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?