Wednesday, September 29, 2010

yea, though i walk...

if one were to judge the world by the chaos reported on the nightly news, it would be easy to get the idea that evil and all it's minions are in charge. 

luckily, that is not the case.  the news is all about sensationalism.  the good things that happen around the world every day don't get reported because they aren't sufficiently sensational.

if reported at all, the single item of good news is the last in the broadcast.  i can only assume that's to leave us with a good taste in our mouths after hearing all that's wrong in the world on a particular day.

i choose to believe the good people of the world greatly out number the bad.  among the good are our  friends the l.s, who live in san antonio these days.  m. and j. practically raised our two younger kids, doing for them as if they were their own. we discussed making them guardians of c. and k. if ever an item of bad news on a particular night was about the wife and i being no longer among you. 

their goodness continues.  today, we received a delivery of flowers from m. j. and j.,  an expression of their constant caring. reading on this blog (i'm guessing) about me losing two aunties in two days triggered this latest token of their love. 

i thank them so much for their very kind remembrance of  two of the grand dames of the mc. clan.

as long as their are still people like the l. family around, the world will never succumb to darkness.  a world of light and goodness will ever prevail.  i truly believe that.  i hope you do too.  aio

Sunday, September 26, 2010

the circle of life...

i knew before we left for cincy that one my aunties, dad's sister l., had suffered a stroke and was not expected to live.  it was with something of  a heavy heart that we made the trip, planned months ago. while we were there we received a call informing us that l. had passed. not unexpected, but in that same call we learned that another of his sisters, c., had died the very next day. again not totally unexpected, as she had not been doing well of late. 

to receive the news of 2 dear aunties' passing, one day apart, takes one's breath away just a bit.  i'm 63, so you can figure that dad's sisters (all the brothers passed long ago)  are well up in years.  the same story is true for mom's side of the family.

none of us will make it out of this world alive.  still the prospect of losing those close to you is a sad one.

i can't say for sure if it is their generation, or if it is just my family, but my recollection of exchanging hugs and "i love yous", as i grew up are few.  that doesn't mean there wasn't affection, i just don't recall it being expressed  out loud and in so many words.

the prospect that these dear aunties, on both sides, may not be with us too much longer makes me sad.  with the passing of l. and c., i have promised myself i'd sit down with pen and paper with intention of sending them each a token of my affections and fondest memories. i have to do it now,  before i've waited too long.

it's true i could just pick up the phone, but not unlike many, speaking "i love yous" out loud is hard for me.  for me the written word allows me an eloquence i somehow lack when attempting to express my feelings aloud.

that, and the fact that once that phone call is ended, there is no trace of the words of affection outside what may well be a failing memory. 

on that note, i'll close,  i have 6 notes to aunties to write, and 3 to cousins who just lost their mom. aio

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

home again, home again...


i'm beginning to think the key to getting rain in these parts is for us to leave town.  while we were in california, little a-town had a nice rain, something like 2.5 inches.

we got back from cincy last night late.  this morning we find that the front yard is littered with leaves and limbs and in the back yard the cannas and the ever-grow has been shredded.  a search online reveals that on thursday a strong storm dumped 3.5 inches of rain around the southwest part of town, with generalized flooding. coulter street was closed, i-40 shut down due to flooding of the underpasses.  palo duro canyon received grapefruit sized hail.  yikes.

what an unusual summer it has been.  everything green, deep into august, as far south as austin and as far west as albuquerque.  my sister reported the cotton on our dry land farm south of lubbock "is waist high and heavy with bolls".

it's tri-state fair week.  historically it rains a lot during the fair.  tradition is holding true with the storm this past thursday and there's a 40% chance for rain again tomorrow. go figure.

it makes me wonder what might happen when we go out of town again in a few weeks.  i guess we'll have to wait and see.  aio

Sunday, September 19, 2010

texas downs the red raiders...

when texas went up 14-0, early in the first quarter, i was thinking, "this could be a very long night".  the raiders tied the game at 14 all just before half-time, and i had hope.

false hope, as it turns out.  texas has work still to do, i think, but i was fairly impressed by emerging tech defence.  i saw really good stuff from the d side of the ball. 

i do have one question for coach.  what the hell have you done to the tech offense. i get a balanced attack, i do.  in the tuberville version, i'm seeing a lack of offensive spark from years past.  is taylor potts the problem?  is it time to give sheffield a shot at qb?

texas won the game, a loss is a loss, but i choose to see good things down the road. with a new emphasis on the d side of the ball, my raiders will be fine.  that is if coach can be smart enough to find the spark for the o side again.  aio   

Friday, September 17, 2010

coming up to our trip, i had a picture in my mind of past summer visits to visit b.'s family. the temps can be uncomfortable because the humidity is typically high. running in such conditions is anything but enjoyable.  with the hills thrown in, a daily jog can be quite taxing.

so far on this trip the weather has been quite enjoyable.  yesterday was overcast with a bit of "panhandle like" wind thrown in.  in all, a great day for running, but the hills are still there to make for a quite a challenge for this flatland slogger.

in the backyard here on mallard drive stands a couple of river birch trees.  their limbs remind me some of the weeping willow.  the leaves are round, not long, narrow and thin like the willow. yesterday, saw some storms about. in the afternoon i went upstairs for a bit.  outside the window i could see the wind worrying the birch trees, their lithesome limbs flailing away in protest. thankfully, i got my run in before the wind took a page from it's panhandle cousin.

it's been a very relaxing visit.  i'm grateful to be welcomed into m. and p.'s home.  it's always a good time when i can bring the wife back here to cincinnatti, to reconnect with family and friends. cincy feels like home to me too. aio

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


oh, the marvel of modern travel.  today finds us in ohio, here to visit with the wife's kin folk.  a trip, which by car would take us the better part of three days, accomplished in a matter of hours.

you've heard me comment here on the lack of rain in little a'town.  it seems the texas panhandle is not the only part of the country that could use a healthy sprinkling from time to time. around these parts, the trees are dropping leaves and the color is changing, three or four weeks early by report.  there's a different look here.  there's trees.  so many trees, it's necessary to cut them down to make space for houses and farms.  what a novel concept.  but when i'm here i often comment "you can't see anything for the trees".  i miss our beautiful sunsets, when i'm here.  

there's a feel of fall in the air. this morning is cool, the humidity is not too bad today.  i think i'll go for a run.  up hill and down dale, that's another thing different about ohio. aio  

Monday, September 13, 2010

dallas' fading star


superbowl XLV will be played in the new cowboys stadium.  jerry jones' dream is for his team, "america's team, the dallas cowboys to play in the superbowl, in the new cowboys palace.

two words for you jerry baby. "ain't happenin'!" it's a nice enough dream, it might even be my dream, but what i've seen from the 'boys so far makes me worry they might not win another game this season. 

they will of course, at least i hope so.

there is one major problem with the cowboys.  what is that you ask?  "jerry jones", i say!  in my mind he needs to take a step back, he needs to stop being so omnipresent.  his hovering is stifling his team.  he's blocking their sun and without sun and a bit of breathing room, a team, coaches and players cannot grow.

of course, jerry jones will never read this and even if he did he would likely dismiss it without a thought.  that's because the cowboys for him is a platform made to order for promoting, what else-- jerry jones.  sure he wants his team to win but obviously not enough to do what, at least in my mind, in necessary to make that happen.

nope, jerry jones  is not gonna take a step away from the team's day to day coaching and practicing, not even it if is the best thing for our cowboys-- and that makes me sad. 

cowboys 2010-11 record-- 8-8, if they get their act together. if not.... aio

Sunday, September 12, 2010

keep your guns up...

as expected, my red raiders prevailed against new mexico, on saturday.  the score, tech 52  new mexico 17, if considered alone, might indicate a rout.

the box score paints another picture altogether and is the source of my concern as the raiders enter the big 12 schedule starting saturday against texas.  the number of first downs for each team? t-24 nm- 23.  tech had 152 rushing yards on 36 carries-- average 4.22 per carry.  up from last week against smu but... nm- 97 yards on 27 totes-- 3.59 yds/ carry.  i don't know whether to gather hope from tech's gains on the ground or wring my hands over their soft defence against a "weaker" opponent.

tech's total passing yards 310, down some but temper that with the increase in ground yards. the lobos, 336 yards through the air. taylor potts 22-34-0  for 293 yards, sheffield 2-7-0 for 17 yards. for the lobos holbrook 30-50-2-323 and sustine 2-2-0 for 13.

return yards for tech, 93, lobos 0. punts avg.  2-47.5 new mexico 7-30.9  fumbles lost  tech 4-2, nm 3-1  penalty yards tech 6-69 nm 16-145  not unexpected time of possession t 26:19 nm 33:41

the headline in today's agn reads "tech wallops new mexico" and if you just look at the final score you would tend to say that, i guess.  the story of the box score says something totally different.  the tale of the tape tells me that although the defence is improved it is still allowing teams to run and pass up and down the field only to stiffen some once the opponent gets deep into tech's territory. that's what worries me with the big 12 schedule ahead of us.

i like taylor potts, but i'm a bigger fan of steven sheffield, or i was.  there's another thing the box score revealed to me.  coach tuberville is a seer. he chose the right guy to lead the raiders into big 12 battle.

on, saturday tech's tuberville litmus test kicks off as the big 12 campaign begins aginst the UT longhorns.   tech -- make sure your guns are loaded, with extra ammo close to hand. eat your wheaties!

better yet, have a side of gunpowder for dessert. aio

Thursday, September 9, 2010

o beautiful, for spacious skies...


last week i received a request from my aunt l. asking for information about my dad's army service in WWII.  you gotta love small town america. she wants the info so that it can be placed in the o'donnell museum.

 For whatever reason, dad never talked about his time in the army, at least not with me. that left me thinking i was not going to be of much help.  enter the pack rat, aka my darling wife, who recalled exactly where his papers have been safely stashed away since his death in 1983. among them was his discharge papers,     WD AGO Form 53-55,  which revealed to me so much that i never knew about his service to our country. He attained the rank of technician fourth grade and was assigned to the 3227th ordnance dept company; his training--automotive mechanic. he entered the army on 1 march, 1941 at ft. bliss in el paso.  he mustered out at bliss on 10 january, 1946.  length of service 4 years 10 months and 9 days of active duty, most of that overseas.  he served in northern france and central europe.  his service earned various ribbons and medals, among them the victory medal.

a piece of paper can reveal very little. contained within that form was none of the nitty-gritty of almost five years in a war zone.  he had his reasons, i'm sure, for not relating anything of his time in service.  left to my imagination, i can understand why.  his service and his discharge was honorable.

the "honor flights" you hear about these days had not made the scene when he passed in '83.  unfortunate,in that they came too late,or he died too soon but had circumstance been different, i would have proudly sponsored a ride for him to the nations capitol in order that he might have seen the tangible evidence of a nation's gratitude for his sacrifice.   

as that cannot be,  it is with great pride that i comply with my aunt l.'s request from a grateful community that has chosen to honor its' hometown heroes.  o'donnell's homage to my dad's service to our country might be on a smaller scale than the granite memorials in d.c., but it is no less sincere and just as deserved. thanks dad, to you and to so many others who have answered our nations call, swearing to protect her in times of war and times of peace,  against all enemies foreign and domestic. aio

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

hermine, hermine, wherefore art thou hermine...

hurrican hermine, now a tropical dpression , has for the most part ignored these parts.  down south, around houston and san antone, she saw fit to dump some significant amounts of rain and places in oklahoma are predicted to recieve up to 10 inches as she spins and spends herself toward the heartland.

as for here, i saw what looked like a lone outer band on radar, pinwheeling its' way toward us.  during my noon run with the guys the hypnotic smell of b-b-q from the c.o.c. cook-off wafted our way and we were favored with a gentle sprinkle.  not enough to make us turn around for "home", it did manage to wet the streets.

downtown is 5 miles east of 7420, give or take, and we have seen nothing even close to that gentle sprinkle here.   

weather has always fascinated me.  that interest was spawned during summer days on the dry land cotton farm that monopolized my youth.  weather prediction is no precise science, even today, more like an educated guess i would say.  back in those days, a farmer kept an eye to the sky, monitoring the horizon for any emerging hint of rain to come. 

it seemed to me that our farm was at the bottom of the list to get rain and at the top of the list of farms to get hail.  herbicides were just coming onto the farm scene back then.  of course herbicides cost money, of which we never had enough.  cheap labor was the way to go, cheap labor in the form of us kids, that is. lots of years the weed crop bested by far, the cotton crop. where was "better living through chemistry", when i needed it most?

it is not for me to know why the weather patterns develop as they do.  what i do know is that even in these times of mostly accurate weather prognostication, it never hurts to keep an eye on the horizon. a change in the weather is coming!  the question is, as it has always been-- when? aio


Monday, September 6, 2010

TT 35, SMU 27...


the tommy tuberville era at texas tech is off and running, if you could call it that-- 31 rushes for  a total of 72 yards is less than impressive.  that kind of yardage might have come from a mike leach coached game, with way fewer attempts.

as for the new emphasis on defense.  the score at the end of the third quarter was 35-17.  the raiders did provide a huge degree of excitement in the fourth.  not the good kind however.  smu scored 10 points  and had the ball driving for another score when the tech defense at last bowed its' back.

and exactly where was the raider offense in the fourth?  missing in action-- that's where.  points scored in the fourth to help the raider cause?  0-- nada-- zilch.  that is to say-- nuttin' honey.

the smu mustangs are a cusa (conference usa) team.  this debut of the tuberville era leaves me more than a little concerned for when the raiders face the texas longhorns and the rest of the big 12 (now 10) teams in the coming weeks.

something key was just not there for my raiders in this sunday afternoon, college, football game.  for one, they must have left the shredder in the locker room.  the leach type run and gun excitement is gone.  TT announced that TP (taylor potts) is the best man to lead the raiders into the tt era. he was good, completing 34 of  53 attempts for 349 yards with no interceptions. still, he left me wanting more.

so, just what was missing on this fine sunday afternoon on the south plains.  a priates' swagger for one; that  rare ability to inspire those around to bigger and better things. 

zero points scored by tech in the fourth quarter. unbelievable! and as i said, the much improved defense was  "in absentia"  for most of the fourth until at last it stopped the driving mustangs on fourth and long with just over a minute left in the game.

my eaky leaky heart is not up to such drama.

so it looks like  TT  and TT have their work cut out for them.  i'm thinking that after yesterday the rest of the big 12?/10 teams are licking their chops at the  prospect of having the TT red raiders for dinner.

the solution?  i'm no coach and i ain't no seer, but i'd like to see what steven sheffield can bring to the dinner table! aio

Sunday, September 5, 2010

the tuberville era...

get your guns up! today is a new beginning for my texas tech red raiders football program.   mike leach is done. good, bad, or indifferent his time as coach of the raiders was an exciting one and time will decide how best to judge the mike leach era.

today marks the debut of  tommy tuberville as the new head coach of the red raiders football program.  college football on a sunday!  who woulda' thunk it?

putting that oddity aside, it is with keen anticipation that i await the kickoff of the tommy tuberville era of texas tech red raiders football.  i can't wait to see what changes he may have wrought. his idea that there is two sides to a football team in not new, but it is a concept largely missing over the last ten years.  the raiders have scored a lot of points over those years.  without limiting ones opponents' scoring, putting up big numbers doesn't gurantee a win. one couldn't help feeling a bit sorry for the raiders' defensemen.  under leach, defense was even less than an afterthought.  it wasn't thought of at all. at least it seemed that way.

tuberville has promised change on that front AND he has vowed that tech's prolific passing game will remain, balanced by an effective running game. with a renewed emphasis on the defensive side, bring it on. we'll just have to wait to see what we will see. t-minus 75 minutes and counting until kickoff. 

Tommy Tuberville--TT.  Texas Tech--TT.  i am beside myself in anticipation of what the sum of TT+TT will be.

this afternoon begins the solving of  that equation.  i'm hoping it is a formula for huge success--  for many years to come. get your guns up, raiders' fans!   aio

Thursday, September 2, 2010

america's music...

country music is my thing.  watching the CMA music festival last night, i couldn't help wishing c. could find a similar affection for my fave, or at the very least, he could see the value of lyrics being the focus of his songs.  it worked for the beatles and for so any other groups, pop and rock,  in the 60's, 70's, 80's and into the 90's.   watching the myriad of country acts, i could understand every word sung, no matter the artist.

parental pride aside, imho, though those acts are great and as talented as they are, i question if they have more talent than c.  i don't think so.

taylor swift said her five years of phenomenal success is due to "one fantastic stroke of luck".  so it is my great hope, with the beginnings of two new, more main stream bands,  a phenomenal stroke of luck is on it's way to at least one of his new bands front door. aio

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

at last...

with apologies to ella:

at laaaaast. a new band has come along
the darker days are over
the sounds, more like a song
oh yeah, at last.....

i've not shed any tears over the demise of c.'s previous bands, pretty pretty and isaac the blind.  when i learned the name of one of his latest ventures, the town hall devils, i was prepared to not like them too based solely on the name. i'd not heard a note played, not heard a word sung,  had nothing more to base an opinion on other than the name. that is, until last night.

last night i received an e-mail from c. informing me that a video, of tthd playing at the reclaim outdoor shebang on the 14th, is available on their facebook page. the song in that video is stolen cars .  also there is a demo of everybody's watching you up on their myspace page for your listening pleasure.

i am intrigued.  i think i can learn to like this new group a lot. i've played e'swy several times and am liking the sound of it more and more.  as for sc, i prefer to reserve judgement until i can here the studio, or live, version.  i'm fairly sure the video doesn't do the song justice.

it does my soul good to see c. and k.w. moving away from the heavier stuff they've done with previous groups.

the other band he's hooking up with is called acid beach.  he tells me this bunch is an instrumental surf band.  now that's different, and something i'm very curious to hear. i feel i may like them as well.

the important thing he is happy doing what he loves and that makes me happy.  it's all good. aio