Friday, November 30, 2007

Sunday in The Times: More on Centenary's 'new' mascot. VOTE NOW!

Centenary will keep its nicknames of Ladies and Gents, but the school will add a mascot for some fun. Voting continues through Sunday at midnight for Centenary students, alumni, staff and faculty: go to to vote.

Times readers will be able to voice their mascot opinion through votes Sunday online at

Here are the school's five finalists. This information is from Centenary's marketing and communications department.
The mascot art is by the talented David Wright of The Times, who drew each finalist to scale, more or less.

Exploration is the important value embodied by the mascot Explorers, connecting the mascot nicely to the college’s current branding statement, “Explore. Invent. Connect.” Explorers are fearless adventurers and risk-takers, seeking new experiences through open-mindedness and independence. Picture a swash-buckling pirate, a frontier-opening pioneer, a high-tech scientist or a high-flying astronaut — or any and all of these incarnations. The Explorers mascot links athletics with academics by pointing back to our mission statement without being nerdy, silly, or campy; exploration is dignified. The Sioux City Explorers, a minor league baseball team, are often referred to simply as the X’s, an interesting interpretation worth considering. Currently, there is only one NCAA Div. I school using the concept: the LaSalle University Explorers in Philadelphia.

Squirrels are small creatures that are “clever”, “persistent”, “expert climbers” and “thrive in urban environments”. Their abundance on campus and around Shreveport seem to make them a natural mascot possibility. General public opinion is favorable with such iconic popular images as Rocky from Rocky & Bullwinkle, Sandy Cheeks from SpongeBob Squarepants, and Hammy from Over the Hedge. However, don’t let the cuddly images fool you. Squirrels have incredibly sharp teeth and, through gnawing-induced power outages, have brought down the power grids of stock markets, universities, and even cities. Currently, only Mary Baldwin College in Staunton, Virginia, utilizes the Squirrels mascot.


Catahoulas, also known as Catahoula Leopard Dogs, are the official state dogs of Louisiana. Catahoulas are usually merle colored animals with eyes of mismatched color — they are described variously as “solid,” “strong,” “independent,” “physical,” “highly intelligent,” and “very noisy.” In addition to the home state connection, the aforementioned attributes positively articulate the Centenary experience and the Centenary community. Though the idea of a dog as mascot (e.g., University of Georgia) may not be unique, the introduction of the Catahoulas offers many one-of-a-kind possibilities for portrayal (whether real and/or animated). The distinctiveness of the Centenary Catahoulas will be translated much like the popular University of Southern Illinois Salukis. There are no current Catahoula mascot references among NCAA or professional athletic teams.

Mud Cats
Flathead catfish, nicknamed the Mud Cats, are a North American freshwater variety of fish found in rivers throughout the Missouri and Mississippi River basins, including the Red River. These fish can grow to weigh up to 120 pounds and are typically found at the bottom of rivers, hence the “mud cat” moniker. There is a connection — although slight — to the already established Shreveport/Bossier community through S/B’s popular minor league hockey team, the Mud Bugs. In the college world, the Mud Cats offer a unique mascot opportunity. So unique, in fact, that one can imagine a “celebrity” potential for the Mud Cats, much like the Banana Slugs of the University of Santa Cruz. The only references found so far are the Mississippi Mudcats (an arena football team) and the Carolina Mudcats (a minor league baseball team). Currently, there is no NCAA Div. I school with the Mud Cats as a mascot.

Fire Ants
Abundant in our geographical region, Fire Ants are small insects that really “pack a wallop” when they sting. These fierce, tenacious creatures rely on teamwork to accomplish their tasks and pop up where you may least expect. Just as their size parallels the smallness of our own student population, and their characteristics of perseverance and might model that of our Centenary community, the maroon color of their bodies will also help associate the Fire Ant with Centenary’s dominant school color (also maroon). The Centenary Fire Ants will be a versatile mascot: cute and funny at one moment and fighting strong the next. An additional benefit to this mascot choice is the infrequent use of Fire Ants as college mascots. Currently, there is only one NCAA school, the University of South Carolina – Sumter Fire Ants in Sumter, South Carolina.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Oklahoma!, where the gravy comes sweepin' o'er the plain

(Ed. Note: In the picture here, Oklahoma is right below the "tes" in "United States.")

From Key Marketing Group and Communications...

Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Oklahoma Centennial Cookbook Hits Stores for the Holidays
Famous Recipes from Famous Oklahomans

Oklahoma author Ronnye Perry Sharp - and a host of Oklahoma celebrities - are celebrating Oklahoma's centennial milestone with the release of "Oklahoma's Historical Centennial Cookbook."

Published by Tate Publishing & Enterprises, the book is designed as a collector's item to tell the story of Oklahoma's history and share famous recipes from famous Oklahomans.

Recipes cover a broad spectrum of Oklahoma culinary preferences - from elegant dinner party favorites to native American recipes like Succotash and Pashofa and just about everything in between. Celebrating Oklahoma's centennial, historical notes and facts from the state's 100-year history are weaved throughout the book.

The book includes recipes and contributions from well-known Oklahomans including country music stars Toby Keith and Vince Gill, former OU football coach Barry Switzer, and the entire Washington, D.C. delegation from Oklahoma including Congresswoman Mary Fallin and Senator Jim Inhofe. The list of celebrities continues with OU President David Boren, Native American astronaut John Herrington, Governor Brad Henry, former OU football star Joe Washington, World Wrestling Entertainment announcer and BBQ expert Jim Ross, Oklahoma Centennial Project an d Events Chairman Lee Allan Smith, businessman Bob Funk, Oklahoma restaurateur Hal Smith, and former Governor Frank Keating. Dr. Robert Blackburn of the Oklahoma Historical Society and famed businessman Boone Pickens contributed as well with the book's foreword written by Oklahoma First Lady Kim Henry. Many other well-known Oklahoma personalities from political, educational, business, and entertainment arenas are also included.

A portion of book proceeds will go toward cancer research and muscular dystrophy research, Sharp announced. Sharp explained that as a seven-year survivor of stage-three and stage-four breast cancer, she takes great pride and comfort in knowing that book proceeds will go toward saving lives.

The book is now available at and any bookstore nationwide or can be ordered through,, or

Three-time Pulitzer Prize nominee Bob Burke is the book's contributing author. Burke has earned the title of writing more non-fiction books than anyone in history. He is a member of the Oklahoma Hall of Fame and the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame.

Tom Flora, the book's contributing photographer, maintains several degrees from photography schools and organizations. Currently he serves as Vice President of the Professional Photographers of the Southwest and will serve as president in 2008.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

There's no place like Texas...except, well, Texas

From Linda in Ft. Worth. Thank you Linda. When you come up with a list for Louisiana, send it. (Make sure Punkin Center and Bunkie get on it.)

Texas the FUN state!!

A list of actual places to travel in Texas ..

Need to be cheered up?

Happy, Texas 79042
Pep , Texas 79353
Smiley , Texas 78159
Paradise , Texas 76073
Rainbow , Texas 76077
Sweet Home , Texas 77987
Comfort , Texas 78013
Friendship, Texas 76530
Love the Sun?

Sun City , Texas 78628
Sunrise , Texas 76661
Sunset, Texas 76270
Sundown, Texas 79372
Sunray , Texas 79086
Sunny Side , Texas 77423
Want something to eat?

Bacon , Texas 76301
Noodle , Texas 79536
Oatmeal , Texas 78605
Turkey , Texas 79261
Trout , Texas 75789
Sugar Land , Texas 77479
Salty, Texas 76567
Rice , Texas 75155
And top it off with:
Sweetwater , Texas 79556
Why travel to other cities? Texas has them ALL!

Detroit , Texas 75436
Colorado City , Texas 79512
Denver City , Texas 79323
Nevada , Texas 75173
Memphis , Texas 79245
Miami , Texas 79059
Boston , Texas 75570
Santa Fe , Texas 77517
Tennessee Colony , Texas 75861
Reno , Texas 75462
Feel like traveling outside the country?
Don't bother buying a plane ticket!

Athens , Texas 75751
Canadian , Texas 79014
China , Texas 77613
Egypt , Texas 77436
Turkey , Texas 79261
London , Texas 76854
New London , Texas 75682
Paris , Texas 75460
No need to travel to Washington D.C.

Whitehouse , Texas 75791
We even have a city named after our planet!

Earth , Texas 79031
And a city named after our State!

Texas City , Texas 77590

Energy , Texas 76452

Blanket , Texas 76432
Winters, Texas

Poolville, Texas 76487
Cool, Texas ( Parker County )

Like to read about History?

Santa Anna, Texas
Goliad , Texas
Alamo, Texas
Gun Barrel City , Texas

Need Office Supplies?

Staples , Texas 78670

Men are from Mars, women are from
Venus , Texas 76084
You guessed it... it's on the state line...

Texline , Texas 79087
For the kids...

Kermit , Texas 79745
Elmo , Texas 75118
Nemo , Texas 76070
Tarzan , Texas 79783
Winnie , Texas 77665
Sylvester , Texas 79560
Other city names in Texas , to make you smile..... : :))

Frognot , Texas 75424
Bigfoot , Texas 78005
Hogeye , Texas 75423
Cactus , Texas 79013
Notrees , Texas 79759
Plainview, Texas 79072
Best, Texas 76932
Veribest , Texas 76886
Kickapoo , Texas 75763
Dime Box, Texas
Telephone , Texas 75488
Telegraph , Texas 76883
Whiteface , Texas 79379
Twitty, Texas 79079
And last but not least. The Anti-Al Gore City

Kilgore , Texas 75662
Have a Good Day!
P.S. Whoops, left out :

Cut n shoot,
Hoop And Holler,
Ding Dong,

and don't forget......
Farewell , Texas
And, of course, there is a place in Texas that is......


Monday, November 26, 2007

Is that a big brick, or are you just happy to see me?...

THE WORDS BELOW ARE FROM THE ACME BRICK FOLKS...This brick is in town today from noon until 2 at Acme's Shreveport Sales Office, 1919 Kings Highway in Shreveport. The Acme Brick folk invite you to go by for a piece of free pizza and a look at the world's biggest brick......

On July 4, 2007, Acme Brick celebrated America’s birthday and Acme’s 116th year in a really big way – in fact over 9,000 pounds big.

At 6 a.m., the staff of Acme’s Denton, Texas, brick plant “delivered” Baby Clay. This “baby” sets all kinds of records because he weighs in at over three tons and is 116 inches long (9 ft. 8 in.) – one inch for every year that Acme has been in business. That makes Clay nearly 3,000 times the size of a standard brick.

This giant brick has been certified by the Guinness Book of World Records™ as the world's biggest. The newborn was named Clay because he is comprised of clay materials from each of Acme’s 23 brick plants around the Southwest.

Acme President and CEO Dennis Knautz said, “We think that the creation of Clay demonstrates exceptional expertise among our brickmaking staff. This was a huge, unprecedented challenge for them. It seems fitting that one of America’s oldest and the world’s largest American–owned brick company should produce the world’s largest brick to commemorate Acme’s 116 years in business.” The brick also measures 39 inches tall and 39 inches wide.

Baby Clay is Acme’s fifth attempt to create this world record brick. The first four attempts, beginning in September 2004, were tremendous learning experiences for the determined brickmakers. The crew made adjustments, and the fifth time was the charm. Acme’s Denton plant required 13 months to create Baby Clay compared to the normal time of a week for a normal brick. “I think that the successful birth of Baby Clay also says something about the traditional American values of hard work and persistence as demonstrated by Harland Dixson (Acme’s plant manager); Mack Wilcox, our project manager; and his crew," said company president Knautz.

During October and November, Baby Clay has been on tour, visiting Acme offices and plants in celebration of the company’s 116th birthday. A special trailer was created to accommodate the newborn in his travels. It is anticipated that Clay will be making a number of “guest” appearances in other venues as well.


Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Corn Bread: We're Thankful For It

In honor of Thanksgiving, here is the recipe that people request most from me.

This is a slight variation of the corn bread Neva McKay taught me and Reggie Redding how to make when we were high school seniors in her Home and Family Living Class. She was wonderful, and as a food, this corn bread of hers almost matches her. That's how good it is.

Send your roses to me in care of The Times, 222 Lake Street, Shreveport, La 71101. I thank you.

I like to call it Corn Bread That Will Make You Hurt Yourself (or) First-String Corn Bread (or) BCS Corn Bread (or) Super Bowl Cornbread.

· 1 cup self-rising white cornmeal

· 1 cup sour cream

· 1 small can cream-style corn

· 1/2 cup oil

· 3 eggs

· 1/2 tsp. salt

· 1 cup grated cheddar cheese (optional)

· Bacon (optional)

Pre-heat oven 400 degrees. Mix ingredients. Pour batter into hot skillet (heated with a small amount of oil.) Bake about 20-25 minutes.

Options: Put a layer of uncooked bacon in bottom of skillet, pour batter on top and bake. Or, pour half batter into skillet, add cheese, pour in other half and bake.

Then eat 'til you weep.

And for goodness sakes, err on the side of undercooking. You can always cook something more; you can't uncook something. If your corn bread is shriveled up and wrinkled, just go ahead and start pounding it. You've just made stuffing.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

T-mail: It's potluck ... so you're in luck!

We are having Thanksgiving potluck here at the salt mines today; I loves me some potluck.

So, I'm feeling generous and reflective (and hungry). And because I'm in a good mood and autumny, I'm posting some pictures forwarded to me. I have no idea where these are from but they are purty. I love a leaf. Not as much as a potluck, but I love a leaf.

Also, see if you can find the misplaced picture...

Monday, November 19, 2007

Wait a minute...San Jose's not a state! it?

(Editor's note: Dionne Warwick (shown here, back in the day), who had a monster hit in the late 1960s with "Do You Know The Way To San Jose?" by Burt Bacharach and Hal David, was not at the Louisiana Tech vs. San Jose State game in Ruston Saturday night. "If the game had been in San Jose, she would have been there," her publicist said. "She doesn't know the way to Ruston.")

Here's a tale of Saturday's football game at Aillet Stadium, more from the losers' point of view than from Tech's. I was writing specifically for Dionne Warwick and had hoped to get a quote from her, but ... didn't happen.

And this doesn't happen every day either: both Louisiana Tech and San Jose State face, as their next opponent, Nevada, of the WAC. Fortunately for Nevada, they won't take on both teams at once. SJSU plays Nevada this week while Tech is open; the Bulldogs travel to Nevada on Dec. 1 to close out their regular season.

Tech 27, San Jose State 24:

'One play away...'
Spartans rally but fall short late against Bulldogs

By Teddy Allen

RUSTON, La. – San Jose State played its worst first half on the road of the year, lost two fumbles for the first time all year, and found itself settling for field goals on each of the three times it set up shop on or inside Louisiana Tech’s 5-yard-line here Saturday night.

And still, with two minutes to play and 16 yards between them and the end zone, the Spartans were looking dead-ahead at their first lead of the night, and a happy ride home.

“One play away,” SJSU coach Dick Tomey said moments after a 27-23 loss to Western Athletic Conference opponent Louisiana Tech. “We gave up some big plays. We made some uncharacteristic mistakes. We got some momentum, we just couldn’t keep it long enough to get ahead. And still, we were just one play away…”

Tomey talked on a hill above Joe Aillet Stadium’s south end zone where a few minutes before, quarterback Adam Tafralis’ fourth-and-4 pass from the Tech 16, intended for Jacob French in the heart of the end zone, was knocked down with 1:51 left to play.

“One play short,” Tomey said. “We overcame everything that happened, but…”

He shook his head.

One play short.

Tech took over, ran out the clock with San Jose out of time outs, and kept its hope of a winning season alive. Tech is 5-6 overall, 4-3 in the conference and can become bowl eligible when it closes the season at Nevada after an open date.

San Jose’s season’s hopes met the same fate as Tafralis’ final pass: grounded. The Spartans are 4-7 overall, 3-4 in the WAC and end their season Saturday at home against Nevada. A nine-win team last year, the Spartans 2007 season has gone a lot like Saturday’s game in north Louisiana: stop and go, herky jerky, and a whole lot of too little, too late.

“This hurts a lot,” Tomey said. “We had a chance to compete, to have a winning season, and we didn’t get it done.”

The Spartans’ played the first half as if they were still on the bus in the parking lot. Tech built a 24-6 lead, mainly on Spartan brain cramps. Four big gainers for Tech either were scores or led to scores: a 46-yard run, a 52-yard punt return, and passes of both 49 and 50 yards. “Missed tackles,” Tomey said. “Blown coverages.”

“That’s part of the game,” he said. “You don’t want it to be, but it happens.”

The tide turned in the second half, and quickly. The Spartans’ opening possession ended with Tafralis passing 23 yards to a streaking James T. Callier for SJSU’s first touchdown. Tafralis ran for four yards and a score to make it 24-20 with 5:27 left in the third quarter; that score was set up after Tafralis scrambled before finding Kevin Jurovich for 39 yards, one of the hometown junior’s 11 catches in the game.

“In the third quarter,” said Tech rookie head coach Derek Dooley, “everything went south. We couldn’t stop them.”

Tafralis finished with 36 yards rushing, second to French’s 43 yards. He completed 28 of 47 passes for 369 yards—his sixth 300 yards-passing game of the year -- and was picked off once.

“He did a terrific job of keeping us in the game,” Tomey said of his senior quarterback.

The teams traded field goals before SJSU took over on its 20 with 3:15 left and trailing by four. What happened next didn’t take long; two completions and two pass interference penalties against Tech put the ball on the Bulldog 22. From that point, two incompletions and a scramble led to the game-defining 4th-and-4 from the Tech 16.

“If we had any faults down the stretch, it was in our trying for the touchdown; all we needed was a first down,” Tomey said. “But it’s easy to say that when you’re not actually playing in the game. We were in the game because of Adam, because of his scrambling and throwing and running.”

It helped that Tomey had Matt Castelo tackling people. The senior linebacker from Valley Christian High in San Jose did that 21 times, including four tackles for losses.

Last year, the Spartans ripped the Bulldogs, 44-10, in San Jose with a 2006 Division I-A single-game best 476 yards rushing. The Spartans managed only 105 yards rushing Saturday.

“We fought really well in the second half, not so good in the first, but Louisiana Tech had a lot to do with that,” Tomey said. “There are a lot of good days ahead for Tech football.”

There is only a week ahead for the current bunch of Spartans, but already they’ve ended a long hard road. Seven times this year they’ve traveled; six times they returned with one more loss than they’d left home with. Their lone road win came against hapless Utah State, no small accomplishment in retrospect: that 23-20 win in Logan came sandwiched between three straight road losses – at Arizona State, Kansas State and Stanford – and a week before the home opener – in Game 5 against UC-Davis, on Sept. 29.

After Tech, SJSU’s road record fell to 1-6.

“Tonight’s the poorest first half we’ve played on the road, but the road’s got nothing to do with it,” Tomey said. “You’ve got to make a play, and we didn’t. They did. You’ve got to be mature enough to overcome that.”


Saturday, November 17, 2007

Tech 27, San Jose State 23

Good night and be careful driving home. Don't forget to tip your ushers and parking attendants...

and writers.


4th and 4 fromTech 16 for SJSU...

...pass incomplete and nearly intercepted in the heart of the end zone...

Tech takes over at its 17......

SJS has no time outs left.

TECH WINS 27-23. Tech is 4-3 in the WAC and 5-6 overall.

San Jose is 3-4 in the WAC and 4-7.

San Jose ends its season next week at home against Nevada.

Tech closes out the season in two weeks against Nevada, on the road. Tech is open this week.

Announced attendance is 13,027...

...give or take a few deer hunters.

Tech aded a 41-yard field goal and leads 27-23, with eight minutes and counting to play. San Jose state faces a third-and-three at the Tech 44 ... and under pressure, Adam Tafralis' pass is incomplete. The Spartans line up to punt...

It's getting interesting...

And WONDERFUL punt. 42 yards. And downed at the 2. That's where Tech takes over. And now we're at a huge spot in this game...

Spartans pull to 24-23 on a 22-yard FG...

... using a 39 yard pass to move into scoring position.

With a minute left in the half, the Spartans just intercepted a pass and are in business with a first-and-ten at the Tech 37.Before the interception of the tipped pass, the Bulldogs had put together their first two first downs of the second half...

The Spartans just lost their second fumble of the night. The team had lost just one fumble all year. Tech takes over on its 46.

Where are the Bulldogs?

I am still here in Aillet Stadium.

Halftime ended eight minutes ago and I am still waiting for Louisiana Tech to come out of the locker room.

Tech, a 24-6 leader at the half, now leads by 4: 24-20.

The Spartans, victims of four plays of 46 yards or more in the first half, have used a 23-yard pass and a 39-yard pass to quick-strike Tech.

The Bulldogs have up two field goals in the first half and have given up two touchdowns in the first eight minutes of the third quarter.

The Spartans waste less than two minutes...

...before scoring on a 23-yard pass play from Adam Tafralis to James T. Callier. The drive took just 5 plays and covered 65 yards.

Tech leads 24-13...

and i shouldn't have had another helping of green beans.

Maybe a third helping of banana pudding will settle my stomach. There's only one way to find out. Back in a second...well, in a few minutes.

HALFTIME: Tech 24, San Jose State 6...

... and the good folk in the Aillet Stadium press box just popped a brand new thing of popcorn and it is smellin' RIGHT and it will be a few minutes before i update this again. When I do, be careful reading it: it'll be a little oily...

Tech leads 24-6 ...

...after a 20-yard field goal with 4:15 to play.

Tech has had four plays of 46 yards or more. All have led to scores.

SJSU just doubled its season total for fumbles lost...

SJSU had lost just one fumble -- one -- coming into the game.

Receiver Kevin Jurovich just doubled the total, and Tech took over at its own 40. Tech still leads 21-6, with 7:05 left in the half...

I have not gotten another banana pudding yet, but that doesn't mean i haven't thought about it. . .

AND, on a 3rd-and-20, Champion chunks short to Livas who finds a crease and rolls to the 2.......

Oh, I forgot about the ULM thing...

A loyal Louisiana Tech-er in the press box said they were happy for the ULM victory over Alabama today but that "hey, we've done it twice."

Tech beat Bama in both 1997 and 1999.

21-6 Tech leads San Jose State at the end of the initial stanza...SJS just converted a third-and-1 and have a first down at their own 41.

Tech still leads...ULM still beat 'Bama...

Tech QB Zac Champion connected with Phillip Livas for 66 yards and a touchdown, and a 52-yard punt return by Phillip Beck set up Tech with a first-and-goal at the 9; Champion's third-and-goal from the 6 was complete to Beck, giving Beck the first TD of his college career and a 21-6 lead with 1:06 to play in the first quarter.

Champion has 27 career TD passes now; that ties him in the Tech record book with current Ruston High coach Billy Laird, who coached at both Tech and Northwestern State after his Tech QBing days.

7-3 Tech with 9 minutes left in first quarter

Tech fumbled it's opening snap and the Spartans recovered, leading to a 28-yard field goal. Not a good way to start Senior Night. A fumbled snap from a freshman center to a senior quarterback -- is that senior moment?

Tech answers with a 3-yard TD pass that caps an 8-play, 72-yard drive to take a 7-3 lead.

I'm on my second banana pudding. seriously, i just don't care anymore...

Spartans just completed a pretty 25-yard pass to the Tech 45...

Senior Night ...

Tech is open next week and closes its regular season at Nevada, so tonight's tilt is the final home game for 17 seniors. They're being introduced now.

Tech will wear its blue jerseys, white pants, red helmets. SJSU is in yellow pants, white jerseys with bluenumbers, and blue helmets. The Spartans are 1-5 on the road this season. They beat hapless Utah State but of the five losses, each was by at least 20 points, and three were by more than 30.

Ten minutes til kickoff...

...the anthem has been played, the alma mater too. And we had prayer.

I recommend the press box chicken spaghetti and the green beans, which have tiny onion bits in them, and bacon. And they have sweet tea. You don't even have to ask!

Cool, comfortable evening. Not much of a crowd on the students' side as the quarter break began Friday. Which means. . . more chicken spaghetti for us.

Live from Aillet Stadium in Ruston...

Hey everybody. This is Teddy Allen at Joe Aillet Stadium's pressbox where i am about to go eat some green beans and banana pudding. They have good food here.

Down on the field, Louisiana Tech is 28 minutes away from a play date with San Jose State. Both teams have 4 wins and need to win tonight to keep alive their hopes of a .500 season and bowl eligibility.

i'll keep you posted on the game. i can tell you already that the banana pudding is good; i've had it before. It's Division I-A banana pudding.

Friday, November 16, 2007

It's Always Something: Sausage rolls not on a roll

Texas company recalls 98,000 pounds of frozen sausage rolls

MERIDIAN, Texas (AP) — Double B Foods Inc. is recalling about 98,000 pounds of frozen sausage roll products because of concerns about potential listeria contamination.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the company’s voluntary recall Thursday. The frozen sausage rolls were produced on various dates between Oct. 25 and Nov. 6, the USDA said. The company found the potential problem during an in-plant testing program.
The company said there have been no reports of illness.
In addition to being sold in Texas, the products were distributed to institutions, catalog sales and distribution centers in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania.
Consumption of food containing Listeria monocytogenes can cause listeriosis, a rare but potentially fatal disease.
Listeriosis can kill babies and people with weakened immune systems and cause miscarriages in pregnant women. Symptoms include fever, headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea. (Ouch...)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

It's a 'Dogs play 'Dogs world...

Tech to Host Mississippi State in Ruston

RUSTON – Louisiana Tech Athletic Director Jim Oakes announced Thursday that he has signed a contract for a two-game football series with Southeastern Conference foe Mississippi State starting next year.
Tech will open the 2008 season Aug. 30 with Mississippi State at Joe Aillet Stadium in Ruston. According to the Tech record books, it will be the first time a current member of the SEC has played in Ruston since the Bulldogs hosted LSU in 1913.
“We are extremely excited about bringing Mississippi State to Joe Aillet Stadium for next year’s season opener,” Oakes said. “This will be a great opportunity for our fans to help break the home attendance record and sell the stadium out. It should be an incredible atmosphere.”
Louisiana Tech set the single game home attendance record of 28,714 in a 17-16 win over UL-Monroe at Joe Aillet Stadium on Sept. 13, 1997.
Tech will return the trip to Starkville on Sept. 5, 2009.
Mississippi State leads the all-time series between the two programs 7-2, although Louisiana Tech defeated State 38-23 in Starkville in 1996, the last time the two teams played.

All-Time Series
1904, MSU 32-5
1908, MSU 47-0
1927, MSU 14-0
1938, MSU 48-0
1968, Tech 20-13
1980, MSU 31-11
1987, MSU 14-13
1988, MSU 21-14
1996, Tech 38-23

* From Tech Sports Information Office

T-Mail: Comet Holmes

From my friend and local photographer whiz, Shreveport's Terry Atwood...

"Here are two images I shot of Comet Holmes showing what light pollution from the city does to astro photos. The first image was taken from my driveway in Shreveport near Youree/Kings Hwy. The second images was taken atop Winding Stair Mountain in the Ozark Mountains of northern Arkansas near Boxley.

"Both images are taken with the same lens and exposure time: a 30-second exposure using a 300mm f2.8 lens with an Exposure Index (ASA) of 800."

The top photo was taken Nov. 6, the other on Nov. 10.

TO SEE THE COMMENT ... again, this is from the T-Mail bag, from Terry Atwood, today...
The comet is between the sideways "M" of Cassiopeia which is overhead about 9:30 pm and the Pleadies (Seven Sisters) to the right. It is next to the brightest star in that area (Alpha Persei or "Mirfak"). It is not much to look at for the novice viewer. It looks like a round fuzzy star and does not have a long tail like Comet Hale-Bopp had a few years ago, or Comet Hyakataki of about ten years ago (which had a tail about 100-degrees long--about 2/3 of the overhead sky). Visually it looks about half the size of the full moon, even though physically it is larger than the sun. I can see it from my driveway here in town in Shreveport if I look carefully. It is easy to see in any binoculars.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Why do elephants drink? To forget...

Drunken elephant activist Paris Hilton stifles a tearful, perhaps even hopeless yawn as two pacyderms, including one under-age, play a bar game called "Pass The Leafy Limb."

The Associated Press

GAUHATI, India — Paris Hilton is being praised by conservationists for highlighting the problem of binge-drinking elephants in northeastern India.
Activists said a celebrity endorsement such as Hilton’s was sure to raise awareness of the plight of the pachyderms that get drunk on farmers’ homemade rice beer and then go on a rampage.
The elephants get drunk all the time. It is becoming really dangerous. We need to stop making alcohol available to them,” the 26-year-old socialite said in a report posted on World Entertainment News Network’s Web site. Her comments were picked up by other Web sites and newspapers around the globe.
Last month, six wild elephants that broke into a farm in the state of Meghalaya were electrocuted after drinking the potent brew and then uprooting an electricity pole.
“There would have been more casualties if the villagers hadn’t chased them away. And four elephants died in a similar way three years ago. It is just so sad,” Hilton was quoted as saying in Tokyo last week. She was in Tokyo to judge a beauty contest. Her publicist couldn’t immediately be reached for comment Tuesday.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

T-Mail: If you're a squirrel, read this, and be careful...

(The squirrel pictured here, formerly a pitcher for the LSU baseball team, is not one of the squirrels mentioned below...)

From the T-Mail bag, in response to a column titled "City varmits bring out the animal in him," about a local hunter/home protector ticketed for shooting squirrels who were eating his house in the city limits...

I enjoyed your column on the "squirrel killer"...I am the momma of another Broadmoor shooter. My squirrel killer graduated from CE Byrd in May...

Around seven years ago I pulled into my carport and saw seven squirrels in various poses in the vacant spot next to mine. Some of the deceased were posed sitting up while others were laying on their stomachs with their little arms propped underneath. And out of the house came the killer just a proud as he could be for shooting them. I knew that my son's father had purchased him a pellet gun but I was unaware that he had brought it home. After I quit laughing and quickly disposed of each of the victims in a ziplock type bags and placed them in the trash can, I had to sit down and explain why this is wrong and that he could be arrested even as a fifth grader. I did have to admit he apparently had better aim than his parents.

I glad that your neighbor's pile went unnoticed. I guess he is smarter than a fifth grader but equally as proud.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Washoe signs "Seeya"...

This is from the Friends of Washoe Web site. Washoe was a chimpanzee, a very special one in age and signing ability, at Central Washington University’s Chimpanzee and Human Communication Institute. CHCI is a sanctuary for a unique family of chimpanzees who have acquired the signs of American Sign Language (ASL) and use those signs in conversations with each other and their human companions.

Washoe is pictured here. (She is the one on the right.) I've highlighted like this some of the information I found most interesting.
Our beloved friend Washoe passed away Tuesday evening, October 30, at 8:00, after a brief illness. At the time of her passing she was at home at CHCI, with her family and closest friends.

Washoe was 42 years old, a long life for a female chimpanzee. Most females in captivity live an average of 33.5 years.

Friends are invited to attend a memorial service for Washoe on Monday, November 12 at 10:00 a.m. (Ed. note: That is today. I should have posted this earlier. That’s on me.) The service will be held adjacent to CHCI in a tent.

Parking will be available in Lots P-8 (Library) and O-5, on the corner of 14th and D Streets.

ASL interpreters will be provided.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in Washoe’s name to Friends of Washoe, to continue supporting her family.

You can leave your remembrance of Washoe at our Tribute Page.

More from Friends of Washoe.
Washoe was born in Africa, around September of 1965. She is the only one of the four chimpanzees at CHCI to have been born in Africa. Her capture probably consisted of a hunter killing her mother and then taking her to market to be sold to a dealer. After she was brought to the United States for the Air Force, Drs. Allen and Beatrix Gardner adopted her for their research.

Washoe is the matriarch of this family and was the first chimpanzee to acquire a human language. Her name sign is formed with the fingers of a “W” hand flicking the ear on the same side. She was named for Washoe county Nevada where she lived with Drs. Allen and Beatrix Gardner until age five.

Full Name: Washoe Pan satyrus. Pan satyrus is an old taxonomic classification used for chimpanzees. She was named for Washoe county Nevada where she spent her early childhood with the Gardners. Washoe is a Native American word from the Washoe tribe meaning “people.”

Pronunciation: wa’ show

Name Sign: “W” flicked on ear. Refers to the large ears she had as an infant that she has since grown into.

Date of Birth: Unknown; estimated to be September, 1965. Washoe’s birthday is celebrated on June 21, 1966, the anniversary of “Project Washoe.”

Place of Birth: Washoe was born in West Africa, wild captured, and later used by the US Air Force.

Taxonomic Classification: Pan troglodytes troglodytes

Early Childhood/Rearing Conditions: Washoe was adopted by Drs. Beatrix T. and R. Allen Gardner on June 21, 1966. She was cross-fostered; that is, she was raised in the Gardners’ home as if she were a deaf human child. Washoe was the first non-human to acquire a human language -- American Sign Language. She moved with Roger and Deborah Fouts to the University of Oklahoma in 1970 and came with them to Central Washington University in 1980.

Personal: Washoe is the matriarch of the CHCI chimpanzees and can be described as maternal in her behavior toward the other chimpanzees. She is known for being fair and kind with both chimpanzee and human companions. Washoe is slow to invest herself, but with time, she becomes a loyal friend. She has a good sense of humor.

Favorite Activities: Washoe appears to enjoy spending time in her outdoor area. She spends her free time looking through books, magazines, and catalogs (especially shoe catalogs). She apparently likes to look at them by herself but doesn’t mind signing about the pictures with friends. Other activities she engages in are brushing her teeth, painting, coffee and tea parties, and checking out the shoes of her human companions.

Favorite Foods: Oatmeal with onions, pumpkin pudding, split pea soup, eggplant, gum, tea and coffee.

Friday, November 9, 2007

'A True Fisher of Men'

(ABOVE: From ...The Cowboys achieved another milestone in building their $1 billion new stadium, completing the first of two structural steel arches that each will span a quarter-mile.)

Below is good stuff...

Mickey Spagnola - Email Columnist
November 6, 2007 8:11 PM

A True Fisher of Men

EULESS, Texas - Tuesday was an off day for the 7-1 Dallas Cowboys, tied for the best record in the NFC and second-best record in all of the NFL.

Yet Tuesday was a hard day for the Dallas Cowboys. Not just the players. Not just the coaches. Not just members of the front office. And not just the staff members who walk The Ranch hallways.

This tough day included the many people who simply work with the Dallas Cowboys, not for, and those who once played for the Dallas Cowboys, but no longer.

They came here Tuesday afternoon to the First Baptist Church of Euless in respect and to honor the best way they could a man who had passed away.


That is not a misprint for those of us who have known JohnWeber over the past three decades. Few just called him John. There are lots of Johns in the world. No one called him Weber. That just didn’t seem right, not respectful enough.

To us, he was always a run-together, JohnWeber, the team chaplain for some 20 years, the team photo runner at away games, the team baggage helper in the locker room at road games. You name it, JohnWeber would do it.

Most of all, though, his official title should have included team friend, and evidently after sitting in this church for some 90 minutes, this was not unique to us out here at The Ranch. Listening to speaker after speaker after speaker, JohnWeber was everyone’s “best friend.”

Problem was, some of us probably didn’t realize it, because this 59-year-old man made everyone he met seem as if his best friend.

I mean look, JohnWeber knew I grew up in Chicago. He’s always asked me about the city, and just this season when we were staying downtown for the Bears game, told me what I great city I was from. But when he died of a heart attack last Thursday, it occurred to me I had never asked where he was from (South Dakota).

He knew I went to the University of Missouri, and would give me one of his trademark “ahhhs” while telling me what a great journalism school it was and would go on to ask my why I thought it was so good. I had no idea he went to Dakota Wesleyan University.

JohnWeber knew I had worked at the Dallas Times Herald. I never knew he worked as a graduate student at Florida State University, nor that he was on the board of Athletes in Action or that he toiled for Camp Crusade.

He knew I had a daughter who recently had gotten married. I never knew he had five children - son Tim, and daughters Sarah, Elizabeth, Hannah and Rebekah - nor that his wife was Carol or that she had a grander smile than his.

What I did know about JohnWeber, and he about me, is that we had shared a common interest in our younger days, both having wrestled, although John was able to do so in college, me just a few years in high school. He asked me where I had gone to high school, and he acted as if he knew Bloom Township High School’s wrestling program. His sincerity was so convincing I never once even remotely doubted he might have just been trying to be nice.

All these thoughts flashed-flooded forward last Thursday, not only that day JohnWeber died, but, as I would learn Tuesday, the very day, after 27 years of working toward this goal, he was supposed to hand in his dissertation at Dallas Seminary for his long-awaited doctorate degree.

And I felt inadequate. He knew so much about me, but me so little as it turned out about him.

I knew why, too, even before his son Tim pointed out, “He was the best listener I ever met.”

So good, when you talked to JohnWeber, he made you feel as if you were the most important person he had ever met, so no wonder each of his daughters claimed they were his “favorite daughter,” or that Elizabeth would say “He had the greatest way of making people feel important.”

She knew better than the rest of us, and why, after looking over the hundreds who took time out of their day to attend the service, said, “This is a room full of all his favorite people.”

See, Team Chaplain was his title, but inaccurate. He was Franchise Chaplain. Team Chaplain makes you think he only dealt with the players. That would be wrong, and if you were here Tuesday you would have understood.

There were players in attendance for sure, JohnWeber having conducted the pregame chapels and Bible studies for years and years, having made a defined impression on these young men. But that’s not all. There were members of the front office in attendance; trainers and equipment guys; members of the TV and radio departments; Internet and video; media and community relations; player development; football operations; Dallas Cowboys Star Magazine and security; Desperados players and coaches.

Still, that’s not all. The guy who takes care of the team’s game-day sideline communication systems was here. One of the lunch caterers was here. The recently retired American Airlines pilot who flew the team charter flights for so many years. Guys from American’s ground crew. Members of the local media - writers and TV guys. Amazing.

Even more so, there were former Cowboys players, guys like Chad Hennings and Billy Cundiff and Tim Seder and Mike Saxon, and those were just the ones I saw among the maybe more than some 500 people at the memorial. And even defensive lineman Kenyon Coleman, now playing for the New York Jets but who saw fit to spend part of his bye week attending this service.

To me, that is the greatest tribute to a man’s 59 years on this earth. JohnWeber cast a wide net, a true fisher of men.

Now a lot of speaker-types had something to say about him after his five children so eloquently summed up their father, including Pat Summerall, who called this guy who had a way of staying in the background yet having such a profound affect on so many “a man’s man.”

But leave it to Greg Ellis to get to the bottom of JohnWeber. And this was not just some afterthought for Ellis. As you might have read on after the Philadelphia game, Ellis would follow Cowboys head coach Wade Phillips’ awarding Terrell Owens a game ball for his performance in Sunday night’s 38-17 victory by grabbing one of the actual footballs used in the game, standing up in the middle of the group with the ball held high and saying this would be JohnWeber’s game ball. The players all nodded.

This had been on Ellis’ mind.

So Ellis strode to the lectern, ball in hand again to eventually present to Carol Weber, saying, “It really hit me how important John was to the world.” Ellis remembered a few of JohnWeber’s pregame chapel talks, one this year at Buffalo and one a few years ago. He had taken notes, recalling JohnWeber once saying, “Integrity is doing what is right even when it’s hard” and then this, too, about faith and freedom, Ellis quoting, “Freedom is doing what you ought to do, not what you want to do.”

Geesh, leave it to Ellis. He kept saying all the things I was thinking of saying about JohnWeber. So did his kids. So did his friends. So just maybe JohnWeber was all this to everybody, seemingly an exhausting task to be that consistent, that caring to so many for so long.

There are too shames to all this:

In my books, 59 years then is not long enough for such a unique man, and, sometimes you never realize what you got until it’s gone, those very thoughts racing through my head on the charter flight to Philadelphia when the charter coordinator stopped by to chat about JohnWeber, then telling me what I didn’t want to know: That I was sitting in what would have been his seat.

How I wished I could ask JohnWeber just one question . . . just one.

A lesson learned for sure, one about being more aware and more grateful of those people we meet, because in the end, well, let Ellis so appropriately and fittingly sum up JohnWeber far better than I ever could:

“Sometimes you don’t realize when you have greatness with you.”

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Dawgs vs. Tigers

The late Mike the Tiger went wild whenever a dog was around, so much so that they quit letting dogs come around. I wonder if that's what killed him.

As seen here, the new Mike is more docile. When you're a 35-point favorite, you can afford to be. We'll see...

Louisiana Tech meets LSU Satuday night in Tiger Stadium, 7 p.m.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Hank Thompson gets a six-pack to go...I mean, REALLY to go

Former Louisiana Hayrider Hank Thompson dies of lung cancer at his Texas home at the age of 82

Associated Press Writer

DALLAS (AP) — Hank Thompson has died of lung cancer just days after canceling his tour. The country singer was 82.
Thompson died late Tuesday at his home in the Fort Worth suburb of Keller, said spokesman, Tracy Pitcox, who is also president of Heart of Texas Records.
“He was battling aggressive lung cancer,” Pitcox said Wednesday in a statement. “He remained conscious until the last couple of hours and passed away peacefully at about 10:45 p.m. on Tuesday night surrounded by his friends and family.”
The last show Thompson played was Oct. 8 in his native Waco. That day was declared “Hank Thompson Day” by Gov. Rick Perry and Waco Mayor Virginia DuPuy.
Fans loved Thompson’s distinctive gravelly voice and his musical style, a mix of honky-tonk and Western swing. He was named to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1989.
His first recording was “Whoa, Sailor” in 1946. That year, he started a band called the Brazos Valley Boys, which won Billboard magazine’s touring band of the year award 14 consecutive times.
Thompson had 29 hits reach the top 10 between 1948 and 1975. Some of his most famous songs include “Humpty Dumpty Heart” and “A Six Pack to Go.”
His album “The Wild Side of Life” reached No. 1 in 1952. It inspired a famous “answer song” written by J.D. Miller, “It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels.” Recorded by Kitty Wells, the song was the first No. 1 hit by a woman soloist on the country music charts and made Wells a star.
Thompson’s song was about a guy who’d lost his wife when she left him “and went back to the wild side of life.” The song says, “I didn’t know God made honky-tonk angels.”
“It wasn’t God who made honky-tonk angels, as you said in the words of your song,” sang Wells, who worked with Thompson for many years. “Too many times married men think they’re still single, that has caused many married girl to go wrong.”
Wells said Wednesday she never took Thompson’s tune personally and didn’t record the response for personal reasons.
“It was just a song,” she said from her Nashville home.
The two hits were both on the charts at the same time.
“I think mine kind of helped his record, and his helped mine,” she said.
Thompson grew up a fan of Gene Autry, which fueled his love of the guitar. By the time he finished high school, he was playing on a local radio show, where he was featured as “Hank the Hired Hand.”
He served in the Navy, and studied electrical engineering at Southern Methodist University, the University of Texas and Princeton.
Thompson considered a career in engineering, but remained in show business. He caught the attention of Tex Ritter, who helped him get a contract with Capitol Records.
Pitcox said Thompson requested that no funeral be held.
A “celebration of life,” open to fans and friends, will be held Nov. 14 at Billy Bob’s Texas, a Fort Worth honky-tonk.
Survivors include his wife, Ann. He had no children.

'War Fair' tales...

Mr. Albert McKee called me from Ruston after reading yesterday’s column about the old State Fair Classic, NSU vs. Tech series. In the late 1960s, NSU students hired a pilot to drop WRECK TECH leaflets on the Ruston campus the day before the Saturday game. The pilot accidentally -- nor not, who really knows? -- dropped them two miles west, on the Grambling State campus, instead.

McKee was a Tech student in 1946 (right after WWII, you’ll recall) when a Tech student in the Army Air Corp flew over Natchitoches and dropped sacks of flour all over Demon land on the Friday before Saturday’s game in Shreveport. But, McKee said the student had low fuel and had to land near the river by the NSU campus. Demon students “captured” the pilot, shaved his head, painted a purple “N” on it, caged him, kept him overnight, and during halftime of the game the next day, let him out of the cage -- on the 50 yard line, something you’d surely get arrested for today.
“Yep, that was back in the good ol’ days,” McKee said.

Another pilot, a former NSU student who preferred not to be mentioned -- he’s a professor at a local university which may or may not be LSUS -- also dropped WRECK TECH leaflets from a plane in the 1960s -- “but I hit the campus,” he said. “I know where Ruston is.”

The NSU Student Government Association had hired him for the prank. His cousin was a “bigwig” with the SGA. He borrowed the plane from a friend in Springhill, dropped the leaflets early on the Friday morning of State Fair weekend, flew back to Springhill, then drove back to Natchitoches. He went to his cousin for his money, “about $30,” he said, “maybe $50.”

She said she needed an invoice.

An invoice? He didn’t want to sign his name to a bill that would basically be a confession. “So,” he said, “I never got paid.”

Which is how it goes at the fair. You pays your money, you takes your chances.

One more, this one from the T-Mail files...
I liked your article this morning about the State Fair Game. I was a student at Northwestern State College,
(1946-1950) We never won during those years. After the game we would walk down the Midway with our friends, and big corsages on. The workers would ask "who won"? Needless to say, we were not happy campers.We had no wins while I was there.
One year, I think I was a freshman, I rode the train to Shreveport from Natchitoches for the game. I decided to ride back with friends. We were late, and the Dean of Women was not very understanding. It was not even midnight. We were campused, and my Mother threatened to come to Natchitoches. I lived through it though.

I remember Henry Burns and the leaflet incident. Even though I am somewhat older than Henry, I agree, "we lost a great tradition."

Friday, November 2, 2007

Pea Festival arrives, hits the big time!

The following missive is from my favorite Pea-R guy, Bill Dailey, in Emerson, Ark...

Emerson’s Tiller Race in 2008 Old Farmer’s Almanac

One of the Ark-La-Tex's most unusual sporting events is currently featured in a national publication.

Emerson’s World Championship Rotary Tiller Race has made it into the 2008 Old Farmer’s Almanac.

The race of souped-up garden tillers, the marquee event of the annual Emerson PurpleHull Pea Festival, is featured in a section of the almanac highlighting unusual or “quirky” competitions in the United States and Canada.

“You know the sport has arrived when it makes it into the Old Farmer’s Almanac,” says Bill Dailey, spokesman for the festival. “I was wondering why the festival was suddenly getting emails from all over the country asking about tiller racing.”

The World Championship Rotary Tiller Race began in 1990, the first year of the festival’s existence. At the time, it was thought a race of garden tillers would be an appropriate, quaint side event, given tillers were widely used to grow purple hull peas in local backyard gardens.

Since then, it’s grown into a monster.

In the very first race, 16-year-old Jason Hines surprised event organizers when he showed up with a tiller that he and his grandfather had modified for speed. In following years, racers arrived with tillers using various combinations of engines and homemade tiller tines.

“We went through a period when alcohol burning engines were all the rage,” said Dailey. “We’ve even had electric tillers there. Now it’s mostly back to gasoline.”

The current world record is held by Shane Waller of Junction City, Arkansas, who in 2005 tilled the 200-foot track of plowed ground in 5.72 seconds, an average speed of almost 24 miles-per-hour.

The Emerson PurpleHull Pea Festival & World Championship Rotary Tiller Race is held annually on the last weekend in June. The 2008 event will be June 27-28.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Brad Paisley's Top 10 Songs...

...according to this grab-bag of loyal fans. My list is in the paper today and at the bottom of this blog, but that's just if you want a list that's entirely accurate.


1. “Whiskey Lullaby” -- features Alison Krauss - ‘nough said. Has the whole cheatin' leading to drinkin’ leading to dyin’ thing going.
2. “Online” -- Inspired the best comical video ever shown on CMT -- it features Taylor Swift - ‘nough said.
3. “When I get where I’m going” -- I’m goin’ there too, although hopefully not today. Features Dolly Parton -- ‘nough said.
4. “I’m gonna miss her” a.k.a. “The Fishin’ Song” -- got to interview Bradley for a story on this song.
5. “Ticks” -- One of the most romantic tunes ever penned. Everybody ought to experience a co-tick-picking campout.
6. “Celebrity” -- makes fun of himself and others of his lofty ilk.
7. “He didn’t have to be” -- The kind of song that makes your woman swoon.
8. “We Danced” -- a song about something that never happens in real life, but it’ll make your bartender smile.
9. “Little Moments” -- we all like ‘moments’ whether they’re little or big.
10. “She’s Everything” -- We’re all waitin’ for a woman like that.

ADAM BATCHELOR (he just did 5 because it's a weekday and he can't do 10 because of "union rules," he said.)
5. Online
4. Ticks
3. Alcohol (Mr. Batchelor likes his titles short)
2. Whiskey Lullaby
1. The Fishin' Song

10. Online
9. The Fishin' Song
8. Alcohol
7. Half the Man He Didn't Have to Be
6. Little Moments
5. Celebrity
4. Mud on the Tires
3. Whiskey Lullaby
2. Two People Fell in Love
1. She's Everything

10. Online
9. Fifth Gear
8. Celebrity
7. Whiskey Lullaby
6. The Fishin' Song
5. Mud on the Tires
4. Little Moments
3. Alcohol
2. She's Everything
1. I'm Still a Guy

10. Wrapped Around
9. Time Well Wasted
8. The Cigar Song
7. I’m Still a Guy
6. Letter to Me: “I’m sure it’ll be Song of the Year or something.”
5. The Best Thing I Had Going: “Most of the rest of these are off ‘Mud on the Tires,’ which is only the greatest CD in the history of country music.”
4. Ain’t Nothin’ Like
3. Come on Over Tonight
2. Mud on the Tires
1. Famous People

10. Cornography: Paisley and James Burton trade guitar licks.
9. Santa Looked a Lot Like Daddy: Paisley respects his country forefathers. Listen for the Don Rich lick. Rich played guitar for the Buckaroos, as you know -- Buck Owens and the Buckaroos had a huge hit with this tune.
8. Letter to Me
7. Time Well Wasted
6. Mud on the Tires
5. Long Sermon
4. She’s Everything
3. I’ve Been Better
2. Better Than This
1. Waitin’ on a Woman

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Circle the Wagons: Porter gone at 80

Loved me some Porter Wagoner, the Country Music Hall of Famer who died Sunday at 80. Loved him because I grew up watching him on television, a Country Music Star with his own TV show. I think of Porter Wagoner and think of 'back then,' and that's the main reason why I like him. He looked like a country star. Loved the suits, loved Dolly, loved the way the show was. The same show would seem comical today, very non-tech. But it was a happening deal at the time. "Come on out here and sing one, Dolly..."

And I love the name: Porter Wagoner. It fits.

Some comments from friends since hearing of Porter's passing...

* Now that Porter Wagoner has hit the eternal bar chord, do you think St. Peter will make him adhere to a better dress code?

* First thing Porter hears at the pearly gates: "Mr. Wagoner, sir, you want to turn down the volume on that suit a little?''

* I wonder which suit he was buried in and who picked it out and how they decided...

* Daddy Beene figured in boyhood that all Porter's suits were gray; that's what they looked like on our TVs. In adulthood, we've come to understand the suits were mighty flashy -- he had 50, and some costs $12,000 -- and he had "HI!" stitched in rhinestones on the inside liner so when someone waved he could open his jacket and flash them a big rhinestone "HI!"

Below are the words to mine and Daddy Beene's favorite, more or less, Porter Wagoner song. We sing it sometimes in the newsroom, or what we can remember of it...Enjoy!

Carroll County Accident

Carroll County's pointed out as kind of square
The biggest thing that happens is the county fair,
I guess that's why we thought it such a big event,
What we call the Carroll County accident.

The wreck was on the highway just outside the line,
Walter Browning lost his life and for a time
It seemed that Mary Ellen Jones would surely die,
But she lived long enough for her to testify.

Mary Ellen testified that he flagged her down,
Said he was sick and could she drive him into town,
No one ever doubted what she said was true,
'Cause she was well respected in the county too.

I went down to see the wreck like all the rest,
The broken glass the bloody seats the tangled mess,
But I found something no one else had ever seen,
Behind the dash in Mary's crumpled up machine.

A little match box circled by a rubber band,
And inside the ring from Walter Browning's hand,
It took awhile to figure out just what it meant,
The truth about the Carroll County accident.

By dark of night I dropped the ring into a well,
And took a sacred oath that I would never tell,
The truth about the Carroll County accident,
For the County ordered dad a marble monument,

Yes, I lost him in the Carroll County accident.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Bobby Richardson's Eulogy for Mickey Mantle

Today's Teddy effort in The Times concerns former New York Yankee second sacker Bobby Richardson, who spoke in Monroe, La. Saturday. Much of his talk was about his teammate Mickey Mantle, and much of what he said Saturday, he said at Mantle's funeral...

August 15, 1995
Dallas Texas

I want to make a transition now from crying and sadness to laughter because if you know Mickey, he was always laughing. And he enjoyed playing football in the back yard with the boys. He enjoyed golf games at Preston Trails with the boys, and their traveling to autograph sessions with him. But the teammates that are here today will also know that he always kept all of us laughing. I remember the Mongoose in Detroit in the clubhouse. I remember the snake that he put in Marshall Bridge’s uniform in Kansas City before he was dressing that day. He always ran out of money and he borrowed money from Yogi and Yogi would charge him 50%, no, that’s not in there. I’m sorry. I take that back Yogi. Yogi flew in today on Bob Hope’s plane and he’s flying out tomorrow with President Ford’s plane.

But Yogi was a manager in 1964. The Yankees lost four games in a row in Chicago. Tony Kubek had bought some harmonicas. He gave one to Phil Linz. Phil didn’t play in any of those ballgames but on the bus, with Yogi in the front, he chose this time to learn how to play his harmonica. Well, he played for a while and Yogi took as much as he could and finally he jumped up and he said, “Put that thing in your pocket!” He didn’t use those words but something to that effect and Phil was in the back of the bus and he didn’t hear what he said and he said, “What did he say?” And Mickey was sitting over across the isle and he whispered back, “He said he couldn’t hear you. Play it again!”

And Yogi was the manager in ’64 when Whitey Ford and Mickey started talking about how good they were in other sports, basketball in particular. And it ended up, we played the cadets at West Point. Whitey was to have the pitchers and catchers and Mickey was to have the infielders and outfielders and there would be a great game at the gymnasium at West Point after the regulars got out of the lineup. Well, Yogi said, “Somebody’s gonna get hurt.” Well, Mickey did it right. He had uniforms for his players, he had a limousine, he had a chauffeur. He did like this, and they took players on Mickey’s team over to the game and came back. And it was a great game. Mickey’s team won! Tommy Tresh was voted most valuable. Yogi was right. Steve Hamilton, the only one that played professional basketball, turned his ankle, and he was hurt.

But you know so many good things that Mickey did that people never heard about. I remember that he flew across the country for Fritz Packel when he was dying with cancer. In this church, right here, he did a benefit for Missions Outreach. And over the years he very seldom said no. He came to my hometown on numerous occasions but in particular for the YMCA. We had a great banquet. There was a highlights film. And then we went out to the ballpark and Mickey was to give a batting exhibition. Something you just can’t imagine him doing. Tony Kubek was there. Tony throws straight overhanded, same speed all the time. He was chosen to pitch to Mickey. Everything was all set but Tony changed up on Mickey on the first pitch, and he swung and missed and pulled his leg and if he could have run he would have chased Tony around the outfield. Tony made up for it though. He (Mickey) hit one in the light towers in right field in the old-timers game that followed that.

But underneath all of Mickey’s laughter and kindness there was a fear of death and an emptiness that he tried to cover and fill, sometimes with harmful choices. Remember Bob (Costas) when he said on his interview, “There’s still an emptiness inside.” The last game that Mickey and I played together was on October 2nd, 1966. It was in Chicago and we were at the Bismarck Hotel. And I had invited a friend, a friend of mine, a friend of Mickey’s to come over and speak to the ball club. His name was Billy Zeoli, president of Gospel Films. I remember standing in the back of the room that was set aside and most of the players where there in attendance. And looking over their shoulders at the fine, efficient, professional baseball players were there. And yet I knew that all of us had problems. Some financial. Some marital. Problems of various natures. And yet my friend, that day, gave the answer to each one of these problems in the person of Jesus Christ. He held his bible up and he said, “The bible says three things. 1) the bible says there’s a problem and the problem is sin. 2) the Bible gives the answer to the problem in the person of Jesus Christ and 3) the Bible demands a decision.” And then he turned around and he had a blackboard and a piece of chalk and he wrote this question up on the blackboard, “What have you done with Jesus Christ?” And then he went on to give three possible answers. Number one was to say ‘yes’, to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and savior. And I remember looking around that room at some of my teammates that I knew had said ‘yes’ to Christ. The second possibility was to say ‘no’. And I knew there were some of us that were unwilling to give up perhaps what we had going at that time. And the third possibility was to say ‘maybe’, to put it off to a more convenient time with good intentions. But my friend made this statement. He said saying ‘maybe’, because of the “x” factor of death, automatically puts you in the ‘no’ category. I didn’t really understand that then, but some years later, not too many years ago, we had a reunion of the 1961 New York Yankees in Atlantic City, NJ. The players were there in attendance. It was a wonderful time of thinking back and remembering. But in my room that night, I realized that three were not there. Roger Maris, who broke Babe Ruth’s home run record and a battle with cancer. Elston Howard, that fine catcher on the ball club with a heart condition. And a young pitcher by the name of Duke Maas. And so I understood what he meant when he said, “Because of the “x” factor of death, it’s really ‘no’”. So really only two choices, one to say ‘yes’, the other ‘no’.

And then my big thrill in baseball when a young, teammate of mine who played for the next seven or eight years came up and said, “You know, I’ve never heard that before, a personal relationship with a living savior that gives to us in abundant life. I would like to receive Jesus Christ as my savior.” And that’s the excitement but there’s more excitement. I came here to Dallas during the All-Star break this past month. Mickey Mantle and Whitey Ford and I serve on the BAT board and I was here because of that. And I had gotten the number from Whitey and I called Mickey and we had a great conversation together. And then the next morning, about six o’clock, he called my room and Betsy answered the phone and he said, “Betsy, is Bobby there? I would like for him to pray for me.” And we had a wonderful time, on the telephone that morning, praying and I remember that I used the verse of scripture. I said, “Mickey, there’s a great verse in Philippians 4. It says, “delight yourself in the Lord. Find your joy in him at all times. Never forget his nearness”. And then is says, “tell God, in details, your problems, your anxieties. And the promises of peace of God which passeth all understanding shall keep our hearts and minds as we rest in Christ Jesus”.

We talked two or three more times and I went on back to South Carolina and I received a call from Roy True, his friend and lawyer, and he said, “Mickey’s not doing very well and the family would like for you to consider the possibility of coming out and being in the service.” And I asked Merlyn if it would be alright if I could come on out and she said ‘yes’. Well, I came in on, I guess it was last Wednesday night. Friends picked me up at the airport and I spent the night with them, it was late. And the next morning, I drove over to Baylor Hospital. Whitey Ford was just walking out at the time and Mickey had really perked up with Whitey’s visit. And as I walked in and went over to his bed, he had that smile on his face. And he looked at me and the first thing he said was, “Bobby, I’ve been wanting to tell you something. I want you to know that I’ve received Christ as my savior.” Well, I cried a little bit, I’m sure, and we had prayer together and then in a very simple way I said, “Mickey, I just want to make sure.” and I went over God’s plan of salvation with him. That God loved us and had a plan, a purpose and a plan for all of us and sent his son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to shed his precious blood and promise in his word that if we repent of our sins and receive the Lord Jesus that we might no only have everlasting life but the joy of letting him live his life in us. He said, “That’s what I’ve done.”

Well, the big three came in that afternoon. That’s Moose Skowron and Hank Bauer and Johnny Blanchard. And they had a wonderful visit again with Mickey. My wife and I came back later that afternoon and I remember that Mickey was in bed but he wanted to be in the reclining chair. And David and Danny and a couple of the others I think helped him over. He was laughing then. When David grabbed him, he said, “Do you want to dance?” But he sat in the chair and my wife, Betsy, sat down by him and shared her testimony. And then she asked him a question. She said, “Mickey, if God were here today and you were standing before him and he would ask the question, ‘Why should I let you in my heaven?’, what would you say?” And as quick as a flash, he said, “For God so loved the world he gave his only begotten son and whosoever believeth in him should not parish but have everlasting life.” Well, I guess it was a little bit later and I said, “Mickey, you remember your day in New York? You had heard me use a little poem called ‘God’s Hall of Fame’. You talked about using it that day”. He said, “Yea, I should have.” I said, “No. I’m not sure that was the right time Mickey. But you know I think it is the right time today. It says it all. It says:”

Your name may not appear down here
In this world's Hall of Fame.
In fact, you may be so unknown
That no one knows your name;
The headlines here may pass you by,
The neon lights of blue,
But if you love and serve the Lord,
Then I have news for you.

This Hall of Fame is only good
As long as time shall be;
But keep in mind, God's Hall of Fame
Is for eternity.

This crowd on earth they soon forget
The heroes of the past.
They cheer like mad until you fail
and that's how long you last.
But in God's Hall of Fame
By just believing on His Son
Inscribed you'll find your name.

I tell you, friend, I wouldn't trade
My name, however small,
That's written there beyond the stars
In that Celestial Hall,
For any famous name on earth,
Or glory that it shares;
I'd rather be an unknown here
And have my name up there.

Mickey’s last press conference, he once again mentions his struggle with alcohol and a desire to be a dad to his boys. He also mentioned his real heroes, the organ donors. I hope you will all support the Mickey Mantle Foundation that addresses these issues and join his team.

But, if Mick could hold a press conference from where he is today, I know that he would introduce you to his true hero. The one who died in his place to give him not just a longer physical life but everlasting life, his savior, Jesus Christ. And the greatest tribute that you could give Mickey today would be for you to receive his savior too.

Let’s bow for prayer.

Thank you God that you loved us so much that you gave and your only son willingly came and died for our sins, according to the scriptures. And then he was buried and rose again on the third day, according to the scriptures. May each of us today honestly answer the question, “What have I done with Jesus?” I’m so glad that someone shared with me years ago and perhaps you’d like to pray now as I did then. God, thank you for loving me and sending your son to shed his precious blood and right now, I’m sorry for my sin. And I receive you as Lord and savior. Thank you for coming into my heart. To God be the glory.

-- Bobby Richardson

Friday, October 5, 2007

The OTHER Red River Rivalry...

NEWS RELEASE from the East Texas Coonhound Kennel...If your dog doesn't check this blog regularly, please notify him about this. It's only a week away...

East Texas Coonhound Kennel

The Flat Fork Coonhunters Association will host the ARK-LA-TEX Fall Round Up UKC Hunt and Show.UKC Master Of Hounds and Bench Show Judge Stacy Taylor will over the hunt and show. The club will have a fish fry starting around 4:30pm. The bench show will be at 6:00pm and hunt time is 8:00pm. Ring Tail Sales in Center,TX distributer of Black Gold is the official sponser.We will have trophys,prizes and dog feed for the high scoring hounds. We will have a hound supply and collar vender on club grounds the day of the hunt. The club is located on 5 miles north of Center,Tx on FM-699. For more information contact club president Mike Cassell 936-598-9187 or 936-488-2101 All Western Louisiana hunters should contact Patrick Procell at 318-645-2536 or 318-332-5085.
This hunt will count toward hound of the year race.Anyone participating in the hound of the year race must be a Flat Fork Coonhunters Association Club member

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Red River Rivalry: An Austin Perspective

TEDDY NOTE: Following is an effort from John Kelso, columnist with the Austin American Statesman and a Texas Longhorns fan. Oklahoma plays Texas Saturday; the Okies are 11-and-a-half point favorites. Kelson doesn't care.


It's time for my annual insult of Oklahoma, which is something I do every year.
Why do I risk sounding redundant by saying this is something I do every year, after using the word "annual?" It's a public service to help out you Okies who may not know what the big grownup word "annual" means.
Now, there's been a lot of talk lately that it might be tough Saturday at the big Texas-OU game up in Dallas for Okies to buy beer at the State Fair of Texas. This news story has been greatly exaggerated. And no, they didn't put in a new no-beer rule for Okies this year because of that Sooner fan/church deacon in Oklahoma City who tried to rip off the guy's testicles for wearing a Texas shirt into a bar.
The reason it may be a slight hassle for Okies to buy beer at the state fair is an obscure Texas law on alcohol sales. If a Texas vendor sells a beer to someone under 21, he's protected from being busted if the buyer of the beer displayed what appeared to be a piece of valid Texas identification.
On the other hand, if the person shows an I.D. from another state, such as Mobilehoma, and it turns out the person is, say, 9, the vendor is NOT protected from being busted.
So, according to Ron Black, the vice president of food service at the state fair, vendors at the fair can choose not to sell beer to people who appear younger than 30 and present an out-of-state ID. He adds this is not a new policy — it's been going on for years — and there are so many booths to buy beer at the state fair that if you're of age and one booth turns you down, you can just go to the next one.
Even if you're an Okie.
I used the age 9 here because up in Oklahoma it's common for 28-year-olds to still be in elementary school. So sometimes at the keg party out at the trailer park up in Yokelhoma the children get mixed up in there with the adults. This is why at Thanksgiving dinner in Oklahoma some of the folks sitting at the little table could use a shave.
Now, you Okies who want to drink before the game may be wondering if you can still use your jailhouse number tattoo as an I.D. to purchase beer at the state fair. Sure, but only if the number on the tattoo matches the number on your ankle restraints.
Also, you Mobilehomans can use your dental records, if you have any teeth left. And remember the rule: only one beer per tooth. Also, the new sobriety test this year for Jokelahomans is answering the question, "Who's your daddy?" I know. That's a tough one. What can I tell you?
In fairness, I'll admit that in all the years I've been to the OU-Texas game, I don't recall ever seeing a Sooner fan drunk. On the other hand, how can you tell if someone is loaded if they're already drooling on their flip-flops and speaking monosyllabically? Hook 'em.

John Kelso's column appears on Sundays, Tuesdays and Fridays. Contact him at 445-3606 or


Tuesday, October 2, 2007

The Braves on TBS...'The Way We Were...'

Today's effort on 1B of The Times has sparked both old-schoolers and sentimental fans to respond. AND, I don't know the answer to the trivia question asked ("AFLAC!...") though you might.

(The pictures here are of my man Skip Caray and also of Craig Biggio, just before his final at-bat Sunday in a 3-0 season-ending and 20-year-career ending victory over Atlanta at Minute Maid Park. And how many of these logos do you remember?)


My name is Nancy. My dad and I watched the last game my dad ever watched on TBS the night he passed in 1999. I held his hand and told him the Braves had won (again!) when he went to sleep.
Thank you for your column today. I will treasure it.


Great column this morning as I can relate to every bit of it ! My mother became a huge Braves' fan,prior to her death in 1985,simply because she could follow them everyday.I have a vhs tape that was aired in the spring of 1983 entitled "Long Way to October".It was a 4 hour(2 night) special on every aspect of a season(the 1982 Braves' season).It's awesome.

TRIVIA : We all know it was WTBS prior to dropping the W and settling for just,TBS.WHAT WERE THE ORIGINAL CALL LETTERS for this Ted Turner station ? I was looking for it in your column but failed to see it.Any ideas ?


FROM TEDDY: Gov, I still have 'It's a Long Way to October' on VHS. Red Barber narration. My favorite part is when Torre, in the dugout during a game, looking straight ahead, asks Gibson if he's going to get up in the morning and watch him (Torre) on 'Good Morning America.'
GIBSON: What time's that come on?

My second favorite part is Torre watching a game and all of a sudden snatches his hat off and starts rubbing his hair and says to Gibson, who never replies, "I've got to get a haircut. I think I'll wait til we get to St. Louis. Know a guy there, gives good haircuts."



Great piece! I thought my college roomie and I were the only ones
who'd watch the Braves' games twice (in the same night). I can
definitely relate...

Buddy Wood


ANSWER TO TRIVIA, (from The Governor): WTCG...(my guess would be "Turner's Cable Giant").

Hi Teddy,
Loved your article about TBS and the Braves. Yes, it was always great to know you could watch baseball regardless of the time.
But-----how could you write that article and not at least mention that at the same time of that "great sadness" that Craig Biggio who had played for 20 years with the Astros (his only team--unbelievable) had just played his last game.

The professor and I were there on Saturday night to see him in his "second to last night" to play. It was outstanding and cameras were flashing everywhere.
I WILL still continue to read and enjoy all your articles. You make our day!

Have a great day! Mary Lou Hughes


Attaboy Teddy,
You hit a home run with your piece on the Braves and TBS. Sunday was a truly sorrowful day, like some old friend had passed away. My wife Nancy and I have been Braves fans since the early 90's and it began when the worse to first phenomenon occurred. We watched as the three wise men of Atlanta (Maddox, Glavine and Smoltz) dominated in the 1990's. Then an a miracle happened and my job took me to live in Atlanta in 1993. We were enamored with Fulton County Stadium and made every ball game we could during '93 and '94. We saw the introduction of Chipper, Javy Lopez, Tony
(Tabasco) Torasco, and the likes of Blauser, Lemke and even Deon Sanders. During that time Nancy's dad, Pappy, started to watch the games to see if he could spot Nancy and I in the stands. Quickly he became a die hard fan, never missing a game. When we moved back to Shreveport, we would go over and watch games with him. Then in June of 1999, he passed away at 87, just an hour after he and Nancy had watched the Braves win on TBS. He was a true Braves fan to the end.
Then to our amazement, we realized that during those years of Braves on TBS, Pappy's wife, Nancy's mom Melba, had become a fan also. She can recite individual Braves stats better than an ESPN analyst.
At 88, she never missed a game on TV and when the Jones boys or Frenchy or any of the stars would hit a home run or make a great play, she would call us up to make sure that we were watching. It's amazing how far reaching the baseball connection can be, enabling people of all ages to share in the love of our national past time. Oh what a sad day Sunday was, for Braves fans, baseball fans, and everyone connected with the sport. Nancy and I and Melba (and Pappy up in heaven) will miss the telecasts very much. And God bless those announcers, who became like family, for they gave us so many laughs over the years. GO BRAVES!!! Rufus Lemaire