Monday, November 30, 2009

The Daily Silliness

Too much nuance to handle in one news report: "He may have been kicked in the groin or head while on the ground, although accounts differ," said Donald Zimring, superintendent of the Las Virgenes Unified School District.



Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Daily Silliness

hahaha . . . i just noticed that google maps calls the local school Schreiner Institute . . . it hasn't had that name in 36 years . . . that's pre-google, pre-internet, pre-home computers . . . loi


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Friday, November 27, 2009

COM: Class People All the Way

GLENN BECK: I don't think things are hoots. I don't. I don't think it's a hoot. I would never use the word hoot, and I respectfully ask that every time my name is brought up she would stop using the word 'hoot.' [...]

No, no I'm just saying -- Beck-Palin, I'll consider. But Palin-Beck -- can you imagine, can you imagine what an administration with the two of us would be like? What? Come on! She'd be yapping or something, and I'd say, "I'm sorry, why am I hearing your voice? I'm not in the kitchen."

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Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Daily Silliness

Well, it was fun while it lasted . . .


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The Daily Silliness

Yo Texas, I’m really happy for you, and I'ma let you finish, but A&M has one of the best games of all time. One of the best games of all time!


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ATH: Tweets from the A&M-Texas Game

fidoz Someone in the endzone held up a honey glazed ham and distracted the A&M kicker.

BradFalcone23 A&M's kicker is not getting laid

bighutch this UT-A&M shit is going to give me a stroke.

4th quarter -- funny how my twitter and email have shut down pretty much completely . . . i know too many ags and horns . . . also funny how the trending tweets on the game have gone from dissing a&m's defense to dissing texas' as the game wears on . . . very funny

cursmudgeoney Texas player down, Deon Beasley. The boisterous Kyle Field is dead quiet. A&M students and players look as worried as Texas kids. Class!

JohnBFischer I admire the Texas A&M football players praying for the injured Texas Longhorn player. Sportsmanship at its finest.

TylenniusBoje I really got to give a&m alot of respect for the moment of silents in the satium and the team

wtdoyle one thing Texas A&M does have class and respect...

dodrummond Reaffirmed respect for the A&M program after that injury to Beasley. Product of over a century of rivalry.

kaleljmz Awesome respect shown from A&M regarding our players injury... always appreciated

wtexas17 Wow he's been down 4 a while. Im glad that A&M are being respectful. I know its a rivalry game, but some1's life overrides that.

photonell remarkably good sportmanship by A&M players while Beasley is down. made me tear up.

phxreguy: I am not particularly fond of Texas A&M. But class act by team and fans while UT player was down.

ToriJohnson: "Notice how quiet it is at A&M. Good sportsmanship..." class

terryheller i swore i wouldn't let this damn game get to me, but even tho we're ahead by 2 touchdowns it feels like NOTHING when we're playing

Dewveall FRUSTRADED: Texas vs. Texas A&M is on and I can't watch it.

evanblackwell: I can't be the only one who thinks the TX A&M yell leaders dress like staff members of a 1960s mental institution.

RebelJaye At my god mothers house drinking, trimming the tree, good music, good company, texas/ a&m game on mute. Lifes good!

catholic_kelly I got no intarwebs. How's the A&M-Texas game?

RamonCastillo2 Did you hear about the skeleton they found in a closet in one of the dorms at A&M? It was the 1963 hide-and-go-seek champion!

TheUltimateGent Still in Texas. They all wild ln on this Texas/Texas A&M

kstrather So I guess no ones majoring in Defense at Texas and Texas A & M. Good game. Hope the longhorns wins

RileyChris I wonder if Colt will thank the A&M defense during his Heisman speech

kevinphanley Thank you god for Texas vs. A & M for a decent football game on thanksgiving.

Scrapgirl933 Dear Texas A&M please make an Oklahoma fan happy and ruin Texas' season.

adamgleaves For the sake of saving the country from listening to Texas fans screaming about getting screwed this year, let's go A&M!

SammyWallace A&M has more cheers against UT then they do for there own self support!.. Think about that..

austintx Dear A&M, it's not gonna happen.

lesliettravis 84,671 is the attendance in CS watching

kungfusquirrel On the other hand, I really like the ribbon on A&M's logo. Great tribute.

uncle_sean Dear Texas A&M: please remember there is a 3rd quarter in every game you play.

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The Daily Silliness

Kinda thinkin' Gig 'em about now . . .


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The Daily Silliness

i don't know why, but i was thinking today might be a good time to say thanks to all my friends and angels for being my friends and angels


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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Daily Silliness

TG Facebook Rule 2: if you "like" every single status update, photo or comment someone makes, we get it, you're desperate, you can stop now


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The Daily Silliness

TG Facebook Rule 1: the number of status updates one feels compelled to comment on is directly proportional to the lameness of said comments


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The Daily Silliness

FakeAPStylebook -- "For balance, Thanksgiving articles should also contain quotes from devastated turkey families."


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ATH: Big Ingram Night . . . Almost

ITM nearly knocks off 4A Medina Valley
The Daily Times, Published November 25, 2009

The Ingram Tom Moore boys basketball team more than just hung in with Medina Valley Tuesday in Ingram, they nearly knocked off the Class 4A school, 56-55. Medina Valley needed every second of the game to beat the Warriors, as a Panther player hit a floater in the lane as the buzzer sounded.

“We did everything we could besides foul him,” ITM coach Brice Reynolds said of the play. “(The Warriors) played their butts off against a 4A school.”

Leading the Warriors were junior Montana Martin, who recorded a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds despite playing in foul trouble throughout the game, and Cody Asbury, who had a team high 16 points and three steals.

Jarrett Jacobs added 14 points and two steals, while Hunter Brophy grabbed nine rebounds.

Reynolds told his team he was more proud of them than at any point this season and added that the senior leadership showed against the larger school.

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Daily Silliness

people . . . !


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Monday, November 23, 2009

The Daily Silliness

Thanksgiving Week: Shrimp Linguini, Gunter Hotel, Majestic Show, Genuine Humanity, Professional Eyes & Ears, Three Spirits, Six-Part Harmony


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MSC: Old Friends in SA Yesterday

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The Daily Silliness

tonto is back home . . . and feeling starry-eyed and angelified


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ENV: In the Deep Blue Sea

5,600 new species found in deep sea
Researchers catalog life in pitch-black zone once thought to be ‘barren’

The Associated Press, updated 5:40 a.m. CT, Mon., Nov . 23, 2009

NEW ORLEANS - The creatures living in the depths of the ocean are as weird and outlandish as the creations in a Dr. Seuss book: tentacled transparent sea cucumbers, primitive "dumbos" that flap ear-like fins, and tubeworms that feed on oil deposits.

A report released Sunday recorded 17,650 species living below 656 feet, the point where sunlight ceases. The findings were the latest update on a 10-year census of marine life.

"Parts of the deep sea that we assumed were homogenous are actually quite complex," said Robert S. Carney, an oceanographer at Louisiana State University and a lead researcher on the deep seas.

Thousands of marine species eke out an existence in the ocean's pitch-black depths by feeding on the snowlike decaying matter that cascades down — even sunken whale bones. Oil and methane also are an energy source for the bottom-dwellers, the report said.

The researchers have found about 5,600 new species on top of the 230,000 known. They hope to add several thousand more by October 2010, when the census will be done.

The scientists say they could announce that a million or more species remain unknown. On land, biologists have catalogued about 1.5 million plants and animals.

'Least explored environment'
They say they've found 5,722 species living in the extreme ocean depths, waters deeper than 3,280 feet.

"The deep sea was considered a desert until not so long ago; it's quite amazing to have documented close to 20,000 forms of life in a zone that was thought to be barren," said Jesse Ausubel with the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, a sponsor of the census. "The deep sea is the least explored environment on earth."

More than 40 new species of coral were documented on deep-sea mountains, along with cities of brittlestars and anemone gardens. Nearly 500 new species ranging from single-celled creatures to large squid were charted in the abyssal plains and basins.

Also of importance were the 170 new species that get their energy from chemicals spewing from ocean-bottom vents and seeps. Among them was a family of "yeti crabs," which have silky, hairlike filaments on the legs.

Expensive equipment
In the mid-Atlantic, researchers found 40 new species and 1,000 in all, said Odd Aksel Bergstad, an oceanographer with the University of Bergen in Norway who was reached by telephone in the Azores islands.

"It was a surprise to me to find such rich communities in the middle of the ocean," he said. "There were not even good maps for the area. Our understanding of the biodiversity there was very weak."

More than 2,000 scientists from 80 countries are working to catalog the oceans' species.

Researching the abyss has been costly and difficult because it involved deep-towed cameras, sonar and remotely operated vehicles that cost $50,000 a day to operate, Carney said.

Once the census is complete, the plan is to publish three books: a popular survey of sea life, a second book with chapters for each working group and a third focusing on biodiversity.


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Saturday, November 21, 2009

MSC: Polly's Back in Town!

Reviews of the new album:

Lyle Lovett
Natural Forces
(Lost Highway)

Jim Beal, Jr.,
San Antonio Express-News

Lyle Lovett is an excellent judge of songwriting, a knowledgeable fan and a smart performing wordsmith who knows what works for him and for his fans.

On Natural Forces, his 14th release since '86, Lovett mixes covers — four by guys who were influential on the Houston folk scene of the '70s and early '80s, Townes Van Zandt, Don Sanders, Vince Bell and Eric Taylor — with originals, including one written with Robert Earl Keen and one with longtime girlfriend April Kimble.

Lovett lets his wry, sometimes overt, sometimes subtle, sense of humor mingle with thoughtfulness and sentimentality. Pantry, written with Kimble, and Farmer Brown/Chicken Reel are funny. The title track, and its "home is where my horse is" chorus, is poignant. In between, Lovett and his music-making aces strike the unclassifiable Lyle Lovett balance, natural and not forced.

By Stormy Lewis
Last Updated: October 28, 2009 12:10 PM

With Natural Forces, Lyle Lovett breathes new life in the western swing/jazz fusion that has held him in good stead for years. The heart of his music is still poetic songs about everyday people which match his dry voice with elegantly lush arrangements. However, Lyle draws back some on the gospel and blues influences which have infused his music lately and returns to the simpler, more country ballads that were a hallmark of his 90’s work The result is a stirring and vibrant reminder of why Lyle Lovett stands out in a large crowd of legendary Teas singers.

Natural Forces opens with the Lovett penned title track, in which he laments “I am subject to natural forces/my home is where my horse is.” It is a fitting and proper warning that Lovett is taking us on a trip through a variety of Texas songwriters, including him. Purists may decry the lack of original material, but the covers are good hands with Lovett. His rendition of Townes Van Zandt’s Loretta is simply stunning. Only “Its Rock and Roll,” which Lovett himself wrote with Robert Earl Keen seems out of place, but it is still worth it if only for the line “The one you hate the most is the newest up and comer/and the one you love the most just ran off with your drummer.” However, he does save a few places on the album for that famous Texas songwriter Lyle Lovett and his “Empty Blue Shoes” is one of the best songs on the album. Lovett even includes a track co-penned by his girlfriend April Kimble, although the bonus track acoustic version of Pantry works better than the original.

Lyle Lovett’s music is as simple and appetizing as the down home cooking Texas he references. Natural Forces comes together like a good old fashioned family potluck. He blends together a perfect mixture of traditional and new ingredients and invites a group of friends over for an unforgettable event.

By Jewly Hight, The 9513

On paper, an album that leads with four original songs—two of those hot in groove and content—then enters a long stretch of languid, story-centric covers, before wrapping up with an all-out rock and roll cut and a string-band reprisal of one of those earlier bawdy numbers might come off as a tad fragmented. Whose album it is makes all the difference in the world. And it happens to be Lyle Lovett’s, the embodiment of Texas musical breadth; the man who has, throughout his 24-year recording career—briefly begun in the progressive ‘80s country mainstream, but mostly spent out by the country/Americana border—dared to treat singer-songwriter folk, jump blues, western swing, honky tonk and gospel all as suitable building blocks for a body of work. Needless to say, Natural Forces makes good sense coming from him.

That famed Large Band of Lovett’s, referenced in the titles of no less than two of his albums, is not so large here. Gone is the bright, jazzy coloring the horns and gospely backing choir contributed to 2007’s It’s Not Big It’s Large. His new album is, for the most part, a sparer, more acoustic-based affair befitting the earthiness of both the material and the way he delivers it. Subtly, very subtly, he draws together the elements of his oeuvre, reminding us what elaborate introspective storytelling and singing the blues can have to do with each other. That point isn’t made terribly often—not convincingly, at least—in any sector of contemporary country.

The churning country-blues title track opens the set with a confession of restlessness rife with Texas (and generally southwestern) imagery, natural and man-made. Then Lovett turns to natural forces of a slightly different sort. He’s often written with prodigious wit, but “Farmer Brown/Chicken Reel” (for some reason—tracklist G-ratedness or the element of surprise—he opted not to use the lyric hook, “choke my chicken,” as the title) and “Pantry” are among his finest achievements in the double entendre arena. “Farmer Brown” swings hard, with Lovett and the drums, then Lovett and an enthusiastic chorus (made up of the musicians on the session) locked in an energetic call-and-response, invoking chicken-choking of both the barnyard and human male varieties. “Pantry” is the very next track. It’s a rollicking, steel-laced two-beat, and a plea for sexual and downhome culinary fidelity: “Keep it in your pantry.”

Once those two are out of the way, followed by a wistful ballad from Lovett’s pen titled “Empty Blue Shoes,” it’s almost all songs by Texans who aren’t him from there on out. New and original Lovett material is a welcomed thing; but in the case of a shortage, he knows how to select sturdy songs that feel natural for him to sing. A few of the songwriters he drew on for his 1998 two-disc covers album Step Inside This House pop up here as well. Townes Van Zandt’s an obvious choice. Eric Taylor and Vince Bell, not so much, although Taylor’s “Whooping Crane,” a yearning, finger-picking folk number that rather poetically captures a sense of environmental and spiritual loss, and Bell’s introspective “Sun and Moon and Stars,” which balances stubbornness and regret, are a couple of fine moments. So is David Ball’s “Don’t You Think I Feel It Too,” a willowy Texas waltz that plumbs the sadness on both sides of ebbing love.

These songs are all about evocative lyrics; their melodies and chord movements are understated, though pleasing, support. But Lovett sings them sensually, a little more sensually, it seems, than he has some songs of that ilk in the past. He sounds familiar enough with the material to relax and feel, rather than focus on, the words; to bring a bodily aspect of what he does—singing like a sly, blues-shaded devil—to that other, more confessional form of expression. Natural Forces probably won’t replace Lovett’s early triumphs—Pontiac, for one—as a career-defining recording, but it’s plenty satisfying.

By Corey DuBrowa, Paste Magazine
Tall-haired Texan delivers his best album in more than a decade

Lyle Lovett is the ultimate AAA artist in a ten-gallon hat: Not quite country, not exactly blues, and definitely not jazz (though he’s sympathetic to the tradition), Lovett has coupled his witty wordplay with an eclectic grab bag of musical adornment throughout his nearly quarter-century career. But it hasn’t often been as compelling as on his 11th long player, Natural Forces (which, on the title track, rhymes with “home is where my horse is”). Essentially the third chapter of the country-centric trilogy he’s been unspooling since 1996’s The Road to Ensenada and 2003’s My Baby Don’t Tolerate, Lovett’s latest is an epic in the wide-open Texas tradition, featuring four original songs (“Natural Forces” and “Empty Blue Shoes” ranking among the finest he’s written) and another seven from various Texas songwriters, including Lovett’s heroes Townes Van Zandt and Robert Earl Keen (who co-wrote “It’s Rock and Roll,” the gritty, uptempo, album closer). Far more than just a curator and tasteful interpreter of others’ material, Lovett once again proves he can stand alongside the finest storytellers.

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The Daily Stuff

Big Win Night: Tivy wins second round playoff 63-56, Johnny Manziel is a machine, ITM Basketball wins 70-39 . . .


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ATH: Tivy takes another leap

Alamo city shootout
John Turner, The Daily Times, Published November 22, 2009

SAN ANTONIO — Quarterback Johnny Manziel handed off the end around to Braedon White, who handed off the reverse to Mikhail Ironside, who found Manziel running wide open down the right sideline for the go-ahead touchdown with 3:54 to play Friday at Heroes Stadium.

The 39-yard pass gave Tivy its first lead of the game, 63-56, and sent the Antlers past Pflugerville Hendrickson and into the Class 4A, Division II regional semifinal round.

The throwback to Manziel had been attempted earlier in the game by Tivy but was nearly picked off. This time, the play worked to perfection, giving Manziel his first receiving touchdown of the night to go with four rushing and four passing scores.


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Friday, November 20, 2009

The Daily Stuff

Irec has leaped into the world of speaking parts on FNL!


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ATH: Hall of Fame nominees announced

Soccer Hall Player Ballot Announced

from the US National Team Players Association

The National Soccer Hall of Fame released the Player Ballot for the Class of 2010. Chris Henderson, Eduardo Hurtado, and John O’Brien appear on the ballot for the first time. A player needs 66.7% of votes casts to be elected on the first ballot. If no player meets that threshold, the five highest vote getters will be put on a second ballot. Voters will be asked to rank those players 5,4,3,2,1 with their top choice at 5. The player with the most points will be elected to the Hall of Fame.

  • Mike Burns
  • Mauricio Cienfuegos
  • Raul Diaz Arce
  • Thomas Dooley
  • John Doyle
  • Marco Etcheverry
  • Robin Fraser
  • Chris Henderson
  • Eduardo Hurtado
  • Dominic Kinnear
  • Roy Lassiter
  • Shannon MacMillan
  • Joe-Max Moore
  • Victor Nogueira
  • Peter Nowak
  • John O’Brien
  • Cindy Parlow
  • Preki Radosavljevic
  • Mike Sorber
  • Earnie Stewart
  • Steve Trittschuh
  • Carlos Valderrama
  • Tisha Venturini-Hoch
  • Peter Vermes

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You're Dangerous 3

Yes, this is you. You were using the center turn lane as a staging lane to merge into traffic. So i took your picture (and yeah i'd love to get your picture IN the turn lane, but by the time i get my camera turned on you've already made your move . . . still this is you, and you know you did it). I oughta go to the police and file a complaint, but i'm not into that (not to mention the times i have seen cops in the vicinity when this takes place and never once have i seen anyone pulled over for it). I am into people taking responsibility for their own actions anyway, and thinking of others in the process. Because, you see, this is not only illegal it's dangerous. And here's why. Because it's illegal, i always assume that that person pulling into the lane is oblivious to the drivers around them, often bearing down at high speed, and is about to pull in front of me and get slammed at 50, 60, miles an hour. So i brake, really hard sometimes, because not only are you illegal, you're often sloppy too and get so close to the lane that i'm certain we're going to collide . . . not to mention that over the years i have had people who DID pull into my lane completely oblivious to me bearing down at highway speed. So i take no chances. And of course for the people behind me, often oblivious themselves, it is harrowing to suddenly be bearing down on me at high speed from behind when i shouldn't be braking in my lane. That puts me in danger from two directions. And i resent it. Resent that, in your freaking hurry to get somewhere, that extra five or ten seconds of driving safely gives way to this stupid practice of yours. And isn't it ironic that one of you is driving a company vehicle? I oughta call your boss to complain, but jobs are hard to come by aren't they, so why don't you get a little common sense and set aside a little of your time-greed. And i have not even touched on the inconvenience and danger presented when you are in that lane moving and someone needs to get in it to turn legitimately . . . I am not amused.

Yeah that's you!

Yeah that's you! Does the company know you're driving like that?

And yeah that's You! And not only are you using the
lane improperly,
but you nearly rear-end someone who's in the
turn lane correctly and you just barely
get into a proper lane, and
oh look, you're on the phone too! How considerate
dangerous of you . . .

And oops, that's you!

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MSC: Robert's New Year's Show!

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MSC: Roddy Tree Party with The Flashbacks

Come Party with The FLASHBACKS
Greg Bitkower, Guitar, Guitar Synth, Keyboards & Vocals
Bryon Foster, Drums & Vocals
Bobby Delery, Bass, Harmonica & Vocals
James Harris, Guitar & Vocals
Saturday, Nov. 21, 8:30PM
at Roddy Tree Ranch in Ingram
Click link below for directions and other info.

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ENV: Threatened Texas Mussels

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department News Release
Nov. 5, 2009

15 Texas Freshwater Mussels Placed on State Threatened List

AUSTIN, Texas — Despite the colloquial poetry of their names, Texas mussels like the golden orb, Louisiana pigtoe, sandbank pocketbook and Texas fatmucket are not well known to most people. Yet, their placement on the state threatened species list may benefit many people by putting a bit more muscle behind efforts to protect rivers, water quality and freshwater habitats that sustain many other fish and wildlife species.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission on Nov. 5 acted to place 15 of the 50 known Texas species of freshwater mussels on the state threatened list. Currently, state fisheries regulations allow harvest of most of these mussels, though practically none of them ever get large enough for harvest. The listing makes it a Class C misdemeanor to kill or collect them.

The state listing comes as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is pondering whether to list some of the 15 as threatened or endangered under the U.S. Endangered Species Act, which would carry more weight and higher penalties. Federal biologists already consider one of the 15, the Texas hornshell, a candidate for listing, and this winter they are expected to issue findings for 12 other species among the 15. The sandbank pocketbook and Texas pigtoe are the only two of the 15 not currently under federal listing review.

Freshwater mussels (Unionids) are an important component of healthy aquatic ecosystems, both as a food source for many other aquatic and terrestrial creatures, and as key indicators of water quality and habitat health. In early life stages, mussels are food for a variety of aquatic insects, small fishes, and water birds; as they mature they become significant food sources for larger fishes, waterfowl, and terrestrial animals. Ultimately, their protection helps preserve and enhance the hunting, fishing, and outdoor recreation opportunities that are part the Texas heritage.

Like frogs and other amphibians that are sensitive to water quality problems, freshwater mussel populations have declined throughout North America. They are sensitive to disturbance because they are relatively immobile, sometimes staying in a single spot their entire lives. Mussels are also very long-lived, some living over 100 years, and are very slow-growing. They have a complex life cycle that is easily disrupted, causing reproductive failure. Habitat alteration and loss, illegal and over harvesting, and competition from introduced or invasive species are some of the factors in their decline.

Nationwide, more species of freshwater mussels are listed as threatened and endangered than any other group of animals. Of the nearly 300 species known to have lived in the U.S., 18 are believed to be extinct, and 60 are currently listed as federally endangered or threatened, including one species that may occur in Texas, the Ouachita rock-pocketbook.

Volunteers can play an important role to help conserve understand freshwater mussels through Texas Mussel Watch, one of several Texas Nature Trackers volunteer programs run by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. To find out more about Texas Nature Trackers or to sign up for a Texas Mussel Watch monitoring workshop, contact TPWD’s Wildlife Diversity Program at or (800) 792-1112, ext. 8062.

All of the 15 mussels listed as state-threatened Nov. 5 live in very limited habitats and are sensitive to water quality degradation, and thus are now known to occur only in a few highly specific geographical areas. Below is a listing of the 15 species.

1. False spike (Quadrula mitchelli) — known from only two disjunct populations, one in central Texas and the other in the Rio Grande drainage.

2. Golden orb (Quadrula aurea) — endemic to the Guadalupe-San Antonio and Nueces-Frio systems. Only seven extant populations of this mussel have been noted from the upper and central Guadalupe River, central San Antonio River, lower San Marcos River, and Lake Corpus Christi.

3. Louisiana Pigtoe (Pleurobema ridellii) — ranged from eastern Texas drainages into Louisiana, but has been exceptionally rare in recent decades. Since the mid-1990s, small numbers of living specimens have been found in the Neches River and some of its tributaries and the Angelina River.

4. Mexican fawnsfoot (Truncilla cognata) — endemic to the central Rio Grande drainage. Extensive historical and current environmental modifications along the Rio Grande of Texas and Mexico suggest any surviving populations are likely at risk.

5. Salina mucket (Potamilus metnecktayi) — endemic to the central Rio Grande drainage, has potentially been extirpated from its range in New Mexico and Mexico and undergone dramatic declines in Texas.

6. Sandbank pocketbook (Lampsilis satura) — known from southern portions of the Mississippi interior basin and western Gulf drainages of Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas, considered rare in all states from which it has been recorded.

7. Smooth pimpleback (Quadrula houstonensis) — endemic mussel restricted to the Colorado and Brazos River drainages. Surveys conducted from 1980 to 2006 have noted steep declines in the number of extant populations in both river systems.

8. Southern hickorynut (Obovaria jacksoniana) — considered rare and a species of conservation concern in seven states. If the species still occurs in Texas at all, it may only persist on Village Creek.

9. Texas fatmucket (Lampsilis bracteata) — historically occurred in the Colorado and Guadalupe basins of Central Texas. In the past 30 years, natural and human-induced stressors have lead to the dramatic decline of this species in both rivers. Remaining populations are at risk from scouring floods, dewatering, and poor land management.

10. Texas fawnsfoot (Truncilla macrodon) — historically occurred in the Colorado and Brazos drainages of Central Texas. A recently discovered population in the Brazos River between Possum Kingdom and the mouth of the Navasota River represents the only known surviving population.

11. Texas heelsplitter (Potamilus amphichaenus) — restricted to the Sabine, Neches, and Trinity rivers of Texas.

12. Texas hornshell (Popenaias popeii) — a regional endemic known only from discrete sections of the Rio Grand River in Texas and a short segment of the Black River in New Mexico.. The discovery of 30 individuals in a Webb County portion of the Rio Grande River in 2003 provides the only evidence of an extant population in Texas. Currently listed as a candidate for protection under the U.S. Endangered Species Act.

13. Texas pigtoe (Fusconaia askewi — a regional endemic limited to a relatively small area in Texas and Louisiana, including the Trinity River above Lake Livingston, a tributary of the West Branch San Jacinto River, and the Sabine River above Toledo Bend Reservoir.

14. Texas pimpleback (Quadrula petrina) — an endemic species confined to the Colorado and Guadalupe drainages. The only confirmed significant population in the Concho River persists, but has been badly reduced by dewatering.

15. Triangle pigtoe (Fusconaia lananensis) — endemic to the Neches and San Jacinto Rivers and Village Creek in eastern Texas, but extant populations are limited and the ecological security of most occupied sites is marginal.

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COM: Either they overbought or they're not flying off the shelves

Lots of copies left for those who need to stay warm in deer camp . . .

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ATH: FIFA Rankings

FIFA World Rankings

The United States dropped three places to 14th in the latest FIFA Rankings. FIFA once again extended the rankings period, this time to include the playoffs for the final six World Cup slots. The United States played twice during the rankings period, losing to Slovakia and Denmark. Mexico moved up three places to 16th.

FIFA World Rankings: November 2009
Spain 1622
Ivory Coast

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Daily Silliness thanks Ashton!


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ATH: US 1 v Denmark 3

USA 1 - Denmark 3
from the US National Team Players Association

The United States got a first-half goal that stood into halftime, but couldn't hold up over the second 45, losing 3-1 to Denmark on Wednesday in Aarhus. Jeff Cunningham scored from the top of the arc in the 26th-minute for the opener.

For Denmark, the story of the game was making three changes to start the second-half, Johan Absalonsen got too much space in the US box and scored a 47th-minute equalizer - 70 seconds after coming into the game. It was Absalonsen again setting up another sub, Soren Rieks, in the 52nd-minute. Martin Bernburg became the third Denmark substitute to score, converting in the 55th-minute.

“I thought the first half tonight was solid," US coach Bob Bradley said. "We stayed organized and got an opportunistic goal. Denmark as expected picked up the pressure early in the second half. The six minute stretch really teaches us some lessons in terms of our reactions and our ability when a team really comes after us. That's something we can really look at closely and try to use down the road.”

On the hour mark, the US made three substitutes of their own, bringing on Ed Johnson, Robbie Rogers, and Edgar Castillo and taking off Stuart Holden, Michael Bradley, and Cunningham. In the 69th, Jimmy Conrad and Clarence Goodson came on for Jonathan Spector and Carlos Bocanegra. Bradley used his sixth sub and his final field player to bring on Dax McCarty for Jozy Altidore in the 80th-minute.

Unlike Denmark, the US substitutions didn't spark the offense.

“I think coming back is something we’ve shown we can do and obviously it takes guys being committed and willing to turn the game around," US midfielder Michael Bradley said. "Tonight clearly wasn’t a good night for us so I think in that sense we let ourselves down a little bit.”


Match: United States vs. Denmark
Date: Nov. 18, 2009
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: NRGi Park – Aarhus, Denmark
Kickoff: 8:30 p.m. local time (2:30 p.m. ET)
Attendance: 15,172
Weather: Mostly Cloudy, 46 degrees

Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 1 0 1
DEN 0 3 3

USA – Jeff Cunningham 26th minute
DEN – Johan Absalonsen (Simon Kjær) 47
DEN – Søren Rieks (Johan Absalonsen) 52
DEN – Martin Bernburg (Søren Rieks) 55

USA: 18-Brad Guzan; 22-Frankie Hejduk, 2-Jonathan Spector (15-Jimmy Conrad, 70), 3-Carlos Bocanegra (capt.) (25-Clarence Goodson, 70), 12-Jonathan Bornstein; 7-Stuart Holden (19-Robbie Rogers, 61), 13-Ricardo Clark, 4-Michael Bradley (33-Edgar Castillo, 61), 5-Benny Feilhaber; 17-Jozy Altidore (28-Dax McCarty, 80), 32-Jeff Cunningham (36-Eddie Johnson, 61)
Subs not used: 35-Marcus Hahnemann
Head Coach: Bob Bradley

DEN: 1-Thomas Sørensen; 6-Lars Jacobsen, 3-Simon Kjær, 4-Per Krøldrup, 5-Michael Lumb; 7-Daniel Jensen (18-Johan Absalonsen, 46), 2-Christian Poulsen (13-William Kvist Jørgensen, 46), 8-Jacob Poulsen; 10- Martin Jørgensen (capt.) (19-Jesper Bech, 80), 9-Morten Rasmussen (17-Martin Bernburg, 46, 20-Thomas Enevoldsen, 90), 11- Jesper Grønkjær (15-Søren Rieks, 46)
Subs not used: 12-Anders Møller Christensen, 14- Leon Jessen,16-Kim Christensen
Head Coach: Morten Olsen

Stats Summary: USA / DEN
Shots: 7 / 8
Shots on Goal: 3 / 5
Saves: 2 / 2
Corner Kicks: 3 / 4
Fouls: 9 / 14
Offside: 3 / 1

Misconduct Summary:

Referee: Craig Thomson (SCO)
Assistant Referee 1: Alan Cunningham (SCO)
Assistant Referee 2: Gordon Middleton (SCO)
Fourth Official: Michael Svendsen (DEN)

Judgement Call

By J Hutcherson -- So about that game in Denmark yesterday.... Look, I'm hardly the type to try to turn a disappointment into a suggestion of something better. The version of the United States on display against Denmark, and to a lesser extend Slovakia, ended up representative of the same old problems.

The good thing for US fans is that those problems are minimized when first-choice is on the field. Sure, it would be nice to think that there are multiple versions of the US Eleven that could compete, but that's not what World soccer is about.

Depth is a benefit, not the point. Remembering that isn't just limited to disappointed fans. The US needs to take advantage of any and every opportunity to play competitive games, but there were enough excuses for all involved to cast a shadow over this particular trip.
Even a standout performance would be tagged with the relative strength of the opposition along with the likelihood of a repeat playing alongside the first choice. That's no knock against a strong performance on the day - something desperately needed in the second-half of Wednesday's game - but a simple understanding of what's really at play.

A good showing in any US National Team game should carry with it future opportunities. US coach Bob Bradley has made that clear. At the same time, a bad night in Aarhus shouldn't be the extent of an opportunity for any player.

The problem with rating players game-by-game, a past-time of many who cover the sport and need an easy article, is that it treats every game with a weight it might not deserve.

Getting caught out of position when you're already playing out of your normal position alongside a group lacking experience playing together? That's a unique situation only likely to be repeated in a friendly setting. It has to count significantly less than what a player has shown in competitive games. That's not a blanket defense for poor performances. However, it is at least a start at getting meaning from games on the schedule.

I've never been one to dismiss friendlies out of hand. Prestige, mundane, or otherwise, there are only so many opportunities to play National Team soccer. Even in 2009, the year of the crowded US schedule, few players are going to pick and choose when he makes his performance count. The friendlies and the camps that go with them are what get players meaningful opportunities. No one in a National Team shirt forgets that.

Where we are post Slovakia and Denmark is trying to find players who can fill in at left back and center back along with a cutting attack. The defense was already being reworked prior to the Oguchi Onyewu injury. The number of strike partnerships was already larger than any coach would like. The real win would have been an answer to any of those positional issues. Given the setting, that was probably always going to be asking too much.

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

ENV: Puerto Rican Nightjar

New study sheds light on nightjar BirdLife International, 18-11-2009

A new study of the Critically Endangered Puerto Rican Nightjar Caprimulgus noctitherus suggests that the species's geographic range is greater than previously estimated. This is the major finding of Geographic distribution of the Puerto Rican Nightjar: A patch occupancy approach, a joint effort between the Sociedad Ornitológica Puertorriqueña, Inc. (SOPI, the BirdLife Partner and Species Guardian for Puerto Rican Nightjar), Mississippi State University, USGS Cooperative Research Units, BirdLife International, and The British Birdwatching Fair.

With an estimated population of 1,400-2,000 individuals, Puerto Rican Nightjar is a single-island endemic species found in coastal dry and lower montane forests in the south-west of Puerto Rico. Fragmentation, loss and degradation of its habitat, especially from residential, industrial and recreational expansion are the main threats. SOPI, as part of the BirdLife Preventing Extinctions programme, liaised with researchers, Dr. Francisco Vilella and graduate student Rafael González to carry out the first systematic presence-absence survey to improve current knowledge on habitat and distribution of the nightjar.

photo by Michael Morel

Puerto Rican Nightjar was recorded over a broad region of southern Puerto Rico. “Based on our results and location information obtained over the last few years it appears the geographic range of the species may be considerably different from what had been previously estimated”, said Dr Francisco Vilella, USGS Research Scientist and Professor of Wildlife Ecology at Mississippi State University. The study results suggest that the species's range outside protected areas could be considerably greater than the approximately 4,583 ha (47% of total range) reported by earlier studies.

"It is an urgent conservation need to acquire habitat, work with private landowners, government agencies and other NGOs to ensure the continuity and integrity of the nightjar's habitat" —Verónica Méndez,, SOPI

However, unprotected areas in Puerto Rico are experiencing increasing deforestation from urban and suburban development. "Sites where Puerto Rican Nightjar presence was detected in the south-central regions of the island were characterised by a high degree of habitat disturbance, and included small, isolated forest fragments frequently surrounded by pastures or housing development", emphasized Rafael González, Graduate Research Assistant. Rafael continues "Forest clearing was ongoing in the vicinity of several of the easternmost sites as we were conducting our surveys."

"It is an urgent conservation need to acquire habitat, work with private landowners, government agencies and other NGOs to ensure the continuity and integrity of the nightjar's habitat", said Verónica Méndez, Conservation Coordinator from SOPI.

One clear implication of the results is that several sites in the south-central and south-east region of the island where nightjar presence was detected have not been incorporated in any of the major conservation planning efforts for Puerto Rico. "We recommend nightjar occupied sites in the south-central and south-eastern portions of the species's range should be assessed for their conservation potential", concluded Dr. Vilella.

SOPI is now developing the Species Action Plan with the Puerto Rican Nightjar Network to establish action points for the conservation of the species.

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

ENV: New Darwin Finch?

Newly evolved finch appears on the Galapagos Islands
Evolution caught in the act? An isolated population of finches have odd-shaped beaks, sing differently, and don't breed with others.
By Bryan Nelson, Mother Nature Network. Mon, Nov 16 2009 at 9:40 PM EST

Just a few years ago, the husband and wife team of Peter and B. Rosemary Grant made the breakthrough discovery that the beak sizes of some of the finches on the Galapagos Islands had already changed since Darwin's visit in 1835. Now they believe they may have witnessed the evolution of a brand new species.

Even more remarkable, the scientists have tracked the evolution of the new lineage back to a single bird. As Nature reports, it began in 1981 when the Grants spotted an unusually heavy, medium ground finch (Geospiza fortis) on the Galapagos Island of Daphne Major. At 29.7 grams, the male was markedly heavier than any of the other finches they had found there. Genetic analysis revealed that the odd bird likely came from the neighboring island of Santa Cruz, where the species is larger.

The Grants marked the bird with the number 5110, and proceeded to follow it over the course of seven generations. Because 5110's descendants had different origins than other, smaller Geospiza fortis found on Daphne Major, they also had unusually shaped beaks and grew up learning to sing different songs. Since finches use their beaks and their songs to identify suitable mates, the population began to isolate itself from others.

Then in the fourth generation, tragedy struck 5110's family. A severe drought parched the entire island, leaving only two living descendants — a brother and a sister. From that time forward, the outcasts became permanently isolated, refusing to breed with any other G. fortis on the island.

While the Grants aren't quite ready to call the isolated lineage a new species yet, they acknowledge that if the birds continue to remain isolated, speciation will be inevitable. "There is no non-arbitrary answer to the question of how many generations should elapse before we declare the reproductively isolated lineage to be a new species," they said. "[But] for the present it is functioning as a [separate] species."

And it's unlikely that the population would breed with any birds from their original home in Santa Cruz either. Although these finches learned their songs from their father, and thus derived it from 5110's original home in Santa Cruz, they have already developed a thick accent. It's likely that over time, the song mishmashed from its original version while the birds attempted to copy the music of Daphne Major's other finches.

"No study of this sort has been done before, and it shows one way in which speciation can get started," said the Grants from Japan, where they are set to receive the Kyoto Prize for basic science for their life work.

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Monday, November 16, 2009

The Daily Silliness

ssometimes a little genius goes a long way . . .


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ATH: US v Slovakia

From the US National Team Players Association

USA 0 - Slovakia 1

The United States had a hard time getting their attack in sync on Saturday in Slovakia, losing 1-0. Though the US dominated possession, they couldn't turn that into goals. Slovakia took full advantage of their best chance of the game, a 26th-minute penalty when Vladimir Weiss was taken down in the box. Marek Hamsik converted for the only goal of the game.

“This match was on opportunity to see some different players,” US coach Bob Bradley said. “I think the area tonight that let us down was the sharpness and execution in the attacking part of the field.”

FC Dallas midfielder Dax McCarty won his first cap at full international level, coming on for Carlos Bocanegra in the 72nd-minute. Major League Soccer Golden Boot winner Jeff Cunningham got his first appearance since 2005, subbing in for Jozy Altidore in the 82nd-minute.

"It was incredible,” McCarty said on his first game at senior level. “Obviously it wasn't the result myself or the team was looking for. Slovakia is a good team. They're tough to play against and they keep it pretty compact defensively. For a midfielder like myself, it was a good game to go into because they were dropping back and giving us space to play. Unfortunately, when we got to the final third today, we had trouble creating good quality chances. At the end of the day, it was a really good experience and I'm glad to get it out of the way."

The United States returns to action on Wednesday against Denmark in Aarhus at 2:30pm ET. That game starts on ESPN Classic and then switches to ESPN2.

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The Daily Stuff

just wanted to catch up with shout outs to some vets i missed the other day: @Layne Stafford, @Brad Eychner, & @Bruce Jaeger - more to come


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OBT: Browning, Lynch, Meckley, Cahill

it was another rough week on the home front, with the losses of two people i am connected too - the father of a co-worker, a former student - plus a lady from here, a soldier gunned down by her ex, and the father of a local lady gunned down in the Fort Hood massacre . . . death let us breathe a while . . .

Amber Dawn Browning

PLANO — Amber Dawn Browning was born Dec. 25, 1978. She went to be with her Lord and Savior on Nov. 14, 2009.

Amber is survived by her parents, Carl and Mary Jo Browning of Kerrville, Texas; brother, Sean Browning and his wife, Angie, of Decatur, Texas, and their children, Payton, Hayden and Zayne; brother, Dr. Travis Browning and his wife, Melinda, of Irving, Texas; grandparents, Carl and Izora Browning of Midland, Texas; aunt, Barbara Dunton and her husband, Darrell, of Midland, Texas, and their three children, Jason, Jenny and Justin and his wife, Tricia; aunt, Patsy Browning of Amarillo, Texas; aunt, Laurie Ring and husband, Glen, of Daytona Beach, Fla.; and uncle, Martin Gomon and wife, Diana, of Melbourne, Australia. Also surviving is Amber’s fiancé, Bart Smith of Dallas, Texas.

Amber was a graduate of Kerrville’s Tivy High School, where she graduated with honors and was the district champion in girl’s golf during her senior year. Amber attended Texas Tech University, where she graduated with honors in three years with a degree in advertising and marketing. Amber was a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma Sorority. Upon graduation from Texas Tech, Amber moved to Dallas and went to work for the PGA Tour in the marketing and membership department of the TPC at Craig Ranch in Frisco, a private golf club of which Amber was part of the groundbreaking and growth to the quality facility it is today. Five years after arriving at Craig Ranch, Amber left for law school at SMU in Dallas. She was called to be an attorney and accomplished her dream by graduating, again with multiple honors in May 2009.
She made Law Review, mock trial and finished Cum Laude. She went to work in October for Strasburger & Price LLP in Dallas and recently learned of her passing the bar exam and was sworn in as a licensed attorney in the state of Texas. Even though her time in practice was brief, she would recite one of her favorite quotes and say “I’m living a dream.” Amber and her fiancé Bart Smith, also an attorney, both loved golf, watching football and doing fantasy football. They had many great friends at Hurricane Creek Golf Club and enjoyed lots of good times together.
Amber was a beautiful and talented young lady that brought joy to everyone she met, and we love her and will miss her dearly.

Memorial services will be Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2009, at 2 p.m., at First United Methodist Church of Kerrville, officiated by Dr. Warren Hornung.

The family invites you to send condolences at by selecting the “Send Condolences” link.

Patterson column: Family recalls Lynch’s strength
By JARED PATTERSON, Globe Gazette Columnist, Saturday, November 14, 2009 12:15 AM CST

Wednesday started like any other day in our family.

Living in separate towns, we all go our separate ways in our fast-paced lives, just trying to make it through another day.

We don’t have those Sunday dinners we used to have weekly at Grandma and Grandpa Lynch’s in little Seneca, Iowa, anymore. The town, if you want to call it that, doubled in population when we all rolled in on Sundays after Mass.

There was food heaped upon food. We always had leftovers for a week. Grandma always made sure of that.

Grandma and Grandpa were the glue that held us together. When they died, it was difficult.

But no matter how many days separated our last conversation — sometimes weeks and sometimes months — everyone was a phone call away. It doesn’t matter the day. It doesn’t matter the time.

Late Wednesday afternoon, my mom called. She was distraught.

I called my aunt and a cousin. TereseAnn Lynch, one of the regulars at those Sunday dinners and one of my cousins, had been abducted at gunpoint while running errands at Target in Des Moines.

A short time later, my cousin Justin, who went to Garner-Hayfield High School with TereseAnn and her brothers, Michael and Richard, gave me the news.

“She’s gone,” he said.

TereseAnn, perhaps the smallest of us in stature, was the toughest one of the group.

She was in the National Guard and had served multiple tours of duty overseas. She was proud to be in the military. Despite only being 30, she had more than 10 years of service. She had given birth to her son, Levi, about eight months ago. It was the happiest time of her life.

This past summer she was married. It didn’t take long for Mr. Perfect to turn into something I can’t print in a newspaper.

I’ll admit, I don’t know a lot about domestic abuse. I don’t think anyone can truly comprehend what it can do to a family unless they experience it.

I didn’t live it. TereseAnn did. She fought the good fight. She did everything she could do. Everything she did, she did for Levi. When it was all over, she was shot and killed in the apartment she was living in just over a month ago. She didn’t deserve to go out like that. Nobody does.

People associated with law enforcement asked if we wanted to send out a family statement or anything of that nature.

Tim, TereseAnn’s father, said no.

“All of us here know how great of a person she was, that’s all that matters to me,” he said.

I’d like to think my family is as strong as they come. Sure, I’m probably a little biased, but there are some tough cookies in our group. We are a resilient bunch.

TereseAnn will be buried on Monday, right next to Grandma and Grandpa on the outskirts of Bancroft, about 10 miles east of Seneca.

The last few days have been hell for us, but I’m sure that Grandma and Grandpa had a five-course meal waiting for TereseAnn when they met again Wednesday.

— Jared Patterson is a Globe Gazette sports writer and the cousin of murder victim TereseAnn Lynch of Des Moines and formerly of Duncan.

Dr. Arnold Hugh Meckley

JUNCTION — Dr. Arnold Hugh Meckley, 79, of Junction, passed away at Wilford Hall Medical Medical Center in San Antonio on Nov. 14, 2009, after a long illness.

Dr. Meckley was born to Kenneth and Retha Meckley, on May 1, 1930, in Walgrove, W.Va. After completing high school a year early, he went on to attain his Bachelor of Arts, with honors, from West Virginia University in 1951, and his Bachelor of Science from West Virginia School of Medicine in 1953. In 1955, he graduated with his M.D. from the Medical College of Virginia, after which he completed his internship at the Medical College of Virginia Hospitals in 1956. He then served as a captain in the United States Army, stationed in Germany from 1956 to 1958; and upon returning to the states, he began his postgraduate studies in ophthalmology at Baylor University College of Medicine. He completed his Hospital Residency Training Program in Ophthalmology in 1961.

Dr. Meckley set up his private ophthalmology practice in West Texas, in Midland, in 1961. During his 30-year career there, he served on the American Board of Ophthalmology, and was a fellow with the Academy of O&O. He was a member of the American Medical Association, the Texas Medical Association and the Midland County Medical Society, and also was a member of the Board of Medical Advisors for the Texas State Commission for the Blind and of the Board of Medical Advisors for the Texas Society for the Prevention of Blindness. During his career, he served Midland Memorial Hospital as secretary-treasurer for the medical staff, was a member of the board of trustees, and was president of the medical staff. He retired from his practiced in 1991.

Dr. Meckley is survived by his wife of 56 years, Billie Dove Meckley; his son and his daughter-in-law, Lee Arnold and Marisol Meckley of Austin; and his daughter, Lynn Ann Meckley of Kerrville.

Services will be at 10 a.m., Tuesday, Nov. 17, at Gentry-Fife Funeral Home chapel. Interment will follow at Junction City Cemetery.

The family requests that memorials be directed to the Kimble Hospital Building Fund.

Local family loses father at Fort Hood

By Tim Sampson, The Daily Times, Published November 7, 2009

For Michael Cahill, Thursday was just another day at work.

A physician’s assistant for the U.S. Army, retired from the National Guard after 20 years of service, Cahill has worked nearly the last four years at the Army base at Fort Hood, where he was killed by a gunman Thursday.

Cahill worked in the Soldier Readiness Center at Fort Hood, the facility were servicemen and women bound for duty overseas and those returning from combat are reviewed for physical and mental health.

“My dad loved his work,” said Keely Vanacker, Cahill’s daughter who now resides in Kerrville. “He loved working with the soldiers. I think that came from being in the service himself for 20 years.”

And Cahill, 62, was never short of work. Fort Hood, America’s largest military base, has seen the largest proportion of deployments to current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

But tragically, Cahill’s workplace became the site of a violent shooting Thursday, and Cahill became one of its victims.

Cahill was one of 13 people killed at Fort Hood when Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, 39, an officer slated to be deployed later this month, allegedly opened fire at the Soldier Readiness Center. Another 30 were wounded during the shooting.

Hasan currently is hospitalized in stable condition after being shot four times during the rampage.

The violent tragedy, the largest ever at a U.S. military base, shook the nation, but was felt especially hard by Vanacker and her family in Kerrville.

“We learned about it just like everyone else did, on the news,” she said.

Vanacker immediately grew concerned when she first heard about the shooting, but she had no way of knowing if her father was one of the victims.

She saw a glimmer of hope after Fort Hood officials initially reported that all the victims had been soldiers. Her father was retired from the National Guard and considered a civilian contractor at the base. But when an Army chaplain approached her mother’s house, located about an hour west of the base, around 11 p.m. Thursday, she knew her father had not survived.

“There was that false hope early on when they kept saying on the news that only military personnel had been killed, because we thought of dad as a civilian,” she said.

Vanacker said a lack of information from Fort Hood officials has been the most frustrating part of the family’s ordeal. Her father’s body was sent to Dover Airforce Base in Maryland Thursday night — now evidence in a federal investigation — but Vanacker and her family only learned about the movement of Cahill’s remains on TV news.

“I understand they have their job to do, but it’s incredibly frustrating,” she said. “The biggest struggle has not been knowing anything.”

Cahill’s family, which includes a wife of 37 years, Joleen; three children, Keely, Kerry and James; and a 2-year-old grandson, Brody; is coping with their lose, in part, by focusing on what they loved best about their husband, father and grandfather.

“He was a loud guy, who just loved to talk about politics, current events and history,” Vanacker said.

She described her father as a voracious reader with a particular passion for books about history, everything from World War II to Roman History.

“I came into (my mother’s) house yesterday and could spot three books my dad was working on,” she said. “He was always like that, reading three books at a time. And they were all laying around with bookmarks in them still.”

Cahill, a native of Spokane, Wash., took an unusual route to become a physician’s assistant. He trained at the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio through the National Guard. Vanacker said many of those who studied there first attended college or medical school at other institutions, but not her father.

“He didn’t want to waste eight or 12 years at some other school as a civilian,” she said. “He knew he wanted to work as a PA. He knew he wanted to help soldiers.”

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NAT: Blackfoot on Language

Aboriginal identity threatened through loss of language Print E-mail
Written by editor Caroline Zentner, Lethbridge Herald, Friday, 13 November 2009

Finding a person under the age of 20 who speaks Blackfoot is so rare that elders are concerned the loss of the language will lead to loss of identity.

Members of the Blackfoot Confederacy gathered at Red Crow Community College Friday to brainstorm ways of renewing the language for upcoming generations.

“We don’t have a generation to carry on the language, for the most part,” said Betty Bastien, a University of Calgary social work professor.

Bastien studied intergenerational trauma of First Nations in a four-year research project funded by Health Canada. Epidemics, loss of the buffalo, residential schools and the reservation system created trauma for First Nations people historically and the consequences are evident in today’s social, economic and political problems.

“After working with the elders for four years, we’ve come to understand that the way any society governs itself is through their language,” Bastien said during a break in the day-long meeting. “Their language is what creates distinctions in the world in which we live.”

Language gives people a way to relate to the world and make sense of things. Blackfoot and other indigenous languages carry traditional knowledge about the world which is needed to survive. In ancient times, Blackfoot people were spiritually connected to the world around them. That relationship has been severed and, with it, the connection to human survival needs.

“The language — it informs us and governs how we relate to that world in which we live. It’s premised on balance,” Bastien said.

“In the olden days, all the kids spoke the native language,” said Bruce Wolf Child, an elder advisor at Red Crow Community College. “When I was at the residential school, we were told to forget about our language and punished if we spoke it. Today we’re trying to bring it back because our kids are getting lost.”

Elders on the Blackfeet Reservation in Browning, Mont., are also worried and they hope to increase the opportunities for young people to listen to Blackfoot language speakers. Having a gathering place where young people can hear the language being spoken by elders as they tell their stories creates a link between the generations much more than attending an Indian-language class, said Robert Many Guns, a Blackfeet elder.

“We’re trying to find an alley to get to our younger generation to make them interested in understanding the language,” he said.

Herman Yellow Old Woman, a leader and tribal councillor with the Siksika First Nation, agreed that efforts must go beyond language classes in school.

“We’re teaching them in the schools but the current curriculum isn’t working,” Yellow Old Woman said. “They emphasize too much on the spelling instead of speaking and understanding the language.”

Blackfoot classes are offered in Siksika schools as an option but Yellow Old Woman would like to see it made a priority. In addition, all school employees should be able to speak the language and parents and grandparents who speak Blackfoot should make a point of speaking the language to younger generations.

“In Siksika, my generation is between 35 and 45 and we’re still at 80 to 85 per cent fluency,” he said. “But it’s the generation after that that we’re worried about. Twenty per cent at the most are Blackfoot speakers. Below 20, I can honestly say there’s no speakers any more.”

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COM: Double Jeopardy

This lovely paragraph from

"Police say last month they beat and stabbed a man to death then left him to die behind a warehouse at Walzem and Ray Bon Drive."

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ATH: US v Denmark

Scouting Report: Denmark
from the US National Team Players Association

By Clemente Lisi -- The United States continues the European tour this week, playing Denmark on Wednesday in another test against a mid-tier team headed to next year’s World Cup. The US will be looking to reverse Saturday's 1-0 loss to Slovakia.

Denmark may actually be an easier opponent than Slovakia, even though they're six places higher in the FIFA Rankings. The US should be in a good position to get a result. Against Slovakia on Saturday, the US lost 1-0 after failing to create any real scoring chances. Against Denmark, the US will have little choice but to attack and play the wings more effectively if they hopes to grab a win. Long-range shots that end up securely in the opposing keeper’s arms aren’t going to cut it.

“We were not sharp enough in our attacking third,” coach Bob Bradley told reporters at a news conference following the loss to Slovakia.

Against Denmark, Bradley has the advantage of having several players who ply their club trade in northern European leagues. Goalkeeper Troy Perkins (Valerenga/Norway), defender Clarence Goodson (IK Start/Norway) and midfielder Benny Feilhaber (AGF Aarhus/Denmark) all could figure in the Starting XI in Aarhus. They know the Scandinavian style and are used to playing in rough weather conditions, especially Feilhaber. The temperature in Aarhus is expected to be around 48 degrees and overcast.

Following the outcome of this past weekend’s MLS playoffs, Bradley will still be without Landon Donovan, but has the Houston Dynamo midfield duo of Ricardo Clark and Stuart Holden at his disposal. At the same time, Steve Cherundolo, Clint Dempsey and Chad Marshall have all been released back to their clubs.

“We will likely make a few changes [against Denmark],” Bradley said. “We’ll assess how players come out of this match and the possibility of bringing additional players. This is the chance to train a little bit and test some new players.”

As for the US’s opponents, the Danes topped Europe’s Group 1 ahead of a Cristiano Ronaldo-led Portugal and Sweden to reach South Africa. Denmark defeated Portugal 3-2 in Lisbon last year and played them to a 1-1 draw last May in Copenhagen.

“We didn’t make it to the last World Cup,” coach Morten Olsen told during an interview earlier this month. “In a very tough qualifying group where Portugal were the clear favorites, we managed to win the group with a game to spare. This was a first for Danish football and an outstanding achievement.”

The 60-year-old Olsen, a veteran manager who once played as a defender for the Danes and has coached them since 2000, plays a 4-3-3 formation with Dennis Rommedahl and Martin Jorgensen on the wings. At times, Olsen uses an unorthodox 4-3-2-1 with Arsenal striker Nicklas Bendtner, who was recently named the country’s Player of the Year by the Danish FA, as a lone striker. Luckily for the US, Bendtner won’t be in the lineup after he suffered a groin injury last month against Tottenham during an English Premier League match.

Though lacking household names of the past like Peter Schmeichel and Brian Laudrup, who famously helped Denmark win the 1992 European Championship, this current team is no pushover. There is no shortage of solid players in every position. Christian Poulsen, Thomas Kahlenberg and Jon Dahl Tomasson and are all standouts with top-level European club experience who are creative and can score goals. Many of Denmark’s finest play in Italy. Palermo defender Simon Kjaer, one of the best in the World, and Per Koldrup of Fiorentina anchor the defense. This defensive duo is one of the reasons why Denmark advanced to South Africa.

Their weaknesses, however, are many. The Danes love to move the ball quickly and their game is dominated by long crosses (easily disrupted with a solid backline). If the US can stave off their opponents early, while not conceding a goal by halftime, then there is a real chance of taking control of the match in the second half. In a World Cup Qualifier against Hungary last month, Denmark was unable to score in the first half and lost 1-0. In a friendly against South Korea on Saturday, Denmark played well, but couldn’t capitalize in what turned out to be a scoreless draw with a dull second half.

The US and Denmark have met five times (never on Danish soil) and the teams are an even 1-1-3. In their last meeting in January 2007 at The Home Depot Center in Carson, CA, both Jonathan Bornstein and Kenny Cooper scored in their National Team debuts as the Americans cruised to a 3-1 win. The US offense will need to be similarly at its best this time around. The surest way for the US to grab a win will be to play offense and let its midfield dictate the speed and pace.

There was a time when the US needed lots of luck to get a result on European soil. Not this group. Denmark has the talent, but is a very beatable opponent.

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