August 31, 2011

If it sounds too good to be true, well, you know the rest of this story...

So, a while back, the friend of a friend of a friend, you know, says he will "give" me one of his three OS loads that he has left over from the Windows 7 software he bought and load it to my PC. It took a while, but I realize now that he gave me more than I bargained for.

He installs the system, leaves and it is working fine..for a while. Now my PC informs me every 30 seconds that "you may have a counterfeit operating system on your pc". Whuhhh??? This ain't gonna work at ALL, but the last thing I'm gonna do is let the super shade tree techie do anything else to my pc again. So tonight after months of looking at this notification blinking and going off and driving me up the crazy tree, I go to Best Buy hoping to find a cheap fix. I waited all this time hoping that by some miracle of technology, the system would just magically revert back to the system I had before. Well, this is where you can insert the title of this post...

I ask the young guy with the earrings that look like tires off of a Hot Wheels car if I buy the "Windows 7 Upgrade", will it "cure" the counterfeit operating system problem? Ok, this kid is working in the SOFTWARE section of the store and his answer is "well, I'm 90% sure it will, but I'm not so sure and to make sure, you might want to ask the Geek Squad over at the Help Desk, just to be sure". Ok, so I'm about ready to throw something around the store at this point and my first choice is the helpful clerk with the spare tires in his ears.

I go to the Geek Squad counter and the lady there gives me the exact answer I do NOT want to hear. "No, it won't fix your problem. As a matter of fact, since the operating system is counterfeit, it more than likely has other issues like shutting down other vital functions...sister, you just don't know.

Rewind, five days earlier. I'm in Wally World window shopping on my lunch break. My beloved has been asking for an external hard drive to dump her pics and other important info on for a while now, so I see this super-duper, highly technological Seagate Free Agent, Go Flex Desk External Hard Drive with, not one, but TWO terrabytes of storage space. Hmmm, TWO terrabytes??? And it was on sale for $99. Ok, that sounds like a deal to me, since a 500 GB external hard drive sitting next to it was $79. It has way more storage space for $20? Well, I might have been born at night, but it wasn't last night....sold.

So, I take it home and unpackage this wonderful, roomy black beauty and plug it in...I said I plugged it's plugged in now PC, aren't you supposed to automatically send up a signal that you see it there and ask if I want to install it? In the real world, yes...but this is MY world. World of the good deals and a fancy new hard drive that is NOT working. So, I spend the next two evenings trying to get the Seagate to marry up with my pc.

Now then, fast forward back to the OH so helpful lady at the Geek Squad desk. After she tells me I can't fix my problem with an upgrade she throws in that "for only $149 more I can buy the software and truly fix the software problem". Well, that's what was supposed to happen when super geek came to my house to load up the OH SO GOOD DEAL OF THE WEEK.

So, I'm thinking, for $449, I can buy a new PC and actually I've been thinking about it, since my beloved has basically overtaken my PC. So I think to myself, since I'm here, I may as well ask her about the Super Duper mega-storage external hard drive with TWO terrabytes of storage . She then refers back to the conversation where she referred to "other issues" and guess what technology fans, this is another problem.

So as I silently plot how I'm gonna off the shade tree techie that got me into this spot in the first place, I ask her "what are my options"? So she says, you can go to the PC manufacturers website and for around $35 - $40 I can download the backup disks to put my PC back to original factory specs. I'm thinking well, that's the way I'm gonna go, a cheap, easy fix. So I ask her, "will I lose any of the files I have on my hard drive?" and her response was something close to, "everything", so I'd recommend backing up your files on disks or to AN EXTERNAL HARD DRIVE." Uhmm, well, you know where my mind is going now, yes, back to the other conversation where one of the "other issues" is that my PC won't recognize my super-duper, highly technological Seagate Free Agent, Go Flex Desk External Hard Drive with TWO terrabytes of storage.

I'm sitting here at the infected PC now, realizing that the only solution to fix this problem is to:

1.) Buy that new PC way before I wanted to
2.) Connect the two pc's together so I can transfer all of the data on the old PC to the new PC.
3.) Go online and buy the $35 - $45 backup software to get the old PC back to factory specs
4.) Install the factory specs back onto the old PC
5.) Hook up the PC's again and transfer the data BACK to the old PC from the new one.
6.) Delete all of the files from the old PC off of the new one
7.) Try to get the old PC to now recognize the new super-duper, highly technological Seagate Free Agent, Go Flex Desk External Hard  Drive with TWO terrabytes of storage
8.) Make arrangements for my beloved to visit me at the state prison, because you know who the next person I'm going to see is.

Remember friends, if it smells like a duck, sounds too good to be true, then it's definitely a shade-tree techie installing something on your $600 electronic briefcase that AIN'T gonna work.

The Impulsive Texan

"I may not get much done, but I sure am slow"...

August 30, 2011

Texas Caviar

I love this dish. It's very tasty with so many flavors going on. It's cool and refreshing and you don't have to turn on the oven to make it!


1 - 15 oz can black-eyed peas
1 - 15 oz can white hominy
1 - chopped bell pepper (any color)
1 - small chopped onion
1/2 - bottle of Zesty Italian salad dressing

Optional ingredients:

1 finely chopped jalapeno
1/2 pound sausage or hamburger meat
2 tbsp's chopped cilantro
a couple of dashes of your favorite hot sauce

Open all cans, drain water/juice. Put all ingredients into a bowl. Salt and pepper to taste.We usually add the jalapeno's if we know that everyone coming over likes them. Add enough Zesty Italian dressing to coat all ingredients, but not too much that the recipe is sitting in the dressing. Put in the refrigerator for about an hour and serve chilled. And that's it!

We serve it as an appetizer with tortilla chips or if we really want it bad enough, we have it as a side dish. Either one works. Serves a BUNCH!!

The Impulsive Texan

"I may not get much done, but I sure am slow"...

August 29, 2011

Of Bois d' Arc Apples and Bowling Balls

Growing up in Texas, I figured out real quick there are some things you can always count on like the sunrise if you live here long enough… mouthy politicians, hot summers, great bar-b-que and Bois d’ Arc trees.

You're probably wondering what a Bois d’Arc tree is? Well it’s what a lot of folks call a “trash” tree. It grows fast and tall, but it dies just as quickly. It sheds limbs like leaves and will fall over with the slightest breath of air. But the old Bois d’ Arc does have a few redeeming qualities.

Ranchers in early Texas would plant the trees in close proximity and would use the growth as a fence line when the expensive “devil wire” or barbed wire couldn’t be afforded. The trees grow in a hap-hazard, gnarly, crazy fashion and the limbs mingle together and intertwine with each other to form an almost impenetrable barrier. That being the case, cattle couldn’t get through the tangled mess of limbs, shards and leaves, making it a great alternative to the wire fence.

Another quality of the Bois d’Arc tree was the bois d’ arc apple. The Bois d' Arc apple is the vegetation the tree produces. But an apple it’s not and the last thing they are, is edible. I truly wouldn't recommend putting this fruit in your favorite corn flower bowl and setting them on the table. 

The inside of the Bois d' Arc fruit is a stringy, sinewy mess and it oozes a milky, white substance that looks and feels kind of like the glue that every kid that ever attended grade school has used. On the outside, the orb resembles a pomegranate that had grown inside out. Its light green color and small, hard nodules covering the entire surface make it a strange looking site.

Some folks say leaving the apples lying around the front door of your house will ensure no unwelcomed visits by crickets during the height of that season. Well, as best as I can recall, I’ve swept leagues of the deceased critters right past the apples lying on the ground… so much for that theory.

I grew up on the northeast side of a little town in Central Texas and our house was on the corner of Hart Street, to the west, Walcott Street to the south and to the north was Highland Avenue.

In those days, kids walked to school the better part of the year, period, or our family did anyway. And the home I grew up in was less than half a mile or so from the school. But as a 10 or 12 year old kid, the bitter cold of winter or the blazing heat of the seemingly endless summer, made that walk seem a whole lot further.

As we made our way to school, we’d alternate our route as to how we got to and from school. Some days we’d walk down Walcott, others we’d walk down Highland. On Highland there was a Bois d’ Arc tree strategically growing at the crest of Highland Hill. And it always had an ample supply of the round, sticky apples lying just under it. From the top of the hill to the school we attended was probably 300 – 400 yards, but in my 12 year old minds eye, it seemed like a country mile.

Boys are naturally curious about most things and naturally, something as strange as the bois d’ arc apple was something we couldn’t pass up. I’m not sure how it began, but one day, one of us decided to see who could roll an apple the furthest down the hill. Then another joined in and then, lo and behold, Bois d’ Arc bowling was born.

We’d place discarded soda bottles, limbs, cans or anything that stood up and resembled bowling pins at the base of that hill and take turns “bowling”. This game became so popular between us that we’d sometimes meet on Saturdays to compete.

Me, Shorty, David and a few other local boys would take turns hurling the apples down the hill to see who could get the closest to the “pins”. And you know, I can’t say that I remember any of us ever hitting the pins, but one thing I do remember is, I remember those wonderful days. What a great memory and what a great time we had playing that game.

After the game, we’d all jump on our bikes and head to Ned’s Grocery to swig down an icy .15 cent Dr. Pepper or some other cool drink to wash down the dust, sweat and heat from another hot Texas day.

We didn’t have a whole lot growing up, but I never knew that. I was fed, healthy and had a comfortable bed to sleep in, so to me, life was great. We had to pass our time thinking of things to do since there was no extra money for new bicycles and toys, guitars or the new G.I. Joe with the Kung-Fu grip.

And to tell the truth, I never wanted for anything. Life was simple, slow and looking back, it’s like seeing an album filled with old black and white photos. I still can’t figure out why all of my memories are “black and white”. Maybe it’s because my mind tells me that it’s another place and time and color might somehow take away the legitimacy of the memory. Maybe it’s because I can’t think in color. Oh well, the memories are there just the same.

Some might think that “Bois d’ Arc Bowling” was a little out of the ordinary or down right crazy. And maybe it was, to some. But we kids had a great time going crazy. But the way I look at it, creating memories and hanging out with friends is never crazy or out of the ordinary and ought to be done on a daily basis.

The Impulsive Texan

"I may not get much done, but I sure am slow"...

August 25, 2011

The World's Largest Army

After the Japanese decimated our fleet in Pearl Harbor Dec 7, 1941, they could have sent their troop ships and carriers directly to California to finish what they started. The prediction from our Chief of Staff was we would not be able to stop a massive invasion until they reached the Mississippi River. Remember, we had a 2 million man army and war ships, all fighting the Germans. 

So, why did they not invade? After the war, the remaining Japanese generals and admirals were asked that question. What was their answer? They know that almost every home had guns and the Americans knew how to use them.

The world's largest army is America's hunters! I had never thought about this. A blogger recently added up the deer license sales in just a handful of states and arrived at a striking conclusion: 

There were over 600,000 hunters this season in the state of Wisconsin alone! Allow me to restate that number. Over the last several months, Wisconsin's hunters became the eighth largest army in the world which is more men under arms than in Iran. More than France and Germany combined. These men deployed to the woods of a single American state to hunt with firearms and no one was  killed. 

That number pales in comparison to the 750,000 who hunted the woods of Pennsylvania and Michigan's 700,000 hunters all of whom returned home safely. If you toss in a quarter million hunters in West Virginia it establishes the fact that the registered hunters of those four states alone would comprise the largest army in the world. 

Can you imagine if this study had added the hunters from the Great State of Texas? Ain't NO country in their right mind gonna invade Texas. Every child born in this state is given an arsenal dowry at birth! A Glock 40 is their teething toy!

The point is, america will forever be safe from foreign invasion with that kind of home-grown firepower Hunting is not just a way to fill the freezer, it's a matter of national security. That's why all enemies, foreign and domestic, want to see us disarmed.   

Food for thought the next time gun control is before Congress. Happy hunting in 2011 Texas!

The Impulsive Texan.

"I may not get much done, but I sure am slow"...

August 24, 2011

The Plain Truth

I made a promise to myself when I began The Impulsive Texan that I would keep my political views to myself and not post them on this page. And to date I’ve kept that promise.

I choose not to because I have friends that are from “both sides of the fence” and I don’t want to cast a negative light on how they feel politically, if it differs from my viewpoint

But left or right, Democrat or Republican, or liberal or conservative, we all admit, there is a major problem with our political process here in the United States.

And we’ve all got someone to point the finger at. But this article, written in the context that “all politicians are crooked”, hits the nail on the head and I thought I’d share it with everyone that frequents my blog. Take a few minutes to read this because it’ll have you shaking your head in agreement after the first line.


                545 vs. 300,000,000 People 

Politicians are the only people in the world who create problems and then campaign against them. Have you ever wondered, if both the Democrats and the Republicans are against deficits, WHY do we have deficits?

Have you ever wondered, if all the politicians are against inflation and high taxes, WHY do we have inflation and high taxes?

You and I don't propose a federal budget. The President does.

You and I don't have the Constitutional authority to vote on appropriations. The House of Representatives does.
You and I don't write the tax code, Congress does.

You and I don't set fiscal policy, Congress does.

You and I don't control monetary policy, the Federal Reserve Bank does.

One hundred senators, 435 congressmen, one President, and nine Supreme Court justices equates to 545 human beings out of the 300 million are directly, legally, morally, and individually responsible for the domestic problems that plague this country.

I excluded the members of the Federal Reserve Board because that problem was created by the Congress. In 1913, Congress delegated its Constitutional duty to provide a sound currency to a federally chartered, but private, central bank.

I excluded all the special interests and lobbyists for a sound reason. They have no legal authority. They have no ability to coerce a senator, a congressman, or a President to do one cotton-picking thing. I don't care if they offer a politician $1 million dollars in cash. The politician has the power to accept or reject it. No matter what the lobbyist promises, it is the legislator's responsibility to determine how he votes.

Those 545 human beings spend much of their energy convincing you that what they did is not their fault. They cooperate in this common con regardless of party. What separates a politician from a normal human being is an excessive amount of gall. No normal human being would have the gall of a Speaker, who stood up and criticized the President for creating deficits.

The President can only propose a budget. He cannot force the Congress to accept it.

The Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, gives sole responsibility to the House of Representatives for originating and approving appropriations and taxes.

Who is the speaker of the House? He is the leader of the majority party. He and fellow House members, not the President, can approve any budget they want. If the President vetoes it, they can pass it over his veto if they agree to.

It seems inconceivable to me that a nation of 300 million cannot replace 545 people who stand convicted -- by present facts -- of incompetence and irresponsibility. I can't think of a single domestic problem that is not traceable directly to those 545 people.

When you fully grasp the plain truth that 545 people exercise the power of the federal government, then it must follow that what exists is what they want to exist. If the tax code is unfair, it's because they want it unfair.

If the budget is in the red, it's because they want it in the red.

If the Army & Marines are in Iraq and Afghanistan it's because they want them in Iraq and Afghanistan.

If they do not receive social security but are on an elite retirement plan not available to the people, it's because they want it that way.

There are no insoluble government problems.

Do not let these 545 people shift the blame to bureaucrats, whom they hire and whose jobs they can abolish; to lobbyists, whose gifts and advice they can reject; to regulators, to whom they give the power to regulate and from whom they can take this power. Above all, do not let them con you into the belief that there exists disembodied mystical forces like "the economy", "inflation," or "politics" that prevent them from doing what they take an oath to do.

Those 545 people, and they alone, are responsible. They and they alone, have the power.
They, and they alone, should be held accountable by the people who are their bosses.

Provided the voters have the gumption to manage their own employees. We should vote all of them out of office and clean up their mess.

> > Accounts Receivable Tax
> > Building Permit Tax
> > CDL license Tax
> > Cigarette Tax
> > Corporate Income Tax
> > Dog License Tax
> > Excise Taxes
> > Federal Income Tax
> > Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA)
> > Fishing License Tax
> > Food License Tax
> > Fuel Permit Tax
> > Gasoline Tax (currently 44.75 cents per gallon)
> > Gross Receipts Tax
> > Hunting License Tax
> > Inheritance Tax
> > Inventory Tax
> > IRS Interest
> > Charges IRS Penalties (tax on top of tax)
> > Liquor Tax
> > Luxury Taxes
> > Marriage License Tax
> > Medicare Tax
> > Personal Property Tax
> > Property Tax
> > Real Estate Tax
> > Service Charge Tax
> > Social Security Tax
> > Road Usage Tax
> > Recreational Vehicle Tax
> > Sales Tax
> > School Tax
> > State Income Tax
> > State Unemployment Tax (SUTA)
> > Telephone Federal Excise Tax
> > Telephone Federal Universal Service Fee Tax
> > Telephone Federal, State and Local Surcharge Taxes
> > Telephone Minimum Usage Surcharge Tax
> > Telephone Recurring and Nonrecurring Charges Tax
> > Telephone State and Local Tax
> > Telephone Usage Charge Tax
> > Utility Taxes
> > Vehicle License Registration Tax
> > Vehicle Sales Tax
> > Watercraft Registration Tax
> > Well Permit Tax
> > Workers Compensation Tax

Not one of these taxes existed 100 years ago, and our nation was the most prosperous in the world. We had absolutely no national debt, had the largest middle class in the world, and Mom stayed home to raise the kids. What in the heck happened? Can you spell 'politicians?

"I may not get much done, but I sure am slow"...

August 18, 2011

Deer Camp, 2010

With hunting season getting closer every day, I thought I'd share a story I blogged just after returning from a hunt last year. 

Deer Camp, 2010

It’s 6:09 p.m., Sunday, October 31st, 2010. It’s just starting to get dark. The blazing Texas sun is finally settling down behind the trees before it goes to sleep for the night and now I can finally see the entire area just below where my tree stand was oh-so carefully placed without the glare blinding me. My wife is 100 yards due North, behind me and has been settled in to her stand for hours.  

Over coffee, she had told me earlier that morning that she noticed the deer she had seen were coming down a trail behind me and were coming out around 6:15. Well, bingo, right about that time I notice movement to my left and behind a stand of trees of course. It’s a very large doe that is making its way around me to the left and behind me, headed down the trail just like my wife had said earlier that morning. I can’t get a shot off, so I frantically text her “Big doe coming down the trail toward you”! I sent it in plenty of time for her to be ready should the deer make its way into her range.  What happened for the next eleven minutes makes me appreciate even more, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and the blessings of survival.

It’s been one or two minutes since the doe passed behind me. All of a sudden I hear the BANG of my wife’s crossbow, followed quickly by “SNAP, CRASH, RATTLE, RATTLE, RATTLE” as a crossbow bolt ricochetes off of tree limbs, trunks and finally lodges into a fire ant mound ten feet below me and eight feet to my left. My mind immediately goes back to my Navy days and into “General Quarters” or “Battle Readiness” and I go into “battle mode”! I turn around in the tree stand to find the direction of the incoming fire and realize, “OH GOD”, it’s my wife and she has three more bolts and a horrible sense of direction! About that time again I hear, “BANG” as the second bolt screams in, head high through the trees to my right this time and dancing wildly through the tree tops and landing twenty feet right and ten feet behind me! I’m thinking, how the heck did a shot hit fifteen feet in the top of a tree if she’s shooting at a deer on the ground? Oh, the thoughts that run through your mind during a crisis. Is it truly a deer she’s shooting at or has she snapped and suddenly thinks she’s found a way to collect on that measly life insurance policy I took out? 

At this point I’m in true "panic mode" as I peek from behind the tree from one side to the other. Of course, THIS is the morning I forgot my tree harness when I realize I’m not strapped to the tree. The thought keeps running through my head that if the wife doesn’t impale my liver to my spleen, I will fall out of this tree. I’m trying to figure out just how many shots she has left as I become the closest thing I’ll ever be to a “tree hugger” and then “BANG… CRASH, RATTLE, RATTLE, RATTLE” again is what I hear as bolt number three drops harmlessly in front of my stand and into a clearing I’d just made that very morning between hunts.

I’m hanging onto the tree with one arm and wildly waving my orange ball cap with the other screaming at the top of my lungs “Cease fire!!! Cease fire”!!! but to no avail. I hear the “BANG” of her last bolt, and I'm furiously walking that stand down the tree to the bottom in a New York hurry. Then, I remembered, SHE BROUGHT HER SPARE CROSSBOW TO THE STAND THIS MORNING AND HAS FOUR MORE BOLTS!!!! I get on the cell phone...I’m calling, texting, screaming, crying out to her to get her attention. But my wife is in full “hunt mode” and hasn’t heard anything except the voice in her head demanding her to “kill, kill, kill”! She’s been steady cocking, loading and shooting for 10 minutes now and is determined that we’re having backstrap TONIGHT. Then all of a sudden, there’s a lull in the woods, except for the knocking of my knees and the barely audible mutters of me quoting  “Bubba” Blue in Forrest Gump as he said ”I wanna go home”. Finally, God seems to have pity on me and fortunately for me, her bow jams and she can’t fire or there would have been a second barrage of four more bolts headed my way.

So, it’s been a minute or so since the shooting has stopped, I’ve gotten back control of all bodily functions but I’m still so shaky I still can’t reach her on the phone. So I start running blindly and stupidly toward her, waving my orange hat! As I make my way to the clearing by her stand, she comes outside and says “Hurry, get over here”!!!! I’m thinking "Oh my gosh, she wants to get a sure fire, close-up shot so she won't miss"!. So I walk gingerly to her stand and as I approach, she says “GET DOWN, GET DOWN, THERE ARE DEER EVERYWHERE”, INCLUDING THE ONE I’VE BEEN SHOOTING AT! So I drop to the ground, afraid if I didn’t, she’d find something to pick up and throw at me to finish the job. As we slink down in the waist high grass, a deer meanders out into the opening and wanders to within 15 feet of where we are! Then I realize what she just said, “that’s the deer I’ve been shooting at”! I now get the old “deer in the headlights look” as I began to wonder, WHO'S stupider, me or that deer? Thank the Lord the bow was jammed or that poor deer would have been legs up on a spit back at deer camp within the hour! I actually felt kind of bad for the little guy, especially after she picked up the bow again and was frantically trying to unjam the string. My next thought is whether I should take off running before she has the chance to get the bow unjammed or to scream at the deer to get the heck out of the clearing! Finally reason settled in and I did what every smart man would do when his wife has a loaded weapon right next to him..I sat down and didn't say a word.

 At that point I would have never believed I could be so amazed over two totally different events, on the same night, within 15 minutes of each other! But what happened next, was utterly amazing. For the next eight minutes the little spike that almost died with me that night, stood there in that clearing as my wife shot video of him quietly eating and staring at us. He even looked straight at us several times, but kept on grazing. Then, slowly, quietly and peacefully, he melted back into the woods. I truly had just witnessed the phenomenon called “Dr Jekyll and Sister Hyde”. Ten minutes prior to videoing the deer, my wife had the crazed “kill the deer” look in her eyes and the next minute she was kneeling peacefully in the grass enjoying the second blessing that God had allowed us to witness that night. Obviously the first one is that my wife didn’t become a widow.

 It’s Tuesday now and my heart has stopped beating out of my chest, my nerves have finally settled down and the work week is here again. As I write this, I’m glad to say that my wife and I have already made plans for our next hunting trip. I can’t wait to crawl back into that stand, to see the sun rise beautifully in the East, to sip on a warm cup of hot coffee, to enjoy Gods great outdoors and the fantastic view from my NEW “perfect spot”, three-quarters of a mile away from my wife’s blind.
 Happy Hunting Texas…

"I may not get much done, but I sure am slow"...

August 16, 2011

"Love Shack, baby Love Shack"...

"The love shack is a little old place where, we can get together"! Oh the memories of that song. I'm afraid to even ask what the B-52's had in mind and what the context of those lyrics portray. Honestly, I don't wanna know.

But, believe it or not, I wound up at the Love Shack just today. I took my wife Terri there too. Hold on, before you start letting your mind wander off the road and into the ditch, let me explain.

The Love Shack is a little burger joint on the West Side of Cowtown, or Fort Worth for all of you foreigners. It was the master mind of longtime chef extraordinaire, Tim Love of Lonesome Dove Restaurant fame. The Lonesome Dove is a very high end restaurant in the heart of the Stock Yards on the North Side of Fort Worth. He decided he wanted something a little more laid back and that's howthe Love Shack burger place came about.
The place isn't much bigger than a whisper with only eight tables inside, enough room at the bar for six or eight skinny folks but he has a great covered veranda with ten or twelve tables and a small eleveated stage for nightly live music.  It has a new, updated and industrial sort of feel to it, with a touch of barnwood and sheet metal to let you know that you're in Fort Worth and to thank the Lord that you're not in Dallas.

After making our way in and looking over the menu that was, seriously, 10 feet over our heads, we both ordered the "Love Burger" combo meals shmeared with Tim's famous "Love Sauce" and the skinny fries. You'd just have to go there to understand what I mean when I say "skinny fries". The platter came with the burger, the skinny fries and all of your favorite drink you wanted.

The burgers came and at first glance I thought, "Hmmm, that's not a very big burger", but after I picked it up and attempted a bite, my mind changed pretty quick. The flavor of the pattie was amazing with a great charred texture on top and cooked to a perfect medium well..just a touch of pink and nice and juicy.

The combo platter was more than enough to whet both of our hungers and we left un-hungry. And the best part is we left only $16 lighter in the wallet. 

After we finished we walked around outside and checked the place out and Terri took a quick shot of me at the entrace. So if you get to Cowtown and are looking for something a bit different, give the Love Shack a try. We'll definitely be back for a re-run.

Love Shack817 Matisse
Suite 445
Fort Worth, Texas  76107

The Impulsive Texan

"I may not get much done, but I sure am slow"...

August 15, 2011

High School Daze

As the summer is about to burn its self out, our thoughts turn to another school year that’s about to begin. And talking about school, I was fortunate enough to go to my 35th graduation reunion this year. Before my wife and I loaded up to leave, sentiment made me look back at some old photographs and the issue of the local paper that all of us graduates appeared in.

There I was, in that hideous blue and white plaid jacket with the blue print tie and green dress shirt. My how styles have changed over the years…thank the Lord. I looked at all of my friends in the paper and tried to remember a special moment that each of us shared during our four years together in high school.

Well, you never know just how old you’ve become, until you go to a high school reunion. Well, let me correct that. You never know how old you’ve become until you go to your 35th high school reunion.

In the beginning we had a 10 year reunion and for the most part everyone had held up fairly well. You always have the exception to the rule when the “Don Juan” of the class showed up with what looked like a landing strip between his ears that had replaced that thick, full head of hair that he was so proud of during the school days. And of course, the “beauty queen” had lost her girly figure after one or six kids and was hardly recognizable until she told you her name. Ok, we all get old and change for sure and I most certainly have changed.

 I missed all of the “in between” reunions prior to the 35th which was held this past summer in my home town and what a surprise I had when I arrived. I walked in and my first thought was “who the hell are all of these old people and why are they at my high school reunion?” Well, it didn’t take long to figure out, dude, you’re just as old as these guys and gals and you need to get a grip on reality.

Actually, 35 years later and I was absolutely floored at how many of my classmates still looked exactly the same, only with a bit more “character” lines. I guess I stayed relatively close to the old skinny, pimple headed geek they knew back then, because they all called me by name and were happy that I showed up.

And you know it’s inevitable at any get together like a high school reunion, someone is going to pull out the old pictures. Well, our reunion planners went one step further… they posted them on the walls for EVERYONE to see. But after looking at everyone’s picture, I was shaking my head positively at how much everyone looked the same…then I got to my picture.

Folks, you have to kind of make a comparison in your mind if you can do that. Picture this…at 53 years old, I am 5’9” tall and weigh right at 190 pounds and have definitely been going through the aging process a while now. On top, where there used to be more hair than the floor of a barber shop, there is now a paltry, patchy, stiff, spikey sort of thing going on in a dark brown, black and gray/white colored mixture. BUT, I don’t have to shave the rest of my head to match the center and that’s a good thing. I now tend to wear jeans and boots and relatively “western” attire, since I did grow up in Texas. And in between the belt and the chest there seems to have developed some sort of a fleshy mound, that’s round and soft and since I don’t get a lot of sun there, it’s a bit of a pasty white. Middle aged spread maybe?

So now, take that image and compare it to this one. At 18, when I graduated, I was 6’ 2” because of the brown platform shoes. Justin Beiber had nothing on me, my hair was smoothed down in that style long before he was ever a gleam in his daddy’s eye. I weighed 128 pounds and if I turned sideways and stuck out my tongue, it’s scary how much I resembled a zipper. I would be wearing a highly-flammable disco type shirt that had dangerously sharp collars and it would be strategically unbuttoned halfway to my navel. Ok, are you getting the picture here? Lastly, I’ve got on these blue jeans and had they been any tighter, they would have been mistaken for leg skin. Oh, but they did make a good ballooning “bell” just below the knee and completely covered up those platform shoes.

So, that’s quite the contrast between the two era’s and except for those few lucky souls that are almost a cookie cutter of their former selves from 35 years ago, we had all changed. But, we had all changed for the better and I’m not talking looks wise either.

Back in school, we all ran in “packs”. Jocks, Brainiacs, Cowboys, Hippies, whatever, we were all labeled and were defined by the company we kept. And I have to say that at the 35th anniversary that I attended this past year, we fortunately have gotten past labeling one another. There were instances where I spoke more to folks in that one night than I did in the entire time I attended high school. And to me, that’s a good thing.

So as your youngsters or grand youngsters get ready to head out to school this year, grab the camera, take a few pics of them and put them away…for 35 years. Because if you’re fortunate enough to be around for that long, you get to make the comparisons of them when they were little guys and gals and you can rub their nose into the same “stuff” they’ve rubbed yours in for being out of school for so long.

Happy School daze to all of you out there!
The Impulsive Texan

"I may not get much done, but I sure am slow"...

Death of the Small Town

I grew up in a small Texas town just on the outskirts of the middle of nowhere. Although I didn't realize it at the time, being isolated there was a blessing that is daily oh-so-obvious as an adult. 

As a young boy, I thought my hometown would eventually die a slow, painful death because of its unwillingness to move forward. Now I look back and realize just how great a town it really was and how fortunate I was to begin life blanketed with its simple style.

I was aware of another world just past the county line because of the 6 o'clock news and the fuzzy and static-laden voices that verified its existence on my transistor radio. Those broadcasts and fleeting receptions helped my mind’s eye create the vision of what I thought life might be like in the big cities of Dallas and Fort Worth.

Riding bicycles unaccompanied by an adult from sunup until sundown all over the county was quite normal back then. My mother's only requirement as I pedaled out of the yard and pretended not to hear, was the stern and non-negotiable command of "you had better be in this house when that street light goes on." And that came out of her concern more for my getting into bed at a decent hour and not so much for my safety.

My friends and I would spend hours scouring ditches through the neck-high Johnson Grass beyond the shoulders of the road and behind restaurants and gas stations, searching for the glistening glass drink bottles that we would redeem at the local grocery store for a pocket full of shiny nickels. That was a dependable source of income for an eleven year-old boy not satisfied with the fifty cents allowance I received each Saturday morning.

Kick the can, riding bicycles without helmets and cooling off in a friends tank, never dwelling on the snapping turtles and snakes that swarmed just below the surface of the muddy water, were all rights of passage for young boys chasing down manhood along those dusty back roads.

With only a single movie available playing for the fifth Saturday night in a row at the local theater, endlessly cruising the mile-and-a-half, well-worn main drag  was the weekends entertainment.

We were on a first-name basis with the local policemen who would creep slowly behind us in their cruisers while we parked on the square under cover of night. It was almost like an episode of Mayberry, RFD — Andy Griffith and Barney Fife tending their civic duties by ensuring the children of local residents weren’t involved in something that would get them hurt or in trouble.

But now the hometown I once knew has now become unrecognizable to me and, ironically, it’s from the very thing I once thought would be its salvation from a plain, ordinary existence. I don’t know how to explain the different “feel” it now has. No longer does the naïveté hang on the breeze like the sheets on mama’s clothesline. It’s no longer a refuge or a place where I can run and hide when I get disenchanted by the world and all of its problems.

Now every country in this world is a neighbor. The small town is now a faded memory from another time just like ice-picks, typewriters or those bottles I spent the better part of my youth searching for. Even remote corners of this fragment of dust we call Earth are just a keyboard or mouse-click away. I'm not so sure that I like that or if I will ever be able to embrace it. So call me old fashioned and I'll just say, thank you.

I find myself, like many other people around this globe, mired in the age of Facebook,  texting, high speed Internet, and cable television and firmly planted in the electronic age.

But everything good and necessary comes with a price. Technology can be a good thing and the majority of our worldly "neighbors" would say it is necessary, but the by-product of technology has become a double-edged sword.

On the one edge the ability to do things bigger, faster and better has evolved at an incredible pace, freeing up even more time to cram something else into our time-starved lives. On the other edge, the innocence of the small town has been shattered and compromised because now, the entire world and all of its glories and its darkness is at the fingertips of unsuspecting youth from Hico to Hiroshima. Those outside activities I spent a childhood enjoying have now disappeared, long-gone with the small town. Now if it isn’t gigged, wi-fied, joy-sticked or hi-speed, it’s not an activity or an interest for kids.

Yes, the little map dot where I grew up has fully embraced the technological age, too. I don't even recognize it during the visits I take there now. The buildings are the same but just a bit more rundown than I remember and the school I attended is still home to the Fighting Indians and the kids still drive up and down the main drag, only now with a curfew. There seems to be a well-defined appetite for all things worldly, present and around every corner. Cell phone towers seem oddly out of place in once productive peanut fields that are now, empty, overgrown pastures.

Gang signs deface historic buildings and landmarks, young boys walk around with their “pants on the ground" and booming car stereos shatter the silence of once peaceful mornings. Like a favorite uncle I thought would never die, the town I came to love has succumbed to worldly influence.

Those timeless, enduring words of Thomas Wolfe — You Can't Go Home Againmake more sense to me now than they ever have.

But I often take time out of what has become a busy life and close my eyes. I pull an image from a dusty summer day in the past and pause to reflect on the simple tranquility of that place I once knew. Though faded through years and age, the images I recall helps me remember that deep in the heart of Texas, miles away from anywhere, but just a click away from everywhere, is that little place I once knew as home.

The Impulsive Texan

"Be careful what you ask for, you just might get it"...

August 11, 2011

The Inspirational, Mrs. York...

The year 2010 brought about significant change for me. The biggest change came about by my stepping out of my comfort zone and starting The Impulsive Texan. I've wanted to start a blog for some time now, but I was always hesitant, wondering what other people would think. I know that’s inconsequential and shouldn’t matter to me, but for whatever reason, it did.

I wasn't one of the popular guys in school and I came from pretty meager beginnings in a household that would be considered poor by any standards. I had a handful of friends, but few of them lifelong close friends, so with that, my family and those friends were the opinions that mattered most to me. But even that considered, I worried they would have thoughts like, "look who's trying to write now". So if the first few months of The Impulsive Texan are any indication of how it's going to be, then it's gonna be a heckuva ride.

I have had nothing but positive feedback from everyone and loads of visitors to the site since the day I launched The Impulsive Texan. And I have all of you to thank for that. It may not seem like much of a big deal to anyone else to tap out a few words every now and then or to post the occasional picture on a website, but to me, it's a major accomplishment, because, well, I AM the Impulsive Texan. Believe it or not, that moniker wasn't just yanked out of mid air during a high wind. There is a bit more to it than that. I've always felt like that I have had a slight problem with an attention deficit disorder of some kind, because although I happen to be a Master at starting projects, staying focused on a project until completion, well, let's just say, that's a whole ‘nuther story. You’re starting to understand the “Impulsive” part now, I can sense that.

A part of it may also have to do with me being my own worst critic. I nit-pick everything I write to death. My wonderful wife is always saying, "Leave it alone, it's great just the way it is". But I continue to edit, rewrite and fiddle around with everything I put down on paper to the point of frustration sometimes. I guess I should have taken into account, way back in 1975, the encouragement and advice offered to me by a magnificent soul, my favorite teacher, Mrs.York.

I always hurried to her English class, because her classy demeanor was something I wasn’t used to and it was just a bit out of character for “small-town, Texas”. Her smile was genuine and true and always lit up her kind face. She had a low, delicate voice and she often spoke of how we as individuals, managed our own destiny and we alone determined where we would eventually end up later in life. She was an encouragement to me each time I was in her presence and I can’t imagine anyone not wanting to have her for a teacher, for to me, she was the essence of what a teacher should be.

In class one day, she divided the students up into groups of four or five and set a picture in front of each group. It was a creative writing exercise and our assignment was to write one page of what the picture “said” to each of us. We were to create this short story just by looking at the photo and “seeing” what it held. After a tense thirty minutes, I finished my assignment, turned in my paper and readied myself to receive the failing grade I was sure would be awaiting me in tomorrow’s class.

The next day after the bell rang and we all meandered in and were settled in our seats, Mrs. York immediately took a single selection from a wrinkled, but neatly stacked bunch of papers and began reading. After she had finished the story, she asked the class who they thought might have written the wonderful work she had just read. Of course in high school the first names to pop up were the popular ones, the smart ones and even the pretty people were nominated and each time she would say "no, that's not who wrote this". After the class had gone through about 14 of the 20 or so students in the class, she finally asked, "Do you give up"? Of course no one offered to nominate the remainder of us students, because there was no way one of us could have written something like that. I remember vividly the looks of amazement on my classmate’s faces and the red tint poured all over mine as they turned to stare when she revealed that I was the one that had written it. She went on for ten or fifteen minutes about structure, imagery and how the story flowed and how it had described the simple picture in wonderful detail. I didn’t walk out of the class that afternoon instead I floated out on Cloud Nine.

Those few minutes she took out of her day to read my story and shower me with simple, heartfelt praise way back in 1975, has stayed with me all of these years and has always been a motivating factor for me in writing the stories, poems and songs I've penned over the past 30 plus years.

So for 2011, I'm not even going to chance coming up with some useless list of “resolutions” I’d eventually break. Knowing me and my record with projects, I probably wouldn't finish the list anyway. Instead, I'm going to live this year with giving sincere “thank you’s" that are long overdue. And since I’m writing it’s only fitting to send out the first “thank you” to the most inspirational and motivational lady I've ever known. Mrs. York, I send a warm and heartfelt “thank you” for the kind words of personal encouragement you offered me on that day so long ago. I also thank you for always having something nice to say and for the radiant smile you always had waiting for anyone that happened to wander through your day.

So to all of my family, neighbors, friends and all the friends I haven't met yet, may you and yours have a very Prosperous and Happy 2011 and may fond memories of your "Mrs. York" motivate your dreams throughout the new year.

God bless you all,

The Impulsive Texan

August 9, 2011

Who says truckers don't have a sense of humor?

I was going to a local festival yesterday with a friend of mine and in front of us was a tractor-trailer rig hauling a flat bed. I noticed something small strapped down to the back of it, but I couldn't quite make out what exactly it was until we were right up on it. I snapped these photos of the truck as we got closer.

It was a small John Deere pedal tractor strapped down from side to side of the big rig. This definitely brought a smile to my face!

August 5, 2011

"Yesterday", USA...

I sometimes wish I could go back to a time when life was simpler, when there were only three channels to watch on TV, when radios were "AM" and "FM" was a dream of the future. When you could go to the gas station and fill up that big old Oldsmobile station wagon that held 25 gallons of gas and after you handed the full-service attendant a twenty dollar bill at your car window, he'd actually bring change back to you. Oh, and he'd check your oil and other fluids and wash your windows too, with no extra charge.

But could we as a nation, step back in time to those days and live happily and content again or have we become too attached to technology and the "efficiency" of modern conveniences? 

I would like to see someone develop a new town and call it "Yesterday, USA". Now, this town could be located the middle of Kansas, upstate New York, on the plains of Iowa or deep in the heart of Texas. No matter where it was, it would be set up and designed with "yesterday" in mind. No satellite dishes to clutter the horizon, no cell phones, internet or laptops and pc's to take our minds off of what's important.

In order to live in "Yesterday", new residents would have to agree that no "modern conveniences" would be allowed. The town would have all of the "amenities" of the '50's and '60's. Your telephone would ring and there would be no caller I.D. so you would never know who was calling. Each time you answered the phone, you'd either be surprised or appalled. Oh, and there would be no answering machine. The party would have to keep calling back until someone answered. Supper would be at 6:00 p.m. each night and if you weren't at the table to eat, you didn't eat. Families would gather at the table, not in front of the TV and actually discuss their day and enjoy the company of family for the entire meal.

Stores and businesses would be closed on Sundays. No more buying music, playing cards or alcohol because of the Blue Laws. Kids would happily play outside and help hang clothes out on the line and take them down again to help mama with her daily chores. 

Children would be respectful and young boys would display decency and not allow their pants to fall beyond their waist and reveal their underpants. Girls would dress modestly and wouldn't wear low cut dresses or tops and cause distractions.  Kids would say "yes ma'am" or "no thank you" and if they acted rudely at a friends house, they knew exactly what would be waiting on them when they finally made it back home.

Families would get up on Sundays and go to church or to a place of worship of their choice. After church, an invitation to someones house for Sunday lunch would always be welcomed and accepted.

Doctors would drop by your home from time to time if you needed them to. If you called a business, a person in America would answer the phone and there would be no frustrating electronic answering service to "direct your call" to whomever you needed to speak to or someone telling you to "Press 1 for English". Television programs would promote values and morals and there would be no "Sex in the City" or shows to downplay the importance of marriage and healthy relationships.

People would gladly rise to say the "Pledge of Allegience" and sing the "National Anthem" without someone feeling offended or complaining to the local authorities. Businesses wouldn't be afraid to place a Nativity or a greeting of "Merry Christmas" on a wall because everyone would live knowing, this is the United States of America and freedom of speech and worship are guaranteed rights, just because you're an American. Politicians would actually go to Washington, D.C. as a representatives "of the people, for the people and by the people" and not abuse their privilege of service as a way to further their own agenda or to skirt the law entirely.

After a long, productive day, at 10:00 p.m., when all was still and quiet in the home, the faceless and monotonous sound of the television station announcer would break the silence and ask the question "It's 10:00 p.m., do you know where your children are"? After he finished, the old Indian Chief, sitting in the middle of the television "test pattern", would come on the screen, followed by the piercing sound of the old "tone pattern", until the station came back on the air early the next morning.

I know this sounds far-fetched to a lot of you. But I just described a way of life that actually existed, less than 40 years ago, right here in the United States. Am I hoping for too much? Could we, as Americans, ever get back to that simple life that was so grand? If someone were to do this, I'd be so thrilled that I just might become the very first resident of "Yesterday, USA".

The Impulsive Texan