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Timothy S. McTaggart's Archived Blogs Oct-Dec 06


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6 Dec 06

In my 8 Dec 05 blog last year, I mentioned a visit that a group of us from United Campus Ministries made to the San Angelo State School, where we did Christmas stories and carols for the residents. To repeat what San Angelo State School does, it is a place where some 300+ people live that have various mental retardation and other mental challenges. The residents (or 'consumers' which is the 'politically correct' term to call them) really loved our visit last year and so I made a promise to myself to return. It probably meant more to me to do this than a lot of Christmas related things have, as of late. So this last Monday night, our group ventured back and once again brought a bit of Christmas cheer in the form of some carols to these otherwise distressed souls. I think they sang the words better than we did. In addition to my acoustic guitar, we had an accordion player this time who is a pastor from the Methodist (?) church in Paint Rock. We had some interesting requests from a few of the 'consumers' which we mostly managed to pull out of the hat. It was good to do this again and I expect to make it a tradition. Speaking of tradition, I once again have my three strings of lights up on the house in Menard. No spewing plumbing leaks this time that I know of. I turned the water off pre-empively to the cold snap. As for tacky Christmas decor, I guess some China man is making a heap of money with these inflatable merry go 'round and snowglobe things that occupy a dissapportionate number of front lawns. Gross!! Further reason why I just have this small blinking LED light tree in the window. Now as for shopping .......AIEEEEE!!!! The parents probably have the right idea with the catalogues. More later, but I do say Merry Christmas, which I understand doesn't have to undergo the test this year for political correctness. More later.

24 Nov 06

Christmas Eve is one month out. Shopping anyone? I just conducted the ceremonial lighting of my Christmas tree that sits in the apartment window. Call me a minimalist, but this is my statement about overdone Christmas decorations (even though I like to look at the tasteful ones). Next topic. The Funky Munky had the dance floor full for most of the night again at The Oasis on the night before Thanksgiving. It was somewhat a late crowd, most of whom were talking, catching up on things from last holiday visit into town. So I issued my welcome to everyone who'd been kicked out of the kitchen, and were celebrating that occurrence. It was a good gig and the crowd once again enjoyed our playing there. Today I watched the Texas A&M vs. University of Texas annual grudge match. It was one of the few times (number 9) that A&M has actually beaten UT when the game was played at UT in Austin. Twenty years ago, I went with a bunch of fellow Aggies from Menard on down to Austin to see this game. That night was one of the previous times A&M managed to win this 100 something year old rivalry, when the game was played at UT. It also was the first time that A&M was permitted to fire their 105 howitzer at Memorial Stadium. UT had its comparatively small cannon, which attempted to compete with the 105, so we had 'poof' vs. 'BARRROOM!!' respectively. The Aggies at least had the consideration to point the 105 away from the inside of the stadium, at least until after the game was over, when they fired it once towards the middle. I suspect that Texas A&M may still be paying on lawsuits over ruptured eardrums from that game 20 years ago. Sure as hell was loud, even in the upper deck where we were. Back to today's game, though. It was close through much of the game with A&M scoring first and UT not scoring until the second half (UT's answering touchdown in the first half was called back over doubtful circumstances). UT scored once in the second half, bringing them out ahead (they made the extra point) but A&M scored again on a long drive, and the Aggie lead remained until the end. Unfortunately UT's quarterback was injured in the last 20 seconds of the game and was taken out on the cart. I felt bad about that, so even to this Aggie, it was good to see this UT quarterback hold his left arm up giving the "Hook 'em Horns" hand gesture as he was being carted out. I'll give him that because I hate to see injuries, even though they come with the territory. Unfortunately for UT, that quarterback's successor threw an interception, ending the game. It was a hard and well played game for both teams otherwise. Now back to first topic, I think. Time to be Santa Claus again, if I can. So where the hell is that catalogue I was looking through? More on that later. I wish for an enjoyable and safe Christmas shopping for all and to all, a good night.

8 Nov 06

Tell you what. As I was archiving my previous quarter's blogs, I noted the last entry being 9 Sep, two months ago! Too much other shtuff going on so I've kinda let these blogs fall by the wayside. Well here goes with a partial attempt to catch things up. Last month in a pre-emptive strike against any personal meltdowns (I've been stressing a bit lately) I headed west for a couple of days to clear out a tangled brain. This was the same place I went to in January of 2004, for a personal sabbatical out near the Davis Mountains. Once again I spent some time snorkeling around the giant spring fed pool at Balmorhea State Park. Didn't see any scuba divers this time. I also checked out the star party at McDonald Observatory and then drove to Marfa to look for the legendary Marfa Mystery Lights just east of town. They've been there the last three times I went to see them, but this time I only saw a couple small flickers. Need to catch them next time. The short R&R was fabulous though and I came back with a brain a little more up to the task. One small mountain just east of the park looks very similar to the mountain in the middle of Kabul on which the old cannon 'Noon Gun' resides, as seen from Karte Seh. So I had to name it as the cannon mountain's western counterpart. Took some pictures of it too, so I can compare it when I finally get back to Kabul and get another look at cannon mountain itself. Yes, there are plans underway to do the next reunion IN Kabul, Afghanistan. Given all the junk in the news, there's been a 'wait and see' attitude about that. But I've been trading E-mails on the subject with another former AISKer Marnie Gustavson who is in Kabul. Plans are underway whether one or two hundred people show up for it. I hope we can make it happen. Maybe this time next year, I can have reports in this blog on two more former residences, this time the two places we lived in Kabul. That would only be a small fraction of things I'd have to report from the trip if/when I do finally make it. Enshallah (Islam for 'God willing') is the word to say in the meantime. Okay, next subject, but there's no good way to segway into the horrible horror film that was filmed in Menard last year, except to say the large round table we brought back from Kabul appears in the film. I have no word of further screenings at this point but one in San Angelo is supposed to be in the works. Looks like DVD release is sometime next year, best that I can tell. Last subject for the night, is far less horrible, in that Democrats have mostly prevailed in the mid term elections yesterday. Looks like the current administration may be getting a possible hint about the Iraqi misadventure, as the secretary of defense is being replaced already. If us Democrats end up in power, the big question is 'now what the hell do we do?' Damnedest mess to unravel. Stay tuned.



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