Decking the Halls…

aa baby Jesus

Waiting for the baby Jesus…


The Baby Jesus won’t make his appearance for another four days in New Zealand.

Meanwhile, we have done all the decking of halls that can be done.

Unless we get way more halls.

This “paparazzi blog” features Christmas stuff around the house, not actual peoples, who will come later. Boy, will they come.

Let the tour begin

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‘Man Moments’ Involving Deadly Wooden Shards, a Bionic Arm and Charles Barkley

wood shard

I’ve have a couple of “Man Moments” lately.

You know, the ones that make the Missus roll her eyes way back in her head and think “what is WRONG with that man?”

The most recent Man Moment involved wood shards, Charles Barkley and Killer Horror Chemicals for spraying roof gunge.

But, honestly, the Wood Shard thing can’t really be called a Man Moment.

It was more of a macho life-saving public service kind of thing.

See, I was walking the Crack Puppy at the park late in the afternoon, and I saw the newly sawn stumps in the photo above with huge, savage shards.

Now, on any given afternoon, this park  has about a million kids and dogs running wild.

Some brain surgeon with the Parks Department called it a day after wrapping the stumps with DANGER tape. I mean, what could possibly go wrong?

But I could just see some kid playing on the stumps and impaling himself.  Because that is exactly what I would have done as a kid.

I tried to kick the wooden shards down, but my tennis shoes weren’t up to the job.  So I did what any guy in my position would do.

I hammered the crap out of the shards with my artificial arm until they broke.

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Waiting for the Missus

I’m waiting for the Missus, so I thought I might as well do something productive like, oh, I don’t know, read War and Peace, or possibly rebuild Rome.

There is NO REASON TO PANIC even though, by my clock, which works, as opposed to the one in the kitchen that is always 20 minutes late, we have approximately 67 minutes to buy a bottle of wine, get across town during Friday afternoon rush hour, and then listen to the Missus’ sisters complain when we arrived late for the 900,000th time.

You would think that after 30 years of waiting for the Missus, I would get better at it. That I would accept that some things in life are inevitable, like death and taxes and being late.

But you would be wrong.

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Sweetwater Rattlesnake Roundup — Crazy Bubbas, Cooters and a Bazillion Angry Snakes

Sweetwater sign

snake holding

There are two kinds of people in the world.

There are people like me, who say the only good snake is a dead snake; one that has been repeatedly shot or chopped-up with a shovel, bitten by the dog, dropped into the burn barrel with long tongs, and then covered with diesel and “insnakerated.

And then there are the insane people who compete in the annual Rattlesnake Roundup in Sweetwater, Tx. Inbred people who want to be up close and personal with rattlesnakes. People who intentionally seek rattlesnakes out, catch them and even, Lord have mercy, get in a pit with thousands of them.

In case you missed the nuance, the people in the second group are out of their slither-friggen minds.

They desperately need to spend a few days in Eastern Oklahoma with my sister, my brother-in-law, and Katy, to learn their tried-and-true system for “How To Deal With Snakes.”

I have written before about Katy, below, who I nominated for Official State Dog of Oklahoma.




Katy is a snake-finding machine. She races around the farm, “sweeping” the area with her super-delicate nose. When she smells an evil, despicable, heinous snake, she emits the unmistakable “Official Snake Bark”.

Alerted to the presence of a snake, my brother-in-law, armed with either a 12-gauge or a long-handled shovel, then proceeds to de-snakify the rattlesnake, copperhead or whatever, as in Exhibit A, above. This snake is way dead, thanks to a stove-in head. Yet Katy remains vigilant until the snake is tossed into the burn barrel. Good dog, Katy!

Rattlesnakes R Us

Although I have always been snake averse, I decided to take my new Chinese bride to attend the Sweetwater Rattlesnake Roundup back in about 1986. (Who says romance is dead? Not this blog).

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Secret Service, U.S. Marshals and the CIA all Wanted a Piece of Me

It was pretty damn cool.

I was a reporter on the University of Texas at Arlington student newspaper. And the Secret Service wanted me, sort of.

I had to be credentialed if I wanted to be in the press briefing later that year when President Reagan flew into DFW Airport.

Even though no one in our typically pinko-liberal newsroom was a Reagan supporter, the fact that the Secret Service was checking us out was pretty awesome, if somewhat scary.

It was a pretty straight-forward process for everyone but me. As I recall, the Junior G-man had to call Washington to decide what to do with my application. It called for 10 fingerprints, but I could only offer five. He figured it out and I got my Secret Service press credentials. Whoa.


us marshal


When I graduated and got a job on the Waco Tribune-Herald, I did my time in the journalistic salt mines — night shift police reporter. Even though the Waco police brass hated me and the previous reporter, he was liked by the legendary brothers who were U.S. Deputy Marshals. In the law enforcement totem pole, they were just below God.

We were invited to their annual “Shoot” — THE event on the local law enforcement social agenda, where adult beverages were consumed, weapons discharged and stuff blown up — and that was was better than winning a Pulitzer.

The event was held way out in the boonies and entailed shooting just about every weapon this side of the Death Star, all provided by the hosts.

For some reason, lawmen didn’t expect reporters to be able to shoot. So when I emptied a handgun into the center mass of a bad guy target, one of the local cops said, “Remind me to call you next time I get into a gunfight.”

Sadly, I lost all the props at the next station when I tried my hand at a submachine gun. I expected that sucker to really kick, so I aimed way low, gritted my teeth, and blew the absolute crap out of the grass just in front of me. The bad guys definitely won that round.

My creepiest law enforcement liaison was with the CIA, no question.

In Singapore, I worked for Hill & Knowlton P.R. (and H&K has always been “linked” to the Agency, ahem).

I never saw any cloak and dagger stuff there. I did, however, meet a guy in the oil business who would occasionally get an encrypted teletype message and then disappear into the bowels of Asia for a few months, overthrowing governments or doing whatever spooks did in the early eighties.

When I returned to the States, after three years in Singapore as a journalist and P.R. guy, the CIA was very interested in making my acquaintance.

I was looking for a job in Washington, D.C. and responded to a CIA advertisement for an editor. Thinking about that interview still creeps me out to this day.

The woman who interviewed me was the oldest, most evil looking, wrinkled meat-eater I had ever seen. She did not look me in the eye. She just chain-smoked cigarettes and blew smoke out through her nicotine-stained, raptor teeth.

It didn’t take long to realize The Agency didn’t really want to use my skills as an “editor”. They were thinking of possibly something in the field.

I had just had a baby and was not about to enter into the dark world of espionage. So I bid the raptor lady adieu and shot out the door before she could get her creepy little arms around me and rip the flesh from my body.

Click here for more media memories.


Happy Potamus Day, Son!

Hippo Birthday final


Now THAT is the cover of the greatest ‘Happy 26th Birthday’ card ever!

And BELOW are the inside pages to said card.


hippo inside this one


Because that’s how we roll in New Zealand.

This is because, when we moved here two decades ago, birthday cards were boring, stupid and outrageously priced.

That led to the creation of Cards by Dad. Motto: we drink and then get cheap and funky (kidding).

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One of these Days I’m Gonna…

Loving stolen from Allie Brosh

Lovingly stolen from Hyperbole and a Half

In no particular order:

… Go to the dentist. Get my teeth cleaned. Maybe get the dentist to figure out why anytime I eat meat, about half the animal gets stuck between my teeth and gum. For about a day. Which drives me insane.

… Finish the “Fence That Never Ends” in the backyard, redo the front fence, and rehang the front gate that has not been right since the Missus backed into it (sort of like I did last night while racing to be on TV and win a new car which did not happen).

… Go whole hog and get a new pair of glasses – frames and progressive lenses with a BRAND NEW prescription from an eyeball doctor.

… Write a fricken book.

… Or two mebbe.

… Call a plumber to fix the pathetic bloody shower.

… Downsize, cash up, buy a place in the country, with a carport for a motor home, a four wheeler, and a two-holer kayak for me and a big dog-to-be-named-later.

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