Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Homeland Security's 30 Tips for Emergency Preparedness

Arizona and other parts of the West are on fire. There is flooding around the country. Rivers are cresting and breaching levees. Tornadoes have wrecked havoc and death upon areas that have seen no mercy. Yes, that's in America.

And in other places around the world, like in Japan, the poor people effected by Mother Nature's wrath are digging their way out slowly but surely. In Japan, it is the testament to a great and noble people that they are working as hard as they are to overcome the devastation that was set upon them.

People are resilient. We endure and we prevail. And yes, sometimes it ain't bad to get a few tips that will help us through emergencies.

Because of what is happening in the world around us, I've gone to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and copied their recommendation for us.

Here are their 30 tips to help you and your family, all of us, become better prepared for an emergency.

Preparedness Tip #1

Prepare escape routes and prepare your emergency plan.

Take a moment to imagine that there is an emergency, like a fire in your home, and you need to leave quickly. What are the best escape routes from your home? Find at least two ways out of each room. Now, write it down — you’ve got the beginning of a plan.

Preparedness Tip #2

Pick a place to meet after a disaster.

Designate two meeting places.

Choose one right outside your home, in case of a sudden household emergency, such as a fire. The second place you choose needs to be outside your neighborhood, in the event that it is not safe to stay near or return to your home.

Preparedness Tip #3

Choose an emergency contact person outside your area because it may be easier to call long distance than locally after a local/regional disaster.

Take a minute now to call or e-mail an out-of-town friend or family member to ask him or her to be your family’s designated contact in the event of an emergency. Be sure to share the contact's phone number with everyone in the family. During an emergency, you can call your contact who can share with other family members where you are; how you are doing; and how to get in contact with you.

Preparedness Tip #4

Complete an emergency contact card and make copies for each member of your family to carry with them.

Be sure to include an out-of-town contact on your contact card. It may be easier to reach someone out of town if local phone lines are out of service or overloaded. You should also have at least one traditionally wired landline phone, as cordless or cellular phones may not work in an emergency. Visit or for sample emergency contact cards.

Preparedness Tip #5

Dogs may be man’s best friend, but due to health regulations, most emergency shelters cannot house animals. Find out in advance how to care for your pets and working animals when disaster strikes. Pets should not be left behind, but could be taken to a veterinary office, family member’s home or animal shelter during an emergency. Also be sure to store extra food and water for pets. For more information, visit the Animal Safety section on or visit the Humane Society Web site at

Preparedness Tip #6

Go through your calendar now, and put a reminder on it — every six months — to review your plan, update numbers, and check supplies to be sure nothing has expired, spoiled, or changed. Also remember to practice your tornado, fire escape or other disaster plans.

Preparedness Tip #7

Check your child’s school Web site or call the school office to request a copy of the school’s emergency plan.

Keep a copy at home and work or other places where you spend a lot of your time and make sure the school’s plan is incorporated into your family’s emergency plan. Also, learn about the disaster plans at your workplace or other places where you and your family spend time.

Preparedness Tip #8

Teach your children how and when to call 9-1-1 or your local Emergency Medical Services number for help.

Post these and other emergency telephone numbers by telephones.

Preparedness Tip #9

Practice. Conduct fire drills and practice evacuating your home twice a year. Drive your planned evacuation route and plot alternate routes on a map in case main roads are blocked or gridlocked. Practice earthquake and tornado drills at home, school and work. Commit a weekend to update telephone numbers, emergency supplies and review your plan with everyone.

Preparedness Tip #10

A community working together during an emergency makes sense.

•Talk to your neighbors about how you can work together during an emergency.
•Find out if anyone has specialized equipment like a power generator, or expertise such as medical knowledge, that might help in a crisis.
•Decide who will check on elderly or disabled neighbors.
•Make back-up plans for children in case you can't get home in an emergency.

Sharing plans and communicating in advance is a good strategy

Preparedness Tip #11

What if disaster strikes while you’re at work? Do you know the emergency preparedness plan for your workplace? While many companies have been more alert and pro-active in preparing for disasters of all types since the September 11, 2001 attacks, a national survey indicates that many employees still don’t know what their workplace plan is for major or minor disasters. If you don’t know yours, make a point to ask. Know multiple ways to exit your building, participate in workplace evacuation drills, and consider keeping some emergency supplies at the office. Visit and click on Ready Business for more information about business preparedness.

Preparedness Tip #12

You should keep enough supplies in your home to meet the needs of you and your family for at least three days. Build an emergency supply kit to take with you in an evacuation. The basics to stock in your portable kit include: water, food, battery-powered radio and flashlight with extra batteries, first aid supplies, change of clothing, blanket or sleeping bag, wrench or pliers, whistle, dust mask, plastic sheeting and duct tape, trash bags, map, a manual can opener for canned food and special items for infants, elderly, the sick or people with disabilities. Keep these items in an easy to carry container such as a covered trash container, a large backpack, or a duffle bag.

Preparedness Tip #13

Preparing for emergencies needn’t be expensive if you’re thinking ahead and buying small quantities at a time.

Make a list of some foods that:

•Have a long shelf-life and will not spoil (non-perishable).
•You and your family like.
•Do not require cooking.
•Can be easily stored.
•Have a low salt content as salty foods will make you more thirsty.

Keep the list in your purse or wallet and pick up a few items each time you’re shopping and/or see a sale until you have built up a well-stocked supply that can sustain each member of your family for at least three days following an emergency.

Preparedness Tip #14

Take a minute to check your family’s first aid kit, and note any depleted items — then, add them to your shopping list. Don’t have a first aid kit? Add that to the list or build a kit yourself. Just add the following items to your shopping list and assemble a first aid kit. Consider creating a kit for each vehicle as well:

First Aid Kits - Assemble a first aid kit for your home and one for each car.

•(20) adhesive bandages, various sizes
•(1) 5" x 9" sterile dressing
•(1) conforming roller gauze bandage
•(2) triangular bandages
•(2) 3 x 3 sterile gauze pads
•(2) 4 x 4 sterile gauze pads
•(1) roll 3" cohesive bandage
•(2) germicidal hand wipes or waterless alcohol-based hand sanitizer
•(6) antiseptic wipes
•(2) pair large medical grade non-latex gloves
•Adhesive tape, 2" width
•Anti-bacterial ointment
•Cold pack
•Scissors (small, personal)
•CPR breathing barrier, such as a face shield
•First Aid Manual

Non-Prescription and Prescription Drugs

•Aspirin or non-aspirin pain reliever
•Anti-diarrhea medication
•Antacid (for stomach upset)
•Syrup of Ipecac (use to induce vomiting if advised by the Poison Control Center)
•Activated charcoal (use if advised by the Poison Control Center)
•Prescription drugs, as recommended by your physician, and copies of the prescriptions in case they need to be replaced

For more information about first aid kits, visit

Preparedness Tip #15

Keep at least a three-day supply of water per person. Store a minimum of one gallon of water per person per day (two quarts for drinking, two quarts for food preparation and sanitation). Store water in plastic containers such as soft drink bottles. Avoid using containers that will decompose or break, such as milk cartons or glass bottles. A normally active person needs to drink at least two quarts of water each day. Hot environments and strenuous activity can double that amount. Children, nursing mothers, and people who are sick will also need more.

Preparedness Tip #16

One of the easiest ways you can prepare for emergencies is to keep some supplies readily available. Every kit is unique and can be tailored to meet the specific needs of your family, but below is a general list of supplies you may want to consider:

Tools and Supplies (Essential Items are Marked with an Asterisk *)

•Mess kits, or paper cups, plates, and plastic utensils
•Emergency preparedness manual and a copy of your disaster plan, including your emergency contacts list
•Battery-operated radio and extra batteries*
•Flashlight and extra batteries*
•Cash or traveler's checks, change*
•Non-electric can opener, utility knife*
•Fire extinguisher: small ABC type stored near where fires are likely to occur such as a kitchen, or near a fireplace. It should not be kept in the disaster supplies kit.
•Tube tent
•Duct Tape*
•Matches in a waterproof container
•Aluminum foil
•Plastic storage containers
•Signal flare
•Paper, pencil*
•Needles, thread
•Medicine dropper
•Shut-off wrench or pliers, to turn off household gas and water
•Plastic sheeting*
•Map of the area (for locating shelters and evacuation routes)

(Continued in the next tip)

Preparedness Tip #17

Also include items for sanitation in your emergency supply kit. Consider the following:

Sanitation (Essential Items are Marked with an Asterisk *)

•Toilet paper, towelettes*
•Soap, liquid detergent*
•Feminine supplies*
•Personal hygiene items*
•Plastic garbage bags, ties (for personal sanitation uses)*
•Plastic bucket with tight lid
•Household chlorine bleach

(Continued in the next tip)

Preparedness Tip #18

Include at least one complete change of clothing and footwear per person in your emergency supply kit. We suggest long pants and long sleeves for additional protection after a disaster.

Clothing and Bedding (Essential Items are Marked with an Asterisk *

•Sturdy shoes or work boots*
•Rain gear*
•Blankets or sleeping bags*
•Hat and gloves
•Thermal underwear

Preparedness Tip #19

You should also keep a smaller version of your emergency supply kit in your vehicle, in case you are commuting or traveling when disaster strikes.

Emergency Kit For Your Vehicle

•Bottled water and non-perishable high energy foods, such as granola bars, raisins and peanut butter
•Flashlight and extra batteries
•Booster cables
•Fire extinguisher (5 lb., A-B-C type)
•First aid kit and manual
•Tire repair kit and pump
•Flares or other emergency marking devices

Preparedness Tip #20

Teach children how to dial 9-1-1 in an emergency. Review emergency action steps with all family members:

•Check the scene and the victim
•Call 9-1-1 or your local emergency number posted by the telephone
•Care for the victim

Help your children learn more about emergencies by visiting Red Cross' "Masters of Disaster."

Preparedness Tip #21

Read the information on your city, county and/or state government Web sites as well as the “Be Prepared” section of or and print emergency preparedness information. Be sure to keep a copy with your disaster supplies kit. It can provide telephone numbers, addresses and other information you need when electronic connections are not available options for obtaining the information.

Preparedness Tip #22

When water is of questionable purity, it is easiest to use bottled water for drinking and cooking if it is available. When it’s not available, it is important to know how to treat contaminated water. In addition to having a bad odor and taste, water from questionable sources may be contaminated by a variety of microorganisms, including, bacteria and parasites that cause diseases such as dysentery, cholera, typhoid, and hepatitis.

All water of uncertain purity should be treated before use. Use one or a combination of these treatments:

•Filter: Filter the water using a piece of cloth or coffee filter to remove solid particles.
•Boil: Bring it to a rolling boil for about one full minute. Cool it and pour it back and forth between two clean containers to improve its taste before drinking it.

◦Add 16 drops (1/8 teaspoon) of liquid chlorine bleach per gallon of water. Stir to mix. Sodium hypochlorite of the concentration of 5.25% to 6% should be the only active ingredient in the bleach. There should not be any added soap or fragrances. A major bleach manufacturer has also added Sodium Hydroxide as an active ingredient, which they state does not pose a health risk for water treatment.

◦Let stand 30 minutes.

◦If it smells of chlorine. You can use it. If it does not smell of chlorine, add 16 more drops (1/8 teaspoon) of chlorine bleach per gallon of water, let stand 30 minutes, and smell it again. If it smells of chlorine, you can use it. If it does not smell of chlorine, discard it and find another source of water.

Flood water can also be contaminated by toxic chemicals. Do NOT try to treat flood water.

Preparedness Tip #23

In some emergencies you may be required to turn off your utilities. To prepare for this type of event:

•Locate the electric, gas and water shut-off valves.
• Keep necessary tools near gas and water shut-off valves
•Teach adult family members how to turn off utilities.

If you turn off the gas, a professional must turn it back on. Do not attempt to do this yourself.

Preparedness Tip #24

Understand that during an emergency you may be asked to “shelter-in-place” or evacuate. Plan for both possibilities and be prepared to listen to instructions from your local emergency management officials. Visit and for more information on sheltering-in-place.

Preparedness Tip #25

A disaster can cause significant financial loss. Your apartment or home may be severely damaged or destroyed. You may be forced to live in temporary housing. Income may be cut off or significantly reduced. Important financial records could be destroyed. Take the time now to assess your situation and ask questions.

To help you, consider using the Emergency Financial First Aid Kit (EFFAK), a tool developed by Operation Hope, FEMA and Citizen Corps or contact your local Red Cross chapter for Disasters and Financial Planning: A Guide for Preparedness.

Preparedness Tip #26

Learn if earthquakes are a risk in your area by contacting your local emergency management office, local American Red Cross chapter, or state geological survey or department of natural resources. Information about earthquake risk is also available from the U.S. Geological Survey National Seismic Hazards project.

Preparedness Tip #27

Floods are among the most frequent and costly natural disasters in terms of human hardship and economic loss. As much as 90 percent of the damage related to all natural disasters (excluding draught) is caused by floods and associated debris flow. Most communities in the United States can experience some kind of flooding. Melting snow can combine with rain in the winter and early spring; severe thunderstorms can bring heavy rain in the spring or summer; or hurricanes can bring intense rainfall to coastal and inland states in the summer and fall. Regardless of how a flood occurs, the rule for being safe is simple: head for higher ground and stay away from floodwater. Even a shallow depth of fast-moving floodwater produces more force than most people imagine. You can protect yourself by being prepared and having time to act. Local radio or television stations or a NOAA Weather Radio are the best sources of information in a flood situation.

Preparedness Tip #28

When there is concern about a potential exposure to a chemical or other airborne hazard, local officials may advise you to "shelter-in-place “ and “seal the room.” This is different from taking shelter on the lowest level of your home in case of a natural disaster like a tornado. If you believe the air may be badly contaminated or if you are instructed by local officials, follow the instructions below to create a temporary barrier between you and the contaminated air outside.

To shelter-in-place and seal-the-room:

•Close and lock all windows and exterior doors.
•Turn off all fans, heating and air conditioning systems.
•Close the fireplace damper.
•Get your disaster supplies kit and turn on your battery-powered radio.
•Go to an interior room that is above ground level and without windows, if possible. In the case of a chemical threat, an above-ground location is preferable because some chemicals are heavier than air, and may seep into basements even if the windows are closed.
•If directed by local authorities on the radio, use duct tape to seal all cracks around the door and any vents into the room. Tape plastic sheeting, such as heavy-duty plastic garbage bags, over any windows.
•Listen to your radio or television for further instructions. Local officials will tell you when you can leave the room in which you are sheltering, or they may call for evacuation in specific areas at greatest risk in your community

Preparedness Tip #29

If there is an explosion:

•Take shelter against your desk or a sturdy table.
•Exit the building immediately.
•Do not use elevators.
•Check for fire and other hazards.
•Take your emergency supply kit if time allows.

If there is a fire:

•Exit the building immediately.
•If there is smoke, crawl under the smoke to the nearest exit and use a cloth, if possible, to cover your nose and mouth.
•Use the back of your hand to feel the upper, lower, and middle parts of closed doors.
•If the door is not hot, brace yourself against it and open slowly.
•If the door is hot, do not open it. Look for another way out.
•Do not use elevators.
•If your clothes catch on fire, stop-drop-and-roll to put out the fire. Do not run.
•If you are at home, go to your previously designated outside meeting place.
•Account for your family members and carefully supervise small children.
•GET OUT and STAY OUT. Never go back into a burning building.
•Call 9-1-1 or your local emergency number.

Preparedness Tip #30

Unlike an explosion, a biological attack may or may not be immediately obvious. Most likely local health care workers will report a pattern of unusual illness or a wave of sick people seeking medical attention. The best source of information will be radio or television reports.

Understand that some biological agents, such as anthrax, do not cause contagious diseases. Others, like the smallpox virus, can result in diseases you can catch from other people.

In the event of a biological attack, public health officials may not immediately be able to provide information on what you should do. It will take time to determine exactly what the illness is, how it should be treated, and who may have been exposed. You should watch TV, listen to the radio, or check the Internet for official news including the following:

•Are you in the group or area authorities believe may have been exposed?
•What are the signs and symptoms of the disease?
•Are medications or vaccines being distributed?
•Where? Who should get them and how?
•Where should you seek emergency medical care if you become sick?

During a declared biological emergency:

•If a family member becomes sick, it is important to be suspicious.
•Do not assume, however, that you should go to a hospital emergency room or that any illness is the result of the biological attack. Symptoms of many common illnesses may overlap.
•Use common sense, practice good hygiene and cleanliness to avoid spreading germs, and seek medical advice.
•Consider if you are in the group or area authorities believe to be in danger.
•If your symptoms match those described and you are in the group considered at risk, immediately seek emergency medical attention.

If you are potentially exposed:

•Follow instructions of doctors and other public health officials.
•If the disease is contagious expect to receive medical evaluation and treatment. You may be advised to stay away from others or even deliberately quarantined.
•For non-contagious diseases, expect to receive medical evaluation and treatment.

If you become aware of an unusual and suspicious substance nearby:

•Quickly get away.
•Protect yourself. Cover your mouth and nose with layers of fabric that can filter the air but still allow breathing. Examples include two to three layers of cotton such as a t-shirt, handkerchief or towel. Otherwise, several layers of tissue or paper towels may help.
•Wash with soap and water.
•Contact authorities.
•Watch TV, listen to the radio, or check the Internet for official news and information including what the signs and symptoms of the disease are, if medications or vaccinations are being distributed and where you should seek medical attention if you become sick.
•If you become sick seek emergency medical attention.

The above information is provided by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. 

These tips have been copied and posted here so that you can be aware of what the U.S. Department of Homeland Security recommends for us. It is important to know what to do in case of any emergency.

My first rule is remain calm and use common sense. Second, you must think about what needs to be done and act quickly. Don't drag your feet in an emergency, or getting ready for one.

Hesitation is not your friend in an emergency.

Above all else please remember that if you're not completely prepared, don't worry because all is not lost.

If you simply keep focused, keep your head together, adapt to the situation, improvise what you need, then yes, my friend, you will overcome.

May God Bless You And Yours! Be Ready! Be Safe!

Story by Tom Correa

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Doc Holliday -- The Legend

Dr. John Henry Holliday, DDS. 

That's what Doc's shingle should have read. He should have led the life of a Southern gentleman, a doctor, a man respected by all around him. Instead his life was completely the opposite.

John Henry Holliday was born in Griffin, Georgia in 1852. His mother was a Southern beauty. His father was a wealthy planter and a lawyer. During the Civil War, his father was a Confederate Major.

John Henry Holliday came from money. Old Southern money they used to call it. The legend goes that he was born and bred on a big plantation and his family had position and status in Southern Society. Subsequently, his education was very good and his course was more or less laid out for him.
He choose being a Doctor, a dentist, and in 1870 he began dental school. On March 1, 1872, he received a degree of Doctor of Dental Surgery from the Pennsylvania College of Dental Surgery in Philadelphia. Later that year he opened a dental office with Arthur C. Ford in Atlanta. He practiced until he discovered that he had TB, tuberculosis, what was called Consumption in those days.
Of course that sort of bad news was considered a death sentence in those days, that is unless you were one of the very few who actually lived into old age. Only in his early 20's, he was told by a number of doctors that he had only a few months to live. Knowing that must have been horrible to find out. After all, his mother died of TB when he had just turned 15 years old.

Doctors did tell him that he might gain a few months of life if he relocated to a dryer climate. That was the standard recommendation in those days, go to a dryer climate and see how it goes. And while that was said to have worked for some, I really believe it was still a coin toss as to whether it was going to help or not. Consumption was a death sentence and for a dentist who has to get close to a patient's face to work, and coughing into your patient's face, that would surely kill your business. So instead of staying in Atlanta, he followed his doctor's advice and headed West.
There was a question about a plot to blow up the Valdosta courthouse and his involvement in the plot, but that seems to be sketchy at best. His first stop is said to have been Dallas, Texas. Some say that was the end of the railroad at that time, but frankly I haven't checked that out. While in Texas, he again found a suitable office and hung out his shingle for business. While there, he pulled teeth, coughed a lot, pulled more teeth, coughed a lot, and slowly ran out of patients.

It was also there that he dealt cards, and started to hone his skills at playing poker. Of course drinking whiskey which helped sooth his coughing jags was his way of self-medicating. But then again, there really wasn't a whole lot of medications available for TB back in the day. And since he spent a lot of time with no patients, Doc Holliday had to find other means of earning money, so it became fairly evident that gambling and drinking whiskey was his way of making a living.

Some say that poker was his strong suit, and it quickly became his sole means of support. Of course, there were a number of different versions of poker, including draw poker as in five-card draw, stud poker as five-card stud and seven-card stud, Texas hold 'em which is considered community card poker, Three card poker, and even Four card poker, among others.

While Faro, which is actually a French game that has it's basis in Baccarat, was very popular in gambling halls and saloons in the Old West, poker was gaining in popularity. The problem that poker had at the time was its reputation for being a game that attracted criminal types, con artists, hustlers, sharps and others of questionable character. That was so much the case that some historians have concluded that legitimate poker game were hard to find because of the lawlessness connected to the game. 

In those days, gamblers in the West were considered shady characters. In order to keep games as honest as possible, players were known to be armed with both guns and knives. Many say a hidden knife was a weapon of last resort. Many gamblers carried them, and many were known to fondly refer to them as a their "Fifth Ace" if needed in a hurry. 

While poker had been around for years, poker actually began in New Orleans and the Louisiana territory before it became part of the United States. The city of New Orleans being a French colony, actually became part of the United States in 1803 when President Thomas Jefferson engineered the Louisiana Purchase from France because Napoleon was in need cash to fund his wars.

From New Orleans, shipping on the Mississippi River gave birth to merchant goods, travelers adn of course the introduction of poker to ports towns along the river. But the mid-1800s, just prior to the Civil War, poker and steamboat gamblers expanded a deck of playing cards from 20 to the 52 cards that we still use today. 

Because of the violence associated with poker, as I said before, gamblers had to protect themselves. Of course this also led to poker gaining a reputation of being a very violent game. It was a reputation that was well deserved since gamblers were very well known to pull a hideout gun or hidden knife without hesitation if they felt they were being cheated. Knowing that one had to be able to protect himself, Doc Holliday was known to carry a small Smith & Wesson pocket pistol very popular at the time along with a hidden knife. 

As a matter of a small observation here, the story of Doc Holliday always goes something to the effect that he was dangerous because he had a death wish as a result of having TB. for me, I have a hard time believing that theory because Doc Holliday was always well heeled. If he did supposedly have a death wish, why carrying a gun and a knife? If he really had a death wish and wanted someone else to kill him, why carry protection at all?   

Now here's more of the Doc Holliday myth. Supposedly on January 2nd, 1875, Doc and a local saloon keeper in Dallas get into a disagreement that became violent. Each man went for his pistol. Several shots were fired. But fortunately not one round struck its intended target. Supposedly, local citizens are said to have thought such a gunfight pretty funny. 

Of course the laughter stopped and folks had a completely different attitude a few days later. The story goes that Doc Holliday supposedly put two small caliber holes through a very prominent citizen which left the man very dead. And since local feelings ran high over the killing, Doc was forced to flee Dallas on a fast horse.

In reality, Doc Holliday was arrested in Dallas in January of 1875 after he and saloon keeper Charles Austin did take to shooting at each other. And while neither was hit, he moved his offices to Denison, Texas after being found guilty of gaming in Dallas. After he paid the fine, he left town.

His next stop was in Jacksboro over in Jacks County, Texas, where he actually found a job dealing faro. Jacksboro was a tough cowtown situated near a U.S. Army post. During the summer of 1876, Holliday was supposedly in a gunfight there. On that occasion, supposedly he killed a soldier from Fort Richardson. As this killing brought the Federal government into the investigation, Doc hit the trail again. Supposedly he headed North to Colorado.

This time though his back trail was cluttered with the Army, U.S. Marshals, Texas Rangers, and several local lawmen, who were all anxious to collect the reward offered for his scalp. Holliday supposedly knew that if he were captured by any one of them that his neck would be stretched with no questions asked. Please remember that this is the legend, the myth, of Doc Holliday.

Also remember, this is supposedly a man with Consumption and a death wish who doesn't really care if he gets shot or not. Either way, all bull or not, supposedly because of his fear of hanging, he heads straight for Colorado all of 800 miles away.

He is known to have stopped for short periods at Pueblo, Leadville, Georgetown, and Central City. During that time, legend says that he killed three more men before he reached the city of Denver. I can't find the names of anyone who he had supposedly killed.

Once in Denver, he went by the name of Tom Mackey for a while. That is until he supposedly got into an argument with Bud Ryan while dealing faro in Babbitts' House. During the fight Doc used that "Fifth Ace" to slash at Ryan's throat. Ryan, who was a well-known gambling tough guy, somehow survived. And though it's said that his face and neck were horribly mutilated, and although Ryan didn't die, Doc was forced to run again.
This time he drifted back to Texas to Fort Griffin. It was there that Doc met the only woman who was ever to come into his life. She was known as "Big Nose" Kate Elder. She was a dance hall girl and prostitute. Some say she was called "Big Nose" not because he was large or let's say prominent nose, but instead because she tended to be way too nosey and had a habit of getting into other people's business.

She was actually known to be fairly attractive women with a generous amount of curves in all the right places. She was tough to the point of being extremely violent. She was also stubborn, fearless, and hot-tempered almost to the point of being Doc's equal. After all, he was known for his volatile temper and stormy moods.

She worked at the business of being a prostitute because she liked it. She bragged about belonging to no man, and not working for a brothel. But don't think she was all about trying to do right, after all she plied her trade as an individual in the manner she chose. She was an independent contractor so to speak.

Doc met her while he was dealing cards in John Shanssey's Saloon. It was also at Shanssey's that he met another person who was to influence his life in a big way. It was there that he met Wyatt Earp.

Wyatt Earp rode in from Dodge City on the trail of Dave Rudabaugh who was wanted for train robbery. While Doc was helping Wyatt gain the information he needed, they became friends. Some say they were as opposite as two people can be, but maybe that's what made their friendship click.

All in all, it was an unlikely friendship where Wyatt was more even-tempered and controlled while Doc was more hot-headed and impulsive.

By this time Holliday had gained the reputation of being a cold-blooded killer. Many believed he liked to kill, and some say that the truth of the matter was that he was trying to get himself killed. As a man suffering from TB, it was said that he sought a remedy to his TB problem by constantly looking for a bullet and quick death.

There are those who believed that since Doc was already condemned to a slow painful lingering death, he subsequently had nothing what-so-ever to lose. 

I read somewhere that one writer believed that it was "natural for a person like Doc to be less concerned with his own safety." The writer went on to say that anyone who is in this frame of mind would be difficult to face in a fight, especially in a fight to the death.

There might be something to that, but for me, I'm sorry but I can't totally agree with it. I've known people in tight spots who have fought against overwhelming odds. They still fought. from everything I've read -- and yes, if half of it is true -- then one can assume that Doc was a fighter.

He was definitely safety minded. Heck, some say he carried two pistols and a knife. And friends, it wasn't carried for balance!

There was that situation with Ed Bailey that proves just how committed he was to stay with the living and not go the way of the alternative. That is if it did happen.

Bailey was a bully and thug from Fort Griffin who sat in on a poker game with Doc. It was apparent that Bailey was used to having his way with no questions asked, and yes, Doc's reputation made no impression upon him what-so-ever.

During the game, in an obvious attempt to aggravate Doc, Bailey kept picking up the discards and looking through them. This was strictly against the rules of Western Poker, and anyone who broke this rule forfeited the pot. Holliday warned Bailey twice.

Bailey thought he was tough and the badman ignored Doc. Then it happened, the next time Bailey picked up the discards Doc raked in the pot without showing his hand. Bailey brought a six-shooter from under the table, but Doc was faster with that Fifth Ace.

Before the local bully could pull the trigger, Doc completely disemboweled him with one slash. Spilling blood everywhere. Bailey sprawled over the table and died almost instantly.

Since he felt that he was obviously in the right Doc stuck around and allowed the marshal to arrest him. That turned out to be a mistake because once Doc had been disarmed, Bailey's friends and the town vigilantes began a clamor for his blood.

"Big Nose" Kate knew that Doc was a goner unless someone did something and quick. Likely as not the local lawmen would turn the frail gunman over to the mob for a necktie party.

So Kate went into action by setting fire to an old barn. It burned so rapidly that the flames threatened to engulf the whole town. Everyone went to fight the fire with the exception of three people, Kate, Doc and the town Marshal who guarded him.

As soon as the Marshal and his prisoner were left alone Kate stepped in and confronted the lawman. A rock steady six-gun pointed at the Marshal, and Kate meant business. Then disarming the surprised lawman, Kate passed Doc a pistol and the pair of them lit out into the night.

They headed east for Dodge City, 400 miles away, on what they called "borrowed" horses.

Well, I guess if you're going to cheat the hangman - than it may as well be for a list! And stealing horses was a hanging offense in the Old West akin to murdering someone.

Once in Dodge City, Kansas, the couple registered at Deacon Cox's boarding house in Dodge City as Dr. and Mrs. John H. Holliday. Doc felt that he owed Kate a great deal for rescuing him from a hanging tree in Fort Griffin and was determined to do everything within his power to make her happy. He gave up gambling and hung out his shingle again. All of Doc's good intentions were totally unappreciated and did not endure for long.

Kate stood the quietness and boredom of respectable living as long as she could. Then she told Doc that she was going back to the bright lights and excitement of the dance halls and gambling dens. Consequently the two split up as they were destined to do many times during the remainder of Doc's life.

By September, Doc was dealing faro in the Long Branch Saloon. A number of Texas cowboys had just arrived in Dodge City with a herd of cattle. After many weeks on the trail they were a pretty wild bunch ready to "tree" Dodge.

Word was brought into the Long Branch that several of the trail drivers had Wyatt Earp cornered and had bragged that they would shoot him down. Doc leaped through the doors a six-gun in each hand. When he arrived two cowboys, Morrison and Driscoll, were holding cocked revolvers on Wyatt, goading him to draw before they shot him down.

About 20 of their friends also stood nearby taunting and insulting the enraged but hapless Wyatt. "Up with them, you !@#$%^&* "Doc roared, loosing a volume of profanity.

As the self-styled badmen turned to face Doc, Wyatt rapped Morrison over the head with his long barrel colt. Then he set about relieving the other cowboys of their guns.

Unnoticed by the others, one cowboy drew his gun and lined it up on Wyatt's back. Just as that no good back shooter fired, Doc pulled off a round at the same time. 

The cowboy missed, but Doc didn't and the cowboy lay dead for his back shooting ways. Wyatt Earp never forgot the fact that Doc Holliday saved his life twice that night in Dodge City.

The Dodge City newspapers did not report any such incident, and there is no record of any large number of cowboys being arrested at one time.

More likely, Wyatt was arresting three cowboys when one of them was trying to pull a "hide-away gun" on Wyatt. Doc most likely jumped up from a nearby poker table and made the gunman re-evaluate the situation. Either way, if it happened one way or the other, Wyatt always said that Holliday had saved his life that day.

Kate and Doc soon had another of their frequent quarrels and Doc in a furious mood saddled up and went to Trinidad, Colorado. Shortly after he arrived in town a young gambler, "Kid" Cotton, wishing to make a reputation called Doc out.

Doc's fired twice and Cotton went down in the street. Not wishing to stick around and repeat his earlier mistake, Doc found his horse and rode into New Mexico as fast as he could.

In the summer of 1879, he tried his hand as a dentist again for the last time. It was in Las Vegas, New Mexico. It was there that he was thought to have robbed a stage, but it was never proven.

It was 1879, his attempt at dentistry ended in a short time when instead of dentistry Doc bought a saloon on Center Street. Then a few week later, a former Army Scout named Mike Gordon tried to persuade one of Holliday's saloon girls to quit her job and run away with him. When she refused, Gordon became infuriated. He went out to the street and began to fire bullets randomly into the saloon. He didn't have a chance to do much damage because after the second shot, it's said that Holliday calmly stepped out of the saloon and dropped Gordon with a single bullet. Gordon was belly shot and died the next day.

Supposedly a mob quickly gathered and talk of hanging Doc was their main concern. Since he had to move on again, Doc knew the one place that he would be safe was in Dodge City. After all, Wyatt Earp was there and he was his friend.

But to Doc's surprise when he rode back into town he found that Wyatt had gone to a new silver strike in a place called Tombstone in Arizona There was nothing to hold him in Dodge City, so Doc also started West to the new silver boom town. On the way there, Doc stopped in Prescott and met up with Wyatt's brother Virgil who was leery of Doc at their first meeting.

Tombstone was a booming place where money was flowing like nobody's business and everything connected with the silver streak was getting rich.

By the end of 1879, Tombstone had about one hundred permanent residents plus at least one thousand others camped on nearby hills. A year and a half later, Tombstone was emerging as one of the largest cities in the West.

People whooped it up at Tombstone but their noise was nothing compared to the ruckus they created at nearby Charleston or far across the valley at Galeyville. While it is true that badmen flocked to Tombstone's saloons and gambling houses, it is often overlooked that Tombstone was probably the most cultivated city in the West and Southwest.

Believe it or not, one report says that at that time, Tombstone was almost as large as San Francisco. Tombstone can brag that whatever cultural opportunities were in the West, they could be found in Tombstone. With a population of 15,000 there at the time, the town build an opera house where the best of the world's musicians and actors were heard.

So yes, the Earps were all coming to Tombstone. Morgan was coming in from Montana, and Virgil who was already in Prescott working as a lawman and he met Doc Holliday there.

Virgil left for Tombstone without Doc who was having a fantastic run of luck at poker. Big Nose Kate, also enroute to Tombstone, caught up with Doc while he was still at the poker table. The two of them reached Tombstone early in 1880, some say Doc had over $40,000 of the Prescott gamblers' money in his pockets.

The outlaw gang, known as The Cowboys, in Tombstone had had things their way for quite sometime and they resented the arrival of the Earps. For one reason, the Earps had a reputation of being hard men and for taking no nonsense from the likes of them.

"Old Man" Clanton and his sons, Ike, Phin, and Billy, along with Frank and Tom McLaury, lost no time in letting the Earps know of their displeasure with having them there. Doc was quite famous as a gunman himself when he reached Tombstone.

I read where one Old West Historian had claimed that he had found "authentic records that showed that Doc Holiday had killed 30 men in all." That in itself is hard to believe, but then again I'm no Historian.

If I were to wager if he did all of these things, I really wouldn't bet on it. Many times in the Old West, individuals built their reputations up just soon people would think that they are a bigger threat than they really are.

Did Doc Holliday kill all of these men? Well, it is interesting to note that many of these supposed gunfights and killings are undocumented and subsequently believed to be only legend.

The biggest problem that Old West Historians have when it comes to Doc Holliday is that many of these supposed incidents are completely ficticious. Some folks don't realize it, but in the Old West like in many towns across the country people kept records about almost everything.

There are diaries, and yes many towns had newspaper accounts of just about everything including who came and went. And no, the people listed in those local newspapers didn't have to be famous or infamous to get a mention.

And there's the problem for those folks trying to verify incidents attributed to Doc Holliday, there are no newspaper accounts or court records that make any mention of most of these incidents. Nothing mentions him by name, except in the case of his involvement in the shootout at the OK Corral.

Fact is that Doc aligned himself with the Earp brothers and their fight with the Cowboy faction mostly out of a friendship with Wyatt. Although, he and Morgan were also known to have grown close. And yes, the significance of his relationship with the Earps was not lost on the Clantons.

After getting settled in Tombstone, Doc and "Big Nose" Kate took up where they had left off before. Doc of course was still drinking and gambling, and yes Kate went back to hanging out her shingle as a "Soiled Dove" which was another name for prostitute in those days.

Again their arguments were frequent and fiery, but fact is that they were not usually serious until Kate got drunk and abusive. At one point while in Tombstone, Doc decided that enough was enough and actually threw Kate out.

To exact her revenge on Doc, she went to the County Sheriff who was John Behan with a tale of how Doc robbed the Benson stage on March 15, 1881. Behan was a known associate with the Clantons and was the man who double crossed Wyatt when Wyatt ran against him for the position of County Sheriff.

As for the holdup of the Benson stage, supposedly four masked men attempted a holdup the Benson stage and in the process they had killed Bud Philpot, the stage driver, and Pete Roerig who was a passenger.

The cowboy faction immediately seized upon the opportunity and accused Doc Holliday of being one of the holdup men. County Sheriff John Behan and Deputy Stilwell found Kate on one of her drunken binges.

John Behan kept filling her with whiskey, while persuading her to sign a sworn affidavit that said that Doc Holliday had been one of the masked highwaymen responsible for the killings.

They had her swear that he was the killer who actually pulled the trigger and shot Bud Philpot and Pete Roerig dead.And yes, she was angry and drunk enough to swear to anything right about then.

Virgil Earp was town Marshal and a Deputy U.S. Marshal for the region by then, so he arrested Kate and jailed her. Then while she was sobering up in jail, Virgil began to round up witnesses who could verify where Doc was on the night of the holdup.He needed alibis.

If the truth be known, I believe that Virgil Earp was the real lawman in the Earp family. Virgil spent a lifetime doing the job during a tough and demanding era. By the time of the Benson stage holdup and killings, Virgil had already had multiple dealings with the outlaw faction known as the cowboys.

When Kate realized what she had done, she regretted her actions and repudiated her statements. Since witnesses and Kate's new stand exposed Behan's frame-up, Doc was released. But to say Doc was happy with Kate would have an understatement. Doc is said to have given Kate $1,000 and even tried to put her on a stage leaving town, but she won't go.

A short time later, Newman Haynes "Old Man" Clanton was ambushed and murdered in what would be called the Guadalupe Canyon Massacre. Some say they were shot dead right out of their saddles with only Harry Earnshaw escaping to tell the tale to the rest of the Cowboy faction. Others claim that the Mexican Rurales killed them while they slept.

Either way, most believe that the ambush was a retaliation shooting by Mexican pistoleros in reprisal for the Skeleton Canyon Massacre when a group of Mexican Rurales were ambushed and slaughtered by the Cowboys.

"Old Man" Clanton’s son Ike believed the killings of his father and four others was an Earp plot bent on clearing the Territory of the Clantons. They saw this as a war.

On September 8, 1881, the Bisbee stage was robbed and two of Ike Clanton's cowboy friends were arrested by Marshal Virgil Earp for the holdup. The Clantons believed the Earps were illegally persecuting the Cowboys and made repeated threats against the Earp brothers.

On October 25, Tom McLaury and Ike Clanton came to Tombstone to sell beef stock to a local butcher. Later that evening, Ike and Doc Holliday almost came to blows before Morgan Earp intervened. Ike Clanton threatened the Earps again. In the drunken argument, Ike told Doc that he and the Earps had better get ready for a fight.

On the morning of the 26th, Virgil "buffaloed" Ike which meant he pistol whipped him to disarmed him after finding Ike illegally carrying a revolver. Wyatt then buffaloed Tom McLaury for the same reason shortly afterward.

Later that afternoon, a few alarmed citizens spotted Billy Clanton, Tom McLaury and Frank McLaury armed in public near Fremont Street completely in violation of city ordinance against wearing guns in town.

Both County Sheriff Johnny Behan, and shortly afterward Marshal Virgil Earp, demanded they give up their weapons, as required by a city ordinance, they refused. Supposed they instead threatened Virgil, Wyatt, Morgan, as well as Doc if they didn't get out of Tombstone.

That afternoon Virgil Earp deputized both Wyatt and Doc Holliday.  The Clanton's and McLaurys were at a vacant lot near the O.K. Corral

Five men, all known outlaws and killers, waited for the Earps. I believe they were a little surprised to see Doc there as well.

Virgil, Morgan, Wyatt Earp and Doc walked up to disarm them. That didn't happen, instead in a small vacant lot about 18 feet from each other all Hell broke loose.

Some say it was Billy Clanton who fired first, some say it was Doc Holliday.  But at that point, it just didn't matter.

Wyatt allowed Ike Clanton to run from the fight scene, but Doc was more cold-blooded. He threw two shots at Ike, as he fled, missing him narrowly. A bullet from Frank McLaury cut into Doc's pistol scabbard and burned a crease across his hip. Doc's return shot smashed into Frank McLaury's brain after a first shot went into Frank's gut.

Thirty seconds after it started, it stopped. Three men lay dead and three were wounded. Only Wyatt went completely untouched that day. Doc, Virgil, and Morgan were all wounded. And yes, one of the witnesses to the shootout was Big Nose Kate.

During the time of the Earp-Clanton feud, Doc Holliday was in the forefront of everything that was taking place. Later when Wyatt set out to avenge the murder of their brother Morgan, Doc helped him kill Frank Stilwell at Tucson and Florentino "Indian Charley" Cruz at Tombstone two days later.

When everything was done, Doc and Wyatt quit Arizona and rode into Colorado. There they parted ways.

Doc was in his final shooting scrape in Leadville, Colorado, on 19 August 1884. Bartender Bill Allen threatened to beat him up if he didn't pay back five dollars he owed him. Doc supposedly put a bullet into Allen's arm for his trouble.

Arizona tried for years to extradite Wyatt and Doc for the murders of Frank Stilwell and Indian Charlie, but supposedly the Colorado governor would not agree to the extradition. Strangely enough, Doc didn't kill either of them. In reality, Wyatt killed both for killing Morgan.

His health grew worse and finally went to the sulfur springs at Glenwood Springs in May 1887.  Weak and incoherent most of the time, Doc spent his last days in bed delirious most of the time.

Legend says that on November 8, 1887,  Doc woke clear-eyed and asked for a glass of whiskey.  Then supposedly the whiskey was provided to him and he drank it slowly. Then he is supposedly to have said, "This is funny," before closing his eyes and dieing.

Doc Holliday had come West to die an early death, but didn't. He was only given months to live, but didn't.  Instead, knowing that his days were numbered, he steadfastly maintained that he would not die in bed coughing his guts out like his mother. I believe that that was what he feared.

Some say his intentions were to get killed by a fast gun, a shootist wanting another notch on his pistol, a gunman that wanted to be known as the man who killed Doc Holliday.

But I don't know if that's the truth about him, to me, he doesn't sound like a man looking for an executioner. To me, Doc Holliday has never did sound like a man wanting to die by any means - that is, other than that of his own choosing.

I have a hard time accepting that he wanted to be killed. Why, well because he had so many opportunities to allow that to happen and didn't. Bailey, Kid Colton, Mike Gordon, and so on and so on all could have given him what some say he wanted if he were indeed a man with a death wish as most have said. Fact is that he simply never let it happen.

Supposedly he was frequently heard as saying that his end would come from lead poisoning, at the end of a rope, a knife in his ribs, or that he might drink himself to death. Some say he was on borrowed time and that that was why he found it "funny" when he died peacefully in bed.

For me, I've always felt that we're all on borrowed time to one extent or another. Doc Holliday sounds like a man who played the hand that he was dealt - no different than all of us. 

He sounds like a man who consistently outran the hangman, the lynch mob, the vigilantes, the law, and yes, he fought like the devil to stay alive during situations where a man with a real death wish could have been easily obliged.

I think he postponed that bed in Colorado for as long as he could, and when he finally came to the end of his string - he laughed knowing that he went out on his own terms living longer than anyone would have thought.

I don't believe he found it "funny". I believe he found it "incredible." Here he was given just a few months to live, but instead lived more in his short time than many do living three score as long. I'm willing to bet that Doc never thought that he would die with his boots off, but he did! 

I find it interesting that an ornate tombstone marks his grave, but that Doc is not under it. Imagine that!

Supposedly the story goes that on the day of his burial, there was a horrible storm and torrential rains made it impossible to get the hearse up the road to the hillside cemetery. So being that they could only go to where they were stopped, they buried him there nearby.

The fact that no one knows where Doc Holliday's really buried in that cemetery is pretty "funny" isn't it. To me, it's as if it were the last joke that Doc played on the world. 

And yes, that's just the way I see it.

Tom Correa

Are You Ready For Jay Leno's Questions?

During Jay Leno's show the other night, he had a segment where he went out "on the street" to quiz a few "average" Americans about American History.

Now I don't know if it's just Los Angeles, or if it's everywhere, but it seems that every time Leno does this he finds some of the most uninformed people in the country.

And honestly, most of the time these people are asked some really easy questions.

It's not as if he were asking trick questions, or questions that only ardent Historians would know. We're talking basic American History!

So to help those folks in Los Angeles, and especially in Hollywood, who may be stopped by Jay Leno. I decided that these folks might need a short lesson in American History that they might be asked about.

First things first, the document that says “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” is the Declaration of Independence.

The man who's name is most prominent on the Declaration of Independence is John Hancock. According to legend, John Hancock signed his name large and clear "so that King George could read it without his spectacles."

Jay Leno has a habit of stumping people on simple questions. So remember, yes, it was John F. Kennedy who said those immortal words during his inauguration "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country!"

And yes, Historians agree that Sarah Palin was right in that Paul Revere did indeed warn the British not to tangle with the heavily armed Minutemen when he made his famous ride warning that the British Army was coming.

Sorry that the Liberal Media wants to paint everything out of Sarah Palin as wrong, but the fact is that she was correct.

Fact is that later "Revere was captured and questioned by the British soldiers at gunpoint. He told them of the Army's movement from Boston, and that British army troops would be in some danger if they approached Lexington because of the large number of hostile militia gathered there.

Revere and other captives taken by the British patrol were still escorted east toward Lexington, until about a half mile from Lexington they heard a gunshot. The British major demanded Revere explain the gunfire, and Revere replied it was a signal to “alarm the country”. As the group drew closer to Lexington, the town bell began to clang rapidly, upon which one of the captives proclaimed to the British soldiers “The bell's a'ringing! The town's alarmed, and you're all dead men!” The British soldiers gathered and decided not to press further towards Lexington but instead to free the prisoners and head back to warn their commanders. The British confiscated Revere's horse and rode off to warn the approaching British army column." (per Wikipedia).

I can't help but wonder how many people know that Sarah Palin was correct?

But it doesn't mater because I'm sure Jay Leno would never ask such question about Paul Revere, or would he?

Just in case, here's more so that you'll be really ready.

The Great Chicago Fire started at about 9 p.m. on Sunday, October 8, 1871, in or around a small barn that bordered the alley behind 137 DeKoven Street. Because most, if not all the buildings were made of wood, the great fire wiped out Chicago. The traditional account of the origin of the fire is that it was started by a cow kicking over a lantern in the barn owned by Patrick and Catherine O'Leary. 

Though the fire did start in O'Leary's Barn, later in 1893, Michael Ahern who was a reporter for the Chicago Republican newspaper admitted to creating the cow story. Even back then, you couldn't trust the News Media. He said he made it up because he thought it would make a better story.

It was President Abe Lincoln who proclaimed the first national Thanksgiving Day in 1863. Tough luck for turkeys!

The first Minimum Wage Law in the U.S. was instituted in 1938. The minimum wage was 25 cents per hour. Imagine that for a moment.

Yellowstone Nation Park is the world's first national park. It was dedicated in 1872. And yes, that's where the famous geyser "Old Faithful" is located just in case Jay does ask.

In 1865, several veterans of the Confederate Army formed a "private social club" in Pulaski, Tennessee, called the Ku Klux Klan. Can you imagine that they actually has the cojones to call it a "Social Club"?

The first losing candidate in a U.S. presidential election was Thomas Jefferson. He lost to John Adams.

George Washington had been unopposed when he ran for office. I mean come on here, who in his right mind would've run against George Washington?

Martha Washington, Pocahontas, Sacajawea, and Susan B. Anthony are the only 4 women to have been represented on U.S. currency.

The White House, in Washington DC, was originally gray, the color of the sandstone it was built out of. After the War of 1812, during which it had been burned by British troops, the outside walls were painted white to hide the smoke stains. Now you know the reason why it's white.  

The first U.S. Marines wore high leather collars to protect their necks from sabres, hence the name "leathernecks." I know you were curious about it!

The very first bomb dropped by the Allies on Berlin during World War II actually killed the only elephant in the Berlin Zoo. No kidding, it's true! Not exactly shock and awe was it? Unless of course you were that elephant.

And in case Jay decides to ask, yes, during the Civil War the Union ironclad, the U.S.S. Monitor, was the first U.S. ship to have a flush toilet.

Lastly, yes, Colonel George Armstrong Custer died at the Battle of the Little Big Horn. But it's true that no one can confirm that Custer's last words were "Where the Hell did all of these Indians come from?!"

Imagine that!

Story by Tom Correa

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

I miss Country Western Music!

Jim Reeves
I really do! I miss Country Western Music!

I really miss being able to hear great songs that weren't hard to sing along with. I miss music that's not blaring and as no melody and beat. I miss the days when bands knew how to drop their sound back and let the vocalist sing his or her heart out.

That's what I really miss? I miss great vocals with silky voices as smooth as a good whiskey. I miss so-so vocals on catchy tones that stuck in my head and couldn't shake them. I miss the words as well as the music!

The test of this modern music is how long it will live, and I don't see it around to pass the test of time.

In contrast Big Band leader Glenn Miller died more than 65 years ago, his sound brought an entire generation through World War II, and yes friends he's still being played today.

Bob Wills
Bob Wills, was an American Western Swing musician, songwriter and a band leader, who is considered the father of Western swing. Bob Wills name will forever be associated with Western Swing. His work lives on and people enjoy it.

There are Country Western voices like Jim Reeves, Elvis Presley, Marty Robbins, Bo Gibson, Eddy Arnold, Frankie Lane, Don Williams, Charley Pride, Ed Bruce, Tom T. Hall, and that of Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, Anne Murray, Emmylou Harris, and groups like the The Statler Brothers who live on.

People bought their music because they could sing and it was wonderful music. It sure wasn't for the theatrics of in your face booming noise and pyrotechnics at their concerts. It was for the words!

Yes, I miss great Western vocals. I miss the words that used to come with great stories and poetry.

Lyrics that made you feel good inside and you enjoyed it. Above all else, I miss vocals that were sung and not screamed. I miss songs that were not overpowered by instrumentals, electric bass guitars, drums, and the rise of synthesizers that void the lyrics.

Yes, Jim Reeves! He had a voice. He sang. And yes, he didn't scream out a song!

I hate screaming being passed off as music. I hate, absolutely hate, the whole idea that some idiot with a loud obnoxious band can be called Musicians.

I have a sister that can't hold a note or play a single musical instrument. She has been like that all her life, but that does not stop her from trying to sing at Christmas. God Bless her for trying, but the fact is that she can't sing.

I remember when she was a child and she used to rap her bowl on her high chair. Trust me when I say that that she wasn't a musician by any stretch of the imagination. It wasn't music that she was making, it was just noise.

It makes me wonder how many of today's so-called "musician" really believe they have talent when all they are doing is making noise. Noise, white noise, loud noise, bad horrible noise. Heck, I can't help but wonder these days if some of these bands hire their so-called musicians just for their ability to help the band drown out a lousy vocalist who like my sister can't really carry a tone but yet earnestly trys because she thinks she can.

There was once upon a time when music had heart and voices that lifted your spirit and made you want to sing. There was a time when music didn't forcefully throw away the words, and yes you would actually be able to hear what was being said.

There were beautiful stories, there was poetry, there was emotion that made you feel something deep inside you and stirred memories and fascination, pride and wonder. Maybe the song touched you to the point of you shedding a tear? Maybe you felt a smile sweep across your face? Maybe it was a good feeling and it touched some cord in you that wanted to join in the song?

There was a time when a handful of singers came forth because they could sing and they had voices that people wanted to listen to. The music wasn't designed to disguise a singers lack of talent or disappointing range, it was there to proudly present the singer and showcase their abilities.

It was singing and not screaming, and please don't mistake screaming for singing, I've known screamers who thought they had talent and screamed thinking they're singing. Trust me when I say that they weren't.

Janis Joplin trying to get through "Piece of my heart" was a first class offender of this. Heck, maybe she was the start of the whole let's scream through songs style of preforming.  

There was a time when songs had words and they meant something. Most were written as sort of poetry for singers who had voices that made you want to turn up the radio and listen to their emotion pouring through the radio.

Emotion? Yes, there was emotion. Love and heartache, loneliness and yearning, pride and admiration, a great message.

So where did it go? What happened to wonderful voices like that of Shelly West and Kathy Mattea? Heck, what has happened to Country Western Music?

Well, first they took the Western out of it along with the steel guitar. And lately, as though getting rid of the Western part of the genre wasn't bad enough, now they the Nashville Country Music executives want to take the Country out of it as well.

I remember going to a Hank Williams Jr. concert back about 12 years or so ago. During his show which was mostly Heavy Metal, he went into an almost 15 minute electric guitar riff solo.

First off I couldn't believe it. Then I couldn't believe my eyes as I sat there and watched people get up and leave. Yes, it was that bad.

It was interesting that he didn't cut it short when more than half of the audience walked out. It was a horrible show. I thought he stunk!

Lately I find that Brad Paisley seems to prefer throwing in those long guitar riff solos into his music. When I'm listening to one of his songs on the radio and hear him going into a riff, I change the Station to something else.

I honestly hope that he has better luck keeping an audience. I know that I won't go to listen to a guitar riff.  I think long drawn out riffs have a way of destroying a song.

Thanks God that we've had a few great hold outs in the County Music world. Thank God for wonderful singers from the old school when Western music meant singing.

Thank God for George Strait, Alan Jackson, and Reba McEntire, who haven't hid their wonderfully gifted voices behind blaring synthesizers.

George Strait's Cross My Heart demonstrates that Country Music can be enjoyable and touching and last the test of time.

And by the way, there is hope! Yes there is. There are some relatively new singers like Easton Corbin and Josh Turner, and yes a few others, who are fighting an uphill battle against Nashville.

Nashville where Country Music executives want to turn all of today's Country Music into just more horribly noisy Southern Rock.

Yes, there are a few out there who still sing and can be sung with. And yes, I support their efforts to bring back the steel guitar, the fiddle, and sing in a way that they can be heard.

To me, most of today's Country Music is just loud obnoxious Rock and Roll. It is mostly nothing but noise and headache material. Most of it seems to be meant as what is called "Cross Over" music trying to appeal to the kids who like loud in your face noise.

It seems that Country Music is now for Head Bangers, Metal Heads, Heavy Metal Dropouts and Old Hippies, all who seem to believe that loud senseless noise is considered music.

They say, "Play I Loud!"

I say, "Turn It Off!"

Story by Tom Correa

Monday, June 20, 2011

Factual and Attributable to Barrack Obama 2011

Every once in a while I'll get an e-mail that I need to forward. Mostly it's because it got me thinking about it's subject in one way or another. This is one of those e-mails.

If any other of our presidents, say Ronald Reagan or say George W. Bush, had doubled America's National Debt in just one year, that's twice the amount as has ever been accumulated in over two hundred years of our existence as a Nation, would you have approved?

If any other of our presidents had then proposed to Double the debt again within the next 10 years, would you have approved?

If any other of our presidents had criticized a State Law that he openly admitted that he never even read, would you think that he's just an ignorant hot head who really doesn't know what he's talking about?

If any other of our presidents joined in with a Foreign Country and sued one of our 50 States, would you give him a pass and say "So what!"

If any other president sued any State to continue to allow Illegal Aliens into that State, would you question his who's side he was on?

If any other of our presidents had pronounced the Marine Corps as if it were the Marine "Corpse" would you think him an idiot?

If any other of our presidents had put 87,000 American workers out of work by arbitrarily placing a moratorium on offshore oil drilling on companies that have one of the best safety records of any industry because one foreign company had an accident, would you have agreed?

If any other of our presidents had used a forged document as the basis of the moratorium that would render 87000 American workers unemployed, would you support him?

If any other of our presidents had been the first President to need a teleprompter just to be able to talk to Americans, and especially to be able to get through a press conference, would you have laughed and said this is more proof of how inept he is on his own?

If any other president had needed a device of some sort to aid him when he's speaking to the American people, would that have made you think that he's not very bright or that maybe someone else has to give him answers to questions being asked? Would you wonder who's really in control behind the scenes?

If any other of our presidents had spent hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars to take his First Lady to Dinner and Play in New York City, would you have approved?

If any other of our presidents had to increase his First Lady's personal taxpayer funded budget so that she can spend enormous amounts of taxpayer dollars on extravagance like her $375,000 Taxpayer Paid Vacation in Spain that included renting over 60 rooms at a Five Star hotel for 40 of her friends, would that have been OK with you especially in a time when millions of Americans are out of work? Would it surprise you that she has been dubbed by the press as “Michelle Antoinette”?

If any other of our presidents had reduced your retirement plan holdings of GM stock by 90% while at the same time paying back his Union supporters by giving the Unions a majority stake in GM, would you have approved?

If any other of our presidents had made a joke about the Special Olympics kids, would you have approved?

If any other of our presidents had given British Prime Minister Gordon Brown a set of inexpensive and incorrectly formatted DVDs right after that same British Head-Of-State had given our president a thoughtful and historically significant gift, would you have approved or thought it classless and conceited?

If any other of our presidents had given the Queen of England an IPod containing videos of his own speeches, would you have thought it to be a proud moment for America ?

If any other of our presidents had bowed to the King of Saudi Arabia, would you have approved?

If any other of our presidents had visited Austria and made reference to the non-existent "Austrian language," would you have brushed it off as a minor slip or would you wonder how smart he is?

If any other of our presidents had filled his Cabinet and circle of Advisers with people who cannot keep their own Income Taxes paid, would you have approved? What if it were Bush who had done that, and say it was Donald Rumsfeld who hadn't been paying his Taxes, would you have given him a pass?

If any other of our presidents had stated that there were "57 States" in the United States, and obviously not know how many stars are on the American Flag, wouldn't you have had second thoughts about his mental capabilities? Would you wonder if he's smarter than a 1st grader?

If any other of our presidents would have flown all the way to Denmark to make a five minute speech about how bringing the Olympic Games to Chicago would personally benefit him because it would mean he would be able to walk out his front door in his home town and see it, would you not have thought he was a self-absorbed, self-important, conceited, egotistical jerk?

If any other of our presidents had been so Spanish illiterate as to refer to "Cinco de Cuatro" in front of the Mexican ambassador when it was Cinco de Mayo "The 5th of May," and then continue to flub it when he tried again, wouldn't you have winced in embarrassment or just laughed at him like everyone else did?

If any other of our presidents had on Earth Day, would you have concluded that maybe he's just a Political Hypocrite?

If any other of our presidents' Administrations had OK'd Air Force One to fly low over millions of people in downtown Manhattan and then be followed by an Air Force jet fighter causing widespread panic, would you have wondered whether that president's Administration actually understands the significance of what happened to those same people on 9-11?

If any other of our presidents had failed to send relief aid to flood victims throughout the Midwest, with more people killed or made homeless than in New Orleans during Katrina, would you want it made into a major ongoing Political issue with claims of racism and incompetence like what was done during Katrina?

If any other of our presidents had created the positions of 32 taxpayer paid Czars who report directly to him, would you have approved? Czars that have not been examined at least in the same way that Cabinet Members are examined through confirmation hearing in Congress, would that be OK with you?

If any other of our presidents had ordered the firing of the CEO of a major corporation, even though he had No Constitutional Authority to do so, would you have approved?

So, tell me again, what is it about Barrack Obama that makes him so brilliant and impressive? Can't think of anything? Maybe it was the picture of him drinking a pint of stout in an Irish Pub in Ireland right after Joplin, Missouri, was hit recently by devastation and loss of life?

Maybe it is his Justice Department, and his personally appointed Attorney General and Homeland Security Chief, all of who allowed almost 3,000 assault weapons to be given to Mexican Cartel murderers right across the U.S.-Mexico Border? Recently, yes, recently. If it were any other president, would it matter to you?

It should matter to you. And if you aren't worried about it, well you should be because he's done all these things in the short time that he has been in office as president.

If you can't think of anything that impresses you about Obama, you're not alone. But remember that there are people who don't care about Obama's feelings of "illusory superiority".

He has supporters who believe that none of this matters, and they want to re-elect him. 

-- end of email.

Think about this, and ask yourself if you really think our country can handle re-electing him for one more term? Every statement and action in this email is true, they factual and correctly attributable to Barrack Hussein Obama.

Every bumble is a matter of record and completely verifiable. Ask yourself if he should stay in the White House? Doing nothing to get him out of office is just as good as voting for him.

Remember, "All it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing."

And yes, that's the way I see it.
Tom Correa