Friday, September 30, 2005

Friday Shout Out

Happy Birthday to Evelyn H!

Maybe she will get to choose the movie this robots or aliens.

Why Today is Good

A: It is the last day of stupid September.

2. It is the first day of the great State Fair of Texas.

Fear of the Day

I fear mold. Especially toxic mold. Kev reminded me about how the great FDR said we have nothing to fear but fear itself, but I think that if there was toxic mold growing in the Roosevelt home - which I have seen by the way (the home, not mold), it's lovely - then FDR would have packed up and moved in with the Vanderbilts down the road. He probably wouldn't have been too awfully excited about bird flu either. Anyway, just to be safe, I think I'll go get some new shower curtains this weekend.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Happy Happy Joy Joy

It finally rained last night and it is 62 degrees right now! The high today is predicted to be only 78 degrees! (Yesterday it was 101). Do you think it's time for cobbler? Mmmmm...I think I'll wait a couple more weeks just to make sure. It's supposed to be 91 again by Monday. Dangit.

Also, I have received word of two more incoming soups (Thanks Whitney and John!). So that makes four. Just a few more will necessitate a LRHS all-star soup book. It can be yours for the low low price of one soup recipe. But wait! There's more! As an added bonus, I may include a special section with recipes from Kev's Sandwhich Revolution. So hurry and send your recipe today!

I think this is gonna be the best day I've had for quite a while.

PS. I don't really like Ren and Stimpy...too much booger-humor.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Rush Knucklehead and Soup Update

Well, it is nigh upon 10pm and all is dark across the way. Our neighborhood may be spared the beating that is poorly-played art rock tonight. But I am prepared with the camera if anything happens in the next few minutes.

So far, I have only received 2 soup recipes (thanks to Darlene and Julie!), which would make for a sort of pitiful soup book, so the project is on hold unless I get a few more recipes. I though for sure that sa_eric and john_clarke, both people who enjoy cooking more than me, would have a soup they'd like to share. I know, I are all very busy with your "jobs" and your "lives."

Why is it that people who are strict about certain things are given the name "______ nazi"? Like the Soup Nazi. Why not the Soup Facist? Kev says I am the Dishwasher Nazi because I like an orderly loading of the dishwasher, rather than just putting things in there all helter-skelter. You can fit so much more in there when you are orderly about it, and this saves water and energy because you don't have to run it as often, and I would think Kev would be all for that.

Today I was at Target, and I almost got myself a Vote for Pedro T-shirt, but then I remembered I am supposed to be a grown-up, and I thought about what Stacy and Clinton would say, so I put it back, and instead I got Kev some sock monkey boxers.

I don't care what anyone says, The Office (America) is hilarious.

Well, it's 10:15 now, and it doesn't appear that there will be any live entertainment this evening. Time for a peaceful night's sleep.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Rush Song of the Day

I am not sure what time the blogger thingy says it is, but in real life, I am posting this at 10:30 on Monday evening. I just came in from the porch, where I sat for a while listening to our neighbor across the way playing "Xanadu." And before you get your roller skates out, I'm not talking about the Xanadu theme from the Olivia Newton John movie, but the one from the Rush album, A Farewell to Kings. I wish I had a tape recorder and could somehow play it for you on this blog. I could hear the CD he plays along with in the background, and I could see the silhouette of our mystical neighbor in the window. I am so tempted to go back out and snap a photo as nonchalantly as possible, but I am too chicken. Maybe tomorrow, as I'm sure when the clock strikes 10, he'll be at it again. I can't believe no one has called the cops. I think I'll put an anonymous request in his mailbox sometime: Please, will you play "Workin' Man" tonight, and I'd like to dedicate it to my husband "Guillaume," because he works so hard every day. I'll be listening. Thanks! Love, Neighbor X.

At least it's a different song every night.

Soup is the Word!

I am excited to hear about all the exciting soups in the comments of the soup blog below...please email any good recipes you know to me when you have time. If I get enough good recipes, I will make a little soup book and send it to everyone who contributed at least one soup idea. ("Open a can of Campbell's" doesn't count, Robert M.)

Living in the Limelight

I think I have blogged a blog already about our neighbor who likes to play his electric guitar really loud at night. He lives in the top of a duplex that is across the street and one over, so kinda diagonally across from us. I have seen him a couple times, a non-descript dude about 30 maybe, I can never tell how old people are. Anyway, last night he was at it again. It was after 10pm on a Sunday night, so he thought that would be the perfect time to favor the neighborhood with a little Red Barchetta. The dude, who we call "Alex" for obvious reasons*, only seems to know Rush songs. After Red Barchetta, he decided to work on the solo from Limelight. Over and over again. If you know Rush guitar solos, you know there is a lot of annoying arpeggiated beedooloo beedooloo beedooloo followed by some WEEEEEEer WEEEEEEer. Most of the time, it was just loud enough to be annoying (I need pretty much complete silence to go to sleep), but every now and then, he'd crank it up so that by the time it reached my bedroom, it was about the volume normal people turn their TVs to. This went on until at least 11:00.

Now, I liked Rush when I was 15, but you sort of have to wonder about a grown-up man who lives alone and plays only Rush songs very loudly every night. Don't you? I have these mental images of the guy hanging around up there wearing a purple hooded cape, arranging and re-arranging his little pewter mystical creature action figures, or sorting his Magic - The Gathering cards, or trying to summon something or other using spells from a book on the dark arts that he got down at Half Price. I guess it is possible that he is in a Rush cover band and needs to practice. But I don't think so. I hope he isn't a seriel killer.

Oh well, maybe if we get lucky, tonight he'll work on The Trees. There is unrest in the forest, indeed.

*Alex Lifeson is the guitar guy from Rush, for those of you who were never dorks.

Birthday Shout Out for Monday


Sunday, September 25, 2005

Blogging for Soup

I am now told that it is going to be cooler on Thursday. So I am going to start thinking about my blackberry cobbler again, and I am putting out the call for good soup recipes. If you have one, let me know. Especially if it involves mushrooms. If it doesn't cool off by Thursday, I am not sure what will happen, but it won't be pretty. I'm real edgy from it being 101 today, on this, September 25th, and I could very well snap. Next year, I will not be so quick to sing the praises of September when it arrives. It is a cruel cruel month. Come on, October!
I did spend a lot of time in the chair with my library books this weekend, even without any natural disasters to keep me from going around town. (Nary a drop of rain fell upon my lawn). I finished the Mister Rogers book (very good) and the Traveling while Married book (very stupid and cheesy) and I am now getting into the Kinky Friedman book (so far, so good). I flipped through the Simple Crochet book and found a pillow to make, and I also think I will make a throw for my chair.
Meanwhile, Kev was finishing recording the jazz song, which is as yet un-named. Most of my title suggestions have been rejected outright, because I cannot take things like song-naming seriously. If you would like to offer a suggestion, I'm sure it will be considered. The song is a swingy film-noir sort of song, if that helps to inspire you. I think we will soon be able to move on to the next song, which is good. The pressure is on if we want to have something ready for Christmas this year.
Kev is in the other room playing "Pancho." I think I will go join him and kick it old skool for a while.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Serenity Now

I have now had some coffee, and am feeling less mad about not getting any rain. I sat in my chair and read the wise words of Mister Rogers and I am feeling more serene. And it doesn't hurt that I am about to make some chocolate chip cookies for my mom's birthday. Plus my dad promised that after Monday it won't get into the 90s anymore. Anyway, sorry for being all crabby.

Yesterday in honor of New Orleans, I made some shrimp and andouille jambalaya. I was really nervous about it, because I had to deviate from the recipe quite a bit, but it turned out pretty good, and Kev seemed to like it, and I know what to do next time to make it a little better. Maybe if New Orleans cannot come back from all this, all those good chefs down there will come up to Dallas and start restaurants. I think I know the perfect spot for Voodoo BBQ to relocate right down the street.

In the most recent Lakewood Advocate magazine, McMansion-Maker Elizabeth Newman said she gets spit on a lot, and is bothered that people don't like what she's doing to the neighborhood, but that she's not going to lose sleep over it because if she didn't built those big ugly houses, someone else would. Nice.

Mister Rogers would want me to be kind to Elizabeth Newman anyway. He is probably right. Dangit.

Don't Believe the Hype

Looks like we'll be lucky if we even get a drop of rain. Dammit. All we get is wind. What good is that? And to top it off, said it is going to be 97 degrees on Monday. Surely that is a mistake. I am on the edge man. Something's gotta give.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Citizens of Dallas! All is Well!

Looks like we aren't getting much more than a thunderstorm around these parts. So that's good. Bad news is New Orleans is already flooding again, and it only just started to rain there. So that sucks.

I still plan to spend the weekend in my chair with my library books.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

The Library = Good

In preparation for a stormy weekend, I have just made a trip to the local library to stock up on chair-time material. I wonder if I have already blogged about how much I love the library. It is so great. You can just go in there and it's quiet and you are surrounded by shelves and shelves of books. And then, you can pick out as many as you want, and take them home FOR FREE! And if you don't like them, you didn't waste any money, you just take them back. And you don't have to find a place in your already-crowded house to store them when you finish reading them, you just take them back. You don't even have to put them away. Someone else does it for you! The only problem I have, being kind of a germaphobe and all, is that I am a little wigged about all the other people who have handled the books. Oh well, I'll just don my dusting bandana and wash my hands a lot.

Here is what I got at the local library today:
  • Life's Journey According to Mister Rogers
  • Texas Hold'Em* by (future Governer of Texas) Kinky Friedman
  • Traveling While Married
  • Quick Escapes from Dallas/Fort Worth
  • Off the Beaten Path - Texas
  • The Work at Home Sourcebook
  • Terra Incognita - Travels in Antarctica**
  • Simple Crochet

* This is NOT about Poker, it is sort of an autobiography/Texas history

** Do you think it is some kind of a sign that the Antarctica book is called "Terra" Incognita?

So, I reckon that even though the satellite will probably go out and the internet too, what with all the rain and wind and so forth, I've got plenty to keep me busy. Plus I have one of those little lights you hook onto your book, so bring on the black-out, man!

Preparing for the Storm

I am Safety Girl, and so it is to be expected that I'm not taking any chances. My car is full of gas, I have plenty of matches and candles, and I am going to take down my bird feeders and secure other outdoor items that I don't want to have flying around my yard. This may turn out to be nothing. The winds are already slowing down some, which I'm sure is good news for our friends on the coast. But it could speed back up. You never know. The last I heard, the thing is supposed to stall out over Dallas and we are supposed to get over 20 inches of rain. That ain't good. Time to go to SuperTarget for all my stock-piling needs.

Can you believe those poor people on the JetBlue plane had to watch news reports of their peril while they were circling LA for three hours? Damn! I would have had to be restrained and drugged.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Advice for the Ladies

It doesn't seem to be a good idea to get up and drink three cups of coffee and then try to tweeze your eye-brows.

What We Talk About

The other night, Kev asked me why Mohawks (the haircut) always go from front to back, and never from side to side.

UPDATE: And now, we have the answer: because it looks really stupid. Click and see:

Thanks to Cousin Tschy for this research.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Who is Murphy, anyway?

So, I'm having a really good hair day today, and I have no place to go. It figures.

PS. Please no Alanis Morrissette song references...thanks.

Chico's Revisited

This lady is having a Chico's kind of day.

I, on the other hand, am not.

Monday, September 19, 2005

One More Reason to go to the State Fair

This year's butter sculpture is Elvis.

PS: You can get discount fair tickets at Kroger, and you can also purchase a combo ticket for the State Fair and Autumn Blooms at the Arboretum.

I was just wondering, how does one get into the butter-sculpting business in the first place?

From the Complaint Department

The blogging community has become too quiet. Please everyone blog more. Song lyrics don't count as a blog.

Five Day Forecast

Monday: 100
Tuesday: 100
Wednesday: 100
Thursday: 99
Friday: 98

I think I might cry.

Sunday, September 18, 2005


I have just consulted to check out the weather forecast for the upcoming week. Tomorrow, it is to be 99 degrees. That is simply unacceptable. The fair is coming! It must cool down! I really can't take it anymore. I want to wear my sweaters and boots. I want to go outside during the day.

Last night after Kev's soccer game, we forced ourselves to go to Oktoberfest in spite of the heat. When we got there, we headed immediately to the giant fan with the misters. It was hot and crowded.
Things improved when the sun went down and we got something to eat and drink. I had a brat. Kev had weiner schnitzel, which is some kind of fried pork cutlet on a bun. We had to sit on the grass because no-one would share their chairs. It was OK, but I was worried a cricket would get on me the whole time. Kev said crickets need to have fun too. But I disagree. Kev also had a giant beer. This year they had Paulaner instead of Lowenbrau, so that was good.

After "dinner" we headed over to Helmut's to get some strudel. Now let me tell you, this was some good stuff, but it nearly killed me. It must have been made out of something that immediately expands when it gets to your stomach. But it was delicious, way better than funnel cake. You can see from the photo that Helmut's strudel is very popular. Everyone has to have some. Don't you love the name "Helmut"? It is so funny.

The moon was full, and the Oktoberfest people used that as an excuse to have a yodelling contest. I was sad because I cannot yodel. Some of you may remember the day I tried it in my car, but failed miserably. There was only one guy at Oktoberfest who could yodel all that well, so that made me feel better. I clapped really loud for him, and he won the contest, but he didn't get a prize or anything.
Then it was time to go but we had six tickets left so we used five to buy some cinnamon roasted pecans. They were hot and fresh, in fact so hot that the nut lady couldn't seal the bag, so we ate them. What else could we do? Well, that was it for me. I probably got dangerously close to just exploding. We gave our last ticket to a little kid with a sword, and that is when we saw the FUN SLIDE! Well, we had no more tickets, so I didn't get to go on the Fun Slide. Frankly, I think it might have killed me anyway, after the strudel and all those pecans.
So, we made the long painful walk back to the car and drove home full of unhealthy German treats and when we got home, our obnoxious neighbor was playing his electric guitar at full volume accompanied by a Rush CD. Thankfully we arrived just as the show was ending, and the rest of the evening was peaceful. Today I am going to sit in my chair a lot. Hope you all had a nice weekend, and if it nice and cool and autumny where you live, then consider yourself lucky and don't tell me about it.

Friday, September 16, 2005


Is it really ever a Chico's kind of day?

Thursday, September 15, 2005

State Fair Fun Fact

Some of you may not know that in 1956, Elvis Presley played at the great State Fair of Texas. This is the ad that appeared in the paper for the show. Look, even Big Tex is going to the Elvis show.

This year, there will be an American Music exhibit in the Hall of State featuring Elvis memorabilia and a tribute to Texas blues musicians and some other music-related stuff. I think it will be really good, and somewhat more uplifting than last year's Holocaust exhibit, which was fantastic, but didn't exactly put you in the mood for a corn-dog and a ride on the Texas Star.

I am a little concerned, as it is only 15 days until the State Fair opens, and the Metroplex is showing no signs of stopping being hot. I know I wore a jacket to the Fair last year.

For State Fair info, you can go to

Wednesday, September 14, 2005


I like boats. Not so much the fast scary speedboats like at Lake Lewisville, but the nice quiet slow manually propelled kinds of boats. My favorites are canoes and kayaks. During our trip to New York, I went sailing for the first time. Pictured over there is Kev with his sister in the sailboat at Elizaville. The sailboat there is very small, and it was a little scary at first because you have to do a lot of leaning this way and that to keep the thing from tipping over. You also have to keep ducking your head so you don't get clobbered by the "boom." Kev is a good sailor, and I felt very safe with him except for when he kept threatening me with tipping the sailboat on purpose if I didn't call him "Captain," and when he said he was just gonna jump in and go for a swim and leave me in the sailboat alone in the middle of the lake. Next time we are in Elizaville, I will be more prepared for the sailing experience and enjoy it a lot more. Plus, Kev is going to teach me to be the captain next time. Kev's family has a lakehouse in Elizaville that belonged to his Grandpa before he passed away. It is a nice place to go visit. Very quiet and relaxing. Whenever Kev's family goes to Elizaville, they say a funny thing. They say, "We are going up the lake," instead of saying "to the lake" or even "up to the lake" (which makes sense because Elizaville is north.) To me, going up the lake means you are already at one end of the lake and you plan to head toward the other end. New York people. And they reckon us Texans talk funny.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005


In case you are tired of reading about birds, here is a blog about the band.

On Saturday, Kev went to get a haircut and came back with three new cymbals and a high-hat. It seems he wants me to be the drummer, and I will try, but all I can really do is a steady 4-4 rock and roll beat that I learned from my uncles as a kid, and you really need a kick-drum for that which we don't have and if we got one, we'd have to get rid of a large piece of furniture to make room for it, and none of our songs are very rock and roll, so it is a kinda wasted skill. Anyway, I am thankful that I didn't get kidnapped to Guitar Center...Kev was nice enough to go without me. And I will practice the high-hat and maybe I can fake a jazzy beat good enough for the PPHPHB.

Every time I turn around, Kev has written a new song. We made a list of about 14 songs that we have back-logged and I keep telling him we need to record them before making new ones, but he can't help it. They just keep coming out. One of the new ones I like a lot is going to be called Elizaville, which is a small village in New York where there is a family lakehouse. I am in charge of the lyrics, and it is hard because this is a semi-serious song, and I can only write silly stuff like Pancho and Sock Monkey Man. When I try to write serious lyrics, I get all self-consious and feel like a big doi. But I am going to do my best, because I think this song has potential, and I like the Cowboy Junkies vibe it has going. And because if I don't start contributing, I am gonna get myself kicked out of the band.

This blog has been 100% bird-free.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Hey, Meathead!

This is kinda funny. It takes all kinds, I guess.

Return of the Birds

This morning, there was a nice cardinal in the oak tree out front. He sat there staring expectantly at my empty bird feeders. It is clearly time to throw off the chains of summer and get my yard in shape for migration. This morning, my walk was quite a bit less fun than my one from Saturday, but it was still nice to be outside. There seems to be a great deal of unrest among the bluejays, who kept screaming, "Jay! Jay!," rather than more calmly singing, "Cheedle, cheedle." Do you think they know something we don't?

I forgot to mention the HUGE swarms of dragonflies I saw at the lake yesterday. What is the deal? They are everywhere this year. Ugh. I just did some thing that drives me nuts, and that is to put a part of a word in italics. One of the main reasons I don't like to read Salinger is that he is constantly putting parts of words in italics and it drives me nuts. Plus, I don't find his characters at all likeable except for Seymour Glass, who kills himself pretty much just as soon as you start getting to know him. Anyway, the dragonflies are really big, almost as big as hummingbirds, and there are thousands of them flying around and I don't remember ever seeing so many before.

Speaking of reading, I have finished reading all of the books I got for my birthday, so now I've got nothing. Kev got out a bunch of collections of short stories, so I read a few of those, and some are really good. There was one by Carson McCullers called Madame Zelinski and the King of Finland, and I liked it a lot even though I was suspicious because that's the same person who wrote the Ballad of the Sad Cafe which I didn't like at all. Most of the time, short stories make me really mad, because if they are good, I want them to keep going. There is rarely closure with short stories. Thurber is an exception, and I love pretty much every word he ever wrote. Anyway, Kev got out a Ring Lardner collection, so I will give that a go. I am always interested in recommendations from people I like, so feel free to suggest reading material.

Well, off to the garage to see if I have any birdseed left from the spring. Get ready, Mr. Cardinal!

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Monday Shout Out

Happy Birthday to Kim!
Hope you have a great day.

Faking It

On Friday, Kev and I went to Spain. Actually, we didn't go to Spain at all. But we DID go to Cafe Madrid, which is sort of like going to Spain only much cheaper and there is no having to fly on planes or carry luggage all over creation. At Cafe Madrid, our nice waiter, Jorge (hor-hay), brought us delicious tapas. My favorites were the shrimp in garlic and the goat cheese with honey, Kev like the meatballs in almond sauce. It would be great if tapas caught on over here, it is a really fun way to have a mild dining adventure.
Saturday for the first time since about May, I went outside to take a morning walk. It was early, so it was delightfully cool, and I saw some old friends like Sam the boxer, and the bluejays and grackles and other birds. It made me so happy to be able to go outside.
This morning, we went to the lake for a walk, and I saw egrets and parakeets and ducks and geese and a giant turtle, and a new bird which I think was a Wilson's warbler. It is migration, so you never know what you might find if you pay attention. Most of the people at the lake today were concentrating too hard on their jogging to pay attention to anything. They are missing out, I tell you what. When we got home, Kev made a Spanish Omelet, and we listened to Segovia, and Classical Loon.
So the whole weekend was like a sort of fake vacation.

And it's a good thing, too, because then I had to go get my parents from the airport and hear all about their cruise vacation without being too jealous, which wouldn't have been easy if our weekend had sucked.

Friday, September 09, 2005

LRHS Tip of the Week

If you are feeling blue because it's time to clean the house, go out and get the soundtrack to Broken Flowers (various artists) and play it while you are dusting and sweeping and so forth, and time will fly!

Thursday, September 08, 2005


So yesterday I was driving around in Garland, and I noticed this Volvo behind me, coming up really fast, zipping around people, changing lanes all strategically, in a big hurry. Finally she gets blocked behind me and a slow car in the next lane, and she is really annoyed trying to get around us. I needed to get over, so she got past me, sped up, and the light turned red. HA HA! So now she's next to me at the red light, still annoyed, and I see it is a girl right outta Long Island (no offense) with the long flowy dark hair and long fingernails, probably chewing gum, kinda looked like Janis from the Friends show. So the light turns green and she hauls a** to zip around me and do you know where she is going that she has to be in such a hurry? WAL-MART! I should have followed her in there to see what urgent purchase was worth risking the lives of other drivers, but I just kept on going.

I heard a commercial on the radio the other day that made me really mad for a thing you can buy for your car that makes you "invisible to police radar." They guarantee you won't get a ticket, or they'll pay for it. Then they say really fast and more quietly, "of course we don't condone reckless driving BUT
buy our product so you can be above the law and go as fast as you want!"

I don't like driving around the streets with Zippy and Speedy. Be careful out there.

Animal News

Here is the latest from the AZA...A little bit of good news from the devestated aquarium, and really good news from the zoo, which only lost a couple of animals.

Hurricane Update
This is what we know about the status of AZA member institutions in the affected area as of 9:00am, 8 September 2005.
New Orleansback to top
The Audubon Nature Institute staff is aware that the AZA community has responded — and continues to respond — to this crisis in an overwhelming way and is extremely thankful. AZA is maintaining a list of offers of assistance by category. This will be a long-term effort and our colleagues at the Audubon Nature Institute appreciate all that has been offered.
Audubon Aquarium of the Americas Unfortunately, without a fully functioning life support system, most of the fish in the collection were lost. But the good news is that the sea otters, penguins, leafy and weedy seadragons, macaws, raptors, an electric eel, and the white alligator are fine.
Midas, the infamous 250 lb. sea turtle, survived and has been coaxed into the holding area in the Gulf of Mexico Exhibit.
A change of staff has arrived. They continue to work on preparing to move the animals out of the facility.
Audubon Zoo The zoo has been resupplied with water, food for animals and humans, and fuel for generators. They are still in good spirits, albeit tired. A change of staff is on the way to give relief to the main Hurricane Team.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Good Happy Fun

Thanks, Kev. This is exactly the kinda thing I like to know about.

Word Verification

I have turned on the word verification thingy to try to stop the dang spammers. Sorry if you are inconvenienced by the extra step when commenting.

Notes for Wednesday

Yesterday I was driving down my street and a generic pigeony-looking bird was walking across and I could have ignored it, but I paid attention, and it turns out it was some kind of quail or bobwhite, not a regularly seen bird in my neighborhood. So that was interesting if you are me.

In the afternoon I went to Ikea for the first time with LarryFeathers because he wanted a new bed. Ikea has some good stuff, that's for sure, but is it worth the total spanking it delivers? It was bad, and the place wasn't even busy. So, don't go there if you are tired or hungry or cranky because you will be in there for a minimum 90 minutes unless you know exactly what you want and where to get it, and don't get anything that is too big to put in your car, and take a strong friend because the people that work there sure as heck won't help you get heavy boxes off the shelves, and ask for Frannie in the bed area because she is the only helpful person we met, but she is only there until today becuse she works in the Connecticut store and was only here to help with the grand opening. But if you just want some picture frames or plates it is OK, and they had some nice sheets and shower curtains. And it smells like cinnamon rolls, so that's nice too.

I finished A Long Way Down, and I liked it, but didn't love it. I reckon it will be a movie eventually, with this possible casting:

Martin: Hugh Grant or Collin Firth, whichever one is available
Maureen: The lady from Keeping Up Appearances or a frumped-up Emma Thompson
JJ: They guy who played Ben on Felicity
Jess: hmm...some young no-name angsty Brit-teen

I wouldn't go to see it, but I'd get it on PPV.

October 1 is on a Saturday, and I will make some pumpkin bread that day to celebrate. Only 23 more days or something like that.

I think Harry Connick Jr. is swell.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Long Weekend is Over

The long weekend is over, and I pretty much did what I said I was gonna do: mostly a whole lotta nothing. I have almost finished "A Long Way Down," the new Nick Hornby that I got for my birthday. And we went to see Broken Flowers at the Magnolia (GREAT movie...Bill Murray is genius), and yesterday we went over to our friends' Ken and Heather's house for breakfast tacos. Hanging out with my friends made me realize how much I miss hanging out with my is getting harder and harder because everyone is so busy or has moved far away. I found out from Ken that the Old 97s are in that new movie with Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn that is coming soon, so now I am going to have to go see it. It should be pretty OK in spite of Jen A., because Vince Vaughn is cool enough to cancel her out. Ken said the bast part of being in the movie was that he got to hang out with the guy who played Ralphie in the Christmas Story movie. He also gave us a copy of the new Old 97s Live CD, and it is great, so go buy it and support a cool band if you like good stuff.

My parents are on a cruise vacation this week. Today they are going to Puerto Rico. I am happy for them because they really need a vacation, but part of me, a very small selfish bratty part of me, is jealous as all get out because they are at sea and I am in hot hot Texas absorbing sad news report after sad news report and trying not to get defeated. It ain't easy, is it? Not too many things are more heart-breaking to watch than a now homeless little kid having his dog taken away from him.

Well, I will try not to let the LRHS become too gloomy. There is plenty of GOOD news out there, so I will try to bring you some as I hear it: Well, I'll be damned, just as I typed that, my brother called with some good news, so here it is:

A guy from his (my brother's) office had several (like 17) in-laws (who were evacuees) at his house who had managed to get out, but there was a brother-in-law still missing and they thought the worst. But it turns out he called them last night and he is alive because he swam over to Fats Domino's house, and Fats Domino let him stay there and they got rescued. He said when he got to Fats Domino's house and told him about what he had been through, Fats Domino started to sing Ain't that a Shame. This is a true story. I saw the email from my brother's co-worker. So on that happy note, I am going to Central Market.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Cow Town

I've said it before and I'll say it again, Fort Worth is cool. I took the train part of the way, which is always interesting. The TRE trains and nice and clean and comfortable and air-conditioned. On this trip, the high-light was a nice black man who was singing spirituals because he thought the people on the train were too quiet and sad because of tragedy. "Glory glory, hallelujah, since I lay my burden down...," he sang. It was great. The low-light was the woman who sat across from me with the worst B.O. I have ever smelled (she was reading a Russian Bible), and the rich lady next to me who talked on her cell phone loudly during the trip.
At Centerport, my brother picked me up and we drove to Keller to get a friend, and then to the Stockyards. It is by far the most Texan place I have ever been. There were real cowboys there. It is where the West begins, after all. We had dinner at Riscky's steak house and it was very good and reasonably priced. Then we headed to Billy Bob's for the big show.

At Billy Bob's they don't have a mechanical bull. Instead, they pride themselves on having real bull-riding, which you can go in and watch for $2.50. Since I have lived in Texas for 26 years and never seen any bull-riding, it seemed like something I should do. So we got our tickets and took our seats in the bleachers. First, a clown comes out to warm up the crowd with schtick. I was concerned about the clowns, but turns out they aren't as scary as circus clowns because their make-up is real half-ass, almost like an afterthought, so they didn't creep me out too much. Then, the lights go down, and from the fan-fare, you'd think an NBA team was about to come out, but instead they introduce four cowboys who are from places like Garland and Lufkin and so forth. The cowboys then each take a turn at bull-riding, and there is more clown schtick in between. Then for the finale, they send out a bull which is supposed to be all riled up and the audience is supposed to get all excited and fear for the lives of the rodeo clowns. This poor bull had the worst case of tired-head I have ever seen. He wanted no part of chasing these clowns around. He did about half a lap around the arena and headed right for the exit gate to give the gate-keeper the old sad-eye. But the gate-keeper didn't budge, and the clowns teased him and teased him, so he finally made a feeble attempt at a head-butt or two, and then back to the gate he went. Poor thing. I think that is my last rodeo. It made me sad.

Here is a question for you: When a ticket lady on the phone tells you that your tickets are 4th row center, what does that mean to you? At Billy Bob's it means you are on the 4th row of long cafeteria tables which are prependicular to the stage, and therefor you are actually way way back, and in our case behind a big pillar. I had to lean sideways and zoom way in to get the photo above. Also, at Billy Bob's, those cafeteria tables are jammed so close together that it is extremely difficult to get in and out of your seat, and dancing around is pretty much out of the question. Not that I had any intention of dancing around, but if any of you have ever seen the old 97s, you know that their live shows are all about energy, and this show had none because nobody could stand up. The sound was bad too. I sure wasn't expecting this from Billy Bob's, a place which has hosted Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, and any other great country star you can think of. It was pretty disappointing. But it was good to see Ken (below singing his one big hit, Cohuila), and I talked to him for a little while until I could no longer compete with the fans who kept coming up to take his picture and whip his ass about what kind of guitars he used on Wreck Your Life and whatnot. It is still very weird to me that Ken has fans.
So that was my big Friday Night. Kev didn't go because he was sick. The rest of the weekend is all about doing as little as possible. I am gonna do a lot of reading, and a crossword, and that's about it. Happy Labor Day.


Click here for genius comedy (With a message). Thanks to TG for this alert.

This might be one of the corniest things you'll ever see. I love it. Hee hee.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Big Friday

I have just finished cleaning the house, and have removed my dusting bandana until next Friday. As soon as I get cleaned up, I will continue my Friday ritual by reading the paper. For once, I'm not really looking forward to it...lots of tragedy to read about today.

Tonight I am going to take some time off from tragedy. I am hopping on board the TRE this afternoon and meeting my brother at Centerport station for a trip over to Fort Worth for dinner, and then to see the Old 97s at Billy Bob's. This will be my first trip to Billy Bob's and you can bet I'll have the camera with me. If it wasn't so hot, I'd wear my boots.

Anyway, I think there are lots of tickets available, so if you are interested in some fun, head on over to meet us at Billy Bob's. Show starts at 10:30, so you've got plenty of time to get over there after work. Yee-haw!

Great NOLA Blog

Click link for recent info from the streets of New Orleans.

LarryFeathers Alert

Good LarryFeathers New Orleans at right.

Part of the Jet Set

"I must say, I didn't care for the in-flight movie."

- Ralph

Thursday, September 01, 2005

State Fair Warm-Up

Everyone knows that the great State Fair of Texas is hands down the best fair going. But only ever so slightly behind is the Dutchess County Fair in Rhinebeck, New York. Readers of this blog may recall seeing it mentioned before as something I was very much looking forward to during my vacation, and it was all I hoped it would be and more.

One of the best things about the Dutchess County Fair is the milkshake booth. It is a happy place where you can choose a vanilla, strawberry, or chocolate milkshake which will send you into fits of delight when you drink it. There is Kev with our milkshakes. If you click on the photo and make it bigger, you will see that they are not only milkshakes, but they are REAL milkshakes. Maybe that is why they're so good. Every year there is a poster where they write down how many milkshakes have been sold so far. Believe me, it is a LOT.

Besides the shakes, the best thing at the DCF is the box of fried mushrooms. These mushrooms are WAY better than the ones from Snuffers, which are pretty darn good, so that's saying something. I also had, as you can see, a Karl Ehmer Andouille on a bun, and some fresh lemonade. Good eats, I tell you what. We saw a corn-dog booth this year, but it was not a Fletchers booth, so corn dogs will have to wait until the State Fair. Anyway, I'm not sure the corn-dogs of the North-East are the corn-dogs for me.

We saw lots of farm animals, including the pigs above, and we saw a cool Birds of Prey flight demonstration, featuring this Eurasian Eagle Owl, a Gyrfalcon, and a Harris Hawk. It was very exciting. I have pretty much resigned myself to the fact that I shall never see an owl in the wild, so the bird show owls will have to do. I am going to look into volunteering at the Birds of the World show at the State Fair this year, so maybe I'll get to hang out with more owls and the peregrine falcon that always flies in from the Texas Star Ferris Wheel. That would be cool.

The best (and only) ride I went on at the DCF was the Fun Slide, and it was indeed a fun slide. The first time, I raced Kev and Kim, and I beat them handily on the green track. I don't win at things very often, especially against Kev, so this victory was especially sweet. Then, I took our nephew Ryan on the Fun Slide. He wasn't quite sure what to make of it at first, and I thought he was going to cry, but after a few seconds of mulling it over at the bottom, he said, "Again?" Sadly, it was time to leave the Fun Slide. I wish they had one of these at our fair.

The Hudson Valley is home to many celebrities, including Katie Couric, the Kingston Trio, and Pete Seeger. I did not see any of them, but I did see Tony Soprano, pictured above with hat, going all around at the DCF. I know that is only his TV name, but I cannot spell his real last name. In other celebrity news, I also saw the GREAT John Wesley Harding at LaGuardia, but I didn't take a photo of him.

So, let's all get ready for the State Fair of Texas, and while you are there, see if you can help me get some talk going about bringing down the milkshakes and mushrooms and fun slide next year.

Finally A Little Bit of Good News

From the American Zoo Assn Webpage:

Hurricane Update

This is what we know about the status of AZA member institutions in the affected area as of 5:00 pm, August 31.
Audubon Nature Institute: The staff of the Audubon Nature Institute is safe. The physical plants at both the Zoo and the Aquarium suffered little damage. The staff will continue to assess the impact on the animal collections at all the Audubon facilities.
The Audubon Center for Research of Endangered Species lost one whooping crane but the remaining animals at the facility are fine. There is some tree damage to fences but no building roofs have been lost. The area has not been flooded but there are some leaks at the Research Center. Four animal keepers were flown in by helicopter. At present, they do no need food or water.
The staff at the Audubon Nature Institute appreciates the outpouring of prayers and offers to help their Zoo and Aquarium colleagues. AZA will be coordinating the needs of the zoo and aquarium with the offers of assistance that have been pouring in from our members.


August is over, and thank God for that. I know it is still 100 degrees and red-level polluted, but the psychological difference between August and September is huge. Just the word "August" sounds hot. "September" on the other hand is a cool, crisp word. September promises falling temperatures and the beginning of the State Fair and migrating birds and the happy day I can finally make blackberry cobbler. September is good. In anticipation of fall, the new leaves on our Japanese Maple are a lovely shade of burgundy. And the very best thing about September is that it is almost October.