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Good luck digesting this column about SPAM

July 19, 2017
Good luck digesting this column about SPAM

For someone who is renown for being a finicky eater, I do love some exotic foods.
Like SPAM.
It’s the national meat of Hawaii and nothing stamps you more of being a haole (mainlander) than not wolfing down a pile of SPAM with your eggs at breakfast.
I’m pretty sure you could get a SPAM lei which would be awesome!
Here in Texas, I grew up on SPAM – yet little did I know its history, how we won WWII thanks to SPAM.
Well, SPAM and a couple of really big bombs.
Created in 1937, the canned meat exploded in popularity when we entered the war.… Read the rest

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Oh, to be young and fuzzy again!

July 19, 2017
Oh, to be young and fuzzy again!

Recently, I got to accompany my 13-month-old grandson on his first trip to the Fort Worth Zoo. A few days later, I did the same with my almost 3-year-old granddaughter. In case I haven’t mentioned it lately, this grandpa thing is a good gig!
Now, a day at the zoo is a pretty good day for any reason, especially the Fort Worth Zoo, which is one of the top five in the nation.
But, of course, that’s not what makes the grandpa gig special. That’s all about seeing smiles of delight and hearing squeals of wonder from these little people whom I love more than life itself – and experiencing those in the same locale where I experienced it with their parents more than two decades ago.… Read the rest

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Recalling a grandfather who fought in the Civil War

July 19, 2017
Recalling a grandfather who fought in the Civil War

This column first appeared July 20, 2011.

This year, 2011, is the 150th anniversary since the Civil War erupted in April 1861.
Do you think many people are alive today whose grandfather fought in the Civil War? Let’s do some calculations. If someone born in 1840 fought in the war and later fathered a child at age 50 (1890), and then that child fathered a child at 50 (1940) then the grandchild would be 71 today.
Thus it’s possible for someone alive today to have a grandfather who fought in the civil war – unlikely, but possible.
How about finding someone alive today who actually knew and remembers his grandfather who fought in the war?… Read the rest

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Muscle memory?! A painful return to running

July 19, 2017
Muscle memory?! A painful return to running

I started running again last week. No, that’s not a joke – please stifle your laughter.
I really did. It all started when a friend invited me to do yoga with her.
While shopping for yoga supplies, I temporarily lost my mind at Academy and decided that I needed new running shoes because, darn it, I was going to start running again.
The last time I ran on a regular basis was about eight years ago. And even then it wasn’t anything impressive. – just a few, slow miles a handful of times per week.
In high school, I was an avid runner.… Read the rest

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Gov. gives lawmakers special session initial marching orders

July 19, 2017
Gov. gives lawmakers special session initial marching orders

Gov. Greg Abbott on July 10 issued a formal proclamation for the special session that begins July 18, directing the Texas Legislature to extend expiration dates for the Texas Medical Board and other state boards that regulate psychologists, marriage and family therapists, professional counselors and social workers.
Abbott said he plans to issue a supplemental proclamation further directing lawmakers to pass another list of items he previously announced. The areas of legislation would:
• Reform laws governing ad valorem property taxes;
• Increase average salary and benefits of Texas teachers;
• Establish a statewide commission to study and recommend improvements to the current public school finance system;
• Preempt local regulation of the use of hand-held mobile communication devices while driving; and
• Deal with the use of multi-occupancy showers, locker rooms, restrooms and changing rooms (also known as the “bathroom” bill).… Read the rest

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There’s always an answer, maybe not right, but…

July 12, 2017
There’s always an answer, maybe not right, but…

When you have lived with someone for almost 42 years, you’ve seen and heard just about every thing you could about that person.
The good, the bad, the happy, the sad, the mundane, the unforgettable.
Another thing you figure out through the decades is that there are some things that you just aren’t going to change in the other person.
But that doesn’t mean you quit trying – especially if you’re The Bride.
Our wedding anniversary arrives in August, and it’ll mark over four decades of her trying to rid me of unbreakable habits.
Like car windows.
I like to drive with the windows down, enjoying garnering a “farmer’s tan arm” while I slap out The Who’s “Baba O’Riley” drum beats on the side of the vehicle.… Read the rest

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Avoid becoming a slave to technology

July 12, 2017
Avoid becoming a slave to technology

I love technology! I love gadgets and tools and apps! I love my iPhone and iPad and MacBook (yes, I drank the Apple Kool-Aid a few years back)! I’m a junkie for learning and productivity and effectiveness. I’m a sucker for gadgets and apps that make it easier to complete tasks faster.
In fact, I can spend an entire day being completely unproductive while working with productivity tools. Do you see the problem? Can you relate?
Before there was such thing as an iPhone or iPad, I wrote in my book, Culture Wars: “You may have joined the Adrenaline Culture if you don’t own a watch or a telephone – they own you.”
Wow!… Read the rest

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A tale of 2 forts in 2 countries

July 12, 2017
A tale of 2 forts in 2 countries

This column first appeared August 21, 2001.

I guess it is pretty embarrassing to admit that I taught American History for 40 years and never remembered hearing about Fort George or a battle there.
I’m sure I saw an educational film, but the name did not stick. It proves my theory that some places have to be fixed in one’s mind some other way.
The event that introduced (or reintroduced) me to Fort George at this time was a visit a couple of weeks ago to the Buffalo, New York area.
Fort Niagara was only five or six miles down the road from where I was staying, but across the Niagara River in Canada was Fort George.… Read the rest

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Don’t like education’s future? You get what you vote for

July 12, 2017
Don’t like education’s future? You get what you vote for

With the conclusion of the biennial state legislative session and the upcoming special session, there has been a lot of talk about how our public schools have been and will be affected.
Every time the subject of the state legislature comes up, and I mean every time, I hear someone complaining about what our representatives are doing to public education in Texas.
Democrat, Republican, or other, it doesn’t matter the political affiliation of the people I am conversing with, no one seems happy.
So, color me confused as to how these leaders keep getting elected.
Neither Governor Greg Abbott nor Lt.… Read the rest

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Learning from recent tragedies

July 12, 2017
Learning from recent tragedies

Juliet.
Cavanaugh.
Zayla.
Marcus.
Can we just take a minute – better yet, a day, a week maybe – to mourn, instead of pointing fingers?
Four children ranging in age from 7 months to 28 months have died within a seven-mile radius in Parker County over a period of just 35 days.
Two of them – a 28-month-old girl and her 16-month-old brother – reportedly died after their mother left them in a hot car at their home just south of Lake Weatherford on May 26.
On June 13, a Reno mom left her 7-month-old daughter in a bathtub, water running, then later found her floating face down.… Read the rest

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