Archive for the ‘fun’ Category

Blogger in Marathon, Texas.

By John Ruberry

“There’s no law west of Dodge and no God west of the Pecos.”
James Pepper (Ben Johnson) in Chisum.

“The devil in hell, we’re told was chained
A thousand years he there remained
He neither complain nor did he groan
But was determined to start a hell of his own

Where he could torment the souls of men
Without being chained in a prison pen
So he asked the Lord if he had on hand
Anything left when he made this land

The Lord said yes, there’s a plenty on hand
But I left it down by the Rio Grande
The fact is ol’ boy, the stuff is so poor I don’t think you could use it as the hell anymore

But the devil went down to look at the truck
For after lookin’ that over carefully and well
He said this place is too dry for hell
But in order to get it off his hands

The Lord promised the devil to water the land
So trade was closed and deed was given
And the Lord went back to his home in heaven.”
Johnny Cash, Mean As Hell.

Earlier this month Mrs. Marathon Pundit and I spent ten days in Texas, mostly West Texas. And yes, there is law there and there is a God west of the Pecos too.

I covered my economic and political observations of our Texas trip, including what I noticed in the boom towns on the Permian Basin, Midland and Odessa, in a post at Da Tech Guy that is available here. 

Our first stop on note was on the oil producing basin, Monahans Sandhills State Park, where we found the type of dunes you’ll encounter on the Sahara. 

Our first West Texas overnight stop was west of the Pecos, in Fort Stockton, home of what was once the World’s Largest Roadrunner, Paisano Pete.

Then of course we had to visit Marathon, after all, I am the Marathon Pundit. Parts of a sadly overlooked movie, Paris, Texas, were filmed there.

Then it was on to Terlingua, a former mercury mining settlement, turned ghost town, which is now the closest thing to a tourist gateway town to our main destination, Big Bend National Park, where you will discover desert, mountains, and lots of thorns, Cash discusses “thorns” later in his spoken word Mean As Hell piece that I excerpted above.

Big Bend was our main destination for this trip, a gorgeous but little-visited national park because of its isolation. Perched on the border with Mexico on the Rio Grande, it is a seven-hour drive from Dallas and a five-hour drive from San Antonio.

To the west of the national park is Big Bend Ranch State Park, Texas’ largest state park, where we kayaked and spent our last day in the Big Bend region. It’s a beautiful park too and well worth at least a day of your time.

The biggest dud of the trip was our attempt to witness the Marfa Lights. Well, we were in Marfa, where much of the George Stevens’ classic Giant was filmed, and the lights, which some people compare to the will o’ the wisp, were not to be found, as is usually the situation every night, despite a viewing stand. Marfa is a leftist outpost where we encountered a human thorn. When picking up a pizza, Mrs. Marathon Pundit was scolded by a cashier in because she was not wearing a mask. In Texas! But my wife held her sandy ground. 

On Easter Sunday it was on to pentagon-shaped Jeff Davis County; yes, it’s named for Jefferson Davis, the president of the confederacy, where we toured historic Fort Davis, a frontier fort that seems to be a time capsule from a John Ford western movie. And we drove on the Davis Mountains Scenic Loop, among the sites of worth there is the McDonald Observatory.

On our way back to Dallas-Fort Worth, we met a Facebook friend in Sweetwater. 

The next day we were back in the Chicago area, the home of grifters, high taxes, and high crime. 

And many human thorns.

Related post:

Texas is success and Illinois is failure.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

She’s a Nun All Right

Posted: February 13, 2022 by datechguy in catholic, fun
Tags: , ,

Despite having never used drugs in my life I have a penchant for breaking into incontrollable laughter if I find something funny. It’s happened a few times at inconvenient movements in my life and last Friday I just ducked the situation at the daily mass at the convent.

On Friday’s I take a former co-worker Claire to morning mass at St. Leo’s in Leominster. During the wintertime the mass is moved to the convent so the elderly sisters don’t have to go out in the cold., I had been running late and we got there just as the sermon was starting.

I have a pet peeve about nuns who don’t wear the habit and none of the nuns there do (which is why I suspect it is populated only by elderly nuns with no new vocations mixed in but I digress.) I never forgot when I was a 9 year old kid and my mother came to pick me up at St. Anthony’s just as the the whole “not dressing like a nun” movement got started there was a young pretty sister who was leaving the school and a guy in a coverable saw her and tried to pick her up. She shot him down in a hurry and then made the mistake in the heat of the moment saying something to my mother about it who had pulled up behind the guy who hit on her.

My mother wasn’t one to volunteer her thoughts but when the sister expressed her outrage she replied in the most blunt terms I had ever heard; “If you want to be treated with the respect of a nun then maybe you had better dress like one!” I had never seen anyone tell off a nun before and the shock was still on the sisters face as we drove off but I never forgot it.

So when Claire, and her sister who had the day off & I entered the convent chapel we had to split up due to seating and I found myself with a group of old women, in theory all of them might have been nuns but as not one of them were dressed as one, not even a wimple, to mind mind I had no idea who was a nun and who was not.

That was until communion.

At communion one of the older ladies went to the alter to get the consecrated hosts out of the tabernacle for the priest. After giving her communion the priest was about to leave the alter when suddenly the lady abruptly stopped him pointing to his shoes and noting that his shoelaces were untied not moving out of his way until he tied his shoes and then proceeding to the back of the chapel where she would give communion.

It was the only time I’ve been glad that I was wearing a mask because all I could think of was this scene from the Classic Three Stooges Short Three Little Pirates:

The stooges are shipwrecked off deadman’s Island a place that has not changed since the 1600’s they are brought before the governor [Vernon Dent] who looks at their sailor’s outfits and says:

Governor: I never saw sea faring men dressed like that, I don’t believe they’re sailors!

[His betrothed [Christine Mcintyre] walks in and the stooges all immediately turn and wolf whistle at her together.]

Governor: They’re sailors all right!

That lady wasn’t in a habit so I didn’t believe she was a nun, but once she stopped the priest and made him tie his shoes I thought: That’s a nun all right.

Struggling to keep from laughing out loud is likely not the best disposition to be in when receiving the Body of Christ but it was the best I could do and I was very happy to get out of there quickly before my inappropriately timed mirth became too apparent.

I still can’t vouch for the other ladies there but from this point on I’ll know that at least one of them is a nun.

All Good Things Must Come to an End

Posted: February 2, 2022 by datechguy in business, entertainment, fun, pinball
Tags: ,

Today is February 2nd the feast of the Presentation of the Lord and the 40th day after Christmas.

Under the old church calendar this day marked the end of the Christmas season which under the current calendar ends on the feast of the Baptism of the Lord.

By an odd coincidence this also marks the end of the Christmas gift my sons got me because today the good folks at Bushey Brothers came down to pick up the pinball machine that they dropped off on the 2nd day of Christmas Dec 26th.

The storm that hit New England snowed him in badly so I ended up with four extra days which meant this Christmas gift lasted the entire traditional Christmas season. My best score of 65,7 Million but alas that was only good enough for 3rd as my youngest scored 66.4 million and on his next visit managed over 91 million.

Most arcades these days that are not pay one price tend to charge between .75 & a buck a game and with over 300 games played on this machine in the time I had it it was pretty much like going to the arcade on a daily basis. Here is our exit interview:

I highly recommend such a rental as a gift and if you’re so inclined you can find the Bushey Brothers on facebook here.

This year Pintastic NE was the week before thanksgiving rather than in late June and while it meant a very long wait for its return it paid pretty big dividend for me. During our “Peak” period in the warehouse we tend to work 6-7 days a week till Christmas. Even before the supply chain issues people started ordering gifts early in the last few years so instead of peak beginning Black Friday it’s now starts for us as early as the first two weeks of November which used to be pretty dead.

That late Pintastic provided a welcome break just before the crazy week began and as I’ve often said NOTHING relieves stress like a pinball machine.

So imagine my surprise when a familiar face turned up at the door on Boxing Day an hour before Mass.

Brian was bearing the game Diner which was never one I really mastered but I guarantee you that with a month of play if there is a tournament including said machine I’ll be ready to go.

It was not a gift that I was expecting and I’m flattered that my sons were thinking of me. I’m even more flattered that this game out of his personal collection as the newer games were all out.

As of today a Diner goes for between $5200 & $8000 it’s a pretty good deal to get it for a month. For those who missed the interview from Pintastic NE 2021 here it is

Ironically when I interviewed Brian I said that while my wife would never let me buy a machine she might let me rent one and now it’s here for the rest of the Christmas season and two weeks beyond.

If I may suggest it might make a great Birthday gift particularly if you’re not born in December or January since the volume will be higher during those months and thus the availability of the newer games might be a little more iffy.

I’m going to have a lot of fun

You can find the Bushey Brothers facebook page here.