Dentoning….A guest

We frequently have the pleasure of big-name musicians in Denton. We draw musicians like June Bugs to a screen door, but with our two world class universities, we also occasionally have the opportunity to be in the presence speakers admired around the world. Last Tuesday night was one such opportunity.

The UNT Lecture Series brought former US Secretary of State, Dr. Condoleezza Rice to our small ville on that warm, Spring night. These lectures are open to the public and in the past have featured the likes of Israeli General and hero Moshe Dayan, Martin Luther King Sr., former UNT student and Eagles founder, Don Henley and former Israeli PM Golda Meir.


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In the personal opinion of this humble blogger, Dr. Rice brought  pure class and a unique insight to world events past and present. She thoughtfully began her talk with a request for a moment of silence for the victims of the Boston terrorist attack. She then discussed the terrorism of Sept. 11 and her role on the aftermath. It was mesmerizing. To listen to a women who played such a key role in the world-changing event……..Sept. 11, 2001, was a mega-Dentoning event.

Dr. Rice spoke of her influential life and told stories of the relatives and friends who guided her in her formative years. She went on to encourage those at the Super Pit, both students and not, to pursue education, saying that our greatest threat to National Security is the decline in quality of the education of our youth.

However you feel about Dr. Rice, the chance to see and hear her was unique in a town the size of Denton. Again, the confluence of people, our two universities and Denton cool gave us the opportunity to enjoy our great city within a rare form of Dentoning, yet one which is inherent in our town culture. I’ll do my best to alert you to future such events!

Enjoy Denton!

Dentoning….in the cloud

Gone are the days of three TV stations, one radio station and a phone tied to your house. Dentoning today is a universe away from the Denton of bygone years. Denton, and thus Dentoning , (although un-named for 166 years) has been in existence for 167 years. The town we love now rests in a cloud of information which makes our pastime richer, simpler and more efficient.

Not too long ago, planning had to be planned. One couldn’t text a friend after arriving somewhere and ask them to meet you. You had to actually think ahead and decide what to do in advance! I’m not kidding. It really used to be that way. Some of you may remember the difficulties inherent in this lack of technology. For those of you who don’t, consider yourself fortunate.

The technology which now surrounds us is often taken for granted. We are used to smartphones, iPads, laptops and computers in our cars. Some bemoan the instant access to information, the ability to be reached wherever we are………. the electronic tether which keeps us tied at all times to the rest of the world. I am not one of those people. Technology has made our small town not larger, but fuller.

Dentoning presents an overwhelming number of choices of things to do at any one time. (Fortunately, everything doesn’t have to be done at one time). There are occassions though when we discover something which begs the immediate attention of friends/family/loved ones. At times like these, instant communication is a must. For instance, if the Stones or Justin Beiber, God forbid, happen to drop in at Dan’s, and you happen to be there, you’re gonna want your friends to be there, right? Or a new food truck with chocolate-dipped, deep-fried Spam shows up somewhere in town…….you’re going to need to alert the populace…..Technology allows us to do this. In the days of old, situations like these would be rumors later in the week, not actually experienced by those we care to notify.
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Facebook, texting, Twitter, Instagram, Pinhead, devices, Vine, a phone in your hand and much more facilitate what we do. We can access menus, see who’s playing at Abbey Underground, get the line-up for the month at Dan’s, have the schedule for Jazz Fest on our phone, direct fellow Dentonuts around snarled traffic, blog at Jupiter House, scan a QR code for info on a local candidate, display coupons for the tasty treat mentioned above, take pictures at will (check out “Dogear” app for photos), check the crowd status at Rubber Gloves during 35 Denton, search the Web, and even call people while D’ing. It’s like magic within the magic of Denton!

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Dentoning could certainly be achieved, and was, without the instant access to people, places and things, but it does make the experience more enjoyable, simpler….fuller. Some of you may have not even thought about it, but this blog can be read while Dentoning……….seriously! We are entering prime time weather-wise for our pastime…………wait, that was kinda fun to type……Let’s review: “We are entering prime time weather-wise for our pastime”.  It’s true, so enjoy and make the most of Denton with everything at your disposal!

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Disclaimer: This blogger received no monetary compensation or swag for mention of the “Dogear” app. It’s just a cool way to catagorize, notate, search and store your pics……

Question: Tunnels under the Square?

As you were………

Dentoning….Love is in the air!!

Spring is in the air……..well, off and on, but soon it will be here to stay for the month or so it usually does. When Spring is in the air, so follows love, and what better Dentoning event than a combination of love, music and an iconic Denton venue? It’s a true marriage of Denton staples and this one actually includes a marriage……..a real one!

I have the privilege of being friends with John Weir and Aimee Tullos. They are a great couple and it’s an honor to call such cool Dentonites friends. John is an amazing trumpet player and a member of the Denton band, A Taste of Herb. For those of you not familiar with the band, the name is a play of words, but not what some of you may be thinking. A Taste of Herb is primarily a cover band of Herb Alpert music and since Herb Alpert music revolves around the trumpet, I’m sure most of you can surmise that John plays (so to speak) a key role in the band.

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During a recent Dentoning lunch at Sweetwater with long-time friend, Bill Colville and new, yet close friend, Shelly Tucker, I ran into another friend and Sweetwater owner, Karen Meredith. Karen was out on the patio putting the final touches on what was obviously a true Denton soirée. A large U-shaped table was elegantly set up for a semi-formal event. Now I’m not used to seeing such an event at Sweetwater, but such things are what makes Denton so cool.

I asked Karen what was going on and she enlightened me that it was a reception for John and Aimee who were getting married as we spoke! I immediately thought that this was a true example of Denton at it’s finest. Shelly is the voice of “Ghosts of Denton“, so after a long conversation with her and Bill about past (present?) residents of Denton, I found my way to the patio and to the reception. The table was surrounded by friends and relatives of the bride and groom. The group itself was highly representative of our great town and of the music it exudes. The group included several area musicians including my high school classmate and bass-player of the stars, Drew Phelps and his wife Esther.

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I was able to talk to the happy couple for a few minutes and congratulate them on their betrothal. Aimee was dressed in a black and white dress with (highly appropriate for Denton) cowboy boots and John in a suit (something I’d never seen before). They had just been married at the Justice of the Peace and both were beaming. After the reception, John was playing with A Taste of Herb, so the “marriment ” continued. It is occasions like this that make Denton, Denton and what makes Dentoning such a worthwhile persuit. A Thursday afternoon wedding…….a reception at Sweetwater…….. celebrating the joining of two great people………..for what more could one ask? We have the truly good fortune of living in a great town!

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Enjoy Denton!!

 

 

 

Dentoning….Connections/CORRECTIONS

The most important component of Dentoning is it’s people. Why? Because most of us are people, but more so, because wherever we go, people are usually there. This may be a suprise to some of you, but it’s true. Denton is and always has been full of unique individuals. I intend to occasionally interview and blog about Denton characters, but today, I’m going to tell a story about the brother of a dear friend of mine who lives in Denton, Nancy Pannell. The brother’s name is Bob Roberts, and as a native-born Texan and a musician, I’d vote to make him an honorary Dentonian in a heartbeat. Bob is in his early 60s, lives in Austin and has had a very colorful life.

One of Willie Nelson’s trademark songs, and a Texas classic, is “Pancho and Lefty”, written by Townes Van Zandt. Townes had a very tragic life, the effects of which flow through much of his music. He was a local boy, born in Ft. Worth and after a hard life as a musician and alcoholic, died in 1997 of the disease. Bob Roberts was a contemporary of Townes and a friend of his.

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Bob Roberts
When Townes wrote “Pancho and Lefty” in the very early ’70s, he and a group of singer/songwriters were living in and around Nashville. Bob was part of that group. Bob lived with several people in an abandoned nunnery on the outskirts of Nashville. They were essentially squatters, though the area Catholic Diocese knew they were there. The conditions were fairly rough, but what better environment to write music that was slowly developing into Texas outlaw country? One day in 1971, as Bob and friends were sitting around drinking and whatever, Townes, with his girlfriend du jour, came to the nunnery and announced to the group that he had a new song he wanted to run by them. Townes actually got paid on occasion as a musician, so Bob’s group was somewhat in awe of the guy who would become a legend and a guy who would influence the likes of Willie, Emmy Lou Harris and Steve Earle.

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Townes Van Zandt

Townes proceeded to pull out an old beat-up guitar and play the just finished “Pancho and Lefty” for the nunnery dwellers. Bob says he sat there stunned as Townes played the song which would become a song regularly covered by Willie/Waylon and friends. Townes had somewhat of an attitude, but basked in the accolades Bob’s nunnery mates bestowed on him that day. The song wouldn’t be released by Townes until 1972, and would be covered by countless well known artists, but Bob was part of the first group to ever hear the song.

After the mini concert, the squatters sat around, talking music, contracts, gigs and dreams. After a couple of hours of alcohol and smoke-fueled conversation, Townes decided it was time for him to go. Bob stood up and followed Townes and his lady friend to the door and stopped him. Bob had worked up his courage and proceeded to tell Townes that he knew he would be recording the song, but that he (Bob) would consider it an honor to play the song in some of the dive bars of Nashville. Townes looked at him with snarky expression and told Bob to “f*** off”. Bob had tried, and wasn’t surprised by the answer. He went back to the people seated on the floor a little embarrassed, but proud of his gumption.

About 20 minutes later, everyone heard someone coming up the stairs and were surprised to see Townes’ girlfriend throw the door open. Without saying a word, she walked over to Bob and handed him a piece of paper and silently wheeled around and left. Bob looked down at what turned out to be an envelope from a collection agency. He flipped it over, and on the back were the lyrics to “Pancho and Lefty” handwritten by Townes Van Zandt. Bob was happily stunned and excited. Bob proceeded to be the first person to play the iconic song to a paying audience in some disremembered bar in Nashville. Bob went on to have some success of his own in Texas and Colorado. He is now retired, occasionally plays guitar and still has the envelope….

CORRECTION:

I mentioned above that Townes Van Zandt died of alcoholism, which is the prevailing story. I was wrong. I spoke with Bob Roberts today and he told me the truth of Townes’ demise. On Christmas Day 1996, Townes tripped and fell down a stairway (which may or maybe not have been alcohol related), breaking his leg. It was a pretty break and Townes was admitted to the hospital. During his stay, Townes developed a blood clot from the break which unfortunately moved to his brain, causing his death on January 1, 1997.

Dentoning….THE Cruise

Although under the strictest of definitions, Dentoning happens IN DENTON, there are exceptions. When we do leave our city, we should absorb all we see and do with the thought of how what we experience can make Denton a better place to live. Now I’m not saying we mimic another town, country or area. Denton is developing it’s own personality. I am saying that ideas come from somewhere and if we see something cool, why not incorporate in into the fabric of Denton if appropriate? One of my best friends just returned from a trip……. a cruise, not just any cruise, THE cruise which included the added excitement of a fire in the engine room, being dead in the water for two and a half days, a planned tow back to Mexico nixed due to Gulf currents, a subsequent tow to ALABAMA and then a flight home. From news reports, the conditions on the ship were atrocious. From eye witness reports, not so much. My friend didn’t bring home many ideas on how to improve our fair city, but at least she made the effort. I’m thinking the worst part of this cruise for many people will be the embarrassment of having to tell people that they took a cruise to ALABAMA!!

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My dear friend, Karen Yount, her sister Linda Jenkins Shibata, and a cousin or two had the trip planned for months. The Carnival cruise ship, Triumph, left Galveston and headed south for Cozumel. Karen reports that the first 3 days or so where a lot of fun. They had a great time on the ship and on the beach at Cozumel………then, the fire. Karen heard the “alpha, alpha, alpha” message in her cabin and thought it was just routine, but then Linda came to her door with a life preserver on and Karen got a blast of smoke as she opened the door. The group was on the lower deck, so they were very close to the fire. No one was panicking or thinking that the problem would last long……..yet. Karen and her group donned their life preservers and worked their way through the dense smoke to their “muster” area.

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Once everyone was at the rally point, they were told that there had been a fire, (which I’m pretty sure the more intelligent of the crowd already knew), and that it was under control. The smoke still pouring out of the fluke-like smoke stack didn’t reassure anyone that it was under control. The crowd dispersed back to their cabins (or to the bar) and waited for whatever was coming next. The fire had knocked out the electricity on the ship, so most people grabbed books, cell phones, sleeping relatives and their copies of the terms of their cruise, and quickly tried to find the choicest of places on the deck…….to wait. Before long, the ship began to list due to the fact that it was not under power and was pushed by the wind and currents. Karen says it wasn’t that bad, but that the whinier of the passengers began to complain. Now Karen is a smart woman and she knew that the situation was what it was, but the drama queens went into freak mode. After a few hours, the passengers were told that the ship’s propulsion system was kaput and that tug boats were on the way to tow them back to Mexico. Everyone settled down to hurry up and wait.

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The bars closed that first night adrift and of course, there was no way to cook. Karen won’t admit it, but I think this is about the time she started thinking about cannibalism, but I could be wrong. I’m pretty sure she and the other passengers started taking notes about this time also, in case starvation became a problem and a book needed to be written. There were lots of rumors flying around the ship and there would have been more had I been on the boat, but for the most part, everything was calm during their time adrift. As the seconds turned to minutes, minutes to hours and hours to days, the happy (?) vacationers turned the deck of the Triumph into what looked like a third-world country. Sheets were hung over the decks to block the sun, mattresses were taken from cabins into the halls and onto the deck, intricate phone charging webs were created around the few wall sockets with power and the infamous red bags were put to use. There wasn’t much information distributed, but that which was, was given by an overly cheery British woman who used the word “brilliant” a lot. It didn’t take the legions of bored people long to start a drinking game which revolved around “brilliant!!”, though Karen did not partake in this past time. Eventually, the tug boats arrived and the castaways were told they’d be cruising to Mobile, Alabama instead of Mexico. You can imagine how excited this made everyone.

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The tug boats tethered to the ship and added to the confidence of the passengers by constantly snapping their lines. Many have said that they made friends for life during this time, but that was mostly the very elderly. Karen and her group made do with the situation, eating onion sandwiches, drinking bottled water, reading, playing cards and wondering when they’d run out of onions. The two day tug to Mobile was brutally slow and tempers flared at times, but Karen says that it wasn’t nearly as bad as the media portrayed. The crippled ship finally arrived back to the US to media coverage which made it seem like a REALLY slow return of the space shuttle. Once Karen’s group was off the boat, they were whisked four hours to New Orleans where they spent the night and were flown home the next day. Karen says she’d go on another cruise but wants to wait several years before doing so. She returned with a slight case of cruise crud, never wants to eat onion again and wonders if things had gotten really bad if it would have tasted like chicken…….

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Historic souvenir (unused) from my thoughtful friend Karen

Dentoning…..a story

I told you that I’ve had many unusual experiences in my life, in light of the horrible tragedy which occurred recently at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT, I’m going to write about one of them. I moved with my family to Anchorage, Alaska from Colorado in late Oct. 1995. Right around Thanksgiving that year, a 15 year old boy shot and killed his father and stepmother in their home on “the Hillside” in Anchorage. This was horrible, but I really didn’t pay too much attention to the story because I was looking for a house, learning the town and flying around the State with my job as a pharmaceutical rep. As it turned out, this disturbed kid had a detailed plan to solve a temporary problem (whatever it was) with a permament solution. The house they lived in was a split level with the parents and one brother upstairs and the perp’s room downstairs. On the night before the kid had designated as death day, he set his bedside alarm for 1:30am and turned out the light. His plan was to wake up, kill his folks, and drive “Outside” (what Alaskans call anywhere but Alaska).

As it turned out, the kid (I’ll call him Lee) couldn’t sleep (go figure) and at about 11:30pm took a .22 rifle upstairs to commit the unimaginable. When he opened his parent’s bedroom door, he saw his father asleep, but his stepmother awake, reading a book on troubled teens. Realizing his dad to be his strongest opposition, he shot him a couple of times before discovering that he had not fully loaded the pump-action rifle. When Lee went downstairs to reload, his father, who was not mortally wounded went to the kitchen and dialed 911. As the father told the 911 operator what was happening, Lee came back up the stairs and shot his father to death. He then turned back to the master bedroom and his stepmother. During Lee’s trip downstairs, she had gone into the bathroom located in the master bedroom and locked the door. Lee shot through the door several times before forcing his way in and shooting her to death in the bathtub. With his plans dashed due to his father alerting 911, Lee dressed, wandered around the surrounding woods, went to his girlfriend’s house for breakfast, went to school and was subsequently arrested there.

A couple of weeks after the murders, I drove up the snow/ice covered roads of the Hillside, still looking for a house to buy. As I ventured up, I began to notice “Estate Sale” signs on the side of the road and immediately knew that I was close to the death house. I decided to check out the sale since most of our things were still on the way from Colorado. I pulled into the driveway, not knowing what to expect. I went in the house and ended up buying several things. The father was about my size, so I bought his skate-skis, a wetsuit, and a few other things. I looked around the house, and of course was curious, but it didn’t bother me that two people had died there just two weeks before. I looked around the house and really liked it. It backed up to the Chugach National Forest and had an incredible view of Cook Inlet and Anchorage from the front. The adult children of Lee’s stepmother were running the sale and I asked what they intended to do with the house. They told me that they were meeting with a realtor the next day and that if I was interested, to come while the realtor was there. I left and later that night brought my family up to see the house. They loved it.

The next day was a typical, sunny, frigid…… icy day at the top of the Hillside. I arrived at the house on Doggie Ave and was greeted by the brother and sister, along with their realtor. We took another tour of the house, this time with damage caused during the murders brought to my attention. There really wasn’t much to see…….a stain on the kitchen floor, a hole in the carpet taken as evidence and several tiny holes in the door of the bathroom in the master bedroom. According to Alaska State law, anytime a violent death occurs in a house, it has to be disclosed before the time of sale. With that law in mind, the four of us sat on the empty living room floor and started haggling. After talking to my wife the night before, we knew that we wanted the house, so the agreement happened very quickly. The brother/sister/realtor knew they had a house that was “damaged” and might be difficult to sell. I knew and didn’t care. It was the perfect house for my family and in one of the most beautiful areas of Anchorage. We reached an agreement contingent on my house in Colorado selling and moved in about a week later. 

All the physical damage was repaired before we moved in, other than the door holes. I repaired those and you couldn’t tell anything unusual had happened. My sons were very young at the time and were not told about the history of the house until years later when we moved to a larger home. My wife and I had no problem with what had occured there, I guess we’re just not the “spooky” type. One reminder of the murder did occur on New Year’s Eve that year. As I sat in the living room, halfway watching the news, 8 feet from where the father had died, I watched as two body bags were removed from my house. The local TV station was doing a recap of all the major news of that year, and the murder was the top story…..  Lee was convicted and is now in a prison overlooking Resurrection Bay outside of Seward, AK. I’m not sure if he has a view of the outside,  but if he does, it’s probably the most beautiful view of any prisoner in the US, and I’m sure, a constant reminder of a wasted lives.

No matter what your views on gun control, it is my opinion that mental health is a huge part of the whole picture…….but that’s just me!

Enjoy life and enjoy Dentoning……………no matter what.

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(published from the upper office, high above The Compound)

Dentoning….JFK

Denton is a sum of all it’s parts and a sum of it’s history. I’m not great at math, but I think the summation has turned out alright. A city like ours is what it is because of a plethora of historic building blocks that form it’s foundation, it’s walls and it’s being. We’ll look at many of those blocks as this blog moves forward, but one of those historic happenings has to do mainly with Denton’s proximity to Dallas and to the events of November 22, 1963.

I’m not going to say that anyone alive on that date remembers exactly where they were when they heard the news that President John Kennedy had been shot just 40 miles away, or that America’s innocence died that day. It may have, but I’m not going to say it, because it has been said so much that it has become clichè. You’re welcome. What a lot of people don’t know are the many Denton ties to the assassination. Probably the one that people here DO know is that the brother of beloved DISD Coach, Bill Carrico, was the first physician to attend the dying President at Parkland Hospital. From what I heard long ago from the Carricos, their brother/uncle didn’t like to talk about the experience much, but his testimony regarding JFK’s wounds did not agree with the Warren Commission’s claim that all shots came from the rear. Another Denton physician present that day was Dr. Bill Midgett. I have always been interested with the events of the assassination and was astonished to find out from the good doctor’s daughter, Diane, that he had been at Parkland that day. I have known the Midgetts since I was in high school, but didn’t hear about this until a couple of years ago. I subsequently had the opportunity to discuss Dr. Midgett’s experience with him and was fascinated to hear his story.

In 1963, Dr. Midgett was an OB/GYN resident at Parkland Hospital. On the day JFK was shot, Dr. Midgett was in a lounge for residents, when around 12:40pm, someone from the hospital burst through the doors and yelled for him and another resident to immediately go to the ambulance bay. Dr. Midgett said that there was normally no rush to get to the bay because most mothers-to-be did not come in ready to give birth as soon as they got there. Because of this, Dr. Midgett and his associate sauntered down the hall with no sense of urgency. It was when he threw open the doors to the outside that his world temporarily turned upside down. In front of Dr. Midgett sat the convertible Presidential limousine and more men with guns than he had ever seen in one place. He ran to the side of the limo where the President was slumped in his wife’s lap. His friend ran to the other side. Dr. Midgett helped remove JFK from the limo and place him on a stretcher, his friend helped Jackie out of the limo and followed the President inside. Once the group was in Trauma Room One, Dr. Carrico took over the initial, yet futile, care of the dying President.

As we know, JFK died at 1pm that day and the news flashed around the world. A friend of mine, Metroplex newsman Bill Mercer, co-wrote a book entitled When The News Went Live a few years ago about the event and how it forever changed the way we get our news. On November 22, 1963, a man named Robert, was having lunch at Jay’s Grill on Ft. Worth Dr. in Denton. As Robert left the restaurant, his car radio informed him that the President had been killed. He drove to his office at Acme Brick and an hour or so later learned that his brother, Lee Harvey Oswald, had been arrested in Oak Cliff for the murder of a Dallas Police officer and was a suspect in the assassination of the President. I told you at the beginning of this blog, that I’d had many strange life experiences…………at the time of the assassination, Robert Oswald lived at 1009 Sierra, just off of Sherman Dr. in northeast Denton. My family lived nearby on Heather Lane and Robert’s daughter, Cathy, was in my first grade class at Woodrow Wilson. As I mentioned above (or not), I remember that day well. I vaguely remember Cathy, but the main thing I remember about her is that she never came back to class after that day. Mr. Spratt, the principal at Woodrow Wilson came over the speaker and told us what had happened, but none of us knew that Cathy’s uncle would go down as one of history’s vilest villans. I still have a recipe book put together by the mothers of our class with a recipe from “Mrs Robert Oswald”.

The Oswalds moved to Wichita Falls in 1964 and still live there today. In the very early 1980s, I worked for FEMA and worked in Wichita Falls after a flood there. My job at the time was to interview people affected by the flood and direct them to the government and private agencies which could provide assistance. I had developed a routine in which I asked everyone I interviewed for their driver’s license in order to get the neccessary information correctly and quickly. One day I was at my desk when a man sat down across the desk from me and said he’d had some damage to his house and wanted to see what was available. I glanced up at him, introduced myself and asked for his driver’s license. I began filling out paperwork (pre-computers) while the man pulled out his license. When I glanced at the license, I was amazed to see that it said “Robert Lee Oswald” and had a very familiar picture on it. I have read numerous books about the assassination and knew what Mr. Oswald looked like. I wanted to talk to him about his brother and tell him that I had known his daughter years before, but I was a Federal employee and I decided not to invade his privacy ………….though I really wanted to.

Just a little trivia there, but part of Denton’s history. I have personally had many encounters with others involved in one way or another with the assassination, but those don’t really have any roots to Denton other than my fascination with the story. (and just for the record, I don’t think Oswald fired a shot that day. I think he was exactly what he claimed to be……..a patsy.) Talk amongst yourselves…………

Enjoy Denton and enjoy life!!!!

Dentoning….Cigars

Well we are post Mayan Apocolypse, so either it didn’t happen and we survived, or it did happen and we all came back to where we were. I have my iPhone set to display military time…..and I felt a little funny at 21:21:21 on Dec. 21, so I’m leaning toward the latter. Either way, we are still in Denton……….at least the me of we is. December brought cold weather which means that Dentoning moves indoors for the most part. We have a wide variety of places to do our thing and it’s always nice when a new one opens. As you know, I smoke an occasional cigar. I of course, do not encourage smoking, but if you’re gonna, the cigar is the way to go. First of all, one doesn’t inhale while smoking a cigar. Cigars are tobacco only……none of the nasty chemicals that cigarette companies add to their products to enhance the taste (addiction) are included in a good cigar. And there’s just something relaxing about smoking a cigar while reading, listening to music, discussing and solving world problems, or blogging…..

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With that said, you can imagine my delight to find that Cigar Frog’s is now open.
I had heard they were coming, but I thought they were still months away from opening. They opened Dec. 27th at 100 N. I35 E, Building # 101. They are located just off the highway in a small business park. The Denton store is the second location, the first being in Midland. That cigar bar has been open 3 years and much of their business comes from the oil/gas industry. The Denton location was chosen as a tranquil stop for their Midland customers driving from there to Dallas and because Denton was lacking in a large smoking establishment. (Though Cellar 22 on East Hickory Street has a nice, yet smaller selection of fine cigars). By “large”, I mean huge. The walk-in humidor is 14′ by 20″ and has over 400 different cigars. The main room is enormous with large, comfy,over-stuffed chairs, smoke-eaters, cool pole-fans, TVs and a large selection of beverages. There is also an exterior deck with wicker chairs, fans and lap blankets for your cold weather comfort!

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As we know, we live in a really cool place. Denton is evolving into a uniqueness all it’s own. It is often called “Little Austin”, but that title limits what is going on in our fair city. Our city leaders are acutely attuned to making Denton a better place to live. The City of Denton’s Economic Development Department is doing an amazing job of attracting both fun places and businesses which add to the economy of our wonderful town. Salutes to all of them! As 2012 comes to a close, we can look forward to an even better Denton! I hope everyone is enjoying the Holidays and will enjoy the coming New Year………….

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(as always, this blogger received no free cigars, other swag, or even water in the writing of the above)…………. ( :

Hula Group on The Square

Hula Hoop on the Denton Square Thursday Nights. by Shannon Drawe

Sadie Ryckoff hoops it up to reggae music on a cold Thursday night on the Square in Downtown Denton.

We were cutting across the Courthouse lawn last night, north to south, and I rubbed my eyes, squeak squeak.

About a half dozen younger people were hula-hooping to reggae music on the northwest quadrant of the Denton County Courthouse lawn. So of course we stopped to see what the deal was.

Apparently this is a regular Thursday night thing, and there are abundant hoops. The only asterisk is if the temperature gets below freezing, they will call it off. Somehow, reggae hula-hooping on sub-freezing temps. doesn’t make much sense to me either.

Get Out and learn more about the hula hoop here.

Hula Hoop on the Denton Square Thursday Nights. by Shannon Drawe

A little exercise after a rare night out at Mellow Mushroom, in Denton.

I am will host the first ever DRC Community Blogger Outdoor Photography contest in 2013. Contact me if you would like to be a judge or sponsor. This will be a digital only contest – prints will not be accepted.

 

Dentoning….sad day

I had planned to blog today, but not about THIS……..the horror of today has become too commonplace. It almost seems that school shootings have become trendy. The psychopaths and sociopaths of our world know that schools are a safe place. A safe place for them to murder countless innocents with no resistance. Temporary problems solved with devastating permanent “solutions”. The whole picture of this tragedy is still playing out. The numbers are still changing and changing for the worse. Countless people’s lives have been destroyed by one sick, twisted, wretch of a human being. We live in strange times.

This abomination will undoubtedly bolster the debate on gun control. I think the gun genie was released from the bottle centuries ago. I don’t think that gun control is the answer or even possible. There are just too many guns out there, MOST of them in the hands of sane, law-abiding people. Gun ownership is a legal right and there is no way possible to take the millions of guns out there out of the hands of their owners. It just won’t happen. Guns are not the problem, sick people reflecting a sick society are. The shooter in this case, and in the cases of those before him, used what was available. If he hadn’t had access to a gun(s), he would have used something else. The school was a “Gun-free school zone” which gave the perp free reign to kill in any manner he wanted with no reasonable possibility of resistance. It looks now like most of the carnage occurred in a kindergarten class. He could have killed just as many with a knife or a shovel under such circumstances.

At the time of Columbine, my brother lived just a mile or two away from the school and I lived about 15 miles away. Since that tragic day, I have always thought that one way to prevent, or at the least mitigate the extent of such shootings would be to have at least one person in every school trained to use, and have ready access to a high powered rifle. This approach would take the “sitting duck” senario out of the equation. I know many people just want to get rid of guns, but in my opinion, that is not realistic. We live in a sick world. We need to address mental health issues and we need to protect ourselves, our loved ones and those unable to protect themselves from the sickos of the world. Just my train of thought on this sad day.

Enjoy life and hug your loved ones!