Saturday, April 13, 2024

fortune cookie

When I eat Chinese, I always read my fortune cookie.  Always.  I have found that fortune cookies do not give your fortune.  I have a collection of paper "fortunes."  One of my long-term plans is to list these somewhere.  Someday.

Today, I got this one which I promptly read to my daughter (who is pushing 60).

"If you wish for good advice, consult your mom."

Works for me.

Sunday, April 7, 2024

I can handle...

 I can handle disappointment.  No need for counseling.

I did not win the 1.3 billion Powerball.

As a matter of fact, I had no winning numbers.  Not one.  Usually, I hit at least one number.  It might not be worth any money, but I get at least one number.  one.

Winner in Oregon.  What does someone in Oregon need with that kind of money?  That was a question.  It's okay.  I can handle it.

Next time, I plan to go to a Chinese restaurant - get the fortune cookie - and play that number.  A sure winner.

Now, I am going to put in a sad smiley face.😞


Wednesday, April 3, 2024

One Billion Dollars

 Tonight - Powerball - 1 billion dollars

Can you imagine having a billion?  Sure, I bought a ticket.  As son says, I paid my lottery tax.  Even though it is a billion, if you want money right now, it'll be about 500 million.  At my age, 30 yearly payments to equal a billion, doesn't make real sense does it?   

What to do with 500 Mil?  I could sit here and make a list.  Money given to charity.  Lots of charities out there.  Buy a new car.  Build a bigger house.  Take a cruise to Alaska.  Give all my relatives a million or so.  Why not?  The list is endless.

I was talking to the nice lady who sold me my ticket.  She said her father says, if he wins the money, he plans to build a home for retired preachers - in Tyler.  Tyler is the "kicker" in the story.  Why Tyler?

This would be a nice thing to do.  I have taught in seven different schools...maybe 8.  I could give a gift to each of their band parent organizations.  I would have to think twice about a couple of the schools.  They made me mad.    Then, there is the Texas Tech band program.  And Levelland High School - my alma mater.  Or I could turn it into $1 bills - fill my mattress and sleep on it.

Steaks every night?  You'd tire of them after a while.  Hire a personal cook.  That's a thought.  OOOOOO  OOOOOO  OOOOO  a sizable gift to my C.P.A. and attorney and stock broker.  I have always wanted to own a string of storage companies...   Apartment houses...  See my previous post, I'll change my name and run for President.  I'd like to own a kite.  Where can I get one of these?

cars - charitable gifts - trips - gifts to relatives - leave $20 bills in library books - 

There is no end to this.   Later,


Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Sorta political - humor

 In a Los Angeles times story:

or Dallas ABC affiliate WFAA:

A man in Tarrant County, Texas, has changed his name.  Ft. Worth/Dallas DFW is the area.  The judge wasn't amused.

Dustin Ebey has changed his name to: 

Literally Anybody Else

 Mr. Else, 35, is trying to get his name on the ballot as an independent candidate in all 50 states (etc.).   He believes he has a chance to be elected.

Sample Ballot

口 Joe Biden

口 Donald Trump 

口 Literally Anybody Else

Not that I don't think this is funny.  I do.  But, there are people who will jump in and help this man.  Plus, Ft. Worth doesn't need a Presidential Library.  Certainly, Dallas doesn't either.   Maybe he will build it next to 6 Flags.  Use to be a good Panchos restaurant near 6 Flags.  "President Else."  People didn't believe the southern border would be left open either.  Free admission and we'll give you stuff.  If this guy gets more votes than RFK, that would add more humor.   What is Mr. Else's opinion on gun control, the southern border, Israel/Palestine, moving confederate statues, marijuana legalization (bet he likes this one - shouldn't have said that - I have no clue), mustard or mayonnaise, oh the list is endless.  Use the comment section below to add to the list.

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Be sure to read "SCAM" b4 this one

 Just so you'll know that I am not perfect.

When it rains, it pours.

2 days ago, I received a bill for $315 from Baylor Scott & White for my wife's laser eye surgery.  I was expecting it; but, that doesn't make the pain any easier.  It is the beginning of the new year and we have to reach our insurance deductibles.  She is a lot closer to that end, now.

Then, yesterday, we went to the optical place.  After the laser eye surgery and cataract surgery last year, it was time to get a new pair of glasses.  Eyes are close to 20\20, but a bit off.  Reading glasses are certainly a must.  We went in carrying an old pair of her glasses frames.  Even with her frames, and - as they say: "30% off,"  Our cost would be over $400.  That hurts a poor retired teacher on a fixed income.

I came home to find the red alarm light blinking on my septic system.  The air pump has given up.  Sigh.  Called the repair guy this morning.

So I fret about this stuff.

Then, today, that yokel calls (see the post below).  I put 6 eggs on to boil.  Things got hectic.

Frankly, I forgot the eggs.  An hour or so later, I sat at the dining room table working on my 2023 taxes.  I'm almost through - just the mopping up, so to speak.  At my feet and over about 3 more, is a machine that runs all the time killing bugs - flies, gnats, etc.

I heard this loud pop sound.  I smell something.  I unplugged the bug killer.  Sat back down.   BOOM!!  What was that noise.  Then, another loud BOOM!  The dogs come to investigate.  Yes, if you haven't figured it out yet, I forgot the boiling eggs.  3 of them have exploded.  What a mess.  All over the kitchen.  None hit the ceiling, but the underside of the microwave is a mess.  The dogs & I started cleaning the kitchen.  My wife was taking a nap and the explosions didn't faze her at all.

Unless you have had exploding eggs on your stove, you won't truly understand the mess.  Give it a try, Buddy.  Why should I be the only one?

Now, I am still waiting on the septic repair man.

I need a quiet hobby.


SCAM - I AM SO MAD!!!!!!!

 How many exclamation points are needed to express how mad I am.  Rule book says only one.   !    

I AM SO MAD!    (at myself)

I knew as soon as I answered the phone and guy started talking.  In my heart, I knew.  But, ...

The concept, Medicare was replacing my old Medicare Card with a new plastic one.  He DID represent himself as being from Medicare.  He needed to verify some info.  He knew a lot of stuff on the Medicare card including (I think) some of my secret numbers.  Maybe he was a good guesser.  He knew my complete name - and my wife's complete name.  She uses about 3 different approaches to her name - he hit it right.

We talked on the phone for quite a while.  I hassled him quite a bit.  When he came up with certain info, I melted and verified some numbers.

Then he asked my primary care doctor's name -- hmmmmm --  red flag 

next he asked if wife and I were diabetic.  not really a red flag.  What should have been the red flag was that Medicare had him call about ME  and MY WIFE at the same time.  I thought about that briefly; but, I let it go.  The dogs started to bark.  No excuse.  Just a fact.  It flustered me a bit.  

When I thought it was over, he informed me that they would be sending me a FREE new blood sugar checking meter with my card - after getting approval from my doctor, of course.  I grunted.  But, wait, they were also going to send me a back or leg brace with my new card (doctor approval, of course).  One for me & one for the wife.  No cost to me.  FREE FREE FREE.  He needed to know my height and weight.   And, we would receive either a Cane or a Walker.  Which one do I want - no cost to me  - FREE - after doctor's approval, of course.  

Before it went any further - or is it farther ?? -  I told him force-ably that we didn't need any of this.  He would not stop talking.  "No obligation to you, FREE, with your doctor's approval, of course."  

Finally, I interrupted him enough to get a word in edgewise,  " We don't need any of this.  I am going to call my doctor right now and tell him.  I'm through talking."  

I hung up.

I am so mad.  There were so many red flags which I should have tripped over.  I thought I was smarter than this.  I am so mad at myself.  The guy is jerk.  I bet his grandmother would be proud of him unless she is the owner of the company.  

Surely, I will recover from this.  There is no telling what may come next.  So Stupid!!

Tuesday, March 12, 2024

H.S. STUFF - A rememberance

Oh, this is going to be a long one.  No, it is WAY too long.  I should have divided this entry into several smaller ones.  And I didn't.  If the word "Rambling" is in your vocab, you gonna feel right at home.  It only seems fair to point out this has turned out to be quite long.  We will see.   I don't  know how long other people's blogs are.  

As I begin to type, I have no plan to speak of...

A little band humor to start.  I do not know who originated this.  If you know, let me know, then, we'll all know ... NO?

Here is the deal.  I went to high school in Levelland, Hockley County, Panhandle, Texas.  Dry place, no sand dunes but sandy soil, rough spring weather, town about 10,000 folks, cotton and oil country - County was featured in a "believe it or not" episode because there are NO bridges in the entire county.  Bet you are glad to learn that.  Levelland was platted by C.W.Post of cereal fame.  Also, he was the father of Post, Texas.  Originally, they wanted to call it Hockley City.  I can't imagine why they decided to name it Level--Land instead.  On a clear night (no sand storms), you can go into the country and see the lights of several towns - some 20 / 30 miles away.  

It was a nice high school experience most of the time.  I could give you stories about that - and probably will sometime.  We didn't know any gang members.  I suppose some people thought we were a gang ... band kids, you know how they are ... rock n roll music ... fast cars ... spittin' on the streets ... we wore horseshoe taps on the heels of our black leather shoes ... take it from there==>

My parents at one time or another were public school band directors in Oklahoma.  My father was one of those music men.  He traveled around during the depression era starting bands in small towns, selling instrument - don't know about uniforms.  I understand he started bands in SW Okla including Altus and others around there.  He had a math degree, but did this to make a buck.  Another of his adventures had to do with movies  = y'know, moving pictures.  He'd take equipment into a town and set up to show a movie. . . even set-up outside.  This was a novel thing in the 30s and 40s.  I'm not sure how this generated money; but, I bet it did.

Mom was the band director in Tecumseh, Okla when I was born.  Brother Marshall (about 4-5 yrs old at the time) was the mascot of the band.  He even had a small uniform that matched, along with a small baton.  My mom use to brag in order to win marching contests she would have her majorettes do cartwheels in front of the judges.  Actually, I feel that was not valid plan.  Those must have been good years.   

When I went through high school, Texas was not racially integrated yet.  There was a black school on the other side of town - yes, it was on the other side of the tracks as well -  you might have guessed.  Spanish kids were not over there.  I had several Spanish friends.  We didn't use the word Hispanics back then.  The word Mexican was more prominent at that time.  We were just high school students.  I mention this because we have just finished February, black history month.

Levelland High School grades 10-12; JHS grades 7-9; 3 elementary schools grades 1-6 (East, West, and South).  I went to South & my future wife went to West.  My mom taught at East, which was really in the Northern part of town next to the JH .... just not far enough north to cross the tracks.  When Levelland built a new elementary, it was in the actual eastern part of town.  They named it Cactus.  I suppose that made sense.

Since I was raised in this band/music environment with my brothers, it should be no surprise that we grew up playing music together.  I had my first cornet about 5 years old; the piano came before that.  We were all taught cornet, accordion, and piano.  Later Jim switched to trombone and got a string bass.  I can remember performing with my accordion at a civic club during the 3rd / 4th grade somewhere in Kansas.  Strange thing to remember: one of our songs was "songs my mother taught me."

When we lived in Dodge City (yes, Kansas), brother Marshall was about a 9th grader - Jim and I were in the 3rd & 4th grade.  Dodge City had a municipal band which did concerts in the Park.  We three boys were featured on one summer concert - cornet trio - played a song called "Three of a Kind."  When we got to the triple tonguing section, Marshall did the triple tonguing while Jim & I just played the first note of each set.  In my stuff, I have the newspaper clipping of the performance.  Bet we were really cute.
Skip forward a little:  There is a this guy who lives in Spain.  He found me a few years back.  He was a fan of Sonny West.  Who?  Sonny West.  Sonny lived with his uncle in Levelland when he was in his 20s.  This Spain guy would write me emails asking all sorts of Sonny West questions.  A true fan.  I have a limited knowledge of Sonny.  But, I tried to answer the questions - good will and all that stuff.  Below is an AUGMENTED reply I sent to him once.  It is augmented because some things need to be stretched out to explain what I was explaining, if you understand that explanation.
I quote:  " I'll put a few things down here right now - maybe something else will come to me later to tell you.  Jimmy was my older brother as you know.  Later in life, he went by Jim; but, in high school he was Jimmy.  Of course, when my mother was mad at him, she called him "James Lee!!"  Jim was about 5' 9" and fairly muscular built.  He was not afraid of very much.  My father was known to call Jim a "Bull in a china closet."  My father would know because he was a reformed "Bull in a china closet."  Jim had a high I.Q. and made excellent grades in high school and throughout college.  His College degree was in Physics with a Master degree in Math.  [aside: he started Tx Tech as a chemistry major.  After he failed chemistry 3 times, he changed to physics.  Go Figure.]

Jim worked for several companies over the years:  Boeing Aircraft and LTV as the top two.  I am not sure what he did for LTV (which now has a different name) - he said that he couldn't talk about it.  LTV helped make stuff that was used in the Spy networks (sometimes referred to as "spook" business).  I do know 2 things he did.  He worked on a radar type unit for small fast flying planes which flew close to the ground.  Hmmmmmm   And he help to design the automated government  postal mail system that is used in the USA today.   He refused to discuss this stuff so we would make up our own stories.
Back to high school.
When we were in the junior high years, we formed a band - not really rock n roll - just a group.  Rock n Roll was not quite going yet.  We called our band The 3 M's.  Metze, Metze, and McKay.  Jim played upright (string) bass, Doc McKay was the drummer, and I played piano or Accordion.  We had a small following of fans (our mothers and fathers, very close relatives, and girl friends if we had one).  

We played our first dance that year for the Lubbock Country Club.  I was an 8th grader; they were in the 9th grade.  Doc's parents got us the gig.  Just couldn't say what possessed them to do that.  We were good of course (JHS students).  Played all the regular songs - well, I played them on the accordion and the other two kept rhythm.  We played on a little stage.  The audience sat and wondered.  

After about 15 - 30 minutes, they paid us off - $5 each.  We left and drove downtown Lubbock to see a movie - Doc's parents stayed behind and danced the night away to the Country Club's juke box.  It was a good thing Doc was there to drive them home later.  We were dumb enough to think that was fun.  And, it was fun.  Made 5 bucks - got to see a movie - my first taste of drunken adults dancing at a country club.

Over the years we would add and subtract a few people to the group.  That was all there was to that.  Later in H.S. we would use the name Saints at times.  That seemed good.  Several of our local h.s. band fellow members played with us.  We didn't use music.  Had none.  

You may have to think about this for a moment.  One of our band members was Frank Lawlis.  He would play the bass fiddle when Jim played trombone.  There is a guy on TV who does the psychology shows - I forget his name Dr. what's his name -- Oft times he goes out in the audience to talk with his his college mentor - Dr. Frank Lawlis.  touch of fame there.

One time we were hired to play for a dance at the local rodeo.  We knew lots of songs and people could dance to our stuff.  Rodeo Dance.  An Experience.  Well, some folks thought we might not be fully okay - bunch of high school kids.  So, they hired this local guitar playing man to play with us.  We were not consulted before hand.  He was a country guitar player.  Only songs he knew were country and western - all in the keys of E or B.  For those uneducated in this, those are tough keys.  Lots of sharps.  We were (pardon the expression) Classically Trained musician.  He wasn't.

His big song was the Sheik of Araby.  I had never heard of it before the dance;  I knew it by the end of the night - in the key of E.  Couldn't tell you how the audience enjoyed the dance music.  We boys had a good time - and so did the Sheik.  The guitar player?  not so much.   He never did call us back and offer to go on tour.  That was okay; we were in h.s. and couldn't leave town anyway.

An extra aside here = Levelland had a strong population of Baptist and Church of Christ members.  They had a pretty good strangle hold on the town.  Our school never had dances.  Dancing was not allowed.  However, during my Junior year (Jim & Doc's senior year) protesters sponsored a dance at the new hotel downtown.  It was quite scandalous.  We didn't have one the next year.  Our group, the Saints, played for the dance splitting time with a local h.s. rock group, the Sparkles.  I think the Sparkles are still performing out there at local taverns.  

We were able to play a 4 hour dance.  One of my favorite stories about that night - - as with most groups, we'd play some song and then take individual solos to stretch the music out longer.  We had this rock-type riff that we played early in the show.  Play the riff, take a solo; play the riff, someone else makes up a solo;  and so forth.  The kids (hs dancers) kept coming back up and asking us to play the song again.  We did, of course.  Who doesn't like getting requests?  It turns out that our riff that we made up had been recorded by some name group - Nowadays they call it Tequila.  We didn't know.  But the audience did.   Play it again, Sam.

During Jim and Doc's last couple of years in high school, they somehow met up with this Sonny West character.  He was an Elvis almost look alike - actually a lot different looking, but the same type of snear.  Sonny had a lead guitar player named Buddy Smith.  I do not have the slightest idea what happen to him after Sonny quit working with Jim & Doc.  Buddy was a terrific guitar player.  Sonny pretty much played rhythm guitar.  All of this was done in Levelland, which is located 30 miles west of Lubbock.  They usually rehearsed at Doc's house.  Doc's mom was the local dance teacher (ballet, tap, etc.) so she had a fairly large facility for them to use.  It had a low ceiling, but that just made the music better and louder.

During that time, they recorded Rock-Ola-Ruby and some other songs.  It was released on a 45 rpm record.  Sonny used his recordings as demonstrators to sell his original songs to other performers.  Yes, he had dreams of making the big time and selling a million records.  None of his own records sold that much.  A couple of his songs did quite well with other performers.  Buddy Holly did a couple of his songs.  Sonny eventually was put in the Rockabilly Hall of Fame for his writing.  Now that is note worthy.

Sonny's group performed in the area several times.  Back then, many small town local movie theaters would put on a stage show sometimes between feature films on Friday or Saturday nights.  Different bands would perform.  "Battle of the Bands"   I never played for any of these shows, but attended a couple as I rode along with Jimmy and helped Doc set up his drum set....nowadays, I would have been a roadie.

As a side thought. They recorded at a studio in Clovis, New Mexico  - at the Norman Petty studio.  Norman Petty was a known professional jazz organist whose recording of  "Mood Indigo" seemed to be a big deal ... I knew it at the time.  Played it for my dances ... on accordion / piano.

Now this next part I cannot verify - Apparently, Norman was not always a nice person.  People would record in his studio - tapes and vinyl - and Norman would put his name on the recording as a co-writer.  He'd get the performers to sign contracts before recording.  I'm not sure of the details.  It is just something I've heard.  More Money.  Most area bands were just so glad to be recording, they never quite figured out that he was messing with them.  It is my understanding that Buddy Holly and the Crickets recorded out of that studio.  I do not know if Sonny West had any problems with Petty.

I recorded two songs with them.  I will try to remember the names of the songs.  Sonny, Buddy, Jim, Doc, and me on piano.  He brought in 3 local high school girls as backup singers.   Tilghman, Tyler, and Beck ---- Betty Tilghman, Sandra Tyler, and Betty Beck.  They did a good job as back up doo-wops.  The recording session lasted most of the day in Clovis.  I remember a couple of nonsense things - Norman Petty was a really friendly guy to us - and helpful with suggestions.  To make Doc's snare drum sound better, he had Doc beat on a cardboard box.  It made a good sound for the recording - you couldn't tell it was a box, which says a lot for the snare drums in those days. 

During one break, I did start playing Mood Indigo.  Norman Petty looked up from behind the glass and broke into a smile.
Now this is just another bit.  Most songs were written in the keys of E or A.  Apparently, those are easier keys for the guitar. Since most of these guitar players were playing "by ear," one key was just as good as another especially if it laid well on the guitar.  As a piano player, I was raised playing in Bb, F and C - cause those are the easiest for inexperienced piano players - no sharps or major flats to speak of.   I had fits getting the rockabilly boogie type bass line going in the key of E.  It was good for me to play in that key though ... great experience.  They gave me an 8 bar piano solo in one of the songs.  I played primarily a chord progression on that solo - absolutely nothing to brag about - if you ever find that record, I missed one chord on the final recording.

Doc was an excellent drummer for the time.  I believe it comes naturally to some people.  He played well and kept time great.  Many drummers can't seem to keep time straight.  Doc was good - a barrel of laughs - and ready for about anything.  After high school, I believe he went to Hardin Simmons Univ in Abilene - He eventually ended up in Denver as a EMT.  Emergency Medical Technician - ambulance etc.  His wife Bonnie still lives in Denver.  Her maiden name was Bonnie Brooks.  Back then, she was a perfect fit for Doc - fun loving - full of energy.  My brain is failing me here, Doc is not his given name.  He had a regular given name - which I should remember.  Nobody called him anything except Doc.

Jim's slap bass playing - it was the style and self learned.  Nobody taught him how.  He did not have an expensive string bass (bass fiddle).  The slapping would mess up his right hand.  He learned to cover his right hand fingers with tape or band-aids to keep the blisters from forming.  Regarding Jim's bass playing, he had a good ear and knew where the appropriate notes were found on the bass.  He played the right notes for the chords.  I have seen other bass players who just slapped around and made noise - Jim's noise was actually music.  We both had been trained to read music and hear right notes.   

Later when we traveled for some jobs, he would put that big ole bass over the front & back seats of the car, letting the neck extend into the front seat.  There wasn't much room for humans in the car after the bass went inside.    During 1963 I bought a big Pontiac, and we carried the bass inside the trunk of the car - much safer.
When Jim & Doc went off to college, that pretty much ended their time with Sonny.  After my recording session, Sonny found a better piano player which was fine.  I can't remember the guy's name.  Strange kid from somewhere back east who was living with his Levelland uncle, a chiropractor - but he could play piano ... lot better than me.  I was jealous.

Now for a couple of things you had in your first note.  [remember that I am writing to a guy in Spain]  Jim played trombone, not sax.   He was a terrific trombone player.  I still have the trombone in my garage.  I was the trumpet player of the bunch.  When we had certain songs and extra people, we would play our horns more than the bass and piano. 

I wish I could give you more Sonny West info.  I will look for photos & the record.  I have a lot of stuff in storage since I am getting older and running out of space in my house to keep treasures.  As I get older, I talk too much.  You may have noticed that old guys can ramble and ramble.  That's me.

One of the things I remember about Jim and Doc.  They played pinball daily.  I believe they had a skill here too.  If I come up with something else, I'll let you know.   Got questions?   I may know the answer.  May not.
Mike mtz "

Sunday, March 10, 2024


 Daylight savings time.  We rejoice.  I don't know when, but eventually the States will make it permanent.  Why they insist on putting it off?  Beats me.  I don't really care.  It will work out for me.

This morning, I slept in and forgot all about the clock. My wife & I both got out of bed at 11:30.  I have not slept that long since I was in college.  I plan to do better in the morning.  Tomorrow.  Y'know I haven't slept past 10:30 more than 4 times a week lately   (do the math).


running joke in the comic strips:

Have you ever wondered why we don't hear about Areas 1 through 50?



Saturday, March 2, 2024


 Who knows why?  

Today the Budweiser Clydesdale horses came to Salado.  March 2nd, Texas Independence Day.  Of all the towns in Texas, why Salado?  I betcha somebody local has some influence.

It was great.  They arrived and did a "parade" down main street - U turn and back up main to their starting point.   8 beautiful Clydesdales pulling the big  Budweiser wagon - 2 drivers dressed in Green  - and a black and white dalmatian riding on the wagon seat alongside the drivers.

After the parade, the group stayed for over an half hour - close to an hour.  The crowd took pictures and talked to the handlers.  It was a good time had by all.

Then, we stood and watched as they unhooked the horses and led them into the trailers.  I'd guess there were at least a dozen workers.  They had a process.  Do this. Do that.  Do this.  Everyone had a special job to do.  It was fun to watch the organization.  

I would hope for you to be a part of this festival someday.  Watch for when the horses are coming to your town/area,  Get there early and enjoy the show.  

They are such beautiful animals.


Tuesday, February 27, 2024

see short meat stone below

See the short meat stone about 4 entries below ...

I'll never do that again.  We cooked up the steaks.  They were okay, but they did have some gristle.  I learned a lesson.  I'm not rich enough to spend that kind of money on a piece of meat that - well - 

y'know, if you spend that kind of money, you can go to a fine restaurant - they'll cook it and you will get a baked potato and salad and perhaps an onion ring or two - all for the same overprice.  And, you will look like you are taking your wife out for a special meal to celebrate her birthday, mum's day, anniversary, EVEN HALLOWEEN.  Now, that is a tradition to begin.

It's Halloween; let's go to the steakhouse.  Sure save money on chocolate treats for little monsters and fairies and ghouls.

That's it.  I wanted to admit that I was just flat stupid.  The door to door guy will be back.  He thinks he has found a life long sucker.  What is that old saying?  something about you are stupid if you make the same mistake more than once.

For the musicians in the crowd, think of a song with more than one C flat or B sharp.  Try to not miss both of them in the same rehearsal.

Luv ya,


Thursday, February 22, 2024

bark box humor quickie

A friend gives my daughter's dogs The Bark Box.  { You can find it on line. }  He babysits 2 of our dogs on a fairly regular basis.  He is known as Uncle Thomas.  Of course, the dogs know that.

This weekend, he paid a visit with the February Bark Box in tow.  The dogs attacked the toys immediately.  No bars held.  Hold no bars.  What is that saying?   (cookies were saved till later)

As dogs will do (congrats to Bella), eventually a dog toy split in half and the blue squeaker hit the floor.  I grabbed it.  A dog does not need to eat a squeaker.  It does still squeak though.

The squeaker has a message which seems to exemplify the humor of the Bark Box people:





Wednesday, February 21, 2024

left side vs. right side vs. spectracide

                      So, which are you?  You should know y'know.

First of all, spectracide has nothing to do with this.  I used the word because it rhymes & is spelled differently than the other two.  The first word I thought of was suicide.  That rhymes too.  People get really worked up when suicide is mention however in passing.  That was cute.  Passing / suicide.  Wish I had planned the connection ahead of time.  Anyhoo, I abhor suicide.  I don't understand how someone could get so messed up they think this is a solution.  Yeah. Yeah.  It is a solution sorta.  But, it is not a good solution.  The suicide person is not the victim.  Those left behind are the ones who suffer.  I'd think that was a tad bit selfish.  Maybe I don't understand it all completely.

Moving on.  Spectracide is a weed poison.  Use it at your own will.


When I was much younger, I went to bed at night by lying on my stomach with my head facing to the right, right arm bent in front of the nose.  I did that for years.  Of course things changed some when I married.  That has a tendency to alter past habits to some degree.  

Aside:   When I went to college, Tech, I had to live in the dorm my Freshman year.  Brother Jim was my roommate.  We could function together.  Jim's previous roomie was Gerald Heath, a hometown Levelland boy who was a pretty good friend throughout high school.  Gerald's father was our barber. . . a real cut-up.   (wish I hadn't said that)  Before the year was out, Jim and Gerald were growing apart.  Gerald loved Jonie James, a female singer in the 50s.  He played her records often.  Personally, I can't stand the way she sings - all that scooping and namby pamby voice.  Apparently, Jim couldn't either.  He took one of her records and rolled it down the dorm hallway with satisfying results - for him, not Gerald.

Soph. year, we found a garage apartment just a block south of the campus.  In the beginning it was roach infested.  Several efforts were made to correct the problem.  Jim & I had twin beds stuffed in a tiny bedroom.  They were probably 12 to 15 inches apart. As a joke one night, as I climbed into bed, I used my hand to beat on the bed  "to kill any bugs in the bed."  We thought it was funny at the time.  I did it again the 2nd night.  Not as funny.  By the 10th night, Jim was getting upset.  It became a habit that year.  I couldn't go to sleep unless I patted the bed - even so slightly and quietly.  Jim had certain names for me...won't list here.


Time went by.  I evolved into a left side sleeper on the left side of the bed.  it seemed that was the most comfy position.  Streisand has a song about rolling over and going to sleep.  I suppose this was me.  Then, about 4 - 5 years ago, I was dreaming that a ball was rolling past me.  I grabbed for the ball and rolled out of bed.  I cut my left ear pretty good on the bedside table.  Wrote about this in a previous episode.  This bothered me a bunch.

Now, right now, we moved to Salado.  We have always had a double bed.  There is a certain closeness that comes with a double vs. the queen and king.  We seemed to like it.  Then, my wife's illness came up.  I figured I needed a bed where the individual sides would raise and lower.  I could see her spending extra time in bed.  It hasn't happened yet.  There is so much extra room in that bed.  Equivalent to two twin size beds, there is room to toss and turn without bothering anyone.

What has happened is that I have turned into a right side sleeper.  I can face to the inside of the bed and not be breathing on my wife.  There is so much room.  Turns out the raising and lowering has no effect - or is that affect?  It is both.

So which are you?  left side sleeper?  right side sleeper?  back sleeper?  stomach?   I ALWAYS wake up on my back.  It doesn't matter the starting position, the back wins at night.  In 63 years of marriage, I've always slept on the left side of the bed.  Is that normal for people?  Even on the honeymoon, I can remember sleeping on the left side because it was closest to the door - being closer to the door was me protecting my bride - I was so naive.

---- smiley face ----

I was once told (gossip) about a man who would get naked, wrap himself up completely in a sheet like a mummy or cocoon, lay down on the foot of the bed crosswise in order to sleep.  Wonder where his wife slept.  Maybe she was really short.  Sometimes when I think my sleeping habits are strange, I think of this guy.  He needs help.


Here is the real question:  Now that you have read this, are you glad you read to the end?  I appreciate your effort.  Next week we take up the riveting issue, how to sit in a recliner vs. high back wooden chairs.

Little next aside.  Son Roger just sent a text that his PSA is <.01.  Considering the prostrate problems we have all had, this is great news.  Didja ever notice, men never talk about the prostrate in public?  Why is that?  I guess we are too tough to whine.



Tuesday, February 13, 2024

short meat stone

I did something today that I have never done.  I bought some meat from a truck that was cruising the neighborhood.  I've seen them around before.  The company is out of Ft. Worth - something like 3 brothers.   Put a question mark on that ??  Anyway, the family & I had discussed it before.  So, I bit the bullet and bought a box with 4 steaks.  I figure we'll eat them sometime way down the road.

In my opinion they were too expensive.  I don't ever plan to do it again.  Why did I do it this time?  Suppose I was hungry for real meat - other than hamburger and chicken bits.  I'v seen the Schwann truck selling meat over the years.  Thought I'd try it once and no more.  This company is not schwann.  Next time when I want real meat, I'll just go to the grocery store.

That's the end to this tune. There will be no D.C. or D.S. with a coda.  Fine.  

Friday, February 9, 2024


 I do love puppies.  They can gnaw on your fingers with minor pain..And their breath - puppies have a special "puppy breath."  Once you've smelled it, you'll never forget.

Tomorrow, Sat., a bookstore in Belton is having a get together for folks - Rock and Read.  Cute name.  Some proceeds going to some charity; I don't know which - didn't bother to read the article close enough. The best part (bring your children) is for $5 you can go into the Puppy Kissing Booth.  I know a great bit when I hear it.  This is a great bit.  I'd almost (ALMOST) be willing to do that myself.  I do love puppies.

Puppy Kissing Booth.  What a deal!!!

Reread the article.  Benefits Tiny Hooves Rescue.  Cost $12 to enter.  Free pizza, etc. and a free children's book.  Add $5 for the Kissing Booth.  I wonder if you could have a giraffe kissing booth at a zoo?  Those giraffes have fabulous tongues.  A cat on the other hand probably wouldn't mess with kissing.  Their tongues are a bit rough for a festival.

Then, on Sunday = S U N D A Y !! = we have the puppy bowl on TV.  I have tried to watch that show.  I have tried.  It is cute to watch if you can do it with sound off.  The narrators really ruin it for me.  Maybe, I just haven't watched & listened to it enough.

But, most will watch the Super Bowl.  Do they watch for the game or the commercials?  There is something wrong with watching any show just to see a commercial.  I try to record most shows so I can zoom past the commercials.  I must have an attitude.  Not being a massive football fan, watching any game rarely happens.  As a matter of fact, I can proudly say that I have never watched one Super Bowl Game (other than a moment or two)  AND  I have been around for them all.

Yep, I'd rather watch my Supper Bowl.  

My running bit is to predict the winner (sinner) of the game.  Here it is!  Call Las Vegas and get down your bets!

The Brooklyn Dodgers will handle the Washington Senators 24 to 12.

see ya,



Wednesday, February 7, 2024

Hoxie Bridge revisited

This is a post I posted in 2010.  It was originally written in 2005 as my wife & I retired and begin to do a bit of motorhome travel.  Once in a while, I like to re-post something just because.  Can I really expect folks to go back and read what was scribbled in 2010?  Nah.  Most of them are probably not worth reading regularly.  Nuff.   Here is HOXIE BRIDGE unabridged.  If I add a comment, it will be in green or white.


Over time I will revisit past etudes I have written to friends and relatives.  Here is one of my favorites written back n 2005.  [Side bar notes have been added in this obnoxious color.]
The Hoxie Bridge

After retirement from teaching, Brenda, my wife of 43 years, (it has been longer now - 43 years was then, this is now) (and about 62 in 2023) and I sold our house in Pflugerville, Texas, and moved into our motorhome. Journeying with us are our three wirehair miniature dachshunds (weiner dogs): (if you follow my blugs, you will know that I have 5 now {2010} - these three remain on staff.)

Greta, a cute little blond, is the smallest coming in at about 8 lbs.,
Fritz, a black & tan 20 lb. loving fuzz ball, and
Leisl, a brown & white piebald who gets nervous about things.

Last week, we moved to the Granger Lake Corps of Engineers park. Granger Lake is about 20 some miles east of Georgetown, TX, 8 miles north of Taylor, and right beside a nice little town of Granger. For those who haven't heard, Corps Parks are great for retirees. Once you are eligible for the "Golden Age" Passport, (cute title - probably dreamed up by a 22 year old girl in the front office) -- you can stay in a Corps Park for half price...dogs are free.

Half Price is about 9 or 10 dollars a night. For this you plug into electricity and hook up the water. Sewer does not exist at Corps Parks usually. Now, that's not true. Sewer is down the block. You go down there and empty your sewer tanks. Sewer Tanks can be a whole different subject for another day.

Granger Lake has 3 different parks or areas. We are on the south side at “Taylor Park” in space 4. This space backs up to a wall of trees and ground that falls off radically to somewhere green. A small dark creek trickles at the bottom of the green.

After we parked on Thursday - and rested appropriately, we rounded up the dogs for a short walk around one of the legs of the figure 8, or loops if you prefer. Not 20 feet down the road, I noticed an orange structure to the right, behind the motorhome, down in the creek bed. It is a bridge, a one way bridge going nowhere in the middle of the wilderness. A narrow path leads down to the bridge.

Taking the dogs in tow, we continued down the path. The bridge is at the bottom of a steep path - no road, old or new, is in evidence. It extends across a deep ravine with an ugly creek creaking along - or whatever a creek does. Babbling brook certainly does not apply to this waterway. The floor of the bridge is 2 x 8 boards fastened to the steel structure. At the far side of the bridge is a sign post explaining the reason behind the structure.

I paraphrase the sign: The Hoxie bridge was built in the early 1900s east of here. It was built with prison labor (local prisoners). One of them tried to escape and was shot. To make a point, the guards hung his body from a nearby tree. He was never given a proper burial. For years after, his ghost was said to haunt the bridge at midnight on Friday nights. At one point a priest came out and performed a religious service which was said to send the ghost on his proper way. About 15-20 years ago, the unused bridge was moved to its present location by volunteer workers and has set here since.

[So you will understand the "why" behind the next thing -- My process at bedtime is to take each of the 3 dogs out for a wetting. Greta goes first (she is the smallest) followed by Liesl and Fritz in that order. This usually happens between 11 and 1 a.m.]

The following evening as I prepared to close it down for the night, I held Greta in my arms and took the steps down to the grass. Usually when she is put down (she can't climb down the stairs by herself), Greta paces about sniffing until she locates just the right blade of grass - then she squats.

That night, hitting the yard, she immediately went into a freeze position staring into the thicket behind the motorhome. We stood; she did not wet.

I heard voices down on the bridge. It was a group of kids talking. On the road to my left 2 young girls walked. They were covered head-to-toe with beach towels. In the dark of the night, all I could see was the tuff of their hair and the flip-flops on their feet. They moved slowly to the edge of the bridge path. Greta watched; she did not wet. Behind me in the motorhome, Liesl and Fritz barked for their equal time.

The young girls slowly moved down the path, not venturing over 15 feet before freezing into their pose. Greta had not moved a muscle. From the bridge I heard an older voice speak,

"Oh Spirit of Hoxie Bridge, show yourself. Come to us ole spirit of Hoxie
Bridge. We want to see you." His voice continued; the girls didn't move;
I checked my watch. It was midnight, and it was Friday night. Greta
still frozen, watched; she did not wet.

I raised my extra heavy duty flashlight pointing it into the woods near the bridge; I flipped the switch on. All of a sudden everything broke loose. The people on the bridge began to run. The girls screamed, flip flops flip-flopped away from the bridge - up the path - back home as fast as their young legs could move, beach towels flowing behind like capes. Screams galore. The sound of many boys yelling and running across a wooden bridge is a racketing noise. They emerged from the woods. I would guess 8 to 10 bodies came flailing up the path.

Greta watched; she did not wet.

Within a moment or two, all was silent. There were no girls in beach towels flip-flopping. There were no boys yelling and running up the path. There were no more noises drifting up from the bridge. It was now past midnight on a Friday night. Oh, to be a kid again seeking ghost at midnight on a deserted, haunting bridge. I miss those days.

Greta and I stood, watching for another few minutes. She didn't move, and she didn't wet. Greta held it all night long. Liesl and Fritz came out and performed magically & quickly, each in turn.

We all went to bed dreaming of next Friday night at midnight on old Hoxie Bridge. Greta curled up waiting for the morning light.

Monday, February 5, 2024

Death by Chocolate

Salado library - this past weekend - they have an event known as "Death by Chocolate."  Even now, some are starting to call it Joy of Chocolate.  The word "Death" is probably a bit too strong for some.

Here's the deal.  It is a competition.  You sign up and make a chocolate something.  You bring it to the library in such a way that it  can be shared by all - and I mean all.

Daughter Laura and son-in-law Tom came to visit.  Today, Monday, is her birthday.  We celebrated a bit early since they don't live in Salado.  Visitors sometimes like to go into town to the happenings.  I was pressured a bit, but agreed to go to the chocolate death adventure.  It was nothing like I had imagined.

Contestants brought samples, yes.  I'd guess they brought enough for a hundred or more.  Each in a little cup - or plate.  There were full-sized chocolate cakes with plates and a knife.  You cut off how much you wanted to eat.  Crazy.  If you had wanted cake, you could have eaten an entire cake and NOBODY would have said a word.  Large and Small cupcakes .... Inch squares of brownies or other delights.  There were row after row of chocolate.

Walked in.  Signed a register. Were given a green and a red piece of paper.  Green was for YOU to vote on the Youth chocolate treats;  Red was for the Adult division.   You could have fed the Russian army with the chocolate available (not that anyone would at this stage).  I'd bet there were 15 to 20 or more entries in the youth division.  Adult section was even bigger.   Chocolate treat with Mexican hot chocolate.  Cupcakes adorned with bacon - everything is better with bacon y'know.

My wife, the chocolate Queen eater, was in Heaven.  Usually, I never capitalize the word "heaven" unless it is in the religion connotation.  But, in this case, HEAVEN is the word.  She went from one to another for a few minutes, and, then, made the comment, "I need a Coke."  They had little cups of cool water to hand out.  That worked for a while.  

There is no ending to this.  My wife was very happy.  And, it was FREE.  It cost nuthin'.  They had a cookbook thing titled "Death by Chocolate" that was printed a few years back.  It was not on the front burner = or pushed by the people.  If you happened to see it, you might pick it up and ask about it.  Yes, I bought one.  It has a few recipes and photos from the past.  Probably not worth what I paid.  But, how else do you show you support what they are doing?

It was nice.  Old and Young.  Gorging on chocolate treats.

Here is the bottom line - does your library lack participants?  Organize one of these.  The best thing is you will get to stuff your face with chocolate made by someone else.  The library might drum up a bit more business.  Fun.


Friday, February 2, 2024

catchy title

This is going to be one of those potpourri editions.  Can't figure out a catchy title, yet.  I looked up potpourri on my phone to make sure I spelled it correctly.  1st of all, I think I've always made it 2 words long:  pot pourri   - but I'm wrong.  spell check says so.  Tongue in cheek, I've often written "Pot Pouring" instead.  Nobody ever giggled.  While looking it up, my phone took me to "Poo-Pourri."  Adv. says, "A must have odor spray - stinky people..."  You can look them up on Amazon if interested.  (They also have a pet-pourri.)


New subject, New color:  From today's bridge article by Frank Stewart in the Temple paper --he tells of a sign in a dentist office:  "We try to see our patients in discomfort quickly."  In my opinion that pretty much says it all other than to mention how expensive dentist have become.  That should be a separate blog.


The call of spring - when a young man's fancy turns to .... Winter is winding down with Groundhog Day today. The ole groundhog has his day.  I find his predictions to be somewhat accurate.  After all, why would you trust a meteorologist opinion over that of a fluffy, cute little animal who can wiggle his nose?  Once knew a weather man who wiggled his nose.  I think it was alcohol related.  On the news tonight, they showed us an alligator who predicted spring and a group of penguins in a zoo who do the same.

Here's what I've noticed living in this nice subdivision.  At the beginning of spring, usually right after colleges have graduated theirs, young men & sometimes women begin their spring ritual - no, not the romantic call to marriage.  Certain companies begin the hiring epidemic of inexperienced young folks to travel door-to-door,  my door.  They hire these poor saps to cold-call neighborhoods.  Sometimes the kids wear a matching shirt adorned with a cute logo - sometimes they travel in pairs - a car or van is parked down the block - no business cards with company info - or brochures.  Just a poor child trying to make contact.

Solar panels for the roof ... check your roof for hail damage ... rain gutter covers ... yard maintenance, especially weed control ... come into your house and spray for bugs .... these are the most common.  Can the kid discuss it with you - like pricing or colors or bug poisons?  Of course not.  They don't sell the product.  Their job is to schedule a meeting with the boss who will explain the details.  I love asking for business cards.  I'm not sure, but I believe the young-ins have applied for a job and will do anything to find a job on the ground floor.  Someday, I will own the company!!!

SOOOOO, Maybe, Yes  - The doorbell rings.  Our dogs come unglued, I begin to yell at them (a nonsense task)  and the bell ringer backs up and stands about 15 feet from our front door.  We have a sign out front - a banner - which essentially says:  Don't knock on the door, the dogs will bark, I will yell, things will get ugly.   Bought it on Amazon.

That's pretty much it.  I chat to them.  I say I'm not interested.  I ask for a business card. They want to shake hands.  I go back inside to the barking dogs.


Thursday comics, Feb 1st, CLOSE TO HOME by McFnerson.  He shows the man Inventor of Bounty Paper Towels  standing in a bar surrounded by women:            Caption -  "THE QUICKER-PICKER-UPPER"     I thought that was cute.


This afternoon I looked out front.  Walking past was a chicken.  big and brown.  Chicken.  For all I know, it was a rooster.  I listed it on the HOA website and discovered that it had been listed by several others.  don't know what happened to the chicken.  No solution here.

that's enough.  tomorrow?


Sunday, January 28, 2024

Shhhh Boom, Shhhh Boom

Last Night was not Well Met, Stranger!!!

After finishing off a half can of jalapeno pinto beans for sup last night (HEB house brand pintos -- and, if you read here enough, you know my feelings on house brands) -

Lemme start over all over:    

After finishing off a half can of jalapeno pinto beans for Sup last night, I was relieved to be relieved of them in an explosion at 2:43 this morning.  I don't know if you are following my drift here.  I ate a rather late meal (I'll explain why later) - watched a bit of TV - messed around on the computer for a time - bedded myself about midnight with a bit of rumbling in the tummy....just a bit, not much, a murmur perhaps.  

As with most nights, my dog Sadie and I went outside before going to bed.  She was a "good girl" for me, as opposed to being a "really good girl."  Hurried to the bedroom where my wife was dutifully asleep.  Sadie has a nice pallet beside the bed.  She likes to go to bed at night.  She gets a nighttime cookie.  Who wouldn't like to go to bed if you get a cookie?

As with most nights, I was up about 2 hours later to take care of business.  To be exact, it was 2:12 by the clock in the bathroom.  I love that little clock.  It lights up and everything.  Digital.  Battery.  Keeps on ticking, silently throughout the day and night.

Back to bed by 2:15.  Sadie never moved a muscle.  She gets no more cookies; so why move now?  The dog knows the routine.

Tossing and turning and flopping and a sniff or two.  I just couldn't get back to sleep.  the volcano started to rumble.  Best plan: ignore and return to sleep.  My jalapeno pinto beans had other ideas.  Sleep not my wandering child.  It was apparent.  Move Now You Ninny!  You don't have much time!  Time was of the essence as they say.

The explosion was at 2:43 a.m., a time to be revered by patrons of the bean such as I.  It is my hope that I have not been too insensitive for you, the reader.  The subject is a tad - well a tad - that is, not usually discussed in polite circles unless you are in a pool hall or high school boy's restroom.

Aye, I had been warned by a few pre-eruptions.  But, as one might say, when it is your time, it is your time.  And, nothing can be done about it.  It has been some time since pintos have not been my friend.  Canned.   Prepared Dry.  We should all be vigilant for the time a friend turns on us.  It will be a day or three before I venture back in to the world of the legume.  In the language of my youth and old Jazz playing friends, 

"Hey, Man, it was a gas!"


New subject:  not really related. 

My daughter was home yesterday.  She didn't have to work.  We were completely out of dry dog food.  Now, she has this basset - big voice, big appetite - who has some type of skin allergy.  Thus, we get a special diet food sack from Tractor Supply.  It comes in a 40-50 lb bag and must be good tasting.  So, we two packed up my spouse, and left for the supply story.

By the time we left the TSC, it was 12:30.  I was hungry.  Before returning to home, we still needed to make a short stop at HEB for milk and orange juice, a staple here in Salado.  But, hunger called, "I'm Hungry.  Feed Me, but no Pinto beans."  That's what my tummy tuck loudly said.

Where SHALL we go?  Real Food? Taco Bell?  Subway?  Chinese?  Tex-Mex?  ++++ oh, no, it was our round robin time to visit CiCi's pizza.  Now, don't get me wrong.  CiCi's isn't bad.  It is Pizza for pity sake: Y'know,  round things from the oven with cheese, sauce, and meat.  And, they have a nominal salad bar.  It's okay, functional.

The place was really crowded.  Saturday noon apparently brings out the parents with their 5 kids.   We arrived at 1:00, yet the crowd lingered.  CiCi's had only 2 pizzas on the buffet.  sigh.  Eventually, without hurrying, we finished.  HEB, then home.

Look, Buddy, I am not a CONA-SEWER of fine dining; never have been; probably never will be.  [ Little plates with small servings surrounded by little swirls and drops of funny colored sauces]   A week past, we ate at Golden Corral.  How do you spell trough?  My bro Jim always called it the "Troffff" - like where you feed cattle.  I do luv them buff-etts.  Chinese buffets may be my favorite if they have the Mongolian BBQ cooker set up.  But, enough of that.

When I got home, I compared the receipts from last week's Corral visit  Vs. yesterday's pizza stop.  Even with the larger drinks at the former and the small cup at the latter, Golden Corral was 55 cents cheaper. 

That is the total point of this last missive.  I can eat at Golden Corral with real food cheaper than I can eat discount pizza.  There is something wrong with that.  And it might be my eating standards.  Y'think?

love ya, come back and see us, (see the p.s. at the bottome)


P.S.  I have not explained this in a spell.  I had a brother Jim who died from lung cancer a few years ago.  He was the poster child for not smoking.  Jim was the toughest of us.  My parents referred to him as a bull in the china closet.  Brother Marshall had the toughest language, but Jim was the BULL.   He was never thought of as being dainty.

Once, he was visiting us and took his dogs out on a leash to do their business.   When he returned he remarked that one had wee-d and the other 2 had woo-d (past tense spelling of wee and woo).  I couldn't believe my ears.  Wee and Woo?  Of course he had Pomeranians, not great Danes.  Queried, he was.

The explanation:  if a dog wets, that is a wee.  If he does something else, that is a woo.  Yep, wee and woo.  Front and Back.  I wonder if he taught his children that?   Later on, I revised this to include Whoopee!  That is when a dog does both.

and, now you know.

Your welcome. 

Sunday, January 21, 2024

The Box

This is a mere story with no conclusion or moral.  It is just what it is. 

First of all an explanation of my housing.  I live on a corner.  We face south.  The road on our east goes north (logical) and south curving to the east intersecting with a major road.

But, let's discuss the road going north.  From my house it is 2 blocks to another major road - sorta major.  Across that street is a new housing development.  The first 3 houses were started about 2 weeks ago.

Now the stone  -- About 2 weeks ago, I left the house driving north.  About a block & half north, there was this black box against the curb.  It was open and upside down.  An open box against the curb  upside down ... the flaps spread out on the pavement.  Black Box.  10 x 10 x 6 inches approx.  Nice Box.  Against the curb.  

The storms came through.  Wind and cold.  Cold and wind.

About a week ago, I left the house again - it happens.  There was the box, against the curb a bit over a half block from my corner.  I smiled at it.  Same box but a block further south.

The storms returned.  Wind and cold.  Cold and wind..

A few days passed.  Wind and cold.  Cold and wind.

I left the house.  There was the box.  It had reached my corner and turned west.  It was about 30 ft from the corner in front of the house...  I smiled at the box.

More days.  More wind.  More cold.

I came home one afternoon.  There was the box.  It had moved back to corner.  For 2 weeks the box had made it up and down the street.  With all the traffic and all the neighbors, the box was still on its own.

Yesterday, I walked out the front door and retrieved the box.  It had survived this long.  There must be a message there.  I placed it in the garage in a special place.  May it live out its life in peace and quiet without "wind and cold."

You might say that I gave a wandering waif a new home after it had been living on the streets for weeks.  You might say that.

As a P.S.  The box is labeled as a plywood clips obviously from the new housing development across the main street.  That adds another block of travel and a main intersection to have survived.  I am impressed with the box. . . my black box.


Monday, January 15, 2024

Good time to ramble

Man, it is 16 degrees outside in central Texas.  Do we really deserve this?  Yesterday I complained to my family via phone text message.  As you might guess, my son in Lubbock one-ups me by declaring his thermometer at 9 degrees.   One-ups, cute term.  In this case maybe down-ups is more appropriate.

I remember my first year living in Amarillo.  We had cold wind - and snow - and ice -- all the time.  For a time I thought I'd never see a green tree again.  It never quit.  One of the reasons we moved from the panhandle is weather.  Another reason is I had to find a job that would pay me enough to feed the family.  But, of course, that is another story (stone).  Let's blame the weather gods for now.

No snow here.  There is a sprinkling of white dust about.  Nothing serious.  I don't think there is ice on the road ... don't plan to find out.  Being MLK day, no mail, no reason to get out.   I do know that I am on the losing end of this argument, but wouldn't a day for "patriots" or "heroes" or something like that be mo-better for our country than a holiday that admires just one man?  I know, I know.  He was an exceptional individual.  But so was Audie Murphy - Thomas Jefferson - Benjamin Franklin - maybe even Eleanor Roosevelt (flaming liberal).  

So we have a President's Day.  That's seems good.  Let's convert to a Patriot's Day too.  I wonder if the local Chinese population has someone to remember?  You got it.  Lots of folks out there who need to be remembered.  I'm probably not on the list.

Then on the news, everyone is worked up about cold weather versus the Iowa Caucus.  Nobody asked me.  I believe the caucus idea is a failed idea.  Cannot understand it.  Cannot.  Just like round-a-bouts, they simply don't make sense to me.  Huh?  Where did that come from?

As the cold weather roared in - on facebook - I saw this notice.

From their website:  

 "With the extreme cold weather, it is suggested that all Walmart shoppers wear at least 2 sets of pajamas while shopping this week."  

Before Walmart sues me for spreading lies, I will admit that I personally did not see the notice.  I was told about it...on the internet.  If it is on the internet, it must be true.


My lip hurts.  I am joining the Central Texas community band.  Rehearsals on Thursday at Salado middle school.  Dug out the old trumpet and oiled the valves.  I am trying to play scales to build the old lip back up.  "Old" is the proper word.  I've told my wife that we are not using the word "old" anymore. But, in this case, maybe it is correct.  When you have not blown your trumpet for about 3 years, it is going to take more than a few scales to get back into any type of proper shape.  I'm gonna try.  Bless me.  Bless my Bach.


One final.  I walked outside last week to get the morning paper.  Looking up into the sky at the clouds, the word "Whispy" came out.  This got me to thinking about certain words one can use which describe something.  Staying with clouds, I came up with "dark & foreboding."  Silky smooth.  Shifty.  

That's enough.  The brain failed me at this point.  Descriptive words.  Betcha somebody has written a book of them.  The Writers Handbook of Descriptive Words.  If not, here is your chance to make an impression on the world.  Write the Book!

nuff, see ya soon, ramble done.


Monday, January 8, 2024

Casa Blanca Humor

 I find funny things in the newspaper.  I'm sure some are meant to be funny; others, not so funny.  The Temple paper is good for me.  I quit reading the Dallas paper several years ago - Of course, I had my issues with the Austin UnAmerican Statesman too.  My 2nd favorite thing in the newspaper is the Sudoko puzzle.  Comics are #1 - let's hear it !!!  "GO COMICS"  Yeah, Dallas had more and better comics than Temple - but, I like the temple paper.  

3rd place is the editorial page.  The Temple paper is not a democrat operative.  They seem to have a fair mix of politics even though the Conservative approach is a bit louder.  Letters to Editor are eye-rollers almost daily.  Arguments are made for one thing or another.  I'm sure the writer thinks the arguments are valid and clearly stated.   Wrong.  

If it isn't some kook attacking the Republican party, it is some kook attacking the dems. So often, writers quote various Bible passages thinking this will help the argument.  In my opinion the Bible quoters turn off the readers (see John 43-81).  How many of you are going to look up this Bible reference?  It would be a foolish waste of time.  Trust me.  Didja know that spell-check thinks "quoters" is not a real word?  AI can't be right about everything.

Humor:  Some of the funniest lines are in the Bridge playing article daily.  This guy seems to start each day with something funny and totally unrelated to playing bridge.  Some are pretty funny - others, not so much.  But .....

Last Thursday, I finished the Sudoku pretty fast.  It was rated 1 star difficulty.  My eyes floated up the page to the crossword puzzle.  My mother loved crossword puzzles.  I have tried and tried and tried.  We all have different skills in our lives.  Some can sing.  I have my trumpet.  Others can cook beautifully.  My skill is not crosswords.  Mom even gave me a crossword dictionary one year to help me.  Wrong.  If I get 5 - 10 words correct, it is a celebration.

On this day I happened to glance up at the crossword puzzle.  My eyes settled on this clue:  "Start of a riddle."  My first thought was something like: 

        "What is the difference between a ....."   or  

        "How many ..... does it take to screw in a lightbulb?"  or

        "A preacher, a Rabbi, and a zoo keeper walked into a bar ..."  

Nope, I was wrong again.

My eyes continued down the page: 

 "Riddle part 2"   then  "Riddle part 3"  & "Riddle part 4" followed by "End of Riddle."   

Scanning down, Clue #102 = Answer Riddle...

Follow me here --   I was lucky, today, the paper printed the answers upside down at the bottom of the page.  I read each clue, found their location in the puzzle, and turned the paper upside down. Now, I scanned the answers to find each.  

Here is what I found: 

Clue #22 --  inaspoofofcasablanca

Clue #44 --  featuringancientgreek

Clue #58 --  mathematicianswhat

Clue #70 --  turnedouttobeoneof

Clue #87 -- themostmemorablelines

For those who are stressed by this - it says:  "In a spoof of Casa Blanca featuring ancient Greek mathematicians, what turned out to be one of the most memorable lines?"  

I supplied the punctuation and upper case letters .... It is my assumption this was a movie from some time past.  I know it not.

Yes!!!!!   This is one of the reasons I don't do crossword puzzles.  Who could know this?  Who?  Later, in the puzzle they had a clue for a different question:  "Class of antimicrobial drugs, in the British spelling." ---  Answer:   SULPHA   Now why couldn't I answer that?  Over my head.  Think I will oil the valves on my trumpet.

(Can  you tell that I am stalling here?)

Clue #102 -- The Riddle's answer -- Hereslookingateuclid

or ----

Here's looking at Euclid   

now, that's clever [funny] to me.  So, I depart.  Here's looking at you, Sid   



Friday, January 5, 2024

Brenda Ballew, guest

When we lived in Corsicana, I was fortunate to get to play in the Corsicana Swing Orchestra.  We'd practice once a week.  I enjoyed playing last chair trumpet. The main "boss" was Jerry Ballew.  His wife Brenda was the singer.  They lived south of Corsicana in Teague, Texas.  

Since I moved to Salado, we correspond at times.  They are on my Christmas Card list (see blog entry babble below).  She sent me a couple of emails which I found interesting/fun.  So I asked her permission to put them here as a  "GUEST BLOGGER!!!"


Going through our Christmas cards this morning , I thought I’d share with you that the one you sent us showing Santa using a wooden box-on-the-wall telephone is very familiar.  When my family moved from Odessa to Donie about 1959 or 1960, we lived in a rent house that had a similar phone.  I had to stand on a stool to reach it, and we had to ring the local operator (“Miss Lela”) and tell who we wanted to call. Sometimes she’d say something like, “Oh Honey, he’s not home. I saw him drive by a few minutes ago”. There was a party line so you had to know your ring (two longs and a short, etc) so you wouldn’t answer someone else’s call. AND you could pick up on their call and eavesdrop if you were so inclined.  

As I said, we moved to Donie from Odessa, where we had a black rotary dial phone. So the Donie phone system was quite a shock.  Gee, seeing that box phone on a vintage style Christmas card makes me vintage too, I guess. 

My great granddaddy, in his lifetime, saw the Jesse James gang AND jet airplanes. So I guess box wall phones to cell phones really isn’t that much of a stretch. 
And that’s my blog for the day!

Sure. I don’t mind being a guest writer. 

I remember you’ve told me before that you also attended school in Odessa. I  attended Burnet Elementary. I think it was a new school; it had a central building with wings coming off it. Every wing had its own concrete extension— like sidewalks but very wide. All the concrete was still white and new looking. We (mostly the girls) played Jacks using golf balls at recess on these walks. So much better than using little rubber balls!  We were very good at it—we could go through our onesies to sixes so easily that we started picking up one, then two, then three to get through the easy part faster. Then on to Cart Before the Horse, Sheep Over the Fence , Shooting Stars, Around the World, and lots more. Group games were supervised and  included Flying Dutchman and Drop the Handkerchief. I went to school there from the second through fourth grade. Then my family moved to Donie, as I said in my previous message. Sadly for me, the kids there weren’t interested in playing Jacks. Instead they played team games like Annie Over, Red Rover, and Little White House On the Hill.  I think I’d still enjoy Jacks now if I could get down on the floor in the proper position and then get back up again.  

Do you remember the sand storms and the tumbleweeds? I would play cowboys and Indians with my neighbor, a boy named Jerry about a year younger than I, on a vacant lot in our neighborhood.  It was a very authentic setting— sandy and gravel, big rocks, and tumbleweeds rolling by!

Almost every house was cooled with water fans, most installed on the roof like central air conditioning. It was very effective because of how dry the air was. And in the new housing addition where we bought a small brick home on Melody Lane, the back yard fences were made of concrete blocks to keep the sand from blowing against the house. But still Mother would put tape around the windows to stop it from sifting in. 

Later I’ll tell you about the difference in the Odessa and Donie schools. 
I hope you enjoyed that little bit.
You want to be a guest - send me something.  I might post it.
By the way, she talks of water fans.  In my day we called those Swamp Coolers.  They could freeze you right out.

Christmas card & a guest blogger

My gues blogger will appear in the bluggie above this missive.  Go see.

To get right to it - I send out Christmas cards.  My list is shrinking each year due to - well, circumstances which are not always controllable to discuss.  This year, online, Amazon of course, I found Christmas Postal Cards which looked old.  They weren't; but, they looked old.  You can find them on amazon if you'd like to see.  I'm going to buy a different set for next year; then, if I am still able to function, I'll go back to finding cute ones for 2025.  Want on my list?  Prolly not.  Cards keep bouncing back to me undelivered.  It seems I am unable to address a card correctly at times. So, the list shrinks.   

The year 2025, does that even seem possible?  Woe is me.  I'll be 85 then.  Cheeeeee  

Let's review.  I'm old in most people's eyes.  I don't feel old in my brain.  But, numbers don't lie.  Born in November of 1940, pre-war, I've been around the block a few times.  I'm not alone.  There are lots of people older than me.  Pre-war!!  I'm not even a baby boomer...instead, maybe a depression era leftover.  That sounds good.  No prosperity in my background - comfy but not prosperous.  I can tell stories.  Oh, yeah, that's what this is all about.

Through most of my elementary years, we moved from one oil field to another.  Rarely did we stay in one town for over 6 months.  Lived in Dodge City, Kansas twice.  My father ran a logging truck - he was a logger.  No, not with trees - he logged (wrote down, kept records) things.  I believe that his truck measured underground noises - like dynamite noises.  I'm guessing this.  Oil company drills some holes.  He puts device in a hole.  They make some noises in a different hole.  His machine shows where logical oil pools are.  Makes sense to me. What do I know.  I was 9 years old at the time.

My father got "kicked" upstairs when I was to start the 5th grade.  We left Crete, Nebraska (brrrrrrrr) & moved to Odessa, Texas, where he started working in the North Cowden oil field.  I don't know what he did in the field.  I do know he was on top of a railroad Tank car once when a hose broke loose and knocked him to the ground.  Everyone seemed quite concerned at the time.  I suppose he could have died then.  I don't know.  I was about 11 at the time; and, as is true even now, NOBODY tells me nuthin'.

Living accommodations:  I've talked about this before.  My father bought a semi-trailer  - not the tractor that pulls things, but that big box on the back.  He turned it into our house.  Actually, it had only 3 rooms.  He turned the part over the pulling part into the dining room.  It held the table.  It was a running joke about hanging the table from the ceiling with a little gold chain in order to eliminate the table legs. Next to that was the living room.  I cannot remember where the kitchen was.  Strange.  That is an important part.  It must have been part of the living room.  A wall was built & the bedroom was the back portion.  Bath room?  Hmmm.  don't remember.

He had found a vacant lot at the top of a hill.  He planted that trailer thing on top of the hill.  Now, he bought a small trailer.  I'd guess it was 20 ft or so long.  He placed this perpendicular to the big trailer. We 3 older boys slept out there.  The middle section had a bathroom.  My father was fixing radios in those days and built in a shop there too.  I can see it in my mind even if I cannot describe it correctly. Little brother Pat slept in the big house. 

Times were different then.  We boys slept in a completely different building than our parents.  My oldest brother Marshall would have been a sophomore in H.S.  Now-a-days, my parents would have been arrested for this type of arrangement.  It worked.

So, we moved to Odessa.  The trailers were set-up in a trailer park.  A small picket fence was placed around them.  And, we survived.  There were 2 trailer parks next to each other.  We lived in the west one.  A busy street passed just south of the park.  Across the street was a tortilla factory.

Tortilla Factory.  Down from Nebraska in the early 50's.  Culture shock.  5th grade.  My mother sent me across the highway to the Factory one day.  I was to buy - guess - tortillas.  She gave me "X" $$.  I arrived.  Wanting to appear cool, I asked the Anglo question,  "How Mucho?"  I was so cool.

Odessa stories abound.  Let's move on.  A year later he was transferred to the Levelland Gasoline Plant as "Head Roustabout."  As the years went on, he had several new titles and duties.  Levelland was good for us.

Moving on.  Above you will read a short story about Odessa written by Brenda Ballew....if I ever get it transcribed correctly.