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Family and Friends is my everyday journal. Captain's Log is where I pontificate on religion and politics.

Wednesday, July 06, 2022

WC070622 Famous person(s)


Today's challenge is: Have you ever met a famous person.

I posted a couple of weeks ago about Don Perkins passing away. He was an all-American football player at UNM and played for the Dallas Cowboys as at running back. He played in the days of Don Meridith, Bob Hayes, Bob Lilly, and Tom Landry, when the 'boys were new and had growing pains. He played in the Ice Bowl game, was out by the time of their first Superbowl win.

After retiring he moved to Albuquerque. He spent time reading the sports on a local channel, worked with high school religious clubs like Young Life and Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

My brother was the captain of the FCA at high school, I was in Junior high. He arranged for Don to come to our house and speak to the members of FCA. He forgot to tell Mom. When he showed up and Mom answered the door she was shocked to in her words, "See the biggest black man in my life."

This was the early sixties and Albuquerque was 50% Hispanic, 30% Anglo and the rest was black, Asian and Native American. My junior high and high school didn't have any blacks until I was a sophomore.

Bruce showed up with a carload of jocks just about that time.

I was also in Young Life, we'd meet at a house once a week, from our high school, usually on Thursday night. We'd sing songs, give testimony and pray. In the summer we'd have gatherings at a hotel banquet room with students from all over the city. Don Perkins came and spoke at a number of them and personally shook hands with everyone there.

I never asked him for his autograph, younger and dumber back then.

I've read all of Joseph Badal's books, he's a New York Times bestselling author that lives in Cedar Crest, the other side of Sandia Mountain. I bought two of them at Treasure House books in Old Town at his book signings. He writes spy thrillers similar to Tom Clancy. They are very good. 

He also has a series of an ex-seal that's a doctor and has a drug lord that keeps trying to kill him. 

Another is about two female detectives in Albuquerque similar to Cagney and Lacy. 

The last person is only within Baptist circles and New Mexico politics.

Before I was a teacher, I was a music director at Edgewood Baptist Church. It's a spot in the road on your way into Albuquerque on I-40. 

I was working at a car dealership flagging technicians after they finished a repair and doing warranty. I was also teaching the adult Sunday school class before services.

My very first Sunday as teacher David King and his wife chose to attend and join the church. They were opening a real estate office in the town. 

He was the nephew of our then Governor Bruce King. He was working in the state cabinet. He was also the chairman of the Christian Life Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. One of the most influential of all the committees of the convention.

To say the least I was a little intimidated trying to teach the lesson that day.


Friday, July 01, 2022

Book Review: Echos of the Past


The beauty of Prime Unlimited. Three books considered as one on the rental list.

Peter Rimmer has a ten-book series set in Africa starting in the 1880's

The Pirate, Archibald Brigandshaw, owner of a major British shipping line wants the Brigandshaw family line to join the aristocracy. His oldest son Arthur he arranges to marry a poor aristocrat with title and mansion. Sir Henry Mandeville is a widower with a sixteen-year-old daughter, Emily. When Arthur weds her, and she has a son then a Brigandshaw inherits the castle, mansion and title.

Sounds rather Bridgerton at this point.

The hitch is that the Pirate's youngest son, Sebastian and Emily are in love and let nature take its course.

The Pirate sends his son on one of his ships to Bombay with orders he can't return for 18 months.

When the ship docks in Cape Town, the captain of the ship takes pity on the young man and gets an elephant hunter, who supplies him with tusks, to take him under his wing and train him to kill elephants. This is how Africa becomes the focus of the books.  

I'm on the second book Elephant Walk, which is the farm Sebastian creates in the Veld after he returns in the first book to kidnap Emily and his son Harry along with the nanny who marries Tinus Oosthuizen, the elephant hunter and sets up a farm next to Sebastian's.

The Pirate puts a price on Sebastian's head for kidnapping the heir to the title, even knowing the boy is not Arthur's son.

Sebastian gets arrested, as telegraph lines span the globe now, but is found not guilty when Emily testifies that Arthur never consummated the marriage preferring to live in London with his mistresses.  

It gets complicated, but the historical facts are astounding.

You know Cecil Rhodes was one miserable son-of-bitch. He insisted on building a railroad line from Cape Town to Cairo, this extended British control through the Boer States. This led to the Boer wars.

The Krugerand is the South African gold coin named after Paul Kruger, the Prime Minister of the South African Republic. He refused to let the British settlers coming into their country have the right to vote, which led to the war.

When the war turned against them, he fled to Europe with the national treasury. He's the guy they glorify by naming the gold coin after him.

You want to know why the dog paddle style of swimming is used. When swimming across rivers in Africa, don't splash! There are crocodiles.

Toss in a native witch with a pet leopard that pushes for a war against the white men and a bloody conflict. Sebastian's older brother, Nathan, who is a missionary and visits his brother to condemn him for living in sin with his older brother's wife. 

Tinus is a Boer and though he marries an English woman and lives in Rhodesia, he's a from a family line of Boers. He fights against the British. 

Sebastian sits it out and is condemned as a coward, but he's out in the boonies, it doesn't matter to him.

Echos of the Past ends with Tinus being caught, tried and hung as a traitor, not as a prisoner of war, who would be shot.

He led a raid on the British headquarters, took the British general captive, stripped all the officers down to their underwear and sent them packing.

The British general was not amused.

Elephant Walk deals with Sebastian's son Harry, who is at Oxford when he learns his father, Sebastian, was killed by a rogue elephant and has to return to Africa, this is set in the early 1900's leading up to WWI.

The writing is informative, and I love all the varied characters in Africa and England. 

These books are going to keep me busy for some time.

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

WC 062922 An Event


Today is an event in my life no one would believe.

Okay here goes. This is way back in 1995, Bruce King was governor of NM. I was teaching and sponsor of YMCA's Youth and Government program. Students had their choice in the fall semester to either write a bill or they could be in the newspaper and have to write an article. We met on Tuesdays after school and went over their bill or bills. They were allowed one joke bill, but they had to have a serious one too. I had previous bill books and newspapers for them to use as examples.

The legislative session starts in mid-January and lasts thirty days on odd years and 60 days on even years. In February I took my students during the day on a bus up to Santa Fe with other students from the high schools in Albuquerque, for what we called pre-ledge. In the morning the students could attend the regular committee meetings to get a feel for what they would be doing when our time came. They were on their own for lunch and then we held sessions in another government building with a lecture hall. Here all the sponsors from all over the state got to know one another, same for the students, the student governor, vice-governor, secretary of state, attorney general, elected the previous year, would lead the legislative session going over the procedures and decorum for our sessions. The editor of the newspaper and the sponsor of the newspaper would meet with the new reporters and go over their articles.

After the real legislature finished, a week later on Saturday, Sunday and Monday is when we held our model legislature in the Round House, using the committee rooms and chambers.

Some students thought being on the newspaper was the easy way, here they were informed that after dinner during the session when all the legislators were having free time, they were writing their articles and then having to lay them out on the computers and get them ready to be printed first thing in the morning. They were lucky to get to bed by 3 in the morning, then had to witness the committee hearings and general sessions the next day to write their next article. I digress.

That year, 1995, a senator from Rio Rancho had a school voucher bill. The year before it passed the committees but died without a hearing on the floor. He thought this year it would sail through as the committees had the same senators and votes.

Sponsors kept an eye on the students, but they were on their own to choose which committees or sessions. They just had to stay in the capital building. At this time, I always wore a suit with bolo tie, cowboy boots and George Strait cowboy hat. I was not hard to miss.

I was sitting in an area outside the committee rooms. Senator Benevides, a high-ranking member of the senate and was always on TV making comments, he was hard to miss as he wore a patch over one eye, he came up to me and said, "You might want to sit in on the Senate educational committee, it just started." 

Why he did this I haven't a clue. We'd never met before. I went in and they were reading the school voucher bill, The RR senator went to another committee meeting thinking he had this one in the bag.

Going over the bill it stipulated that a student could use the voucher to attend any school of his choosing if there was room at the school. The president of the AFT-NM stood and said this violated church and state as students could use public money for church schools. The archbishop of Santa Fe spoke in favor as it would give all students a choice of schools.

I saw the flaw in the bill, so I stood and said, "This bill would open up for coaches to start recruiting from other schools to get a monopoly on the good talent.

One of the senators looked at me, nodded his head, and said, "I hadn't thought of that."

When they voted the bill was tabled.

Needless to say, the senator from RR was rather miffed. 

The next year Gary Johnson was elected governor. He ran on the platform of allowing gambling on Indian land. He was as anti-public education as they come and for eight years, he had a voucher bill that never passed. NM still does not have a voucher law.


Wednesday, June 22, 2022

WC 062222

 This week's challenge it Auto Buy authors. Writers who when they come out with a new book, you have to buy and read it in a single day even if it nearly kills you.

For a long time, these authors fit the category until I couldn't keep up, or they died:

Isaac Asimov

Harlan Ellison

James A. Michener

Anne McCaffery

Collen McCulloh

Harold Robbins

Micky Spillane

C. S. Lewis

Deitrich Bonhoeffer

Barry Sadler

Anne Rice

Today's authors are:

Tony Roberts, I just got his 8th book in the Dark Blade series and I'm loving it.

Blake Banner

Tom Clancy

Leigh Berdugo

Mark Dawson

Julia Quinn - Love Bridgerton

Paula Paul

Berthold Gambrel, blogger friend who has reviewed a number of my books on his blog.

Joseph Badal, local author and I've met a number of times at book signings.

Hank Bruce, another local author and member of Writers2writers. He had great books on gardening, and is pushing the nutritional value of the Moringa Tree for developing nations.

Dr. Irene Blea, another member of Writers2writers, she has a trilogy about her aunt who was sold into marriage at age 13, ran away from an abusive husband and went on to live her life. Great reads, she has an autobiography of her life coming out soon that we in W2W read portions and gave input, as they did with my work.

Jonathan Miller, local author who told me about Soutwest Writers way back in 2006. I went to my first meeting, found out about a print on demand in August, had the first two copies of Optimus Praetorian Guard by November. He's an attorney and writes legal thrillers.

Sunday, June 19, 2022

Legend of Bagger Vance


Hard to imagine it's been 24 years since this movie came out. It cost 80 million to make and earned 39 million. A bust for Mat Damon, Charlese Theron and He who shall not be named.

Of all the movies on golf, this is by far the best. It's more than about golf, As is often said, Golf is life. It's a game that can't be won only played, like life.

It's set during the Great Depression and Matt Damon is a local golf hero before WWI, he comes back damaged. The girl he left behind is spending all her money to save her father's golf course by holding a golf tournament with Bobby Jones and Walter Hagen, two of the best golfers alive. Junah is roped into playing in the tournament. Bagger Vance comes along to be his caddy and gets him back in mental shape to play.

The most important part of the movie is after Junah has a disastrous first round. Bagger tries to tell him a story about overcoming adversity. Junah doesn't want to hear it. 

There's a little boy named Harley who is the one who talked Bagger into playing in the tournament and is a fore caddy. The boy's father used to own the hardware store until the depression and is now sweeping the streets and renting out a room in their house to strangers. He tells Junah how ashamed he is of his father and that his friends have too much pride to sweep streets.

Junah then berates him and says, his father paid back everyone who he owed money to instead of declaring bankruptcy like his friends' fathers. "Your father faced adversity and beat it back with a broom."

It's here he realizes what Bagger had been trying to tell him. He and Harley discuss golf and that it's only a game, that can't be won, only played.

That's all I'm saying about the movie. It's great and everyone should watch it. It's available on DVD and on Prime Video.

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

WC 061522

 This week's challenge is: name the best father in a book, movie or TV show.

I'm going to date myself here, but growing up watching TV, Robert Young was the father I wish I had. No matter what happened he kept a cool head, and settled it in a loving way. Oh for the days of Father Knows Best.

Don't get me wrong, I had a great dad, but he wasn't perfect like Robert Young. I learned at an early age that life was not perfect like it was on TV.

They had great dads on TV back then, Fred MacMurray on My Three Sons, Lorne Greene on Bonanza, Leave it to Beaver, (stop snickering at the title), they had a great dad, Hazel, Chuck Conners in The Rifleman, Bill Bixby in The Courtship of Eddie's Father, Brian Keith in Family Affair, the list goes on and on. Some were in nuclear family, some were widowers, the last one was an uncle taking his brother's children. then something happened. TV started depicting dads as not perfect, but buffoons. All in the Family, Married with ChildrenCan't they try to go for human? 

He who shall not be named tried to resurrect the perfect father, but he's in disgrace now. 

Rant over.

Friday, June 10, 2022

Don Perkins


Yesterday, one of my heroes passed away. The reason I've been a diehard Dallas Cowboys fan is because of Don Perkins. He was a top running back for UNM and the first from New Mexico to make it big in the NFL. 

On the Lobo field where they play football, they have huge pictures of all the Football players that have been All Americans. His is the first one on the side of the building. Brian Urlacher's is the last for now.

We moved to New Mexico in 1963 and the only football games on Sunday afternoon showed the Dallas Cowboys. The whole city went crazy because Don Perkins was their premier running back. I've been a 'Boys fan from then on. A very disgruntled one for the last twenty years. Dak Prescott makes them worth watching anymore.

After Don retired, he returned to New Mexico. He did some announcing, for a while did sports on a local TV station.

What I remember most was his work with the local high schools through the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. I was in 9th grade in junior high, my brother was a junior in high school and captain of our FCA huddle. He arranged a meeting at our house with Don Perkins. He forgot to tell Mom.

Mom answered the doorbell and Don Perkins was there a little early and Bruce wasn't home yet. He introduced himself and Mom didn't have a clue who he was, all she knew was that a big black man wanted to come inside.

 Bruce drove up with a car full of jocks. They had a nice meeting. High school got out before junior high, and I had practice, so I missed it.

When I was teaching at Higland High School, Don put on a one-man presentation each period for the U.S. History classes. He portrayed Frederick Douglas and did a masterful job.

It's a sad day now that he is gone. Only a few Cowboy fans remember him now, and only the old timers like me in New Mexico know what a truly remarkable man her was.