Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Quotes for the Week: Spring

Yesterday was the first day of spring.  Of course, here in Houston we've had spring all winter.  Nevertheless...

"Spring has returned.  The earth is like a child that knows poems."

"The day the Lord created hope was probably the same day He created spring."

"Every spring is the only spring, a perpetual astonishment."

Monday, March 20, 2017


Just in case you've been glued to the TV following this story...

Tom Brady's Super Bowl jersey was recovered in Mexico, apparently in the possession of a certified international member of the media.

Sigh of relief!

Sunday, March 19, 2017


The last time I went to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo was in 2004.  By this you can tell that I'm not much of a rodeo fan.  But this year my daughter was on a rodeo committee (She had won the Houston Livestock scholarship when she was in vet school and wanted to give back.)  As a committee member she could go to the livestock show and any or all of the rodeo performances free and sit in any empty seat unless someone claimed it.  She could also bring one guest each time she went, so when she asked me if I wanted to go, I thought, "Why not?" Besides, Willie Nelson, my favorite country singer, was performing yesterday so that was another enticement.

Yesterday was not quite what we planned, but it was certainly an adventure.  We decided to take the Metro bus because it would let us off closer to NRG stadium that any other way we could go.  Still a long way, and since I've always been a slow walker (not just in recent years but always)  Lori suggested we rent a wheelchair for me.  It was $25 but we were getting in for free, so why not?  Lori had to leave her driver's license, which made her a little nervous, but not too much.

Riding in the wheelchair was great.  We zoomed across the crowded parking area, the only problem being that, as a novice wheelchair navigator, Lori sometimes couldn't judge how far behind people we were and a couple of times we nicked someone's heel.  

We went to the livestock show first. The bunny area was too crowded so, unfortunately, we missed them but we saw other animals, then bought barbecue for lunch.  People always say you get the best barbecue at the rodeo, but this was awful.  I took a couple of bites and Lori ate some more of it.  Not being true rodeo foodies, we didn't get any of the fried desserts--ice cream, Twinkies, oreos,  pecan pies--yuck.  Who needs batter on all these goodies even if it is standard for rodeo goers.

We went through the shopping area and I was sorely tempted to buy a bracelet at the booth that sells jewelry made of broken china, but it cost $200 and was a little big large for my small wrists so I passed it up.  

Then we walked over to the stadium.  That's when it all went wrong.  The wheelchair couldn't go through the regular gates so we were directed to a service elevator, where a lot of other people were waiting.  We decided to go to the first floor because that would have the best view.  They wouldn't let us in.  Well, not us but me.  She could sit anywhere but I couldn't go into the wheelchair section because I didn't have a ticket, even though I was her guest. I really don't need a wheelchair so we could have abandoned it, but what about Lori's driver's licnese?  We couldn't take a chance.  We tried several entrances, we tried guest services, but there was no where to check the chair and no way for me to get a ticket since the performance was sold out.  We decided to try one more floor and  then go home.

We were in line for an elevator, and as the almost full one was about to close, a woman came rushing by, yelling at the elevator guy, "Do you have room for one more?" She bumped into my chair as she charged by but she was too late for the elevtor.  When she apologized for bumping me, Lori noticed she was wearing a rodeo committee badge and told her our dilemma.  "Oh well," she said, "since I cut in line in front of you, just come with me and I'll take you somewhere you can see the rodeo."  Off we went to the third floor and the Corral Club, which is private, and she said, "You won't be able to sit in the stadium but you can watch the whole thing on the big screen."  She gave us her name and said, "If anyone asks you, just tell them you're my guests."  Great!

The rodeo had started but we got to see most of it--bronc riding, bull riding, calf scramble, wagon race and, most fun of all, mutton busting.  Children of about 5 or 6 years ride across the arena on the back of a sheep.  Of course, some fell off and one little girl cried for the rest of the event, but then they all smiled for the camera, showing missing teeth.

And then, of course, we got to see Willie.  He's getting up in years (I say that because he's older than I am)  and he's lost some range but his tone is still pure Willie. He sang songs I knew like On the Road Again (of course) and Blue Eyes Cryin' in the Rain.  It was a great show.

We zipped back to the rental place, Lori got her license back, and we didn't have to stand in line very long for the bus.   It was a great day, and oh yes, Lori even brought a bandana for me to wear.  

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Quote for the Week

Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are.
                          Benjamin Franklin

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Books of January and February

What if the company you work for is taking over the world?  A Googlesque company is doing just that in Dave Eggers' book.  B+

This has been at the top of the Times best seller list for months.  The Yale graduate explains the lives of Kentucky and Ohio hillbillies through his own family.  A-

I love listening to John McWhorter's lectures for Great Courses.  This book uses a lot of maertial from them to explain the evolution of language over the centuries.  Fascinating...if you're interested in the history of language as I am.  A-

A fun, Downton Abbey type of book.  A-

A typical Jodi Picoult book built around an issue and a trial--African-American nurse taken off the care of the baby of a white supremacist is charged with murder when the infant dies.  A-

Is the young woman who appears at their door really their long-lost daughter who was kidnapped years ago?  B

A middle-aged woman prone to sleepwalking disappears.  We read to find out if she died by accident, suicide or perhaps murder.  B

Sunday, February 26, 2017

The Oscars versus the Super Bowl

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The Super Bowl and the Oscars, the two biggest television events of the year--bigger than the World Series final game, apparently bigger than Election Night viewing.  So which one wins?
Viewership:  Definitely the Super Bowl
Commercials:  Again, the Super Bowl
Fashion:  Definitely the Oscars
Close-ups of celebrities:  Again, the Oscars
Hype:  Probably a tie

A football fan all my life, I love the Super Bowl.  The tension is higher because you never know who's going to walk off with the Lombardi trophy.  Who thought, after the first half, that the Patriots would stage the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history.  Oh, the drama.

These days there are so many pre-Oscar award shows that some of the excitement is missing because you sort of know ahead of time who will probably win.  Of course, we can still focus on whether Jimmie Kimmel will out-host Jimmy Fallon, host of the Golden Globes, whose teleprompter didn't work.  Will there be more political speeches or will we just hear a list of thank-you's?  Will Trump tweet during the show or will he wait until tomorrow morning?  Who will be best and worst dressed?
(Football players are all dressed alike except for color--boring.)

To tell the truth, I love both events, so I'm looking forward to tonight as much as I looked forward to the Super Bowl earlier this month.

Note from the trail:  As far as I know, Tom Brady's jersey is still missing.  Approximate value of this piece of Patriot history:  $500,000.
Keep looking, Texas Rangers!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Quotes for the Week: Bookstores

"Alas!  When is human nature so weak as in a bookstore?"
                         Henry Ward Beecher

"When I visit a new bookstore, I demand cleanliness, computer monitors and rigorous alphabetization.  When I visit a second-hand bookstore, I prefer indifferent housekeeping, sleeping cats and sufficient organizational chaos to fuel my fantasies."
                          Anne Fadiman

"There is nothing like the smell of a bookstore.  If you ask me, it's actually a combination of smells:  part library, part new-book smell and part expectation for what you might find."
                           Kathryn Fitzmaurice

"Even an ice cream parlor--a definite advantage--the sorrow I feel for a town lacking a bookstore."
                          Natalie Goldberg

"I love bookstores.  A bookstore is one of the only pieces of physical evidence we have that people are still thinking."
                          Jerry Seinfeld

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