Saturday, October 04, 2008

Sounds Like the Opening Scene in a Classic Mystery Novel

ke leaves debris, mammoth tooth in Caplen front yard | Front page | - Houston Chronicle: "CAPLEN�— A homeowner whose beachfront property in Texas was destroyed during Hurricane Ike has found a football-size fossil tooth in the debris.

Dorothy Sisk and her colleague, Lamar University paleontologist Jim Westgate, visited her Bolivar Peninsula home after Ike hit. Together they found something unusual in Sisk's front yard: a 6-pound fossil tooth.

Westgate believes the fossil is from a Columbian mammoth common in North America until around 10,000 years ago."

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way : For jurisdictions that treat all red light camera tickets, toll violations and parking citations as civil penalties, it does not matter who was behind the wheel when the alleged infraction occurred. Under civil procedures, the vehicle's registered owner is automatically responsible for paying once an accusation is made, regardless of individual guilt. But if the general public were to follow the example set by Travis County employees as revealed on Tuesday, fewer motorists would bother paying citations mailed by the state of Texas or the city of Austin.

"There are some employees using county vehicles on a toll road and they are not paying the tolls themselves," the county's executive manager for transportation, Joe Gieselman, said. "Therefore the toll agency sends the county the bill because they go search the license plate and sure enough Travis County is the title holder and, voila, we have the toll is not being paid. And none of these departments have budgets or authorization to pay tolls."

The problem, however, extends far beyond toll skipping. Over the past four years, county employees have been blowing through red lights and parking in handicapped zones. County law enforcement vehicles have been nabbed for parking in tow-away zones. In total, the county has racked up $10,000 in unpaid parking fines with Austin, and that city now wants its money. After the city began booting county vehicles to encourage those officials to pay up, the county commissioners court scheduled a meeting to discuss the issue.

Mike Ripley's Latest Column Now On-Line

Packed with info, as always.  Click here .


Judy and I saw this at a Friday matinee, and I was a little surprised by the size of the audience.  The movie hasn't gotten a lot of publicity, and it slipped into the Houston area with no fanfare at all.  People found out about it, though, and there was a good group in attendance.

First of all, I have  to say that it was great just to see a western on the big screen again, and a traditional western at that.  Well, traditional in a lot of ways, and unconventional in others.   When I say traditional, I mean it's not a hyped-up action flick like the recent remake of 3:10 to Yuma.  There's action and violence, but when it comes, it's quickly over and done with.  I found this very effective, but it means that there are stretches of the movie devoted to character development and dialog.  Some might find that a bit slow, and as we left the theater I heard a guy say that was his reaction.

If you're read Robert B. Parker's novel, you know what to expect.  Ed Harris, who plays Virgil Cole, worked on the script, and he pretty much filmed the novel.  It's been a while since I read the book, but the movie follows it point for point as I remember it.  It uses a lot of Parker's dialog, too.

Harris and Viggo Mortensen (who plays Everett Hitch) are a team of professional gunmen, sort of free-lance lawmen you hire when you want your town tamed.  They're hired by the Appaloosa town fathers to take care of Bragg (Jeremy Irons), who's killed the town marshal and his deputies.

Both Harris and Mortensen are excellent.  Just about everything they do is right, including Mortensen's haircut.  It's worth watching the movie just to watch these two at underplaying everything for all they're worth.  Irons gets to be a little gaudier, but he's good, too.

It wouldn't be a Robert B. Parker story if it didn't have a woman for Cole to have a weird relationship with.  Renee Zellweger plays Allie,  who drifts into Appaloosa for no apparent reason other than to be that woman.  She's the unconventional part of the movie, definitely not the virginal school marm or faithful wife and/or lover.  Zellweger does her best, but she wasn't convincing to me.  Where's Lana Turner when we need her?

All in all, I liked this quite a bit.  I have to say again how good it was to see a movie like this in the theater, and I really hope that Harris will take on the sequel, Resolution.  I'd buy a ticket in a heartbeat.

10 Unusual Recipes

Click here.  As for me, I'll just have a burger and fries, thanks.

Technology Lurches Forward (Part 2)

Amazon Kindle 2 e-books its way to BGR : Boy Genius Report: "Yes, people. You’re looking at the first shots of Amazon’s Kindle 2. The follow-up to their popular e-book reader. Our ninja sent us a ton of shots, and we have to admit, they look pretty good. The unit didn’t go down too much in size which is unfortunate, but then again, you want something pretty large so it’s comfortable to read on. He says that the unit is a little wider and a little longer, but it should help those that thought the first unit was a little too awkwardly-shaped. What’s even better is that with the new unit, while holding it, you won’t accidentally flip the page like the old one. Hit the jump for the rest!"

Hat tip to Dwight Sliverman's TechBlog.

Who Says the Bush Administration's Economic Policies Aren't Working?

This morning while out for my usual slow (okay, very slow) jaunt through the strees of Alvin, I found $3.25.  The quarter was in one place, and the three bucks in another.  This is quite a haul for me.  Not that I haven't found money before.  I find pennies fairly often (yes, I pick 'em up; can't resist), and now and then I find a nickel or a dime, but finding a quarter is unusual.  Finding folding money, while not unheard of, is a rare event.  So I'm well on the way to making up all those losses in the Market recently.  Only a few hundred thousand dollars left to go.

Technology Lurches Forward

Technology News: Handheld Devices: Sony Takes Swipe at Kindle With Touchscreen Reader: "Just in time for the 2008 holiday season, Sony (NYSE: SNE) unveiled a new addition to its line of e-book readers Thursday. The PRS-700, which features a six-inch touchscreen, will join the PRS-505 on store shelves in November.

Weighing in at about 10 ounces and capable of storing about 350 average-length digital novels, the PRS-700 also includes an expandable memory slot for Sony's Memory Stick Duo media and SD memory cards. With the added memory, the reader can hold thousands of books and documents, according to Sony."

Whatever Happened to . . .

No 'Action!' for Hollywood vets - Entertainment News, Anne Thompson, Media - Variety: "A generation of lauded directors is MIA in Hollywood.
In an industry driven by buzz, heat, youth and momentum, many talented studio helmers now find themselves on the outside looking in.

While directors such as Lawrence Kasdan (“Grand Canyon”), Joe Dante (“Gremlins”), Phil Kaufman (“The Right Stuff”) and Jim McBride (“The Big Easy”) were once reliable makers of modest studio hits, enjoying both popular and critical success, they’re rarely tapped for new film projects. And they often hit a brick wall in trying to mount their own passion projects."

They Live

Friday, October 03, 2008

Dracula Update

Dutton Wins New 'Dracula' - 10/3/2008 7:36:00 AM - Publishers Weekly: "Dutton publisher Brian Tart bested bids from several other publishers for U.S. rights to Dracula: the Un-dead, by Bram Stoker’s great-grandnephew Dacre Stoker and Dracula documentarian and historian Ian Holt. The deal was made by Danny Baror of Baror International and Ken Atchity of Atchity Entertainment International. Baror and Atchity also sold U.K. and Canadian rights to the work for a combined total of well over mid-seven figures. The book is the first Stoker family-authorized Dracula project since the original 1931 movie starring Bela Lugosi. It opens in London in 1912, where someone is stalking the band of heroes who defeated the vampire a quarter of a century ago.

The new book will also zero in on several characters and plot threads previously eliminated during the heavy editing that accompanied Dracula's original publication. Through Stoker family connections, the writers had access to Bram Stoker’s handwritten notes for Dracula, which was originally to have been called The Un-dead."

And You Think National Politics Are Rough?

Saban: Arpaio a 'lying coward' for rape ad | Politicker AZ: "The Arizona Republican Party has dug up allegations of rape against Maricopa County sheriff candidate Dan Saban for a new ad against the Democrat, which Saban is calling 'despicable.'

The new ad alleges Saban 'misled a government agency about allegations of rape,' 'was investigated for exposing himself to a child,' admitted to 'masturbating on county time.'"

He should have waited until his break.

This Year's Ig Nobel Prizes

Stripper science earns frivolous fame - Science- "BOSTON - Deborah Anderson had heard the urban legends about the contraceptive effectiveness of Coca-Cola products for years.

So she and her colleagues decided to put the soft drink to the test. In the lab, that is.

For discovering that, yes indeed, Coke was a spermicide, Anderson and her team are among this year's winners of the Ig Nobel Prize, the annual award given by the Annals of Improbable Research magazine for oddball but often surprisingly practical scientific achievements."

Weird Al Leads the Way

Slashdot | Weird Al To Release Songs As He Records Them: "'Weird Al has announced that with the Internet he can now release his songs for sale as he records each one rather than waiting for a whole album to be produced.'"

Hat tip to Dwight Silverman's TechBlog.

Forgotten Books: THE MAN WITH BOGART'S FACE -- Andrew Fenady

In the first couple of paragraphs, a guy has plastic surgery to make himself look like Bogart, changes his name to Sam Marlow, buys a '39 Plymouth, and opens a detective agency. It takes a while for the clients to start arriving, but when they do, the fun begins.

And it's a lot of fun, for sure. Marlow has the Bogart patter down pat, and Fenady has the L. A. scene down the same way. You're probably thinking you saw the movie version, and that's the poster on the left. I liked the movie, too, but (as is so often the case) I liked the book a little better. Robert Sacchi had a nice run doing Bogart stuff (you can see him in commercials from the era). You might want to check Netflix for the movie, but get the book first.

Return of the Swamp Thing

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Croc Update (7-Year-Old Sadist Edition)

&squo;Little sadist&squo; fed giant croc | The Courier-Mail: "A SEVEN-YEAR-OLD boy broke into a Northern Territory reptile farm and sadistically fed a stream of its main exhibits to the resident 3m crocodile."

We're Number 2!

Houston forms exclusive severe-smog club with LA | National news | - Houston Chronicle: "HOUSTON — Houston has joined Los Angeles to become the second place in the nation classified as having a severe smog problem, the Environmental Protection Agency said Thursday.

The EPA reclassified the smog problem in the eight-county Houston area from moderate so that the region has an extra nine years to meet federal health standards set in 1997. The state was supposed to meet the requirements in 2010 but now has until 2019."

Yes, I'm in the eight-county area.

Gee, I'm Shocked to Hear This

Delays stymie ground zero rebuild - Life- "NEW YORK - The owners of the World Trade Center site on Thursday announced a delay in the completion of a multibillion-dollar transit hub but pledged to open a nearly finished Sept. 11 memorial by the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks.

They set no firm schedule for the completion of the entire site, which includes four office towers and a performing arts center.

In a 70-page report on ground zero's tortuous rebuilding process, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said the elaborate rail hub will cost $3.2 billion, $700 million more than planned, and should open in 2014, five years after the original projected completion date."

Pushing Daisies

Boy, was I glad we got TV cable back yesterday.   Just in time for me to see the season premier of Pushing Daisies in HD.  I really like the show.  I like the cast, I like the way it looks, I get some laughs.  Judy, who didn't watch last year, watched this one.  I think she's now a fan.

25 Worst TV Shows

I can't argue.  I've seen hardly any of these.

25 Worst TV Shows -- "The Emmys have been handed out for the best TV shows recently and that got us thinking.

What were the worst? We put together a list of the 25 worst TV shows.

Let the debate begin!"

Politics Can't be all Bad

But we don't have any county commissioners like this in Texas.  Michigan leads the way.

There's Bound to be a Moral in Here Somewhere

Man shoots own arm after being denied sex -- South Florida "FORT MYERS, Fla. - Authorities say a Fort Myers man shot himself in the arm after his girlfriend refused to have sex with him.

The Lee County Sheriff's Office reports that 29-year-old Jonathon Guabello and his girlfriend returned home from a bar early Wednesday morning. The girlfriend told deputies that Guabello had wanted to get intimate, but she wanted to go to sleep.

When Guabello became irate, authorities say the girlfriend went to a spare bedroom, and several minutes later she heard two gunshots. She told deputies Guabello came into her room and threatened her. He then stumbled into the kitchen and knocked himself unconscious."

New Scientist Picks Best & Worst Sci-Fi Films

Click here.

How I Felt when the Internet Returned

Years ago we took the kids for a visit to Judy's parents.   When we arrived on the outskirts of Houston on our way back, cars swarmed and the freeway was jammed.  Angela looked around and said with deep satisfaction, "Ah, civilization again."  That's kind of how I felt when I got broadband access yesterday. 

Nick Reynolds, R. I. P.

A sad day.  For me, Nick was the heart of the Kingston Trio.  Truly one of the greats.

Swamp Thing

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Croc Update (Mutilation Edition)

Crocodile Killed, Mutilated On UM Campus - Miami News Story - WPLG Miami: "CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- A crocodile that lived in a canal on the University of Miami campus was found killed and mutilated on Wednesday.

A representative of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said someone lured the American crocodile to the shoreline of an on-campus canal late Tuesday or early Wednesday. Someone killed it and then cut off its head and tail.

The body was found, but the head and tail are missing. Authorities are searching for the person who killed the crocodile."

First it was Brokeback Mountain, and Now It's This

AFP: US composer Philip Glass to write Disney opera: "WASHINGTON (AFP) — US composer Philip Glass is to write a show for the New York City Opera based on a fictional story about the final months of the life of late American film producer Walt Disney, the opera announced."

Giant Gator Alert

The Clarion-Ledger - Outdoors: "The giant alligator captured Saturday night on the Pascagoula River has consolidated the state records for sport hunting, wildlife officials confirmed.

Biologist Ricky Flynt, the alligator project coordinator for the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, said the records for length and weight officially belongs to Lyman 'Jack' Hamilton of Moss Point.

Hamilton's gator was 13 feet, 6 1/2 inches long and weighed 633 pounds.

The previous record for length was 13 ft., 3/4-inch caught by John McLeod of Brandon on Barnett Reservoir in 2007. The previous heaviest gator was 571 pounds caught by John Ratcliff of Canton in 2006 on Barnett."

Oh, Frabjous Day!

The cable has returned to Casa Crider at a little before 2:00 p. m.  Let joy be unconfined (and you can turn Mary loose, too)!

It Couldn't Happen Here

Uni students to be taught basic English | "MONASH University will teach its first-year students grammar and punctuation after discovering that most arrive without basic English skills.

Baden Eunson, lecturer at the university's School of English, Communications and Performance Studies, and convenor of the new course, said about 90 per cent of his first-year students could not identify a noun.

'If you ask them to identify adjectives and other parts of a sentence, only about 1 per cent can manage,' he said, according to The Australian."

Oh, the Humanity!

The Frederick News-Post Online - Frederick County Maryland Daily Newspaper: "BALTIMORE -- Evaluating a West Virginia man's claim that a Frederick County surgeon stapled his rectum shut, a jury Tuesday in U.S. District Court told the patient he was full of it."

Gator Update (Ike Edition)

`Alligator Capital of Texas' hit hard by storm Ike - "Sep 30th, 2008 | ANAHUAC, Texas -- In this town on the edge of the Trinity Bay, alligators normally outnumber people three to one, and the annual Texas GatorFest draws 30,000 people — more than 10 times the town's population.

But not this year, not with Hurricane Ike. The storm forced the cancellation of the festival and made the 20-day gator hunting season a shadow of its normal self. Wildlife officials say the gators' habitat and food sources also took a significant hit and it may take time for the population to recover.

But the official 'Alligator Capital of Texas' will rise again, vows Mayor Guy Robert Jackson."

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

South Texas town ousts sex offender mayor - "Sep 29th, 2008 | POTEET, Texas -- A city council in South Texas on Monday unanimously voted to remove a registered sex offender as mayor, hours after the man was released from jail on new child sex charges."

No TV or Internet Cable -- Day 19

I'm not in Kroger today.  Instead, I'm at Panera Bread, while Judy's giving the economy a kick-start by visiting Coldwater Creek and Chico's.  We've had no word from Comcast about resumption of service, though, as I said yesterday, we've received their bill covering days without service and asking for us to pay for future days without service.  You gotta love that idea.

The Beastmaster

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Paris Hilton’s Fairy Dust Ad Campaign - Off the Rack - StyleWatch -

You know you want to see the photo at the link.

FIRST LOOK: Paris Hilton’s Fairy Dust Ad Campaign - Off the Rack - StyleWatch - "Paris Hilton’s fifth addition to her fragrance empire, Fairy Dust, won’t be hitting stores until the middle of next month, but the reality star is giving PEOPLE an exclusive first look at the new images from her print campaign. The ads for the pink peony, orange blossom, gardenia and vanilla creme scent feature a winged, wand-wielding Paris playing a real-life fairy, and ask, “Do you believe in fairy tales?”"

Shootout at OK Corral (2008 Edition)

Shootout at OK Corral nightclub in Juarez leaves 4 dead - El Paso Times: "EL PASO - Four men were killed in a shooting at the OK Corral nightclub in Ju�rez early Monday, police said.

The men, wearing Western-style clothing and cowboy boots, were shot shortly after midnight inside the club located on Independencia boulevard and Puerto de Palos street in southeastern Ju�rez, Chihuahua state police said."

The 20 Greatest Movie Partnerships

The 20 greatest movie partnerships - Times Online: "Film is stuffed with double-acts, both in front and behind the camera (sometimes both). On a bad day, they’re poison — see Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez (Gigli, Jersey Girl), or Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman (Days of Thunder, Far and Away, Eyes Wide Shut). On a good day, or year, or decade, or career, they’re magic. But what makes them work, what makes them special — and what makes them immortal, such as the names in our Top 20?"

Happy Birthday, Angie Dickinson!

Age 77.  Here she is in Rio Bravo, a favorite of mine.

No TV Cable and Internet -- Day 18

So here I am again in my home away from home, Kroger.  As far as I know, there's no change in the cable service in Alvin.  Yesterday, my neighbor saw a Comcast technician in the neighborhood, but he was gone before she could get to him and question him.  One thing's for sure, though.  Comcast hasn't failed to get out its bills.  The one we received shows that last month we paid for service through September 22.  Well, for ten days of that time, we had no service.  This month's bill is for eight days (so far) that we've had no service.  Judy said, "Why should I pay it?  For all I know, we won't have service for another month."  Good point.

Top 15 Healthiest Restaurants

Top 15 healthiest restaurants in America - Health - "You work out. You watch what you eat. But you don’t want to have to prepare every meal at home for the sake of your health — nor should you have to.

Health magazine surveyed chain restaurants and found 10 surprisingly healthy standouts. Hit our top 10 for whole foods, good-for-you fats, even green vegetables on — gasp! — the children’s menu. Read on for the winners, great fast-food options, plus, how to eat out without gaining a pound."

Pennsylvania Leads the Way

Nearly 500 teens serving life terms in Pa. prisons: "Pennsylvania leads the nation in teen lifers -- prisoners serving life without parole for crimes they committed as minors -- and last week legislators met to examine the issue for the first time."

King of the Congo

Monday, September 29, 2008

Seven Years Down the Drain

So much for my retirement.  The market's now lower than it was when Bill Clinton left office.  Damn.  

I Guess Johnny Dep Wasn't Available

Blockbuster Buzz - Times Online - WBLG: Russell Crowe to play his own worst enemy in Ridley Scott's 'Notttingham': "In the most peculiar casting rumour in a year packed with them (Will Smith as Captain America? Cher as Catwoman?) MTV’s movie blog is reporting that Russell Crowe will be appearing in Ridley Scott’s revisionist take on the Robin Hood legend as both Robin Hood and his arch nemesis, the Sherriff of Nottingham."

Happy Birthday, Jerry Lee Lewis!

Age 73 today, and still rockin'.

The Evil that Men Do -- Dave White

While recovering from the after-effects of Hurricane Ike, I was able to do a little reading, though that's pretty much stopped.  I can't really concentrate as I go through Internet withdrawal.  

One of the books that got me through the post-Ike period was Dave White's The Evil that Men Do, the second book in the Jackson Donne series.  Donne used to be a private-eye, but he's lost his license, and this book isn't a p.i. novel.  It's a kidnap thriller.

The motive for the crime is located in the past, the 1930s, and White does a good job of mixing the sections of the story from that time period with the ones from the present.  It all has to do with Donne's family, with whom he has a shaky relationship.  His sister's husband is snatched, and Donne agrees to help find him.  Donne and his sister would like for their mother to help with some insight on the past, but she's in a nursing home, her mind about gone.

It's a tense tale, and while I liked White's first novel, this one's even better.  One reason is that White's ditched the first-person/third-person narrative for one that's all third person (James Lee Burke, take note).  The result is, for me, a story that flows better.  A very entertaining book, and one that I was glad to have around during a tough time.

[As for nitpicking the sections set in the past, I'm a little skeptical of the use of "motel," and I thought the Swiss Army Knife didn't really become part of our culture until after WWII.  But I could easily be wrong on both points.  Not having convenient Internet access makes it tricky to look stuff up, and that kind of thing shouldn't really bother anybody, anyway.  They just give old guys like me pause.]

Cinnamon Rolls with Bacon

Kroger doesn't sell these.

Far Be it from me to Criticize, . . .

. . . but, as I recall, the story of Achilles' heel isn't even in Iliad.   For that matter, the phrase about the face and the thousand ships is from Christopher Marlowe.  Maybe some people would say the poem "bequeathed" those things to us, but I wouldn't agree. 

'The Odyssey' and 'The Iliad' are giving up new secrets about the ancient world - The Boston Globe: "NEARLY 3,000 YEARS after the death of the Greek poet Homer, his epic tales of the war for Troy and its aftermath remain deeply woven into the fabric of our culture. These stories of pride and rage, massacre and homecoming have been translated and republished over millennia. Even people who have never read a word of 'The Iliad' or 'The Odyssey' know the phrases they have bequeathed to us - the Trojan horse, the Achilles heel, the face that launched a thousand ships."

Kroger. Again

As day 17 without Internet or TV cable gets started, I'm wondering: does anyone have AT&T for those services?  And if you do, how does AT&T stack up against cable?  I'm getting very frustrated.

Gator Update (Dilbert Edition)

Click here.

Thanks to Beth Foxwell for the link.

Happy Birthday, Model T

When I was a kid, there were still a few Model A's on the road, but the Model T was about gone.

Model T: the car that shaped America turns 100 - Yahoo! News: "CHICAGO (AFP) - Ford's iconic Model T was built for the common man and began to transform the American landscape soon after it first rolled out of a Detroit factory a hundred years ago this week.

It wasn't the first car aimed at the masses, but it was the first to succeed in getting average Americans to look past horses and trolleys to the freedom of the open road."

Pirates of the High Seas

Sunday, September 28, 2008

We're Back in Alvin, . . .

. . . and I'm back in Kroger (Hooray for Kroger!) as day 16 without TV cable or Internet service draws to a close.  On the way home today, we passed a Comcast truck about a half mile from the turnoff to Highway 6 and Alvin.  Judy was excited.  She was sure the Comcast truck was headed for Alvin to fix the cable.  Unfortunately, the truck kept right on going at the exit, headed for who knows where.  Not Alvin, however.

Lone Ranger Update

Movies - News - Clooney lined up for Lone Ranger - Digital Spy: "George Clooney is reportedly being primed to take on the role of the Lone Ranger in a movie remake of the 1950s television programme."

Thanks to Walter Satterthwait for the tip.

So How's the New TV Season Doing?

Not so great.

This Is News?

Be honest: we all love the sexist alpha male | India Knight - Times Online: "Many women will tell you that one of the most irritating things about life is that alpha males - great silverbacked gorilla types - strike us, maddeningly, as being rather more attractive than their kinder, gentler, more considerate dwarf-monkey counterparts. We know intellectually that it shouldn’t be so, since the gorillas are often sexist pigs (just to mix the animal metaphors); but when push comes to shove and we’re picking a boyfriend rather than a friend, few of us find beta males especially appealing.

In real life as in Georgette Heyer, the reprehensible, oddly sexy brute fares rather better than the sensitive flower. Now it turns out that the unreconstituted, sexist male chauvinist is not only more attractive to many women, but earns more money and is more professionally successful than the kind man who sympathises when you have period cramps and offers to make you a nice cup of camomile. Not fair, is it?"

No Comment Department

Toilet signs 'too PC' - News - Manchester Evening News: "STUDENTS say new signs on toilets at their union building might be making their WC just a 'bit too PC'.

The traditional sign on the door of the Gents has been temporarily replaced with one that says 'toilets with urinals'.

And the sign on the Ladies now simply says 'toilets' in a move to make the lavatories more inclusive for trans-gender students."

The Times They are a-Changin'

My Way News - US senior centers plan for boom of 'boomers': "ENFIELD, Conn. (AP) - Susan Lather envisions a day when paninis and mock cocktails will take their place next to fruit cups and club sandwiches on the lunch menu at the Enfield Senior Center.

Changing food preferences are among many adjustments that senior center directors nationwide, including Lather, expect to make in the next decade as they balance the wishes of their elderly stalwarts with those of baby boomer newcomers.

Some even have taken 'senior' out of their names, christening the facilities 'community centers.' It's a nod to boomers who acknowledge they are aging but bristle at the term 'senior' and the stereotypes of fragility or dependency."


I haven't mentioned one of the things that impressed me most in the aftermath of Ike's visit to Alvin: the clean-up. Within a couple of days after the storm, people had recovered from their initial shock and the song of the chainsaws filled the air. By the end of the third day, the streets of town were lined with debris, the yards were clean, and a lot of them (mine included) were even freshly mowed. People really jumped in to help their neighbors, even reclusive guys like me. I pulled big limbs with four or five different neighbors, people I hardly ever see otherwise. It was a good feeling to help out and to be able to get things done after feeling so helpless during the storm itself.