Tuesday, May 30, 2006

The rest of the world may hate me...

I violated a rule I have. The rule states that I will treat people like people and dogs like dogs. I must confess, I took El Guapo water skiing.

I guess he liked it ok, no complaints. He did fall in twice later on when we were fishing, he climbs out on a little narrow ledge at the bow of the boat and he falls in trying to get back on the deck. Lucky I have a large net. I would hate for him to fall out the front whle the boat is going. I'll try to get a picture next time he falls in, we are all laughing too hard to think of the camera when it happens.

That girl in the tube with him is named Mary.


Monday, May 29, 2006

Good news from PFC Jeremy...

I'll post an email I recieved from Jeremy's mom and dad, I don't think they will mind, I know they read here and they are glad for any prayers you may offer in support of Jeremy and all young men in harms way.

Dear Family & Friends,

We finally heard from Jeremy this morning around 6:30 a.m. It was wonderful to hear his voice! The entire 101st Airborne Division is put on (communication) blackout when anyone is injured. The blackout was lifted today and PFC Lester was ordered to call home.

Jeremy has been resting in his barracks and said his entry wounds are healing well. Jeremy went to work today on light duty answering the phones that ring during the midnight shift. Jeremy will continue to work on light duty until he is completely healed.

We told Jeremy that many people have been praying for him and God has answered our prayers. As for the other young man, he and his family need our prayers, too, as he is facing serious charges.

It aint easy for the guys over there and it aint easy for their families. As we all take a holiday today that honors war dead let's just home and pray that a better way than the sacrifice of lives can be found to deal with the differences our leaders and cultures have between each other.


Saturday, May 27, 2006

What about these guys...

Twice in the past week and I do not comment lightly on things here unless there is a pattern to certain happenings, guys have made remarks to me that could be taken the wrong way.

First guy is a long time friend who I have not laid eyes on in about 18 years or so due to the distance involved, but someone I keep in contact with and he could be reading here, but I have not seen evidence of his visits. I sent him an email picture of me with a big bass, you have seen it, it's here somewhere, if you want to see it I'll sent it to you but after receiving the picture he emailed "...Don't take this the wrong way, but you're looking pretty good there ol boy." And then he called me "homefritter." I am glad he said don't take this the wrong way because in a subsequent email he also called me "homefritter." Now I am East Texas born and bred with roots back to Arkansas cotton fields and I have never before been called "homefritter."

Next guy, known him only a few years because at one time we had our kids involved in the same activity. I last saw him a year ago maybe and today when I saw him he told me I was looking younger all the time. I was glad his wife was there to make him behave.

I guess I could have worse problems. I mean I write about feelings and sensitive shit like that here, in a post Broke Back World it's all right for guys to tell each other they look good.

Friday, May 26, 2006

I live in the mist of the East Texas gumbo fields, you know, mud that sticks to your feet in the wet season, hard as concrete can't dig a hole in the summer months. In the spring there is one critter that can dig and that is some type of crawdad of a species that is found only in a narrow band that runs from Huntington to Diboll. Or so it seems. This particular dad is good for nothing, can't boil it, fish won't bite it it just makes mounds all over your yard.

There is something that likes it. There are about three places around my yard, at the base of trees where it looks like something has been sitting in the tree eating dads. Here is what it looks like, this area that is covered with dad remains is about the size of a 55 gallon barrel lid.

My guess is that there are owls doing this. They are hunting dads when they crawl out at night. I very rarely see one, but I hear them hooting after dark. I like it, the hooting and the feast of the dads helps keep the mounds down in my yard. Global warming is helping keep the yard dryer, but if the dads can't dig, the owls leave.

Maybe if I listen real close to the hoots a little wise old owl will rub off on me.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

News from Iraq...

You may have read here of my friend Jeremy in Iraq. Well there was an incident this week where Jeremy was stabbed by another GI. Looks like the wounds were not bad, he was taken to a hospital at Camp Anaconda, but is back at FOB Normandy now and is OK. The attacker has been arrested. Glad Jeremy is going to be fine, hope this incident is not related to that bottle of hot sauce I sent. It could not have got there this quick, but I did pay for expedited shipping.

This kind of reminds me of something my friend Waldo once told me about his experiences serving in Viet Nam. He said one of the scarriest things to him was all the American teenagers with automatic weapons.

I also had a short discussion one time with someone about war dead and he advanced the notion that a bunch of those guys have been killed in accidents so they did not really count. I guess they don't count unless you are their momma.

End all war now, bring kids home.


What's this...

My son came to me last night. He held out his hand, "What's this he said?" He looked a little spooked, he is a smart guy, he does not often get bumfuddled.

I asked his where he found that, he said it was a bookmark in the book I am reading, which was "Ancient Evenings" by Norman Mailer, a selection from our home library. The item he held out was this:

Not that item, I grabbed that picture off the net since my scanner is on the blink, but he held out a strip of 6 S&H green stamps. You know, grocery stores used to give the, you stuck them in books and redeemed them for items from a catalog. I was a big saver, I usually got camping gear type items.

I think the kids were all little when the last green stamp prize I got was a croquet set. A quick google shows that a few stores still exist, but the company has been restructured to something called Green points.

The old books and stamps are being snatched up at flea markets and garage sales. They are cheap now, watch ebay to see what happens.

That bookmark was not very far into Mailer's book, I found it a bore some 20 years ago when I started it.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Good first day...

Good start to my clinical. Sometimes things learned in the classroom seem so abstract, but I was able to begin tying a lot of stuff together yesterday. Going to be some hard work, clinic is busy but that is good, time will pass fast.

Nice drive, about 100 miles round trip, a push over after going to Kilgore every day.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Start clinical rotation...

Off to start a clinical rotation at Livingston Physical Therapy. It will be out patient type services, not something I have done a lot of at my hospital so lots of new things to learn. Looks like good people there and very well organized.

I will spend about 6 weeks there and I think it will pass very fast looking at all the things I need to have done in this time.

Just think, I get the second summer session off.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Busy weekend...

Got busy before I resume school activities next Weeks.

Worked an extra day at the hospital Friday. I also fixed up a care package for Jeremy, my friend in Iraq. Here is what it looked like:

The contents consisted of hot sauce, crackers, smoked oysters and pictures from recent fishing trips. I have some memories from when Jeremy was about 14 maybe and we went to the lake one time and I had brought smoked oysters and hot sauce. Very hot hot sauce. I don't think Jeremy had ever had either and he plunged right in heartily dousing the oysters with sauce and sampling huge bites. People tell me I am also like this, so maybe that is the soul connection between me and Jeremy, the appetite to try new things, not gradually, but to immerse in the experience.

Starting Friday night, I went to the LHS band banquet, the football coach, Coach Outlaw was the guest speaker and he was great.

After that I helped chaperone a 24 hour food fast for the youth at church. I also fasted. The purpose was to raise money for Catholic Relief Services, the kids took pledges, and educate the kids about hunger, poverty and injustice that a lot of folks in the world deal with daily. Good group of kids, I think they already had concerns in this area or they would not have been there so I don't know if they learned all that much or just confirmed what they suspected. The curse of my life, I hang out with people who give a shit. That means I have to be good too. Anyway it was fun and had a great meal at the end of it.

Headed back to church this morning to help with the adult classes, there is something going on about the Da Vinci code today, don't know if I will see it or not, I am not interested about the movie, the fact that there is such a big buzz tells me it is not for me, but they have a secret guest speaker this morning, and I would like to know who that is. The Pope?

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Thursday, May 18, 2006

Recycle some old stuff...

Here is a paper I wrote two years ago for an English class at Angelina College. It is one of those papers that contain the same info, but is written for two different audiences.

A dragon is a creature of legend. It is a very large fire-breathing reptile. Its shape is somewhat that of a crocodile except that it has huge claws and wings. Dragons are found in the folklore and mythology of many different cultures and the symbolism is very different depending on the geographic location where the legend originates.
Stories of Europe and countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea show dragons to be very mean, fierce and only found living in remote areas of the known Earth.

English legends tell of Saint George killing a dragon to rescue a princess. Greek mythology has the god Apollo killing a dragon named Python. In Christian art the dragon represents sin, with early paintings depicting dragons being crushed under the feet of the Saints, symbolizing the triumph of Christianity over paganism. The Book of Revelation describes Satan as a flaming red dragon.
In the East the dragon is symbolic of a very different set of values. The dragons of Asia use their wisdom and strength in helpful ways. The Chinese believe dragons protect people from evil spirits and is a symbol of power. The year of the dragon, occurring every twelve years in Asia causes birth rates to rise because couples want their children born under the influence of the dragon’s courage. The dragon is often associated with water, either bringing rains to grow crops or appearing in the form of a waterspout. In Korea dragons represent knowledge, discipline and self-control. They are thought to live at the bottom of a special lake, and upon receiving a special pearl they are able to fly anywhere in the world bringing friendship, aid and peace. In Taoism the dragon is worshipped as a god.
The symbol of the dragon is found in many places in popular culture. It is found on clothing, and people plaster dragon decals on their automobiles. With this information an educated guess can be made to the intention of the display. Is it an emblem of destruction and chaos or a sign of peace and prosperity?

The Dragon and the Boy

On a fine spring day Kim-Sol was beside a clear spring fed mountain lake. He was
Practicing his black belt form. He had achieved much in the study of martial arts. He was filled with a sense of personal accomplishment, but his good feelings were overshadowed by important events being brought about by the men who led his country.
There was a great fuss going on with the neighboring country to the north. The two countries did not know each other well, they did not trust each other, and each looked for signs of weakness in the other. Friendship seemed a bleak possibility.
Kim-Sol stared at the still surface of the lake. Suddenly, the center of the lake began erupting in great spouts of water. A large dragon emerged from the depths, a pearl clutched in the claws of his five toed foot. He spread his great wings and flew to the shore by Kim-sol’s side. Kim-Sol felt no fear, dragons were good creatures despite the scaly snakelike looks, and the appearance of one was a good sign.
The dragon spoke in a calm wise voice, “Kim-Sol, young black belt, you have achieved much in your young life. I have also achieved much, and to crown my accomplishment I have been given a pearl. The pearl grants me the power to fly about the world, and bring peace. Come let us go bring knowledge to those who lack it.”
Kim-sol was very excited to be of help. “Yes sir,” he answered in a brave confidant voice.
The dragon took Kim-Sol up, and together they flew to the city. The people there were in awe of the dragon. Many had forgotten about the virtues he symbolized. Their flight brought them to the big gleaming building where old men in business suits made decisions that caused young families to cry. They entered the great debate chamber where these men did what they called important work and addressed all gathered there.
The dragon spoke in a commanding voice, “Much has gone wrong, things have to be changed and men must strive to achieve what they can be for the good of everyone. I bring this young black belt, Kim-Sol with me as a symbol of what one can achieve when they quest for knowledge and seek a path of self-discovery. Kim-Sol will now tell you the code he lives by.”
Kim-sol puffed out his chest. He knew what the dragon wanted him to say. In a clear and steady voice he recited the oath he used as a guide in his training and his life, “Knowledge in the mind, honesty in the heart, strength in the body, to make good friends!”
Thunderous applause greeted his short speech. The men in the gleaming building called other men that sat in a similar gleaming building to the north of their location and told of the dragon and the boy. Those men also saw the wisdom of the boy’s oath.
The world had changed, but the things that changed it were not new. They were the things we easily forget. Important things to keep us strong, smart, honest and friendly.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Summer reading...

With a week out from school have done a little reading for pleasure. I read Kurt Vonnegut's "A Man Without a Country." Good book, would really be great if paired with the Sermon on the Mount from the Bible which is mentioned several times. I don't think Vonnegut is a Christan, but he sure lays out some food for thought which the people in power who blow so hard at times about Christan values need to digest.

Ok, that's enough for today, back to water tower painting and fishing.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

No fish again...

Howling north wind and no bite today. Did catch a few undersize white perch and a couple of bass, one of which was a keeper. That one was caught on a plastic worm so kind of a big deal, I can't remember the last time I caught a bass on a plastic worm. The worm was called a devils tongue, something about the shape gets it that name.

So nice fun anyway on a sunny day, no fish to kill and gut on arrival home, there are things to be enjoyed.

I miss having fish swim in my belly, I have kind of got used to that after each trip.

Struck out...

I guess you can say that when reporting about fishing. It don't happen around here often but no fish yesterday. We had guest also, my father in law and mother in law, Bill and Geneva. Oh we caught a couple of keepers, a few throw backs, but the little cool spell and the north wind messed things up.

The wind was blowing right into our spot making it hard to hold on the fish, if they were even there. Not to get too Mr. Science about fishing, but boat control and lure control is so important. Got to hold on the fish and put the lure in from of their nose at the speed they want it. Wind messes all that up sometimes, makes the boat drift too fast, the lure too fast and shallow. White caps on the main lake also limited the places we could visit to check for fish.

It was fun anyway, a nice sunny day, saw a bunch of ducks and a 10 foot gator and enjoyed the company of family. Thanks to the abundance of other trips there were fish in the freezer at home and we cooked them. They are swimming in my belly.

I think we are heading out again today, with a friend of Cathy's on board. Maybe I should hold Mary out of school so we will have someone on board to catch some fish.

Got the State School band night tonight.


Saturday, May 13, 2006

Time on my hands...

A few days off from school and with Mary getting out of school soon we students have been wondering if we could come up with some sort of summer project.

We have good tap water out here. Lot of complaints about water taste these days what with bottled water such an industry, but out little water service does great. They are doing so good they recently put up a real water tower of their own, just like in the big towns. It is about 2.5 miles from the house as the crow flies and has become an item of interest to me and Mary.

At first we thought we might shoot at it in summer evenings. You know, sit on the shady roof of the house, violent rock music blaring from the big speakers, cooled by the late evening breezes, rifles safely carried up unloaded and casually take long distance shots. Turns out there is too much math involved, windage, elevation, bullet weights and their tendencies on trajection. We would need Morgan to help. There are also a few houses that would be below the bullet path and would not be fair to them, I mean we would be the ones having the fun.

So we settled on something else. As you can see we are not scared of high places. In honor of my in laws coming in a few days, we painted a welcoming sign. We have great plans to make this our personal billboard. Keep an eye out here for our summer fun.

As long as we don't get caught.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Got the grades...

All Bs in therapt classes and an A in Spanish. A "B"in both Functional Anatomy and assessments that was an 89 average. That hurts, makes me think of all the dumb mistakes I made on labs through out the year that cost a point here, a point there. Final Average in Therx was 84, which is up from an 80 three weeks ago.

Finals went pretty well except for the Therx part of the lab, I bombed that, but I made an A on the lecture part of that final, so sitting in the middle of the B range I did not hurt myself. I also made and A on the assessments lecture and Bs on the other labs and a B on Functional Anatomy lecture.

Got all that, does it make sense?

Any way time to relax. Got some chores, mow, wash car, get a hair cut, buy trousers, change oil and so on that has gone neglected.

Here is Mary with an award she got for maintaining an A average all year. This is with a heavy duty English class on her schedule. The two camera hounds flanking her are my mom and my wife.

Morgan also called me as I got in the car yesterday after lab and announced he made an A instead of the B he was expecting in Physics at SFA. It was touching, two guys sharing their grades like that. I cried.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

One more test...

One more final tomorrow. After great success last week with that round of tests I sit and moan a bit here. I know I passed one test, all were reported to pass it. Kind of stunk up the lab practical a bit today, I think I did one thing totally wrong. It might be a mixed bag on the finals. Only way to fail would be to not show up, but still I hate the waiting on grades, especially since I know of one screw up, may be it won't be treated too harshly.

I can't study am more at this point, I sit here listening to moody jazz spoken word poetry, alternately downing shots of absinthe and going outside to do some primal screaming. Just kidding about the absinthe. I don't do booze. I am thinking about the song by the rock band The Ramones called "I want to be Sedated," but I don't do the Ramones either, haven't heard the song and since everybody and his brother has one of their tee shirts I figure they have jumped the shark. Must have been one of those had to be there moments like when the blues man John Lee Hooker waved at me. At least I think he waved at me.

Anyway if I was sedated I wouldn't be Carl, I would not be able to get up early, look at that feller in the mirror that is going to give me the most trouble all day and then commence the daily screw ups.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

He liked the music...

I was in the grocery, buying strawberries. A young Hispanic man checked me out. He said, "I like the way you play the bass."

I said, "Thanks."

He asked me how long I had been playing and since I don't really have a start date for the bass in my head, I told him I began on tuba at age 12. I figured since he saw me playing bass he also saw my wife playing guitar. I told him she started when she was 10.

He said, "I asked Father Bill if you had a cd out or anything, I would buy it, I really like your music, but he said no."

I told him we made a recording when we had a children's choir. It was on cassette, which was the medium of choice of the time in 1996 when recorded and we sold it as a fund raiser for the building committee. I did not tell him I still had 100 of them in a closet at home. I guess I should have, I have it on my computer and every now and then I burn a cd for someone. The tunes have held up pretty well. The youngest kids on that tape are going on 19 and the oldest are 24-25.

He said, "Well you should put out another."

We finished our transaction and wished each other a good day. I left the store with a good feeling. Not all young people like to hear music by a guy that has white in his mustache. I know it is not really me doing it, it's the message, I'm just a vessel.


Monday, May 08, 2006

News from Iraq...

Got some news of my friend Jeremy, stationed in Iraq, in an email from his mom.

Moms don't like you fooling around, it's bad enough to be in a shootin' war dude so leave the stinging critters alone.

I know Jeremy real well, I bet he ate that thing...


Sunday, May 07, 2006

Happy Birthday Cathy...

Today is my wife's birthday. I just had to post a picture of one of her gifts. Now this is not porn, it's art. I like to pick kind of a theme for birthdays and such and since Cathy has been into the Balkan music thing I got her this painting in the impressionistic style by Cornel Vana called Balkan Revelry.

The nude represents her ever youngness and dancing spirit. Since there are a lot of brass instruments in this kind of music, the guy with the tuba is me. That other guy represents the world as they stand by to watch us having fun.

This painting measures 9 feet by 11 feet. It is quite the conversation piece and will forever be a prominent part of our household.


Saturday, May 06, 2006

Back from the lake...

Caught about four big white pearch and 10 big bream. I filleted all the bream but two, they were that big.

Checked by the game warden, no violations (that would be a good band name) but he did want to know what we caught the big bream on.

Post test let down...

After 7 tests this week, I think I had 2 As, 4 Bs and a 100 on a Spanish test, I feel all let down than I don't have a test today. Finals are next week and I have studied on and off, but can't get inspired today. Maybe I am just ready. I am not to worried about the lecture test, but the lab, which combines all classes (except Spanish) could be excruciating.

All this starts Tuesday so I have a couple of days to study.

Think me and Cathy will go to the lake shortly...

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Three guys walk into a Jack in the Box...

So somebody tells my wife (you know who you are Miss Sharpen your hooks want to go fishing) I'm writing depressing stuff here. Now she is watching me closer than ever. She has always been a bit juberus about this blog business anyway.

So after some pretty good grades, an A and two Bs out of 6 test this week, 3 more to go tomorrow and a letter from the blood donation place that says O+ cholesterol 169, I'm out of school early today and decide to treat myself at Jack in the Box. Long drive through so I go in and order to go.

While I wait I watch. Three guys come in, two old hippies and a young man they seem to be mentoring, there but for the grace of God go I think. These guys are elevated to the level of craftsmen by the wave of immigrants into Texas. They got some kind of business going, work they are, hard sweaty, smelling of cigs and listening to music by bands that haven't made a good song in 25 years. One has a skimpy little ponytail, one is missing the ear piece for his glasses and the other one, the young one, well he might really be the brains of the outfit, the boss.

Ever on the watch out for something that tastes good, my ears perk up when skimpy ponytail says, " It's not on the menus, but they have it. You just order it."

To my disappointment they each then order a fish sandwitch with cheese. I grew up being told by adults if you combined dairy products and fish you would either die or wish you were dead. I was an adult before I did it and this was after watching my wife eat fish and dairy products while she laughed. I guess that custom stemmed from the days when not everyone had a fridge and the fish and dairy might be ruined and make you sick. Maybe my family has not had refridgeration all that long, I remember coming home one day long ago to find a roommate and the fridge he owned both gone and everything sitting on the kitchen counter. I can't remember if there was fish and dairy there or not.

Meanwhile back in the kitchen at the Box the cook, an unemployed poet, currently underemployed at a fast food joint, thinks three fish sandwiches, cheese, it aint Lent, it aint Easter, it aint the 4th of July and this sure aint catfish.

What ever kind of fish it was, it's swimming in their bellies.


Up at 3am...

I wake at 3am, yesterday it was 4. I really slept late that day. A good time to prepare for a duck hunt, there are plenty of ducks nesting on the lake, but the game wardens would frown on shooting just right now.

Visions of duck shooting, Robert Johnson standing at a bleak Missisippi crossroads, chanted memorized prayers on my lips, thoughts of something in my notes that I just got to get up and see about, see if I remember right, why can't I think about this stuff in the day time? Aint scary enough then. It's way more fun like this, trucks can pass on the farm road, see the house all lit up and think I'm a farmer, up early to plow, yessir them younguns can't take the hours for that kind of stuff anymore they say. They just think they see the partner beside me.

And then, next week I have finals...

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Pretty good lab today...

Functional Anatomty, 93. Also had the lecture test and it was hard, no grade yet.

Ya casi termino, for today, anyway more tests tomorrow. I am looking at Spanish right now.

Once I finish tests this week, then there is finals.

Bear with me, more fun soon.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

The end is near...

Of school that is, hope you don't think I was about to present evidence of other ends, such as a bad case of plummer's butt or something.

Tomorrow starts a little stretch that completes testing of the semester material and then goes right into finals. I think 11 tests, 12 counting Spanish that I have in about 8 days.

It will be kind of like going in a tunnel, you know there is a light at the end, but it is very dim and it is a long slanting spit covered surface to be transversed against a backdrop of howling madness, missed opputunities, oh shits and stupid mistakes. Thankfully, even though my emotions sometimes veer among these poles I am having a strong finish to the semester. Grades since spring break have been really good. Not that I could not hurt myself by blowing something, but I think there is enough points left I could really help myself. Got back a major test yesrterday that was a 97 in a class where I have a low B so things are beefed up as good as possible.

Output here might be below par due to other concerns so bear with me.

Oh yeah, another area of pressure, I guess some of you know about "Cathy Week." Her birthday May 7th, mother's day, national nurses week, she thinks it is all about her, so that means presents, eating out and general special treatment. I got to produce here also.
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