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Chuck Berry: He wrote the classic ‘Johnny B. Goode’ but he was actually very far from good

March 29, 2017
Chuck Berry: He wrote the classic ‘Johnny B. Goode’ but he was actually very far from good

Chuck Berry died.
Praise poured in from scads of famous folks like Bruce Springsteen, some Stones, and just about any other person who was around when rock ‘n’ roll began gearing up in the mid-1950s.
Berry was their hero. He played like almost no one else – even though some noted that he cribbed a couple of diverse styles to make a unique one.
His songs fill oldies compilations: “Sweet Little Sixteen,” “Memphis, Tennessee,” “No Particular Place to Go,” “Rock and Roll Music,” “Roll Over Beethoven,” “Maybellene,” and, of course, “Johnny B. Goode.”
Tons of musicians covered these songs, many of them British acts where Berry was more highly thought of – the Beatles and Electric Light Orchestra both released versions of “Roll Over Beethoven” to great success.… Read the rest

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Three ways to keep FOMO from controlling your life

March 29, 2017
Three ways to keep FOMO from controlling your life

Have you seen the great Bob Newhart video where he is a psychiatrist trying to help a patient get over her fear of being buried alive in a box? It’s a few years old, but it cracks me up every time I see it. Go to Youtube and search for “Bob Newhart stop it.” It is six minutes well spent.
This is my third (and final for now) installment on the topic of the FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) epidemic that has been running rampant through our culture. You can read the first two at drgerrylewis.com/fomo1 and drgerrylewis.com/fomo2.
I’ve talked about the prevalence of the ailment, admitted my own struggles, given some history of the term, and even pointed out that many of the opportunities that come to us are really good opportunities.… Read the rest

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Was it bad luck or ineptness that hampered Hastings?

March 29, 2017
Was it bad luck or ineptness that hampered Hastings?

This column first appeared May 5, 1999.

Names of various people recur in the ages of Western history. I just learned a bit more about a person whose name I had been familiar with for years, Lansford Hastings.
I first read the name when I learned about the sad fate of the Donner Party in 1846.
The wagon train of immigrants to California was traveling across the plains, the mountain, and the deserts for the first time. There certainly was no road or trail yet except for the Santa Fe Trail across the plains and the Oregon Trail farther north.
As the travelers got nearer to California, their route became more unsure.… Read the rest

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There’s no ‘fault’ for those who learn differently

March 29, 2017
There’s no ‘fault’ for those who learn differently

This is a topic that I went back and forth on whether to write about or not.
Back and forth for weeks – even as I am writing now, I am wondering whether I actually should.
My son has been diagnosed with a learning disability.
As much as I worry about violating his privacy, I worry more about what “hiding” that fact says to him, and what it says to our friends and family.
Not being open about it only furthers the idea that it is something that he and I should be ashamed of – and it is not.
I also worry about what not saying anything does to the next mother who has to go through this process.… Read the rest

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Senate panel OKs budget for upcoming 2-year period

March 29, 2017
Senate panel OKs budget for upcoming 2-year period

A state budget for fiscal years 2018-2019 cleared the first in a series of hurdles when the Senate Finance Committee unanimously approved committee substitute Senate Bill 1 on March 22.
The legislation next moves to the full Senate for consideration.
“This budget remains a work in progress, but we will continue our work to make the most of every dollar, meet our priority needs and keep Texas moving in the right direction,” said Senate Finance Committee Chair Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound.
“This committee left no stone unturned looking for savings, examining our budget drivers and looking for ways to make smarter use of our limited resources.”
Nelson said the bill establishes a $106.3 billion two-year state budget.… Read the rest

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Well, duh, of course, Texas is a Southern state…right?

March 22, 2017
Well, duh, of course, Texas is a Southern state…right?

When I heard the conversation on the radio, I had to chuckle.
The discussion was where to peg Texas in America geographically.
My entire life, Texas has been a Southern state. How could it be any different?
Anyone who has been to a local amusement park (especially a few decades ago), knows that one of the six flags that flew over Texas was Confederate.
You can’t get much more Southern than that!
I’ve always been taught and believed that Texas is the westernmost Southern state.
Have you been to the Piney Woods in East Texas? That’s straight-up South.
We eat black-eyed peas, crawdads, and fried okra, drink sweet tea and Dr Pepper (no period after the Dr), and say “ya’ll/y’all” no matter how you spell it.… Read the rest

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FOMO, part 2: chasing (but not living) the dream

March 22, 2017
FOMO, part 2: chasing (but not living) the dream

Are you tired of chasing pretty rainbows? Are you tired of spinning round and round?”
Those words are the opening lines of a 1975 song entitled “Give Them All to Jesus” by Bo Benson and Phil Johnson. It ages me to admit that I only had to look up the author. I’ve had the words memorized for 40 years.
Before we ever heard of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), we were wearing ourselves out chasing rainbows. Of course, some people in the 60s and 70s were chasing rainbows in a different way, but that’s not what I’m talking about!
In last week’s column I mentioned FOMO.… Read the rest

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The curiously named West Texas town of Grandfalls

March 22, 2017
The curiously named West Texas town of Grandfalls

This column first appeared June 14, 2012.

In March of this year, I drove due south as I left Monahans and Interstate 20 on my way to the city of Alpine in the Big Bend area to the West Texas Historical Association’s annual convention.
I knew I was in West Texas all right. Sagebrush abounded, and very little green grass could be seen. I certainly noticed no cows grazing. I met very few other vehicles on that lonely road and fewer the farther south I traveled.
Shortly after leaving Monahans in Ward County I saw two signs together pointing to communities named “Royalty” and “Grand Falls.” Because I like to discover the history behind the naming of towns, I made a note of the names.… Read the rest

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For whom the app tolls: It tolls for Google

March 22, 2017
For whom the app tolls: It tolls for Google

There is something fishy going on with Google Maps.
Oh, you’ll get to your destination, but the app seems determined to make it cost a little extra.
I first noticed something amiss with the app in January on a trip to visit my grandmother. It repeatedly kept trying to send me to toll roads that were not only not the most direct route from one place to another, but in many cases expected me to turn around and backtrack several miles.
It happened again while traveling around Austin a few weeks ago. The app seemed highly determined to get me to use the toll roads even if I didn’t need them to get to my destination and traffic wasn’t bad.… Read the rest

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State budget progresses toward vote by full Senate

March 22, 2017
State budget progresses toward vote by full Senate

The Senate Finance Committee, at work on the 2018-2019 state budget since January, on March 16 approved workgroup recommendations in preparation for a final vote.
Committee Chair Jane Nelson, R-Flower
Mound, said she expects her panel to vote on the state budget, Senate Bill 1, this week, March 20-24. After the committee votes, the next step for the budget is consideration by the full Senate.
So far in the process, the committee has approved more money to reduce the caseload for foster care workers, an increase in payments for people who take in foster children and an expansion of a privatized case management program.… Read the rest

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