9/11 Memories From an Okie Down Under (Republished Again and Again and Again)

9/11 Memories From an Okie Down Under (Republished Again and Again and Again)


Everyone has their 9/11 memories.  These are mine.  Originally published in 2011.  Republished, again, today in honor of those who died, and those who did their best to help others live.

On Sept. 11, 2001, in Auckland, New Zealand, my home since 1993, I was about to back out of my driveway and go to work. What I heard on the radio made my blood run cold.

I stumbled back into the house and told my Singaporean wife. All she could say was, “What? What? Oh no.”

I felt confused and bamfoozled. I didn’t know whether to go to work or call my family in Oklahoma or get on a plane. I mean, what the hell do you do?

I went to work, listening to radio news and feeling like a stunned mullet. As a P.R. pro, I should have been thinking about the impact on my NZ clients, about what to advise them to do. But when I got to work, all I could do was watch the towers collapsing over and over and over and over and over and over again. I’d make a few calls and go back to the TV. When a plane hit the Pentagon, I thought, “When Eli was born, we lived two miles from there. Two freaking miles from there.”

I prayed. I went to Mass. I prayed some more. I could not believe what had happened. I wondered about my best man and reporting buddy from Waco years. He’d been a big dog in the Big Apple for awhile. If he survived, I knew he’d be in the apex.  Back when he was a Texas journalist, he was the “Master of Disaster” who “loved the smell of napalm in the morning.”  And now, he’d be smelling it.  Or he’d be dead.  Oh, Dear Lord, no.

I remember thinking, my buddy IS alive and will know what to do. He will act heroically.  As for me, all I could think was: “This is too huge. I don’t know what to do. What the hell do you do?”

I was amazed at Rudy Giuliani. What balls.

And now, that’s all I remember about Sept. 11:  Watching TV. Praying. Feeling helplessly surreal. Worrying about my buddy. Fearing even worse acts of terrorism. And feeling very guilty for thinking, “At least we’re safe down here at the bottom of the world.”

13 years ago ago, I visited New York City with my then 18-year-old son. My buddy showed us around the Big Apple, including Ground Zero. He shared his memories. He still had the taste of 9/11 in his mouth; it just would not go away. As he told me that, he turned away, and a tear tracked down his face.

And now, it’s 19 years since the murderous, cowardly 9/11 attacks. Bin Laden is long dead. Countless heroic NYC police, fire and emergency officials have died or still battle PTSD or lung disease. A shiny skybunker is rising from Ground Zero. I find myself waiting for another terror strike by crazy jihaders. I wonder how people in Israel live under constant threat. But, then again, I wonder how NYers do, every day.

Blessings on the innocents, the heroic first-responders who showed such courage on 9/11, and on all their survivors, who have to live through this horrific tragedy again today and every tomorrow.

Lord have mercy.

Please have a listen to this Bruce Springsteen song (You’re Missing), and remember, and pray.


The Greatest Debut Album of All Time (Conservatively Speaking, as Only a Proud Poppa Can)

Long ago and far away I blogged.  Then I stopped. Now I am back, briefly, to plug Junior’s debut album before this blog goes down the digital gurgler.

Master Eli Moore spent the last three years seeing the world (47 countries at last count), improving his killer piano chops, falling in and out of love, experiencing many experiences, and writing amazing songs about it all.

Which brings us to “Ship Life“.

Honestly, I have not had so much fun since the hogs ate my sister.

Eli wrote all the songs, produced the album, and even designed and wrote the extensive liner notes.

Thankfully, he got his looks from his Singaporean momma, plus her mad art skills. From Poppa hog, he got his word chops.  All together, he’s a total creative bad-ass.

If you happen to be in Auckland, New Zealand on July 21, 2017, drop by Parnell’s Juice Bar for the album’s debut bash.  Eli will autograph a copy and I’ll buy you a beer, if you behave, mate.

In the meanwhile, head over to Junior’s website elimooremusic and check out the Q&A.  Pretty interesting, innit?

And just because I like you, click here… and you can watch the video/clips that Junior produced as part of his fundraising effort.

Plus here’s a great review.

And with that said, it’s time to go walk Kasey in the boggy paddocks, to feed the chooks and check on the sheep, cows, pigs and horses.

Oh, did I forget to mention the bit about retiring to a farm in Northland, New Zealand?

Hmmm. Must be the Old Timers.


P.S. Two years later, Junior just finished a gig with the B.B. King Blues Band on the Koningsdam cruise ship. Wuz great.

Junior on key in the BB’s

Mighty Kasey Has Ducked Out

(Hogs note: Just to bring you up to date, the Missus is still ‘rearing’ all sorts of wild ducks in the back yard, a.k.a. Duck Med.  And a few days ago we adopted a wee 18-month-old pup, Kasey, from German Shepherd Dog Rescue.  Yup.)

Kasey being all innocent

Kasey being all innocent

DUCKDATE… October 2

Kasey is just doing “stay” so well on the back upper deck.

So the Blog decides to walk down to get a broom under the carport and sweep up.

Kasey, who is “staying”, can’t see the Blog.

And the Blog can’t see Kasey who, as we may have mentioned, is PRACTICING staying.

What could possibly go wrong?

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Cicada green

It’s still summer in New Zealand.

Every now and again, when I have a wander into the primordial jungle out back, I find a locust husk (or shell… what do you call those things they hatch from?).

And every time, my childhood memories come pouring back.

We had a mimosa tree in our front yard on Nebraska Street, and half a dozen in the back.

Every summer, the locusts would try to suck them dry and, boy, would they sing loud and long while slurping up the sap.

It has to be said that, as young rascals, my neighbor Eddie and I were not especially kind to the *locusts.

There was probably nothing wrong with collecting their old husks from the trees, and feeding them to Lady Dog, our beagle.


She thought they were better’n pork rinds.

But the other uses we had for locusts were not something that make for particularly sanctifying stories during Lent.


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Humor During Lent? Of course!


lent 2

(Republishing this vintage blog because it’s Lent, ya’ll!)

In New Zealand, we’ve already begun Lent — 40 days of prayer, fasting and penance leading up to Easter.

Since this is mainly a humor blog, we will begin our Lent by republishing a favorite about two great priests who were incredibly funny in very different ways.

Archimandrite Stephen was bigger than life and perfect for his ministry in media and evangelization. He could PREACH UP A STORM. And he so loved to laugh. Heeheeheehee.

On his generous girth:

“I’m an Archimandrite in the Melkite Greek Catholic tradition. As you can see, we’re rather fluffy. Hahahaha.”

“As you know, your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. So why would you want a little ol’ prayer chapel when you could have a Grand Basilica with a Rotunda? Hohohoho.”

On being the only Catholic in a Louisiana family renown for producing more than 50 Assembly of God preachers:

“I’m the family black sheep. And I love to tell my cousins that I’m the favorite of our departed relatives because I’m the only one praying to get them out of Purgatory. Heeheeheehee.”

On Catholic teachings (when a New Zealand TV interviewer was beating him up because the Church won’t recognize gay marriages):

“I’ll tell you something even crazier. We won’t marry a man and a woman who are living together in sin unless the stop and go to confession. Can you believe THAT? Heh heh heh heh.”

On being a tad theatrical when speaking to our annual Auckland Eucharistic Convention:

“I need one of those lapel mikes. I want to be able to walk around the stage and show off for your Bishop.”

And then, there was Father Angland, 75, my first Parish Priest in Auckland.

He was half the size of Father Stephen, but equally hilarious in his no-nonsense, Kiwi way.

Once, when he asked me to distribute holy communion at Mass, I declined.

For you see, Catholics believe Jesus wasn’t kidding when he said His Flesh was true food, and His Blood true drink.

“I can’t. I’m not worthy,” I said, prompting Father Angland to respond with his wonderful dry wit:

“Don’t be stupid.

“Of course you’re not worthy.

“Nobody is.

“But somebody’s got to do it.”

Rest in Peace, Archimandrite Stephen and Father Angland.

And as for ya’ll?

Here’s wishing you the best Lent, ever.


Lincoln Park Zoo — Better’n Star Wars for Kids in the Sixties


Way back when…

My niece in OKC frequently takes her chillens and their cousins to Lincoln Park Zoo.

Even though they were raised on Harry Potter and Disney World, they love going to the zoo.

I think that’s great, but, really, there is no way a zoo trip can be as awesome to them as it was to us in the Sixties.

I was probably nine years old when we made our first “expedition” all the way from Norman to Lincoln Park Zoo.  If memory serves, it was a 9,000 mile journey that took about three months.

I was either with my best friend Steve, or my cousins, or all of them, and possibly a sister or two.

What’s clear is that we were all psyched.

For years, we had been watching *Bob Jenni doing guest spots on Foreman Scotty.

He was always handling snakes and gila monsters and other animals that would kill you dead if you messed up.

We boys were GLUED to the television when Bob was on, quietly rooting for the snake to get lose and maybe bite somebody, just a little bit.

So when we went to the zoo, we were hoping to see some seriously dangerous critters, running wild and eating kids, if we were lucky.

My memories of the zoo are a bit faded, but I remember that the Mothers and Aunties were dead keen on this being an EDUCATIONAL trip, so we were all armed with our Friends of the Zoo Key.

Zoo Key

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NHS Grandstand Boozers And Alvan’s Army

Grandstand boozers

Norman High School’s Grandstand Boozers

I was not much of a joiner at Norman High School.

I played football, and that was about it.

But I was a proud member of two organisations that will go down in infamy: the Grandstand Boozers and Alvan’s Army.

Both involved massive amounts of basketball, testosterone and adult beverages.

Not necessarily in that order.

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