Saturday, February 28, 2009

Go Texan Days

This might turn into one of my “rambling on rants”; here’s hoping I stumble onto an item worth mentioning, eventually.

Last night was the Chili Cook Off at church, a yearly event timed to match up with the arrival of the trail riders on their way into town for the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo (HLSR). There were lots of entries, hot chili, medium and mild, corn breads with or without jalapeno chunks and several kinds of brownies to munch on later. Awards were given out for this that or the other with the Grand Prize going to my friend Joel for overall best chili.

I got an award for my chili many years ago, The Boot, for having the worst chili. At the time I was the Sunday School President so it was my responsibility to enter the chili cook off; even if I didn’t have clue on how to make chili. I did what I normally did when I wanted some chili; opened some cans of chili that were under the cabinet there in the kitchen. That would have been okay except I got distracted and let the chili sit on the stove way too long. I thought that burned stuff at the bottom of the pot added a rustic trail boss taste which would cover up the fact that it was nothing more than “store bought”; but everyone else kept saying it tasted like it was burnt and that I should stick to making keys. I still got an award, not that most folks would brag about havin’ the worst of anything, ‘less of course your trophy case is sort of barren to begin with.

The HLSR is/was one of the biggest rodeo events anywhere, some say it is, some say it ain’t (“taint” if you want to really get into this rod-day-oh thing); but it’s perty’ danged big any way you look at it. When working for the Houston Police Department they would issue the official HPD Go Texan bow ties to be worn instead of the regular black uniform tie. Back then some officers, like me, would call that clip on bow tie “hokey” ; but in today’s language that translates to “cheesy”. I guess they must have watched too many television episodes of Maverick and thought we needed to… not sure what exactly, just needed to.

I would, as part of my assigned duties, “bring in” the trail riders from the out skirts of town to their evening destination at Memorial Park, just inside Loop 610. Most of the riders took a great deal of pride, others found it difficult staying in the saddle the closer it got to sunset, all that Wild Turkey having set in. Each year at least one had to be put in an ambulance after falling on his head, or worse. BTW, it’s very early on Saturday, couldn’t sleep so I decided to blog. Today’s the Rodeo Parade so if you’re in the Houston area, that’s not mud on the road way; don’t step in it.

I get to attend an 8 hour block of State mandated locksmith credit course hours today so I can keep my locksmith license; oh how I look forward to this each time it comes around. I was talking with a fellow locksmith who started his involvement in the locksmith industry about the same time I did some thirty plus years ago. Fact is, he’s the one teaching the “basic automotive locksmith class” I’m sitting in on; yea, kind of makes you wonder now don’t it, my being an automotive locksmith specialist an making a living that way for the past thirty plus years.

I could take any number of classes on the list; just that I’ve no interest in those other aspects of the locksmith industry since I only work on the automotive end of it. I’ve no interest in door closers, IC, remote camera or any of the fringe security stuff that has been grouped into the industry; but it’s nice that some pencil head has decided for me what should or shouldn’t be important. I normally leave my pistol at home to keep from temptation; maybe I could‘a saved the rest of the locksmith industry if I’d only taken out a couple of those pencil heads years back; pencil heads, can’t live with ‘em, can’t can’t shoot ‘em!

Anyway, we got to talking and it turns out the folks who pull my strings up in Austin, the same sharp folks who mandate that I take 8 hours of remedial training, like “basic automotive locksmith” or the ever popular “ethics” just to keep my license; anyway, those folks are reportedly going to up the ante to 16 hours in the very near future. God how I love pencil head busy bodies who haven’t got any clue as to what it means to be part of America and the free market system much less what it means to be Texan through and through. Maybe we ought to take them out back behind the barn and thump ‘em a few times up aside the head till they get some sense.

If I had my choice of places to be today it would have been the Retired Police Officer’s Reunion over that the Houston Police Academy. I had some old slide photographs taken back in 1974 which I wanted to share so I made a trip over that way during the week. These pictures were taken by Lucy and showed a Chief’s Inspection of the Point Control Division, the old “Three Wheelers”. I weighed right at 140 pounds back then, soakin’ wet, ate five or six meals a day just to “maintain”; those days sure are gone.

I went through the slide pictures and was able to identify several of the individuals, not all. Carroll Lynn was the Chief back then, hope I spelled his name right; that was before he was convicted and sent off to prison. Lot’s of folks thought it was an embarrassment but I thought the row of numbers under his picture made him look distinguished. Lynn was either a Captain or a Lieutenant, in charge of hiring police cadets back when I first joined the HPD and, as was later found out, he was using the Department to fill the ranks of his own private security company; at least that’s what was alleged. Those who signed up to be cops; but were rejected for this that or the other, might find a job working as a security guard instead, until they acquired some street skills and then re-apply to be with HPD later on. I suppose that was a conflict of interests and Lynn should have had more sense; all water under the bridge.

It’s almost 5:30am now and I’ll hear the alarm clock going off soon. I can get ready for that mandated class time over at the Greater Houston Locksmith Association. I have a hard time justifying having to pay $ 125.00 out of my wallet to a fellow locksmith so I can get a check mark on my “dance card” which will alert the pencil pushers in Austin that I am following the rules and regulations set up to protect the public from scumbag fly by night crook/locksmith “wanna be’s”.

I like the opening scene from that stupid submarine movie, the one where the Naval Officer sets the golf ball on the tee, drives it toward the green and then the camera pans out showing the shot had been taken from atop a submarine passing by the golf course, “God I love this job!”. Can I sign up for another class, “Locksmith Tool Box” or perhaps, “Getting Along with Austin Pencil Heads”.

It’s a good thing I was at the police pistol range last week familiarizing myself with a new pistol I purchased; wouldn’t want it going off by accident during that class where I’m supposed to learn how springs and wafers line up with the cuts on the key and thereby permit the lock cylinder in the ignition switch to turn the car on. I’ve always been a fan of Smith & Wesson; wonder if the 40 Cal can be used to pick locks from the 5, 10 and 20 range markers; place the stubborn lock on pivoting target stands. “Is the line hot? The line is hot!” “GM side bar ignition blown away on lane two, Marksmanship award and CU credit points earned in the semi automatic pistol picking category.”

I saw where a group of racially motivated folks want to take over the HRLS and make it a public entity, fully stocked with a representative percentage of minorities; but only blacks and Hispanics with no mention of Asians, guess the Asians are too smart to play the “I’m a Loser But You Have to Hire Me Because I’m a Person of Color” game”; Milton Bradley is rumored to have that game in stock and available just as soon as their legal defense team has worked past the problematic Hate Speech function which continues to be an ongoing issue.

Johnny Mata ragged on and Sheila Jackson “Socialist” Lee had her face in front of the microphone lecturing everyone on the need for immediate legislation to open up leadership positions for minorities within the Good Ole’ Boy ranks of the Whitey establishment of the HRLS. It’s embarrassing folks, they still think we’re living in the 50’s; give it up with this race card BS.

“The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo said that it has awarded almost $12 million in scholarships in the last two years with more than half going to minorities.” Yup, that sounds like a big problem, not a fair percentage of white kids getting scholarships; better get a bigoted whitey in front of a microphone or the whole rodeo program needs to be scrapped.

I better get a quick shower and drive over the other side of town now. Looking forward to a “Zero Budget Day” for my locksmith business since I’m a one horse operation there really isn’t anyone to run my service calls today.

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