Month: May 2006

  • This afternoon my brother and sister-in-law had new carpet installed in an upstairs room (beautiful it is, too), and Louis hired Dmitry to help move some furniture.

    While the two of them went to collect a piece that had been purchased and was awaiting pick-up, Mary took me in to tell me What Happened in the Wee Hours this morning.

    So there they were, peacefully and blamelessly aslumber, when all of a sudden the piercing cry of the fire alarm roused them.  As they stumbled out of bed it was to find half the bedroom full of what appeared to be smoke.  Mary, sensibly enough, yelled "Fire, fire!"

    To which Louis responded, "NO!  It's an explosion!" 

    Mary and I agreed this observation did not actually signify an improvement over her initial assumption.

    There the two of them were, blinded by the smoke, coughing and bumbling around, with Mary asking "WHAT exploded?" only to be told "The thing!  The thing exploded!" 

    Fair's fair, it was dark, smoky,'s not surprising that Louis's vocabulary, usually so robust, failed him at just the critical moment.

    The "thing" which exploded turned out to be the fire extinguisher in their bedroom.   The plastic top on it split or something, causing the pressurized contents to literally explode out of it, sending a thick powdery "smoke" over all the bedroom and into the rest of the downstairs.  Mary had to launder everything in the closets, they had to vaccum the walls, wipe down all the furniture, etc.

    Their spring cleaning is officially done

    Did y'all know fire extinguishers could do that?  I sure didn't. 

  • Pictures!  Charles sent pictures!  First is a shot of him and
    Joseph on, I think, the observation deck of the Empire State building:


    Here's Charles, at I'm guessing Ground Zero (World Trade Center site):


    Remember they had their photo taken with James Cromwell, an actor in the upcoming Spiderman3?  Here 'tis:


    Either he was wearing lifts in his shoes, was standing on something, or that is one TALL man, as Charles is at least 6' himself.

    And a photo from the set, complete with Spiderman:

    Dmitry nearly had a fit once he grasped Spiderman3 is in production ("It IS? I thought they were kidding!"), and Charles got to go on the set.

  • You know what the citizens of Fort Worth need?

    Remedial driving lessons, particularly in the area of intersections
    with traffic lights.  It's simply astounding how everyone's
    falling to pieces there
    Case in point:  I just returned from a trip to the SuperTarget off
    7th Street.  To reach it I head north on Owasso, then turn right
    onto Harley, usually having to stop at the stop light there, where it
    meets Montgomery St.  This time there was a small black car ahead
    of me, waiting for the green.  Across Montgomery, on Harley coming
    west, was a white SUV with its left turn blinker on.  The light
    changes and the car ahead of me proceeds to enter the intersection,
    whereupon the SUV put on the gas, determined to make his left turn
    first by cutting in front of him.  Horns sounded, the black car
    swerved to avoid being hit, while the SUV driver glared at him as if
    the near-collision was his fault.

    Is the SUV driver an ignoramus, unaware those turning left at a light with no protected left turn are always to yield to those proceeding straight ahead?  Or does he know but not give a good gosh darn?

    Okay, it's probably the latter.  Still, it wouldn't hurt the price
    of eggs any to remind people of this traffic rule via billboards or TV

    Another law that could clearly use some explaining is "right turn on
    red."  Now understand, I'm a huge fan of that law, having spent a
    lot of time sitting at a light with no one coming from the left. 
    It makes sense that in the event there's no one coming, one should be
    able to turn right, as it frees up the intersection and keeps traffic
    moving smartly along.  As time has passed, however, people seem to
    have taken the idea they can turn right so long as they can do so
    without actually getting hit by the oncoming traffic. 

    If anyone needs to yield to a car making a right turn on red, that was an illegal turn.

    It'd also be helpful if drivers would pay more attention to look for
    the "NO right turn on red" signs posted at various intersections,
    generally those where three or more streets meet. 

    BTW, so long's I'm on the subject of discourteous, stupid driving
    tricks, there's the matter of when someone (say, me in my Venture in
    the SuperTarget parking lot) is in the process of backing out of my
    parking spot, someone turning into that aisle should STOP and yield
    to me, seeing as how I was already halfway into the drive path. When I
    began my reverse, the lanes were clear.  Once I get going, barring
    having moved maybe two feet, I get to keep going. 

    Someone needs to clue the woman in the biege SUV into this, apparently.

  • Last night Don and I watched "Cheaper by the Dozen2".  Well, he watched the whole thing....I bailed after 45 minutes or so.  That was one of the most singularly irritating movies I've ever tried to sit through.

    The Baker family were simply pests.  The "bad" family that lived across the lake was heaps nicer'n than them.  Let me tell you, bring a backpack full of fireworks to a dinner at the club *I* helped establish, set the backpack near open flame so they all start to go off, grab the bag and throw it into the lake where it lands on a boat so the boat explodes and the engine flies into the air then lands on one of the buffet tables, and I'm going to be crabby.

    If I generously (even if with a "be nice to the little people" attitude) invite the neighbors over for brunch and they haul along their rambunctious DOG, and the dog runs amok (due to the machinations of a Baker daughter at the behest of her father), destroying the set of china I was very proud of, it having been a gift from the king of Thailand, and I'd be downright furious.

    That's where I got up and the china was being smashed.  Couldn't take it any longer.

    A more self-indulgent, spoiled rotten, ill-behaved family than Tom Baker's would be hard to find.  That wasn't funny or was pathetic and annoying.

    Why the Gilbreath family would permit their name to be lent to such a ghastly film, even though only in the credits, beats me.  Frank and Lillian Gilbreath would have been appalled and horrified at the antics of the family supposedly based upon theirs.

    This was one awful movie.  Skip it.  e-thumbsdown

  • Charles is having himself a time in the Big Apple and no mistake.  He and Joseph were permitted onto the set of "Spiderman 3" because they were in their Navy uniforms, and Charles had his photo taken with James Cromwell, who is Captain George Stacy in that upcoming movie.

    I hadn't a clue who James Cromwell is, but recognized him once his picture was googled:

    Charles took lots of pictures on the set, including one of Ron Howard's daughter, Bryce Dallas Howard, who is also in SP3.

    That's sort of funny....she was born in Dallas (poor thing), and her first name is Bryce, which is the name of the street upon which we live.

    He and Joseph were preparing to head - reluctantly, I'm sure - back to base, but Charles is determined to return to NYC before he leaves Groton.

  • Alright, this is strange!

    Teens Using Ring Tones Adults Can't Hear

    Teens are taking their
    ingenuity to a new level by installing a ring
    tone with a high-frequency buzz that most adults can't hear so they can
    use their phones to text-message in classrooms, according to reports in
    England.Known as "Teen Buzz," it is spread from phone to phone via text
    message and Bluetooth technology, the Daily Mail said.The
    sound was being used in a device called the Mosquito, which was
    marketed to help store owners in England repel teenagers from loitering
    outside their shops.The high-pitch sound is irritating for
    teenagers but most adults can't hear it because over the age of 20,
    most adults are unable to hear that frequency (between 18 to 20 kHz),
    according to Mosquito manufacturer Compound Security. It is based on
    the medical phenomenon known as presbycusis, or age-related hearing
    loss, Compound Security said.

    A school teacher in England discovered the scam being used by his students.
    "All the kids were laughing about something, but I didn't know what ...
    They could all hear somebody's phone ringing but I couldn't hear a
    thing," he told reporters.

    Don and I couldn't hear it, but Taylor could:  Teen Buzz Tone

    He said it was very high-pitched and irritating, grimacing as he listened.

  • Charles called a little while ago.  He and Joseph went on the
    Staten Island Ferry, and he took lots of photos of the New York skyline
    and the Statue of Liberty.  Some heliocopters are flying around,
    including a couple of Chinooks, and someone told them this indicated
    the president was in town.  He called me so I could check to see
    where the prez is spending the day, and by golly, he was at West Point,

    So he's at least in the state. 

    Charles said their next stop was Central Park.

    Did I mention that Charles is on the loose in New York City today, along with his friend, Joseph?   

    Not sure whether to be more concerned for Charles Edward or the Big Apple. 

    do they pick their weekend in the big city or what?  Turns out
    this is "Fleet Week"  which is, according to,  "where
    for the last 19 years, thousands of sailors and Marines have hit
    the city to blow off steam, and even more civilians get the chance to
    see some of the military's newest technologies, even those still under

  • Every now and again a simple action serves to remind me of how superior today is to yesteryear in at least a few respects.

    Case in point:  bought a can of mixed nuts, Don and I both
    relishing them.  As I pried off the plastic lid and pulled off the
    foil seal, it suddenly occurred to me how much easier this is than
    prying off the little "key" from the top (or was it glued to the
    bottom?) of the can, then inserting the small metal tongue through its
    hole, and attempting to roll the key evenly enough to detach the lid
    from the body of the can. Remember winding up with a curlyqued metal
    strip?  Unless the key broke or something, of course.

    If you're too young to have a clue what I'm talking about, take it from didn't miss a thing.

  • By golly, he did it.  Completed eighth grade and received his award as "most academically improved" middle-schooler.  Turns out this was really rather a big deal, with a trophy!  I was expected a sheet of paper or small plaque.  Being Dmitry, did he beam?  Did he even smile?


    Heck, no.  He strode up to the front, looking for all the world as if he was on his way to the dentist's chair, shook Dr. Lee's hand, took his trophy, and scurried back as fast as he could, face like grim death. 

    Ah, that he lights up a room. 

    Mrs. Hinds joked about it afterward, and I found myself apologizing for his lack of enthusiasm.  He was taken by surprise, and had to walk up in front of dozens of people. 

    He'd rather have his teeth drilled.

    However, he's truly pleased about the trophy, acceding to my request to take his picture with it for Sveta (though he didn't point overdoing it), and observing it's the first award he's ever received in his life ("I always wanted to get one in Russia").  It's now carefully placed among the photos on the shelf that used to house Alex's various trophies. 

    BTW, here he is with it:

    Recitals 072

  • His leave was denied.  

    Charles' chief said no to his request for leave next month, even though Charles explained about Alex probably leaving for Japan before he finishes A-school.  e-cry

    Alex called 45 minutes ago to say he got his orders, and he separates from the Mid-South band on August 6, and must report for duty in Japan no later than Sept.22.  He doesn't have a lot of leave available, however....maybe a couple of weeks?  Trouble is, I daresay he'll still need to leave for Japan before Charles completes his A-school in September.

    Hmmm.....maybe Charles could fly home for a weekend?  If he can go to NYC, I don't see why he can't fly down here.