Thursday, March 31, 2011

Thank God for weekends!

By this time of the week I'm usually dragging, and this week is no exception. Still, we're sticking to our plan of doing all our errands before the weekend so that we can do fun stuff on Saturday and Sunday, without worrying about chores hanging over us. Tonight was grocery shopping.

Tomorrow night is our evening out / date night. We've decided on Fireside Pies for dinner (upscale pizza, salad, and adult beverages), then a visit to our favorite bookstore, followed by checking out the happenings right here in our own neighborhood. The sights and sound here on Friday night are usually pretty interesting. *wink*

My treat to myself this Saturday is Coffee & Cars. (Anyone care to join me?) K isn't into any of my car stuff, so I'm on my own for the morning. With nice weather expected I'm looking for as many as 300 exceptionally fine automobiles to be there. I'll share my favorites with you via photos later.

Finally, Sunday: On-line church, the newspaper at Starbucks, and finally grilling steaks and NetFlix movie night. By then I should have my batteries recharged and ready for Monday.

If I can just make it until 5pm tomorrow..... *groan*


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Plastic surgery gone wrong

Didn't I see this guy featured in a 60 Minutes expose of "plastic surgery gone wrong"? Looks like his collagen injections were done by a beauty school dropout.

Now I guess I'll be on Moammar Gadhafi's hit list, too. Last week I made a disparaging remark about Iran and today I saw that I've had a pageview from there. I must have triggered their secret police's ire. Ya think maybe I'd best scratch North Africa/the Mideast off my retirement travel itinerary?


Interesting observation

Well, it's interesting to me at least....

In my previous position I had to be at work very early, so I up around 5 am, took the dog out for her dootie call, then got myself showered and dressed and off to work. Now that I'm back building custom homes, the same sequence of events starts around 6 am.

By 5:30 am+/- the few cars on the road are either, a: 10 year old wrecks usually hitting on less than their original number of cylinders, or b: the biggest, fanciest luxo-barges made. I'm guessing the former are the minimum wage workers going to work to mop the floors, stock the shelves, etc, before business opens for the day, and the latter are the workaholic top executives getting an early start on out-foxing the competition.

By 6:30 am+/- all the worker bees begin to clog the roads in their Honda's, Toyota's....what I'll call "middle class" cars.

I've found this to be a consistent pattern. Is it like this in your area?


Monday, March 28, 2011

Faded glory

Today on my way to visit one of my jobsites I took a road I hadn't been on before. Mainly I just wanted to know where it went. I do that now and then because....I dunno....I'm just weird. Anyway, I happened upon this old wreck rusting away in a field:

The hand-painted "5" on the side intrigued me. I wonder what the story behind the number was? I wonder how many races he won, if only in his dreams, in this fine machine? I wonder where he, or she, is today?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Poli-Grip Panthers

Politics NOT as usual. That's what the 2012 elections are shaping up to be. Generally, this makes me very happy. I've even heard more than a little talk about hauling away all the lobbyists in chains, abolishing Political Action Committees (PACs), and...dare I say it out loud...putting term limits on Congress. Woo-hoo!

But...there's always a "but"...they're also talking about limiting/drastically reducing Medicare and Social Security. Hold on there, Kemo-sabe. "We the people" have had a contract (some would argue signed under duress) with the government for decades that said we pay now, we get benefits later. Now it's "later", and they're wanting to renege? Better think this one through, Beltway Boyz. All those rabble-rousers from the 60's just might become the new Poli-Grip Panthers.

The Feds don't want to pay me now that I'm on Social Security's doorstep? Fine. They can give me back ALL the money I've paid into those systems, plus market rate interest since I began working, and I'll call the contract off as if it never happened. Cut my SS 25%...then gimme back 25% of what I've paid in plus interest. Fair is fair, Uncle Sam. What's it gonna be?


You make do with what you have

Yesterday the weather was perfect....low 80's, sunny, a little breeze. This morning, not so perfect....40's and windy. Still, it's the weekend, so we'll make the best of it.

Last night K and I ventured out on to "Fun Street", the main drag that runs through our neighborhood. Although you can't really feel the vibe on the street from a photo, trust me, things were lively:

There were hundreds of people crawling all over the place, with long waits at most of the outdoor-seating cafes. I even saw numerous hotel mini-busses bringing their guests to our neighborhood for an evening of fun and revelry. It can get pricey, so we usually eat at home before we venture out. We sat outside Ginger Man and had a cold beverage, then the cool front came through, the wind direction changed, and we ducked inside for the rest of the evening. Unfortunately the front brought with it even MORE pollen. Ah-choo! My sinuses are so swollen I swear there are bags under the bags under my eyes.

This evening we've invited my friend Neil over for dinner. Now that I've discovered how nice our outdoor grill setup is here in our common courtyard, I'm itching to grill some cow. Not having my own grill has been one of the most difficult things to get used to since we moved into our comfy little apartment. The menu: New York strip steak and baked potato. (Notice the lack of green vegetables? That's because I planned the menu. *wink*)

Hope y'all have a fun day planned.


Friday, March 25, 2011

And you thought you were having a bad day?

Au contraire. You could be CAR magazine writer Jethro Bovingdon who was invited to drive the not-yet-released Ferrari FF. I'm sure he thought he was so cool, one of a select handful of auto writers who were allowed such an honor. So what does he do? He goes out and wrecks it. Watch this.

OK, it was just a wheel he tore up, but a Ferrari wheel probably cost more than my entire car. Ouch!


Thursday, March 24, 2011

How much do I love co-ops?

About $94,000,000 worth. That's how much REI Co-op returned to their members this past year. I've been a member for years, and regularly get back $50-$100 a year. (There is a one-time fee of $25 to become a member.) REI is an outdoor gear store that is one of my favorite places to shop. They have 2 stores here in Dallas, many other brick-and-mortar stores coast-to-coast, as well as an on-line store. And no, I'm not on REI's payroll. I just really like them.

I think it's so cool when members get to share in the "profits" of a business. I just feel like I'm being treated fairly there, instead of being "sold" something. Sort of how I like credit unions more than banks (whose main, ONLY job....seems to be to squeeze every last cent they can out of you). I've become quite the cynic. Can you tell? I guess it's just another sign of the times we live in.


Sleeping around

Here in north Texas it's been bone dry and windy for weeks. Add to that all the trees in bloom and all the new grass growing (and the old grass rotting), and you have one helluva lot of pollen and mold flying around. Most of it winds up in my nose for me to sniff and snort and sneeze away.

Thanks to my allergy med I can handle all that. The bad part, however, is that when I lay my head on my pillow at night, my head begins to get stuffy. Before long, usually just after I've fallen asleep, I revert to breathing through my mouth, followed shortly by some very offensive snoring.

Next comes the sharp elbow in the ribs telling me to turn over, or just do something to nix the snoring. I wish it were that easy! So to save my dear wife's decent night sleep, I drag myself to the other bedroom and sleep on the little twin bed. It's actually quite comfortable, but it isn't the same. I just don't see the attraction to sleeping around. *hee hee! You thought I meant....*


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Bring on the $5 gas!

Hell, make it $6 a gallon. We Americans never do anything without a Super-Sized incentive.


In most ways I'm almost Libertarian-like in my attitude as to how you live your life. You want to blow your entire paycheck filling up your Hummer with gas? Go ahead. It's your money. What do I care?'s the caveat: If you want to spend YOUR money buying American-produced crude oil, or oil from Canada or some other country who largely shares our values, go ahead. But if you want to spend your money buying gas made from oil extracted from some foreign (read: Middle Eastern) land, a land where they revile Americans and use their earnings to support anti-American groups WHO WANT TO KILL US, or at least ruin our economy, I say, "Whoa there big guy. Now you're stepping on MY toes, and I don't like it."

At $5 or $6 a gallon, it won't be long before before we park all of our gas hogs and get reasonable about our fuel consumption. It would be a painful transition, I know, but how else are we going to escape the grasp of all those oil producers who want to harm us?

I personally don't give a rats ass about Libya, or Iran, or Saudi Arabia, or any of the rest of them. But as long as they have the oil, and we need said oil, we're captive. And that bugs me no end.

And somebody explain to me again why we're giving (many of them) foreign aid?

Rant over.


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

My lifelong record was broken tonight

I don't recall ever...EVER...winning anything in my entire life. I can no longer say that. We went to our complex "community awareness" meeting tonight where they fed us free food and drink, updated us on our neighborhood happenings, new shops opening nearby, our recycling program, blah blah. At the end of the evening they had drawings for free stuff, and I WON!

It's a $100 voucher off next month's rent. I'm thinking that $100 savings could be put towards a nice dinner out at one of our new, swanky neighborhood restaurants. Pretty sweet, huh? :)


I couldn't make this up.......

A friend sent me this story as reported in the European press*:

"DENMARK: A patient broke wind while having surgery and set fire to his genitals. The 30-year-old man was having a mole removed from his bottom with an electric knife when his attack of flatulence was ignited by a spark. His genitals, which were soaked in surgical spirits, caught fire. The man, who is suing the hospital, said, 'When I woke up, my penis and scrotum were burning like hell. Besides the pain, I can't have sex with my wife.' Surgeons at the hospital in Kjellerups said: 'It was an unfortunate accident.'"

Uh...hello Mrs. Anderssen. We have some good news and some bad news. Your husband's mole is gone. So is his junk.


* I couldn't make this up, but I'm not so sure someone else didn't.

Monday, March 21, 2011

A turtle kind of day....with EDIT

The turtles in / around our small neighborhood man-made lake were out catchin' some rays today. Four of them managed to congregate on top of the water overflow inlet, but as I got close enough for a photo they turned shy on me. Only this one by the steps would pose for me:

Being outside all weekend gave me the first signs of a summer tan, but just turned K red, and boy-o-boy have I heard about it! I told her she should be grateful she got her minimum daily requirement of vitamin D. I don't think she bought it. *shaking head*

A wonderful dinner and an evening of Top Gear on BBC America awaits. Tell me again what's so bad about Mondays?


EDIT....Top Gear is a British TV show with a (loosely) car theme. Tonight they put a British comedian in a car for a drive, and I swear I had NO IDEA what he said. I've never heard a brogue that indecipherable before. I asked K what he said, and she was clueless, too. The host was laughing, the audience was laughing, and I was just hoping for subtitles. Bizarre.

On the other hand, if I were on Top Gear, I wonder if they could understand Texan?

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The perfect Spring day.....

Today K and I took our newspaper, a snack, some liquid refreshment, and the dog and parked ourselves by the ce-ment pond in our neighborhood. Taking Emma Belle out around people, kids, and other dogs was a bold step for us as she is a notorious barker. She surprised us by being a perfect little lady, behaving herself and even making some new friends. Fortunately we live in a very dog friendly neighborhood, so everyone was happy to visit / pet her.

Feeling brave, we even walked her home via Bishop St, aka "Fun Street". It's a good thing we did, as I saw this immaculate (70's vintage?) Triumph TR6 parked curbside:

*Shhhh.....I'm having a flashback*

Back home now, brownies in the oven, home-made hamburgers for dinner later, then NetFlix movie night. Just about perfect, I'd say. Good evening, y'all. :)


Saturday, March 19, 2011

Here's to you, Tara Belle

On the corner of my desk where I can see it every day sits my little shrine to Tara Belle, my dearly departed Best Friend Forever. And the cap? It keeps my scalp from looking the color of...well...the cap.

Tonight we're walking to the Ginger Man, our neighborhood pub. We're going to sit outside, enjoy a cool brew, and check out the moon at its closest / fullest in 18 years. Sounds like a good way to put the week to bed, don't you think? :)


'Splain it to me, Lucy

See if I understand this Libya thing right: Libyan head-goon Mooahmer K. Daffy is killing off his own people in order to hold on to his title and his cash stash. Most of the world is naturally incensed by this savagery, so they go to the UN and pass a resolution authorizing a no-fly zone and possibly more, too. K. Daffy thumbs his nose at this resolution and keeps on killing off his people. World leaders will soon (?) hold a meeting and talk about exactly how/when/if to act.

Seems to me there are two choices....hit Mooahmer with everything you have immediately and take him out permanently, or walk away entirely. You have cajones or you don't. If you don't, don't make idle threats. We can do this ourselves today, or we can consult with the rest of the world, divvie up who gets to bomb what, and then dick around with it until Christmas.

Why would anyone take a UN resolution seriously? Has there ever been a more worthless organization? I take that back. They do some very good humanitarian work when it is totally uncontroversial and when somebody will write a check to cover the cost, including the graft that goes with it. But peacekeeping? Hahaha!

If we're going to butt in to another country's business, let's just do it and get it over with. Regardless of how it turns out you know we'll be cutting them a big "foreign aid" check to cover their re-building (re-slumming?) costs. 'Cause it makes us "feel better", and then we can go to the mall guilt-free. (Don't you hate it when you have to step over all those dead bodies while you're shoe shopping?)


Wednesday, March 16, 2011


I ride the elevator in our apartment building at least 3 times a day. About 85% of the time it smells like nothing at all, which is OK. About 5% of the time it smell like cleaning supplies. Obviously the housekeepers have just been in, which is also OK. About 5% of the time it smells like ladies perfume...not too strong, not grandma-ish, but quite nice. I love her fragrance, whoever she is. Mmmmmm... :)

But about 5% of the time it smells like a smoker. Ugh! Gag! I don't know if someone had been smoking in there just before I got in (which is illegal in my city, but that's another story), or whether they are just such a heavy smoker the smell oozes from their pores. But whatever, it just reeks. That's what I had to smell tonight as I took Emma Belle out for her evening dootie call.

I try to be tolerant, but Jeez....take a bath, wash your hair, gargle, just do something, whoever you are.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Amazing video!!

A friend sent me this amazing video of the Japanese tsunami I haven't seen before. It is incredible:

Can you imagine how helpless we would be if something like this were to happen to the US west coast and we had to depend on FEMA to respond? And something like this WILL happen here some day. Maybe by then we'll have had our "revolution" (revelation?), fire everyone on the government payroll, and get some real public servants who actually know how to do something besides shuffle papers and watch the time clock.

This ought to be a wake up call for all of us. God help those suffering in Japan tonight.


Saturday, March 12, 2011

Could it get any worse? Actually, yes it could.....and did. plus EDIT

As if things weren't bad enough in Japan after one of the largest earthquakes in recorded history, now one of their nuclear power plants has blown up. Those poor people can't buy a break! God help them. Let's hope the radiation leak is minimal...and isn't blowing our way.

I'd hate to be a nuclear power plant salesman right now. His job just got much harder. Maybe they'll have a two-fer sale soon, or offer factory rebates. Seriously, this incident probably added years to the approval process for any new nuclear power plant applications.

We went to Cru wine bar & restaurant last night with one of K's co-workers and her date. Wonderful atmosphere, good wine (so I'm told....I'm not into wines), OK food. Good 'intelligence' bonanza.

75 degrees and sunny here today. I'm thinking shorts. Hope my winter-white legs don't cause a panic. Grilling hamburgers and sausage later this afternoon in our courtyard:

It's really very nice. I don't know why we haven't used it more before now. That will change as the weather gets nicer, I promise.


Wednesday, March 9, 2011 'em or pity them?

True story: I heard an ad on the radio today for Restland Funeral Home. The deceased's wife told of how accommodating Restland was, playing country and western music for her late husband's service "since he was a redneck and would have loved it."

Now I'm wondering....why would you want to admit you or anyone you loved were a redneck? Redneck is defined as "....a historically derogatory slang term similar to 'hillbilly' and 'white trash'. In recent decades the term has expanded to mean bigoted, loutish, and opposed to modern ways."

Does anyone aspire to be a redneck, or is it something you pull yourself up by your bootstraps to overcome? I'm thinking the latter. Even if I were "bigoted, loutish, and opposed to modern ways", I don't think I'd publicly brag about it.

They need an ax, not a scalpel

Here in Texas, and I imagine it's pretty much the same everywhere, the news is full of how all our gubments...local, state, federal...are broke and must find ways to cut back. They all get back to the pay and benefits of our "civil servants", and that's when my blood begins to boil. Do you have any idea how much those mouth breathers make, and how lavish (capital L!) their benefits are? I could live with that if I felt their talent and productivity was head-and-shoulders better than those workers in the private sector, but my experience has been that is rarely the case.

Over the years I've dealt with government surveyors, engineers, inspectors, and directors. I've had dealings with county bureaucrats and state employees in many different agencies, too. And if you wanna have a laugh go visit with someone from HUD, the EPA, the FDIC, or FEMA. They are experts at doing nothing. They can quote chapter and verse which forms you must have, the hoops you must jump through, the hearings you must endure, etc. What would take a single private company executive 10 minutes to accomplish takes multiple government committees months, perhaps years, to do. If ever.

More proof? Government financial regulators: Do you know how much they make? Well up into six figures! If they had been doing their job, if they had been smart enough or awake enough, they could have derailed Bernie Madoff years ago. And Enron...and WorldCom...and $147 a barrel oil thanks to rampant speculation...and the entire financial meltdown of 2008? They were too busy counting down the days to their retirement to pay attention.

I've had my opinions confirmed by government insiders, too. My brother's FIL retired from his Fortune 500 company VP position, only to get bored and agree to work part-time and share his purchasing expertise with his city government. He said he was appalled at what he saw. I asked him how many of those city employees he worked with could have worked for him in the private sector, and he replied, "only one". The rest were just taking up space....and making big bucks doing it, usually more than their counterparts in the private sector. The world is upside down, I tell ya!

On the other hand I've seen the work police officers and firefighters do, and air traffic controllers, and a select few others, and they have my admiration and respect. The rest....lets just say the threat of a "government shutdown" leaves me giddy with anticipation.


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Bless her little heart....

My wife has this obsession with food. It's not so much that she likes to eat it, but she likes to know what's in it. Preservatives are a BIG no-no. Her latest healthy-diet regimen is anti-grain. No breads, cereals, rice, etc. She can tell you about what vitamins each food she eats is high in, what to eat to even things out....all that. Not a meal goes by without her telling me how she's never looked better (very true!), how she's never felt better, how her natural insulin level has never been more perfect, etc, all due to her diet.

Then there's me. My dietary rule (I only have one) is "if it tastes good, eat it." I have no idea what's in what I eat, nor do I care. Thankfully most of the things I like are reasonably healthy, and I always eat/drink in moderation. I enjoy one....just beverage, usually a beer, with my evening meal. I rarely eat any fried foods, don't over-do the red meat thing, and we tend to reserve big desserts for special occasions. My splurge is Coke Zero. I'll have at least 3 a day (because there are 3 parts to a day....morning, noon, and night). To me preservatives are meant to preserve you, as in "keep you from going bad". Somehow, this all makes perfect sense in my warped mind. Yep, life is good.

Now if you'll excuse me I must go have my breakfast brownie. :)


Sunday, March 6, 2011

My favorite 'Genie in a bottle' story

A husband takes his wife to play her first game of golf. Of course, the wife promptly hacked her first shot right through the window of the biggest house adjacent to the course.

The husband cringed, 'I warned you to be careful! Now we'll have to go up there, find the owner, apologize and see how much your lousy drive is going to cost us.'

So the couple walked up to the house and knocked on the door. A warm voice said, 'Come on in.'

When they opened the door they saw the damage that was done: glass was all over the place, and a broken antique bottle was lying on its side near the pieces of window glass.

A man reclining on the couch asked, 'Are you the people that broke my window?'

'Uh...yeah, sir. We're sure sorry about that,' the husband replied.

'Oh, no apology is necessary. Actually I want to thank you. You see, I'm a genie, and I've been trapped in that bottle for a thousand years. Now that you've released me, I'm allowed to grant
three wishes. I'll give you each one wish, but if you don't mind, I'll keep the last one for my self.'

Wow, that's great!' the husband said. He pondered a moment and blurted out, 'I'd like a million dollars a year for the rest of my life.'

'No problem,' said the genie. 'You've got it, it's the least I can do. And I'll guarantee you a long, healthy life!'

'And now you, young lady, what do you want?' the genie asked.

'I'd like to own a gorgeous home in every country in the world complete with servants,' she said.

'Consider it done,' the genie said. 'And your homes will always be safe from fire, burglary and natural disasters!'

'And now,' the couple asked in unison, 'what's your wish, genie?'

'Well, since I've been trapped in that bottle, and haven't been with a woman in more than a thousand years, my wish is to have sex with your wife.'

The husband looked at his wife and said, 'Gee, honey, you know we both now have a fortune, and all those houses. What do you think?'

She mulled it over for a few moments and said, 'You know, you're right. Considering our good fortune, I guess I wouldn't mind, but what about you, honey?'

'You know I love you sweetheart,' said the husband. 'I'd do the same for you!'

So the genie and the woman went upstairs where they spent the rest of the afternoon enjoying each other.

The genie was insatiable. After about three hours of non-stop sex, the genie rolled over and looked directly into her eyes and asked, 'How old are you and your husband?'

'Why, we're both 35,' she responded breathlessly.

'No kidding,' he said.

'Thirty five years old and you both still believe in genies?'

Saturday, March 5, 2011


"The Ordeal" is over. I am no longer employed by Big Giant Corporation. I gave my notice last week, and was released completely and amicably this past Friday. Woo Hoo!

Our small family business is up and running again. We have two custom homes to build, both pre-sold, with modest profit margins such that I can pursue it full time. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to work for Big Giant Corporation these past months, not just because it allowed me a modest income, but because it gave me a new perspective....a new appreciation of my chosen profession. It was a real eye-opener. Hopefully I can ride this wave of a rebounding economy until I retire in the not-too-distant future.

As a nice first day away from Corporate America, I attended our local "Cars and Coffee" this morning. It was cold, even blustery, but I was relaxed for a change and enjoyed every minute of it. There were the usual mix of exotic Ferrari's, Lamborghini's, etc, but lately I've been drawn to the older, more oddball cars that show up. Today this was my favorite:

I know it looks quite odd by today's standards, even laughable, but back in the 1960's this was a hot little model for Alfa Romeo. This Guilia (pronounced "Julia") had only one owner in Italy until it was purchased by an American Alfisti and brought here 5 years ago. Innit cute?

All my weekend chores are already done, so all I have to do tomorrow is enjoy my Sunday paper, drink coffee, and enjoy being outside once it warms up some later in the day. Nice, huh? Wishing you a nice day, too. :)