Here, There and Everywhere

Posts tagged ‘Texas’

Achin’ for Home

31bo-JcppuL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Over the Pass and Other Stories by Susan Mary Malone. Reviewed by Gabriel Constans.

You can tell from the get go that this author is a native Texan. It ebbs from her stories like a hot wind in hell blowing across east Texas. This is indeed good news, as Over the Pass and Other Stories is better than a good bowl of panhandle chili (without the side effects). The leads in these tales are tough, hard-working, home-grown people from Texas, Montana, and Kansas.

The first story (Winter’s Prey) describes the feelings of Julie, as she poses before her sculpture husband Troy. “She is naked – not under his hands but before his stare.” Descent follows Julie and Troy on a trip through Montana. Over the Pass continues glimpses into their relationship with Julie realizing. “On a backroad byway between Idaho and Montana, through the Red Rocks Wildlife Refuge, I lost the feeling. My heart got out and took a hike and we were another day down the road before I realized it was gone.”

Other stories in this collection include a rodeo cowboy (The Demon On the End of the Rope); a father and son feeding wrestlers at a yearly retreat (Red Turns to Green); and Foster and Callie, who are in a long distance relationship, reluctantly attending a wedding officiated by Pastor Brown.

Some of my favorite lines are from Cowboys Over Ladies, when old Jim tells Sara, who he’s mentored for over 20 years, “You’re a achin’ for home.” He’d nick his chest with a gnarled fist. “That place inside ya. The one you boxed away a long time ago. So you put the nostalgia on like a blanket of a mornin’ to keep out the chill.” Another is from Two Hundred Miles to Dumas, “Mom glared hard at her, all the crow’s feet tying up around her eyes and making her look more ancient than Grandma, who was older than west Texas dirt.”

Ms. Malone’s understanding, and description, of place and people is spot on – tough, beautiful, barren, and spacious. Every story stands on its own, even though the first three have the same characters. Over the Pass and Other Stories will remind you of folks you know if you grew up in that area of the world, or make you think you’re one of the family, even if you’ve never stepped foot in that part of the country. These stories will stick to you like sweat inside a Texan’s jeans.

“Must Read” Indeed!

amazon-cover-with-mca-gold-seal-rsElizabeth’s Landing
By Katy Pye
Reviewed by Gabriel Constans

Let’s get straight to the point. This is one hell of a good story for adults of all ages (young and old). It deserves all the awards it has received and then some. Superior to many traditionally published works, Elizabeth’s Landing combines complex characters, believable families and community and global environmental issues, with a seamless and engaging flare.

Uprooted mid-school year to the Texas coast town of Port Winston, Elizabeth escapes from her cantankerous grandfather, missing her absent reporter mother, and her seemingly submissive father, to explore the county’s last wild haven, called Wayward Landing Beach. It is there that she discovers nesting sea turtles and is faced with some local teens bent on harming her and the turtles. While trying to save the turtles, she meets Maria and Tom from the Science Center and is drawn to their work and mission.

It is obvious from the get go that Ms. Pye has extensively researched her subjects: turtles, shrimping, habitat, The Gulf Coast, The Horizon Oil Spill, and local politics; and integrated them into the story without any trace of regurgitating news or sounding like a lecturer at a science museum. Elizabeth, her family, friends, and those she meets at the Marine Science Center, are imbued with realistic doses of sadness, anger, frustration, determination, secrets, fear and hope.

What’s not to like about Elizabeth? She’s shy, concerned about how she is perceived by others, lonely, and out of step with other kids at school. She doesn’t think her father understands her or stands up to her grandfather, who is always putting them down. She’d rather die, than tell anyone how she feels and when she does, she’s afraid she’s revealed too much. If she doesn’t sound like other people her age, or yourself when you were a teen, then you must be perfect. Reader’s will identify with and root for, Elizabeth, as if she is your friend, daughter or sister.

If it’s not been stated clearly or often enough, Elizabeth’s Landing is a fantastic novel. “Must Read” is often used to advertise stories and get people’s attention, but in this case Ms. Pye has written a story that is truly a must read.

Gabriel Constans is a reviewer for The New York Journal of Books, a novelist, screenwriter, journalist and non-fiction writer. His latest work of fiction is The Last Conception.

The Tex-Mex

The Tex-Mex
by Gabriel Constans

Jicama is a root vegetable similar to the turnip. It is popular in Mexican dishes throughout Mexico, Texas, California, and New Mexico. This smoothie is sweet, hot, nourishing, and filling.

images

Yield: 5 cups

2 cups chopped fresh pineapple
1 small jicama, peeled and sliced
1 large mango, peeled and sliced
1 teaspoon chopped jalapeno pepper*
Juice of 1 lime
2 cups filtered water
1 banana

Place all the ingredients in a blender, and blend on high speed for 1 minute.

Pour into tall glasses and serve.

*Jalapeno and other hot peppers must be handled carefully. Don’t touch your face
and wash hands thoroughly.

Safety at Chemical Plants

Safety at Chemical Plants

In April a fertilizer plant exploded in West, Texas, killing fourteen people and injuring hundreds. Since then, there have been at least six other chemical accidents, including two that included fatalities.

images

But instead of letting state inspectors in to figure out what is going wrong, the five chemical plants have simply denied the inspectors entry and gotten away with it. We can’t let this continue.

Join us in demanding that OSHA (the Occupational Safety and Health Administration) inspect the five chemical plants in Texas that kicked out state fire inspectors who were trying to prevent another West, Texas tragedy. Click here to sign our petition.

Back in April, a fertilizer plant exploded in the small town of West, Texas — killing 14 people and injuring 200. The plant stored explosive ammonium nitrate — but had no alarms, no automatic shutoff system, no firewall and no sprinkler system. And it was across the street from a school.

When Texas fire inspectors stepped up their enforcement after this tragedy, five chemical plants flat-out denied them entry. And there’s nothing under Texas law that mandates such inspections. The state has no fire code, and only scheduled inspections are required.

If Texas can’t protect its residents, the federal government must. Sign our petition to OSHA (the Occupational Safety and Health Administration) demanding that they inspect the five chemical plants who have denied access to the Texas fire inspectors.

Keep fighting,
Laura Clawson, Daily Kos

XL Pipeline On Sacred Land

Dear Gabriel,

The updates coming in are heartbreaking: TransCanada and its bulldozers have begun seizing and clearing land to construct the southern portion of the Keystone XL Pipeline in Texas.

It’s nearly impossible to fight the use of eminent domain against private landowners. But now TransCanada is trampling on the rights of sovereign native tribes. If we stand with the tribes, we may be able to block the pipeline’s construction.

Tell the Bureau of Indian Affairs: Enforce Native American sovereignty and don’t let TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline bulldoze sacred burial grounds. Click here to automatically sign the petition.

A story last week in the Washington Post highlights TransCanada’s assault on tribal sovereignty on lands throughout Oklahoma. The Canadian corporation is blazing ahead with construction despite tribal concerns about the protection of burial grounds and other sacred tribal sites.

TransCanada arrogantly claims “there is no legal obligation to work with the tribes.” But that flies in the face of the historic treaties affirming tribal authority over their sovereign lands, and the more recent National Historic Preservation Act and the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act of 1990.

The U.S. government was responsible for genocidal death marches of Native Americans in the 19th century. Today, there are more than 38 tribes in Oklahoma as a result of this forced relocation, and each retains sovereignty over its own land and affairs. The Keystone XL Pipeline will bisect the entire state, starting in Cushing, Oklahoma, on a site that sits within the Sac and Fox Nation.

Tribal leaders fear that digging the route could disturb mass graves or other important sites. As the Sac and Fox official Sandra Massey said, “How many times do we have to move? Our dead are never at rest.”

Tell the Bureau of Indian Affairs: Keep our promises to Native American tribes and stop TransCanada from violating their sovereignty. Click here to automatically sign the petition.

We know the Bureau of Indian Affairs is aware of the issue because it held a listening session in Oklahoma last week to discuss the protection of sacred tribal sites.2 Now we need to make sure that the agency knows that it is unacceptable to allow a Canadian oil company to trample on tribal sovereignty and sacred sites to build their fuse to the carbon bomb of the Alberta Tar Sands.

TransCanada’s attitude toward the rights of Native Americans should come as no surprise — the company has earned a reputation for lying, deceiving and strong-arming landowners into giving property easements to TransCanada.

As construction gets underway, TransCanada’s surveyors and crews have also been met with resistance from local activists, who have on two occasions been arrested for boldly chaining themselves to construction equipment, and on Monday started a sustained tree-sit to indefinitely stall construction.

These efforts are vitally important, because the courts have so far sided with TransCanada’s dubious claims that it is eligible to seize private land under eminent domain — a questionable premise, since the pipeline primarily benefits a Canadian company.

While the Obama administration has bent over backward to promote TransCanada’s efforts to drain Alberta’s “game over for the climate” tar sands fields, it remains to be seen if the Bureau of Indian Affairs will stand by as TransCanada also threatens tribal sovereignty and sacred sites.

Urge the Bureau of Indian Affairs to take action. Click below to automatically sign the petition:
http://act.credoaction.com/r/?r=6966708&p=sovereignty_kxl&id=47608-266627-RCNZ8qx&t=10

Thanks for fighting the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.

Elijah Zarlin, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets

Curing Cancers In A Decade

From Technology Review
21 September, 2012

Oncology’s Moon Shot
by Susan Young

A large cancer research center in Texas announced today it will launch a “$3 billion fight” to reduce the death rates of eight cancers. The so-called Moon Shots program at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center will focus on forms of lung, prostate, ovarian, skin and blood cancers. According to the Houston Chronicle, the program follows a pledge last year by then-new MD Anderson president Ronald DePinho, who at the time said he wanted the hospital to develop a “bold and ambitious plan for curing several cancers.”

The Moon Shots program will include a focus on genomics to understand the genetic and molecular basis of cancers and to identify patient-specific treatments (for more information on these ideas, see “Cancer Genomics” and “Making Genomics Routine in Cancer Care”). “Humanity urgently needs bold action to defeat cancer. I believe that we have many of the tools we need to pick the fight of the 21st century. Let’s focus our energies on approaching cancer comprehensively and systematically, with the precision of an engineer, always asking … ‘What can we do to directly impact patients?'” said DePinho in a released statement.

Read complete story and other informative articles at Technology Review.

Going Away Party for Arnie

Excerpt from Pagind Doctor Dr. Leff: Pride, Patriotism and Protest.

In order to avoid being drafted into the Army. Dr. Leff chose to enlist in the Air Force. By the time he had finished his pharmacology fellowship, he had received active duty orders to go to Thailand via basic training at Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita Falls, Texas. The night before he left Cincinnati turned out to be quite memorable.

Arnie’s friends called him “The Brick” in the Cincinnati General Hospital because of all the hours he spent there and his total commitment to his studies, work and profession. It was rare for him to allow himself a night out. Up until that point, he hadn’t thought much about his upcoming stint in the military. He had been completely focused for the majority of his young adult life on getting high grades, placing on the Dean’s List, taking physics and organic chemistry and anything else that was need to be a good doctor. He gave his heart and soul to learning the arts of medicine. He had not given the war in Vietnam much of his attention. Sure, he read the news, saw occasional reports and knew about the demonstrations, but he hadn’t taken much time to think about it in any detail.

His musician friends, specifically Sandy Nassan, insisted that they have a big bash for him before he left. After their gigs were up at 1:00 and 2:00AM, half the musicians in town gathered on the rooftop of a Calhoun apartment to wish their friend Arnie a fond farewell. His friend Dennis Wolter was there, the artist and sculptor Steven Truchil and his friend Sondra. It lasted most of the night, until the police put a halt to the unauthorized gathering.

The going away party was icing on the cake. He hadn’t expected it and was deeply touched. His friends were far more worried about him than he was about himself. They asked him several times if he was sure about this military stuff and if he knew what he was getting himself in to. He was pretty casual about it all and, in fact, somewhat excited about his new adventure.

He said, “Hey, it will just be a year. No big deal. It could be interesting, and I’ll be doing some good.”

His friends all hoped he was right. Even though many disagreed with the war, they respected his decision and motivation for serving. They, along with their good friend Arnie, had no idea of the depth of deceptions and lies their government was perpetuating.

MORE

Tag Cloud