Tag Archives: common sense

State Fair Blues

30 Mar

Howdy Folks!

They say everything is bigger in Texas and in this case I believe they (whoever “they” may be) just may be right.  This week the local BillBraggBigTexbuzz has been all about the dismissal of Bill Bragg, the man who has voiced the larger than life mascot of the State Fair of Texas for the last 11 years.  Some are upset about the way that his boss, Sue Gooding, did the deed, letting him know that they would not be renewing his contract via email, some are upset that this “unofficial mascot” was fired at all.  Petitions are flying around and I am sure the in boxes at the State Fair offices are being inundated with hate mail.

Big Tex originated in Kearns, Texas as the worlds largest Santa, a way to draw in holiday shoppers to the small North Texas town.  In 1952, Tex made his first appearance at the State Fair, an annual “county fair” that draws in hundreds of thousands of visitors to the Dallas area every October, when he was purchased by the Fair president, R.L. Thornton, who commissioned an artist to turn Santa into the iconic cowboy.

Why would the State Fair make such a potentially disastrous blunder as this?  It seems that Mr. Bragg is in violation of his contract with the Fair.  Apparently he liked to tell people that he was the voice of the 52 foot cowboy and he liked to tell them publicly.  He was known to be approached by children at the fair who would ask to have their picture taken with him, he would make speaking engagements with big named charities like the American Cancer Society, where, presumably, they would introduce him as the voice of Big Tex.  Just generally making a nuisance of himself (I hope everyone can pick on my sarcasm here)

So, the State Fair officials made a decision to not renew his contract because he wouldn’t follow their rules.  If this had been 50 years ago the Fair officials would recognize this for what it is, good publicity.  Mr. Bragg is not misrepresenting the Fair, he is not taking business away from the Fair, he is not making money by presenting himself as the voice of the beloved mascot, if anything he is bringing joy to children and fans of the icon by posing for pictures, he is bringing good press to the Fair by making charity appearances for well-known and reputable charities, in my opinion, he is a marketing dream.

So, why would the State Fair officials make such a bad PR move as this?  No one knows for sure, Fair officials are keeping pretty closed mouth about this one.  This leaves one to speculate that maybe this might have something to do with the fire that destroyed Big Tex at the end of the 2012 season.  Talk was for a while after that Big Tex would come back bigger and better than before but that he wouldn’t be the Tex that everyone remembered.  They have diversified Tex in recent years, growing up, Tex only spoke English but in recent years they have made him bilingual and during the fair you could hear Tex exclaim, “Hola Amigos!”  This led many people to wonder if the new Tex would look just a little darker than he had in years past.  Fair officials have denied this claim.

There have only been five men to speak for the giant over the last 60 years or so, Mr. Bragg took over in 2002, everyday during fair season, he would make his way to the booth to welcome visitors and make important announcements.  I have to wonder if, in this age of computers and technology, they haven’t figured out a way to digitally make Tex speak, surely saving the Fair thousands of dollars into the future since a computer won’t charge any residual money and would never break a contract.  Officials would be making a tremendous mistake by doing this, but I doubt that they care about that.

Whatever the reason and outcome, one thing is for sure, State Fair officials have started a firestorm of controversy.  They got publicity, but I don’t think it was the kind they bargained for.

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Whatever became of the Goose and the Gander?

23 Feb

Yesterday, while at work, I got into a conversation with my co-worker (a debate was more like it).

As usual my first task when I came in that morning was to check the news feed on yahoo and see what was going on in the world and I spotted a story about how the number 1 deadbeat dad had been caught and was being brought to justice.  Just like with any story it was the reader comments that frustrated me more than the story and this one was no exception.  It seems that this dad had racked up 1.2 million dollars in back child support and penalties and interest…..all in only 11 years time.  The comments this time seemed almost to err on the side of some common sense; most seemed to be from fathers who had been on the short end of the stick when it comes to child support and custody but there was one that caught my attention, a father who had been paying $700/wk until he was able to petition the courts for custody due to the mothers drug habit and then the courts ordered the mom to pay $41/mo which she did exactly twice.  Several readers made the connection that he was paying $2800/mo in support and, rightly so, that it doesn’t cost $2800/mo to raise a child.  But one woman took it upon herself to show her ass,

“I’m sorry have you tried raising a kid these days. I have two kids from my ex husband and i can guarantee you that after all the cost are added up by the time they turn 18 it will well exceed 1.2 million. you have to factor in clothing, cost of living in an apt or house, food, school activities, after school activities, not to mention college costs….”

This was when all hell broke loose in the office because my co-worker (who is a “single” mother of 2 – she has been living with her long-term boyfriend for the last 4 years, one of which doesn’t pay his support order and the other has recently petitioned the courts for custody) agreed with this woman.  Now, my future hubby is the father of 2 kids from previous relationships; his current order of support for both kids, when paid in full from each weeks payroll, leaves him exactly $125/wk.  Now, in all fairness, he does have back support that he owes and is trying to pay this amount off and there is an arrears amount factored into this weekly payment, but be that as it may, nobody can support himself on $125/wk and the courts will not revisit the matter, they will only tell him that he needs to find a better job or find a part-time job to work (which is hard to do with the job he currently works) but he is making the attempt which, granted, is more than some do.  I won’t go into how the child support/family courts system is so totally backwards, behind the times, screwed up in this blog, this is not the time or the place; I will save these for a future blog.  What I will go into is the sense of entitlement that we as a society feel we are due. entitlementprograms

My coworker explained to me that she doesn’t feel comfortable letting her children just play in the neighborhood, riding their bikes to friends homes or up to the rec center (from the looks of a lot of neighborhoods she must be the only person who is uncomfortable with this notion since the streets are littered with children who are just running a muck doing as they wish and in a lot of cases breaking the law, but again, this is a topic for another time).  So, she places her children in dance and karate and soccer to give them something to do after school.  Now, I have no problem with these kinds of activities and while I grew up my entire life and was never once a member of a scout troop or a team or class and I was just fine, but I know I would have liked to have been in a dance class or soccer but at the end of the day, these are not a necessity, they are a want and as long as the child’s needs are being met, that is ultimately what is important.   School activities, after school activities, college cost, none of these things are even promised to a child who has two parents who stay married their entire life so why are they suddenly, not only promised, but guaranteed to a child whose parents divorce along the way?

Another story on yahoo spoke of how the DMV in North Carolina plans on marking future drivers license with a pink bar and the phrase “NO LAWFUL STATUS”  and distributing these to illegal immigrants who are here under Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.  Lots of people are up in arms that this will be akin to the big scarlet A on their records.  The glorious ACLU has taken issue with the program saying,

“North Carolina should not be making it harder for aspiring citizens to integrate and contribute to our communities by branding them with a second-class driver’s license.”

My coworker took issue with this story since she is an immigrant (although she is here legally).  She agreed with one of people interviewed in the article that said, “”We just want to be able to get a job and drive to work…”  My coworker proceeded to tell me how she was working here when she was 14, using her mothers name and papers to get a job since she was not legally old enough to work, so that she could help her father and older sister and brother support their family of 10.  She told me that her mother would take her paycheck each week and she would only get $50 most weeks with the rest going to help pay bills.  I wanted to tell her that if her parents hadn’t had more children than they could afford to care for she wouldn’t have had to do that and while I applaud her parents for not taking government aid like most would have, I still have to revisit the having more children than you can afford issue.    But, at the end of the day if they are here illegally and they didn’t come through the proper channels, then they are not due any special privileges, especially when they are more of a drain on the system then they ever contribute towards it.

Even in my own personal life I am subjected to people who feel that sense of entitlement.  Last night my honey and I went to the local VFW post to have a few drinks and sing some karaoke with some friends.  Now, if you have not been to a VFW recently, it is an organization that is welcome to anybody and during the daytime hours most of them have a section that is open to family events or post events that members might be inclined to bring their children to but, in the end, most are set up and function as a bar serving alcohol with pool tables and slot machines.  The people there after a certain hour are typically going to largely be drinking and trying to have a good time.  But this Friday night, just minutes before 10pm, there entered a group of adults, maybe 5 or 6, along with 6 young boys ranging in age from maybe 6 to 11.  They sauntered in and found a table where the boys noisily cut up with each other while the “parents” found their way to the bar and got their beers.  This group, boys included, signed up to sing and as the parents made their way back to the table, these boys bombarded the KJ (think a DJ only he does karaoke)  with song requests and questions which at times was so much that the show paused so he could handle the inundation of these children who should, at that hour, have been in bed.  Then the parents allowed the boys to run around the dance floor or sit on the stage in groups waiting for their turn while other singers were trying to enjoy their time.  Only once did I witness one of the adults attempt to corral their kids, making them leave the stage till it was their turn.  I’m not sure who missed the memo that a bar is not an appropriate place for a child, especially after a certain time of night, but why should my good time be restricted because you want to come out but couldn’t find a babysitter?

Entitlement!

Why does everyone think that the world should bend to their whims or wants?  You are not guaranteed everything your heart desires in this world and it is absurd for you to think that you should.  From welfare moms to soccer moms there is not one person who at some point or another has not thought that someone owed them something but the difference is that most level-headed people seem to understand that you have to work hard to get what you need in this life and that you have to work even harder to get what you want.  Yet somewhere along the way society got that backwards and now most people think you have to work hard for the things you want and that it is someone else responsibility to provide them with the things they need.  It doesn’t work that way folks and it shouldn’t.

I don’t know, perhaps I was born about 60 years to late.  Perhaps the sexual revolution of the 60’s and the mass drug usage ruined what few brain cells people had left.  I’m not sure the reason why people have forgotten the common sense teachings of their forefathers but, I do think, perhaps, a return to the pre-woodstock line of thought might do this great land of ours a tremendous favor.

The Land of the Free and the Home of the….

16 Aug

orig. published 7/3/2011

I love living in Texas!!  I hate the heat here but I love living in Texas.
You could say I am a Texas girl through and through, they say everything is
bigger in Texas and that definitely goes for the pride people from these parts
feel for their home.  Yet, as much pride as I feel for this wonderful, beautiful
place I call home, I feel as much irritation and annoyance toward the stupid
people that live here.

I know that there are stupid people all over this great land of ours but it
just seems that its amplified by the fools that live here.  This year, so far,
seems to have been a year of natural disasters, from tornadoes to floods it
seems that everyone has had their share of mother nature’s fury, Texas
included.  This year has been the worst drought the state has seen in 116 years,
since record keeping began here.  2.5 million acres of land have been destroyed
by wildfires and approx. 30% of the crops and pastures have been lost across the
state.  There are 254 counties in Texas, of those counties, as of July 3rd there
are only 19 counties not listed under a burn ban, those counties primarily
located are centered in the far northeast region that has had recent rains but
the rest of us have been severely lacking.

Now, if there is one thing that we do big around here its patriotic
holidays.  Cookouts, family, God and fireworks.  Lots of fireworks.  Most
larger, more populated counties have restrictions on fireworks within city
limits byt most of the more rural counties allow fireworks, as long as there is
no standing burn ban like there is now.  Every year there are people shooting
off fireworks in my very populated neighborhood, usually I just shake my head
and mutter “idiot” under my breath but this year I feel a certain concern over
this act.

I am not always the most law abiding, I speed, don’t cross at crosswalks all
the time but when it comes to the big stuff, the stuff that is life and death
important, I pay attention and I just don’t get what makes others not use their
noggins and practice some common sense.  When 238 counties are under burn bans
because of such extreme drought conditions why take the chance of starting any
kind of fire, after all, out in the country there is mostly land to be destroyed
but here in the city its houses….and people who pay a price for your
stupidity.

Can someone explain to me why people refuse to use their heads when they know
better?

How Much is Your Life Worth

16 Aug

orig. published 5/26/2011

You know, people never cease to amaze me.

Joplin, Oklahoma City, Tuscaloosa…Over the past few weeks we have seem some
of the worst spring storms in years.  So far this has been THE deadliest spring
storm season since 1953.  Just today, in Piedmont, Oklahoma, the body of a
toddler was found, marking the 10 death from a series of storms that rolled
through Monday.  Just this past Tuesday my house had its own tornado scare as a
series of 8 tornadoes hit the DFW metroplex area, it appears that it was just
straight line winds that caused some severe damage within a mile of my house but
that next morning as I drove to work and surveyed the damage it sure looked like
a small tornado had some though.

It just so happens that these storms coincided with the season finale of
Glee.  Oh the horror!!  So, of course all but about 15 minitues or so was
preempted to show live storm coverage and give warnings to people in the line of
fire.  Now, I don’t know about the rest of the country, but here in Dallas, they
don’t just break into programming for just anything.  They try to cut only in
commercial breaks in an effort to show as much programming as possible and if
they need to make an urgent announcement the method of choice is the crawl along
the bottom of the screen.  This night though, the tornado’s won out over
Glee.

And oh were the viewers pissed!

The local fox affiliate was inundated with calls from people who frustrated
that they missed the season finale of one of the most popular television shows
in recent history.  During the next day’s afternoon broadcast they
explained where to go to see the missed episode and apologized for the
inconvenience; they then played some of the calls that came in the previous
evening.  “Come on people, we have all seen rain before”

Seriously!  I think we had a little more than rain that night.  Hail the size
of softballs, tornadoes, torrential downpours, this was for sure a time to take
cover.  Let me refer back to the toddler that they found today in Oklahoma, is
your child’s life worth the season finale of Glee?  If it’s not then someone
from Family Services ought to pay a visit to your house very soon.  I can
understand the disappointment of missing a favorite show, and I can understand
the frustration of a network having “one time only” permission to broadcast the
episode.  The next night I lost power with 10 minutes left in the American Idol
finale and had to wait till the next day to see the final moments online (even
though my cousin ruined the results by texting me with an amazed, “WTH,
SCOTTY?!?!?!”) so I can feel your pain there.  Yet the night of the Glee finale
I found myself in the hallway taking cover, praying and listening to the sirens
wailing outside my window.

How did our priorities get so askewed that tornados and massive hail equal
just another spring storm and prompts us to complain about such trivial things
as a television show?

And on the 8th Day God Created Insurance

16 Aug

orig. published 10/6/10

Lets play devils advocate here, say you have a home and all the things that
go with that home, you pay for your taxes and you pay for you utilities and for
your insurance but one month lets say that you forgot to send in the home owners
insurance payment.  Most people would not think anything of it, they would catch
the mistake the next month or sometime during the month that had passed and call
up the company and make the payment, no harm no fowl.  But, lets say for
argument sake that you forgot to make the payment on the 15th of the month when
its due and on the 30th your house burns down.  Is it the responsibility of the
insurance company to still pay for the damages to your home even though you
failed in your responsibility to keep your payments up?
A similar situation
has arisen in rural Tennessee where a man’s home burned to the ground last week
while the local city fire department stood by and watched.  Why you might ask,
would the fire department stand by and watch, because there is no county fire
department and so to help the citizens of the rural area the city of South
Fulton offered their services, but the services came at a cost of $75/yr.  A fee
that it seems Mr. Cranick forgot to pay.
Now, I realize that I am about to
sound like a heartless bitch here, and so be it but I pay my taxes and I realize
that if I don’t pay my taxes that I am no longer entitled to the same privledges
as the people who do pay their taxes.  Was the city of South Fulton, Tenneessee
at fault here for allowing the house to burn to the ground, I don’t think so, I
believe that had the owner maintained his responsibilites then he would have at
least a burnt out shell of a house instead of a heap of rubble but that is what
being a responsible adult is about.  I go to work every day, I pay my bills on
time and when for some reason I am unable to I make it a point to call the
company and explain the situation and ask for an extension, I know when all of
my bills are due as well as when my mother’s bills are due and on top of that I
know when all of the bills are due at work too, this is information that is
critical to me so I make it a point to keep up with it.
Now, it is reported
that Mr. Cranick offered to pay the fee, was recorded on the 911 call saying
this, but that’s like telling that insurance company that you forgot to pay one
month that yes my house burned down last night and I know that I neglected to
pay my bill on time but if I pay it now then we should be square, no harm no
fowl right?  Wrong!! What if you forgot to pay your life insurance premium one
month and you kicked the bucket a few days later, that company is under no
obligation to pay your beneficiary because you failed to maintain your end of
the agreement.  Its the same deal here, regardless of if you life in a city
where your taxes are all rolled into one and when you pay that sum at the
beginning of the year for property tax that includes a fee for the service of
fire and rescue personnel, well in the country these things are not combined,
before the city of South Fulton offered the service these residents were on
their own, if the house caught on fire it was up to them to put it out.  Look at
this fee as a sort of insurance policy, you hope to God that you never have to
use it but you thank Him when you need it and have it.
And now that I mention
God, that’s a good topic because it seems that my Christianity could be
questioned by having this mentality.  The Bible says that He helps them who help
themselves.  See, its easy to find scripture in the Bible that can justify your
position on something meanwhile you neglect to look at the scripture that
justify how the opposition looks.  Yes, we are to take care of each other and we
are to care for the poor and the needy but the meaning of that is that the
church is to help the poor and needy from the coffers of collection from the
congregation.  So, when I pass the “homeless” guy on the corner and drive by my
conscious doesn’t feel a bit of remorse because there are places for them to go
and get the help that they need, the problem is many of them (note, I said many,
not all) refuse the help because it comes with stings attached, maybe they have
to listen to a sermon for an hour, maybe they would have to go to rehab for drug
or alcohol abuse, maybe they might have to take the help offered to help find
them a job so that they can become productive members of society.  I bust my but
everyday and pay taxes from my wage to help pay for some woman to keep popping
kids out so that she can get more state assistance or for the food stamps that
someone sells for cash so that they can go buy their fix, I know the tricks, I
have been around enough of the freeloaders to know how to navigate my way
through the system.  I have no problem paying in to help the people who really
need it but its funny to me how when I needed the help or when my mom needed the
help we were turned away.  What are we suppose to do when the people who REALLY
need help are turned away for foolish reasons while thousands free load and take
greedily.
Yes, its the Christian thing to do to help your neighbors because
that is what Christ did so where were the neighbors who were so concerned about
their property catching on fire when this man needed help?  He is out there with
a water hose trying to put out the fire himself while he neighbors stood by
watched too only concerned with their own property.  That argument runs both
ways, had the county had NO fire service this would have been what would have
happened anyways, the idea was that the neighbors banded together to help out
and that is what should have happened here.
The moral of the story here
children is that when you fail to uphold your end of the
contract/obligation/bargin the other party is no longer responsible for theirs.
Its part of growing up and being a responsible productive member of society.  Do
I feel bad for this guy because his home burned down, sure I do but hopefully he
remembered to send in the check to Allstate so he can be in good hands.