Friday, December 25, 2009

Winter Wonderland

Someone wasn't sure what to think about the white stuff...didn't really want to get off the porch this morning.

Note: Something in this image matches a graphic on the left side of this blog.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Don't tell Jackson Browne, Graham Nash, & Bonnie Raitt...

In 1979, the aforementioned musicians, together with John Hall, held a fund-raising concert as Musicians United for Safe Energy. James Taylor, Carly Simon, Bruce Springsteen, Ray Parker Jr. (who ya gonna call?), Tom Petty, The Doobie Brothers, CSN, and Poco also participated in the effort, releasing a live double [vinyl] album called No Nukes. The movement was largely a response to the mishap, earlier that year, at Pennsylvania's Three Mile Island, and the release of the movie The China Syndrome just weeks prior.

Inasmuch as it's prohibitively expensive to get licensing for a new nuclear power plant, none has been built in decades, and the last U.S. commercial reactor to come online was in 1996 in Tennesee (Comanche Peak #2 was the last one before that, in 1993), although some upgrades have been made, and Luminant Energy has filed an application for two additional reactors at Comanche Peak, in conjunction with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

Because of the staggering capital outlay, regulatory burden, and long lead times for these gigawatt power generators, I submit there should be smaller, neighborhood generation stations, maybe on the scale of an aircraft carrier powerplant.

Possible small-scale nuke plant disguised as a strip retail center...

Hey, do you suppose someone stole my idea!?

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The first Americans may want to repossess it about now...

Saw this over on Landshark's blog and couldn't resist reposting it:

Actually, I met Mark Lindsay (lead singer for the Raiders) once, in 2002 or 2003, when my town was having an Old Town Festival, and he was our headline act one night. As a Chamber of Commerce board member, I was tasked with escorting Mr. Lindsay and his band to and from the motorhome that'd been set up as a makeshift 'green room' and the stage (the same festival I got to be 'paymaster' to, and visit with, the Beatles tribute band Me and My Monkey after their set).

Anyway, Mr. Lindsay was very down-to-earth, and before his set held court in the motorhome, recounting stories from back in the day, but not in a boastful or cocky way. He was nursing some form of macrobiotic [non-alcoholic] vegetable juice concoction that he said was good for his vocal chords. It didn't look very appealing, but he sounded great, so I suppose it worked.

For most of the show, I stayed around the back or to the side of the stage. About 2/3 of the way through, an attractive woman, a few years older than I, approached me, and asked if I could get her a brief meeting with Mr. Lindsay after the show. Nothing untoward, mind you, she said she'd had her room plastered with his posters as a teenager, and she wanted to see if she could get an album cover signed.

Knowing the band was on a tight schedule following the show, I didn't make any promises. As the show ended the band came down the side steps of the stage, and almost sprinted the seventy-five or so feet to the bordering fence next to the motorhome. Just as we reached the fence, Mr. Lindsay turned to thank me for assisting them, and I asked if he had time to sign a couple of autographs. He very graciously agreed, and I motioned to the woman to come over.

About a week later, I got a very nice thank you card from the woman, complete with a picture of her and Mark Lindsay. She'd driven up from Waco to our festival to see her teen idol. She apparently worked in the Waco chamber and had tracked me down through counterparts in my town.

Fun times.

Now, if only there were only enough Sioux, Apache, Navajo, Caddo, Cherokee, Iroquois & Cheyenne braves left to surround Capitol Hill and 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and maybe do a Little Bighorn Redux. I guess the rest of the country is finally coming to terms with what the native Americans have known for over a century-and-a-half: Getting screwed by Washington, D.C.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Semi-Auto Crossbow

Denney Crane will want one!

Is this guy like Merlin or what? (I think he ought to be wearing a pointy cap with stars, or maybe a Sherwood Forest outfit.)

Shhh, don't tell Chuck Schumer...I'm the N.C.B.A.!

h/t: That Dude

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Some really cool Dobro guitar...

From Blake Shelton.

Galatians 5:13

This verse caught my attention in yesterday's sermon.

You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.

Christ came to save us from our sin, from broken-ness, and, as my pastor says, "from jacked-up thinking." But, knowing that we're saved, do we always use the opportunity properly, or do we at times perpetuate the cycle of pursuing other sins?

Good food for thought...

All I Ask for Anymore...

This is way cool. Just wish I could embed the video for it.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Love thy neighbor

In the final episode, or "tour" of Focus on the Family's The Truth Project, Dr. Del Tackett recounts a story from his youth about attending his first dance in his middle school years, and a conversation he had with his father when he got home.

"So, how was the dance, Del?"

"Pretty good."

"Did everyone have a good time?"

"Yeah, I think so."

"Did you dance with all the pretty girls?"

"Most of them."

"Did all of the girls get to dance?"

"Uh, I guess so."

"Were there any girls there that no one asked to dance?"

"Well, yeah, a couple, I suppose."

"Do you think they had a good time at the dance?"

"Probably not."

In telling the story, Dr. Tackett isn't making his dad out to be a hard nose, of course, but pointing out the lesson of being a "good neighbor", and extending Christ's love to the downtrodden, the forgotten and neglected. I would hope to be the same example for my children.

I've had occasions in my life to be, as my pastor sometimes says "on the back side of a beat-down", faced with job dissatisfaction and uncertainty, tossed to the dust bin by the 'mean girl'. But always, in the midst of the depression or loneliness, there've been those saints who came and lifted my spirits.

At this festive time of year and always, I pray I don't overlook the less fortunate and afflicted, and that I can pass on even a portion of God's love that has been shown to me.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Machinery...or art?

Fellow blogger and conservative commentator extraordinaire Denney Crane has today posted a note to Santa Claus depicting a nifty new device he'd like to see in his stocking this Christmas.

While this advancement in firearms technology is certainly impressive, your humble scribe here at Sonnet 116 prefers a more traditional approach to gunmaking, the artistry of combining talent, wood and steel, to wit:

The above specimen is a Dakota Model 10, but New Zealand armsmaker Soroka has similarly worthy (and not inexpensive) offerings. Of course, the closest I come to owning such a work of art is a rather pedestrian Ruger #1, utilizing the same Farquharson falling block design.

Nonetheless, I am not unmoved by Mr. Crane's fascination of rapid-fire technology. In fact, I would love to own one of these:

How I love the .45/70!

Well, why not?

At least in the old days you had to send in three boxtops...

Edit: And I read elsewhere that McDonald's is in licensing negotiations with the Nobel committee to offer a complimentary Peace Prize in every Happy Meal.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Wishing you glad tidings of comfort and joy

For those old enough to remember Peter, Paul & Mary:

Judging from the baldness factor for both Peter and Paul, I'm guessing this is from their Reunion tour circa 1978. I saw them that tour or possibly the next at the Dallas Convention Center Arena, and a few years later at StarFest, back when it was on the grounds of the old EDS campus.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

A Christmas Tradition

When I had a family, a cherished tradition was to watch It's a Wonderful Life during the holiday season.

It wasn't quite the same watching it alone tonight, but I am reminded of Jeremiah 31:11 (referenced in this evening's sermon) which also ties in nicely with the movie -
For the LORD has redeemed Jacob, and ransomed him from the hand of him that was stronger than he. (AKJV)

May we all remember we have a Lord stronger than all our enemies and obstacles.

Edit: And it wouldn't hurt if I had a guardian angel myself, even one like Clarence.

Tiger Woods sighting...

Unconfirmed, but it's possible the golfer is hanging out here:

Sharp eyes will note the historic haunted Baker Hotel in the background...

Diamond S Cattle Company

I was out in the Weatherford area yesterday, heading down toward Horseshoe Bend.

Along the way I saw some parcels of property with gates marked "Diamond S Cattle Co". These properties had miles of 5-pipe (not four or three) fence, with posts closely spaced. It struck me as a bit odd, as most of the folks I know in the cattle business have operations evocative of those "Leanin' Tree" posters (example, one cowboy sez to another: "I reckon if I got a million dollars, I'd jes' keep on ranchin' until it was gone."), with either wooden posts or steel t-posts and barbed wire.

While I'm not in the agricultural sciences, one of my grandfathers was a farmer/rancher, so I innately recognized that this Cadillac of fences weren't built on livestock profits. Weatherford ain't the pristine valley meadows of Montana (though it does have a sort of beauty of its own).

So I Googled it, but that took me down a wrong path, then checked another website and found the ranch is owned by the [well regarded] Chairman & Founder of a Fort Worth-based energy company that, as of 2Q2009, was the largest natural gas producer in the United States. You'd recognize the company name, and also perhaps the individual's.

See, I got a business mind like a mousetrap - I knew those fences weren't from runnin' cows...

Thursday, December 10, 2009

I seriously doubt it...

I've heard of exaggerations, but that's just a bald-faced lie.

Prairie Schooner?

Less than a land yacht, but more than a dinghy...(and it's nowhere near any body of water).

Another Pleasant Valley...Wednesday?

Sounds like a song title...

And a cold one at that!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

I got my ears on!

It was a an antique, a 23-channel CB radio that first saw service in the mid-'70s in my dad's '72 K-5 Blazer, after the first one (CB radio, not the Blazer) was stolen. CB radios were a big thing back then. So big, in fact, that the nimrod who took the CB overlooked the Smith & Wesson .357 in the console to which the radio was mounted. Dumb criminals...

The radio may have also seen brief service, mounted above or under my Realistic FM-Cassette stereo in my first car, a 1968 Chrysler Newport - until I wrecked it. Bummer.

Anyway, I'm not sure where the radio had been chillin' for the past 30 years, but I found it in my garage a couple of weeks back.

This morning I tossed it into the SUV, together with a magnetic mount antenna. After some brief, uh, administrative work in the office, I was ready to hit the road, so I threaded the RG-58 cable through the door gasket and placed the antenna base just aft of the hood, and fore of the windshield, so I could watch it fall off.

About 5 miles out, I turned it on. The lights glowed, but no sound.

I fiddled with the volume control, the squelch, and the PA switch. Still nothing. Oh, well, it is nearly 35 years old.

Around Bowie, I got bored, so I turned the thing on again. Silence. I tightened the PL-259 connector to the antenna. Turned the radio sideways.

A little static. That's good. A little more fiddling, and I heard some faint conversations.

Finally, I was ready. I checked the channel selector. Thankfully, I'd watched Smokey and the Bandit recently with the kids, so I was down with the lingo. "Break 1-9 for a radio check."

"Hello there, radio check, you're coming in loud and clear, what's your location?"

"I'm rollin' north of Bowie. Got a 30 year old CB here, wanted to see if it still worked."

"Sounds loud and strong, can't tell it's 30 years old."

As I'd just passed a car hauler a few hundred yards back, I was curious how far I was reaching out. "You runnin' that mobile parking lot?"

"Nope. Navajo. Navajo Digby."

For the next 25 or 30 miles I kept an eye out for any vehicles matching that description. Finally, around Jolly, an 18-wheeler passed me...Navajo Digby, followed closely by a Landstar big rig. A fifth-wheel horse trailer was squeezing onto the freeway, and Navajo slipped back over to the left lane, not too far ahead of Landstar.

"Landstar, this is Navajo Digby, sorry about the abrupt lane change - wanted to give the guy room to get on."

"No problem there, Sir. I saw what he was doing. I expected you'd come over."

" Where you headed?"

"Denver. Forecast says ice past Amarillo."

"I'm headed there too. Pueblo actually."

A few more miles and we were at Wichita Falls, my destination. "Mr. Navajo, thanks for the radio check, Sir. I'm turning off here at Wichita. Hope you have good traveling on to Pueblo and Godspeed!"

"Same to you, Sir. Have a good trip!"

I enjoyed being part of the camaraderie of these knights of the road. I know it's not something I can do around town, but I think I'll carry the old radio along for those stretches between Rhome and Vernon, Weatherford and Thurber (population 5).

Saturday, December 5, 2009

If we make it through December

'Cause the radio won't play George & Merle...

Even without additional instrumentation, imagine how good this guy would sound with a studio recording. Excellent guitar work.

Uno, many?

That's a buncha Betos!


Back in the old days, before Wal-Mart, there was Gibson's:

I worked for a Gibson's, in Grand Prairie, my sophomore and junior years in high school.

Good times.

Three Wooden Crosses

Recently, on our trip to Mesquite to get furniture in the big pickup, we heard Randy Travis' Three Wooden Crosses on the radio.

My sons were somewhat familiar with the song, but had never really listened to the story, and didn't realize that the current-day preacher's mother was the hooker. I don't know why, but I always, involuntarily, get a lump in my throat at the verse:

That's the story that our preacher told last Sunday.
As he held that blood-stained bible up,
For all of us to see.
He said: "Bless the farmer, and the teacher, an' the preacher;
"Who gave this Bible to my mamma,
"Who read it to me."

One large cross by the side of FM 1886, between Lakeside and FM 730.

Remembering Tyler Berkley

I was out in Azle this week, and drove past the following sign:

I knew Tyler from the '80s, but didn't become friends with him until the '90s.

He was a generous man, had a great sense of humor, and when he got involved with something, you could be sure he was passionate about it. He could also be absent-minded - he's the only person I know who drove off from a gas pump with the hose still attached to his car...three different times! Yet he told that story on himself.

In the '90s he and his wife renovated a home on Eagle Mountain Lake, on the west side. It was beautiful to unwind at the end of the day from the backyard, without the sun in your eyes, and he had a manicured lawn of St. Augustine. Tyler loved to take his itty-bitty dog, I think its name was Gizmo, on boat rides. The dog wasn't a whole lot bigger than the Mack truck hood ornament, but equally enjoyed riding over the waves.

I took a day trip with Tyler once to Austin, where he was to testify in committee for some legislation he'd had his State Representative introduce. It was an interesting education for me to see how things work (?) in Austin, although I don't think the bill ever made it out of committee. A beautiful spring day, we left the Capitol complex, and were headed down Congress Avenue, to go visit an old friend of Tyler's before we headed back north. The moonroof and windows were wide open on his Mark VIII. At about 4th street, I spotted a leggy woman in a short skirt on roller blades and nudged my friend "Hey, check this chick out!".

Of course, at just that moment, the "woman" turned around to face us - with a full beard! Yeah, it was a dude! Who says they need any help keeping Austin weird? Anyway, Tyler kindly reminded me of that faux pas a couple of times subsequently in the lunch group we frequented.

Later that year, almost exactly ten years ago, he was diagnosed with lung cancer. I visited him in the hospital, and spoke with him a couple times on the phone after that, as it became difficult to visit with him due to my work travel and the more frequent sleep that his body required. He died before Spring came, at the much-too-young age of 53.

I miss my friend, but appreciate the reminder of him when I drive by that sign, and consider it a blessing to have known him.

...and on West Exchange

Another blogger recently posted about mounted customers at the Jacksboro Sonic.

Here where the West begins we also still have equine transportation:

On the other side of North Main there were several horsemen, dressed in old west garb.

I'd like to get a gig like that...

Seen in North Fort Worth

I think I spotted Chico and the Man just around the corner...

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Friday, November 20, 2009

Murder by Death

A comment by LandShark over on Chupacabra's blog reminded me of this movie from 1976, from comedy genius Neil Simon.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Love, Me

Wouldn't we all love to find such a someone?

And to be that someone, as well.

Never underestimate the privilege and blessing of having someone to love and serve.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Let us give thanks

Early last week, my friend, colleague and fellow blogger Todd, sent me an email asking if I had any Veterans Day plans. He and another co-worker, Dewey (we call him Doodle-bug, and other names) were planning to go to D/FW International Airport to greet the incoming R&R troop flight. Now, to be honest, I'm not sure which of them conceived the idea of going out there, I only know that it wasn't me. I did mention that I'd have to get up quite a bit earlier than usual, to which Todd the Blogger wryly commented that maybe I could survive the sacrifice, inasmuch as those we'd be greeting were probably sleeping on a rock, a cot, or a C-130 just hours before their arrival at D/FW. He has a way of adding perspective to things.

So, we agreed that since we'd be off work for the day, we'd meet somewhere for breakfast, go out to the airport to greet the troops, and also possibly work in some target practice at the shooting range.

Then came the Fort Hood murders. Even though we had already planned to go to the airport before, there was no way you could've kept us away after. I've never served in the military, but it really struck me as a real pisser (please excuse my language) to be dodging bullets, mortars, RPGs and IEDs, only to come home to find some lunatic has shot up his fellow soldiers on American soil. On base, no less.

We met at the Dixie House Cafe in Bedford, had a great breakfast of eggs, BACON, biscuits & hash browns, smothered in gravy, then made our way to the airport.

There was a pretty good crowd assembled at Terminal D, Gate 22 waiting for the soldiers from Afghanistan to deplane. While we waited, a facilitator called forward veterans from the World War II era through the present to be recognized for their service. There was a particularly enthusiastic response when she called out for Vietnam vets.

Having been a child in the '60s, I saw the evening news of Dan Rather in the jungle, students placing flowers in the muzzles of National Guard M-14s (?). I only learned later in life of returning soldiers being spat on and called hateful names, quickly changing out of uniform so as not to be recognized on the streets of an ungrateful nation. So, I'm always pleased for the opportunity to thank the Vietnam Vets, albeit belatedly.

My first troop arrival visit was, I think, in 2002 with a local chamber of commerce group, in the initial wave of returning soldiers following 9/11. I think we shook a good percentage of the soldiers' hands, welcoming them home and thanking them for their service. Other visits followed, with the Lions Club & the Scouts (both times with my sons), and also on the return of a friend, Becky, who'd done two tours in Iraq, working in a trauma center (she was there when the ABC newsman, Bob Woodruff, was injured by a roadside IED).

Today, a local day care center owner had thoughtfully made up dozens of "goody bags". Other people were giving out phone cards, or some kind of literature. Most people were respectful of the soldiers' space, but a few seemed to want to stop each serviceperson and impart some kind of words of wisdom. I'm not sure what profundity one can offer to people who, just days earlier had possibly witnessed unspeakable acts, so I was proud that my buddies and I stayed just a little bit back, offering a simple "thank you" or "welcome home" as the soldiers passed by. I'm sure the gift bags were well-intentioned, and I don't know what they contained, but I'd have to guess that most of these people, toting 50-80 pounds of gear, weren't too keen on something else to carry - luckily, they were placed on a table and weren't being thrust at them.

Looking into the faces of the service- men and women, a few seemed young, but most appeared to be in their 20s, 30s and even 40s. I can only speculate what thoughts were in their minds: Anticipation of seeing their loved ones, possibly a new infant. Anxiety of a relationship strained by time and distance, economic hardship. Desire for some rest. A prayer for peace.

I'm glad our nation has moved on from the way we treated our military members in the '60s. I hope the gratitude witnessed in terminal D today will extend into the hiring offices and the communities when these heroes come home to stay.

To the bloggers Kevin (Combat & Jarhead) - Thank You for your service in preserving freedom!

Edit: I checked my office email this morning - It was actually Dewey who invited Todd and me to join him in greeting the returning troops. Thanks, Dew!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

God bless you...and me

I'm a bit reluctant sharing the following scenarios, but here goes:

Friday, during the course of my work duties, I'm looking for an office, somewhere near, let's say, the Stockyards. Though I've found the address, it appears to have multiple tenants. As I approach the building, I'm trying to determine where I might find my party. A man sitting on the front driveway curb, slightly disheveled but not ragged, offers: "There's a stairway around the corner leading to a door upstairs."

I followed his directions and gained access to the building, finding that the fellow I was looking for no longer officed there.

Passing the man on the way back to my car, we exchanged brief pleasantries about the beautiful weather. Back in my car, I was making notes detailing my visit when I saw the man approach, and I rolled down the window.

He held out his hand, not in a way that would cause alarm, and shook some change around. "Mister, could you spare some change so I could buy a burger?"

I don't smoke, so my ashtray is instead amply populated with all the standard denominations of American coinage. I thought about getting several out. But I remembered that I had some crisp dollar bills in the console, change from some drive-through purchase, and I gave him those instead.

"Thank you, sir, God bless you!"

Saturday, my sons and I went to the other side of the world (east of Dallas) to pick up some furniture. On the return trip, the low fuel indicator came on in our borrowed pickup. Since Dodge V-10s don't get such great gas mileage, I didn't know how far I had before I have to use my thumb, so I started looking for a station, only there aren't any along that stretch of the C. F. Hawn Freeway. I finally found a convenience store, selling gas at about 35¢ over the going rate. I didn't really want to stop in this part of town, and don't like to be gouged, but I figured it was better than running out of gas there.

As we pulled in, it felt like all eyes were on us. I'm not racist, but I carry the memory of a former co-worker's son who was killed in a carjacking about fifteen years ago not too far from there. So I discreetly handed my older son, who was in the back seat, a small package from the console (I am a CHL permittee). "Cover me if I need it."

I got out and a middle-aged gentleman, from out of nowhere, is holding the pump hose and reaching for the filler door of the truck. "How much you gonna get?"

"Ten dollars."

"You just go ahead and pay inside, I'll pump it for you."

I went inside and paid my $10, slightly surprised to find the owners appeared to be Korean, since no one outside was. On returning outside, the man pumping my gas began a conversation.

"You moving a desk?"

"A dresser, actually."

"Those your boys in the truck?"

"Yep. They're really good kids."

"I could tell they are."

"They play any sports?"

"The one in the front plays basketball at school."

"Is he pretty good?"

"Not too bad."

"I'm gettin' back on my feet after surgery." [Lifts his shirt as if to show a scar, like LBJ] "Just trying to earn some money for a meal."

As it hadn't taken long to put $10 in the behemoth's tank, I fumbled in my pocket and put a bill in his hand as he put the hose away.

"God Bless you."

As we drove away, we pondered whether the man worked for the filling station, or just freelanced there for tips.

At the beginning I mentioned reluctance in relating these stories, for several reasons. I'm not sure what, if any significance, they portend. Was I right in being concerned and possibly distrustful in the second story?

Both of these men gave their wishes for God's blessings to me. Just words, possibly cynicism you might say? Perhaps. But, Matthew 25: 40-46 speaks of our actions toward our fellow man as the same as for Christ.

And, in the end, I wonder: Were these men among the least whom the Lord commands us to help?

Or am I the one they helped?

Monday, November 9, 2009

Caption this?

Keep on [mini-] Truckin'

Saw this on my travels today. I'm sure RPM (The South 40) could tell me exactly what it is.

My sense is that, at $4500, it's overpriced.

Extended cab, check. Light bar, check. This would be great for the deer lease.

If I had a deer lease...

Edit (for RPM's benefit): Stripper pole not included.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Our wild night in Cowtown...

Saturday night, we checked out an open house presented by the Texas Western Model Railroad Club, in South Fort Worth, on Anglin Drive. Over 700 rail cars and dozens of locomotives, probably tens of thousands of hours of meticulous craftsmanship on the scenery.

A hundred years from now, kids will still be doing this to their siblings in pictures...

I wish I had one of those PlasmaCam cutting torch tools - I could make art like this...

A little tour of the Water Gardens.

Note to self: Pack lens tissues with camera next time. On second thought, the effect is probably appropriate...

I'm like, not into tattoos, but if I were, I'd go to the Psycho Clown parlor. Wouldn't you?

Of course, all this sightseeing made us hungry. Then we spotted this sign, outside of a Mexican eatery on NW 28th Street. I'm guessing it probably suffers in the translation.

We went to Church's instead...

Burt Lancaster & Chuck Heston - HELP!

I need to escape from the Planet of the Apes!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Crazy Wicked Flying

My son sent me this video of stunt pilot Skip Stewart. If you're not into flying, don't bother. If you are, it's way awesome.

Giving Thanks

The only downside to this song has been pointed out by some commenters, that there are only two verses and no denouement. N'est-ce pas?

Monday, November 2, 2009

Just an old hippie...

I don't know what to do. Should I hang on to the old? Should I grab on to the new?

Some people say I look better this way...

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Volleyball Jones Pickers?

This is a truncated version of the song, not as lush or polished of course as the original, but interesting nonetheless. The harmonies have a Kingston Trio sound to them. I especially like the use of the stand-up bass. Too bad they left out the verses with some of the best imagery.

I think Henley probably intended the title more figuratively than what these guys depict.

Edit: I originally went looking for the Eagles' version, but the only video I could find was either bootleg concert footage or a photo-montage of Eagles stills, many dating back to the Desperado shoot.

Having come of age pre-MTV, I find that music videos often pale in comparison to the theatre of the mind of one's imagination, especially with material as well written as Henley's. He was, after all, an English major at NTSU. Go Mean Green!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

A Father's Love: Hurry Home

Just in case the allegory isn't fairly obvious, note that Mr. Carroll's father was a Baptist preacher.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Lost in Translation

I suppose the message at the bottom of this sign could be easily enough passed off as Texas pride. And perhaps it is.

But, as one who has more than a bit of knowledge of the hospitality industry, what it's really saying is "This is the next-to-last lodging property in the United States not owned by someone named Patel."

Would you believe...?

I have a characteristic that would, uh, prevent me from being Idi Amin or Forest Whitaker.

But, would you believe The Last P & Z Member of Scotland?

It's Five O'clock Somewhere...

Except here, of course, where it's always Beer:30.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Airshow '09

My oldest son called yesterday morning and invited me to the airshow. We had a great time, pictures to follow:


If I could, I'd buy my son this airplane...

Hey guys, launch the little planes from the dixie cup!

Not exactly deer hunting.

I can't think of a better way to spend a Saturday.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Now here's some good news...

Inasmuch as this is likely the only high school football game I'll attend this season, it's great that it had a happy ending:

Episcopal School of Dallas 14
Cistercian 31

As our 30th class reunion was this past summer, some of us decided to get together for a pre-game party on campus at one of the football games. Since one of our classmates is now a department head over at ESD, this seemed like as good an opportunity as any.

One brought a shrimp & artichoke salad, another brought desserts, another drinks, and I, representing the Western sensibilities, brought The Donald's Famous Beef & Turkey Chili Con Papas y Cebollas, and an electric skillet full of various bratwursts.

No one went away hungry, but I did manage to have just enough leftover chili to garnish my ham steak and eggs over easy for breakfast this morning.

Life is good.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

I don't know why - it just came up in The Truth Project class last night.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Attention readers!

Friday I was out and about and came across the following exotic antelope within a 'high fence' game ranch near Strawn. I could not identify the species - anyone out there know? The best guess I can make is albino blackbuck.

Another view.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

I did it!

OK, it wasn't easy getting 50 gallons of orange paint on short notice, but I managed to re-decorate three of the dome houses - just in time for Halloween!

A few splotches and brush marks, but otherwise a fine job...

Anyone for a Pic-a-nic, Boo-boo?

I wonder if George Jetson is out back? Maybe Fred and Wilma down in Glen Rose?

Halloween is near...

No, this isn't where the suspected Dallas terrorist lives. It's out west. It may be hard to tell, but there are five of the dome shaped structures on this property (one is obscured by the bushes to the left of the street sign).

I guess these were designed to be tornado-proof living quarters.

But I couldn't help thinking it would be funny to paint them orange for Halloween.

Planet of the Apes: Nearer than you think?

Dr. Zaius says don't go in there!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

A stern warning!

A sign noted in Bono's Chop House & Saloon reads: "All unattended children will be given a large espresso and a free puppy!"

Harsh, but effective, I bet!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Feelin' old

So today I'm driving between Newark and Rhome, or maybe between Boyd and Decatur, and this song comes on the radio - I probably haven't heard it in 20+ years. The fog hadn't yet cleared, so it really kinda made me wish I was on a beach down in Jamaica. I don't know where this footage came from, but I bet he was on The Midnight Special at some point:

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Plans back on track

Well, the weather went south, but since the firing line is covered, I still managed to get the poodle-shooter out to see if it would print on paper.

It did.

Not knowing if the rifle had been properly sighted in, I shot at the 50 yard range. The extreme spread shown is 2.625". If this grouping had been at 100 yards, I'd be very pleased. As it is, I was having some difficulty getting a good sight picture with my eyeglasses, fading daylight, and the fixed 4x scope. Nonetheless, the rifle appears to be capable of greater accuracy than the person firing it.

Recoil was very tame. I was shooting some necked down .308 case loads that came with the rifle. The reloader's notes indicated that the 75 grain hollow points had been chrono'd at 3400 f/s. Since there were some incipient neck cracks (possibly because the reloader didn't anneal the cases during the sizing/seating operations), and because I have enough actual .243 headstamped brass, I won't reload these cases.

As Denney Crane noted in the prior post comments, small calibers, with the right load and accurately placed, can take a wide range of game animals. And although I've yet to hunt with this particular rifle, I can attest to the fun of uncasing its diminutive stable mate in deer camp, to the hoots of wannabe macho men (with their .338 Win. Magnums, or Weatherby this or that), and returning back to camp the following evening with one deer and one empty cartridge. One shot, one kill.

Next time, I may try a higher power scope than the Weaver K4 (or wear my contact lenses). I think a fixed 6 or 6.5x would be just about right, but will probably just mount an inexpensive 3-9x variable on it.

Note: No poodles, or canines of any kind, were harmed in the testing of the rifle today.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Plans gone awry

(Remington Model 660, a/k/a the poodle-shooter, .243 Win.)


(a poodle, supposedly related to the canine family)

My aspiration for today was to take the poodle-shooter to the range to see if I could make it put holes in paper at 100 yards. I purchased said poodle-shooter nearly three years ago and have yet to fire a shot through it - it is very similar to one I had as a kid, with which I shot my first deer and turkey. (Its stable mate, in 6mm Rem., purchased about 15 years ago, has served well - I've taken a whitetail and a Sika deer, each with one shot, and my oldest son shot his first deer, also with one shot.) Unfortunately, there was a match going on at the range, and even though it didn't require all the lanes of fire, there was no open shooting.

Maybe next time...

Editorial note: The author of this blog has never shot any poodles and does not advocate the shooting of poodles. The term "poodle-shooter" is simply a derisive, or in this case, self-deprecating, term for a small caliber rifle. Shooting of Paris Hilton-style dogs, if you can call them such, is a topic open for discussion, subject to the constraints of your conscience, applicable game laws, and local ordinances.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


Well, actually, it's likely more rants than raves.

Let's start with Letterman. Never have been a huge fan, but he doesn't irritate me like Conan. Lots of hubbub lately about his dalliances. Interestingly, I guess since he's in the entertainment biz, the feminists are not atwitter about his bagging a staffer. My perspective is that while he's seemingly said the 'right' things about being sorry for letting his employees down, and his wife, he's been silent about this being a moral failing. Just not au courant to discuss morals, I suppose.

Jon & Kate? Did this guy have a job ever before? Enough already! Now.

The guy who secretly video'd Erin Andrews. What a scumbag! I mean, I certainly can understand the motivation - she's a knockout babe. But is there no respect for the privacy of another person? Maybe it's related to the notion that we no longer discuss, dare I say, morals, in public anymore. Gotta keep that kind of antiquated concept bottled up in the churches and such, don'tcha know?

OK, maybe I can eke out ONE rave: A Dallas jury found former councilman Don Hill guilty of ethics & bribery violations.

It's a start...

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Kincaid's Schmincaid's!

Maybe that's a bit strong, but today I had two fine dining experiences, neither of which involved the burger legend.

As I was working diligently today, I found myself, through wind and rain, in the vast metropolis of Weatherford. Since I was smack-dab in downtown, I did the right thing and dropped into Yesterday's, just off the square, for a club sandwich and a brownie. If you've never tasted their bread, you haven't lived. Great food.

Later, as I was trying to thin out the freezer at home, I found an Angus beef 1/3 or 1/2 pound patty, which, with a couple of dollops of leftover lamb chili I'd made last week, colby-jack cheese, tomato and onion, made a mighty fine burger - hence the title to this post.


Author Finally Gets Proper Funeral

So the headline read for an AOL story on an updated service for Edgar Allen Poe.

OK, if you ask me, it seems perhaps more of a PR stunt for Baltimore. But, it is the 200th anniversary of Poe's birth, and, in this economy, maybe any celebration is a good thing.

Now, as I understand it, there will be many re-enactors of Poe contemporaries taking part in the funeral, and John Astin (he of the Addams Family) will be master of ceremonies. The author's actual physical remains are not being moved from their burial place.

I think it would be cool, though, to do a mock burial under some floor boards (The Tell Tale Heart) or perhaps an entombment behind a wall of stone (A Cask of Amontillado).

In pace requiescat!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

What's Old is New Again

I don't know why, but little snippets of life stick with you for a very, very long time, sometimes until they're topical again. To wit:

The scene is The Tonight Show. No, not him. Not him either. The real one, with Johnny Carson. Circa the late '70s, maybe early '80s.

[The late, great] Ed McMahon, handing Carnac an envelope (hermetically sealed, no doubt, in a mayonnaise jar since noon that day on the front porch of Funk & Wagnalls'): "The envelope, O Great One."

[The late, exceptionally great] Carnac, deadpans to camera, then holds envelope to forehead: "Eight is enough."

Ed McMahon: "Yes, [guffaw], eight is enough!"

Carnac raises an eyebrow, then with much fanfare, opens the envelope: "According to Roman Polanski, what is the age of consent?"

Ed McMahon, underscoring: "Eight is enough, [guffaw]."

An excellent video

Courtesy of Denney Crane's blog:

Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.

- Proverbs 12:18 (New International Version)

Lord, may I always remember to think before I speak...

Edit: Thank you to Todd the Blogger for locating through an online concordance scripture that I could not.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

A National Treasure Gone

I'm not trying to turn my blog into an obituary column, but have to note the passing of William Safire, conservative columnist for the New York Times, and one of the foremost students of the artistry of language. Among his most remembered phrases, and one of my favorites, was the alliterative "nattering nabobs of negativism" written for Vice-President Spiro T. Agnew when Safire was a speechwriter in the Nixon administration.

Take My Word for It, from 1986, dealing more with language than with politics, is the only Safire book I own. It's been quite some time since I read it, but I would like to thank Bill Safire for his influence on any positive planishing of my prose that might've resulted.

Friday, September 25, 2009

The Dalton Gang

On another blog recently, a picture depicts a woman in a bathtub, sporting a pink-stocked Ruger 10-22 with a banana clip magazine, a small child, and a dog with a bad case of split ends.

Now, I can't recall ever staging such a pose, nor would I, but I do have to admit that I've thought of getting my buds together to pose as outlaw hombres, such as the Dalton Gang, below:

Dalton Gang - October 5, 1892

Admittedly, my interest in the Dalton story was sparked by the 1972 Eagles' album Desperado, coupled with the notion that the actions that led to their demise occurred about 20 miles from my birthplace.

On the ground: The Eagles, flanked by Jackson Browne (l), and John David Souther (r)

Only in researching for this post did I find that the album's cover pictures were simply stills from a mini-movie or video shot for concert footage: Note - Some language at the end.

Caption This!

Even though because I know some of the people who troll read my blog, I have some misgivings about posting this for commentary...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Roger Out

OK, I've blogged my quota for tonight (plus one draft still in progress).

The forecast is a very slim chance of rain overnight, supposed to be high 50s in the morning.

Am I sleeping outdoors tonight?

You betcha!

Edit: The weather was great, and my sleeping bag was plenty cozy.

Edit #2: ...for two nights in a row!

Edit #3: ...and three...(don't know about tonight yet - one forecast has a low of 56°, good. Another says 64°, not so much.)

Time Travel

One of the movie genres or themes that always reels me in is the "time travel" concept. Over the weekend, we rented Against Time with Robert Loggia, John Amos and Craig T. Nelson.

In the same vein as Field of Dreams, Frequency, and, to a degree, the Back to the Future series, the movie features a high school baseball player who encounters his future self (Robert Loggia), who admonishes him to pay attention to the small decisions which will shape his future. Unlike Back to the Future, this film is serious (but not didactic), as well as thought provoking. And though unrelated, I found the lyrics to Carly Simon's In a Small Moment totally apropos to the message of this movie relating to how we deal with the small things ultimately defines our character:

In a small moment
She accepted credit for something she did not do
She said she'd done the water color in her bedroom
But it was done by a friend from school

Just a little lie
No one would discover
At least not very soon
In a small moment
Just a little lie
When she wasn't looking it just slipped on by

In a small moment
In a restaurant where she worked the late night shift
She short changed a sailor and made five
You could never really call it a theft

Just a little lie
Swept up in her apron and kept as a well deserved gift
In a small moment
Just a little lie
When she wasn't looking it just slipped on by

In a small moment
She cheated on her lover and placed it in the back of her mind
As long as nobody knew the truth about her
It could never really be unkind
Just a little lie that slipped beside her as she tossed and turned in her alibis

In a small moment
Just a little lie
When she wasn't looking it just slipped on by
Slipped on by

I totally liked Field of Dreams, pairing Kevin Costner's character with his father as a contemporary. I've always had a good relationship with my Dad, but I am somewhat intrigued by the idea of being his contemporary, when he was younger. Even moreso, I would find it fascinating to see the relationship between my Dad and his father (after whom I'm named) when he was growing up. Dad's never indicated there was anything negative in his relationship with his dad, it's just difficult to get him to say much about how they interacted - different times, I guess.
I won't spoil the movie's ending, but will allow that if you're looking for nudity, strong language, drug references, or dazzling special effects, you'll likely be disappointed. This was a movie that I enjoyed watching with my family, and I think they liked it as well.
Lyrics by Carly Simon, 1978