Monday, October 31, 2011

Keller news blip

When you open AOL there is a news bit.   Below is one of their news stories.  I have a copy of the actual recording but do not know how to put it here.  It is a MP3 download....oh, well.  Surely you can google it.....the aol article has a photo of him in a 20 gallon hat.  Cute.
====================================================Crockett Keller, Texas Gun Safety Instructor, Refuses To Teach Liberals And Muslims

Store Bans Obama Voters and Muslims A controversial ad for a Texas gun store warns 'non-Christian Arabs' and people who voted for Obama they should go elsewhere.

Store Bans Obama Voters and Muslims

A controversial ad for a Texas gun store warns 'non-Christian Arabs' and people who voted for Obama they should go elsewhere.

Owner's reason for refusing service:   For Crockett Keller, the customer is always right -- or at least right-leaning. That's because the Texas firearm safety instructor refuses to teach liberals.

In a radio advertisement that could cost him his ability to teach concealed handgun safety classes, Keller made it clear that an Oct. 26 course at Keller's Riverside Store in Mason wouldn't be open to people who voted for President Obama and Muslims.

"If you are a socialist liberal and/or voted for the current campaigner-in-chief, please do not take this class," Keller says in the advertisement, which is described as "controversial" on his own website. "You have already proven that you cannot make a knowledgeable and prudent decision as required under the law."
"Also, if you are a non-Christian Arab or Muslim, I will not teach you the class. Once again, with no shame; I am Crockett Keller ... thank you and God bless America," the radio spot concludes.

Keller's restrictions could infringe on the rights of Texans seeking to acquire concealed weapons permits, but the 65-year-old told KVUE that he is just trying to protect his rights as a teacher.

"I call it exercising my right to choose who I instruct in how to use a dangerous weapon," Keller said, according to the news station.

"The fact is if you are a devout Muslim then you cannot be a true American," Keller reportedly added. "Why should I arm these people to kill me, that's suicide."

The Texas Hill Country businessman told The Houston Chronicle he has received many calls from neighbors who are supportive of his stance. Attempts to reach Keller by phone and e-mail were not returned by Huffington Post deadline.  A spokeswoman at the Texas Department of Public Safety, the agency that certifies Texans to teach classes on concealed handguns, confirmed that the agency has launched an investigation into Keller's business practices.

"The department became aware of the statements in question yesterday and has begun an investigation into the matter," she said in a prepared statement. "The department will take appropriate administrative action based on the findings from the investigation."

It was a message intended to bring in some extra business, a radio ad for a concealed handgun class at Keller’s Riverside Store in Mason, located in the heart of the Texas hill country. view full article

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Kindergarten and a birthdate fib

A friend of mine from high school - Richard Shirley - sent me an early happy birthday noting that he was unaware I was so young.   He was 71 in January - I turn same in about a week.   It reminded me of a stone that I could relate.

First of all, let me say - I believe that many of my problems going to school - what there were - came because I started to school a year early.   My maturity level never did match many of my classmates even though my grades held their own usually.

I was born on November 4, 1940 - that was the day that FDR (Roosevelt for those of you who get confused)  was elected for this 3rd term.

My mom taught school.   We were living in Dodge City, Kansas, of Gunsmoke fame, when I was 4.  I was cute with my precious ears (FYI).   Kindergarten in Dodge was a half day class for little kids.   She was teaching Kindergarten at one elementary.  We lived in another elementary area.

In Dodge City, during those years, you had to be 5 by November 2nd - or you waited another year.  I do think Kindergarten was a volunteer offering.  I don't know that.

My mom took my birth certificate and a bottle of clorox.  She put a small drop on the birthday - November 4, and with black ink wrote in a "2."  Thus, since I had no idea about anything, my birthday became Nov. 2nd - it remained that way for many years to come.   Eventually she became honest and brought me up to date.   Since then I have celebrated the 4th - bring on the gifts. 

I have the original birth certificate in a safety deposit box.  You can look at the "2" and see the faint lines of a "4" beneath.   So I went to kindergarten in the morning in my mother's class.  In the afternoon, it was kindergarten in the other school.  I don't remember much about either class.  My mom said that I was not an ideal student - taking advantage of mom being the teacher.

In the other class I remember having a special rug for taking a nap.  We all laid down for an afternoon nap.  Mine was one of those rag rugs with multi multi colors - rows of colors.  It was wonderful.  That's it.


quickie - cataract

short one:


I am not at home.  My wife stayed home with the dogs and the shotgun - she is an amazing shot with a shotgun - a bit lesser with her pistol....anyway she stayed home to save money and keep the dogs in a familiar surrounding.

I am visiting my brother in north Texas (yes, I know that I have not said what town).  Tomorrow we get up at 4:45 to take him to the doctor.  He is having cataracts removed from his left eye - I don't quite get the process, but it involves something about a new lens and not eating after midnight.  He will have the other eye done in a couple weeks or so.

My barber told me that his father had this done when the operation was in its infancy.  They said to do one eye now and the other one in 6 months.   Times have changed - or the process has improved.   My bro said that he had a choice of lenses - one cost an extra $3,000 per eye and was not covered by Medicare.   I wonder what the costs will be when the new Obamacare finally kicks in. 
Here- tonight -supper was hot dogs with Wolf Brand chili.   Nuthin better than chili - all kinds of chili.  Since my wife may read this - let me say her chili is better than Wolf Brand - hers is competition-type chili.   There is left over chili setting in our freezer awaiting my return and apetite.

That's it.
I am not sure when I will head home

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Corsicana H.S.

Sometimes people get their heads screwed on wrong and bad things happen to good people.  One can bring it upon himself by doing "stupid things."   It might be that old "can't see the forest for all the trees" concept.   But bad things have happened to good people - and some (not all) are self - inflicted. 

To muddy these waters a bit:  I have had good things happen to me when I was good.  I've had bad things happen when I was bad.  Conversely,  good things have happened to me when I was bad, and bad things happened when I was rfeally good.   There does not seem to be a rule concerning this particular issue.   I have looked:  it is not in the Constitution.

The Corsicana band director last Monday (week ago) was accused of sending sexually explicit text messages to one of his students.   By Tuesday he had resigned.  It took until Friday for the Dallas stations to pick up on it.  The press does love this type of story. 

I do not know what happened.  I have never met the guy  (Rick Wygant).   He doesn't know me.  I do not know anything about the student (at this point, I assume it is a female student - even though I never heard that).   And more importantly,  I don't want to know anything.  Leave me out of this problem.   They tell me that Rick is a terrific trumpet player.  We trumpeters do have an arrogance problem at times.  I have seen his Corsicana band.  They are not in the top competitively; but are far from being terrible.

My issue is that somewhere down the line someone turned off the brain function that eliminates problems like this.  We all know that teenagers lack a mature brain.   They look at the world through different lenses than we - [ I might add (politically) like these squirts who are doing all of this "occupy" protests. They have not the slightest idea that protest should be aimed at the goverenment - not the businesses that make America great. ]  He should have known better.  Students do not always see the consequences of certain actions.

Rick made a mistake of putting something in writing - a text message on the phone to a girl - she won't deleted it - and, when troubled, she will share with her best friend or troup of friends.   Now, teenage girls do this type of thing all the time.  They write notes to each other with some of the wildest stuff.  Then, she is are destroyed when the note shows up in a public place.  I own several of these notes in a box in the garage.  Never write something that should be said - in person - it will come back to bite you.

Side bar:  Three of my favorites:  1.)  my mom gave me a note written by a 3rd grade girl.  The girl stated that when she got home, she took off all her clothes, climbed up on the dresser, looked in the mirror and said, "you're tuff."   2.)  a 6 page note written in hot pink ink - single spaced - both sides of paper -  in which a girl is suggesting certain sexual activities to her boyfriend in order to keep him happy.   He answered back in blue on the same paper.  It was quite detailed.   What's funny is his cool response:  "I guess we could do that if you want..."    3.)   a girl writes a note attacking several other girls - last sentence "don't lose this note."  It was not lost.  It was left in plain sight on a music stand.   But, I regress.

Now Wygant faces 10 years or so in prison - if nothing else, certainly he faces a career change - if he is not making license plates, he won't be  back in teaching for quite a while.  Went to school with a guy (Dalvin Boone) who was a fantastic trumpet player and person.  He was on the right track being chosen as band director for Amarillo H.S.  This was in the early 60s.  He went out with the guys to celebrate - leaving the bar, he wet the pavement - beer - what goes in, must come out.  Arrested for public displan, he lost that job before it began.  He was such a good guy.  

What did he do?  Dalvin pulled up stakes and moved to work on his Master or PhD at some major midwest University like Michigan or Ohio State - some big school.  I know nothing after that.  Good guy in college.  Bad situation afterwards.  It is a shame.

A thought:   Universities need to have a class in ethics - or whatever it is to be called.  All of these type of situations should be discussed with young, weak minds as they prepare to enter teaching.   They should learn the pitfalls as they learn how to give CPR or to teach the minor scale.

Perhaps, just maybe,   a school system should have this as a fall training topic when they have those unrelenting boring sessions prior to school.  Those meetings are such a drain of one's brain.  I don't suppose they will ever quit.  Everyone has a new plan to improve teaching / discipline / etc. - a hot new plan is offered each year - doesn't matter.  The good teachers teach; the bad ones "occupy" space.

The rambling is over.   I feel sorry for the student - I feel sorry for Rick - I feel sorry for the Corsicana Band program - I feel sorry for the family of the above - I feel sorry for the other band directors in the local system - I feel for the administrators who must be scrambling to correct a bad situation.

Here is an issue that probably won't get much notice.  One of the remaining 3 directors has been chosen as interim director.  I believe she plans to apply for the head job eventually.  If she is not selected, I am sure she will be in a compromised position with the new director.  She should find a way to apply but not be embarrassed if ignored for the job.  It is a tough world out there.  

I am retired ....  might I add:  sitting on my backporch watching the lake dry up.

Later guys, call me if you need me to solve your problems.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Sand / dust storms

yep this is where I was raised.   Lubbock dust / sandstorm.

YYYYY  - I remember -

We moved from Nebraska to Odessa in 1950-51.   My father worked for Standard Oil (which became Amoco which became BP), and he was transfered to work in the North (or was it South)Cowden gas plant.  It was a good move for him - so I was told.  Being in the 5th grade, I didn't argue.  

I went to Lamar Elementary - played in the beginning band (though I had already been playing for 6 years) and sang alto in the Elem choir.   It was a good elementary school.  I don't really remember a lot about those years - let's see:   Had a girl friend whose father was a preacher at a local church.   In class at recess we were taught how to dance - waltz etc.   She couldn't ever dance with me because of her religion.  

At recess we boys went out and constructed a space ship out of rocks  (big circle of rocks) and played rocket ship etc.   One boy was called doc because he was the "doc" on the space ship.   It was a good free play period.   There were some guys who want to pick on everyone - and did.   I assume later they became drunks, thieves, robbers, and lawyers.  On a few occassions my big brother Jim would bring his 6th grade buddies - from the other side of the school - over and discuss the situation forcefully with the bullies.   That would help for a while.  It does make you wonder where the adult supervision was hangin'.

One of the things I remember was sand storms.  They came on a regular basis.  You would stand there and see this wall of dirt approach.  Nobody ran or hid.  You just watched.  It would arrive and you would move on to other things.  For a kid from the norther country, it was quite a sight.

More about Odessa on a later blog.

We moved north to Levelland for the next year.  Dad had been appointed as one of the 5 bosses at the Levelland Gasoline Plant.  We lived at the plant in one of the 5 company owned houses.   He had several titles over the years - maintenance foreman - head roustabout - electrician - and, of course,  yessir boss.  it was another good move.  They sold the trailers and we moved into a real house with real grass and a yard.  Out back was a clothes hanging thing.

Again, while I lived in the Panhandle until I was able to move to teach band in Ardmore, Oklahoma, the sand storms were regular like clockwork.  You'd look up and see the wall of sand moving at you.  The wife and I had an airy house in Sudan - my first real head job - when the sand came, the curtains stood out from the walls and dust went all over.   Once the bath tub was so covered, I wrote "HELP" in the sand.  It made a good photo - which is still around here somewhere.

that's it for now.   I sometimes miss the sandstorms...dumb as that may seem.  Once I was walking in an alley in Ardmore when a gust of wind blew sand into my face from the ground.  It brought back memories and made me a bit homesick.   If the rains don't come - more sand shall follow - adage.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Tequila & Manor

I spent 38 years as a band director in Texas and Oklahoma.  I took a couple years off after I left Amarillo Tascosa.   I never should have gone to that school - the previous guy had been there forever.  It is tough to follow legends - or anyone who is considered to be a legend by the locals.  But, enough of that.

I got out of the biz for a while.   Eventually after a couple of re-entry band jobs in north Texas, I decided it was time to move south. . . anywhere south.  So I drew a circle around Austin and sent out letters.  I did learn a lesson that year:  never quit a job before you have another one in your pocket.  So, I sent out the letters.  June passed.   July was passing.   I went to TBA convention.  Found nothing.  I was almost in a panic.  The wife still had her job, so it was not a disaster yet.

Then, the phone rang.  This principal invited me down to interview in Manor.  For those who don't know, Manor is the school district that goes up against Austin ISD on the east side.  Austin east side is not the best - the Cadillac area - I didn't care.  It was a small 2A school out in the country.  The Principal seemed nice  (Steve Michail - rats, I forgot how to spell his name).  He was a good guy - and the superintendent, George Jett,  was an older guy who was terrific.  I liked them both -

It was August.  The previous guy split and gave them little notice.  They hired someone who failed to materialize.  They were in trouble and  frankly I had a pretty good resume.  They had a band director for 12 years. Joe Michel, who was good.  He built the 2A band up and did a great job.  Joe got sidewise with a couple of people and - as we all do at times - figured out it was time to find a better job.   Philosophy:  As in Joe's case, it is the director who makes the job good - not the school.  Sure, administrators can kill you - but Joe had it together.

So what did Manor do.  They went to UT and hired a first year teacher - a drummer no less.  Not all drummers are kooks, but there are more kooks in the drum section than other places.  This guy (something  Janez - spelling off again)  Yanez  - that is it.  I met him a week after I took the job at the TMEA region meeting.  Introduced myself - and the first thing out of his mouth was to correct the way I said his name - arrogant little twirp.  

Yanez had inherited a 80 to 90 piece 2A band from Joe and it dwindled down to 23 on my first day.  He was a killer.  the kids told me that he would take them out to play baseball and generally just let them do what they wanted.  That may not be true - beats me - wasn't there.  Arrogant little twirp.  I had to restart his beginners on page one of the first book they were so lost.  Arrogant little twirp.

So I took over a 23 piece 2A band...grade 8 through 12.  That is a large 2A by the way.  I revised their marching style as best I could - looked for music that they could play - and created our first halftime show.   It was not a home game.   Frankly, we did very little in our plan - but we didn't just stand there and play.

We have all been there.  The band went on the field and after an appropriate amount of time - fell apart.  They were in the middle of the field completely lost - stopped playing.  It was not good.    I was on the sideline - nothing else to do.  I went on the field and marched them straight off the field.  I was furious.  They were off the field on the visitor side - I was standing on the home side.  I took off around the field - I was going to read them a riot act and a half.

At that moment, near the goal post, I met my Mr. Jett, my new Superintendent.  He stuck out his hand and congratulated me and said some other things which were brilliant.  He taught me in that few seconds that it was not the end of the world, and he was proud of them.  They had done a pretty good job - I calmed and greeted the kids with a much different attitude.  We were better the next week, and all 23 were still enrolled.

So the year went by.   I think we squeaked out a II at marching contest - squeak is a good word.  Some of those 23 were fabulous kids.   It may have been a III - who can remember?  Not me.

Of course the football team was good.  Of course.  You have a marching band with issues, and you want to end the year after 10 games -- N A H !!  THE TEAM IS REALLY GOOD.  So we went into playoffs.  Contest is over.  Nobody wants to spend hours outside practicing marching.  We are all tired.   It is time to get it over - the first extra game (forget who we played) was out of town in Gonzales.  They had a pretty good stadium for smaller school playoffs.

We had an easy arrangement of Tequila in the folder - I had a vision.  Pee Wee Herman had just done his movie with his Tequila dance on the bar -- it was popular.   So -- We do the first routine from our contest show - do a quick shuffle of people to make a long line in the center of the field -- Play the first part of Tequila -  Create a short dance step to the Tequila beat, letting the drummers make up something while the band does minimal dance steps  (I had a couple of good drummers - one named Kim Orts who is now a deputy sherrif in Austin who could do just about anything)  -- finish the song - make a  big  " M "  and get off the field.  Most of this could be practiced inside.
now store that away.
One of my 23 band members was a kid named Ernie.  Ernie was a skinny black kid who was a special educ. student.  He had problems - somewhat functional.   I could not understand what he said ever.  The kids had all gone to school with Ernie since grade one and liked him - even though he was a bit of a problem to guide.  At ballgames, boys would take turns - unasked by the way - to escort Ernie to the restroom or concession stand.  It was really nice.

Ernie couldn't play an instrument at all.  He was just there for marching season.  We took a cymbal and mounted it on a stand.  I gave him two soft mallets and he kept time on the sidelines.  Everyone liked Ernie.   It made me nervous, but that was okay.  Frankly, taking Ernie out of town on trips was a responsibilty which should not have happened to me - untrained as I am in the special education area ...
Back to Tequila.
We learned the dance and could play the music.  Ernie was on the sidelines.   I was afraid that I would be fussed at if I didn't keep Ernie controlled.   So, before the half, I told Ernie to just stand there and play the cymbal.  Don't do what the band is doing.  Don't dance.   Just stand.  Ernie said okay.

For the first part of the song, he stood there.  As the dancing started, Ernie started to wiggle.   He couldn't help himself.   Before long he was dancing on the sidelines.   He brought the house down.  The Manor fans loved and knew Ernie.  He was a sensation.   The band did a good job.  We received a standing ovation from the crowd.  That helped our attitudes a lot.

Did I mention the team was good.  They won the game & I had another week of marching.  What to do.  I ain't no fool.   We were going back to Gonzales for the 2nd game.   I figured, why fight it.  We did the same show week #2.   Once again Ernie was great.  It made me nervous, but nobody said one word about exploiting him.  It was another standing ovation.  Did I mention the other bands were obviously disturbed because we were doing a dance?  I have learned since then that other band students will always be jealous if your band gets to dance on the field.  That may seem dumb, but it is true.

That was my first Tequila year in Manor.  Year two came - I have already told you that I ain't no fool.  The kids wanted to do Tequila again.  We expanded the routine - put in a free style section where the kids had 32 counts to dance what they chose - and it was a hit again.  Ernie was right there performing with us.

I was in Manor for 13 years.  We did Tequila - with variations - all 13 years.  After a while, some other bands would try to dance at the last game - they never figured it out.   It became the tradition to use it for the last home game.   The poor cluck who followed me into Manor was pushed into continuing.   My 13th marching year was in 2003.   It is now 2011 and they still do Tequila.   I would apologize, but would that help?

Little side bit.  It was so important to the Seniors each year.  One year a senior - who had failed a class and was ineligible to be on the field - jumped the stadium fence and danced with the band even though he knew he would be in major trouble.  He spent the rest of the semester in the in-school suspension. 
That's it.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Mike Leach rumor

just read on facebook a rumor that Mike Leach is being considered for Mack Brown's job at UT.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

OU - TX Weekend

In 1967 we moved to Ardmore, Oklahoma.  I was to take over the H.S. band.   Daughter Christine was gaining on 3 yrs of age & Daugher Laura had been born about 7-8 months earlier.    It was a great opportunity for a young director - They hired me in August.  My guess is they were in trouble finding anyone who could break their contract.  Coming from Texas, I could make the move.   I loved Ardmore.  Never should have left.

We were young and poor.  Teachers are never rich  (we never had the chance to steal from widows and orphans).  When you add young & poor to our 2 young children, and moving expenses, you know that we had certain limitations.   We found a rental.

It was an okay house - wood floors - fenced back yard - driveway...I'd guess it was built in the 40s.  Had a floor furnace which could burn toes.  Never did like a floor furnace.  This house was located on one of the main Ardmore drags.  It was U.S. Hwy 77, the road that connected Dallas to Oklahoma City.  Store that info.


Raised in the Panhandle, we had a connection to Texas Tech.  Tech had joined the SWC while we were in college.  It was a great thing.  I remember my Freshman year, living in Gordon Hall, Tech played A&M in College Station.   It was the first time that Tech ever beat them.  The college erupted.  Everyone poured out of the dorms and took over the campus.  Cars were lined up from the college to downtown - honking and screaming.  It was quite a spectacle for an innocent.

Our high school athletic programs and the Tech Athletic teams were our connection with worldly sports.   We had little contact with other programs nor did we really care.  TV broadcasted limited ballgames.  I WAS completely out of touch with other teams and their traditions.

It was October of 1967.   Interstate 35 was not built.  Hwy 77 was the only route south for Okies.   It started on Thursday.  Cars drove by our house heading south.  It was a steady stream of cars decorated in red and white.  It didn't stop.  Friday made traveling on that street practically impossible.  They drove by the house honking and yelling - it never stopped. 

I am sure I had a Friday night ballgame.  When I returned home, the cars were still going south.  Sat was not better.  Eventually it stopped.  The game was on TV.  I just happened to run to the mall during the game - whatdid I care who won.  The mall was empty.  Only workers listening to radios - that's it.  I had never seen anything like that.

The game ended.  About 2 hours later, the carsstarted - heading north.   If my memory serves me, they won that game.  All night long the cars streamed by honking, trying to wake up Ardmore because they had won.  

That was an experience.  All those cars and fans.  I had never realized that the game meant so much to so many people.  They were fanatical.  Out in Lubbock, nobody cared.  Ardmore people could not believe that I cared less.  I wish you could have sat on my front porch and watched the cars.  With the completion of I-35, that is a sight that will never be seen again.
m    (Go Tech)

made a political error

I have two posts to do - this one is stupid politics - the other has to do with OU - UT.

I have an exstudent, girl - actually she is more of a young lady now I would suppose - from Manor.  She was different than most - walked to the beat of a different drummer - somewhat mystical thinking.   She wasn't quite a Goth, but still different.  I really liked her and the independence she had.

On facebook, she sent me an invitation to Occupy Austin.   People send me invitation to all sorts of Facebook things.  I ignore all.  This one rang a bell in my brain.  It asked if I would attend:  yes, no, ignore.
I clicked No.   C'mon, I'm not going to drive to Austin and stand around with a bunch of strangers holding signs accomplishing nothing.   I think they are complaining about dastardly corporate greed, mean ole business people, and especially rich people.  There is nothing worse than a rich person...he had to cheat to make the money  or at the least he took it from some widow or orphan.

So I clicked "no"  and made a couple of comments like -- I'm not going to any Obama rally  --  and  ask yourself who is paying for all of this.   Anyone who thinks these gatherings are financed by independents, is just simply out of touch with reality. 

To make a long story shorter, all of a sudden I am getting facebook message from all sorts of strangers who are fussing at me.    I did add a couple more little comments, and, then, told them that I would delete any further contact from strangers.

What did I learn?  These comments to an invite - them thar are not private.   I have tried to quit arguing with Liberals and Obama worshipers.  It serves no purpose - just like here - if you add a comment fussing at me, it will be ignored.  So there.