Friday, December 28, 2007

Them's Fightin' Words .....

I realize that pre-game trash talk is a part - for some, an important part - of the college football bowl hype ..... but sometimes, the trash is in the heart of the speaker, as much as it is in the words ..... case in point, this report from the Associated Press (via

Sadly, to Texas' shame ..... during an Alamo Bowl pep rally, a Texas A&M yell leader told the crowd that Penn State football coach Joe Paterno was "on his death bed" and "someone needs to find him a casket."

Happily, to Texas' credit ..... the remarks drew boos from the crowd, and both A&M and Penn State fans have said the remarks were offensive and inappropriate. This was followed by apologies from A&M President Eddie Davis and Athletic Director Bill Byrne - both of whom showed a lot more class than that dumb mook - with his big mouth and small spirit - who started it all.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

If Jimmy's House Is a'Rockin .....

..... don't bother knockin' .....according to this post at Sticky Doorknobs, he's joined the ranks of the guitar heroes.

Thanks, Santa! .....

No frankincense or myrrh under the tree this Christmas, but I DID get the the gold I wanted ..... no word, at this time, on whether or not Eric at Fire Ant Gazette got the gold he wanted for Christmas.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Happy Christmas .....

There was much to give thanks for last night, in the closing hours of Christmas Eve ..... I was thankful for a full moon, passing through the skies in clear, bright, colorful glory ..... I was thankful that merchants were enjoying a last-minute spurt of holiday shopping - and glad that my own gift-shopping was done, and I wasn't part of that spurt ..... I was thankful for the cheerfulness of the staff at the southside IHOP, as they served up a wonderful pre-Christmas-Eve-service meal for us ..... I was thankful for the sound of Greg Pysh singing "Divinium Mysterium" at the start of our late service at First Prez-Midland, and for the sound of all of us singing "Silent Night" as we passed the light from person-to-person, candle-to-candle ..... I was thankful for the awesome display of lights at the home at 1609 W. Neeley ..... I was thankful that the boys did go to bed on time, without any fuss ..... I was thankful for the bottle of Santa Fe Vineyards' Merlot, and the HD broadcast of "Christmas at Saint Olaf's" that helped My Favorite Landman and I get through the gift-wrapping after the boys had gone to bed .....

And I was thankful for the opportunity to go to sleep with the promise that, "for unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord."

Alleluia ..... Amen .....

Happy Christmas, Everyone!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

"Imitation is the Sincerest of Flattery" .....

... Englishman Charles Caleb Colton once suggested ..... yeah, I guess so ..... but perhaps the flattery only comes in if the imitation is done well .....

Case in point, the
Christmas lights sync'd to music by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. offers this look at the creation of Ohio electrical engineer Carson Williams, and the urban legend that has emerged from that creation. It's hard to say just how many people have seen and been entranced by Mr. Williams' work.

That includes the brewers of
Miller Lite, who have produced their own sync'd-lights-and-music video for a holiday commercial (this one offered by bsmister at YouTube) ..... not as good, really ..... for one thing, it relies a lot more on video editing, which was among the first 'How?' questions raised by those who saw Willams' original (he didn't ..... it's all carefully, electronically sync'd). And even with the shortcut of video editing by Millers' producers, the synchronization of lights and music is not as tight as Williams had managed through the hours he spent on dozens of Light-O-Rama channels.

By the way, Williams now has his own business website.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

A Christmas Story to Share .....

..... from the wires of the Associated Press, via ..... "Christmas tree survives war, Hiroshima bomb" ..... read through it, enjoy it, and learn how there may be just two degrees of separation between many of us here in Midland, and Warren Nobuaki Iwatake in Tokyo.

Iowa, Shmiowa! .....

I just don't care ..... I am so sick of the time and money being spent - by the candidates, by the media, by everybody - on the upcoming Iowa caucus. Next month, when the caucus is FINALLY over, what will we REALLY know about the candidates, their appeal to a broad, diverse range of constituents, and their ability to lead our nation? Not much! It's hard to imagine a single state that is less representative of our country as a whole, that doesn't even come close to being the 'melting pot' that is one of our nation's strengths ..... although New Hampshire might be close. How will these candidates do in Texas, California, New York, Illinois? THAT will provide some answers, if we can just get our collective heads out of the cornfields!

Anyway, that's my opinion.

No Place Like Home for the Holidays ..... reports here that, "Dense fog and a low cloud ceiling forced airlines to cancel more than 200 flights at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport on Friday at the start of the busy holiday travel season. Travelers also encountered weather-related delays at airports in the New York City area."

Boy, does that bring back memories.

Back in the 70s, when I was a college student at New Mexico, I always kept a 'Christmas Club' account (remember those?) at the local bank, saving up enough money to buy a ticket to fly home to Pennsylvania for the Christmas/New Year holiday.

Albuquerque-to-Chicago O'Hare was by TWA ..... Chicago O'Hare to Avoca, Pennsylvania was by Allegheny ..... provided I could make my connection ..... I often did not. At the time, O'Hare was one of the busiest airports in the world, and there was the winter weather to contend with. Sometimes, the return trip (during the first week of January) was not better. On those annual trips, I spent more than a few nights in an airport hotel (they still did that back then) over the years.

We're staying in Midland this holiday season ..... and there REALLY IS no place like home!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Rush .....

It had been more than six months since I left NewsWest 9, and more than six months since I had felt the rush that comes from 'doing news' ..... doing it right and doing it first.

This morning, I had a chance to feel the rush once more, as I was performing some temp work over at CBS 7. The
FutureGen project which had employed me in recent weeks was behind me, and I was in the newsroom doing some maintenance when one breaking news story, then another, came across the desk.

The first was a story about an
officer-involved shooting in Midland, which crossed our desk late this morning. In short order, we produced the first web report of this story, followed just a few minutes later by the first television report.

I found myself surfing the local 'net, seeing if anyone else had the story (they didn't), and came across another story out of Midland, this one about a
Midland city councilman's bid for a seat in the Texas House. produced the first web report of this story ..... so we had to settle for the second web report and the first television report .....

Hey, it was still a rush!

FutureGen MOB's .....

My testing of the local waters-of-opinion, regarding the decision to pass on West Texas for a FutureGen site, has included a trip down the virtual roads of the blogosphere ..... there really hasn't been much out there ..... and not all of that has been worth the time spent on perusal.

The first to get the ball rolling was Eric, with
this post at the Fire Ant Gazette.

Ospurt followed, an hour later, with
this post at Jessica's Well. Unfortunately, the thread Ospurt started quickly unraveled in a particularly 'Wellian' manner, despite attempts to get back on-thread ..... and, frankly, I found very little steak underneath all that sizzle ..... a shame, really.

Back to Eric at Fire Ant Gazette ..... he got me, and a number of others to comment on
this post about scientific achievement and government-funded initiatives, how we might yet benefit from the initial decision - and perhaps get a FutureGen of our own. He followed-up, today, with this post, offering a more humorous take on some 'Illinois Paranoia' (Illinoia?) being posted by Illini bloggers.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Whew !!! .....

With today's announcement that the FutureGen project was headed for Illinois, came a chance for me to take a breather. Developing the online component for CBS 7's "Countdown to FutureGen" coverage has kept me busy - and off the blogosphere - for the past week-and-a-half. But it's behind me, for now ..... anybody got a cigarette?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Another Tub of Popcorn .....

After reading this post of mine about the pop hit "Popcorn," Younger Son asked me to post this link to his favorite verson of the song, a music video featuring Crazy Frog, courtesy of King7045 on YouTube.

Monday, December 10, 2007

The Job Hunt Continues .....

I have been truly encouraged by the demand out there for a freelance writer and production assistant ..... it's kept me busy, put a little money in the bank, and taught me a thing or two along the way (right now, I'm researching Martin Luther King for an article).

That's not to say I haven't been keeping my eyes open for an opportunity to secure a 'regular job.' I interview at Midland College, tomorrow, for a job there. And, now that UTPB's
JBS Public Leadership Institute has a new director I'm hoping they'll proceed with filling some staff vacancies they have - one of which I have applied for.

On a related note, I've applied to be a substitute teacher at the
Midland school district ..... there's a BIG demand for sub's, and I would still have some free time to develop stories and other projects in the freelance market.

DANG !!!!! .....

I don't care if everybody else is doing it! I DID NOT enjoy watching my team get pounded by the Patriots ..... and in high-def, too!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

REALLY Getting Into the Game .....

In the time some people spent sitting in local sports bars/restaurants, holding onto tables in the hours before last week's NFL matchup between between Green Bay and Dallas, you could have driven to Irving, then enjoyed the game in person.

an account of just such a journey, from Becky at Knitting Barista.

Faith of Whose Fathers? .....

Matters of faith, religion and religiosity are common enough around the blogosphere neighborhood that is West Texas ..... lately, one of the more interesting posts is this one, posted by George at Sleepless in Midland.

George cites
this post by Jonah Goldberg at National Review Online, about presidential candidate Mitt Romey and Mormonism. Both posts are especially timely ..... the Associated Press reports, "On Thursday, [Romney] will draw national attention to his religion, a subject of curiosity for many people, with a speech at the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum in College Station, Texas" ..... (CLICK HERE for the rest of Glen Johnson's analysis on AP)

Some of us are old enough to remember when faith was a political issue, back in the early 60s, as some Protestant voters in the United States struggled with the idea of a Catholic as President ..... heck, in North Carolina, at that time, we still had a bunch of mooks parading down the street in white sheets, protesting - among other things - 'the Papists.'

The national debate may hit a little closer to home than we think ..... a particularly interesting point George makes at the end of his post ..... "it raises a question about the recent election in Midland, Texas. Did some conservative Christians vote against one of the candidates because of Mormonism? We can speculate, but we'll never know for sure whether or how much that influenced the outcome."

It should make for good speculation, and discussion .... I recommend you join-in.

Monday, December 03, 2007

XM Moment: Still Popping .....

Last night's playlist on XM Radio's "70s on 7" included an early "synthpop" chart-topper by Gershon Kingsley that, for some, was an introduction to just what one might do with a Moog synthesizer. Most are familiar with this recording of "Popcorn" by Hot Butter, courtesy of the WFMU Blog, which offers no less than 79 versions of "Popcorn" ..... according to this interview with Kingsley, there may be as many as 500 cover versions of his song out there.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

A Rendezvous Draws Near .....

Advent began today, and I thought this poem by blogging buddy (and fellow dang-Yankee-from-Back-East) Frank at Books, Inq. a great way to mark the day, and the season ..... Meanwhile, just up the Pottstown Expressway from Frank, Jim at Serotoninrain catches his second wind on the first day of Advent.

Blogroll Addition .....

Still another addition to my blogroll, my 'Blogs of Note,' today ..... this one, under the (around Texas) heading, is West Texas Missioner, a weblog devoted to a Midland church's upcoming mission effort in Thailand.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Follow-Up .....

Last month, this article of mine appeared in Nuestra Cultura, an Odessa-based magazine with a readership of about 72,000 per issue, covering a variety of topics such as education, finance, politics, religion, cultural diversification, health and special events in West Texas and southeastern New Mexico.

My contribution to this last issue was about the tradition of gifting during the holiday season, using Christmas/Epiphany as my starting point, and looking at examples of how West Texans follow in the footsteps of the original Magi. The last of the three examples I documented was Christmas For Our Troops, which reaches out to the far side of the world with gifts for the holiday season, delivered to men and women serving in the United States Armed Forces ..... perhaps in the same lands as those crossed by the Magi more than 2,000 years ago.

Midlander Scott Davis is Chairman of the effort, and he told me how it began just four years ago, with five boxes. Where has it gone from there? The answer comes from another member of Christmas For Our Troops, who is also a blogger ..... Wallace of
Streams, who offers this post about this years effort, complete with photos. On many different levels, it makes for a good read.