Blog of the Week: December 10, 2017

December 11, 2017
Pink Floyd: On the Run

What’s the Scoop?

Regarding this particular literary exercise . . . you’re reading a rehash of my week, hopefully interesting in that you may able to relate. We live lives of “quiet desperation” someone once said. Did I learn anything last week and am I now wiser for having learned new things, always a good question. I do a daily journal, bits and pieces of which may appear in this series of blogs – I’ll leave out the really mundane stuff, grocery lists, etc. Of course, sometimes the mundane stuff provides its own drama in our daily lives such as signing up for medical insurance after going through the myriad of available options and trying to make the right decision. Thank heavens for my own stress relief in the form of gym workouts and running, which for me is meditation. For example, in my Daily Word booklet that I read, last Monday’s word was “Meditation: I experience oneness through the art of meditation.” The accompanying Bible verse was from Psalm 49:3, “My mouth will speak words of wisdom; the utterance of my heart will give understanding.” Tuesday’s reading was about “world peace”, Wednesday was about “letting go – to open the way to new and bountiful good.” Not easy for some of us to accomplish. Thursday was “Pray for Others” in a vision of wholeness for people you may not know. Friday was “Forgive: I appreciate my innate my innate capacity to forgive.” Obviously, another challenge for many of us. Saturday was “Prosperity: My life is filled with an overflowing measure of God’s goodness.” For me, starting the day with a positive affirmation is a real boost.

Saturday’s Run

What a nice run, it was chilly and hilly, but dry. The Portland area has been enjoying a dry spell. I bundled up and took off on one of my familiar routes, a paved trail near where I live. I wanted to run about seven miles. I didn’t run fast, party because of the hills, but the run felt good, no major aches or pains. I had a few “dog encounters.” There were many people out with their animals. I try to stop and pet the friendly ones. Two big German Shepherds were out enjoying the sun. The owner told me their names were Nola and Harley. Toward the end of the run, the sun was going down, the wind was kicking up, and the temperature was dropping. I was at the top of a big hill looking down at the valley. I noticed a little kid in a green jacket. As I ran down the hill I rounded a turn and he and his mom, pushing a stroller, and their dog were coming up the hill. I said hi and headed for home.

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Blog of the Week: December 3, 2017

December 4, 2017
Doobie Brothers: Listen to the Music

My “blog of the week” (BOTW) for November 5 has become “blog of the week” for December 3. Time flies, eh, especially when you’re sidetracked with dealing with Medicare enrollment, etc. Also, I wanted to just tell you that I added a video to my Vietnam blog, but, I’ll go ahead and introduce this BOTW series, which, ironically for a procrastinator like me, is supposed to take away my excuses for blogging as I do my short and pithy (or pissy) blogs more often than every month or less as I’ve been doing.

By the way, I was inspired by writer friends and others who do daily or weekly blogs. Also, please know that I’m amping up my blog frequency partly because I like writing and partly because I feel it’s important to inform folks about mainstream issues in a different light and, of course, provide an alternative to mainstream media. I don’t have a long list of specific topics for my BOTW, just whatever floats my boat for that week. Just wait and see, you might find it very interesting.

For example, did you know that Pat Sajak wrote for Imprimis? Check it out. In the July/August 2017 issue, A Time to Scatter Stones and a Time to Gather Stones is Sajak’s piece on page 5. You should sign up if you haven’t already done so, it’s free you know and always well-worth reading. Sajak, in case you’re not a “Wheel of Fortune” fan, is the host of the show. I was surprised and totally impressed when I read his piece. The piece about Frederick Douglass is also very intriguing.

I hope you realize – pardon my preaching about this in my blog – it’s essential that we all untether our thinking about information. By that I mean, be critical and discerning about what you read, hear, and accept as the “truth.” As John said in his Gospel (John 8:32), “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

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A Street in Centralia, Washington

 

Hood to Coast – 2017

September 11, 2017

Experience & Guile Blog – 2017

Travis Morgan: Four-year-old child laughing
Blogger’s Important Note: I’m posting this update late on September 11, the day in 2001 when the Twin Towers went down in New York City. I submit this blog in memory and in honor of the victims on that day.

Craig and I had gotten out of our van (actually a very cool 6-passenger truck) and were walking along the left shoulder of Highway 202 with the Leg 29 runners – I was in street clothes, Craig was suited up to run Leg 30. The problem was the big backup going into the exchange, more than a mile away. We knew that Julie, running fast down the hill, would reach the exchange before the van if we didn’t hoof it. We hear a voice, Scott, our van captain, saying you’d better hurry, so Craig and I started running. We barely made it in time for the hand-off at the exchange.

Pink Floyd: On the Run (Dark Side of the Moon)

“Experience and Guile” is our Hood to Coast (HTC) team name. Not sure about who came up with the name, but we have at least one attorney on the team if that’s a clue. Names of Hood to Coast teams are off the charts in terms of variety – try these: Killer Wanna Bees, Griswold HTC Vacation, Running Bandits, the Third Leg is the Hardest, 24 Feet to the Beach, the F.A.R.T.’s-Fabulous Amateur Running Team, What Happens in the Van Stays in the Van, and Not as Slow as your Mom – just to name a few of the 1000+ teams in the event. By the way, for the uninitiated who’ve never heard of the Hood to Coast Relay (where have you been?), here’s a link to the official web site that may help and a previous blog I did in 2015, which also has an explanation of the event.

The Who: Tommy’s Holiday Camp (Tommy)

OK, aside from the sheer magnitude of 1050 teams, 100 high school teams, and many walking teams, there’s the music, the amazing enthusiasm, the high 5’s, and our van opening the windows to ring cow bells for our teammate as he or she moves down the road to the next exchange. What’s also noteworthy is the camaraderie that seems to drive all of this effort. But, make no mistake about it, it does take effort for each participant, including the hundreds of volunteers who help with the parking of vehicles in the exchanges, handing out water, and other things to keep it all going smoothly.

What’s Special about E&G?

It’s like a family reunion, getting to see people I haven’t seen since last year, staying in Randy’s house at the beach, dancing on the beach, the food and drink, swapping stories about our relay experience and our lives. It’s a pretty special way to spend a weekend once a year. I can hardly wait for the 2018 relay.

Glen Miller: In the Mood

Quotations for this Blog:

“Live as brave men; and if fortune is adverse, front its blows with brave hearts.” Marcus Tullius Cicero

“Friendship is always a sweet responsibility, never an opportunity.” Khalil Gibran

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Hillsboro: A Photo Essay

July 11, 2017
The Who: Sparks (Tommy the Rock Opera)

A Rufous Respite from Serious Topics

I can’t say there was a specific reason why I chose Hillsboro, Oregon as a site for a photo essay, but I was there, and I did have my camera. Also, I was feeling great after a 60-minute deep tissue massage, which I got in Hillsboro. I just felt like taking pictures.

Rather than give you a lot of history in this blog, I’m including this Wikipedia link. Just a side-note, according to Wikipedia, Hillsboro pre-dates Portland. Anyway, check out the Wikipedia info, pretty interesting history. Now for some pictures and more music.

 

Huey Lewis and the News: Back in Time (from Back to the Future soundtrack)

 

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A Few Quotes to Get You Going

Carli Lloyd (American athlete), for anyone who has been through injuries:
“It’s always hard to deal with injuries mentally, but I like to think about it as a new beginning. I can’t change what happened, so the focus needs to go toward healing and coming back stronger than before.” Read more at BrainyQuotes.
Anonymous quote (on a mural in the swimming area at my gym, short, to the point, love this quote):
“Before you can accomplish something, you must expect it of yourself.”
Rachelle Mandik (Reader’s Digest, July/August 2017), puns are very cool:
“Sometimes I just want to go live in the woods and meditate, but other times I think that’d be Thoreauing my life away.”
Jonathan Winters, comedian (Reader’s Digest, July/August 2017):
“If your ship doesn’t come in, swim out to it.”

 

 

Journalism 201: Part II

June 29, 2017

file003

See the note about the picture at the bottom.

Looking Back: What Happened at Crystal City? (Part I)

If you’re a reader of my blog, you may remember this Journalism 101 post from last year, a four-part series about Crystal City. If you missed it, you should check it out. A lot has happened in our world in the last year, and this blog has been stewing and simmering in the pot.

As a Journalism major in college I learned a few things about that whole process of gathering information. However, now I’m more concerned about how we as individuals interpret and react to information and the apparent trends that I see. I’ll try to focus on what’s been on my mind.

What’s the Point?

Without getting into a discussion about “fake news” and “real news” and all the different varieties of “media”, I’ll just throw some ideas and questions your way.

Would you say that social issues should be examined on a purely emotional basis or should rational and logical thought be involved?

It’s always good to vet your sources. As you know, because of the Internet, finding information is surprisingly easy.

Definition of “vet” (quoted from Merriam-Webster)
  1. To subject to usually expert appraisal or correction, e.g. vet a manuscript.
  2. To evaluate for possible approval or acceptance, e.g. vet the candidates for a position.

Randy Newman: Sigmund Freud’s Impersonation of Albert Einstein in America

Back on Track: Alternate Sources of Information

I’m throwing this blog installment out there as food for thought. Just a note about a web site that I found that (in my opinion) is a very good one, Hillsdale College. I receive and read the free monthly Imprimis digest. You also can sign up for the digest (and contribute to the college as I do). I included the Hillsdale College web site because the articles will give you a different perspective on some of the major issues – the questions about Syrian refugees, what is conservatism, the left’s war on free speech, etc.

Be forewarned that the Imprimis installments are well written but are not light reading and require some mental effort to absorb what the writer is saying. I’ll touch on and summarize some of their past topics.

Note that I don’t expect you to read all of these web articles, although you may find them very interesting, and even the sidebar articles are interesting if not controversial, e.g. the soapboxie site.

Another source: soapboxie.com

What Has Happened to Truth in Journalism?

A Real Need for the Real News

Before I get to some summaries of the Imprimis articles, I’ll throw in my “two cents worth”.

My Two Cents Worth – Some Things to Think About

Side note: In defining “media”, think of how we get our information, broadcast news, newspapers, social media (Facebook, etc.), TV shows, radio, and the Internet.
Don Henley: Dirty Laundry

Here are a few questions (rhetorical) to ask about using the media and becoming responsible users of the media.

  • Should we avoid all media sources?
  • Use mainstream media (Fox, CNN, and CBS) or try to find alternate sources of information?
  • Isn’t it more responsible to react to news by thinking rationally and logically rather than emotionally?
  • Should we be accountable for our own actions/reactions to the media?
  • Should we expect the media to be totally unbiased in their news reporting?

Imprimis Digest

As I said before the Imprimis Digest installments are not light reading, but I’ve made some notes, and I’ll try to give you the high points. Obviously, feel free to make your own interpretations and form your own opinions. I’m quoting the Imprimis summary statement next to the title on the web page for each Imprimis piece. Note the number of installments, all the way back to 1972.

Restoring America’s Economic Mobility (September 2016)

“Today the story of American politics is the story of class struggles. It wasn’t supposed to be that way.”

In Frank Buckley’s opening paragraph he talks about Marx and puts a historical frame around his subject. If you are a person interested in economics and like numbers and details, you’ll find this piece very interesting.

The author dives right into the meat of his article, discussing “economic mobility” in paragraph 4. There is a graph of the mobility rankings on page 2. Note that the U.S. and U.K. are rated low in mobility. He talks about education on page 3 and how we compare with Canada.

He touches on immigration briefly in one paragraph on page 3, “What abut immigration? Canada doesn’t have a problem with illegal aliens – it deports them”.

Who We Are as a People – The Syrian Refuge Question (October 2016)

“It is not beyond reason that a sovereign nation would be allowed to inquire whether the religious beliefs of an asylum seeker are compatible with the American constitutional order.”

A brief aside:
OK, take a break, inhale, deep breath, and ask yourself, “Why is the Rufous blog all of a sudden after all this time getting political, especially when I was so enjoying his pictures and music and his insights (nonpolitical) about life? Why am I now being asked to be accountable, to think about normal, every-day things in a different light and possibly make better decisions about issues that affect my life and the lives of others?”

More Imprimis

As I said above I’d try to give you the high points of the Imprimis pieces, and I do read them and use my highlighter and make notes sometimes, but to summarize all of that is very time consuming, so I’m leaving it up to you (isn’t there a song with those lyrics?). I.e. I won’t do the grunt work for you — if you’re interested in reading it, then the rest is up to you.

Thanksgiving and America (November 2016)

“The best expression of this aspect of Thanksgiving comes from Benjamin Franklin, who called it a day “of public Felicity,” a time to express gratitude to God for the “full Enjoyment of Liberty, civil and religious.”

A More American Conservatism (December 2016)

“If American conservatism means anything, then, it means the things found at the beginning of America, when it became a nation.”

I found this one very interesting because I know how we like our labels, “conservative”, “liberal”, etc., and this piece does a good job of explaining conservatism in its true sense.

The Left’s War on Free Speech (April 2017)

“In the weeks following the Citizens United ruling, the Left settled on a new strategy. If it could no longer use speech laws against its opponents, it would do the next best thing—it would threaten, harass, and intimidate its opponents out of participation.”

And last but not least and probably the most relevant piece to this blog . . . I love this one!

The 2016 Election and the Demise of Journalistic Standards (May/June 2017)

“Last year’s election gave us the gobsmacking revelation that most of the mainstream media puts both thumbs on the scale—that most of what you read, watch, and listen to is distorted by intentional bias and hostility.”

That’s it guys, for the Imprimis Digest, just a sampling. There may be a Part III for this topic (haven’t decided yet). I hope you found this information to be informative and enlightening.

BTO: Takin Care of Business
Picture credit: Schroders is a British multinational asset management company, founded in 1804. The inscription means “Evolve your investor nature.” Beyond that I don’t know the picture artist, but note that those are his hands in the picture. Very cool!

Journalism 201 – Part I

June 29, 2017
Blogger’s Disclaimer: I may not agree with all the sources of information I’m presenting, and I don’t expect all my readers to agree. I just want to put it out there as food for thought. By the way, if you don’t agree with me, you can unfriend me on Facebook if it makes you feel good; however, I won’t unfriend you regardless of your opinion of this material.

Why Am I Doing this Blog?

This link takes you to my Crystal City – Part I blog post from March in case you need a look at “Journalism 101” in that blog. This new blog will be about our mainstream media and other information, how most of us (me included) use it, how it affects us and our world, both positively and negatively, and some possible ideas on how we might acquire more accurate information and use it differently.

I’m thinking this blog will be in at least two parts, to make it easier to digest. Part I is just an introduction. In Part II, I’ll provide what I hope is thought-provoking material about media and information that seems to preoccupy all our lives.

Where were you the week that “he who shall not be named” (hereinafter referred to as “DJT”) was elected? We were in Portland, Oregon trying to get out of town on vacation during the week the presidential election results were announced. You probably noticed the immediate reaction (hard not to if you had a radio or TV turned on) all over the country. The question is, was that reaction based on emotions or was that reaction based on logical and rational thought? How did you react? More to come on that subject.

Side Note about Previously Elected Presidents

OK, this is a bit of a digression, but only to add a bit of perspective about our leaders and how they’re perceived. Months ago I happened to read something about some surveys done to rate the presidents that have been elected. It surprised me.  I’ll just give you an overview here, and you can go to the web sites and check out all the numbers (names, percentages, etc.) in detail if you like. My recommendation is start with wikipedia, which is what I did.

Top 10 most popular presidents ranked in order of popularity:

Rasmussen Poll (2007): Washington, Lincoln, and Kennedy were the top three, followed by Reagan and Eisenhower in ninth and tenth place.

Greatest presidents:

Gallup Poll (2011): Reagan, Lincoln, and Clinton were the top three and Bush (G.W.) was in 10th place.

Gallup Poll (2013): Reagan in 7th place and Barack Obama was in 11th place.

Three other polls rated Reagan 2nd, Clinton 3rd , and Bush (G.H.W.) in 4th place.

Best presidents since World War II:

Quinnipiac Poll (2014): Reagan 1st on “best” list and Obama 1st on the “worst” list.

Quinnipiac Poll (2017): Reagan 1st and Obama 2nd on “best” list and Obama 1st on the “worst” list.

I guess I found the polls interesting partly because of Reagan’s high rankings. If you recall, when he was elected the first time, many thought that he would never be a good president, because he was an actor with no prior political experience. Not everyone agrees, but obviously the polls indicate that he did OK during his presidency.

Moving Beyond Journalism 101

Being a good journalist can’t be an easy job in the 21st century with all the distractions and pressures. There’s so much going on, so many sources of information, so much competition, and so many controlling factors. But let’s switch the view to you as the receiver of the news. How do you decide about what to believe and to trust? Not an easy question to answer.

Moving on to Journalism – Part II now.

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Quiet, runner trying to sleep!

Canned Heat: Let’s Work Together

 

My Mom’s Blog

May 14, 2017

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom, in remembrance of you on this day!

Just a photo or two or three and some music to honor my Mom, that’s all.

A few notes about the music and photos. My Mom was buried in Liberty, Texas. I was able to honor her with a visit in 2015. The bird is the Varied Thrush. It represents my beautiful Mom, because I couldn’t find a good picture of her to share with you. The music is totally random but music that I thought was appropriate to express my feelings about her. The Glen Miller piece was from her era. He died in 1944. She died in 1964. Listen at your leisure to the music as I did when I was putting this together.

It was good to visit Mom's grave.

It was good to visit Mom’s grave.

Glenn Miller: Big Band (swing)
Stevie Wonder: You are the Sunshine of My Life
Norman Greenbaum: Spirit in the Sky
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Varied Thrush

Lion King soundtrack: The Circle of Life
Vangelis: The Tao of Love

I miss you, Mom!

Adam & Eve in Love!

March 31, 2017

What’s Love Got to Do With It?

Tine Turner: What’s Love Got to Do with It?

The idea for this blog dawned on me in SoCal (southern California) on one of our many trips down to visit relatives and of course get away from the @#$%^&* rain for a few days – I do love that natural  vitamin D! One morning I was enjoying an early breakfast and reading the Wall Street Journal (provided by the hotel). In the “Review”, section was an essay written by Bruce Feiler. It was adapted from his forthcoming book (March 21), The First Love Story: Adam and Eve and Us.

By the way, my recommendation is that you read the article if you’re a WSJ subscriber, or just use this link and check out the video interview with Bruce Feiler. I think the essay is a very thought provoking piece, especially if you’re married and (hopefully) in love or perhaps recently fallen in love. Rather than get off on a side trail about my opinion of how important love is or what it means, I’ll just let Bruce Feiler’s ideas speak for themselves. I may summarize his ideas along the way. Also, if you have a Bible handy, it might help you to better understand if you read Genesis chapters 1 and 2 and for good measure 1 Corinthians 13 (the “love” chapter) in the New Testament. It’s a lot to digest, but I’ll provide some bullet points that might help.

Here’s a totally irrelevant (but wonderful) quote to get you started. I saw this on a napkin dispenser at MOD Pizza in Beaverton, Oregon on March 28th while I was eating my pizza, enjoying a beer, and making some notes in my blog notebook.

Bob Dylan, Poet Laureate and Nobel Prize in Literature in 2016:
“May you’re your heart be always joyful.
May your song always be sung.
And may you stay young forever.”
Karen O and the Kids: All is Love (from Where the Wild Things Are soundtrack)

Quoting from Bruce Feiler’s Essay

“In December 1867, Mark Twain was touring Jerusalem when he visited a room in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre identified as Adam’s tomb. He was overcome with emotion. ‘The fountain of my filial affection was stirred to its profoundest depths,’ he wrote. Twain became obsessed with his oldest ancestor, at one point urging planners in New York to replace the Statue of Liberty with a monument to Adam. He went on to write a half-dozen pieces about the first couple, including Extracts from Adam’s Diary and an Autobiography of Eve.”

“Adam, in Twain’s retelling, is initially uncomfortable with Eve. It used to be so pleasant and quiet here, he says, ‘I foresee trouble. Will emigrate.’ Eve is equally unimpressed with Adam. ‘He talks very little. Perhaps it is because he is not bright, and is sensitive about it.’ (who says Twain didn’t have a sense of humor!) But slowly the two come around. ‘I see I should be lonesome and depressed without her’, Adam says. Eve echoes his feelings: ‘I love him with all the strength of my passionate nature…It is my prayer, it is my longing, that we may pass from this life together.’”

Patti; Tuck & Patti: Love is the Key

Adam and Eve in love? Really? Who would think such a thing?”

Feiler goes on to say that several very famous people would agree that, yes, they were in love, and that, given the transitional state of the family for the last 30 centuries – major changes with high divorce rates, lifestyles in our hyperconnected world – maybe Adam and Eve could offer some guidance.

Some Bullet Points in Summary of Feiler’s Ideas

Obviously taken out of context (you really need to buy the book or get a copy of the WSJ essay), here are some more thoughts, quoted and/or paraphrased from the essay.

  • The first couple have been victims of a long campaign of character assassination. One reason is that we rarely read the opening chapters of Genesis with the idea that Adam and Eve might be in love. He goes on to explain this important point in detail.
  • Who is God’s chosen sex, man or woman? If you read and compare Genesis 1 and Genesis 2, the answer appears different. Feiler elaborates, then concludes by saying they are entirely equal.
  • In support of the equality idea, if you look at Michelangelo’s famous painting in the Sistine Chapel, it is Eve, not Adam and not God who occupies the exact center of the room. In the third panel, the two figures (Adam and Eve) reach together for the forbidden fruit. They are not estranged, they are partners.
  • Milton’s Paradise Lost was a step-by-step argument that Adam and Eve were equal.
  • In Shakespeare’s words, “Love is not avoiding conflict; it is about overcoming it”.
  • The most underappreciated aspect of Adam and Eve is how they continually return to each other after periods of separation. They start life united, then Eve goes off alone. She could remain apart but instead returns to Adam. Once out of Eden, they could split, but instead they stay together.
Beatles: And I Love Her

Some Final Thoughts

The Bible is the first to put a man and a woman at the start of the human line. God can’t procreate. He needs human partners – starting with Adam and Eve – for humanity to succeed.

Feiler concludes his essay by saying that the first couple struggled too, yet they found a way to heal their wounds and forgive their wrongs.

Some More Music

Eagles: Love Will Keep Us Alive (Hell Freezes Over album)
Del Shannon: Sea of Love (really old song)
Karen O and the Kids: Building All is Love (from Where the Wild Things Are soundtrack)

noah_loves_the_beach_cropped

Birthday Blog: 2017

February 23, 2017

Another birthday, another year, I won’t tell you my exact age, but I’m right on the line between “baby boomers” and the one before that, which Tom Brokaw calls the “Greatest Generation”. But this blog isn’t about me; it’s about and for my folks.

Blogger disclaimer: I wondered in the past about social media, about very personal information, Uncle Jack’s favorite chili recipe notwithstanding, actually I thought it was very tasty :), or other more intimate information. Being a private person, it didn’t sit well with me, telling the world those things that should be reserved only for the person who is sharing or for their family and close friends. Breaking through that shell of privacy, in this blog post I’m sharing very personal information. It just seemed appropriate to say it after all these years, as a tribute to my Mom and Dad.

Don’t Ever Take Them for Granted

Taking parents for granted is not something anyone should do. When they’re around, you should appreciate and cherish them. My Mom and Dad have both been gone a long time, my Mom in 1964 and my Dad in 1985. When I hear people talk about their parents, no matter what the context, it makes me think of my own parents.

First, and most important, they were good parents, in all the ways parents should be good parents – disciplining, education, providing a home, and more. On Sundays (and other days), my Mom always had dinner ready on time. With my Dad, it was doing stuff like hunting and fishing, which we did a lot of. I had many wonderful father-son “bonding experiences” with my Dad.

Rites of Passage

Pow, the loud sound broke the silence of the cold morning air. My Dad had driven us out to one of his favorite spots on the deer lease, called “Devil’s Hollow”. The lease, a big ranch probably 500-600 acres, was in the Texas hill country near Mason many hours drive away from our home in southeast Texas. All layered up to ward off the sub-freezing cold, we trudged up the hills with our rifles until we found a good spot behind a scrub oak tree. I got settled in to wait, and my Dad left. The viewpoint was great with a clear view across the draw and to the left and right. I was about 14 years old at the time. I had my hand warmers going and my multiple layers of clothing but was still cold. Soon a nice 8-point buck stepped out about 90-100 yards away across the draw. I took careful aim with the scoped rifle and shot him through the right shoulder. He took a step or two and went down. I stayed in place behind the scrub oak, and the “buck acres” started (see note). Basically, the shakes, it happens to hunters, athletes, etc. after something exciting just happened. Another buck materialized on my left, possibly a trophy buck, within easy shooting distance, but I missed (too much excitement). My Dad, who had barely enough time to get down the hill, came back to help me. We went over and field-dressed the deer and packed him down the hill. My first deer, it was a great morning for a young kid!

Note:  OK, “buck acres” is a colloquial expression, hopefully I spelled it correctly, but deer hunters are familiar with it. I couldn’t verify it online.

One of my big regrets in life is that I didn’t do more of the “man thing” with my son when he was growing up. Oh we’d set off rockets, take the skiff out on the lake to fish, and stuff like that, but that was about it. All Dads should be aware that once those years are gone, they’re gone. If you’re a Dad, don’t mess up, and I’m not excluding daughters, spend quality time with them too.

A Belated Eulogy for My Dad

I don’t remember my Dad ever saying I love you, but I don’t begrudge him for that because I know he loved me. I loved and still love you, Dad. So this is my belated eulogy to you, Dad, perhaps to make up for the shaky knees and quavering voice that I had at your funeral service in 1985, reading some Bible verses, and wanting to say more. This is my testimony to you 32 years later. Rest in peace, Dad.

1 Peter 1:24: “For all men are like grass, and all their glory is like flowers of the field, the grass withers, and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever.”

A Belated Eulogy for Mom

Her passing was more than 20 years earlier than my Dad, in 1964. The details of her personality and her life are not totally clear in my memory, but some things stand out. I mentioned her dinners (we used to say “supper”) were consistently on time. On Sundays after church, as I recall it was usually roast beef, mashed potatoes, and green beans. My love of cookies comes from my Mom – she’d make peanut butter cookies with the impressions made with a fork and homemade tapioca pudding, yum! The house was always neat and clean.

I’m going to quote from an old letter (January 21, 1959), just an excerpt, which I think speaks volumes of what kind of person my Mom was:

“Dearest Elaine,

How are you? I’m so ashamed of myself for not writing or calling. I think of you many times a day and pray that you are adjusting yourself to your aloneness. No one can know what you are going through until they go through the loss of their loved one. I do feel that you and Edwin had something within your own lives that few, few married people ever find. It seems very ironical and sad that mortals cannot express themselves naturally and freely. I have never learned to show or let others know how I feel.”

1 Corinthian 13:4-8: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”

Liberty, Texas Memories

Interestingly, in 2013 I went back to Liberty for my 50-year high school reunion. Besides seeing my friends that I hadn’t seen in a half century, a couple of other notable events happened. Going to a pep rally at the new high school and a Friday night football game was a real treat, and it seemed like I was back in 1963 (Back to the Future) sitting in the stands cheering for the team (they won). But more importantly as planned, I went to see my Mom’s grave site (pictures of both my Mom’s and Dad’s grave sites are below). I wanted to decorate the headstone and found the red flowers at a store in town.

The other thing that I had planned on my trip was to go see my old house. I knew that it was still there because I Googled it before I left Portland. As I zoomed-in in Google, I was kind of amazed to see it after so much time had passed. One day I drove over to the house. It had a For Sale sign in the yard so I called the agent to see if I could look at the house. She made a call; I went over, knocked on the door, and was greeted by a friendly face. The woman living there went to high school with my younger sister, which at the time I thought was an amazing coincidence, but you know Liberty is a small town. That and good ole Texas hospitality might have been the primary reasons why I was able to visit my old home so easily. Walking in the front door, I experienced one of those serendipitous moments, like I was time traveling back to my earlier life. The furniture and decor were different, but the floor plan was the same. I walked past the living room straight into the kitchen where my Mom prepared all those meals for us. The door to the garage was on the right, more memories of pickled snakes and of freshly killed deer hanging from the rafters waiting to be processed for the freezer. Not my Mom’s favorite place to hang out. We took the stairs to see my sisters’ bedroom and my brother’s and my bedroom at the end of a long hallway. This was the same room where I had to repaint the walls and ceiling in one corner because of a disastrous lab experiment with my new chemistry set, a Christmas present.

I’m going to wrap this up with pictures and music.

Links to previous blogs about Liberty, Texas:

Growing Up in Texas

Pep Rally and the Game

Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young: Our House

 

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Welcome to 2017

January 7, 2017

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True to form, I’m six days late getting this new blog done – oh, by the way, Happy New Year!

“I’m your Uncle Ernie, and I welcome you to Tommy’s Holiday Camp . . . never mind the weather, when you come to Tommy’s, the holiday’s forever! WELCOME!!!” (excerpt from Tommy)

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The Who: Tommy’s Holiday Camp

A Musical Interlude

If you have headphones, you might want to use them.

I guess the inspiration for this bit of creativity would be receiving a Christmas gift from my wife, who is a very creative gift giver – a turntable. The size of a small suitcase and portable enough to take over to family or friends’ gatherings so that we can bore them with music almost half a century old. In this box of records – vinyl LPs, what a concept – was music that I had not listened to in a long, long time, and quite a variety.

The Who: Overture, Tommy

Just to name a few oldies but goodies

Tommy was released in two versions, the original version that I’m including and a second version that was produced with the London Symphony. I didn’t find that one, although it’s probably out there. I had a lot of classical LPs in the box, including some Bach and Vivaldi played by Julian Bream and George Malcom. I put that one on when I got up this morning. Some real oddities like Firesign Theatre (Waiting for the Electrician or Someone Like Him) and The Monkees. Actually, the Monkees aren’t an oddity, I remember taking my daughter to see them perform in Dallas, Texas in the 80’s. Also in the box are some lesser known jazz groups like Weather Report and Chick Corea and some of my favorites, a 4-record album Wings Over America (Paul McCartney) and Chicago (of course).

The Who: Pinball Wizard, Tommy

Millennials vs. Boomers Defined

The blog idea that struck me was exploring musical taste according to generations or age groups. I thought I should include music from my generation (Boomer) and also Millennials. Obviously the first problem was what music I should include. Not exactly sure why I chose to focus on Tommy for Boomer music, but it was always a favorite.

In doing some research I found a site, cheezburger.com, just scroll down under Beyoncé to the long list of music (pardon all the ads and other distractions). Interesting to note how much “Boomer” music is listed in first 20 of the “top 500” songs.

OK, just for the record “Millennials” were born in 1982 up to 20 years or so after, “Boomers” were born 1946 to 1964.  I consider myself a Boomer (sounds cool) although technically I’m in the Greatest Generation because I was born in 1945. Those born before 1946 are referred to as the “Greatest Generation” (according to Tom Brokaw). Someone dubbed Millennials as “the next great generation”, no argument there, just ask a Millennial. Sorry for getting down in the weeds, time to get back to music and pictures.

A Few Pictures

No surprise I’m including some new Rufous-sided Towhee pictures, but also a few other bird species. The doves I don’t see that often, but they’re beautiful, as are the Flickers.

The Who: Sparks, Tommy

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You Thought I’d Forget, Eh!

OK, I was totally non-plussed to decide on my “Millennial” music, but here it is. I found a couple of versions of Rachel Platten’s song, “Fight Song” and decided I liked the acoustic version better.  I think you’ll like the music no matter  how old you are.

Rachel Slatten: Fight Song

A Pictorial and a Musical Finish

One long song by The Who and one photo of my son and I looking west, think of it (symbolically) as a sunset. By the way, there are absolutely no political reasons for my choosing the last Tommy song.

The Who: We’re Not Gonna Take It, Tommy
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Dad and Son

A quote to start the new year:

Bill Vaughn
“An optimist stays up until midnight to see the new year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves.”

Click here for more BrainyQuotes to pick and choose from.


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