I am a Beatles fan from the night I saw them on Ed Sullivan back in February of 1964. I bought all of their albums, and when I played in a rock band starting in 1965, I played their music with a vengeance. Loud amplifiers and crunching electric guitars, that’s what the lads inspired us to do. They also taught me that there are more than three guitar chords as well as diminished and augmented ones to boot. The poor Beach Boys never figured that out until Brian Wilson wrote and engineered Pet Sounds. The boys from Liverpool gave them a lesson or two.
I watched the trailer for the upcoming Beatles documentary by Peter Jackson a few nights ago. “Let It Be” is and will be a huge hit and seen by millions if not more. Beautiful cinematography and soundtrack make this the best rock music movie ever made. Hats off to Peter for his effort and talent.
The Beatles, as a band, hasn’t played a lick together since 1970, and then it was an unpleasant experience from what I have read. The movie gives us a glimpse of their shared acrimony, but we will never know the sordid details, nor should we.
Recently, Sir Paul, the fossilized bass player said it was John that killed the band, not he. I can see that being true, but at this point, there are not many who still care who’s fault it was, or is. John and his muse, Yoko, or was it the other way around? drove a stone wedge into the heart of the lad’s kindred spirits ending the greatest musical act ever known to humans of my generation and perhaps a few after.
Paul also said a few days ago that the Rolling Stones were basically a blues cover band. Well, that is true, that is what they were and still are. Their music pales to the catalog of the Beatles. It’s almost amateurish in comparison, and if you have seen the Stones live in the last 10 years, you wonder who keeps digging up their graves and reanimating them, although Charlie Watts checked out with some class the others will never have. And that is what brings me to this next observation.
The Beatles had their time in history and used it well. Their legacy and music will be around for centuries in one form or another, the two remaining members will not. Ringo Starr has throttled it back and enjoys being in his late 70s, playing a gig here and there, and enjoying what few years he has left. Paul McCartney, the cute one, the mop-top lovable narcissist can’t seem to let it go. Once the “old man” voice sets in, then it’s curtains. Paul has it bad. Time to pay the valet and get the hell home, drink your Ovaltine, and hit the sack. It’s a bit embarrassing to see an old geezer jumping around on stage flicking his hair about like he is 20 years old. Come to think of it, that’s exactly what Mick the Jagger does, but only a bit better, and he is more agile and thinner because he hasn’t eaten a cheeseburger in 50 years and lives on good booze, spring water, and replacement organs.
I find as the years have slipped by, I am less a Beatles fan than I was in the 80s, 90s, or even the early 2000s. I still have all the albums, but rarely spin them. I guess one could say I suffer from Beatles fatigue, or misplaced envy, or even old age, of which I am, at 72. One thing good is that I am still a musician and singer, and can play most of their tunes if I wished to. The trouble is, I don’t wish to now. I’m not hating on the boys, and I hope Peter Jackson makes a zillion bucks with his film, and it wins an Oscar or some trophy.
I am only suggesting that maybe after 57 years, maybe the Beatles should just say goodnight, and Let It Be.
Pictured above is the first graduating class of the “Taliban School For The Perfoming Arts and Martyrdom,” founded in Kabul, Afghanistan. The Biden administration is financing their graduation trip to the United States to create goodwill and harmony.
Maya Sharona, Middle East correspondent for National Public Radio, caught up with the group as they boarded the first US evacuation flight out of Kabul.
Paul- Ah’ Abdula, a spokesman for the class, said, ” we are all pleased about coming to America; we have seen the film many times. We are supposed to have a luncheon with Mr. Eddie Murphy and tour the movie studios. “
” Where do you see yourself in a week after you have had time to adjust to America?” asked Ms. Sharona.
Mr. Abdula replied, ” oh we will definitely be blown up and dead and will be humping our virgins in Heaven with our other martyrs. Oh yes, I almost forgot; death to America you infidel whore.”
Before Ms. Sharona could field another question, a department of Justice attache’ ushered the group onto the plane, telling them, ” calm down, boys, there will be plenty of time for this stuff when you get to Los Angeles.”
I can never remember a time when Ovaltine was not in our kitchen. When I turned five years old, my father introduced me to the heavenly malted milk powder. He had been and still was a fan of the drink that “built a better kid.” It wasn’t my Mother’s slow brew hot chocolate, but better. If Little Orphan Annie and Captain Midnight endorsed it, that was good enough for my buddies and me. We were addicted to the stuff.
My father gave me his childhood Orphan Annie decoder pin since I was the firstborn son and the heir apparent to such collectibles. The radio show was long gone, so the pin was useless for spying, but I kept it in a goody box under my bed, just in case.
Cold winter nights usually included a mug of hot Ovaltine from the home galley right before hitting the sack. My sister and I couldn’t sleep without our steaming cup of Motherly love. The brew was almost always accompanied by a few cookies to quiet the midnight hunger pangs and keep the nightmares at bay. Ovaltine was considered its own food group; right up there with Eggs, Dairy, Kool-aid, and Peanut Butter and Jelly.
Sometime between 10 and 12 years old, my beloved Ovaltine vanished from our pantry shelf. It was an abrupt exit. I was heartbroken. I pleaded with Mother to bring my Ovaltine back; I was in withdrawal. But, unfortunately, my plea fell on deaf Mother’s ears. Her mind was made.
Nestles Quik was the new drink on the block. ” Deliciously smooth and chocolatey when mixed with cold milk, and it builds strong bones and fortitude,” said my Mother. Unfortunately, it was crap; a brown powder full of additives and fillers resembling warm chocolate spit when heated in a pan. It wasn’t Ovaltine.
The new product was all over the television shows on Saturday morning. The Nestle Quik cartoon rabbit zipped around the television screen like a manic Bugs Bunny, touting the health benefits of Quik. Buffalo Bob and Howdy Doody were pushing it, and Roy Rogers was gulping it down as he chased the bad guys. But, of course, the good Captain Kangaroo and Mr. Greenjeans still drank Ovaltine, so all was not lost quite yet.
Decades go by, Ovaltine is replaced with boutique chocolate kinds of milk from Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods. Sleeping meds are the norm. Insomnia is a national pastime. Unfortunately, I am a member of that pitiful sport.
A few months ago, I was shopping at my local H.E.B. grocery store. Ambling up one aisle then down another, list in hand, checking it twice and all that, it’s my typical weekly shopping trip. I coughed and dropped the list. Then, bending over to retrieve it, I came eye to eye with a jar of Ovaltine, sitting there next to the Nestle Quik and Bosco syrup. I hadn’t thought of Ovaltine in forty years. I grabbed a jar and threw it in my buggy, then, just for good measure, I grabbed two more jars, just in case. I never cared for Boscoe, but since Sienfield made it famous again, what the hell; I grabbed a jar of it also, just in case.
I called Mooch and told him that the world was good today; Ovaltine is back. He asked me to grab him a couple of jars, just in case.
It’s well past midnight, and I am sitting here writing on my laptop; I am finishing my second mug of hot Ovaltine before heading off to bed. It’s good to have my cup of Motherly love once again. I may enjoy a third cup, just in case.
“Do not forsake me, oh my Darlin,” on this our wedding day,” who didn’t know the first verse of that song from the radio? A massive hit from the 1952 movie “High Noon,” performed by everybody’s favorite singing cowboy, Tex Ritter.
In 1957, I was eight years old, and on some Saturday nights, I got to tag along with my father to the “Cowtown Hoedown,” a popular live country music show performed at the Majestic Theater in downtown Fort Worth, Texas. My father was the fiddle player in the house stage band, so I was somewhat musical royalty, at least for a kid.
Most of the major and minor country stars played Fort Worth and Dallas as much as they did Nashville, and I was fortunate to have seen many of them at this show. One, in particular, made a lasting impression on my young self.
I was sitting on a stool backstage before the show, talking to a few kids; who, like me, got to attend the show with their fathers.
My father came over and asked me to follow him. We walked behind the back curtain and stopped at a stage-level dressing room. There in the doorway stood a big fellow in a sequined cowboy suit and a 30 gallon Stetson. I knew who he was; that is Tex Ritter, the movie star and cowboy singer. My father introduced me, and I shook hands with Tex. I was floored, shocked, and couldn’t speak for a few minutes. What kid gets to meet a singing cowboy movie star in Fort Worth, Texas? I guess that would be me.
Tex asked my name and then told me he had a son the same age as me. We talked baseball and cowboy movies for a bit, then he handed me a one-dollar bill and asked if I would go to the concession stand and buy him a package of Juicy Fruit chewing gum. So I took the buck and took off down the service hallway to the front of the theater. I knew all the shortcuts and hidey holes from my vast exploration of the old theater during the shows.
I knew nothing of the brands and flavors, not being a gum chewer, but the words Juicy Fruit made my mouth water. Not having much money, what change I did get from selling pop bottles went to Bubble Gum Baseball Cards, not fancy chewing gums.
I purchased the pack of gum for five cents. Then, gripping the change tightly in my sweating little hand, I skedaddled back to Tex’s dressing room. He was signing autographs but stopped and thanked me for the favor. He then gave me two quarters for my services and disappeared into his dressing room for a moment. He handed me an autographed 8×10 photograph of him playing the guitar and singing to the doggies when he returned. I was in country and western music heaven. He also gave me a piece of Juicy Fruit, which I popped into my mouth and began chewing, just like Tex.
Juicy Fruit became my favorite gum, and now, whenever I see a pack or smell that distinct aroma as someone is unwrapping a piece, I remember the night I shared a chew with Tex Ritter.
I resumed Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy today; not by choice, mind you, but of necessity. The necessity part of it is; do it, get healed, or lose my bladder and pee in a zip lock bag until I check out.
Well, no-shit, that’s a hell of a choice. So I allow myself to be encapsulated in a large Iron Lung looking diving bell, taken down to 3 atmospheres while breathing pure oxygen for two hours. If I had to pee during that time, the tech gave me a little plastic urinal; not much help.
Just to be a smart ass, I ask the nurse if this machine is approved by Lloyd Bridges. She gives me a puzzled look. “You know, Sea Hunt, the television show about the diver?” I say. No laughing, she’s all business; and much too young.
This will be my life for two months, five days a week, two hours a day. I tell the nurses that I am so excited to be back. I have already been through six weeks of this a few months back.
In 2019, I was diagnosed with a whopping case of prostate cancer. Ok, if any old man lives long enough, they are likely to develop a case of it. Mine was terrible, but the good doctors at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas said they could save the sickly gland and me with a radically new form of treatment. SBRT High Dose Radiation, the latest thing out there, and only they had the machine and the know-how. I was in like Flint.
For a month before the zapping, I was stuck with large needles, drained of my blood, prodded, poked, had things inserted into my body that was far too large for the opening, and radiated via MRI and other expensive machines of which my insurance would pay for. I was begging like a hound to get it over with.
After all of that, I had no modesty left. A cute 25-year-old nurse tells me she wants to stick this evil-looking object in my what? Yeah, go ahead, what the hell. Of course, she is smiling the entire time. The little sadist in scrubs. I whine to my wife about my brutal treatment. She’s a nurse, one of them, so no pity from her.
The big day arrives. Five treatments of intense radiation over 5 weeks. The specialized nurses tell me this is the “good stuff,” the same type of secret Plutonium 54 that Oppenheimer used to develop the bomb. I am impressed but also scared shitless. I remember what happened to Nagasaki.
Strapped onto a padded bed similar to Frankenstein’s laboratory, heavy metal bars hold me down, and my head is immobilized. More needles and tubes inserted, and then, the giant machine is whirling around me like an H.G. Wells time machine. I see the nurses standing behind a radiation-proof glass booth smiling and waving. They seem to be drinking coffee and eating Crispy Creme Doughnuts. Damn. I feel a burning sensation through my body. I’m humming like a top and see colored lights before my eyes. The radiation is doing its thing. Country music is playing from somewhere in the room. I see the ghost of Hank Williams standing at the end of the machine. He’s eating a doughnut and washing it down with Jack Daniels.
Four more treatments, and I am done. My Oncologist says I am healed; a miracle it is. The nurses give me a certificate and a hug, then I am out the door. See you in a year, they say.
Less than two years later, I am pissing blood like a vampire and am a hurting unit. My urologist says, ” didn’t they tell you that that SBRT sometimes fries your innards?” Well, hell no, they didn’t tell me that! Doc Finger tells me that It did a number on my bladder, the surviving prostate gland, and my Urethra Franklin, all as crispy as Waffle House bacon.
So, I am back for more Hyperbaric treatments, and I am praying that these next two months will fix the problem. More later.
I was told not to go near the railroad tracks or the bridge that went over them; Ho-bo’s lived there. My Grandmother warned me daily of the consequences, and they were all bad. Scary men, vagrants with no home and no family, they were just there, alone, living their life as best they could. I was seven years old and unafraid.
The dirt road along the tracks took me past Mrs. Ellis’s shack of a home. She didn’t live much better than the Ho-bo’s, but she had a home, a warm dry bed, chickens, and a dog, so she was poor but stable. She waved as I walked by, then as I got a few yards past, she took off to my Grandmothers farmhouse to tattle on me. I knew I was in trouble even before I got to the bridge. I considered turning back, but no, I needed to see this through.
As I got closer to the bridge, I could see there was a lone figure sitting on a bucket next to a campfire. I was puzzled because Granny always said there were dozens of those evil men under the bridge. Now, there was only one, and he appeared to be old and not much of a threat, sitting on his bucket cooking a can of something in the campfire. I approached him but with caution and a bit of fear. The Ho-bo waved me over. He was an old black man with hair as white as south Texas cotton. His clothes, mostly rags, hung on his frail frame; he resembled the scarecrow in my Papa’s garden. Next to him was a Calico cat, curled up in an old felt hat, purring and licking its paw. In the fire was a can of pork and beans cooking on a flat rock and bubbling like a witch’s brew. I sat crossed-legged on the dirt next to him.
” Does your Granny know you are here?” he asked.
” No sir, she don’t know, and I’m in a heap of trouble.” said I.
He smiled at me and said, ” It’ll all be good, your Granny knows old Bebe. I used to do odd jobs for her and your Papa and she paid me good and always fed me her heavenly biscuits and gravey. She is a wonderful lady, your Granny.” I couldn’t disagree with that, so I smiled back.
He took a worn-out spoon, heaped a large serving of beans into a dirty tin cup, and handed me the food. I was hungry. We ate our dinner together without talking. He gave the cat a spoonful of his beans. It was then that I noticed he had given me most of the can, and left little for himself. This old Ho-bo living under a bridge with hardly any food and nothing of value to his name, except maybe the Calico cat, shared with a stranger, possibly his one meal of the day. In the mind of a seven-year-old, this seemed normal.
Bebe told me a little about his life and how he came to be a Ho-bo. I shared what little of life experience I had accumulated up until now. We laughed a little, and then he said I had better head back to the farm. We shook hands; I scratched the cat and walked down the road towards a switching I knew was coming.
My Granny took my explanation well. There was no switching my butt this time and no dressing down. As I walked through the screen door headed for the barnyard, she said “sometimes the folks that have the least, share the most, remember that.” I have.
I’m a 50s kid. That means I was born in 1949 at Saint Josephs Hospital in Fort Worth, Texas, and grew up in the lean and mean Eisenhower years. My hometown was different back then, as most of our hometowns are today. But, change is inevitable, and it happens at the oddest times; while we sleep or mow our lawn. Progress is sneaky.
First, it’s a few new buildings downtown, then a slick freeway cutting through quiet neighborhoods, and maybe a landmark building demolished to make way for a new hospital. Then, out of nowhere, a train full of people from the West or the East is arriving, and the pilgrims try to make it “not so Texas.” It’s a gradual thing, and most of us are too occupied or young to notice until it bites us in the rear.
My grandfather was old-school Fort Worth from the late 1800s, a cow-puncher who rode the cattle drives and sang cowboy songs to the little doggies. He loved his city to a fault. The word “Dallas” was not to be spoken in his home or his presence. Violaters usually got punched or asked to leave. The old man was a tough Texan and a supporter of Amon Carter, the larger-than-life businessman that put Fort Worth on the map and started the rivalry between the two cities.
In the 1950s, if you asked Fort Worth residents what they thought of Dallas, they would most likely tell you it’s a high-on-the-hog-East coast-wanna be-big-shot rich-bitch city. We didn’t sugarcoat it. That rivalry was always just under the surface.
In October, Dallas has the “State Fair of Texas,” and Fort Worth has the “Fat Stock Show” in February. I didn’t attend the State Fair until I was ten years old, and even then, it was in disguise, and after dark, it was to the fair and then back home, hoping no one in our neighborhood noticed we had crossed enemy lines. Unfortunately, I let my secret visit slip around my buddies, and they banned me from playing cowboys and Indians for a week. Even us kids were tough on each other.
Three things got us kids excited; Christmastime in downtown Fort Worth, Toyland at Leonard Brothers Department Store, and The Fat Stock Show. But, unfortunately for us, the rest of the year was uneventful and boring. Summer was pickup baseball games and Popeye cartoons.
60 years ago, the winters in Texas were colder and more miserable. February was the month we froze our little gimlet asses off, and of course, that is the Stock Show month. Wrapped up in our Roy Rogers flannel pajamas and all the clothes we owned, we kids made the best of it as we visited the midway, the cattle barns, and animal competitions. The rodeo was for the real cowboys, and it was too expensive; the free ticket from our grade school only went so far. We were kids and had not a penny to our name. It wasn’t the flashy affair that Dallas put on, but it was ours, and we loved it. I still have a round metal pin I got at the Stock Show, a lovely picture of Aunt Jemimah promoting her flour, something that would get me canceled, or worse today. I’ve often thought of wearing it to the grocery store to see the reaction. Maybe not.
For those of us who were born and grew up there, Fort Worth, Texas, is where the west begins, and Dallas is where the East peters out. Nothing has changed.
The “Dillo-Cong” is on the run. I strafed the yard with a mixture of water, dish soap, and Cayenne Pepper. It wasn’t Napalm, but it appears to have worked, and I didn’t torch the whole neighborhood.
In the process, I damn near ruined my respiratory and sensory systems. I can no longer smell or taste food or drink; everything tastes like Cayenne Pepper. My Oatmeal is chemical mush, and to top it all off, my Irish Whiskey has no taste whatsoever. I’ve ruined my body attempting to rid my property of a pestilent placental mammal. For what? To save my lawn and a few landscape plants? Well, hell yes! I worked hard installing that grass and plants, and I will not allow that little digging shit to defoliate my landscape.
If the pepper spray fails, then I will try plan B. It’s widely known in Texas, that Armadilloes enjoy a beer and a toke once in a while. We can thank the cowboy-hippies down in Austin for turning the critter into a lush and a weed addict. I will put a few cold bottles of Lone Star around the yard and once he is inebriated, I will transport him to a new locale. Beats shooting the little beast.
‘Associated Press reports, “Taliban terrorists have been photographed enjoying fairground rides with AK-47 and M4 assault rifles cradled in their arms while the rest of the country deals with the social strictures imposed by the newly declared Afghanistan Islamic Emirate.“
After a few weeks of murdering women and children and hanging other poor Afghans from lamp posts and cranes, these poor over-worked terrorists need some real relaxation and downtime.
“Six Flags Over Afghanistan” opened its doors to a capacity crowd, mainly Taliban, IsIs, and other murdering demons from Hell.
Mohamud Mohamud, the first visitor in line, said, ” I’ve always wanted to visit the American amusement parks, but this is much better; here I can carry my rifle.” It was reported that dozens of terrorists were shot during disputes for cutting in line at the most popular rides. No women were permitted to visit the park.
General Manager of the park, Allah Opensesame, said that the park was paid for by our new best friend, Joe Biden. His good friend Nancy Pelosi arranged for private donations to be flown to the airport in the middle of the night. He also hinted that they are designing new water and skateboard parks and plans to send a skateboard team to the next Olympic Games.
A few days ago I approached an Armadillo that was nosing around in my backyard. Having lived here in the country for over two years, it’s the first one I’ve seen on my property.
Last night, the little tank dug up a few plants and excavated a two-foot deep hole in one of my flower beds, then rooted around in my lawn, leaving nose holes like Swiss cheese. I am not pleased with nature at this time. But, I am respectful of nature and the animals that live around me. I still like Armadillos, but barely.
A trip to Home Depot arms me with a sure-fire critter deterrent. A shaker full of granules that resembles the classic Twenty Mule Team Borax; the product mined in Death Valley and was the backdrop for a great western television show in the 1950s starring Ronald Reagan. I also picked up a few shakers of Cayenne Pepper powder for an added kick; Dillers hate pepper powder.
Two hours later, I am gagging from the Cayenne Pepper powder that somehow got up my nose and in my eyes, which are blood red and producing copious amounts of tears, along with streams of red snot flowing from my burning nose. So this is what it was like to be gassed by the Krauts in WWI? Not a shot fired, and the little critter is kicking my butt.
My trap is set; the war is on. The chemical attack is imminent. My battle plan had better work because I am faring worse than the critter. I think for a moment that my Savage 12 gauge might be a better option, but then I would need to console my wife, then plan a funeral and say a few words, possibly invite a few neighbors over for the service and such, so I will stick with the deterrents for now.
01200 rolls around and my eyes are open; no sleep or sweet dreams for me. I roll out of bed, disarm my security system and sneak onto the patio, LED lantern in hand. I smell a skunk and hear frogs croaking; a rustle in the woods behind my shed startles me; it could be Sasquatch, or worse, a Haitian invader. We have night snakes around here; Copperheads and rattlers like to bite, so I am careful where I step in the grass. No Diller to be seen. No evidence of digging as of yet, but I will launch another reconnaissance mission around 3 AM. Wish me luck.
Well, spray me with Unicorn piss, roll me in Fairy dust and turn me into a Tinkerbell Biscuit; the United States Ryder Cup golf team beat Europe today. Nobody cares; unless you’re a golfer, and I’m a golfer and still don’t care.
A team of multi-millionaire frat boys flies to the tournament in their private jets, stay in the best digs, pay for nothing, dress in awful matching shirts, keep in touch with their sponsors and stock advisors via satellite cell phones, make bets with the Europeans, eat lobster sandwiches, drink champagne and play grab-ass with their surgically enhanced girlfriends. All of this while the United States is being turned into a third-world refugee invaded shit hole by Biden and his minions. But hey, it’s the Ryder Cup, and everybody loves the USA when it’s kicking ass. Right?
Meanwhile, at the White House, Peppermint Patty tells the press “that it would serve no purpose for Biden to visit the southern border,” mainly Texas. Of course not. There would most likely be a half-million people there to greet him with who knows what; Pitchforks and Torches? It didn’t turn out well for Dr. Frankenstien when the villagers paid him a call. Just because most of the population down there is Mexican American doesn’t mean they should welcome his visit; they don’t like him either.
That buzz-haired bug-eyed DHS dude says that his folks may have let 10-12 thousand Haitian invaders into Texas by accident. Well, what is it, Mr. Clean? An accident or on purpose? Did you turn them loose with no paperwork, no vaccinations, no vetting, no forwarding address, no nothing? It’s like the Price Is Right; “come on in, get your new car and everything else you need is free, as long as you vote for us Democrats.” I think a “Christmas Carol” inspired visit from the ghost of our founding fathers would be in order about now. Imagine misty apparitions of Jefferson, Washington, and Adams showing up in Sippy Cups bedroom at 2 AM, flying him away to visit the ghost of the president’s past and future. Jill is not invited.
The entire national news on NBC this afternoon was devoted to shaming the public into getting the jab. Scene after scene of needles sticking into arms as the talking mouthpiece sitting in for Lester Holt scolded America. They did mention the wildfires in California but danced around the reason for them; governor Hollywood wouldn’t let the Forest Service clear the forest floors of dead trees and overgrowth, and all the planes and equipment are tied up with government-induced paperwork and autocratic bullshit. The poor girl murdered by her boyfriend got a few seconds, but then it was back to Covid shaming. Funny how Afghanistan and the border crisis are so easily pushed under the media rugs. Nothing to see here; move along.
John Durham, that pesky special prosecutor, says that he has 14 indictments ready to go. So I would imagine that the Clintons are packing their Gucci bags and getting ready to jet off to their new hideout in South America. It worked for Hitler, so why not Hillary.
President Sniffy is going after the Texas Border Patrol. ” Those people will pay,” he says. “Those poor Haitians, treated like cattle, being whipped and almost trampled by large, uh, you know those things that cowboys ride.” But, Texas Governor Greg Abbot says not to worry folks, “if Biden fires you, you will still have a good job here in Texas because I will personally hire you.”
We have critters in Texas; lots of them, and they all have the potential to do damage to our landscape in one way or another. My favorite demo-critter is the pugnacious determined Armadillo. Nature’s natural tank.
Thanks to the cowboy-hippies down in Austin during the 70s, the “Diller” is now our state animal. I can’t drink a Lone Star beer without thinking of the Armadillo World Headquarters and all the great music played there.
My wife calls me to our back door this afternoon with a ” lookey here at this, there’s a diller in our back yard.”
Well, I’ll be sprayed in Unicorn piss, rolled in fairy dust, and made into a Tinkerbell biscuit, it is one, and in the daylight, which is unusual since they are known to be nocturnal. Covid has thrown nature’s time clock off by a few hundred hours, so I presume our little visitor is Covid bug disoriented or just oblivious.
We watch him for a while as he travels around our lawn, nose down, sniffing for grubs, of which there are none because I murdered them all with poison a few months back. There is nothing quite as satisfying to a gardener, as the screams of grub worms dying a painful death. The same goes for fire ants, armyworms, and mosquitos.
The little guy is not digging up my lawn so I let him be. After a while, I step outside and approach him. He is too busy searching to notice me, and I walk within a few feet of him, fully expecting a quick exit. Nope, not interested in my presence, too busy thinking about bugs and stuff. He lifts his head, and we briefly make eye contact, human and critter mind-meld type of contact. I catch a glint in his beady little eye that says, ” hey man, it’s cool, I’m just shopping.”
After a while, he meanders over to a flower bed and exits through a stand of Canna Lillys. All of God’s creatures got to eat too.
Florida Democratic Rep. Frederica Wilson on Thursday called on “Sippy Cup Joe” to “pay” those fleeing Latin America for the U.S. southern border to “incentivize” them to remain in their country of origin.
“Fly to those countries,” she said while addressing the Biden administration. “Give money to these people. Set up jobs. Give them some sort of incentives to stay in their country to work.” “I am pissed,” Wilson said. “From what I saw of Border Patrol on horseback beating Haitian people, Black people with whips – they looked like whips to me, I’ve been told they’re not whips. “My father was a civil rights advocate and a leader, and it looked like slavery to me,” she added.
First off you walking talking moron, those are reins, not whips. Second, horses have been used for crowd and cattle control in Texas forever. Slavery? Yep, those damn border patrol agents are herding those poor Haitians back to the plantation in South Texas. Since you wear a cowboy hat and fancy yourself a cowgirl, get your dumb ass on a bronco and see if you can last 8 seconds.
I ran into Mooch and Mrs. Mooch at the gas station yesterday. He was filling both tanks on his Ford 250 pickup. Behind the truck was a 30 ft trailer loaded to the top with inner tubes and coolers. I should have known better, but I had to know.
” What’s with the trailer and all the tubes, you going tubing on the Frio River?” I asked.
Mooch exclaimed, “No, it’s better than that little buddy, myself and the Mrs. are going to Del Rio down on the border. We are opening a new business called Tubing With The Haitian’s. Gonna make a fortune with this one pal. For $100 we will rent you a tube and a cooler full of Shiner Bock. We will tow you to the Mexican side of the river and you can float back over to the Texas side with the Haitian invaders that are wading and swimming in the sparkling waters. We arranged for a few of the Mexican cartel fellers to fire some real bullets at you just to ramp up the whole experience; sort of makes you feel like you are in the fray of it all. Once you get back to the Texas side, you can jump on a genuine cutting horse and chase those little doggies trying to escape around the river bank for a spell. I hired a country band and a food truck to set up over by the DPS boys, and installed a special air conditioned tent for Governer Abbot if he happens show up.”
I hate to admit it, but Mooch may have hit on a winner with this one.
I was awake at 2: 45 this morning. I have learned that once my brain engages, there is no time for sleep. I get up, turn off the alarm, turn on Mr. Coffee and my laptop. I don’t bother with television news anymore, but I prefer to read news sites for my information. The coffee brews, a cup is poured, and it tastes darn good. After two cups, I forget about coffee and start making notes for a future blog post. Thirty minutes later, I decide on a third cup. Good grief, the coffee taste like swill, burned, and nasty. I learned this morning that if you leave the coffee on the burner for thirty minutes, it’s ruined, and you might as well pour it down the drain. This makes an excellent argument for using our Keurig machine, but the pods will break your grocery budget, so it stays in retirement. I am meant to suffer for coffee.
I follow many blog sites on WordPress. In turn, some follow mine. It’s an excellent trade-off. For example, this morning, I came across a blog focusing on religion, one of my favorite argument topics.
The writer, a Christian and a Catholic living in the UK, takes offense to music in church. Not so much the white-haired old lady playing the Hammond organ and a choir singing old-time religious songs, but the entire rock band on stage with a trio of singers wailing away about who knows what. He calls it “Jesus Rock.” I get it. I am a musician, and I know how music can move you. A well-played tune can energize your soul or take you to your knees in grief. But, unfortunately, the wrong kind of music can also distract your worship and send me running for the exit. I don’t need a Van Halen tribute band blowing the roof off the house of worship and the congregation holding up Bic lighters as they sway to the music. So I tend to lean more to the liturgical side of prayer. The old-style church service from “back in the day” is what I know. Damnation soothes the soul.
Sunday mornings sitting on a rock-hard pew, sweating, and fidgeting in my starched shirt and slacks while the Baptist preacher tells me I am going to Hell; now that is the real church of my youth. Although at six years old, I have no concept of Hell or why I am going there? My mother tells me to be still and then cleans my ears with a handkerchief and spit. The organist and the choir break into The Old Rugged Cross, the plate comes around and I deposit a dime. I am miserable. It is God’s wish.
I am posting a picture of the legendary Texas western swing band, The Light Crust Doughboys, in memory of National Country Music Day. Top L to R; Jerry Elliot and Bill Simmons, bottom L to R; Smokey Montgomery, Johnny Strawn ( my father) and Jim Boyd.
As a small child growing up in Fort Worth, Texas, these men were part of my life until I helped carry some of them to their final rest. Texas, country music, and I are better because of them.
In 1968, the rock band I was in signed a management contract with the top agency in Dallas, Texas; Mark Lee Productions. We had been together since 1967 and played all over Texas, but once we hitched on to Mark Lee, we entered another level. Friday and Saturday nights were booked for the next year, and we made more money than our fathers. Pretty good for a bunch of teenagers in Texas.
That was the year that rock music exploded in Dallas and Fort Worth. Forget Los Angeles and New York, we had more bands and better music right here in Texas. American Blues, which would soon be ZZ Top, Felicity that would become the Eagles, Delbert McClinton, Roy Orbison, B.W. Stevens, Michael Martin Murphy, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Jimmy Vaughn, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Doyle Bramhall, Southwest F.O.B that would birth England Dan and John Ford Coley, Kenny and The Kasuals, Kenny Rogers and the First Edition, Sly Stone, The Jackals, The Nova’s, and our band, The ATNT. We didn’t think much about the East or West coast; there was too much happening here.
A rock band out of San Diego, California, was making some noise with a 45 that was getting some airplay on KLIF AM radio in Dallas. The Iron Butterfly was unknown outside of California but was starting to make some noise in our neighborhood. With the release of their 45 and the following album, they hit the tour circuit playing smaller venues in the Southwest.
Mark Lee informed us that the band would be coming through Dallas in a month and if we would like to do a few dates with them at a local music club called “Strawberry Fields” and “The Phantasmagoria.” It was a go. We got their 45 and really dug their music, so we learned the two tunes and added them to our set-list. Folks liked them even though the songs were much heavier than what our local bands were playing.
The night of the first show at Strawberry Fields, we set up first then the Butterly arrived and added their gear to the stage, making it darn tight, so we agreed to let them use some of our equipment. In the dressing room, they were quiet, talking among themselves and not much to us. We were teenagers, 16 being the youngest and 19 the oldest. They were in their mid-twenties or older, hardcore and mysterious rock musicians from the west coast.
Before we went on, our manager, Mark Lee thought that it would be nice if we did one of The Iron Butterly’s songs; an adoring shout-out of sorts. We were young and stupid, so we agreed to do their song “Possession.” If we had massacred the song, it would probably have gone unnoticed, but we nailed it to the wall and plastered it with gold stars. We finished our set and were met by the pissed-off members of the Butterfly. The keyboardist and the elder leader, Doug Engle, tried his best to keep his band members from kicking our butts. He understood what we had done and didn’t take offense to our gaff. Our illustrious manager thought the entire event was hilarious and was laughing his ass off. Feelings were soothed, tempers lowered, and we finished the gig and on to the next club where, by the end of the evening, we were all buddies, exchanging phone numbers and promises to keep in touch after we all made the big time rock scene.
This is a true story that I have been itching to recount since 1966. Better late than never.
April 1st, 1966, found my friends and fellow bandmates Jarry Boy Davis and Warren Whitworth lollygagging around White Rock Creek, just off Parker Road in lovely Plano, Texas. Exciting it wasn’t.
Plano was the epitome of small-town Texas; one red light, a Dairy Queen, two police officers, and one high school with a state championship football team. We could have been fodder for a Larry McMurtry novel.
Our not-yet-famous rock band, The Blue Dolphins, at the time was in transition. A few weeks back, our drummer, Ron Miller, had been dragged by his parents kicking and clawing back to San Diego, so we were now a three-piece act in need of a percussionist.
Bored with wading in the creek, we sat on Jarry’s 1965 Mustang coup trunk that was parked on the gravel road. A great little pony car, yellow as a ripe banana with 160 horses under the hood. It was great being 16 and cool. Actually, we were bored and decided we would go to the Beach Boys concert in Dallas that night.
Next to our favorite creek spot, there was a party ranch or a dude ranch here in Texas. People rented it out for parties, horseback riding, and BBQs.
As we were getting into Jarry’s car to leave, we spotted a line of horses plodding down the gravel road from the direction of the ranch. We decided to stick around for a few and say howdy to the visitors and horses.
As the group of riders got closer, we couldn’t believe our young, healthy eyes. Warren yelped, “holy crap, that’s the Beach Boys.” Indeed it was, riding single file on a horse. Behind them came Chad and Jeremy, two British singers, and batting cleanup was The Lovin’ Spoonful at the end. We were almost wetting ourselves.
The Beach Boys rode by, we said howdy and got the stink eye from Mr. Pleasant, Mike Love. Chad and Jeremy looked scared to death being on a horse and were extremely sunburned. One of the Lovin Spoonful stopped, dismounted, and started a conversation with us. How cool is that? He introduced himself as John and wanted to know about Plano and what we did in a one-horse town. I figured he was milking us for a song idea about hicks in the sticks. We gave him the rundown and were flabbergasted when he asked us to show him the town. You betcha we would.
The social hub of Plano was, of course, The Dairy Queen, so we figured John would like an ice cream cone. Lining up in the drive-thru, no one knew who he was, just some long-haired hippie guy in Jarry’s car. We kept mum, not wanting to create a scene by being uncool. John got his cone, shared a few music and band stories, said he liked small-town Texas, and we took him back to the dude ranch. He asked us if we would be attending the show that night, and we said yep, see ya there.
The three of us were reluctant to tell of this encounter for fear of being labeled liars and lunatics, so we kept it quiet for all these years. No camera, no cell phone, just our recount.
Thanks to our retro-cowboy movie-loving governor and the state of Texas, the famous gunfighter ballad ” Big Iron On His Hip” made popular by cowboy singer Marty Robbins in the late 1950s is now an “in your face reality.”
I ran into Mooch a few days after the open carry bill went into effect. I was walking into my favorite H.E.B and he waddled out the front entrance doing his best John Wayne walk. It was impossible to miss that he was wearing a Colt six-shooter on his hip and a genuine “The Duke” knock-off cowboy hat and fast draw holster. He was the epitome of the Texan that all of Europe imagines us to be.
“How are ya Mooch, sure like your piece,” I say.
He replies, ” yep, I figure now all the good guys will have pistola’s so the bad guys better watch out.” Point well taken.
Mooch, I say, ” if all the good guys can wear a gun, then so can all the bad guys and that will lead to a shoot-out over the last Red Baron pizza at the old H.E.B.” He was clearly thinking this one over.
“Well little buddy,” he says, ” all of us’un true blue Texans teach their kids to shoot, so we’ll give guns to the little buckaroos. If that doesn’t work, then we’ll arm our dogs too. Problem solved.”
I may be getting my groceries delivered from now on.
We have been in Corpus Christi the past few days visiting my son and his family. I will be 72 on the 17th and figured that I owe myself a bucket list item; surf one more time.
Wes, my son, was accommodating and borrowed a new-fangled all foam board that he thought I could handle. My grandson has a much shorter board because he is 8. The beach at Padre Island was the most crowded mess I have ever witnessed. Granted, the last time I was on a Texas beach on Labor day was in the mid-90s, and that was at Port Aransas. This was beyond stupid. Thousands of people parking their cars near the water, getting stuck in the sand, hogging any sliver of a spot to reach the water. After searching for an hour, Wes found a small opening and squeezed his truck into the slot.
Beach chairs unloaded, cooler and surfboards ready, my grandson and I grab our boards and wade into the surf. As it turns out, the surf today was terrible. Slushy with no good form. We struggled to find a decent wave and did luck into a few.
I paddled through the shore break past the first sand bar and tried to sit on my board. Nope, that wasn’t happening. I took off on a wave and couldn’t stand up, nope, that neither. The head injury from two years ago is most likely the culprit. No balance and no equilibrium. Being 72 didn’t help my quest. I was a good surfer in the 60s and 70s and figured it was something that could not be forgotten. Wrong on my part. The defeat was at hand, and I took it willingly.
I came back to the beach, laid the board down, and told my wife that I can now scratch this one off of the bucket list. Sometimes your eyes are bigger than your brain.
Isn’t it amazing how much General Fubar Milly Vanilli looks like John Goodman? At this point, I believe John Goodman would be a better leader of our Armed Forces.
This is student pilot Abdul Abagawaweenie III, in the cockpit of a C 17 Cargo plane that Joe Biden gifted the Taliban when the US pulled out of Afghanistan. He’s a bit challenged since the only machinery he can operate is a Toyota pickup and a motorbike. He plans to use the Billion Dollar plane to fly his buddies to parties around Kabul.
As of September 1st, 2021, Texans can carry a firearm in public without a license or permit. Pictured above is my 15th cousin, Lilly Ann Oakley confronting a punk after he took her parking spot at Walmart. Just saying, it’s going to be the Wild Wild West all over again.
A reminder that 7th-century Zeleots, woman beating, boy raping, beheading murderous pieces of camel crap Demons from Hell pictured above defeated the best army the world has ever known with Toyota pickup trucks, knock off Japanese motorbikes, and shitty Chinese rifles. Our president thinks they are ok dudes. “Awww come on man, we can trust them.”
Thirteen brave young United States soldiers in flag-draped caskets were carried from a cargo plane to their grieving families. Thirteen times, our president checked his watch after each casket passed. Did he have something more important to do? This photo should say it all. If you voted for this man, you have some explaining to do.
Nancy Pelosi has partnered with those two wokie, snowflake, pansy assed antisemites, Ben and Jerry to produce her own brand of ice cream. Pictured above is her first flavor of the month.
The newest Baseball Card from “Upper Deck” collectibles.
Arizona can now legally sell weed in neighborhood grocery stores. Tom Bagger, spokesman for Safeway Food Stores says there is a state-wide shortage of Twinkies and Ding Dongs in all of the stores.
Fifteen years ago I ran across an article in “Texas Monthly Magazine” touting Marfa, Texas as the next “big deal” in the art universe. The author gushed on about Donald Judd, a prolific artist based in New York City who had moved his home base and all his toys to dusty little Marfa. Up until he arrived, Marfa was known as the backdrop for the 1956 movie “Giant.” After the article hit, van loads of weirdo artists from Austin showed up and claimed the town as their own. “Keep Austin Weird” was now “Keep Marfa Weird.” The mostly Hispanic population thought the gates for Hell had opened and released its hipster demons on their quiet township
For reasons I can’t recall, I became a bit obsessed with visiting this desert town and made myself a little Marfa bubble that grew larger with the passing years. I am also an artist and figured there was something life-altering in Marfa I needed to experience. The lure of the Big Bend desert kept calling. Time marches on and I forget about Judd and his art colony until a few years ago. I figured it was time to make the trip to Marfa.
My wife and I decided that after our summer vacation in Ruidoso, New Mexico, we would drive down to Marfa and scratch one item off of my bucket list. At my age, every trip becomes a bucket list item because my shelf life could expire any day now.
Five hours of driving through the Chiuauan desert landed us in Alpine Texas and the 1950s era motor hotel “The Antelope Lodge.” Retro doesn’t begin to describe this place. Very little updating has been done since the 1950s and the stucco cabins reek of the halcyon years of family road trips in large station wagons. I believe that the Cleaver’s may have stayed here. I can imagine The Beaver and Wally sitting in the courtyard eating Moon Pies and drinking RC Cola in the 100 degrees heat.
Marfa is a short hop from Alpine so the next morning we are on the road early, planning to catch breakfast in Marfa. I’m thinking about bacon, eggs, and pancakes Texas-style while Maureen is wanting fluffy biscuits and sausage gravy. Yum Yum.
Driving into town, the scenery is not what we expected or what I had found online. Dilapidated house trailers surrounded by broken down rusted cars line the highway on both sides. Not the best greeting for visitors. My bubble just sprang a leak.
Once in town, we realize that everything is closed. The art gallery is open on Saturday only, the Hotel Paisano lobby is closed until 5 PM, the Hotel St. George lounge doesn’t open until evening, the square is deserted and the only signs of life are some foreign tourists taking selfies in front of a boarded-up hardware store. My bubble is leaking air big time.
Now officially starving, we search for food, and found “Marfa Burritos,” the only restaurant open, and calling it a restaurant is a stretch.
A burrito is $7.00 and a warm can of Coke is a buck. What the hell, it’s food. The kitchen is located inside a ramshackle frame house; peeling paint and rotted siding give it that weathered west Texas appeal.
A young man and woman are ordering their burrito from the cook. They smell like incense and the girl has more armpit hair than the guy. I figure they must be from “El Cosmico,” the transcendental hipster enclave of yurts and vintage travel trailers that everyone online is raving about.
The outside dining area needed a little attention. A feral cat was munching on a half-eaten burrito that fell from an overflowing trash bin, and ants and flies are everywhere. I’m thinking Marfa doesn’t have a health inspector.
After breakfast, we decide to visit the Prada exhibit, which the Marfa website says is located just outside of town. Some years ago, two German artists constructed a small building full of Prada handbags and shoes in the middle of the desert, and it became the main tourist attraction for Presidio County. The other attraction is the Marfa Lights; twinkling orbs that dance around in the mountains east of town. The locals claim the lights are Aliens or maybe disgruntled Indian spirits. Some of the older folks believe they are the ghost of James Dean, Rock Hudson, and Elizebeth Taylor, the long-departed stars of the Giant movie.
We drive for twenty-minuets and no Prada. We check Google maps and find it is another half-hour’s drive to Prada. To hell with that, so we turn around and motor back to Marfa. My fifteen-year-old bubble just popped. We decide to return to Alpine, pack our gear, and head for home. No more bubbles for me.
Last week was our annual summer trip to Ruidoso New Mexico. High in the Sacramento Mountains at 6500 ft. above sea level, the temperature was a pleasant 75 degrees in the daytime and a chilly low in the 50s at night compared to our 98 degrees high in Granbury Texas. I didn’t break a sweat for a week and didn’t worry about a damn thing that was happening back in Texas, although the national news covering the Afghanistan debacle gave my wife and me a few restless nights. A couple of iced tumblers of Tullamore Dew while sitting on the covered deck took the jangle off of our nerves.
Like most villages in the New Mexico mountains, Ruidoso has a large population of Deer, Elk, and wild Mustang horses. Pictured above is a local four-legged resident that took a liking to my watermelon and granola cereal. The small Doe was going gaga over the gluten-free granola, eating large handfuls from my palm. When I fed her bites of cold watermelon, well, she almost danced with glee. I was surprised how dainty her mouth was, and her gentle nibbles showed no sign of biting. She and I experienced a small mind meld and came away with a better understanding of the complicated relationship between man and wild beast. I have the food, she likes the food, I feed her the food and she likes me, and I like her too. It was illuminating, to say the least.
The picture above is when she tried to take the bowl of watermelon from my hand, or possibly give me a kiss of appreciation. Either way, she was a sweetie, and I named her Sweetface. I considered naming her Marfa, after the west Texas town we visited a few days later, but I am glad I didn’t because Marfa was a complete letdown and bubble buster. More on that experience later.
In World War II, our servicemen had a favorite word and phrase, that summed up every situation that went off the rails; “FUBAR,” or “F..ked Up Beyond All Recognition.” Of course, in most cases, it applied to commanding officers and their incompetence that tended to get soldiers killed in battle, but it was also a favorite term used for President Roosevelt and most of Washington DC politicians. 1944 was much like 2021.
Does our military still use this term? Most likely not, since anyone caught saying it would be assigned sensitivity training or booted from service. It’s a sure bet trigger word that would send any lib worth their salt into crying gaging convulsions.
I haven’t heard the word since the movie Saving Private Ryan, and my childhood. My father a WW II vet used it excessively when I was a kid, and I never knew what it meant until I became an adult. It’s a sneaky clean way of cussing without actually saying ” the word.” As a six-year-old, I threw it around a few times and received a butt whooping from my Mother, who used the word as much as my Father but considered it unfit for my vocabulary.
Let’s see how this sounds; Joe Fubar Biden, Kamala Fubar Harris, Nancy Fubar Pelosi, General Fubar Milley, Anthony Fubar Blinken, Barrack Fubar Obama, and the list could go on for pages because the phrase fits what our politicians have done to our country.
Those small-town kids that made up our greatest generation and the most feared ass-kicking military in the world sure knew how to turn a phrase.
The demented old man occupying the white house mumbles, gaffs, and orders our military to leave Afghanistan. Pack it up, leave the keys in the visor and get the hell out, pronto. Yet, the Taliban, those crazy well-organized army of zelotes, demon processed devils from Hell with 12th Centaury Muslim beliefs, are taking back their country at record speed.
Did the United States believe that we could save the Afgan people from their history and fate? Did we learn nothing from the Vietnam War and our ill-fated escape in 1975? Someone, please show the current administration some newsreels from that time. Is John Kerry advising Biden?
As a teenager in the 60s, the real, and “living color” Vietnam war show came on every night at 6 PM, and Ken Burns (bless his heart) had nothing to do with this production. Nevertheless, it was the staple for all news shows from 1967 until its end in 1975.
NBC, ABC, and CBS ruled the airways. Cigarette smoking, bourbon drinking mad-men. Groomed and over-paid talking heads spitting out controlled information for our curiously horrified consumption. Lester Holt didn’t invent this type of journalism, but he damn sure paid attention and learned from his predecessors.
The grand wizard from Texas, LBJ, and his Washington DC cronies kept a tight reign on their messaging. As a result, American casualties were deflated, and Viet Cong deaths were inflated. But, of course, none of that crap mattered, except that we were losing our young American men at an alarming rate.
Television had not yet discovered that death and gore, like sex, sells to the viewing audience. We were holding on to our 1950s values by a single frazzled thread.
The assassination of Kennedy was the beginning of the end of our Ozzie and Harriet-induced innocence. Vietnam was JFK’s war-baby; and his downfall. Good old Texas boy, LBJ, found a way to energize the economy and re-stock the Washington coffers using the war as his vehicle. My father was a home builder at that time and he said he never made as much money as he did between 1966 and 1970. The guns were blazing, and the times were amazing.
Daily films of dead young American soldiers weren’t good for ratings or advertisers. “Wonder Bread” and “Proctor and Gamble” couldn’t compete with dead Americans on television, so, the war footage was heavily edited for family viewing. It was all about optics and fending off the exploding protest from the anti-war hippies, coddled and protected college students, and eventually, plaid shirt Bermuda shorts, mini-dress wearing suburbanites. 2021, in a sense, is much like 1975.
Take the words “Vietnam” and insert the phrase “Middle East,” and you will see that we are repeating history.
I have been reading the revered “Farmers Almanac” for the past 6 months, and it’s surprising how accurate and sometimes, inaccurate it can be.
The Almanac and I go back a long way. My Grandparents introduced me to the book when I was six years old and spent summers on their Texas farm trying to convert myself from a city slicker to a country boy. They were firm believers in the power of its predictions, although they were let down more than a few times.
This fine morning, as I drink a cup of java and read the pages, it tells me the summer in this part of Texas is forecast to be cooler and wetter than average. I know it to be BS the moment I read it. No summer in Texas is cooler and wetter. Every day for us is misery and suffering topped off with biting and stinging bugs. We are the land of burn-your-ass-off heat, and everything planted or growing wild turns brown and shrivels away by August; the bugs are with us until the first freeze. It was a bit wetter in July, but the temps are still around 95 plus degrees, making you feel like you are wrapped in hot-wet-towel and sitting in the devil’s sauna. Unfortunately, they missed that forecast by a few hundred miles.
There is no mention of the Corona Virus and all the hoopla that came with it. So, how did the staff at the Almanac not know about this bug?
Back when the Farmers Almanac was in its heyday, rural folks depended on it for farming, ranching, and day-to-day living. The book was also full of home remedies, potions, poultices, plants, and hocus-pocus to treat their maladies. Unfortunately, doctors were few, and most families lived their lives without seeing one. As a result, most country folks were born at home and also died there.
The Almanac takes great pride in “do it yourself” folk remedies and contains dozens of them, along with questionable ads for elixirs, oils, good luck charms, H’aint Bags, and voodoo dolls. Grandmother used them all. I knew if I became ill while at the farm, all of these would be administered. My Grandfather was strangely healthy for his age. He knew better than to get sick around his wife. If he was ill, no one knew it.
It was bound to happen. In the summer of 1956, I am spending my summer on the farm. Fever and chills arrive during the night. My temperature is off the charts, and I am shaking like a hound dog passing a peach pit. Grandmother calls in her friend down the road, Mrs. Ellis, for a second opinion. The two-country alienists stand at the foot of my death bed in deep consultation.
It is decided. I will receive the complete treatment reserved for the rare “Raccoon Flu” and possible “demonic possession.” Treatment will commence immediately.
The two women drag me from my sickbed and thrust my aching body into a cold water bath for an hour. Grandmother gives me two doses of salts, three teaspoons of “Reverand Moses Triple Strength Root Tonic,” and a double-dog dose of “Dr. Sal’s Really Good Opioid Extract.” Then my shivering torso is coated with “Sister Amy’s Pure And Blessed Olive Oil” from the banks of the river Jordan. Next, I am wrapped like a mummy in a white cotton blanket, a mustard poultice is glued to my chest, and a burlap bag of foul-smelling something is tied around my neck. They place me in bed, covering me with 6 quilts, and two speckled hens are brought in to sleep in my room overnight. Grandmother says I will be well by breakfast. At this point, I am praying for death during my sleep.
Dawn brings a cool breeze into my sickroom, and I am awakened by one of the spotted hen’s sitting on my chest. She is clucking softly as if to say, “it’s time to get up, you’re well now.” I realize the hen is right; I do feel like a new kid. No fever or chills, and I am hungry for a fat biscuit and my Grannies country gravy.
I follow the two hens down the hallway into the kitchen. Grandfather sits at the breakfast table reading the Almanac. Without looking up, he exclaims, ” going to rain today, Almanac says around noon.” The last rain the farm had was over a month ago; what does the stupid book know.
Granny tells me to take the two-spotted hens outside and feed a big handful of laying mash because the Almanac said mottled hens will have an excellent laying week. She doesn’t ask how I feel; she knows her hocus pocus worked.
I head back to the farmhouse for noon dinner after spending the morning building Horned Toad houses out of pebbles and sticks. We sit at the kitchen table, munching on fried chicken when a loud clap of thunder shakes the house. Granddad, without looking up from his plate, says, “yep.”
No gold for the kneelers– The US Women’s soccer team was knocked out of the Olympics today by Canada in a 1-0 defeat. ( a post on Jack Dorsey’s communist app, Twitter)
“It’s all about me, and not thee.” Words to live by from Miss Purple Haze, Meagan Rapinoe.
No moron, it’s about soccer, your teammates, and representing the United States, the country you play for, live in, and allows you to make millions in salaries and endorsements. Also, your Subway commercial is awful. You’re dressed like an extra in Back To The Future. What in the world did Tom Brady think when he agreed to be on the same film as you?
Is this too harsh? Probably.
The selfish wokeism of Rapinoe and her apostles ruined the Olympic dreams of at least a few teammates. Talented young women that started playing the game as kids, putting in long days of practice, dreaming that one day, they just might make the women’s team and play in the most remarkable sporting event in the world. Did they drink the purple one’s Kool-Aid? Were they hypnotized by the little Rasputin in knee pads? Who knows why they allowed her to be their new Moses, leading them not through the parted Sea of champions but right off a cliff into an abyss of no endorsements and national shame. Followers, not leaders they are.
That sewer pit of social media is already saying ” serves them right,” “karma bit you in the butt,” well, yes, it did all of that, and more will come. However, the same media will likely glorify them for taking a knee against the evil empire known as America, being “oh so woke,” and culturally sensitive.
“We got ourselves into so much trouble that our Mothers would take shifts whooping everyone’s butt just to give the other moms spanking arm a break.” It was 1956, and that’s how it was for my neighborhood pals and me.
Summer was our best and our worst season because there was more playtime outside, increasing the opportunity to get ourselves into predicaments that never ended well. Our moms didn’t buy into that “Dr. Spock crap.” I would bet that none of the moms in my neighborhood ever heard of that weirdo. There was no negotiating out of corporal punishment, and trophies were non-existent.
My neighbor, Mr. Mister, was the neighborhood scientist and inventor; our very own Mr. Wizard. Not the dweeb on television, but a real-life mad scientist with a movie star wife.
We kids would spend our weekends sitting underneath his Mimosa tree, watching him build his oddball inventions in his garage that doubled as his laboratory. Looking back, he was more a “mad scientist” than an inventor. The only thing missing was the Frankenstein monster lumbering out of his garage.
Mrs. Mister, his Hollywood-looking wife, would keep a steady supply of cold Kool-Aid and cookies flowing. She closely resembled the movie star Jane Mansfield but could bake a cookie-like Betty Crocker. Always with a frosty martini in one hand and a cigarette in the other, she was the dream Mom none of us had. No butt whooping’s around the Mister household, no matter what we said or did. So we were free to be our feral selves.
Some of Mr. Misters’ inventions were downright crazy. My two favorites were his motorized and drivable charcoal griller and the half-size rocket that took Fred and Ginger, his wife’s twin poodles, into the stratosphere, returning the two. “Dog-o-nauts” small space capsule safely to earth; via an Army surplus parachute.
After the spectacular launch, which also torched the Misters’ back yard and part of their garage, Mr. Mister was paid a visit by the F.B.I. and the Air Force. Who in the world knew it was a national security violation to build and launch a solid-fuel rocket from your backyard?
That incident caused Mrs. Mister to suffer a minor breakdown, so no more using the pooches.
As in most neighborhoods, there are disagreements with other groups of kids. A gang of mean and nasty punks lived across the railroad tracks from us. They were older, bigger, and made our lives miserable. We called them “The Hard Guy’s.” A few of them carried switch-blade knives that had been smuggled in from Mexico. We all attended the same elementary school and suffered their daily attacks during the school year; now, they were sneaking into our neighborhood, cutting our bicycle tires with their switchblades, egging our houses, and stealing our goodies. So we devised a plan to get even, and of course, it involved our hero and mentor, Mr. Mister.
Mr. Mister said that he had experienced a similar gang of kids growing up in East Los Angeles. So he suggested a way to retaliate using every kid’s favorite firecracker, “Cherry Bombs,” delivered by an ancient invention called the catapult. Wow! what a guy. With his help, we built a small wagon-mounted catapult in a few hours. It was a beaut. He donated a shoebox full of the little bombs for the cause.
The first Cherry Bomb we launched from the weapon went 50 ft and exploded; not enough weight. So Georgie suggested putting a Cherry Bomb inside a sidewalk biscuit, like the ones his sister and her friends make.
For the folks that didn’t grow up in the 50s, the “sidewalk biscuit” is purely a kid invention native to Texas. It’s made by putting a large glob of dough on a red-hot 250-degree sidewalk and letting the heat do the rest.
We stuffed a Cherry Bomb into a fist-size glob of dough and placed it on my front sidewalk. Within an hour, we had our weapon of mass destruction. The hot concrete produced a biscuit-bomb the size of a grapefruit with a beautiful golden crust. Georgie tried to eat one and chipped a tooth.
The test shoot was a success; the biscuit bomb flew about 100 yards and exploded as it hit the ground; perfect. We were ready for revenge. Mr. Mister beamed like a proud Father.
Word in the neighborhood was that Chucky, the leader of the “Hard Guys,” was having a backyard birthday party, and his gang of hoodlums and their families would be attending. Unfortunately, we also learned that a few of our neighborhood girls would be there, which made them traitors to the cause in our minds. We tried to warn them without revealing our battle plan, but, oh well, they will be sorry when the crap hits the fan.
At dusk, our small group of commandos, wearing our best Army surplus helmets and packs, pushed the catapult to the edge of the railroad tracks. The party was in full gear, Elvis was on the record player, parents were dancing, kids were yelling, and a clown was making balloon animals; we could smell the hamburgers cooking, reminding us that it was supper time.
Skipper, our math wiz-kid, calculated the trajectory and distance with his father’s slide rule. Georgie loaded the “Biscuit Bomb” into the catapult pouch and then pulled a can of Ronson lighter fluid from his pack and doused the weapon. Countdown from five to one, I lit the fuse and the soaked bomb and pulled the release lever.
The “Flying Burning Biscuit Bomb” sailed high and long, leaving a trail of black smoke and flames as it soared toward its target. We gasped in awe at the beauty of our weapon.
The first biscuit bomb bounced once, landed on the charcoal grill, and exploded. The adults sitting nearby were coated in charcoal-broiled hamburger patties, weenies, and biscuit chunks. A piece of hot charcoal set Chucky’s mom’s beehive hair-do on fire, and his father wasted two cold Schlitz beers dousing the flaming mess.
The second “biscuit bomb” blew up “Squiggles The Clown’s” prize table, sending balloon animals, Captian Kangeroo penny-whistles, and birthday cupcakes in all directions. It was pure pandemonium at the Chucky place.
The third bomb was a dud. We were in the process of loading a fourth when the “Hard Guys” came running towards us, followed by their fathers. We had no plan of retreat, no “plan B.” So we did what any commando would do; dropped our gear and ran like hell towards Mr. Mister’s back fence. Reaching the fence, we vaulted into the backyard and to safety.
Mr. Mister knew the attack was a bust, and he gathered us around the Mimosa tree. Mrs. Mister gave us a cold glass of Kool-Aid to calm us.
The “Hard Guys” and their fathers stood at the back fence yelling obscenities. Naturally, this didn’t go over well with Mr. Mister, so he walked to the back fence and addressed the lynch mob.
Mr. Mister didn’t sound like himself. His voice was deep and foreboding as he spoke to the group. ” Millard Mister here, Colonel, U.S. Air Force, this is my wife, Captain Jane Mister, U.S. Air Force, is there a problem here gentlemen?” The fathers jerked to attention, eyes forward. This sounded serious.
Chuckies father explained the scenario. Mr. Mister replied, ” I am aware of the operation and why it took place.” He then explained to the fathers all the havoc their sons were creating in our neighborhood. The gang of hoodlums realizing the jig was up, took off running for their homes, angry fathers right behind them. We had snatched victory from the jaws of defeat.
Mr. Mister turned, gave us a salute, and said, “job well done men.” Three kids stood as tall as nature would allow and returned his salute.
The rest of the summer was great for us, and Mr. Mister invented the first Air-conditioned Riding Lawnmower.
As if today could get any worse. It’s 101 degrees and expected to stay that way for the next week. There isn’t enough water to save my veggie garden, and my landscape plants are begging me to put them out of their misery. The birds at the feeder are lethargic and barely peck at their seeds. It’s summertime in Texas, ya’ll. We don’t need a stinking grill, just lay that meat on the concrete patio and walk away for a few minutes. Chef Ramsey would dig it.
Simone Biles exited the Olympic competition because of a mental issue? Well, what do we expect when the weight of the entire American team is on her 24-year-old shoulders, and she supports her whole extended family, that happens to live pretty damn well. Her coach should have seen this coming. Let us hope she finds some relief or inner peace. If she was a quitter, it would have happened years before this.
” Aw…come on man” Biden bitch slapped one of his most famous defensive line- women, news lady Kelly O’Donnel, and she is pissed. He called her a “pain in the neck” because she actually had a brain fart and asked an honest question that wasn’t scripted and expected a logical answer.
Peppermint Pattie got through another presser without answering any questions. Maybe the Fox news guy should dress in a Charlie Brown costume. Who knows, it might work?
Ben and Jerry, those two famous 60s radical Birkenstock wearing-granola munching anti-semite ice-cream guys are pulling their products from Isreal. Makes sense to me, it probably doesn’t sell anyway. Isreal could do with a shipment of good old Texas Bluebell ice cream. Instead, B & J are giving the peaceful folks in Palestine their own ice cream flavor. “Yasser Ara-No Fat,” chunky vanilla.
Famous Democrat Crazy woman Barbara Boxer got mugged and robbed while sight-seeing in Oakland, California. Well, what the hell was she doing in Oakland? Buying crack?
Nancy Pelosi, “the old bag of bones” with a wood hammer, put together a commission to look into the January 6th invasion of the Capitol. It includes two Repub’s that she can trust to not ask any real questions. Maybe she will tell us who killed Ashlee Babbit and why the capitol police invite and give guided tours to the insurgents? You would think it was an invasion on the scale of D Day. Ken Burns needs to set her straight.
So who designed the Olympic skateboard course? It’s too small, too tight, and gives the home skaters the advantage since they have practiced on the course for a year. The only thing missing was those stupid Pokemon characters cheering the Japanese on to victory. The U.S. got a medal, but they could have used some of those grungy little Z Boys from Dogtown on the team.
My mind is oat meal mush and my fingers are as useless as a tomato plant on Mars. Words wont come.
I can see them in my mind’s third eye, but It’s as if my vocabulary has reverted back to that of a five-year-old. A massive brain fart has incapacitated my once-fertile imagination to the point where everything comes out “see Dick run, see Sally chase Dick, see Spot bite Sally.” Jibberish on burnt toast.
I may have the answer to my condition, even though I can’t remember how I came to this conclusion, but it must be true.
“Television News.” It’s not “real” news; it’s a short presentation sprinkled with Fairy dust, and Unicorn piss dreamed up by a gang of young writers holed up in a small office on the tenth floor at Rock Center. Nothing but bad, bad Leroy Brown. There ain’t nothing on the news but bad shit, every day, twenty-four hours of hair-pulling madness with “big Pharma” sitcoms paying the way.
Lester Holt over on NBC looks like a million-dollar cloths horse dressed in his pretty suit, sitting there telling us that everything is okay. He knows it’s bull-shit, but he won’t say it. He’s a good dancer and a better liar than most of them. A little taste of doom and gloom, and then POW, “it’ those crazy assed Chritians fault.” Cuba is not communist; they just want the Covid vaccine and after-market classic car parts. Castro wasn’t such a bad guy after all, and AOC is his love child.
Lester said today that his viewers are getting the Delta Varient, even though they are fully vaxxed. You got the jab, you got the gab, and now your gonna be on a marble slab. This little bugger is worse than Epstiens home videos. Just what did those folks in India send to us? The next time I get a scammer call about my auto warranty, I’ll ask the Indian dude, “what the hell?”
I remember “back in the day,” when Walter Cronkite read us the news in a matter of fact black and white. There was no dancing around the subjects or inserting their own opines, just the facts, Jack.
Walter bought his suits at Sears, ate his lunch from a brown bag, and took the subway to work. I would imagine he sold pop bottles to buy those suits. Of course, I was a kid, but I remember being comforted by Walter’s grandfatherly looks and the warm way he reminded us that the Russians will nuke us at any moment over the Cuba blockade, but it’s okay. The good old USA will come back from the ashes and be as good as new. Now, let’s gets those rockets finished and get to the moon, and Kennedy really was a choir boy. Now, boys and girls, that was some real news. He wasn’t Edward R. Murrow, but he got the job done.
There. I believe I am healed and back to normal. Venting works miracles. It will take a while to get to 100%, but you can bet your sweet ass that I won’t be watching the TV News anytime soon. Good Day.
Above is a picture of my 16th cousin removed, Alice B Token, taken at the famous Woodstock Arts and Music Fair in 1969.
She was working for Wavy Gravy and The Hog Farm at the time, so she was used to serving large numbers of hungry, stoned, and confused flower children.
She was the only wait staff left, after her co-workers dropped the brown acid that Wavy warned everyone not to take, so her three days of peace and harmony were a living hell; you can only serve so many needy hippies in a day.
Not one to put up with shit from anyone, she personally kicked John Sebastian’s whiny gimlet ass for saying “Wow” for twenty minuets, and pulled Grace Slicks falsies off during a cat fight over a ham sandwich. Things around the stage got a bit intense. David Crosby grabbed her ass and she whopped him with the closest weapon she could find, which wound up being Neil Young’s Martin acoustic, which was a total loss after connecting with Crosby’s head. That’s why he didn’t play with Crosby,Stills and Nash, and is not in the film. The girl grew up in Texas and was a total bad-ass; enough said.
In this pic, she is delivering sandwiches to the bands at the rear of the stage, and appears not too happy about the whole situation.
Joe Cocker, that fidgety spastic Brit dude, had requested a spam and cheese sandwich on a toasted English muffin, while Janis Joplin ordered a cheeseburger, fries and a fifth of Southern Comfort. Celebrities are so damn picky.
This is where she met up with her future husband, Arlo Guthrie, who memorialized her in his song “Alice’s Restaurant.” The one thing she came away from Woodstock with was, “those worthless smelly Hippies don’t tip shit, they don’t have any money.”
How’s that for a landing! I have never flown a plane in my whole life, but my newly-minted friend, Sir Richard Branson, let me land one of his private jets.
This adventure started last week when my wife and I were feeling “down in the mouth” because all our friends were posting their vacations on Facebook, and here we are, stuck in Granbury.
My wife loves to enter stupid contests found in the back of her trashy movie star magazines, so she entered one that promised lunch with Sir Richard Branson. Who knew that she would win the darn thing.
A week later, out of the blue, Sir Richard sent us an email saying he would be stopping in Dallas on his way to Carmel, California, and if we weren’t busy, would we like to fly out with him for a round of golf and a spot of lunch at Pebble Beach. Well, hell ya!
A few days later, we are on Sir Richards jet heading to the West coast and dining on Picasso Pawns and ice-cold Chardonnay at 30,000 feet. We wondered what all the poor people were doing.
Sir Richard is a gambler and a jokester, so he bet me a fifty spot that I couldn’t land his private jet. Having consumed an entire bottle of cold wine and feeling a bit cocky, I took the bet. It was a rough-assed landing, giving the pilot a heart attack after we slid off the runway, but it was great fun.
Unfortunately, Sir Richard didn’t have any cash, so he gave me his Rolex instead. What a pal!
Arriving at Pebble Beach Golf Club, Sir Richard mentioned that his good buddy Clint Eastwood would be making up our fourth. My wife was so excited she fainted on the spot. Sir Richard brought her around with a few sips of expensive chardonnay, and a pre-paid Platinum Visa Card waved under her nose.
Clint and Sir Richard have more money than Moses and have a running bet of twenty-thousand a hole. We passed on their game but agreed to keep their score, so no one cheated.
Clint had Sir Richard down by two until he missed a critical par putt on 16 and posted a double-bogy.
Being Dirty Harry and all, Clint didn’t take that well, so he pulled a 44 Magnum from his golf bag and blasted his ball into powder, leaving a large crater in the green. ” Take that you little white shit,” he mumbled. He then turned to us and said, “its okay, I own the course.” My wife and I were a bit unnerved but managed to finish the round. Sir Richard knew better than to piss off Dirty Harry, so he let Clint win. It was chump-change to him.
After the game, we made our way to the grill and were seated in Clint’s special booth. He told the waiter to bring four “Dirty Harry Specials,” which consisted of a chili-cheese hot dog with extra onions, San Francisco Curley Fries, and a large glass of Colt 45 Malt Liquor. Yum-Yum, fine dining it was.
Finished with our meal and preparing to leave, we noticed a commotion at the bar, and Clint, being the owner, intervened.
It seems a group of hipster golfers were pissing about their outrageous bar bill and didn’t want to pay up.
Clint grabbed the nearest one and threw him to the polished pine floor. Then, being Dirty Harry and all, he produced his 44 Magnum from his jacket, pointed it at the hipster’s face, and uttered, ” this is the most powerful handgun in the world and it will blow your head clean off. Now in all this excitement, I forgot how many bullets I fired. Was it five or six? Well do you feel lucky, punk?”
Too afraid to move, we stood there shaking, we are sure that there would be a shooting all over a bar bill. Sir Richard offered to pay the tab, but Clint would hear non of it.
Clint got all “beady eyed” and, in his famous Dirty Harry voice, said to the hipster, “Well, do you feel lucky… punk?” The young man, fearing for his life, answered, ” I gots to know.”
Clint then fired a shot into the ceiling, sending everyone in the grill running for the door. He started laughing, as were the hipsters and the guy on the ground. It seems he pulls this act about once a month, just for fun.
It was a great trip, and Clint gave us some coupons for a free game at Pebble.
When Sir Richard dropped us off at Love Field, he asked if we might like to take a little trip with him and some of his mates into outer space. It pays to know the right people.
“Happy Summer Solstice.” Really? It’s called summer-time you little wokie twerps. This is not Stonehenge with a bunch of naked Druids dancing around a pile of rocks. It’s Texas, and it’s damn hot from April until October. Our seasons in Texas go like this; spring for a few days, then summer for 5 or 6 months, then winter for a few weeks, then summer again. Fall is a few days, maybe.
Flash! Chicago, the murder capitol of the US. Obama’s home town, yet he wont live there. Over the weekend, more than 50 shootings and multiple deaths. So much for their Juneteenth celebration. No coverage of this on NBC or ABC. Guess Lester Holt doesn’t read the newspaper.
New Zealand is sending a trans girl to the Olympics. She lifted weights for years as a guy, but couldn’t win, so now he is a she and is expected to be the gold medal winner in women’s weight lifting. The other girl competitors should organize a whoop-ass party for this dude.
Macy Gray, that has-been singer from decades ago wants America to have a new flag. It appears the current flag triggers her emotions. How about Macy moves to a country with a flag that meets her approval.
“Coming Soon To Your Hometown!” Kamala La-La-Harris will be our first black woman president, although she is not black, and Nancy “Grey Goose” Pelosi will be vice president. Sippy Cup Joe will be banished to the basement or his beach house. Dr. Jill will have to go back to teaching. Who was it that said things can’t get any worse?
Us Texans can be braggarts, pompous asses, and supercilious zealots about our state, history, and traditions. To us, “everything is bigger” in Texas. I won’t deny this because it happens to be true.
We are divinely blessed with the big sky country, enormous cattle ranches larger than most states, the vast rolling prairies, Big Tex and the State Fair, The Fort Worth Fat Stock Show, the Big Bend National Park, big-assed rodeos, colossal oil and gas fields, big cattle with massive horns, tall longneck beers, fat fluffy biscuits, and my favorite, “big hair.” I happen to have first-hand knowledge of the big hair phenomenon. It happened in our household.
In 1956, an artistically inclined Fort Worth beautician that happened to be my uncle figured out he could take a woman’s healthy, shining long hair and transform it into a towering monument of femininity. Teasing, ratting, poking, backcombing, and then mold the mass into a two-foot mountain of tortured follicles. To keep the sculpture in place required a minimum of one or more 16-ounce cans of flammable cancer-causing lacquer-based hair spray that was known to explode when in the vicinity of an open flame. Who knew a hair-do could be so dangerous.
It was a winning combo for the beauty shops. Women had to visit their beauticians to achieve their “big hair” style, and the shop sold the spray to hold the sculpture in place. It was a gold mine, and within six months, every beautician in Fort Worth had doubled their business and was driving a Frank Kent Cadillac. The good times were rolling in, and Texas women would never look the same.
My hair-fixin uncle entered a hairstyle show in Dallas and needed a model. My mother, ever the good sister, volunteered for the job, and off the two went. But, of course, Dallas was the forbidden zone for us, Fort Worth-ians, so it was a shock to the family when my mother consented to go.
As children, we must repeat an oath, pledging to never, under any circumstance, visit Dallas, except for funerals and weddings, and then don’t spend your money there; keep it in Cowtown. Amon Carter watched over his sheep, and the Leonard Brothers needed our support.
As a cold Saturday in late December, turned to nighttime, and then late evening. My father grew increasingly worried about his wife’s whereabouts. “How long does it take to fix some damn hair?” He said for the hundredth time. The weatherman on Channel 5 had forcasted a big sleet storm that might hit at any time.
Dinner was a sack of White Castle burgers. My sister went to bed early, and I, in support of my father, sat up watching “The Mummy” on Nightmare Theater. My father was outside in the cold, pacing on the front porch, chain-smoking unfiltered Lucky Strikes and cursing Dallas.
Around 10 PM, my father joined me in front of the television as the mummy was killing his final victim with a chokehold; the front door opened, and there stood my mother with a furry gargoyle perched on her head.
The lighting from our Christmas tree cast an eerie glow on her form. Tiny glass ornaments in her hair reflected the red and blue lights, making her an angelic Christmas version of “The Bride of Frankenstien.”
She staggard to the sofa plopped down, and fell over sideways. My father gently lifted her to a sitting position and placed a cushion behind her back. I noticed a small pile of broken hair where her head had landed. She began to weep. There was no consoling her; the more we tried, the louder she wailed.
Uncle said that a jealous competitor had switched his hair spray with a can of spray glue, so the hair-do would be permanent. The good news is they won the hair show, and they got a big trophy and a check.
The following day, mom left the house early. When she returned, her hair was as short as a man’s.
I was sad to see the hair-do go. I thought the tiny ornaments in her hair looked pretty cool. After all, it was Christmas time.
The Democrats are upset that the new Prime Minister of Israel is a Jew. What the hell? of course he’s a Jew. A.O.C., that little Tesla driving-two apartment owning, grandmother ignoring cutie from New York says that the Israelis should have elected a Palestinian.
Some journalist stuck a mic in her face and this is what comes out, “Well, like, you know, they like, live just across the street, so like, it would be good for neighborhood relations,” she said in her 10 year-old valley girl voice. This is the wisdom that comes from a moron that was elected because of her whimsical social media videos. A mediocre bartender with a credit score of 400 goes to congress; definitely not “Mr. Smith Goes To Washington.” I read that Pelosi fixed her credit problem and co-signed for the Tesla.
“Old Joe” refuses to do a joint presser with Putin? Maybe for good reasons; the teleprompter might be in Russian, they wouldn’t let Dr. Jill, his mouth piece and coach, stand next to him, Putin might bring up the dirty money he and Hunter got from Russia and Ukraine, or Putin might say, ” Joe, you know Trump really won.” Pretty sure Obama called the shot this one.
“N” word Hunter keeps getting all the breaks. Using that foul word, for most Americans, signals the end of your career, your job or worse, your life. Hunter said it, he texted it, the viral community got it out there, Dorsey and Zucker censored it, and the main stream media ignores it. Hunter tweeted an apology of sorts to his followers,” sorry dudes, I must have smoked some bad crack.” So, is there good crack?
Kamala La-La Harris still can’t find her way to the Mexico-US boarder. She figures if she doesn’t go there, the problem doesn’t exist. It’s not that difficult. Google Maps will show her the way. Go to Texas and then head south on I 35.; there will be a motorcade of 500 pickup trucks flying Trump flags to safely escort her to the boarder.
Lester Holt, when interviewing her for his NBC newscast, reminded her VP-ness more than once, that she has never been to the boarder, even after her insistence that she had visited the place multiple times. She mumbled a bit and laughed it off. I guess her cackling witch laugh makes everything alright. Lester zinged her a good one.
The G-7; where all the leaders that ruined the economy in their own countries, get together to ruin the world’s economy so they wont look so bad.
“Ben and Jerry’s” is introducing a new ice cream flavor on July 3rd, just in time for our all American July 4th celebrations. “Aw Come On Man” double-double-Joe’s-in-trouble triple chocolate chunk, in honor of our favorite presidential ice cream man. Joe said he will send a few truckloads to the illegal kiddo’s in cages down there on the Texas boarder. Ice cream makes everything better, right?
The current leadership in Washington, both sides of the street, reminds me of the movie, “The Wizard of Oz.” Dorothy and Toto are headed to Oz, and she stumbles across the Scarecrow.
Dorothy: “How can you talk if you haven’t got a brain?” The Scarecrow: “I don’t know, but some people without brains do an awful lot of talking, don’t they?”
In 1956, Fort Worth had one of the best zoo’s in the country. Located in Forest Park along the banks of the Trinity River, it was a world away from hot summertime Texas.
My neighborhood buddies, Georgie and Skipper and I would ride our “made in the U.S.A.”all steel, 60 pound,Western Flyer bicycles to the park every week either to play pick-up baseball on the city diamonds, swim in the city pool, or hang out at the zoo, which was our favorite destination. Being kids, we didn’t have a dime to our names, so we discovered a secret hidey hole near the Ape House, and skittered in.
Meandering trails of crushed rock surrounded by lush foliage transported us to the jungles of Africa. The only thing missing was Tarzan and Jane, yelling and swinging through the trees. We were always on the watch, just in case they made an appearance.
The Ape House was the main attraction for children. A building with a large outside enclosure featuring towering stone cliffs, large climbing trees, and a sparkling lagoon gave the place a jungle vibe. The Gorilla’s, and assorted noisy Monkey’s preferred the outside enclosure, so they were always lounging around the lagoon, picking their butts, fighting, or eating banana’s and other tasty simian treats. One of the Gorilla’s had a nasty habit that earned him the nick-name, “Whitey Ford,” that famous pitcher for the Yankee’s. Whitey the Gorilla Ford, threw monkey poop.
This particular summer day, after a morning game of baseball, the three of us visited the zoo. There was a group of children, about our age standing at the outside Ape enclosure. Three mom’s chaperoned the group of about twenty.
Kids, being the little twerps they are, were mocking the Gorilla’s, making faces, yelling insults and such, being brats. A few of the Gorilla’s were irritated by their behavior, and paced around the lagoon giving the group the stink eye. Gorilla’s have feelings too, and they were pissed. “Whitey Ford” sat on a boulder with his back to the tormentors. He was busy forming a perfect major league proportioned poop ball. The only thing missing was the stitching and the stamp.
One kid in the crowd ramped up the insults and threw a snow cone at the Gorilla’s. That did it.
“Whitey Ford” stood up, his back to the crowd, looked over his left shoulder, then at the other Gorilla’s, and gave them a nod, as if to say, “watch this.” The kid was still going at it, and one of the mom chaperones was standing behind him, doing her best to quiet him down.
“Whitey Ford” started his wind-up, turned on his right leg, lifted his left leg high, and released a perfect ninety-mile-per-hour curve ball at the mouthy boy. His aim was a little high, and he missed the kid, but hit the mom chaperone square in the forehead. She staggered backward ten feet, flipped over a wooden fence rail and did a back flip into the duck pond.
It was a beautiful pitch. We could see the subtle curve and the rise of the poop ball a split second before it hit it’s target. Holy crap, this Gorilla could pitch for the majors. We clapped and yelled our approval, giving a thumbs up to Whitey. He couldn’t return the gesture because Gorilla’s don’t have thumbs, so he gave us a nod and a smile.
A half dozen years ago, I was sitting on the patio of my golf club having a beer with one of the H.O.A board members of the community I lived in. DeCordova Bend Estates is a hot-shit golf community in Granbury Texas, and if you can afford it, it was the happening place to be. At that time, my wife and I could afford it. We were hot-stuff. We considered ourselves “Donna Summer” hot stuff golf cart driving disco baby.
Dave, the nice fellow I was visiting with shared a tid-bit of knowledge with me. It wasn’t solicited, but he just threw it out there, kind of like a lure; something to discuss.
He said that he and his wife looked at their older years as “how many summers do we have left.” It was an odd statement and I didn’t understand it, so I begged further explanation. He expounded a bit. Alcohol has that effect; it tends to make normal folks speak like Will Rogers.
After a few beers, he shared this, “As we grow older, we approach the future with how many good days we have left before the medical issues arise, and the bills they produce, and the infirmity that comes with those issues, and then the hospitalizations and surgeries, and the nursing homes, and then the inevitable, which is death. Summers are our good place, our good times to remember with our families and our spouses. No one remembers winters, except for Christmas, we remember and cherish our summer times. It starts with our first childhood summer that we can remember.” Heavy stuff.
When he laid it out in those terms, it made perfect sense; “how many summers do we have left?” Why had I not had the fore-site to approach life in those terms?
I will turn 72 in September, and my wife is 69 as of last May. The two of us are on the downhill slide of life as we know it. Unless Dr. Fauci invents an age reversal shot, we are big-time screwed.
What summer are the two of us in? I have no idea. The medical issues started in 2019 with my cancer. Now two years later, I deal with the effects of massive radiation that has fried my internal organs. My wife needs major back surgery, as do I, and our little dog Winnie is 13 years old and having a bad time. What the hell? Is this it? Life sucks and then you die? So the television commercials for Fidelity investments are complete fantasy laden bullshit? Yes they are.
When my mother was struggling with terminal emphysema, and my father was dying from brain cancer, she looked at me and said,”what happened to the golden years?” I didn’t know what to say. At some point, the golden years had passed them by without a nod. Both of them, sick and dying, where was the happiness? No traveling, no walks on the beach, no nothing, except waiting for a miserable death. My sister and I watched this unfold, helpless to change the outcome.
I think Mo and I may have four or five summers left, but who knows. We will live each of them as if it is our last summer on this earth. Fire up the grill, throw on the burgers and pop me a cold beer; It’s summer time.
I saw my first 3-D movie in 1955. My cousin Jock and I rode our balloon tire bicycles to the 7th Street Theater in Fort Worth. A ticket was $.25 cents and a coke and popcorn was another $.10 cents, we were set. The cheesy cardboard 3-D glasses were free.
After two cartoons, a message on the screen said “put on your 3-D glasses now!” Man, we were ready. The music was scary, the credits and opening scenes were even scarier. Vincent Price looked about as evil as the devil, and the wax figures looked real, ready to jump through the screen. Neither of us would admit it, but we were scared shitless.
Things started flying around the screen, then into the audience and over our heads. Floating orbs, spears and flying ghost. Old Vincent threw a fiery orb at the front row, and kids ran down the isle screaming, hitting the seats and falling, blind, still wearing their 3-D glasses. It was pandemonium. The manager stopped the film and brought up the house lights. That was it.
We rode our bicycles home still wearing our 3-D glasses and looking oh so cool.
February is African American history month, March is women’s history and Irish American heritage month, May is Asian Pacific and Jewish American heritage month, June is now Pride month (too many identifiers to call it Gay and Lesbian month any longer), September is Hispanic-Latino heritage month, October is Italian American heritage month, and lastly November is American Indian heritage month. But to list some is to exclude many. Where are the months to celebrate Caribbean, German, Scandinavian, French-Creole, or people from India? When is enough, enough?
So now friends and neighbors, June will be known as “Pride Month.” What about Juneteenth? June has always been the month for celebrating the end of slavery. Is that canceled now? I wouldn’t be surprised. Our black Americans are not going to be happy about this one. Why doe’s our government, (mostly our Democrat government) think a group of folks should get a month celebrating their sexual preference? I don’t give a tinkers-damn about who humps who, but when you try and cram this “Wokie-sock cap wearing-Birkenstock feet-hipster-skinny jean-I Phone talking-snow flake ” crap down my throat, then I get irritated. Gays can be Gays and boys can be girls and vice-versa, no problem, and most American’s feel that way. It’s not the 1950s anymore. Hell, even 40 years ago, Kermit The Frog sang about Rainbow Connections.
Old Sippy-Cup Joe, gave orders for all American Embassy’s and government buildings to fly the rainbow flag for “Pride Month.” Doe’s this include our embassy’s in Muslim countries? Muslim law and Muslim folks don’t have much love for gay and trans peoples. I’m still waiting for the news report on this one.
We can assume that this will be made law by “Old I’ll Sign Anything” Joe. Doe’s he realize the cost to change all the calender’s in this country? Just imagine; January, February, March, April, May, Pride Month, July etc. Doesn’t flow too well. For a point of argument, one could say, “well, this is harmless, let’s give those poor down-trodden folks their own month,” they deserve it. What have they done to deserve their own calendar month? The few gay folks I know, have great professional career’s and make a load of change and are definitely not down trodden.
Everyone needs their own month, so let’s make July “Grumpy-Ass Old Men” month. Us senior have to put up with this new world order, love-love Panda Rainbow crap, so give us our Du. We’ve earned it.
Dr. Gustav Scaramouch, head of Social Behavior’s Department at the Freddie Mercury Medical Institute in Queens, New York says, ” this is a slippery slope. Once we give the LGBQRSTUVWXYZ movement their own month, then we will be obliged to give other groups their own month. Our historical calendar will be decimated. Imagine starting with the first month of the year, January, will be “Black Lives Matter Month”, then February will be “Antifa” Month, then March will be “White Supremacy Month”, then April will be “Illegal Immigrants Month,”there will be no end. Then, they will come for our American Holidays. I called President Biden about this, but he was taking his fourth nap of the day and he couldn’t talk.”
How’s about we just leave things alone. It’s been working for over 200 years because our founding fathers were much smarter than us.
I met up with my old pal Mooch for lunch at the local Whataburger a few days ago; corner booth by the west window, same as always for at least ten years now. Giblet, his foul tempered chihuahua was nestled into his chest mount baby sling. A large colorful patch on the sling read; “Service and Emotional Support Animal.” I never knew that? What in the world could Giblet do except bite your fingers trying to steal french fries and crap in the carrier.
We ordered our burgers, said our howdy’s and made small talk until the meal arrived. Mooch was quiet except for smacking his double meat burger. I knew he was troubled about something.
About half-way through the meal, Mooch blurted out, “my grandson is a sissy-boy.”
I know his grandson Willie quite well, so this surprised the hell out of me. The kid is 6 ft. 240 pounds of Texas football playing whoop-ass. All district line-backer all 4 years at Granbury High School and the fastest man on the track team. Mooch must be on drugs or suffering from early onset “Old-timers.”
I said, ” come on Mooch, the kid is all testosterone and muscle and will be playing football for some Big 10 university next year.”
“Nope” he says. “He’s a girly-man, just like that Boy George dude back in the 80s. My son Harry called me yesterday with the news. Willie is transitioning into a girl named Sadie Sue. Harry said he’s wearing a blonde wig, dresses, high-heel shoes, makeup and big fake titties. He still has his Johnson, so that’s a good thing, but he said he is a girl now. I should have noticed something was amiss when he sent the AR 15 rifle I bought him for Christmas back to me with a note that said, “no thanks, guns or for mean boys.” His Grandma is so freaked out, she took a handful of Valium and took to her bed.”
I know nothing of this subject, but offered Mooch a coddled word, “I know this is a shock, but is there anything positive that can come of this. You think it’s just a fad or a phase?”
Mooch smiled and said, “Well there is one good thing, he got a full-ride scholarship to the University of Oregon, so at least he will get a good education.”
“Well that’s good news indeed. I’m sure he will be a stellar line-backer for the football team,” I say.
Mooch wiped a tear from his watery old eye and said, “not football buddy, he’s on the girls track team.” And with that, Giblet bit Mooch’s hand trying to get the last french-fry.
Those pesky “Black Lives Matter” kids are at it again. Minneapolis MN must hold a special attraction for these little thugs because they keep returning to loot and burn major box stores. Target, CVS, Walgreens, Nike shoe stores etc. I can see Target and Nike getting looted because they carry expensive shoes, clothes and electronics. CVS and Walgreens, well I guess they need lighter fluid (for fire-bombs), narcotics (for stamina and strength), nose spray, band aids, and perhaps a bottle of cheap wine for a celebratory drink after the mayhem.
It appears from local news accounts, all this looting and torching was caused by a mistake; the police forgot to call King Le-Bron James before they shot and armed man trying to shoot them. It’s a safe bet Le-Bron would have asked the cops to put the guy on the line so he could give him some brotherly advice, or maybe promise some free game tickets. Le-Bron is extremely “woke” and has that calming effect on criminals.
Just to let the good “Wokie” citizens of Minneapolis know; if you’re a white person, and live in the burbs or a high-fa-lute-n part of town, you are all racist by default, even though you live in one of the most liberal cities in America. That includes Minnesota’s favorite Norwegian, Garrison Keillor, the past, and “oh so Woke” host of NPR’s “Prairie Home Companion” who got the boot for his loose hands around his female employee’s. Shame, I always liked Lake Wobegon, even though it wasn’t real.
Before the Covid hit last year, my cousin Velveteen and her husband Zig-Zag were planning a small reincarnation of the famous Woodstock festival but delayed the event for safety reasons. They met there in 1969 and have been together since that night they spent clutching each other in the “Freak-Out tent” both suffering from a bad reaction to the brown acid that the announcer warned everyone about.
Now in their late 70s, the couple resides in Red River, New Mexico, in a commune called the “Wavy Gravy Senior Retreat.” Zig-Zag is the entertainment director, and Velveteen is the main spiritual advisor and palm reader.
I received a letter from them a few days ago, and by golly, the “Baby Woodstock” is on for this coming July and will be held in the scenic mountains of New Mexico. They finished the school bus conversion a few weeks ago, and it’s a beautiful reproduction of Ken Kesey’s Merry Prankster school bus.
The entertainment for the festival is going to be a bit dicey since many of the original performers are dead, in a nursing home, not playing anymore or too out of it. Zig-Zag, bless his old pot-smoking heart, did the best he could on such short notice.
The list is: Sha-Na, the other Na has passed on, Joe Cockers red white and blue cowboy boots, Carlos Santana’s guitar and stand, David Crosby, since no one likes his grumpy ass anymore, Arlo Guthrie’s ex-wife Alice, A full-size cardboard cut-out of John Sebastian accompanied by a recording of him saying “Wow” for twenty minutes, Melanie riding her personal scooter made from roller skates, Jimi Hendrix’s rapping cousin, little Purple Haze, Country Joe McDonald’s grandson, City Boy Dave, Joni Mitchell says she might make this one, Grace Slicks pet dog Roach, and of course Wavy Gravy and the Hog Farm will furnish all the food and drinks. Wavy say’s this time they will be serving breakfast in bed, delivered to your tent by a drone.
We plan on attending. Tickets are available through AARP, Walmart, and Medicare Part B. See you there.
The slang word “Woke.” A nice little word that has been around for a century or more has been hijacked to fit today’s political correct movement. Like most words, the history of woke is a surprisingly long one. The word was first used in the 1800s but back then, it only meant the act of not being asleep. In 2017 the Oxford Dictionary changed the definition to what it is today. I say Bullshit!, you can’t change the meaning of a word to fit a movement. Who is responsible for this? Elitist educators most likely; those self righteous idealist that are indoctrinating our children into who knows what. I thank the good Lord my boys received their education before our educators and this country lost it’s way.
Like most folks, I “woke” up this morning, had coffee and am writing this blog post. I am “woke” because I am awake, and I will stay “woke” the entire day, unless I find it necessary to take a nap, then I will “woke” up again. Be assured, there is no racism or anger in sleeping or napping.
Tex Styles learned the art of grilling at a young age. His father, an expert, medal-winning griller and smoker, proudly and meticulously teaches six-year-old Tex the art of cooking everything from burgers to ribs on his cast-iron Leonard Brothers charcoal grill. The family lineage of grilling over an open flame can be traced back to the British Isles and their ancestral home of Scotland, where a Styles family member cooked meat for Celtic warriors, the King of England, and Mary, Queen of Scots.
When Tex turns eleven, his father conducts a tiki-torch-lighted ceremony in their backyard and passes the sacred grilling tools to his only child. Father Frank, the local priest, attends the party and lays down a righteous blessing on the tools, Tex, and the family grill.
On summer evenings, when young Tex fires up the charcoal, the neighborhood gathers in his backyard to watch the boy genius at work. Once he has entered his Zen-cooking zone, he serves up a better T-bone than Cattlemen’s, and his burgers are known to bring tears to a grown man’s eyes. Around Fort Worth, the word is out that some little kid over on Ryan Ave is a “grilling Jesse.”
Tex receives a bright green Weber grill for his thirteenth birthday and a professional cooking apron with his name embrodried across the front. The Star-Telegram newspaper takes his picture and writes a glowing article that appears in the Sunday food section. Over on Channel 5, Bobbie Wygant mentions him on her television show and sends him a congratulations card. He is now a local celebrity. Dan Jenkins, the hot-shot sports writer at the Telegram, does a piece on Tex for Sports Illustrated, and just like that, young Tex is officially a “big deal.”
When Tex turns sixteen, like his father and grandfather before him, he is inducted into the “Sons Of The Alamo” Masonic Lodge. To become a member, your family tree must include one direct family member who fought and died at the Alamo. Tex’s great-great-great-grandfather was a defender and was killed in the siege. He was also the head cook and griller for the Texian Army and a rowdy drinking buddy of Jim Bowie and Colonel Travis.
New members must speak before the lodge elders, recounting what they know of the siege from their family’s point of history. Since childhood, Tex had heard this family story a hundred times and can repeat it word for word, but tonight, he is drawing a blank on a few of the critical details and decides to wing it a bit. In the mind of a sixteen-year-old, his modernized recount of the battle makes perfect sense.
He stands in front of the assembled elders, leans into the microphone, and begins; “In late 1835, my great-great-great-grandfather, Angus Styles, traveled from the Smokey mountains of Tennessee to the dangerous plains of Texas with David Crockett and his band of long-rifle toting buckskin-clad rabble-rousers. Angus was in the dog-house with his wife most of the time, so he figured a year or two in the wilds of Texas would smooth everything out with the Mrs.
Before immigrating to America, Angus was the chief griller and top dog chef for the Duke and Duchess of Edinburg over there in Europe. David Crockett knew Angus was a master griller and wanted him to travel with his men so they would eat well. Crockett and the men killed the meat, and Angus grilled it to perfection.
Arriving in Texas, Crockett tells Angus they making a stop-over for a few days at a place called the Alamo mission. A buddy of his needs some help to fight off a few Mexican soldiers; it shouldn’t take more than two days, tops.
Once at the Alamo, Angus realizes that Crockett was wrong in his evaluation. The rag-tag Army behind the walls would be no match for the thousands of Mexican soldiers sitting on a riverbank a few hundred yards away eating tortilla wraps and polishing their long bayonets. Mariachi music floating on the breeze gave the scene a weird party-like atmosphere.
Angus locates and converts an old adobe oven to a smoker griller and gets to work on some chow for the Texians. Brisket, ribs, and sausage, along with his secret sauce, will be on the supper menu.
A young pioneer woman from the northern part of Texas is there with her father, a volunteer. Veronica Baird is busy baking bread and cinnamon rolls in another adobe oven and lends Angus a hand stoking his fire. A big German fellow, Gustav Shiner, wonders over and offers Angus a mug of his homebrew beer. It’s looking like the Army will eat and drink well tonight.
A chilly March wind is blowing towards the Mexican Army camp, and the troops are smelling the delightful aroma of cooking meat and baking bread. Having marched 1500 miles with little food, they are famished, and the wafting perfume is making them salivate like an old hound dog.
General Santa Anna and his officers are also smelling the same heavenly aroma and, having not much to eat in the past few days, scheme to get their hands on that meat and bread. Santa Anna sends a white flag rider with a note to the gates of the Alamo.
Standing in the courtyard, surrounded by a hundred plus fighters, Travis reads the letter, ” Dear Sirs and Scurrilous Rebels, on behalf of our large and overpowering Mexican Army and of course, myself, General Santa Anna, we would be willing to offer you a general surrender of sorts if you would share your delicious meat and bread with my troops. Looking forward to a good meal. Yours until death, General Santa Anna.”
The men, in unison, yell, “hell no,” we are not sharing our chow. Being a bit of a smart-ass, Travis then orders two 20 pound cannons to fire a rebuke into the Mexican camp.
The first cannonball destroys the Mexicans chuck wagon and what beans and flour the troops have left. The second cannonball blows up the cantina wagon, vaporizing numerous cases of tequila and wine. Now the officers and troops have no food and no hooch. Santa Anna is as mad as a rabid raccoon and screams, “that’s it boys, we are taking the mission pronto.”
The battle started that evening, and as we all know, it didn’t turn out well for the Texians. Veronica Baird survived the massacre and said that Angus Styles and Gustav Shiner fought off the advancing soldiers with carving knives, a keg tap, and her sizeable wooden baker’s Peel. They fought to their death.
As the women and children of the Alamo were escorted out of the mission, Veronica Baird spots Santa Anna, sitting on his black horse, about to take a bite from one of her Cinnamon rolls. She chunks a rock and knocks it out of his hand. His Great Dane dog, General Perro gobbles it down before it hits the ground. Sweet revenge.
She later wrote a book about the battle, and it sold pretty well here in Texas. Not only is the Alamo our sacred national treasure, but it was also the first BBQ joint in our state of Texas. Thank you, and I hope you enjoyed the story of my grandfather Angus dying at the Alamo.” And with that, Tex steps down and takes a seat next to his stunned father.
Life in the cactus patch has been a bit odd the past month. The spring rains assaulted us like an Indian typhoon. Our veggie garden, thanks to the downpours, is boarding on fantastic and the landscape plants are strutting their stuff like a drum major. I am down to my last two classes for my Master Gardener certificate from Texas A&M, and upon receiving that document, I will be a certified plant snob, ready to impress or offend everyone I come into contact with.
I can picture myself sporting an English tweed jacket, bucket hat and Wellingtons, patrolling Granbury’s historic neighborhood’s dispensing unsolicited advice to the horticulture-ally uneducated.
“Mam, you shouldn’t plant those Hollyhocks next to the roses, the two species harbor a great dislike for each other.” You get the picture. I will be insufferable.
“Good God, help me!” it’s been 66 days and no presser from Kamala Harris. Imagine, after every gentle question from her adoring group of reporters, she cackles like the lunatic she is, and that passes as an answer?
Over at HBO, Bill Mahar blast the liberal media for portraying Israel as the bad guys. I’m not a fan of his, but he shoots straight from his liberal hip and takes no hostages, and he’s not Jewish.
As if he couldn’t get any creepier, Sippy-Cup Joe, in front of a “live” audience at a military base, tells an 8 year old girl he likes the berets in her hair, and she looks like she is 19 sitting there with her legs crossed. What the hell? Can one of his handlers put duct-tape over his mouth.
Switching gears now: I caught a little cancer back in the spring of 2019. Summers are usually boring around here, so it gave me something to occupy my time. SBRT is a high dose radiation treatment from a robot that looks like a Star Wars toy. They stick all sorts of devices up your backside while strapped to a table; kind of like what Frankenstein experienced. I asked my oncologist if the radiation was good? He said ” oh man, it’s the best, right from Los Alamo’s labs and endorsed by Oppenheimer.” So I’m being radiated with the same stuff that built “the bomb?” Yeah baby! Two years down the road, I am cancer free, but now have to deal with the side effects of massive radiation damage to my bladder, prostate and urethra. Pissing a stream of blood like like a vampire for 4 months is not for girly men.
I haven’t had a haircut in seven months. Look at the money I have saved! In 1970, my hair was long, now in 2021, it’s longer than it was then. Bald guys look at me with disdain. They hate me.
It’s never too late to rebel against something. I’m 71 years old, I have earned the right. I’ll let you know when I figure out what my choice will be.
Last week, Texas passed a law that allows every man, woman, child and animal to freely carry a firearm. Children toting 22’s, dogs with an AR15 strapped to their harness and grandmothers wearing twin holsters filled with shining Colts. The streets of Laredo comes to mind. Imagine getting into a argument at H.E.B. with an old lady over the last loaf of rye bread, and she pops you with a chrome-plated 9 MM. This will add new meaning to the saying “Wild Wild West.” Granbury, my town, is installing a new sign on 377; ” Welcome to Granbury, Where history lives. Beer and Ammo next exit. Yeah man! God Bless Texas.
I’m considering starting my own YouTube channel. Why not? Everyone and their dog has one, even my eight-year-old Grandson. His channel is just starting so I am waiting to see what comical videos he post. That goofy little kid that makes videos playing with toys made 10 Million bucks last year, so Jaxson can make at least that much.
What to call it, that is the question. I could use the name of my blog; Notes From The Cactus Patch, but then it’s all writing and no videos. Who wants to read a story on YouTube? No one I know.
I’m an old dude, so I could hone in on that and make it about dealing with younger people working in retail and how they make me want to smack them, because they are ignorant, insolent and disrespectful. But then, that would make me an angry old man basically yelling “get off of my lawn you little shit.” That would give YouTube an excuse to cancel me, being their employees are all “wokies,” which is a word I made up to fit that particular sickness.
I am an artist, a painter to be exact, so I could put on my purple beret and a velvet cape and give painting lessons while speaking in a bad French accent. Now that might draw some viewers.
Gardening is my hobby, and takes most of my time these days, so I could broadcast from my garden giving tips while talking to the plants, killing bugs and fighting fungal diseases. Nothing is more educational than an old fart talking to a cucumber plant, pleading with it to grow some little veggies. On the other hand, my Tomato plants are quite informative and have told me to expect a bounty harvest in July. The Okra has yet to say one word. I think they are pissed off because I planted them too close to the Corn plants.
My hair is snow white these days, and about a month away from being able to put it in a Paul Revere And The Raiders pony-tail. It’s longer now than it was in 1970. Go figure that. I also played in a rock band up until 2019, so I could do guitar covers from my back-yard. Flay and jump like Pete Townsend with my garden in the backdrop. Of course my wife would be just off camera with an oxygen tank.That would certainly be entertaining. To my family, maybe.
I will mull this over for a while until the right formula grabs me, then you will be the first to know.
It will happen any day now. Zillions of them will crawl from their dirt bungalows, dust off their wings, slick back their hair and proceed to make us miserable with their obnoxious song. Cicada’s are Gods way of shaking his “no-no, you’ve been bad” finger at us.
In the 1950s, it seemed the little critters were everywhere in our Fort Worth neighborhood. Cats loved to eat them, dogs like to crunch them, and us kids captured them for fun. Tie a kite string on their leg and fly them around like a model airplane, and then blow them up with a Black Cat firecracker. Such fun. Nothing was quite as freaky as an angry Cicada buzzing in your hand.
One summer evening as the family sat in our back yard, drinking ice tea and listening to the buggy orchestra, I put my pet Cicada, “Little Buzzy,” down the back of my mothers shirt. No one in the family knew she was such an accomplished acrobat.
The educated experts say the insects appear in seventeen-year cycles, then die off and reappear seventeen years later. Who are these experts, and when did they start keeping track of the bugs appearances? What if a few miss the die-off, or stay too long in their hidey hole and mess up the entire show? That may explain why we heard them every summer in the 1950s; confused Cicada’s.
I’m looking forward to sitting on my patio, a nice tumbler of Irish whiskey in my paw, and listening to the sounds of my childhood.
Pictured here is my 17th cousin, Carmalita “Cookie” Zevon. In Texas, if we are unsure of our relations, everyone becomes a cousin. It’s a big state with a small gene pool.
In the fall of 1958, the first beatnik-style coffee house opened its door in Fort Worth Texas. Calling itself, “The Cellar,” I can assure you that Fort Worth did not welcome its presence or the caliber of inhabitants it attracted. Cousin Carmalita, who preferred the name Cookie, was a perfect fit and secured a gig as the first waitress at the new establishment.
Being 8 years younger, I and the other cousins had limited interaction during her teenage years, but I know from the sordid family stories and the “almost out of earshot whispers” that she was a real hellion of a girl.
Immersing herself in books by Kerouac and Ginsberg that glorified the new lifestyle created by the “beat generation,” Cookie began dressing in black tight-fitting clothing.
Waist-length black hair and a resemblance to a young Ava Gardner didn’t endear her to the Sandra Dee girls club at school, which resulted in a cliquish form of petulant bullying, so Cookie dropped out of Paschal High School at sixteen to live in sin with her next to worthless hoodlum boyfriend; a motorcycle riding teenage hubcap stealing thief from the north side of town. This decision resulted in her instant banishment from the family.
Polled by a phone-in family vote, she was christened the “little trollop.” Her name was not to be spoken at gatherings, and her mother requested all photographs containing images of Cookie be returned to her for proper disposal by fire. Her father, unable to watch her sweet sixteen birthday present, a Ford Fairlane convertible sit abandoned in his driveway, sold it to Frank Kent for next to nothing. The rebellious type was not tolerated well in the 1950s, especially in Texas, and our extended family.
The Cellar grew in popularity and crowds of the literary unwashed and self-appointed poets made it their rightious digs. High octane coffee and bad poetry create a tolerated misery for the sake of being cool.
Cookie grew tired of the bland poetry readings from ancient books and tried her hand at writing. Engulfed in her rebellion, and possessing a heart full of childish resentment, it didn’t take long for her to dish on everyone and everything she felt had “done her wrong.” Her parents were the main course in her cauldron of teenage hate. She petitioned the club owner to let her perform a personal poem about her life, and he agreed.
Saturday evening is reserved for the serious night dwelling “hip beats.” They convene and hold literary court to any who will listen. Mixed groups of the hairy educated gather around small tables arguing about poetry, politics, sex and the meaning of life. Old Crow adds the extra kick to the java. An occasional strange cigarette makes the rounds.
Cookie senses the time right and takes the stage cradling a cardboard box under her left arm and a large pair of sewing shears in her right hand. She sets the box on the floor next to a tall stool. Tears stream from her sad eyes, forming dark streams of melting mascara onto her peach pale cheeks. A tinsel thin string of snot drips from her left nostril resting on her upper lip catches the spotlight, bathing her face an ethereal glow. She gags a few times, composes herself and begins her poem.
Retrieving her favorite childhood doll baby from the box, she places the doll on the stool, produces a small meat-cleaver and beheads the poor toy. A gasp erupts from the crowd. Earlier, for maximum effect, she filled the doll’s plastic head with Heinz Ketchup and potted ham to simulate blood and brains. When the doll’s head is guillotined and bounces onto the table nearest the stage, the ketchup splattered patrons recoil in horror. A beautiful 8×10 glossy photo of her parents is pulled from the box and cut to shreds with the sewing shears. She produces a Girl Scout uniform and rips it to pieces, throwing the all American remnants of the uniform into the audience.
Cookie leans into the microphone, takes a drag from a Pall Mall, and in a low growl says ” I never liked dolls or toys, but you made me treat the little shits like real people. I fed them imaginary food, bathed them in imaginary water, changed their tiny poopless diapers, and dressed them in stupid clothes, and for that I hate you and I cut my hair.” With that statement, she grabs a chunk of her beautiful lady Godiva length hair and removes a large portion with the sewing shears. She continues ” I didn’t want to be a Bluebird, but no, I had to be like the other girls on our street, you know I don’t like the color blue, and for that, I hate you and I cut my hair.” Whack, another large section falls to the stage. ” you hate my boyfriend because he is a bad boy, and he is all that, but I love him and want to spend my life on the back of his ratty-ass motorcycle holding a nursing baby in each arm as we travel west to find the meaning of life.” She then whacks the left side of her hair to within inches of her scalp. The audience is on the verge of bolting, fearing her next move may be severing an artery and expiring in front of them. A voice from the back of the room yells “this chick is crazy.”
Cookie ends her act and exits the stage leaving a pile of black hair mixed with ketchup and photo paper. The crowd of poets and hip cats give her a lukewarm reception. This performance was too unhinged for the normally unshakable.
That performance at the Cellar that night was the debut of what would come to be known as “Performance Art.” Carmalita Cookie Zevon performed once more before she and her boyfriend and a nursing baby rode west on a ratty-ass motorcycle to find the meaning of life. We can assume they found something.
I wrote and published this story back in 2018. Any kid that has ever dressed up in a super hero costume can relate to my true experience. Thinking back to that time in the mid 1950s, I now realize my neighborhood buddies didn’t care if I died right there in front of them while attempting this stunt. We were all bullet-proof and somehow had nine lives. It was all about the show, as I soon found out.
Surfing Netflix and Amazon Prime a few nights ago, I was surprised how many movies feature superheroes. Sure, the two originals are there, Superman and Batman, but then there are at least a dozen others. Did I sleep through some cultural entertainment shift?
The original Superman television series premiered in 1952, and by 1953-54 every kid in my neighborhood pretended to fly while fighting for truth-justice-and the American way. The girls wanted to be Super Girls, but the boys wouldn’t allow it. Superman was a man’s man, so they had to settle for Lois Lane.
The family that possessed the largest television screen was the meeting point where the gang gathered to watch our hero. My Father purchased the largest black and white television available, 15 inches, so our den was the destination.
There he stood in his padded super suit, cape flapping in the wind, a steely look on his all-American face. What a man! Only years later did we notice the slight paunch, the double chin, and the bad teeth.
At Leonard Brothers department store in Fort Worth, you could purchase a genuine Superman cape for $4.00 or for $20.00, a kid could have the full outfit, which included a blue stretch top and tights, a red speedo, and super boots. The kids in our neighborhood couldn’t afford the suit, so they settled for whatever fabric they could find for a cape.
I was the lucky one. My Aunt Norma, a seamstress extraordinaire made me a custom-fit Superman suit. It was a beauty; dark blue stretchy top with little super muscles sewn in, blue tights with a red swimsuit, gold fabric covers to over my PF Flyer tennis shoes, and the bright red cape with the super “S.” I was in super heaven and the envy of all my pals. We immediately planned a flying demonstration, and I was the vehicle. Our home, the only two-story house on the block was the designated launch point.
After gathering in my den for our afternoon viewing of Superman, the gang rushed to our backyard, awaiting the flight. I sneaked upstairs, squeezed into my super suit, and slipped through a window onto the roof.
The usual gang of six had suddenly swelled to thirty or so kids of all ages. “How can I fly in front of strangers? What if the suit doesn’t work?” I was getting a severe case of “cold feet.”
The roof grew higher with every breath as I inched my way to the peak. Looking down to the yard, it may as well be the grand canyon. I was shaking like a wet dog, and a dribble of pee leaked down my leg. A kid in the crowd yelled, ” What’s wrong kid…chicken.” That did it. I was by-golly flying today.
I crossed myself and ran down the slope of the roof. A millisecond before launch, my Mother yells from the window, “don’t you dare do that.” It was too late. My six-year-old super legs launched me into thin air. I hear theme music, feel the air under my cape and below, my pals, a look of wonderment on their faces, cheer me on to super glory.
Instead of gaining height and accelerating to supersonic speed, I made it twenty feet or so then dropped straight down, landing in the midst of the admiring crowd. Our thick lawn saved me from certain paralysis.
My Mother was on me like a duck on a Junebug. Jerking me up by my super cape, she proceeds to whip my little butt with a flyswatter; the only weapon she could find. I was mortified; young Superman receiving a whooping from his super Mom. The crowd dispersed, leaving me sitting in the grass in my super shame.
The next morning; miraculously recovered, I am sent out to play with my pals. Walking through the back gate, I noticed a bit of my super cape hanging from under the garbage can lid. My super days are over.
Two weeks ago, John Payne, my friend of twenty years, and fellow bandmate was laid to rest. The last song was played, Happy Trails closed the show and JP has left the building.
Our story started two decades back when my old friend Danny Goode, and former bandmate from the 60s, called me after a thirty-year gap and wanted to have lunch.
The next day, over Whataburger’s, he asked me if I would be interested in playing with a rock band that he and two other friends had put together. I said I might be interested, but I didn’t own an electric guitar, an amp, a strap, or even a guitar pick and had not touched an instrument since 1990. He made a call on his cell, and after a brief muffled conversation, he told me everything was arranged. We were to meet at Jordan’s house on Saturday.
That Saturday, I met John Payne, lead guitar, and Jordan Welch, percussionist. John apologized for not having much time to put together the loaner equipment, and he hoped it would be alright. In my spot was a vintage Fender Twin Reverb amplifier with guitar picks and a cold beer sitting on top. The loaner guitar was a 1960s Gibson Les Paul. I told John that I think this gear would be more than adequate. I knew then, that John probably had more vintage gear than Guitar Center.
We played half a dozen songs, and I knew this grouping of four had something special. We all had been playing for decades and the musicianship was there. What was surprising, is our three-part harmonies. We sounded like the Ethel Murman Tabernacle Choir; it was borderline scary. We took a break and consumed a cold one to calm ourselves. We all sat in Jordan’s den, grinning like a Raccoon caught in a trash can.
The three amigos asked if I was in? Well hell yeah! I was then told there was a gig in North Richland Hills on Saturday night; be there at 7 sharp to set up. John said It was sort of a supper club and bar situation. And away we go.
Arriving at the “supper club,” I noticed the sign on the building read “Tuckers Catfish Café.” Okay, so it’s a seafood restaurant. After parking in the back, I give the secret squirrel knock on the rear door. A series of four or five deadbolts unlock the door parts, and I see Johns’ face peering through the door crack. He asked if I paid that guy holding the paper bag a few bucks to guard my car; if I didn’t, it would be wise to do so. So I did. The paper bag held a 40 oz Miller, and I paid the nice fellow five bucks.
It took a few minutes for my eyesight to adjust to the darkened conditions of the room, but I made out the obligatory small stage in the corner stacked with equipment, the wood parquet dance floor, a trash can full of dancing sawdust, a ceiling-mounted disco ball, shuffleboard, numerous vintage neon beer signs, and a cardboard streamer reading Happy New Year 1965. The place was also one living, breathing ashtray.
John comes over and says, ” well, what do you think of the place?” I should have been more diplomatic, but I blurted out, ” John, this place ain’t no supper club, it’s a beer-joint.”
John is smiling ear to ear, ” yeah, I know, ain’t it cool.” In a way, yes, it was cool. I hadn’t played in a beer joint in decades, so this would be my homecoming of sorts. John clearly dug the place to his bones.
The gig went much better than we expected, and the next few weeks were spent kicking around a name for this outfit. Finally, Jordan comes up with ‘The American Classics Band,’ taken from the brand of drumsticks he uses. Sounds good, everyone’s happy, and we become an official band.
That night, I had no idea what my time with these three amigos would bring, but I was up for the ride; and man was it a ride.
John requested that I call him JP. I did, and we eventually became good friends. He and I loved country and bluegrass music. Not the new stuff, but the classic 40s and 50s songs. We knew many of the same country pickers, and he was a fiddle player, like my father was, so the two of us had things in common, which carried over into the band’s dynamics.
We practiced every Thursday night for ten years, and became such a tight band that we read each others minds like little Yoda. There was not a song we couldn’t play or put our spin on.
Eventually, the practices became more about friendship and less about the playing. Sure, the music was always there, the bonding agent that kept us together, but many nights, there was more fellowship than picking. A bit of beer and some bourbon always appeared from a paper bag.
We helped each other through hardships; the death of a spouse, the death’s of two sons and other problems that happen in families, but the music and the friendships were always there, always strong and enduring.
Twenty years fly by, and Danny, Jordan and myself find ourselves without our friend John, and we know there will be no more music for us. It’s not in our bones, and somehow it wouldn’t seem right without John. We are old men now, all of us in our 70s, but we well remember when this ride for the four of us started, and how it has effected, and shaped our lives.