Monday, June 30, 2008

Feel the Power

Chainsaw massacre
Originally uploaded by Darrell
I found a way to get my son out of the house and into the yard: power tools! Upon our return from the Great Texas Road Trip, we discovered that a tree in our yard had split. It was leaning on a fence and crushing some landscaping, so we had to remove it. We did what we could with a hand saw, but the job called for the brack-brack-brack of a chainsaw. His eyes it up like lit was Christmas or something.
I had worked up a mighty sweat carving up the tree and helping the wife haul off the limbs, so I was content to sit back and watch him work. I have to admit he attacked the task with zeal. The thing is, he has shown that with sufficient motivation he can be a pretty hard worker.
Do they allow power tools at college?

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I Guess I Look Like a Drug Runner

Twice this spring and summer while driving to Houston, I have been stopped by police officers. Neither time did I get any kind of ticket or citation. The first time, a city policeman pulled me over and advised me that I had made an "unsafe lane change." He peered through my windows then asked for my license and proof of insurance. He asked me where I was going and why I was going there, then he let me go on about my business.
This most recent weekend, a deputy sheriff slipped up behind me and hit the lights. I pulled over. He moseyed up to the car asked for the same credentials and told me the license plate on the car I was driving needed to be better lighted. It was a temporary plate on a rental car. He seemed skeptical until I showed him the rental agreement. He took my license and insurance card, sat in his car a while and then handed them back to me and sent me on my way. Before he did, though, he asked me where I was going and why I was going there.
I answered the questions politely, even though my comings and goings frankly are none of their business. Still, I had nothing to hide, so why make a scene?
Apparently, there's some profiling going on. On both occasions, I was driving (quite coincidentally, by the way) a rented Chevy Trail Blazer on a north-south U.S. highway in east Texas. It makes you wonder if law enforcement agencies have received some kind of memo about middle aged white guys muling smack in rented Trail Blazers. Hey, maybe that's just me watching too many cop shows on the teevee. Unsafe lane change? License plate too dark? We all know those officers put their lives on the line for much more important things, so we must assume they are employing some kind of mechanism to look for more important things.
If you strip me down to my true feelings, I don't think policemen ought to be detaining Guys Like Me for no real reason. The older I get, though, the more I realize that it's prudent just to cooperate. Keep your hands on the wheel, give them what they ask for and usually they will politely go away. If you're nasty to them, you might just get a ticket for unsafe lane change, and who wants to fight that? Plus, as I age, I seem to see these officers as hard working kids out there trying to do some good. There's no reason to mess with them.
Who knows, they might catch a drug runner who forgot to illuminate the license plate on his rented Trail Blazer.

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Sunday, June 29, 2008

Leftovers From the Road

Good Eats!
Originally uploaded by Darrell
This little dish compelled me to drive a considerable distance away from my ultimate weekend destination. It's shrimp, chopped and mixed with avocado, lime, pico de gallo and cilantro. It's served with tortilla chips. I had it last summer and it was so good I just had to have it again.
I planned my Saturday around my desire to immerse myself in this appetizer's allure. Mix it with great company, a cold drink and some time to kill and you're living right. My main dish, yellowfin tuna, was wonderful. Few things make me happier than a good meal on a good day. Getting there required me to take a ferry, but it was worth it. If you have a chance to eat at Virginia's by the Bay in Port Aransas, do it. We hung out for more than two hours. The day was pleasant, the view was terrific and the food was outstanding.
We were driven from the beach by a storm, but that was fun in its own way. We also spent some time along the bay in Corpus Christi where the prevailing winds were so strong that we were caught a little off-guard. The consistent gale was a bit of a gift, though, because it blew us dry following our seaside drenching earlier in the day. The Arena Football team scored 80 points and won. We got to see the best friend and his family in Houston. So, overall we had quite a pleasant weekend.

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We Always Have Arkansas

Here in Shreveport, many of us were amused, some of us were mortified, but none of us was surprised when this photo becaame a mini-sensation on the internet. This shows a man in a scooter designed for the elderly or handicapped, in line at a drive-through window of a local liquor store. As preposterous as that may seem to outside observers, I do believe we have been bested.
Ladies and gentlemen, I direct your attention to Morrilton, Arkansas and a photo we are told was taken on June 27, 2008: It's not Cajun Liquor, it's Tobacco Corner. When mama needs her chew, mama needs her chew. it don't matter none if you're cutting the grass and it don't matter none if she's in her mumu. Their money is just as green as that man from the city driving the Cadillac.

Just for the record, I haven't verified any of these alleged facts. I don't see any real reason to. The photo speaks for itself.

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Saturday, June 28, 2008

Our Day at the Beach

(Port Aransas, TX) - "Honey, come with me. We'll go to the beach," I said earlier in the week. True to my word, we did. Just as we settled in with a breeze-kissed view of the Gulf of Mexico, there was a sudden turn of events. A gust, a gale, a raindrop, a deluge. It was raining so hard that the drops stung against our skin like pellets.
Laughing, we realized that running for cover was a ridiclous pursuit. There was no cover. We were at least three football fields away from the car. Actually running would not only potentially injure us, it would likely make the raindrops sting just a little more.
So, we stood there soaked to the skin, at one with nature. Fortunately, we knew some people who were parked nearby in an RV. Pitifully, we begged for shelter and a place to change clothes.
As we drove toward our inland destination, the sun emerged from the clouds. We got our moment at the beach though. I'm a man of my word.

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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Daddy D in the News

The tree relocation thing got some attention in the newspaper. Here's the story, written by the lovely April Reynolds:

Live Oak relocates 10 decades-old oak trees

By April Reynolds

When it came time for Live Oak Retirement Community to grow, expansion did not mean losing its signature, more than two-decade-old live oak trees.

The retirement community, a part of Willis-Knighton Health System, is in store for great renovations, announced at Live Oak's 25th anniversary celebration in 2007. To open up accessibility to the center and prepare for the new era at Live Oak, the current drive up is also being expanded.

In the process, Live Oak would have to destroy the already-in-place 10 oak trees planted approximately 25 years ago. However, to honor the legacy in place, relocation proved the best option.

"The name of the place is Live Oak, so they planted live oaks along the path," Assistant Administrator Darrell Rebouche said. "The trees were planted as a part of the Live Oak legacy 26 years ago.

"So in order to preserve the Live Oak legacy, we decided to relocate the Oak trees."

Relocation commenced the day after Memorial Day and ended June 14, with work taking place in intervals. After an almost month-long process, Live Oak retains its signature oak trees, now replanted to shape the new entrance. "This is one of the first steps in the first phases of development."

Rebouche said relocation started with uprooting each individual tree — a daylong process done by hand in order to preserve as much of the root structure as possible. About six workers were used to dig out each tree. "They dig by hand," he said. "They painstakingly uprooted each tree."

Bud Kingcaid, supervisor with W.W. Tree Farms of Dallas, said after digging out each tree and root structure, burlap and wire were used to secure.

"Once we have everything dug and burlaped, we get the crane in," he said the crane then lifts the trees for relocation. "And we just move the tree."

Kingcaid said the new holes were already dug before the trees were moved. The holes were 15 feet across to accommodate the trees, which measure 225 inches around the root ball. Kingcaid said workers measure the trunk to determine the size of the root ball, which in turn determines the size of the hole needed for planting.

And when moving each tree, he said 10-ton weights were needed to balance the 165-ton cranes used for relocation.

Kenneth Daniel, supervisor of Barnhart Crane and Rigging, said about two or three of the oaks weighed 115,000-125,000 pounds, while some of the largest weighed 135,000-140,000 pounds.

"We lift and set, lift and set," Daniel said.

Kingcaid said there's a certain risk of shock to trees any time they are moved and replanted. However, of Live Oak's 10 oak trees he said, "These will do well."

Kingcaid said the trees will have to be watered for a year, maybe daily at first and every other day as the summer continues. After a year, he said watering can return to natural watering only.

"It's like babysitting a house plant. You have to have a green thumb," Daniel said.

Also, Kingcaid said pumps were built into each of the new holes where trees were replanted. He said if too much water gets into area, the effect would be like drowning a tree.

"The water will tend to fill up the hole, and the pumps will turn on and pump the water out of the hole," he said. "You want water, but not too much water."

Kingcaid said some trees had been moved on June 9 and the pumps were not installed yet. However, the storms didn't affect the trees. He said that one time of heavy rains didn't damage the trees.

Over the weeks, Rebouche said the tree relocation process became a spectator sport.

"It was really something to see. People came, parked their cars and watched," he said. "There was a lot of heavy lifting and a lot of manpower. It was fascinating to watch."

Rebouche said a four-story residential tower and chapel are among the coming additions at Live Oak.

"They're really going to raise the aesthetic level," he said.

Rebouche described the center as a quarter of a century old, with a great history thus far. The hope is to only improve the retirement facility for many more years to come.

"We believe at Willis-Knighton it will be that much better," Rebouche said of Live Oak, post expansion and renovation.

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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Spokesmodel Speaks

I was asked to speak to a retreat for board members of a nationally-recognized philanthropic organization. That's shocking in and of itself, is it not? The topic was, "How do we get the media in our local markets to give us more coverage about the good work we do?"
It still amazes me the lack of awareness that, successful people...have about how editorial decisions are made.
Some people still believe that they can call the general manager of a TV station, because he's a golf buddy or whatever, and "place" a story on the news. "Yeah, I called Ed and told him we needed something on the news about xyz." THEY THINK THAT WORKS! I suppose somehwere along the way, it must have. Some misguided GM started commanding producers or a news director to do some story that didn't fairly and ethically make its way through the editorial process. Of course, that chills me to the bone, but it doesn't surprise me.
What did throw me for a loss was these directors' lack of awareness of the importance of their organization's web page in the modern media world. I told them I had gone to their website to research my presenation and I found it alarmingly lacking in aesthetics and content. At first they seemed confused. Then, they started paying attention. Many of them were dutifully taking notes.
Pontification here is not appropriate, but they got a lesson in fundamentals: Strike up relationships with reporters, not their bosses. The reporters pitch stories. Return their calls personally and in a timely fashion. Do not refer them to corporate headquarters. Make it easy for them to do the story. Cooperate, help them with some research and don't throw up any obstacles.
The presentation lasted about a half-hour. I'm no consultant. Maybe I should be. The feedback I got was positive. This organization deserves positive publicity. Maybe its leaders got a nudge in the right direction.

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Leftovers From the Road

I woke up Sunday with a cold. On the first day of summer I had a runny nose, scratchy throat and watery eyes. It's hasn't gotten any better in the intervening two days. The strange thing is, on Thursday my friend Donna asked me, "Do you have a cold?" I said no. Four days later, I woke up sneezing. I was having lunch with her when she asked. Do you think maybe she slipped me some Eye of Newt or something? I'll get you, my pretty!------------
My wife is a lovely, classy woman. She was raised with the best manners befitting her breeding. I never ate watermelon cut up into squares until I met her, if you know what I'm saying. At one point on Sunday, she assumed driving duties on the way back from Oklahoma City despite being distracted by hunger. While I had gone off to the men's room, she was charged with buying snacks. Settled comfortably ino the passenger's seat, I closed my eyes for a few minutes. Then, I looked over and almost gagged with laughter when I saw her eating a Slim Jim and cheddar cheese combo right out of the package.
Can pigs' feet, pickled sausage and a 40 ounce Natural Light be far behind? Maybe she's finally moving over to my side of the tracks.

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Mr. Grooming

Evil Eye
Originally uploaded by Darrell
Take a look at this guy. He's a good looking fella, but you wouldn't know it. He's taking his grooming rebellion to extremes.
The long hair could look cool, shabby-chic. The goatee could look manly. But, instead it all looks like an accident.
How many different people have told him how amazing he would look if he just clipped up a little? I've stopped counting. He's a college man now...the hippy trip/ love-in to Bonnaroo is behind him. The Summer Of Chris endures, but he's got to come to grips with the idea that he's about to embark on a new journey and he needs to look like he's ready.
I've told him before, "Grow it while you got it, because soon enough it will be gone." He actually took that advice. Now, I'm going public with my new direction: it's time to get a haircut. Soon. Stop messing around.

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Sunday, June 22, 2008

While We Were Away.....

Our son officially became a college man while we were with the Arena Football team in Oklahoma City. He dutifully reported to campus, registered for classes and took a placement exam. Et, Quelle bonne idée! He earned six hours credit in Francais right on the spot! We give all the credit to Olivia Bradley, his middle school instituteur de Francais, for drilling knowledge into his brain.
So, he's off to a roaring start. He spent a night in the dorm and met a bunch of new people. He seems to be getting excited about it. A little early success certainly helps.

Ford Center Oklahoma City
Originally uploaded by darebouche
Back in Oklahoma, we were having a nice time. The team won, which is a nice bonus. We stayed downtown and walked around a bit. OKC has it going on. It's a great city and I enjoy visiting there.
For the first time, we went to the National Memorial, built on the site of the 1995 bombing at the Murrah Federal Building. Seeing it brought home memories of those days for us. Moreover, it made it seem real. Somehow, I'm not bothered by the fact that Timothy McVay was executed for his crimes. The place is absolutely sobering.
It was reverently quiet on a Sunday morning. We're glad we went.

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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Unpleasant Business

Dear Ol' Dad
Originally uploaded by Darrell
I went with my father to an estate planning meeting. That's a strange conversation, something like "When you die, if things are still the same, I will be hit with an enormous tax bill."
I feel all smarmy just typing it. He was cool about it, though. The way he sees it, he has worked hard to accumulate some assets to pass on, so we need to make sure they get handled properly.
Stange, it seems more awkward to discuss assisted living options than those surrounding death. I guess it's because coming to grips with the idea of not being able to care for yourself may actually be more unpleasant than the idea of dying.
He's getting organized (getting his affairs in order?). I know once we figure it all out, we will be well served for having done it. I also know, based on recent experience, that we aren't promised tomorrow. I guess we have to plan for it, anyway, no matter how unpleasant it might be.

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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Happy Camper

The smiling face you see is that of my rock and roll son, who is home safe from his Big Adventure at Bonnaroo. He said he's glad he went. He would probably go again, but he's happy to be home.
He's happy to have a bed and a shower. He's happy to have his car. He's happy to have air conditioning. He had none of those over the last five days.
He and his girlfriend got along well in every sense, as far as we can tell.
We know we were grateful to have her, because she esentially organized all the details and he just went along for the ride.
I won't be surprised if, in the years to come, stories emerge from this trip...things they can't or won't tell us until we have the benefit of some time passing. For now, I'm just glad they had a nice time and made it home safely.

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Sunday, June 15, 2008

Heaven Affirmed

In the spirit of my son's adventure to Bonnaroo, I will continue to be inspired by song lyrics. As the weary traveler in the Eagles' "Hotel California" observed, "This could be heaven or this could be hell." My son said Bonnaroo was a little bit of both. Until tonight. Then Robert Plant took the stage alongside Allison Krauss.
We got an effusive phone call from the former farm in Tennessee. The most notable quote was "I almost crapped my pants!" That says a little something about reality meeting expectations. He said he was on the third row. Good for him. I can't wait to see the pictures.

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Well, We Ate

Father's day 2008
Originally uploaded by Darrell
With my son on the road, Father's Day turned predominantly female. My daughter took my father and me to lunch. My wife and her mother came along. This is the first father's day since my father-in-law passed away. We ate at a popular regional restaurant and like Neil Diamond sang, the feeling was lay-back. This was a good thing because it took almost two hours from the time we walked into the restaurant to walk out.
Not everybody was in a chillin' frame of mind. Our waitress said people from five tables walked out without getting their lunches, so frustrated were they by the slow service. It wasn't her fault, of course, so we treated her kindly and tipped her well.
My theory is that people were forced into groups they wouldn't ordinarily form just because it was Father's Day. Plus those groups were out of their routines and were forced to surrender control of the circumstances. These adults wanted to please their elderly fathers while their young children were getting all squirmy. Tensions matched expectations and people just lost their composure. We saw the restaurant manager endure a face blistering tirade from a guy who had his dad beside him in a wheelchair. You have to figure he was wound tightly to start. His wife tried to calm him down, but he just "gave her the hand."
At our table, everyone got along. I told our server to just keep bringing my father biscuits and beer and we would be fine. She did and we were. When we left, she laughed and said "Happy Father's Day, Biscuits and Beer."
My Dad, sufficiently filled with both, as well as a steaming platter of etouffee, went home to take a nap. I think he had a fine Father's Day indeed.
Fathers' Day affection from my daughter

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Off to the Arena!

Mother-Daughter Arena Fans
Originally uploaded by Darrell
My mother-in-law lifted the lid on her Arena Football fandom three weeks ago, and now she's a regular. Seriously, three Saturdays in a row, she has sat beside her daughter and actually enjoyed Arena Football games. She's 2-1 as a fan, meaning she has seen the home team win twice and lose once. She brought different friends each time. Just look at her there with her daughter, program in hand, all smiles.
What a treat she had during halftime of this week's victory. Two other fans won a contest sponsored by a local jewelry store and they got married at halftime! The groom was regal in a game game-worn jersey, along with a top hat adorned with a feather. The bride was lovely in a pink team tee with a ruffled skirt. He had the mascot as a best man while she had all the cheerleaders as bridesmaids.
It was an emotional evening. I'm glad we all got through it. A win and a wedding: what more could you ask for on a springtime Saturday evening? Love was in the air!
I even got a photo made with the best man!

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Saturday, June 14, 2008

Is No News Good News?

We have not heard from our "sandals on the ground" in Manchester, Tennessee. They are mixed among the masses, some 80,000 strong we are told, at the Bonnaroo Music Festival. Since we have no first-hand account of how things are going, we are relying on the internet to get a broad view of the events. We know there was an hours-long deluge last night. For people spending the weekend in tents, that could not have been a welcome turn of events.
The music is loud and the air is festive. Chris Rock kept 'em laughing. We've been listening to live broadcasts on satellite radio and watching news coverage on-line. From a long-distance perspective, we have decided that our son is either in Heaven or Hell. I can't wait to hear how it's going.--------------------------------Lez Zeppelin (above)
Update: Less than 15 minutes after I posted this, we got a call from Bonnaroo. I asked the question, "Are you in Heaven or Hell?" He said "a little bit of both." The heat during the day, he said, is unbearable, but hanging around with everyone is a lot of fun. He actually slept well, for what that's worth.

Originally uploaded by wyep
M.I.A. at Bonnaroo
They did not go watch Chris Rock perform, which shocks me. They saw Lez Zeppelin, but said the highlight so far has been M.I.A., who said several times this was her farewell performance. They went to Stephen Marley's show, which I certainly don't know a lot about but just the essence of the whole thing gives me pause as a parent. But, a party's a party and nobody's driving. They're camped for five days.
Remember, for him it's all about Robert Plant and everything else is just killing time.

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Friday, June 13, 2008

Happy Father's Day

The Supervisor
Originally uploaded by Darrell
The pressure is off for me, because I provided my dad (the lonesome cowboy here) a great father's day outing. He sat all morning and watched the giant oak tree relocation project in southeast Shreveport.
For a guy who made his living with heavy equipment, this was like a day at Disneyland. There were backhoes, tractors, and an enormous crane. He sat transfixed for hours, fascinated by the process and the result. When the job was complete, we rode around in a golf cart and inspected the work.
It was fascinating to watch him watch the work. He's a virtuoso with a backhoe to this day, and he was impressed with the operators on the job.
(There's the man, tiny to the left of the crane, checking things out.) Frankly, he was a little awestruck. That's okay. He'll be 82 next month. It's good to know he can still be impressed. More importantly, it's good to know he can still be entertained.

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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Overcome With Envy

Bonnaroo Bound!
Originally uploaded by Darrell
I said good-bye to my Rock and Roll Son this morning. He is bound for Bonnaroo, a five-day music festival in Tennessee. Peace, love and, well, you know....and I'm so jealous I can hardly stand it.
He's in a group but he and the girlfriend are in charge of hauling all the supplies. So, they packed up the truck and hit the happy highway.
Are we worried? Of course. Anytime you put your kid on the road you're going to be concerned, but he's only going to be 18 once.
This sounds like such a kick in the pants, and I've never done anything like it. They will camp on the grounds from Thursday until Monday and enjoy music on multiple stages from morning until well into the night.
As a certified Led Head, he's going to see (and hear) Robert Plant. Everything else is gravy.
Free on the road, girlfriend by your side, friends nearby, legendary music concentrated over a five-day period. Yep, I'm jealous.
I told him he could misbehave just a little, as long as he comes home safe.

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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Front Door Visitor

Our dog has gone insane twice in the last 24 hours. Last night, she went into complete apoplexy during a round of boisterous thunderstorms. She is the ultimate fraidy-dog and she lept panting into the middle of our bed. We lost a lot of sleep.
Tonight, she started barking and cyring, scratching at the front door. This is pretty unsual, so it was a little alarming. Naturally, we had to investigate and we discovered an intruder.

Bunny on the sidewalk
Originally uploaded by Darrell
A little bunny was sitting brazenly on our front sidewalk, the early evening sun backlighting its perky rabbit ears.
It hung around long enough to pose for photos and eat a few blades of grass.
Then, it snuck into the bushes.
Hey, does that tell you a little something about the caliber of excitement in my life these days?

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Monday, June 09, 2008

An Amazing Project

The big root ball
Originally uploaded by Darrell
I am told, and I've asked the question at least six times, that this tree weighs about 70 tons. 140,000 pounds. That's incomprehensible to me, but the man who moves giant trees says he knows his business. There's a computer scale on the crane that lifted it from the ground, and it confirmed the estimate was close.
This tree and many of its leafy brethren line a road in southeast Shreveport. The road is being widened and the trees are being relocated....about thirty feet to the west.
It's a painstaking process and mesmerizing to watch. For two weeks, crews of men have been carefully digging around the bases of these oak trees, preserving as much of the root structure as possible. An underground irrigation and drainage system is being installed to keep them alive once they're transplanted.
I asked the man in charge when we will know if the trees will survive the big uprooting. He said we already know. They've been dug up for a couple of weeks and have shown no signs of transplant shock. The actual move, he said, will have virtually no impact on them.
They're on the go, now watch them grow.
Here is the tree just before the crane yanked it out of its home of 26 years.

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Sunday, June 08, 2008

Summer Is Here

Back Yard Swim
Originally uploaded by Darrell
For many the unofficial start of summer is Memorial Day weekend. At our house, it's when the kiddie pool comes out of the garage. Except, in our case it's not a kiddie pool, it's a doggie pool.
Our dog loves water. She will just "lay out" for long periods of time.
The doogie pool is versatile. It's helps her stay cool. It makes cleaning her off pretty easy when we want to bring her into the house. Since she's a dog, it makes no difference to her that she's been lying in the water all day, she just drinks from it.
With the actual offspring gone most of the time, parental affection and attention are showered on this dog and her mercurial feline counterpart. We have discussed getting another dog to keep this one company. Also, I'm a believer in "doggie overlap." That means you get a puppy when your existing dog reaches middle age so that you will have a good, broken-in dog when the sadly inevitable happens.
We have decided against that for now, though. Our relationship with this particular pooch is so good that we don't want to mess it up with another furry friend.
That has its downside, though. I tell my wife quite often "You love that dog too much." She knows it, but love is love and she'll give it as long as she can.

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Saturday, June 07, 2008

Rock and Roll WIll Never Die

Robinson Film Center Balcony
Originally uploaded by Darrell
We went downtown for dinner and a movie and had a couple of surprises along the way. We ate at the bistro on the second floor of the Robinson Film Center, planning to see Michael Caine and Demi Moore in "Flawless." By the time we made it downstairs to the theater, it was sold out.
Undeterred, we stepped across the hall to see the documentary "Young @ Heart." This film follows the preparations of a well-established New England senior citizens' chorus for a concert and a world tour. They sing rock, punk and R&B songs. I loved every frame of this film. You come away admiring the man who prods the "Young at Heart" singers to challenge themselves. You share their despair, cheer their triumphs and honor their spirit. If you have ever had an elderly person in your life, sprint to see this film.
Oh, the other surprise. There was a reason we had to stick around, even though our first choice was sold out. The drink special upstairs was a "chocolate martini." The wife ordered one. I had a glass of wine. We don't get out much, and we hardly ever drink. I don't know what they put in this thing, but by the time my companion had finished 3/4ths of it, she was thoroughly gassed. I couldn't believe it. I hadn't seen her in that condition in at least ten years.
We had to wait more than a half-hour for "Young at Heart" to start, so we walked around downtown trying to find her composure. Certainly, we weren't going to drive anywhere. She had a great time at the movie. She laughed and she cried. I haven't had the courage to ask her today if she remembers it.

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Friday, June 06, 2008

It's Rusty, but it Runs

The truck
Originally uploaded by Darrell
This truck was Springsteen before anybody ever heard of him. It was Born to Run, baby. Originally purchased as part of a fleet of plumbing trucks, it now serves as a service vehicle at our Place in the Country. It is a one-owner vehicle, which should be self evident by the level of loving care it obviously has received over the years.
I don't remember exactly, but I'm pretty close when I estimate this is a 1963 Chevy. Of course, it's throroughly illegal for the road, but when reason and caution are thrown to the wind it can still run at better than 60 mph.
This photo hangs in the front window of a local camera shop and I'm told it's a source of consistent fascination. The truck itself has been responsible for countless hours of semi-dangerous fun. Only one person is allowed to drive it and that works out because only one person knows how to start it. It's actually more important that only one person knows how to STOP it. That's my father, who at 81 years old will still take kids for rides through the woods in his truck. All you have to do is ask.
I'm sure that it has not occurred to my father that his truck is a rolling, rumbling metaphor. It may have lost its top and it's not shiny like it used to be, but when called upon it can still get the job done.

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Thursday, June 05, 2008

Some Things, We're Better Off Not Knowing

Originally uploaded by Darrell
B-52's are a part of daily life around here. The giant bombers fly over our heads many times a day with barely a second glance, sometimes with no notice at all. They literally come with the territory when there's a major Air Force command in the heart of the city.
The fact that nuclear warheads were flown from North Dakota to north Louisiana last summer without anybody really knowing about it is one of the scariest things I've ever heard about. In fact, I kind of wish I hadn't heard about it, because there's nothing I can do.
The Air Force has taken action, though. The top military and civilian leaders have beeen forced to resign. Chief of Staff Gen. T. Michael Moseley and Secretary Michael W. Wynne are out as a direct result of what happened. I suppose that's an understandable consequence of such a world-class oversight, but I wonder if it really means anything.
How often do mind-numbing mistakes like this happen? We'll never know and I'm not so sure that's a bad thing.

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Tuesday, June 03, 2008

A New Leader in the Clubhouse

Storm Cloud sunset
Originally uploaded by Darrell
My photodistraction episode continues. Yes, I just made up a psuedo-clinical condition. Maybe I can file for disability. It's just that this picture has taken of a life of its own.
I'm getting a lot of enjoyment out of the little internet accolades I receive on some of my snapshots, but this one caught me by surprise. This picture of a sunset behind some storm clouds is the runaway winner, easily the most awarded photo I've posted on the web.
I didn't even plan to send it out for scrutiny, but one of my contacts noticed it mostly at random and commented on it. So, I sent it to a couple of groups, and next thing you know: Boom! I'm flooded with comments. I'm invited into "honor" groups. It's crazy.
I was walking from my office to the car one afternoon with my camera in hand. I saw the clouds and squeezed off a couple of shots. The photos stayed in the camera for weeks.
For what it's worth, there it is. It's true, sometimes it's better to be lucky than good.

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