July 31, 2018
For a while last night, the large cloud to the east looked like a snow covered mountain that suddenly push up through miles of land.
Except that it was illuminating with bright flashes within. Lightning that was constant.
It never did rain here though.
July 30, 2018
This may be a first. Bo Hoselle sent me a friend request on Facebook.
Bo is a dog.
I recognized Bo’s last name as the same as a dear friend from Louisiana, so I inquired with one of Bo’s in-laws.
“For real, man. That little (fellow) has been living with my sister-in-law for a while now. He was a guest in our home for a few weeks before that.”
I was reminded that a dog sending me a friend request is similar to when a drawbridge set up a Facebook page.
If you’ve ever traveled in the New Orleans area, you know that waiting for a drawbridge can be aggravating. Now, people can vent directly to the bridge herself (or himself?) and boy, do they let it all out on that page.
The bridge even sells T-shirts. I hope Bo gets into the marketing game himself soon, but he’s going to need a slogan as catchy as, “What’s up? The St. Claude Bridge”
July 29, 2018
It’s a long time until Valentine’s Day, but the greeting card holiday is back in the news after word that an iconic candy manufacturer has suddenly shuttered operations.
The makers of those chalky heart-shaped candies (that my Aunt Sis used to hand out) recently sold to another company.
The factory was closed during the transition.
My personal observation?
This is much like the time we all thought Twinkies and Ding Dongs were about to go away. They didn’t.
I believe there will be some kind of resurrection, saving the St. Valentine’s holiday and Aunt Sis’s tradition for children everywhere.
July 28, 2018
HIDEAWAY, TEXAS – This large gated community in Smith County is home to the Boles family. Cynthia, her son Travis and his wife, Erin are playing host to us for the day.
For you fans of Dungeons & Dragons, Travis has a YouTube channel called Web DM that’s devoted to that game.
I’ve never been a D&D fan or participant, but I know the fan base is big and his content platform is growing.
July 27, 2018
I think Vance Joy is one of the greatest artists this year that you’ve never heard of. Have you?
July 26, 2018
If you have a social media account or use Google to store photos, then you likely get these notifications about anniversaries and pictures taken on this day, etc. This one appeared on my screen this morning. It’s significant for several reasons. Kenny Boles was a friend, mentor, like-family. For 11 days, he served as the interim News Director at KXXV-TV in Waco, all the while he was at the helm at KLTV Tyler. This picture was the official “hand off” from his leadership to mine. Today would have also been his birthday. His wife, Cynthia referred to the day as St. Kenny Day.
July 25, 2018
Remember when Facebook and the rest of the civilized internet was fascinated with a giraffe who was about to give birth at any moment?
It took a near-eternity before she did, but not before millions tuned into a live stream of the animal eating hay.
There’s word today that the famous Momma giraffe is expecting again.
Here’s the story from the Associated Press
July 24, 2018
Last night, I dreamed that we opened a restaurant that served only bison. I would say, “I have no idea why,” but that’s not true.
There was a Bar Rescue marathon on television this weekend. Combine that with recently eating bison, and it makes sense.
I enjoy that program, except for when the host screams at people. If I really did own a restaurant, I wouldn’t allow people inside who scream at others.
July 23, 2018
July 22, 2018
Now there is someone dedicated to improving traffic in their own unique way. College Station, Texas is blessed with good roads and smooth transitions at most major intersections. The problem is that many of us don’t pay attention. We hit our brakes and stop when we’re meant only to yield. I remember being this frustrated each time I would exit Highway 6 and attempt to turn right onto University. Every day, there was always somebody who inevitably stopped in their merge lane, not knowing it wasn’t necessary. It appears this guy had had enough and wanted to educate a few people.
He’s right, you know?
July 21, 2018
During weather emergencies, the smallest gestures matter.
A dozen coolers with ice and water have been prepped for our field crews at work
The high temperature forecast today in Central Texas is 110 degrees.
July 20, 2018
How do you fit 25+ people into an office with 13 desks?
July 19, 2018
Never be too proud to use duct tape.
July 18, 2018
Remember those songs from your past that never were Top 10 hits? Meaning they rarely are ever played on the radio, Pandora, or other streams any more? This is one of those obscure songs from a while back.
I find myself humming it every year right around this time.
It brings to mind the words I once read somewhere that have stuck with me lately.
“Just keep looking forward.”
July 17, 2018
While I am saddened to see Luby’s suffering from hard times, the Houston Chronicle nearly killed me with the humorous reference to “giving them something to talk about on the way to Luby’s.” Texas music fans know the reference well. If you’re not so inclined, I’ll share a link to “the Front Porch Song” under the Chron’s screenshot.
“The Front Porch Song” by Robert Earl Keen Jr.
July 16, 2018
THE SUMMER of 1946 in Texarkana was the summer of panic and hysteria, following a series of spring killings in the area. The local papers coined the term “Moonlight Murders” and “Phantom Killer.”
I ran across a stock photograph of Texas Ranger Manuel T. “Lone Wolf” Gonzaullas recently. Gonzaullas’ reputation is legendary in law enforcement. What strikes me about him though is that the killings remain unsolved, yet investigating them was a career highlight. I love the detail in the image. The spotlight hanging from the console, the shotgun, and even the engravings on the pistol grip can be seen with distinct clarity.
July 15, 2018
TEMPUS FUGIT reads the phrase on the face of the grandfather clock in our living room. It belonged to grandparents and I inherited it after they died.
Wikipedia tells us Tempus fugit is a Latin phrase, usually translated into English as “time flies”. The expression comes from line 284 of book 3 of Virgil’s Georgics, where it appears as fugit inreparabile tempus: “it escapes, irretrievable time”.
Read more about time and the grandfather clock here on the Dispatches page.
July 14, 2018
You’ve heard of CNN, CBN, TNN, but have your heard of SNN?
The Snark News Network
July 13, 2018
While passing through Temple yesterday, I encountered an oddity in traffic control. A set of red lights mounted on one pole. I haven’t seen anything like this. Have you?
July 12, 2018
Just like the railroad, I guess journalism runs in the family too. My mother spent several years as a reporter for the De Kalb News back home. My cousin, Chace Murphy? He was a radio and television news anchor and reporter.
I woke up this morning to discover my first cousin, Jordan Tidwell is about to embark on a career as a reporter at KFSM-TV in Fayetteville/Fort Smith. Jordan spent 2 years there as a digital content producer (that’s a fancy title for someone who keeps all the websites and apps updated with content).
Here’s to hoping Jordan goes far in this business. Give her a like on her professional page when you get a minute: https://www.facebook.com/5NEWSJordan/
July 11, 2018
July in Texas and it’s hot, you say? Naw. Really? And TV news crews report on the heat?
Except for Chris Sadeghi. Sadeghi is a journalist at WFAA-TV in Dallas/Fort Worth and he’s pretty good. I worked with Chris a while back and have always admired his knack for stories. His latest one about “nothing” and “summer” is worth watching.
July 10, 2018
THAT TIME Billy Joe Shaver gave John Schnieder a stuffed tiger was a memorable time.
I’ve seen some stuff. I’ve been places. I’ve met people. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like I saw yesterday though. The most random act of kindness from one songwriter to another involved a stuffed tiger. We’re still not sure why Shaver thought John would want it, but it felt right at the time. Schneider drove from Louisiana to Waco to pick up a new hat at Standard Hat Works. He and his girlfriend, Alicia ended up visiting with Mr. Shaver on a whim after dinner last night.
Read all about it on the Dispatches page.
July 9, 2018
While a reporter for the Washington Post laments about the dwindling number of “beat reporters” and how it’s made it harder for us to do our jobs, the folks over at Texas Monthly bring you beat reporting at its finest: Barbecue.
And here I bring you, via Texas Monthly, an interactive map of tasty goodness. Their barbecue map!
July 8, 2018
You can’t have your friend stop in Waco without having his picture made in front of a sign with his last name on it. For the record: that’s John Ware, not John House.
July 7, 2018
THIS MORNING, I found myself on the hunt for a story that J.Q. Mahaffey once wrote about meeting Will Rogers.
John Quincy was once the editor-in-chief at the Texarkana Gazette during its heyday. He wrote columns long after retirement that I still remember reading, including the elusive Will Rogers account.
Sometimes, even Google fails us and I’m too far away from the Texarkana Public Library to go searching through the microfilm.
Mahaffey’s words stuck with me over the years though, like all good writers’ words should.
In honor of him, let’s look back at a tender tribute from his daughter, Prudence Mackintosh (a gifted writer in her own right). She wrote this for Texas Monthly in 2002, two years after he died.
July 6, 2018
The other day, I read a story about the legendary rock & roll radio station in Houston that’s long since flipped formats. Rock 101 KLOL was a mainstay on the dial for decades. Some years ago, the station was located in the Rice Hotel in downtown Houston, across the street from the Houston Chronicle. You can read some of the wild stories from former jocks here, but I had to share a google streetview pic of the old Chronicle offices. While they’ve long since moved too, the picture is fascinating to me, especially since you can still see the remnants of the sign on the corner.
July 5, 2018
The fifth after the fourth and I’m still reading complaints of fireworks that went on well into the morning hours. I’ve been on both sides of the debate regarding fireworks. I enjoy them. They’re dangerous. They’re also illegal to ignite inside the city limits of most towns around here. Same goes for Los Angeles. Just when I thought it was ka-boomtown in my neighborhood, I see this video from KNBC. That’s a lot of law breaking! 🙂
July 4, 2018
Happy Dunlap Broadside Day
July 3, 2018
The real action happened on July 2. It took the Continental Congress two days to adopt a legal explanation for its action.
“The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.” –John Adams, in a letter to his wife, Abigail
July 2, 2018
THE ROCKY SHOALS of the Red River (of the South) is a geologic oddity for people who are used to the sandy red bottom land along the river banks. Long before white settlers were looking for places to cross into Texas, people from long-ago cultures were passing over the rock bottom in a river known primarily for orange mud.
Our friend, Ryon Harrison from Tom, Oklahoma visited the legendary shoals recently. We tried to capture a little of his drone video. The short clip is nothing more than a tease though.https://videos.files.wordpress.com/kBDfj9f6/2018-07-02-08-47-42.mov
Not much is found online about these shoals, except for several tragic stories of swimmers who drowned and county sheriffs who warn against the practice of going in the water here.
The anomaly is not easy to get to. As a native of the area, I’ve only been to the actual site a handful of times, though I did spend my honeymoon in a cabin about 2 miles downstream.
Google maps was kind enough to let me mark it on their map for anybody to find though.
July 1, 2018
The dawn on the first day of the month of July has me reading about Julius Caesar. Caesar was born during the month that bears his name thanks to an act long ago by the Roman Senate.
Otherwise, we would be in the month of Quintilis right now.