Monday, February 28, 2005

Flap du Jour: Rules of Engagement

Hold still so the guy I hired can do his job. Move over by that window.



Flap du jour regarding my blog post about Terri Schiavo. Stir it up, stir it up. Make them think. Make me think. The Rules of Engagement are: Think first, then fire away. Nice shot Andy! You scored a bullseye.

I knew there was a book!

While culling through some 900+ emails to free up some space on my server, I found this photo which was sent to me by Mrs. Stomps With Foot.



Now before anyone flames me or starts name calling, this photo merely represents how she got her start on being named Mrs. Stomps With Foot – after all, she sent it to me!

I just don't get it - part deux

I was pointed to Jawa's site by a link on A Train Wreck In Maxwell's blog.

Jawa hits the nail on the head. Not that I am being a blogslut or anything like that, but this is really a must read!

Thank ye verily, Jawa, I appreciate your permission to link to your blog, and the pointer about blog etiquette not requiring permission to link. Arrrr!

Friday, February 25, 2005

I just don't get it.

I just saw this on Yahoo, and found the dichotomy sadly ironic.

Top story - a woman will now be starved to death – at the direction of the court and to the dismay and terrible anguish of her parents. Her husband, (Correction)now remarried what does he not understand by " … in sickness and in health … " anyway? (see Beth's comment) has won his fight to murder his ex-wife.



Juxtaposed upon a story of an ailing Pope Paul, who will die when God calls him, not when a court so ascertains.

Exsqueeze me? Imagine, if you will, the headlines are flipped.

Judge Orders Pope's Feeding Tube Removed


Florida Woman's Breathing Unassisted. Advised Not to Eat.



Can you for one minute imagine what the Universal uproar would be if someone at the Vatican took Pope Paul's case to a court to remove a feeding tube? It would never happen. Yet there is no difference here, really.

We are presented with two ailing/invalid human beings. One of whom will soon surely die by decree, and the other of whom will surely die when it is time for him to die.

One decreed by Circuit Judge George Greer and the other to be determined by God.

"If Mr. Schiavo legally succeeded in provoking the death of his wife, this would not only be tragic in itself, but it would be a serious step toward legally approving euthanasia in the United States," Cardinal Renato Martino told Vatican Radio on Thursday.

Can ya 'splain it to me, Lucy? Cuz I just don't get it.

You have to love creatives

This my friends, is brilliant, genius in all its glory.





Absolutely Genius!

Life is good ... isn't it? I forget stuff.

Getting older is such a nuisance. Mrs. SWF and I have had plenty of opportunities to note the vagaries of aging. Not that we are old, or anything (blatant denial). We visit about this occasionally, and I thought it was time to blog it before I suffer from number three two on this list.

1. I think you should get wrinkles or zits. Not both. They should be mutually exclusive. Besides, its hard to pop the ripe ones when they are in the crease of a crow's foot.

2. I forget stuff. Important stuff, like where is the remote? Oh, shit, there it is, now I remember! I took it with me to the kitchen to get a beer, put it on the shelf, snagged the beer and shut the refrigerator. That was two days ago and I found 85¢ under the furniture cushions while looking for it. Other times, it's less obvious, "Why am I standing in front of my lawn mower?"

3. Everything in the refrigerator is behind the milk. "Honey, where's the jelly? It's not in here. Damn, did we run out of jelly?" "Did you move the milk?" "Yes - (saying this as I move the milk)... ohhhhh! There it is!

4. We are not our children and they are not us. They are completely different than we are. They grew up in a different time. Their mindsets are 180-degrees off from ours. F'r instance: I would never think of moving to a new city without having a job there before I moved. My kids think it's perfectly acceptable to move to a new city and then find a job. Funny, it seems to work that way too.

5. The older I get, the thinner my skin - actual epidermis - gets. I can be working in the yard and come in all scratched up. Seems to be an elasticity thing. Don't feel the pain of whatever made that two-inch scrape when it occurs, couldn't even tell you when it happened. Don't have a clue where that huge-ass bruise came from. Where was my leg when it happened? That must've hurt.

6. I call my son's by my brother's names and catch myself doing it – mid-sentence. "You know who you are! Why don't I?"

7. The older I get, the more land I want.

8. The older I get the more politically conservative I become.

9. Time goes by very quickly. I think that the warp speed-gene kicks in about age 50.

10. I can count my friends on less than 10 fingers and consider myself truly blessed to be able to do so.

11. Aching muscles, tendonitis, arthritis, whatever... pick up some Muggies, the Manly Huggies, next time you are at the drug store. What do you mean there aren't any more drug stores? Oh, that's right, they are now at the grocery stores.

See, I am forgetting stuff already. Where are my pants?

It's Friday, and I'm gonna hep ya!

Beth has a post today that left me screaming with laughter. I love it when she posts an astute observation, and wanted to recommend a new medication for whatever may ail her! It is not gender specific, as her list is. Actually, I think it's good for BMS (Barking Moonbat Syndrome) as well.

Stomps With Foot sent me this last week and now I have the perfect reason to post it. For your own prescription send $1, plus 37¢ postage and handling to: Pier 86, New York, New York, 10086

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Traffic in Dallas, wait, there is NO TRAFFIC

I usually leave for work about 6:00 a.m., every day. It was raining pretty hard this morning and although the visibility sucked, I took my time, left plenty of space between my front bumper and the rear bumper in front of me. The bad part was when an 18-wheeler was alongside me in an adjacent lane and dispersing that 360-degree blinding mist that comes from the tires. I backed off to let him pass me, then I passed him when his lane bogged down. I was being very aware of my surroundings on I-635, a.k.a. LBJ Freeway, this morning.

Seems like living in Dallas is starting to get to me, what with the traffic on LBJ, dealing with the High Five construction for the past three years (it is still not finished - only three more years to go) and the 40-mile round-trip commute to work every day, and generally having to look out for the idjits that share the same road with me.

I got to work about 6:25 a.m., and my partner in Art Department crime, codename: Desdemona, got here at 7:00 a.m. and asked me if I saw the wreck on LBJ this morning. I said, "No, it was pretty uneventful today." She then proceeded to tell me about an 18-wheel gasoline tanker truck that was east-bound on LBJ that crashed into the median, broke through the median and landed belly-up on the west-bound side with its cab headed east. It did a total flip-flop.

My friend Trent Hebrlee took these photos which are all © 2005. All rights reserved.


Looking north at Valley View Mall.


Mmmmmm … foam. Belly up.


Freeway is still shut down, some seven hours later. This is looking east.


Not a speck of traffic, this is looking west.


Note the tanker in the east-bound lane facing west, offloading the fuel from the tanker in the west-bound lane.


Damn, I love high-density traffic areas.

Thanks Trent! We don't need no steenkin' $afeClear in Dallas, we've got lane bouncing, belly-flipping gasoline tanker trucks and idjits for commuters.

As long as I am at least one car-length ahead of any wreckage I will be staying in Dallas. If, as and when I get stuck behind, or underneath one of these I think I will move to the Hill Country.

Brother and brother reunion!


Bro and wife



My younger brother, codename: El Wappo, arrived in Dallas from Puerto Rico, where he is currently employed. Having siblings is really a wonderful thing. I haven't seen him in 18 months or so and that is just way too long. He made me smile when I saw him. EW always had a good head on his shoulders, and has endured the raising of 3 children - all of whom I miss terribly.

You know, when one get's older, one tends to want everyone else to make the effort to call, visit, mail, send cards and just plain stay in touch. I rebuke myself for not taking this responsibility to heart, life is not a one-way street, and how often have you heard that? The phone works both ways - true?

We reviewed some of his latest photos on the internet. Pictures of his children enjoying themselves with boat drinks in Puerto Rico while sailing on a catamaran that was totally bodacious. Yar, hoist the mains'l and the Jolly Roger. Trim the jib and get me another Singapore Sling.

EW has a great eye for light - an attribute we share through photography, although he just shrugged it off, I was very impressed by his photographs. We went through a couple of hundred of them and there were at least three, in the first set, that made me want to pause and copy them. Wowzer.

He is heading for China next October and will be there for three weeks. I wish I could stow-away on that trip. Keep on keepin' on, bro, you are making me proud of ye!

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Thundersticks and blazing eyes


Stomps With Foot



SWF has decided that it is time to invoke her codename, and disallow an invitation to 52 folks come to our humble-yet-roomy teepee to celebrate a couples wedding shower for my son and his fiancée in April. She is not without emotions on this issue. And she is making a stand - whether or not it is a Custer-like stand remains to be seen. Wait! Custer lost that battle, and SWF is definitely related to Kicking Bird - this is a no-brainer.

We will be celebrating our 35th wedding anniversary and her birthday in N'awlins during that particular weekend, eating our way across the Vieux Carre, visiting art galleries, eating our way across the Vieux Carre, sightseeing, eating our way across the Vieux Carre, shopping and getting lost in the French Market down on Decatur, eating our way across the Vieux Carre, and visiting Margaritaville® for a cheeseburger-in-paradise and one of Jimmy's perfect margaritas. We will be staying on Rue Royal at the Andrew Jackson House. N'awlins is alive with history, myth, music and a joie de vivre that can be found only on its time-worn streets. For sightseeing, for food, for history or for frivolity, the French Quarter is a favorite escape for SWF and me. But I am getting off track a bit.

Daughter-unit, codename: SweetieOne, wants to give my eldest-son-unit, codename: Jaeger, and his bride-to-be, a couples wedding shower. She is always thinking of others, is a responsible parent in her own right, and asked permission from SWF to hold the shindig at our home. SWF was concerned about a pregnant SweetieOne making the drive to and from New Braunfels two weekends in a row, among other things, and thought long and hard about the request; probably one-millisecond - then made up her mind, NO!

Okay, hmmmmm. I have no problem with it and explained to her why I thought it would be fine. SWF has a problem with it, something about enabling. Guess who wins!

I think I see some wagons high-tailing it off in the distance and an angry herd of buffalo headed their way - no, it's just SWF with her thunderstick and blazing eyes.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Eleven tips … part deux



I asked my Daughter Unit, Code Name: SweetieOne, what specifically was illegal, 62 years later, about the 1943 Eleven Tips on Getting More Efficiency Out of Women Employees.

Herewith is her professional reply:
-----------------------------
Fraternal Parental Unit: See my comments in red italics. Remember that although I am your little girl, I am also certified by the Society for Human Resources Management as a Senior Human Resources Professional (SPHR) – doesn’t that sound fancy and credible?

1. Pick young married women. They usually have more of a sense of responsibility than their unmarried sisters, they're less likely to be flirtatious, they need the work or they wouldn't be doing it, they still have the pep and interest to work hard and to deal with the public efficiently.
Today, this violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which protects workers against discrimination based on race, religion, national origin, gender, color, etc. It is a gender discrimination issue.

2. When you have to use older women, try to get ones who have worked outside the home at some time in their lives. Older women who have never contacted the public have a hard time adapting themselves and are inclined to be cantankerous and fussy. It's always well to impress upon older women the importance of friendliness and courtesy.
Violation of the ADEA (Age Discrimination in Employment Act) which protects workers over 40.

3. General experience indicates that "husky" girls - those who are just a little on the heavy side - are more even-tempered and efficient than their underweight sisters.
Being overweight is typically not considered a ‘protected class.’ However, there has been much litigation on the subject under the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) since obesity is sometimes related to a physical condition.

4. Retain a physician to give each woman you hire a special physical examination - one covering female conditions. This step not only protects the property against the possibilities of lawsuit, but also reveals whether the employee-to-be has any female weaknesses which would make her mentally or physically unfit for the job.
More than likely another Title VII violation based on gender.  Could also violate the ADA and HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) because of the privacy issue.

5. Stress at the outset the importance of time, the fact that a minute or two lost here and there makes serious inroads on schedules. Until this point is gotten across, service is likely to be slowed up.
Giving special instruction to one particular group of people (i.e. women, Hispanics, etc.) and not another could be a Title VII violation.

6. Give the female employee a definite day-long schedule of duties so that they'll keep busy without bothering the management for instructions every few minutes. Numerous properties say that women make excellent workers when they have their jobs cut out for them, but that they lack initiative in finding work themselves.
See above

7. Whenever possible, let the inside employee change from one job to another at some time during the day. Women are inclined to be less nervous and happier with change.
See above

8. Give every girl an adequate number of rest periods during the day. You have to make some allowances for feminine psychology. A girl has more confidence and is more efficient if she can keep her hair tidied, apply fresh lipstick and wash her hands several times a day.
Blatant Title VII gender violation

9. Be tactful when issuing instructions or in making criticisms. Women are often sensitive; they can't shrug off harsh words the way men do. Never ridicule a woman - it breaks her spirit and cuts off her efficiency.
Blatant Title VII gender violation.

10. Be reasonably considerate about using strong language around women. Even though a girl's husband or father may swear vociferously, she'll grow to dislike a place of business where she hears too much of this.
Actually on the mark here and in line with Title VII with regard to sexual harassment and hostile work environment. Ironically enough, this is the piece of advice that was probably laughed about more at the time, but has developed into modern day sexual harassment policies. However, the policy should apply to all employees, not just women.

11. Get enough size variety in operator's uniforms so that each girl can have a proper fit. This point can't be stressed too much in keeping women happy.
This one is just plain funny!
------------------------------

Whodathunkit!

Monday, February 21, 2005

Just wind me up!

I love sushi. But since a plate full of USB sushi would cost me a grand or so, I figured this would be a fun diversion during the Texas Blogfest.



Windup sushi!

We could use these to have races … loser buys the winner a sushi lunch!

Get outta here!

You've come a long way, baby!

My daughter-unit sent me this email, which was forwarded from a friend who forwarded it to a friend who forwarded it to a friend. My, oh my, how time's have changed.



I immediately did some research on the topic of working women. When the United States entered the Second World War, "Rosie the Riveter" became the symbol for women workers in the American defense industries. The diversion of men from the labor pool into the military, as well as the increased production needed to support the war effort, prompted the federal War Manpower Commission and the Office of War Information to undertake a nationwide campaign to recruit women into the labor force.

From 1940 to 1945, the number of female workers rose by 50 percent, from 12 million to 18 million. In 1940, women constituted 8 percent of total workers employed in the production of durable goods. By 1945, this number increased to 25 percent.

During the war years, women became streetcar conductors, taxicab drivers, business managers, commercial airline checkers, aerodynamic engineers, and railroad workers. Women operated machinery, streetcars, buses, cranes, and tractors. They unloaded freight, built dirigibles and gliders, worked in lumber mills and steel mills, and made munitions. In essence, women occupied almost every aspect of industry.

Is it any wonder then that this new workforce had different needs?

The following is an excerpt from the July 1943 issue of Transportation Magazine. It is a guide for hiring women. This was serious and written for male supervisors of women in the workforce during World War II - a mere 62 years ago! Obviously, the intent was not to be funny but, by today's standards, this is pretty hilarious! For those of you with efficiency issues, scroll down to #8.

Eleven Tips on Getting More Efficiency Out of Women Employees



There's no longer any question whether transit companies should hire women for jobs formerly held by men. The draft and manpower shortage has settled that point. The important things now are to select the most efficient women available and know how to use them to the best advantage. Here are eleven helpful tips on the subject from Western Properties:

1. Pick young married women. They usually have more of a sense of responsibility than their unmarried sisters, they're less likely to be flirtatious, they need the work or they wouldn't be doing it, they still have the pep and interest to work hard and to deal with the public efficiently.

2. When you have to use older women, try to get ones who have worked outside the home at some time in their lives. Older women who have never contacted the public have a hard time adapting themselves and are inclined to be cantankerous and fussy. It's always well to impress upon older women the importance of friendliness and courtesy.

3. General experience indicates that "husky" girls - those who are just a little on the heavy side - are more even-tempered and efficient than their underweight sisters.

4. Retain a physician to give each woman you hire a special physical examination - one covering female conditions. This step not only protects the property against the possibilities of lawsuit, but also reveals whether the employee-to-be has any female weaknesses which would make her mentally or physically unfit for the job.

5. Stress at the outset the importance of time, the fact that a minute or two lost here and there makes serious inroads on schedules. Until this point is gotten across, service is likely to be slowed up.

6. Give the female employee a definite day-long schedule of duties so that they'll keep busy without bothering the management for instructions every few minutes. Numerous properties say that women make excellent workers when they have their jobs cut out for them, but that they lack initiative in finding work themselves.

7. Whenever possible, let the inside employee change from one job to another at some time during the day. Women are inclined to be less nervous and happier with change.

8. Give every girl an adequate number of rest periods during the day. You have to make some allowances for feminine psychology. A girl has more confidence and is more efficient if she can keep her hair tidied, apply fresh lipstick and wash her hands several times a day.

9. Be tactful when issuing instructions or in making criticisms. Women are often sensitive; they can't shrug off harsh words the way men do. Never ridicule a woman - it breaks her spirit and cuts off her efficiency.

10. Be reasonably considerate about using strong language around women. Even though a girl's husband or father may swear vociferously, she'll grow to dislike a place of business where she hears too much of this.

11. Get enough size variety in operator's uniforms so that each girl can have a proper fit. This point can't be stressed too much in keeping women happy.


Wait, isn't this still true? I better get a memo out to our HR department right away, after all, if it's good enough for the war effort, it's good enough for me. I just have to make sure that my compatriot, code name: Desdemona, doesn't have any issues with #2. Mrs. Stomps With Foot will probably make a remark or two to me about this posting, but I think it deserves to be promoted reprinted, for old time's sake.

Dead, raw, USB fish "sticks"

I shamelessly liberated this link from yeah…right…whatever whose friend sent it to her. This link, it's obvious that someone out there is making products just for her.

Grab some soy sauce and wasabe, split the chopsticks and sit down for a plateful of heaven ... no, don't eat these "sticks."

Never again will you have to choose between having sushi or having a USB memory drive--thanks to the USB sushi drive. These USB drives are hand-made-in-Tokyo sushi replicas. The convincing USB sushi drive comes in several flavors. Overnight shipping with dry ice pack available. Comes in 32mb or 128mb size.


Visit Beth's blog for her take on this fine new product. We feel the same way about it.

President Clinton?

Stomps With Foot's cousin Lonnie, sent me an image of President Clinton's official portrait. After reading the Kinkster's comments about the former president, I thought it more than appropriate to share it with ye.



Now get back to work, you slackards!

More about the Kinkster

A Train Wreck in Maxwell sent me a comment last week about my comments regarding Kinky Friedman's gubernatorial bid. He was kind enough to send me a link to some of the Kinkster's missives published in Texas Monthly magazine to which I direct your attention.



If there is one thing that strikes a chord that Mr. Friedman has to say, it's that, "People in both the East and the West long ago decided to let Saigons be bygones." Been there - have no desire to return, and I applaud the Kinkster for sharing his reasoning. I had no desire to go to the 'Nam, but I went for the right reasons, although I still believe that fighting for peace is like fucking for virginity. It's all a matter of semantics - live ammo is live ammo, no matter what the caliber.

Interesting read ye scurvy dogs and a tip-o-the-hat to Sea Bee KP. Having a second home in New Braunfels makes us neighbors! So, KP, if'n yer ever in the neighborhood, and ye see the Cap'n's flag flying, drop in for some Shiner.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Blessings on you El Capitan - and your family

There is an old Irish blessing, that I have long ago committed to memory. It is appropriate for many occasions the least of which is condolences to friends who have lost loved ones to the freeing hand of death. This one is for my friend El Capitan, whose grandmother passed away yesterday.

Fair winds and following seas, my friend.


May the road rise to meet you

May the wind be always at your back

May the sun shine warm upon your face

The rain fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again

May God hold you in the palm of his hand

Friday, February 18, 2005

Never had one like it, now I need another

There is a hair-cutting salon, down in New Braunfels, that Mrs. Stomps With Foot and I visited last fall. Probably in November. That was the last time I had a haircut. It is the William Edge Salon - an escape from the ordinary. Remember that name. Go to their website and gaze in wonder - I get distracted easily.

The woman girl (20-something) that cut my hair was a Gothicly-inclined sytlist IMedge Designer. She didn't take any crap and gave me some back when I sassed her, as is my pirate way. The thing about this particular salon is that you make an appointment, and come back later. You get a pre-haircut chair massage - shampoo with additional head massage - You get one helluva haircut and royal treatment. They explain what "product" they are using on your hair and why. No high-pressure sales, just an explanation that this stuff does such-and-such and this is why I am using it on you.

Goth-chick asked me how much I wanted off and after replying, "Bout quarter-inch," she verbally bitch-slapped me and said, "Stand up!" I obeyed. "You need at least two-inches off here in back, now stand still." Her "clippees" were flying left and right in an Edward Scissorhand kind of way as she would clip up some long locks to the to top of my head while she sorted out just the right combination of strands for her scissor-work.

She was right. By the time Mrs. SWF and I had finished, I was so relaxed that she could have taken off four inches and I would have been happy.

What makes me think of this now is that I need another haircut. I was going to let it grow until it stopped by itself, but it's getting a bit shaggy around the ears and temples.

I don't really see any other choice than going back to New Braunfels for another haircut at the salon, with Goth chick. It was the service, it was the ambience, it was the care that we experienced that makes me NOT want to settle for anything less.

Sheesh. A couple hundred bucks for airfare, car rental and a haircut. That salon really knows how to do it.

I am hooked. Even if I settle for a quick run up to the local stylist, I know I will be disappointed. Drat, and my ear hair needs a trim as well. Guess I could start cornrowing it while I think about this some more.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Fear and consumerism

I remember when I was a child watching the likes of Leave It To Beaver, Sky King, Sea Hunt and Father Knows Best that there were always commercials that have disappeared from the television landscape of today.

Commercials used to be shown for whiskey, cigarettes, bacon, toothpaste, shaving cream (ah, Burma Shave), Alka-Seltzer, Old Spice, among others, have been relegated to the past.

All the old game shows used to be sponsored by … a single sponsor, like Tide or Cheer detergent.

Today, they have been replaced by drug commercials and idiotic car commercials. The ones that irk me to the point of hitting the mute button, are the drug commercials. Ask your doctor if Cialis is right for you. Remember erections lasting more than 4 hours require immediate medical attention. Can't you just see some guy sporting a tremendous woody going into the ER and being met by the triage nurse? What the hell is that nurse supposed to do anyway? "Sir, let me handle that for you right away."

One thing that keeps hitting me between the eyes is a phrase that Marilyn Manson used during an interview with Michael Moore, and it is ringing true every time I see a commercial... to paraphrase Manson, "It's all about fear and consumerism." Now apply that phrase to every drug commercial you see, it even applies to EVERY commercial lately. If you don't dress a certain way, or take a certain drug, your life is pretty much a failure. Watch and see.

Give me a "Call for Philip Morris," tagline any day.

"My Governor Is A Jewish Cowboy..."



Kinky Friedman for governor of the Great Republic of Texas. One of his campaign slogans is, "How Hard Can It Be?" Another is, "Why The Hell Not!"

If you are not familiar with Kinky Friedman and the Texas Jewboys, have a gander at this official website. One of his most famous songs is They Don't Make Jews Like Jesus Anymore.

So, to be a true blog-slut, here is the link to his website.

No whar but Texas, and word today is that he has enlisted Jesse Ventura to stump for him.

Being for the de-wussification of Texas, he has my vote!

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Michael Jackson Free Zone ... almost

I love Photoshop. I make a living pushing pixels around with a Mac and a 23" Apple Cinema Display.

Michael Jackson makes a living trying to figure out which nose to wear to court.

Jacko - no, sicko.

'Nuff said.

I now declare this a Michael Jackson Free Zone.

Wintering-over in Dallas they meet their deaths

Every year, the Cedar Waxwings make their way from Canada to Mexico and back, (their average migration distance is about 2,000 miles and can extend from southern Canada to as far south as Costa Rica and Panama) and they stop in our office atrium to fill up on pyracantha berries. The name waxwing comes from the waxy red appendages found in variable numbers on the tips of the secondary feathers. It is one of the few temperate dwelling birds that specializes in eating fruit. Unlike many birds that regurgitate seeds from fruit they eat, these guys defecate the fruit seeds. The atrium has umbrellas covering the tables and there must be a few gallons of bird dooky on the umbrellas.

Well, the bad thing is that the atrium is surrounded by glass, two stories high, and the berries have fermented. The Cedar Waxwing is vulnerable to alcohol intoxication and death after eating fermented fruit. You get the picture. Drunken birds flying into the window, seeing the reflection of the sky and doing a head-down, full-speed kamakazi run. Broken necks abound. We picked up about 50 this morning, and expect more this week. They get so stoned that the ones that don't break their necks just hop around the perimeter with a dazed look on their faces. They are beautiful birds and I wonder how they spotted our atrium and bar in the first place. Even with the multiple deaths, they continue to visit it every year, with the same result.

Perhaps it's a memory thing with the older birds, passing the information on the the next generation, and so on. One would think that they would pass on to the next generation the fact that it's not safe to imbibe and fly. I guess the ones that learn the lesson, never live to tell the tale, and the ones that watch never get a clue.

Over most of North America, the Cedar Waxwing is the most specialized fruit-eating bird. This bird's primary foods are fleshy fruits that are high in sugar content. Like tropical birds with this diet, Cedar Waxwings are social all year long, they nest in loose clusters, and at times they wander widely in flocks in search of temporarily abundant sources of fruit.

Cedar Waxwings are sleek, elegant birds with long wings, rather short tails, and a crest. They have a short, broad bill and short legs. Both sexes look alike. Adults are buffy brown on the head and back. The brown color shades to pale yellow on the belly and to gray brown on the back, fading further to slate gray on the rump and upper tail. The tail is tipped with a yellow band. The undertail coverts are white. The legs and feet are black. Adults have a narrow, black mask outlined in white that extends over the face to end behind each eye in a point. The chin is black. At the end of each secondary feather, the shaft is extended as a small, red, wax-like appendage. The number of these waxy appendages increases with age, until adult plumage is attained.

Cedar Waxwing



Bombycilla cedrorum. Order PASSERIFORMES - Family BOMBYCILLIDAE

The highest concentrations of wintering Cedar Waxwings occur in central Texas in the oak-juniper savanna and in Alabama and eastern Mississippi in stands of juniper, sweet gum, and oak.

Beautiful birds, it's a shame they are into alcohol intoxication. I can look forward to next year's kamakazi bar runs here in Dallas.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Flu, part Deux

I just realized that I could have gotten a flu vaccine... I turned 55 in December and that was the age cut-off here in Dallas County for those eligible to get injected with one of the few doses of vaccine that were available. Seems I forgot about turning 55. I think it was because I was 54 at the time they announced the shortage and the age restriction thing. Alas. Temperature is 101.2 now, down a lot since yesterday, but still feeling crampy and achy and fluey. Phooey on the fluey.

Funny thing about the flu, as opposed to a cold. When you come down with it, you know exactly when you got sick. Colds sneak up on you, while the flu slams you. It was 10:15 a.m., Monday when I realized I had the flu. I had a 12:00 p.m. meeting and presentation with 25 people - made it through that okay, then it was off to a ballroom to set up for an evening presentation to 125 people. I did the set-up, the rigging, the mic tests... then promptly crashed and missed the rest. Thank goodness my partner in the Art Department, code name Desdemona, was able to pick up for the evening and cover the event while I spiked a temp and slept.

Mrs. Stomps With Foot made me cancel my flight reservations for tomorrow - good thing too, because if you are not ill when you arrive at Atlanta Hartsfield airport, you will be by the time you make your connecting flight. So that cost me $50 (unless I can get a Doctor's note - go figure) and I will have to rebook to go see my cousin, Cecil, in Roanoke, Virginia.

Just shoot me ... while I sing the Feel Like I'm Fixin' To Die Rag. It was by Country Joe and the Fish... and it's one two three what are fighting for...

Damn, getting old is such a nuisance. Getting the flu is worse than a nuisance, although the delerium and hallucinations caused by the high fever would have been ok if I hadn't felt so bad.

I have slept about 48 hours straight and now feel the need to sit up and take some solid food. Mrs. SWF is being a great nurse, I just hope she doesn't come down with this. I haven't been sick a day in the past five years. Guess it finally caught up with me.

And in case you were wondering, Theraflu tastes pretty bad. I don't recommend it, instead I have resigned myself to letting this virus run its course. I am drinking lots of liquids, my teeth are chattering and my eyes ache.

Please don't slam the door when you leave.

Flu

Slammed me Monday morning. Temp spiked to 103.4 yesterday. Damn.

Flu is no fun. Will go back to sleep now.

Flu.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Verily, I say unto thee...

I received a question from Beth this morning, and found it to be blogfodder.

So... I forgot to ask... how do you feel about all the time Jimmy's been spending on the country charts lately? I kinda like it, but... some Parrot-heads might not be happy about it.


I couldn't be happier for Jimmy's recent success on the country charts. It's about time he got the recognition he deserves - Grammy's and all. Be that as it may, I don't go see JB for the country songs, it's all about being faithful to our roots as Parrotheads. It's the party in the parking lot, drinking Coronas, making frozen margaritas, cooking the cheesburgers in the parking lot, - the comaraderie and the Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefer Band music that makes us Parrotheads.

In one of his songs he says, "I have never, ever won an award for my music, and I don't really care, as long as I have fans like Parrotheads." That is no longer the case, with his License To Chill album which has garnered him an even larger paycheck, just for having the best summer job a man could ask for.

In fact, I skipped his last concert at Texas Stadium last year because I couldn 't convince myself that I would enjoy it - country songs are country songs and island songs are island songs. How they ever got together is a mystery to me. Besides, the venue suxors, it is too big and diminishes that intimate feeling one gets when he performs in the smaller venues... when one side of the lawn sways left and the other sways right when singing Fins to the left... fins to the right.

Short answer, it sux and I am not happy about "it," but I am happy for him. Quite a dichotomy, though, isn't it!

Thank ye verily, Beth, for today's blogfodder!

FINS UP


Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Yes, I am a pirate

I am still on a Bubba Jimmy Buffett trip. His works are just too good NOT to share. He wrote a book, titled A Pirate Looks At Fifty a few ye-Arrs back, and Mrs. Stomps With Foot gave me his newest one for Christmas - A Salty Piece Of Land.

Remembering and listening to Bubba's songs is a glimpse at my own life. He used to play the bar scene on Greenville Avenue, here in Dallas, back in 70s, with the likes of Jerry Jeff Walker.

There is a reason Bubba and I are kindred spirits. Read these lyrics or play the song, then scroll down for more on our pirate connection.

PIRATE LOOKS AT FORTY FIFTY
Jimmy Buffett

Mother, mother ocean, I have heard you call,
Wanted to sail upon your waters
since I was three feet tall.
You've seen it all, you've seen it all.

Watch the men who rode you,
Switch from sails to steam.
And in your belly you hold the treasure
that few have ever seen, most of them dreams,
Most of them dreams.

Yes, I am a pirate two hundred years too late.
The cannons don't thunder there's nothin' to plunder
I'm an over forty fifty victim of fate
Arriving too late, arriving too late.

I've done a bit of smugglin'
I've run my share of grass.
I made enough money to buy Miami,
But I pissed it away so fast,
Never meant to last, never meant to last.

I have been drunk now for over two weeks,
I passed out and I rallied and I sprung a few leaks,
But I've got to stop wishin',
Got to go fishin', I'm down to rock bottom again.
Just a few friends, just a few friends.

I go for younger women, lived with several awhile
And though I ran away, they'll come back one day.
And still could manage a smile
It just takes awhile, just takes awhile.

Mother, mother ocean, after all these years I've found
My occupational hazard being my occupations
just not around.
I feel like I've drowned,
Gonna head uptown.


Now my involvement with pirates is a real one. One traced back to my maternal ancestry through one Mr. Charles Sallier and his bride, Catherine LeBleu. Herewith is that tale.

Arsene LeBleu, Charles and Catherine Sallier and Jean Laffite



Arsene LeBleu was the first white man born in the Calcasieu area, now Calcasieu Parrish, Louisiana. He was among the largest land and slave holders in southwest Louisana. The old home was a spacious cypress house, covered with plaster, and plastered inside with attractive murals on the smooth walls.

Hospitality was the order of the day in those times, supplies and servants were plentiful, and visitors were royally entertained. Arsene, whom Laffite called “my captain,” always welcomed Laffite and his men into the LeBleu home on English Bayou because Laffite was considered a war hero rather than an outlaw because of his help in defending New Orleans during the Battle of New Orleans.

Laffite made his headquarters with LeBleu, spending many delightful days at his home and forming a lasting friendship with the family. LeBleu built a small log cabin for Jean Laffite where the privateer would often come to rest and recuperate from his pirate ways, feeling safe in his own home with his captains keeping watch nearby.

It was rumored that Jean hid some of his gold here. “Part of my merchandise was unloaded at the mouth of the Calcasieu, in the care of Mr. Arsene LeBleu,” Laffite wrote. In addition, Arsene LeBleu provided a “double-pen” log house, a 20 foot by 20 foot structure for storage of Laffite’s silks, spices, teas, liquor, jewels, and other contraband. This building stood the war and tear of many years, but was finally destroyed by the hurricane of August, 1918. Laffite was at all times generous to a fault to those he loved. Once, in return for a gift of fresh meat and tanned deer hides, Laffite presented Arsene LeBleu with two of his most faithful slaves, Creastauck (a Cuban) and Jean (a gigantic Zulu). These slaves were valued at eighteen-hundred dollars each on the market at that time. The descendants of old Creastauck may still be found in the community of Lake Charles today.

Here is a photo of Arsene LeBleu:



Once, when Arsene LeBleu admired a handsome diamond stud Laffite was wearing in his silk shirt, Laffite unscrewed the fabulous gem and tossed it to LeBleu, remarking that he’d better keep it as it was much too beautiful for a rough pirate privateer.

Charles Sallier, was a political exile until Laffite brought him to settle in Lake Charles. Sallier was thought to be a minor monarch who’d been exiled from France or a French province. Jean Laffite helped him to escape and to settle in Louisiana. Sallier was in Opelousas, Louisiana in 1797, and then came westward until he reached the Arsene LeBleu home, east of the lake that now bears his name -Lake Charles.

Here is a photo of Charles Sallier.



There, Sallier met Arsene LeBleu’s sister, Catherine. Charles Sallier fell in love with the tall, blonde, beautiful Catherine and married her in 1805. He built her a cabin on the southeast shore of the lake, which was then called Charles’ Lake. Later, the little village that sprang up around this lake was called Charlestown, and finally it became Lake Charles.

Only two pioneer families, the LeBleus and Salliers were in southwest Calcasieu Parish when Catherine LeBleu and Charles Sallier married. During the years of 1815 to 1821, when Jean Laffite was headquartered in Galveston, he spent many hours slipping up through the Calcasieu River and Contraband Bayou into Lake Charles. Here he visited his friends, Charles and Catherine Sallier often, docking directly in front of the shell mounds before the house. Their children were loved by Laffite.

One day, Jean Laffite told their little girl, Sydalise, “See this bag of gold? If you can pick it up, you can have it.” Needless to way, the weight of the bag was too much for the child, but she remembered it and told the tale often to her own grandchildren. Sydalise used to listen from their lakefront home to songs sung by the pirates on their ship. “They accompanied themselves on little accordions,” she told her grandchildren, “and I got in trouble when I sang the songs and my mother heard the words!”

On one occasion, Laffite told Catherine that she worked too hard and he emphasized his remarks with another pirate phrase. She chided him for swearing in her presence and he gallantly replied, “Pardon, madame, le Bon Dieu knows I can never atone for so grave an infraction of your hospitality. I can however, ease my conscience and lighten your burdens.” With these amends he presented her with two fine young negro boys who served her until their respective deaths and whose descendants still live.

One day Jean Laffite built a fort next to Sallier’s cabin. He had captured a ship in the Gulf which was well stocked with treasure, and he was being chased by a federal gunboat. Hastily Laffite sailed up the Calcasieu River and then slipped around into a little cut-off in Contraband Bayou, trying to hide from his pursuer. He didn’t see the gunboat for a while, so he went on through Contraband and into the lake, where he dropped anchor in front of Sallier’s cabin. Quickly his men unloaded the treasure off Laffite’s corsair and, as was their custom, buried it on shore.

Woodcut of Charles with map of Lake Charles:



Then they brought their cannons ashore and bombarded their boat until it sank. Hastily they constructed a fort from a huge shell mound left by Indians. Either the federal boat could not find Laffite, or the crew was afraid to enter into the lake knowing the smugglers were onshore, but the gunboat was not seen again. After waiting all night and for several more days, with no news of the gunboat, Laffite finally brought in another corsair, dug up his treasure and silently slipped back down the river to the Gulf of Mexico.

Circumstances are not clear, but somewhere along the line, Charles became jealous of Laffite and accused Catherine of screwing around with being too friendly with the privateer. One day, shortly after the birth of their sixth child, Charles, raging at Catherine, drew a pistol and shot her. She fell to the floor. Charles assumed she was dead and hastily exited the home. He jumped on his horse and raced to the other side of the lake and disappeared.

Charles Sallier was never heard from again. But Catherine Sallier did not die. She stood up and found the the bullet that had hit her hand and then a brooch that she was wearing. The brooch kept the bullet from penetrating her body and saved her life. Catherine Sallier lived on at Shell Beach until she died at the age of 75. She never remarried, and most people believe that she was completely innocent of Charles’ accusation. To this day, handed down from generation to generation, my cousin Dorothy Barbe, has this amethyst brooch worn by Catherine and there are creases where it was struck by the bullet fired by Charles.

Yes, I am a pirate two hundred years too late. The cannons don't thunder there's nothin' to plunder I'm an over forty fifty victim of fate Arriving too late, arriving too late.

Whacky Factor

I forget stuff, like on who's blog I found this link, so apologies to whomever. This is an interesting personality quiz. Who cares if it is scientific, it's just fun. Here are my results:

Wackiness: 80/100
Rationality: 100/100
Constructiveness: 120/100
Leadership: 140/100

You are a WRCL--Wacky Rational Constructive Leader. This makes you a Golden God.

You think fast and have a smart mouth, and you are a hoot to your friends and razorwire to your enemies. You hold a grudge like a brass ring. You crackle.

Although you have a leader's personality, you often choose not to lead, as leaders stray too far from their audience. You probably weren't very popular in high school--the joke's on them!

You may be a rock star.

Of the 85882 people who have taken this quiz since tracking began (8/17/2004), 7 % are this type.


Damn, 7% solution! I didn't make the top 5% of the population taking the quiz, but at least I wasn't a double-digit follower. Take a few minutes of your day to see how you stack up, by clicking here

Yar! We be pirates!

If we weren't all crazy we would just go insane …

I always try to make the annual phlocking when Jimmy comes to town. We rent a party bus - a kick-ass party bus - with a wet bar, bathroom, captain's chairs and tables, hostess and driver, and about 20 of my closest friends. We usually leave around 3:00 p.m. to make it to the party in the parking lot. Last time we did the trip was a couple of ye-ARRRs ago, and I thought it time to share a couple of photos from the Phlocking to the Jimmy Buffet Concert. Here is an interior shot of the bus.




We take 12 cases - yep, 144 Corona's and enough tequila to pickle the population of Juarez, Mexico. Tequila is also the main ingredient of Jimmy's Perfect Margaritas and our Jello-shots so it is definitely a versatile adult beverage. Not to mention that it is always 4:20 at a Buffett concert. Time stands still. This is a photo of Bradzilla, on the left, and my fat old-ass on the right. In the background is my professional partner in various crimes committed in the art department and Ace Macintosh Pilot - Meesch, Code Name: Desdemona.




We also take, in the undercarriage of the bus, a bbq grill, and coolers filled with raw mammal flesh for our cheesburger's in paradise. We pretty much go all out, including taking 300 pounds of sand to make ourselves a beach on the asphalt.

Here is a photo of the Lone Star ParrotHead Bus. See, we really get into it. I hope you can read the license plate!




Now the best thing about it is that the parking lot is FILLED, and I do mean FILLED, with little phlocks of Parrotheads, staking their claim to one particular harbor. And many of them are wimmen who have been drinking for hours with only a porta-potty for relief (of course they have to stand in line for 20 minutes to make room for more... unless there is a party bus in the area)!

IT SHOULD BE NOTED THAT MRS. SWF AND ALL OUR PHEMALE PLHOCKERS COMPLETELY DISAPPROVE OF THE FOLLOWING DESCRIBED CHAUVENISTIC, RUDE, CRUDE AND UNACCEPTABLE PRACTICE


I remember the first one, a cutie about 25-years-old, who boarded the bus as asked if she could use the bathroom. "Sure, but you have to show us your teats (@)(@) first, it's the price of admission." Aghast, she departed the bus, and proceeded to hop around for about five minutes of uncomfortable bladder control. She glanced at the 20-minute line at the porta-potties and returned to the bus. By this time all the guys were standing around up front - and she flashes us! Man, is this like N'awlins or what! And it wasn't even Mardi Gras! Needless to say, we quickly became a popular bus and I have never seen so many teats in my life. I encourage every red-blooded male Parrothead to adopt this kind gesture, after all, these wimmen probably already drank their party money so I was being benevolent.

Even Mrs. Bradzilla, left, and Mrs. Stomps With Foot join in the fun. Note that Mrs. Bradzilla has a margarita resting on the ground by her leg, while Mrs. SWF is caressing a Rolling Rock - an unauthorized drink - 'cuz we have these 144 bottles of Corona, tequila shots and margaritas that must be downed before we head to out seats.



The topic of today's missive was all brought on by El Capitan. He flung a grenade at me last week and made me think of the profundity of Jimmy's songs. I found the song that has the lyrics I was looking for when El Capitan threw me the hand grenade last week. I turned it up and just listened to it a couple of times. Seems this is the right time of year to reflect, especially on this theme. If you have this tune, find it and turn it up. It will put you in one of those moods – you know, those moods?


CHANGES IN LATITUDES,
CHANGES IN ATTITUDES
Jimmy Buffett

I took off for a weekend last month
Just to try and recall the whole year.
All of the faces and all of the places,
wonderin' where they all disappeared.

I didn't ponder the question too long;
I was hungry and went out for a bite.
Ran into a chum with a bottle of rum,
and we wound up drinkin' all night.

It's those changes in latitudes,
changes in attitudes, nothing remains quite the same.
With all of our running and all of our cunning,
If we couldn't laugh, we would all go insane.

Reading departure signs in some big airport
Reminds me of the places I've been.
Visions of good times that brought
so much pleasure, makes me want to go back again.

If it suddenly ended tomorrow,
I could somehow adjust to the fall.
Good times and riches and son of a bitches,
I've seen more than I can recall.

These changes in latitudes,
changes in attitudes, nothing remains quite the same.
Through all of the islands and all of the highlands,
If we couldn't laugh, we would all go insane.

I think about Paris when I'm high on red wine;
I wish I could jump on a plane.
And so many nights I just dream of the ocean.
God, I wish I was sailin' again.

Oh, yesterdays are over my shoulder,
So I can't look back for too long.
There's just too much to see, waiting in front of me,
and I know that I just can't go wrong with these.

With these changes in latitudes,
changes in attitudes, nothing remains quite the same.
With all of my running and my of our cunning,
If we weren't all crazy we just would go insane.


Jimmy changes the lyrics around some, especially when he is playing live, but the feeling remains; as does the mood.

I am anxiously awaiting the next Phlocking of the Faithful.