Friday, November 26, 2010

An Italian Boy's Confession

I normally do not post jokes, poems, yes, but jokes, not so much. But this one I found to be extremely cunning and full of the holiday spirit. As the blessed holidays approach, you will find people becoming brutally animalistic to get what they want. Dollar signs invade the hearts and minds of all, leaving those who keep the spirit of giving alive year round feeling disgusted and on the verge of vomitting. Enjoy!


'Bless me Father, for I have sinned.
I have been with a loose girl'.

The priest asks, 'Is that you, little Joey Pagano ?'

'Yes, Father, it is.'

'And who was the girl you were with?'

'I can't tell you, Father. I don't want to ruin her reputation'.

"Well, Joey, I'm sure to find out her name sooner or later
so you may as well tell me now. Was it Tina Minetti?'

'I cannot say.'

'Was it little Teresa Aconito?'

'I'll never tell.'

'Was it Nina Capelli?'

'I'm sorry, but I cannot name her.'

'Was it Dolly Borsato?'

'My lips are sealed.'

'Was it Rosa DiAngelo, then?'

'Please, Father, I cannot tell you.'

The priest sighs in frustration.
'You're very tight lipped, and I admire that.
But you've sinned and have to atone.
You cannot be an altar boy now for 4 months.
Now you go and behave yourself.'

Joey walks back to his pew,
and his friend Franco slides over and whispers,
'What'd you get?'

'Four months' vacation and five good leads.'

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

By Plane, Train And Blue Tattoos

My good buddy Durango, says that I get offered the most amazing trips from people I hardly know. That's how I got to go to Vegas during the summer for four sorta interesting days. Love the sights and sounds, but the company...well...not much to say about that. Thing is, once I'm there, I'm gonna have an amazing time, regardless of who I'm with. And why not? I've got one life to live and I intend on making the most of it. Okay, back to this trip offer thing.

I made friends on Jango with a fellow over in Japan. No, he's not Japanese, he's just stationed there. He just spent time in Singapore and is planning a trip to Ireland for the winter break. Then he casually mentions a ten day trip across Brazil and Argentina by rail in May and an invite, "Wanna come?".

Oh, I told him that my days of riding on the back of a stranger's motorcycle to follow the Grateful Dead were pretty much over. Well, then he mentions, "Brazilian steak houses, Argentina wine country, Cheap hotels.........its going to be epic."

Epic? Now that peaked my interest. He says that I have plenty of time to think about it and that he's the funnest guy he knows. So, one has to many guys does he know and what exactly is his idea of fun?

Now, methinks I have some pondering to do...

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Still Singing The Jango Blues

Remember a few days ago, or maybe it was further back...hmm...time is such a blur for me. Anywho, a man emailed me on Jango to inform me that the true path to righteousness is through the Roman Catholic church. I'm not even sure why he felt the need to convince me of this, so I didn't respond, but he emailed me again:

Hope I didn't freak you out too much on that last e-mail, Raven, but I'm pretty passionate about being Catholic Christian....I left home when I was 18 searching for God and going through all types of beliefs, finally read a book about the Early Church Fathers and couldn't deny the Catholic Church sounded just like what the early Christians(spiritually and belief-wise) were like. Two good sources if you were interested would be St. Ignatius of Antioch, and Justin Martyr...or Mike Aquilina has a book on the Early Church Fathers......Anyway, have a wonderful day and hope you find God in a meaningful way in your life!

God bless and peace to you, Steve.

Well, isn't that sweet...he hopes that I'll find God in a meaningful way...and on top of that...he even introduced himself to me. Hello, Steve... and here's my response:

Well,, you didn't freak me out. And honestly "early church fathers" is another word for men that try to define God. Again, I'm not in search of the "right" religion. Only a true relationship with God. I read His Word, and have prayed and received the gift of interpretation, which according to the bible, any one of us can receive, with faith. Over the past three years since I separated from organized religion, I have found more truths and epiphanies than anyone could ever imagine. It is also not my job to spread what I know...unless someone asks. First, I'll tell you why I just can't get into Catholicism... With the coming of Jesus Christ...there was no more need for intercessory prayer or sacrifices...see Steve, he took all that away and the veil ripping in the holy of the symbolic and actual sign that ALL the rules that men have made up...are not required. To follow God...all you must do is LOVE HIM with all your heart, have faith and keep HIS commandments. Sorry, hun...

You don't have to hope...I already have :-)

Why is it that when people leave home and do all sorts of really heinous stuff they call it "searching for God". Come on, you were sinning and you liked it, you bastard!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Singing The Jango Blues

I've been a member of Jango for quite some time. I figured out how to add friends to my wall, taking a term from Face Book, a few months ago. Until then, I listened to my music in peace. I like Jango because I am able to create countless radio stations to match my listening moods. One can add various artists from any genre, such as if I wanted I could have Evanescence and Cheap Trick on the same station, which by the way, I do. I digress, back to listening in peace.

Like I said, I had been listening in peace, then I started accepting friends. These new friends are from all over. You have several options. You can send an email, a one line shout or a thank you. I like the shouts and thank yous. Short and simple. The emails, not so much.

I accepted a friend request from someone named Stu. This Stu person wrote very lengthy emails to which I responded, sometimes in great length as well. Why not? I like to write and read, so it seemed absolutely normal. Oh, we discussed stuff such as religion and relationships, the usual.

Well, happened. I got busier. Flood, surgery, know, the normal stuff. I didn't go onto Jango for a few days, but when I did I had this miserable email from Stu informing me of how awful of a friend I was for ignoring him. I apologized for a bit of chaos in my life. He didn't accept and has deleted his profile from Jango...basically he no longer exists, my world anyway.

How strange. Then I get an email from another fella, that wants to know my religion. Okay, I respond, informing him that I'm not affiliated with any religion that I'm a truth seeker. He then sends off this rather lengthy email informing me the true religion is Catholicism. I'm thinking...hey, when did I ask?

So, I'm thinking I just want to go back to listening to my music in peace...

Sunday, October 31, 2010

A Walk Through The Buiral Grounds

Dusk...the in between time of day's end and night's begin beckoned to the revelers as they writhed warily amongst the headstones of the timeworn burial ground. The cemetery, protected by unbending Weeping Willows with bony branches, breached the night sky to pierce the sickening stillness. All those in attendance whispered a solemn prayer, trusting that the Omnipotent watcher would bequeath spoken boon. As the twilight slipped into darkness, the procession grew more solemn, the resolve a bit weakened like that of the branch of the frail Willow. Just a few more yards and the dare would be completed, triumph within grasp, but then a rasp shattered the stoic silence. The sound intensified and yet the distinct location couldn't be ascertained by the attendees. With never more the fiber to persevere...and stricken with a bolt of fear, they departed never completing the nighttime dare.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Kiaser's Talk To Hell

While in the process of going through water logged items, I came across a box of my Great Great Grandfather Boliver's belongings. A pocket watch, a pair of spectacles and a poem, being typed and signed at the bottom by my Great Great Grandfather. Take a read, let me know...have you seen this before? If not, I can only infer that it was possibly composed by him.

The Kaiser's Talk To Hell

The Kaiser called the devil up
On the telephone one day
The girl at central listened
To all they had to say.

"Hello". She heard the Kaiser say,
Is old man Satan home?
Just tell him it is Kaiser Bill,
That wants him on the phone.

The devil said, "Hello" to Bill
and said "How are you?"
I'm running a hell here on earth
Now tell me what to do.

"What can I do" the devil said,
"My dear old Kaiser Bill,
If there's a thing that I can do,
To help you sure I will

The Kaiser said, "Now Listen
And I will try to tell
The way that I am running things
on earth a modern hell.

I've saved for this for many years
And I've started out to kill,
That it will be a modern job
You leave to Kaiser Bill

My army went thru Belgium
Shooting women and children down,
We tore up all her country
And blowed up every town.

My Zepps dropped bombs on Cities,
Killing both the old and young
And those the Zepplins didn't get
Were taken out and hung.

I started out for Paris,
With the aid of poisonous gas,
The Belgians, Darn them, stopped us
And would not let us pass.

My submarines are devils,
Why you should see them fight,
They go sneaking thru the sea
And will sink a ship at sight.

I was running things to suit me
Till a year or so ago,
Then a man called "Woodrow Wilson,
Wrote me to go slow.

He says to me, Dear William,
We don't want to make you sore
So be sure to tell your U-Boats,
To sink our boats no more.

We have told you for the last time,
So dear Bill its up to you,
And if you do not stop it
You'll have to fight us too.

I did not listen to him.
And he's coming after me,
With a million Yankee Sailors
From their home across the sea.

Now, that's why I called you Satan,
For I want advice from you
I know that you will tell me,
Just what I ought to do.

My dear old Kaiser William,
There's not much for me to tell
For the Yanks will make it hotter,
Than I ever could in Hell.

I've been a mean old devil
But not half as mean as you,
And the minute that you get here,
I will give the job to you.

I'll be ready for your coming,
And I'll keep the fires all bright
And I'll have your room all ready,
When the Yanks begin to fight.

For the boys in blue will get you,
I have nothing more to tell,
Hang up the phone and get your hat,
And meet me here in HELL.

D.F. Boliver

Love Your Enemies

"Haters of God and his people are to be hated... We must hate in the truest sense, which is to regard with extreme and active aversion, to consider as loathsome, odious, filthy, to detest. ...enemies are recognized by their intense dislike for his people and the work these are doing."

I'm agnostic...I have doubts, but I do know this...I'm not a hater. Why? Because Jesus said so...

"Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you." Matthew 5:44. 2 Cor. 11:12-15; 2 John 1: 9 - 11; Luke 6: 35

No Resistance

I just love those people who spout no resistance for the sake of their beliefs. Don't they realize they have the freedom to have those beliefs because of those that fought to prevent tyranny? I'm thinking more and more...we should of just let Hitler win... Just sayin'

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Durango and I Make A Vow

I'm hoping that Mr. Durango is serious about us doing the Amazing Race together. I am in dire need of some physical activity that only the Dear Durango can provide. I remember when Durango used to be known as Doctor Durango...I could sure use some of his doctoring right about now.

I have tickets to the Black Label Society concert in Grand Prairie on the 30th of October. I had planned on attending said concert with my son and his girlfriend. Now, there are two things amiss that will cause me to fore go the event. First of all, my son is scheduled for ACL surgery this coming Wednesday and he no longer has a girlfriend. Well, the latter is of no consequence, but I can't very well take a hobbled crippled of a child with me to a Rock concert and honestly, I have no other friends that would even be interested. It was like last year when I had to attend the Cheap Trick concert by myself in Dallas.

Instead, since I have an Annie free weekend, I've decided to take in some local entertainment. Listen to a band that goes by the name of Sally Thieves. It just so happens that the drummer and I are on a first name basis.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

My Favorite Post Of All Time...

I was trying to gather inspiration for a new post by going back and reading some of my older stuff. The time I was referred to as a man hater and my favorite. First of all, anyone who slightly knows me at all... knows without a shadow of a doubt, that statement is far from being true!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Is My Hiatus Over?

Have you ever felt like you had absolutely nothing to say? That's been me for the past few months. Do I have something to say now? Not really. I have been sitting back and just watching. Seeing a few of my longtime beliefs change. Has it been change for the good? I'm not sure...

Attending my son's football games this year has found me busy and occupied. I enjoy cheering him and the boys of Wink onto victory and still standing proud when they succumb to defeat.

Annie took her first flight back in May and did very well. Now, she might be taking her first flight alone. Since she is only ten, the flight must be direct...and honestly, I prefer it that way.

Well, I am off for a little nap...gotta get over to Kermit's Celebration Days tonight. I just might take some pictures and I just might write about it, but I'm not completely sure...

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Loathsome Creature By Toni Etier Dedicated To BP

Come now, let's not be complacent. So what...they capped the leak, finally...after how long? A few months? Ruined a few beaches, killed a few animals, destroyed the livelihood of several families, paid off a few claims, cleaned up a little bit, BUT...don't forget...BP is a loathsome uncaring creature. Fixed on profit REGARDLESS the harm and disdain DONE TO others.

Although Toni did not compose this poem with BP in mind I couldn't help but picture British Petroleum as I read it. Relish the vivid description of an industry allowed to flow amok without a care for others in the world. As we all just sit back and breathe in and swallow this nauseous crap!


So full of self, this creature flowed,

spilling nauseous crap as if it were gold,

twisted views of self worth and of measure,

droning on and on for self pleasure.

Cast your eye with distaste, loathsome creature,

placate your pride with self-righteous favor,

lose your humanity, if ever it was,

to judgement and ego and manufactured buzz.

Captured, your audience by circumstance or choice,

grace us, sweet creature, with your indulgent banter,

impress us, loathsome creature, with your witted candor.

So, loathsome creature in your view it would seem,

fortune reins down on those sat at your knee.

Cast your runes, and spin your tales,

no breath in sight for good sense to prevail.

***alternate ending

(Your ego is rooted, your mind made up,

all that is left to say, now is ...

Shut the fuck up.)

Toni E.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Another One Bites The Dust...Zumanity

I bet you're wondering if the show Zumanity fared better than Believe. Hmmm...since they were both produced by Cirque du Soleil...not much better. If you are not familiar with Soleil's theme, basically it's interesting people dressed in interesting and colorful costumes performing some pretty incredible feats. And maybe I shouldn't stereotype all of their shows, considering I have only witnessed about four different ones. But somehow, the four different ones all seemed to have a common theme...freakish at times dressed outlandish over the top performers.

Zumanity focused on the "sexual" nature of people. The ring master was a transvestite/cross dresser. Not really sure, didn't ask...a guy dressed in drag. You know what I've notice about performing transvestites? A lot of them make themselves up to look like Liza did the ring master of the Zumanity show.

There were a pair of chunky twins dressed provocatively, a couple that was a mix of the fifties and the seventies that touted themselves to be sex therapists and a true to life man whore. The man whore was very funny and kinda cute. He managed to make his way throughout the audience, I believe he even made it up to where the girls and I were sitting. He ran his hands across our legs...naughty man.

Those were your main characters that kept reappearing throughout the show. The program resembled circus acts except the characters were scantily clad and the clowns told sexual jokes. That was the only difference. So, if you enjoy circus performers (trapeze artists, acrobats...) and you like for them to be topless at the same time or have their rumps showing, well...then this is the show for you.

My favorite parts? There were a pair of lovely ladies swimming in a gigantic fish bowl performing some amazing water acrobatics and balancing on the rim of the bowl. That was very impressive and quite beautiful. I also enjoyed when audience members were embarrassed thoroughly by the ring master and sex therapists. The funniest moment of the evening came towards the end when a guy sitting behind us exclaimed..."Oh my God! That chick is a guy!"

Criss Angel Believe At The Luxor

Previously I mentioned a couple of shows and exhibits that the girls and I attended. I was not allowed to take pictures at any of these events. Well, no one was allowed not just me. I also mentioned attending two night clubs, again...wasn't allowed to take pictures. So, the more interesting things about Vegas I couldn't take pictures of. All I can do is paint you a picture with my words. We'll see how that goes!

The first show we attended was Believe, which featured A&E's favorite magician...Criss Angel. To be honest, I preferred the show on A&E and not his stage production. It was cute...I know, me categorizing Criss' show as cute? The Mind Freak? But it was.

Another confession...I just wanted to get in the same room with Criss, that's all. I accomplished that. Now whether Criss realized I was in the same room with him that I can't be for sure about. His show opened with four or five "clown" type fellas. One was extremely short and did some pretty funny Criss Angel impressions.

After several minutes of the joking around, Criss came on stage. He talked about growing up, learning his favorite tricks, his bunny and other things. He mentioned filming the sixth season of Mind Freak and having a party the next week in Vegas.

If you have ever viewed the show, you would know that Criss levitated over the Luxor. A video of that was shown. Honestly...the whole performance in Vegas seemed to be an advertisement for his show on A&E. C'est Dommage.

Shake, Rattle And Roll...The Elevator Ride

Accommodations at the Luxor left me with a strangeness that I will just have to explain. The slant of the building because of it's pyramid shape led to strange elevator rides. Since I'm an early riser no matter what time I go to bed I always got the morning coffee from the Starbucks down in the hotel lobby. In case you're curious...there were two Starbucks in the hotel.

On one of my early morning return coffee trips I waited patiently outside the elevator. Just waiting for it to come down. It seemed to take a bit longer than usual, but the doors finally opened. A family, wife, daughter and son. It was the son's face, maybe a boy of 8 years or so, that caught my attention. He was stricken with horror, cheeks wet with tears.

I notice kids. I suppose from the the few years of teaching my observational awareness of children in distress has increased.

I asked if he were okay, he couldn't even speak...his little legs and arms started to tremble. Mom then spoke up and stated that the power in the elevator went out, it had stopped moving and they had been trapped for a good fifteen minutes in the dark. Trapped, until someone pushed the down button to catch the elevator.

I listened as Dad called the management and expressed his disdain for their elevator. I stood out there for ten or maintenance still AWOL. Hopefully they showed at some point. I entered the elevators on the opposite wall and crossed my toes, since my fingers held coffee. Although the ride reminded me of an Elvis Presley song....shake, rattle and roll...mission accomplished, I arrived on the 25th floor, the girls' coffees in hand.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Not Being Allowed To Sleep In Vegas

Usually when I fly I check luggage. I do this so as to not worry about what I have in my suitcase. This time however, I chose to only do carry on. This was extremely difficult. First off, I am a woman and require many changes of clothes and matching shoes for each outfit. After filling my bag with four dresses, three pairs of pants, three pairs of shoes, my makeup bag, hot iron...I no longer had any room for toiletries. And besides, the rule is that all liquids must be in three ounce bottles, of which I had none.

I thought I would just purchase my toiletries and such when I arrived in Vegas. That was a really awful idea. First off, I would have to purchase these items from a store within the hotel because I did not have access to a car. This would mean limited choices and of course high prices. A tiny bottle of shampoo, a small can of shaving cream, a minute roll on deodorant and a minuscule tube of toothpaste rang up to twenty three dollars! Yikes!

Leaving Midland airport at 4:30PM had me arriving in Vegas at 10:30PM. No, it normally doesn't take that long on a direct flight, but I apparently did not have a direct flight. I never exited the plane at any of the stops. I stayed on while others exited and boarded...twice. Yuck!

I really and truly thought that my girl friends would allow me to unpack my belongings in the hotel room and then take a shower and head off to bed. I was mistaken. I was informed that no one sleeps in Vegas. I really had no idea.

The girls booked us a room at the Luxor. It was fairly nice and also home to the Cris Angel show, Believe, which we had tickets to Saturday night's performance. We also had tickets to Zumanity, the Titantic and Bodies exhibits and admission to two night clubs...the LAX and the Cat House. More on all that later.

To Vegas Or Not To Vegas

In a few days, my summer vacation will come to an abrupt end. No longer will I sleep in late, stay in my pajamas, sip coffee watching the sunrise. No, those days of bliss will soon fade into oblivion only to be replaced with early mornings of dressing hurriedly, scrambling eggs and guzzling coffee instead.

But before I rush into the new school year, let me close this summer properly by first apologizing to my friend Mrs. Cummings. Yes, she informed me that I lacked in my blogging duties over the summer...hey, what can I say? I was on summer break :-)

I got an invite a few weeks ago to go to Vegas...all expenses paid. How many of you would turn down such an offer? Over the past twenty years of my life, I have put myself in precarious situations. Living a most curious life filled with the acceptance of invitations that others would deem strange, but these RSVPs have proved to be by far some of the the most deliciously satisfying moments of my life.

Vegas...a friend commented that it's not like any other place on Earth. I possibly can't make that claim, seeing as I have not visited every place there is to visit on this big blue planet, but I will respond with affirmation that I encountered a most lively culture and also a scene that wears thin quickly.

I spent three nights and four days in Sin City. Heard the phrase, "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas" hundreds of times. Played way too many slot machines (which after you play one...they're pretty much all the same). And walked my little feet off.

Tomorrow I'll fill you in on packing for the trip and arriving late on a Friday night. For now, I'm back to reality....clothes to wash, beans to soak and yards to water...ain't life grand?

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Gifts For Madden

A little boy woke this morning without the hug of his mother. A mother and father wonder how they will go on. A question raised of how this little boy, Madden...will know just how special and loving a mother he possessed.

A picture of Karah shared illustrates passion in her eyes, warmth in her smile and a loving kindness in her presence as all whom knew her partook in. Forced to accept a finality so sudden that it leaves us all numb, dumbfounded and without words.

The pain unfathomable. The grief unmeasurable. The same questions will be asked tomorrow and the day after as the surreal becomes all too real. Hold onto those beautiful places in time with Karah. Share your fondest memories of her. Wrap them in love and compassion. Give these gifts to Madden, so he will always know.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Recovering, Relaxing and Rethinking

bored Pictures, Images and PhotosI haven't felt like blogging much lately. I usually blog about the things I do and see. Seeing that I am pretty much housebound I have not seen much lately. Why am I housebound? Surgery. Yes, a couple of weeks ago I underwent a major minor surgery. Only a handful of my closest friends know the exact procedure, but it does require a few weeks of very limited activity.

What's a person to do while stuck in the house with only the ability to ambulate a few steps and lift very light objects? Read. Being on pain numbing medication limits my reading ability or I should say my endurance. The words on the page mixed with codeine tends to send me off to slumber quite often.

What's my next option? Watching movies. After about ten movies, well...I'm quite movied out. Then what? Talking on the phone. My poor poor poor friends. I should say that I am quite certain that they are definitely tired of my calling.

I have completed four puzzles, looked out the window a few hundred times, washed all the clothes I could find, dusted everything in sight...facebooked until I am blue in the face and now here I am writing the most uninteresting blog possible.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

My Blue Eyes... Toni Etier

The written word is beautiful to me. When those words are in music, a book or a poem...I must listen. I seek out lyrics and the meanings in between. A while back I blogged about a band and within that band is a drummer. And this drummer has a very special girlfriend. You may remember her smiling face in one of my pictures. Below is a poem that she composed:

My Blue Eyes

my blue eyes betray my thoughts,

they casually drop my secrets like gossip.

my blue eyes sometimes lie for me...

though seldom do they try.

my blue eyes deceive you still,

as honest as they are...

you don't see,

too wrapped up in yourself...

no thoughts of me.

my blue eyes see your heart,

they know your soul.





my blue eyes patiently wait,

they search you for me.

my blue eyes...


Toni Etier

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Red White And Blue

I don't have enormous plans for the fourth. I do know that this is the very first fourth since I've been a mommy that my children will not be with me. My youngest is on the Coast with my mommy and daddy and my eldest is spending the weekend with his girlfriend and her family. So, I'm alone. Being alone reminds me of that poem of the lone rider that brought the message that most of us associate with our independence day.

I'm sure you know the one where the man rides his horse to announce the coming of something rather important.

"A cry of defiance, and not of fear—
A voice in the darkness, a knock at the door,
And a word that shall echo forever-more;
For borne on the night wind of the past,
Through all our history to the last,
In the hour of darkness and peril and need,
The people will waken and listen to hear
The hurrying hoof beats of that steed, "

Long before that night, our nation had been conceived. In pubs and taverns, farmhouses and churches, town halls and public squares...whisperings of what's not fair and change that's needed. Lines were drawn and divisions were born. Loyalists and Patriots, Liberals and Conservatives, the haves and have nots...time has not changed those attitudes, they're still present today.

Generations of contempt have been born. The divisions are too deeply embedded. Differences can not be put aside even for a day. But let's pretend anyway. Fire up the grill, slap on the steaks. Fly the flag and pop the works. Beat your chests and shed that single tear. Smile and be polite have no fear. Kiss and hug your family tight, forget about that fight.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Getting Buttered Up At Summer Mummers

A few months ago, a friend mentioned taking me to Summer Mummers. I'd never been. I'd never heard of it. I wanted to go. My good buddy Durango, did a little background research for me so that I would be prepared. What I learned before going was that people that you didn't know would want to dowse you in popcorn. I also learned that if you don't have a sense of humor or are a stuffed shirt you just shouldn't go. Finally, one of my friends gave me the best advice, "Don't wear opened toe shoes." That, I think was the best advice ever.

Arriving at the Yucca Theatre in Midland found me showing my ID. The purpose, so I could purchase a margarita. With margarita in hand, my escort for the evening wanted to ensure that I had the best experience possible. He purchased flashing buttons, donned me with Mardis Gras beads and bought an entire rack of popcorn. Some for eating, but the majority would be airborne at some point.

We sat in the pit, putting us directly in front of the stage and behind the piano man. Remember those old serial movies from the old time movie experience? Part of the melodrama played as a movie while actors performed other parts on stage. During the movie playing portion, Mr. Piano man provided the running music.

The premise of the show was a talent search in the desert. The promotional name for the contest was titled STD. The Limp Wrist agency sponsored the contest, the owners Sgt. Pepper and Captain N. Tennille would be leaving the company to their daughter and the winner of the STD would have the privilege of sharing ownership. So, if you have any imagination, the plot consisted of looking for the next big STD.

We were informed that when the Villain appeared you needed to boo and throw popcorn. When the protagonist appeared you should clap and be very enthusiastic. I don't know how I missed snapping a shot of the villain, but I did manage to capture the good guys and their sidekicks.

There's a bit of crowd participation. For instance, the Limp Wrist owners daughter's name is Caroline Goodtimes. When her name was said, "Sweet Caroline..." the crowd responded, "Da Da Daaa"... you know like the Neil Diamond song. In fact, one needed to be a bit familiar with all types of songs in order to get some of the jokes.

Of course, as in all melodramas, the good guys save the day, win the girl's heart...and everyone (except for the villain) lives happily ever after. This melodrama was no exception. Just when I thought it was over, that's when the variety show began.

There were so many acts and one liners I just kept laughing and clapping. I remembered this one joke for my buddy Durango. It goes like this, "How are Old Men and Good Coffee the same?" "They're RICH." I'm sure he'll appreciate that one.

Dancers? Oh, yes...plenty of dancers ranging in gender and age. From the black eyed bees to Les Girls there wasn't a lack of music or dancing. Even the crowd got a chance to dance to the Time Warp from the old cult classic, The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Did I dance? Oh, you betcha.

I would have to say the entire evening was a total blast and I would definitely do it again. The highlight? Hmmm...hard to say, but that pretty girl carrying the cards to announce the next act was pretty entertaining!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Oil Flood Protest New Orleans asks, "Who Dat Gonna Clean This Up?"

This is a shot of the famous Jackson Square in New Orleans. Usually it's filled with tourists, but not on this day. On May 30th, the Square was flooded with locals demanding accountability. Wondering why it is that the ones in charge have allowed the BP oil leak to continue. They're angry and they want answers now!

Louisiana felt the devastating effects of Katrina but recovered. If you remember the coverage of the hurricane you should also remember how thousands of people were left stranded without help, how the rest of us looked on in horror. I remember that time well, waiting to hear from my brother, my grandparents...I don't want them to feel alone.

Photos by Maria T. Brodine

Monday, June 7, 2010

Roy Orbison Festival June 18th 2010

It's just around the corner...what our little town of Wink is famous for. The Roy Orbison Festival music and car show extravaganza. I've heard that there's some new blood on the committee of organizers that are sure to spice things up. I'll go and see if I can round up some information for all you Orbison fans. Until then...mark your calenders for June 18th.

"They Didn't Make Us So...We Didn't " Retorted BP

I know a little something about offshore drilling. My ex husband worked for Duo-Line which was owned by Rice Engineering. Except my ex husband was not an engineer, he was before coming to West Texas a bass player in a band. He landed a job working with cement for casings and within a couple of years moved up into production and then was made the top guy for flying out to Houston to fix engineering problems.

Yeah, there's gaining experience on the job, but really...someone doing an engineer's job without the degree or experience required? Happens all the time. Duo-Line lost their engineer and didn't bother to replace him. So, honestly, it doesn't surprise me that when safety measures are suggested that BP would retort...well, if they're not required...why?

Minerals Management Service questioned the effectiveness of blowout preventers used in extremely deep waters. Their concerns are now our accident in the Gulf. A backup shutoff device was also suggested, but not required by MMS. Why not required? Because the oil and gas industry boo hooed and cried about it. SO...the MMS backed down. Sounds like to me we need some new people with backbones on the MMS. Don't ya think?

Clean up efforts? Hah... all we got now going on is BP pointing fingers at TransOcean who's pointing fingers at Haliburton. Oh, do you remember me begging all of you to demand that Congress pass the Frac Act? Which would require oil and gas companies to disclose what's in Fraccing fluids? Guess what...the dispersants used to "clean up" the ancient guarded secret...who's feeling foolish now, huh?

Read more about the why, how and who here.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

65 Years Later on the Beaches of Normandy

Sixty Five years marches us through time and away from those beaches in Normandy. Glancing back just does not satisfy the longing to capture that moment, to fully understand the impact of those Allied forces crossing the perilous waters to find themselves gaining entrance to a most menacing rendezvous.

Sixty five years ago British troops hunkered down awaiting orders to move forward. Canadian troops joined the operation staking a claim to Juno Beach. Landing crafts transported American troops and with their doors open they waded ashore under cover of Naval fire. In their crouched positions anticipation of the movement lingered heavy in the air creating deep impressions on that beach. B26 Marauders dotted the skies above Normandy creating a blanket of security for those on vigil.

Sea crafts brought thousands across the English Channel. Scores perished in those waters as they made their final approach. Those that landed first took the brutal brunt for all those that continued to pour in on the waves. Hundreds of thousands met their end that day but not in vain. The liberation of France marked a most crucial turning point in the Western theatre and created a permanent impression in the Wrinkles of Time.

General Dwight Eisenhower looked across those beaches in 1951 to remember the sacrifice and the remembering has never ceased. Year after year, pilgrims come and witness the painted poppies on the beach pebbles. A beach sixty five years ago stained in red still haunts our memories. If you were to stand on that beach today, be certain that you'll peer deep into the eyes of a veteran of that War of 1939 - 1945. Listen to his eyes, they'll tell you a most gut wrenching story. Then give him a single solitary salute, imprint his story onto your mind because one day you'll have to embark on that trip for him.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Annie's First Ever Plane Ride

Don't have a recollection of my first plane ride. May be because I took that flight at the tender age of six months. Later in life I had many rides I remember well. Annie flew for the first time at a much older age than myself, her hall of flight memory, nine. I like that she experienced it at nine. I tell her all the time that this is her final year of being a single digit. Never ever again will her age only contain a spot for one number.

The thought of it saddens me, but also brings to mind the next few years of being a pre-teen. Not feeling old enough to do anything, feeling too old to do some things and yet wishing all the while to be a teenager. Or at least...that's how I remembered it.

Her first flight, that of one hour and fifteen minutes into Denver went without any surprises. Of course, though on a normal lift off, you get that usual rumbling sound. Except it doesn't feel usual when it's your first time. Annie's eyes widened, her tiny hands gripped the arm rests and she peered deep into my eyes for the reassuring look of comfort. Finding it, she relaxed and witnessed for the first time the ground below her growing minuscule through a tiny window.

She inquired ahead of time of many people what she should expect and how she could prepare for the plane ride. Some offered the advice of chewing gum to alleviate ear clogging problems. Of course, armed with that nifty piece of advice...she repeatedly asked me if I remembered to bring gum.
Another told her that she would need coinage in order to use the bathroom, but that may be she shouldn't use the bathroom for the fear of it sucking her out the plane. Annie decided against using the facilities and passed up a soda in order to prevent the need for a bathroom trip.

Did I mention how the princess loves to be prepared and plan well?

Monday, May 31, 2010

Remembering My Birth On Memorial Day

Memorial Day. Family get togethers, celebrating school end and the beginning of summer, pools, picnics, wafting smells off the grill, American Flags lining the streets of towns across the USA...these are a few signs that Memorial Day is in full progress.

Our family never lost a soldier on foreign soil. They all returned safely to their families. Grandpa died last year, he served as a medic in WWII. My Uncle died years ago, he had been in the Navy. My great granddaddy died when I was very young, he served in WWI, although a German he served on the Allied side. These are just a few from my family tree.

Daddy was drafted right after he married mommy. And right after he married mommy, they were pregnant with me. They left the Gulf Coast of Mississippi and moved to El Paso, Texas out to Fort Bliss. Mommy was very sick with me. Her blood is AB negative, mine is A positive...there's something deadly about that combination. Remember, I am old...we're talking about the early seventies before all these wonderful advances in medicine.

There's a handy dandy shot today of course that fixes this problem, but before now...negative blood mommies with positive blood babies was a huge dilemma. The Fort Blissian Doctors informed mommy and daddy that their child would be born with no hands, no feet and possibly be born with mental retardation. They encouraged mommy and daddy to abort and never give birth to this child.

Did I ever mention how stubborn I am? I fought that decision tooth and nail. I kicked and screamed, gave my mommy the worse morning sickness I possibly could. I jumped at the sound of my daddy's voice as he sang GI Blues to me. I sucked my thumb and nestled in. I planted my feet sternly against my mommie's back. I dug in and planned to stay.

I was born, despite what the Fort Blissian doctors suggested. And as mommy and daddy held me my very first day, they looked into the deepest bluest eyes of a most perfectly formed little girl and gave her a most fitting name. Joely Ann. Formed from my daddy, Joe, and my mommy Paula Ann.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

And Then There Were None

My last day of school? Had some really tender heartbreaking moments. The boys and I watched one more movie together...Michael. You know, the one with Travolta playing an angel. Then ten minutes before ten o'clock, they were informed transport had arrived and would be taking them to their new facility. They all lined up and hugged us, their teachers for the very last time.

I walked them over to their dorms so they could collect their belongings. Little plastic bags with toiletries and a few other personal items. One of the boys hugged me tightly and whispered that he loved me, that I was like a mother to that he'd never known.

This kid always worked so hard in my class. He has a wonderful creative knack for writing and draws the most beautiful illustrations. I always try to give each kid an opportunity to use his talents in the classroom.

Then something occurred that I'd never witnessed before. The boys were handcuffed and shackled for transport. As the chains were donned, they went from being my little high school boys to hardened criminals. Some of them dropped their heads in shame as their eyes met mine. My heart broke, I'd never seen them this way before...and I couldn't help but tear up and wonder if this experience had been positive enough that it would be a catalyst for change.

I really won't ever know the answer to that question. All I can hope for is that maybe, when these fellas are grown, and have jobs and families, that maybe they'll look up their former English teacher and send me a message. Hopefully that message will inform me that they achieved the one thing I wanted for them. A life full of promise, of success, of always being in the free.

School's Out for Summer Flying To Denver

This most anticipated and longed for day has finally arrived! It's the last day of school before graduations and summer vacations. The last day to hand in assignments, find missing books, clean out your locker, check the lost and found for that jacket your mom is still pissed about you losing...the last day...ahhh.

Bittersweet feelings trickle through my mind and course throughout my being as a creek meandering along the hilly grassy slope of some quiet place. TYC will close the doors forever on the state school. Teaching at the state school for the past two years proved challenging mixed with hidden delightful surprises.

There's always a diamond in the ruff, and with these boys there were several. I taught English and Writing. They tested for me back in March. I received their results yesterday. The exit level testers...100%. The sophomores...83%. The freshmen...80%. I celebrated the victory with them, serving pizza and sodas...bidding them goodbye and continued success.

It's bittersweet also because of the bonds and friendships I formed with my fellow teachers. And am I ever so proud of Mrs. Cummings! She took and passed her EC-4 certification test! You've come a long way baby!

As soon as school is out the princess and I will be flying to Denver via Albuquerque. We'll be riding with Jesse to keep him company on his way to a relative's graduation. Annie has made it known that she is no longer speaking to Jesse because he rolled down the window when we rode through the cemetery to allow the ghosts to get her. To her chagrin, she was not gotten by ghosts. We'll see how long that no speaking to Jesse lasts when we get to the first convenience store and she's wanting beef jerky!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A Thank You Note

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Subra Is Coming To Town

Who is Wilma Subra? A Louisiana chemist who doesn't mind dodging bullets to protect us and our children from the negligence of the toxic industry. Okay, I can already hear you sighing and rolling your eyes! I know we need industry, but we also need industry to use safety equipment and non toxic materials in their production and manufacturing.

Wilma helps communities fight against the abuses of chemicals used by companies. She considers it her job to inform and empower neighborhoods with the knowledge of fighting chemical threats.

Sadly, many people ignore her work and warnings...that is until someone in their own family ends up sick. That's when she'll receive a call:

"I've never agreed with you and I've been on the other side but my wife or my child is sick and I want to know what are the potential things they could have been exposed to that caused the illness."

During these moments, Wilma starts the dissemination of information. Through a simple exchange of words, she easily shifts attitudes.

There's plenty of work that needs to be done. Plenty of communities that are exposed to chemical threats. Plenty of companies who need to take responsibility and get it cleaned up.

Wilma Subra is coming to town. Oh, not my itty bitty town of Wink, but to Ft Worth on June 3rd. She will be the guest speaker for NCTCA and dialogue about Air Quality and it's health impacts on us and our children. I know as an educator and mother, this topic greatly concerns me. More details will follow concerning time and location. Go Ahead and free up June 3rd you won't want to miss this granny in action!

Leslie Johnson and Her Mississippi RAG

Growing up in the Deep South allowed me the fortuitous opportunity to be surrounded by great local artists. My granddaddy was friends with the likes of Arno Pace and Ray Stevens. Grandma and Grandpa took summer trips to Nashville to the Grand Ole Opry . It was akin to heaven for the two of them as Grandpa listened to songs that we all knew he'd be picking on his own dance floor back home.

I veered away from the blue grass and country of my granddaddy's band and found myself more in the tradition of heavier beats. I always found myself listening to more obscure non mainstream type music such as King Crimson or the Sex Pistols. But...I never deny my heritage or roots and sometimes when the mood hits me just right find my heart wanting a little of the blues and jazz.
The Mississippi Rag was the premiere authority on blues in the Delta. Leslie Johnson took that little upstart of a magazine to national and international success with readers in all 50 states and 26 foreign countries. In 2007 the Rag no longer put out 40 to 50 pages of printed sensational stories, but purely went to being an online publication. This was due to Leslie's personal illness and her eventual death to cancer.

My grandpa and grandma were huge fans of The Mississippi Rag and were faithful subscribers. I loved reading through the well done articles and was truly impressed by Leslie's journalistic writing abilities and her way of infusing the excitement of the music into each and ever article.

From start to finish, Leslie Johnson and her beloved magazine will be forever known as the absolute authority on Jazz and Blues around the country. What I admired most about Leslie was her dedication to black musicians. Other journals ignored these musicians, but Leslie never did.

One of her writers had this to say about The RAG:

"The RAG was an exemplary magazine in many ways — the tabloid format she insisted on allowed her to print many and large-scale illustrations, including rare and sometimes unique photos she got from the best collectors of this material."

Leslie left us as the single driving force that hailed early Jazz and ragtime and brought it the notoriety it most richly deserved. These are her parting words to her longtime staff of writers:

"I can't begin to tell you how much I treasure our history together. I am so proud of the quality of each RAG, and it's all due to your talent, creative spirit and willingness to explore the rich legacy of this music. Many musicians owe you thanks, too, because you have, in many cases, revived and/or enhanced their careers.

"Thank you so much. I love you all and will continue to be in touch for as long as possible."

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Hearing That New Sound With Outlash

I've encountered quite a bit of live music in my short existence on this revolving planet. My love affair with music all started when my grandpa purchased a piano for my sixth birthday. He played strings...fiddle, guitar, banjo...anything with strings he could play. He and his buddies put together a band and on Friday and Saturday nights they would get together and play. I loved dancing then and I adore dancing now.

That's how I judge the likability of a new band is their ability to get my feet moving. If I can't be convinced with the hard core heavy strumming of the bass or the rhythmic pounding of the percussion to gyrate to the dance floor then it is not a likable band in my opinion.

I remember back in New Orleans, I was friends with the lead singer of a band named Zodiac Jukebox. Normally, I wouldn't go for an all cover band, but these guys title said it all. Basically their repertoire of songs was so extensive that they could play any request. They had hundreds of songs memorized and if they didn't have the song all a person had to do was hum it and they could fake it. They gigged at the Cafe Brazil. I have no idea if Cafe Brazil is still around, but that place had a fantastic dance floor. I met these guys while I was performing in the musical, Hair. That was a lot of fun and maybe one day I'll write about it.

While in Denver I happened across another band. An all orginals band. That's a bit tougher to pull off. Fragile X was unique in the fact that their name was the name of a disease. I bet you're thinking that's strange, but actually the band donated 50% of all sales of merchandise to the Fragile X foundation. I worked with them for a little while booking them in the downtown area of Denver...little swanky outdoor cafes. Their music was mostly instrumental with a few vocals. Quite airy and melodic lots of different sounds from nature and various percussion items. I wonder how Fragile X is doing today.

Coming to West Texas has put me at a disadvantage. Most of the genre of live music in this area is purely country. Country is...well...isn't for me. I don't two step and never will. My feet just don't work that way. I tend to be an all over the dance floor kinda gal. Which leads me to the purpose of this post. I found a new band that I thoroughly enjoy. It's a great mix of heavy rocking covers infused with hard hitting metal grooving original music.

Hearing newly created music is a wonderful experience because you just never know when you're going to catch something spectacular. Think about it, every band on the radio started a small bar putting their music out there and somewhere at some point the creation becomes the new sound. Wouldn't be amazing to be there when it happens?

So, I guess you're pondering if I have come across that new sound. I think maybe I have. The excitement of finding Outlash and attending their shows to experience their awesome precise covers and the driving force of their originals has become something I look forward to. Best of all, the members are extremely cordial and a pleasure to be around. I especially like the drummer's girl friend. That's her in the picture giving me a most beautiful smile. That smile matches her personality. She is one of the sweetest people I know. Rock on Toni!