Bag of Randomness for Monday, July 13, 2020


Finally, President Trump is wearing a mask in public. This is a very good thing. It will influence people who normally wouldn’t wear a mask to actually wear one, which will help control the spread of the virus, which will save lives. He should have done this simple act long ago.


First world problem – GeedingManor had a power outage Saturday from about 5:00 PM – 9:45 PM. The cause was an aging transformer located on the back corner of our lot which was responsible for powering another four houses. The CoServ workers were great. They arrived on the scene about 15-minutes after the outage and immediately got to work. Funny thing, but for the past three or four years I’ve noticed the soil around the transformer was oily. I thought it was because my neighbors were dumping old cooking oil in the back corner of their yard and it leaked onto the transformer. However, the CoServ technicians informed me that the transmitter itself contained oil and it was the cause of the leak. Because of the leak, a soil contamination team had to come out and remove any contaminated soil. A big truck arrived which had oil barrel type containers, it looked like something out of the movies.

We made the most of it. Sure, it stunk not to have electricity or air conditioning for about four hours, but it’s great to put things into perspective how great we really have things and how easy it is to take modern conveniences for granted. The family actually had a great time just conversing and playing games in the dark. The most touching part was as soon as the power came back on, DaughterGeeding asked if she could go outside and thank the men for working in the heat and in the dark just to give us back our electricity. I hope in that regard, she never loses that appreciation for others. I escorted her back there and the technicians seemed very touched.



Royce West and MJ Hegar are still vying to be the Democratic nominee to run again Texas Senator John Cornyn. But last week, I noticed a very negative “I’m John Cornyn and I approve this message” commercial against Royce West. That’s an interesting strategy and I can’t tell if Cornyn is doing this because he assumes he’ll be running against West and wants to get a head start or if it’s a backward strategy to bolster Hegar who he thinks he’ll have an easier race. Either way, I think Cornyn is getting off easy with this irresponsible answer in a recent local interview regarding COVID-19.

Cornyn made the statement in response to a question about whether schools should open for in-person learning.

“I think the most important thing is safety. The schools can open, but if parents don’t feel comfortable sending their children back then they won’t go. So, I think we’ve got a long way to go to regain their confidence,” he said. “The good news is if you look again at the numbers, no one under the age of 20 has died of the coronavirus. We still don’t know whether children can get it and transmit it to others.”

But I’m also ticked off at the NBC5 reporter for being too devoted to her list of questions to not call out the senator for such an egregious claim or at least to ask him to at least expand on his answer.


Our governor with COVID-19 humor back in May. Not only was the taste in humor poor but the data was incorrect.



They lost the Civil War and fled to Brazil. Their descendants refuse to take down the Confederate flag.

It’s one of history’s lesser-known episodes. After the Civil War, thousands of defeated Southerners came to Brazil to self-exile in a country that still practiced slavery. For decades, their descendants have thrown a massive party that now attracts thousands of people to the twin cities of Americana and Santa Bárbara d’Oeste to celebrate all things Dixie. The Confederate flag? Everywhere.

On flagpoles and knickknacks. Emblazoned on the dance floor. Clutched by men clad in Confederate battle gray. Decorating the grounds of the cemetery that holds the remains of veterans of the rebel army — the immigrants known here as the confederados.

In a country that has long been more preoccupied with class divisions than racism, the Confederate symbols, stripped of their American context, never registered much notice. But now, as the racial reckoning in the United States following the killing of George Floyd inspires a similar reexamination of values in Brazil, that has begun to change.


A batting cage at Disney’s Wide World of Sports has been transformed into an impressive temporary laundry facility for the NBA. Overboard?


Sadly, a lot of folks won’t get this joke.


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Bag of Randomness for Friday, July 10, 2020


Yesterday on the air during “Letters from Listeners”, the Musers read an email from me.


Not bad for a 14-year-old.

I’m Alexander Hamilton’s Direct Descendant. And He Wasn’t As Perfect As You Think. – By Ariel Clay Schuyler Hamilton Ehrlich

I shouldn’t be picking on a 14-year-old for something he can’t control, but having five names is a bit much, almost snooty.

He makes great points and even supports his arguments, though his comments about Hamilton’s thoughts on slavery has me thinking. I’m not saying he’s wrong to think about his forefather’s actions on selling slaves for his in-laws or his interpretation. I have no idea what Hamilton really thought nor am I defending his actions. But there is the possibility that he believed one particular way at one part in his life and another later in his life. It is interesting how we can be judged for something we did at one point in our life but never be able to do anything to overcome it. I learned that lesson from Roy Munson in the cinematic film Kingpin.

The kid says his father is a dead ringer for the Founding Father, I just wish he provided a photo.


‘The Wonder Years’ is getting a reboot with a Black family

Famed director Lee Daniels will executive produce and Fred Savage, the star of the original series, will direct a reboot of the hit program — this time built around a Black family, ABC announced Wednesday.

The half-hour comedy will focus on how a Black middle-class family in Montgomery, Alabama, “in the turbulent late 1960’s, the same era as the original series, made sure it was The Wonder Years for them too,” the network said.


I never knew this.

In 1652, a doorway was added to the wall that holds the painting. Its construction meant that a lower central chunk of the piece—which included Jesus’ feet—was lost.


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Bag of Randomness for Thursday, July 9, 2020


Why the heck do I have to find this news in the Wall Street Journal instead of a local paper or television station?

The U.S. Airport That’s Buzzing as Covid Shuts Down World TravelWith coronavirus drastically reducing travel, Dallas-Fort Worth International finds itself suddenly as the busiest in world—by default

The sprawling Texas hub, with seven runways and five terminals, has more than 90% of its gates and half its restaurants in operation. DFW typically ranks behind Atlanta, Chicago O’Hare and Los Angeles in takeoffs and landings. But due to the instant transformation of the airline business, DFW finds itself at least temporarily on top, with long-lasting implications for travelers.


“We don’t want the guidance from CDC to be a reason why schools don’t open,” Vice-President Pence said.

That quote really bugged me yesterday. The CDC created those guidelines to protect our kids, to help keep them safe. The manner in which the vice-president spoke didn’t provide me with any assurance he wanted to protect and keep our children safe. It felt more like he wanted to put our kids’ safety and protection at risk just to open schools on time to make it appear the pandemic is totally over when the data totally don’t back that up. Schools opening up regularly makes it seem as if the pandemic has been solved.


US hits 3M coronavirus cases – about a quarter of the world’s total

It took the USA a little more than three months to hit 1 million cases on April 28. It took about half that time, 44 days, to get to 2 million on June 11 and only 26 days to reach 3 million on July 8. By that gauge, if no new measures are taken, 4 million cases could be tallied as soon as July 22.


Armchair Political Consultant – If I were on Joe Biden or the Lincoln Project’s team I’d advise an ad that says the possible cancellation of the upcoming NFL and college football season (or when they are officially canceled) is due to the president and his administration not getting a better handle on this pandemic when they had the chance in January and February, or even when the curve started to flatten from mid-May to mid-June. I’d use the same ad against the Texas governor and lieutenant governor two years from now. It would start off with one of those dramatic voices, “He could have saved football season but he chose not to. Even Europe was able to protect its citizens better.” The ad could even be more generalized, “No school year or football season, blame the ones in charge of protecting the public from a pandemic.”


President Trump held a rally in which attendees did little to protect themselves and now cases are starting to spike. I expect to see the same thing in South Dakota.

Speaking of his rallies – Trump campaign considers displaying statues at future rallies


Time Capsule Found in North Carolina Confederate Monument

So far, excavators have found a wooden box, a stone allegedly from Gettysburg, two buttons and horsehair. But in that goop, a newspaper clipping from The Charlotte Democrat shows, there could be more.

A ceremony from May 1894 that laid the monument’s cornerstone listed other relics put in the time capsule under it, including a lock of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee’s hair, a coat button and rosebud believed to be from Lee’s coat, and a strand of hair possibly plucked from the tail of Lee’s horse Traveller.


I really thought I posted about Gary Larson creating new ‘The Far Side’ material earlier and was quite excited about the news, but I think I overlooked it. I also thought of my friend Nathon’s young son who discovered the comics who shared the laughter with his grandfather.

So a few years ago–finally fed up with my once-loyal but now reliably traitorous pen–I decided to try a digital tablet. I knew nothing about these devices but hoped it would just get me through my annual Christmas card ordeal. I got one, fired it up, and lo and behold, something totally unexpected happened: within moments, I was having fun drawing again. I was stunned at all the tools the thing offered, all the creative potential it contained. I simply had no idea how far these things had evolved. Perhaps fittingly, the first thing I drew was a caveman.

The “New Stuff” that you’ll see here is the result of my journey into the world of digital art. Believe me, this has been a bit of a learning curve for me. I hail from a world of pen and ink, and suddenly I was feeling like I was sitting at the controls of a 747. (True, I don’t get out much.) But as overwhelmed as I was, there was still something familiar there–a sense of adventure. That had always been at the core of what I enjoyed most when I was drawing The Far Side, that sense of exploring, reaching for something, taking some risks, sometimes hitting a home run and sometimes coming up with “Cow tools.” (Let’s not get into that.) But as a jazz teacher once said to me about improvisation, “You want to try and take people somewhere where they might not have been before.” I think that my approach to cartooning was similar–I’m just not sure if even I knew where I was going. But I was having fun.

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Bag of Randomness for Wednesday, July 8, 2020


Okay, fine, y’all have finally talked me into it, we’ll have a BagOfNothing meetup. Let’s do it at this year’s State Fair of Texas on opening day. We’ll meet in front of Big Tex at noon on . . . wait, what is that? Canceled? The State Fair of Texas, canceled, really? Oh, just went I wanted all of us to get together this happens. Well, maybe some other time. In the meantime, let’s just heed the advice from our senior U.S. senator.


For some reason, the post I scheduled for yesterday didn’t post, so today’s BoR might be a bit bigger than normal.


If the college football season is canceled, and I think it will be, I think there’s a huge opportunity for EA to step in. E-gaming is huge, it’s bigger than you think. They could certainly use the existing football schedules and coordinate gaming representatives from each school and try to keep the spirit of competition going. It won’t be a huge hit, but ESPN will cover anything right now.


In regards to the re-opening of sports, and this is probably different regarding the league, it’s my understanding that if a player has been exposed to someone who has coronavirus, that he will have to be quarantined. If true, I can imagine a scenario in which one team makes it to the playoffs or championship only for a COVID-19 positive fan of an opposing team to somehow come in reach of the player. It wouldn’t be all that different than Michael Jordan eating that pizza in Utah, but maybe to a greater or easier level. The COVID-19 positive fan would only have to come into contact with someone working at the hotel bubble to keep the opposing team’s best player out of the game. Just food for thought.


I dedicate this post to one of my college roommates. His mother was a postmaster and he worked for them for a bit, learning a great party trick, you give him a city and state and he could not only tell you the ZIP but he’d add the extra four digits. City so large it had more than one ZIP, not a problem for him.

Post Office Delivery Trucks Keep Catching on FireHundreds of the iconic Post Office delivery trucks have caught on fire in recent years, thanks to a 30-year-old fleet and a manufactured budget crisis.

Since May 2014, at least 407 LLVs have been damaged or destroyed in fires, or approximately one every five days, according to documents obtained by Motherboard via a Freedom of Information Act request.



Michael Flynn takes QAnon oath in Fourth of July video

Michael Flynn, the former national security adviser to U.S. President Donald Trump, posted a video on July 4 in which he and others recite the oath of an anarchical group known for peddling unfounded conspiracy theories.

In the 53-second video, Flynn leads a group of six people in taking a modified form of the U.S. Senate’s oath of office. The oath ends with the line “where we go one, we go all,” which is the motto of the group QAnon.


Disney has their own version of Deep Fake technology. Per Disney Research Studios:

To the best of our knowledge, this is the first method capable of rendering photo-realistic and temporally coherent results at megapixel resolution. To this end, we introduce a progressively trained multi-way comb network and a light- and contrast-preserving blending method. We also show that while progressive training enables generation of high-resolution images, extending the architecture and training data beyond two people allows us to achieve higher fidelity in generated expressions. When compositing the generated expression onto the target face, we show how to adapt the blending strategy to preserve contrast and low-frequency lighting. Finally, we incorporate a refinement strategy into the face landmark stabilization algorithm to achieve temporal stability, which is crucial for working with high-resolution videos. We conduct an extensive ablation study to show the influence of our design choices on the quality of the swap and compare our work with popular state-of-the-art methods.


That’s unsanitary.

Georgia Jimmy John’s employees fired for making a noose out of dough


I couldn’t help but think of LiberallyLean while watching the first episode of Netflix’s Space Force. In the first episode, Steve Carell’s character, a four-star general who is the commander of Space Force, wakes up in the middle of the night. He gets out of bed, makes his side of the bed while his wife continues to sleep on the other side, uses the bathroom, and then gets back into his freshly made bed. He may be taking Admiral McRaven’s book a bit too seriously.


‘Hamilton’ Premiere Boosts Disney Streaming Service App Downloads 72% in the U.S.

I’m a bit envious and very happy for Lin-Manual Miranda about something. Imagine creating something, and then everyone who has influenced you or you have admired stopped by to see you and watch your creation. Isn’t that pretty cool? Fan of Star Wars? George Lucas stops by. Admired Bill Gates for how he has changed humanity in both business and philanthropy, he stops by with his wife. Ever had a crush on Natalie Portman and appreciated her acting, she wants to meet you. Rapped every Run DMC song when you were a kid, the surviving members show up. Ever wanted to meet and speak to a particular politician, they want to say hi. Same for your favorite author. Imagine living a dream in which you don’t have to make an effort or travel anywhere to meet any of your heroes from any walk of life, they come to you. Man, what a dream. Good for him.

Something else I love about the show, you notice something new each time. Here’s something I haven’t noticed: Hamilton’s Secret Character: How Death Appears Throughout The ShowA member of Hamilton’s ensemble plays a character called “The Bullet,” who represents death gunning for Hamilton and the other characters.

The members of Hamilton’s ensemble play the roles of various minor characters throughout the show, from Charles Lee to Philip Schuyler, but there’s one character that most audience members probably won’t notice at all: The Bullet. Played by Ariana DeBose and billed as “The Bullet” in the program for Hamilton, she represents death’s slow march towards Alexander Hamilton throughout the show, and interacts with characters in key moments of foreshadowing.


How to change your inbox layout in GmailSort your emails into tabs, or keep them all in one place

Gmail offers you several customizable formats — so many that you can have multiple Gmail accounts and they can all look completely different. For example, you can have all of your emails in one long list, you can separate your messages into multiple tabs, or you can have your inbox split into unread and read messages.

In addition to that, there are several other ways to organize your inbox, from adding a reading pane to coming up with your own categories for organizing emails. Here’s how you can customize your Gmail interface and explore all of the options.


Man Making Racist Comments To Asian Family On Viral Video Identified As SF Tech CEO Michael Lofthouse

I do love how the staff of the establishment immediately threw the creep out.


A small amount of progress for the Baker Hotel in Mineral Wells. It’s small progress in terms of the scale of the project, but for any townsfolk, it’s unbelievable anything has been done after decades of rumors.



I Turned my Lawnmower Into a Tank | The Short Version


How kids today do the “talking on the phone” hand gesture.

@guesswho_718

Even the hand gesture game has changed @kamilo.ny @guesswhos_wifey @itz_daniella12 #LaughPause #dadsoftiktok #momsoftiktok #over30 #kids #fyp

♬ original sound – guesswho_718

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