Thursday, November 30, 2006

Now that's one very old jingle

I've stumbed upon what appears to be a quirky and entirely local Christmas tradition here in my adopted state.

It's a strange marketing phenomenon known as the B.C. Clark Jeweler's jingle. This catchy, singable, and retro-cheesy advertising jingle is over 50-years old, and still going strong.

To read more about this funny little jewelry store that's been around since before statehood (1892...that's older than the original Tommy's Burger in downtown LA), check out their website.

You can download their jingle to your iPod or watch the little animated Santa tv spot that my wife remembers so fondly. She feels, as many Okies apparently feel, that it just isn't Christmas until you've heard the B.C. Clark jingle.

This family run jewelry store seems to have a pretty slick marketing/advertising department. For a 3-store chain, they've managed to develop a well rounded brand identity that would cause my old employer to shudder with delight. One of B.C. Clark's ongoing campaigns which keeps them in the forefront of the minds of brides-to-be across the state is their "Rainy (or snowy) Wedding Day - Wedding Ring Giveway."

Basically, if you buy a ring from B.C. Clark and it rains or snows more than an inch on your wedding day, they''ll cover the cost of the ring for up to $5,000.

So far this year, they've given away 24 wedding rings.

Not too shabby.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

While Yoko Ono shreaks, my daughter sings

A local radio station (several actually) have been playing "holiday" music since a few days before Thanksgiving.

I wrote one station an email basically stating that while I appreciated the 24-7 holiday music selection, I encouraged them to expand their library just a tad beyond the 24 or so songs they have carted (old school) or ripped onto their play list hard drives (new digi-style).

While I just love to listen to Yoko's barely tolerable backup vocals behind John singing "Happy Christmas, War is Over," once or twice a day is more than enough, even for a Lennon fan such as myself.

More than a dozen "War is Over's" in one day (while listening to the station at sporadic intervals at best) is more Yoko than anyone needs to hear while operating a motor vehicle or trying to match sock pairs while folding a load of whites.

In fact, while driving my daughters around, C became familiar enough with that particular tune to be able to sing along to the chorus.
A very merry Christmas, and a happy new year.
Let's hope it's a good one, without any fear."

On a more sentimental note, hearing my 7-year old belt out what has always been a heartstring tugging holiday tune to me, brought a choke to my throat and a few well placed 0's and 1's in the CPU in my head.

December 8, 1980 - Strawberry Fields Forever, John.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Cowboy sushi

The other night, wifey was in the mood for some sushi. And since the only raw fish seen around my small town is the kind you bait a hook with (some would say the ONLY proper use for raw fish), we ventured into the city to find an establishment worthy enough to separate our funds from our bank account.

A self-proclaimed OKC restaurant guru and eat-out "in-the-know" co-worker of my wife tells her that there exists only one sushi restaurant in all of greater OKC that is owned by a card carrying member who hails from the land of the rising sun.

How could this be?

Off to my fingers go a typing.

What I find sends my right eyebrow skyward and bends my conscious mind towards believing wifey's co-worker, as every establishment claiming to serve Japanese cuisine that's listed within a days drive, is named after the following items:The first of two of the largest battleships ever built
A cat sushi chef
The first novel in James Clavell's Asian saga.
60's crooner Frankie Valli's backup group
One of the most skilled swordsmen in history
The modern capital of Japan
I don't know about you, but none of these items conjure up images of a wonderous Japanese culinary cuisine experience awaiting my palate that is parched for some nipponese soul food.

Yes, food is just food, and between good cooks and great chefs there exists all those who can whip up a good dish no matter what the origin of the cuisine in question may be. And don't get me wrong...I've had good sushi at joints owned and run by Koreans, Vietnamese, Cantonese, Filipinos...even one run by a lady from Guam..all within the confines of the greater Los Angeles area.

In fact, one of my favoritte places to belly up to the uncooked fish bar and get berated by the barely English speaking sushi chef is run by a family of first generation South Koreans, or Seoul-ites, as they westerly call themselves.

And I must also add the disclaimer that I am in no way an expert at all things sushi, nor am I privvy to the secret preparation methods or training regime that a real sushi chef must undergo.

To rise to an expert consumption level, I'd have to take it up a notch and turn the barstool over to my ex-colleagues at my last gig.

These guys were sushi fiends, downing multiple varieties of uncooked seafood and items barely pronounceable to me, much less edible.

To this day, I can't take a bite of the stuff without thinking about the first time I mixed my wasabi and soy while in the presence of Dave, Stu, and Herb, then was shocked to see, hear, smell, and watch them order bits of raw fish and rice that I hadn't eaten since being forced to try as a kid..."it's'll like it...tastes like chicken."

These three, seemingly meat and potato men from as far away as the Jersey coast and nearby as Whitier (LA Barrio-west), opened my eyes to just how pervasive sushi-consumption had become in our country.

To be honest, I felt more than a little immasculated and out-Asian'd by these three caucasiod raw fish consumers as I ordered my California rolls and raw tuna pieces.

Back to OKC ranch, wifey and I settled into the Frankie Valli backup group sushi/teppan restaurant. We were greeted by an atrractive blonde coed wearing a lovely silk kimono that she wore more like a bathrobe. It was definitely not tailored to fit her statuesque proportions...or so my wife tells me...I wasn't looking (ahem).

The sushi chef was from Korean, but he studied under a Vietnamese sushi chef who actually did learn his craft in Japan. Score.

We were seated next to a large party of "horse people" who were in town for the Quarter Horse show happening at the nearby State Fairgrounds.

The image of cowboy hatted, western wear clad, horse folk chowing down on daintly little rice/veggie/seafood tidbits of food took the entire dining experience to a new level.

S and I ordered, and ate, watched the show at the nearby teppan tables, and generally had a grand time, satisfying both our cravings for some "Seoul" food, and our need to empty out our bank account.

Friday, November 24, 2006

"My fodder hurts..."

The other night PK was kinda listless and not her usual bouncy self.
We asked her what was wrong and if anything hurt.
She said " fodder hurts."

Let me explain.

For the last two months, for 3-days a week, PK's been attending the 3-year old Pre-K program at the Catholic School across the street. It's convenient, safe, clean, a good deal for the money, and we're fairly good friends with her teacher.

In the first few months, PK has learned the pledge of allegiance, the golden rules, the lyrics and melodies to several songs (both patriotic and those of Christian dogma), how to stand in line, how not to complain about cafeteria food, and the difference between a skirt, a skort, and a jumper -- okay, that last one was actually something I learned.

Being a Catholic institution, she also came home one day with a new skill -- the art of something called the Holy Rosary...or at least the opening line of it. Along with the words ("In the name of the Father, the Son...) she learned what I call the "Holy Rosary Vogue" -- using her right hand to make a cross starting on her forehead, down to her chest, over to her left then right shoulder.

All making sense now?

So when she tells us that her "fodder" hurts (pointing to her forehead) we take her temperature and give her a dose of cherry flavored children's Tylenol.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The Wishbook

The Sears Holiday Wishbook arrived some time ago via US mail, inspiring a flood of childhood memories of hours spent on the floor of our living room, elbow-to-elbow with my big brother pouring over page after page of the wonderous catalog of toys.

As kids, we weren't allowed to fold or dog ear the pages of the wishbook, thus destroying the virtuous integrity of the sacred tome.

Instead, we had to memorize or write down what we wanted. Which wasn't an easy task, as the 400+ page wishbook of my childhood was a hefty collection of double-sided toy bearing madness.

Studying the wishbook was a Christmas tradition as sacred and familiar as tossing tinsel on the coniferous douglas fir and watching in childhood wonder as my Mom put up the whimsical miniature winter display complete with rolled out fake snow, 1/64th scale sleds filled with tiny gifts, bug-eyed plastic bendy elves, and reindeer with faded paint on their antlers and hooves.

Alas, today's Sears Holiday Wishbook was a mere 123 pages. Barely a shell of the ode to childhood consumerism of my past.

But it was still a toy catalog, therefore it's diminutive girth didn't seem to phase my girls in the least.

Not yet aware of the significance of the sacred wishbook tradition, I gladly guided my daughters down the time-honored ritual of wishbook page flippage.

I plopped down on the floor and encouraged my daughters to grab a pillow and sidle up next to me in front of the wishbook. The only Rockwellian icon missing from this picture was a roaring fireplace. We just turned up the thermostat.

It was then and there that the three of us commenced to study each and every page of that book, commenting, oohing, ahhhing, drooling, and dreaming of Christmas mornings, past, present and future.

Another memory made, another tradition continued. It's the little things...

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Priorities with a DishTV twist

The big green house is no more.

After almost two years of being on the market, two different realtors, about a dozen walk-throughs, and a 40% drop in it's original asking price, the huge house next door was sold.

A few phone calls to key contacts within my growing network of neighborhood know-nicks revealed the buyer to be a Director of some department at a major hospital out in the city.

Kids, none.
Pets, unknown.
Wife's profession, unknown, but rumor is that she paints.

An acquaintance who runs one of the two title/escrow joints in town mentioned that the buying couple restored an old house in their old neighborhood and may have been looking for a new project that is located between where their aging parents live and where he works - our town being at the halfway point.

So, it would seem that on the surface our new neighbors may be D.I.N.K.'s who are adequately strapped to take on the daunting task of restoring their stately statehood era abode to it's original splendor.

Sounds like the exact people we were looking for to buy the Green House nextdoor.

Enter Direct TV.

While folding yet another basket of pinks and purples fresh out of the dryer, a quick glance out my breakfast nook window revealed several workmen in blue shirts clamoring around the second floor eaves of the green house, running coaxial cable from a satellite dish mounted very discreetly on an overhang.

An hour or so later I notice two men carrying what looked like a fairly well loaded entertainment shelf unit out of a red pickup and through the front door...then they left.

Satellite TV, home entertainment system...all that's missing is the big plasma screen high def boob tube, which I'm sure will be delivered fresh from sometime soon.

And yet, the brick foundation under the green house is blowing away with each shift in the earth's crust. Additionally, there is no heat or air upstairs, the kitchen is gutted, the electrical wiring is non-grounded (circa 1940's copper), the water heater is rusting through at the base, the exterior asbestos siding needs to be addressed, the entire front porch is falling in from wood rot, there may be termites throughout, the three car garage out back is operating at a slant enough to prevent any of the doors from opening and the house needs an inside cleaning worthy of 2-years of collected dirt, dust, and bird poop (an upstairs window flew open during many a wind storm and the birds found a nice place to crash).

And yet, Mr. New Owner's gotta get his MTV...or more likely his OU football games.

First installs say a lot about what a person can and can't live with/without in their new nest.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Forever Blue...our dominating FFA Judging Team

There are still about a quadrillion things about living in a rural community that I don't quite grok...yet.

FFA is one of them.

For those of us who grew up in a glass and cement, heavy traffic, smog-soaked environment, the existence of FFA is a foreign concept, relegated to movies, an occassional Discovery Channel program, or a hot summer afternoon visit to the county fair at the Pomona Fairgrounds.

But FFA is huge here. And, from what I can gather from a quick gander at the FFA website, FFA is huge all over.

Some Future Farmers of America Factoids...Founded: 1928
Number of Chapters: 7,242
2006 Membership: 495,046
Who knew?

In my small town, we have the bragging rights to have farmed and raised the 2006 National Championship Judging Team.

That's NATIONAL champion. The entire country. All 50 states.

Breaking it down further reveals other diacritical marks. Of the five members on the judging team, four earned one of the top five individual placements in the contest.

4 out of 5!

That's how many dentists recommend you chew sugarless gum over regular gum (who was the 5th dentist anyway?...what a doof).

Not since Napoleon Dynamite and Pedro swept their FFA categories has there been such a livestock judging coup.

Not satisfied at being the red, white, and blue champions, our intrepid Aqua Teen Livestock Judging Force is anxious to take on the world in Scotland for the international competition.

Course, they're about $19,990 short of the expenses they'll need to cover to get there and back again (recently our town Mayor donated a $100 personal check to the cause and issued a challenge to others to kick in).
I believe that to live and work on a good farm, or to be engaged in other agricultural pursuits, is pleasant as well as challenging; for I know the joys and discomforts of agricultural life and hold an inborn fondness for those associations which, even in hours of discouragement, I cannot deny.Excerpt from the FFA Creed

Friday, November 17, 2006

Sick up and fed of email hoaxes

The only thing worse than these dreaded email hoaxes circulating about the getting these dreaded email hoaxes forwarded to me by well intentioned friends, family members, and colleagues.

Under "gullible" in the dictionary there must be listed 99.9% of the people on this planet using email.

I don't know how many times, with just a few clickety-clicks on my keyboard and a google search, I've been able to dislodge the chicken bone in the multitudes of email netlores I've been deluged with in the past year.

Please, please, please, pass these site url's onto everyone you know (this isn't an email hoax, so it's okay to forward it...really it is. You have my permission).

A few million less email hoaxes in our inboxes will help free up the email servers of the world and maybe make the net cloud operate a bit more efficiently.

And of course, the mothership site for email hoaxes...

Salvation from terrorists buying stolen UPS uniforms, Pepsi cans celebrating Islamic extremists, and vomit and feces at the bottom of Chuck E. Cheese's ball pit is only a few mouse clicks away.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

SMART board Mania

Every classroom at C's school has one of these technological wonders.

I think I would have loved one of these in my high school trig class. Everytime I would be called to the board to solve an equation, I'd just have to wait a few minutes for the Windoze machine to crash and toss up the inevitable blue screen of death, then I could quietly go back to my seat while it rebooted.

I'm all for incorporating high tech into my daugher's quest to master the three R's, but I must not be the only person to have fond memories of dissecting an actual frog in biology class.

I smell a PETA conspiracy.

At the very least they could pass out scratch and sniff stickers infused with formaldehyde.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Red Man's revenge

The largest casino in Oklahoma is the 219,000-square-foot Riverwind, owned and operated by the Chickasaw Nation.

Rumors are flying that a bigger one is being planned in Oklahoma, that will dwarf the Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut, which is currently the largest casino in the United States.

Downwind of my small town a spell is a casino owned by the Cheyenne / Arapaho Tribe. From miles around, in the deep darkness of the Oklahoma prairie night, the mega-gigawatt glow of the search lights, parking lot lights, and the million or so bulbs covering the exterior of the casino illuminate their unnatural brilliance onto the surrounding flora and fauna.

At all times of the day, any day of the week, weekends, holidays, birthdays and bar mitzvahs, the parking lot is occupied with cars, trucks, minivans and Peterbilts.

The C/A Tribe is making a killing.

Was watching the John Ford/John Wayne technicolor classic, "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon," the other night.

I've seen it at least a dozen times in various venues as a casual couch spud viewer but also with a more academic eye as well (a film genre class called "The American Western" was a popular sign-up in grad school).

But this last time, I saw it with a slightly different twist of view.

An important scene involves John Wayne and his troop coming across what seems to be the entire Arapaho Nation, on the move. They're making their way towards the encampment in Monument Valley where the Cheyenne Dog Warriors, the Kiowa, Souix, Apache and the Comanche are all holed up, celebrating the recent defeat of Custer, and prepping to stage for an all out war with the American Calvary.

The dichotomy between this fictional celluloid image of the Arapaho nation making their slow trek across the prettiest scenery in Utah, and the flow of cash moving in and out of the "Las Vegas-ian" C/A Tribal casino a few miles south of my small town, is irony worthy of an Alanis Morisette musical ditty.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Creamed by definition

When I as a kid, when someone was "creamed" it meant (among other things) that the clay wheels on their skateboard hit a pebble on the sidewalk and they took a face-rashing header onto the pavement (yes kiddies, I'm THAT old).

So you can imagine my excitement when I read this headline in our small town news rag using the word "creamed"...

...and my disappointment when I read that they used the word in a more literal sense.

No loss. I love the word "creamed" being used in any context.

BTW, for those who have been sorta following the Associate District Judge race in my small town from a few of my previous posts (Oct. 2006, June 2006), Judge Susie won by 695 votes.

I know that may not seem like much of a margin to win by, but when you take into consideration the name of this blog, 695 votes is a landslide.

Judge Susie creamed her opponent.
There, that's better.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Oklahoma Rising

For all you non-Okie's who couldn't care one iota about what goes on in our fair state, next year will be our Centennial.

Projects of every scope, style, and budget are being dreamed, planned, built, and completed in preparation for the celebration with officially kicks off this month (I believe).

My small town was fortunate enough to receive several grants for Centennial related projects, including a sculpture of a well known western figure, an outdoor production of a play (I wonder which play it will be....hmmm?), a tree grove, and a Veteran's Memorial Wall.

I have ties to 3 of the 4 projects (tell me I haven't integrated myself into the community) and may get roped into helping with the fourth.

The home I live in has a roundabout tie to the Centennial as well.

The person who built and lived in it way back in pre-statehood time, was a prominent local businessman. He was sent as part of the areas delegation to the first representative gathering of the people of Oklahoma territory, called the "Advisory Convention" in July of 1889. It was from this first meeting that the state of Oklahoma began to take seed....first as a territory, then 18-years later as a state.
We're Oklahoma Risin', brighter than a star
Stand up and sing about her, let the world know who we are
We're the sons and the daughters, children of the West
We're Oklahoma Risin', risin' up to be the best

From a rugged territory to the Oklahoma Run
We've made our dreams come true, just look at what we've done
We're the Heartland of America, our heart is in the race
We've sailed our prairie schooners right into outer space
We are young and we are strong, we are comin' with a roar
Sooner than later we'll be knockin' on your door
Say hello to the future, gonna shake the future's hand
and build a better world upon this sacred land

Guts and grace and mercy, we have shown them in our turn
When the fields had turned to dust and the skies began to burn
When the storm shook our souls and the mighty buildings fell
Through fires and desperation our faith has served us
Well I choke back the emotion, I'm an Okie and I'm proud
So when you call me Okie, man, you better say it loud
Now we look into the heavens at the eagles climbing free
It's the spirit of our people on the wing, can you see?

We're Oklahoma Risin', brighter than a star
Stand up and sing about her, let the world know who we are
We're the sons and the daughters, children of the West
We're Oklahoma Risin', risin' up to be the best
Celebrating statehood and some of Oklahoma's unique qualities, these are the lyrics to Oklahoma's Centennial Song entitled "Oklahoma Rising," with music by Vince Gill and lyrics by Jimmy Webb.

It's not available on iTunes yet, but I'm hopeful. It's a rousing little ditty that is sure to make any Okie's chest burst with pride. I like it, but I guess I haven't lived here long enough to "own it" just yet.

I'm still partial to Randy Newman's, "I Love L.A." Go figure.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Words to live (or not) by

Our state is forturnate enough to have a pretty darn nice tourism rag, called Oklahoma Today.

In the November/December issue a feature pictorial beautifully highlights some of the centenarians of our fair state and some words of wisdoms they impart.

This was my favorite.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Mystery Meat's culinary cousin

On my first visit with my then girlfriend/future wife to the state of Oklahoma, I was lounging around her parent's house, looking for something to snack on. My future M-i-L told me to find something in the fridge and help myself.

So I did.

I grabbed a box of Triscuits out of the pantry. It had been previously opened, so I knew I wouldn't be commiting any food faux paux's by being the first to crack open a new box of snacks.

I had my crackers.

Perusing futher into the frigidaire before me, I stumbled upon a strange and wonderous concoction in the cheese drawer that looked completely and totally inedible. It was dayglo orange in hue, had the consitency of overly curdled cottage cheese and Peter Pan peanut butter...the chunky kind.

But, since it was in the cheese drawer, and the label on the plastic contaner clearly stated that it did contain a cheese spread of some kind, I figured it was not only edible, but would make quite the retro-chic fashion statement once scooped out and placed on my snackin' cracker.

I had my dip.

Off to the kitchen counter I went, anxious to sample my recent dietary digestibles.

The bright orange "cheese dip" was creamy, and salty and sweet all at the same time. It had bits of red squishyness that delicately enhanced the overall texture of the dip, which was both dangerously smooth yet profoundly lumpy. When placed on my "fried-not-baked" cracker of choice, it's bright orange color announced with authority it's presence and station, sitting proudly atop the lowly cracker that only served as it's platform.

I was happy.

In a flash, my M-i-L was standing over me (okay, beside me...she's only 5'4"), glaring at my nosh of choice. She swipes up the plastic dip container, covers it with purpose, and all but throws the orange spread of wonder back into the fridge.

"We use that to make sandwiches. It's not a's pimento cheese spread."

In all my travels both here and abroad, and all those years spent as a youthful participant of the multiculturally varied southern California lifestyle, I had never been exposed to the compound of bread and dayglo orange curdly spread known as the Pimento Cheese Sandwich.

I imagine all the Southern YASTM blog readers could chime in on this topic with length and humor, as well as any golf buffs that dream of playing at the Masters in Augusta. You Southerner's are a wacky lot. And y'all talk funny too.

While here in my small town, I can name you four local eateries that offer that exact item on their menu.

One place in particular puts a healthy sprig of green leaf lettuce on their Pimento Cheese Sandwich offering. That's my favorite.

And when I do order one to eat, I always make sure to do two things.

1). I order a "PCS," which any astute user of the net, will recognize as the three-letter acronym for the breaded topic of this blog entry. Who knows, it may catch on as the "thing" to order with the local youth and I wil have left my mark on this interesting foodstuff phenomenon.

and 2). I always, always...ask for crackers.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Paper Scissors Rock

Even out here on the prairie, around this house, we play it as "Jan-Ken-Po," but the basics of the game are the same.

My 2-year old, PK has ascended to the age where small conflicts and matters of hand can now be settled, hand.

Although, she seems to be attatched to a certain stragedy, which her older sibling quickly learned how to take advantage of.

PK says, "I'm always the Rock. I like the rock."

So, naturally, C is always paper.

And PK loses and gets frustrated and tells C not to always be paper.

To which C responds by telling PK not to always be rock.

To which PK responds, "I'm always the Rock. I like the rock." 2-year old logic and stubborness at work.

And they play again.

And PK is the always rock, C is always paper, and the argument continues.

I told C to teach PK how to play Tic-Tac-Toe.

That should settle things....right?

Flashback time...

In my younger days of travel and mirth, my best friend, my brother, and I stumbled upon a unique video incarnation of the game while trolling the alleys and streets of the seedy Shinjuku district in central Tokyo.

For a 100 yen coin, a video game player could face a game screen and play jan-ken-po with a nubile young Asian female. At one point during the game, the player must select his choice of three large, backlit buttons -- each labeled with the graphic of a hand in the shape of "paper," "scissors," and "rock."

The reward? You best the video player, she removes an article of clothing. She bests you, and you're out 100 yen -- hey, give me a break, we were young, in a foreign land, with yen to burn.

So, I'd like to tell you that we only spent a few hundren yen on this silly game.

I'd like to tell you that each of us gave it a shot, lost and walked away in pursuit of more cultural pursuits in the land of the rising sun.

I'd like to tell you that we imported that game to the states, mass produced it and made a mint by placing it in thousands of video arcades across the country.

I'd also like to tell you that the next time PK plays jan-ken-po with her sister, she'll chose something other than rock.

Not likely.

Friday, November 03, 2006

The Jeep

There's a cool old dude who regularly dumpster dives the rolling garbage bins in the alley that runs behind our house. He either does this as a hobby, or perhaps he's making a pretty good living out of it, since he drives a Dodge Pickup that can't be more than a few months old.

And yeah, it's got a Hemi.

In the dozen or so times we've crossed paths in the the open alley, we've always greeted each other with a neanderthal nod and a cordial smile. He seems to be interested only in the large dumpsters, leaving the small privately owned plastic receptacles alone.

The other day, he made a donation and left this by our side door.

I figure he's seen my daughter's at play in our yard at various times during his dogged pursuit of the treasures found in other's trash, and decided to make a gift of this particular find.

It's an older model and beat up some. It's once showroom finish has color faded to an ugly pukey purplely pink, no doubt a result of being left out in the harsh Oklahoma sun. Stickers advertising automotive products placed by a proud papa at one time are now just garrish reminders of a shade tree mechanic's penchance for an O'Reilly Auto parts buy-a-case-of-oil-to-get-a-free-decal promotion.

Sadly, no, this one did NOT have a Hemi.

But the drive motors were both there and the batteries were in place. Contacts were all rust free and the wiring didn't resemble my old Mazda's dashboard after a particular stereo was stolen from it.

Why then would someone have dumped this trash-to-treasure find of kiddie automotive importance?

Near as I can figure. the previous owner had to have been an Oklahoma transplant like myself, who sees the world as a temporary refuge for all the products of planned obsolescence spewed forth by the factories of the world.

See, a true Okie wouldn't dream of dumping such a find...working or not. Pick just about any farmer's homestead nearby, and you'll see the history of his automotive buying selection for the past 70 (or more) years. Old trucks and cars aren't disposed of here. They are just parked next to the one that was parked after it died 20, 40, and 50 years before that.

I've seen a '35 Ford pickup, parked next to a '49 Chevy pickup, parked next to a '62 GMC pickup, parked next to a 70-something Dodge pickup -- all in various states of rust, disrepair, and neglect. It was a veritable museum display of the metal and sweat that was used to bring that farm through the Dust Bowl and into the current century. Hey, if I had the room, I'd keep all my old cars as well.

Back to the Jeep. Turns out the twin 6-volt batteries needed to power the kiddie mobile wouldn't hold a charge. The twin motors appeared intact and in decent shape and the tires were good (no cracks in the plastic -- good for another 100,000 miles at least, with proper care and rotation).

My F-i-L checked the wiring and replaced a few frayed ends. I removed several creepy-crawlers who had taken refuge in the molded innerds of the "engine compartment." Then, in a fit of Tim "The Tool Man" Taylor-dom, we stuck a 12-volt lawn mower battery in the sucker, upped the inline fuse capacity for safety, Mickey-Ducked a few wires together and fired that bad boy right up.

Ever see a Fisher Price PowerWheel burn rubber?

Like any modern car driving woman, C wants to get a fresh coat of paint on her new whip, and lose the decals while she's at it. I've taught her how to hook it up to the battery charger so she can make sure it's juiced up for her next backyard off roading adventure.

I fully expect to find her pulling out an Oklahoma map and highlighting a path down old Route 66 someday soon. Guess I should start stocking up on the beef jerky now.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Savannah by Segway

Another stop my wife and I made during our recent anniversary trip was to the lovely town of Savannah.

The historic and characteristically southern people and environs of Savannah ooze confederate charm and splendor. From the city plan built around a series of park-like squares, to the row upon row and street upon street of architecturally awesome homes and buildings, the city itself is a feast for the touristy senses.

Everywhere you turn, visitors are walking among the dangling spanish moss, gazing upon yet another restored antebellum home, and reading in their booklet how it was somehow related to the massively popular novel, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.

My wife and I took a more modern approach to touring the blocks upon blocks of century old cobblestone and brick pathways. We Segway'd.

My wife's idea. Really, it was. She was a Segway veteran due in part to some time spent at Disneyland one day.

We had such a ball on these rented, two-wheeled, gyroscoping, battery-propelled wonders, that the partaking of such may become a regular feature on our anniversary trips around our beautiful country.

Next year, Providence by Segway. I can't wait.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


A 3.5-year old, a 6-year old (almost 7), 2 hours of walking and knocking (all that was allowed by the hours set forth by the City Council), and we are good for the year.

The trick-or-treating tradition is still alive and kicking in our small town.