Shootin' the Breeze

and random targets

Archive for the month “August, 2013”

Uncle of Champions


We just learned that our “jail bird dog,” Beau, whose origins I have described in a post of that name, has a relative who is a champion show dog.

A client of mine, who breeds and shows Labrador Retrievers, informed me with pride that her stud dog won “Best in Show” last weekend.  Then she asked how Beau, who was one of her puppies and came to us by an indirect route from her kennel, was doing.  Those of you who regularly read my blog know how Beau is doing.

I did not have the heart to tell her of my diagnosis of Beau as criminally insane, especially so as not to pour cold water on her big news.  So I changed the subject.

I asked whether Beau is related to the champion show dog.  I was told that Beau’s sire is the grandsire of the newly crowned champion.

So, I calculate that Beau is an uncle of the champ.  I think Beau’s market value just went up.

Please contact me if you are interested in purchasing a used Yellow Lab whose nephew is a really nice dog.  All inquiries will be kept confidential.  (I don’t want Miss Sugar to know of my marketing plan.)

Al-Jazeera Ain’t My Choice for a News Source

America values freedom of speech and freedom of the press.  So do I.

However, just because we allow freedom of speech and freedom of the press does not mean we have to agree with all the speakers and writers.  The opportunity to disagree is exactly why the First Amendment exists.  In the marketplace of ideas, we are competing and we can choose whose words we reject.  We can choose to not buy a newspaper or book.  We can choose to not subscribe to a TV package that contains programming objectionable to us.

So, Al-Jazeera, don’t get your panties in a bunch if I do not welcome y’all to America.  Al-Jazeera is a company that ain’t from around here.  It is from Qatar, which is in the Mid-East, and I don’t mean middle America.  I mean it is a voice of the Arab world.  I suspect it is the voice of Al Qaeda or sympathetic to that terrorist organization.  I have concrete reasons to say this based on past performance of Al-Jazeera.

When American soldiers were first sent to Iraq, Al-jazeera, in violation of the Geneva Convention, published photos of dead American soldiers on its internet site.  A young man in California, which is in America, was upset and used his knowledge of how internet sites are controlled to take down the Al-Jazeera site and redirect viewers to a site that he created which had an American flag and the words “Let Freedom Ring.”

For his patriotic act of cyber-war, he was prosecuted in our American federal court.  By the way, when he saw the uproar about the hijacked Al-Jazeera site, he immediately turned himself in to the FBI.  He pled guilty to something about engaging in fraud by pretending to be an Al-Jazeera employee in order to get its password.  He was eventually sentenced to probation with 1,000 hours of community service.

Maybe justice was done.  Maybe not.  Maybe they should have given him a medal.

I just know that I am opposed to Al-Jazeera being on my TV.  I am not interested in the Arab “take” on news.  I hope their viewership is so low that they drop their channel due to people boycotting the station.  Martin Luther King organized the bus boycott.  There is a Constitutional difference between censoring free speech and simply not listening to it.

Let Freedom Ring!

Sheik of the Sheets


Beau likes to sit under the clothesline, viewing his vast domain.  Sugar thoughtfully decorated the clothesline in a manner suitable for Beau’s station in life.  His Royal Highness selected green satin sheets on which to lounge.  He arranged his headpiece himself.

Maybe he thinks the birds can’t see him.  Notice that he is parked beneath bird feeders.  After all, he is a bird dog.

Camouflage is okay for the general public, but classy hunters prefer silky satin sheets — in green, of course.


Grampa’s Leg

I did not witness how my Gramma and Grampa met, but I have heard the story.

Grampa, whose name was Claude, played on a baseball team with a couple of Gramma’s brothers.  They invited him to their home.  Claude met Jenny, who was not my Gramma at the time but later got the job.

After Claude left, Jenny asked her brothers, “What is wrong with Claude’s leg?”

“Nothing,” they said.  “What do you mean?  He’s a good ballplayer.”

As it turns out, Jenny was right.  There was something wrong with one of Claude’s legs.  It wasn’t all there.

Claude got a job for Union Pacific Railroad when he was quite young.  In the course of his employment, he was in an accident that resulted in the amputation of one of his legs below the knee.  He was fitted with a wooden leg.  His baseball teammates did not know, so he must not have talked about his injury, but Jenny noticed that his ankle was not flexible.  She must have been studying him.  He must have noticed her too, started courting her and married her.

In World War II, when many young soldiers returned with various injuries, including amputated legs, Grampa met with some of them, I have been told.  I suppose he encouraged them by showing what he could do, including roller skating and various activities — with his wooden leg.

Recently, I wrote a blog about getting back on the horse after being bucked off.  I guess that reminded me of Grampa and his leg.

Now Appearing in Concert — Miss Sugar!

Miss Sugar has been taking guitar lessons about three times a month for a few months.  So now she is proficient and I am her agent for setting up concerts and other public appearances — coming soon to a location near you.

Today we went to Ridin for the Brand Cowboy Church.  Sugar had volunteered the Sunday before to bring her guitar this week and to sing.  I did not volunteer to sing up front with her, yet that is what Sugar made me do.  (In the photo below, even though we are both wearing hats, you can tell us apart because I am the one who is not smiling.)

sugarsingingThankfully, others joined in on the singing too.  No one walked out, so it was a great success.  Of course, in that particular venue, there was no charge, nor did we take anything out of the offering plate.  Maybe next time….


On our way home, we stopped at The Forks, a convenience store that also has a deli with sandwiches and ice cream as well as a bar upstairs where bands sometimes perform.  When the owner saw that Sugar had her guitar, she asked Sugar to play a little somethin for the folks eating ice cream and sub sandwiches.  So Sugar did.  She played and sang three songs.  I did not join in.  I stayed in the audience.

A motorcycle guy came over and asked whether I was with Sugar.  When I bragged that I am her husband, he gave me a $5 bill.  The owner of The Forks gave us two coupons for future ice cream.

This was not Sugar’s first time to appear as a paid performer, having sung professionally, but this was her first time accompanying herself on guitar.

Contact me as her agent to book your next event.  You’d be surprised what $5 and some ice cream will get you for your entertainment budget.

P.S.  Sugar volunteered that I will preach next Sunday when the pastor will be absent.  Bring $5 for that too.  Email for directions.

coffee at church

Bucked Off and Getting Back On

I confess that I have been bucked off many horses, many times.  I have been bucked off other things as well.

There is a saying that gives me some comfort.  “Ain’t a horse that can’t be rode; ain’t a cowboy can’t be throwed.”

Unless it is a bronc at a rodeo, who bucks for a living, and you are not allowed to get back on, there are two important reasons to get back on after being bucked off.

One reason is very simple.   If you don’t get back on, the horse won and will think that it can get you off whenever it wants.  So, for training purposes, and for the horse’s own good, you want it to learn that it can’t get away with it.  You want it to learn that you are boss; that you are in control.

The second reason to get back on is for your own good, for your self esteem, I guess, to not quit and to not be afraid.

Besides horses, there are other things in life that buck folks off.  (I am not talking about bulls, which are not really intended to be ridden anyway, at least not by me.)

Getting cut from a team is like getting bucked off.  It is  surprising that Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team and inspiring that he did not quit basketball.  Some say that he turned out to be a pretty successful player.  Some say the best ever.

Getting fired, getting divorced, declaring bankruptcy, losing a loved one who dies, and health problems of all sorts are examples of life bucking you off.   When you are laying in the dirt, you often do not feel like standing up, mounting up, and taking another ride.  Those are the times to “cowboy up.”

Sometimes, I suppose we are more like the horses doing the bucking.  You might say that people who are recovering from addictions are trying to get a “monkey” off their backs.  From another perspective, you might say that making choices that lead to addiction could be to escape life’s demands, like you are trying to buck off responsibilities.  Either way, addictions involve bucking too.  Overcoming addiction is like getting back on the horse because it requires re-taking control.

God knows when we get bucked off, whether literally or by being cut from a team, fired from a job, divorced from a spouse or any of the ways we fall and land hard.

God also knows when we are bucking.  Like a good horse trainer, He does not give up on us.  He has ways of letting us know that we are not in control.

The Bible tells us that the hairs of our heads are numbered, that God knows when a sparrow falls from its nest, and that, lo, He is with us always.

Our heavenly Father is always ready to help us get back in the saddle.

From personal experience, most of us realize that “there ain’t a cowboy can’t be throwed.”  If you haven’t been throwed yet, you will be.

It is by faith we see that with God’s help “there ain’t a  horse that can’t be rode.”


Sugar took me to Whole Foods.

It is well-organized.  The staff was very friendly and helpful.

We got a few groceries and even some food on plates for a meal in the pleasant dining area.

It was in the dining room where I fully realized that I was out of uniform.

I was wearing jeans and cowboy boots.  The other four men eating there each had on khakis and sandals.  One pair of khakis was long.  Two were baggy shorts.  The fourth khaki garment was what in the olden days might be described as pedal pushers or beachcombers.  They were 3/4 length and rolled up a bit more.  They would not look good with cowboy boots.

I was not the only one with facial hair, but I did not fit in for a different reason — all but me had shaved heads on top.

Fashion-wise, I did not ‘fit in” for this visit to the store, but I have a funny feeling that when I return every man will be wearing cowboy boots.  I bet every person in Whole Foods noticed me.  I stood out.  It did not look like anyone in this crowd has cowboy boots.  I believe I altered their collective fashion consciousness.

No one verbally articulated admiration for my attire at the time, but I could see the admiration in all their eyes.  The power of my personal presence led all in attendance to an epiphany about how a man ought to look.  I believe I broke down khaki barriers and introduced a different kind of footwear as well.  Free at last, the men of Whole Foods can now see beyond the previously required uniform.

Sure, there is more to this than just my good looks.  They probably recognized me as the new appointee to the Rural Land Use Board and aspire to themselves reach political glory.  To follow in those footsteps you can’t be wearing sandals.  That is a job for someone in cowboy boots.

P.S.  It might even dawn on them that they can wear a cowboy hat until the hair grows out of them shaved heads.

A Call for Black Leadership

Maybe I missed it, but the news media and black politicians have not decried the racism behind the murder of the Australian baseball player, Christopher Lane, by three Oklahoma youths.

The victim was white.  The alleged murderers are black.  However, the teen driving the car, also charged, appears white.  The victim did not attack them, he was jogging and they were in a house, then got in a car to follow him, so self-defense is not an issue as it was when George Zimmerman shot Trayvon Martin.  Instead, the killers explained that they did it because they were bored and wanted to see what it is like to kill someone.

Maybe it is a coincidence that the young man they killed was white.  I don’t know how they picked Chris Lane.  If they picked him because he was white, that is a racially-motivated killing.  Based on tweets of one of the killers, it does appear racially motivated.

The protesters seeking post-trial “Justice for Trayvon” ignore Trayvon’s involvement by slamming the head of George Zimmerman into the concrete sidewalk.  It is not clear at all that George Zimmerman shot Trayvon because of his color even if he followed him because of his color.  The jury found he killed Trayvon in self-defense.

There has not been a trial yet for the Oklahoma killers, but I do not expect that self-defense will be argued.  Were they bored enough to kill just anybody or only bored enough to kill someone white?

Despite exaggerated comments, Trayvon was not killed because it was “open season” on young blacks.  Sadly, it appears that Chris Lane died precisely because it was open season on him simply for being white.

I don’t have the credentials to call a press conference and tell the world that the murdered Christopher Lane looks like he could be my son and that I know what it is like to play baseball.  Let us have a march in which we all wear baseball caps.  It worked for hoodies as the style of the persecuted (and Bill Belichek).

What I hope to see is the same black leaders who are appalled by what happened to Trayvon  be appalled by what happened in Oklahoma.  And to call it racism.

The question is this:  Can whites be victims of racism?

We know the answer but it is not as worthy of media attention.  Go figure.

Let us all — black, white, asian, native American, mid-eastern and hispanic — oppose racism rather than compete about who is more of a victim.

Let us call a wrong thing a wrong thing every time.  To do less is hypocritical by being inconsistent.  To do less is, well, racist.

Power Politics

Those of you who have been following my political career should be interested to learn that I was recently appointed to the county’s Rural Land Use Board.  Some of the Eastern newspapers and television stations have buried the story.  Here in Colorado, however, I am pretty sure that everyone is very pleased and excited about the transfer of power to, well, me.  No one has actually congratulated me or asked for my autograph but I can see the admiration in their eyes.

I pledge to not forget the little people who have helped me along the way.  I won’t forget where I came from.  If you people ever need a favor concerning a land use issue, just ask.  You will find, of course, that I will carefully review and consider each application — without mercy.   If you want to live out here, you have to go through me, newly appointed King of the Wild Frontier.  And I ain’t feelin’ too neighborly.

A new era has dawned.  This is but a stepping stone for greater service to America and the greater metro area.  Okay, maybe not the metropolitan area but the area outside the metro area.  Watch your step when you come outside the city limits.  I’ll be watching you.


Teaching the World to Sing

Remember the Coke ad — “I’d like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony … I’d like to buy the world a Coke….”?

As I get older, I am less inclined to teach the world to sing or buy Cokes.

The Million Muslim March on Washington planned for 9/11 is not something that I support or even tolerate.

The Muslim Brotherhood’s persecution of Christians in Egypt is appalling.  I do not want my country, the USA, to buy them Cokes, let alone provide financial assistance.

I’m not feeling all that friendly.

Coke might be “the real thing.”  So was 9/11.  So was the Holocaust.

Never again!

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