Day +5: Interesting Translation

Visiting the hospital today, we noticed a a sign promoting Flu safety.

It was the Spanish version that caught my eye.

"La Gripe" is Spanish for the flu. And it sounds much more threatening and severe.

"A dios mios, not la gripe!"

Influenza sounds more clinical. "The flu" is somewhat dismissive.

"La Gripe" grips you.

What Passes for Entertainment

I was reading the latest version of Texas Co-op Power Magazine, the periodical that I get because I'm get my electricity from GVEC, and I came across this article.

What struck me first is that with today's low standards for entertainment, the Texas Giants would definitely get a reality TV opportunity. We'd see them fight over a tall girl, one would marry a midget, they'd play basketball in a rec league. I'm going to start looking for a tall group of brothers today.

I also thought about how the entertainment scene in their time was so incredibly limited in comparison to today. No TV, no radio, no movie theaters, no Internet … Nothing. So a traveling circus was huge. It brought sights and sounds and characters that the local people had never known. A perfect scenario for a hustler/promoter/producer like PT Barnum.

I think the reality TV producers and developers are today's PT Barnums. But they have so much competition and clutter that they have to be much better than Barnum. They have to find the extremes, the people who are so far over the top that the "normal" people in this world will take notice and, more importantly, give their time and eyeballs and ears.

But this consistent effort to drill down deeper and deeper, this race to the bottom is not without reward.

H.L. Mencken captured it perfectly. "Nobody ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American public."

All I have to say to prove this point is "Honey Boo Boo."

A New Place in an Old Town

I've been to Cleveland several times since on business since July 2012.

Every time, I've stayed at the same Holiday Inn.

But this trip, I'm at a different hotel, and I'm finding myself feeling very awkward, The two hotels are not that far apart.

It's just that I had a clear route to and from the office. I knew where restaurants were located, and I knew where the Walgreens was.

But here, I have to rely on Google Maps to get me there. After a couple of days, I'm sure I'll become more comfortable with my new route, and I'll see restaurants and stores along the way.

I'll get by. It just feels like it would be better if I was at the Holiday Inn.

I’m NOT the Holiday Inn

Joy of joys. I've just discovered that the Holiday Inn Express in Hutto, Texas has a similar phone number to mine. While my number has a 210 area code, the Hutto Holiday Inn Express is 512.

So, if someone in the 210 area code isn't careful and doesn't include the area code, they get me.

I think I'll use this to my advantage and start booking our guest room.

Turning 50

It's a landmark birthday. The big Five-o.

We're celebrating it tomorrow night with a few friends, but today's the day.

And how did they figure it out? The folks at AARP. They timed it just right, and I received my first AARP card. It's not really a card, it's tied to an offer for me to join.

I'm fine with it, but my wife Irene is NOT on board with the spouse getting a free membership (and card). She has no interest in being old.

I just think the discounts are cool.

It was just a drip

On American Airlines from San Antonio to DFW, the flight attendant reaches from the aisle to my window seat to hand me a glass of water. She sloshed it a bit, a single drop of water spilled out and landed on the leg of the older lady sitting next to me.

She didn't seem to know where to direct her anger … at me or at the flight attendant. So she gave both of us the angriest look, as if we'd doused her with a gallon of ice water.

She seemed angry the remaining 30 minutes of the flight, and gave me another crappy look as we stepped into the aisle to leave the plane.

So, have a nice day 16E, I hope that's the worst thing that happens to you today.

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Happy 2013

It's another new year, another chance to gaze forward with thoughts of an ideal 365 days filled with positive thoughts, productive actions and pleasant times.

If only we could just sit back and plan out the next 12 months and then sit back and watch the time unfold like some kind of autopilot existence.

But really, how much fun would that be? Don't you think it would get kind of boring without the unexpected changes that life causes?

It's alot like good reality TV … it's the twists that make things interesting.

Wait, did I just say "good reality TV"? Not sure where this year is going.

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LL Cool J – Bad Ass or Old Man Beater?

On the surface, the story makes LL Cool J sound like his NCIS former Navy Seal character … Potential burglar breaks into his house in the middle of the night, LL "detains" the burglar, breaks his nose, jaw and ribs in the process.

He lives his lyrics – "Mama said knock you out."

But the guy he detained/pummeled is a three-time loser who is 56 years old.

I'm not faulting LL for going upside this guy's head, he was defending his home and his family. But I'm thinking it might not have been a fair fight.

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Another Anniversary

It was just 31 short years ago today that I proudly marched across the parade field at MCRD San Diego as part of the graduating platoon 2036.

I look back at that date every year and remind myself that if I commit myself for 84 days, if I physically and mentally test myself around the clock for just 12 consecutive weeks, I can easily sharpen my mind and strengthen my body so that anything is possible.

And then I realize that I struggle to keep that kind of focus for 12 hours, let alone 12 weeks. Today, I've got a better shot at 84 minutes of that kind of commitment than 84 days.

But then I think of something my old drill instructor used to say. "You can stand here and say 'Man I'm screwed' or you can pull your head out of your boot and unscrew yourself."

Yes, he was right then, and he's right now.

Semper Fi.

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Questions from the Checkout Line

So I'm waiting to purchase some Diet Coke, tortillas, popcorn and bread, pretty standard fare at our house. I look at the impulse buy rack next to me and I'm struck with this question:

What makes "Jewel of the Nile" a $6.99 DVD, while "Adventures in Babysitting" and "While You Were Sleeping" are priced at $4.99?

Is there some Discount DVD Index (the DDVDI) that says the sequel to "Romancing the Stone" is worth $2 more than the Elizabeth Shue-fueled comedy or the Sandra Bullock romantic comedy?

I've seen all three. Not sure what that says about me. "Jewel of the Nile" did not match the first movie. Sandra Bullock is a solid force in any movie, but the whole amnesia victim plot is really bothersome.

Have to admit, I was a big fan of the young Elizabeth Shue. So I'll rank "Babysitting" as my favorite of the three.

But I don't see the justification for any of the three being priced $2 more than the others.

I'm sure there's a logic for this, but it goes over my head.

My other question … slow cooker breakfasts? Isn't the advantage to crock pots that you can put stuff in them and let them cook all day? So a slow cooked breakfast starts cooking when?

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