Thursday, October 23, 2008

ANDY HANSON: 1932-2008

A really good friend has passed away. A friend of hundreds here in Dallas, but I always had the feeling we shared some private joke together. I'm sure he gave others that impression, too. Andy was a regular in my toy store Right Brain/Left Brain from the 1980s to 1990s, and we always had a shared humor about odd Japanese toys I'd bring in. He was an inveterate and eccentric collector--just my type--and we shared a same kind of outsider view of living in Dallas. I've read other blogs about Andy that said he never spoke unkindly of the thousands of people he covered in his years as a photographer at the Dallas Times Herald forward. Maybe not "unkindly", but not uncritically. He had a sharp sense of himself and the often unreal social situations he found himself in. But, there was not a kinder, sharper more beautifully eccentric man in Dallas, and seeing Andy always gave me some hope that Dallas wasn't beyond salvation from superficiality.

The most prolific photographer I've ever met, Andy took photos of the Beatles 1964 visit to Dallas, Walt Disney and Ray Nasher looking over plans to build NorthPark and too many more to enumerate. I'm including a photo he took of Mance Lipscomb that I bought from him in the 1980s, along with some other photos including one of Lightnin Hopkins. I remember being impressed that he even knew who Mance Lipscomb was.

A friend of mine called the police when Andy didn't show up at the State Fair on the last day. Ironically, I had decided to go by myself and make one last trip to the Fair on that last day, to have that one last corny dog and root beer. It was a lovely day, Big Tex standing against the big blue field of sky. Wish I could have toasted Andy that day.

Andy, I enjoyed every conversation we had--from toys to rubber stamps, odd facts and stories that always seemed to come up. I'll miss your face out and about, reminding me that every Dallas social gathering had some salt of the earth with your presence.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008


Haven't blogged in a while. Too busy keeping up with all the great political commentary. Here's my two cents (sorry for the poor photoshop skills).

Friday, July 18, 2008


I took the subject headers from some of the spam I've received recently and made a poem.


Your girlfriend is pleased
You will make her 5 times a night
A small thing that makes your lady happy.
Vgaira for you!
Sensation news for you. fowls china.

Private message for you. cooped pion.
Do you mind? :)))

Sunday, June 01, 2008

DNC Rules Committee Compromises on Florida & Michigan: Clinton People Go Delusional

Like a political geek, I watched most of the 6 hours of the DNC Rules & Bylaws Committee on Saturday. Tell me to get a life, okay? But, really, I found the inner workings of the Party fascinating, and I think they did a great job with a messy situation.

Afterwards, I received an email from the Hillary Clinton campaign and went to their site to read their statement. I encountered one of the most shocking and despicable stream of invectives, as I read the blog comments on Senator Clinton's website. Never have I seen so many venomous, hateful, destructive angry emails. These Clinton supporters were practically spitting their words out. What was sad was that the majority are claiming they will vote Republican this year if Hillary is not the nominee. Or they say they will write her name in. Sad. I tried posting a comment to ask for people to calm down and to think reasonably. Of course, the Clinton webmaster would not post my comments, only the rabid ones denouncing the Democratic Party, the DNC and everyone else BUT Senator Clinton.

I find it hard to believe that anyone who would vote for Hillary in the first place would travel ideologically to an anti-choice, war-prone Republican who would seat 9 Scalia's on the Supreme Court if it were his choice. They would vote for a candidate who has NO national Health Care plan. Really. Does this make sense to anyone? I try very hard to see the logic. I'm hoping it's just that they're so disappointed their candidate won't have enough delegates, that they have to turn their anger on Obama.

But why not channel that anger at the Michigan and Florida legislatures? They're the ones who broke the rules and subjected their voters to the DNC punishment. I guess it's true that Democrats are just as susceptible to passing the blame as Republicans.

And furthermore, where is Senator Clinton in all this? Doesn't she have some calming and reasoning words to communicate to her constituents? You have to come to the conclusion that she wants the anger and vitriol.

I had to email one of my favorite people, Donna Brazile, an undeclared Superdelegate on the Rules & Bylaws Committee, who ran Al Gore's 2000 campaign and who is a major Democratic Party adviser. You see her often on CNN, and she is always right on with her comments and political observations. I emailed to congratulate her on a job well done, because I noticed that someone on the Hillary blog had posted the email addresses of all the Rules & Bylaw committee members and I was sure they got so much hate mail, it would sicken you. I congratulated her and the rest of the committee on a job well done under really impossible circumstances. I told her that I knew she was going to be getting a lot of venomous emails. She replied, "If only you knew the hateful, scornful and vile emails. It's sad."

Sad. Yes, it is. Once more the Democratic Party insists on shooting itself in the foot. If I had had any inkling of support or sympathy left for Senator Clinton, including acknowledging the possibility that she's been treated in a sexist way, well, it's gone now. Her judgment is showing.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008


Thank you to all my friends who sent condolences for Edie's passing. My sister sent me a YouTube of "Simon's cat", which made me want more of his cartoons, and I found this one! This guy has got a really fabulous feel for cats.

Friday, March 28, 2008

My Cat Edie, 1993-2008

Little Edie is gone. Born on Easter 1993, and passed away the day after Easter 2008. She was a sweet little cat who kept the house lively, and was a nice companion, even if it meant what could I do for her. Her brother Eddie passed away 2 years ago. They were chosen as kittens by my son and daughter as children, who are both now in their 20s, and have lives of their own. So, Edie was the last connection with their childhoods, in effect.

I still come home with the reflex that I will see her or hear her come to greet me. She is really missed.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Maybe An Adult President Finally?

Obama's brilliant speech in Philadelphia the other day was such a breath of fresh air, and will be regarded years from now as one of the great political speeches in American history! After 7 years of listening to a President who has great difficulty speaking in consecutive complete sentences, and saying nothing intelligent in the process, we just got to hear a politician speaking to racism in this country, as if he were talking to adults. You must listen to the whole speech, as he thoughtfully lays out an historical and complex issue that has mostly been swept under the rug by politicians and white Americans.

Vote for Obama. Let's put a complex, circumspect intelligent adult in the White House!

Friday, March 14, 2008

The Forgotten War in Iraq

While Obama and Hillary waste their time firing barrages at each other, McCain is going around the country touting the success of the "surge". The press has practically stopped covering the war, so there is no opposition to his misinforming the American people. The surge is not working. Read this article from by Adriana Huffington for more sad details.

What brought me over to the Obama side, when it came down to it, was Hillary's vote to go to war. In my view, she used bad judgment, and although she tried to back pedal once she was a Presidential nominee, her explanations have never held water. What is not so well known is that, in the days leading up to the vote to go to war, Senator Levin proposed an amendment that would have put up two further safeguards to check Bush's executive power to declare war on Iraq. It would have required the UN to declare war, and it would have required Bush to go to Congress and explain why diplomacy would no longer work, before declaring war. But Hillary voted AGAINST it. This is damning, in my book.

But now, with our soldiers over-taxed, billions of dollars wasted, the Iraqi government failing to live up to the benchmarks, and McCain talking about being there 100 years, it just can't get more dismal, can it?

Come on, Obama! Wake up and smell the IED fumes !

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Post Texas Primary Thoughts

I worked at my election poll yesterday from 6AM to around 11PM (I caucused afterwards). They combined 2 precincts into our election poll. I closed our vote counting machine. We had 1124 voters that day (10 times the 2006 Primary). Obama won exactly 40 more votes than Clinton, so it was close. In the caucuses afterwards, Obama was apportioned 36 more delegates to Hillary's 24. It was a lot of fun to work, because everyone was so energized. I recommend it sometime. It's a really fun way to get involved in the political process, to see the diversity of people who live here, and get a greater insight on how the country functions (or doesn't).

I'm beginning to get nervous about the election, though. I see that there is a chance that, if Obama wins the nomination, it could end up like McGovern in '72 (my first Presidential election to vote in). We trounced the establishment in the Texas Caucuses, treated the older politicians as if they were worthless, went for the "candidate of change" and the nation ended up electing Richard Nixon. Obama has little real experience, and in the instances where both parties made compromises and passed legislation, it was McCain who was at the center, and Obama was often apart by himself opposing "the center". This is powerful ammunition for the Replicants (my new name for the party).

The one substantive reason for supporting Obama, to me, is the war issue---I think Hillary's vote was political at the time, and not made out of any conscience. This gives the edge to Obama for me. But, we are idealists, and we know the Replicants are social Darwinists. They will use every dirty trick. I heard recently that McCain has gotten support from the "Swift Boat Veterans" group.

I'm also concerned that if Hillary gets the nomination, the Replicants will make a play on "Clinton fatigue". Personally, I myself want someone new in the White House. Hillary is not new, and neither is McCain. Both are old school; both play games; both take money from lobbyists, who already have too much influence in Washington.

For those of you who support Obama, you're going to have to support him all the way to November, if he wins the nomination. He won't be able to coast on the back of the "movement" we now see. So, get ready!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Obama: This is Our Country

News today that Hillary's campaign manager Patti Solis Doyle has "stepped down", on the heels of losing in all 4 weekend primaries. Peggy Noonan asks the question whether Hillary knows how to lose graciously, and is the first person I've heard declare Obama the Democratic nominee.

Clearly, Obama is a movement and practically impossible to stop or derail. What I love about his candidacy is how he really dispels the notion that "experience" is what matters most. Experience is what McCain and Hillary are about, and both just come across as people who look backward. We learned a devastating lesson about this with George W. Bush, who appointed a whole slew of "experienced" people--the evil Dick Cheney, the maladroit Donald Rumsfeld, to name a few. And when he had an experienced person who actually knew what was going on--I think of Richard Clarke, then ex-White House counter-terrorism adviser--he ignored him. Who knows if the next President can even undo this in two terms?

The first Presidential election in which I could vote was McGovern and Nixon in 1972. McGovern was an "outsider" and anti-war at the time we were mired in Vietnam. It was the first time I realized that war wasn't always a necessary evil. Obama is the first candidate I've seen since that time who doesn't exude politics as usual, whose very thought and speech patterns flow in another direction from the brand of thinking we get from the others. Hillary's constant macho talk about fighting, most often, the "Republican attack machine"; McCain's droning accusations that the Democrats will "surrender to terrorists". (Nixon characterized McGovern as the "acid, amnesty, and abortion" candidate.) Obama has broken that pattern and given us the opportunity and hope of re-shaping the paradigm of our country. Our country. It's really nice that those words have started to have meaning again. I feel like we're going to get it back!

Bush has robbed us of the sense that this is our country. Good riddance to Bush--the fear mongering; the anti-intellectual, "God-guided" decision-making; the ignorant, U.S.-centric, ideological weltanschauung. As far as I'm concerned, Bush just traded substance abuse for God abuse.

With Obama, the hope is that sanity will once more come back to this country. Our country.

(Photo used with kind permission of Philip Cloutier.)

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


I've been following the Presidential race, without feeling particularly inspired by any candidate. If I leaned any particular way, it was toward Hillary Clinton, because I wanted Bill back in the White House, and the Clinton's are politically savvy. And I believed they were in touch with the people at the same time. Whatever the criticisms of them may be, they're NOT George Bush, nor are they like McCain or Romney. That alone is worth the vote. However, as I listened more and more to Obama, in speeches, in the debates, I started getting this real sense of the possibility of a President who thought outside the box. I remember the same sentiment with John F. Kennedy, even as young as I was in 1963. Obama has brought extraordinary number of the young vote and the independent into his campaign, people whom I feel are the most disenchanted with the political process. The more I listened to him speak, the less enchanted I became with Hillary. And then when Bill started injecting "race" into the discussion by comparing Obama's win in South Carolina to Jesse Jackson's win in 1984, that pushed me over the edge. Obama has nothing to do in belief nor political thought to Jackson. The comment was out of line.

Please take a look at Obama's website. Donate $25 or $50. The Clinton's are a well-oiled, well-financed political machine. The Republicans WANT Hillary to run, because she's the most "beatable" candidate. They're going to raise the specter of Bill's administration to scare conservatives into voting Republican.

Think outside the box. Support Obama.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Old Friend Resurfaces

A few weekends ago, my longtime friend Hills came up from San Antonio with Caralyn, whom we've both known since high school. My family moved in next door to Hills when I was 5 and we've been friends ever since. Caralyn I met in 1968, and she introduced me to Donovan's music. Really, she was the first hippie I'd met. Anyway, Hills and I have always kept up over the years, but one of our very best friends in those formative years, Rob, we hadn't seen since then. Rob is the one who turned me on to Dylan. I was over at his house, and he had just bought "Another Side of Bob Dylan" and told me I had to listen to it. I remember when "Blonde On Blonde" came out, Rob and I went to U.V. Blake Records, and sat in one of those listening booths where they pipe in the LP of your choice. We were particularly awed by "Stuck Inside of Mobile (With the Memphis Blues Again)" and laughed at all the cymbal crashes at the end of the song, that wouldn't seem to end.

He's been living in Ft. Worth for the last 25 years, and is somewhat reclusive. But he came to see us that weekend, and it was almost like we hadn't skipped a beat in the last 35 years. He's had an interesting life. A few years ago, Rob quit his engineering job after an epiphany that he wasn't really enjoying his life. He is now making the most incredible clocks, which you can see at this website.

When Rob was an engineer, he had to get top security clearance from the Dept. of Energy to do some work for the government. He was told it took about 2 years to get clearance, but he got a call to come to Washington 2 weeks later! When he walked into the office, they handed him his clearance. Turns out, he was involved in a Viet Nam war protest at Texas Tech University in 1970, and the FBI had had a file on him ever since! Man, my own friend on Nixon's enemy list!