Bag of Randomness for Thursday, March 16, 2017

  • I hear NBC’s ‘This Is Us’ is a great television show, but I’m at a point in my life where I can no longer watch emotional television or movies because it hits me too hard. When I was younger and didn’t have much perspective or experienced a lot of perils of life, it was easy to watch that sort of stuff. Now, I just can’t bring myself to do it.
  • A fan recently sent Dirk Nowitzki a potato.
  • After watching ‘The Americans’ on the DVR last night, this image popped up on the screen. My first thought was, what is former ‘Daily Show’ correspondent Aasif Mandvi doing on WFAA?

    That’s not Mandvi but reporter Jobin Panicker.  Isn’t “Panicker” a funny name for a reporter? Anyways, here’s a picture of Aasif Mandvi.
  • Buzzfeed – Disney Princess Bikinis
  • GIF – Jedi with a GoPro
  • GIF – Don’t stop petting

  • On last’s night’s ‘Modern Family’ Haily got “the Barnicle” put on her car. I’ve never seen such a thing, but it’s an alternative to a carboot. Per TechCrunch:

    • The Barnacle is a bright yellow 20-pound piece of plastic that sticks to the windshield with 750 pounds of force. The parking enforcement officer only has to pump the device a half dozen times to stick the two giant suction cups to the glass. He sets the alarm and tracking system using the keypad built into the device. If you come to your Barnacled car and try to drive away anyway, a high-pitched alarm will sound.
    • I’ll also like to state this is a clear case of hidden paid advertisement. #PlayfullyTrolling
  • He Got a Bad Grade. So, He Got the Constitution Amended. Now He’s Getting the Credit He Deserves.
    • This story involves the 27th Amendment. He received a “C” on his paper as a college sophomore in 1982, and 35 years later he got the professor to sign a form to officially change the grade to an “A+”.
    • Most people would have just taken the grade and left it at that. Gregory is not most people. “So I thought right then and there, ‘I’m going to get that thing ratified.’”
    • “In light of the student’s heroic efforts to prove the professor and T.A. wrong in their assessment of his term paper, Mr. Watson deserves A+. Goodness, he certainly proved he knew how to work the Constitution and what it meant and how to be politically active,” she says. It still has to be stamped by some people at UT, but when it is, 35 years after Gregory wrote his paper, he’ll finally get that C changed to an A.
  • Texas woman in midst of modeling shoot when struck by train
  • Substitute teacher hid box of wine in purse, police say
  • Regarding optics, I think the top of this article has a tremendous picture of President Trump speaking to a crowd with Air Force One in the background – Trump Force One Is Ready for TakeoffAfter decades in the sky, the president’s fleet is finally getting an upgrade—unless the new passenger-in-chief adds turbulence.
    • Some tidbits:
      • Presidents weren’t even allowed in helicopters until 1956. After a Camp David evacuation drill, during which President Dwight Eisenhower’s limousine got stuck behind a truck on a winding road, the Secret Service relented on its long-standing safety objection to single-engine helicopters. The next year the Air Force procured two small, bubble-nosed Bells, similar to those seen in the opening sequence of M*A*S*H. Eisenhower took precisely one flight. It was another evacuation drill, this time in July, and he baked as the cramped cockpit’s canopy absorbed the full power of the Washington sun. When it came time that fall to take another helicopter, Eisenhower asked for a large Marine transport aircraft—and the tradition of the Marines flying the commander-in-chief was born. One of the first things they did was install an air conditioner.
      • The U.S. is the only country that provides its chief executive with helicopters around the world. That is, when heads of state of other countries go abroad and need a vertical lift, they often rely on the hosts’ equipment. When the U.S. president goes overseas, he brings his own helicopters—often in flights of three, to serve as backups, fly staff, and function as decoys for would-be assassins.
      • As dreamed up, the new Marine One could fly more people farther, faster, and at a higher level of performance than any other executive helicopter on the planet. The idea was to create a true Oval Office in the sky, with videoconferencing, a galley, and a flushing toilet, as well as heavy armor and protection from nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons. Eisenhower would have approved of the climate control: The cabin had to remain between 68F and 76F, whether the outside temperature was -5 or 100.
  • Into the woods: how one man survived alone in the wilderness for 27 years
    • At the age of 20, Christopher Knight parked his car on a remote trail in Maine and walked away with only the most basic supplies. He had no plan. His chief motivation was to avoid contact with people. This is his story
  • Snow in coming!
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Race The Tube

This seems like something I’d do when I was younger, but I wouldn’t be in as good of shape and miss the train by about four minutes.

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Bag of Randomness for Wednesday, March 15, 2017

  • The wife and kids are gone to visit grandparents and I was looking forward to just a little of Netflix and chill last night, but that didn’t happen. The new neighbors are a bit up there in age and I notice one of them trying to sweep a large pile of leaves, so I thought I’d go over, introduce myself, and help out with my leaf blower. I didn’t get started with the leaf blowing until three hours later, they are quite the talkers and every time I thought I had a chance to end the conversation, something new popped up. It’s hard when they start pouring their heart out when they just placed a child in rehab among other things. And then they started to tell me all about their ancestry which includes a parent of George Washington and how they are a cousin of an Oscar-nominated actor. Oh, and then they busted out the pictures. They are certainly nice, but they also have the gift of gab.
  • Study: 4-in-5 Oklahoma City students can’t read clocksA new study shows that only 1-in-10 Oklahoma City kids ages 6-12 own a watch. And only 1-in-5 know how to read it.
  • ‘The Matrix’ Reboot in the Works at Warner Bros. – Sources say there is potential interest in Michael B. Jordan to star, but much must be done before the project is ready to go. 
  • News factoid that may only interest me – Walter Cronkite’s grandson, Walter Cronkite IV, has been working for the CBS News’ DC bureau since 2011. You can follow him on Twitter at @wcronkite.
  • Texans Receive First Notices of Land Condemnation for Trump’s Border Wall
    The government offered $2,900 for 1.2 acres near the Rio Grande. If Flores chooses not to accept the offer, the land could be seized through eminent domain.
  • I like it when stuff like this happens and don’t consider it hokey – Roadtrip! Democrat, Republican embark on cross-country drive to DC amid snowstorm
    • A bipartisan pair of members of Congress set off on a road trip from San Antonio, Texas Tuesday, heading toward Washington, D.C. after they both realized their flights were canceled due to the East Coast snowstorm. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-Texas, who represents El Paso, happened to be at an event in San Antonio Monday with Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas, and they decided to rent a car together and hold a live Facebook town hall during their roadtrip.
    • I want to see the next two presidential candidates take at least an eight-hour roadtrip and for it to be broadcast.
  • When the Children Crashed Dad’s BBC Interview: The Family Speaks – In their first interview, Korea expert Robert Kelly and his wife, Kim Jung-A, describe the circumstances, chaos, and global reaction to their now-infamous home-office Skype catastrophe; ‘she was in a hippity-hoppity mood’
  • My first thought was of the Schwarzenegger flick The Running Man“Wheel of Fugitive” becomes new weapon for law enforcement
  • Buzzfeed – Navy Officials Charged With Corruption Allegedly Used General MacArthur Memorabilia During A Sex Party
  • I was perusing the White House website and thought it was interesting they use internet slang.
  • This AP photo shows how different the skin tone is of President Trump face and hand.
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Bag of Randomness for Tuesday, March 14, 2017

  • I watched the first two episodes of HBO’s ‘Crashing” last night and this line stood out, “I wonder what the employee discount is at the dollar store?” I laughed harder than I should when I heard it. The second episode had a few Jars of Clay references which I also found personally funny. Gosh, I used to love that group so much.
  • A lot of political attention was on Kellyanne Conway’s comment about a microwave possibly being used for surveillance, which really didn’t bother me. However, I thought more attention should have been on her comment about not needing evidence, “I’m not in the job of having evidence.” But you know what, I think Kellyanne is a pretty name.
  • Jim Nance has a tradition of giving away the tie he’s wearing to a senior who has inspired him throughout the tournament after the NCAA men’s basketball championship game. He does this to honor his father and to try to rid the world of Alzheimer’s. Until reading this article yesterday, I never heard of this tradition. I like Nance, I think he’s a good guy, but he just hams it up a little and often wonder if he lost a bet long ago since he has to work along side Phil Simms.
    • “My voice is my dad’s voice,” Nantz said. “I sound exactly like him, but no one ever interviewed him. But I have a recorder in front of me and so my voice on this has to be heard. I can tell you this: If I don’t see Alzheimer’s wiped out before I die, my life will not be successful.”
  • The New Yorker has a long article about how members of Congress handle communications and their levels of effectiveness. I’ve cut and pasted some of the more interesting parts.
    • No matter how a message comes in—by phone, e-mail, post, fax, carrier pigeon—it is entered into a software program known as a constituent-management system. Owing to stringent security requirements, only a few of these systems are authorized by Congress, and many members use one called Intranet Quorum, made by Leidos.
    • For mass protests, such as those that have been happening recently, phone calls are a better way of contacting lawmakers, not because they get taken more seriously but because they take up more time—thereby occupying staff, obstructing business as usual, and attracting media attention. E-mails get the message through but are comparatively swift and easy for staffers to process, while conventional mail is at a disadvantage when speed matters, since, in addition to the time spent in transit, anything sent to Congress is temporarily held for testing and decontamination, to protect employees from mail bombs and toxins. Afterward, most constituent mail is scanned and forwarded to congressional offices as an electronic image.
    • Some forms of correspondence, however, do not carry quite as much weight, starting with anything that comes from outside a legislator’s district or state.
    • Other messages that staffers tend to disregard include tweets and Facebook posts (less out of dismissiveness than because of the difficulty of determining if they come from constituents), online petitions (because they require so little effort that they aren’t seen as meaningful), comments submitted through apps like Countable, and mass e-mails that originate from the Web sites of advocacy groups. (These last have a particularly bad reputation. According to the C.M.F., almost half of staffers believe, incorrectly, that they are sent without the constituent’s knowledge.
    • Likewise, phone calls that hew to scripts from advocacy organizations usually get downgraded, especially if the caller seems ill-informed about the issue. Such calls also tend to annoy staffers.
  • Ezekiel Elliott sure is a talent on the football field, but he’s no role model when it comes to respecting women.
  • Former Penn State officials plead guilty for roles in Sandusky sex-abuse cover-up
    • The CBS Evening News used this picture for former university Vice President Gary Schultz. With that shortened mustache and last name, I immediately thought of  Sergeant Schultz from ‘Hogan’s Heros’.
  • TMZ – Ex-Baylor Football Player Attacks Woman… Goes berserk on cop
    • An ex-Baylor football player was arrested in Vegas this morning after cops say he roughed up a woman and then went CRAZY on police … kicking out the back window of a squad car.  The man facing the allegations is 22-year-old Tre’Von Armstead — who was infamously linked to the Baylor University football cover up scandal. FYI, Armstead was named in a rape investigation in 2013 … but Baylor reportedly failed to take action for roughly 2 years. Armstead was eventually dismissed from the team in 2015 for a “violation of team rules.”
  • Dave Bliss repeats charge that murdered Baylor basketball player was a drug dealer
    • It was long believed that Bliss fabricated the story, which he coached players to share with investigators, that Dennehy was a drug dealer. Sunday, however, Bliss repeated his words from the film that the story was true.
  • Buzzfeed – Don Draper’s Heinz Pitch Will Be Turned Into A Real-Life Ad
  • Russell Moore, Frank Page unite in wake of Baptist controversy over Trump
  • Tesla tries a new, ambitious approach at Texas CapitolA pair of bills filed Friday would allow any vehicle manufacturer to sell directly to Texans — bypassing the middleman dealers — in the biggest challenge yet to a longstanding state ban on the practice.
  • How Stephen Colbert Got His Groove Back – While Fallon’s show still skews younger, Colbert has surged ahead of Fallon in overall audience, racking up five consecutive weekly victories.
    • If you follow late night television as much as I do, you knew it was a big deal when Chris Licht arrived to take some of Colbert’s responsibilities, but I didn’t know how that would work until now.
      • Licht, however, was not imported to change the comedic tone of the show or serve as some sort of network nag. His job was to take responsibility for the mechanics of producing five (nearly) live hours of TV each week — which celebrity guest should appear first, when the show should cut to commercial, how to balance different kinds of segments. As Licht told the New York Times last fall, “Anything that doesn’t involve him thinking creatively and enjoying his performance — anything that gets in the way of that, I take.” Colbert, in turn, would finally be free to focus entirely on the funny.
  • The Psychology of the Sample Sale – What makes otherwise mild-mannered shoppers shove each other in the quest for discount goods?
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USA USA USA

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Bag of Randomness for Monday, 13, 2017

  • Property values on the block dropped this weekend as we no longer have a neighbor who plays in the NFL. I wish him well in this new chapter in his life and hope his body isn’t too damaged. Every time I’ve gone to his house, which is nothing more than a handful, he gets up from his seat with a noticeable limp to the door. Not that I have any inside info, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see him become a member of the coaching staff. He wasn’t the most talented or strongest member of the offensive line, but he was always referred to as the undisputed leader of the group.
  • With all the attention on Dirk Nowitzki last week, I forgot I never took the time to watch his documentary, which was put together with Mark Cuban’s Magnolia Pictures.
    • I loved it, but a lot of it is in German, so be prepared to read a lot of subtitles.
    • He drives a Cadillac, I would have thought he’d drive something with German engineering.
    • Everything you’d like to know about his relationship with Holger is answered.
    • I thought the film would steer clear of his convicted former fiancée, but I thought it was well addressed.
    • I know of someone who often states Mark Cuban got lucky by buying the Mavs with Dirk already on the team. But I think you also have to give Cuban credit for never trading the guy and rebuilding with a bunch of draft pics and whatnot. But then again, Cuban has a GM and is willing to take their counsel as opposed to another owner of a sports franchise in town.
    • Everyone loves a redemption story, and that is certainly true about Dirk’s career. The franchise was the considered the worst in the league for a long time, his team can never get past the Spurs, a 2-0 lead in the Finals is blown, the next year wins the MVP but gets knocked out of the playoffs in the first round, and then he finally wins it all against a team that was stacked with talent which just happened to be the franchise that stopped him a few years prior.
    • He’s often made fun of how he looked, haircut and earring, when he first arrived. This past weekend, the Mavs held a Dirk Rookie bobblehead night.
  • Sarah Palin isn’t happy with the new American Health Care Act
    • “I don’t know why we’re still even giving an inch on aspects of socialized medicine via this new RINO-care proposal.”Is that okay with conservatives, with Republicans in office?”
      • If I were a Republican, I’d agree with her and express the same dissatisfaction. Conservatives have been upset and voted against the ACA a plethora of times, and they have the numbers without any threat of a filibuster. As a Democrat, I’m surprised they aren’t more aggressive with a more conservative plan.
    • “He will step in and fix it,” Palin said. “I have great faith that President Trump is one who will fulfill campaign promises.”
  • I’ve finally gotten used to Darrell Hammond being the opening voice for SNL. Or he’s gotten better. Or perhaps it’s a bit of both.
  • GIF – Tiny snake enjoys his tiny turtle sandbox
  • Marvel Universe TV pilot will start shooting in Dallas this month
    • “Untitled Marvel Action Adventure Drama” will start shooting this month in and around the city. The cast for the pilot contains several notable names, among them Dallas native Amy Acker (Angel); Coby Bell (Burn Notice, The Game); and Stephen Moyer (True Blood). And the pilot will be using local crews, according to Fox publicity exec Chris Alexander.
  • Woman finds boy who left $5, heartbreaking apology note
  • ‘Saturday Night Live’ Rocks: 25 Greatest Musical Performances
    • I’m glad to see U2’s November 2004 performance made the cut. They were the first musical act after the Ashley Simpson lip-synching debacle, which is why Bono starts off the performance by saying “live” several times. This was also the first time I saw SNL not end with the traditional end credits with hugs all around on stage as U2 played a third song as the credits rolled leaving me yelling at the screen when the show went off air. I’d kill to see the whole performance. They ended up playing two additional songs after the end credits.
  • In other “old” U2 news, Pete Souza, Reagan and Obama presidential photographer, posted a picture of Obama having lunch with Alicia Keys and Bono in a room next to the Oval Office, sharing a story of why Obama picked up a guitar and started to sing a song by the Beatles. Speaking of Bono and Obama, I saw he and Michelle ate with Bono in NYC on Friday.
  • Where fake news goes to die – How Snopes battles Bigfoot rumors, Facebook fibs and other made-up news
  • Buzzfeed – Someone Has Edited All Five Seasons Of “Breaking Bad” Into A Movie
  • Buzzfeed – A Former Mormon Launched A Wikileaks-Inspired Site. Now It’s Trying To Expose The Church
  • ‘Game of Thrones’ creators: Final season will only be six episodes
  • Someone on Reddit visited First Baptist Dallas a while back and snapped this photo. One person referred to the church as “Six Flags Over Jesus” which made me laugh.
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When you work from home it’s a good idea to lock the door every now and then

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Samuel L. Jackson Acts Out His Film Career w/ James Corden

I like this bit much more than carpool karaoke.

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It twas a windy day . . .

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Bag of Randomness for Friday, March 10, 2017

  • I wrote a “Bag of Randomness” for yesterday but forgot to post it. It’s posted at the bottom of this post. Sorry about that.
  • Ten years ago today I landed in Vietnam and returned my mother’s ashes back to her homeland and got to visit family I was only told stories about. I bet there’s only a handful of you who followed this blog back then. If for some reason you are interested in reading about that journey, follow that link and at the end of each post is an right-pointing arrow to go to the next entry.
  • When concentrating I grind my teeth, which gives me headaches. I have lots of headaches. When I’m aware of it, I place my tongue between my teeth, which somewhat helps. I also grind my teeth at night but wear a chew or a night guard for that.
  • Yesterday was the first time I had to fill the SUV up all year.
  • Fallon forced to change ‘Tonight Show’ amid Colbert ratings wins
    • “The Tonight Show” host Jimmy Fallon watched his show’s ratings take a hit yet again on Tuesday as competitor “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” won its fifth straight week in overall viewers — and sources say Fallon’s being forced to change his strategy to win back eyeballs.
  • ‘Game Of Thrones’ Season 7 will air on July 16 of this year but will have only eight episodes in the season instead of the usual ten. And then the next season, the final, will have eight. WifeGeeding has about sixteen episodes to watch to get caught up before new episodes air. It’s been great watching them with her and seeing it a second time, picking up on things I missed and making sense of the complex plots.
  • The Atlantic – Why Dentistry Is Separate From Medicine
    • Specializing in one part of the body isn’t what’s weird—it would be one thing if dentists were like dermatologists or cardiologists. The weird thing is that oral care is divorced from medicine’s education system, physician networks, medical records, and payment systems, so that a dentist is not just a special kind of doctor, but another profession entirely.
  • The New York Times – The Rise, Then Shame, of Baylor Nation
    •  There’s not a lot of new stuff, though there are some details about Kendal Briles and the hostess program I wasn’t aware of and found disturbing. I love the people of Baylor, it’s the leadership I have trouble with and worried how they are continually enabled.
      • In a statement to The New York Times on Monday, Baylor officials said the university was committed to “doing the right thing” — through self-examination, repeated apologies and implementing 105 recommended changes to its policies and structure. “Our mission statement calls for a caring community based on Christian principles, and any act of sexual violence is inimical to these standards,” the statement said.
      • In its statement to The Times, Baylor said: “There should be no doubt that, rather than worrying about its ‘brand,’ Baylor leadership has been focused on doing the right thing.” The university went on to say that its efforts to address and repair the damage done far surpass those taken by any other educational institution. “No other college or university has, at its own initiative, undergone such a thorough self-examination,” it said. “No other college or university has made such wholesale leadership changes based on that self-examination. No other college or university has eagerly embraced an ambitious slate of 105 recommended changes. And, despite the accusations of some, no other university has been as transparent about its failings.”
      • According to the lawsuit filed by Mr. Clune, the lawyer from Colorado, the football staff at the Baptist institution employed a “‘Show em a good time’ policy,” in which current players offered alcohol and drugs to high school prospects visiting the campus and introduced them to female students. The lawsuit also alleged that the university unofficially used its hostess program, the Baylor Bruins, to further entice recruits. It said that “attractive female students” in the Bruins were expected to ensure that recruits had a good time on campus by, for example, engaging “in sexual acts with the recruits to help secure the recruits’ commitment to Baylor.”
      • A particularly notorious allegation in the lawsuit is that Kendal Briles, a former assistant coach and Art Briles’s son, enticed one recruit by saying: “Do you like white women? Because we have a lot of them at Baylor and they LOVE football players.”
      • Last month, the reform group called on the university to reveal how much it was paying in legal fees to have recommendations from the Pepper Hamilton report carried out. The group estimated that the scandal had cost Baylor $223 million in expenses such as legal fees and settlements as well as in lost revenue from projected contributions.

Bag of Randomness for Thursday, March 9, 2017

  • After we read bedtime stories to the kids, they will sometimes ask us how many steps WifeGeeding and I have on our fitness trackers to see who’s the winner of the day. Last night, we both had the exact same number of steps, 6,394. I don’t know how to do probability equations, but that’s got to be a pretty darn high number.
  • This summer will mark the nineteenth anniversary of my father’s death and I still have the rubber tree plant a close friend gave to the family. That thing has been with me everywhere I lived since college. It’s not a pet or anything, but I’ve grown attached to it, even having a sense of pride as it grew about seven feet tall despite hardly caring for it. WifeGeeding recently asked if she could trim and repot it and I saw no harm in her doing so. However… the plant now is roughly just a foot tall. It’s been struggling for the last week, and now I know why. WifeGeeding read something and confused replotting with propagation. So the plant I now have has no roots, she actually threw the roots away. I’d rather have WifeGeeding in my life than that plant, but considering how she’s a country girl, I’m surprised at her lack of understanding basic horticulture – plants need roots.
  • Last night I received an email which concerns my father and it caused me to tear up. I’m trying to process the content as my emotions are getting the best of me, but it’s a big Alex Haley moment and overall a good thing. It’s something that made me feel significant again, in a weird good kinda way, and it’s all because someone took time out of his day and extend me grace. More to follow once I’m my brain catches up with my emotions.
  • A Visual Guide to the Fake Fleets and Inflatable Armies of World War II –
    Military units in both the Allied and Axis powers used air-filled tanks and straw airplanes to deceive enemies.
  • A good question I found on Reddit last week – Has any one individual ever saved the “world” so to speak
    • This was the top answer:
      • Vasili Arkhipov. He was a soviet naval officer, second in command on a submarine during the Cuban missile crisis. The captain of the sub wanted to launch nuclear weapons, the third senior officer agreed. But the order required authorization from all three senior officers, and Vasili refused. Prevented world war 3.
    • Here was another one which caught my attention:
      • Stanislav Yevgrafovich Petrov – On September 26, 1983, just three weeks after the Soviet military had shot down Korean Air Lines Flight 007, Petrov was the duty officer at the command center for the Oko nuclear early-warning system when the system reported that a missile had been launched from the United States, followed by up to five more. Petrov judged the reports to be a false alarm, and his decision is credited with having prevented an erroneous retaliatory nuclear attack on the United States and its NATO allies that could have resulted in large-scale nuclear war. Investigation later confirmed that the Soviet satellite warning system had indeed malfunctioned.
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Scientists agree: Coffee naps are better than coffee or naps alone

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Farting Kid Crashes Weather Report

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