Scattershooting again…

…while wondering where we can find true professionalism in the on- and off-camera actions of so-called “professional” storm chasers.

OBAMA DOES SOMETHING RIGHT: See, I’m willing to say that, when it’s true! Yesterday the president engaged in a meaningful compromise with Republican leaders to extend the Bush-era personal-income tax levels on all Americans for two years, acknowledging that doing so would help the economy. The Republicans compromised on the longevity thereof. While the latter is not ideal, and I wish it were permanent, the net effect is beneficial to the national well-being. Those more extreme Democrats who opposed the compromise should mind this simple concept: “Taxing the wealthy” does not generate jobs. It just doesn’t. And jobs are the biggest problem to tackle for the two-year term of the extension.

CONSUMER REPORTS RATES AT&T as WORST CELLULAR SERVICE: This is no surprise.

This is simply shameful! AT&T seems to be the classic example of a company that’s gotten too big and “important” for its individual customers. Dropped calls haven’t been a problem for me, so much as absolutely crappy coverage in sparsely populated areas. They advertise reaching 97% of the population, which is deceptive and disingenuous since:

  1. Vast swaths of the Great Plains (where I travel often) and West have no coverage at all, even on their own map (below), or are shown to have coverage but don’t in 2009-2010 via my I-Phone (magenta dots). How about going by land area instead of population?
  2. Big cities as well as areas of countryside often have no Internet despite 3-5 bars of 3G or Edge. In fact, I’ve had 5-bar 3G with no Internet in parts of Denver, Dallas, Miami, Las Vegas, Norman (the stadium during a game) and Omaha. I’ve also had 5-bar 3G with no Internet in southeast Nebraska just W of the Missouri River. How does all of that happen in so many disparate areas?

It’s either lies, or inexcuseable mismanagement of resources! You tell me which. In any event, I love the I-Phone, but am sick of AT&T, which leaves me in a quandary until the I-Phone 4 and Verizon marry, hopefully before next chase season.

R.I.P., DON MEREDITH: I came along too late to see him play, but the highlights were impressive, especially the long TD tosses to Bullet Bob Hayes that made a mockery of man-to-man coverage. Don was as tough of a quarterback as they come, a real man’s man, playing through all kinds of agonizing injuries in an era of unspoiled, toothless tough guys attacking on a weekly basis, when defenders could do anything and everything possible to kill the quarterback, penalty-free. He also was an iconoclast, a player and a man unchained to stodgy convention and mindless conformity. I admire that, and always have. I do remember watching some Monday Night Football games as a kid; even then, I could see that Don’s wry, homespun humor and insider’s insight were the perfect antidotes to Cosell’s pedantic pomposity. Now his signature saying rings true: “Turn out the lights, the party’s over.” True Cowboys fans of all ages know about Dandy Don, and we’ll all miss him.

A CHRISTMAS ABSTRACTION: As I head off to slumber this cold December night, the scene below greets me in a darkened master bathroom, illuminating it in a colorful night-light born of a simple act of outdoor illumination. Yesterday, I wound a spiral of multicolored LED lights, tornado-like in shape, around the 20 feet height of a young sweetgum tree in the nearby yard. Through frosted-glass windows shines the speckled, diffused light, its tones and intensity still subtly carrying the tilted form of the helix, shadowing in multiples the bare limbs of an intervening cherry tree and leaves of holly shrubbery. It’s a nocturnal scene of which I won’t tire through the rest of the month.



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