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AG intervenes in Charlie Brown Christmas lawsuit

December 28, 2016
AG intervenes in Charlie Brown Christmas lawsuit

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Dec. 15 intervened in a lawsuit filed on behalf of nurse’s aide Dedra Shannon against the Killeen Independent School District over its decision to take down Shannon’s Christmas decoration.
According to a news release by Paxton’s office, the principal of KISD’s Patterson Middle School ordered Shannon to take down a handmade decoration that depicted a scene from the 1965 animated feature, A Charlie Brown Christmas. In the scene, the character Linus is asked by Charlie Brown whether there is “anyone who knows what Christmas is all about.” Shannon’s decoration quoted part of Linus’s response: “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord…That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.”
The school district ordered Shannon to take down her decoration, claiming that it violated the law.… Read the rest

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Deconstructing Christmas carols for our modern day

December 20, 2016
Deconstructing Christmas carols for our modern day

My favorite two holidays are Halloween and Christmas. The latter has way better songs.
The Bride knows that come the drive home from Thanksgiving at her folks, I’m all about holiday carols.
She suffers through the running total I keep on what song I’ve heard the most. (Right now, No. 1 is “Holly Jolly Christmas” by Burl Ives followed very closely by “Last Christmas” by Wham! – it’s gonna be close!)
So, between Thanksgiving and Christmas, I hear a lot of carols, many of them over and over. That drives home the fact that sometimes they are kinda dumb.
Let’s examine a few:
“Wonderful Christmastime” by Paul McCartney.… Read the rest

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Here’s your ticket to the big event

December 20, 2016
Here’s your ticket to the big event

 

As a blogger and newspaper columnist in Texas in 2016, I am pretty much free to write what I want and to do so with little risk.
About the worst thing that could happen if I offend people is that (1) they would stop reading what I write and (2) the newspapers would stop running the columns of this guy that is causing them such grief.
Since I try not to be the source of offense or grief, probably my greatest risk is that readers or newspapers will just get tired of me and send me on my bloggity way.… Read the rest

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Texans return home to San Antonio for Christmas

December 20, 2016
Texans return home to San Antonio for Christmas

This column first appeared December 19, 1985.

General Martin Perfecto de Cos, brother-in-law of Santa Anna, crossed the Rio Grande with his army on his way back to Mexico on Christmas Day.
He had been in command of the Mexican soldiers at San Antonio, but had surrendered on Dec. 10. That the troops leave Texas soil had been one of the terms after the Texans won the battle.
No Mexican soldiers remained in Texas as of Christmas Day. It was one of the best presents the people could have wanted, and it boosted their confidence tremendously. They had driven all the Mexicans out!… Read the rest

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Granting a boy’s Christmas wish

December 20, 2016
Granting a boy’s Christmas wish

Sometimes our kids do things that fill our hearts with an unfathomable amount of emotion.

Emotions the number and effect of which cannot be measured. Two years ago my son did just that.
When it was time for my son to write his Dear Santa letter, I did not know what to expect.
I did not know if he would ask for something I could not afford, or ask for something age inappropriate that I would be embarrassed about, or reveal some detail of our lives that I would rather not be public information.
Knowing my son, it had the potential to say anything.… Read the rest

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Bringing cheer for man and beast this holiday season

December 20, 2016
Bringing cheer for man and beast this holiday season

Police officers used to call him El Chappo – a reference to a notorious gangster who used tunnels and secret escape plans to elude authorities.
The cookies and crème colored Healer was known all around town — a master escape artist eluding authorities just when they thought they had him.
Ears back – eyeballing all comers – he didn’t allow anyone close to him.
That worked just fine until the day a woman with the heart of gold gave him a chance at a better life.
Day by day – for several months – my sister, Ellen, moved in a little closer – peeling away layers of accumulated abuse and distrust along the way.… Read the rest

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Abbott reacts to Trump’s choice of Perry as energy secretary

December 20, 2016
Abbott reacts to Trump’s choice of Perry as energy secretary

President-elect Donald Trump’s nomination of Rick Perry as the next secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy prompted this reaction by Gov. Greg Abbott:
“Under Rick Perry’s leadership in Texas,” Abbott said, “the Lone Star State experienced unprecedented growth in the energy sector, which in turn created hundreds of thousands of jobs for Texans. Rick Perry was instrumental in creating a more favorable regulatory environment for the energy industry in Texas, and I have no doubt that he will bring that same expertise to his new post.
“The State of Texas looks forward to working with him to help advance America’s energy sector to create a more robust economy and greater opportunity for all Americans.”
Perry, who served as governor of the Lone Star State from December 2000 to January 2015, previously served stints as lieutenant governor, agriculture commissioner, and as a member of the Texas House of Representatives.… Read the rest

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The annual Christmas letter, back by popular request

December 14, 2016
The annual Christmas letter, back by popular request

 

In an effort to give United States Postal workers a break while they huddle in the back room sending in online applications to FedEx, here is the annual Christmas letter of what we Campbells enjoyed/endured in 2016.

January – Because of the wettest 2015 in history, we held two family Christmas parties in early January. At one, the Bride rode a Hoverboard with ease while Mark was told he was “too heavy” which he took as an insult until the thing burst into flames.

February – We met old friends in Austin and, on a whim, paid more for a hotel room than my first car; afterward, we had whim remorse.… Read the rest

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Plenty of room here

December 14, 2016
Plenty of room here

Four years ago, Mrs Sweetie and I added a Sweetie Suite on the back of our house. One benefit is that we have lots of room for guests, they can have one whole part of the house to themselves, and Grandpa can still go to bed early.
We have joked about the Lewis B&B. Of course, the second B depends on our schedule. But we can handle several for the first B and we will enjoy some during the Christmas season.
Continuing our Life Matters “ADVENTageous” perspective during December, I’m thinking of another song, “Thou Didst Leave Thy Throne,” written by Emily Elizabeth Steele Elliott (1836-1987).… Read the rest

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How the burg of Pie Town in New Mexico got its name

December 14, 2016
How the burg of Pie Town in New Mexico got its name

This column first appeared May 9, 1991.

I like to know the story behind an unusual name of a place. Today in Western New Mexico, Catron County is a town called Pie Town.
Among the earliest residents of the area was the Lawrence Parson family who arrived in the spring of 1913 to homestead. One major priority was to build a house before winter. Snows often stayed on the ground for months with the temperature dipping below zero. In that sparsely populated county one couldn’t run to the grocery store when one got out of food.
Parsons went to the town of Magdalena twice a year in a wagon and bought 1,000 pounds of flour, 200 pounds of beans, two or three big sacks of sow belly, 100 pounds of coffee, three 20-pound cans of lard, some salt, sugar, soda, baking powder and dried apples.… Read the rest

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