Sunday, December 13, 2009

Mario Lanza

Died of a heart attack at thirty eight years of age. On his Wiki page, Hedda Hopper is quoted, saying, "his smile, which was as big as his voice, was matched with the habits of a tiger cub, impossible to housebreak."
Enjoy this you tube mash-up of Mario Lanza singing, Sweet Mystery of Life and Mel Brooks', Young Frankenstein. Wonderful.

Friday, December 11, 2009


I consider my future, or at least, I hope it's my future. What is the axiom? If you want to hear God laugh, tell him your plans. So with a nod to God, the Great Maker, I consider my future. In this future, I can picture myself with a trailer resting on a pad in Brownsville, Tx or some other city located coastally. I find myself sitting beneath the sparse shade provided by a palm tree of some sort, preparing a rod and reel for some coastal fishing, where for lunch, I'll be fishing for some red snapper.
It's a day sunny, breezy and generous with time.
A breeze blows through my thoughts and the dream dematerializes, where a new one forms, behind the busy shutters of my mind.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Hush of a river, roar of a crowd

Took a night time ride on my bicycle last night, along the Trinity Trail. The trail is undergoing some improvements(?) as it crosses under the University St bridge. So, in order to hop on the trail it's necessary to get on at Rogers Rd. According to google maps its 1842 Rogers Rd.

View Larger Map
The image here is misleading though. It looks like that, certainly, but they've thrown up some new condos along Rogers, north of the entrance you're looking at now. Currently there's a sign there in the shape of a stop sign saying: "stop look and lease." Something like that, you get the idea. To conclude and get to the point; TCU was having it's game against Utah last night and there was a record crowd of spectators on hand at the Amon Carter Stadium to see the game. As I rode along the dark, deserted and spooky trail, inhabited by no one but one hobo, the roar of the crowd competed with the sound of the Trinity River. I've never gone to professional sporting events, preferring rather the comforts of home. But the sound of the mob was exhilarating in a thumbs up/down, sort of way. Speeding along the trail at night, the cool wind rushing over me, the river silver, up and running, providing for me, its own rush of exhilaration.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

a twilight gloaming

This will be insufficient, I know that and I'm admitting it right up front. Like most people, I was exceedingly glad when Friday evening arrived. Saturday is, for me, a day of rest. I did get out and ride the Trinity trails some but I had my buddy with me so I didn't get to ride as much as I wanted to. My buddy is a three hundred pound bruiser. A middle linebacker. It wasn't long before he'd gone as far as he wanted to go, so we ended up looping back to the starting point. Still, I was bone tired. Sunday was a beautiful day. Moderate temperatures with the sun tipping into the southern skies for winter.  For us, in the northern hemisphere, the sun is no longer baking us. The same sun though, that we're enjoying now, is over the southern hemisphere with an unblinking, merciless daytime heat.
Heading home from the library two young people, a young man and a young woman, on fixies, wheeled by. Gotta savor the moments. Now, is all we have, really.

Thursday, November 5, 2009


Friday approaches. I feel like Fred Flintstone sliding down the back of a brontosaurus and exclaiming yabba dabba doo!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

something new

I took my new bike out for a spin today. The work week combined with the heavy rains kept me off of it. I'm not what you call a hard core biker, more of a recreational rider. My place of employment keeps me moving during the week...go go go...go go go...what's wrong, go faster. At weeks end, I'm usually spent. The thing is though, I'm not doing enough to elevate my heartbeat like I should. In fact, on the weekends, I'm almost sedentary and that's something I want to stop. Come Monday I can feel a diminished lack of fitness. Hence the bike. I took a spin around the TCC NW campus. It's kinda hairy getting over there with the cars speeding by, hellbent on getting to the next stop sign, but once there it's a nice place to ride. On the weekend, that is. Marine Creek Lake has a narrow paved trail around it and it looks like it'd be a nice place to tool around, but a sign at the trail entrance stated: no this, no that, no the other. Too bad, the only thing on the trail was the breeze. I can feel the exertion in my lungs. They're sending up their complaints in coughs and tracheal irritation. I'm thinking later I'm going to put my bike on the back of my car and go to the trail that runs along the Trinity River. If you see a tallish, lanky person, on a new white trek, looking down and fussing at his pedals, it might be me.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

I've finished my chores, paw, can I get my bicycle out of lay-a-way, now?

A day late, or so, I'm afraid. It's a 2009 Trek 1.5.   Its been said, believe half of what you see and none of what you read. Keeping that in mind, from what I've read on the net, the 2009 1.5 is a better bike than the 2010 1.5 . In my limited experience, I must say, it's quite a bike. There's a group of bikers who are also bloggers that organized a ride yesterday, in Fort Worth. Miles, of Rat Trap Press, spearheading the effort. Unfortunately, I didn't have my new bike out yet and I was near exhausted from the work week of gathering straw to make mud bricks for pharaoh's cities. I've got my new bike now and maybe if and when the group organizes a new ride and I'm up to speed on my bike, I'll be able to join them. I hope so.

Monday, October 12, 2009


Have you ever tried to write something? Fiction, I mean. A short story maybe, or a not so short story; a novel.  Teasing out an idea for a story is like chasing a itch that flits around your body and not settling down to submit itself to a good scratching. Life is so busy and crammed with the hum drum, mundane details it's hard to take time and woo the muse. An image popped in my head of Tom Hanks in the movie Cast Away, his hands bloody with the effort of trying to start a fire and finally doing so, dancing on the beach, exultant. This, I think, must be what it's like to finally capture the spark of an idea, that'll spring into a full blaze and become,what? A short story, at least.

blue skies

Come back blue skies, we miss you. I spoke to someone on the phone, today. They were  in New Orleans. It was hot and humid, he said. Is the sun out, I asked. Yea, man. I'm sweating like a pig down here. I was jealous of his being in the sunshine. Seems like to me the sun has been occluded more than not, for the last thirty days. This weekend, hopefully Sol will once again grace the heavenly view.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

the southside

Saturday, the weather was not in a cooperative mood with the near southside's, Arts Goggle. Lots of rain and fall temperatures ended up putting the squeeze on things, I think. This is the first time for me to even go, so maybe I'm wrong. Maybe last night was a resounding success. It didn't seem so much it like it to me, though. The near southside is also known as the hospital district, with lots of old interesting buildings and houses. People with extra money and time, apparently, are buying up the buildings and repairing them as well as many of the old homes, as well. That's a good thing. Being a strange child, it's hard for me to get around the old buildings without getting the distinct impression that ghosts from the past are moaning just beyond ear shot; wanting to tell their stories, hoping to find someone who can hear.  Many of the buildings are gorgeous with old world touches, but are in a state of disrepair until those with the afore mentioned money and time get a hold of them. I wish them luck. I must get a digital camera so the one or two people who may peruse this blog can take the walk with me. Later, dude.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

the promised land of broken promises

Ah California, land of broken dreams, and a multitude of runaways. Beautiful state, there's no denying. You've got the Pacific ocean there, with it's attendant shoreline, the Sierra Nevada mountain range, which includes Mt. Whitney, the tallest mountain in the lower forty eight and deserts. The entire natural spectrum can pretty much be experienced in the one state. But to live there is prohibitively expensive. How, I wonder, can anyone afford to live there? I'm watching my pennies here and a small well maintained house in southern CA will cost upwards of half a million, easy. Half a million is a modest assumption, by the way. Three quarters of a million would probably be more realistic. To make matters worse, the tax burden placed on its inhabitants is one of the worse in the nation. An article on MSN's money page stated:

Steer clear: Three states are particularly tough on retirees. Not only do they fully tax most pensions and other retirement income, they also have high top tax brackets: California (9.55% on income less than $1 million)

The grapes of wrath, indeed. Only in reverse, I'm thinking.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

No Country for Old Men

One of my favorite movies is No Country for Old Men. It's certainly not a movie I would recommend to anyone, due to the violence and cynical resignation voiced by some of the characters. "Can't stop what's coming," one of them says. All the players are wonderfully cast. Tommy Lee Jones as the world weary, west Texas Sheriff. Javier Bardem as the hit man/psychopath. Josh Brolin as Llewelyn Moss, a doomed young man, who following a blood trail, arrives at the wrong place at the wrong time and a young woman born in Scotland, Kelly MacDonald as Llewelyn's wife, Carla Jean Moss.
The movie is based on a book written by Cormac McCarthy. I've read that Mr. McCarthy, at one time, lived in El Paso, Tx. I don't think it's too much of a leap to believe his residing in El Paso helped to flesh out the characters residing in the pages of his book and of the Coen's subsequent adaption. Even this movie, is a sanitized portrayal of the current violence on the border towns of Texas, Arizona and California. The U.S. finds itself under siege by the drug lords south of our border. This war is fueled by a violent and evil, porcine greed. In my opinion (you're free to have your own) it would be good if the U.S. would cease policing an unwilling world and begin to police it's own porous borders.

Caution: The following clip starts out tame enough but concludes in a frightening, R rated manner.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

taurus, the ford

I've spent about a thousand dollars on an old car in the last two weeks. Man that stings. The last three hundred plus was spent at a Ford dealership so it would pass inspection. The first seven hundred plus was spent at a not so Good***r, apparently. It was running poorly, so taking it in to them, they suggested plugs, wires, oil change...etc. Makes sense, I think, so I tell them to go ahead. It seems to work, until it doesn't. Who knows, maybe they damaged something when they were working on it, or it was the coil pack in the first place, or maybe I've been a bad person and things needed to be balanced out somehow. All I know is, it was running really bad and my inspection sticker was up this month and it sure wasn't going to pass like that. The Ford dealership said it was a coil pack, which is pretty much the same as what used to be known as a distributor cap. It's purring like a cat now. A cat that's had about a eleven hundred dollars worth of cat food to eat. As well she well she should.
I'm not going to talk about my old Isuzu pick up now; it would just ruin the mood.

Monday, September 14, 2009

another monday

Another bruiser. Life, sometimes, is very much like the juggernaut. A crushing, bruising, overwhelming force. The word juggernaut, itself is a strong masculine sounding word. It is for this reason, I think, that movie critics like to use the word in describing movies of a type. It is also used to describe a cart used in Hindu religious festivals. Supposedly devotees were known to be crushed beneath its wheels. Life can be like the juggernaut. Be careful for the wheels, fellow travelers.

Saturday, September 12, 2009


To borrow a phrase, "A day, that will live, in infamy." A day that the U.S. changed and sadly, not for the better. A day that the world changed and not for the better. Three thousand people dying in the twin towers, forty people dying on flight 93, sixty seven on flight 77 and one hundred twenty five at the Pentagon.  Let's not forget the secret victims of a post 9-11world who died, ironically, as a result of taking alternate forms of transportation, trying to avoid the airways or taking their own lives in response to an emotional turmoil, too great to bare. And God, lets not forget the soldiers, men and women, pressed into action, in answer to a senseless, brutal act of murderous insanity.
September 11, 2001: The fires go unquenched, and have spread around the world.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

north wind

Weather forecasters are prognosticating the north wind will make its debut this weekend in north Texas. The south wind, haling from the Gulf of Mexico, is not going to take it lying down it seems. Like two brawny pugilists, meeting in the ring, the fronts circle one another, testing the middle, unwilling to commit. Rain has begun to fall.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

lie berry

I was a strange child, this I know. Books, for me, providing a sense of self, a companionable presence in a life that was composed of a self imposed isolation. Many days were spent hiding out, traipsing through fields of fiction; taking far flung trips of the mind. Then as now, I'm something of a bookworm.  Although, I'm not currently reading like I used to. This being due to the fact that my life is in the merciless maw of trying to make a living. Trying to accumulate a few modest possessions that I can call my own. A dusting of snow has fallen on the roof, like a forewarning of my future. I'm compelled to stock the pantry with something enough, to see me through the winter. 
Used to, I could walk through the stacks at the library and I would get a sense that there was something beyond what I was seeing. A door that wasn't seen but existed all the same. A door that, if I could find, and walking through, I'd disappear from this world of flesh, blood and need into a world of...who knows what. Like Enoch, I would be not.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Forgotten Facts About Washington

And here we have a painting by Norman Rockwell. Painted in 1932, I believe. Breathing life into an almost mythical icon of American history. George has it bad, it seems. The young lovers look to be planning a little midnight rendezvous.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

monday, monday

Many of us have a three day weekend to look forward to.  A day off from work for adults is very much like Christmas day for children. I can remember waiting in an almost anticipatory agony for Christmas day. Likewise an extra day off from work feels very much the same way. And when that extra day off also happens to be a Monday...well magic happens. The magic begins to unfold late afternoon on Sunday. Normally, there's a prickly accompaniment  to our Sunday afternoons going into evening. This being the knowledge that there's a Monday morning hurtling toward us. Not this weekend. O no. This weekend Monday has been neutered. And really, there's nothing quite so nice as a long Sunday evening basking in the knowledge that Monday is also a day of rest.

Monday, August 31, 2009

bang, we all fall down.

I was born into a family of hunters. Nothing too exotic, mind you. Deer and Turkey. Texas game. I remember the first time my dad took me hunting.  It was cold and worse, it was cold and windy. I wanted so badly to see a deer, I was hallucinating deer. I suppose I knew I didn't really want to hunt or shoot a deer but I did want to please my dad, so deer being plentiful, it wasn't long before one wandered into my sites. The deer was a long way off. "Seventy five yards", I remember dad saying. If memory serves, I was shooting a .243. Don't kid yourself, there's plenty of take down power in a .243. I know I was taking a long time, but the deer being so far away, the temperature so low and the wind wicking what little body heat my lanky frame could muster, it seemed almost impossible to steady the cross hairs on the deer feeding unaware across the pasture. Finally, squeezing on the trigger far enough, the gun went off, bringing down the deer in my sites. What I'd done was blast the knee joints out of the deer's front legs. My dad, ordering me to stay in place, walked out to the poor animal and finished killing him. 
I can remember, to this day looking at the deer and sensing his life ebbing away. Looking at his eyes, I watched them go from dark, large and shiny to gray and opaque in a matter of minutes. I didn't enjoy that little experience, at all.
Deer hunters provide a service, they really do. Without deer hunters, the deer population would multiply like rabbits. As for myself though, I'd rather not.

Friday, August 28, 2009

hello mother, hello father

Growing up, I had a turbulent relationship with my father. Sadly, I suppose, I never really did get as close to him as I wanted. We just didn't mesh. Mom once told me, "the reason you don't get along with your father, is because you're too much like him." This may be true. I followed a path similar to his. He didn't get along with his father either and he also searched for a father figure in someone who would not only teach him some life lessons, but show him some respect, too.
Imagine my surprise when I learned my Grandfather, who I always thought of as a nice man, was considered a bastard by his children. My Aunt, a fount of family information, told me the story of how my Grandfather lost his eye. It began innocuously enough. A little something in the eye, followed by persistent irritation, then infection. As a result of that, the eye had to be removed. The doctor told him, "we're going to have to take out that eye or the infection will travel from the eye and possibly into your brain. You should know also, you may die." After this sobering visit from the physician and surely in the solitude of his hospital room he made a deal with God. "God, if you let me live, I'll be a better father to my family." He lived, and my Aunt said, he kept his deal with God and was indeed a better father, after his brush with death.
I was always closer to my mother. She had a hard scrabble family history that could mark a person, but despite this, she had fierce loyalty toward her children, beyond that of her love for her husband. My Dad, I think, found this difficult to take and like most men couldn't understand the love of a woman, his wife, for her children. The fruit of this misunderstanding, on his part, caused him to be jealous of us and our Mother, his own kids. Didn't mean he was a bad man. Many men have felt the very same thing the world over. I'm a lot like dad and very much like mother. I loved them both. I recognize them more with each passing day, in their youngest child.
Its been said, you can't always get what you want, but not many have said it as well as the Rolling Stones.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Took a scheduled day off from work today. I had a spot on my arm that was bothering me (thinking omg,C). I was told by the young woman that set my appointment that I should come in on Tuesday. I scheduled the day off accordingly, but when I arrived at the front counter the young woman informed me, "no it should be on Friday." I was a little put out, having taken a day off and it showed. They saw me anyway. My doctor is an old, friendly guy that's really a pleasure to see, at any rate. The spot was nothing, thank goodness. It worked out good, because my brother, who is seldom off from work, it seems, was off and I got to spend a little time with him. There was, also, business that needed to be attended to; business of the familial sort.
Now it's late and the sun is down and the heat is flying off the face of the earth, heavenward. Plant life must be breathing a sigh of relief now and thinking in their own botanical way the sun has began its descent to the horizon sooner today than yesterday. The leaves of trees and the blades of grass comforting one another with thoughts of the promise of cooler weather.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

shake it like a polaroid

I posted part of this to a blog that'll go unnamed. The owner of the blog chose to not only not post it he deleted his own post that inspired it as well. Well, I thought, he shouldn't mind if I recycle my writing here. I know it's overwrought, but hey, that's the way it breaks down in the big little city.

Now that my Mom and Dad have shuffled off the stage to their ultimate reward I got to thinking about them the other day, Cherry Lane Drive In and my memories of it and them. Cherry Lane Drive In, no surprise, used to be on Cherry Lane at Interstate 30. Back then it wasn't I30 though, it was I20, but that's another story and it really doesn't matter to us now. Today, if we were to stand on Cherry Ln and look out where the drive in used to be, as my memory tells it, we'll see a deserted parking lot. Back when I was a child every now and then we'd all load up and go to the drive in. Kinda hard to believe that you could have a drive in movie in what, today, is in town. Then it was at its darkened boundaries. Down the street from the Bomber Plant, what was then known as G.D., or General Dynamics, my dad's place of employment. All these memories were bubbling up and I was wishing that I had pictures of the old drive in. Some tangible recording of my past.

When I got to my teen years there was a walk in movie house I'd go to. It was old then, too. The 7th St. Theater. I miss it too. The old man and his son selling the little paper tickets at the old fashioned ticket window. The ceramic floors whispering to me in a thousand whispers of those who have trod it before me. The snack bar with it's Milk Duds and Raisinets. I was hoping someone would purchase the old movie house and turn it into a independent, art house, movie geek theater. Alas that was not to be. The building fell victim to development. Shameful, in a way. Pushing it down with a front end loader in a way devoid of sentimentality. Thinking of it now reminds me of a time when I wanted to photograph it. The Jack Nicholson, Michelle Pfeiffer movie, Wolf was playing there. The title on the marquee displayed as WOLF. I was hoping to take a picture, calling it Wolf at the Door. It may be a constructed memory but I think it closed soon after, when the owners, father or son kept their date with mortality, leaving one to quickly follow the other, and the marquee unattended. WOLF was to stay on the marquee, keeping watch on a deserted movie theater.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

weekend getaway

I'm going to go to my lbs this weekend and make another payment on my bike. I'm not in a real hurry to get it paid off, it's a little too hot to enjoy being on a road bike when I'm out in the heat all day anyway. September is not too far away with it's promise of cooler weather and October with it's promise of winter. Shorter days with long shadows at five o'clock. Flocks of birds overhead, flying south. Long nights with the full moon lighting the earth with its silvery white light. All the stars leaning in close to peer at us below. The arrival of a new season is very much like a relative coming to visit. To begin with, it's always an enjoyable experience to catch up on memories and current events, but begins to drag. When are they going to leave, you'll find yourself thinking. Spring gives way to summer and in Texas that can be quite an ordeal. Fall...blessed fall, yields to winter. And on it goes.

Monday, August 17, 2009

time travelers

The movie, The Time Travelers Wife, based on the book of the same name by Audrey Niffenegger went into wide release, recently. I haven't seen the movie myself, but I did read the book. Not to go into too much detail for those who haven't seen it but it's about a time traveler, obviously. One of my favorite time traveling movies is Groundhog Day. Bill Murray's character, Phil, travels through time experiencing the same after day. His character, as the movie begins, is crass and self involved. It's only when he becomes intimately familiar with his behavior and it's consequences and begins to feel a real affection for those that share his day that he begins to grow emotionally as a human being. We're all time travelers. We aren't privileged enough to experience a day again and again like Phil in Groundhog Day or like Henry De Tamble in Niffenegger's novel but we're all moving through the the great wheel of time. When I was a young man it was hard for me to feel others pain, because I myself hadn't really experienced much myself. It's only with the passing of years when we experience joy and accomplishment balanced with pain and loss that we grow as human beings. I hope as the years pass, I can gather together the wisdom they may impart, and for you, dear reader, I wish the same.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

friday night-people watching

My brother was in town and not wanting to spend his friday night staring into a computer monitor, he gave me a call. Normally I don't go out on a friday nights. Sure, when I get off work I'm thinking I'm going to get cleaned up and get out for awhile, but I'm tired, I have my first beer and then, the inevitable surrender to the couch. Not this friday night, O no. Anyway, he called and "sure, let me get cleaned up..." I met him at Fuzzy's Taco Stand on Berry St over by T.C.U. Man that place does a jam up business. Pretty decent food too. Had me a ground beef taco on a crispy shell and a ground beef burrito. Myself, I'm not too crazy about shredded beef. It makes the beef have a chewy feel to it and I'm not too crazy about it. Also it's necessary for a taco to be on a taco shell. Nowadays it's possible to say taco and get a taco on what amounts to a tortilla. That's not a taco...that's a small burrito. For me it's not a taco unless its on a crispy shell. Call me old school. We sat outside, had our food, made small talk and people watched. Life is good.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


I'm one of those people who are not acquainted with their own dreams. Usually. I'm sure I dream, in fact I know I do. The thing is, remembering my dreams is something that I don't usually do. Which is unfortunate really, because I think they are the back door to our conscious mind. The exception to accessing the dream state (for me) comes with the luxury of extra sleep time. With extended sleeping hours my mind has the opportunity to peruse the cracks and crevices of the unknown, teasing them out into the gray light of dawn. With work though, sleep becomes more workman like; "just the facts ma'am." And I'm left with nothing more but a slightly stiff neck and the stark realities of another day. One day, when I'm no longer tethered like an ox to the mill wheel, perhaps I'll have time enough to sleep, perchance to dream.

Monday, August 10, 2009

bi cy cle

I've got a mountain bike, and it's a dangerous mechanical thing, or at least, it can be. We grow older and as we grow older it's typical of us to want and capture a little bit of Gloria. The thing is, the reality of riding a mountain bike collides with the memories of riding a bike and our present physical limitations. Perhaps more importantly the frailties of joints and limbs and their absolute necessity in enjoying life. So I'll keep my mountain bike, but I'll be riding on tamer trails. Not willing though to give up my pursuit of Gloria, I've put a road bike on lay-a-way and will have it out soon enough. I used to enjoy riding a bicycle and I hope to find I still feel that way. So lets go, you and I, over the hills and through the meadows, breathing deep a little bit of Gloria.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Winning Life's Lottery

I was reading an article on the NY Times about Julie Powell. Julie I'm sure you'll remember is the young woman who blogged about her experiences of trying to write about her attempt to cook her way through Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I'm sure when the young woman decided to start this little journey in her tiny NY kitchen she had no idea how far the journey would take her. Now her life has been made into a movie. Myself, I'm amazed for her. So, let's push off from shore, shall we? Maybe we can capture a little magic for ourselves.