Monday, February 23, 2015

Everett Miller Turns 20 Today

Coolio's Gangsta's Paradise topped Billboard's Hot 100 that year. Couldn't prove it by me, so I'm taking Google's word for it. 1995 I was cruising the streets of River City playing rent-a-cop and listening to the likes of David Lee Murphy. Couple years later, grandson Everett Miller lit out for Colorado and I went to explore the Pacific Northwest. Our paths again converge here in River City on his 20th birthday today. Some of us are a bit surprised you made it this far.

Everett Miller at his father's knee (left).
We held a simple yet manly celebration in Everett's honor Saturday afternoon; "we" being this writer, Brian Miller, Ev's dad, and Uncle Dean Porter. Libations were shared, six-string guitars were picked and passed, Birthday Boy was appropriately and thoroughly ridiculed as "The Rookie", and required burnt offerings were made.

His Sunny side!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Where there is Despair, HOPE

From "A New Hope for a New Wild"
In the New Wild ranchers are learning that livestock can improve the health of grasslands. Courtesy
"The New Wild is upon us. It's a place where livestock can be good for grasslands. Where humans value every part of the ecosystem. It's a place where these fragile landscapes work because we are a part of them. Join us in the New Wild, where humans and nature are thriving together."
And DON'T miss the PBS companion series, EARTH A New Wild starting tonight at 8 pm on KERA, public media for North Texas and the World.

Mongolia's Nomads

Mongolian pastoral herders make up one of the world's last remaining nomadic cultures. For millennia they have lived on the steppes, grazing their livestock on the lush grasslands. But today, their traditional way of life is at risk on multiple fronts. Alongside a rapidly changing economic landscape, climate change and desertification are also threatening nomadic life, killing both herds and grazing land. Due to severe winters and poor pasture, many thousands of herders have traded in their centuries-old way of life for employment in mining towns and urban areas. Most herders who stay on the steppe push their children to pursue education and get jobs in the cities believing that pastoral nomadism is no longer a secure or sustainable way of life.
Read more about these herders at Global Oneness Project. TEACHERS! Find more stories and free lesson plans on the Global Oneness website as well.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Longing for the Dark Side

Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine
Used to a boy could slip off to the back yard after evening chores and stretch himself out under a Texas sky. There, with a soft summer breeze or biting arctic breath, she could watch and wonder at the Greatest Show Above Earth.

Earthling Ancients were lousy at dot-to-dots. A seasoned veteran of countless dot-to-dot books before I was 6, the figures I found overhead were far better than the classic constellations.

Explosive urbanization this last half century has robbed kids today of a back yard full of stars. Our artificial light is eating away the last of the dark places.

But not quite all of Texas' best night spots are losing to the light. Just up US-287 N 'bout an hour and a half is, to my mind, one of the best little state parks in Texas, Copper Breaks State Park

"Texas state parks remain among the few public places where the starry heavens can still be viewed in all their glory with minimal intrusion of artificial light," Rob McCorkle writes in the cover story for the current issue of Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine.

Just this past summer Copper Breaks and Enchanted Rock State Natural Area were the first two parks in Texas to be designated as International Dark Sky Parks by the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA).

What say we slip off to Copper Breaks for a little dot-to-dot after dark?

“Some praise the Lord for Light,
The living spark;
I thank God for the Night
The healing dark.” 
Robert W. Service

Saturday, November 1, 2014

It's National Novel Writing Month!

Frost nailed the punkin this morning for the first time this 2014 fall season. This is the kind of weather that makes you want to fill a thermos with hot cocoa and make camp around a roaring fire, even if it's just in your own backyard. Of course, such fire worship goes much better if you've a little something with which to lace and brace that thermos besides chocolate.

With cooler days and chilly nights upon us, Mrs. Miller and I have launched into our respective fall projects. She is crocheting squares for a blanket for the daughter. I'd post pictures, but Mrs. Miller has a deep and abiding aversion to being photographed. Anyway, this will be the second blanket she has knotted together from various hues of yarn. She completed her first one some years ago while occupying the tourist seat of a cross-country freight hauler while I drove.

For my project I have taken the challenge to write a 50,000-word first draft of a novel in 30 days as November is National Novel Writing Month.

The idea is fairly simple and straight forward. All one has to do is bang out a minimum 50,000 words that more or less tells a story with a beginning, middle and end. Sounds easy enough, right? Try it, and get back to me.

This, of course, is not my first venture into novel writing. It did, however, seem to be an interesting vehicle to ride toward actually completling a first draft--rough though it no doubt will be--of a novel manuscript. This is something my alter ego, David Forest, has been nagging me to do for years, ever since I launched him on his first adventure (never finished) lo these many, many years ago.

If you care to follow along on this adventure, point your browser to my NaNoWriMo Page.