Wild Life Of A Little Monster

Others are scared of me because of all the fun I have. Considered a vigilante by my Eponine.

Where's Cowboy 2.0

click for a larger viewNot in San Antonio anymore. In a different city. Here's a pic I snagged after walking a few blocks from my hotel, which is located on 14th Street. Any guesses? What is the place and in what city? A hint, besides the place where I had dinner, there's something that is well known just across the street from this building.

Take A Deep Breath

There's one word in this picture that can cause even the calmest of cowboys to sometimes stress out just a bit. Do you see it? But that's life. Your Cowboy tends to stay calm, watch people, chill.

San Antonio Is Right

Derby is right (see comments on a post below). The city I was visiting was San Antonio. Including a few more pics below. Mouse over each for details.
Hilton Palacio del Rio in San AntonioSan Antonio's Marriott

sculpture in front of the AlamoThe Alamo

Alamodome and Hemisphere Tower

A Hint

When standing out on the balcony of my hotel room, I looked down and snapped this picture. Click on it to see if the larger view. If you've been to this city, you'll recognize it. If not, you might have heard of its main site. I'm anxious to see if anyone can guess it. I have one pic that I know if posted everyone would know my travels the last few days.

Arrived in a different city tonight. A city I've been to before and have mentioned. I'll try to get a pic tomorrow night. I have just the right one in mind to continue this little game.

This is a bonus pic. This little monster eyed me while I was working on a breakfast burrito at McDonalds's. Her name is Sandy.

Lastly, the cable television in my hotel room does not have CMT - the Country Music Television Network. Miss America was kicked off network television a year ago and for the second year the annual pageant was on CMT. I wanted to see it, especially since Miss Oklahoma won last year.

A college friend called a moment ago and she told me that Miss Oklahoma won again! Can you believe it? I'm shocked. Lauren Nelson, a native of Lawton, Oklahoma, is our new Miss America. Miss Texas was first runner-up, with Miss Georgia 2nd runner-up.

First repeat winner from a state since 1959 (Mary Ann Mobley) and 1960 winners from Mississippi. Kansas was close with winners in 1966 and 1968. Oklahoma joins Ohio and California as states boasting six Miss Americas. No state has seven.

Where's Cowboy

On a business trip.
Any guess where I am?
I blocked out the name of the hotel.


"A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes." ~ Mark Twain.

The fast access to information and being able to visit with you are what I love about the Internet. The false, inaccurate and misleading information, lies and other untruths are what I hate about the Internet. Just after the horrible acts of terrorism that occurred in the U.S. on September 11, the Internet was full of it. From famous predictions to unusual conspiracies. It made everyone more scared than they already justifiably were. I also hate ID theft and other stealing over the Internet.

On Thursday I received an e-mail from my sister in California providing a warning that our cell phone numbers would be released to telemarketers in just the next few days. To stop the action, I needed to put my cell number on the "do-not call list."

THAT IS NOT TRUE! Our cell numbers are not being released. It is not happening. Do not believe this e-mail if you get it. (Disclaimer: At least as of Jan. 25, 2007.)

It's out there. Lies. Be careful. Doubt everything, check sources, check them again, compare it to other information and then check everything again. Lastly, stay cynical. Don't ever say "I saw it on the Internet, it must be true."

Presidential Visit

The round table discussion focused on President Bush's proposed new health care policy. He toured a local hospital and also presented a local lady with a volunteer service award. He likely was on the ground in Kansas City for about three hours.

Although the convoy traveled within blocks of me, I did not get to witness any of the activities. The closest I got was a local news helicopter hovering over my office building. (Is "hovering over" redundant?) I did check a local news website and watched live coverage.

Held my digital to my computer screen and took a few shots. My hope is that you'll think I really was there in person. They're a little blurry because the auto focus was on the screen and not the images in the photos.

Bad Apples

Kansas City's recent snow storm was the perfect consistency for incredible snow sculptures. I've been amazed by all the creations. It's been fun to see.

While sitting on the edge of my bed tonight, logging on to the computer, I saw headlights out on the street. It looked like the car was kind of in the middle of the road. I did my best Gladys Kravitz imitation and separated the blinds to peer out the window. There were two younger-looking guys smashing the snow dude across the street.

I ran downstairs and out the door. The car was scooting up the street. I totally would fail a CSI test nor could I identify a truck that was last seen when a kid was kidnapped because, although I stared right at the vehicle, I can't even tell you if it had two or four doors. It was white. I think. Geez. What good am I?

Why that snow dude? Who knows? I think it had on a Pittsburgh Steelers hat. Or was it a Chicago Bears?

Bush In The Trees

It appears that on Thursday, President Bush will be wandering the tree-lined streets of Lee's Summit, Missouri. OK, maybe not wandering but just driving through to get to a destination. Lee's Summit is a Kansas City suburb. It is a popular residential suburb but also a place where quite a few people are employed.

Bush plans to hold a round-table discussion on health care Thursday at Saint Luke's East hospital on Thursday at 11:55 a.m. CT. From what I heard on local news, updates will be available on all the local websites.

For many folks that are gallivanting during lunch or the work day, they might meet up with a road block or a secret service agent. Maybe even protest and/or support rallies. Cindy Sheehan maybe?

If I see W, I'll tell him hello from you. If I see his helicopter or convoy, expect pictures here!

The president's last visit to Missouri was Nov. 3, when he headlined rallies in Springfield and Joplin for then-Sen. Jim Talent, R-Mo., before the election. Bush was last in Kansas City in September, when he helped raise money for Talent's re-election campaign.

The Other Side Of The Rainbow

Passed this truck while speeding along 435. Immediately started digging through the briefcase for the digital. Thank goodness I had it in tow. This was a photo op that could not be passed by. I wonder where the other side of the rainbow is for this Kermit.

In eighth grade, I was given a Kermit, very similar to this one, by a hot girl named Sharla. If I dig through the right box, I bet I can find him. I wonder where Sharla is. And years ago, my nephew, Josh, said when I called that he recognized my voice because I sounded like Kermit. I think it was a compliment from the 10-year-old.

Gasoline was a $1.80 a gallon Monday morning while on my way to work. Didn't have time to fill up even though the low fuel indicator was dinging. So, I had to get gas after work before heading over to Overland Park for an alumni watch party. (We beat OU 66-61.) I paid a dollar eighty-five.

Winter Wonderland

Winter WonderlandWe got a pretty nice snow in Kansas City. From what I heard, most of the middle states got some snowfall. It started as predicted about 3 p.m. Saturday afternoon and snowed into the morning hours.

The trees that line the street to my 'hood looked beautiful. All the snow lining the forms and limbs and covering the ground. It's very nice. I think my back yard looked fantastic too. A pic is attached.

Shoveling the drive took much time this morning. I was a bit jealous of the neighbors that had the motorized snow blowers. Their exhaust was stinky, though.


Got the eyballs checked. The doc says all is fine. He reduced the prescription just a bit. I'm a minus 6.25 in both eyes. This was a full exam. Everything was out of focus and my pupils dilated until well into the afternoon. I took a pic of the pupil, but then decided you all really did not need to see it. :)

Have to mention that the doctor I saw in the mall two weeks ago as I was trying to use up year-end flex spending money had the right eye still at minus 6.50. I guess that's what I get for picking No. 1 as the clearer one over No. 2. Don't know about you, but they all start looking the same after a bit.

Not certain which prescription is correct. We'll see. (hehe)

Also tried to get the oil changed and brakes checked while I was getting the do done. After getting all pretty at Supercuts, (with the frequent cutter card, it's always exciting when you finally get the free one) I went back over to the auto place and learned they hadn't had time to check the PT. I decided I needed to scoot on in to work. I figure, if the engine block freezes or I rear end someone, surely I will find sympathy. Especially with dilated eyes and the fancy new do.

My Cowboys came out the winner of a triple overtime battle Tuesday night with the University of Texas. Final score: 105-103. It was a nail biter. It felt like both teams were just refusing to lose. One to remember for sure. We still have to travel to Austin later this season. Not looking forward to that trip.

All the service stations on the travel home tonight through Raytown were at $1.89. However, the Shell near my home was at $1.93.

Kansas City is in Missouri, (Well, there's also a Kansas City in Kansas. That's a lesson for a different day.) but it is on the state line. Gas over in them parts of Kansas is about 6-cents to a dime more. Something about higher state taxes.

Army Boy's grandmother passed away Wednesday morning. I haven't heard for sure, but I'm sure he and the Sexy Lady will be returning this weekend. I hope he feels blessed he was able to see her last week.

By the way, Sexy Lady just turned 30.......or so.

Special shout out for MegMacB for any new challenges life might bring. The clouds will eventually go away.

Winter Wonder Monsters

And we're off!Grab the leashes, coats, red ball and these two are ready to go!As we turn around to head down the block and back home, the jaws of death never lose their grip.

Charlie and Daphne pose on the stairs

Gas Update

Had to post this before getting too busy and forgetting. Today at the QT, gasoline prices were $1.89. As I traveled eastward on 350 Highway through Raytown, Missouri, I saw $1.93 at the Valero and $1.95 at CITGO. Of course, I filled up yesterday.

Visitors On Cold Days

Charlie and DaphneThe wintry blast in Kansas City wasn't as bad as predicted, but nonetheless, I decided not to drive around in it. Didn't venture away from the home for much of Saturday, not at all Sunday and decided not to make the 25-mile trek to the cubicle this morning. It was snowing at the time. Now, the sun is shining and the sky is clear.

Well, Charlie already was visiting. A family emergency required Sexy Lady and her Army Boy to take off to Oklahoma. That meant Daphne had to shake her tail on over to this Cowboy's. Canceled Southwest flights kept her folks away longer, but no one seemed to mind.

At first, I was cautious. Just didn't know how they would relate to each other. And just like that, they magically connected. There was no grooming of the other or stuff like that. Some neutical sniffing, but no other affection. They were kind of like distant cousins. Glad to see each other, but not overly loving. I'm happy to report that there was no humping. Not even of the Cowboy.Enjoying a walk through the 'hoodOverall, they seemed to enjoy each other's company. They chased each other and played some. They ran around the yard and barked. They had a mutual fascination with deer. Both also went out of control each time their leashes were in hand. Both know how to sit, beg for treats, and are obedient. Charlie has his obsession with the red ball, while Daphne has no desire at all to play with toys. She seemed entertained by him.

The sleet and snow didn't bother them. I did notice a slight look of panic in their eyes when they saw the treat bag getting a little slim, though. I think they were hoping I'd make a treat purchase soon. If we were snow bound and had run out, I have a feeling the two would have plotted to get into the drawer with the Fritos and Pringles.

Daph's folks made it, albeit on standby, back today. The MMcB and Mom called from Atlanta about an hour or so ago. If all goes well, they'll be on Kansas City soil later today.

A New Look

The new faucettA new toilet tissue roll holder
It's kind of stainless steel, but I think it is called polished pewter or something like that.

Changing what I can at home to make it feel like a new place. A new faucet and toilet tissue roll holder in my bathroom. Also got rid of all the switch plates and electric outlet covers in my bedroom.

Actually, a friend mentioned he wanted to give me a Christmas gift. Kind of as a thank you. I convinced him that more than anything else what I wanted were all new switchplates. Crazy, huh? But I also didn't realize how many there are. It was a bigger gift than I thought it would be!

The new look is fantastic. This Cowboy is very pleased. It's those little things that make your home feel like your castle. And even more so on a cold, wintry day.
The main switch plateA new switch plate

World Traveler

If you take a glance at the Clustr Map, you'll see a new dot on the eastern tip of Mexico. That's where MMcB and her mom are currently while the Charlie Monster stays with me.

Makes me wonder, more than I normally do, who all those other dots represent. One thing I know, I have been sharpening my geography knowledge as those other dots appear.

It's cold in Kansas City today. Like around 15 degrees. Some sleet and ice, but it has not been as bad as what was predicted. At least in my little island of KC.

I hear there's been ice and snow in Oklahoma. Today I tuned in to watch my Cowboys play Nebraska in basketball and learned that the OSU team never left Stillwater for Lincoln because of weather conditions. I called JMc and Gene and they indicate they are holed up in Shadow Crest land.

I hope you are safe and staying warm.

Charlie Is Back

Charlie a/k/a Chuckles the wonder dogMegMacB and her mom, LKB, are in Mexico the next few days. The Boyz are staying in their plush Waldo home, with a daily dog walker and a TJB and a MJB at their beckon call. Charlie got a pass to his resort home at Cowboy's. That means, expect more pics the next few days.

High Hopes

Ranked among the top ten teams in the country, only loss was by two points to another top team from a strong conference, leading scorer consistently shooting lights-out good. These facts and more could lead to a Cowboys fan feeling a little confident. Especially as the team travels to a hostile, very competitive place to battle another top-ranked team.

The A-game didn't even walk out on the court, though. My Cowboys lost by 30 points to the Kansas Jayhawks in the Wednesday-night contest. It was sad. Embarrassing too.

Still have 14 more conference games to go. This Cowboy hopes these Cowboys got a wake up call and get their act together.

Tough Dogs

There's some kind of new filter thingamabob at work that blocks websites or limits the amount of time that can be spent on certain sites. Probably some crazy add-on feature that a vendor convinced an IT manager to purchase.

kcur.org (the local National Public Radio station) is one of the sites blocked. Can still access the country stations, soft adult contemporary and rock station, but not the local NPR site. And thankfully, ESPN.com, CNN and "The New York Times" can still be accessed.

It'll be rough for this NPR news junkie, but I'm tough. I can get to npr.org. Just no local news. I might bring a radio to work.

NPR's Ketzel Levine did a story last week about dogs with outerwear. She says she's never before observed so many dogs wearing coats and boots. Attire for canines is a fast-growing trend.

Here's a link to her story. She provides details on what to watch for and gives tips on what might determine if your dog needs to wear a coat. She gives real examples about her dogs, Starlet and Zoe Mae. The report that aired included an interview with Ketzel's vet.

She notes, some of the toughest dogs out there, wear coats.

Breakfast At Tiffany's

The BLTIt actually was Succotash with MegMacB. The BLT was mighty tasty. So were MMB's blueberry pancakes. Yes, I admit that I ate my breakfast plus essentially everything she left on her plate. It takes much work to maintain (and increase) this girth.

There's no better way to tackle a Sunday than to have breakfast at the Succotash with MMB after enjoying some George Stephanopoulos. Makes one feel informed, full and invincible.

The Road Traveled

I track my weekly mileage driven. For 2006, I drove 19,936.3 miles. It represents mostly work, but also many outings, events, dinners, times laughing, and other activities.

For the 368 days (I started tracking on Dec. 28, 2005), I averaged 54.17 miles driven each day. Some weeks the average is around 67 or 68 miles a day, while other weeks it is around 25 miles. Weekend galavanting usually was the determination.

Although not exactly a science because I didn't track cost of gasoline per gallon and how many miles the car gets per gallon, I likely spent well over $2,100 in gas this year.

Not complaining or bragging. Just stating an observation.

The Adventures Of Josie

Searching for preyChecking out the fenceline

The few days before Christmas, Josie stayed with me. The human she normally hangs with, Gully a/k/a Trixie, was visiting other humans over the holidays.

I am not quite certain if Josie is just 500 gazillion times more curious than MegMacB's Boyz, or if the Boyz have just a serious lack of motivation. Their focus is food and love. Maybe Josie's excuse is that she's still a puppy.

She wandered the neighborhood one morning. I'm sure folks wondered why I was walking the 'hood hollering "JOSIE!" nonstop. Luckily, a neighbor found her, but only after calling Gully (the number on the tag) and letting her know this Cowboy was doing a good job keeping track of the herd. Oh well. Not certain if she dug her way out or jumped the fence. I did see she thoroughly surveyed the fence line for its lowest point.

Over the weekend, received a very nice thank you note from Gully and a Target gift card from Josie. Not deserved, but appreciated.
A frog awaits its demiseMeal time at Cowboy's


Everyone deals with death differently. And when one has shared many years with us, we usually are more prepared and grieve differently than we we do for a younger one or an enexpected death. Going back to the presidential funerals mentioned in a prior post, I'm sure the country's farewell to Presidents Ford and Reagan were completely different than the farewell for John F. Kennedy.

Denver Broncos football player, Darrent Williams was killed in a New Year's Day shooting. Like many folks in Denver, I was shocked when I heard the news. The last I've read, his killer still has not been caught.

Darrent played four years at Oklahoma State. Folks in Stillwater also felt the loss of this 24-year-old young man.

A few days ago I watched a press conference hosted by the Broncos head coach. His comments were heartfelt and full of sadness and sorrow. Darrent's funeral was Jan. 6 in Texas. The entire Denver team flew to Fort Worth for the service. My thoughts and prayers are with his children, family, loved ones, friends and team.

The Wife sent an e-mail a few days ago telling me their No. 3 kitty, Cookie, passed away. It was unexpected. The Wife tells me when they found her, little six-year-old O was in disbelief, but did not cry. I'm told O sat on the ground to pet Cookie and tried to comfort her little body. Then she put a blanket over Cookie to keep her warm.

The Wife says she has been crying and crying, but knows Cookie is in a better place. She says O and M are troopers and keep telling everyone that "Cookie died." The Artist dug a burial spot in their backyard. The Wife tells me the four of them gathered for prayer and for kitty good-byes for Cookie.

Dealing with death can be overwhelming. Somehow, though, we fall asleep. Often with tears streaming down our faces that soak our pillows. Then the sun comes up. Again time to accept the challenges, celebrations, happy times and sad of another day. I think that how we deal with each of those mornings is what defines us.


Continuing along a politically oriented stream ... the 1976 Republican National Convention that nominated incumbent Gerald Ford was hosted by Kansas City. President Ford, Ronald Reagan and all the other who's who in Republican politics were in Kansas City's Kemper Arena. Being familiar with that arena, it's hard to even imagine the scene. Bob Dole, U.S. Senator from Kansas, was the vice president nomination.

In 1976, I was, well, let's just say I was young. Maybe a single-digit age, maybe already in double digits. I'll never tell. Anyway, I watched that convention. I remember Mom mentioning Reagan was a former actor and was divorced. There was some suspense in that folks weren't certain if Ford or Reagan would win the nomination. It was close.

We had a mock election in school. I recall most kids talking about the "car/banana" candidates. In the end, Jimmy Carter of Georgia was elected.

Dwight Eisenhower died in 1969. Although I already was on this earth (I am old, aren't I?), I don't remember his funeral.

Like Ford, Harry S. Truman passed away on the day after Christmas. Truman died in 1972. He is buried here in nearby Independence, Missouri. For the most part, he was loved by many in this part of the woods. I watched part of his funeral on television. I watched it with Mom and Dad. What I most remember was seeing Lyndon Johnson. I thought he was impressive.

LBJ passed away a month later in January 1973. After his death, the U.S. had no other living former presidents. We talked about that in school.

Our next presidential funeral was in 1994 when Richard Nixon died. Including Bill Clinton, five U.S. Presidents attended Nixon's funeral. There were again five U.S. Presidents, including George W., that attended Reagan's funeral in 2004.

A 24-year-old co-worker told me he didn't get why we have all the fuss. He said, "they were just one guy elected a long time ago. Why make a big deal out of them dying." I think the pomp and circumstance is mostly deserved. This post is dedicated to their memory.

Third In Line

Growing up in Oklahoma, I remember how very proud the state was of native son Carl Albert. Schools and other places were named in his honor.

Albert grew up in McAlester, located in the southeastern part of the state. McAlester is one of those great towns that is small enough that it feels good, but big enough that not everyone knows you name. Just in case you feel like acting up that day.

A Rhodes Scholar and graduate of not my alma mater (he was a Sooner), he was a lawyer and in 1947 was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. His fellow Democrats elected him Speaker of the House in 1971. He held that post until 1977 when he left the U.S. House.

A short guy, 5 foot 4 inches, with a heavy Oklahoma, southern country accent. But a tough, intelligent guy. He was known as "The Little Giant from Little Dixie." That was meant as a compliment during his time.

Generally speaking, Oklahoma loved him and was very proud of the fact that he twice was next in line for the U.S. Presidency -- when Vice President Agnew resigned (before Gerald Ford became vice president) and after President Nixon resigned. Because he was not of the same party as the current president, he said if the situation occurred he would only serve as "acting president" until both houses selected a new vice president.

He died February 4, 2000 and is buried in McAlester.

Love 'er or hate 'er, Nancy Pelosi of California is now the Speaker of the House. It's an historical day in U.S. politics. Exciting in its own way too. For their sake and ours, I hope this congress is able to accomplish much that impacts our lives in positive ways.