Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Lettuce Avoid Sin

Longtime readers of this blog know I am a carnivore. They also know my personal motto is ... Lettuce is The Devil.

Blogger tells me this is my 666th post so what better time to offer photographic evidence to support my ideals in the form of the 7 Deadly Sins.




Okay so he's eating money not lettuce. But green is green I say.




A clear case of carrot envy if I've ever seen it.


Well, I suppose his momma is proud.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Off Broadway - My Town Monday

Amarillo, Texas is about as OFF Broadway as you can get, but don't let that fool you. We have a nice community theatre her that puts on an impressive list of shows every years. The Amarillo Little Theatre was established in 1927, making it one of the oldest continuously operating community theatres in the country.

ALT operates two separate venues.  The Mainstage Facility is located at 2019 Civic Circle and is the original theatre facility. Built in 1957, it houses ALT's 453 seat mainstage auditorium, administrative offices, box-office, scene shop, costume storage and two state-of-the-art dance studios. ALT's Adventure Space is located at 2751 Civic Circle. The Adventure Space theatre offers a more intimate environment with its 180 seat facility.

Until this past Thursday it had been years since I attended a play. Matter of fact I hadn't stepped foot in the original place since an elementary school field trip and I'd never been in the smaller venue. But for Christmas this past year I bought my wife season tickets so she could attend with a  group of friends. As part of the package she received 2 extras tickets to any show on the schedule. I decided to go along with Jennifer and our friends the other night to see a play called A Feminine Ending, which was playing in the smaller venue. It was described as a dark comedy and hey, I like dark comedies. Not to mention female ends.

Nevertheless I wasn't expecting much. The cast was comprised of a mere five actors and the opening monologue was all about classical music and the definition of a feminine versus masculine endings regarding musical composition. I'll admit, I thought what the hell have I gotten myself into.

But the production gained legs after that and before intermission I recognized bits of myself in 3 of the 5 characters. The writer in me is always fascinated when it seems as if someone else has reached inside my brain and pulled out tidbits to create their characters. I laughed, especially at the dialogue of the quirky postal employee and of course I'm always happy when the fat hairy dude gets to score with the hot chick.

All in all the actors did a great job, the dialogue was witty, and the story, while not as strong the second half, kept my interest. I enjoyed the play so much that I have already made plans to attend ALT's production of Mark Twain's, Is He Dead?

By Mark Twain
as adapted by David Ives
A new play by Mark Twain? Yes! Written by Twain in 1898 and revised by David Ives in 2003, this hilarious comedy had a successful Broadway run in 2007 and 2008. Combining elements of burlesque, farce and social satire, this fresh story raises questions about greed, fame and the value of art.
Twain? Hilarious comedy? Social satire? Burlesque!

Who's in with me?

Friday, August 27, 2010

Faithful Friday Foundations

It's been a while but thought I'd toss out another addition of Faithful Friday. For those new to the blog I occasionally spend Fridays talking about my history with organized religion and my current process of becoming Catholic.

My religious experiences didn't get much better after the forced upon mashed potatoes. I can't say my family attended church regularly, but we did go sporadically. Always to the same Baptist Church.

I never enjoyed it. I never felt a sense of enlightenment. or a sense of belonging. I felt like and was treated like an outcast by the kids who graced the Sunday School class every morning.

I distinctly recall one class where we were playing a game where teams had to answer questions from the Bible. My turn came and the teacher asked me the name of Mose's brother. I didn't have a clue Moses even had a brother. At eleven or twelve or whatever age I was I couldn't have told you more than a  few basic things about the Bible or the stories contained within its pages.

So I shrugged.

"You must have a guess," the teacher urged. "I'll give you a clue. It's a common name."
"John," I said hesitantly.

My team groaned. Some kid said,"What are you stupid. Everyone knows Aaron was Mose's brother."
The class laughed. The teacher frowned at me and moved on the the next kid and the next question. I'd never felt dumber and I refused to attend Sunday School from that point on.

I remember another time when my mom signed me up for vacation bible school at the Baptist church not where we sometimes attended but at the one most near our house. I knew more kids there because several were in my class at school, but the teacher proved to be a cross between Hitler and Leona Helmsley. Instead of teaching or creating games she had us clean out closets and pull weeds in the playground. When me and my buddy Mark got in trouble for horseplaying she made us spend a good while standing in the corner. I didn't go back the second day. I told my mom I did but in actuality I rode my bike around the neighborhood all day until it was time for the classes to let out. My mom was happy thinking I was getting some religion and I was happy not to be taking part. Mark told me it never got any better and I again refused to ever attend another.

I realize it is a folly to make judgments based on solitary experiences but at no time growing up did I ever experience organized religion in any form that made me believe God was anything but hypocritical, judgmental and mean.

Then there were the contradictions within my own family. The uncle who stood and AMENed every word from the preachers mouth, including those about the sins of alcohol. An hour alter he would crack open a Budweiser and bitch about the service running so long he missed the kickoff of the Cowboy's game.

There are plenty of other tales of hypocrisy. Then again those things are easy to see when you are looking for them. It would have been nice if someone had been around to redirect my focus.

Only my great grandmother seemed like a genuine believer. Only she seemed to try and put into practice the ideals she read from her Bible or heard spewed from the pulpit. But it wasn't long until one misguided preacher spoiled both my memory of my grandmother and forever tainted my view of organized religion.

I realize the stories I've shared thus far are little more than kids stuff. I wrote about them only to show the religious foundation I had before the truly bad experience. The one that made me swear off church for better than two decades. I will share that story in the next edition of Faithful Fridays.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Wordsbury Doughboy

I am a word nerd. I love to analyze and think about words whether they be used singularity or all string together to form a sentence. Here are a few phrases that have puzzled me lately.

"I was just poking a little fun your way."

This statement is usually spoken as an apology of sorts once a speaker realizes they have gone a little too far in their teasing.

For example: Let's say I was I was visiting one of the houses of ill-repute out in Nevada when I spotted a certain golfer. I could shout, "Hey Tiger, Elin called and wants to know if you're gonna change your name to Cheetah when you enter the next golf tournament."

Now Mr. Woods would no doubt be offended. Club in hand, he might charge me and look to inflict damage upon my skull with his Big Bertha. But if I suddenly laughed and said, "Whoa there big fella. I was just poking a little fun you way," he would now doubt smile and laugh.

With a friendly laugh he might slug me in the shoulder and say, "Good one."

Hypothetically speaking of course. We all know that both myself and Mr. Woods would never frequent such an establishment. After all, we have our reputations to uphold.

But my real question is how did the term poke a little fun your way gain traction in the first place.

I can think of only one kind of poking that can be described as fun and it most assuredly is not the same brand of fun generally associated with the statement. Well maybe in Tiger's case but no one else. "I swear Elin, I wasn't interested in those women. It's you I love. I was just poking a little fun their way."

Wouldn't the world be a better place is that's all we had to do to cover our blunders?

"You shrimpers don't get your nets in a wad. We folks here at BP were just poking a little fun your way."

But I'm not one to criticize without offering a solution so I've been pondering the better ways to deliver dosages of fun.

I thought of ... I was just inserting a little fun your way ... but that felt a bit intrusive.

I was just flicking a little fun your way ... but it reminded me too much of boogers.

Tossing ... is what you do to salad and anyone who has read this blog long knows my personal motto is Lettuce is the Devil so no word in cahoots with the devil can be fun.

I was just shooting a little fun your way ... is a bit too clock towerish

Beaming ... too Spockish.

So I ask y'all, my loyal readers, do you prefer to keep getting poked with fun, or can you think of a better delivery method?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Choose Your Team Wisely

You can be one of the glittery enamored and wear the shirt above to feel like a teenage girl.

Or you can howl at the moon and scratch fleas while wearing this shirt.

But all the cool people are getting aboard a new team ...

No, I have no clue who that dude is or even what kind of critter that is on the shirt. The above picture was captured somewhere in Hawaii by my friend Cloudia Charters. If you've never visited her blog you are missing out. Via her camera lens, choice of daily quotes, and personal thoughts she gives her readers a unique look at paradise.


I'm late to the party but just finished reading Sara Gruen's Water For Elephants. Fabulous novel. I highly recommend you pick it up if you have not.

I worry about the upcoming movie screwing up the story. and I cannot picture the previously mentioned Edward, or Robert Pattinson if you will, playing Jacob. No not Jacob the werewolf. Jacob Jankowski, the circus vet and protagonist in Water for Elephants. However, I can totally see Reese Witherspoon playing Marlena. Not sure who plays August and while I imagine Ian McShane is a bit old I couldn't help but visualize him in that role.

Has anyone read Sara Gruen's latest? I think it's called Ape House. Just curious if it as compelling.

Monday, August 16, 2010

You Don't Know Squat

I love to listen to my boys when they do not realize I'm listening. Earlier today we were riding in my truck when from the backseat I hear my 7yo say, "Cool look at that police car."

I'm driving in traffic so I do not have a chance to look, therefore I can't say for certain what made this cop car cooler than the average cruiser.

My 9yo does chimes in and says, "That must be for the swat team."

This is when the conversation got good.

Z, the 7yo says, "It's not called a swat team. It's a squat team."
"Uh-uh," said T, the 9yo. "It's SWAT team."
"You are so dumb," says Z. "Why would it be a swat team? They are after crooks and robbers. Not flies. You swat flies but you shoot bad guys. And before they shoot them they SQUAT down to aim better."
T says, "Oh squat team. Now I get it, but I sure thought they always said swat team."

I did correct them, but I must admit I did so begrudgingly. One, I appreciated my youngest's reasoning, even if it was flawed. And two, as a storyteller and fiction writer I admired his ability to spin the truth on its head and convince someone that his version was the correct version.

Sunday, August 8, 2010


I have realized at this late hour that tomorrow is the 2nd Monday of the month. That means it is my turn to sit in the My Town Monday host chair. Problem is I don't have anything about my town or area researched and ready to go.

Also, I have promised my boys a hiking adventure tomorrow so From say 8 AM to 2 PM tomorrow I'll be unable to post links. I apologize for dropping the ball, but if you have a post about your town let me know here, or at the Official My Town Monday Blog and I'll get your link up before I head out, or as soon as I return.

Barrie Summy takes us to the US Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, CA.

Clare Toohey presents cannibal rabbits from New York.

Jim Winter looks at Cincinnati's Jeremiah Morrow Bridge before its is replaced. 

Debra Bures serves up some Hippie Coffee from Canton, Ohio.

Richard Levangie visited visited Cavendish, Prince Edward Island... home of Anne of Green Gables.

Patti Abbott brings us a post about the Traverse City Film Festival in Michigan.  

Saturday, August 7, 2010

And the Party Never Ends

4 years of memories
2 years of writing down said memories
70,000 words
1 complete memoir

Yes, The Feedstore Chronicles is complete. Save for a bit of editing that is.

I don't quite know what to make of the fact it took my half as long to write it as it did to live it, but in any case I am one happy dude this afternoon so I'll leave y'all with my all-time favorite


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

We All Look Alike ...

 ... fat guys with beards that is.

Internet rumors can get a little hairy, but perhaps not quite as hairy as this post.

Several weeks back I made a comment via Facebook that people often assumed I am bald because I ALWAYS wear a cap. I believe it was the talented Natasha Fondren who challenged me to prove I am not among the follically challenged. Or perhaps it was this chrome-domer.

Anyway here is the shot y'all have been eagerly waiting for.

Yep, that is the top of my cranium and as you can see I'm as hairy as ever.

And in the spirit of giving my readers more than they asked for here is another shot of me, sans the cap. Excuse the scowl. I took this shot just before heading into work.

Normally, I sport only a bushy goatee but I've been lazy as of late and have not shaved for a couple of weeks. You see work has decided I need to show up the pat two Sundays therefore I've missed church and normally I shave for church.

However, considering that every picture I've ever seen depicts Jesus with a  long, shaggy beard I'm wondering why I shave for that purpose. Maybe I should let mine grow until I become a full-fledged Catholic next Easter. Hockey players traditionally sport facial hair for the playoffs so I could start a new beard growing trend for all converts. We could call it FAITHIAL HAIR.

Anyway back to my beard. Over the last year or so several people have commented I look like a certain singer. I myself never have seen the resemblance beyond the fact we are both chubby and hairy, but I'll leave it for y'all to decide.


Zac Brown

One things for sure. As Mr. Brown sings, I do for a fact wish I had my toes in the water and my ass in the sand.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

A Merry My Town Monday

When I started My Town Monday a few years back I hoped it would grow and expand and give us all a chance to learn about communities all over the globe. I do believe it has done that. Matter of fact, blogging as a whole has changed my very perception and definition of the word community.

This My Town Monday post may stretch the boundaries of the word town, but it is 100% percent about community.

I used to believe a community was a localized group of individuals. A place where friends and neighbors coexist and work together for a common goal. Blogging has rewarded me in many ways and taught me more lessons than I can count. It has given me the confidence to put myself out there a bit more and take chances I never would in the past, but blogging has also made me realize community is not defined merely by where we lay our head each night. No community is about friends, like minded souls, and yes neighbors in a more global sense coming together to aid assist and help each other. Usually that help is nothing more than a kind word of encouragement or a comment letting each other know we our out there reading, learning and appreciating each other's thoughts, passions, and experiences.

I know better than most that in times of real trouble the blog community is willing to go beyond kind words and comments. The blog community is a real tangible throng of writers, readers, and humans more than willing to go above and beyond expectations to uplift, support, and assist one of their own.

My family and I lost all of our stuff in that house fire, but at least for me that was the truly devastating aspect of the event.


That is how I can best describe the feeling I had in the days following the fire. I, for the first time in my life was forced to realize how fragile my existence is. How there are many many things beyond my control. How everything can change in one second.


Friends, both near and far immediately saw to it that I understood that one second swing goes both ways. That yes, things can spiral away in a blink of an eye, but just as quickly order can be restored. That fragile as it may be I could lean on friends, grab a hold of offered hands, and let them prop me up until my legs were strong enough to do it on my own.

It's damn hard to feel vulnerable when you have an army backing you up.

Security of mind, body, and soul truly is a priceless gift.

Erica Orloff was one of the generals in that army of friends and now I am going to steal her words about another of our friends that could use a visit from the blog troops. 

In this little corner of the blogworld, most of us are book lovers. Book lovers and writers, people who say, "I've been writing stories since I could hold a pen," or "I was the kid holding the flashlight under the covers and reading past bedtime." In this little corner of the blogworld, we've also watched out for our own.

Merry Monteleone (Mom and More) and her family were in the midst of raging flood waters in Westchester when heavy rains hit Chicago. The contents of the downstairs of her house were lost, and though it's just "stuff" (lives were lost in the flooding), most of us can imagine how it would feel to watch photo albums and meaningful memories wrapped up in the "stuff" of our families . . . be carried off.

While big "stuff" can be replaced with insurance, Merry lost all her books, and a group of us decided to replace them--with Amazon gift cards, with books, with signed copies of books, with ARCs. We want to see the blogosphere flood her mailbox with good wishes and replace her library. If you love books and your TBR pile is as tall as you are, you know what they mean to her.

What can you do? Send books! Send Amazon cards! Reach out to your favorite authors and ask them to send her a signed copy! For her address or more information, contact:


She has three children middle school and younger. Their books were in their bedrooms and most survived, but it would be great to get some books just for them, too!

 From my own experience, I can assure you it takes very little to bring joy and comfort to another in the face of tragedy. A single Hotwheel car was enough to bring broad smiles to my boys faces. They also received a ton of books, many autographed by the author. Those books hold a special places in their rooms.

Here's hoping that Merry's and her kid's bookshelves are soon brimming with good books to read. And if you are not an author with signed books or ARCS send a copy of your favorite book or as Erica suggested an Amazon gift card. Heck, if nothing else stop my Merry's blog and let her know you are thinking of her and her family. 

Be sure and check out other My Town Monday participants at the official MY Town Monday blog. The talented Clair Dickson hosts this week.