RSSOpinions

One’s back from the radio station graveyard

April 12, 2017
One’s back from the radio station graveyard

Is there anything weirder than your radio station changing formats after you’ve listened to it for decades?
(Of course, young folks today might ask, “What’s a radio station, Grandpa?” as they zombie around with a variety of curiously-sized headphones on their heads, listening to their self-created radio stations.)
I have been glued to a few radio stations in my day – all victims today of format changes.
My first station was KFJZ where the super groovy Mark E. Baby broadcast. (Naturally, that became my nickname in middle school.)
The beauty of AM radio was that there was no limit to what style of music would come on; the only requirement was that it be popular.… Read the rest

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House, Senate must work to agreement on state’s budget

April 12, 2017
House, Senate must work to agreement on state’s budget

After more than 15 hours of floor debate, the Texas House of Representatives on April 7 approved a balanced, $218 billion, state budget for fiscal years 2018-2019.
During the debate, state representatives proposed some 378 amendments to the House version of Senate Bill 1, although many were tabled or withdrawn.
The House version of the proposed budget must now undergo the scrutiny of the Senate, which passed its own $218 billion version on March 28. Members of the House and Senate will meet in a conference committee to reconcile differences in the two versions and finalize a budget that then can be sent to Gov.… Read the rest

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The Galloping Goose: A converted auto on rail tracks

April 12, 2017
The Galloping Goose: A converted auto on rail tracks

This column first appeared April 15, 2004.

Have you ever heard of a galloping goose? No, it isn’t a fantasy cross between a horse and a swan from some science fiction movie.
Hint: It was born in the American West 73 years ago. Another hint comes from “Spruce Goose” a seaplane that Howard Hughes constructed of spruce wood to make a lightweight airplane.
The Galloping Goose, built in the 1930s, was a funny looking thing called a railbus, which looked like a truck or bus but ran on railroad tracks. Obviously, there’s a story here.
Small railroads that ran only short distances began to have financial problems like everything else during the 1930s Great Depression.… Read the rest

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Reasons to not be that parent this Easter

April 12, 2017
Reasons to not be that parent this Easter

With Easter around the corner, those of us who will be attending large Easter egg hunts will have to contend with one thing.
No, I’m not talking about sugared-up kids.
Nor am I talking about nightmare-inducing Easter bunnies.
It is far more terrifying and annoying – and frankly, embarrassing – than any of that.
I am talking about badly-behaved parents.
You know who you are, and trust me, the rest of us certainly know who you are.
We have all witnessed them at least once. (Honestly, I feel like I have seen at least one at every single Easter egg hunt I have attended since I stopped participating in them.)
These are the parents who stop at nothing to make sure their precious spawn leaves with nothing short of an overflowing basket.… Read the rest

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Only the good die young…baloney!

April 12, 2017
Only the good die young…baloney!

I was a freshman in high school when Billy Joel’s record company released his controversial song “Only the Good Die Young.” I didn’t realize at the time that it was controversial, probably because I’m not Catholic. I actually knew nothing of the history of the song until today, when the title came to mind. You can read about the song and Joel’s take on it at http://performingsongwriter.com/only-good-die-young/.
My purpose today is not to reflect on Billy Joel or controversial music, but to celebrate the long life of a good man.
A week from now at this time I will be either in or on the way to Ukraine for my fourth Ukraine music mission trip with the Singing Men of North Central Texas.… Read the rest

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If ‘sitting is the new smoking’ then…d’oh!

April 5, 2017
If ‘sitting is the new smoking’ then…d’oh!

I got this email – and I get lots of emails – that reinforced how bad sitting a lot is.
In fact: “Chronic sitting may be as deadly as smoking.”
Every other job I had before did not have that much sitting in it.
I mowed yards as a young teen and washed dishes at the Casa del Bosque, a motel in Meridian, Texas for two years while in high school.
(Brush with fame there [for you old timers]: I met Stan Farr, the guy killed in the Cullen Davis affair, at the motel; a giant – he played basketball for TCU – he was super nice.)
Naturally, there was not much sitting around while mowing yards and fetching, washing, then restocking plates.… Read the rest

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It came from the dryer screen:

April 5, 2017
It came from the dryer screen:

One Baptist’s perspective on Lent

Some who read my weekly ponderings know that I am Baptist. Baptists have provided my heritage, my education, and my employment for the past 33 years. Some readers care about that, but I think it is irrelevant to most.
I don’t make a big deal about it because I try to keep my writing focused on the larger community of faith and even offer words that are encouraging and helpful (hopefully) to those who have not yet embraced that community.
One benefit of doing life in the same community for 26 years is that it makes possible trusting relationships that supersede labels.… Read the rest

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The unlikely winner of the 1936 centennial horse race

April 5, 2017
The unlikely winner of the 1936 centennial horse race

This column first appeared October 10, 1988.

There are horse races throughout the pages of Western history that people remember for years and keep telling about. Usually, it is the horse and rider who were not expected to win, but do, who inspire the stories that people can’t forget.
One such story began in Lampasas in June 1936 as part of the centennial celebration of Texas independence.
Just as many events were held in 1986 in honor of the sesquicentennial, the centennial inspired just as many. The Great Texas Centennial Horse Race was one of these.
The sponsor of the race put up a prize of $500 and a beautiful saddle.… Read the rest

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Embracing generations of family craziness

April 5, 2017
Embracing generations of family craziness

My family is crazy, ya’ll. Anyone who has seen the seven of us out in public knows this.
I don’t think that is unique to my clan; most people believe their family is weird.
Of course we do – when it comes to family we see more than any non-relative does. We know all the good and all the bad and everything in between.
What I have discovered, though, as I have gone back and researched my ancestry is that I come from a long line of crazy.
I come from a long line of good, too.
My grandfather was a lifelong firefighter, and his grandfather was one of the very first firefighters in the Rio Grande Valley.… Read the rest

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Governor Abbott welcomes sanctuary cities announcement

April 5, 2017
Governor Abbott welcomes sanctuary cities announcement

Gov. Greg Abbott on March 27 praised an announcement by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions that the Department of Justice will withhold and take back federal funds from cities that do not comply with federal immigration laws and enforcement directives.
“Texas joins the Trump administration in its commitment to end sanctuary cities and I look forward to signing legislation that bans these dangerous policies in Texas once and for all,” Abbott said. Senate Bill 4, legislation to prohibit sanctuary city policies in Texas, was passed by the Senate on Feb. 8. It was heard in the House State Affairs Committee on March 15, but has not been scheduled for a committee vote.… Read the rest

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