August 31, 2018 The Aggies won. The Texans won. That means the Demons and the Cowboys lost. And my station aired 5 minutes of a high school pre-season special from a year ago instead of the scheduled Baylor football preview. That was fun. No winners there. Back to the Aggie game… We talked yesterday about how big schools pay money to little schools and have their teams come play early games. Cousin Chace down in College Station says they actually have a name for when the big schools play the little schools. They’re known as “Cupcake games.”


August 30, 2018

It’s Fightin Texas Aggie Gameday. That means the first football game of the season will happen later today. This time, they take on the Demons of Northwestern State University of Natchitoches, Louisiana. I’m not making this up. Apparently, big schools pay big money to the teams from little schools to play them early in the football season. This is not a new tradition, but it’s an obscure one. Speaking of traditions, the first Midnight Yell of the season happened last night at Kyle Field. They had it at 10 p.m. I’m not making this up. Gig Em.


August 29, 2018

In the “obscure things I find on the internet” department, I bring you television test patterns. In this case, just one test pattern. This one from the first station to sign on the air in New Orleans.


August 28, 2018

There is more accuracy in this image than most anything you’ll read on infowars or Breitbart.


August 27, 2018 While school is already in session for most students, today marks the first day of class for many colleges, including “the big school on Highway 6.” Back when the main highway ran next to campus, that would be Texas A&M. One of my go-to Texas Aggie experts wrote a thoughtful note to students this morning. Among the pieces of advice was my favorite, “Do all the things.”


August 26, 2018


August 25, 2018 The other day at the store, I bought a truckload of small plastic coolers for my crews who spend part of their days out doors. Back home, we called these ice chests. We were in the middle of heat advisories and these field journalists of ours needed ice water nearby. As I scanned all 13 of these things at the self-checkout, I wondered how often someone neglects to scan an item. Did they do it on purpose? How much money do stores lose thanks to pilfering? Then today, my cousin shared an article from The Atlantic. Sure enough, there’s an entire encyclopedia of terms devoted to this modern day thievery. By the way, I did indeed scan and pay for every ice chest I walked out with.


August 24, 2018 There’s a hurricane in the Pacific that’s blowing over Hawaii right now. Since it’s the usual August weather back on the continent, it’s worthy of looking elsewhere for active weather. Then someone asks a question and all hell breaks loose. I wish this question came from a child. It would be acceptable if it did. I’m guessing it did not.

The question was asked by a viewer on Twitter. _____________________________________________________

August 23, 2018 Here’s an interesting dilemma. You run across an item while surfing Facebook or Amazon that you just have to have. The total cost to you? Around $6. That’s including the shipping. It will be delivered to your front door in a few days and it’s coming from China. Let’s say there’s a business in your town that sells that exact same item. A fancy coffee mug, for example. The cost just to ship that mug from your hometown business to you, a few miles away? $9. That’s just for the shipping. That doesn’t include the cost of the mug itself. How do you think your local business is going to survive if that’s what they’re competing against? A company across the Pacific Ocean is able to pay pennies to ship internationally, while your friends up the road are paying more than the goods they’re selling. Let’s listen to the rest of the story from Kenny Malone on NPR’s Morning Edition here:

____________________________________________________________________ August 22, 2018 When your media outlet is covered by other media outlets, is that like holding a mirror up to another mirror? Maybe so.

____________________________________________________________________ August 21, 2018 We have a buyer and they actually like Journalism and content. This may sound like a snarky comment, but you’d be surprised to hear who and what is out there looking to make a profit these days. Here’s the story in a memo to the people who work hard every day for you and for me.

____________________________________________________________________ August 20, 2018 If you haven’t noticed, classrooms all over the place are starting to fill up with eager children as they begin another school year. Around here, the children are not due to begin until tomorrow. While they enjoy their last day of summer, there are countless people putting the finishing touches on their classrooms and other facilities. This morning, I spotted another preparation in progress. The bus drivers were out early checking their routes and making sure they know where all the children belong when the first day is done.

____________________________________________________________________ August 19, 2018 “If you want any one thing too badly, it’s likely to turn out to be a disappointment. The only healthy way to live life is to learn to like all the little everyday things, like a sip of good whiskey in the evening, a soft bed, a glass of buttermilk, or a feisty gentleman like myself.” -Capt Augustus McCrae, Texas Rangers (ret.) From the movie Lonesome Dove. I can’t remember if this passage appeared in Larry McMurtry’s book. I’ll have to look that up some time.

____________________________________________________________________ August 18, 2018“If you have beauty, I’ll take it. If you have none, I’ll fake it.” -Seen on a sign in front of a photography studio ____________________________________________________________________ August 17, 2018 Does your car have a name? A lot of folks name their rigs. Through miles and miles, they become part of the family.

____________________________________________________________________ August 16, 2018 Just about 2 hours out of Dallas on Interstate 30, the houses, businesses, and even the trees start to thin out. For a while if you’re eastbound, it starts to become a lot of open land outside the car window. For a long stretch.

Over there, that’s the Broseco Ranch. It’s a sprawling legendary landmark of Northeast Texas at 11,800 acres of grass, timber, cattle, wildlife, and anything else you might find along the Sulphur Bottom. It’s a pretty piece and if you’re from my hometown, you always know you’re close to your exit when you get to the wide open space known as the Broseco.

Earlier this year, someone bought the entire landmark for $34.22 Million. Now that’s a lot of hat and cattle. ____________________________________________________________________ August 15, 2018 Hurricane Alicia came ashore 35 years ago this week. I remember watching the wind and rain blowing the reporters over on TV. It was my first hurricane even though we lived 300 miles inland. I was truly frightened for my uncles, aunts, and cousins who lived much closer than I did. In other news, Dave Ward is set to make a comeback of sorts at KTRK-TV 13. Here’s a website devoted to the original television news anchor man of Houston.

____________________________________________________________________ August 14, 2018 This is what we called Thrill Hill back home. It was once steeper and allowed an ambitious driver to go a little airborne if they took the hill fast enough. Now, it’s a four-way stop and the incline has been leveled.

____________________________________________________________________ August 13, 2018 It’s a contradiction to that hot August sun that Robert Earl Keen once sang about. A good, cool rain. A soaking rain.

____________________________________________________________________ August 12, 2018 I don’t know the Carpenter family but the look on their 8-year-old’s face is plainly telling us that he’s not happy about seeing his show lamb off to market. The lamb’s name? Pork and Beans

____________________________________________________________________ August 11, 2018

While I was as much of a curious visitor as any, I always thought it was a bit sad. I’m talking about the shape of the old Pleasant Grove Cemetery Back home. It’s still a landmark and has been for generations. If you disregard the typical landmarks you’ve known and seen like, say, the Grand Canyon or The Alamo, or Stanley’s Barbecue; what are some obscure landmarks that dot your personal map? I mention some of mine in this dispatch. ____________________________________________________________________ August 10, 2018 The other day, I wrote about those valentine candy hearts. Aunt Sis was the only one I ever remember actually writing on the boxes. TO: Charley FROM: Aunt Sis

I never let her forget that my name ended with l-i-e instead of l-e-y. Aunt Sis died on Wednesday. She was 87 years old and was my grandfather, Tank’s sister. ____________________________________________________________________ August 9, 2018 Remember last week when we were talking about trees? This happened yesterday in my home town. My 11th grade English teacher reports the pecan tree gave way to the wind from passing storms.

Source: Suzanne Farris via Facebook ____________________________________________________________________ August 8, 2018 Today is 08-08-18, which is ten years after the famous 08-08-08. I also remember 09-09-09 and October 10, 2010 (that was my Aunt Jane’s 43rd birthday, but don’t tell her I told you how old she was.) While 08-08-18 isn’t as numerically significant as its cousins, it’s significant to somebody. Back home, the local funeral home used to give out those wall calendars that showed a single day, one page at a time. It looked similar to this one, except the funeral home name and address was displayed on top.

____________________________________________________________________ August 7, 2018 Yes, this is a thing right now.

“Keke” is misspelled on the sign. It’s Kiki and she’s mentioned in a song, “In My Feelings” by Drake. The song inspired an internet dance challenge known as the “Shiggy Callenge”, “Kiki Challenge” or “In My Feelings Challenge.” The dance challenge is to walk outside of moving vehicles and dance in oncoming traffic. Yes, this is a thing. Right now. We shouldn’t judge too harshly. Yes, it’s a stupid thing. But didn’t we once participate in what was called a “Chinese Fire Drill?” My friend from back Home accurately summarizes my sentiments:

____________________________________________________________________ August 6, 2018 SO FAR today, it’s been nothing short of whirlwind. Two in-person interviews for jobs (Not me.  Them!) Two staff meetings, not including our morning story assignments meeting. Multiple calls. Hundreds of emails. The one text message that’s given me pause all morning is personal though. A dear little one (OK, she’s not little any more) received some news from school that has her down. She’s been practicing for weeks now as part of a new group as she prepares to head back to school soon. Today, she received news that she’ll be an alternate in that group. It’s pretty much the equivalent of a second or third string player on a football team. And when you want to be a first-stringer, you tend to be a little bit down on yourself when you’re not chosen. While we live in a world where too many people think they belong at the front of the line without waiting, or on the field playing every single play, my family and I still realize the value of earning your spot. Practice and hard work. Respecting the process. Savoring the accomplishments. Learning from the failures. While this isn’t a failure.  It’s just news that wasn’t welcome. I’m sad for my dear little one. It’s all I’ve thought about this morning. She’ll persevere and years from now, we’ll look back on this day without too much thought. Until then… ____________________________________________________________________ August 5, 2018 The clouds over Waller County, Texas from the weekend. Have you ever been to Waller County? It’s one of the few counties where a town with the same name is actually in the county. There’s aren’t many like that. For example, Houston is in Harris County. Crockett is in Houston County. Ozona is in Crockett County. Bowie is not in Bowie County. It’s in Montague County. See how that works? Back to Waller though.  Waller is NOT the county seat. Hempstead is. While there’s no Hempstead County in Texas, there is one in Arkansas (Hope is the county seat). I’m sure if you’re from Texas, you can certainly recall a longer list than what’s in this space.

____________________________________________________________________ August 4, 2018 Do you get a little jump in your step the morning you’re due to set off on a trip? I do. We’re headed out east for a quick visit. Pretty, isn’t it?

Lake Charles, Louisiana: Our home from 2010-2016 ____________________________________________________________________ August 3, 2018 The old tree is long gone now. The image below was captured back in 2011 at Woodmen Cemetery in De Kalb, Texas.

My mother writes: Luke Shafer’s mighty oak. Then located at the west end of Woodmen Cemetery. In earlier times, the tree stood on the east side of the Shafer’s pool. The Baptist church used the pool for baptisms. Lost this and several more of this size due to drought and disease. There’s more on trees over in the Dispatches page. ____________________________________________________________________ August 2, 2018 What was that in the sky over Central Texas on Wednesday? I didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary, but a group of UFO enthusiasts has made reference to a radar image that resembles a large blob west of Fort Worth. I’ll have to ask our in-house experts and report back to you. ____________________________________________________________________ August 1, 2018 Did you ever watch a television show regularly and get lost in the characters, the setting, or the scenes? If you’ve followed this site with any regularity, then you know my small obsession was the series In the Heat of the Night that aired on NBC and CBS from 1988 to 1995.

Lately, I’ve started to reach out to people who worked on the series, including Bill Whitworth. Whitworth played Goody Tate, a moonshiner in 3 episodes. Here’s a look at our conversation. Also, we were a few hours early for an August post, but 31 posts in 31 days in July on the homepage was starting to bog down the speed of our content management platform. So we archived the past months posts below. ____________________________________________________________________ July 2018 posts