Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Ed Clark, Christmas Guest

December 28, 2016

Maybe non-Texans younger than a certain age have no idea who they are looking at in this photo.

Here's a hint:  

Here is the same man directly behind President Johnson's right shoulder outside the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.

Still stumped?

Then you may not be ready to understand why Davis named his Best Christmas Present Ever! after him.

Apparently, this is what every man wants (and coincidentally,what we gave Davis this year):

According to Davis's self report, this is a better gift than a kayak, an electric piano, a new interview suit (last year--and it worked!), or any of those other Must Have! gifts that I tracked down and procured over the years.

The key to complete happiness was finding the perfect name.  Suggestions poured in:  Jeeves, Roomie, Alfred.  These just didn't ring true.

Then, I thought of the man our friend Walter Hall called, The Fixer, Ed Clark.  I thought that was his own personal pet name for his long time compadre, who, by the way returned the nickname favor by calling Walter Hall, The Little Loan Shark (which I always thought was sort of a funny thing to call one of the only solvent liberal Texas bankers I had ever met).

Anyway, I went looking for a photo of Ed Clark and discovered that The Fixer was what A LOT of people called him, as you can read in this Texas Monthly article published a couple of months after his death:  "Death of a Fixer".  

So now you know.  For half a century, in Texas, if you needed something done or if you had a mess to clean up: 
 He got things done, usually without leaving so much as a fingerprint. If you were Governor Jimmy Allred in 1935 and you needed someone to massage a few recalcitrant anti-New Deal state legislators, you called on your chief political adviser, Ed Clark. If you owned a chain of stores and needed to get the Office of Price Administration off your back in 1943, you contacted attorney Ed Clark, who would then use his influence to see that a crony was hired in the OPA’s Austin branch. And if you were Lyndon Johnson and you needed any number of things—money from Brown and Root, votes in Duval County, an endorsement from an East Texas newspaper—then Ed Clark was the man to call.
Now Davis and his Lyndon has what everyone needs, A Fixer.  And I have been the lucky recipient of multiple test runs and my house is officially roomba'd.

Seven second demonstration.

I'm so glad Ed Clark came to my house for Christmas.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Not Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). . .Seasonal Ordering Disorder (SOD)

December 26, 2016

I've been holding this entry for over a week because I didn't want to suffer from SOD.  I don't know what I expected in mid-December when Walter and I took a rare four-for walk.  Usually, our live are so hectic that we take our own turns walking Will and Teddy.  I do long 6:00 am and 6:00 pm walks, and Walter does a much larger number of shorter walks to alleviate doggy boredom and to mitigate the need to pee.

Somehow, things had calmed down enough that we all went for a medium loop together, and just when we were about to swing back towards the house, we turned a little bend in the road and spotted something a *tad* out of the ordinary.

I first thought we had discovered Plato's Cave, which could have reasonably explained the previous election season and so much more.  If you have forgotten, here is a schematic of Plato's Cave:

The prisoners can only discern what is on the wall in front of them.  These prisoners would mistake appearance for reality. They would think the things they see on the wall (the shadows) were real; they would know nothing of the real causes of the shadows.  It occurred to me that all 330,000,000 Americans could be sitting at the end of our road in a cave watching the shadow of reality.

We walked on.

And discovered something quite different.  That's right, Teddy Magdalen can now provide an authentic apostolic witness that the tomb is, in fact, empty.  He has risen, indeed.  Willie Peter. . . well, as usual . . . he doesn't know whether to believe or not.

I always knew that Christmas was mysterious, but never did I know HOW MYSTERIOUS!  

Anyway, I thought it was too dangerous to conflate Christmas and other holidays, so I decided to wait before I shared this image.  Then a few days later (maybe the 21st or 22nd) I started seeing photos like this on on my FB feed:

That iced it for me.  If Walmart could put up Valentine's candy (and do you really think it will still be fresh in mid-February?) before Christmas, do I really have to wait until April for the Easter tail?

Saturday, November 19, 2016

I Have Turned the Corner

I have found a way forward for my thinking.  It is grounded in these quotes:

Albert Camus wrote of the feats of Sisyphus pushing the boulder back up the slope 

that the struggle of Sisyphus is enough to fill a man's heart.

just as Luke 21:19 says that 

by your endurance you will gain your souls.  

And yet It will not be easy and it will take courage.  Therefore, I look back to Camus who also wrote:

Courage is what love looks like when tested by the simple everyday necessities of being alive.

Susan Sontag also wrote of courage in her timeless and increasingly timely meditation on the power of principled resistance to injustice, 

Courage inspires communities: the courage of an example — for courage is as contagious as fear.

I am ready.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Making Sense of Family

March 27, 2016

This isn't about what you think it is about.  I'm not going to explain how you figure out exactly what to say when you have family in for the holiday weekend and you hear one sister, locked into the bathroom with her 11-year-old daughter say, "Tell me all the things you have learned from this incident" as said daughter stands dripping in her Easter dress haven fallen in the backyard lake. . . while at that precise moment you hear your other niece's voice from a different direction saying loudly to your other sister (her mother), "What do you mean you were changing Ava's diaper on the middle of the bed without a pad and she left a mess?"

In both instances, the correct response is to keep your head down and your eyes on your own paper!  You can't actually make sense of your extended family in these situations, any more than you can when your own children or your own parents do things you prefer they hadn't.

Instead, I would like to provide a guide to the other part of family that never makes sense:  what is a cousin "removed" and how is that different from a second cousin?  Scan the chart below until you find "YOU ARE HERE."  Then read up and to the right to figure out what to call your ancestors, and down and to the right to figure out what to call your descendants.

This came to mind this morning when I took both my niece and my great niece to church.  Of course, because they are both incredibly precious, 

many of our friends and church cronies wanted to meet them.  I started out saying, "This is my great niece Ava and my niece Emma."  

Every time I said that though, the little voice in my head said "Emma is just as great as Ava. . . that's not fair."  So I amended my introduction and said, "This is my great niece Ava and my excellent niece Emma."  But, of course, since we had spent most of Saturday making awful egg puns (Aren't we having an egg-strordinary time together?  Do you know any egg yolks?  Someone's got some eggs-plaining to do.), I kept slipping up and calling Emma my egg-cellent niece.  Which felt a little weird and caused me to switch to "This is my great niece Ava and my fabulous niece Emma" and that worked just fine.  

It worked so well that I figured I could follow the same logic at the next extended family reunion.  That way I won't have to work out who might be my third cousin, just whether they are great, egg-cellent, or plain old fabulous. 

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Click. . . .Bait

March 17, 2016

I'm a sucker.  So are you, sometimes.  I bet.


Don't tell me you don't occasionally follow the white rabbit down the hole known as "clickbait."  I always fall for the ones about "sarcasm font," "real meaning behind rock lyrics," and things that might be very funny:  Voice Activated Drone, Baby Monitor Win's Amazon's IoT Contest.

Still don't know know what I'm talking about?  Your Favorite Celebrity Has a Secret Just For You!

Okay.  I just tricked you.

We hate to get suckered.  Almost as much as we despise certain political candidates.  

So I started playing around with combining candidates and clickbait headlines.   
  1. Trump Drowns Puppies. Poll Numbers Skyrocket
  2. Kasich Staffer Explains Delegate Process to Boss:  One State Not Enough to Secure Nomination
  3. Clinton's 23 Secret Email Servers.  Not Even Tech Support Knows About Them
  4. Watch Cruz Eat a Booger
  5. Sanders Furiously Wags Finger at Democratic Debate.  Crowd Goes Wild.
  6. Revealed. . . How the Establishment of Both Parties Betrayed the American People
  7. Revealed. . . How the American People Betrayed the Establishment of Both Parties
Try it yourself in the comment section.  It's actually fun and a sort of relaxing!

While we like to imagine the opponents of our fave candidate as despicable evil-doers and dufuses (dufusi?), we simultaneously (because we're optimists) hold out hope that the headline that catches our eye will hold the truth about our candidate that we have searched for like Diogenes.  These are MUCH harder to write:
  1. Trump Knows Exactly What He's Doing and Saying.  All Part of a Greater Plan
  2. Kasich Earns Re-Do in Key Early States 
  3. Archivists Discover Warehouse Full of Proof that HRC Is Trustworthy
  4. 53 Fellow Republican Senators Admit They Were Wrong About Cruz
  5. Women, Blacks, Seniors, Latinos Volunteer for Sander's Revolution 
  6. Path to the White House for Your Candidate "All Clear" 
Bonus Click:  Leprechauns Claim Responsibility for the Current State of American Political Conditions.  Also Promise Map to Pot of Gold.