Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Well, there's a first time for everything

And today was a first for me.

As everyone knows, I am normally a very shy, retiring sort who has no political opinions whatsoever and, even if I did, would never dream of sharing those political views with others.

Yeah, well, anyway, today I just plain boiled over and did something I've never done before; I felt moved to contact the Houston City Council.

It started when I read the Chronicle this morning. The Houston City Council was set, apparently, to consider spending the $440,000 we apparently have left over from the Hurricane Ike Emergency Fund (we had LEFTOVERS???) to pay $3,000 per individual on CREDIT CARD DEBT for people who ALMOST qualify for home loans, to raise their credit scores so they could afford entry-level housing. (The vultures are swooping in on the foreclosures, buying the houses for pennies on the dollar, turning them Section 8, and selling them to first-time home buyers). Now, mind, the City already has tax credits up to $37,500 for first-time homebuyers (!), while my taxes on this place are $3,500 a year AFTER my homestead exemption.

Now, I like to help people, and I feel government definitely has a role to play in that regard. This one just left me aghast, though. I mean, come ON.

First, a quick tour of Houston (any area, pick one: Galleria, Heights, Montrose, Medical Center, IAH, Hobby, Westchase, Greenspoint, Willowbend, Greenway Plaza, South Main; even Upper Kirby, Tanglewood, Memorial, Rivah Oaks, and West U, but especially southeast Houston) will show a LOT of Ike damage still existing. If you fly out of Hobby or IAH on a clear day (as I did recently) and your flight path takes you on the "round the world" tour (as it sometimes does), when you look down the landscape is dotted with blue.

Blue? Those would be blue tarps, still covering roofs, 5 months after the hurricane. Now, some of those are slumlords who won't or can't fix the damage, but many are honest, hardworking people who can't afford the hideous deductibles.

For those who do not live in coastal areas: when Hurricane Katrina changed all of our lives, one of the changes was this: all the insurance policies were re-written to include clauses which change the deductible in the event of "named storms". Since Ike was a "named storm", the deductible on my roof (had I suffered damage, and thank you God that I didn't) would have been almost $2,000.00. Many of the disadvantaged can't afford their deductibles (and had no idea that the deductibles had gotten that high).

So, we've still got a LOT of Hurricane Ike damage.

Plus, there's bound to be a lot of damage to institutional buildings. I know many commercial buildings (whose owners have a vested interest in "return to normalcy" as soon as humanly possible) are showing damage; Greenway Plaza, some Medical Center, some on Beltway 8. You know that the Houston Independent School District, the City of Houston, and Harris County structures have sustained some damage, and that some of that hasn't been repaired.

Add to that the crumbling situation with some of our older, inner-city schools; the need for more Police, more Firefighters (these gallant individuals are stretched beyond the level of endurance), and you see why I became enraged over this plan to PAY PEOPLE'S CREDIT CARD BILLS with tax dollars.

So, I got on the phone today and called every City Councilperson's office, as well as the Mayor's office, and voiced my outrage.

With two exceptions, all said they had not ONE call in support and THOUSANDS of calls against.

I realize my voice probably didn't make a difference, but I just didn't feel I could stand idly by while this travesty was foisted on the good people of Houston.

Hell, if you want to spend the $440,000 (and why not put it in a plain savings account at Chase Bank at .025% interest for the NEXT time we have a hurricane; in case nobody noticed, we haven't moved...), why not spend it on paying the deductibles for the low-income folks who cannot afford theirs and must live under a drippy blue tarp? I wouldn't really object to that (even though, if it were me, I'd have to cough up the $2,000.00 for my deductible on my own).

In any event, a first: I called the City Council.

Next up: my arrest for some trumped-up charge. Stay tuned! ;-)


9:14 pm, addendum

Email I received from my own City Councilwoman:

The District G office received a large number of emails and phone calls today from concerned taxpayers of Houston, regarding City Council Agenda Item #21. This item, if passed, would have offered their hard-earned dollars to pay off the personal debts of those seeking affordable housing from the City of Houston. These grants would have been used to artificially increase credit scores in order to obtain mortgages. I adamantly opposed this item. Much of the current economic crisis is a result of encouraging those who cannot afford home ownership to obtain mortgages, without the ability to pay for or maintain the property. I am surprised the Administration would place an item on the Council Agenda without backup information, a committee meeting or any other prior discussion.

I am pleased to confirm that we were successful in having Item #21 removed from consideration on tomorrow's Council Agenda. As the District G Council Member, I will continue to advocate for you and oppose any action unrelated to providing high quality core services in a fiscally responsible manner.

Thank you,


Pam Holm

Council Member, District G

Saturday, February 21, 2009

All-in-all, not a horrible evening

I'm sitting here, one scotch down, one to go (I stop at two...so far...); the good scotch, Dewar's---well, nice middle-of-the-road stuff, anyway---; door open to the night breeze, 63 degrees (perfect); dogs snoozing comfortably at my feet; listening to Wynton Marsalis blow at Lincoln Center, reading Jack Keroac's "On the Road", a book I've always promised myself I'd read but never have.

So, what do y'all think---should I chuck it all and just hit the road, conjuring thoughts for "the Great American Novel"?

All kidding aside, the thought has appeal...

(Don't be shy with your responses, it's a serious question).

(Aside: I got the book at the downtown Houston Library; beautiful, clean, spacious, airy, full of light, full of knowledge---for free. What a concept: they've got these books, and they loan them to you free. You read them and return them, no questions asked, no storage problems. I've been doing Barnes and Noble and Amazon so long I'd forgotten you don't actually have to BUY the books, you can just borrow them, read them, and return them. And I used to work at the library, 30 years ago...).

(Wynton Marsalis really is madly talented).

Sunday, February 15, 2009

It's always interesting...

...when you get those little "a-ha" moments.

As all of my friends and most of my readers know, I'm going through a rough patch. Laid off from work, parents' health failing, all kinds of other issues, things just not quite going my way right now.

I got up and went to church this morning, hoping to hear something inspiring, something uplifting, something that would help me.

I was on time! (put that in your pipe and smoke it)

The first thing I always do is check to see if they're doing baptism. If they're doing baptism, I turn around and leave. No offense to you parents of small children, but unless I actually KNOW the child or its parents, I really don't care to sit there and try to make it through church while your babies wail. Further, I don't much care for the actual baptismal service itself. Being a 52 year old man able to do what I want, when I want, if it's baptism Sunday, I'm out.

But not today. Today was scheduled to be a nice, normal, Rite I Communion kind of day (the service in Elizabethan english that I love so).

Settle in the pew, and the other big buggerboo---some 8 foot tall person sitting in front---was taken care of by a nice young man and his wife, both short.

So it was with some disappointment that I discovered that today was the day for the "B" team---Fr. Nutter and Fr. Craven taking the day off from preaching, the two youngest members of the staff doing the preaching and conducting the service. They're both very sweet young folks, but dangit!

Sermon was ok, he's a really nice, sweet guy, but he's young and father of babies and is the Young People's minister---which is GREAT, FOR THE YOUNG PEOPLE. I was pretty impassive.

Music was fairly good (Palmer on a "fair" day is better than most churches on Christmas and Easter).

Then catastrophe struck (two times now since I've been a parishioner there). An elderly gentleman a couple of rows in front of me just slowly sank. His wife, obviously agitated, tried to summon help---which was quick to arrive.

If you're going to fall out, what better place than in a church at the front door of the Texas Medical Center, some of the finest medical care available anywhere. Church with multiple doctors, nurses, and paramedics as parishioners. And, of course, you're surrounded by priests as well.

So we stopped in the middle (which was weird) and the docs and priests attended to the gentleman; the paramedics (the ones on duty) brought the crash cart in and they got him up and out. The service then continued, albeit weirdly, and kind of absent-mindedly. We got through it, but that kind of stuff is always unnerving and you never quite get back "on track".

So, when I left, I really hadn't gotten what I came for; I was a little bummed. I drove home: Up South Main, left onto the ramp for the Southwest Freeway South (which runs east and west there), onto the Southwest Freeway to the Westpark Tollway (you have to "shoot the curl" right there, as we say---you stay left, then merge right across 5 lanes of traffic to exit. If you don't, you run into a "car wall" and you'll miss the exit).

On the Westpark, somewhere between Gessner and Beltway 8, I realized that I had a song stuck in my head. It was one of the communion hymns (we did "Amazing Grace" as one, but that wasn't it). It was a hymn we sang at least a million times in the Baptist church, but I've never heard the Episcopalians do it (and I've been an Episcopalian since 1983).

And then I realized, THAT HYMN is why I went this morning. I needed to hear it.

Guide me, O thou great Jehovah,
pilgrim though this barren land;
I am weak, but thou art mighty;
hold me with thy powerful hand;
Bread of heaven, Bread of heaven,
feed me till I want no more,
feed me till I want no more.

Open now the crystal fountain,
whence the healing stream doth flow;
let the fire and cloudy pillar
lead me all my journey through;
strong Deliverer, strong Deliverer.
be thou still my Strength and Shield,
be thou still my Strength and Shield.

When I tread the verge of Jordan,
bid my anxious fears subside;
bear me through the swelling current,
land me safe on Canaan's side;
songs of praises, songs of praises,
I will ever give to thee,
I will ever give to thee.


Saturday, February 14, 2009

Stay tuned for coming attractions!

Big news on the home front: I (along with Nathan--Coco was "his" rescue, these are "mine", but it's mainly "ours") rescued two Border Collies yesterday. The situation was very bad and they are pretty skittish, but we are making friends. Absolutely BEAUTIFUL dogs, very sweet, typical BC temperament (Kathy, Marty, and all my old Razorbacking friends, this means they are a lot like Frank).

I'm not putting much on here right now, but stay tuned. We're socializing them, then next week the vet, then they'll be ready for "prime time".

Thursday, February 12, 2009


Now that my birthday's over, the next item up on the family calendar is Mother and Dad's anniversary. They eloped on Valentine's Day, 66 years ago Saturday. While that wasn't exactly planned, it's been easy for Dad to remember his anniversary every year, and it was easy for us kids to remember as well.

In years gone by, we had a "Birthaversary" party every year. Since Phil came into our family, it's a "Birtha-birthaversary" party, since he's NEXT up on the list, next week in fact.

One of the features, year in and year out, of Mother's and my relationship has been Annaclairs. I bought her the first box of them when I was about 3 (Dad assured me she loved them, so I splurged on the 2-piece box: one for her, one for me. She did, in fact, love them, so I just kept on giving her box after box, year after year (the boxes have increased in size).

Lately they've been hard to find in the stores, but lately we have the trusty INTERNETS.

Come to find that they are made by the Price Candy Co., formerly of Ft. Worth, TX but as of last year, of Mt. Pleasant, Texas (a nice little east Texas town to/through which I've been at least a million times).

Also, I learnt that Annaclairs got their name from the two ladies who worked in the back, who came up with the confection: Anna and Clair. Annaclairs.

So, now that I know where they are, I'm once again on the hunt for Annaclairs. I may be back to the two piece box at these prices and not knowing whether Mother will even be interested or not. But, we shall see.

Let the hunt begin! (After tomorrow, I could literally say, "Release the Hounds!" and it would be a true pack, but for today it's more "release the cell phone!")

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

52...it just doesn't seem possible...

That's how old I think of my father as being. I've become "Mr. Jones" instead of "Nick".

When I was in my 20's, and somebody called me "Mr. Jones", I looked around for my father and grandfather. No way *I* could be "Mr. Jones". Now, I expect it and am annoyed when people I don't even know (especially young people) brightly chirp, "Well, NICK, ...." It's Mr. Jones to you, twerp, until I give you permission otherwise.

I'm just not as good at driving as I used to be. I have to make myself be extra careful in parking lots, at corners, even on the freeway, because I'm not as alert as I used to be.

Don't get me started on short-term memory. I can't remember ANYTHING that's happened in the last week. I'll start on some story and Nathan just rolls his eyes, meaning I've already told him that. Yet I can remember the distant past with such clarity....

One of these days, I'm going to kill myself on that little step from the den to the living room. I have a sunken living room (disco '76, baby!), through which you must pass to get from the den/kitchen area to the bedroom area (note: formal living and dining. Nobody has those any more). One of these days I'm going to miss that step and go down in a heap.

Tasks that used to be so effortless now require effort.

On this recent trip to Salt Lake City, you bet I let the nice porters handle my bags. Tip = no problem. I've always been one of those guys who, "can handle them myself, thanks!" Now, I'll let anyone who wants to load my bags.

I started watching the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show when I lived in Dallas, before I moved to Nashville. That was 1989, so I've now been watching that show 20 years.

I graduated from college 30 years ago May 21. It's been 27 years since I lived in Los Angeles, and (most startling to me), it's been 18 years since I lived in Dallas, which I always considered home along with Malvern. Neither the Malvern I remember nor the Dallas I remember are there any more. Both long gone. I'm not fond of the city and town which have taken their place. Malvern is just plain crap ("What can I say about say about --Malvern-- that hasn't already been said about Afganistan - it looks bombed out and depleted" to misquote Dave Chappelle) and Dallas has become this huge thing.

It was always "Big D", but the "Big D" I remember isn't there any more. Sanger Harris, Bek's Charbroiler, Sonny Bryan's (Sonny smoked like a stack; he always had a cigarette dangling from his lip. The cig moved every time Sonny talked, and Sonny talked constantly. Accordingly, the cigarette ashes went in the barbeque. Sonny didn't care. The crowd didn't seem to mind. Those of us who were there then say Sonny's ashes made the difference in the taste of the bbq, though honestly, it was Sonny's know-how that did. There's still a BBQ place called "Sonny Bryan's" there, but it's not Sonny's any more). Reunion Arena (brand new) being "Barnhill South". The Sportatorium. The "Dallas Palace" (Ladies, don't worry about the Dallas Palace. Guys, you should have been there....).

Men in "LBJ" hats.

DEFINITELY different than those worn by "Ol' J.R.", whose exploits we always followed. Hilarity: on the pilot episode of "Dallas", Sue Ellen, Miss Ellie, and Pam are held hostage by gunmen as Jock and J.R. are desperately trying to get back to the SouthFork---in a HURRICANE. Yup, a hurricane hit Dallas! (Trivia: the pilot and first 8 episodes were filmed on location in Stephenville, Texas at a real working ranch; the ranch was the home of Blake Box, who was a friend of mine at Baylor. "Hurricane" aside, the first 8 episodes were MUCH more realistic than the show became. You can see the "REAL" SouthFork ranch here). Note that Linda Gray (Sue Ellen) and Ken Kercheval (Cliff Barnes) aren't even in the opening credits!.)

The "real" Neiman-Marcus (Mr. Stanley wouldn't recognize it now, and I don't think he'd like it). Lunch at the Zodiak Room at Neiman-Marcus downtown (Helen Corbitt managing the kitchen), with fashion models modeling Dior and Balenciaga walking up to your table, describing the gown they were wearing to the women, giving meaningful looks to the men (you need to buy this for your lady!) and sailing off to the next table.

Riding the elevator at Republic Tower and bumping into "Mr. Stanley", Stanley Marcus, one of the most charming and gracious men I've ever met.

"...and Republic National Bank IS Dallas!" "Mmmmomen-tum!" "The Spirit of Texas on 8" featuring Tracy Rowlett, Iola Johnson, Verne Lundquist and Troy Dungan (and for my young friends who don't believe me when I tell them Verne Lundquist not only was the sportscaster on Channel 8, but used to have a full head of hair and be skinny, here you go.)

Turquoise and orange Dallas Transit buses rather than the bright-yellow "DART" trains (they were the old GMC buses, and about 3/4 of the air conditioners were broken, so mostly you rode---in a 3 piece suit, starched collar, and tie---in the heat, with no a/c, but with the windows open. I'm told the ladies were in dire straits with the pantyhose as well). Central Expressway BEFORE they fixed it, with the world's shortest entrance and exit ramps. Plano was about as far north as it went. Oh, hell, who am I kidding: I remember Dallas when Central Expressway went to Richardson (a country village) and stopped; when you went out East Grand to get on the 24 miles of what would become IH 30; when "South Stemmons", IH 35 E South, ended at Illinois Avenue

Ah, the good old days (that weren't really as good as we thought...).

But there are some compensations. As I told a friend (also my age) the other day, I wouldn't trade the knowledge and experience I have for youth. I would only want to go back if I could KEEP the knowledge and experience; to live that all over again? Uh-uh. Nope. Wouldn't be prudent.


It's not all bad. Last night I was sitting here watching the CBS Evening News (which I have done since Walter Cronkite anchored it), when Nathan walked in with groceries. He went in to put them away, then in a minute here he came with a Lemon Cream Icebox pie (otherwise known as "Eagle Brand Pie" at our house because the recipe came on the can of Eagle Brand milk) with lots of whipped cream and "5" "2" candles (the numbers themselves), while his computer played a jazzy version of "Happy Birthday to You". He bought the pie at House of Pies (my favourite pie from my favourite Pie Hole---see "Pushing Daisies" for reference---) and fixed it up to cheer me up.

It worked.

Unfortunately, the cocktail I had already consumed, combined with the sugar from the pie (after we've been off of sugar for years) gave me pretty much a diabetic coma and I went to sleep in the recliner---another sure sign of old age---and missed the end of Westminster.

Thank God for TiVo...and thoughtful friends...and soft, comfortable leather recliners...and memories....

Friday, February 6, 2009

Ok, God, I can take a hint!

Ok, so here I am taking this -dreadful- class in Salt Lake City (I won't call it a mistake; I got 24 hours of CE for my Texas adjusters' license; made a new friend; found out something I always wanted to know--how exactly Risk Managers DO go about making decisions on insurance coverages vs. retention vs. self-insurance; I gained a LOT of knowledge; and I found out that my previous plan to do all of these courses in February = FAIL--it's not happening--thus saving me a lot of money and effort)(Why is it a dreadful class? Because I haven't done statistical analysis since 1977, and I might have slept since then. Actually, I slept THROUGH that class, which I HATED. A Math major I am not...to those of you who think regression analysis is fun, finding the standard deviation is child's play, and showing net present value before and after taxes with a 10% cost of capital and to within a 95% interval is fun, GOOD FOR YOU. I'll stick with correcting everyone's grammar and historical inaccuracies...).

So I had been to Buca di Beppo, which is a couple of long blocks down the street from the hotel. I was walking back and talking to a friend on my cell phone. Actually, I was crying on his shoulder about my job situation (I'm actually getting pretty nervous; many companies have hiring freezes and I've been rejected for several jobs---ok, I wasn't qualified for a couple of them, but two of them kind of stung a bit).

My exact quote: "Man, I just don't know what I'm going to do." As I uttered these words, I looked down at the sidewalk and there, stenciled on the sidewalk, was this:

Ok, Jesus, I'm a-trustin'! Don't know what You've got in mind, but I'm open.

(Anybody who knows me knows of my belief that any good story can be "improved" a bit, but this one is word-for-word true).

Coincidence? You decide. I know what I think.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Random observations from Salt Lake City

1. I was surprised to learn that all but 3 of the Subaru Outbacks ever sold in the United States were located in Salt Lake City, Utah.

2. The other 3 are in Colorado.

3. The people here are very friendly and nice. I was asked for a handout last night by a very polite bum. Unlike the usual variety, he was actually nice. I wish (a) I had had some change to give him (all I had was a $20 and that's too much) and (b) I had stopped and talked with him. He was cultured, sounded educated. How did he come to be begging on 500 South in Salt Lake City? (The nearby liquor store is possibly a clue).

4. My seatmate at the seminar I'm attending is a very nice Mormon gentleman named Jim. Despite our religious differences, he and I have struck up a nice acquaintance. I needed a calculator (who knew we were going to need to do square roots?) and he drove me to a nearby Wal-Mart (see #5 below) today at lunch to buy one, then took me to a nearby Thai place (it was good; not as good as our fabulous Singha Thai in West Houston, but certainly better than average). He surprised me by speaking Thai to the staff; seems his "mission" when he was the young man in the white shirt, black tie, and black trousers on a bicycle was in Thailand and he learned the language. His birthday and mine are 3 weeks apart (he's older...) and we discussed old age and the fact that, contrary to popular belief, we would not trade our knowledge and experience for the 25 year old slender bodies with dark hair that we used to own.

5. Ok, so I'm an Arkie. We can't go ANYWHERE without going to Wal-Mart for SOMETHING. This one was a TWO STORY Wal-Mart Supercenter! I'd never seen a two story before; very strange. Nevertheless, there was a line to check out....

6. The air quality here is worse than Houston (which is saying plenty). There's been a temperature inversion here the past week, and the air is Los Angeles brown. You can smell it everywhere. It'll go tomorrow, though, because of the...

7. SNOW. It's supposed to start snowing tonight, higher elevations first of course, then working its way down into the valley. The peak of the action is supposed to be Saturday at noon.

8. I am scheduled to fly out Saturday at 1:30.

9. Have had several excellent dining experiences here: Buca di Beppo (I realize it's a chain and there are two in Houston, but I'd never been and it beat all Hell out of Denny's...again...). Had the proscuitto stuffed mushrooms and a meatball (the meatballs are 1/2 pound). Tonight, went to Squatters Brewpub here in downtown Salt Lake. Terrific atmosphere, enjoyed visiting with the other people around me while downing their excellent specialty brews (my favourite: "Chasing Tail", featuring a large yellow lab).

10. Toured the Mormon stuff here in downtown Salt Lake City the other day. No offense, but I find their beliefs incredible (SYLLABICATION: in·cred·i·ble ADJECTIVE: 1. So implausible as to elicit disbelief: gave an incredible explanation of the cause of the accident. 2. Astonishing: dressed with incredible speed.
ETYMOLOGY: Middle English, from Latin incrdibilis : in-, not; see in–1 + crdibilis, believable; see credible. Courtesy American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Ed.)

That doesn't stop me from admiring their unique architecture, their dedication to their cause, and the tenacity it took for them to eke out an existence here while building their own "Heaven on Earth". I don't believe as they do, but their accomplishments cannot be denied. You can see my pictures with captions here.

11. I'm not really sorry I made the trip, but the course is not what I expected (not sure what I did expect, but this ain't it) and I've been turned down for several jobs for which I applied. Kind of a downer, and the mormon stuff was kind of creepy. I won't be sad to be on the plane headed back to Houston and civilization.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Kathy's blog post on "The Day the Music Died" got me thinking about "Hi-Fi"

I had an RCA Victor "Combination" with an AM Radio AND a turntable, both in Hi-Fi; it had the "big" adaptor and I could play my 45's (which I still have) automatically (about 5 or 6 was the total amount it could handle at any one time; usually the 6th one would "slip").

It was very similar to this one. Its fate? Ever the woodworker, my Dad took the guts out, cut the speaker part out, and put the top and doors on the legs. Mother then painted and stained it chinese red. It is sitting in my entry hall in Houston right now with a lamp on it.

Now, Granny and Gramp had one of those big Magnavox jobs. I love that stereo (my cousin Jack still has it and it still works). This is an ad for the very one; note the classically understated beehive on the beauty selecting the record...

We went with them to Haverty's on Main Street in downtown Little Rock to buy it; Granny fretted severely over spending so much money but Mantovani and 101 Strings (not to mention the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Lawrence Welk!) just sounded so much better on it that she gave in. It had two small "remote" speakers that could be plugged in, so the sound surrounded you (not to be confused in any way with modern surround sound).

I will say this about the old Magnavox: It had the greatest tonal range (they had a unique sound), the smoothest tuner (I have no idea what the mechanism was, but it glided), and a beautiful cabinet (Mediterranean, of course...).

I was torn when Granny would go to the beauty shop. Many times, I would get to drive her (I was a better driver at 13 than she was at 65), so there was that. On the other hand, if she went by herself, I was guaranteed a couple of hours with the Magnavox, and I could (and did) crank it to the skies with the Beatles, Badfinger, the Stones, and even Elvis. Only got caught once.

Meanwhile, in Gladewater, Texas, my Aunt Virginia had the ULTIMATE combo: the Magnavox stereo WITH BLACK AND WHITE TEE-VEE! And yup, I found a picture of one very similar to it. You could watch TV and the sound would kind of sound like "stereo", almost.

I know CD's and a modern surround system are better, but those huge old boxes made some great sounds.

Monday, February 2, 2009

The bizzarre thing about Facebook

is that it doesn't neatly compartmentalize all your friends (it probably can, but where's the fun in being organized?).

So, I've stumbled into the idea that I could possibly contact some of my fraternity brothers (as Kathy did with her sorority sisters). WOW, I hit a motherlode of them today! We've been having a ball trading insults (it's the way of guys; ladies, don't even try to understand. It's like we don't understand baby showers and wedding showers---just don't get it.) all day. Many of them have beautiful families, while others are like me, just themselves.

It's funny though--even though we're all "older", I would have been able to identify every single one of them (and if I pledged under them, their hometown, major, girlfriend's name, etc., and probably what kind of car they drove in 1975 since I washed enough of 'em).

The funny thing is, when I'm going over my "friends", there are my Razorbacking friends, my Trinity Baptist Church/San Antonio friends, my non-Razorback-related Arkansas friends, and my current friends. All jumbled together.

It's kind of a collage of my life---different parts, all pasted together.