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A real pain in the neck

I'm hesitant to write along these lines this week, but feel that many of my readers will relate. I like to write motivational, inspirational, and sometimes humorous or challenging columns that have a message or make us want to be a better person. Probably too often I pontificate while pointing out injustices or rude social behavior, but not this week.
A couple days ago, I drove my 85 year old mother to see her pain doctor. She has to go each month and sit anywhere from 1 to 3 hours in the waiting room to prove she is not abusing her pain drug, which now thanks to recent regulation changes, hydrocodone is being phased out. This highly effective drug has been the only reason she has lived a semi-normal life and she takes it on schedule.
What she gets now is a form of morphine that doesn't address her numerous joint pains, which she itemized with a chuckle. "My shoulder, neck, back, wrist... even my big toe!" Her doctor earlier had explained to her that she was concern…
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Take me home country roads!

The Germans call it Fahrvergnügen. The condition starts for most of us at age 15 and if we are one of the chosen ones, it never goes away. It is the love of driving cars, trucks, and anything from a riding mower to a moped. You would think that in this country we would have our own word, but we don’t that I am aware of.

Some of us are like Jay Leno and own far more cars than the legal limit. I say that tongue firmly planted in my cheek, but don’t be surprised when the US government starts fooling with what you can and cannot drive. They will enact some law(s) to gradually remove our ability to physically operate automobiles in the manual mode. Count on it. It will be for the good of the people.

Others fall in love with one or more vehicles and shine them up and pour a good portion of their life savings into them to share at car shows like the one on Texas Avenue last week. By the way, my three favorite cars were the Buick Grand National owned by our own parable sage, Dandy Don Cunningh…

All the craziness going on these days

I know it's not just me who sees the craziness going on all around Baytown, Texas, the USA, and the world. Maybe it's always been this way and possibly because of the Internet, we are more aware. Wait, did I just claim we are more aware? Scratch that immediately. We have more information available and for those of us that actually ponder such things, what is happening is universal stupidity, outright criminal or righteous ignorance. People no longer take time to analyze what comes out of their mouth, or so it appears. Even our newly elected commander is guilty.

For instance, during the past election, I heard numerous people say, "I don't discuss politics with my friends." Now this statement is curious, because it implies they only discuss politics with enemies, or strangers. When I pointed this out to them, they stubbornly stuck to that nonsense in a self-righteous defense strategy that honestly did not hold water.
Back on crazy behavior, does it not appear th…

Pelly's Cap’n Rusty Bouchet

Holding onto the rotting wooden rail, I stare out across the Houston Ship Channel and watch the puffy carbon-coughing black plume bellow from the single smoke stack of the dilapidated shrimp boat. To say I don’t have my sea legs would be a gross exaggeration. I figured after an hour on the small boat I would be okay, but now I'm not so sure.
“What is the oddest thing you’ve ever pulled up in your nets, Mr. Bouchet?” He throws his bald head back and laughs and his gray scraggly beard resembles a worn out frayed mop with mystery items and coated in tobacco juice.
“After Ike, I pulled in a double wide fridge and that danged thing was so well sealed, I have it in my camp house right now. It was a major haul because it was fully stocked with ice cold Pabst Blue Ribbon beers. Hey, you want one?”
I declined as I don’t usually drink adult beverages before 7am, but that didn’t stop the skipper, who popped the top on one and consumed it in one lip-smacking draw. Disembarking on the solid p…

Is behaving badly, the new standard?

I signaled to exit onto North Main Street coming off SH-146 the other day and there was a car rapidly approaching from the flyover off of Spur 330. To be honest, I was exceeding the 60 mph speed limit by about 8 mph, or 68 miles per hour. The fellow zoomed up behind me so I couldn't see anything of his car except the roof, as I have a large spare tire on the back of my Jeep that obstructs my view when cars are close.
I was slowly decelerating down to about 60, as the ramp speed limit is 45 mph. The fellow swerved back and forth behind me trying to decide if he could pass me up and when I subtly countered his possibly dangerous maneuver, he finally shot around me and made an obscene hand gesture. I ignored him in a supreme act of self-control, as I was more curious about what exactly my offense was, than responding to his rude behavior.
He cut all the way to the right lane and accelerated to a stop behind another car wanting to turn right on North Main. I coasted in and stopped…

Aging ain't what it used to be

"When I get older losing my hair, many years from now. Will you still be sending me a Valentine, birthday greetings bottle of wine?" This line from the pen of the Beatles was in the extreme far distance when I first heard it in 1967.I was 15 and the idea that I would someday be 64 was inconceivable (did I even know what that word meant?).
I remember what 64 year old people looked like in the 60's and they looked - well, they looked old.Old as in men wore baggy khaki pants and brown brogans and shuffled around on a cane coughing all the time like they had tuberculosis. Their shirts had stains on them and they yelled at kids and were generally useless for anything except taking up space on the front porch or giving kids Dutch rubs.
64 year old women were gray-headed, fat and wore baggy old flowery moo-moo's and had those thick nylons that went up to the knee and black clog-dancing shoes they stomped around in and yelled "Ehhh?" every time you tried to talk …

We are not the same old place anymore

I would like to say "Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore", but that would sound corny, even though it's an accurate quote from The Wizard of Oz. Our tri-city community is gone forever, being replaced by an ever-emerging agglomeration of new businesses, storage units, trailer parks, apartments, and even a few new houses. We've lost that loving feeling of a small community and driving west on I-10 from Beaumont, you enter the city of Baytown and don't stop seeing what is essentially Houston until you pop out on the other side of Katy, 60 miles later.
We are being swallowed up by the expansion of Houston, as the metropolis has ran out of room north, west, and south. Mayor DonCarlos (who I have voted for at least 6 times) told us that we should plan for a quarter of a million people over the next five years or so. If you remember, I predicted a growth of 200,000 a few years ago and a couple of the local righteous curmudgeons basically called me …