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.


Wednesday, January 3, 2024

quickie: stupid kid

 Each day (appropriate day) I back my car out of the garage and drive 3 blocks to get the mail.  I make a U turn, stop, get out of the car, find my mail, return to the car, drive back 3 blocks to the house, park inside the garage, close the garage door, go inside the house and look at my mail.

If I get 5 pieces of mail, at least 4 will be from someone asking me for money.  No, not because I owe them anything, they are asking for donations to some worthy cause.  In my world, there are fewer and fewer worthy causes.  Yesterday, I received 4 worthy causes.  Two of them wanted me to hurry because they had matching grants.   I give $100; it becomes $200.  

I keep thinking:  if they would use the postal money on research instead of "gimme" letters, maybe all sickness would be cured.

TRUTH:  2 YEARS AGO I sent $50 to the Alzheimer's people.  I have my reasons.  Within 2 weeks I began to receive more requests from them for MORE MORE MORE.  I can't say why I did it, but I began to keep track of  their requests.  I would receive 2 to 3 or MORE every week.  One particular day, I received 3 requests at the same time.  

I know they get a discount on postage; they don't pay what normal humans pay.  By the end of the year, using what nor. hum. pay as a measure, they had spent $100 to my $50.  I don't know.  Maybe it is a good policy.  Yes, there are more than one Alzheimer organizations.  A doctor told me that dementia doesn't get much attention but Alzheimer's is the money trip.  So each fund raisers stresses their Alz connection to the fullest.

Finally, I mailed one of the complete packets back with an attached letter explaining what they were doing.  I ended by stating, "This year I am not sending any money to you.  Instead, I am going to write a check directly to the Post Office in order to eliminate the middle man."

They didn't figure it out.  Now, when they send something, I check to see if they enclosed a nickel or a dime (another ploy).  Once I get the good stuff out of the envelope, it goes to the trash.   I know this is a bad attitude.  I hate myself for it.  But, why should I finance my own mailings?


I got off the title subject.

Driving to the mailbox, I saw an elementary age boy walking into a cul-de-sac   (bet you didn't know I could speak French).  This boy was about 4 ft tall, sandy hair.  It is 49 degreeseseesee (shiver) out there.  The kid had on a pair of blue shorts and a T-shirt.  I thought, "at least he is wearing shoes."  My eyes were fooling me.  Up closer, I saw no shoes.  He was barefoot walking on the curb.  You know how you walk along a log to keep from falling off.  That's the kid.

Walking into the cul-de-sac, I figures he lives there and is going home from a failed play date.  49 degrees.  C'mon.  Doesn't he have parents?  I know, they are at work.  No school today.

I continued to the mailbox.   Let's say 5 minutes pass.  I am driving back home.  There is this same stupid kid walking on the curb  towards my house.  He has apparently walked around the circle and is headed north.  A full block he has trudged.  Stupid Kid.  I rolled my eyes and parked the car.

As a P.S.  TODAY'S MAIL:  Request from a children's hospital far away and a request from Consumer Reports for MORE MORE MORE.  The hospital has sent me 5 greeting cards.  I will package these up and give to an old folks home soon.   Cons Rpts has offered me the chance to win a $41,000 car.

later,  m