December 31, 2008

American Cultures

So, I have my independent study course left in American Cultures for my minor. I'm "enrolled" in it for this coming spring semester and I quote "enrolled" because it's not really a course. I don't go to class, I don't have exams, nothing...I just do an independent research on a subject of my choosing and write a paper on it. Kind of like a VERY small precursor to a dissertation or something like that. I'm the last person pursuing this minor, apparently...I talked to Dr. Buzz, who is the History Chair at UH, and he said he may end up closing it. He has no faculty who is willing to devote time and energy to it, for no extra pay and no real payoff. After thinking about that, I realized I might be the LAST person at UH to get a minor in American Cultures (AC) and that's kinda cool. Plus, it means Dr. Buzz is my sponsor for this last course...and I respect him mucho for his historical work covering the Vietnam War. That class is still one of my more enjoyable ones thus far...

Anyway, I'm having problems trying to decide what SUBJECT to use for my research work. Do I go serious or do I banter about something more whimsical? Some of the more recent AC submissions have been stuff like, "RnR Bands of Houston" or "An Oral History of the Railroad in Houston"...seriously...they didn't even WRITE a paper, they just stood before their sponsor and gave an oral history of the importance of the railroad in, and around, this area. Serious to them, I'm sure, but still...not what I would consider a difficult assignment. Hell, when I was driving a limo and we did city tours, I gave a nice little 20-minute spiel on the history of the railroad in Houston and it took me all of a couple hours to research the info on it. And, the "bands" subject...hell, just look at where you actually DO the research. Even I can sit in a bar night after night, chasing down bands and chugging shots. I did that plenty before I had kids (especially during the Army) and I wasn't even RESEARCHING anything other than how tough my liver was.

So you see, I have that educated 'Historian' snootiness poking out, trying to shun the "lesser" work I could pursue like, say...the growth of micro-breweries in America/Texas or why the American public has taken to a family in Arkansas with 18 kids (completely different blog, I'm sure I will get to soon) and hopes of more very soon. It tells me to follow my historical heart and do something relating to the Indian Termination Policy of the 1950's and 1960's, to include most or all of the actual "Termination Acts" set forth by our very own government. And, YES, Congress even titled it "termination" and they have continued to oppress and attempt to wipe out native populations as recently as TODAY. Just because you don't hear about it, does not mean it doesn't exist...I learned this in the military. I did crap that no one else in the world ever knew was going on, but it doesn't mean it didn't happen. Not starting some conspiracy-theory crap...just stating fact. Anyway, so I have that on one hand...

Then, I have the other side of my brain telling me...WTF?! Why not just do something fun and fanciful and blow through it? History takes on many forms and there are social historians and entertainment historians same as there are any other historian (my absolute favorite course to date was a History of Cinema course). It all has its place, you know? Whatever...I'm sure I'll think of something. Blowing this out and trying to be somewhat humorous at the same time will surely help. If anyone's out there, now or later...thanks for listening.

December 30, 2008


Alright - something has been bothering me today about my partner in crime, who we will refer to as Virginia (the Train tune would be the theme song to the made-for-TV movie about her life). I know that I have been accused of having a "convenient" memory, as I'm sure just about everyone has...ok, every MAN has, and remembering what is only relevant to me at the time...or more importantly, what benefits me at the time! *wink* I readily admit to having resorted to such tactics in the past, present and future.

Anyway, an incident occurred recently that brought to my attention the fact Virginia does this sort of thing to me often enough also and I wonder if it's ALL women or just's the deal: we are still waiting for the delivery of our new washer and dryer to the loft (they are shipping them to us on next Monday), so V needed to go do a couple of loads. (Sidenote - the lofts have a laundry room but the dryers work basically the same as if I stood in my living room, picked up the wet laundry in piles and tossed them into the air over and over until they were dry.) She headed out while I put on the Daddy cap for awhile. Upon returning, she claimed there wasn't a cart in the garage to load the baskets onto in order to bring them up. Trust me, I have been through this exam I offered to go carry the baskets up for her, one by one if I had to. "No, of course not," was her reaction and she explained to me she would just go back down later on and get them when there should be a cart available. I said "OK" and nothing else was said...

Now that you have the setup, you are probably already laughing because you can just imagine how this turned out. The evening carried on as usual and when I went to tuck baby E into bed, I fell asleep also. He has been very sick so he's been sleeping in our bed but I midnight or so, V comes to bed and wakes me up to tell me I need to make sure and take my night-time insulin and other particulars. She never mentions anything about laundry and since she claimed she would bring them up, I didn't really even think about it honestly. I woke up the next morning and got dressed for work, as I normally do, packed my lunch, poured a cup of coffee, etc...and am just about to walk out the door (on time) when V comes around the corner from the bedroom and tells me she needs the laundry that's in my car. Now, THIS isn't such a big deal but what she follows it with IS...she says, "You told me you would bring it up last night but you ended up falling asleep with E."

I had to do a double-take...I literally said the words, "Excuse me?" Now, as a man, I have been through this test also and know it would do me NO good to argue what she had said before OR now, but I'm a stubborn Gemini and always right, so... I tried to explain to her that after my offer she had told me not to worry about it because she would get it herself...but this was to no avail. I even tried to explain that things would have been much easier had she told me I needed to bring the clothes up at midnight the night before, but know the drill. It wasn't getting me out of having to carry out the deed. My shoulders slumped a little, I set my lunch bag down and proceeded to go down one wing of the complex in order to get a cart...and then to another wing of the complex to my car in order to load it...and then back to the main wing again to drop off the clothes. Needless to say, I was about 30 minutes later than normal to work.

Real funny, huh?! Well, she has yet to admit there was ANY conversation after the point in which I offered to bring up the baskets in the first place...and I'm sure she never will...not that I am pushing for it either (I haven't mentioned this situation since then, in fact). This woman amazes me. Had it been ME in the "wrong" (for lack of better words only), you'd better believe she would have quoted our conversation word for word and spewed forth like a well-paid attorney until I could do nothing but stand up, admit my undoing and convict myself. But, NOOOOO...this was a different viewpoint, so her tactics had to change too. Still got the same verdict though. She's like Devil's Advocate in the fact she just never loses. Is this all women or did I just get lucky? My bet would be it's all (or most, at least) women.


Everything except

*Written in approximately 1982, we were given a poetry assignment by my 5th grade teacher, Ms. McKinney (I remember she had what appeared to even an 11-year old as an unhealthy crush on Magnum P.I.), and this is what I wrote. I can't remember if it was actually the FIRST thing I ever wrote, but it was certainly the first that garnered any sort of recognition.