Monday, May 31, 2010

Worth watching on Memorial Day, or any day ...

On the eve of Memorial Day 2010, a broadcast of Texas Country Reporter (airing locally on KWES-TV, NewsWest 9), included a report about Veteran Falls, a 290' waterfall, being constructed in Granbury, Texas, as a tribute to all who have ever served in America's military.

Bob Phillips is one of Texas' great storytellers and feature reporters, great to watch and great to know, with a personality in the real world (which I encountered during some work at WFAA in Dallas) that is every bit like his on-screen presence. Unfortunately, the report was broken up by some technical difficulties ... bad tape, dirty heads, bad transmission, I don't know. Anyway, I thought it would be worth your watching, your learning ... and, maybe, your contributing. So here is a replay of that report, courtesy of vicstapleton on YouTube.

Here is more about Veterans Falls, from those who are closest to the project ...

More information on the project and the role YOU can play in its success, on thyeir website at

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Hometown headlines make national news ...

Is it me, or was there something like this in an episode of "Law & Order" once upon a time? Guess we could say, "today's headlines, ripped from today's TV shows, ripped from today's headlines" or something like that.

"ODESSA, TEXAS (AP) - A West Texas student who led his high school basketball team to the state playoffs last season was actually a 22-year-old man, police said Tuesday."
CLICK HERE to read the rest of the story from the Associated Press and

Locally, the Odessa American's Craig Cracker reports, "Guerdwich Montimere, a 22-year-old naturalized citizen from Haiti, was arrested Tuesday for posing as a 16-year-old sophomore named Jerry Joseph and attending Permian High School."
CLICK HERE to read the rest of the OA's story

Another article, this one from the OA's Joel Ericson, reports
Permian may have to forfeit season

Not a bad time, really, to tip our collective hats to the other 99.99% of our student athletes out there, around West Texas. Win or lose, they worked hard, played well, and were honestly themselves.

Monday, May 10, 2010

RIP, Lena Horne ...

Lena Horne - an American singer and actress whose life and career offered an insightful view of 20th-century American history - died on Sunday night at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York. She was 92.
CLICK HERE to read the rest of the story from the News York Times and

Horne's page on Wikipedia offers a good review of her life, as well as numerous links to sites that document both the highs and the lows of that life, both the honors and the hardships. A career that started on the chorus line of the celebrated Cotton Club, eventually led to success on radio, and on the road with celebrated big bands of the era. She also enjoyed success in film, on television, and on the stage. Yet she was always mindful of who was - and who could not be - in her audience. And not just in the concert venues, either. She was an activist for racial equality and civil rights, and her 'progressive politics' would see her blacklisted in Hollywood.

Speaking of Hollywood, earlier this year, I had a chance to enjoy some vintage Horne while watching a broadcast of
Cabin in the Sky. But I especially like this performance by Horne from another film, Stormy Weather.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Another Reminder of How Far Out of the Loop I Can Get ...

So, why do some people in other parts of the world have a negative view of America and its people? Is it because of our President (or his predecessor)? Is it because of our government, our culture, our religion (or lack thereof), our sense of superiority (both real and perceived)? Or, is it because of news stories such as the one that headlined yesterday's "The Scoop" at

Now, I don't ususally read "The Scoop." But yesterday's installment merited a headline on's home page ... and, c'mon, what red-blooded guy isn't going to click on "F-cup breasts aren’t big enough for Montag" ???

In doing so, I learned that, "Heidi Montag isn’t done having surgery, and Ryan Seacrest is to blame ... that’s according to Spencer Pratt, who says that his wife, Montag, was happy with her newly enhanced F-cup breasts until a visit to Seacrest’s radio studio ... 'When Heidi entered the studio, Ryan told her that her breasts didn’t look that big to him,' Pratt told
Life & Style, 'She was taken aback. She came home in shock.'”

I'm a little shocked, too ... though for different reasons. When you think about some of the issues people are facing, it's hard to imagine that Ms. Montag's angst over her bosom would merit news coverage, let alone any interest on our part. BUT, that interest IS there ... it's the cover story on Life & Style, for example, and people are buying the mag, and clamoring for more coverage in all media.

Me? I'm clamoring for a clue, and this is where the "out of the loop" part of my title comes in. I had to Google Montag's name, just to find out who the heck she is. I've never seen an episode of Laguna Beach," and ditto for "The Hills" ... though I DID see an episode of "Family Guy" where Brian the Dog was dating one of the cast members from "The Hills."

So, now I know who she is ... and that's more than enough for me, thank you very much. I'll climb back under my rock, now, while she climbs back into the spotlight. But it's a shame, really, that we couldn't shine that light on someone else ... there are an awful lot of deserving people out there, REAL people doing things of REAL significance with their lives.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Wearing My Yellow Tie, and Saying a Prayer ...

... in honor of Bhumibol Adulyadej ( ภูมิพลอดุลยเดช ), born on this day in 1927. It was just two years ago that I returned from a Christian mission trip to Thailand with, among other things, an appreciation for that country's ruler, the world's longest-serving current head-of-state and the longest-serving monarch in Thai history.

He was the King in the 1960s, when my father visited that nation for R&R, in the course of two tours-of-duty in the Vietnam War. Thailand has long been a friend of the United States - due in part to the appreciation their monarch has for the west. He was born in the US, and his education not only included schools in Thailand, but the University of Lausanne, in Switzerland, and Harvard University, in America. He serves as head of the National Scout Organization of Thailand, one of the oldest Scouting organizations in the world. He also developed a passion for jazz music, as both a performer and a composer, and was the first Asian composer awarded honorary membership of the Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts in Vienna.

Other interesting points ... in his younger days, he was an accomplished, medal-winning sailor and sailboat designer ... he is possibly the only monarch in the world to hold patents (for, among other things, a waste water aerator) ... he is also a painter, musician, photographer (using a Canon!), author and translator.

So, why the yellow tie? While I was in Thailand, I learned that yellow is the color associated with the day of the king's birth (a Monday). That's why you see so much of that color during his birthday celebrations around the country, and on tributes to him throughout the nation.
And, why the prayer? Because, as you probably know from following world news headlines, Thailand has been wracked by protests in recent weeks ... not an uncommon occurrence, but certainly the most violent that country has seen in a long time. Latest news reports from Bangkok suggest a compromise may defuse the deadly crisis ... and I hope and pray that that is indeed the case, and that the people will once again heed the 'better angels of their nature' and their monarch's please for calm and rational resolution of their differences.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Parents of Teenagers Will Understand .....

So there's this kid at a Phillies baseball game, right? Calls his dad on the phone, asks permission to jump down and run around on the field. Dad says something like. 'I don't think you should' ... and the kid - pointing out that it's "a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity" - goes ahead and does it anyway. As the father of two teenagers (and a former teenager myself) I can't say I'm surprised.