Thursday, May 31, 2007

Paradigm Shift

It takes many generations to effect a fundamental shift in attitudes. How can we expect Russia to make the leap to a modern state in the few short years since the collapse of the Soviet Union?

May 31, 7:51 PM EDT

Rice: Russian Attitudes Locked in Past

By ANNE GEARAN AP Diplomatic Writer

POTSDAM, Germany (AP) -- Russian attitudes are locked in the past, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Thursday, adding that the United States is perplexed by the current fracas with Russia over a planned U.S. missile system in Europe.
"We want a 21st Century partnership with Russia, but at times, Russia seems to think and act in the zero-sum terms of another era," Rice said, referring to the suspicions and territorial ambitions of the Cold War....(complete article here)


How can we expect
A complete paradigm shift
In less than a generation?
The leaders of Russia
Grew up in a time
Of a completely Communist nation.

It is much like Iraq
Where we think we can take
The people out of the dark ages
And in a few years
Change their total thought system
To that of Democracy's sages.

One of the failures
Of our electoral system
Is that of lost continuity.
For the gains that are made
Under one administration,
Post election fall in obscurity.

So we rush to accomplish
In one or two terms
What should span many more years.
'Cause unlike a dictator
Our view is short sighted
And based on our most recent fears.

However, I don't think
We should trade what we have
For some other system of rule.
The alternatives there
Leave much more for desire
And to change would make us the fool.

In spite of the flaws
What we have is the best
System devised by man.
If you doubt then you're free
To pick up and move
To Russia, Iraq, or Sudan.


Yesterday and last night -- and then again this morning -- I had the opportunity to meet with a number of old friends and acquaintances in my industry. Some were customers, some former customers, some former co-workers, and some former competitors. Many of them are about my age. I am amazed at the similarities in the life-places that we find ourselves in. The level of job, industry and inner turmoil is somewhat unsettling if for no other reason than the number of people that are experiencing the same things.

It's as though we are going through a changing of the guard. The values that those of my approximate age hold, were formed in a time that was very different than what the younger "kids" in the industry experienced. These younger individuals are now moving into positions of authority and responsibility in which their different value sets become evident simply because of their position. Many in my age group "don't fit" anymore. It is as though the world changed around us and we suddenly find ourselves trying to discover where we fit. That is a difficult position to face after years of knowing your place and where you were going.

I sense that we are being prepared for something. I know that sounds a bit mystical, but the current level of global turmoil hints at vast changes in the world as we know it that will have tremendous impact on all life. I'm not talking about global warming -- it goes much deeper than that. It is the beginning of labor that precedes the birthing pains of what is to come.

"Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains." -- Matthew 24:7-8

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Quack, Quack, Quack!!

If it walks like a duck...

We Are All in It Together, Clinton Says
Tuesday May 29, 4:41 pm ET
By Holly Ramer, Associated Press Writer

Clinton: Shared Prosperity Should Replace 'On Your Own' Society

MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) -- Presidential hopeful Hillary Rodham Clinton outlined a broad economic vision Tuesday, saying it's time to replace an "on your own" society with one based on shared responsibility and prosperity.

The Democratic senator said what the Bush administration touts as an ownership society really is an "on your own" society that has widened the gap between rich and poor.

"I prefer a 'we're all in it together' society," she said. "I believe our government can once again work for all Americans. It can promote the great American tradition of opportunity for all and special privileges for none."

That means pairing growth with fairness, she said, to ensure....(for complete article click here)


In an appeal to those who struggle
With the concept of achievement
Through personal effort and responsibility
The liberality of the government
Is the answer given by the candidate.

Why is it that socialism holds such strong appeal
To the self-styled intellectual few
Who spend their lives living from the public dole
As politicians with a leftward view
Rather than earning an honest living?

It isn't as though they themselves are suffering
From poverty or discrimination.
In fact they are often wealthy from their
Fleecing of the people of this nation
By manipulating the power of their positions of trust.

Perhaps that is the reason for their economic theory.
By placing greater control of the wealth of our nation
In the hands of bureaucratic bumblers it is easier
For their skillful skimming inclination
To be exercised upon the people.

An Army of Bloggers

My wife's sister, mother and grandmother all have had bouts with cancer. I am happy to support the efforts of An Army of Bloggers in the fight against cancer. G.M. Roper is leading the way with his efforts. Please follow the link to his post. Below is an excerpt:

"Cancer is no respecter of race, religion, social status, income or profession.
It is an insidious disease that robs people of a quality of life and too often,
of life itself. This blog has one purpose, and one purpose only, to enroll as
many bloggers in An Army Of Bloggers as possible and to encourage them to make
an annual contribution to fighting cancer...."

Monday, May 28, 2007

Just Another Day

On this day that we set aside to honor those who have given their life for our country, I feel it is also appropriate to give thought and prayer for those who are today defending our freedoms. It is with that in mind that I offer the following to our heroes serving in Iraq.

Hangs palpably
In the Humvee.

Fills the air
As they stare

With caution
At the eye
Of passersby.

As the crowd
Screams out loud.

Lights their way;
It is another day

In Fallujah.

A Better Breed of Men

"War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself."
_____ John Stuart Mill

From every corner of our nation
Have come a special breed
Who placed above themselves
Their country's deepest need.
They fought for all our freedom
In answer to the call;
Many of them came back home
But some came not at all.
It is to these brave soldiers
This day is set aside;
They are a better breed of men
Who for us have died.

Sunday, May 27, 2007


I've dug through heaps of paper
And looked in every drawer
For the one thing that escapes me
That I am looking for.

I know I put it somewhere;
Where that was, I can't recall,
So I dig and dig and look and look
Until I've found it all
Except what I am looking for.

I thought I had things organized,
In folders nice and straight
Where I could go right to it
But now it's getting late
And there's piles of things I thought I'd lost
But not what I am looking for.

So, one more time I go right back
To start my search again
In the place that I started;
The book I knew I'd put it in
And what do you know --
It's right there where I put it;
What I was looking for!

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Hillbilly White Trash: Memorial Day

Hillbilly White Trash: Memorial Day

Worth special attention.

Well Duh!!

Imagine that!

Venezuelans march against closure of TV station

Sat May 26, 2007 2:33PM EDT

By Brian Ellsworth
CARACAS (Reuters) - Tens of thousands of Venezuelan protesters marched on Saturday to the Caracas headquarters of an anti-government television station, which is being forced off the air after President Hugo Chavez's administration refused to renew its broadcasting license.
Waving flags with the logo of RCTV, demonstrators packed the streets ....

...Critics condemned the closure for silencing an influential opposition voice and called the move evidence that Chavez's self-styled socialist revolution is concentrating power and muzzling the opposition....


What did they really think would happen?


This morning was beautiful as I rose early to a temperature around 50 degrees. There was light rain during the night and the air is clear, cool and moist. The pastures are green with flowers peeking everywhere; the wheat is heavy with grain before the ripening; the corn is quickly growing and there are cattle belly-deep in grass almost everywhere I turn. This to me, is the most beautiful time of year in the Texas Panhandle.

The morning mists
Are darkened shadows
Hanging in the dips
And valleys of the Plains
Which stretch onward
For miles in all directions
From my vantage on
The high flat ground.
The meadowlark's
Twee-phut-weee trills
In the otherwise silent
Coolness of the day
Before the common stirring

Friday, May 25, 2007

Trivialities and Nonsense

It used to be that I could hardly stand Al Gore -- now I still can't stand him but I think he's hilarious...

Al Gore slams 'trivialities and nonsense' in news media

May 25 05:03 PM US/Eastern

Former US vice president Al Gore on Friday criticized the "trivialities and nonsense" of celebrity gossip in the media and called on people to focus instead on issues like Iraq and climate change....

...He lamented what he described as the "destruction of the boundary between news and entertainment"....

...recently nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for his work in drawing attention to climate change....

The climate is a changing,
There's little doubt of that.
And there's lots of speculation
That Al will toss his hat
Into the race for President.
I doubt that is his goal;
His eye's on something bigger
To satisfy his soul.

He sees himself as savior
Of this place we call the earth.
And if we'll only worship him
It'll increase his net worth.
We must focus on his every word
'Cause it will serve him well;
And maybe even win him
The Peace Prize by Nobel.

But that's not all he's after.
He wants Hillary to win
So that she can name him
Ambassador to the UN
Where he will guide the nations
Through the future suffering
Until they bow before him
And proclaim him their king.

"You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time." ___ Abraham Lincoln

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Calculating Voters

Very calculated...

Clinton, Obama vote 'no' on Iraq bill

By LIZ SIDOTI, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - Courting the anti-war constituency, Democratic presidential rivals
Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama both voted against legislation that pays for the
Iraq war but lacks a timeline for troop withdrawal.

"I fully support our troops" but...(for complete story click here)

What a word three letters make.

Calculating from the polls
That their best chance to win
Is opposition to the war
That we have gotten in,
The leading Democrats
Have bowed to the foe
And voted against funding
For our troops and so
In my mind that makes them
Traitors to our troops
Or perhaps at very least
Certified nincompoops.

I think if they could see past
The way the polls are phrased
They'd know that we the people
Are totally amazed
At their stupidity because
What we're really for
Is to win the peace
Just like we won the war.
I hope they keep this up and
They soon will know their fate
Because we the people
Will elect Thompson in Oh-eight!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

How Do We Really Stand?

I wonder what they really have in mind....

Navy Stages Show of Force Off Iran Coast

May 23, 10:31 AM (ET)By BARBARA SURK

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) - The U.S. Navy staged its latest show of military force off the Iranian coastline on Wednesday, sending two aircraft carriers and landing ships packed with 17,000....(full story here)

We're trying to build a country
In a place they call Iraq.
But it seems the situation there
Is totally out of whack!
The values of their people
Are just not like our own
And many people here
Think we should just leave them alone.

Our mighty armored forces
Had no trouble with the war;
It's peace we're having trouble with
And folks are getting sore
With the way that things are going.
So the Congress, sage and wise,
Thinks we should pull right out;
Full retreat, with no disguise.

The Democrats in Congress
Are confused about the polls.
Retreat at any cost
Is the call throughout their rolls.
And the President is struggling
With how the peace to win.
I think his heart is right
But he doesn't know where to begin.

Which is the biggest enemy
That our troops need to fight?
We're spread to Afghanistan
Where Osama is out of sight.
In Iraq we're nation building
In the midst of civil war.
They're blowing up each other
From their mountains to the shore.

Then in between Afghanistan
And Iraq there is one more
It's called Iran, or Persia,
And I wonder what's in store.
With our fleet there in the Gulf
Ahmadinejad should beware,
Or his nuclear development
Will be floating in the air.

But I think the greatest enemy
That our brave troops have to face
Is right here in this country
And they're stepping up the pace
Of the rhetoric of appeasement
To the forces of our foe.
They speak of them as peaceful
When they're bent on spreading woe.

I'm speaking of the liberals
In media and Washington
Who believe that all we stand for
As a country is wrong.
Well my advice to them
Is to pack their bags and flee
Because they don't belong here in
This home of the brave and land of the free.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

A Wall by Any Other Name

Some folks think we need a wall
To keep our borders strong.
I am of the opinion
That they have got it wrong.
What we really need
Are neighbors to the south
Whose very deeds do match
What comes out of their mouth.
What I mean is that
They've got to fix what's broke
Instead of playing games
With mirrors and with smoke.
They claim to be our allies
In the war on illegal drugs
But I think they're really in the pay
Of all those drug lord thugs.
When they can get control
Of their own economy
Their people will stay home
Instead of trying to flee.
They need jobs that pay enough
To keep their family fed.
Then instead of coming north
They'll stay at home instead.

Besides --
If the Dems should get control
Of Congress and the Presidency
There will be a lot of folks
Who may just southward flee!
And we don't want a wall
Standing in our way
Or it'll be like Berlin
In a not too long ago day.

In Search of Excellence

I commented on Renaissance Blogger early this morning and decided I liked the comment so well that I should make it a post. I guess a little ego never hurt anyone!

Excellence must come from the heart. The audience recognizes the difference between acting from the head as opposed to coming from the heart — whether it be a musical performance, a written work, or an act of kindness. The development of the art, however, is an act of discipline. It requires hard work, practice, perseverance. You will write many pieces from the head before your heart finds its voice. When it does, your skills will be honed and prepared to let that voice be heard.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Fuel for the Future

The price of fuel keeps going up.
It's hard on us who drive
SUV's and pickup trucks;
Anything with four-wheel drive.
But I'm a firm believer in
A free market economy
So, I really can't complain too much
About the impact on me.
I know that most of you
Blame the oil companies
But, remember what happened
With the last price freeze?
Carter was the President,
The economy was a mess,
And where the world was headed
Was anybody's guess.
When the freeze was lifted
The pent-up market energy
Sent interest through the ceiling
Which recessed the economy.
So, I think it would be best
For supply and demand to work
Until some wily entrepreneur
Will look up with a smirk
And say, "By Jove, I've got it,
A new alternative
To replace the gas-powered engine
Is now done, I do believe!"
It will someday happen
If Congress stays out of it
But if they don't we'll power it
With all of their bulls_ _ t!

Gun Control

Texas Fred has an interesting post about Gun Control. Go check it out!

To those that ‘favor’ Gun Control…

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid!

"Open the borders and let 'em come in,"
Said old Kennedy once again.
"The ones that have been here for awhile
Have started to vote Republican.

"If we don't broaden our base pretty quick
We're going to lose control
The people might see that we only want power
Over everything -- even their soul.

"We've 'bout got GW on the ropes
Over the Iraqi thing
So, strike while we can, 'cause he's gotta cave
Or we'll send him a time line again.

"It's easy to stop the patriots right now
There's getting to be so few around.
We've confused all the rest to the point they don't know
Just where the truth can be found.

"As long as we can control the press
We'll lead the lemmings along.
And when we get Hillie up in the big house
The world will be singing our song."

Saturday, May 19, 2007

The Old House

A wheat field
Covers the ground where
Once stood
A house.
The house
Was built around
The turn of the last
From cast blocks
Hauled by wagon
From the nearest
It withstood tornadoes
And hail storms
And the
Dust Bowl.
It was thought to be
Haunted when
I was young.
The ghosts were
My great grandmother
Was born in that
They both are gone
Except in

Friday, May 18, 2007

The Mishap

Once upon a few years back, I worked for a rural, mixed-practice veterinarian. It was one of the ways I managed to earn enough to get through college. It was interesting work if for no other reason than the occasional mishaps that occurred. While working there I wrote the following poem (I kind of fancied myself as a cowboy poet). It is based on a true occurrence although slightly exaggerated. I call it:

The Mishap
I had an old cow with a bad cancer eye
That I hauled into town to the vet.
She was wild as a jackrabbit on a warm day
And could outrun a horse you can bet.
I pulled through the unloading area out back;
A new kid was running the gate.
We opened the trailer and the cow jumped right out
Blowin' snot and bellerin' her hate.
With considerable proddin' and a little finesse
She was headed right into the squeeze.
But, the kid on the headgate missed with the catch
And the old gal was gone with the breeze.
She couldn't get far 'cause the gates had been shut
And the place was designed for such things.
When lo and behold from the west end of the barn
We heard some terrified screams.
It seems the receptionist, much to her surprise
Had opened the door from up front
And come face to face with a one-eyed mad cow
Of whose rage she might be the brunt.
She dropped all the papers that she had been carrying
And jumped into an empty stall.
Just as you would guess, she left the door open
And the cow ran into the hall.
She charged right into the front waiting room;
By then Doc was close on her tail,
But the lady who sat there with the manicured poodle
Suddenly began to turn pale.
The poodle jumped up and crawled under the chair
But the lady was frozen with terror.
Doc had to work fast so he grabbed the cows tail;
He knew there was no margin for error.
Well, the tail did the trick and the cow spun around
And sent Doc flyin' through the air.
Then that old Hereford cow jumped over the counter
And smashed flat the front office chair.
Our luck finally turned, 'cause the cow saw her opening
And headed back out of the door.
Doc started tendin' to the sweet poodle lady
Who had fainted and fell on the floor.
We caught the old cow and Doc took her bad eye
Then began to clean up the mess.
That the kid who had first let the cow get away
Was concerned for his job, you can guess.
I loaded my cow after paying the bill
Which was only the standard fee.
Doc said, "There was nothing unusual about it.
It's just a normal day's work for me."

Thursday, May 17, 2007

The Cultural Heartbeat of America

My blogging friend, Angel, over at Womanhonorthyself, seems to think that New York is the cultural center of the universe. I suppose I can understand her "snobbery", being from New York and all, but I think she needs to get out of the city more to learn about real culture.

Here in the Panhandle we have:

The excellent Amarillo Symphony Orchestra -- but we also have the Coyote Orchestra that performs multiple times nightly.

Multiple theatrical companies performing in various venues such as the new Globe Fine Arts Center, or the West Texas A&M Fine Arts Center -- but we also have the outdoor amphitheatre amidst the grandeur of Palo Duro Canyon where there are nightly performances throughout the summer months.

Many internationally and nationally known musical entertainers performing virtually every weekend -- but we also have -- well, actually, many of them came from this area -- especially in the country music genre.

Our multicultural heritage is obvious. Just go into any Walmart. Spanish is as common as English -- OK, in some towns you have to hunt for an English speaker. Hey, that's just like some areas in NYC.

We have some of the world's finest dining. The Lone Star Diner on the old Claude highway southeast of Amarillo is world famous for it's Prime Rib. The atmosphere is unique as well. It is owned and operated by a former professional wrestler. The clientele ranges from the well-to-do in coat and tie to bikers covered with tattoos. It's a real experience.

In most towns in the Panhandle you can sample some of the world's finest ethnic cuisine. Mexican food is the specialty, but you can find Thai, Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese, Greek, and Italian with no trouble -- Pizza Hut counts as Italian doesn't it?

We have zoos, water parks, theme parks, cultural centers -- the Qahadi Cultural Center in Amarillo -- museums -- The Panhandle Plains Historical Museum in Canyon is the largest history museum in the state and one of the largest in the nation -- great architecture -- and the list goes on and on. If you can find it in NYC, you can probably find something similar right here.

There is one exception though. We don't have an ocean full of water, our ocean is of grass. Watching the wind cause the grasslands to ripple like waves is as hypnotic as the ocean -- and just as beautiful in its own way.

The best part of our culture is the people. You will never find friendlier, more open people anywhere in the world.

Now Angel, I know I didn't do it justice, but I felt the need to share with you that the true cultural center, and heartbeat of America, isn't New York City (reminds me of a salsa commercial), it's Texas. And the crowning point of Texas, the part that wears the hat, is the Panhandle.

The Horizon

You will find this photo in my post on wildflowers, but I had to recycle it. This view has been calling to me ever since I passed by there the other day. Randy gets credit for the idea.

The stillness
Is full of the noise
Of insects
And birds
Busily going about
Their daily struggle
Of gathering sustenance.
The sound is cheerful --
Almost giddy --
With no indication of
Or sadness.
Bathed in this flood of
The ear hears only
Nothing mechanical is stirring.
No ticking, or humming, or clicking,
Or anything else that does not
And the eye is drawn
To the distance
Where a small black dot
Floats on some unseen
The horizon calls.
The desire to
Put foot to stirrup
And swing a long trot
To the distant mesa
Is almost

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


When I was a kid I loved to go to my grandparents house out on the farm on Sundays. We would go out after church for lunch (we called it dinner). Lunch usually consisted of fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn, green beans, sweet iced tea, and chocolate cake for dessert. The table was large to accommodate a large family. We would gather around and dig in to the piles of delicious food until we were stuffed. There was usually enough left over to take care of supper also.

If I had been fortunate enough to spend the previous night with them, I often helped Grandma to kill the chickens that we had for lunch. I remember her catching them and wringing their neck in one swift motion. She wasn't very tall and she was quick. Then it was a matter of plucking and dressing them before taking them into the house where she completed the cutting up for cooking.

In the afternoons there was always plenty to do. Usually I would take the dog and a gun down in the pasture to hunt something -- anything. I loved the time alone exploring. Usually the only thing that I shot was a tin can or something. There was about a three mile stretch that I knew intimately. It reached from the Old Dugout on the east end to the feedlot on the north end. Now for you that aren't familiar with the place, I followed the Runningwater Draw which made a large curve in the middle of that stretch. Most of the area that I covered was visible from the house which sat on a hill overlooking the mid-point of my path of exploration.

During the afternoon, while I was out exploring, the adults would usually play dominoes. If there were enough, they would play eighty-four (some of you may know it as eighty-eight), if not enough people, they would play forty-two. The games would last until suppertime and then often would resume after the table had been cleaned. That's when I would stand next to my Dad to watch and learn to play.

When I would return from my trek, there would usually be a watermelon cooling in the shade under a large elm tree that stood in the yard. Grandma often would have mixed up some ice cream and have it ready for churning. One of my uncles would usually turn the crank while I sat on the top of the bucket to keep it still. It would get really cold in spite of the folded towels that covered the ice and the 100 degree temperatures. The churning usually took place on the back porch so the salt water that leaked from the hole in the side of the bucket wouldn't get on anything important.

As the evening approached, we would have leftovers for supper, or Grandma would come up with something else if there wasn't enough. Frequently there would be neighbors or family stop in to visit in the evenings. There was always enough food for everyone.

Sometimes, later in the evenings, my uncle and some of his friends would gather in the back room to play music. They would get out the guitars and play late into the night. That was also where I started learning to play the guitar. I would listen until I couldn't hold my eyes open any more.

Those were good times.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


With a crash
The bones are dumped
Upon the table
Worn by years of
Sliding ivory.
Four in one,
Three in the other,
Old hands grasp the bones
To peer quickly
At the draw.
The first is laid
Until five by five
The score is made.
Caustic remarks,
Made to the slap
Of the bone
On the table.
The pegs move
Until the last is played
To the tune of


As the brush is
To canvas
The pen is
To paper
And in the hand
Of the Master,
Wonder unfolds.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Ghosts of the Plains

When I was a kid I used to love to hunt for arrowheads on my grandfather's farm. His "home" place was located on Runningwater Draw. There was evidence of a major encampment in a meander in the draw (a draw is similar to a creek but has water only seasonally). Occasionally I would find "perfect" points, but most of the time they were broken pieces. There also were a few small pot shards.

Runningwater Draw was one of the major roads for the Comancheros that came out of New Mexico to trade with the Kiowa and Comanche tribes on the plains. During the chaos of the "War of Northern Aggression" (Civil war for you non-southerners), the Comanche tribes pushed back the Texas frontier through aggressive raiding of the few brave pioneers settling westward toward the plains. They would take captives in their raids and then trade them as slaves to the Comancheros to be sold in New Mexico. Ransom Canyon, near Lubbock, Texas, was one of the primary rendezvous points for these trades.

In my earliest years, as I hunted for the arrowheads, my imagination would run wild. I would think of myself as the lone cowboy attacked by a whooping band of Indians racing their colorful ponies across the Plains. Such ideas were shaped by watching Roy Rogers on early Saturday morning television. He was my hero growing up. From what I know of him now, he probably was a fairly worthy hero -- not like the sports figures and actors of today.

Some years ago, I wrote the following poem:

Ghosts of the Plains
Out on the wild prairie where tumbleweeds roll
and the dust-devils play in the sun,
There rode a young cowboy all hell-bent for leather,
and high in his hand was a gun.
The shimmering heat made him look like a specter
as he came flying over a rise.
The cloud of his dust looked just like a smudge
on the blue of the West Texas skies.
Suddenly, behind him there rose a wild band
of Kiowas quick on his heel.
The arrows were flying, the horse fell to earth,
and fear rent the air from his squeal.
The valiant young cowboy lay down 'hind his mount
and thunder spoke forth from his gun.
His Colt took a toll on the redskins that day
as they fell 'neath the hot Texas sun.
With blood streaming down he fought to the last
while the sun slowly sank from the sky.
When the fiery orb painted dark red the horizon
both day and young cowboy did die.
So were the dreams of my youth as I hunted
for arrowheads out on the Draw.
With visions so vivid I touched each found point;
It could only be ghosts that I saw.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Mother's Day Gift

Our time,
Our hearts,
And grand kids
Bring light to a
Mother's eyes
That too often have
Only the empty nest
And golfing husband
To keep them
Never too busy,
Never too far
For concerts
And birthdays
Or graduations
And weddings.
Time is
The most precious
Gift we can
Return for all
She has given to us.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Trade Shows, Gimmes, and Life

It has been a long day/week! Three days of Trade Show (Farm Show) in Kansas and I'm finally back home. The weather was beautiful, the crowds were sparse -- the farmers were using the good weather to get some farming done.

There was some new technology at the show, but nothing particularly caught my eye in the farm equipment. However, Toyota was there in force showing off their new vehicles. They had a quarter mile dirt track set up with moguls, hills, and mud in which you could try out their pickups. They had purchased a brand new Chevy pickup comparable to theirs and would let you try out and compare both. I think they won hands down. I expect to see a lot more of the full-sized Toyota pickups on the highway in the coming years.

I love watching the people at trade shows. There are those who are on a mission -- looking for something in particular. They are easy to spot because of the way they walk. There are the serious lookers that are there for information but they're probably not ready to buy. There are the curious -- generally not in the industry but out to see what the fuss is about. There are other vendors who check out the competition and visit with old friends from previous jobs or years of attending the same shows. And my favorites -- the people that have no business being there but are carrying bags and bags of "gimmes" that they have gleaned from every vendor in the place.

I guess life in general can be a lot like the trade show attendees. There are those who are on a mission. There is purpose in their life and they are focused on accomplishing that mission. There are those who are good solid citizens that sort of drift on through. They are never sure of where they are going, but they are engaged at some level. They are rarely leaders, but are usually productive. There are the curious. They're just "here for the beer." They don't know where they're going, or why they are going there. They just draw their paycheck so they can sit in front of the TV and drink beer and cuss the rest of the world. I'm not sure what the best comparison group is to the vendors, however, I'm sure that some of you readers could supply that if you want to comment. And then there are the leeches; those with the welfare mentality that are always looking for a handout and complaining when it isn't there.

It's good to be home.

Friday, May 11, 2007


Friends let us
Be ourselves when
We shouldn't let them know
Who/what we really are,
But it is good
To have someone
Who can see you when
You aren't what you show
The world
And still accept
That you are what
You claim to be.

Thursday, May 10, 2007


It's springtime in the Texas Panhandle and the weather is gorgeous (contrary to what I usually tell people our weather is like). As I travelled north today toward Kansas, I took a few pictures of the wildflowers in the Canadian River breaks. I labelled the ones I knew and the rest are for you to guess. Of course, I probably won't know if you are correct or not. I think one of the reasons that I chose this post is in response to Patrick over at Born Again Redneck and his pictures of the beautiful Oregon flowers. I know I'm prejudiced, but I think ours are just as pretty -- well, sort of.
Nice view of a couple of mesas framed by Yucca flower stalks.

Prairie Daisy




Yucca (we call it Bear Grass)


A variety of milkweed





Indian Blanket (my favorite)



A variety of milkweed.

This image is looking toward the west from a spot just north of the Canadian River between Pampa and Perryton, Texas.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Inspiration and Sons

I had some interesting comments on my post below, "Bored -- No Extremes." They have caused me to think more about why I have found it difficult to sit and play the guitar or write music for quite some time now. There are many things that have pulled me away. They may be a product of getting older/more mature, or they may be something else.

The pull of job, family responsibilities, and other interests have probably been the greatest factor in dampening the allure of music to me. Perhaps the best description is that I've spread myself too thin. With the limited amount of time we have each day, we must prioritize our responsibilities and interests in the manner that best fits necessity first, and then desire. Music has fallen lower on the list of priorities than it once was. When I was younger and had dreams of performing professionally, or of selling a song, music was a higher priority. When it became purely recreation, the priority dropped. When I found other recreational pursuits to occupy my time, such as writing, it dropped even further.

Another issue, which is directly related to the factors listed above, is time. In order to not become bored with playing music, I need to spend time learning new songs. Otherwise, I become bored with playing the same old songs over and over again. In many ways, playing for myself -- even for escape -- has become stale.

Songwriting is a different endeavor entirely. It can be approached in one of two ways. First, it can be a disciplined effort during a time set aside for the sole purpose of writing -- just like blogging has become. This has never really been my approach. It probably should have been. I have been told numerous times by various people (some who should really know) that my talent in that area is above average and should be pursued. I've never had the "burn" for it though. Second, it can be the product of inspiration. Like most creative endeavors, such as painting, inspiration is crucial to the process. Even in a disciplined approach there must be inspiration to write on a particular subject. For me, it takes time for that inspiration to "cook." It takes about three days of relaxation/vacation/avoidance of work and other demands to reach a point of being ready to write music. That just doesn't seem to happen anymore.

Writing for this blog is both inspired and disciplined. Throughout my work day I often think about what I want to write about. I look for subjects in my workplace, in the areas that I travel, and in the people that I encounter throughout the day. Not always, but usually, I have a pretty good idea of the subject of my post long before I sit down to the computer. It is more difficult with songwriting. For me, I need my guitar in hand. That is because the melody usually comes with the words. They rarely come to me separately. Sometimes the subject of a song will "percolate" throughout the day, just like a subject for my blog entry, but the music that is in the environment often corrupts the melody that comes with the subject. That's when I need the time to relax and let it resurface in order to sit and compose.

Interestingly, my son inspired me to learn a new song today. He has not read my post and did not know of the struggle that I have had with my music lately. But, he came to me with a song that he wanted to learn last night and asked me to help him. His question to me was, "Dad, have you ever just listened to a song you want to learn and then learned it?" My response was that most of the music that I know was learned by writing down the words to songs that I heard on the radio or elsewhere and then working through the chords to them. He played the song for me and I started playing along with the CD. I think he was surprised. Today, I pulled the Tablature off of the Internet (something I didn't have when I was his age) and after work today, I sat down and played it for him. Then I gave him the Tabs and he showed me some "licks" that he had worked out on his own. He has a lot of talent. I hope that he never loses the inspiration to play and learn. Maybe he will inspire me to stay with it.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Bored -- No Extremes

For years, my guitar was my escape. I could go in my room, shut the door, and become completely absorbed into the music. I would sit and play and sing for hours at a time. I probably knew well over 100 songs by heart.

Sometimes I would be in the mood to write music. I have no idea how many songs I've written through the years. They are tucked into files and notebooks and desk drawers or lying loose in my guitar case. I don't know if I've written a hundred songs, but probably at least fifty.

It seems that for the last few years it has been very difficult to get in the mood to play music, let alone to write music. Music comes from the heart. My heart hasn't been in it.

The mood to play or write music seems to be tied to extremes. When I am happy, I play music. When I am melancholy or despondent, I write music. The writing is a release. It usually lifts me from my despondency.

I think that I have fallen into a rut of complacency; that is why the music doesn't hold me in thrall the way it does when the emotional pendulum is at an extreme. Perhaps it is a warning sign. Maybe extremes are designed to recharge us.

In a way, it's like the diversity around us -- both in nature and in humanity. It would certainly be boring if it was all the same. Without the swings, we would probably die of boredom.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Peaceful Labors

Planting, sowing,
Raking, hoeing,
Weeding, ,mowing,
Trimming, growing.
Water hoses,
Grass and roses,
Butterflies and bees,
Large shade trees.
Peace sublime;
It's springtime.

Sunday, May 6, 2007


Good food,
Good friends,
Good conversation
And time to enjoy
What God has provided.
That's why we
Must always remember
It's in the relationships
We develop,
Not in the things we own,
The we build
Our treasure.

"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Matt. 6:19-21

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Fred's Voting Record by RMC

The Rocky Mountain Conservative has compiled a list of Fred Thompson's votes that provide a fairly good picture of his positions on many issues. Just click on the link.

Always Enough

Sometimes we're up,
Sometimes we're down,
But through it all
God can be found.
When times are bad
He helps carry the load
And helps us to travel
Life's weary road.
And just when we think
We can take it no more
He brings us safely
To an untroubled shore.
The secret in all
Of the ups and the downs
Is to focus on Jesus
He's always around.
He lights our way
When the paths are rough
If we focus on Him
He is always enough.

Fred Thompson -- Run, Fred, Run!

You'll need to follow the link; It's well worth it!

Excerpt: Prepared Remarks for Speech to Lincoln Club Annual Dinner

I hope he's as straight a shooter as his speeches make him appear to be.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Sparky and the Holey Foot

My son-in-law works for a company that installs GPS guidance systems in tractors and combines. It is very interesting technology in that it utilizes soil maps and software to guide the tractor so that precision adjustments can be made automatically to seed and fertilizer application rates, tractor speed, plow depth, etc., based on the location in the field. It is a tool for maximizing performance. Ultimately, it could replace the need for a driver.

Today, while installing a positioning tower for one of their guidance systems, he tried to electrocute himself. God must have been watching over him. The tower that he was erecting came close enough to a high-powered electrical transmission line that the electricity arced to the tower he was holding, ran through him and discharged out his foot and into the ground. Most accidents of this nature result in death. It is very similar to being struck by lightening.

We received the call around noon from my daughter who was in route to the hospital where he was being transported by ambulance. She of course was distraught although at the time she called, they thought he was probably OK. We immediately headed toward the hospital which is about 100 miles away.

His accident caused quite a stir, both at the hospital, and at the college campus where both he and my daughter are seniors. Apparently everyone in the hospital knew about his accident. They seemed amazed that the only damage that he suffered was a burn on the inside of one of his feet where the electricity discharged out his foot, through his boot, to the ground. The burned area was about the size of a penny and completely cauterized. It appeared as though a scab had formed over a wound that was many days old. The boot had a tiny hole in it where the spark exited.

At the college campus though, the rumors were still running rampant when we arrived at the hospital. Cell phones rang almost continuously for over an hour from professors and friends checking on our daughter (who is 7+ months pregnant) and son-in-law. The story on campus was that it had blown his foot off completely. Fortunately, they sent a campus-wide e-mail to hopefully dispel the rumor before it grew any more exaggerated.

While in the emergency room, the staff cut all of his clothes off of him, which is standard procedure where burn victims are involved, although totally unnecessary in this case. Fortunately, my daughter was able to reach us when we were near their home so that we could bring him clothes for tomorrow when he is expected to be discharged. When we arrived at the hospital he was lying under a sheet with the various tubes and wires connected to him for monitoring his heart, etc., and handling bodily discharges.

When we knew that all was well and there appeared to be no adverse effects beyond the "holey" foot, we took our daughter to get something to eat. Upon our return, we found him in a hospital gown. A nurse that we had not seen before stuck her head in to see our son-in-law and said, "I just had to come look. All the nurses are talking about how good looking he is and I had to see for myself. It took six of them to get the gown on him!"

He was fortunate. There were many prayers offered on his behalf. That is one of the advantages of attending a small Christian College. I'll be interested to know what nickname he will receive out of this episode. Sparky comes to my mind.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

The Walmart Experience

Today I went to Walmart to pick up supplies for one of the locations of the business that I manage. Such trips are not among my favorite things to do, and yet sometimes they are necessary. As I pushed the cart around the store locating the various items that I needed, I started thinking about why I didn't enjoy going to Walmart. Following are some of my thoughts:

  • In spite of its size, it always seems crowded to me. I'm not a big fan of crowds.
  • Sometimes it is difficult to find the item that I want. This difficulty offers two basic choices. I can either hunt for an employee that will help me (often hard to find), or I can walk a few miles hunting for the item.
  • The choices are limited to a few brands. Often, the brand of item that I'm looking for, or perhaps the specific color, is not available.
  • In spite of a greeter at the door, the experience is impersonal. I want to feel like I'm a valued customer when I shop. I don't get that feeling at Walmart. The feeling conveyed to me is that they are doing me a favor by allowing me to shop there. I want them to feel favored that I chose them as the place to shop.
  • When Walmart comes to town, many small shops are unable to compete and eventually go out of business.

Now, in all fairness, there are a number of things that need to go on the positive side of the ledger. The following items are in that category:

  • Walmart provides a convenient store for finding a wide array of products in one place. Instead of driving all over town to multiple businesses, most items that the consumer is looking for on a regular basis are at Walmart.
  • Their items are not always the best of quality, but they offer items at an affordable price that the average consumer might not be able to afford elsewhere. In particular, the lower income shopper's dollar will go farther. I'm not necessarily a believer in quantity over quality, but sometimes it is needed.
  • Because of their competitive pricing, when Walmart comes to town, prices in all stores on competing items generally come down. The consumer benefits.
  • In areas where a smaller town is competing with a city within a short driving distance, Walmart locating to the smaller town can hold business locally that would have driven to the nearby city. This can indirectly help the smaller business owners. The shopper will be less likely to make a 30 minute drive for one item than for a lot of items.

I'm certain that both lists could be expanded considerably, but I just wanted to hit a few of the high points. I will not attempt to address what kind of citizen Walmart is to the communities in which they are located. Nor will I attempt to address the employee issues that are often raised. I do think that on the balance, Walmart fits a niche in the marketplace that benefits the lower and lower-middle income consuming public and on certain items appeals as well to the more affluent consumers. I do wish they would seek to become a more service oriented, customer friendly store rather than the impersonal behemoth that they have become. Perhaps though, that is the niche for the small business owner that seeks to compete against them.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007


This week it has seemed especially difficult to come up with something to write about each day. One of the reasons that I started this blog was to discipline myself to write something on a regular basis. I decided from the beginning that I would write every day for at least 30 days in order for it to become a habit. It has now been considerably longer than 30 days and I haven't missed -- yet.

There have been numerous things this week that have distracted me from writing. As you may be able to tell from the last few posts that I've made, there have been a few challenges. The first had to do with my son making some poor choices. That's all that needs to be said about it. The second was a valued employee resigning. The third was a couple of "breakdowns" at home -- the air conditioner, and the water heater. On top of all that, the dog decided to grace us with bringing some "highway pizza" into the garage. It was certainly ripe and its memory lingered in the air for some time after it was removed and buried. In addition to all of the above, I can't seem to find enough time to get my yard ready to re-seed with grass. I've been working on it for several weeks now, and we are making progress, but I'm ready to be through with it!

Needless to say, my mind has been on things other than writing. Oh, yeah, I almost forgot -- I have to work too!

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

A Dose of Humility?

There is an old saying I'm sure that you know;
"When it rains, it pours."
Another one says that trouble comes in threes;
I think it comes in fours.
Some weeks find one misadventure follows another,
And trouble begets trouble.
I think it's the price paid for trying to live rightly
Or, maybe how God keeps us humble.
It happens whenever I'm "kicked back and coasting"
That everything falls plumb apart.
You'd think that I'd learn to look over my shoulder
When it seems like a "walk in the park."
But complacency takes me along for its ride
And I start thinking life's really cool
Until wham, she hits me with all that she's got
And I'm left just feeling the fool.
You'd think that I'll figure this all out one day
And get my act together,
But I'm slow to learn when I'm full of myself,
So I guess I'll just live with foul weather!