Saturday, May 24, 2008


On May 24, 2008, this very day, I turned sixty-five years of age, a supposed great milestone - a rite of passage in our society. I thought that it was going to be my most significant birthday and the opportunity to pause and reflect on the meaning of life. Because of these expectations and my experiences at forty and fifty, I found myself very disappointed - not even a birthday cake or candles. Had there been one it would have been the conflagration the graphic herein suggests.

This morning National Public Radio reminded me that the Brooklyn Bridge was opened to traffic on May 24, 1883 after fourteen years of construction. Friends sought to console me by relating that the young Malcolm IV of Scotland became King on May 24, 1153 while Peter Minuit bought Manhattan on Sunday May 24, 1626 from some unsuspecting and probably amused Canarsee Native Americans for the equivalent of $24 US dollars. Appropriately, the Canarsee were actually native to what is now Brooklyn, while Manhattan was home to the Weckquaesgeek Native Americans who, understandably, were not amused by the exchange nor bound by the transaction. Anyway, neither group had a concept of transferable real estate.

I knew that I shared this natal day with Gary Burghoff of MASH fame and that May 24th was also significant to luminaries like Priscila Presley, Patti LaBelle and Robert Allen Zimmerman (Bob Dylan to most). Someone else was sharing my pain. But just as things were looking up, reality kicked back in.

I had long pondered what it would feel like to transition well beyond that magic fifty years and AARP membership to the elite senior status of nearing the at least the estimation of the termination of my own mortal existence. Strange, there was no epiphany, no blaring trumpets, no startling realization of my mortality or even a glimpse into the portal of absolute knowledge.

There was nothing and then I received several phone calls and e-mails/cards from Family and Valued Friends and those meant everything. There were some major disappointments though surely not at my workplace where many acknowledged my natal day though that’s part of the fabric of a very tight and close knit Recruiting Department. There’s more camaraderie in those Recruiting folks that the entirety of the rest of the company (heck, most companies) and that’s evident when you cross the Fishbowl threshold. I am thankful to be among such a talented and sensitive group of people.

So, what has happened at this crossroads of my life?

My senior status has allowed me to apply for Part B of Medicare. I didn’t get Part A now since I already have medical coverage. That application and ultimate coverage, however, appears to be a foregone conclusion. I can start drawing Social Security next January and that will help.

I still look fairly young and heartily embrace the mantra that 65 is the new 40 and the beginning of middle age. However delusional that might be I see photos of both my grandfathers and they looked much older and were infirm by the time they achieved that seniority. If the face is supposed to reflect your temperament and life experiences (not to mention the Texas sun) then a great charade exists for I remain fairly youthful looking though impatient as ever though probably only slightly less intolerant to incompetence. I can never seem to turn it off though I manage it much better.

My hair is now mostly gray on my head though I remain ever mindful of the advice proffered by good Friend and mentor Robert “Hägar” Swanson in the late 1980’s. I still maintain a brown moustache with the help of modern chemistry. When the white in my moustache would start to show through Bob, with a gleam in his eye, would catch my eye and subtly touch his moustache, the non verbal directive to break out the For Men Only.

Both my Achilles tendons sometimes get stiff with inactivity and I can’t seem to stretch them back to some degree of submission and pliability. I know your're concerned so I’ll let you know if I’m successful.

I do not dribble (from the mouth or anywhere else) nor am I incontinent, though I find myself making several trips to the bathroom at night especially when I drink several glasses of peach iced tea or adult beverage that evening. That’s more the result of stupidity than old age and a baseball sized prostate.

I’m mostly in good shape thanks to some good Friends who pushed me over to Weight Watchers®. After a very painful muscle tear in my left shoulder a couple of years ago I gained a lot of weight. I have lost forty-four pounds since January. Thanks Bernice!

So now when Friends see me at the upcoming Glasgow, Kentucky Highland Games and Scottish Festival and the 30th anniversary of the Kingdome of Räknar they will note that I appear to have changed little in five years…

All in all, I still think that I can strap on my goalie pads and sub for Marty Turco when he has one of his bad nights for the Dallas Stars. My reaction time remains very, very quick and I do not appear to have slowed down. I honestly do feel that I could take control of the crease once again and put in a good performance.

Unlike those of previous generations I am assured that if any of my parts wear out I can (mostly) have them replaced like mountaineer Skip Yowell of JanSport and Mount Rainier fame who just had a hip replaced. He will be back on The Mountain in no time.

I now wear eyeglasses because I have to, though that’s mostly for reading and working on the computer. My hearing remains very keen though as some in close confines to me have suggested, it remains very selective. Oddly, I still can hear at very high ranges and the sometimes out of whack power transformer and security systems can even elicit pain.

I don’t appear to be slower in my mental processes and my speech remains youthful. One of my recent new recruits learned my real age and almost lost it. She thought I was in my twenties. Really!

My memory remains pretty keen and though I have occasional lapses when trying to remember a rarely used word or title to a book, movie or song, that’s not a new development. I seem to have retained most of my academic learning and professional training allowing me to mostly keep up and maintain leadership roles.

Some folks have asked me if I have ever thought of slowing down and retiring. I always provide the strong assurances that I have no intention of retiring, offering a work till I drop philosophy.

A Friend reminded me recently that you are as old as your attitude. Medical researchers have found that positive attitude is a powerful predictor of outcome of any aspect of growing old. Elderly folks with attitudinal deficiencies had a much greater risk of becoming disabled and even dying than seniors with very positive attitudes. Researchers have concluded that the older the person, the more important issues like attitude and emotional state become. I maintain that’s the case no matter how old you are.

So, I really don’t have the option to roll over and play dead. First, that’s not who I am, and not part of the Buxton, “Do it with they might” mantra. Secondly, I have to continue to work for a living. Thirdly, I want to remain in an active, vibrant and meaningful lifestyle. When I leave this mortal plane I want to be remembered. I want to have made a difference. I know that there are still many opportunities and challenges awaiting me.

I don’t want to lie around and smell the roses and if I had all the money on earth, I wouldn’t contemplate that option. I absolutely believe that we all have an obligation to make the world a better place. That means volunteering and stepping up in your community and being part of the solution, not the problem. Most of my Friends are doing just that. That’s the only footprint any of us should leave.

Some say that our generation has already done our thing. We are no longer contributing to society and are therefore using up valuable resources that should be reserved for the younger generation. Well, while I know that I’m not going to live forever and perhaps not for another twenty years, I intend to remain a productive member of society and the human race as long as I can. God help the one who tries to push me out of my tipi.

I will continue to improve myself, to continue to live my dreams, grow and maintain those positive aspects of my life, hopefully restore some broken relationships and serve the interests of my Family and Community. My glass is almost full.

Charlie Daniels who is a great musician and turning into a not so shabby writer contemplated his 65th birthday in 2001. Charlie spoke for me and many in my generation when he stated,

“There are no bad days. Of course, some are better than others but each one is a precious possession, a unit of time, a gift from God to be lived in whatever way we choose. When all is said and done we can not blame the circumstances of our lives on any other person than the one you see in the mirror each morning. From where I stand my advice to all would be that if you’re not happy with your life, do something about it.”

Positive attitude is the life energy that flows through every individual member of a Team that ultimately leads them to success and greatness. Nothing of lasting value will ever be achieved without a positive mental attitude. Did I say that 65 is the new 40?


Ned Buxton

Saturday, May 17, 2008


An old Indian chief sat in his hut on the reservation, smoking a ceremonial pipe and eyeing two U. S. Government officials sent to interview him.

"Chief Two Eagles" asked one official, "You have observed the White Man for 90 years. You've seen his wars and his technological advances. You've seen his progress and the damage he's done."

The chief nodded in agreement.

The official continues. "Considering all these events, in your opinion, where did the White Man go wrong?

The chief stared at the officials for over a minute and then replied, "When White Man found the land, Indians were running it. No taxes. No debt. Plenty buffalo. Plenty beaver. Women did all the work. Medicine man free. Indian man spent all day hunting and fishing, all night having sex". Then the chief leaned back and smiled. "Only White Man dumb enough to think he could improve system like that."

Aside from some cultural stereotyping in the above joke it certainly rings true of what we have mostly become in this country. We speak out of both sides of our collective mouths. All the while we are espousing cultural diversity and freedom, we seem to be hell bent on reinventing the rest of the world in our own image. We feel in an ultimate ethnocentric angst that whatever we do, how we do it, how we think and the God we worship should be adopted by all the peoples of the world. We think that if we can’t immediately and completely assimilate and homogenize those who would accept our invitation to settle within our borders, they pose a grave risk to our society.

History reflects that other cultures that thought and acted this way ultimately met an unseemly end. The Soviet Union pops into mind first but there are many, many more. China appears to currently have its hands full with Tibet.

There is no doubt that our society and culture will be tweaked and changes will inevitably happen as populations bringing new perspectives settle in our Land of Opportunity. Those who would staunchly defend our Pilgrim legacy (which is part of my heritage) have apparently forgotten that they were intolerant Protestant separatists who felt that the Church of England was beyond redemption and rejecting reconciliation, sought complete severance. These Puritan radicals were understandably persecuted by James I and eventually ended up on our shores via the Netherlands without a patent or royal charter, far from their intended destination at the mouth of the Hudson River. They survived though were eventually swallowed up by the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1691 ironically with the blessing of King William III.

The Pilgrims with blinders on failed to learn the lesson of their own persecution and became masters of intolerance themselves. The Pilgrims, for example, banned Quakers from achieving Freeman status which didn’t endear themselves to their southern neighbors in Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.

Further south of Plimouth Colony and “New England” and the area originally sought by the Pilgrims, the cosmopolitan Dutch were busy in 1624 with the establishment of New Amsterdam/New Netherland at the mouth of the Hudson River on the strategic southern tip of Manhattan Island. Though they were eventually ousted by the English, their contribution to the history of the area and the eventual United States of America was and remains substantial. Then, as now, the Dutch can teach us a thing or two about tolerance in our woefully imperfect world.

Contrary to the Pilgrims, the Dutch welcomed diversity and the spirit of individualism from the perspective of a principled tolerance and necessity. For the Dutch there was little reason to emigrate to the New World as poverty and persecution were negligible in Holland. Those who promised to work for six years in New Amsterdam would receive free passage and a generous plot of land. Indeed, over half of the residents of New Amsterdam, were foreigners including, among others, Germans, Swedes, Finns, Flemish, Africans, Latinos, Portuguese, Arabs, English and Shepardic and Ashkenazi Jews. The historical record reflects that eighteen different languages were spoken within the small community of New Amsterdam. The Dutch unlike other Europeans (especially the English) were motivated to acknowledge native sovereignty though not so ethical as to purchase all of Manhattan Island for goods worth sixty Dutch Guilders (approximately $24.00 US) on M
ay 24, 1626).

So while I have at least partially raised up the Dutch let me insert a somber reality. While the Dutch Republic of the 17th century was built on a policy of tolerance and inclusion that was not entirely the case in New Amsterdam where policy based on commercial and economic interests was dictated by the Governor, Directors and Magistrates of the Dutch West India Company. We note that the citizens of New Amsterdam were not permitted to freely elect their own assembly until 1683. That concession to the mostly apathetic Dutch was in large part accomplished because of English influence.

Part of this whole paradigm was that the individualistic Dutch cared little for a grandiose sense of community and were not happy being concentrated into towns. They showed disdain for politics and were probably apathetc when gifted with a new democracy. The English, however, demonstrated a strong sense of community and embraced politics like a duck to water (they still do). The English demanded and received more privileges than their more complacent Dutch contemporaries.

The Dutch of New Netherland appear anesthetized, appeased and intellectually comforted by that critical passage in the founding document of the Dutch Republic in 1579 which stated, “Everyone shall remain free in religion and that no one may be persecuted or investigated because of religion.” The magistrates of Vlissingen, now Flushing in the New York Borough of Queens, embraced that passage when they wrote in 1658, “The law of love, peace and liberty in the states extends to Jews, Turks (Muslims) and Egyptians (Gypsies) which is the glory of the outward state of Holland… We are bound by the law of God and man to do good to all men, and evil to no man, according to the Patent and Charter of our Towne given unto us in the name of the States General.”

That grand statement is in direct contrast to the first settlers at Jamestown who obviously anticipating a warm-up for the 21st century on the occasion of the establishment of the Anglican Church in Virginia, were instructed to use every means possible to bring the natives to “the knowledge of God and the obedience of the King, his heirs and successors, under such severe pains and punishments as should be inflicted by the respective presidents and councils of the several colonies”. That statement would mostly fly in the face of the Dutch who landed on Governor’s Island in 1624. We can safely say, however, that was the mantra the Spanish used against the Aztecs and the Maya as their pretense for invasion. History speaks that in the long run, that policy just doesn’t work.

Still, many historians, especially the Dutch, see New Amsterdam as the epicenter of religious pluralism and tolerance in the Americas and even the basis for the formation of the United States of America. Indeed, there is no doubt that this was America’s first significant culturally diverse society.

Dutch tolerance was and is real and had an enduring positive effect on the formation of our own country witness the First Amendment to The Constitution which among other civil liberties, guarantees the right of religious freedom which was ratified in 1791.

No doubt that America’s Founding Fathers sought to imitate all that was right and conversely avoid all that was wrong with the Dutch Republic and the rest of the world. We should note that the Dutch were supportive of the American Revolution and in 1782 recognized the sovereignty of the United States. Who facilitated all this? None other than John Adams who as Ambassador to The Netherlands was no doubt playing to the Dutch crowds when he wrote in 1781 that, “the originals of the two republics are so much alike that the history of one seems but a transcript from that of the other; …the great characters the Dutch Republic exhibits…have been particularly studied, admired, and imitated in every American state”. All this was in advance of a successful request for a loan of five million dollars to pay for the revolution. In 1782 Adams also negotiated a treaty of Friendship and Commerce with the Dutch, the first such treaty between the United States and a foreign power following the 1778 treaty with France. By the way, the Kingdom of Morocco was the first sovereign nation to recognize the new United States of America in 1777.

Whether by practice or theory it certainly appears that the Dutch have been the bastions of true tolerance and understanding and can still teach us a thing or two. Their current full blown controversy about alleged anti Muslim immigration protocols aside, they appear to mostly get along, and admirably so.

It would not be unnatural to reinforce and reward healthy attitudes about cultural diversity while strengthening and enforcing our immigration laws. Tolerance, mutual respect and a sincere appreciation for the value of every human being needs to be coupled with a pragmatic approach to the issue. We need not be motivated by issues and behaviors just to appease cultural minorities and demonstrate our “cultural sensitivity”. We have to act for the good of the many especially when we see processes that work. I for one have an appointment with Chief Two Eagles who is going to counsel me on my upcoming move to the country.


Ned Buxton

Saturday, May 10, 2008


I was stopped at a red light in far north Dallas yesterday and as the light turned green a grizzled gentleman wearing jungle camo fatigues defiantly strode out into the street and taking special pains looked straight at me with a scowl and smirk on his face all the while muttering to himself, walked in front of my car, again, against the light. I let him pass. I then drove through the intersection and looked at him in the rear view mirror naively wondering if he would look back at me to acknowledge my politeness or just to see who I was. He never looked back. He looked the part of a Vietnam Veteran who after taking one too many licks has now copped to an ultimate cynical and rebellious attitude or in my opinion is now just plain nuts.

It then struck me that he was the personification of the Jeremiah Wright that we have seen, preaching his hatred for years. While the rest of us have moved on, Wright has stayed firmly in place dwelling on the past rather than the future. While there really is no need to comment further on the defiant rantings of Wright and his recent performances at the National Press Club and the NAACP, I’m going to do it anyway.

While Wright tried unsuccessfully to deflect criticism directed at him as an attempt to smear the African American Church and its religious traditions, it all seemed nothing more than a combative and sarcastic attempt to defend himself replete with immature adolescent posturing and facial gesturing behind the back of the moderator to include a mocking salute after he made reference to his military service. If he accomplished anything, he further reinforced and refueled the already negative perceptions that many have of the man. He looked and acted just like the sound and video bites of the old pastor of Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ once again preaching his Afro babble. Wright obviously had brought a large entourage that fawned over him in front of the cameras and generated raucous applause and exclamations for Wright at critical points, even completing biblical passages aloud for Wright, all seemingly on cue as Wright on one occasion leaned forward smiling, hand to ear in anticipation of the response.

Then there were the occasions when the egocentric Wright jokingly offered himself as a vice presidential candidate we guess on the Obama ticket? The way things have been going it would appear that he was in cahoots with the Clinton campaign who we are sure must have loved to see this play out. And what about Obama’s repudiation of Wright and his rhetoric? Wright’s response was that Obama acted only out of expediency. "He had to distance himself, because he's a politician..." So now he has dragged Obama down to his level. No wonder the harsh tone of Obama’s latest refutation as Wright basically called him a liar and man without integrity. We haven’t seen Wright’s reaction to Obama’s latest denunciation though it probably would be the same as before.

Though not the candidate, I thought the effect of Wright’s rantings oddly reminiscent of Howard Dean’s "screech heard round the world" when following his third-place finish in Iowa in 2004 he went out of control, loud and visceral, reminding the voters of his, then, angry rhetoric, now much subdued. Now he’s seeing the other side of the coin as Chairman of the Democratic National Committee. If Obama wins the nomination the Democrats may have a candidate that’s unelectable. And, that’s the only card that Clinton can play at this point.

Wright is obviously delusional and a racist of the first order fomenting a dissent almost as bad as the bigotry perpetuated on the African American Community. He is the product of a segregationist society and a bitterness and cynicism that he just can’t shake. The sad thing is that Wright deliberately missed the boat and is trying to convince other folks not to get on the boat either. Many are buying into his rhetoric, hooting and hollering and laughing all the way down to his level. Look at him folks and then look at yourselves in the mirror. We made him what he is and gave him the ammunition to preach his vitriol. He is us. He gives credence to his own version of the American Dream by his toys that now include a one million dollar (US) plus home and a ten million dollar (US) line of credit.

We heard last week on Meet The Press and have also seen on many blogs that young African Americans, many at traditional African American Colleges and Universities around the country, are angered at some of the recent “negative” press about Obama especially stories about his relationship with his mentor and pastor of twenty plus years, Jeremiah Wright. They say that all this is just an attempt to smear Obama. Well, here we go again. With an obvious disdain for the truth, it certainly appears that anything which keeps them from achieving their Afro centric agenda is foul whether it be the truth, or not. These are the same folks that probably picketed the Duke University lacrosse players (No, I’m never going to let that one go) or celebrated the acquittal of OJ Simpson. It surely appears that they are supporting Obama for no other reason than he is Black. Obama’s platform, politics and associates appear to have little with their loyalty.

I probably don’t agree often with the very liberal Joan Walsh, Editor in Chief of a San Francisco based on-line magazine. In her Monday April 28, 2008 post, I Was Wrong About Wright, Walsh hit the proverbial nail on the head. She recanted her previously stated opinion where she had expressed sympathy for Wright.

“I regret that I hedged my observation about Wright's narcissism. He may be wounded, but this is a man of enormous self-regard, and he's clearly trying to hurt Barack Obama. His national rehabilitation tour started fairly sympathetically with the Moyers conversation, but it's devolved into self-pity and self-glorification ever since. His Sunday night talk to the NAACP was mostly silly, from the questionable science behind his insistence that black children are right-brained (creative) while white children are left-brained (logical and analytical) to his mocking the way white people talk, dance, clap, worship and sing. I understand and agree with Wright's notion that "different is not deficient," but mocking white people, including JFK and LBJ, doesn't seem like the best way to get his point across (yes, he was talking to the NAACP, but he knew -- and relished -- that he had a national audience). At his Monday speech he insisted attacks on him were really an attack on the black church, a typically Wright-centric view of the world, while his security was reportedly provided by the Nation of Islam.”

It would appear that one of the most important aspects of this story is the reaction and opinions of those in our community. It is an honest endeavor to seek out the opinions of those men and women wth responsibility and authority in our society. The reverend Wright has allowed us an opportunity to make some significant observations and rather dramatically so. Once such opinion that appears to rise in the face of the majority (Black, White, Yellow or Brown), follows.

The Crisis is a “respected journal of thought, opinion and analysis, the magazine was and still remains the official publication of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and is the NAACP's articulate partner in the struggle for human rights for people of color.” Their words, not mine. /span>

Jabari Asim, Editor in Chief of Crisis commenting on Jeremiah Wright’s recent performances, “continues to be impressed by him” and wondered as he sat in the press gallery “that was about 90 percent white” wondering, “how much of his message was actually sinking in.” Incredibly, Asim was more concerned about indoctrinating the press corps than covering the substance of Wright’s address. Asim appeared totally detached from reality when he stated that Wright’s address had little to do with Obama. In contradiction, Asim then counseled Obama that, "He should not let his former pastor’s comments distract him or those who would vote for him from the issues and problems that continue to challenge all Americans, including the failing economy and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.” This not so deft deflection was embarrassing from any quarter.

Other Wright supporters since his debacle at the National Press Club and the NAACP include Imam Mohammad Ali Elahi, head of the Islamic House of Wisdom in Dearborn Heights who has been accused by the Dearborn Underground of defending Wright so that he can “exploit Wright's useful-idiot value as someone who can be counted on by Israel's enemies to lend his voice—the voice that “represents the mission of Jesus”—for parroting Hamas propaganda and other Jew-hating misinformation.” I don’t know if that’s the truth as the Imam appears to be a moderate voice save his support for that bastion of hate, Louis Farrakhan.

It sure appears that even Wright and his hate mongering won’t be able to derail Obama who as of this writing appears to be assured of the Democratic nomination for President.

Obama has conceded that the Wright issue is a legitimate political concern and we agree with him. And so the real debate begins. As for Wright? There appears to be no in between. He either really believes all the crap he preaches or like our good Friend at the red light, he’s nuts.


Ned Buxton

Saturday, May 3, 2008


During the last several weeks the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex has been pummeled with typical North Texas Spring weather that includes severe thunder storms and tornadoes. The predictable outcome of that weather includes the terrible wind damage, flooding and the inevitable loss of life that has devastated many families and communities in the Metroplex and beyond. So, you can understand the heightened intensity and the dependence that our great citizens have on accurate weather forecasting. Well, sometimes it’s good and sometimes it’s not. A couple of weeks ago, for instance, two days predicted to be fair and sunny turned out to be cloudy and cool.

These failures bring back memories of Dick Pike, the Bohemian Disc Jockey at WNOP in Cincinnati in the 1960’s and a segway to comment about legendary Skinny Bobby Harper of WQXI (and several other stations) in Atlanta in the 1960’ and 70’s. Both used to forecast the weather by looking out their studio windows. I know that Bobby Harper’s forecasts were spot-on and received several awards for accuracy even when pitted against some heavyweight Atlanta television stations that were evolving their new electronic forecasting techniques. Skinny loved the absurdity of that situation.

Harper was the outspoken, multitalented DJ who also had stints at Atlanta’s WLTA-FM, WKLS-FM and WSB-AM, among many others. He had a way about expressing his opinion that kept him in hot water and eventually got him fired at the legendary Quxie in Dixie (now Gone With The Wind).

In less sensitive days Skinny made Don Imus look like a mere novice when it came to shots from the hip. Bob Neal, current co-host on Comcast Sport’s SportsNite and long time TBS sports commentator, worked with Skinny at WQXI in the 1960’s. He related an incident in 1969 when the Atlanta Braves won their first National League West title and were playing the ultimate Miracle Mets for the National League Championship. Harper gifted with behind home plate seats (he was a big time buddy of Ted Turner) at the late Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium spied a man with a Mets banner and without a thought threw his cup of beer at the man, who ducked. The beer instead hit a well-dressed businessman across the aisle. Skinny didn't apologize. "Get over it!" Neal recalled Harper saying. The beer-soaked man called security, who understandably escorted Skinny out. "People booed," Neal said. No doubt with an opinion or emotion, Skinny had no compunction acting on it. His action was born of incredible frustration as the Mets ultimately outscored the heavily favored Braves 27–15 and swept Atlanta three games to none.

Skinny spent his last seven years behind the mike working as the celebrated top morning guy for The Blowtorch of The South, WSB-AM/750. Again Bobby was usually spot-on with a truth that always ran counter to the spin doctors, then and now. To Bobby there were no sacred cows. He made fun of or brought attention to anybody he thought corrupt or needed public scrutiny. Skinny was the inspiration for WKRP in Cincinnati and the sitcom's off-the-wall character Dr. Johnny Fever. He made his shows interesting by creating a host of characters that included Rex the Wonder Dog; Laverne, an old lady with an attitude and not so surprisingly in homosexual friendly Atlanta, Officer Bruce, a gay, lisping police officer.

Skinny, even with his Coke bottle glasses, a seeming precursor to Harry Potter’s Mad-Eye Moody, was a die hard hockey fan living up to his Canadian roots and was supportive of all Atlanta hockey like contemporary Neal Boortz. Harper even ended up doing color commentary for the Atlanta Flames broadcasts.

I had the occasion to share a few beers (OK a lot of beers) with Harper at a few Atlanta Ski Club meetings at the Riviera Hyatt House (now long gone) in Atlanta where revelry and good times were abided, tolerated and even encouraged. The Riviera was convenient to my digs at Retail Credit Company next door at 1600 Peachtree Street. The bottom line of all these meetings was that Harper made me laugh and made a lot of sense to me, then and now. To boot, he was one hell of a nice guy who always made you feel welcome whatever his notoriety. He left a wonderful legacy of memories that continue to inspire and motivate.

Texans would have really appreciated Harper’s sense of humor even to the end having his 2003 memorial service at Dave & Buster’s in nearby Marietta, Georgia. His many Friends approved…

When it came to the weather we think that Skinny Bobby had a secret weapon in his arsenal besides his compromised sight and studio window. We think that he had a weather rock that operated on the following principles of nature.

If rock is wet, it is raining.
If rock is green, it rained a while ago.
If rock is white, it is snowing.
If rock is shaking, there is an earthquake.
If rock is dry, the weather is fair.
If rock is swinging, it's windy.
If rock is warm, the sun is out.
If rock is not visible, it's dark outside.
If rock is under water, there is a flood.
If rock is gone, there is a tornado (Run!!)

While we know that all this is old ground, we really don’t know where else to go. Invoking the old mantra, “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it”, we will be strongly urging the local radio and TV stations and, of course, the National Weather Service and the National Hurricane Center, given their abysmal forecasting record of recent years, to adopt an adjunct system for their weather forecasting to include the weather rock. We suspect that our weather forecasts in the great Republic of Texas might be more spot-on. All that said we certainly appreciate their great service especially when those storms and squall lines are approaching – that is until the satellite-fed TV signals go out.

Maybe we can find a Dallas DJ who in the pioneering spirit of Skinny Bobby Harper won’t be afraid to look out the window and let us know what’s going on with the weather.

Rest in peace, Skinny.


Ned Buxton