Archive for the ‘miscellaneous’ Category

In honor of Texas Independence Day.

March 2, 2016

I could think of few better written tributes to our state than this; I first saw it around 2006. It was attributed to Orange native Bum Phillips, but I don’t know if he really wrote it; I’ve seen it around the Web and don’t know where it originated. But no matter the author, no matter if it was written in honor of Texas Independence Day, it rings true today, and every day of the year. Every time I read it, the room always gets a bit dusty…

God bless Texas and everyone who lives here, or wishes that they did.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, TEXAS — FROM BUM PHILLIPS

Being Texan by Bum Phillips

Dear Friends,

Last year, I wrote a small piece about what it means to me to be a Texan. My friends know it means about damned near everything. Anyway, this fella asked me to reprint what I’d wrote and I didn’t have it. So I set out to think about rewriting something. I considered writing about all the great things I love about Texas. There are way too many things to list. I can’t even begin to do it justice. Lemme let you in on my short list.

It starts with The Window at Big Bend, which in and of itself is proof of God. It goes to Lake Sam Rayburn where my Granddad taught me more about life than fishin, and enough about fishin to last a lifetime. I can talk about Tyler, and Longview, and Odessa and Cisco, and Abilene and Poteet and every place in between. Every little part of Texas feels special. Every person who ever flew over the Lone Star thinks of Bandera or Victoria or Manor or wherever they call “home” as the best little part of the best state.

So I got to thinkin about it, and here’s what I really want to say. Last year, I talked about all the great places and great heroes who make Texas what it is. I talked about Willie and Waylon and Michael Dell and Michael DeBakey and my Dad and LBJ and Denton Cooley. I talked about everybody that came to mind. It took me sitting here tonight reading this stack of emails and thinkin’ about where I’ve been and what I’ve done since the last time I wrote on this occasion to remind me what it is about Texas that is really great.

You see, this last month or so I finally went to Europe for the first time. I hadn’t ever been, and didn’t too much want to. But you know all my damned friends are always talking about “the time they went to Europe.” So, I finally went. It was a hell of a trip to be sure. All they did when they saw me was say the same thing, before they’d ever met me. “Hey cowboy, we love Texas.” I guess the hat tipped em off. But let me tell you what, they all came up with a smile on their faces. You know why? They knew for damned sure that I was gonna be nice to em. They knew it cause they knew I was from Texas. They knew something that hadn’t even hit me. They knew Texans, even though they’d never met one.

That’s when it occurred to me. Do you know what is great about Texas? Do you know why when my friend Beverly and I were trekking across country to see 15 baseball games we got sick and had to come home after 8? Do you know why every time I cross the border I say, “Lord, please don’t let me die in _____”?

Do you know why children in Japan can look at a picture of the great State and know exactly what it is about the same time they can tell a rhombus from a trapezoid? I can tell you that right quick. You. The same spirit that made 186 men cross that line in the sand in San Antonio damned near 165 years ago is still in you today. Why else would my friend send me William Barrett Travis’ plea for help in an email just a week ago, or why would Charles Stenciled ask me to reprint a Texas Independence column from a year ago?

What would make my friend Elizabeth say, “I don’t know if I can marry a man who doesn’t love Texas like I do?” Why in the hell are 1,000 people coming to my house this weekend to celebrate a holiday for what used to be a nation that is now a state? Because the spirit that made that nation is the spirit that burned in every person who founded this great place we call Texas, and they passed it on through blood or sweat to every one of us.

You see, that spirit that made Texas what it is, is alive in all of us, even if we can’t stand next to a cannon to prove it, and it’s our responsibility to keep that fire burning. Every person who ever put a “Native Texan” or an “I wasn’t born in Texas but I got here as fast a could” sticker on his car understands. Anyone who ever hung a map of Texas on their wall or flew a Lone Star flag on their porch knows what I mean.

My Dad’s buddy Bill has an old saying. He says that some people were forged of a hotter fire. Well, that’s what it is to be Texan. To be forged of a hotter fire.

To know that part of Colorado was Texas. That part of New Mexico was Texas. That part of Oklahoma was Texas. Yep. Talk all you want. Part of what you got was what we gave you. To look at a picture of Idaho or Istanbul and say, “what the Hell is that?” when you know that anyone in Idaho or Istanbul who sees a picture of Texas knows damned good and well what it is. It isn’t the shape, it isn’t the state, it’s the state of mind. You’re what makes Texas.

The fact that you would take 15 minutes out of your day to read this, because that’s what Texas means to you, that’s what makes Texas what it is. The fact that when you see the guy in front of you litter you honk and think, “Sonofabitch. Littering on MY highway.”

When was the last time you went to a person’s house in New York and you saw a big map of New York on their wall? That was never. When did you ever drive through Oklahoma and see their flag waving on four businesses in a row? Can you even tell me what the flag in Louisiana looks like? I damned sure can’t.

But I bet my ass you can’t drive 20 minutes from your house and not see a business that has a big Texas flag as part of its logo. If you haven’t done business with someone called All Tex something or Lone Star somebody or other, or Texas such and such, you hadn’t lived here for too long.

When you ask a man from New York what he is, he’ll say a stockbroker, or an accountant, or an ad exec. When you ask a woman from California what she is, she’ll tell you her last name or her major. Hell either of em might say “I’m a republican,” or they might be a democrat. When you ask a Texan what they are, before they say, “I’m a Methodist,” or “I’m a lawyer,” or “I’m a Smith,” they tell you they’re a Texan. I got nothin’ against all those other places, and Lord knows they’ve probably got some fine folks, but in your gut you know it just like I do, Texas is just a little different.

So tomorrow when you drive down the road and you see a person broken down on the side of the road, stop and help. When you are in a bar in California, buy a Californian a drink and tell him it’s for Texas Independence Day. Remind the person in the cube next to you that he wouldn’t be here enjoying this if it weren’t for Sam Houston, and if he or she doesn’t know the story, tell them.

When William Barrett Travis wrote in 1836 that he would never surrender and he would have Victory or Death, what he was really saying was that he and his men were forged of a hotter fire. They weren’t your average every day men.

Well, that is what it means to be a Texan. It meant it then, and that’s why it means it today. It means just what all those people North of the Red River accuse us of thinking it means. It means there’s no mountain that we can’t climb. It means that we can swim the Gulf in the winter. It means that Earl Campbell ran harder and Houston is bigger and Dallas is richer and Alpine is hotter and Stevie Ray was smoother and God vacations in Texas.

It means that come Hell or high water, when the chips are down and the Good Lord is watching, we’re Texans by damned, and just like in 1836, that counts for something. So for today at least, when your chance comes around, go out and prove it. It’s true because we believe it’s true. If you are sitting wondering what the Hell I’m talking about, this ain’t for you.

But if the first thing you are going to do when the Good Lord calls your number is find the men who sat in that tiny mission in San Antonio and shake their hands, then you’re the reason I wrote this tonight, and this is for you. So until next time you hear from me, God Bless and Happy Texas Independence Day.

May you be poor in misfortune, rich in blessings, slow to make enemies and quick to make friends. But, rich or poor, quick or slow, may you know nothing but happiness from this day forward.

Regards From Texas

What about Mom & Dad? Where were they?

February 6, 2016

From today’s Houston Chronicle:

The world’s most fashionable pair of basketball shoes-Air Jordans-cost $185 and Joshua Woods had bought two pair for himself and a pair for his sister.

For less than $600 of plastic and leather, four Houstonians followed him home from Willowbrook Mall just before Christmas 2012 and gunned him down in the middle of the day.

On Friday, the first of the four suspects was sentenced to life in prison without parole. A Harris County jury deliberated just two hours before convicting Neal Bland of capital murder over Air Jordan sneakers….

Dazie Williams…responded to her son’s death by trying to convince Nike and Michael Jordan to stop the live-release of limited editions of the shoes. The family wants the company to either sell them online only or make enough to avoid violence when they go on sale.

But that wasn’t really the worst of it. This was:

“Nike isn’t here, because they don’t care,” [community activist Deric] Muhammad said. “Michael Jordan isn’t here, because he cares even less.”

Oh for fuck’s sake. What about Neal Bland’s mother and father, or the people who otherwise raised him? Where the hell were they? And why wasn’t Deric Muhammad calling them out? Neal Bland was a hell of a lot more their responsibility than Michael Jordan’s or Nike’s.

10,000th verse, same as the first.

August 9, 2015

Record of violent crime going back a decade and a half, and they still let that motherfucker out of jail:

The man accused in the murderous rampage that left six children and two adults dead inside a northwest Harris County home climbed through an unlocked window, restrained them and shot each one in the head, according to prosecutors….

He was last arrested in July for allegedly smashing Jackson’s head into a refrigerator multiple times…In another case, a Harris County judge in 2013 issued an emergency protective order to keep Conley away from Jackson who was later sentenced to nine months in jail.

Nine. Months. As opposed to THE REST OF HIS WORTHLESS FREAKING LIFE.

But by all means, let us all jack our jaws some more about how the inanimate object is the problem.

Oh, this is delicious.

July 20, 2015

From Dwight Silverman’s TechBlog:

If you’re a man or woman intent on cheating on your spouse, you might have signed up for an account at AshleyMadison.com, a dating website designed for people looking to have an affair. As with other dating sites that charge a fee for access, your public profile doesn’t reveal precisely who you are, but the credit card and other personal information you must enter on the back end tells all.

What could possibly go wrong?

How about this: Hackers have gained access to AshleyMadison’s database and are threatening to release its members’ personal information, according to Brian Krebs at KrebsOnSecurity.

Yeah, I know. It’s a crime. And the people who are responsible ought to be prosecuted.

But come on. Schadenfreude ist die schönste freude, as the old saying goes. Just like Steve McNair, those idiots on that site don’t have anyone to blame but themselves. As one of my Facebook friends put it:

So…Ashley Madison trusted another organization to uphold commitments and obligations – no matter how hard or personally inconvenient that might be. That trust was disregarded and abused behind AM’s back…

Huh.

How far does this go?

July 4, 2015

I have a few questions upon reading this, in order:

If we’re going to call The Dukes of Hazzard racist solely because of the name and imagery of the iconic Dodge Charger driven by the Duke boys in the series — even though said imagery and name had little if anything to do with the show’s theme — how far do we go with this? And why to that point and not before or after?

Was the cast racist for their very participation?

Was Waylon Jennings a racist for writing and singing the show’s theme song and for narrating the show?

Were the advertisers racist for buying time during the show?

Was the audience racist for watching?

I think we deserve clear, logical answers to this. It might be pedantic of me, but if racism is going to be acknowledged, it does need to be defined, at least to an extent. Why? Because with the definition of racism continuing to be so nebulous, then people will continue to be unjustly accused of racism when they’re not the slightest bit racist, and what’s that going to do? It’s just going to make people pay even less attention to actual racism.

(Speaking of actual racism, how about George Takei’s comments on Clarence Thomas? Clown in blackface? Well, all righty then. And Takei later doubled down on his bigotry by claiming that “blackface (was) a lesser-known theatrical term”? Really? Freaking everybody and their dog knows what “blackface” refers to! It’s like, “Hey, George, why didn’t you just call Justice Thomas the Supreme Court’s ‘house slave’ and be done with it? We all knew what that’s you were getting at!” But I digress…)

Now, if we want to talk about the soft racism of Hollywood making a show that was mostly white that was set in a region that had a sizable black population, then by all means let us do that. But if we’re going to do that, we need to talk about not just The Dukes of Hazzard, but everything that’s come out of Hollywood since that time. Otherwise this entire flap is exactly what so many people claim it is — yet another opportunity to dump on Southerners and Southern culture.

Musings on free speech, 7.5.15

May 7, 2015

Quote of the day, from Tamara:

It used to be that if there was one thing you could at least count on liberals for, it was a vigorous defense of free speech; it’s a cause that has found the ACLU in bed with the NRA on at least one occasion I can think of. This new turn is… chilling.

Pretty much. Not much I can say in addition to that, but I do have a couple of observations:

That road that gets you to saying that certain groups of people deserve to have their First Amendment rights violated because they choose to ah, engage in interstate commerce (see: Hobby Lobby)? You go down that road further and it gets you to where that intrepid emailer sits of which Tamara speaks. The slippery slope is real, kids, and it isn’t just for the Second Amendment.

===

Unfortunately, such an attitude isn’t isolated, as you’ll see in today’s LTE in the Houston Chronicle:

We poke them in the eye; they retaliate; we poke them in the eye; they retaliate and so on. Is this really how we want to use our wonderful gift of free speech?

Uh, bloody fucking right it is. If people get a pass on shooting at and/or killing you because you offended their delicate religious sensibilities, you don’t really have the “wonderful gift of free speech” then, do you? No, you do not. Maybe I’m just fondly remembering things from the mists of time, but strangely enough, I don’t remember us having this conversation after “Piss Christ.” Which should tell you all you need to know, really.

In honor of Texas Independence Day.

March 2, 2015

I could think of few better written tributes to our state than this; I first saw it around 2006. It was attributed to Orange native Bum Phillips, but I don’t know if he really wrote it; I’ve seen it around the Web and don’t know where it originated. But no matter the author, no matter if it was written in honor of Texas Independence Day, it rings true today, and every day of the year. Every time I read it, the room always gets a bit dusty…

God bless Texas and everyone who lives here, or wishes that they did.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, TEXAS — FROM BUM PHILLIPS

Being Texan by Bum Phillips

Dear Friends,

Last year, I wrote a small piece about what it means to me to be a Texan. My friends know it means about damned near everything. Anyway, this fella asked me to reprint what I’d wrote and I didn’t have it. So I set out to think about rewriting something. I considered writing about all the great things I love about Texas. There are way too many things to list. I can’t even begin to do it justice. Lemme let you in on my short list.

It starts with The Window at Big Bend, which in and of itself is proof of God. It goes to Lake Sam Rayburn where my Granddad taught me more about life than fishin, and enough about fishin to last a lifetime. I can talk about Tyler, and Longview, and Odessa and Cisco, and Abilene and Poteet and every place in between. Every little part of Texas feels special. Every person who ever flew over the Lone Star thinks of Bandera or Victoria or Manor or wherever they call “home” as the best little part of the best state.

So I got to thinkin about it, and here’s what I really want to say. Last year, I talked about all the great places and great heroes who make Texas what it is. I talked about Willie and Waylon and Michael Dell and Michael DeBakey and my Dad and LBJ and Denton Cooley. I talked about everybody that came to mind. It took me sitting here tonight reading this stack of emails and thinkin’ about where I’ve been and what I’ve done since the last time I wrote on this occasion to remind me what it is about Texas that is really great.

You see, this last month or so I finally went to Europe for the first time. I hadn’t ever been, and didn’t too much want to. But you know all my damned friends are always talking about “the time they went to Europe.” So, I finally went. It was a hell of a trip to be sure. All they did when they saw me was say the same thing, before they’d ever met me. “Hey cowboy, we love Texas.” I guess the hat tipped em off. But let me tell you what, they all came up with a smile on their faces. You know why? They knew for damned sure that I was gonna be nice to em. They knew it cause they knew I was from Texas. They knew something that hadn’t even hit me. They knew Texans, even though they’d never met one.

That’s when it occurred to me. Do you know what is great about Texas? Do you know why when my friend Beverly and I were trekking across country to see 15 baseball games we got sick and had to come home after 8? Do you know why every time I cross the border I say, “Lord, please don’t let me die in _____”?

Do you know why children in Japan can look at a picture of the great State and know exactly what it is about the same time they can tell a rhombus from a trapezoid? I can tell you that right quick. You. The same spirit that made 186 men cross that line in the sand in San Antonio damned near 165 years ago is still in you today. Why else would my friend send me William Barrett Travis’ plea for help in an email just a week ago, or why would Charles Stenciled ask me to reprint a Texas Independence column from a year ago?

What would make my friend Elizabeth say, “I don’t know if I can marry a man who doesn’t love Texas like I do?” Why in the hell are 1,000 people coming to my house this weekend to celebrate a holiday for what used to be a nation that is now a state? Because the spirit that made that nation is the spirit that burned in every person who founded this great place we call Texas, and they passed it on through blood or sweat to every one of us.

You see, that spirit that made Texas what it is, is alive in all of us, even if we can’t stand next to a cannon to prove it, and it’s our responsibility to keep that fire burning. Every person who ever put a “Native Texan” or an “I wasn’t born in Texas but I got here as fast a could” sticker on his car understands. Anyone who ever hung a map of Texas on their wall or flew a Lone Star flag on their porch knows what I mean.

My Dad’s buddy Bill has an old saying. He says that some people were forged of a hotter fire. Well, that’s what it is to be Texan. To be forged of a hotter fire.

To know that part of Colorado was Texas. That part of New Mexico was Texas. That part of Oklahoma was Texas. Yep. Talk all you want. Part of what you got was what we gave you. To look at a picture of Idaho or Istanbul and say, “what the Hell is that?” when you know that anyone in Idaho or Istanbul who sees a picture of Texas knows damned good and well what it is. It isn’t the shape, it isn’t the state, it’s the state of mind. You’re what makes Texas.

The fact that you would take 15 minutes out of your day to read this, because that’s what Texas means to you, that’s what makes Texas what it is. The fact that when you see the guy in front of you litter you honk and think, “Sonofabitch. Littering on MY highway.”

When was the last time you went to a person’s house in New York and you saw a big map of New York on their wall? That was never. When did you ever drive through Oklahoma and see their flag waving on four businesses in a row? Can you even tell me what the flag in Louisiana looks like? I damned sure can’t.

But I bet my ass you can’t drive 20 minutes from your house and not see a business that has a big Texas flag as part of its logo. If you haven’t done business with someone called All Tex something or Lone Star somebody or other, or Texas such and such, you hadn’t lived here for too long.

When you ask a man from New York what he is, he’ll say a stockbroker, or an accountant, or an ad exec. When you ask a woman from California what she is, she’ll tell you her last name or her major. Hell either of em might say “I’m a republican,” or they might be a democrat. When you ask a Texan what they are, before they say, “I’m a Methodist,” or “I’m a lawyer,” or “I’m a Smith,” they tell you they’re a Texan. I got nothin’ against all those other places, and Lord knows they’ve probably got some fine folks, but in your gut you know it just like I do, Texas is just a little different.

So tomorrow when you drive down the road and you see a person broken down on the side of the road, stop and help. When you are in a bar in California, buy a Californian a drink and tell him it’s for Texas Independence Day. Remind the person in the cube next to you that he wouldn’t be here enjoying this if it weren’t for Sam Houston, and if he or she doesn’t know the story, tell them.

When William Barrett Travis wrote in 1836 that he would never surrender and he would have Victory or Death, what he was really saying was that he and his men were forged of a hotter fire. They weren’t your average every day men.

Well, that is what it means to be a Texan. It meant it then, and that’s why it means it today. It means just what all those people North of the Red River accuse us of thinking it means. It means there’s no mountain that we can’t climb. It means that we can swim the Gulf in the winter. It means that Earl Campbell ran harder and Houston is bigger and Dallas is richer and Alpine is hotter and Stevie Ray was smoother and God vacations in Texas.

It means that come Hell or high water, when the chips are down and the Good Lord is watching, we’re Texans by damned, and just like in 1836, that counts for something. So for today at least, when your chance comes around, go out and prove it. It’s true because we believe it’s true. If you are sitting wondering what the Hell I’m talking about, this ain’t for you.

But if the first thing you are going to do when the Good Lord calls your number is find the men who sat in that tiny mission in San Antonio and shake their hands, then you’re the reason I wrote this tonight, and this is for you. So until next time you hear from me, God Bless and Happy Texas Independence Day.

May you be poor in misfortune, rich in blessings, slow to make enemies and quick to make friends. But, rich or poor, quick or slow, may you know nothing but happiness from this day forward.

Regards From Texas

Monday tech musings, 29.12.14

December 29, 2014

Shorter HuffPo: “Apple isn’t catering to our target market of idiots, the bastards!”

In all seriousness, 16 GB is only not enough storage for those who don’t know how to manage it. Unfortunately, though, those people are legion. They think they can put it all in the nebulous “cloud, that cloud storage is free and infinite, and/or that cloud and phone storage are interchangeable. And, of course, they don’t have computers to store their pictures on, and of course every single picture and video is absolutely essential.

And even if there was any merit to the complaints in this story, that doesn’t change the fact that it all could be averted if people did their research. I’ve noted before that one of the two biggest reasons that I got the MacBook Pro instead of the MacBook Air was that the Pro had a bigger hard drive. You know how I found that out? Research, that’s how.

Maybe I’m just old-fashioned, I don’t know. But this whole thing to me just seems to highlight the advantages of local storage, not to mention the advantages of being at least somewhat tech-savvy. When I bought my most recent smartphone, the amount of storage on the device wasn’t even a consideration for me because I already had more local storage (on my Mac) than I’d probably ever need. Seriously, is it really that hard?

I knew I recognized that name from somewhere.

November 6, 2014

The NYT’s Joe Nocera:

Mike Weisser is my favorite gun dealer. The longtime proprietor of the Ware Gun Shop in Ware, Mass., Weisser, 70, estimates he has sold more than 40,000 guns in his career as a wholesaler and retailer. He also has a nice little business teaching a gun-safety course Massachusetts requires of all new gun owners….

Using the pen name Mike the Gun Guy…

I stopped reading right there. Mike the Gun Guy. Oh, that name sounds familiar. Off to Google!

And here’s what I find:

On one hand he claims to be an insider in the shooting sports industry, gun shop owner and supporter of the Second Amendment, but leaves a trail “common sense” anti-gun sellout articles across the web…

Oh, THAT “Mike the Gun Guy”! So what we have here, it would seem, is Joe Nocera using Mr. Weissert as some sort of credible source — an authority, even — as Weissert espouses the same old failed “solutions” that have been put forth by anti-gunners ever since, well, time immemorial. In other words, he’s a Quisling. A sellout. A traitor. A kapo, as David Codrea puts it:

So Joe’s favorite gun dealer is one who doesn’t sell guns.

Well, of course.

Does Flint Taylor have any clue…

October 6, 2014

…of exactly who he’s dealing with, here?

 Jon Burge, Torturer of Over 100 Black Men, is Out of Prison After Less Than Four Years

Now, granted, this is an absolute travesty. We all should be absolutely outraged that Burge’s isn’t rotten under the jail for his misdeeds. But even as In These Times serves as the platform for Taylor’s justified outrage, the progs who run it will still advocate that only the police and the military have guns, or that governments (you know, like the one that sanctioned and effectively covered up Burge’s reign of terror) should have the power to decide who does and does not get to own or carry a gun.

Quite the disconnect, eh?