blank'/> Liberally Lean From The Land Of Dairy Queen: 12/21/08 - 12/28/08

12.27.2008

Saturday Mind Bursts

  • I know post-Christmas depression is coming.
  • I've got a meaningless bowl game (West Virginia vs. North Carolina) on TV because I sense college football slipping away. But it's pretty good -- 30 to 24 after three quarters.
  • One of the bands in the game keeps playing the opening theme from Phantom of the Opera.
  • West Virginia has a running back named Noel Devine that Deion Sanders tried to convince to come live with him in Prosper while he was in high school. But the kid snuck off after about a week and flew back to Florida from DFW Airport.
  • I wear hooded sweatshirts almost every weekend. Uh, I mean a "hoodie."
  • Funny animated GIF about a Democratic New Year's Eve party here. (But who is the lady behind Hillary?)
  • I like Weight Watcher's English Muffins. I almost feel like they are lying to me about the fat content.
  • I've mentioned it before, but I could spend forever looking at the "Top 10" lists for 2008 from Time magazine. Now they are online.
  • I could waist a ton of time with Guitar Hero. I refuse to buy one because of it.
  • I hope the UPS guy goes by my office today to deliver my package. It's closed. I want him to be inconvenienced.
  • I wonder if I'm sick. When I caught a cold last month, I realized that I could turn the hot water to "full" while in the shower and it felt fine. Normally, I need to back it off about a half of an inch or it will feel like I'm about to be burned. A second ago, in the shower, I noticed that I had the hot water opened to full.
  • That was too much info.
  • The new movie, The Spirit, "from the maker of Sin City and 300" is something I'd probably like.
  • I just saw where a friend of mine in Austin mentioned she was going to "Salt Lick" for dinner. I'm not sure I've ever been there.

12.26.2008

From My Email Bag

I found your Google blog while looking for something that would answer my question. Since you live in Wise County and seem to be in the loop, I thought I’d ask you.

Maybe you can help me figure out something, if you’re so inclined. Today I got a Christmas card from an old buddy who was a highway patrolman in Gainesville back in the mid sixties. He made Sergeant and moved to Mexia where he retired and lives today. I seldom hear from him and he won’t answer his phone. The Christmas card is a first. It had a single sentence that I suppose he thought I should know about. It says, “I hear the phantom driver has moved into Wise County.” --[Name Redacted]

Back when I was a kid and rode around with him, he used to talk about the “Phantom driver from Jack County.” It was claimed by more than a few drunk drivers that they were run off the road by an oncoming big black car with one big headlight right in the middle. Many of the embellishments were suggested to the drunks by the investigating officers, I think.

The only thing I could find is a story about a guy on a crotch rocket who killed himself and a telephone pole a day or so back. Is there any story going around your area that more or less sounds like the “Phantom driver from Jack County?”

Jim Hubbell

Whitesboro, TX

http://jimhubbell.blogspot.com/

(Reprinted with permission.)

And Another: Year End Winner

Yeah, I don't know if a "high school trainer" who is 23 really qualifies as a legitimate "And Another" entry, but I wasn't going to let this one pass by. Mercy. Story.

No Random Thoughts

. . . with the exception that this man committed one of the most horrific crimes I've seen in a while. Dressed as Santa and carrying a gun and a home made flame thrower, eight are now dead and a house was burned to the ground. And three people are still missing.

12.24.2008

A Christmas Thought (Written Before UPS Turned On Me)

I'm waiting around for a UPS package to be delivered (I had it sent to my office -- but our office was officially closed so it was just me, an open door, and time) and am a bit frustrated. But I was determined to not let a lost afternoon ruin Christmas Eve. And although I normally spend this day doing things like roaming around a mall (not to shop -- but to watch others and try to soak in a Christmas season that I intentionally deprive myself of), it wasn't a bad experience. I finally turned off talk radio and browsed around youtube for Christmas videos that are oddly important to me. "Merry Christmas, Darling" by The Carpenters? I'm kidding, right? Nope. That song was buried on a Christmas 8 track tape that my dad had constantly running at his department store during December years and years ago in Bridgeport. I distinctly remember in high school going down to that place every year late at night and wrapping presents. I'd turn the soundtrack on, turn it up, and have the whole place to myself. It was almost as if some type of magical solitude had transformed the place after hours of being crammed with people during the day. Band Aid's "Do They Know It's Christmas"? Am I serious? You bet. I remember listening to it as I ran around the old dirt track at the old Bridgeport Middle School when I was home from college one year. I was overcome, after being flooded with memories of that school and that field, with the realization that some times in your life are simply gone forever. Sappy, but true. This is leading somewhere. I promise. Let me issue a simple Christmas shout out to you whether you visit this silly blog once a month or a few times a day. I'm not sure how it started or how it has evolved into whatever mess it is now, but I appreciate the visits and the comments --- whether those comments be the incredibly nice ones or those that are so bitingly critical of me that they make me stop and think about whether maybe, just maybe, you might be right. And one final thing, I'm amazed at how much those bloggers listed on the left (and, of course, others) put themselves "out there" -- revealing their life's pains and blessings to an audience of both friends and strangers. I really don't do that. A good friend told me that I was the ultimate psychiatric experiment for running Liberally Lean while at the same time being the most secretive, reserved, and emotionally guarded individual that he knew. I don't have an explanation for that. But, on this Christmas Eve, I'll let you know a little. By choice, I've awakened every Christmas morning of my adult life -- with the exception of one -- with no children in the home. About four years ago I decided that I'd jog outside at the break of dawn on Christmas morn believing it would be an emotional and happy experience --- the sensation of running by home after home and contemplating whether joyous present-opening-chaos was breaking out behind those closed doors and brick walls. It would be fun. But it wasn't like that at all. It was the outside that turned out to be overwhelming. Quiet and cold . . . and empty. I haven't done it since. There's no real moral to the story other than to remind you to enjoy the inside. And although without kids, I've got a niece and nephew that I see every year on Christmas Day. It seems like yesterday they were toddlers and now both of them are in college. "Time flies" is a cliche. But it's a cliche because it's so true. Oh, and one other secret? Every year when I drive home for Christmas in the late morning, to the same house I grew up in, I listen to the song below. It's the only time during the year that I will do that. It's my personal tradition. I have no idea who that family is in the video or what country they are from but, I suppose, the message is universal. Merry Christmas.

UPS ---- You Lied

If "the receiver is on a holiday" means that I wasn't here, you lied. I've been here all day. It's 5:16. Edit: As background, last week I ordered a package by "2 day air" using UPS. I paid (and I rarely throw out numbers) probably $65 for this option on the check-out page of the merchant's web site. I chose 2 day air because that gave me a huge cushion to make sure it was here by Christmas. For some reason, I was notified by email it would be delivered on Christmas Eve (make that "six day air"). Ok, fine. I go into the office (the delivery address) and work a bit and everyone goes home at 11:00 a.m. I sit and wait. And wait. And wait. And wait. I was teased at around 2:00 p.m. when the Fed Ex guy came in and delivered some documents. At a little after 5:00 p.m., with no package from UPS arriving, I checked the web site and saw the above entry. I rarely get mad. I let things slide all the time. But I now have a new mission: To dog UPS until my last dying day. Am I petty? You bet. But UPS: You're on notice.

"They played the oddest game in high school football history last month . . . . "

Everybody and their Christmas Dog have told me to read this today. Let's just say it's by the great Rick Reilly of ESPN Magazine who tells us of a high school football game that happened a couple of weeks ago right down the road. But it's not about football at all. For Christmas Eve, Santa commands you to click on that link. Edit: A commenter points out a Wise County connection in that the Kris Hogan mentioned in the story used to coach at Boyd.

Half Day Mind Bursts

  • Hey! Someone stole a $5 poinsettia out of our office. We had three of those little suckers there yesterday and now there's two. I'm calling The Law.
  • R and R posted an original youtube clip that I call "nothing says office Christmas party like a drunk guy."
  • My UPS package rolled out of Denton at 8:02. I'm looking out the window waiting with a Barry tear rolling down my Barry Cheek.
  • And oil falls to $37 a barrel. Merry Christmas to us.

Random Wednesday Morning Thoughts

  • The shooting spree (and the back story) of the ex-Utah Trooper on a Dallas freeway borders on the bizarre. But the cop-gone-bad stories always seem to have a mitigating sentence in them. In this case, "Smith's abuse of alcohol and prescription medications started after an on-duty traffic accident."
  • I journeyed to Northeast Mall yesterday --- not nearly as bad as I thought it would be. 
  • Well, the traffic was horrific.
  • That R.J. Gators restaurant was basically empty at dinner time. Not-a-good sign.
  • Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas originally had lyrics that included "Have yourself a merry little Christmas / It may be your last / Next year we may all be living in the past" and "Faithful friends who were dear to us / Will be near to us no more" 
  • Tonight we get to Santa's sleigh on the local weather radar which, proportionally, would make it about 200 miles wide. As a kid, I expected to see a flashing dot on the radar.
  • I'm working a half day today. But, somehow, I managed to have a UPS package delivered to the office today. If I'm sitting here by myself all afternoon long waiting for it, I'll be in pre-Christmas depression. Come on, Brown. Do it for me. (It arrived in Denton at 2:06 a.m. this morning).
  • TCU defeated a previously undefeated Boise State last night. But I stopped down when they interviewed the Boise State cheerleader who was famously proposed to after Boise State defeated Oklahoma two years ago. That girl was dumb as a box of rocks. 
  • Everyone is now calling it the Poin-ZET-EE-AH Bowl. 
  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button looks like it might be pretty good. (And I just heard a heck of a good review of Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson in Marley & Me -- that's surprising.)
  • I always intentionally delay getting in the "Christmas spirit" so as not to experience overkill. And then I look up at the last minute and realize I missed it. 
  • A Fort Worth judge ordering a person to post a billboard message as part of his sentence is silly and smells of publicity seeking. 
  • I really am in a good mood. 
  • I feel fat again today. (And, yeah, I know that breaks a "man rule" but everything I'm wearing feels tight all of a sudden. 
  • "The New York Yankees flexed their financial muscles -- again -- Tuesday, stunning the baseball world by snagging first baseman [and former Texas Ranger] Mark Teixeira with an eight-year, $180-million deal."  Funny photoshopped pic of him here
  • WBAP's Hal Jay and Steve Lamb (the sports guy) asked each other this morning how much of Teixeira's contract was guaranteed. Amazingly (or not), neither one of them knew the answer. As in all major league baseball contracts, the answer is, "all of it."
  • I got the nicest email from a web producer over at Fox 4 who wanted to be my Facebook friend. She referred to the "boob-centric photos you post thrice daily." Maam, this is a hard hitting news site I'm running here. 

12.23.2008

Who Ya Got: Girls I've Never Heard Of And Who Aren't In Their 20s

40 Year Old Stephanie Seymour
OR 30 Year Old Sylvie Fran├žoise Van Der Vaart (The girls are hanging out on a beach somewhere on the globe this week, and every photographer is just snapping picture after picture. )

Random Tuesday Morning Thoughts

  • Santa, baby. Indeed.
  • The closing of the big car dealership in North Richland Hills after 30 years didn't get enough notice yesterday. That should scare everyone. Big time.
  • I think my outdoor temperature gauge in my car is messed up. It was raining while it said 31 degrees this morning. 
  • The National Weather Service cancelled the freezing rain advisory around 6:30 this morning. But at 7:45 WBAP was reporting that people were crashing into each other all over the place in southern Tarrant County (Midilothian area in particular.)
  • Just heard a siren in Decatur right before 8:00 a.m. 
  • I don't like the Cowboys chances against the Eagles this weekend, but it would be just like them to win. And then get killed the next week in the playoffs.
  • Those "he went to Jared's" commercials bug me. (I think I've said that before.)
  • I've never understood intentionally loud exhaust pipes on autos.
  • I think I like Christmas music so long as it is sung by one person and is "passionate."
  • Everyone dismisses Al Franken, who is now winning a month after the Senate election in Minnesota, as some kind of clown. He's no dummy. I remember seeing him about 15 years ago on Jeopardy where he smoked his opponents on a wide variety of subjects.
  • It would be hard to put a newspaper together on a daily basis.
  • See the Fox 4 story last night of the "single mom with eight kids" who had her Christmas presents stolen from underneath her tree? I didn't hear anything after "eight kids."
  • I'm torn by the show "Momma's Boy." It's sooo staged but half the time the women are in bikinis (so it's kinda of like watching PBS or the History Channel.)  But with all that Jewish Mom vs. Black Women controversy, they ought to rename the show Race Wars.
  • Speaking of newspapers, has anyone seen the Paradise newspaper? I think I've figured it out: Post a picture of as many residents as you can and print as many names as you can.
  • What might be my favorite book-in photo of the year occurred yesterday in Fort Worth. It's of Angela Smith. (And, so there is no confusion, that's not the Angela Smith married to my law partner.)
  • That Dale Hansen video below really bugs me for some reason.

12.22.2008

Dale Losing It?

Dale Hansen plays his "Thank God For Kids" video every year at this time and he did so last night. And he always follows it with a little message and, normally, it's great. (I still get a little misty when I think of the time he mentioned that his ex-wife lost her battle with cancer one year "because it wasn't a fair fight.") Anyway, last night was just plain weird. It's obviously scripted but he was all over the place. And, quite shockingly, he threw his two kids under the bus in a bizarre way --- in a burn-down-the-bridge kind of way. Link. (There's a quick commercial and then the "Thank God" video. His commentary -- which you can slide over to -- starts at 2:42.) (MzChief mentioned this a second ago in a comment. I promise I was going to post it anyway.) Edit: Crazy twist --- Eric Hansen, Dale's son, gets a mention in the crazy triple murder (?) case in Dallas that happened on Friday.

The Video That Saved Christmas

Youtube description: Girl sobs in a car about setting off the fire alarm while her friend tries to control her own laughter. Apparently, she wanted to make the hallway appear that it had snow in it, so she decided to use a fire extinguisher (this is something that her dad has successfully done in the past). Instead of there just being a "little poof", the entire hallway filled with chemicals that caused the fire alarm to go off in the middle of the night during finals week. Now this is her in the car upset that everyone at Alpha Chi (the sorority she wants to be in and presumably those who live where the fire alarm went off) hates her. She explains how she isn't a bad person and it was just an accident. As annoying as that chick is, I'm more infatuated with the girl filming it. She knows she's got some Academy Award winning material, and there is nothing that's going to keep her from rolling tape (and even zooming in.) That's a true professional. And a wise guy. I think I'm in love. And that crying girl might want to check into transferring schools. That Spring semester is going to be brutal.

Monday Afternoon Pick Me Up: Special Angler's Edition

Random Thoughts On The Governor's Christmas Card

  • Is that an Aggie logo on his shirt? 
  • It drives me nuts when the names on the card don't match up to the order of the people in the photo.  I had a girl send me one like that one time, and I had a heck of a time figuring out the names of her three kids. So, in the spirit of Christmas, I told her that her card was screwed up. The next year she she sent me another card but she had taken a pen and drew arrows from the kid's name to the kid. 
  • If your not going to put the dog in the photo, don't put the dog's name on the card. 
  • I didn't know he had a hot daughter. 

Something I Just Learned From Time Magazine

"Still [the shoe thrower] may have done Bush a favor. In an ABC News interview the next day, the President concceded for the first time that al Qaeda had no presence in Iraq before the U.S. invasion, adding, 'So what?' In another news cycle, this admission would have dominated the headlines . . . . "

Snowing In Seattle

Not that this is relevant to anything, but it snowed yesterday during the Seahawks/Jets game. Just saw this pic and thought it was cool.
Edit: And if you want to see a Jets player throw a giant snowball at a fan, go here. (40 second mark).

12.21.2008

Random Monday Morning Thoughts

  • I still believe that triple murder (?) in Dallas on Friday is the craziest story ever. If you're a woman (or a man, for that matter) and you've been kidnapped from you home a couple of days before, do you hang out there by yourself?
  • The two long runs in the Cowboys game on Friday were surreal.(They were the 3rd and 4th longest TD runs ever given up by the Cowboys.)
  • How could you leave the Cowboy game on Saturday after the game but before the final ceremony to shut down the old stadium?
  • Hey, now from Saturday night.
  • Started to head to the mall on Saturday and then suddenly gave up on the idea. The beat down factor overwhelmed me.
  • Watched some of Midnight Express again last night. Pretty, pretty good.
  • I'm getting interested in Facebook although I can't say I understand everything that is going on.
  • Some folks in the office told me "not to eat too much" before I got to work today because there was a "big surprise" awaiting. If I don't see Hooters girls with wings in a second, I'm going to be pretty disappointed.
  • Bacon.
  • I wanted to go to the movies this weekend but there was absolutely nothing that I wanted to see.
  • June Cleaver is an amazing 93 today.
  • The older The Beaver got, the less entertaining Leave It To Beaver was.
  • The AP has released its Top Ten Stories list but I'm always disappointed by it. I mean. This year's has generic entries like "Oil Prices" and "Sarah Palin." I'd like it much more if the list were of events (you know, things that would require a breaking news sounder.)
  • My favorite sad Christmas song.