Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Friends of the field...

Walked to the mail box yesterday and saw these guys all along the fence. They were pretty wild and wanted to scatter, they did not like me too close. Can't really tell from the picture, but a lot of young ones, yearlings maybe. I counted about 85 of them.
Yesterday evening I went over to St. Andrews Catholic Church and made a music presentation for the scout troop there. I played a bunch of different instruments, their theme for the month was music in your life. One song I played on the tuba was Home on the Range.

I guess everything is connected, I had the song picked out and the lyrics printed up so the scouts could help with the singing before I ever saw the buffalo.


Sunday, January 29, 2006

Lot of Hummers on the road...

Can't help but notice all the Hummers on the road when I make my commute every day. Sometimes I have even seen as many as two car carriers in a weeks time loaded with them on their way to eager car shoppers. They are even advertised in Rolling Stone magazine with the price of the small one, the H3, listed as $33K . Not bad for a big car in the US these days I guess. I've scaled way down myself. I'm not anti big car, I had four kids to haul at one time and went through a couple of Suburbans in doing so myself. I haven't seen one in the high school parking lot yet, but there was a two column news story in the local paper detailing the rolling crash of one of these on the loop. Even with that much print devoted to what I guess was the first hummer crash in town, it was kind of like the report on the death of a rock star in a Hollywood bungalow, they did not tell all they knew. The names of the passengers were not available at press time.

So Hummers are here to stay in droves. Aside from natural resource consumption issues, a fight I am not pure enough to fight, I wonder that since they are an offshoot design of a military vehicle, what guys returning from the war think when they see them on the highway? What makes me wonder this is a conversation I had one time with my dad, a WW2 vet.

The old man was looking at buying a vehicle. It was about 1987 and the old red 72 Ford pickup, 360 v8, long bed had about had it. The old man had retired, it was time to treat himself. As we discussed what he might buy I thought of the recent deer hunts him and old Charlie had taken to going on, deep in the woods muddy roads, I think there had been an incident where Charlie had gotten "turned around" and the old man himself had developed the habit of hanging toilet paper on bushes to mark his trail. I was a little worried about the old guys and did not want them to get stuck or something. With this in mind I suggested a jeep, four wheel drive, small, easy to drive in the East Texas bottomlands.

When I voiced this thought, I was diplomatic about the getting lost and stuff, but the old man became indignant. He spat and cut one of the little King Edward cigars that he smoked in half, he always cut them in half, they came five to a pack, skinny little arrows to the lungs that would too soon do him in just a few years later. He lit it and spoke. "I rode all over Europe in the war in one of those rough riding bastards and I swore if I ever got off of it I would never ride in one again." Our discussion ended. He bought a Chevy S10, a very sporty version of it I might add.

The old man never said much about the war, and I can't help but wonder about those feelings he had, so strong even almost 45 years later that he wanted nothing to do with an item associated with the event. Makes me wonder what guys coming back from the current war now think when they see so many Hummers around these days. Will they ride in them?

Thursday, January 26, 2006

music in the car this week...

East-West, Paul Butterfield Blues Band
Live at Jovita's, Cornell Hurd Band
Electric Ladyland, JHE
The Morrels, don't know cd name
Los Lobos, Good Morning Aztlan
Hairway to Steven, BH surfers
Live, Indigenous
Diamond Jubilation, Dixie Hummingbirds
Cowboy Man, Lyle Lovett
Best of, Greatful Dead
Songs We should Have Written, Firewater
Braver New World, Jimmie Dale Gilmore
Blues had a Baby and its Name was R&R, various, old timey folk blues

About listened this all up, time to change.

Forgot to mention the two cds for my Nursing Spanish Class, now repeat after me...

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

A few more TKD pictures...

These are from black belt testing last week when Mary did her mid term. They were taken by Ms. Gonzales. That's me, in red. I wasn't testing, but was called on to give those testing a little sparring work out.

That's Mary in the black sparring gear, other person unidentified due to foot in face. Below is Mary breaking a board. She had to break with a hammer fist, which she broke easily and a jump axe kick, shown here. I think she missed the break in this picture, which looks like she got some good air for having those wide little Wallace feet. Judging from the hair, she must be coming down from a higher point. She broke it on a second attempt. That's me and Mr. Strock holding.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Mystery of the coat hanger solved...

My father in law Bill Cooney emails me:

"Linda and I stayed in the Roosevelt on our honeymoon in 1958. My second time in NO; her first. Went to see a closed circuit TV match between Cut and Shoot hero Roy Harris and champ Floyd Patterson. KO by Patterson as I recall. Also took the riverboat "President" up and down the crescent of the river. We saw and heard the "Dukes of Dixieland" at the "Famous Door" and had a drink or two at Pat O"Briens. St. Louis Cathedral, the Cabildo and that coffee place. Linda hoorawed me for years, telling people, "Yeah, on our honeymoon he took me to heavyweight boxing match!"--------incidentally, I logged in as Number 500 on the blog, pretty soon you will be able to sell ads. Love to you all--Pop and Geneva"

Thanks for being number 500 Bill and I'm sorry about stealing your coat hanger. Next time I'm at your house I'll try to not act like I'm staying at the Roosevelt. By the way, are you missing any towels?

Thanks to all you folks that made Bill #500, glad you are reading.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

New Link...

With the Carnival season on us I posted a link to French Quarter web cams. I am a little busy with school right now, so if nothing is happening here just look to the right and click to see how a well post Katrina Carnival will be carried on.

Thinking about New Orleans, I have been quite a few times and have many souvenirs, I thought about this one. I scanned it so you could see. It's a coat hanger from the Roosevelt Hotel. It says New Orleans and Pride of the South. I don't know how I got it, kind of like a lost dog collar, it is just something I have always seemed to have. It may have just slipped my mind how it came to me but let us look at the facts:

The Roosevelt Hotel was originally called the Grunewald. Located on Barrone St in the Quarter it was built in 1893. Sometime in the early part of the 20th century the hotel was renamed the Roosevelt. When Huey P. Long, the Kingfish, was governor he liked the Roosevelt so much he built a 90 mile highway from the capital to its door. The name was changed to the Fairmont in 1965. I don't think I have ever stayed there.

Anyway it is a nice hanger, even if I don't know the orgin. I always hang my good suit jackets on it, the wood givers better support to the shoulders and I like to think that maybe the old Kingfish might have hung a nice jacket on it also.

My boy...

I have not told you about my dog, or at least I think he's my dog.

This fellow has been around a couple of years now. A volunteer, everyone that sees him says "oh what a pretty lab." Mary calls him "Aspin," I call him "my boy," and Cathy calls him names that I can't write on this family values type website. When Cathy is present he is all about geometry, what ever angles, circles or lines that it takes to keep me between her and him.

Here he is snuggled in his dog house against the cold and rain last night. Picture does not do justice, that is a lot of dog in a small amount of square footage.

He has always been a free spirit, around here there is plenty of woods to roam, critters to chase so a typical day for him is to be gone when I get up in the morning, show up by afternoon, eat 15 pounds of dog food, and fall into a stupor till he feels like repeating stated actions. Lately though he has changed the routine.

He first stayed gone several days, not unusual for a male dog. He show back up, stayed a day, gone a few more days. He shows up again, missing his collar. Then he stays gone nearly a week. He shows up and is wearing the collar. That was weird.

Cathy thinks someone removed the collar, gave him a flea bath, let him lay up on the couch in their trailer, he returned to me, then returned to them and they put collar back on.

Enjoy fellow, I can't compete with that.

Friday, January 20, 2006

A nice quite evening at the movies...

Birthday good so far, but my wife has to work tonight. We will put off going out to celebrate until next weekend.

So left to my own devices tonight, I heard there is a western showing, just opened in Lufkin today. A good "guy" thing to do, go see a western by myself, you know sitting through all those chick flicks gets to a fellow, makes him want something different.

Bet there are a bunch of other fellows there tonight also.

Number Nine...

49 that is, happy birthday to me! In most Asian cultures the number 9 represents perfection so we will see what this brings.

Should be a quiet weekend for the old man, me and Cathy work and I got to hit the books.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Black Belt testing...

Mary did her last Black Belt Mid term as a second degree. Next test will be a third degree. This testing she did her form, weapons form, sparred and board breaks.

Here is form. Next she did the song knot weapons form. Then came sparring and board breaks, wish I had a picture of the board break, she broke with a hammer fist and an axe kick. I was holding one of the board stations.

One of these days I'll do a mid term if I ever get the Song Knot form learned. I got it half way. Cathy I think needs two mid terms before third degree. Morgan is a third degree and is running the club out of parks and rec in Nacogdoches for Master Olford.

I'm really too busy trying to get a belt physical therapy so to speak to devote as much time to TKD as I would like. I'm just trying to hold and not get too out of shape till I get out of school.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


If I am around and have a camera you might find your picture posted on the internet. Some people take precautions.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

News of Jeremy...

Jeremy's mom writes me this:

"Well, the latest we heard from Jeremy was yesterday, Monday, Jan. 16. He was in Camp Anaconda in Iraq. He and another private from the 101st Airborne Division- Rear Detachment have not met with their unit yet. Jeremy said they are traveling with a Captain that is trying to make their way to FOB Normandy.

I think the reality of Jeremy's surrounding have set in; he sounded nervous and uneasy on the phone. Jeremy said they were lobbing mortars into the base. There is a five-mile buffer zone between the gate entrance to the base and the buildings, so he was fairly safe. Jeremy said he watched the display in the sky, which was mostly large billows of smoke."

I know some of you know Jeremy. I hope this news from Iraq reminds all to pray for him, all our guys and for an end to the war.


School starts...

Getting back in the groove, heading to Kilgore this morning. Been a good long break, seems like last semester was a life time ago. I'm ready to get back to work. I dread all the study, the driving, but I am at my best when I am busier I think.

Tuesday Thursday is going to be my long day, when I get home today I'll just have enough time to load my gear and head out to play at the state school.

I dreamed last night about being in crowds, jostling down busy city streets in grimy daylight hours surrounded by people with their own concerns. Guess I am one of them.

Monday, January 16, 2006

The Great MLK Catfish Round Up...

Ok, we did alright, a little rainy but we did not let that stop us. Fish size was a little less than average. If you need enough for a fish fry, carry Mary with you fishing, she will make it happen. I think we boated 11 keepers and they are swimming in our bellies. We threw back more than usual undersized today.

On the trip was my inlaws, Bill and Geneva, as well as Cathy and Mary.

Here is Bill with a fish.

Cathy and Bill. All good catfisher men and women have a fishing towel. You can buy them at Bass Pro shops, but I don't think she got this one there.

Here is Bill in back, Geneva and Cathy on the way back, it had started to sprinkle pretty good. I think Mary is covered up somewhere there.

It is raining real good right now.

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I know we need rain...

My father in law and mother in law are on their way to Lufkin as I write for the great MLK Catfish Round Up. In addition to honoring the great man, it might be the last time I go fishing for awhile what with school starting up and all.

Also there is the parade scheduled for downtown today, hopefully the rain will hold off so that happens.

If all goes as planned there will be pictures later.


Sunday, January 15, 2006

Attended a rally...

Saturday I attended a "No teacher left behind" rally on the steps of the Angelina County court house. This is a group of teachers that are organizing to keep try to keep the bills passed in the legislature in the best interest of all schools, students and teachers in the state. Seems that recent bills and policy favor the few and the powerful.

The speakers at this rally were good, there were several area superintendents as well as State Rep. Jim McRenyolds. My favorite was retired Lufkin superintendent David Sharp. Since his his retirement he has changed his hair style, grown a goatee, looks quite rakish, maybe the image change foretells a political run and based on his comments I think I would vote for him.

He told about how the few riches people influence the bills in the legislature, how the richer school districts have the money to lobby, an accepted way they practice a form of discrimination where all kids look alike, drive the same cars, shop at the same malls and have the same value system. If you have a kid that is different, has some problems, and you might be of another ethnic group or you just find yourself on the outside of the sheltered enclaves you are out of luck. I think on the eve of MLK Day these remarks show us that discrimination is alive and well, only instead of aiming at one particular group, the aim is widened out to everyone that is different. Sharp told the crowd you will know why the Walton family has poured money into lobbying for school vouchers when they open a Wal-Mart school in your neighborhood. My thoughts on this even though Sharp did not draw the connection is that it is just another way, just like government contracts in a war, for the tax payers money, that should be funding the programs that have a further benefit is funneled into the pockets of big business. Sharp also pointed out how polices enacted by those in power are setting up public schools to fail, making them look bad.

Sharp concluded by saying enough money can never be raised to counter the tactics used in politics these days. Instead each person has to vote.

Ok, enough of the politics, just telling what I saw and heard and I have seen enough evidence to say that what teachers in the state of Texas are saying is true.

On a family note, my Uncle Don's funeral is today, had a good visit with various cousins and we all have come to the conclusion that we need to stop meeting like this. I took phone, address and email info from them. It might take some planning, a year or more but we need to have a fish fry or something like that. Be a fitting celebration of all those Wallace boys now gone.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Just found out...

My Uncle Don has passed away. He had been in the hospital a couple of weeks, but had gone home last night. I had visited him in the hospital on Tuesday and we had a good visit. We told old hunting stories.

That's the last of my dad's brothers. All the Wallace boys are gone now.

Registered for school...

Got all registered for school yesterday. Had to drive to Kilgore, I could not do the early online registration because I could not make the early payment deadline. The Federal Trade Act for people who lost their jobs due to NAFTA and imports needs to see some grades before they pay off. Even with this hassle the registration process is much improved since the old days, computers and all I guess.

As I prepare to go back old familiar feelings surface. It's going to be tough, I'm going to have to work my ass off, am I doing this right and by golly this hurts, feelings that in my old age and hard bought wisdom I recognize as growth. Did I mention loss of sleep? Anyway I have come to know that having these feelings are kind of a self appointed place, I really like working my ass off. I'd be trying to duplicate the same situation somewhere, if I did not have this place to create it in.

Looking ahead, you have to look back. This has been a good Christmas break. How do I know? Well I apply that old tried and true stick of measurement of no emergency room visits. Really though, past few weeks have been good, my mom did well after her surgery, Christmas with the family was good, kids doing well in school, jobs and such, lot of opportunities for them, great fishing times with my wife, had some good musical adventures and as always listened to lots of music. These things were real gifts, can't be wore out, broken or taken back to the store. I'll play with them in my mind a long time.

One more fun weekend, though we need the rain, I hope it stays mild for a few more days.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Email from Kuwait...

Got an email from old Jeremy himself, in Kuwait on the way to Iraq, says it's cold about 50 and muddy.

Here is a couple of pictures he sent, one I can't tell really what it is, looks like a barracks, but the other is recognized every where.


Tuesday, January 10, 2006

News of Jeremy...

Just got word from my friend Jeremy by way of his mom that he will be in Iraq tomorrow. He will be at Forward Operating Base Normandy, about 50 miles north east of Baghdad.

I'll try to keep posting updates as I here them for my friends, I think there are several readers of this that know Jeremy.


Another guitar story...

Here is another story about one of my guitars. This is part of a series that I write from time to time because of the weird allegiance I have to beat up instruments I have spent many hours with. It should be a long running feature because according to my wife I have about a 1000 guitars. Look back in the archives to see a couple of other guitar stories.

This guitar is an Alvarez model 5066. I would think it is a late 70s model. Made in Japan. As Steve Earle says in one of his songs Guitar Town, " never thought I'd get this far on $37 and an Asian guitar." Steve did not say Asian, he's an outspoken kid of guy, but kinder and gentler now than when he wrote that song.

Not much info on the web about these, I could not even find one for sale on ebay. I bought this guitar in the early 80s, no later than 82 or 83, so that means I have owned it at least 23 years. I paid a $100 at a pawn shop on Denman avenue that is now a pet store. They had a lot of cool guitars there, I wish I knew what I knew about guitars now then, I would have spent all my money there. I especially remember a Baldwin 12 string. I have a CD by Tedisco Del Ray called Music for Lovers and on the cover he holds a Baldwin like the one I saw in that pawn shop long ago. Oh well so much for the one that got away, back to the one I bought.

That $100 also included a ratty worn out cardboard case. Guitar was in good shape, slight crack in the top and some fret wear where the previous owner had played a lot of cowboy cords. You can see in the picture I have put some wear on it too. Action was high on the strings, which is not all that comfortable to play. This was in my early guitar days, so low action that played well was important, it makes playing easier. Now I know that if the action is kid of high you get more tone. This high action/good tone thing lead me to make a discovery as to what this guitar is really good for.

One day while fooling around in a guitar book I had I tuned this guitar to an opening tuning. I guess I had owned the guitar a couple of years by now. I had a metal guitar slide, kind of like what a steel guitar player uses except with a hole in it to insert your pinkie and I slid it along the strings. I was immediately able to see where sounds like I heard on old Mississippi Delta blues records were coming from. The high action lent itself to slide playing and the guitar was loud. This old Alvarez guitar became my closest friend during this time of my life.

I totally dedicated this guitar to slide, played it all the time, I was not married at the time, awful lonely and quiet around here, I had a bunch of time on my hands. I played on the porch, I played in the living room, in the bathroom, and at many jam sessions around east Texas under tall pine trees late at night. I guess it was about 20 years later I bought a metal bodied resonator, thought I needed it, and some day when I get it really broken in I will write about it. This Alvarez though has been an old friend, something I learned with, something I used to learn something about myself with.

It does not get played as much these days. It sits on a guitar stand, tuned to standard tuning, may be someone will pick it up to quickly work out a tune that is on their mind at that minute and they don't want to lose the thought by taking the time to get another guitar out of a case. I offered it to Morgan as a guitar to take to college. I told him he could keep it till he bought one of his own, but it was special and I wanted it cared for and returned at some point. He deferred, I don't know why, but he took the Roy Rogers, our name for a Fender acoustic that no one likes to play, but everyone seems to like to look at, kind of like you would look at a dog with a misshapen head. That's another story though.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

durn it...

Well I was mucking around with the code to this page and I got my previous post and archive section off down at the bottom instead of on the side bar where they were. Just one little click, something erased in the wrong place.

Reminds me of a sci-fi story I read as a kid, must have been in one of the first compilations of such material I ever saw. I think it was written by one of the greats but I cannot remember which one. In the story people were traveling back in time and hunting dinosaurs for sport. They could only kill a dinosaur that was about to die from some other means, because if they killed one whose end was not imminent, the future would be changed. The company sponsoring these trips did meticulous research to insure the correct reptile was slain. So what happens is a guy gets off the prescribed path and steps on a moth, kills it. When he arrives back to the present everything from who the president is to the spelling of common words is different. That one small change compounded over centuries of time made a huge difference.

So my mistake on this web page won't change the president. But do you ever get the feeling that the more you know, the more you study stuff, the more knowledge gained, the dumber you are? I have that feeling a lot, but I am not advocating ignorance or stagnation. I am just observing and hoping that the future is changed for the good by something I strive for.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Recorded a tune...

After Taekwondo tonight David Sarver, a minister at Brothers Keeper Church grabbed me and said he needed a bass player. He had written a tune about a soldier he knew who had been wounded in Iraq and wanted to record it. He knew a guy with a studio. The studio was great, a big old two story rambling house, almost brought back memories of the old days. Almost, the old days did not have a Pro Tools recording console, but you know what I mean.

Any way we got a rough cut, I even took a couple of passes at it on lap steel. I don't think the lap steel will make the cut, too cheap an instrument with not enough sustain, did not really sit well with the keyboard strings. Later some electric guitar and a cello will be added.

Any way I was glad for the opportunity to do something for a guy who had been hurt, and he was hurt bad. His recovery has been called a miracle. Hope my little bit I did tonight makes him feel better.

I have a cd with the rough mix, later when I get a finished one, I'll email it around to any who want a copy.

Hope no one else gets hurt in a war.

Friend headed to Iraq...

My friend Jeremy Lester deploys with the 101st airborne to Iraq tomorrow. Please keep him in your prayers. I have known him since he joined Cub Pack 135 when he was 8 years old.

I am against the war, don't get that confused with lack of support for the guys that go over there. They do their best, they are our best. It just seems that the evidence mounts a little each day that the men that send them may not be doing their best.

I'll keep praying for both, they need all the help they can get.


Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Fish still biting...

Another nice blue, caught by Cathy, she let me hold it while we measured it. That makes about 35-40 head brought to submission while I am on my Christmas break. Great weather we have had for fishing. Eaten about two real good fresh fish dinners and the rest went in the freezer to be eaten during the long dark wet days yet to come this winter. Or if they keep biting, the freezer gets full, we will go right into water skiing season.

Anyway I register for school next week. Some might be tiring of fish pictures. Seems like I have more stuff to right about while school is going on, not that I write about school, but after spending three hours a day by myself in a car commuting I got some things to talk about. First person I see hears it. Or I write it here.
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