Sunday, July 31, 2005

Sunday Dinner

There are few things that make me feel more like a grown-up than cooking a big Sunday dinner. Clockwise from top: carrots, spaetzle, fresh corn, pot roast, new potatoes, and mushrooms, all topped with delicious gravy (thanks to Kev for being in charge of gravy). We will eat this meal again on Tuesday, and here's the best part: whatever is left after that will become pot pies! So, sometimes being a grown-up ain't bad. Plus when you are a grown-up, you can leave out the onions if you want.

(PS. In general, I don't really feel much like a grown-up most of the time.)

Science on my Side

Many of you will not be pleased to hear the following fun (?) facts from Popular Science magazine, citing a University of Utah driving study:

1. People who are talking on the telephone were found to take 18% longer to hit the brakes.

2. People who are on the phone were found to drive worse that people who are legally drunk.

In the same issue, findings were reported which indicated that metropolitan areas with greater radio airtime devoted to country music had higher suicide rates. So you never know what you might learn from reading Popular Science magazine.

In National Geographic magazine, I learned that nine European cities are piloting a program using fuel cell buses, and that if you replace one incandescent lightbulb with a compact flourescent lamp, you can save a 500 pound pile of coal and that the driest place on earth is a Chilean desert which averages less than one inch annual rainfall.

Science is fun!

Friday, July 29, 2005

Arctic Alert

Over the next few weeks, I will be asking you from time to time to participate in some action to save the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. If you want to help, that is awesome, if not, that's OK too. This is a REALLY big deal to me though, so I have to do everything I can short of chaining myself to a polar bear.

If you click on the link above (or cut and paste the address in your address bar) and fill out some info, NRDC will contact your congress-person and your senators to ask for them to vote against the budget which will allow for drilling in the ANWR. This is a bad deal for many many animals, as well as the awesome landscape which has been protected until now. There is lots of info at the NRDC website if you are interested.


Buzz Buzz

There are these three kids I see, all from the same family, and since they live pretty close to me, I go to their house instead of all of us having to trek up to my office in Plano. So I got there today, groggy and cranky, but I knew things were about to change for the better when I saw that another vehicle had also just pulled up to their house. It was a big red truck with a vanity plate that said "BZZZZZ" and it had a sign which said, "Caution: Live Bees."

It turns out that they had a giant colony of honey bees living under the eave of their dormer window, and the bee-keeper man was there to take it down so that it could be re-located to a new home. He put on a whole bee-keeping suit and everything! Then he climbed up a ladder and brought the bees down and he let us come out to look and he gave us a chunk of honeycomb and we all got to taste some honey. and he showed us the larvae and the pupae and told the kids all about bees. It was SO cool! The oldest of the kids decided right then and there that he is going to be a bee-keeper when he grows up, and I told him I support that. I overheard the beekeeper tell the mom of the house that he would like $800.00 for his services, please. He was only there for like 90 minutes.

When the beekeeper left, the oldest boy (age 9), who incidently has Aperger's syndrome, said, "You know Miss Tara, it is pretty amazing that something so violent can produce something so sweet." Sometimes, I really like my job.

Another Quick Bryce-ism

Perhaps it isn't fair to come on here and make fun of Bryce, since he doesn't read this and cannot defend himself. But I am in the middle of holding my latest grudge because he didn't call me when he came in town, even though Kev and I went way out of our way to visit him in NYC on the coldest day of the year last Christmas. Anyway, everyone knows I am a big Bryce fan even though he makes me mad. And he's made fun of me plenty.

So when we were visiting him, he asked if we had any vacation plans for the upcoming year. We said not really. He then advised us that whatever we did, we should not to go to Shangri-La., OK. We finally figured out he was talking about Sri was a couple days after the tsunami. You gotta love the Bryce.

Stats Report for Friday

Tim Rall:
2.38 ERA

46 SO / 41.2 IP

And the beard continues to grow for the tricky Long-Island Lefty.

Thursday, July 28, 2005


I have been boo-ed twice in my life. Those of you who know me, know that I do not like attention being called to me, especially negative attention. So getting boo-ed is pretty traumatic.

The first time I got boo-ed was on New Year's Eve about 6 or 7 years ago. I was at the Barley House with friends. As I walked into the covered patio room, I saw my friend Damon and some others sitting at a table. Suddenly. Damon boo-ed me as loud as he could in front of everyone. It was a really mean boo, like in the Princess Bride. To this day, I do not know why. He claims he was going to boo whoever came around that corner, and it was unfortunately me. I like Damon a lot, but I doubt if I'll ever get over that boo-ing.

The second time I got boo-ed, I was at the Tipperary Inn. It was quiz night. After each quiz question, a member of each team writes the answer on a little paper and places it in basket up on the quiz-meister's table. It was my turn. I dropped my answer in the basket (imagine this in slow motion now) and as I turned to go back to our table, I tripped on the cords to the stereo system and pulled the entire thing off the table and onto the floor with a crash. There was a moment of shocked silence when the music stopped, and then the chorus of boos. I wanted to die. In my defence, those cords should not have been all over the floor where innocent quiz-goers could trip over them.

The only other thing that happened that was almost that bad, was when Rob Roden washed his hands of me. He stood up in front of several people and announced emphatically, "I wash my hands of you, Tara (last name)!" I kinda deserved that...I was being a real downer that night. But it still hurt my feelings. Anyway, I reckon the booings were worse. So try not to get boo-ed. It isn't very much fun.

Lost Time

I was just about to get out of the shower, and thought, "My hair feels kinda funny, maybe I forgot to shampoo." I racked my brain, and could not recall whether or not any shampoo had actually ever made it into my hair. So I had to do a quick lather and rinse, just in case. The only explanation for this is alien abduction. I refuse to consider that I'm losing my mind.

Not that it matters if I shampooed or not. My hair doesn't stand a chance on days like this. I look a little like that guy from Loudness on John's blog.

Rock Show

Last night we went to the Granada to see Chris Whitley. First, a correction: Chris Whitley is not so much a blues-rock man as he is a blues/rock man. He is not a big player on commercial radio, but some of you may remember his hit song Big Sky Country from back in the day. Most of his stuff is really good, but he has done some experimental stuff with electronics that I don't care for. Last night, though, it was just him and his kick-ass resonator guitar, and he was impressive. Plus I like him because he has a little daughter named Trixie, and she draws pictures that he sometimes uses for his album covers. (Can we still say "album" covers? Do the kids know what that means?) Now, I am worried for Trixie, because I think Chris Whitley might die soon. He just doesn't look good. He smokes between every song, and he makes Steve Buscemi look like a real fat guy. I think he could easily be snapped in half by a moderately strong person like the Rock or the Big Show or Mike Tyson.

At the very beginning of the show, a drunk girl in the audience shouted out "Big Sky Country!" Do you think that is a kidney punch to Chris Whitley? He finally played it at the end, but it was nothing like the original version apart from the words, and it was probably unrecognizable to the drunk girl. Another thing that was shouted during the show by a big-haired Dallas lady behind me, who was apparently finding CW's smoke breaks tiresome, was, "Let's rock dude! You know you can!" Kidney punch.

Best part of the evening: We WALKED to the Granada because it was delightfully cool outside.

Note to the obnoxious fratboy in front of us: I don't know who Fred Eaglesmith is, but I did not find your "I Shot Your Dog" T-shirt the least bit amusing. BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

I Like Fleetwood Mac

Except for the Christine McVie songs.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Dream Job

Today a friend of mine asked me what is my dream job and I was sad that I had no answer. A mariner, perhaps? Or the person that names the paint sample colors.

Neighborhood John

Here is a toilet in the front yard of a house on the next street. Someone has added some sticks and twigs to the tank to make it look like a rustic planter. There is a mattress on the corner of my street and a sofa down the block so if any of you are in need of some free home furnishings, come on down to Lakewood. Then go over to john-clarke's street for some more good stuff.

New Song Alert

Happy Cold Front, everyone! Ah, sweet relief!

New song from the PPHPHB on Nowhere Radio (click link at right, then 'discography' then 'volume III') called Barbec's Diner, featuring Chickpchick on Clarinet, and the Pantaloons (or pantettes, or robes or capris or something) on back-up vocals. It is a happy muppet show type of song. Not sure if it's the final mix. Kev needs some distance from it for a while before decisions like that can be made. So check it out if you'd like. (That's me on the "Order-up" bell.)

Tonight we are going to see blues-rock man Chris Whitley at the Granada.

Enjoy this lovely day. We've even been given green level air quality today.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Flanders Posted by Picasa

Separated at Birth: Finfrock and Flanders

Chan. 5 Chief Meteorologist David Finfrock Posted by Picasa

Finfrock Say Relax

Cold front's a'headed this way. Predicted high for Wednesday: 86 degrees.

Behind the Blog - LRHS

I have had a couple requests for this, so here is the story. I hesitate to tell it, as the truth is often a bit of a let-down, but here it is:

Those of you who know Kev, know he is a low-talker. I hear about 60% of what he says, and have to use the context to guess at the rest, which can sometimes cause problems, but I'm usually in the ballpark. Sometimes, however, he says things that sound so bizarre that I can't even imagine what he must have said, and so I have to ask. I wish I had some examples...maybe Kev can remember some.

Anyway, as much of a low-talker as Kev is, he is even more of a low-singer. And one day, he was playing his guitar and singing Sway, popularized by the great Dean Martin. So he was singing along, and I heard the crazy-sounding lyric, " a lazy russian horses show...". So I thought it over for a minute, and said, "Um, did you just say like a lazy russian horses show?" and he, of course, said "No." For those of you who don't know, it turns out the actual lyric is "Like a lazy river hugs the shore." So, like so many episodes of Three's Company, it was all just a wacky misunderstanding.

Anyway, I thought the LRHS would make a great name for our first CD, but Kev opted for the much more original title, "Volume 1," so I used the name for the blog.

And now you know the REST of the story.

P.S. Bryce used to think that when Eric Clapton was singing "Layla," he was actually singing, "Hang tough." And he once told me about hearing a great new band called Cool Breeze. He was talking about Cold Play.

Dr. Pepper / 7-Up Ballpark Posted by Picasa

By now, our guests are back on Long Island, and it's quiet and a little sad around here. I hope they enjoyed their visit, which was mostly about baseball, recording, eating, and shopping. I want to thank them again for bringing me some good coffee, and the CLASSICAL LOON cd, which was an awesome surprise. And I want to encourage everyone to go to support minor league baseball. It is good. And fun.

Last night, Kev and I had one of his sandwich creations for dinner: the French Connection 2, I think it's called. I made French toast, and we filled it with scrambled egg, ham, and cheese. It was really good. I usually make sweet French toast, by adding cinnamon, vanilla, and orange juice to the egg mixture, but this time, I just used salt and pepper so it would be more sandwich-bready. And we had a delightful fruit and yogurt combo on the side, which is something I recommend for all of you who were blogging about breakfast options. It is quick and cheap and very healthy. Add some granola for extra crunchy fun! Then after dinner, we watched the Aviator on PPV, boy that Howard Hughes was a crazy guy.

I spent 2 hours this morning at the eye doctor's office so that she could tell me nothing's changed since last time, or for that matter, the last 5 or 6 years. It now costs me $150.oo per year for her to tell me that, and it is required by the state of Texas that I go once a year. I will not go on about how much this infuriates me. And now I don't have time to go to Central Market, so I guess I'm gonna have to Iron Chef tonight's dinner. What can you do with half a watermelon, some gnocci, and some canned corn?

Saturday, July 23, 2005


On this, the hottest day of the year so far, I returned home from the great Central Market and was approached at the bottom of my driveway by a lady who was walking down my street with a small plastic bag (like the ones from the grocery store). She said, "Tamales?" I said, "No thank you." She said twelve tamales for $7. I said no thank you. Now, I love tamales, but this was a little suspicious. Has this ever happened to you? From the looks of things, she probably only had 12 tamales in her bag. Was I to be her last customer of the day? Or her only customer? Strange. I'd probably have bought some if she had a refrigerated cart like the popsicle man. I sure could go for some tamales...

Extra Cheese

Posted by Picasa

Here is a photo from our recent recording session featuring Julie and Kim as the PPHPHB back-up singers. The question has come up regarding what to call them. Some early suggestions included: The Pantsettes, The Panties, The Skivvies. Please feel free to help us name our back-up group.
By the way, they were GREAT!


The Great Tim Rall Posted by Picasa

2.56 ERA, 43 SO/38.2 IP

We are enjoying our L.I. visitors very much. Thursday night at the Rough-Riders game, I finally got to see the fine work of the deceptive Long-Island lefty, Tim Rall. His brief appearance was enjoyed by all, especially his brother Marty, who by the way, has quite an extensive repertoire of insults for umps and opposing team members. It was a lot of fun, and Tim is continuing to do well. In fact, he said he isn't shaving his beard as loong as he continues on this good streak, and if all goes well, he will look like a member of ZZ Top before long (the one with the reddish beard...which one is that?).
It's quiet time for me at the moment, because some recording is being done in the other room. Kev's sister is doing some clarinet work on our most recent song, and it sounds pretty good so far. Later, PPHPHB veteren guest vocalist, Julie, is coming over to help out with some back-up vocals. This gives me time to read and blog briefly.

Tonight is another baseball game, and hopefully we'll get to see Tim make another appearance. I'm gonna get back to my book now. I am reading Kev's copy of "The Great Brain" because I have been forbidden to buy myself any new books until after my birthday. It's pretty good for a kid's book. Marty's in the other room reading Harry Potter. I am jealous that he's still reading it. I should have paced myself. It's always sad when it's over.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Blog Break

The LRHS will probably be quiet for the next few days, as we are expecting our visitors from Long Island early Thursday morning. Channel Five Chief Meteorologist David Finfrock has just informed me that here in the Metroplex, things are about to get pretty bad, with triple digit temps this weekend, and a heat index of 105. I will not blame anyone if they chicken out of visiting. Right now, for example, it is 10:30 pm, and it is still 90 degrees. 90 DEGREES! At NIGHT! Ugh. I was talking to Kev's sister who lives near Boston the other day. She said, "Oh, it's so hot here, it's 85." Please. I bet it's delightfully cool there in the evenings at least.

A big Happy Birthday to our brother-in-law Pat, by the way. Pat is cool, and has a very underrated sense of humor in my opinion. He cracks me up, but it's usually with something he says very quietly. I kinda feel priviliged...I think Marty and I are usually the only ones who get to hear the jokes most of the time. And, he has a real sword! So, Happy Birthday, Pat. And we hope to see you next month in HP.

In spite of the oppressive heat, I am really looking forward to our house-guests' arrival. We are going to have lots of fun. There should be plenty of tales of mild adventure on next week's blog.

The good cat is still homeless, so please contact me somehow if you or anyone you know can give her a home. I played with her for a long time this afternoon. She likes string. I'm afraid I am getting attached.

UPDATE: Just woke up and got the news that I think my mom has found a home for the good cat with a nice little old lady. That makes me happy.

I'd like to close with a fun fact, but I can't think of one now. So, I owe you...

Things I'm working on.

I am learning to play Freebird on the accordian. And I think I am going to work on a new kazoo version of Rush's "The Trees." If I get really good, I may leave the band and embark on a solo career. Don't tell Kev.

There is Unrest in the Forest

Yesterday as I was driving to work, Glenn Mitchell had an uncharacteristically boring guest, and I was forced to filp around the dial and try to find some decent music. I happened to land on 93.3 the Bone (Classic Texas Rock that Rocks) and it was playing The Trees by art-rock favorite, Rush. So Geddy Lee was caterwauling on and on about the Oaks' dispute with the Maples, and I was caterwauling in my car right along with him because for some reason I know all the words. (There is so much useless crap I wish I could purge from my brain cells). I am pretty sure that in high school, I probably thought this song was really cool. "Yeah man, those lyrics are symbolic, man." Oh, brother. Do you guys think Neil Peart was serious? Or do you think he was having a laugh at people who bought into the whole symbolism crap, like me? I wish Run DMC would turn this into a rap.

The Trees
Yo - There is unrest in the forest,
There is trouble with the trees,
For the maples want more sunlight
And the oaks ignore their pleas.
The trouble with the maples,
(And they're quite convinced they're right)
They say the oaks are just too lofty
And they grab up all the light.
But the oaks can't help their feelings
If they like the way they're made.
And they wonder why the maples
Can't be happy in their shade.
There is trouble in the forest,
And the creatures all have fled,
As the maples scream "Oppression!" (This is my favorite part)
And the oaks just shake their heads
So the maples formed a union
And demanded equal rights.
"The oaks are just too greedy;
We will make them give us light.
"Now there's no more oak oppression,
For they passed a noble law,
And the trees are all kept equal
By hatchet, axe, and saw.

Dude. I mean Word.

Cat Update

Still no home for the nice cat, but we are still trying. If we don't find a home by the weekend, we have no choice but to take it to SPCA. If any of you change your mind, my parents said they will pay for a trip to the Vet to get it all checked out.

T. and the Dancing Penguin, by Bean

Click above. Thanks, Bean.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Dork Article

Here (click above) is an article about how it is cool to be a dork. If only Napolean Dynamite had been around when I was in High School...

I'm making myself a Proud to be Square t-shirt with the squippie symbol on it. I will wear it next time I have to go to the evil Guitar Center. Kev will be mortified. He reckons it's bad enough when I wear my Mr Rogers "You are Special" shirt in public.

Sucked In

Was strolling through the greatness of Super Target on Saturday and spied the new Harry Potter - on sale. So I got it. Was up past 11 last night reading (normal bed-time: 9:30), istead of flipping through channels. I am on Ch.18. I'm with Robert's good that there is something out there getting kids to want to read. (And apparently some grown-ups, too.) It's no Nick Hornby, but it's pretty good.

UPDATE: Have finished the book. It was very good, very dark. When's the next one?

I'm Gonna Get in Trouble for This

The other day while I was on the computer, I heard a lot of good Ukulele music coming toward me, and I turned around to see Kev strolling around playing all fancy behind his head like Barbarito Torres. So loco! Posted by Picasa

Hattie Posted by Picasa

I emailed Whitney some pictures to put on her blog, but I don't think she had any luck. Hotmail has some quirky stuff going on when you send photos, and it's hard to save them as jpgs. Anyway, I though you might like to see this picture of Hattie, Whitney's 3-yr-old, hiding under a chair when she came to my house last week. If Whitney continues to have trouble, I will post some more for her later on.

Piles of Dirt Posted by Picasa
I so want to climb around on them.

Parade of Dirt

It has been quiet the last few weeks on the empty lot that used to hold the house across the street. But I fear that is about to change. This morning, there has been quite a parade of trucks. Each one pulls up, and is greeted by the portly man whose job is apparently to stand in the lot and guide the each truck awkwardly into the lot so it can drop off its pile of dirt. I presently count eight piles of dirt on the lot. Each truck is completely different...giant dump trucks, little dump-trailors, all kinds. I fear for our trees. The portly man isn't so good at his guiding job.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Good Cat! Posted by Picasa
Here is a picture of the good cat. Please tell people you know about it. It is nice and needs a good home. I'll bet it has even already been fixed, since it is declawed. Whoever successfully helps me find this good cat a home will have a generous donation to SPCA made in their name by me and members of my family. Please help if you can. THANKS!


So, this cat has decided to live under my parents' deck. I guess it is lost, or someone just dropped it off. It was obviously a pet, because it isn't afraid of people. It is really nice, and has apparently been declawed, so it isn't terribly safe out there with the dogs and possums and armadillos and skunks and such. It is solid black, and very very sweet and it needs a home. We think it's a female. I will take a picture and post it next time I'm over there. I would LOVE to take it, but Kev is allergic, so put out the word, and if you or anyone you know wants a really good cat, let me know. It would be heart-breaking to have to take it to SPCA.

Whitney - it looks like BOO but smaller.

Fighting the War on Bugs

Just Say "OFF."

Not for the usual Tara-type reason, like it's poison, and bad for the environment and the dogs and cats and people who breathe it, but because IT DOESN"T FREAKIN' WORK!

Went out to pull weeds this morning, two layers of OFF, was out there for a total of 10 minutes, 15 tops. Returned with at least ten bites, one on my FACE.

Can I sue the OFF people if I get West Nile?

Dangit. I used to get a lot of joy from gardening.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Uncle Marty

Speaking of my Uncle Marty, here he is at last year's 4th of July picnic. For some reason, people in Indiana say JOO-ly instead of ju-LY, which Kev thinks is funny. Then again, Kev says 'wooder' instead of 'water', so there you go. Anyway, besides wearing novelty holiday caps, Marty likes to build stuff, and he is a pilot, and he flies small planes and an ultralight. I was always too scared to go up in the ultralight with Marty until I parasailed, and then I really wanted to go. But I think I missed my window, because after the recent death of Wal-Mart heir Somebody Walton in an ultralight crash, the fear is back. Oh well. Dangit. Posted by Picasa

Confusing Marty Birthdays

My Uncle Marty's birthday is either the 14th or 15th of July (no one seems to know), and my brother-in-law Marty's birthday is either the 12th or 13th of July (depending on who you ask)and I think am getting too old to try to keep track of all this because I used to be really good at remembering birthdays but now, not so much, and I keep getting things all mixed up. So I would like all people named Marty who were born on days in July to have great birthdays.

Also having a birthday this month: Bryce, Eric B., Pat C., Nana, and Tommy. Happy Birthday to you all!

Fun with Nostalgia!

GCC logo Posted by Picasa

If you went to the movies a lot during the 70's, you will probably remember the cool jazzy theme song that went with this logo during the previews. If you would like to hear it, go here:

Scroll down a lot, until you see the GCC logo picture, then listen to the .wav file thingy.

That was in the good old days before we had to sit thru 15 minutes of commercials before the movie. I think I am going to make a t-shirt of the logo.

Cold Weather Picture for Friday

Hudson Valley Sledding with C.P.C. 2002

This was a fun day. I was ill-prepared, and had to borrow ski-clothes and boots. They have actual hills in NY. Posted by Picasa

Even Better!

Tim Rall:

ERA 2.83

40 SO/35 IP

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Here is another installment in my Photo Crusade Against the Hot. This is the home of the Official Lon-Gislanders of the LRHS. Posted by Picasa Check out them icicles!

Feathers is Back!

Vanity Plates

Today at my office building, I saw a vanity plate that said: I WL SLM. What the heck does that mean? I will slam? I will slum? I will sell 'em? I will Islam? What's the point of having a vanity plate if people can't figure out what it means?

From the Sports Desk

Official LRHS Minor League Baseball Player, Tim Rall, has an impressive 2.91 ERA here at mid-season. Only two Ranger pitchers have better ERAs than that, and at least one of them is a real jack-ass and hopefully won't be a Ranger much longer, in spite of his good pitching abilities. Tim also has an impressive 39 strike outs for his 34 innings pitched. No one on the Rangers' roster has this good a ratio. So here is my plan. Let's get rid of Kenny Rogers and trade some loser to the Mariners organization and bring Tim Rall to the Rangers. He will fit right in with the young team. Who's with me?

Next week, if you want to see Tim's fine work, the SA Missions will be in town for a long series with the Frisco Rough-Riders. And if that's not enough to get you there, they also have Dippin' Dots!

Feathers Update

For those of you who miss LarryFeathers, never fear. As soon as he gets internet access, he has quite a post ready to publish...and it's not for the squeamish. Anyway, I reckon it'll be up in the next couple of days.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

New Strategy.

Snow on Palo Pinto Posted by Picasa

I am going to defeat summer by looking forward to what will happen once it is over.

Countdown to Cooler Days

Happy T. with Breakfast and Coffee Posted by Picasa

Cool weather is good because it means you can go camping. This is a camping photo from last year at Kerrville State Park. I am very very happy in this picture because it is clearly cool out (jacket-weather) and I am eating French Toast (no, I'm not gonna call it Freedom Toast) and drinking coffee. Did you ever notice that for some reason food tastes better on camp-outs? Kev is a really good camp-out cooker. The first time we camped, he made stuffed pork chops! They were great. On this trip, Kev got a little excited with the lighter fluid, and almost burned down the State Park. There was a big burst of flames and a trail of fire on our site, and there was me running around in circles going,"What do we do? What do we do?" Kev got the fire under control. Then we had some s'mores. I love camping. Soon it will be fall...

Take Two




Um...yesterday was just, uh, practice.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

At Sea

This is a picture I took last year during my cruise vacation. It is one of those pictures that is really pretty, but looks like something you'd find on a plaque at Hallmark with some corny poetry or maybe a Bible verse inscribed on it. The thing is, before I went on the cruise, I would see those Hallmark pictures and think, "That's not real." Sometimes, Kev will catch me going back out there. I will have my eyes closed, and he'll say, "You're at sea, aren't you?" And he will be right. "At Sea" is my current default happy place, and I go there when I am stressed, or lately, when I am hot. It is not hot at sea. It is delightfully cool. And it smells good. And it doesn't have red level air pollution days.

It does have hurricanes though, which is why I will never become a mariner. Posted by Picasa

Very Special Shout Out



Study: Drivers on cells more likely to crash
Hands-free models no help
From Julie ValleseCNN
(CNN) -- A study released Tuesday said drivers who use cell phones -- even hands-free models -- are four times as likely to be involved in wrecks involving a serious injury than are drivers who do not use cell phones.
"There was no safety benefit whatsoever from using a hands-free phone," said Anne McCartt, one of the authors of the study, which was published in the British Medical Journal and paid for by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Researchers for the institute compared information on 456 crashes with driver cell-phone records and interviewed the crash victims shortly after they were treated in hospital emergency rooms.
"Our findings indicate that laws that still allow drivers to use hands-free devices will not eliminate the crash risk of phone use," said McCartt. "In fact, to the extent that drivers perceive that hand-free phone use is safer, in some sense, these laws could have a detrimental effect if drivers increase their use of hands-free phone use."
Connecticut and Chicago are the latest locales to ban cell phone use while driving unless it's hands-free.
In the study, neither gender nor age affected risk.
The study was conducted in Perth, Australia, which bans driving while using cellular phones that are not hands-free.
McCartt said she had wanted to carry out the study in the United States, but phone companies would not release customer billing records, even with a customer's consent.
Still, she said she saw no reason why the findings would not apply equally to drivers in the United States.
The Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association, a Washington-based trade group, downplayed the findings, saying the distractions associated with mobile phones are no different from those encountered by drivers who eat or talk with passengers as they drive.
"Hands-free is a matter of convenience, a matter of comfort," said John Walls, vice president of communications for the association. He called for education and heightened awareness about any problems to driver safety that might be posed by distractions. "That's the way to change behavior," he said.
The CTIA contends that following these guidelines can minimize risk:
Assess whether a given call can wait.
Do not take notes while driving.
Do not talk while in heavy traffic.
If possible, pull off the road and park in a safe location to use a mobile phone.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety disagrees, maintaining that its study shows that the simple act of talking on a cell phone while at the wheel significantly raises the risk of a serious crash, and following those guidelines will not lower that risk.

Find this article at:

Monday, July 11, 2005

Kitchen Gadget Question

Garlic is a big player in our house, and I always end up with garlic-smell on my hands from peeling off the papery skins. I have seen a gadget in stores and on tv to help with this. It is a soft plastic, or perhaps rubber, tube. You insert the garlic clove into the tube, and roll it on the counter with the palm of your hand, like you are making a play-dough snake, and voila! Off comes the papery skin! Have any of you tried this tool?

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Sandwich Trouble

Even though I am a licensed and certified Speech-Language Pathologist, there are certain words I can't say very well. One of those is the name of beloved New Orleans sandwich, the "po' boy." You wouldn't think I'd really need to be able to say that word, but it comes up surprisingly often in conversations with Kev, who gets a kick out of my each and every attempt to say it right. Whenever it's time for me to say "po' boy," I have to pause, and then say the word very slowly and deliberately. If I don't take great care in my articulation of "po' boy," it comes out all wrong, kind of like the "toy boat toy boat" tongue twister. Ironically, I don't even like "po' boys." They generally tend to be dressed with cole slaw. Yuck.
So this morning, this topic came up and led to a discussion about the confusing sandwich terms of North America, including sandwich, hoagie, grinder, sub, and of course po' boy. Kev tried, but failed, to explain the subtle differences to me. I feel sorry for people who come over here and try to learn English. There's too many words that mean basically the same thing.
Then, for the rest of the morning, I was stuck on the Lunchlady Land song by Adam Sandler.

Sloppy joe, slop sloppy joe....

Friday, July 08, 2005

This is a picture of my mom in which she looks exactly like LarryFeathers. I think he even had that same shirt when he was that age. It looks like my mom has had a little too much of whatever was in that bottle...Schlitz or Pabst Blue Ribbon perhaps? Also posted is a photo of Larry on his 2nd birthday wearing his turtle shirt. One of my favorite photos ever. Posted by Picasa

1974: LarryFeathers turns 2 whilst wearing groovy pants. Posted by Picasa

Madame Stella

My cool great-aunt Mary rounded up some old photos for me, after we had our discussion of our family history during my visit to New Albany. Then my other cool aunt Kathy (see the Horse-head novelty photo from earlier post) scanned them all onto a CD for me. Here is a photo of my great great grandma Stella, the Seminole Madame.

Hmm...well, somehow this is not quite the glamorous lady I had pictured in my mind, but it is a cool photo nonetheless. Perhaps this was taken after the brothel was raided, and Stella went back to the farm. Maybe it was taken on Halloween, and Stella thought she'd dress as Little Bo Peep that year. Or maybe this is just how madames looked in Indiana in the early 1900s. Whatever the case, I am intrigued by this picture. What is going on? What are those people in the background doing? What is up with those shoes? I want answers!

It is VERY weird to think that without the lady in this photo, I wouldn't exist.Posted by Picasa


You might want to skip this if you are a boy. Just wanted to tell you about a place I just found out about called MAKE. It is in Uptown, and it is a cool place where you can go to make stuff. You can use their lounge to do your own thing, or you can take various classes. There are a couple I really want to one where you learn to do silk-screen, and another where you make a purse. There is a circle-skirt class, and some basic sewing classes, jewelry classes, cooking classes, and a class where you make your own dress-form. They have a retail area, so I am going to go check it out. I will let you know what I find out.
They have a website here:
so check it out, and anyone who wants to go take a class with me, let me know.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Guilty Conscience

Sometimes when I go to Home Depot, I take a few paint samples to use when making birthday/other cards for people I like.


Yesterday I read a book called Freakonomics that I borrowed from LarryFeathers and I liked it. You might like it too. It introduces some interesting theories about the ways in which people operate and whatnot. It is a very easy book and I finished the whole thing in one day. I'm glad it is almost my birthday, because hopefully that means I'll get some new books. My local library has had slim pickins' lately. I tried to read a Jimmy Carter book from the library, but it was SO boring. And you all know how much I like Jimmy Carter. The other day I wandered around Borders to give Kev some quiet time to record, and I found about a dozen books I want to read. I wish Borders worked like the library. Oh well. Anyway, read Freakonomics if you would like to, and then we can discuss the radical ideas therein.
Kev has made another good song over the weekend. I don't want to give too much away, but I will tell you that it features the two of us with a kazoo duet, and it has a breakfast theme. Do any of you have a bass drum we could borrow for a couple hours?

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Good Happy Fun Times

Today I was invited to attend a 4th of July block party on my brother's street near Downtown Garland. I don't think many things could have had a more positive impact on my faith in humanity and hope for the future. Apparently this is an annual event. A petition is signed by the neighbors to get a permit to block off the street. Tables are set up in the middle of the street for food, and tables are set up in everyone's yards for eating or games of dominoes. Ladies from the neighborhood put flags all up and down the block, and decorate everyone's porches with Patriotic bunting. Little kids play in a bounce house at one end of the street, while a couple of neighbors who have a band play classic rock songs at the other end. Everyone goes to each other's yards to visit or to play with each other's dogs. There was a little girl with long blonde pigtails tied with red and blue ribbons, riding up and down the street on her tricycle, wearing a flag shirt. I am certain that later tonight she will do some sparklers, and I'd do anything to have a picture of that. The guy on the corner with the smoker started his brisket at 3:30 AM and it smoked for 13 hours and it was so good that I don't mind the risk of mad cow disease. The whole thing was right out of a made-for-tv movie.
These people are good. My brother's neighbors are the kind of people you want to have as neighbors. Since Jeff is on travel a lot, they pitch in sometimes to help with his yardwork. There is a plumber who does Jeff's plumbing, and Jeff helps with his taxes. The guy next door saved Jeff's house from being burnt down by some hooligans one night. None of these people are snobby or fake, or try to be hip or cool, or brag about their jobs or kids or possessions. It is the neighborhood of the "common man."

This would never happen on my block. We only know a couple of our neighbors. During the tree incident of 2003, there was a brief moment of neighborhood comraderie, but it was short-lived. It makes me kind of sad.

There is one lady on Jeff's street who doesn't participate. She called the police 6 or 7 times today to complain about various things. It's sad. She should have come outside and appreciated how lucky she is to have a neighborhood like this one. I doubt if there are many around like it.

Maybe later LarryFeathers will blog about this or post some pictures. Or if we're really lucky, he'll blog about the big Styx Show in downtown Garland last night. Happy 4th of July!

Who Doesn't Like Penguins?

Well, if you don't already, you will after you go to see March of the Penguins at a theater near you right away. It will give you great new respect for the Emperor Penguin, possibly the toughest of all creatures. You won't believe what they go through year after year. So hurry and go see it.

Plus it is a great way to forget about the heat for a while. It is always cold in the movie theater, and the whole film is icy and snowy.

Warning: Some parts are sad.

To see the trailer, go here:

Friday, July 01, 2005


Just as I finished up my house-cleaning, it began to storm on my East Dallas neighborhood. I have spent the better part of the afternoon on the porch because we have been given a rare and brief reprieve from summer on this, Canada Day 2005. It is lovely. It is cool. If only it would last.

I hope you all get a chance to enjoy some of today's cool temperatures. Go home early, and have a great holiday weekend!

Regarding LarryFeathers

People want to know, "Hey, what happened to LarryFeathers?" Well, Larry has been on travel for work for the last 4 weeks, and I think he is probably pretty beaten down. Every time we talk, I tell him that people miss his blog, no one more than me I'm sure. I can't be the only one who feels a little let down every time I check the blog only to find it's still stuck on the Arm Smeller. I know he has many adventures to tell about from his recent travel. So if we are all patient, I'm sure we'll hear from Larry again soon. Feel free to comment here or at the LarryFeathers blog to encourage him.

Blog of Procrastination

It's time to clean my house so I am blogging. Putting off the inevitable. Don't bother reading this. I've got nothin'.

Um, let's see...

One of the few things I can play on the guitar at a regular tempo without messing up much is Gordon Lightfoot's heart-wrenching tale of The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald. It only has an easy 5 chord progression which is repeated over and over, so it's not too hard. I'm not much of a strummer though...could use more practice. So anyway I was playing it last night and Kev said What are the words? and I said I don't know, so I consulted the all-knowing internet and printed the lyrics.
I showed Kev the printout of all 14 verses.
K: Geez Louise!
T: Well, It's a long story.
K: The boat sank. That's all we need to know.

Thus began our debate: Do we really need ballads? I think so. Think Rocky Raccoon, John Henry, etc. Simple music with lyrics that tells a story. Kev argues that such songs are too repetative and should just be left as poems or else make the music more interesting. I said making the music more interesting would distract the listener and compete with the story. He said no, more interesting music would compliment the story. Then somehow we got on the topic of what drives capitalism and the song and debate about ballads were forgotten. This weekend I am going to write a ballad about something I think. Topic ideas, anyone?

Anyway, I guess 14 verses is kinda a lot, but I like that song and don't mind the duration. I have more of a problem with Gordon Lightfoot's attempt to rhyme "Wisconsin" with "well-seasoned," and "Cleveland" with "feeling" and so forth.

So now I guess it's time to embrace house-cleaning. Perhaps I'll see how many verses of the Edmund Fitzgerald it takes to clean the bathroom....

Oh Canada

According to my appointment book calendar, today is Canada Day, so Happy Canada Day to all! Let's all celebrate our neighbors to the Great White North who gave us Rush, Bob and Doug MacKenzie, Colin Mochrie, Razor, Dan Ackroyd, and Canadian Bacon. Please feel free to leave a comment about Canada, and if you want to celebrate real hard, go over to our band link and listen to Canada Days by the PPHPHB!

Good Day, eh!