Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Last of the Christmas Shopping

It's the most wonderful time of the year. It's also the most stressful time of the year too! People come out in full force looking for gifts. As usual I waited until the week prior to get in gear. I decided to spend the morning at Baybrook Mall in Friendswood, TX.

We started the morning with a stop at Denny's for breakfast. While enjoying my cholesterol laden fried eggs I noticed a kid by himself. After asking the staff I learned his parents left him there to stand in the line for the new Jordan tennis shoes.

You've got to be kidding me! I've dealt with the Jordan shoe crowd before. Let's just say there is something wrong with these people who value a cheap, street subculture status symbol over the well being of their fellow man. Yet that particular group place little value on life anyway.

Whomever parked way out in the drive lane like this is ignorant!

The mall was packed! The line to see Santa resembled a hip, new down town club except the line was filled with kids and parents. Does this mean if I have kids someday I'll have to sit in this line?

The mandatory Starbucks break!

We finished our day at Bass Pro Shop. I can enjoy an hour or so here on a normal day. That day I was already exhausted and just needed to lay down. On the plus side I did finish my shopping!

Friday, December 23, 2011

(Before) Christmas in a Jamaican Terminal

While watching one of my favorite movies of all time (Club Paradise)a distant memory returned. It was about two weeks before Christmas in 2008 and I was on my second cruise. The ship stopped in Montego Bay, Jamaica. We probably spent about an hour waiting inside the terminal. As I waited I heard reggae Christmas music coming from the roof. "It's the right time for some reggae...." that it was. This is an experience I'd like to repeat. One year I'd like to take a cruise the week of Christmas and spend the most magical day of the year in a Caribbean paradise.

Friday, December 2, 2011

An Evening at Nonmacher's BBQ!

I had passed by this place hundreds of times and paid it scant notice until this news story broke. A friend of mine also saw the article and wanted to eat there. So I met them. My first impression was how small the place was then I remembered the place was built in 1979 when Mason and Kingsland was "out in the country." I have to say that was the best sweet tea and potato salad I've ever had! We got there about 10 minutes until closing but they were kind enough to let us stay and eat in. Afterward I met Mr. Nonmacher and asked him what was this area like when he opened his joint. He said it was prairie and you could hear the wind and coyotes howl. It's hard for me to imagine Mason and Kingsland being far removed from the metropolis. Back then, this was the proverbial out in the country, roadside BBQ joint known by all the locals. He also mentioned that the tables and chairs are all the original 1979 furniture (the chairs he made in his garage). The walls are full of relics from decades past, pictures of moments long faded into history, and people who are long gone. Inevitably the poster discussion came up. The poster was made by some guys (with some help from beer of course) 30 years ago over at Westheimer and Hwy 6 (which was also rural back then). As a matter of fact one of the men in that poster saw the news story and came up there and introduced himself. He was asked about the "Iranian" in the picture to reveal the man is Italian. That's the closest to Iranian those fellows could muster. At the time American citizens were being held hostage in Iran. So naturally Iran was not well thought of, especially "around these here parts." Any rational person looking at that poster needs to take history into account when taking the poster into context. However in this age of over burdened political correctness all it took was one person to get offended and go cry about it. Apparently this is the type of person that gets offended and rather instead of boycotting the establishment he feels his hurt feelings entitles him to bully Mr. Nonmacher (whom isn't the type that doesn't handle threats very well) into removing the poster or to suffer the penalty for having failed to do so. While the identity of the crybaby is unknown, his friend Hasani plays the old "fight against ignorance and hatred" while acting like a fool himself. Apparently Hasani feels he shouldn't be offended while offending those of us who feel people can express themselves however they want. If they are offended, then go elsewhere as Mr. Nonmacher politely states. He even mentioned his business neighbor is Middle Eastern and jokingly asked to borrow the poster to increase his business. Mr. Nonmacher is not the bigot that crybabies like Hasani and his friend would have you believe. Mr. Nonmacher is a long time business man who has been in the same place for decades and would gladly give his neighbor the shirt off his back if it would help. I thanked him and the lady (I'm guessing she was his wife) for treating us and sharing us stories of times past.

An Evening with Peter (Part II)

An Evening with Peter

For the fourth time in my life I was afforded the opportunity to see Peter Murphy live (twice solo twice with Bauhaus). As expected I danced, drank, and enjoyed myself throughout the show. However the memorable moment came after the show. I was with a group of friends who like to hang out afterward in hopes of being able to meet and get pictures taken with the artists and have been successful many times. While we sat outside watching downtown Houston winding down on a Monday night Peter Murphy walks out. He is swarmed by about a dozen people. He was kind enough to take pictures with my friends. I wanted one too, but don't want to be a bother to anyone. I get up as he heads towards his bus. I'm not going to stop him so I turn and my friend takes a picture of me with him in the background. I figure that's about as good as I'm going to get but it would be the only picture of me with someone famous. Next thing I know I feel some one's arm around me and see him standing next to me! I smile as my friends quickly snap two pictures before he politely says his goodbyes and gets on his bus an on his road and we go down ours.

Snakes in the Bureaucratic Office

An Indian snake charmer claims the tax office is demanding bribes from him so in protest he dumps a bunch of cobras in the office. Aside from the poisonous horde slithering around I compared the Indian tax office with my local tax office. I noticed there is practically no office equipment. No computers, no printers, nothing to write with. Even the chair is hand made (and torn as seen in the last segment). Now compare a tax office here with all the somewhat modern office equipment and amenities (like restrooms and air conditioning) and what conclusion can we draw? Tax offices everywhere are inept, bumbling, and cause a lot of anger and grief.