Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Oprah Alamo

October 10th, 2010 is fast approaching. To celebrate 10/10/10 I'm going to run ten straight days of top ten lists. Hopefully, they will be of the tongue in cheek variety. I'm open to suggestions so if you have a top ten list idea send me an email or leave it here in the comments. I will of course give credit where credit is due and link tot he originator of the idea.


Oprah has tossed aside her hurt feelings and selected Jonathan Franzen's latest novel Freedom, as her current book selection. I think she should go even further to prove her forgiving nature and make her next selection from an author she has reason to dislike or hold a grudge against. Furthermore she could pick an total unknown maybe even an unpublished author to showcase her ability to find undiscovered talent.

And Oprah I'm gonna make your job easy. Remember when that group of Cattleman sued you, and you had to move production of your show to that out of the way town in the Texas Panhandle? What was that city called again ... oh yeah Amarillo. You prevailed in court but to show you are bigger than those who try and take you down you could reach out t one of the town's wanna be writers. It would be even better if the dude is a total carnivore to show you have no BEEF with Amarillo's citizens. I bet if you think hard enough at least one name will come to you.

And Oprah in case you have a lot on your mind let me toss out one hint. Remember the Alamo!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

My Town State Monday

Rather than focus on Amarillo, or even the broader Texas Panhandle I am today, going to branch out to post about the great state of Texas at large. From Dalhart down to the Gulf of Mexico. El Paso over to the Red River. The Lone Star State covers 268,820 square miles. And as much as it pains me to admit there are at least a few folks residing in that area that are ... shall we say not playing with a full oil derrick. There might be some crude percolating deep within but for whatever reason it ain't quite making up to the refinery. 

I heard from one of those folks this week. To be fair the woman in question is no doubt very intelligent. I'm sure she has a degree or two, probably even from the University of Texas down in Austin. But what she didn't have was a lot of common sense.

Back on September 7th, a mere 19 days ago I posted a blog citing the unTexan things about me. 

In that post one will find this line ...

"Certainly better than than the funeral director/car salesman of a leader we have had since the day George Junior vacated office."

George Junior of course being the President before our current one. The funeral director/car salesmen referring to our current Governor who is seeking reelection this November. His name is Rick Perry and he looks like this ... 

 I am not a fan. 

For one he has already been in office a full decade and that is too long for anyone to serve int that role. career politicians go against my grain.

Perry has been the chief proponent for the $145 billion dollar the Trans-Texas Corridor, a project which I personally am against for a multitude of reasons.

There are other issues I have with Perry and his politics but in the end he reminds me more of a Close-the-deal-at-all-Costs kind of salesman than a leader. Thus my original comment.

Perry started his political career billing himself as a Democrat. inn 1989 he hopped over to the Republican party. I myself am an independent with closer ideals to the Libertarians than anywhere else. 

So I found it downright hilarious when I opened an email from a lady who began by saying she was a big fan of my blog. she went on to identify herself as a regional field director for Perry's campaign. She stated that as "an important outspoken voice for Texas and Texans"   I would be doing my state a service if I blogged my support for Perry's reelection. 

Funny how as a big fan she missed my comments about her boss a scant sixteen days before her email.  

Now don't get me wrong I'm quite flattered that such high ranking officials even know this blog exists. And I ain't gonna lie. Being referred to as an  "an important outspoken voice for Texas and Texans" warms the cockles of my heart. But the fact this woman had done next to no research kind of ruins her credibility on all other matters.

I thought about responding as if I too am a career politician.

Dear Ms, Research Queen,

I am flattered that you find my humble home in the blogosphere worthy of such an honor as endorsing your candidate. Being that I posses such an important and and outspoken voice, your words not mine but may I suggest the addition of valuable I feel it is in my best interest to decline your proposal as I must concentrate on the marketing of my latest writing endeavor. 

Unless of course I was suddenly to find a book deal, with a sizable advance and substantial royalty rate. I am sure it would be a mere coincidence if one of Mr. Perry's donors owned said company, or in some way held sway over the powers that be that make said decisions. 

Should that book deal materialize I would suddenly be filled with kind words about your candidate, but if not I am afraid my muse will remain forever busy partaking in Willie Nelson's herbal therapy classes.

Travis "  Itchy Back "   Erwin

 Don't forget to hope over to the official My Town Monday blog to read about other places on this fine globe.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Funnest Thing Ever

"Dad, what's the funnest thing you've ever done?"

The question came from the back seat of my truck. We'd just pulled to a stop at a red light. 

Zalen, my 7 year old son is not much of a talker. Especially when there are lots of people around, but on occasion when it is just you and him his questions can lead to some great conversations.

"What do you mean?" I asked.

"I mean what is the most fun thing you have ever done. In your whole life."

I thought about it until the light turned green and I couldn't come up with an answer.

I could think of lots of occasion when i was happy, but that 's not exactly what he meant and I could think of many times when I'd had fun. Even if I tossed out the ones that were not appropriate to share with my 7yo son they choices were too tough.

I simply could not commit the word MOST to one single occasion so in order to buy time I turned the question back on him, "I'll have to think about it a minute. What is the funnest thing you've ever done?" I met his eyes in the rearview mirror, expecting to hear an answer tied to a commercial enterprise. Perhaps our visits to Disney World, or Six Flags, or maybe something we did on our most recent vacation to Denver.

Instead, Zalen grinned and said, "I liked it when we went to the mountains and fished while walking in the stream. Remember that deer that walked in front of us?"

"I do," I said smiling back.

"Can we go do that again?" He asked.

"You bet," I answered.

Luckily he let me off the hook and didn't reask his question, but a month or more has gone by since that day and for some reason it bothers me that I cannot assign the tag most fun ever to any of the events or even days in my life. Should I be able to? Can most adults do that very thing or only children? Is it the fact they have less years behind them and therefore fewer experiences to decide from? Or is it something else that makes it so difficult for me to use the word most?

This post is really going nowhere except that I wanted to toss this idea out there.

Can y'all narrow it down and designate a funnest thing ever? If not why do you think that is?

And if you pinpoint that one blissful occurrence do you hold it up for comparison. Do you say to yourself saying, "Yeah it was fun to to take that corner at a hundred and ten but not nearly as fun as that time me and Jimmy drank that case of Shiner pack in Luchenback and ended up waking up on Willie's bus outside that Allsup's at 3 AM. I still can't believe they didn't have but two dozen chimichanga's, and who the hell ever heard of dipping them in a Cherry Slurpee anyway?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Another Link In The Chain

It's My Town Monday time here on the old blog. The wonderful Barrie Summy is hosting both at her blog and at the official My Town Monday site.

Rather than offer a post of my own this week I am going to give y'all a link to a fellow Amarillo blogger. A good friend of mine. Her post explains what I was doing this weekend (in both words and pictures) and why I didn't get a chance to create a post. While not exactly informational or educational in regards to life in Amarillo, it does take part in our fair city here in the Texas Panhandle. Stop by and tell Rebecca hi.

And if you have a post about your city, past, present, ... or if your name is Nostradamus ... future be sure and let Barrie know here or here.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Faithful Friday - Kissing off Religion

This is the 3rd installment of my blog series titled Faithful Fridays. Click the link if you desire to read the first two. Otherwise proceed on with this post.

As previously stated I was raised Baptist. Sort of. We didn't attend church often but when we did it was Baptist.

In the other Faithful Friday posts I mentioned my bond with my great grandmother. I was a brat and threw a fit as a small child if my mom tried to leave me with anyone other than my granny Bartlett.  Granny Bartlett pretty much gave me everything I wanted. Food, toys, entertainment. Granddad Bartlett was a neighborhood ice cream man. He drove the north side of Amarillo in an old red and rust colored International. amongst family he had the reputation of being a mean man but upon his death lots of young men and women came forward to tell us, Grandad's family about his generosity. How he used to give them Nutty Buddies and Ice Cream sandwiches when they didn't have enough money to buy them, but Grandad Bartlett is not the subject of this post.

Lucille Bartlett was born January 1, 1904. I'm not certain she was born in Bethany Missouri, but I can for fact say that is where she grew up. Her family was Methodist in those days. Somewhere along the way she married my great-grandpa Orville and they moved to Texas. And became Baptists. My mother was their eldest daughter granddaughter. In 1972 I arrived. By that time Lucille and Orville had a slew of grand kids. Great and otherwise.  But like I said we had a close bond and I spent countless hours with my granny Bartlett.

By the mid eighties Granny Bartlett's health was beginning to fail. Alzheimer's' plagued her and she often got confused. Granny Bartlett did not always know where she was at or what year it was but never not once did she fail to remember my name.

It was October of 1987 when Granny Bartlett was admitted into the hospital for what would be the last time. Frail and confused she couldn't have weighed more the 90 pounds at the time. Until she'd gotten in such bad health granny Bartlett had been an avid reader of the bible. and she had continued to get cassette tapes listen to sermons from a local Baptist Church long after she was able to actually attend services.

But because of her prolonged illness and absence from church the pastor that came to visit her in those final days did not actually know my grandmother or anything about her. Somewhere int eh discussions the man discovered my great-grandmother having been raised Methodist had been sprinkled for her baptism rather than the full dunking the Baptist Church deemed necessary.

The conversation took an ugly turn from that point on and the end result was my great-granny, an 83 year-old-woman on her deathbed was now convinced she was going to burn in hell simply because she had merely been sprinkled and not submerged.

Was my granny confused? Disoriented? No doubt. But did that Baptist preacher try to bring her comfort? did he go out of his way to alleviate a dying woman's fears? Did he attempt to right the wrong he inadvertently initiated?

No. he stood before my family and said, "We can baptize her the correct way right here in the church. That should make her feel better."

And that is what we did.

Did it make her feel better. Maybe spiritually and mentally, but i cans till hear her cries of pain as they dunked her. I can still see the tears of anguish filling her eyes. I can still feel the burn of shame that we, her family allowed that man to terrify and taint her final days on this earth.

Do I believe God is the kind of anal-retentive creator that would insist on some absurd set of rules that must all be followed to an exact T and in an identical way before he would grant passage into a heavenly ever after.

No only no, but hell no.

The event pissed me off then and it pisses me off now. I wish I could apologize to my grandmother. i wish I had been big enough then and man enough to toss that self righteous preacher out on his butt. Was it right to condemn an entire religious denomination based on one fool's act? Was it right to turn my back on God and all organized religion two decades?

Probably not, but that is exactly what I did when on October 23, 1987 my great-grandmother, Lucille Bartlett departed this world.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


TAG Publishing is looking for the next Great American Novel! 

Our contest seeks the best unpublished work in 7 different areas of fiction and will award a top prize of $300 to the Best of Show and prizes of $75, $50, and $25 to first, second and third place in each category.

Upon completion of the contest and after all prizes are awarded, full manuscripts may be requested by TAG Publishing from some or all finalists. Based on the merits of each book requested, a publishing contract may be extended by TAG Publishing to the most outstanding authors. Authors are not required to send their full manuscript or accept any contract offered. Authors retain all rights to contest entries and no entry will be used in any form by TAG Publishing without the author’s express written consent.

This contest is completely electronic so please follow the guidelines carefully.
Great American Novel Contest Submission Guidelines Adobe Reader is required for the guidelines. Download it here. Adobe Reader

Contest Early Bird Entry $25 until 10/15/2010
Regular Entry Fee $35 until 10/31/2010
Once the form below is filled out and submitted, you will receive a confirmation email with a PayPal link to pay your entry fee. You may submit your manuscript and synopsis by email to: GAN2010@tagpublishers.com

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Carla Stewart's Chasing Lilacs

I have been most fortunate to make many good friends in the writing community. I began putting pen to paper on my first novel in the spring of 2001. I had an idea and a cast of characters but no real idea who my intended audience was or even a genre.

Not long after that I met Carla Stewart at a meeting of our local writer's group, Panhandle Professional Writers. We started talking. I described my plot. She asked to read a few pages. I let her and I'll forever be indebted to her for her response after reading those pages. "Your style reminds me of Anne Tyler. I can't wait until this gets published so I can read the rest."

Getting compared to Anne Tyler made my day. Carla moved away from my area not long after that and these days she calls Oklahoma home. But this Texan won't hold that against her.

I lost track of Carla for several years but through the magic of the internet I found her again not long ago. Even more exciting, was the fact her debut novel, Chasing Lilacs was about to be released. And one of Carla's friends was sponsoring a blog contest where I could win a copy.

I entered.

I won.

And last night I finished reading Chasing Lilacs.

Great story Carla. I know how long and hard you have worked to see the book released and my hat goes off to you for a job well done.

Now I urge all of y'all my fellow writers, readers, and friends to go out and pick up a copy. help make Carla the literary star she so richly deserves to be.

From the blurb on the back of the book ...

It's the summer of 1958, and life in the small Texas community of Graham Camp should be simple and carefree. But not for Sammie tucker. Sammie has plenty of questions about her mother's "nerve" problems. About shock treatments. About whether her mother loves her.
As her life careens out of control, Sammie has to choose whom to trust with her deepest fears; her best friend who has an opinion about everything, the mysterious boy from California whose own troubles plague him, or her round-faced neighbor with gentle advice and strong shoulders to cry on. Then there's the elderly widower who seems nice but has his own dark past.

Trusting is one thing, but accepting the truth may be the hardest thing Sammie has ever done.

From Publishers Weekly ...

" ... Coming-of-age stories are a fiction staple, but well-done ones much rarer. This emotionally acute novel is one of the rare ones." (June)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Be sure to stop by Carla's blog to say hi. Tell her Travis sent you.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Jojo The Dancing Bear

Let me tell you a story about a boy.

A boy named Jojo.

Jojo was a happy young lad. He loved to dance. But he also loved the savory taste of his mothers mashed potatoes and brown gravy. Matter of fact the only thing he loved more than dancing and those mashed potatoes was his grandma's lasagna. Well that and his Aunt Isabell's pecan pie, or perhaps his Aunt Mona's German chocolate cake.

The years went by. Jojo grew up, and out. How could he not given all his favorite foods? And yet Jojo continued to dance. He listened to songs on the radio and practiced his moves in the solitude of his room. When he gained a little confidence he began dancing in front of the TV to his favorite music videos. At first Jojo never danced when anyone else was home but then one day his mom surprised him and spotted his fly moves. Jojo confessed he'd been dancing for awhile and to his surprise his mom didn't laugh at his announced dreams of becoming a dancer.

Slowly over time Jojo revealed his secret to his other family members and even a few trusted friends. A few pointed out he didn't much look like a dancer. Some even said, "But Jojo you've never taken any dancing classes. You can't just decide to be a dancer. You have to follow the rules and take years and years of formal training."

And still Jojo danced on. Eventually most of his friend saw that not only was dancing Jojo's passion but he was actually good at it. Or so they told him.

Finally Jojo decided the time had come. he went from one audition to the next. At first they stopped him right away. They wouldn't even look him in the eye. The powers that be merely yelled next and awaited the next dancer.

And still Jojo worked.

Eventually he began to get a few appraising nods. Even a few smiles from those watching his auditions. They began to speak directly to him telling him things to improve on.

And Jojo danced on.

And on.

And on.

A few people began to know and remember him. They said nice things to him.

"Jojo, you have talent, but it's not the kind of talent we are looking for." "

Jojo, I enjoyed your performance but I'm afraid our target audience won't get you."

"Jojo, just keep working at it. Eventually the timing will be right and we'll find a spot for you."

Year after year, Jojo remained just this close to breaking in. The eagerness Jojo once felt eroded. Stubborn determination took its place and still Jojo danced.

He still liked to dance but some of the joy was gone. He wasn't dancing for himself or for the feel of the blood pumping in his veins anymore. he was dancing to prove he could. he was dancing to ensure he hadn't wasted all those countless hours practicing.He was dancing because he had to.

But there, in the back of his mind, he was starting to feel more like that fat kid who hid away in his room. Hiding the fact he wanted to dance.

Today, I feel like Jojo.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Quanah Rides Again -- My town Monday

 In what has become a reoccurring theme I screwed up again and did not gather the necessary pictures for my planned My Town Monday post. So I am reposting an old one. This one originally ran on June of '08 and is one of the most popular older posts on my blog. I get a few visits a week from someone googling Quanah Parker and landing on my blog.


Quanah Parker - A My Town Monday Post

A few weeks back I did a My Town Monday post about legendary cattleman and Panhandle founding father Charles Goodnight. Goodnight established a ranch in Palo Duro Canyon and is regarded as a pioneer for doing so, yet the second largest canyon in the United States was home to native Americans for centuries before the first white men ever set foot in the area. (Palo Duro Canyon lies south east of Amarillo. There is a state park which I've linked to above, but a good portion of the land is private property and I actually live in a small finger at he head of the canyon.) Not anymore. I now live inside Amarillo's city limits.
This week, I'm going to discuss the last of the native people to call the canyon home and specifically their leader Comanche Chief, Quanah Parker.

Quanah Parker was the last Chief of the Comanches, He never lost a battle to the white men. he was never captured by soldiers, and his followers were the last tribe of the Staked Plains to succumb to the inevitable and surrender to life on the reservation.

The name Quanah translates to fragrant. Quanah was born about 1850. He was the son of Comanche Chief Pete Nocona and Cynthia Ann Parker, a white girl that had been captured in 1836 at Parker's Fort, Texas. Cynthia Ann spent 24 years living with the Comanche but was recaptured in 1860 by a group of soldiers who were notified of her whereabouts by Charles Goodnight. Sadly, Cynthia Ann did not re-adapt to "civilized living" well and died a few years later after starving herself to death.

Quanah's father died shortly thereafter due to an infected wound leaving him an orphan. One of his father's other wives took him in, but she soon died as well. Quanah became an outcast because of his mixed blood, a fact he only discovered after his mother's recapture. After his step-mother's death Quanah fended for himself. He worked hard to be a proper warrior, and he excelled at hunting, but still could not break the barrier of his mixed blood.

The Comanche Chieftianship was not an inherited right. It was earned through one's war record and his concern for his followers. Quanah excelled as a warrior but after such a tumultuous upbringing he was not always generous with his fellow warriors. As a crossbred warrior, Quanah had many dissenters and did not feel quite at home in any band of the Comanches until he formed his own band called the Quahadi, which means Antelope Eaters.

Quanah fell in love with girl named Weakeah but her father, Ekitaocup, refused to accept the relationship so the the young couple eloped and spent several years out on the plains with his growing tribe. He was gaining a reputation as a fierce warrior and capable leader. Eventually Weakeah's father accepted the marriage and they were able to return to the Comanche Nation.

Quanah's Quahadi's joined raiding parties in both his father's old band and in his father-in-law's. During one raid the leader, Bear's Ear, was killed by pursuers as they neared the Red River. The warriors had planned to cross the Red River farther west, but with Bear Ear's death the group became confused. Quanah rallied the bands and headed north where they crossed the river safely. His actions saved the remainder of the party and their stolen horses. This led to his being accepted as a true leader and gained him the right to speak openly in tribal council. Something only a few ever obtained.

As leader of his band Quanah, refused to sign the treat at Medicine Lodge in 1867. Most of the Plains Indians accepted the treaty at that time and attempted to settle into a life of farming on the reservation but Quanah's warriors chose to remain on the warpath as he believed the latest treaty to be just another deception in a string of lies from the white men.

He was nearly killed in the battle at Adobe Walls in 1874, (a post I plan for another day) but for a number of years The Quahadi outsmarted and outmaneuvered the US Army led by Colonol Ronald S MacKenzie, but by late spring of 1875 the band was tired and starving after the Army had decimated their winter camp and killed their horses at the bottom of Palo Duro Canyon.

Colonel MacKenzie dispatched a man named Jacob Sturm who was a doctor and an interpretor to seek Quanah's surrender. After hearing the man's plea, Quanah rode to a mesa, where he spotted a wolf. The animal howled and trotted away to the northeast. As the wolf left an eagle flew overhead flapping its wings in the direction of Fort Sill. Quanah took these as signs and on June 2, 1875, he and his band surrendered at Fort Sill in present-day Oklahoma.

But that is not the end of Quanah's story.

The Comanche Chief accepted his fate as a "civilized indian" but he held onto his role as leader just as fiercely as he once fought the settlers who invaded his land. Some members of the reservation called him a sellout for abandoning traditional attire and donning the white man's suit, but Quanah kept his braids, smoked peyote, and refused to give up any of his five wives.

In a mix of old tradition and new ways he invested in a railroad, negotiated grazing rights of the new Comanche land with cattlemen including Charles Goodnight whom he now counted as a friend. Quanah also became a reservation judge and lobbied congress on behalf of the Comanche Nation. He was counted as a friend by President Theodore Roosevelt and at one time was considered the richest Native American in the country. His fortunes were depleted however as he took care of many of those who lived on the reservation. It probably didn't help that he fathered 25 kids either.

Quanah also founded the Native American Church which believes in the spiritual use of peyote. He believed that smoking the cactus buttons allowed him to communicate with Jesus. Here is a famous quote from Quanah ...

"The White Man goes into his church and talks about Jesus. The Indian goes into his Tipi and talks with Jesus."

Quanah Parker died February 23, 1911.

Biographer Bill Neely wrote this about him ...

"Not only did Quanah pass within the span of a single lifetime from a Stone Age warrior to a statesman in the age of the Industrial Revolution, but he accepted the challenge and responsibility of leading the whole Comanche tribe on the difficult road toward their new existence."
Here is the inscription on his tombstone ...
Resting Here Until Day Breaks
And Shadows Fall and Darkness
Disappears is
Quanah Parker Last Chief of the Comanches
Born 1852
Died Feb. 23, 1911.
The Texas town of Quanah, near the medicine mound where the Comanche Chief made the decision to surrender, is named in his honor.
Check here for more MTM links to learn about other places all over the globe. 

Terrie Farley Moran of Women of Mystery explains a great organization (supported by a special anthology) that works in towns across the nation to build homes for disabled vets.*

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Dis & Dat

It's been a while since I've tossed up a random ... What is going on in my life post so here it is ... a random what is going on in my life.

As most of y'all know I finally finished writing The Feedstore Chronicles a month or so ago. After researching literary agents that handle humorous memoirs I have began querying. So far I've only target a small group to test the waters but I'm happy to announce that right at half have requested more material. So now I have several partials and a pair of complete manuscripts out for consideration. Several requested time for an exclusive read and while I couldn't grant that due to the fact I already had material out to other agents I am pausing before I send out more query letters.


I've been working on a few short stories but at this point I am not pleased with any of them. Getting back in the fiction groove has been hard after spending two years writing creative non-fiction. I'm starting to wonder if that is not where my true talent lies and thanks to the talented Erica Orloff I am now considering writing a non-fiction memoir-esque collection of humorous essays about my carnivorous take on life. She suggested I title it ... At The Altar of The Gas Grill.


A little less than two months from now a group of my writing friends are gathering in Colorado. I have never met any of the people in person yet I consider them to be among some of my closest friends. Odd? Perhaps but I'm really looking forward to the trip. Given the banter about the event it sounds like it will be more frat party than writing retreat. Given that we have never met and will be marooned in a Colorado cabin together I see the weekend as Gilligan's Island meets Animal House.


Speaking of both Colorado and beer I consumed a bottle of Avery's Mephistopheles' Stout this past weekend

Mephistopheles was a demon in German folklore and is often confused with the Devil himself. Not not lettuce, but Satan. And coming in with an alcohol content just shy of 17% this stout brewed in Boulder, Colorado definitely has a dark side. As you can see in the picture it pours dark and thick. It sort of glugs out of the bottle, but carries a rich malty aroma that is pleasing to the nose. At first sip the beer is creamy, and malty with some chocolate overtones. As it slides down your through there is a slight but pleasant burn that you can feel deep in your chest. Somewhat like taking a shot of Rum.

By the third or fourth drink the beer tastes even better, but it is not for the faint of heart or stomach. Or the timid consumer as this stout sells for 8 bucks a bottle. I would recommend and will drink it again, but next time I will not chase it with six pack Shiner Bock or a large Canadian bacon pizza. Nope, the night did not end well.


Once again I am coaching flag football. I have a great group of 13 boys and 6 girls on my squad. 5 third graders and 14 second graders. We are already having fun and I do believe we might even win a few games this year.


My oldest son, Tarek is playing his first season of tackle football.

 A 4th grader, he is the biggest kid on the team and could toss around most of the other boys, but he is of such good-nature that this fact has not dawned on him yet. Maybe one day he will suit up for Amarillo High school rather than simply wear his dad's t-shirt. And for those who know me and say Hey, wait a damn minute what are you doing with an Amarillo High shirt? You graduated from Caprock all I can say is beggars can't be choosy. The shirt was given to me after the fire.


The Saints kick off tonight. Maybe they begin this season the way they ended the last one. Winners. And Brett Favre you have totally ruined your reputation in my eyes so I hope your season begins the way you last one ended ... on the ground looking up at a Saints defender.

Who Dat!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Willing To Bet Son

What if reality mirrored reality television?

What if you really could vote those who threatened or annoyed you off the island or out of the house?

Makes me wonder if I would make the cut. In some circles yes, but in others my opinionated self would no doubt get sent packing.

Heading into to work this morning I listened to one of my favorites Robert Earl Keen sing these lyrics ...

I don't wear no Stetson
But I'm willin to bet son
That I'm a big a Texan as you are
There's a girl in her barefeet
'Sleep on the back seat
An that trunk is full of Pearl…and Lone Star

Given the fact that I do not wear a Stetson or drink Pearl or Line Star Beer that got me to pondering just how a big a Texan I am.

I am big in the literal sense. Six foot five and creeping ever closer to 300 hundred pounds with every fat greasy hamburger and side of fries I consume. And as everyone knows, EVERYTHING is bigger in Texas, so score one for my level of Texan-ess for being stacked higher and wider than most. 

And I do drink Shiner Bock which is brewed right here in the Lone Star State. And I drive a four door Ford pickup. And I eat lots of beef. Like to shoot guns. I can hunt, catch, and dress my own meat. I own a damned nice pair of boots. I share a name with one of the Alamo's fallen heroes. I have tube floated the Guadalupe. Been to Luckenbach. Had a few too many at a Willie concert. 

I could go on all day spouting off the Texan in me.

But what about the other list? The things that would get me voted off the island. The unTexan side of me that would spur my Tejas brothers to chase me across the Red River? After pondering for a bit I have come up with a short list of things that if commonly know could get me exiled from the greatest state in the land.

Even if he did make famous an iconic country song bearing the name of my hometown, I consider George Strait nothing more than a pretty face with a marginal voice. Then again I tend to shun singers that write very few of their own songs.

Like most Texans I am a rabid football fan, but ...

I do not root for this team ... 

Or this one ..

Or even either of these ...

I am unapologetically a Nebraska Cornhusker and a New Orleans Saints fan.

Want more examples of my state disloyalty? 

I did not burn my Dixie Chicks CD's when Natalie Maines dared to speak her opinions aloud. 

Matter of fact, I attended a Chicks concert only days after the hullabaloo started. Worse yet, the concert was on enemy soil ... Oklahoma. A double act of treachery in the eyes of most Texans I'm afraid.

And while I'm on the subject, might as well bring up W

He's got the hat and the accent and most Texans are proud to claim him. I'll even go so far to say he wasn't a bad governor. Certainly better than than the funeral director/car salesman of a leader we have had since the day George Junior vacated office. But other politics aside I began to remind people that George W Bush was born in Connecticut not Texas after his administrations shameful handling of the post Katrina Gulf Coast. When you can't take care of those in need in your own backyard then you are indeed one hell of a piss poor leader. 

But there hasn't been a Democrat elected in my county since reconstruction so to even suggest George was anything but a great president is cause for deportation.

And to top it all off I don't own a horse, an oil well, or a belt buckle big enough to eat dinner off of.

But I can two-step, tell a yarn or three, and say y'all with the best of them so I'm gonna keep calling myself a Texan. 

Also I've been to all the places mentioned in this song.

Thursday, September 2, 2010



I try my best not to be one and in most areas I'm successful.

I've met book snobs that look down on those who read and enjoy genre fiction. Those that think only books nominated for a Pulitzer or those who garner critical acclaim are worth their time.

I've met music snobs that believe any tune with a fiddle is lowbrow and only for rednecks.

I've even met culinary bigots that shun those of us who consider a grilled piece of meat the ultimate delicacy.

But I myself try not o judge. Hell I'll even sit at the supper table beside you while you scarf down a bowl of salad. If you wanna dance with the devil that's your business I say.

But ... life always comes down to the buts doesn't it ... I am a complete and utter snob in one facet of my life.


That's right folks. I am a beer snob.

I will and do look down upon those who cannot or will not step away from the mega million dollar domestics that bombard us with their cute advertisement during every sporting event. Their commercials may be funny but their brews are vastly inferior to dozens and dozens of other breweries around the world.

If I see you holding a can of of Coors, Bud, Millers, etc. I'm gonna think one of two things. Maybe even both. One you are lazy. Two your palate is deformed, destitute of taste, and downright despicable.

All those WEAK tasteless brews are the alcoholic equivalent of reality television. Neither of which is good for anything other than pissing away your time. (Uh oh, I think I just uncovered another snob zone)

Primarily I am a Shiner Bock man, but unlike marriage beer drinking is not an exercise in monogamy, so I like to try different partners. Sometime three or four different ones in a single night.

I scoff at those that drink the same beer night after night. Day after day. What about loyalty you ask?

To that I say ... Be loyal to your wife. Be loyal to your sports team. Be loyal to yourself, but don't apply loyalty to eight drink or food.

Yeah I like steak, but every once in a while I want a greasy fried pork-chop on my dinner plate.

And since I try all these different beers I have decided to occasionally post my thoughts and reviews  here on this blog. it is my hope that I'll get a few of you to branch out and step away from the norm. And if you already do that then it is my hope that I'll save you a few bucks from buying a craft beer that sucks worse than a can of lukewarm Keystone. Because they are out there. I'll warn you now. My bias runs dark and heavy with a  hearty alcohol content. I like a beer than lets my brain know things are a bit fuzzy after one or two not a twelve pack. The better I can see through a beer the less likely I am to enjoy it.

Here is my first review.

St Peters Organic English Ale

I bought a pint of this golden ale at World Market for 3.99. It had a strong smell and poured up with a mediocre head of maybe half an inch. A bit sweet at first taste but left a lingering bitterness in my mouth after I swallowed. I give it a 5 out of 10 and would not buy it again as there are lots of better brews available for a lower price. Though the off shaped green bottle is cool and the cap unique.

I also collect beer caps and plan to so make a bar top out of my varied collection so there are times when I buy a beer more for it's cap than for it's taste.