Monday, December 04, 2017


Not feeling all that great today. One of my teaching colleagues died over the weekend. Cancer. Multiple myeloma. Same thing that got my Dad. And just like my Dad, it wasn't the cancer that killed her, it was the treatment, which weakened her and she lost a battle to an infection. She had just been diagnosed a month ago. She was still teaching up to two weeks ago. We expected her to fight a long hard battle and win. But before we knew it, she was gone.

Mrs Lambert was the longest current tenured teacher at my school. But she was only in her mid-fifties when she died. She was one of the saintliest people I knew. She always was positive, always positive. She was a great witness for Christ. In eighteen years of working next door to her I never saw her have a bad day. Not one. Unreal. A very special person. So empathetic and caring and giving to others.

Life can be pretty rotten at times.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017


In Patagonia. Bruce Chatwin. 1977. I read this whenever I get restless. Plus, it's been gray outside for over a week. I always picture Patagonia in shades of gray. Chatwin would spell that grey. He was English and they spell things that way.

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Rainy Day

It's raining on the northern downs of the Texas plain.

Time to listen to Brazzaville.

Brazzaville is always a good listen on rainy days.

Monday, November 06, 2017

Cowboys Game

Yesterday, I took Jackson to his first Dallas Cowboys game. It was only my second NFL game, my first being a Chiefs game in Arrowhead Stadium in 1985.

The Chiefs were in town and some friends of ours who have season tickets were gracious enough to give us their tickets for the game.

We had a blast. The logistics worked great. We reserved parking online at a lot next to the Rangers Ballpark and schlepped half a mile to AT&T stadium. The walk wasn't too bad and allowed us to miss a lot of traffic both to the game and afterwards. We got in and out pretty quickly for a big event like that.

Our tickets were in the west end zone. We had a great view. Both Jackson and I had been to the stadium before for different events, me a U2 concert and Jackson for a stadium tour with his class last year. They had the roof closed, which is a shame since it was a beautiful day. But I'm sure they wanted to create a noisy home field advantage.

I was surprised by the number of Chiefs fans in attendance. Almost 40% of the crowd was wearing red. The Kansas City War Chant echoed through the stadium. This led to a raucous and fun atmosphere.

Yes, everything is overpriced. Yes, it is very crowded with a mass of humanity. Yes, the alcohol flows. But the crowd was decently behaved, that might not be the case against a divisional rival. But everyone was friendly and perhaps that was also due to the fact that Dallas won.

My son is a Cowboys fan and I'm glad he enjoyed his first pro football game. For me, it's not something I could do every year. Maybe every five or ten years. We had a blast. If I ever swing free tickets again, I'll go back. But man, if you're paying for the tickets, it gets expensive quickly.

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

The Original Buddy Holly of Happy Days of Yore

So I figured after showing Prairie Home Companion's impromptu version of Buddy Holly I'd post the original. This video is one of the greatest videos of all time.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Free Catalunya

I only lived in Catalunya one year, but that year changed everything for me. I had an amazing experience there. The people welcomed me like family. I remain in contact with many of them. If they say they need independence from Spain, I trust them and I will entrust them with my support.

Catalunya has never wanted to be a part of Spain. Catalans speak a different language, have a unique culture and an independent political tradition. They lost their independence in 1714 in the War of Spanish Succession. They backed the Hapsburgs. The Bourbons won. Catalunya lost.

Spain brutally suppressed Catalan culture in the mid twentieth century under the fascist regime of Generalissimo Franco. Even the Catalan language was banned.

I believe that Catalunya would have been willing to remain a part of Spain if it wasn't for the steady eroding of Catalan autonomy as promised in the new Spanish constitution following Franco's death. Catalunya is the largest economic engine in Spain. And they are being over-taxed by the Madrid based government. And when the Catalans tried to vote peacefully on an independence referendum, the Spanish brought out their jack booted thugs and attacked unarmed people.

Catalunya is not like Scotland or Texas. They are genetically and linguistically distinct from Spain. They have a unique historical identity. They deserve sovereignty.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Blue Grass Buddy Holly

Here is Chris Thile and the Prairie Home Companion gang performing mine and Jackson's song request from two weeks ago. A blue grass version of Buddy Holly by Weezer. Pretty sweet. I apologize for the video quality. Just a capture with the phone.

Coincidentally, Weezer dropped a new album today: Pacific Daydream. Always a good day when a new Weezer album drops. I haven't heard the whole thing yet. Downloaded this morning via iTunes. Have yet to listen to all of it. Been at work. Different sound for the Weez. Some I dig. Some of the songs need a second listen before judgement.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Made it on Prairie Home Companion...sort of

One of my favorite fall routines is watching the live stream of Prairie Home Companion on Saturday evenings. PHC was always just available on the radio but now I can actually watch the broadcast on our TV with the YouTube app via their live stream of the show.

The show has changed quite a bit the past year. Last season was the first in forty years without Garrison Keillor as host. One of my favorite musicians, Chris Thile, took over the hosting duties last year and has done a fantastic job.

Thile introduced a new segment on the show called Instant Song Request. Before the intermission Thile sends out a tweet asking for song requests that they will play about five minutes later after the intermission. They try to select songs no one on the stage has performed before.

So every week, my son and I send in our request. We've always requested Buddy Holly by Weezer. We have never thought we'd get picked.

But last week we got picked! Chris Thile, one of my musical heroes, mentioned my name on the show! They performed the song! Jackson and I were so happy!

I happened to video the moment. For some reason I thought maybe this might be the week. But I truly didn't believe. You can hear my excitement in the video. Check it out above ^ ^ ^

Pretty cool moment.

I'll post their actual version of the Buddy Holly in the next few days. So Great.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Fair Day

Yesterday we carried on our annual family tradition of going to the State Fair of Texas. Our school district gives every student and teacher a free ticket to the fair and school is out on Fair Day to allow student the opportunity to attend the fair.

We had a great time despite record heat. Pig races, magic shows, guys slam dunking basketballs off of trampolines were the some of the highlights. Terribly unhealthy food and weird exhibits make the fair great fun. We checked out some of the auto show...I've got my eyes on a new vehicle to replace my 15 year old truck. Rode some rides and browsed the markets.

Still, one day is not enough. When I retire some day I will buy a season pass and make several visits to the fairgrounds in October. I would like to just sit and watch the weird people who come to the fair.

photo: me and Little Big Tex watching guys from Hungary slam dunking basketballs off trampolines.

Thursday, October 05, 2017

New Blade Runner

So the new Blade Runner is out. Blade Runner 2049 takes place thirty years after the original.

It had been awhile since I had watched the original Blade Runner, so I dusted off the DVD of the Director's Cut and watched it this past weekend. The movie still holds up very nicely.

When Blade Runner was first released I wasn't sure what to make of it. I was nine years old when it was on theaters and I didn't get to watch it until a couple of years later when it was broadcast on TV. I was eleven or twelve before first seeing it.

I was fascinated with the scenery and the depiction of 2019 Los Angeles. I used to draw pictures of Blade Runner's dystopian vision of LA in my spiral notebook during 7th grade math class. I wasn't sure exactly what was going on in the story. Han Solo/Indiana Jones going after fake humans in a bleak future, that's about all I got. I didn't catch most of the subtext or the subtleties. The movie caught me off-guard. This wasn't the Harrison Ford I was expecting. It was dark and weird and haunting. But I liked it even if I didn't understand all of it.

This was the TV broadcast version with the later dubbed in narration which purists abhor. A happier ending was tacked on and there was no unicorn scene. The TV version was also edited for content and time. But I didn't know the difference.

Later in high school I rented the theatrical version at the video store. Then when I was in college they released the Director's Cut. I went to the theater to see it in 1992. No voice over narration, no happy ending and that weird unicorn scene. It was great. Years later I bought the DVD, which I still have. It wasn't until college that I began to appreciate the movie on a deeper basis.

I still haven't seen The Final Cut which I'm told is more about aesthetics than any real content change. My DVD version didn't hold up well in terms of High Definition on my modern flat screen TV. I might have to check out a Blu-Ray version.

I like all the versions of this movie that I've seen. What this movie really is is a classic film noir story in a futuristic setting. It has all the film noir tropes. The good guy has ambiguous moral standards, smoky dark locations, a mysterious femme fatale, a big complex conspiratorial system, and a complex bad guy. So even the hated voice over narration of the theatrical version doesn't bother me so much because that all fits the film noir tradition. I love film noir and this is a perfect example of what film noir is.

Of course it's much more than that. Sci-fi, mystery, love story...a lot in this movie. I'm nervous about this new one. I hope it doesn't screw up our ideas of Blade Runner. But of course, if it truly fits the Blade Runner narrative there will be a bunch of different cuts released over the next few years. Maybe I'll like one of those.