Friday, August 31, 2007


BLOGGER has a wonderful spell checker. As one of the world's most impatient people, I tend to forget spaces between words and the Google program finds and suggests them split. Not so Outlook Express. In fact, Outlook Express doesn't know jackshit. I know all about jackshit since we have these very large long-eared jack rabbits dropping their pellets all over everything as they process my latest Lowes garden section purchases.

Speaking of gardening, I believe we have a tree that has died twice. Or as heard on Aunt Bertha's Bible Hour, which I used to run Sunday mornings in Charlottesville on WELK radio, "he didn't die twice, Johnny, he LIVED twice..." [organ swell here.] Victim, Johhny's ex-brother, disobeyed his parents and was hit by a car, but the hospital brought him back for an encore, then lost his little pulse. "THAT'LL teach you to disobey!" was the message. Aunt Bertha did these little 'plays' with lots of organ music. She was in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The stuff was so bad it was good.

Hey - you try to get from spell checker to the Lord's vengeance in two paragraphs.
Speaking of the Lord's vengeance, Ryan Seacrest is hosting the Emmy awards and has been quoted as saying he'll wing it. This will be a triumph or an atomic bomb!

Sunday, August 26, 2007


Welcome to Flugtag. Another chance to enjoy the weirdness which is embraced in Austin!

This pilot was stoked!

This one commemorated the SUMMER OF LOVE 40 years ago, as they built a mock VW bus on wings and danced around with flower power moves. It flew like a real VW.

This was a bridge. I didn't get any sense of disrespect for what happened in Minneapolis, but this one barely made it off the ramp before it came apart.

Team uniforms ranged from ragged to detailed.

A Babe with a gun on a mock warplane... very popular!

I haven't been away, but busy. Yesterday, we took a break and went to The Red Bull Flugtag, which, my German tells me is fly day, or day for flying. Red Bull puts these on all over the country - I believe there have been 35 so far. The event is one in which teams try to fly off a ramp with the river/lake below. They are judged on creativity, distance flown (most don't fly), and, I think, theme. Judges vote and the public can text message votes too.

We arrived early, brought a blanket - thank god we had read the online info as we were going to bring a hard sided cooler (prohibited) collapsing chairs (prohibited) and food (prohibited). Can't say how hot it was, but I can say I forgot my hat which was a BIG mistake. Noggin pinkin!

Naively we parked and were to shuttle in, though the bus lineup guy said - hey the shuttle is going to take you only 4 blocks. We hoofed it. That's Red Bull talk. I've never had Red Bull - isn't that 'make your heart go faster' stuff?

I brought my camera and long lens expecting to get close enough to... oh, but wait, we weren't alone. About 85,000 others had the same good idea (actual crowd estimate, which I believe.)

Red Bull must have spent a couple hundred thousand dollars on this event. Giant LCD TV screens, lighting (it would run till 9:15PM or so), Pro TV, hosts, monster sound system (which only seemed to play bass... LOUD BONE SHAKING BASS.

Here's everyone standing within each other's sweat zone and they are... watching the TV.

The teams would dance around, then push their flying machine over the edge where it would crash into the water. Goofy fun in the city that proclaims, "KEEP AUSTIN WEIRD!"

I got a few pictures when not blocked by tall dude, dude in hat, dude with sun umbrella. All in all they had about 28 teams... we left after the first 3 or 4 but it was a nice try.

Thursday, August 23, 2007


Nicole Ritchie spent 82 minutes in jail?
All she did was DUI the wrong way on an expressway.

A spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said federal sentencing guidelines dealing with jail overcrowding allowed local officials to reduce the time for Richie and other inmates with similar charges.

Lindsay Lohan got one day in jail?
Drove erratically under the influence for miles. Ran red lights, speeding, possession of cocaine, etc.

Can you believe it?

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


I felt something on my neck and brushed it off. I was face down. The next thing I knew, something bit or stung my arm. I sat up and turned on a flashlight but could see nothing. It lasted about 10 minutes and felt like a bee sting. No real mark. I had brushed off the sheets right away and maybe that's why a flashlight inspection of the bed showed nothing except Terri wondering what I was doing. Glad I didn't freak her out.

Windows were closed. My guess: spider.

Tonight should be interesting!

I wonder what we'd see if we could know all the crawlies and varmints that come to visit in the dark.

To say nothing of the alience who come to steak our DNA.

Saturday, August 18, 2007


A neighbor told me that we are too far inland for hurricane worries except maybe for torrential rain and tornadoes. EXCUSE ME? I don't remember reading about that in the sales brochure!

Seriously, my business partner lives on a boat in Florida and two years ago had two hurricanes right overhead! He tried to outrun one but his plan was missing an essential bit of info - the bridge tenders go HOME and leave the bridges down. So he parked at/on someone's backyard dock and tied up with all his lines. "What was it like?" "Well, it howled and rocked and I figured if it was my time, it was my time. I went to bed."

I'll bet alcohol was involved.

My mother lived in Florida for - what? - 20 some years - and NEVER had ONE hurricane blow her lanai apart! That condo wouldn't have withstood much - the front door was very flimsy. A good seagull fart would blow it open. For those who don't know - a lanai is an 'outdoor' room of screen and plastic, often carpeted with miniature golf carpet. Geezers sit inside and drink highballs.

I understand the concept of the wind masses and fronts affecting hurricane direction, sucking or blowing it here or there, but the track has what I see as a wobble. The wobble worries me. Pretty low of me to wish it on someone else, don't you think?

Thursday, August 16, 2007


Terri's away so I've been entertained by Erin today. Erin is a tropical depression conspiring to scare the dog and keep me from playing with electrical things. We have had a lot of rain with more to come. Then this whole episode is sort of a reminder about what a REAL hurricane could do as Dean is headed this general way. I'm not sure what the effect would be this far inland, and I hope I never find out.

At the top of this entry - sunrise yesterday in mid-dog walk as taken by my phone.

Friday, August 10, 2007


I've been intrigued by UFO stories for many years. My mother claimed to have seen one from the rooftop restaurant in Naples. She called it to the attention of others.

In Minnesota we had neighbors who, when they lived in Nebraska, had a very close encounter with a vessel of some kind.

In Montreal we produced a special program called "We Are Not Alone" through which I interviewed some of the cult? heroes of sighting or abduction. Dr. Hynek co-hosted. Stanton Friedman was a guest on tape. I spoke with Betty Hill, Travis Walton, and others. We solicited and interviewed people who seemed quite convinced they had experienced something 'out of this world.'

One of the astronauts, before he was one, was with a film crew that 'caught' a UFO on the ground on film - clearly. The film was turned over to authorities who then classified it.

My interest remains high because if extra-terrestrial intelligent life is confirmed, it's the biggest story in history! I read reports and watch shows and there have been some very convincing pictures or movies, investigations, etc. But I fear that many people see camera distortions, lens flares, balloons, etc., and think, "OHMYGOSH A UFO."

At the top of the page is a picture I took. See the three triangles by the moon? Artifacts. Not UFOs. Sorry.

Thursday, August 09, 2007


I found the world clock absolutely facinating. I hope you do too. If you switch to NOW you can start the count from, NOW, or more precisely, THEN.

Did you happen to catch the democrat candidate debate from Soldier Field? I saw some of the review BEFORE I saw the event - courtesy of TiVo. I must say, though I root for Obama, I thought he was eclipsed by Hillary. I cringed when he mentioned the President of Canada... it's Prime Minister. But even so, to answer those questions coherently takes a lot of prep and intelligence. They all seem bright. And I find Kucinich smart, forthright and fun, though he just goes too far to be taken 100% seriously, which is a shame. Edwards was well spoken.

Here's my handicap... Hillary, Obama, Edwards, game over. The others can't play.

Reading a book about elections, the most likeable candidate has won over and over again. This is interesting becuase I don't find Hillary likeable, and I know she's polarizing in that regard, yet ahead in the polls.. Smart, calculating, for sure, but the charm of a viper, as I see her. Obama stands for change and that's a big plus. Edwards, I fear, is an Obama spoiler.

Let's hope our next President is many notches above the one we have now.

Sunday, August 05, 2007


I've actually lost weight. This was my first 'diet', though informal, i.e.: no plan. When I was younger I could just think I should lose a little and I would. Don't ask how. I never knew. Ah, but now it apparently involves exercise and restraint. Plus a big assist form Terri who has mastered low calorie wonders.

I feel sorry for what I've done to the ice cream industry. Bakeries too. "Where did that spike in profits go?" they ask.

Can't say how much I've lost, since it could be demoralizing and I don't want to know (That's ALL?) and I prefer to keep going - I figure 10 more pounds will do it. When we lived in San Diego, I exercised for about an hour a day - hard. Never did lose that last roll.

A little late for vanity, but as long as I don't play in the near vicinity of temptation, I think I might make my goal.

They say that most dieters lose, then gain. THAT'S the hard part. I may be reformed - no - controlled now, but I could eat a half gallon of ice cream and a whole cake easily. Well, maybe not a half gallon - but the cake I could do. I believe there's a physiological regulator called the appestat.

ap·pe·stat (ăp'ĭ-stăt')
The area in the brain that is believed to regulate appetite and food intake.

Clearly, mine was blown out some years back. It might have happened with Easter candy, or Halloween (To this day, I can consume gluttonous quantities of candy corn.)

Fudge. Is there a delight in the world more sweet? I actually made some from scratch (I don't cook.) Way beyond edible, it was wonderful. I never went there again, knowing if I did, my explosion would startle the dog.

I'm not too much of a drinker, so it's not what they call "ak-a-haul" here that puts pounds on me. Bet I don't have a whole sixpack in a year. It puts me to sleep. The taste doesn't excite me either.

My folks consumed more than their fair share of 'the hard stuff' so I guess my duty is to even things out. I could chain-drink Mojitos because they are sweet and refreshing.

About once every 5 years I get completely hammered and the pain which follows for a day or two keeps me away from 'steam-blowing' for another 5 years. I also know that I don't always make friends in that state either, as my more 'adventurous' rascallian side is exposed. No, I don't drive drunk. The last trip was two blocks from a neighbor's house to ours (about 17 years ago - god - could it be that long?) VERY late at night/early in the morning with no one on the road. I know I wasn't on much of it either. Our hosts' daughter the next day, "Dad, how many people were here last night?" (beer bottles apparently all over the bottom of the pool and who knows what else?) "Just the Woods."

I can get into some of my 36 inch-waist pants now... not all of them, but I can breathe and even sit down.

Whoops - about time for dinner... gotta go!

Friday, August 03, 2007


Knock off Kentucky Fried Chicken. Yum! Looks like KLG; and the Colonel has morphed into a chicken himself.

KLG: what could it mean? Roadkill? Squirrel? Carp? Catfish? I'll have a big bucket of LING please. Kind of begs the question if the Burger King is the Burger Emperor? Does the Colonel-san do sushi?

Oh wait, I'll have the rodent tenders, instead, please. And crow slaw. With Yang-Tea.

Thursday, August 02, 2007


As I wrote somewhere below, the whole FedEx experience is frustrating, though I return again and again for two reasons: our local delivery person is nice... I know, I know... but she's the face of the company for me. Oh - and we have an account.

Their phone automation will make you nuts.

And now, again I am reminded that the FedEx tracking system is a joke. It's usually WAY BEHIND the timeline. Like 19 hours now. On an air shipment. It left LA yesterday afternoon... and....????? Nothing. I get nervous when the piece contains multi-thousand dollar electronics which aren't exactly off the shelf items!

Not to mention when the oblong box becomes a delivered trapezoid.

Addendum: the package made it safely but the tracking info was updated more than 24 hours late for all but the last entry - "on truck for delivery." I am so relieved that my 'spensive rebuilt amplifiers made their way home that I'll stop stewing about FedEx till next time.


The bridge collapse over the Mississippi between Minneapolis and St. Paul is one of those incredible sights you stare at with almost disbelief! We drove that road many times. It isn't so much "that could have been us" as it is how awful it was for those who experienced it.

I've often driven under bridges or overpasses and looked up at the massive girders and thought how overbuilt they must be. No doubt today brings some serious soul-searching on the part of those who designed, approved, inspected and built it.

There was reasonable coverage here on MSNBC. Someone did wonder out loud if the reason it fell was traffic was bumper-to-bumper at the time. No. That ignores the fact that 2 of the 4 lanes were shut down. I have to believe when you design a bridge you design it for 4 lane bumper-to-bumper traffic (weight) AND snow (up north) then multiply the capacity substantially beyond that.

In an earthquake area you'd at least have a reason. In the case of a barge hitting a support you'd have a reason. I wonder how much forensic analysis can be done under all that debris!