Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Vacation re-cap Part 5

One evening, two shows
So we arrived back home on Wednesday the 11th, with plans to leave again on Friday the 13th for K's sister's wedding in Round Rock. While we were in Port Aransas, I found out that Johnny Bush and Tommy Alverson would be performing at Cotton Belt Barbecue in North Richland Hills on the night of the 12th. I'd been wanting for a long time to see Johnny Bush perform. But then on the afternoon of the 12th, I found out that the Old 97s would be playing at the Granada Theater in Dallas that same night! Would I be able to catch both shows? Johnny and Tommy were scheduled to start at 7:30, while the Old 97s were due to start around 10, so it looked promising...
After dinner, I picked up my friend Matt and we headed to Cotton Belt. Alverson and Bush took the stage and began playing right at the advertised time. There were no backing bands, just Johnny and Tommy playing acoustic guitar and taking turns singing. The music sounded ok, despite Cotton Belt's absolutely awful indoor sound system. I couldn't understand a single word the guys were saying between songs. Alverson offered up such favorites as "Maybe in Mexico" and "Me on the Jukebox" while Bush played mostly songs that I didn't recognize (even though I have two of his albums, and have heard lots of his stuff on KHYI and KNON.) But they sounded good.
Tommy Alverson and Johnny Bush - October 12 at Cotton Belt Barbecue
I was amazed that someone of Bush's caliber and talent drew such a small crowd for a free show, but then again, it's not like the show was heavily advertised. Even though we had already eaten, we made sure to contribute to CottonBelt's bottom line by purchasing a couple of beers each. The guys took a break after the first set, and started playing again around 9 pm. Our friend Stephen had arrived during the first set, and we only stuck around for a few songs of the second set before it was time to head on over to Dallas. It was great to finally see "the Great" Johnny Bush...I would have been more interested in staying for the rest of the set if Cotton Belt's sound system had been better. If you plan on catching a show there, I suggest getting there early and sitting right in front of the stage. We were sitting in the middle (about 30 - 40 feet from the stage) and our experience suffered for it. Anyway, on to Dallas...
We arrived at the Granada on Lower Greenville just shy of 10 pm. There was a large line at the ticket window, and we had to park a few blocks away. Every time I see them, the Old 97s draw a bigger crowd than they did the last time I saw them. The trend continued with this show, and they apparently weren't afraid to charge "big name" ticket prices -- $25.50! I can't remember the last time I paid that much to see a show.

Granada Theater on Lower Greenville in Dallas

This was my first time to see a show at the Granada, and they really rolled out the red carpet for us... the ticket-taker asked us if we had been there before. When we answered "no", he told us where the restrooms and bar were, and which hall to use to get to the concert hall. The place was absolutely packed; I'd say the crowd was easily a couple thousand. The ushers wouldn't let anyone stand in the aisles, so we ended up standing in almost the very back of the mezzanine level. The sound system was pretty good, but we couldn't see the band very well. They started almost as soon as we arrived. It was their standard high-energy set, consisting of a good mix of new and old songs, with Rhett yelling a lot of the lyrics. They played lots of songs from "Drag it Up" (including "Coahuila" on which guitarist Ken Betthea sings), "Satellite Rides" and "Fight Songs". Bassist Murry Hammond handled vocals on a few songs ("West Texas Teardrops" and their cover of Merle Haggard's "Mama Tried"). It was a special treat to hear him sing Don Walser's "Rolling Stone from Texas" as a tribute to Don, who passed away a couple weeks ago. They threw in several of their old standbys, like"Doreen", "Big Brown Eyes", "Four Leaf Clover", "Stoned", and "St.Ignatius".... as well as a few songs that they don't play at every show, like "Over the Cliff" and "Old Familiar Steam". Between the first set and the encore, Rhett performed a couple of acoustic songs. And of course, they closed with "Time Bomb". A good time was had by all, especially Stephen and Matt, who were impressed not just by the band, but also by the large number of attractive young ladies in the crowd. I explained to them that the crowd was pretty much par for the course at ANY Old 97s show, especially in Dallas. I hadn't seen Rhett and the boys for a few years (they just don't play locally that much anymore), but I always enjoy their shows. We were too far from the stage to get any photos, so maybe next time...

Stay tuned for Part 6...


nr: John Steinbeck - Tortilla Flat

np: Ray Wylie Hubbard - Crusades of the Restless Knights

Monday, October 30, 2006

Vacation re-cap Part 4

Dueling Barbecue

Ask a dozen Texans where to find the best barbecue in Texas, and you might get a dozen different answers. But if they know their stuff, at least a couple of them will probably mention one of a select few establishments in or near the central Texas town of Lockhart.

Lockhart is known (at least in an unofficial capacity) as the barbecue capital of Texas. Or since some folks consider barbecue a "religion", the term "barbecue mecca" might be more appropriate. Two of the state's best-known barbecue establishments (Kreuz -- pronounced "krites" Market and Smitty's Market) are located within a mile of each other in Lockhart; Smitty's is in the downtown area and Kreuz is just north of downtown.

We had planned our travel route so that we could meet K's sisters for dinner at Kreuz Market on Saturday evening. (This would be my third visit to Kreuz -- K and the kids and I first ate there in 2002 -- and afterwards swore that we could never eat north Texas barbecue again -- and I had been there a second time on my own). When we returned home from Port Aransas on Wednesday, we decided on a whim to return by way of Lockhart so we could sample Smitty's for the first time.

A little background: Smitty's Market is located in what once was the "original" Kreuz Market. A disagreement between the owner's family members resulted in one side of the family (those who owned the BUSINESS) moving Kreuz Market to a new location north of downtown. The side of the family who owned the BUILDING stayed behind and kept the barbecue tradition alive under a new name -- Smitty's Market.

Before venturing into Kreuz or Smitty's, it is wise to set aside all previous notions of your typical barbecue lunch or dinner, which might include such things as sauce, pinto beans, and maybe a side of potato salad, green beans or corn on the cob. Not at Smitty's or Kreuz. At Smitty's and Kreuz, the experience is about two things -- smoke and meat. That's what you're paying for, and that's what you get, without such non-necessities as barbecue sauce or potato salad (or even forks). But we'll get to that in a minute.

Just a glimpse of the bundles of cut post oak wood sitting outside in their parking lots should tell you that you're in for something special. But wait until you walk inside and the smell hits you... if heaven doesn't smell like that, then I'm not sure I wanna go!

Kreuz Market - Lockhart, TX

I need one of these "no salesmen" signs for MY front door...

We'll start with Kreuz Market since I've been there more times, and it was the first place we visited on this trip. The newer, bigger Kreuz Market opened a few years ago in a cavernous, red, barn-like building on US 183 north of Lockhart's downtown area. When you walk in, you can smell the smoke, but it doesn't really hit you until you walk 50 feet or so back to where the pits are. Posted along the corridor, at eye-level underneath the menus and prices, are the "rules" for eating at Kreuz.

The 5 Commandments at Kreuz Market

Once you reach the pits, you place your order, which you receive wrapped in brown butcher paper. They'll ask how many are in your party, and then tear that number of sheets of paper from the roll. These are your "plates". They'll also give you some sliced, white bread. If you want drinks, beans, pickles, or any other sides, you go to a counter in the main dining area to order these. You'll get a plastic spoon to go with your beans, and a plastic knife to cut your meat, but there's not a fork to be found (refer to "rules"). If you really want to savor the experience, you can choose to sit at one of the picnic tables in the "pit" area.

I had been looking forward to this ALL DAY. I hadn't had Lockhart barbecue in about three years, so I was ready. Both of K's sisters (plus the fiance of one of the sisters) joined us, so we had a happy party of six. We ordered about 4 pounds of brisket (you get a choice between fatty and lean; we chose fatty, which is more moist and flavorful) and 5 or 6 sausages. Then we went to the indoor counter to order Cokes, Dr. Peppers, beans, avocados (for K's sisters), and a few slices of cheese, and then sat down to enjoy our magnificent feast.

Our feast at Kreuz Market

Not everyone liked the sausage; although it was very flavorful, it was also very greasy. The brisket's skin was heavily salted; I tried to avoid this portion and just concentrate on the meat. Everyone else filled up before I did; I was the last one eating and pretty much had to be dragged out of the place, and we had plenty of leftovers for K's sisters to take home with them. Consensus? Awesome!

our happy group...

L and I bought t-shirts (red ones to complement the white one I bought four years ago). They were selling Blue Bell ice cream for dessert, but we were too full. Bonus: a train rolled by outside toward the end of our meal (the UP Lockhart Sub runs past the south edge of Kreuz's parking lot) and I stumbled outside for an OS. That makes two out of three times that I've seen a train while eating there.

Displaying my "satisfied customer" expression


Fast forward to Wednesday, October 11. I had ridden my bike around Port Aransas before we left the island. Feeling like I had "earned" a repeat performance of barbecue indulgence, and not having any firm plans for lunch, we decided to hit Lockhart once again on our way home, this time to sample Smitty's. Thanks to the GPS computer in K's car, we found it, a block or two off the main highway in Lockhart's downtown area, without any difficulty. The towering smokestack emblazoned with the word "Market" served as an unmistakable beacon.

To hell with any suspense; I'm just gonna be right up front about it. The barbecue at Smitty's was every bit as good as what I've experienced at Kreuz. The atmosphere is, well, a bit different.

Smitty's Market - Lockhart, TX

We parked in front of Smitty's and used the street entrance; I believe the preferred (and more common) method is to park in the back parking lot and use the rear entrance which leads right to the pit where you place your order. When you enter from the street, you walk down a long narrow hallway; a door to the left leads to the butcher shop, while a door to the right leads to the dining room. But the best part was the smell of the smoke as we walked down the hall from the front entrance toward the pit... it smelled as if everything was covered with a hundred years' worth of barbecue grease and smoke, a true testament to the length of time that this location has played host to one of the state's top barbecue establishments. Advantage: Smitty's.

The setup is pretty much the same as it is at Kreuz; you order your meat at the pits, and receive it in brown butcher paper with bread. Then you go into the dining room to order drinks and sides. Just like at Kreuz, you get a knife, and a spoon if you order beans, but no fork. Smitty's dining room is smaller than Kreuz's, and the only seating available is at "community style" picnic tables. And I could have done without the tv blaring away near the front window. Advantage: Kreuz Market.

Regarding the quality and taste of the meat: Smitty's sausage was less greasy, and the brisket's skin was not as heavily salted. Advantage: Smitty's (Obviously, this is a subjective category; what tastes salty to one person might taste just right to someone else. And the quality and taste of the barbecue can vary from day to day, or even during different parts of the day).

We were in a bit of a hurry, so unfortunately I did not have a chance to take many photos at Smitty's. That will just give me the excuse I need to make a return trip! We were glad we stopped, and the experience was everything we hoped it would be.

The bottom line? It's simply too hard for me to choose a favorite between Smitty's and Kreuz Market. I'd gladly spend my hard-earned lunch or dinner money at either one, and would recommend either to friends and family, with no reservations. Smitty's and Kreuz might very well duke it out for barbecue bragging rights for the remainder of the 21st century, but there will be no losers -- only winners (i.e., everyone who comes to central Texas to enjoy good barbecue).

Stay tuned for Part 5...


nr: John Steinbeck - Tortilla Flat

np: CBS - Late Show with David Letterman - guests Tiki Barber, "Borat", and Beck

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Vacation re-cap Part 3

Corpus Christi Choo-Choos

It had been 10 years since I photographed a train in Corpus Christi. On my way back from a South Padre trip in 1996, I had spent a night in Corpus and caught an eastbound Texas-Mexican train arriving from Laredo early the next morning. Those would be the last Tex-Mex locomotives I would photograph. The Kansas City Southern (KCS) began investing in theTexas-Mexican Railway in 1995 and fully absorbed the Tex-Mex ten years later. The trains you'll see down there these days look a lot like the ones you'll see along the other portions of the KCS system.

On the morning of Tuesday, October 10, I left the island and headed over toCorpus Christi to see what I could find. I found KCS locomotives in the same locations where I had photographed Tex-Mex engines 10 to 12 years ago. I was disappointed to find very few traces of the Tex-Mex identity (just a few freight cars), but at least they weren't taken over by the UP! I caught KCS' Corpus Christi yard engines, a westbound freight, two eastbound freights, and a mysterious movement of new coal hoppers towardthe Port of Corpus Christi -- all before lunch, leaving plenty of time to spend the afternoon at the beach. Now THAT's what I'm talking about...

along Highway 44 between Corpus Christi and Robstown

Corpus Christi yard

Eastbound at Corpus Christi

A real rarity in 2006 - a white KCS SD40-2

KCS 649 heads toward the Port of Corpus Christi

A westbound KCS freight crosses the UP interlocker at Robstown

Eastbound near Robstown

TFM 1603 near Robstown

Stay tuned for Part 4...


np: ESPN - College GameDay Final

nr: John Steinbeck - Tortilla Flat

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Vacation re-cap Part 2

On the Beach (scroll down for photos)

I've lost track of how many times I've been to South Padre Island (the very south tip of the Texas coast - about as far south as you can go and not be in Mexico). I first visited South Padre in late October 1992 during a fraternity road trip... I was amazed by how warm the weather and water were at that time of year... well, they ARE about 500 miles south of Dallas-Ft. Worth... anyway, I fell in love with the south Texas coast and have returned to South Padre several times with K, twice with L, and once with M -- always during September or October.

We thought we'd try something a little different and closer this time around. Since neither of us had been to Port Aransas, we thought it'd be worth visiting. Port Aransas is located near Corpus Christi, which is about 150 miles southeast of San Antonio. So it's only about a 6 to 7 hour drive from Ft. Worth, vs. the 9 or so hours it takes to get to South Padre.

I had originally looked into staying in Corpus Christi proper, but balked when I started doing a little research... the Corpus Christi beaches are not located on the Gulf of Mexico, but rather, Corpus Christi Bay. So we started looking at Port Aransas and Mustang Island, which are essentially the Corpus Christi area's equivalent to South Padre. Located on Mustang Island, Port Aransas is right on the gulf. We found accommodations at the Port Royal, a resort-type condominium complex which offered short-stay lodging. We booked our condo for just 3 nights, at what we felt was a reasonable rate. From Sunday afternoon through Wednesday morning, we lived like ROYALty in a fully furnished, two-bedroom condo complete with kitchen, laundry facilities, and a 4th floor balcony with a view of the beach.

the boardwalk to the beach

the view from our 4th floor balcony

Within an hour of our arrival on Sunday, we were on the beach, checking out the surf and building a sand castle. A few immediate impressions on the beach...

1) I didn't know you could DRIVE on it! (We were used to this at South Padre and Boca Chica State Park, but didn't know you could do it on Mustang Island). There are several "access points" along Mustang Island that allow vehicular access. I don't know all the ins and outs since we didn't do it, but I believe you are required to obtain a parking permit (reportedly widely available throughout Port Aransas) in order to PARK on the beach. I'm not sure if you need one just to drive on it. The hotel had a long boardwalk (150 yards or so) that we had to cross in order to get over all the sand dunes to the beach. Due to our visit taking place during the "off season", vehicle traffic was never too heavy; just a handful of cars drove past our location each hour.

2) There was lots of seaweed and scattered dead fish on the beach... the seaweed wasn't as bad as what we saw in Galveston back in May, but was still annoying. The dead fish were the result of a "red tide" situation we learned about during our visit. There weren't that many, just scattered ones here and there -- and a few of them were HUGE. Seashell collectors are advised to look elsewhere... we found very few shells anywhere along our section of the beach. The only ones we saw were very small and belonged to still-living sea clams which burrowed down into the sand as soon as they landed on the beach.

3) The beach was very peaceful and fairly empty... there were a few condo complexes on either side of the Port Royal, but beyond those, you could walk a long way in either direction without seeing any other buildings near the beach, and very few other people were out. The largest groups of people we saw were usually on the section of beach right in front of the Port Royal.

So, it wasn't the nicest beach I've ever been to, or the most scenic, but I'm not that picky... if there's warm air, warm sand, cool water, and waves breaking, I'm pretty content. Remove the crowds of people I've seen at certain other beaches I've been to (Hawaii, California), and I'm damn near ecstatic.

building a sand castle

covered in sand

So what did we do out there? Laid on the sand, played in the water (we bought L a boogie board that she had fun riding the waves on), built sand castles (I've found that to be incredibly relaxing and strangely therapeutic).. that's pretty much it. L and I rode our bikes on the beach on Monday morning... I originally hadn't planned on bringing my mountain bike, but L wanted to bring her bike so I'm glad I brought mine. We found very easy riding on the hard-packed sand near the waves, and it ended up being one of my favorite bike rides that I've ever taken. On Sunday night after a trip to town for dinner and groceries, we went walking in the darkness along the beach and watched a full moon rise over the gulf. We were practically the only people out there.

an enjoyable bike ride

Sunday afternoon. Note cars on the beach in background.

This stingray washed ashore near the Port Royal

ready to catch a wave

We had favorable weather for most of our visit, but our beach time on Tuesday was cut short by an approaching storm.

Stay tuned for Part 3...


np: ESPN - SportsCenter

Friday, October 20, 2006

Vacation re-cap Part 1

DINA and the trip south

Time for a vacation re-cap... I'm a firm believer in cramming as much sightseeing and as many experiences as possible into a vacation, and our October vacation was no exception. We covered a lot of ground and saw some cool stuff (and even had plenty of time to lounge around by the beach and pool).

I'll start from the beginning... Mom had previous plans to take M to visit our relatives in Ohio. As tempting as that possibility was, K and I decided to take L to the beach at Port Aransas (yes, it was a difficult choice, but we stand by our decision).

On Saturday October 7, we loaded up our 2 cars and headed south. K's car was full of flowers for the wedding of one of her sisters (which would be on the 14th)... we made plans to meet at her other sister's home in Round Rock, so we could deliver the flowers before we continued south. I would also be leaving my truck in Round Rock during our trip to the coast.

Driving on my own to Round Rock allowed me do some railfanning on the way down... on "Day in North America", no less. (DINA is an event sponsored by "Railroads Illustrated" Magazine -- formerly CTC Board -- on which railfans throughout North America are encouraged to shoot railroad photos during a 24 hour period and then submit them for publication in a special issue of the magazine.) It's on a different day each year, and this year's DINA just happened to be on October 7.

I had hoped to shoot some photos along the former Santa Fe south of Cleburne to Temple, but it turned out that the southbounds were running late and wouldn't be through Ft. Worth for a while. So I stayed closer to home and got some shots around Saginaw and Ft. Worth instead...

southbound Roadrailers at Saginaw

coal loads meet empties at Saginaw yard

one of the Ft. Worth & Western's new locomotives - GP50 # 2011

When I'd had my fill, I headed south and met up with K and L in Round Rock. We drove down to Lockhart for an early dinner at the legendary Kreuz Market (more on that later; the Lockhart barbecue experience rates its own separate blog entry to be featured in a separate installment) and then drove to San Marcos to visit K's other sister and her fiance. We spent the night near San Antonio, and continued south on Sunday morning. On Sunday morning at Shiner, we stumbled across a surprise move on the railroad... the KCS business car train heading north on the UP Cuero Sub as it traveled from Laredo to Shreveport. I would loved to have gotten a shot of it passing the Spoetzel Brewery, but no good vantage points were available, so I opted instead for this view of the train passing the downtown area.

KCS business car special at Shiner, TX - UP Cuero Sub. 10/8/2006

We briefly detoured north, following the train to Flatonia, attempting to get more shots. Then we set our sights on Corpus Christi and Port Aransas. I hadn't been to Corpus since 1996, and had never been to Mustang Island or Port Aransas, so I was covering some new ground on this trip.

getting closer...

We arrived at Port "A" around 1600... the Cowboys-Eagles game was on the tv in the lobby of the condo office when we went to check in. Between trips to unload the car and get settled in our condo, as well as a short trip to the beach, I managed to catch at least half of the game -- including all three Drew Bledsoe interceptions, and the vomit-inducing finish. In case you missed it, the Cowboys lost, 38-24. But I didn't care... well, at least not that much... we were at the BEACH!

K and L enjoy the Texas coast

Stay tuned for Part 2...


nr: John Steinbeck - Tortilla Flat

np: Fred Eaglesmith & the Flathead Noodlers - Balin'

Friday, October 06, 2006

boxcars, vacation, and the holy grail

It's good to see that the boxcar has survived into the 21st century... without them, we'd be doomed to a life of watching look-alike unit coal and double stack trains. Luckily, we still have boxcars and other "loose car" freight traffic to add variety to the mix. My bike rides to Roanoke often turn up an interesting sighting or two... see below for a few offerings from Wednesday's bike ride:

three flavors of CN-family auto parts boxes - Roanoke, TX 10/4/06

a patriotic message on this Wisconsin Southern car

Is this a reference to Fiona, or Gwyneth Paltrow's daughter?

Lest we omit coverage of the FRONT ends of trains, here's another shot from Sunday:

BNSF empty rock train, crossing the Trinity River on the TRE line
east of downtown Ft. Worth. 10/1/06

Whiskey on vacation

Break out the Hawaiian shirts and dust off the Jimmy Buffett "Margaritaville" cd... Whiskey is headed to the Texas coast! Should have some interesting stories and photos to share with y'all in a few days...

Whiskey's World Series of Pop Culture

I hate leaving things unfinished, so here's the correct answer to trivia question # 5: "Monty Python and the Search for the Holy Grail", IMHO, one of the funniest movies of all time. You can have your "Meaning of Life" and your "Life of Brian", but for my money, "The Holy Grail" is as good as it gets! I used to work with a certain El Paso conductor who, when I called him for his train's location, would respond, "Oh just a minute, DS... Joe and I got to arguing about the air speed velocity of a laden swallow and lost track of where we are" -- definitely a surreal radio transmission to hear coming from the middle of the New Mexico desert. I offered up the only appropriate response I could think of: "What do you mean -- an African swallow or a European swallow?" I always wondered if he had ever dropped that line on someone who wasn't a Monty Python fan, and what their reaction might have been.

Until next time... take care of yourselves, and each other.


np: the Gourds - Stadium Blitzer

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

trains and trivialities

First the trains...

On Sunday morning, I drove out west of Weatherford on the UP Baird Sub to photograph some trains. After that, I came back to Ft. Worth and shot several more... it was one of those "fish in a barrel" type of days where I was practically tripping over trains everywhere I went, there were so many of them. I only have time to post one shot tonight:
A pastoral scene on the former T&P - Preble, TX 10/1/06

On Monday, I took my truck over to Grapevine for servicing. I brought my bike along, so I could ride the Cotton Belt trail while they worked on my truck. The Cotton Belt trail follows the former Cotton Belt (now Ft Worth & Western) rail line southwest out of Grapevine toward North Richland HIlls. There are a couple of gaps in the trail where I had to ride on the streets to get to the next section, but it wasn't too bad. When I reached the end of the trail in North Richland Hills, I decided to keep going -- all the way to the FWWR-UP interlocker in Haltom City. Both railroads rewarded me for my efforts -- I saw an eastbound FWWR and southbound UP just minutes apart. When I got back to Grapevine (3 1/2 hours and 42 miles later), my truck was ready. I'll have to post those pics next time.


So I got in the truck on Tuesday afternoon, and decided to switch over from the cd I was listening to, to see what KHYI was playing. Damned if they weren't playing the SAME EXACT SONG I had been listening to on my cd... "Texas Flood" by Stevie Ray Vaughan! My musical tastes, and KHYI's catalog, are both diverse enough that this isn't likely to happen much... in fact, I'm not sure that it EVER has on KHYI. And the Range doesn't play much Stevie Ray...

Oddly enough, I had heard that song on KHYI a week or two ago -- and I heard a different SRV song on KNON's "Texas Blues Radio" yesterday -- which is what led me to load up that cd today while M and I were driving around. Anyway, chalk up a moment of musical serendipity in the ole Tacoma...


Football season is in full swing; if you haven't been paying attention to the games, maybe you've at least noticed the beer commercials.

I guess when you have the worst-tasting beer, you have to have the best commercials... I don't know if I've drunk an entire bottle of Bud Light since I was in college! But going back to the days of "Dr. Galazkiewicz? Yes, I am" and "I love you, man", Bud Light has, by and large, been running the most entertaining ads for several years. Last year's "Magic Fridge" and some of this year's spin-offs show that Bud Light is still carrying the torch, at least in the advertising department. Miller Lite's star-studded "Man Laws" series hasn't been too bad, and has been fairly consistent with its recent trend of using irreverent comedy.

Coors Light has perennially lagged behind in third place with regard to the entertainment value of its tv ads (last year's "Love Train" / Silver Bullet Express series got "old" REAL quick). But they've made some big strides this year -- those spots with the football coaches answering questions posed by a football audience are pretty good.

The bottom line, though, is how good is the stuff they're advertising? I don't care if Jessica Simpson and Britney Spears are running around in string bikinis waving bottles of Bud Light... it's not gonna make that stuff taste any better! I'm a big fan of fairly dark, sweet-tasting beer like Dos Equis Amber, Negra Modelo, Shiner Bock, and Ziegenbock. But when it comes down to the ultra-mass produced light beers offered by "the Big Three", there's really only one choice, and it's the one that doesn't taste like water (Coors Light) or horse piss (Bud Light). I guess that narrows it down to Miller Lite. They could have Mark Foley and NAMBLA doing their spots... it wouldn't stop me from picking up a 12-pack of Miller Lite longnecks the next time the refrigerator's empty.


On the subject of advertising, I noticed an interesting ad today... as I drove past a Walgreen's store, I saw what looked like one of those election-season campaign posters (usually about 12 by 18 inches on a wooden stake) that people put in their yards to show what candidate they're supporting. There was a hitch, though -- this one said "Tom Dobbs for President" and had a picture of Robin Williams on it -- it was an ad for his new movie "Man of the Year". I've gotta hand it to the advertisers -- that's definitely a unique approach to advertise a movie. It doesn't necessarily make me want to see the movie, but I'll sure give 'em credit for thinking outside the box. I wonder how much one of those posters would fetch on ebay...


speaking of trivia...

Bryan Nelms of El Reno, Oklahoma returned the first correct answer to question # 4: What 1980s fantasy movie featured a character named Atreyu ("a-TRAY-you")?

Answer: "The Neverending Story".

You can look it up on imdb.com if you're interested... it is not my intention to discuss the movie here. I remember it and I guess it was ok... What is significant here is my amusement at how pop culture references from 20+ years ago are resurfacing in modern times, like the Tennessee Titans' cornerback Pacman Jones, or the rock band called "Atreyu" (my inspiration for question # 4). That's a pretty cool name for a band, although it probably means nothing to the large percentage of their fan base who probably haven't seen the movie.

Moving on, here is question 5:

5) In what movie would you find the Castle Anthrax, a discussion about laden swallows, and the Gorge of Eternal Peril?

If you think you've got game, you can email me or post a response in the comments section below.


np: dvd of The Good Fight Corporation's motion picture release "The Range" -- adding plenty of fuel to the fire of my love-hate relationship with KHYI in the post-Bruce Kidder era...

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Last of September

Sneaking in one last entry before the end of the month...
Whiskey's Photo Album
A few photos taken during my bike rides this week... it was another beautiful week: lows in the upper 50s and low 60s, highs in the 80s. Best time of year to live in north Texas!
Sunflowers and Haslet water tower

Q-train rolls through Haslet approaching Alliance

new red boxcars at Lake Wanda

boxcar at Roanoke

The T.O. media circus

The stories circulating about Terrell Owens' allergic reaction / accidental overdose / attempted suicide (depending on who you believe) certainly made for an interesting week... it was the front-page, top story on the Star-Telegram on Wednesday.

As the story kept changing, and members of the media tripped all over themselves trying to report the most recent updates (I heard that at one point, they were pre-empting network programming!) all I could do was roll my eyes and begin tuning it out. In other words, "wake me up in a few days when it's over", and let's see what he can do when he gets back on the damn field.

When Dallas announced that T.O. was joining the team, wasn't I telling anyone who would listen that it was a mistake? Is the Cowboys' organization prepared to handle all the "baggage" that this player has brought to the team? Now that we're stuck with him, I'd like to see him -- and the team -- do well, but one wonders at what point all the distractions will become counter-productive. Oh, and that sound you hear coming from the direction of Valley Ranch? Oh, don't pay any attention to that... it's just Jerry Jones screaming and rummaging around in the medicine cabinet looking for some of T.O.'s pills...

Amongst all the theorizing and armchair amateur psychoanalysis, I haven't really heard anyone mention the possibility that I consider most likely... that T.O. and his "publicist" staged the whole thing to attract a swarm of media attention, getting his name in the headlines and thus attracting more viewers for T.O.'s upcoming return game vs. Philadelphia. Think about it... T.O. has been the biggest name in sports this week, and undoubtedly, more will tune in to the Tennessee-Dallas game on Sunday to see how he does ... IF he plays. But just wait til that Philadelphia game...

I'm pulling for you, T.O....get well, and make us proud on Sunday... you've done so much already, having represented the Cowboys in all of ... what... TWO games so far?

Whiskey's World Series of Pop Culture (installment 4 of an occasional series)

4) What 1980s fantasy movie featured a character named Atreyu ("a-TRAY-you")?

If you think you've got game to answer this one, email me or post a response in the "comments" section below.


np: Hayes Carll - Little Rock