The fifth anniversary of September 11, 2001 is upon us. A common question even to this day is what a person was doing at the time they heard about the attacks. In my case I arrived at my office about 9:30 a.m. and began working. I did not have the television on so had no idea of the developing situation. I turned on the television at 11:00 a.m. in anticipation of catching my daily viewing of the Andy Griffith Show on the TV Land channel. I had been watching CNN Headline News the previous day so this is what first appeared upon turning on the television. It was almost unfathomable what was being reported. I turned to Fox News and spent the rest of the day following the events. My feeling of American nationalism has never been greater than on that day.
There has been wide media coverage of the investigative reporter in San Diego who was beaten to a pulp by one of his investigation subjects. The incident was fully captured on tape. The person who attacked the reporter had an interview on MSNBC Friday night in which he offers no regret for the assault. Click for video and transcript of interview. We present, you decide.
I had a chance to visit with Mrs. Graeber last night at the cafe. She is true class. Her grandson, Mike Howard, was once one of my employees at the grocery store. At the time he was studying to be certified as an EMT. Mike was one of my favorite employees but he was a nut. He had a rapier wit and was a perpetual prankster. The thoughts that crossed through his mind were a source of constant amazement to me. One Tuesday night we were at the Lions Club meeting. The meeting ended about the time it was getting dark outside. I was the hired caterer and was in the process of carrying the catering supplies to my car to take back to the store. I stepped out the back door of the community center and saw Mike standing about twenty feet to my left. The impending darkness made it difficult to see clearly, but I was able to see what appeared to be Mike answering nature's call while standing on the grounds of the community center. It was not an event normally found at Lions Club gatherings so I suggested he might wish to cease in a timely manner. His stream of action continued unabated and now included appropriate commentary. After he made sure I truly believed he was doing what he appeared to be doing, he turned around to reveal a large pitcher of water which was providing the visual effects. I had fallen for one of Mr. Howard's pranks once again. Revenge was shortly forthcoming. Mike drove a Chevy Blazer at that time which had a spare tire mounted on the rear door. I noticed the tire had a smooth plastic cover on it. I called Mike over to the Blazer and informed him his spare tire was completely bald. This appeared to be puzzling to him as to how a rarely-used tire could be bald. It was totally dark by that point so Mike could not see the black tire. I rubbed my hand across the plastic cover and invited him to do the same so as to verify its baldness. I soon had it in his head that someone had stolen his spare tire and replaced it with a totally bald tire. I finally informed him of the smooth plastic tire cover and got to observe the same expression on his face that I think I had when he had bamboozled me earlier that evening.
We are beginning a new Kosse Blog feature. Joining our Headline of the Day will now be our Song of the Day. The inaugural tune will be my favorite song from the Pride of Pearsall, Texas. Enjoy.
The Mexia I.S.D. 2006-2007 budget was approved by the school board at their most recent meeting. It shows a deficit of $929,788.00. Click for article. While school tax receipts are based on property ownership rather than a per capita basis, if everyone in the Mexia district owned an equal amount of property the per person debt for this year alone would be approximately $1000.00.
The Groesbeck I.S.D. is a much different story. It will be operating on a balanced budget and is making a debt service payment of $0.00 on $0.00 debt. Click for Groesbeck I.S.D. 2006-2007 budget. It is true that G.I.S.D. has been most fortunate in recent decades in regards to industries locating within her boundaries, but it would have been very easy for school boards over the years to spend more than they took in, as there are always additional needs and desires in public education. But it sure is nice as a Groesbeck I.S.D. taxpayer to see that $0.00 on the debt service line of the budget.
The current Groesbeck High School building was constructed after I graduated as a Goat. The campus I attended is now the middle school, but at the time of my attendance it was Groesbeck High School. It was only one year old so was quite modern for the time. The students and teachers were thrilled to be in this facility as their previous building was non-air conditioned and evidently in very poor condition. One day some of my fellow students (who will remain nameless) decided to add to the euphoria of the situation by planting marijuana seeds in the planter box of the front foyer. Needless to say, news of this cultivation effort soon spread throughout a certain sector of the student body. The faculty and staff were unaware of the growing flora and soon the seeds had germinated quite successfully. I'm not sure who was in charge of tending to the planter box offerings but they evidently had quite a green thumb. The cannabis crop reached a height of six inches or so and was most prominent among the other decorative blooms. One day the illegal vegetation suddenly disappeared. There was a difference of opinion among the student observers regarding the sudden disappearance of the ill-fated crop. Some felt it had befallen the eagle eye of a faculty member and was unceremoniously destroyed. Others believed it had been harvested by an unknown marijuana-smoking student. Still others felt that a particular member of the janitorial staff, who was rumored to be a pot purveyor, had absconded with the plants under the cover of an empty school building. While the vexing mystery will forever remain unsolved, I can assure you the whole situation was quite amusing to many students at Groesbeck High School in 1974.
There's a full moon in Kosse tonight, a predicted low of 58, and autumn is two weeks away.
A new hospital is going to be built in Groesbeck to replace the current one. When I was nine or ten years old I spent a couple of days as a patient at the predecessor to the current Groesbeck hospital. It was owned by the local doctor at the time, Dr. Cox. It was appropriately called Dr. Cox's Hospital and was located where Dr. Rettig now has his offices. One of the nurses was my aunt, Irene Rasco. I remember enjoying the stay because I could watch whatever shows I wanted on the television. Living in a family of six kids with one television, this was a treat not often found at home.
My dog is determined to drive me crazy. Junior Rasco has somehow learned how to turn the outside water faucet on. Three times within the past two weeks he has converted the yard into a miniature lake. Junior unfortunately has not been blessed with the brightest bulb in the doghouse. I should have known he would be destined to torment me from the day I adopted him. Within five seconds of putting him in my car to carry him to his new home, he decided to relieve himself in the passenger seat. Upon arriving home, Junior was introduced to his new sleeping quarters, which also doubled as the utility room. He was evidently not pleased with this arrangement and begin howling incessantly. It was obvious he considered himself master bedroom material. After a week or two, Junior was relocated against his will to the outdoor dog pen. He is now spending his middle-age years enjoying Old Roy dog food, turning on the outdoor faucet, and barking at man, fowl, and beast.
Finally got a little rain. The forecast low tomorrow night is 59. Certainly a change from a couple weeks ago.
I received the following e-mail from a prospective Kosse resident. It is self-explanatory.
Who owns the little blue-gray house at 7843 s. Highway 14 with Joe and Ruthie Guerrero on the mail box. I notice it looks empty. Trying to locate owners to see if they might be interested in selling. Also trying to contact the owners of the commercial building at the corner of narcissus to see what the price would be on that building. None of the numbers posted on the building seem to be working numbers. Please e mail me with any information you have. Thanks Dianne Bailey (firstname.lastname@example.org ) 214-819-5678/ 972-533-9563 or 903-388-7337 Trying to find a house for my husband who drives for a local company in Mexia. We are good neighbors. Please post. Thanks
I talked to my brother Bill last night. Bill is my older brother and is also in the pizza business. In fact, all three of us male Rasco siblings have somehow ended up in the world of pizza. I lived with Bill the summer after my graduation from Groesbeck High. He had an apartment in Lake Jackson that we shared and it was a most interesting three months. He was employed at Dow Chemical and I had the prestigious position of graveyard clerk at Sunny's Convenience Store in Freeport. Sunny's had three locations and I was shuffled between them. These were dive stores in dive areas of town, but they got a lot of business due to having the cheapest beer and cigarettes in Freeport. As keeper of the establishment during the night shift, I found myself exposed to a side of life I had been ignorant of up to that point in my life. One night about 3:00 a.m. a black couple entered the store. It was obvious they were drunk, high, or both. There was really nothing unusual about that, as a large percentage of the night clientele was inebriated. They were arguing as they entered the store and the verbal rhubarb continued as they did their shopping. All of a sudden the woman grabbed a glass quart bottle of vinegar off the shelf and smashed it across the man's head. As the man sank to the floor of the Sunny's vinegar aisle, the woman calmly walked out of the store, got in the car, and drove off. She did not even offer to pay for the vinegar. Okay, so now I am stuck at Sunny's Convenience Store in the worst area of Freeport at 3:00 a.m. with an inebriated, unconscious black man lying in a pool of vinegar with blood pouring out of his head. I briefly considered putting him in a grocery cart and rolling him to the washateria next door, but I did not want to smell like vinegar so I called the cops. They arrived in a couple of minutes, immediately ascertained who the vinegar victim was (evidently one of their regular customers), surmised who the assailant was (evidently another of their regular customers), and waited for the soon-to-arrive ambulance. The EMT crew patched his head and hauled him off. I then had the pleasure of filling out a police report and cleaning up the mess. At that moment I was not sure the $2.04 per hour compensation I was receiving was worth it.
I filled up with gas this morning in Bremond and paid $2.44 per gallon. Oil prices continue to drop. Hopefully we can reach the $2.00 per gallon threshold soon. Click for article.
The Osama bin Laden branch of al Qaeda has released another videotape in which the spokesman encourages Americans to convert to Islam. Click for article. (There is a link in the referenced article in which you can watch his presentation.) What is unusual about this video is that the speaker on 90% of the tape is an American from California named Adam Gadahn. Click for biography. Adam Gadahn is obviously as Americanized as you or I, so this got me to thinking. It has now been five years since the attacks of 9-11-2001 and we have yet to capture or kill bin Laden. As is shown by Gadahn's presence in the inner circle of al Qaeda, it is indeed possible for an American to become a trusted participant in the bin Laden organization. Why doesn't the C.I.A. try to plant another American in al Qaeda? If Gadahn, (who originally was named Adam Pearlman and is of Jewish descent) can gain this type of access, why could someone else not do the same? I am sure this would take a certain amount of time, and would probably involve the person doing things that would normally be considered illegal or unsavory, but in this case the ends would justify the means. Once enough trust was gained to ascertain the location of bin Laden, the agent could leave the immediate premises, somehow notify the American officials (surely this could be figured out with today's technology), wait for bin Laden and his associates to be bombed into oblivion, and in the ensuing confusion (which would be inevitable) be picked up by an American helicopter and returned to safety. Maybe this idea is naive, but in five years there has been no success in delivering justice to Osama, and if someone like Adam Pearlman of Riverside, California can pierce the inner circle, then surely a professional C.I.A. operative could do the same.
The Kosse Lions Club is raising money for renovation of the Kosse Lions Park softball fields. Sounds like a good idea. The softball tournaments always added vibrancy to our community and economy. There is a donation receptacle at the Kosse Cafe.
The Kosse Lions Club's biggest annual fundraiser is the sponsorship of the Braschler Music Show from Branson, Missouri. This is the story of how the annual Braschler Music Show fundraiser came to be a Kosse Lions Club tradition:
In the late 1980's, we were living in Houston. Although I was teaching for the Houston I.S.D. and Houston Community College, I remained an entrepreneur at heart. It so happened that my mother was a Braschler groupie. Click for Braschler Music Show website. She would go to Branson on a regular basis and always went to the Braschler concert. She was introduced to Cliff and Jan Braschler and over the years developed a personal friendship with them. When they were in Groesbeck the whole band came to her home for a pre-concert meal. It was quite a sight to see their big tour bus pull up to Mother's driveway in the McLelland Addition and have all the musicians and helpers come pouring out. Anyway, back to the story. I was sitting at my house in Houston brainstorming about how to make a buck. It suddenly crossed my mind to try and cash in on my mother's friendship with the Braschlers. Within ten minutes I had written down the business plan. I immediately went into action. I first called the principal of Groesbeck High to inquire about the rental policies of the GHS auditorium. Mr. Hoel was principal at the time, and was one of my former teachers. We had a nice conversation, and I soon had the venue location worked out. I then called Mother to tell her my plan and get Cliff Braschler's phone number. Being a Braschler groupie, she was quite excited to hear about this. I called Cliff and within five minutes had a verbal agreement for the concert date. It was to be held the Friday after Valentine's Day at the Groesbeck High School Auditorium. Approximately one hour had transpired from the moment I had my brainstorm, worked out the plan, projected the financials, secured the venue, and lined up the talent. I was suddenly an aspiring concert promotions mogul. I had already set up a business entity in Harris County for our various projects, so everything appeared to be a go. Part of my Braschler business plan involved having a worthwhile local organization as a sponsor/benificiary of the concert. I settled on the Limestone County Peace Officers Association and soon also had this aspect worked out. I had tickets and circulars printed, obtained a mailing list from the Braschlers of all their groupies (my mother's name was indeed on the list), mailed concert notice letters to the groupies, blitzed ads to all the local media organizations, began selling ads for the program, and waited for ticket orders to arrive. Within a week, I knew the LCPOA and I had hit the jackpot. Ticket orders were flooding in and all expenses were soon covered. The concert date arrived and everything went perfectly. The auditorium was full, the show was excellent, the LCPOA received a nice donation, my mother was thrilled, and it proved to be a winner for all involved. The next year I invited the American Legion to be the local sponsor/benificiary and the experience was repeated. My brother John was president of the Kosse Lions Club during the third year, so I offered them the sponsorship spot with the agreement that John would be the primarily facilitator of the event that year. In the meantime we had moved back to Limestone County and were totally tied up with the expansion of our business holdings. The full Braschler concert production was offered to the Kosse Lions Club, and it remains under their stewardship to this day. They have since added a matinee performance and pre-concert dinner to the annual Braschler experience. I've never told this full story to anyone, but each year when the posters go up advertising the upcoming concert, I am reminded of the huge benefits that have come to the Kosse Lions Club and their community projects as a direct result of my brainstorm on that Houston morning in 1988.
I mentioned a few days ago that, according to the Bremond Press, the Bremond Tigers football team was having trouble recruiting players after drug-testing recently began. It appears as if the former players were flying higher last night than the remainder of the team. The Tigers were drubbed by Lexington to the tune of 52-0. The Groesbeck Goats were defeated by Lorena, 35-20.
According to a Pentagon report issued Friday, the situation in Iraq is worse than ever. Click for article. Former Secretary of State Colin Powell has been proven correct when he reportedly told President Bush of the difficulties that would arise if we invaded Iraq. I have heard it said the leaders who most wish to avoid war are those who have actually fought in one. To them it is more than an abstract concept. I think Colin Powell is among that group.
I recently watched an interesting biographical documentary on another of our leaders who felt this way, President Dwight Eisenhower. As one of the last five-star generals, Eisenhower successfully led the invasion of Normandy on D-Day, and in 1952 was elected President. Josef Stalin, the dictator of the Soviet Union, died in 1953, and Eisenhower saw this as an opportunity to lessen the tensions of the Cold War. He dramatically cut overall defense spending, concentrating our defense dollars on less-expensive nuclear weapons. He adopted the concept of Mutually Assured Destruction, which was his belief the Soviets would not launch nuclear weapons with the knowledge that the United States would retaliate with a massive attack on the Soviet homeland. In other words, the Soviets would be afraid to attack us because they knew we would respond by annihilating them. His belief proved correct, and the Cold War eventually ended without a shot being fired. Eisenhower used the money that had previously been spent on conventional defense programs for domestic improvements. His greatest domestic accomplishment was the establishment of our Interstate Highway System. It is hard to imagine what our mobility and economy would be like without the interstate system, and for that we can thank the peaceloving warrior, Dwight Eisenhower.