Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Year In Review

By Dave Barry

How weird a year was it? Here's how weird:

# O.J. actually got convicted of something.

# Gasoline hit $4 a gallon -- and those were the good times.

# On several occasions, "Saturday Night Live" was funny.

# There were a few days there in October when you could not completely rule out the possibility that the next Treasury secretary would be Joe the Plumber.

# Finally, and most weirdly, for the first time in history, the voters elected a president who -- despite the skeptics who said such a thing would never happen in the United States-- was neither a Bush nor a Clinton.

As they say, read the whole thing.

Dave Barry is a God. Which, thinking about it, would make a good name for a rock band.

And enjoy your New Year's festivities safely. It's gonna be boring out here on the prairie, but that's the way uh huh uh huh I like it. Oh Yeah.

I'm Kinda Simple

So editorial cartoons do my political thinking. Pretty hard to argue (IMHO) with Ramirez on just about any issue, but he nails the Isreal/Hamas issue here:

Even Mike Smith, not known for his right wing views (hah!), gets it:

I have the bad habit of sleeping with the boob tube running all night. I caught Meg Oliver of CBS's Up To The Minute interviewing Gabriela Shalev - Israel's UN Ambassador. The video clip is here if you have time to watch - CBS has disabled embedding this video.

I'm tellin ya, that right there is some award winning journalism - "how do you justify deadliest attacks by Israel in decades" to paraphrase one question. "Three hundred people killed, some civilians." Oliver asks why Israel didn't use the UN. "Will we see peace in your lifetime?"

Did Oliver do absolutely no research? Why aren't we seeing a Hamas spokesperson (ok, a spokesman, because they certainly wouldn't have a woman speak for them) grilled over their incessant attacks on Israel? Attacks, btw, taking place during a cease fire reached through negotiation. Yep, that's what I'd do, Meg, I'd run to the UN and negotiate another ceasefire that would be honored equally as well as the current agreement.

But, then, she's a See BS correspondent. Why am I surprised?

Monday, December 29, 2008

Farming Under the Influence

Us rural types get the occasional email with farm equipment disasters forever captured in digital form. This is one of those emails.

You've heard of DUI...driving under the influence?

Well, here is FUI...farming under the influence!

The last one seems to be more of a construction than farming disaster - and most of them sure seem to indicate a less than optimal attention span!

H/T Darin

Sunday, December 28, 2008

I Embarrass Barack

I'm an embarrassment to Barack!

I only scored 15 on the Obama Test

Ha! What a surprise!

Friday, December 26, 2008

You Can't Trust Dogs


He entered the store like any other customer, walking boldly through the front doors without a care in the world. He went straight to the section that interested him and despite the fact he appeared to be sniffing around some of the merchandise, no one really paid much attention.

That is until he grabbed one of the items and tried to run out without paying for it, finding himself face-to-face with an angry manager.

So far the scene that unfolded in a Murray, Utah grocery store on Wednesday sounds like any shoplifting story you've heard before. But it wasn't. Because in this case, the light fingered sneak thief doesn't actually have any fingers at all.

He's a dog.

It turns out the brilliant pooch had somehow figured out where the canine cookies were kept - any pet owner knows that's the first thing their animal learns - and simply followed other human shoppers into the store via the automatic door.

He wandered around for a moment, sniffing at the odd customer, before heading over to the pet section. Once he found his way there, the pilfering pup grabbed a rawhide bone from a lower level display and rushed towards the exit.

He didn't quite make it.

Manager Roger Adamson spotted the intruder on the security system in his office (which taped the entire affair, top left and below) and gave chase. "I've never seen him shop in here before, brand new customer," the amused Adamson confirms. "Didn't even have his fresh value card."

The manager attempted to stop the thief but the animal instincts of his adversary were too strong and the dog began to snarl. "I looked at him, I said drop it!" Adamson remembers. "I decided I wanted to keep all my fingers. So, I didn't try to take it from him. He looked at me and I looked at him and he ran for the door and away he went. Right out the front door."

It was a clean getaway that has already become the stuff of local legend. And how much did the conniving canine get away with?

His haul, probably long since digested, is valued at $2.79.



Thursday, December 25, 2008

Me So Proud!

There Are 0 Gaps in Your Knowledge

Where you have gaps in your knowledge:

No Gaps!

Where you don't have gaps in your knowledge:








Heh - just lucky!

Linus Said It Best


Simple. Elegant. The Truth.

Merry Christmas, everyone. Personally, I'm headed for OKC to see my Sis. I wanted to leave Christmas Eve, but dern it, the actual job I have sort of interfered with those plans. So, it will be "on the road" on Christmas for me.

She is on dialup. Posting and keeping up with everyone may be a bit lighter than usual. It never ceases to amaze me that a huge company like SBC has basically abandoned her and her little area for broadband, but my little rural telco cooperative is far more forward thinking, since we'uns have DSL and have had it for five odd years now.

At any rate, just one more thing for being thankful. May G_d walk with y'all.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

On Dale Earnhardt Way

Texas Motor Speedway, Dale Earnhardt Way along I35W, going to Texas Highway 114.

On raceday this road is bumper to bumper.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

For ThreeCollie

Beware of dairy cows bearing basketballs.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

What I Like in a Custom Truck

Anybody on dialup is gonna wanna kill me after this post. This one is for you, Jed! I'm gonna give the photo credits right now - some are from Ultra Rigs of the World, and the rest are from

I've said before how I don't care for a lot of lights and a cluttered look. Lots of lights means lots of non stock wiring. That means a lot of splices. "Road salt" loves to eat that stuff for kicks. More lights=more work for a fat trucker. I get paid by the hour, but at some point, I get tired of fixing the same thing over and over. Any of these trucks that go "over the hill" or even run in some ice and snow are gonna have trouble. Plus, all that chrome and stainless absolutely has to be polished frequently. Just going to "The Streakin' Beacon" isn't enough - hard water deposits, bugs and the film that builds up has to be removed by the Karate Kid method: Wax On, Wax Off. Yer listening to the Voice of Experience here.

As far as styling goes, I prefer conventional Peterbilts (359,379 and the new 389). I just like the simple nose, grill and classic lines. When it comes to driving, though, I prefer conventional Kenworths (W900A, B, and long nosed versions of each). The KW's classic styling is a bit overblown for my taste, but driving one is a different proposition. The cabs are quieter, the foot pedals are placed correctly, the steering shaft isn't angled, and the rest of the ergonomics are of a higher quality, in my humble opinion. Supposedly KW's manufacturing neighbor Boeing designed their doors, and I can guarantee you that NVH is far more controlled in a KW.

But, that doesn't take into account the custom goodies:

Here is a Pete that in my books has had the chrome and stainless slathered on a bit liberally. I like the single headlights - that evokes the old needle nose Petes of days gone by. The grill is stock. There are too many lights, though. Lights are in the bumper, extra clearance lights on the cab, matching clearance lights on the leading angle of the sleeper, a strip on the air cleaner housing, at the bottom of the cab and at the bottom of the sleeper, on top of the sleeper, and the load lights on the rear of the sleeper. I'd bet you just can't see the strip of red lights behind the air cleaner housing - nothing like having a bunch of lights brightening your evening driving experience. There are some painted train horns on top of the sleeper - the truck has to have some sort of horn, and the stock ones from the top of the cab had to be removed to make room for the extra clearance lights. It also sports a stainless "droopy" visor - but not so extreme that you can't see through half the windshield. Stainless goodies include the air cleaner housings, the leading edges on the sleeper, the battery box/steps, the compressed air chambers (just under the cab above the steps), the step on the fuel tank, the tool box under the sleeper behind the tank, and some trim behind the headlights and on the full rear fenders. By the way, full rear fenders suck when you have to chain up. Last but not least are the six inch straight pipes.

Here is a W900L that again, in my thinking, has too many lights and shiny stuff. The bat cutout lights in the bumper are cool, but wow, how many strips of lights are on this truck? The airfoil bug deflector is usually accompanied by the big brother on top of a flat top sleeper, but this is another huge sleeper truck.

Another W900, but with a custom hood and grill. KWs come standard with four rectangular headlights, but this one has round headlights frenched in. The grill is a custom punched sheet. Most of these custom hoods have the fender radius lowered, so the truck looks lower than it is. The big rectangular bumpers are sometimes called "Texas" or snowplow bumpers. So far, all of these are the stronger boxed end variety.

The louvered look.

Just so you know there are other brands of trucks that get customized. This is a Western Star with too many lights. I'm a sucker for flame jobs, too.

Here we have another W900 with the custom hood treatment. Most people mount single round headlights for that retro look. Turn signals are in the bumper and on the mirrors. The grill is stock.

I got yer snowplow bumper right here. Notice how the fender radius drops almost to the ground at the rear of the hood - no need for mud flaps there. The radius is lowered here as well. The grill is custom - it is supposed to evoke the old shutter grills that opened and closed as water temperature changed. This is a beautiful truck, but I just don't care for the bumper and headlight treatment. The visor would require me to let all the air out of the seat just to see out - and that ain't gonna work with this fat boy. I do like the more minimal chrome and stainless look - the air filter housing is painted with the stainless straps to set it off. The marker lights are hidden as well.

Now we're talkin.' Flattop Pete with more painted goodies. I really like the painted tanks and stacks(8", maybe?), with the stainless and chrome straps and mounts to set it off. Minimal marker lights, custom bumper and grill are present. This truck has a custom grill shell - it isn't shaped like a stock Pete shell. The sun visor, while painted, is dropped too far for a tall driver, though, and again, I'm not wild about full rear fenders. I do like the overall look, though.

Here is another minimal look Pete. Single headlights, a more stock looking Texas bumper, a more or less stock grill, and painted tanks and filter housings are pluses. I do like the looks of the droopy visors, but I would never be comfortable driving with a set. I like the stainless strips behind the fenders that extend along the bottom of the cab and sleeper in spite of myself. The mirror mounts are painted and the mirror heads are stock stainless.

Another painted minimalist Pete with the 359 style headlights. The swan as a hood grab bar is a retro touch as well.

Breaking up the parade of Paccar products for the moment - I really like this Freighliner. I've driven too many to really want to drive this one, but I sure do like the way it looks. It sports a custom hood - stock Freightshakers have quad rectangular headlights built into the front of the fenders. I do like the single headlight look. Stock Freightshakers also have a rectangular marker/turn signal mounted at the top of the fender - moving it down to the bumper, losing the external air cleaner housings and using tiny LED cab marker lights really helps the "shaved" look.

Just because it's different - no bumper at all, and an extended custom grill that has a stock appearance. I'm not sure what I think of this one.

This is an older W900A with custom wheels and suicide doors. Mostly retro with slight minimalism.

A Corn Binder after my own heart! I like the bumper and the hidden marker lights, plus the painted tanks and air filter housings. The visor is custom and doesn't drop too low. The "dart" contrasting stripe is reminiscent of old KW paint jobs, too.

This is the new International Lone Star just released this year. Most of the stuff on this truck is stock. It screams retro, and wooden floors are a factory option.

Excessive slathering of chrome, lights and stainless results in this:

"Decotora" trucks in Japan. They are so far out of whack with the universe that they are cool, but Lordy, please don't let a bulb burn out. I have to think they require super heavy duty alternators, or even use more than one. They are beyond garish.

But who am I to judge? If that is what they want to do, more power to 'em. I'd rather drive a truck that looks good with a proper cleaning and some work with a chamois rather than a polishing cloth every weekend. Maybe it's just me, but I'd rather be home staring at the inside of my eyelids during a Nascar race or football game than rubbing black crap off some metal on my weekends.

Calvin and the Snowmen

You might remember Calvin and his legendary ability to create dioramas from snow. Here is a collection I got in an email (thanks Ant Gail!)

The bottom panel has actually been "recreated" in real snow somewhere - the picture was on SondraK's site and Firehand noted it as well:

In a true and just world, Bill Watterson would still be cranking out new Calvin and Hobbes material. Aahh, well, he was burned out and better to quit than crank out crap or turn it over to someone else, like so many do. No matter, I still miss ol' Calvin.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Farmer Jokes

Hey, I can tell 'em, I are one (more or less).

You've all seen the ball caps farm suppliers give farmers for free. You've also probably seen how the bills are curled down at the edges. Why is this, you might ask?

So a farmer's head can poke further into their mailbox looking for their government check.

Do you know how to tell a rich farmer from a poor one? The rich farmer has Goodyear, Firestone, Michelin and other brand names on his pickup tires. The poor farmer?

He has "No Hunting" or "No Trespassing" on his tires.

Why don't farmers wear sneakers?

'Cause seed companies don't give them out like hats and pens.

And the last, and probably the worst:

Have you heard about the new operation just for farmers? Yeah, doctors sew a penis to their lower lip.

It's so they can piss and moan at the same time.

Try the veal, I'll be here till Tuesday. Bada Bump!