Tuesday, October 23, 2018 – The Great American Read Finale, My Favorite Novel and Grogan Cochran Lumber Company

Tuesday, October 23, 2018 – The Great American Read Finale, My Favorite Novel and Grogan Cochran Lumber Company

Tonight is the finale of The Great American Read. The number one novel that received the most votes will be announced as America’s favorite novel.

There was a three-way tie for the correct response to my favorite novel. Of course, there were only three votes, but you are all correct. Yes, my favorite novel is Harper Lee’s 1960 publication and Pulitzer Prize winning To Kill a Mockingbird. So Beckie, Barbara and Debbie get to split the $11.50 I usually receive for turning in my books to Half-Price Books.

If you did not already know the correct response, the clue was in “Scout out the list to see if you can find it.” Scout, of course, is Atticus Finch’s daughter in To Kill a Mockingbird.

If you are old enough to remember Paul Harvey, as he would say “And now the rest of the story.”

In 1955 the Magnolia ISD board of trustees called for a $150,000 bond issue. The purpose was to construct a new cafeteria and a band hall, construct two classrooms at the high school, and make general improvements to all of the campuses in the district.

The tax base of Magnolia ISD was the lumber company. Grogan Cochran. Mr. Henry Grogan was against the bond issue because it included improvements to the segregated black school and encouraged his employees to vote again the bond issue.

Nevertheless, the bond issue passed and improvements were made across the district regardless of color lines.

Many years later, in cleaning out my father’s house we found a letter on Grogan Cochran Lumber Company stationery dated 1960. It was his termination letter from Grogan Cochran. My father was still alive and we asked him about the letter. All he said “Yep. If you are going to make improvements to one school you are going to make improvements to all of the schools.”

I hope there is a little bit of Atticus Finch in all of us today.

R. E. Duffey, late 1930’s. Someplace in Louisiana

All of the original papers associated with this story – the bond issue announcement, the blue prints for construction and improvements, the school district’s status report in 1955 and my father’s termination of employment letter reside in the Magnolia Depot.

Monday, October 22, 2018 – My Monday After College Football Awards – Week Eight

Monday, October 22, 2018 – My Monday After College Football Awards – Week Eight

There were not many college football games of my interest this week. Apparently all of my favorite teams received a bye week. Let’s hope the bumps, bruises, dislocations, hyperextensions, sprains and strains all heal. Therefore, there are just a few awards today.

Let’s start with Penn State. It was Penn State 33 and Indiana 28. PSU, you once again receive The Poopy Undies Award. This is multiple awards for you so maybe you should beat the crap out of a team and let others have a chance to scare their fan base.

Wisconsin defeated Illinois 49 to 20. Not that I care about either team, but I do not often get to see snow. Wisconsin wins The Snow Globe Game Award.

The Crimson Tide once again demolished their opponent. Alabama 58 Tennessee 21. I award The Defibulator Award to Coach Saban and to the entire Alabama fan base. Even I held my breath when Tua was down on the field.

Kentucky 14 Vanderbilt 7 – Kentucky wins The Squeaky Award as they just squeaked by Vanderbilt. Wildcats? It was Vanderbilt! Therefore Kentucky receives The Why are You Still Ranked trophy.

What rhymes with Formerly Number Two? PURDUE! That’s Who! I give Ohio State The Dot Your “I” With a Boilermaker Award. Ohio State 20 Purdue 40.

My last award goes to Mississippi State in their loss to LSU 3 to 19. Way to go Tigers. I award the Bulldogs The One Play No Wonder You Lost Award. Even by the third Mississippi State series, I knew what the play was going to be. The only time I have ever seen the one-runner play work was in 1977 at THE University of Texas. The play was called “Give the ball to Earl.” (Campbell.) Sadly QB Nick Fitzgerald running the ball on every play did not have the same effect. FYI State – FYI State – The Maroon and White that wins next week may not be your own.

Happy Monday.

Friday, October 19, 2018 – The Snark Arrives

Friday, October 19, 2018 – The Snark Arrives

And so we hang up our baseball bats and gloves until next year. Thank you Houston Astros for a great season. Now that I am not interested in any team playing in the World Series, I can move away from the TV for that sport. That will add significant hours to my life.

Moving to college football… Where did everybody go? I write about teams that I like and teams that play teams that I like. With the exception of a couple of SEC games, no teams that I like are playing. But let’s see who is playing.

At 11:00 on Fox we find the state school and the land grant school of Michigan when Michigan and Michigan State kick off. It’s a nice rivalry, but I do not get excited with a puffy, anthropomorphic mascot – as in a human in costume. I just do not see the Spartans of old being puffy. I mean Spartan means sparse, not puffy.

Opposite on ABC the Oklahoma and TCU play. It’s the Big 12. Who cares?

Equally as uninteresting is Tulsa versus Arkansas on the SECN at 11:00. I am thinking there are several high school teams in Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas that could defeat either one Tulsa or Arkansas.

Hotty Toddy! Ole Miss plays Auburn on ESPN at 11:00. Should you lose this one Auburn, you know it is all over.

Penn State and Indiana play at 2:30 on ABC. I only mention Penn State so J from the gym will read this.

Of a mild interest at 2:30 on CBS we have Alabama and Tennessee. This alert just in – Rocky Top will be flooded as the Tide increases. To the Volunteers – Turn around; you are going to drown.

Following that game on CBS at 6:00 is Mississippi State and LSU. This could be the most interesting game of the weekend. Lots at stake Death Valley. Maybe even a playoff spot for the Tigers. Both teams will need to bring their A game. No room for turnovers, bad calls and stupid actions. Sorry, Janne and Big Solid, I got to go with family. GEAUX Tigers.

For those who did not see this on Facebook I am posting the hilarious SEC midterm report card from YouTube. Good bull as the Aggies say.

Meanwhile for the Texas Aggies – BTHO out of Bye Week and no targeting calls.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018 – The Great American Read and a What Do You Think Puzzle

Wednesday, October 17, 2018 – The Great American Read and a What Do You Think Puzzle

I have been following The Great American Read on PBS since the premier episode last May. Quick Review: 100 books were selected as fictional works that influenced readers of all ages. Viewers are to selection their most loved book(s) that made a significant difference in their life. Next Tuesday the book that received the most votes will be announced.

My goal was to check off 50 titles that I have read by the end of August. I missed the deadline by a bit, but as of yesterday the count is up to 53 with two books sitting on the table to be read. I think I can have 60 checked off by the end of the year. I am pretty much left with those monstrosities with many pages – like the Russians and Dune, so it will be slow reading from now on. Once again, let’s review. One of the reasons I have read so many from the lists is that I hold three degrees in liberal arts. Those are those fields where you read and read and read some more. One of my favorite fields of study is Social and Intellectual History. You have to read a lot books.

What is my most favorite and influential book? Of course there are many and I’m not telling yet. But I will be keenly disappointed if it is not selected. However, I am sure I will be happy with the selection unless it is Fifty Shades of Gray. But I will give you some hints to my selection. American author, Deep South, racial tensions, and freedom. Scout out the list and see if you can guess.

The first to respond with the correct answer will receive the $11.75 that I usually when I turn the books into Half-Price Books. Responses must be made by 5:00 next Monday or whenever you can before Tuesday at 7:00 PM. So what are you thinking it might be?

View the 100 Most Loved Books at the link below.


Tuesday, October 16, 2018 – Rainy Days and Tuesday Always Make You Get Wet

Tuesday, October 16, 2018 – Rainy Days and Tuesday Always Make You Get Wet

I am so fortunate to have health benefits that allow wellness checks from my hallux to my calvaria and everything on the inside and the outside between the two body parts.

During my wellness check the doctor asked when my last hearing test was. I said, “Huh? I didn’t hear what you said.” Actually, I said “probably when I was 12 and school nurse Ruby Braswell was testing hearing that day.” So the doctor referred me to an audiologist.

I decided I really did not need to go, but then over the weekend this happened. During one of the afternoon football games a commercial for a local DNA lab came on. This is what I heard:

“Our lab offers DNA paternity testing, drug and alcohol testing, TxDot testing and lobotomy services.”

What it actually said was:

“Our lab offers DNA paternity testing, drug and alcohol testing, TxDot testing and phlebotomy services.”

Later that evening I was in the kitchen but could hear the TV. This is what I heard:

“Don’t miss J. C. Penny’s sale and buy one and get a second 20% off men’s penis.”

What the commercial actually said was:

“Don’t miss J. C. Penny’s sale and buy one and get a second 20% off men’s pants.”

My audiologist appointment is next week.

Laughing Peach cat

Monday, October 15, 2018 – My Monday After College Football Awards for Week Seven

Monday, October 15, 2018 – My Monday After College Football Awards for Week Seven

Whoever your favorite team is that played this weekend you all receive a Poopy Undies Award for close games, overtime games, and comeback games. This includes you, Alabama. You get Poopy Undies because you only scored 39 points in the entire game when you usually score that many in the first half.

Let’s start the fanfare and celebration with THE University of Texas. A late defensive stand held off the powerhouse Baylor to give the Longhorns a win. I award them The Laughing Cow Award. It was Baylor! And the clock expired or you would have lost. And for some crazy reason the Horns are in the Top 10. There is no way The Horns can run with The Tide, the Irish, the Buckeyes, Michigan, Penn State, the Clemson Tigers or LSU ones. Enjoy while you can. There are reasons THE University is not in the SEC, the ACC or the Big 10.

I would like to award one my least favorite team, the Texas Tech Red Raiders, the Third String Grit Award for beating TCU with mostly second and third stringers playing due to injuries. And the quarterback’s last name is the same as mine and I don’t like frogs.

Meanwhile, the rest of the Big 12 conference wins The On Any Saturday Award because Iowa State can beat you. WVa 14 Iowa State 30.

Penn State and Michigan State. The Nittney Lions looked like the Ninny Lions with 19 seconds left as Michigan State scores to win 21 – 17. The Lions win the Puffy the Magic Spartan Award.

To the LSU Tigers I award the Mike the Tiger Ate My Dawg Biscuit trophy for the never even close game over Georgia. Tigers also receive the Shades of Sherman because they marched through Georgia like Athens was burning. Mike the Tiger 36 and UGA the Bulldog 16.

Tennessee Auburn –To the Tennessee Volunteers I award the Stephen Foster Award.  “I dream on Rocky Top and beat the light brown hair.” Tennessee 30 Auburn 24.

The Bunch of Bananas Award goes to Oregon for winning over Washington. I did not watch the game and turned the channel because Oregon’s bright yellow uniforms made them look like bananas running around.

Texas A&M South Carolina – To Texas Aggies I award the Nitroglycerin Award for making our hearts stop and the Self CPR Award for not breathing during the third quarter. The Aggies also receive the But It Ain’t Like Last Year Award cause we won. Aggies 26 South Carolina 23.

And now for the Exploding Head Coach Awards. Gary Patterson of TCU wins a distant second place when he exploded during the Texas Tech game. Note to equipment managers, he needs a larger pant size.

Coming in at a strong first place is the entire Florida Gators coaching staff. First we have a coach (red hat) apparently saying something to the official about “Friends and You” if I read his lips correctly.

Then the Florida head coach’s head explodes and coaches and officials are scuffling.

Then the entire Vanderbilt team rushes the field from the opposite sideline. It was just like an old fashion high school cafeteria food fight. And you wonder why we don’t like Florida. Check out the Vanderbilt ball boy. So calm. Florida 37 Vanderbilt 27.

I did not leave out Oklahoma State intentionally. I just figured the family did not want to be reminded.

See you tomorrow with whatever I am thinking.


Sunday Morning, October 14, 2018 – Robert Edward Lee

Sunday Morning, October 14, 2018 – Robert Edward Lee

As Kris Kristofferson sang I am probably wasting my time “talking to the people who don’t listen to the things that I am saying, thinking someone’s gonna care.” But I am going to try.

If the only attribute you know about Robert E. Lee is that he was a Confederate General and leader of the Confederate Army during the American Civil War, then as they say “You don’t know jack.”

Note: Academic regalia now on. I do not care if you consider your political views conservative or liberal. When one studies history, you are taught to never evaluate a time period of the past with the social values held today. It is always 20/20 vision when looking backwards in history. Therefore any statements today regarding any individual and the social mores and values of over 150 years ago should be considered null and void historically or accurately taken into the historical context of the time period.

What else do you know about Robert E. Lee? If you do have an interest in this great individual, I encourage you to read this book entitled Lee-The Last Years by Charles Bracelen Flood.

It begins when Lee leaves Appomattox and begins his journey home to Richmond on Traveller. Horse lovers, Traveller plays a critical role in Lee’s life and in history. He is mentioned prominently in the book and died shortly after his owner. Note: Lee preferred the British spelling with two “L’s” rather than the American spelling with one.

You can follow Lee’s short, but intense journey as president of Washington College in Virginia – now Washington and Lee University. The reforms he made at the college in curriculum, instruction and the educational administration of an institution of higher education were visionary and standard setting for colleges and universities of the South today.

Among the many rebuilding and reform efforts for the Commonwealth of Virginia and Washington College, he oversaw the building of the chapel on campus because he was a deeply religious man and wanted the college to reflect Christian beliefs. His angst regarding the loss of his United States’ citizenship and the constant possibility of a trial for treason certainly added to his early death.

As the author of Lee points out, “if Lee were not remembered for his military leadership, he would be remembered as a great educational leader.” Perhaps, we should try to remember him that way. It might be less dividing.

Academic regalia off now. Happy Sunday.

Friday, October 12, 2018 – The College Football Snark – Week Seven

Friday, October 12, 2018 – The College Football Snark – Week Seven

Let’s begin with the Big 12 Conference, which is really only 10, but that conference name was already taken.

In the TCU Turnover Game last night against Texas Tech, the Tech QB, Jett Duffey scored the winning touchdown giving Tech a 17-14 victory. To the best of my knowledge I am not related to the young freshman quarterback as I have not done an ancestor spit test. But he is from Mansfield, Texas and that is very close to Louisiana.

Tomorrow, of slight interest we find that the Cowboys of Oklahoma State drew the black bean and play Kansas State at 11:00 on ESPNU. Yawn.

At 6:00 on FS1 the West Virginia Mountaineers travel to Ames to meet Iowa State in the What Other Games Are On contest.

Sandwiched in the middle at 2:30 on ESPN we find the Bears of Baylor and the Horns of Texas. It is THE University versus THEE University in the Battle of Road Construction on I-35. The Bears will need a miracle, but hey it has happened before.

Moving on. At 11:00 on FS1 it is Ohio State and Minnesota. Ugly uniforms on both sides.

On ESPN at 11:00 it is Florida and Vanderbilt. The poor state of Florida got slammed by Hurricane Michael. When your peninsula divides into two parts will it be like Michigan? Or will one of the land masses declare independence?

On SECN we have a pissed off for last week’s loss against Mississippi State Auburn  and Tennessee at 11:00 on the SECN. Wish that I was there on Rocky Top…

The 2:30 time slot is once again this weeks’ game winner.

There is Michigan State vs Penn State on the BTN. I was unaware there was a Big Ten Network. The Big 12 has a network too. It is called The Longhorn Network and it does not share. It also only has commercials with has been players. But you can watch the 2005 Rose Bowl as many times as you want.

I will be getting carpel thumb syndrome as I switch between games at 2:30. It is LSU and Georgia on CBS in the Redeemer and Validation Game. Come on Mike, show us what you got. GEAUX TIGERS!

The other time slot finds the Fighting Texas Aggies versus the Gamecocks of South Carolina on SECN. Note to Uncle Will Muschamp – You will really have to work to get an Exploding Head Coach Award on Monday in order to beat Gary Patterson of TCU last night. Yes, there will be a photo on Monday. And yes, Gary, those pants make your butt look big. This just in from Reveille “I am not sitting for a photo op with the chicken. But I can chase it off the field if you like.”

At 6:00 on ESPN the Tide of Alabama rolls over and drowns the Tigers of Missouri. If Missouri scores 31 points on the Alabama defense, I’m pretty sure Coach Saban’s head will explode too.

I actually had a Nick Saban moment yesterday. Suddenly while in Academy I heard,

“Young Lady? Are you really going to spend almost $40.00 for that Astros T-shirt? Something that you might wear once or twice at tops?”

Me: Yeah. You’re probably right.

Saban: I probably am.

Me: I’ll wait for the 2018 World Series Winners T-shirt.”

Houston Astros and Boston Red Sox on TBS at 7:09.

BTHO South Carolina!

Saturday Socks.

Thursday, October 11, 2018 – Fall!

Thursday, October 11, 2018 – Fall!

Photo by me – Soldatna, Alaska 2014

Finally, the hinges of Hell begin to cool in Texas. I think October might be one of my favorite months. It probably comes in third after December and January. Those two months involve presents to me for Christmas and birthday.

In October the temperatures are cooler; the humidity is lower and the weather is usually nice. Except of course when your state is flooded by hurricanes.

And then there are sports. College football teams begin to see who is for real and who moves on to basketball. I would not be so excited about the baseball playoff were it not for the Houston Astros. I am ready for a repeat. I know HB and Dale Marie are lining up the wins for them from Above.

Not my photo, but I have many and any camera can get such incredible photos.

An October event that is a bucket list item must is the Hot Air Balloon Festival in Albuquerque, New Mexico. This year is the 47th Annual Balloon Festival and the theme is Carry Me Away. The scene is so spectacular it must be experienced. I am ready to go back. Road Trip Next Year??? The festival is the first two weeks in October.

The Football Snark comes tomorrow. But it’s fall. Let’s have an early snark.

Texas Tech and TCU tonight on ESPN at 6:30 in Amon G. Carter Stadium inFort Worth. Throw your tortillas at the choo-choo frog train Tech. FYI Tech that is the train that runs with each TCU TD. I hope you hear many times.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018 – This Little Light of Mine

Wednesday, October 10, 2018 – This Little Light of Mine

You know I am not handy with anything other than a pencil. But I bought this solar decoration to light the street number of my house. I live in a 55 and older community and I figured this would help the ambulance drivers and first responders find you. Since all of the houses look alike, I can find mine quickly. Hopefully others can too.

The solar light required some assembly.

I did ok on the first three steps.

Step 1: Apply your custom address numbers to the front of the plaque.

Step 2: Install the Green Solar Rechargeable Batteries that are included inside the box, and the reinstall the battery compartment door.

Step 3: Remove the clear plastic film from the solar panel.

It was Step 4 where I got lost.

Step 4 – Pre-Dig a hole deep enough insert the plastic ground stake. Exactly how does one pre – dig a hole?

This must have been something taught in shop class that I did not get to take in school. I tried to pre-dig a hole, but each time I pre –dug it became a hole. Perhaps if the instructions had said “Dig a hole.” I would not be so confused.

If you know to pre-dig a hole, please post the instructions.