Better And Better

If you don't draw yours, I won't draw mine.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Is it wrong...?

...that I like the Recess cover of "Separate Ways" more than the original version by Journey?

And which is more impressive? That the guitarist Alex Raz is only 11 (and seriously-- he owns that solo)? Or that the vocalist Vincent Fondale is... 9? 9?!?

Seriously. At least listen until the guitar solo.

Wow.

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Have a plan.

Lots of people fail to do what is needed in unusual, potentially fatal situations, because they just didn't have a plan of action ready. Many times, given a cool head and a minute, they could have devised a workable plan in less time than it takes to consume a cup of coffee or a cigarette. But in the heat of the moment, none of us thinks our best (no, not even YOU, Mr. Armchair Warrior), and that's not a good time to think. It's the time to act on what you have already thought out.

Would it be better to perform a preventive drill before? Sure. But when you get right down to it, there's just too many "what if's" to be able to drill for them all. What if your neighbor goes nuts and drives his pickup into your family-mobile while you're en route for ice cream? Are you going to practice rolling out of your car and shooting over your hood while your family egresses from the off-side of the threat? Are you going to practice this in your neighborhood street? What if the threat is your neighborhood Cujo, attacking your neighbor? What if the threat involves... uh... lava? Yeah, molten lava?

Okay, that brings up another point-- there's a point where we have to just stop. We can't live in constant concern of the world and how to deal with it. There are things you're just not likely to need to deal with. In N. Texas, lava isn't a real concern. In Hawaii, I'd give it a thought.

Think about how you'll deal with a given situation. If nothing else, it makes your day more interesting. And believe it or not, if you win [?] the lottery and the unlikely occurs, you'll have what amounts to some experience in the situation. Because, in a way, a part of you has seen it before, and you know how to deal with it.*

My dad and his bride noticed a spike in reports of a new method of home invasions in his area. They discussed it, and have a plan formulated. Is it the BEST plan? Oh, I can think of some ways to improve it. But because they have a plan at all, I'll bet on them, if the balloon goes up.

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*Yes, I know that I've harped on this before. But advising people to "have a plan" is worth repeating, don'tcha think?

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Now that's just silly!


The local windspeed gusted 'WAY more than 56 mph. I'd say closer to 65.

The sustained windspeed is about right, though, with driving rain.

Wish I were sleeping through it.

Life in the purple zone of the radars.




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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Answer this simple question:

"Do I Have Swine Flu?" Go to this site to find out.

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Sunday, April 26, 2009

Uh thanks. But you're still a scam.



Oh, National Scholars Honor Society. How you still pester me. You pester me not for the glory of academia. You pester me not for the recognition of honor.

You pester me for money.

Which I shall not bestow upon you. Because you're still a scam.

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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Come one, come all! (Sheesh.)

Want to know why the news media are having to beg for audiences? Why newspapers are going under?

Markets are different, sure, but the main thing is: They don't even respect themselves, anymore.

They invite user participation. "What Do YOU Think?" "Sound Off!" "Log On To WWW.NewzKrap.Com, And Give Your Opinion!."

Remember when you had to be a trained journalist to end up in the newspaper? Or at least have your letter vetted by an editor, to appear on the editorial page?

Nowadays, they put up Comments sections of their news sites. Worse, the comments are allowed to be submitted anonymously. Still worse, there's no review of them before they are posted.

Case in point: Yesterday, the story came out that a mentally ill young man was shot with a taser by Fort Worth Police officers, and the man died. They precise mechanism of death is unknown. The precise actions by the officers before the tasing are unknown. The exact actions of the deceased and the description of the setting are unknown.

But there's a comment section following the sparse NBC story. 1/2 of the comments say the cops are thugs who should be put in jail for killing that poor little black boy (Oh, did I mention that there was a racial component to this?), and 1/2 the comments declare that any cop who kills "one of them" is a hero, regardless of the circumstance. The comments run into the hundreds, and eventually turn into a back-and-forth, which becomes less about the story than jibes at each other.

And why?

While I know that this is the Age Of The Common Man, let me just point out that when the journalists seek amateur input and it seems common and natural enough, we'd either be horrified or laugh our collective butts off if an amateur tried his hand at impromptu attempts at other professions, like surgery, or aircraft piloting, or electrical engineering.

Everyone is NOT special. Everyone, including me, is NOT a writer.

Your opinion? Just might not matter enough that I need to read it.

Hey? News venues? Turn off the comments to your stories. The irritainment just isn't worth it.

_________________________
"Everyone is special, Dash."
"Which is another way of saying no one is." (At 6:10)
__________________________

"You won't even go to your own son's graduation."
"It's not a graduation. He is moving from the fourth grade to the fifth grade."
"It's a ceremony!"
"It's psychotic! They keep creating new ways to celebrate mediocrity!"
(At 6:12)

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Friday, April 17, 2009

"Lemme think about it. No."

A man who claims the position of Somali Prime Minister-- a position so week that he lives in Virginia, and meets in Nairobi, Kenya rather than in Mogadishu-- begs us to give him resources for his country to hunt down the pirates themselves.

Now why would we want to do that?

A: If his nation can't generate the will to fight such offenses on their own, then we don't need to be making them gifts of naval armament, and

B: Why should we wish to deprive our Navy of a righteously target-rich environment?

My answer to the request, through diplomatic channels, would be,

"No. And on a completely unrelated note, you might want to keep your loved ones out of certain Somali ports over the next couple of months. We will take your request for assistance as formal permission to rout the problem ourselves. KayThnxBai!"

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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

What a difference that last 0.56% must have made.

Marylin Chambers, the most famous model ever to grace a box of Ivory Snow, was found dead on Saturday night.


Interestingly, she was a 2004 write-in candidate for VP on the Personal Choice Party ticket, which is said to be a libertarian party. Well Marylin, we hardly knew ye.



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Monday, April 13, 2009

Another example that the end times are near:

The Barack Obama Chia Head.

When you hear hoofbeats expect Horsemen Of The Apocalypse, not zebras.

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Friday, April 10, 2009

Embracing capitalism with a capital C.

My wife and I have decided that we hate being poor.

We have very little faith in our retirements being there for us, as managed by our employers, or by our government. We would like to save it ourselves.

But at the rate the dollar is shrinking, simply "saving" it is madness. Might as well use cash for home heating. So now, as is most of the time, it is a good time to invest.

Truthfully? It's a GREAT time to invest. Stocks are low. The dollar hasn't bottomed out. The upswing will eventually come, when the panic sellers realize that it's time to pull their heads out of the sand, dust off their hands, and get back to business. There are bargains to be had out there.

The one that I look at a lot is oil. This country, along with the world, runs on the stuff. And for all our happy nattering about reducing our dependency on it, the world market is thirsty for it. But right this minute, that lovely commodity has fallen from over $120 a barrel to under $48 a barrel. (Gone are the days when a character actor formerly known as Major Nelson could create a huge stir by proclaiming at a convention that this nation would soon see $50 a barrel, as in the early '80s.) I'm trying to decide between futures or shares in oil companies. But I still won't ever own Exxon stock. Screw'm.

Then, too, we look at mutual funds, like Vanguard. Sure, they've taken a kick to the huevos, lately, but in the long run, they perform. The thing is, I don't want to buy a single share of a company that took bailout money from the feds. We cops think a lot about the old "fruit of the poisonous tree," and I don't want any. I also don't want to do business with banks that took bailout money from the government. You know how there are those "ethical funds," that only have stocks in green, fair-trade, no rain forests endangered, free of animal testing companies? I want to buy shares in a "No Socialism" fund. I'd buy as much as I could afford.

We're looking at buying in little steps at a time, say $2000 per purchase. When the bucket fills back up again, we'll buy another $2000.

We're ready to spend some money to make some money, here.

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Thursday, April 09, 2009

Worth it.

There are some who might think that I was gilding the lily, a tad, when adding slices of vintage Kerrygold white Irish cheddar to my meatloaf sandwich, last night. But I would disagree. The meatloaf sandwich is not to be scoffed at, and when made with my mother's fresh meatloaf, it's even more special. Fresh whole wheat bread, quality mayonesa, crisp iceberg lettuce, Dijon mustard, fresh-ground pepper, a dash of salt, and a little thinly-sliced mild onion finished the sandwich. It'll do, until my tomatoes come in.*

In other news, my wife is going to be mighty satisfied with her own lunch that I packed for her, in the morning.

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*From what bushes remain. Curse you, unseasonably-late frost! You may have won this battle, but you haven't seen the last of Matt G, N. Texas tomato farmer!!! (Seriously-- I covered them!! I did!)

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Monday, April 06, 2009

Earworm: Decade brought to you by Massengill.

On my 10th Christmas, I received from my parents a mid-sized GE radio/cassette player/recorder. Monaural. Condenser microphone. No auto-reverse. No digital tuning. Just a little device to play a little low-definition music. I LOVED it.

My cousins had gotten word of this, and they gave me a pair of audio cassette tapes: Rock Of The '80s by various artists that I never heard of before or after (Mind you-- this was 1981. How could they put together a compilation of '80s hits in time for Christmas of that year?), and I Love Rock & Roll, by the feisty Joan Jett & The Blackhearts. Even at age 10, I recognized the irony of silly anthology of a two-year-old decade, and I barely gave the former a listen. But Joan Jett had something going on, and I wore that tape out, after a few years in my growing rotation.

I remember realizing that there was a lot more music out there than just what the Top 40 radio played on the pop stations, but the other kids were listening to it, and I got tired-head trying to think for myself... so I listened to the ensuing mess of crappy pop music, too. I hate myself a little bit for that.

With a few notable exceptions, the 1980s was a decade filled with pop music presided over by pretty boys acting more and more effeminate, and with music boiling down to synthesizers. No meat. The poster boys for the decade were probably Duran Duran, who did the sound track for the cheesiest James Bond movie ever made: A View To A Kill. The sissification of the mix is complete when you realize that it is Roger Moore's last Bond film, and even he didn't like it. That's right: Moore --the PETA-endorsing, fois gras-detracting, Effectal-whiffing, self-professed hoplophobe-- who was the centerpiece of this pile of stinky, said that the flick was lame.

And he was right. Even Christopher Walken and an armed blimp couldn't save it.

The Duran Duran song "A View To A Kill" went to #2 on the pop charts, and a music video (a video short, made to accompany the music, made to accompany the motion picture. We were beginning to spin tighter and tighter knots.) was created.

And now, 24 years later, the music rings in my head. Damn it.


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Friday, April 03, 2009

Ahhhhh....

That aforementioned anticipated package was actually in my mailbox. Updating one's old desktop memory from 250 meg to 2 gig of Muskin makes you actually like your machine again. Total time spent in the upgrade: 100 seconds. That was a few bucks well-spent. :)

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Thursday, April 02, 2009

Things that I'm loving right now.

Z Packs.
Flonase.
Steroid shots in the butt.
Dense cardboard boxes found at my front door, with my name and "ORM-D" plastered on the outside of them.
Marked-down whole bean "Fair Trade" Brazillian coffee, still vacu-sealed, that we got at the thrift store for $2/lb, which we're going back for, because the rabble won't buy it without a recognizable brand label onit.
Hamilton Beach digital slow-cookers (Blows the old Rival Crock Pot right out of the water.)
Pork roast with fresh herbs, fresh out of the HB slow-cooker.
New mattress.
Excited little girls on the eve of their 7th birthday.
Cool spring dew on the lawn while I'm covering my tomatoes for the night.
The strong feeling of a framing hammer driving long ring shank nails into 2X6's as I quickly assemble garden frames without a wasted stroke. (Surprised me.)
Fresh chocolate cake.
A call from a co-worker who genuinely wants my input, and who doesn't get mad when my answer isn't the one he was hoping to get.
Home made strawberry icing.
Powerful LED flashlights.
Washing machines (clothes or dish) that actually work right.
A coffee machine at the PD again.
The prospect of another package arriving at my door soon, to provide me with octuple the memory currently on my desktop machine.

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