allowed it to become. On the other hand, I recall what a once respectable, and professionally presented daily it was to fetch from the driveway, and read the likes of Jim Bishop, Henry Wolf and Pat Hathcock, and see the type of feature stories, national, state and local news stories, columns, and serious editorial issues that one expects from a real newspaper.

Of late it has taken on the appearance of a tabloid rag, and the reporting, editing, and layout are simply down the dumper. Each edition is expected to be loaded with spelling and grammatical gaffes, and week old local news, and riveting stories of things like two cars that didn't crash into one another, or a hijacked order of McNuggets on the hoof from an outlying suburb's Mickey D's.......and that is just in the print edition. And as further proof of their cluelessness, their "medical reporter" is online, appealing to his (legions of) followers, to drop him a line and give him the names of friends who are struggling with AIDS or are HIV positive. How is that for both inconsiderate and ballsy? That's called coffeeshop and or cubicle based begging for a story reporting folks. Dare I tackle the issues with their online circus? You know, the one area that their esteemed editor is supposed to be a whiz kid in?

That is debatable at best. He seems to be obsessed lately, despite claims to the contrary, with getting in the LAST WORD, and micromanaging the online content and those who offer any input to HIS FORUMS. I am learning just how powerful a Blackberry can be.......
But then, seeing what gets posted there, is becoming more comical by the day, regardless of how long it is allowed to stay, before it gets nuked by the BOSS.

While it is obvious that Cobler is personally riding herd on the online Vicad, and has his underlings armed with hatchets as well, there are a number of folks just rubbing his nose in his you know what, and he doesn't even realize it. Take the new guy, "BigolJay, going crazy today......just being a pain, and using an obvious name referenced to the late littlej. Then there is Gay4matt, and g4further, and who knows how many more. These folks slipping back in and using multiple ambiguous screennames to wreak havoc on the forums has become commonplace there. My friend Furthur tried to toe the line, but apparently went one toke over........with his copy of my Christmas rant......

On top of all of that, I was "permanently" banned from commenting on the Vicad webcast this morning........funny thing was Gabe apparently did it. I could see Cobler when it happened(my banishment in mid sentence), and he was across the room from Gabe who was moderating. Now I wasn't watching his hands that closely, so maybe Cobler was doing his Palladin "Have Blackberry, will travel", impersonation.......
And as a parting shot, the moderator cleared the comments at the end of the meeting, rather than leaving them up until they start the meeting again tomorrow. As the photo above indicates, I saved a copy........

The Kid In Me............

........got me busted again at the Advocate today...twice, but that I will save for the next post.
I just heard the weather folks on the local TV stations allude to the possibility of a little snow here at weeks end. I will confess to being a weather junkie, and a bit of a storm chaser as well. But there is something about the slightest hint that it may snow, that makes me revert to a wide eyed ten year old. I think it's just the novelty of it, being from the south, and seeing it so rarely down here that makes my pulse speed up at the prospect, and that will have me outside when the day arrives, peering into the night sky, praying for some flakes to appear in the glow of the porch light. I guess the phenomenon with me is just like with real estate value - location, location, location.....It is so rare we see snow here, that it is a treat for all us kids, young and old. I am sure that when I mention the forecast to my boys, they will begin praying for a snow day off from school. Myself, I will be wishing for the freak occurrence of a big dump like the lower coast got a few years ago so I can break out my snow chains and find the closest steep freeway off ramp that is closed to press into service as a ski run. Might as well try for the news at six and ten, huh? like I said.......The kid in me.......

Monday, November 30, 2009

Christmas, Schristmas, Oy Gevalt!....KnowwhutI'mSayin'?

First and foremost, let's be realistic here. While I know when it is in my best interests to attempt political correctness, more often that not, I am getting my peepee whacked for being brutally frank, and calling a spade a spade(no, not yet.....I'll cover Kwanzaa in a minute).
Christmas is just that. Christmas......allegedly a celebration of Christ's birthday, as practiced by Christians the world over, and in particular, by the majority of the folks who founded this country. The origins of the holiday, despite the fact that it has become a symbol of the wretched excess that is strangling our country, are not in question. Granted, there are a lot of guys named Murray Katz, and Harv Levin, reaping the benefits reaping the rewards of marketing an event that they don't believe happened, but the fact remains that Christmas is just that. I will out of force of habit, tell you Merry Christmas. Regardless of my religious beliefs, wen I tell you that, know that I am wishing you goodwill, prosperity, and a joyous holiday season. But unless you are looking for a fight, do not try to correct me, or ram Kwanzaa( a manufactured, throwdown ACLU holiday), or Hanukkah down my throat, because while I respect your celebration of your own religious holidays, and wish you the best, they have nothing to do with Christmas, save for the aforementioned Murray and Harv, and their need for all of them to be lumped into a "season" for profit's sake. I don't even know what the Muslim equivalent, is, or whether they are pushing for equal time in the Toys-R-Us sweepstakes, but no matter what, they have nothing to do with "Christmas". I will say as another blogger I read did: If I wish you a Merry Christmas, and you reply with a Happy Hanukkah, I will say "thank you and to you as well", and I will sincerely mean it, but shame on you if you attempt to P.C. me, and if you take issue with what I an my kids, and my grandparents and their grandparents have come to accept as tradition, because you and Lawanda or Mustafa and Nabila, or Murray and Harv are offended because I don't defer to your homeland's traditions in my holiday festivities. If you have a problem with hearing a warm "Merry Christmas" from my countrymen and women and myself, then I suggest you pack your bags, and embrace another of my country's slogans......"Delta is ready when you are".

Friday, November 27, 2009

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Happily? Or Happily Ever After?.........

Without an in depth discussion on same sex unions and relationships, which for anyone who has read my writing, it should be evident that I think that that decision is or should be between two individuals, without any remote government meddling or legislation, I felt motivated to make a comment on an article in the Victoria Advocate, which based on my past experiences commenting and blogging there, will surely be summarily deleted, given the G Rated story. There is a slight hint at a child's obviously coached opinion on the aforementioned subject here at the article's close. I applaud Robert Earl Keen and Jimmy (Bubba) Buffet, for over the years, using the word gay in their songwriting, as it was taught to mean - happy. I think the double meaning of the word was incorporated here by an innocent....So in the form of a blog, based on a sweet story of elementary school science fair projects which can be read here , the following is my likely short lived comment on the story.....

Okay, realizing that I am probably going to hell for making comments on such a story, I suppose they all had a snack of poached goldfish after the judging was completed.
Many years ago, my son had a class guinea pig, also black and white, named Oreo, and at years end, rather than put him out to pasture, they had a drawing to see who got to adopt him. My son won, and he came to live with us that summer. Unfortunately he did a high dive from their fort in the back yard and broke his back, (guinea pigs, unlike cats, do NOT land on their feet, or have nine lives)immobilizing his back legs. He actually lived a normal life afterward, thanks to the little trailer we built for his aft section. But due to his injury, he was never in the position of having to make the choice of happily(well put, by the way), or happily ever after.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Need For Speed, and Other Small Town Observations

"The Need For Speed" - I recall that line from "Top Gun", however, I think Maverick was referring to the speed that is a catalyst for a totally different sort of rush than I will be covering lightly here. Meth. Yes. I have tried it. Let's put that into perspective. I am almost sixty. That little mistake was forty years ago for me. As much as I yet enjoy a good buzz, these days, and yes for decades now, I am quite content for that buzz to come from a bottle of Chilean wine, or a snifter of brandy, while in the company of my mate or a quite small circle of good friends. The closest I ever come these days to substance abuse, is after one of my periodic episodes with dental damnation, or my occasional miscalculation of my age and ability when it comes to sports, motorcycles, and the like, and have trouble believing that I no longer need to try to fill that friendly bottle of Vicodin, just one more time..........As far as quitting the meth, I had sense enough to know, even at twenty, that it would kill me, so I stopped. Also, the fact that Peruvian flake was readily available, and actually quite socially accepted among the lawyers, architects, doctors, and professors I hung around with at the time, made it a bit more justifiable, at least in my eyes, to try that little diversion instead.......and speaking strictly for myself now, when I opted to stop that little habit, it was simply a matter of economics and desiring to seek gainful employment, and I have never looked back. Case closed. And yes, I do realize that is not the case for most everyone else who has dabbled in drugs, and I do consider myself fortunate, and I will rain merciless hell on anyone that I discover attempting to involve my children in even the most "innocent" of drug use. You may call that hypocrisy - I choose to consider it a well informed decision.......

Now as for the story that prompted this, I must defer to the Advocate's coverage of the meth lab bust in this morning's paper. While it has some points to chuckle at, is is a serious issue, and I for one, am happy those folks are out of business, and would like to see all the rest of them shut down as well.

The story was actually fairly well reported, I thought, though as is frequently the case at the Advocate, apparently the copy editor who came up with the headline for it, just plopped down the first thing that came to mind. In retrospect, they might have used the word"suspected", or "alleged", in place of the word "possible", don't you think? But then, anything's possible. I like the fact that the raid was a collaborative effort among the agencies involved, and in particular, the fact that the press was invited, and chose to accompany them.

Now for the "small town" part. I find some humor in some of the comments by readers to the story. Cop hater Zorro's(zero?) was totally out of line, but not in the least surprising, based on his track record of commenting.
Wh1t3f0x's little comment "I just watched the report on fox and in the video was the Rock 'N' Blues truck parked in front of the building. Did anyone else see that? I'm not trying to spread rumors I'm just looking for a reality check"........was just a hair finger pointingish I think, despite his "I'm just sayin'" disclaimer, huh?

Equally amusing, but actually believable, was rbguy, the club owner's disclaimer to distance himself, and go on record explaining the fact that his truck was photographed at the scene of the bust.......some quick butt covering and brow wiping and "please God, make this go away" went on in that poor guy's head, I am sure....
Fact is, I have known more than one drug dealer in years past, who was in the automotive service business, in addition to their little moonlighting operation. That does seem to help with explaining some of the excess traffic coming and going as the result of a drug operation. Being a speed dealer(alleged), I'd be willing to bet he could tear down and reassemble a tranny in record time, ya think?(I'd bet the Rock 'N' Blues truck owner agrees with me on that) On the other hand, maybe he wasn't a speed freak, or was just a beginner.....as most speed freaks I have seen in years past, tended to have a little slimmer waistline.......

I noticed where patientearth thought that a better photo could have been used to accompany the story. That's a matter of opinion I suppose, but aside from the aforementioned perplexingly pudgy perpetrator(alleged) in the frame, I found the sign leaning against the wall of his auto/pharmaceutical enterprise, to be a bit ironic. I reckon that as the proprietor of a legitimate auto shop, such a sign would be in order to not get wiped out by being held liable in the event of a fire, but considering the double duty the place was doing as a meth lab(alleged), one does have to consider the possibility of a rather untimely spark from one side of the room causing the other side of the room to put the entire operation into orbit, doesn't one? You'd think a mechanic would know that..........

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Travels With A Pal - Trip Notes

Okay, let's call this one for lack of something better, a trip journal.
A pal and I set out on a journey, the fun kind, with no really etched in stone itinerary, but I took some mental notes, and I'd like to relate some of it to you.

Both of us greying, and with a lot of miles under our respective belts to this point, it was only logical, that we would make it a point to see the areas where we each grew up, and share stories of "back when.......", and make notes, of how things had changed, and what looked the same as we remembered it to be. There were fish stories told of eating walleye, and spearing carp in the mountain streams of New Mexico, and telephoning up catfish on the Llano River. Stories of hiking in carrying an aluminum skiff to a mountain lake in the Rockies, and stories of ice fishing in Minnesota for Northern pike, and what a pain cleaning and getting all the bones out of northern's are.

We went down into Canyons in the Rocky Mountains, and to the streets where he grew up as a boy, in the high desert of New Mexico, where he was quick to point out the houses of his childhood friends, and the local churches and landmarks.Before the trip ended, we went to the dunes and the barrier reefs on the Texas coast, that I wandered as a youth, where there is history that includes everything from Civil war encampments, to WWII U.S. Army Air Base, to a Vietnam era S.A.C, Air Force base, to a natural pass from the Gulf of Mexico, that was sailed by merchants and plundered by the likes of the pirate Jean Lafitte.

As much as you are thinking that we embarked on the trip of a lifetime, one we all dream of taking, I have one more little secret to share with you..... This type of trip is one that I am accustomed to taking on a pretty regular basis.
Here we go again........there's an app for that.........
It's called Google Earth, and there is another one by Microsoft, called I believe, Virtual Earth. Yes, I do travel, for real, at every opportunity, but the trip I just described to with you, was done on a rainy morning on the bay, over coffee, and it is one that anybody can take. You are limited only by your imagination.

If you have aging parents, who maybe aren't computer savvy, can you think of a nicer gift, than to take them on a trip to their childhood neighborhood or trout stream, or sledding hill? It is there for the taking. Just a little food for thought. Happy Trails............

Saturday, November 7, 2009

What's My Line? - The Future Of Local Newspapers

I don't know where this all leads, but I am sitting here sipping on a glass of chardonnay, listening to a local broadcast of a Pacifica radio affiliate(KPFT 90.1-which is also available streamed online), while I read the hometown newspaper out of Victoria, Tx. for FREE on the internet. I doubt if I am of much value to the Advocate(actually, I am sure of that, as they have let me know in so many words and in their actions), as I am pretty sure that I won't be shopping in any of their advertisers' stores.........

Okay - by now, for any of you who read the Advocate, you know that I have just pretty much word for word, turned Chris Cobler's latest blog around 180 degrees. I credit him for the words, but myself for pointing out that this door swings both ways.

Until someone drops the big one, disrupts the infrastructure that affords us instant global communications, and returns us to hand delivered print media, and local low wattage local radio for our news and advertising, the writing is on the wall, for both traditional media outlets I fear.

In the meantime, Internet radio does seem to be in the lead by a neck, because it cooperates with it's affiliate stations as well as competitors, in keeping current information and credits it's sources, as a rule.

I wish the same was true of print media, but I am seeing more and more plagiarism and outright copying of stories and pasting as one's own work, by almost every print media source I read, though some more than others. In blogs of online versions of print media, you almost expect such things, and a lot of the time, the bloggers have their feet held to the fire when someone happens upon a story, that they read elsewhere and know that one of them is a copy of the other. In print however, it becomes a bit more serious offense, as there is hard evidence of literary theft, and we all know what happens when that dirty little secret gets exposed.......basically shame and disdain, and loss of employment for those guilty of reprinting others' work without permission, and claiming it as both truth and to be their own work.........

The other shameful thing I am seeing in print media, is that they are blatantly begging for input from online sources, and relying on what they are told as gospel, and printing it without doing the necessary legwork required of professional journalists, and following up with their sources to verify the facts. They are then faced with having to make an ongoing series of corrections as initial accuracy of the story comes into question, and for what makes it onto the pages of printed news, engage in an escalating number of "oopsie" correction columns daily.

Mind you, there is nothing wrong with soliciting reader contributions. It makes business sense, but for goodness sakes, at the very least, verify it's accuracy, and maybe credit the person who though not on the payroll, provided the lead or the story. Rather than having a stable of twenty something Tweeters compiling reports and then expanding on that for the sake of a print story, how about putting some gas in the Buick and grabbing the steno pad and going out and confirming the details. Uh......like a real reporter would do. And no, stationing "ranging reporters" at Starbucks..........doesn't count as field reporting. Ask Jimmy Olsen, Lois Lane or Christopher Reeves(the guy that was a pretend reporter........AND Superhero....and six-four, 250lb"jockey")

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

There's A Nap For That...........

Play on words? Maybe. Geez I don't even own an I Phone....well, yeah I have an I Pod Classic that has more memory than my desktop computer currently attached to my fingertips, but I have resisted the I Phone to this point. I can only handle so much "screen time", without needing to feel sand between my toes, and a wave slapping me in the face, or seeing snowflakes sticking to the hair of the girl, or my kids. I don't think there is an app for any of that. Just browsing the ISmash Phone - iphone tips, tricks, hacks & cracks site I must admit, is an impressive visit, and there are an awful lot of worthwhile apps out there that certainly are helpful, but man!.......talk about a time eater. That is basically what I am seeing with folks literally just having those devices like super glued to their hands, with only their thumbs free and their flailing wildly. I predict a whole new type of arthritis, and repetitive stress syndrome medical field evolving from "smart phones". I am good with a phone that remembers a few phone numbers, takes messages, shows me who's calling, and calls in my pizza order at CiCi's, takes an emergency photo once in a while, and holds my eclectic music collection (my I Pod is for my audio books), I am fine.
When I think about trying to use my phone for a GPS, heart monitor, game console, twitter twatter, internet browser, and on and on......all I can say is.........

there's a nap for that.......

Monday, November 2, 2009

Walking The Plank.......

Yes, I am aware what I am inviting for furthur by posting the last blog here as well, but this is my first priority as a place to write and share. I suppose I will find out where I stand over there, huh? I always enjoyed posting and commenting over there, but it was allowed to devolve into a hatefest/dorkfest, and I railed against that and it cost me. I still disapprove of the direction the Advocate has gone, and I would like to see some changes in both the print an online versions, but I think my days of engaging a few of the goofballs that blog and comment there, are finished. I will hope for some changes, and lobby for them when I have an audience, but my days of head butting with them are over. Nothing to be gained from that, but incurring more petty and aggravating management censorship, which is counter-productive. If they ban "further", I will just assume that to be the result of a personal grudge and a death sentence on their part, and let it go. If not, I'll dabble on the hometown site from time to time, and try to bite my tongue when the urge to throw spears tugs at me. Besides, I always have this site to organize protests, rant, and piss and moan, free of meddling moderation, should I be so inclined.

Reminders Of Our Mortality

This weekend, on consecutive mornings, I was given a reminder of all of our mortality, as I read in The Advocate Obituaries of the passing of two different people who had impacted my life, and who were close to the ages of my own parents. One of them was the school vice-principal at my high school. While he was feared as a disciplinarian by some kids....(most notably, those lacking discipline), the truth is, he was a dedicated and effective educator, the kind that most any of us would probably, whether we want to admit it or not, would like our own children to benefit from having guide them through high school. Rest in peace Mr. Moore. The other was a man that as a 12 year old, I was around as a friend of his son, one of my classmates. I remember his love of music, hunting, fishing, and most anything outdoors. I remember sitting around his house, listening to his boys and him play guitars and fiddles - probably the first place I ever heard one of my all time favorite songs, "The Orange Blossom Special". I remember that he was a pretty good boat builder, and even built a canoe for the Water Safari one year. Can't recall whether it was ever used, but his buddy Butch actually won the race a year or two afterward. I remember his arrowhead collection, and how he actually learned or taught himself, using only flint and a deer antler, to make dead replica native American type arrowheads.

I must say though that he was a local lawman, with a real hatred of hippies, longhairs, and anybody that fell into that category, which in my teen and later years, put me on the opposite side of the fence from him. Needless to say, he will also be remembered, as a person who made the lives of a few young people quite miserable at every opportunity he had, and that for many years, I had a horrible grudge and resentment for some of the indignities, that I and others suffered at his hand.

I had to tell you that, to tell you this. Given the choice of remembering an ill tempered, and unjust, misguided redneck, (not at all unlike the one that raised me), or a good father, who was eager to share his love of music and the outdoors with his sons and their friends, well I just chose remembering the former as opposed to the latter. I will on occasion, run into his oldest son at breakfast, and shake hands and exchange howdys, and I must say that despite the fact that he and I grew up worlds apart, from what I have heard and read of him, he turned out to be quite an outdoors expert and pioneer sort and a good man. I am sure his dad would be quite proud of him. Rest in peace Jack. I appreciate the things you showed and taught me as a boy, and as far as the grief and crap you heaped upon me as a rebel teen....that is all forgiven. I do wish though that I had had a chance to show up at your bedside with my thinning ponytail and grey beard, and have been able to tell you that in person.

As I said, these serve as a couple of things to remind me of my own mortality, and that I need to make a few things right with those in my life. I am reminded weekly of that as well, when I go home to see my folks. Dad is sneaking up on 90, and is frail, but getting by. Mom on the other hand, though years younger, is as likely to recognize me when I walk through the door, as her brother, her dad, or the bus driver who's come to take her to school as she is to see her oldest son walk in the door. Life is cruel sometimes, and sometimes, I think it all should be played in reverse.........

Sunday, October 25, 2009

I Think I'm Going to Hurl

The Victoria Advocate received two top honors and two others in the Southern Newspaper Publishers Association annual contest.

The Advocate was the only newspaper of its size to win two first places in the contest, earning recognition for best use of multimedia and best local story.

The judges praised the newspaper's multimedia work on its "Fatal Funnel" series, describing it as "an unending, unfolding, emotion-charged international story."

I think that Cobler should have sandpaper glued to his palm. That might at least make him slow down and consider the pain and chafing before he publishes this crap........
It does NOT sell papers.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Newspapers - The Struggle To Survive.......

Despite all of the ragging I have done on my hometown newspaper, the Advocate of late, and despite how I intend to keep voicing my displeasure with the direction it going under present management, until I see a positive change in the quality of their product.......I do not envy the owners' task of trying to make it both a more credible, reputable publication, or to keep the ledger printed in black ink each month. Despite the recent layoffs in the newsroom at the New York Times, and the constant number of newspaper closings and bankruptcy filings by other old dailies, I still am not hearing death throes from newspapers in general. What I am seeing and hearing though, is that the time for them to stop the bleeding and streamline their operations to a point that remains both profitable AND credible, is running out.

Print news is still a bargain, but signs are there that they are circling the wagons. While the papers in newsracks are still sold on the honor system, that is trusting that you'll deposit the correct change and take out only what you paid for, look at the shrinking size of the daily paper. I mean, you could walk into the corner Valero, and pull out five Advocates and fold them under your arm, hand Mustafa 50 cents, and he'd be none the wiser. Apparently, newspapers are starting to tighten their belts - up here at least. Wasn't long ago that you could drop in at 4am and there would be a pile of yesterday's papers waiting to be sold or recycled. I rolled in tonight from Austin at 7:00, and immediately stopped at the corner Shell for a Chronicle.....nada....no mas. Same thing happened twice more, before I was content just to go home and read it online, and browse thru my Austin Statesman from this morning, and my Marble Falls weekly Highlander.

As much as I wish I could come up with a solution for printed news, I guess I'll just be content to sit back and hope they figure out an answer. I do find it ironic, that with Google being my source for neighborhood pizza joint phone numbers, that on my way out of my apartment to the truck, and on the front stoop of each establishment I went to looking for a newspaper, I found myself tripping over those damned yellow bags of six inch thick Yellow Pages with..........a gazillion PRINTED phone numbers. Looks like the frickin' phone company is even slower to get the message than the Daily Planet, eh Lois and Clark? I haven't had a land line for two years, and I have had enough phone books delivered to my door to burn and keep warm for both winters........go figure.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Huh? Are We Saving Space Now - Or Pending Further Research

I swear, this is the whole story as viewed online this morning. Call me jaded, but I am accustomed to just a wee bit more of a work-up on a story like this.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Victoria Advocate - My Perspective After The "Town Hall"

Dummy, You're Supposed To Put The Potato In The Front! was the original title I chose for this one.......duh......
Don't ask......just call it an attention getter title. This is really likely going to be a long rambling dissertation of my opinion of The Victoria Advocate's state of ship. Fair warning for those who are looking for a risque' post or a dirty joke.

I suppose I should start by saying that I am quite thrilled with our little(but growing)renegade bunch over here on Blogger. As much as I miss the original blogs, and disapproved of the new anyone can blog format, I am proud and honored to be part of a group like Edith Ann, The Grey-Beard Loon, Sugar Magnolia, and The Truth Ferret. I now have met them all, and having put faces and names with their words, has convinced me that they are all accomplished writers and dedicated to putting out entertaining and informative work that an honest measure of thought and EDITING has gone into, before it gets published. What a concept.
If not for having read The Advocate print edition, back when is was a respectable and well laid out and edited (carefully, and for correctness edited)feature articles and daily online blogs by The Grey-Beard Loon, I likely would still be walking around with a pocket full of ideas and "notes to self" on scraps of paper, cocktail napkins, and such, having yet to figure out what to do do with them........as it stands, before the Advocate pulled the plug on my blog, I was nearing six hundred or so stories/blogs of my own under my belt, with a lot of nice comments, and attaboys, and a few dissenting or outright in my face disagreeing comments. What finally got to me, was the new "editor's" tinkering with the blogs and forums to the point that it opened them to any bozo that could write down and remember a password, whether they could spell, make a sentence, or for that matter were required to at the very least, submit something that indicated a minor degree of literacy on their part. Yup, I think he just said "Myspace!, now there's a good model, let's go with that". If you are a reader of any length of time, you fall into one of two categories: either you are proud of your "wall" and your ability to write essentially unnoticed(unless you dare to disagree with Advocate policy), whatever comes to mind, no matter how illiterate or grade schoolish or angry in tone it is, or you are one of us scratching your head, and wondering WTF? How did it get to this point.........?

I went along with the changes, even after my pal the "loon" was squeezed out, both of his feature article writer job with the print edition, and then unceremoniously, had his blog pulled(in the days before Herr Cobler instituted his banishment ritual). I pissed and moaned, likely setting in motion, the events that finally got me banned from participating in the Advocate "experience". So for those of you who attended last night's "town hall" or caught the print story of it, please, when you read the part where Mr. Cobler says "we welcome your online participation"........take those words with a grain of salt. The truth is, he welcomes bullshit accolades from various "associations of fellow dying print news folk", and anything remotely resembling praise from "readers". If however, you see fit to criticize his "editing" or anything or anyone of the kids that he micromanages as "editor", and if you do it long enough, your unpaid writing career with the Vicad will be sent to "sleep with the fishes".

I know good people who work for the Advocate, who are happy to have the job they do. To the credit of those whose function and output falls under the scrutiny of myself and others here who have issues with your work, please listen to us, and at least consider what we are saying or suggesting. Know that if we take exception with your product, that there is a guy there who should as editor, be pointing out your errors, and encouraging you to do better, rather than just saying "we are human - we make mistakes" and giving lip service to the public, and blowing smoke in the eyes of the owners, rather than doing what an editor is supposed to and crack his whip and demand accuracy. Mr. Cobler needs a "The buck stops here" plaque on his wall, and he needs to take it to heart.

The Advocate on a daily basis(both print and online), is rife with misspellings, errors, sensationalist headlines, and half baked stories, written by folks who never left their chair on Constitution St., but rather depended on word of mouth phone calls, e-mails, and Twitter accounts of what actually happened. Can I prove this? NO, but if you don't believe it, just follow a few online versions of various "news" stories, and watch as they are updated and corrected repeatedly until they are somewhat accurate, then die or are replaced by the next story. It all boils down to final editing, and accountability for the product that hits the streets. From where I sit, it does not look like a good product, or at least anywhere near for the last three years, like the paper I have read since 1959.

Am I going to quit reading it? What do you think? Of course not. It is my hometown paper, and the one that lands in many of my dear friend's and family's driveway daily. I was fortunate enough to have some of my thoughts and words published there for a time. But being banned from participating is not going to stop me from using The Advocate as my source for hometown news.

All of that said, I will say that being banned by the Advocate, was something I asked for and fully expected. I took exception to the angry, illiterate hateful rants of a particular blogger commenter, that I personally feel was responsible for wrecking the integrity and atmosphere of the blogs and online forums. Before he showed up with his gibberish and hideous butchering of the English language, my posts and comments were by and large, pretty benign and boring and corny. I took exception to this angry person's bullshit and when he pissed in the pool, I was content to go into a kamikaze dive at him and do my best to help get him off the site, knowing well and good that it would cost me my place in line. So be it - he's gone. From what I see of late, it is still a free for all, albeit a much lighter hearted and civil one.

As far as the product that comes out of the Advocate daily, I along with many others, will just have to be content to try to make our voices heard, and hope for the best I guess.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Where The News Stops and "Reality" Starts...I Smell Oprah...

Second news story today I have seen that blurs the line between what is real, and what is "reality". Seems the little kid that was "missing" after he supposedly was whisked away in his daddy's hot air balloon, that the whole world and internet followed on CNN, Twitter, ABCBSNBCFOX.......etc, as choppers were scrambled, and the stories of how he stowed away in first, the balloon, then in a revised story by his brother, in a box attached to the balloon, all the while the kid was hiding in the family's attic.
Now on the surface, this all looked like a newsworthy story didn't it?
.......But Wait! This same family was recently one of the two featured families in the low rent network farce "Wife Swap"........... Some people apparently just aren't content with a single "fifteen minutes of fame", so to speak. Does anyone else doubt that these camera hog hams will be front and center on GMA, and the other morning shows tomorrow?

Maybe that smell wasn't Oprah after all......could have just as easily been Wolf Blitzer, or Larry King...........

On the other hand, as I sit here unemployed and going through my savings and retirement, I suddenly realize, that I am only one goofy ass story away from being front page news, and all the networks beating my door down, and offering me cash for crap. Whaddya think......dirty laundry? a UFO story? maybe a story about how George W. and I shot pool and smoked weed and did tequila shooters way back when in Midland.

Yer Doin' a Heckuva Job Obammy......er........ Me

Did I miss something? Is there an interim unscheduled election coming up? What the hell is Obama doing in New Orleans, yanking off the populace there? Uh, I faintly recall a hurricane there back in what was it, 2005? Let's face it. A dirty city that needed a good flushing, got just that. Get over it, and put away your tin cups, and get on with your lives. I challenge you to go to the Rita ravaged Golden Triangle today and see how many Texans are standing around with their hands out. Or better yet, come to Galveston next summer, and enjoy the surf, or the fishing, or the dining or a show at the opera House, but don't look for Fema folks doling out cash still.

I went through Audrey, Carla, Beulah, Celia, Alicia, Allison, and Ike, to name just a few. Funny, back in those days, I never heard the word FEMA. I saw lots of churches and Boy Scout Troops, and a lot more of neighbors helping each other, and pulling themselves up by their bootstraps and getting on with life, despite all of God's little speed bumps. What I did not see, was any Texans crying for Federal handouts, wasting said handouts on flat screen TVs instead of an repaired home, nor did I see a bunch of scam artists, (including guv'mint payrolled officials) trying to make a quick buck from the money the rest of us paid in taxes that ended up in the hands of those crooks.

I hear where Obama is due in College Station tomorrow. Something tells me that unless he has sold tickets to a pre-determined, select group there, he may get a bit of a different reception among the corpsmen, and salt of the earth ranchers and farmers, than he got in the Wards of NOLA.

Your WHAT Exploded? Oh, Your Water Balloons.....

Okay, this is where I get to do my George Carlin skit.....Tits, ta-tas, jugs, boobs, funbags, knockers......and my personal favorite name, which I bestowed on my ex's puppies, "lefty and big boy"....... Now how often do I get to lead into a story with such descriptive language?

Now that I have sent the children asking mom what I'm talking about, and causing said moms to blush and try to compose themselves, I'll attempt to grab a gut full of stick and pull back hard and see if I can climb out of this dive. I will apologize and explain up front, that I just used the words for an attention getter, and that I am not a breast man.....despite the fact that in the late seventies and early eighties, I was the first one to turn down the A/C or pray for a good norther. How times(and styles) change....That said, this may be as a shock to many of you, but this is not a sexual story, but rather a medical one. One thing is for certain, had this blog appeared in the Advocate, it would already be on the cutting room floor, don't you think?

Okay, time to get down to business......if that is even possible after the lead in paragraph.

There is a story on the news channels today that I caught a bit of early, regarding a woman who upon diving(a belly/boob flopper actually, I later discovered), complained of severe pain and once transported to the hospital, discovered that her breast implants had ruptured upon impact with the surface of the water after leaping from a cliff. Now I don't know about you, but to me, this gal was apparently the victim of a dad who never allowed her to play with water balloons, and also apparently managed to be absent on some critical days in both her middle school physical science and high school physics classes. Duh. Let's face it, while there are undoubtedly some reasons after say a radical mastectomy, that a woman would choose to undergo reconstructive surgery including implants, this one was simply a case of vanity and stupidity combined. I learned in a follow-up report, that the gal was appearing in one of those skin or skin tight reality obstacle course shows when this incident took place. This story, pretty much reflects in my opinion, the inflated and superficial society that we have come to accept as normal of late.

I for one, will be the first to admit that my head can be turned by the sight of a healthy and attractive woman, be she eighteen or seventy eight. Just ask either of my first two wives...... But I will say that despite the accepted fact that men don't make eye contact with women because "breasts don't have eyes".....and that whether you are one who is attracted to massive Morganna mammaries, or one who is of the of the old school thinking that anything more than a mouth full is a waste, society in general puts way too much emphasis on aesthetics and on the perfect female(or male) body being of a certain shape and size. In the long run, what it does is contribute to some serious self esteem issues with a lot of beautiful girls and women and create a false industry of consumers who pay billions of dollars for promises of a skinnier waist, bigger boobs, or a longer thicker pecker, when in fact, what God gave all of us, is quite sufficient, and actually just what someone out there would be happy to see on their partner.........

It ain't about how much you paid for the tools......It's about how much you have learned about how to get the most out of them.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Calendars Have Their Place......I Guess

sorry - I don't post many of these of late, and while I rag on my girl for her amazing organizational skills, in particular, her obsessive (by my bayrat - use the sunrise and sunset method) attention to her calendar, this came in an e-mail from an old Advocate reader and frequent contributor, David Yzaguirre, by way of my pal the Grey-Beard Loon.....After I quit laughing, I felt it my duty to share........

Lemon Tree Very Pretty - A Pup Tale

My gal pal came trudging in from work this afternoon, with a stack of pizzas and cheese garlic bread for us and the boys, and with a cute story that I couldn't help but share......
My pal the Grey-Beard Loon and his gal, are like I and probably some of you, in that animals just seem to find US.....knowwhutimean? They are parenting two such canine critters these days, after convincing my gal and I that we should come up and adopt one that appeared in between the two they currently have(it's all in how you look at it as far as who owns who with dogs, now isn't it?) Anyway, the one we drove down to fetch, was one furry friend too much for either of us, so she was destined to live with my gal pal's folks, who were just recently coping with an empty nest after the passing of their beloved pup of many years. The timing was good I think - for all.....particularly the pup, who was fending for herself on a sparsely inhabited four mile stretch of coastal road on the Intracoastal Canal, when rescued by Herself, in the course of fulfilling her duties as a U.S. Census taker. looking back now, I know we were likely under the wire by about an hour tops, as to when the Old Loon would have not given a thought to parting with her, but as it turned out, the little thing has blossomed in her new home. I am sure after scrounging for road kill and dodging $50k pickups hellbound for the launching ramp with $equally priced boat$ in tow, that landing in suburbia in the shadows of NASA in the loving company of a couple equally as sweet and kind as the lady and gent who rescued her, was just the beginning of a puppy dream come true. I mean obedience school, toys, chewies, you name it.....what more could a dog want???

Okay, I'll tell you. For all of the balls and toys I am sure she had at her disposal, imagine her delight yesterday, when she discovered her new dad's "ball tree".....er make that his prize little Myers Lemon tree, with this year's crop of maybe a half dozen.....max, prize lemons. Tennis ball sized and also in appearance, I can only close my eyed and imagine that little Carly wishing she had a thumb and opposing forefinger, to both pinch herself for her amazing discovery, and maybe to pick the ball....er, fruit from the tree.

Now this is where it will get a little dicey for the little dear. You see, dad is in Africa on business, and mom has now to both protect the remaining crop of "balls" - er, lemons on his prized tree, plus the added chore I'd assume of plea bargaining the little sweet pup's case down a notch or two when dad returns.........a dog's life. Like I asked earlier - who owns who? Who follows who around and cleans up their poop? Whose bowl is always full of food and water? Most of us could handle some of that I think..........

Barney Fife Editing......(Mr. Cobler)

Labeling some small town cops scratching their head, saying "they don't want to come out, whaddya think we oughta do now"?, as a standoff or anything remotely resembling a standoff, speaks volumes about your editor's reasoning when he swings the axe on the forums.......

One of the core values of journalism is accountability," he said. "We wanted to learn more about how to engage readers online while remaining true to the core values of journalism." So banning dissenting viewpoints, and deleting comments you don't agree with, is what you learned in the process of "how to engage readers"? Where is the accountability in that?

If anyone seems reluctant or fearful of attending the town hall meeting, I would suggest that it is those you have coddled and protected from being held accountable for their words, by deleting and banning other readers of longer tenure and more prone to think their words through. They know that to come out in public, they run the risk of being put on the spot in a place where you can't offer them your protective "editing" expertise.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

And Now a Bay Rat Story........

......to show I am not a complete militant hard ass ,only on a mission bent on derailing Advocate management. I took a two day break from looking at the grim reaper in my rearview mirror, chewing up my unemployment and 401k as I struggle to find gainful employment. Just had to get out of the city, and feel some salt air. I had a wonderful dinner with the Grey-Beard Loon and his gal and their canine menagerie, and was briefed by herself on the inner-workings of the latest incarnation of my old hometown city/county politics. I didn't ask their take, or share mine, but in my opinion, it all seems a bit more citified, and a lot less bubbafied than I recall it being........either way, it was a fine evening of socializing, lacking only my hard working gal pal being present to add the perfect complement to the evening. 'Twas also a welcome diversion from a troubling afternoon with my own folks. Mom's Alzheimers, has become advanced to the point that it is really heartbreaking to us "kids", and a burden on my dad, requiring some serious soul searching and decision making on our part. I never would have imagined, given her full of piss and vinegar, powerhouse personality, as recently as a year or so ago, how quickly it could all come crashing down. We are resolved to make it all work out, and deal with it, so if you pray, pray for her and for us.

Today, while my sweet sister took mom to her doctor's appointment, I got a rare chance to hit the bay alone in my old boat, and rocket about for an hour or so, getting some pounding by the rough water, and some muddy salt spray in my face and hair. It is a far cry from the thundering forty foot crewboat, with it's array of lights and radar and squawking marine radio I remember as a young man, but it was still a day on the water. That is always good for the soul.........

Town hall meeting:Yeah Right - Try Circle Jerk....

Jesus,....What a ridiculous attempt at patronizing those few folks online that Cobler has not already micromanaged into oblivion by way of banning from participation in the forums, or the other chosen few he is giving a daily literary hand job to, to ensure that they remain and sing praises to him. Has anyone taken note of the fact that this "town hall meeting" was announced two weeks in advance? That was I am certain, by design....... For my money, I would like to see all of the banned bloggers and commenters, the "good, bad, and the ugly" if you will, show up at this little get together, and make ourselves heard. I'll say here and now, that I expect this post to remain a work in progress, and be updated or reposted a number of times before meeting day. I also wonder if Paul Tasin will show up as he die at the last "town hall" with his oversized bloody fetus posters. If he does, I hope this time, if Cobler still doesn't show the gonads to take the photos away and trash them, someone else does.

This whole farce of insinuating that Advocate management may actually consider dissenting opinions when plotting a future course for the paper, is enough to make me puke. Looking at my old Advocate copies from 20 years ago, or better yet at today's Chronicle, then opening up today's print edition of the Vicad, illustrates the chasm between a real newspaper, laid out by professional newspaper folks, and a tabloid style trash rag, laid out by bargain basement internet oriented dweebs, with basically no concept or understanding of the community in which they reside. Their idea of diversity from yesterday's to to today's print edition, was to re use the same two thug mug shots as front page material, but to re-arrange all two of them, and "update" the story.

Comparing the online edition to the print edition in their survey, and coming up with remotely similar numbers, tells me they just pulled numbers out of their ass, and served up to us and their subscribers as "fact", and in fact should be considered by everyone that reads it and this as fact, an insult to our intelligence.

As I said, this will be added to and amended, as warranted until I get a good head count of folks who will show up at their town hall wankfest and make themselves heard as a voice of opposition to the way these morons are heavy handedly running and ruining our only source of local print news.

If you would like some further evidence of Cobler's micromanaging style, beyond striking down opposing opionions by banishment, I urge you to track down the most recent issue where the Vicad management was required to disclose ownership and circulation statistics. For the previous twelve months, they claimed a circulation of 31k and change......note please the crossroads population.......

Now for the kicker - for a current circulation, they show 49k.....again with change. Now, I ask of any sane individual who either reads the online edition, or the print edition.......do you honestly think in the last year, that Chris Cobler and his Kansas cronies have really managed to effect a fifty percent increase in circulation of the Advocate? Whether you are euphoric from the smoke blown up your ass, or like me, wanting to see figures and hear the claim made in public and backed up with documentation, I urge you to give some serious consideration to attending the upcoming "town hall" event and make yourselves heard. At worst, it'll be a chance to wipe Paul Tasin's old ass with his obscene anti-abortion posters, and at best, it will be a chance at letting the Advocate management know that not everyone believes the bullshit they are printing daily, and to let them know we'd like our hometown paper back as it was..........
I mean, after all, as Gabe bragged, the meeting is "free admission". Do you think Cobler would have balls enough to check I.D.s at the door, and turn away those of us who have either been banned, or labeled dissenting voices? A best case scenario would be the bigj shows up onstage with his handlers......right?

Monday, October 5, 2009

Lawyerin' 101

I heard a little blurb by a lawyer on KTRH this morning, driving home after dropping my kids at school, that in my book, really typifies why the general consensus among humans toward lawyers, is what it is. Now being recently divorced, it is not like I needed to reload to take a few more shots at lawyers, but this one just made me roll my eyes..... There was a news story about someone in a condominium, who had sued another resident owner of a neighboring condo, for infringing on his right to enjoy peace and quiet.....I didn't catch what the squawk was about the alleged perpetrator actually doing, but it apparently was a trial that is about to come to a conclusion, and being a slow news day, the radio reporter asked a lawyer his professional opinion of the suit........

His reply was to say that while there are smokers who bother other folks by smoking around non-smokers, and ones who would play their music louder than maybe a neighbor would find acceptable, essentially saying so astutely, "different strokes for different folks". But his closing statement was that given that people are living in such close proximity to one another these days, that he personally saw this case as an indicator that an whole new field or type of specialized litigation was being born ........huh?

That pretty much explains the statement I read by a lawyer once, "It's a shame people feel the way they do about lawyers, when it's really only 98% of the lawyers that give all the rest of us a bad name.........

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

All Politics Is Yokel.......

Okay, I think I may have stolen the title here - from one of my heroes......from one of his Texas Monthly columns. But I'll deviate here, and rather than follow Kinky's storyline, try to show how the title he chose for his piece, is undoubtedly applicable in the little microcosm that is Victoria, Texas. Far be it from me to interfere with the aims or aspirations of would be candidates in the world of Victoria political hopefuls, but I can't help but laugh out loud at the joke a few of the Advocate bloggers are playing on each other and their riveted readers. It seems that the diminutive dark one who calls himself Bigj, has agreed to debate on camera, another blogger, whom I know very little of, but based on the small amount of his posting I have read, is as least, educated, articulate, and showed up when they taught spelling, literature, grammar, and speech. It also appears at this early juncture, that both aspire to public office in the Crossroads area.
Now while I must plead ignorance on Matt Ocker, I will say that I have what I think is a pretty good grasp on the public persona that is big.....er.....little j.
For the life of me, I cannot actually envision such a debate ever taking place, because I feel that if j has a lick of sense, he will never follow through with showing his face, or filling out any forms required for candidacy for any office, that requires using his full name and address and making that public record. I say this because if I had just spent a year plus, name calling, belittling, and threatening a host of total strangers, in the illiterate, grammatical disastrous suicide manner that he has, I'd already have moved to Montana, to start a dental floss farm, under a name worthy of the witness protection program........

Don't get me wrong. Seeing this proposed debate on viral video, linked to one of these backwater blogs, with bigj being filmed trying to verbalize the ignorant, illiterate, hateful shit he cranks out in print, is a wet dream come true for me......and many others I suspect. At this point, I would have to say that their plan to do this, is a joke or a fantasy at best. I seriously doubt that even the Victoria Advocate, and it's Facebook Twitteranian editor would be in any way party to airing such a farce as this. Jesus, I hope I am wrong...........in a way.........If a video of bigj's antics ever hits YouTube...........who knows. It's a pretty strange world we live in. And if I think it's strange, well............
What we have here.........is failure t'c'mmunicate. For some reason, this little troll has been inspired by seeing a reasonably educated black man with a line of bullshit a mile long, with a Muslim name actually chosen over a white war hero as president(that says a lot for what Bush left in our hearts and minds, huh?) to fantasize that he, totally unaware that he is a bigjoke, and actually might despite his horrendous command of the English language, have any grasp what so ever of the way government works, and actually get on a ballot.......sheesh.

Deep Six Club........

.......nah, not time yet. She told me about it later, when I asked her what possessed her to...... at sixty feet (three atmospheres) no less. I Googled it as "deep six club", to an array of results, none remotely close to my own experience. All I know, is that despite my education and understanding of gas laws, and the physiology of diving, somehow, I didn't emboli, pneumothorax, or suffer any ill effects, other than a momentary elevated heart rate. I told my friend and dive buddy Rafael about it later.....to his disapproval(circumstances best left out here). I eventually would have told Captain Felix, but the son of a bitch drowned on another trip to the rigs before I had a chance to.......damn shame, because he was just off balance enough to have appreciated my experience. Sometimes you have to take a chance......and sometimes you fall on your face, then others things come out o-Kay. A recent trip to the South Pacific has made me long to dive again.......with my young sons though. I think I will chalk this one up as a once in a lifetime, "you had to be there"(but I'm glad you were not) story..........

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Generations of Music - The More Things Change.....

........the more they stay the same huh? Now, please allow me to qualify what I am about to say. These are the words of an old rock and roller, and a seasoned concert goer since the bands touring were groups like Strawberry Alarm Clock, and ZZ Top was still known as The Moving Sidewalks. I grew up on be-bop late fifties and early sixties pop. When I as my son now has, became enamored with anything that had a steering wheel and four tires, I was fortunate enough to be swept up in the Southern California born hot rod and surfing craze and the music that accompanied it - Beach Boys, Jan and Dean sufr pop, and the real deal as well, which was Dick Dale, the Chantays, and the Ventures. Mind you, I grew up in coastal Texas shrimping country, so my teen pop and rock, was seasoned with a dose of a then flat topped Willie Nelson, with a salt and pepper sprinkling of George Jones and Charley Pride. My first live shows were local garage bands, who worked their butts off learning Van Morrison's "Gloria" or "St. James Infirmary", or they were beer joint Saturday night country cover bands. I suppose I was fortunate to have fled Victoria for Austin in time for the '70s music revolution. My tribe arrived there about the time The Armadillo opened, which coincided with the arrival of the "Cosmic Cowboy" phase of music, which thrives there to this day. I doubt the Austin-Dillo bunch honestly thinks they coined the sound of country rock, as with most other innovations those days, it came first out of Cali, with the young genius and Grievous Angel, Gram Parsons leading the charge, and being the driving force that launched the Byrds, The Flying Burrito, Emmylou Harris, New Riders of the Purple Sage, Dan Hicks and his Hot Licks.........just to name a few. That said, I think the genre of music was, and still is being tuned, tweaked and perfected in Austin Texas, and was all started by Eddie Wilson and Jim Franklin, and the bunch at the old AWHQ, and the groups like Michael Murphey, Willie, Greezy Wheels, Jacky Jack Walker ........

Now I will get to my story, for those of you still reading.........

I have been going to rock shows since 1966. I love music, it is a gift I have received and given many times. I couldn't count the number of shows I have seen, songs I have Audiogalaxied or Napstered, if I wanted to. As much as I enjoy listening to music though, the real joy for me is seeing it performed, preferably by the person who wrote it. I heard Shawn Phillips probably do the best job of putting it into perspective. He was referring to recording and performing his songs, and he said "I can go into a studio, and given the time and money, make a perfect record every time". If you have heard his music, I think you'd be inclined to agree. But then he said "the real trick is to be able to stand in front of an audience and reproduce that sound live"......again, I know for those of you who have been fortunate enough to see one of his shows, and hear a beautiful thundering orchestral crescendo drop yo you could hear a pin drop silence in the blink of an eye, you know what I mean........

I think one of my favorite aspects of seeing truly amazing concerts, was the evolutionary process of the music of the chosen few who made it big. Like those who were fortunate enough to see The Beatles do a club show in Liverpool, and now greying, go back and see a jaw dropping Paul McCartney show. By comparison, my early years were seeing The Moving Sidewalks in Port Lavaca, then ZZ Top at Sun Valley, then to see them be picked up as an opening act for the Stones, and finally to see them sell out an arena as headliners. The most consistent place I was able to watch the evolutionary process begin, was without a doubt at Armadillo World Headquarters Give the performances there a look, then browse the whole website. You are in for a treat. Those lucky enough got to see a struggling, but powerful New Jersey Band there before a whopping crowd of about 175. Next time I saw Bruce Springsteen was just a couple of years later at the Erwin Center - stuffed to the rafters......I could give you such examples forever, but I'll cut to the chase here.

I think my nightclub of choice for the present, has changed from the bars, to now being Austin City Limits - then catching the acts I saw first there, when they do the arena or stadium shows. That would be the change to which I alluded. The "staying the same" part, is what validates my love of music and live shows. The gal pal and I, and my boys 12 & 14, went to see Coldplay a few weeks ago - at The Woodlands. For me anyway, the joints have been replaced by a glass or two of chardonnay(hey, at least my shirts don't get holes burned in them by exploding, flaming seeds), and while stomping and clapping for an encore remain in fashion, now a sea of cell phone lights have replaced the Bic lighters as the visual display of approval from a crowd. The shows are amazingly unchanged, in that eye popping visual special effects still mark the high points of shows, only the technology has become exponentially better. Much of the old customs of concert going remain, including all in the car getting revved up listening to a CD(instead of an 8 Track, or cassette tape of the band) on the way to the show. I don't make as many of the shows as I once did, but I do try to take my boys when I go. My girl pal is thirty years younger than I, so when we go to shows with the kids, we are basically three generations of concert goers sitting on a blanket on a hillside, doing exactly the same thing I did thirty some odd years ago at Hill On The Moon, watching Thirteenth Floor Elevators in a field outside of Austin. I can deal with that! What a treat, all of us focused on the same music, grinning ear to ear, and my 12 year old just staring in amazement listening to "Clocks" and seeing the lasers trace the night sky out in the Piney Woods! I am indeed lucky to have seen my tastes in music and performance, remain the same for so long, and even more so, to know that I can enjoy it with two generations of people who mean so much to me at my side.

I reckon that is another thing that's changed - that never could have happened with my dad and I. As much as I owe him for instilling the love of music in me......I just can't imagine ever having gone with him to see Glen Miller, Tommy Dorsey, Artie Shaw, or Perry Como or Jim Reeves live........On the other hand, I guess it would have been pretty cool to have seen Chattanooga Choo Choo done live in a smoky bar.....watching the old man beaming like I do when my boys go to a show with me.

That makes for a nice picture in my mind. Far out!

The Law of The Garbage Truck....

Like most of you, I get forwarded e-mails, chain letters and various spam crap in my mailbox on a daily basis. Truly, 99% of it I glance at and nuke on the spot, and I rarely if ever pass it on to ten people, and sit back and wait for the winning lotto numbers to appear in the clouds within ten minutes. This one was a bit of a profound one I thought. I got it from Bird Dog Billy - one of the original readers and commenters on what was very enjoyable and gratifying blog for me to write as part of - The original blogger group on the Victoria Advocate website, before the carpetbagger editorial staff that now runs it arrived.

Funny, as I read this, at some point, it quit being words on a page to me, and became the voice of my brother-in-law telling the story, as he has said the same thing to me a few times before, just with different words. However you take it, it is hard to argue with the logic............

The Law of the Garbage Truck By David J. Pollay

One day I hopped in a taxi and we took off for the airport. We were driving
in the right lane when suddenly a black car jumped out of a parking space
right in front of us. My taxi driver slammed on his brakes, skidded, and
missed the other car by just inches! The driver of the other car whipped his
head around and started yelling at us.. My taxi driver just smiled and waved
at the guy. And I mean, he was really friendly. So I asked, 'Why did you
just do that? This guy almost ruined your car and sent us to the hospital!'

This is when my taxi driver taught me what I now call, 'The Law of the
Garbage Truck.'

He explained that many people are like garbage trucks. They run around full
of garbage, full of frustration, full of anger, and full of disappointment.
As their garbage piles up, they need a place to dump it and sometimes
they'll dump it on you. Don't take it personally.

Just smile, wave, wish them well, and move on. Don't take their garbage and
spread it to other people at work, at home, or on the streets. The bottom
line is that successful people do not let garbage trucks take over their

Life's too short to wake up in the morning with regrets, so...Love the
people who treat you right. Pray for the ones who don't..

Life is ten percent what you make it and ninety percent how you take it!
Have a blessed, garbage-free day!

Thanks Billy - I needed this. I have been having such issues with the folks who jacked my daily paper. Hopefully I can learn some patience from these words.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Good Vibrations - Or Pre-Conceived Notions?

We just got back from a short vacation in southern California.....like a month after just getting back from a vacation in Maui...... I must say, that both were a bit of an eye opener for me. I guess I should say that reluctantly, because a few years back, the same scenario occurred for me after a couple of trips to New York.....Manhattan, to be more precise. You see, I as probably many of you, embarked on all of these adventures, eyes wide open, but laden with stereotype images of each place I visited, and while this post only deals with California, I must say, that in each case, the images in my mind, were not only dispelled, but shattered. Do not get me wrong, I love my native Texas, but the bubba mentality and perception of California, at least as has been my experience, could not be farther from what I found.
Yeah, yeah, I have heard the jokes......"Cali is like a bowl of granola - full of nuts, fruits and flakes".....uh has anyone read the Victoria Advocate lately?......or The Chronicle? Or The Dallas, New Jersey Morning news? I rest my case. There are freaks, geeks, cheats, tarts, old farts, young turks, and televangelists everywhere. Simple as that. You want traffic? LA has it......at the far west end of the Katy Freeway.........you want a ghetto? Take your pick - East L.A., East Houston, East St. Louis.......

Now may I brag about what I found in Orange County, on the beaches from NewPort to Huntington Beach, to San Clemente?(no, Tricky Dick was nowhere in sight). What I found was one of the healthiest, most alive places I could have imagined. All buff bods, beach babes, and golden haired surfer dudes? Hardly. I found an Austin with an ocean. Fat guys catching waves on their forty year old longboards, alongside teeners ripping it up on short boards, skateboards, and moms and dads with the brood in tow, just down for a day in the sand and sun. I saw myself renting and riding a Pee Wee Herman style coaster bike ten miles on the boardwalk, and just like on the Seadrift seawall, I saw Mexicans tossing cut bait out for anything that would bite that could be taken home for dinner, and I saw gringo fishing "scientists" with big bucks rigs, hoping only for sea bass, and halibut(or maybe they said they were just fishing for the "hell of it" (the surf was loud).

The fact of the matter, is that despite the preconceived notion I had in my mind about California, that it was after all, a validation of all of the dreams and images in my mind I had as a fifteen year old, listening to Surfin' USA, and Little Surfer Girl, and Little Deuce Coupe on my transistor radio in Seadrift or on the bus to ball games. The city is the city.....which like most big cities, sucks out loud. But the place the girl and I chose to visit, was everything we had hoped for, and that I dreamed it would be, and more. It just dripped healthy, wholesome, and friendly, and the locals and the storekeepers, innkeepers, and everyone else we encountered, were anything but O.C., pretentious, Hollywierd types.........will I go back? You bet, as soon as I can, with my kids in tow next trip. Hell, who knows? If they are as smitten with the place as I was, maybe they'll move there, and I'll have a place to crash when I go out to surf and ride my bicycle a decade from now.........

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

My Past and Present Cross Paths........

Thanks to bigj, I actually believe. After I posted my last little jab at bigj and his host site, the Victoria Advocate, and published the piece, I got an advertisement by Google on the next page, for "insults" at Laugh.com.

Briefly years ago, in my travels, I crossed paths with the rock group "Spirit", and got to know their road manager, a fella named Marshall Berle. Nice guy, and there is a much longer story to that one, but I'll save that for another time. Many years later, I contacted Marshall, and discovered that he had started his own website for comedy, called "Laugh.com".......Marshall called me later and told me of the drowning death of Randy California, in the rescue of his child from a riptide on the surf off Hawaii. Still saddens me to recall hearing that news. I liked Randy and his step dad, drummer Ed Cassidy as well. That's it, I just found it ironic that after a whiney assed post about a couple of obnoxious insulting blowhards, a website ad for an old friend, Marshall Berle should appear in my view and make me smile. As an afterthought, I would be willing to bet Marshall's uncle would be very proud of his nephew's contribution to comedy. You might have heard of Marshall's uncle - Uncle Miltie.........yup Milton Berle.

I'ma Let You Finish Kanye, But............

......they's a guy I know of(I think it's a guy - it hides behind photo avatars of everybody from Malcom X, to Superman and even LBJ)....as I was saying though, this boy makes you look like a rank amateur at interrupting and insulting folks. In fact, he won't even offer up a fake apology, as you and Venus are now attempting......

In the course of any given two hour span, he can offer insults, threats, taunts, and merciless name calling on up to five or six different blog subjects and a multitude of other commenters walls. To give you an idea of how smug he is in his tirades, he said and I quote him here: "People's dislike of me increase my confindence."
As you can see, you two have at least one thing in common.......your grammatical prowess and that y'all don't both write pretty good too. If you should care to have a look at his handiwork, hop over to his kingdom, the Online Victoria Advocate. I won't link him here, but you can't mistake his "work" for that of another. A few people occasionally wonder why he is tolerated on that site, but another blogger, EdithAnn I think, probably hit the nail on the head when she surmised that he is kept as a necessary evil, due to the fact that his presence and writing almost makes two or three of the staff writers there, appear to be literary giants.