Category Archives: Misc.

Monday, April 15, 2019 – Pick Seven for Literacy

Monday, April 15, 2019 – Pick Seven for Literacy

Here’s what I’m thinking about last week. Today is a summary of last week. First, I want to thank my friend, Shirley Crooks for challenging me to list the covers of seven of my favorite books. No reviews; no comments – just the covers. Then I challenged seven people to list their seven favorites.

The comments made by various people made me happy. For example, the number of

  • former students and people who said To Kill a Mockingbird was one of their all-time favorites,
  • the number of people who took up the challenge,
  • the people who said they went out and bought a book listed to read or reread it,
  • new books I learned about.

Listed below are titles of the book covers I posted on Facebook. But now I comment. These are a few of the books that I can remember where I was when I laughed out loud and cried softly – sometimes both in the same novel and maybe on the same page.

  1. To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee – greatest  novel EVER!
  2. As I Lay Dying – William Faulkner – my favorite author of all time. Every August (As in a Light in August) I read a Faulkner novel.
  3. Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole – a Pulitzer Prize winning novel of New Orleans. Sadly, Mr. Toole took his life before seeing this greatness achieved.
  4. Their Eyes Were Watching God – Zora Neale Hurston – a must read novel by a strong, Black women. The novel was poorly received initially, partly because it was written by a strong, Black woman in 1937. However, it is now one of the great works African-American and women’s literature.
  5. Looking for Alaska – John Green – every high school teacher should read because we taught them all through their teenage angst and they taught us through ours.
  6. Catcher in the Rye – J. D. Salinger – needs to be read and reread at different stages of life.
  7. Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte – Nobody does tragedy better than the Brontes.

As many of those I tagged said, it is difficult to limit your favorites to just seven. In my top seven, there is a theme throughout the list. The theme is the one who does not fit in or is unable to find them self.

With the exception of Catcher in the Rye and Jane Eyre, there is also a theme among the other five. I do love Grit Lit! I love to read about the old South from the antebellum stages to the Depression Era South. Looking for Alaska is a bit of a stretch, but hey Alabama is Alabama.

Those books that almost made it and should be on a must read or reread list:

Gone With the Wind – Margaret Mitchell – do I really need say anything about this book? I was 10 years old the first time I read it. It was also the first time I saw the movie at the Winona Theatre in Tomball, Texas.

Harry Potter Series – J.K. Rowling – Of course, name it after Harry, when the strong, highly intelligent Hermione does all the work. I am so Hermione!

Death Comes for the Archbishop – or anything by Willa Cather. She is one of the reasons New Mexico is enchanted.

Slaughter House Five by Kurt Vonnegut – all of his books, but especially SHF. The first time I read it I found Billy Pilgrim to be a funny, eccentric character. The second time I realized Vonnegut described PTSD long before it was diagnosed.

The Hand Maiden’s Tale – Margaret Atwood. Great social science fiction author.

From non-fiction shelf

Rising Tide – John M. Barry – an account of changing the course of the Mississippi River and the lives that were forgotten. If you have ever been to South Louisiana and traveled along the Mississippi, this is a must read.

Alaska and Texas by James A. Michener – long, heavy book, and always starts with the dinosaurs, but so worth the history the books contain. PS – I also read Poland.

The Devil in the White City – Eric Larson or any novel by him. His books are considered a new genre called hybrid history. This novel details two historical events that intersected in time.

I could go on and on just like all of us bibliophiles , but then I do not have time read. So READ ON! Spread the literacy.

Monday, March 4, 2019 – Its National Grammer Day

Monday, March 4, 2019 – Its National Grammer Day

WOW; Wondering today if your going to like todays’ post. Today its national grammer day It’s the day to respectfully honor the infinatives that split, the gerunds that end in ‘ings’, and the participles that dangle. Their is going to be a lot to write about to.

Designated in 2008, the National Grammar Day was established by Martha Brockenbrough author of “Things that Make us [Sic]” (2008) and founder of the Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar.

So Happy Grammar Day!

Here’s to the nine common parts of speech. They are are nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, conjunctions and interjections.

Here’s to the three sometimes parts of speech. They are numeral, article, or determiner.

Here’s to the 14 punctuation marks. They are the period, question mark, exclamation point, comma, semicolon, colon, dash, hyphen, parentheses, brackets, braces, apostrophes, quotation marks, and ellipsis.

Here’s to the great high school English and grammar teachers and college professors who taught us grammar.

Here’s to the specialists and the word nerds who know the ways, means and reasons why of grammar, syntax and linguistics.

Your assignment. Write at least three sentences using each part of speech at least once. For extra credit, write a paragraph using at least seven of the punctuation marks. For each additional correct use of parentheses, apostrophes and quotation marks, you get one point extra. For each correct use of brackets, braces and ellipsis you get five extra points. Does everyone understand? I’ll wait…

After you have finished, diagram each of your sentences.

By now. Let’s eat kids!

Monday, February 18, 2019 – Head ‘Em Up! Move ‘Em Out!

Monday, February 18, 2019 – Head ‘Em Up! Move ‘Em Out!

It is trail riding time in Texas. If you, as Lyle Lovett sings,
“are not from Texas” then let me attempt an explanation. When the rodeo comes to town, everybody is fixin to be a cowboy or cowgirl. It is just a Texas thang!

To celebrate our cattle heritage and cattle drives, there are trail rides to recall when real cowboys rode the range and herded the longhorns. The granddaddy of all the rides is The Salt Grass Trail Ride. It started when some Texans got stranded in Florida due to bad weather after the 1952 Orange Bowl Football Game. Sidebars: The game was between Baylor and Georgia Tech. It was Baylor’s first bowl game and the co-champions of the SEC. (GT was in the SEC?) The Yellow Jackets won.

But back to the story. Being stranded in Florida, one Texan said “I’ll never go anywhere again without my horse” and so began the Salt Grass Trail Ride. It began as a promotion for the then called Houston Fat Stock Show and Rodeo. Trivia for Native Texans and Houstonians – where was the event held? Answer at the end.

https://saltgrasstrailride.com/

From the website:

Riding through the rich salt grass pastures, the journey begins in Cat Spring, Texas, in mid-February and winds through the countryside for 103 miles toward Houston. Participants range in age from 2 to 90, stretched out single file for the distance of a mile or so, always present a colorful picture as they go down the trail. The early Texans who pioneered our great cattle industry, despite almost overwhelming hardships, have not been forgotten. They live on in the Salt Grass Trail Ride.

What this really means for the Houston and surrounding areas is this. The weather is going to be sunny, warm, hot, cold, rainy, and miserable with as much as 40 degrees temperature ranges. It could be 85 degrees day and 45 degrees the next day. Sometimes, within the next hour of reaching a record high of 85. But that’s only one of the reasons we love Texas.

Unlike the cowboys you see in the following video, these cowpokes and their horses stop at the end of a hard day’s ride and relax in their cozy RVs and with their horses in heated horse trailers. While Willie sings “Cowboys ain’t easy to love” he also knows they ain’t stupid either.

Here’s to all the trail riders on all the rides. Be safe. God Bless you and God Bless Texas!

So head ‘em up! Move ‘em out! Who is that cute, Rowdy second cowboy in the credits? Stay for the credits if for no other reason to hear the song. You are welcome because I know you will be hearing and singing this the remainder of the day.

Answer: The Houston Fat Stock Show was held at the Sam Houston Coliseum.

https://youtu.be/3_rHrLHIeyI

Sunday, December 30, 2018 – The Eve of the Eve

Sunday, December 30, 2018 – The Eve of the Eve

It is the eve of New Year’s Eve; ah bitter chill it was. Wait that is The Eve of St. Agnes by Keats when the bitter chill takes place. That is not until January 20. We also have Alfred Lord Tennyson’s version St. Agnes’ Eve. I guess plagiarism was not as evident back then.

Speaking of saints, chills, and Tennyson, how about that Charge of the Light Brigade by Notre Dame yesterday? Half a yard; half a yard; half a yard onward into the valley of death rode the Irish. Notre Dame could not summon enough saints and begorrah to even make it interesting. At least Oklahoma tried a comeback. I told you that ND does not do well in a bowl with Cotton in its name.

Here’s what I’m thinking. Next football season why don’t Clemson and Alabama play to start the season? That can be their very own personal national football championship. Then in January of 2020 two other teams can have a shot at the big trophy stick. Other fans would like to wear tacky national championship hats too.

Tomorrow, actual New Year’s Eve starts the SEC Bowl Conference. Tomorrow we find Missouri versus Oklahoma State and Unranked North Carolina versus the fighting Texas Aggies.

These games are followed by LSU, Mississippi State, Kentucky and Georgia.

And to get thee to a summary. The entire Pride of the Big 12 Conference rests between Oklahoma State and THE University of Texas. Missouri is peaking and it depends on which Oklahoma State takes the field. But Georgia is really pissed off. Those Dawgs are mad dawgs. Run Bevo!

Tomorrow – The Aggies and UT in the Gator Bowl 1957 history. Yes, the SEC – it just means more!

Friday, December 28, 2018 – The College Football Sneaky Snarky Friday

Friday, December 28, 2018 – The College Football Sneaky Snarky Friday

Congratulations to the Baylor Bears in their victory over the Vanderbilt Commodores by a whopping score of 45 to 38 in the Academy Sport and Outdoors Texas Bowl. Perhaps if you both field defensive squads next year, you can up your bowl game. Vandy, your defense looked it was Lionel Richie and the Commodores.

Earlier that day in the Walk-on Independence Bowl Duke realized it really is a basketball school and walked on in the second half to score some 45 unanswered points to win over Temple 56- 27.

In the New Era Pinstripe Bowl Wisconsin beat the Miami Hurricanes down to a Category Zero by a score of 35 to 3. May I suggest for a new era, you do not name a football game after a fabric pattern?

Today as I key this we have Purdue and Auburn playing in the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl. Auburn? Purdue? Take a Nap? Hmm.

By the evening hours we begin to drift into the Better Big Boy Big School Bowls. These are the bigger games with top players.

It is during this time period we the multitude of players who get to play in The I Did Something Stupid and Made Poor Choices Bowl and/or The I’m Not Playing for My School Because I’m Going to Combine and Will Make Millions and You’re Not Bowl.

Let’ start with the West Virginia Hillbillies and Syracuse in the Camping World Bowl. Expect the usual tacky, home-spun looking WVA uniforms and some visually unaesthetic orange from Syracuse.  Hope the second string QB for WVA is ready.

If anyone is interest you can watch Iowa State and Washington State in the Valero Alamo Bowl. This does not begin until 8:00 so it is necessary to get a proper amount of sleep because Saturday starts the games with the best of the best.

Saturday begins with Florida and Michigan at noon in the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl. This sounds like Hooter girls making a peach cobbler bowl.

At the 3:00 hour we have the Creepy Leprechaun and the Halo Gold Helmets on the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame and another variation on orange on the Clemson Tigers. This is the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic in the first of the College Playoff Semi-final Game. Not to worry. The game is Jerry World in Arlington and not the old Cotton Bowl Stadium where bowl games go to be canceled. Just a quick reminder to Notre Dame – you don’t play well in The Cotton Bowl regardless of where it is played. Clemson doesn’t need all of their players to beat you.

The second College Playoff Semi-final Game is the Capital One Orange Bowl at 7:00. We have the University of Oklahoma and the University of Alabama. Like Clemson, Alabama does not need all of players to beat anyone either. Why does OU go by OU when it should be UO? I don’t know.

Anyway you have OUUA or UOUA. or UAOU.  They all rhyme with Tua. ROLL TIDE!

 

Thursday, December 27, 2018 – The Winding Down of 2018

Thursday, December 27, 2018 – The Winding Down of 2018

We approach the last days of 2018 and the last of the college football bowls in the mediocrity category.

Assuming you were not blown away by last evenings’ thunderstorms, you were able to watch the Injured Quarterbacks’ Interception Bowl between TCU and Cal – formerly known as Berkley in the Cheez-it Bowl. The commercials with the big, yellow cheese round were better than the game. In OT the Frogs defeated the Bears 10-7.

Hey Coach Purple Patterson? I gave never coached a football game in my life. Not even Peewee league or girls’ flag football. I am anatomically unable to even wear a jock strap. But what you did with the field goal kickers makes me wonder about your coaching strategies and understanding of players. With an opportunity to win the game in regulation, you really showed your big ass. Who yells at the freshman field goal kicker; then takes him out; yells some more during the timeout; then puts him back in where he promptly misses? Then when given a second chance you send in another field goal kicker. But TCU did win and claim a victory for the Big 12. It may be the only one the conference will claim.

Speaking of the storms across Texas, the First Responders Bowl between Boston College and Boise State was the first bowl game ever canceled. HWIT – given the intensity of the storms all of the first responder in the Dallas Metroplex were needed.

Currently we have Temple and Duke playing in the Walk On Independence Bowl in Shreveport, Louisiana. It is being played during the day because no one really cares until the schools’ basketball teams reach March Madness.

In another ‘who cares’ bowl game we have the Pin Stripe Bowl between Miami and Wisconsin.

But at 8:00 on ESPN the last hope of the Big 12 Conference is the Academy Sports and Outdoors Texas Bowl between Baylor and Vanderbilt. The old tight wad, Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt only did one altruistic endeavor in his life time. He lent his name and money to the founding of the Vanderbilt University. Subsequent Vanderbilt generations, like the poor little Gloria would have to sell blue jeans to support the family.

Good luck to the Baylor Bears and the Vanderbilt Commodores. This reminder to Baylor, Oklahoma State, THE University of Texas and Oklahoma -the SEC – it just means more. And that means bigger, faster, stronger and overall just better!

Yep, Baylor, you are the last hope for the Big 12. Otherwise, TCU will be the only Big 12 winner. I know Iowa State is in a bowl game, but do you even know anybody who went to Iowa State?

Friday, December 21, 2018 – My Christmas Game

Friday, December 21, 2018 – My Christmas Game

It is the shortest day of the year. Therefore I must hurry and write this while there is still light.

Should your family enjoy playing games and participating in contests as mine does on Christmas Eve, then the following is for you. Play with your family, have fun and deny it until there are pictures.

The No Voice, You Just Think You Can Dance, You’ve Got No Talent, Dancing with No Stars, Survivor, Big Brother Reality Christmas Game

Needed

  • Two teams; three judges; one score/time keeper, one videographer (optional)
  • One bag of marshmallows, 2 red Solo cup hats, 2 sheets of paper and 2 pencils/markers
  • There are 10 cards – one for each round of play, plus one tie-breaker if needed. Otherwise it is known as the LAST CARD. Each card tells the number of participants needed to complete the activity; the number of points available and then the activity to be performed.

How to Play

  • Divide into two teams. Decide which team will go first. The first team to go selects someone to go first.
  • He/she draws an activity card. He/she reads the number of people needed to perform; the type of activity; the number of points available and the activity to be performed.
  • The activity is judged by the judges and/or or the number of points are awarded in timed activities.
  • The team with the most points wins.
  • All activities must be performed or done in one minute or less.

Scoring

  • Judges use their hands to score 0 to 10. Judges scores are totaled and recorded by the scorekeeper.
  • Then Team Two must perform the exact same activity to be scored by the judges.

Next Round

Team Two must go first with Team One performing second.

Additional rules

  • In the event the contestant is unable to remember song lyrics or poetry stanzas, the contestant must make it up.
  • Only props within range of vision can be used. If you cannot see it, then you cannot use it.
  • Alcohol strongly suggested prior to playing this game.

ACTIVITY CARDS

Timed Activity – SOLO

Scoring: Least amount of time

Activity: At the start of the timekeeper, sing the chorus of Jingle Bells as fast as you can using only one breath.

Performance Activity – Three People

Scoring: Judges’ scores

Activity: One person sings Jingle Bell Rock while the other two create an impromptu dance routine.

Performance Activity – Two or more People Needed

Scoring: Judges’ scores

Activity: One person sings Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer while the other persons act it out.

Performance Activity: Two People

Scoring: Judges’ scores

One person recites A Visit from St. Nicholas (aka The Night Before Christmas) while the other person pantomimes.

Performance Activity – SOLO

Scoring: Judges/Timekeeper

Activity: You have one minute to draw a picture of the Christmas tree.

Performance Activity – ENTIRE TEAM

Scoring: Judges’ scores and 5 additional points if the dancers are co-ed.

Activity: Pretend you are the Radio City Music Hall Rocketts. Perform a dance routine including a high kick.

Performance Activity – Candy Cane Catch – Two Players

Scoring: 10 points to team who does not break their candy cane.

Activity: Players stand facing one another about one foot apart and toss a candy cane back and forth USING THEIR OPPOSITE HAND. Right-handers throw with their left. With each toss each player must take one step backward. Play continues until player misses their cane or the cane breaks.

Performance Activity: Sugar Plum Pole Dancers – 2-3 people

Scoring: Judges’ scores and 5 additional points if the dancers are coed.

Activity: Dance like you are the Sugar Plum Pole Dancers

Performance Activity: Christmas Conga Line – TEAM

Scoring: Judges’ scores

Activity: Sing a Christmas song while dancing around in a Conga line

Performance Activity: 2 people

Scoring: Judges’ scores

Activity: Make up a Christmas song and sing it in format of your choice as a duet. Example: country, rap, opera, blues, etc.

TIE BREAKER or THE LAST CARD

Performance Activity: Marshmallow Toss – TEAM

Scoring: Most marshmallows in cup

Activity: One player from each team ties a red solo cup to their head. Both players kneel about six feet from their team. Team members try to toss the marshmallows into the red Solo cup.

Friday, December 14, 2018 – Where Have You Gone Joe DiMaggio?

Friday, December 14, 2018 – Where Have You Gone Joe DiMaggio?

Oops. Wrong sport. Where have you gone Snarky Football Friday?

It is difficult to snark about college football when no games are being played. But tomorrow kicks off the Bowl Games. Here’s a quick reminder to assist you in your viewing of the increasingly growing number of college bowl games with stupid names. The further away from New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day the game is, the crappier the teams and games. In fact, some of these should be called Bowel Games. But hey it’s football.

Tomorrow we begin with the New Mexico Bowl Game between Utah State and North Texas on ESPN at 1:00. This is Utah State University whose mascot is Big Blue and not the Utes or the Cougars from BYU. I actually thought Big Blue was Michigan, but maybe Joseph or Brigham took the name with them. Big Blue is one of those anthropomorphic mascots (i.e. a person in a costume). At one time the university actually had a real live bull that was painted blue. But I think the Donner Party ate it. In spite of Utah State being a land grant school and thus Aggies, I’m going with Eagles of UNT.

In an instate battle between Louisiana schools we have the Autonation Cure Bowl between Tulane and Louisiana at 12:30 on CBSSN. The Green Wave versus Ragin Cajuns. This is being played in Camping World Stadium, but it is in Orlando Florida. However, I do not like to camp and watch football. I do like the name of this bowl – the Autonation Cure. Because I think the nation definitely needs some curing so I hope this helps.

In the Mitsubishi Motors Las Vegas Bowl we find Arizona State (no that is not Sumlin’s school) and Fresno State 2:30 ABC. Should be colorful costumes and/or uniforms.

Raycon Media Camellia Bowl Georgia Southern State University and Eastern Michigan University at 4:30 on ESPN. HWIT – PETA should be alerted because this means GASO versus EMU so it sounds like the emus are in danger of being gassed. Also, I Googled Raycom and only found headphones/earbuds. So I do not know why there a football bowl game named after headphones and the wife of Prince Charles’ of England.

At 8:00 on ESPN we have Middle Tennessee and Appalachian State in the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl. I don’t what the R+L Carriers carry, but who cares? The game is in New Orleans. We can all have gumbo and cocktails and pretend we are in NOLA!

There are more bowl games next week. I must research the Cheribundi Boca Raton Bowl. Cheribundi? Is this Al Bundy’s sister? Perhaps it is similar to Cowabunga from the old Tarzan films.

Happy weekend. Stay warm.

Monday, December 3, 2018 – The Games Are Set

Monday, December 3, 2018 – The Games Are Set

The Committee has spoken. Alabama, Clemson, Oklahoma and Notre Dame. Those are the four that are in.

This leaves Georgia, Ohio State and most everybody else mad. The Big 12 wanted OU and not two teams from the SEC. Everybody is tired of Alabama except Alabama. They just keep on rolling.

I am so happy Notre Dame is playing Clemson on December 29 in the Cotton Bowl. The Cotton Bowl has never been kind to the Irish. Go Clemson.

There are 33 bowl games between December 15 and January 1. That is way too many to give comments. Unless you or your child or grandchild attends one of the universities, no one really cares about who is playing until the end of December.

Let’s take a preview of some of the action. One more thing. The SEC. It just means more. As in, 11 teams in bowl games.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF BOWLS

Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl (Houston) – Vanderbilt vs. Baylor – Dec. 27 – 8 pm CT – ESPN

Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl (Nashville) – Auburn vs. Purdue – Dec. 28 – 1:30 pm CT – ESPN

Belk Bowl (Charlotte) – South Carolina vs. Virginia – Dec. 29 – Noon ET / 11 am CT – ABC

Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl (Atlanta) – Florida vs. Michigan – Dec. 29 – 11 am CT – ESPN

Capital One Orange Bowl (Miami) – Alabama vs. Oklahoma – Dec. 29 – 7 pm CT – ESPN

AutoZone Liberty Bowl (Memphis) – Missouri vs. Oklahoma State – Dec. 31 – 2:45 pm CT – ESPN

TaxSlayer Gator Bowl (Jacksonville) – Texas A&M vs. North Carolina State – Dec. 31 – 7:30 pm CT – ESPN

PlayStation Fiesta Bowl (Phoenix) – LSU vs. Central Florida – Jan. 1 – Noon CT – ESPN

VRBO Citrus Bowl (Orlando) – Kentucky vs. Penn State – Jan. 1 – Noon CT – ABC

Outback Bowl (Tampa) – Mississippi State vs. Iowa – January 1 – 11:00 am CT – ESPN2

Allstate Sugar Bowl (New Orleans) – Georgia vs. Texas – Jan. 1 – 7:45 pm CT – ESPN

Wednesday, November 28, 2018 – Renew the Rivalry?

Wednesday, November 28, 2018 – Renew the Rivalry?

Renew the Rivalry between Texas A&M and THE University of Texas by LAW. WHAT?

State Representative and Aggie, Lyle Larson, filed HB 412 for the 86th Texas Legislature that requires the two universities to schedule an annual nonconference football game the fourth Thursday, Friday of Saturday of November.

HWIT – Waste of paper; waste of time; and LSU and the SEC may have plenty to say about that date.

I would not be opposed to a game at a neutral site. Jerry World would probably like to host it. It would be good for recruiting, but I do not think legislation is needed to make it happen.

It seems that Alabama and Auburn did not play one another for decades due to contract disputes. It seemed to work out ok for both of those schools. Representative Larson wants to avoid such a situation. HWIT, I would rather not play THE University of Texas ever again if it meant the Texas Aggies would take over as annual number one with multiple national championships.