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!