Highway 431 Blog

Monday, March 31, 2008

Shameless Commercial Endorsement ::

Uncle Bud's Fried Peanuts. When you see them on the shelf buy a bag 'cause they're good! Mmmmm, I would add that you shouldn't buy them if you're allergic!

Apparently Uncle Bud puts all of his money into his peanuts rather than a web site, but I'll keep looking!

Opening Day Of Baseball ::

And the Braves lost! Well, the season is long.

I remember the good old days before they started winning: a general admission seat could be had in the outfield for $3. I had a friend who lived in Grant Park well within walking distance of the baseball park and he was even more of a baseball fan than I. We could amble over to the field and have a great time along with the other 5 to 6 thousand die-hard fans. After the game we would go back to Bill's house and drink a cold adult beverage or 3 while the traffic went away and then I would head back home.

Dale Murphy played in the outfield. Phil Niekro pitched. Bob Horner played 3rd base and I once saw him hit 3 home runs and a triple which missed being a home run by inches in one game. Does anyone remember the Mad Hungarian? Glenn Hubbard?

Joe Torre has now moved on to the L.A. Dodgers (A team I have never forgiven for having left Brooklyn in my youth. Joe was a customer of mine in Atlanta and was always gracious and remarkably soft-spoken! (Kenny Rogers was also a customer).

I shudder to think what a trip to the old ball park must cost these days!

Alabama A&M Difficulties ::

Looks like Jennings is out as President of A&M which seems to come as no surprise to all of my friends who are graduates of the school. In fact, one of my co-workers told me today that this decision was old news which was bandied about several days ago.

I have no dogs in this hunt, but in the roughly 20 years I have lived in the area there seems to have always been some sort of turmoil surrounding whomever was selected as president of the university. I would think that for the good of the school, the faculty, and the students that some stability would be the first priority of whoever happens to be on the new presidential selection committee. From my experience this seems to be one hugely thankless job!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Smartcar Sighting In Huntsville ::

I was leaving work and on South Memorial Parkway yesterday afternoon when I saw this Smartcar-my first:

It was an interesting sighting and the car was definitely drawing stares, but I looked the specs up on-line earlier today and it's only rated at 33-40 mpg. I drive a 2004 Toyota Matrix and, on the road, I routinely get 33+ mpg. If given the choice between the Smartcar and a Toyota Prius I would certainly opt for the Prius.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Busted ::

Looks like the Huntsville Times' Lee Roop finds himself in deep doo-doo after having been busted last Friday evening:

Times columnist Lee Roop was arrested Friday night and charged with driving under the influence of drugs, possession of cocaine and speeding.

According to Huntsville Police spokesman Wendell Johnson, Roop was pulled over at 10:30 p.m. in front of the Shell Food Mart at U.S. 72 East and Old Gurley Road, for driving 65 mph in a 40 mph zone. Johnson said that, according to the police report, the officer saw a clear plastic bag with a white powder substance in Roop's car and tests on the scene verified the substance was cocaine.

I have no sympathy for anyone who is stupid enough to drive down the highway on a Friday night with a bag of cocaine openly visible on the front seat inviting a traffic stop by speeding, but I do have a problem with our drug laws and I wonder if, and when, there might be some movement to legalization for personal use.

I don't know how well connected Roop is but I imagine that he can afford some competent legal representation as opposed to most people busted on drug charges. He has a murky future, but I doubt that he will face more than a few months in prison if convicted. Here is this from yesterdays The State in Columbia, S.C. regarding the sentencing of fromer S.C. state treasurer Tom Ravenel:

Ravenel claimed his habit died down in the six months after he was elected treasurer. But the law caught up with him in June, and Friday he learned his fate:

• Ten months in federal prison

• A $221,323 fine

• $28,676 restitution to reimburse the state for the cost of a special legislative session to name his successor

U.S. District Judge Joe Anderson said the public would have perceived a miscarriage of justice if Ravenel had been let off, given his position and his repeatedly using and giving away powder cocaine.

“A sentence of incarceration is necessary in this case to promote respect for the law,” Anderson said at the end of the hearing in Columbia. “To not impose a custodial sentence would not promote respect for the law.”

Ravenel could have received 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine. Under federal sentencing guidelines, the recommended punishment was 10 to 16 months in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The State goes on to state that Ravenel is cooperating in the investigation and that there is the possibility that his sentence will be reduced by rolling over other drug users/pushers. That's what happens when you're politically connected and from one of the most prominent families in the state. Poor schmucks off the street get the 20 years while the Ravenels of the world get 10 months with the promise of less, if any, time served.

Such is our justice system these days which is seriously broken. I have been following the tale of The Legal Schnauzer for some time and I highly recommend that you do the same!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Bud Cramer Calls It Quits ::

I picked up my newspaper as usual this morning and was immediately struck by the headline that Bud Cramer would not be seeking another term. I was curious about the late timing of this announcement given that the primary will take place in early June and all indications were that Cramer would seek, and win, another term especially given that he has a war chest of around $1.7 million.

I'm sure that there is a lot of scrambling going on right now in 5th district Democratic circles looking for a suitable candidate. I have some ideas, but I'll wait a few days to see what the conventional wisdom is before I jump in with who I like to see enter the race.

If this affected only Huntsville my first thought would have been that the local power elite had already put the fix in, but given that the 5th district encompasses most of north Alabama my paranoia level just might be premature.

I still can't help but think that there is much more to Cramer's decision not to run for re-election than we have heard.

As an additional comment, Cramer sat out on participating in the House vote on the FISA provision which leaves out telecom immunity and, incidentally, holding the Bush administration accountable for spying on American citizens. Curious!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Blogger Seriously Screwed Tonight?

Looks funky to me but I understand that Blogger can be tempermental! We'll see what it look like tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Spring Fever ::

I left work today with the temperature around 74 degrees and with Daylight Savings Time in effect. I actually started with the spring fever thing a few weeks ago-probably much too early with planting my seedlings, but I couldn't wait. I work in a building with only 2 windows and both of them are in my office. I overwinter some plants there, but this year I started some squash and zucchini seeds. I was more than a little overambitious and most of these plants are ready for transplanting now, but I have yet to begin preparation for a garden and I plan a fairly large one this year.

I realize that we will have at least 2 to 3 more weeks of cold weather, but I am looking forward to my garden! I have some tomato seeds started here at home and I bought a few more today. The ones I have already started are growing very slowly so I'm going to plant some more tomorrow at work.

I hope to fill my freezer this year with much left over for sharing with friends and co-workers!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Snow ::

We woke up to a bit of snow on the ground this morning. In fact, it's still coming down some. Here is a view from my back porch:

Back in my misspent youth young adulthood I spent 4 years in the US Navy. For 1 year of that period I was stationed at Adak, Alaska and I saw enough snow to last me a lifetime, but this is a nice change although I am more than ready for spring!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Jeff Healey ::

Lost his battle with cancer at age 41. Here he is with Dr. John on piano:

Time For Another Huntsville Meetup? ::

I e-mailed Mooncat a bit ago suggesting that a spring meetup would be welcome, but since I sent the e-mail I have thinking that an April picnic at some public area would be nice on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon. Anyone have any other ideas?