Category Archives: off the record

sometimes there’s just no categorizing

more proof: perception is reality

TSA as it's known to passengersfast company’s quick out of the box on the spectacle we’ve come to know as TSA, joining the growing chorus of adults clamoring for a better solution to the critical need for effective, efficient security screening techniques.

Nitpicker and general pain in the ass Christopher Hitchens weighed in with a surprisingly on-target dissection of the agency’s shortcomings in a snarky even by his acerbic standards takedown of TSA’s latest security strategy.

By now it’s pretty clear how the government (for these purposes defined as grandstanding politicians) will react when there’s a crisis, starting with armflapping that’s quickly followed by flapdoodle. I’m simply gobsmacked that the country that won World War II, built a coast to coast interstate highway and then sent humans to the moon’s surface in machines designed with slide rules – for those unfamiliar, just google – and ‘computers’ less powerful than the Timex Ironman watch I wear, is made to look foolish and ineffective in this paramount effort to thwart evil.

Public relations professionals instantly recognize the need for crisis management in the wake of unsympathetic coverage of airport shutdowns and agonizing replays of Continental’s for want of a nail flying episode last summer. We need better. We want better. We deserve better. As fastco clearly points out, “They employ people making $9/hour to defend our national security.”

urban meyer’s own brand

urban meyer says goodbye to brand he built(AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Urban Meyer’s out of left field resignation yesterday sent not ripples but a tsunami throughout the Gator Nation as walled off memories of prior years flooded back: Steve Spurrier’s Surprise  followed by the disasterous years of Ron Zook and then Billy D’s bizarre defection to the NBA, quickly recanted in a wave of What Did I Just Do?

Sad? Sure. Concerned? Some. But regardless of future outcome, enormously proud of not just the brand, but the type of brand, he expertly stitched together for the school in just a few short years.

Win at any cost? No. Win with class? Absolutely. Coach Meyer and his recruits redefined championship caliber and in so doing raised the bar for years to come. What a ride its been, especially for those of us who recall the mocking meaning behind “Year of the Gator”, expressed as in wait ’til next year.

Regardless of how the next chapters turn out, alumni now know what its like to be associated with a school athletic program unlikely to be matched again for character and accomplishment. And if it never happens again, at least it happened once. Thanks to a guy named Meyer and to those whose talent he was able to interpret and inspire.

cinco de may-O-mayo

acambaro_001CW Trek pal Steven Soto (second from left) sends his warmest Baja de Mayo regards after a quick weekend spin south of the border. Though not a doctor, and he doesn’t play one on t.v. either, Soto reports that swine flu was easily kept at bay by constant replinishment of the essentials: great trail, good friends, warm hospitality and tequila. As in margarita.

don’t look now, but…

loading up the belgium eye cameraNews from north of the border includes Canadian Rob Spence’s plans to secretly tape (sic) documentaries using his newly developed bionic eyeball, which replaces the one that was shot up in a childhood hunting accident and removed three years ago.

Turns out, Rob’s a fan of the nin-in-nin-na-na-na series “The Six Million Dollar Man” which featured Lee Majors running in sloooow-mowwww-shuuun but not talking that way. I’ve always wondered why that was.

Anyway, Rob wants to open everyone’s eyes, as it were, to the spread of urban surveillance, which in and of itself ain’t so funny. So the next time you’re in the mall shopping with the wife and kids and the hairs on the back of your neck begin to tingle because, you know, it feels like someone’s staring at you. Well, it’s probably because someone is.

Thanks to for this update.

home teams double up

Sunday night a little over a week ago I was in one of my top five eating, drinking and hanging out spots, the bar of Sammy’s Grill in Zachary, Louisiana, busily gettin’ down on a plate of catfish and crawfish.

On the hi-def screen in front of me the Tampa Bay Bucs were shoving the Seahawks around on Sunday Night Football. Over my shoulder the (Tampa Bay) Rays, mercifully shortened from the previous God-awful Devil Rays coined under former no fun allowed owner Vince Naimoli, were sewing up the ALCS with a final game whuppin’ of the Red Sox that would match them up in a series setup against the Phillies, which – as luck would have it – train just up the road in Clearwater

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busted flat in (baja) rouge

Riding a quick night solo down the coast on his fave XR650R yearly riding pal Steven Soto stepped in it big time over the weekend when, headed for a Baja rendezvous with Big Red champ Steve Hengeveld, he discovered the down side of a blown clutch, moonless night and way remote location.

Steven’s adventure came to an abrupt halt around 9:30 p.m., along with the instant realization there’d be no sweep, no cerveza, no shower. He spent the rest of the night stoking the fire and keeping critters at bay before setting out at dawn for the 18-plus mile walkabout to Rancho El Coyote and help. We’re glad he’s in one piece. Probably no need to mention why riding with a buddy is suggested.

want fries with that?

cover your eyes and don’t read the rest

Harley’s Hog Club notwithstanding, snorting pig brains might cause, among other things, numbness and weakness in the extremities.

According to a story in the Washington Post, some of the folks working at Quality Pork Processor’s “head table” reported the symptoms after, um, using compressed air to remove the deceased porker’s former thought processor, a process referred to as “blowing brains” which researchers now think may have atomized some of the material that was subsequently inhaled.

Everything but the oink? You betcha. The product is shipped to, among other recipients, Korea and China.

a really super bowl

one take and we’re done

I’m still enjoying the aftermath of LSU’s whuppin’ of Ohio State so the lure of the Giants finishing a come from behind season to topple the Pats wasn’t that much on my radar. Until I heard who the halftime entertainment was.

Over 20 years ago I got a gig shooting Tom Petty in the most unlikely setting; a penthouse balcony overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. You can read about it over on the web.

yeah – what about jobs?

Timing’s everything. The Michigan primary has the current crop of politicians stating the obvious: the state’s in trouble, and promising the banal: the plan out of unemployment is retraining. Okay so far, we don’t disagree.

But. In case you didn’t know, and I sure didn’t, the leading black hole darlings for investor capital continue to be dot coms, like, well, YouTube. Purchased by Google in 2006 for $One-with-a-B billion. Spread out over about 60 employees. No, I can’t do the math.
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