Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Costume Party - YES!!!!

I really love costume parties. I always have. This can range from a simple toga party to a no holds barred, all out, Halloween costume contest.

This love affair began in college, and those were the years when my affair was the most consistent and the most intense. If we were having or attending a theme party, we would prepare costumes. Of course, we had a toga event or two or ten—who didn’t, and a disco theme event every now and them. We dressed up for them all. Every Halloween we would be dressed up for at least one party, sometimes two.

The best part was making up the costumes. Generally, I found it lame to simply buy a $50 plastic and paper piece of junk from a costume shop. For one thing, we did not like to spend much money on such things, but more importantly, much of the fun was the creativity in thinking through an idea and making it mostly from scratch. For example, when Braveheart came out, a group of us dressed up as Scottish warriors. Kilts were made up starting from plaid skirts we purchased from a thrift shop. Swords and shields and other weapons were made from wood, cardboard, broom handles, whatever, along with paint. We purchased face paint from a costume store (it’s not like we were going to mix up our own pigment—purchasing supplies is entirely acceptable).

I think a homemade costume is generally more appreciated and accepted to the viewing audience. It does not have to be perfect, just get the idea across.

[On a side note: why buy kids these plastic swords? I remember when we were kids we made our swords, and they were a lot better than a piece of plastic. Wood, paint, and duck tape can go a long way to making one heck of a toy weapon.]

Another thing while I am on a rant: the slutty [FILL IN ANY SUBJECT] look costumes are passé, in my opinion; but they are not passé to most of society. It’s not original any more.

One year I dressed up as a co-worker who was pregnant (I am a guy—yes, I did buy a cheap wig). Another recent year a colleague and I were Miami Vice.

This year I have a plan: Rorschach. Total cost: zero$, other than an old white t-shirt which will become my mask.

“There is good and there is evil, and evil must be punished. Even in the face of Armageddon I shall not compromise in this.” - Rorschach

“For my own part, regret nothing. Have lived life, free from compromises, and step into the shadow now without complaint.” - Rorschach

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Happy Place Video

I guess I need to start blogging again. What happened? Ehhh….. Many of my thoughts have been political lately, and I have not been in the mood to post about it.

In the mean time, please enjoy a very funny wedding entrance.


This is a classic, a close second to the Dancing Cadet.

The “Jake Blues” [i.e., John Belushi, for you under-35 readers] look-alike is great to watch, but I also enjoy the participants who are not good dancers getting into the spirit of the idea.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Heads Up! Texas Senate Race About to Drop

The Texas Governor position is up for election in 2010. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison intends to challenge Governor Perry. At some time, we do not know when, Senator Hutchinson will resign from her Senate seat. I do not want to get into when she may resign, or what the precise consequences will be, because it’s too complicated for a blog post. However, the simple answer is that at some time we will have an election to replace her.

Several politicians have already started campaigns for a future Senate race. On the Demo side, the only serious candidate is current Houston Mayor White, a very wealthy and slick politician.

On the Republican side, there are several candidates trying to make a stake. My favorite is Commissioner Michael Williams. He gave a short speech at the Austin Tea Party on April 15, and at his campaign site is a video of it.


Please take a quick look!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

If I Could go Back in Time

Snow skiing is my favorite vacation activity. I love it. Many will enjoy skiing on a good mountain, during pleasant weather and tolerable conditions. I am the type who will enjoy skiing whenever and wherever—and my family can testify to that.

The problem is that I live no where near the slopes. During a good year, I maybe get a short week of skiing. Oh well; that’s life. I am blessed to be able to ski when I can; and I am more blessed that my family seems to enjoy it also. One day a year of skiing bliss is more than I deserve.

What does this have to do with time travel? A lot. It’s all about time travel. It’s about a decision made in 1850 that irks me every day.

I can’t blame those who made the decision because it seemed perfectly logical at the time. You see, Texas became an independent country, the Republic of Texas, in 1836. Most of the population of Texas centered around the primary rivers in central Texas and followed the paths of those rivers to the Gulf of Mexico. This land is very fertile [good for farming and ranching], and the rivers provided highways for the movement of goods for trade. West and North Texas were mostly empty. The land was not very hospitable to travel during the 19th Century pre-rail era.

So, Texas putters along as an independent country until late 1845, very early 1846 [depending on how one counts these things], when Texas joined the United States. I used the word “putter” because Texas carried significant debt from its days as the Republic of Texas. Therefore, in order to get this debt paid off, Texas exchanged a bunch of land to the United States, and the United States agreed to assume [and therefore, pay] Texas’ debt. Seemed like a good idea, especially when we look at the land Texas transferred to the US.

Texas’ boundaries were in some dispute from 1936 until 1948, but by 1948 it became generally established that Texas had rights to all land East/North of the Rio Grande, all the way to the beginning of the Rio Grande [which is much farther North than one may think], and a slip of land extending North from the start of the Rio Grande. As a practical matter, I wonder whether any Texans even knew in 1848 that much of the northern portions of this land was part of Texas. It’s not like one could visit very easily, unless one enjoyed long treks across dry, flat land without roads, water, food, and occupied by increasingly hostile Indians. The Texas Wiki page has a handy map of what Texas looked like prior to 1850. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Texas

So…to the average Texas politician the exchange seemed like a great idea. Get the US to assume Texas’ lingering debt, and hand over a bunch of land that no one has ever seen. Texans don’t go there; and if any did, they are on their own because Texas law enforcement is not going to visit.

The problem is that when we look at the land today it includes many of the best ski resorts in the US, including, I kid you not, just off the top of my head, Taos, Vail, Snowmass, Beaver Creek, Aspen, Crested Butte, and Powderhorn.

Now you see why I get frustrated. If Texas had held off on the sale, or if they had at least kept the mountain areas, I could go skiing without ever leaving the State. Texas would be a "ski State," with some of the best slopes in the world, and I would qualify for discounted ski lift tickets for local state residents.


Monday, December 22, 2008

If it's poetry, it's best to assume it's garbage

Most poetry is garbage. Utter garbage. People who have nothing interesting to say become poets. In fact, so much poetry is garbage that some highly intelligent people assume a priori that (1) all poetry is garbage until demonstrated otherwise and (2) trying to find decent poetry would result in too much wasted time and energy. [In the interest of full disclosure, the “some highly intelligent people” is a reference to me.] Therefore, I will not read poetry unless I recognize it as being from a reputable source [Whitman, S-Peare, Lovelace, Kipling, a few others].

Pretty bold statement from one as ignorant as I. Ha!! I have proof. First, compare a few lines from Lovelace, written when he was in prison:

Stone walls do not a prison make,
Nor iron bars a cage;
Minds innocent and quiet take
That for an hermitage;
If I have freedom in my love
And in my soul am free,
Angels alone, that soar above,
Enjoy such liberty.

Now, compare that to a modern, highly acclaimed poet, who is apparently so talented, that this poet was chosen to compose a work for President Clintoon’s inauguration in 1993. I have a small sample of this work below, and I repeat, this was read at the inauguration of the President of the United States [warning, not for the weak of heart]:

A Rock, A River, A Tree
Hosts to species long since departed,
Marked the mastodon.

The dinosaur, who left dry tokens
Of their sojourn here
On our planet floor,
Any broad alarm of their hastening doom
Is lost in the gloom of dust and ages.

But today, the Rock cries out to us, clearly, forcefully,
Come, you may stand upon my
Back and face your distant destiny,
But seek no haven in my shadow.

[STOP! I can't stand it any more. poem continues…read on your own.]

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Top Ten Reasons Why My Daughter Rocks

This just came off the top of my head, stream of conscience; so I am probably missing a few points:

10. She is cool, and when I am around her, some of that coolness rubs off on me
9. She helps around the house and helps take care of her younger siblings
8. She enjoys receiving gifts and material things, but does not expect them
7. She is a pretty good shot with my Glock
6. She has a great sense of humor, with well placed, biting commentary that cracks me up
5. Her friends are an interesting group and make for pleasant company
4. She has good taste in music, literature, and other entertainment
3. She rarely does anything normally associated with immature teens
2. She does not think teen idols are hot; in fact, she generally does not know or care who they are


1. She loves me, and thinks that I am great, even though I really am a dufus; and she thinks my corny jokes are funny

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Ballet Dancers Who Are Not Wimpy Looking

Yes, such a thing does exist. Last month I had the pleasure of seeing for the second time, the first being a few years ago, a dance group from Canada called “Troupe Les Grands Ballet Canadiens de Montréal”, or in the Queen’s language, “Grand Ballet of Montreal.”

GBM [I just made that up, catchy, no?] is a B-Level ballet group from Waco, Texas. Just kidding; they are from Montreal. They tend to specialize in modern ballet, which is much more structured than modern dance garbage, but will push envelopes beyond traditional ballet.

I am a big fan of GBM. Critics tend to give them mixed reviews, some good, and some bad, with the bad focusing on the lack of technical talent displayed by some of the dancers. Nonsense. GBM dancers are very athletic and inspiring to watch. First of all, the female dancers are not as small and not as skinny as a typical A-Level female ballet dancer. The GBM females look like very fit, college athletes. Fit looking females is a good thing--kind of like that hot, young babe who agreed to marry me years ago, who still looks great every day just by waking up, and never looks better than when she finishes a 15 mile run….now, where was I?

Oh Yes... The male dancers are more athletic than your typical ballet principal dude. In fact, I think I could have used some of them on my rugby teams from my younger days.

Frankly, I can’t tell whether they are exactly perfect in their technical application of ballet, but I can tell when the dancing is physically difficult, and no one does physical dancing better than GBM. If you do come across a negative review, check to see what the critic looks like. If the critic is some balding elitist, about 50 lbs overweight, who gets tired while doing the laundry, then I would not be surprised.