Drivel that cannot fit in a single panel comic.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Six Signs You Should Leave Your Job

I've read Six Signs You Should Leave Your Job If you work in sales at King Features Syndicate a seventh sign exists; you're assigned Mary Worth.

If you think you have a soul crushing job think about the poor person that has to earn a living convincing newspaper editors to run Mary Worth.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

I went

Eagle photo/Stuart Villanueva

I went to the vigil at church last night. The connections to Knoxville are a lot closer than I knew. More details about that can be found at the Eagle: (sorry about the cut and paste, hyperlinking does not seem to work with articles)

The vigil also made the 10:00 news:

In the video I'm in the background holding up a cell phone to take pictures. The Knoxville church requested pictures from vigils. The video also included a close up of Judy's eyes. I recognized her eyes. Judy and Clint had been members of the TVUUC back in the 1950's. I wish her whole face had been filmed. Judy might not find the prospect of a tight close up of her face broadcast on television very appealing but I think it is one of the most beautiful faces I've encountered. The face of an 80+ year old woman. Something beautiful shines through the smile, wrinkles and eyes. I hope people caught a glimpse of that beauty in the video.

One of the youth sang, "Tomorrow", a song that I would normally cause me to wretch, so well that it was difficult to hold back applause. The appropriateness of it suppressed my normal gag reflex and mental shut down brought on by too many bad renditions forced upon my ear drums. I really heard the song, understood the lyrics and the message of the song.

I did not think about the sliding glass doors. I realized that I hadn't thought of the doors halfway through the service. This ties in with a book I've been reading, "Stumbling into Happiness" The book was one of several given to the Sangha after Ann passed away. It talks about the wide divergence between what is constructed in the mind in anticipation of an event and how the event actually unfolds. I felt none of the anxiety that I had anticipated.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Unitarian Universalist Church of the Brazos Valley will have a candlelight vigil (6:30 pm, Tuesday, July 29) for the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in Knoxville. A brief announcement was published in both the print and online version of the Bryan - College Station Eagle People of all faiths are welcome to participate.

Someone asked in the comments section under the announcement, "Where any of the dead from College Station?"

I did not wish to respond in comments section because I do not want to encourage the Eagle. I really hope they drop that feature because it has been nothing but a whole lot of ugly recklessly driving a truckload of stupid.

The question above is the most benign comment that I've read in the Eagle comments or any other news site's comments regarding the shooting in Knoxville.

In answer to the commenter's question, as far as I know, none of the dead or wounded have ties to College Station. According to the Dallas Morning News, some of the wounded and one of the dead, Linda Kraeger, had ties to north Texas and the Unitarian Universalist Church in Denton. Our minister was a member of that church. I don't if Rev. Eric knew these people.

Whether or not the dead were from College Station (or the city of Bryan, Brazos, Robertson, Grimes, Madison, Washington, Waller counties or the state of Texas) is not relevant. UU churches all over the world are holding vigils because a member of our denominational family has been hurt. Churches and people of other faiths have held vigils or prayed because members of the human family have been hurt and killed in a sanctuary. A sanctuary! A place of safety.

We grieve with and pray for TVUUC. We will try to deal with our own emotions. We will support each other.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Lunch Time

I spent half of my lunch hour reading UUpdates. Most of the blogs were about the shooting in Knoxville. After I finished reading, I could not draw a cartoon (my usual lunch hour activity). The temperature in my office played a role (my thermometer reads 76 degrees but I have a vent that blows air on me all day and I cannot get out of the stream no matter how I arrange my office) in my desire to get out and take a walk. An office is too cold if a walk outside in near 100 degree temperatures feels good. The afternoon walks help my body get back to a normal temperature.

I haven't been to a service this month. Walter and I heard saw the news on CNN as we sat in McDonald's. We headed to my mother-in-law's house to celebrate her birthday. I followed events on the cell phone.

After reading all the blogs and news stories my thoughts turned to my own church. I went over a lot of these while on my walk. I could not draw with these things churning in my head. I thought about Tim, Claudette, Martha, Doug, Sharon and others who have stood in the foyer greeting people coming in. I've greeted people in that same foyer. People who don't join the service until meet and greet. All of us on the front line if a person decided to come to the church to do harm. I thought about the layout of our sanctuary, the lack of pews to hide behind but plenty of avenues of escape and chairs to throw. I thought about Dave, Judy, Lauralee, Sharon and other mobility and visually impaired people. I know that other members would have helped them escape. I thought about the current board and other UU church boards evaluating their emergency procedures.

I thought about the shooter in Knoxville. Doesn't look disturbed. They never do. Wanted suicide by cop. What a coward. Could be one of us.

I thought about Ken and Wayne, always walking into church with an instrument case. Others bring instruments all the time. Where two or more UUs are gathered together there is a guitar.

I thought about what I would do in such a situation. I'm sure others have or will do so as they head to church next Sunday. In my head, I'm quite brave. I hope and pray that reality never calls my bluff.

Several blogs included parts of the hymn, Gentle Angry People. Appropriate given the stated motivations of the shooter. I never cared for that hymn but now I have to reevaluate.

I will go to church next Sunday. I will try to keep the scary thoughts at bay, resist the urge to unlock the sliding glass doors, and resist lifting a chair to check its heaviness. Despite these thoughts, I will feel safe at my church. I will pray that the members of the TVUUC will regain their sense of safety soon.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Exercise Log: July 21 - 26

This week I ran, paddled, rowed and biked 24.8 miles, burned 2308.1 calories and weigh 146 pounds.

Monday: paddled 4.44 miles in 1:47:01; ran 2.76 miles in 30:00
Tuesday: rowed 1.3 miles in 10:00
Wednesday: ran 5.29 miles in 1:02:00
Thursday: biked 3.08 miles in 13:19
Friday: rowed 1.84 miles in 15:00
Saturday: ran 6.09 miles in 1:14:20

Training for Gold's Gym Games:
Tuesday: 14 Push Ups; 9 Assisted Pull Ups @ 140 pounds; 6 Pull Downs @ 80 pounds; 17 Leaning Pull Ups on Smith Machine; 41 Sit Ups; 2 minutes Jump Rope; 23 Leg Press @ 160 pounds; 13 Bench Press @ 55 pounds

Thursday: 15 Push Ups; 10 Assisted Pull Ups @ 140 pounds; 8 Pull Downs @ 80 pounds; 20 Leaning Pull Ups on Smith Machine; 51 Sit Ups; 2 minutes Jump Rope; 25 Leg Press @ 160 pounds; 10 Bench Press @ 60 pounds

Friday: 12 Push Ups; 12 Assisted Pull Ups @ 140 pounds; 7 Pull Downs @ 80 pounds; 16 Leaning Pull Ups on Smith Machine; 37 Sit Ups; 2 minutes Jump Rope; 24 Leg Press @ 160 pounds; 8 Bench Press @ 65 pounds

I deviated from the plan listed last week because I started training for the Harbor Half Marathon in Corpus Christi. The race is October 19.

I'm using a training plan from Runner's World. One inputs a time from a race, then distance to train for, then training intensity, weeks to train and how many miles currently training. I inputted my Run Thru the Vines 5K time. The paces that were generated seem really slow (I've been doing quite of bit of intervals and acceleration but for only 30 minutes; the Wednesday tempo pace was not difficult) but starting off too fast got to me in San Antonio and the Armadillo Dash. I will try my best to stick to the paces on the training plan and maybe I can get through the Harbor Half without sputtering the last 4 miles.

I need to wake up early to run on Saturdays. I did this first long run on the treadmill and worried more about making 6 miles in the alloted time rather than staying on pace. The gym is never crowded on Saturday so I could split up my run but I do need some road time. I can always take a nap after an early Saturday morning run.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Single Panel Goodness and Mary Worth

Three gags that I wish I had thought of:

The people in the first panel see something horrible, avert their eyes and quickly walk away but some cannot help but keep looking as they walk away from the horror inside the Bum Boat.

The stuffed fish on the paneled wall in the second panel are named Sailor and Fred. Wait, let's trend it up: Psaylor and Phred.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Secret

Off the Mark refuses to mention the secret...while Pearls Before Swine has no problem.

I keep asking the universe for the power to smite. So far the universe has failed to grant my wish. I only want it because smite is a neat word and no one has invented a weapon that can smite. "I smite thee!" has greater flair than "I'm gonna blow your brains out!"
What complex carb is that?
I would purchase a t-shirt with the image in the last panel on it minus the narration. Just Zerbina holding a rifle and vowing to never watch Sex and the City.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Canoe trip pictures

The pilings from an abandoned bridge. Any traces of the road have disappeared.
Taking a break from dragging the canoe down a very shallow part of the river. On the way back we found the deeper part and did not have to get out and drag.

I wear a big hat and SPF 45 sunscreen because I come from a long line of people who do not tan well.

The banks of the Navasota River.

More pictures at

The canoe is a 14 foot Old Towne Guide 147. It weighs 75 pounds. Its max carrying weight is 800 pounds and its optimum is 400. So far we've been about 50 pounds short of optimum. Either have to carry more provisions or take the dog. Perhaps try both.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Canoeing and littering

Walter and I went canoeing yesterday. We planned on the Brazos River but could not access it with the canoe. Instead, we paddled on the Navasota River about 4.5 miles worth. We had to get out and drag the canoe in a couple of places. We found a few anglers on our trip and too much litter.

People go to nature to get away from it all but end up trashing the place.

We ran into a Brazos County Constable walking around trying to find an address among the trash at the river access point. He advised us of another access point to the Navasota.

I have trouble wrapping my mind around littering. Is this some kind of class thing that my middle class upbringing will never understand? I never see bottles or cans from a micro brew or regional beer company laying around (might have a different picture if I lived in Austin or Portland). See plenty of Bud, Keystone, and Milwaukee's Best cans and bottles but never Shiner or Guinness (or a malt liquor)*. I know people who drink Miller and Bud while fishing but they dispose of their empties properly. These folks have had the same middle class upbringing that I had. Every week I spend some time picking up beer cans that were thrown in my side yard (I live on a corner lot). I would think that everyone in the neighborhood is in pretty much the same economic class so why do I have to pick up beer cans and other litter out of my yard? Where is the transition point from it's okay to leave the empties to putting the empties into a container for pick up? Can anyone explain why some people litter?

*I would still find the litter annoying even if it was a better beer.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Exercise Log: July 14 - 19

This week I biked, ran, rowed and canoed 21.14 miles, burned 1523.7 calories and weigh 145.3 pounds.

Monday: biked 3.02 miles in 13:35
Tuesday: ran 3.40 miles in 35:00
Wednesday: rowed 1.27 miles in 10:00
Thursday: ran 3.19 miles in 35:00
Friday: biked 4.08 miles in 17:58
Saturday: canoed 3.02 miles in 1:02:26; 3.16 miles in 1:01:33

For my Gold's Gym Games training
Monday: 12 Push Ups, 2 Pull Ups w/120 pounds of assistance on machine, 27 Sit Ups, 1 min. Jump Rope, 16 Leg Press (160 pounds), 3 Bench Press @ 60 pounds
Wednesday: 12 Push Ups, 7 Pull Ups w/ 150 pounds of assistance, 36 Sit Ups, 1 Min. Jump Rope, 18 Leg Press (160 pounds), 8 Bench Press @ 55 pounds
Friday: 15 Push Ups, 14 Pull Ups w/ 150 pounds of assistance, 40 Sit Ups, 1 Min. Jump Rope, 21 Leg Press (160 pounds), 7 Bench Press @ 60 pounds

Next week's plan: use 140 pounds of assistance on Pull Up Machine, 80 pounds Lat Pull down
Monday: canoing, row and games training, 55 pounds Bench Press, attempt unassisted Pull Up
Tuesday: 30 minute run
Wednesday: bike 2 miles and games training, 60 pounds Bench Press
Thursday: 30 minute run
Friday: row and games training, 65 pounds Bench Press
Saturday: 1 hour run

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Unnecessary Grossness

The drops add unnecessary grossness to the second panel.

Today's comic theme: song lyric based gags.

Better Half kicks things off with a dash of Disney's Song of the South.

Free Range gets inspiration from Wilson Pickett.

Jump Start incorporates Rapper's Delight by the Sugar Hill Gang.

Random weirdness from Zippy the Pinhead

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

You know... morons

Clause 3, Article 6 of the United States Constitution:

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the
several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the
United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation,
to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required
as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.
I added the emphasis.

During the work week, I watch Morning Joe on MSNBC while I eat breakfast. This morning some poll numbers were quoted - 12% believe that Barak Obama is a Muslim and 32% believe that he attended a madrassa. How much effort does it take to remain willfully ignorant?

I posted the quote above to remind people what our constitution says. Obama, a Muslim? No, but it does not matter. religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

When Mitt Romney came to the Bush Library to speak, he should have quoted Clause 3, Article 6 and left. He should have kept repeating, "no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States", until it penetrated the thick skulls of people trying to impose such a test.

Back to the poll numbers quoted on MSNBC. In a perfect world, when news people quote a poll showing a percentage of people believing something proven untrue the phrase, "you know... morons" should accompany the quote.

An example:
According to a 1999 Gallup poll, 6% of Americans believe that the Apollo moon landings were faked. You know... morons.*

It would ease my pain.

*You've got to remember that these are just simple farmers. These are people of the land. The common clay of the new West. You know... morons. - From Blazing Saddles religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States. religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States. religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States. religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States. religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

Monday, July 14, 2008


The look on Mary Worth's face is icon/avatar worthy and scary. Hopefully, Jeff has invited her over in order to trap her. The sound of her voice has weakened him, can he handle her full presence? Can Dr. Sansabelt handle that 1980's Ocean Pacific tee?

We bought a canoe yesterday and took it out on Lake Bryan. I enjoyed paddling with Walter. I'm glad he has found something active that we can do together. He found some paddling trails on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website. Both of us need to get in better paddling shape before tackling the trails.

Google maps is a great thing for scouting out the water way before setting off.

We will try a trip with Loki in the canoe to see how he likes it. He does enjoy laying in water and he likes going on trips with us.

I need to work on my paddling technique.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Exercise Log: July 7 - July 12

This week I biked, ran and rowed 20.05 miles, burned 1817.3 calories and weigh 145.9 pounds.

Monday: rowed 1.35 miles in 10:00
Tuesday: ran 3.45 miles in 35:00
Wednesday: biked 4.13 miles in 17:48
Thursday: ran 3.18 miles in 35:00
Friday: rowed 1.92 miles in 15:00
Saturday: ran 6.02 miles in 65:00

I signed up to participate in the Gold's Gym Games It is six different events over 6 days.
Aug. 11 - Push Up; Aug. 12 - Pull Up; Aug. 13 - Sit Up; Aug. 18 - Jump Rope; Aug. 19 - Leg Press; Aug. 20 - Bench Press. I will be training for this on my strength training days for the next month.

I can do 4 out of the 6 events pretty well. I can work up to 50% body weight on the Bench Press but I've never done an unassisted Pull Up. I've have asked for some advice on how to work up to one Pull Up on a fitness forum. I will try the suggestions as well as just working the move. I have to remember to concentrate on using the back muscles more than the arms.

Only one other person has signed up at the Bryan Gold's and she will be competing in the same category (women under 40). I plan on doing my best and having fun with this.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Be the Brand

Yesterday, I attended BrandMaster Training. Learned the background behind the name changes, the importance of getting the brand into the public's mind and making sure to use the energy lines. This training is meant to get over 3,000 employees to make the public aware of the various brands - College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Agrilife Research and AgriLife Extension. They want us to be the brand. A positive experience with an employee equals a positive association with the brand assuming that the employee mentions the brand.

I'm willing to be the brand but only from 8:00 - 5:00 Monday through Friday. The rest of the time I will be the Linda.

I was disappointed not to learn any neat tricks like they teach in Jedi Master training.

I realized I couldn't have success in the "branding" field because I just could not take it too seriously. I couldn't make the presentation with a straight face.

I've read on business websites about people applying the concept of branding to a personal level. Using various tools to promote the, for example the Linda brand, and create positive associations with the personal brand. At lot of these articles use marketing terms to dispense this advice: Be good. Don't be a jerk.

A bit of advice:
Make one black and white copy of your colored charts to make sure the contrast is retained before making thousands of copies and discovering red and purple look exactly the same on a black and white copy.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Procrastination Chart

I never use cleaning as a procrastination tool. I'll read, nap, blog, play games, watch TV or work on a more interesting project but never clean.

Planning is my favorite procrastination tool because it looks like action. Research comes a close second.

Monday, July 07, 2008

The Voice of the Shatner

I think the term, whisperer to describe a gifted animal behaviour expert has been a bit over-used. Perhaps, now a cliche. It inspired a few gags: Gila Monster whisperer, Whisperer whisperer, Ho whisperer. I drew the Gila Monster whisperer.

This weekend, I discovered that William Shatner's musical work has a very calming effect on the birds. Walter was playing selections from our music collection and transferring some of the songs to his phone. I own a CD of William Shatner's The Transformed Man. Salvador and Edgar would chatter, scream and bother each other while other songs played but as soon as Shatner's rendition of Mr. Tambourine Man played both birds calmed down and by the end of the song they were hunkered down on opposite ends of the shelf barely keeping their eyes open. Walter played other songs and the birds would start up again but they calmed down upon hearing Shatner's Lucy in the Sky. This experiment continued for another hour. Most songs would get them excited but the voice of the Shatner (that needed to be bold) calmed them down. Leonard Nimoy had a similar effect but not as pronounced as the Shatner.

I will try the experiment some more with other Shatner renditions from YouTube. He did a pretty cool rendition of Common People with Joe Jackson on the Conan O'Brien Show. I have an animated Star Trek mash-up featuring that song among my favorites on my YouTube channel. If the birds start squawking during Joe Jackson's singing part then it is safe to say that my birds have really interesting musical tastes.

I am glad that they have not added the Enzyte commercial to their whistling repertoire. I'm sure a quick search of YouTube will turn up video of a pet bird that has added that to their repertoire.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Exercise Log: June 30 - July 5

This week I ran, biked and rowed 20.82 miles, burned 1572.1 calories and weigh 146.3 pounds.

Monday: biked 3.87 miles in 18:13
Tuesday: ran 3.40 miles in 35:00
Wednesday: rowed 1.26 miles in 10:00
Thursday: ran 3.12 miles in 35:00
Friday: biked 4.85 miles in 23:59
Saturday: ran 4.32 miles in 52:55

Today, I took advantage of the decent temperatures this morning and ran outside. I ran on a nature trail that the city has placed signs on but not done much else. Flattened grass served as the only indication of the trail. The trail I ran does appear on satellite images so the city did a better job maintaining this trail at some point. There is still a dead tree blocking part of the trail. The police department recently purchased an armored vehicle for the SWAT Team. I guess that's where the chainsaw money went. I had a bit of an adventure climbing over the dead tree. The sign indicating an old tree that lived under all six flags of Texas had been repaired. (The six flags are Spain, France, Mexico, the Republic of Texas, the Confederacy and the United States).

I blazed a trail, got muddy, climbed over a dead tree, crawled under a gate and had a good run.

We own a chainsaw but I'm not sure how people would react to seeing a non-city worker walking into the woods with a chainsaw.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

I'm sailing...

A scene never shown in any Western.

The unseen thought balloon over Ron's head in panel two: Sailing? WTF? Is she going to keep interrogating me about all my aquatic related preferences?

Ron is also not a fan of pool parties, tuna casserole, power walking, pink, gated communities, roses, cheap dog food, Bartlett's Book of Quotations, vertical abstract art, and glass swans.

Mary, just get back with Jeff already.

Thank you, Mary Worth, now I have that Styx song stuck in my head.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Not a fan of seafood

Oh Ron, you do not contradict the wishes of the Mary Worth. Your opinion (or possible food allergies) do not matter to the Mary Worth. You will eat the seafood and like it. You will eat it even if it causes shock. It is what the Mary Worth will like tonight.

A commenter over at Mary Worth & Me asked if this bit of pettiness is meant to be ironic or is Karen Moy an evil person that thinks that this is the way old ladies are supposed to be. Unfortunately, I know way too many people as petty as Mary Worth. Karen Moy may know them, too.

I need to add Mary Worth & Me to my links.