Better And Better

If you don't draw yours, I won't draw mine. A police officer, working in the small town that he lives in, focusing on family and shooting and coffee, and occasionally putting some people in jail.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Random Wednesday thoughts.

--I went to visit a friend in Waxahachie (by-Gawd) Texas the last couple of days. We wondered around the Ellis Courthouse on the square. That's a beautiful courthouse, and I'm picky. Every time that I go to a Texas county that I've never visited before, I try to get a size-up of their courthouse. There are 254 Texas counties (many of which are ~30 miles square, but not all), and most of them have a courthouse, many of which are over 100 years old and still in service. Some have retired their old courthouses but still keep them for other uses. Some counties share their judicial district with another local county, and thus use their that county's courthouse.
I enjoyed the detail of the stonework over the porticos at the entrances:

I also dug the turrets:

Forgive my poor photography. I was using a crappy not-Smart phone at dusk.

--I'm still liking Sallie Ford And Sound Outside. They've got a rough retro sound that I enjoy.

--I went to a pub last night to get a (wife-approved*) pint with an old friend from high school. I enjoyed our chat. She's extremely liberal. I'm a bit right of center. We disagreed about gun control. We're still really good friends. It's not all about politics, friends.

--Pubs are nice places to get a drink and chat. I've hardly ever done that. However, at 9:00PM, the place basically turned into a club, and the music went all doosh-doosh-doosh-dooshdooshdoosh, doosh-doosh-doosh, making us old people find it hard to hear each other. These kids, with their techno music, these days. . .

--This past weekend, I borrowed a flatbed trailer and picked up 3 cubic yards of enriched compost  humus dirt. They said that it was about 1900 lbs when I picked it up.
 I had mediocre tarps, and the wind kicked up, to 50 mph gusts, which meant that I probably lost almost a half a yard. But given the sheets of rain that fell on it over the next couple of days, I'll bet that we shoveled 3000 pounds of the stuff into our raised beds. My wife had gotten out the nail gun and thrown together some 8'X4' beds with doubled 2"X6"s, and lined the sides with black plastic. We put down layers of newspaper under the beds, and shoveled in the compost dirt, mixed with cow manure, vermiculite, and peat moss. While it's organic, it's also basically not much like any soil found in nature. We should be able to grow some stuff in this. It was a dirty job that even my nine-year-old got into.

--We filled Mom's raised bed frame and her front yard flower beds with the stuff, too.

--After all that rain, there seem to be some ruts in my yard from where I backed the trailer onto the soft dirt, and then back out. At least I didn't get the van stuck. This time. I need a yard roller.

--I go in tonight to see how I did on my Homeland Security test in grad school. I'm not enthusiastic. Then again, I'm not really enthusiastic about the state of our nation's homeland security, either.

--I had my daughters do without TV or computer for two days. Given the results, I think I'm going to do this some more.

--My chickens are back to laying about an egg a day. Two of them are laying eggs the size of duck eggs.

--I got to take the weekend off from fire training. It was the first weekend off this year. It was very nice to have the weekend off from training, because I worked at my paying job all weekend. This stuff makes you tired, when you don't get any sleep on top of it.

*You think that "wife approved" part is silly? Not me. I'm in this thing for the long haul, friends.

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At Wednesday, March 14, 2012 5:01:00 PM, Blogger David Neylon said...

Some guys seem to confuse wife approved with having to ask permission. Not the same thing at all. :)

At Wednesday, March 14, 2012 6:22:00 PM, Blogger Old NFO said...

Hang in there Matt, time off is coming! And keeping the wife happy IS a requirement! :-)

At Thursday, March 15, 2012 4:38:00 PM, Blogger pax said...

There is a difference between permission and approval. People who forget that difference -- in either direction! -- tend to have unhappy marriages.

At Friday, March 16, 2012 12:02:00 PM, Blogger JR said...

Do you know the story about the faces on the Waxahachie courthouse? From

The courthouse is an imposing edifice, nine stories tall, including the clock tower, swallowing up most of the town square. The ornate sandstone carvings are along the top of a series of granite columns that frame entrances on all sides of the building.

In 1894, stone mason Harry Herley was brought to Waxahachie to sculpt and decorate outer walls of of the new courthouse, replacing a wooden courthouse that cost $59 to build. While he carved some of the porches and arches himself, he also supervised several German-trained carvers.

Known as "The Legend of the Ellis County Courthouse," the story goes that Herley fell in love with beauty Mabel Frame, the daughter of the owner of the boarding house where Herley stayed. He carved her radiant likeness over one of the courthouse entrances. Mabel ignored Herley's affections; as time went on, he became embittered and subsequent carvings of Mabel depicted her as a twisted demon.

Visitors can follow Herley's evolving infatuation by walking around the courthouse.

Local historians, who are not so quick to embrace the Legend as fact, identify the 12 faces as traditional European figures, including the "Green Man," a child, and a demented character (not necessarily Mabel). The carvings were probably made in Dallas and shipped to Waxahachie for installation, squashing the image of Herley climbing up a ladder after each Mabel spurning and carving his frustrations into the wee hours. There are news accounts that Herley married local gal Minnie Hodges in 1896, moved to Dallas, and was probably dead by 1899.

This doesn't stop Waxahachie from promoting the Legend on postcards, a view of the courthouse with close-up insert photos of Mabel and a few of the carved faces sequenced, from Herley's darling into a heinous devil.

As if that wasn't enough scandal to peruse on the walls of the courthouse, there are other carvings of note. According to a curator in the Ellis County Museum across the street from the courthouse, there's one up there that represents a stylized vulva. "Pretty amazing for a little Baptist town in Texas."

Just thought you might be interested. :-)

At Friday, March 16, 2012 4:38:00 PM, Blogger Matt G said...

Good stuff, JR, but I think almost every carved stone courthouse in Texas claims to have some kind of dirty image graven into the scrollwork.

At Tuesday, March 20, 2012 3:30:00 PM, Anonymous Evyl Robot Michael said...

Not silly in the least! I personally wouldn't go out for a beer with a female friend without my wife on principal. Not that I don't approve of your beer. Good on you for keeping the lines of communication open with your partner!

At Wednesday, March 21, 2012 10:41:00 AM, Blogger Justthisguy said...

Yes, cool courthouse, but what about the cannon? I swear, I was almost ready to write a book once, about Courthouse Cannons of Georgia. I used to drive around GA for Fox Photo back around 1987 or so and would always stop at the courthouse for a county road map.

There is a courthouse near Athens which has a really cool Armstrong-Whitworth 4.7" naval gun on a pedestal mount, with armor shield.

My county of birth, DeKalb, has a nice Krupp naval piece on the lawn of the old courthouse.

At Wednesday, March 21, 2012 3:43:00 PM, Blogger mariner said...

Judging from the picture, if the county builds a new courthouse it could use this building as a haunted house at Halloween.

At Wednesday, March 21, 2012 4:22:00 PM, Blogger Matt G said...

JTG: the answer is, most courthouses in Texas don't display cannon. It's not that Texas doesn't have a martial history, or that it doesn't remember the significant part that it played in the Civil War. (This courthouse, like many in N. TX, has a large statue commemorating the Confederate soldiers, put up about the turn of the last century by the Daughters Of The Confederacy.) But the vast majority of Texas did not feel the direct ravages of war. Few counties actually saw fighting, and even fewer heard the cannons' roar. Unlike Georgia.

At Friday, March 23, 2012 9:13:00 AM, Blogger Justthisguy said...

Yeah, Matt, I know what you mean. As a Georgia boy, the only reason I will ever visit St. Louis is to piss on Bill Sherman's grave. Bruno Bettelheim and Emmanuel Cellar are on my piss list, too, but for different reasons.

At Friday, March 23, 2012 11:12:00 AM, Anonymous Tony Muhlenkamp said...

For years, my rule of thumb is I don't do anything I can't tell my wife about afterwards. Keeps me out of trouble and reminds me how lucky I am to have her.


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