Saturday, February 18, 2006

Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo 2006





The 'RodeoHouston' is ranked as the world's largest rodeo with over one million spectators annually. I was curious to see how the 'rodeo' and 'cowboy competitions' began so here is.......





A little bit of history......

Rodeo competition originally began in the late 1800's, with cowboys competing in informal, friendly competitions. The first 'official' cowboy competition was in 1936 - Boston - of all places!!!...

The rodeo cowboys, in that competition, were angry with the promoters in that they (the promoters) were the only ones gaining $$$ from the competition. The rodeo cowboys (contestants) refused to compete any longer until the prize money was used fairly; distribute prize money faiely, judge events equally, and advedrtise the sport accordingly. There were 60 cowboys in that group, and they becamse the Cowboy Turtles Association.

The association became the 'Rodeo Cowboys Association' in 1945 and in 1975 becamse the 'Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association'.

Today, the 'Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association' (PRCA) hosts over 700 rodeos across the nation, giving over $34 million in prize money and over 20 million spectators attend these functions.

Like the 'Olympics', the 'champions' compete in over 125 rodeos throughout the year to gain a spot in the 'National Finals Rodeo' (NFR).

The NFR hosts the top 15 competitors in each category going through 10 painstaking rounds for $4.5 million dollars and then on to 10 more painstaking rounds for a part of the $4.6 million in prize money.

The Rodeo Houston Event includes the top cowboys to compete in one of the best regular-season rodeos. Then, the top contestant in each category competes in 'Rodeo Houston'. In 2004, over 480 contestants competed for over $748,000.

Rodeo Houston is monitored by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association and the Women's Professional Rodeo Association, who insures that the rodeo is produced safely and professionally.

Rodeo Houston has been honored as the "Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association Indoor Rodeo Committee of the Year" eight times.



The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is held in Reliant Stadium.

What's it all about?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Educational Support~~~~

The HLS&R (Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo) benefits youth; supporting education and implements better agricultural practices through exhibitions. The first scholarship was given in 1957 and since that time, over $100 million in educational support and scholarships has been awarded.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Star Entertainment.......

Stars in the previous years that have performed in the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and made record spectator turnouts were: Hillary Duff (2005 - 72,843 spectators), Kenny Chesney (2004- 70,668 & 2005 - 69,292), Alicia Keys (2005 - 72,063), and George Strait (2004-68,711), just to name a few.

I remember going as a child in the 70's. Some of the performances we attended were: The Osmonds in 1977, The Jackson Five in 1974, and of course, Elvis Presley in 1970 and 1974 (I still have my pin/badge with his picture from the 1974 show). We pretty much go every year; last year we saw Martina McBride (she puts on an excellent show!), Kenny Chesney, and Keith Urban. I cannot recall a time when we did not enjoy a show. All of the performers are great!


This year's lineup is great! Check it out.....
George Strait, Trisha Yearwood, Sheryl Crow, Maze featuring FrankieBeverly & Raven, Martina McBride, Clay Walker, Robert Earl Keen & Cross Canadian Ragweed, John Fogerty, Toby Keith, Maroon5, Pat Green, Lee Ann Womack, Ramon Ayala & Jay Perez, LeAnn Rimes, Larry the Cable Guy & Cory Morrow, Alan Jackson, Hilary Duff, Lonestar, Brooks & Dunn and Gretchen Wilson.

For more infomation about the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo please click the following link:

http://www.hlsr.com/

Austin, Texas = "The Backyard"

"The Backyard" is an ampitheatre located in Austin, Texas. (13101 Highway 71 West Austin, TX 78738 ) It is Located in The Texas Hill Country surrounded by live oak trees that are over 400 years old!

The theatre hosts many varied artists such as Jimmy Buffett, Willie Nelson, and Sheryl Crow, and can seat over 5,000 people of all ages. It has a full bar and is open March-October. They also have nights with kids' activities and varied bands.






Upcoming shows include: Willie Nelson and Daryl Hall & John Oates





The ampitheatre is said to be "The Best Place To Hear Live Music" by "Citysearch" .

For More Information about "The Backyard" please click the following link:
http://www.thebackyard.net/index.cfm?Fuseaction=VenueInfo

Candidates Spending Limits Irrelevant In County Court At Law #3

The GOP race for County Court At Law #3 has begun an interesting debate over campaign contributions for judicial races.

The State Judicial Fairness Act requires candidates running for a Judicial Seat to spend no more than $200,000 on their campaign. The candidates must sign a paper to comply or not to comply -- (THAT IS THE QUESTION!!)).

Candidate Attorney Grady James refused the limits (they are voluntary), saying that it violated his first amendment right of 'freedom of speech'. The Supreme Court has ruled that it is a 'restriction on freedom of speech' to limit overall campaign spending.

His two opponents, Patrice MacDonald and Michael Valdez, agreed to the limits, but are now free, as well, to spend as much as they desire!

So what if a person wants to spend his own money on his OWN campaign!?

Of course he wants to win and I wish him the best of luck!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

For more information on this please click on the following links:

The HCN Newspaper Online:
"Our View: voluntary judicial campaign spending limits -- well-intended, but unworkable and ultimately irrelevant in Court-at-Law 3 race."
http://www.hcnonline.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=16127340&BRD=1574&PAG=461&dept_id=542100&rfi=6

Speech or not: Applying Election Law Strict Scrutiny to Campaign Finance Regulations:
http://search.yahoo.com/search?fr=slv2-frz&ei=UTF-8&p=U.S.+Supreme+Court+has+ruled+that+limits+on+overall+campaign+spending+amount+to+a+restriction+on+freedom+of+speech

NHBA - Bar Journal Issue:
http://www.nhbar.org/publications/archives/display-journal-issue.asp?id=161

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Could this be sexual harrassment at the Comptroller's Office?

William Donald Schaefer, the State Comptroller of Maryland, was brought a beverage by a young woman at a meeting of the Board of Public Works.
THe young woman had brought him a beverage, then walked to the door to exi8t, when Schaefer stopped her, made her come back to him and walk again to the door. hmmm..

"She's a pretty little girl," he said. "The day I don't look at pretty women is the day I die.", the 84-year old comptroller said. He did not apologize for his actions.
In the past, he has referred to women as 'little girls', although women who have worked for him liked being called that and said Schaefer was respectful to them.
For more information about this article please click on the following link:
http://home.peoplepc.com/psp/newsstory.asp?cat=news&referrer=welcome&id=20060215/43f2b550_3ca6_1552620060215135322400

"JUST SAY NO"

Olga Pyleva was suspended Thursday for failing a doping related test. She is the first athlete to test positive at the Turin Games. She had won the silver medal on Monday, but had to forfeit after the testing was done. She had been considered a leading contender.
Four years ago, Pyleva had won the gold and bronze medals at the 2002 Salt Lake City games.

Doping testing are being done and over 1,200 samples are being tested at the Turin Games, versus in Salt Lake City 4 years ago, in which there has been a 72% increase since that time.

A dozen cross-country skiers were suspended for five days for high hemoglobin, which they consider health checks, although this could mean doping as well. Since that time, 7 have been retested and cleared, 1 retested and failed and the other 4 have not yet been cleared.
For more information on this story, please click on the following link:
http://home.peoplepc.com/psp/newsstory.asp?cat=breakingnews&id=20060216/43f406d0_3ca6_1552620060216221320510

"Blues" Mourning

February 9, 2006. This happened the other day, but I wanted to write about it because I really dont like Krispy Kreme doughnuts. "Krispy Kreme" was sued by another doughnut company "Lone Star Doughnuts". Although they apparently have six official locations around the Houston area (which will be closing down), I remember when Krispy Kreme doughnuts first appeared in the aisles at Kroger. Everyone talked about them like they were soooo good. Personally, I really, really don't like them. I think they are waayyyyy tooooo sweet and too 'perfect', if ya know what I mean..... I prefer the 'not-so-perfect' "Shipley' doughnuts. They come in a box (if you get 6 or more) and they are sooo good when they are warm!
To read more about the doughnut store closings, click on the following link....
http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/front/3647846.html

Monday, February 13, 2006

Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 will slash Millions of Dollars from Texas Child Support Program

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott says that the deficit reduction act of 2005 will slash hundreds of millions of dollars to run the Texas child support program. This will include incentive payments states receive for child support preformance as a match to get additional federal funds. Officials in Texas say the Bill will cost Texas more than $200 million between October 2007 and August 2010, which basically means a $2 billion dollar drop in child support collections.
For more information on this story please check out this website:
http://www.seguingazette.com/story.lasso?ewcd=ce6ae8b2dcc6b044

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Ellen Degeneres and Texas Class Reunion in Burbank, California



Originally from Shreveport, Ellen Degeneres moved to Atlanta, Texas, which is about 60 miles northwest of her 'hometown'. She moved to Atlanta, Texas to complete her junior and senior year there in Atlanta's high school. Atlanta is a town of about 5,000. She flew her classmates - about 70 who participated in the reunion, to Burbank, California and had them all on her show... introduced them all at once. She also introduced her former sweethearts Ricky Partain and prom date Richard Reynolds. The class President Mark White presented Degeneres with a proclamation by the Mayor of Atlanta, Texas, Kay Philips making it 'Ellen Degeneres' Day.

For more information about this please visit:
http://www.shreveporttimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060204/NEWS01/602040346/1002/NEWS

"We Eat All We Can.... And We Sell The Rest..."


I wanted to write about something different and so.... since I like icecream and so do my kids..... I am writing about Blue Bell Ice Cream....

Blue Bell Creameries is the manufacturer of Blue Bell brand Ice Cream. They have been making the ice cream since 1911. Their corporate headquarters are in Brenham, Texas.



A little bit of history...

The Brenham Creamery Company opened for business in August , 1907. Their first product was butter. A small production of ice cream began in 1911, about one or two gallons a day. Word of mouth spread of how good the ice cream was, and they made more ice cream to keep up with the demand.

After many years of only selling it in Brenham, the company decided to sell it in Houston, and then on to Dallas, and all over Texas.

In 1989, they began to sell it in Oklahoma, and in the 1990's throughout the South Central and Souther US. In 1992, they started amnufacturing in Oklahoma and in 96, bought an ice cream plant in Alabama.

Blue Bell is the #3 best selling ice cream throughout the US, after Breyers and Dreyer's (I personally don't like them), although they were only selling ice cream in 16 states.

There are over 50 flavors of Blue Bell Ice Cream. My personal favorites are: Homemade Vanilla, Dutch Chocolate, Blueberry Cheescake, King Cake (new wonderful flavor!) and a few others. Check out the new flavors they have now...

Blue Bell is considered somewhat of a Texas Institution, with families visiting the Brenham Blue Bell Plant, for an admission price (of course - everything costs money these days!). Each person gets a tour of the facility and samples at the end...yum, yum!!!


Check out the Blue Bell Website:

http://www.bluebell.com/Default.htm

Glory Road - "You'll play basketball my way. My way is hard."



I recently took my kids and their friends to see the movie 'Glory Road' (PG - 1hr. 57 min).



'Glory Road' is a true story about an all black starting line-up basketball team in El Paso (Texas Western Univ) led by coach Don Haskins in 1966 (WOW - the year I was born) to the NCAA national championship.



Josh Lucas plays coach Don Haskins. I like Josh Lucas (He was also in 'A Beautiful Mind' - I was hooked on him in that movie) I think he does a good job portraying Don Haskins.

Don Haskins goes to El Paso and is given a coaching position in exchange for room and board (there on campus) along with a moderate salary. He takes along his wife and baby and they all live on campus.


He begins to recruit new players and those new players being black and locates them in the inner city (drives by basketball courts and sees the potential players playing within the city, etc. How he recruits the players and convinces their families to let them 'attend' college and play college basketball is revealing of the times this movie is portrayed.

In 1966, it was practically unheard of for black players to be on College Basketball teams, not to mention being starting line-ups, so Haskins' had his work cut out for him....

There are a few indications of the times in brief flashed of news as far as the civil rights movement and integration, but there could have been a few more.


There are a few threatening scenes; one encompasses a scene where the team is on the road and the enter a coffee-shop-type restaurant. One of the players goes to the restroom and is attacked by some white men, all the while the other players are sitting down to order/eat. Then the player which has been attacked comes out of the bathroom barely walking. Everyone in their group decided to leave the restaurant, and not pursue vendictive behavior.....

Another scene which was interesting was when the five white players attend a party with the 7 black players. This was interesting to sort of see the other side .... and a good scene for the movie's sake.


If you are interested in the Civil Rights Movement and that time era of integrated schooling, etc. this would be an excellent movie to see. Although it was said that this movie was not completely 'true to the facts', it was still a good movie!

Link to Civil Rights Movement
http://www.cr.nps.gov/nr/travel/civilrights/index.htm

Texas Longhrons Stadium to get $150 Million Facelift

While I am not an avid 'Football Fan' (anymore, although I USED to be - drill team in HS) and barely watched the game last Sunday, I will have to say CONGRATS! to our Texas Longhorns! This is quite an accomplishment for UT and certainly makes the stakes higher to get in to that college. Heck, my ex-husband is already planning to send our son there.... and he's only 9! something about a list.....??? ;p

It's a good thing to see Texas on the map with several championships in the past few years (or at least near-championships (ie: The Astros) Let's not forget the Rockets a few years ago and now the Longhorns. When I was in HS and thereafterwards, the 'in' college was A&M - but there are going to definitely take a back seat to UT. Go Longhorns!

For more information on the $150 Million Facelift for UT, see the following link:
http://www.news8austin.com/content/your_news/default.asp?ArID=155262

A Tale of Two Alamos - A Comparison between the 1960 Movie Version and the 2004 Version




Davy's Death~


1960 Version - Davy Crockett was killed along side all the other men.

2004 Version - Davy was captured by Santa Anna and attacked only after Davy telling Santa Anna that 'he thought he was taller' - that was great!

Davy's Preaching~

There seemed to be more preaching by Davy in the 2004 version - maybe put in the story line to add more to Davy's character as he was not a 'consistent, loud, showy' type of character in the 2004 version as he was in the 1960 version - probably was so in the 1960 version because he was played by John Wayne - (love him!) and of course the star role must go to JW!


Relationship between Davy Crockett and Jim Bowie~

1960 Version - There seemed to be a bit more defiance and the characters were more cantankerous (right word?/right spelling?)

2004 Version - There was more mutual respect, I think. They were both trying to find out bits and pieces about the other one's life / way of thinking.

A Line In The Sand~

1960 Version- Although vague, it was not much different than the 2004 version; Bowie was in front of a crowd on a horse when Travis was speaking. Travis allowed the opportunity for those to leave (as Santa Anna allowed those to leave) - women, children, and those with families with noone else to care for them. Bowie stayed with Travis to defend the Alamo.

2004 Version - Travis indicates to all the men that those who stay to fight will most likely end in death. Almost all women and children left and Bowie's slave, Sam. Bowie is sick in bed, but hears him through window.

Bowie and his slave, Sam/Jethro (1960 version)~

1960 Version - The relationship between Bowie and his slave in the 1960 version I think was portrayed more cordial, because of the time in which the movie took place - the 1960's, and this was a time era in which we have the Equal Rights. etc. going on. I think the director's did it this way because they DID NOT want to show how bad it actually was back then for slaves. In this version, Bowie actually gives Jethro his 'walking papers' and sets him free.

2004 Version - I think in the 2004 version, the relationship between Bowie and his slave Jethro (was a different name) was more accurate than the 1960 version for the time frame that the movie portrayed. Although Bowie did not actually give Sam his walking papers, and said that he was only 'letting him go' temporarily and would come and find him after it was all over... although I think that he knew deep down that that was a lie ....

For more information on The Alamo or the characters in these stories please visit the following websites:

Arthur Bond and The Worm

Obviously, if you take anything at face value, you may not see all there is too see...just like looking at the 'Mona Lisa' (this may be a somewhat inappropriate comparison between Arthur Bond and Mona Lisa - but, hey , I am a former art major/advertising/design -and we had to study all that stuff)...anyway......

So, when I began reading the William Goyen story - Arthur Bond' , I was a little 'grossed out' - but I knew there had to be a 'point' to all this 'madness'....about a worm in someone's leg.... that's not reality - so realizing that it WAS NOT reality, I probably put up an imaginary 'wall' to not let in the ability to feel 'grossed out' - Does that make sense?... sounds more like a metaphor to me!

I think 'the worm' in the story refers to what Arthur Bond is struggling with in his life... all the strongholds in his life that he cannot forget.... like it is said that 'a person pays for the sins of the father' - maybe he is trying to get on with his life and forget all the things he has been through in his life....and he drinks..... but cannot seem to 'forget the memories (or the worm) and that's what 'keeps him down' - so .... the worm is STILL there and wont go away.

Also, I think there's a bit of sexual overtones in the story. The worm symbolizes his 'masculinity' at the same time.

Although I have never read Goyen's other stories, and I had never heard of this author before this story... I enjoyed the story.... I like stories that make you think there is a hidden meaning... and you try to figure it out. I look forward to reading more of this author's stories!

Sunday, February 05, 2006

The Alamo and Freedom Alliance

This is a commentary on the Freedom Alliance story claiming that the "Alamo movie filled with 'fairy tales'"....

I do have quite a few things to say about what they claim .....

They say that the movie reads more like a Disney fairy tale.....aimed at destroying a traditional American hero......

Yes, I suppose it is politically 'correct' to hide and cover up the hard facts and truths about any heroes.... in the past, present or future......

They say that Davy Crockett is portrayed as a frightened wanderer who wanted to escape over the wall in the dark of night.... during the historic battle.... but felt trapped by his own underserved herioc reputation..... For heaven's sakes... it's just a movie, people!!!!! But... but...maybe they are protraying him BETTER than that of what he was actually know to be. THey are going to add a little drama... or maybe the Alliance is just reading too much into it .... I actually dont think that they protrayed him to be doing that... he appeared concerned... but not trapped and trying to escape....

They say that 'historical evidence ' shows that he was killed fighting, in the thick of combat during the battle. How can they claim that when no one was actually left to document such 'evidence'.... Ok, here's a better one......Of course, noone WANTS to broadcast that their 'hero' be portrayed in an undesireable light.....

No one is perfect.

I do not remember in "The Alamo", (actually I rented the movie and watched it on cable a few times) Houston being/having venereal disease.... unless they spoke it in Spanish and did not subtitle it.... but then, only a person who speaks Spanish would know that then, right?

And haha, they say that Travis was a deadbeat dad and serial adulterer....come on people!!!!!........ ----flash forward---- How will a somewhat recent public official be portrayed in our grandchildren's history books??!!??

In the scene where Travis' wife states the 'grounds for divorce' ... she says.... abandonment, adultery and something else (could not understand). He says 'Well, I guess abandonment is most appropriate.' She says 'Any of them will do' and he looks at her. How do we know that SHE is not the one who committed adultery... she is the one who listed it on the paper. He only said abandonment... (((not that he is just saying that to protect her feelings if in fact he DID commit adultery))) she could have been lonely and well,...... who knows. Not that I am taking up for him or anything... it's just a different way of looking at it. The scene is very subtle and non-disclosing.... maybe to not draw too much attention to the situation. Maybe she did commit adultery... and maybe the script writers worded it that way to provide the 'truth' (in a subtle way) AND to not bring additional shame upon Travis' legacy (by having his wife be an adulterer - maybe that's the subtlety - just a thought))

I have not seen the original 'Alamo' in a very long time but do plan on watching it as soon as I get a free moment between dealing with sick children and working. I am curious and anxious to note the differences in the movies as well as read books and compare and contrast the information in each.

Just food for thought....

In the Freedom Alliance article, they basically are saying that we must preserve.... vigorously defend the heroes...and just to sit back and allow them to be desecrated is an injustice to American students and a recipe for disaster.... My question to them.... have they read the newspapers later or in the past 6-8 years? What about our 'heroes' we have in today's world? We have a lot of great heroes, definitely. THere are some that have a few indiscretions. All the current information is usually published. What about the public officials that have been in the past who made 'it known' discretely, of course, that they had 'others' while they were married? Although I think he was overall a good public official....A quick example would be a 'recent public official.' What about him? HOW will he be portrayed? Do you think it will/should be left out of future history books HIS history? These types of things are / have become 'part' of our culture. The fact that there was certain things done, etc. a few hundred years ago should not be surprising. And I am not saying that the movie was correct, because I do not know (presently) that much about that time period or about the Battle of the Alamo.... but I am learning. And if Hollywood wants to 'ad-lib' a little I think that they should have that freedom, within certain limits. I do not think that they would purposely portray a war hero to be less than he actually was. I think that they may portray him to be at least a little better than he actually was. And the reason I dont think that they would downgrade a hero is because of the American people as a whole... the morale, etc. and the way we are viewed by other countries. I could see another country downgrading one of our heroes, but not our people.

Anyway... I could go on and on but I will close for now.

Tollroad User BEWARE!!!

I don't know if any of you folks out there are using the tollway at all or use it frequently, but beware......
The last time I used the tollway was back in July to take my flight attendant friend to the airport to go to work because her car would not start.... I would not have taken the tollway, but she paid for it... and even when I do use the tollway... which is very rare... I always get a receipt. :)
A month later I get this notice in the mail saying that I owe something like $35.50 for tollroad violations...basically 'not paying'.... and it was for THREE times. I thought this was funny actually....at first. THey sent a 'photo' (which you could not even make out the license plate!) and it was of the back of a truck similar to mine....but major differences.... you see.. I have a cover on the back of my truck and have had since I purchased it...the vehicle which 'violated' the payment was loaded with boxes. THey said I had gone through the tollway on three separate occasions and NOT PAID! Although I had 'no proof' for the first alleged 'violation', the other two times I allegedly 'violated' the tollroad, I was at work and at school, respectively. Of course, I called them (and was placed on hold for 23 minutes -- on my cell phone time of course) and explained to them that the only time I had used the tollroad in the past few months was to take my friend to work and I had a receipt, and the other two times I was at work and school and had the proof and would they like me to send the proof to them? Another thing that I pointed out to them, was the fact that it was not even my truck in the photo they sent with the violation/invoice and 'were they just randomly sending violations out to anyone in hopes that whomever received such 'tickets' would just pay them so they did not have to deal with going through the trouble of being on hold?? I explained to them that I do not use the tollroad but maybe once or twice a year, and to please not send me anymore bogus invoices.... so.....A month or so later I received yet another 'tollroad violation invoice' and this time it was for 5 (five) violations totaling over $50.00 (I dont remember the exact amount) but I could not believe they actually sent me another bill....So..... I called them yet again, placed on hold for about 25 mintues (cell phone time of course).... This time the bill was hilarious.... this time you COULD actually make out the licence plate. It was a truck alright... but the license plate in the photo was 86F LL2...... My license plate is 96F LL2... I asked them how they could make this mistake? Her response was a very non-chalant "it was a computer mistake ma'am." "The computer 'read' the photo wrong." I politely and calmly told her not to send me anymore bills for not paying toll fees... I do not use the tollway and if I get another invoice for this nonsense I would be contacting the better business bureau. I had again asked her 'do they just randomly send out bills to whomever.... etc." Basically I did not get upset about it because what is the point? But I have learned in today's world you almost have to have proof for everything you do.And....oh there's more..... I got yet another bill... this one was for $33.50 or something like that. And again, the license plate was very legible...it was off on the last digit this time....really... ((I will post the scans of the bills when I figure out how to do so...)) And again... I called them up, etc. etc. I still have the bills and they do actually take photos. You can tell that the photos are not my truck. I, speaking from first hand experience, know that they send bills to whomever the license plate 'close-estly' (sp?) resembles. So if you DO get a bill, check out the dates and look closely at the photo. I have a friend that did not /does not protest the invoices because they DO use the tollway alot. THey are watching their invoices more closely these days. I would be willing to bet that most, if not all, of those bills they receive are bogus!!! The tollway's billing system is in desperate need of improvement!!!! Moral.... If you DO use the tollway - SAVE YOUR receipts!!!