Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Lion

I am not a big fan of Halloween. Not really sure why, but I am sure it has something to do with my fear of clowns. People pretended to be something they are not.

That being said, we only had one very confused trick or treat-er last night. Aedan arrived with his folks in an adorable lion costume. In his mind, I assume he just viewed this as some another outfit with a hood. He did not get the concept that for the first time in his life he was supposed to stop at the door, so he began to wander into the house. However, the T-Ball hit from the school yard sitting on the step became far more fascinating than the bag of cookies I was trying to give him. What added to the madness were the flashes going off as pictures were being taken.

Aedan made it into the house with the ball. Aeden had a very successful trip into Grandma’s house.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Our dog Trek passed away on the back step yesterday at 15 and a half years old. He started out as my dog, but when I married Carol, he became hers as well. He sure always looked for her every night when I brought him in the house for dinner.

Trek was a generic brown shepard/chow mix that was found as a puppy dumped in the park. Living by myself at the time, he gave me a reason to come home. As one of my scouts pointed out many years ago, before Carol and the kids made the place where I lived a home, it was Trek's house.

My favorite story about Trek is about his relation with the Moody family. Until I figured out how to fix the fence, Trek would often get out and make it to the Moody's house. They had a dog name Bisket that could have come from the same litter as Trek. I would come home from a bike ride or work to find out Trek was hanging out with the Moodys.   The Moody's did not mind. I would have a nice visit with Vikiki Moody and load Trek in my Rodeo and head home.

Chip Moody was the local anchor of Channel 8. So you can imagine their home was quite a bit nicer than mine. So I understood why Trek always made it over there. Chip was fighting Hodgkins disease in Arizona at time, so often got a report on his health from Vikki when I was picking up Trek.

I went on a trip to Austin once and when I returned and Trek had escaped again. I got a message from Vikki and learned that Trek had come to visit as her family was headed out to Arizona to see Chip, so they took him along to keep Bisket company.

I got to go to Austin and Trek went to Phoenix. Chip told me he enjoyed having Trek come see him. Thanks to Carol I figured out how to fix a fence, so he did not go on any more adventures. Trek spent his last night with us, sleeping at the foot of the bed in his house.

He will be missed.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Texas Rangers

It is real cool that the Rangers have made the World Series. I am willing to admit that my level of fandom with the Rangers is not even close to my emotional commitment with the Texas Tech Red Raiders, but I have followed the Rangers since July 29, 1989.

That date sticks out in my mind quite clearly. I grew up being an Atlanta Braves fan. We I first started paying attention to Major League Baseball, my father was stationed at Fort Benning, Georgia. Ted Turner was just start to broadcast the games state wide on Superstation 17, the precursor to TBS that we know on cable/satellite. We moved to Fort Bragg, North Carolina and the family continued to follow the Braves on Cable. I continued to track the Braves in the Stars and Stripes when we moved to Heidelberg Germany.

So when I went to Tech, I had no affiliation with the Rangers, so I continued to follow the Braves. However, being a broke graduate student, I dropped cable in the summer of 1989. I still wanted to follow baseball and the Rangers were the local team. So on July 29, 1989 I decided that the Rangers were now my baseball team.

I remember lying in bed listening to Mark Holtz and Eric Nadel announcing the Harold Baines trade that night. It is perceived to be the worst trade in Rangers baseball history today. Of course, this is right before the Braves made their big run in the 90s. I switched my allegiance at the worst possible time.

I have probably been to about a 100 Ranger games over the years since I moved to DFW. I made it to the first playoff game in 1996 and the first playoff game this year. Back in the day in old Arlington Stadium, you could get in the outfield seats for $2 on Tom Thumb half price night. That is when I saw most of my games. I even saw Nolan Ryan pitch from those seats.

There are far more passionate Ranger fans they have sufferer much more than I have. I am also happy the Rangers made it!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Fransico "Paco" Hamm

I am sure there is a direct correlation between a Texas Tech loss and my lack of blog posts.

This past weekend Carol and I headed to Lubbock to witness a rather frustrating football game between the Raiders and the Oklahoma State Cowboys. It put quite the damper on the weekend. Our Season Ticket family around us are all quite perturbed about Tech's performance. What kept us from completely melting down was constant updates about the Texas Rangers wining their first home playoff game in Arlington.

The weekend was not a total lost though. Through the magic of Facebook I learned that Fransico "Paco" Hamm was going to be in Lubbock for the weekend.

I think the last time I saw Fransico was in 1987. Fransico and I not only went to Tech together, but we graduated from Heidelberg American High School together. Besides serving our country in the Air Force, Fransicos real job is to be the human Heidelberg association coordinator. If you need to know where someone from Heidelberg is, no matter when they graduated, check with Fran. If he does not know, he knows someone who does or will find out.

Carol and I had dinner with him at River Smith's. As Fransico pointed out, it was comfort food. I noted it was required for me after the game.

Fransico is a bundle of energy and optimism. You cannot help but feed off of it in your conversation with him. We caught us as well as anyone who has not seen each other in 23 years could. It really soothed the loss.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Cotton Bowl Trip

This past weekend was a serendipitous trip to the Cotton Bowl to watch Tech play Baylor.

Little Troop 5 was heading to Worth Ranch this weekend while one of my college buddies was supposed to go to the game with me. As I was making sure the troop made it out, my friend called to tell me he was sick and could not make the game.

As I waved the troop goodbye the scrambled began to find someone to use the other ticket. Normally this would not be a problem, but last Saturday was sports insanity in DFW. Besides the Tech game, the Aggies were playing Arkansas in Jerry's World, TCU was playing Wyoming, and the Ranger's were playing The Rays at the Ballpark. This does include SMU and UNT also playing at home. Therefore, most of my friends who drop what they were doing on Saturday to go to an 11 kickoff in Dallas were either camping or going to a game already. It should be noted that Carol was on her way to Oklahoma to visit friends and her sister.

In the middle of the contacting the limited choices I had available, I get a text from Victor Williams, a college dorm friend from San Antonio. He had just gotten tickets to the Tech/Oklahoma Stare game and was wondering if I was going. I informed him that I was, but my real problem was I needed someone to go tomorrow and I wished he lived closer. An hour later Vic texts me and said if I still had a ticket, he's in. So Vic got up at 3am and was in the driveway at 7:20 so we could go catch the train.

I had not hung out with Vic since 1986. I hunted him down during the Alamo Bowl last year, but this was really cool. We had a good time catching up, enjoyed a rather exciting game that Tech held on to win, had an interesting experience at the W Hotel bar waiting on the train, and finished the day at Bobby V's.

What put the weekend over the top was Vic brought his road bike. So Vic, Justin and I got a 40 mile bike ride in on Sunday. We did the downtown Starbucks trip and had an adventure in Arlington cruising the Rangers/Cowboys traffic.

We were done in time for me to greet the Troop. I was quite pleased out the weekend turned out.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Mike Leach

Last Thursday, my boss, Joe Shannon, Jr. received the Texas Wesleyan University Excellence In Justice Award. I was honored that Joe invited me to attend the awards ceremony. The key note speaker at the Lunch was former Texas Tech Head Football Coach Mike Leach. Joe correctly figured that I would be interested in hearing Coach Leach speak. I had to agree to control my “Texas Techness” in order to attend.

The Awards luncheon was held in the Fort Worth Club. I have been there a couple of times more often as a speaker at some professional’s organization. Since Joe was getting “The” award, I was seated at the table right under the podium. I had told Joe my goal for the day was to shake Coach Leach’s hand and thank him for the win over the Texas Longhorns in 2008.

As I was visting with a law professor at my table, I heard a voice behind me I recognized. I realized quickly that Mike Leach was sitting at the table right behind me. I turned to Joe and said “I’m going in”

I waited until the person that Coach Leach was talking to walked away and went over and introduced myself. I informed him that the Texas win in 2008 was right below the birth of my grandchildren in importance. Leach politely noted that it was an important win. What surprised me from here was that he then began to break down the game with me. We engaged in about a 10 minute football conversation about that game and officiating in the Big 12. I had never imagined my conversation going this long. The cool thing about Coach Leach is that you really don’t have to carry it.

I looked up and could tell that every Red Raider in the room figured if I could talk to him, so could they. As a crowd started to form around Coach Leach, I broke off the conversation and thanked him again and for the notoriety he brought to Texas Tech University.

I headed back to Joe’s table quite proud of myself to have successfully pulled off my goal.

Mike Leach gave a classic Coach Leach talk. I sat politely through the awards ceremony while texting everyone I knew I had just chatted with Mike Leach about football.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

17 minutes

Troop 5 is a boy led troop. What does that mean? That means it takes 17 minutes to figure out where you are going camping in November.

It was utterly amazing this past Monday to watch the troop come up with an a campout plan since the District Camporee got canceled. It is a simple problem, one they face once a year. If we were an adult camping club, it would have been a one minute discussion and the boys were told where they would camp.

Instead we watched the boys wrestle getting everyone’s attention, come up with ideas, try to get everyone’s attention again, and attempt to vote, change what they are voting on, struggle again to get everyone’s attention, and finally vote.
We are camping at Camp Constantine in November.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Magic of Facebook

I continue to be fascinated by the magic of Facebook. It has created another community in our lives that never existed. I have often argued that you can catch up on your life with someone you had not seen in 20 years in five minutes, but you can go on for hours about your bad service at lunch with a friend you see every day.

Facebook has created a mechanism to reconnect with people you knew 20 years ago all over the world and drop them in your everyday life. I think that is real cool.

Case in point, I would have never watched Undercover Boss this past Sunday if it was not for Facebook. One of my friends from High School who I have not crossed paths with since my senior year in High School boss was on the show. I watched and was able to find my friend on as I watched.

Odds are I would have never watched and if I did, would have no idea my old friend was on TV. Facebook Magic.