Wild Life Of A Little Monster

Others are scared of me because of all the fun I have. Considered a vigilante by my Eponine.

U.S. Map

There was an 1898 Rand McNally map on display at the National Portrait Gallery. I took the two shots here of the country's middle and of my home state. Click on them for a larger image. It's interesting to see the towns/cities around in 1898.

More Portrait Gallery Images

Pics above are portraits of Abraham Lincoln and of Stephen Douglas. The latter was Mr. Lincoln's opponent in his first run for U.S. President. They were well known for their debates.

Final tally: Lincoln -- 1,866,452; Douglas -- 1,375,157. Electoral votes were 180 to 12. (Remember I am a proponent of the Electoral College.) Evidently, which my history learning provides me absolutely no recollection of this fact, there was a second Democrat that ran that year. John Breckinridge received 845,763 votes and 72 votes from the Electoral College. Hmmm?

FYI, Hannibal Hamlin was Mr. Lincoln's vice president. It was Andrew Johnson during his second term when he beat George McClellan.

Pic below is of a portrait of Thomas Edison. My hero.

Random Thoughts On September 30, 2008

Can't believe that September is wrapping up. We have three months left in 2008. Hope to have time to work on bringing out the Halloween stuff over the next few days.

Soooo ready to see the season premier of "Pushing Daisies" on Wednesday night. My gut feeling is that it is going to be a great season. Caught a bit of DWTS Tuesday night. Didn't Warren Sapp get fined years ago by the NFL for aggressive play or something? I can't remember. I don't really care for the Hough guy. He needs to be fined for cockiness.

Eponine's birthday, or at least gotcha day with me, was in late September. Just a quick shout out that I thought of her.

Have I told you lately that Gabrielle talks, talks, talks. Seriously. The greeting when I come home each day is unbelievable. She's asleep now, though.

McCain is here today. Michelle Obama later this week. They said they state is leaning red, but still very close and up for a battle.

My buddy JSmith sent an e-mail saying his Scooter dog passed away over the weekend. He was a daschund and had a bad back. Years ago he had slipped discs or something and lost the ability to use his back legs. He was named before the medical issue but he literally had to scoot around everywhere he went. It almost made me cry just reading his e-mail.

Cooler weather is moving in. High on Wednesday predicted to reach upper 60s. Nice. I love the change to fall. Leaves will be changing colors soon. I've heard that the wet spring we had should cause for a brightly colored fall. Nice.

Did I tell you that MegMcB is prego? A little girl officially is on the way! Very exciting.

A co-worker recently died of cancer. Not a co-worker I knew well, but a co-worker that nonetheless and one loved by many others and no doubt by friends and family.

The Spade, a dear friend from 4-H days, college and adulthood, was diagnosed with breast cancer about a year ago. She's gone through the whole gamut of treatment and seems to be recovering. Then, within the last six months, her second son (she has four) was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Currently it is unoperable but there still is some hope, I've heard.

The situation fully breaks my heart. I find that I have no idea what to say to her. I can offer no words of wisdom, but often pray for them. I know it is hope that keeps them going. The son recently got to throw a first pitch at a Texas Rangers game. I hear it was a highlight that left him smiling for days.

More Pics

Two more pics I took while at the National Portrait Gallery. This painting of Fredrick Douglass was very fascinating to see. I have toured his D.C. home a couple times. Thinking of you, I also took a pic of the placard next to the painting so that I could post it.


And speaking of Emmy's ... did you know that only three comedy shows have had all four of lead or main characters win an Emmy? They are "All in the Family," "Golden Girls" and "Will & Grace." However, Alan Alda, Gary Burghoff, Loretta Swit and Harry Morgan won for work on "M*A*S*H." It never gets included with the other three shows although it was in the comedy category for the Emmy's.

You should consider your life much richer because you now know such exciting and useful information.

Next In Line

What do Halle Berry, Sarah Palin, Suzette Charles and Kristin Chenoweth (from Pushing Daisies) all have in common? That's right! They each were first runner-up in a pageant. Miss USA, Miss Alaska, Miss America and Miss Oklahoma, respectively. After Vanessa Williams resigned, though, Suzette became Miss America.

My history often has been the runner-up. I've won my share too, although I've never been in a pageant. Hehe. Somehow or another I often feel reminded that those who have to be prepared to step in just in case someone can't fulfill their duties aren't all that bad. Keep working hard and full of passion and things often have a unique way of working out for the best.

Just a random thought I had Sunday night when I saw Kristin and Vanessa on television at the Emmy's.

Random Thoughts On September 22, 2008

Drove 14 miles on Monday. The entire day. Only 14 miles. I am loving my new commute.

Recently determined that pizza by the slice is evil. It is the root of my weight gain. That and margaritas, Mexican food, and eating out while on road trips. You know, I wish Target served margaritas. I may have to suggest that to them. Pushing around carts, sipping on a maragarita. Sounds great.

The crickets are driving me crazy. Gabby is totally fascinated by them.

Tried to watch some of the Emmy broadcast Sunday night. The show bored me. I wanted Holly Hunter, Kristin Chenoweth, Christina Applegate and Doogie Howser to win ... although I've never watched the shows for the last two. None of them won.

Can't wait to see "Ugly Betty" premier this week. "Pushing Daisies" starts Oct. 1. ABC is really pushing "Pushing." I hope it gains a bigger audience. It's a great show. Missed "Dancing" Monday night. Forgot it was starting. Maurice Green is a Kansas City, Kansas dude.

Paid $3.27 a gallon for gas Monday night.

My buddy, The Artist, had an opening in Norman, Okla. this past Friday. Wish I could have seen it. I hear it was very well attended. I was in Kansas City attending The Plaza Art Fair. The weather was splendid. The crowd was HUGE. I was there with three of the Schramwiches. Those kids lasted until 10:30 p.m. with their Uncle Cowboy.

A local residential treatment center for children asked me to serve on their board of directors. I'm actually really pumped about it. The center does very good work. Volunteering on the board will be tons of work, but something I am really looking forward to.

There are mole tunnels in my yard. That's irritating. And I need to mow.


Here's a shot of the Luis Jimenez sculpture that is on display in front of the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. I'll try to remember to post a few more pics this weekend. The museum is directly across the street from the Verizon Center (formerly known as MCI Center) on 8th Street. Near the Gallery Place/China Town stop on the Metro. For sure worth a visit during your next trip to D.C.

Feeling Welcomed

Officially I've been in the new office a week. I actually somewhat like it. On Monday I drove a total of 14 miles. That was the best part of all. A shorter commute can outweigh any negatives, I think.

The silly negatives ... still some confusion on who is performing specific tasks. Learning antiquated ways to do expense reports or other items like that. Hearing people moan because you moved the shredder. Hearing people whine because someone is parking where they always parked. Or hearing those some people whine because they really don't want to share their coffee station.

Yuck. You'd think people had more important things to do or with which to worry. I'll work at providing another update in a month. Let you know how it's going.

Welcome Mat

We were saturated with rain last week. Just poured essentially all day Saturday. Remnants of Ike and other weather patterns that created showers. Plus, a cold front has rolled in. Evenings are now dipping to the mid-50s. Very nice. Sleep-with-the-windows-open weather.

The result as it appears a critter or two has decided to move in. These crickets and other water-like bugs think they are welcome guests. I am constantly catching Gab pawing away and chasing the critters about the home. They're like new toys. She hasn't even been coming to see me off before I leave for work. She's too busy entertaining her house guests.

Read My Lips

Commercials airing in Missouri indicate Sen. Obama will raise taxes on everyone. However, every analysis I have read indicates that is false. That Sen. McCain's campaign is distorting the truth. They're lying. Or at best speculating big time.

Taxes and having more money in my pocket is probably the single most important issue for me. And ending the ongoing needless war in Iraq.

Improving America's overall education system also is high on my list. And I don't have children. But I firmly believe that a strong education system everywhere, not just in the suburbs, will lead to more small to mid-sized businesses that employ Americans. Along that line, I also am very concerned about the strength of the American economy.

Anyway ... here's a link to information on factcheck.org.

I am still undecided on my vote and continue to read and soak up all bits of information I can gather.

Hometown Pride

You know that Republican VP nominee is a former Miss Alaska contestant. I read she played the flute for the talent portion. No report on how she did in swimsuit and evening gown. She was first runner-up and was selected Miss Congeniality by her fellow contestants. That's good to know since my first impression is that she's meaner than the dickens. I'd certainly want her on my team in a street fight! Or a basketball game.

Mom tells me the hometown is all abuzz. The newest Miss Oklahoma is a graduate of the local high school. She was crowned in June. The contest was in Tulsa. She'll compete at Miss America in January.

Kelsey Cartright. Very easy on the eyes. Looks like she's fairly short. The ol' hometown and CHS likely will go mad if she actually does well at Miss America. Lots of hometown women have competed for Miss Oklahoma over the years, but I've never heard of any winning. This excitement is all new for them.


Gabby and I stopped by to see her doctor Saturday morning. It was time for the yearly booster shots.

Although the car ride over and back kept her talking and close to hysterical, the actual vet visit was noneventful and calm. She was on her best behavior. Many even commented how great she was. One lady said "your cat appears almost dog like." I think I heard Gab hiss as a response. Gabby considered it an insult.

There was no change in the weight area. Still right at 7.6 pounds. I have even been less restrictive the last month or so. Chances are, she's just not going to bulk up much more.

All else came back as a clean bill of health! An awesome little monster.

And Fight, Fight, Fight!

Attaching a pic I took last night with my cell phone. My new cell phone as a matter of fact. The White House looks like it's leaning the right.

Went to dinner with a co-worker and colleagues at Oceanaire. It was really good. They had great hash browns.

Did you know that Xcel Energy was the electric provider to each national convention this year? In Denver and in St. Paul. More useless information that I find fascinating.

Random Thoughts On September 7, 2008

It's actually past midnight, so it's really Sept. 8. Flew to D.C. Sunday on U.S. Airways. It was a pleasant trip. Even though they are now charging $1 for a cup a coffee, more for soda and even more for beer/wine. No more pretzels or peanuts. Oh well. The flight was completely on time.

Stopped at Pentagon City Mall after arriving. I am not a mall guy at all. They're usually full of white kids hanging out, acting more important than they are, spending their parent's money, getting in my way and on my nerves. (Please note, I have nothing against white kids. I often have wanted one of my own.) That's my observation of malls. However, Pentagon City is a really cool mall. Hotels, great department stores and specialties. Places to eat. Always busy, but not Mall of America crazy. And a Kenneth Cole store.

Took a tour of the National Portrait Gallery after checking into the hotel. Very impressive. Nice. There's also a great Luis Jimenez piece out front. I took pics and will post when I get home.

There was a private event starting as I was leaving the gallery, around 7 p.m. I asked a lady who appeared to be hosting or at least welcoming guests. She was rude and made sure I realized it was a private event for their clients and I was not invited. I apologized for interrupting and told her I only was curious since it appeared to be a very nice event.

It appears she works for/the host company is The Carlyle Group. Some high-dollar investment company. Not that I would ever make that kind of green, but I for sure would never seek out this company. I never want to be one of their clients based on that one interaction with that lady.

More my style, I found a burger joint named Five Guys for dinner. The cashier/order taker was cool and helpful. The French fries were awesome good.

Before and after dinner I did a little strolling around neighborhoods. I'm always remarkably surprised at the number of homeless folks camped out under store awnings or other nook and crannies. It's common in D.C. Some sleep right in the middle of the sidewalk.

Not homeless looking, but I also saw a younger couple (guy and girl) sitting back away from the sidewalk next to some official-looking building. I figured they were just relaxing and hanging out. As I walked along, the strong odor I smelled provided evidence that they were "chillen!"

Noticed Celine Dion will be at the Verizon Center Monday night. Maybe I'll go by to see if anyone is scalping tickets. Just to see if I can say I attended a concert in D.C.

Got a new cell phone. Finally traded in my several-years-old Razr. The new one is a Samsung model. So far I am really enjoying it.


{Revised on Sept. 7, 2008. Original post indicated the Republican ticket was visiting Sunday}
Except once, Missouri has voted for the eventual overall election winner for every U.S. Presidential contest since 1904. The one time Missouri didn't involved a contest between favorite sons of neighboring states. Since it is an election year I challenge you to do some research if you want to know.

For more useless information ... Missouri has eight bordering states. That's the most for all U.S. states. Missouri shares that record with one other.

Swing states are those 10 to 15 that might go either way in the election. Most polls show Missouri leaning right, but others say it's too close to call. That means nonstop political ads and frequent visits by the candidates.

My home phone kept ringing and ringing Saturday night. Three times. And I didn't answer. Why? I was on my cell phone visiting with an Oklahoma friend. Plus, rarely does my home phone ever ring. Just telemarketers or OSU soliciting donations.

The fourth call I answered. It was a robo call announncing that McCain and Palin were coming to Kansas City on Monday. Well, Lee's Summit. It's a mostly white, well-to-do, suburb just southeast of Kansas City. It's where my office is located (I am moving to a new office downtown on Wednesday). W made a visit to Lee's Summit not long ago.

These nominees will be speaking at John Knox Village, a very large retirement campus/village. Hope they don't keep Mr. McCain!

During the DNC Mr. Obama watched the Monday night speeches from a home in Kansas City. I had gone to dinner that night with a buddy. I travelled Brookside Boulevard on my way home and was stopped by the road closure. I found a parking spot on a nearby street and hopped over to the commotion thinking I remembered hearing Mr. Obama was in town.

There easily were more than 200 folks gathered along the street. Shortly after 10 p.m. Mr. Obama strolled out of the house with the press corps in tow. Local and national media outlets were all broadcasting. I am certain he looked right at me, waved and gave me a toothy grin.

It was the one time I didn't have my camera with me. The cell phone pics all turned out blurry and mostly just captured flashes from other cameras and the bright lights of TV cameras. Darn.

I would have been just as excited to see Mr. McCain.

Ride'em Cowboys!

The niece just sent a text indicating the first home touchdown of the season was just scored! Go Cowboys! Orange Power! Hope it's a good game and a W for the good guys.

Random Thoughts On September 6, 2008

Saw Christmas stuff in a store the other day. Can you believe it? The year is flying.

Sorry we've been missing. Have had topics for posts cross my mind, but then get too busy to write anything. Or, have been feeling too pooped each evening to get anything done. Be assured, Gab and I are doing fine. She continues to meow nonstop and I continue to run around like the most unorganized organized person in the world.

Loving the start of college football. Wore orange every day before the first game for my Cowboys and we won! Didn't wear orange this week. Well ... Friday I wore a shirt that the tag on it when I purchased it said "cantaloupe" so I don't really consider it orange. :) We'll see what will be the result. We play Houston starting about 6 p.m.

Ton, the niece, just called from Stillwater. She says she got her pic taken with T. Boone Pickens. I think I saw him on TV in the luxury boxes at the Republican Convention. She's wearing orange today and getting ready to go to the season home opener. I'm so very jealous. I am at home wearing OSU boxers, doing laundry and other home stuff, and listening to Gabby walking around talking to the walls.

Leave for D.C. on Sunday for a couple days. Work trip. Should be a good trip. Meetings with lawyers.

My home is feeling super junkie right now. I feel like I need to go room by room and just toss stuff. Or make a huge garage sale pile. Folks give me things that I keep forever. Maybe it's time to realize I've enjoyed it, but it's finally time to part ways.

Got to put some clothes in the dryer.