Random Friday Morning Thoughts

  • Greetings from D.C.  I'm afraid this might come off as "watching a slide show from a neighbor's vacation" (which is a phrase I grew up with to describe the most boring experience  you could think of.) 
  • First, I'm not complaining that I get to travel from time to time, but let me complain. Air travel is a beating. Not only is getting to the plane a pain (traffic, paying to park, finding a parking place, toting luggage, the ordeal of going through security, and making it to your gate even when you've tried to coordinate parking to make it a close as possible), the actual flight is cattle call. Hey, I'm a small guy, but I'm packed into my seat like a sardine.
  • And I got to learn the blowback for booking your wife's ticket using the last name of her prior marriage.  That's a little hard to explain to the ticket agent (which we now had to talk in lieu of the automated kiosk) and especially hard to explain to the wife.  Frankly, I have a little trouble explaining it to myself. 
  • Minutes before landing, I was looking out the window to catch the incredible sight of the Washington Mall only to find out we were on the wrong side of the plane. 
  • There's just something about this place. When I was here a couple of times before, I was overcome with a feeling in being in the most powerful city in the world. Now I feel like I'm in a city of chaos -- a city full of statues and memorials honoring people who would be shaking their collective heads if alive.
  • For being a simple country lawyer, I love subways. And D.C.'s is incredible. I bought a week's pass which gets you everywhere but also takes you to and from the airport to your hotel -- a hotel right in the same block as a station if you plan it right.
  • For the first afternoon, we walked over to the White House and then spent three hours in the Smithsonian Museum of American History.  Quick thoughts:
    • The street in from of the White House is shut down -- so shut down that you can't even walk on it. (I knew they closed it to street traffic a couple of decades ago, but I thought you could still walk on it.)
    • A portion of the view of property is obstructed because they are building a new fence around the White House. Because of that, you can't see the West Wing. 
    • While standing in Lafeyette Park across from the White House, I couldn't help but remember the guy who was set-up to buy drugs there so George H.W. Bush could make reference to it during a war on drugs speech. 
    • There are D.C. Police and Secret Service everywhere. For the "Home of the Free", it doesn't feel very safe. 
    • A majestic Treasury Department building is right by the White House but it is in the same enclosed fence with armed guards.
    • The National Christmas tree is spare. 
    • We walked back towards the mall, and you wouldn't believe the size of the Commerce Department building. I couldn't help but think of the ton of government employees that place employs who really don't do anything at all. (I had to look at an aerial view of it once I got back to the hotel.)
    • Now to the Smithsonian. (There's a bunch of them, but the American History one is the most famous one.)
    • There's no line. It's free. And it's overwhelming. A nice guide actually approached us without asking and took us over to a map to explain where everything was on each three floor of exhibits. Probably noticing that I appeared to be a pop culture expert and a representative of the Common Man, he told me the locations of Muhammed Lee's gloves, Dorothy's slippers, and Archie Bunker's chairs.
    • The actual flag which inspired the Star-Spangled Banner is on display. That thing is 30 feet tall. I learned that the lady that made it was paid over $400 which was more than most people's annual salary. ("Oh, it's a profit thing!" I told Mrs. LL who proudly caught the reference.) 
    • You might stumble on anything. I saw a ship manifest for a slave ship, a propoganda tea cup blasting England's tax on tea before the American Revolution, a row of the first experimental light bulbs. Then they even have things which make you feel very old: A TRS-80 computer and a credit card machine are just casually on display.
    • I'm not even close to doing that place justice. We didn't even see one full floor after almost three hours and will have to go back. 
    • And it's fun just to walk down the street. The architecture is cool.
    • My Google Maps tells me the Fort Worth Star-Telegram office is right across the street from the hotel which confuses me. And I don't see any sign of it. 
  • We'll make it to the Newseum which closes it's doors on the 31st. I've stolen the front page off of its site for years. 
  • There will be no "It's Friday. Let's Get Out of Here."  I've got stuff to see. 


Random Thursday Morning Thoughts

Travel will prevent this always riveting Thursday edition.  However, Random Thoughts will resume tomorrow from . . .

Yep. Mr. Green Goes to Washington.


Random Tuesday Morning Thoughts

  • It Christmas Eve. Almost all offices are closed. Locat TV stations have a skeleton crew. The Messenger building is empty. There is no Update. But look who is the HWMISB. 
  • I've never understood the news stations doing a Santa Radar showing Santa's sleigh filling up 1/3 of the screen. Why not make it a blip? Kids would actually get sucked in by that. 
  • I don't care at all about the new Star Wars movie, but I can't avoid people arguing about it. But I've got a question. What's so great about J.J. Abrams? Look at this list. There's not a "great American movie" on it. (The cable friendly Joy Ride might be the most entertaining one on the list, and it's a low-budget guilty pleasure.)
  • I used to do my Christmas shopping every year on the 23rd. It was just me. Then came along a wife and online shopping. I haven't been in a store at Christmas time in a decade.  And one of those has saved me a ton of money.
  • Draining the Swamp update.
    • Good thing Trump never uses the presidency for profit. You know, like Mar-a-Lago hosting an expensive dinner for a "non-profit" conservative group charging $2,500 a ticket. 
    • Or that Biden's son Trump Jr.  is speaking for a fee simply because of his last name. 
    • Or that "family values" isn't under attack since he's bringing his ex-Fox News girlfriend which he left his wife and five kids for. 
    • Or that Fox News' Mark Levin is there to attack the media for being biased while being paid to support a political candidate. 
    • Or that the lead speaker is Jerry Falwell Jr. who has endured a Pool Boy Scandal this year. 
    • (Sure it's Christmas. But these folks should never, ever get a break.)
  • Why did Ted Cruz decide to light a cigar and smoke it during his online video blasting the new spending bill? Attacking the bill is great, but why the cigar? Did he want to look like a Washington fat cat? He's smarter than that. 
  • The next bullet point is completely wrong. I spent 10 minutes researching UTEP football before I wrote it. And why did I do that? I saw the graphic and thought they were talking about today's Hawaii Bowl. I'm an idiot. The graphic referred to a basketball game. (By the way, UTEP went 0-11 this season.)
  • Everyone talks about Baylor's turnaround, but UTEP's season slipped past me. After going 0-12 and 1-11 the last two years, they went 8-3 this year and will play in a bowl game in Honolulu. 
  • Ticket fans only: Speaking of online mistakes, Former Morning News TV critic Barry Horn tweeted this morning that the Cowboys next game in Washington will be the late game on Fox. So I thought I'd make a funny since the game is in Dallas.  He then deleted his tweet. Come on. Media guys are the most sensitive people in the world. 
  • Tech Flashback: In 1994, I created a Microsoft Access Database for the DA's office. (I had just authorized, for the first time ever, a desktop for all employees with a server, and I was hell-bent on making the office as cutting edge as I could.) There was one problem: I designed the thing at home on my free time and the final file was so large that there was no way to move it. DVD drives didn't exist and, even though I had a CD burner, the new Access program wouldn't fit on a CD.  The solution? I had to go buy something that existed for only a blink of an eye in the tech world: A Zip Drive. (Pic below). It cost almost $200 and could write a file that held 100 megabytes. I was reminded of that this week when I bought a portable 1 terabyte hard drive for $50. (Side note: I bought the Zip Drive out of my pocket because I thought it was too extravagent of a purchase for the taxpayers. And you guys think I'm a liberal, huh?)
  • Messenger: Above the Fold


Random Monday Morning Thoughts

  • Cowboy Tears for Christmas is not what you wanted.
  • Flashback:

  • About three months ago, a man was arrested by federal marshals on a Wise County murder charge for an incident occurring at a cockfight outside of Bridgeport. He's still in jail, but I noticed that he is no longer being held on a murder charge but instead is charged with Tampering of Evidence of a Human Corpse. 
  • I watched some of the Texas high school playoffs, but none of the games were nail-biters. Other than Waco La Vega, the team that beat Decatur in the semis last year, losing in the finals, and the "greatest trick play in kickoff return history" (which even my Bridgeport Freshman team ran), this was the only other thing that was entertaining was . . .  
  • I know I'm defending a case that just may have reasonable doubt written all over it when, last Friday, a guy comes to visit me at my office and hands me this card: 
  • On Friday we learned that 90 minutes after Trump's "perfect call" to the Ukraine president, the White House withheld the military aid.  Let me say it again: Why don't the Republicans just admit he did what he did but just say they think it was no big deal? At least be honest. 
  • I noticed that Robert Jeffress money-changing side gig, Pathway to Victory, was aired at midnight on, appropriately, the Fox Business Channel.
  • I don't know what I think about Gov. Abbott doing bits. 

  • Speaking of Cruz, he fired off a hot opinion about the federal government raising the cigarette smoking age to 21 because adults should "make that choice" whether to smoke because of "liberty."   Uh, Ted, now do weed. 
  • Someone check on Santa.
  • For those who remember my bullet point about the lawyer suing Allstate who fired off a bunch of over-the-top profane emails to opposing counsel, well the federal judge hauled him into court. The entire audio of the hearing is here. Highlights: The lawyer was sitting in the gallery and didn't make his presence known until about six minutes in, and the judge saying, “This is not the day to be cute. And I am not that guy.”
  • I've always thought it was odd that ignition interlock devices (those "blow devices" required in cars normally because of a DWI probation) not only require you to blow into it to start the car but also blow into it while you are driving (called a "rolling test.")  Apparently I had a reason to be concerned per the New York Times
  • Messenger: Above the Fold