Thursday, December 30, 2010


I've been blogging at this for a couple of years now, and I still haven't said everything I want to say, so I guess I'll be here after tomorrow evening to ring in 2011.

2010 was a busy year for our family and at work also. I'm thankful that we've gotten to get in as much fishing and shooting in 2010 as we did. And my resolution in 2011 is to do more fishing and shooting.

I've discovered some new blogs this past year, some quite recently, that cater to my interests and are excellently done.

To those of you who stop by on a regular or even occasional basis, thanks so much for dropping in and thanks for your comments and emails.

And Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


Steve Lopez of the LA Times has an excellent piece today on musician and music store owner Gary Chen, who owns LA's Stein on Vine.

Read the great story here to see how Gary Chen changed his life, and likely the lives of many others, by making in stop in LA 30 years ago. Sometimes, life does hold good surprises.,0,5548464.column

And as an aside, I wish Mr. Chen had hung a couple of mics and a good recorder in that back jam room. Man, the stories those tapes could tell...

Saturday, December 25, 2010


One band I just now discovered, or rediscovered, via the freedomblues website that is in my blog roll is . I'd heard this band via KPFT and KTRU in Houston back in the late 1990's and early 2000's on various shows. This band was together from 1977 to 1980.

Here's a quote of a review from the "Dean of American Rock Critics" Robert Christgau:

Etoile 2000
Etoile 2000 [Dakar Sound, 1996] A-
See Also:
Etoile de Dakar
Youssou N'Dour & Étoile de Dakar
merge all
Consumer Guide Reviews:Etoile 2000 [Dakar Sound, 1996]Imagine a bunch of garage musicians whose main technical limitation is that they grew up too poor to own instruments. Two genius guitarists clashing, three drummers beating the hell out of each other, crazy sax man coming and going, and then, because this is a garage band only in theory, two singers who can outwail the average gospel strongman, never mind the average Iggyphile. That's this short-lived, hot-headed Senegalese crew, who undertook the literally garage-recorded "Boubou N'Gary," all unkempt echoplexed fuzzbox and excitable tama, to give their old boss Youssou N'Dour what for, and began hearing it on the radio--constantly--about two hours after they'd finished. None of the other five tracks is quite as intense or chaotic. But this will shut up anybody who believes Afropop is too slick and anybody who believes it's too primitive simultaneously. El Hadji Faye, we salute you. A-

and another review from AllMusic

by Chris Nickson
Sounding as if they were the Yardbirds set down in Senegal and produced by Lee Perry, Etoile 2000 enjoyed a brief lifetime on the Senegalese music scene -- but the influence lingers on.

The immediate roots of the band are in Étoile de Dakar; the group formed in 1977 after a number of musicians split from the venerable Star Band, which had been in existence since 1960 and which was the root of modern Senegalese music. Étoile de Dakar enjoyed the talents of two excellent vocalists, a young Youssou N'Dour and El Hadji Faye, in addition to guitarist Badou N'Daye, whose Hendrix influence showed in his very electric stylings.

For two years the band was the toast of Dakar and Senegal's most popular band, playing all over the country. But inevitably rivalries occurred and in 1979, Faye and N'Daye split to form their own band, with the backing of businessman Mass Diokhane, who ran the Jandeer Club where Étoile de Dakar had usually performed.

The band rehearsed in Diokhane's garage, and one night he taped the song "Boubou N'Gary." After playing all night, the musicians took a breakfast break and Diokhane sent an assistant to radio station ORTS with the tape of the song. Once played, it proved so popular that it was replayed all day long and the DJ, Golo Gaye, christened the band Etoile 2000. Over the next two days the band recorded three more songs for their initial release, still on Diokhane's primitive equipment, which sold a reputed 5,000 copies on the day it appeared in Dakar stores.

With a screaming fuzz pedal, Faye's high griot voice, and liberal use of an echo chamber as their stock-in-trade, the band played frequently around Dakar and recorded two more cassettes, some tracks of which referred back to the Cuban sound which had long been popular in Senegal, others looking to the young, popular m'balax rhythm, filtered through their own personal lens.

After just three years, the band folded, but their memory is still alive in the CD Dakar Sound, issued in 1996 on the Dutch CNR label, which compiles tracks from all three of their releases, the wild "Boubou N'Gary" also appearing on The Music in My Head sampler.




A new addition to my blog list, coming via the favorites of one of the followers of this blog, is called freedomblues and the current post is Touareg du Mali~Teharden et Mzad and I've not run across as interesting of a site about this very interesting music and related music from Africa ever. Plus, it's in english, which means I don't have to rely on google translation to read the posts.

There are lots of videos posted and links to music and lots of cool album and artist reviews. A good place for me to discover some electrified guitar music, the blues a'la Touareg.

I look forward to peeling back the layers of this new find. Thanks to Fasiso for the link.

And Merry Christmas to all who are inclined, and Happy Holidays to the others.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


And that's a good thing. It was bought with private donations, and by all accounts is an extremely nice piece of property with about 10 miles of river frontage on the pristine Devil's River.

Here's the article from the Statesman:

Up river, there's already the Devil's River State Natural Area. That area has about a mile of river frontage. There's great fishing in that area, particularly for fishers of the fly. Years ago, smallmouth bass were found to be able to live in the cool waters year round, and in the absence of any real fishing pressure, they flourished. I've read that largemouth bass, catfish and a variety of panfish are also found in the Devil's.

There was a recent feature article in Southwest Fly Fishing magazine wherein the intrepid writer and a buddy came to Texas, rented a 4wd in San Antonio and headed south to the Devil's. They hired a guide, and he has access or owns a lot in a subdivision that is on the Devil's River. But to get to the guide's place, you had to traverse a "river road" some miles in length that actually required driving in the river, yes, in the river, over some pretty tough terrain.

Although I've never been there, I hereby swear to change that fact sometime in the first half of 2011. I do know from extensive reading and from talking with friends who have canoe'd or kayaked the Devil's or have fished at the State Natural Area and in the Dolan Falls area, that EVERYTHING in and around the river scratches, bites, scrapes, sticks, pricks, cuts, rips and otherwise damages you and your gear. Nature in that area is equipped to survive, and the Devil's is literally an oasis in the middle of South Texas semi-desert country. Surface water in that part of Texas that is not "seasonal" is a rarity, and thus abundant wildlife can be found all around the Devil's River ecosystem.

The Devil's River has long been proclaimed the cleanest river in Texas. To the east of the Devil's River lies the "Country of 11oo Springs", as said for years in advertisements for Pearl Beer, which was brewed with "clear spring water" from the aforesaid "Country of 1100 Springs".

But to the west of Rocksprings, there are not near as many year round creeks or rivers as there are to the east. So the Devil's River is literally an oasis in that part of Texas.

It's not just environmentally tough. Here's some links to previous posts I've made about the Devil's River with and other links including a great article by Joe Nick Patoski.

3 Cool Texas fishing spots

Joe Nick Patoski

Southwest Fly Fishing

And here, where I seem to forget about the State Natural Area as a fishing option but I regale you with why Billy Ray and I won't be kayaking the Devil's River, or any River for that matter. More Devil's River and Kayaking Musings

There was also at least one website talking about the not too distant past of perhaps 15 or 20 years ago when a fellow who I think is a guide there was beseiged with gunfire from a hidden gunman, who apparently wasn't kidding.

So it's still the wild west in some parts. Landowners in many parts of Texas are mighty serious about folks not setting foot on their riverbank, and many consider the old Spanish common law rule that the landowner owns the land to the middle of the river to be the law of the land, which it is not. I know I've heard stories about barbed wire in the past across the Devil's, and I've personally seen barbed wire across a river on the Medina and the James Rivers. Many times.

I've heard tell of river runners on the Devil's being greeted by long arm bearing landowners and advised to keep on paddling. I know it's happened on other rivers but this is one place it could be likely to happen.

I have a aquaintance that bought a five acre lot that has about 1000' of river frontage on the west bank of the Devil's about 10 years ago. At $50K, it was a bargain, considering it came with a fairly decent trailer that was mounted on a elevated platform like a beachhouse. I saw pictures of his place, and there were several nice deep pools in the river fronting his place.

Apparently it is an arduous trek to get to many of the locations on the Devil's River, which of course is why it is still a nice place. Although my land owning friend didn't have to drive through the river to get to his land, he did say that he had to travel about 25 miles over a variety of trail-like roads and private right of ways to get to his place.

As I recall, it's about a 15 or 20 mile drive on a bad unpaved "road" to get to the State Natural Area, but Billy Ray says he's ready to go for it in his new 4WD Jeep.

More later about the Devil's River.

And Merry Christmas to all of you of my persuasion. And for all others, Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 19, 2010


There's a couple of new blogs on my blogroll that I'm really enjoying.

One is
The Next Chapter whose current post is about celebrating the wonderful place he lives:
WE’RE #1! WE’RE #1! Illinois is the worst state to live in for retirees! . Zach has some great stuff on all kinds of firearm related topics, and I see that he and I share interest in many of the same types of guns. Additionally, he recently paid me a big compliment by posting a link to some of my posts about the late NYC holster and shooting Guru Chic Gaylord. Chic Gaylord, holster artisan extraordinaire and top gun of his time

I really appreciate Zach's kind words about my writing, but his blog really puts mine to shame. Trust me on this. Spend some time over there reading his archives about various fine weapons. It'll be time well spent, and really, I wish it were in a book form. It's good stuff!

Through Zach's blog links, I became familiar with fellow Texan
Wild Ed's Texas Outdoors, where his latest post is about a fish that I've caught an awful lot of all over different parts of Texas, The Texas Longear Sunfish. I have not had time to explore his blog more, but plan to in the coming holidays after the Christmas festivities are over ( I call the days between Christmas and New Year's "Festivus", after Seinfeld. Festivus is for resting. Festivus for the rest of us!).

I also plan to do some Texas Rainbow Trout fishing if it gets really cold between the time Santa comes and New Years. I'll let you know how it goes.


It appears that Julian Assange, also known as Mr. Wikileaks, is afraid of the truth. This writer at the Daily Mail in the UK said it much better than I could. Read this editorial and then come on back for my musings about the man who is not much of a man, because although he claims to be after the truth, doesn't much care for the truth when it comes to him personally.

And while you're at it, read this gem, also from The Daily Mail. Note that it was not originally titled "celebrities look away, but "Jemima Look Away Now". It's still titled that way once you get to the article:

First off, let's talk about being responsible for one's actions. This subject holds multiple areas of discussion about Julian. I won't call him Mr. Assange because to do that, I would have to respect him, and I have no respect for him at all. Only contempt. Julian, according to news reports and statements by his former wikileaks PR man, fled Sweden after being asked to talk to a prosecutor about the sexual assault allegations against him, and perhaps more importantly, when his two accusers demanded he take an HIV test and show them the results.

Running away from Sweden is not seeking the truth, Julian.

Secondly, his coterie of liberal trust fund kids (whether young like Jemima or old like Mr. Smith) and celebrity supporters claim he is a journalist. HA! Journalists broadcast stories, stories that they or those working for/with them write. Whether we're talking about a TV/Cable/Etc reporter doing stories on the tellie, or what we normally think of as a journalist, a writer, a journalist creates ideas or work product. Julian is not a journalist in any sense of the word.

Julian is simply parroting what others say. He's not much different than, say, a company that places a newspapers content on the web. Or a publisher, who publishes the journalistic works of others.

Third, Julian is a self-avowed enemy of the US. He stated his goal was anarchy in releasing the embassy cables, and that he was doing it to hurt the US. I disagree with the writer whose link is posted above in this regard. Julian is a terrorist. A man without a country. Like Osama Bin Laden, he is a stateless terrorist, but their goals remain the same: the destruction of the US.

On a side note, I'll take a wild-eyed right wing guess here and state that I guess Julian is probably an atheist. I'll guess that he had no firm father figure in his life to whoop his rear when he needed it.

As an American, Julian needs to have his day in an American Court. Perhaps, as a enemy combatant, in a military court. Then, a lifetime in SuperMax might chill his heels.

Like many others, although I believe stealing our information is an act of terrorism, I admit to reading them. And I chuckle at the thought that Julian has to be dismayed that his release of the info so far has not caused the global insurrection he hoped for. They show the US to basically be one of the few rational governments on this planet, other than Hillary's DNA thing.

It's time for the US to stand up to the rest of the world. It's time for the rest of the world, and this includes the UK (as I understand they might not want to extradite Mr. Wikileaks to America because their widdle feewings are hurt by some of the descriptions of their citizens in the embassy cables). It's time for us to start demanding some results from the $$$ we throw around the world.

Specifically, we need to issue some stern advisos to Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Israel. They will be our friends AT ALL TIMES or no more $$$ or food. No more sending your kids and family to our country, or letting your princes live in LA or NYC. Confiscate assets of these countries and their citizens located in this country until they decide to man up and act right.

We can make new friends. I'm so tired of hearing the UK and French and Italian perspectives on how evil the US is. Lest they forget, they'd be speaking German and doing a goose step march right now were it not for us.

Julian, be a man. Go back to Sweden. And then, when you're done, come on over here to America and let us show you, as Martin Luther King once said, that the truth will set you free.

Just maybe not in the way you imagined.

And Ms. Jemima Khan, don't you have some kind of trust fund kid benefit to be organizing, because I suspect your knowledge of world affairs is about as deep as that of my adhd dog.

Friday, December 17, 2010


I got this comment posted today here at a June, 2009 post I wrote about legendary newspaperman Sig Byrd. Sig Byrd's Houston It is so cool that it deserves it's own new post to bring it up to the forefront for all the fans of Sig and his very descriptive writing of the "good ole' days" in Houston, Texas.

When Houston was a city that'd I'd still recognize if I could go back in time.

A Texas sized tip of the hat to Rob Kimberly, who as he states below, has digitized many of Sig's articles. If you are a fan of Houston or Texas history, or if life in the 50's and 60's in Houston, or just a fan of excellent writing, then do like I'll be doing today and start reading some of Sig's take on Houston from way back when.

And thanks so much, Rob, for letting us know about your important efforts to get some great writing up on the www for the many fans of Sig Byrd to enjoy. Funny how the web can be used for something really good like Rob is doing with Sig's work, or it can be used in the name of evil.

Here it be:


I'm in the process of digitizing old columns of Sig's, using the Houston Main Library's microfilm collection. I am reading the March 19, 1952 article about Angelina Delgado right now. It was a google search of her name that led to this discussion.

There are currently 435 columns of his online on Flickr...

Another 70 were just scanned today. I won't have the Angelina Delgado column up for some time, but copies are available (free, no strings) upon asking.

Rob Kimberly -

Facebook - Sig Byrd's Houston

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


It's a crazy world full of crazy people. Some of them have guns, or knives, or bombs or all other kinds of implements of death and destruction.

Watch the video when (the now late) Homer here takes hostages at the School Board Meeting. Homer is deado now.

If you were sitting in this school board meeting and you had your trusty sidearm, you could have taken this nut out.

Rambling gunman dead after opening fire at Florida school meeting

All goes well that ends well, to be sure, but I bet a few of these school board members/staff start packing at the next meetings. And I bet they get a metal detector and some more security.

And how about the ballsy hero lady who tries to knock the gun out of the hand of the nut with her large purse. You go girl. Somebody give her an LE job with some killer training and there would be no stopping her, because she already has the guts and her hear in the right place! Kudus to you for being a good citizen and trying to save lives at the risk of your own. Purse against gun is not good odds, but good for you anyway! You're studly! Next time grab the gun with your hand, hit him in the face with your purse and then kick him where it counts.

Or do like Clint Smith says and grab a fire extringuisher and spray him with the white stuff in the eyes and hit him with the red extinguisher in the haid.

Just a tip, I'm not second guessing bravado.

Friday, December 3, 2010


Billy Ray says he read somewhere that this could be the last year for a while of stocking rainbows. I asked Billy Ray to send me the link to that story but he has failed and refused and continues to fail and refuse to send me this very crucial story. I'm hoping he misread it, but Billy Ray is a man of letters and does have some of that there higher education and does keep abreast of news events from local to international from a variety of news sources.

I'll update here if I can find it googling or if Billy Ray gets around to sending it to me.

I know that the state has had budget problems and has cut state budgets 5% across the board, along with other cuts and freezes. All of us are enduring the Obama years with issues, and even if you're lucky like us and have jobs and a home and food on the table, then although you're extremely blessed compared to many Americans. Times are tough and in lots of areas of the country, the times are downright bleak and barren.

If there is any truth to Billy Ray's report that the Texas Rainbow Trout Stocking Program could be in trouble or in danger of being suspended or discontinued as soon as the 2011-2012 season, then fishermen and other outdoorsman must do their part.

I think the best way to start is for all who fish for rainbows and would like to continue enjoying to do the same in the future to consider doing the following:

1. Talk to your fellow outdoorsmen who don't fish regularly, and who may not be aware of the rainbow trout stocking program and ask them to buy the low cost rainbow trout stamp. Many of my friends, myself included, usually buy a combo hunting/fishing license. Even though I hardly ever hunt, I figure it is worth supporting the program by spending a few extra bucks.

Lots of my hunting friends who rarely if ever fish do the same thing, they buy combo licenses, just to support the TPWD and the many things they do. Urge your fishing friends or other folks who fish for the rainbows at state parks where they don't need a fishing license to go ahead and spend some real American dollars to by a license and a trout stamp to show some interest in the program.

After all, like many endeavors, money talks and BS walks. So some extra money coming in is something sure to catch the attention of budget cutters both in the beaurocrats and the politicians.

2. Contact your Texas State Representative and your Senator and advise them of your position on this issue in a clear and concise manner. Ask them to contact you with their position on this issue. Ask their staff to keep you informed via email of all developments regarding this issue. Ask your friends and fellow sportsmen to do the same. Go to the Texas government webpage and there's a place you can enter your zip code to find out who your reps are. At least I think there is a link on that page. I'll try to update this page with that link later.

3. Go fishing for rainbows this winter, friends. Catch some fish. Have some fun. Enjoy this wonderful program that reaches almost to every corner of the state*. Travel across the state or across the street for a nice fishing adventure.

We're lucky here in Tejas, as our economies are generally doing well across the state. In taking roadtrips this year, I've driven through areas of unexpected prosperity where before there was none. Big and nice school complexes. Nice mid-level hotels occupied by workers, railroad folk, construction crews and various service industry travelers during the week, often looking mostly empty on the weekends as the workers head back to their homes.

So I hope that the program that has brought me so much joy since my very early double digit years in all kinds of places all over the state. I've written often in the past of my (mis)adventures seeking the stocked rainbows in Texas winters, and I've had some legendary fishing times in years past where I was literally catching a fish per cast. It has not unusual for me to catch a bass when spinner fishing for trout with ultralight tackle, and it seems like I often caught bass when the trout were active and hitting my lures.

So a lifetime of memories revolve around rainbow fishing so it's one of the things I most look forward to during the winter months. So Billy Ray's advice is that he and I and El Fisho Jr. need to do a lot of trout fishing this winter, just in case. It's a good excuse to go fishing, and I'd like to hit the Blanco, The Guadalupe and some other locale like the Blue Hole in Georgetown in an extended weekend trifecta.

I got me some other spots I've been investigatin' that we might do some fishing at. On private property, they require payment but feature basically private fishing and camping. A nice place to set up a fishing camp for a couple of days and the amount of money sought is reasonable. There are more crowded places that can be accessed for lower fees, but 'tis solitude we anglers seek. There are also some public creeks and some private waters that get stocked by hatcheries outside of Texas, and some of these places can be fished (legally, I might add).

Some of the creeks are in the Hill Country and get stocked allegedly by rich folk who own land on both sides of these cold, spring fed creeks, and who stock the creeks every now and then. Lots of postings on fishing forums have discussed where these fish can be accessed downstream from the stocking locales. And there is at least one Texas land owner who has a hunting ranch that also has some lakes that have been stocked with some rather large rainbows from out of state. Yes, you'll pay a premium for access to this private fishing but you'll catch large fish you'd have to travel hundreds of miles to catch in New Mexico, Colorado, Oklahoma or Arkansas.

Thursday, December 2, 2010


I had forgotten all about Junior, I'm ashamed to say. I haven't seen him in twenty years or so. But once I saw his picture, over forty years of memories came back in an instant.

Everyone I knew called him Junior, because that was his name. I don't recall many people calling him Peanut, but they well could have.

Back in the sixties and seventies, when I'd go to work with my dad downtown or to the courthouse, police station or sheriff's department, I'd see Junior. Junior sold peanuts, and would often give me peanuts if my dad wasn't around with money. I was probably five or six years old when I first met Junior.

Over the years, I came to know Junior pretty good.

Later, when I became a police officer, I would still see Junior, now using a motorized cart, at HPD or HCSO or the courthouse. Numerous times, myself or other officers would load Junior's motorized cart in the trunk of his Mother's car. Everybody helped Junior and they didn't have to be asked. They'd see Junior heading towards his Mom's car and just head that way to help him out.

I recall asking my father, when again I was five or six and saw Junior the first time, about why a man who had such a hard time moving was working so hard, or working at all. Pride, my father said, and a desire to do something with his life. He explained to me that sitting at home being sick was much worse that going out there and succeeding even if success meant struggling.

He had a very loving and devoted mother. She would wait patiently for hours while he sold his peanuts, sitting in her car. But I always admired both of them for really loving and taking care of each other.

Of course, I thought it way cool that someone was selling peanuts at HPD or the courthouse, just like over at the Astrodome. My father told me how much he and many others admired Junior, because although Junior had a serious disability and medical condition, he still wanted to work and be productive.

And Junior was. I know there are many disabled folks who would like to work but can't because of their condition or circumstances or job availability. But for the mass of folks who are minimally disabled but are lazy who don't want to work that we see in the criminal justice system constantly, Junior was their anti-matter. It's unfortunate that more people are not like Junior, my father told me often, because our world would be a better place with some work ethic and drive.

Instead, everyone is waiting on the government dole.

Junior didn't wait on the dole. He made his own world happen, despite obstacles put in his way. He was happy selling those peanuts. And that's what I remember about Junior. He was happy.

Rest in Peace, Junior. You earned it. And thanks for the life lessons you gave many of us along the way.

Monday, November 29, 2010


Just yesterday I found a Christmas present for myself, a copy of John Bianchi's book called BLUE STEEL AND GUNLEATHER. It was in a half-priced book store, and so Mrs. El Fisho was kind enough to get it for me. We do some surprise gifts, but like yesterday, well it seems more prudent these days to economize when possible, and I know I'd be getting it anyway.

Here's a blurb from John's website shown below:

Bianchi authored for firearms industry best selling textbook, Blue Steel and Gunleather, the definitive book on the history, development and use of holsters. He has designed and manufactured over twenty million belts and holsters during his career as the world's best known holster maker.

So I will be excited, perhaps Christmas night or the night after, after a day of gifts and toys and games and food and TV and such, things will settle down and I can read through this book on the couch. I remember back when it was first out, many years ago in 1978. I already owned a few Bianchi holsters by then, and had ordered their catalogs when I was in high school.

Soon, when I became a police officer, our duty gear was detailed as clarino leather (patent leather) on a double 2 1/2 inch Sam Brown belt. I'm not sure if Bianchi made that type of gear, but all of my off-duty and plainclothes holsters were Bianchi.

And guess what? Thirty years later, those holsters still look like new and more importantly, work as designed. Over the years, I've bought and sold various Bianchi holster, but there are a core group I've kept, and since the advent of internet auction sites, I've added to the collection.

I hesitate to call it collection, because my holsters are either working concealment holsters or IWB holsters. I have a very nice ankle holster for the Colt Cobra that saw frequent use as a backup in my police days, but I don't find it near as comfortable to wear now as I did then.

Same with the upside down shoulder holster. Yeah, I know, it's not a secure holster in a physical altercation, but it does conceal well under a fairly well tailored suit or sports jacket with a small gripped J frame and it conceals great under a medium or bigger jacket or hoodie. Yet, after my good friend a partner Smitty was on a knife weilding mental health call as a backup, his Smith J frame dislodged from the upside down shoulder holster in physical altercation and he had to kick his gun across the room under the couch to keep said mental patient from grabbing it. It was a doozy of a wrasslin' match, judging by their ripped suits and shirts afterwards. I don't recall Smitty every using that holster again.

Yet, I retain several upside down shoulder holsters as well as my old ankle holster. All of them look near new and work like new.

But there are favorites that I do frequently use.

The Model 6 IWB holster made of single layer suede with a belt clip. This is my favorite J frame holster and I just got a second one, new old stock one with the silver clip as a backup to my first one, although this 29 year old Model 6 is just getting broken in right about now.

I also like the Model 56 paddle holster and have one each for the Cobra and for J frames with hammers. The 56 has a suede covered paddle and is very comfortable.

I also like various belt holster, low profile ones for both revolvers and autos, with thumb breaks.

And I have several Askin's Avengers, the finest leather belt holster for an auto ever made, for Glocks, 1911's and several other guns.

I've never had any issue whatsoever with a Bianchi Holster.

And now, John Bianchi has a new Holster operation. Very custom. Very nice. Read about it here. I know I'll be getting some kind of single action holster rig from him this next year, I can feel it in my bones...

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


It's been forever since I've done my album posts about favorite new and old albums of mine. Yes, I still call them albums. So I'll be stacking up months worth of albums that I'm listening to currently in the near future.

This Ronstadt album is one of my all-time favorites of the country rock genre. I mean, it just couldn't be done better than this. This is one of those ESIGA albums, meaning an album where Every Song Is Good Album. There are alot of ESIGA albums out there, and of course they vary as to our own personal taste, but let me tell you why this is a great album not only in the history of rock and roll but just for listening and rocking out.

The history of Linda Ronstadt and the band known as the Eagles is intricately intertwined in this album. You can hear it in the playing and in the feel of the album. When Heart like a Wheel was released in 1974, I had been drumming for about 4 years. I was well in command of the drum set enough to cover exactly the parts on the album, and the cover bands I would play with the next few years in high school and thereafter into modern times would cover many of the hits of the Eagles and Ronstadt.

The short version is that Glen Frey was recruited by Ronstadt in LA in 1971 to put together a backing band to record Linda's self-titled third solo album. All of the folks who would form the Eagles were playing in the L.A. music scene at the time and knew each other. Of course, that was an exciting time to be an up and coming or connected musician in L.A. and probably a very good time to be a club live music listener in L.A.

Don Henley had a band called Shiloh, and ultimately he and Frey formed the Eagles. Several personnel changes occurred along the way, losing originally members Meisner and Leydon for Joe Walsh and Timothy B. Schmit.

The Eagles came right out the gate with their first album in 1972 being a success, and several years later as listed in the personnel below, the Eagles guested along with a crowd of excellent musicians on Heart Like A Wheel. You can read more about how that all happened here

Ronstadt is in her finest form ever in 1974 with this album. Her vocals are on fire, and driving the band AND the song like a great vocalist should. When she belts out the opening lines of "When Will I be Loved?" or "Willin'", you feel it.

I know she did lots of great stuff both before and after Heart Like A Wheel, but imho, it's her shining moment. Frankly, it's the only album of hers that has remained in my collection, and although I do enjoy her early solo work, it's the only album that made the transition to cd from vinyl 20+ years ago in my collection.

It is the legendary players who make this album phenomenal. It's a who's who of first call L.A. studio musicians, band members from bands like the Eagles and various other musicians who were then or are now famous for being rocking on their axes.

First and foremost, Sneaky Pete Kleinow on pedal steel makes Heart Like A Wheel unforgettable. What an excellent pedal steel player. Sneaky Pete was already well-regarded when he did Heart Like A Wheel, but to me it's one of his finest moments. I'm a big Sneaky Pete fan.

Look at the great personnel who played on this #1 album, which by the way has never been out of print since 1974. It's been a big hit for Ms. Ronstadt. I'll just throw out a few of the more well-known names from the list below, like Eagles Don Henley and Glen Frey. Timothy Schmit and J.D. Souther. You can't miss some of the big names like Cissy Houston, Emmylou Harris, Maria Muldaur or David Lindley either. Those are some pretty heavyweight names. Andrew Gold was a big factor in the musical success of this album as well, being a well-regarded multi-instrumentalist and arranger.

Linda Ronstadt – vocals, background vocals
Andrew Gold – guitar, percussion, piano, drums, keyboards, electric piano, tambourine, ukulele, background vocals
Peter Asher – guitar, percussion, background vocals, cowbell
Ed Black – guitar
John Boylan – guitar
Paul Craft – guitar
Kenny Edwards – bass, background vocals
Chris Ethridge – bass
Jimmie Fadden – harmonica
Richard Feves – bass
Glenn Frey – guitar
Emory Gordy – bass
Tom Guidera – bass
Emmylou Harris – harmony vocals
Don Henley – drums, background vocals
Dennis Karmazyn – cello
Sneaky Pete Kleinow – pedal steel guitar
Russ Kunkel – drums
Lloyd Myers – drums
David Lindley – fiddle
Cissy Houston – background vocals
Sherlie Matthews – background vocals
Maria Muldaur – background vocals
Clydie King – background vocals
Wendy Waldman – background vocals
Joyce Nesbitt – background vocals
Herb Pedersen – banjo, background vocals
Danny Pendleton – pedal steel guitar
Dennis St. John – drums
Timothy B. Schmit – bass
J. D. Souther – guitar, background vocals
John Starling – guitar
Bob Warford – guitar
David Campbell – viola, string arrangements

It's a great album and won all kinds of sales records and accolades for just being an excellent album. If you're an Eagles fan, you'll like this album. If you're a fan of the legendary country-rock genre, you'll love this album.

It's a slice of the mid-seventies. The Eagles were about to make a turn in their sound, moving from country rock to lots of flat out rock, adding Joe Walsh and Timothy Schmidt to replace Randy Meisner and Bernie Leydon. Rock and Roll was really at the top of it's game by this point, with artists from Led Zeppelin to Bad Company to Heart and Aerosmith and countless others filling the air waves with rock and roll. Country music was likewise flying high, with everything from traditional artists making career high singles and avante garde country artists like Jerry Jeff Walker and Willie Nelson also flying high.

The mid-seventies was a great time for great music. Music that is memorable to lots of people. Like this album. Heart Like A Wheel has never been out of print since 1974. I'm sure there are other albums like that, but I can't name one right here off the top of my head. So it's selling and it's been selling steady since 1974, otherwise it would have gone out of print except for special marketing efforts.

This is one of those albums like Van Morrison's Moondance or John Klemmer's Touch, where you can really feel the emotion of the music coming from the players. It's real, and it's always nice to feel something real.

Monday, November 22, 2010


I missed it. And I'm ok with that. At the last minute, got a call from a friend with an extra ticket. A really good extra ticket, right up front and everythang. But me and El Fisho Jr. were in the middle of having quite a day, and I mean, as much as I like Roger Waters and his concerts, music and especially his choice of bandmates that he plays with on tour, he can't measure up to El Fisho Jr.

So instead, tonight I'll watch my dvd of the 2000 IN THE FLESH tour, featuring one of my favorite Texas guitarslingers, Doyle Bramhall III. It's almost not fair to single out Doyle as outstanding on that tour, but he was. He sang and played the Gilmour parts with great respect and interpretation. Likewise, Snowy White and Andy Fairweather Low on guitars and Graham Broad on drums and a host of other great musicians were on that tour and there's a great CD of it as well.

I remember seeing Pink Floyd back in 1977 on the Animals tour in Houston at Jeppensen Stadium. Well, sorta I remember. I do recall the great music played by the Floyd that night, and I'll never forget the helium balloon animals floating around the stage.

I wasn't old enough to go see concerts when the Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon came around, and frankly I'm waiting for Mr. Waters to release a DVD of his 2007 Dark Side of the Moon tour, which like the Led Zeppelin reunion, was filmed but remains hidden from the fans like me who couldn't make the show but would pay real American dollars for a nice dvd with great sound. I've seen the boots on the web of the Led Zep show, and of course the sound disappoints.

Here's a note copied from the website of Mr. Waters, as to why he is performing THE WALL in it's entirety for this tour:

Why am I doing the Wall again now?

I recently came across this quote of mine from 22 years ago:

” What it comes down to for me is this: Will the technologies of communication in our culture, serve to enlighten us and help us to understand one another better, or will they deceive us and keep us apart?”

I believe this is still a supremely relevant question and the jury is out. There is a lot of commercial clutter on the net, and a lot of propaganda, but I have a sense that just beneath the surface understanding is gaining ground. We just have to keep blogging, keep twittering, keep communicating, keep sharing ideas.

30 Years ago when I wrote The Wall I was a frightened young man. Well not that young, I was 36 years old.

It took me a long time to get over my fears. Anyway, in the intervening years it has occurred to me that maybe the story of my fear and loss with it’s concomitant inevitable residue of ridicule, shame and punishment, provides an allegory for broader concerns.: Nationalism, racism, sexism, religion, Whatever! All these issues and ‘isms are driven by the same fears that drove my young life.

This new production of The Wall is an attempt to draw some comparisons, to illuminate our current predicament, and is dedicated to all the innocent lost in the intervening years.

In some quarters, among the chattering classes, there exists a cynical view that human beings as a collective are incapable of developing more ‘humane’ ie, kinder, more generous, more cooperative, more empathetic relationships with one another.

I disagree.

In my view it is too early in our story to leap to such a conclusion, we are after all a very young species.

I believe we have at least a chance to aspire to something better than the dog eat dog ritual slaughter that is our current response to our institutionalized fear of
each other.

I feel it is my responsibility as an artist to express my, albeit guarded, optimism, and encourage others to do the same.

To quote the great man, ” You may say that I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.”

- Roger Waters, 2010

So for this tour of THE WALL LIVE, Roger has once again surrounded himself with excellent musicians. Although Doyle isn't on this tour, his bandmates read like a who's who of Brit rock for the past several decades. Here's some wiki info on the tour itself:

My personal favorite, Snowy White, first appeared on the Animals Tour in 1977 as a second guitarist to help cover the guitar parts done in the studio by Gilmour. Since then, he's played with the band on tour and in the studio, and after the band broke up, seems to have remained friends with the remainder of the band and played with them as well as Roger on his tours.

On this tour, G.E. Smith is the big name that's got everyone excited. Folks tend to either love or hate G.E. and I'm one of those who thinks he is a great guitarist. I used to always make sure to pay attention when he was leading the Saturday Night Live band for the station breaks, when you could get a glimpse of G.E. blazing away on his guitar. I've got one of his solo albums, and he's a bluesman to his soul, who can also play some rock 'n roll.

Graham Broad is another favorite of mine. A great drummer, I've listened to the double CD of IN THE FLESH to grab his licks and his style as much as possible.

Here's the line-up of his touring band, per the wiki site above:

Roger Waters - Bass Guitar, Lead Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, & Trumpet
Graham Broad - Drums, Percussion, Ukelele
Dave Kilminster - Guitar, Banjo
G. E. Smith - Guitar, Bass Guitar, Mandolin
Snowy White - Guitar
Jon Carin - Keyboards, Guitar, Lap Steel Guitar
Harry Waters - Hammond Organ, Keyboards, Accordian
Robbie Wyckoff - Lead Vocals (songs or parts of songs originally sung by David Gilmour)
Jon Joyce - backing vocals
Kipp Lennon - backing vocals
Mark Lennon - backing vocals
Pat Lennon - backing vocals

I've heard that Gilmour himself is rumored to possibly appear at several of these shows, and that other folks are being added to the band as well.

I just hope that Roger and his production crew will get the DARK SIDE OF THE MOON tour DVD going soon and one from this tour as well. I can't wait to see them.

Friday, November 19, 2010


I know that the Pocket Fisherman is not the finest fishing rig available, yet I've had some very good times with it over the years and now have several of them. I've caught lots of fish with the Pocket Fisherman, and for some types of improptu fishing in which you either don't have a lot of room for a full size fishing rig like on a sailboat or when you need to get the rig in use or out of use quickly as when canoeing or kayaking a river with rapids in it.

I wrote about my history with The Pocket Fisherman back in June of last year. Since then, I stumbled upon the patent application for this interesting item here:

And here is a succinct cleaning post from a blog where Pocket Fisherman not casting right was being discussed:

Like you, I just picked up the 1972 Popeil Pocket Fisherman off of eBay and found it out of the box unusable. I tried to actuate the thumb brake to cast the line out and it would not budge. I took off the side cover and inspected the internals of the reel. Turns out the mechanism was just jammed due to lack of use and gumming up of the grease lubricant. I cleaned the spring loaded clutch rod and lubed it up and now casts almost like it was new out of the box. I used Coleman fuel to clean up the parts and some 3 in 1 oil to re-lube. I need to find out the type of grease that would best work inside this reel. Still hunting on the net for that info.

I'll update this post in the future with anymore information I discover.


I am simply dumbfounded at the uproar over trying to ensure that we the American traveling public are safe in air transportation. I'm a lawyer, and I understand the legal arguments that the opponents to scanning or physical searches are posturing with. I also understand the rhetorical argument about giving up freedoms means you've lost the war.

So I guess according to the pundits of the recent efforts to increase air travel safety, we should just be willing to be sacrificial lambs for any terrorist that might want to attack a plane we happen to be on so that we can be spared the embarrassment of a body scan or OMG, someone brushing up against our junk to make sure there is no bomb in our undies.

The commentary that surprised me the past few weeks about body scanners and pat down searches didn't come from the usual suspects, the liberal and oft-misguided left, but from Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson and Texas Congressman Ted Poe.

My representatives in Congress.

Actually, it was only Ted Poe's idiotic comments that surprised me. C'mon Ted, I remember hearing you lecture us in baby prosecutor school several decades ago, attempting to motivate us not to have "cold feet" in prosecuting cases. You said you and some fellow prosecutors used to put a new pair of heavy, thick socks on the desk of other prosecutors who were afraid to try cases.

And as a Texas District Judge, with a reputation for a stern judicial demeanor and heavy duty sentences for violent criminals, you were a hero to the prosecutors and police working in the trenches with the worst of the worst violent criminal offenders. You were a hero to the average Joe in Houston because you worked hard to keep us safe from the criminals who passed through your court.

You Ted, of all people, should know the random and senseless evil that lurks in the hearts of some men and women, and how our bureaucracies and law enforcement agencies mired in policies and civil rights and laws and lawsuits have to rise above their own level of inefficiency to be of any use at all. You know that despite our best intentions, our security and law enforcement folks will miss signs along the way, like with 9/11. It's human nature to make mistakes. That's why we need to not have cold feet when deciding we're not going to let terrorists kill us in our own country.
Ted, you're the guy most of us want to replace Senator Kay with in the near future. You really need to think about your stance on this issue, because a lot of American voters, and particularly your constituents, have strong feelings about protecting our country. We need you now more than ever.

So when Senator Kay, who out of loyalty to the State of Texas should have really retired back in 2005 when she was mulling her attempt at running for Texas Governor in 2006, and absolutely should have retired when she ran for Governor (and failed miserably) this year, comes out and says that she thinks body scanners and pat down searches are bad, I'm not surprised.

She's been as useless as teats on a boar hog for at least the last half of this decade in Washington, and it's really time she face the fact that she will not be re-elected and that the biggest favor she could do this state and nation is to resign and let us get someone up in her spot who has not lost their common sense and who does not have cold feet.

You see, Senator Kay, we're in a war. We've been in a war now for a long time. I don't know how you missed this crucial fact of life in your analysis of increasing airport security, but somehow I guess you've forgotten about 9/11. Or Osama Bin Laden. Or the crazed army psychiatrist bastard up in Killeen, in our very own state.

Your state.

Our enemy are cowards. They attack as cowards. They are largely faceless, until they attack and we discover their identity. They are largely stateless, although some nations help them out of Muslim loyalty or out of fear of being a target if they don't. Saudi Arabia seems to making a change in their attitude and deciding that maybe it's a good idea if they're on our team, but like Pakistan, you can never be really sure of their loyalty.

So I would think that Representative Poe and Senator Kay would have had the same sense God gave even fools to come in out of the rain and would have been in support of these measures.


Well, I guess there has been a news blackout for the scanner protest crowd the past few weeks. Terrorists have been sending bombs and what are apparently test bombs into Europe and America the past few weeks.

At least that's as long as we the public have known about it, and I suspect it's been going on longer than that and we are just now finding out about it. That's generally the way intelligence and that kind of national security law enforcement and the military are, according to friends of mine who have worked with various federal agencies in intelligence matters. We the public find out much later than they do, and generally we only know the tip of the iceberg as far as how bad it really could have been.

And again, there are reasons for the secrecy of our government. Bad guys can figure out where leaks are coming from based on what is known by our spies, so it's in our best interest not only to keep our operatives safe who are giving information but our methods as well.

I'm sure they explained this to you in baby congressman school, but maybe it's time you go back and take a refresher course. Or do something astonishing and contact some folks like me in your district, because everyone I've talked to about this thinks you both are morons for opposing increased airport security. And most of my friends and people I've discussed this with are Republicans like me.

So for Senator Kay and Representative Ted, when you go back to Congress after the Thanksgiving break, take some heavy, thick athletic socks with you to keep those cold feet warm. Maybe when you get the fightin' side of you back, Ted, you'll realize that law abiding Americans don't have a problem with increased security at airports.

Better yet, go to the mall when you're home. Go to some restaurants, or OMG, a bar or two. How about go to different parts of town and stop at houses on Turkey day with a small entourage (remember, bring pies to give the houses you visit) and talk to constituents YOU DON"T EVEN KNOW and ask them how they feel about this.

You'll see I'm right. Surveys say 80% of Americans are in favor of these measures and willing to deal with them.

Don't have cold feet.

Yeah, so some TSA employee might see my junk on a tv screen, or my not so perfect body. Big woo. If it helps make sure some other passenger does not get to attack the plane I'm flying on, then that's great.

To me it's like a border crossing. Or going into a jail or other secured facility. You have the right not to go to the place where you will be searched if you don't like increased airport security. You can hire a charter plane, or ride Greyhound or Amtrack.

Meanwhile, myself and the other members of the flights I'll be on will be dealing with the realities of this war we are in. We'll be good Americans like our parents or grandparents or great-grandparents were during rationing in WWII and take one for the Gipper and just frickin' deal with it. For our own safety and our own good.

And yes, we'll keep praying for the safety of our brave soldiers who battle this very different war, both at home and abroad.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Despite the fact we are both Houston natives with an active interest in the history of Houston, I've never crossed paths with Mr. J. R. Gonzales, who writes a blog for the Houston Chronicle called Bayou City History. If we did meet, I'm sure we could find a lot to talk about. J.R. and I are about the same age, but with vastly different backgrounds, yet we share the same interest in stories and places and people of Houston past.

His blog is in my blogroll, and right now he's got an interesting copy of a Sig Byrd story from 1952 at the site Sig Byrd: The Queen of the Hidden Ward, Et Alii .

J.R. recently wrote a very interesting series of posts about the old Sears store on Richmond. I spent many hours with my family in that store as a child, as well as learning to play drums just across the street from Sears in the now-defunct Brochstein's Music Store from drum guru Joe Raynor.

Years later, I rehearsed with a band in the late 80's that were housed in a really small ramshackle row of old time small apartment/warehouse-like structures just off Main street and just down the street from Sears. Despite having had been around that area pretty extensively for most of my life, I never knew those warehouses were there until I started playing with that particular band and using that rehearsal space. A hidden place.

So I like J.R.'s stories.

One thing Mr. Gonzales and I have in common is an interest in the writing of the late Houston newspaperman Sig Byrd. What a gift with words Sig had, and what stories Sig told about the Houston that existed just before my birth. I've written about Sig before,
Sig Byrd's Houston, and received great comments and several emails about my post, some even from kinfolks of his. Really nice people.

When I was a kid on up through my high school years, I was often downtown with my father at his office. Sometimes, I'd have a friend with me, but either alone or with a buddy we explored downtown Houston and the surrounding areas pretty thoroughly. Being young musicians, we'd hit Parker Music downtown, and the pawn shops that used to be all over lower Main street. Back in the late 60's and all through the 70's and 80's, lots of downtown was filled with urban blight.

There were some pretty cool boot and leather goods stores downtown and near downtown, like The Palace Boot Store and Stelzig's. There were lots of cheap clothing stores for "nightclubbing" clothing, but tucked away here and there were shoe stores and suit stores where you could get good deals on nice clothing. One of my favorite places was always F-15, the old police supply store near the corner of Washington and Houston Ave behind the police station, for looking at guns and holsters and all kinds of police gear and running into police friends of my fathers.

We'd eat at the old Cotton Exchange Building restaurant, or sometimes at the Avenue Grill or Otto's.

I often ran errands to the courthouse complex for my father, and back then Congress Avenue was lots different than it is now. One of the biggest "fighting words" insult you could make about someone back then was to call them "a Congress Avenue Whore", because there were a whole lot of that breed of cat on Congress on both sides of the courthouse complex. Winos were all around the lower Main street area and Congress, and several dilapidated downtown hotels served as residences for those down on their luck.

Some years later, when I did become a police officer and ultimately do quite a bit of patrol in downtown and the surrounding areas, I guess I was living the life of Sig Byrd, even though I had not heard of him at that time. When I was a kid, we avoided Market Square, the bad parts of Congress Avenue and certain alleys in and around the lower Main street area because of the riff-raff that hung out in them. As an officer, I no longer avoided these areas, but I still respected them because I had seen and heard of the seriously bad crimes that sometimes happened downtown over the years and knew that because of the transitory nature of many of the folks who "hung out" downtown, bad stuff did happen in those dark corners of downtown.

And there were hidden places downtown. For instance, near the old parking garage on Fannin where my dad parked, hidden inside of a small and very run down downtown grocery store which was mostly patronized by transients was a small soul music record store with highly eclectic soul and African rock music for sale. In '75 or '76 as a teen, it was the only place I could find the Gil Scott-Heron album containing his song Johannesburg which had just been played that year on Saturday Night Live. None of the record stores in town had it, and the African store owner also gave me a used Fela Kuti album, telling me "trust me, you'll like it and you'll be back to buy more Fela albums."

The record store was a hidden place because you couldn't see it from the street when you passed the grocery store. You had to go into the store to know there was a tiny record store in the back. Only the most desperate of downtown workers ever went into that store, because it mostly served the wino/transient/street criminal population that hung out and lived downtown then. They sold smokes and single beers and wine and a few foodstuffs and not much else. Pretty much a broke down alcoholics convenience store. It was dingy when you looked at it from outside and dingy on the inside until the music hit your ears. It was the kind of place where you wanted to put you wallet in your front pocket before you walked in the door.

So thinking about Sig and his writing and stories makes me think about my own memories of my own Houston past.

When I discovered the writing of Sig Byrd, I mentioned it to my father, who had known the lady who owned the Houston Press well. All I can recall is that her name was Maggie (I think) and that she was a helluva crusader against drunk drivers during the 1960's. My father found charm in some of the same type characters and denizens of old Houston that Sig did, and had met Sig on several occasions. We both lamented that there was no Sig Byrd reporting in Houston anymore. In the 1960's and 70's, Houston radio and television reporter Jack Cato both came close to being a modern day Sig Byrd and I'm sure there were others I've forgotten or don't know of. Of course, the late Marvin Zindler was, in his early reporting days, covering stories like Sig would on many occasions.

It's funny that despite the microscopic media and social media focus that we have on almost every individual aspect of our lives that we don't have the tinted observations of a writer like Sig to break it all down for us so we can understand what is really going on in our world. What I mean is, Sig could convince you he could see right through these people, to their essence, and despite the fact so many people put everything about themselves online, we know less than we did about people than we did when reading Sig's take on them.

Now what I want is to find out if there is a mother lode of Sig columns somewhere that I haven't read yet.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


All pictures from the TPWD website, who are excellent and should be applauded for going above and beyond the call of duty in running these great facilities on a shoestring budget. When you drive up into the hills in this State Park, there are amazing views.

Every year, we go fishing for the rainbow trout that are stocked in Texas State Parks and some other public locations for fishing. A special trout stamp is required, and be sure to check the special limits and regulations depending on where you fish. If you ever read this blog, you may know I've been doing that since I was a pre-teen with my family, taking near yearly winter trout fishing vacations to the Guadalupe and otehr trout stocked locales in my youth. In my twenties, I began to range all over the state, or at least, all over the eastern half of the state, enjoying different state and county parks and lakes and having a great time fishing in winter when there is not much other fishing going on.
Winter Texas rainbow trout fishing is the sure cure for cabin fever, or at least an effective treatment. Repeat as necessary.

One of the most memorable trips I ever had for stocked rainbow fishing was during a brief winter sojourn north of Austin back in January when I was in my mid-twenties. I was much younger then, of course, and was escaping and ending a dead end relationship in Houston. I'd managed to wangle spending some education time near Austin for some weeks, and had accommodations that I could use on the weekend. Already being in Central Texas on the cusp of the Hill Country, I was in striking distance already of lots of places that my home in Houston were lots further from.

Due to the aforementioned deteriorating relationship, and other holiday stuff, I had not yet had the opportunity to do any trout fishing yet that winter. Of course, I had the hatchback of my Toyota Supra well stocked with all the rods and tackle related gear I might want to use, as well as a variety of outdoor coats to facilitate rainbow trout fishing in inclimate weather.

So as I was driving around town that afternoon eating lunch, I heard on the radio that trout stocking would occur the next morning about 7:30 in the town of Meridian, northwest of Waco, at the State Park lake there. I went out that night and got some stuff for the trip, got packed and plotted the route on the map and took off about 4 a.m. the next morning.

I was able to plot a route that went up back roads from Jonestown up through Killeen, then west for a bit through Copperas Cove and then north for about 40 miles or so heading towards Gatesville, running alongside the Fort Hood Military Reservation for much of the way. After Gatesville, I veered back westward passing through some historic towns like Clifton and Norse, and since I was way ahead of schedule, was able to stop and read historical markers and learn of the large Scandinavian population of that area.

Several things I'll always remember from that trip up to Meridian that day. First, it was a very cold and overcast morning, probably about 30 degrees, so the sunrise and frost and fog and such was really a great background for the beautiful and rugged terrain I passed through on that trip. That was truly the time of day to be on that 40 mile or so stretch of road between Copperas Cove and Gatesville to just be awed by the normal beauty of Texas. Deer, of course, were everywhere feeding at that time of day and there were patches of ice here and there, so I drove slow and had a nice time enjoying some Texas country I had never seen.

Secondly, back then, gas stations and convenience stores weren't open much at the the time I took off at about 4 a.m. I was used to living in Houston which was just then sorta turning into a 24 hour town in the 80's, and at least convenience stores were open at that hour for a cup of coffee for the road. It took awhile that day, I recall, to encounter a business that was open at that hour, even though I was passing through some larger towns.

Finally, I nearly had the roads to myself that Saturday morning. Dang near, which was nice. Everything was shut down in towns like Copperas Cove and Gatesville as I passed through them, save for a lone gas station in each.

After lingering through communities like Clifton and Norse, I got to the State Park, still ahead of schedule, where I met the Ranger and headed down to the lake. When the fishery truck arrived, there were probably ten people assembled. We watched as the fish were poured into the lake, and after a few minutes, I began fly casting out in that area, quickly hooking fish. It began to rain lightly, and it seemed the fishing got better the colder it got and the more drizzley it became.

I was geared up, and several others had rain gear, but those who did not left despite the great fishing. I gave my fish to several families with lots of little kids who were obviously fishing for food, since the wives were fileting the fish as soon as they were out of the water, and pretty soon they were limited out and were ready to get back to their warm home and eat some fresh trout.

Pretty soon it was me and a couple of Park Rangers and Game Wardens out there fishing. Everyone else had gone home. Some of the best fishing I ever had for Texas Rainbows. Just nonstop catching. Not every cast but nearly so, and with the fairy wand ultra light tackle I was using, there were some fun fights with fish that day. So good that I stayed overnight in Meridian and came back the next morning. It was still good, and still cold, and still raining and still empty. And the fish were still biting until it was time for me to drive home.

The Game Wardens, guys about my age, became very nice once they learned I was an officer on mini-vacation, and I ended up teaching them how to fly fish. I left my fly rod with them when I went into town for lunch. My car started running rough, and I pulled into the local Exxon full service station (long gone, btw) and was getting gas and and the owner took a look at my badly running car and said "spark plug wire" and went and dug through some boxes and found one he liked that looked good and said that this was a used one but it worked and it would last me a while but I should replace it when I get home. He put it on and then gave me an extra and said put that back in your car in case that one or another goes out and refused to take even a dollar for fixing my problem or the wires, because they were leftover from some repair job long ago.

When I ate in town after that, I bought a pie at the restaurant and took it over to his place as thanks. It was the least I could do. I don't know if everyone in that town woke up on the right side of the bed that day, all I know is, they knew I was not from there and went out of their way to roll out red carpets just all over restaurants and the gas station and at the State Park. And I'm just an ordinary El Fisho.

Those days of things like full service gas stations where you often dealt with the owner are long gone. And I miss them. There's still great people all over this state, but as work ethics change and I grow older, I remember how it used to be.

Back then, I proclaimed Meridian as the friendliest town in Texas to all my compadres, and it's still holding the title. It was a day of days.