A Day in the Saddle

I first visited Texas in 1975, three years before we moved there. I stayed with Uncle Dave and Aunt Betty.
During my visit, they decided to go to Ft. Worth for her mother’s birthday. Betty’s brother Bill was a vet,
who had a ranch with some cattle and horses. She got him to take me horse back riding. How cool was this,
I would get to ride a Texas horse across the Texas Prairie.

On the second day in Ft. Worth, Bill arrives in his truck to take me to the ranch. I was ready, blue jeans
and my first and only cowboy shirt. We get to the ranch and there are two horses ready and waiting.
His sons had been there earlier and had left them almost ready to go. All we had to do was cinch the
saddles and hit the trail.

When I went to cinch mine it decided to suck wind. This is an old horse trick when it wants to make
things miserable for the rider.  I reared back and kicked him in the stomach. He blew the load of wind
and I cinched him him up. I told him, “Nice try horse, you lose.” I mounted the horse who for the purpose of this
story I will call “Silver.”  I don’t remember it’s name. The stirrups were a little low, but when I asked to adjust them,
Bill tells me no, that I should not need to have them higher. He was wrong.

I have ridden horses before this experience. All of the horses I had ridden were trained Western. Pull the reins
left or right, pull back to stop, loosen the reins to go. Texas, western, I made the assumption that Silver was trained this
way too. No such luck. I finally got the hang of guiding Silver down the trail, but since we were going straight, not much needed
to get him going. It was a nice gentle walk, so I used voice commands to get Silver to speed up. While he seemed to
understand English, he was not responding too well.

I asked Bill what was missing and he suggested I give Silver a lite kick. I gave the lightest kick I could muster and
Silver  took off like a bat out of hell. We did about 300 yards in 10 seconds flat. I hung on for dear life and finally did
what I had been taught, I pulled back on the reins. Silver went into Warp Mode. The Starship Enterprise would have had trouble keeping up. For those of you familiar with Star Trek, you know how they always showed the lights streaking to indicate Warp Speed. That’s how the cows looked to me as we flew past them.

Across the prairie we fly, I’m trying to move myself with the horse and I can’t because the stirrups are too low.
I had the reins in one hand and with the other I was alternating between holding onto the saddle and trying to keep my
glasses from flying off. There was a slight grade to the property and then a rise. Silver and I flew up that hill to the next
plateau. Lots more wide open land with a lake straight in front of me.

”Screw this,” I though, you’re not getting me all wet. I decided my only recourse was to jump. I got myself ready for the fall
off this Texas size horse. I knew I was going to get hurt. I threw down the reins and got ready to jump and Silver stops on a dime.
I thought, “What the hell, maybe broke him.” Bill finally rides up and says “Are you OK.?”  “Yes,” I mumbled.  “These horses aren’t trained western are they?”
“No. They’re trained opposite of Western.”
“Thanks for not telling me.”

I picked up the reins and turned Trigger around for home. Once I knew the controls, we had a fine time. I turned him right and left we counted all the cows, looked over the landscape, all with no issues. I did my best John Wayne imitation and horse and I finally
worked as a team. All was well, I was having fun!
Until we got about 500 feet from the barn……

Silver decided he had enough and picked up the pace. I dropped the reins down and said “Whoa!”
Silver huffed to a stop and I made him stand there a minute. Bill sits there laughing and says, “He’s hungry. Just hang on and let him go.” So Silver got his way and as we neared the barn. I almost got a leg full of corral fence. We put the tack away and rubbed down the horses. Then we fed them their evening grub. Bill noted how I did not have to be told how to do any of this. I let him know 4H had taught
me well.

We went back to the house for supper and the whole gang got to laugh at the story. Bill was sitting there and said, “I am so glad I didn’t
have to come back and tell you I killed him.” 

When we moved to Texas a few years later I got to ride a horse on Galveston Island. It was trained Western.

Close Encounters of the Third Kind

It’s a cold windy day here in Texas and I got to thinking about the movie “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.” For those of us who are fans of Sci-Fi and Aliens, this movie is a classic. Even the Library of Congress has recognized it.

When I started my RV Journey back in June of 2014, one of the places I knew I wanted to see was Devils Tower in Wyoming. It is where the aliens landed and where all of the primary characters in the movie got called to visit.

Devils Tower

I have to tell you, I drove into the tower from the west. I had dropped down from Montana back into Wyoming after visiting Little Big Horn and the Custer Memorial. I am very distantly related to Custer, we share a common 7th great grandfather.

Anyway, I expected to see the tower long before I actually did because the surrounding country is wide open. I did not see the tower until I was only few miles from it. The terrain is not as flat as it seems and contours and the path of the road, hid the tower from view. There are actually three towers, but this one is just the most impressive.

Devils Tower is controlled by the National Park Service and as such, is now a typical, sanitized experience with the same expense to get into the park and a visitor center at the top of a one mile road. I got the last spot for RV’s and walked over to the front of the center to get my first up close view of the tower. As I was standing there, I heard many of the people around me saying the same thing I was thinking: there are no references to the movie that literally put the tower on the map.

I walked back across the parking lot and took some additional pictures. There is a walkway you can climb to walk around the base of the tower. Unfortunately, the first 200 or so feet of that path is about a 12% grade and not easy to walk up. I got about half way and could feel both my knees and back screaming, so I went back down. So much for seeing where Richard Dryfess was during the filming.

I drove back down the road and headed east. I was on the road to South Dakota to see Mt. Rushmore and Crazy Horse. About 5 miles or so from the tower, there is a restaurant called “Tower View Restaurant.” I stopped there for lunch. The place is run by a father and daughter and I got to have a nice conversation with the father. I asked him about no reference to the movie on the tower. He told me that there had been so many “Kooks and Freaks” come to the mountain right after the movie, that the National Park Service shut the tower down. When it re-opened there were strict rules about keeping certain types out. Even the tours are restricted to one company and they have a multi year contract. So, the potential for Close Encounter Tours is largely muted by the Killjoys of the National Park Service.

So space fans, go ahead and visit the Tower, but leave your Aluminum caps at home. Big Brother won’t let you in if you are wearing one.
If you were thinking about visiting Roswell, don’t get too excited. The City of Roswell is trying to kill everything alien there too. The fools don’t understand the value of alien tourism to what otherwise i a toilet of a town. It was like talking to a wall to try to convince them to leave things alone. The alien museum and a few shops are the only things left to see. Sad……

Alien - Roswell

Cloud Computing

I am not an advocate of Cloud Computing. Period!

Call me old school, but I think it is nuts for a company to put their entire business in someone else’s control and location.
Hacking is one great reason not to do it and vulnerability is another.

It was announced that Cloudflare has a security bug that has now affected users on well over 1000 websites including the company I use to host my website and blog. Makes me want to vomit.

Internet security and viability is a joke right now. Your company data is not safe.

If a Cloud company goes out of business, so do you!

One other factor is the pathetic state of the power grid. With your information in-house, you are only affected if your part of the grid goes down. If your information is across the country on some cloud server, you have no way to retrieve your data.

Cloud Computing is a nightmare.  Change your passwords NOW! Rethink your use of the clouds!

RV Living

My little RV survived the big storm Sunday, though it did take me a long walk to get those Munchkins to stop following me.
I was driving yesterday and a guy exiting a parking lot waved at me and used his hands to motion something opening and closing.
I just figured him as another Texas Nut.

Today, I decided to open the windows and the roof vents to air out the place. When I opened the bathroom vent it’s lid flipped over backwards. I had to tear apart the whole vent so I could get my hand out far enough to grab the lid and throw it to the ground. It was busted and ready for the trash can.

Luckily I have been staying near D&D Farm and Ranch in Seguin, Tx. They do all sorts of things including Trailers and now RV repair. By sheer luck they had the part for a very reasonable price and had it installed almost immediately. Evidently the thing had been broken off it’s hinge for a while.and the storm just finished the job. There was also a small hole in the lid so now I know I wasn’t imagining drops on my shoulders some mornings.

Once again, good folks came to my rescue. Texas Style!

Top Films

In this season of awards, I was curious which films the American Film Institute thought were the best.
Here are their picks in 10 Geres.  http://www.afi.com/10top10/
Animation  –  Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Romantic Comedy – City Lights
Western – The Searchers
Sports – Raging Bull
Mystery – Vertigo
Fantasy – The Wizard of Oz
Sci-Fi – 2001 a Space Odyssey
Gangster – The Godfather
Courtroom Drama – To Kill a Mockingbird
Epic – Lawrence of Arabia

Now here my picks for the same categories.

Animation  –  Dumbo!
Romantic Comedy – Yours, Mine and Ours
Western – The Searchers
Sports – Bang The Drum Slowly
Mystery – 10 Little Indians
Fantasy – The Wizard of Oz
Sci-Fi – 2001 a Space Odyssey
Gangster – The Godfather
Courtroom Drama – Inherit The Wind
Epic – The 10 Commandments
I add three categories
Comedy – Airplane!
Musicals – The Sound of Music and Mary Poppins
Mini-Series – Roots

Quickest way to get Attention! Pick on Barron Trump!

Personally, I love all forms of humor. Dangerfield, Carlin, Belushi and yes even Cosby.Unfortunately, the age of Political Correctness has brought us Censorship in a bold new format. It has been declared, You can’t pick on this 10 year old kid!

Well, I hate to bring a damper to the censorship wagon, but Barron Trump is now a “Public Figure” and he has been for some time. This brings his life into a whole new arena, whether he and his parents like it or not. He has become the new “child star” of the White House. His every move will be scrutinized and with no fairness. I don’t know if he’s a nice kid or not but even his mother calls him “Little Donald.”
Some would call that “Child Abuse.”

This kid lives in a circus and must take his role as the youngest clown, be it a good thing or bad. Big comments were made about him looking at the floor while sitting at the Inauguration. Pay attention. They put makeup on him so his pale complexion would not show like Casper the Ghost on Camera. In later shots inside, it looks like he got rid of it. As for his yawning, no ten year old is going to do well under the schedule they were keeping or being shoved around by the Children of the Corn. Tiffany and Eric made a point of shoving him behind them when they were walking through the Capitol to the platform.

Barron Trump needs his own fan club. That way people can interact on a more positive level instead of some of the snipes we have heard so far. Perhaps his mom could launch his own line of eye shadow, or T-shirts with him yawning on the front. Thus creating the BarYawn.  I could see everything from YoYo’s to Frisbees selling like crazy.  Add to that the Barron Trump Tribble Junior hairpiece for kids with Cancer and it could be a real hit!

I call dibs!  Contact me Barron, we’ll work it out!

Ring in the New Year with a New Project!

Welcome to 2017 and the new age of excitement and momentum. Wake up and launch a new project.

Be bold, be brave and be enthusiastic. There an old saying that goes something like this…..
Surround yourself with like minded people, otherwise the world will criticize you to death.
Find people who think like you do!

People with ideas are everywhere. People who execute those ideas are Entrepreneurs.
Most people are not idea people or entrepreneurs. They are followers, average achievers at best and most of the time have
spent more time in school than in an experienced position. They are the folks you see filling the bars of Friday and Saturday night
bitching about how bad their job sucks.

2017 has brought a new age for entrepreneurs. Once you pick your idea and are ready to execute it, contact me.
I can support you with a very broad set of services. Consulting, Marketing, Writing and much more.


My Favorite Martian vs My Favorite Russian

When I was a kid, one of my favorite television shows was “My Favorite Martian” with Bill Bixby and Ray Walston. This was a spoof of what might happen if a Martian actually crashed on earth and tried to live among us. It was a lot of special effect humor from Walston’s Martian combined with the goofy antics of Bixby’s character. The premise was that Walston was Bixby’s Uncle Martin.

In this era, the world was fascinated by evil men from outer space and The Russians. They hype concerning both was almost equal. If the space invaders didn’t attack us, the Russians would. People watched the skies for both possibilities.

In 1982, E.T. finally convinced us that not all aliens were evil and give the right bicycle, we could fly across the moon. In 1987, I finally met my first Russian. I was working near Washington D.C. selling software and many of the embassy personnel liked to frequent my store, including the Russians. I will not use his name, but I can tell you he was roughly mid 30’s with a wife and a couple of kids. I never met his wife, but I did meet his kids. Barring the accent, you’d never know they were not a typical  American Family. Over the months, I got to know them and realized that they were more like me than different from me. Thanks to this fine gentleman, I got to partake in a tasting of Russian Crackers and Beluga Caviar. That was my Christmas Gift for helping him route a journey to Niagara Falls through wine country for their 10th anniversary.

Now, lately we have been assailed with the Russians again. They helped rig the election so Trump would win. If this is true all I want to say is THANK YOU!  Way to go Putin! The last thing this country needed in the White House was Hillary Clinton. If it turns out to be true, every American should send a thank you note to Vladimir.

Now, back to the other kind of aliens, I’ve been to Roswell; Weather Balloon my foot!  I’ve also been to Devil’s Tower where they filmed parts of “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.”  If I was an alien, I would choose to land there, if only to get some of the best fried chicken I have ever eaten. The “Devil’s Tower View” restaurant is within a few miles of the tower at 476 State Highway 24.

Aliens of all types scare people, especially folks who thrive on religious theology. How sad they miss out on the fun and intrigue of meeting Mr Spock some day. Or enjoying the company of a Tribble. How cool would it be to “Go where no man has gone before” Hopefully Trump will help restart NASA with a vengeance. We need to continue to explore the universe.

New Year’s Day – Back In Texas

I spent New Year’s Eve, deep in the Heart of Texas. Specifically in the smaller, but feisty town, just east of San Antonio. I had planned on spending the night at a ranch in Von Ormy, but that just didn’t play out. So I missed my New Year’s Eve with a can of Root Beer, the ball on Times Square and a field full of cattle.

Texas was first my home from 1978 to 1996. We moved here when the mills all closed in Ohio. I have been here several times since buying the RV. I still have family near both Houston and Corpus Christi. I wintered down at Baffin Bay last year and spent some time in North East Texas before that. I know the state well. There are not too many areas of the state I have not been in or lived in. I am as at home in the Pan Handle as I am in this central zone. I’ve driven and visited the coastal areas many times. I got flooded out of the Lake Whitney area, just this last Spring. I spent Memorial Day watching the flood waters rise and drove like a demon west and north to get away from the rains. If you haven’t hydroplaned in an RV, you haven’t lived!

The greatest thing about being back in Texas? It is the home of really super BBQ and Mexican Food. That garbage BBQ in Tennessee almost killed me. Talk about Mohammed going back to the Mountain. I am looking forward to a great year. It has to be better than last year. Trump will be elected, the Clintons will flee the country and all will be well again. Carpe Diem!