July 9, 2006

Today is the 19th anniversary of my being in the birthing room of Houston's Memorial City
Hospital  observing the arrival of my son.  Ryan has grown from 20 1/2 inches to 6'4" and now
has to bend over to allow his father to hug him.  Happy birthday Ryan.

The first time I ever saw a calculator I was eleven years old.  One of my friend's father worked
as a chemist at Dow Chemical and they had provided it for his job.  It was stunning in its
capabilities, and put an end to my upcoming need to learn the functions of the slide rule.  It
cost $250.00, which in today's dollar figures would be over $1300.00.  It could add, subtract,
multiply and divide with total accuracy.  The four-function calculator now selling for $2.97 at
Dollar General was an amazement to behold in 1968.

Our chances for rain are dwindling over the next week.  Not being a meteorologist/weather
expert, I do not know if the highly-publicized global warming issue is scientifically valid or not.  
From personal observation it does appear our winters in Kosse are shorter and less severe
than in previous decades.  

I can remember visiting my Groesbeck-area grandparents in the early to-mid 1960's during
the winter months.  My grandmother would be up early adding wood to the fireplace and
wood-burning heater.  As often as not there would be a white snow-covered glaze blanketing
the ground outside.  You could blow smoke with each breath taken inside the house. We
would be shivering while waiting for her to finish cooking her made-from-scratch biscuits.  
They would then be covered in ribbon-cane syrup and devoured.

Footwear Headline of the Day:
Next Time Order Them Off the Internet

July 8, 2006

A former mayor of Kosse has passed away.  Ruth Null lived to be 96, and was the mother of
another former mayor, the late Woodie Null.  You always knew where you stood with Mrs. Null.  
She would call me periodically to express critiques of whichever of my businesses she was
concerned about at that moment.  For the most part it involved the grocery store.  The first
time or two it happened I reacted defensively, but I soon realized the suggestions Mrs. Null
was offering were valid and helpful, and I came to the point where I generally heeded her
advice.  I don't know if she ever knew that or not.  

I've been spending a couple of hours each day working on this website.  My latest project is a
World War II History section and I am coming across some very interesting material.  Tonight I
added a page devoted to the attack on Pearl Harbor.  
Click here to read. I can remember Bill
Parker, Mary Graeber's brother, telling me of the attack as an on-site observer.  He was
stationed at Pearl Harbor on that day of infamy in 1941, and personally participated in one of
the most significant events of American history.  It struck me as how matter-of-fact his Pearl
Harbor anecdotes were (considering the gravity of its effects).  I have read that most veterans
of World War II served their wartime duties, came home, and did not realize the significance of
their collective accomplishments.  I think Bill was among this group.

Will They Never Learn Headline of the Day:
One Tough Heifer

July 7, 2006

I am watching the Don Imus Show. They are mentioning a current Internet conspiracy theory
involving the Tom Cruise/Katie Holmes baby.  According to this theory, the baby has not been
seen by anyone and there is a possibility that there is no baby at all.  The highly-publicized
pregnancy and birth was supposedly a ploy to gain attention.  Reminds me of 1969 when
rumors were rampant that Paul McCartney was dead and had been replaced by a look-alike
Click here for article.  There were supposedly many clues indicating this, everything
from his being barefoot on the "Abbey Road" album to hearing "dead man" if you played the
song "Revolution 9" backwards on your 33 1/3 r.p.m. stereophonic turntable.  

The school's summer vacation is already half over.  When I was in school the vacations lasted
a full three months, and it was my favorite quarter of the year.  It was also my favorite time of
the year when I spent seven years during my 20's teaching in Houston at an inner-city middle
school.  That was a tough environment.     

Cement Headline of the Day:
Next Time Bring Your Own Ball

July 6, 2006

Kenneth Lay, recently-convicted founder of Enron, died yesterday of a heart attack.  
According to Yahoo News, his pastor was Steve Wende of the Houston First United Methodist
Church.  Wende is extensively quoted in the article.
Click here for article.  The Kosse First
United Methodist Church is having their summer revival beginning Sunday week.  Steve
Wende, the quoted pastor, is going to be the Tuesday evening speaker.

Tonight's news is highlighting the North Korean missile launch story.  In the early 1980's I was
in graduate school at Sam Houston State University.  One of my history professors was Dr.
James Hagerty, a former White House aide during the John Kennedy administration.  He told
us that during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, some of the top military officials were
advocating a preemptive nuclear strike against the Soviets.  At the time I was attending
Elizabet Ney Elementary School and we began having weekly civil defense drills.  We
practiced getting underneath our desks or crouching against the wall with our hands folded
over our head.  As a five year old I did not give much thought to this activity and just thought it
was part of being in kindergarten.  

More Than We Want to Know Headline of the Day:
It's Rush Time

July 5, 2006

The fireworks show at the city park was quite entertaining.  I put a photo of one display in the
Kosse Courier.  I remember a July 4th in the mid-70's when some friends and I were shooting
off fireworks outside of Thornton.  This was during the days when bottle rockets were legal,
and there was one friend who kept trying to shoot the rest of us with a flaming bottle rocket.  
He would stick it in a glass Coke bottle, take aim, and light the fuse.  He was relatively adept at
this so was proving to be a hazardous nuisance.  He had come to the gathering with his
girlfriend in her father's car.  It  was a hot summer evening and she had the window of the car
rolled down.  The bothersome pyromaniac suddenly set off an errant bottle rocket shot which
proceeded to go through her open car window, land in the front seat, and leave a nice burn
hole on the cloth seat.  Needless to say we were all most amused at this unusual turn of

Do Not Read if You Have a Weak Stomach Headline of the Day:
Do Not Take This Man Home to Meet Your Mother #2   

July 3, 2006

I drove from Bremond to Kosse about an hour ago.  There were two cows out of their fences
and on the side of the highway about a mile south of town.  Hopefully they will be put back
before dark.  It's dangerous enough driving in this area at night due to the wildlife without also
adding our domesticated animals to the mix.  I think I have run over just about every animal
imaginable over the course of living in this area.  Victims have included armadillos, possums,
skunks, raccoons, squirrels, felines, snakes, rabbits, deer, horses, cows, feral hogs, rats and
mice, birds, frogs, buzzards, chickens, guineas, owls, and a garbage can.  

I've been trying to get my yard mowed for a couple of days.  My professional landscaper is  
Don Porch and he's been busy doing community service this week.  He committed the offense
of burning rubber in front of Paul a few weeks ago.  He was driving one of my cars at the time
so I told him next time this happened I would burn some rubber on his noggin.    

Obesity Headline of the Day:
Give me Two-Dozen Doughnuts and a Prozac to Go

July 2, 2006

World peace appears forever elusive.  Until the past few months I did not personally know
anyone on the front-lines of Iraq or Afghanistan, and the war seemed in the abstract to a large
degree.  A few months ago Ryan's cousin, Wayne, was sent to Iraq.  Wayne enlisted in the
Marines a year or so ago.  He signed up for the infantry knowing this put the odds of front-line
combat at virtually 100%.  The first week he was there his armored truck was struck by an IED.
He was injured but survived and was soon back on duty.  I think he has about six months
remaining in his deployment time, and has told his mother, Cathy, the situation involves a
significant risk of injury or death every day.  I will not proselytize on the politics of the war.  I
just wish circumstances were such that Cathy and 130,000 other mothers did not have to
wake up and worry everyday.  

The Drudge Report is one of the internet's most popular websites with over 12,000,000
viewers per day.  Limestone County is featured on today's Drudge Report but in a very
unfortunate way.  The featured story is titled "Central Texas woman run off road, raped by
illegals..." and refers to last week's assault of the Tehuacana girl who was stabbed, raped,
and left for dead.  
Click for article.  This is one of the most viciously-disgusting incidents that
has happened in my thirty-two years of Limestone County residency.  The accused have
confessed and I would think most any judge or jury would give them their wish to remain in the
USA for the remainder of their lives-- in a prison cell.

Rodent Headline of the Day:
Do Not Take This Man Home to Meet Your Mother

July 1, 2006

According to Weather.com, Kosse has a chance of rain as high as 60% for the next ten days.  
That is generally good news this time of year, and 2006 is no exception.  The farmers and
gardeners will be hoping the forecasted precipitation does indeed occur.

I have never had much success with gardening so for years have lived with the "If you can't
mow it, don't grow it" philosophy.  The Rasco Business Group Restaurants Division buys
enough farm and ranch products to keep a number of agrarian workers employed, so I
suppose that is my contribution to the American farming industry.  The last time I had a green
thumb was when my grandparent's dog, Prince, clamped down on my right thumb in 1965.  I
never did figure out why that otherwise docile canine decided to bite me that day, but to this
day my right thumb is slightly flatter than my left.

Most Frightening Headline of the Day:
Israel Warns: Free Soldier or Prime Minister Dies

June 30, 2006

2006 is half over after today.  I can remember in my youth the old geezers over 40 saying how
quickly time went by and I never understood how they could think that.  Now that my previous
old geezer threshold is only a faint memory, I can personally attest to the wisdom of that
observation.  It's amazing how many things I never heeded from those older and wiser than me
have actually come to pass.

My mother finally got the furniture moved from her home in Groesbeck to her new domicile in
Lake Jackson.  She will now be staying with my sister Katy.  My youngest sister, Lee Ann, also
lives in Lake Jackson so Mother will be well-cared for.  As mentioned before in the Kosse Blog,
I was born and raised in this Gulf Coast community.  In fact,  my father has a school named for
him there, the Grady B. Rasco Middle School.  We moved to Limestone County in 1974 where
I was converted from a Brazoswood Buccaneer to a Groesbeck Goat.  

One of the wisest people I ever knew was Brann Hamilton, the patriarch of a family which is still
well-represented in this area.  Brann was in his 80's when I first made his acquaintance.  At
the time we owned a grocery store in Thornton.  Each day like clockwork Brann would come
into the store to read the various newspapers I subscribed to, and after reading them we
would discuss our views on the world.  He would regale me with stories of prohibition, the
Great Depression, World War II, and John Kennedy.  He was still operating a bulldozer each
day and was stouter than those a half-century younger.  I remember one day he came in and
announced he would be having surgery the following day to remove a brain tumor.  I thought
Brann's days were finally numbered and the surgery would undoubtedly immobilize him for an
extended period of time.  Much to my surprise I saw Brann driving up in his truck three days
later.  His head was shaved and he had a long incision across his scalp.  He was acting like
nothing had happened.  I asked him how he was feeling, he replied fine, and that was the end
of his conversation regarding the subject of having part of his inner head removed two days
earlier.  He lived for a few years thereafter and eventually passed away from old age.  There
have been many times in the ensuing quarter-century when I wished I had Brann's sage
counsel and advice.

Parental Freak-Out Headline of the Day:
OK Mom, the Car was Totaled but at Least I Know the Location of Tonight's Party
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