Month: February 2008

  • I thought that was sort of a sneaky trick.

    Last night we watched "Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?" and darned if the contestant....a lovely young lady named Megan, who is working on her Ph.D in Neuroscience....didn't clear the half million dollar level without breaking a sweat, and having only used one of her cheats.

    Naturally the burning question was, was she going to go for the million dollar prize?  We've never seen anyone do that before.  Normally those few who make it to that level choose to bail, taking home the $500K, for if they miss, they drop all the way down to a comparatively disappointing $25K. 

    By golly, not Megan!  The rule is one gets to see the category for the question before making a decision.  The category was US History, which she had already identified as one of her best subjects, and the $300K question ( might have been the one prior to that) was "During which war was the White House burned?"  Megan beamed like a lighthouse, knowing the answer instantly (as did Don; for dummies like me, it was the War of 1812).

    So when she saw the subject was US History, she pointed out that $25K is a good day's work in any case, so bring it on!

    The crowd cheered, and host Jeff Foxworthy perked up too, as for all we know this is the first time anyone's gone for the Big One. 

    A silence fell over the audience as the question was revealed:  "Who was the pilot who first broke the sound barrier?"

    Megan's face fell.  She had no idea, and after muttering and mumbling, finally sighed and guessed Howard Hughes, obviously aware that wasn't the correct answer.

    Don knew, though. As soon as the question flashed up on the screen he said, "Chuck Yeager."  Okay, I couldn't bring the name to mind, but once I heard it, I recognized it.  Turned out Megan's father had also known the correct answer, which must have been intensely frustrating for him.  Bless her heart, she took her loss with good grace, stoutly insisting there's not a darn thing wrong with $25K, and cheerfully telling the television audience that though she might be working on her Ph.D, apparently she is not smarter than a fifth grader.  Megan's a class act.

    Don't you know she's in for some serious ribbing from her fellow classmates and the professors? 

    Personally, I'm with Dmitry, who - when I was relating this at the dinner table afterward - immediately protested that that wasn't a US History question!  I suppose it technically is, seeing as how it was an action performed by an American, but it does seem to me the category "US History" should have more to do with the events that have shaped our nation, and those involved in them. 

    If anything done by any American qualifies as US History, then I fail to see how "Who wrote the poem 'Annabelle Lee'?" wouldn't make the cut.  Edgar Allen Poe was American, after all.  Or "Who won the 1977 Daytona 500?"  Why wouldn't they be viable questions, as well?

    Well, it's not like the show really wants to hand out a million smackeroos. 

    Oh, and it was bad enough that Don immediately knew the answer, but as soon as I told the question at the table, Dan looked up from his plate and answered, "Chuck Yeager." 

  • So which do y'all think?

    Mom gave me the heads-up about a short window of opportunity to vote on the new basic Texas license plate.  Here are the candidates (ignore the buttons below them...they don't work):


    I'm torn between Natural Texas and Lone Star Texas.  Though actually,
    Traditional Texas is nice, too.  Still, I've always been awfully fond
    of bluebonnets.  But the rugged desert is wonderful, too. 
    Hmmmm.....tough choice.

  • Praise God! I had almost lost hope of seeing such an announcement again.

    Gladney's planning the next Bright Futures Camp for Russian children!  It's to be in July, precise dates to be determined. 

    Naturally my hope is that all the kids find adoptive families, but if a host or emergency-need family is needed, I'm ready. 

  • It really ought not come as a surprise, but people can be really stupid.

    Especially at intersections of two busy streets that has a train track running through it.

    There is just such an intersection at Hulen and Granbury Rd. that I must cross on my way to Carolyn's house.  This afternoon while stopped at the light I snapped a couple of pix of the pixelheaded people who paused right under the crossing arms:


    Had that arm come down it'd have whacked two cars; on the other side:


    Ditto.  Well, I thought to myself, perhaps the train isn't permitted to run through this intersection during rush hour.  Fortunately the light changed, the traffic proceeded, and I continued taking Dmitry to Carolyn's.  On my way home, though, I was caught waaay back from that intersection:


    Yup.  A long train moving briskly through the intersection.  Since there weren't any shattered pieces of smashed vehicles littering the area, I assume the cars were able to get out of the way in time.

    A few months ago I was going to fetch Dmitry at night, and - as per my custom - I stopped well back of the crossing arms, unlike the car ahead of me.

    Suddenly the lights began to blink, the bell to ring, and those long arms to descend, to the obvious consternation of that car, who swiftly realized that due to the cars ahead of him he couldn't go forward, but if he remained where he was he was going to be hit by them.  Luckily there wasn't anyone directly behind me so I was able to back up, allowing the other driver to do the same, just in time.  The arm barely cleared the front of his car.

    You know, it's certainly a good thing to not stop on the tracks themselves, but it's also wise to keep out from under those crossing arms, folks. 

  • Today saw the formal obsequies for one of the good guys.

    My brother-in-law, Hal's, father died last Wednesday night after being ill with Alzheimer's for several years, leaving behind his wife, Betty (who is in the Woman's Club department to which I belong), four children, and several grandchildren.

    His funeral service was this morning and a well-attended service it was!  Don and I arrived a few minutes before it was due to start (got off a little late then I got confused as to where the funeral home was and went the long way 'round) and were neatly shepherded into a small room to wait for the family to go in, after which we - and a few other people who'd been similarly detoured - took places in the empty rows up front.

    Hal gave the eulogy and did a crackerjack job, bless him.  I loved this story he told about his father's intense enjoyment of card games:

    Saturday was a standing poker game with friends, and most times he was back home in early to mid-afternoon.  Once in a while, though, the play would be such that he'd stay longer than usual.  One of those times was the Saturday before Easter, back when Hal and his siblings were young enough to enjoy hunting for Easter eggs.

    Betty had requested he pick up the eggs on his way home, so they could be boiled and dyed in preparation for the Easter morning festivities.  Time passed, and her husband didn't come.

    She called him, and was assured he was just about to leave.  Fine.

    Time passed again, in that relentless way it has, bringing no husband and therefore no eggs.  Yet another phone call, yielding another assurance that this time he was really about to leave.  Fine.

    Still more time passed, with no husband and no eggs!  Just when she was about to call once more, the doorbell rang.

    It was a cab driver, holding out a package containing eggs.

    Yes, her husband had called a cab, instructing the driver to stop at the store, purchase the required eggs, and deliver them home. 

    Hal never did say what time his father finally showed up. 

    Wayne Lambert was a teacher for decades at McLean Middle School, which earns my heartiest admiration, as I've noticed over the years that middle schools tend to languish, as both teachers and parent volunteers tend to prefer to work in either elementary schools or high schools.  Personally, I've always liked middle schoolers....heck, I adopted one!  ;^) 

    He'd also served in the Korean war, and was buried over at the Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery in, wouldn't you know, Dallas, so I couldn't be there for the military grave-side service he had.

    Our paths never crossed often, I regret to say, but I always enjoyed those times I did get to spend with him.

    My condolences to his family, with thanks to the LORD for having generously spared His servant, Wayne, to us for as many years as He did.


    Wayne Lambert
    December 25, 1929 - January 30, 2008

  • As if the price of gas isn't bad enough, what's up with paper towels?

    Has anyone noticed that over the last week or two the price of paper towels has increased significantly?  My preferred p/t is Visa's select-a-size, which has been $1.64 at SuperTarget for ages now.

    All of a sudden it jumped to $1.99.   An increase of 20%!     

    That same roll is over $2 at Tom Thumb, and all paper towel prices have risen.

    I don't get it.  What's driving the price of paper towels?  e-browlift