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Guess what? That’s right, the phone creatures are back. I’m sort of glad. It’s been a while since one called and I was afraid I might have hurt their feelin’s or somethin’. Phone creatures are what I call those phone solicitors who call wantin’ to sell you somethin’. I like to give them a hard time. I know that’s not really nice, but somebody’s got to do it. more
Recently, there have been questions raised regarding the fairness of the use of the Texas Enterprise Fund, a key aspect of the state’s economic development incentives. At issue is whether the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex gets a disproportionate share of awards. The TEF is an important “deal closing” fund which has been effectively used to enhance Texas’ ability to attract desirable corporate locations and expansions. more
Let’s just say I don’t do stupid very well. Or laziness for that matter, but that’s another topic for another day. For today’s purposes, we’ll stick with stupidity and how it relates to the so-called “smart phone’’ and the irony wrapped around that wonder of modern society. It’s not as if I’ve suddenly woken from a 20-year slumber and noticed all the people around me staring at their palms in a zombie-like trance while they stumble off the curb. Nope, I joined the 20th century just in time to welcome the 21st century. A flip phone was all I required. It helped me make phone calls, which is all I thought (silly me) a phone was designed to do. Turns out, this handy little gizmo morphed into an incredible device that can take photos, record videos, play and store music, tell you what direction you are heading and help you find your way when you are lost. Oh, and it’s also a phone as well as a device which sends electronic messages via text, which shouldn’t be confused with the telegraph, which did precisely the same thing nearly two centuries ago. Yes, I own a smart phone now, but it doesn’t own me. Anyway, back to those goofs who can’t lift their heads up long enough to see an oncoming car while staring at their phone or worse, keep their car safely in their lane. Normally, I consider “common sense’’ and “Southern California’’ to be an oxymoron, but it seems the city of Montclair (near Los Angeles) has passed an ordinance to ticket anyone who crosses the street while on their phone. Montclair city officials were inspired by a law already on the books in Honolulu. Since I have a lot of respect for the damage a moving vehicle can do to the human body, there’s no way I would think of staring at my phone while crossing the street. And while it’s true that a pedestrian on their cell phone doesn’t pose a threat to someone in a car, it does penalize someone for being – you guessed it – stupid. Unfortunately, simply passing a law doesn’t mean the targeted problem will vanish overnight. Texas passed a law against texting while driving not long ago and there are still way too many knuckleheads doing precisely that. It has to be frustrating for law enforcement officials who know the dangers of texting while driving, yet they have to actually see someone in the act before they can issue a citation. During my morning and afternoon commute, I’ll summon my “get off my lawn’’ voice at least once or twice while screaming at other drivers who are content to weave in and out of every lane available, blissfully swiping away on their smart phone. Kind of makes one wonder how in the world someone was able to function behind the wheel before they had a cell phone. The noted Hollywood philosopher Forrest Gump once said: “Stupid is as stupid does.’’ I think ol’ Forrest was on to something. more
The other day a woman asked me if Janet and I were opposites. You know, like the saying “opposites attract.” Well, I can tell you, that lady hit the nail on the head. We are as different as night and day, even when we were growing up. Now, I didn’t know Janet when she was a little girl, but she’s told me enough about it that I’ve got a good idea of what it was like. more
The situation between the United States and China is tense, with new tariffs, threats of more tariffs, and growing fears that an all-out trade war may actually happen. There has recently been some sign of softening in the rhetoric between the two nations, but until and unless there is real dialogue and meaningful change, the risk of an escalation remains. more
My truck, Copperhead, turn over 440,000 miles this week. I know that’s a lot of miles. Heck, both of us have a lot a miles on us. I’ve been asked many times when I’m goin’ to get me a new one. Well, probably not anytime soon. Copperhead’s been a good truck and I like her, so I’ll keep her around for a little while longer. Anywho, this story is my truck’s favorite. So, this is for you Copperhead. more
The other day, when I was at the grocery store, a lady came up to me and told me that this junk I write had inspired her to have fun with phone creatures. I thought about tellin’ her about the one I spoke with the other night, but I figured I’d just let her read about it instead. more
So far, there have been seven rounds of negotiations among the United States, Mexico, and Canada trying to agree on an update to the North American Free Trade Agreement which was originally passed and signed into law in late 1993. Many things have changed since that time, most notably the emergence of the digital economy and all that it entails and the energy policies of the three nations, and there are good reasons to revisit the structure of the more-than-25-year-old agreement. more
Texas continued its streak of wins of Site Selection Magazine’s “Governor’s Cup” competition, which goes to the state with the most major corporate location and expansion projects in a year. The 2017 win is the sixth in a row, and the Lone Star State also won in 2004, 2005, and 2010 (and was a close second in several of the years between). It’s impressive by any measure, and more so given the fact that a major export industry (energy) was struggling during part of the time. more
A few weeks ago I had the privilege of being asked to be the cake and pie auctioneer for a troop of Cub Scouts for their annual fund raiser. While I was waitin’ to do my auctioneerin’ part, I got to listen to the openin’ ceremonies and it got my old memory banks to churnin’. I was surprised that I still remembered the Cub Scout Promise and stuff, but what I really remembered was this one trip our Den Mother took us on. more
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