Thursday, October 3, 2019

2019 Telly Award Winner

Feature films have the Oscar.  Television has the Emmy.  
Films straight to DVD have the Telly.
This is the 2019 People’s Choice Award presented to us from several thousand entries.  The script was co-written by my daughter Victoria, and my other daughter Colleen was also a co-producer and received her own Telly.  I’m proud of both of them. 
The awards are on display at 
Steampunks in Downtown Barnesville, GA. 

Saturday, September 14, 2019



In case you haven’t noticed or been paying attention, I live in a small town.  Not just a small town but a small town in Georgia.  Now that in itself probably brings up some mental images depending on where you live or the books and movies you’ve seen.  To set the record straight, I haven’t always lived in small town Georgia.  I’ve lived in San Francisco, Honolulu, Los Angeles, Miami, and the Washington, DC area several times. I don’t even count the other garden spots the Army has sent me. Leesville, Louisiana, Killeen, Texas, Fayetteville, NC, Anniston, Alabama and Columbus, Georgia, also several times.
This brings me to the point of this blog. It’s not a travelogue, but an observation on living in a small town.  We have a weekly newspaper because we don’t have enough news to publish one every day.  I really…really love the newspaper.  We’ve got a great columnist and the publisher and I play poker occasionally, but the thing I enjoy most is the police reports.
The paper breaks down the crimes in the county by those handled by the city police and the sheriff’s office.  This ain’t Chicago but we do have our share of crimes and criminals.  For instance, this week the city police handled 376 calls.  Those calls resulted in 74 major crimes.  Major, you say.  Everything is relative. Somebody actually had less than an ounce of marijuana. Somebody else was driving without a tag and another person changed lanes without using his signal…or his arm depending on the age of the car and the driver. Now to the serious stuff.  We had 13 speeders, eight “hands free” law violations. Were they driving Teslas?  Maybe they were trying to drive with their knees…”Hey, y’all hold my beer and watch this.”  And my favorite that I’m still trying to figure out…”one laying drag.” Now we’re a small town and I suppose there may be one or two in the county, but where would you…never mind. Let’s move on to the Sheriff’s report.
A man was going 85 in a 55 zone.  Sheriff lit him up and he took off finally turning into a driveway.  Report said he was “extremely intoxicated”, claimed he was in his own driveway and if the deputy would just let him or help him into his house, he’d forget the entire episode.  The deputy had no sense of humor and the man spent the night as guest of the county.
Sheriff was called to the home of two brothers who evidently had been to the same place as the above gentleman and had consumed far too many adult beverages were doing batting practice on each other with baseball bats.
Then there was the lady who threatened a deputy and told him he was a worthless piece of humanity for attempting to arrest her for destroying her boyfriend’s tractor.
We get a lot of loose cattle, dogs chasing chickens and occasionally someone dispatching a dog to that great doghouse in the sky for said crime. People really take that one personal. 
As a writer the report is the equivalent of a gold mine for me.  I can’t make some of this up even at 3 AM when the crazies come to call. 

Thursday, September 5, 2019


I was watching television recently and after running through all 6, 427 channels available and not finding anything that I really wanted to watch, I settled on a comedy special. The last one I saw was Jeff Dunham and it was one of the funniest hours I have spent in a long time.  If you haven’t seen him, you owe it to yourself to do so. He is probably the best ventriloquist ever, with all due respect to Edgar Bergan and that other guy whose name I can’t remember right now but I probably will by the time I finish writing this.

But this is not about ventriloquists. It’s about comedy or what passes for comedy now.  I don’t remember the name of the comedian I was watching and it’s probably a good thing.  I know I’m showing my age but ten minutes into the act I felt like I was in the men’s room at a gas station on a country road.  After twenty six years in the Army…in the Infantry…I thought I had heard every form of profanity every devised by man and a few women.  Boy, was I wrong.  I have been known to peel the wallpaper with my language on occasion. I have always tried to watch it around my wife and my daughters and especially my mother who kept a switch on top of the refrigerator and would have had no problem using it if she heard me.

I did a little searching on the Internet and came up with some old comedy routines that were popular “back in the day.”  If you have ever heard it, I think you may agree that the Abbott and Costello “Who’s on First” routine has stood the test of time and may still be the funniest of all times.

Back in the early day of television and radio prior to that every show had to be “G” rated because you never knew who would be watching or listening.  Radio transitioned to television and the only difference was that Grandma was watching and not listening and you didn’t want to embarrass her. 

As an example, and with apologies to one of the pioneers of radio and television comedy, Red Skelton I found one of his routines.  Take a look and see if it works today as it did…back then.

1. Two times a week we go to a nice restaurant, have a little beverage, good food and
companionship. She goes on Tuesdays, I go on Fridays.
2. We also sleep in separate beds. Hers is in California and mine is in Texas.
3. I take my wife everywhere, but she keeps finding her way back.
4. I asked my wife where she wanted to go for our anniversary. “Somewhere I haven’t been in a long time,” she said. So I suggested the kitchen.
5. We always hold hands. If I let go, she shops.
6. She has an electric blender, electric toaster and electric bread maker. She said, “There are too many gadgets, and no place to sit down.” So I bought her an electric chair.
7. My wife told me the car wasn’t running well because there was water in the carburetor. I asked where the car was. She told me, “In the lake.”
8. She got a mud pack and looked great for two days. Then the mud fell off.
9. She ran after the garbage truck, yelling, “Am I too late for the garbage?” The driver said, “No,
jump in!”
10. Remember: Marriage is the number one cause of divorce.
11. I married Miss Right. I just didn’t know her first name was “Always”.
12. I haven’t spoken to my wife in 18 months. I don’t like to interrupt her.
13. The last fight was my fault though. My wife asked, “What’s on the TV??”
I said, “Dust!”.
With my apologies to all the wives who read this….especially mine.

It just hit me….Paul Winchell and Jerry Mahoney.

Friday, August 30, 2019


I try to go to bed around eleven at night. That means I go to sleep about an hour later.  I can set my clock by the fact that I am going to wake up between three and three thirty.  Four or five hours uninterrupted is the best I can hope for.  There are a lot of reasons for that, but that’s not what I want to talk (write) about today.
I want to discuss all those things that run rampant through my mind when I wake up.  I try to wake up without my brain knowing I’m awake.  If it knows, and it usually does, it goes off on some of the strangest tangents you can imagine.  Or maybe you wouldn’t want to imagine some of the things that I think about at that time of the night/early morning.
For the last few weeks, the topic has been things that I don’t understand or things that I question or those that generally just don’t make sense. At least to me.
Let me give you a few examples.  Out of the blue or black as is were, one night I woke up and wondered how meat tenderizer knows when to stop working.  Think about it.  Put it on a tough piece of meat, it starts to tenderize it.  Does cooking kill it?  If not, does it tenderize your stomach?
Same thing for pre-shrunk pants, shirts and other pieces of clothing.  How do they know my size?  Is the shrinking stuff lying in wait for me to put the jeans on? Ah ha, the jean say.  We are going to shrink some more, or oh (**&^)(&( we shrunk too much and now you can’t get in them.
Ever go to a hotel or motel that costs more than $39.99 and up, double occupancy?  Go in the bathroom and look at the toilet paper.  The first sheet is folded into a little point.  Who does that and why?  Does the motel owner run an ad in the paper…help wanted.  Must be adapt at folding toilet paper into little points. My theory is they do it to see if you actually use it.  One of the things I always do before I leave is to refold the first sheet into the little point. It’s especially fun if you’ve been staying in the room for a few days and have wife/husband and kids with you.
There are others, but I think you get the point.  I don’t think I’m crazy or anything serious like that, but maybe the jury is still out on that verdict.
There is one more that I am actually hesitant to mention, but I really need some help with this one.  If you know the answer, please let me know.  It’s been at the top of what I call my “three a.m. creative thinking period.”
Ready?  Did Adam and Eve have a belly button?  

Friday, August 23, 2019


I almost forgot about a very important anniversary last week.  Not a wedding or something common like that, but the day I was inducted into the US Army.  August 15thback in the old days.
A friend of mine worked at the draft board and called to tell me she had pulled my name and sent me the “Greetings from your friends and neighbors” letter. I had three days to come up with an alternative.  Viet Nam was raging and people were getting severely killed over there and I did not want to be one of them.
A friend of mine and I went to the Navy recruiting station.  We walked in and there was a man sitting behind a desk reading a newspaper.  We could see his hands but everything else was covered by the paper.  After a minute and a ‘scuse me, he finally spoke.  “Can I help you?” Newspaper still in place. “Uh, yes, we’re thinking about joining the Navy.”  From behind the paper, “Got a college degree?”  I stammered, “no sir, but…”  Before I could finish telling him my outstanding qualifications, he simply said, “try the Marines next door.  They’re taking anybody.”  We left having never actually seen anything but his hands.
Being barely a high school graduate, I waited for the letter to drop and decided to join the Army the day before I got it.  Better to choose an easy job than get stuck in the Infantry, the recruiter said.  I don’t even remember what I selected. Probably something like sheet folding or mess kit repair or basket weaving, things that I later learned were just code words for “this idiot thinks he’s smarter than I am, so I’ll put him in the Infantry.”
After going through the physical and mental and a variety of other test at the induction center it was time to raise my right hand.  Over 200 of us were herded into a large room and put in some sort of order. Those who had been in ROTC in high school (not me) knew how to stand and took great pride in doing so.  Finally, a Marine Lieutenant Colonel came in, the door was closed and two VERY large Military Policemen stood in front of it. He took the podium and announced in a voice that could be heard in Moscow, said “Raise your right hand and repeat after me.”  After he administered the oath, he leaned across the podium and in an equally loud voice said, “Now…if any of you sons of bitches think you ain’t in the Army because you didn’t repeat after me, just you try and walk out that door.”  The man had a way with words.
It took twenty six years (in the Infantry…who knew) , two combat tours during Viet Nam, more separations, moves, schools, temporary deployments, good jobs, bad jobs, good people, bad people and memories for me, my wife and two daughters than any of us could have expected, and it was time to retire.  
My boss, a two star general said he would read my retirement order and I refused to let him  We had a very serious and adult, albeit, one-way conversation about how if I wasn’t retiring things would not be so good for me, etc. etc.
I asked a Marine Lieutenant Colonel in my office to read it.  I explained why and I finally got to walk out that door.

Thursday, August 15, 2019


Trash Panda


In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve been gone from this blog for several months.  I have several excuses and even a few good reasons which I might share with you at a later date, but the important thing is that I’m back.  I know you’ve missed me and if you haven’t please don’t tell me.  Let me wallow in self-delusion.
I think it was John Lennon or maybe Vladimir Lenin or somebody else who said, “Life is what happens when you have other plans.”  If that’s the case, I have been living life to the fullest for the last few months. As I said, I won’t go into details but I will say that Emory Hospital in Atlanta has the worst food in their cafeteria that I have had in a long time. I think they do it for two reasons.  First, if you have to eat there because you are visiting or have a loved one in the hospital, you will never visit again and take up a parking space that costs as much as a brain transplant or eating there will make you sick and they have a place for you.  And did I mention the couch they have that if you are spending the night you are supposed to sleep on?  I spent 26 years in the Infantry sleeping in some God-awful places, even spending one night in an open grave (another story for another time) and I slept better than I did on their couch.  If the CIA got one of them they would never have to even consider waterboarding again.  But that’s life.
And another thing. I have so many holes in my shoes from shooting myself in the foot that when it rains I almost drown. The latest hole you ask?
I attended a writer’s conference in Key West, Fl two years ago where I did a workshop.  I couldn’t go this year, see above, but they sent me a nice email saying they were having a writing contest.  The winner got a free conference, a trophy and most especially, a publishing contract.  All you had to do was send in the first 750 words of a COMPLETED (there’s a reason for the caps) novel by a certain date.  Like most writers, I have several versions of unpublished works, so I pulled one out, dusted off the first 750 and sent it in.  Do you see where this is going yet?  I didn’t hear anything by the deadline so I proceeded to forget about it…..until…email: Congratulations.  You won third place etc. etc.…send us the rest of the novel so we can edit and publish it.  The REST of the novel…but…but…I scrambled around for several day, cutting and pasting from the several drafts I had and sent them a publishable manuscript.  My foot is just now healing from that gunshot. But I know I’ll do something like that again.  It’s in my DNR. (see earlier blog).
Bottom line. I’m back and I’ll keep making mistakes, occasionally doing the right thing at the right time, dragging things up from the past, making observations and if everything else fails I’ll just make something up to keep the blog going.  
Thanks for your interest and keep moving.  It’s harder to hit a moving target…but not always.

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Friday, January 25, 2019


We often hear the term, “the end of an era” used when someone dies or a television show ends or something like that happens. Recently, not only did an era end, but it passed away into private homes and museums forever.  An icon for many Baby Boomers, Roy Rogers, died several years ago but his legacy lived, and lives on with movies and old black and white re-runs of his television series.  Now his museum in Branson, Missouri has closed and all of the items associated with him, Dale Evans, Trigger, Bullet and even Nellie Bell have gone on the auction block.

How popular was he?  A pair of his boots sold for $11,000.  A shirt with an embroidered Trigger went for $8,000.  Trigger?  Stuffed and sold for $266,000.  Need his saddle?  You could have gotten it for $386,000. Want ‘ol Bullet to run alongside Trigger?  He went for $35,000.  Even Nellie Bell’s tab was $116,000.  Obviously, “gone but not forgotten” is true for Roy.

I met him twice.  Once at a reception in Los Angeles where I have a photo of me, Roy Rogers, Dale Evans, Tony Curtis (don’t ask) and a strange lady I never did identify. I also have a nice photo of me with Jimmy Stewart at the same reception.  I happened to catch him coming back from the bar and he has a drink in both hands.

The best story about Roy is one I heard at the reception.  All his career, Roy had worn cowboy boots and didn’t even own a pair of regular shoes. Dale wanted to surprise him for his birthday one year so she bought him a pair of custom made alligator leather shoes. They were not just ordinary ones but were designer specials with inlays of pearl and all sorts of other things to make them unique to Roy.

The first time he wore them on their ranch in Victorville, CA, Roy saddled up Trigger, got Bullet and headed for a ride in the nearby mountains.  Once he got to the foothills of the mountains, Trigger began to act funny and Roy sensed danger.  It was soon revealed that a mountain lion was following him and his animals.

When the big cat got close enough to spook Trigger, the animal reared up and threw Roy off the saddle and onto the ground. Without Roy to control him, Trigger ran away from the danger and headed back to the ranch.  With a mountain lion on the hunt, no horse or dog and too far from home to make it back before dark, Roy sought refuge in an indentation in the rocks.  He was able to slip almost all of his body in but his feet were exposed.

During the night, the mountain lion tried to pull Roy from his hiding place and in the process destroyed his new shoes.  The next morning a rescue party found Roy, safe, but barefooted walking back to the ranch. He was picked up, checked out by a doctor and was fine.

A week later, Roy came riding back into the ranch mounted on Trigger with a massive mountain lion, dead and draped across the back of the horse.

When Dale saw them she said, “Pardon me, Roy.  Is that the cat who chewed your new shoes?”

2019 Telly Award Winner

Feature films have the Oscar.  Television has the Emmy.   Films straight to DVD have the Telly. This is the 2019 People’s Choice Award ...