Thursday, August 30, 2007

They're Here, Again

Ever since Comcast took over TimeWarner here I have wondered if they really know what they are doing. Or do they really need to visit the utility pole behind my building that often. Are the ladders and the post having an affair? Do the ladders all know each other? Or is this some kind of sex for money thing? Hey, yellow ladder, was it good for you? Just in case you didn't know a grey ladder visited the pole yesterday. Yeah, it is always a different guy climbing on the ladder.

It seems that there are an average of two visits a week. Somebody drags a ladder back there, leans it on the pole and fumbles around with the cable wires, climbs down, takes the ladder and leaves. Just what are these guys really doing. How many people need so much service? Are they checking on what we watch on tv. Is Big Brother watching? Do these guys get paid per visit? Are they just killing time? Do they get paid per pole? Maybe this is some kind of Comcast pole dance? Trust me, guys, you are not going to get any dollar bills slipped under your belt.

I have no idea why these Comcast people are here so often. Maybe they think they did something wrong the first twelve times they climbed the ladder and looked at all those cable wires. I don't know. I just know that every single time they show up Daisy gets very angry and trys to get rid of them. They just don't listen. Maybe I should start keeping a record, let's see once last week, twice this week, hum. Monday is a holiday so maybe they won't visit next week.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Football season.

Given the fact that the temperatures are still in the 90's it is hard to believe that college and pro football will soon be here. The pro teams are having their last pre-season games and about ready to make their final choices of which players will make the teams. The Houston Texans look better than they have in a long time. At least the beat the Dallas Cowboys. We shall see how the season goes.

Rah,rah, college football is gearing up, too. My two favorite teams will open their seasons Saturday. Texas will open against Arkansas St. Go Horns! I see that Mac Brown's contract was extended. Good. I don't know if I think the Horns should be ranked #4, though. But we shall see. The Crimson Tide of Alabama start the new season with new Head Coach Nick Sabin against W. Carolina. I am hopeful they will do better than last year. Roll Tide, Please beat Auburn.

Since the Houston Astros are winding down a less than stellar year, it is time to turn my attention to the football. Sorry guys. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the off season will bring us hope for a brighter season next year.

So at this point it's all up for grabs. It is time the Houston Texans established themselves as a formidable NFL team. Go Texans. Hook 'en Horns! I will NOT say Gig 'em Aggies. Roll Tide! No, I will not say War Eagle for Auburn. This year the Tide will turn.

It's time to get the party started. Touchdown!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Now What? Wait Till Next Year?

Don't look behind you, the axe may fall. It fell on the General Manager and Manager of the Houston Astros yesterday. I had a feeling that Phil Garner would not be back next year. A lot of people were not happy with the way Tim Purpura handled getting players. Dumping these two now is a little bit of a surprise. Is is likely that this change will turn the team around and get more wins? No. Craig Biggio takes the blame on himself and his teammates, telling reporters that the team did not do their jobs.

Tim Purpura, as GM, was supposed to find the players to bring up from the minors or get the best players in trades. He did not get this done. Carlos Lee was a good $100 million deal. Bringing up Hunter Pence was good. Losing Clemens and Petitte was not. Trading for Jennings and Williams was not. He did release Morgan Ensberg who was was underachieving this year. He did not get the draft choices signed. Now What? What can we do to get top players and restock the minors?

Phil Garner was well liked by the players and the fans. He helped lead the team to the World Series two years ago. What did he do wrong? Was he not agressive enough? We all know that many times too many men were left on base. How many times did we have bases loaded with no outs and could not get a single run across? Biggio as the lead off hitter, almost always got on base. Berkman and Lee should have been able to get the runs. At one point Biggio, Pence, Berkman and Lee would have been tough to get out. Now what? Next year Biggio will be gone. Pitching has been suspect all year. Did Garner leave starters in too long. Why was the bullpen so bad?

All things considered I guess we will just have to wait till next year. Will players be traded in the off-season? Will any player be safe? What do the fans think? Drayton McClain said he spent a lot of time this season talking to fans in the stands during games. He said he listened to their complaints, questions and suggestions. Now what?

Friday, August 24, 2007

Daisy vs the Exercise Ball

Amanda and I have decided to embark on an exercise program. We will try to walk the neighborhood in the evening, eat better and exercise. We will see how long this lasts. Neither one of us is big on a lot of exercise. So last night Amanda came home with a set of hand weights and an exercise ball. After she put the air into the ball, she brought it downstairs. I did not realize how big it is. Lady looked at it and decided to igore it. Of course when I got on it she thought I was nuts. I could almost see her laughing at me. Daisy on the other hand was curious. She ran around it. She poked it with her nose. When it rolled away from her she tried to chase it, but when it rolled back toward her she ran away from it. She cant seem to decide if it is good or bad. She growled and yelped at it as it rolled along the floor. When it rolled too close she either ran or stood her ground and barked. If I pushed it toward her she backed up and ran behind the chair. Don't push that thing to me she seemed to say. As it rolled around she would look at me, then look at the ball. Staying just inches away from it, she dared it to move closer to her. I pushed it toward her and off she ran. I got the impression that she was not too happy about this strange thing in her living room. One moment she was set to attack, the next she was jumping away from it. As she sat staring at it, I wondered who would win the battle. As long as I was nearby, she held her post of defender of the living room. I wonder who will win the battle.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Who Gets to Kill the Chicken?

I have seen several promos for the CBS reality show "Kid Nation". When I first saw this I thought to myself that I would pass on that one. I bunch of kids running a "town" didn't interest me. Then again I am not much of a reality tv watcher. I am probably the only person on the planet who has never watched "American Idol" and I don't plan to any time soon. I do watch "Dancing With The Stars", "Big Brother" and once in a while "Survivor".

To me I don't know why anyone would choose to take their kid out of school in April for six weeks to do this. Well, of course there is the money. This just seems wrong on so many levels to me. What about the child labor laws? CBS says the show was done following the child labor laws of the state in which it was filmed. Did these kids enjoy this? The parents had to sign a twenty-two page contract to do this show. The parents and kids are, per the contract, not allowed to talk about it. Several network news people have tried to discuss or find out about it. CBS is being tightlipped about this.

Looking at the promo clips makes me wonder how far this will go. It's not "Fear Factor". They don't have to eat insects in competition. The just have to make a town and fend for themselves. They have to figure out how to do everything from cooking, cleaning, building and running the town. All this with no adult supervision. I guess some people will say this is a good experience for the kids. Let me see, take care of the farm animals, right? Gotta eat, right? Who's going to kill the chicken?

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Maybe I should Go Back To Bed

Are the stars out of alignmnet? I keep getting caught in a web of "can't get there from here" situations. Yesterday I had to run some errands. Nothing spectacular about that, right? While out, I thought I might as well pay the cell phone bill. So I run in to the nearby Sprint Store to pay at their kiosk. Wouldn't you know that both machines are not working. After several frustrating minutes, I gave up and left, muttering nasty thoughts to myself.

Then there was the problem with ContentQuake yesterday. Of course it would be me who would have the problem. It's too bad that I can't remember what I said in my sample of writing. Never fails how the best thoughts get lost. I sent an e-mail to Mr. Long about my problem. I was surprised when he sent me a nice letter back.

Then came this morning. Once again, I went to pay my cell phone bill. This time I decided to change to a different store. On the way there, I came to a stop light. I decided to take the left turn lane rather than deal with crossing traffic. Guess what! Apparently the left turn light was not working. After sitting through this mess, I and the people behind me decided to get back into traffic. Sometimes, it really does pay to have a speedy, agile car. Onward to the Sprint Store I went. Want to take a guess at what happened next? Right! The payment machine didn't work. But, at least the clerk there was able to help me get the deed done.

At this point I decided not to push for any more problems. I went home. Then I discovererd that Google was having server problems.I guess too many people were trying to find out about their new sky vision that goes with Google Earth.

I guess it could be worse. The Astros lost pitcher Jason Jennings for the remainder of the season due to injury. He will have to have surgery. No wonder he pitched so poorly. Roy Oswalt will have to miss a start due to injury, too.

After all this, I think the best thing I can do is not press my luck. Otherwise I may try to put the remote in the refrigerator, like I did last night. Yeah, maybe I should just go back to bed. The stars are aligned against me. Then again, maybe I should buy a lottery ticket. I could win, right?

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Verify This ContentQuake!

Crap! Have you ever applied for or created something only to have it fail at the very end? I found a site that is supposed to be hiring writers for different things from tv commentary, city information and even NFL team writers. So I thought let's give this a try. What the heck, what is the worst that can happen? No we don't want you. Big deal. So after spending a good bit of time working on the application which included a sample of my writing, I get to the end. Then there is the little box. Verify. So I fill in the letter/number sequence. I hit send. Then I see "verify error". I don't think I made a mistake but I'll do it again. Same thing. After about the fourth time I am really not happy! After spending all that time to get just the right things to say...I really don't appreciate that. Phooey!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

You Might Need a Tow Truck

It is pouring down rain right now. It started raining in the middle of the night when Erin came close to the Texas coast. So what is going on at my townhouse building? The grass is being mowed! Are you kidding me! The back of the house is always a lake whenever it rains. They cut the back area by weedeater. Guess they don't have a push mower. They use a riding mower on the side which has most of the grass. The back of the building has almost no grass, just weeds. I can hear the weedeater in a bind right now. Are these people nuts? How in the world do they expect to get a good cut with the ground being under water? I have to wonder how many ruts they will make on the side they use the mower on. I don't care how "hard" they try to mow with that weedeater, it never comes close to being cut well. As wet as it is today I don't see that this is going to make much difference in the look of the "lawn". My neighbor's motorcycle makes a rut in the grass every time he takes it out. He only takes the motorcycle out when the weather is clear and dry. I don't even want to think of what this mess is going to look like. They are probably going to make a few ruts, maybe even get stuck. Well, maybe Daisy will be happier, since she has been refusing to do her business in the grass because it is so high. Oops, it is thundering again, and I saw a flash of lightening. More rain is coming, They might need a tow truck to get out of the grass. Who mows a yard in the pouring down rain anyway?

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

When Will We Learn?

Yet another recall by Mattel has been announced. Again, toys have lead paint. What else can we buy from china that isn't a problem? We have pet food, toothpaste, toys, certain fish and foods are also questioned. When are we, or the Chinese, going to wake up? Quality control is not a joke! Manufacturing in America used to be a source of pride. Now our manufacturing sector has nearly disappeared. It is cheaper to produce things outside of this country. I realize that we need to have good trade relations with other countries, but trading our goods for poor and substandard items is not the way to go. Just who is at fault? Are we at fault because we need to spend less for what we want? Or are overseas companies at fault because they want our money and cut costs by having less control over production?

We were lulled to sleep by cheap labor and products made overseas. It made it more cost effective for our companies to send things overseas or buy things made overseas. We all wanted to save a couple of dollars on clothes, electronics and other things. As consumers we wanted all the newest things at the cheapest prices. Anyone who has shoped at WalMart has seen what is going on. We were all so happy to save money. Now What?

The latest recall of toys may just be a small part of an apparently growing problem. China has been the target. We buy so much from them. What haven't we discovered, yet? We can hope that our companies which do business with China will insist on better control of things we buy from China. It would be in China's best interest. With the Olympics in China, many people from all over the world will be visiting there. Do they really want to have continued bad press about things they sell?

Will there be a backlash? For years call center jobs went overseas thanks to cheap labor. Now many companies are dumping this and hiring American companies to do this. Most people would rather talk to an unseen person with an American accent, than some other person who is difficult to understand. We started sending and doing business overseas because it was cost effective for us as well as our trading partners. Maybe it is time we rethought some of this. Maybe we should start thinking about "American Made" again. We used to be proud of what we made in America. Somehow, we lost sight of the fact that cheaper doesn't always mean better. What will it take before we learn this?

Monday, August 13, 2007

Sex Ed for Seniors?

This is interesting. Would you talk to your parent or grandparent about sex? Remember when your parents tried to talk to you about sex? Since people with AIDS/HIV are living longer thanks to improved drug care this could be something necessary. Many of these people are getting older and still active. There are many people living actively way past 65-70. That means these people are also sexually active. Many of them are not aware of the pitfalls of having sex. Let's face it, talking to a widowed grandfather about sex it not what most of us want to do. We don't want to think of our elderly friends and family as sexual beings. Many were in monogamous relationships for years. Living longer for some means they may find themselves without that life partner. Enter the age of Senior Sex. Just how do you tell grandpa that he may need to use a condom? Most family members don't want to talk about it. So some Senior Centers are giving out free condoms during the get-togethers. It just might be a good idea to have Sex Ed for our elderly friends and family. A lot of things have changed in the course of 60 to 80 years. It may sound silly to give away condoms with bingo cards, but it could be a good idea. Right Grandpa, what do you say Grandma?

Friday, August 10, 2007

Salad Days

As yes, it's Friday. Soon I will be able to pay the bills again. Then I will be depressed again. But at least this weekend will be quiet. Amanda will be out of town so we will have the place to ourselves. What do we do now? Knowing Jimmy, he will fall asleep in the chair at some point this weekend. Wonder if he will be asleep during the Texans game? No wait that is tomorrow night- he'll be playing poker.

It is so hot out side Lady wastes no time doing her business. Daisy on the other has refused to walk in the high grass. She would rather walk all the way down the street to do her business in the street. Then she gets so hot her tongue hangs out as we walk back. Back inside she lies on the cool tile in front of the stairs. That's what she gets for insisting on walking in the hot street!

I heard a sportscaster talking about the Astros last night. Gee, just a couple of weeks ago the topic was the season to forget. Now the topic is the possibility of moving up in the standings. The sun must have gotten to him. But as Yogi Berra once said, "It ain't over till it's over." Come on back Hunter and Brandon-we need you!

Then I could not help but snicker at the stories about Roger Clemmons. Those wonderful Yankee fans booed him. Then he hit a batter with a pitch in retaliation for a teammate getting plunked. So he is suspended for 5 games. Big deal. He might miss one start.

We learned the other day that my son Patrick and his girlfriend are moving from their filthy trailer to a rent house near the Woodlands. That is a rather expensive neighborhood. Before they can move in, he and Heather will be living with her parents for a couple of weeks. I have a mental image... I wonder how long it will take before the house they will rent becomes trash. After our last visit to the trailer I doubt I will be visiting anytime soon.

I have no real desire to cook these days. It is just too hot. I wonder if there will be anything good to grill outside calling my name at the grocery store? I really dont want to turn on the oven. I fixed a really big salad the other night. I think I used almost everything in the fridg! Let's see, lettuce, tomato, onion, bell pepper, olives, pickles, hard boiled eggs, tiny shrimp. After all it is summer-salad days.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

It Had To Happen

Have you seen the latest in dog toys? Someone has come up with a dog chew toy in the image of Michael Vick. Seeing a picture of Michael Vick in his Falcons uniform should make dogs all over the world happy. While companies are dumping the Vick name as fast as they can, you had to figure it would not take long to find a dog toy like this. There is no telling how long these will be around since they probably infringe on copyrights but it should be interesting. I am sure there will be a lot of jokes about these. I understand they cost about $10.99, not including shipping. I wonder if my dogs would like to chew on Michael Vick, the toy? I have to wonder how many people would buy this? Maybe the PETA people? Would you buy one? Next thing you know, we will be seeing them sold on the late night infomercials. Think, I'll have to hide the credit card from my dogs!

Friday, August 03, 2007

And NOW They Want Something Done?

The tragic bridge collapse in Minnesota has brought the questions out again. No-one thinks about these things until a disaster happens. First the pipes in New York City, now this. Suddenly critics abound. Where have they been? 600,000 bridges in this country are at risk. Over 27% are considered to be questionable. A lot of bridges are inspected on a periodic basis. Some are given extra inspection after significant rain or other weather problems. Just what do they inspect? Do they make any recommendations? Suddenly the local, state, and national folks are concerned about our decaying infrastructure. Where have they been all these years? Surely they have been aware of the possiblities of disasters. Many of our cities and states have streets, buildings, bridges, plumbing and sewer and water systems which are not only old but dangerous. Even the electric grid system has had problems. No one seems to want to take responsibility. Just try to legislate the money necessary to fix these problems. To fix these problems correctly would cost more money than most people are willing to spend. It is easier to put a bandaid on this growing problem and hope for good luck than to seriously make a long term fix. There are other countries which have better road and bridge systems. Many have water control systems which are rated to last more than 100 years, some even a lot longer. Why don't we take a hard look at how we build our infrastructure? Oh, yeah, now some people are demanding that look and want something done now. Now? We may be too late.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Excuse Me Whose Breast is This Anyway?

We all know that breastfeeding is the best way to feed infants. However to nurse or not to nurse is a personal choice. I remember when I had my children I was asked what I wanted to do, but I was not pressured either way. Now more and more, new mothers are being pressured to breast feed. Several cities and states, Texas included, are pushing this. Many no longer send mothers home with formula in their gift bags. The latest uproar in in New York City. Now instead of a little bit of formual along with the other little gifts, they get breast milk coolers or pumps and instructions for nursing. The gift bag given out in New York City even includes a little t-shirt with the saying "I eat at Mom's" on the front.

I think a lot of women are upset by this. Breast feeding is a personal choice and not the business of any government or it's agencies. Only a mother can decide if bottle or breast feeding is right for her. I bottle feed my childre. One of my daughters bottle fed all three of her children. My younger daughter tried in vain to breast feed her first child. She was very frustrated because no matter how hard she tried, it did not work.

If the government wants to advise on the merits of nursing that is fine. Give the mothers all the information they need to make an informed decision. But to take away even something as simple as a formula sample in a gift bag is not a good idea. Sometimes formula is more convenient. Many mothers do both. But sometimes mothers work or for others reasons can not nurse. I don't think it is a wise idea to push this issue. Information is the way to decide. Governments should not be involved in a mother's decision of on or off the breast.