We’re having a blast!

Posted on Tuesday 27 January 2009

We’re having a blast! A winter blast of cold air, that is. Icy conditions cancelled schools today, and I am sure the students are having a blast of a different sort. Too bad they were already up and getting ready for school when they got word that classes were cancelled. So much for sleeping in.

Snow days always led to various adventures back in the day when I attended Spur schools. Like the time a winter storm blew in while we were at a basketball playoff game at Roosevelt. I remember Coach Cliff Hightower, who had the awesome responsibility of driving the bus, had to stop often to scrape ice off the windshield on our trip home. Since he is a man of short stature this was quite a feat and one that offered much entertaining amusement among his passengers.

We finally made it to Crosbyton only to discover that the highway was closed between Crosbyton and Spur.We ended up spending the night at the First United Methodist Church in Crosbyton. If any of us slept at all, it was on the floor in the fellowship hall. We had fun, and I am sure Coach Hightower did too. Some ladies from the church got out and made us breakfast which was a real treat since none of us had eaten anything except concession stand food at the game.

The next morning dawned brightly and we made our way back to school along a snow-packed road under sunny skies. We got home to find out school had been cancelled for the day, so we headed out to play. By sundown the snow had melted.

I loved snow days.

Cindi @ 5:47 pm
Posted under: Local Life
Does this irritate you?

Posted on Tuesday 13 January 2009

Researchers at Oxford University have compiled a list of the 10 most irritating phrases. Heading the list was the expression ‘at the end of the day’, which was followed in second place by the phrase ‘fairly unique’.

“I personally” made third place. Considered a tautological statement because it expresses the same thing twice in different words. Also making the top 10 is the grammatically incorrect “shouldn’t of”, instead of “shouldn’t have”.

The phrases appear in a book called Damp Squid, named after the mistake of confusing a squid with a squib, a type of firework. The researchers who compiled the list monitor the use of phrases in a database called the Oxford University Corpus, which comprises books, papers, magazines, broadcast, the internet and other sources. The database alerts them to new words and phrases and can tell them which expressions are disappearing. It also shows how words are being misused.
As well as the above expressions, the book’s author Jeremy Butterfield says that many annoyingly over-used expressions actually began as office lingo, such as 24/7 and “synergy”.

Other phrases that irritate people are “literally” and “ironically”, when they are used out of context.

Mr Butterfield said: “We grow tired of anything that is repeated too often – an anecdote, a joke, a mannerism – and the same seems to happen with some language.”

The top ten most irritating phrases:

1 - At the end of the day

2 - Fairly unique

3 - I personally

4 - At this moment in time

5 - With all due respect

6 - Absolutely

7 - It’s a nightmare

8 - Shouldn’t of

9 - 24/7

10 - It’s not rocket science
Information from: Telegraph.co.uk, http://www.telegraph.co.uk

After finding the above information this week on the internet, the staff at The Texas Spur decided to take our own poll of irritating comments, phrases, or words. Here is our list:
#10: OMG (The acronym depicting “oh my gosh”)

#9: LOL (Another acronym for “laugh out loud”)

#8: Bite me

#7: Freakin’

#6: Friggin’

#5: Whatever

#4: Sucks

#3: That blows

#2: Been there, done that

And, the #1 top irritating phrase or word: As if

And, while we’re thining about it, ur #1 irritating habit is when people copy David Letterman’s“Top 10”.

Cindi @ 5:33 pm
Posted under: Uncategorized
It’s a !@#**& job but someone has to do it

Posted on Tuesday 6 January 2009

One of the key things I have learned from observing the Spur sidewalk project is that grant money isn’t free and it doesn’t necessarily make things better. And, furthermore, the process of the project rarely makes sense. This was affirmed in my mind on Friday morning. Backing into the “news cave”, I noticed Harry Bob Martin, president of Dickens County Historical Commission, the organization which owns the Palace Theater in downtown Spur and next door to The Texas Spur office. He was painting some form of liquid on the building’s bricks.

Martin and his group have worked methodically and diligently to continue restoration efforts on the town’s old movie theater. Last year they received a grant from the Texas Historical Commission to replace damaged bricks on the building which was done last fall. THC is a governmental entity, so they apparently like doing things the hard way. They weren’t happy with the color of the mortar used on the project.

“Too white”, they told Martin. To which he replied, “That’s what the architect ordered.”

I guess it didn’t matter what the architect ordered, who incidentally got $7,000 of the $10,000 in grant funds allotted for the project. THC told Martin it didn’t look old like the rest of the mortar and should be stained.

“With what?” he asked. “Cow manure,” they answered. THC went on to tell Martin, “Some engineers at A&M (as in Texas A&M) came up with the cow manure solution.”

And, I must say, that is a completely appropriate conclusion coming out of Texas A&M.

Martin wasn’t entirely sure it would work but told THC that he could understand the engineers’ reasoning since he is an A&M grad also. Nevertheless he told me Friday he was only going to smear a small area on the lower part of the building to make sure the manure would indeed do the trick of making the mortar appear aged.

“It’s really kind of a !@#**& job, Cindi,” Martin told me. To which I replied, “Yeah, but somebody’s got to do it.”

On Monday I ran into Martin again in the post office where I asked him how his “crap” job was going. He said THC had talked to someone who had a better idea–coffee. He was headed to the grocery store to purchase instant coffee to apply using a paint sprayer. All in all a much better idea, I agreed. It must have been a UT or Texas Tech grad who came up with that one.

Cindi @ 4:52 pm
Posted under: Local Life and Uncategorized
“Christmas with the Kranks”, or “It sure is a dark house on Burlington”

Posted on Thursday 4 December 2008

As I write this from my desk inside the newpaper office, my husband, Bullfeathers, is decorating our office’s front window for Christmas. Indeed there is a “first time” for everything.

For the past two Christmases we have barely been able to get a tree put up at home while following the Jayton Jaybirds in the state football playoffs along with basketball games and all the other events that seem to come with the Christmas season. This year we don’t have the football playoffs as an excuse, but, yet again, our house appears to look like the home of the Kranks from the movie, “Christmas with the Kranks”. And the movie isn’t far from being an accurate portrayal of ourselves, since we did take off last weekend for a long weekend in New Mexico while other people were either decorating for Christmas or out shopping for it.

However, all excuses aside, my husband has informed me that he doesn’t intend to climb the slick metal roof of our house to hang Christmas lights ever again. He said he has enjoyed not risking life and limb, and his career as a firefighter, the past two years in order to have our house glow in the dark. Also he has discovered the benefits and satisfaction he receives in January from not having to take down Christmas decorations. I confess that he does have a point.

A few years ago I bought these great Christmas lights shaped like stars, and I do hope you got to see them then because I have resigned myself to the sincerity of my husband’s vow, so don’t expect to see those stars shining bright on my house ever again. Now, as Bullfeathers is busy completing this morning’s office decorating project, I tell myself to enjoy the consolation of getting a festive look at my office courtesy of his efforts which did not require him to climb slick roofs or ladders or make me a widow. It also proves that maybe he’s not such a “Krank” after all.

Cindi @ 12:20 pm
Posted under: Local Life and Uncategorized
Bailout?! Baloney!

Posted on Thursday 20 November 2008

U.S. Rep. Spencer Bachus of Alabama described American taxpayers as having “bailout fatigue” regarding the Big 3 automaker CEO’s testimony to Congress. But I think a lot of us prefer to refer to it as “bailout baloney”.

Tell me again how much those three men make in one year? While two of them spoke of taking the Lee Iacoca plunge and getting $1 a year, the other one remained silent. How about $0 for 1 year? I think they should have enough in reserve to tide them over for a while unless they run their personal finances like they do their companies. Why else would they be going before Congress begging for money?

Chrysler CEO Bob Nardelli says Chapter 11 bankruptcy is not an option. If a person who is making payments on their Chrysler automobile to Chrysler Credit files for bankrukptcy does he still get to keep his car? I doubt it. So why should the Big 3 get to keep their jets?

Cindi @ 5:44 pm
Posted under: Uncategorized
Democrats dwindling in Dickens, Kent counties

Posted on Tuesday 11 November 2008


As I look over last week’s election returns for Dickens and Kent counties I notice a trend that has materialized over the past decade. While the majority of the U.S. voted for Democratic candidates, the majority of voters in Dickens and Kent counties voted for Republicans, something I’m told was unheard of 15 or 20 years ago. It may come as a surprise to area voters, but this trend has steadily grown and was dominant not just last week but in previous elections.

Last week in Dickens County approximately 73 percent of voters cast votes for Republican candidates, 25 percent of voters cast votes for Democratic candidates, and 2 percent voted for Libertarian candidates. In Kent County election returns, 68 percent of voters cast votes for Republicans, 28 percent cast votes for Democrats, and 4 percent cast votes for Libertarians. In Dickens County 246 voted a straight Republican ticket compared to 116 who voted a straight Democratic ticket. In Kent County 76 voted a straight Republican ticket compared to 44 voting a straight Democratic ticket.

Four years ago in the general election voters in both counties also voted Republican: 78 percent of votes cast in Dickens County was for Republican candidates, and only 20 percent of the votes cast went to Democratic candidates with the remaining 2 percent of the votes going to Libertarians. In Kent County, 63 percent of votes were for Republicans, 35 percent for Democrats, and 2 percent for Libertarians.

When I purchased the newspaper a little more than 12 years ago, I was told no one running for local elected positions could get elected unless they ran on the Democratic ticket. Consequently no one in Dickens County, since I took over publication of The Texas Spur, has ever run for office as a Republican. Only one person in Kent County has run on the Republican ticket during my tenure, and, while she did not get elected, I think it may have had more to do with her being the new kid in town rather than being a Republican.

Now I don’t say this because I am here to tout the Republican Party. That’s not it at all. But I do want to draw my readers’ attention to the fact that, while Democrats are still alive and well in our midst, voting behavior, for the most part, reflects a Republican perspective. I, for example, don’t align myself with any particular party unless I have to vote in the Democratic Primary, as I did last March, in order to be able to vote in my local county election. What I am saying is it would be nice to be given the choice.

For more on this topic see my story in the November 13 issue of The Texas Spur.

Cindi @ 4:32 pm
Posted under: Local Politics and Uncategorized
Tattling on Terrell

Posted on Monday 10 November 2008

I was forwarded a story this morning coming out of the Dallas/Fort Worth metro which I found kind of amusing. It showed the video of a story run on the telvision station WFAA during their local newscast. They reported that 25 people in the town of Terrell, located 25 miles east of Dallas, were protesting the Terrell Tribune’s coverage, or lack of coverage, about last week’s presidential election. A Terrell woman was miffed because she wanted the local newspaper to feature a banner headline about Obama’s win to keep in her scrapbook, and when the headline was about the outcome of a local commissioner’s election rather than Obama’s win she contacted WFAA News to tattle on the Terrell Tribune, and she gained 24 other Obama supporters to picket the newspaper office.

If folks are upset with The Texas Spur about our headline touting Stanaland’s win over Bohanon in a Kent County Commissioner’s race, the only local contested race, rather than Obama’s win in the presidential race, I haven’t heard about it. The Copperas Cove Leader-Press had one subscriber call to cancel her subscription for that newspaper’s lack in covering the outcome of the presidential election, but the publisher said her subscription had already run out one month prior to the election. Guess she showed them!

To make a long forum short, the consensus among us small-town publishers is that we are community newspapers and we cover our community’s news and events. For coverage of national events, we leave it to those larger, national newspapers. Most of the small town papers, like us, came out on Wednesday or Thursday, and, by that time, readers who didn’t know Obama won must have been in a coma, or living under a rock. And perhaps the commissioner’s race in Terrell was as big locally as the presidential race was nationally. Giving “Obama Wins” a big headline would have been like a banner headline saying “Today is Thursday”. I didn’t see anything like the Terrell Tribune’s headline “Johnson Defeats Schoen” in the Dallas Morning News or on WFAA’s newscast. Perhaps Johnson beating Schoen was as big a deal in Terrell as it was for Obama to win the U.S. presidency.

As for wanting the headline in the local newspaper to keep in a scrapbook? The publishers’ consensus was that a community newspaper’s job is to report local news, or, as the Terrell Tribune’s publisher put it, not to be a “memory book service”. I say if you want something to keep to throw in a box in your basement to commemorate the occasion, then buy the Dallas Morning News.

Cindi @ 10:45 am
Posted under: Local Politics and Uncategorized
All about stupid, and the great sidewalk restoration quake of ‘08

Posted on Thursday 30 October 2008

By Bullfeathers (Greg Taylor)

Stupid is just a fact of life. Probably always has been. I looked up “stupid” in the dictionary. It’s in there, and everything it says about the word easily applies to people, which makes me think stupid has been affecting people for quite a while.
My inspiration to write about stupid came directly from one of my favorite hobbies, which is name-calling. It’s a pasttime I find to be extremely satisfying and just a hoot in general.
Stupid, by the way, is defined by the dictionary as “1: slow of mind, 2: lacking intelligence, 3: dulled in feeling, 4: a stupid person.”
Those definitions, however, kind of let the air out of my balloon. There have been times in my life, and continue to be, when one or more of the definitions fit me or something I’ve done. In fact, I figure it applies to all of us at one time or another, which, I guess, makes stupid universal. Sort of takes some of the fun out of name-calling. But not enough to make me give up a good hobby.
The saga of the restoration of the downtown sidewalks in Spur has been a case study in stupid. In case you’ve been out of the country lately, the city of Spur got a grant this year to tear out their downtown sidewalks and pour new ones. Sounds great, on the surface, but what the city ran into are laws that apply to new construction regarding wheelchair-accessibile ramps, slope restrictions, and miminum widths between obstructions, such as support posts and rails. And that doesn’t even take into account the contracted engineer’s plan for the new sidewalks that was, well, stupid.
Now, after weeks of looking like we’ve suffered an earthquake, we have sidewalks with ramps where there’s no need for ramps, steps that are too narrow, and even steps in the middle of the sidewalk where no one would expect steps. Consequently people who have walked these sidewalks for years are now tripping and injuring themselves on new steps that fall in the “Who in Hades would put a step there?” category, and our new ramps meant by law to help handicapped people are instead creating handicapped people.
At last count a half-dozen people have fallen in front of the pharmacy, where a step was put in the middle of the sidewalk. (Yes, the step really is in the engineer’s plans.)
And just this week the work crews discovered, in tearing out the sidewalk in front of Gloria’s cafe, that the basement under the cafe extends out past the building under the sidewalk, which, before it was torn out, served as the basement’s roof and ceiling. Now the basement is an 8-foot deep pit where a sidewalk was, and what began as a simple concrete job has become really complex.
It’s not hard to react to the sidewalk project as if it and the folks involved were stupid. Had the project gone as most of us might have imagined, with new concrete replacing old and the addition of a couple of wheelchair accessible ramps where needed, the new sidewalks would probably have been accepted as “nice”, and the inconveniece of the construction tolerated as a necessary evil. But, with the complication of meeting government laws on accessibility in new construction, which, apparently the engineer compensated for by adding the surprise steps and excessive ramps, plus the spending of a lot of state tax money to fix something that really wasn’t broken, the project now easily qualifies as stupid.
Unfortunately for the city council members, who originally approved the project, responsibility for the project falls on them and the city, and the associated stupid stain, fair or not, inevitably works its way toward all involved.
Fortunately, however, for those same city council members, stupid applies universally in that we’ve all done something more-or-less as stupid as their trying to get us new sidewalks. Theirs was just done in a more spectator-filled setting.
Will knowing all this make it less painful to trip and fall on our new stupid sidewalks, or make injuries suffered to this point or in the future less serious, or protect us from liability when someone does get hurt? Afraid not.
But it should remind us of these basic principles of stupid:
1. Stupid does not have to be in the idea or the action, but can just show up in the complications and make even the best project stupid.
2. Stupid increases proportionally to the the level of government involved in a project.
3. You only think you’ve seen stupid until you deal with government funds, such as grant projects that require a minimum bid process.
4. Our city council really wasn’t stupid in the sidewalk project. It was the engineering firm, and they should have to correct what their stupid design messed up.
5. Stupid is universal. From time to time we all have it, kind of like gas. And nobody around us ever appreciates it when we have it, but they will always act like they never have it as bad as we do.

Cindi @ 2:02 am
Posted under: Uncategorized
Spur Homecoming: Where every year it’s a holiday, and every class reunion is a party

Posted on Thursday 16 October 2008

I was in the Lucky Spur yesterday where I bought a new t-shirt that says “Spur, TX: Where Every Day’s a Holiday, And Every Night’s a Party”. Perfect for Spur Homecoming because our yearly homecoming event is unsurpassed. The t-shirt could easily say “Spur Homecoming: Where every year it’s a holiday, and every class reunion is a party”.

Folks have been coming by the newspaper office all day to renew their subscriptions, buy papers, or ask questions. It’s always fun to hear them talk about Spur when they lived here. Occassionally someone will come by who once worked at the newspaper. They talk about the old days and the way type was set on a linotype machine. I’m glad I came along in the computer age.

For some it was the good old days, and I know they have fond memories. As for me I like fond memories but I’ll keep today’s modern conveniences of setting the newspaper on computer and emailing it to the press. It allows me to enjoy the “holiday” and the “party”.

Welcome home exes!

Cindi @ 4:38 pm
Posted under: Local Life and Uncategorized
And the good news is…

Posted on Tuesday 14 October 2008

After the drama we’ve been watching the past few weeks regarding the nursing home I am ready for some good news. And the good news is…

…our fire hydrants have been painted red again…

While I am a Spur ex-student and I love my old high school, I am a traditionalist, and I think fire hydrants should be red. The picture just isn’t as sweet where a puppy is peeing on a blue and gold fire hydrant.

…it is Spur’s Homecoming, and it feels like Fall outside…

I like wearing warmer garments to football games. It just “fits” better, and homecoming is more fun when it isn’t sweltering outside. (The town also looks festive when decorated for homecoming.)

…it is raining today, but we have a clear and sunny forecast with highs in the 70’s for homecoming…

Cool temperatures and sun makes for a pleasant temperature while sitting on the porch with my class watching the homecoming parade. (PARTY!)

…it is 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday before Homecoming and the Homecoming issue is DONE!

‘Enough said. I’m gone.

Cindi @ 5:12 pm
Posted under: Local Life and Uncategorized
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