Monday, March 15, 2010

Peter Graves - 1926-2010

Clarence has clearance. What's his vector, Victor? Godspeed Captain Oveur, over.

I remember Peter Graves better as Jim Phelps from Mission: Impossible, though.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Texas Independence Day

Commandancy of the Alamo
Bexar, Feby. 24th 1836

To the People of Texas & all Americans in the world --

Fellow citizens & compatriots --

I am besieged by a thousand or more of the Mexicans under Santa Anna --

I have sustained a continual Bombardment & cannonade for 24 hours & have not lost a man --

The enemy has demanded a surrender at discretion, otherwise, the garrison are to be put to the sword, if the fort is taken --

I have answered the demand with a cannon shot, & our flag still waves proudly from the walls --

I shall never surrender or retreat.

Then, I call on you in the name of Liberty, of patriotism & everything dear to the American character, to come to our aid, with all dispatch --

The enemy is receiving reinforcements daily & will no doubt increase to three or four thousand in four or five days. If this call is neglected, I am determined to sustain myself as long as possible & die like a soldier who never forgets what is due to his own honor & that of his country --

Victory or Death.

William Barret Travis
Lt. Col. Comdt.

P.S. The Lord is on our side -- When the enemy appeared in sight we had not three bushels of corn -- We have since found in deserted houses 80 or 90 bushels & got into the walls 20 or 30 heads of Beeves.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Wasting Away

A couple of months ago I broke our scale. Or, I should say that the scale could not read my weight. The little disk of numbers just kept spinning, the numbers a blur. I told everyone I weighed "Gray."

Mom felt sorry for me and bought a scale that went to 350#. I don't think she understood the problem. It wasn't that the scale wouldn't read my weight, it's that I was fat.

So I started skipping the best food on the face of the planet: the sausage roll with cheese at the bakery next to the office. A link of sausage sprinkled with cheddar cheese and wrapped in fresh bread dough and baked until golden! And if fresh, the grease from the sausage would collect in the bottom of the roll, and be a perfect finish to a perfect food! Mmm!

But after buying a size 52 suit, I decided that enough was enough. I start each day with a little cup of yogurt and a piece of fruit. Sometimes, I'll add a serving of a dried cereal to the yogurt and slice the banana into the yogurt, just for variety. At lunch I'll have a fairly large meal, and a smaller one in the evening.

I think the biggest change, though, is how much beer I drink. Instead of laying under the tap until it runs out every night, I now limit myself to two glasses. And I use 10 ounce sample glasses that I bought in Oakland at The Brewing Network Anniversary Party. So instead of 32 or 40 ounces a night, I drink 20.

The weekend, or whenever my days off fall, however, there is no beer limit. I still try to eat sensibly, but what's the point of brewing beer if I can't drink it?

If the new scale is to be beleived, I started at 320. I don't think that's right,because two days later I weighed 299 pounds. Today I weighed and clocked it at 290. I'm losing 2-3 pounds a week. At this rate, by this time next year I'll 200 pounds. I don't think I have weighed 200 pounds since college.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Mark Gimenez "The Perk"

I just finished Mark Gimenez' The Perkand I am conflicted. The book is set here in Fredericksburg, but it's not my Fredericksburg. It's a difficult book to get. It hasn't been published in the US and I think you will see why shortly.

The first sentence reads "She was posing outside the limo with a dozen other girls, like illegal Mexicans waiting for work on L.A. street corners." Which is perfect because that's what the book is about.

A "Perk" is, in Hollywood parlance, a perk of the job. It can be free booze, a stretch limo, or willing young girls to sleep with.

The Perk the book is titled after is Heidi Geisel. Heidi is a sixteen year old German girl. She's so eager to leave her hometown of Fredericksburg that she goes to Austin during the New Years' South By Southwest Film Festival (the first of many divergences from reality) to seduce stars to get a screen test. Her dream is cut short when she's found dead on New Years Day just outside of town.

Four years later, Beck Hardin returns to Fredericksburg. Twenty-four years ago, after his mother's death, Beck was so desperate to leave his German hometown that he accepted a Notre Dame scholarship and became a lawyer in Chicago. After his wife died of cancer, her returns to Fredericksburg to get his father's help to raise his kids. He runs for county judge, and wins because there is a particularly nasty case coming up: The star Football player who will lead Fredericksburg High to a championship assaulted a Hispanic kid. Prosecuting will end the championship run. Not prosecuting will get "the Mexicans all riled up," as one character put it.

The whole book is about this case, with the search for Heidi's killer the B plot. Which makes me wonder why it's called "The Perk"? It should have been titled "Them Damn Racist Germans" or "Them Damn Illegal Mexicans".

See, Gimenez seems to believe, or at least his Fredericksburg friends believe, that all the Hispanics in Fredericksburg, except the children (who were born here to give the illegal parents an "anchor") are illegal. And all it takes is a Federal raid to get rid of them all. They are even able to bulldoze "The Barrio". And the book ends with a Fredericksburg with almost no Hispanics.

Gimenez also believes that the Germans in Fredericksburg have formed a secret cabal to keep things the same as they have always been. While there is an element of truth to that, here it's greatly exaggerated. It reminds me of a Lone Ranger episode where the first sheep farmer comes into cattle country, with Beck Hardin as the Lone Ranger come to bring peace between the parties. But actual peace is achieved simply by deporting the Hispanics, which is probably why the book hasn't been published in the US.

Ultimately, though, the book doesn't pay off for me. The titular plot line isn't actually resolved. The killer never brought to justice, although he does get what's coming to him. But that all happens in the last couple of chapters.

Whatever you do, don't read this book and expect an exact depiction of Fredericksburg and it's citizens.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Dad is Mad

Last night Dad's cousin Nita Jim called and talked for 45 minutes. Normally she would call Ann. After he hung up, he said, "Ann Gale, they're calling ME now!" I think Ann would've liked that.