Not your grampy's snow storm


I think this pretty much sums up the wintry onslaught that was rent upon the American Heartland this past week. While there was much weeping and gnashing of sundry masticators, one must also say it was more fun than a great many barrels of primates. Tami won the style award, as you can tell. Good show, I say.

It's not every day you get 14 inches of powder with gale force winds to boot. At least not in Sooner country. Thankfully my Wyoming training kicked in and I knew exactly what to do. It involved cursing, among other warmth-saving measures. But I'm sworn to Cowboy State secrecy with the rest, so I can't divulge here. You just have to go there to learn yourself...

Happy sledding, e'erbody. Yo ho ho and a bottle o' Nog.

Daddy Abuse

POSTED IN | 11:10 PM

...Affecting more Americans every year...especially around the holidays. Just say NO.

Change Would Do You Good

POSTED IN | 11:36 PM

It's a hard truth to swallow sometimes, but in reality nothing stays the same for long.

I think it's a natural inclination in life to grasp those moments and respites when things are good. When friends are near, family is placid...when there's a chilled beverage in your hand and your team is up by three touchdowns with BCS scenarios forthcoming.

And we like to march into those moments and setup camp. We like to pitch our little tents and say this...(this!) harmony is the new normal. I'm happy with my life and I'm never setting foot out of Camp Happy again. It's farewell to the rest of the world, cause by gum, I'm happy. And that's all that matters.

But gee willikers, Batman! That's just not reality.

Not that I'm coming off a particular loss of my own or stomaching an unwonted disturbance in the force. But life has, over the past year, impressed on me the need to realize those moments of respite are NOT the norm. Indeed, those moments are the exception.

They are beautiful moments of special grace and are to be cherished to the fullest. But normal? Hardly.

For about the past year I've had a blithe interest in the psychology of survival. Not really like Bear Grylls does it (although, swoon, what he does is certainly along the same lines).

But why do some live and others don't? Why do some cope and thrive and others implode into a fractionated existence of despair?

But more than knowing how to survive in the Amazon jungle by drinking your own pee (which, they say isn't advisable, btw) and killing wamp rats for food, survival is an everyday commodity with everyday implications.

When the car doesn't start. When you lose your job. When people fail you. When major life plans get screwed up. When you're lonely. When your life expectations are mercilessly trampled.

What do you do? How do you cope?

How do I cope?

Good questions, certainly. And ones we should all try to quell with some meaty answers.

I'm reading this book about survival right now. I recommend it.

It says:

"The best survivors understand that normal is just a fleeting state of mind. Indeed normalcy may seem steady and constant, but it's really just the intermission between the chaos and messiness of life.

"Survivors accept that life probably won't ever return to the way it used to be. So they let go, adapt, and embrace the 'new normal.'"

Some pretty heavy words that can be quite anxiety-inducing just by reading them. To be certain these words bring much chaos to our tranquil, American Dream-laden Camp.

But more and more I'm realizing that survival is a choice of sorts. We can't choose our circumstances but we can choose our responses.

And really, how in control of our lives are we anyway? Seriously. Think about the 1 million variables we have zero power over...

*Pause for antacid tablets.*

And now, with our nation and world at a unique point of tension with job loss, wars, roiling debt and self-serving politics on all sides, we have myriad real-life applications for survival. The stage is ours, in a sense. How will we perform? Like our own Discover Channel docu-drama, will we make it out of the Amazon? And once we get out, will we ever find Camp Happy again, if only a remnant of its former glory?

To be honest I haven't really gotten that far in the book to give you some better answers, but YES, know there are ways out of the jungle.

And we all possess some weapons to battle our perils and those of our kinsmen (and kinswomen). Affluence and stubbornness has just blunted our survival A-game. But we can reclaim some of it with time and effort. And by hanging on God to daily meet our weighty shortcomings.

If we realize that it's good to struggle and that we grow through it then we don't have to despair when life pulls a charlie foxtrot on us. Indeed the snafu becomes the new plan. The new normal.

It's interesting that we have to release our expectations and change in order to arrive at a new place of stability.

Do you let go of expectations? Do you change for the better?

Do I?

And are we really THAT cool to begin with, that change is bad?

Gee willikers, Batman. Gee willikers, indeed.

"Survivors aren't superheroes who vanquish adversity every time and live happily ever after...They're regular people who win some and lose some.

"They overcome adversity but they don't necessarily accomplish it in the same way. They aren't always adaptable and optimistic; they feel stuck and gloomy, too.

"Ultimately what defines a survivor is the talent for making the most of life, however much remains."
In Fort Worth, Texas they have somewhat of a epic in the making.

Thus, from what's one of the feel-good gridiron stories of the year, I bring you some first-hand photo documentation.

It's true the BCS is full of self-serving pundits who are even more power hungry than they are money mongrels (which is surprising).

And this year, like those in the past, Gary Patterson's Horned Frogs are suggesting these pundits (among other things) are full of crap.

And so it seems TCU didn't conquer the world with guns this season. But they just might've done it with a flawless string of peals in the "W" category.

And, now that our Sooners trounced Oklahoma State last week, it seems likely the BCS Buster Bus will pick up a few more wayward chillens before dropping decisively down upon the post-season pundit park.

I can only hope there's chaos aplenty and many an ogreish oath spoken in backlash of "the system."

OU's not playing for anything spellbinding, so it's a pointedly good year to churn the bowl-game pot, no?

Of course you agree.

But here's a sampling from the TCU v. Utah game of yesterweeks. Bro-in-law Sam scored me a sideline photography pass, in keeping with the finest bro-in-law form. (Rule, Britania!)
Look for some more pics of the game to follow shortly.

Push em back, push em back, waaaayyy back.

Sam and Laura, relishing the post-game nostalgia.

A piercing message.

Better warm up the bus, Utah...

Friday Night Fights

POSTED IN | 12:34 PM

OUCH. I don't understand why people want to do this, but you gotta respect their gusto.

Playing in the rockin bell band

POSTED IN | 10:18 PM

(me and bell choir stand partner)

They say you never forget your first time.

First time to play in a hand bell choir that is.

And so it goes that Thanksgiving Day will be my maiden hand bell voyage with the All Souls' Episcopal troupe. But instead of cracking a bottle of Dom P. over the bow I'll be tickling some brassies with fellow ringers. Choice. All told I'm quite elated.

For whatever reason I've always wanted to be in a hand bell choir. The girls, the cash, the prestige. And, mhhm...the svelte ebony gloves. All things I idolize in life, really. But don't worry, I won't let it change me...

Bells represent a brilliant pairing of tonality with percussive action — tactile musical bliss in hand-held form. And I mostly specialize in four notes: G, G#, A and A# just below middle C — kind of your mid-range tonal arsenal, as far as hand bells go.

So that's it. Check it off the list. I think I've reached my life summit, friends. And I'm not even 26 years old. Not a bad go of things all told.

But it doesn't stop there.

I'm also a chorister these days too. A rekindling of former vocal mediocrity. It's divine (in a mostly temporal way).

Several weeks ago (on All Saints Sunday) we sang the Schubert Mass in B flat major at church. It was divine (in a more eternal way). Here's the mass' Gloria. You should listen to it if you want to connect with something larger than yourself.

I've been at All Souls' for about three months now and it seems my life is on an ever increasing high-church trajectory. For starters I wear a cassock and surplice every Sunday. How did that happen?

But the Episcopal tradition is a simplistically beautiful one I think. I love the symbols and the sensory elements of worship. And chanting is just plain cool.

And now, as we're moving into the especially meaty portion of the liturgical year there are good things on the menu. You can keep your holiday muzak. We've got the real deal at the Souls': vocal, orchestral, percussional.


Ring it like a polaroid.

Father and Son

POSTED IN | 10:59 PM

(and brother and nephew to me)

Pain is...

POSTED IN | 12:39 AM
Pain is weakness leaving the body...

...or just a padded right hook smashing your face.

*fun times on the Tinker sports beat. go team*


Not your grampy's Horned Frogs

POSTED IN | 11:20 PM
It's always nice in fandom to have a good backup. Your go-to team that's a good rebound when your No. 1 is down and/or out. Turns out TCU might be my rebound this year (how dare you judge me)

But I've been strongly pressured in this direction in recent years by the family addition of two TCU super-fan bros-in-law. And maybe, just maybe, I finally drank the Kool-Aid this past weekend. Dang that peer pressure...

So it was that we enjoyed a good-ol butt whoopin of UNLV at the hands of a very impressive TCU unit. With my Sooners riding the comparative BCS short bus I'm okay having a backup Purple and White hip-flask to go with my Crimson and Cream coozy...

But anyway, here are several photos with which you may wet your whistle. It was a great game and weekend. Go Frogs. Boo Iowa...and Cincinnati.

Yeah!!!!....yet another touchdown as we run up the score on a lackluster team!!!

Homemade ingenuity. Poor Frogs, can't get any love with their Mountain West caste. Somebody needs to call the ACLU...

Yeah band! Sorry, I had to, it's in the fine print. These guys rocked a halloween Thriller show though. They did the dance on field and everything. Super bandee envy!

Pre-game Awkward

POSTED IN | 10:45 PM

Not a bad genre piece. And the presence of Baylor's football team in any photo background is pretty awkward in its own right, am I wrong?



The nephews take survey of a setting sun over Lake Thunderbird. (photo by my bro)

One shot, One kill

POSTED IN | 12:48 AM
My brother killed a deer with his bow and arrow last week. It was his first animal taken in such a fashion, after several years in the sport.

So he took the shot, there was no danger, and the end result was a smallish Bambi Twohorn corpse that will feed Mammy and the chillens come winter.

But I'm proud of my bro. Not every man can shoot a deer in the spinal chord, through the heart, through the lungs and out the other side while perched on a platform 20 feet above the forest floor. I think even Davy Crockett gave my brother a here-in-spirit coon-skin-cap nod from the grave.

Here we are with the primary incisions while gutting the beast. I remember back when my family lived in Maine and we saw a guy cleaning a black bear like this. I was five and the bear seemed HUGE. Probably where my bear phobia originated...

But thankfully animal blood doesn't bother me. Only the human variety (especially when paired with needles). But we got 'er gutted alright. Good eatins for nearby coyotes. Gut pile a la carte anyone?

Family shot around the deer. Nephew Joshy: "Can I touch the eyeball?" "Yes, son. You can touch the eyeball."

And a shot of the nephews-on-car-with-football to grow on.

Where the Streets Have No Name

POSTED IN | 10:21 PM
Before last year my live concert ace of spades was seeing Ben Folds when he came to OU in Ot Five. It was, in a word, rockin', which is appropriate for Mr. Folds.

And yet my mountain top concert experience wouldn't come until later.

Last year I had the exquisite fortune to see both Willie Nelson and B.B. King live in, to my surprise, Wyoming. This proved the fact that amazing things really can happen in a desert. Just ask the Israelites. And how.

So Willie and B.B. are hard to best. They are truly world class. Their stage presence and musicianship are sweeter than honey. And I saw them both for FREE. I have great friends...

And then we have U2 last night, which is in a different category all together. I was still in the womb when the Irish rockers last played in Norman. It was June 1983 and, sadly, my parents weren't fans at the time so I don't have a nifty "I was there in the oven" story. If only...

And I won't belabor the point with personal anecdotes, but U2 was a true sensory explosion, to the point of overload at times. I was agog, and taken back to the numerous moments of singing along over the years, which all led to the concert Sunday. Sheer beauty.

And if they say Sesame Street ruins your attention span I'm not sure in what state a concert like U2's leaves you. Perhaps time will tell, but I hope it won't ruin smaller venues; a once-and-done Debbie Downer on all future concerts. But I don't think it will.

So indeed these are interesting times. I would say I'll never see a display like that again, but I don't think that's true, as the bar's been raised to unbelievable heights the world round (see Beijing last summer). And there's little limit to what mankind will hatch up.

So it seems U2 is the new sensory mountain top of the Grandiose Genre. For now, it's my new ace.

Goodnight, Norman!!!

The Mothership stage pano. Unbelievable. 70 semis worth of gear to set it up! (although half of those are actually just beer trucks for the Irish techies). At least you have to agree the concert was better than what we've mostly been seeing from the football team in Owen Stadium this year...

Justinius, pre-concierto. Excited, yet timid.

Black Eyed Peas opener. I'll admit, I yelled 'LOUDER' after they said 'PUMP IT!' My Humps...hmm...still powerfully non-ideal.

But on to the real deal! Meet the cast: Adam Clayton, arguably the most underwhelming and replaceable of the troupe. Also showing his age the most of the quartet. But he's still grooving it out, old school.

Larry Mullen Jr.! Still rockin it. Has anyone heard this man speak ever?

Delicious. Our old friend, The Edge. You know it's serious when you have THE as a first name. And he's earned it, certainly. He's definitely my fav. You can keep Bono. I was so hoping for a solo of Van Dieman's Land from this character, but what can you do. These aren't the golden 80s anymore. But man, even this guy's walk screams ROCKER.

I wanted to cry when he lit into the opening riff for Where The Streets Have No Name. That song made my night.

Bono Vox. Fun Facts: his real name? Paul David Hewson.
Yeah, not as cool. If you're worth 200 Mil you get a cooler name too though, so there's hope.
Captivating stage presence all told.

Desmond Tutu telling us to care about the impoverished world.

Sunday Bloody Sunday, while drawing attention to Iran's recent political injustice.

Sensory explosion rock out.

The Cutting Edge

POSTED IN | 12:38 AM

Stay tuned for a very chic, very raw genre, my peeps.
Best bring your thick skin, cause it just might cut you.

Panoramic Picks

Some good ones from the summer travels out West. Click to make bigger.

Great Salt Lake, Utah.

Hyalite Reservoir near Bozeman, Montana.

Yellowstone River Lower Falls, Yellowstone Nat'l Park.

Papa Stu and wheat field near Idaho Falls, Idaho.

Colter Bay, Grand Teton Nat'l Park. Notice kayak tip.

More Tetons.

Sun Valley, Idaho, at ski mountain summit.

If the brows could talk

My sister's baby has some killer brow control for a three month old. Many a thespian has toiled away the hours in front of a mirror to practice what she already has.
It's cute now, but come teen years? LOOK. OUT.

Scheming to take over the world.

Da. Boys.

POSTED IN | 11:20 PM

Good friends come visit even when you live in Wyoming. Holla.

Jerry's House panoramic

POSTED IN | 12:26 AM

As the Sooner gods would have it, I happened to be at the first ever college football game played in the new Dallas Cowboys stadium. It was back in September. OU played BYU, in case you weren't following.

While I can't say it's thrilling to see your Heisman quarterback go down with a serious injury and your team lose by one point to Brigham Young, the stadium is nothing short of astounding. Thank you tax payers of Arlington, Texas. Good to see we're building $1.2 billion stadiums in a time of immense recession.

The screen is something like 80 yards across and seemingly HD quality. This is important as the "cheap" (relative term) seats are about 10,000 feet above the playing turf and include oxygen masks.

I think it seats about 75,000 peeps all told, which means 65,000 folks leave when OU is down 14-13 late in the fourth quarter with no sign of hope. Why again did we schedule BYU as the first game of the season?

Anyway, I'm over that. Here's a three pic panoramic of the Death Star that Mr. Jones built. It is a practical place of worship.
If I'm honest with myself I've always believed. At least a little bit. Imagination was never really a problem you see. But it seems it's getting harder to doubt the more I learn.

Friends, I have a most dire proclamation, commanding your most sincere consideration.

This isn't easy for me to say...

...But bigfoot might be real.

I know. Take a breath. Maybe a draught of SoCo or three.

If you're like me you grew up in the woods and this new found consideration makes you retroactively fearful of WHAT could've been in the woods with you all those years.

As a bigfoot believer said: "It's not that I'm afraid of the dark...just afraid of what's IN the dark."


But this is merely the tip of a very hairy iceberg my dear chillens.

So it was that the 2009 Honobia Bigfoot Festival came and went. It was in the middle of nowhere Oklahoma and the camping was great if not a bit spooky. Heidi and I even went out on assignment with some of these bigfoot "researchers." It was hella dark and they played bigfoot call blasts over the loud speaker (to entice bigfeet, obviously) and banged on trees with sticks ("wood knocks").

One guy had a .45 strapped to his leg "in case they get right on top of us." Apparently everyone is packing heat on these bigfoot "research trips". Is anyone really surprised? All told we might've heard a bigfoot "whoop" in the distance round midnight. Maybe. But it was quite entertaining and a tad bit surreal. Are we REALLY out here doing this? Yes, yes we are. So what does that say about us?...

But just to clear things up, we're OKAY. Thanks though for your concern on our behalf. No bigfoot attacks to report, and nary a sighting to speak of. Gracias a Dios.

Heidi also earned her Faithful Random Friend merit badge for her attendance. Funny how few people want to attend a bigfoot conference mid-week in backwater, America.

But the festival was far from a revival and yet I came away with a gospel message of a different color.

During the weekend Heidi and I heard from prominent bigfoot "researchers" in the area and nation. These were the pros, friends, and they are a curious breed.

Long story short, these people are largely backwoods in nature. Surprised? Really? While I'm personally fine with this, the presence of a camouflage L.S.U. hat on your nog doesn't really help your credibility (Tiger fans please take offense). And yet, these people have some rather provocative first-hand bigfoot stories. I couldn't get enough. And I've never seen so many willing orators in my life. Sheesh.

But there are others who believe too. A lot of white collar folks. Some with PhDs and highly legitimate civilian jobs on the outside. Certainly all these factors should be considered.

So my main questions are thus:

Why have there been so many alleged bigfoot sightings of roughly a similar nature over a multi-century time frame? Are there truly thousands of off-their-rocker yokels? Or, is this an impeccably crafted hoax spanning multiple generations and thousands of miles? Or both? Are ALL these people lying? Or simply mistook certain creatures for bigfoot?

One theory debunking the Loch Ness monster is that sightings only started in the 1930s. No previous history makes the B.S. flag angry, so the critics say. In contrast, sasquatch has been cracking open natty lights on red neck porches since the early 1800s, according to some books I perused (yes, I peruse bigfoot books. there i said it). Whatever bigfootish thing people have seen, they've been seeing it for a long time and have been writing it down to boot. Most curious.

Now really. Are there that many nut jobs? That many mistaken observations?

Or do people just WANT to believe in bigfoot and therefore yarn their tales at will?

Or, could it be that there's REALLY something out there? (Mulder and Skully enter stage left) We think the world is so small and yet there are some flipping REMOTE places right here in our own Fifty Nifty that we don't fully know about. Believe me. I lived in Wyoming. I know.

But the bigfoot pros say there are only between 2,000 and 6,000 bigfoots in all of North America. They think bigfoots are highly intelligent, masters of their terrain, and can therefore elude detection like Friar Tuck on his way home from the pub.

There have been bigfoot reports in every state (including an alleged sighting near Norman's Lake Thunderbird) except Hawaii, citing bi-pedal creatures with a mid-tarsal joint on the feet (like primates). They come in several colors: brown, black, reddish, blondish and occasionally leopard print (they can't get enough of Halloween, so they say).

Bigfoot likes his terrain like his women: rough and quiet. They are said to live in clans of three to 20, roaming a large home area and never staying in one place for very long. They are smelly brutes and, debatably, have a marsupial pouch for the sole purpose of hip-flask storage (reports are inconclusive on that last fact).

BUT MOST INTERESTINGLY (all sarcasm aside):

Folks now think bigfoot has his own language.


A former Navy cryptolinguist gave a spiel on this. He's firmly convinced of it and thinks sasquatch has a vibrant language that he and his pals use to talk about who's gonna catch dinner that night, whose female is knocked up A-GAIN and who's gonna win the Bi-Ped Bowl come February. You know, the essentials.

But seriously, this guy really believes this. And he's putting serious time and effort into proving his beliefs. Scott Nelson is his name. Here are his creds. Do you think this guy is off? What DO you think?

Are we gonna see Bigfootese on Rosetta Stone shelves soon?

Probably not, but Nelson makes some very compelling arguments for bigfootkind (i.e. he's working on a bigfootese alphabet and hopes to talk to bigfoot in his own tongue).

So, anyway. There's a big world of info out there on sasquatch. More than you care to know, I know. I don't even know why I care so much. It's the intrigue appeal I suppose.

So what are we to make of this friends?

Is the truth really out there?

Land ho! Our campsite in Honobia, OK: Christ's 40 Acres. Lovely place, really. Heidi, posting up.

Beauty scenery. We were in SE Oklahoma, about 50 miles east of Antlers, OK. Yeah seriously, WHERE'S THAT? But most bigfoot sightings are in this part of the state. Not sure King Cong would get noticed in those woods...

Dense terrain.

Wait...I think I see something...

............false alarm...........

Campsite. Our tents are in the middle there. Nice short-leaf pines everywhere.

Bigfoot story campfire! So good! This guy has seen bigfeet several times down there.

Dr. Jeff Meldrum during his presentation of cave drawings depicting bigfoot. He's a prof at Idaho State and he has a new book out which you can actually buy on Amazon. NO, I didn't buy the book. C'mon, people. I check mine out at the library, seriously.

Cryptolinguist Scott Nelson during his presentation. He played a bunch of alleged bigfoot conversation snippits for us. Pretty wild.

Festival flair. Yum.

Forest cruising.

Former Honobia, OK post office. Apparently it was the smallest post office in the US in its day. Coincidence?...the country's smallest post office in bigfoot territory. I wouldn't want them in my post office either, tell you what.

for other light reading, might I suggest:

-A very spooky bigfoot encounter

-Bigfoot Research Organization

-North America Bigfoot Search