Sunday, June 30, 2013

"Texas Dream Cruise" car show

Yesterday's intense heat and humidity didn't keep me or about a thousand other people away from a new car show in town, the Texas Dream Cruise.  They did a great job of advance publicity and had a good turnout of interesting cars, but otherwise they were obvious amateurs....ex: no marque organization, and worst of all, no vendors selling water.  (Or if they were there they were stuck off in some corner where nobody could find them.)  Luckily I took my own.  The Frisco FD was there hauling people like crazy on their little golf cart/ambulance rigs.  They'll figure it out.

Now, for the cars....





There seem to be a lot of British classics in North Texas, which suits me just fine.  This MGA was especially nice.


My kind of Christmas ornaments!


While it's not British Racing Green, this TR6 works just fine for me.  Except for the Gubment Baby Buggy Bumpers.


This Austin Healey Bug Eye Sprite wasn't the most authentically restored, but it definitely had the sweetest sounding engine.  And the owner of this fixed up this one....


....an early MGB for his daughter.  Lucky girl!  (Or is it an early MG Midget?)


A Jaguar XKE Coupe.  Doesn't it look like that hood just goes on forever?  And it's not a camera angle trick.  It really does.


The Italians had a substantial presence, too.  Here's a nice Fiat 124, complete with that gubment mandated locomotive-cattle-catcher front bumper hanging out there.  Ugh!


This Alfa Romeo Giulia GT makes all the area shows, but I'm impressed enough with it I'll offer it to you once again.


While conventional wisdom says Ferrari's should be red, I must admit sometimes they look good in Screaming Yellow, too.


Of course I found a Fiat 500.  ;)


A Fiat X19....with that darn bumper again!

How about something weird and wacky?


I love these little oddball micro cars.  This is an absolutely showroom perfect BMW Isetta 300.


Yep, that's all there is.


0 to 60 in....umm....NEVER!


How cool is this Ford Woody?


And it gets better....




There were lots of hot rods there, too.  This was probably my favorite.


Yikes!  Somebody paid money for this kit?  *gag*


Here's something you don't see every day, complete with matching fuzzy dice.  Exactly what color would you call that?  


"My udder car is a '57 Cheevy!"  :)


A Chevrolet Corvair, the car that made Ralph Nader famous after he wrote "Unsafe At Any Speed".  This one looks unsafe sitting still.


This is about the closest I could find to my first cool car, a '71 Camaro.  I believe this is an RS, where mine was an SS.  It was fast....


....but not as fast as this Sebring Daytona.  And finally....


....whatever happened to the "thrill of the chase"?  *wink*

Next Saturday....Cars and Coffee.  ;)

S



Saturday, June 29, 2013

My wife and her gadgets

My wife, the lovely and talented K, is addicted to gadgets.   

Marketing courses at business schools all across the land teach how to appeal to people with her mentality.  They're studying her like psychologists study rats in a maze.  

"What classes you taking this semester, Bill?"  

"Oh, you know, the usual....B law 314, statistics 421, management 330, and Advanced Kelly 4540."

I have periodic garage sales just to get the gadgets she "couldn't live without" out of the house to make room for the next batch of gadgets I know she'll be bringing home soon.



She has waffle makers, panini makers, tea makers, mixers, food processors, crock pots, a "Magic Bullet" blender, some kind of big fancy blender, a mandolin, multiple coffee makers that were "to die for" last week, but this week are just not cool anymore.

These garage sales often come back to bite me in the ass when she sees an advertisement for a gizmo that she once had, then I sold, and now she wants again.  She's gone full circle....she's become a serial same-gadget buyer.  

I tolerate all those kitcheny things because, honestly, I eat very well.  And besides, they're not very expensive....$40 here, $60 there....they're not breaking the bank.



Kelly's vision of Heaven

Her electronic gadgets are a whole 'nuther matter, however.  Those little electronic bastards cost a fortune!  Here are the ones she's had that I can remember:

HP laptop

HP NetBook

iMac (mine now)

MacBook

Nintendo Wii

Kindle, generation 1

Kindle, generation 2

Kindle Paperwhite

Kindle Fire

Google Nexxus

Samsung Galaxy S2

iPod Shuffle

iPod Nano

iPad, generation 1

iPad Mini

iPhone 3

iPhone 3S

iPhone 5

There are probably more, but my brain is too shell-shocked to remember them all.

Today she saw on Facebook that one of her friends accidentally washed his iPod Nano, so she said she was going to sell him her old one.  I can see what's coming next:  She bought it for $160 a month ago, now she'll sell it used for $80, and a month from now Apple will unveil a "new, improved version in 10 striking new colors", and of course she'll just have to have one for the pre-order super-sweet "better hurry 'cause they won't last long at this price" of $180. 

Publicly Apple will say the higher price is due to "raw material price increases", but among themselves they'll just giggle and call it the "Kelly premium".

I'm considering an intervention.  (Who am I kidding.  I don't have a chance in hell of pulling it off.  :)

S




Friday, June 28, 2013

Life is too short to eat bland food



But did he miss the squirrel?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It was bound to happen.  After nearly 63 years, eating super-spicy foods has caused my digestive system to revolt.  

I love jalapenos and Tabasco and all sorts of combinations of spices that give food a kick.  Life is just too short to eat bland food, but apparently I've worn out my esophagus lining.  Yesterday my doctor gave me a new pill for breakfast.  All I remember is it starts with Om___.  He said to go ahead and party on.   "Better living through chemistry!"


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

For a nation that professes to be "Christian", we're sure not showing any compassion for Paula Deen, are we?  She said she was sorry, that it happened a long time ago, and I haven't heard anyone come forward to say that's the way she talks or acts today.  So is she going to be an outcast the rest of her life?  Apparently peer pressure and political correctness trumps "forgiveness".  

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

What to do?  There's a big car show tomorrow at the Frisco kickball stadium.  Who in their right mind plans a car show....outdoors.... for this time of year, in TEXAS?  From noon to 5 pm no less.  Didn't they get the memo about global warming?  (You know I'm gonna go anyway, right?  ;)

Have a great weekend everyone.  Stay cool.  ;)

S


Thursday, June 27, 2013

The opening salvo of World (cyber) War I


Cyber Command Central, located in a secure underground location in Montana.


It began with an excited, almost hysterical call from a Miz Kelly Park of Frisco, Tx.  She reported that the internet was down.  Not just Facebook, but Google, Pintrest and all the rest were black, too.  An immediate check with CNN, Fox News, and the Home Shopping Network mentioned nothing about the attack, leading Miz Park to believe re-runs had been inserted to make it appear all was normal.  

"It's started", said Air Force Maj. Gen. Ralphie Jordan, head of Cyber Command.

"The Event" had been widely anticipated for quite some time.  China's Peoples Liberation Army Unit 61398, their crack unit of government sanctioned hackers, was immediately suspect.  In past bank hacking incidents the origin had been traced back to a non-descript office building in Bejing, and this is where Cyber Warriors loyal to President Brick O'Bama immediately focused their attention.

Efforts were made to inform the President who is currently traveling in Africa, but nobody in Washington could find the area code for Senegal, and the only State Department official who actually knows where Senegal is was with the President, acting as his guide and food and water taster.  Using Constitutional protocol, Vice President Biden assumed command in Washington during the crisis.

Cyber-nerd reservists were immediately activated and ordered to report to their mother's basements and man their computers.  Auxiliary internet channel 6 was powered up, which fortunately was found to be unfazed by the hostilities.

It was assumed there was chaos in the streets all across America, and perhaps even Europe and Australia, too, but as Twitter was knocked off the broadband no one could be sure.  The fear now is that in 9 months there will be one or more babies born to nerd couples who were so bored without their internet they actually tried sex.

One hour and 38 minutes after it began, Reserve Cyber Officer Sheldon Sakowitz phoned Miz Park and asked her to try tightening the coaxial cable connection to her router.  She did, and the internet surged back to life.  

The investigation continues this morning with forensic cyber-scientists trying to figure out how Chinese infiltrators made it across the border and on to Frisco, TX where they Beta tested their newest internet-crashing technology.

Miz Park is currently negotiating a book deal with the Kindle division of Amazon to digitize her riveting, near-disastrous brush with internet death.   You can pre-order your copy now for WiFi delivery on July 8, 2013.

S

*Under duress (by Miz Park) I must report portions of this re-creation were slightly enhanced for effect.  But only "slightly". ;)

  

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

So maybe I should get a new needle for my record player? W/ LATE EDIT

I always hang my head in shame when people I'm around start talking about music, their favorite singers, groups, songs, etc.  They watch American Idol and Boy Does She Have Pipes! and they dial 900-blah-blah to vote for their favorites early and often.  They have entire walls of shelves full of CD's....they still make CD's, right?  

I don't listen to much music.  I can't even get in the conversation.  And odds are, their favorite genre of music hands down is Country and Western....it's everywhere.



"I might not listen to much music, but when I do, you can bet your ass it isn't C&W."

Does this make me a bad person?

Back in my yout I listened to all kinds of music, even kountry.  Some of the old guys sounded believable when they sang about their "old lady" runnin' off with the beer truck driver and drinkin' up all the rent money.  The new drugstore cowboy singers....not so much.   And Rap and R&B....since when did music do away with a melody? 

I'm sure it's just a generational thing.  When I was a kid I remember my parents hanging on to their Big Bands.  My generation still hangs on to their Doo-Wop and Motown and Beatles and Stones.


  You think today's kids will be bouncing around in their walkers, still rapping 50 years from now?   *disturbing visual*


Speaking of, it makes me sad to see a bunch of old prune-faced guys with thin stringy hair(s) and ear rings (or are those hearing aids disguised as ear rings?) shuffle out on stage for one last "Last Tour" tour. 


Pink Floyd, however, gets a permanent pass. ;)

What little musical appreciation I do have, however, is very eclectic.  I never tire of Ray Charles or Stevie Ray Vaughan.  And Marcia Ball with her piano and Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck with their guitars will always amaze me.  Enya from Ireland and Andre Rieu, the Flying Dutchman, are special, too.  

I like Nora Jones and soft jazz and the beat of much of the Caribbean music.  I'm not a fan of Sonic Drive-in's burgers, but at least they play '60's rock 'n roll over their speakers while you sit and eat.

And if I do have to listen to country and western, please God, at least let it be George Strait.  ;)

S

LATE EDIT:  My friend Scott Roberts just turned me on to someone new (to me at least), Sara Niemietz.  Check THIS.


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

An insider's view of the asylum: My personality profile

As I mentioned last week, K's employer brought in a high-powered psychologist to profile each of their people, the goal being to improve productivity (?) by utilizing "Temperament-Based Team Building".  I don't know if this is real or just a snow-job, but I still found it interesting.

At my request K asked him if he would mind doing a profile of me, too, and he agreed.  For better or worse, here are the results:


GREEN = "Controlling", defined as: Bottom-line-oriented, results-oriented, initiates and delegates.  

To a point I agree:  I've found that if I concentrate on being results-oriented and doing the "right thing", the bottom-line will take care of itself.  And I am an excellent "delegator" once I built a first-class team around me.  I'm thinking I might should have been given a bit higher score here.

RED = "Social", defined as:  Fun, doesn't take life too seriously, energetic, life of the party. 

I'm "funny", but I'm not necessarily fun.  I don't thrive in large, crowded settings....I'm uncomfortable.  I blend in.  I'm fairly low-key and relaxed.  My modest score here seems fair.

YELLOW = "Peaceful", defined as:  Loyal and supportive, high tolerance, keep the peace, maintain relationships, slow to change.

No argument from me on this. (Pardon the pun ;)  I am very loyal and supportive, tolerant of other's stupid, moronic ideas, I do value long-term relationships, and I am slow to change. *sniff....I so miss my yellow pad and #2 pencils*  I also think all my positive answers regarding diplomacy and tact show here, too.  (And yes, I am tactful, except when talking about politicians and bankers.  ;)

And finally, BLUE = "Methodical", defined as:  Zero tolerance, perfectionist, detail oriented, slow to change, not spontaneous, asks many questions.   

I totally pegged blue!

Umm....how can you have both "high tolerance" (see yellow above) and "zero tolerance"?  I am very detail oriented, and I do ask a lot of questions, especially "why".  

I think I have an abundance of common sense, which translates into being able to size up most situations and decide logically what will work and what won't, or who to trust and who not to, and then make decisions accordingly and delegate.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

So using this personality profile, if you were a guidance counselor, which career would you recommend for me....a third-world dictator, a Vegas headliner, a transcendental meditation instructor, or a sniper?

S

Monday, June 24, 2013

So, how do you like summer so far, Scott?


We're only four days into summer and I've already had a near-death heat-related experience.

I spent 4 hours outside yesterday afternoon and thought I was gonna die.  I came home around 5 drenched in sweat and went straight to the shower.  I turned on the shower water and began to undress and realized I couldn't get my t-shirt off.  It was stuck to my back.

I wrestled with that damn thing for 10 minutes and finally got it up my back to my neck, and managed to get one arm half way out, when things went straight to hell.  My left arm was sticking half in and half out of its sleeve, my right arm was behind my head tugging for all I was worth to get get the t-shirt up and over my head, while my head was bent straight down on my chest.  I needed to get my head back up so some oxygen could make it into my lungs.  I couldn't move and I couldn't see because salty sweat was in my eyes.  I was in a helluva shape.



I figured I was either going to have to call for help, rip my t-shirt to shreds to get it off, or say "hey" to Jesus.  With hot water running out it was now or never.  One last try....and I was free!  The t-shirt was a bit stretched out, but I think it's salvageable.  

Then my underwear.  I couldn't just drop 'em and step out.  I had to roll the waistband down....it sounded like velcro pulling apart as it broke its grip on my sweaty butt.  (Not a pretty visual, is it?)

You know that story about Rip Van Winkle?  Is that even possible?  I don't want to sleep for 20 years, but I wouldn't mind hibernating in a cool place until, say, early October.

All things considered I guess it could be worse.  In addition to this #$%^&* heat and humidity, my brother is having a colonoscopy on Wednesday and a tooth extraction on Friday, and the reconstruction first step for a tooth implant.

Maybe I'd best count my blessings and just suffer in silence.



Here's to you, summer.  ;)

S


Sunday, June 23, 2013

And not even a door ding? How is that possible?


This is one lucky guy.  Irv Gordon hasn't had a car payment since 1969.  I'm guessing at that because his car is a 1966 Volvo P-1800, so with a 36 month auto loan, that would mean 44 years payment free.  WooHoo!


And it gets better....he's a celebrity, or at least his car is, because it will very shortly surpass the 3,000,000 mile mark.  I wonder if he can pull in to a Volvo dealer and get a free oil change, and maybe a latte?  Considering all the free publicity he's getting for Volvo, I should think they'd at least comp him an oil change.

And it's actually a pretty cool car.  Not that it was ever a hot rod, but as sports cars are usually rather fragile, this one was built like a tank.  And it has a silver screen....actually a "small screen"....pedigree, too. 


It was the mount (don't go there 007 fans!) of TV's The Saint.

Vic seems to think his 3,000,000 mile record will stand forever.  Can you imagine a car today, ANY car made today with all it's electronics and super-sophisticated bits, still going strong after 3,000,000 miles?  Forty seven years, yes, if it's a Garage Queen.  But what's the fun of having a cool car if you can't drive it?


So lemme think....my 'lil car has 107K miles on it in 6 1/2 years....that's about 16,500 miles per year....3,000,000 miles would take me....another 181 years.  

Vic...I agree.  I think your record is safe.  ;)

S


Saturday, June 22, 2013

Iron Chef Scott

Several days ago K told me that meal planning was the most stressful thing in her life.  I can remember my mom telling my dad the same thing years ago.  

Is it like that little light on the instrument panel of your car....after a certain number of miles it automatically comes on to tell you you need to change your timing belt? At a certain point in a woman's life does meal planning automatically become stressful?

I don't get it.  First of all, K is an excellent chef.  Rarely does she prepare anything I don't like.  (Of course, she knows to never prepare me things like Brussel's sprouts or asparagus.)  I'm a pretty easy (and grateful) customer.

So I put my thinking cap on and thought about meal planning.  How hard can it be?  I always have a ring or two of sausage grilled and in the freezer.  Same with prime hamburger patties.  She makes delicious spaghetti sauce a pot at a time.  Some artisan bread and you have perfect grilled cheese sandwiches.  Beef/chicken quesadillas....tacos....several excellent prepared frozen Stouffer's pasta dishes are in waiting....I even like breakfast for dinner on occasion.  Eggs with bacon or sausage, or an omelet....Mmmm.

And then there's the crock pot.  That thing is amazing!  Ohh....Ohh.  *idea forming in head*  I'll cook something in a crock pot....my first time ever.  I like beef brisket, but all they had at the store were the size of an old Volkswagen Beetle.  How about a pork tenderloin?  I found a recipe that called for dry onion soup mix, white wine, soy sauce, minced garlic, and coarse ground black pepper.  Four hours later....



It was so tender it fell apart when I tried to pick it up.  Doesn't it look good?

Served on a bed of rice or with a potato (MAN vegetables) I think it will be a winner.  Pffftt....piece 'o cake.

Of course, as soon as I press "publish" and this goes viral, I know what K will say.  "You think it's so easy?  Fine, then YOU handle meal planning from now on!"

*Gulp*  I'm suddenly feeling stressed.  ;)

S

Late edit:  Just remembered....I did cook something in a crock pot once before.  A brisket I think it was.  It turned out excellent.  A crock pot is a sort of "can't miss" appliance.




Friday, June 21, 2013

And they want me to pay for this?

I don't understand the concept of self-deprivation and the intentional infliction of pain.  I was reading the new issue of Outside magazine because it had several articles on weather, a subject that fascinates me.  The ads for all the "adventure trips" also fascinated me, but not in a good way.



"We'll have you up and on your bike and peddling your little legs off by 4 AM.  You'll ride 100 miles before we let you stop for a granola bar and some thick, nasty-tasting carb drink.  Mmmmm.  Then it's back on the road, the goal to totally numb your body before the sun comes up.  You haven't hurt until you experience 110 degree heat while peddling for your life wearing a 1/2" wide bicycle seat like it was a cheap thong." 

"And if you ever feel like dropping out, just look around....rattlesnakes and scorpions as far as you can see.  Talk about getting your second wind!  And did we mention the entire 4-day trip is uphill?"

"When you successfully complete the course you'll receive this fine parchment memorializing your achievement, as well as a fake gold medal on a ribbon and an oval-shaped little bumper sticker for your car that says '521.6'.  Your friends will see you in a whole new light!  All this for the all-inclusive price of just $3,400.  Or share the misery and bring a buddy for just $3,399 more."

Or you could just do this:  Send me all the money in your bank account, and I'll send over an ex-con truck driver I know who will beat the crap out of you with an ax handle.  Certificate included.   ;)

S


Thursday, June 20, 2013

Somebody please refresh my memory....

Why are the US and other allied nations fighting in Afghanistan?  As I recall from 12 years ago, the US was pissed at the Taliban government of Afghanistan because it wouldn't close the terrorist training bases there and turn over Osama bin Laden and friends to stand trial for 9/11.  So we sent in a few dozen special forces with some communications equipment and CIA agents with suitcases full of cash.

We bribed the various tribal leaders to pull together (the Northern Alliance), at least temporarily, to fight their common enemy the Taliban.  They did, the Taliban abdicated, the terrorist bases were closed, and Osama went underground.  So why didn't we just have a parade, declare victory, and come back home?

Why did we stay and try our hand at "nation building"?  First of all, Afghanistan, like most Middle Eastern countries, isn't really a "country" at all.  It's just a bunch of tribes that were arbitrarily fenced in together by a line drawn on a map by their colonial "protectors" a century ago.  Their loyalties are to their tribe.  Period.



The three richest men in Afghanistan?

And now the Afghan Supremo Crooko, el Presidente Humid Carbide, is telling us he is breaking off "long-term security talks" with the US because we dissed him.  Well cry me a river, Humid.

Why do we keep sending him his monthly shakedown?  As with most of the foreign aid we send to Mid-East "leaders", little makes it to the people.  Most stops with the leaders and their families and cronies.

Listen up Humid...."long term" to you means about 30 seconds after the last US soldier gets back on the plane and comes home.  That's about how long it will take for your Afghan "security detail" to sell you out for a couple of goats and whack you and return life to the tribal warfare that has been the Afghan way for eons.  The Brits didn't change it.  The Rooskies didn't change it.  And neither did we.

We can just keep an eye on any terrorist activity that might pop up there and impact us.  If we find any we can just send in another CIA agent with another suitcase full of cash to bribe the appropriate warlord, things "happen", and the problem goes away.  Easy.  Then they can go back to living their life however they want.  Live and let live I say.  Er....

I call it "Scott's Foreign Policy".  I doubt they'll be teaching it at the Harvard School of International Relations.  They should.  What they're teaching now isn't working.

S