Deranged Old Man Eyebrows

This eyebrow

“You’ve been cutting your eyebrows again, haven’t you?”

Says the Missus.

In that tone that your Mother used to use.

When you had been very bad.

So I man up and give my answer.

“No, I have not.”

And I quickly walk away because, I may look stupid, but I’m really not.

See, you reach a point in life when you get Deranged Old Man Eyebrows.

There is nothing you can do about them. Like Abs of Pudding, they are part of the cycle of life.

I try to ignore my Deranged Old Man Eyebrows (D.O.M.E.), but when they start getting stuck in my glasses, they make me crazy.

Sometimes, I rip those suckers right out of my head, but I prefer not to do that for two reasons.

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R.I.P. Robin Williams. Love & Prayers from New Zealand


Robin in NZ


I’m not sure why the death of Robin Williams has hit me so hard; why this thing’s weight is so heavy, so suffocating, so oppressive.

It may be because initial reports of his death said it was self-inflicted asphyxiation.

Rightly or wrongly, that gave me a ghastly image of poor Robin hanging himself.

Rightly or wrongly, it made me think that the demons he battled so long and so hard, finally convinced him with their lies.

That it was all too hard, too pointless, too over. That whatever he had done was unforgivable. That no one cared anyway. So he should just end it all.

When such a kind, enormously talented person like Robin Williams falls like this, I just feel so very sad.

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The Great Movie Controversy — Tombstone is NOT the Greatest Western Ever. That Would Be…


A truly great performance but…

“I’m your Huckleberry,” says Doc Holliday (Val Kilmer) before he kills crazy, evil Johnny Ringo.

“Go ahead, skin it! Skin that smokewagon and see what happens,” spits out slate-eyed Wyatt Earp (Kurt Russell).

There is no question that Tombstone is packed with great acting and memorable dialogue.


Spoiler alert and fightin’ words

…That notwithstanding, there is no way in the world that Tombstone is the best Western of all time, as has been proclaimed by some, including my Buddy, who is right about every damn thing, except this.

I’ve been watching Cowboy movies for almost 60 years – since I was knee-high to a coyote. And my pedigree is as authentic as it can be – my Grandpa came to Indian Territory as a baby in a covered wagon, no less.

By birthright and by study, I have come to know that there are 10 sure-fire, dad-gum, requirements for a Truly Great Western.

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American Vacation: Does This Shell Make My Turtle Butt Look Big?

fat butt turtle

(Photos from my recent Okie ‘Merican vacation)

If a picture is worth 10,000 words, this blog must be worth a billion. Give or take…

This is *Jack (above photo). Don’t hate him even though his butt has gotten so HUGE that he can’t properly close his shell, which must be a major embarrassment when lady turtles walk s-l-o-w-l-y by. Never fear, my niece the Vet Tech, has Jack on a diet of what we assume must be low-cal lettuce.

James Garner street sign

There was a time about 40 years ago, when a friend of mine’s ’69 Cougar had many, many street signs in the trunk. How they got there is a mystery. Last month, while riding around Norman with my sister, I saw this sign near Andrews Park, which was the site of many, many teenage transgressions that we will not get into here.

I very much wanted the sign. I thought, perhaps, I should take it home to New Zealand for safe keeping, lest it be damaged by an Oklahoma shark-quake-nado or something. You may remember that, maybe 70 years ago, James Bumgarner briefly ran with my Mom and Dad in Norman. Now that he has passed, I really wish it had fallen into our trunk. R.I.P. James Garner, Norman’s favorite son.

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Babies Should NOT Be Born in Embassy Suites

Babies Should NOT Be Born in Embassy Suites

(Another story from my miraculous Okie ‘Merican vacation)

Claire's Bear

Twenty-five years ago, I was sitting in a maternity “hospital” in Alexandria, Virginia, waiting for the missus to deliver our son, Eli.

I actually thought we were in an examination room, because it looked like an Embassy Suite.

I was sitting on a plush couch, talking on the phone to the insurance company, as required, when the baby doctor looked at me and said all nonchalant-like: “We’re ready to have the baby.  You want to join us?”

My immediate thoughts were:  “Are you INSANE?  This room is not sterile! Where are all the doctors and nurses in masks and gowns?  We are NOT having my baby in here. WHERE IS THE REAL HOSPITAL?”

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The Great Okie ‘Merican Vacation

chicken enchilada dive


I’ve just finished my greatest vacation, ever, which was filled with miracles and beeg fun and TexMex.

How great? Let me count just 10 ways.

1. That egg-sized tumor in the brain of my best buddy’s adult son actually turned out to be the size of a baseball. It was removed on June 18 at Houston’s M.D. Anderson, and this young man walked out of the hospital on June 20, with no side effects or any need for chemo or radiation. Honestly, I’ve been around a lot of miracles, but nothing, nothing, like this. Thank you, Lord.

2. 72 hours later, I was back in OKC. My grand-niece, Claire, had decided to make an early splashdown in honor of her Great Uncle’s visit. All 5 pounds, 11 ounces of her was wonderful, beautiful and perfect. Thank you, Lord. (Prepare for another blog on this… Here you go).

3. My buddy (see item 1) now calls me “Miss Congeniality” because it seemed like everyone at our 40th Norman High School reunion wanted to say hello to a felluh who had been away for 40 years. It was sort of a surprise and really, really good stuff. Thank you, Lord.

4. My grand-niece’s early splashdown (see item 2) allowed her Mom to donate her maternity pants to me, which were essential to my relentless assault on the state’s supply of TexMex. I didn’t quite meet my goal of weighing 900 pounds when I left ’Merica, but I was no more than an enchilada short. Thank you, Lord!

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It’s What You Do

(Hognote: make sure you read to the bottom.)

Of all the things that I cannot believe — starting with how it’s possible to send this blog around the world using electricity — the thing I cannot believe the most is that I will attend my 40th high school reunion in two weeks.

That means it’s been four decades since I was a senior at Norman High School in 1974. And I’ve never been back for a reunion. Not even once.

I did think about attending the 10-year reunion in 1984, mainly to leverage my major celebrity status of being a hotshot Singapore journalist and, thus, able to jump the bones of girls I never had the courage to jump back in high school.

But, by 1984, I had already met the missus-to-be in Singapore, so that killed the reunion “bone jumping” scenario.

I also figured there were still one or two (okay, maybe 10 or 20) people who wanted to punch me in the nose. Why? Let’s just say that I spent a great deal of the time at NHS (as they so quaintly put it here in New Zealand) “being a dick”.

Since there was to be no jumping of female bones, and there was the likelihood of getting punched out, I decided against making the 19,000-mile Singapore-Norman-Singapore journey.

Time ticked on. Decades passed.

At the time of the 20th, 25th and 30th reunions, I was still in New Zealand, working stupid hours in the stupid field of P.R. (Motto: Yesterday you hosted the Prime Minister; today you write about butthole cancer). To quote Jack Bauer, there simply was “NO TIME DAMMIT”!

The clock kept ticking. Another decade passed.

Now it’s 2014 and time to go home.

Facebook convinced me. It did this by reconnecting me with several of the world-class, smart alecks that I used to *hang out with in high school. They still make me laugh, and laughter is something I need way more of.

One of these people, who I will not name because he is probably wanted by the FBI, just yesterday asked me the following:

Loaded Question Alert!

“Do you remember our friend “Heartbeat” that entertained us in Dallas the night before an OU/Texas game?”

Now, it’s important to stress that I have NO MEMORY involving any entertainer at an alleged topless bar in Dallas, who may or may not have had the most eye-catching heart tattoo that you will ever see in your whole life. Therefore, I have no comment, other than to say what goes on tour, stays on tour, especially if it involves OU-Texas weekends in the Seventies.

The Norman High Class of ’74 was pretty unique. I’ve heard that we had the highest test scores ever recorded and were the only graduating class in NHS history that did not leave the school a gift. Not a bench. Not a plaque. Not a brass razoo. I guess that’s understandable, since we graduated the year before the Vietnam War ended. Showing respect for authority was not the thing you did, back then.

So far as I know, none of my classmates grew up to save the world. I’ve heard that one one guy “invented Apple”, or so he hints at, while smirking in a way that makes people want to thump him. Another guy won an Emmy in sports journalism (I know, right?). And one gal had quite a career in the Dallas entertainment industry — something to do with cardiac or heartbeats or something. **Ahem.

I’m not sure what to expect from the two-day NHS reunion, but I’m looking forward to it. I’m also really looking forward to hugging on my family, including two-and-eight-nineths grandnieces who only know me as a Cyber Uncle, which just sounds creepy.

Getting back for the reunion and seeing my family are enormously important. But, come to find out recently, they are not the main driver for this trip home. That came from above.

God’s Fingerprints

The real reason I am going home is to be with a felluh who is integral to my life, and who’s in a time of great distress right now.

You see, I love his guy. He is the only person on the planet that I can go 10 years without seeing, and the instant we are back together, it is like old times again.

The fabric of our lives is entwined. Our fates are linked.

If it weren’t for him, I wouldn’t have gone to Singapore, which means I wouldn’t have met my Missus or had my amazing son. And were it not for me, I’m not sure whether he and his high school sweetheart would have become man and wife, and had kids, who had kids.

Just recently, my buddy’s eldest son, Trent, was diagnosed as having a tumor the size of an egg embedded in the left side of his brain. The initial medical advice has not been particularly great.

As I write this, we are awaiting news from the Big Boys at M.D. Anderson. We are ***praying. And we are optimistic. Whatever happens while I am home in June, I will be there with my Buddy and his family, doing my job, which is being a smart-ass and a shoulder to lean on.

Because that’s what you do. The rest of all this stuff is just eye wash.

If I don’t blog for awhile, ya’ll feel free to talk among yourselves. Or better yet, go see an old friend who you’ve lost touch with.

Do it now. Because the clock keeps on ticking.


*e.g. drinking and being obnoxious

** This is a big, fat lie, almost certainly

*** Your prayer support would be greatly appreciated


UPDATE — Less than 48 hours after having a baseball-sized tumor removed from his brain, this young man walked out of M.D. Anderson on his own. Everything went perfectly. Can you say “miracle”?

UPDATE II Trent’s new Book Treasure: Discovery of True Manhood — is now on! It’s a love letter he wrote to his 8-year-old son Hunter about becoming a man. Trent wrote it just before discovering he had a brain tumor. I highly recommend it. I believe God’s fingerprints are all over it.