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!

Christmas Music

I grew up in a very musical home. Dad played the Violin, Mom played Piano and Organ, my brother played Trumpet, then piano and organ and I played drums, Saxophone and Baritone when I broke my left pinky. Dad listened to old country, mom listened to easy listening, Boston Pops and Opera, my brother covered the Beatles and other groups from the 50’s to the late 60’s and I finished it off with Rush, Queen, Aerosmith, Kiss and Chicago.

Christmas Music was always big in our home. From the day after Thanksgiving, mom’s multi-record console Stereo was stacked with multiple Christmas Albums. We did everything from “The Mormon Choir,” to “Big Crosby,” to “The Grasshoppers.” If mom was in a really snarky mood or mad at one of us kids, we got a whole afternoon of “Mario Lanza” and “Luciano Pavrotti” always on the loudest setting possible. While both are solid singers, they are murder to two kids stuck in the house.

Fast forward…the decade is the 1980’s, and I was working at the mall, selling all sorts of overpriced electronics for Radio Shack. I was one of two lead salesmen in the store and we had a blast. He’d sell a stereo, I’d sell a stereo, He’d sell a television, I’d sell a television. One of the things we had to sell was a pair of Mach 1 speakers. These things were huge and put out one heck of a sound. The trick was to find the perfect music to demo them. Someone suggested Mannheim Steamroller’s “Christmas Album.” “What’s that?” I said, I had not heard of them. One of the guys had a copy in his car, so he went to get it while we set up the Mach 1’s and our best stereo right by the door, which sat directly across from the food court.

We put in the disc and cranked up the stereo. What came blasting out of the speakers was some of the coolest music I had ever heard. Everyone in the food court stopped talking and some of the people started dancing. Within 10 minutes we had a store full of people and sold 4 stereos with speakers. We also had a visit from The Mall Cops. They demanded we turn the music down and stomped away. We waited till they were about half way down the mall and then cranked it up again. Mall Cops can run. This time they talked to our manager who promptly reminded them that Radio Shack was paying rent on two locations and as soon as we could, we would be setting up a second stereo at the second location too. We turned down the music a little and kept selling

For those of you who are not familiar with Mannheim Steamroller, they have been around a long time now. They have a website you can visit http://www.mannheimsteamroller.com There you can read about the group, see where they will be on tour and have some fun. You can also visit their store. (Note: I have not been compensated in any way for this endorsement.) I found a few selections up on YouTube but they were pretty poor copies. So much for YouTube protecting Copyright.  This is my favorite among their albums. Especially the “Deck The Halls” and “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” tracks.

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No matter what kind of Christmas Music you like, put some on! It’s already half way to Christmas!

Political Correctness is for the Birds

Living in America is no fun any more. Thanks to this insane Politically Correct environment we all live in, it’s almost illegal to pick on anyone any more. American History is filled with groups who got picked on when they arrived in America. Those who had arrived before them and fought to establish themselves, looked at the new group and said, “All Right! New Meat!”

For a long time, it was popular to pick on the Africans, the Irish, the Catholics, during WWII, the Japanese and the Germans.Now we have the Mexicans and the Muslims and just when you get the jokes rolling, you get slammed with Racist and Bigot! I pull an old word back from the depths of grammar…Pshaw! It’s no worse than the old Polish Jokes and Jewish jokes. Humor is a way people relate with things that are strange to them. Strange makes people uneasy.

This last election cycle blasted Political Correctness back in to the Swamp where it came from. People are tired of having things shoved at them right and left and then told they aren’t allowed to react with normal human emotions. That is in a nutshell why Trump won. He found out that people want and are ready for things to get back to some other sense of normal. This post 911 Politically Correct Crapola has driven people to the edge. Thanks to Trump’s campaign, the people who have been stifled far too long, have a voice again.

It is time to Make America Great Again. It is time to fight against the flood of sick mentality that has grasped this country far too long. And it’s time to wake up and bring the Family and Business back to life again! I have seen a change in just the few short days since the election results came in. People have woken up, their enthusiasm is back and they are ready to move in a profound direction. This kind of activism has not been seen in a long time and it is exciting! Washington has been given a loud and clear message. We are sick of the stagnation and it’s time for you folks to do the jobs you were elected to do!

Carpe Diem!   Seize The Day! Make the most of it and reach for the stars!

Inspiration

I knew I wanted to write a long time ago, I started out in Journalism and moved into other forms of writing. I read all the famous writers, Steinbeck, Hemmingway, Poe, Dreiser, London, Twain, Salinger, Vonnegut, Lewis, Tolkien, and many others. I settled on Steinbeck as my favorite. I’ve read almost everything he mass published and I owned copies of most of the novels for a while, I gave my collection to a local school a couple of years ago with a few exceptions. I still read him over and over and I do have my favorites.

Alex Haley inspired me to expand my Genealogy Research and to try to tell the story. He also taught me to make sure it was as accurate as possible. He was sued because he did not disclose in Roots that he was adopted. There were also allegations of Plagiarism thrown against him and he ended up penniless. It’s a shame because Roots had a huge impact on both Genealogy and Television.

Television writers have inspired me. People like Earl Hamner have taught me to explore and produce the story. Hamner created “The Waltons,” and “Falcon Crest”, two series shows that I really enjoyed. Writers like Sid Caesar,  Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks have brought me decades of laughter.

For my photography, I can not pin down a specific person who inspired me. I am inspired by nature and most of my photography is based out of doors. I also like cool mechanical things, like planes, trains and ships. It’s the subject, more than a specific person that gets those juices going. There is one person who I do credit for my ability to design websites and also my photographic results. This person is not a web designer or photographer. He was a teacher I knew many years ago, while in High School. He had charge of the stage plays we produced and taught me about creating the picture, watching the balance, making sure things were in their best light, literally. Color balances, depth of scene and perspective, things he taught me then, still apply to the other mediums where I create now. He is and has been a public figure for years since his teaching days, so I will not include his name.

It doesn’t matter who or what inspires you. Take that inspiration and combine it with your creativity and talent. The results could end up stunning and be worthy of world wide recognition.