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February 28, 2008

One More Kiss, Dear - Vangelis

From the movie Blade Runner

The Brightest of Stars




Another beautiful wallpaper or printable poster from the NASA website:

Swirls of gas and dust reside in this ethereal-looking region of star formation seen by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope. This majestic view, located in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), reveals a region where low-mass, infant stars and their much more massive stellar neighbors reside. A shroud of blue haze gently lingers amid the stars.

Known as LH 95, this is just one of the hundreds of star-forming systems, called associations, located in the LMC some 160,000 light-years distant. Earlier ground-based observations of such systems had only allowed astronomers to study the bright blue giant stars present in these regions. With Hubble's resolution, the low-mass stars can now be analyzed, which will allow for a more accurate calculation of their ages and masses.

Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration

February 25, 2008

Cat Vid

Mischievous feline shenanigans are underscored by the whimsical "La Gazza Ladra (The Thieving Magpie)," by Italian composer Gioacchino Antonio Rossini.

February 24, 2008

Zach Is Back



The Dallas Cowboys have announced the signing of Zach Thomas to a one year contract: 1 million in base salary, a million in the form of a signing bonus and a million in incentives. (not announced, but generally geared to the percentage of plays during the season and/or if he makes the Pro Bowl)

Personally, I was against the signing. Dallas has quite a few pressing needs such as shoring up the defensive secondary and finding a receiver who can stretch the field. (IOW, has "speed") The linebacker spot is one that Dallas is deep in personnel and at first glance, it seems as though Thomas is a "biscuit shy" of being large enough to play an interior LB spot in the 3-4 which Dallas employs.

Still, Miami used the 3-4 over the last few years and Thomas excelled in that alignment, making the Pro Bowl each year except for this last one. Something that has been thrown out in the hundreds of forums discussing this signing is the fact that Thomas has more tackles in his career than does any other defensive player now in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Very Impressive.

Another concern of mine is Thomas' age (he's 34, think he will turn 35 before or during next season) He's getting on up there in age where the end of his career is definitely in sight, so I was glad to see Dallas not break the bank or mortgage the future to sign him.

Also worrying many is the fact that Thomas missed most of last season with a concussion (given to him in the Dallas game) and then was in a car wreck with his new bride and suffered from a concussion and subsequent migraines.

Since this was a "bargain basement" type signing, getting Thomas for not much more than the NFL minimum for a veteran, then I will have to give my reluctant approval to the transaction. (not that MY opinion counts for a damn thing)

The funny thing to me is that Thomas' public statements said he was proud to be a Cowboy, but in my conversations with his own grandmother (I sort of know the family, his uncle lives only a few blocks away, but have met Zach only once. More on that later) when Zach entered the NFL draft, I found out that Thomas didn't like the Cowboys and was glad he wasn't drafted by them.

Of course, people can change their minds, but I believe money talks louder than anything else!

His grandmother said the rest of the family would've been happy to have seen Zach with a star on his helmet, esp. since half of his games would've been played in Dallas, fairly easy for his family to attend.

As I've mentioned in here before, Zach's father is responsible for building the Groom Cross, and that's one of the reasons I bring up a football related topic. The main reason I posted this is because Zach is from this area and played his last year of h.s. football here in Pampa.

This article isn't about Thomas' signing so much, but to mention the back-and-forth going on about it all in the football forums. Some are more than pleased with the transaction, while others bemoan that it is the beginning of the end of hope for this current crop of players and that Jerry Jones (DC owner) is once again meddling with the team, forcing it into mediocrity--once again.

I thought of making the following the theme of this post, but decided against it. "Zak is Bak!" was more in line with what I was thinking, esp after this post. (a fair example of the level of posting in football forums...heck, ANY forum)



I'm curious as to just how much money a chicken costs?

I dunno, guess it's just me, but if I don't know the meaning of a word, I don't use it. Also, if I don't know how to spell something, I will go look it up. I'm sure many of us do the same thing - we're all guilty of the occasional typo now 'n then - but I'm anal to the point of being mortified if I let something like "poultry" escape my keyboard into the Internet Ozone, especially if I meant "paltry".

John Lennon, when once asked if McCartney had written the lion's share of their collaborative efforts, replied "That's such a paultry question; I refuse to answer it. "

Where do you hang crooked politicians? Why, from the pol-tree, of course!

I could go on, but won't. Aren't you glad?

February 23, 2008

Goat Cussin'


Went to the horse lots today to see how the animals were doing; I had heard there had been a fire out there and I was concerned about some of my favorites. I didn't see Jack the Mule, but an old pal was standing out in the road as I was leaving. Somehow he knew I was in the vicinity and I *might* just have an apple for him. (and I did!) I call him "Beezlebub" because he looks satanic, but he's really pretty sweet. For a goat, that is.

He really doesn't smell very good, but then again, none of them do, esp. the billys. (they pee on their whiskers) He held still long enough for me to get a video of him. I greeted him with the normal Texas salutation, one with an obscenity. He replied in kind.

video

February 18, 2008

Always Alliteration Admiration

KVII-TV in Amarillo is using another one of my crappy photos again on their 5 o'clock broadcast (on right now) as well as on their website.



Original post: Hay! (it's cheaper than corn)

February 15, 2008

The very end of one, some might say




You Are a Colon



You are very orderly and fact driven.

You aren't concerned much with theories or dreams... only what's true or untrue.

You are brilliant and incredibly learned. Anything you know is well researched.

You like to make lists and sort through things step by step. You aren't subject to whim or emotions.

Your friends see you as a constant source of knowledge and advice.

(But they are a little sick of you being right all of the time!)

You excel in: Leadership positions

You get along best with: The Semi-Colon



When I took this test, I expected to be ellipses.

I just thought....

February 14, 2008

Colorado Lightshow - Rocket Reentry

I was reading an article on the Wired website: Pentagon Unveils Rogue Spy Sat Shoot-Down Plan and stumbled across this vid.

(from the YouTube site)

According to NORAD, this is a Russian SL-4 rocket body that re-entered the atmosphere over Colorado and Wyoming. This rocket body is "space junk" from an earlier launch of a French Satellite on December 27, 2006.

Amazingly, the reentry occurred nearly 60 miles up and 300 miles to the West over the Four Corners area!


Cactus Heart



This was taken last year out at my friend Andy's house, just past the city limits.

Some grasshopper decided to do a little botanical engineering and carved out a heart for his girlfriend. I guess the relationship took off, because there's millions of grasshoppers this year.

I used to date an ol' gal who had a heart like this; no, it wasn't made of cactus, but it certainly was covered in thorns.

February 12, 2008

Tilted Perspective

Photobucket I think I was leaning.

Pretty sure I was. I've always leaned a bit to the right, in reality and also politically. I walk pretty straight on the days my back eases up some.

I believe I was focusing more on the light standard than on the background object, the huge Cross.

Whatever, it's a little bit disconcerting, isn't it?

February 11, 2008

500 Miles - The Proclaimers



I like this acoustic version better than the regular vid.

A toe-tapper in any dialect or language.

Buddy Hollyish, I'd even say.

February 10, 2008

Archer



This is my pal's dog, Archer, named after the small town near Wichita Falls where my friend's son found him. (Archer City is the home town of Larry McMurtry, the author of Lonesome Dove, Hud, Terms of Endearment, The Last Picture Show (one of my all-time favorite movies and was filmed in Archer City) and McMurtry won an Oscar for his screenplay of Brokeback Mountain.

Archer will fetch a stick until you're tired of throwing it, and if he gets tired first, he will run off with it and rest a while, but you'd best not leave or he'll come out and drop the stick at your feet and bark until you start playing with him again.

The legs belong to my pal's wife.

Old Truck



This is an old Chevy truck parked out on some land my friend's dad leases and on which he runs a small cow/calf operation. Other than the peeling paint, the old truck looks to be in good shape, with most of the windows intact.

A little metal work, a dab of putty, do what you could w/ the chrome bits, and a heckuva lot of sanding and it'd be ready to paint...

-sigh- Who am I kidding?

Pretty old truck, though.



I wouldn't want to go traipsin' off around there in a another month or so.

That looks snakey as hell to me.

Whomping Willow



Not for sure what sort of tree this is, but it reminded me of the Whomping Willow in the Harry Potter movies/books.

I want to go back down there at a different time of day and take some more photos; the sun was just too low on the horizon to get good detail.

Hay! (it's cheaper than corn)

chewing the cud

A couple of the cows on my friend's place. They look to be some sort of Hereford-Charolais cross with maybe some Simmental in them, too.


calves in hay

The hay was in those huge round bales and my friend's dad has some "corrals" to put around the hay in order to keep the cattle (and horse) from trampling on it.His dad uses these corrals most of the time, but rolls out a bail now and then along the ground.

I commented on it, wondering why he was putting one bale in the enclosure, but putting another on the ground.

He said his pop does that because the little calves like to lie on the hay.

Out to Pasture



Went down to Miami to watch the Pro Bowl w/ my pal and we went to put out some hay for his dad's cows and their calves. This is his dad's old work horse, now retired. (as is his dad)

Friendly old thing, he let me rub on him and he sniffed out the sugar cube in my pocket.

He sure enjoyed the hay we put out for him. (and the cows and calves)


February 7, 2008

1/3 NOT Normal

You Are Fairly Normal


You scored 65% normal on this quiz

Like most people you are normal in some ways...
But you aren't a completely normal person. You're a little weird too!

Why You Are Normal:

You prefer a good meal to a good nap

You find the Macarena to be the more embarrassing dance

If you had to, you rather live without music and still have laughter

You would rather be an astronaut than a movie star

You think glasses can make someone more attractive


Why You Aren't Normal:

You are no longer with your first love

You prefer the moon to the sun

You know a little about many subjects

You don't keep up with your horoscope

You prefer your family to your friends

February 4, 2008

Happy Birthday, Alice & Clint!

No, Alice and Clint aren't my next-door neighbors.

"Alice & Clint" as in Cooper (born 1948) and Black (1962).

Two of my favorite performers having the same b-day, how cool is that?

I think they should do a duet together.

I can see the titles now:

"Put Yourself in My Coffin", "A Better Ghoul" and "When I Said I'd Kill You".

Alice Cooper could bite the head off of a chicken while Clint played the harmonica.

February 2, 2008

Look Out !

It's Groundhog Day!look

My pal Garazon and I both share a fondness for the "holiday". I am not for sure the origin of HIS like for the date, but I always thought it should be a celebration that spring isn't far off.

If the groundhog see his shadow, spring is postponed for six weeks. (I guess that's the way it goes; never for sure about that)

I guess we'll have six more weeks of bad weather because the sun was shining bright this morning. So, according to the legend we're assured of another month and a half of winter, but we almost always have six weeks of bad weather after the first of Feb.

I don't think there's any groundhogs around here, but there are a few prairie dog towns left, those that haven't been wiped out by the ranchers and/or the Bubonic Plague.

Anyway...here's to Garazon and his new love, Alison:
love

Lightness of Being



The bright sun dissects the airglow above Earth's horizon in this view photographed with a digital still camera from the Space Shuttle Columbia during the STS-107 mission.

Space Shuttle Columbia and the STS-107 crew perished during re-entry on Feb. 1, 2003.



This image was d/l from the NASA website.

The morning the Columbia disintegrated over the Central Texas skies I was working the night shift and was supposed to have been off by that time. In fact, I had told a co-worker that we should watch the sky and we'd be able to watch the shuttle coming in on its approach to the landing spot in Florida.

He was skeptical, but I assured him I had watched the shuttle land before; once was at night, an awesome sight. I had to use binoculars, but I could make out the shape and the red glow in the sky, the trail left by re-entering the atmosphere, helped focus on the spacecraft.

That night we had to work overtime and after the couple extra hours of work added onto the other work-filled eight hours, I had forgotten about the landing. We were getting into our cars that cold Feb. morning when I noticed some odd looking vapor trails in the southern sky. It was nothing new to see them, what with the winds and the jet stream dipping down south during this time of the year.

Little did I know it was the result of the disaster.

Rick Husband, commander of that flight, was from Amarillo. The city airport is now named after him.

Breaking the Tie

From a poll at the Dallas Cowboys website

I cast the tiebreaker vote.

Which means I have doomed the Pats to a loss.

I'm horrible at handicapping ball games. I learned my lesson after losing an entire paycheck on the '78 Super Bowl.

UPDATE: Went back to the website (I visit it nearly every day) and voted again in the poll. (a proud Texas tradition, going all the way back to LBJ; "vote early, vote often")

I don't know why the site allows more than one vote, but it does, or seems to allow it. Be that as it may, it was really strange to see the updated results (regardless if my vote counted or not)



I'm wondering if the bookies are spamming the polls?

I'm not very good at these things (lost the paycheck, remember?) but I will predict a Pats win, 34-14.

February 1, 2008

What Kind of Meat Are You?

You Are Fish

You have a well formed palate and a daring appetite. If it's served to you, you'll at least try it.

People are pretty scared of your exotic ways. But once they get a taste of you, they're addicted!

Gone, Gone, Gone - Robt. Plant & Alison Krause



LOVE this song!