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    “No man in the wrong can stand up against a fellow that is in the right and keeps on a-comin’.” Captain Bill McDonald, Texas Ranger.

    My Photo
    Location: Texas

    Good guys wear white hats. And they never run out of bullets.

    Friday, March 31, 2006

    Alternative Lyrics

    My sincere appologies to the Eagles.

    Look at us baby, out all night

    At th' karaoke bar
    Aren't we the same two people who sang
    Along in the car?
    Every time I try to hit the highs
    My cracklin' voice makes me realize
    That I can't sing this high
    I can't sing this high
    I can't sing this high

    When we get goin',
    they just ain't right,
    those notes out of my range

    You know that I worry
    This song aint tight
    'Cause I sound strange

    This song writer is killin' me
    He made it harder than it had to be
    and I can't sing this high
    no, baby, I can't sing this high
    I can't sing this high
    No, no, baby, I can't sing this high
    I can't sing this high
    I can't sing this high

    Thursday, March 30, 2006

    Jeff is Moonlighting.

    We have all known for some time that Jeff frequently, secretly wishes he was a Texan. But now we know which Texan. Jeff is sneaking around moonlighting as a Willie Nelson impersonator. Here he is singing Willie’s new hit, "Cowboys Are Frequently, Secretly (Fond of Each Other)". Man that Jeff can sing.

    Tuesday, March 28, 2006

    Meet a couple of new bloggers.

    In the midst of all the protests, I want to talk about something different. Yes we have trouble here at home but our fellas in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere deal with bigger problems than these. So I would rather post about some of them.

    I have become acquainted with two new bloggers in Iraq. Craig and Sean are both people with positive attitudes and superior character.

    Craig is a contractor with KBR. His blog, “A Real Man,” is largely faith and character oriented. Naturally, I like that. I can’t admire people like him enough.

    Sean is an NCO in the US Army in Tikrit. His blog, “i’m and idiot and these are my blitherings,” is about what ever crosses his mind. It has little glimpses into life in Tikrit and big insights on all types of stuff.

    Monday, March 27, 2006

    Neck Check

    Today I made several trips to the, “residential waste disposal.” My town is too classy to call it a dump. It is very interesting. My town’s landfill is in another town. So, the residential waste disposal is just a station where we take the items. Then they are sorted and disposed of appropriately by, “professional material specialists.”

    First off, they did a thorough background check to make sure I was indeed who I said I was. And that I did actually reside in said municipality. Then I was allowed to dump my old mattresses, washing machine and other too big for normal pick up items. Some imposters were there trying to dump there, pretending to be from my town. They were promptly arrested and prosecuted for fraud.

    Over all it was a pleasant experience. I’m surprised they don’t provide coffee and strudel.

    All was well until it happened. I gave in to temptation and took the plunge into ultimate red neck status. I brought something back from the dump.

    I couldn’t help it. There they were. Four perfect pot stands and matching terra cotta pots. I’m weak. I just couldn’t resist.

    So now I have four spiffy planters lining the side of my front porch. Tomorrow I will fill them with some nice vincas. No doubt they will impress any annoying door knockers that will visit my home.

    Valerie, do I need therapy?

    Sunday, March 26, 2006

    I need a Mechanic

    The Preacher got to me this morning. He has a talent for doing just that.

    Some preachers spend time, “staying up to date.” They cover the, “issues of the day.” I can respect that. But my preacher does something that I have learned to value more than that. He is a back to the basics kind of person. He likes to cover the basics of character.

    Anger and violence are big part of my sordid past. Too often they are a part of my sordid present. I don’t want to share the details. Trust me. You don’t want to know anyway. Suffice it to say that it is a problem.

    This morning the preacher talked about the check engine light on his car. He compared it to angry outburst. Anger is like a check engine light for the heart. That is what gets me.

    I have been driving around with my indicator lights on for some time. I spend a lot of time trying to fix my own problems. That doesn’t always work our very well. Things I am willing to live with can be more destructive than I recognize. When the indicators lights come on, I have to go to the Soul Mechanic. I don’t have the training, equipment or the knowledge to fix it myself.

    Create in me a clean heart O God. Fix these things in my soul before I blow a gasket. Remove my resentment as I forgive. Let the evil in me die and make me New. Live in me.


    Another one of the great American song writers is gone. I am really going to miss Buck. I’m not a big Hee Haw fan. But, Buck Owens' music was outstanding. Few poets can rival his wit. I tip the big white hat to the man.

    Monday, March 20, 2006

    Jason Finally Gets His Big White Hat Award

    I have been emailed countless times regarding Jason McElwain. Some of the emails come from other parents with autistic children. Some come from folks that don’t have autistic children but know that my Tiger is autistic. Some have come from folks that just loved the story and have no idea that I have an autistic child.

    Many of you have asked what I think about this boy and what he did. I have been reluctant to post about it because of my mixed emotions. Revka posted about him and his meeting with the president. Because of our autistic children Revka has a special relationship with Echo and me. She did a fantastic job on that post.

    I have mixed emotions because this boy did something special but there is too much pity tied up in the story. The main reason this affected so many is that pity. Pity is natural and I have learned not to resent it. After young Jason met with the president I realized how I shouldn’t worry about that pity. I shouldn’t worry about it because this young man’s actions fly in the face of that pity.

    First the coach let Jason play out of pity. He wouldn’t have done it if it were not the last chance Jason had to play and the fact that the team had a very comfortable lead. Jason answered that pity with a 20 point demonstration of how he should not be underestimated.

    I think Jason’s autism helped him in that game. If it weren’t for the real effort he put into learning to talk, he would not have the confidence he needed to shoot 6-3 point shots. If it weren’t for the difficulties he has behaving in a way that is unnatural to him to assimilate with all of us neurotypical folks, he would not have overcome his height disadvantage in that game.

    Jason is an admirable young man. I admire his attitude. I would still admire his attitude autism or no autism. I admire his shooting skills and his ability to get open and shoot quickly.

    I would never expect Jason to compete daily with most high school basketball players. He is too short to do that without Spud Webb talent. I do however expect him to have a happy productive life that contributes richly to our world. All of us have our place in this world. Jason has the mettle and determination to find his. I won’t dare underestimate him.

    I think Jason meeting with President Bush is poetic. Both of them are underestimated all the time. That doesn’t bother either of them. Jason’s accomplishments are a testimony to his unrecognized ability. It moved me to see him with the fella that coined the phrase, “…soft bigotry of low expectations.”

    So yes indeed Jason gets a Big White Hat award. Not because he is autistic. Not because he made the news. Not because played so well. He gets it because he is going to continue to manage the team in the post season. He is not eligible to play in the post season because he was underestimated during the season. He was underestimated by everybody maybe even himself. But his attitude keeps him from being angry about that. He just wants to help his team win. He will act like that all of his life. And that will get many a job done. I want him on my team. I wish I were more like him.

    Saturday, March 18, 2006


    As I sat with my daughter in my lap, one hand cradled the book. The other hand pointed out the words as I read. Memories raced through my mind in moments like those. I wandered to a simpler time and place. Not long ago I was in the lap of my father. His hands were doing the same thing.

    His hands were huge to me then. I looked at them seeing the missing segment of his middle finger. The piece from the first knuckle to the tip was gone and his palm was very scarred. I asked him, “Daddy what happened to your hand?” He chuckled softly, “Somebody threw a fire cracker in my car. I thought I could throw it back.”

    My father’s hands have done many things. He is one of the handiest people I know. Those hands are always up to something. Those hands swung hammers to build rooms and they swung belts to build character. Those hands squeezed pliers and they also squeezed tickle buttons. Those hands made a living and some of the things that make life worth living.

    It is not at all unusual for me to reach out with my hand. On my hand would be a golden ring he crafted. My hand might grab a piece of candy he made with pecans he shelled after he picked them up off the ground. That candy might sit on a dish that he poured, cleaned, fired and finished. That dish might sit on a French provincial table he carved. You see he is quite handy.

    My father’s hands don’t hoard the knowledge. They taught me to use a pencil, a hammer, a torch, a square, a spatula and just about anything else. He used to teach wood shop, jewelry and ceramics. He taught me so much about my own hands.

    When my son brought me the remains of an irreparable toy, I told him I could not fix it. He said he would take it to my father, “He can fix anything.”

    His hands are warm and friendly, steady and strong. I value that now more than ever. I have spent a great deal of time clinching my fists. I have put a lot of energy in learning to use my hands to fight. Now I need to use them for something different. My hands must be creative. My hands must be productive. My hands must become more like my father’s hands.

    Thank You Lord for blessing me through my father’s hands. Bless my hands that they might serve you too.

    Friday, March 17, 2006

    Blogger is having Trouble

    This is on behalf of Clew and Espella Humanzee.

    Their blogs are inaccessible right now. Both return either an under construction message or a 403 forbidden on this server message. This trouble is happening all over the blogspot domain.

    I have just about outgrown blogger, myself. I have retained the services of The Mighty and Powerful Ogre. He is designing I don’t know when I will move but feel free to check out how it looks. I understand some folks using older versions Internet explorer are currently getting a messed up page. I would like your input on how it looks. Please remember it is far from finished. Ogre still has some work to do then I will have to make the move including moving my posts and blogrolls. Then setting up my categories and the like.

    Tuesday, March 14, 2006

    Help me chose my new Profile Picture.

    I need a new profile picture. Here are a couple I'm looking at. Do you like either of them? If so, which one? Why?

    Monday, March 13, 2006

    Email from Iraq.

    I love getting e-mail from Iraq. The folks over there have such a fantastic attitude. Their dedication to freedom is only surpassed by their love for others.

    This morning I exchanged a couple of e-mails from someone in Iraq that reads this blog and Darlene’s blog. He asked me to pray for a couple of specific things. First, he asked me to pray for the convoys. Most of the war injuries are related to transporting goods and people. Second he asked me to pray for the wives of men in Iraq. Many of them flake out under the pressure of having a husband in a distant war zone. Some desert their husbands prior to their return, especially when he is returning injured. I for one don’t think they do this solely from a lack of character. I think some of them crack up under the stress.

    I know for certain that God will intervene and provide comfort and peace to these ladies if we ask Him. God also watches over people in harms way. He likes to hear from us. He likes it when we are concerned for these folks.

    Later I will post a prayer or two about these things.

    For now, I’m happy to be getting e-mail from the Middle East.

    Sunday, March 12, 2006


    As many of you know. I have been posting stuff just to frustrate, irritate and enflame certain trolls. It was fun while it lasted but now I am bored of them.

    I didn’t start blogging to toy with trolls. I started blogging because I had some things to say that I think folks actually want to read. I have continued blogging because I like it when folks are moved by something I wrote.

    I figure there are certain things people come here looking to find. Lately they haven’t been able to find it here. No laughter, no tears and no joy to be found. That simply won’t do. Sure I will still get ornery from time to time but I’m bored of it now.

    So, I think I should do the last Ozzie post. I think I should start posting about some women who have changed my life. I think I should do a nice tribute to my folks. I think I should make fun of my teen age daughter. I think I need to get back to puppy dogs, windmills and sunsets.

    What do you think?

    Thursday, March 09, 2006

    I miss the music.

    Dallas needs a Classic Country station. Given the size of this market, the heritage and demographics of this place, I can’t figure out why we don’t have one.

    When we took our road trip we tuned into a station having a classic country weekend. We were using the scan button and stopped when I heard Conway Twitty. Then it happened. Somebody knew what I wanted to hear. Everything That Glitters started to play.

    I have grown to love much of the music that I once took for granted. Among the most under appreciated artists is Dan Seals. He is a true wordsmith and a fantastic songwriter.

    When I was a kid listening to more Metal than Country my favorite song of his was Addicted. It sort of described the way I felt about my own love life. Big Wheels in the Moonlight appealed to the wanderlust in all of us country fans or not. My Daddy’s favorite was always My Baby’s Got Good Timing. I think everyone reading knows enough words to One Friend to sing along. I listen to You Still Move Me and it still does.

    One little song can send me back to my Daddy’s shop in Odessa Texas in 1985. Those days are gone. But, I am going to download a bunch of old songs. I hope I have money in the bank if ever come across a 1983 Oldsmobile Delta 88. I don’t think I could resist buying a time machine. Each time I travel back I get Love On Arrival.

    Wednesday, March 08, 2006

    The Exception/ Accomplice

    This is not actually my neighbor’s cat. But it looks just like him. The neighbors cat is the exception to the rule with my dogs. This cat can not only enter the yard but eat, sleep and play with the dogs.

    One might think that a cat like this must have gained this status by winning a fight with the dogs. Not so. They liked each other from day one.

    This cat is huge. I’ll bet he weighs at least twenty pounds. The reason I don’t have an authentic picture is that he is camera shy. If I have no camera he will rub against my calves. If I take out a camera he is gone in a flash.

    You might think that he is all cuddles. You would be wrong. He is also a skilled hunter. He is sure death to any mice, squirrels or baby possums that might be in the area. But it gets worse. He is also a skilled fighter. He sends other tomcats running away within seconds of seeing them. He has a more sinister streak than this.

    The first two times I found dead cats in the yard, he stood on the fence looking. The last time when I actually saw the kill he was also watching. Prior to this I was in the front yard pulling weeds from the Callas. I heard a cat fight then the dogs barking. I ran back to see the trouble and I saw the end of a fluffy cat. There he was, watching. I have no doubt that he chased the poor creature into the yard. When I called the dogs off and picked up the poor thing, big boy ran away as if he was guilty.

    I guess this is a rough neighborhood.

    Tuesday, March 07, 2006

    Duo of Death

    These are our dogs.


    Clifford. No, we did not name him. He is a second hand dog.

    They look adorable. They act adorable. But my family knows the truth. These cute little canines put up quite the front. These little doggies appear to be harmless but God help the cat or squirrel that makes it into the back yard. This is highly skilled hunting duo.

    Clifford runs interference while Summer gives chase. The intruders meet their doom in a couple of different ways. I saw one of the cats come to an abrupt end when it went for the fence. Clifford blocked its other egress. Summer pulled it right off the fence. One quick shake and it was all over but the crying.

    The squirels are even more interesting. Summer will chase the squirrel up the slanted willow tree in our back yard. Clifford climbs the slanted trunk barking as a mighty hound. By the time the squirrel is three feet from the ground, chomp!

    Looks can be deceiving.

    Sunday, March 05, 2006

    Road Trip

    We planned to go to see my Mother in Law in Kentucky. That didn’t pan out. Sometimes a change in plans is quite the blessing. We had one fantastic day.

    Echo and I decided to go to Waco. Most Americans hear Waco and think of David Koresh. But, Waco is far more than that. Waco is a fantastic spectacle of Texas History. It is the quintessential Old West town. Even though parts of it look like anywhere else, a theme of winning the west is ever present.

    We started off at the Texas Ranger Museum and Hall of Fame. I grew up on stories about Frank Hamer and Manuel T Gonzaullas so this is pretty special to me. I have decided to make this trip without the children sometime so I can truly soak it in.

    We pulled into the parking lot and I went into the visitor’s center because we did not know where to go eat. The lady pointed me to the typical stuff we could get anywhere. I asked, “Don’t you know of something unique and local that I can’t find 50 of in Dallas?” Her face lit up and she drew directions on a map with a highlighter, “You will love this place.”

    We then all stretched our legs and made our way to the entrance. We were greeted in the lawn by a statue of George B. Erath. Then, we made our way inside. The outstanding thing about this museum is the character of these men. At the crux of their character is a quote from Capt. Bill McDonald, “No man in the wrong can stand up against a fellow that is in the right and keeps on a-comin’.”

    After the museum we went to eat at a little place called Buzzard Billy’s. The food was good but the company was better. There is nothing like getting the family away from the house.

    Echo posted about our afternoon. Suffice it for me to say, Dr Pepper is a wonderful legacy of the Old West too.

    We left in the late afternoon to join my parents, grandparents, great nephew, aunt and uncle a few miles away. My Aunt and Uncle have a Hill Country hideaway that I saw for the first time. It is spectacular.

    We had an amazing day.

    Friday, March 03, 2006

    Adorable Little Vermin

    A few years back we were living in Winters Texas. When you live in Winters, you typically shop in Abilene. We would all load up and head to town. No as you can imagine, a bunch of small children and Wal-Mart are a bad combination. So we came up with this solution: drop me and the children off at the park while Echo does the shopping.

    Abilene has some fine parks. The one we chose was pretty nice. It had a top notch playground and was quite large. It also had a fantastic feature: a two foot tall concrete wall that encompassed a prairie dog village. This kept the little critters out of places where they would be a nuisance and made a nice little spectacle.

    Now I love March. I love it because I am and have always been a kite flyer. I like two string kites so I can control them. At this time I had a dandy. A black and purple Beetle with a high wind package. So the children were on the playground and I was steps away flying the Beetle. I was flying it close to the prairie dog village.

    No surprise. The kids forsook the slides and swings to come to see the show. As long as the kite stayed high in the sky, the villagers were contently going about their busy little lives. But with every swoop, came utter mayhem. As soon as they all resurfaced, swoop! All of the children, mine and the rest, came to laugh in sheer schadenfreude. Now that’s entertainment.

    P.S. Check out Stacy's new job.


    I missed posting this on time. In honor of the Great Lone Star State, here is the declaration of Texas' independence. As you can see the spirit is older than the republic. Enjoy and God Bless Texas.

    When a government has ceased to protect the lives, liberty and property of the people, from whom its legitimate powers are derived, and for the advancement of whose happiness it was instituted, and so far from being a guarantee for the enjoyment of those inestimable and inalienable rights, becomes an instrument in the hands of evil rulers for their oppression.

    When the Federal Republican Constitution of their country, which they have sworn to support, no longer has a substantial existence, and the whole nature of their government has been forcibly changed, without their consent, from a restricted federative republic, composed of sovereign states, to a consolidated central military despotism, in which every interest is disregarded but that of the army and the priesthood, both the eternal enemies of civil liberty, the everready minions of power, and the usual instruments of tyrants.

    When, long after the spirit of the constitution has departed, moderation is at length so far lost by those in power, that even the semblance of freedom is removed, and the forms themselves of the constitution discontinued, and so far from their petitions and remonstrances being regarded, the agents who bear them are thrown into dungeons, and mercenary armies sent forth to force a new government upon them at the point of the bayonet.

    When, in consequence of such acts of malfeasance and abdication on the part of the government, anarchy prevails, and civil society is dissolved into its original elements. In such a crisis, the first law of nature, the right of self-preservation, the inherent and inalienable rights of the people to appeal to first principles, and take their political affairs into their own hands in extreme cases, enjoins it as a right towards themselves, and a sacred obligation to their posterity, to abolish such government, and create another in its stead, calculated to rescue them from impending dangers, and to secure their future welfare and happiness.

    Nations, as well as individuals, are amenable for their acts to the public opinion of mankind. A statement of a part of our grievances is therefore submitted to an impartial world, in justification of the hazardous but unavoidable step now taken, of severing our political connection with the Mexican people, and assuming an independent attitude among the nations of the earth.

    The Mexican government, by its colonization laws, invited and induced the Anglo-American population of Texas to colonize its wilderness under the pledged faith of a written constitution, that they should continue to enjoy that constitutional liberty and republican government to which they had been habituated in the land of their birth, the United States of America.

    In this expectation they have been cruelly disappointed, inasmuch as the Mexican nation has acquiesced in the late changes made in the government by General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, who having overturned the constitution of his country, now offers us the cruel alternative, either to abandon our homes, acquired by so many privations, or submit to the most intolerable of all tyranny, the combined despotism of the sword and the priesthood.

    It has sacrificed our welfare to the state of Coahuila, by which our interests have been continually depressed through a jealous and partial course of legislation, carried on at a far distant seat of government, by a hostile majority, in an unknown tongue, and this too, notwithstanding we have petitioned in the humblest terms for the establishment of a separate state government, and have, in accordance with the provisions of the national constitution, presented to the general Congress a republican constitution, which was, without just cause, contemptuously rejected.

    It incarcerated in a dungeon, for a long time, one of our citizens, for no other cause but a zealous endeavor to procure the acceptance of our constitution, and the establishment of a state government.

    It has failed and refused to secure, on a firm basis, the right of trial by jury, that palladium of civil liberty, and only safe guarantee for the life, liberty, and property of the citizen.

    It has failed to establish any public system of education, although possessed of almost boundless resources, (the public domain,) and although it is an axiom in political science, that unless a people are educated and enlightened, it is idle to expect the continuance of civil liberty, or the capacity for self government.

    It has suffered the military commandants, stationed among us, to exercise arbitrary acts of oppression and tyrrany, thus trampling upon the most sacred rights of the citizens, and rendering the military superior to the civil power.

    It has dissolved, by force of arms, the state Congress of Coahuila and Texas, and obliged our representatives to fly for their lives from the seat of government, thus depriving us of the fundamental political right of representation.

    It has demanded the surrender of a number of our citizens, and ordered military detachments to seize and carry them into the Interior for trial, in contempt of the civil authorities, and in defiance of the laws and the constitution.

    It has made piratical attacks upon our commerce, by commissioning foreign desperadoes, and authorizing them to seize our vessels, and convey the property of our citizens to far distant ports for confiscation.

    It denies us the right of worshipping the Almighty according to the dictates of our own conscience, by the support of a national religion, calculated to promote the temporal interest of its human functionaries, rather than the glory of the true and living God.

    It has demanded us to deliver up our arms, which are essential to our defence, the rightful property of freemen, and formidable only to tyrannical governments.

    It has invaded our country both by sea and by land, with intent to lay waste our territory, and drive us from our homes; and has now a large mercenary army advancing, to carry on against us a war of extermination.

    It has, through its emissaries, incited the merciless savage, with the tomahawk and scalping knife, to massacre the inhabitants of our defenseless frontiers.

    It hath been, during the whole time of our connection with it, the contemptible sport and victim of successive military revolutions, and hath continually exhibited every characteristic of a weak, corrupt, and tyrranical government.

    These, and other grievances, were patiently borne by the people of Texas, untill they reached that point at which forbearance ceases to be a virtue. We then took up arms in defence of the national constitution. We appealed to our Mexican brethren for assistance. Our appeal has been made in vain. Though months have elapsed, no sympathetic response has yet been heard from the Interior. We are, therefore, forced to the melancholy conclusion, that the Mexican people have acquiesced in the destruction of their liberty, and the substitution therfor of a military government; that they are unfit to be free, and incapable of self government.

    The necessity of self-preservation, therefore, now decrees our eternal political separation.

    We, therefore, the delegates with plenary powers of the people of Texas, in solemn convention assembled, appealing to a candid world for the necessities of our condition, do hereby resolve and declare, that our political connection with the Mexican nation has forever ended, and that the people of Texas do now constitute a free, Sovereign, and independent republic, and are fully invested with all the rights and attributes which properly belong to independent nations; and, conscious of the rectitude of our intentions, we fearlessly and confidently commit the issue to the decision of the Supreme arbiter of the destinies of nations.