Tag Archives: texas a&m university

Thank you!

Inspiration

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Alpha Phi OmegaMany decades ago I was heavily involved with Alpha Phi Omega National Service Fraternity (APO). I had started my involvement as a junior at Texas A&M University. When friends asked me what the difference was between a service fraternity and a social fraternity, I responded,

A service fraternity spends 75% of its time doing volunteer work to help the campus, the community, and the country. The other 25% is spent drinking. A social fraternity spends 75% of its time drinking. The other 25% is spent doing volunteer work to help the campus, the community, and the country.

Always got a chuckle, if not outright laughter.

After college graduation, the extent of my involvement affected both my personal and business lives. Everything in my world came crashing down in 1982 and 1983, and that crash led to my lost decade of 1983-1993.

I quit my job because my boss was a jerk. In hindsight, he wasn’t a jerk. I simply wasn’t interested in my job in any sense other than that it paid my bills and let me play APO. He sensed that. However, I quit my job without having another job lined up.

At the same time, the rent on my apartment jumped $150 a month, to an even $1 a square foot. I had to look at either buying some property in Houston, or moving back to College Station (90 miles northwest of Houston) into property that I already owned but was renting to sorority girls from Delta Delta Delta.

I moved….

Still without having a job….

Also during this time, I was the Chairman for APO’s Section 42, which covered East Texas and comprised 15 or so chapters. It was a one-year position, so I would have to run for re-election to match my predecessors, which I wanted to do.

As I started contemplating running for re-election, students throughout the section told me that I was the best chairman they had ever seen, having shown up at their events more than any other chairman. Everyone encouraged me to run for re-election, and I did.

I lost.

I know why.

Since everyone wanted me to run, I thought they would vote for me. What I forgot to do was to ask them to vote for me and to thank them for their support. I still make the mistake of not asking for what I want or need, and not thanking people enough.

So here’s a great big

Thank you!

to all my friends, family, and business associates for being a part of my life. That includes my many blogging friends for you are a significant part of my family. I love y’all!

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Homeless during the holidays

Time, money, WordPress, and Facebook

Opinion

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Texas A&M UniversityDuring my first year in college, I lived in Moore Hall and Puryear Hall on the Texas A&M University campus. Moore Hall had four floors, and I didn’t like it. Just too big. No opportunity for a shy freshman like me to get to know anyone or get involved. I couldn’t move the alpha males out of the way.

Puryear Hall was a ramp-type dorm. Instead of floors with 100 people living on them, there were ramps, which were simply stairways. Each ramp had four floors, but there were only four rooms per floor. With two people per room, eight people per ramp floor, and 32 people per ramp, it was much easier for a shy person to fit in.

I was on floor two, ramp 4. My seven rampmates were from Seattle, Houston, Waller TX, Hempstead TX, Kingsville TX, Lake Jackson TX, and—wait for it—Lagos, Nigeria. I don’t remember the Nigerian’s name, but I’m pretty sure he’s not one of the Nigerian scammers who wants to give you millions of dollars. Thus, I’m not a contact person or a reference….

Church in downtown Long BeachHowever, the Nigerian was very outgoing, an extrovert, an alpha male. He was interested in exploring the world’s religions, and each weekend, he would get a large group together to go visit a different church. The group started off with just four of us but, over the semester, grew to 50 or 60 people each week. We visited every church we could find—Catholic, Mormon, Baptist, Lutheran, Methodist, Church of Christ, Jew, Presbyterian. I know there was a “strange religion” in there—Muslim, Buddhism, Hinduism, or Islam—but I don’t remember which one.

It was during my college years that I started questioning the fundamental tenets of the Catholic and Mormon faiths in which I had been raised. My main problem then, as now, is that I could not understand how an all-knowing, all-powerful god could allow poverty, homelessness, hunger, and disease to exist among “his children.” I couldn’t understand how that all-knowing, all-powerful, invisible being would allow his children to die in car wrecks, train wrecks, airplane crashes, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, fires, earthquakes, heat waves, blizzards, etc. It didn’t make sense to me then and it still makes no sense to me. There is no need to try to explain it. I’m familiar with all the reasons the all-knowing, all-powerful, invisible, mystical being allows disasters and such. I’m not buying them; they are too expensive.

I don’t mean to rain on anyone’s Christmas spirit, holiday spirit, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or whatever, but this time of year always gets me thinking about these things, and this morning when I went out exploring, I found a homeless person in the middle of Balboa Park, one of San Diego’s most beautiful places:

Homeless during the holidays

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Five things in this world currently bug me, really bug me:

  1. homelessness;
  2. disease and sickness;
  3. people who are cruel to animals, including people who kill animals for sport;
  4. the current generation of idiotic Republicans. I was a lifelong Republican until last year; I just couldn’t take the likes of Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachman anymore; and
  5. those who blindly follow religion without questioning it, especially if they quote things out of context or haven’t even read their own religion’s holy book completely! And, yes, I have read the Bible three times, start to end. I’ve read the Quran/Qu’ran/Koran once, all of The Analects (Confucianism), the Book of Mormon many times, and several others, all while searching for my own identity in this world.

Unfortunately, I’m not rich enough to do much on my own…. a little time here, a few dollars there, and my outspokenness here and on Facebook.

Possessions of a homeless person

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Home of a homeless person

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Denny Laine

Music on Mondays — Happy birthday to Denny Laine!

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

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Tomorrow is the 68th birthday for Denny Laine. Happy birthday, Denny!

Denny LaineLaine is a guitarist and singer, and was a founding member of The Moody Blues. I didn’t become familiar with him until 1971 when he showed up as a member of Wings on their first album, Wild Life, released December 7, 1971. For those who don’t know or don’t remember, Wings was Paul McCartney’s band after The Beatles broke up in 1970. He was one of the three core members of Wings throughout its history, the other two being Paul McCartney and his wife, Linda.

Wings (and Paul McCartney) rocked throughout the 1970s with albums such as “Red Rose Speedway,” “Band on the Run,” “Venus and Mars,” “Wings at the Speed of Sound,” “London Town,” and “Back to the Egg.” Hit singles that made it to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart include “My Love,” “Band on the Run,” “Listen To What The Man Said,” “Silly Love Songs,” “With A Little Luck,” and “Coming Up.” A couple of near misses include “Live and Let Die,” peaking at #2; “Junior’s Farm,” peaking at #3; and “Let ‘Em In,” also peaking at #3.

The Summit in Houston, Texas, ca. 1994I saw Wings in concert at The Summit in Houston, Texas, on Tuesday, May 4, 1976, as part of their “Wings Over America” tour. Texas A&M was in Dead Week, so I could get away with going to a concert 90 miles away on a week day.

I knew the words to all the songs and happily sang along with the rest of the crowd…. Well, almost all of the songs. There was one song that I was not familiar with. It was played as one of the encores and was titled “Go Now.” I thought it was a new, unreleased song, but after reading the reviews the next day in the Houston Chronicle and the Houston Post, I found out that “Go Now” was The Moody Blues’ first hit from February 1965. The reviews also increased my musical knowledge base by informing me that Denny Laine was a founding member of The Moody Blues. Laine quit The Moody Blues in August 1966 although I could not find out why.

Wings Over AmericaI became familiar with The Moody Blues, as did most of the world, in August 1972 when “Nights in White Satin” hit #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. Interestingly, the album “Nights in White Satin” was released in 1968, and a single, “Tuesday Afternoon,” made it to #24 on the charts. If I remember correctly, the four years between the release of an album and a single making it to the Top 10 is the longest ever.

I liked “Go Now” but could not find it in any of the record stores, not even in any of the cut-out bins (smile if you remember cut-out bins). There was no such thing as iTunes, Napster, or amazon.com at the time, so I had to do without that song until December 1976—seven months later!—when it was released on the “Wings Over America” live album.

For Denny Laine’s 68th birthday, I give you some Denny Laine.

“Go Now” by The Moody Blues
Denny Laine on guitar and lead vocals

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“Mull of Kintyre” from November 1977 is the first single in Great Britain to sell over two million copies,
and that includes all of The Beatles’ hits. It still is the #1 selling non-charity single in Great Britain. Written by Paul McCartney and Denny Laine, it has Laine on backing vocals, acoustic guitar, and electric guitar. Denny Laine shows up in the video at the 1:30 mark.

 

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Denny Laine’s greatest collaboration with McCartney came on 1978′s “London Town” album where he had co-songwriting credits on five of the fourteen songs. He sang lead vocal on two of them, both of them about children: “Children Children” and “Deliver Your Children.” Here’s “Children Children”:

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Happy birthday, Denny!

Happy birthday to Denny Laine

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The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

Music on Mondays — It’s country time!

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

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After delving into classical music two weeks ago and then pop/rock/metal last week, I got a request for country music. Since I grew up in Texas doing the Texas two-step, line dancing, and such, I do have some country music in my vast collection.

The first one is “I Walk The Line” by Johnny Cash from late 1956. According to my mother, I used to sit on the floor in the back of the car and sing along any time it came on the radio.

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Next is “Take This Job And Shove It” by Johnny Paycheck from 1977. In 1982, I wanted to use this song to quit a job at Kerr Steamship Company. That’s how frustrated I was. After talking to my best friend, Richard Maulsby Scruggs (I call him Maulsby and use his full name here because I’m still friends with him and wanted to give him some Google Juice; it’s good for you), who was a consultant with Arthur Andersen, I decided to give a standard two-week notice, which I did the next day. Richard’s advice had been, “Don’t burn bridges.”

A year later I was applying for a position with Texas A&M University to do editing and copywriting for the Texas A&M University Press, the College of Science, and the Department of Chemistry. Darned if the Professor for whom I would be directly working didn’t actually call my past three employers. Darned again if my supervisor at Kerr Steamship Company didn’t give me a glowing recommendation, even stating that he would rehire me in a flash. “Just send him back down here and he’s got a job,” Mr. Supervisor said.

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Then there’s Garth Brooks. Some country music purists don’t consider Garth to be country music. To that I will defer to Billboard, which places him in the country music category. My favorite of his is “Friends In Low Places” from 1990. It spent four weeks at #1 on the Billboard Country Music Singles Chart. To reinforce Garth’s countryness, “Friends In Low Places” won the 1990 Single of the Year from both the Academy of Country Music and the Country Music Association.

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Then there is Glen Campbell, probably my all-time favorite country star. “Wichita Lineman” came out in November 1968. For Christmas that year I got a reel-to-reel tape recorder. I was constantly trying to record “Wichita Lineman” off the radio but the radio announcers wouldn’t shut up so I could get the beginning and the ending of the song. I hate it when radio announcers talk through the first 10 seconds of a song and then start talking again before the song ends!

Trivia: From December 1964 to March 1965, Glen Campbell was a touring member of the Beach Boys where he played bass guitar and sang falsetto harmonies. He also played guitar on the group’s Pet Sounds album.

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Lastly, I can’t leave out “Harper Valley P.T.A.” by Jeannie C. Riley from 1968. I was every teacher’s nightmare student and my wise old grandmother was always having to go to the PTA meetings to convince the teachers that I was a good kid.

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Go Johnny go

Music on Mondays — S&M………. Oooops, I mean M&M

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

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I grew up playing the piano and violin, as well as singing. If I had it to do all over again, I think I would choose an instrument that I could play in the band — I’m kind of partial to the oboe. I always so wanted to march in a band.Texas A&M University

I’m pretty much a traditionalist when it comes to marching bands as opposed to show bands. I’m not a big fan of bands that stand on the field and play Broadway show tunes, the latest pop songs, or the latest movie soundtracks.

In that regard, my favorite band for the past 40 years has been the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band from Texas A&M University. They are the epitome of a marching band: M&M (music & marching) with precision drills. Most of the band is in the 2400-member Corps of Cadets (the largest ROTC outside of the military academies), so precision is in their DNA I do believe.

According to the Powers that Be, there are 423 members of the 2013-2014 Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band, making it the largest college or university band in the nation, and the largest military marching band in the world.

In recognition of the start of the college football season, here is a video of a 2009 halftime performance of the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band:

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If you like march music, check out anything by John Philip Sousa (1854-1932), “The March King.” There was, and is, no one better at composing march music. Sousa wrote 136 marches, and I have them all in my music collection. Unfortunately, I have never been able to choose a favorite. Just depends on which one is next up in the music list.

The second to the last piece that the band played in the video (at the 7:20 mark) was “Semper Fidelis,” the official march of the United States Marine Corps. Here is the National March of the United States of America, “Stars and Stripes Forever,” also by the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band.

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Of course, I have to end this Music on Mondays post musically with “The Aggie War Hymn,” composed by J.V. “Pinky” Wilson, one of hundreds of Aggies who fought in World War I.

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Non-musically, I’ll end with a simple “Go, Johnny, Go.

Go Johnny go

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Ah, what the heck, if I’m going to say, “Go, Johnny, go” I might as well end this music post with Chuck Berry’s 1958 hit, “Johnny B. Goode.”

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Be good, Johnny, be good.

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James Frimmer, Realtor
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Barb of Life in the Foothills

Will YOU be next on the list?

I livew in my own little world

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I have always had a hard time meeting new people.

That was a contributing reason why I joined Alpha Phi Omega, a national co-ed service fraternity, while I was at Texas A&M University. Since I enjoy helping others, I could do that while basically being forced to meet others through the fraternity system.

I think the main (maybe the only) reason I like Facebook is because I can meet people without having to meet people. Then, once I’m comfortable meeting them, if I go to where they are, I will try to look them up.

Blogging is the same thing. People find my blog, I find theirs, we become Internet friends, and maybe somewhere down the road we’ll meet, either at their place or mine.

Yesterday, Barb (Life in the Foothills) and her husband (Paul), came to San Diego after their Carnival cruise had docked in Long Beach. Long Beach is about 110 miles from me, so they certainly didn’t have to go out of their way to come down here instead of going directly back home to life in the foothills. I don’t know whether or not they came here specifically to see me, but they sure made me feel like they did.

Jim and I took them to the San Diego Zoo, where we spent 4½ hours traipsing around watching the animals and, of course, taking pictures:

Barb of Life in the Foothills

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After we wore ourselves out at the Zoo, we had drinks and food at On The Border.

Barb makes the fourth WordPress blogger that I have met in actual reality since I started using the WordPress platform on January 7, 2012. Here is my complete list now:

  1. Rommel (The Sophomore Slump) — Rommel and I went to the USS Midway Museum on May 27, 2012. See his pictures and my pictures.
  2. Bashar A. (2 Rivers Photos) — Bashar, Jim, and I went to the La Jolla Cove on October 17, 2012, to take pictures of a negative tide and a beautiful sunset. See his pictures and my pictures.
  3. Marsha Lee (Marsha Lee) — Marsha came down with some long-time friends of hers on January 5, 2013, just to spend some time in San Diego. She and her friends introduced Jim and me to a new restaurant here in San Diego. See her pictures and my pictures.
  4. Barb (Life in the Foothills) — Barb and Paul were on a cruise that originated in Long Beach. After their cruise, they came down to San Diego to visit Jim and me. They just got home today so keep an eye on her blog for pictures of their cruise and trip to the San Diego Zoo. I’m still cataloging the 380 pictures I took, so stay tuned here, too, and I’ll have some pictures this week.
  5. Will YOU be next on this list?

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Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I can highly recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor
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Scott #1660, Texas state flag

History through Philately — Texas becomes the 28th State

History Through Philately stamp

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Scott #1660, Texas state flagOn this date in 1845, the Republic of Texas entered the United States of America as the 28th state.

When the United States bought the Louisiana Purchase from France in 1803, the U.S. attempted to include Texas in the Purchase. In 1819, after sixteen years of dispute, the boundary was set at the Sabine River, which is the current border of Louisiana and Texas.

Scott #776, Texas centennialFrom 1819 to 1836, Texas was part of Mexico. On March 2, 1836, Texas declared its independence from Mexico, becoming the Republic of Texas. As most declarations of independence do, this one resulted in a war between the Republic of Texas and Mexico, including the Battle of the Alamo, lost by the Texans, and the Battle of San Jacinto, which resulted in the Texans soundly defeating the Mexicans.

Scott #1043, The AlamoTexans elected Sam Houston as President of the Republic but also endorsed Texas entering the Union as a State. The likelihood of Texas joining as a slave state delayed formal action by the U.S. Congress for more than a decade. Congress agreed to annex the territory of Texas in 1844, and on December 29, 1845, Texas entered the United States as a slave state. A dispute involving the southern boundary of Texas resulted in the Mexican American War, which the United States won.

Scott #1038, Texas statehoodThe Mexican American War ended with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in which Mexico ceded the current lands currently comprising California, Nevada, and Utah, as well as parts of Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico. The southern boundary of Texas was set as the Rio Grande river.

Other interesting facts about Texas:

  1. 3738 Texas greetingsThe south Texas farming and ranching community of Kingsville welcomed me to the world on March 11, 1955. Kingsville is located in the disputed territory between the Nueces River and the Rio Grande.
  2. Texas is pretty much a red state, which is one of the many reasons why I don’t live there anymore. I left on April 15, 1993, and arrived in San Diego 12 days later, taking a circuitous route to Fargo, North Dakota; over to Seattle, Washington; and down to San Diego.
  3. Scott #1995, Texas mockingbird and bluebonnetTexas has a gross state product (GSP) of $1.307 trillion, second behind California’s $1.936 trillion. If Texas were an independent country, its gross domestic product (GDP) would rank as the world’s 11th largest.
  4. Texas does not have a State income tax. Its money comes from property taxes and sales taxes.
  5. Texas has a population of 26,059,203, making it the second most populous state (behind California).
  6. Texas is the second largest state (behind Alaska), with 268,820 square miles.
  7. Scott #2968, Texas statehoodTexas is headquarters for 57 Fortune 500 companies (tying for first with California).
  8. Texas has three cities ranked in the Top 10 for population: Houston at #4, San Antonio at #7, and Dallas at #9. (California also has three cities in the Top 10: Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Jose.)
  9. Kingsville, TexasMy hometown of Kingsville has an average high temperature of 65°F in December. However, on Christmas Even 2004, six inches of snow blanketed the city.
  10. Texas has the most farms and the highest acreage in the United States.
  11. Texas leads the nation in livestock production — cattle, sheep, and goats.
  12. Texas leads the nation in cotton production.
  13. Texas A&M UniversityMy alma mater, Texas A&M University, is the state’s first public institution of higher education and has the state’s largest enrollment at 53,337 students (fourth largest in the nation). It is the nation’s only land grand, sea grant, and space grant university. Texas A&M also has the largest main campus of any university, with 5,500 acres.
  14. Two presidential libraries are located in Texas: Lyndon B. Johnson in at the University of Texas at Austin and George Bush at Texas A&M University. A third one is in the workds, George W. Bush at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.
  15. Scott #1742, Texas windmillThe Texas healthcare system is ranked third worst in the United States by the Commonwealth Fund; 25% of Texans do not have health insurance, the largest percentage in the nation.
  16. Texas emits more greenhouse gases than any other state, with Port Arthur (a heavy oil refining locale) having some of the dirtiest air in the United States.
  17. I survived many hurricanes and tropical storms while living in Texas, the most significant of which were Beulah (1967), Celia (1970), and Allen (1980).
  18. The deadliest natural disaster in the history of the United States was the Galveston Hurricane of 1900, which killed an estimated 8,000 to 12,000 people.
  19. My childhood home in Kingsville, courtesy of Google Streetview:

420 West Alice Avenue, Kingsville, Texas

I planted the two oak trees after Hurricane Celia in 1970. They were just a foot high.

Scott #2204, Battle of San Jacinto

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Scott #1242, Sam Houston

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Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I can highly recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor
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If you’re looking for a home inspector,
I recommend Russel Ray — that’s me!Real Estate Solutions

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Alpha Phi Omega

Once I give my money to the government, it is no longer my money

My wise old grandmother

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Texas A&M UniversityDuring the Summer of 1975 when I was a Junior at Texas A&M University, I pledged a Greek organization called Alpha Phi Omega National Service Fraternity (hereafter, “APO”). When my friends asked me the difference between APO and other Greek fraternities and sororities, I explained it thusly:

Fraternities and sororities spend 80% of their time partying. APO spends 80% of its time helping others.

Alpha Phi OmegaFrom August 1973 to June 1975, I was without my wise old grandmother. She was in Kingsville, Texas, and I was 300 miles away at Texas A&M. APO came into my life and continued to remind me, through today, that there is, indeed, always someone worse off than me.

My wise old grandother had always told me, “There is always someone worse off than you are.” She usually said that as I was complaining about pruning the oleanders, mowing the lawn, hanging the laundry, washing the dishes, cleaning my room………. APO continues in me with the words of my wise old grandmother.

So today, for those who love charities and real pumpkins, here’s what I want you to do. Yes, this involves planning and work, but it’s always fun. And I have some work music for you, too:

Before you do anything else, pick a number from 1 to 100. Write it down.

Cancer Survivors Park, San Diego, CaliforniaNow, since October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and October 31 is Halloween, take the family out to the pumpkin patch and get a real pumpkin, one that has seeds inside. Take the pumpkin home, cut off the top so you can get to the insides, and get all those seeds out of there. Young children often like this part of our project because they get to get all yukky and oogy.

Take the seeds, separate them from the rest of the pumpkin guts, wash the seeds, and set them aside to dry. Continue cleaning out your pumpkin and carving a face into it for use on the front porch for the next few days.

Cancer Survivors Park, San Diego, CaliforniaWhen the seeds have dried, count them! Write down the number of seeds. I usually get about 300 seeds out of my pumpkins, which are average size. Small pumpkins will have fewer seeds, and those really really really really big pumpkins will have more.

Once you have counted the seeds, roast them! They make great snacks, have lots of good fiber, and your children will be bragging to the neighborhood, “We roasted our pumpkin seeds to eat! I have some here. Do you want one?”

Here’s a good pumpkin seed recipe: Roasted pumpkin seeds.

PumpkinsOkay, remember those two numbers we wrote down? Take the first number, that between 1 and 100, and multiple it by the second number, the number of seeds, to get a final number. For example, if you chose 25 and had 300 seeds, your final number would be 7,500. Drop the two zeroes, and you have 75.

Now I want you to write a check to your favorite charity, or to a cancer charity in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, for $75. If $75 is too much for you right now, that’s okay. Write a check for whatever amount you can. As we have seen in President Obama’s grassroots money-raising, every little bit helps.

MoneyRemember that your donation is often tax-deductible, so in addition to helping people who are less fortunate than you, you just lowered your taxes!

I donate to various charities on a quarterly basis, and since September is the end of the third quarter, I use pumpkin event to donate to cancer organizations during October. I also never complain about how the government spends its money, for two reasons:

  1. Once I give my money to the government, it is no longer my money. It’s the government’s money.
  2. The government rarely gets much money from me because I’m not from the rich 1% and I use deductions to lower my tax burden. I figure I can do a better job of spending my money than the government can do spending its money.

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This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I can highly recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor
Century 21 Award, DRE #01458572

If you’re looking for a home inspector,
I recommend Russel Ray — that’s me!Real Estate Solutions

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Zoey the Cool Cat having a cat nap

I’m a cat napper…. So there! (cat napping pictures included)

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Snippets

 

Zoey the Cool Cat having a cat napThroughout my life I’ve never been able to sleep well. Or so I thought.

I’d be in bed at night, but after falling asleep for a couple of hours, I’d wake up. Not being able to immediately go back to sleep, I’d read a book….. under the bed covers…. using a flashlight. Man oh man was my wise old grandmother upset the first time she caught me. But just getting caught and punished didn’t stop me from reading. Besides, why punish a child for reading? It’s not like I was getting up at night and sneaking out the bedroom window to carouse the town. That didn’t start until a few years later. I wonder if there’s a correlation between being punished for reading and sneaking out instead. Hmmm.

Zoey the Cool Cat having a cat napAt Henrietta M. King High School in Kingsville, Texas, I learned to schedule the late lunch (12:30; early lunch was 11:30), P.E., and Study Hall in the afternoon so that I wouldn’t fall asleep in an important class.

At Texas A&M University, I scheduled all my classes for 8:00 a.m. to noon, 1:00 at the latest. Then I could go home and sleep for a couple of hours. The nice thing about early morning classes is that all my final exams were on Monday and Tuesday. I was out of school two or three days early each semester over those people who always scheduled afternoon classes.

Zoey the Cool Cat having a cat napIn the work world after college, I would never go out to eat lunch with co-workers, choosing instead to take an unknown-to-them nap in my car. Eventually the world found out about people like me and started calling our naps “power naps.” Whatever. They always made fun of us, though, for “always being tired.”

Zoey the Cool Cat having a cat napNow comes David Westcott writing an article, “Do Not Disturb,” in the April 23 2012 edition of Bloomberg Businessweek. Westcott quotes Ronit Rogoszinski who describes herself as “an expert ‘practitioner of the power nap.’ ” Rogoszinski says, “By noon, my brain starts to fry.” What does she do? She heads to one of her favorite hideouts, her car, “to recharge” (code for taking a nap).

Zoey the Cool Cat having a cat napWestcott found that on Wall Street Oasis, an investment banker Internet forum, people were obsessed with daytime napping. He found tips on “sleep hacking” (developing “polyphasic sleep schedules“), lists of places to nap, and tips on how to act if you’re caught napping.

One commenter discussed napping on the toilet, saying that it’s best if you have your pants up and the seat down. The toilet stall is one place that I never tried. Maybe later today.

Zoey the Cool Cat having a cat napThere is a difference, though, between using naps to make up for lost sleep, such as when you have a newborn child, or a close family member is in the hospital. There are some people — like me! — who have no specific reason for losing sleep and needing to make it up during the day. We are called lazy when we’re caught napping during the day, or, at best, “short sleepers” or “sleep pros” if we still get more accomplished than our non-short sleeping colleagues.

Zoey the Cool Cat having a cat napWestcott quotes Dr. David Dinges, a sleep researcher at the University of Pennsylvania, who encourages workday napping, or “multitask relaxing” (can’t we just call it what it is? Cat napping!). According to Dr. Dinges’s research, one’s “cognitive ability depends on how much sleep one accumulates over a 24-hour period, not just overnight.”

Zoey the Cool Cat having a cat napDr. Dinges encourages people to work for short periods followed by a nap — “sleep reinforcement” he calls it. “Rather than fighting to stay awake at your desk with diminishing cognitive returns, work on it in your sleep.” And I wasn’t even part of his research!

Whenever I have a particular problem to solve, I have found that a quick nap, a cat nap, helps me solve it, often to the point that I will dream about it and various ways to solve it, including benefits and problems relating to different scenarios. These are not REM dreams because I never reach REM sleep, according to the sleep research Zoey the Cool Cat having a cat napthat I have been involved in (Boston Medical Center, Houston Medical Center, UCLA Medical Center, Texas A&M University).

We cat nappers are gaining acceptability, but since we’re only one to three percent of the population, we need to “come out” to our family, friends, and
co-workers as what we are:
cat nappers. I’m a cat napper….
So there!

 

SNIPPETS are short posts about anything and everything.
Each SNIPPETS will have at leasst one picture.
After all, this is Russel Ray Photos.

 

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Coyote or fox?

Who knew there was so much life in a cemetery?

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Out & About San Diego

 

My home inspection yesterday was across the street from a huge cemetery. Cemeteries are rare here in San Diego, certainly much rarer than in my home state of Texas where I think there were just as many cemeteries as there were churches.

Although we used to play in the cemeteries in Kingsville, Texas, when I was growing up, and they have tours of cemeteries in New Orleans, I had not been in a cemetery in 20 or 25 years.

I took 357 pictures in the cemetery in a little over two hours. Here are fourteen of my favorites:

Black Phoebe (Sayornis nigricans)

Black Phoebe (Sayornis nigricans)


 

Black Phoebe (Sayornis nigricans)

Black Phoebe (Sayornis nigricans)


 

Western Bluebird (Sialia mexicana)

How long you gonna watch me?


 

Western Bluebird (Sialia mexicana)

I wonder if he has friends. Better check over here....


 

Western Bluebird (Sialia mexicana)

....and over here....


 

Western Bluebird (Sialia mexicana)

....and behind me.


 

Western Bluebird (Sialia mexicana)

Now that nobody's looking


 

Western Bluebird (Sialia mexicana)

Let it all hang out


 

See ya later!

See ya later!


 

The cemetery was actually quite relaxing, and I wasn’t the only one who thought that:

Mallards, a snow goose, and turtles

Mallards, a snow goose, and turtles


 

Squirrels were frolicking everywhere but were wary of me:

Squirrel

Where'd you come from?

Squirrel on a eucalyptus tree

Squirrel on a eucalyptus tree


 

I saved the best for last. I don’t know if the gal in this picture is a coyote or fox. I’m thinking it’s too big and too light to be a fox. Anyone?

Coyote or fox?

Coyote or fox?


 

I was at Mt. Hope Cemetery, a municipal cemetery for the City of San Diego. Two other cemeteries are nearby: Holy Cross Cemetery, a Catholic cemetery; and Greenwood Memorial Park, an endowed care cemetery, which means you have to pay big bucks to be buried there.

San Diego cemeteries

View Larger Map

 

Me?

Cremate me, scatter my ashes one-third at Blacks Beach in San Diego; one-third under the Century Oak at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas; and one-third on the railroad tracks at the Union Pacific Railroad yard in Omaha, Nebraska. Then forget about me and get back to enjoying life.

Oh, by the way. Ask me how many living people I saw in the cemetery in two hours.

YOU: Russel, how many living people did you see in the cemetery while you were there?

ME: Three. A San Diego Gas & Electric employee was hiding out in his company truck parked under a tree. He was sleeping. Probably wore himself out at the Padres game the day before when we beat the dastardly Dodgers 8-4. A groundskeeper was mowing the lawns. A lady was pulling weeds from around the headstone at the grave she was visiting, obviously not happy with the job the cemetery was doing.

 

This post approved byThis post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos