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Showing posts from 2013

The Ghosts of Christmas Past

I remember my first Christmas away from home.  I was 18 years old and the year was 1970.   I spent the Christmas holidays sequestered in an Air Force Basic Training barracks at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio shining my boots.

With me were 57 other airman.  We were no longer considered new troops, as we had been in training about a month.  At the time and it may be this way still, new recruits were called Rainbows.

“Rainbow, Rainbow, don’t be blue
Your TI was a Rainbow too!”

I made the terrible decision to join the Air Force at the end of November, which meant I would be in Basic Training over the Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years’ holidays effectively extending my time there by two full weeks.  My “Flight” had been in training long enough that our TI’s (Chief Military Training Instructors) left us to enjoy Christmas with their families and we spent the four day holiday cleaning our equipment, the barracks, and shining our boots.  I thought it was a rough deal and a lonely ti…

Is Google the Anti-Christ?

Note:  This column is linked to many current philosophies and by-phrases being implemented in our country by progressives and our government.

Forgive me for going geek this week in my column, if you can.  I am a nerd, who hides it well most of the time, often posing as an outdoorsman who loves the woods.  If sci-fi, computers and robots are not your cup of tea, please do not stop reading.  Please listen to me on this futuristic environment we are flying into with apparent abandon and with welcoming arms.

What?  You say you are not in this group?  You say you are still old school and read a real newspaper that is thrown on your lawn and this proves you still like the old ways, right?  Sorry to be the bearer of bad tidings, but what we discriminating papyrus readers see as normal, the current and future generations will see as antiquated and frankly, a waste of renewable resources.  An eTablet reader is acceptably sustainable while pulp-based reading is wasteful – and eventually even… …

The American Free Enterprise travesty

This week in Colorado, an administrative law judge ruled against a privately owned business, forcing the owner of a Lakewood bakery to go against his Christian beliefs and bake a cake for a gay couple celebrating their marriage.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed a complaint against the owner; effectively violating his rights, so it could represent the rights of the gay couple. What?

So, now they are going to get a delicious cake, right?  I doubt it and this is stupid to put it mildly.

First, let’s throw out the complicated issue of the two men wanting to marry and let’s look at a private business and you and me. Let’s say you go into a private business and the owner smells like a barnyard, or the place is filthy, or the guy or gal takes one look at you and crunches up their face in disgust and proclaims he doesn’t serve people like you, whatever that is.

I’ll tell you what I would do. I would turn around and walk out of that place – especially if they served fo…

Resisting a Bully – Part Two

I am still in contact with a good number of student friends in North Georgia through a mailing list I started about 12 years ago at the urging of my sister and a classmate.  We call ourselves Friends Forever and on this list is a fellow named Alan Dempsey.  Alan was always like an older brother to me when I lived there, a welcome change from the extremely anti-Yankee attitude that prevailed at the time.  He was also a real charmer of the ladies and this, of course made him the target of every jealous boyfriend.
Alan was also a scrapper and although you couldn’t find a nicer guy, he seemed to always be getting in fights and was pretty danged good at defending himself.  Back in 1967, if you were caught fighting, a number of things were going to happen, but none of them involved dragging your parents to debtors prison, like is common today.  First, you were going to get “pops” or a paddling and you may end up going to the gym and putting on boxing gloves and get pops from the coach to…

Habitat for Humanity nominee - Ken Pridgeon

To All,
Could someone help direct me to how to submit Baytown's Fallen Hero's Artist Ken Pridgeon for a home since his old house is leaking and fallen down around him... Ken has did so much for so many in Baytown TX and for many KIA families in Texas and it would be nice to surprise him with a nice home... Thank you for what all of you do.. Warren Fitts Baytown TX Veteran Life member in VFW, Vietnam Veterans of America, Disabled American Veteran, member in AMVETS, American Legion, S/E Patriot Guard, Rolling Thunder...

Are we raising a nation of wimps?

. Almost daily I hear about the sissifying of our children and it causes me to wonder if there will be a United States of America before I buy the farm and leave the proceeds to my bride.  Let me make my points and examples and then you decide if I am right, wrong, or just another blow-hard. I’m a baby boomer, born during the Korean War to a World War II father and a mother who raised a daughter and four boys.  My dad was a tool and die maker and he would send his resume out and just like that, we would pack up and move.  Consequently, my brothers and I learned to stand up for ourselves. Back in the 1960’s kids did two things for fun; they played baseball and army.  Every kid had a toy cowboy six-gun or toy rifle.  We idolized cowboys who would shoot the bad guys in the black hats and John Wayne’s six-gun (read hog leg), Winchester lever gun and his powerful fists. My brothers and neighborhood boys would prowl the streets in the evening, jumping over fences and shooting at each other wi…

Geocaching 101 at Second Baytown Church

A couple of weeks ago, while teaching a geocaching 101 event with education booth at the Baytown Nurture Nature Festival, I met the children’s minister at Second Baytown Church, Ruth Charlson.
 She told me they were using a version of geocaching in her church to illustrate Biblical principles and wondered if I could come and explain the game.I agreed and wouldn’t you know it, two geocaching friends, husband and wife team Joe and Jennifer Porter attend church there and showed up at both classes to explain their personal experiences.

My first group was a whole covey of eight and nine year kiddos and to my absolute amazement, they listened to everything I said.I fully expected them to be fidgety and distracted, but when I held up my Gold doubloon geocoin and talked about pirate treasure and pieces of eight, you could have heard a pin drop.You could see their brain-gears spinning as I talked about swag…Swag is a term used by geocachers and what pirates would call booty.
 The golden ru…

Baytown Bert's Mega Armadillo Eggs!

2 lb. bulk sausage (regular)
20 oz. grated sharp cheddar cheese
5 c. Bisquick
1 can whole jalapenos cut in half 
1/2 lb. Cheddar Jack cheese, cut in chunks
4 beaten eggs
I pkg real bacon bits
1 pkg. Zatarains pork Bake Crisp

Mix sausage, cheese and Bisquick and set aside. Put cheese pieces on jalapeno halves. Make pancakes with bisquick mix. Place peppers with cheese in center. Fold over edges and seal tightly. Make into egg shape. Dip each one in eggs and roll in Zatarains. Bake at 300 to 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Can be frozen after cooking.  Makes 12 giant eggs on two pans.

And people call this fun?

Back a couple of months ago when it was hot and muggy… Yes, I’m being sarcastic. A number of my friends and acquaintances with the Houston Geocaching Society came up with a plan to hike eleven miles in the woods near Huntsville. The Four Notch Loop is part of the Lone Star Hiking Trail and is a fairly flat hike with numerous gully crossings and because of the distance, a real challenge for anyone not prepared to walk over 19,000 steps. And then there is the added element of hunters with high-powered rifles mistaking us for deer to bump up the adventure.

When we had the November 16th date decided, I organized an “event” and this would give each of us a point or what geocachers call a “smiley” to add to our total geocache statistics.Each time you find a geocache or attend an event, it generates a little smiley face icon on the list page and your personal statistics to show you found it.
All week long we discussed the weather on our forum and at first, it looked like it was going to…

Heroes Walk Among Us

Imagine being a nine year old boy in tatters, standing on the streets of Cairo, Egypt.  The date is August 8th 1945, two months after Germany surrendered stopping World War II in Europe.  You are starving, as the Red Cross packages haven’t trickled down to the urchins.  The American’s have helped win the terrible war, but so far, all you’ve seen is the blistering sun and empty shelves, when all of a sudden four sailors come riding down the street on big motorcycles and they are throwing handfuls of bronze cupro-nickel one millieme coins to the kids… and you catch enough to feed yourself for four days! My dad was one of the four and to that little boy, a hero.  Those of us who have served our country in the Armed Services in wartime all have similar stories and for the most part, it is buried where no one will ever see it.  There are memories of long brutal hours, terrifying nights watching, horrifying casualties, buddies lost, continuing nightmares, and unsung moments of sacrifice and…

Bullying Can Be Stopped By Anyone

When I was a kid and I complained to my Dad that another kid was bullying me, he gave me a piece of advice that I took to heart.  "Pick up a stick and knock his lights out."  He was not using a metaphor either.  The sooner a child learns to resist a bully, the more prepared they will be for the aggressive workplace, social circles, or practice field.  Bullies only mess with the weak or sometimes those who appear to be a target.

Even a tiny wasp can put a grown man to flight and any resistance from someone a bully has targeted gets very old, very quickly to the bully.  Now, you may have to take a licking, but you can get in a few wasp stings of your own if you are mentally prepared to resist.

Another strategy that I actually saw work, but don't recommend is to go on the offensive against a bully and seek them out to "sting" them.  I saw this in the 10th grade and the third time the bullying victim sought out and openly provoked the bully who had attacked him two…

The Sun Rises Every Day

This past Saturday, I arrived at the Baytown Nature Center right at 7am just minutes before the sun peeked over the horizon and after chatting with the bubbly attendant, drove my Jeep down to the raised pavilion in back.  It is one of the few places you can go here on the flat Texas Gulf Coast and get a wonderful panoramic view.  I was excited and anxious to see another heavenly sunrise and this one promised to be a beauty. The invigorating effect of the clean air and cool temperature washing over me was multiplied by a 20 mile per hour north wind and I was glad I had my Nomex hoodie with me.  I came to teach a geocaching 101 class along with two friends Larry Houston and Julie Denton, but Larry was laid up in San Jacinto Methodist awaiting a treatment for a sudden ailment. 
As I pulled up on the west side of the pavilion, I took this breath-taking beautiful photo to share and although modern digital cameras are a marvel, they are no match for what all of us see with the naked eye, o…

Observations and thoughts about violent crime

Daily I watch the news to see masked men with guns robbing banks, armored cars, fast food restaurants, and even a Jiffy Lube.A Jiffy Lube!We are living in a boom economy with more jobs than we have qualified people to fill and yet, according to a coworker, these armed criminals are victims of our society and are being forced to steal a truck and ram in into a 7-11 and steal an ATM machine in order to feed their families.

Really? I was raised to believe if I couldn’t pay my bills or care for my family, I took a second or even third part time job to make ends meet.Boy, times must have changed while I was working fifty to seventy hours a week for the last forty odd years.Where have I been?
The above conversation is real and went like this, “The reason these men are robbing stores is they can’t get good jobs because of the economy.”
“The reason they can’t get good jobs is because they are convicted felons.”
“Exactly.They are convicted felons and society has made it where they can’t get g…