Monday, May 31, 2010

Happy Memorial Day!

I figured this is as good a time as any to show you some old shots of my dad. Mom gave me a box of old pictures a while back, some of which I'd never seen before. Included were several official shots from the Air Force.

This one is my favorite. It shows dad the way I remember him as a kid. He was a Lt. Colonel in this one, taken in the mid 1960s.

Here he is, tryin' to look HARD, as a Captain in the summer of 1956. I think my folks were stationed in Austin then, having just moved back to the states from England. The future Priscilla Presley was babysitting my sister then, who was about two years old. Priscilla was in junior high and just about to move to Germany with her mother and step father, where she'd meet you-know-who. Cool eh?

Dad told me once that her stepfather was an asshole, and that he'd taken a LOT of money from the guy in poker parties. I tell ya, growin' up like he did, dad didn't take prisoners. Of course, I wasn't even a glint in his eye then. Won't be born for four more years or so.

This one cracks me up. It's like he's thinking "Are they gonna take the fuckin' picture or what?" By the time this was taken dad had been promoted to Lt. Col. and I was almost four years old. You can see he's aged a bit. Was it me, or the job in Bermuda?

There were also several hilarious shots of what may well have been a Memorial Day pick nick in Bermuda, where I was born.

Check out these outfits. Can you find dad there, in the golf hat and shades? They must have set up a party and shrimp boil for the enlisted guys. Dad would have jumped in and played hard. No one was more competitive than he was.

Here he is hittin' the ball. Apparently the fellas decided to have a volleyball game on the beech. I'm thinkin, that's not gay at all. Nope, not at all. Naaa, it's like that scene in Top Gun, right?

Thing is, what the hell were these guys thinkin'? Check out the one dude with his shorts all hiked up like a speedo. And all the dark socks and leather shoes... ON THE BEACH? White people, sheeesh!

Here's dad in his element. He loved golf almost more than anything else in his life. He's probably playin' with his commanding officers here, and probably taking money from them. He was a shark on a golf course. I think it was one of the great disappointments of his life that I didn't enjoy the game the way he did. But that's a long story.

Finally, I surfed through a lot of patriotic sounding stuff on YouTube before I found this video to post for the holiday. I always loved this tune.

Lets think about what our soldiers have been through over the last seven or eight years, and the generations who served before them. Let's reflect on their achievements, and lets enjoy some awesome AC~DC. Crank those speakers people. For those about to rock...

Happy Memorial Day folks, and thanks for serving. Cheers. You know who you are. I love ya.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

I know at least one dude who'd shit himself if he had one of these in his living room.

Of course, his loving wife would probably make him move it to the basement, but there you go.

Yep, at least one, maybe two or three. But I'm with the guy that posted it. I think it'd be way cooler if it was an Apache gunship simulator. OK, we're all in agreement then.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Where's Waldo?

Hm, headed straight down the shitter with the rest of us. And we've got these fuckers to thank for it. Drink up!

Click on this if you need a closer look.

Check this shit out.

Rednecks will fix this shit.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

One down, two to go.

I finished up classes in Florence yesterday morning. I'd given the kids their finals Monday, but had to go in to finish grading, post the grades to both the high schools web site and CTCs, and finish up some paperwork.

Thing is, the folks there didn't think I'd be comin' back. The janitor was already washin' down the white boards and cleanin' the gum from under the desks. I got myself situated there at my desk and got to work, but soon received a text message.

My buddy Dave (Willingham), who teaches down the hall, thought I was done and sleepin' in. He sent me a text reading "Slacker!" That's a little joke between us. Now and then when I get down there and see that there's a substitute in his room, that he's taken the day off, I text him and call him a Slacker.

I immediately walked over to his room, busted in and said "Like hell I am!" he laughed his ass off when he saw that I was there. He and I are thinkin' that we want to ride his horses in the San Saba Rodeo Parade on the 12th. John Hoenow, my buddy out at the jail, told me Monday that he and his wife are gonna ride mules in the parade. I told Dave about it and he said that if they can get us registered, he can drive some horse up and we'll ride. Wouldn't that be a hoot?

Anyway, I got the stuff done that needed to get done, all posted, signed and finished, and was out of there by 10AM. That means I could make it to San Saba in time for the Dairy Mart to open it's doors at 11AM.

Yep, I made it there in time for a nice, calm sit down lunch (my only real meal of the day). When the proprietor brought me my usual, a jalapeno sourdough bread bacon cheeseburger and large order of onion rings, he said somethin' like "That's a hungry man." I laughed and told him this burger was a friggin' work of art. That he needs to be written up in Texas Monthly.

Here's and old close-up, just in case you're hungry or anything (Sully, this is for you). Look at the size of that bacon strip. Mmmmmm, good.

I finished eating and got out to the jail early, givin' me time to relax a bit before the convicts descended on me. That's always nice... Havin' time to take a relaxed shit and get a drink before the bum rush of rusty-assed losers forces me to go to class.

I got the class through the Constitution and part way through Federalism, and ended up getting out of Saba late, about 3PM. I stopped at a local grocery store for something to drink and then headed strait to Fort Hood. It was rainin' like CRAZY by then, at times blockin' my ability to see the road. But the rain abated by the time I got to the base and I was able to get to my classroom without gettin' soaked.

Once I got there I realized that they'd finally hooked up the Internet in my room. It's handy to be able to check my mail, both official and private, when I'm not lecturing. Of course, I have this laptop there in class with me. I like to play Freecell while I lecture. I find it slows me down. Less chance of the students getting Carpel Tunnel.

I had to finish both Fort Hood classes last night... Finish up the lectures and review the classes for their finals, which will be given on Thursday. So I was there later than usual. Didn't get home till about 10:15PM. So it was a long day. But without that drive to Florence, I get to relax now in the morning. I still get up when Denise does, fix her her morning milk coffee, and then I sit here and vegetate on this thing until it's time to drive to Saba.

It's time to go now. I've got to shower, go over to the local pharmacy to renew my blood pressure meds, and then head to Saba in time to eat before I get to the jail. That'll give me more time in the afternoon to relax at the library until my evening class.

So, Florence is over (I'll got to their graduation ceremony Friday night, but won't go back to class until late August), Ft. Hood is almost over (It'll end Thursday and then I'll have 10 weeks off from there), and I've got about six weeks left of San Saba. When the semester ends there, mid July, it'll be road trip time again.

In the meantime, next week is gonna be a whole different kind of blast. I'll tell you about that later. Cheers.

Monday, May 24, 2010

The weekend.

Since I had to work here in San Saba all day last Friday, Denise and I didn't have time to go get mom and take her out to eat. So, after sleepin' in and relaxing, she and I drove over to Temple Saturday night and made up for it. It was my turn to pay, so guess where we went?

Oh yea, and it looked just like this too (Yep, I'm reusin' and old shot... Hell, it doesn't get any better lookin' than this, and this way the ladies don't get all snitty with me for takin' pictures). The food at Dynasty in Temple was fresh and delicious, as I hoped.

The shrimp were scarce in the Shrimp Fried Rice, but I made up for it with shrimp and crab meat (wanna be) from another dish. The Generals Chicken was as good as ever, and the egg rolls were good too. There was even fried chicken wings and fried scallops on the side. I'm tellin' ya, one plate just about did me in.

After dinner we went to the Dairy Queen by the mall and got three small Heath Bar Blizzards for desert. That just about did me in. Like a lion that's just gorged itself on a gazelle, all I could do was lay on mom's bed and vegetate. I may even have had a short nap. I can't remember.

Denise and I had plans to go to the multiplex and see Robin Hood after dinner, but something went wrong there. We got back to Mom's place with those Blizzards, sat (or laid) down in front of the TV and didn't budge until it was too late. We made plans to see it Sunday, but those caved in on us too.

Denise got a wild hair and decided to clean off my front porch. She dug out all my planters and used to hose to wash everything off. I was doin' laundry and pissin' around on this thing. At one point, midway through the afternoon, I called Mom and told here I was comin' over. She'd had a project for me Saturday night, but I didn't have the energy then.

I drove over, with the sun roof open and the cigar smoke wafting out. The tunes were blaring too. I recently picked up the latest CD from the Black Keys. It's wonderful, if you're into them. Check it out.

The project turned out to be an air conditioner that she'd bought for my sister back when she was living with mom a while back. Sis had taken the unit with her when she moved to Oklahoma City, and then had returned it when she moved into a place that had good AC.

The upstairs room at mom and dad's place is always hot. Really unpleasantly hot in the summer, so mom went out and got this AC unit that plugs into the window and circulates all the warm air out as it generates cool air for the room.

You should'a heard me cussin'. I had a HELL of a time fittin' that long plastic part into the window. I tried to call my sister, who had originally set the thing up, but only got her voicemail. Sheit! But in the end I figured it out, and now the thing is coolin' the room so that my cousin Sue can come up from Houston and visit mom and not swelter in the heat.

There's other stuff to cover, but I'll have to wait for another day to take you there. The library is closing and it's time to head back to the jail. I'll take the class from about 1652 to 1748 today. Fast and furious. Y'all be good. Cheers.

Friday, May 21, 2010

What I've been up to lately.

Last weekend, Denise and I flew to Nashville, rented a car...

We called it the "Bread Truck"... and drove up to Bowling Green to watch her youngest kid get her Masters Degree from Western Kentucky University.

The fun started along the way, when we discovered a Pappasito's near our gate at DFW Airport.

It was like they knew we was comin'! All we had time for was the chips and spicy queso, and that's a Negra Modelo there. Good, dark Mexican beer, off the tap.

Of course, another reason for the trip was to give Denise a chance to spend some time with her new granddaughter.

I was packed with all the appropriate gear. A few good cigars, a new torch (my trusty old one finally died on me), a cutter, my blade, and extra batteries for my old camera.

Of course, any trip to Kentucky includes a stop along the way for fresh Yuengling. They sell the stuff at stop-n-robs along 65. Very handy.

The big event was Friday (we flew in Thursday night). It was cool, but it lasted all friggin' day long. Congratulations to Lynn on her achievement. Well done.

Another reason for me to go on this trip was to put together a little toy I'd bought and had shipped to Lynn's house. Call me crazy, but I picked up a nice new car for the little ankle biter.

It's a battery powered "Barbi" Mustang GT. I saw it a while back in Wal Mart and decided little Payton had to have one. It took me about 45 minutes or an hour, long sweaty minutes to put the thing together, but in the end, it was well worth it.

Of course, women are a fickle lot. Hard to please. But in time, when she's old enough to drive it (in about 3 years), it'll be there for her to enjoy.

On the Saturday after the graduation, we all went back to Lynn's place for the party. You can see little Payton has a taste for the hard stuff.

I found myself some o' that hard stuff too. Barrel select. They don't sell this stuff around here. Brought these two home in the bag. Good to go.

The party food was wonderful. Denise made some of her famous Southern Comfort Punch, and her ex-hubby made some awesome cheese dip.

He also grilled burgers, brats and hot dogs on the grill out back. Those Brats were the best. Wonderful stuff.

In the end, Sunday afternoon, we drove back down to Nashville and started the trip home.

Back in DFW airport, we chose to eat dinner at the TGI Fridays. I love their Jack Danial's burger.

Anyway, this is a quick one. I'm in the library at San Saba again, and it's time to go back to the jail. I'm here on Friday making up some classes that I'm gonna miss in a few weeks. I'll tell ya about that next time. Gotta go. Cheers.

Saturday, May 15, 2010


And if that won't do it for ya, dig this. Wild eh? Cheers.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Forbidden fruit is always sweeter.

It's amazing, what was considered scandalous back in the day. Reminds me of something.

You ever see the film "Cinema Paradiso"? It's a wonderful Italian movie from back in the 1990s (I think), about a kid who grows up in a little town, with the local movie theater as the center of his life. The kid is befriended by the old projectionist, and eventually works in the theater.

One day, when the kid grows up to be a famous director, he gets a roll of film form the dead projectionists estate. It turns out to be all the banned or censored scenes for all the movies he'd ever shown, all spliced together. Watch the movie from the start and you'll be tearing up by this scene. It's a wonderful film. Rent it if you haven't seen it.

First off...

My Wednesday night pool team won the tournament last night. We went from last place to third, and now head go to the City tournament. If we win there, we go to Vegas to play. Wouldn't that be a hoot?

Secondly, two of my Juniors down in Florence won the state Class 2A Tennis Championships Tuesday. That's Ashee Brunson there on the cover of the local sports page. She and Kasey Button won the Girls Doubles title, 7-5, 6-3. I'm proud as hell of these kids.

Finally, my sister drove into town from Oklahoma Wednesday to visit mom and get some stuff from her storage locker. I went over in the afternoon and took these two of my women out to eat at BJs.

We started out with drinks and appetizers. Tater skins and Santa Fe Spring Rolls. Mmmm, good. Mom ended up having two Margaritas, while sis killed three Bloody Marys. I was the piker here, enjoying just one Blue Moon. But I was driving.

My meal of choice was the BBQ chicken sandwich, with Applewood smoked bacon. Again... Mmmm, good. After the appetizers, I only ate half the sandwich. Yea, I know. I must be slipping. But I wanted to bring the other half home to Denise, who was at work and couldn't be there. Yea, I'm such a sweet guy. Pffft.

After the visit I drove back home, and in time, Denise and I headed for the pool hall. It was a fun night. Two cigars. I'm really proud of my teammates. They all played really well. I hope we can keep it up in a few weeks at City.

As I've already told you, Denise and I fly out to Nashville this afternoon. We'll rent a car there and drive up to Bowling Green, where much of Denise's family is gathering to see her youngest walk the stage to get her Masters Degree. It should be a fun trip. We'll fly home Sunday, and I'm sure I'll have pictures to show you.

I hope you all have a great weekend too. Cheers.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

CTC held it's annual graduation ceremony last Friday morning.

here are my friends and I, sitting up in the front row of the faculty, decked out in all our fuferaw. That's Elke next to me, and then Dave (Lazarus), and then Mark. These are the folks I go to chili cook-offs with. They've all got their masters degrees now (Mark graduates this Friday), but I can remember when they were all taking my classes, just starting to work on finishing their Bachelors Degrees. I'm really proud of all of them.

The leading speaker at the graduation was a former commander of Ft. Hood, who's son was also among the graduates.

When the time came for his son to get his degree, Dad came down and handed it over. Pretty cool. I had the boy in class a few times. He did well.

I found out last week that a few of my old Florence kids were gonna do the walk, getting their Associates Degrees. A brother and sister... I'd had the sister in class first, and then the brother, after his big sister graduated.

I got this shot of the boy, Jeremie Rohr, when he got his degree. I missed the chance to get a shot of his sister. She zipped through there too quickly.

After it was all over, we had someone take this shot. As you can see, I ditched the formal gear as soon as it was all over. We all did. They're all rented. The rental folks just have us toss them in a box and we jet out of there as soon as we can.

After shaking a few hands and wishing folks like Rohr here all the luck in the world, I hit the road for Mom's house. Denise and I met up there (she had to help run the show at the graduation). Then, after a visit, it was back to the house, and back into the sack for a few hours nap. Exhausting, being all edumicated and official, it is. I was pooped.

Anyway, it's always a blast to see the folks I've had in class going through their matriculation. Makes me feel like I'm really doing something good in the world. Who knows?

This Friday, Mark will get his Masters Degree conveyed to him by Texas A&M, Central Texas, but I won't be able to be there. Denise and I are flying to Nashville Thursday afternoon and then driving to Bowling Green, Kentucky to see her youngest daughter Lynn get her Masters Degree from Western Kentucky University. It's gonna be a busy weekend. I hope they've got Nashville dried out by Thursday. I'm just sayin'.

Anyway, I'll have stories to tell and pictures to show you when I get back. Have a great week, and congratulations to all the graduates out there. Get ready folks. You think you're done, but you're not. The journey continues. Onward and upward! Cheers!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Denise and I took my mom for a drive in the Hill Country Sunday.

We took her Buick Lucerne. It's a bigger highway cruiser than ether Denise or I drive, and it needed a road trip. It doesn't get more than a short trip now and then to the grocery store. We needed to blow some dust out of it.

Denise and I drove over from here, taking a big bouquet of flowers and a few cards. Mom was happy to see us, and the treats. She's been looking forward to this drive for a few weeks. I floated the idea a while back.

Soon after getting there we were piling into Mom's car and heading out.

Both of my womens are in the witness protection program...

They're averse to having their pictures taken. But that doesn't stop me at all. Mom says I'm like a stalker. She has NO idea.

We started out in Temple, drove down I-35 to Georgetown, and then headed west on 29 towards Burnett. Just before turning West we stopped at a McDonald's and got a snack, to hold us over. Three medium sized chocolate shakes would do the trick. They were wonderful, with whipped cream and a cherry on top. Delish!

Along the way, we saw that the summer flowers, mostly red, yellow and purple, are growing taller and supplanting the fields of Bluebonnets that had grown up and spread out along the roads earlier in the year. The Bluebonnets are still there, but Mom had a hard time seeing them. I think she had a good time anyway.

The summer flowers are just as pretty, particularly when they spread out into fields and along the roads. As we got closer to Llano, the flowers got prettier, and we even started to see some Prickly Pears now and then, with beautiful yellow blooms.

After about an hour and a half drive along 35 and 29, through lots of beautiful countryside, we finally reached our destination. We decided to stop for dinner in Llano at a local restaurant.

Cooper's is a famous old BBQ place in the Hill Country. Folks come into Llano from all over the state to get a bite of some of the best food anywhere. On any weekend, the place is usually packed.

I've been to Cooper's many times, so the routine was familiar. Patrons line up by the pit, an employee of Cooper's lifts the lid on the smoker and the patron picks their meal. As you can see above, I chose two pork ribs, a slice of BBQ Brisket (which was the sliced into cubes by the cooks), and a few links of BBQ Jalapeno sausage. The attendant finally asks you if you want your meat dipped in their special BBQ sauce. Duh?

Then you take the red plastic trey into the restaurant and hand the platter to the next attendant, who wraps your meal in waxed paper and puts a price tag on it. As you got through the line, you have the opportunity to pick out your choice of various other side dishes. I chose Cole Slaw and BBQ Beans.

The beans are complementary, in a cooker over by the wall there. Those two ladies are helping themselves. You spoon out your own helping, and can go back as many times as you want. They even have lids, so you can take some home if you wish.

Mom chose the same Jalapeno Sausage, Beans and Cole Slaw, and added Peach Cobbler. Denise went for the BBQ Pork Chops (above) and Potato Salad. Everyone was happy, and Mom particularly enjoyed eating good BBQ at a new spot.

After we finished our meal, the three of us got back into the Buick and drove on north towards San Saba.

My buddy John told me a while back that the flowers on 16, down by Llano were particularly beautiful this year. He turned out to be right.

Once again, but the time we had a chance to make the drive, the Bluebonnets were being drowned out by the taller grass and summer flowers. You can see the seed pods there, showing the transition the flowers are going through as our spring turns to summer.

The Bluebonnets had obviously peaked early, but it was a great day anyway. Mom loved the drive, and the food, and the flowers. So did Denise and I. Mission accomplished.

I hope you guys had a great Mothers Day too. If you wish, you can check out a few more pictures over at FlickR. Enjoy. Cheers!

Some folks just can't take a joke.

Friday, May 07, 2010

My buddy Dave and I took about 15 of our Seniors to Austin on a field trip Wednesday.

We both teach down at Florence, and while I get to leave after about two and a half hours, he has to stay all day. He's much more experienced with things like field trips, being a full fledged high school teacher and all. I just pass through. Teach my college classes and jet out of there, headed for San Saba.

So when the kids told us they wanted us to take them on a field trip to Austin (the kids thinking 6th street), Dave (Willingham) said it would be cool. He does this sort of thing all the time. He took charge and set the whole thing up. I started feelin' guilty about that, bein' a slug, so one day last week I picked him up a big bag of San Saba pecans. He's happy.

The trip started at about 8:30 AM Wednesday, when the bus showed up and we all boarded it.

Fifteen senior kids showed up, out of eighteen that are taking my dual credit government classes. Willingham has most of these kids in his classes too. They're mostly good kids, but I was fully expecting someone to be bleeding by mid day.

Our first stop in Austin was at a little stop-n-rob on the UT campus. I stayed there with the kids while Willingham located our first attraction of the day. I started taking pictures there, trying to get some good shots for the school annual. The lady who is running the program to create the annual asked me to take pictures... As if I wouldn't be doing that already. She's never seen the blog.

Up the street and a few blocks from the stop-n-rob, we had a guided tour of the Harry Ransom Center. It's a cool little place that collects all sorts of artistic and cultural artifacts, storing them, displaying them and preserving them. They split us up into two groups and gave us guided tours through the stuff they have on display. Before we got going, the guide said "no pictures", so all I got there was this shot of the kids coming out after the tour. But it was a really cool place.

They had an original Gutenberg Bible there, which shocked the shit out of me. Then the guide showed us the very first photograph ever taken. The kids thought that was cooler than the bible. The guide then walked us through a series of displays covering all the different aspects of film making. They have a huge variety of artifacts, including a massive collection of memorabilia donated by Robert De Nero. they have the jackets he wore in movies like Ronin, Taxi Driver, and Casino. They even have the makeup model/life mask from his role in Frankenstein. They also have a dress worn by Vivien Leigh in Gone With The Wind. It was cool to see all that stuff.

After that, it was on to the state capitol. Again, we had time to kill before the tour, so I took the kids around the front of the building and showed them many of the monuments.

My favorite monument is the one to Terry's Rangers, who fought for the South during the Civil War. At one point, one of the kids came up to me and asked if I was glad that the South lost that war. I said "Yes, of course." He said that he was too, but then said that sometimes he felt like a traitor to the state, thinkin' hat way. I told him that those sorts of thoughts are a natural consequence of being a modern southerner. We can dislike the Yankees and hate the South's cause, all at the same time. He thought that was cool.

As the tour began, we wound our way up to the Senate chambers, where the kids got a good look at some very famous paintings that hang in the room.

Here's a detail from the one above. It depicts the chaos of the Battle of San Jacinto, where Texas won it's freedom from Mexico.

After the capitol tour, we took the kids to the Schlotzky's, on Guadalupe. I hadn't been to one of these places in a long time. Here's the menu. I tried the Roasted Chipotle Chicken Sandwich, and the Asian Chicken Wrap. The wrap was better.

After eating, it was off to the Natural History museum, which turned out to be the most popular tour on the trip. It was also the place where my fears of bloodshed, I feared, were going to be realized.

This boy's a monkey. He was up there before anyone realized it. We all just stood there in wonder. Imagine, having the ability to run up a tree like you used to 40 years ago. I had a flashback from about 1970, Missouri. In time, he came down safely. Really, I was more worried about the tree.

Walking into the museum, I was struck by the massive skeleton of a flying reptile, the display covering half the ceiling. I'd never seen one so huge.

We only had thirty minutes to tour the place, which was a real shame. It turned out that we only had time to view the artifacts in the basement, which took the viewer from the beginning of time through the late Ice Age.

That's the Great, Fat, Hairy, North American Sasquatch, standing next to the lower leg bone of a Sauropod Dinosaur. And I always thought they were big critters. Hm, not so big.

Anyway, when the bell tolled, around 2:40 PM, we boarded the bus for the drive back up to Florence. We got back to the campus by 3:45, and I spent the rest of the day at home, workin' on these pictures. Go to the FlickR site and check out the rest of them. Some turned out pretty good.

Willingham and I turned out to be a great team. I hope we get to do this again, but next time I'll play a more active role in the planning and execution. I still feel bad about tossing it all on his shoulders.

Anyway, today I'll be heading over to the Expo Center in Belton to take part in the annual CTC Graduation Ceremony. I'll be wearing the cap and gown, and sitting with the rest of the faculty. It'll be fun. I'll take some pictures, so you'll get to see me in all my fuferaw.

Y'all be good, and we'll talk after. Cheers.