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, October 31, 2011

Are we scared yet?

Had the opportunity to attend three plays over the weekend in the McKinney and Frisco area. The common thread was my daughter and grand daughter.

The Bremon Town Musicians

You see, my grand daughter, Alison, the freshest electee to the student council from the 3rd grade at Ogle Elementary School, was the Cat in the Bremon Town Musicians—with lines to deliver you can bet. She did a marvelous job—no brag, just fact. The performance was a short little ditty—no more than 30 minutes—for the monthly PTA meeting. The ones in charge—you all know how controlling PTA types can be—dispensed with all proceedings excluding the financial report. PTAs may have to report on their finances at their monthly meetings; maybe something to do with the transparency in government. In any event their current treasury stood at a little over $20,000. I don’t remember Crockett Elementary, which I had the thrill of attending for some five of the longest years of my life, ever reaching a combined total of $20,000 over the complete range of my attending years. Finishing with the business, they went straight into the play.

In any event, the kids were just fantastic. Everybody enjoyed it very much. Of course the audience was made up of some of the most impartial critics walking the earth—fathers, mothers, grand dads and grand mothers. The brothers and sisters forced to sit through the performance may not have held the same esteem as the rest of us, but most—well, almost most—were well behaved. I can’t believe they got that many kids to memorize that many songs by someone other than Justin Bieber. Scanning the entire group as they sang I could not detect a slacker on any of the risers. I will report that the first narrator either knew her lines so well from an immense amount of practice or she is the third fastest reader in the free world—I could understand only maybe every fifth or sixth word—good thing I knew the Grimm’s classic by heart having performed it in one of my first grades, either in New Mexico or Montana; I can’t recall which.

My granddaughter was PERFECT! She was the hit of the show. You can ask her grand mother; you don’t have to take my word for it.

We hard trudged over to the school in the blinding rain and wind—only two blocks away, you can see it over the back fence of my Son-in-law’s and daughter’s back fence—we now had to quickly hike back home. Now trailing two quick stepping kids—we had managed to acquire my grand son Gavin just prior to the performance, he’s a kindergartener at the same school. I don’t care what the calendar says, winter had come to McKinney this very evening. Arriving at the house, we quickly traded out for dry jackets for the kids and reloaded to make our way to the high school for the next two performances.

Horror High

The ticket booth had already quit collecting money, so we found some seats—an almost completely packed theatre made this fairly difficult—as the show was already in progress. Every character from your worst memories was represented in the students attending the mythical high school: Nosferata, Gillman, Jacqueline Heidi, Larry Wolf, Carol Ann, Georgia, Claudia, Holly Goblin, Bigfoot, Blair Witch, Doctor Frankenstein, The Monster, the Invisible Girl (not enough male actors available, I’m guessing), Jim Ho-Tep (I probably misspelled this one badly.), Principal Reaper, Miss Medusa the vice-principal, and Coach Minotaur (the football coach Minos). I’ll leave it to you to connect the dots between the characters and their original movie role—see how many you can match up.

Gavin got into the play on Saturday

The lines in the play were some of the lamest I have ever come across in my play-watching career, but the kids seemed to be having a good time and that’s all that counts, especially on opening night and the first performance of the year. This attempt would have challenged Yellowbeard (the movie) for it’s current position on my all time favorites list. The impression that I got from my daughter, Stephanie, was that she was not a bit satisfied with the performance. But, ya gotta start somewhere.

Alison is the cute one in the center!

You might have guessed that the play was all about love: the Blair Witch and Doctor Frankenstein, the Monster, Larry Wolf and Nosferata—their parents actually don’t want them together—you realize how well werewolves and vampires get along. , Bigfoot and Georgia (Braineater girl zombie), Jacqueline Heidi and Gillman,—it just goes on and on—love was everywhere and it all worked out at the end.

During the intermission, Gavin and I got us some popcorn and the extremely abbreviated concession table in the hall outside the theatre.

Night of the Living Dead

The lights soon dimmed and we were quickly into our third play of the night—another zombie filled thriller. Steph did use some nifty effects to help tell the story and I was impressed with one specifically. They had a tech guy sitting in front of the stage proper that projected the TV news leads up on the wall in front stage right in black and white.  I thought it was very effective, even though you knew that the videos were pre-recorded—at least you thought you knew.

After the first three or four killings my grand daughter appeared in a scene. She was sick and being comforted by her parents. You surely remember that the dead were brought back to life by a huge release of radiation from outer space. The stress of the daughter’s (Karen, actually my grand daughter Alison: I can’t say that enough) illness heightens the need to get to help before she expires and is effected by the radiation also. The cast keeps killing one-another as quickly as possible but never having to leave the stage—just to lie there motionless in full view of the audience. Keeping still for an extended period of time is tough for a kid; but for a teenager, I am sure they just took another nap.

The story continues and more deaths take place and Karen (my grand daughter—see how I worked that back in again) continues to grow worse and worse. Of course she is lying on the couch center stage and twisting and turning and feeling worse as time goes on. The sympathy of the situation has all our heart strings so tight that one could not believe. Still more deaths!

About this point in the proceedings, Gavin fell asleep in my lap. It had been a long day for a kindergartener. I still managed to watch the carnage taking place on the stage only three rows from my seat.

Miraculously, Karen (Alison) has expired, has now left the couch and is eating her own dad’s brains right in front of us all. From her dad she turns and takes out her grieving mother—what has my daughter done to my grand daughter?—how will she ever recover from this scaring? It’s so unbelievable, I can not imagine the results and the thoughts running through my grand daughter’s mind.

Alison about ready to expire!

All of a sudden, we are greeted with the curtain—an opportunity I had been wishing for some time now.

Quickly out to the parking lot and on our way to my son’s house in Forney to watch the end of Game 6 of the World Series. Patsy (my wife) sent him a text to stop watching at the seventh inning stretch and go no further so I can watch the ending with him. I’m hurrying now through north Dallas traffic in a pouring rain shower—are we there yet?

Actually both plays were much better on Saturday Afternoon. Have you seen any good young actors in plays yourself lately?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Considering adoption

Night before last, I was struggling to stay awake—way past my normal bedtime—to watch the outcome of the St. Louis Cardinals and Milwaukee Brewers baseball game. The National Pennant and a trip to the World Series was on the line for the Cardinals, if they could remain ahead and take the NLCS at 4 to 2 games. It was getting tougher as every pitch seemed to take the game deeper into the night. Both teams were scoring runs and pitching changes were coming every inning. Man! I didn’t ,think I was agonna make it to the end.

My wife, Patsy, decided to knuckle under at the end of the 5th inning with the Cards up by a score of 11 to 6. She went upstairs to bed to read for a while and doze off when the occasion seemed right. I, on the other hand, felt that the occasion was right to watch the game until the end—why start if you’re not gonna finish?

Both teams seemed determined, as they should have been, to score as many runs as they could and stretch the end out as far as possible into the Milwaukee evening. I don’t begrudge them that—that’s as it should be.

No more runs but still pitching changes came over the next half inning. After singing God Bless America and taking his 7th inning stretch, Little Gus ambled his way upstairs. He likes to be on his pallet at 10 PM sharp—if he’s up much later, he is impossible to deal with the next day.

I really didn’t like it when Gus deserted, but Otis was still downstairs with me and looked to be in it for the long haul. He understands the game pretty good—well, he understands the going to get the ball part, but isn’t very obliging with the handing it over after the fact part. But, he was at least still on the same level of the house with me.

The last of the 7th came and went. The 8th started and Otis was still awake and watching intently. The Cardinals added another run, making it now 12 to 6—I thought at he time that would keep Otis enthused. I did see him nod a couple of time in the bottom of the 8th, but there he stayed.

I’m not sure if Oti heard something from the second floor or not, but after the commercial break and just as the Cardinal 9th started, he lopped off and disappeared upstairs—not to return that evening.

The loss of my last compadre really ticked me off. But, there I sat—six outs away from the World Series. If the Cards could just stop scoring; maybe it could be over quick.

An out here and an out there and the Cards were down to the bottom of the 9th and still leading 12 to 6. Just three more outs—but still closing in on 11 PM. It was becoming harder and harder to remain awake and fully cognizant of what was taking place. I was trying hard to do so even as alone as I felt—I just had to sit through three more outs. Every pitch seemed to drag on and on.

Then quicker than you can say: “All alone am I, ever since your goodbye,” it was over. I looked around for somebody to celebrate with and again realized that “All alone am I, ever since your goodbye.” What a downer!

I watched just the slightest bit of the jumping around on the field, turned the TV off and made my own way upstairs.

Did anyone welcome me into the bedroom. Patsy and Little Gus did not even move a muscle. Little Otis raised up onto his front feet and stared just the slightest. I told him to lay back down and he quickly did—usually he gives me some teenager-like guff, but not this time—he just looked the part of the tired puppy.

What disappoints me is that I was left behind, deserted—all by myself—to watch my favorite team in all of professional sports to win their way into the World Series all by myself. That’s right deserted—left all by myself.

 Little Gus
(2 & ½ years, 37 lbs, almost-male )
Loves: Me, neck rubs and children (especially those his height)
Believes: Squirrels can be caught
Terrified of: rides in a vehicle

 Little Otis
(just barely over 1 year, 40 lbs, almost-male)
Loves: Me, the day and the night
Believes: the world is his toy
Terrified of: Garbage trucks
It is for this reason alone that I am strongly considering putting up for adoption two of the best friends I have. I can’t count Patsy in this offer because she says I can’t. But if I could, it would be my three best friends. Any takers?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

UPDATE - useless devices from the backyard

After the rains this pas Saturday—I’m guessing that was what we received; hadn’t seen anything like it in several months—and after the water level in the backyard had resided, the pups and I ventured out back there to determine if we needed to apply for some form of federal disaster aid—a tough choice to make; there’s just so many different categories and so much money to choose from.

While out there, I thought I might take a look and see how those useless devices I reported on last month had weathered the storm. The most of them fared pretty well—no federal aid money to be made there unless I can come up with some sort of  natural disaster failure to remove backyard clutter—I probably oughta look and see if I can find a federal agency that specifically handles problems of this nature. I’m sure the Democrats have one; it’s just a matter of finding the agency.

Well, at any rate, in my final check, the last device I came across seemed to have taken on a task of its own. I’m still not sure that my assessment of its ability to function as a spider trap—not with the amount of liquid it had managed to store up. No self-respectin’ spider is gonna get itself caught in that mess.

This sent me to wondering again—maybe my original idea was completely off point. What could it be?

Puttin’ the ole grey matter in gear, I began to ponder:

  • Maybe it’s a substitute bird watering hole

  • Could it be a mosquiter breedin’ device—that seemed fairly plausible

  • How about a knat swimmin’ pool

I wasn’t getting anywhere; all good ideas, but they just didn’t seem to be the solution.

Standing there while I crunched the brain cells, it began to dawn on me that I was closing in on real trouble. The pups had continued there quest of backyard relief—they’d been cooped up for some time and not allowed out. As they churned up the mud and what little grass remains, I realized that my wife wasn’t gonna let them back inside without some form of cleaning, washing, or scrubbing. They were beginning to look pretty bad; Gus not so much—he doesn’t like to get wet for any reason; but Otis is another matter entirely. He has no fear of  water unless it’s in the form of a bath. Otis will get as dirty as dirty will comply with his need, desires or devious humor.

I knew I was gonna be in as much trouble as they would soon be.

That’s when it dawned on me. The device in question was one of the most ingenuous device ever invented by man to keep man outta trouble.  Its entire purpose seems to be to alert man—prior to ever venturing out the back door—to the mud level in the immediate area of his intended roaming. I’m thinkin’ bout getting one for the front yard as soon as Home Depot opens up.