Monday, March 2, 2020


Aside from major events like marriage and the birth of the Kid, we made a really big change last month. We moved out of the Dallas area, but stayed in East Texas. Kind of like shouting distance from DFW. We couldn't move any further than that, otherwise the grandparents, and the Girl Scout troop leader would have had my hide. We're still close enough that we can visit and not take a day to travel to do it.

But we're even closer to my parents now. Mom is just down the road about 10 miles and Daddy is about 35 minutes away, half the distance that he was. Hopefully, as they get older, I'll be close enough to help out around the house for them.

There were several benefits that we looked to capitalize on by moving to the country and a smaller town. The cost of living is way down. My apartment that I'm in now is about $500 cheaper and just as nice, if not nicer than the one in Dallas. We are approximately five blocks from downtown Winnsboro, Texas. I can get out and walk without having to cross hazardous streets. There are trees everywhere! No traffic! Lilly can ride her bike all over creation and I'm looking to get one for me and then we'll start our own bike gang. The stars at night are gorgeous and I'm preparing my telescope as the evenings warm up. There are several lakes in the area. Plus,  there is just something about the country. Yes, there is a train about five-hundred yards away and it passes at three or four in the morning, but it's a train. I love trains. The church down the street chimes every half hour or so. I love that sound. It's just a whole different world and I missed it and I'm glad that I'm back in it!

As the days go on, I'll start introducing you to my new town and maybe you'll want to come and visit yourself.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Books Do Make a Difference

Came across this article from The Smithsonian about how if you had access to books in your home growing up, then you have an edge over those that didn't. Well, duh! Actually, it's a little more than that.
 The study, published recently in Social Science Research, assessed data from 160,000 adults from 31 countries, including the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, Turkey, Japan and Chile. Participants filled out surveys with the Programme for the International Assessment of Competencies, which measures proficiency in three categories: literacy, numeracy (using mathematical concepts in everyday life) and information communication technology, (using digital technology to communicate with other people, and to gather and analyze information).
The gist is in the comparison of a person who had few books in home and went to college vs. someone who had tons of books but only did 9 years of school, their literacy levels were roughly the same.

This article got me to thinking about my grandmother, Carmon Pickering. She grew up in the cotton fields of North Louisiana, went to a business school in Jones, La. but didn't graduate. She went on to get married and raise four kids taking care of the family.

(***Edit*** The school wasn't in Jones, it was called Draughon's Business College and was in Jackson, Mississippi. I misheard her when I talked to her to confirm it.)

I learned a lot from her over the years, including how to cook, but the most important thing was instilling in me the love of reading. My earliest memories are of me sitting in my grandmother's lap while she read aloud to me. As I grew older, a visit to my grandmother's would always lead me to her bedroom whose walls were lined with stacks of books on every topic from gardening to astronomy. I would go on to become an amateur astronomer and she fed that passion with subscriptions to Astronomy magazine and a membership to the Planetary Society which netted a newsletter from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

My parents provided my brothers and I with books also. We had a set of Britannica Encyclopedias in the house and I regularly got books for birthdays and Christmas with topics ranging from space and WWII to the Hardy Boys and The Man in the Iron Mask.

I strive to expose my daughter to these same types of books because I understand the importance of reading. It's also one of my joys of owning my comic book shop for a short time. I got to show other children the pleasure of reading comics and other books and what worlds they could open up for them.

Now, I pick up my daughter from school and she can't wait to show me the books that she has checked out of the library. She even wants to read to me as we drive home. Who needs audio books when you have that?

What were some of your favorite books growing up?

Growing Up Surrounded by Books Could Have Powerful, Lasting Effect on the Mind via The

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Hello, Sunshine!

Yes, I'm posting to my blog. No, I'm feeling well. With the return of sunshine this weekend (as fleeting as it may be) Lilly and I have been a little active. Not that we haven't been active before, but this was the first time in a long time that we just hopped in the car and took off. Saturday, we gassed up the car in anticipation of "doing something" on Sunday. Didn't know what, but we were doin' it. 
Unfortunately, I had a little squabble with the concrete out front of the 7-11. The curb is a little higher than most and I was having a lively discussion with the Kid and not paying attention. Next thing I know, I'm a 747 skidding on a foam covered runway, a.k.a. the concrete. No bumps or bruises, but some nice abrasions below the right knee and above the right eye. Two very concerned gentlemen asked if I was okay and needed help. I answered with being more embarrassed and probably needing a drink, though most witnesses probably thought that I had already imbibed.
Upon waking Sunday, we both had the urge to get out and so decided to have a road trip to Burleson to visit our friends, Blake and Kim Ovard and Tugg the Wonder Dog. They have a wonderful shop called Geek Out in Downtown Burleson and is a must visit if you have time. Of course, Tugg was taking the day off and stayed at home, but we got to visit with Blake and Kim while browsing all of their geeky goods. Lilly found a great calendar for her room and found plenty to purchase on future visits.
We took a lunch break at Fresco's Cocina Mexicana on Blake's suggestion and it did not disappoint. Lilly had quesadillas and I took on the Brisket Chimichanga. As you can see, I'm not much of a food reporter as I took a bite before I took the photo. Be sure and try the table-side guacamole. Not exactly inexpensive but worth it. The table salsa is awesome, too

In addition to eating and visiting, we checked out The Market Emporium Gift Shop. Lots of Lilly stuff to be had and she settled on a manicure set in a cute little cupcake case. It's right up her alley.

Lots of fun on a wonderful sunny day. We hope that you got out to do something just as fun! In fact, share with us!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Back In The Saddle and The Journey Home

As dramatic as that title sounds, it's nothing big except to those who worried over our trip. That and the fact that the last time I posted on this blog was over three years ago. I've had the want-to, just not the energy or drive. I figured this was the perfect time to let all of those concerned know that the Bug and I were back home after driving to see Great Grandma in Georgia. We would love to see her more than once a year, but there and back in five days is a little too much on both of us.

When we left, something was trying to tell us not to go. Just outside of Marshall the gates were opened and a downpour of Biblical proportions descended. With hazards and 45 mph speeds we made it til it cleared the other side of Shreveport. One fellow didn't make it easy when he decided to hydroplane from his lane to mine while I'm sitting beside a big rig. A little tension during that moment. We had credit card problems, also. Seems someone spoofed my personal card up in Iowa, so I had to cancel that one and use my business card for transactions. No big deal, but I transferred money after business hours and though it showed available in my account, it wouldn't let me get a hotel room for the night. So, here's a grown man having to call his mama and use her credit card to get the room. Sure enough, the next morning it was fine. We had the same problem with it on the way back, but I had some cash on me, so it wasn't a big deal, just a pain in the rump.

We got to spend time with Great Grandma Carmon and Uncle Kenneth Earl. Lilly had the best time entertaining them. She love her G-Grandma Carmon. Also got to see my cousin Angeline and her husband, plus saw her daughter on the way thru West Monroe where she has a game shop. Stopped at several comic shops on the way back and then finished with a visit with my brother Kelly all over a Sweep the Kitchen at Johnny's Pizza.

I'm very glad to be back at home now and get back to work. How was your weekend/week?
Emperor Pawlpaltine at Southern Realms in Ruston, La. My
home where I grew up. An array of helmets at a truck stop!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Plastic Bag Tax Makes No Sense

This is what chaps my behind about the plastic bag ban in Dallas. They've voted in a new ordinance that makes you pay 5 cents a bag at the check-out beginning in January. The city's complaint was about how many of these single-use grocery bags get thrown away and end up in water ways and the streets. I never knew how making you pay for a bag was going to keep anyone from throwing it away, but I don't guess I'm as smart as they are. Then, I saw the latest little flyer from the city that was included in my water and trash bill. It was a friendly looking piece of paper that asking if I recycled the right items.

Recycle Flyer For the most part, I was. Until I saw what you couldn't recycle and topping the list was the same plastic bags that they were griping about littering the city! Am I wrong for thinking that if they recycled these items, there might now be so many floating around? Probably. Because, if a person isn't going to stop throwing them away after they've paid a nickel for one, they're probably not going to put it in the recycle bin, either. BUT, now I, the man who recycles, can't recycle the number one big trash item! So, now it goes into the main dumpster, where it “might” make it into the back of a garbage truck and go to a landfill to sit and wait for a 1,000 years. I don't know about ya'll, but my garbage men have very low accuracy for getting things into the back of a truck. I find more trash in my back alley on trash day than I do any other day of the week. So, much for going green Dallas. If you ask me, it’s just another way to add money to the coffers while not solving the problem it was supposed to fix.

My two cents, thanks for reading.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

The Amazing Skidboot

I've mentioned to several people over the years about Skidboot. Smartest dog that you'd ever meet. Unfortunately, he's in Heaven now, but his owner has trained several of his offspring and they are just as smart. This is the original Texas Country Reporter video from about 10 years ago, but it’s still fun to watch.


Does your dog, or any other animal for that matter, do cool tricks? Show photos/videos or it didn’t happen!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Choosing Your Battles

2014-04-08 11.01.25 ***WARNING*** GRAPHIC IMAGE OF FINGERNAIL BRUTALIZED BY LAUNDRY BASKET! Not a lot has gone right in my life as of late. Don’t get me wrong. I’m very thankful for the time that I had with my wife and my little brother and I am so very thankful for the beautiful daughter that I’ve been gifted with. It tends to be the little things that stress me out. Lawyers taking their sweet time, rude people in traffic, trash can too big and bags too small, and the laundry basket just not wanting to cooperate while you fill it with three weeks worth of laundry. It’s those little moments when you wish you had a sledge hammer and a quarry to wail on. Me? I just tried to slam the basked through the tile. It paid me back in a bent fingernail. You can’t really see it in the photo, so I don’t expect you to feel my pain, but trust me, I do. I’m gonna go get one of those squishy stress relievers and see if I can squeeze the poop out of it!