Friday, December 30, 2005


Okay, so my New Orleans post wasn't my last of the year, but I just had to write about the appearance of Tropical Storm Zeta. I had a feeling that this record setting season wouldn't be stopped by the calendar or history. Zeta poses no threat to land but I just wanted to get a post out about it for the record considering I figured that another storm would probably form in December.

New Orleans: Four Months Later

In what will probably be my last post of 2005, I thought I would return to a story that consumed a lot my posts since late August and that is the subject of Hurricane Katrina and her aftermath. Yesterday was exactly four months since Katrina hit New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf Coast. This week, Roxi and I made a trip to New Orleans to visit Roxi's friend Jenny who had just moved to New Orleans two months before Katrina and returned to her insurance job a mere two weeks after the storm. She has been in New Orleans ever since and we made the trip to see her on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Prior to making the two hour drive east from Lafayette, we were told what to expect by friends who had already visited New Orleans. Nothing could prepare me for what we actually saw though. As we approached New Orleans on I-10 through the suburb of Metarie, the first thing that was noticeable were the blue tarps on so many roofs. Most houses had wind and water damage to their roofs and they have been covered and patched with blue tarps until they can be repaired. Also there was several buildings with significant structural damages.

As we continued into the city and approached downtown, you could see a difference in color of the roof of the Superdome where the large holes have now been patched. Driving into the city, many of the windows of the larger buildings are still covered by plywood as the panes of glass are slowly being replaced. Other buildings have tarps covering holes that were opened by the storm.

We drove to the Uptown area of the city near the Garden District and found things to be fairly normal but there was still a lot of damage and far fewer people around than usual. The restaurants are beginning to reopen, but with limited hours and menus. We stayed around that part of town for the evening. The most striking thing about the night was the lack of people out and the sense of emptiness of the city. The mandatory curfew had only been lifted a few days before our visit so apparently there were more people out and about, but this was not the New Orleans that I knew.

Another eerie feeling was driving around the area at night. Many parts of the city still do not have power and so for several miles, no stoplights are working. They have been replaced by temporary stop signs making just about every intersection a four-way stop. They are very easy to miss in the darkness as are the enormous potholes that have formed in the roads.

The next morning, we headed towards the French Quarter to have an early lunch but due to the limited restaurant hours, we didn't end up finding an open restaurant until around noon. Like the Garden District, the French Quarter is relatively unharmed but many of the business owners have not yet returned so there was again a lack of activity in the area. The French Market was open but the number of vendor tables was very small by comparison to what I am used to. Eventually we found food and then made a drive to the 9th Ward.

As most people now know, the 9th Ward is one of the poorest areas of town and many people didn't evacuate before the storm. After the flooding started, those who had remained were forced to take refuge on their rooftops while awaiting rescue by helicopter. When we drove into the 9th Ward, it was like a ghost town. The weeds have grown up since the city has been drained but other than that, there is very little life there. Some people have returned to clear out their homes of trash but many houses probably haven't been entered since they were searched for bodies in the month after the storm. The houses and cars bear the water marks of flooding. In our drive through the area, it appeared that water ranged from three to six feet.

After having seen enough of the devastation in the 9th Ward, we headed for Lake Pontchartrain and the Lakeview area. We made our way up to the south shore of the lake to see the remains of the burned marina and the boats that are still stacked like a pile of toys. It is truly amazing that none of the boats have been moved in the four months since the storm. We then made our way into Lakeview which has a street that literally runs parallel to the 17th Street Canal. What I thought was devastation in the 9th Ward paled in comparison to what we saw in Lakeview.

The water levels in the Lakeview area must have easily reach nine or ten feet judging by the marks on the homes. The homes that are still standing have been completely gutted of all furniture and interior walls. But those were the lucky ones. Many houses were partially or totally collapsed. There were also lots adjacent to the levee that were clear of everything but dirt and broken trees.

As we drove down the road running along the levee, there were many people driving through to see the damage. Residents had put up signs asking that no more pictures be taken, but I don't feel that anyone can be blamed for recording the aftermath of this unprecedented event. Finally we reached the area where the levee actually failed. There are still crews of workers there to reinforce the patch. We decided not to get out and walk up to the levee but many people were standing on part of it and taking pictures although it was nothing more than piles of dirt and rocks behind steel plates. It is truly amazing that this kind of catastrophe had never occurred before considering the amount of water that has been held behind that levee of dirt and concrete for so long.

People use the word "awesome" so much it has kind of lost it's meaning, but the destruction that Roxi and I saw in New Orleans is what the word awesome was coined for. It was staggering to us that we could drive so far around the city and see the same scene almost everywhere we went. The current estimate is that 20% of the population has returned to the city and that is probably true, but that 20% is probably concentrated in less than 10% of the city. I don't know how long it will take for the city to be cleaned up and I know that it won't ever be the same, but judging by it's condition four months after Katrina, it would not surprise me if it takes more than a decade for New Orleans to return to a level of activity similar to comparable sized cities.

Friday, December 23, 2005

A Day of Milestones

I am back in Lafayette, LA after a long afternoon/evening of driving with Roxi from Nashville. Roxi came to visit me about ten days ago and then we drove home together yesterday.

It's Christmas Eve eve, but this day has significance for several reasons. Tonight is my ten year high school reunion. I can't believe that it has already been (a little over) ten years since I first left Lafayette and went to college. I've seen most of my classmates many times over the past few years but it will be nice to see a lot of them together for the first time in a decade.

Secondly, tonight is the night that my old band, the Hek-Atomic Cherries, has played a reunion show for the past two years. But we won't be playing a show tonight. Earlier this year, Steve, Charles and I decided that the Cherries would take this Christmas off so that Steve and I could enjoy our relatively short stays in Lafayette rather than be consumed with practicing and preparing for a show. Charles, a Lafayette resident, will be playing with his other band Thunderpants tonight along with the Black Rats and the Pine Leaf Boys.

Finally, and most importantly, tonight is the one year anniversary of my reacquaintance with Roxi at last year's show. My life has been different from that for the last year and I wouldn't want to have it any other way.

So to you and yours, enjoy this eve of Christmas Eve and I wish you good milestones as well.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

The Return of Futurama?!

The news of a possible return of Futurama is huge as far as I'm concerned. When it first aired, it was viewed as a little step-brother of The Simpsons, but it didn't take me long to fall in love with it and find that it actually stands up better than the Simpsons has over time. In fact, I can honestly say that it is a far superior show. There have been rumors of a Futurama return since Family Guy has made such a big comeback, but this is the first article that I have read that really sounds promising. Here's to hoping for at least a movie!

Wanted: 70 Toilet Flushers for Lafayette Cajundome

For my first blog post in ten days, I felt it appropriate to do a quick one about this story from my hometown of Lafayette, LA. Apparently, the Cajundome, which had been used for Hurricane Katrina and Rita refugees, is about to be reopen for concerts and such. In preparation, a toilet test is being conducted to ensure that the more than 200 toilets are working properly. This will involve the 70 volunteers to spend 15 to 20 minutes flushing the toilets in case there is anything in the pipes that doesn't belong there. Of course the only reason they have to test them out is that they have already found some "questionable articles" in the pipes. You'll have to read the short article to find out the details of the brick wrapped in a towel.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

R.I.P Richard Pryor

We will miss you.

Thursday, December 08, 2005


John Lennon
Oct. 9, 1940 - Dec. 8, 1980

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Chappelle's Show Back For Limited Engagement

CNN is reporting that Chappelle's Show will be back in April with four new episodes. The episodes will be culled from material that Dave Chappelle was producing in May when he mysteriously walked out on the show and disappeared. Of course a week later he came out of hiding and explained his reasons for walking out on the production. Since that time, he has returned to stand-up comedy but there had been no comment from him on the future of his show. This news of new episodes did not come from Chappelle either, but rather from the president of Comedy Central. I guess that they feel like they should get something out of the $50 million dollars they paid him before he quit. These episodes better be funny cause they took a pretty bad financial hit on this deal. At $12.5 million per episode, this has to be a record for the most money ever spent to produce a half-hour sketch comedy show. They are going to have to sell a lot of DVDs to make that money back!

Monday, December 05, 2005

Su Doku

I realized a little while ago that I have missed some days posting over the last week. I stated to think about why and realized that it is because I have become engrossed in Su Doku. It is an online game that Roxi told me about last week and ever since I started playing, I find myself trying to solve new puzzles whenever I have spare time. I would describe the rules but the game page does a much better job at it. I will say this: beware anyone who likes games of logic and problem solving. Su Doku will control you if you let it. Now back to the game!!!

Sunday, December 04, 2005


I just finished listening to a CD that my friend Stacy sent me of her cousin's band Drizzit. I have to say that I too am not what you would call a "metal head," but it was a decent record with pretty good production. All-in-all not too bad for a full length debut album. I especially liked the vocalist's style. Many times I was reminded of Mike Patton's vocals with Faith No More and Mr. Bungle. Check out the samples on their website and if you are in a metal mood, buy yourself a copy of "American True Metal" and support independent artists. They will also be playing a show on January 6 at Pop's in Sauget, IL. Be there and raise your devil horns high!

Saturday, December 03, 2005


Yesterday, Tropical Storm Epsilon was upgraded to hurricane status making it the fourteenth named storm of the year. More importantly, it achieved hurricane status two days after the end of hurricane season. Although I predicted that a hurricane would form in December, I don't exactly count Epsilon as it has been brewing since the last days of November. At present, Epsilon won't likely make landfall but it is still quite a feat that it developed in the Atlantic and has sufficiently strengthened so late in the year.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Ever wondered why ESPN sucks now?

The hilarious Every Day Should Be Saturday has compiled a list of the 52 reasons why ESPN/ABC/Disney sucks when it comes to sports coverage. I agree completely especially to any of the grievances against Chris Berman. I've always thought that guy was a real tool.

One of us...One of us...

A new study indicates that 6-10% of the Internet users in the United States are addicted to the web to the level of personal destruction. Some would say that I am addicted but the fact that I still posses basic social skills is evidence to the contrary. If you want to see what real Internet addicts are like, go to any message board on any subject on the Internet. I've often wondered what the source of income is for message board posters. It would stand to reason that they would all be out of work due to their unhealthy obsessions. It's a wonder they can even scrounge together the money to pay for their broadband connections.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Is it finally over?

The 2005 hurricane season has officially come to a close for the Central Time zone. But is it really over? And what does the future hold?

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

More from the Greek Alphabet

Tropical Storm Epsilon has formed in the Atlantic. It is the twenty-sixth named storm of the year meaning that if the NOAA didn't exclude some letters of our alphabet from hurricane names, we'd be on Z right now. But since several uncommon letters are thrown out, we are on the fifth letter of the Greek alphabet. The hurricane season is set to end tomorrow night but like I said recently, I wouldn't be surprised if we see another hurricane start up sometime in early December.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Shakeup in A&M Coaching Staff

Texas A&M Head Coach Dennis Franchione has released Defensive Coordinator Carl Torbush of his coaching duties.

It has been a rough couple of years for A&M football most notably on the defensive side of the ball. The once vaunted and top-rated Wrecking Crew defense has declined to epic lows in the past three years.

I've been hoping that some changes would be made for several weeks, but now that it has happened, I only hope that a suitable replacement can be found quickly and that he will be able to step in and affect change relatively quickly with little additional growing pains.

The search is on!

The Bad Part of a Rivalry

I hate it when news like this comes out. Rivalry brings this kind of behavior out in some people and unfortunately that reflects poorly on any group as a whole. A member of the Texas A&M's Parsons Mounted Cavalry has been charged with throwing horse manure on members of the University of Texas band during the march in prior to the game on Friday.

The game ended up being great -- one of the best in years -- but this kind of behavior tarnishes the play on the field. Aggies should never forget that this is just a game.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Godspeed Mr. Miyagi

Pat Morita has left this mortal coil. I will never forget how much I loved Karate Kid in my youth. Looking back on it now, it was a typical '80s kid movie, I still think that Mr. Miyagi was a great teacher and role model for everyone. We'll miss you Pat.

Friday, November 25, 2005


Texas A&M made some mistakes and definitely didn't take advantage of all the opportunities, but the game today against Texas was the best contest between these two teams in several years. I would have loved to have seen the upset win today but this game gives me a lot of hope for next year. Backup QB Stephen McGee got the start today as I expected, and I can honestly say that today, I watched a leader play the game. He makes me hopeful for a fresh start next season. I hate to see the Aggies stay home this bowl season but I think that the offseason will do wonders for this team and next year we will begin to see something that all Aggie fans can be proud of.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

12 Hours Later

I arrived in Lafayette about twelve hours ago and have already gotten to visit with a couple of friends. The drive was long (9.5 hours) but it certainly wasn't as bad as my first trip from Nashville to Lafayette. Driving in the evening actually makes it seem like time is going by faster since you don't have the sun constantly mocking you as it gives you a frame of reference for how long you have been on the road. I had lots of great music to listen to plus calls from a few friends and family who read my post yesterday and knew I'd be bored for a while. Roxi and I are now off to lunch and shopping for essential Thanksgiving meal items.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

The Road Home

I'm set to embark on my nine hour road trip to Lafayette, LA this afternoon. I haven't made the drive down there since April and I haven't used this particular route since last December. I've got a magazine full of CDs and my car cell phone charger which will connect me to the rest of the world if ever the monotony becomes too much to handle. I've got my dinner packed so that my stops will be minimal. I'm ready to rock as soon as I finish up some recording and editing this afternoon.

I'm really looking forward to a great visit and Thanksgiving dinner with Roxi's family. We won't be having Turducken, but if anyone is still interested in the Turducken Blog, check out the most recent entry which details a class taught by a professional, some important tips, and yet another type of bird combination: the Quaducant, a quail stuffed into a duck stuffed into a pheasant. Personally that sounds a little too froo-froo for Cajun country, although all three birds are certainly popular in the Sportsman's Paradise.

Monday, November 21, 2005

The Prisoner

The Prisoner, one of the most bizarre and enigmatic television series of all time, is about to be "reinvented." As with all remakes, the question that comes to mind is: Why? If a television show or movie was good to begin with, why is there this obsession to remake it? If it was crap to begin with, by all means, but so many good movies and TV shows are made into new bad movies and TV shows. Remakes are in general a lazy way far studios to try to cash in and sadly, people keep biting. It also strikes me as illustrating a lack of originality and creativity. But when did that ever stop Hollywood?

Sunday, November 20, 2005

A Pyrric Victory for Internet Users

A little over a year ago, I thought that my computer was dead but it turned out to be severely incapacitated by adware and spyware infections. As always, the Senate has it's pulse on important issues, so last week the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee approved what they are calling the Spyblock Act.

A U.S. Senate committee has approved a bill that would outlaw the practice of remotely installing software that collects a computer users' personal information without consent.

In addition to prohibiting spyware, the Spyblock (Software Principles Yielding Better Levels of Consumer Knowledge) Act would also outlaw the installation of adware programs without a computer user's permission.

Sadly, there will be loopholes as there are with the National Do Not Call List and as we all know, computer hackers don't really worry about operating within the realm of the law. It is a nice gesture to see the Senate taking a stand on the issue, but the end of spyware and adware will be the beginning of some other new and annoying type of intrusive software applications.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Tropical Storm Gamma

After almost a week of poor organization, Tropical Depression Gamma has pulled itself together enough to be upgraded to a tropical storm. This unprecedented storm will probably not strike the US but rather move across Cuba and out into the Atlantic. At least that's what the storm track shows for now. This hurricane season has been so active, I'm starting to wonder if we might see a storm develop after the season officially ends later this month.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Texas Aggie Bonfire '99

Today is the sixth anniversary of the collapse of the annual Aggie Bonfire that killed twelve students as it was being constructed.

I pretty much said all I have to say about it last year when the memorial was dedicated. I visited it about a month before it was dedicated and it was a very moving experience. It was my first time back at the site since I went out there in the days after Bonfire fell.

I'll never forget that morning six years ago and the sadness that became so identified with one of the most visible Aggie traditions. We will never forget.

Miranda Denise Adams
Christopher D. Breen
Michael Stephen Ebanks
Jeremy Richard Frampton
Jamie Lynn Hand
Christopher Lee Heard
Timothy Doran Kerlee, Jr
Lucas John Kimmel
Bryan A. McClain
Chad A. Powell
Jerry Don Self
Nathan Scott West

Thursday, November 17, 2005

The Glorious Turducken

Thanksgiving is only a week away and columnist Jane Roh has decided to undertake the task of making a Turducken from scratch. For the uninitiated, a Turducken is a very popular centerpiece of the Thanksgiving/Christmas dinner in south Louisiana. A Turducken is just like it sounds: a chicken stuffed in a duck stuffed in a turkey. All three birds are boneless and stuffed with cornbread dressing so that each slice of the Turducken is a delicious cross-section of juicy poultry and stuffing.

Not only is Roh attempting to make a Turducken, but she is also documenting the activity in a series of Turducken Blog articles. So far she has researched the origins of the Turducken as well as conducting a trial run with a chicken and Cornish game hen, AKA the Chick-Hen. If you want to try a Turducken without the hassle of actually making it yourself, you can mail-order one from the masters at Hebert's Specialty Meats in Maurice, LA.

Stay tuned to see if Jane can successfully conquer the Turducken in time for Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

A Victory In Cyberspace

The UN led World Summit on the Information Society opened today in Tunisia and to get the ball rolling, the representatives agreed for ICANN in the US to maintain oversight of the Internet. This ends, at least for now, an attempted seizure of that oversight, by the United Nations and more importantly by nations that do not fully support the notion of free political speech.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Political and Economic Impact of UN Control of the Internet

On the eve of the UN summit on the internet, the 350,000-member National Taxpayers Union has released a brief warning that plans for United Nations control of the internet "could choke political freedoms and soak taxpayers." The major impacts of a UN controlled internet could include the following:

-- Censorship. Despite having made a declaration of support for freedom of speech, many WGIG [Working Group on Internet Governance] members come from nations that severely curtail this right; China, for example, has one of the most restrictive and sophisticated Internet control mechanisms in the world. Just as other UN bodies have been "co-opted" by non-democratic governments, "an 'International Internet Commission' chaired by China might not be far off," [brief author Kristina] Rasmussen observed.

-- Taxes. Since the Internet's infancy the UN has crafted detailed proposals to tax online traffic. Rasmussen calculates that one 1999 plan for a "bit tax," adjusted for today's number of Internet users, would raise 12 trillion dollars this year - roughly equal to America's Gross Domestic Product. Even less ambitious money-raising models such as the independent, Switzerland-based "Digital Solidarity Fund" could feasibly be transformed into future collectors of compulsory Internet taxes and fees.

-- Bureaucratic Corruption. Given recent oil-for-food scandals, UN-style Internet agencies would present the inherent risk of "giving ruling members of regimes in the developing world shiny new computers rather than furnishing the poor with Internet access," Rasmussen said.

To make matters worse, host nation Tunisia is already cracking down on political dissenters in preparation for the summit. I'm afraid that this kind of action could spill into cyberspace if control of the Internet were put into the hands of those who would rather erase their opponents rather than debate them.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Home for the Holidays

I don't watch TV too much anymore, but I had it on while I was making dinner last night. I was halfway paying attention when a Wal-mart commercial came on with the members of Destiny's Child singing about how they were going to be home for the holidays. They're having a great time with their parents and families but immediately to me, something seemed missing. Where is Jay-Z? Don't you think Beyonce would want Jigga to spend Christmas with her family too? Or is it that Mr. and Mrs. Knowles don't want Hova around? What gives?

Beyonce not taking a picture of Shawn Carter.

Kazakhstan doesn't think Borat is very funny

The Kazakhstan Foreign Minister has threatened legal action against Sacha Baron Cohen over his Borat character. For those unfamiliar with Borat, he is a character on Da Ali G Show who travels the United States doing interviews in an effort to understand American culture. During his interviews, he usually talks about differences between America and Kazakhstan. If, as the article implies, Kazakhstan is basing their claim only on what Borat did during the MTV Europe Music Awards, they haven't seen some of the things he has said and done on Da Ali G Show. They are far worse than what I have read about the MTV Europe Awards. I hope this doesn't have any bearing on the Borat movie that is currently in production.

UPDATE: I was looking for this article earlier when I originally wrote this post. This story is more than a year old and pretty much covers the same territory.

Is this Gamma?

The twenty-seventh tropical depression of the year has formed and is becoming organized very slowly. Could this be record setting Tropical Storm Gamma? Only time will tell, but if it does develop, for now it appears that landfall along the Gulf Coast is very unlikely.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Five Questions

In today's Los Angeles Times, radio commentator Dennis Prager posed "[f]ive questions non-Muslims would like answered." Although he goes into more detail for each, here are the five basic questions:

1. Why are you so quiet?
2. Why are none of the Palestinian terrorists Christian?
3. Why is only one of the 47 Muslim-majority countries a free country?
4. Why are so many atrocities committed and threatened by Muslims in the name of Islam?
5. Why do countries governed by religious Muslims persecute other religions?

Read it all. He certainly makes a valid point.

UPDATE: So on question one, Jordan has expressed outrage over last week's terrorist bombings of three hotels that killed scores of Jordanian's at a wedding. Indonesian Muslims have joined in the chorus of condemnation of the suicide bombings as well. "Terrorists who are acting in the name of Islam are ruining the religion's reputation as a blessing to the universe." I hope that this statement speaks for the majority of Muslims, and non-Muslims alike, in the world.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Do or Die Time

Texas A&M played one of it's better road games this season, unfortunately it was still not enough to win against the Oklahoma Sooners. It was certainly a more exciting game to watch (the first quarter not withstanding) because the Aggies were literally still in it up until the end. However, a couple of really poor coaching decisions interrupted what could have been a major road win catapulting the Aggies into bowl eligibility. Now the Aggies are 5-5 with only one game left. Texas will be heading into College Station the day after Thanksgiving with their sites set on winning their first Big 12 Championship under Mack Brown and heading for the Rose Bowl to face Southern California.

The Aggies have been very inconsistent this year and have played miserably when it mattered most, but today they showed that they have something in them to make offensive plays even with a depleted receiving corps. Still though, the defense was too soft when it counted, especially at the end of the game. A bright spot for me was the play and more importantly the leadership of backup quarterback Stephen McGee. Starting QB Reggie McNeil left the game in the third quarter with an injury and McGee came in. Where McNeil's option game failed, McGee was able to capitalize. McGee does not have the speed or mobility of McNeil, but he showed poise and the ability to make plays in the option in response to the defense. If he could complete a pass, we'd have ourselves quite a quarterback.

So now, we are thirteen days from the annual showdown with Texas and it appears that Reggie will be out. With all the troubles of the season, I sort of hate to say it, but I'm ready to see McGee start against Texas so that we as Aggies can look to the future. When we hired Dennis Franchione three years ago, I predicted that 2005 would be the year that the Aggies could realistically compete with Texas and OU for the Big 12 South title. Sadly it hasn't worked out that way and no one really knows what the offseason holds for this coaching staff. I am ready for the future and with Reggie's eligibility ending this season, I'd just as soon see the next starting quarterback for Texas A&M lead the Aggies against Texas for the first time on our home field. We might not win, but at least McGee will have played against Texas before he surely starts next year in Austin.

This has most assuredly been a disappointing season and of course one could argue that it is not over yet. We have one game left to play and need only one win to become bowl eligible. Unfortunately, our only remaining game is against seemingly unbeatable Texas. Of course the last time we won the game, Texas was ranked fifth in the country and we were unranked, but both teams have moved tremendously in opposite directions since that clear November day in 1999. I have hopes that the team will play Texas like they think they can win, but outside of today, I have not seen them demonstrate that level of confidence this season. It's Do or Die Time guys! Let's show the state of Texas and the nation that A&M has not quit!

Friday, November 11, 2005

Veterans Day 2005

As we celebrated the United States Marine Corps yesterday, today we honor veterans of all wars and branches of the military in their defense on freedom and our way of life. The value of their sacrifices is immeasurable.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Football Causes Foot-In-Mouth

South Carolina State Representative John Altman is furious that Jefferson Pilot Sports has chosen to relegate the annual in-state rivalry game between South Carolina and Clemson to pay-per-view. He's so pissed off that he is considering introducing a bill to "deport the people who made this decision to Guantanamo Bay." Is it any wonder why people think politicians waste taxpayer money?

A Tale of Two Mayors

The cities of Hillsdale, MI and Roland, IA elected new mayors on Tuesday night. They both still live with their parents but that's not really too odd considering they are eighteen years old and are still high school students. Sam Juhl ran unopposed in Roland and captured 48% of the vote while Michael Sessions defeated the 51-year old incumbent in Hillsdale. More remarkably, Sessions won solely as a write in candidate as he was not old enough to be listed on the ballot at the filing deadline. Session's says, "The student comes first, it'll be 6 hours, and then mayor for 2 to 3 hours each day, so I can focus on both jobs." Good luck to both these young men and I only hope that they are not jaded and corrupted by political system.

From the Halls of Montezuma...

Today is the 230th birthday of the United States Marine Corps. Thanks to all those who have made their job defending our freedoms.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

List Eater Lookout

For those of you who are Aggies or who were reading my blog last December, you'll know all about the infamous List Eater. For those who aren't in the know or just don't want to follow my links, last December, while many Aggies were sleeping in their tents waiting for Cotton Bowl tickets to go on sale, the List Eater snuck to the front of the line ignoring the roll call list that students had been using for several days to maintain order and civility. When confronted, she took the list from one of the organizers and ate it. After refusing to take her proper place in line, she was verbally berated and it was suggested that she eat her Cotton Bowl tickets.

I'm not sure if anyone really knows if she had any fun in Dallas last New Years Day, but some clever Aggies are prepared as they are camping out for this years Thanksgiving game against top ranked Texas. In an effort to avoid the unfortunate events of last December, some students have unveiled the List Eater Lookout.

Of course as someone on the TexAgs message board pointed out, the List Eater is crafty and so this lookout post should be occupied 24/7. Either way, you've gotta love that college sense of humor!

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

False Alarm

If you live in New Kensignton, PA and something smells funny, it's not a meth lab...'s only urine from 35 cats.

Wal-mart's Plan for Pass Christian

Wal-mart is in discussions with Pass Christian, MS about how it will rebuild it's store that was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.

The redevelopment team envisions a two-story building with Wal-Mart on the ground floor and spaces on top for other businesses. Hall has said previously the facade could be built in the style of the community. A mixed commercial and residential Wal-Mart Village, offering affordable housing and narrow, walkable streets, could be built up around it.

Hall said the suggestion for Pass Christian's Wal-Mart could be the wave of the future. The store's rebuilding would be a boost to the city that would help it recapture some of its tax base.

The team gave a presentation, outlining plans that rely heavily on green spaces, to about 80 Pass Christian citizens.

Buildings that are zoned for multiple uses, such as apartments, condos, and retail shops, also are part of the plans. A public transportation system would run through the city with apartments and condominiums lining the CSX railroads tracks, which the team says would be more useful as a path for commuter trains.

This story is of interest to me due to my connection with Pass Christian. Roxi and I made three trips to her grandparents' camp in Pass Christian this past year and it was located directly adjacent to the Wal-mart. Her grandparents will most likely not rebuild the house as it was, but if these plans are approved, their property might end up seeing a new development in the future. Although in my experience Wal-marts are very crowded at all times and I wonder how that might carry over to this "village" proposal. Of course this is just one idea. Whatever the final decision is I would like to hope that July 4, 2005 was not our last visit to Pass Christian.

Monday, November 07, 2005

The Internet Senator Takes A Stand

Minnesota Senator Norm Coleman has made his response to Kofi Annan and the European Union concerning their plans to wrest control of the Internet from ICANN and the US. Coleman has been the most outspoken US official when it comes to maintaining control and for that he should be commended. I've said before that I find this power grab by the UN troubling, but I know that the US should and will prevail.

Paris isn't burning alone

Although you wouldn't know it from the daily news, but Paris isn't the only European city burning at the hands of rioters. Arhus, Denmark has had several days of riots eerily similar to those of Paris. They haven't spread quite like those in France, but they all seem to have common perpetrators.

Alabama Continues To Improve

A&M Head Coach Dennis Franchione's previous team has moved into the third spot in the latest BCS rankings. Alabama remains one of the three unbeatens along with Texas and USC. So the likely hood of a BCS meltdown are decreasing but as long as there are more than two unbeatens, it is just around the corner. Meanwhile, I can't help but wonder if Coach Fran regrets taking the big paycheck at A&M and all the expectations that have come with it. Not to say that Alabama fans don't have expectations, but at least there, it seemed like he accomplished something as is further evidenced by their continued progress.

Voice of the 13th Generation Turns One

Today is the first anniversary of the Voice of the 13th Generation. A lot has happened since I started this blog but I feel like I have stayed true to my initial mission.

Happy Blogiversary!

Sunday, November 06, 2005

College Football Coaches on the Hot Seat

As the college football season winds down, the game of Head Coaching Musical Chairs is getting together it's list of potential participants. So far this list includes three coaches from the Big 12 but does not include Coach Dennis Franchione at Texas A&M. As I have been reading this weekend, despite the growing displeasure with Fran's lack of progress with the Aggies, his job is likely safe for another year if he makes some changes in his supporting staff. If not, all bets are off and it could be a volatile December.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

A Shorter Night Than Expected, But Still Hard

The A&M game against Texas Tech wasn't the complete domination that I thought it would be, however it was still a long second half. I was ready for a loss and at least 70 points against us, but what really disappointed me was the fact that the score at halftime was only 10-14 with A&M getting the ball to start the second half. But as usual, A&M didn't make halftime adjustments while Tech did, not to mention the fact that we fumbled right out of the gate. So although the first half wasn't bad, the second half was just par for the course. I mean, the Aggies seemed to be enjoying themselves in the first half but it just got too out of hand in the second half.

So where does this leave us? 5-4 continuing our road trip to Norman to play a rested Oklahoma next week. Then we get a week off to prepare for the juggernaut of Texas. A win in either of those games will get us to bowl eligibility but the cost of such will not result in any changes in the coaching staff. I hate to say it but after three years, an overall losing record in the Fran era (16-17) and no sign of improvement in the next two games, it is already time for a major shakeup in the staff. Fran has to prove otherwise for me to let these last two weeks go.

UPDATE: Here are some sites of interest, under the current circumstances, that I found while reading through some thoughts on

Fire Torbush
: An effort to rid the Aggies of the man who rid the Aggies of the vaunted Wrecking Crew Defense.

Fran Under Fire!: Not a Fire Fran site (yet) but t-shirts are coming on Monday.

Fire Fran Petition: A Fire Fran site.

I don't know what the answer is but if you want to read about what "the experts" think, check out the A&M Football Forum on

UPDATE: One last thing I have to say for the night. I live in Tennessee and am constantly under the other UT's media curtain and I can say that as much heat that Fran and his staff is feeling right now, Phillip Fulmer and his are feeling it even more so. Fulmer has been at Tennessee for so long, he is feeling RC Slocum type heat right now and I can only wish him luck in navigating the minefield. It sucks for any coach especially when you are having a down year or your effectiveness has passed. I would say that the problem with Aggie coaching really bothers me right now but in a different way than it bothered me in the latter years of RC. But the fact that Fulmer's Tennessee completely dominated us last year and has somehow fallen further than we have over the course of this season is satisfying. It does not make our year any more palatable, but at least it puts our troubles into perspective.

Getting Prepared For A Long Night

I've been watching football since noon just wanting the A&M game against Texas Tech to get started. The sooner it starts, the sooner it will be over. And speaking of sooner, the Oklahoma Sooners will be using their week off to watch our game and prepare for the Aggies' visit to Norman next week.

Even though our record is 5-3 at this point in the season, it is an utter disappointment. Many people picked to Aggies to be a true challenger to Texas for the Big 12 South title but it turns out that role belongs to Texas Tech (who really can only get it if someone knocks off Texas by Thanksgiving). Instead of challenging Texas, we are entering into a game with one of the worst passing defenses in the country about to face the best passing offense. And it doesn't get any easier after that. The Aggies travel to Norman to play Oklahoma before ending the regular season at home against what looks to be an unstoppable Texas team.

Now I know anything can happen, but the chances of losing the next three games are very high. Three loses would leave the Aggies with a 5-6 record and out of the bowl picture for the second time in Coach Dennis Franchione's three year tenure. It wouldn't be such a big deal if it didn't seem like we were improving last year as we entered the Cotton Bowl against Tennessee, but from the start of that game on to last Saturday against Iowa State, the team has taken leaps in the wrong direction.

I for one wasn't a believer that the Aggies had a big win in them when we defeated the top ranked Sooners in 2002, but they surprised me. But that was a different coach with a different team. I am even less confident that the Aggies can upset the Red Raiders in Lubbock tonight. Time will tell but I am ready with a bottle of liquor to dull the pain of a season spiraling out of control.

Don't ever see "Chapter 27"

Jared Leto and Lindsay Lohan will begin filming Chapter 27 early next year. It is a film about John Lennon's killer and why he committed the murder. Leto will play Lennon's killer and Lohan will play a Beatles fan who befriends Lennon's killer.

So if you are wondering why I haven't referred to Lennon's killer by name yet, it's because any Beatles/John Lennon fan knows why John was murdered. His killer did it so that he could steal Lennon's fame. So all true Beatles/Lennon fans refuse to ever utter the killer's name so that he will not be able to further his infamous celebrity.

Apparently writer/director Jarrett Schaeffer isn't a fan of John Lennon or he'd know this. Neither is Jared Leto otherwise he wouldn't take the part. In fact if I ever see Leto in a Beatles or John Lennon t-shirt I will know that it is for fashion because no true fan would ever be associated with anything that could possibly bring any notoriety to Lennon's killer.

The same goes for Lindsay Lohan but I expect this kind of thing from her because she is a naive child. She probably has no sense of who Lennon was because she was born after his murder plus she'll pretty much do whatever her handlers tell her. If that includes ever wearing a Beatles or John Lennon t-shirt, shame on them all.

I know what you are thinking...Leto, Lohan and Schaeffer are doing a psychological study of the mind that murdered a music icon. BULLSHIT! They are making a movie for money and in doing so are propping up the celebrity of Lennon's killer. This movie should not be made and should definitely not be seen by any true fan of the Beatles or John Lennon.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Another Protest Turns Violent

Protests at the Summit of the Americas in Argentina have turned violent mere hours after demonstrators called President Bush a fascist and a terrorist. I'll never understand the logic of protests against the United States and President Bush that degrade into violence. The demonstrators decry the aggression of the US and then they burn buildings. Until these protests don't end in injury, destruction and death, the causes of such demonstrators have no credibility.

Comment dit-on "insurgents?"

Much has been made over how the media has referred to perpetrators of terrorist acts in Iraq since the beginning war. As everyone knows, it is a toss-up between "insurgents" and "terrorists." It is a hard task to determine if bombings are being carried out by true native Iraqis, Iraqis sponsored by other Middle Eastern interests or foreign terrorists. Really it's probably a combination of all three although there are almost certainly a large number foreign terrorists working in Iraq for many of the same reasons the US is there: to fight a war there rather then in their home countries.

But this is an old argument, so why is it important now? Because of what is happening in the Paris suburbs. I have been seeing the stories every morning for a week now thinking that these riots will be quelled by the next day. However, it seems that it has gotten worse very quickly. In fact they don't really seem like riots any more if they are as organized as some reports have claimed. So are we witnessing an insurgency inside France? Don't count on it getting branded as such although it seems to fit the definition that is being applied in Iraq.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Camp Katrina's New Mission

Camp Katrina has a new look and a new message. Phil Van T. has come to the conclusion that "[t]here'’s only so much you can write about a month-long deployment to New Orleans."

So Camp Katrina's expanded mission will now include telling the stories of the US military's humanitarian efforts around the world.

"Camp Katrina: Proving that the United States military does much more than just kill people and break things."

Check it out!

Monday, October 31, 2005

The Great American Novel

I went to check out what movie the Filthy Critic reviewed this week and lo and behold, he didn't review anything! He seems to have a good reason though. National Novel Writing Month started an hour ago Central Time and Filthy plans on taking part. It sounds like a pretty cool idea: you've got 30 days to write 50,000 words (175-page novel). The idea is not to get hung up too much on the editing and proof reading but more to get the story out there. It kind of reminds me of The 24-Hour Film Contest. So for anyone out there who has always felt that they had a story to tell but no motivation to do it, now is your time! Write The Great American Novel!

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Happy Halloween!

I must admit that these jack-o-lanterns are from a carving party I went to two years ago, but I'm still very proud of the "Hallowizzle Fo Shizzle" design that I carved. Still my proudest pumpkin carving moment ever!

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Texas A&M: Building Champions...

...One losing football season at a time.


...One bonehead coaching decision at a time.


...One unprepared team at a time.

Take your pick, or choose them all. I don't care.

It's going to be an excruciating November.

Hurricane Beta!!!

Tropical Storm Beta officially became Hurricane Beta very early this morning. There is no threat of a strike on the US at this time but it is a milestone in that yet another record has fallen this hurricane season.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Number 13?

Tropical Storm Beta has formed and could officially become the thirteenth hurricane of the season. The records just continue to fall.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Say It Ain't So!

The White Sox are the 2005 World Series Champions in a four-game sweep of the Houston Astros. If only Brandon Backe could have pitched one more inning, I might be writing about tomorrows Game 5 night now. But alas, this was the White Sox's year.

Congratulations Chicago (but only to the true White Sox fans, not the bandwagon posers who will run back to the Cubs as soon as possible).

World Series Game 4

I had to do some tutoring tonight so I am late getting my Game 4 post done but that might be a good thing. Not much to say after last night and my earlier post. At this point, I'd just like to see the Astros force Game 5 but whatever the results, at least I can say the team I was rooting for lost the longest World Series game ever. So far we are scoreless in the bottom of the third and Brandon Backe is pitching well for Houston. Here's to hoping that his arm holds on for another few innings.

Let's go Astros!

Bias and Perception

As I was watching Game 3 of the World Series last night, I was very frustrated with what was becoming an unwinnable game for the Astros. As the extra innings piled up, I was less and less confident of an Astros win after a couple of missed opportunities. Following an Astros double play, Geoff Blum hit a solo home run in the top of the fourteenth inning to put the White Sox ahead by 1. Suddenly the bases were loaded and Blum and company in the dugout were shown holding four fingers up to the crowd taunting them about a potential grand slam. I was infuriated by the cockiness of it. When the Astros failed to score in the bottom of the fourteenth and the game was over, I went to bed agitated. I was agitated by the lack of respect that I felt everyone was giving the Houston Astros.

After sleeping on it last night though, I reminded myself that bias is all a matter of perception. If the commentators seemed like they were overly praising the White Sox, it's only because they moved ahead to 3-0 in the Series. If it seemed like the White Sox players were mocking the Astros, it's only because they were excited about their team's prospects of winning a World Series for the first time in 88 years, almost twice as long as the Astros have existed! On top of all that, I read a few posts on some message boards before going to sleep and some White Sox fans thought that the coverage by Fox commentators in Game 3 was slanted towards Houston! So bias is certainly in the eye of the beholder.

I am disappointed that Game 4 could be the end for the Astros, but I can say that at least we've gotten our money's worth in the first three games. I wish the balls had bounced a little differently, but I can't say that Games 2 and 3 haven't been exciting games to watch full of ups and downs. Bring on the drama!

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

World Series Game 3

Just when it looked like the Astros were going to lose, they tied up Game 2 only to lose it in the bottom of the ninth on a home run. So what if there was a questionable call in the eighth inning and so what if they played the game in a downpour. That game is in the past and tonight things get going in Houston. Of course this game is not without controversy as the commissioner of Major League Baseball was at odds with the Astros today as to weather the roof of Minute Maid Park should be open or closed tonight. Houston has been ordered to have the roof open for all games in Houston at this point. Regardless of all that, the Astros need a win behind Roy Oswalt who's pitched three winning games so far in this post-season.

Let's go Astros!

How Much Is Your Blog Worth?

I ran across this cool site today that calculates how much your blog is worth based on data collected at Technorati. I'm surprised to see that my blog is worth more than $0.02 considering that's all I'm writing here (rim shot!).

My blog is worth $2,822.70.
How much is your blog worth?

Monday, October 24, 2005

Another October, Another BCS Controversy Brewing

The latest BCS rankings put Texas on top of USC by 0.0007 points despite both teams still being undefeated. At a relatively distant third through sixth are the remaining four unbeaten teams. There is still a lot of football left and come the end of the regular season, all of these teams could still be unbeaten but the SEC, ACC and Big 12 championships might change some of that. Or any of these teams could stumble in the next month. But as it stands now, if only half of the unbeaten teams make it through the rest of the season unscathed, it sets up the situation of three unbeatens vying for two spots in the National Championship game. Not to mention the fact that there are two unconnected sets of polls at work who will crown their own National Champions. It is definitely still too early to really complain about another BCS failure, but the stage is set. Sadly, there is too much money involved for the powers that be to let these kinds of things get settled where they belong: on the field of play.

New Hurricane Naming Convention

Phil Van T. at Camp Katrina has issued a challenge to the World Meteorological Organization to do away with the lists of unrepresentative names of hurricanes used every year and replace it a Star Wars themed list.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

World Series Game 2

The Astros played pretty well last night especially for a team that is making it's first ever appearance in the World Series. Unfortunately, Roger Clemens couldn't make it past two innings. Here's to hoping that Andy Pettitte and his World Series experience can even up the series for the Astros tonight.

Let's go Astros!

Saturday, October 22, 2005

World Series Game 1

Game 1 of the World Series is just about to start featuring the first ever appearance of the Houston Astros and the first appearance of the Chicago White Sox since 1959.

The Astros began play in 1962 as the Houston Colt .45's and defeated the Chicago Cubs in their first game. Does that bode well for the 'Stros in the Fall Classic?

Who wants it more?

I know one person that wants an Astros victory.

Historic Hurricane Season

2005 has captured the record from 1931 as the busiest hurricane season in recorded history. Tropical Storm Alpha has emerged as the twenty-second named storm of the year. Meanwhile, Hurricane Wilma is moving off the Yucatan Peninsula back over water and is beginning it's lumbering trek towards Florida. It's strength has been reduced to Category 2 but the reduction came at the expense of the resort towns of Cozumel and Cancun. That now brings the number of destroyed regions that I've visited in the last year up to four. But like my dad said last night, "There really isn't any part of the Gulf Coast that hasn't been hit this year." Indeed.

Roxi's Artwork

Check out Grope For Luna to see some of Roxi's amazing artwork.

Whew! Aggies move to 2-0 in untelevised games...barely!

The Aggies game against Kansas State just ended and A&M barely squeaked by to win 30-28. Again, I had to "watch" it on Yahoo! Sports via box score updates every 30 seconds. Things seemed to be going well in the first quarter when A&M jumped out to a 14-0 lead but then on fourth and one in the red zone, the Aggies elected to fake (!?) an almost guaranteed field goal. They didn't convert and from then on I had a nagging bad feeling.

Ever since A&M beat K-State in the Big 12 Championship in 1998, the Aggies haven't lost to the Wildcats, but there have been a string of games where the Aggies dominated the entire game only to let the victory nearly slip away. Today was no different. By the beginning of the fourth quarter, I was getting very nervous and really starting to think that my no TV win/loss record was going to lose out to Tim Smith's road game win/loss record. Thankfully the Aggies improved to 2-0 in untelevised games and have finally won their first road game of the year.

The Aggies now only need one more win to achieve bowl eligibility and we have at least one more winable game against Iowa State which is at home. The only thing yet to be determined is the television coverage. Earlier this week, A&M was put on six-day advanced notice of television coverage. This means that A&M/Iowa State could be played at 11:30 AM on FSN, 2:30 PM on ABC, 6:00 PM on TBS or possibly not at all. So we are undefeated at home and undefeated when we are not on TV so my vote is no TV for the Iowa State game to take advantage of both streaks. We'll have to wait until tomorrow after the dust settles from today's games for the official announcement though. But we're really going to need a win next week because we might not have a reasonable shot at a win for the rest of the season.

UPDATE: The powers that be at the TV networks have made their decisions. A&M will face Iowa State at 2:30 PM on ABC next Saturday. Here's to keeping this season's home win streak alive!

Friday, October 21, 2005

The 12% Day

Since Google reported that quarterly earnings amounted to $1.6 billion, the stock has had an equally awe inspiring performance.

After hours trading last night and the positive movement today amounted to the stock price increasing by $36.70, or 12.10%, to close at a remarkable $339.90.

(Click to enlarge)

I wish I'd had more money back in April when I purchased five shares of GOOG at a mere $188.60 a share. It seemed like a lot too me back then even though I had faith that it would be a good investment. I just thought it might take several years to nearly double in value!

The Great Barbecue Debate

There's trouble brewing at Instapundit this morning over a derogatory comment that Glenn Reynolds made about Texas barbecue. The backlash from his Texas readers has been immense.

As a Louisiana native who grew up eating barbecued chicken and boudin (that's what us poor Louisiana folk eat), I only really learned about this great debate when I moved to College Station for my undergraduate years at Texas A&M. Joel and Tim made sure to let me know how Texans felt about barbecue. Many an evening was spent at the now defunct Tom's Bar-B-Q enjoying the Aggie Special.

My barbecue education was furthered when I moved east to Atlanta for graduate school at Georgia Tech. After my time in Texas, I found it very odd that you couldn't get beef brisket in that part of the country. In Atlanta, barbecue was all about the pork ribs. Dreamland and Fat Matt's sure know how to cook 'em!

When I moved back Texas to live in Austin, I was re-introduced to Texas barbecue with the help of Stubb's, County Line, Rudy's, and Salt Lick. Heck I even made some long drives out of town to visit Cooper's in Llano and Black's in Lockhart.

Of course now I live in Nashville and am back in a place where pork is the meat of choice for barbecuing. Joel of course hasn't let up in telling me that pork is not barbecue so some things never change. And although I can't say that I have been enamored with the pulled pork style of barbecue, I don't think it is all bad. I've had some good experiences at Bar-B-Cutie and Neely's, but whenever I feel the need for some Texas style beef brisket, I head over to Judge Bean's.

So I suppose the debate will rage on and of course everyone will think that their idea of barbecue is right but I can say that as long as I am a carnivore, I will not pass up the chance of any type of barbecue, be it pork, chicken, beef or sausage no matter how it is cooked or what kind of sauce is served.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

SportsJustice and Joel B!

Joel was quoted in the Houston Chronicle's SportsJustice blog today!

Just a note to let you know that I opened the window of my apartment last night in the Upper West Side and let all my New York neighbors know who just won the NL pennant. My wife and I were sipping Champagne, and I was fielding calls from my family in Houston. I love this team and Houston, my hometown, and we will party every game of the World Series (hot dogs and more Champagne.)

- Joel in Manhattan

Read more about it from Katie's perspective.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Astros vs. White Sox

Congratulations to the Houston Astros for advancing to the World Series for the first time in franchise history!

Having spent several years in College Station and Austin, I have several friends who have been rooting for the Astros since childhood. This means as much to them as it does to the players who took the team there. This post goes out to my H-town friends especially Joel, Chris and Mike. I know that after Monday night, Katie was working extra hard to help console Joel in far away New York but tonight made all that better!

Blog Spam

Over the weekend, Blogspot was hit with a splogbomb (spam blog bomb) which automatically generated hundreds of "fake" blogs with popular keywords so that those blogs would be listed highest on blog search engines. It sounds all very confusing but Mark Cuban, investor in one such blog search engine, is pissed.

I can't say that I am surprised this kind of thing happened because spam seems to be an inevitable part of everything internet related these days. Spam is to the internet what autodialers were to telemarketers. I mean the day that I started to see spam comments in my blog, I knew that it was only a matter of time before a major blog hijacking attempt was made. I only wish Google had been more prepared to handle it.

2005 Hurricane Season is one for the record books

Hurricane Wilma has potentially set the record for the strongest hurricane on record in the Atlantic. Preliminary reconnaissance data suggest that the barometric pressure of the Category 5 storm is 882 millibars, smashing the previous record of 888 millibars. I say this is preliminary because several analyses of the data from Hurricane Katrina have suggested that she was actually weaker than orginally thought when she made landfall.

Wilma might also be the fastest to reach Category 5 but I'm not sure about that one. All I know is that yesterday morning, it was still a tropical storm and now only twenty-four hours later, it is quite possibly the strongest Category 5 ever recorded. Wilma was able to achieve this status in what might be record time because the internal barometric pressure was dropping at a staggering 8 millibars per hour. According to Brendan Loy, this is extremely impressive considering that a rate of 1 millibar per hour is considered "rapid intensification."

Of course regardless of where Wilma strikes the US Gulf Coast, she will undoubtedly be much weaker by that time, most likely a Category 3, but we have seen what such a storm can do. However, this Category 5 version or even a strong Category 4 could devastate any of the Caribbean islands or cities in Mexico that are currently in it's path on the way to the Gulf Coast.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

The Colbert Report

The funniest correspondent on the Daily Show now has his own show and I am very happy.

I have been enjoying Colbert's deadpan reports and interviews since the days when Craig Kilborn hosted the Daily Show. I still remember watching the press conference announcing that Jon Stewart would be the new host. When Jon asked if there were any more questions, Stephen Colbert stood up and said asked the following: "Hello Jon, Stephen Colbert with the Daily Show. How will your hiring effect my chances of becoming the new host?" I, like Jon Stewart, was rolling with laughter.

Six years later Stephen is finally getting a much deserved promotion as host of The Colbert Report. After two shows I have to say that I am hooked. Make no mistake, the Colbert Report is not the Daily Show. It is the news magazine to the Daily Show's evening news. It even has a really spiffy website for those of us in the Colbert Nation. I hope that Comedy Central gives the Report time to develop a following because the world needs more Colbert!

Monday, October 17, 2005

Ben Goes To Mississippi

Ben, one of my roommates and former classmates at SAE, left Nashville for Gulfport yesterday to start doing construction work as the Gulf Coast continues to recover from Hurricane Katrina. He'll be down there for a couple of weeks making a considerable amount of money helping to rebuild the area. It sounds like he will be living in a house with the other contractors he'll be working with. Hopefully the living conditions are better in Gulfport than they are for people working to rebuild New Orleans.

Meanwhile, in the Caribbean, Tropical Storm Wilma has formed and looks to be headed into the Gulf of Mexico by this weekend. Wilma is the twenty-first named storm of the season making 2005 the most active hurricane season since 1933. It also marks the end of the alphabetic list of names allocated at the beginning of the season. Any more named storms this year will be historic. If a new storm forms, 2005 will officially set the record for the most active season since storm records began in 1851. Since we're out of names, storms will be named for letters of the Greek alphabet from here on out. So it will be interesting indeed considering the season still has another month and a half left.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Camp Katrina

I just received an email from Spc. Phil Van Treuren of the Ohio Army National Guard who was writing on the subject of his blog about experiences he and the Guard had during Operation Vigilant Relief along the Gulf Coast. His blog has interesting first hand stories, excellent Katrina related links and amazing pictures of both New Orleans and Mississippi from a Blackhawk helicopter. Check out Camp Katrina to read about the wonderful work being done by Ohio's men and women in uniform to help those affected by Hurricane Katrina.

Texas A&M 1-0 in untelevised games this season

While I was watching the exciting game between USC and Notre Dame, the Aggies were putting together their best performance of the year since defeating SMU earlier this season. However, I only got updates every sixty seconds on my laptop through Yahoo! Sports. One thing I can say is that it made the game go by more quickly but I'm sure it would have been more excruciating had A&M been on the losing end today. I was really worried about the Aggies continuing the descent into mediocrity but with a mere two more wins, the team will be bowl eligible. We'll see how it goes next week against Kansas St. but it is also not televised and so far our record in untelevised games is perfect!

As far as the USC/Notre Dame game goes, as much as I hate to say it, Notre Dame deserves to move up in the rankings for the way they played today. USC just had the National Championship spirit that helped them win in the end. And if anyone disagrees with the way the game ended, the referees did make the right call however strange and unfair it might have seemed. What I can say is that USC will have to play a lot better than they did today if they expect to beat Texas assuming both teams make it to the Rose Bowl in January.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Wanted: Work for a guy who looks like Pierce Brosnan

The rumors have been confirmed that Daniel Craig will be the sixth official James Bond starting with next years' Casino Royale. The bad news for this guy is that Craig has blond hair and looks nothing like Pierce Brosnan. What I find so funny about his blog is that it has only been around for two days but even Brosnan himself knew that he had been sacked, as the Brits like to say, for at least a year. I guess he could get work if Brosnan somehow convinces enough studio execs that the public has been yearning for a Remington Steele movie for the past eighteen years.

More on Spanish Flu

Charles Krauthammer has a really great editorial about how bad the artificial resurrection of the Spanish Flu is for the world. It only takes one deranged or homicidal crackpot to release this stuff.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Tourism is the key to Louisiana recovery

Louisiana is a state that is dependent on tourism for the economy. It is typically the main source of income for the state and it needs it now more than ever to rebuild after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The rich cultural heritage of south Louisiana is the biggest draw for the state and so it comes as no surprise that Mardi Gras organizers have vowed that the celebration will continue in New Orleans on February 28, 2006. I don't expect it to be the full blown Mardi Gras that the city is accustomed to, however it will be a good thing for continuity and as a symbol that New Orleans will return to it's former glory.

As we approach the middle of the college football season, I was saddened to learn that of the two holiday bowl games usually played in New Orleans, only one will be hosted in the state this year. The New Orleans Bowl typically played in the Superdome will be played on December 20 in my hometown of Lafayette at Cajun Field, the home to the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns. I'm glad to see that at least this third-tier bowl is staying in the state that so desperately needs the revenue. However, the decision to move the BCS Sugar Bowl to Atlanta strikes me as kicking the state while it's down. Tiger Stadium on the campus of LSU in Baton Rouge is more than capable of hosting the Sugar Bowl as it is much larger that Atlanta's Georgia Dome and it would aid in recovery as fans' dollars would be spent in a state that needs them. But come January 2, 2006, the Sugar Bowl will be the Peach Bowl II.

Finally the annual Bayou Classic between Grambling State and Southern University will move from it's home at the Superdome to Reliant Stadium in Houston for this year's Thanksgiving matchup. Understandably, Texas needs some relief from Hurricane Rita as well so I can let this one slide a little, however Shreveport was considered as a potential site of this years game. I can't help but think that organizers could have been a little more considerate about the impact that these moves will have on a state that is already in desperate need of a return of the tourism it is so dependent upon.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

American Airlines' Position on the Wright Amendment

At Jody's wedding this weekend, I learned about American Airlines' PR campaign fighting to keep the Wright Amendment. Joel and Katie flew to Houston from New York on American and Joel saved a page from their inflight magazine with this advertisement.

After reading through this ad and checking out their related website, I couldn't help but wonder why they are investing money in an effort to keep the Wright Amendment if they claim that the amendment is not protecting them in any way. Although it is true that Southwest could offer flights from DFW at vacant gates, why should they be forced to leave their headquarter airport of Love Field in order to be allowed by law to offer flights beyond states that border Texas? It is a very good question.

Certainly, Southwest could offer flights at DFW at any time, but why should they have to invest in any more infrastructure at an additional airport in order to abide by a law designed to stifle the viability of Love Field? Our country claims to be a free market so I say let the consumer decide if Southwest should offer flights from DFW. If Southwest were allowed to increase their destinations out of Love Field, consumers would surely let both Love Field and DFW know how they felt about it simply by volume of travel through the two airports. If consumers don't like using Love Field, they won't. That will settle the matter.

Another important fact that I don't think either side has addressed in the literature I have seen is that of flight delays. It is common knowledge that large airports/hubs are plagued with long delays due to overscheduling. I decided to do a little research and check the report card for DFW and Love Field for the month of July 2005. Here's what I found through the Department of Transportation and the Bureau of Transportation Statistics:

Examining the second line of stats on each of the above pages shows that Southwest beats American Airlines in every category for the month. The volume of Southwest flights is roughly one-fifth of that of American, but still, percentages are percentages. So after looking at this data, my question is, should Southwest subject their better record of on-time flights to the already high volume of activity at DFW? Again, perhaps the consumer should decide, but this will hurt both airlines if they are located at DFW because I wager that all stats will increase as a result of increased traffic.

American Airlines does offer the option of using Love Field as a regional hub and DFW as a national hub. I don't have an issue with the idea in principle, but again this begs the question of why should Southwest develop more infrastructure when it has everything it needs in place at Love Field. Houston has two airports and until earlier this year, Southwest operated in a regional capacity out of Bush Intercontinental Airport. They have since limited their service to Houston Hobby from where they can fly to any of Southwest's 59 other destinations. Houston seems to be surviving with two airports, why shouldn't Dallas be able to as well?

In the end, I'm not convinced that American Airlines is truly accepting of the idea of Southwest moving some or all of it's operations to DFW. They know that Southwest has little or no intention of doing so and are offering up the idea as a token. I have confidence that if Southwest did change course and move operations to DFW, American Airlines would fight it through more legislation rather than through the court of public consumerism. Until then, I am still support an end this archaic piece of legislation and allowing Love free.

Wright is Wrong! Set Love Free!

Daniel Craig is the new Bond

After months of speculation, it appears that a new James Bond has been cast while another has been cast aside. I haven't seen Layer Cake, and I don't know anything else about Daniel Craig, but I do know that I was really excited about Pierce Brosnan taking over as James Bond up until I saw GoldenEye. Rumor has it that this new incarnation of Bond will be more akin to the Ian Fleming concept as laid out in the first novel and soon to be new film, Casino Royale. It better be good because it will be hard to forget the silliness that David Niven, Peter Sellers, Woody Allen and Orson Wells made with their parody of the genre. Really, I couldn't care much less because the last few movies have been downright dreadful.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Wonderful Weekend

The weekend wedding of my good friend Jody was quite a fun reunion of old friends and an introduction of some new ones. We started the wedding festivities on Friday afternoon with the rehearsal followed by dinner and then some time at a local bar reliving the old college days as well as bonding with new additions to our respective lives, namely significant others.

Me, Tim, Lidia and Roxi

Mark, Tim, me, Jody and Joel

On Saturday it was off to the wedding itself and the normally hot Houston weather couldn't have cooperated better. It was actually a pleasure to wear a tuxedo outside.

Melissa and Jody

Finally, on Sunday it was family time with Travis' future in-laws. I also got to see Travis' new Aggie Ring and pose for this picture.

Friday, October 07, 2005

More on the Wright Amendment

I feel the need to further clarify my opposition to the Wright Amendment in response to a comment on one of my posts on the subject. The comment was posted today by "Anonymous" but I address this post not only to him or her, but to anyone who doesn't already understand the protectionist law.

I'm not sure who anonymous is, but although we are in agreement as to allowing for direct competition between Southwest and other airlines in Dallas, I don't feel that Southwest is currently in the position to say they have an unfair advantage by operation out of Love Field as opposed to DFW.

Currently, flights out of Love Field by Southwest are restricted to destinations within Texas or states adjacent to Texas and also the Birmingham airport in Alabama. So there are only 16 direct destinations from Dallas-Love Field although Southwest operates flights in 60 cities. Of those 16 flights offered out of Dallas, only 7 of them are to airports outside the state of Texas. So the low cost business model that Southwest strives for is being undercut by the ridiculous Wright Amendment. It is adding to the cost of flights to and from Dallas because it creates extra and in most cases unnecessary layovers and flight connections.

I don't think that moving Southwest's operations to DFW are necessary to allow for competition but rather lifting of this ludicrous restriction on Love Field. Don't believe me? Listen to this price comparison. I randomly chose December 7, 2005 as a day that I would fly one-way from Nashville to Dallas. The search result I got on American Airlines' website was $327.70 for a direct flight to DFW that lasts 2 hours. I checked the same flight origin and destination on Southwest's website and got the following results: The flight from Nashville to Houston is 2 hours. After a 1 hour layover in Houston, the flight to Love Field is an additional hour making the total trip time 4 hours at a cost of $192.40.

Based on the above search, imagine how inexpensive the flight would be if there was an option that went directly from Nashville to Love Field! It stands to reason that such a flight would be comparable to the price of the flight from Nashville to Houston: $137.70. It seems like the Wright Amendment is only making direct flights cost more as a sort of convenience fee for half the flying time. But why should that convenience fee be even close to 80% or more?

I haven't heard one convincing reason why the Wright Amendment shouldn't be repealed. Some, like Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, say that it would harm businesses at DFW. But why is American Airlines charging so much more for the same service? Are you getting anything more for your money? According to Joel, you are not.

Wright is Wrong! Set Love Free!