Bank Issue


The bank card issue we were having this past weekend made the local news. I went to the branch near work on my lunch break and got a temporary card. I was third in line and I'm pretty sure the two people in front of me were there for the same thing. I could hear bits and pieces of their conversations. The bank was all over this. How it was done is pretty brazen if you ask me. The thieves had to do some pretty sophisticated alteration to bank ATMs. They make it look simple on TV but I imagine someone has to be at one of those ATMs for a fair amount of time installing the skimmers while there are at least two cameras trained on them and then they have to go back to an ATM to withdraw the funds with at least two cameras trained on them again. It was my card number used but we deactivated both cards just to be sure. The bank has reimbursed our account and all is well. No real harm done. Just a few more gray hairs and maybe a few more hairs lost. If it had happened while we were out of town ...

CrabAppleLane Birdhouse - January 25, 2015
CrabAppleLane Birdhouse - January 25, 2015
Was past time to clean out the birdhouse
CrabAppleLane Birdhouse - January 25, 2015
CrabAppleLane Birdhouse - January 25, 2015
Has an extra screw because I don't trust the
rinky dink hasp alone against crows
CrabAppleLane Birdhouse Remains - January 25, 2015
CrabAppleLane Birdhouse Remains - January 25, 2015
Pretty sure chickadees built this nest but
I have no idea if they were successful
CrabAppleLane Daffodils - January 25, 2015
CrabAppleLane Daffodils - January 25, 2015
Turkey Ridge Road - Bush, LA - January 25, 2015
Turkey Ridge Road - Bush, LA - January 25, 2015
When the pond on the right just out of frame
reaches a certain level, it empties through this
contraption and flows through the culvert under
the road into the lake on the left, also just
out of frame
Turkey Ridge Road - Bush, LA - January 25, 2015
Turkey Ridge Road - Bush, LA - January 25, 2015
CrabAppleLane Backyard - January 25, 2015
CrabAppleLane Backyard - January 25, 2015
I think we're due for some winter bleakness but
today was almost a spring day.

CrabAppleLane Living Room - January 25, 2015
CrabAppleLane Living Room - January 25, 2015
It was so bright in our living room this morning
All together now ... How bright was it?
It was so bright that Patsy took to watching
TV with an umbrella to keep the sun out of her eyes

About the image above: We have never had blinds or curtains on our dormer windows. Will have to remedy that in the living room someday. The sun is in your eyes or on the TV for certain portions of the day. 

New Orleans Saints and New Orleans Pelicans owner, Tom Benson, announced his succession plan last week. Control of the Saints and Pelicans and most of his business empire would go to his wife, Gayle, and not his daughter, granddaughter, and grandson (Renee Leblanc, Rita Benson Leblanc, and Ryan Leblanc AKA "The Three R's") as originally planned. Rita Benson Leblanc was the heir apparent to control of the Saints and Pelicans. So, naturally, the daughter, granddaughter, and grandson filed suit declaring old Dad/Grandpa incompetent. In one of the richer storylines, The Three R's claim Gayle is manipulating Tom and is a gold-digger. If the standard is "It takes one to know one", you cannot dispute their expertise in such matters. The Benson Empire is estimated to be worth about $2 billion and old Tom is 87. There are already team names. So far, Team Gayle has overwhelming support but Team Rita is determined to get their little pink soft hands on the cash. CrabAppleLane supports Team Gayle. Rita is petulant and prone to temper tantrums and firing fits, much like her old grandpa was at her age. Gayle has softened Tom considerably. He is civic-minded now, concerned with his legacy, and a genuinely better person than he was just 10 years ago when they were married. Louisianans who care about the Saints should be eternally grateful for that.

Security breach somewhere last night swept us up. There was a fraudulent ATM transaction on our account. It was for an amount I thought was over the ATM limit, which I thought to be $200. It happened sometime between 6:15PM and 2AM. There's no time stamp on my online account but there should be one on the bank's. When I reported it, the person gathering the information said I was his third caller. Don't know whose card was used but it was a pretty sophisticated theft. The thief/thieves had one of our PINs. It was used at a Whitney Bank branch ATM on St Claude Ave in New Orleans so I'm sure there is footage of it. I was told the charge will be reversed and new cards will be issued. If that's true, it's an inconvenience for us, for sure, but not much more than that. It's a sign of the times and is the second time we've been hit.  I monitor my accounts every single day. Have read and have been told that it's the best and maybe only defense for people who are not careless with their credit/debit cards. We're both pretty good with our card security but we'll think harder about what we do now. UPDATE (1/26/2015): Our bank was all over this. I went to the branch near work, got a temporary debit/ATM card, and our account has already been credited. New debit cards should arrive in 7 to 10 work days. Excellent, excellent customer service.

The NFL would like this week to be about something other than "DeflateGate". They are failing miserably in the effort to make it so. The league will absolutely have to look at all of their missteps this season and figure out how to prevent them in the future. That said, this is at least the second time the Patriots have been caught breaking rules for competitive advantage, however small that advantage might seem to some. In the AFC Championship Game, ALL 12 footballs on the Colts sideline were inflated to regulation but 11 of 12 footballs on the Patriots sideline were under-inflated. Nothing accidental or coincidental about that. Rules and procedures will be changed next year. There's no doubt about that. What to do about the Patriots, though? Troy Aikman and John Madden are calling for severe punishment for Tom Brady, Bill Belichick, and the Patriots. A couple of years ago, I would have rated this offense a slap on the wrist, maybe two or three slaps on the wrist since it was at least a second offense. After the NFL pretty much blew up the Saints for their offense, I am not in that kind of mood now. I don't want to hear "Everyone does it" or "I didn't know about it" or "I had nothing to do with it" or "It had no impact on the game".

Took a run at our income taxes yesterday. Going to make a few IRA contributions before I file. Not much difference between last year and this year. The Feds owe us but we owe Louisiana.

RIP, Ernie Banks. He was everything baseball should be. Saw several versions of today's QOTD all over the web. Not sure which one he actually said or, if he said them all, which one he said first. I always heard it as, "It's a beautiful day. Let's play two.". It's really not important. It's clear to anyone that he loved baseball and was, by far, Major League Baseball's, the Chicago Cub's, and the City of Chicago's best ambassador. He gave the game more joy than he took from it and, in his case, that's saying something.

5 song iTunes shuffle from the CrabAppleLane Five Star Playlist:

  1. Baba O'Riley - The Who - Who's Next - 1971
  2. The King Will Come - Wishbone Ash - Argus - 1972
  3. Long Distance Runaround - Yes - Fragile - 1972
  4. Aquarius/Let The Sunshine In - The 5th Dimension - AM Gold: The '60s Generation - 1969
  5. Lonely Days - Bee Gees - 2 Years On - 1971

Quote of the Day

It's a beautiful day for a ballgame. Let's play two today.

Ernie Banks, Chicago Cubs

Blog of the day is here.

Quote from said blog: ""And he had invented this new player with a joyfulness and delight that make him perhaps the most irresistible player in baseball history. How could you not love Ernie Banks? How deep would your cynicism and disgust with life have to run to miss out on the wonder of Mr. Cub? Mr. Sunshine?""

Quote above is from Joe Posnanski, another great baseball ambassador -Rob

CrabApple Lane Backyard - January 18, 2015
CrabAppleLane Backyard - January 18, 2015
Daffodil - Lower left green speck
Big Leaf Magnolia - Upper right vertical stick
CrabAppleLane Front Yard - January 18, 2015
CrabAppleLane Front Yard - January 18, 2015
The pansies like sunshine and mild temps
The sunshine around here doesn't normally come with mild temps

MK-Tracker.jpgMark Knopfler's new album, Tracker, comes out in March if it doesn't get pushed back again. It's now due out March 24 according to Amazon. He's one of the only artists whose physical CDs I still buy. I buy all of his, though. I might even get another one of his guitar sticks. Those are cool. You can sample one track off of the new album at the link now. Said link will probably be broken in a few months. It's one of the many things I don't like about the internet.

Says here both home teams will win in today's Conference Championship games. Currently, I don't see anyone beating Seattle and I hate that. I'm rooting for other-than-Seattle for the next two weeks. Speaking of the Seahawks, they will probably make Russell Wilson the highest-paid player in the NFL soon. I don't think he's worth that but it's his turn. It will be temporary. Andrew Luck's next contract will surpass it. He IS worth it.

Doubt Louisiana can keep the Washboard Chaz Blues Trio a secret much longer. I'm sure they'll be at French Quarter Fest this year but I hope they'll be there at a time I can go.

Only a matter of time before the Saints will demand to keep up with the Jones. I think the state and city should start the process now while they have an owner concerned with his legacy. They won't have him much longer. Tom Benson will be 88 in July.

Television has totally run out of ideas. New Odd Couple on the docket and considering a new X-Files? Why not give some of the others you've tried more than a few episodes to find an audience?

About today's QOTD: My wife is a Hallmark Channel devotee and a RomCom enthusiast and that's about it. It is a remember-where-you-were-and-what-you-were-doing moment. The thing is ... I'm not sure I want to see it.

5 song iTunes shuffle from the CrabAppleLane Five Star Playlist:

  1. Rock You Like a Hurricane - Scorpions - 20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best of Scorpions
  2. Too Rolling Stoned (Live) - Robin Trower - A Tale Untold: The Chrysalis Years (1973-1976) [Remastered]
  3. Tunnel Of Love - Dire Straits - Alchemy: Dire Straits Live
  4. Long Long Time - Linda Ronstadt - The Best of Linda Ronstadt: The Capitol Years
  5. Paradise Circus - Massive Attack - Heligoland

Quote of the Day

I think I want to see American Sniper.


Blog of the day is here.

Quote from said blog: "Wow, this movie looks like it is going to be great. Thoughts?"

 twitter_coffee - January 11, 2015

Twitter_coffee - January 11, 2015
Will get me through the current cold snap we're experiencing
All Christmas presents - I guess you can tell that
people know I drink coffee. The two on the left are
very intriguing to me. When I think Detroit, coffee
is not what comes to mind.

We're in the middle of a free Premium Channel weekend. We don't have any of the Premium Channels (HBO, Showtime, Cinemax, Starx, Encore) but we get 5 or 6 of these weekends a year. That's enough. We record a few movies that we didn't want to spend money at the theater or on Pay-Per-View when they came out. One such movie was last night's The Other Woman. It had some moments but not spending any money on it was the wise choice. Will try Gravity today. Any one of those channels would cost us a little over $150 per year. I believe HBO would cost us almost $200. That a movie-lover like me spends less than that per year on movies is much more a case of Hollywood's sucktitude than my frugality. I am not frugal.

I didn't watch much of the Ravens-Patriots game last night but I'm hearing a lot about the formation the Patriots used on three plays. Technically, it's not illegal. That's good enough for me and it's just one more thing the next Patriot opponent has to worry about. It will also be copied. Basically, they did a twist on the tackle-eligible play. Instead of declaring a lineman eligible to receive, they declared a receiver ineligible. While the Ravens were trying to figure out who they had to cover, the Patriots ran up to the line and snapped the ball. I'm fairly certain the first play-action pass had the same effect. Now, the Broncos or Colts will have to spend some time next week preparing for something they probably won't see. It's brilliant and, in a league that is mostly full of copycats, it is also original. Great use of a bye week.

I'm not opposed to buying a tool specifically for the job at hand but I thought $38 for the adjustable wrench I wanted was a little stiff. I think my big channellock pliers will do. I think I just need to get a quarter-turn or maybe a half-turn past hand-tight.

Says here the Oregon Ducks will take home the National Championship Trophy tomorrow night and, for the first time in a long time, the champion will not be from the south. I think that's a good thing.

Paid $1.88 per gallon for gasoline last night. How low will it go? Our next vehicle purchase will take fuel economy into consideration, regardless of the current price of gasoline. It won't be top of the list but it will be very near the top. We're not going to buy a vehicle we don't like because it gets great mileage but we're not going to buy anything that gets lousy mileage. The only way for fuel prices to stay low is for demand to stay low.

About the QOTD: I hope this doesn't become the new normal.

5 song iTunes shuffle from the CrabAppleLane Five Star Playlist:

  1. Drivin' Wheel - Foghat - Night Shift - 1976
  2. Caleb Meyer - Gillian Welch - Hell Among the Yearlings - 1998
  3. Paper In Fire - John Mellencamp - The Lonesome Jubilee - 1987
  4. Immigrant Song - Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin III - 1970
  5. Hill Farmer's Blues - Mark Knopfler - The Ragpicker's Dream - 2002

Quote of the Day

BRITAIN was on the brink of raising the terrorist threat level to its highest in seven years last night as security chiefs warned that up to 150 jihadists in the UK could carry out gun attacks similar to the Paris atrocities.

Tim Shipman, Richard Kerbaj, Dipesh Gadher and Tom Harper - London Times

Blog of the day is here.

Quote from said blog: "There will be a lot of analysis of this tragedy, some blow-back in France, a lot of condemnation from around the world - but the question of how to tackle Islamic terrorism within free, liberal democracies will continue to prevail. The radical Islamists tend to use liberal laws that will extend their agendas, while preaching preaching that their religion supersedes all other rules and laws of their countries."

CrabAppleLane Sunday - First 2015 Issue


CrabAppleLane Crow - January 4, 2015
CrabAppleLane Crow - January 4, 2015
Contributing to the decrease of our songbird population, I 
think, is the increase in our crow population. They make
a pretty awful racket when they're in the yard.

allthe light.jpgIn other CrabAppleLane News, I'm not sure what drew me to All The Light We Cannot See. It's not what I normally read although it may be within my new normal. I think I've branched out from my war story, mystery thriller habits but just a little because I also think I'm still too quick to put other books down if they don't capture my interest in the first few chapters. Is that still the proper terminology with electronic readers? Do we put them down? I'm 38% finished according to Kindle Voyage but I'm not all that anxious to get through it. It's a pretty amazing ride so far.

Bud's Broiler is coming soon to a location that's near where I work and, more importantly, on my way home. I have loved Bud's since I first tried them in 1978. Took Dave to the one by City Park when he was here in September. It caught fire a few days later but only sustained minor damage.  Even with everyone trying to eat healthier, I think there is a market for old time burger joints that get their burgers right and keep their prices reasonable. I hope there is. I'll do my part if Bud's does theirs.

We have the air conditioner on today. WTF?

Dig looks like a blast. I'm in.

About Groupon and spam: I generally don't like Groupons. The companies that issue them tend to be deliberately misleading, make you go through deliberately convoluted processes, or make you give them your email address and then they spam you to oblivion. I employed a new and long overdue email strategy a couple of months ago to reduce spam. The only offenders so far are Walgreen's, Office Depot, and the two companies where I redeemed a Groupon. I opt out of email advertising whenever it's offered. I check or uncheck the boxes, as necessary. I have eliminated 99% of the spam I was getting. I may not be able to achieve 100% but I can now identify and eliminate some of the sources. 

About today's QOTD: Rest in peace, Stuart.

5 song iTunes shuffle from the CrabAppleLane Five Star Easy Listening Playlist:

  1. Black Horse & the Cherry Tree - KT Tunstall - Black Horse & the Cherry Tree - Single
  2. The Highwayman - Loreena McKennitt - The Book Of Secrets
  3. Fever - Peggy Lee - Download
  4. Killer Queen - Queen - Sheer Heart Attack
  5. Set Fire to the Rain - ADELE - 21

Quote of the Day

When you die, it does not mean that you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and in the manner in which you live.

Stuart Scott, ESPN

Blog of the day is here.

Quote from said blog: "Wow, blocking someone on social media who posts about a different garden style than one's own? I was taken aback and instantly started second-guessing myself. Is she talking about me? I do like modern gardens, and although my own will never be minimalist I'm drawn to some that are."

Happy New Year


Happy New Year

From CrabAppleLane

CrabApplelane Backyard - January 1, 2015
CrabApplelane Backyard - January 1, 2015


5 song iTunes shuffle from the CrabAppleLane Five Star Playlist:

  1. New Slang - The Shins - Oh, Inverted World
  2. The City of New Orleans - Arlo Guthrie - Hobo's Lullaby
  3. Bad Medicine - Bon Jovi - New Jersey
  4. It's Money That Matters - Randy Newman & Mark Knopfler - Land of Dreams
  5. Found Out About You - Gin Blossoms - New Miserable Experience

Quote of the Day

In an eight-page opinion, the court wrote that while Kallin's citation of the song was "indirect and perhaps innocently made," any invocation of race, "even if subtle and oblique, may be violative of due process or equal protection." In Kirk's case, the court said, "the prosecutor's mention of the title, 'Dixie,' as well as the specific lyrics recited by the prosecutor, referring to 'the land of cotton,' expressly evoke that setting with all its racial overtones."

M. Alex Johnson, MSNBC

Blog of the day is here.

Quote from said blog: "In 2015, I will...

  1. Get more sleep
  2. Drink more water
  3. Get more exercise"

Time running out on 2014

As time winds down on another year, it's time to dust off the annual post about the expressions, "don't have the time" and "can't find the time". I tilt at this particular windmill every year with hardly anything new to add. Here they are: Last year, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, and 2003. Everyone has used these expressions at one time or another. Have you thought about what the person you're saying it to thinks about it? Standard Annual CrabAppleLane Disclaimer: Do not expect any profound conclusions or Earth-shattering insight in this post because 1) my ruminations here NEVER reach that level and 2) I still have no position on them.

About the time: A 91-year old person shouldn't take on a 35-year project with hopes of finishing it. He/she probably doesn't have the time. There are also instances where an arbitrary deadline is imposed. Someone called and is coming over in an hour. "I don't have time" to cut the grass before they get here ... even on my John Deere.

Where age or deadline is not a factor, is it really true when someone says that? If so, wouldn't the person you're telling it to know it? There are 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, etc, etc ... (If you get less than that, you're exempt from these foolish thoughts). So, what you're really saying is, "I don't wish to use my time that way". To say it like that, of course, is kind of rude so we say, "I don't have the time" instead.

A task should be done and both of us are capable of doing it. If I tell you, "I don't have the time", how should you react to that? Is my time more valuable than yours? Am I implying that you DO have the time? Am I simply saying I don't want to do it? Am I over-analyzing? Yes, absolutely, to at least two of those questions.

I always plan to add considerably more thought to this essentially self-plagiarized (Auto-plagiarized?) entry after having another whole year to think about it but I have somewhere to go in a few minutes and

I don't have time to do it now

Have a Happy and Safe New Year


5 song iTunes shuffle from the CrabAppleLane Five Star Playlist:

  1. Midnight Rambler - The Rolling Stones - Hot Rocks, 1964-1971
  2. Scarborough Fair/Canticle - Simon & Garfunkel - Simon & Garfunkel's Greatest Hits
  3. Magic Carpet Ride - Steppenwolf - All Time Greatest Hits
  4. Love To Love - UFO - Essential UFO
  5. Quadrophenia - The Who - Quadrophenia

Quote of the Day

It's going to be a long, interesting offseason at LSU. The Tigers finished a rollercoaster campaign Tuesday with a frustrating 31-28 loss to Notre Dame in the Music City Bowl, a game that featured all the flaws of this 8-5 team: A defense that couldn't get off the field at critical times, an offense that couldn't punch in a critical score just before halftime (settling for a fake field-goal attempt that was ruled short) and a sketchy kicking game. And we learned college football's replay system is sketchy, too, but that you already knew.

Scott Rabalais, Baton Rouge Morning Advocate

Blog of the day is here.

Quote from said blog: "Last Wednesday Sony began contacting a number of companies, including Google, to ask if we'd be able to make their movie, "The Interview," available online. We'd had a similar thought and were eager to help--though given everything that's happened, the security implications were very much at the front of our minds."


CrabAppleLane Last Sunday of 2014

CrabAppleLane Chipping Sparrows - December 28, 2014
CrabAppleLane Chipping Sparrows - December 28, 2014
They like to congregate
CrabAppleLane Holly Tree - December 28, 2014
CrabAppleLane Holly Tree - December 28, 2014
East Palatka Holly - 15 gallon
Planted 12/27/2014

The images above are both from the backyard this morning. The chipping sparrows arrived this week. The lack of nearby trees doesn't seem to dissuade them like it does the cardinals. To that end, I planted a holly tree yesterday. About mid-plant, the rain started coming down in sheets. I didn't want the hole to fill up with water so I continued to dig until the spot was satisfactorily deep and dropped it in. The thing with holly trees is they are male or female but only one of them produces berries. I can't tell them apart so I waited until I found a reasonably-priced, fairly large holly with berries already on it. Patsy and I are both concerned about our down songbird population.

Literature is littered with people getting themselves in trouble and then getting another chance.  Real life is, too. One such miscreant made the most of his. Almost everyone knew he was a juvenile delinquent but there was stuff in these newly-discovered records that no one knew. The QOTD talks about "boys" being "dangerous and suspicious". It was a different time, I suppose. Louis Armstrong was an original and a great ambassador for New Orleans.

The Saints end a very disappointing season today against the Bucs in Tampa Bay. I might watch part of it. I might not. The game is meaningless. The local naysayers are out in full force. Calls for Mickey Loomis, Sean Payton, Rob Ryan, and Drew Brees to be gone are ridiculous if you ask me but they're out there in alarming numbers. Saints owner Tom Benson has turned a deaf ear to fans complaints for most of his ownership. I hope that continues. Yes, I'm disappointed in the season they had but I'm not interested in blowing this team up yet. They need some help on the offensive and defensive lines. I think all of their problems stem from that. Teams are getting to Brees and our guys are not getting to the opponent's QB. It's that simple. A little consistency wouldn't hurt, though. I don't think anyone can adequately explain how the Saints waxed the Green Bay Packers and got blown out by the Carolina Panthers in the SuperDome.

5 song iTunes shuffle from the CrabAppleLane Five Star Playlist:

  1. Carry On... Jon - Blackmore's Night - Dancer and the Moon - 2013
  2. Wanted Dead or Alive - Bon Jovi - Slippery When Wet - 1986
  3. Good Times Roll - The Cars - The Cars - 1978
  4. Sunshine Of Your Love - Cream - The Cream Of Clapton - 1967
  5. Rebel Rebel - David Bowie - Diamond Dogs - 1974

Quote of the Day

Down the street, between Gravier Street and Tulane Avenue, police put a stop to something else. Six boys were arrested there "for being dangerous and suspicious characters," according to a brief on page 4 of the following day's Daily Picayune.

James Karst, The Times-Picayune

Blog of the day is here.

Quote from said blog: "I am loving the new lease of life trousers seem to be experiencing lately."

Merry Christmas


Merry Christmas
Merry Christmas
From CrabAppleLane

January 2015

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