Friday, December 31, 2010


Well, I made it from Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) to Chicago’s O’Hare (ORD) airport and then on to London, Ontario, Canada (YXU) for the Christmas holidays. I was able to once again witness our transportation system operating at its finest and, unfortunately, at its most dismal. Security via the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) was the most able and impressive aspect of my travel experience. Again, well done.

The trip from Dallas and into O’Hare went smoothly. Lots of people were flying this 2010 Christmas holiday season so I was prepared for even more stringent security measures than my most recent Thanksgiving journey. TSA did seem a little more intense though no more scanning or “enhanced pat downs” than normal. The TSA security folks at the United Airlines terminals at DFW and O’Hare were like the rest of their comrades – professional and thorough. No hissy fits or even the hint of a complaint from any passenger was evident. Likewise, the CATSA staff at the London, Ontario airport were equally professional and courteous.

The flight from O’Hare to London didn’t go as smoothly. We experienced a long delay (about three hours) because of some ambiguous “mechanical problem” with the aircraft. All the passengers could see the aircraft through the lightly falling snow for hours on end as planes around our aircraft came and went enduring what seemed to be endless deicing procedures. Finally our seemingly disgusted desk agent derisively announced that they think they may have discovered the problem and were, “going to take the plane up for a test run.” Yes, they really said that… Shortly thereafter, voila, there goes our plane taxiing out to the runway where we understood later, the plane took off and did several circumnavigations of O’Hare before showing up about an hour later.

Another announcement was forthcoming that they were continuing to work on the problem but had also decided to change the tires on the aircraft? That prompted a deer in the headlights look by many passengers who wondered out loud where United’s regular maintenance schedule may have gone? Finally the announcement was made to board the plane with many passengers deliberating whether engaging this flight was advisable. We reluctantly boarded the aircraft (sheep to the slaughter?) which included a long parade outside into the snowy weather and eventually into the aircraft where the flight crew offered apologies and further explanations as we endured yet another deicing. The flight took off and proceeded without further incident to London.

Several days later found me returning to O’Hare and the United States via T5, their international terminal and the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) folks, yea, those few, those happy few. That’s all there were to handle an estimated one thousand-plus international passengers that descended on O’Hare. Half the ICE booths were empty and the crowd started backing up even further out into the dark corridor almost to the terminal escalators. Management seemed breathtakingly oblivious or just flat incapable of controlling the situation. Many people missed their connections and this crew seemed totally insensitive to that reality. After an hour of standing in an immovable mass in the approach corridor (there were no real lines) someone came out an announced that all bearers of US passports and green cards (their words) “come with me.” We squeezed though the packed crowds and eventually (20 minutes later) made our way along the left wall to the main engagement area – a huge bull pen where folks are queued up (blue for US citizens and black for foreign nationals) and arranged for proper examination by ICE staff. Our line went fairly quickly (1½ hours) though some Russian speaking ICE agents (they never spoke English around us) who looked more like prison guards started depositing some of our foreign guests in front of us… much to our chagrin and disgust. Did the Russians win and we weren’t told?

We finally made it through and reclaimed our baggage which we had to recheck through equally large crowds. Given some urgency and question whether I would make my flight I was directed to leave my bag with a group of rather large snarling, head bobbing behemoths that seemed incapable of intelligent speech – at least in English. There went my luggage thrown unceremoniously and indiscriminately onto a conveyor with scores of other bags with no response to my questions about the bag’s final destination. I wondered if they spoke Russian.

Like the London, Ontario flight several days earlier though with a slight delay, the flight went smoothly and without incident. I slept almost the entire trip to DFW despite a very upset, screaming one year old boy immediately next to me and his twin, equally distraught, brother several rows back. That was heaven compared with the long wait before the sacred ICE at O’Hare. I did sleep like a baby and did not snore

Lest I feel sorry for myself I was followed back to Dallas by a wonderful young couple who decided on a Delta – London, Detroit, Atlanta to Dallas connection that went terribly, terribly bad. The flights went OK, but they arrived at DFW without their bags - one of which hasn’t surfaced as of this writing. Seems that because of the small aircraft out of London no carry-on baggage was allowed. Couple that with an almost onboarding announcement that because of problems with the fire detection system (yikes!) they were not going to allow any baggage (carry on or otherwise) on the flight. I, of course, immediately wonder about their human cargo as that would be considered by most as the most precious?

Arrival at DFW predictably was without any baggage and later inquiries noted one bag in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and another – perhaps it didn’t leave London? Two retagged bags arrived the next day and belonged to disparate parties and fellow passengers from their London to Detroit flight. A gentleman from Louisville, Kentucky later called indicating possession of one of their bags.

The gentleman of the offended and bag less London to DFW party delivered the errant bags to Delta baggage at DFW and requested a further, more aggressive search in order to locate their baggage. They were then astonishingly notified by the Delta agent that they had closed the case and file and that nothing further could be done as the bags had been delivered! Yes, he really said that. Delta soon changed their mind when a motivated and especially convincing entreaty was made. The bag from Fort Lauderdale was delivered shortly after midnight the next day. The other bag from Louisville has yet to be delivered.

If possible, I will never fly Delta Airlines again and at least promise to never recommend what I once proudly and objectively perceived and as an Atlanta resident declared to be the best airline in the US. My experience at O’Hare did, however, validate the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport though busier than Chicago as probably the most efficient and friendliest airport in the world.

As for ICE, I am truly embarrassed and feel that these representatives of the United States treated every person in that room badly and with a lack of respect and dignity. With the powerful storm and snowfall in the east they knew that flights were going to be diverted to the Midwest yet failed to properly prepare themselves and manage the situation. As for the rude, dismissive ICE agent who loudly and vociferously complained that he had to work during the Christmas holidays I suspect that you will eventually get your comeuppance. You earned the enmity of many folks in that room (foreign and domestic). We at Might of Right wish you a Merry Christmas and the notification that I will be flying with Santa in 2011 and will let him know that you have been a bad boy this year…

And for all that it was worth it to be with loved ones and Friends this 2010 Christmas. Hope you and yours have a safe and prosperous 2011!


Ned Buxton

Monday, December 20, 2010


2010 is the year to clear out or pack up the old, refresh and reorganize my surroundings and put my house (it is not a home) up for rent or for sale. For months I have been going through old papers and books and trying to figure out what to do with items that have mostly Family or sentimental value. The Family materials will mostly go to son Geb and I guess I will retain the rest. Ah, storage. I have thrown out scores of trash bags of these materials and having been mostly diligent in this effort have kept the garbage folks busy in Richardson…

Among the items I pondered was about ten years of those extra Christmas cards – you know those few left over from each year. Like most folks I didn’t have the heart to throw them away rather put them away for another year in case I needed extras. Well I always ended up with a surplus every year and this year I counted about 150 cards of assorted Christmas Greetings in my stash. Most of them are pathetically and archaically dated to previous style and sentiments, but all wishing generic Holiday Greetings or a blatant and now seemingly politically incorrect Merry Christmas!

In these austere times the decision was quickly made to use them! Along with some really neat Sierra Club cards I also had some ghastly blue to turquoise cards with flashy silver glitter with the hope for Peace properly emblazoned. While I embrace the sentiment I can’t figure out why I bought them unless they were all that were left that year. All those cards were sent this year and I am sure that it had some folks scratching their heads. At any rate, whatever the response, it was my way to say hello and express my gratitude to those folks for being my Friend and sincerely wishing them holiday greetings and my hopes for a great 2011.

My 2010 Christmas will find me once again in Canada with Friends but also wondering if there will be a repeat of last week’s disastrous snow storm that paralyzed southern Ontario and especially that section of the 402 near Sarnia. It was a parking lot where snow plows feared to tread (too dangerous) and where food and supplies had to be air dropped and then 150 occupants of the stranded and frozen in 360 trucks and autos evacuated by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) on snowmobiles. The others decided to wait out the storm in their cars/trucks in the subzero weather? The Canadian Government declared that portion of highway 402 a national disaster area. It was a miracle that there was no loss of life on that highway and, yes, unless I was in some big self-contained rig with heat, shower and all the comforts of home, I would have opted for that snowmobile ride out.

Well, we’re not going to get caught in any repeat of that storm as we are flying directly into London, Ontario. We hope not to draw some crop duster though the Canadian pilots do generally accommodate worrisome Americans by engaging those long, barely descending landing patterns though that is surely not the case in Europe (price of fuel – ya ken).

So anticipating being out of pocket – I have been warned not to turn on my cell phone when out of country – for the Christmas Holiday I wanted to again reiterate especially to those folks that follow Might of Right a safe holiday and a prosperous new year. You are the reason I write this blog as you give me my voice.

Should auld acquaintance be forgot and, aye, for auld lang syne and remember Ye nivver dee'd o winter yit. So, what are ye going to do for Hogmanay?

A Blythe Yule, Aye

Ned Buxton

Saturday, December 18, 2010


Many of our heroes are folks who have responded by their own admission mostly spontaneously to circumstances that are thrust upon them – reacting intuitively and mostly involuntarily to those conditions without forethought or reason like diminutive Texan Audie Murphy, the most decorated American soldier of World War II. They all demonstrate an uncommon courage and bravery generally at great risk to their person and without the promise of reward. Words that conjure heroism include, among others, courage, daring, selflessness, bravery, nobility, valor and yes that old 20th century standby - guts.

As an aside I guess that we can now also include Bay City, Florida School Board member Ginger Littleton who inexplicably whacked gunman Clay Duke on his gun arm with her purse as he threatened the school board the other day. Duke brushed off the hit and Littleton fell backwards onto the floor. Duke cursed her, pointed the gun at her head though did not shoot. Littleton instinctively did what she could to prevent a further tragedy the only way she knew and it’s a miracle she survived that episode. Perhaps her action had an effect on Duke who after being shot by a security guard mortally wounded himself. Littleton could be the real hero in that whole tragic episode.

No doubt that there are also those that act deliberately and with forethought engage situations that are clearly dangerous with the calculated intent to benefit others and right a wrong. Those individuals represent a different class of individual and heroism. One such person was Stephen Hall and scores of other OSS agents in WWII. Another was William Schiff of Dallas, Texas and originally of Krakow, Poland who passed at age 91 on December 10, 2010.

William personally and intimately experienced the horrors of the Holocaust and did the unthinkable so that he, wife Rosalie and Family and Friends too numerous to count could survive. He walked that one step further and clearly put himself in harm’s way every minute of every day in that period. From the few conversations that I had with William, I am positive he was never really afraid of anything, save not performing to his expectation and concerned about meeting the life and death needs of his charges. He was the ultimate go-to and caregiver. There was no one else…

William was an intense individual and, sadly, there was seemingly never a casual conversation in the itinerary of this Man who lived his life experiences every second of every day. His legacy was also his nightmare… The Holocaust to William was the day before yesterday, not sixty-five years ago. He lived those years and terrible tragedies every day of his life. It became part of him and seemingly always pained and in angst, he made it his life’s work to pass on the knowledge of those terrible genocide years to any who would listen. That meant all his neighbors on Golden Creek, those folks and groups that invited he and Rosalie to relate their experiences and, frankly anybody, one or more in number that would stop and listen. He celebrated life with an equal fervor with Family and Friends being the epicenter of his life. The week before his passing he was partying hearty - dancing and celebrating Hanukkah at the Dallas Holocaust Museum.

That opportunity to celebrate was his great reward for probably without his heroics, none of his Family would be alive today. William’s wife of almost seventy years, Rosalie, gave testimony many times that were it not for William, she would not be alive today – hence there would be no Schiff Family.

Now, I certainly studied the Holocaust in school and was horrified at the concept let alone the capacity of any one group to conceive, plan and then execute ethnic cleansing. The Holocaust never got really personal for me before William Schiff though I do remember gripping and horrific testimony from Mentor and Good Friend (and off and on again Sergeant) Bob Swanson who served with the Fourth Armored in WWII. Bob was one of the first Americans who unexpectedly discovered Ohrdruf, the Buchenwald sub-concentration camp which turned into a slaughterhouse when the Nazis retreated. The Fourth Armored literally stumbled upon hundreds of starving Jewish prisoners and piles of corpses. That experience changed Bob, haunting him for the rest of his life.

The sacrifices and heroics of William are forever documented in "William and Rosalie: A Holocaust Testimony," (University of North Texas Press) written with author Craig Hanley. It not only told William and Rosalie’s story but retold the horrors that the Nazis rained down on European Jews. Had the Nazis won they would have expanded that effort to the rest of the world. This is no fiction and written through the courageous eyes of William and Rosalie.

What scares the Hell out of me now are the inexplicable, illegitimate attempts to distort the historical record not only of the Holocaust but other events of great import by ignoring extensive historical evidence, patently rewriting the record or flat out denying that it ever happened – all to meet some new political agenda.

Fortunately Germany and fifteen other countries including Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Hungary, Israel, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, and Switzerland have literally criminalized Holocaust denial (explicit or implicit) and punishable with imprisonment and have been successful in their prosecutions. Why is the United States not in this group? In our zeal to protect our free speech rights we are willing to allow everybody the right to express their opinion, however heinous and deviant. That same constitutional right ironically allows neo Nazis to organize in the United States.

Included in this cesspool is Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who has frequently denied the Holocaust earning him the enmity of all rational human beings. Scores of other Arabs including the Palestinians continue to deny the existence of the Holocaust costing them credibility that may ultimately keep them mired in their present plight – literally between the rock and the hard place…

Comes now the Texas Board of Education (TEA), notorious for its past efforts to undermine the teaching of evolution in Texas public schools and is apparently intent on keeping our students well behind the national curve, which has now moved to revise the Texas social studies curriculum to portray conservative ideas and movements in a more positive light in a myriad of issues even including the attempt to morph slavery under the more palatable and innocuous “Atlantic triangular trade”.

It would certainly appear that no real debate ever occurred at the board level as the individuals involved would have to be educated and knowledgeable (gulp) on the topics being addressed. There is no scholarship here only a blatant political attempt by TEA to “correct” history (their words).

So where am I going with this post which started off as recognition of William Schiff as a hero of the Holocaust? Well, with all this rewriting of history in the world theater and the State of Texas trying to rewrite (“correct”) history I just wonder if The Holocaust might be next on their list? If we don’t like something or it becomes an embarrassment or perhaps inconvenient, then just rewrite the textbook and within a few generations all will be a fading memory. All students of history (or any subject) require an objective, accurate curriculum and textbooks chosen for their educational merit, not politics or ideology.

That said the Internet and an incredible repository of historical data about The Holocaust within our own borders including the United States and the Dallas Holocaust Museums should not allow that to happen – unless, of course we consent. We need all confront bias and prejudice and surely stand as sentinels ready to challenge those who would rewrite our history. We need to remember William Schiff, honor his memory and heroics and his noble attempts to keep the rest of us educated on this sad chapter in the history of Man. Please all be upstanding and raise your glasses high…

Yes, what we do matters.


Ned Buxton

Friday, December 10, 2010


Being out here in Texas literally puts one in the hinterlands, far from civilization and the presence of many Family and Friends who reside mostly in the southeast. Texas is good, mind you, but it’s just that distance makes it difficult to be there for the rites of passage and the rhythms of those special folks – and yes, the wants and needs of this writer. Sometimes that old telegraph line breaks down and it surely did last week when I was out of country.

Yesterday Kingdome of Räknar Queen Mother Helga aka Jeanette Swanson and Brother Colin Grant-Adams broke the news to me that an incredibly special human being, one Earl Legbittr of The Kingdome aka Rege Malady had peacefully slipped away whilst sleeping in his recliner at his home in Charlotte. Consistent with Rege & Wife Barbara the Barbarian’s sense of humor, Rege’s last entry on his Facebook page notes, “Passed on while Barb was shopping on Nov 26, 2010. I will miss everyone here, but there are many Friends and Family I will be glad to see again.” God bless you Barb – You Rock…

As I approach my ultimate maturity (the last second of the last minute of the last hour of the day I die) I note that many of my Friends are now claiming their ultimate reward and leaving me behind to document the rest of our/their lives and ponder my remaining time. I also understand that while I will be joining them soon enough and will have to fess up and be held accountable for my life, my charge and challenge is to be forthright and tell it like it was/is in that interim. That has always been the motivation of my postings and the Might of Right and Rege’s passing has all the more punctuated that reality.

We have lost an indispensible and absolutely irreplaceable Champion in the Celtic music scene and the Scottish-American Community – an absolutely good guy. I knew Rege for going on thirty years through the Scottish Highland Games and mostly through his business enterprise of twenty years, The Celtic Trader. Even following my transfer to Texas we got together at the Texas Scottish Festival in Arlington and otherwise talked on the phone and swapped occasional e-mails and cards. Now, Rege wasn’t just another vagabond/gypsy vendor marching around to games, festivals and fairs around the country. He was here to make a buck, yes, but to also make a difference and create interest in music and its history.

Rege embraced an eclectic taste in music that included Celtic, Bluegrass, Hillbilly, Country (that Appalachian and sometimes Cajun connection) and everything in between and the preservation of those genres for future generations. He lived and breathed the national and international Celtic community and amassed an incredible and unequalled body of knowledge about Celtic music, the sounds of Appalachia and then forthrightly, painlessly and joyfully educated the rest of us. He was mentor (and as some put it “Midwife”) to individual musicians and groups in those genres and helped them take that next logical step to success for their and the community’s benefit. I daresay I was but one of many where Rege was an important Friend, guide and supporter over the years offering sincere, honest counsel and advice from music to myriad personal issues.

Rege was a macro thinker who always saw the big picture though with his incredible intuitive people, communication and insightful mentoring skills he was also able to drive down to the lowest common denominator. Through Celtic Trader and working with and through organizations like the Charlotte Folk Society he organized spontaneous and well planned ceilidhs and jam sessions where amateurs could showcase their musical talents, further develop their skills and preserve the traditions and music of our ancestors. Some of those folks have even moved on to the professional level. He appreciated, championed and was Friend to many groups and individuals including Clan Na Gael (Seven Nations), the now retired Maggie’s Fancy, The April Verch Band, Mint Hill’s own Stirling Bridge, Carolina Gator Gumbo, Jed Marum & Lonestar Stout, Alex Beaton, The Edinburgh Rambler - Ed Miller of Austin, Texas, Celtic Lark Margaret Gravitt, The Tannahill Weavers, the Texas-based group Clandestine, Runrig, John Whelan and the legendary and ever evolving WBT Briarhoppers and many, many more.

Rege was fully committed to the arts and music community serving for many years with other luminaries such as Tom Paxton, Fiona Ritchie, Tommy Sands and Dougie MacLean (among others) as an Advisory Board Member for The Swannanoa Gathering in Asheville, NC. Rege supported NPR (Thistle & Shamrock, Celtic Connections, Car Talk & Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me), WFAE, WNCW, Redbird School of Irish Music, The Celtic Exchange, Levine Museum of the New South, Bill Reid & East of the Hebrides Entertainments and any Scottish/Irish music gatherings including the North Texas Irish Festival (NTIF) here in Dallas’ Fair Park, the Texas Scottish Festival in Arlington, the Loch Norman Highland Games and the Carolina Renaissance Festival. Rege’s sense of humor put him squarely in the sights of Terry Foy aka Zilch the Tory Steller and his spoonerisms and musical talent at the Carolina Renaissance Festival. Rege loved and supported all pipe bands but his two favorites had to be the Loch Norman and Field Marshall Montgomery Pipe Bands.

Rege wasn’t shy about his Pennsylvania roots and his rabid enthusiasm for the Pittsburgh Steelers (a Steel Curtain Fanatic), the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Pittsburgh Pirates. The most recent Sunday night NFL football game appropriately pitted the 8-3 Pittsburgh Steelers against the equally high flying Baltimore Ravens. I thought there no doubt that Rege was watching and reveled at this incredibly brutal, physical contest that saw the Steeler’s star quarterback Ben Roethlisberger while already playing with a broken right foot, suffer a broken nose courtesy of a blow to/through the facemask by Baltimore Raven’s defensive tackle, Haloti Ngata (no penalty but a $15K fine?).

Roethlisberger despite a new nose with a strong right turn didn’t miss an offensive snap and the Steelers came from behind to defeat the Ravens 13-10. Roethlisberger stoically stated after the game, “…the broken nose took some of the pain away.” That performance conjured memories of football legends – Hall of Fame Quarterbacks Charlie Conerly (Ole Miss), Y. A. Tittle (LSU) and Bobby Layne (a Texas Longhorn) who along with all other players initially wore no facemasks and got clobbered all the time. It was a Rege kind of evening – you know all that character, integrity and perseverance stuff. Rege was the wind under the wings of the Steelers that night with the good guys triumphant in the end.

Rege’s love of the Boston Red Sox seems to go sideways with his Keystone mentality but he did live in Springfield, Massachusetts for a while fomenting that relationship. We never discussed the Red Sox even given my enthusiasm and years growing up in the shadow of Ted Williams in nearby Providence, Rhode Island though we did discuss the ins and outs of college athletics. Rege was a student athlete at Duquesne University (class of 1964) in Pittsburgh where as a Duke he used his almost 7 feet to great effectiveness on the basketball court. The storied Duquesne basketball program was most notable and dominant in the 50’s and 60’s so his selection and participation speaks to his prowess on the court (two NIT appearances).

With as mild mannered an exterior persona that one can muster Rege wasn’t at all tolerant of folks that couldn’t or wouldn’t pull their own weight and phonies that cared more for post-nominals and self-aggrandizement. He wasn’t afraid to engage political and humanitarian causes witness his support for organizations like Grassroots Leadership, Chase Community Giving and Samaritan House, NC. I saw him essentially give away CDs and other product from Celtic Trader to those who couldn’t afford to buy if he thought the customer worthy or if he could make a difference… I suspect that Celtic Trader never really provided Rege and Barb with a handsome living or any substantial payoff. It was always more of a labor of love.

When Rege and Barbara decided to retire from the Celtic Trader a huge vacuum was created in the music community though both remained supportive thereafter. Those who had jammed at Rege’s place wrote, a jig, Farewell to the Trader in honor of Rege and Barb on the occasion of their final jam session on July 27, 2006 at the Celtic Trader in Charlotte. It turned out to be an Irish wake of epic proportions where all raised a glass to the tall guy, and I know it was Glenmorangie and then some. We assume those same sentiments and actions will be once again expressed and embraced at a memorial session for Rege to be held in Charlotte on December 15, 2010. By the way those sessions which now continue roughly every six weeks are still known as the Celtic Trader Sessions… We are reminded of a now legendary 1998 Celtic Trader Hogmanay fete and music session where Rege later lamented distributing 30 semi-drunk musicians slide whistles. James Galway would have been proud…

After attending many Kingdome of Räknar Raids at Grandfather Mountain where he and Barbara consorted and partied with many other shakers and movers in the Scottish Community, Rege decided in 1990 to come out of the closet and was created Knight Legbittr at the Great Glasgow, KY Highland Gathering. He and Barbara the Barbarian became an indispensible and integral part of this fun loving and talented group.

Rege would not want us to mourn, rather to celebrate with Family and Friends a life well lived and the legacy of a lifetime of work that brought many of us together. I look around my home and he lives in every fabric of this dwelling. Rege hasn’t left us, rather lives on in us.

Rege has passed from this mortal plane and joined in Valhalla those sage and august members of the Kingdome of Räknar who constitute our pantheon of heroes including the iconic Hägar aka Bob Swanson, Fat Duncan, Ed Manson, John Morrison, Bill Wright, John MacLeod of MacLeod, Ralph Payne, Tom Raisbeck, Jamie MacKenzie-Frye, George MakGill, Danny Potter, Bill Matthews, Kenn Maxwell, Gary Morrison, Tom Dowd, Richard Gammon, Bob Southerland, Mad Max, Yes-Tad Sims and Jan Pennington Gray, My Friend Carl and all the other heroes of Räknar, perhaps like his predecessors being offered some mead by a Valkyrie - or two… Barb says it’s OK…


Ned Buxton

Saturday, December 4, 2010


On a recent trip to Canada via Dallas/Fort Worth and Detroit over the United States 2010 Thanksgiving break I experienced what I have always dreaded and avoided – holiday travel in the United States! With all the ruckus about the new scans and enhanced pat downs and the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) “fiendish mission to make flying safer” we were all braced for long waits, snarling and privacy-obsessed travelers intent on disrupting the security process and TSA “goons” salivating at the prospects of feeling us up or viewing our private parts (junk?)…. It never happened.

Apparently some saner personas amongst those who threatened to disrupt the transportation security system held sway and we never heard or saw any disturbance or Speedo® clad passengers though we heard about the two yahoos in Salt Lake City. Sanity and cooperation seems to have mostly prevailed – at least for one huge travel weekend, one brief fleeting moment in time… So noted.

There were no long lines and the always professional TSA staff managed the process well seemingly intent on being personable and making the passage from our cities and towns through their/our security gauntlet to our transportation systems as quickly and efficiently as possible. Indeed it would appear that duty-bound TSA folks while not at all enthusiastic about having to engage this process are doing their part to protect us all - Patriots all.

The one phrase that seems to characterize this last travel weekend was "tempest in a teapot" (works for me) with recent surveys indicating that 80% or more of Americans perceive our security processes as necessary, however inconvenient they may be. Tea Partiers please take note…

I want all my fellow passengers on any plane, train, bus – any public transportation - to have to potentially undergo the same stringent and ever evolving security measures. The key here is deterrent and the processes of that system, at least up to now, have kept us safe. Those that would disrupt this system are potentially putting us all at risk.

We need to aggressively engage ever evolving and sustainable security measures that will far exceed the capabilities of those that would do us harm. That will require the cooperation of all in government, domestic and foreign, and a motivated and cooperative citizenry properly educated on the potential risks.

So, for those of you that will drive a lot more and use the airlines a lot less……… Thank you very much. I feel so confident in our system that I am going to travel again by air over the Christmas holidays. Might become a habit… Well done TSA…


Ned Buxton

Sunday, November 21, 2010


Oh how soon we forget about national or even personal security issues. Many seem to be in such a head long rush to “protect their privacy rights” or head off a “police state” to the extent that they are compromising our very existence. We have gone from a connected, dedicated and united populous immediately following 911 to one divided even on matters of national security where common sense should reign supreme. Our enemies are licking their chops at the heightened potential to do us harm given our most recent and divisive reaction to the new Transportation Safety Administration’s (TSA) security measures.

We appear to have forgotten all about Richard Colvin Reid, the infamous Muslim terrorist and confessed trained member of al-Qaeda who in December 2001 hid explosives inside the soles of his shoes before boarding American Airlines Flight 63 from Paris to Miami. There were 185 passengers plus the flight crew aboard that plane…

Reid actually made it on board his plane (he couldn’t today) where his plot was thwarted only by alert passengers and flight attendants who dispatched Reid as he tried to light the fuse of the explosives with a match. This guy has to be dumber than dirt – but he made it on board a passenger jet even with some strict security measures. Reid, by the way, was found guilty of terrorism charges and is now serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole at the supermax Federal penitentiary in Florence, Colorado.

How could we forget the 2006 transatlantic aircraft plot where terrorists intended to detonate liquid explosives carried on board at least 10 airliners travelling from the United Kingdom to the United States and Canada?. The plot was discovered and foiled by British police before the explosives could be delivered to the planes though we surely wonder whether security measures of the day would have been sufficient to detect the explosives in carry on or checked baggage before takeoff. Might of Right thinks not as the extraordinary restrictions on carrying liquids aboard passenger aircraft were installed shortly thereafter and remain in place to this day.

Then there was Northwest Airlines 2009 Christmas day flight 253 with 279 passengers, 8 flight attendants, and 3 pilots traveling from Amsterdam to Detroit when passenger and al-Qaeda operative Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab attempted to detonate a bomb that had been concealed in his clothing. The plane was starting its descent into Detroit when Abdulmutallab set off the bomb which after some popping noises, malfunctioned then ignited a fire which again due to the intercession of several passengers and flight attendants did not spread further than the terrorist’s seat, part of the wall of the aircraft and Abdulmutallab himself causing first and second degree burns to his hands, second degree burns to his right inner thigh and, yes, his genitalia. Hold that thought… Yes, the plastic explosives were sewn into his underwear. I hope it really hurt… With current security measures in place Abdulmutallab would not have been able to board the plane.

Abdulmutallab has been charged on six criminal counts, including the attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction (WMD) and the attempted murder of 289 people. He is awaiting trial and is being held in the Federal Correctional Institution, Milan, the federal prison in York Charter Township, Michigan.

We need note that Abdulmutallab’s Father met with two CIA officers at the U.S. embassy in Abuja, Nigeria where he reported his son as a possible security threat. British Intelligence also reported suspicious activity by Abdulmutallab prompting him in November, 2009 to be added to the all-encompassing Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment (TIDE), the United States Government's central database on known or suspected international terrorists.

Abdulmutallab, however, was not added to the FBI's Terrorist Screening Database, the U.S.'s No Fly List nor was his U.S. visa revoked. Apparently, despite all the warning signs Abdulmutallab was not considered a serious threat and he, thusly, was able to pursue his sinister plot. In essence, he really didn’t make anybody’s operative watch list.

While this last incident did not occur on an aircraft it surely has far ranging implications. Last August, 2009 Abdullah Hassan Tali al-Asiri, an al Qaeda terrorist and one of Saudi Arabia's most wanted men, attempted the assassination of Prince Mohammed Bin Nayef, head of Saudi Arabia's counter terrorism operations – in his own palace. Borrowing an old trick from the narcotics trade Asieri inserted a pound of high explosives, plus a detonator in his rectum. He avoided detection by airport security and the Prince’s palace security. Fortunately, he was unsuccessful in his attempt though aviation security folks are now on high alert for repeats of this technique. It would appear that even these new scans or pat downs may not detect explosives so placed. Maybe a more widespread use of explosive sniffing dogs will work…

Following each and every one of the aforementioned incidents, there was a great public outcry and furor where urgent demands were made to strengthen our security system so as to head off future attempts at terrorism. Well, here it is not one year after Northwest Airlines Flight 253 and we seem to have forgotten the horror of those moments as the political climate and mindset has seemingly dramatically changed.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the system was broke then and, frankly, it’s not a whole lot better today - even with the TSA’s new security measures. There are major flaws in our aviation security network and we do not appear willing to engage the necessary actions to address these very fluid issues. Al Qaeda is earnestly aware of our vulnerabilities and will not hesitate to exploit them. No shoe scans – then a shoe bomb, no comprehensive examination of fluids – voila, liquid explosives and no mandatory pat downs or extensive body scans and you have plastic explosives hidden in body cavities and other intimate dark places.

All the discussion about passenger’s rights and dignity and touching this and that - as my Grandfather Littlefield used to say is – pure malarkey. Where professional pat downs using the palms of agents' hands somehow are interpreted as intrusive and degrading groping by “goons” and when people organize flying boycotts to teach the airlines a lesson is ludicrous and totally counterproductive. I fervently agree that, “It is irresponsible for a group to suggest travelers opt out of the very screening that could prevent an attack.” It is mostly about deterrence.

Yes, it’s the right of any US citizen to decline a scan or pat down but it’s also the right of TSA to deny them access to any aircraft plus any potential legal ramifications which, no doubt, will be determined in our courts. You don’t want to fly – that’s OK. Flying is not an entitlement and if you don’t want to cooperate, then get ready to use another mode of transportation though we suspect that some of these measures will ultimately also involve public bus and rail. Most citizens want TSA and the airlines to adopt the most stringent security measures possible. Perhaps we should all look to El Al, Israel’s national airline and their very successful security practices.

Now we at Might of Right certainly get it when it comes to exempting pilots and flight attendants from the scans. Though we are assured that the scans are not dangerous, better safe than sorry when it comes to repeated, daily, long term exposures for these flight crew members. These mostly self-policing folks also have to pass other intense scrutiny making scans somewhat redundant.

Now the greatest conundrum - What are we to do when it comes to our children and grandchildren? I don’t have an answer for that but suspect the risk is minimal. We do note that al Qaeda and other radical Muslim groups have historically used children as human bombs (Young People of Paradise) and vividly remember Vietnam where the VC strapped IEDs and hand grenades to children who detonated them when near US soldiers. Yea, that happened

We don’t need private firms to manage the security process when we have a professional cadre of trained TSA employees ready to engage the task. Apparently it’s not OK to be “felt up” by a TSA employee but acceptable from an employee of a private security agency? As for the statements I have seen about being “groped by $8.00 per hour TSA goons” demonstrate a provocative ignorance of the TSA’s compensation system. Entry level TSA slots appear to be well above that ($11.00+ per hour) with the average annual TSA wage according to one TSA officer - in the $40’s range.

Our enemies know that they can take advantage of our incredibly short-sighted, sometimes puritan sensibilities and have designed systems such as malleable plastic explosives that can be contoured to the human body (no bumps or bulges to arouse suspicion) - all so that they can pursue their murderous agenda.

I’m no sheep though fully intend to cooperate with TSA and any legally constituted authority that requires an examination of my person or belongings/luggage. If I have to strip down to my birthday suit and prance around the security area in order to assure the safety of our planes and passengers, (however uncomfortable that is), I will do so. Though Friends, Family and onlookers will probably be absolutely horrified (or laugh), I really don’t care if anybody sees me naked or can see my body parts or touches me in a pat down. I am comfortable in my own skin.

We need to get our heads out of the sand and look at his issue in the light of day. It appears that the most vehement and sometimes obnoxious privacy advocates are not aware that Nineteen Eighty-Four has come and gone. The enemy knows how we think and they will most assuredly exploit these sensitivities and use them against us. We take away one avenue of attack and they will inevitably look elsewhere for another opportunity.

Let’s all get real and stop playing into the hands of those who would do us real harm. The war against terrorism is far from over and even appears to be expanding if we are to acknowledge the latest security revelation relating to bomb facsimiles as air cargo from Yemen bound for two synagogues in Chicago.

Yes, while the new TSA security measures are incredibly inconvenient, intrusive, uncomfortable and push our cultural / social norms, they are necessary. It’s not about Freedom, but about Life! We need to expand our vigilance, not constrain those who are trying to protect us. We need to think well outside the box with both planned and unscheduled/unpredictable security measures including the use of bomb sniffing dogs, expanded profiling and airport surveillance in order to remain one step ahead of the terrorists. I certainly understand the value of a healthy system of checks and balances but those that are so vehement in their protestations even to invoking our Founding Fathers who could never have envisioned this situation or the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution - are ultimately doing more harm than good. But, that is their right.

While we all have choices it would appear that this issue along with many other controversies seem to generate mostly divisive and visceral adversarial perspectives that dominate our society today and keeps folks of good faith from openly sharing and debating legitimate opposing viewpoints (we’re right – you’re wrong, period). We are still amazed with the lack of cordiality and respect for if we believe the sentiment expressed in recent articles, blogs and threads by those opposed to the scanning and “enhanced” pat downs – if you capitulate, you are a lemming, sheep, pervert or a less than patriotic American.

It would certainly appear that TSA security procedures are working hence the aforementioned terrorism originating in airports and venues outside the United States. No doubt we need to get everybody else on board at the same level and continue to reinvent and evaluate our security procedures. I am absolutely convinced that without the current deterrents we would have planes falling out of the sky…


Ned Buxton

Saturday, November 13, 2010


Friends and acquaintances are aware of my sometimes obsessive penchant (an anthropologist’s curse) for following and defining the origins of cultural celebrations, witness posts in recent years about Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter and others. I have long followed our current celebration of Halloween and its mostly Celtic origins [Samhain (sow-an)] and the wonderful Mexican Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) tradition where we break down the barrier of death and celebrate the lives and memories of our ancestors and departed Friends. Yes, Dia de los Muertos is a celebration of life…

Día de los Muertos (sometimes known as Flor de Muerto "Flower of the Dead") is a remembrance / memorial observed by many in Mexico and by many Americans and Canadians of Mexican descent. Scholars now believe that this custom can be traced back 2,500–3,000 years to the Aztecs.

With the advent of Christianity Halloween in all its myriad forms was adopted, morphed and absorbed by the Christian Church and now observed as All Saints' Day on November 1st and All Souls' Day on November 2nd. In the United States and Canada Halloween has evolved into a largely secular/commercial annual celebration observed on October 31.

As we all know Halloween in the US and Canada is celebrated where costumed/disguised participants attend parties, tell ghost stories and, of course, where the children (mostly) engage that now traditional activity, “Trick or Treating”. While this is a relatively new custom in the United States (1940’s), Souling (which dates back to medieval times) was a similar activity common in Great Britain and Ireland where the poor received food for their prayers for the dead.

Guising, the practice of costumed children going door to door requesting food or coins started in Scotland and Ireland in the 1800’s and continues to this day. It appears that this tradition was carried to Canada where scholars report similar activity in the early 1900’s. This is probably the origin of our current Halloween custom of Trick or Treating (TorT). The big difference between Europe and North America is that in Europe the children are expected to earn their treats via of a song, poem, joke, etc. (no performance – no treat). But, that’s all the subject of a future post as we are going to highlight an extraordinary and unique Halloween tradition right here in Dallas, Texas.

Seems that the historic old East Dallas neighborhood of Swiss Avenue, a 22-block neighborhood of 170 grand homes minutes from downtown Dallas had by 1985 according to some few “snobby bobby” residents (The Guild?) had tired of the visitation of thousands of Trick or Treaters on Halloween night. These kids were mostly Hispanic, African-American & Vietnamese children and young adults bussed in mostly from other nearby east Dallas neighborhoods.

This mind set apparently fed by the minutes of a published homeowner’s association meeting spawned a rumor which was fed further by a well-intended, enterprising reporter for the now deceased Dallas Times Herald (my Dad’s employer for 30 years) who was just trying to expose what he perceived as an elitist, snobbish attempt to drive off the annual throng of trick-or-treaters. The front page story the day before Halloween declared that Swiss Avenue was going to shut down Halloween – turn off their lights, close their doors and refuse to participate. That didn’t play well with the greater majority of the folks on Swiss Avenue. They cherished their hard fought designation as an historic neighborhood and felt it was an honor, yea, their civic duty and responsibility to throw open the doors of their neighborhood to all the children of the city.

Former Texas State Representative Harryette Ehrhardt still a resident of Swiss Avenue (SA) since 1970 eloquently expressed the sentiments of the greater majority of SA residents, "Halloween gives us an opportunity to serve the larger Dallas community. It's a part of our way of repaying Dallas for the privilege of living here and for the tremendous gift from the city for this historic district."

Neighborhood leaders contacted Hispanic and other minority organizations, schools, churches, radio & TV stations and other groups admonishing their detractors and assuring everybody that there was no Swiss Avenue closure and extended hands of Friendship along with a perpetual invitation to continue their Halloween visitations. Alas, that year saw a substantial drop in visitors to Swiss Avenue and all to the chagrin of its residents.

The 1985 controversy and ensuing Halloween Blackout reminded residents of their special place in the Dallas and North Texas community and prompted a rededication and renewed effort to extend their Halloween invitation. Committed Swiss Avenue residents ended up making this tradition better than ever which - now refreshed - saw a resurgence of All Hallows Eve visitors the following year – and every Halloween since. New Swiss Avenue residents are carefully counseled on their potential responsibilities though many don’t get it until they see it first-hand.

This year given the hospitality of good Friends who are residents of Swiss Avenue I was able for the first time in my 65+ years to experience a Swiss Avenue Halloween. Nothing could have prepared me for the continuous unbroken lines of thousands of children which coupled with vendors on most street corners hawking their food and trinkets including light sabers, glow necklaces and sugar skulls gave the whole neighborhood the festive atmosphere of Carnival, Mardi Gras and the Texas State Fair all rolled into one. I would not have believed this phenomenon had I not experienced it. Aye, it is probably the largest and safest neighborhood Halloween event in the country.

Many residents elaborately decorate their homes for the event with all the attendant high tech audio and video enhancements. From dusk to 9:00 pm and perhaps a little later residents don’t even bother the formality of opening and closing their doors. They stay open accompanied by a vanguard of equally coiffed and costumed revelers who give out the candy for three hours plus or until their supply gives out – whichever comes first at which time the lights go out. I was a ghoulish Monk turned dramatically to the dark side though after scaring several little girls - gave up the mask and adopted a more civil and priestly demeanor after which one of the girls thanked me. Besides that, I couldn’t eat or drink with the mask on. To further put things in perspective, I was accompanied by the very beautiful and always charming Static Cling…

During the evening and while on TorT Break some of us made a heroic attempt to watch Halloween Game Four of the World Series though the San Francisco Giants once again clobbered and humiliated the Texas Rangers at home, 4-0. San Francisco then lead the series 3-1 and went on to win all the marbles in game Five. Being the eternal optimists we always thought the Rangers might come back given all their incredible talent. But, it turns out that like the talent laden Dallas Cowboys, they weren't quite good enough. Too much candy corn and chocolate… Wait till next year...

Well, after all the candy was exhausted local accountants tabulated the visitor TorT Counter Machine and estimated that over 3,000 mostly very polite Halloween Trick or Treaters had come to our door! That figure is considered average (Sunday night) with the highest participation one year at over six thousand ToT! It was an extraordinary event and all without incident though we did notice a heightened presence of Dallas’ Finest. We also noted that if our hosts are an example, then Swiss Avenue is in fine hands and its future is assured. Thanks to stalwart neighborhood residents like Dick & Diane, Harryette Ehrhardt and Jim Schutze, the award winning author and columnist now the City Politics columnist for the Dallas Observer who keeps the light of day shining bright on Swiss Avenue.

The spirit of Friendship, Brotherhood and Harmony is alive and well in the very special Swiss Avenue Neighborhood and perhaps next year you need take your costumed and disguised self right on over there so you can experience this unique cultural celebration first hand. I will even tell you a horror story of Game Four of the 2010 World Series - the San Francisco Chain Saw Massacre - Shudder, Shudder


Ned Buxton

Saturday, November 6, 2010


The recent passing of Barbara Billingsley (Leave it to Beaver) and Tom Bosley (Happy Days surrogate TV father to "the Fonz") reminded me of the incredibly talented and lately sometimes controversial (whose judging?) TV personalities who have played the roles of Moms and Dads on our TV screens since the early 1950’s. Those first roles were fairly bland since they were rarely allowed to openly address any significant, real issues of the day for, after all, they were representing the perceived normalcy of the day. I am reminded of a Gay and closeted Robert Reed’s thoroughly straight and sometimes reluctant portrayal of Mike Brady in The Brady Bunch and that TV Mom Lucille Ball was always “expecting” with Desi, Jr. and never “pregnant”. Those issues were never (even remotely) addressed while those shows ran and as you might imagine with that kind of puritanical mindset most of this early programming was mostly gooey, naïve, sublime, domestic and exceedingly civil comedy/drama with the occasional wink and nod towards reality – surreptitiously and discreetly offered by the players.

Billingsley was often hailed as the perfect TV Mom and perhaps she was for her role in Leave It to Beaver. But she had a lot of competition that included my personal favorite – the always wise Harriet Hilliard Nelson (The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet) and other stalwarts like Jane Wyatt (Father Knows Best), Donna Reed (The Donna Reed Show), Florence Henderson (The Brady Bunch), Shirley Jones (The Partridge Family), Meredith Baxter (Family Ties), Phylicia Rashad (The Cosby Show), Joanna Kerns (Growing Pains) and Tom Bosley’s better TV Half - Marion Ross (Happy Days). We could go on and on but the numbers prevent that as family sitcoms have apparently been the most popular TV offering – ever – even invading the modern cartoon realm. I will also have to admit a certain deference to Murphy Brown as the always hot single Mom played by Candice Bergen and for no other reason than she was and still is…

Our original TV Moms including Barbara Billingsley and Harriet Nelson were post WWII reflections of America where the Woman of the House returned from her role as Rosie the Riveter to the idealistic and mostly compliant domestic engineer even in their high heels and pearls. Her place was in the home. That interpretation didn’t last long and within ten years our TV Moms, with or without domestic untranquility (single moms), blasted out of the home and back into the workplace.

Our TV Dads have mostly become iconic and they include my estimation of the more important actors including but not limited to Fred MacMurray of My Three Sons, Lorne Greene of Bonanza fame, Michael Landon of Little House On The Prairie, Ed O'Neill of the painfully funny and dysfunctional Married... with Children, Hugh Beaumont of Leave It to Beaver, Bill Cosby of The Cosby Show, Robert Young of Father Knows Best, Andy Griffith of The Andy Griffith Show, Red Foxx of Sanford and Son, fellow Sig Ep John Goodman of Roseanne and my personal favorite Dad Ozzie Nelson of The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet. No surprise that growing up I never missed an episode of Ozzie & Harriet.

No need to burden this post with the very interesting and motivating biography of Ozzie Nelson, but if you want to be inspired - pursue information on this man who so seemingly benign and befuddled on TV was in reality a tiger in a bottle and creative genius behind the scenes.

With the exception of Ozzie Nelson of Ozzie & Harriet and Hugh Beaumont of Leave It to Beaver, these fictional TV Fathers much like our TV Moms represented a wide variety of roles and interpretations of the modern Family. From the sublime innocence and seemingly never ending wisdom of Harriett to the sometimes grotesque passive/aggressive caricature of an always whining blue collar and overweight Roseanne who acts about as well as she sings, this genre survives and thrives. In their respective generations they have been a sociologist’s delight - a reflection of our times, our ever changing social mores and really the changing cultural footprint of our own nation.

Barbara Billingsley and Tom Bosley taught us a thing or two about life and while they never could replace our own parents they offered us entertainment and mostly sage advice/counsel becoming the models for the perfect American Mother and Father. Compare that with our current sophisticated Reality Mentality where we have apparently careened to the other side where we are showcasing Families that are mostly dysfunctional. Maybe they are doing us a great service by relating to the issues of the day though many viewers appear incapable of recognizing parody and emulating that example have been sidetracked into a soap opera mentality that deifies the likes of celebutante and always “tongue-in-chic” Paris Hilton and arrogant and always defiant Lindsay “Trainwreck” Lohan. It has been said that the likes of those two will probably make many wax nostalgic for the good old days of sex, drugs and rock and roll.


Ned Buxton

PS. If you want an incredibly well written and accurate analysis of Family sitcoms from the 1950’s to present please go to Lynn Spigel’s extraordinary Family on Television article at the Museum of Broadcast Communications (MBC) site at which includes the threads and raison d'être for that programming. Well done. NB

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


As I write this post Juan Williams’s (JW) firing from National Public Radio (NPR) is fast becoming stale news though I would prefer that Jon Stewart and his The Daily Show on Comedy Central continue their always refreshing vigil. Their take on JW’s firing while being funny as Hell was absolutely spot-on and has been by far the brightest consequence and best perspective on this issue. Please catch it on You Tube. Kind of makes ya want to see more incredible gaffs consistent with NPR’s, “never say anything interesting policy.” Fodder, fodder everywhere.

That said, we do need to keep this issue alive and give it legs, at least a while longer. While I am really torn on Juan William’s termination by NPR there is no doubt that it was so poorly handled that it rises to a textbook example of, “How Not to Terminate an Employee.” When you see the entire interview on FOX it’s apparent that Williams’ remarks were taken and interpreted out of context - as it suited NPR’s purpose. It was equally naive and ill-advised for Williams no matter how he couched his language to go down that path.

While NPR tends to lean left, listeners could always have confidence that Williams even with a mostly liberal perspective would try to honestly and objectively report the news. For many NPR listeners (whatever their political persuasion), a sincere and eloquent Juan Williams was one of the more critical and popular elements of NPR’s news coverage. Williams, then, was a most valuable and critical part of NPR’s attempt at rational, responsible and, yes, balanced reporting. Maybe some folks don’t like Williams, but the so called “378 listener e-mails in 2008 listing complaints and frustrations about Mr. Williams” out of the millions of listeners in that same year seems totally insignificant and, frankly, well below predictable, yea, normal levels. Bottom line is that there is always a segment of our population that’s going to take offense, no matter the intent, or how benign the subject matter.

With William’s firing NPR has finally dropped the charade and publicly admitted that they can be almost as subjective and biased a news organization as FOX - dedicated only to their perspectives and viewpoints. This action begs the question: Why are other unnamed NPR analysts allowed to appear on other networks and offer their mostly liberal and sometimes outrageous perspectives and opinions without any discipline, sanctions or even termination? Methinks there is a double standard?

NPR appears to be the pot calling the kettle black in what is a case of incredible hypocrisy. Were I an analyst, correspondent or commentator on NPR I would question the integrity of an organization that does not value discourse all the while trying to figure out what I could or could not say in any public venue. NPR lost a valuable opportunity here – to sit down with JW and discuss what they considered legitimate concerns. Maybe, just maybe, they might have been able to resolve their difficulties or at least part as Friends.

Ill-advised ultra conservative Republicans have long been trying to cut any federal funding of NPR and PBS and this may just be another convenient trigger to resurrect those efforts. By the reaction of the Republican Right, now itching for a bare knuckled fight, that appears to be a given. I say, so what? If NPR is doing such a bad job I would want to preserve them and hold them up as an example of how not to do business!

John Boehner of Ohio, the House Republican leader, told National Review Online that “I think it’s reasonable to ask why Congress is spending taxpayers’ money to support a left-wing radio network — and in the wake of Juan Williams’s firing, it’s clearer than ever that’s what NPR is.” While our federal monies do not appear to support the overall news operations of PBS to pull any funding would be as dramatic and negative as NPR’s clumsy and illogical firing of Williams.

Almost as funny as NPR’s knee jerk reaction is the idea that the far right Republicans would rally to the cause of a liberal that some of that ilk are now even calling a ”closet conservative”. Nor do I think that being open minded and receptive to open debate on any issue is the exclusive bastion/domain of Conservatives or Liberals. It gets more ridiculous every day though I guess that I could adopt a more conservative posture for a two million dollar, three year deal.

Now, I consider myself a progressive with sometimes conservative, moderate and liberal perspectives on all issues. I am not a Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, Green or a “Yellow Dog” anything and choose to judge each issue/candidate on merit alone. I listen to NPR every day and appreciate much of what they report and the programming they produce. I also watch and listen to the mostly conservative and most times less than objective Fox News Network with the same mindset in order to entertain and educate myself and to cultivate an open personal dialogue with all viewpoints and perspectives. Seems simple

Williams’ firing – while handled very badly – would appear to be within the legitimate rights of any US employer with a strict at will mentality. NPR or at least the upper echelon of NPR management made a decision (and I suspect without the input of their HR gurus) that seems perfectly in line with the mostly divisive and adversarial perspectives that dominate our society today and keeps folks of good faith from openly sharing and debating legitimate opposing viewpoints. Armed with their concerns NPR had the opportunity to forge a positive dialogue with JW though instead took the low road and chose to dwell in the shadows of arrogance and indifference – to their ultimate and continuing detriment. The scary part is that they couldn’t see that coming? NPR and FOX News are diametrically opposed to each other and despite their ideological differences, they are now the same.


Ned Buxton

Saturday, October 23, 2010


All night we heard the meows (actually mews) outside our east facing bedroom window indicating a cat in distress or maybe just the nocturnal prowlings of our domesticata cavorting with their feral cousins. We knew that by morning we had to address the issue or continue to lose sleep. The plaintive calls were echoing and seemingly coming from several parts of the back yard. As it turned out, they were.

That Sunday morning when light broke and when We would be usually anticipating and preparing for another church service down at St. Matthews, I was prowling the back yard sleuthing the origin of our kitty calls. Well, lo and behold, there was a big black female cat, immediately recognized as one of the dominant neighborhood feral cats that until recently had been hanging out at a home near the end of the street. She was sitting in the gravel about midpoint of the east side of house and looking up. She saw me and as I approached her, disdainfully looked back at me as she effortlessly scooted over the eight foot wooden fence.

I walked down to where she had maintained her vigilance and was greeted by silence. I looked up and around the area for the two kittens (one black with brown spots and another totally black) she had been moving around the backyard during the week trying to escape the wrath of the resident Cairn Terrier who was bent on removing that vermin from her domain. The kittens had been spared an uncertain future only by the several intercessions of the Lady of the House and this writer.

I looked through the thick display of ferns and hostas which despite some predictable fall insect damage could still provide great cover but little protection for our kittens and still nothing. Just as I was ready to turn around and resume my preparations for church I heard several mews, again seemingly coming from the side area but never from a specific spot? The cat had been inexplicably looking up so maybe the gutters were hiding some secrets. Not possible. The plaintive calls resumed. I was standing right at one of the grates for the drains around the house… Then it hit me - Oh my God, the kitten was in the drainage system!

The side of the house has four, four inch grates, part of the drainage system that runs the perimeter of the property including the location of the earlier kitten sanctuary. I checked the back grates and voila, one of the grate covers had been removed – one of the mischievous pastimes of our aforementioned Cairn Terrier. I then replaced the grate cover. A kitten was definitely in the drainage system. Faced with the prospect of digging the kitten out or flushing it to the street, I took a deep breath and popped three of the four grate covers on the side of the house and started crying like a Mama cat. I started tapping on the sides of the openings and continued my meowing hoping to find the exact location of the kitten. She (yes, she) was initially quiet but soon started to cry. Her meows reverberated and echoed up and down the side of house hiding her exact location.

I decided to set up camp at the middle opening and try and lure the kitten to freedom. So there I was sitting cross legged in the gravel softly tapping and scratching on the side of the middle grate opening trying to meow like her Mom. After about fifteen minutes, just when I was about to move to a different opening, the kitten starting calIing out again and then voila, there was the top of her head. She was totally black and at about three weeks was just the right size to easily maneuver the drain pipe. She looked up at me, hissed loudly and popped back down into her prison.

I immediately left the area and set up surveillance at the corner of the house about twenty feet away where the kitten couldn’t see me. By this time the Lady of the House joined the circus and with her always sage and common sense advice we sought to lure her from her lair with some peanut butter and milk.

I continued my meowing and though the kitten kept sticking her head out of the opening she never fully extricated herself from her prison/refuge and never showed any interest in the food. Then all of a sudden – lo and behold - she climbed out though stayed right at the opening. She was soaking wet, scrawny and needed some attention. I started to figure out my timing to rush to the area so I could pop the grates back on to prevent her return to the drain. She made it difficult by staying right next to the hole and even climbed back in the one time I got too close.

Then Mama Cat interceded and from the other side of the fence, called to the kitten which popped out of the drain and right to the nearby fence. She moved a lot of the gravel from the bottom of the fence and scooted under to freedom. I madly rushed down the side of the house and over the gravel as fast as I could capping the three openings lest she try and climb back in. I saw her later that morning in front of the neighbor’s house - dry, apparently fed and content. All was at peace in the neighborhood.
That didn’t last…

The next morning the aforementioned Cairn Terrier pulled a 5:30 am wakeup call with an anxious, whining request to visit the front lawn. I complied - first disarming the security system, leashing her up and then exiting the house with the dog dramatically (and seemingly without effort) pulling me along. She got about ten feet out into the middle of the lawn and froze like a statue. Standing in the middle of the street about forty feet away was a very, very large male coyote (probably 50+ lbs.) who immediately took an interest in the dog (breakfast?) and started to walk towards us. I looked down the street and saw another coyote looking our way and then another that scooted around the corner.

I was getting ready to beat a hasty retreat back into the house just when the dog in an exercise of incredibly poor judgement (probably brought on by stress) assumed the position (head and body stretched forward and tail up) and started relieving herself. The opportunistic coyote continued his cautious but deliberate advance while I was figuring on a dramatic voidus interruptus when the neighbor across the street came out of his house, retrieved his newspaper, waved, said “Good morning” and went back into his home. He never saw the coyote who now startled, retreated back down the street while the dog finished her business.

We made it back into the house without incident though the dog was jittery for several days. I called City of Dallas Animal Control (DAC) who acknowledged they were aware of a coyote pack in the area and were going to be setting traps later that day. The DAC employee also advised that there was a bobcat living in the area and to take precautions with any pets.
Ahhhh Mother Nature…

I shared my early morning experience with my co-workers who immediately started swapping stories about the wildlife in their neighborhoods including the recent verified sighting of a mountain lion that decided to make nearby Plano and Collin County home. I got home that evening and the coyotes were long gone with the only vestige of their visit - a couple of piles of fur in the back alleyway that closely resembled the aforementioned kittens. So, where is our gun-toting, coyote shooting Governor Rick Perry when you need him? Sad, but as we have long stated the coyote and bobcat are now part of our urban/suburban landscape. Hey, let’s be careful out there and strive to better understand and safely interact with our wild neighbors.


Ned Buxton

Saturday, October 16, 2010


Now folks seem to either hate or love Phil Collins. I’m in that latter group and really don’t care what his detractors or the NY Times say. I like his style (liked Genesis too) and think that this new album is really fun! For all you war babies and boomers this is a nostalgic trip back to Motown soul with a Phil Collins twist. Collin’s recent interview with Scott Simon on NPR underscored the love and care that went into this album (the Funk Brothers) and that alone got my attention.

Phil Collins pulled this one off with the same spirit that Michael McDonald did with his Motowns & Soulspeak contributions and to a lesser degree the raspy throated Rod Stewart did with his very popular nostalgic offerings. Whether this is true R&B/Soul is up for legitimate debate. I think it a 21st century interpretation by Collins and a sincere expression of his love for and tribute to Motown.

Initiated R&B and Soul aficionados are in for a real treat if you keep an open mind and want to get a new look back to when music had understandable lyrics in a classic Motown musical style. Maybe, just maybe this will prompt the continued resurgence and renewed appreciation for the songs and style that made today’s music possible – in a whole new generation. With the current state of today’s musical offerings, I wonder out loud if that’s all good. We would offer that some of what is classified as music today is something else and that includes Rap and Hip Hop. I would opt to return to the music that makes sense to me.

Now, this post isn’t intended to bash or define any style or genre, just up Collins for this splendid and sincere effort and just when he has met his humanity – as he said, “stuff happens “. Where Collins only dabbled before, he now plunges in head first and maybe that’s the point.

Now no doubt all you have to do is pull up any one of a number of the original hits on this album including Papa Was a Rolling Stone -the Temptations version, Stevie Wonder’s Blame It On The Sun & Never Dreamed You'd Leave in Summer, Curtis Mayfield and The Impressions’ Talking About My Baby, In My Lonely Room by Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, or the Four Tops and their super iconic Standing in the Shadows of Love (and many more) and listen to them in their original pristine form. If you are so motivated then Collins would also have accomplished his goal to up the Motown flag.

What I think Collins has done, though, is spice the music further with his style, soul and versatile voice. Though he never intended to reinvent or redo – he did it his way – with an old approach and new perspectives becoming part of the history of this great genre. Collins continues the resurrection of the spirit of Motown and all that was right and good with that sound for a new generation and those of us in our maturity – and then some.

Those of you with long memories may recall Going Back, the bittersweet and melancholy song by Carole King & Gerry Goffin, sung by Dusty Springfield in 1966 and then by The Byrds on their now iconic 1968 album The Notorious Byrd Brothers. It was and is a great song squarely in the 60’s tradition. Let there be no doubt that Collins sang this song in tribute to Springfield. Listening to Collins singing Going Back was a poignant experience for this writer.

Not only was this a superb version but Collins vocals are an improvement over the original Springfield version. In this labor of love Collins has probably performed the most herculean task in the public interest by reminding us that going back to where it all began -maybe just maybe - is the perfect prescription to help us understand who we are and the space we now occupy. Loss of innocence aside, it doesn’t hurt to occasionally stay a while (don’t dwell too long) and ponder what were surely kinder and gentler times…


I think I’m going back
To the things I learned so well in my youth
I think I’m returning to
All those the days when I was young enough to know the truth

Now there are no games to only pass the time
No more electric trains, no more trees to climb
Thinking young and growing older is no sin
And I can play the game of life to win

I can recall a time
When I wasn’t ashamed to reach out to a friend
Now I think I’ve got
A lot more than just my toys to lend

Now there’s much to do than watch my sailboat glide
And every day can be my magic carpet ride
A little bit of freedom is all we lack

So catch me if you can, I’m going back
A little bit of courage is all we lack

So catch me if you can, I‘m going back
Going back


Ned Buxton

Saturday, October 9, 2010


Dean Kevin Martin of the Cathedral of St. Matthew in Dallas, Texas made an interesting point in his sermon last Sunday. The Dean’s message was simple and clear. When we see or experience something that is beyond the pale of public acceptance and perhaps even the law of the land, then we are obligated to run it up the flagpole for all to see and judge. Righteously motivated The Might of Right will occasionally highlight issues that fall under the banner of what Dean Kevin refers to as, it just ain’t right.

We have the right, yea, the obligation in our democratic society (within the limits imposed by law and common decency) to protest behaviors that push the boundaries of common sense and legality. Dean Kevin invoked the example of the irresponsible actions of the Wall Street barons who took home millions in 2008 while under their watch their employers lost billions bringing the United States and the world near total bankruptcy – and then received golden parachutes for doing just that. It just ain’t right.

Along the same lines and as citizen journalist Paul Wallis in Canada’s Digital Journal commented in 2009, “If you steal a pair of shoes, you’re legally understood to have committed a crime. If you misrepresent every asset, decimate the nation’s capital investment, and wipe out trillions of dollars worth of people’s money, the net legal reaction is ‘Um….’” It just ain’t right.

The new millions of Americans who worked hard all their lives and then through no fault of their own have descended to or below the poverty level because of the loss of jobs and the decimation of their retirement plans remain testament to the profiteering efforts of those motivated by greed. It just ain’t right.

We all know that the current economic conditions and the dwindling prospects of a timely recovery have affected the beliefs and attitudes of most folks enhancing and encouraging even further volatility. It is an understatement to offer that the collective consciousness of our country has dramatically changed. We are not in a good mood and that spells a ripple effect and foreboding of further challenges (reap what we sow, self-fulfilling prophecies, etc.). While we are best served by taking an optimistic view we will be dramatically hurt if we continue our negative ways and the overall lack of civility which seems to now characterize our society.
It just ain’t right.

Speaking of civility or the lack thereof: Eighty year old pastor Fred Phelps and his anti-gay fundamentalist Westboro Baptist Church (mostly his relatives) have apparently decided that God is punishing America for tolerating homosexuality by the deaths of our soldiers in Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Huh? Therefore the parishioners of the Westboro Church have been picketing soldier’s funerals across the country and carrying signs like "Thank God for Dead Soldiers" along with other equally hideous and disrespectful messages including, “God Hates You”. In my practice of the Christian Faith God doesn’t hate anybody

We note that the Topeka, Kansas-based Westboro Church is monitored as a hate group by the Anti-Defamation League and Southern Poverty Law Center. In May 2009, Phelps and his daughter Shirley were placed on the United Kingdom Home Office's "name and shame" list of people barred from entering the UK for "fostering hatred which might lead to inter-community violence".

In the case of Marine Lance Corporal Matthew Snyder - killed in Iraq in 2006 - Westboro Baptist Church members picketed Snyder’s funeral with the aforementioned signs and were alleged to have posted online messages saying that the Snyder family had “raised him for the devil.” This matter is still being decided in the courts, presently in the Supreme Court. First Amendment and free speech rights or not, It just ain’t right.

And what about 97 year old convicted war criminal - Nazi Waffen SS Captain Erich Priebke who was sentenced to life imprisonment in his Rome apartment? Further rubbing everybody’s nose in it, the Italian Court has allowed Priebke to leave house arrest for such everyday activities as shopping or going to church so that he may take care of the “indispensable needs for his life."? We think that this looks and sounds like someone living a “normal” life. The ruling has sparked outrage and protests throughout Italy and the rest of Europe. The Might of Right didn’t realize that there was a statute of limitations for, “crimes against humanity.” It just ain’t right.”

The behaviors of BP Oil and their attempts to cover up the full impact of the Deepwater Horizon spill coupled with the incredible insensitivities of then BP CEO Tony Hayward are seemingly trumped by yet another revelation – the extent of the use of prison labor.

BP is now engaging a huge and well-orchestrated PR blitz to repair its tattered image by proudly declaring that it has hired the, then and now, local populations of the Gulf Coast to handle the clean-up. While we know that’s partially true, we learned recently that part of their local, out of work employees included local – mostly African American prison inmates. How do we know this to be true? The inmates were wearing scarlet pants and white t-shirts with the words "Inmate Labor" printed in large red block letters on their backs. This was a poorly kept secret especially after local residents protested followed by many media revelations and finally the July 21, 2010 article in The Nation by Abe Louise Young.

Now, I don’t have a problem with BP using this readily available, cheap work force along with local residents so long as all workers know the risks, volunteer and are properly trained and equipped. It’s also a redemptive opportunity for these inmates to contribute positively to society in contrast to at least some of their past behaviors. However, instead of running their program up the flagpole for all to see and appreciate, BP’s reaction was to literally change the inmates’ uniforms from prison garb to BP Shirts, jeans and rubber boots and then withhold public comment causing folks to wonder about the deception (or at least deflection). We now know the reasons for the stonewall and all the law enforcement at some of these work sites. Gang, it just ain’t right.

The always bizarre Lady Gaga wore a controversial meat dress (and hat, shoes and purse) made from an estimated 40 pounds of flank steak to the September 12th MTV Video Music Awards. In a show of incredible stupidity and insensitivity in an era of deprivation and want Lady Gaga and designer Franc Fernandez have managed to offend just about everybody except a few fashion flames and the anything goes crowd.

Then comes along Bruce Willis on the October 4 David Letterman Show wearing a bright red hair piece that he billed as 100 percent pure organic sirloin beef. Obviously inspired by Lady Gaga, Willis, though he later tried to convince the media that the apparent steak tartare piece was faux meat (looked real to me), should receive the Meathead of The Year Award for that stunt and for all the aforementioned reasons. If Willis’ intent was to mock and ridicule Lady Gaga, he didn’t succeed. PETA’s understandable reaction (they deserve each other) and the attendant waste by Gaga and Willis (no, I’m not vegetarian) points to a lack of understanding and connection to the real world. It just ain’t right.

And what about that driver sitting at Preston Road in Plano, Texas and apparently contemplating a right hand, southerly turn as I approached from the north. Some 200 feet away I noticed the driver and just had one of those intuitive moments that said, “Watch out for that one.” I approached though slowing down to about 40 miles an hour (below the speed limit) and at 100 feet, fifty and then thirty feet – yes, he turned out right in front of me. I had to slam on my brakes and swerve into the center lane. Without missing a beat and at a slow rate of speed – maybe five to ten miles an hour – he takes absolutely no notice. But how could he? He was on his cell phone and chatting and gesturing and posturing with great vigor.
It just ain’t right.

And finally, we have Southern Baptist Seminary President Albert Mohler who recently proclaimed that Yoga and all that stretching and meditative discipline derived from Eastern religions is, “not a Christian pathway to God.” Now I know a lot of Christian folks who participate in Yoga-based exercise classes without all the chanting and references to Hinduism, Buddhism or Jainism and they appear to be comfortable with their pathway and ultimate salvation.

Mohler said he objects to, "the idea that the body is a vehicle for reaching consciousness with the divine." Well, that statement conflicts with my Christian taught principle that cultivation of the mind, soul and body can lead to a more fulfilling life and the attainment of Christian ideals.

Methinks that we are talking about two entities here: Yoga the exercise and meditation activities and Yoga the religion in all its myriad forms. Now if I am a practicing Yogi I could care less about Mohler or his perspectives – just another ugly, eccentric American. If I use the elements of Yoga (all that stretching and meditation) then I am trying to figure out where this guy’s coming from. Mohler appears to be just another ethnocentric individual uncomfortable with the reality and perceived threat of any alternate, competing philosophy/theology (my way or the highway). Where do these people come from and why do we give them so much control over our lives? It just ain’t right.

More later, I am sure. Lots of material - all I have to do is watch the news every day.


Ned Buxton

Sunday, October 3, 2010


We were all intrigued by Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto and then the controversy that it stirred. Many agree that while the movie seemed a hodge-podge of several different Maya eras, it did make its point. First, it was theater and second, while entertaining us it prompted a reemphasis on one of the great cultures of the world. In keeping with Hollywood tradition it catered and played to our 21st century sensitivities and perspectives by highlighting and exaggerating some of the more visceral and violent aspects of Maya culture – human sacrifice. Now while the Maya weren’t nearly as prolific in their sacrifices as the Aztecs (The Tenochcas) they weren’t the “noble savages” that some purists insist. The Maya from their mind’s eye were engaging sacred ritual to appease their gods and guarantee that the sun would rise yet one more time – the only way they knew how. Indeed, they believed that the ultimate fate of their world and its inhabitants and the natural order of all things depended in part on bloodletting and human sacrifice.

The previously held ideal that the Maya were a contemplative and peaceful religious society is a bunch of hogwash and all the PC in the world won’t change that reality. We know now that the Maya practiced human sacrifice and ritual cannibalism and we have much evidence to include the murals of Bonampak and countless other artifacts that document these behaviors. We neither condemn nor praise these practices – the ancient Maya were who they were like the Olmecs before them and all the other great Mesoamerican cultures.

Indeed, Mesoamerica spawned many great cultures and that time line starts as early as 30,000 BP (maybe earlier) and we are still in process of putting all the pieces together. In reality, we have only just begun this quest.

When I was in college in the sixties we were told that while the Maya demonstrated a sophisticated written language via their glyph system, no one had yet deciphered any significant part of it. In short, we were totally in the dark. We studied the magnificent Maya culture (as best we could) and the trappings and architecture in Copan, Tikal, Uxmal, Tulum and Chichen Itza among many other city states and I sometimes felt blind - incapable of truly understanding and embracing the totality of their universe. That was an accurate statement then though we know now that Mayan was, “a written language much more complete and complex than any other practiced in the ancient Americas.” Now, it is the most understood of all the Mesoamerican languages and that didn’t come easy.

It took an army of linguists, anthropologists, archeologists, mathematicians, an architect, a few brilliant hobbyists, and one twelve-year-old child prodigy glyphs expert, to solve the riddle of the Mayan written language. Those folks included Constantine Rafinesque, Ernst Förstemann, Alfred Maudsley, Eric Thompson, Yuri Knorosov, Linda Schele and David Stuart in the 1980’s (among many others) to unravel the Mayan language puzzle.

Couple that with the incredible archeological discoveries of the last few decades and we see other substantial pieces of the Maya puzzle revealed. We need to put the Maya civilization in perspective with some of the other great cultures on our planet. The Maya had one of the most densely populated and culturally dynamic societies in the world and if we combine the Maya Pre and post classic with their Classic period we have a timeline roughly from 2000 BCE to 1521 CE. That puts the Maya squarely contemporary with Greece, Rome, Egypt, China, Ancient Ghana, Axum, Phoenicia, Persia and India among many others.

Now comes along Daniel Finamore, the Russell W. Knight Curator of Maritime Art and History at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA and Stephen D. Houston, the Dupee Family Professor of Social Science and Professor of Archaeology at Brown University in Providence, RI who put together a Maya exhibition (Fiery Pool: The Maya and the Mythic Sea) that is more of a cultural celebration touching on the water elements of Maya society without exaggerating the aforementioned “dark side” of the Maya. That exhibition started at the host Peabody Essex Museum, is now at the Kimbell Arts Museum in Fort Worth, Texas (August 29, 2010 through January 2,2011) and will ultimately travel to the Saint Louis Art Museum( February 13, 2011 - May 8, 2011).

Fiery Pool: The Maya and the Mythic Sea delves into the Maya’s physical realm (they were surrounded by water) and their spiritual relationship with that element. “Fiery Pool” is the phrase the Maya used to describe the sea and when the glyph for water was deciphered (yea only about 20 years ago) it opened up a whole new train of thought and new and now accurate meanings of artifacts that previously misinterpreted - led us down the primrose path. This new scholarship has lent new meaning to, “I once was blind but now I see” and, indeed, we now do.

We expect nothing but a first class experience from The Kimbell and they have not disappointed us. The visual aids in this exhibition are superb with plenty of stimulus and opportunity for every age and scholastic level. From the casting of the Maya temple at the start of the tour to detailed drawings, audio visual explanations highlighted by superb graphics and dialogue to a large table top and circular interactive screen of the sea/ocean where guests can touch the screen and select an animal from the water such as a shark, frog or turtle, associate it with its glyph and then discover the significance of that creature in Maya culture.

We now know that the ancient Maya viewed their world as inseparable from water as the element not only necessary to sustain life, but the vital medium from which the world emerged, the sun rose and set, their gods arose and through which their ancestors spoke. Water in all its myriad forms from fog/clouds to rivers and streams to cenotes to sea shaped their whole existence – they were all connected.

My favorite piece in Fiery Pool is an elaborate ceramic incense burner from Palenque, Mexico (700–750 CE) which portrays a deity central to the Maya creation myth. Not surprisingly, he is of the water world. A shark serves as his headdress which is topped by a toothy crocodile. It is magnificent…

I suspect that perhaps tonight a Maya elder in Yucatan will gather young children around a fire and relate the Maya creation myth just as it has been told for thousands of years. Another generation of Maya will be educated and motivated to celebrate and preserve their culture. No, the Maya didn’t go away. Not unlike the Italians after the fall of the Roman Empire, the Maya did not disappear. They stayed and now number over six million in Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. They are alive and well

So, whatever you’re doing or wherever you’re from, make plans to go to the Kimbell Arts Museum in Fort Worth and treat yourself to a once in a lifetime chance to see and experience this great culture – revealed for the first time. While you’re in Fort Worth saunter on over to the Stockyards and take in Billy Bob’s, the world’s largest honkey tonk and Joe T. Garcia's Mexican Restaurant - since 1935 the worst kept secret and one of the greatest Family celebrations in Tarrant County. Be forewarned - like the ancient Maya they don’t accept plastic.


Ned Buxton