Tuesday, October 31, 2006

SYNESTHESIA http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synesthesia

(continued from yesterday)

"He looked at me as though I might be nuts."

At work the next day, I GOOGLED up "October" and "October Music" but mostly got a lot of OOM-PAH Bands. (there are approximately4,500 of these bands in Minnesota alone)Being new to the cyberworld I did not have the research skills (hmmph) that I have now. The name of the Composer that had so thouroughly stirred me was to remain a mystery.
Bear with me here.
One year and two months later, at the Christmas concert the Band did a piece called "Lums Arumsque" which is Latin for "Light of Gold". This piece of music, played by High School kids, brought me to tears. I was not surprised... I do have a feel for Music, but was most curious as to who wrote this piece.
The next day at work I GOOGLED up "Lums Arumsque" and found that it was written by Eric Whittaker, a very young, progressive, and accomplished Modern Composer.

Would it surprise anyone that Whittacre was also the Composer of "October"?
I was. I find it remarkable that a single Composer seems to have his finger on my pulse.
And yes, you can hear "October" for yourself on his site!!!

L.D. Bell boasts 60 girls in the guard. The several flags that are used to such great effect are made by the parents. These flags can be purchased but the cost is very high. So 3-4 nights a week parents get together to work on these flags.
It is exact, specific and it demands precise execution. A designer's drill is a chart; a graph which indicates x and y coordinates for constantly changing geometric shapes and forms in both time and space. The equipment and props are always pushing the laws of physics with force and speed, action and reaction. All of this with an incredible control of time.
There are times during the show that the field "comes alive"with movement and color in perfect syncopation with the Music. Other times the Guard is Ambient and the Band becomes the focal point. It is all very well done, very well done indeed!
It is a visual picture alive with message and meaning. It is integrated interaction with the Marching Band. It is Performing Arts and a vital part of the Marching Band.
Colorguard is spending 15 to 20 hours a week marching and dancing up and down a football field spinning a 3 1/2 pound rifle or 2 ten foot foot flags. It's their free time to spend striving for perfection and hearing; "That's wrong! Pay attention! Try harder!" over and over. It is riding countless hours on cold bumpy buses and eating in more fast food restaurants than they care to remember. Sometimes they march with blisters on their feet, splints on fingers, when sick or when every muscle in their body aches.
For an all too small snippett of the Guard from last years show, go to http://www.ldbellband.org/

Aubree was in the Color Guard for her first years Band experience.i may have never been quite so proud of her as in her first show. The Costume was styled like a Greek Goddess, with a full body Leotard (IS THAT RIGHT?) accented by a flowing full length skirt (I can talk womens fashion, just you wait and see) that pinned at the hip. Being early in the season, there was a lot of dance as many of the Flags were not yet ready. midway through the show, Aubree' began to have a Wardrobe Malfunction. Her skirt was a comin' a loose!!! It did not take long before it lay abandoned on the 40 Yard line, and my Daughter finished the routine wearing only her Leotard!

She stole the show... she gets it from me...gutsiest thing I ever saw!

Tomorrow I will share more about the upcoming week... the schedule is grueling... covering 3 events and 3000 miles... all within 8 days!!!

See also related posts "GOTTA SEE THE SHOW, GOTTA SEE THE SHOW, SEE THE SHOW "and "THE TIME HAS COME THE WALRUS SAID.... and lest we forget

Monday, October 30, 2006


I used to say that among God's most favored were the Eagle Boy Scout and the Gold Girl Scout. I have come to add any Student that is participating in Band. After 3 years of viewing these young men and women and after watching the dedication and discipline required to participate through my daughter,who plays Flute for the L.D.Bell band, there is not a Marching Band that can take the field that does not bring a lump to my throat. These young men and women have their game faces on, they have hundreds of hours of drill behind them and now have 8 minutes in which all the hard work comes together and they must EXECUTE,EXECUTE and EXECUTE!!! Their lines are straight (they have worked on this since kindergarten, but the Band has made a Doctorate program of it) their Uniforms crisp and sharp, they stand at attention, they are confident in their movements and they have established a high level of Musicianship.

Two years ago I attended my first competition without the knowledge of all the work that had gone into the presentations. Nonetheless, there was a Band that played a piece so beautifully that I was moved to tears. The piece was called "October", and it was very moving, bringing the feel of Autumn to mind, the turning of color and falling of the leaves, the increasing chill in the air and the baring of the trees. You must forgive me; I started this life as a very Stoic Taurus, but over the years have become a bit of a Lightning Rod for emotion.
They were not the only band to do "October", but to their credit (and mine) the other Band did not bring me to tears. It was the Duncanville Band that had left me unstrung and so overwrought and giving credence to my condition was the fact that they advanced to the Finals.
I wondered to myself would the Duncanville Band do it to me again during Finals tonight? It would be the third time that day to hear "October"; surely I would be hardened no matter how well it was played.

Of course, I was wrong and wept like a baby. A High School Marching band. I may be a bit of a raw nerve, but I assure you I am not nuts. And to again give some credence to what I had experienced, Duncanville did place 2nd in State 4 weeks later.
After that nights show, I went and found the Director for Duncanville and told him how great the show was and how it had moved me.

Thank you " He says, shaking my hand 'Which child is yours?"
"Oh, no Sir, you don't understand" I say "My child plays for Bell!".

He looked at me like maybe I was nuts!!!

(to be continued)

Friday, October 27, 2006


I got a call at work last week...
"Mr. Renfro, this is Vice-Pricipal Hamm from Bell High School and I need to talk to you about your son, Lee.
I respond with...
"What are the charges"
He answers back with nervous laughter...
"No, there are no charges Mr. Renfro, not this time. I want you to know that in his Computer Graphics Class he is doing so well that the teacher says he can teach the class, he finishes every thing in 1/4 the time allotted and its done perfectly. We want to take him to Austin for an event but he doesn't seem to want to be recognized for this. Do you have any suggestions?"
I answer back...
"Well I will talk to the boy and try to explain that this talent he has can buy him a lot of Guitar Equipment and pay his way towards becoming the next great Rock & Roll star of our time."
I'm thinking to myself that Mr. Hamm has the degree in this, and certainly this is not his first time to see this behavior, this sudden shyness whEn accolades are finally coming his way.

The boy is talented in Computer Graphics and Design and draws some of the most intricately detailed little doodles by hand that you have ever seen. Some look as though they were a map of Gaea herself with all her gears and windings and cables exposed like a blueprint. He is also a pretty good little guitar player, and that is where his efforts all go.

So I go to Lee and tell him that it was real nice to get a phone call like that and that no matter how "Retarded" he thinks the class is, it is a talent that can be turned into "Rocks". (money)
This, he understands. Why he wants to cut up in class to the point of getting sent to the office weekly, I can't figure. Even I knew when to quit.

I am afraid he gets it from me and I have already alluded to how much my little sense of humor has cost me.
There was a cool post a few days ago by the Ol'Lady http://eclectictales.blogspot.com/ concerning her name. My son is named after my fathers middle name, Rippy and my middle name, Lee.
Lee Rippy Renfro.
I wanted to name him Rippy Lee, but his mother would not allow it. He will likely never forgive her for that, he may even get it changed some day.
We call him "Rip". Rip Renfro. He loves it. That should tell you everything you need to know.

Mother of Invention, you are a teacher. How do we get a boy that wants to be notorious for misdeeds to live up to his potential?

Thursday, October 26, 2006


This post is inspired by Barbara, http://looking2live.blogspot.com/ a great lady lucky enough to be let loose in France with what seems to be a fairly well educated palate and a great group of comrades. The pictures she has sent back of various foods encountered are quite impressive. The "Haute Cuisine" from yesterday is no doubt First Rate and not wasted on she and her group. There was a picture of a plate of Osso Bucco a few days back that made the short hairs on the back of my neck stand up. While I always used Lemon Zest as a Garnish, this appeared to have 1/2 an Orange braised right in, a very robust alternative. I like it.
I can qualify all this by saying I was a Professional Chef for almost 25 years.

I found towards the last few years in the Kitchen that I excelled as the #2 Man; the “Executive Sous Chef “. At times I could be a little too edgy to be the Chef. I lacked a certain cool-headedness and tact that can benefit a manager. In other words, I was an asshole.

But I do real well when I am able to freewheel it. As Chef I tended to be too conservative in my thinking, playing everything down the middle, but was very creative as the Sous, and this allowed me to come up with hair-brained schemes,  and find the better practice most of the time.
I found it very satisfying to use my 20+ years of experience to mentor a relatively inexperienced up and coming Chef. One of the highest compliments is to have your boss tell you that you are taking care of things he never thought about when he was in your position.

At a high end city Club in Dallas, Dwight was my Chef. He was a real good guy, 3 years out of Chef School in his 1st job as Chef. He had worked with the likes of Stephen Pyle and Ken Rathburn, and another one of these celebrity type chefs that cooks and plays guitar and has lost all his knife skills.
I was his Executive Sous, his assistant.
My forte is production.
I do everyones thinking for them and make sure everything is ready ahead of time and in place for service. This requires a very thorough list and I can make a heeluva list and I know how much can be done in any given amount of time.

On the day before my day off I leave a list of what should be done when I am absent. And there were some days my list was not being completed. So I had to talk to Dwight about my list and what I expected. Told him that he had to set the pace, the more intense he was towards getting the list done the more intense the guys would be. And that I did allow for things that may come up during the day that might hamper completion. I can walk into our kitchen in the morning and have a pretty good idea about what went on the day before within about 10 minutes. I had this kind of conversation with Dwight several times and it would get better for a while, then start to slip again.

I came in one morning from my day off, took a look around, and was fairly disgusted with what I saw- not only was my list mostly incomplete but the Kitchen was in enough disarray that it could only mean business was not taken care of. It really looked like they may have had a "playday" where nothing got done. And to top it all off, centered on the Chefs desk, there was a most puzzling item- a bowl of Dried Navy Beans with the numbers 1-60 meticulously inscribed in fine felt tip marker. I wondered “What the Hell is this?”.

So the Chef comes in an hour later, and I jerk him into the office to explain, once again, what I expect from him, and to find out why my list is not complete. He tries to explain the time away, "something" came up, but I’ll have none of it. He thinks I’m being unreasonable and the issue is somewhat unresolved. In other words, I am ready to drop it in the ineterest of not going completely ballistic on his ass. I am about to leave the office and get to work when I spy the bowl of beans.
“Oh yeah. Chef, tell me what the hell is this bowl of beans on your desk with all the numbers on them?” I ask.

He gets the most sheepish look I have ever seen on a man and looks at the floor. He clears his throat and very softly says;
“Me and the guys were picking our lottery numbers yesterday.”
I slowly nod my head and look him right in the eye. Very softly I say;
"We aren't ever going to have this conversation again, are we?"

Who says I got no tact?

If anyone wonders why I am not a Chef anymore, please re-read this post!!!
Really, I do miss it so.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


I did a post a while back (see “Staff Sgt. Renfro”) and mentioned an old girlfriend, Jeri. This is the story of how she came to get shed of me.
It was at her 16th Birthday Party, held at her parents house, that we met our end. In attendance were several of her friends, but mostly it was relatives and cousins. Of course her parents were there and I thought they were pretty cool compared to mine.
At some point in the evening it was announced there would be a game and 3 volunteers were needed. Of course I was one of the volunteers along with two other fellows. The “Game” was to be played as such;
Brown paper bags were placed on and over each contestants head rendering them blind and in the dark. It was then announced that each contestant was to remove the last thing they put on that day. Some of you, I am sure, are familiar with this game. I was not.
I took off my shoes.
We were then instructed to take off the next item we had put on that day.
I took off my socks.
There was a spattering of nervous laughter and I could sense that my fellow contestants lacked the nerve and were now dropping out. I was instructed to remove the next last thing I had put on that day.
I took off my shirt.
The laughter is becoming more raucous now and I sense that the younger attendees are being ushered to another room. I can especially hear Jeri’s Mother.

It was about then that I realized the object of this game was for me to take off the Brown Paper Bag, it being the last thing I put on that day!
I had reached a cusp and the Gauntlet had definitely been thrown...I could either remove the bag or continue to play chicken with the audience. The room is fairly howling now and through laughter I hear some one say ..
"NOW...(snickering)...TAKE OFF THE (hmm) LAST THING YOU PUT ON TODAY...."

You know I did...
I took off my pants.
The room erupts as I am left standing there in my Fruit of the Looms with a bag over my head.
It was a long moment before Jeri snatched the bag off of my head whispering angrily
and handed me my pants.
I looked over to Jeri’s mom who through tears of laughter says to me
“You are quite a little character aren’t you!”

Well that was about it for Jeri and I but I want you to know that the rest of the family just about adopted me. They were always a lot of fun to be around.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


Several posts back led to some mention of a Lady named Lily and it appeared as though I might tell the Story of Lily.
Certainly Lily wants me to. She has begged me to.
"Vanity, thy name is Woman."
Let me start out by saying that my "Ex-Wife and best friend" Shila re-married a very good friend of mine, Jeff. They had been married for a year when I met Lily.
After I met Lily and professed my love for her I was told by another friend that:
1)Shila was jealous of Lily.
2) Jeff was jealous of me.
To me, thats pretty screwed up.
Myself, I have never had much room for jealousy or the ownership of other people though I may have been better served if I had.
After much consideration I have determined that there may be some stories that are better kept to myself. Maybe this one is just for me. After 6 years it is still page to page.
My friend Creative Soul wraps these things up pretty quickly and I have to admire her for that.
And, Barbara we may have a hap-hap-happy ending yet!!!
There is no skipping to the back of the book.
But if I should nail it this weekend, ya'll will be the first to know.

Monday, October 23, 2006


The letter I forgot to send my very Religious right wing- ultra conservative-Sister.
Found 3 pretty good paragraphs today:
An Israeli official, speaking on background because of the sensitive nature of the conflict, said the bombing campaign has reduced Hezbollah's long- and medium-range rocket arsenal -- blamed in the deaths of 18 Israeli civilians -- by as much as 70 percent.
But many military analysts say the human toll exacted -- hundreds of Lebanese civilians killed and nearly a million displaced -- now far outweighs any benefits.
"These kinds of events have far more destructive value to the operation than the military value being achieved," said Harlan Ullman, a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, who coined the theory of "shock and awe" as a means to establish rapid military dominance -- often used to describe America's initial attack on Iraq.
It goes on to talk about how many people that were fairly neutral suddenly become Hezzbollah fanatics…and this is where the huge problem lies Lisa… no one can sit on their hands in front of a Terrorist Organization, nor should they be expected to. But they must remember what is so well illustrated in the book “The Lord of the Flies”….The stick is sharpened at both ends so any use of it hurts the sticker as well as the stickee…
Its such a huge problem Lisa… Jesus had a terrific answer to it but it got him where none of us is willing, or should be expected, to go. Bombs don’t work, Diplomacy (for Oil) as we know it doesn’t work… some bright person somewhere needs to think outside the box. This whole Christian/ Jew/ Islam thing might just be the end of the World… some plan. Someone, somewhere ought to be able to turn it around and say that this Christian/ Jew/ Islam thing, what a great start to some thing good, something Universal…but I don’t hear them
I can’t help but think, maybe a better word is hope, that there is a lot more that could bring us together than drive us apart. It seems like the better part of that which divides is based on words written anywhere from 1300 to 3300 years ago. Isn’t there some more current data? Isn’t there enough land, promised, Holy or otherwise that can play a role no less important than peaceful feeding and upbringing of our children? Until then, I really don’t care to keep up with the particulars of the diplomatic (for Oil) or Military efforts being exerted
Anyway, these are my incomplete and totally flawed thoughts on this. As soon as I find it I will forward you an Email I sent out a few months ago that is somewhat related…it concerned the Movie “A Patch of Blue” starring Sidney Portier.

Friday, October 20, 2006


My brother Don came to visit for a couple of days back in 1993. He was a West Point Graduate. He was a Colonel in the Corps of Engineers. Though he had grown up in this area, the growth of Dallas-Fort Worth had left it virtually unrecognizable. On the way to the airport to pick him up, I wondered what I could show him or where I could take him that would emphasize the intensity of the "sprawl" that was taking place.
Close by my house there was a Strip Mall that had gone up. An entire neighborhood of homes had been "purchased" and demolished to make way for this Strip Mall.
They call it Eminent Domain and its an offer no one can refuse.
Driving through the parking lot you wouldnot expect that 2 years prior there had been an
All-American neighborhood there.
Except for one thing...
In the center of the Parking Lot there was an Island- a rather large Island that contained the one last hold out from the old neighborhood-a 3 bedroom Brick home with all the trimmings. White picket fence, BBQ Grill, Trees , shrubs. Swing-set and Sandbox. Prettiest little house you would ever want to see. I do not know how he did it, but somehow he was fighting the system.
On the way from the Airport with Don, I drove through the Parking Lot and pulled up in front of this house, this Island, surrounded by the "Garden Ridge" "Pottery Barn" "Applebees"(somethin'good in the neighborhood) "Matress Giant" and all the typical establishments.
Don had but one word to say and one word was all that was needed.
And then..."GOOD FOR HIM!!"
My brother, the Colonel! He was always a pretty tough act to follow.
I believe that house stood another year and eventually sold for several Million dollars. Erected a Gateway Computer on the spot which was quickly replaced by CD Warehouse then a Tattoo Parlor or something.
They just finished "stealing" a huge neighborhood not far away to build Jerry Jones a Stadium

http://razarmedia.blogspot.com/ Steve Newton says he likes having fewer people around. They could remove a couple of few ten thousand from around here and I don't think anyone would notice! Thanks Steve for reminding me of Don Lynn.

Thursday, October 19, 2006



"Just a Singer in a Rock & Roll Band" (The intro was perfect; very cool)
"Born to be Wild" (the Drumline solo'd for a full minute; really interesting work)
"Summertime " from Porgy and Bess (I had to take off my shirt)
"25 or 6 to 4" (should I try to do some more?)

Its not just Marches and Waltz time these days. The music is current and the arrangements bring out the best in the kids and really excites the crowd.
I would like to see "Frankenstein" by Edgar Winter. Anyone else have a request?
Security made me put my shirt back on.


Haltom H.S. did "Area 51" by Maroon 5. Solo's by a Bassoon and a Contra-Baritone Sax*.

This Saxophone is so big that it is played while resting on a stand by a girl on a stepstool. You think I'm lyin'?
Bassoon and Sax engaged in a "Close Encounters " type Point and Counterpoint arrangement.
The Color Guard was busy emulating Aliens by trying to stay out of sight, hiding behind the Tubas and Drums.
(This was actually done two years ago but it is the best I have seen as far as being cool to watch and hear)

Marcus H.S. spent a lot of effort on the costumes and Props for their presentation titled
"Chorale Reef". The Guard wore huge Crabclaws and moved sideways trying to escape from a herd of Seahorses , 4 feet long raised in long poles to ride over the Band and flanked by Huge Starfish.
This was done to the famous "William Tell Overture".
Suddenly, a 10 Story high Swedish Chef loomed onto the field, scooped the little Crabs and Horsies and Fishes up and deposited them into a stockpot containing a nice Court-Boullion.
"Der Krabin-locken und fichen-horsten vuld begerin ault un cault un servin-dervin,
kartflervin, ibn, oh, about 10 minutes."
This latter episode may have been a figment of my Hallucination, although I was followed home by several hungry looking ghost cats...*WHEW*
This is an outstanding crowd pleasing show... at some point they are going to be the Band to beat.
Their show was memorable from last year as well...

As a Chef I have beeen involved in with people and events that demanded a high Level of Planning, Production and Execution. It all pales in comparison to what these kids and the Directors do. If you have kids, put 'em in Band... it could save their life someday.

My Daughter.
She is my Oyster.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


Where were we...
"Both at once say to me "BECAUSE SHE IS JUST A SLUT!"
Not exactly a ringing endorsement.... but you know what? You like who you like. And I pretty much do my own living and let the chips fall where they may.
You also have to consider the source(s).
You are very perceptive, Kissyface. Judge way. From what I know of you, you are right.
Nancy and Jo are not exactly the Sisters of Mercy.
But that is a whole 'nother Blog.
No joke.
Julie and I had fun. I didn't take her home and she didn't try to rape me on the dance floor. She seemed like a friend to me. I figured that I would probably see her around, and I think she thought so too. We were wrong. I haven't seen her since that one night 6 years ago.
I hope she has found something worth looking for by now.
I don't make the rounds much anymore, but from what I hear Nancy and Jo are still taking on all comers and layin' 'em in the aisles at the Hi-Hat Lounge....tell 'em I sent you.
I know people that are always in love, and then love goes, or they find out their beloved is not who they thought they were and *POOF* they are in love again with someone else.
I don't much believe it.
I think love is pretty rare and I attach a very high value to it.
We seek in others that which is the deepest reflection of ourselves. To the extent with which we value that reflection, we will either experience, or fake, a sense of self esteem.
At that time in my life I had been divorced for about 3 years; I might have been walking around but inside I was deader than a Beaver Hat.
Sure, I missed love... that is to say I missed the softening of the heart that occurs when you find some resonance in your life.
Then I ran into Lily. It was a few weeks after dancing with Julie and she stole my heart.
So, Lily, we start at thebeginning.....

(to be continued)

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


"You can drink it, or you can nurse it
It don't matter how you Worship
As long as you're down on your knees."
Light as a Breeze

I love the way songwriters can say so much with so few words.

"I had some trouble, but I'm ....OK
Been through the wringer but I'm....OK
Walls are fallin' but I'm.....OK"
Fascist Architecture

It seems so long ago; I've been telling that story for years.
I have changed a lot in the last six years.
Sometimes I hardly recognize myself.
Part of it is in the story, but not the way you might think.
See, if someone told me guys weren't talking to her for those reasons, I would no longer make the kind of remark I was once so proud of.
Too unkind.
Instead I would say 5 simple words:
"You can talk to me"

I have hurt an lot of people close to me with my humor and quick wit.
You won't do much harm by being kind, and just a little kindness goes a long, long way.
I learned that its OK to joke yourself, but its not OK to joke other people.
I still tread too heavily on occasion.

There was a time when I didn't give a good gol durn what anyone thought of me.
I'm fine, thank you very much.
I see it differently now; its important what people think of you.
Its good for people to like you.
Lets take it a little further.
The most powerful force that I have seen is when people think that you like them.

Enough of all that.
There is more, something deeper, as well, but I don't quite have the words for that yet.

Saturday, October 14, 2006


Last week I wrote about a bit of an adventure ( see "I lIKE MY SUGAR SWEET") I took at a local Bar. I received many conciliatory comments concerning treatment I received fom a lady there. While I am apreciative of such comments it is only fair that I point in defense of this lady that we do not know to what lengths she had been badgered before she ran into me. I am sure that a lady tires of "cock-blocking" and some of the attempts suitors may try are probably quite absurd. While she was in no danger that I would try to inflict myself upon her, there are probably more than a few mullets willing to try the WarnerBrothers- Loony Tunes cartoon pick-up approach that I so poorly presented.
Even when I was younger, faster and better looking I never considered myself enough of a cocksman to walk into a Bar and exit with a young lady on my arm with horizontal refreshments being our next stop. Not that it did not happen on occasion but this was certainly the 100 to 1 shot. In all honesty, I never left a bar for that reason with a gal I didn't already know.
I just don't warm up that quick.
I had several musician friends that I would go to see a various clubs. None were famous, although Buddy has been the Lead Guitarist for no less than John Mayall, ten years now.
Just local guys mostly, doing covers, and a lot of times I would help them break down and load up at the end of the night. I went for the music and the friendship.
I knew most of the regulars at two of the bars, but mostly from a distance.
A lot of the Musician's friends had become my friends as well.
Fifteen years ago, I began to notice a bit of a trend.
Invariably, I would be approached by a girl that would introduce herself by saying:
" Why is it that a when a guy finds out that he is not going to take you home he does not want to talk to you anymore?"
I'm just a regular lookin' guy...it didn't happen often...the recurring introductory statement was very odd...
Over the period of three years I guess it happened 5 times.
I guess it was the second instance that I fell into my comeback line:

"Maybe you would have better luck at Church".

I never actually got my face slapped but I wasn't winning any friends either. Nobody seemed to find the humor in it, and they would move on, looking for a more sympathetic ear, I suppose.
I liked it, though; I thought it was hilarious and quite insightful and very good advice.
One night a fairly pretty young lady approached me.

"Why is it that when a guy finds out you aren't going home with him , he doesn't want to talk to you anymore?"
"Maybe you would have better luck at Church"

She looked at me kind of quizzingly for a moment and began to laugh; a real laugh, right from the gut.
'Oh, thats funny" she says 'is that like supposed to be a joke?"
I told her that yes, it was supposed to be a joke and that I was glad she didn't take it personal and that for some time I had had women approach me with the remark that she had made.
I asked her if finding a guy that didn't want to take her home was really her goal.
She laughed again!
I've said before that I generally don't warm up to people that quick, but here was someone that was not immediatly offended. She even seemed to think, as I did, that this slightly rude remark had a certain wit to it.
So we talked for a while and she seemed OK.....
I even began to warm up to her a little bit....
She kept laughing at most of my jokes...
After 20 minutes I still had not run her off...
Even dancing with her did not run her off. In fact, before too long, as she was rubbing herself up against my thigh, I began to get the picture that if I so wanted, I would be able to take this girl home.
A bit of a paradox, no?

I excused myself for a moment and went to the mens room. On the way back I saw two friends, Nancy and Jo; I thought I might ask them about my new friend Julie and met them at one end of the Bar. Nancy and Jo knew everybody.
We exchanged the usual greetings ; I had known them for years.
"Hey, I just met this girl Julie. Do ya'll know her?"
"Who?" asks Nancy
"Julie" I say and point her out. 'She seems just real nice"
'Oh God, Steve, no, no, NO!" says Jo and she and Nancy suddenly develop a case of the giggles.
They are, like, rolling their eyes and clutching each other.
"Why not?" I ask, the picture of innocence, and a little disappointed.
Both at once say to me "BECAUSE SHE IS JUST A SLUT!"

(to be continued)

Thursday, October 12, 2006


When I first started looking at blogs I was inspired to write a lot of E-mails. Through the glory of the Internet I found my Dad's old best friend, Bruce, was still alive and this is what I wrote him:

Bruce Myers was my fathers very best friend while I was growing up which was just fine with me because I liked Bruce maybe as much as my father did. Where my father was dry and always under control, Bruce was effusive and jolly. They never spoke curtly to each other and always had a good time together. Their relationship was centered around fishing and Highballs……..and according to them this is how it all got started.
Bruce and Jack (my Dad) worked together for Hobbs Trailers. It was 1958 life was good and they were in their prime. Jack was a big time fisherman while Bruce was, well, I have no idea what Bruce was before fishing, except a really nice guy. Since they were going to be best friends for a long time it was important that Jack get Bruce onto the water in search of the big Bass or anything that would bite.
So Jack takes Bruce fishing, using all the popular lures of the day. Before too long, Jack catches a fish which excites the very excitable Bruce.
“What did you catch him on? “ Bruce wants to know.
“A Jiitterbug” replies Jack.
“Nah, now Jack, don’t go puttin’ me on” Bruce says, thinking no way could a Fishing lure be named after a 20's dance.
“Not a bit”says Jack and shows Bruce the lure with “Jitterbug” printed plainly on the lure.
“Well I’ll be”says Bruce”I want one of those”
Jack ties the Jitterbug on for Bruce to use. Before too long Jack catches another fish. Bruce is curious. “Whatcha catch ‘im on?”
“A Devils Horse.”
“Nah, now Jack, don’t put me on”
“Here it is written right on the lure, "Devils Horse!"” So Jack has Bruce tie on a Devils Horse.
Now Bruce is very intrigued about the names of these lures and wants to know more names so Jack begins to recite some Lure names to Bruce including the Classic ‘Hellbender’ and “Water Dog” and "Boy Howdy" which Bruce sees in the tackle box as being for real.
Jack sees an opportunity. He was very well known in Sporting Goods Departments as having names for Lures that did not exist. Names like “The Bottom Scratcher” “Doodlesocker” and “Gullywampus”. There was the "Rebel Yell" "Dirty Bastard" and 'Who hit John" none of which were actual lures, just names Dad drempt up.
Jack had a million or so screwball names for lures and Bruce is now a true believer and I’m sure Jack layed it on pretty thick. Dad used to call one ' Swivelhip Susie", probably the dirtiest thing I ever heard him say.
The next day at work Bruce comes in, high on Fishing, and tells Jack that at lunch he wants to go down to Leonards Department store and buy a Rod and Reel, a tackle box and all those lures they had talked about the day before.
“Can you make me a list of those lures, Jack?”
“Glad to, Bruce”
Enter Bruce into the Sporting Goods Department. Friendly salesperson helps him find a Rod, reel and Tackle box. Now Bruce says “I’ve got a list of lures here” and hands it to the salesperson who studies the list for a moment then looks up to Bruce with a funny grin.
Like I said, Dad was famous for these lures.
"Is there something wrong?" Asks Bruce.
“No,no”, says the salesman, and with a chuckle adds “But you must have been talking to Jack

Bruce wrote back to me thanking me for reminding me of his old friend Jack, and assured me that every word was true.
When I was growing up I must have heard this story a thousand times and never grew tired of hearing it. I'd give anything to be sittin' on a campstool by a fire, listening to the two of them go on into the night with their friendly banter.
I don't know how this comes across to those of you that did not know Jack and Bruce.


Up till now I have said little about my father, a truly good man. He fought in WWII in North Africa and Italy under General Patton. There was a cigar that seemed to be a permanent fixture in Dad's mouth which he used to great effect as he talked to you. Dad could move that cigar from one side of his mouth to the other and you never saw his lips move. It was as though it rode on ball-bearings. Surreal. Whenever Dad wanted to put some puctuation to any remark he might be making, the cigar would come out of his mouth and he would study the cigar, and the ribbons of smoke that came off of it.
When I turned 16 and got a car, I met a girl at a Junior Acheivement Dance. She was not my first girlfriend but she was the first with me having a Drivers License and a car. A whole new world was opened up. Her name was Jeri, and man, this girl could dance!
She was also very pretty, with blonde hair down to the small of her back, Ice-blue eyes and pouty lips that shone with Ice-Cream lipstick.. I am sure that it was her good looks that prompted my Dad into one of our little conversations.
After coming in from a date with Jeri, Dad sat me down.
"Thats a real nice lookin' girl you are seein' there son"
"Thanks Dad"
"You know, son, one of these days that little girl is gonna get the hot pants for you"!
"Undoubtedly, Father"
The cigar comes out and we both study it for a long moment.
"Well when that happens I want for you to take her on to her house and you just come on home too."
'Sure Pop"

There were other signs that Dad was losin' it.
His signature was getting sloppy and his writing wandered off the line.
When we worked on the car, he had trouble getting the screwdriver into the slot.
When he pulled up to a stop sign, sometimes he stopped 20 feet in front of it.
I thought jokingly that he must be getting senile.

Two years later in 1975, I heard a Medical term I had never heard before.
Dad had a "remarkable" form of it and it left him completely disabled at the age of 58 years old.
Dad always told me what the right thing to do would be.
I let him down a lot.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


I am not well educated, but I do have a good memory.
I am trying to remember if the U.S. has ever invaded a country and built a Democracy.
I don't think liberating Europe counts.
WE have a Memorial for the roughly 58,000 lost in Vietnam.
There is no memorial in Vietnam for the 1.3 Million Vietnamese that lost their lives.
This doesn't count the 2-4 million estimated Vietnam civilians.
Seems like we are involved in a fairly sorry War in Iraq.
I hear Kissinger is advising the Administration.

The Call
(France, August first, 1914)

Far and near, high and clear,
Hark to the call of War!
Over the gorse and the golden dells,
Ringing and swinging of clamourous bells,
Praying and saying of wild farewells:
War! War! War!

High and low, all must go:
Hark to the shout of War!
Leave to the women the harvest yield;
Gird ye men for the sinister field;
A sabre instead of a scythe to wield:
War! War! War!

Rich and poor, lord and boor,
Hark to the blast of War!
Tinker and tailer and millionaire,
Actor in triumph and priest in prayer,
Comrades now in the hell out there,
Sweep to the fire of War!

Prince and page, sot and sage,
Hark to the roar of War!
Poet, professor and circus clown,
Chimney-sweeper and fop o' the town,
Into the pot and be melted down:
Into the pot of War!

Women all, hear the call,
The pitiless call of War!
Look your last on your dearest ones,
Brothers and husbands, fathers, sons:
Swift they go to the ravenous guns,
The gluttonous guns of War.

Everywhere thrill the air,
The maniac bells of War.
There will be little of sleeping to-night;
There will be wailing and weeping to-night;
Death's red sickle is reaping to-night;
War! War! War!

Robert Service

Monday, October 09, 2006


After the competition on Saturday, I went with a friend to see a band called "Naked Lunch" that does all Steely Dan covers. I’m not that big on Steely Dan but they don’t let me out much and I thought I might see if I had developed any Social Skills during my recluseship the last few years. I was aloso ready to celebrate the results of the competition, which I will share with you momentarily.
Now the one thing I do know is that I got no 'game"- never had one, never will.
I don't generally warm up to people very quickly. But I do have an outstanding sense of humor, and if anyone wants a few grins, well, I'm your man.
I had 2-3 drinks at the bar and was feelin’ pretty frisky (I am a cheap date with a very low tolerance) when a young lady, a good lookin’ young lady, steps to the bar right next to me. We smile politely at each other as she studies the selection of libations behind the bar. Sensing her indecisiveness, I turn to look at the selections and find one she is sure to be pleased with.
A bottle of "FOXHORN" wine, available by the glass.
I point it out to her saying
"they have that good "Foxhorn-Leghorn wine, you oughta’ try that one".
What kind?" she asks.
"Foxhorn-Leghorn" I snicker back, pointing to the bottle.
A cold stare is all I get.
I'm in a very good mood and want the world to be there with me so I implore:
"You know, "Foxhorn-Leghorn" I says in my sweetest voice,"the big chicken hawk or rooster or sumthin' , in the Cartoon that fights with the dawg and says stuff like
‘I say, I say, that boy is missin’ a wheel off his baaaaabeeee carriage’"
She looks down her nose at me like I am truly chopped liver and says
"Its FOGhorn-Leghorn, idiot!"
and walks off in disgust.

Right... FOGhorn...whats the matter with me?
I’ll never go back to that place, I tell you what!

In the Regional Marching Band Competition, The L.D Bell Band placed 1st!
They also were commended with "Outstanding Overall Effect" award.
Next stop- State Championship in November.

Thursday, October 05, 2006


Post completed!
Link is not for the Faint of Heart, Pregnant Women, Mamby-Pamby Men, or those of you that may be capable of severe histrionics. May cause sleeplessnes and make it hard to wake up in the morning. Increased desire for the eating of Mud and drymouth are common occurances.
Brain Salad Surgery is always an option.
No Sexual side effects have been appreciated so you'll have to just move on.
You must be this tall to ride this ride.

The program this year is called "The Remaining". Tomorrow, Saturday the 7th October, is the first competition event of the year, UIL Regionals. Two years ago they placed first at Regionals and last year they fell to second; they were .05 pts. short of a tie.

Three weeks before the start of school, the Athletics Department begins the two-a day practices we have all heard the Football Players grumble about about.
At the same time, the L.D. Bell Band starts their three-a-days.
The Director, Mr. E, refers to his kids as 'Student Athelete Musicians"; they drill for 8 hours a day for 4 days a week before school starts up for the fall. Its serious business and the kids...well they have to be dedicated to the program.
I wish I had the words to describe the overall presentation.
As amazing as the show is, its the practices that knock my socks off.
They will practice a 30-second segment over and over and over again- sometimes 10 times before they move on to the next segment. Five days a week, over and over again. The whole time., Mr. E is giving instructions over the Bullhorn. Last year, he told them that they must
"Play with emotion...playing with emotion doesnt mean playing softer, its playing hurt, and bold and dark and loud and you have to bring the Audience onto the field, right in front of you where they can see the tear in your eye and they know you mean it...now we do it again" and the kids say in unison"HUSTLE" and they run back to their starting points.
They do it till their lips bleed.
Desire ,Dedication, Teamwork, Constant Improvement towards Perfection. Being on time, ready to work. Following insrtuctions. Getting enough sleep and eating right.
Confidence and Self-Esteem.

Last years show was called "Ascension" and the Music was taken from "Rhapsody in Blue" by Gershwin, 'Dark Blue World" and finished with a piece by Jennifer Higdon called "Blue Cathedral". 'Blue Cathedral" was written for her brother who had fallen to cancer, and the music soars with emotion. The visual effect is stunning as the 60 members of the *Color Guard divide in 1/2; one lays on the ground while the other ceremoniously covers her with one of the several flags that are used for the show. The music is somber. Then as the girls rise, as they "Ascend", spiralling and floating on enormous Lavender and Gold flags, the music comes to a Crescendo.

This years program is a continuation of that theme..."The Remaining". The Intro is a heartbeat, slowly enter a very hollow sound thats made by dragging a bowstring across the edges of the Marimbas, bring in the bells and a little Boris Karloff sounding keyboard. The Band begins a discordant 10 second moment that sounds like they are warming up ...discord fades into Harmony and away we go!
Though we compete tomorrow, it is still very much a work in progress, and will be until we go to Indy in November.

Kissyface, you might be interested to know that in the Music for almost every Band I have seen perform, there is at least one movement that is so Zappa its frightening. All disjointed and convoluted and complicated and very...well, its a trip! First the drum with a choppy beat, then up and down several scales on the Marimbas as fast as they can, then a couple trumpet Blasts and then they stop it on a dime. Wash, rinse and repeat.
"Have a cup o' coffee, give my foot a push"

There may be Video of me 'bumpin' and grindin" and I will be proud to put it up.
I mean, I can swing my arms and stomp my feet, and
I may look as though I'm double- jointed,
I can assure you completely
I'm no Bill Cosby.
I am all the way broke down.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


My daughter Aubree' plays the flute. She is 17 and a Senior in High School. The Band consists of 260 kids and they have earned a reputation Nationally. Thats all well and good, but what I want you all to know is that what the program, the Director, and his staff have done for my Daughter I could not have done using a million words.
I went to the Bell Band Pizzafest Fundraiser on Friday
Night. They had Raffle tickets and a Silent Auction. The child's mother, Shila, said she
bid on something for me but would not say what...

I bid on some Photographs from the Grand Nationals in Indianapolis last year. They had placed 3rd out of the 120 bands represented. I also bought some raffle tickets for a Dallas Stars Hockey Jersey signed by Modano. If I had won, I would have sent it to my nephew Davy. He is so nuts on hockey, he has a piece of Plexiglass on the back porch and fires shots into a Rubbermaid trash can with a hole cut in it.
I bid on a Unicycle. I think I'd look good on a unicycle.

The Pizza is set up in the Gymnasium. It is a raucous affair, people on the floor eating, and in the stands waiting for the show to start. Actually the show has already begun. Before the Bell band plays, two area Junior High Bands have been invited to entertain us as we eat and the auction takes place.
They are doing the best they can to play "Smoke on the Water" and "Joy to the World".
The Cheerleading Squads are fired up and all the kids are dancing to  "Ice Ice Baby".

The excitement builds as the Bell Band files in. The percussion section is huge, with Bells and Marimbas and Xylophone's and all types of drums. The Drumline is set up on the floor with the rest of the band in the pull out bleachers. It is LOUD and the House is a Rockin'.

I'm sitting in the stands of the Gym with 500 other people and Shila.
The Band plays through the program they are taking to the Grand Nationals this year. It is called "The Remaining". http://theremaining.org/

Suddenly, I hear my name over the Public Address.
Shila has won her bid!
The bid was for the Honor of leading the Band in the ol' School Fight Song. They need me to direct! I race to the front, struttin' and doing a little dance.

I locate Aubree' in the stands; she has turned Lobster red.
I climb to the top of the podium, its like a stepladder the Director directs from. The Band Director hands me a little baton, and whispers "Do you know how to keep time?"
"Sure I do Boss!"
I lied. I had no idea what to do.
But, these kids are well trained. I bet they can play the Fight Song without any help from me.

I turn to the Audience and do my best Slow Motion Drill Sergeant salute which starts at the knees (when the real Sergeants do it, its pretty cool looking and every band has their own Salute) and finishes with a gesture like a truck Driver blowing his horn.
Very cool.
I needed gloves and a hat.
I turn back to the Band, tap the little baton on the podium rail,  and yell  "uh-one an'a two an' AWAY WE GO"!
The crowd goes WILD!
The judges give me..........ALL TENS!

The band plays the fight song while I do the "Monkey", the "Pony", "The Freak Show on the Dance Floor " and some other stuff I just made up, right there in the middle of the gym and 500 screaming band parents.

I told Aubree' after the show that they sounded a little
weak on the Fight Song and she said it was because 2/3 of the Band was laughing at me
so hard they could not play.
Oh, we are going to have so much fun this year!