December 29, 2007

Excellent essay on Airport Security

I guess we all need to send this to our congressmen:

The Airport Security Follies - Jet Lagged - Air Travel - Opinion - New York Times Blog


This morning we were walking Blaze a little later than usual – it was close to 7:00 AM, and was starting to get light.

We walk Blaze every day – rain, shine, or cold. This morning was chilly (about 45ยบ according to the Mighty Weather Station) and cloudy. We were walking briskly on our standard walk when we saw what looked like a loose dog.

When we walk, we each have our particular chores. Mine is to hold the dog. Doreen’s is to guard us from stray dogs, or even dogs on leashes with inattentive owners. So when we saw this “dog” off leash, she started walking toward it.

As we got a bit closer, it was apparent that this was not a dog – it was a coyote! So I have Blaze to Doreen and starting toward the coyote. I raised my arms and my voice. It took a gander at me and started trotting away down the street.

It was a good looking animal, about the size of a small German Sheppard, gray to brown (not the black and tan typical of dogs) with long legs and a thick mane around its shoulders.

We know that there are dogs in the city, but we have never before seen one in the ‘hood.

December 28, 2007

Interview with Bill Haast - the snake guy

I read everything he wrote when I was about 12 years old:

Bite Me | Outside Online

And I know a guy (who works for ExxonMobil) who knows him.

Brush with greatness!

A few more photos

We cooked up our traditional Goose Gumbo last night. You can see some photos of it here.

December 25, 2007

Christmas and Birthday Feast

I will write more about it later, but for now you can see photos of our celebration here.

Merry Christmas to all!

December 24, 2007

Houston Chronicle editorial about Hermann Park

Following is a Houston Chronicle editorial about Hermann Park. My wife is the Executive Director of the Hermann Park Conservancy mentioned:

On the right track:Phase 2 of Hermann Park revival follows the huge success of Phase 1 - Houston Chronicle

They are doing a great job!

Here's to more parks!

December 23, 2007

December 22, 2007

Brave Combo

We took the night off and went to see Brave Combo at the Warehouse Live this evening.

It started at 8:30 and they played until 11:30, so that was good value for our $14. We also dance, and danced, and danced as if nobody was looking. It was great fun.

It was a funny crowd – not very diverse. I would say that we were representative of 80% of the audience – white and middle aged. There was a smattering of others (two black guys, a couple Hispanics, and plenty of gays and lesbians) and most people danced. One poor guy sat on a sofa the whole time, not even tapping his toes. What was that all about?

They did a lot of their Christmas music, and of course they did the Hokey Pokey and the Chicken Dance.

And what could be better than that?

A Math Limerick

(12 + 144 + 20 + 3 x sqrt(4)) ÷ 7 + 5 x 11 = 9² + 0

…which reads…

A dozen, a gross, and a score
Plus three times the square root of four
Divided by seven
Plus five times eleven
Equals nine squared and not a bit more

December 20, 2007

Mind Body Control

This will boggle your mind and you will keep trying over and over again to see if you can outsmart your foot, but, you can't! It's preprogrammed in your brain!

Here goes.......

1. WITHOUT anyone watching you, as they will think you are GOOFY.....while sitting where you are, at your desk in front of your computer, lift your right foot off the floor and make clockwise circles.

2. Now, while doing this, draw the number "6" in the air with your right hand.

Your foot will change direction.

I told you so, and there's nothing you can do about it! You and I both know how stupid it is, but before the day is done you are going to try it again, if you've not already done so. So send it to your buddies to frustrate them too!

December 19, 2007

December 11, 2007

Peace Prize Concert and Reception with Al

I was fortunate to attend a reception for Al Gore and the International intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IIPCC – represented by Rajendra Pachuari) as the recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize this year. Following the reception, I attended the annual Peace Prize Concert, hosted by Kevin Spacey and Uma Thurman.

The reception was fun and interesting. It was hosted by Hydro, the big Norwegian Aluminum producer. (The CEO of PGS is on the Board of Directors of Hydro, hence our attendance). They had also commissioned a piece of art made from discarded and recycled aluminum pieces. It was cut and constructed to look like a house of cards. The artist was Magne Furuholmen, who is evidently a big pop star here in a band called a-ha. I chatted with him afterwards, and asked if he had a card with his name on it. He must have thought I was crazy, as all these Norwegians were crowding around to talk to him. Oh well. My pop quotient of Norwegian rock stars has gone up by two (one more later)

Al and Pachi gave nice little speeches about how it is good that Hydro is starting to try and fix their energy consumption problem. But Aluminum production takes a lot of energy.

We had some nice Norwegian (read that fish) treats, from Salmon to Cod Fritters at the reception. Quite nice.

Then we took a bus to the Peace Prize Concert. It is held at the Oslo Spektrum Arena, and is televised locally. The arena holds 10,000 and it was full.

Kevin and Uma started out with some jokes and introductions. She is certainly tall! A good 6” taller than Kevin. She was wearing some sort of a fancy gray gown. It was probably by some famous designer.

The concert started with Kylie Minogue. I can not name any of her songs, but she is a good looking Australian girl who can really belt them out. She hops around on stage seductively. We were not close enough to be seduced, and the camera never focused on the seducing parts. So we listened to the songs, which were nice.

Then was another a-ha singer – Morton Harket (I can’t find a website or even a Wikipedia entry. Poor Morton!). He was OK. He had a boy’s choir traipse out on stage. Been there…

Then we had Melissa Etheridge. She won an Oscar for the them song (I think it is called What About Tomorrow) from An Inconvenient Truth. She really rocked out the place. But it was not without irony – she had dry ice form a fog on stage when she started playing. Dry Ice, isn’t that, uh, CO2?

Then Juanes played a couple of songs. He is a Colombian who only sings in Spanish. Good stuff.

The first half ended with Alicia Keys. I tell you what!

I was thinking about Alica Keys,

I couldn’t keep from cryin’

But she was born in Hell’s Kitchen

And I was livin’ down the line!

Can she ever sing! She can play the piano kneeling on the piano stool! She can dance seductively, too! What fun!

Then we had an intermission.

When we returned, we had Earth Wind & Fire. (yes, you read that right) They rocked the house, too. They jump and dance, and sing, and even got the whole arena up! (they had to say, “everyone get up!” and the dutiful Norwegians did. They all looked like Garrison Keillor trying to rock out. Except for the women, who looked like blond valkyries rocking out. They were a lot better at it than the Garrison Keillors)

Then we had an Irish Folk Rock Queen named KT Tunstall. I think that I have seen her on the Irish Music (Whistle and Shamrocks? Something like that) show that follows A Prairie Home Companion. She was fun, but didn’t dance seductively enough. She was very short.

After that we were treated to a Pakistani Rock and Roll band called Junoon. It means something like Chaos and Destruction. I am not sure. Fun to listen to, though.

The concert ended with Annie Lennox. Sweet dreams are made of these.

December 10, 2007


I am about to get on an airplane to Newark. A couple hours after I land, I will beheading to Oslo on another.

While in Oslo, I will be attending the Nobel Peace Prize Concert. Look for me on your TV.

I can’t wait to see Earth, Wind, and Fire.

No, really…

December 8, 2007


The first fellow quoted in this article - Carl Herman, used to work at Landmark when I was there:

A sales career is often a hard sell | - Houston Chronicle

Sales is hard. It is not for the faint of heart.

December 6, 2007

This is enraging

Add this to the list of things that the Bush administration has done to make us embarrassed to be Americans:

The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan

December 1, 2007

Thank Goodness for Quicklime!

Last Sunday Evening I let Blaze out into the yard to hang around outside, as she is wont to do. I walked to the back yard to do some chore, and Doreen called to me from our sun room to ask if Blaze was outside, as she heard a big ruckus from under the house. Remember our house is pier and beam.

SO I called to Blaze and she didn’t come. I called some more, and she still didn’t come. I called a third time and heard some feint barking from way under the house. Doreen then came to the back yard to see what was going on.

Some of you may recall an earlier story where Blaze spent some time under the house to no good effect. This is a similar story.

So Doreen crawled again under the house. (Note to all: Doreen is much smaller than I am and fits under the house much better. As a matter of fact we now call the area under the house “Doreen’s Domain”. So you shouldn’t fuss at me. We all have our particular chores. Mine involve high things, and hers involve low things) There she finally found Blaze, covered in dust, chomping on something under the house. She was able to get her out (by gentle persuasion) and when I saw her (Blaze, not Doreen) I was not sure that she was even our dog! She was completely gray, with a spot of blood on her snoot.

We had to give her a bath in our shower that evening and waited for the inevitable decay to commence.

By Thursday we could not spend any time downstairs because of the smell of death. So today Doreen had to reenter her Domain with a shovel, a rake, and a bag of quicklime. I won’t go into any more details, but needless to say she got the job done. And now, this afternoon, the scent is slowly dissipating.

All I can say is Thank Goodness for Quicklime!