Monthly Archives: October 2009

Northwest Flight # 188 Pilots

To the Pilots of Northwest Flight # 188

Here’s to the pilots of Northwest Flight # 188 for overshooting the Minneapolis airport and being lost for one hour and 18 minutes.

Ground control to Major Tom

HAL –O Can you hear us? Or were you on a 2009 Space Odyssey into Canada? Not to be confused with David Bowie Hallo Space Boy and Major Tom.

You were lost in your laptop for one hour and 18 minutes? I have had relationships that did not last that long. Heck, I’ve known people that were not even married that long. I do not care what spin is being spun, the Airplane was on auto pilot like the blow up doll from the movie of the same name! Don’t call me Shirley!

It doesn’t matter what I am thinking. What were you thinking? And what was so interesting on the laptops that both of you were so captivated as to not notice one hour and 18 minutes slip away? Ninety-eight minutes as the news likes to say because it sounds less ominous as almost ONE and one-half HOURS lost in space.

Was William Shatner seeing little gremlins on the wings ala Twilight Zone episode 123 of Season Five in 1963?,000_Feet

And Ground Control? How long do you wait before you start looking? Isn’t that what military aircraft are supposed to do? Were you waiting on the Royal Canadian Air Force?

You know you can get Ground Control to Major Tom as the ring tone of your cell phone. Might help break the monotony.

BTW – Have you seen the new ABC series Flash Forward? It is a sci-fi thriller about the entire planet blacking out for two minutes and 17 seconds.  I bet you were the pilot test. What did you see in your future?

Online Dating – You are OTL

Online Dating – You are OTL

Remember when OTL meant Out to Lunch inferring lack of attention to the task at hand? Today OTL means Off The List.  In this day of social networks and cyberdating certain criteria and standards must be applied or you are OFF THE LIST. Here are some of collected criteria, based on real data from dating profiles, from those flirting in cyberspace.

If you do not submit a photo, you are off the list.

If your photo is of you and your grandchildren, you are off the list.

If your picture caption says, “Me at my youngest child’s graduation,” you are off.

If you include your family portrait, including your late wife as your photo, you are OTL.

If lingerie is mentioned or even marginally visible in any area of your picture, you are OTL.

If your photo is the “Self Portrait” you submitted for the art contest at the community college, you are OTL.

If your profile photo is your senior pic from high school and you graduated twenty years ago OTL – do the math.

If the best photo you have of yourself is standing between the pillars in the foyer of a Mexican restaurant, with a caption “Not a good photo” you are off the list.

If you begin your “about me” paragraph with “I’ve never done this before, but …”, no one believes you. You are OFF THE LIST.

If you describe yourself as “few extra pounds” you are off the list. We all know this means fat.

If you prominently list how much money you make, you’re very likely a big fat liar. And you’re OFF THE LIST.

If you use any conjugation of the word “horny,” OTL. Ditto for “sexy.”

If you are seeking dates solely in an age category that is 30 years younger (or 130 lbs. lighter) than yourself, you are OTL.

If I can determine from your photo that extensive dental work is needed, including the addition of more teeth, you are OTL.

If you are wearing a motorcycle helmet with the visor down, you are off the list.

If I can see the trailer house in the background you are OTL.

If you are wearing bib overalls, you are … I don’t care if they appear to be your clean ones – OTL

If your pets are pit bulls, OTL.

If you mention being “in an open relationship,” “an adventurous couple,” “uninhibited,” or a “free spirit,” this means you have been (or will be) arrested for lewd behavior. Sorry, but we need our money for things other than bail. You’re OFF THE LIST. I don’t care if your girlfriend/boyfriend/husband/wife is a lawyer.

If you list your occupation as “self-employed,” we all know you are “unemployed” … and OFF THE LIST.

If your online name is Saggy, I do not know that means Sagittarius, so you are OTL.

If you are in South Korea, you are OTL. Six thousand miles is a bit too far even for a long distance relationship.

If you are from my home town, you are OTL.

If you are wearing sans a belt slacks with your polyester sports coat, and I can read 1978 on the picture you scanned, you are OTL.

If you are “sensually” eating Twinkies in your profile pic … I don’t even have to say it, do I?

If the list of things you want in a relationship sounds quite angry (“someone who’ll tell the TRUTH, who’s NOT SO DAMN JUDGMENTAL, and who HAS HIS OWN CAR!”) you’re off the list … but don’t hold it against us, OK? And … ummm … if I gave you my personal email earlier, uhhh, just throw that away. I’m no longer at that address. Really.

The Nobel Peace Prize

Nobel Prize

I woke up Friday surprised to find out that President Barack Obama was awarded the Nobel Prize for peace.  I texted a couple of friends immediately. They were already aware of it since it had been announced at a time when working people are getting ready to go to their jobs. By the time I learned about it at mid morning, my friends were already way deep into listening to what The Meanest Mass Media had to say. The usual Media Mouths were well into spewing forth The Uglies about Obama winning. It took me a while to catch up with the comments from the Beckites and Rushing Loudbaughetts. But let’s see what the locals thought first.

H.D. Brands, Professor of history at the University of Texas, and a super nice person, said the winning was “premature.”  Maybe it is the Nobel Premature Peace Prize for Promise.

Michael McCaul, R-Representative said “it was like awarding The Heisman Trophy in September.” Nice analogy. Remember, it’s Austin and the winner of the Heisman Trophy is on the front burner orange. Make that burnt orange burner.

The Lt. Governor, Republican, David Dewhurst, said on Twitter “Is @BarackObama more deserving of a Nobel Peace than President Reagan?” Your Lieutenantship, we know you are a really cool guy and showing how you can tweet does have a certain ‘cool-guy’ appeal. But check with Dr. Brands for more timely analogous references. Granted, Ronald, “Mr. GORBACHEV, tear down this wall,” Reagan, would have definitely been Nobel material, but our current economic situation can partially be traced to Reganomics. More importantly the audience who remembers Reagan does not Twitter. Besides, unless Mr. Reagan was nominated prior to his death, the award cannot be given posthumously. BTW – Mikhail Gorbachev was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1990.

U.S. Senator, John Crony, R-Austin, said “Ordinarily it’s awarded for accomplishments.”

With all due respect, Senator Crony, do you really know why the award is given?

According to Alfred Nobel’s will, the Peace Prize should be awarded to the person who:

during the preceding year […] shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.[1]

You get the prize for trying to make the world a better place to live. Getting Dick Cheney out and not letting Sarah Palin in is good enough reason for me to give the prize to Obama.

Next Question. How many people can win and what are the categories to win?

Up to three individuals in the categories of Physics, Chemistry, Medicine, Literature and Peace may be awarded a Nobel Prize.

Next. Can you name any other Americans who won a Nobel Prize?  OK, how about just in 2009?

Individuals representing the United States won in the following categories. Physics (2 of 3 winners) Medicine (3 winners), Chemistry (1 of 3 winners), Peace (1of 1 winner)

The United States won 7 of the 11 prizes available. That is 77% of the total prizes available.

What is the nomination process?

“Each year the respective Nobel Committees send individual invitations to thousands of members of academies, university professors, scientists from numerous countries, previous Nobel Laureates, members of parliamentary assemblies and others, asking them to submit candidates for the Nobel Prizes for the coming year. These nominators are chosen in such a way that as many countries and universities as possible are represented over time.”

So to the Becketts and Rushing Loudbaugherettes, here’s what I’m thinking.

I see the problem here. To be nominated for a Nobel prize invitations are sent to people who are intelligent, diverse, academic-oriented, science oriented, free thinking individuals from all walks of life throughout the world. No wonder you do not know who these people are and did not receive an invitation.

It is not your prize to give. It is a result of the instructions contained in the will of Alfred Nobel.  If you want to control this, get your lawyers working on suing the Nobel Foundation. Otherwise you are reflecting the antithesis of the purpose of the prize.

The award is not won because it is not a competition. The peace award is given by a five member committee made up of Norwegians. You know those people in those nice sweaters. There were 205 nominations in the peace category alone. I am OK with the awarding for the “promise of peace.” It is not given for chasing camels. It is about playing nice in the world.

Turning around the words of former president Bush, “If you are not with us, you are against us.” So does that mean you are against peace?

You scream “politics.” That is true.  The name of the global game is politics. It is known as diplomacy.

Basically, Republicans, you are just pissed that you did not think of nominating the previous administration. But then again, they don’t give the prize for bombing innocent countries, torturing human beings and riding rough shod over the world like an ego-driven cowboy from the wild west looking for non existent weapons of mass destruction.

Couldn’t we just listen to The Beatles and John Lennon and Give Peace a Chance? Does it really matter who brings it?

Here’s Mud In Your Eye – Or On Your Feet in This Case

Here’s Mud In Your Eye – Or On Your Feet in This Case

“Here’s mud in your eye”– a cliché noting a toasting of beverages and with biblical connotations “Your name is Mudd – a metaphor of disgracing yourself and hence your name,” allegedly after Dr. Mudd who set John Wilkes’ Booth broken leg after the assassination of Lincoln.

Now you can add “Here’s mud on your feet.”  And between your toes and other body places the general public does not want to know about.

Of course you can only talk about recent mud on your feet if you attended Austin’s ACL Festival and were not in one of the recent South Pacific tsunamis. The ACL Festival is a large music festival with ACL referring to Austin City Limits and not an festival of people with knee injuries.

It is ironic that I live in the self-proclaimed Live Music Capital of the World. The last live concert I attended was The Grateful Dead in Mountain View, California in some year.  Deadheads recognize the significance of the Mountain View venue and are saying a dreamy, nostalgic, “Wow. Dude. Cool.” The same Deadheads also know if you can remember when you saw The Grateful Dead, you probably weren’t really there.

However, I do know that it has been many years since I have attended a live, outdoor concert.  It is not about the music.  I just do not want to share the experience with the unwashed masses. I do not care if the couple dancing in front of me is my attorney and his wife and the couple chilling out in back is my doctor and her husband.  Human packed concerts, sitting on a blanket on hard ground, drinking ten dollar beers eyeing far away tin cans for collecting bodily wastes scare me.

So I take little interest in the ACL Festival held in Austin other than what is in the media about it. Aside from the 130+ bands, representing almost every genre of music, the 65,000+ attendees/per day, (that would be the unwashed and unknown masses) and of course the millions of dollars it brings to the city of Austin, it is Mother Nature who provides the most excitement to the Festival.

September usually brings a break in temperatures for Austin.  Historically the humidity levels decrease and the temperature highs average a relatively pleasant 88 degrees. Since the first ACL Fest eight years ago the temperature average high has been 97 with a cool 90 degrees in 2006. Low Humidity only refers to a band about to take a stage so conditions are hot and sticky temperatures.

The ACL Fest of 2005 not only brought a temperature of 108 degrees, it brought the reenactment of the Dust Bowl as the grounds turned to dust as the winds picked up. Participants were seen, at least the ones you could see in the wall cloud of dust, singing along to their favorite tunes from behind the bandanas covering their mouths.

ACL worked with the City of Austin to install a massive irrigation system for the grounds in Zilker Park to eliminate dust concerns during the Festival. But Festival organizers did not want to move the Festival to October due to conflicts with hotel room availability on UT football weekends, increased chance of rain, and the reduced chance of booking bands on summer tour.

However, in 2009 organizers did move the Festival to the first week in October. And it rained. And rained and rained. Granted, given the drought Central Texas is experiencing, no one was really complaining about the rain.  But the three days of gentle, but near constant rain turned the grounds of the ACL Fest into a mud pit.  And not just any old mud pit, but an environmentally designed mud pit.

At first glance slip, sliding in the mud and having a good time looks fun. Granted, I would have to be 40 years younger and drunk, but it did bring a wistful smile. But shortly after photographs of mud covered concert goers appeared in stories across the state, it was announced that the mud covering the grounds of Zilker Park is Dillo Dirt – Austin’s trademarked COMPOST!!! It is made up of “All yard trimmings collected curbside across the city, as well as some of our treated sewage sludge, are combined and composted to create Dillo Dirt.” The people said the grounds literally smelled like being in a muddy cow pasture.  A great big pasture.

So  “Here’s to mud on your feet.” And between your toes and other places the general public does not want to know about.  But don’t worry according to the city there are no health dangers. The Dillo Dirt website says “Dillo DirtTM easily meets all Texas and EPA requirements for “unrestricted” use, which even includes vegetable gardens.” So do not be concerned that the mud you wallowed in was composted with treated sewage.  I am sure that rash on your arms and legs and those other places will go away soon.

When is next year’s festival? The second weekend in October.  Bring your waders and mud boots. Tickets are on sale now.

DWTS – My Assessment of Week Three

Just how bad is DWTS? Tom DeLay is still dancing and it is Week Three.  Of course that could change tonight, but I am getting ahead of myself.

All of remaining dancers either dance as though they are at a Middle School dance or it is late at night after several cocktails at The Country Club. All equally bad and painful to watch. So which celebrities stood out like a sore toe last night?

Since I have no idea who the majority of the people are, let alone why they are on a reality show, I have grouped them into some categories.

The Get Off the Dance Floor NOW Group

  • Michael Irving – you win the Tony Romo award for embarrassing; if you even make it through the night, you need to call Jerry Rice and get some pointers.  Jerry is whipping your butt again.
  • Chef Guy – go back to the kitchen at The Country Club; of course you do have the potential to martial up some arts and get it together, but I have little faith.
  • Model girl, who looks like a Barbie doll – it is too bad, you do not have a big fan base; you could be in The Contenders
  • Debi Mazar – definitely at The Country Club, but knows it and will probably win an Emmy for being able to make fun of herself on SNL

The Contenders

Notice I did not say winners.  Those in this group are somewhat less painful to watch. However, the winner will be in this group

  • Mya – I do not know who this woman is, but I will be finding out.  She is the only who has consistently put together extremely good dancing. As the judges said “displays a perfect motion”, and “put all of America in the mood for love.” Beautiful to watch.
  • Natalie the Swimmer – you can bring it, much potential. You got that Olympic drive to challenge Mya.
  • Donny O – Joseph Smith and Brigham Young are still spinning in their graves.  Not because of your dancing.  My mouth was still hanging open after Bruno’s comment that you looked “airy fairy,” when the two of you began to wrestle on the judges desk, sending shock waves through the ABC censors, Len and Carrie Anne and the entire Mormon Tabernacle Choir. I am not seeing The Donny and Bruno Show in Branson. Unless you lost the Mormon vote last night, you should be able to muster enough votes to hang on until the last three weeks.

The Group With a Tattoo on Their Left Arm

Yes, there are four contestants with tattoos on their left arms. At least four that I have discovered so far.  I do not think Tom DeLay has worn a sleeveless top.  Hmmmm!

  • Snow boarding, cute gnome boy child – a pretty good rumba even with your short legs
  • Wrestler guy – definitely dancing at The Country Club, but it is cool that you get pedicures with your daughter.
  • Aaron, long-legged cute boy child – the baby blue smoking jacket was not doing it for me last night; May I suggest something more heterosexual looking in your costumes?  You are supposed to be the guy.  However, you cross share this category with The Contenders if you have the fan base.
  • Kelly O – OK, Girl, you can do this. Confidence, Woman.  However, after the Donny-Bruno brawl, I feel certain that dancing to “I want to take a ride on your disco stick” pretty much put Len over the edge.

And definitely in a category by himself is the Former House Majority Leader, Tom DeLay.  Where do I begin? I believe any man your age who wears red pants should be examined by mental health professionals. But one who swings his large as a red state hips while wearing red pants, a red and white strip shirt with a sequined Republican elephant appliqué on the back should be taken away by mental health professionals.

Two stress fractures. One in each foot.  I am sure the Republicans think the Democrats are responsible. Now you know what Texas felt like when you gave it a stress fracture of its own.

Given your stress fractures, this begs repeating the question “Why in the hell are you doing this?” In your words, you said “Because I am either insane or stupid.”  Every Texas Democrat will have that clip on their IPhone. Did you cut a deal that if you win DWTS the state of Texas will drop the felony money laundering charges?  Or if you win will you have to give the $100,000 to pay back the $190,000 you were accused of channeling through the Republican National Committee?

Nevertheless, your dancing has been worth it to see last week’s judges’ score of 666 and SNL version with the fires of hell rising behind them. That is a definite IPhone app.

But with all due respect, dancing with two stress fractures, you do show true Texas grit and for that you deserve to stay. Good job. But no more red pants, please!