Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Eight Things

Fermi at Cosmic Cat (see Recommended sidebar) asked eight people to do a post listing eight things about themselves. I’m one of the eight. I told her I’d do it if I could think of eight interesting, but innocuous things. Here they are:

1. I’ve had a lot of jobs in my life. From start to finish: snow shoveler, grass cutter, paperboy, newspaper subscription sales (at fifty cents apiece, I made a lot more money than by delivering the paper), stock boy, janitor, laborer at a fruit packing plant (promoted second summer to lift truck driver), laborer at a ski resort, library assistant, vending machine maintenance and stocking, garbage truck driver, bartender, sixth grade teacher (football, basketball and softball coach and drove the school bus), life insurance salesman, insurance adjuster, fine arts and estate property salesman, and now, lawyer.

I guess I have a short attention span.

2. The men in my family have a need for speed. Two older cousins rode motorcycles, one of them raced them, on ice no less. Another cousin survived a wreck in a speeding Corvette. They had to cut him out of the passenger side foot well. One of my brothers has a pin in his ankle from a motorcycle accident. The other brother flipped an ATV a couple of weeks ago and broke his collar bone and two ribs. I out grew this family trait years ago. I drive at about 60 to 65 m.p.h. Just fast enough not to get killed by the rest of the people in Atlanta.

3. I don’t drink liquor, except a very occasional after-dinner drink at a nice restaurant. I do like good beer and wine. Good champagne is good on occasion.

4. I’d really like to get Lasik surgery, but I won’t. I’ve worn glasses (and for a short period, contacts) since I was in the second grade. I talked about it with an opthamologist once. He wore glasses. His comment was that it was a relatively safe procedure; but, that since he didn’t need it, he wouldn’t get it – relatively safe wasn’t good enough for elective surgery in his mind. That conversation stops me every time I think about it.

5. I’m either very good, or very bad, at things like Trivial Pursuit and Jeopardy!. The category is everything. Aside, trust your first answer, it’s almost always right.

6. Sad life lesson – acting like you know what you are doing is two-thirds the battle. Is that within the “thing” theme?

7. Women tell me things I don’t necessarily want to know. I’m great at being “Brother” or (more recently) “Uncle” Dave.

8. I am the world’s worst gossip, in the sense that I don’t. I was like that before I became a lawyer, and now that I have ethical obligations, it is even more ingrained. On a related matter, I almost never lie; but, if need be, I will avoid the truth with the best of ‘em. Good life lesson – you almost always get in less trouble by saying nothing rather than something.

I’m not, as they say, tagging anyone. If someone needs a subject for a post, I gift this one to you.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Help Needed, Two Problems

Despite Fermi's help, I still suck at doing html in a post.

Two recent technical problems cry out for my very smart readers' expertise.

Lately, for some reason, Blogger sends me some, but only some updates to my blog. Usually, if I post something, it sends me an Email of what I've posted. On rare occasions, it sends me an Email when someone comments on a post. Anyone have any ideas? If anyone has commented on an older post lately and I haven't responded, it is probably because, I'm only going to the site and checking comments for the past few posts, or I was just 'dissing you, one or the other.

Second. Is there a way to export my blog favorites list into Google Reader or some other RSS service? I'm way too lazy, having manually put three or four blogs into Google Reader, to do more until there is an assembly line way to do it.

Thanks, men and women, my hope is that I have no boys or girls reading the stuff I write. Have a great Memorial Day Weekend.

Adding To The List Of Those To Honor On Memorial Day

This post isn’t about Rosie O’Donnell; but, it necessarily starts with her.

Rosie said there were 655,000 Iraqi dead and then said "Who would you call the terrorist?" She then got embroiled in attacks on her for not "supporting the troops" and attacking Bush.

First, in the international legal sense, the United States is not acting illegally or criminally. The United States is not a terrorist state. There have been incidents of all of those things in Iraq. Abu Graib springs to mind.

There are people on “the Left” that call Bush a war criminal; but, the greater point is that he isn’t. He is stupid, bullheaded, incompetent, complete the list of his negative attributes at your leisure. And that, is worse.

On this Memorial Day weekend we are left with the President’s counsel during a press conference on Thursday that “[w]e're going to expect heavy fighting in the weeks and months [ahead]. We can expect more American and Iraqi casualties. We must provide our troops with the funds and resources they need to prevail.”

“Our new strategy is designed to help Iraq's leaders provide security for their people and get control of their capital, so they can move forward with reconciliation and reconstruction. Our new strategy is designed to take advantage of new opportunities to partner with local tribes, to go after al Qaeda in places like Anbar, which has been the home base of al Qaeda in Iraq.”

No mention in the “new strategy” that the Shiites are still killing Sunnis and the Sunnis are still killing Shiites (and that both are killing our troops) or that they will be doing the same on some distant, hypothetical date when the last al Qaeda fighter is killed, or driven over the boarder to regroup with his fellows. No mention that Bush’s continuing stupidity, bullheadedness and incompetency, now blessed by the Democrats in Congress, will do no more than to add to the list of those we will honor next Memorial Day.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Chickens, Eggs, Corn And Hanger Steaks

RTWNews Service (Atlanta, GA) There's another tragic result of the world oil problem. There are a lot of ethanol plants coming on line and they are buying up all the corn. Farmers are planting more; but, the price is up about 60% over last year. NYTimes, online.

The tragedy? Cattle farmers are slaughtering younger animals resulting in less prime beef on the market (.5% rather than 2%) driving up beef prices. Peter Lugar in New York is taking fewer reservations and closing earlier at night. NYTimes, online. Wall Street denizens are up in arms, making irrational trading decisions, further driving up the price of crude oil.

In an under-reported side story, Venezuelan beef supplies disappeared from Venezuelan supermarkets last February, "leaving only unsavory bits like chicken feet on store shelves" according to The Washington Post, online.

"Venezuela's government plans to import… 11,000 tons of Bolivian Beef a year," The Washington Post, online, further shrinking the global supply of beef, sure to run up the price of a good hanger steak, in this author's opinion.

(An aside, when did skirt steak, "a long, flat piece of beef cut from the diaphragm muscle" used for fajitas after marinating, become hanger steak? When restaurants figured out they could sell more and charge more by changing its name. They eat a lot of fajitas in Venezuela don't they?)

The average spot price per barrel of Venezuelan crude is up a bit more than $9.00 since February. Energy Information Administration (U.S. Government). Chavez is paying for Bolivian hanger steak with petro dollars!

So, which shortage is driving which shortage? I say there's a simple solution. Vegetarianism. No more beef. We'll drive those Iowa farmers to their knees. The Venezuelans and Saudi's won't be far behind.

Author's note: The only unsupported "fact" in this hard-hitting investigative piece is that Peter Lugar is the cause of the irrational activity on Wall Street. On the other hand, the author's fanciful conclusions drawn from the facts are for your entertainment only. You shouldn't rely on them. Or should you?

Thursday, May 24, 2007

The Champion Gas Gougers

Congress held hearings yesterday on "gas gouging." Every Quarter we hear about Exxon/Mobil's latest record profits.

So, who's the bad guy? According to something called The Tax Foundation (taxfoundation.org) the average Local, State and Federal Tax total for a gallon of gas was $.45 per gallon in September 2005. Expressed as a sales (exclusive) tax that's a rate of just over 16% using $3.20 per gallon.

The Federal component is $.184. The average for the states is $.208. Local tax makes up the difference.

Also, keep in mind Exxon/Mobil is paying taxes. All of its suppliers are paying taxes which are included in the prices they charge E/M. And so on down the supply chain.

Our combined governments are the biggest gougers, by far.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

I Promise Not To Do This Sort Of Post In The Near-Term Future

Well, maybe. I am the second result for a Google search for "'lob wedge' 200 yards." It takes you to a recent post about my golfing adventures. In that post, I use the phrase lob wedge and the word yards, just not that many.

I really want to know who thinks even Tiger or Phil could hit a sixty or sixty-one degree wedge that far. Google beyond being quite useful, if highly entertaining.

Georgia Politics As Usual, Republican Style

Georgia has always been run by the Democrats. So you don't worry, a Georgia Democrat is actually a moderate Republican

That changed over the last ten or so years. Our Governor, Sonny Perdue is a Republican. He used to be a Democrat but saw more opportunity with the GOP. He proved to be right. Republican now are the majority in both the Georgia Senate and the House. It seems lately they can't get along on how to divvy up the spoils of power. Read "earmarks" or state level pork.

The Republicans couldn't decide who to pander to this past session. They had calculated that they had an extra $142 million that they didn't need. Perdue wanted to give an income tax break to old folks. The Republican leadership in the Legislature wanted to give it back to property owners by reducing property taxes.

The Legislature passed its version and Perdue vetoed the bill which also included a bunch of other spending measures, collectively, the "mid-year budget." At the last second in the session, they were not able to muster the votes to override the veto.

This kicked the matter into Georgia politics' version of overtime. A special session needed to be held to decide on the spending. The Governor and the Republican leaders sniped at each other in public and private. The rest of the State wondered when the special session would be held.

But Perdue had a trick up his sleeve. He announced he had "rescinded" his veto. He signed the mid-year budget but used a "line item veto" to cross out the $142 million tax break.

There are only a couple of problems with this maneuver. The Georgia Constitution does not provide for "rescinding" a veto and the tax break wasn't a "line item" within the bill so it can't be individually struck. These problems were pointed out in an op-ed piece written by a Georgia lawyer last week. Since then from the Governor and the leaders? Silence.

I guess the leaders don't want to win badly enough to file a suit to declare the Governor's veto's as unconstitutional and further embarrass themselves and the Governor. What's the Governor quietly doing? He's vetoing pork legislation sponsored by the Republican leaders that opposed him on the income tax break.

In the meantime, you still can't buy a six-pack at the convenience store on your way home from church on Sunday in Georgia. Wouldn't be moral you know. A final bit of irony. One of the Republican leaders who opposed the Governor got pinched for DUI when he ran his car into a utility pole at 1:00 a.m. on Sunday morning. Wonder when and where he got his booze?

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Granpa Said He Ain't Goin'

“I aint’t goin to Califorinia

This is my dirt.”

Ma got him a dose of “soothin’ syrup.” She put it in a cup of coffee. He kept holl’r’n for “a mess of spare ribs. A MESS of spare ribs.”

I don’t do spell’n of dialogue well. My thought was to “live blog” the TiVo recording of the AMC showing of the “Grapes of Wrath.”

I’m typing this in Word. We’ll see what happens. The dialect is over though.

The Joads are loading on to the truck with a tipsy Granpa laying on the truck. Preacher just got invited to get on the truck.

Ma Joad is a kick ass woman.

Grandpa just died. “An old old man.” His folks buried him by the road with a note "cause they got no money to give him a funeral.”

Casey, the Preacher, gave him a eulogy. After saying some stuff he said “cover him up and get to it.”

That night, “I’d rather starve all at once” the guy coming back East said. He pointed out that everyone had the same handbill that said "800 pickers needed. " “You all have one. What’s that tell you? .... My boy died. ... The doctor said he died of 'heart failure.’” “Heart failure? His belly stuck out like a pig bladder”

“That guy tellin’ the truth?”

“His truth.”

”We only got fifteen cent loafs.” The cook told her to give it to them. “It’s day old any way.”

“Them candies a penny a piece?” Pa Joad said. Same woman. “Those’re two for a penny.” “ I’ll take two.” He gave it to the kids.

Pa and the kids left, the truck driver, “those ain’t no two for a penny.” “You just shut up.”

The Joads just got to the coast. There’s much more. Better yet, I’m going to read the novel again. You should too, and savor the words.

Honeywell By Any Other Name

How ‘bout Kaz, Inc.?

I bought a little fan this morning to circulate a little more air in the living room, a “Honeywell High Velocity 7” TurboForce Table Fan,” to be precise, or maybe not.

Target sells it for $10.99. I got it home, plugged it in and it works just fine.

Before throwing the instructions in the junk drawer, I happened to see that I had a five year limited warranty from something called Kaz, Inc. I then looked on the ”Honeywell” box and sure enough in letters about ¼” high, “The Honeywell trademark is used by Kaz, Inc. under license from Honeywell Intellectual Properties, Inc.” “TurboForce is a registered trademark of Kaz, Inc.” That makes me feel good. “Made in China.” Isn’t everything?

I Googled Kaz, Inc. and learned that it makes of bunch of home products which it sells under the names of companies with good brands. Honeywell, Braun, Vicks, Proctor & Gamble (Pur).

“Since Max Katzman invented the steam vaporizer in 1926 and founded Kaz, the Kaz brand has stood for innovation and value in health care and home environment products.” Well maybe, but it apparently doesn’t hurt to buy someone else’s name and slap it on stuff you have made in China.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Buy Low, Sell High

Here's an article from today's Washington Post, online.

"A Little E-Mail Prank, And a $2.8 Billion Panic

By Sam Diaz

Washington Post Staff Writer

Friday, May 18, 2007; Page D01

Internet pranksters pulled a fast one on Apple shareholders this week, proving that even the slightest hint of negative news about the highly anticipated iPhone can create a frenzy on Wall Street.

Just before 10 a.m. Wednesday, a spoof e-mail posing as an internal Apple news alert was sent to Apple employees, informing them that the release of the iPhone, a touchscreen hybrid phone-and-music player, was being delayed from June to October.

At 11:47 a.m., Apple sent a real e-mail to employees calling the first one a fake.

But by then, the spoof news had already hit the fast-moving blogosphere. At 11:49 a.m., news of the alleged delays appeared on Engadget, a technology blog owned by AOL, which posted the news because a trustworthy source had passed along an e-mail from within Apple's internal system, according to an update to that blog.

Seven minutes after that posting, at 11:56 a.m., a trading frenzy of Apple stock hit Wall Street, and the company's market value plunged $2.8 billion, or 3 percent, in six minutes. Its stock plummeted from $107.89 to $104.61 by 12:02 p.m.

By day's end, the stock had largely recovered, closing at $107.29 a share.

An Apple spokeswoman confirmed yesterday that the e-mail was fake but would not comment on whether the company was looking for the culprit. The company said the iPhone and Leopard releases remain on schedule. A spokesman for the
Securities and Exchange Commission declined comment on whether the spoof's impact on the market would warrant an investigation."

I guess it's kind of funny except to the people that sold off their shares for their "share" of the almost three billion dollar temporary loss.

This re-emphasises a rule I established some time ago. Stocks are long term investments. Damn Intel. Yeah NewsCorp.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

I'm Number Two On A Google Search For...

"pasadena california sick after dinner at lds church"

The query took you to my criticism of Al Sharpton after his anti-Mormon/ Mitt Romney comment. I don't think any of the words in the search appeared in the post. Maybe "at."

It never ceases to amaze me that Google is great at finding me what I am looking for on the web and at the same time does this stuff.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Jerry Falwell And Another Kind Of Christian

"i believe, collectively, christians talk a good game, seldom play the game and when they do play the game they desire to change the rules to fit their needs at the time - let me make this point, collectively, the "christian church" claims over 6 billion members - ok, and we still have poverty? we still have homelessness? we still have starvation? we still see only those "true republicans" as "true christians?" we still do not get the idea that we are suppose to make a difference in the world, not become part of the world?"

The quote is from a blog called Ginkworld and a post http://ginkworld.blogspot.com/2007/05/tune-of-collective-ass.html, written by John O'Keefe.

Assignment to class: compare and contrast Mr. O'Keefe, his faith and vision with that of the late Rev. Falwell.

I've read some stuff on blogs that is not kind to Jerry Falwell. I didn't much like him. I don't miss him. His right wing cant aside, he was the epitome of the of the "country club" church.

My thought, do you need to be a Christian to swell Mr. O'Keefe's six billion to make a difference in the world? This may be my liberal, commie, pinko inner self coming out; but, how hard, and how individually expensive could it be to reduce starvation in the world? Well probably not too easy as there are a lot of bad people and governments that don't have an interest in that goal.

Haven't thought this through yet, but it's attractive. Maybe Mr. O'Keefe needs to get together with a few Buddhists, Hindus and an athiest or agnostic or two.

Big Rick, A Lob Wedge And A Ninety-eight Yard Three Wood

A couple of recent posts have mentioned Big Rick. He's not a real friend. Well he is. We wouldn't be friends if we could find other people to put up with us.

Every now and again, Rick leaves a comment on a post. He did today on a post I wrote a couple of days ago. It involved Waffle House and golf. And the fact that he and I are not very good golfers.

In Rick's defense, a part of his failure to score well on Sunday was my fault. I've been telling him to get a lob wedge for awhile now. For those of you that aren't golfers, a lob wedge is the most lofted club in your bag. If you've ever watched Phil Mickelson make a huge swing from nearby the green and the ball goes way high in the air and stops an inch from the hole, that's the club he was using to make that shot.

I've made a shot like that a couple of times. Maybe once. I thought or dreamed about it once. You decide.

Rick got a new lob wedge for our round last weekend. He wanted to use it. The problem was the opportunity never really presented itself; so, he decided to use it when a sand or pitching wedge was called for. This led to some less than optimal results. This cost him a few strokes; but, that's the cost of education.

OK. The second part of the story.

I've been playing golf for maybe eight years. Rick took it up a couple of years after me because our friends played, but there's more to that story.

One day one of our friends announced that he had entered us as a team in the Don Sutton Celebrity Tournament in Destin, Florida.

Don Sutton is a member of Major League Baseball's Hall of Fame, having won 324 games. At the time, he was an announcer for the Atlanta Braves. He had a tournament each year that benefited St. Jude's Hospital in Memphis (?)

Rick was instructed to buy some clubs and go to the driving range. He did the former but not the latter. He got a basic set and several of us contributed to collection.

One of our friends was a member of a private country club and invited us to play, to tune up, or in Rick's case to see what a golf course looked like from inside the fence, before the tournament.

I'll limit my description of the day to one hole.

Being a private club, the practice range had nice pyramids of balls to hit at each station. We hit some balls and went out to play a round.

We got to a hole that had an elevated tee box looking down to a dog-leg left fairway (probably a seventy-five or so foot drop in elevation) that, for you that are golfers, had a big risk-reward factor. In non-golf terms, you could try to hit it along the left side of the fairway, but you had to hit it over about fifteen fairway bunkers (sand). To carry, your shot had to go something over 200 yards. If you were successful, you cut fifty or sixty yards off your next shot. The alternative was to hit to the right side and add the yardage.

Rick listened to the explanation and looked down on the battlefield. "What demented #%^#&* @^(&$ designed this ^&$&#( hole?"

A couple of weeks later we travelled to Destin for the big tournament, Rick's second foray into the wonderful world of golf.

At the range, there were the same nice pyramids of balls that we hit. There were lots of sports celebrities there. Each team had a famous guy, or a relatively famous guy. Our guy was Brad Clontz, a relief pitcher who until a year or so before had been with the Braves.

Charity tournaments are played "best ball." That means everyone hits each shot; but, you all go to where the best shot hit among the group landed, and hit again from there. Will it surprise you that we for the most part, hit from where Brad Clontz' ball landed?

The sixth or seventh hole was a par five. "Our" second shot landed ninety-eight yards from the pin. I know this because the carts had GPS receivers on them. We gathered around the "best ball" and considered our shots. For me this is about a pitching wedge, on this hole, a nine iron, because the green was elevated from the fairway maybe ten or so feet.

Rick asked me what he should hit. I told him to hit a wedge. "No, I haven't hit my three wood yet, I believe I'll try it." Some discussion later, he swung the three wood.

It left his club head travelling maybe five feet off the ground and hit the front elevation of the green at maybe, what?, a hundred and twenty miles an hour? The ball bounced up in the air, hit the flag, and dropped into the hole.


We high-fived for a bit and ragged on Rick.

After finishing the round there was a cocktail party at the club house where the paying people could mingle with the celebrities. I was wandering around when I heard Don Sutton say to Joe Simpson (another Braves announcer) and a table of other celebrities, "Guys, have you met Rick? Rick tell them about your eagle...." "So I looked at the yardage, a hundred yards, and figured the three wood would do it....." He finished the saga and the table erupted in laughter.

Golf with friends is a great pastime.

Newly Recommended

I haven't done a full-fledged recommendation post in awhile and haven't added to the Recommended sidebar in even longer.

I'm going to do half, point you to what I've discovered lately that I like. So here they are in no order of ranking:

Steve's Nude Memphis Blog at http://stevenjones.blogspot.com/

Steve has read Faulkner and watches Larry the Cable Guy.

To Do: 1. Get Hobby. 2. Floss. at http://mustgethobby.blogspot.com/

Mist1 is the author. If you are looking for solutions to the world's problems, go elsewhere. When I went to the site to get the link, the opening sentence was her statement that she doesn't date married men anymore. That will give you some sense of her subjects. She is a great writer about inconsequential but always funny stuff.

Pole Hill Sanitarium at http://drsardonicus.blogspot.com/rdonicus.blogspot.com/

Dr. S. doesn't write too often. Worth reading when he does.

Appalachian Greens at http://appalachiangreens.blogspot.com/

This blog has a number of authors Kayakdave is the most prolific. All that I've read are interesting.

Sorting the Pieces at http://acrazyquiltlife.blogspot.com/ is written by Cynthia.

The woman can flat write. Not all of her subjects excite me; but, when the two factors combine, she's great.

Talking to Myself at http://emmapeeldallas.blogspot.com/ is written by Judi.

Judi lives in Texas and writes about what interests her. May interest you too.

That's it for now. Payments should be in small bills. I know this works because Steve's blog is my number one outclick, lately surpassing Becky at Just a Girl In Short Shorts.... (see sidebar). Sex and good writing always sell.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

How Can You Be Really Sure Something Is "Bad Wrong" With Warrantless Wiretapping?

When former Attorney General John Ashcroft won't certify the program as being legal and current Attorney General Alberto Gonzales tries to get him to do it in the dead of the night.

According to the Associated Press and The New York Times, in March 2004 Ashcroft was in the hospital suffering from pancreatitis and Deputy AG James Comey had been named Acting AG. Just before he went in the hospital, Ashcroft had told Comey that he had reservations about the legality of Administration's warrantless wiretapping program. Comey refused to sign off as to the program's legality.

Gonzales and then Chief of Staff Andy Card tried an end-run around Comey, going at night to Ashcroft's hospital room, where Ashcroft laid in bed in critical condition, to try to get him to sign the certification document. Ashcroft told them the problems he had with signing and that Comey, not he, had the power of the Attorney General.

The next day the program was reauthorized without the Justice Department attesting to its legality.

Gonzales has an interesting approach to what is legal. Shouldn't the White House Counsel, now Attorney General, know that Ashcroft had no authority to sign? Maybe he didn't and is just stupid as some people claim. I can only assume that he did know. What does it say about him that he tried to get Ashcroft to sign anyway? Nothing good. He could serve as a good model for the, by turns inept and deceiving, Administration toady character in the next Vince Flynn novel.

As put by Becky at http://girlinshortshorts.blogspot.com/,
Alberto Gonzales is One Sorry Ass Lawyer.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Lick Crick

That should be spelled Creek, but that’s not how it’s pronounced.

That’s where my Mother grew up. She was a teenager of the Great Depression. Her mother died when Mom was twelve in 1933.

When I was in my early twenties, her brother, my uncle died. We drove down (from DE-troit, how that’s pronounced down here in the South) for the funeral. Lick Crick is just outside of Southpoint, Ohio. Not a surprise, it is the southernmost point in Ohio, just North of the Ohio River across from Huntington, West Virginia.

When my Uncle died, we stayed at my “Aunt’s” house on Lick Crick. She was the neighbor lady that helped raise Mom.

When we got down there it was just before dark. I was driving and after a mistake or two, I made a left turn onto Lick Crick. We drove North for a mile or two up the holler, another Southern pronunciation. We pulled in to my Aunt’s driveway. Mom was born and raised just up the creek.

Back then you didn't stay at a motel, much less a hotel. You crowded into your relatives' places. The people at the house, and that came to the house, came with food. Food and food and food.

That night I was, not warned, but advised, about the religious practices of the family and friends thereabouts. Fire and brimstone. The advisement proved accurate the next day at the funeral.

After we got back to the house, we settled in. I slept in the screened in porch up front. It took awhile to get to sleep because there was pretty much a full moon and, you tell me how many stars there are.

About quarter before dawn, I heard my Aunt banging around in the kitchen. Shortly after, she yelled, "David, you get up now and do what you need to do. Then I need some help in here."

Not really knowing the person, and being polite, I got up and did what I had to do. But I didn't go into the kitchen.

Rather, I walked outside the porch and sat on the steps of the house, to this day, placed on one of the most beautiful places I've been on this earth.

Keep in mind, I was in a narrow valley, the holler, the sun was just over the top of the hill across the road and the pasture beyond it. A lot of mist and fog was moving in the, just getting going day.

Obligatory birds were making sounds.

The air felt, I'm not sure. I've not felt it since.

There was, more especially, the colors. Bright, but a bit dappled by the early morning air, mist and fog.

What I've kept with me is part of my roots. That narrow place is where my Mother started.

Happy Mother’s Day to all of you that are a mom, and to those of you that don’t qualify, the same wish to your Mom.

Waffle House, Big Rick, Bill And Bob

Yesterday, Big Rick and his family celebrated his parent's Fiftieth Wedding Anniversary.

Happy Anniversary, Beth and Bill.

Given that Rick spent the day with Mom and Dad, he got dispensation today and played golf with me on Mother's day.

For the second week in a row, Rick and I got our butts whipped by old guys, more on that after Waffle House.

The Waffle House thing. There's a chain here in the Southeast. Waffle House. There's one at pretty much every exit on an Interstate. We ate breakfast at the one at I-85 and Clairmont Road. One of the great things about Waffle House is the short order cooks. They listen, on a weekend to four or five waitresses calling in orders. They line up the plates with bits of stuff on them to tell them what was ordered. If there are hashbrowns in the order, they put a shred or two of them on the plate. You can get them ";scattered' (spread out on the grill), 'smothered' (with onions), 'covered' (with cheese), 'chunked' (with diced ham), 'diced' (with diced tomatoes), 'peppered' (with jalapeno peppers), 'capped' (with mushrooms) and 'topped' (with chili)." Wikipedia of course is the source. Rick this morning suggested getting them, but "hold the potatoes."

An order including cheese on the hashbrowns, grits or meat, gets a piece of cheese on a certain part of the plate to tell the cook where the cheese will fit in to the meal as it is assembled. Another clue involves strategically placed jelly containers. I'm not sure what they signify. Waffle House also has apple butter, an offering that makes all of the grease magically disappear, though that is not a scientific opinion.

A minor player in this morning's WF experience was a waitress explaining grits. Just to our left at the counter there was a couple. It turned out they were from California. It also turned out that they had not watched "My Cousin Vinny," eaten in the South or ever seen even a single grit. The waitress brought their plates. The guy said "what's that?" You can fill in the rest. She had a syrupy sweet, not Atlanta, but South Georgia accent. They all smiled a lot at each other. They finished a bit before we did. He described the meal as interesting.

I'm going to skip the part about the new cook who was quickly in the weeds and the waitress, not the grit lady, who was not quite sure we were directly in front of her when she looked just over our heads.

The golf course is next. I'm not a good golfer. Neither is Rick. I actually have to quibble that statement. We are both good golfers in that we love to play. We abide by the lore, history and etiquette of the game. We fall short, for the most part, on the skill part.

Rick adds to the attraction of us as people to play with as he is loquacious. When we are paired with people, within a hole or two, Rick draws them into our circle. We've never gotten past three or four holes before it turns out we have a new temporary friend or two.

Last week we played with Bill. Bill had had a stroke awhile back. Had nothing to say for two holes. Turned out that was because of the stroke. He figured out about the third hole that we didn't much care how he talked. He proceeded to beat us.

Today we played with Bob. I'd like to say that it was a close match. My parents told me lying was not a good thing. Bob's retired. His Mom is in her mid-nineties. He didn't say much for the first couple of holes. He just scorred par. Rick and I did not shoot par on those holes.

We did have a few pars. We also had more than our share of sixes. Rick had an eight (Rick, get your own blog if you want to take shots at me).

Playing golf with your friends and new friends, however poorly you play the game, is a lot of fun.

Bonus: I have a really good sock tan going.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Newly Recommended, Again


That's the url of Bob Johnson. Bob changes the name of his blog on a semi-regular basis. If you look at my Recommended list you will find him listed as "Letters I Wish I'd Sent...."

Bob's changing again. As best I'm following it, he's starting a weekly newsletter that he's calling a newspaper because the letter has pretensions, and he doesn't want to hurt its feelings.

This sort of sensibility is one of Bob's hallmarks. The paper will be published every Sunday morning beginning a week from Sunday, May 19. "Publishing" will be new-fangled, for me anyway, by something like RSS. It's sent to your Email address. I'm tired of repeating what you can read if you click the link. Click The Link. NOW. Now that you're back, you did go and come back, didn't you? Bob writes pretty good. Mostly funny. More often than not, nonsensical. Who knows, now that he has a newspaper, he might get all pontifical on us. My thought is to give him a try. I am; and, you know I'm cool. Where'd everybody go?

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Goose: Imus; Gander: Sharpton

The Reverend Al Sharpton may not believe in karma. He's a Christian, of sorts, after all.

A couple of days ago he said, "'As for the one Mormon running for office. Those who really believe in God will defeat him anyways. So don't worry about that, that's a temporary situation.'" USAToday.com. After being called on the comment, he apologized, kind of, to the Mormon Church, "'I would apologize for not being clear. So let me be clear. I do not disrespect anybody's belief.'" kls.com, a TV station website in Utah.

According to ABC4.com, I think a Utah TV website:

"On his radio show Thursday, Al Sharpton issued this apology: 'If...any member of the Mormon Church was inadvertently harmed or bothered or in any way aggrieved because of the distortion of my words or the lack of clarity of my words, they have my sincere apology.'

But compare this apology to what Sharpton said just hours before. Sharpton called on Mitt Romney to explain his membership in a church which once barred blacks from holding the priesthood. Al Sharpton: 'If prior to '65 or '78 - whenever it was - they did not see blacks as equal. I do not believe that as real worshippers of God because I do not believe God distinguishes between people.'

Sharpton also told the Washington Post: 'What is bigoted about asking...about a denomination based on racism.'

In addition, the New York Times quotes the Reverend as saying: ' believe if any religion preaches supremacy or unequalness, they are not true believers in God.'"

Imus said "nappy headed ho." Bad thing to say. He immediately back tracked, apologized, apologized again, and again. Rev. Sharpton insisted upon his head. He got it.

The Reverend has a radio show. Should he be fired? If he has any other gainful employment, will his employer(s) dismiss him for the good of the country's civil discourse, to bring us all together, or whatever it was that CBS said when it dumped Imus?

My thought, no. The people that pay Reverend Sharpton aren't in the billionaire club that CBS and MSNBC are members of. Reverend Sharpton's employers will see his comments as grist for the racial mill they are paying him to grind. Can you be both grist and the grinder?

Nude, Nuder, Nudist, Naked, Au Naturel, Starkers, Bare, And Finally, In The Buff

As bloggers who track traffic will have noticed, strange queries bring people to you. Yesterday, I stole a picture from Steve at Steves Nude Memphis Blog:


Sitemeter says three people have come to my blog since then using a Google search for "nude."

While I know I wasn' t what they were looking for, and if psychically, somehow I was, they have more problems that can be addressed in a post, I do thank them for stopping by.

For those that stopped, here's a primer on boolean searching that you might want to read to streamline your quests:


We'll see what the title to this post brings in. (Courtesy of the thesaurus at Answer.com by way of a Google search for "synonym nude," though I came up with In The Buff on my own.) If it's interesting, I'll let you know.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Stolen From "Steve's Nude Memphis Blog"

As the title says, I stole this picture from http://stevenjones.blogspot.com/. Get up close to your screen and read the small print. Steve isn't for the faint of heart; but, he can be funny in a Larry the Cable Guy kind of way; and, then at other times, he just says some interesting stuff.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Hits And Misses

"We equate mass market with quality and demand, when in fact it often just represents familiarity, savvy advertising, and broad if somewhat shallow appeal. What do we really want? We're only just discovering, but it clearly starts with more."

Quoted from an article in Wired:


The article is long, at five screens; but, it has some really interesting stuff on the effect digital distribution is having and will have on what media people buy.

Monday, May 07, 2007

An Elitist Explains What's Wrong With Us.


This is a link to a Wall Street Journal piece by a Harvard Professor, Harvey C. Mansfield. He got some media criticism for it by left wing media who take the argument he makes as an endorsement for President Bush paying no attention to the “Rule of Law.”

I don’t take that as his argument, necessarily, from having read him.

I do take him as an elitist.

“One should not believe that a strong executive is needed only for quick action in emergencies, ....A strong executive is requisite to oppose majority faction produced by temporary delusions in the people....[A] strong executive must exercise his strength especially against the people, not showing them ‘servile pliancy.’ ....

‘Responsibility’ is not mere responsiveness to the people; it means doing what the people would want done if they were apprised of the circumstances. Responsibility requires ‘personal firmness’ in one's character, and it enables those who love fame—‘the ruling passion of the noblest minds’--to undertake ‘extensive and arduous enterprises.’”

(Emphasis added.)

Well, yeah. If we have an executive who, given our delusions acts against us, when we, were we told what was going on and had the capacity to understand that the executive, loving fame, was acting selflessly to protect us from ourselves, and it turned out all the time that the executive was right, then an elitist view of the beneficent executive might be a good thing.

Executives, be they a Napoleon, a Hitler, a Sadaam (I’m not including GWB, that’s for you to decide) they often say that the people don’t know what’s good for them, don’t tell them what’s going on and then act against them, selflessly, they would argue to achieve a greater good as they see it.

This guy writes really good; but, I’ll stick with the Rule of Law for now, until we find the next Messiah, and make him or her prove that that’s an accurate description.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

What Have I Gotten Myself Into?

I did a recent post on the latest contremps with the "new AT&T."

Late in this last week I'd called and, I thought, straightened out the problems of changing my plans. I was wrong. I could not, and still cannot log on to my wireless internet account. The billing part of AT&T didn't care that I couldn't log and pay.

When I tried to log on this afternoon, I had no service. And though no fault of AT&T, my phone's battery went dead while I was trying to get through to something resembling "customer service" which after a few minutes of phonemail hell would announce that the new "AT&T had no customer service untill Monday morning. 411, at a buck fifty a call had no technical service number.

Anyway, I went to the office and charged my phone, found a place on the net that I could pay the bill that the woman late in the week assured me she would "note on my file" that it wasn't my fault that it wasn't paid.

Got back home, I logged on. I have service. The popup doesn't say Cingular. It doesn't say the New AT&T. It doesn't even say AT&T. Nope. Here's my problem, or a part of it. The person in charge of the software doesn't know who he or she works for.

Who am I connecting to? AT. They've gotten rid of the telegraph part. I know it's small part of the business these days. I think it's downhill from here.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Political Posturing

There's a lot of political nattering about immigration. Build a wall, arrest them all, don't let them live in our towns. Our politicians, I use the word advisedly, are full of it. Many of them are rhetorically yammering about "amnesty." Bad word. Bad thing. Maybe.

The current popular number for illegals in the U.S. is 12 million. OK. Here's a small fact reported by the Washington Post online today that highlights the stupidity of the current debate among politicians about illegals in the country:

"Finally, ICE has boosted the number of fugitive teams from 18 in 2005 to a projected 75 this year, each with a goal of 1,000 arrests a year."

These agents aren't going after run of the mill illegals. They are targeting the over 600,000 aliens that have been ordered deported. The goal of our government is to deport 75,000 of the really bad people, leaving something over 550,000 of, I hate to use this phrase, "the worst of the worst" hanging out here with the other, what, 11,000,000 plus of the other illegals still here.

Just what do our representatives think we are? Stupid I guess. Whichever side of the issue you are on, the Feds have no intention, and no ability to do anything about the issues posed by illegal immigration. "Send 'em all back where they came from." We can't even send back the people that were ordered to be deported.

It's about time someone in govenment decided to be honest about immigration for a start, and then put out an intellectually honest proposal for dealing with the issues illegal immigration poses.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Stupid Business Award

I came across this story on FOX News and then Googled it.

I'm not going to do the usual citation of sources, it really isn't worth it. Just Google "pizza national anthem." You'll get all you need.

It seems a guy in Fayetteville, NC in the heart of an area with military bases, worked part time at a stand at an arena or ballpark selling pizza from a booth behind the playing area.

When the national anthem was played, he and the other people would stop waiting on customers and stand at attention. No one complained, until recently. Some guy named Rick, who's an executive with the arena or ballpark, Crown something, or someone who works for him,came up to the pizza guy and told him he couldn't stop selling during the national anthem. FOX had a response from someone at Crown saying that where the people are, in the seats, it was perfectly right to stand still if you are vendor; but, in the "non-seating areas" it is not "traditional" to stand attention like the pizza guy did. Online, the Rick guy defended Crown by saying that a study had been done and that Crown was doing what all the other arenas/ballparks were doing.

Yeah, I imagine they have people buying hot dogs, sushi and pizza under the stands. But they probably aren't messing with someone who stops for a minute or so during the national anthem in a military town and then trying to lamely defend it.

Rick what's your name, bad move. You have Rather Than Working's first ever stupid business award.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Why Don't Animals Get To Go To Heaven?

Don’t send me learned comments about this post. I’m sure there are religions that admit animals to heaven, I seem to recall reading something about it.

I know all the documentary stories about the “Savage World of [pick your own species].” We have cannibal animals. Girl spiders kill the boys after sex, or some other bug animal does.

Maybe those not-so-good animals should get to go to limbo, that the Pope just redacted from Catholicism.

I’m talking about Patches.

When I was in my twenties, my parents got a little, what I called at the time, a rat dog. Patches was a girl. She stood about a foot tall and weighed, what? White background hair, with tan spots.

This may be too long of an aside; but, you’ve trusted me in the past. My parents had an old farmhouse. The front half of the first floor was the living room. As you looked to the back, directly ahead of you was a wall that concealed the stairway to the second floor. Just to the left was an archway that led to the dining room. When you got in there, there was a door to your right that led to the kitchen. Look to your right, and there was an arch to the foyer, which led you back to the living room.

This was Patches’ rectangle raceway. She for the most part hung out. Every now and then she would up and start doing time trials around the course. Always left to right as I have described the track. That little girl could run, ‘til she hit the linoleum in the kitchen.

“Scratch, scratch, bang!” I never saw her do it, but I could picture her left shoulder sliding into the cabinets under the counter on the backside of the kitchen.

“Scratch, scratch,” as she accelerated through the foyer into the living room.

She’d do this for eight or ten laps. “Scratch, scratch, bang,” every lap. I never said she was a really smart dog.

She’d then stop in the living room where we were sitting, panting and looking at us. No need for approval. If she could have talked, she’d have said, “can you believe how much fun that is?”

My Mom got sick one time when she was in her early or mid-fifties and had to go to the hospital. Serious, but not too bad. She was there for about a week. I had come up on a weekend, gone back home for the week, and went back the Saturday she came home. My Dad and I went to the hospital and drove her home.

Picture the exterior door into the foyer. I walked in first, carrying my Mom’s stuff. Mom was next with Dad kind of there to support her, if needed.

Patches saw me. Keep in mind she wasn’t a bloodhound, in case you’re wondering, she didn’t pick up the scent of Mom. Then she saw Mom.

Animals experience joy. She jumped. Straight up. Her head got maybe to my shoulders. She jumped and she jumped, facing Mom. This went on for a couple of minutes. I thought someone was going to have a heart attack. My Mom just had a few tears.

If I start a religion, Patches sits next to St. Peter at the Gates. Wouldn’t you want to go to Heaven if as you approached, you saw Patches leaping for joy when she saw you?

The New AT&T, Redux

For those of you that visit regularly, you know that I rearranged all of my communications last month. Or I thought I had.

They switched things around quite nicely; but, all of the fiefdoms in the AT&T family decided to quit billing me. At the same time, they started sending me voicemails asking that I call an 800 number for "important information" about my Cingular/Bellsouth account.

I called the numbers, negotiated through voicemail hell and got to any number of people that had no idea why I had been asked to call.

Yesterday, on the third try, a nice lady at Cingular "now part of the New AT&T" figured it out. I had all of the services "bundled." When they were changed they were "unbundled" and as such, well we don't quite know, they just quit billing me. So I gave her all of the info and she told me to go online and register for Ebills.

I just kind of did. The cellphone bill will now come by Email; but, there is no way to register the wireless internet account with the cellphone account. So I started to create a separate wireless internet Ebill account. As part of the registration, they send you a "temporary password" by text message. Sounds good; but, my laptop has its own phone number. Yeah that didn't make much sense to me either. It turns out that my internet service is really just a "fat pipe" cellphone connection and thus has a phone number. The problem? They sent my text message to my computer. I don't think it gets phone or text messages. I'll see when I get home tonight.

In the meantime no one at Cingular, "part of the New AT&T" has any idea what to do about that.

It is important to point out the idiocy here. Cingular won't/can't make any changes to my Bellsouth accounts. Bellsouth won't deal with Cingular accounts. Bellsouth won't send me just one Email to bill me for my home and business accounts. IT'S ALL ONE COMPANY!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

People, It's 2007


The link is to a story in The Washington Post chronicling the story of BP's chief executive's resignation because his former relationship with a lover (here's the important part, the lover was a guy) was going to be reported in a London tabloid.

From the article, it appears that the executive, John Browne, had tried in court to get a British tabloid story about his relationship suppressed. In the process, he had lied to the court about how he had met his now former lover, who was an escort. He didn't tell the court that part. There were some allegations about spending BP money improperly, which were dismissed by BP's Board of Directors.

"'For the past 41 years of my career at BP I have kept my private life separate from my business life," Browne said in a statement. "I have always regarded my sexuality as a personal matter, to be kept private. It is a matter of personal disappointment that a newspaper group has now decided that allegations about my personal life should be made public.'"

Browne was planning to retire on August 1. He has forfeited twenty some million dollars in salary and stock options due to his resignation.

It seems to me that Mr. Browne was done wrong for no good reason. At large cost, he has gone out with more than the little dignity that a British bottom feeding newspaper tried to leave him with.

Too bad we are all so obsessed with each others morality, as seen through our skewed eyes.

I'd have fired him for the fact that my next tank of gas tomorrow is going to cost me something like $2.85 a gallon.