Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Mea culpa...

One really should have ones ducks in a row before marching them off into the ether, there to hang about forever and ever, amen.  The gist of my last piece was questioning the wisdom of letting the Harrington String Quartet go as principals (not principles as I typed over and over and over) and asking how much the symphony is really saving by doing so.

It has been brought to my attention that the $80,000 stipend I mentioned comes to the HSQ not from the Amarillo Symphony but from the Harrington Trust. This annual sum was given to WTAMU to help fund the quartet, I'm told. 

That begs the question, if the symphony is not saving $80k, why the split?  It is fact the members of HSQ were paid as principals by ASO.  How much?-- $500 per performance?-- I don't know, that's just a figure I dreamed up.   One might reasonably assume the musicians filling those spots as principals this season are being paid as well. The same "$500"-- maybe, maybe not, I don't know. But I do know this, money isn't everything and to quote my old pal Willie Gates, "it only costs twice as much to go first class".  Pony up for any "savings" and bring the HSQ back!

Here's another thought.  Say the rift between the symphony and the quartet remains. Why not promote from within the symphony? Why bring musicians in from outside to fill the principal chairs?  Without a doubt even the musicians sitting in last chair are quite accomplished.  First chair material, perhaps not, but why not give the violinists, the cellist and the bassist sitting second chair a shot? Given the opportunity to rise to the occasion, who knows?

At the risk of beating a dead horse, I have to say again the Amarillo Symphony has done its reputation no favor by bailing on its long term association with the Harrington String Quartet.  Both entities are better for that association and for that reason alone steps should be taken to restore it.

Is Henry Kissinger still alive?


Monday, November 25, 2013

Principle carousel...

Saturday evening's ASO concert was fabulous, however...

After the Theatricality concert I sent a piece to the AGN opinions editor. It didn't make it to print. At least I never saw it.  It was prompted by a blurb in the Get Out insert of a Friday Globe News touting an upcoming concert by the Harrington String Quartet . The gist of that submission-- that our Amarillo Symphony Orchestra, while still great, is something less without the HSQ in the principle chairs.  As the principles, the quartet had been for years the visage of the AS, the constant with prestige in its' own right that lent a bit of extra polish to the ASO apple.

As anyone who cares knows, during the off season, the ASO board made the decision to part ways with HSQ.  Reportedly, and perhaps even understandably, the firing was due to the $80,000 the quartet was rumored to have earned as a stipend for their services. What has this divorce gained, or cost, the symphony?

This is the deal as I see it.  Another concert, another round of strangers in the principle chairs?  All extremely talented and passionate artists in their own right I'm sure. But I'm left to wonder what is this revolving principle door saving the orchestra.  Surely these talents are being paid for their time. Are they being flown into Amarillo like the guest artists on ASO's dime? Are they put up in the Ambassador, given a car to use while here? Assuming these principle musicians are not appearing with the orchestra gratis and even if the bulk of their stay is comped by the Ambassador, or the Street Motor Group or supported in some way by the many generous corporate and private supporters of the symphony, the bottom line is the savings over the course of the seven concert season is likely something less than $80,000.  Thousands and perhaps tens of thousand less. I have no idea what the compensation these for the four principles might be.  For the sake of argument let us say they are flown in and each airline ticket is $400; that comes to $11,200 for the season. Throw in a principle stipend of a nominal  $500? per performance and you've wracked up another $28,000 over the season. Total, $39,200.  Other costs are likely and the total tab for the subs to be determined. To be sure I know nothing of  how the finance of this parade of substitute principles is being handled but if my guesstimation is anywhere in the ball park, then what?  No figure, not $40,800 in savings, not even "saving the whole $80,000" can make up for HSQ not taking the stage with the symphony. Any monetary "saving" in this instance is still a loss in my book..

The real cost of not having the Harrington String Quartet associated with the Amarillo Symphony is beyond measure. No dollar figure the accountants might compute will ever adequately justify the loss to our symphony's soul.  When it was decided the symphony would distance itself from the quartet, the mystique of both parties took a hit. Admittedly, this comes from one on the outside looking in, not being privy to the why and wherefore that led to the decision. I only know what I know and that is, to me, the nucleus of symphonies past is missing-- and I want it back.

Black eyes all around the table in my opinion. I can only hope  those in a position to right this wrong can see the incalculable value of bringing the HSQ back as principles for our Amarillo Symphony. In the words of Captain Picard, "make it so",  if not before the end of this season, most assuredly before the first down beat of the 90th season.  Please, "bring them home".


Sunday, November 24, 2013

Pictures in Music...

Attendance was scant at tonight's ASO performance.  Rightly so perhaps as all roads leading to the Globe News Center had much in common with the Bulls hockey rink just across the street. Wise as it may have been for the aging symphony faithful to forgo the concert in view of the weather, the many who were absent missed a dandy of a concert.

I am starting to discern a deftness in programming choices under Jacomo's baton. The theme for tonight's concert, "Pictures in Music" was evident in each of the pieces presented. There is continuity as opposed to the sometimes discordant programs of the past.

Schoenberg's "Finding Rothko" was as fine as frog hair split four ways. Elena Urioste deftly limned "The Lark Rising" and did the Gypsies proud in her rendering of "Tzigane". Jacomo's conducting and the orchestra's performance of "Pictures at an Exhibition" was deserving of the standing O from the audience and the seated O from the musicians. The evening was as delightful as the weather outside was frightful. Thank you, one and all.

I wonder what wonder the next concert and the rest of the season will bring?  I can hardly wait to see and hear whatever it may be.


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

happy birthday....


It is hard for me to fathom that my first son, a son not by birth but my first son nonetheless, is going to be 44 years old today.  His mom has often said "the only reason he married me is so he could have him." While that is not true at all getting a son in the bargain was a bonus, one that has blessed me with a wealth of fond, funny and poignant memories. I've watched him grow into first a strapping youth, then a young man, becoming at last a responsible, productive adult. I've witnessed the life events that led him into a career in teaching where he is quietly molding young hearts and minds, imparting the ability to look within themselves and beyond themselves to see the possibilities.  He makes me proud.

Happy Birthday, Son!


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

ASO essays into foreign territory...

First let me say, Jacomo was my first choice to be our new ASO director. I admire the energy he brings, the effort he is giving toward broadening the scope of the symphony, toward attracting a younger audience and to drawing the audience more into the performance.

But, having said that (and you knew the but was coming didn't you) while I totally loved the Mason Bates Warehouse Medicine piece and the accompanying video put together by the fine folks at WTAMU and  I enjoyed Porgy and Bess very much being familiar with songs involved with the play, I can't say the same for Romeo and Juliet.  Royal Brantley projected well; not so with the actors portraying Romeo and Juliet who seemingly were playing to one another alone.  In doing so those of us in the cheap seats had a hard time understanding.

In short, while the idea may have sounded good on paper, it was not for me.  I understand that the orations came between movements but they were a distraction and interrupted the flow of what for me was a less than dynamic piece to begin with. I'm fond of saying "Amarillo will stand up for anything".   I may be the only one in the audience who was left wanting.  Gauging by the extended duration of decidedly polite applause at concerts end, I think not.

I applaud Jacomo's ideas, his aspiration to make our symphony even better and his effort to attract a younger and wider audience to the concerts.  I'm concerned that he may alienate the current base in the process.  I hope I'm wrong.


Sunday, September 22, 2013



Friday and Saturday nights kicked off the vibrant 89th season for our Amarillo Symphony Orchestra.  What a season it promises to be with our new maestro, Jacomo Bairos. Young, energetic and charismatic, he is full of the promise of what can be.  It was with great anticipation that we've awaited the first downbeat of the new season and by evening's end, well worth the wait. 

The first order of the might,  the presentation of this year's Symphony Belles and Beaus. As always,  Dr. McKay ably introduced this year's bevy of beauties, and at roughly half their numbers, the year's  band of beaus.

To start the evening musically, our national anthem.

First on the program, a piece by Paul Dooley, commissioned especially for this inaugural concert under the new maestro's baton and said to be inspired by Jacomo himself.  Velocity Festivals is a classy, if not classical piece, paying homage to the latest developments in electronica. Not something you might have heard under Jim Setapen's baton for sure, and perhaps not under Kimbo's either. A hint of things to come?  We shall see.

Next on the program, Erich Wolfgang Korngold's Violin Concert in D Major, Op. 35 ably conducted by maestro and splendidly played by the evening's guest artist Bella Hristova on violin. (pictured below) It is a piece reminiscent of movie themes from an earlier time and remindful of film scores written by John Williams and Klaus Badelt.  But "Korngold came first" reminded Jacomo. Indeed Korngold may have written the first big time movie score. The movie?  The Adventures of Robin Hood in 1938.

 Photo: Photo courtesy Cissy Fenn Burch
The 89th season begins as a number of firsts. In these inaugural concerts, it is among the first times Jacomo has conducted the symphony as its new maestro and the first times Velocity Festivals has been played for ASO audiences.  And to bring this season's inaugural concerts to a resounding climax, Ludwig Van Beethoven's Symphony No. 7 in A Major, Op. 92, played for perhaps the first time in any ASO season (I'm not sure about that), it was the first time Jocomo has conducted the Beethoven's 7th. Scratch that one from his bucket list.

 He led the evening's program with an alacrity beyond his years.

Saturday night's audience was abuzz on exiting the hall.  Most assuredly they, and we, are keenly anticipating what the remainder of the season may hold.  Whatever it may be, bring it on Jacomo, bring it on.


Monday, August 19, 2013


                                                     (Judy in front, Mary to her right)

A week ago tomorrow we were in San Antonio for the funeral service for our dear friend Judy Loeser.  It was a life celebration for a beautiful lady, a service befitting a great soul, one of exceptional generosity, always a joy to be around. It was a two hanky deal for all of us.

Speaking of family, although we are not related by blood, we've always considered Judy, Mary, Joe-- the brother, Jackie and Jane-- the Loesers, to be family.  I tell people that M. and J. raised our two youngest kids.  In large part they did and they did a fine job. I tell folks my kids are spoiled-- and we didn't do it.  It speaks to the great love they had/have for our young ones who are now 34 and 33 y/o.  There was/are nieces and nephews aplenty upon which they showered love and shared their zest for life and adventure-- but that didn't stop them from including C. and K. Those nieces and nephews and the attendant moms and dads lived down south, in San Antonio and Angleton.  As often as not, come vacation time-- whatever the trip occasion, J. and M. loaded up our kids and took them along.

Over the years our times together grew infrequent.  Not that we had forgotten. No way.  On occasion a "we need to go see... call... the Loesers" issued forth.  With C. living in Austin it was often our intent to get down that way.  Folks who were there for our kids on birthdays and graduations, in times of crisis, deserve better. 

Mary called on Thursday eve to give us a heads up that Judy's fight had taken a turn.  Hospice was in the making, would we let the kids know?  Of course, we will.  For whatever reason we didn't call that evening.  Judy passed in the wee hours of Friday morning which made the calls we then had to make  more distressing for all.

There was no discussion as to whether we would make the trip.  It was a long drive made longer by what waited at the end. But that's just what you do-- for family. Judy deserved no less.

Time will surely take the edge off our collective loss.  For now we hold you, our Loeser family, close to our hearts. Thanks for the memories, for everything.  We love you all, always.  You're the best!


Tuesday, June 4, 2013

the motherland...

this weekend i'll be headed to points south, spending some time with my aunt lou in the place i call my home town...  o'donnell, tx.  just the thought starts me down memory lane taking me back to life on that postage stamp of a dry land cotton farm i grew up on. 

shortly after school let out for the summer, the work began. dressed for winter, but really just to ward off the sun, in long sleeves and gloves, long pants and a hat of some sort-- but no sunglasses, no sunblock, no mp3 player, nothing to distract from the miserable heat of mid-afternoon, the task of chopping cotton.  day in and day out, plodding down and back on row after row cotton searching out curl lace, blue, white and milk weeds.  anything that wasn't cotton had to go and be danged careful not to chop up a precious stalk of cotton in the process.

that was my lot until daddy deemed me old enough to drive a tractor. being higher up in the heat was no better than being down on the ground plus there was the added heat coming from the engine, the metal cowling and fenders with the added bonus and never ending siege on the ears by the "popping johnny".  ("G" model John Deere). (huh? what did you say?)  sun up to sun down, all the summer long. i still feel for my sis who must have walked a jillion miles up and down those rows while big brother rode in style.  

come saturday there was a break for a trip into town to do laundryand  buy groceries;  to maybe take in a movie if for nothing more than a delicious couple of hours in the chill of the air conditioning.  for 10 cents you could get a rainbow snow cone from the stand on the corner across from the chevrolet house.  for us kids it was a treat.  for our mom, it was just another day of work.  doing laundry today is still a chore. laundry in the time of the ringer washing machine left her frail frame even more exhausted when piled on top of a week in the field, cooking meals and all that came with seeing to our humble home.

sunday, was a day of rest. praise the lord and pass the biscuits.

of course we planted a garden ee-v-ery year.  there's nothing better than fresh veggies picked that day or the sweet chill of a vine ripened watermelon or cantaloupe. but there's work involved there too. "putting up" the beans, and black eyed peas, cucumbers for pickling, squash, corn, whatever could be grown was canned or frozen to ease the burden of the grocery bill through the coming fall winter and spring.

it'll be good to see my aunt lou, my sis, cousin ava and any others that happen to show for the scheduled family meeting of the mcmillan estate llp.  but the big bonus?  there's no telling what will be dug out of one lou's many freezers to be whipped up into some lou lou deliciousness.

my mouth is watering just thinking about the possibilities.

to work alongside my family, to make another round, to labor toward getting the crops "laid by", to harvest after a summer of concerted effort toward the common good.  those days in the summer heat forged me into the man i am today. i learned hard work never killed anybody.  i learned the satisfaction of seeing how many rows, how much ground got covered by days ends.  i learned the reward of a days honest exertion.

my kids don't have a clue.  the truth is, life on the farm was all we knew.  the truth is, had my kids been put in that circumstance they would have carried on just as we did because we do whatever is needed.  truth is, had they been, they likely would have been better for it on the other end.



Monday, June 3, 2013

june 3, 1920...

i like to imagine it was a day much like today, a day with a hint of cool in the air, still-- with the heavy promise of  early summer on this day in 1920 when my sweet mama made her debut into this cold cruel world.  she was a twin, her sister the more dominant, the heartier of the two. it is said that they weighed just over 2 pounds each.  even in 2013, with all the advances available, a baby born that small is in a fight to survive those first days and weeks, to live to see all that life might have in store.

my mom and her sister were the last of 11 born to parents who had come to dawson county in texas in a covered wagon.  grandmother was not well after the births, the babies were tended by their older sister who it is said kept them in a box set on the oven door to keep them warm.  a crude incubator of sorts, if you will, but it worked.  the girls went on to happy and productive lives.

after dad died, mom was diagnosed with failure to thrive so we moved her to little a-town to be closer to family.  after my younger sister was born she had a rough spell and spent some time in the state hospital.  looking back she probably had postpartum depression and not a true psychosis. after her release the spark just wasn't there like before.

shortly after she moved up here, she went into vivian's nursing home where she spent her last years in relative happiness.  it was perfect for her.  not one of the taj mahal places, there she came into her own a bit.  she had people to help her.  some one to cook and clean up after, someone to say 'today is bath day, let's get you washed up' and all those other residents bidness to to get up into.  it became her home.

i visited the night before she died.  nothing seemed amiss. whatever happened during the night, she simply wouldn't wake the next morning.  by that afternoon, she had gone on to be with her lord,
all her trespasses and travails done, a quiet passing on to her eternal reward. 

so on this day, which marks the day of her birth 93 years ago, i'm thinking of my mama and knowing that today is a good day, for it is a day the lord has made. she is in good hands.

i miss you mama.


Sunday, June 2, 2013

quiet sunday morning...

a few weeks back, i'd written about how low the water level had become at the local oasis, aka, med-park lake. walking along the path around the lake this morning with my friend of 30 odd years, one johnny mc, it was good to see that runoff from tuesday nights storm continues to flow into the lake at a pretty good  volume.  the lake is full again to the point of overflow running out the north end under west 9th st. and into the dry creek bed on the other side.

the park was a scene of calm, of quiet serenity in the light of early morning. the ducks and geese are happy.  the lakes' surface a mirror, undisturbed but for an occasional duck floating alone and one fat mallard drake steaming his way toward the shore. the wake he left behind him was the only hint of what was going beneath the surface.

seeing them set me to thinking.  where did the ducks and geese go during the hell of a hail storm that strafed the park on tuesday night?  why wasn't the population of abandoned easter ducks, mallards, teal and canadian geese simply wiped out?  on casual observation, their numbers seem about the same.

it would seem these "dumb animals" are not so dumb after all.  it would seem they do have the sense to come in out of the rain, or to at least to seek cover from a killer hail storm. at least it looks like they did on tuesday night.

god is said to watch over creatures great and small.  he was watching over 7420 that night just as it would seem he was looking after the ducks and geese at the medi-park.  for his tender mercies we are grateful.


Saturday, June 1, 2013


yesterday i noted old glory just hangin' around not doing much to display her beauteous majesty. last night, as i went about my bedtime ritual, mariah was howling again as the promised cool front blew in.  as if to say, "you thought i'd left and weren't ever coming back? HAH! fooled you, didn't i?  truth is, i knew better.

around 3.a.m my knees woke me up yet again.  making a tour of the newly installed hardwoods i could hear the wind still blowing, northern clipper style.  the flag (yes, it is lighted at night) was standing straight out in all its stars and stripes glory.  i went back to bed praying my knees would let me sleep just a bit more.

looking out the front door early this morning, the front has passed, the flag is at rest again after a very busy night.

mariah, you are typical, changing speed and direction on a whim.  i wouldn't want  it any other way.


Friday, May 31, 2013

friday morning, coming down...

what a difference a day can make!  tuesday night into early wednesday morning a system blew through here with a fury of hail hell, packing winds upwards of 70 mph.  this morning is the exact opposite.  the stars and stripes are hanging straight down on the flag pole at the curb.  it is utterly calm, a rare and beautiful day in the panhandle of texas. 

and as i write this i see the stripes begin to stir as if to say, 'i can hear you in there typing about me!'

the air is never still for long around these parts.


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

in the getting ready for installing new hardwood flooring we've been sifting through 35+ years of accumulated detritus, doing our best to lighten the load.  needless to say, we've come across stuff we've not seen in a while, a v-e-r-y  l--o-n-g while. stuff like my mother-in-law's wedding dress and the wedding dress the wife wore when she married the husband before me.  those have been hanging out with the dress miss b. wore when she took me unto her bosom coming on to 37 years ago.  my question is why?  who are we saving these things for, the kids? 

if it were up to me, and we all know it is not, there would be a rule.  if any given box has not been opened for 5 years, 10, 15, or 20 years. whatever the number, you tell me what's fair, the contents either go to the dumpster or to goodwill/salvation army/lighthouse for the blind--somewhere, but it can't stay here. i'm really thinking about our kids, you know, not leaving the unenviable task of wading through all this crap when we're gone. only one of the three currently owns his own home, the key word in that sentence being his.  he's not going to want any of this stuff, he has stuff of his own.  the other two have no place of their own to keep it, even if they did want it.

why have we allowed ourselves to accumulate all this mess.  sentimental value?  that's all well and good.  miss b. is not a hoarder but she for damn sure is a world class pack rat, i gau-ron-tee that.

before our oldest got married, miss b. bought 3 linen hankies to be gifted to the brides on their special. day she asked my mom to crotchet a border around each one, a nice touch i thought at the time.  when daughter got married quite some time had gone by as she is 11 years younger than son #1. when miss b. was ready to gift our daughter with her hankie, they were not to be found.  the house got turned upside down over and again, still she couldn't find them. 

the daughter has now been married, coming up on 7 years (i think).  guess what turned up in our efforts to get ready for the floor people.  that's right,  linen handkerchiefs, with the delicate crocheted border so lovingly applied by my mom.  miss b. opened up the tissue to show me what she had found.  i'm here to tell ya' tears as big as horse turds sprang out of my eyes.  just the thought of my mom doing this small thing for her granddaughter's and how long it's been since she passed away, i had myself a little moment there.

i guess miss b. is not the only sentimental fool in the family.  




may 11, 2013 marked the ninth annual Mike Roberts Memorial Run- the mister mister if you will.  really? can it have been that long?  nine years?  Nine runs-- staged to honor the indomitable spirit and force for good that was Mike Roberts. 

that first run in is honor in 2005, was called the Piped Piper 5 Miler.   perhaps it should have remained so as that was mike.  he had a way about him that compelled anyone, everyone, he met to join him on a run at noon from the family life center at FBC, or a run, bike, run after work. he was forever conjuring up some way to get new people involved in the quest for fitness.  his charm didn't work on everyone but it wasn't for lack of trying.  it worked on me as it did many.

today, as it has continued to be over the passing years, a number of mikes rats will gather at noon at the flc for "a run".  the nine years have done nothing good for pace or distance but still we continue.  nope, it's not pretty but we are still hitting the bricks and that my friends would make Mike smile.

Michael Lee Roberts 
September 27, 1950
May 10, 2004

We miss you Mike!


Friday, April 26, 2013

11 days later...


can it have been already 11 days since the horror in boston, 9 days since the explosion in west, tx?  more than once in watching coverage of these tragedies, i've found myself tearing up, sometimes the tears find their way out of my eyes. 

that was the case when i first heard of boston magazine's planned cover for their next edition.  the heart was formed with shoes worn by folks running the 2013 boston marathon.  "we will finish the race" reads the caption "the stories behind the shoes" begins on page 70. 

i haven't read the stories.  some of them have likely been told at some point in the non-stop news coverage in the days since.  there is no way boston magazine, or any other media entity could possibly tell every story there is to tell. 

what a neat picture, what a neat way to honor innocents who just happened to be there in boston on april 15, 2013, the day they bombed the boston marathon.  a day the thousands who ran the race,  finishing before, or during the blasts, those who race was interrupted, those there to support the runners efforts, the world at large will forever remember the terror of that day.



Tuesday, April 23, 2013

a woman's perogative...

mother nature is one fickle lady.  yesterday, the high temp here in little a-town was 89.  nice!  one might start to think spring has arrived to stay.  but, no!  last evening another polar blast blew through here on it's way south bringing with it winds sustained at around 40 with gusts to who knows how high.  laying in bed, trying to get to sleep, the sound of the wind funneling between our house and coach b's next door was restive in its rush to get to where? lubbock?  tahoka? o'donnell? lamesa?  the front will surely run out of steam somewhere along the way.

today's high is to be 40 or so, but with winds still at 30 and gusting, its another raw "spring" day.  it leaves us here in the panhandle of texas wishing mama nature could make up her mind.  is it spring?  or is it not? 

as for me, myself and i, a string of days in the 80's would suit us just fine; so come on mama, bring on the warmer weather.  please!



Sunday, April 21, 2013

medi-park puddle...

it's been a while since i hauled my carcass out of bed on sunday morning to meet the guys for coffee. we won't mention how long its been since i've made it up in time for perambulation of what was once medi-park lake.

thinking about it, i've not paid any attention to the lake since i've retired.  i remember watching from  the 6-c dayroom which looks down on the park as a heavy rain storm and a mini river of whitewater poured into the lake.that was some time before late may 2012 and the last time i gave the lake any mind.  saturday night i received something close to an engraved invitation to meet the guys for their sunday morning, neither sleet nor rain, yada yada yada-- walk.

it was a shock to the system leaving the warmth of my bed *-* hours before it has become my habit to rise.  an even bigger shock was the water level at the medi-park.  if we do not get some significant rainfall over the next weeks and months, at least the shallower south end could completely dry up and if that happens the north end can't be far behind as the south empties into it. 

another shock, although a pleasant one, was the absence of the canadian geese that fouled the sidewalks the last time i was there.  there are still a few but their numbers are now in the tens, not the hundreds i saw the last time i was there. 

admittedly, that was last year but it makes me wonder why.  i've not seen anything about parks a rec staging  goose round up, nothing about a mysterious and sudden die off.  they're simply gone.  maybe the water level got so low, the "lake" water so fouled with fowl doo, the geese left the medi-park for "greener pastures", so to speak.

i'm not sad to see them go.  walking around the medi-park without having too pay too much attention to where i stepped was nice.  maybe i should leave well enough alone; maye i shouldn't look a gone goose in the beak, if you will.  : )

whatever... bring on the rain, please!


Friday, April 19, 2013

1 dead, 1 in custody...

i wasn't tuned in to boston marathon coverage at the exact moment the bombs went off on monday.  watching continuing coverage of the man hunt for the perpetrators and the aftermath of the tragedy in west, tx has fairly taken over my life in the days since.

under influence of the fruit of the vine last evening, i opined that it would be okay with me, if whenever the marathon bombers were tracked down, that benefit of trial be forgone and said perps should be strung up by their balls.  (that is assuming one who kills and maims innocent people even have balls.) after hanging suspended for an appropriate amount of time, at least until gangrene sets in. a confession might then be elicited. with a six shot .45 caliber revolver with one round in the sixth chamber. the barrel of that revolver should be placed between the bastard's eyes and dry fired-- once, twice, thrice, four and then five times before, confession or no, on trigger pull six the lone round sends the s.o.b. straight to hell. the point being the punk should know a taste of horror, make that terror, not unlike the people the people struck by the bomb blasts unleashed by this coward.  he, however, should be made to see it coming.

after suspect  #2 was taken alive this evening, the talking heads made me see the error of my ways.  in the end he should be made to suffer exponentially to the number of folks he killed and maimed but in the interim, any means up to and including water boarding, should be used to extract every detail of the heinous plot he and his sorry brother foisted on boston and people from around the country and the world.

suffice to say i'm not too said that suspect #1 was escorted from this life last night and i'm more than happy suspect #2 is no longer at large and threatening  harm to more innocents.  

closer to home, west, tx. is still reeling from what is assumed to be an industrial accident.  the death toll continues to rise with perhaps dozens still unaccounted for. 

our thoughts are with the bombers victims and their families as well as the good folks of west.

i'm hoping for a slow news week upcoming.  i'm exhausted from chasing terrorists, spent from agonizing with my fellow Texans. but enough about me.

prayers for all who are suffering from being bombed in boston and blasted in west.
p.s. this message was also penned (as you might guess) under the influence of an australian moscato.  : )   

Thursday, April 18, 2013

thinking of West, Texas....

across Texas and around this country, in towns like West, the fire and rescue department is manned by volunteers.  brave men and women drop whatever they're doing in an instant and race to the call. be it a house fire, a car wreck or the conflagration that faced the West VFD yesterday afternoon, when the alarm sounds, regard for personal safety takes a back seat and helping those in need becomes the focus.. A number of West's VFD responded to the fire at the fertilizer plant; and then there was the explosion. 

it appears that some members of West's fire department who answered that initial call are missing. volunteer fire fighters and ems personnel, whose aim was to suppress the fire and treat any injuries on scene, may have been claimed by the blast. it is confirmed that two EMS personnel have died answering that call.

a search continues today looking to locate, hopefully to rescue those volunteers who answered that initial alarm.  a careful house to house search looks to find any citizen living in the blast zone who has yet to be accounted for.

small communities like West are extremely tight knit.  having one anothers back is a given and more than that, a necessity.  Unlike Boston, which has the benefit of multiple fire and police stations, towns the size of West must deal with such disasters as best they can, alone, until "the cavalry" can arrive from the next town over, from the next county and today from around the state and nation. 

no one wakes up on wednesday morning thinking that by the end of the day the town you've lived in all your life will be the scene of mass destruction with friends and neighbors killed, or hurting.  no thought given that the quiet anonymity of your home town will have given way to cnn's cameras broadcasting video of the explosion and the aftermath to the world over and over again.

in time the magnifying glass that is "the press" will move on to the next big story.  the people of West will be left to pick up the pieces, but they are not alone.  john q. citizen will be there for his neighbors, and they for him, not for praise but because that's  the way things are done in West and in small towns like it everywhere.


Wednesday, April 17, 2013


the question is, "WTF! WHO DOES SOMETHING LIKE THIS?? this being, who plants explosive devices in the midst of non-combatants, women and children, men, the young and the old, people whose sole reason for being in that particular spot, at that particular time was a study in innocence?   there to witness a family member finishing the marathon for the first, or the umpteenth, time.  there to be a part of a patriot's day tradition, to witness the iconic sporting event being staged for the 117th time.  there to party with friends, to lift a few pints in fellowship and fun.  none in the 20,000 plus marathoners, none in the estimated half million spectators, none among the multitudes had such malicious intent, save one.  whether that one proves to be an individual or a group, foreign or domestic, only one amongst the many possessed a heart so black as to perpetuate such a terroristic act and the resultant deaths, grievous injuries and ensuant miseries.

few in this nation of "good will toward men" care to imagine setting such horror into motion.  there are individuals and groups "with a cause" who espouse hatred for others but seldom do they take their maleficent ideations beyond pompous boilerplate.  thus it is ever more paralytic when out of nowhere an event as bomb-blastic as the boston explosions intrude the country's collective psyche. 

there is no value in what-iffing, no use wasting our time in "if only land". 4-15-2013-- boston, mass.and the 117th running of the marathon will be forever etched in our memories.  nor should we forget 8 year old Martin and the other fatalities or the many who suffered injury to body and/or mind.  remembering will serve to honor the deceased and those whose realities were forever altered at 2:10 p.m. EST the day "they" bombed the Boston marathon.  to borrow a phrase, "it is a day that will live in infamy".


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Boston marathon bombing

....and yet another senseless tragedy has been visited upon innocent people.  for what cause, real or imagined, can the maiming and killing of innocents be justified.  an eight year old boy, dead-- to what end?

indeed, the aftermath of yesterday's bomb explosions at the boston marathon finish line area had the look of a war zone. to my unpracticed eyes their was evidence of life pulsed away in crimson arcs on a boston sidewalk.

there is no understanding such horror. there can only be a swift and certain race to bring those responsible to justice, and justice there must be.  8 year old Martin and the others who were killed and those whose lives were forever altered in an instant deserve no less.  we, the people, deserve no less.

it is a sad comment on the world we live in. it is an unfortunate reality that in this day and time, in the open society that is the USofA, those of mal intent see an event like the Boston marathon as an opportunity. an opportunity to reek havoc, to destroy, to demoralize those on the scene and across the country. if it can happen there, why not here?

my family is not allowed to "what if ?" as a country we must not slip into that mind set. to do so could be crippling. to do so would mean the miscreants who rained horror down on innocent people have won. we must not be cowed.  we must go on, even in the face of the possible. good must triumph in the end.

May God bless those who are hurting, the first responders and standers by who lent a hand in disregard for personal safety, the officials as they seek the perpetrators and all of us as we try to digest another horrific attack.


Thursday, April 11, 2013

memory 4---

just now, listening to a recording of Stilian Kirov conducting the ASO in Rossini's "Barber of Seville" took me back to the one screen movie theater in my little home town. there was usually a different feature film every weekend.  back in those days the movie was preceded by a cartoon. One week the cartoon might feature Woody the Woodpecker or Heckle and Jeckle or sometimes it was Bugs Bunny. at least for me, I looked forward to the cartoons more than the movies.  the princely sum of 25 cents got you into the theater for an afternoon of escape.

listening to the symphony play Rossini's piece took me back to a Saturday afternoon and Warner Brothers rendition of "the Barber" featuring Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd in the "Rabbit of Seville".  Just what the movie of the week might have been I couldn't say but I do remember this carton classic.   


them were the good ole days, I tell ya'!


Monday, April 8, 2013



this day is a day the Lord has made and we will rejoice in it.  it is a halcyon day, one of those very rare days when there is NO wind.  the flags are still.  it is astounding what one can hear without the  wind in your ears. on my run this morning I was amazed at the myriad of bird calls coming from all around me.  there was the sound of my breathing and the heavy plod of my shuffling jog, the sound of which set off a cacophony of barking dogs.  the quiet works both ways I guess.  if I can hear the birds songs from blocks away, the doggies can here the din that is me trying to run from afar as well.

today is one of those heaven on earth days that so rarely grace us here in little a-town. it's an outdoors day and on that note i'm going outside.

if you're lucky, it's just as nice where you are today!


Sunday, April 7, 2013

memory 3----


many, many times in my life I've been told I write like a girl.  an article in the agn sports page today was referencing how, even today, Arnold Palmer of golf fame takes care that when he is asked for his autograph, it is legible.  He referenced being taught to write with the Palmer method of handwriting.   The article opines as to how most athletes autographs are such that they are so illegible as to be undecipherable. 

Something I read on line referenced kids being taught the palmer handwriting method in fourth grade way back in the day. The years may well have fogged my memory's mirror but I've always given credit for my handwriting to my 5th grade teacher, Mrs. Sherrill.  I was something of a teacher's pet in those days which made me eager to please her so I practiced my letters faithfully.  the years have not been kind to my handwriting. although it has lost any resemblance to the palmer method of perfection, it remains quite easy to read, girly if you will.

i wonder when good handwriting ceased to be important.  our youngest, the daughter, writes beautifully in cursive.  both sons skip the cursive bit altogether and print anything they need to "write".  even their printing can be hard to make out. our oldest son's signature consists of two capital Rs with extended tails for the letters following each.  the middle son has reduced his signature to a single letter C with a long tail for the rest.  the funny thing is that I would recognize all three signatures at a glance.

girly or not, I still owe a debt of gratitude to my fifth grade teacher. all that time I spent practicing my letters just to please her has served me in good stead.  unlike Arnold Palmer, people aren't standing in line to get my autograph but by damn, if someone ever does ask me for one, they'll for sure be able to read that it's mine.


Thursday, April 4, 2013

good people...


the news is full to the brim with all manner of evils visited upon others by those of mal intent. what doesn't make the news that often are people of good heart, and there are many.  it's just that  any positive news is all too often reduced to the feel good story at the end of a broadcast filled with all that is wrong in this world.

my aunt Christine passed on palm sunday.  on the Wednesday after, I called in an order for flowers to the House of Flowers there in Farmington.  the nice lady on the other end of the phone, Wilma, was all that is right in this type of situation-- solicitous, caring and kind. I hung up the phone knowing that a lady I've never met would do her best to convey to my aunts family that we, here in little a-town and in Conroe, were sharing in their loss.

fast forward to Wednesday evening.  I got an email from Chase telling me the statement on the card i'd used was ready. I pulled up the account and was puzzled by the balance outstanding.  investigating further I saw that the House of Flowers had entered a charge for $1240.67, not the $124.67 I had expected to see.  I was alarmed, thinking that surely this was an honest mistake, but how would I go about addressing it.  Should I call the store first and give Wilma a chance to answer for the error?   Should I call my credit card company, or the police if no option tendered a resolution? I went to sleep pondering how to best proceed.

fast forward again to Thursday morning-- early!!  the phone rang. on answering, i found that it was Wilma at the H of F calling to apologize for the error, telling me that my card would be credited back for the $1240.67 and asking how I would prefer to settle the balance. I chose to charge it to my card. it was an honest mistake, quickly corrected I thought, and I thank you very much, Miss Wilma. 

i'm not known for my patience, so I monitored the account daily checking to see if the "mistake" had been corrected.  days went by with no change reflected in statement activity.  not wanting to, and against my better judgment, I was thinking maybe the H of F was trying to pull a fast one, I filed a dispute.

I continued to monitor the account, once, or sometimes twice daily, looking for a new entry to the tune of -$1240.67.  Finally today I saw what I'd been hoping for.  the thing is the -$1240.67 was time stamped for the same day Wilma called her apology, telling me she had taken care of the oops.  it had taken Chase that long to make the correction.  the problem was not with Wilma, she did what she said she would do, it was with me.  I plead guilty to having a jaded perception of the world, to thinking there is a lot of merit to murphy's law.  a pinch of faith and a grain more patience would have spared me a great deal of angst. in the end, all is well.

this might have been a cautionary tale had the result been different, but it wasn't.  it just goes to show that with all that is wrong with the world there are still good and honest people who get up in the morning with only the best of intent, people who go about their ordinary lives, who at the end of  the day will have held a candle's flame against the darkness in the world.  because of people like Wilma at the House of Flowers there is hope the light will not soon go out..

thank you, miss Wilma, for your honest good works, for all you do for others-- in times of joy and in times of great loss. you're the best.


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

changing of the guard....

I see on the net today that NBC has confirmed that Jay Leno will be leaving the tonight show come next year having hosted for these last 22 years. The rumor that Jimmy Fallon would be taking over for Jay and moving the show to New York  was also confirmed.

I have mixed feelings about the announcement.  I remember watching Johnny Carson as he hosted the show for the last times and the misgivings I had that Jay would ever be able to replace Johnny.  in truth he didn't, but Jay did go on to make the show his own with different bits.  no longer were we treated to Carson's antics as "Carnac the Magnificent" and others; "Art Fern-- TV Time announcer" with busty Carole Wayne as his foil, "Floyd R. Turbo-American" and "Aunt Flabby", among others. for those same 30 years Ed McMahon stood at his side, straight man to Johnny's hilarity. 

Just as it took time for Johnny to distance the show from the Jack Paar days, so did Jay make the show into his over time.  "Monday night-- time for headlines", "jaywalking", "battle of the jaywalk all-stars" and "ask jay anything" are regulars that come to mind when I think of  the tonight show with Jay Leno. 

After all the years I still prefer Jay over Fallon, Kimell, Letterman or Ferguson .  when the big switch is finally a reality, i'm not sure what i'll do. switch to Letterman?  maybe, but he's getting long in the tooth himself so who knows how long it will be before he sings his own swan song and the battle for late night is on-- again.

there is another option that I haven't given much thought to trying.  that is, I could just go to bed after the late news is over. but that might lead to getting up early and that goes against all that I looked forward to in retirement in the first place! I guess i'll have to see how things shake out.  as the old song goes, "whatever will be, will be".


Monday, April 1, 2013

memory 2...


now that I look at the picture a bit closer I see that the caption says "Read" but at first glance what I saw was "rea".  it was the letters "rea" that triggered another memory, taking me back to the summers of my youth.  every year, at almost time to go back to school, an invitation would come in the mail from the REA (that would the Lyntegar Electric Cooperative, a member of the Rural Electric Association) inviting us to thee annual membership bar-b-cue. It was a feast and not to be missed.  As I recall, it was held at Bulldog field in Tahoka.  The line was usually long.  shuffling forward toward nirvana was pure torture as their was no escaping the smells of mesquite wood fires and secret sauce.  Of course there was all the fixin's as well, potato salad, coleslaw, cobbler for desert and sweet tea to drink.  i'll never forget balancing that plate heavy with tasty goodies while looking for a place on the field to enjoy the spread.  why we didn't take a seat in the stands, I don't know.  perhaps because climbing up the stairs there was too much of a risk of dumping the sumptuous meal that had been keenly anticipated for weeks.  I remember that more than once the grass was home to hordes of  tiny green grasshoppers, smaller than a grain of rice. one had to be ever alert lest there be a little extra "treat" with that next bite.

that was the electric co-op-- but another highlight before heading back to school was the annual Wells Farmer's Co-op (a cotton gin) watermelon feed.  one or more horse troughs were filled with water, ice and watermelons; dozens and dozens of icy cold, red and yellow meated watermelons.  sliced into crescent shaped wedges, I dove smile first into slice after slice of melon until my tummy looked like i'd swallowed one of those babies whole.  one could literally eat watermelon until, if you ate even one more bite, there was a better than even chance you could literally explode.  those were the good some good times my friend!  gotta love them co-ops, my friends!    


Sunday, March 31, 2013

memory lane...

i'm amused by the things that trigger memories for me.  I stole snoopy on the easter egg from a post on the facebook.  my thanks and apologies to the original poster but the image was likely "borrowed" from elsewhere so I think i'll be able to sleep tonight; but I digress.

seeing snoopy in repose took me back to the early 90's.  our middle son, c., was in his second year as a student in little a-town's children's theatre school.  he had auditioned once before without being cast which might have put the damper on a lesser spirit, but not the indomitable c!

the production was to be Snoopy, the Musical. I think c. identified with linus to a degree in that he had a favorite "blanky" which in his younger years apparently gave his some comfort in the scary, dark of night.  auditioning that day were veterans of the stage, high schoolers, and the daring soon to be middle schooler in the guise of our c.

I still get teary when I remember back to that day.  clutching that blanket he stepped out onto the stage singing to the exit sign, "i'll give him seven minutes... that's all i'm gonna wait... exactly seven minutes... it's quarter until eight... the song went on but when the last note faded away casting director l.h. was heard to say, "we've got our linus".  he was cast to play against kids 3, 4, even 5 years older.  and as they say, the rest is history. he stood toe to toe with those older kids, giving as good as he got.

things haven't changed much over the years.  he continues to push the boundaries. the latest rendition of linus stood in front of the dead music capital band at HONKTX! 2013 last weekend.  he and his scary band of zombies stood toe to toe with bands from across this great country, giving as good as they got, bringing tears of pride to the old man's eyes, yet again. it's a habit of his I guess i'll have to learn to live with but I can't wait 'til next time.


Friday, March 29, 2013

Get your groove on......


every Friday the AGN has a pull out section called, "Get Out!". entertainment editor chip chandler runs down local entertainment choices for the coming weekend.  many of the offerings are country bands but one headline caught my eye.  It reads "Deathfest promises brutal good times".  nearly 30 death metal bands take the stage here in little a-town.  if you have something against your ears, you might check it out.  be it death metal or country, there is a genre out there to satisfy most any of your musical cravings.

entertaining taking in Deathfest (NOT) takes me back to last weekend in big a-town and HONKTX 2013, a festival of community street bands. for the millions of "marching band geeks" who've not found an outlet for their music since their last ephemeral note in high school or college faded into the wind, the growing movement of community street bands might be just the thing to scratch an itch.

HONK , started in Somerville, MA.  the fun has since spread across the country with festivals now being staged in Providence (PRONK) and HONK WEST in Seattle.  HONKTX 2013, in Austin this past weekend featured 23 bands, both local and from around the country, showcasing styles from the zombiesque Dead Music Capital Band to the elementary Holly Lolly Band and every bent in between.  the likes of the Seed and Feed and the Minor Mishap Marching Bands favored the crowds with lively tunes, amusing hijinks and a splash of added color.

the weekend got rolling on Friday evening with the bands strutting their stuff at venues along S. Congress. a chilly Saturday was warmed up starting at noon, with bands playing some hot licks, alternating through venues around Pan-Am park. on Sunday, east Austin was treated to a parade starting at noon with the bands marching along with twirlers, dancers, the Austin bicycle zoo and others.  hundreds of delighted fans lined the streets of the neighborhood.  after minor mishap brought up the rear, a revue of the bands hit the stage in fine form, blowing the windy afternoon into happy conclusion.

the HONKTX organizers are to be commended for the hours upon hours spent planning toward making the spectacle that is HONKTX come to fruition and marvelous conclusion.  the festival represents all that is good about Austin.  this huge undertaking does its' bit toward "keeping Austin weird" and  that's a good thing.  Congratulations to all!


Thursday, March 28, 2013

until we meet again--


my aunt Christine will be laid to rest today. she had a full and fruitful life by all accounts and goes to her eternal reward some months short of her 100th birthday.  she made waffles for breakfast on a visit when I was quite young. it was the first time I can remember having them; how I marveled at their toasty brown, exotic to me, crunchy goodness. on another visit, I was probably 12 or 13, her older boys took me on a rabbit hunt.  I was just along for the ride and not allowed to take a shot.  as I recall, jack rabbits and cotton tails were so plentiful as to merit a bounty.

it's odd that a life of 100 years can be reduced to two distinct memories.  we didn't visit that often, usually only when she and her clan would come to visit her mother, my grandmother, in Lubbock.  i haven't seen her or any of her family since my grandmother's funeral too many years ago.

still, after all the years, I can hear her voice in my head, I can see her perpetual smile and sparkling, mischievous eyes.  my aunt christine was an elegant lady.  I will miss her, holding her memory close until the time we can sit down together once again. and I wonder, are there waffles in heaven?


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

HONK TX 2013


this past weekend took us to the live music capital of the world for HonkTX  2013.  It is one of several such music festivals staged across the country which draw Community Street Bands from near and far for a weekend of music and flat out fun.

our connection to the festival is our son's zombie themed group, the Dead Music Capital Band.  It was DMCB's second year to play the HonkTX festival, but our first time attending.  Privately, this proud papa had some concern as to how DMCB might stack up against bands like the "Biohazard Brass Band" from Fort Sam Houston and the others.  There was not a slouch among the 23 bands performing.  Putting parental pride and prejudice aside, DMCB stood toe to toe with all those groups musically.  In the entertainment category, DMCB was several lifetimes ahead of some others. you can see videos of DMCB's performances at http://www.youtube.com/kenemac47  the videography isn't the best but you can get and idea of what was our ears were privileged to hear.


if the t-shirts I wore last weekend had buttons on them going in to the festival, they most assuredly would have been decorating the streets of Austin at the end.  My heartfelt congratulations to all of you drummers and tooters performing as the DMCB at HonkTX 2013. Forgive me as I get a bit misty at the remembering. You make me proud.  The blood, sweat and tears you each contributed toward your outstanding performances, individually and as a group, was evident.  Keep up the good works.


Thursday, March 21, 2013

happy days are here again...

I was pleasantly surprised to see a post at www.monkeyheartdiscourses.blogspot.com this afternoon.  it has been a minute since her last but, having not posted on kdg in a bit myself, I know full well that one has to be inspired to write anything; anything at all. to write something that might be seen as mildly amusing, entertaining, thought provoking or moving requires at least the hint of an idea.  without that, it ain't happnin'. 

I so admire my friend, JMB, who writes a general interest column for the AGN. More often than not his piece brings a tear to my eyes.  He has a way with words that was evident back in the days when he worked in sports. I expect that he has some help coming up with a topic to write on, still he has to conduct an interview and from there glean the bones on an article.  Fleshing out the piece into something people might like to read is his forte. whether from a tip or from the germ of an idea hatched in ones head, without a hook any piece-- whether from JMB in the AGN, from me at kdg or ksmw at mhd , likely remains unwritten.

the post today at 'the monkey heart discourses' brought a tear to my eye.  not that the piece was meant to be moving as such but in the manner it was conceived and executed.  it did my heart good to see any post at all but more so that I can see that my baby girl is well on her way to picking up where she left off. full steam ahead k****cita.  mucho amor, tu padre   


Monday, March 4, 2013

just 7 days ago...

a week ago today, the bleezard of 2013, sped through little a-town pacing winds at 50-60 mph with gusts recorded to 77.  and by the way, on her way out of through town, mother nature left off 19 inches of heavy, wet snow.  not pretty while it was happenin' but a blessing just the same. the experts are saying the snow storm was not a drought buster, I get that, but it will give a reprieve to the thirsty parts here about for a time.

what a difference a week makes. yesterday, we saw temps in the middle seventies and today it was around there.  all that snow is gone! gone, that is , with the exception of deeper drifts in shaded areas and the mountains of snow pushed  into piles in parking lots across town. el grande sol, working his melty magic.  right on!

mother nature can be a ferocious force while leaving life giving moisture in her wake.

momma, you come on back now. ya' hear!


Sunday, February 24, 2013

it's gonna' be a BLEEEZARD ya'll--

the local weather gurus/alarmists are prognosticating from on high the ferocity of the snow/wind-storm heading this way.  I understand there is a job to done in getting folks prepared for the possibilities, but what are they?

 Possibly 3 to 8 inches of snow in the western panhandles with a possible 6-12 inches "or more" in the central and eastern panhandles.  If any, or all, of those inches would fall like the past couple of snow squalls, that is straight down, most any amount wouldn't be that much of a problem.  BUT, 6 to 12 inches with sustained winds at 20-30 mph with gusts of 45-55 thrown into the equation-- things could get very interesting.

my usual take on weather things is "i'll believe it when I see it".  what does worry me though is how dead on the bulls eye accurate the forecasts of those recent snow storms have been. If they get it right again this time-- whoa nelly!; but we here at 7420 are as ready as we can get.  hopefully, we won't lose power.  should that happen we can always drag the bear skin rugs up next to the fire in the fireplace and crack open a good book. we can light the burners on the kitchen stove for some heat in that part of the house.  We have plenty of provisions.  so-- not to worry, we'll be fine.

I was just kidding about the bear skin rugs, but we do have many fleece blankets plus three hot boxes of the feline variety.  again, we'll be fine!  and like I said, "i'll believe it when I see it".


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

it's snowing!! the weather gurus have hit the nail on the head yet again. woot! and wonder of wonders, there is only a slight breeze which has allowed the snow to pile up on most any surface. in a word, beautiful but more than that, in the parched panhandle of texas, moisture in any form is welcomed in red carpet style.

a quick measure just now showed that here at 7420 there is 5 inches on the ground and it continues to snow, fairly hard.

mr. snow man, bring me a dream
make it the whitest that I've ever seen
make it pile up on roses and clover
then tell that the snow's not over

mr. snow man, bring me a dream

sorry, about that.  sometimes I just can't help myself.

AND an as today is fat Tuesday-- "laissez les bon temps roulez!"

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

gun control is the hot topic of discussion of late.  in the interval since the horror of Newtown the fury has risen to a fever pitch.  Today, President Obama signed 23 executive orders whose aim is "to strengthen measures already in place" or something along those lines.  if you asked a hundred people for their thoughts on gun control, you might well get a hundred different responses.  

as a gun owner. and a supporter of the 2nd amendment, I do question the need to own guns like the AR-15 and high capacity magazines. Certainly that much firepower is not needed for hunting, nor for home defense. As for the "for sport" argument i can think of  more productive uses for the money spent on these types of guns, magazines and ammo.   

you may know the black comic, D.L. Hugely.  he was on with Jay Leno last night. Hugely professes to be a gun owner but he questions the need for a "bushmaster" type weapon and a high capacity magazine for home defense.  Going for a laugh, he asked, "who is invading your house-- Afghanistan?"  His query, made in jest, has merit.  as a homeowner you should damn well be able to dissuade or disable a home invader in 7-10 shots.  if not, you may be more of a danger to self, and others, than the intruder.

The truth of the matter is, at least in my opinion, these weapons pose no degree of increased risk when in the hands of your "average joe."  i have no problem with any background check the authorities want to run on me.  i have nothing to hide.  there is nothing in my background that would preclude me from buying, owning and using an AR-15 with an extended magazine for its intended purpose, but i am not at war with anyone.

all the rhetoric coming out of washington does concern me.  i believe that no measure passed by the congress  can 100% guarantee there will not be another aurora or newtown.  where there is a will, there is a way; an individual, bent on doing evil, will find a way.  restrict the legal purchase of these weapons and magazines and large amounts of ammunition, broaden the scope of background checks if you will mr. president. these restrictions will serve only to limit the rights of the law abiding citizens of this great country.

those bent on usurping the law will find a way.  those looking to satisfy the demand for these guns, legal or no, will find a way.  those who would suffer most under these broader restrictions are the ones who would pose little danger in owning said items in the first place.  where there is a will....

BTW, we're locked and loaded here at 7420.  Intruders, enter at your own peril, and FYI, . CHL is forthcoming.