Sunday, October 6, 2013

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Tiny Dancer

This woman was dancing at the State Fair of Texas. I'm not sure where she's from, or what style of dancing she was performing -- maybe some island Polynesian dance, I guess. I was just lucky enough to be there to see it.

Tiny Dancer

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Playing The Wheel at the State Fair of Texas

This ain't your granddad's Ferris wheel.

And I didn't think I was going to get my daughter on it, because she was a bit scared.


After a couple times around, she thought it was "quite nice." And now she doesn't get the heebie-jeebies about them any more.

Money well spent, if you ask me -- and even if you didn't.

The Wheel

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Cactus and Boots

I guess I could have taken a photo of Big Tex like everybody else (and of course I did), but I like this angle.

Cactus and Boots

Sunday, September 1, 2013

His Old Pair of Boots

If his old pair of boots could talk,
 they'd tell a story 'bout the time

he drove up over Wolf Creek Pass 
hauling honey, and doing fine.

On old dirt roads of rock and dust, 
not like today, all nicely paved,

with snow still on the mountain tops in June, a summer day.

On the downhill side those brakes gave out, 
all 18 wheels just cut for broke,

and how that man and truck survived, to this day, nobody knows.

He just played it cool. 
He weren't a fool by any means, 

and walked away to drive that truck 
 for many a longer day. 

If his old leather chair could talk, 
it'd tell a story 'bout the time

three children stuffed themselves between the arms, to sit awhile.

The Cowboys playing on TV
 with Roger Dodger in command,

he'd yell, "You kids get out of my chair,
 and stay out. You understand?"

And even though his voice was gruff,
 with Red Man stuffed inside one cheek,

he wasn't really mad at all.
 It didn't mean a thing.

He just played it cool.
 He weren't a fool by any means,

and walked away to drive that truck for many a longer day.

If his old cowboy hat could talk 
it'd tell a story 'bout the time,

the sun beat down with uppercuts,
 no ringside bell in sight.

The shade it gave was small relief,
 and sweat ran off that Stetson brim.

The semi gone beyond repair,
 those 18 wheels and him.

He walked a mile or two, they say,
 across that arid land.

He stumbled out on 35.
 Hot asphalt seared his hands.

He just played it cool.
 He weren't a fool by any means,

but cowboy hearts will one day give,
 and that's all there is to say. 

If his old granite stone could talk, 
it'd tell a story 'bout the time,

he carved himself a family,
 one milestone at a time.

And how he played it cool.
 He weren't a fool by any means,

and would've gladly drove those 18 wheels
 for many a longer day.

Friday, August 23, 2013

My visit to Cowtown, Part V

The Herd

If you visit Ft. Worth and don't see a cattle drive, then you just wasted your visit.

Of course it's not so easy taking great photos of the drive. It's not like you can stand out in the middle of the street and get right in the midst of the action. There are workers everywhere helping you stay safe.

Here's the one-sided conversation I had with one of the workers.

1. Sir, please stay on the curb.

2. Sir, you might be a little safer if you stay on the curb.

3. Sir, I need you to get back on that curb and stay there. It's for your own safety.

4. Gawdammit sir, if you don't get your ass back on that curb, one of those nasty monsters is going to gore you through the heart, and you're going to lie in the middle of the street, bleeding all over everything, and do you think I'm gonna help ya? Not in the slightest. Do you think those cowboys are gonna help ya? Shoot, they'll just spit on ya as they ride past. Do you think those longhorns will give a shit? Well, not about ya, but maybe on ya.

Now, are you gonna get on that curb or not?

5. Thank you.

(Well, I might of exaggerated the conversation just a wee bit. You can find more "honest" folk over at  A Rural Journal. )

Thursday, August 22, 2013

My visit to Cowtown, Part IV

Like bigger trains?

A historic train leaves The Stockyards heading to Grapevine every day.

It comes back, too.

Train Man

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

My visit to Cowtown, Part II

Well, you won't be seeing scenes like THIS for awhile.

The Texas Western Railroad Club in Ft. Worth is moving to a new location. Which means everything has to be taken down, packed up, moved and rebuilt.

It'll take years for them to do this.

And it'll never be the same.

Luckily, I got to see their setup in all their glory.

Sorry you missed it.

Texas Western Railroad Club

Monday, August 19, 2013

My visit to Cowtown, in multiple parts

Being a teacher, and with school about to begin, it's so terribly difficult keeping these posts coming, day after day, week after week...

... and so easy to make excuses for not doing them.

(Hmmmm, just like students.)

Well, to ease the stress of publication for a bit, here's some photos of my recent trip to Ft. Worth.


Cowboys come in all sizes.

Cowboys come in all sizes

Friday, August 16, 2013

Living the hummingbird life

Humming Bird

It's tough to catch a hummingbird just sitting in one place.

I took this one shot and he was all...

1. SEE ya, sucka!

2. Wouldn't wanna BE ya, sucka!

3. Gonna sit for just a minute in your TREE ya, sucka!

4. Then I'm gonna buzz your old fat head, spin around, upside down, hover for a while until you think I'm gonna try sucking juice out of your ear to make you FLEE ya, sucka!

5. Oh, look! A flower!

So, since that's I'll I got, why don't you hum on over to  A Rural Journal.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

I Was the One

I was the one
you stood behind
in line
at the grocery store,
replacing food
I couldn't afford.

Chips. Spaghetti. Herbs.
And you looked so perturbed.

I was the one
who worked three jobs,
maybe four,
I don't remember any more,
trying just to survive.

One. Day. At a time.
And you couldn't even be kind.

I was the one
who wanted to better myself,
get a degree,
to give my baby
a better life.

She. Deserves. The sky.
But you thought I was reaching too high.

I was the one
who pulled myself up
by my bootstraps,
to stand tall,
to give a voice to all the voiceless.

People. Left. Unheard.
While you parsed and played with words.

So if you choose not to hear
what I have to say today,
then I'll stand up --

and speak a lot louder.



Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Friday, August 9, 2013

Just hanging about

Just Hanging Out

I once asked my father if bugs go to heaven when they die.

He said, "Certainly not."

Then what, I asked, are praying mantises praying for?

"They're praying that their fathers don't come and squash them for asking stupid questions."

(I'm not really sure my father and I had this conversation. I may in fact have just made it up. It's so hard for me to tell these days.)

So, what do praying mantises lift up in prayer?

1. Dear Creator, thank you for sticky feet.

2. God, if you can end all the pain and suffering in this world with the snap of your fingers, prove it on that bird that just so happens to be looking my way.

3. Please don't make me come back as a moth.

4. My dear Lord, why did you create the world upside down, or maybe I'M upside down, or maybe everything's right-side up and I only perceive it as being opposite of what it TRULY is, like some other dimension or parallel universe in which I am the Supreme King of All Lands and Seas, and it's only here that I'm just a dang bug. Oh, never mind.

5. I just wanted to be a dancer.

There's way more interesting things to see at  A Rural Journal.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The power of the sun

Of course I believe in solar power. It's not up there just to look pretty, ya know.

Powered by the Sun

Saturday, August 3, 2013

The day of reckoning is nigh

I know what's going to happen.

I'm going to go in for my yearly physical and the doctor is going to give me the evil eye.

He'll ask if I'm feeling ok; do I feel dizzy when I stand up; do I have a hard time breathing; how's you're back feel? You still riding that motorbike?

Fine. Sometimes. Nope. Old. Hell yeah!

He'll tell me my "numbers" are sky high and that it's amazing I'm still alive.

God works in mysterious ways.

He'll tell me I should eat better and get some exercise 'cause the Grim Reaper doesn't need to knock at my door. He has the key.

Thanks, Doc. Mighty comforting.

And the reason he's going to say all this is because I've been on vacation.

And I learned to bake banana nut bread.

Two months with nothing to do, no place to go, no money to get there even if I wanted to, and me just sitting around on the porch, taking photos of stuff and birds, tweeting, blogging, tends to make you want to try new things.

So I made banana nut bread.

Probably 14 loaves.

Well, not all on the same day.

But when you're sitting and baking, and then EATING -- that's the kicker of course -- EATING 14 loaves of banana nut bread (not by myself, of course), well, you get old and fat.

And death can smell old and fat.

It eats it up like banana nut bread

I'm so screwed.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Don't mock the bird

Bird on a Limb

I take a lot of photos of Mockingbirds.

They seem to be the only thing flying around my house, so what else can I do?

Mockingbirds are great mocking birds.

1. I once thought there was a cow in my backyard, but it was only a Mockingbird.

2. Two Mockingbirds together sound like Lucy and Ethel.

3. A Mockingbird looked me straight in the face once and said, "Judy, Judy, Judy," in its best Cary Grant voice. I guess it was trying to tell me I needed a haircut.

4. Mockingbirds are the state bird of Texas, and they can kick YOUR state bird's butt with both wings tied behind it's back. How it'd go about tying up its wings is beyond me.

5. Mockingbirds are not scared to poop on Chuck Norris' car.

And now, why don't you fly on over to A Rural Journal.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Sweet Tea in a Mason Jar

I don’t see how it matters what TV shows I watch,
Don’t matter what clothes I got.
Can’t see how the car I drive,
can make me look more alive.

I don’t care who likes me on the Internet.
Don’t feel the urgent need to spend all I get.
Johnny Depp surely has it all,
or maybe more, I can't recall.

But I don’t keep up with the trends,
don’t worry ‘bout the stars.
I’m just a tall sweet tea in a mason jar kinda guy.

Looking for a girl in a cowboy hat,
who doesn’t give a lick about all that fancy stuff,
and who wants to be
riding the trails
with a guy like me.

I’d rather spend my day on the porch than at the mall.
Fancy restaurants don’t thrill me at all,
Grilling burgers is all right by me,
Don’t have to tip no maĆ®tre d

‘Cause I don’t keep up with the trends,
Don’t worry about the stars.
I’m just a tall sweet tea in a mason jar kinda guy.

Looking for a girl in a cowboy hat,
who doesn’t give a lick about all that fancy stuff,
and who wants to be
riding the trails
with a guy like me.

Hollywood picture shows,
internet Romeos,
look around, no one knows
if they’re alive, and maybe
they should have everything,
fancy cars, diamond rings,
plug it in, watch the stream
only contrived of
things that go away,
when their connections begin to fade.

But I don’t keep up with the trends,
Don’t worry about the stars.
I’m just a tall sweet tea in a mason jar kinda guy.

Looking for a girl in a cowboy hat,
who doesn’t give a lick about all that fancy stuff,
and who wants to be
riding the trails
with a guy like me.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

On the trail at Tyler State Park

Whenever my family would go camping, me, dad, mom and brother Scott would head out to Tyler State Park.

We'd pitch a tent in the Sumac Bend camping area, swing on the vines, hike, fish and eat more hot dogs and beans than any person should.

Tyler State ParkYou know, things that families should do.

So it was just natural that our next hiking trip -- my daughter and I -- would head out to Tyler to visit old stomping grounds.

On this visit, we hiked the park's Nature Trail, the trailhead being right near the park's entrance. The park has longer trails, but we're saving those for when it gets cooler.

Speaking of -- when we started on down the trail, the temperature, humidity, and the breezes were just perfect, but as we descended down the path and into the woods, it got so humid that one of my camera lenses fogged up.

And I hate foggy lenses.

Anyways, it was an enjoyable short little hike, just long enough to clear the cobwebs from our brains and talk about the future, the past, and to wish we were elves making our way back home to Rivendell.

Tyler State Park -- we'll be back.

Tyler leaves



Friday, July 26, 2013

Do moths actually fly?

Moth in the Bushes

Of course not! They just tumble around in the air until they can grasp hold of something.

They're sort of like helicopters that lose part of their propellors in all those movies you've ever seen that include helicopter crashes. Up, down, turn left, right, back up, go around, do-si-do and grab your partner, swing her boy, swing all night.

Except moths don't blow up when they crash.

I was lucky to grab this photo when the poor thing was taking a breather.

So, here are five things I think a moth is thinking about when he's up there doing gymnastics in the air:

1. Holy Cow, I wish I were a cow.

2. Okay, I can do this, just look straight ahead, aim for the tree, where's the tree? Oh God it disappeared. No wait, there it is.

3. What? No peanuts on this flight?

4. Ladies and gentleman, we're experiencing a SLIGHT bit of turbulence. It's possible we will crash land in Mr. Farmer's field. Either that or we'll be plucked out of the sky by a hungry Purple Martin looking for an afternoon snack. Either way, we're DOOMED. Thank you for flying ME.

And finally...

5. I could have been a doctor.

Ya want some MORE random facts? Head on over to A Rural Journal.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

My 'interview' with Texas Senator Wendy Davis

The Texas Hoss
Actually, it was more like me asking questions and hoping that she'd see them.

And then reply via my "The Texas Hoss" Twitter account.

I know, a long shot.

A VERY long shot.

But, if dreamers never dreamed their dreams, they'd have eight hours of uninterrupted sleep and would never have the experience of waking up and ALMOST remembering what the hell it was they were dreaming about, but only just.

So, being a former journalist, I thought I'd throw caution to the wind, as well as my questions, then step back to see what happened.

Of course I didn't ask questions that all the OTHER journalists were asking. That would be pert near stupid.

"Ms. Davis, how do you feel about abortion rights?" "Ms. Davis, will you run for governor?" "Ms. Davis, rumor has it you're vegan, but you ate an egg before your now-famous filibuster, so what's the story?"

All easy questions that any dunder-headed, cub reporter could come up with.

Me? Now I'm different.

I asked her "important" things like, "Do you eat your chili WITH beans, or without?"

(See how I'm really asking two questions at once? If she eats chili, she ain't vegan. If she eats it with beans, she's a mislead Texan. Oh, and by the way, I have nothing against people who prefer to not consume meat. It's a personal choice, and I am pro-choice, which doesn't mean I would choose that lifestyle for myself, but to each his own.)

My questions were geared toward finding the TRUE Wendy beneath the official Senator Davis. Questions like: How many boots do you own; Would you grab a burger at Burger King or Whataburger; How many times a year do you go two-stepping; and after Christmas, do you take down your outside Christmas lights or do you just leave them up all year round?

Questions that get to the very heart of the REAL question which is, "Would I vote for this person if she ever ran for governor of Texas?"

So did she ever answer?


Wendy Davis would make a FINE Texas Governor, and I'll keep saying it until I'm blue in the state.

'nuff said!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Five good reasons for owning a boat

Sunset Pier

I'm probably the only person I know who lives pretty close to a lake but doesn't own a boat. In some communities, that would make me a heretic.

Not wanting to be thought unkindly of, here are five random mostly-true facts I used on my wife to try and convince her we needed a boat.

1. People who own boats are sexier than other people, and we need all the help we can get.

2. Boat ownership is a pathway to a healthier lifestyle because we'd fish more, and eating fish is good for you.

3. Boating is referenced all throughout the Bible. If it's good enough for God, it's good enough for us.

4. Johnny Depp was in a pirate movie. Pirates had boats. You love Johnny Depp. Having a boat would be like having our own little cosmic connection to Johnny Depp.

5. A boat would give me somewhere to sleep so you wouldn't have to hear me snore.

(That last one brought a smile to her face.)

There's a boatload of random facts over at A Rural Journal.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Random 5 Friday

A Green Something

I have no idea what kind of plant/flower/weed this is, but here are 5 Random Facts I DO know:

1. Sometimes I have to mow.

Mostly when my wife or neighbors complain.

2. Mowing gives me time to think, to contemplate the universe.

3. I think about how much I hate driving in circles cutting grass.

4. Sometimes I come across a flower or weed that I think is just too interesting to mow, and I stop to take a photo of it.

5. Once I stop, I stop for good.

You can find a lot more RANDOM 5-ness at A Rural Journal.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Doodling on hold

Today marked a momentous occasion for my family: I disconnected the land line, making us an all-mobile family.

It just seemed the right thing to do. Why spend $40 a month for a phone line that when it rings, we just look at it and don't answer?

But to give credit where credit is due, AT&T gave us years and years of adequate service, and I will miss our number. The only complaint I have with them is that they made it just too darn hard to disconnect.

Hard to find information about HOW to disconnect; hard to find a number to call TO disconnect; and when I finally found the number and called, I was put on hold for what seemed like forever.

(Can't really blame them, but it was still annoying.)

Let me try to illustrate how long I was actually on hold:

Whenever I'm put on hold, if a piece of scrap paper and pencil are anywhere near, I like to doodle. I draw houses, cars, airplanes, anything that comes to mind. Mostly houses.

I was on hold for so long, I drew a house with yard, fence, trees, smoke coming out of the chimney, a swing set, dog house, a German Shepherd, two-car garage, driveway, basketball goal, the neighbor's oak tree limb hanging over into our yard, Nick France the septic guy cleaning out our system, and a tool shed.

And then I started drawing the tools.

A Husky 8 in. Double Speed Adjustable Wrench; a Stanley 10 in. Fine-Finish Mini Utility Saw; a 6-piece Iron Bridge Tools Precision Screwdriver set; a Rockforge 10 lb Sledgehammer with Fiberglass Handle; and a Ryobi Tek4 Professional 4-Volt Infrared Thermometer.

I have no idea why I would ever need a Ryobi Tek4 Professional 4-Volt Infrared Thermometer, but it's better to be safe than sorry.

Finally, Sales Rep. Jennifer answered the call, said she hated to see us leave, but wished our family well and, "Remember, don't text and drive."

And that's it.

Our land line is dead.

Anybody that knew our number will never be able to call us on it again.

But I can live with that because in exchange, I have doodled a list of tools that I'll now be able to buy with my land-line savings.

Seems like a fair trade.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy Fourth

I went out to take some fireworks photos.

This is the only one that I thought was half-way acceptable.

Not great, but workable.

I cropped it down to fill the frame, and that's when I saw what I actually had:

A dandelion glowing in the sky.

Happy Fourth!

Happy Fourth

Friday, June 28, 2013

Wendy Davis Shoes

Okay, here's my song, based on Kim Carnes' "Bette Davis Eyes."

Her hair is solid gold,
Her lips faintly rouge,
Her eyes are sturdy bold,
She's got Wendy Davis shoes.
She'll turn the issues on you,
You won’t get to refuse,
She's pure as Texas snow,
She's got Wendy Davis shoes.
And she'll squeeze you
To unease you,
Turn you inside out and freeze you.
She's precocious,
and she knows just what it takes to make a room hush.
She's not Greta Garbo, spread the news,
She's got Wendy Davis shoes.
She'll let you speak your mind,
(it whets her appetite).
Give you plenty of noose,
She's got Wendy Davis shoes.
She'll take a tumble on you,
Roll you like you were dice,
All on the nightly news,
She's got Wendy Davis shoes.
She'll expose you
when she bowls you
from your feet with the words she throws you.
She's ferocious,
and she knows just what it takes to make a room hush.
Good old boys know they will lose,
She's got Wendy Davis shoes.

Good old boys know they will lose,
She's got Wendy Davis shoes.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The price of fame and fortune

Yesterday I asked my 15-year-old daughter if she’d rather be rich and famous, or poor and obscure.

(middle class poor and obscure. not begging on the streets poor and obscure)

“Poor and obscure,” she said.


“If you were rich and famous, you could never go anywhere without being noticed.”
True, but you’d always get the best table at restaurants.
“Yes, but then you’d never get a chance to eat because people would be constantly bothering you for autographs or photos.”
True, but if you had enough money, you could reserve the whole restaurant and have it to yourself for the evening.
“Yes, but then you couldn’t people watch and eavesdrop on conversations.”
True, but you’d never have to sit next to a crying baby.
“I change my mind. Rich and famous.”
I thought so. Everybody has a breaking point.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Saturday at the Dallas Museum of Art

When your child says, "Dad, can we go to the museum?", you would be an idiot father if you didn't drop everything you're doing, take a shower, put on your sneakers, and head to town.

That's what my daughter and I did today. Took the train into Dallas to visit the Dallas Museum of Art.

Saw some statues, saw some paintings, ate lunch in the cafe, and basically had a great time. And that's all because I'm not an idiot father.

An idiot father would say, "I'm too tired," or "Maybe tomorrow," or "Can't you see I'm mowing the lawn? What do ya think I'm made of, money?"

A NON-idiot father, like myself, would look up information on how to get there, the museum hours, and how much it costs, which is FREE, which is even MORE reason to hit the trail to Big D.

I try very hard not to be an idiot father.

Sometimes I fail.

But not today.

Saturday at the Museum

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Let it Rain

"The best thing one can do when it's raining is to let it rain." Longfellow

Let it Rain

Saturday, June 8, 2013

The Birds are back in town

You'd think Hitchcock was still alive after driving through a swarm of birds like this. But they're only barn swallows, nesting under bridges, trying to take care of their families just like me and you.

Barn swallow swarm

Barn swallow