Sunday, January 30, 2011

Overheard in 1955 pt 4

‘Did you see where some baseball player just signed a contract for $50,000 a year just to play ball?'

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Gargoyles in Texas - Werewolves in London - Whatever

I want to tell you about an interesting experience I had. I talked about this on my blog Petticoats and Pistols so if you follow that you might have heard of this before.

Do you ever see a gargoyle on some building and just shake your head and wonder, “What in the world were they thinking?”

Well, I saw a gargoyle. In Texas of all places. (Not sure why but everytime I think, “Gargoyles in Texas” the song “Werewolves in London” starts running through my head).

So I went to a book event in Texas and while we were walking around looking for food, we walked past this unbelievable stone building. An old courthouse they call Old Red. It was possibly the most beautiful I’ve ever seen….keeping in mind I don’t get out much.

Knowing it was built in 1890 makes it even more impressive. It really is beautiful.
 And while I was staring at this beautiful building I noticed the gargoyle.

So, of course, being of a twisted nature, I immediately thought of y’all here, those who read my blog.

Rather than write a lovely blog about turn of the LAST century construction methods or American Ingenuity or even TEXAS…how obvious is THAT???….I stared at that weird gargoyle and a topic came to mind.
Gargoyles in Texas.

What was he DOING up there? What were the Texans THINKING? Sure we expect gargoyles in Paris…theyre FRENCH they’re always doing something like that. But this is DALLAS. Come on!
So I researched gargoyles and found to my surprise there is a point to it all.

A gargoyle is a carved stone figure with a spout designed to convey water from a roof and away from the side of a building.

The term means “throat” or “gullet.”

That’s right, a gargoyle isn’t just cool or weird or artistic. It’s not a figure meant to drive away evil spirits (that was my first guess). It has an architectural purpose, to catch water and make it pour off, away from the building to protect the foundation. It’s the 16th century answer to rain gutters.
I found comfort in that.
Gargoyles had a purpose.
No explaining why they had to be ugly though.
Why not a spout or a … a … pitcher…or a maiden with a tipped water bucket.
And of course I soon found out too, that after they first used gargoyles for practical (if ugly) reasons, they soon began just slapping ugly creatures up on their building for ‘artistic’ purposes. I can hear the architect now, whining, “Why does the cathedral at Notre Dame get a gargoyle and I don’t.”

Contractor: “Notre Dame's foundation was at risk and  to no one’s surprise, there was a sale on the really UGLY water spouts so they bought them.”
Architect: "But I WANT THEM!"
Contractor: "There aren't any drainage problems in this part of town. Shut up!"
Architect drops to the ground and begins turning blue while kicking his feet.  “I’m holding my breath until you give me a gargoyle.”
Contractor, knowing his job site was going to unionize if he didn't settle this pronto: "Okay, fine, we'll get you a stupid gargoyle. But this project is already over budget.We're not paying more for your gargoyles then the ones at that fanciest church in the world. Take it or leave it."
Architect (sniffling while he dries his eyes): They're not ugly to ME!!!!!!!

Enter the era of the chimera or grotesque figure, (no, the term grotesque figure has nothing to do with the failure of my latest attempt at dieting, shut up)

A chimera is a sculpture that does not work as a waterspout and serves only an ornamental or artistic function. Again, ugly. Hello!
These are also usually called gargoyles by average folks but architects know the difference. about terminology........dumb about art.
So there you have it. No idea if the gargoyle up on the top of Old Red spouts water but I doubt it because it’s not on the edge of the building. So, shame on Texas for perching a gargoyle up on top of Old Red and not having a practical explanation for why, why, why they thought it was a good idea. They could at least have put a Stetson on his head.
So, admit it. You want one. Good bye gutters and downspouts, every one here is going to put a gargoyle on their house just as soon as they can afford some daffy French architect to slap one up there.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Overheard in 1955 pt 3

‘Did you hear the post office is thinking about charging 7 cents just to mail a letter?’

Friday, January 21, 2011

Overheard in 1955 pt 2

‘Have you seen the new cars coming out next year? It won’t be long before $1, 000.00 will only buy a used one.’

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Overheard in 1955

‘I’ll tell you one thing, if things keep going the way they are, it’s going to be impossible to buy a week’s groceries for $10.00. ‘

Friday, January 14, 2011

E.T. has Landed on my Porch

Mary Connealy

To my surprise I mentioned to some friends (well, FORMER FRIENDS, the wimps) that I came home the other day and there was semen on my front porch. (Note the warning to keep the tank upright...I'm guessing that there is NO ORDER concerning a semen tank that anyone would dare disobey.)
Their reaction – a cross between horror, amazement and completely tasteless jokes—made me think this might make a good topic for my blog.

Now stick with me all you CITY FOLKS while I tell you about Artificial Insemination of cattle.
My Cowboy has cows that give birth every spring. The next winter, he sells off the year’s calf crop and then in the spring, here come more babies.
They are unbelievable cute. And it’s a sign we are true country people because we can love them and fuss over them and coddle them and then. . . without batting an eye. . .we can eat them.
So these are beef cattle. . .not to be confused with dairy cattle. . .and My Cowboy mainly raises Angus.
Angus are black (although there are RED Angus-one is pictured above left) but for the most part when you say Angus, you mean a black cow.

The majority of his cattle are just nice, run-of-the-mill angus cows, but there is this special side to raising beef cattle that can lead to big money.
No, it hasn’t led us there yet, but My Cowboy has a dream, a cool dream, that he’ll raise that magical perfect, beautiful animal with all the right ancestors and all the right lines; wide butt, broad chest, deep belly, (uh-oh, I just described myself) and this animal will be valuable and have valuable babies and maybe even, if it happens to be a BULL it might be marketable for it’s semen.

The pictures of the calves are from our herd and that's My Cowboy on the right, this picture doesn't capture My Cowboy's basic cuteness. The hood really wrecks it but the man wasn't about to pose and smile for the camera.
So, moving on, My Cowboy buys semen. He buys registered Angus cows and semen from snazzy Angus bulls and breeds the cows using artificial insemination.
I just heard one of my readers scream and faint, toss some water on her, bring her around, she’s not going to want to miss the rest.
First he has to pick out semen. And for that he gets catalogues. Catalogues full of the most beautiful pictures of these magnificent, heavily muscled, shining black bulls.
With really amazing names like (these aren’t all Angus-but they're real bulls):
Hornster, Rib Eye; Red Hot Poker; Romeo; Grand Slam; Ladies Man; Bullicious; Rapid Response; Powerhouse; Red Hot & Rollin’—I could go on forever.

They seem to have a naughty bend. . .at least quite a bit of the time. Hmmmm I guess I’ll forego a comment on that, nothing I’m thinking bears repeating.

So he buys the semen and he makes his choices on this list of things, attributes that the bull owner promises. (Many of these bulls are dead-we can talk about that if you want). Here are some sample promises:
Birth weight of 56 pounds (that’s small-which doesn’t matter and is in fact good IF the calf gains quickly, a small calf is easier for the cow to deliver and complications are reduced)
--Progeny are Strong-topped, Deep and Sound with Ample Eye-appeal (this is NOT in English, do NOT worry if you have no idea what it means)
--Structured bull who possesses loads of bone substance, base width, muscle mass and volume.
-- one of the most talked about bulls in the business
-- Over 100 calves ratioed 97 for birth wt. in nine herds, 103 for weaning weight, and 60 calves ratioed 102 for yearling wt (this is actually something to really brag about but I don’t have time to define all the terms, just trust me)
-- This may be the most powerful “878” son you’ll see with plenty of muscle and bone. (878 is the name of another bull, in this case, this bull’s daddy.)
He gets these full color beautiful catalogues with pictures of bulls that (this is secret so don’t tell My Cowboy I said it) ALL LOOK ALIKE.
I've put up pictures of black angus and other types of cattle, you'll note the black angus are all BLACK, try picking one of them out of crowd. The weird thing is, My Cowboy can do it. We have about 250 head of cattle mostly all black, a bunch of them baby calves and he KNOWS THEM APART. This from a man who can't seem to remember it's my BIRTHDAY, but that's a topic for another blog.
They all look NICE, but c’mon, they’re black angus bulls. Of course they’re not all “the most powerful “878” son you’ll see—”, but those details don’t exactly show up in the snapshot.

Then he buys it and it’s shipped to our house (do NOT ask me who does this for a living. The vet maybe? Is there an actual ‘semen delivery man’. Does UPS handle this stuff).
The tank which looks a little like a teensy spaceship, arrives. It’s brutally killing cold inside. My Cowboy transfers this to his own brutally killing cold tank and then bides his time. Waits for the cow to – well, let’s just say ‘express an interesting in--uh--well, falling in love and getting married and going on a honeymoon--for one day' – when this happens, My Cowboy is ready.
It’s actually pretty tricky. I’m skipping details that you’d THANK me for skipping if you just knew what they are. Don’t even TALK about Gomer Bulls, that’s just too weird.
And I listen to words like cervix and ‘in heat’ and servicing and settling, and hear My Cowboy say, “I’ve got to go breed a cow” with my Wheaties in the morning and think nothing of it.
Until I mention to some city girls (Please unblock me from your email. I promise not to bring up what’s on my porch again-although I've got a rabid skunk story that I think you'd love. And there's a REASON it looks like there's been a drive-by shooting on my porch. And does anyone know where to buy large quantities of wood putty?).
And that's what made me realize this little slice of my life might be of some interest to others.
Any questions?
If you want to know what a Gomer Bull is, Google it. I am NOT going into that. Ick.
And here for your enjoyment, a few captions.
A Gomer Bull has had surgery WHERE?


I'm being replaced with a frozen tank? I don't think so. Bring it!

I have the best job in the world!
Romantic Comedy with Cowboys

Monday, January 10, 2011

First baby of Spring


This calf is what we call a Simmi Blaze
Or maybe Simmi Angus Blaze
A simmintal/angus cross calf with a white blaze on her face.
My cowboy is particularly partial to this kind of calf.
He says, "I like some chrome on them."

Surprise blizzard baby born at the Connealys.
Mama apparently ... ahem ... was a bit too generous with her affections
during an ... encounter ... so brief only the presence of the calf attests to ... let's call it an 'elopement'.

And here is one finally picture.
I call it Mad Cow.
Look very closely and you'll see she is pawing the straw.
Pawing the straw.
As in bull fighting, el toro, pawing the dirt getting ready to CHARGE.
I'm taking these pictures through an iron gate or you'd have pictures of me RUNNING.
Even extremely tame, gentle cows, which this cow is, have instincts and I don't disregard them.

Chance to win Sharpshooter

I'm doing an interview today
Mindy Obenhaus
I do a LOT of these give aways when a book first comes out.
But they will end (or at least taper off) soon.
So jump in and get your name in the drawing.

We're throwing a party on Seekerville

Come to
as your favorite historical figure.
You can change your profile picture for the day or just claim a character and tell us about her.

I am going as my great-great-great grandmother Lucy Dutro.
She lived from 1798-1893.
I got all my good looks from her.

Come over and learn all you can from

And get your name in the drawing for this month's Harlequin Historical releases....

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Chance to Win Sharpshooter in Petticoats

I'm on Lena Nelson Dooley's blog.
Go leave a comment to get your name in a drawing for a copy of
Sharpshooter in Petticoats.