Tuesday, July 7, 2009

change is good

A couple of years ago in another or former life, I started a blog under the name Red Bridge Rancher which paralled our farm website - redbridgeranch.com

Two problems - after months of trial and error I realized I was not a website designer and more importantly last summer we sold all our sheep. So right now we aren't much in the way of ranchers or farmers. Still have dogs, three horses, a cat and two steers but that hardly qualifies us for much.

The old blog name didn't mean much without the ranch part so ... I found a new name for my blog, which I will continue with the usual fits and starts and I got the name crunksblog.blogspot.com which comes a lot closer to being what it should be. I never intended to be anonymous but the old name probably didn't click with most people right away.

So in a sense I'm moving and I really have no idea what that means in terms of google's blogspot but if you go to redbridgerancher.blogspot.com hopefully it can re-direct you to crunksblog.blogspot.com.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Studebakers and Canasta

Waiting for a turn signal this morning and noticed an old car coming toward me. Distinctive fins and overall a look so ugly but somehow nostalgic. A mid-1950s Studebaker.

As it passed I noticed the driver was a senior citizen of some vintage.

This mentally took me back to the mid-50s and a neighbor.

Two doors up from us lived the Milfords; CW and his wife (who's name I can't recall.) By the time I got to know them, they were retired and at least in their 60s if not older.

My parents played cards and dominoes with them almost weekly. Often they let me play Canasta (a really fun game played with so many decks of cards I couldn't handle them all), Cribbage (funny little game with pegs) and dominoes (84 being the name of the game.) No wonder I learned to count early and was always good at math until I hit calculus!

This couple was traditional, quiet and occasionally a little rough on kids. I don't recall ever hearing them talk of any of their own and never remember anyone coming by to visit.

Several memories: their house was my favorite on Halloween because she always made what she called carrot cookies. Can't really describe but sweet and fruit and cake-like all at once.

Bermuda grass is prolific in Texas - I guess the runner-type of grass does well in the high dry heat. But the Milford's yard was a thick dark green grass called St. Augustine. It was great for football because it was so soft, it didn't really hurt when you fell. You could also roll in it without getting itchy. Except this is where Mrs. Milford would get rough. Funny if I was over with my parents and went out to play, I could just about do what I wanted to but if I was with other neighborhood kids, she'd yell and shoo us away.

CW collected Avantis - those weird or really cool looking Studebaker sports cars. He drove regular Studebakers for his work car but always had an Avanti or two in some phase of restoration.

My last memory and one that really dates or ages me and looking back, seems rather silly perhaps but our peak time of friendship was the late 50s. Those around back then recall duck-and-cover drills, fall-out shelters etc. CW built what he said was a nuclear fall-out proof room inside his house. Today it might qualify as a safe-room or perhaps a tornado shelter. He build super thick, heavily insulated walls around a room in the middle of his house, stocked it with water and non-perishable foods like Y2K was coming and the doors would probably work in a bank vault. And of course when the Russians dropped the big one, we were invited to come and sit out the post-nuclear whatever.

One last little memory, CW always called his wife "lover". He'd say, "Lover, can I have another cup of coffee?" or something like that but he always prefaced with that pet name. Don't know that I've ever heard anyone else do that in my life.

They both passed away by the time I was in college and even though I only lived two houses away, I really had lost touch with them by then. Wish I had kept up contact. Also wish I could remember how to play Canasta!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The first cut is the deepest

Today our little Willie is well ... he had the better part of his horse-ly manhood removed. So he moved from the status of Stallion to that of Gelding. I got a lesson in horse anatomy from our very nice vet. He showed them to me, where he cut, what he cut out etc. We'll just have to see if that makes any difference in how he behaves. Gentle now but spunky. Hopefully Annie (daughter #3 who purchased said Stallion from her mother) can work with him and get him ready to ride.

I was a temporary horse hoof trimmer while Willie was unconscious. His hooves hadn't acquired Howard Hughes status yet but they needed some work. Standing over a horse with my back bent at a 90 degree angle in 90 PLUS degree heat was exhausting. I was sweating up a storm and the vet never broke a sweat!

I learned what a squeeler is today too in terms of anatomy. Sometime I'll have to relate that but for some citified folk - it might rank up there with a prior posting on Butt Baths and my two little steers. Who by the way are no longer bulls but steers (see Stallion to Gelding above) thanks to a device and a couple of rubber bands. This one bears more explaining also but - another time, another place.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Extended stays

Driving by our local mega-health care facility yesterday and noticed something in their parking lot - several RVs and 5th wheel travel trailers. My first thought was construction offices but their latest project is long since done.

Then it hit me what they probably represent - families of people who are in the hospital for long periods of time.

We have a Ronald McDonald house already for parents of ill children.

But I've never thought about where people stayed when their spouse, child or loved one was hospitalized - until yesterday. What I usually see are people sacked out on couches, recliners in rooms or the occasional friendly nurse who allows an empty bed to be used - but what hospital has any empty bed these days?

My second thought is why doesn't every hospital set up an area for RVs and trailers and such? All that is needed is a little electricity, some way to dispose of waster water and a flat paved spot. Two of those three should be a piece of cake.

Another local hospital actually has a hotel inside but that involves considerable personal expense unless it is just for a day or two.

We'll see how many health care places run with my idea. Maybe some already have.

Monday, June 1, 2009

getting it

I got a magazine last week at work for an organization I belong to (but not for long – but that is another story).

RTNDA – the Radio Television News Directors Association – I’ve been a member for several years and they have a respected national reputation. They stand up for all sorts of First Amendment things, Shield Laws and offer all sorts of training and educational opportunities.

They also publish the aforementioned magazine – the Communicator. It is probably painfully obvious that an organization of people involved in Radio and TV news, doesn’t fit together like hand-in-glove with a magazine. I guess a carry-over from a different era.

Well it appears that leadership finally recognized this and decided to suspend the print version of the magazine. Probably not a bad idea. But in the same sort of “re-arranging deck chairs on the …” they decided to change their name.

The old RTNDA now becomes the RTDNA. Huh? Can’t tell the difference? Neither could I right away then I read further and realized they changed their name to – Radio Television Digital News Association.

So in trying to keep up with all the changes brought on by user generated content, web 2.0 and myriad social media et al, some rocket-scientist decided that this subtle change of adding the word “digital” into the name and scrambling the acronym will make them relevant and cutting-edge.

RTNDA has been around since 1946. No doubt it has been through several sea-changes in those 63 years. They are probably late to the party on this one. But to throw away a well-known acronym just to get the word digital in their name seems worse than 'throwing the baby out …’

One step forward (stopping publication of a paper magazine) and two steps back (name change).

But what do you expect from the folks who think bloggers only work in their PJs and somehow represent a threat to the accurate and objective truth that only real journalists and publications can offer.

Graphic Design

Far be it from me to question top-notch world-class graphic designers but has anyone picked up and read a Newsweek magazine lately?

I don’t subscribe so I guess have no right to complain but they remind me of an old magazine. They changed fonts but more importantly, I can’t tell all the articles from the ads. They’d probably think that is a good thing so they can tell advertisers that more people are reading the ads but in my case, it already takes a lot to get me to read an ad in a magazine. If I’m having trouble telling whether something is an ad or an honest-to-goodness article, then I’ll move on.

I’m not stupid or blind and on many pages there are no ads so it isn’t always that hard. But even on these, the layout and fonts don’t draw me in – they make me flip the page. Hardly the response the designers were likely after.

Between Time and Newsweek, I’ve always liked Newsweek better – until now. But not having seen a Time in months, maybe they’ve already had a makeover too.


OK the title is not complete but maybe it got your attention.

I'm about halfway through the furious longing of God.

If you've heard of the Ragamuffin Gospel then you know all about brennan manning (don't know if this is an e.e. cumming's thing but he doesn't use a lot of capitals)

I won't even try to critique the book - I'm sure he is not for everybody but ... I ran across this in today's early morning read. I took a break from reading the Psalms in the Message to peruse more of furious.

I always enjoy links or connections and I guess that's what appealed to me here.

Manning has just spoken of the last words of Jesus on the cross; the all-too-familiar "My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?"

Manning notes that a French Biblical scholar named Pierre Benoit, posited what he thought God might have spoken back to Jesus at that moment. Here is Benoit's suggestion from the New Jerusalem Bible:

"Come now, my love. My lovely one, come.
For you, the winter has passed,
the snows are over and gone,
the flowers appear in the land,
the season of joyful songs has come."

This comes from the Song of Solomon (see Chap. 2:10-14 for the full passage). This is a plausible and most certainly beautiful way of imagining what God might have said as Jesus hung there waiting. Waiting to die.

We can only imagine further that these words "Into Your hands I commit my spirit." were Jesus' response to the words attributed to Solomon.

I'm less than halfway through this short book but am really enjoying it. It comes in short little chunks that can be easily read at one sitting and give the brain and spirit something to think about for the rest of the day.