Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Shhhh...don't tell Kelly.....with EDIT

.....but I have a crush on Carla Bruni.  She's currently married to the President of France, Nicolas Sarkozy, but that's OK, as the only part of her she allows me to enjoy is her voice. I'll share.




Years ago I was at Barnes and Noble and they were playing absolutely gorgeous, sexy music over their sound system.  I went to the music department and asked who that was playing right then and they said Carla Bruni.  It was love at first....er...hear.  She was singing something in French, which might have been the nutritional label off the back of a box of cereal for all I know, but the way she sang it...oh la la!  I've since bought every one of her CD's that I could find, and love them all.  It almost makes me want to learn French, right after I finish learning English.


What reminded me of my past lust was the movie trailer that mentioned she would have a bit part in the new Woody Allen movie, Midnight in Paris, which opens next week.  You can check it out here.  Conveniently, it will be playing at our neighborhood movie theatre, the Angelika.  It's fate, I tell 'ya!  I'm hoping hers is a bit singing part.  The fact that she's beautiful is just a bonus.  *wink*


S


PS...remember, our little secret, OK?


EDIT:  Listen for yourself here.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Washington....home of the best politicians money can buy

Anybody been keeping up with Elizabeth Warren's nomination to become the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau chief?  She's a pretty feisty Harvard law professor who is hoping to be able to call the banks, credit card companies, mortgage originators, etc on the carpet for their blatantly anti-consumer business dealings.  They've been running amok for years under the premise "He who has the gold makes the rules". Many...OK, me...like the idea of having someone with the power and the willingness to do something looking out for the people's interests (although the idea of yet another bureaucracy bothers me).  


Recently she testified before a congressional committee and had the nerve to stand up to one of the congressmen interrogating her, a big Washington no-no.  The Republicans on the committee have already said there is no way they are going to confirm her nomination, so she really didn't lose much by standing up to him.  Still, I found it refreshing.


What I can't figure out is why the Republicans are willing to vote down a consumer advocate and stand beside the banks and credit card companies in light of all the sleazy things they've done and continue to do, and the near-collapse of the world economy they almost caused.  And got caught doing.  What are the Republicans thinking??  That would be like volunteering to be a character witness for Adolf Hitler.  (Hey, I call 'em like I see 'em.)


S

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Too many passwords

This falls into the category of being the "bug" splattering against "life's windshield":


Yesterday I wanted to know what my checking account balance was, so I went online. Of course I had to enter my account number and my password, but I had a brain fart and couldn't remember WHICH password was the current one.   Seems a few months ago I entered the wrong password several times in a row and as a security measure it locked down my bank account all together.  I called them, waited forever for a real live human being (I think his name was "Peggy"), and he instructed me on how to set up a new password.


Now I'm experiencing "deja vu all over again".  Which one among my dozen or so passwords is the current one for this bank account?  Not the one for my online newspaper subscription, not the one for my Amazon account, not the one for my gmail account, not the one for my Yahoo account, not the one for my USAA bank account, not the one for my LL Bean account, not the one for.....


I have always been told to NOT use the same easy-to-remember password for ALL my accounts as one hack could literally open up EVERY account to a hack.  But damn, I'm sometimes challenged just trying to find my keys in the morning, much less trying to keep a dozen passwords pared up with their respective accounts.


Oh, and the outcome of yesterday's goof?  I asked for an email reminder of my password, and the email they sent me said to call one of two phone numbers for assistance.  They both had recorded messages saying they were closed.


Grrrrrr!


S

Saturday, May 28, 2011

NOT a good start.....

Last night's baseball game recap:  It was hot and HUMID!  We lost 7 to 4, which left me disappointed about as long as I could say "We lost 7 to 4."  I had my hot dog, my nachos with jalapenos, and a beer, so all was not lost.  Then it came time for the fireworks, and after a flurry of bottle rockets were launched they turned the lights back on and said, "Thanks, y'all drive carefully going home."  


Huh?  That's it?  Did they blow up all their fireworks last week and those were the only things left at the bottom of the box? 


Oh well, at least I slept like a baby last night.  Which made getting up early this morning even more difficult.  At 0700 the dog finally said, "Look people, I gotta go.  NOW!"  (Yes, she can talk.)  So much for sleeping in.  Now we're hustling to make it to my grand-kiddlet's birthday party.  Who schedules a birthday party on Saturday MORNING?  


Ugh.  I need caffeine.


S

Friday, May 27, 2011

Fireworks tonight!!!!

No, I'm not talking about some marathon bedroom Olympics. *darn*  I mean real fireworks, the kind that go BOOM! and rain down pretty-colored sparks on unsuspecting overdressed people after a baseball game.  Tonight we're going to a Frisco Rough Rider game, and after the game they're putting on a first-class fireworks show. (From where we live I could see the fireworks show they had last Friday and it was impressive.)


The ballpark is only about 1 1/2 miles from our home, and their hot dogs and nachos and adult brews are plentiful and cheap.  The RR's are a Texas Ranger farm team, but since I don't really follow baseball and wouldn't know Josh Hamilton if he sat down next to me, I really don't care about the game.  Nope, I'm all about the fresh air, the highly interesting "people watching" opportunities *wink*, the junk food, and the fireworks.  BOOM!!  


Saturday morning, assuming I don't get torched Friday night, we're going to daughter Erica's house to celebrate grandson Parker's second birthday.  We have for him a double-wide Slip-'n-Slide and a water wiggle thingy.  'Course, at 2 years old we could give him a used toner cartridge and a cardboard box full of dirt and he'd be just as happy.  Still, with all of my daughters and their boys in attendance it should be fun.  And exhausting.  


Hope y'all have a fun weekend planned, too.  :)


S

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Is Blogger broken again?

Are we all in a coma?  This place has been DULL the past several days.  Was it something I said?


It looks like the highlight of my day will be taking my car for a bath.  The weatherguessers are saying no rain for the next 5 days, maybe longer, so I'm goin' for it.  Saturday is my youngest grandson's birthday party (2 yrs old), and I'm taking Monday off for the holiday, and that's pretty much it.  Unless some excitement presents itself soon I just might slip into a coma myself.


Impress me with your whirlwind life, somebody.  :)


S

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Our weather could get ugly....and more car pics, too

You've heard it said that animals can sense something bad coming, such as an earthquake?  My dog Emma Belle does NOT like to go outside and "do her business" in the rain.  She just refuses, period.  This afternoon when I came home from work I took her out as usual and she...er...well, let's just say her "business" was impressive, if you know what I mean.  The weatherguessers are again predicting an atmospheric "perfect storm" is brewing for us here, and based on Emma's "now or never" bathroom behavior, I think they might be right. Emma Belle, Weather Dog  *has a nice ring to it*

And now for something more pleasant....here are some more cool/unique cars I saw last weekend at the British and European Car Day in Dallas: 



A couple of nice Alfa Romeo's ^


A well-worn Saab rally car  ^


A TVR (British)  ^


A Morgan (also British) ^


A Volvo P1800 (I almost bought one of these many years ago) ^


A "Bug-eye" Sprite (see where it gets its name?) 



A Lancia Beta (Italian) ^

(You can click on any picture to enlarge it)

Hope you're safe tonight, wherever you are.

S

EDIT:  Plano was spared the big storms last night.  Most went south of us, and some went north, but here we just got a little rain.  

Monday, May 23, 2011

Hey, buddy....can you spare $24 million ?

I've got my eye on this cute little bungalow in Highland Park, a tiny burb just north of downtown Dallas that I think I could make do with.  My new digs would have 10,500 square feet, plus another 1,045 square foot cabana complete with a basketball sport-court on the lot next door that comes with it.  Three stories....five bedrooms....six baths....three fireplaces, and a four-car garage.  Oh, and did I mention it has an "I-love-me" room? 


Actually it would be an "I-love-the-previous-owner" room.  That would be Dallas Cowboy QB (RET) Troy Aikman.  (I'm afraid my chintzy little "Top Gun" trophy I won from the Citizens Police Academy back in '01 might be juuuuust a bit lost in there.)


It seems Troy and his Mrs. are splittin' the sheets after 10 years of until-now blissful matrimony.  I'm guessing Troy won't need that much space and will probably just move back in with his folks until he decides what he's going to do with the rest of his life.  Trade school, perhaps?


Think he'd throw in an autographed NFL football to keep my Top Gun trophy company?  It IS a buyers market, you know.


S

Sunday, May 22, 2011

It doesn't get any better than today

Fun, fun! I had it in abundance today.  Things started as usual for a Sunday....church....Starbucks and the newspaper....but then we headed off to the British and European Car Day at White Rock Lake.  Where to start?


How about a line of old and new Mini's a block long


This was my favorite of the Mini's on display


The same with Triumph's....a block of these ^ 


and these ^


A very nice MG TF (?)

Then we get to the aristocracy....


Austin Healey's....yes, it's leaking....they do that


And luscious Jaguar's, too


The strangest car there had to be this post-war Citroen 2CV, a contemporary of the original VW Beetle


If K had had her checkbook with her this could have been a very expensive day.  I think she would have written the guy a check on the spot for this new Fiat 500 convertible ^

I managed to hustle her out of there before she did, so instead we dropped a few bucks at The Blue Goose on a couple of margaritas and some chips and salsa.  Now we're back at su casa, where K is fixin' us some lobster tail for dinner that Central Market had on sale yesterday.  Mmmmmm!

We'll shortly wind down the day by watching When in Rome for movie night. Told you it was a fun day.  :)

Hope y'all had a good day, too.

S


My kindred spirit in revolution

Spain is a real mess today.  They had an economic crash a couple of years ago that was even more severe than ours.  Unemployment is over 20% and the country is effectively broke.  The people are feeling the pain while those who profited tremendously from the corruption still sit atop their spoils and are enjoying the good life.   (Sound familiar?)


They are having nationwide elections today, and there have been huge protest rallies all across the land.  They carry signs that say, among others, "Let those responsible pay for the crisis".  Visiting a protest site in Madrid the BBC reported this:


"This is an historic moment.  Thousands of people have been camping in Sol since last Sunday with no flags or affiliation to any party."


They go on to quote one of the protesters, Milena Almagro Garcia: "Young people, old people, families, it does not matter.  We are not just asking for jobs.  We are asking for a change in the political system."


"We have no option but to vote for the two biggest parties in Spain, who are more or less the same.  They are unable to solve any problem.  It is just a nest of corruption.  We are tired.  In short, we want a working democracy.  We want a change."


We need to get more people here fired up like Milena.  I'm pulling for the Spanish to start something big, something that will inspire us here.  


This might be a bit of a heavy read for a Sunday morning, but this story from across the pond really grabbed me.  I'll be watching with interest.


S

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Apocalypse Central w/ photo

This end-of-time thing is raising as many questions as it answers.  For example, should I eat dinner before I leave, or will there be a buffet There?  I know I won't need to eat in Heaven, but what if I want to?  How many bags can I take?  Is there a fee for more than one?  I've always read that everything needed will be provided in Heaven, but then again I would hate to be the only one to show up empty handed.  While we're waiting would tailgating be inappropriate?  Will I need sunscreen?  Should I take a small gift for our Host?  And the dog.....


I've always heard it said that ideally you will spend your last dollar at the exact moment you take your last breath.  So should I just buy lots of little things, or blow it all on one biggie....like a new Maserati?  


There are just so many last minute details to tend to.  I wish I was more organized.


S
(Rapture Candidate)


EDIT:  Getting ourselves into the right mood, we ate brunch here:



It was WONDERFUL!  I'm ready now.  :)

Friday, May 20, 2011

And the winner is.......?

....My mother-in-law.  Yesterday she won $5,000 on a lottery scratch-off.  'Course, I wonder how much she spent over time to win that $5K?


They live in a suburb of Foat Wuth, and we go to visit them half a dozen or so times a year.  (K calls them every day.)  We usually make the journey on a Saturday or Sunday, so I'll just wear my normal weekend attire:  shorts or jeans depending on the season and a t-shirt or polo shirt.  Coincidentally I wore the same shirt/pant combination 3 or 4 trips in a row, which prompted my MIL to ask K if we were poor, as I had only one set of clothes.  Haha!


Now with 5G's burning a hole in her housecoat maybe she'll remember that and buy me a couple of new t-shirts.  :)


S

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Best anti-theft device EVER!!

While stopped at a traffic light recently I saw this sticker in the back glass of a Suburban:




Sort of reminds me of that line from one of the Dirty Harry movies...."You feelin' lucky, punk?"  This is Texas, remember, so it's definitely NOT out of the realm of possibility.


(You can click the image to enlarge if you want.)


S

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Priorities?

Heard on the radio as I drove to work this morning: The Dallas city manager is briefing the city council on the expected budget shortfall and her recommendations for addressing it. Both mayoral candidates say tough decisions must be made, but they believe CORE SERVICES such as public safety are not the places to cut.

Then I heard about the space shuttle Endeavor docking today with the International Space Station to deliver a $2,000,000,000.00 magnetic thingamajig that will be able to do research on the origins of our universe.

Seems to me the City of Dallas knows how to prioritize while the bureaucrats in Washington don't. Universe research is fine, but not IMO while we have CORE SERVICES going begging.

The obvious difference between Dallas and Washington? Washington can say "yes" to everything and just print more money; Dallas can't.

S


Please note:  I now have another blog which you can read here.  Please come visit me there, too.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

My dilemma....

I get home from work most weekdays a bit before 5 pm. One of my chores is to take the dog out for some sunshine, a leg stretch, and a bit of "relief", if you know what I mean. Recently there have been two very attractive bikini-clad young ladies (so I'm told...I didn't look, K, honest I didn't ;) laying on a blanket sunbathing on the banks of our little man-made neighborhood lake. So far, so good....er....I mean, I'm appalled.

Here's my dilemma: Should I just casually walk by and give them a polite "hello", or should I tell them that the spot they're sunbathing in is the exact spot where all the neighborhood dogs poop? (Yes, we pet-owners pick up most of our dog's messes, but the key word here is "most". You would think the ultra-green grass would be a tip-off.)

The first option could conceivably lead to a restraining order, but the second might see them move somewhere far, far away to do their sunbathing.

It's a tough call. Someone help me out here.

S


Monday, May 16, 2011

DON'T VOTE.....

.....It'll just encourage the bastards.

That pretty well sums up how I feel about the election season that is starting in earnest right now. I can't think of a single candidate of either party who I trust. All of 'em speak with forked tongues.

As I'm fairly Libertarian I find some (but certainly not all) of what Ron Paul says to be interesting, but of course he has ZERO chance of being elected. Same with Donald Trump (who's officially out anyway). Really? "The Donald"? He's much too pompous and abrasive and profane to ever be elected anything, but still, he's at least speaking up and making some un-PC points that need to be made. Good for ya, The Donald.

Then there's Newt Gingrich.

Lemme ask you this: What if you came home from work and found a robber running out the back door with your TV, then a few days later you saw the same guy hot-wiring your car and driving off, and then still later you saw video surveillance of the same guy using your stolen identity to charge up your credit card. Then came November and you saw the same guy's picture on a campaign billboard saying "Vote for me, the law & order candidate". Would you believe him?

Isn't that what Newt is asking us to do? He was a member of Congress for 20 years, including 4 years as Speaker of the House. It was "leaders" like him and the other 534 members of Congress that are primarily responsible for us being in the horrific mess we're in today. Now we're supposed to believe he's reformed, and that we can trust him? Really?

So who does that leave?

*crickets*

S

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Pinch me, this can't be real....

Today (Sunday) was about as perfect a day as I've ever seen. The temperature was in the 40's in the early morning, but didn't take long to shoot up into the low 70's. After online church we followed our usual Sunday routine...coffee and the newspaper at Starbucks...but then hit a wall as to what to do outside in the afternoon.

I did find an art fest (a small one) at a local retail/residential development (Watter's Crossing) not too far away in Allen, TX, so we gave it a shot. The best booth I saw was a woman selling funny little sayings along with her watercolor art. An example:

Other isms..."We will sell no wine before it's time. It's time."

"Men have feelings, too, but who cares."

While searching online for something to do, I ran across an announcement for the "All British & European Car Day" next Sunday. Guess where I'll be next Sunday? ;)

Which reminds me...I saw this beautifully restored little Triumph Spitfire in our neighborhood recently:



Now that's something maybe even I could afford. Or not.

It was "Espana" week at Central Market, so we bought a number of small things we plan on munching on tapas-style for dinner tonight. Sounds pretty good, huh?

That's all for our weekend. Hope y'all had a nice one, too.

S

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Kinda bummed.....


I decided yesterday that I would upgrade my cell phone to an iPhone, so this morning I was up and out and knocking on Verizon's door shortly after they opened. This was all prompted when my brother (and business partner) got an iPhone a week or so ago. So I asked a couple of questions about the data plan, etc, and said "Deal, wrap it up". Then the Verizon rep told me it would be $600.

*choke...cough...gag*

HOW MUCH?? What happened to $199? It seems that's good only if you're opening a new account or if you're an existing customer and are eligible for an upgrade. As I've had my current phone for 3 or 4 years, I was sure an upgrade was in order.

Ummm....no....it seems when my bro got his iPhone last week he used my upgrade. His upgrade won't be available until mid-July. (We have one of those blended business plans where we have all our phones on one account.)

Oh, bro will hear about this on Monday, I promise! Actually it might be a blessing in disguise, as it will give me time to mull over whether or not I really need an iPhone. I said need, not want. Still, I'm mildly disappointed. :(


S

Note: The model shown is NOT me. I'm not nearly that good looking. ;)

Friday, May 13, 2011

Really??


The set up: These days it is (apparently) fashionable for high-school-aged boys to do something outlandish as part of asking a girl to go with them to the prom, such as serenading the girl as she eats dinner out with her girlfriends, etc. Pretty harmless stuff.

ABC news this evening had a story about a kid who cut out cardboard letters and taped them on the outside of his high school building, asking his girlfriend to go to the prom with him. (She said "yes".) But the school administrators said he was to be banned from the prom because he went back on campus after hours (apparently a hanging offense) to tape up the "Will you go to the prom with me" letters.

Really?

Now, I'm a pretty hard-nosed guy when it comes to discipline, but even I have to say this penalty does not fit the crime. By all accounts there was no damage, no malicious intent, but just some good, clean fun.

What's wrong with people today? Have the Taliban discreetly taken over running our schools?


The administrators need to lighten up juuuuuust a bit, don't ya think?

S

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Just scattershooting....

As I write this I can still hear the rumbling thunder of the last few remaining storms as they move on off to the east. I tried to get home before the afternoon storms arrived, but they caught up with me as I was only half-way home. It came an absolute deluge, but there wasn't any hail, so no harm was done.

K called me this morning more excited than I've seen/heard her in ages. She said she is moving to another department beginning Monday, with new duties, and with nearly 20% more coins in her paycheck. I'm very proud of her. She has gone from a shy little wallflower at work to a trusted leader and accomplished public speaker. Obviously the suits in the Ivory Tower noticed. Smart folks, they are.

Tomorrow I'm taking my daughter Andrea to lunch to celebrate her b-day....32. She's still at one of those ages that women don't mind admitting to. And also tomorrow my oldest daughter Kristan (in San Antonio) celebrates her birthday, too. Hmmmmm....August must have been a BIG month for me. *wink*

The first two In-N-Out Burger restaurants opened today in the Dallas area, one just a couple of miles from us. There were traffic jams around the stores and live coverage on all the local media all day. It was crazy! Is it really that good or was it just a slow news day? I'll give it a try once the crowds thin some.

That's all folks....see you tomorrow.

S

What's good for the goose....

....should be good for the gander, too.

I recently read a report (unconfirmed) that 71 current members of Congress have credit scores too low to qualify for a credit card. This is interesting because there has been a controversy ongoing for years about who can see your credit score and how it can be used to help/hurt you.

For instance, insurance companies regularly look at your credit score, and if it's too low, they deny you coverage. They claim that people who are poor credit risks are more likely to have excessive claims. Many employers look at the credit scores of job applicants, claiming it is a good indicator of a person's character.

Here's my point: Why don't the voters get to see the credit scores of the candidates who are seeking our votes? If it's really a good indicator of a person's character, how come we have 71 members of Congress who are so sleazy? Ya think maybe we should have asked to see theirs before we elected them?

And if our congresspeople refuse to divulge their scores, shouldn't they vote to prohibit the use of credit scores by others such as insurance comapnies, prospective employers, etc? Fair is fair!

These days, thanks to the inept leadership we've received from Washington and the subsequent financial mess they've left us, there are lots of people with less-than-pristine credit. Fortunately mine is still excellent, but an accident, a serious illness, or a pink slip and who knows......?

S

Monday, May 9, 2011

A little sympathy, maybe?

I’ve been reading a lot recently about Usama bin Laden, and strange as it sounds to say, I feel a bit of pity for him.


No really, think about it: The guy was 54 years old, had 3 wives at the same time and 23 kids. At that age it would be difficult for him to change careers. He was pretty much stuck in his current line of work. He lived in a million dollar house, but I think he got ripped off by a really sleazy Realtor. I mean, a million bucks for that dump?? That right there would send me over the edge.


And his home life must have been hell, too. I can hear it now.....


Wife #1: “Usama, honey.....does this burkha make my butt look big?”


Wife #2: “Sweetie...how come you bought #3 a new goat last week, but you didn’t get me one? Don’t you still love me? I mean, we never go out anymore....we need to talk.”


Wife #3: “Listen here, buster. I pick up after you, I cook all day, I try and keep our 23 kids in line....DO YOU HEAR ME...23 FOR ALLAH’S SAKE! And what do you do all day, Mr. Big Shot? You just sit there in the floor, wrapped up nice and cozy in your old army blanket, cleaning your gun, watching yourself on TV. Must be nice!” *snarl*


Wife #1: So have you decided which of us you’ll be taking to the Terrorist Ball next month?”


I can see why he might want to vent every once in a while. You know, pop off a few AK-47 rounds, maybe blow up a continent or something. Oh well, at least he now has his 72 Virginians.


S