Friday, September 30, 2005


The Doctor hurt me.

The cure was worse than the disease.

Why can 500,000 people a week download the Doctor and I can't make it work right for me? I must be without Clue One.

Things are starting to go awry with my computer. I grow more suspicious. I just fired the Doctor program which found the problems in the post below, and after spending HOURS on the phone and on line with Gateway, got nowhere at all. My issues remain, and I'm ticked. I know if you read this you've been to this ring of hell. I think it's a computing universal. When the computer isn't JUUUST right, you should start to pray. You should seek narcotics before you attempt a fix.

I believe the problem is due to a Windows Media Player 10 download that corrupted a driver somewhere I can't find. This prohibits Calendar and another program from opening. Microsoft admits the problem but doesn't sufficently explain the workaround.

I have tried with 10 removed, with 9 reverted, with 9 removed, with a fresh version of 10. I have replaced driver files as recommended.

Tonight I bravely (for me) used system restore, and at least got my Alexa toolbar back. I can't tell what else happened since system restore just went back to another time when apparently it thought the system worked without mentioning WHEN THAT WAS. Blind man's bluff!

Now the computer sometimes locks up in what appears to be the screen saver - just the logo - though I never chose that - it's the desktop BACKGROUND with no icons ON IT! and you can't get out of it - ctl-alt-del doesn't do anything and at that time neither does the power button. You have to unplug/replug the computer to get it back. Man. I should learn to leave well enough alone!

I'll add to this tomorrow. I am sick of the computer tonight.

It's tomorrow. I don't know where to begin. Maybe where several programs FAIL to start, displaying an error message. My friend convinced me to try to fix it and we went to Microsoft support on line which acknowledged a problem seemingly related to Media Player 10, and the fix they outlined didn't quite jibe with what we saw on my computer. They didn't give QUITE enough information either. And that's the thread that runs through my attempts to fix... no information is quite complete, or fully realized... there's a next step that's just out of reach, or a piece of information missing, or a jog in the road. They say, "do this and you'll see THIS2." You do this and you see "THAT." THAT isn't THIS2. Not remotely close. By then you've run out of instructions or you had to reboot and lost the on line connection to support. Rejoining support after rebooting (if you can) you find the previous tech didn't fully document your case number and the next person goes down a completely different road while you ask BUT WHAT ABOUT "THIS" and "THAT?" with no real answer.

Here's the event horizon:

Our first efforts focused on Microsoft's written workaround. It SEEMED to be exactly what we needed. But missed some detail.

My second attempt, contacting them by phone, hit a recording that said to contact Gateway directly at this number (given.)

I did. And the first tech was apparently sitting in a crowded room with a LOT of noise obscuring her attempts to poorly communicate with me. While on the line with her I tried the on line chat function (which had also stopped functioning some time back though my service warranty still has a year to go.) Miraculously, I connected.

I then said goodbye to Ms. Noisy.

Candace the tech gave me a lot of specifics in our on-line 'chat.'.

But at 11 minutes into the chat I begin to have doubt.

At 15 the knot in my stomach grows.

At 18 she writes to reinstall "those software" again (right - "those software.")

At 20 minutes I have a sinking feeling.

At 30 I am despondent.

The log of our conversation ran 4 pages single spaced. BUT all the details lead me to another "THIS" and unexpected "THAT" so what she said to do didn't work.

I reconnect this time via phone and go through the misery all over again. This woman seemed to be on the ball. At least she was pleasant. Her first try: shut it down and wait. Good thing I wasn't on line chatting with her. I do shut down, all the while asking why the earlier tech told me to do THIS and THAT happened? She answered that was the 4th thing to try and we should go through the other 3 first.

We do. They don't work.

I respectfully ask to be bumped up to a supervisor who didn't know squat about what's been happening and says the file on this service ticket wasn't filled out with enough detail by the others.

He has another fix. It takes about an hour and a half of search and rescue from windows. Of course, by then he's gone. He said if that didn't work the only thing left was to wipe the hard drive and start over. He leaves me his phone number. I won't be calling.

Noooo. My faith has completely left me.

Last night I updated my computer with all the patches that had been wiped by the restore point - 18 in all. Now at least the logo screen doesn't freeze me out.

And if you see this, I can get online.

My dilemma: do I go through this again with Microsoft and PAY for it? I just might. I am mad enough.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Computer sick

My computer has been hogging memory so today I downloaded a free program (cue the suspicion music) which uncovered 873 INFECTIONS. I then attempted to read about the individual canker sores and was prompted to BUY the program... no, actually, not buy, REGISTER, to know more. (Music swells now.) To register it you had to BUY it. Trying to get antibiotics for my diseased machine, I eagerly filled out the credit card order to innoculate my P4, the skanky bitch.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

BROWNIE, you deluded turd.

Watching former FEMA director Michael Brown testify as to his innate worth was an exercise in viewer neck-vein-buldge-muscle building. Somebody should do a parody of The NAME GAME (Shirley Ellis... 1965?) called THE BLAME GAME. "Feema feema bo feema banana bana bo beena Bo Feema!" Whatever. He spread it all around and somehow missed himself.

Maybe that was the plan all along. Give the public a sacrificial goat who was so hateful it'd take the heat off of Bush and his cronies, who will binge at the trough of the yummy, nutritious, no-bid, tax dollar fortified, contract handouts.

Let's all watch MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON. We need a Jimmy Stewart. Somebody save us!

(Reuters) U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay said he would "step aside" from his congressional leadership post following his indictment in Texas on Wednesday on one conspiracy count, his office said.

"I have notified the speaker that I will temporarily step aside from my position as majority leader pursuant to rules of the House Republican Conference and the actions of the Travis County District Attorney today," he said in a statement.

Leadership and Integrity's divorce was made final today. It was the one hundred and third marriage for Leadership and the 79th marriage for Integrity. Leadership and Integrity will share custody of the children, Greed and Self-interest.

More LOST than before.

Since TiVo hasn't caught enough fish, we watched LOST, episodes 3 and 4 (the pilot mentioned in the post below is a two parter) last night. And now I'm hooked. Well, hooked enough to gorge on the videos, then wait a year. I still find it really hokey with the monsters roaming the bush ("Ooooo, scary, very scary, boys and girls!" - Count Floyd, SCTV)

I can just imagine the boyz sitting around creating the series:

"It's like SURVIVOR but MORE REAL!"

"We can build in all the polarity and dysfunction from the get-go!"

"Imagine: a doctor-hero WHO HAS GIVEN UP ON FAITH AND RELIGION! Dark secrets in hunkage!"

"...An innocent looking young hottie with a criminal past... dark secrets in a model's beauty!"

"...a guy in a wheelchair who IS CURED BY THE CRASH and finds himself, and his shoe!"

"...the rock star... who has a drug problem..."

"...a middle east-y soldier who fought ON THE WRONG SIDE who SEEMS to be a nice guy..."

"But who has DARK SECRETS!"

"... the fat guy who... is fat. Really fat. Sweats on everything. But has a heart of gold. Fat gold."

"... the spoiled blonde babe who wears bikinis and... is forced to..."


"No polarity THERE."

"No, but we need to have some grip on REAL realilty."

"It'll do."

"And everybody loses something. Their LIFE, their mate, their clothes..."


"Oh man, that's allegory. Is there a tribal council? Hey, did you ever read Lord of the Flies?"

"That's IT - this is a QUEST for who becomes LORD OF THE FLYING SURVIVORS on their AMAZING RACE to be RESCUED. The network will go NUTS!!!"

"It's like Gilligan's Island meets Survivor."

"Call ABC."

"I'm dialing."

I just know that Tom Hanks is on the next beach with his volleyball.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005



Totally missed the whole LOST phenom last year - so, renting the first disc and after the pilot, we are underwhelmed. Must be us - the show was a big hit. A POLAR BEAR in the tropics? I can imagine the mad scientist/government lab where they genetically alter life... ooooo! ... to be discovered much later.

I have problems with little technical details that are wrong. Example: the plane goes down, 1000 miles off course. Huh? That'd be some major error. I missed exactly how that happened... they hit turbulence and then turned back and were that far off (a jet travels at about 500mph, right? SO they flew off course for almost 2 hours? I'll give credit to the jet stream for something, but not that much!) Can somebody explain that?

Then there's the whole transmitter thing, but jets have emergency beacons that automatically transmit to SATELLITES.

Then there's this jet engine sitting on the BEACH running with enough force to suck a MAN through it, but not enough sand to notice. Hel-LO!!!????

I'm taking this too seriously, aren't I?

Well, the women have good teeth, and that's important to any plot.

I'll watch a few more but my suspension of disbelief is bottoming out.

Sunday, September 25, 2005


Oil producers profits 3 times that of a year ago... says the Austin paper on page 11.


I'd like to see that be the top half of page ONE. There's no excuse for this blatant ripoff. None. Zero.

And where is the givernment (sic) in all this? Photo-opping.

Why doesn't some network take up the cry and not let go? Makes you wonder, doesn't it? Locally you get "...oh the price of gas has gone up again, gee here's Sam, live at the gas station... Sam?" "John, Prices have risen again as the industry says supply is down due to the doofus that turned the valve the wrong way. John." "Well, on our website are tips for cutting gas consumption... now here's the weather with Spanky the Clown..."

No, really. That's it. Substitute ANYTHING for the doofus and that's what we get.

Somewhere there is a campaign to BE GLAD WE'RE NOT EUROPE that oozes all over everything at these times... prices there are so much higher (Guess why? TAXES!!!)

And on the website: Cut gas consumption. Drive less. Plan your trips. We seriously need a Woodward/Bernstein here. C'mon.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Rita from Austin


That's it. The storm passed us by completely. Hard to believe but what a relief! Wispy clouds and maybe 20mph winds at peak. Not one drop of rain. 48 shelters were open for about 17,000 evacuees from south of here. Texas is a big state - with a big heart.

Friday, September 23, 2005


Can't believe it - missing time. Getting me into the chair, poking for vein, some prep stuff then "we're done". Still groggy, two teeth gone, I think. Just gauze. I think I may try out for the watermellon seed spitting contest next year. Like throwing sidearm, though, I'll need a sideways angle.

Maybe there's anough space for a harmonica implant. One of the small ones.

Rita 3?

Texas is a large state. While the non-stop coverage of the flight from the path of hurricane Rita dominates the TV news operations, locally (and amazingly to me) a major three day outdoor music festival is scheduled to go on as planned in Austin as they say we will experience little to no rain here.

I can't quite believe we will be totally spared; maybe the disbelief comes from our planning ahead - we brought in supplies and moved everything outdoors inside and away from wind damage. Of course, it would be a blessing if true.

Surely somewhere - where Rita comes on shore - will be devastated. At 150 miles from the bay, I thought we'd see significant wind and rain even if not of true hurricane strength. Fate rides in the storm path.

If only I didn't have to (literally) face oral surgery this morning. There's no avoiding the dental path.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Rita 2

Could Rita be turning north just a little earlier than expected? That would seemingly spare some of Houston. Hard to tell. I can say that many many people are watching every squiggle with extreme interest.

We've had a guest from Dallas yesterday and today and her daughter evacuated Houston yesterday - took the back roads - 5 hours or so to get to Austin. After that time, some of her friends who stuck to the main roads were just clearing Houston.

Who knows what will happen, but I must say the governor of Texas projects a sense of preparedness and control and his people appear to be on top of the situation! However, seeing those clogged roads out of Houston with the southbound lanes empty makes you wonder why on earth they don't make them all one way away from the coast!!?? It's called contraflow and has been used in N.O.... so why...?

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Hurricane Rita.

Rita. The before. After heightened sensitivity to Katrina, all eyes in Texas are on Rita.

When Terri and I chose our place to settle, we carefully considered all the various geological and acts of god which could strike an area. Didn't like earthquakes when we lived in San Diego. Not one bit. Austin seems relatively safe. Yet here we are, apparently in the bullseye of a major hurricane. We can only hope that the distance from the gulf will drop those winds and damage.

It's a nice sunny hot day today - literally the calm before the storm? Days away still. We will have water, batteries, first aid kit, food, flashlights, etc.

I admit to being worried. I worry well. Will this new house be sound? Is there construction debris from the house up the street that could blow this far? We are halfway down a hill. I seriously doubt the hill could move - the soil is like rock (most of it IS rock). But what will downhill flowing water do?

They've just moved my Friday oral surgery to earlier in the day. I think that's wise. If indeed Rita comes this way, it'll hit - they predict - later in the day Friday. I will be on serious pain meds. How surreal will that make it?

When we lived in Houston we had some 'gully washers' which were the most rain I have ever seen. You couldn't see across the street - it was as if someone had draped a white sheet. That was the rain. We also had a hurricane while I was there, but it was a category 1 I think... a lot of rain, some wind, not nearly as much damage as I expected. Not as much as in the gully washer I described.

Across the street they've dumped umpteen truck loads of landscaping dirt and have been spreading it around. I think mud is in their future.

As soon as power is restored and/or I come out of my Friday Fog, I will post the after.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Treasury Whores.

This from the LA Times:

To lure women to “Desperate Housewives,” for example, the network supplied dry cleaners around the country with thousands of bags that carried the show’s catchphrase: “Everyone has a little dirty laundry.” To spark interest in the mysterious, trapped-on-an-island drama “Lost,” ABC arranged for tiny bottles to wash ashore on beaches. Inside was a message: “Lost” could be “found” on Wednesdays.

“If you do things right, you get higher ‘talk value,’ ” said Michael Benson, ABC’s senior vice president for marketing. This season, he’s at it again: to hype “Commander in Chief,” a new drama starring Geena Davis as the first woman president, ABC got the U.S. Treasury to OK the circulation of an undisclosed number of dollar bills with stickers of Davis’ face covering George Washington’s.

Geena Davis on the One Dollar Bill - her face pasted over Washington? Yup. The ABC promotion dept got the US Treasury dept to do that. Maybe they could get President Bush to wear a Geena mask for his next walk through New Orleans. (Probably would seem more real.) You know, just use a cardboard one, so the heat wouldn't get to him. Geena plays president on her new TV show. Hey - sometimes it seems like Bush does too. Go figure. Wait'll Geena's picture finds out what kind of neck hickey wooden teeth'll give you!

The TV networks are desperate. Housewives are desperate.

I have to admit I am in a bit of a Vicodin-fog as I have been prescribed the pain killer for my extractions which are coming up Friday (yet my teeth hurt NOW!) I'm just not that sharp. No heavy machinery today. I'll keep my eye open for Winona Ryder though.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Dental Drama

About a month ago my old (recently fired) dentist stuck his needle o' novocaine into my whateverit'scalled nerve and scored a direct hit. My tongue still hurts 5 weeks later.

Last night watching the Emmys, my teeth hurt so much I darn near accompanied the opera star to the theme from Star Trek.

Anyway, that earlier dental visit inspired me to see a professional. Oops, I mean a Periodontist. He agreed that I have two teeth too many and that they won't make good piano keys, despite my flossing. However, sensing my nervousness, he referred me to another even more professional guy who dresses in scrubs and does facial reconstructions when he's not watching Nip/Tuck. Not that I am getting reconstructed, but just in case something goes wrong, his waiver of liability form is better than the others.

So, Friday I go under. Our deal is I won't be in the same room as the operation.

I was hoping that writing about it would be a form of catharsis, but it doesn't seem to be working out that way.


Our neighbors haven't built on their lot yet. I try to keep them informed with an occasional E mail or picture. As you've read below, a snake recently came from their lot to live on ours and terrorize me. Since they appreciate my updates so much, they have "decided to let me keep the snake."

Here was my reply:

Tina and Dave,

I don't want you to worry. Just in case you happen by. The snake has me creeped out. I mean I know there are bad things in the world - they guy with his drool cup at the 7-11 might be a serial killer, but I don't need to know the specifics, and feel better NOT knowing. So even though I might suspect snake, I'd rather not be snake-sure.

The idea is based on a hamster wheel. Yes, it's unsightly for now, but when enough dirt blows up on the tires with which I've lined our property, I think you'll get used to it.

See, the snake goes into the tire and then follows the endless highway round and round. When I feel we have all of them, I simply set them afire.

I know what you are thinking - billowing black smoke will cause consternation among the locals. Not to worry. I've slipped word that a movie is being filmed here in Spanish Oaks and that there might be some special effects from time to time.

Most of the workers have a balding tire or two that they were happy to contribute to the cause.

My best,


Saturday, September 17, 2005

The Kickoff... tailgate party.

I still don't believe it.

As I wrote below, our development has merged into another entity. Last night there was a kickoff party to celebrate.

Since I said I would, I'll TRY to describe it, but it may be the proverbial indescribable event.

Themed as a Tailgate party, we were greeted by valet parking staff in referee outfits. Then cheerleaders - one squad with SOGC (Spanish Oaks Golf Club) the other with DLC (Discovery Land Company) uniforms. We were led to a huge white tent on one of the golf course areas.

Shrimp so large that THREE filled me up, crab claws and oysters awaited on tables completely carved of clear ice. Same with 4 bars - carved ice. Top wines, top shelf liquor...

Tables were set up with linen and candles. The party obviously included more than members of the golf club, home or land owners, prospects, and members of both sides of the partnerships.

Outside the tent there were specialty food serving stations representing each of the various clubs Discovery Land manages around the country. Each serving food that was incredible. I believe I saw a corn dog looking thing which was LOBSTER.

A ten piece band entertained... and they were darn good. I guess you have to expect that in this music city.

How about a custom cigar roller doing his thing while you watched. They were SO good I had two. Today my mouth regrets it, but how many times do you get an opportunity like THAT?

All free and nobody was allowed to accept tips.

Well, free is relative, as the price of admission to this development is up there, and I believe with this new association, will only go up - way up.

I am amazed at how nice everyone is. We felt that way when we lived in The Woodlands (no pun) about 45 miles north of Houston, some years back. God Bless Texas!

Lance Armstrong was there - the golf club is the scene for his annual charity tourney. I said to myself after someone said that's him... "no way - or is it?" Sure enough. Had to shake the man's hand. I think I said, "Lance, it's rare in life to be able to meet anyone as good at anything as you are at what you do." I fear it came out - with a little help of the wine that I was drinking, "Lancsh, gher hhmm thrup tird squahsling doo." But he was nice and accepted my attempted compliment with a firm handshake. Someone said they thought Sheryl Crow was going to sing but I'm not sure she was there - I thought I saw her, but only for a second. In Texas, under a high tent, blondes are NOT in short supply.

I said to a neighbor, "Look - that guy looks like Jack Nicklaus!" (but it obviously wasn't.) Later, once he got a good look, he said that guy isn't Nicklaus it's Darrell Royal.

A gift pack was set in the car. A football, stadium blanket, odds and ends in a carrier and a calendar.

Now they have events planned WEEKLY.

Friday, September 16, 2005


Tonight is a big 'do.' Our developer has merged with another much higher-end one and tonight is the big celebration of that association. They halted all sales of lots for some time getting ready for this moment. We hear prices and amenities will go up. Even under the old boys every single event has been very well done and high class. It'll be interesting to see how they differentiate THIS one from the others. Also, now there are more folks moved in from earlier in the year and it'll be nice to see how many come. I'll bet we are up to 30 or 40 homes. (Of maybe 400 eventually!)

I'll post my impressions.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

The only thing to fear is that @^@%$!!! snake!

I was on the phone today and looking out the office window. Suddenly I go silent as what looks to me like a larger non-garter snake is making its way across the driveway toward the house. It disappeared into the weeds and grass at approximately the electric meter.


I say, Bring the mice ON - you devil-worshipping snake crazies. Mice cute. Snakes NOT. I have mice traps. I don't have SNAKE #%#%$@ TRAPS.

It would have been impolite to drop the phone and make a run for my snake gun but by the time I got it, this reptile was hidden. It skated across the hot concrete like a hardened roller derby girl.

The trouble is, I know it's there.

Look at the Saturday, June 11th blog entry. LOOK. I mean it. Archives on the right.

I'm going for the valium.

Welcome to Post

Your are welcome to post comments. If you browse you'll find that recently I've deleted a bunch of them. That's because they were really just ads for THEIR blogs. Typically they'd say "love your blog - just thought I'd let you know if you are interested in tiddly-winks, to check out mine at (url.)

It's spam. I kill it with bug spray when I spot it.


Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Cacti, Oaks, and Palms.

I've written about it before - WE LOVE AUSTIN! We searched countrywide and feel our choice was spot on.

But I have an issue. It's Oaks and CACTI versus PALM TREES.

As areas are built out, as housing developments go in, some people opt for the native look and others for the more exotic.


Give me a gnarly Live or Spanish Oak - the kind with the trunk that goes every which way... give me a cactus... or a Mesquite! That's Texas done right.

SAVE US from the Palm Tree. That's FREAKIN' FLORIDA.

The Cactus: symbol of the west. Prickly. Iconic. Weathers well. Can take the heat. Flowers beautifully. Built in self-defense. Minimal care. Chaps. Leather. Boots. Grub. Horses. Longhorns. Jackrabbits the size of deer.

The Live or Spanish Oak (two species - Spanish Oaks are live, not Live): Character in a tree... sometimes covered in aerobic moss that takes nourishment from the AIR. Songbirds. Acorns. Shadows. The moon marries the shadows to give a sense of possibility, mystery, history. Campfires.

The Palm tree: Miami Vice reruns. Coke snorts patio side. Toned bodies, temples of plastic surgery. Boca. Pretention. The Afghan Hound of trees. Prissy. Two dimensional. One evolutioinary step from a STALK. Pastels. Strappy sandals. Yorkshire terriers yapping at pool floats.

I say piss on a Palm and keep Texas TEXAS.

Rodney Crowell

Last night we saw the inaugaral concert at THE GLEN at THE BACKYARD, a new venue in SW Austin. Lee Roy Parnell performed without his band - the show was a held-over rain delay from the night before, and his band was booked elsewhere, so Lee Roy entertained by himself.

He was personable and sings wonderfully. Credit to him for doing it all alone! A total pro.

Then, ladies and gentlemen, Rodney Crowell (actually, there was no introduction.)
Rodney and his band LAUNCHED into a 90 minute show that rocked and rocked and rocked. Almost no between song talk. One song into the next, no stopping. Most material from his last three critically acclaimed (me too) CDs.

Words fail. This was a FABULOUS show. It had the energy of a newbie tearing his way up and the performances of veterans cutting way loose. They all seemed to be having a great time. And why not? Making music that good has to be a pleasure. Great, clear sound, a perfect night.

Terri asked me how to categorize the music. I can't. Rock is what I'd have to say, but I think it's beyond categorization. I used to think of Rodney as a country artist. Man, that's a pigeon hole he doesn't fit. He's too special to fit. Eagles don't fit pigeon holes.

I have seen so many shows and performances over the years I've lost count. THAT many. This was one of the best ever. THAT GOOD.

You leave saying WOW over and over again, shaking your head and saying WOW again.

If you can, catch this show!!!! Spread the word.

Tour Dates

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Walk in, have a beer and some live music, y'all!

Inside the hall


FAMOUS HALL where Garth Brooks, Lyle Lovett, George Strait, Delbert McClinton, Dixie Chicks and so many more have graced the stage. Also featured in movie MICHAEL with John Travolta. This is REAL Americana, deep in the heart of Texas!


ERECTOR SET Water Tower, Gruene, Texas


When we lived outside of Houston we had a 45 mile drive from home to work. or back. Funny how that works. We'd often pass parked roadside trucks with banners on them. "FRESH SHRIMP" for example. Now, this is at least 90 miles from water. In 98 degree heat and 100% humidity. In a metal truck. Never quite could work up the hanker for some "FRESH SHRIMP" out of the back of a truck that shimmered in the waves of mirage-like heat coming off the asphalt. But then a few weeks later we'd see what appeared to be the same truck with another banner "PARROTS." And then weeks later it was back to "FRESH SHRIMP."

"Hey, man, that Parrot seems to be gasping."

"Oh no, he's laughing."

"No, he's gasping. It must be 130 degrees in there, amigo."

"It's okay, the Parrots are from the jungle. They like heat."

"And it smells like dead shrimp."

"No, it's something under the truck or in that ditch."

"I'm tellin' ya that parrot is gasping."

"No, man, he's learning to talk."

Now here in Austin we don't see FRESH SHRIMP or PARROTS FOR SALE but parked in the no parking areas at good intersections we see the RUG ART and ART SALE trucks, unfinished furniture, palm trees and an assortment of other odd stuff.

"Hey excuse me, is this guaranteed?"

"I stand behind everything I sell."

"Yeah but if you didn't, you'd get hit by the traffic."

Everybody is an entrepeneur!


"Excuse me, are these genuine?"

"'s right! Gen-u-ine Whale Cack."

"But isn't that..."


"But how?"

"Fishermen net it then we dry it and shellac it and then make these lamps."

"But it's cack!"

"Yessir. Look at this floorstanding lamp - ain't that one a beauty?"


Friday, September 09, 2005


"Me'n'mah cusin were out'n back yard smokin'n'passin' the jug at nearabouts 4 in the mornin' when he sez to me, son, look 'ere - you see dat or is it dis shine? I looks up and surenuff heres dis big lit ball in the air jest floatin and bobbin round. We gets the shotgun but couldn't hit it. Cusin hit the jug and it blowed up and the flames were big and the porch caught far and pret soon the hole house burnt. That was a UFO."

And that's what you might think when there's talk about UFOs. But wait.

I admit, I am fascinated and have been for years, though I never saw one. My mother did (no, it wasn't the one she came here on) in Naples, Italy, of all places. Yes, she was drinking but claims everybody on the rooftop restaurant saw it too when she pointed and let on.

The implication is so staggering - not that there's life somewhere else but intelligent life - WAY MORE ADVANCED is what grabs me. It changes everything if benign and changes everything if hostile. What would religion become? What could we learn? So if there are visitors I want to know for sure and then more than that.

I watch all the shows I can record. Terri hates them. I admit many are repetitive. So she watches Fashion Police when I'm not around and I watch UFOs In Our Skies or whatever when she's away from the screen.

I remain a healthy skeptic. I think most of the sightings are anything BUT extraterrestrial craft. Birds, balloons, debris, planes, stars, shuttlecocks, hallucinations, contrails, video artifacts, hoaxes, inversions, Jupiter - you name it.

But I have a friend who saw something in the night sky she couldn't explain, and she's straight as an arrow. We had a neighbor who reluctantly told us of what you'd call a (very) close encounter (only feet away from the silent craft.) His wife corroborates. While co-producing a UFO radio special, I interviewed several folks who seemed VERY normal except for what they had seen. And spoke to several of the notable 'cases' out there too. They all seemed genuine. The stories creepy.

There are reports from pilots who have seen lights or discs or cigar shaped (and we're talking real big dukers - huge flying things) that did impossible maneuvers. Some were tracked on radar. Some not.

There are some good websites - one with particularly interesting pictures. The best of these look faked but some don't. Some go back to multiple witnesses - say - in the 50s, before digital manipulation. President Jimmy Carter reported one officially.

One of the Astronauts, Gordon Cooper, says he not only saw a silver disk land in bright daylight, and the detail he was with filmed it (this before he was an astronaut, but was in the military). The military took the film away. Nobody has seen it since.

The retired air force colonel, who once lectured the United Nations on the reality of UFOs, still holds an "unshakable" belief in extraterrestrial intelligence, thanks largely to personal experience.

"On one occasion, I saw some strange vehicles that we assumed were UFOs," he told Art Bell.

In the encounter, which took place over Germany in the early 1950s, Cooper saw "flights of fighters flying by in the same sort of formation we flew, moving east to west." The U.S. Air Force base scrambled its own pilots, including Cooper, who remembers the objects as looking "just like saucers -- they were metallic looking, but we couldn't really get close enough to see more than that. You couldn't see any wings on them."

At the time, Cooper entertained the possibility that the craft might be a new Soviet design, but "looking back now," he suspects "it was some kind of extraterrestrial vehicle."

He also stood by his belief that he saw a UFO land at Edwards Air Force Base in California in 1957. Although Cooper had been filming the base with a camera crew at the time, the film, which he handed over to a high-ranking officer from Washington, has never emerged.

I just want to KNOW.

Thursday, September 08, 2005


See this collection of FEMA FAILURES. Don't let this rest. Pass it on. Please.

Bob's Blog is disturbed. Some say, "So is Bob!"

A disturbing trend: I am starting to get comments which are only thinly disguised come-ons for other websites or blogs. I suppose it's good to know I've been FOUND, but I suspect the latest deal is to tease all the blogs you can. When I find these, I delete them. So if you see a delete, that's what it was. (I got three in about 2 hours to the blog entry above. This is just crap. I hope Blogger support finds a way to eliminate this - a new form of spam... we'll call it Blog Clog.)

But I sure do welcome YOUR comments. You can add one at the end of each entry.

Fall is in the air. The swimming pool water is now only 82 degrees. We slept with the window open last night. Fall is the season for punishment gluttony as we've begun talks with our THIRD landscaper. The first two were, to be very polite, inadequate. THIS one comes from a neighbor who knows better, as she's a master gardener. I expect to faint when I see his quote. MY quote will be, "...hhhholyyyyyyy" WHAM! The WHAM! will be went I hit the floor.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Bob Cooks.

I am becoming so politicized over New Orleans I feel my blog is losing its sense of humor. Hard to be a wiseass after what we've witnessed, but maybe you'll enjoy this scene:

The setting, our outdoor cooktop, where I believe I've mastered the hamburger and the hot dog.

Tonight, the meal was to be le hot dog. Terri has delivered some plump specimens for my chef's skill.

I fire up the grill and let it get good'n'searingly hot. This is part of my secret. I have the Bethlehem Steel Furnace (didn't they fold?) - I have a trapdoor to hellfire. Let's liquify metal! HOT. Now, part of the plan is to burn off the last meal traces, which are still on the grill. In this case, Flank steak, or plank steak, or whatever it's called - a slab 'o' beef that sits in whiskey and seasoning like a drunk cow till it's ready. So I get 'er up to full tilt boogie, and grab my handy scraperizer - and I start in on the grill and man, the old crusty stuff is flying off. I bear down. Progress is mine. I AM surprised, though, by the amount of debris and flame that is leaping from the gas ports... more than the usual morsels of fat going to get the devil's autograph. More. I bear down - must clean grill. More flame. Then it slowly dawns on me that the scraper is ablaze. I hold it up like the torch of a villager on my way to Frankenstein's castle! I have not been scraping with the metal side, but the plastic one. My bad. Black flakes of plastic ash rain down on me as I try to blow it out without setting my beard or lips afire.

Sure, the pool is right there but this black stuff looks sooty.

The wasps fly out from under the cooktop like B-29s on a WWII run.

I REGAIN CONTROL. Put the fire out. And life returns to normal. Till next time.

New Orleans Aftermath

From Reuters: Aaron Broussard, Jefferson Parish president, told the CBS "Early Show" on Tuesday there were people still at risk in his community.

"Bureaucracy has murdered people in the greater New Orleans area and bureaucracy needs to stand trial before Congress today," he said." "So I'm asking Congress please investigate this now.

"Take whatever idiot they have at the top, give me a better idiot. Give me a caring idiot. Give me a sensitive idiot. Just don't give me the same idiot."

Eloquence. You know it when you hear it.

Don't know about you, but I am amazed by what I am seeing:

... the apparent resilience of those who lost everything 'but have each other.'

... the polite thankfulness of those given some shelter and food.

... the eagerness of volunteers to help.

... the acceptance by those so devastated.

... the furor (or lack of it) over what Kanye West said about Bush on the telethon.

... some residents refusing to leave, even today.

... the 'we'll show them' attitude that says those who stay will NOT receive any water.

... good reportage by so many on the scene. Good in detail, description, and what seems to be honest empathy.

... the self-serving crap from some of the officials who ought to be fired on the spot.

... the restraint on the part of most of the media I've seen who should be calling for the firings. They should howl until a wave of exposition and revulsion drives the pretenders out of office. I hope this will happen.

See the New Orleans Times-Picayune call for the firing of FEMA Feeble Michael Brown:

The Chicago Tribune reported that a huge assault ship, the USS Bataan, had been deployed in the Gulf of Mexico when the hurricane struck. Despite the fact it had six operating rooms and 600 hospital beds, and was willing to help, Fema did not use it all week.

Explains it all. Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard on meet the press.

See and hear him say this: "We had Wal-Mart deliver three trucks of water, trailer trucks of water. FEMA turned them back. They said we didn't need them. This was a week ago. FEMA--we had 1,000 gallons of diesel fuel on a Coast Guard vessel docked in my parish. The Coast Guard said, "Come get the fuel right away." When we got there with our trucks, they got a word. "FEMA says don't give you the fuel." Yesterday--yesterday--FEMA comes in and cuts all of our emergency communication lines. They cut them without notice. Our sheriff, Harry Lee, goes back in, he reconnects the line. He posts armed guards on our line and says, "No one is getting near these lines.""

Sunday, September 04, 2005


The tide has turned.

Reporters and news anchors have stopped that snarling, their look of disbelief replaced by a calmer read-the-teleprompter look. Maybe because they WEREN'T reading they were more easily (and understandibly) caught up in the moment, or maybe they were just showing their humanity as it was revealed by what they were seeing. Usually those types can report with dispassion - it's part of the gig.

Maybe the shout-it-out combative tone of some of the cable networks is rubbing off on others as the old stalwarts have left the airwaves.

I prefer the reality of their humanity.

I think that too often, those who claim to be journalists are pretenders who hide behind that word. Maybe the profusion of media outlets and the internet has simply blunted those who might deliver an expose. There seems to have been more press about Brad and Jen than the evils of congress. Maybe the public is just fed up and would rather not know. I hope not.

I believe the tide has turned for President Bush, too, not that he can be re-elected after two terms anyway. Certainly you must respect the OFFICE of the presidency and stand behind that, but the man, in my opinion, is toast. The no-end-in-sight war (and by the way, what would a victory even LOOK like?), no found WMD, the government's fetish for secrecy, the surrender of personal liberties in the name of security, the economic mess, the tremendous failure in the face of Katrina, will erode what support he had. You are looking at a very lame duck. He was never good at showing HIS humanity, he deserves the blame for FEMA's bungling and his own lack of leadership, and now he's just... toast.

We - The United States, need an infusion of HOPE. It's there somewhere, right across the land, but hidden - gone fallow in the deep debris of despair over Katrina.
It's buried in the heartbreak of those who have lost loved ones in Iraq. It's hidden by a sense of vulnerability over the terrorism we all felt on 9/11.

Hope led our ancestors to a new land.

Hope fuels 'the right thing' - that in doing it, a natural order is correctly restored as it should be.

The dictionary defines HOPE this way:

1 : to cherish a desire with anticipation
2 archaic : TRUST
transitive senses
1 : to desire with expectation of obtainment
2 : to expect with confidence : TRUST

Does this seem like it's out there - alive and well - to you?

What we need are leaders who can bring that sense of hope out of hiding, who can motivate, encourage, and generate a sense of belief that the best is yet to come, that it lives in us all and that it can flourish. What that will take is a sense of showmanship, because today's public leaders are more public than ever... no matter how they hide or how furiously they are spun. It will take visible empathy. Inspiration. Honesty. And skill to manipulate and maneuver the bureacracy. That part might be the hardest.

Who comes to mind when you read the above? I get "none of the above" when I let my mind wander. I'm not saying there aren't good people - I am saying they haven't stood apart.

Friday, September 02, 2005


Maybe I don't watch enough of the 'new' journalism, but last night I saw something that was a first, and it resonated within me. Anderson Cooper had Senator Mary Landrieu on live. The Senator began the litany of thanking this or that agency or higher up for their great work and support at this tragic time. Cooper cut her off and laid into her, saying that her words were hollow and self-serving at a time when rats were eating dead bodies in full sight.

Her response was that of a professional, but with me anyway, his point scored.

UPDATE 9/4/2005 -- and then days later she (as a Democrat) rips all those she was thanking. What a flip-flopping load!

Later I saw another host - Nancy Grace? - who I had never seen before, and she was darn near snarling at some of the officials she had on. Maybe she snarls every day -I've never seen her. But again, resonance.

One of the men interviewed didn't even know that there were more than 10,000 at the convention center with no food. It sounded like he was in charge of distributing supplies. At one point he said they were preparing to send meals and she lit into him, "PREPARING?" and he backed off that word.

I don't get the lack of communication. Okay, cell phones down, no electricity at the cell towers... but surely FEMA and the military have radios that run on batteries! Like in Iraq?

The story is developing/being revealed that Washington has repeatedly taken money away from N.O. that was to go to the Army Corps of Engineers for dike strengthening and construction. I can hear the pre-echo of the pontificating: "...hard choices... only so much to go around..."

My father wasn't an activist, but he studied history, was very intelligent, and wrote to the White House on occasion. Till now, I thought I missed that gene.

I read today that N.O had a 40% poverty rate. That explains something. And we know that mob psychology has been shown (in clinical studies, as well in the real world) to deteriorate to a low common denominator, putting it mildly. So, the logic goes, if you had nothing or little to begin with, lose that, then watch others loot, as nobody stops them, why wait?

But why shoot at rescue helicopters? Out of rage? That element of the human condition sickens me. Frightens me, frankly. Humanity needs a cleansing. And no, I am not being a Hitler in saying that - I have no idea how, but our collective souls need an overhaul.

Speaking of darn souls, I am also sickened by the slick politicization of this tragedy. And that there doesn't appear to be anyone able to step up and lead. Why wasn't FEMA funded with contingency money? Again I ask what would happen if an act of terrorism had struck a major urban center?

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Crisis worsens.

New Orleans' plight is so sad. And so chaotic. Response was so slow. Bush 'cut his vacation short.' WHERE WERE HIS ADVISORS? I usually figure that if I can out-think the pros, then they are seriously weak. On the other hand, I've been accused of being arrogant, so, if I am, there it is. He should have been there in person right away.

What must the world be thinking? Whatever was left of our image as "The White Hat" pre-Iraq, has to have again taken a pounding worldwide as the chaos, lawlessness and weak response is televised.

Just wait till the finger pointing begins. I think we need an overhauled congress.

This is the first time I believe I've seen news anchors seemingly express disbelief at what they are being fed by their official sources.

Bush said we'd have 'a zero tolerance policy against looting.' And that means what, exactly, beyond the sound-bite? You can't get busses to get the victims out, the jails have been evacuated. "You with the TV, stand over there and don't move!"

Listening to the various officials, I think you can clearly pick out the good ones from the bad - the true saviors versus the poseurs. God bless the good guys (and women.)

FEMA had crews ringing the area? Were they thinking that through? City under water... what is our plan?

Where is the Homeland Security plan for major damage to large urban center? Or doesn't it count if it isn't a nuke or bioweapon? Guess what? New Orleans has seen mass destruction and that water is toxic.

This is tragic, heart-rending, yet not completely unexpected (city below sea level in path of hurricane), but despite the many tremendously dedicated and hard working rescuers and helpful people on the scene... I get the feeling that despite the fund raising, outpouring of sympathy and aid... something has been lost from our core.