Monday days and rainy get down always me (Huh?)

Here is what’s happening in my neck of the woods:

900 AM CDT MON MAY 29 2006




It has been raining and thundering here in Beaumont since midnight. The NWS and local media have reported between 7 and 12 inches of rain in some parts of Jefferson County, where I live. Some underpasses are flooded. I thought briefly about going out and taking some pictures of the flooding. But then I said: “Naahh.”

I wonder if rainy days and Mondays always got Karen Carpenter down? It doesn’t get me down. I love it. Bring it on … Well, I don’t guess that sounds too sophisticated. But hey, I’m not George W. Bush.

Nicky Hilton, cleanliness and earthworms from outer space

Since not much is going on today I am looking at small-town newspapers on the Web. Being an ex-small-town editor myself, I know that real news isn’t always easy to come by. So, sometimes you wind up writing about things such as large vegetables or a 500-pound ferral hog that some yahoo killed.

In our small-town round-up today:

Modeling finale “a blast,” Perry says
No the headline from The Ashley News Observer in Crossett, Ark., (population 5,900) does not refer to every Texan’s good-haired Gov. Rick “Get My Hair On Down the Road” Perry. The story is about 15-year-old Stevi Perry from the burg of Hamburg, Ark., who was one of the 12 “Cosmogirl” finalists. Alas, Stevi did not win but did get to meet the likes of Jaime Pressly and Nicky Hilton. I also found it odd her dining choices that were paid out of her own pocket:

“My main thing was Burger King and Starbuck’s, she said.

I thought models ate things like — air.

From the West Liberty Index in West Liberty, Iowa, (population 3,500), disturbing news from local government:

“Yard waste changes for city residents”

It is sad but true. West Liberty City Manager Chris Ward announced that:

“From now on, residents who want to get rid of their yard waste must separate their sticks and twigs from grass clippings.

With big government on the march like that, the next thing you know they’ll be wanting residents to recycle.

It appears cleanliness is also next to godliness in Broken Bow, Neb. (population 3,350). Chief Publisher Deborah McCaslin of the Custer County Chief reports that cleaning up the town was the main topic at a town meeting that she said brought out a quarter of the city’s population.

What else is there to do on a Monday night in Broken Bow, Neb., one wonders? But it was apparent the “quarter” of the town’s population was hell-bent on town cleanliness:

“Doug Campbell, Broken Bow Economic Development President was asked by Stockall to field the question. He answered with a question.
‘How many of you put community cleanup as your number one priority?’
Nearly every hand in the room shot up.
I guarantee if every one of you went home and called your elected officials, and then if you all showed up at the council meeting they would listen.
‘You have power,’ said Stockall. ‘You created that power tonight because of the list you created with over 100 of your people.'”

I found the “I guarantee … ” line a little editorializing but I guess if you are the chief publisher you can do that. But if the group had the power with 100 people, and nearly a quarter of the population was at the meeting, then I suppose the other 700 or so folks who were reportedly there, were powerless.

Finally, from the Independent News Herald in Clarissa, Minn., (population 608), it seems the reporter is likening an earthworm onslaught to an alien invasion:

“Almost everyone has seen a sci-fi movie where a spaceship lands and horrible alien invaders disembark and cause chaos on the planet earth. Now, imagine a spaceship landing and earthworms emerging. They mean us no harm, not intentionally anyway. But nevertheless, they can cause chaos to the ecosystem of Minnesota.”

Somehow, I just cannot picture a spaceship landing and earthworms coming out of it. But I have to give writer Karin L. Nauber the award for the weirdest lead (or lede if you are a newspaper person) of the day.

I assure you that my examples above and my subsequent commentary are all in good fun. Sometimes finding something to write about can be slim pickings, or is it Slim Pickens? Oh well, Yeeee Hawwwww and have a great weekend.

Satirized and doesn't know it: Tom DeLay

Do you remember the kid in high school who was arrogant but stupid — that didn’t know when the joke was on him? Sigh! Well, Tom DeLay seems to be that kid.

A video clip of the “The Colbert Report” is posted on the Defend DeLay Web site. This clip features an interview by satirist Stephen Colbert of activist Robert Greenwald. The filmmaker Greenwald was discussing the movie: “The Big Buy: Tom DeLay’s Stolen Congress.” Apparently, DeLay took Colbert’s satirical and sarcastic interview as some sort of a defense for the former U.S. House majority whip who was indicted in Austin over illegal campaign contributions.

Should people think that Colbert seriously was sticking up for “The Hammer,” they need only to view his edgy performance at the recent White House Correspondent’s Association Dinner to get the joke. Colbert skewered President Gee Dubya and the news media during that dinner with his faux conservative pundit character. That Colbert performance can be found on the C-Span Web site.

I would feel bad for Tom DeLay if it was possible for me to feel bad for him. But it’s just not possible.

(Don't) release the hounds!

Those who regularly read my musings here know that I tend to write a lot about dogs. One reason why is that I like dogs. I miss having the companionship of dogs such as those I had in my younger adult life — first, Pedro and then Cochise.

But I also write about dogs quite frequently because in my daily walks around the neighborhood I am sometime accosted by a loose and often frightening dog. My latest tormenter is a female pit bull that gets free occasionally from her yard near Evalon Avenue and First Street in Beaumont. Fortunately, this dog can be fended off by doing a Zorro imitation with a stick. The dogs in the photo above have thankfully remained behind a fence at their residence on McFaddin Avenue. I have the feeling they just don’t like me.

I bring up the subject of dogs once again because of the news that the Houston district of the U.S. Postal Service, which includes Beaumont and Port Arthur, saw the largest number of dogs biting their employees last year with 108 bites. Following Houston was Santa Ana, Calif., with 94; Indianapolis metro area, 83; Bay Valley, Calif., and the Cincinnati metro area with 82 bites. In case your interested in a year-by-year study of dogs biting mail carriers nationwide:

1999 — 2,729
2000 — 2,721
2001 — 3,158
2002 — 3,070
2003 — 3,743
2004 — 3,429
2005 — 3,249

Even though numbers have declined that is still too many mail folks getting bit. And if the dogs don’t hesitate biting a man or woman in a spiffy uniform they sure as hell won’t give a moment’s thought to biting me.

This is National Dog Bite Prevention Week. I didn’t know that there was such a week but it doesn’t surprise me. And I also think it is good to remind people that they shouldn’t let their dogs eat people. Here are some tips the postal service gives to help avoid being dog bit:

# Don’t run past a dog. The dog’s natural instinct is to chase and catch prey.
# If a dog threatens you, don’t scream. Avoid eye contact. Try to remain motionless until the dog leaves, then back away slowly until the dog is out of sight.
# Don’t approach a strange dog, especially one that’s tethered or confined.
# While letter carriers are discouraged from petting animals, people who choose to pet dogs should always let a dog see and sniff them before petting the animal.
# If you believe a dog is about to attack you, try to place something between yourself and the dog, such as a backpack or a bicycle.

The USPS also provides information on how to be a responsible dog owner:
# Obedience training can teach dogs proper behavior and help owners control their dog in any situation.
# When a letter carrier comes to your home, keep your dog inside, away from the door, in another room.
# Don’t let your child take mail from the letter carrier in the presence of your dog. Your dog’s instinct is to protect the family.
# Spay or neuter your dog. Neutered dogs are less likely to bite. Humane Society of the United States statistics reflect that dogs that have not been spayed or neutered are up to three times more likely to be involved in a biting incident than neutered or spayed dogs.
# Dogs that haven’t been properly socialized, receive little attention or handling, or are left tied up for long periods of time frequently turn into biters.

All of which sounds like excellent advice. So have a happy National Dog Bite Prevention Week. Sleep tight and don’t let the dogs bite.

Pomp and concrete circumstances

What do you get a concrete goose for a graduation present?

Only a few blocks from where I live sits a sign that graduation time is at hand: Yes, I’m talking about a concrete goose dressed in mortarboard and gown.

The concrete goose in front of a house on Long Avenue in Beaumont, Texas, is dressed by its caretakers for whatever the occasion is at hand. It was made to look like the Easter Bunny around Easter time. I remember after Hurricane Rita the goose was wearing tattered clothes as if it had been through, well, a hurricane. Just recently Concrete Goose wore a spring ensemble that included a bonnet.

I’ve seen no figures to indicate just how many people dress up their concrete geese or ducks or lawn jockeys or gorillas. I remember this concrete gorilla in Waco named Darwin that gets decked out for different occasions. I also don’t know if the people who have Darwin in their yard bought it from what was Double D Statuary just south of Waco on I-35 in Eddy, Texas. Austin American-Statesman columnist John Kelso wrote after visiting the purveyors of everything concrete that one of their apes bore a resemblance to President Gee Dubya. If it is one of the creatures found on the aforementioned link, I don’t really see it. However, I do think the concrete banana gorilla looks somewhat like President Eisenhower.

Each time I see Concrete Goose in a new costume I can’t help but laugh. It’s great to know folks in your neighborhood have a sense of humor. Now if I can just figure out what to get the goose that has everything for a graduation present.