Friday, December 29, 2006


8MP. That's right - a new camera with more resolution than I really need. 8 mega-pixels. It's a D-SLR (Digital single lens reflex) which means you don't have to hold the camera and try to compose on a tiny screen, or look through a tiny window at a tiny tv screen like on our other two digital cameras.

I will never use film again.

I have packaged up my complete collection of NIKON film camera and accessories and will probably donate to Goodwill (if they even want it!) At the local big photography store they have dozens of film cameras dirt cheap - on consignment.

I like film, but the convenience factor of unlimited pictures for free can't be topped*. In the attic we have two large boxes crammed with film pictures. How much more useful would several DVDs of same be! That's the future. It's here now.

*In High School I was the yearbook candid photographer. In order to land the lucrative prom and grad picture biz, an enterprising photographer gave the yearbook staff a camera and as much film, as many flashbulbs and all the processing we could use. That was my gig. I'm almost full circle now.

Thursday, December 28, 2006


You know there's a problem when your dog pees, or tries to, 40 times in one day. We lost count - the actual number is probably higher! This all happened on one day - yesterday - which caused a big worry! Jessie is completely normal in every way except for this episode.

To the vet!

How do you get a urine sample from a dog? You follow it around with a ladle and use your imagination.

Prognosis is good - a urinary tract infection. We are greatly relived, fearing surgery.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006


Consumers gobbled up home electronics this holiday season, as quality is generally up and prices down. We keep waiting for our rear screen projector to die. The thing just keeps on going. As the World's Most Impatient Man (TM), I am extremely eager to jump to HDTV. However, there's at least one good reason to wait: technology keeps leaping ahead.

While I plan to get another rear screen projector, I have to admit the idea of a flat panel appeals to me, while the details of the current state of each display technology, don't. (If you want the lowdown check my website: Lo! On the horizon is another display type which they say bests plasma... it's called SED, and should be out in about a year. I won't go into technical explanations, but there are reasons why it should be superior to anything that exists yet. I don't think it's hype, either.

We did visit with some neighbors yesterday, and happened to watch the Eagles hand it to the Cowboys in HDTV on a great plasma screen. Wow. My friend puts it best: the picture is so good, it distracts you from what's going on. I say the picture is better than my vision.

Still, when you only get one of these beasts every 10 to 15 years, it makes sense to try to reach for the height of picture quality.

Thursday, December 21, 2006


If you happen to put your underpants on inside out, or backwards, don't use a public restroom, because while searching for the hole you will brand yourself as someone who is entertaining little Elvis.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006


Tomorrow I have a voiceover session for the above. When you do commercials, it's difficult to turn down business, because the agency or producer which does X might do Y, and if they like you in X, you might get a bonanza in Y. And biz is tough enough to get at all, so turning down spots would hurt your relationship with your agent (you don't want to be known as 'difficult.')

Looking at the copy for the commercials - one radio and one TV - I note there's a person describing his problem. Sure hope I am the announcer and not the guy. It'd just be embarassing to be recognized as the guy with a, um, limp. (You DO know that the sufferer in commercials is ACTING, right?)

... and just as I posted this the first time, I got a call from my agent to book me for another spot later tomorrow. The neat thing about this line of work is you never know who will hear your work and like it (and hire you for a BIG project which can pay VERY nicely.) When I lived in San Diego, voicework was my full-time job. I had three agents; in San Diego, Orange County, and Los Angeles, and could actually live nicely on my voicework income.

Getting established in a new market is hard. That's part of why the above is good.

Saturday, December 16, 2006


The other night we were invited to a Christmas praty - and it turned out to be a good one in a really neat home. I've never seen anything like this - they had maybe 50 bottles of wine out on a table for your choice. Open and enjoy! And it was GOOD stuff, too, with very few double bottles of the same. Unfortunately I finished off a bottle of the best FIRST and nothing came close.

While at the table, I couldn't figure out where the bagpipe music was coming from. Turned out the 'room' was a tent and the floor their deck. Outside, warming up (there's a misnomer), was the sound of a bagpipe... and then a whole squad of pipers marched into the 'room' bleating away madly. They passed right by. I held my ears. Then they formed a circle about ten feet from me and all 4 (plus drum) honked away. The party had stopped to watch. I could not escape the large crowd that hemmed me in.

Here's a do-it-yourself Bagpipe: get a jet engine and fire it up while you stand there.

These were the loudest, shriekiest things I've ever heard. Later (their second set), even rooms away, you could barely hear yourself talk.

I realize these things go back ages, etc., have deep meaning for some. Sorry I can't go along for that ride.

The hosts also had a good acoustic alt-country type band. Much better.

Thursday, December 14, 2006


Terri dropped the bomb – she thought the Christmas letter I wrote for this year is over the top, too sarcastic or whatever. Funny, but Not What She Wants To Send Out In Her Christmas Cards. But, as promised, here it is for those who need some bob-nog.

It’s very difficult to consider Christmas when it is 82 degrees. But such is life in Texas, where the local Lowes has moved out the pesticide, ‘coon killer and snake bait, so they could replace it all with Everything Christmas™. Judging from what is hanging from their ceiling, giant inflatables will be big this year. Jolly ol’ Saint Nick is so much more Jolly ™ when he’s 20 feet high, full of air. Speaking of full of air, how about that election? Here, we “Aquied,” judging from the signs. I don’t speak the language, but I can say (and probably not spell) “necessite el banyo.” Ya gotta be prepared!

It’s been an exciting year watching the Longhorns play football. Last year, Vince Young was god. This year we all thought nobody could fill his Adidas ™. But this FRESHMAN from a little town nobody ever heard of - his name is Colt McCoy (true), and he has wowed us all. He’s set records already! His dad was his high school coach. No wonder they drafted/scholarshipped this kid onto our team – they grow ‘em here. Apparently the town he grew up in was so small they only had one traffic light, and it just flashes. I know you think I’m making this up, and that’s the charm, it IS right out of a fantasy. They don’t even have a Dairy Queen. Part of that culture is portrayed nicely in a TV show that’s probably cancelled by the time you get this, called, appropriately, Friday Night Lights. It’s about small town Texas football and how it is THE focal point of the town. If I were running a network, I think I’d put Friday Night Lights on Fridays, not Tuesdays, but that’s me.

Let us bring you up to date on the kids. Jason is doing fine and I think his second visit to the parole board will be the magic one that works for him. We’ve explained that threats don’t work well, no matter how sincere the delivery. And besides, how many people actually ever get their hearts cut out? It’s never in the news, so they should have known it was just teen adrenaline doing the spit enhanced yelling. Don’t we all sometimes have anger issues? And the self-inflicted “revenge” tat, though pointing to an artistic future and employment possibilities, perhaps wasn’t seen in the right light, either. Note to Jason: long sleeves next time!

Kari has finally found herself in school. Not that she became aware where she was, but she, we think, is coming into her own, as she grows comfortable with the taunts. We tell her it’s just jealousy. And wouldn’t you know the assistant principal, instead of helping her fit in, and being supportive, goes and accuses her of being drunk. Well, let me assure you that the new teen fragrances are hard to tell from Wild Turkey! I’m serious! (Texan for “alcohol” is “ak-a-haul.”)

Kyle found work… he’s turned around! That taxidermy school could have led down the path to doing deer (hunting is big here) but in a twist of fate, he’s working in a funeral home. And we know he was joking about putting antlers on a guy in a closed casket – what would be the point?

Our community here, behind the gates, is pretty darn affluent. Like we fit in! There are telltale signs – they leave their flood lights on all night, drive around in luxury SUVs and big trucks (trucks are big here, and they are also BIG.) You wouldn’t believe what is in their trash, either! I mean, we got half a garage sale saved up already, just from stuff we’ve found. You know what they say – “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure!”

It’s been very dry this past year – the big lake is down 24 feet. I am not making this up. They have walkways down to the docks on what look like big extension things that can roll out farther and farther as the water recedes. It’s dramatic. Could be biblical, in the right hands.

The house is coming along - we’re at the stage where you look forever for the ‘right piece’ of furniture. We’ve painted several rooms and the halls and that’s helped a lot. The names of the paint colors are an inspiration! Whoever does this has a vivid imagination. PeachFuzz in MorningLight was one we chose. Also Banana Three Days Before It Turns Black. We’re toying with painting the office CoffeeStain On White Linen Suit.

Allow me to turn serious for a moment. Terri and I are fine. We love this place. Bob’s middle age crisis is almost over – at least he didn’t buy a sports car or run off with some bimbo blonde short-skirted high heel wearing cheerleader who wants to escape her small town and appreciates more mature men with great hands.


Up to date Christmas carols:

* 1. Schizophrenia --- Do You Hear What I Hear?

* 2. Multiple Personality Disorder --- We Three Kings Disoriented Are

* 3. Dementia --- I Think I'll be Home for Christmas

* 4. Narcissistic --- Hark the Herald Angels Sing About Me

* 5. Manic - Deck the Halls and Walls and House and Lawn and Streets and Stores and Office and Town and Cars and Buses and Trucks and Trees and.....

* 6. Paranoid --- Santa Claus is Coming to Town to Get Me

* 7. Borderline Personality Disorder --- Thoughts of Roasting on an Open Fire

* 8. Personality Disorder --- You Better Watch Out, I'm Gonna Cry, I'm Gonna Pout, Maybe I'll Tell You Why

* 9. Attention Deficit Disorder --- Silent night, Holy oooh look at the Froggy - can I have a chocolate, why is France so far away?

* 10. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder --- Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle,Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells , Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells

Sunday, December 10, 2006


I know they are enormously popular, and are obviously enormous at the same time... Inflatables.

In my opinion - A blight on the landscape: the Hummer of decorations. Grossly unsubtle. The visual side of playing one Christmas song repeatedly over a PA system on your front lawn. Decoration flatulence. A Visual Boombox of grotesque proportions in a world of mp3 players.

I feel better now.

There IS a clever one out there - it's a inflatable snow globe with constant snow falling inside the globe. If there have tobe these behemoths of fa la la la laaaa, then at least that one has something going for it.

If I was a teenager with hostility issues, me'n'the boys would probably drive around with air rifles looking to get us some bloated critters. But, mature dude that I am, I will simply sit at the sniper's keyboard and bitch.

Friday, December 08, 2006


The Iraq study group released its recommendations. Now Bush the 43rd says he rejects two of their main ideas... nice. He doesn't want to have talks with Iran and Syria and doesn't want to talk about troop reductions.

What I wonder is... what is driving him? I assume it's firmly held convictions (costing us billions) - but - based on what? When these bi-partisan thinkers declare the situation dire, why does Bush insist he's still right?

Some things don't make sense. To me, Bush is one of them.

Sunday, December 03, 2006


Today we set out to find a real Christmas tree. I almost wrote LIVE, but by definition, without dirt, they be dead. Our "forever tree with 1049 tips" will enjoy this year of forever in the attic, in its 3 pieces, each heavy enough to herniate the carrier - me - and with enough aluminum points to gouge the walls.

So we thought we'd get a real tree. And set out to Papa Noel's tent. Papa wasn't there, but his boyz were, and the trees were pretty good. Not White House good, but apparently they trim them into perfect shapes before they put the $149 and $179 price tags on. (!!!)

Naaaa. Don't think so. Would rather go cheaper and give the money to a seasonal charity.

So we headed to HEB. HEB is the local food, etc., supermarket. The B stands for Butts. It's the guy's name - Herbert E Butts. I am sure about the BUTTS but (ha) not the Herbert.

Herb's place had $49 trees, and we loaded one.

You don't get the red plastic wrapping, you don't get the end chopped off ("We had an accident last year so now we can't do it," said the girl-tree-spokesmodel who was freezing her shapley butt off (42 degrees) in her heels and mini.... what? Oh, no, I'm okay... just went away for a sec' ... the girl with the apron and store uniform...

I drove the tree home in the trunk - even left it open. There's no place to tie it anyway, in the age of all-molded-everything on a car.

Then fired up the chainsaw, lopped an inch or so off our tree, and delivered it to our new stand.

Northerners will expect this to be the part where the Brown Recluse spiders and scorpions run out. Sorry. The tree was butticized. It ain't like that in these here parts.

Saturday, December 02, 2006


I had a stress test. (Marriage. Rim shot! Kidding) To get it, I had to fill out 5 pages of detail. Stuff that I've provided to my general Doc, insurance companies, etc., and which I'd rather not have in someone's physical files (ID theft worries - my SS# on every damn page!)

Why we can't just have a card or chip implant with all the data about your parents' medical history, yours, etc. on it is beyond me. The technology exists. As a chip, it could be read my those with authorized readers - paramedics, etc., when needed MOST, and I would think this coulkd be expanded to help hospitals dispense PROPER meds and not kill people with mistakes.

This will be the future, I am certain. It makes too much sense. The only question is when!


My review: a great BOND movie. Daniel Craig is perfect. Not as pretty as Brosnan, Craig's a man's man and a woman's man too! Although several elements of the plot were, I thought, a bit loose, no doubt they made cuts to trim the running time.

I didn't miss the effects at all when they showed BOND chasing a bad guy through a construction site. I think that may be the best action sequence I've seen. It's simple but fabulously exciting. No gimmick needed. Better than Indiana Jones, to my eye.
Maybe as good as the car pursuit in the French Connection. Seriously.

Irony: with such a stud lead actor, none of the women did it for me. I wish they had used Sienna Miller - Craig's ex-girlfriend... or anyone with more depth and beauty.

The title sequence looked cheap, too.

But I give it overall a 9.5 of 10.

I think Craig is more manly than any of the others after Connery and AS manly as Connery. That's saying something!

What's a bit of a head spinner is it's set int he present, but shows BOND in his early years. If you have seen the other films or read the books, you have to forget them to 'be' where the movie exists.

PS: Lake Como is beautiful in Casino Royale, as it is in real life.

Thursday, November 30, 2006


79 degrees yesterday. 37 as I write this at 9AM. Minnesota Sneezed after Winnipeg caught a cold. The cold front is the worst since last February! OOoooo. Now, this is interesting to me as I lived in Montreal for 2 years (where it's colder than Minneapolis where I lived for 11 years.) I know cold. In Farenheit and Celcius.

Here in Central Texas you might have thought this was a really big deal, as the news last night had TEAM coverage!!! Here's a reporter where it's 3o something up north of here. He's behind the cold front. Oooo. Here's another guy south of the cold front, where it's 70. Oooo.

I do get that this affects all the viewers so it has some buzz. Even at the local supermarket yesterday, Terri cracked wise about 'the storm' and elicted several cackles from strangers on the aisles. But come on!

Oh, last night we had thunder. And rain. Wind. Tornado warnings.

It's raining Perspective today.

Monday, November 27, 2006


Actress Pamela Anderson and her husband, recording star Kid Rock, filed for divorce from each other on Monday after just four months of marriage, according to court papers.

First Reese then Britney and now Pammy.

My god, why can't stars twinkle together!?

This particular tragic development just cripples the hopes of so many for that happy couple.

I guess Cupid's Arrow, shot from on high, pierced Pamela's breast implant, and stopped, never making it to her heart!

Sunday, November 26, 2006


...knowing what they are up to. Permanently.


The OJ book/TV deal was so amazingly tawdry, it's hard to believe anyone would stoop that low. But then OJ IS that low. Said he was doing it 'for the children' - right - like killing mom?

Mikey appeared at the World Music Awards and didn't do Thriller, as expected; instead he did a couple lines from We Are The World. (Someone should do another verse: Oh God, No You Aren't!) Now someone is promoting another show where he just is there. He doesn't do anything. The man IS the creeps on legs. And you read that where ever he goes legions of fans wait anxiously. Really? What lives are THEY leading?

Newt is planning a comeback. Please, Newt, sit down and stay there.

Donald Rumsfield. Just go away. Get a job in Dubai.

Britney. Sorry, girl. The trailer is calling you home.

Dick, go away. Or get arrested and jailed for Haliburton malfeasance. Then enjoy your new roommate, Hoss.

This list could go on and on. Sad, isn't it?

Saturday, November 25, 2006


We have a 350 foot long driveway. Each Tuesday I take the trash to the street. Each Wednesday (Thursday if lazy) I bring the empty can and containers back. So that's 4 trips a cycle. 52 cycles a year. In ten years I will have walked 137.87 MILES of walking the trash!

I also figured that 10 years of walking the dog is about equal to walking across the USA.

Tell both to my stomach, where the calories like to sit.

Saturday, November 18, 2006


Weekly pool water test: Uh - Oh. First time since we had our pool built that the chlorine wasn't happening. It's a salt based chlorine generation system... breaks down the salt molecule into sodium and chlorine... via electricity. Nice. No smell. And very little salt is required. So I go to pool store for more salt. "No no," sez man... What's the count?
"You don't need salt - have you cleaned your generator?"
"You have to clean the generator."
"I do?"
"Yeah. When was the last time...?"
"...uh, never?"

So, adventures in instruction manual, plumbing, electricity, acid wash (lookit all the bubbles!)

I worried that even though I thought I had turned off the power, I hadn't, and would pay the price.

Man, was that grid clogged with scale! Exactly what the man said. I dipped in it acid at precisely the correct mixture, and amazingly didn't get any on myself. Here's 5 gallons of nasty mixture waiting for me to goof. History would suggest at minimum a nice scar.

But no. I triumph. Cheat fate. Live large. Keep skin.

Friday, November 17, 2006


Is needlessly complicated. WHY DO I CHANGE THINGS WHEN THEY ARE WORKING FINE? Maybe it's the "final frontier" thing? But I get sucker punched AND NEVER LEARN FROM IT! So far, I don't like one thing from this - here it comes - one way - no going back - trip!

Logging in is a pain. The input screen is pretty different from the final screen (actually better, but misleading at the same time.)

I'm out of blog gas temporarily. Drawing a blank. I guess after more than 500 postings it's okay to pause a few days. Sure as the sun rises, I will have some self-serving opinion to put out into cyberspace very soon.

Did you know Canadians celebrate their Thanksgiving in October? Different indians?

Sunday, November 12, 2006


Terri planned another great adventure - we'd drive to Bastrop State Park (about 40-50 miles away) and we'd take a hike. Temperature was that of a cold front, low 60s. Perfect!

The park is really neat - trails are nicely laid out yet people were relatively rare so it felt like we were farther out in wilderness than we were. The wind blowing through the pines was all a hush. (Pines don't start till just about that area, as you head southeast out of Austin. They are very tall and the ground is cushioned by fallen pine needles.)

We found many geodes.

No wild animals were sighted.

And when we checked in to buy our pass, we each bought walking sticks... you've probably seen these - they are nicely done up, varnished, etc. Hers was $7, mine $8. Mine saved me from at least one tripping face plant so it was well worth it.

After we finished the 4 or 5 miles, we drove to the Hyatt Lost Pines Resort (fancy!) where we had a nice lunch. Upon leaving we checked out their store. There they had walking sticks. $46 each.


This is a breakthrough for Allstate . Whoever came up with the concept is brilliant! The insurance company has found a way to collect more money for essentially nothing AND get credit as being super nice caring people. That's just super!

We even signed up for it.

But here's what it really is... the insurance companies are really just statistic crunchers. They know that most people will never use the foregiveness part (which is supposed to 'forgive' an accident in that they won't raise your rates because you are a safe driver.) So they crunch the numbers and figure the profit, based on those who would have their rates go up, by how much, etc., versus those who would likely not have an accident. Viola! Accident Forgiveness. More profit. Good imaging. Brilliant!

Thursday, November 09, 2006


Bush the W explained that when the reporter asked about his support of Rumsfeld the other day, even though Rummy's leaving was in the works, he gave him his 'full support for the rest of his term' to get to the next question.

Uh, that would be a lie.

If you lie, don't stop. That's the lesson here.

So now that he's been caught, why would you believe anything the man says? Maybe he should adopt the circular lie strategy: here's how it works - you admit you lie. Then your lie might be a lie, which makes it the truth. I should have been a political consultant.

Wonder what Karl Rove is saying now?

Bush is now Mister Bi-Partisan. He'd better be. (Does he seem shorter to you already?) WIll the Republicans get the message about working for the sake of the country, not the party? Will they clap at the next state of the uniono speech?

Bush reminds me of some of the corporate guys I've seen in my career, who blow into town and make these pronouncements about the great things the company will do "going forward." Of course, they don't work out that way, and nobody ever brings up the bad "initiatives."

Rush Limbaugh said he was 'tired of carrying the water for some of these guys' who got de-elected. What that means, I think, is that he is a hypocrite. An entertaining one though. I suppose the cry will now be how the democrats are not doing enough.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


Okay, this is out of sequence with the entry below. So?

Yesterday we voted. The polling place was empty, or darn close. The machines were the new electronic kind and they seemed to be very responsive and easy to use. As I was making my selections I kept hearing, in a very tiny voice, words like "Democrat." At first I thought I was imagining it. Then I thought maybe the election officials had a talk radio station on, which seemed wrong. Terri was beside me on her machine and I asked her if she heard a voice. She pointed to headphones which were hung below my machine and which were confirming my choices! We assume I used the unit for the voting-challenged.


Thank GOD! But you have to wonder what caused it only days after the President's 'forever or 2008, whichever comes first' line. (Whispered voice: election results?)

Is this the work of a humbled Rove? A chastened Bush? Or a selfless Rumsfeld (ha ha ha ha ha hahaha hahahahahahahahaha!)?

When someone's mantra is "stay the course, etc.", it seems odd to me that this happened.

I know absolutely nothing about it yet. Just that it happened.

Politics is full of half-truths, untruths, greed, slime. Wasn't Bush on the news just a few days ago saying the generals were calling the shots?

The changes weren't fast enough? Maybe W wants some approval now that the Democrats are on the ascendancy.

Monday, November 06, 2006


Yesterday I said, "I need a book to read." There were no likely unread candidates. I looked at our meager collection of read books (many were thrown out in the move here, a year and a half ago.) In that collection was one very old (1950s) book which I know I've read 4 times already. It's about Creative Realism, and I remember it being very very 'heavy.' I had to stop and think about what various paragraphs really meant on the first go-rounds. MUCH TO MY SURPRISE so far (100+pages) it makes sense! How'd THAT happen? No, it's not because I've read it before, as each of the first 4 times were as confusing as the first time through. Maybe I'm finally ready for the message. Hope so.

Written by a Canadian MD in 1952 or so, Creative Realism is a world view on a micro and macro level. How to fully experience life. A worthy read and goal.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


I spotted this twin engine wasp by the window. At first I thought it was outside, but since Terri is somewhat allergic to stings, I got closer and yes, this horrible bee was inside.

Fearlessly I whipped out my handkerchief and snapped it, sending the wasp to the floor where I picked it up with the cloth.

$$@#^&!!!!&%!@#&!! Stung, right through the cloth. How'd it know? Stung right on my right index finger (my mouse wheel finger). After a few minutes the pain went away yet TODAY the finger is swollen and hurts more than yesterday.

I describe scorpions as land wasps and haven't been stung by one of those yet but at least now I have a recent comparison.

The wasp was sighted on my hand - Terri says, "It's on your hand!" I shake it off like I've been tasered and then crush it into bee heaven or hell.

Halloween !

Tuesday, October 31, 2006


There's a woman locally running for a position on the court. In her TV ads she talks about her son, the NFL Quarterback.

He is.

Trouble is, he doesn't want her using his name or likeness.

They have a relationship that has "soured."

He says she got ticked when she wanted to be his agent and he wouldn't let her.

She says that's not true.

Would you vote for a mom like that? What's it have to do with administering justice? Perhaps nothing, but it doesn't feel right to me.


It's begun again, after months. Our own electronic Amityville Horror. The alarm system pads have begun to beep every ten seconds. After a quick look at the controls - it cannot be stopped for more than a minute! We tried to sleep with earplugs and awakened? looking more than a little haggard. A consult with the instructions shows NOTHING that applies. The mute button doesn't. The code display doesn't display whatever is wrong.

I think the brain looks ahead... and the anticipation is as annoying as the beep.

Sure hope the service guy can get here soon.

I think Dick Cheney would enjoy this.

Friday, October 27, 2006


Terri entered a Rotary club raffle 'to win me a new car.' How loving. Seriously, very very nice. $100 a ticket. Last night was the big drawing. They took all 832 entries and put them in a bowl, then chose 100. Terri's ticket made it!

Then they eliminated people out of the 100.

After 75, Terri was still in.

She made it to 50.

To 25.

To 10.

To 5.

And was 3rd.

So, no car for Bob. But it's the thought that counts. And I think #2 would be more painful than #3.

So you also won a trip to Germany to pick out your new Mercedes-Benz. So?

Thursday, October 26, 2006


Theoretically local CBS O&O Channel 42 will watch themselves from now on. They responded to my E mail (repeated, as even last night, some time after my first E, there were two improper spellings of "its" in the crawl under their 10PM news.)

Not really a nit. If the news operation can't spell, then we've really gone to hell.

So blame the nuns that taught me. Right is right.

Why do I care? I hate crawls. They compel me to read them. They hurt my eyes. So I read them. When they are incorrect I notice.


I came upon this: you get $250 every time you give away a free security system to someone willing to place an ADT logo near their front door.

Should be easy, shouldn't it?

What's the catch? I know there's a catch. It can't be easy. I'll bet many people think they are being scammed. Maybe they are then upsold to a high level of service, or the alarm is free, we just want the monitoring gig for a year.

Too good to be true is true. Always.

It's like computers with free printers. They give them away so you'll buy the ink cartridges!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


Actually, it's not as good a definition as it used to be. When I was in radio programming and management for so many years, I'd describe the job as Blimp Pilot, meaning there aren't many people who DO that. (Now there are more blimps it seems.)

The radio business went very corporate and contracted. Jobs were doubled up or tripled. In my last radio work I programmed two stations for the same 'cluster' in the same city. Count that as one less blimp pilot. Then, despite success, they absorbed my job into others' jobs. Another less Blimp Pilot. But we moved away anyway.

After my internet adventures (marketing and search engine optimization, to be sold to my partner) I seek greener grass. Naturally I applied for any Blimp jobs here in Austin (no more moving, no matter what!) But there are really only 4 players here - one of which is Spanish language (gee that 5 years of German comes in handy!) So no go.

What you find is you have to figure out the value in what you did and reapply it to some other field.

I have been haunting the job boards. Some of what I've uncovered:

You can make a fortune in your spare time from home! (Or so they'd have you believe. Me, I don't. Rather work with people, too.)

Sales is king. Or there aren't many people good at it. I don't know which it is, just that there seem to be a bazillion sales openings out there. Not my first joy, but there ARE many many openings.

Here's a good one - TURNDOWN ATTENDANT. Turn down beds at hotel chain. Love the name though. Into rejection? Put it into ACTION!

Under CREW MEMBER, these words: We're Downright Nice. At Wendy's, we have a very strong set of values that everyone follows, from our CEO to our crew members. Uh, no, they didn't all drink the Kool-Aid.

I'm not looking at these jobs for ME yaunnerstand, but they are all listed together...

Entertainment is good for a few laughs (as a job category) - after all, I was in entertainment of a sort - I saw an ad looking for "4 lingerie models to walk around and make a party hotter." Right.

And so the reinvention of Bob continues. This is definitely a journey I've not taken throughout my XX years in radio... except for self-started jobs through the years - doing commercials, or syndicating special programming, or internet marketing.

Monday, October 23, 2006


Today I ran the lawnmower - all 4.5 horses of it - into a stump, which stopped it dead. Since then, the blade seems to be off center, although it isn't to the naked eye. Or the other eye, covered with prescription glass. Now there's a cloud of dirt under the lawnmower where there wasn't before. I see no gouges in the earth or grass, just enormous dust clouds. Like Pigpen in Peanuts.

I remembered to unplug the spark plug before I turned the blade to test it by hand. (And I can still type.)

Later I found myself balancing between a branch and the ladder, with the chain saw over my head working on a branch. I knew this was a bad idea. I kept testing my balance and went for it successfully. Don't try this yourself. It's an accident begging.

Funny how you can get away with some things, and not others. Despite my care the other day, I managed to drip that tree-patch tarry stuff all over my favorite T-shirt. And the little voice that warned me went unheeded.

Today it looks like rain and I put on sweats. Possibly the first time since - what -last February? EARLY February at that. We enjoy reading the Minneapolis temps everyday while we enjoy our 80s and 70s.

Minnesota makes surviving the cold and snow pretty easy though. I'd get into my car, drive over our plowed driveway and street, and for the middle 8? years would pull into heated underground valet parking. All downtown buildings are interconnected with climate controlled 'skyways.'

Still, the first snow of the season might just last till March or April... it just doesn't melt. I'd rather look at Texas where even at worst, it's green in many places.

Saturday, October 21, 2006


Our little Jessie came back from the 'spa' - the kennel - in good spirits, but a day later, she was obviously ill - throwing up with diarrhea too. We waited a day to see if it'd pass, but it didn't (the office rug is ruined though) and to the vets we went. Her blood work was fine. Exam seemed okay too. Antibiotics and special diet have helped one end, but not the other. This morning she seemed more normal in terms of energy but is (since) obviously agitated with the heebie jeebies. I can't figure out why.

After almost 10 years with an animal you get to sense their moods and there's a silent communication.

I hear some marriages have that too.

Thursday, October 19, 2006


Did you know that a craving is supposed to last only 15 minutes? The key to fighting it, they say, is to distract yourself.

So my ice cream craving - fighting conventional wisdom - is now two days long. That's the amount of time I have avoided my daily cup or two of Blue Bell ice cream. The cups are small, with raised bottoms and lips... there's even less in there than it seems at first. Calories in the cups are only about 120 for chocolate, 140 for vanilla.

But I know that a year of 100 calories is about 10 pounds of weight gain. 3000 calories to the pound - figure it out. I continue my resolve. Place your bets.

Having agreed to sell my internet biz to my partner, I find myself looking for employ... and it's a tough go so far as my radio background, though it contains decades of management, doesn't seem to fit most of the jobs I've seen advertised.

I fear that radio has such a bad taint in most minds, that my experience will be downgraded in the minds of those who hire. (My stations were not that way!)

Ready to climb back into that radio ring, I am also ready to do something completely different. I applied to lead a non-profit which spays and neuters dogs. Didn't get that one, but that's a pretty good stretch. I felt I could do some good and enjoy a whole other world (plus the dogs!)

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


After the Oatmeal Brules and exotics deserts of vacation, despite walking a lot, I find my T-shirts fit somewhat tighter now. Around the middle. Could they have shrunk while we were away?

Tomorrow I visit the new doc... who seemed to be pretty thorough on my first visit. Now, after all the bloodwork and tests, I expect a formulated plan, and a flu shot, and to climb off the medication I take and onto something that works better.

I have decided to lose some weight. I post this to declare it in public, from which there is little escape, little refuge. Soon (hopefully) you'll know. I'll report. I'll resist ice cream. Candy corn. Chocolate. I'll drop the gut and by then the abs should be showing. I'm someone who tends to live for tomorrow. That makes me miss today. Instead of putting it off, I'll go for it in the now.

I have two sets of pants - 36s and 38s. That might not seem like a wide gulf to many, but to me it's the difference between proud and guilty.

Stay tuned!

Sunday, October 15, 2006


We're back.

I don't like to announce when we are about to leave, for security reasons. Paranoia left over from the 70s, I guess. But we went away for a week vacation. Much needed. My friend says "But you don't do anything to take a vacation from!" ACtually, I do, and mor eon that in later blogs. And Terri sure DOES work hard. We needeed a break and time undisturbed together.

This vacation was unlike any we've taken... and very nicely enjoyable too. We literally went from the Mountains to the Sea. Hiked the monuntains for fall color, walked the beach and in the waves of the Atlantic on Georgia's Tybee Island, outside of Savannah.

I will add to this post as time permits. Here in Austin we've come back to rain and I've been waiting for this to make the concrete-hard soil easier to manage so I can plant some seeds for the spring. I am the seed man. I plant. Birds choke back their laughs as they eat everything, and so, in sping, nothing. But I try. If you see pictures, then I finished my report. Pictures don't go into these blogs as easily as they should.

We flew Austin/Atlanta/Knoxville, Tenn. and drove through the Smokies to Asheville where we stayed at the Biltmore Inn.

Lobby of the Inn

More of the Inn

Still more

The Vanderbilt estate is the 8000 acre remnant of what once was 125,000 acres, and the estate castle (not the Inn) is the largest private residence in the US. 65 bedrooms, if memory serves.

The Biltmore Estate House/Castle

Home Sweet Home


We took the grand tour but no pictures inside are allowed. This was extreme... firsts in abundance. Opulence. Innovation. Grand design. It is said Vanderbilt, who made his fortune in railroads and shipping, was worth $96 Billion in today's dollars. Gold leaf on burlap wall covering in his bedroom, as one example. Giant rooms. 65 fireplaces. Napoleon's chess set, an example of priceless antiques, yes? Indoor bowling alley, swimming pool. Tapestries, art, custom everything... even refrigeration! in 1895, which was quite the thing when this house was built (I don't remember the year.) Electricity throughout... and that's in 1895.

They had a really cool tour gizmo - you wear this little electronic piece with headphones and when you enter a room you key in the code of the room and the audio explains the room, sometimes with music and sound effects. VERY professionally done, from the announcer to the whole technology. Even great fidelity.

Our Inn was on the grounds but only a few years old. It shall be forever known to me as the place with the Best Oatmeal I Ever Ate. They make it from scratch. Whatever that really means. (We think it means they grow the oats and grind? hull? them on the grounds!) It was direct from heaven. With cherries. Another day I had the Oatmeal Brule, almost as good. Sure, the steaks, etc., were wonderful too, but when something as common as oatmeal is elevated to beyond earthly delight, you are in a rare place!

One afternoon we had a Tortolini which was among the several best meals I have ever eaten.

The Blue Ridge Parkway runs about 300 miles up and down the Smokey Mountains and we did maybe 50 miles one way and back. It's beautifully maintained (The fine $1000 for roadside litter!) and quite the adventure as vista after vista await around every corner. We ate at Mt Pisqua with a stunning view.

We then drove to the highest point in the eastern US. It's on the Blue Ridge Parkway. I would have thought the north east could top it (Mt. Washington comes to mind), but I don't write the advertsing copy. It was over a mile high and the leaves were aflame that high.

Fall smells like a pencil sharpener full of shavings.

Over our week, we saw a satellite, dolphins, a badger, deer, steer, freighters, rabbits, fields of cotton, tobacco and we think peanuts... little shacks and trailers on blocks with the proverbial rusty cars, a 250 year old live oak, spanish moss drapings, and antebellum mansions. We drove through some really rural really southern towns (at the speed limit.) We drove 120 miles of road construction ("Fines double - $100 minimum") and saw clay as red as, uh, almost as red, as the confederate flag which we saw at the recruitment location for the Sons of the Confederacy.

Several freighters came upriver right by our hotel in Savannah.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

The Biltmore Estate.
This is like a manicured farm. Now get this - when built, the fields were all barren. The architect had millions of trees planted. By today they are magificent and cover many of the hills in splendor. Words don't really do them justice. GIANT trees. A vision realized. Frederick Law Olmstead was the man behind it all - and also the man who designed notable spaces from Central Park to Montreal's Mount Royal (thus the name in english). Oh - and DC... and so much more (look him up: Here's his story
My pictures cannot compete with the professional ones. Take your pick of the links if you want more.

We found this funky (great) restaurant in Asheville on the last night - we were seated in the window. There I had The Best Margarita I've Ever Had - something with berry juice and fresh lime, the glass rimmed in sugar. We watched a hip couple share a joint just outside the window. "Asheville," get it? The place was packed. I had veal meatballs in some sort of bean soup. Hard to describe what Terri had, but it too was incredible.

Asheville itself is somewhat run down. Not cool run-down. Junky run-down. We expected an artist community (and one of the best places to retire, according to books we had read before we uncovered Austin) but it's just unimpressive in any way. Sorry, Asheville. Nice geography. Run down hodge podge design.

Then we drove to Augusta. Having seen the beauty of the Masters golf tournemant every year, we thought the city must be a garden of eden. Wrong. Augusta looks like a war or flood zone after the troops and water have left town (and we can't blame them!) Literally every other storefront on the main street downtown - EVERY OTHER STOREFRONT - is empty or boarded up. Zero charm. Disgusta.

We did find some nice mansions on a hill, but even one house away from the hill (on sidestreets) the neighborhoods deteriorated notably. Happily, we left after one overnight.

By the way - cars throughout the south tailgate. I think they are NASCAR fans who are actually DRAFTING! It's like they want to get on your car-butt and hang there!

Savannah. WOW.

Now here's what you think of when you think classy southern city. We walked and walked and enjoyed the historic district, the victorian district, the river walk (there are even paint color codes now) and the city was alive with tourists. Savannah has some long legs into history and was once one of three places on the planet where the price of cotton was set. Some of riverwalk was built form stones used as ballast on ships.

One of our adventures took us to a restaurant that used to feature big bands... had been around for a LONG time. Our waiter was a nice kid who was lost in space... they were out of this or that, apologies, etc. Then he disappeared. Turns out (said his replacement who noted they DID have the lobster special) that over time his neighborhood had deteriorated, and since his dad kept calling the police (say it: "PO-lice") to report the local drug activity, the local drug bad guys shot up his house right while the waiter was waiting on us, hit his father, and his dad had been ambulanced to the hospital... no further report.

We did no sightseeing after dinner. This was a few miles from downtown.

Savannah was friendly, with great atmosphere and food. However the wind must have been blowing from the refineries down to the city because there was a sulfurous smell that was tough to ignore all the time. Like a fart in an elevator. I feel compelled to point it out since on a tour, it almost made me nauseous, but overall, we loved the city. Here's a city with vision both forward and backward as they have preserved their heritage.

Here is a city with charm. And 20 miles away, the Atlantic ocean... Where I immediately became a kid again, and while Terri sat, took a long walk through the wavelets like I did as a kid.

A stark reminder of coastal living.

Friday, Terri's brother and sister in law drove up from Jacksonville for a nice breakfast visit.

Throughout the trip, since our mountain-to-sea 650+ miles were by car through towns small and smaller, we came to ask how and why. How could this town happen? Why were these people still living here? What did they do? Answers we'll never know. Our big city ways don't understand the slow pace and familiarity of small town life, where generations live out their chapters under the spread of a large oak.

We flew back through Atlanta. On the flight to Austin was the body of a soldier slain in Iraq.

Friday, October 06, 2006


Watching the reverence of the news reports from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, reporting the sad story of the Amish school children held hostage and killed, it strikes me that THIS Amish world is the America we could all stand to be. I sense that the loss is greater than that of the children. It's possibly the last loss of innocence of this country as the war, the festering political scandals, Katrina aftermath, pork/waste, special interests, and you name it... form a scab on what were once high ideals of the founding fathers.

You read about the president's low ratings. But congress rates even lower (about half of the POTUS.) Scum might rate higher.

I can't tell if it's my awareness that is growing or the slime is everywhere.

The Amish still have the sense of community, faith, and simple values which are serving as a beacon for those who notice. A guest at the first funeral was the wife of the killer.

Thursday, October 05, 2006


Two computers in the same house looking at same website I built. One sees pictures, the other doesn't. The pictures are on the computer that doesn't see them, NOT on the one that does. They are in the folders of the website on the server. If you 'get it' you are ahead of me.


On the radio, a commercial today: "Ever wonder how Columbus felt? Now you can. At Lowes Columbus Day Sale..." Uh, that means you can wonder what Columbus felt at Lowes. Now why would you want to feel like Columbus did? That "water and where the $#$@#! is land" feeling. The "those boys look like scurvy!" feeling. The "what rhymes with mutiny?" feelings? The "Isabella must be laughing now" feeling.


In my first radio job we'd get off the air and have to do commercials. My first mistake: I did 5 or 6 for Montgomery Wards but at the end for some reason I said "Use your SEARS card." I was called on the carpet and was chagrined and went to redo them. A half hour later they were complete. And said exactly what I said wrong the first time. Why, I don't know.


Did you see pictures of the smaller jet that apparently hit or was hit by the jet that crashed into the jungle? Those folks in the smaller plane were very lucky!


The Woodward book on Bush apparently paints W as a boob.

And I don't know who scares me more - Ms. Rice or Clinton.


I am selling my internet biz interests to my partner and as he buys me out am looking for greener pastures. I'll report on the search. It has proven interesting so far.

Monday, October 02, 2006


When we moved, the movers wouldn't take anything pressurized. I guess they don't want any possibility of something exploding or spraying inside the load. Can't say I blame them, but we lost our fire extinguishers in that rule. Probably just as well, they were 10 years old.

Zipping through Home Depot here one day, I was transfixed by the hot red fire trucks, I mean, extinguishers, and thought, well, these are things you sure wouldn't NOT want to have bought when you need one. Good rationalization.

I got three. Two for downstairs and one upstairs.

We have a lamp upstairs which needs some work on it - the thing that holds the light socket is loose, the switch on the cord is iffy. Terri says it's time to fix it, and takes it out. She replaces it with a new, good lamp from downstairs. Temporarily.

Last night (the days ARE getting shorter) I try that out, but it won't light. Check outlet, plug, switch... must be the bulb (even though it worked fine downstairs.) I ask Terri to bring a replacement and she does. While I watch TV, Terri unscrews the old bulb and screws in the replacement, turns the little knob on the side of the lamp. Zapping noises - a loud long buzz, and from behind the shade, flashes and what must be sparking. Terri jumps back. Flames now are shooting above the rim of the cloth shade. I grab the extinguisher, am ready to spray it as the flames diminish. Acrid electrical-fire smell is now wafting everywhere. Terri pulls the plug. We cautiously peer over the shade (amazingly, not on fire.) And I blow out the remaining small flame coming from the socket.

When the flames were at their peak, I thought... so that's how it happens... this will set the shade on fire and that will be a big flame and might set the woodwork on fire or even fall onto the couch... and the house is very seriously on fire.

...and I was very VERY glad I bought that fire extinguisher.

My only guess is that the bulb Terri screwed in was somehow broken at the insulator or the lamp had shorted out - certainly it WAS a short. Don't know why the circuit breaker didn't break. I guess there wasn't enough smoke (just stink) to fire the smoke alarm.

I post with a strong suggestion that you too buy fire extinguishers with the hope you never experience the feeling I had as I cradled the cylinder in my arms, about to pull the pin, aim the nozzle, and squeeze the trigger. But if you do, you'll know you did the right thing!

Friday, September 29, 2006


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Six-term Republican Rep. Mark Foley of Florida resigned from the U.S. Congress on Friday following reports he sent sexually inappropriate e-mails to underage congressional interns.

Foley, chairman of the House caucus on missing and exploited children, said he would resign immediately.

I say vote em ALL out! Let's start over!

--- later ---

This sure has the Donkeys and Elephants roused from their sleep! These guys (and a few women) should all go get real jobs so we can bring in a new crew. It seems like they each paint the other side on everything as the blackest of black while they are the whitest of white... and they all march in lockstep to the party's flute. (...which Foley would like to see a picture of.)


I have come to believe that the lack of security surrounding electronic voting machines will throw another election. I have also come to believe that the republicans stole the last presidential election from Gore. Have to admit he's not been (seemingly) too bitter. I would be. Read about Ohio if you want more conspiracy.

But that's not why I am here today. I found another great lie.

They are like dandilions in spring - virtually everywhere. All you have to do is look.

There's a new technology which is called HD Radio. It "promises" CD quality on FM, what you've been used to on FM on AM. It can do this. Few people know about it. Some stations ARE broadcasting a separate HD signal along with their analog signal, but radios are expensive, relatively unknown and also unavailable. Terrestrial radio thinks this will beat back satellite radio because there's no fee.

BTW: I predict satellite radio will fold, or at least cease to exist as we know it today within a few years. Floating to earth will be the founders under golden parachutes. Their losses of billions will be seen as a mighty try. In fact, the business model is grossly flawed.

But that's not why I am here.

Today's lie is this: while the HD proponents are claiming CD quality, one major group I know, in a market I know, is pumping out "HD" at bit rates below, uh, WAY BELOW CD. In fact below normal FM - 32k if you know what that is. What's this mean? It means hammered crap audio. It means they are using the rest of the digital pipe for other crap. More streams of other crap means more opportunities for 'monetization.' But lies can be SPUN and there's the charm, you see.

I believe I know what can SAVE HD before it is stillborn, and offer it to the world: The angle: HD Fights Terrorism. That apparently is all it takes to change/ignore the constitution, spend/waste billions, etc. It ought to be enough to get America to turn their knobs.

Thursday, September 28, 2006


Wild nose hair and hay fever have combined to drive me NUTS today! Meds don't help. Trimmer didn't help. I need prayers!


I buy CDs from They are slow to get everything - sometimes you have to wait some weeks before they have the very latest discs - but are only $6. That's right. About $10 or more less than in-store. There are no "must buys" or any of that. They are all fresh normal CDs. One just came, which for some reason, won't play. This is the first problem I've ever had. Below is an E mail exchange with www.yourmusic. Read from the bottom up to get the right sequence. It's a WOWser!

Hello Robert,

Thank you for contacting us about your order number

We are sending a postage-paid label via postal mail to assist you with
the return of the original item. Please repackage the selection and send
it back to us when you receive the label.

To ensure the prompt processing of your return, please be sure to
include a note providing a brief description of the problem along with
your complete name and address and your original order number (as listed

We have already processed the replacement for you, and your new order
number is YM000284781.

We apologize for any inconvenience this has caused.


Carole Y.
Customer Service

For best service, please include this note with your reply.

Original Message Follows:

Robert Wood
SID: 0
Referring Company: CJ Affiliate Program

Not sure of order no., but Michael McDonald The Ultimate Collection
won't play on my CD players - they don't even see it as a disc! Am I
alone on this one? It appears perfect (no scratches, right out of the
box, etc. What should I do? Thanks!

Bob Wood

Server's system time (GMT): Tue Sep 26 15:16:40 2006


Before we moved here, one of the lowest rated tv (news) stations began to hire away the Big successful team, one by one. It was completed after a long sit-out by the male of the team, waiting for a non-compete to expire. This is the station we watch - it's a CBS affiliate. CBS might even own it, I'm not sure. Ratings are apparently coming up, but not #1. The station with very bad audio and shouting weak anchor woman is #1. (Hint: It ain't the quality so it must be the lead-ins or viewer habit, or voodoo.)

The station that the Big team came from runs a crawl under the news. I hate crawls as they make me work my eyes way too much. I can't resist reading them. (I hate TVs in restaurants for the same reason, as I am distracted away from Terri or our guests time and again!)

So the competing station with the new old Big anchor team recently added crawls. But they have only maybe 4 or 5 stories on that crawl that repeat ad nauseum. Perhaps their crawl generator doesn't have any capacity? Here's the amazing part: REPEATEDLY, night after night, there are errors in the crawl. I am tempted to call and lecture the news director on the proper use of "its" versus "it's!" Wouldn't you think a news director would watch the newscast and notice that someone has grade school punctuation problems?

Maybe it's the dumbing down of America.

Speaking of dumb, I read today that a candidate for president of Equador called Bush dimwitted, and refered to the recent Venuezuelan UN insult that Bush was the devil, as an insult to the devil! He said the devil was evil but intelligent! Yeah, they love our foreign policy.

Saw a commercial for Burger King in which "everybody's got the sits" was the clever line. The slab -o- road kill on a bun is so big you apparently have to sit to eat it. Wha?

I am surely losing my mind.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


"I am a candy corn addict."

"Hello Bob!"

"Every year stores jump start Halloween by putting out bins of candy corn, and its henchcandy, pumpkins, bats, witches and corncobs. I can resist at first, and out of season, because I know what happens next. Once I get started I can't stop. Just another few. Just bite the yellow heads off the kernels. Then just the white tips, then you have to finish the orange part from the middle. I know the differences between manufacturers. I know fake yellow corn cobs are bogus. Only Banana flavored corn husks are authentic! We don't even buy the bagged corn - we go bulk and shovel... my pancreas has fallen out from all the sugar and I drag it around behind me like an old bag lady drags her bags. The only thing that stops me sat each binge is the sugar high followed by the sugar coma that follows as sure as day follows night. I have lost all self respect. Surely this is tied to an unhappy childhood.

The supermarket is just up the street. And I just ran out again..."

Sunday, September 24, 2006


Netflixed to our DVD player, this movie has an impressive list of stars: Sir Ben Kingsley, Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, Lucy Liu, Stanley Tucci, Josh Hartnett.

I had put it into our list based on that, not really knowing what it was about. Later I read a bad review. I write bad review and I mean bad and also negative. Bad, because it was negative. The film wasn't.

It requires thought. In one of the 'extras' one of the actors says this attracted him because it was a movie that gave the audience some credit for being able to think.

No, it's not perfect. But it IS darn good, with impressive acting and a great script. I don't want to write about the plot since I could spoil it for those who take my tout. A warning: The beginning won't make immediate sense. Roll with it.

I will say the extra, wherein the stars discuss the film, is cool - you can feel the genuine affection they have for each other's talent and for being in a good, clever movie that's well done. None of this comes across as hype or PR... one of them said everyone on the crew - not just those scheduled that day - came onto the set to watch Kingsley and Freeman in a major scene they shared, just to see these great actors at their craft. I believe it.


Presented by Chevrolet... so you know it's All American.

It's about the high value hides and meat that you can get during a 20 day season in 22 Texas counties. Legally. So, no, this isn't the immigration thing gone ugly. We're talking 14 foot hides. 1000 pounds of meat. All you need is a 300 pound-test line and a big hook and stinky meat. Gators! No longer endangered-listed. Granny chompin', spiteful, sneaky, mean... these nasty bad boys take all the fun out of the swing over the swimming hole.

But now you can set a trap or go bow hunting. And drive your 2007 Tahoe for the Best Hunting Experience. God Bless Texas!

Friday, September 22, 2006


I hate taking the car/s in for service. They always seem to find something 'else.' 'Else' costs between $500 and $1000.

My feelings have evolved over years of bad service. Porsche was the WORST. They couldn't fix things even after 4 attempts.

Yesterday I took my car in. It's a 1998 Audio A6. Needs another set of tires, and, while they are at it, an oil change... I plan to keep it running a long time (am told the engine is a strong one) and I hope to not be back for service for another 6 months or more. So change the oil.

I also need a fix for where I pulled the front bumper loose on a too high curb at a movie theater. Oughta be a law! Weeellllll, they might be able to fix in the repair area or (minor chord music goes here) THE BODY SHOP.

At 8 years and counting, the car looks great, usually runs very well, is comfortable, and I like it very very much. But I don't need it perfect. I fear the call - "you need a new bumper..." That will take me into the THOUSANDS and it's just beyond the point of no return.

The longer I wait for the call the more ominous it becomes.

Oh - and service rep says - "New tires... do you want us to put them on the car?" This may be the dumb question of the month if not the year. I was stunned into politeness - "Yes, please." But later I thought up some snappy replies.

"No, I'll eat them here."

"No, just let me roll them along side the car."

---- Later ----

I call THEM. "Is my car ready?" "Oh yes, they just finished cleaning it up."

I drive to the dealership. About 45 minutes away.

The car has new tires and has been re-oiled. But they 'couldn't fix the bumper.' And the bill was wrong. And when I got home there's a piece missing which goes in the middle of one of the wheels.

I hate service.

I HATE service.

"Why didn't you TELL me it wasn't fixed?" "Well, it takes longer than a few days to get into the body shop." Get the drift? A conversation going nowhere. Bad communication. I will speak to the manager Monday when he returns from a trip. As I said to the cashier, isn't the profit on a new $80,000 car worth more than bad communication? I guess my next car - if an Audi, will perhaps be purchased somewhere else.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


Willie Nelson's bus was pulled over in Louisiana yesterday for a routine stop when the state trooper noticed what seemed to be the smell of the wicked weed wafting from the bus. Upon inspection, he located a bag 'o' dope and some magic mushrooms too. I'll wait while you get over the shock.

Maybe that Reggae CD he did was a clue.

Actually, the whole world has been doing a nudge nudge wink wink over WIllie's ganja follies for, oh, 30 years or more.

I have an idea - Willie is 73. Let's draw a line. Say, 60. Over 60 you can smoke dope or take the 'shrooms. You can't drive just like you can't get drunk and drive, but after 60 you should know what you are doing.

Why not have crimes which cost more the younger you are? Bank Robbery at 25 gets you 20 years. Bank Robbery at 75 gets you 6 months. It has to do with a complicated formula based on lifespan and remaining years. It also changes things a lot.

"I have a gun."

"Now where did I put it?"

"What? Speak up!"

And face it, at 60 if you're going to be fat, you're fat. Go for the oreos. Munchies are about the only pleasure you're going to get much of. So why not?

I don't know why the Po-lice don't read about the stars that flaunt their drug use, and follow-up on it anyway. I read that Bill Maher was quite the serious smoker of MaryJane. Yes, that Bill Maher. Geez, Bill why in the name of good paranoia would you let that get out? It's not like you blend in, either.

Back to Willie - turns out Willie's Bio-Diesel isn't his only farming subsidy. I say let him off. Then let's let everyone incarcerated for the same offense out. It costs too much to put them up behind bars and the war on drugs just doesn't work. It's a mssive drain. How about for one year we turn ther war on drugs funding into the war on hunger. Tax drugs. For a year. See what happens.

Hey, here's another radical idea - next presidential election - each candidate would have to have one debate in which all participants were stoned. You'd see them in a different light, perhaps revealing some, uh, subtext. Giggles, short term memory loss and munchies would trump rehearsed posturing. I'd like to see the fatty being passed podium to podium too.

Friday, September 15, 2006


The Sentinel. On paper, it should be good. Keifer Sutherland, Michael Douglas, Kim Bassinger. Somebody is trying to kill the president. A mole inside the secret service. Ooooo.

Trouble is, we only really see 3 people of any importance inside the SS and we know it isn't 2 of them. Big surprise. It's Mister Number Three. And the movie is full of confusion and too many scenes of people walking and not enough character development. Douglas doesn't look good. Bassinger does but isn't given much to do. Sutherland is the only guy with energy. The president is played by the guy who used to be Hammer if you remember that corny show.

What a mess!

How does this happen? Do they shoot a good film and then hack it to death in the editing process? Do test audiences ruin films? Or marketing departments? The director? I'd give a bad screenplay nasty marks.

Every one of the major stars has been in terrific projects. But not this time.

It must be embarrassing to be in such a visible stinker. There you are, 20 feet high, on screens, stinking. And it never goes away, thanks to DVD. You stink virtually forever. No wonder actors are nuts half the time. Their careers are in the hands of other people.

Imagine the retinue of a major star - publicist! - manager - agent - attorney - cpa -personal assistant - makeup person - stylist - housekeeper - nanny (possibly) - gardener. Everybody feeding off you. Eck! Oh - almost forgot - you really cannot trust these people since their livelihood depends on how well they suck up.

Thursday, September 14, 2006


When I "do" the pool chemistry I wear old big Elton-John 80s glasses, just in case there's any acid splash. And big rubber gloves.

When I was an early teen I played with chemistry sets and had acids way stronger than the ones you put into the pool. As I remember, and my memory might be wrong, some of the stronger concentrations didn't burn right away. There was, in effect, a delay. Then you were in trouble!

Today I carefully measured the readings and as always, needed to put a quart of acid into the pool. I thought I was being careful, but two drops splashed from the pool to my face and neck. IMMEDIATELY you know! It's a quick trot to douse it with water.

I don't know what you do if you fall in with the jug, because you'd hit the area with the acid in it AND the jug might explode - you never add water to acid, it's the rule: add acid to water. So whatever got into the bottle would cause a very violent reaction.

I've rinsed where the drops hit but I can still feel them burning.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


CBS TV & Radio’s Katie Couric saw her brief reign as network TV’s number one rated news anchor end Monday night. Couric dropped into third place behind NBC’s Brian Williams and ABC's Charlie Gibson.

Couric drew about 7.4 million viewers Monday night, down from around 13 million who tuned in for her debut on September 5.

She did well her first week... winning first place. Curiousity? Hype?

If it stays down, THEN what will they do? Imagine the meetings and gnashing of teeth! This could get interesting.

I think people have to get connected to her and get used to her style. Whether or not that happens remains to be seen.

For my money, Brian Williams is great. The best.

Monday, September 11, 2006


The LOST discs from last season are making their way to household Wood, and we are consuming them with gusto like Rosie O'Donnell at a free flannel shirt giveaway.

For this whole last season, when a show a promo would air, we'd cover our eyes and go nanananananananananananaaaaaa!

The show is held together nicely by the flashbacks. There's just enough of each character to keep the rhythm up. And darn if every show seems to end too soon!

It is a bit like Twin Peaks on Vacation... just nuts enough to intrigue (well, since the tropical polar bear, anyway.)

I won't give away any plot in case you are about to indulge this guilty pleasure.

Friday, September 08, 2006


If you are into conspiracy theories... this will ruin your calm.


The weatherman has a cockroach go up his leg. (Or maybe it was management?) Anyway, this is hilarious. Credit to Geoff Fox for pointing it out on HIS blog, which you can access to the right of this column.

In broadcasting they teach you to just keep going.

I imagine this guy is well-known and laughed at a lot now in his viewing area.

Speaking of weather - This is a longer piece but the funniest one by far is the first one. Well worth a look. Love the scream.

As long as we're at it, here's one where there's no english spoken but you'll get it completely. I laughed till I had tears.

Thursday, September 07, 2006


Ever call in to win something? Most people don't, but I am going to spill the telephone beans: when a radio station says, "Call Now" - if you get a fast busy signal, you didn't even get out of your local telephone office 'switch.' Let's say you are in a community 10 miles from the downtown radio station... fast busy means you were choked off at the local switch - your call didn't even get to the downtown normal-sounding 'busy.' Stations have special numbers designed to NOT blow out the whole system due to overloads. That's how they behave - only a few calls are allowed simultaneously from each area.

The way to get through is to use a CELLPHONE. There's no guarantee you will get through - but your chances go way up!

Also, if calling Ticketmaster when "Tickets go on sale" try the cell. Same idea. Also try a long distance market - say, some place far enough away that locals will not be going to the show near you - if you can get a local area coded Ticketmaster number for that area code - call that one.


I usually don't read it. I prefer to skip instructions pamphlets too. After all, the way something works should be obvious if it's well designed. Plus, I am a male.

Well, if you caught the lightheadness blogged below, I am happy to report that all is now well, and the mystery, luckily, wasn't a case for CSI. It turns out that the medication I take shouldn't be stopped cold turkey. (We were caught briefly between medical plans without paperwork.) Not taking the meds is what nailed me. Two days after restarting, I am fine.

After two days of rain the sun shone yesterday and it was cooler. I felt much better. I found some great music to listen to (on, dot977 is 80s pop music very nicely programmed!) and Terri and I dined lakeside. Ahhhhh. That's more like it.


I did catch a glimpse of Katie the Newsanchor on CBS. I have to agree with the reviewer who said she was most awkward while standing, less so while sitting. Does it seem to you that they are shooting DOWN at her? Or is it her eyes and the way she holds her head? Something diminished her.

Here's the deal: you have to own your space, and she doesn't yet. Another thought -I've seen this firsthand from working in a building with a TV station and knowing some TV people: the really great ones get "bigger" on TV - their presence commands attention. Katie doesn't. Not yet. Not in this role. But maybe in a month.

I got a kick out of the new music (spendy, eh?) and the nice new set (I like it) and the voice of Walter Cronkite introing her. All very nicely done.

Imagine the network nitwit nitpicking!


Why doesn't this blog spellchecker know the word BLOG?

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


The world lost the Crocodile Hunter. I am deeply saddened. Maybe it was his boyish enthusiasm that made him such an easy guy to like - maybe his sense of adventure... so many times I'd turn away from the screen and say don't DO THAT!!!

Last night CNN ran an old Larry King hour with Steve. I actually had some tears. Bet I wasn't alone.

Part of the tragedy was how it happened. Such a rare accident. If he had been snagged by a very poisonous snake he was handling, then you'd think too bad - his fault. But this seemed to be much more innocent.

I have video of Terri and I feeding Stingrays in Tahiti - standing among them in the ocean, being covered at times with their curiously soft bodies... nobody mentioned that the barbs are extremely painful, or even that you could conceivably take one in a place you would prefer to keep barbless.

My thoughts and feelings go out to Steve's wife and family. This is just so sad.


I have several hundred pages of websites. But my website building program may have been victim of the great hard drive failure. The tech - in Germany, I think... hasn't been really helpful - in fact - he GAVE UP! So I am faced with perhaps reloading the program - presumably on a new clean non-corrupt hard drive BUT maybe losing all the files associated with the websites.

My only recourse would be to start over or try to load the pages one by one back into the program. Which I am not inspired to do. At all.

Herr Teckmann doesn't respond.

Computers - gotta love em gotta hate em.

Monday, September 04, 2006


The fact that I can write this says a lot about friendship, technology, and maybe even medicine.

My computer, recently freed from virus (virii) hell, was still experiencing problems. Then the (should be) dreaded "Your computer is having hard disc trouble" warning popped up, with s strong recommendation that I run CHKDSK. I did. And there were several files/bytes/sectors (beats me) which were problematic and supposedly fixed. But problems continued. Subsequent CHKDSKs kept fixing more and more (although all was supposedly already fixed. This is what decay looks like.)

I consulted trusted friends who know more about computers than I. My biz partner and 30+ year friend in Florida suggested my hard disc may be the problem. Ditto my long time more techno-friend in Connecticut (he even builds computers). I ran CHKDSK more and it continued to find and fix things. But like Ms. Pak-Man, files were being gobbled up in the process. I turned to a neighbor and new friend - he's in the software biz - who really saved my buns by telling me (my board of computer directors was unanimous!) that it sure seemed like my hard drive was dying and I should immediately back up the whole shebang, replace the hard drive, etc.

I bought the software he suggested. Luckily it loaded. (It too suggested my hard drive was corrupt like a long term congressman under the thumb of special interests, and caught with a hooker at the Watergate!)

I shopped and bought two hard drives - an internal and external - both on sale and both at 250GB. $49.99 and $99.99 respectively. I then backed up the bad drive onto the external and got lost along the way. My neighbor, the most generously helpful guy, talked me off the ledge and we then successfully (this blog is testimony) mirrored the new external drive onto the new (they are easy to install - I did it myself) empty internal drive.

I have avoided - I think - a pretty catastrophic loss - won't know what doesn't work or is missing until I try more, but at least I am secure in the knowledge that my bad hard drive which holds my life as I know it today is fixed and also mirrored from now on.

The medicine part is that I am lightheaded. Not from my computer hassle, but I hope from the medication I stopped when the changing insurance plans didn't quite time together properly. When I move my eyes (open or close) I get a head rush of lightheadedness.

Even so, I did move about a ton and half of rock yesterday, walk the dog a mile each day, etc. I am hopeful that the medicine when resumed will take away what might be withdrawal. Otherwise, I have to go find a doctor since mine moved away.

Wish I could run CHKDSK on me.

Friday, September 01, 2006


Trapped again in the office by painters for the second day, I am streaming a jazz station from Toronto, and on the air is a man with whom I worked 30 years ago in Montreal. He hasn't changed a bit! He's still smooooooooooth, and the music, with which I am unfamiliar, helps my imprisonment.

Think about that: I am jumping both time and space. Pretty cool.


Here's an interesting development that will soon play out, perhaps as early as today: one of my prescriptions has run out (in fact, my only prescription - the one that prevents hair from gowing on my head) - well, my new doctor (the old one had an office that felt dirty and the doc gave Terri the creeps) moved to a rural community too far from here. I had seen him once. So technically I am doctorless and if he says I must be seen for a refill, I will go cold turkey while I seek a new guy/woman as my doc. Meanwhile, get the cranberry sauce ready.

Since I was such a vagabond, I have had, by my count, at least 17 doctors of the general practice stripe. All sorts of docs - good, bad, old, young, men, woman. The woman was in Montreal and one of the best - she actually sat down after the exam to talk, and listened. Even though there were people waiting... she cared. It mattered.

My favorites are not so lost in their assembly line of patients that you can enjoy some shared humanity. Since they make me nervous, I tend to joke. Since I mistrust authority I can be somewhat - what? - Mark Twainesque: a nice new work for skeptical.

Due to my mistrust, I usually save up about three problems before I go.

If you are the trusting type, I have a book for you to read.

Thursday, August 31, 2006


Once again the house is infested with painters. We are doing a lot of wall geography this time - hallways and dining room. One wall must be 25 feet high. It's a big job. After just seeing their prep work I remain convinced I couldn't do this in 100 years. If we really did choose good colors, then this was a worthwhile investment. Those colors though... are worrisome, even though we've reviewed them again and again in all lighting conditions. Fact is, you never REALLY know till it's too late. Wish us luck.

Meanwhile I am trapped in my office. It beats a jail cell but just feeling the restriction wears on me. But there's no option. I should be around to check up and insure that the right color goes on the right wall.

These guys take long lunch breaks - but luckily we pay by the job.

I'll let you know how it turns out.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006


Great Clips. Haircut. Cut it all to 1/4 inch. Takes 3 minutes. Nobody waiting. My turn immediately. Done. Pay. "$13. Or do you qualify for senior discount?" "How old do you have to be?" "65 or older."

My day, week, month, and ego are all ruined. I always thought I looked younger than I am, and I'm nowhere close to the senior discount, thankyewverymuch!

I think self-image is the propeller on the airplane of life. I need a quick recovery. Geeeez.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


We be chillin' and grillin'

I guess flossing is unnecessary.

Sunday, August 27, 2006


Boring. Snoring. I think I've blogged before how to fix these shows, but...

Thanking everyone then the family and the kids and the caregiver... it's just too self-indulgent. Nobody unnamed cares.

Dick Clark was poignant. The "World's Oldest Teenager" lost his title to his stroke. It's really sad. Yet he did get to realize his dream to be - and to be a big mover in - showbiz.

The Charlie's Angels reunion was interesting. Farrah looks bad, really bad. The curse of her early bloom? Jaclyn Smith looked as if she hasn't aged. Kate Jackson looked like she had a coat hanger in her mouth.

I don't hang on the red carpet but I couldn't fail to notice some lovelies looking very fine. Forgive the spelling if wrong - Kathryn Heigl from Grey's Anatomy will be talked about. Wow. And Evangeline Lilly shone tremendously brightly. Her smile and beauty just jumped out of the screen.

Typical lame banter among presenters except John Stewart and Steven Colbert were spot on - hilarious. Conan O'Brien was game. Other than the opening there's little for a host to do. The filmed/taped bit that ran from the top of the show was good.

Want to bet this was the lowest rated show yet?


I'd like to win an Emmy. Hard to do when you aren't involved with television, except to watch it. I have an idea for a show. It isn't my first. With a partner we had the Video Awards figured out just before MTV announced them. I also had thought up what was in effect COPS and RESCUE 911. And a different version of The Travel Channel before it hit.

My 'show' idea is simply about pitching shows to the networks. And as they are pitched, the boob network guys try to change essential pieces. We see the stories change with each interruption, showing the ridiculous changes. It'd be funny.

Scene: Network boardroom. 20 something execs in Armani. And the pitch team - two guys barely able to find clean T shirts to wear. They are desperate.

Pitchman 1: "It's a show... about a family. A family on a farm. It's full of family values. (audio fades into scene) Dad was a former advertising executive who gave it all up to be closer to the earth and his family"

Brief scene, bucolic, amber light shines down on happy Dad, with arms around Mom, brother and sister, arm in arm. Golden retriever romps alongside.

Network guy 1: "How about... if the dog is really an alien lifeform?"

Pitchman #2. "Great idea! An alien life form" Exchanges "the look" with partner.

Brief same scene - dog is replaced by slug like creature with CGI slime trail.

Network guy 2 - clearly inspired: "But the sister... is troubled... and a rebel... and she's got a meth lab behind the chicken coop."
Network guys all buzz about that.

Pitchman #2. "Great idea! A meth addict" Exchanges "the look" with partner. (Each look is a little more painful.

Brief same scene, daughter is now slutty, tattooed, sullen and pale. Parents look troubled.

Network woman 1: " The father should be well muscled and shirtless as much as possible..." Nods all around.

Pitchman #2. "Great idea! ...muscles" Exchanges "the look" with partner. (Each look is a little more painful.

Brief same scene, father is different guy, chiseled and shirtless... mother rubs his pecks.

Well, you get the idea, it rolls merrily downhill and then the scene gets longer, is interrupted by change after change, and picks up where it left off, growing more bizarre and stealing from other successful shows.

Here I am, networks, come get me. "...great idea!"

Friday, August 25, 2006


The FCC is now fining $350,000 for obscenities, and you can get nailed as an individual - it's not just the station or network that gets fined. Ah, what a nice safe world Bush has built for us.

Anyway, my friend Geoff Fox (see the link to the right) is a weatherman on TV - ooops - Meteorologist (certified, etc.) who has done many years in radio and various TV gigs, local and national. I found this post very interesting and he agreed to let me put it here. Note that "Damn" isn't obscene. Obscene, if I'm not mixing it up with indecent, is when you refer, at times when children might be present, to the act of excretory or sexual functions. At least that's the best the lawyers would ever say - they - and the FCC - would rather not be specific.

Here's part of Geoff's piece. I think it's interesting to see into the mind of the performer:

Back in my very early days in radio, my station had a fishing report. We'd call the woman who owned the bait and tackle shop (the sponsor of the report) who would report on current conditions.

One time, as she finished, I asked a question and opened her mike. Thinking she was done, she was already midstream in a cursing tirade worthy of Ozzy Osbourne.

My problem is, when I'm presenting the weather, everything is ad libbed. It's not stream of consciousness. There's a method to my madness. After all, I'm telling a story with pre-chosen maps.

Still, the individual words and sentences are formed on the spot.

Am I saying things before I 'think' about what I'm saying? Yes. And for me, always trying to get out one more (hopefully) clever line, that could be dangerous.

The closest I've come was using the word "damn¹." It was a very cold night and I somehow said, "damn cold."

I turned white as a sheet on the air, paused, and briefly apologized. There was not one call of complaint.

My on-air demeanor had changed so quickly, it was obvious to anyone watching that I had made a major faux pas, knew it and regretted it. There was no poker face here.

There have been other times when I've caught myself before saying a word. Those I work with, people who know me well, could feel where the sentence was going. I managed to self censor in time.

It's a difficult path to take, because 21st century interpersonal speech is often open and salty. My conversational speech is full of TV inappropriate words. My TV speech is not. How my mind understands and reacts at a level I'm not consciously controlling is beyond me.

I'm glad it does.

¹ - I know - we've all heard damn on TV a million times. Everyone has their own standard. To me, within the context of a newscast, it's a totally inappropriate word. For Letterman, Leno, Stewart, maybe even Keith Olbermann - fine. Not for me.