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My groovy shoes and Frank Zappa

August 27, 2014
My groovy shoes and Frank Zappa

D’oh! There’s nothing like the truth to mess up a good story.
Forever, I have told people that I have a pair of shoes that I purchased back in the late 1970’s, when disco reigned.
(We rockers used to highly disdain disco, much like we did the Carpenters and, later, Hall and Oates. Today, I know all the words to all of the former’s tunes and one of the first songs I ever bought on an iDealie was Hall and Oates’ “Sara Smile.” And, about disco…well, my ringtone is “Stayin’ Alive.” Someday, even the hair bands of the 1980’s – so highly reviled today by music snobs – will come back into vogue.… Read the rest

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Talking about Dole pineapple from Hawaii

August 27, 2014
Talking about Dole pineapple from Hawaii

Last week’s column ended with the term “Dole pineapple” in the sentence that stressed Hawaii’s booming economy and trade with the U.S. and others.  From my teaching of U.S. history I already knew that a man named Sanford Dole became president of a Republic of Hawaii in the late 19th century. A connection to Dole pineapple had to be there somewhere.… Read the rest

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Saying “No” without regret

August 27, 2014
Saying “No” without regret

My friends, I am aware of a worldwide epidemic. I’ve seen it for years, as one who works primarily with volunteers. It has no official name, but I suggest a couple: (1) Hand Raising Syndrome or (2) No-No-Itis.
HRS manifests when leaders are looking for volunteers for projects or initiatives. Afflicted persons immediately raise their hands to volunteer without considering all that is involved. They are enthusiastic team players, the kind of people that leaders love to have around because they help get new things off the ground quickly.… Read the rest

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County processes Governor Perry after felony indictment

August 27, 2014
County processes Governor Perry after felony indictment

Gov. Rick Perry on Aug. 20 walked the block and a half from the Governor’s Mansion to the Travis County Courthouse, presented himself for arraignment by a state district judge and routine booking procedures, spoke at a five-minute press conference and left.
Perry was indicted on Aug. 15 by a Travis County grand jury on felony charges of abuse of official capacity and coercion of a public servant. Perry entered a plea of not guilty to either charge.… Read the rest

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Good for you if you have a comfort zone

August 20, 2014
Good for you if you have a comfort zone

You’ve seen them up on the church stages: Teary-eyed folks sincerely telling parishioners how going on a mission trip changed them, how they “grew” by getting out of their “comfort zone.”
(The Bride frowns a lot when I suggest that would make a fun church drinking game [grape juice, of course] – whenever someone says “comfort zone.” [That generic phrase has replaced other classic church cliches like “hedge of protection” which supplanted “purpose-driven.”] )… Read the rest

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The Great (Rut) Escape

August 20, 2014
The Great (Rut) Escape

One of my influencers quips that when asked what he thinks about a subject he says, “I don’t know; I haven’t blogged about it yet.” His point is that he processes his thoughts on a subject through writing about it.
I can relate. I tend to write like I cook; it’s an unfolding process that does not have a recipe set in stone or a detailed menu planned out in advance.  I add ingredients and side dishes as I think of them and I hope it tastes good when I serve it up.… Read the rest

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While revolution raged, Capt. Cook discovered Hawaii

August 20, 2014
While revolution raged, Capt. Cook discovered Hawaii

Last week’s column told what was happening elsewhere while the American Revolution raged on the east coast in 1776 and after. Osage Indians were killing buffalo to get suet for tallow to sell to Cuba. Another event, not noticed at the time, was the discovery of Hawaii.
A British ship, the Resolution, left England on July 12, 1776, to sail around the southern tip of Africa to New Zealand and then go northward in the Pacific to explore the northwest coast of North America.… Read the rest

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Grand jury indicts governor on 2 counts

August 20, 2014
Grand jury indicts governor on 2 counts

A Travis County grand jury on Aug. 15 indicted Gov. Rick Perry on two felony counts: abuse of official capacity and coercion of a public servant.
Count I alleges Perry, on or about June 14, 2013, intended to harm Rosemary Lehmberg, Travis County district attorney and chief of the state’s Public Integrity Unit, by intentionally or knowingly misusing public property in withholding funding approved by the Texas Legislature for the operation of the Public Integrity Unit.… Read the rest

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Anatomy of a column: Pulling it off in 2005

August 13, 2014
Anatomy of a column: Pulling it off in 2005

It all began on Jan. 1, 2005. That morning, I weighed 209 pounds. I thought: What better way to get into shape than by making myself accountable to the reading public?
I came up with the genius idea of weekly printing my weight on the far left side of the sports banner in teeny numbers, aiming for a goal of 189 pounds before I took off on vacation eight months hence that August.… Read the rest

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It’s complicated why the buffalo nearly became extinct

August 13, 2014
It’s complicated why the buffalo nearly became extinct

I’ve been reading a book West of the Revolution by Claudio Saunt that examines the West in 1776 while the American Revolution raged on the east coast. From it, I want to tell what I learned about the Osages, the Spanish and the buffalo.
At the end of the French and Indian war in 1763, France lost her North American empire to Britain and Spain.  The latter acquired France’s territory west of the Mississippi River. (Last week’s column told of Spain secretly selling it back to France and then France selling it to the U.S.… Read the rest

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