Messenger Above The Fold

Check Your Brackets - Oh, My!

#2 Missouri is out.
#2 Duke is out.

And, finally, here's my National Championship prediction. Welp! See ya later!

VCU Cheerleaders (Only 1 of 2 Upset Winners Yesterday) Taking You Into The Weekend

I Know I'd Like This Guy

Not that guy. This guy:

Random Friday Morning Thoughts

  • Funny tweet yesterday: "Dow closed above 13,000 Nasdaq above 3000 and SandP 500 above 1400 together for first time ever. MAKE THIS AWFUL SOCIALISM STOP"
  • Mrs. LL loves to mow the lawn, and I don't know why. Anyway, I plop down in my chair to watch the Baylor game yesterday evening with a nice breeze blowing in from the open windows to the back yard. And then . . . the violent sounds of a lawnmower firing up. 
  • But instead of walking outside and giving her a what-the-heck-are-you-doing look, I paused the game and did something else for a few minutes. (I'm learning. Slowly. But I'm learning.)
  • I almost wished I hadn't seen the first part of the game. Baylor was down 12 to a bunch of white boys who couldn't miss.
  • Mrs. LL was surprised to learn that the name she heard on TV was the Shockers of Wichita State.
  • The best ending in regulation did not come during March Madness but instead in a Tennessee boys high school playoff game.
  • "Where's your Green Card? (Clap. Clap. Clap-Clap.Clap.)" -- Members of the Southern Miss band yesterday when K-State's Angel Rodriguez was at the free throw line. 
  • There was a media war last night when Fox 4 had footage of a firefighter being arrested and then spent about a minute explaining, "We weren't tipped off! We we just happen to be there when the cops came!"  Channel 8 covered the arrest and spent a segment on "Something's fishy because one media outlet was tipped off."  
  • Cops tipping off the media for an arrest or search sounds very familiar.
  • Good weather and the 17th falling on a Saturday means potential record crowds for the St. Patrick's Day gathering at Lower Greenville tomorrow. And to think of the irony of the "Drink Responsibly" signs that will be posted above the crowd. 
  • One reason the Department of Justice challenged the Texas Voter ID law is because of the large number of Texans that don't have a driver's license. Some folks are suggesting that the high number is attributable to the dumb DPS Surcharge program that has caused thousands of people to lose their license because of non-payment.
  • There's a Decatur company that advertises for a Engineering & Maintenance Manager paying $60,000 to $85,000 a year?
  • It's amazing that Dallas PD runs undercover prostitution stings on Harry Hines in the middle of the day. But they did manage to snag an elementary school teacher

Tourney Results After One Day

Check out the big brain on Shon! A couple of others are tied for second. Complete results. (Over at ESPN.com, there were 13,570 perfect brackets out of 5.9 million entries. That's 0.23%. We had one out of 403, which is some-percentage-that-I-can't-calculate because I don't know how many digits to move the decimal point over.)


    -All Wise Garden Center has pledged and delivered a $100 and $50 gift certificate for in-house purchases (counts as two prizes). 
    -Bloomoon Pet Resort in Chico has pledged and delivered a $50 Visa Gift Card
    -Wise Liquors in Bridgeport has pledged and delivered a 1.75 liter bottle of Crown Royal for the last place finisher. Two caveats: (1) Your bracket must be completely filled out to win, and (2) I need a little Baptist forgiveness for this one. 
    -A signed Lebron James jersey with a certificate of authenticity pledged and delivered by attorney Paul Belew
    - New: $100 Silpada Designs Gift Certificate pledged by April Cowling (can be used online or through April)
    -A $100 Visa Gift Card has been pledged and delivered by Chris Miller's Farmer's Insurance Agency in Bridgeport.


And A Dose Of Sobering Reality

Saw on Facebook that lots of Bridgeport folks were expressing concern for this man this afternoon.  Tuesday he was alll smiles as he was headed for Vegas and now he is in the hospital after a heart attack.

I hope all is well.

You never know what each day will bring.

Taking A Break For Spring Sports

I'm don't have a doctorate in physics, but once I saw her heading for the springboard I had a pretty good idea this was not going to end well.

We Are All At Work . . .

 . . .  and I'm told The Family Pup just passed out watching Murray State and Colorado State.

(via email.)

My Continued Rant Against Medical Examiner Rulings


There is nothing more archaic than the language used in rulings by the Tarrant County Medical Examiner.  To call it a "homicide" causes everyone to speculate and rumors to swirl.  But as the DA of Tarrant County has said before about ME rulings, "The word homicide does not mean crime," he said. "It just means that the death involved another person."

Really? So a person could die in an auto accident as a passenger that did not involve any negligence on the part of anyone -- it was simply an accident -- and it would be ruled a homicide? That's ridiculous.

But I've even got a problem with the medical examiner considering that the death involved "another person." There is a 99% chance that the ME did not send out an investigator to the accident scene. The only information the ME has personal knowledge of is what the body tells him through an examination. Yes, he can certainly rule that the death was due to a cerebral injury, but to rule she was a passenger or the victim of a "homicide" has absolutely nothing to do with that medical examination.

Edit: Let me say this again. The Tarrant County Medical Examiner will issue a "homicide" ruling even if a person's death was not the result of someone else's fault, blame or criminal conduct.

And Another - Texas


And a faithful reader tipped me off to this additional picture.

Random Thursday Morning Thoughts

  • Edit: Where is Bacon this week? 
  • We have an answer as to whether that Billington guy who received 35 years in prison in Tarrant County last week for felony DWI was the same one who had received prior convictions in Wise County. Yep. And he was headed home to Decatur at the time of his most recent arrest.
  • Ex-Cowboys TE Martellus Bennett signed with the NY Giants yesterday for one year at $2.5 million. A lazy, under-achieving, ball dropping tight gets paid an outrageous amount of money and will now play against the team that has already paid him how many millions? That's the NFL. 
  • Depressing on many levels: Watermelon smashing comedian Gallagher, who is now playing such hot spots as "Hat Tricks" in Lewisville on Wednesday, has suffered a heart attack.
  • Mrs. LL has started a new flower bed in the yard which will be edged by landscaping bricks on all four sides.  I feel my job of leveling those four sides will cause a great deal of frustration. 
  • Want to see Blake Griffin airball two consecutive free throws last night?
  • I airballed a free throw in a game in high school, and I can remember everything about it like it was yesterday. 
  • I keep checking in on a local person on Facebook who I don't know but seems to be a drama queen having a complete emotional breakdown (or might be just seeking attention.) I think that's acceptable viewing on my behalf. 
  • Someone commented that having a "last place" prize in the Liberally Lean Pick Em Tournament is silly because someone would intentionally make bad picks. Ya think? But picking who will lose is no easier than picking who will win, and certainly more than one person will try to win last place.
  • Oh, some of the bracket names in our tourney are very, very funny. If you missed the chance to be clever, you can change yours. (Although it takes a little searching to figure out how to do it.)
  • American Idol has never interested me. At all.
  • A building perfectly located and designed to host Quinceaneras seems like a good long term investment.
  •  Mrs. LL (who actually has a pretty good voice) would sing "Big Girls Don't Cry" by Fergie all the time a couple of years back. Because I'm sweet, I made it my wake up tone on my phone that I've used as an alarm clock for the last year. Last night Mrs. LL couldn't remember the name of the song or the artist and had to ask me for help. Losing it?
  • Something I was completely oblivious to: Hunger Games.


Last Call For The Free For All

"They gonna love me in Wise County!"
The Third Annual Liberally Lean 
Pick 'Em Tournament
(The first game is at 11:15 a.m. Thursday. You'll be locked out after that.)

Prizes listed below and that list may grow. (Hey, you cheap merchants out there! This is the greatest advertising bang for the buck in the history of ever. Show the rest of the county you've got business smarts as well as a sense of humor.) First place winner gets the first choice of a gift, second place gets the second choice, etc.:

    -All Wise Garden Center has pledged a $100 and $50 gift certificate for in-house purchases (counts as two prizes). 
    -Bloomoon Pet Resort in Chico has pledged and delivered a $50 Visa Gift Card
    -Wise Liquors in Bridgeport has pledged and delivered a 1.75 liter bottle of Crown Royal for the last place finisher. Two caveats: (1) Your bracket must be completely filled out to win, and (2) I need a little Baptist forgiveness for this one. 
    -A signed Lebron James jersey with a certificate of authenticity pledged and delivered by attorney Paul Belew
    - New: $100 Silpada Designs Gift Certificate pledged by April Cowling (can be used online or through April)
    -A $100 Visa Gift Card has been pledged and delivered by Chris Miller's Farmer's Insurance Agency in Bridgeport.
    - Next?

Spring Break Pick Me Up

Ashley Hart

The Fort Worth Zoo Right Now: 1/2 Price Day Combined With Spring Break

It would be the one day I'd stay away. (Source.)

Edit: Traffic at 2:01 p.m.  I-30 is at a standstill.  And University looks like it is packed as well.

Breaking News Out Of Beaumont

Edit: Wow. It was a defendant on trial.

A Dark Day For Poor Texas Women In Need Of Healthcare

Since I'm a bullet point kind of guy, let me try to explain.

  • The State of Texas provides funding to the Medicaid Women's Health Program (the "Program"). That program pays some of the medical bills of poor Texas women who qualify as in need of financial assistance
  • It pays for things like family planning, birth control, cancer screenings and annual exams.
  • The Program is funded by only 10% from the State of Texas and 90% by the federal government. The federal government's share is around $35 million. 
  • The Program does not pay for abortion services. (Read that three times. It's kind of important.)
  • However, 40% of the women assisted by the Program get their non-abortion health care needs from Planned Parenthood. That about 60,000 females. 
  • But although the Program has nothing to do with abortion, and the money the Program provides to Planned Parenthood has nothing to do with abortion, the Republicans in Austin all screamed "We've got an abortion issue here!!!!" 
  • So . . . your Texas Legislature, wishing to make some political hay out of thin air, created a rule (which became effective today) that it would not provide its 10% share to the Program if Planned Parenthood receives a single dime from the Program. 
  • The federal government, believing that to prevent Planned Parenthood from receiving funding from the Program is a violation of federal law, announced it would no longer provide its 90% to the Program if the Texas rule was allowed to go into effect. 
  • Today is D Day for the Program. Texas ignored the federal government's threat and will not provide its 10% of funds -- yep, those funds that have nothing to do with abortion. The federal government will now discontinue its $35 million to the Program. 
  • The victims, as a result of all this posturing, are poor Texas women. 
  • Rick Perry blames President Obama (surprise!) and utters the only thing he knows how to say when gets into a bind: "State's rights!"
Sources: Mostly from the Dallas Observer here and here.

Random Wednesday Morning Thoughts

  • The "Best Maid Pickle Team" will be in Alvord today at the grand opening of some grocery store. I wonder if they had to be on some minor league pickle team before they hit the big time?   
  • If I accomplish nothing else today, I just made you feel better about your job. 
  • Baylor announced a major donation towards its plan for a new footballl stadium yesterday - a stadium that looks fantastic. (Facebook link.) But I hope they realize that the partial roof might make for an irritating field of half bright/half shade for TV viewers. That drove me nuts about Texas Stadium games. 
  • That would-be Paradise model was on 105.3 The Fan's morning show yesterday.  I really don't have an opinion about her performance, but that show in general sounds like a beating. (Oh, that link contains a link to pics.)
  • There was a story yesterday that the theft of boxes of Tide had become a nationwide problem. The basic consensus of why the detergent was the target of thieves was that it is a good black market commodity.  That is, it's fairly expensive for its size, universally recognizable, and would be desired by every household.  That's why convenience store thefts often include cartons of cigarettes. They aren't being stolen to smoke, they are being stolen to sell.
  • Wrong way driver caused a collision on 114 in Irving last night. That led to a limo bus hitting an
    emergency vehicle (but it wasn't a police car.) Edit: There was a wrong way crash in Fort Worth, too.
  • Mrs. LL's niece is staying with us for the week. Yesterday, Mrs. LL kept mumbling, "And it's only Tuesday."
  • Encyclopaedia Britannica announced yesterday that it would discontinue its print version. I'm stunned it still existed.
  • Rick Santorum won both Mississippi and Alabama last night but Mitt Romney was just a few points behind. I bet his "I'm learning to say ya'll" and "I've learning about grits" comments were just goofy enough to cost him the wins with the Southern Man.
  • But it doesn't seem to matter. Those in the know seem to think there is no way that Santorum can catch Romney in delegates so all the hubbub is over nothing. 
  • Mrs. LL tried to attack the meddling neighbor cats last night with a water hose but came back in the house with a case of Slumped Shoulders. One of the neighbors prevented the attack by simply being outside when she didn't expect him to be.  
  • I'm really liking my Manhunt book about the search for John Wilkes Booth. I always thought Dr. Mudd, who set Booth's broken leg, was pretty much just doing what doctors do. Wrong. (Read that in a Dwight Shrute voice, by the way.) He was a huge Confederate sympathizer and had met with Booth the year before in connection with a plan to kidnap Lincoln.
  • Just as I wrote that, Drudge put up a story of John Wilkes Booth bobblehead dolls (complete with him holding a handgun) have been pulled from the Gettysburg National Military Park visitor’s center bookstore. Idiocracy.
  • Some guy named Kevin Rich brought out a "better" video of the American Airlines flight attendant who went nuts last Friday, and he appeared on various local news outlets last night to promote (?) it. I don't understand that. This isn't that big of a story to start with, and why does he want to jump on the pile?
  • I hear birds chirping in the middle of the night. Not a dream. Real birds.
  • We've got a record turnout and record prizes in the Liberally Lean Pick "Em Tourney, and I'm still soliciting more.  (Someone pledged a necklace yesterday but I've got to confirm it's worth more than $50 -- Hey, I'm running a first class operation here!) You have about 24 hours to sign up.
  • Once again, those sponsors are:
  • -Wise Garden Center has pledged a $100 and $50 gift certificate for in-house purchases.
    -Bloomoon Pet Resort in Chico has pledged and delivered a $50 Visa Gift Card
    -Wise Liquors in Bridgeport has pledged a liter of Crown Royal for the last place finisher. (I'm guessing they are serious but am beginning to have my doubts.) Edit: Confirmed. And its 1.75 liters.
    -A signed Lebron James jersey with a certificate of authenticity donated by attorney Paul Belew
    - Edit: $100 Silpada Designs Gift Certificate pledged by April Cowling  
    -A $100 Visa Gift Card has been pledged and delivered by Chris Miller's Farmer's Insurance Agency in Bridgeport.


Messenger Above The Fold

From The Jacksboro Cemetery

I wasn't sure about this at first but, upon reflection, I think it's kind of neat. The deceased male is in the middle with his two deceased wives on either on each side.  There are dates of the marriage at the bottom of the wives' tombstones. If I'm reading it correctly, the one on the left was his wife from 1932 until her death in 1952.  He remarried the next year and remained married (presumably) until his death in 1998. The second wife died two years later.

A twenty year marriage followed by a twenty-five year marriage. Not bad.

(Stolen off of Facebook.)

Game Change vs. Real Life

Some poor soul has taken the clips of Julianne Moore portraying Sarah Palin in Game Change and then sought out the real news footage of Sarah Palin that those clips were based upon.

Hey, I don't expect you to watch all 10 minutes (I didn't), but what I did watch was pretty amazing.

DWI News

Missed from last week: From what I can surmise, a guy waived a jury in Collin County and decided to have his DWI-Felony case (two or more prior convictions) tried to a judge.  After the entire case was presented to the court last Wednesday morning, the judge took a  lunch break. The defendant decided, apparently, that things weren't going well (which shouldn't have come as a particular shock since his alcohol level had been .23.) He didn't return to court after lunch. The case proceeded and the defendant received 40 years. He's still on the run.

That smash-into-a-cop-car accident last night amounted to three, count em, three DWI arrests. The first arrest was for the guy that hit the cop car. The second was for another driver who rear-ended another car at the accident scene. The third came about because a guy decided to disregard the traffic flares. A rare trifecta.

Random Tuesday Morning Thoughts

  • An SUV slammed into a parked Dallas police car last night on Central Expressway in North Dallas. This is becoming bizarre.  
  • After a day to think about it, the soldier going nuts in Afghanistan by killing women and children coupled with the scandal of burning of the Koran makes that country a powder keg for anyone wearing an American uniform. And it already was. 
  • Oddest tweet yesterday: "I've got Kony in my Final Four."
  • Sean Hannity is in re-election panic mode. For some reason he believes he's going to make  a difference with the continuous mention of the President's law school tape and Bill Maher's contribution to the Obama Super Pac. Both are huge swings and misses, but he refuses to realize it. 
  • After I finished jogging and was walking up the street to cool down on Sunday, I turned around to catch Mrs. LL and the Oldest Girl In The House hiding behind cars and mailboxes at they were attempting to stalke and scare me. Upon being caught, they turned around, locked arms, and skipped down the road like in The Wizard of Oz. *head shake*
  • From the NYT: “What would happen if we organized thousands, even hundreds of thousands, of people charged with crimes to refuse to play the game, to refuse to plea out? What if they all insisted on their Sixth Amendment right to trial? Couldn’t we bring the whole system to a halt just like that?” My answer: Absolutley. Why doesn't it happen? All defendants would support it so long as they weren't the first in line. 
  • Do stations like WBAP pay the company which syndicates Rush Limbaugh for the right to broadcast the show, or does that company pay WBAP and makes money by embedding their own ads that WBAP must run? The answer is here and what that syndication company announced yesterday is shocking. 
  • Bumper sticker that would make many Wise County heads explode.
  • The Star-Telegram is not running the Doonesbury series this week, but I was more amazed that the headline with a link to that story appeared five times on its homepage this morning. Who designs those things?
  • I don't think I've ever met anyone who has been to SXSW in Austin.
  • Sports: (1) I missed Cowboy's free agent tight end Martellus Bennett saying he feels like he's a 60 catch a year guy. This coming from a guy who has not caught a touchdown pass in the last three years, (2) the Cowboys get "fined" by losing $10 million in salary cap room for disregarding a salary cap warning during the non salary cap year when to honor the warning would get the owners in trouble for collusion? Ok, got it, and (3) Randy Moss has come out of retirement and signed with the 49ers -- whatever happened to Michael Crabtree? 
  • Time is running out to sign up for the Liberally Lean Pick 'Em Tourney sponsored by the following (and, merchants, there is still time to add to the pot): 
    • Wise Garden Center has pledged a $100 and $50 gift certificate for in-house purchases.
    • Bloomoon Pet Resort in Chico has pledged a $50 Visa Gift Card
    • Wise Liquors in Bridgeport has pledged a liter of Crown Royal for the last place finisher. (I'm guessing they are serious.) 
    • A signed Lebron James jersey with a certificate of authenticity donated by attorney Paul Belew
    • A $100 Visa Gift Card has been pledged and delivered by Chris Miller's Farmer's Insurance Agency in Bridgeport.


And Another - Update

About a year ago, this sweet girl was placed on probation for being a Very Bad Teacher.  Certainly one of the conditions of the probation was "no contact" with the former student who had been the object of her affection.

What could possibly go wrong?

I've Got To Start Adding The Up

We've got another car-crashes-into-police car incident. This time in Mesquite.

But that dirt (or whatever) in the road looks like an old photograph superimposed on the street.

Something Weird Is Going On

Last week we had the guy executed in Arizona whose last words were "Potato, Potato, Potato."

Now we've got a guy showing up at PGA events screaming, "Mashed Potatoes!!!"

And I just learned that this is the 20 year anniversary of the Dan Quail[*] misspelling of the word "Potato." Edit: I didn't mean today. I meant this year.
*Edit. Based upon the context, I think that's my biggest misspelling error ever. And that's saying something.

The Man Comes To The Aid Of Hispanics


 "[W]e conclude that the total number of registered voters who lack a driver’s license or personal identification card issued by DPS could range from 603,892 to 795,955. The disparity between the percentages of Hispanics and non-Hispanics who lack these forms of  identification ranges from 46.5 to 120.0 percent. That is, according to the state’s own data, a Hispanic registered voter is at least 46.5 percent, and potentially 120.0 percent, more likely than a non-Hispanic registered voter to lack this identification. Even using the data most favorable to the state, Hispanics disproportionately lack either a driver’s license or a personal identification card issued by DPS, and that disparity is statistically significant."

Never Been A Big Fan Of Doonesbury . . .

. . . either because (1) it's over my head most of the time, or (2) not funny.

In any event, he takes on the Texas legislature's sonogram-before-an-abortion law this week but some newspapers are boycotting it.

Random Monday Morning Thoughts

  • I watched Game Change on HBO this weekend -- a movie based upon a great book by the same name. I can't believe I'm saying this, but the movie was too hard on Sarah Palin. 
  • A few years back, Texas law was changed allowing cops to issue a citation instead of arrest someone for misdemeanor amounts of marijuana. The level of the crime didn't change, it just allowed a person to avoid having to go to jail and making bond before their court appearance. However, the law has been ignored.
  • John Carter might be one of the biggest busts in the history of cinema. 
  • Prepared your brackets for the Liberally Lean Tournament. Current list of prizes and sponsors is here. And it looks like we've got about 150 entries -- we normally break 200 by the Thursday deadline.
  • South Oak Cliff school sign. Real or fake?
  • A car passed me this morning with one of those traveling cargo bins attached to its roof. It had "Taos" stickers on it. *sigh*
  • One of the tulips I accidentally poisoned in the back yard fought through it and actually bloomed. Then a neighbor cat came over and ate it during the night. 
  • And I created two large dead spots on the front lawn when I applied too much weed killer.  Neil Sperry would not be proud of me so far this year. Neither is Mrs. LL. 
  • I'm glad I'm not emotionally invested in the NFL because it would be weird cheering for Baylor's Robert Griffin in a Washington Redskins jersey. Over the weekend, they sold the farm to get him.
  • Lots of people talking about a new BBQ place along the banks of the Trinity River off of University Drive in Fort Worth. And if I remember correctly, it doesn't have air conditioning. 
  • There was a Jerry Billington who received 35 years in prison in Tarrant County last week for DWI-Third or more. That name used to appear on the Wise County docket for the same offense and the age of the guy seems about the same.
  • There was a report on the radio this morning that there was a police chase in Carrollton involving a "possible DWI" suspect. Little early for that. 
  • In the Update this morning, there was an obit for a 33 year old out of Newark with "no services planned."  I'm not sure I've seen that before.
  • We had a soldier go beserk.  Let's get out of there.