Thursday, July 30, 2009

I (no longer) Have the POWERRRRR! .....

We have ended our stint as a Nielsen Media Research (television ratings) family this morning ..... now you know who to blame, next season, when the new television programming lineups are announced.

So, what might those line-ups include? Well, in entertainment, there would be lots of American cooking shows (Chopped, Top Chef Masters, Iron Chef America, Next Food Network Star), British science-fiction (Doctor Who, Primeval, and most-of-all Torchwood: Children of Earth), and classic movies from just about everywhere (especially on Turner Classic Movies).

In news, there would be a mixed offering, depending upon the time of day, and the ammount of time and attention we have to devote to watching the news. It could be CNN Headline News, NBC Nightly News, or BBC World News America. Locally? Again a mix .... but mostly, KWES/NewsWest 9 and KOSA/CBS 7, offering a chance to keep up on local news, and see how old friends in the business are doing.

In sports, there was a lot of soccer (MLS, CONCACAF Gold Cup, and World Football Challenge) and a lot of cycling (Tour de France) ... actually, the only cycling we watch all year.

A lot of Fuel TV and Versus from one child, and a lot of Cartoon Network and Discovery Channel from the other. And also, a lot of the music channels on Suddenlink Cable.

Anyway, if you see a lot of that on television, next season, you'll know who to blame.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Poetic Justice for Sarah Palin .....

There's no lack of diverse opinions on Sarah Palin's farewell speech, yesterday, as she quit the Office of Governor of Alaska. My favorite opinion came in late last night, long after most of the punditz had offered their views, then gone home.

"Palin's final speech was a thing of poetic beauty," the producers of The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien insist. "And who does poetry better than William Shatner?"

The Rest of the Story ... and a CHILI ALERT .....

Last year, I offered this post about H.E.B. roasting and selling fresh green chili peppers. Now, it's time for the rest of that story ... and a Chili Alert!

At the time, I noted that is was wonderful 'green marketing' on H.E.B.'s part ... as you're walking across the parking lot and a chance puff of wind, from the right direction, fills your nostrils with a wonderful aroma. If you're from New Mexico, you recognize it as a sure and certain indicator that summer is over and fall is upon us... you think of "home" in the Land of Enchantment and all that entails - especially at mealtime.

Why, yes, as a matter of fact, I DO think there is no greater chili than the Hatch Green Chili. And I offered major kudos to the supermarket chain for their special, seasonal effort.

But it's time for the rest of the story ... it turns out that the Midland H.E.B. had the most successful fresh-roasted chilis program in the chain, and that has won a free trip to Hatch, New Mexico, for Dustin and Victor (the men shown above, in a photo takane last year). They've been promised a tour of the region ... although I have joked with Victor that that they'll probably be handed burlap sacks and pointed towards the fields ... it IS harvest time, after all.

I also promised a Chili Alert. Victor tells me that the 2009 harvest of Hatch chilis will be arriving, and the roaster will be set-up at H.E.B. in just a few weeks. Let's all do our part to spice up our kitchens, fill those nooks and crannies in the freezer (to help get us through the cold winter), and make Dustin and Victor H.E.B.'s top chili-heads for two years in a row!

Monday, July 27, 2009

The Important Things .....

It's one of those days when, for me at least, all the virtual wisdom in the world takes a back seat to the actual world, and the losses by which that world is lessened.

Please take a moment, push back from the keyboard, and raise the family and friends of Harold Lloyd "Pat" Patterson in prayer.
You can read Patterson's obituary here. It tells the story of someone who, by just about any criteria I can think of, affirmed the concept of life ... and living it well.

Another criterion ... he helped raise great kids, one of whom is our own Jimmy at
Sticky Doorknobs, who offers this on his dad's life and passing.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Launching Texas' Newest Futbol Stadium .....

America's newest sports venue is getting a proper breaking-in this month, though fans of football (throwball) may be rolling their eyes in dismay.

ARLINGTON, TEXAS – The view from Seat 1, Row 26 in Section 437, high above the field, was just fine, Susan Garcia reported midway through the historic first sporting event at Cowboys Stadium ... a CONCACAF Gold Cup quarterfinal soccer doubleheader that featured Costa Rica's 5-1 pummeling of Guadeloupe and Mexico's 4-0 walkover over Haiti.
CLICK HERE for the rest of this story from the Dallas Morning News

A crowd of more than 80,000 attended the CONCACAF match. Attendance may be just as large tonight, when the new Texas Stadium hosts its second sporting event, another soccer match ... this time, a World Football Challenge match between two top teams, Englands Chelsea F.C. and Mexicco's Club America.

It should be a great match. I'll be watching it tonight on ESPN2 along with Elder Son, who some some Chelsea players earlier this week, when he was soccer camping in Dallas.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Rest is Respectful Silence .....

Walter Cronkite, the premier TV anchorman of the U.S. networks’ golden age who reported a tumultuous time with reassuring authority and came to be called “the most trusted man in America,” died Friday. He was 92.
CLICK HERE for the rest of this story from the Associated Press and

"The most trusted" to the general public, and among "the most emulated" within the industry. This was someone so many of us aspired to be ... to bring to the camera - or the printed page - his knowledge, his experience, his command of the language, and his presentation. And while so many of us - myself included - never even came close, that aspiration made us better journalists, and better people, nonetheless.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Bidding 'Adieu' to the Knitting Barrista .....

Removing a link from my blogroll ... heading for the Knitting Barrista blog produces the following from Blogger ... "Sorry, the blog has been removed."

I need to touch base with actual Becky and find out what's up with virtual Becky.

I Have the POWERRRRR! .....

We began our stint as a Nielsen Media Research (television ratings) family this morning ..... now you know who to blame, next season, when the new television programming lineups are announced.

Why Must We Choose Between Our Mind and Our Soul? .....

With the help of President Obama's nominee to be director of the National Institutes of Health, maybe we won't have to.

Francis Collins is a scientist renowned for his work in mapping the human genome, a project that has been described as "the biological equivalent of the Apollo space program." As a pioneering 'gene hunter,' he helped identify the genetic markers for cystic fibrosis, neurofibromatosis, Huntington's disease and adult-onset diabetes.

Collins is also a theist ... more than that, he is an evangelical Christian who openly declares his faith, sings hymns while playing the guitar, and believes in, according to
this column from the Washington Post's Michael Gerson, "a realm of morality and metaphysics that involves not physical proof but probability based on evidence."

this post at's 'Curriculum Matters' blog, Sean Cavanaugh wonders, "how might Collins, in this new public role, shape the public’s thinking — and that of teachers, parents, and students — on the relationship between faith and science?"

"Truth can be found in scientific exploration and religious exploration; It's all God's truth," Collins said in
this 2007 article from the Daily News-Record's David Reynolds. "Some people are saying you have to pick one or the other. I would say that would be an impoverished outcome."

Collins' life and career - and his nomination by President Obama - addresses a point that I have considered before ... the concept of science VERSUS religion, and how extremists in BOTH fields seek to build an insurmountable wall between the two. Can one be a man of science and a man of faith, committed to the integrity of both, and the honorable devotion to and practice of both? I think so.

So does Francis Collins ... and that's a good thing for all of us.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

I REALLY Liked This Story .....

A couple nights ago, I had a chance to enjoy a news report about some people taking special care of the final resting place for my dad, and thousands of others like him.

The report was part of what has become a regular feature on NBC Nightly News. According to NBC, "Making a Difference" was conceived in response to viewers who complained that the broadcast featured only "bad" news. In response to frustrated viewers who wanted to hear more good news in these tough economic times, the network asked people to share stories of random or regular acts of kindness. Show producers report they have received thousands of e-mails in response, and are now sharing some of those stories on a regular basis.

The episode I enjoyed the other night was about the "Renewal and Remembrance" project, started more than ten years ago by an Ohio lanscaper who has encouraged hundreds of others in his profession to give a day of service to the cemetery outside Washington.

Visit for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

Things To Do, Today .....

... include visiting the Sounding Forth blog, and cheering Janie on in her quest to post for thirty days straight!

She wants to to get back in the habit of blogging, and cites a number of good reasons for doing so. Go get-em, Janie!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

What Could Be Bigger Than Bastille Day? .....

Why, My Favorite Landman's birthday, of course! It's a day of special significance, and cause for celebration - for me and sons Elder and Younger - as we mark the __th anniversary of this special day.

Many Happy, my love ... and Many More!

Things To Do, Today .....

... include visiting the Fire Ant Gazette, and wishing Eric and His Lovely Bride a happy and blessed 36th wedding anniversary!

I've always believed that most of us guys definitely 'trade-up' when we enter that happy state of matrimony. I'm sure Eric will agree with me on that.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Tall City in Big Easy .....

A team made up of Midland junior high students and adult leaders, is in New Orleans, Louisiana, participating in the Katrina relief efforts as part of Youth Conference Ministries. You can follow reports from Midland's 2009 Son Servants Mission Team on the West Texas Missioner blog.

Well, That Was ... uh ... What? .....

Watched Sukiyaki Western Django over the weekend, and I enjoyed it. Now, will someone please tell me what the heck I was watching?

The film takes place sometime in Japanese medieval history, with the bloody rivalry between clans (the Gempei Wars that led the era of samurai dominance in that country's history) as its backdrop. The film contains numerous references to the Gempei Wars ... but also to England's Wars of the Roses. The film is set in a Japanese town named Yuta, with plenty of embellishments from Dodge City, in America's 'Old West.' From time to time, we cut away from the film for some narration by a western gunfighter, telling us how this story came to pass, demonstrating his prowess with a six-gun ... then discussing how to properly prepare sukiyaki.

In the course of the film we get plenty of insight into what might have happened if 12th-century Japanese samurai mixed-it-up with 19th-century American gunslingers and 20th/21st-century film directors from ... well ... everywhere.

That was part of the fun ... and part of my confusion. SWD is by Japanese filmmaker Takashi Miike, and tips its Stetson to the films of America's Quentin Tarentino (who appears in this film, by the way) as well as those of Italy's Sergio Corbucci ("Django") ... all of which owe more than a casual nod to the films (the famous "spaghetti westerns) of Italy's Sergio Leone ... which included an unofficial remake ("Fistful of of Dollars" of one of the landmark samurai films ("Yojimbo") of Japan's Akira Kurosawa ... whose favorite film directors included that master of the American western, John Ford.

It's a hard film to look away from, even for a moment ... among other things, missing some of the sub-titles might leave you saying, "Whoa, there! What's THAT all about?" If there was anything about the film I didn't like, it was Tarentino's segments ... what they contributed to the film, I'm not entirely certain. The film, itself, is a wild ride, to say the least. I recommend it, though only to those who prefer action films.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

WhySyFy? .....

They've fixed things at the Sci Fi Channel ... though it was news to me that anything was broken to begin with. Apparently a new name is needed for a new image ... and new commercial opportunities.

The new branding effort was announced earlier this year,
on this post at the network's website, and took effect this week.

"By changing the name to Syfy, which remains phonetically identical, the new brand broadens perceptions and embraces a wider range of current and future imagination-based entertainment beyond just the traditional sci-fi genre, including fantasy, supernatural, paranormal, reality, mystery, action and adventure," we were told. "It also positions the brand for future growth by creating an ownable trademark that can travel easily with consumers across new media and nonlinear digital platforms, new international channels and extend into new business ventures."

"Syfy — unlike the generic entertainment category 'sci-fi' — firmly establishes a uniquely ownable trademark that is portable across all nonlinear digital platforms and beyond, from Hulu to iTunes. Syfy also creates an umbrella brand name that can extend into new adjacent businesses under the Syfy Ventures banner, including Syfy Games, Syfy Films and Syfy Kids."

Ahhhhhhhh ... trademarking, branding, "ownable" ... why ask 'why?'

Still, it's a shame, I connected with Sci Fi, it was something with which I connected as a youngster ... and that connection - despite the dire predictions of an English teacher or two - has remained strong in my adult years. I'll still watch Sci Fi, er, SyFy ... but it all seems a little silly, even if it does make sense, er, cents to the network's pocketbook.

Mainstream Media Corroborates Local Punditz .....

Dang! Is it possible that the "super secret right wing blog astroturf network" may have been right all along?


MINNEAPOLIS, MN - Al Franken was approved Tuesday to join the US Senate. The Democratic Party will now involve him in their secret plans ... In a private ceremony involving robes and jasmine scented aromatherapy candles, Franken was sworn in as a Democrat with his right hand placed on the original hand-written Communist Manifesto, and standing atop a Bible. While waving olive branches, the assembled Democrats watched as Nancy Pelosi branded him with the words “Peace at Any Cost.”
Read the rest of the story in the Weekly World News

Reading to Hear .....

Making additions to my summer reading list, preparing for a visit to Midland, this fall, by some guy who's gotta be a friend of Eric's.

Dr. Edward O. Wilson
- researcher, naturalist and Pulitzer Prize-winning author - is coming to Midland in September ... and - like Eric, proprietor of the Fire Ant Gazette - does he have a thing for ants!

Actually, it's for all life on Earth ... but especially ants. I've read some of his work ... but I've been learning more lately as part of my work at Midland College. Wilson is a legendary biologist and widely considered the father of the modern environmental movement. Named one of America's 25 Most Influential People by
TIME magazine, and a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, he has made a giant contribution to our understanding of the rich spectrum of Earth's biodiversity. In his lectures, he makes a persuasive, eloquent plea to government, corporate and religious leaders to address the damage we have done to our planet before it's too late.

We'll get a chance to hear for ourselves on September 17, 2009, at 7:30 p.m. in Midland College's Al G. Langford Chaparral Center, when Wilson will present "The Creation: An Appeal to Save Life on Earth" as part of MC's Davidson Distinguished Lecture Series.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

The Science of Dead Celebrities .....

... is the topic of this post from Alan Boyle of Cosmic Log, as hundreds-of-thousands of mourners are expected to converge on downtown Los Angeles for today's memorial service for pop star Michael Jackson.

"Why do celebrities such as pop star Michael Jackson exert such a pull, especially when they’ve just passed away," Boyle asks ... then comes up with some interesting and informative answers.

So, THAT's How They Did It .....

Over the weekend, we took advantage of the rainfall to enjoy several movies. Among them was "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," now available for rental. GREAT movie ... check it out.

I was struck by many, MANY aspects of the film ... including his effective use of make-up, special effects, whatever, in following the strange passage of time on Brad Pitt's character.

"How did they do THAT?" I wondered ... now I know.

Hurrah for Heinlein .....

Robert Heinlein, considered by many to be the "Dean of Science Fiction Writers," was born on this day in 1907.

Among craftsmen in the field of science fiction are those who set a high standard for science plausibility, while others set a high standard for literary quality.

IMHO, Heinlein did both.

Heinlein wrote both short and novel-length fiction for books and periodicals, screenplays, and scripts for radio and television. Me? ... I preferred his novels, beginning with my first 'taste' of Heinlein, "Tunnel in the Sky."

It's hard to imagine a single writer whose individual works have been embraced my more divergent groups than Heinlein ..... whether it was "Stranger In a Strange Land" by the counter-culture and emergent New-Agers, or "Starship Troopers" by the military and the neo-conservatives, or "The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress" by the libertarians.

There are some clues to how or why that can be, by learning more of the man behind the words. Wikipedia has a good
biography about Heinlein with A LOT of links for further study, and there is also a website maintained by The Heinlein Society, a non-profit group founded by Virginia Heinlein on behalf of her late husband, to "pay forward" the legacy of Robert A. Heinlein to future generations of "Heinlein's Children."

Or you can read his books ..... what better way to grok a writer?

Monday, July 06, 2009

A Passing of Note ...

... especially to those of us who are 'fifty-something' or older. Robert S. McNamara, "the cerebral secretary of defense who was vilified for prosecuting the Vietnam War, then devoted himself to helping the world's poorest nations," has died. He was 93.
CLICK HERE for more on this story from the Associated Press and

Here is a look at McNamara's legacy from fellow Tall City blogger - and Viet Nam vet - Wallace, at Streams

Also, Wallace shared with me this post from a friend of his - acclaimed journalist, war correspondent and author Joe Galloway

Fifty Books for Our Times ...

... that's the heading for this feature in the latest issue of Newsweek magazine online, which offers a suggestion on "What to Read Now. And Why"

"We know it's insane," editors acknowledge at the start. "We know people will ask why on earth we think that an 1875 British satirical novel is the book you need to read right now—or, for that matter, why it even made the cut. The fact is, no one needs another best-of list telling you how great The Great Gatsby is."

"What we do need, in a world with precious little time to read (and think), is to know which books—new or old, fiction or nonfiction—open a window on the times we live in, whether they deal directly with the issues of today or simply help us see ourselves in new and surprising ways. Which is why we'd like you to sit down with Anthony Trollope, and these 49 other remarkably trenchant voices."

Most of you will have probably read the 'old chestnuts' on the list ... works by Twain and Kipling, Faulkner and Whitman, Shelley, O'Connor and the aforementioned Trollope ... although you might find that some of them 'read' differently now than they did in English Lit class, umpteen years ago.

Others on the list are newer, and do not have the broad recognition of a "Kim or a "Leaves of Grass." There's "The Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan, for example, an insightful, engaging account explaining our appetites by tracing the evolution of four plants: potato, tulip, marijuana, and apple tree. I've enjoyed it ... and I think you would, too.

I also enjoyed "American Prometheus" by Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin, telling how J. Robert Oppenheimer gave us the atomic bomb, then found himself torn in "the biggest military tug-of-war of the 20th century-and beyond."

Upward, Onward ...

More than once I've posted something in this space about Upward, and urged your participation in a program that aims "to introduce children to Jesus Christ by creating opportunities to serve through sports ... a parachurch organization which currently partners with churches in over 40 denominations to share the gospel with children and their families. "

According to
their website, "Upward is a fun, reliable, passionate and encouraging sports experience for boys and girls, in K5 through sixth grade. Upward provides first class, organized and detailed sports programming in basketball, soccer, flag football and cheerleading."

"Unique aspects of Upward include an evaluation system that promotes equal and competitive teams as well as a substitution system which allows for equal playing time for all participants.Through Upward, children are exposed to quality coaching and sport development. Upward emphasizes character and integrity instead of a 'win at all costs' mentality associated with today’s sports world."

Up till now, I've focused on the basketball and cheerleading programs available locally ... but according to yard signs popping-up around town, they will have a
flag football program at Kelview Heights Baptist Church, and the time to get involved, is NOW.

¡Feliz Cumpleaños! ...

Frida Kahlo, internationally-acclaimed Mexican painter known for colorful, provocative images that were the stuff of symbologists' dreams, was born on this day in 1907.

Magdalena Carmen Frida Kahlo y Calderón lived for only 44 years ... but what years they were! It was a vibrant and turbulent life that knew more than its share of pain ... all of which found its way onto canvas. She was married (twice) to famed Mexican muralist Diego Rivera, a man who was in so many ways like his works ... larger than life. That Kahlo could be so close to a man who cast such a giant shadow, yet continue to shine forth with her own brilliance, is a testament to her character and her art.

Her obituary in the New York Times noted, "usually classed as a surrealist, the artist had no special explanation for her methods. She said only: 'I put on the canvas whatever comes into my mind.' She gave one-woman shows in Mexico City, New York and elsewhere, and is said to have been the first woman artist to sell a picture to the Louvre."

Yet, as
her Wikipedia entry notes, "Kahlo's work was not widely recognized until decades after her death. Often she was popularly remembered only as Diego Rivera's wife. It was not until the early 1980s, when the artistic movement in Mexico known as Neomexicanismo began, that she became very prominent."

It was at that time, in the 80s, that San Antonio, Texas, hosted an exhibit that chronicled the prehistory and history of American art, including works by Kahlo. As the years passed, her profile continued to grow in America. In 2001, she became the first Hispanic woman to be honored with a U.S. postage stamp. In 2002, the American biographical film,
Frida, was released. And in 2006, one of her paintings set an auction record for a Latin American work.

Another good online source about Kahlo, is the official Frida Kahlo site ... which, by the way, is a truly beautiful site. Another good source is the Casa Azul, in Coyoacán, Mexico City, where she lived and worked, and is now a museum housing artifacts of her life. Now that Cruz Azul is open to the public, I hope to return to Mexico City some day, and visit.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Socker Soccer Night 7.5

Plenty of fireworks before we got to the fireworks. The auction of Sockers jerseys (special Indepndence Day designs) was getting $100 here, $200 there ... until they got to midfielder Isa Miramontes, whose jersey went for $1,500 ... though at the very end of the night, after the fireworks, when everyone was going home, they were still running announcements over the loudspeaker, trying to connect with the winning bidder.

Also following the game, a young woman was called forward to answer one final trivia question for the night, which was displayed on the giant video screen ... "Will you marry me?" This was followed by Socker midfielder Giber Becerra, stepping forward, taking a knee and popping the question himself ... judging by all the cheers and jumping around down at the end of the field, the answer was 'yes.'

The fireworks themselves - the actual pyrotechnics - were GREAT! All in all, a good ending to a good night.

Socker Soccer Night 7

And that's the final ... the West Texas Sockers defeat the El Paso Patriots 2-1. Eugene Jacobs, who scored the go-ahead goal in the closing minutes, is named the 'Star of the Game.'

NOTES: The moths disappeared suddenly - they must have been Patriots fans ..... The scoreboards been out tonight, but they did a good job with cg on the video screen, keeping us posted on he score and the passage of time ..... Just under 4,000 people in the stands last night, and more than 4,000 tonight - a good turnout ..... The Societs' next home game is Tuesday, July 7, against Major League Soccer's FC Dallas - I wanna see the Hoops' Kenny Cooper play .....

Socker Soccer Night 6

... until now! A great run-and-shoot by Eugene Jacobs, and the Sockers take the lead, 2-1. Thirty-five minute into the second half.

Socker Soccer Night 5

Some great moves at midfield by Jesse Munoz, plenty of pressure on the Patriots' goal, but no score.

Socker Soccer Night 4

Wow, a LOT of moths flying around. Somehow, it just doesn't have the same charm as a summer evening swarm of fireflies.

Socker Soccer Night 3

Two minutes into the second half, the Sockers had a good chance to go ahead, but a free kick by Wally Valdivia was blocked by the Patriots' keeper. The Sockers are keeping the pressure on, though, with the ball spending a lot of time in El Paso's half of the field.

Socker Soccer Night 2

Halftime, and the score remains tied at 1-1. A pretty good turnout, considering the rains this afternoon/evening, with a lot of folks showing up later in the first half. The clods have moved off, the breeze persists, and it's turned into a really comfortable evening. Looking forward to the fireworks after the game, too.

Socker Soccer Night 1

Getting off to a late start this evening. Forty minutes into the first half and the score is tied, 1-1, between the West Texas Sockers and the El Pqso Patriots.

A Great Way to Mark the Fourth ...

NEW YORK, NY - The first visitors allowed into the Statue of Liberty's crown in nearly eight years began the arduous climb Saturday on an Independence Day journey laden with symbolism of freedom and national pride.
CLICK HERE to read the rest of the story from the Associated Press

The "Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World" was a gift of friendship from the people of France to the people of the United States and is a universal symbol of freedom and democracy. At the base of the statue is a plaque with the poem, “The New Colossus,” by poet Emma Lazarus, delivered in the voice of Lady Liberty herself:

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.

Palin & the Punditz ...

Already lot of discussion this weekend of the "why" behind Sarah Palin's announcement to step down, a year-and-a-half early, as Governor of Alaska.

For her part, Palin claims it's because she doesn't want to serve the remainder of her term as a lame duck governor, saying "many just accept that 'lame duck' status and they hit the road. They draw a paycheck and they kind of milk it. I’m not going to put Alaskans through that. I promised efficiencies and effectiveness."

Personal observation ... didn't she also promise to be the governor, at least through the end of her elected term, when she took her oath of office?

Already, the punditz are having their say ...

"Is it too early to get a jump on 2012," one asked. "I say make your presence known on all the major shows, maybe write a book or two, and be in the face of everybody, then in 2010 announce a run for President."

"Huh????? Winners never quit," another insisted. "How is quiting being the Govener DURING your first term lead well into running for president?"

Not everyone sees the move as inexplicable or nonsensical, suggesting that her quitting as Alaska's governor now, could increase her chances of being America's president in 2012. NBC’s Chuck Todd offers his analysis, and says that being a private citizen opens a lot of opportunities for Palin the individual.

Friday, July 03, 2009

"Have You Loved Your Newspaper Today ..."

That's the question Karen asks with this post at Pen in Hand.

Karen and I are among those who are not employed as journalists anymore, yet remain "insufferable proponent of the local press." We find ourselves at odds with those who - for whatever reason, by whatever means - would have you think that their personal, usually-virtual properties are the sole reliable repositories of information, inquiry and integrity.

"I worry that people will discover, all too late, the value of a strong local newspaper," Karen wrote in November, 2008, when she
announced her departure from the Cleveland Plain Dealer. "Bloggers are nothing without professional journalists -- don't let anyone tell you different."

In her latest post, she writes, "whether you live in Cleveland or Charlotte or New York City or San Francisco (I know you Europeans don't need this nudge), please support your local newspaper today. Buy it, read it, shop the advertisers and tell them why you're there."

It's something I hadn't thought of, each morning, when I'd get my coffee and the paper at the local convenience store ... but she's right, you know.

Out of Africa ...

Men, women and children from West Texas are returning home from the east Africa nation of Uganda, where they have been engaged in Christian mission.

The 2009 Uganda Mission Team from First Presbyterian Church of Midland has been sending back regular reports from Uganda, along with photos, which have been collected under the Uganda Mission heading at West Texas Missioner.

Almost Born on the 4th of July ...

George M. Cohan, one of America's most honored entertainers, who so ably set the spirit of our nation to words and music, was born on this day in 1878

"A baptismal certificate," it's been reported, "indicated that he was born on July 5, but the Cohan family always insisted that George had been 'born on the Fourth of July!'" The son of vaudevillians, young George Michael would take to the stage, himself, as an entertainer, playwright, composer, lyricist, actor, singer, dancer and producer. At one point, he was known as "the man who owned Broadway."

A wonderful tribute, including anecdotes about the man and his career, can be found in
his obituary in the New York Times, which appeared on November 6, 1942 ... just a year after America entered the Second World War, it bid farewell to the man whose music - with songs like "You're a Grand Old Flag," "Over There" and "Yankee Doodle Boy" - helped raise morale during the First World War.

Dandy songs, from a true "Yankee Doodle Dandy"

Thursday, July 02, 2009

The March of the Fire Ant ...

If you haven't visited Eric's Fire Ant Gazette lately, you should. Blogs, by their nature, seem to be a perpetual 'work in progress' ... and there's been a lot of hammering and sawing around the Gazette lately.

Atta boy, Eric!

Alles Gute zum Geburtstag! ...

Hermann Hesse - a man whose works I discovered in my groovy phase, but would come back to in the ensuing years - was born on this day in 1877.

Hesse received the Nobel Prize in Literature for his body of work, which found inspiration in the growth and development of ideas and philosophies that helped shape humanity's attempts to better know itself in the 20th-century ... books, it's been suggested, "which explore an individual's search for authenticity, self-knowledge and spirituality."

Much of that came from Hesse's own, first-hand experience with the ideas and events that helped shape the century. The sometimes-rebellious son of Christian missionaries, young Hesse would experience the culture of India, the endless routine of the factory floor, a series of schools and seminaries, and a stay in a mental institution ... all of which would find its way into his works.

As an adult, there were added experiences that shaped his view of the world around him, his view of the path to finding one's place in that world ... and the words that helped him express those views for millions of readers worldwide. His works found new favor in the west during the counter-cultural movements of the 1960s and 70s, which included a variety of efforts to free the 'true' self, and a renewed appreciation for eastern mysticism.

My first experience with Hesse was "Journey to the East" ... a primer, of sorts, to the rest of his works. I've also enjoyed "Steppenwolf" and "Magister Ludi" ... but my favorite remains "Siddartha."

I may no longer be groovy ... but I remain a fan of the man and his books.


Neverland, Permian Basin ...

This hasn't shown up on the major networks, yet ... but then I also can't find it on what Jessica's Well once called the "super secret right wing blog astroturf network." Thank goodness there are still journalists of ... uh ... character out there ... and in our own back yard, too!


ARTESIA, NM - Weekly World News exclusive: Michael Jackson has been spotted in a diner with Elvis! At roughly 3am last night patrons at a diner outside Artesia, New Mexico, saw what was undeniably Michael Jackson dining with Elvis Presley. The two arrived just before 3 at The Sunshine Diner on 285.
Read the rest of the story in the Weekly World News

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

LiveStrong, LiveFunny ...

Elder Son strongly recommends that you check out the series of ads for Dick's Sporting Goods, featuring Texas' own Lance Armstrong as the spokesman for Nike's LiveStrong line. The ads have been out for more than a year, but have had limited airplay in markets, like ours, where the chain has little or no presence.

I really like what they've accomplished with Armstrong's subdued facial expressions and almost flat vocals. They really, REALLY work in these ads.
(the following sample is courtesy of RagingArtist at YouTube)