Sunday, May 21, 2017

Dallas Drivers are C R A Z Y ! ! !

We just got back from a trip to the Dallas and Fort Worth area of Texas. Drivers there are crazy! Totally bonkers! Insane!

We rented a hotel room in Dallas, just off of Interstate 635. They had great amenities and also (most importantly) the best price. We had tickets for two events at Billy Bob's Texas - located a reasonable distance away in the Fort Worth Stockyards. To get to the hotel and between the hotel and Billy Bob's, we had to use the freeways and the Metroplex has a whole herd of them. Looking at a map, the freeways look like a rattlesnake nest!

Every time we were on the road, no matter what time of day, we either passed an accident or were detoured because of one! The minute traffic was even a little congested - not even enough to cause most drivers to slow down below 65 miles per hour - some drivers started aggressively changing lanes, cutting each other off and even running up the inside shoulder! These morons made Los Angeles drivers seem relatively sane!

I am glad we decided to take one of the ranch trucks, rather than the car. The shear size of the truck had an intimidator effect on the idiot in their sedans and convertables.

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Wednesday, May 03, 2017

In Flanders Fields

On this day, one hundred and two years ago, a Canadian soldier, Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, penned this poem. He was on the front lines at the second battle of Ypres in Belgium. The day before, his best friend had been killed by an enemy artillery round. Later that day, under the cover of darkness, his friend was buried.

On May 3, Lt.Col. McCrae wrote this poem to describe the scene and his feelings:

In Flanders fields the poppies blow Between the crosses, row on row, That mark our place: and in the sky The larks still bravely singing fly Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead: Short days ago, We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, Loved and were loved: and now we lie In Flanders fields!

Take up our quarrel with the foe To you, from failing hands, we throw The torch: be yours to hold it high If ye break faith with us who die, We shall not sleep, though poppies grow In Flanders fields

Let us not forget the sacrifices forced upon our soldiers, sailors and pilots by the stupid blunders of politicians, demigods and despots of bygone years. Let us think long and hard before we commit more of our young people to be sacrificed on the altar of the god of war.

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Monday, May 01, 2017

May Day, 2017

Here we are again, May 1, International Workers Day.j As usual, there are the parades in cities around the world. Here, in this country, in addition to the pro-union speeches, Americans are taking to the streets to protest immigration enforcement. As they have throughout the last two Presidential eras, they are protesting the arrest and deportation of undocumented immigrants.

Why? These street protests are just a waste of energy. My generation learned that back in the 1960s.

All of the anti-war protest and pro-environment protest of that era accomplished nothing! Change came only when the protest moved from the streets to the offices of our members of the House of Representatives and of the Senate. Once our elected representatives saw the light, President Johnson had the rug pulled out from under him. President Nixon may have run on ending the Vietnam War, but Congress was already telling the military to shut the war down.

This is what needs to be done about undocumented immigrants: Congress must be pressured by ordinary citizens to tackle comprehensive immigration reform. The piecemeal approach of the last few decades since the last comprehensive reform has left us with the mess we have today. The power lays with Congress - according to the Constitution, only Congress can change the immigration laws to fix this mess.

If you feel strongly about any issue affecting our nation, call or write or email your Representative or Senator today!

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Friday, April 14, 2017

John Michael Montgomery at the Melody Ranch

One of our local honky-tonks is the Melody Ranch in Waco, Texas. Back in November of last year, John Michael Montgomery was scheduled to perform. We "bought" a small table for four people, giving us a place to sit and to hold our drinks. But, at the last minute, had to cancel due to illness.

Today, on Good Friday, he performed. (My mother-in-law will have a cow when she finds out what we did on Good Friday! :) ) We got there at about 7 PM and found our table. The Melody Ranch honored our tickets from November. A local DJ was filling the place with music, so I took my wife out on the dance floor for several tunes.

John Michael Montgomery took to the stage at 9:30 pm. Unfortunately, with only my cell phone and the distance to the stage, the photographs are poor quality. The range of brightness in the lighting was more than my cell phone camera could compensate for.

Here is a close-up of John Micheal Montgomery from the photo above. Unfortunately, the detail is all washed out.

A shot of the whole band...

It was a great show!

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Sunday, March 26, 2017

Marti Gras at Six Flags Fiesta Texas

We headed down to San Antonio for a little rest and relaxation. At Six Flags Fiesta Texas, they were doing something new this year - Marti Gras! I know, according to the calendar, Marti Gras should have been celebrated back in February. In New Orleans this year, there were parties and parades all during the beginning January 6, up until "Fat Tuesday" — February 28, this year. Because it is based on the movable Christian holiday of Easter, Fat Tuesday varies from year to year.

Six Flags, of course, did its own thing. This sign at the entrance gate says it all. This year is the 25 year that Six Flags has operated Fiesta Texas and, for this park, this aniversary is a once-in-a-lifetime big deal for the park. Marti Gras is just the harbinger of the anniversary celebration!

Surprisingly, there were few Marti Gras decorations. Almost all of them appeared in the Rockville section. Here is a shot in front of the "High School" showing the Marti Gras king and queen statues.

In the late afternoon, they scheduled a parade. For this, they went all out. We were told that all of the floats were borrowed from this year's Marti Gras celebration in New Orleans. Many of the staff dressed up in costumes and demonstrated skills not normally a part of their jobs at Six Flags &endash including juggling, stilt-walking, musical instruments and acrobatics.

Here comes the parade!!

Note the Six Flag touch just behind the banner at the beginning of the parade. Warner Brothers cartoon characters were scattered throughout the parade.

Here comes the first float...

Although there were people on the floats, they were not as crowded as in the pictures I saw from the Marti Gras in New Orleans. The people on the floats did throw beads into the crowd — lots of beads!

This float had more of a Carnival feel to it, with the "Day of the Dead" theme.

Now, for a more patriotic theme....

A few costumed characters...

Now, float with an assortment of themes...

Photo-bombed by Sylvester!

The Jester Queen....

And now, the Royal Barge...and Lola Bunny

Although Fiesta Texas did a great job with their Marti Gras celebration, they missed an opportunity. As New Orleans has Marti Gras, our neighbors to the south celebrate ¡Carnival!. Perhaps, next year they will add this to the Fiesta section. They could also add distinctive Marti Gras and Carnival foods to the menu temporarily (at an extra cost, of course)

In total, Six Flags Fiesta Texas did a great job! May next year be even better!

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Saturday, March 18, 2017

Wild Days at Sea World, San Antonio

Jack is Back! No, not that Jack - you've got the wrong season! It's Wild Days, so of course, the Jack is Jungle Jack Hanna!

Jack Hanna is the Director Emeritus of the Columbus Zoo in Columbus, Ohio. Every year, he travels around the country with several unusual species. Usually, he comes to Sea World the week after he stops by ‎Late Night with Jimmy Kimmel, whic was previously hosted by David Letterman.

Here he is, holding court in the Nautilus Amphitheater. He did two show there this afternoon. The disabled bald eagle, shown below, was one of the guests he brought with him this year. Due to an injury, this eagle is flightless and cannot be released into the wild.

In the evening, Sea World hosted a chicken-and-barbecue dinner for Jack and about five hundred paying guests. The guests had the opportunity to meet, talk with and take selfies with Jack. This is the third year we have attended.

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Saturday, March 11, 2017

Willy

Willy Nelson brought his music to the Bell County Expo! Center in Belton, Texas!!!

Both the stands and the floor of the arena were sold out. And best of all, the price was reasonable! Even the most expensive floor seats were under $50 each.

We had a great time!

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