Monday, October 30, 2006

11-Year-Old Yodeler

I normally hate this kind of video ("Star Search," "American Idol," etc.) but this girl is so good it's ridiculous.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Like Giving a Child a Loaded Gun

This picture was made courtesy of I'm pretty sure we'll be seeing more of their handiwork in the future.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Since I'm on a Rant - Liability Insurance

I'm willing to be convinced on why, in the state of Texas, we are required to buy liability insurance to protect the other person's vehicle.

Why couldn't each person have the option of purchasing insurance to protect his own vehicle? It would of course be a better practice to carry the insurance, so that you're insured. And of course banks could still require full coverage on any vehicles that are financed. Being uninsured is not the goal. It's giving people a choice.

Even better, what if each person could get an insurance card that he carried with him, so that it protected whatever vehicle he was driving? Coverage on your own vehicles could still be available, in case of theft, etc.

With my proposed system, no one would have to worry about having an accident with an uninsured motorist. And if a person didn't have insurance, then they would not be protected. Unwise, sure, but each person would have that option.

I don't understand how our present system is the best -- other than as a revenue source, a golden goose to fill the state coffers by fining people exorbitantly for not having liability insurance.

I'm willing to be convinced, but it better be good.

Friday, October 27, 2006


My local small-town grocery store is pulling a bait-and-switch on us customers. The grocery circular came out a few days ago, and there are yellow pricetags highlighting the specials everywhere, including the meat department. In the meat department there is a big, bright yellow tag advertising "Chuck Roast - Bone" for $1.99 a pound. Immediately above the tag in the meat case are several packages of "Chuck Roast," but it's boneless. It's also $2.89 a pound. I looked through the meat case, searching for the $1.99 meat, and it's nowhere to be found. I wonder how many people see "Chuck Roast" on the tag, see "Chuck Roast" on the packages of meat, and never notice that they're paying $.90 a pound -- nearly 50 percent -- more than they think they are?

I asked an employee where the $1.99 meat was. He got the meat market guy, who I asked for about six pounds of roast, as I needed four pounds of edible meat for my recipe. Meat Market Guy very willingly went in back to cut some roasts. After several minutes, he comes back with 4.59 lbs. in the form of two roasts. I notice the meat is kind of dark, but I'm cooking in a slow cooker, so no big deal.

However....when I get home, the meat is full of bone -- not just the big bones I expected, but small chards and chunks of bone. There is also sinew and gristle throughout the meat. It's the crappiest piece of meat I've ever bought on purpose. I lost 1.5-2 pounds in waste.

So 1) They put the price tag directly under a similar, but different higher-priced product; 2) The advertised item wasn't available in the meat case at all; then 3) They sell me the worst quality meat ever.

Unless I'm forced to by circumstances beyond my control, I'll never buy meat at the Lowe's Supermarket/Pay-n-Save again.

Saturday, October 21, 2006


"A man becomes preeminent,he's expected to have enthusiasms.
What are mine? What draws my admiration?
What is that which gives me joy?"
-- Al Capone (Robert deNiro) "The Untouchables" 1987

It was made clear to me recently that not everyone shares my level of fascination with all the things that I'm enthusiastic about. Take, for example, Plochman's Chili Dog Mustard. (September 13, 2006 blog.) To me, it's almost magical. It's mustard.....that tastes like a chili dog! After a couple of days of eating hot dogs adorned with this mustard, my family shrugged and acted like it was no big deal. My brother came to our house to visit, and I insisted that he try it. "Yep, it tastes like chili." I'm surrounded by philistines.

Herewith a listing of some of my other enthusiasms:

Cigars. I realized recently that I've been smoking cigars for twenty-five years or more. When I say cigar, I don't mean your King Edward or White Owl or any other cigar where "paper" is listed as an ingredient. The cigars I smoke are 100% tobacco. Unfortunately, I don't get to the Bahamas or Costa Rica or even Mexico often enough to buy Cuban cigars. Of the three cigars I have smoked that were "Cubans," only one was authentic; the other two were counterfeits. (Isn't it weird that counterfeiting cigars is a big business?) My stick of choice recently has been the Hoyo de Monterrey Excalibur No. 3, with the natural wrapper.

Kitchen gadgets. It would be easy to blame this on the Food Network, and I have to admit that Alton Brown has become one of my heroes. Before I ever had DirecTV, though, I had a bunch of pieces of plastic and metal that were supposed to make food preparation easier. Most of them lasted about one use and then broke. Nonetheless, I still want to make a Blooming Onion at home, or curly fries. Nowadays I'm trying to get good traction out of my kitchen purchases, and AB's book really helped a lot. And ingenuity means something, after all. For instance, when Kathy asked me to slice some new potatoes (those little white ones that come in a can,) I didn't feel like messing around for an hour trying to hold the little devils. So I used our egg slicer to slice them; they were perfectly sliced, and it only took me about ten minutes to do four cans of them. God bless Ron Popeil.

The Bob and Tom Show. I enjoy comedy and comedians a lot. Bob Kevoian and Tom Griswold, broadcasting out of Indianapolis, have been in the radio business for nearly thirty years, and featuring comedians all along. Other cast members are Chick McGee and Kristi Lee, and producer Dean Metcalf. Since I'm up at 5:00 a.m. every day, and that's when their show starts, it's great. Mornings are much more pleasant, and I start my day smiling. Some of my new favorite comedians are Drew Hastings, Greg Hahn, Mike Armstrong, Mike Birbiglia, Augie Smith.....if I ever win the lottery, I'm opening a comedy club in Lubbock. Meanwhile, it's Bob and Tom for me.

Ghosthunters. I've written about these guys before also. (June 1, 2006.) I don't watch much TV, but I've recently tried to carve out 8:00 p.m. on Wednesdays to watch this show on the Sci-Fi network. I'm fascinated by the mysteries of the world, and these guys approach the subject with a hard-headed attitude. Make no mistake, they're believers in the paranormal, but they use gadgets and gizmos to prove their case. And once in a while they show something that....doesn't....quite.....look....right. Good stuff.


Monday, October 09, 2006

Clinton's Legacy

I’m anxious and scared, for multiple, complex reasons.

North Korea apparently detonated a nuclear bomb a few days ago. Their leader has been belligerent and pretty clear in his animosity toward the United States. They have ballistic missiles that can carry a warhead far enough to attack other countries, such as Japan. I’m not sure if they have anything that can reach the U.S., and I don’t have it in me to research that particular issue. I’m too full of despair.

While it’s pointless to assign blame for this situation, the Liberal Democrats have been shouting loudly that it’s Bush’s fault. I’ll respond in kind this once, for reasons I’ll mention in a moment.

Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, Madeline Albright. The destruction of the world may be on their shoulders. They engineered the 1994 "Agreed Framework," in which North Korea agreed to not build nuclear weapons in exchange for economic assistance from the United States. They were told early on that North Korea was not trustworthy, but went ahead anyway. The economic assistance included aid, food, oil and even a nuclear reactor.

When Democrats boast about the "successful" Clinton negotiations, this is what they’re referring to: a program in which we paid an enemy not to arm himself. Incredibly, we gave him our entire portion up front, and without provisions for anything remotely resembling a method for verification or enforcement. As early as 1997 or 1998, North Korea picked up its nuclear weapon development where it left off. The biggest jaw-dropper of all is that American payments continued in the late 1990’s even after we discovered North Korea was breaking the agreement.

Now the Democrats want to blame Bush for not engaging in bilateral talks with North Korea, and for angering North Korea by naming it as part of the Axis of Evil.

The reason for my running battle against Liberal Democrats is that they are likely to get me killed. This isn’t a political disagreement about economic policy, or welfare, or how big government should be. This is literally life or death.

On this topic, I really, truly do not understand their position. What they have tried in the past has not worked. (That’s typical of Democrat policies: 40 years of Johnson’s unsuccessful "War on Poverty," and of programs designed to help blacks. According to Democrats, blacks still need help. Seems to me like blacks would get the message and try something else.) The old saying is "Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me." What can you say about the Clinton administration that was fooled over and over and over again? And why in the hell would anyone in his right mind want to follow such a staggeringly unsuccessful example?

With the recent Mark Foley scandal, the Democrats have likely secured the election this November. Democrats will control the House of Representatives, and maybe the Senate. They will engage in activities designed to destroy Bush and the Republicans, and they will ignore the defense of America. They will insist on following Clinton’s example in dealing with our enemies.

Disregarding the facts and history, Democrats will coddle, mollify, placate and appease. They will disarm America and our allies to show goodwill. Despite this, our enemies will continue their belligerence and aggression. One thing has changed now, thanks to Clinton, and this is why I’m pointing the finger: Our enemies now have the capability to destroy entire cities.

The Democrats, for some unfathomable reason, follow a policy that leads to American defeat and destruction. If and when they win in November, we will be on a road upon which my children and grandchildren will have to travel. With a Hillary Clinton presidential victory possible in 2008, we’re looking at a President who would allow (or even abet) an incredible amount of damage. America as we know it will be dramatically altered if that level of terrorism becomes possible.

Mark Foley’s sex scandal is not the deciding factor in a possible Republican defeat, but it’s part of it. Larger is the Republican House and Senate’s unwillingness to fight for Conservative principles, and to govern with strength and conviction. Although the Clinton administration structured the deal which armed our enemy, elected Republicans have, since then, betrayed us almost as much. They behaved in ways that may put lemmings in control of our government.

My children are just now becoming young adults. How do I explain to them that the tribulations they will face - the large, world-destroying ones - were to a large extent the fault of the people that I helped elect?

Republicans take heed. Scared, angry voters bury politicians.

Monday, October 02, 2006

A Home for Decent Democrats

The Democrat party of Harry Truman and JFK no longer exists. Somewhere in the last forty years, the Democrat party has been hijacked by an anti-American cabal. Think about it: whenever there is good news for America, say the economy or in the war in Iraq, Democrats rush out to say how bad it actually is. The message is clear: Good news for America is bad news for Democrats

Which implies that bad news for America is good news for Democrats. On a more personal level, any victory for pro-abortionists or for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transsexuals is a victory for Democrats. Any court ruling that forbids an expression of Christian beliefs is a victory for Democrats. The granting of constitutional rights to enemy combatants in Guantanamo Bay is a victory for Democrats.

All of which means that a pro-life, pro-traditional family values, pro-national security Christian Democrat no longer has a place to go. Either subtly or overtly, that type of Democrat is being urged and persuaded to support candidates who are antithetical to his or her own beliefs. Moreover, decent Democrats are being urged to change their core beliefs.

Republicans certainly don't have a monopoly on decency, just as Democrats don't have a monopoly on immorality. But longtime Democrats, or those who are Democrats because their parents were -- my own mother claimed to the day she died that "Hoover got us into the Great Depression, and FDR got us out" -- have to face the fact that they have been booted out of their own home.

As hard as it is, those Democrats have to think hard about voting Republican. Sure, there may be differences of opinion about how to go about protecting America, or how best to handle immigration, or any number of political topics. In the Republican party those debates are going on. What is not in doubt is that Republicans believe in those traditional American values -- God, family and country -- that today's Democrats constantly undermine and ridicule.

The Republican party needs to ensure that Democrats who want to make that leap have a soft place to land. Regardless of trivial differences in political beliefs, there should always be a place for decent people.