December 2009 Archives

Jamison Faught has caught the Muskogee Phoenix newspaper in an interesting omission. It's in an Associated Press story (originating in the Oklahoman) on two Democratic Oklahoma state senators, Earl Garrison and Kenneth Corn, intervening on behalf of a Muskogee highway contractor named Craig Glover. Glover had been rejected by the pre-qualification committee of the Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT). According to a Dec. 7, 2009, story in the Oklahoman, a company owned by Glover's father had been banned from ODOT work. Glover's father, George Paul Glover, "pleaded no contest in early 2007 to conspiring to use prohibited road material and intimidating a state grand jury witness." After the senators' intervention, ODOT approved the younger Glover's company to bid on ODOT projects, and the company has been awarded $35 million in state highway work.

The curious omission? Only one of the two state senators is mentioned by name in the Phoenix's version of the story, and the one that isn't mentioned is the local legislator, Earl Garrison.

Read the whole story at Musings of a Muskogee Politico.

Best-of-2009 lists

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'Tis the season for retrospectives.

You won't want to miss Dave Barry's 2009 month-by-month review.

John Hawkins at Right Wing News has put together a bunch of best-of lists for 2009, covering national politics from a conservative perspective:

The Daily Telegraph offers its list of the top 10 conservative movies of the decade:

This is a list of the ten best films of the last decade that have advanced a conservative message, ranging from strong support for the military and love for country to the defence of capitalism and the free market. These are all brilliant movies that conservatives can be inspired by, and which are guaranteed to offend left-wing sensibilities in one way or another.

This is not intended as a list of films made only by conservative filmmakers, who are, it has to be said, few in number. Ironically, some of the best films of all time that have projected conservative values have been made by directors who are apolitical or even politically liberal. Steven Spielberg's magnificent Saving Private Ryan and Schindler's List, Cy Enfield's Zulu, and Roland Joffe's The Killing Fields, are cases in point.

Closer to home, Irritated Tulsan offers several countdown posts:

And he wants you to cast your vote for Tulsan of The Year 2009.

And following tradition, Urban Tulsa Weekly has its list of 2009's best and worst.

If you've found an interesting best-of-2009 post, leave a note in the comments below.

Grammy-winning singer/songwriter Ray Stevens, whose work spans a half century and ranges from the sublime to the ridiculous, has a topical new song with a straightforward message for our representatives in Washington:

BBC World Service will present a radio documentary called "24 Hours in Tulsa."

For one police officer, patrolling the streets of Tulsa, Oklahoma, has become more than just a job.

Jay Chiarito-Mazarrella has created a cult following for his self-narrated Street Story podcasts - fresh, funny and sometimes frightening insights into his daily work.

Spend a night with him and his colleague, Corporal Will Dalsing, as they go on night patrol.

The program will air live in the time slot for "The Wednesday Documentary" on Wednesday, December 30, 2009, at 4:05 am, 9:05 am, 2:05 pm, and 7:05 pm, Central Standard Time, and it should be available online for about a week thereafter via the BBC iPlayer at this link. If you happen to have an HD radio, you can hear the program over the air on 88.7-HD3, which airs BBC World Service 24 hours a day.

(Via William Franklin's post at TulsaNow's public forum.)

Sudden death

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Time is now fleeting, the moments are passing
Passing from you and from me
Shadows are gathering, death beds are coming
Coming for you and for me.

An uncle of mine died this week. He was 70.

He and my aunt were in the process of moving into a new house. The day after Christmas he went back to the old house to take care of something, fell, and evidently hit his head. He was able to call a friend for help, but by the the time he reached the hospital his brain was beginning to shut down. He lost consciousness and never regained it.

He leaves behind his wife of nearly 50 years, two daughters, and two grandchildren. And while he suffered some chronic health problems, which may have intensified the effect of the fall, neither he nor his wife had any reason to think that his words to her as he left on his errand would be the last he would ever speak to her.

I last saw my uncle in early November, at the annual early Thanksgiving celebration for that side of the family. I took some extra photos because we knew it would be our last Thanksgiving at that house. It never crossed my mind that it would be our last Thanksgiving with my uncle.

No one wants to suffer through a long, painful demise, but most of us would hope for enough advance warning to get our affairs in order and to say our farewells to those who love us. Yet so many people never get that chance. Another uncle died last year from a sudden stroke. A former coworker was felled by a heart attack at the age of 40, two months after his youngest child was born. A friend died suddenly one afternoon of an aortic aneurysm. Another friend was in one of the highest stories of the north tower of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.

Pete Maravich and Jim Fixx were both athletes in excellent health, but both dropped dead suddenly from heart attacks.

Only God knows the hour in which you will take your last breath. But whether death comes suddenly or slowly, one thing is sure: Death is coming.

They nailed his hands
There on the cross,
On his head the thorns did lay.
Be prepared to go;
There's one thing I know:
You're gettin' closer to the grave each day.

You're gettin' closer to the grave each day.
Sinner man, won't you stop now and pray?
Live the road of sin alone.
Let Jesus lead you home.
You're gettin' closer to the grave each day.

On the great Judgment Day
When life's book is read
There'll be no time to pray
Learn to love and forgive
While on earth you live.
You're gettin' closer to the grave each day.


By the sweat of your face
you shall eat bread,
till you return to the ground,
for out of it you were taken;
for you are dust,
and to dust you shall return.


Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit"-- yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.(James 4:13-14)


None of us have any guarantees that we will wake up in the morning. When you leave your house in the morning, you cannot know for certain that you will return that evening.

Why should we tarry when Jesus is pleading,
Pleading for you and for me?
Why should we linger and heed not his mercies,
Mercies for you and for me?

Come home.
Come home.
Ye who are weary, come home.
Earnestly, tenderly,
Jesus is calling,
Calling, O sinner, come home.

Today is the only day we know we have. Every moment is entrusted by God to us as stewards, to be used for His glory.

Even if I survive 2010, 2010 will have its share of loss. We go through life expecting every week to be like the last. But in the course of 2010, I will travel through places that I will never visit again. I will spend time with friends and family members that I will never see again. Opportunities will come my way that I will never see again. Friendships will end. At some point in 2010, my youngest child will correct himself and stop uttering some cute malapropism forever. In just a few days, he will no longer be a three-year-old.

Every moment is its own little death.

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. (Ephesians 5:15-16)

When I left work on Thursday at about 3, high winds were firing tiny ice darts (sleet, officially) into my exposed skin, as I cleared the car windows as quickly as I could. I stayed off the expressways and mentally charted a zigzag route home, avoiding any significant up- or down-grades. Closer to home that meant figuring a way to deal with the rise going west from Sheridan to Yale. A combination of neighborhood streets provided for a gentler climb with fewer cars. Then came the most fearsome challenge of all -- the driveway -- and I made it up on the first try.

We had finished all our last minute shopping on the 23rd, so there was no reason to get out on the roads. A 1:42 p.m. e-mail from the church office announced cancellation of the 11 p.m. Christmas Eve service. Within two hours, the 6 p.m. service had been canceled, too. No need to get out at all.

My wife had the older son get out the china and crystal and set it on a new, shiny, red tablecloth. For dinner, we had fish, crabcakes, crescent rolls, salad.

Throughout the afternoon and evening, as we cleaned, made dinner, ate, cleaned up, we watched out the window at the snow falling and swirling. Bedtime was later than usual on Christmas eve, as we bundled up and went out in the yard to see the snow glowing in the streetlights. The snow had piled high enough to fill the street from curb to curb. The 13-year-old took a half-yardstick with him. The white powdery stuff was about 7" deep through most of the yard, with some drifts as deep as a foot. It was still falling, still blowing. It was a real blizzard.

Back in the house, into warm clothes and ready for bed. We read through the Advent Book -- a beautifully illustrated volume with a numbered door on each page, a present from my parents a few years ago -- with the three-year-old finding and reading each number and opening each door, the 13- and nine-year-old reading the Christmas story found behind the doors, as the 13-year-old picked out "Once in Royal David's City" on his mandolin.

Late bedtime led to late wake-up time -- about 9. After looking through our stockings and opening presents, we had breakfast -- kielbasa, cinnamon rolls, eggs, and the clementines that Santa brought.

We had planned to have Christmas dinner at my mom and dad's, but with the roads packed with ice and snow, officials discouraging travel, and KRMG's Joe Kelley describing the scene as a combination of "Mad Max + Ice Planet Hoth," we all agreed to delay until Saturday. So there was no need to shovel the driveway, no hurry to get dressed and out the door. The only pressure I felt was making sure I got the kids bundled up and outside to play in the snow before the day was gone. They would have been content sitting close to the fire and playing with their gifts. The nine-year-old had a new SimAnimal game for her DS that kept her absorbed much of the day. The 13-year-old got lost in some Calvin and Hobbes books. The three-year-old had some new Cars Hot Wheels and a new double spiral track to use for racing them. He and I played the card game War by the fireplace. My wife had bought a DVD set of holiday TV episodes and movies. There was a Burns and Allen Christmas episode, and one from a series about the French Foreign Legion. We watched the Dragnet episode, from the original series, about the baby Jesus statue missing from a church nativity scene.

Lunch was simple -- leftover roast from earlier in the week. Plus more candy from the stockings.

Outside, we measured the snow -- 10" to 12" most places, with some drifts to 18", including one about that height in front of the garage door. Glad we didn't need to go anywhere. We got the sleds out and the kids rode them around the yard and down the little hill over the storm shelter. Efforts to use turn the swingset slide into a luge course were unsuccessful -- the sleds were too wide; so much for holding the 2018 winter games in our backyard -- but did not result in injuries. The kids played on the swings, with only a few inches clearance between the swing and the top of the snow.

While we played, mom got a well-deserved nap. She returned the favor a little while later. When I got up from the nap, they were watching Holiday Inn with Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire. Then OETA had the Red Green Christmas Special, and we learned how to make a complete Christmas dinner while driving your car. (Potatoes go in the hubcaps. Peas go in the radiator, but there's no good way to get them out. The fan doubles as a meat slicer.)

It may have been the most relaxing Christmas ever.

Augustine Christian Academy is blessed to have among its alumni a talented young videographer named Kenneth V. Jones. Kenneth produced several wonderful videos in connection with the ACA Junior Performing Arts Company's presentation of the Nutcracker. He does an amazing job of capturing the event. Here is a montage of scenes from dress rehearsal:

Nutcracker Dress Rehearsal Montage from ACA on Vimeo.

And a montage from the opening night performance.

Nutcracker Montage - Augustine Christian Academy from ACA on Vimeo.

Previous entries:

Nutcracker photos
Nutcracker preview

From 1978, Merle Haggard and the Strangers perform "Columbus Stockade Blues." You'll hear Eldon Shamblin's distinctive style of rhythm guitar throughout (and you can see him to the left of the trumpeter at about a minute in). At 1:30, Tiny Moore takes a short solo on his Bigsby 5-string electric mandolin -- the proverbial "biggest little instrument in the world."

From the same show, Tiny Moore and Gordon Terry join Merle Haggard on some old breakdowns, finishing up with the fiddle standard, "Liberty":

(I'd love to find a copy of the Tiny Moore Mandolin Method, a long out-of-print instructional book, to buy or to borrow. If you know where I might find a copy, e-mail me at blog at batesline dot com.)

Nutcracker photos

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The school has posted some photos from Augustine Christian Academy's production of "The Nutcracker".

Here are my three kids: The Prince, the Candy Flute, and their little brother.

And here she is with one of her classmates and best friends:

The Prince as the Nutcracker, with Herr Drosselmaier:

The Prince and Marie, with the Chinese dragon and dancers

At the cast party after the final performance, "Marie's" mom (who had two younger daughters in the performance as well) remarked that it was wonderful that Augustine Christian Academy provided a God-honoring context in which her daughters could develop their God-given talents.

ACA is not a wealthy school, but teachers, parents, and students take what they have and add a lot of sweat equity and a lot of heart. The result is consistently one of beauty and excellence. If you want a school where your children will be challenged to excel in a loving and creative environment, check out Augustine Christian Academy.

Why on earth does anyone, left-wing or right-wing, think this is a good idea?

In its real first 10 years (2014 to 2023), the CBO says that the bill would cost $1.8 trillion -- for insurance coverage expansions alone. Other parts of the bill would cost approximately $700 billion more, bringing the bill's full 10-year tab to approximately $2.5 trillion -- according to the CBO.

In those real first 10 years (2014 to 2023), Americans would have to pay over $1 trillion in additional taxes, over $1 trillion would be siphoned out of Medicare (over $200 billion out of Medicare Advantage alone) and spent on Obamacare, and deficits would rise by over $200 billion. They would rise, that is, unless Congress follows through on the bill's pledge to cut doctors' payments under Medicare by 21 percent next year and never raise them back up -- which would reduce doctors' enthusiasm for seeing Medicare patients dramatically.

And what would Americans get in return for this staggering sum? Well, the CBO says that health care premiums would rise, and the Chief Actuary at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services says that the percentage of the Gross Domestic Product spent on health care would rise from 17 percent today to 21 percent by the end of 2019. Nationwide health care costs would be $234 billion higher than under current law. How's that for "reform"?

Sen. Tom Coburn, M. D., doesn't think it's a good idea. From his Wall Street Journal op-ed:

My 25 years as a practicing physician have shown me what happens when government attempts to practice medicine: Doctors respond to government coercion instead of patient cues, and patients die prematurely. Even if the public option is eliminated from the bill, these onerous rationing provisions will remain intact.

For instance, the Reid bill (in sections 3403 and 2021) explicitly empowers Medicare to deny treatment based on cost. An Independent Medicare Advisory Board created by the bill--composed of permanent, unelected and, therefore, unaccountable members--will greatly expand the rationing practices that already occur in the program. Medicare, for example, has limited cancer patients' access to Epogen, a costly but vital drug that stimulates red blood cell production. It has limited the use of virtual, and safer, colonoscopies due to cost concerns. And Medicare refuses medical claims at twice the rate of the largest private insurers....

But the most fundamental flaw of the Reid bill is best captured by the story of one my patients I'll call Sheila. When Sheila came to me at the age of 33 with a lump in her breast, traditional tests like a mammogram under the standard of care indicated she had a cyst and nothing more. Because I knew her medical history, I wasn't convinced. I aspirated the cyst and discovered she had a highly malignant form of breast cancer. Sheila fought a heroic battle against breast cancer and enjoyed 12 good years with her family before succumbing to the disease.

If I had been practicing under the Reid bill, the government would have likely told me I couldn't have done the test that discovered Sheila's cancer because it wasn't approved under CER. Under the Reid bill, Sheila may have lived another year instead of 12, and her daughters would have missed a decade with their mom.

Grace & Truth Books

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One message you've been hearing a lot this year is to shop locally. Shopping in your own town keeps money circulating in the community, which keeps your friends and neighbors employed, and generates sales tax to help fund local government.

The Tulsa area has many unique local businesses that can help you stuff your Christmas stockings as you help the local economy. One of those businesses is Grace & Truth Books, based in Sand Springs:

Grace and Truth Books is a Christ-centered Christian book publisher and Christian book distributor that provides character building children's books and books for fathers and Christian women's books to help develop family devotion in the home. Many Christian book sellers carry and promote what "sells" and not what is spiritually profitable to build Christian charcter and strong godly families. At Grace and Truth, our focal point and goal has always been to bring the great, character-building books of past centuries to the attention of this generation of families! At Grace & Truth Books you'll find a great selection of Christ-honoring Christian Books for the whole family.

Grace & Truth Books is owned and operated by the Gundersen family, the realization of a long-held dream. They began selling classic 19th century books on character building from a small specialty publisher, became that publisher's biggest distributor, then acquired the publisher and began developing their own catalog of books.

You'll find contemporary books and classic books in Grace & Truth's catalog. The list of December specials includes

  • Christian in Complete Armour, the (3 volume set) by William Gurnall
  • A Simple Christmas: 12 Stories that Celebrate the True Holiday Spirit by Mike Huckabee (autographed-by-author copies)
  • Raising Real Men: Surviving, Teaching, and Appreciating Boysby Hal & Melanie Young
  • Before You Meet Prince Charming - A Guide to Radiant Purity by Sarah Mally
  • For You They Signed: Character Studies from the Lives of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence by Marilyn Boyer
  • Morning by Morning: TruTone Leather, ESV edition by Charles H. Spurgeon
  • The Person I Marry ~ Things I'll Think About Long Before Saying "I Do" by Gary Bower, featuring the oil paintings of Jan Bower

There's also a special collection of 19th-century children's books -- 11 titles, 900 pages total, on sale in December for $39.

Continued on sale for December! One of the best Christmas gifts you could ever give a child: the renowned, classic 19th century Children's Character Building Collection, in the highest-quality edition ever printed, as all 11 titles have beautiful new hand-painted covers! This is our all-time favorite set of children's stories from last century, and all with fresh artwork that captures the era!

Each of these delightful volumes are full of Biblical truth, presented in the most winsome possible stories, sure to warm the heart and teach the mind of every family member. The reading level for this set is said to be 4th - 5th grade, but we find children of all ages enjoy them, and even adults often tell us they find them delightful to read....

Filled with rich, Christ-centered (not merely moralistic) content, these reprints from the best of the American Tract Society's children's selections of the 1800's will be valued by any family who desire your children to be saturated in God's truth, as portrayed in fascinating stories.

Not on special this month, but if you're looking for books that will help history come alive for your children, they have G. A. Henty's historical novels.

According to Dennis's Facebook page, "Still taking Saturday book orders - and we can get them to you by Christmas."

On the PLANiTULSA.org website, there is a new working draft of the PLANiTULSA policy plan, a component of a new comprehensive plan for the City of Tulsa. The policy plan covers, in broad terms, city policy would be concerning land use, transportation, housing, economic development, and parks, open space, and the environment. The plan is available for review and comment. Sometime in January, the formal public hearings will be held. A final draft will be submitted to the TMAPC. The TMAPC will make their recommendation, which could include amendments, to the City Council, and then the City Council could adopt the plan as recommended by the TMAPC, make further changes to the plan, or reject it altogether. If adopted, the plan would then be used by city officials to shape land use and zoning policy and infrastructure improvements.

Download the documents, read through them, and then send your comments to the City's PLANiTULSA team.

Also today, I attended a brief training class on Return on Investment (ROI) software developed by Fregonese Associates. The system allows you to evaluate the economic viability of a proposed development by specifying a variety of factors affecting the cost of development and the potential revenue (from leasing or selling units). Some of those parameters are derived from the parking requirements in the City of Tulsa's zoning code. It's quickly apparent that our high minimum parking requirements act as a barrier to new commercial development.

In response to a thread at TulsaNow's public forum, here is a map showing the routes of Tulsa's three streetcar/interurban lines: Red is the Tulsa Street Railway, blue is Oklahoma Union Traction, and green is the Sand Springs Railway. The latter two lines had interurban routes to Sapulpa and Kiefer and to Sand Springs respectively, and the interurban tracks continue to provide diesel freight service. OUT is now known as the Tulsa-Sapulpa Union Railroad. Click the picture to see a much bigger version.

TulsaStreetcars.jpg

To make it easier to explore the routes, here is a Tulsa streetcars and interurbans KMZ file, for use with Google Maps and Google Earth.

The routes are largely based on maps and text in the book When Oklahoma Took the Trolley, as well as some documents from City of Tulsa archives. If you have any corrections or questions, please leave a comment below or drop a line to me at blog at batesline dot com.


View Larger Map

I received an e-mail today with a question about Billy Jack Wills, youngest brother of Bob Wills and a great western swing band leader in his own right. A search for the answer turned up the sad news that Billy Jack's sister-in-law, Dean McKinney Moore, had passed away on November 9, 2009, age 87.

Dean McKinney and her sister Evelyn sang with Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys in the late '40s. Their duets were featured on the Tiffany Transcriptions and a number of the band's commercial releases on Columbia and MGM. A special Tiffany Transcriptions CD (intended to be the first in a "For Collectors Only" series) includes 22 cuts with Evelyn and Dean in duet or singing in trios and quartets with Joe Holley, Tiny Moore, and Eldon Shamblin.

While with the Playboys, Dean met and married mandolinist Tiny Moore. Wills Point dance hall in Sacramento became Bob Wills's home base in the late '40s. When Bob decided to take the band back on the road in about 1952, Billy Jack set up his own band to hold down the fort at Wills Point. Tiny and Dean decided to stay in Sacramento with Billy Jack, and the city was home for the rest of their lives. After leaving the band in 1954, Tiny hosted a local children's TV show, opened a music store, gave music lessons, and performed from time to time. In 1970, he joined five other former Texas Playboys (Johnnie Lee Wills, Alex Brashear, Eldon Shamblin, Joe Holley, and Johnny Gimble) on Merle Haggard's Tribute to the Best Damn Fiddle Player in the World, and went on to join Haggard on tour. Tiny died in 1987.

The family obituary provides some personal glimpses:

Dean and Tiny were among the founding members of the First Baptist Church of Carmichael. Dean and Evelyn frequently ministered to the congregation with songs of praise. Two LP's of sacred music were produced: "Softly and Tenderly" and "Heaven's Harmony." Dean was an unwavering presence in her children's lives and was active in the PTA throughout their early school years. She enthusiastically supported every activity that interested her children. She and Tiny entertained often with lavish dinners for friends and family. They performed as a duo joined with their daughter Kimberly and appeared at concerts and private gatherings. After Tiny's death in 1987 Dean became active in the Sacramento Western Swing Society, serving as their President for many years. Dean traveled extensively and continued to sing with Evelyn at musical festivals across the United States.

Oh, the musical question: "Will There Be Any Yodeling in Heaven?"

Will there be any yodeling in heaven?
That is what I'd like to know.
There can't be any wrong
In just singing a song
With a yo-delady-oh-mylady-dee.

In the heaven above
Will they sing the songs I love
With a yo-delady-oh-mylady-dee?

As I climb the golden stairway up yonder
And life's journey on this earth is o'er
As I cross the great divide
Will they welcome me inside
With a yo-delady-oh-mylady-dee?

My personal favorite McKinney Sisters' song is "Feudin' and Fightin'."

Finally, here are Dean and Evelyn joining in on the chorus of "Goodbye Liza Jane."

RELATED: Tiny Moore played a five-string electric mandolin (as opposed to the traditional acoustic mandolin with four pairs of strings). This article on building a five-string electric mandolin explains the advantages of the "biggest little instrument in the world":

The mandolin offers a wider interval of notes within one hand position compared to a guitar, and this can be incorporated into a playing style. (There are stories of electric guitarists frustrated in trying to learn Gimble or Moore solos.)

MORE: Dean Moore reminisces in a September 26, 1991, story in the Sacramento Bee:

The telegram from Fresno arrived in Feb ruary 1946. Come at once, it said. Am sure salary and job will make you both happy.

Little did the singing McKinney Sisters know when they left Alabama to tour with Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys that they would forever have a foothold in the rich history of Western swing.

I just wish I had kept a journal, Dean McKinney Moore says now. So many things you forget as years pass.

Bob Wills, an ace fiddler, had come to California to find a new base for the music he helped to popularize in Texas. He and his band, including Dean and Evelyn McKinney, made their way to Sacramento in 1947.

He bought the old Aragon Ballroom out on Auburn Boulevard and called it Wills Point (it burned in 1956). Wills Plunge was the swimming pool, filled with ice-cold well water. Band members lived in small apartments under the dance floor. The ballroom itself held 4,000 people, and the Playboys came close to filling it. They also did a live broadcast every day on KFBK radio.

Soon, Wills got itchy to get back on the road, so he left California and went home to Texas. But he left behind a legacy of Western swing that is still thriving in Sacramento. ...

Dean McKinney Moore didn't hear Western swing back home in Birmingham. She and her sister sang on a local radio station that broadcast as far away as Dallas and Fort Worth, from the time they were 14 and 12 years old, respectively. They also traveled with an evangelist. They sang on Ted Weems' show.

Then one day, Bob Wills came through town, and somebody at the radio station asked him to listen to Dean and Evelyn.

We didn't expect to hear from him, Moore says while having soup at a Sacramento coffee shop. We came to California, and that was the beginning of a whole new life. It was our first experience with Western swing. Where we came from, if you carried a guitar, you were just a hillbilly.

THE SWEET-VOICED McKinney Sisters traveled allover the country with Bob Wills. One night they played a gig in Port Arthur, Texas. Moore remembers that Wills and Tommy Duncan, the Playboys' vocalist, were riding in a car, and she and her sister were on the band bus.

There was no drinking on the bus, unless Bob got on the toot. (Wills' drinking was legendary.) And if he did, it was open for everybody, says Moore. When he was not drinking, he was such a great guy. He insisted that the guys not tell off-color stories around us.

Wills and Duncan stopped for a bite at a Pig Stand, an early Texas fast-food joint. Tiny Moore who was not tiny at all, but a stout 6-foot-3 and a musician friend were there, with their loaded-up car, headed to Oklahoma to find work.

Tiny asked Bob for a job, says Moore. Bob asked him what he played, and when Tiny said "mandolin,' Bob must have cringed. Mandolin is like Bill Monroe music. But he sent Tiny to the car to get it, and Tiny came back and set up on the counter. He got a job.

She and Tiny, whom she called brother for the first few months they knew each other, married in 1948. Evelyn, who still lives in Sacramento and is caring for her ill husband, had married Billy Jack Wills the year before.

Dean Moore continued to travel with Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys until late '49, when Wills hired her and Tiny to run the ballroom in his absence. The first of the Moores' three children was born in 1950.

She continued to sing with her husband as their children grew. Tiny died four years ago while performing in Jackpot, Nev., and Dean Moore says she's only now beginning to live again. She sings occasionally and expects to perform at the Western Swing Society's hall of fame event.

I think singing is what Tiny would want me to do, she says, her blue eyes seemingly fixed on some distant memory. The hardest thing I ever did was to walk back on a stage without my husband.

Nutcracker, Augustine Christian Academy, cast photoAugustine Christian Academy's Junior Performing Arts Company presents "The Nutcracker" this weekend, December 11-13, 2009. I attended last night's dress rehearsal, and it's a wonderful story told through dance, colorful costumes and sets, and the music of Tchaikovsky -- the party, the wind-up dolls, the snowflakes, the battle with the Mouse King and his minions, the Spanish, Arabian, Chinese, and Russian dancers, the gingerbread clowns, and the Sugar-Plum Fairy.

What: The Nutcracker

Where: Augustine Christian Academy, 30th St., just west of Sheridan Rd.

When:


  • Friday, December 11, 2009, 7 p.m.

  • Saturday, December 12, 2009, 7 p.m.

  • Sunday, December 13, 2009, 2 p.m.

Admission: $8.50 for adults; $6 for students.

Tickets are available at the school office. I'm told that Friday and Sunday are almost sold out.

Saturday, before the performance, there's a special "Land of the Sweets" extravaganza -- a light dinner, desserts, and priority seating for the show -- $20 for adults; $15 for students.

Nutcracker, Augustine Christian Academy, the Prince battles the Mouse King

What's especially impressive about this production is that the performers range in age from the 7th and 8th grade leads down to the 1st grade gingerbread men. That they have put together such a well-executed performance is a tribute to the dedication and energy of the young actors and dancers. It's also a tribute to the creative team of teachers and parents who spent the semester directing and teaching choreography, designing costumes and sets, and to the parents (including my wife) and grandparents (including my mother-in-law) who spent the semester sewing those costumes (almost 100). (And a special thanks to another grandparent -- my mom -- whose babysitting made it possible for my wife to help as much as she has.)

Performing arts are an ACA specialty, and every year the high school puts on a full-scale Broadway musical. This year is the first for a major production involving the grammar and junior high grades. I wasn't sure what to expect, but the result is amazing.

Nutcracker, Augustine Christian Academy, cast photo

I may be biased. My 13-year-old son is the Nutcracker Prince and my nine-year-old daughter is a dancer in several scenes. I am as proud as can be of both of them.

Nutcracker, Augustine Christian Academy, cast photo

ACA's "Nutcracker" is a wonderful evening's entertainment. It's also an opportunity to get acquainted with a school that seeks to glorify God through excellence in all its pursuits, including the performing arts.

Low-quality cellphone pix by Michael Bates

MORE: After the jump, video from a segment on Fox 23 Daybreak from last Tuesday, featuring directors Gail Post and Dawn Redden, and five of the students performing the Russian Dance (in a smaller space than usual).

If you're thinking about running for school board but are hesitant because you don't know the first thing about campaigning for office, fret not. Help is on the way, in the form of American Majority's candidate training seminar on Saturday morning, December 19, 2009:

What: Candidate Training Event

When: December 19th from 9am to noon

Where: Tulsa Technology Center - Career Training Center (3638 S. Memorial)

Cost: $25 - Materials and light snacks will be provided.

RSVP: Call 918-289-0159 or email trait at americanmajority dot org.

From the website:

American Majority Candidate Training Seminars are designed specifically to educate candidates on every level how to run effective and victorious campaigns and prepare them to become successful elected officials. Topics to be covered in the seminar include: usage of traditional and new media, campaign planning, successful fundraising tactics, and grassroots organization.

Upon completion of the seminar, candidates will receive continuing education materials, communications curriculum, and suggestions to help them utilize think-tank resources.

Cost for the event is $25 per person and pre-registration strongly encouraged as space is limited.

According to Trait Thompson, American Majority's Tulsa area field representative, "We've established this training specifically for those seeking school board seats. We want to encourage people to run and not have them intimidated by the prospect of elected office."

Prospective campaign managers, volunteer coordinators, etc., are also welcome to sign up for the session.

If you're seriously thinking about running for school board, I encourage you to go ahead and file and then sign up for this training event. (The filing period ends at 5 p.m. on Wednesday.) As political races go, school board elections are relatively low budget, as you're reaching a relatively small number of voters. You just have to identify the people who will vote for you and get them to show up on election day. (And if you manage to get at least 15% of the vote, you get your filing fee back.) (UPDATE: Trait Thompson informs me that there is no fee to file for school board in Oklahoma.) Take it from a two-time candidate: Running for office is a great experience, even if you don't win.

I went to the new ballroom at the Tulsa Convention Center for today's swearing-in of our new mayor, auditor, and city councilors.

Events like this bring together the diverse cast of characters that take an interest in local politics. There were federal, state, and local politicians, both current and former, neighborhood activists, politicos, developers, small business owners. It's like a dysfunctional family reunion for political nerds, complete with a few implacable feuds.

It was a happy privilege to greet some of my friends who were sworn in today, particularly those coming back to the City Council after a few years away. (I missed saying hello to a few of them -- had to leave to go back to work before I made the rounds.) Two of those friends, Rick Westcott and Maria Barnes, were elected as chairman and vice chairman of the Council for the coming year. It was wonderful, too, to see many friends who had volunteered to get these good people in office. Carol Barrow, for example -- Carol and her husband, Jim, Dave and Donna Beekman, Nancy Turner, and I spent a Saturday knocking doors for Nancy's husband Roscoe.

Bartlett's speech was short and to the point. If he does indeed focus on the basics and bring real fiscal conservatism back to City Hall, he'll have plenty of support from the council. Tulsa will be well served If he governs in accordance with the conservative Republican principles he espoused in his general election campaign, rather than following the lead of the predecessor he endorsed for re-election.

Rick Brinkley served as emcee. He did an excellent job and was a welcome change from 2006, when John Erling presided over Kathy Taylor's swearing-in.

One thing that struck me as odd about the ceremony. Marlin Lavanhar, pastor of All Souls Unitarian Church, gave the invocation and Bill Scheer, pastor of Guts Church, gave the benediction. Given that the new mayor is a Roman Catholic, I'm surprised we didn't see Bishop Slattery or a priest involved in the service in some way.

It's ironic: During the primary campaign, Bartlett pooh-poohed Chris Medlock's proposal to use one of the mayor's at-will appointments to hire an experienced city manager to oversee all city operations. Now Bartlett has hired Jim Twombly, recently the city manager of Broken Arrow, and Bartlett has only one person reporting directly to him -- Terry Simonson, who will... oversee all city operations.

"I haven't been involved in city management, so [Twombly's] input will be highly regarded," Bartlett said.

It's interesting, too, that two of the four chiefs atop Bartlett's org chart, Jim Twombly and Jeff Mulder, are Broken Arrow residents.

Personnel is policy, as they said back in the Reagan administration, and you can tell more about the future course of an official's term by the people he hires than by the promises he made during the campaign. These are the people who will have the mayor's ear as the input is sifted and the decision is made. From that perspective, I'm very sorry to see that Bartlett is keeping on several members of the Taylor administration.

I'm particularly sorry to see that Susan Neal is staying on to oversee city planning and neighborhood issues. Neal was elected to the District 9 City Council seat in 2002 after winning the Republican primary by a narrow margin, thanks to a last-minute smear campaign targeting civic leader and neighborhood activist Bonnie Henke. I'm concerned that, under Neal's influence, PLANiTULSA's carefully crafted win-win balance between development and preservation will be tilted entirely to the development side.

(We saw something similar happen with the 1999 Infill Task Force, which I hoped at the time would address the concerns of developers seeking to build in already developed areas as well as the concerns of property owners about infill that would erode the character of their neighborhoods. Instead, after revisions by then-Mayor Susan Savage, the resulting document was almost entirely one-sided. A proposal for neighborhood conservation districts was watered down to infill studies -- full of good recommendations, but lacking any enforcement mechanism.)

On another note: Standing in Oklahoma's largest ballroom, I felt a certain amount of vindication. Back in 2003, I said that a vote on a tax for a new arena didn't need to be coupled to a vote on expanding and improving the convention center. I said we could use the block southeast of 3rd and Houston for a new ballroom and additional meeting space. We could give voters the ability to choose improved convention facilities without having to subsidize an expensive sports facility. The proponents insisted that the two had to be coupled, that the only way to accommodate this giant ballroom we desperately needed was to eliminate the old arena. In the end, they kept the old arena and built the additional convention facilities where I had suggested.

Congratulations to our new city leaders. You have our prayers and best wishes.

MORE: Irritated Tulsan says farewell to Kathy Taylor with a list of her top ten un-greatest moments. And Steven Roemerman offers a video tribute to Kathy Taylor's 44 months in office.

The filing period for the February 2010 school board elections opens today, December 7, 2009, and closes on Wednesday, December 9. Filing takes place at the election board in the county where the school district is headquartered.

There are two seats up for election in the Tulsa district, for board districts 4 and 7, and the incumbents, Bobbie Gray and Matt Livingood, respectively, have both been hostile to charter schools, with Livingood leading the charge for the Tulsa district's expensive and ultimately futile lawsuit against the state's charter school law.

District 4 is roughly north and east of 31st and Memorial (except for Layman Van Acres), while District 7 is mainly south of 51st east of the river, although it includes the Patrick Henry neighborhood (41st to 51st, Harvard to Yale) and excludes Sungate (51st to 61st, Sheridan to Memorial).

Here are links to some maps (PDF format):

For districts with five members, seat no. 5 will be up for grabs in 2010.

In addition, a seven-year term in Seat 1 on the Tulsa Technology Center board will be on the ballot. Lena Bennett is the incumbent, first elected in 1992. Here is a map of the seven board zones in the Tulsa Tech district.

Here's the press release about the school board filing period from Tulsa County Election Board Secretary Patty Bryant:

Candidates for the Board of Education in 14 Tulsa County School Districts will file Declarations of Candidacy beginning at 8 a.m. Monday, December 7, 2009. Patty Bryant, Secretary of the Tulsa County Election Board said the filing period will end at 5 p.m. Wednesday, December 9, 2009.

Candidates for the Board of Education in Tulsa Technology Center District No. 18 also will file their Declarations of Candidacy during this same time period.

Board of Education positions at stake will be filled at the Annual School Election scheduled February 9, 2010. If no candidate in the Annual School Election receives more than 50% of the total votes cast, the two candidates receiving the highest number of votes will meet in a second school election on Tuesday, April 6.

UPDATE: I counted 14 discrete suggestions. The number 11 was selected from a range of 1 to 14 by the random number generator at RANDOM.ORG. And the winner is... Adam, who nominated "C is for the Center of the Universe." Thanks to all for the excellent ideas, which induced a powerful combination of nostalgia and appetite.

Tulsa-A-Z3.jpgA week ago I told you about Jack Frank's latest DVD, Tulsa A to Z, a collection of 26 fascinating pieces of Tulsa lore from the Admiral Twin drive-in to John Zink and his race cars.

I finally had the chance to watch the entire thing, including the wonderful extras -- material that didn't fit in the main presentation but was worth including in some way. If you've missed those QuikTrip commercials from the late '70s with Ben Jones and Lamar the sheepdog, you'll find them here, along with a couple of even older Quik-Trip commercials celebrating the Koolie. There's also some sad but sweet home movie footage of a visit by Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier to Nelson's Buffeteria in 1993.

Jack has generously provided BatesLine with a copy of Tulsa A to Z for a contest giveaway. So here's the deal: To enter the contest, post a comment on this entry with your nomination for a future edition of Tulsa A to Z. For example, "Y is for Yahola, the big lake at Mohawk Park." Or, "Z is for Mr. Zing and Tuffy."

Now, it's going to be impossible for me to pick the best idea from what I'm sure will be a wealth of great suggestions, so I'm going to pick a random entry of those submitted before the deadline of 11:59:59 p.m. CST, Monday, December 7, 2009. Multiple entries are OK, but don't go overboard. (Too many comments from one IP address, and you're likely to get auto-flagged as spam.) Profanity or vulgarity will get your entry excluded and your IP banned. Please keep it positive, in the realm of something Jack might actually use on a future show. I reserve the right to exclude an entry if (in my opinion) it doesn't include a suggestion that meets these criteria. The decision of the judge (me) is final.

All submissions (and ideas contained therein) become my property, and I hereby grant Jack Frank and Tulsa Films license to use the submitted ideas in future productions. In order to win, you must include a valid e-mail address with your comment so I can contact you if you win, and you must be willing to provide a valid mailing address so I can send you the prize. (Please don't post your mailing address with your entry. I'll get it from you later if you're the winner.) Your submission constitutes your agreement to the rules of this contest.

MORE: Ida Red, Brookside's rock'n'roll boutique, will be screening Tulsa A to Z at an open house this Thursday evening, December 10, 2009, 5:30 - 8:30 pm, celebrating their new location at 3336 S. Peoria Ave. (just a few doors down from the old place).

Come check out our new location, our new items while shopping with a glass of wine and some holiday treats!

Jack Frank will be with us to talk about and sign his new DVD! Talk about an amazing Holiday Gift! We will be viewing his DVD BIG on our projector!

We will also have the music of the Red Dirt Rangers!

The party will last from 5:30-8:30! Don't want to miss this great combination of fun!

It's been a long wait, but TGOV, the City of Tulsa's government channel, is streaming video and offering archived video of city government meetings at tgovonline.org. You can read the city press release at Councilor John Eagleton's blog.

This will make it easier for people interested in city government to cut the cable. Until now TGOV was only available on Cox Cable channel 24, offered as part of its franchise agreement with the city (if I recall correctly). It's one of a small number of reasons we've continued to be cable subscribers.

Pat Campbell interviewed not-ousted Tulsa Metropolitan Area Planning Commission (TMAPC) member Elizabeth Wright on 1170 KFAQ Wednesday morning. It was an informative interview -- well done to both Pat and Liz. You can listen to the interview on the station's podcast:

TMAPC's Elizabeth Wright interviewed by Pat Campbell, December 2, 2009

There's an exciting article in the latest Urban Tulsa Weekly about an effort by my friends Justin and Leah Pickard to establish a small neighborhood grocery in the Brady Heights neighborhood in a 1920s building on Latimer between Cheyenne and Denver Aves. (So strictly speaking, it's not on a corner.)

Pickard described herself and her husband as community activists and Christians who are interested in a number of social issues, including the inaccessibility of affordable, healthy food for many north Tulsans and the lack of affordable home ownership options for those in low-income areas. The opportunity to open a corner market offering fresh, nutritious food was one they simply couldn't pass up, she said.

Pickard said she and her husband were educated about many of the problems facing north Tulsa by neighborhood activist Demalda Newsome of the North Tulsa Farmers Market. She said they are opening the market to help resolve some of those issues and not because they consider it a good economic opportunity.

"Oh, definitely--we're keeping our day jobs," she said. "I'm actually a stay-at-home mom most of the time, and (the store) is right around the corner from our house, so it'll be easy to get over there. But we'll be hiring people to work there because we wanted to create jobs. We wanted to have the opportunity to create employment."...

"We're going to offer healthy food, lots of organic food and lots of local stuff," Pickard said. "We're going to stay away from unhealthy food. If a (convenience store) carries it, we won't. In fact, there's one at Pine and Cincinnati near here. If people want junk food, they can go there."

Pickard said the building has two storefronts, and they will be leasing space to a neighbor who wants to open a coffeehouse on one side.

"She's ready to go," she said.

Pickard said she and her husband also are working with NTEDI to establish a distribution warehouse available to small, independent markets, so the owners can band together and place their orders from wholesalers in bulk, passing the savings along to customers. That will help make fresh, wholesome food affordable to all, she believes.

Justin's brother and sister-in-law, Nathan and Kristin Pickard, are also very active residents of Brady Heights. Nathan recently served as president of the neighborhood association, both Nathan and Kristin serve on the board, and they host occasional house concerts for musicians passing through Tulsa.

The Pickards are a wonderful family, and I know they will put a lot of sweat equity and a lot of love into this project, as they already have in the Brady Heights neighborhood. It will be exciting to see this project come to fruition.

My son the juggler, during our visit to Silver Dollar City last weekend:

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This page is an archive of entries from December 2009 listed from newest to oldest.

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