Remember that horrible wreck on Christmas Eve in Decatur? The Messenger is reporting today in its print edition [edit: now online] that William Bell, the father and driver, had an alcohol concentration of .12 at the time of the accident.

Big Government

Ok, this isn't earth-shaking, but I couldn't believe what these stooges are attempting to do in Mississippi to combat obesity. It would be funny if they were Republicans, which I would expect in Mississippi, but I'm too lazy to look it up.

Edit: But I think the bigger story may be the way the Mississippi legislator has its members pose for pics. Same background. Left shoulder slightly forward. Left hand over right wrist. That's good. Flash.


I'll Take "Slang For Tank Top T-Shirt" For $500

Producer to Announcer: "Get back out there and take that back. Now."

Friday Afternoon Giggle

With Montel Williams announcing his show will end after its 17th season (uh, it was still on?), I give you the psychic that made multiple appearances on his show. The first part is gold. A couple doesn't know how their daughter died and would like some answers. "She was shot," says the psychic. Two word: Uh. Oh.

I-35 & Western Center Blvd

If you're headed into Fort Worth, the Star Telegram says an 18 wheeler, uh, failed to maintain a single lane.

Wise County 2006 Census Data Released

Our population has grown by 18.6% in six years, we are 82.9% white, our average commute time is 33 minutes, 13% of us have a bachelor's degree, and our average house is worth $89,100. More fun facts here.

I'm Sooooo Ordering This

When I was a kid, my neighbors had this weight loss contraption where you strapped this big belt around your waist while standing up and then the machine would shake your hips violently back and forth. I had no idea how that was supposed to make you lose weight, and I always felt like I needed to go to church after using it -- which is kind of the way I feel after watching this commercial. And do you think it would unnerve my upcoming client if I were to sit across the desk from him sitting on one of these?

Friday Morning Pick Me Up

ESPN reporter Erin Andrews.

UIL Realignment Announced . . .

- Budget 10% of the household budget for gas if you are Bridgeport or Decatur fans.
- Stupid question: Have Boyd, Chico, Alvord and Paradise ever been in the same district before?
- Oh, yeah. There's always Northwest . . .

Random Thoughts

- No Friday Morning Dance Off. My bad. - I saw a big "Bridgeport Discount liquor " sign on the back of a truck this morning heading to be installed - I saw that TABC ran a sting last night on Wise County liquor stores. Thank gawd we are not letting the terrorists win. - Microsoft intends to by Yahoo! for $44 billion which is a big deal but I'm not exactly sure why. - Someone told me I missed a doozy on one of the local news stations covering the Paradise fires. Apparently there was the sign on a door that read, "Excepting Donations." - Did you know it has been since 1976 that either "Bush" or "Clinton" did not appear somewhere on the presidential ticket? - The NFL is cracking down on churches having Super Bowl parties due to copyright issues. How are we supposed to worship without debating if that was pass interference? - Today is the 5 year anniversary of the Shuttle Columbia disaster over Texas. It was one of the most surreal moments of my life. Not knowing anything had happened, I woke up and stumbled downstairs and turned on the TV. The screen immediately showed a cameras looking skyward with no graphics on the screen. The reporter was saying things like, "People have reported seeing streaks of light. Others said it looked like four or five streaks of smoke. But there appears to be nothing in the sky right now." For thirty to sixty seconds, I thought there had been an alien spaceship sighting.


Notes From . . .

. . . paying Wise County property taxes in person on the last possible day to avoid penalties.

- There were lines.
- Hey, people, it helps if you have your tax bill with you with your check already prepared. Yeah, we're all slugs for waiting until the last day but at least we could be efficient slugs.
- It's never a good idea for crowd control to say, "I own a couple of pieces of property on Trinity. Could you look those up for me?" Power down.
- The appraisal district and the local tax office (yep, you have to go to both places) were running fairly efficiently.
- One elderly lady tried to cut in line. I was prepared to take her down if need be.
- One guy was informed he had some back taxes assessed against his property. He said that "should have been taken off so I ain't paying that." He then proceeded to pay the current tax bill in cash.
- Funniest line while we all waited, "I wish we could control the other end where this money goes out as much as we do this end."
- I smelled alcohol coming off of one guy.

Oh, My

Next to NBC's Ann Curry, there isn't anyone I despise more in this world than ESPN's Chris Berman. He's hokey. He's corny. And he's done the same tired stupid nickname bit (which normally references a pop culture item that occurred before 1972) for as long as I can remember.

Well, finally he's busted. This clip debuted today even though it happened eight years ago. Note: EXTREME (and I mean EXTREME) language warning.

Edit: A quicker loading youtube version of it is here (but it won't be for long.)

Politics For Dummies

With "Super Tuesday" approaching next week, this is what we have left:

Republicans: Rising from the ashes, is John McCain who is the current crotchety front runner. This is driving the hard-line conservatives crazy since they don't think he is conservative enough. Those hard-liners are supporting Mitt Romney even though he's a Mormon and his wife wears that special underwear (and I'm not talking about those cute thongs that stick up out of the back of her jeans). Former pastor Mike Huckabee is on life support despite winning Liberally Lean's online GOP caucas about four weeks ago. Fred Thompson, who won that same poll last summer, quit campaigning a couple of weeks ago but it was hard to notice any difference. Rudy Giuliani, who had been the favorite of Texas Gov. Rick Perry, quit yesterday after having a campaign that was managed about as well as the Wise County Animal Shelter. Ron Paul was last seen walking the streets of Chico mumbling to himself.

Democrats: It's down to a two person race: Obama and Clinton. Obama has all the momentum but the national polls still show Clinton in the lead. So it's a toss up between a woman and a black man which is pretty neat because, and I'm pretty sure about this, we've never had a woman or a black man as president. Clinton had to tell her husband to shut up this week although he's still her greatest asset. Ted Kennedy endorsement of Obama this week would be a death nail for his campaign in Texas if most Texas rednecks hadn't already written him off for being named "Obama." (Of course, no Democratic presidential candidate will ever carry Texas - at least not for the next 20 years until the certain demographic change occurs.) Trial lawyer John Edwards quit yesterday because everyone hates trial lawyers.

Pop quiz on Friday.

A Pick Me Up For Everyone

And, man, there's nothing like a 40 degree temperature and a 40 mph wind outside.

Edit: I went out at lunch and my trusty car thermostat registered 34 degrees outside. And the winds are howling. It's brutal.

This Girl Is Wearing Me Out

You know, it's hardly worth writing about that Britney (above, in her better days) was taken to the Looney Bin last night to be observed for a handful of days.

We've had a good relationship. I've loved your crazy outfits. I loved it when you went bald. I loved it when you stripped down to your underwear in the middle of the day and jumped in the ocean. Those were moments we'll treasure as we watch your kids grow older.

But home girl, these middle of the night ambulance rides have got to stop. My obsession has its limits.


Fox 4 Goes Inside The Paradise City Council Meeting

But my favorite image came moments later in an unrelated story:

Texas Trifecta

Ok, enough fire talk. Here's the story on these three.

My internal criminal justice system is getting overloaded on this one.

Ok, the guy in the middle has got to go to jail. I really didn't even read the facts on his case but he's a male charged with a sex crime so obviously we need to lock him up, brand him a sex offender, and possibly parole him to Boonesville for the rest of his life.

The first girl definitely gets probation. Those pouty lips almost bring a tear to my eyes. And she kind of looks like the freaky little sister from Six Feet Under so we can't send her to jail.

The last one is a tough case. She looks a little rough but who among us has looked good in our book-in photo after being arrested for a crime that put into jeopardy our status with the Wise County Singles Club? But I think a few weeks at Curves and at Richard's Salon here in Decatur would probably whip her into shape. After several minutes of deliberations (and re-reading I Corinthians 13), probation it is.

Next case.

Video From Paradise Fire

Starts a little slow, but kind of dramatic at the 1:05 mark and on.

Chico Fire

It's a little small, but a faithful Chico reader sends in this pic and his thanks to the firefighters who stopped the flames before it reached his house.

Edit: The Star Telegram had a pretty good pic . . .

And the Star Telegram has posted a video taken from a helicopter.

Under The Radar

A Decatur High School teacher is running for the Texas House as a Libertarian? (Thanks emailer)

Rumor Mill

A Liberally Lean reader sends along this all caps email:


Courting The Goat Farmer Vote?

The Messenger has a slideshow of pictures taken yesterday here (check it out so they won't yell at me for stealing the above photo.)

Anyway, that's our County Judge saving a goat and, according to a commenter on another post who tipped me off to this, that's our Sheriff in there as well. But I can't tell if that's actually David Walker.

Post Fire Pick Me Up

"The Answer, My Friend, Is . . . "

The National Weather Service has released the speed of the peak wind gusts from yesterday:

Probably More To This

But this overturned car in the median on 287 south of Rhome was causing traffic to be diverted to a service road this morning

Star Telegram Front Page

It's not Wise County, but a heck of a picture.

Edit: As some of the posts have questioned, has that picture been photoshopped to some extent to make it appear the flames are greater than they actually were? I don't know. I would hope not. But it sure has me thinking.


Let's Get Artistic

Sheesh, the local affiliates all have brief coverage of the Paradise Fire of 2008 but there's nothing really new to add. But I did find this pic in on the Dallas Morning News web site taken by Vernon Bryant.

Place your bets on whether the Messenger's Joe Duty tops it tomorrow.

Paradise Lost

Channel 8 . . .

. . . has posted two videos of the "devastating scenes" from the Wise County fires here this afternoon. I would describe them but I can't get them to play. Sometimes I hate the Internets. Edit: WBAP has updated the fire damage to 640 acres and 16 structures.

Can't Tell Much . . .

. . . but this pic was sent in by a reader who saw the fire near Bridgeport's uncomfortably named "Mexican Cemetery."

Other Fire News From WCSO

There is a fire reported on the Wise County and Parker County line at New Hope Road area. Another reported fire is in the area of Knob Hill Road in Parker County. Another area that has a reported fire going on is on the edge of the City of Bridgeport on CR 1658 By the Mexican Cemetery and State Highway 380 area. In the Chico area another fire was reported at Farm Market 1810 and County Road 1650. At this time area fire departments are working to extinguish the fires and there have not been injuries reported. The command post is set up at the ball park east of the Paradise. Paul Cunningham, the Wise County Fire Marshall/Emergency Management Coordinator is the coordinating all activity from the command post. (Thanks emailer)

Looking Towards Paradise from 51 Southbound (Past CR 3259)

Northbound 51 (Shortly after noon)

From 114 (About A Mile From Paradise) Facing North/Northwest Shortly Before Noon

On 51 Facing South About A 1/2 Mile Before 114 (shortly before noon)

Wise County Burning

(Flag pic taken at Boyd Post Office around 12:30 p.m. )

Just a rumor. Anyone know anything? With these winds, it could get crazy.

Edit: As a commenter pointed out, it's in the Update.

Edit#2: 11:42 This is a phone in post live from the scene: This looks BAD! 114 is shut down in Paradise. Thick smoke is extending all the way across FM 51 where it makes driving hazardous.

Stay tuned for bad pictures.

Looks like firetrucks and Troopers are moving east to cover the scene.

Edit #3: 11:55am Westbound Hwy 114 being diverted to FM 51.

Edit #4: 12:00pm Hearing of unconfirmed rumors of another fire in Chico.

Edit #5: I'm back at the office. I left from Decatur and headed down 51 to 114. It was amazing the amount of smoke that was coming from the Paradise area. Lots of firefighters using that area as a command post. I turned right on 114 to head into Paradise. A frightening amount of smoke. Saw the cops shut down 114 and turn everyone around. The wind had been out of the West but it seems like it was more from the North as time passed. If anyone has any better information or photos, just pass them along. blog2[at]wisecounty.com

Edit #6: If I had to GUESS (and this is only a guess), I would think the fire began in or near the blue circle below.

Edit #7: WBAP reported at 1:30 p.m that "300 acres" had been consumed, "14 structures", and that firefighters were battling to keep the fire out of the Stonegate Subdivision.

Nip/Tuck X 42

Darlin', you're crazy enough to become Mrs. Green #9.

Stating The Obvious

Dateline Decatur (AP) - I'm not sure I've ever seen it this windy. From the third floor of the courthouse, Bridgeport is covered in a sandstorm.

No one light a match.

Local Democrats Have Slogan



OK, Maybe I'm Confused

I had the State of the Union on in the background but wasn't listening. But at the end, I heard Katie Couric tell me that Bush had just delivered his "seventh" State of the Union speech. Am I losing my mind, or isn't this the eighth speech? If you give a speech from 2001 to 2008, isn't that eight?

I googled her comment to see if anyone was jumping on her, but all I came up was the above where she put it in writing.

Somebody tell me what I'm missing.

On Some Channel . . .

. . . probably as popular as the Colon Cleansing Channel (see video below), this gal (name not important) was crowned Miss America this weekend. First of all, she's from Michigan and there's no way the hottest girl in the U.S. is from Michigan. Secondly, we need some larger jpg files of her if she really wants to make it to the big time.

And I found it interesting that she's suffered from eating disorders in the past (let that be a lesson to you kids: Anorexia = Miss America.) But, upon being crowned, she was presented with a tray of chocolates. Was this some type of cruel joke from Miss Wyoming or something?

NYPD Blue News - Yep, Really.

WASHINGTON (Jan. 26) - The Federal Communications Commission has proposed a $1.4 million fine against 52 ABC Television Network stations over a 2003 broadcast of cop drama NYPD Blue. The fine is for a scene where a boy surprises a woman (Charlotte Ross) as she prepares to take a shower. The scene depicted "multiple, close-up views" of the woman's "nude buttocks" according to an agency order issued late Friday. I report. You decide.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Man Wants Do Over

Do you really need to trick it up this much?