Looking for Russell Cushman art ?: http://russellcushmanart.blogspot.com/

Looking for BLUES HISTORY?


Sunday, November 1, 2015

Lanier Lectures: On the cutting edge of Eternity

Lanier Theological Library

 At a time when many serious Biblical scholars are announcing the decline of Western Christianity, and the rise of secular humanism, not to mention the visible groundwork for Armageddon, it was a striking detour to be ushered into the depths of theological debate thriving at the Stone Chapel in North Houston, sponsored by the Lanier Theological Library. To add to my already overloaded senses, was the sudden revival of memories which had flooded my mind, as the Lanier Library compound lies in the same place, once a forest wilderness, where my brother and I rode horseback as redneck teenagers. I actually courted my first sweetheart under the virgin pine canopy near there. I shook off those thoughts as I came into an Old World village complete with cobblestone walkways and a 6th Century Byzantine chapel, executed with Thomas Kinkadesque beauty and perfection. 

 Like a kid in a candy store... my brother Reynolds insisted that I come see this amazing facility... 

My brother had insisted that I come with him and showed me around the Lanier Theological Library, host of some 86,000 volumes... and sundry Holy Land artifacts. There was a panel discussion going on in the Chapel, on slavery of all things... I was still thinking about the unlikelihood of this kind of thing being tucked back in this wooded neighborhood.... as we took seats in the chapel and caught the end of the discussion...

You might, like me, wonder what slavery has to do with the price of beans. But there have been arguments made against the trustworthiness of the Bible... and the God of the Holy Bible, since it is perceived by some readers that the Bible condones slavery... an unforgivable stance to any modern, enlightened mind. Some modern thinkers reject the God of the Bible because he obviously was prejudiced and unjust, if not racist and downright narrow-minded.

 Incredible murals bring Old World flavor to this reproduction of a 6th Century Turkish church.
The panel discussion was tough for me to follow as a layperson, as some of these leading theologians, brought in from all over the world, would often use Hebrew or Greek to make their points... which were often answering some obscure premise thrown to the experts to chew on. The pitcher was Mark Lanier, who played the role of facilitator-host... pacing and postulating under the grandly adorned dome of the chapel, a sort of Donahue goes to Cambridge... stimulating and sometimes baiting discussion from the four fairly soft-spoken theologians. One of the youngest and most animated of them was Peter Williams, Warden at Tyndale House Cambridge in England, who would be the featured speaker that evening.

 Mark Lanier has built the most impressive theological library in the region. So far he has hosted thirty lectures.

The exchange was friendly and yet earnest, and a rare glimpse for Texans into Christian intelligentsia. But for me, on face value the questions illustrated an unkind assumption I have nurtured, perhaps unfairly,  that theologians are people with huge brains and long pedigrees who focus too long on the most insignificant things.

Still, we need them, to settle those stupid questions inspired by well-meaning, almost smart folks, people who fall under the cynical influence of the Evil One. The gist of the question, and I can only assume this because I missed the introduction, was: Were the assumptions valid which claimed that the Holy Scriptures endorsed the practice of slavery, thus rendering the God of the Bible as an ancient excuse for ethnic oppression? These seemingly absurd interpretations were used all the way up until the American Civil War. Actually they survived in some southern pockets long into the 1960's.

The panel revealed that the devil was in the details; that great harm had been done with ambiguous translations of the words for servant and slave; that translators have through the centuries allowed their cultural attitudes to color their somewhat subjective translations. As time has passed, when there was an option, later translators chose to emphasize a more hostile form of bondage, (Hebrew "ebed/eved": can mean servant OR bondservant) as opposed to voluntary indenture (servanthood). Where older texts sported a limited use of the word for slavery, later translations abounded with them. And lost to all of us are the cultural realities of Ancient times. In fact people, sometimes whole nations voluntarily placed themselves in servitude, for decades, to gain protection or avoid wholesale starvation. Slaves in ancient context had rights... and protection, and limited engagement. When God gave direction through His prophets concerning slavery, it was in the same vein as His laws on divorce... not because it was His Divine Will, but because of the hardness of men's hearts. 

A great deal more could be discussed when this is considered. Even God understood that the world is imperfect, and once relationships like ancient slavery had been established since the days of Pharaoh, it was not so simple to just declare instant justice and freedom for all. The interdependence between the parties, and the consequences from sudden liberation of a servant class with no education, no assets, no homes, and most importantly inadequate acculturation, could only lead to further chaos and injustice. In God's wisdom, the best solution to men's complicated social structure was to let them work it out gradually over time, laying down the bedrock concepts of mercy and justice as the underpinnings of society.

As Peter Williams pointed out (and hard for our modern minds to comprehend), for some disadvantaged people, ancient forms of slavery were the best thing for them at the time, and they were the first to admit it. Knowing this makes the actions of some slaves in the South, when they refused to leave their plantations when set free, and tearfully begged to stay, explainable. This loyalty was not because of ignorance, but because of personal knowledge of their questionable readiness for independence. But concepts of "justice" and a bloody war overruled common sense. 
Peter Williams took these observations about Hebrew and Greek nuances to their plausible conclusions, but he also offered some surprises. He has been doing some deep-sea diving in the currents of many languages, forging one authentic, holistic world view of these issues. Studying Germanic, Gaelic and Latin languages, he has done yeoman's excavation of these ancient words and their translations and how various peoples made them their own. They had no axe to grind and thus suffered less cultural distortion of these words... and perhaps a more clear understanding of the nuances... sometimes lost in our English translations.

 Peter Williams of Tyndale House, reads and studies in a dozen languages.
But Williams' brilliant twist came from his study and observations of the supposed slavery of the Jews while in Egypt. We have all grown up being told that the Jews were brought out of Egypt from the oppression of slavery and service to Pharaoh. And we have all been ignoring the scriptures which tell of when the Egyptians themselves willingly committed themselves into slavery to Pharaoh as well... via the negotiations of Joseph, father of two tribes of Israel, the Israelite placed at Pharaoh's right hand. In fact everyone was a servant of the Pharaoh, but the Israelites enjoyed a somewhat elevated status... more as hirelings, status they won upon their arrival in Goshen hundreds of years before under the protection of Joseph. Maybe Joseph had been forgotten, and the Egyptians were cruel employers, but the Israelite's confrontation with Pharaoh was more akin to a Victorian labor dispute.

Over the years cultural bias caused more than one translator to render these servants into “slaves.” In some cases translators, bending to their own perceptions, translated the same word for servant, used twice in one paragraph, differently. This subtle bending of semantics was not without terrible results. Sadly 600,000 Americans died in a Civil War where around half the country argued that the Bible justified their use of slavery, so this sloppy scholarship had very grave consequences, as provincial minds, assuming the veracity of English translations, bet their lives and futures on them...

 Q & A at the end of the lecture.

Peter Williams more than once wisely refused to pass judgment on participants in the American Civil War, ( known by Southerners as the War of Northern Aggression). He explained that each individual in the war, on either side, was there for his own reasons or rationale... and finally he quipped that if the audience wanted to know the proper understanding of the war, they would have to be there on Judgment Day. 

 Stairwell in the Lanier Library

Some things we do not get to grasp- on this side of Eternity. The path to perfect understanding is much like the stair rail in the Lanier Library. But for those things that can and should be grasped... the folks at Lanier can be trusted to flesh them out.

The Lanier Library is open from 9:00 to 5:00 on weekdays and until 9:00 on Tuesdays. You can learn more about it at:  www.LanierTheologicalLibrary.org.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Famous Entertainers of Navasota.

A couple of weeks ago at the Two Rivers Heritage Foundation History Mixer we talked about all the famous musicians from Grimes County and the surrounding area. The list of recording artists was so long it took all the hour just to do them justice. We introduced Blind Willie Johnson, Joe Tex, Texas Alexander, Jerry Jericho, and Big Lu and Los Muchachos and even played their records. We never had the time to bring up blues performers like Mance Lipscomb, Milt Larkin, or L. C. Williams.

This week we will introduce the rest of the entertainers who once called Navasota home. And with any luck with technology, we will let them speak for themselves...

Alvin Ailey- Alvin Ailey Dance theater

Gennie James with Dolly Parton in A Smoky Mountain Christmas

 Gennie James- Ad for Secret Garden (1987)


 Places in the Heart, (ending)
 The Secret Garden-

Robert Reed- Brady Bunch 
Florence Henderson explains the secret dynamics of the show...
The expose':

Chuck Norris- Walker Texas Ranger

Movie highlights-

Sunday, September 13, 2015

AN UNWANTED DEJA VU: Signing Off... Moving On... Looking UP

 The "Children of God" were an attractive bunch of hippies... inspired by a twisted "prophet" who led them astray- all around the world- and headed for hell.

The first time I remember being stunned by end of the world scenarios was when I chanced upon some of the notorious “Children of God” on the TCU campus back in 1973. I was a freshman and wet behind the ears and was amazed at so many weird young people confidently ready to kiss the world, as we knew it, good bye. I was just starting my adult life, and was not ready to accept such pessimistic outlooks. I read their wonderfully illustrated tracts and then tossed them on a heap of dorm room curiosities that ended up in the trash can.
Actress Rose McGowan's parents were early converts to the "Children of God," who were taught that the U. S. was the "Whore of Babylon."

Only later did their founder, David Berg emerge as a wolf in sheep's clothing. They were not yet instructing their female disciples to use sex to attract men into the cult... When Berg's apocalyptic scenarios began to turn people off, he began to offer the best and oldest sales tool known to man: Recreational sex. I fell out with his ideas very quickly but probably for the wrong reasons... I still thought America could pull out of her nosedive.

Sex was suggested as a great tool to attract converts into the Children of God.

It felt good to dismiss such moronic stuff, like the demonization of the United States, the so-called “Whore of Babylon,” the predictions of great betrayals of Israel, and the conjecture that some world leader was alive then who would eventually emerge as the Anti-Christ. Their would-be prophet named “Moses David,” later exposed as David Berg, turned out to be a seriously messed up person and of course, a child molester. His diabolic theological errors led to a falling away, and even his artist, Daniel McGowan, fled with his children after being asked to illustrate a pamphlet encouraging child molestation and incest.

 Artist Daniel McGowan had his moment of truth... a profound "Come to Jesus meeting" which saved his children from a lifetime of sexual slavery. Thank God he made the right choice...
Berg insisted the Anti-Christ was Libya's General Qaddafi. The main reason was that Berg surmised that the Anti-Christ would probably be Muslim and come from Africa... a rising continent, directly connected to the Middle East, and this last Anti-Christ would be young and attractive and be able to unify the world behind him... At the time Qaddafi was a handsome young warrior... and the European economy was organizing.  He was a promising choice to combine Europe with the Middle East to lead a confederation against Israel... and backed by the Russians his powerful forces would meet Israel at Armageddon. There the Western World and Russia and China would all blow each other up, right before Jesus came and wiped them all off of the face of the earth. And yet Israel would survive. God has promised.

We were warned by David Berg that the signal for the consummation of all of these prophecies would be simple... when the Catholic Pope joined forces with the Anti-Christ... which sounded pretty preposterous.

Then I lived my life. I found comfort in all those warnings in the New Testament about false teachers... false prophets... and studied my behind off.  I have resisted the doom-sayers. But with all of the developments (PLEASE see the You Tube videos by Jonathan Cahn) lately, there is no more place to rest my denials.

It has been over forty years since those outrageous religious tracts disturbed my youthful bliss. And now I find myself wishing I could compare "Moses David's" observations and expectations with my own today. The problem is David Berg was about 90% right about his end-time predictions... or very close.  That I find more disturbing now than I found his tracts then. I think it is possible that Berg had stumbled onto some nuggets of actual spiritual wisdom, perhaps from the Forces of Darkness who would have loved to have made fools out well-meaning young Christians. But David Berg was unprepared to face the barrage of temptation he invited into his life when presuming to become the prophet of doom based on Biblical prophesy. 

 David Berg poses with his "flirty fishers."

The devil went to work and in short order absolutely destroyed Berg's life and his credibility. The would-be prophet fell into Solomon's mental traps of fatalism and sexual indulgence. Berg turned out to be a sexual libertine, with few sexual boundaries, and thus not a follower of Christ, a flaming false prophet, but as in many cases a false prophet gains a following by subtly mixing some of his own agenda with truth... And now many of the truths he had discovered in the 1970's may be finally surfacing, but without Qaddafi.

In the coming days you will see the culmination of astounding realignments as nations and tribes and governments strangely fall into a remarkable alliance that will make Moses David's 1970's predictions look like child's play. 

I am afraid “this it it.”

I will not be blogging much anymore... my wonderful searching for beauty and truth and wisdom from our art and history is pretty much done. There are much more important ways to spend my precious time. We are all going on a great adventure, and yes, some will perish. Those of us who know our Lord and hear his voice will face it with wonder and fascination. The rest not so much.

Some of us have been paying attention to the news the media has protected you from. You will know soon enough. The many scandals in the news have been a convenient distraction while American forces have been shutting down radical Islam around the world. And American diplomats, with the aid of the Vatican, have been forging deals with Islamic leaders in every corner of the earth... those who are wise enough to deal... and world peace has been the objective... and along with it, major re-alignments of the world powers and the solidification of a world economy and most of all, a functioning New World Order.

In just a few days the Pope will meet with the President. He will speak to our Congress. He will also speak to the United Nations. Already, in a rare foreshadowing, the flags of Palestine and the Vatican fly over the U.N. The outrageous deal between the U. S. and  Iran is assured as the Republicans have yielded to the President like tamed tigers in a behind-the-scenes circus. They will do whatever to get their nibbles, out of our sight and far from our understanding.

AND, for the first time in ages, Israel will be left entirely on its own. All the pleadings of Prime Minister Netanyahu have been ignored. As David Berg seemed to know... We would eventually betray God's people. Americans are helpless to stop this colossal betrayal and shifting of world alliances. Much like the re-establishment of the State of Israel, it will be done in the blink of an eye. And not without persuasive rationale. The Pope is already being praised as a world unifier... as the refugee crisis in Europe cries for leadership and compassion. The stage is set.

 [UPDATE: (9-21-15) The ultimate symbol of Naziism and anti-Zionism , the German monolith Volkswagon saw its stocks plummet this morning after they were exposed for systematic cheating.]

And that is only the beginning, and if the recent swift alignment of historical circumstances are any indication, the rest will happen pretty fast... Very fast I think, unless God has some purpose in watching the world slowly devolving into hell... But eventually a shooting war will be unavoidable. Israel will not just helplessly stand by and watch, and after she is abandoned, she will be like a snake in a corner.  Somebody will blow up the Islamic Mosque in Jerusalem where the Jews want to rebuild their temple... (the main one in Mecca just got stepped on by a falling construction crane and hundreds were killed or hurt) and we will be off to the races. You can read all about what will happen next in the Book of Revelation.

Meanwhile I am trying to convert what I own into useful commodities... most of what we have and focus on today will be useless in the world to come.

I FEAR the United States will be reduced to a secondary player in world events... Some believe it will be dissolved. One supposed prophetess predicts a great tsunami will flood and destroy much of the North American continent. [Update: Swift moving hurricanes dumped record amounts of rain on the east coast, Texas] Most Christians who are paying attention agree with Jonathan Cahn that God must punish the United States for the same reasons that He did Israel two millennium ago... for leading the world in debauchery... misrepresenting HIM, and taking His name in vain. God has never tolerated that. 

“In God we Trust” is just ink on a declining dollar, now despised around the planet. Way back when we (the U. S.) went Liberal (or “Progressive”), we would have been better off to have claimed ourselves to be a pagan country... officially... pretty much as the President has suggested... not a “Christian” country... because in our present national condition, that invites sure Judgment; claiming to be a Christian country and then being lukewarm, or worse, the antithesis of it, even taking His name in vain, is an abomination to our All-Powerful God... He is very concerned about his reputation. About the authenticity of his messengers. About who or what his people worship.

Even God admits in His Ten Commandments, that He is a jealous God.

Our sin, insolence and lack of repentance has to be dealt with because we were once devoted to Him. We wrote it in to our original documents. We were once the light shining on the hill.  Like the people of Israel, He was once “our God and we were His people.” 

A good Father corrects His children. These same sins, idolatry, disobedience, and misrepresenting Gods message to his children and the world... were why Moses never saw the Promised Land... why no stone was left un-turned in Jerusalem after the official and popularly mandated rejection and crucifixion of Christ. Why David Berg was reduced to a Hollywood footnote. God's people cannot act on their own, make up our own standards of righteousness, and then claim God's favor or protection. God will not be mocked. Ever stiff-necked, the Jews were dispersed for two thousand years. God will correct his wayward children. He will destroy His enemies. 

The lines are being drawn right now. Some will return to God, others will shake their fists at him.

It has been one of the greatest pleasures of my life to bring my passions and talents to you on this and my other blogs. They will be here for awhile.. until someday the devils of the Internet take them off as they hate the things these blogs represent. I will be very busy or... maybe, hopefully, long gone... and so will this wonderful country... 

and freedom, 

and the hope of this earth. 

Of course I would love it if I was completely wrong about all of this... And go ahead and call me crazy... But my hope being in Christ, the risen Savior of the World... I anticipate some day soon Jesus will come back and claim his own... God Bless Him!

Come Lord Jesus!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

GETTING WARMER: The search continues for Hamer's badge

Several years ago I blogged about my search for Ranger Frank Hamer's marshal badge... I am almost convinced now that he just wore his Texas Ranger badge while serving as city marshal of Navasota. Just twenty-four at the time, and the target of skepticism and even retribution, he might easily have found comfort wearing the badge which gave him legal and lethal authority along the Texas border country. The city Council was not likely to have had a badge especially made for him, as he was not expected to last very long, and perhaps even to go down in shame like several of the previous marshals. So he might easily have just worn something far preferable, something he already owned... the most easily identifiable law enforcement icon in the world. But which badge was it?
 Marshal Frank Hamer

No pictures have been discovered which might shed light on this question, and to add to the mystery, his son sold off most of his personal possessions to Raymond Brown who in turn liquidated them at a Tom Keilman & Son auction in 1986, including the materials Captain Hamer had saved from his service in Navasota.. Sold were his guns,

 gun leather,

his Stetson hat, even his spurs... (and 602 above: Clyde Barrow's Colt auto)

  his certificates, his badges,

Hamer's famous Colt six-shooter he called "Old Lucky"...

AND in the pile was his first Ranger badge, what was purported to be a brass "handmade" badge...
Take Note: there were arc-like gouges facing each other on each side of the circle, almost hidden by the wreath engravings.
I have made a big deal about this badge for several reasons. Besides the fact that it was authenticated by Frank Hamer Jr., also a Texas Ranger, it possibly introduced/ established an entire different genre of Ranger badges during the turn of the century, previously unknown. Frank Jr. guessed the badge was in use around 1909-1913, or right after his father returned to Ranger service... but that would have been around 1915, as Frank Hamer Sr. was working in Navasota or Houston or the Hill Country as a cattle detective during the years (1908-1915) he suggested... Perhaps this was not the only history that Frank Jr. was a little fuzzy about...

This design, authenticated as "handmade" but at least partially machine-made, of bronze or brass, seems to have been related to a whole generation of "fake" badges which were presumed to have been totally without a basis in history. Still, they sport the EXACT FONTS and curly-cues. AND some strange yet persistent arcs on either side of the circle.

The latest being the pewter toy badges celebrated and reproduced from the most recent Lone Ranger movie.  (above)

Military style cartridge belt buckle of thin, pressed brass, thought by some to have been made by U.S. Government contractor Anson Mills. (And marked accordingly, and  PATENTED FEB 1, 1881) Anson Mills, a former Union General, based his operations in EL PASO, TX. The origin of this design???

Over the years I have seen and purchased the same or related design on a solid cast copper badge, a solid cast brass badge, and an "Anson Mills" cartridge belt buckle (above). The S scroll design work is unmistakably the same on several of the badges. And now a solid-cast silver badge...

This appears to be a painstakingly-made replica of Frank Hamer's earliest Texas Ranger badge. It is a whopping 2 inches in diameter. Note: the quarter inch arc-like gouges on each side of the circle, almost obscured by the wreaths, which show up over and over in less ornate versions. Question: Why would a forger replicate such a detail ???

Supposedly found in a jewelry box from an "old estate" and sold to me by an Ebay dealer... No one seems to know where it came from or whether it is authentic. Either way, it will go great in our Frank Hamer display at Blues Alley. I believe you are looking at the best facsimile of Marshal Frank Hamer's badge... no doubt handmade and faithful to the Brown Collection badge. It might even be from the period, and a brother to Hamer's first Ranger badge. We will never know.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

From your local film maker!

Having tons of fun and I have some more new videos... a nice short one called A Face in the Forest, featuring a gorgeous waterfall I have been commissioned to paint: (click on link)


A more lengthy video about the Conroe oil field, George W. Strake and baseball... "Stitching the Conroe Story"

 1933 Conroe Wildcats


And a two-part series about my favorite Texas Ranger, Frank Hamer.. each part is fifteen minutes of Texas Ranger action!

 Artist Kendal Bevil has made this beautiful collector's stamp envelope... using my sculpture of Frank Hamer!

 Part I:

Part II 

Saturday, April 25, 2015

There is a future for our history.

 But it may hurt.

 The supposed symbol of the Knights Templar, preserved by the Order of Freemasons, among others. Western culture has played policeman of the world for almost seven hundred years. How is that working out? The Latin motto quoting Constantine translates: "In this sign (the X or cross) conquer." A similar design is engraved on my great-great uncle's tombstone. These struggles may have been well-intended, but Christ never intended a shooting war.

History is not just a pile of confusing data. It is the heart monitor for the human race. When people disregard history, any history, they are showing carelessness for their own survival. If you want to be smart, study math or science. But if you want wisdom, study history.

It is no accident, that the Holy Scriptures are not math equations or science formulas. They are not about art or music or games. They are mostly concerned with history. So much so, there are cycles discernible within the Scriptures which show the basic truth that history, or the lessons of history, repeat themselves. The major point of the Old Testament is that in thousands of years, after many generations, neither God nor men changed at all.

To be ignorant of these things is to invite the same calamity that visited upon the people of Israel, God's chosen pilot project, several times, each time with worse results. The people of Israel seemed to really detest history, and found it extraneous. Eventually God would find them extraneous. First it was the enslavement in Egypt, then freedom and power until the tribes were swallowed up by the Assyrians and then the Jews were crushed and relocated by the Babylonians. They got one more chance, until they self-destructed and the Romans captured Jerusalem like a wounded bird. Each time they had a warning from prophets, and the LESSONS OF HISTORY. It made no difference. Today our own country is in a similar mode. We cannot be bothered by that old stuff. 

So thank goodness, no thank God that he had plan B.

The New Testament is even more history, but with a twist. Now God was offering a new plan, based on our chronic neglect of history. The Gospel was simple, just believe that Jesus knows the history, and knows your heart, and is STILL willing to pay the price for them. With his own blood. No more altar and fatted-calf and infinite laws for unsustainable righteousness. Just know the last additions in God's Revelation, and you will be fine, although the Old Testament is still an insightful diagram of society and an accurate picture of man's hard heart and thus his hopelessness. And that is a useful bit of history.

With that as an introduction, the rest of history is just same song, umpteenth verse. But still it is useful because in some cases it teaches us about our particular culture... It is good for young Germans or Chinese to learn about the history of their countries... and especially Americans, so that they might know our failures and not repeat the same stupid injustices and miscalculations of our fathers. We need to remind one another, educate our children, that we were morons and should be held accountable for what we have perpetuated. History might even cause us to mitigate our actions in the process of making it. If we knew it.

I'm sure President Bush II was not a very astute student of history, or he would have known that we tried to take the Middle East by force in the Middle Ages and found a resolute, treacherous society unwilling to even conceive of the teachings of Jesus; Mercy, God's Grace, forgiveness or loving one's enemy. Freedom, Human rights and Self-Government were out of the question in these societies. It turns out they had already been conquered by people even meaner and even more stubborn... And they found the perfect way to perpetuate their society... total intolerance. A costly, bloody, futile war was waged for centuries.

We barely evicted them from Spain. It was arrogant (recently) to think we could reform or rebuild such a country as Iraq, whose people said no to Christ and the Gospels when they converted to Islam at the point of a sword some fifteen or sixteen hundred years ago. Anybody that wanted something different left centuries ago. They are the desert sidewinders of the human race. A desert sidewinder is one of God's creatures. But he is also a cunning, poisonous survivor in a hostile environment. Some of his distant cousins are grass snakes... and he would eat them in a heartbeat. It would be senseless and suicidal for grass snakes to try to reform them. 

The only time rebuilding or reforming has ever worked for us (ONCE?) was when we first bombed our feisty enemies into oblivion, as we did to Japan... A lesson in history. Nobody wants to ever do that again. Our meddling in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan have only proved that nothing less than total humiliation will inspire the kind of submission that might produce a lasting rebuild. And we lack that kind of resolve. We keep trying, in that classic definition of insanity... expecting a different result.

Whether it be Mexico, Spain or the Comanche Nation, surgical whooping-tail has never resulted in anything but hate and contempt between both parties. Show me one truly devoted ally among our rebuilds. In fact our most devoted, USEFUL allies are... our former kinsmen, of the "Western world."

And total annihilation is out of the question, since we base our society on those dimming premises found in... the Bible, full of those confounded lessons in history. No, Jesus intended the opposite of the Islamic technique, regardless of what we have done in his name. We were to love our enemies, carry their burdens, turn the other cheek... he forbade his men to use weapons to defend him... he hung on the cross instead... and they followed his lead to man. But he never suggested suicide... "be as wise as serpents and harmless as doves."

Somewhere, some time, some place where I was not in attendance, somebody, some group must have agreed that since we have it so good here in this God-fearing country, we were supposed to share/force our wealth and wisdom, whether the poor, hateful peoples of the earth wanted us to or not. This led to no small amount of saber rattling and intrigue... for National Security of course, and eventually, regardless of our benevolent intentions, we have been perceived as a decadent, boorish bully. All over the world. And some of that is not far off of the mark. Another lesson of history. Even countries like France and Italy easily forget what we have sacrificed for them, I'm talking tens of thousands of American lives, to preserve their freedom. And they are supposedly from our “culture.” What could we ever expect from Iraqis?

The lessons of history are many... but since you will not read them, here are some of my favorites.

George Washington was not kidding when he warned of foreign entanglements. “Father” knew best. We of course promptly ignored him. Like Moses... Jesus...

Lincoln learned the hard way that you cannot force men (of the South), even God fearing ones, to abandon their way of life, no matter how egregious, without a terrible fight. Yes he “freed the slaves,” only to leave them freed into a heartless society which persecuted them for ANOTHER ONE HUNDRED YEARS.

Mohamed was the only world leader who ever knew how to truly change minds- quickly and permanently. We lack the resolve for his methods as well. Today ISIS demonstrates how effective... and inhuman they are.

 But what makes America a very special place in human history, is we may be the only country that had a bloody, deadly civil war, who made peace and sent our enemies back home to their farms. No imprisonments, no mass executions. That is who we are. That is not who they are. That is an important lesson in history.

But we failed to even read or remember our own mail...

Lincoln's favorite generals, who did his bidding to save the Union, and “freedom for all,” turned around and exterminated or subdued the Native Americans using trickery, starvation and genocide (true it was "tit for tat"). The remnants of the Comanche, Kiowa, Sioux, Cheyenne and Apache people today are evidence of our LACK of proficiency at rebuilding and redirecting cultures. They graciously testify it has been a painfully mixed bag of ill-conceived policies.

The lessons of history demand that we Americans learn to mind our own business. Our best message to the world is to be the best in the world. The best provider, the best neighbor, the best ally, the best trade partner. We need to have a strong military... but only to protect ourselves and our land, and woe to anyone who threatens either. Although China made many mistakes she learned this lesson of history hundreds or thousands of years ago. Meanwhile, next door Russia has bankrupted itself repeatedly for its foreign entanglements. In turn they have been the worst provider, the worst neighbor, the worst ally and the worst trade partner. I guess that is why we are selling them all of our uranium. We are not afraid to give them a handicap or head start and hold one hand behind our backs...

As all of the sane people all over the planet rush here for refuge, and our enemies sharpen their swords, it is time to learn the ultimate lesson of history, that no great “empire” such as ours ever stood strong forever as they over-extended themselves in a world rife with violence and treachery. Persia, Greece, Rome, Spain, Great Britain, none could hold what they grabbed out of greed or ambition or benevolence. Most of these places are comic shadows of their former selves. They did not know when to quit, and eventually an unsympathetic world slapped back. And our all-powerful God allowed that.

During WWII, when the forces of evil conspired to finally wipe out the Jewish people, once and for all, God allowed us and our allies to intervene... with unimaginable forces never seen before... to SAVE THE JEWS  and end the conflict. We can only surmise that in this case, maybe the last time it ever happened, it was a case of "Just War." It is a cruel reality, that ruthless, intolerant societies and cultures who writhe in constant genocide and treachery are not our concern, and that is the kind of conflicts we constantly get sucked into. But to his credit, not under President Obama.

President Obama may have had the moral high ground, thus the right policy, but if this was his belief, he should have brought ALL of our military and ambassadors and EVERYBODY HOME. Instead it was a half-ass attempt to disengage... with terrible results. He tried to play footsie with the sidewinders and our people perished in his inexperience. He actually tried to demonstrate an old adage.. that love begets love, respect begets respect... Objectivity is better than playing favorites. But he made the same mistake that Bush II made, to try to overlay our Christian cultural assumptions upon a unregenerate society.

Perhaps this is the thinking behind the current foreign policy that drives many Americans crazy. Still, the frustrating reality is we have got to"save our bullets" and "pick our battles" very cold-bloodedly... or else find ourselves like Napoleon... broke and defenseless... we are already, in spite of the president's naive overtures, nearly friendless. And regardless of the president's ill-regard for Israel, The God of Judaism and Christianity made certain promises to His people, and he will keep them, in spite of our or our leader's failures. But he will not protect us from ourselves. And that, for us, is the next lesson in history.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

For the Love Of Mary...

 Forgotten Hero: Sheriff Garrett Lane Scott

I have made a video about the most controversial man, the most controversial sheriff, and perhaps the  most controversial couple to ever live in Grimes County... the whole story, especially the details and politics, can be found in my blog called Blues Valley... (@ brazosvalleyblues.blogspot.com) but watch this music video first.. it will save you a bunch of time! This is a true story...

 For a short intro video, CLICK ON THE LINK BELOW:


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Excuses... and Surprises!

Yes, if you monitor this blog you may have surmised that I fell off of the face of the earth. Technology issues got me off of the grid for awhile... and then I have been POSSESSED with the art of film making the past month or so. I ask you to check out my short films... listed below, and tell me what you think.

I have combined my love of history, photography and my daughter Raegan's fabulous original songs to create six "digital stories."

Here are the titles and the links... 

UNDELIVERED: A Valentine for Joan of Arc: A look at Joan of Arc and her relationship with the Duke of Orleans,  the man behind the scenes during the short military career of Jehanne D'Arc. Featuring Raegan's song "Riot."

TEMPLAR: A love song by Raegan about a Knight Templar and the lass who loves him...

Take It Back: A saucy song by Raegan and a saucy story about the feud between the Governors Ferguson and Ranger Frank Hamer... and Bonnie and Clyde, who brought them together!

Rachel's Unspeakable Saga: The story of the captives taken by Comanches from Fort Parker and their battle for survival. The story worked well interwoven with Raegan's "A Song About Zombies"!

The Pathfinders: George W. Durant, The Father of Alvin: Soldier, Inventor, nurseryman... The life of my great-great grandfather encapsulated. Raegan's "PIONEER" fit it like a glove, even though her song is about something else entirely.

Having lots of fun- And there is more to come!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015


Let's propose a new paradigm, one that we can all live with: Let everyone learn to live within their own means, without expecting to encroach on the rights or property of others...
Bluebells, the namesake for your favorite ice cream, still survive in the rolling hills of Grimes County, but the scars of civilization are just beginning...
Stop the Madness!

Houston: A half-Century of unchecked expansion

Citizens of Grimes and nearby counties are once again threatened by wild government schemes and unconstitutional forfeiture of their property. FOUR major projects are planned to accommodate the needs of the Houston area while our rights and convenience are thrown under the bus, and in the exchange, toll roads will replace our Farm to Market roads, while a monumentally expensive and UNPROVEN high-speed rail system and two electricity transmission lines destroy our environment in order to serve others.

This recurring nightmare began decades ago, when reasonable citizens gradually abandoned the “concrete jungle” in Houston and sought safety, serenity and a better life. Then just a hungry little gator, Houston, Texas was already the seventh largest city in the United States, striving to be the energy capital of the world. Seeing the trend of a perpetual attack on our quality of life, my family and many others relocated to Grimes County, which was a comfortable distance from the relentless urban sprawl of Harris County.  Anointed by LBJ as “Space City,” the Houston Metropolitan Area continued to expand like a heartless lava flow all the way to the extremes of Harris County and beyond.  We fled, and found temporary refuge, but we knew this day would probably come.

Now the fourth largest city in the United States, Houston has blossomed into the Great Shop of Horrors, an insatiable overgrown parasite who, like the cute little plant in The Little Shop of Horrors, one day looked down on its keeper and demanded, “FEED ME!”

A stomach with no conscience, it lives to serve itself, and being so powerful, it does not have to explain itself. We must feed it, or it will make us sorry. The Houston Shop of Horrors must have water. Lots of it. It must have energy. Lots of it. It must have convenience… as much as it can make for itself. And like many rotten and untrainable pets, it MUST have a disgusting potty-box to deposit all of its excrement. It looks to anyone and everyone outside of its perimeters to fill these constant needs.

Unfortunately, Harris County cannot support its unmanageable shop of horrors. It looks to its weaker neighbors to supply the oceans of water, the megawatts of energy, the miles of convenient access, and the vast garbage dumps, whatever necessary for its survival.  In blind revenge it routinely takes what it wants from those who wisely fled from its clutches. And it will continue to do so until the cows can no longer come home. The high speed rails, the toll roads, and the utility lines that feed this selfish monster will continue to butcher and choke the surrounding countryside until the cows will be totally landlocked; their owner’s farms invaded, confiscated, divided and violated to serve the “greater good”; the “Greater Houston Metropolitan Area,” that is.  It is time to stop the madness.

It is time for the people, and especially the governments of the various counties who neighbor with this conscienceless leviathan to stand up and unite and work together to limit the damage Houston and its champions would do to us in the name of “progress.”

In the path of possible destruction: Beautiful high ground on HWY 90 between Anderson and Navasota- I have dubbed Holland Pass, above the bottoms of Holland Creek. Tapley Holland was one of the heroes martyred at the Alamo.

More than land at stake.

Grimes County is one of the last jewels of Texas country life, the veritable “Cradle of Texas Independence,” land purchased with blood shed at the Alamo, tragically nestled under the treacherous shadow of an expansive monster that knows no limits to its mindless appetite. It is time to fight this enemy of OUR greater good with everything we have got, and stop the tide of ugly, inefficient suburban sprawl. Houston plans to cut up Grimes County like a cheap side of beef. It does not know or care the price of the land, the irreversible damage to it, the value of our lifestyle, or the fate of our irreplaceable heritage which it would slice and pave.

Houston does not know it, but it needs us just as we are. We are an enclave of beauty and serenity, and we have inadvertently become the stewards of its forgotten soul, the keepers of the flame that has inspired the whole world since the Battle of San Jacinto, wisely masterminded by none other than Sam Houston.  
Jesse Grimes was an early pioneer, friend of Sam Houston and signor of the Texas Declaration of Independence.

I grew up in Houston. But I never felt and loved and relived its history until I was able to get far from it and experience the land as the pioneers did here in Grimes County. When my family came here, we were enthralled by this wonderful time-capsule that had saved the buildings, the fences, the roads and bridges, and the very lands as the early Texians had seen and worked them. It shaped my character, my life, and my art. You might label me a poet or an idealist, but few souls like me are ever spawned between the dark, dangerous fast-lanes of the city. My imagination took root and prospered as I discovered pristine woodlands and breathtaking vistas in the local landscape. So near to Houston, and yet a world away.  I feel so fortunate to have escaped the house of horrors.

A winnable strategy

We all remember past struggles to kill other impositions by outside governments. We have won some and lost some. But some of us learned the game when we successfully fought Governor Rick Perry’s Spanish Imposition, the grandiose “Trans- Texas Corridor,” and will fight this battle as well. And we will do it for future Texans whom we know will need and cherish the inspiration and serenity of the Texas heartland as we do.  We will do it for the wildlife, once nearly exterminated, now flourishing. Yes, we will do it for the cows and their owners. And we will do it for those that went before, buried and resting in this soil, who faithfully farmed parched cotton land, built fieldstone villages and churches, and wrote the Texas Declaration of Independence and those famous blues songs from the Brazos Valley…  In the process, they wrote their fierce spirit into our hearts.

Joining hands with the American Stewards of Liberty Alliance, an organization experienced in these battles for land owner’s rights, we can beat the Houston overreach with public awareness and Texas Law… if we can afford the lawyers. Every community must organize to create a formidable gamut of legal red-tape, insurmountable for mercenary bureaucrats, who are required BY LAW to COOPERATE WITH EVERY LOCAL INTETY. At every turn we will shame them. This is one way we derailed the Trans Texas Corridor.

Sam Houston, the namesake of the City, would be ashamed of its present reality, so narcissistic and insulting to its neighbors. He once served as our President and lived here in our neighborhood, just across the river, in the frontier capital of the Republic of Texas. Houston was baptized in a creek over in Washington County, and that faith he attained gave him the courage to stand against the enormous tide of Secession and the subsequent War Between the States. He taught us something about fighting for right, the value of this land, its worthiness for personal sacrifice.  He won Texas for all of us, against all odds, by a military miracle, and more accurately the Grace of God.  We will fight these urban Huns for him too.

You may never before have had a chance to live and act and feel like a real, old-time TEXIAN. Here is your opportunity. In fact, this struggle is exactly like the Texas Revolution, where a powerful and ruthless government used and abused the citizens at its fringe to enjoy unjust benefits at their expense.

Houston is the Mexican Army, looting and taking at will, granting no quarter, intolerant and all-powerful. But this will be no “Runaway Scrape.” 

Please get involved and help turn the tide of injustice and the institutional violation of land owner’s rights, and join the fight for a virgin wilderness, inhabited by wild cats and eagles, and people who foster them. Join this fight or see our Texas heartland finally and forever rolled over like a stinking Chicago parking lot. Join the fight or live with the shame that you did nothing in a time of distress while good men struggled for our way of life.

Look at any map of Texas. It has already been carved and bastardized enough. Help us stop this madness, this relentless expansion with no end, which has no inspiration but greed and convenience. Texas is being changed forever by raptors who would trade our quality of life for speed, profit, and no small amount of personal gain. Remember the quaint old rice town Katy? Remember Alvin, once the garden land of Texas? Remember the stately Imperial Sugar plant Sugarland! Remember the stately trade oaks at the crossroads of Tomball! Remember the virgin forests of Conroe? Rural serenity is long gone at those hapless doormats for Houston.  We are next.

ENOUGH ALREADY!  HOUSTON IS BIG ENOUGH. Really! We must band together and force the great house of horrors in Harris County to accommodate itself; to build its own infrastructure in order to feed and sustain itself; to supply its own water, its own garbage dumps, its own energy, and to limit its impositions on its neighbors. Houston’s appetite will always be insatiable as long as others provide the sacrifice at its alter.

Besides, we are now full of people and opportunities ourselves. We all chose our beds, and now we must sleep in them.  That would be true social justice. Maybe then, if Houston has to curtail its own rapaciousness, if it is raping itself, it will begin to check its own expansion. Only then will it no longer require so much from those on its fringe, those of us wise enough not to participate in, or inhabit its hopeless system.

Remember the ALAMO!

CONTACT your elected representatives! Many assume that nobody is paying attention and have their heads in the sand… and are waiting for the political winds to blow… So BLOW! Here are your bullets:

Specifically, we are fighting:

1)    The Proposed Dallas to Houston High Speed Rail- This will be a political battle. We call it properly JAPANESE High Speed Rail, as they will be the only folks who will get any advantages out of building this… (no benefits to us, only gutting of property values, community sacrifice and transportation inconvenience) The California High Speed Rail system just went bankrupt… was 68 BILLION underfunded, will have to be taken over by the Feds… Contact Kevin Brady , 301 Cannon Building, Washington D. C. 20515!

2)    The Proposed “Brazos Valley Connection” 345 KV Transmission Line which is to stretch from Harris County through Waller County to Grimes County... Both of these lines offer only sacrifice, inconvenience and decimation of property values.

3)    The Proposed “Cross Texas Transmission” 345 KV Line which will run from Grimes County up to Limestone County… transecting Madison, Brazos, Robertson, Leon and Freestone  Counties. These two transmission lines are our biggest hurdles, both will require a legal battle costing hundreds of thousands of dollars. Landowners must dig deep in their pockets or this may not be stalled in time.

4)    The State Highway 249 Toll Road (from FM 1774 to SH105, local authorities have withdrawn their support of this incursion). Once again, no benefits locally, only decimated property values, sacrifice and inconvenience. “Toll Roads are the new [Public] Utility,” said OUR FORMER State Rep., Lois Kolkhorst with regret in March of 2013 (now elected State Senator in another district) and publicly stated that this 249 Toll Road was a “boondoggle” and that she was against toll roads and anticipated that surpluses in future budgets, “rainy day funds” etc. could take up the slack in building our rural highways.

Learn more about all of this at www.communityupdate.org

If you want to get involved, contact: grimescitizenadvisorygroup@ gmail.com

If you want to get the play-by-play, then “FRIEND” GCAG on Facebook;  SEARCH FOR GRIMES CITIZEN ADVISORY GROUP.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

A Benefit Concert for Two BIG Benefits to Navasota!

Navasota's most famous artists, Leon and "Molly Bee" Collins. They just lost everything they own in a house fire.

We are planning a benefit concert for Molly Bee and her father Leon on January 24, 2015. Tubie and the Touchtones and Brickyard Kain have offered to play at a benefit concert and auction at The Dizzy Llama. Things will kick off at 6:30.

If you want to donate to the LIVE Auction, let me know!

The Collin's house burned down a couple of weeks ago. Leon lost everything but his Bible. All of his money and paintings and clothes...He's going to need a lot of help. They have moved into a new place on Church Street.

Leon's tragedy reminds us that life, our mission in life, is more important than we might think. There are great things at stake while we indulge ourselves in philosophical questions, often unanswerable. Sometimes life demands that we step up to the challenges at our feet, think of the greater good. And jump in.