There is something I cannot do. Nothing.
Burning Pianos 12/23/2015
On a recent trip to Iowa I took part in our family’s cherished holiday tradition–we burned a piano.
Letter from the Pole: Part 2 12/16/2015
This is the second part of a letter my son Sayer wrote to kindergarten students who asked for him to share his experience living at the South Pole for a year.
Letter from the Pole: Part 1 12/9/2015
With Christmas approaching, most kids’ thoughts are on the North Pole. Except for a group of kindergarteners from Naperville, Illinois. They are studying the other one–the South Pole.
The Kingston Trio: Changing the Music 12/2/2015
Do you remember the Kingston Trio?
Don't eat my M&Ms 11/25/2015
If you were heading to a remote destination and had to pack everything you needed for an extended stay, what would you take?
Mickey Gilley's music and memories 11/18/2015
When I was making music in smoky bars in Iowa in the 1970s, we used to play at a club called Diamond Mil’s. Ol’ Millie never tired of talking about her dear friend Mickey Gilley. Did she really know him? This week, I got the chance to ask him.
One morning as I finished feeding my animals, I had a revelation: Mankind did not domesticate animals; animals domesticated us.
It’s not easy to be interesting. In fact, it’s dangerous.
Lil Voices 10/28/2015
So the other day I found myself sitting on the floor inside a circle of a dozen women who were chanting, singing, marching, beating sticks on the ground, and clap clap clapping their hands, clapping their hands together.
The Tingler is loose 10/21/2015
What would you expect from a guy who owns Santa Claus Conquers The Martians?
Being the band 10/14/2015
Hotel California is an Eagles tribute band that doesn't "dress up like them, try to act like them, look like them, or do any schtick."
Back in School 10/7/2015
After 35 years, I am back in college. I am a “senior” at a university.
Secrets of Success 9/30/2015
I like finding ideas in unexpected places.
Where Camels Walked 9/23/2015
What mysterious legend does the Texas Hill Country hide? Camels.
Good Enough 9/16/2015
I follow a philosophy I call “good enough.”
Cody Johnson: Riding for Glory 9/9/2015
Last year I wrote about the caliber of bulls that burst out of the chutes in the Professional Bull Riding event. It’s only fair to recognize the other party with skin in this game–a lot of sore, scarred, rubbed raw skin–the cowboy.
Marty Stuart 9/2/2015
As a kid watching the Porter Wagoner TV show in the 1960s, even while distracted by a young Dolly Parton pulling dish towels out of a box of Breeze, I remembered the classic country star’s rhinestone suits and big hair. So did Marty Stuart.
People, Places, or Things 8/26/2015
In school we all learned the most important parts of a sentence are “people, places, or things.” That’s wrong.
From Inner to Outer Space 8/19/2015
They found the sheep.They also discovered one of the most beautiful caves in the world.
Cave Music 8/12/2015
The Texas weather has been so hot it makes crawling into a cave sound cool.
Big guy in a kilt 8/5/2015
For Michael Dickens, the beauty of Scottish Highland Games lies in the heraldry, the athleticism, the agility, the timing, and the grace of movement. Plus he's wearing a kilt while doing it.
When the horses run; he blows 7/29/2015
Robert Ortiz has a job you didn’t know existed.
“I am a professional track trumpeter,” he said.
Beer bubbles back 7/22/2015
While Fredericksburg’s wine industry has become the blushing darling of tourists and media, there is another locally fermented beverage steadfastly catching the attention–and taste buds–of admirers around the world.
Music at El Milagro 7/15/2015
With so much stage time to fill, the challenge for Fredericksburg clubs, restaurants, and wineries is to avoid drawing from the same musical well week after week.
Act Like a Teenager 7/8/2015
As my youngest enters the final year of being a teenager, I find I have mixed feelings about this seminal stage in everyone’s life.
From Bikinis to Bankersmith 7/1/2015
Bankersmith is b-a-a-a-a-c-k.
Best Seat in Town 6/24/2015
Want to know the best seat in town for watching the parade next weekend? Your bike.
Wrestling With Yourself 6/17/2015
When my older brother went out for the wrestling team in high school, our grandpa thought he’d taken up “rasslin,” just like he watched on Saturday morning TV.
Discovering A Rose 6/10/2015
I was thinking about my Aunt Rose this week. She was 250 years old.
Clifton Fifer: Pied Piper of History 6/3/2015
He is a Buffalo Soldier, Native American, slave, cowboy poet, blues singer, mountain man, storyteller, black cowboy, and Frederick Douglas. But it takes more than one meeting to know the real man.
Out, out brief article 5/27/2015
Have you ever thought how great it would feel to be an author, if it wasn’t for all those words you had to pick out and put in the right order?
Failure to Launch 5/20/2015
How can something so tiring be so inspiring?
As I showered off the sweat of another basketball morning at the Fredericksburg High School, I felt I could have stayed under the hot spray for an hour. I wasn’t alone.
Donut Deficit Disorder 5/6/2015
This summer marks five years since my favorite bakery turned off its ovens.
Hear the Galaxies Sing 4/29/2015
Mark Hierholzer has composed thousands of pieces of music, scored an original ballet, and published countless poems and a couple of novels. So why not write for the stage?
Only Four Ingredients 4/22/2015
While immersed in my education career, I harbored a secret desire: to be a published writer. Then I met my secretary. She had sold over 2 million books.
Best Show I've Ever Seen 4/15/2015
Readers sometimes ask what is the best show I have ever seen. Well, it happened in a dusty cattle barn on a cold January morning.
Hello. My name is Phil. I am a cheapoholic.
New Car Smell 4/1/2015
When did cars turn into phones, ipods, and thermometers? Those are things we used to wear on our wrists and belts. Now they have become large and mobile, and we are the accessories that hang on them.
Pied Piper 3/25/2015
All plinkers and pluckers have had to deal with fixing guitars, dulcimers, banjos, and fiddles when they pop a string or sprout a ding. Imagine what Emily Jumes is facing to repair her 1927 Lyon & Healy Style 22 Gold Semi-Grand harp.
Names are Lame 3/18/2015
Names are lame.
Weddings vs Funerals 3/11/2015
I have grown to prefer funerals over weddings.
I think that’s why they invented time–to keep us from bumping into each other at the library.
How Elvis Killed the Big Band 2/25/2015
When musicians were free to come out from behind their bandstands.
Garrison Bros Bourbon: From Corn to Cork 2/18/2015
It was a great Hill Country day to take a tour of Garrison Brothers Distillery. It was on our way and combined three irresistible draws: a trip that starts with a wagon ride, ends with a shot of bourbon, and is near a town whose name is a greeting–Hye.
Our Parents Were Right 2/11/2015
You know... our parents were right. About everything.
Love of Science 2/4/2015
It’s a science nerd’s dream.
No Room 1/28/2015
As I recently watched a family member travel the dim journey through dementia, I was intensely curious how the disease appeared from inside the mind of the victim. Fredericksburg Middle School theater teacher David Remschel had the same question.
Making Misteaks 1/21/2015
If you’re not making mistakes, you’re doing something wrong.
Young Friends 1/14/2015
We would have no use for stories
Backyard streams would flow undammed
There would be no actors for an old man’s memories
And the prophet’s cry would go unheeded
If not for children.
Fiddle v. Violin 1/7/2015
It’s a hackneyed line: What is the difference between a fiddle and a violin?