Recently posted quotes:

"There is no distinctly American criminal class - except Congress." Mark Twain (1835-1910)

“Be thankful we're not getting all the government we're paying for.” -Will Rogers (1879-1935)

"Stability in government is essential to national character and to the advantages annexed to it." -James Madison (1751-1836)

"Liberty must at all hazards be supported." -John Adams (1735-1826)

Monday, January 31, 2011

It’s SAD, just SAD! - 31 Jan 11

As the Middle East continues to erupt in bullets, flames and mobs of thugs roam the streets proving that the world in some areas is still just as backwards as it always has been; we sit in our homes and have a new disorder to consume our worry.

You may have never heard of it. I hadn’t until this very morning – it’s SAD. Yah, that’s right; it’s SAD. That’s SAD as in Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). I thought it was bad (sad) enough when we just had to worry about cabin fever. Now I find that I can develop a disorder called SAD. I was feeling pretty good up until I heard this on the CBS Early Show. Shoot! They even described what it was, how it effected me and what I could do about it.

The first symptom to watch out for is worry. What, me worry? I don’t worry. There’s far too many others worrying for me to have to take up that mantra. I’ll just leave it to them. So I’ll just move on; looks like I may be able to dodge this after all.

Then they hit me right where I live. Sleep! Come to find out a guy just might be getting too much sleep. I had been working toward the other direction – trying to get more. Now I learn I might need to cut back. Probably will have to stop taking that mid-morning and mid-afternoon nap. I may even have to go back to watching the 10 o’clock news to counteract the early to bed–Franklinism I had been working on. Whoa, getting too much sleep; what’ll they get me for next?

Oh yah, that’s it. They never think I’m getting enough exercise. They always come after you on that exercise gambit; don’t they? I always said: “Never trust anybody named They!” Well, what am I gonna do to get more exercise. I guess I’ll have to fill in some of that sleep time I giving back with some sort of exercise; but what’ll it be? I’m already going on what amounts to a forced march with Little Gus and Little Otis every morning. Those two try to walk me to death every morning of the world. Maybe I’ll take up some of that stationary exercising, it’ll probably help. Of course there’s always those forms of mental exercising; I’m gonna be awake anyway – might as well keep the ole mind in gear.

Finally the gal on the Early Show said that if one has a routine that it would be best to break it up. My routine was pretty full as it was. I moved straight from the bed first thing in the morning to the breakfast table where I consumed a hearty bowl of raisin bran with blue berries and 2% milk. Next I get the wife off to her work; don’t want her to arrive late and get her pay docked. I move quickly to the couch, turn on the Early Show and read the entire newspaper. Before I know it, both pups are nagging me to start that forced march I mentioned earlier.

I get those guys around the block, give them a biscuit, put them into PupLand and go to check my email. Ya gotta keep up with what’s going on around you. Just as soon as email has been handled, I am off to that mid-morning nap. Just as soon as the noon whistle goes off, I am after that bologna and cheese sandwich – man, a full morning. The afternoon is somewhat a repeat of the morning.

So now I am fairly confused. If I substitute some mind exercise for the naps; am I not in just about the same routine I was in before I started getting well (or un-SAD)? How have I helped my situation?

I decided to put some effort into checking further into what I could do. I went to the net. There’s gotta be some good advice out there. As I start with a yahoo homepage, that’s where I began – yahoo health ( I wasn’t sure they helped at all. I sure don’t feel lethargic. I can get me a fresh glass of iced tea at the drop of a hat; just don’t ask me to bend over and retrieve that hat. I don’t feel any social withdrawal; in fact I could use just a slight cutback in my social life. I had already planned on doing just that and increasing my sleep schedule – now I have to chunk that idea.

Wikipedia was my next stop ( These guys tried to feed me the line that this disorder comes with the change of seasons – what a bunch of bull. If I got it, I got it all year round. I’m not falling for this change of seasons malarkey. This site did mention some (maybe) worthwhile treatments that yahoo hadn’t brought up. I’m gonna look into light therapy, cognitive-behavior therapy and something called ionized-air administration – that’s gotta be good for ya. I’m pretty sure that I’m gonna stay far away from that “carefully timed supplementation of the hormone melatonin” – that just doesn’t sound like me at all.

Just to be sure I hadn’t stumbled on a bunch of quacks on the first two sites, I found another, more classy site – the Mayo Clinic ( These guys gave me a definition and sent me on my way.

I think I’ll stay with my current self-diagnosis and just try to get me some more sleep and hope the seasons get their act together.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Voter ID bill - Texas Legislature - 25 Jan 11

I took some time yesterday to go down to the capitol to sit in on the Texas Senate debate of the Voter ID bill (SB 14). Initially it was scheduled to start at 1330 but they were still resolutioning and recognizing Texas Wounded Warriors (this is Wounded Warrior Week evidently, I didn’t even know there was one). It seemed as though every Senator had a constituent from their district that needed to be recognized; all of them very deserving soldiers and former soldiers. The recognition took quite some time as therefore the Senate debate didn’t start until much later than advertised. Besides the wounded; the county holding Garner State Park and the Tigers de Sur, a mariachi band from Laredo’s Martin High School, were also recognized – they had performed earlier in the rotunda – good lookin’ bunch of kids.

Eventually they got to it, well almost. The members spent the rest of the afternoon discussing the rules to be adhered to under the “Committee of the Whole” procedure. The same discussion took place two years ago when the same question was addressed by the Senate – later to die and not become law. I heard some of the exact same questions asked by the exact same Senators – wouldn’t ya know it? – nothin’ ever changes much down there. Having spent the afternoon and not even debating the first line of the bill, they adjourned for the day. This is probably a good thing. Two years ago the Senate went through the night and well into the next day ; hearing testimony, observing exhibits and generally getting nowhere.

Of particular note: there still hasn’t been found to be any evidence of significant voter fraud anywhere in Texas – I imagine Duvall County might have been looked at very closely. An Austin American-Statesman editorial, running 25 Jan 11, stated:” And there is no evidence to support that there has been an outbreak of it (voter fraud) either now or in the immediate past.” The State AG has prosecuted 26 minor cases of which some 18 involved proper handling.

The Statesman editorial went on further to state: “When a similar bill was proposed in the 2009 session, the actual costs of implementing the law never were fully established.” This remains the case today.

Watching the debate from home (, Senator Troy Fraser (R-Horseshoe Bay) was again ask the question on costs; both actual and hidden. His answer was that they “hoped to use the HAVA funds.” HAVA funds are federal funds for “Help Americans Vote Act (signed into law by President Bush in October of 2002).” When pressed on the use Sen. Fraser didn’t know if the funds could really be used for this purpose or not – it would be “better to ask the Secretary of State that question.” The question of training funds was the next challenge – Sen. Fraser had no good answer for this question either.

The question of legal challenges arose it’s ugly head and Sen. Fraser stated that he didn’t see any reason that “the legislation would be challenged.” When pressed on the subject – more than the majority of other states with such laws have been sued in the legal system. Sen. Fraser didn’t seem to see Texas having that problem – a dream world exists in the minds of many.

Pressing the question of training Senator Judith Zaffirini (D-Laredo) and a member of the Finance Committee entered an exhibit into evidence – a blown up photo of a actual Texas Driver’s License and ask if the members could recognize the individual pictured. She gave them time as all looked around. Giving them clue after clue – a very recognizable figure known to them all – the members still not one seemed to recognize the picture. Finally Sen. Zaffirini identified the holder to be her Chief of Staff who had been sitting right beside her the entire afternoon. She then proposed that just maybe the driver’s license might not be the appropriate document to use for identification. Chuckles all around.

My best guess is that is one more try by the Republican majority to highjack the Legislature. They have a majority in both houses and if wanting to do so; this legislation will surely pass. I routinely vote Republican and side with these guys; most of the time. The Governor having made Voter ID a fast track issue has almost assured that it will receive favorable consideration. The Gov has also given sonograms as a condition of abortion an emergency legislation designation. I for one feel that anything that detracts from Fixin’ the Budget is a complete waste of time and an attempt to highjack the current session – maybe its all just headline grabbing and we shouldn’t care! Make up your own mind.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Arizona Shooting speculation - 21 Jan 11

Some of the commentary currently taking place almost exactly duplicates what I have been saying all along. Do not get me wrong! I am completely for Americans keeping and baring arms. I believe the Second Amendment to be completely clear on the subject and that the framers of the Constitution meant exactly that – it is our right.

Having said that, my experience has fully taught me that those not trained AND full time experienced in the appropriate response to situations like that that took place in Tucson, AZ have no business caring a concealed weapon and acting as the law and order in like situations.

All situations not being equal, this time the answer was citizens with their bare hands. No one or multiple individuals could have stopped the rapid fire occurrence that took place – it was over in a matter of seconds. Joe Zamudio was almost the culprit in what was soon to be a much worse tragedy – had it not been for the other unarmed citizens that “yelled that he had the wrong guy” there just might possibly been more than six dead – it was just that close. The fact that Joe has a gun and was ready made absolutely no difference whatsoever. His training “working at his mother’s art gallery” did not come into play.

For those that don’t know who Joe Zamudio is, he is just a guy that had just bought a pack of smokes in the Walgreens and upon leaving the store herd gunshots ring out. Joe hauled himself over to the Safeway with gun in hand, ready to do his duty. Joe went after the wrong guy; after all Joe works in his mother’s art gallery and is not a trained first responder. Joe almost shot the wrong guy; a hero doing his best trying to hold down the real perpetrator. Waving a gun around might had made Joe the second gunman feared to be involved at the onset. Joe, another hero, just might himself have been shot by another first responder. Had the events speculated actually took place the tragedy that took place in Tucson doubly tragic.

I take the details of Joe’s actions and situation from a commentary published in the Denver Post (Close Call at the OK Corral) and authored by Mike Littwin, dated 19 Jan 2011.

I don’t have the answers to what we need to do. I do believe there are two areas where we need to do better. First, those individuals identified with mental trouble need to be identified and prevented from purchasing any sort of firearm. Second, assault type rifles have no business in the hands of civilians; it was a mistake to ever allow this to become the norm. There is absolutely no need for anybody outside of the military and law enforcement to have this capability. BUT, how do you turn back the hands on the clock? This is the conundrum that we face – but face it we must.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Huckleberry Finn and the N-word – 11 Jan 11

There exists so much good, and even great literature, out there and so little time to read it The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn may just be the ONE book I deem worthy of re-reading – the only one.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is actually, because of the purge for political correctness (PC) history that you can no longer find in our educational history books. It would be a shame for this to disappear.

The N-word is something I grew up with and heard daily. Thankfully, I can now say that I almost never hear it anymore. There will always be those that can’t let go; even though they actually have no real connection to that old world – they just think and live in a ferry tale world that exists only in their mind and unfortunately the minds of their closest acquaintances.

It amazes me that anyone would have the gall to filter for PC reasons what has been widely called the greatest American novel.

I very seldom agree with Leonard Pitts, Jr. of The Miami Herald but this time I am right beside him. Mr. Pitts says: “Huck Finn is a funny, subversive story about a runaway white boy who comes to locate the humanity in a runaway black man and, in the process, vindicates his own. It has always, until now, been regarded as a timeless tale.” (Published: 7:24 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 8, 2011)

If one’s mind (and sometimes ears) are so delicate they just might ought to stay inside, lock and bolt their shutters.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Billy the Kid and Lincoln County, NM - 05 Jan 10

Did the article reporting the NO-Pardon for Billy the Kid bring back memories of your miss-spent youth? Boy, it did for me.

Were you a six gun packing hombre that actually was the fastest draw on your block – and maybe several blocks in any direction?

Did you get that Christmas issue of the old Sears & Roebuck catalog and turn down the corners of the pages with STUFF you wanted ole St. Nick to bring you? Did you go back to it everyday and re-look just to make sure you hadn’t missed something that was better than what you had already marked – maybe several times the same day; I know I did? (Notice the cost on the Monopoly game.)

Was there anything that got in the way of your evening viewing pleasure on the seven nights a week that had Cowboy TV shows in the lineup?

Could you ride a stick horse faster and further than anybody on your range (block)? Maybe you even made the transition to the round wheel devices as you aged just a bit – but still packed a six gun on your hip.

I often long for those simpler days of old.

Let me ask you this? Have you ever been to Lincoln County, New Mexico? Well, it’s not hard to find – down there in the south-east part of the state.

Just a few years back, my wife and I spent a time-share week in Ruidoso, just the next county over from Lincoln. I bet you have already guessed where this is going. I just had to see where it all took place.

Our first jaunt after arriving and getting the nightly visit from the local black bear and a good night’s sleep, we were on our way to Lincoln County.

The first evidence we came across was a road side marker commemorating the spot where John Henry Tunstall was gunned down.

Soon we were in the spot where it all took place. Driving down the main street (the only street by-the-way) you had the feeling you were naked – you had forgot your six shooter – how could any self respecting gun slinger manage to get away from home without his six shooter?

There on the left was the Lincoln County Courthouse and jail. I had to see. We sauntered on in and climbed the steps (bullet holes in the wall marking the exact spot where Billy had missed -one of the few times it must have happened) on our way up to the courtroom where the trial took place. You could feel the lead aflyin’ all around ya!

Walking around, we took in the Arsenal, the General Store, a couple of residences – there aren’t many left standing and finally the Church.

I spent some time diligently lookin’ for misspent lead in the surrounding area – no luck.

We didn’t miss a thing – at least I didn’t – always on my guard watchin’ for some trigger happy back-shooter. No low down scoundrel was gonna get the drop on me. I just kept wishing I hadn’t left my Fanner 50 back home!

Quick as a hiccup it was over. I was back in modern time, much to my dismay and back on the road to search out Fort Stanton (1855 – 1896) just up the highway. I didn’t need a six shooter there – the Army pulled out a long time ago.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

02 Jan 2011 - Dutch’s Birthday

My brother called and left a message while I was out getting groceries this morning. I had remembered that it was my dad’s birthday but exactly which birthday hadn’t actually dawned on me. Dutch has been gone since Jul of 1993. He is missed by many. He was different from most anybody else I ever knew – I guess most dads are when you think about it. To those that knew Dutch, he was just about the best friend a person could have – especially when you needed a good one.

What my brother reminded me was that today wasn’t just Dutch’s birthday; it was his 100th birthday. I guess also that to most, things like this have a way of sneaking up on us. At leastwise it did with me. One hundred years ago, my dad was born – think about that; one hundred years. This set my mind to wandering.

Dutch had practically lived a whole lifetime – thirty-seven years (life expectancy @55) by the time I was born; both my younger brother and I came late in life to my Mom and Dad. He is one of the greatest generation having survived the Great Depression and World War II; although he didn’t fight in the war – age and occupation (oil exploration industry) – he contributed in many ways. Dutch never finished school; actually only attending to some point in the fifth grade. He was at the same time the smartest man I ever knew and reaching the age I am currently and having a breadth of work behind me that I have; I can tell you this is a range of acquaintances that is matched by very few. He wasn’t the most intelligent; smart is rated on a different scale. Dutch was common smart; there wasn’t anything he couldn’t do if he set his mind to it. That I will always respect

Dutch (very early)

Let me just see if I can do Dutch justice by remembering just what he did for me:

While not an athlete, he did teach me how to play pitch and catch – baseball was always his favorite

Dutch taught me how to teardown and rebuild a drilling rig mud pump

Dutch taught me how to plow a somewhat straight furrow (using an old plow he had traded for and the wench on the water-truck

Dutch taught me, when I was about 10, how to get up early and put in a hard day’s work on the drilling rig, later on a water well pump teardown and repair rig

Dutch also very early - after long day in the field

Dutch taught me how to mow the lawn and earn a little spending money come summertime in the neighborhood; very little spending money in the late 50s and early 60s

Dutch along with my grandfather Grover and a guy that worked for Dutch named Charles Dean taught me how to drive a water-truck 1st, a drilling rig 2nd and then finally an automobile ; even later a bull dozer and a tractor

Dutch taught me how to ride a horse and take care of cattle, sheep, goats, chickens, guineas, turkeys and ducks

Dutch - clowning around on a Saturday in the '30s

Dutch taught me how to milk early (real early) in the morning and again just about evening time

Dutch gave me my first REAL job roughneckin’ when I was 16, even though he had used my free labor time and time again from the time I was 10 until then

Dutch convinced me that I NEEDED to go to college and that I NEEDED to stay in college when it looked like college just wasn’t really for me

Dutch and Anne (my Mom)

Dutch taught me integrity and nothin’ was more important than your word or having a friend

Later in life when I returned as my own man with my own family and Dutch needed my help to “go to town” for whatever, we would often have to stop at many other places along our route because Dutch NEEDED to go in and see a friend he hadn’t been able to get around to for some time. He had so many friends there was never enough time; we just did our best.

I know there is more and I could probably go on forever but I think I will stop here. You can make your own list and include the “whatevers” you see fit to include.

Dutch as I remember him best

As my cousin James Howard replied when I ask if he realized it was my dad’s birthday: “No, but Dutch would have liked being around today!” I am sure he would have really enjoyed 100 candles, you can bet.