Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Today is one of those days that I woke up in a really weird mood. Lack of sleep, little bit of pain in the shoulder following my surgery in late February..... you know..... typical morning in a typical househould in America.

As is my habit, I turned on the radio on the way to work. I like to keep up with local news and national news, much to the chagrin of my lovely bride of eighteen years. (Sorry hon.)

The topic du jour was about an energy drink that has received a lot of attention lately called Cocaine. From what I gathered from the radio show, this drink has been banned in Texas, and the Texas Courts (who ever or where ever that is) has fined the owner of this small company $825,000 USD.


Turns out that many people don't like the name of the drink. So they raised sixteen kinds of hell about it, and had it banned in Texas. Few things get me twisted six ways from Sunday such as this.

I will readily admit that I do not know the details of this case. But from what I have heard from the various reports is that people just simply don't like the name.

This doesn't really sit well with me.

What really bothers me is that most of the uprising has come from people on the "right", meaning Conservative thinking people. These are the same people that scream foul about political correctness. The same ones that get weirded out when someone uses the term 'racist', or 'affirmative action'.

While the topic of the day was an evil energy drink (evil only because of it's NAME), the word of the day was desensitize.

de-sen-si-tize : 1. to make (a sensitized or hypersensitive individual) insensitive or nonreactive to a sensitizing agent. 2. to make emotionally insensitive or callous - specifically to extinguish an emotional response (as of fear, anxiety, or guilt) to stimuli that formerly induced it.

So apparently our children (it's always about the children) are hypersensitive, or they are scared of the smallest things. And as a result, we need our big brother (Uncle Sam) to step in and make things right.

Either our children are too stupid to tell the difference between an energy drink and an illicit, illegal drug, or our parents are too weak to instill proper thinking skills in their children, or our parents are too scared to tell their children, "NO".

What in the hell has happened to us? Do we really need someone else, some elected official, some beauracratic entity, to make decisions for us? Must we call on them any time we feel offended or scared to come in and flex their muscles and run all of the big corporate bullies crying back home to mommy with their tails tucked?

Personally, I could give a rip either way concerning this drink. I have no idea what it tastes like, or if it even works. I am a Rock Star drinker, to be honest, and I just started drinking that drink about three weeks ago. I guess it works. I do like the taste. My problem lies with fear and ignorance.

Many years ago, a company developed a soft drink called Coca-Cola. It actually contained Cocaine. It was quite addictive, and it was peddled as a medicinal drink. It sold well (wonder why?). But, eventually, the company was told they could no longer use cocaine as part of the recipe. The drink was still wildly popular, and people continued to buy it. The people made the decision to continue buying the product, even though they knew it no longer contained cocaine.

So now, we have a drink on the market called Cocaine. I guess we are too stupid to realize that it is simply a drink, and nothing more. Unless the maker has figured out a way to introduce actual cocaine into the recipe without the FDA noticing, I think we are doing our self a disservice by allowing the government to step in and tell this owner "no". Let the people decide. Get the government out.

Many people will disagree with me. I understand that. So the vocal majority (or minority) will cause change based on legislation. Do we really need more legislation? What will happen when the legislation is in opposition to your standpoint? It doesn't matter if you are conservative, liberal, independent... someone is making decisions on your behalf. Decisions that you are perfectly capable of making on your own. That's right... all by your lonesome. And you don't need to be afraid of making the wrong decision. That's what is so incredible about being a Texan. We are a very hearty people. We bounce back. Remember the Alamo? Of course you do. Santa Anna handed our asses to us at the Alamo, and we showed him what we were made of at San Jacinto. We didn't give up.

Wake up y'all! We can make decisions for ourselves. We do not need legislation to tell us if something is offensive. We can do that all on our own.

Last time I checked, pornography was a huge, multi-billion dollar a year industry. Ask any conservative person what they think of pornography, and they will more than likely tell you that it has no place in our society and culture. And yet, there it is. Who is funding this? Who makes up the foundation of a multi-billion dollar industry? The majority of Americans will claim to be of the Christian faith, and yet the pornographic industry thrives.

With all of this outrage (false or not), why doesn't the government step in and make some new laws? What's the deal with the double standard?

Come on, people. What happened to our independent spirit? It's time to lead our children by example. Don't hide behind the skirt of the nanny state. Step out and make a stand by our actions. If you don't like a product, don't buy it. Leave the government out of it. The adverse is true, too. If you like a product, let others know about it.

If we don't wake up and take control now, soon, very soon, someone will complain that they are offended by the way you raise your children. And soon, very soon, the government will knock on your door and tell you that they will decide what is best for your children. Or your parents. Or you.

Sleep tight, Texas. You can tuck your self in bed.

And stay independent.

Sunday, March 29, 2009


I had a date this evening. And not with my wife.
Try telling your wife that you have to meet someone at Starbucks in the evening.

"I have to leave as soon as dinner is over".


"I have to meet someone at Starbucks. I won't be gone long. Fifteen minutes, tops."


"Her name is (omitted). She is an investigator, and she has questions about (we'll call him Joe) Joe's background. She wants to know how I know Joe."

Fortunately, my wife is a super cool gal. Even more fortunate (for her) is the fact that I simply cannot lie. I mean, I have tried in the past, but I am not a good liar. That has it's pros and cons. Mostly the pros fall in her camp. I just don't do it very well.

I digress...

The whole reason for this is because a friend of mine has applied for a job with the US Government. All of his testing and credentials have been approved, and he has made several trips to the state in which he will be working.

However, before everything is finalized, an investigator has a job to do. This person will interview people that know my friend. And furthermore, they will ask people like me if they know of anyone that might be able to answer any questions the government might have concerning my friend. That question made me a little nervous. It's no secret to my friend that I am not a huge fan of our government at the moment, but the job he will be doing on a daily basis has my respect and approval. Politically speaking, I think we should clean house.

But I digress.... again.

For a while, I felt like a spy for some reason. That may be due to the way that the investigator contacted me. She had to leave a message on my cell phone, and I had to call her back. After the time and place was arranged, she ended the conversation with, "I will be the one with the big red bag." Then she hung up.

What?? Wait!
Is there some sort of phrase or password that I will need? Gimme something... C'mon!

When I arrived, I was nervous that other people would be watching. Would someone in a dark suit show up out of nowhere and pat me down? Would they confiscate my pistol? Would they follow me home?

Nah. I don't rank that high on the government's watch lists. It's better that way for now.

It was an interesting process, and had my wife not known about the goings on with our friend, I am sure she would have been a little more than curious. But, as it turned out, it wasn't as exciting as I thought it would be.

The interview lasted about fifteen minutes. The weather was really nice outside, but too windy for an interview - considering all of the paperwork involved. So, we moved from the outside to the inside, and we sat at a table right in front of another fella who was playing on his laptop. And sipping on a rather large cafe mocha latte frappacino la-tee-da-tah.

I picked something from the menu called a white mocha something or other. It was good, I have to admit. But I never can remember what the different coffees are, or how to pronounce them. In fact, not too long ago, we stopped at a Starbucks on the way home from a friend's house in north Houston. I was driving, and Kelly told me what she wanted - but I couldn't remember what it was called. As it turned out, she had to lean over to the driver's side of the car and order for all of us. It's a sad state when one cannot order their fancy coffee properly.

It's plausible that you, the reader, have determined by now that I am NOT a coffee shop geek. I am tragically un-hip, and so conservative minded that over hearing coffee shop talk makes my head spin. Not all of the people that sit in and around coffee shops are like the ones that frequent this one... then again, maybe they are. I cannot imagine bringing my laptop to a coffee shop and sitting at a table all alone for hours. In fact, I cannot imagine taking my laptop to the couch to sit for hours, tapping the keys. Seriously. I do that ALL DAY at my job. My lingo concerns camping, canoeing, family, and firearms. While some of the coffee shops folks may well go camping and canoeing, I would wager that very scant few have so many pistols that they can't decide which ones to compete with. My pistols are to me what shoes are to women. What I will wear on a particular day is determined by the pistol I want to carry. Sorry, ladies.... I am already taken.

Did I mention I am tragically un-hip?

As we sit down at the table, the investigator whips out a small badge holder and says, "Just so you know who I am, these are my credentials." This caught the attention of the guy that was sitting at the table nearby, and I could tell his interest was piqued. The investigator dropped her voice quite low from this point on, and I could see the guy leaning in over his laptop, trying to hear what we were talking about.

I had to bite my lip when I was asked if my friend (who is applying for this job) or I have ever plotted to over throw the US Government. Our coffee shop urchin just about fell out of his chair.

That's okay. Not many exciting things happen in Starbucks, especially in our little town. The last time I ever saw anyone get excited at a Starbucks was years ago, when my wife and I stopped in after a trip to the bookstore. I had purchased a Soldier of Fortune magazine, and I brought it in with me. For the record, I am not really into that sort of stuff. But there was an article that was pretty good in this issue that discussed the differences between an AR-15 and a Mini-14. Inquiring minds want to know what the experts think. Somehow, Kelly and I managed to secure a nice little table in a very crowded patio that day. And, for some reason, everyone we met at that shop seemed to be a little nervous and had trouble maintaining eye contact with me.

The 'date' today ended with a handshake and a thank you from my "date". She was very professional and polite, but I couldn't wait to get home to the woman I love.

I will miss my friend. He is leaving the great State of Texas in about thirty days. I am actually quite envious. I wish, really wish, that I could have a job in which I got to seek out the "bad" guys. It's a dream of mine, but only a dream. I don't have the military or police experience.... just the desire to make the country a nicer place to live.

Maybe one of these days I will go up and see my friend, and maybe he will be able to take me on a field trip. I can dream.

In the meantime, I will stay in Texas, and play with my toys, poking holes in the paper bad guys. And, more than likely, I will not be going on anymore dates with anyone but my lovely wife.

Now that is exciting.

At least for me.

Friday, March 27, 2009


My Uncle Hank died last week. He was fifty-eight years old. Without offending any other relatives, Uncle Hank was my favorite uncle. I know one isn't supposed to play favorites, but I have very fond memories of our time together. In his memory, his son has posted a very cool video on Youtube.

If you like, you can view it here:

I make a few appearances: once on his lap with a stuffed animal, and a couple of times in a signature brown suit, circa 1970. Don't laugh too hard.

We all know that as time goes by, we tend to get more involved with the people and things that are more immediate. By that, I mean that we are more apt to give attention to that which is only in front of us. Not that this is a bad thing, but forgetting the people that once had a major part in our lives seems to have become status quo for us. Then again, this may be how it has always been.

I remember my uncle in many ways that I won't share here. Attending his funeral was difficult, but it forces one to reckon with their own mortality. Visiting with cousins that I haven't spoken to in many years was sobering. They are old. They have children. They have characteristics and opinions. And yet, we still share many common traits. We look similar, we think similarly, and we speak similarly.

While we once lived in a relatively close area, we have migrated to different areas of Texas, and in some cases, other states in the Republic.

Most of my childhood was spent, at least in a familial sense, involved in much drama. At any given time, one or more of our aunts/uncles was angry at one or more of the other aunts/uncles. This made it difficult for the cousins to get together and maintain contact. As time goes by, distances grow.

Distance need not be defined by miles.

I find that we, as a whole, tend to worry about the big picture. We are concerned about the presidency (even if we won't admit it). We worry about the economy, and the security of, not only our family, but our nation. Rarely do we stop and think about extended family. At least I don't.

Time goes by quickly. Get to know your family if you haven't already. Make time to go and see that aunt, uncle, brother, sister, mother, father, or cousin. Remember that you share a commonality with that person that very few people in the world do - a heritage and a history.