Saturday, December 3, 2011

Range Resources Blunders sneaky of me. Did I lead you to believe that RANGE RESOURCES had actually apologized for the spill? Here's what they really said:

Waller said he believes residents overreacted to the spill out of anger over recent air quality tests that found elevated levels of benzene and other harmful chemicals during several stages of the drilling process at the first Rayzor Ranch well.

Waller said the tests, performed for neighbors by Flower Mound-based Wolf Eagle Environmental, were inaccurate and unscientific.

The Railroad Commission “did call by phone, and we did explain to them what the situation was, and they understood the political issues that were going on for all those people to call,” Waller, of Range, said. “But there’s nothing we can do about it except try to deal with the public there.”

Range Resources

"Although there are some temporary inconveniences associated with the drilling process, our industry is one of the most technologically advanced and well regulated industries in the world. As a result, we take great care to preserve and protect the environment"


Range Resources is terribly sorry for the poor judgment of our contractor Pioneer Drilling Company and the foreman has been warned that taking shortcuts of any kind is not an acceptable practice.

Awww...How quaint, they apologized.

Thursday, November 10, 2011


This morning as I sipped coffee and watched the morning news, the anchor woman stated that a study completed by the University of Texas's Energy Institute found that no link exists between hydraulic fracturing and ground water contamination. I found this statement hard to swallow.

Upon further reading of other sources this is what has been revealed:

First of all, these are ONLY the preliminary findings and the report will not be completed and released until the early part of 2012.

Second, the word used was "SUGGEST" the report suggests... doesn't that mean to imply? To seduce? To influence? To hypothesize?

Third, the preliminary findings state that when there is ground water contamination that we should look at the surface processes, such as "poor casing" and "shoddy cement jobs". Okay, so we do admit there is GROUND WATER CONTAMINATION.

And the All Mighty Groat, the lead UT geology professor on the study, said this...

"The violations that we've seen are of no, minor or small impact," Groat said. "The impact on groundwater, the impact on the surface is not of anything substantial, certainly not compared to coal mines or metal mines."

Whew...I feel so much better. Heck, it's better than a coal mine (ha ha ha...snort). Kind of reminds me of that silly thing that some presidential wanna be just said recently..."I just don't know the third thing that I'd do away with." Senseless babble.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Big Machine

So, if we're part of a big machine that's governed by let's say, certain laws that never change, then it would be a safe or an ignorant assumption to say that most of our choices are predestined. That we have no other way to react or respond, but within those laws. Now, there exists certain particles, or maybe atoms, that are unpredictable, that act randomly and we are unable to determine their course. That part is true, from what I understand, that there are certain elements that swerve, that do not have a particular course.

Let's then assume that we are made of these particles. Some are fixed and adhere to the governing laws, then we are also composed of these particles that act randomly. Let's also say that some of us are mainly composed of the fixed particles and have very few of the unpredictable particles. Therefore, we could say that the majority of us are predictable and follow a rather predetermined course. We react within the normal range of actions.

Then there's a group of people that are composed of the more unpredictable particles and have very few of the more stable law adhering particles. These people do not react in the "normal" range of actions. They tend to be unpredictable and not follow the governing laws.

I wonder if it's that simple? That no matter what you instill in someone, that they have a genetic make up to either be predictable law adhering particles or they have the genetic make up to be unpredictable unlawful particles. What if it's really all in the genes?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Walking Dead, Yes, I'm Hooked

Normally I don't do a whole lot of television watching, until recently that is. I can't help myself, seeing that I'm a morbid zombie loving undead watching sorta person, the air waves, or is that radio? have been filled with shows that I just can't get enough of.

I started watching the Walking Dead last season and was immediately taken with the believable characters and wonderful story line and subplots. It's a feast for TV viewers, not to mention that when the Zombies get a chance to feast, they chow down!

Another show that I happened upon is American Horror Story. Zowie! That show is hot, disturbing, hot, wicked, hot... well, you get the point. Basically, from what I have gathered so far is there is this house with a murderous history with an evil presence lurking. And the dead? Oh, yes, the dead not only walk among the living they leave a few more corpses behind!

Switching genres from horror to historical fiction, I viewed the season premiere of AMC's Hell On Wheels. Intense! Being a novice history buff, I rather fancy time period pieces and heroines in distress. I'm looking forward to this coming Sunday's lineup.

So, with now three hours of TV watching a week, I find myself being strapped for time. I spend about 8 hours a week at the gym, 50 hours a week at work, 7 - 10 hours a week cleaning, 6 - 8 hours a week preparing and doing an internet radio show, about 35 hours a week sleeping...exactly how many hours are in a week?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

My Buddy Durango Turning 47 Today

Happy Birthday Mr. Durango! I sure am glad you decided to transplant your incredible self to Texas. I've been lax in keeping up with my friends as of late or I would have sent you a little something from the desert, but seeing that Fort Worth is on day 41 of drought and heat above 100, I'm thinking that your landscape is starting to resemble my own.

Instead, I'll post for you one of my favorite songs.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The New York Times Joe Niocera Is In Pickens Back Pocket

Okay, for those of you who love the idea of oil and gas know, the Drill Baby, Drill, shrill...please do not read this.

For the rest of you, please read on.

I read a rather disturbing reply by Joe Nocera regarding comments made on his previous opinion in The New York Times. Well, at first I thought that he was just uneducated on the matter of natural gas fracking...but it turns out that he is Picken's lackey. Please tell me you have not forgotten T. Boone Pickens.

What caught my eye about Nocera's opinion was this line:

In Texas and Oklahoma, it has been used for decades, with nobody complaining much about environmental degradation.

Really? NOBODY has complained MUCH? Well, I know for damn certain I have complained A LOT and I live in Texas.

Then, Mr. Informative lists the three main reasons and quickly dispels them without an ounce of back up or provided research.

fracking supposedly allows gas and dangerous chemicals to seep into the water supply. This is pretty implausible.

Well, if I remember correctly I just read an article about an EPA study concluding that fracking has contaminated drinking water. And you know what else? THE NEW YORK TIMES also reported on the same story! Hey, Joe? Do ya not read anything else besides your own bloated arrogant opinions?

The second problem is the disposal of the chemical waste.

Yeah, no kidding. This is a problem and no, Joe, they do not all bury it under the ground in spill proof containers, there are reports of it being dumped late at night off of county roads or kept in big open pits lined with plastic.

natural gas is dirtier than coal.

He quickly dismisses this as a biased opinion. What I find rather ironic (or maybe moronic) is that at the end of the article he then admits that there are problems with natural gas drilling and fracking the Shale, but that with best drilling practices and with strong state regulation (bahahaha, snort, choke...ouch) we, America (covers heart and sheds a tear) can finally end our dependence on foreign oil...and his cliched rhetoric doesn't stop there...

while diminishing the strategic importance of the Middle East, where American soldiers continue to die.

Of course, I wanted to leave my comment on his article, but due to the outpouring of outrage about his uniformed ignorant rant...he is no longer accepting comments.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Being Selfless

Have you ever made a decision? I mean a real life changing decision? One that you had thought about for several weeks, maybe even a month and you thought you were doing the right thing, but then after the decision, you felt worse than before?

Can you ever go back? Do hurtful things that are said can ever really be forgiven? Or do the words build and build until there's a protective wall that just stays there. I read a quote today:

"Be selfless today if it's going to be for the betterment of someone else's life. U and they will be better off for your sacrifice."

I had planned on trying to reverse my decision today. Go back and undo it, if it could. But after reading that quote, maybe the decision was what was better for the other person. Dang...being a human is so hard sometimes...

Friday, August 5, 2011

Summer Vacation Coming To An End

Like my good buddy, Durango, posted about an hour ago, it's going to be another hot day here in West Texas. The boys are practicing for football, my youngest will have a guest for the weekend and we are planning on staying around the house and maybe doing a little swimming up at the school pool.

I always get semi depressed at this time of the year. School is about to start, and although I love my occupation, I love the time off just as much. This is the first time of my teaching career that I'm not totally dreading getting back into the classroom. That lack of dread has everything to do with the district I am now employed with.

It will be slightly different this year, because my principal is now at the elementary, and the elementary principal is now at the junior high, my campus. Why was this change made? From what I gather, it's because the junior high campus has it's act together. Well, at least, that's what they tell us.

This is my son's last year in high school and my daughter's last year in elementary. We have a few more things planned before school gets underway, Summer Mummers and the Midnight Cellar Dweller Movie. And before that, I am making a solo trip to Louisiana to pick up a 1965 Ford Mustang.

Some interesting news has been coming down the pike about a correlation between fracking and ground water contamination. The article is easy to read, but just don't stop there...the comments are priceless.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

You And Me And The Stock Market

Okay, I don't know a whole lot about the stock market, but from history classes and news articles and of course from the movie, Wallstreet, I have a basic understanding. This is my understanding, that the majority of the money we "see" in the stock market is soft money. Oh, I know...soft money means a type of political contribution that can't be regulated because it, ahem..."builds" the party. So, why am I using that term with the stock market?

The stock market contains whimsical money that builds the nations' economy. Sometimes it has a really awesome building effect while at other times it has an extremely damaging effect. Like it's having today, with a 400 point drop...people, according to one news source...are already throwing in the towel and moving their money to safer areas, such as bonds.

And then we have been having this whole debt debate thing going on over in Congress for quite some time. Shut it down, start it up, compromise... whatever. I know what's really going on, and knew it before I read Robert Bowden's article, but I'll let him say it for me:

"Instead of trying to reach consensus, political leaders are posturing for their re-election and increasing book sales."

I know what you, the average ordinary non stock market guru is saying..."this is not going to affect me in the least. I will wake up and do what I do, go to work, get paid and pay the bills." I think that's a HUGE misconception, because it will eventually affect YOU! If you remembered correctly, I posted a nice little proposal for a flat tax. I got some positive feedback, so I started emailing my plan to all my elected far, no takers.

But here are a few things that all of the above will have to do with the average person:

1. Higher interest rates, less loans
2. Delayed Government checks, except for Congress (there's a law that protects them)
3. Government offices will be closed and some employees on leave
4. Finally, with access to capital(money) being limited; layoffs are on the horizon and costs/prices will increase

What are we going to do? I don't know yet. I have to give this some thought, but I'll be sure to let ya know what I come up with.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Titillate Your Senses In The Tall City

Do you remember the cult classic, The Rocky Horror Picture Show? Some of us not only remember it, we lived it! Persons that did not participate in a midnight showing probably are a little clueless of what it means to attend an active viewing of the The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

The audience members not only watched the movie, but they usually did so in costume and had every line of the movie well memorized. Props, dancing and crowd participation is what makes the Rocky Horror Picture Show experience truly fun. Of course, it does help if you have a sense of humor and are not offended by transsexuals or crude behavior. There is a guide for Rocky Horror Virgins which could be extremely useful in preparing you for your first time.

Since I now have you thinking about this unique movie type experience and I have your mind primed, pumped and ready, I'm about to drop something just as amazing and interesting on you.

Let's say, that you could see one of your favorite movies of the past, could be something like, Blue Velvet, High Plains Drifter, Heavy Metal or even Evil Dead. And not only could you see it again, but you could view it on the big screen, with surround sound and buttered popcorn for a very low price. Interested?

Coming soon, right here in The Tall City, The Cellar with Bogart and Brando, in conjunction with Basin Bands will be bringing you the Cellar Dweller Midnight Movie. It's not just a movie...contests, discount cards, giveaways, live bands, concessions...and so much more. Titillate your senses in the Tall City!

Here's a sneak preview of what is soon to come!

Monday, August 1, 2011

A Round Up For Express Energy

I'm not quite sure what Express Energy has been up to lately, but for the past several weeks I have had a lot of traffic searching for information on Express Energy. At one time, Express Energy was siphoning water from the Trinity River, without permits and when my good buddy, Durango, tried to take a few photos...they got really nasty.

So, let me ask...are you searching for information about Express Energy, because they're up to no good again? OR are you from Express Energy checking out your google rating?

I'll make it easy, I did a quick search on my blog and put all the information that I have about Express Energy right here.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

That's Why They Call It The Blues

When you grow up in the Deep South, as I did, you become accustomed to a few things, such as great Jazz and Blues music, smiling politely and saying yes ma'am, and this little bug called the craw fish. Being away from the South, for nearly two decades, leaves this Southern girl feeling a bit discontented at times. This discontentment brews and manifests itself into a longing to get a taste of my childhood on occasion. The perfect opportunity for satisfying this yearning came in the form of the Tall City Blues Festival of Midland.

Jesse, Annie and myself arrived at the festival gates around noon on Saturday and were greeted to a beautiful cloudy cover, with the sound of a soulful crooner and a cooling breeze. Within the breeze, music swayed like effervescent bubbles, infused with the smell of spicy craw fish. I knew at this point in time, I was exactly where I needed to be.

The three of us, with our four pounds of craw fish and iced tea, meandered to a spot on the cement under the trees. While sucking the heads and chomping the tails, we listened to a peppy little tune called Slow Down Sugar by John Lisi and The Delta Funk. I noticed a man, dancing away, and well, I wasn't the only one, because John Lisi called out to him, "This music makes you want to jump right out of your flip flops!"

For some of us, The Blues remind us of home, for others, it can bring on a certain melancholy, while for a few it may elicit feelings of love and passion. Whatever it brings forth in you, that's what the Tall City Blues Festival was all about, bringing people together to appreciate The Blues.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Fly Away LIttle Birdie

Do you ever take inventory of your life and look back a year, two years and wonder have you actually moved forward? I suppose if you did not plan to move forward, but only to maintain, then that question would not apply to you.

Let me take a walk down memory lane for a minute or two, please indulge me. Two years ago, 2009, I was working for TYC in Pyote, was twenty pounds heavier, in much more debt, finally coming to the realization that my marriage of eight years disintegrated; depressed, floundering, just maintaining.

2010, I found more pleasurable employment within a school district that is closer to home. I resolved to lose those unwanted twenty pounds and did. I cut up my credit cards and started paying off debt, over fifteen thousand to date. Made peace with my failed marriage and filed for divorce; hopeful, determined, gaining ground.

Here I am though, halfway through 2011 and I find myself floundering once again. No, I'm okay with debt, still gaining ground. And no, I'm not gaining weight again, still exercising and eating healthy. Not even giving the failed marriage a second thought, I survived and have put it behind me. So, why am I feeling...a bit discontent?

I think it's the ideology and dogma of others that has infiltrated my otherwise peaceful forward moving life. I can not for the life of me, convince my son to finish his entire senior year here in Wink. He's discontent. I understand discontent and finally, today, I decided that I am no longer going to fight it. I gave him my blessings and wished him well. So, I am preparing for having my son, after his 18th birthday, move to Midland to live with his new friends. Good luck my dear one, I love you and wish only the best for you.

Raise Your Hand For 5% No Exemptions Necessary

It's really simple, we can begin to lower the debt by getting rid of a bloated and overindulgent tax system. Why is it that we have all these rules? Why can we not have a simple flat tax rate for everyone, regardless of how many dependents they have; how much they donate to charity, or how much interest they pay on certain loans?

If you made $100,000 annually, would it not be extremely simple to know, that no matter what happened that year, you would pay a flat tax? The amount of the rate is still debatable. See, Congress would still have something to argue and complain about.

Don't corporations hire lawyers and accountants to figure out which loop holes benefit them the most? Does not the government have well over 115,000 employees on the full time payroll to process and collect taxes? Tons of people E-file, which I think is fantastic, that's not the problem. The problem is enforcing all the rules. Spending countless hours to ensure you got all your tax breaks. Please, give me a break...pass a flat tax and get rid of the loop holes and deductions!

Back to the rate, let's say that it's 5% across the board. So, if you make $120,000 (like a friend of mine does in Lewisville) then your tax payment would be $6,000. I bet he'd like that, because now his tax payment is $40,000. He's single, no children and owns his own breaks.

I have another friend that makes $1,200,000...which is a considerable sum. He's a small business owner. Under my plan, he would pay $60,000, which is a fantastic break for him since he now pays well over $250,000 in taxes under our inflated ridiculous tax code.

The way I see it, middle America and small business owners finally get a break, big corporations have to pay their fair share, government spending is cut and millions of trees would be spared. I figure it's a win-win for everyone!

Oh, I know what you're thinking...Corporate America would pack up and leave. Let them. I would love to see a come back of the mom and pop businesses. Customer service would increase exponentially, automated systems would go bye-bye (and good riddance!), and people would act more like...well, people. Let's take our humanity back!

Am I being unreasonable? Is there something I'm missing? If I am...I'd like to know. Educate me on this matter, because I can't figure out why it would not work.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Escape From Houston

It's been quite the summer, and it's not entirely over yet. I made some small trips around Texas and New Mexico, remodeled the kids' rooms and started the Insanity workout. Both my children took solo trips, Princess Annie to Denver for a couple of weeks and Justin to New Orleans for a few weeks.

Justin's return trip from New Orleans was muddled at best. Somehow he managed to procure a ticket to the Warped Tour in Houston, which meant that his flight home would be from Houston, not Dallas.

Jesse booked Justin a trip to Houston from New Orleans via Grey Hound. It was Justin's first bus ride, seven hours of pure bliss. I think everyone should experience bus travel at least once in their life time.

After arriving in Houston, the experience becomes convoluted. Any and all plans to meet up with his "friend" and her mom were nixed. In my personal opinion, I'm thinking that there never was a "friend" and mom, but that's a different story altogether.

So, let me bring you in where I was brought in. A call comes in from Justin at about one AM, telling me that the worst has happened and then...I lost his call. For a mother, the "worst" entails a ton of horrible things that I'll not hash up at this particular point in time.

All I could gather from the call was that he was stranded in Houston, after spending his last fifty dollars on a taxi to the wrong airport and now he was trying to use the Metro Bus to get across town to Intercontinental.

Since I don't know your name, and my only way of getting this to you is via the internet...thank you, big nice man, that stayed with Justin and guided him through the streets of downtown Houston.

ustin did find his way to the correct airport and to an outlet in the terminal in which he could plug in his phone and call. As he related the story, fatigued, weary, relieved, stressed...I realized that we were fortunate.

Justin experienced the worst and best in people that night. He also found a sense of composure that enabled him to use resources he had never tapped before. He may have lost his luggage that night and all his earthly possessions, but he found so much more.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Queen Of Wink Is Missing

Yikes! It has come to my attention that the Queen of Wink has vanished! Wait, hold on a minute...I am the Queen of Wink!

A few days ago, I became utterly disgusted with Facebook. Not so much the social networking vehicle itself, but just the whole convoluted pretentious idea of the Facebook way of life.

Like Durango stated in his blogging of the missing Queen of Wink, I am an avid user of Facebook. Being an avid user, does take an enormant amount of time. (I realize that enormant isn't really a word, but it should be)

Seeing that I have an enormant amount of painting, cleaning and reorganizing to do and only an innormant (again, yes, I know) amount of time to complete these tasks before the kiddos get back from visiting their sperm donors, I've decided to take a much needed hiatus from Facebook.

I am a person, that will admittedly admit, that I have a very addictive personality. If there's junk food in the house...I'm going to eat it. If there's alcohol in the house...I'm going to drink it. And...if there's an avenue to being non productive, let's say by spending enormant amounts of time on Facebook...well, by golly, I'm going to waste that time on Facebook.

The only obvious path of least resistance is to "put away" Facebook for a little while so that I can focus all my energy on more important things. Such as playing Scrabble on and...uh, I mean...of course, remodeling the bedrooms.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

My Little Princess

"I hope when you read this, it kindles your heart and puts a smile on your face." That's what Sarah writes in a letter to her father from the movie, A Little Princess. It happens to be, A Little Princess, that is, one of my most favorite movies of all time. I enjoyed Shirley Temple's performance, but I relish the remake from the 90s.

I guess you're wondering why it is that your hard earned tax dollars are paying for me, a reading teacher, to show this movie to my students in class. That I'm not using my time wisely, and not teaching up until the very last second of the school year. You can be relieved that the movie does tie in nicely with our end of the year projects over India and that the things that the students have been reading about will now have visuals.

Speaking of end of the year projects, my students presented their findings on Monday. For the most part, the presentations were enjoyable and quite entertaining. I also could assess right away whether learning took place. You'll be happy to know that a whole lotta learning took place.

My gifted and talented class were tasked with creating an invention or improving an already created product. Here are some of the inventions that were presented: A Fancy Ball, which can be 6 different balls in one! The Master Mind! Never peel an orange again and have sticky fingers! An I Spy Rock Star Comic, featuring Gene Simmons from KISS and Marilyn Manson. I don't imagine fortunes will be made, but we had an entertaining afternoon dreaming about the possibilites.

Very few of my students had even heard of The Little Princess, but one surely did and grinned a huge smile while saying that she loves the movie. My favorite parts of the movie are those that include Levinia, the two faced horrible bully and the man from India, Rajah. Although, completely different characters in mannerisms, they both bring something that we all need. A little bit of pain and meaness inorder for us to truly understand and appreciate a little bit of joy and kindness.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Reading Time On A Friday Afternoon

This is the Friday before the last week of school and while my classes have been finishing their super cool end of the year projects, I've been milling around the room and straightening things up a bit. In doing so, I came across a Time magazine from November of 1999. I became interested in this particular magazine because of the cover. On the cover, in big bright lettering I read, "Low-Carb Diets...Meat-loving, bread-banning regimes are the rage. Do they work? Are they healthy? Here's the skinny."

Well, this had me all twitterpated, because finally, I was going to find out if these low-carb diets actually worked! So, as I perused my way through the articles in search of the answer to my long awaited question, I came across a section titled Milestones. When I think of milestones, it usually brings to my mind important, fulfilling moments in one's life. Such as, getting your driving license, graduating from high school, or getting married. But one of these articles, just didn't fit the description.

"Died, Carla Hochhalter, 48, mother of Anne Marie, 17, a student paralyzed in the April shootings at Columbine High. Hochhalter died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound; in Englewood, Colo. At a pawnshop, Hochhalter asked to see a .38-cal. revolver, then surreptitiously loaded the gun with bullets she had brought with her before shooting herself in the right temple. Just days before, her daughter had finally regained some movement in her legs."

I resided in Denver during the Columbine shootings. I could never make myself go by the school that transformed into a momento filled display of people pouring their grief out onto the sidewalk like water from an overfilled tub. Most of us were able to push those memories out of our minds, gone...vanished, but what if...what if, you woke each morning to a constant reminder of those wretched hours being relived time after time. Wishing that it were only a rancid nightmare, but waking to the reality of a child, paralyzed.

I don't know for what reason Carla ended her life, I can only imagine that it may have had something to do with the tragedy at Columbine. I used to think that parents that took their own lives were selfish, but in my wisened older more mature stage of my life, I choose this belief instead, "Don't judge until you've had the same exact experience." And since, we really and truly can not have the same experience as another person, then it's not for me to say

Hmmm...still trying to find that low carb diet article.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Just Another Friday

Mmm...the possibility of sleeping in, but it's never a reality. As usual, I rose before six and started my morning coffee. Facebooked for awhile, and looked around at the eventual mess that I would have to clean. Thinking to myself, just another half hour of sipping coffee before I tackle the day's work.

Annie had a couple of friends sleep over. They're still asleep, some on the floor, others on the couch and her in her big overstuffed Lazy Boy chair. As hard as she tries, she never manages to stay up and is most often the first to slip off into slumber. I tell her that it's better to not have to do the day sleep deprived, that's not much fun.

I find myself on the verge of completing a lot of small goals. Some I have been attempting for quite a while and others I have just started. I tend to have too many "things" going and never seem to get them completely accomplished, but I fear that's going to have to change.

Today's agenda, although not exciting, is one that must be adhered to. Oh, just simple stuff, such as cleaning out a closet or two, clearing out the carport and cutting a bit of hard West Texas grass. See, obviously, not exciting.

My son is working on his English research paper. Being an English teacher, I don't often come across student writing that knocks me off my feet. You may think that I'm going to be a bit biased, but then you wouldn't know me very well, if you actually thought that. I don't fill my kids' head with unworthy praise. In my opinion, giving them proper praise and encouragement, let's them know that when I really like something they have done...then it means it's really great.

My son has taken on the big question of Free Will vs Determinism. Quite a task, I know and a question that's been around for eons. His approach to writing this paper is rather unique, or maybe it's not, but I've not read a junior research paper ever done like how he has decided to write. I'll let you be the judge and jury and share his first page:

Your alarm goes off, you groggily hit the snooze, at exactly 3 minutes after, it goes off again, and you turn it off, remove the covers and stagger out of bed. You then begrudgingly drag yourself to the kitchen for your morning cup of Joe. Water is poured into the glass pot, the filter is then added along with the coffee grounds and now you patiently wait for your coffee to brew.

As you silently watch your coffee being dripped into existence, you can't help but go back to when you were a child watching the rain and how it would drip from the swing set to the brown patch of dirt beneath it. A soft gurgle brings your mind back into reality. The coffees done, you grasp the pot and pour it into your superman coffee cup. 2 teaspoons of sugar and just a dab of milk, you slowly then ease the cup to your mouth and take a small rewarding sip followed by a much greater one after that.

You look at the clock that's centered on the coffee maker (6:17), you still have a few minutes before you need to get ready for work. So now, you're left alone with your thoughts, you start to remember the argument you got into last night with your girlfriend, about missing dinner that makes you feel like crap. She swears she can't breathe without you, when sometimes you feel you can't seem to breathe with her.

You finish the last of your coffee and start getting ready for work.

Take shower, the steamy water assaults at your body as if attacking an unsuspecting prey, it feels good, a quick and easy way to wake up and deal with the day to day routines of life. That's when you're struck with the thought, is everything we're doing being controlled by a higher power? Do you have a say in what happens to you?

Before you let yourself wonder too far, you grab yourself back into what you perceive as reality.

Brush teeth, the minty paste on the white wire like bristles from your toothbrush enters your mouth and clean and polish your teeth. Is it maybe God that oversees you and governs your every action? You remember back to a time when you were taking a philosophy class at the University of Texas in Austin. Professor David Sosa, you believe his name was. "In a way, in our contemporary world view, it's easy to think science has come to take the place of God. But some philosophical problem remain as troubling as ever. Take the problem of free will. This problem has been around for a long time. Since before Aristotle in 350 B.C., St. Augustive, St. Thomas...these guys all worried about how we can be free if God already knows in advance what you're going to do."

Before you can ponder on this any further, you quickly rinse your mouth out and begin getting dressed for work.

You head to your car, but you can't help but wonder about what else Professor David Sosa said. "So now you might be tempted to just ignore the question, ignore the mystery of free will. Say, Oh, well, it's just an historical anecdote. It's sophomoric. It's a question with no answer. Just forget about it. But the question keeps staring you right in the face. You think about individuality for example, who you are. Who you are is mostly a matter of the free choices that you make. Or take responsibility. You can only be held responsible, you can only be found guilty, or you can only be admired or respected for things you did of your own free will. So, the question keeps coming back, and we don't really have a solution to it. It starts to look like all our decision are really just a charade."

To be continued...

Friday, April 8, 2011

DOOM & GLOOM...What Now?

The impending government shutdown, I'm sure, is the number one blog fodder this week. So, I thought I would "jump on the band wagon" and join in! I really hadn't given it any thought, until my seventeen year old son, called me with worry in his almost manly voice. He really was afraid. Afraid of anarchy and rioting and chaos...

I listened patiently as he expressed his concerns and woes. Then, I used my motherly calming effect and told him that any government job related to protecting the people and our property would continue. That only nonessential government bloated cheese whiz stinky repulsive jobs would be temporarily shut down. Oh, I wasn't that harsh, but I had to relieve his fears.

Then I went on to tell him that it's happened several times before, this government shutdown thing. I'm thinking somewhere in the neighborhood of about sixteen or seventeen times. That it's just a "stall" tactic, a "scare" tactic, a "bullying" tactic that the political pansies play with each other to get their way. Basically, congress is throwing a big huge hissy fit.

Well, he calmed down a bit and decided to not leave the country. He was already thinking about going to Australia, where it would be safe. Is this being tested on the TAKS? Hey, TEACHERS!!!! Leave your stupid ridiculous idiotic fear ridden psychotic thoughts at home!!!! I don't need your end of the world bullshit infecting my already emotionally hormone challenged teenager. Damn, and I get reprimanded for offing Santa???

Monday, April 4, 2011

TAKS Season and Texas Cuts Education

It's the beginning of TAKS Season again. I wonder how many casualties we'll have this year? Will the socio economically disadvantaged be left behind or will it be our English as a Second Language students? From what I'm hearing, we in the great state of Texas will all be left behind, due to pending budget cuts.

According to our state legislatures, the administrators of education need to trim down their education budgets by 10 percent. Of course, the powers that be, believe that this "trim" back would be the cutting of "unnecessary" non-teaching jobs.

“Local school district officials are in process of making some very difficult and very painful budget decisions. Leadership is about making choices. We strongly urge them not to be shortsighted by sacrificing the classroom in favor of bureaucratic education establishment.”

But isn't that exactly what our state government is doing? Sacrificing education in order to keep the status quo of bureaucratic education establishment? Isn't all the unnecessary spending actually due to the increasing efforts to improve an antiquated system of assessment? Aren't we now, changing directions and creating a whole new testing system, titled the STAR? When is this testing madness going to END? Oh, yeah...that's right, it became law under George W. Bush.

"HEY, President Obama! Do us a favor and REPEAL the NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND!" Want to make your presidency count for something or are you really the puppet of the Republican party after all?

HEY, Honorable Shapiro...I'm thinking that maybe our lovely state government should do a bit of cutting back as well. How about you fellas and gals make your own phone calls, pick up your own lunches and dry cleaning, mail out your own letters and important documents, lick the back of a few stamps, make copies of valuable propaganda rhetoric, kill a few more trees in the name of TAKS, vacuum the carpeting in your offices, clean the windows, take out your trash, scrub the toilet down the hallway and a few of those other "can't survive without" functions. Then and only then, I'm sure you will possess the ultimate wisdom, the empathy and passion to address the state budget deficit. Since when did becoming an elected official allow one to be an elitist?

Oh, and don't think Shapiro was working alone, she had a bunch of support, here are a few of the names: Sen. Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound), Sen. Dan Patrick (R-Houston), Sen. Troy Fraser (R-Austin), Sen. Joan Huffman (R-Southside Place), Sen. Robert Duncan (R-Lubbock), and Sen. Craig Estes (R-Wichita Falls). And if you'd like to watch the atrocity of a crime against the children of our great my guest. Once you're there, click on Press Conference: Senator Florence Shapiro.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Brutus, The Flying Dingo Turns Eight

It's not often, I suppose, that a dog (especially in our care) turns eight, but our Flying Dingo has made it! Princess Annie informed me that we will be throwing a birthday party for our birthday boy Friday night between the times of 6PM and 8PM. She even made invitations with some suggestions for gifts for the amazing Flying old shoe, tennis ball or even an old sock. He's rather easy to please.

In preparation of the big event, I cut and made ready the side lot. The side lot always is home to our own natural prairie, fire pit and totem pole. Spring and Summer evenings spent around a small tidy fire make way for magical memories and Friday will not disappoint.

I received an email from Mr. Robins informing me that he received some information from the man that runs the Orbison Museum in Nashville. Seems that the curator also has a daughter that writes songs and sings. He sent me a link to a little ditty with a touch of country and a bit of rock. It's lively and upbeat and a real gem.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Roy Orbison's 75th Year

This is Roy Orbison's 75th birthday year. Now, I wouldn't have even known if it hadn't of been for my good buddy, Durango. See, he really does Know All about Texas. He directed a Mr. Wayne Robins my way, who happens to be writing an article about Orbison's birthday bash and what everyone around the world is doing to celebrate. He wanted to know what exactly Wink, previous homestead and mecca to the legendary rock n roll icon, had in store for the annual Roy Orbison Festival, that is usually held in June.

And sadly enough, I haven't a clue. I did direct Mr. Robins to Mrs. Mayberry, who is on the festival's committee for lining up all the events. I sure hope they knew it was his 75th birthday. When I did mention to Mr. Robins about the Pretty Woman contest, he said he might be able to send some of that perfume my way! He even thought I was pretty enough to enter the contest myself! Those New Yorkers...such charmers.

Mr. Robins not only writes/critiques for Billboard, he also has a few graphic novels in the works. He's one of those fellas that has a very creative imagination. One in which he rewrites some of rock history. It makes for an interesting read, if you're interested. I was, and I did read, for a few hours. Tell ya what, I'm hoping that Mr. Robins finds some time to put some of these ideas into a book.

In the meanwhile, I'll keep reading his blog and hoping that he'll send me some of the Pretty Woman perfume he's been telling me about. A Country girl needs a whiff of the big city every now and then!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Durango, My Tutor

This is my first attempt at taking a screen shot and blogging it. My Tutor, Durango, gave me explicit instructions in a comment right here on this very blog. He is such a fantastic teacher. Although, I think I'm having trouble with my photo software. I should use the one he suggested.

"Japan is a nation of 127 million people with a long history of disasters, both manmade and natural, from a 1923 earthquake that killed 142,800 in the Tokyo region to the country's doomed entry into World War II, which ended with the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki."

This was my true purpose in blogging today...just wanted all the end of the worlders to see...this is not the first natural or manmade disaster Japan has experienced, nor shall it be the last. I don't overshadow this disaster by any means, but I just would like the vision prophecy seekers to lay off. There's enough to worry about without adding apocalyptic hysteria to the mix. And according to the know all of the internet...WIKIPEDIA... "Apocalyptic is a sub-genre of science fiction that is concerned with the end of civilization due to a catastrophe such as nuclear warfare, pandemic, impact event, cybernetic revolt, Technological Singularity, Dysgenics, supernatural phenomena, Ecological disaster, resource depletion or some other general disaster."

Did you happen to see the "key" word? FICTION. In case, you are unsure of what fiction means, it means...NOT TRUE! Take the earthquake for what it earthquake. And take the human suffering for exactly what it is...human suffering. Now, get out there, roll up your sleeves, and lend a helping hand!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Woman Has Brain And Wants To Use It

"Really good observations lately, CT&CT.

These virtual realities and so called friendships certainly murky reality and true human relationship. Media, but particularly social media, has its up sides. However, for people lacking sophistication or critical thinking skills, like the younger set, it can be sort of de-humanizing. Something the world needs less of, not more...but in clever ways developed by creative but profit driven people of flesh and bones.

Again great posts. Sure miss the real life stories of the mom, teacher, and community activist on small town west Texas, though."

This was a comment that was recently posted on a little fluff piece I wrote about Face Book. I say it's fluff because it is...I didn't have to do any research, I wrote exactly what I thought on the matter. Sometimes, showing your intelligence only lands you into hot water, and if you're a bit attractive you sometimes get approached or treated as if you don't own a brain.

It's true, I haven't been blogging or digging up information on the misdeeds of the oil and gas industry as of late, so I decided to do a little activism tonight just by liking NADR's link. If you know anything about drilling reform then you know that NADR is a group that promotes just that...drilling reform.

And low and behold here come the threats:

Kevin Prather: Oh? You live in Wink, right? You would not even have a job, if it were not for oil & gas, baby. Just a fact.

I wish I knew how to take a snapshot of Face Book and put it onto my blog, but my good buddy Durango has yet to teach me such things.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Reality Check, Please!

I've been getting lesson after lesson regarding the "reality" of online characters. I use the word character purposely, because well, most of what you see people put out there "online" isn't real. Take for instance the women. I was just commenting the other day how every woman's profile pic on their blogs, Facebook and MySpace reeked of fantasticalness. (Yes, that's a made up word, but I'm an English teacher, so I'm entitled)

I'm in awe and speechless of how amazingly gorgeous all these women are. Then, somehow or another, I'll meet them personally and dang if someone didn't use photo enhance or fix it or a photo from the long distance past. Really? You're that desperate for attention and glory that you would "fake" it? I've heard about faking in the bedroom, but on Facebook?

So, I have this girlfriend of mine that is totally INFATUATED with this freelance writer that is a college student and single dad. He's constantly posting sly witty stuff on his wall as well as flirting shamelessly with every woman that he comes in contact with. He leaves a trail of bread crumbs that she devours without a second thought. I've tried to tell her time and time again, that he's just a house dad. Nothing special. He dabbles. He's not serious or even interesting, it's all a put on.

Imagine my surprise, when I visit this "celebrity's" wall and a he is bitch slapped by a REAL writer! Not just bitched slapped, but also told off that he only posts these "fluff" pieces for attention!

"Write a good story kid. Something we can get a grasp on, something that relates to our experience in life....or make your story so compelling we want to read it. You are young, you have experienced some of lifes pain and impact. You have ...not demonstrated that yet. Get down into your soul and write some stuff that has impact that your readers can relate to. Now...if your readers are your age maybe they can relate. The fact is, if you want to really set things on fire you have to transcend to stuff that has some gut wrenching meat to it. The stuff you put online is all fluff. Ya, you are a good looking guy and you put a lot of stuff up that is sexy. That is not going to make it in the real world. If you consider yourself a talented writer then develop a novel and work your ass off to make it work. I would read it. You have to do something that will ignite your public. I love big muscles so I enjoy pics of you. That was probably an improper thing to say.

You are frustrated. Either you have talent or you do not. Go write some stuff that you like. Ya, you can not be an idiot about basic sentence structure and stuff. Look back at what you have written before. Did it work, or not really at...track much attention at all? Good writing is not a Facebook thing. Facebook is good for being obtuse and or just making a splash with idiots. Go put yourself in recluse for a few months and right something serious, if you want to be a writer. Your stuff on facebook is fluff and designed to get attention. Not that we do not like it. It just is not going to get you accepted as a serious writer. You can still do Facebook, just work your ass off in the background...and do not say a word until your work is published."

Whew...I needed a good laugh, and DAMN, if it isn't a GREAT feeling to know when you're RIGHT!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Facebook Saga, Part 1

"Flirting is cheating if you are in a relationship. It is lusting after someone that belongs to someone else. When a person can’t give up ex-lovers something is definitely missing in their relationship.————-"

Over the past several months, I've been "interviewing" people about our most favorite social networking site...Facebook and it's effects on "relationships". These are just a few of the stories related to my inquiring mind and now I'll share them with you!

A woman meets a guy. They hit it off quite fabulously. They become friends on Facebook. (Relationship killer number 1) So, he spends time going through his friends' list explaining who everyone is and what they are to him. Especially the female friends. Not much is going onto his wall. She also notices that he rarely comments on others' walls. She's curious and goes to the pages of a few women that post quite regularly on his wall. Foiled...all their walls are "hidden" and only revealed to friends. Then Facebook created this "see friendship" option. Interesting. One of the ladies posts something directly onto his wall instead of just commenting and the "see friendship" option appears. So, she clicks the option. And what she sees are countless posts and comments made by her fellow on this woman's wall. Not just "friendly" stuff, but things like..."I miss you, honey." "I love talking with you." "I love the way you make me feel." and so on and so on... These posts are dated within the time frame of when he was seeing her exclusively. (I used "was" on purpose)

What she figured out is that her fellow thought he was covering his tracks by deleting his comments and posts on other people's walls by deleting the recent activity from his, not knowing that whenever one of his honeys decided to post...they have opened up their comments and posts to each other to the world. What she also failed to think about or consider is the chat option and private messages. Come to find out through other means...he has been corresponding with multiple women in this such fashion.

Lesson? What you don't see doesn't mean it isn't happening. Also, men are ALWAYS looking for greener pastures. You are only the FLAVOR of the month, and you're awesome, but if he can get the one he's been're leftovers.

To be continued...

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Romping In The Playground In My Mind

Simply breathtaking. That is the only choice of words I have to describe this day of February. My previous day's company arrived mid afternoon and the wonderful relaxing times never ceased to abound.

Annie had a couple of her friends over to play. Yes, Annie is a girl, but her closest friends are boys. She's not one of them girly girl types. She would much rather play outside, climb trees and build forts. Last night, the trio built a campfire and then implored for it to become real. A real fire to roast hot dogs and melt marshmallows, I, of course, complied.

The three laughed and ate hot dogs, drank Dr. Pepper, burned marshmallows and released into the dusk...tales of apparitions and ghostly visitors. As I watched from the kitchen window, a smile of contentment spread slowly across my face, because while she basked in the glory of being a child maturing into a teenager...I knew that way too soon, she'll trade her tennis shoes for high heels, her bubble gum for lipstick and her baseball caps for ear rings.

Be a story teller...captivate your audience, whether it be two ten year old boys or a coliseum filled with avid fans. Chance is a gift, so act on chance when given the opportunity.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Dream

After devouring a most poignant work of writing, I pondered the essence and want to share the most vital parts.

A man, that is not old yet, experiences a terrible tragedy. This tragedy is the death of a family. His friends and parents do all they can to comfort and redirect his sorrow without success. After futile attempts of relaxing vacations, love, and compassion...they became despondent as they watched this man become the former shell of himself. They resign from everything because the man, who was not old, has aged prematurely and himself resigned from life.

One night, he has a dream. In it, he is sitting in a dimly lit room at a round table across from an elderly man who looks much like his late grandfather. They stare at each other in silence for several minutes and then the wrinkled man speaks.

“My son, tragedy is simply a miracle waiting to be discovered. Because within tragedy lie the seeds of love, learning, forgiveness, and empathy. If we choose to plant these seeds, they grow strong. If, on the other hand, we choose to overlook them, we prolong our tragedy and let somebody else to discover the miracle.”

He suddenly realized that instead of using the tragic accident to notice how precious life is, he prolonged the tragedy and ceased to live his life.

Look in the mirror...are you missing someone?

Friday, January 28, 2011

The Unbelievable Request

Have you ever experienced one of those weeks where you feel as if you've walked out of your front door straight onto a spinning carnival ride? I say carnival with purpose because you know that ride isn't maintained very well and anything could happen. Can you say...out of control?

Imagine receiving a phone call from a person that you have not spoken to in fourteen years. You know nothing of what he/she has done over the past fourteen years or if they are even the least bit trustworthy. Then also imagine that person asking for one of your most loved and valuable possessions. And imagine one more thing. Imagine that this person expects you to hand it over...willingly, without any qualms.

If you were able to imagine such a scenario, then you have imagined this story:
The Unbelievable Request

A young girl falls in love with a young man. The two are married and are given a very small gift. This gift is a house. The house is extremely small, only one room and needs a lot of attention and care. The couple gladly take the gift, even knowing all the while that eventually the gift will have to be returned one day to the original owner. A year goes by and the couple work hard to make the little house into something beautiful. The house is a lot of work and sometimes required a lot of time and attention. The young woman never quit. She labored day and night on that house, but she noticed that her husband began to lose interest. He no longer wanted to spend anytime in the house. He would make excuses to not help with the work on the house and then one day, a couple of years later he never returned to the house. She was all alone in the house that still needed so much time and attention. One would think that maybe she should of given the house back, walked away from the challenge, but the fact was...she loved the house.

Over the years she continued to nurture the house and create a unique dwelling unlike any has ever seen. Fourteen years, she cried, loved, hurt and worked until she had turned that little one room fixer upper into a handsome, strong, reliable, incredible home. Everyone talked about how wonderful her house was, and she was extremely proud. She also knew that very soon she would have to give the house up, because it had become to big for her to keep. The house needed to have new experiences and even transform into something more unique and incredible.

Then, right before she was able to set the house free...she received a call from the man that left her with the house fourteen years ago. Although he never cared for the house and walked away from it for his own selfish desires instead of making the necessary sacrifices...he still felt entitled to the house. He asked the most unbelievable request...
"I want the house. I know that even though I was never there to do any of the work, or even check over the years to see if the house was okay or if you needed any help with the house, I still feel like I should be able to have access to the house. was given to me as well."

So, she looked at her home, with tears in her eyes and replied, "You are the home you are supposed to be because of me. I painted your walls, repaired your roof and fixed the broken windows, knowing all the while that this day may come. The choice is yours."

The house responded, "I have to know. Was it me? Was I not good enough for him? This, I have to know."

The woman replied, "Yes, you will have to find that out for yourself, but I already know the answer. He was never good enough for you."

Bogart's Cellar

Found an interesting and fantastic internet radio show that I haven't missed yet. The talk is witty and bizarre at times. The music ranges from retro to hard rock to blues to...well, you get the point. The show reaches a wide age span and even wider interests. So, if you're up for a good tickle and a treat for the ears...tune in!

Bogart's Cellar