Monday, December 05, 2005

Football throughout the ages

So, my beloved Horns are gonna play for a national championship. They were able to eek past Colorado on Saturday. I am filled with an emotional cocktail of excitement, anticipation, and nervousness. But just because the BCS got it right this year (insert your preferred "blind squirrel" or "broken clock" joke here), does not mean my hatred has been reduced. And just because there is almost zero controversy this year, it doesn't mean we should let one of the worst championship systems in the history of sports skate.

If you were here last year, you already know my plan. If not, go read it...quickly! I feel I must add (or I guess remove) on little detail and then an explanation.

In my plan of a 16 team playoff, all champions of the 11 conferences get automatic bids. It may seem a little crazy to let the Sun Belt or even MAC winner in, but I believe it serves a purpose to have a similar effect that the basketball tournament has had. That being of leveling the playing field. No longer will the major or classic "power conferences" have a stranglehold on the chances to win. They'll still have most, but not all. That would not only raise the level of interest throughout the country, but, more importantly, give all small schools and small conferences a chance. A chance to win, a chance to been seen, a chance to recruit. Without a tournament, I'm not sure anyone would know or care about Gonzaga, but they do now. I would hope that similar stories could play out in football.
So now, without further delay, the mythical play-off that would occur in 2005.
Mythical 2005 NCAA Playoff Bracket (BSC ranking; or AP if not in BCS)

#1 USC (1)
#16 Arkansas St (NR)

#8 Miami, FL (8)
#9 Auburn (9)

#4 Ohio St. (4)
#13 Boise St. (28)

#5 Oregon (5)
#12 Fla. St. (22)

#3 Penn St. (3)
#14 Tulsa (35)

#6 Notre Dame (6)
#11 TCU (14)

#7 Georgia (7)
#10 West Virginia (11)

#2 Texas (2)
#15 Akron (NR)

Monday, November 28, 2005

See, God's on my side


As I'm sure you're aware, I am a single male. This implies several things-- some of them untrue, but nonetheless-- like I'm messy (true...sorta), I can't cook (not true...sorta), I cannot properly do a load of laundry, or I do not decorate for holidays (TRUE, TRUE, TRUE). This last one has been a point of contention for some time. The way I see it, there's no need to put up a tree or, God forbid, lights on the house when I will be far away from my home on Christmas day. When people discover this fact a sad, disapproving look comes over them and the following conversation typically ensues:

Person with Christmas Spirit: You don't put up a tree?
Me : No.
Pw/CS: Really?
Me : Really.
Pw/CS: Why not?
Me : Don't know, just seems pointless. It's not like I'll be there opening up presents around it on Christmas or anything.
Pw/CS: You got to put up a tree.
Me : Actually, you don't.
Pw/CS: You're such a Scrooge.

Now, this exchange has occurred numerous times. Parents, other family members, friends, co-workers with generally the same conclusion. I am a scrooge for not adorning the inside and outside of my home with audacious displays of yuletide cheer. Let me confess, on some level, I think I might agree with them. But at the end of the day, my own pragmatism wins out and I just can't justify the time, energy, and money spent on something I'll be tearing down in 3 weeks.

So it was with mild amusement I realized that everyone who actually acknowledges the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ and spent this long weekend putting up lights and plastic nativity scenes and various wooden reindeer found their displays rearranged and relocated by an "act of God". Especially after seeing what happened to the big tree in downtown Ft. Worth, I can only assume, God's right there with me.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

I see weird people

If you're asking where I've been, the answer is here. If you didn't notice I've been bloggily reticent, well, I guess I can't blame you....

...Anyway. This Saturday I was afforded several opportunities to behold my fellow man and think, "What the...?" My first encounter was while running at the aforementioned park. The park always seems to present opportunities for oddity, like the girl singing off-key at the top of her lungs, or the time I was ten feet from being barreled over by a horse...yes a horse. Anyway, I'm running along the trail and I look up and see a man coming my direction on a bike. No biggy, just some dude who seemed to need some exercise, maybe even a little bit more than I needed it, but who am I to judge. Then I noticed what looked like smoke around his head. It was cooler than normal, but I hadn't noticed my own breath as being visible all morning, so... surely not... then I smelled it. As he passed he took a drag. Yes, that's right, a guy willing to take time out of his Saturday morning to go to the bike trail and ride also thought it a good idea to smoke a cigarette while doing so. Well, dude, it's not. It's one of the dumbest things I've ever seen. Maybe not the the weirdest on this day, but the dumbest.

The other two sightings are probably less fantastic given my locale, but even so. Saturday night I found myself in the company of about 20,000 others as we enjoyed the ebb and flow of a U2 concert. Pretty good seats and a pretty...pretty...pretty good concert. A couple of things bothered me, though. One, and I'm sure this is gonna put me a bad light, but should not there be some sort of weight limit on who can stand up and dance in public? I'm just saying that there is something unnatural about the site of a woman on the wrong side of four bills dancing. There, I said it. You can hate me now but I don't care. While standing at the concert witnessing all this frivolity, I did notice that men and women seem to adhere to very different standard on displays of public excitement. Along with that girl, I could include the girl next to me who was so out of control at times my personal domain was severely encroached. Especially when I took a moment to use my seat for it's intended purpose. Do the math people, if I'm sitting and she's standing...yeah, that's right... butt in my face. And in no way was that a favorable outcome. There was also some chick in the row in front of my who was dancing like she was in the privacy of her own home. Lot's of jumping, arms everywhere, just crazy. On the other hand, the most you can get out of the usual guy is a head bob and a clap. Most of the times the hands stay in the pockets, and never should any self-respecting male use a spin move...or a prop...except for...

This guy. The winner of "Saturday's Weirdest person entering Jason's world" contest goes to the fifty-something-white guy at the concert. Normal build with wavy (note the wavy) white hair. Wearing a concert where they have curtains over the doors so as not to allow light in. Yeah. I also noticed he strutted around like he owed the place. Along with his sunglasses, he's wearing a western style shirt with two guitars on the back. Probably not iron-on, maybe embroidered, with writing that would seem to indicate some tight or loose affiliation with an organization dedicated to the pursuits of guitar playing and/or rock'n roll, but who can really know. It was dark! As I was attempting to make sense of all this, he walks up to the railing at the front of our little section and proceeds to--along with The Edge, I presume-- play air guitar with one leg resting on said railing. Dude, that's just weird.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Friday, October 14, 2005

Quick hits to make someone crazy

- I saw the movie Crash this week after much talk and encouragement that it was pretty good and would change my life. first thought when it ended was, "And?" Leasons learned: (1) People in L.A. are really (really) racist...more than almost every human I know. (2) Bad people can do good things. (3) Good people can do horrible things. The last two I already knew. So, in conclusion, people in L.A. are really racist.

- I saw this the other day. It's a letter from al-Zawahiri to bin Laden, supposedly. In it, among other things, he says,"... I say to you: that we are in a battle, and that more than half of this battle is taking place in the battlefield of the media. And that we are in a media battle in a race for the hearts and minds of our Umma."

If that's the case, we're screwed, because I think we all know who the media's rooting for.

- More on that sorry Tom Hicks and his propaganda campaign from an article by Dan McGraw:
The Rangers ranked 21st in payroll — in the bottom third. And at the press conference announcing Hart’s resignation, Hicks trotted out his usual misinformation. He talked about how teams like Cleveland and Oakland were models for the success of low-payroll teams and said that spending on players wasn’t a critical part of winning. He never mentioned that the low payroll A’s and Indians didn’t make the playoffs, but the ones that spent did.

The Rangers player payroll was about $55 million this year. Here’s what the team brought in: $46 million for local and national media rights, $42.5 million in ticket sales, $14.4 million in luxury suites, and about $5 million for parking. That’s close to $108 million in revenue, even before you add stadium naming rights, sponsorships, sales of team gear, and the pricey beers and hot dogs, which provide maybe another $20 million or $30 million.

Hicks has said the team was “marginally profitable” this year. Uh-oh — more misinformation. I don’t have the Rangers books in front of me — and I’m not an accountant — but it doesn’t take a ledger expert to come to the conclusion that the Rangers made a lot of money this past year.

We know I'm crazy, are you?

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Are you sure you want to stick with that?

Ok, this is not something I'm proud of; it's just the way it is. First, I quit going to my scripturally ordained Sunday school class over a year ago. There was no "real" reason other than as I stood there and looked around the room I was overcome with this feeling that it was the last place in the world that I wanted to be at that moment. Much to even my own surprise, since I'm sure others who know me will attest that I am one to stick it out through almost any circumstance, I just walked out.

Let me add that one of the first things I disliked about my class was the painstaking enumeration of prayer requests. And then the follow-up where we "lift those concerns to God." I'm not saying I don't believe in prayer, or even a time where people have an opportunity to share, I'm just not sure spending 20-30 minutes talking about "my co-worker's great-aunt and her gall bladder problem" is really best for my spiritual (and mental) well being. So now that everyone (including God) thinks I'm the biggest jackass the world has ever known (I'll put that next to my trophy as world's most disliked man), I will now dig the hole a little deeper...

My class (that I no longer attend) has a Yahoo! email group, which for reasons I can't fully explain I have yet to unsubscribe. Each week a list of "Prayer Requests" is sent out, presumably culled from the class and any special petitions via email. Many times I just delete it, but this week I thought I'd give it a look just to see what was going on. The list had eleven entries that spanned the range of the expected; death, sickness, and natural disaster. Except for one. Number one on the list stopped me dead in my tracks; I re-read it 4 times just to make sure. Here's what is said:
1. Pray for Julie. She is having trouble potty training her dog.
-names have been changed to protect the privacy or pet owners

Now a prayer:
Dear God,
I'm sorry I made fun of the prayer list from a Sunday school class I don't even attend. But a man can only fight so much temptation. I'm sorry. Please forgive me.


Monday, October 10, 2005

The Greatest Sports Weekend Ever?

It's really nice to be right. It's even better when for three days practically any team that you have even a marginal rooting interest steps on the field and wins. On Friday, my high school alma mater won, staying undefeated. On Saturday, whoa nellie. First and foremost: What is up!

My college alma mater won while their biggest competitor lost. Teams that I had less of a rooting interest in won. Baylor ends a 37 game road losing streak, winning their first Big 12 road game...ever. SMU, a 24 point underdog wins on a psuedo hail mary. TCU, my SUP (Stupid Underdog Pick of the week) won. Oh and Texas A&M went to Boulder and lost by 3 touchdowns just as I predicted. Got a joke for ya...stop me if you've heard it...ready... Dennis Franchione. Then Sunday, I sit on the couch and I find that I had a nice present waiting. Full scale Dallas Cowboy domination. Over the Eagles! Too, delicious.
Also, the Astros advance in 18 innings. What a weekend! It was so very sportsy!

Friday, October 07, 2005

The Big Game

I'm here to make my annual prediction that probably will doom my team. Nonetheless, Texas wins! Wins big. 34-10....Hook 'em!

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Putting it up on a tee

So I go into the restroom here at work yesterday (don't you love it when someone starts a story that way?) and guess who I run into. No really. You know...come on! No, not the ghost of Elvis. I ran into this guy. Like you’re surprised. Maybe you are, maybe you didn't believe in the "pee buddy". Well, it's true. So anyway, there he is waiting for me at the urinal. So I sidle up beside him to do my business. As I mentioned previously, it's not just the fact that I always see this guy that annoys me; it's the conversations in which he forces me to take part.

So on this day, instead of going over the trivialities of my job or the possible change in the weather, he decides to go on a far more perilous route. On this day, he had come up with the mother of all statements that will not only goad me into a conversation in the one place I wish to least have a conversation, but might have me following him back to his cube to finish. Here's what he said:
It's Wednesday.

You are so jealous of my life right now.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

The Response

Oddly enough, someone at Relevant actually read my email and replied. And whoever did is some sort of diabolical genius. The email:
>>> "Relevant Feedback" 10/05/05 11:03 AM >>>
Hey Jason,

I appreciate your thoughts, and it's never easy when we attempt to cover something that is so sensitive as politics and other similar agendas.

You seem to be well-educated on these issues and a good writer as well. If you ever want to write an article for the website discussing politics and Christianity that would be great. It has to be more journalistic than rant, but okay to have a personal emotion linked to it.

Check our guidelines page at and send the article to


Note only does he/she (not sure) heap compliments on me, he suggests that my email showed such talent that I should submit something to the publication. By that point I'm too busy thinking of my new career in print media to stay mad at that little 'ole magazine. That part about the rant is troubling, though. That's like asking me to come play ball but not to bring my glove, but anyway. Of course, they probably ask everyone to write an article...

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Oh God, there he goes again

In it's latest issue, Relevant magazine produces a list of "12 Visionaries Who Are Impacting Culture Through Faith - Whether it's in the Church, the music industry or Hollywood, these 12 are all playing a unique role of affecting our worldview." Well, one of the those was Jim Wallis, remember him? No? Go here, here, or most likely here. Anyway here's my letter to Relevant:
I'm writing to express my disappointment with the inclusion of Jim Wallis on such a list. Having been a subscriber since day one (actually I think I subscribed about 9 months before the first issue was released), I've seen this publication bend over backwards to the point of absurdity not to support a political party or point of view. The preview to last year's presidential election comes immediately to mind. Since my attempts to read between the lines tell me we probably disagree on such topics, I was ok with such an attempt. Then, you go and do this.
I think most would agree that by dubbing someone a "visionary", your magazine grants him or her implicit support of their "movement". Your quick synopsis of Wallis stays conveniently vague. What most don't realize is that Mr. Wallis, through his organization and book, seeks to move our government to a dangerous place. That place would probably have a name with the word socialist in it somewhere. He also has no qualms with vilifying the sitting President and other political leaders with some fairly offensive comparisons.
All that to say...I really appreciate your magazine and it's mission. I appreciated it a lot more when it stayed out of politics.

Monday, October 03, 2005

The Dangers of Going with God

And I mean dangers. The LA Times reports on a "study" that 'looks at the correlation between levels of "popular religiosity" and various "quantifiable societal health" indicators in 18 prosperous democracies'. And it entitles it, "The dark side of faith." The problem it seems, though, is faith itself.
He found that the most religious democracies exhibited substantially higher degrees of social dysfunction than societies with larger percentages of atheists and agnostics.

Indeed. Go read the whole thing to get the full vomitous effect. But here's what the editor's (not the study's, the newspaper's) conclusion comes down to:
My prediction is that right-wing evangelicals will do their best to discredit Paul's substantive findings. But when they fail, they'll just shrug: So what if highly religious societies have more murders and disease than less religious societies? Remember the trials of Job? God likes to test the faithful.
To the truly nonrational, even evidence that on its face undermines your beliefs can be twisted to support them. Absolutism means never having to say you're sorry.

Red-stater Christians love to murder and spread disease. Got it.

Luckily for my sanity, today I also ran across this story about a man who might have earned the title "great".
Rutherford Aris is a scientist of dazzling brilliance -- a chemical engineer whose mathematical models revolutionized his field -- and a deeply devout Christian.

..."He prayed with me, opened his home to me and showed me the compatibility of faith and reason," Lauffenburger said. Aris' ideal was the servant leader of 1 Corinthians 9:19: "So though I am not the slave of any man, I have made myself the slave of everyone so as to win as many as I could."

..."He left his mark on us and cast his shadow on us in an almost haunting way."

Go read the whole thing to get the full restored-faith-in-humanity effect.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

The paper of record

Many of you may already know of my extreme disdain for the New York Times and the fact that people still actually give credence to what they publish. Well, just so you can rest assured that they love the Bible as much as you or me, this entry in the corrections section from today.
The About New York column yesterday, about an imagined conversation with God at a Manhattan diner, referred incorrectly to the Bible to which the thickness of the menu was likened. It is the King James Version, not St. James.

Odd, I thought everyone always went with the Ryrie Bible when making the "that thing is a thick as..." joke. Screw me. How can I argue with the "paper of record?" (HT - Powerline)

I promise... be better. The 1.75 people who read this blog I'm sure have been quite disappointed with my effort recently. Well...I'll try...but just remember, you get what you pay for.

Friday, September 23, 2005

I"m a terrible blogger and a horrible person

I love everybody
Especially you
I love everybody
Especially you
So if you feel lonesome
Remember it's true
I love everybody
Especially you
- Lyle Lovett

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

The Shoe

Ok, I've been trying to avoid this topic ever since I was the catalyst of a maelstrom at another blog that shall remain nameless. So I'm on this trip, and because of only having 1 hour of sleep in the previous 40 hours and the fact that we had to be on the road back to Dallas before 11 am, church was not an option. Therefore, I find myself in bed at approximately 9 o'clock flipping channels.

I come upon a black woman standing in front of a black background ranting. I soon realize this is CBS's "esteemed" news show "Sunday Morning". The offensiveness of what she was saying dissolved my grogginess. It was essentially a more articulate version of Kanye West's nuanced analysis of the Commander and Chief. It's entitled "What if They Were White". Here are some of my favorites lines from her "essay". Oh, I should mention that the whole thing was spoken in a very overly dramatic soliloquy delivering voice, a googling of the "performer" explained that.
When I saw pictures of black people taking things from stores, my first thought was: "How are those Air Jordans necessary for your survival?"
Then it hit me: People needed shoes and clothing. Some escaped the floods with just the clothing on their backs

Yes, they need 20 pairs of $140 shoes in sizes 7-13 because they "escaped" with what was on they're backs. Question, if you're still in the flood zone, have you escaped? Are you even trying to escape? When you actually do "escape" what will you do with all those shoes?

And if you were confused about whether she was trying to make a political statement or not...
The real war is not in Iraq, but right here in America. It's the War on Poverty, and it's a war that's been ignored and lost. An estimated 37 million Americans are living in poverty. New Orleans is one of the poorest cities in the country, with 40 percent of its children living in poverty. Mississippi has the highest poverty rate of any state. We've repeatedly given tax cuts to the wealthiest, and left our most vulnerable American citizens to basically fend for themselves.

I'm not even gonna get started on this one...but apparently hurricanes are attracted to poor people. As if being poor didn't suck already.

The whole world is watching. And once again, a day late and a dollar short, words of wisdom from our president: "This is a huge task that we're dealing with." "These are tough times." "Give cash."
Once again, he finds the photo op: Some black folks to hug, some white men in Mississippi to bond with. He flies over the messy parts of New Orleans, waves and leaves.
The president has put himself at risk by visiting the troops in Iraq, but didn't venture anywhere near the Superdome or the Convention Center, where thousands of victims, mostly black and poor, needed to see that he gave a damn.

I'm still trying to figure out what the point of all that is. So, if Bush does show up with victims it's a photo-op, if he doesn't show up he doesn't "give a damn."

It appears that Mark Davis has some reasonable thoughts on reactions to Katrina. Read it. Oh, and in response to Ms. Giles question: if they were white the reaction by FEMA would still be slower than we want, because they're FEMA, that's what they do. The ineptitude of state and local authorities would be the same, because well, it's Louisiana and that's what they do. And the President would still not be deciding what type of buses should be used in the evacuation, because that's not what he does.

In the end, my calm demeanor prevailed and the shoe stayed on the ground, far from the middle of the TV screen. But for anyone using this, the hurricane, to make a political point, can just stick it.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

The Mother of All Roadtrips

Ok, so it was also the most poorly timed road trip in the history of the universe...but what else could it be with me involved? In case you have no idea what I'm talking about, it's this: U.S. Men's National Soccer Team vs. Mexico, 7:30 pm ET, Columbus...Ohio. We had to get there and decided that my 2001 Jeep Grand Cherokee would be the best method. Poor choice?...maybe.

Just so you know, that's about 2100 miles round trip, 1050 one-way for you math majors. The trip to the home of the Buckeyes began at 7:45 p.m. on Friday night. There were 3 of us (one dropped out at the last minute because of illness) who took turns driving all throughout the night. My first shift began about 30 miles east of Texarkana (11:30 pm) and ended in Memphis (3:00 am). We stopped 3 times for food, 3 times for gas and way too many times for restroom breaks (considering it was 3 guys in the car). We arrived at our hotel (more on that later) the next day at 1:30 pm. That's about 17 hours actual time, 15 1/2 hours drive time.

The drive brought many surprises. Like Kentucky has really nice roads, Cincinatti actually is quite pretty, and me referring to my car that I actually like as the "Hell box". In upcoming posts I will enlighten you on such topics as: the hotel, the game, and the 30 second clip on CBS "Sunday Morning" that nearly had my shoe flying through the TV. I would do that now, but I'm still trying to physically recover from the trip. Deal.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

A machine that just blows

In the past, I've mentioned some devices for which I lack any fondness. Well, there is one that reigns above all the rest in its ability to annoy and be completely useless all at the same time.

The Leaf Blower.

I hate them. I always have. I always will. I've never quite understood how blowing your grass clippings into the middle of the street was an improvement. And moving a pile of whatever with one of these things is nearly impossible and terribly time consuming.

While on my Saturday morning run I came across a "blower". Some dude out in the street trying to assemble piles of grass and dirt with his "power tool". Because this was the hottest Saturday morning in the history of the known universe and I was struggling mightily as I returned to my home, I had stopped for a brief respite. As I did so, I was able to witness the utter futility of it all.

I will never be confused for a "tree-hugger". But is it really necessary to be using a gas powered machine that produces not only fumes aplenty, but the most nerve-racking hum/squeal the world has ever known? Especially when you could do the same thing with an eco-friendly broom. Yes, that's right, a broom! They don't cost $70-$100 dollars and you can actually do a quicker, better job with one. Plus, I’ve never been awakened at 7:45 in the morning by a broom.

All this to say, if you see a guy using a leaf blower, there's only one tool there, and it ain't the blower.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Why the Rangers Suck, and...

...why I still hate Tom Hicks. Two things:
One. Just incase you wondered how my declaration about the Rangers "Catastrophic Moment" panned out. Up to that point they were 39-37, that’s a .513 winning percentage. Not too bad. Since? A record of 19-29; a .396 percentage. Not good. Punctuated with a 1-12 road trip. Altogether now...done, done, done.

Two. I saw this on Bob Sturm’s very sportsy blog earlier this week. A guy whose had past articles published about Hicks and the Ranger’s financial situation sent this little nugget:

Just ran some numbers and the profit the rangers are making this year is going to be huge.

1) $46 million for local and national media rights.
2) 2.5 million fans at $17 avg ticket = $42.5 million
3) 120 luxury suites that go between $100,000 and $175,000. Let's use $120,000 as a low avg. That equals $14.4 million.
4) About 8,000 cars a game at $8 a car (again, on the low side) for 82 home games = $5.2 million

So, we add those up and we come in at $108.1 million before any of the many other revenues are added in: Ameriquest naming rights, signage, sponsorships, concessions (this is very big with $5 beers), MLB marketing ( video games, licensed gear, etc.), and The Washington Nationals money. I figure that the revenues coming in this year will run between $120 to $140 million. And again, these are on the conservative side.

Ok. Excellent. The Ranger’s payroll for the 2005 is around $55 million (that includes 10 for A-Rod). That’s 39% of the conservative $140 million estimate of total revenue. Dan McGraw continues:
Teams have usually come in with player costs at about 60-70% of revenues, and still make money. You can look at the salary cap levels of the NFL and NHL, and the percentages the teams in those leagues HAVE to pay and profit highly. It looks like the Rangers are coming in at about 40% or less. We all know there are lots of other costs besides players’ salaries, but there is no way they are going to be anywhere close to the players’ salaries. That is always more than the rest (front office, advertising, scouts, minor league salaries, insurance, etc.) added up.

Tom freaking Hicks. If he ever says one more thing about making money... Grrrrr. Sign some pitching, already!!!

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Donuts, Critically Speaking

OK, so despite the fact that my last poetic entry received no critical acclaim (shocking, I know), I'm willing to be your back alley supplier. That, and I got nuthin. So here it is:

So today is not the day,
And the morrow will do no better
Tis sad to wait till Friday
The schedule be my fetter.

The decree is understood,
The edict lives quite passively,
Donuts will only come when they should,
For fear of living too lavishly.

Tempted I am to curse each square
Not found under the title so coveted.
Other days find the donuts in their lair,
I guess for fear of being overfed.

So I will wait in anticipation,
Until the rich supply those poor.
Only once a week I find donut elation
On the day we all thank God for.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Am I fooling myself?

I have yet another confession to make. I am a Dallas snob. I live in Dallas. Not Plano. Not Garland. Not Irving. Not, God forbid, Mesquite. I live in Dallas. I like it here. My favorite (and I dare say, one of the best) pizza place is 2 minutes from my house, literally. Almost any store or restaurant is less than 10 minutes from my front door. By comparison, I grew up in Gainesville, TX, where a 45-minute drive to the mall was as normal as yawning.

When my family asks that I meet them for dinner in Lewisville or Frisco, I cringe. I know I must now prepare to do battle with the suburbs. Minivans, an inordinate amount of strollers, and 45-minute waits in all the restaurants are in store. I’m pretty sure I coined the phrase, "Once you leave the loop, all bets are off." Essentially, civilization ends one foot north of 635. At one point my Sunday class (when I still attended Sunday school) even noted such events I would be less likely to attend because of their location. There are those who trump even my snobbishness, though. They would agree with the above statement, the difference being the loop they speak of is Loop 12. Those people are obviously being ridiculous. And so am I.

Not that there isn’t some truth in what I say, but we got our crazies, too. There are many who agree with me and join in my snobbery . And I thought, for the most part, I agreed with them. I had a recent post about the new FC Dallas stadium which resulted in some comments about my disappointment with Dallas’ continuing inability to keep sports teams in the area. This eventually led me to the thought, "Maybe we’re the fools."

Reasons why I say this:

A Major League Baseball game is a 30-45 minute drive away (Arlington). Soon, an NFL game will be the same (Arlington). A minor league baseball game is a 20-30 minute drive away (Frisco). A Major League Soccer game is same (Frisco). The preeminent art museum in the area is in Ft. Worth. So is the preeminent Zoo. While we’re talking about Ft. Worth, they have Sundance Square, we have...the West End? While there’s plenty of movie screens everywhere, I know where I had to go when I wanted to geek out at the only digital screen for Star Wars (Plano).

Also, recently I considered making the transition from renter to owner. Once again, I live in a house in Lake Highlands. Fairly decent house in a fairly decent neighborhood. Purchasing a house where I currently reside is not economically feasible. Because I do work right off 75 in Richardson, I expanded my search north along the corridor (Plano, Allen, McKinney). What I found was that I could live in a new (2-6 years) home of acceptable dimensions (2000+ sq. ft. ) in a comfortable neighborhood for about 40%-75% less. I would dare to guess my taxes and insurance would be less, as well. My car insurance would also go down.

I guess what I’m saying is the number of reasons to come to Dallas seems to be decreasing. I have no idea why someone would vacation here. The reasons not to live here—traffic, expense, crime—seem to be increasing. Maybe the question is, why should I stay?

Monday, August 15, 2005

They're not racist, they're just...

...something. Stupidcrazy. PETA that is. The first word that comes to mind is knotheads. What's this about? Well, I stumbled upon this little story about PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) and their new campaign which juxtaposes the plight of slaves and animals. Heh, heh. This just made me laugh. You'd think an organization built entirely around publicity would know better. The story:
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is reconsidering a campaign comparing images of animal abuse with those of slavery after complaints from civil rights groups and others.

The animal rights group's "Animal Liberation" campaign included 12 panels juxtaposing pictures of black people in chains with shackled elephants and other provocative images.

...One panel showed a black civil rights protester being beaten at a lunch counter beside a photo of a seal being bludgeoned. Another panel, titled "Hanging," showed a graphic photo of a white mob surrounding two lynched blacks, their bodies hanging from tree limbs, while a nearby picture showed a cow hanging in a slaughterhouse.

This is my favorite part...
Controversy erupted Aug. 8, when the display was in New Haven, Conn.

"There was one man who began shouting that the exhibit was racist," Carr said. "Then, there was a lot of shouting."

Carr said PETA used the shocking images to prove a point: Whether it's humans harming animals or each other, all point to an oppressive mind-set.

"...Then, there was a lot of shouting." He, he. Can't imagine why. Well, let's see. A common trait between most slaves just so happens to be that they're black. My life experience suggests that current day black people tend to empathize with slaves and even personalize that sad part of history. If a fascist, war-mongering white dude like myself can recognize that making that comparison might anger some of those in the black community, shouldn't at least one liberal, all-inclusive PETA member be able to do the mental gymnastics to get close to that conclusion? Something tells me President Bush consults with more minorities than the PETA leadership. Not sure on that, but just a guess.

Oh and another trait of slaves was that THEY WERE HUMANS! Despite what some of that day might have thought. Despite what our Constitution might have erroneously noted, slaves were human beings. And humans are sorta special. This is why we try our best not to eat, skin, slaughter, or make sport of killing them.

Animals are, on the other hand, ANIMALS! And some of them taste good on my grill and are quite functional when fashioned into a pair of shoes.

Comparing the meat industry to slavery...why not just use the Holocaust? Oh, Wait.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Celebration of the Donut

Let me first say, I really like donuts. They are one of the single hardest foodstuffs for me to turn down. I love love love love donuts. What I'm trying to say is...I kinda like 'em. I can't remember the last time I had one, probably 6 to 9 months, which is a good thing. I recognize the evil byproducts of the donut.

So, today, when I opened the email that notified me that "donuts were in the breakroom" (Yes, I'm a generic white business man.), I was quite pleased. Since the email went out at 7:15 a.m. and I didn't get to work until after 9, there was a chance there would be none left. But, O lucky day! I enjoyed my one chocolate covered donut and immediately felt regret and a slight tummy ache. I still love donuts, though.

The Friday donut used to be a weekly staple. Right up until the moment that boss got fired. Those were the days. Speaking of, because of my love of donuts and other reasons that I refuse to go into, I find myself as the author, creator and curator of the most extensive collection of donut themed poetry in the world. Is it because I like poetry? It's ok, but not really. Is it because I'm good at poetry? I will soon prove the folly of that. Is it because I love donuts? (Charlton Heston voice) HECK YES!!! So, here is the public debut of my donut poetry. Future installments will depend on the critical reception.


Peace is what I seek
Comfort for my weary soul
To feel my time is material
To a noble and mighty goal.

Life is what I seek
Full and without a sour note
To suck the marrow out
And grind up the bone.

Home is what I seek
A place to call my own
Where at last I am snug
To know and to be known.

Fate does not find me there
Instead in this edifice I toil.
But on Friday those are briefly found
In a piece of dough with a hole.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Music Cavalcade...Finale

Ok, we're finally to the end of my stack of new CD's. I'm sure we're all very pleased. (Huh, that rhymed.) And just so you know that I'm not a tease, I'll never be able to meet all your needs. (Yes, it's sad. Yes, I'm sorry, but sometimes I just can't help myself.)

Stereophonics - Language. Sex. Violence. Other? (2005) Ok, I have an admission to make. I have a weakness for Brit Rock. There, I've said it. That being the case, plus the fact that I own two of the artist's previous CD's, the is...uh...not the best? Many times I thought they had suffered a Duran Duran attack (and not the good Duran Duran, either). Check out Just Enough Education To Perform instead. Rating:

Garden State Soundtrack (2004) Pretty good movie. Pretty good soundtrack. This may be one of the better soundtracks ever. Coldplay, The Shins, and even Iron & Wine. Rating:

Jars of Clay - Redemption Songs (2005) If you like Jars of Clay, which I do, and you like hymns, which I do, you'll probably like this, which I do. Rating:

The Shins - Oh, Inverted World (2001) The two best songs from this might be on the Garden State Soundtrack, but this is still a worthwhile work of its own. Rating: