Name: Alpha — as in Alpha-Bits cereal, alpha male, Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, the Alpha Centauri star system, and even Alfa Romeo.
Birthday: May 1, 2017. I'm barely out of baby clothes.
Ethnicity: I'm a Terrier mix or something, but ain't I the cutest fella you've ever seen? I'm housebroken and I know commands like sit and stay. In other words, I should have you trained in about two weeks. I love to play with children. I'm good on a leash, but mostly I just like hanging out with people. I can't help it, I'm a people pooch.
Come and get me: I'm available for adoption at 11 am Friday, May 24 at Citizens for Animal Protection (17555 Katy Freeway; 281-497-0591). Tell them, "Ken sent me."
Alpha's ad libs: I love when huge companies, like Uber and Wells Fargo, have to make TV commercials apologizing for screwing their customers in the past. So humiliating, yet they make it seem like it's a positive thing. Look at us! We did you dirty once...give us another chance!
The foolproof weather app
I've found a weather forecasting service that's a hundred times more dependable than the National Weather Service, the TV weatherman, live satellite apps, your grandma's aching bones, and everything else.
It's called DirecTV. When the signal goes out in the middle of your favorite show, or there's two minutes left in the big game...you know it's drizzling somewhere in Texas. DirecTV is so frustrating.
Some choice tacos
Taco Cabana is upping its game by adding USDA Choice Steak on its menu. It's part of Taco Cabana's "journey to reinvigorate" the brand, according to Chuck Locke, president of the Mexican-inspired chain. USDA Choice inside skirt steak is available in three fajita tacos: Queso & Roasted Jalapenos, Grilled Peppers & Onions, and Roasted Poblanos, Ranchero & Cheese. The tacos are $3.29 each, or two for $6.49. That's not exactly a huge two-fer bargain, but a dime here, a dime there, it adds up.
One more reason to watch the Astros
Good move by the Houston Astros adding Preston Wilson to its broadcast team. Loved Wilson explaining how baserunners can tell what pitch is coming by looking at the muscles in catchers' forearms.
Very few things are more fun than watching the Astros, either on TV or in person at Minute Maid Park. My favorite Astros play: when the other team has a runner on first, the batter hits a slow grounder to Jose Altuve, who throws to second to start a double play, and shortstop Carlos Correa stands straight up and fires a 100 mph fastball to Yuli Gurriel at first base. Don't know if I've ever seen a stronger arm at short than Correa's.
Astros trivia: Is the train that sits atop the left field stands smaller than a real locomotive, the same size or larger?
Answer: larger, about 1-1/2 times the size of a real locomotive.
More Astros trivia: Now that the stadium is named Minute Maid Park, naturally there are "oranges" in the train's cargo car. What was in the cargo car when the ballpark was named Enron Field? And no smart aleck guesses like "worthless 401(k) accounts" or "subpoenas" or "hate mail from investors" or "executives' indictments."
Answer: just plain sticks of wood, they looked like French fries. Indictments would have been funnier. And more accurate.
Orlando in Houston
Concert of the summer: Tony Orlando at Dosey Doe Big Barn, July 14. Dinner and a show, $138 to $198 per ticket. His hits: "Candida," "Knock Three Times," "Say Has Anybody Seen My Sweet Gypsy Rose," "Tie a Yellow Ribbon 'Round the Ole Oak Tree" and more. Maybe most important, he's mentioned in a Jimmy Buffett song, "Morris' Nightmare."
No dogs were harmed...or were they?
What on Earth were they thinking? The movie Show Dogs is being criticized for several scenes in which dogs' genitals are groped. Max, the movie's hero dog, has his package probed repeatedly when he goes undercover at dog shows, which are pretty weird already. And this is a children's movie? Yeah, there's a good message. You don't need a show dog, adopt a mutt from a shelter...like Alpha, for example.
Dog lover? Ken Hoffman introduces you to an adorable pup available for adoption in Houston, every Thursday.