Monday, February 29, 2016

More Doubletalk


I'm not trying to describe myself in terms of something that I'm not, 
but it usually works out that way.

-- Thomas Stone

Sunday, February 28, 2016


"Be miserable. Or motivate yourself.
Whatever has to be done, it's always your choice."

- Wayne Dyer

Friday, February 26, 2016

Ramblin' On My Mind


Nobody is as sophisticated as they think they are. By extension, that means none of us are as smart as we think we are. In terms of power and those who seek it, we'd all do well to remember that absolute power corrupts absolutely because it's true, despite whether it's a big fish in a small pond or a committee in a commie commune. The thing is, most every fish thinks of itself as a big fish. The old numero uno. One for me and me for one. It may not be practical and it may not always be the case, but I have found it generally to be true: people are self-absorbed.

I once met a guy at a local watering hole who told me I had no idea what it felt like to be the smartest person in the room (but he did). I wanted to add, "...at any given moment," but the self-absorbed prig was on a roll and I enjoyed watching him let out more rope for himself. I mean, Texans are champion liars and I consider myself one of the best spontaneous liars in the history of North Texas liars, but I wouldn't compare myself to this guy. He assured me it was true, that he was an undiscovered genius. He proved it by providing examples of bar tricks for the price of drinks and quoting minutiae from history, philosophy, physics, and religion upon request. Bar patrons stopped watching the PBR finals and listened as he pontificated and blustered. From what I could judge, he was factually wrong on every opined topic but that's not so bad when your delivery is good and his delivery was excellent. By closing time he nearly had me believing in UFOs.

Anyway, ego drives the chariot and takes the fall when we get in trouble. We are self-centered agent provocateurs looking to gain advantage for ourselves, which would be great if we all had righteous cores, if we were all solid citizens, but the pity of it is, we're not. We try, but generally fall short. For the materialist, morality has become a relativistic shade of grey where the ends justify the means. These folks make great fighters because they are zealots, relentless, willing to do anything, stopping at nothing to win, in order to have their own way.

I consider the chances that Hillary Clinton will become the next president and that growing certainty tells me it is all as I have feared, that the corruption has become complete. The fix is in. Just like the last time. Welcome to the new boss. Same as the old boss. We are totally surrounded and the worms are moving in.

The other egomaniacs in the hunt are jockeying for position, lining themselves up for advancement, grooming their careers, making sure they will fit into an open space when a vacancy arises, or perhaps ensuring their lives will mean something. Like Hillary, or Donald, or Bernie, it's about personal power, actualized goals, commitment to ideology, and the will to win despite rules, fairness, logic, or even the best solution. Screw that. Let's just go out and win this thing because winning is good and power is everything.

Transformation You Can Believe In!

So, if any of this has you confused or frightened about the future, allow me to assure you, you're not the only one. I feel it too. In varying degrees, everybody I know feels the pressure that our government and our leaders and our media has put upon us during this long lead-up to the projected transformation/collapse of society. It's the not knowing that drives you crazy, eh? The thing is, our leaders don't really know either. They are privy to the prognostications of the most powerful computers in the world. Their eyes and ears stretch from the bottom of the oceans to above the atmosphere. They start and end wars. They control interest rates and the drug industry. They created Obamacare. And yet, they don't know what is going on either. They think they do just like sometimes you or I think we know what's going on (Hey, sometimes I'm even right!) but the truth is, they don't. You know why? Because culture and society and technology have all become runaway trains, evolving at a rate beyond control or prediction. Our leaders have convinced half of us they're right and the other half is afraid to make a dissenting sound out of fear for their lives.

On reflection, that last bit is not entirely true -- the paralysis of the conservative population is a result of years of the fragmenting effects of civil rights legislation and the fallout over polarization. Before civil rights, we were all simply free. Were we equal? No. Are we equal now? Not really. Unless you consider that cattle are all equal in the eyes of the rancher. Have we reached MLK's higher ground yet? Where do we rank in regard to the search for social justice where equality trumps logic? Have we defeated racism yet? Have we won the War on Poverty yet? As if such things can actually be done without either subjugating or murdering millions.Well, that sort of thinking does create whole new layers of bureaucracy and more societal control mechanisms and phony baloney government jobs and, well, you get the picture. The purpose of modern government? To perpetuate itself.

Before I totally ruin your mood, let me remind you there is good news. You can't be aware of everything all the time. Only God can do that. But you can keep your own thoughts directed towards higher ideals and whenever possible, do no harm! Before I turn into a saint right here before your very eyes, I'd like to leave you with one more thought to consider. I found the following in my internet travels and now have an idea for the cover of my biography.


There's got to be a picture of this floating around somewhere.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Orion


The Orion constellation lies in the northern sky, on the celestial equator. Because it is one of the brightest and best known constellations in the night sky it's pretty easy to spot. Orion is also known as the Hunter and is often depicted in star maps as either facing the charge of Taurus, the bull, or chasing after the hare (constellation Lepus) with his two hunting dogs, represented by the nearby constellations Canis Major and Canis Minor.

The constellation Orion contains two of the ten brightest stars in the sky – Rigel (Beta Orionis) and Betelgeuse (Alpha Orionis) – a number of famous nebulae – the Orion Nebula (Messier 42), De Mairan’s Nebula (Messier 43) and the Horsehead Nebula, among others – the well-known Trapezium Cluster, and one of the most prominent sights in the night sky – Orion’s Belt.

Orion is the 26th constellation in size, occupying an area of 594 square degrees.

It is located in the first quadrant of the northern hemisphere (NQ1) and can be seen at latitudes between +85° and -75°.

The neighboring constellations are Eridanus, Gemini, Lepus, Monoceros and Taurus.

Orion contains three Messier objects – Messier 42 (M42, NGC 1976, Orion Nebula), Messier 43 (M43, NGC 1982, De Mairan’s Nebula), and Messier 78 (M78, NGC 2068) – and has seven stars with known planets.

Click to enlarge.

The brightest star in the constellation is Rigel, Beta Orionis, with an apparent visual magnitude of 0.18. Rigel is also the sixth brightest star in the sky. The second brightest star in Orion, Betelgeuse, Alpha Orionis, has an apparent magnitude of 0.43 and is the eighth brightest star in the night sky.

There are two meteor showers associated with Orion, the Orionids and the Chi Orionids. The Orionid meteor shower reaches its peak around October 21 every year.

Orion belongs to the Orion family of constellations, along with Canis Major, Canis Minor, Lepus and Monoceros.


The three stars in the belt are Mintaka, Alnilam and Alnitak. According to an astronomer with the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, Ronald Maddlaena, these are the meanings of the three stars: Mintaka (on the west) means “belt”, Alnilam (in center) means “belt of pearls” and Altnitak (right) means “girdle.” The three range between 800 and 1,000 light-years from Earth.

Here are their properties compared to the Sun:

Mintaka: 20 times more massive and 7,000 times brighter. (Surface temperature 60,000 Fahrenheit.)

Alnilam: 20 times more massive and 18,000 times brigher. (Surface temperature 50,000 Fahrenheit.)

Alnitak: 20 times more massive and 10,000 times brighter. (Surface temperature 60,000 Fahrenheit).

To further blow your mind — these stars also have companion stars orbiting with them, so what you see from Earth with the naked eye isn’t necessarily what you always get.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016


If you have 23 people in a room, there is a 50% chance that 2 of them have the same birthday. Increase the odds by inviting more people.

Saturday, February 20, 2016


I am Clivus.
I am not Oswald.
Oswald was a patsy.
"I've always thought it ironic that the guy who killed Kennedy was an insecure pseudo-intellectual punk with Marxist ideations and today, that's the description of a large portion of the democrat base."

-- Clivus Multrum John Magnum
(a member of the forces of good over evil)

Club 33


Club 33 is a private club located in the heart of the New Orleans Square section of Disneyland in Anaheim, California. Originally maintained as a secret feature of the theme park, the entrance of the club was formerly located next to the Blue Bayou Restaurant at "33 Royal Street" with the entrance recognizable by an ornate address plate with the number 33 engraved on it. Following a major remodel in 2014, the entrance was relocated to the intersection of Royal Street and Orleans Street in New Orleans Square opposite the La Mascarade d'Orleans shop.

Club 33 members and their guests have exclusive access to the club, which is not open to the public. In addition to beer and wine, Club 33 has a full bar, although patrons must order directly from their server rather than the service bar. Club 33 is the only location within Disneyland Park to offer alcoholic beverages, although the park has a park-wide liquor license and has set up bars for private events—and alcohol is served at several locations within Disney California Adventure (DCA). However, DCA is a separate amusement park with its own admission turnstiles, so the tradition remains that alcohol is not available within Disneyland Park itself during normal operating hours.

Members receive identification cards valid to receive Club 33 benefits and have the ability to designate themselves and/or others to receive Premier Passports valid for Disneyland and Walt Disney World. Gold members receive two Premier Passes and Platinum members receive four Premier passes. In addition, their Club 33 membership card grants them access to early park admission several days each week, as long as they and their (up to three) accompanying guests have an accompanying annual pass or day passport. Members are entitled to complimentary valet parking at the Grand Californian Hotel and access to the Lilly Belle, the Presidential Car on the Disneyland Railroad. Club 33 members receive 12 Immediate Fastpasses for Gold Members and 24 Fastpasses for Platinum Members when they check in with Club 33 services. Members are permitted to join the skipper in the wheelhouse of the Mark Twain and the engineers in the engine compartment of the steam trains. Platinum members also receive Disney Cast Member escorts throughout their day at the parks.

The original door to Club 33 at Disneyland prior to the major 2014 remodel. The new door is more prominently marked and located across from the La Mascarade d'Orleans shop.

Of the many stories regarding the origin of the name of Club 33, two stories are the most prominent. The first and official explanation states Club 33 gets its name solely from its address of 33 Royal Street in New Orleans Square at Disneyland. The Building was constructed by Liam Quick & James Jeffs of JQ Construction in the late 1960s.

A second and less well known story speculates the name honors there being 33 corporate sponsors at Disneyland in 1966-1967 when the club was being built and opened.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Finding Your Way Home


If you're lost in the woods, your best chance of finding your way home might be a tiny magnet, a device that always points to magnetic north.

The small magnetic pin in a compass is suspended so that it can spin freely inside its casing and respond to the Earth's magnetic fields. A compass needle aligns itself and points toward the top of Earth's magnetic field, giving explorers and lost souls a validated sense of direction.

A compass points north because all magnets have two poles, a north pole and a south pole, and the north pole of one magnet is attracted to the south pole of another magnet. (To refresh yourself, go to the refrigerator and play with the refrigerator magnets for a few minutes.)

Likewise, the Earth is charged like a magnet, so the north end of a compass magnet is drawn to align with the Earth's magnetic field.

A compass helps you find your way home by pointing the way. Sort of. While a compass is a great tool for wandering in the woods, it doesn't always point exactly north. This is because the Earth's magnetic North Pole is not the same as "true north," or the Earth's geographic North Pole. The magnetic North Pole lies about 1,000 miles south of true north, in Canada.

Making things even more difficult for the compass-wielding navigator, the magnetic North Pole isn't even a stationary point. As the Earth's magnetic field changes, the magnetic North Pole moves. Over the last century, it has shifted more than 620 miles (1,000 kilometers) toward Siberia, according to scientists at Oregon State University.

This difference between true north and the north heading on a compass is an angle called declination. Declination varies from place to place because the Earth's magnetic field is not uniform it dips and undulates.

These local disturbances in the field can cause a compass needle to point away from both the geographic North Pole and the magnetic North Pole. According to the United States Geological Survey, at very high latitudes, a compass needle can even point south.

By using charts of declination or local calibrations, compass users can compensate for these differences and point themselves in the right direction.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Edgar Allan Poe


EA Poe or Andy Kaufman?
Edgar Allan Poe (born Edgar Poe; January 19, 1809 – October 7, 1849) was an American author, poet, editor, and literary critic, considered part of the American Romantic Movement. Best known for his tales of mystery and the macabre, Poe was one of the earliest American practitioners of the short story and is generally considered the inventor of the detective fiction genre. He is further credited with contributing to the emerging genre of science fiction. He was the first well-known American writer to try to earn a living through writing alone, resulting in a financially difficult life and career.

He was born as Edgar Poe in Boston, Massachusetts; he was orphaned at a young age when his mother died shortly after his father abandoned the family. Poe was taken in by John and Frances Allan, of Richmond, Virginia, but they never formally adopted him. He attended the University of Virginia for one semester but left due to lack of money. After enlisting in the Army and failing as an officer's cadet at West Point, Poe parted ways with the Allans. His publishing career began humbly, with an anonymous collection of poems, Tamerlane and Other Poems (1827), credited only to "a Bostonian".

Poe switched his focus to prose and spent the next several years working for literary journals and periodicals, becoming known for his own style of literary criticism. His work forced him to move among several cities, including Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York City. In Baltimore in 1835, he married Virginia Clemm, his 13-year-old cousin. In January 1845 Poe published his poem, "The Raven", to instant success. His wife died of tuberculosis two years after its publication. He began planning to produce his own journal, The Penn (later renamed The Stylus), though he died before it could be produced. On October 7, 1849, at age 40, Poe died in Baltimore; the cause of his death is unknown and has been variously attributed to alcohol, brain congestion, cholera, drugs, heart disease, rabies, suicide, tuberculosis, and other agents.

Poe and his works influenced literature in the United States and around the world, as well as in specialized fields, such as cosmology and cryptography. Poe and his work appear throughout popular culture in literature, music, films, and television. A number of his homes are dedicated museums today. The Mystery Writers of America present an annual award known as the Edgar Award for distinguished work in the mystery genre. 

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Pay Your Taxes


I'm always mildly surprised to find a liberal Democrat out here on the plains of North Texas. It's a rare species that normally sticks to the great socialist centers of Dallas, Houston, and Ft. Worth. The reason I strayed from my splendid isolation is that it is approaching that time of year again, the season of friendly giving, the joy of knowing we've done our part to ensure our once great country has the financial resources to continue terrorizing and tyrannizing the civilian population. That's right. It's tax time.

And so, after collecting all the government missives and forms and the email files and figuring out how much I spent to keep my small business running, I took my paper and my knowledge and went to see the lady who prepares my taxes for me.

She lives out in the boonies with her law enforcement husband on a secluded ranch property. It looks as though the business of law enforcement and tax preparation pays pretty well because she has a nice place out there. She prepared my tax report while I waited and we chatted about whatever was on her mind which on that particular day was a sick dog and her sudden explanation that she was happy with her Obamacare health insurance and, by the way, she was also pro-choice and did I know we lived in a "red" (Republican) county as if she were talking about living in the desolate and evil land of Sauron.

It dawned on me she had me figured as being paisano and wanted to share her political beliefs with an understanding ear. I'm not that guy and I told her I had become more conservative the older I got. She looked worried and I wondered if she received political talking points via email. She spoke quickly when explaining how Obamacare worked and I said "So, you have to sign it before you can read it," to which she replied "Exactly!" I was reminded it was her demographic and not the poor, rundown blacks in Detroit, Chicago, Little Rock, and elsewhere that assured the current administration captured the presidency for a second term.

She explained she was a law and order person and I thought, of course you are -- the law of tyranny, the law of getting your own way, the law of political correctness, diminishing returns, and bubble economy. Her law was also the law of forced equality and predicted outcomes, of the unjustness of being born female.

She had to stop and answer the phone a few times or else I would have been out of there sooner. I didn't make squat from my business last year but I still have to report my earnings and that's what the bean counter did for me.

I hate reporting taxes because it reminds me I'm on a limited income and that I am at the mercy of a government that is out of control and really doesn't approve of guys like me in the first place. As a US citizen, the government takes money from me and distributes it to organizations and individuals with agendas in opposition to mine. In other words, I pay so that others may have the resources and opportunity to attack and denigrate my ideals and my beliefs. I am financing my own destruction. This is the lunacy that has been forced upon us all.

It's not just paying the taxes that drives me to distraction. Rather, it's being lectured on citizenship as I'm forced to write the check. That's what I really hate.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Callomaniac


A callomaniac is someone who thinks they're more beautiful than they actually are. I'll bet you know someone like that, don't you?

Friday, February 12, 2016

Gravitational Waves


Scientists have detected gravitational waves -- you know, ripples in space and time hypothesized by Albert Einstein a century ago -- in a landmark discovery that opens a new window for studying the cosmos.

Using a pair of giant laser detectors, researchers identified gravitational waves coming from two black holes, extraordinarily dense astronomical objects that orbited one another, spiraled inward and smashed together. The waves were the product of a collision between two black holes 30 times as massive as the Sun, located 1.3 billion light years from Earth.

The startling conclusion is that it is space itself that is rippling.

Einstein proposed the existence of gravitational waves in 1916 as an outgrowth of his ground-breaking general theory of relativity, which depicted gravity as a distortion of space and time triggered by the presence of matter. Until now, scientists had found only indirect evidence of the existence of gravity waves.


Heavy celestial objects bend space and time but because of the relative weakness of the gravitational force the effect is miniscule except from massive and dense bodies like black holes and neutron stars. When these objects collide, they send out ripples in the curvature of space and time that propagate as gravitational waves.

The discovery of gravitational waves already has already provided unique insight into black holes, with scientists saying it has demonstrated that there are plenty of black holes in the range of tens of solar masses, resolving the long debated issue of the existence of black holes of that size.


A black hole, a region of space so packed with matter that not even photons of light can escape the force of gravity, was detected for the first time in 1971. Scientists have known the existence of small black holes and so-called supermassive black holes are millions or billions of times as massive as the sun, but had debated the existence of black holes of intermediate size.

Neutron stars are small, about the size of a city, but are extremely heavy, the compact remains of a larger star that died in a supernova explosion.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

You Might Be Considered Racist If...


You don't like basketball.

You lock your car doors while driving through the poor side of town.

You legally own a firearm; especially if you have a concealed-carry license.

You are conservative.

You follow fundamentalist Christian belief.

You have no sense of rhythm.

You don't like soul food, soul music, or did not watch Soul Train when you were a kid.

You think the Constitution is still relevant.

You don't like Oprah, Barack, Spike Lee, or Cam Newton, or that atheist black guy who plays God in the movies. What is his name?

You own a Confederate battle flag or engage in any southern heritage festivals or organizations.

You say something a minority member might find offensive.

You offend any minority for any reason.

You were born south of the Mason-Dixon Line.

And finally, you just might be considered racist for the simple fact that you're white.

The truth is, these days one can be tagged as a racist for saying practically anything. The use of racism as a viable political argument is no longer valid because in terms of debate, the social concept has become over-used. Racism has become the Left's new McCarthyism. The whole idea is a cash cow with the means for shaking down select industries or individuals.

Monday, February 8, 2016

A Super Bowl Date


Me and my date, Super Bowl Sunday 2016

It's all fun and games until a communist gets elected president.
-- Thomas Stone

Bullet Points


This is one of those bullet point blog posts many bloggers are so fond of. They're easier to put together than a full, well-thought essay but the advantage is the number of topics one can touch upon in a short space. So why am I doing bullet points today? A lack of time and an ongoing case of brain fog.

1. Super Bowl halftime festivities turns out to be a showcase for liberal policies. Has Beyonce's popularity reached an apex yet? We can only hope so. The bigger question is will Manning retire?

2. There are more orphans in Sub-Sahara Africa than children in Denmark, Norway, Canada, and Sweden combined. The wave of immigration sweeping across Europe is a result of years of poverty, war and social unrest in Africa. I think I heard where someone is blaming it all on climate change. That's a good one (jk). Anyhoo, the demographics of Europe are changing in regard to race and religion. Massive social unrest will follow for many years to come.

3. The first five—and especially the first three years—of a child’s life are the most important. They shape the brain’s organization, development, and functioning throughout life. By the way, if you're a parent and didn't know this, shame on you.

4. Most scientists argue that there is no evidence that playing classical music to babies increases the power of their mind. However, children who learn to play a musical instrument can develop their mental skills further than those who don’t learn a musical instrument.

5. The Smith and Wesson 500 is generally agreed to be the most powerful product handgun sold. A veritable hand cannon.

5. Infinity Burial Suit. If you like mushrooms and you have a sense of humor about dying, you'll love this.

6. One among the 14 new species of tarantulas, this is Aphonopelma johnnycashi, named after Johnny Cash, since it is all black and lives in the hills near Folsom Prison.

7. Map for the United Federation of Planets.

8. NASA astronaut Edgar Mitchell has died. He was 85 years old. Mitchell was the sixth human to walk on the moon. He died Thursday night after a short illness exactly one day before the 45th anniversary of the day he landed in the Moon's hilly Fra Mauro region, with crewmate Alan Shepard. Mitchell was into the paranormal, and the possibility that ESP (psychic communication) could help humans stay connected out in space. Mitchell was characterized as "super bright" and "an intellectual."

9. It's too late to build a wall along the US border. It should have been built twenty years ago. So, what do we do now?

Leon Teague of Chicago, Illinois.
10. Why would anybody do this? A Chicago teenager has been arrested and accused of torturing an animal after he posted a video on Facebook showing him allegedly pouring boiling water on a cat. After the video went viral on Tuesday, February 2, Chicago Police arrested Leon Teague (18) charging him with a felony count of animal torture and a misdemeanor count of depicting animal cruelty (the video) Maybe somebody should light a fire under this dumbass and see how he likes it. Good news is the cat is alive, being cared for, and healing from its burns. Edit: I need to walk that last sentence back a bit. The cat has survived but runs away from those trying to assist. Cats have 9 lives, right?

11. Oh, one other thing, the stock market appears to be continuing its slow-motion crash this morning. If I were you, I would sell, sell, sell.

That's all I've got for now. Happy Monday, everybody!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Rosie Swale-Pope


Steven Spielberg and Rosie Swale-Pope
provide inspiration for this article.
About midday today I decided to get in the truck, drive to the post office and check my mailbox. I keep looking for that letter from Steven Spielberg wanting to, you know, purchase the movie rights for all my books. One of these years he's going to get around to writing that letter and then I'll be on easy street. Can't wait! Anyway, it's not going to happen if I don't check the post office box once in a while, right? The post office isn't far, maybe half a mile and I could walk it easily enough but when it gets cold or too hot or maybe I'm in a hurry, I take the truck.

It's kind of funny that I do because here's why. On the grass of the empty field behind the rural post office was some kind of contraption, a sleek cart with two spoked wheels and a harness at the front. A battered yellow blanket was spread on the ground behind the cart and upon it sat Rosie Swale-Pope, having a lunch she had heated on a portable burner. The back of the cart was open and I could see it had a few personal items, clothes, a sleeping bag, some photos taped to an interior wall, but generally it was a step up from sleeping in a tent.

As I climbed from my truck she began talking and I noticed the accent, an English/Irish patois that sounds so charming and sophisticated to most of us Texans. Rosie is a talker but more than that she has a wellspring of energy that is exposed by her accomplish-ments. She is Rosie Swale-Pope, MBE, born on 2 October 1946, an author, adventurer and marathon runner who successfully completed a five-year around-the-world run, raising £250,000 for a charity that supports orphaned children in Russia and to highlight the importance of early diagnosis of prostate cancer. Rosie's achievements include sailing single-handed across the Atlantic in a small boat, and trekking 3,000 miles (4,800 km) alone through Chile on horseback.

Rosie Swale-Pope was born as Rosie Griffin in Davos, Switzerland. Her Swiss mother suffered from tuberculosis, and her Irish father Ronnie Griffin served in the British Army, so Rosie was brought up by the wife of the local postman. Only two when her mother died, she went to live with her paternal grandmother, Carlie, who was bedridden with osteoarthritis, in Askeaton in County Limerick, Ireland.

When she was five, her father remarried and returned to Ireland with his French wife Marriane. Together they had four children, Maude, Greald, Nicholas and Ronnie. Rosie stayed with her grandmother in the cottage next door and looked after four orphaned donkeys, seven goats, and a pet cow called Cleopatra. She learned to ride and often ventured out on her black horse Columbine all day exploring the countryside.

Concerned that the local school would be a bad influence, Carlie home-schooled Rosie with an emphasis on writing. Rosie learned those lessons well and now writes about her travels and adventures.

We talked a bit more about where she was headed (Ft. Worth where she has a speaking engagement -- she is a motivational speaker and the fees help pay the bills, I'm sure.), then it was on to Lubbock and I thought about long drives out west and all the miles I'd seen. I should have asked about her motivation, but I didn't. I wish I had, come to think of it. Well, she had to go do this or that inside the barbecue place and I realized she might be feeling a little uncomfortable talking with some random strange man in the middle of Nowhere, Texas, and I had to get moving along anyway as I wanted to get back home and check my email.

She turned away and I wished I had my camera because I was already thinking about doing this piece for the Drifter -- but she turned back making a hug gesture. I'm not one of those guys. Not real touchy-feely. But I closed the gap and tried to imagine what it felt like to be on the road for weeks, even months at a time. The closest I could get was my fantasy about being a lonesome truck driver.

Rosie's web address: Rosie Swale-Pope
She's also available on Facebook for you Facebook creepers.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Personal Consumer Flamethrower


To my limited knowledge, Xmatter's X15 flamethrower is the first personal consumer flamethrower to be offered to the public. The X15 is not military surplus! For $1,600, you can arm yourself with your own flamethrower.

The X15 fires a stream of fire up to 50 feet away. Thanks to its 3.3 gallon canister you'll have more than 60 seconds of non-stop mayhem before its time to refill. According to Xmatter, the flamethrower is legal in the US except California.

Monday, February 1, 2016


"I don’t know — maybe the world has two different kinds of people, and for one kind the world is this completely logical, rice pudding place, and for the other it’s all hit-or-miss macaroni gratin.”

-- Haruki Murakami, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

Greatest Fears


Cast your eyes to the immediate left and observe a new feature for the North Texas Drifter. That's tight. It's a poll. I can ask anything I want and collect the data, albeit bogus, however inane, or (my personal favorite) absurd. I don't have many readers participating yet -- maybe that's because I don't have many regular readers at all but if I did a poll on something more topical, like politics, maybe I could get some votes.

Anyway, eventually I'd like to write a scary story. Maybe that's what I'll call it, Scary Story. So, I was thinking motivation and theme and thought I'd give my readers a simple poll to try and discern what drives people (away) the most. It's all in the name of research, you see.

So, what scares you the most? I had to reduce fear down into a manageable number of choices so if your particular (root) fear is not included, I do beg your pardon and would ask that you drop me a line in the comments section in order to share your fear with me. Meanwhile, try to choose from the limited selection.

The choices in the Greatest Fear poll are:

1. Fear of being exposed for who you really are. Are any of us truly the person who we present ourselves to be? What sort of secrets are pushed to the rear of your bottom dresser drawer?

2. Fear of the unknown. This is rather like fear of the dark. As a species, we seem to be hard-wired to fear what we do not know or understand. It's part of the biological imperative of self-preservation.

3. Fear of dying. The same can be said about the fear of dying as that said above about the fear of the unknown, except with the knowledge of certain, impending death, an atheist must face the terror of being forever snuffed out of infinity. That goes beyond fear of the unknown and induces dread over an impending doom. Better to go in your sleep is what I always say.

4. Fear of not being loved. Ah, the struggle to live beyond our own skin. Mommy hold me. I'm so cold.

5. Fear of failure. This doesn't mean receiving an "F" in college French. Oh, wait, yes, it does, as a matter of fact. If you'll do anything to get the job done, including sacrificing your ethics, your health, your relationships, your sanity, and well, you get the picture; if you live like that, you probably have a well-established fear of failure taking up residence in your head. Would you happen to be a Leo as well? Just askin.

6. No fear. This is the choice for those afraid or unwilling to make a choice, or just maybe they really have no fear, to which I say congratulations. However, I would have to reply that the unexamined life is not worth living.

7. Spiders and/or snakes. This is actually a catch-all category for specific fears. It's just that so many specific fears have to do with spiders and snakes. How about a black cat? Superstitious? A little, maybe? So, how about a live chicken stapled to your front door?

You can vote as many times as you want but I think you have to refresh the page first. Give it a try. Share your fear(s).