Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Years Eats 2011-2012

This year's downtown celebration of New Year's Eve has its usual flair, with some pluses and a bit of rearrangement. Called "Opening Night," this event sponsored by the Oklahoma City Arts Council first occurred in 1987 and has progressively grown since then and transverses most all of downtown Oklahoma City from 7 pm through and after midnight. This year, the lighted ball will rise from the rejuvenated Myriad Gardens Grand Lawn at 11:30-midnight capped with a glorious array of fireworks instead of that activity's long-standing location on Broadway south of NW 4th Street, near Kerr Park, shown in the top image. See this Oklahoman article for more information about Opening Night events. For sure, the 4-0 Thunder (currently tied with Miami for best in the NBA at this time) will be playing Phoenix at 7:00 at the Chesapeake Arena and will almost certainly extend their record to 5-0. For sure, Wayne Coyne and the Flaming Lips will perform at the Bricktown Coca Cola Events Center on December 30 and December 31, augmented by Yoko Ono and Sean Lennon, son of John. (The post-concert party for the December 31 Flaming Lips concert has now been relocated to the Okc Public Farmers Market, 311 S. Klein, due to Fire Marshall issues.) And much much more will transpire on New Year's Eve in downtown Oklahoma City.

But, this post is not about Opening Night 2011-2012 events in Oklahoma City. It is about what to EAT on New Years Day — it is about "New Years EATS."

Doug Dawgz Hoppin John   My Mom's Apple Pudding

BLACK-EYED PEAS. This, of course, is the absolute "must do" on New Year's Day, and my personal and spicy recipe may be just what you want:

Download or open a PDF file for this recipe here

Whatever you do on New Year's Eve, consider this to be Doug Dawgz contribution to your New Year's DAY ... but remember that grocery stores seem to run out of black-eyed peas before December 31 ... so ... buy them early! No, my recipe is not yet "historical," but, trust me, it's damn good and, one day, it will be!

    It is rumored that unless you eat black-eyed peas on January 1, January 2 ~ December 31 will not bring good fortune. Why take such a chance? This recipe provides one way to avoid such calamity.

    This recipe provides more such risk avoidance than you may want. But, why not just go ahead and make plenty ... share with your family, friends, and office-mates ... excess portions may be frozen for later consumption, like at such time(s) that you may feel you need a boost of good luck!

    • A giant pot ... large enough to put a small beagle in ... a pot at least 12-14" in diameter and 12" or more high, with a lid
    • 2 pounds of dried black-eyed peas
    • 3 pounds ham (it doesn't really matter what kind, but if fatty,cut out the fat)
    • 3-4 ham hocks
    • 3-4 large (18-19 oz) cans of tomatoes (depending on how "tomatoey" you want the mix to be — I use 3)
    • 2 15 oz. cans of tomato sauce
    • 3-4 medium yellow onions
    • 4-10 Tabasco peppers (see General Tip — I use 10)
    • ½ -1 tsp. salt (see General Tip)
    • 3-6 tsp. chili powder (see General Tip — I use 5)
    • 2 small or 1 large package of sliced almonds — this is for "crunch"
    • 2 cups of rice(s) of choice (I like to use a mix of white, wild, and brown)


    1. Soak dried black-eyed peas in water as directed on the bag (usually overnight), or at least 2-3 hours prior to cooking (if you like "crunchy" beans). Be sure to drain the beans in a strainer else you may get more "crunch" (and broken teeth) than you desire! (Years back, small rocks were present but less so now.)
    2. Mix into the giant pot all ingredients except the rice ... mix the beans, the ham (diced into dimensions that suit you, e.g., about 3/4" square), the ham hocks, the canned tomatoes (including the water, and slicing the tomatoes in the pot), the tomato sauce, the onions (chopped), the Tabasco peppers (finely chopped), the salt, chili powder, and the almonds
    3. Stir and add water as needed to cover the mixture
    4. Cover & cook on low-medium heat for about 1 hour
    5. Add the rice of your choice and continue cooking on low heat until the rice is done ... around 1 hour; if needed, add more water
    6. Eat (at least some on January 1) and/or Freeze ... the mixture freezes and saves nicely
    7. Other Things ... cornbread is good but not required for good luck.

    GENERAL TIP: Seasonings can be added as the mixture cooks ... so, you might want to add less or more than what I've suggested before it's all done ... but, remember that it's easier to add seasonings than it is to get rid of them. This is particularly true for (1) salt, (2) chili powder, and (3) Tabasco peppers! It's quite OK to add as you go, to suit your personal palate!

    MY MOM'S APPLE PUDDING. This has nothing to do with good fortune, other than for your taste buds. Once you try this recipe, you may become addicted — it is that good!

          The Background Story. During many of the years after my 1961 high school graduation, I have yearned for some of what my mom simply called "apple pudding" but it's a recipe that she didn't pass along except in my memories. From time to time, I've looked for a recipe that would make this tasty dessert but all my attempts at mimicry failed. On December 26, 2011, I Googled again and found the recipe below (slightly modified here) at Carolyn T.'s archives/92 for her own mom's "Crisp Apple Pudding." Here's why I'm so bold to say that Carolyn T.'s mom's recipe is also my own mom's recipe for the same apple pudding — that and the fact that I've now cooked it and it's just as good as I remembered.

    In her own blog page about this recipe, Carolyn T. said:
          I would be ever so negligent if I didn’t post one of my favorite recipes, my mother’s Crisp Apple Pudding. I’ve been making this for as long as I’ve been cooking (that began in 1962). It was written out in my mother’s small recipe journal, something she began when SHE got married in the 1930's, a recipe from her mother. And she passed this recipe on to me when I got married. * * * I believe — but I’m not sure — that this recipe came from a vintage (probably 1930's version) Betty Crocker Cookbook. Or maybe it was a Better Homes & Gardens. Did they publish cookbooks back in the 1930's? I think one time in a used book store I saw a very old, stained copy of one of those books and glanced in it, and sure enough, it looked like this recipe.
    My mom, Elizabeth, was also a devotee of one or both of those cookbooks in the 1930s and 1940s and that was the clincher since she probably didn't get recipes from any other cookbooks as far as I'm aware. I'm completely confident that this is the identical recipe used by my mom who would have had one or both cookbooks in the 1930s when my older brothers were born, and, of course, on and after I was born in Oklahoma City 1943 and during my childhood years. Many years later, at the end of 2011, I thank Carolyn T. not only for the taste but for providing another remembrance of my mom via a recipe which both of our moms had in common.

    Download or open a PDF file for this recipe here

    • 1 cup flour
    • 1 cup sugar (or 7/8 cup if desired)
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1 whole egg, beaten
    • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
    • 2 tablespoons butter (salted is better tasting but use unsalted if you're wanting to reduce salt)
    • 1/4 cup water
    • 2 tablespoons sugar
    • 4 large or 5 small cooking apples, peeled & sliced – use firm apples whether tart or semi-sweet as you prefer

    Makes 6-8 Servings

    Per Serving, Approximate: 309 Calories; 5g Fat (15.1% calories from fat); 3g Protein; 64g Carbohydrate; 3g Dietary Fiber; 46mg Cholesterol; 133mg Sodium

    1.  Preheat oven to 350°.

    2.  Spread sliced apples into an 8×8 or similar baking dish (here, a 5 x 9 oval baking dish is used).

    3.  Sift together the flour, sugar and baking powder. Add the egg and mix well. Spread this mixture over the top of the apples, spreading evenly. Sprinkle the top with the spices and the 2 tablespoons of sugar. Very important step: Use your fingers to sprinkle the water over the top as evenly as possible (this step makes the top crusty and crisp). Dab the butter on top in small squares, as shown above.

    4.  Bake for 35-45 minutes or until the top is brown. Cool for about an hour or until the pudding is at or near room temperature. Servings can be topped with milk, half & half, heavy cream, or other dairy topping. My mom could only afford milk, so that is what she used. And I loved it.

    That's it! Enjoy, and Happy New Year!

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    Saturday, December 24, 2011

    Christmas 2011

    Originally posted 12/20/2011; updated 12/24 to include the closing video portion of It's A Wonderful Life, Frank Capra's 1946 best Christmas movie ever.

    Has Doug Dawg become a religious person in his aging years? Maybe ... I once was, and maybe still am, and/or may yet come to be ... the position continues to perplex me as to where I stand in the religious cycle of things to this date.

    But, if one sets aside the commercial aspects of Christmas and the politically correct names of the season, one winds up with only one thing — Christmas, that being the world calendar's date (even if historically incorrect) for the birth of Jesus the Christ Child.

    Literally, "Christmas" is a truncated form of "Christ Mass," a decidedly religious date on Christian and civil calendars for the birth of the Christ Child. While you probably won't find "Christ Mass" mentioned on religious calendars on many church calendars in Oklahoma (perhaps other than Catholic, Orthodox, and Episcopalian), that's what the conjoined word "Christmas" means ... the Mass (aka Eucharist or Holy Communion) associated with the birth of Jesus.

    Listen, watch, and enjoy the sweet haunting sounds of Enya ... O Come O Come Emmanuel. Click the full screen icon at the lower right for full screen or click the YouTube icon for the original size.

    As beautiful as the master painters' classic works of art are for this occasion, in this video I've avoided those images, favoring instead the less deified and simpler human images which reflect better upon the humility, humanity, and intimacy associated with the birth of the infant Jesus, the Christ Child.

    Here's more Christmas music for you to enjoy.

    Bob Seger. I'll start with Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band which performed on December 15 in the Chesapeake Energy Arena to a wholly grateful crowd. A fine review of the performance appeared in the December 16 Oklahoman. Credit the photos below to The Oklahoman.

    Below, two videos showcase Seger's rendition of The Little Drummer Boy, a tune originally written by Katherine Kennicott Davis in 1942 as "Carol of the Drum." The left video is a November 17, 2011, performance by Seger in his 2011 tour in Louisville, Kentucky, about a month before his Oklahoma City performance; the right video was done much earlier when Seger's hair was still brown, with background video from the popular "Little Drummer Boy" animation. Click the full screen icon at the lower right corner of each video for a full screen display, or watch them in their original size by clicking the YouTube icon.

    Yusuf Islam. "Who's that," you say? That would be the person you know as Cat Stevens. Born in England as Steven Demetre Georgiou in 1948, in his prominent professional carrier he was known as Cat Stevens until he converted to Islam in 1977 ... he assumed his new name in 1979. Now, fairly elusive, his "Morning Is Broken" remains associated with Christmas and also, perhaps, presents the Christian world's present greatest challenge to acceptance of someone outside their Christian sphere ... shall we accept Yusuf Islam, a Muslim, whether he accepts US or not? What a Christian might ask is, "What would the Christ Child Jesus have done?"

    I'd originally intended to post a few more tunes, but, I instead changed my mind to conclude that nothing better could end this Christmas 2011 post than to include a video of the closing sequence of the 1946 Frank Capra movie, It's a Wonderful Life staring James Stewart and Donna Reed, in my mind the very best Christmas movie ever made. Thanks to FilmFTW1 for this video.

    No, Potter never got his come-uppins, but that's really not what Christmas is about, is it? Enjoy, and Merry Christmas to you all!

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    Wednesday, December 14, 2011

    Who's the Best for the 99%?

    The Metro Trends element of the Urban Institute says that it's Oklahoma City. In an article named, "Are Some Metros Better for the 99%?" on December 5, 2011, Margery Turner of Metro Trends gave a hint that Oklahoma City might fare well in an answer to that question in the tantalizing chart below (click on the chart and most other images in this post for a larger image):

    On December 6, I received an email from Andrew Maddocks, a representative of Metro Trends/Urban Institute with this kindly message:
    Hello from from a think tank in Washington D.C.! I hope all's well with you on this fine Tuesday.

    We just published a blog mentioning Oklahoma City as one of the best cities in the country for low unemployment and affordable housing. Here's the key: "Somehow, it avoided the excesses of the boom years, and its economy has weathered the downturn better than most."

    I wondered if you thought your readers might be interested in how their city compares to others around the country. If you're at all interested in linking to the post or re-posting, please let me know. You've clearly got a substantial readership there, and I'd love to share what the people at Urban are writing!
    Well, it doesn't take all that much for me to get wholly puffed up, but the initial article didn't give much detail about Oklahoma City, simply saying that,
    One region that looks good on these metrics is Oklahoma City. Somehow, it avoided the excesses of the boom years, and its economy has weathered the downturn better than most. Housing costs are low, and though wages are too, a personal service worker can almost afford the rent for a two-bedroom apartment. And at 5 percent, Oklahoma City’s unemployment rate is among the lowest in the country.

    What can we learn from the Oklahoma City metro about keeping wages and housing costs in better balance through both good times and bad? For my next blog, I’ll track down some possible answers.
    With those tantalizing remarks, I replied that I would but only after more detail was presented about Oklahoma City. Today, December 14, that additional detail was provided in a follow-up article, and it has some pretty darn cool things to say about our city and includes a great interactive map reflecting that our city just doesn't do well in comparative scores in the top 100 metro markets, IT SCORES #1, BEST OF ALL.

    About UI   About Margery Turner   About the Study
    The Study   Interactive Map   100 City Summary

    PRELIMINARY REMARKS. Before getting to the heart of the matter, it's probably best to know a bit about who's doing the analysis and original reporting so we'll get a measure of how seriously that analysis and reporting should be taken. Here's that bit.

           About Urban Institute & Metro Trends. According to Wikipedia, the Urban Institute was established in 1968 by President Lyndon Johnson as "a Washington, D.C. based think tank that carries out nonpartisan economic and social policy research, collects data, evaluates social programs, educates the public on key domestic issues, and provides advice and technical assistance to developing governments abroad." The article says that it has a staff of about 350 and that its president is Robert D. Reischauer, former head of the Congressional Budget Office. There's more, but that's enough for me to take the organization seriously. According to this page at MetroTrends, MetroTrends is "the Urban Institute's report card on how metropolitan America is faring."

           About Margery Turner. Metro Trends identifies her as Vice President for Research at the Urban Institute and says,
    A nationally recognized expert on urban policy and neighborhood issues, Ms. Turner has analyzed issues of residential location, racial and ethnic discrimination and its contribution to neighborhood segregation and inequality, and the role of housing policies in promoting residential mobility and location choice. She served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Research at the Department of Housing and Urban Development from 1993 through 1996, and is co-author of Public Housing and the Legacy of Segregation.
    Her Facebook page says that she is from New York (Ithaca HS 1973) and has degrees from Cornell University (1977, Government) and George Washington University (1983, Urban and Regional Planning). And she plays the flute. That's good enough for me.

           About The Study. It's best to keep in mind that this survey is solely about economics — it's not about quality of life or other urban pleasantries (or unpleasantries). It's about cities that have fared well and poorly through what the article calls the Great Recession (2nd quarter of 2007 through the 3rd quarter of 2011) and its focus is to identify cities that have fared well and poorly as measured by 4 criteria during that study period: (1) change in housing prices; (2) unemployment; (3) affordable housing for low wage workers; and (4) mortgage delinquency. Remember, this series of articles has to do with the 99%, not the 1%. If you are in the 99%, then these articles are about you.

    The December 14 Report Card. Ms. Turner's December 14 article is titled, "Best and Worst Metros ... A Report Card on Economic Security." Among other things, Ms. Turner writes:
    Metropolitan Oklahoma City’s diverse economy – including government, universities, energy, and high-tech firms -- has held up well in the Great Recession. It didn’t fall victim to the housing boom and bust (2000 to 2007), so rents and house prices today are remarkably affordable and few homeowners are facing foreclosure. And the region scores high on lots of “top ten” lists -- most affordable (Forbes), most recession-proof (Forbes), and best to start a small business (Fortune Small Business).

    So I decided to grade all of the nation’s 100 biggest metros: which are best and which are worst for family economic security?
    Unlike me, she appears to be a person of few words — she didn't name all of those "best" lists which have come out strongly for the city over the past couple of years in various categories, but that's a good enough start.

    The Cool Interactive Map. This is the fun part. Without reading a thing in the article, scrolling down a bit presents this map of the country ...

    Why does only Oklahoma City have that big blue dot? If that isn't enough to catch the attention of an Oklahoma Citian, what would be?

    By clicking on that graphic, an exceptionally cool interactive map appears in which one can mouse-over a city to get snapshot of the study results:

    Although you can click on any of the charts and maps shown in this post to get a larger view, here's the crop of the Oklahoma City summary shown in the above map. Note that one can download a much more detailed spreadsheet (Excel or comma delimited) file which I've done and will get back to shortly.

    But for those who mainly want to play with that map, it is very easily done. The map also gives a reader the ability to change the weight given the 4 factors previously mentioned, if one doesn't like the equal (25%) weight given by the Urban Institute to the 4 factors used in reaching the conclusions that it did.

    OK OK. If you've read my blog for very long, you already know that I'm a "map person." So let's play with the map. To play with the map in MetroTrends, click here. Or, you can play with it below, although you'll have to do more scrolling than in the MetroTrends location ... use the horizontal scroll bar at the bottom or the vertical scroll bar at the right.

    Study Summaries. As said previously (and see Additional Resources, below), I've downloaded the Excel spreadsheet which gives much greater detail than the interactive map summaries do. The following table presents a summary of the spreadsheet data combined with the interactive map A-F scores which the spreadsheet does not reflect. About the latter, I've mouse-overed each of the 100 cities in the map to get city scores, A-F, which scores are not contained in the spreadsheet. I've truncated metropolitan area names to show only the 1st city name for metropolitan areas that have more than one city name in the metropolitan area name and have substituted an abbreviated form of "et al." (meaning and others) to be simply "etal." For example, in the Excel spreadsheet, the Nashville metro area is "Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin, TN" but I've abbreviated that below to be "Nashville etal, TN." The top 50 metro areas are in the left column and the last 50 are in the right.

    Metropolitan AreaRankScore Metropolitan AreaRankScore
    Oklahoma City, OK1ANew Orleans etal, LA51C
    Omaha etal, IA2A Richmond, VA52C
    Wichita, KS3AAkron, OH53C
    Tulsa, OK4A Lansing etal, MI54C
    Des Moines, IA5ASpringfield, MA55C
    Pittsburgh, PA6A Salt Lake City, UT56C
    Madison, WI7AVirginia Beach etal, VA-NC57C
    Austin etal, TX8A Charlotte etal, NC-SC58C
    Baton Rouge, LA9AYoungstown etal, OH-PA59C
    Buffalo etal, NY10A Worcester, MA60C
    Little Rock etal, AR11AAllentown etal, PA-NJ61C
    Lancaster, PA12A Cleveland etal, OH62D
    San Antonio, TX13AHonolulu, HI63D
    Harrisburg etal, PA14A Philadelphia etal, PA-NJ-DE-MD64D
    Rochester, NY15ACharleston etal, SC65D
    Greenville etal, SC16A Bridgeport etal,CT66D
    Houston etal, TX17ABaltimore etal, MD67D
    Dallas etal, TX18A New Haven etal, CT68D
    Albuquerque, NM19AProvidence etal, RI-MA69D
    Raleigh et al, NC20A Seattle etal, WA70D
    El Paso, TX21BAtlanta etal, GA71D
    Denver etal, CO22B Tuscon, AZ72D
    Knoxville, TN23BBoise City etal, ID73D
    Syracuse, NY24B New York etal, NY-NJ-PA74D
    Scranton etal, PA25BMemphis, TN-MS-AR75D
    Colorado Springs, CO26B Washington etal, DC-VA-MD-WV76D
    Nashville etal, TN27BPoughkeepsie etal, NY77D
    Augusta etal, GA-SC28B Chicago etal, IL-IN-WI78D
    Louisville etal, TN-KY29BSan Francisco etal, CA79D
    Albany etal, NY30B San Jose etal, CA80D
    Grand Rapids etal, MI31BDetroit etal, MI81F
    Columbia, SC32B Santa Rosa etal, CA82F
    Columbus, OH33BSan Deigo etal, CA83F
    St. Louis, MO-IL34B Phoenix etal, AZ84F
    Indianapolis etal, IN35BOxnard etal, CA85F
    Kansas City, MO-IL36B Jacksonville, FL86F
    McAllen etal, TX37BLos Angeles etal, CA87F
    Boston etal, MA-NH38B Sacrameto etal, CA88F
    Cincinnati et al, OH-KY-IN39BFresno, CA89F
    Greensboro etal, NCMA-NH40B Bakersfield, CA90F
    Minneapolis et al, MN-WI41CPalm Bay etal, FL91F
    Chatanooga, TN-GA42C Tampa etal, FL92F
    Birgmingham etal, AL43CLakeland etal, FL93F
    Jackson, MS44C Bradenton etal, FL94F
    Hartford etal, CT45CRiverside etal, CA95F
    Toldeo, OH46C Orlando, FL96F
    Portland etal, OR-WA47CModesto, CA97F
    Milwaukee etal, WI48C Stocton, CA98F
    Dayton, OH49CMiami et al, FL99F
    Portland etal, ME50C Las Vegas etal, NV100F

    Additional Resources: Steve Lackmeyer published a brief article about this in the December 15, Oklahoman. I've also modified the original Excel file for it to be a bit more readable, and to add a tab/page in the file for the summary shown above. Click here to download that file. Or, click here for the original Excel file without my tampering.

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    Tuesday, December 13, 2011

    From Arrows to Atoms, 21st Century Version

    On April 22, 1957, the "Arrows to Atoms" two-hundred-foot-tall tower at the state fairgrounds in Oklahoma City was dedicated and lighted as part of the state's Semi-Centennial.

    The days of the Dust Bowl were then well within the memories of most in the city and state even if most who are alive today will not have a personal recollection of that time. Although Oklahoma City was only on the edge of the Dust Bowl area, it affected us and our city's image greatly.

    During the days of the Dust Bowl and drought, badly parched Lake Overholser looked like this, in 1935 (looking north to the US 66 bridge around NW 39th today).

    The "Arrows to Atoms" theme avoided the negative images of the 1930s and focused on the city's present and hoped for future.

    But, by as late as 1991, the North Canadian River passing south of downtown still looked like this (credit Mark Klett in his Photographing Oklahoma 1889/1991 (Oklahoma City Art Museum 1991):

    How could THAT turn into this?

    Arrows to Atoms, circa 1957, marked a break with the 1930s Dust Bowl. The city's original (1993) MAPS program would radically change the North Canadian and see a part of it renamed "The Oklahoma River." By the time 2007 rolled around, the city's river hosted its first Olympic trials during the Centennial Regatta.

    Now, in December 2011, Oklahoma City is embarking on its 2nd version based of Arrows To Atoms, with an analogous theme, the Formerly Crappy North Canadian River To A Water Olympics Headquarters — the river that needed to be mowed twice a year is now the address of a major water sport U.S. Olympic organization.

    Steve Lackmeyer wrote the story about this today in the December 13, 2011, Oklahoman:
    USA Canoe/Kayak will relocate headquarters to Oklahoma City
    USA Canoe/Kayak, a member of the United States Olympic Committee, announced Tuesday the relocation of the organization's headquarters to Oklahoma City.

            Both USA Canoe/Kayak Chief Executive Officer Joe Jacobi and Mayor Mick Cornett attributed the move to development of the boathouse district along the river and ongoing transformation of the waterway thanks to the original Metropolitan Area Projects.
            Jacobi said his office, which first opened in Oklahoma City along the Oklahoma River in 2009, will work closely with the city in developing a white water rapids venue included in the 2009 MAPS 3 ballot. The Oklahoma City office will replace Charlotte, N.C. as the organization's national headquarters as the group begins its first ever promotional campaign for paddle sports.
            "This is a perfect illustration of how MAPS 3 was an attempt to build on the success of the original MAPS," Cornett said. "I don't know what this is going to lead to, but I'm sure there are many opportunities ahead."
    Lackmeyer's story at NewsOK was enhanced by this video featuring Joe Jacobi and Mayor Cornett:

    The development wasn't just reported locally. Similar Associated Press and other reports were carried by ESPN, Sports Illustrated, CNBC, Washington Post, and, of course, Charlotte, the organization's previous home, among others.

    Here's the report at the official USA Canoe/ website:
    USA Canoe/Kayak Announces Relocation of its Headquarters to Oklahoma City

            OKLAHOMA CITY – December 13, 2011 USA Canoe/Kayak, the national governing body (NGB) for the Olympic sports of flatwater sprint and whitewater slalom and a member of the United States Olympic Committee, announced today the relocation of its headquarters to the city of Oklahoma City.
            USA Canoe/Kayak will office with the Oklahoma City Boathouse Foundation, allowing the two organizations to collaborate and build on the inherent synergy of shared values and objectives.
            A panel consisting of Joe Jacobi, OKCBF Executive Director Mike Knopp, USA Canoe/Kayak Board Chairman Bob Lally, and other leaders in the paddlesports industry will discuss USA Canoe/Kayak’s commitment to the future of paddle sports in America during a live stream broadcast scheduled to air on paddling web sites across the country and around the world. Watch live at
            A panel consisting of Joe Jacobi, OKCBF Executive Director Mike Knopp, USA Canoe/Kayak Board Chairman Bob Lally, and other leaders in the paddlesports industry will discuss USA Canoe/Kayak’s commitment to the future of paddle sports in America during a live stream broadcast scheduled to air on paddling web sites across the country and around the world. Watch live at
    Joe Jacobi, USA Canoe/Kayak CEO: "USA Canoe/Kayak is launching a new era in paddlesports in the United States, with a focus on enabling U.S. athletes to achieve sustained competitive excellence in Olympic, Paralympic and other international competition. With the tremendous momentum taking place at the Oklahoma River – from the National High Performance Center for kayaking and rowing to the MAPS 3 OKC citizen-voted sales tax initiative to fund quality of life projects which include the construction of a whitewater center and race course improvements to the Oklahoma River – Oklahoma City is the ideal location for the epicenter of our efforts and initiatives to grow paddlesports.
            A central component to USA Canoe/Kayak’s growth is the “Paddle Now!” program, which encourages families across America to explore our nation’s waterways in kayaks, canoes, dragon boats and stand up paddle boards. USA Canoe/Kayak has teamed up with canoe/kayak clubs across the country to promote paddlesports; learn more at
            Jacobi: "This nation has intrinsic ties to waterways – from the days of early explorers and Native Americans who paddled and portaged across the country to today's active adventurers. We truly believe Oklahoma City, a place whose citizens have supported the Oklahoma River and whitewater initiatives, is the place to rekindle our nation’s passion for paddlesports."


            Alan Ashley, U.S. Olympic Committee Chief of Sport Performance: "Mike Knopp and his team at the Oklahoma City Boathouse Foundation have created a model that places elite training in the heart of the community, building synergy between the elite athletes, local youth and adults, and the local business community. We’re hopeful that this approach will help USA Canoe/Kayak continue to build their talent pipeline and develop top athletes to represent Team USA."
            William Irving, USA Canoe/Kayak National Teams Director: "We couldn’t be more happy to be working even closer with our partners at the Oklahoma City Boathouse Foundation, who are providing our NGB with the ability to better serve our membership through a variety of resources that are focused on high performing athletes. Having our NGB based in Oklahoma City, will make a huge impact on the way in which we serve all of our constituents and infuse our sport with the 'can do' attitude that Oklahoma City exhibits. Looking into the future, once the Whitewater Course is in place, we will have a unique opportunity to bring our two Olympic sports together and for the first time in our sports history and be able to train Sprint and Slalom athletes alongside each other."
            Kaitlyn McElroy, Sprint Kayaker: "Personally, moving to Oklahoma City to train was by far the right choice for me. The facilities are amazing. The boathouse district has everything you need to train at a high level. All that's really left for you to do is work hard and go fast. Over the past two years there has been an influx of local children becoming involved with paddlesports on the Oklahoma River as well as an increasing number of athletes from all over the country coming to train. I think this creates a unique environment for everyone because you have kids who are just learning the 'tricks of the trade' mingling with world class athletes. I think this gives the kids great role models while keeping the older athletes honest and attached to why they started paddlesports in the first place."
            Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett: "The significance of USA Canoe/Kayak's relocation to Oklahoma City – in what was once known as 'the dust bowl state' – is indicative of the speed of change and positive forward momentum this community is creating. We've built a river that's become not only a health-and-fitness destination for our citizens, but a U.S. Olympic and Paralympic training site for our nation's aspiring Olympic kayakers and rowers. Becoming the headquarters of a National Governing Board is a testament to how powerful the MAPS initiatives truly are in influencing our ability to recreate and redefine our city."

    About OKCBF

            The OKC Boathouse Foundation promotes the use and development of the Oklahoma River as a world-class urban aquatic venue and provides access to rowing, kayaking and fitness programs for people of all ages and abilities. OKCBF programs pursue the highest goals of sports and embrace the principles of the Olympic spirit which inspire athletes to work toward personal excellence, embrace the power of teamwork, and practice respect for all people and the environment. To learn more or get involved, call (405) 552-4040 or visit

    About USA Canoe/Kayak

            USA Canoe/Kayak is a non-profit membership organization based in Oklahoma City, OK, promoting canoe and kayak racing in the United States. A member of the United States Olympic Committee, USA Canoe/Kayak is the national governing body for the Olympic sports of Flatwater Sprint and Whitewater Slalom and the official U.S. federation of the International Canoe Federation. Other paddling sports sanctioned by USACanoe/Kayak include Marathon, Freestyle, Wildwater, Stand Up Paddleboard, Canoe Polo, Canoe Sailing, Outrigger, and Dragon Boat.
    Here's a cool video by US Canoe/Kayak, uploaded by Okc, which nicely showcases the river area and development, with downtown's skyline shown at 0:40 but you got to watch closely ...

    More to follow ...

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    Wednesday, November 30, 2011

    NBA Lockout Resolved But Thunder Goes Back To Seattle?

    The Seattle ThunderSonics? With the good news that the NBA owners' lockout of the players has been resolved, a couple of Canadian guys, J.E. Skeets and Tas Melas, were in Oklahoma City to interview locals about the news that, as part of the deal, the Thunder were moving back to Seattle as part of a "peace offering."

    As reported at USA Today, the article reads as follows:
    Oklahoma fans told Thunder are moving back to Seattle
    By Alonzo Adams, AP, as reported in USA Today:

            As a New York Times story this week illustrated, Oklahoma City loves and needs its NBA team, the Thunder.
            As it pertains to why the city needs the team, writer Tom Spousta cites an Oklahoma City chamber of commerce estimation that each of the eight Thunder's home dates lost because of the strike would cost $1.3 million. He also explained that hotels that were selling out on game days were trying fill rooms offering rates for less than $100 per night and waiters who are seeing their tip total slashed by 80% or so.
            As it pertains to why the city needs the team, writer Tom Spousta cites an Oklahoma City chamber of commerce estimation that each of the eight Thunder's home dates lost because of the strike would cost $1.3 million. He also explained that hotels that were selling out on game days were trying fill rooms offering rates for less than $100 per night and waiters who are seeing their tip total slashed by 80% or so.
            But the city loves the now three-year-old Thunder as well. "It's a love affair we have here," local businessman Ed Lynn told Spousta. "It hurts. It isn't just a sporting event, it's a social experience for us."
            Fan T.J. Nance said, "It's the only thing we can agree on, other than conservative politics."
            So, when J.E. Skeets and Tas Melas of The Basketball Jones, as part of their tour to NBA cities, tried to convince fans on the streets of Oklahoma City that the Thunder were moving back to Seattle to become the Seattle ThunderSonics, it's not surprising that they were surprised and even a little upset.
            But considering that all's well that ends well for the locals, we can chuckle at a harmless prank.
    When I first located and read this article, a smile immediately crept across my face because of the incredulity of the premise — and the lady in yellow made my smile even broader since she obviously didn't have a clue about what she was talking.

    It is not enough to say, "Welcome back, OKC Thunder! Welcome back, NBA!" Why not? In Oklahoma City, businesses which have their livelihood based on regular NBA seasons playing their regular preseason games as well as during the regular season, have been irreparably harmed and no remedy is present in the new agreement to make them whole. Regular employees and local businesses which are predicated upon the NBA preseason and regular season existing have lost substantial amounts of income and business and no remedy exists in the new agreement to make them whole, either.

    Regardless of owner/player economic issues, the fans who buy tickets to these games and have been powerless to influence the outcome even though they are the singular group which drives the economic engine to make the owners make a profit and funds the players for their largesse player contracts.

    And so it is that fan scars, perhaps deep, exist from this lockout which involved the owners and players dispute. The third leg of the stool, the fans and their funding for the latter, had no voice as a factor in that resolution.

    Hopefully the Thunder organization will address those fan scars and will bump back the Thunder to the place that it was before the lockout when the Thunder were the winners of the Northwest Division. But don't look for the Thunder organization to pay money to those business who lost income during the lockout or give something to the fans for enduing the senseless events which occurred since the end of the last season.

    Not even an apology. Neither the owners nor the players have it within themselves to say, "I'm sorry," to the fans and businesses which rely on business as usual. Whether the Thunder, and the NBA, will be as popular in late December 2011 as they were in May 2011, before the owners' lockout began, remains to be seen ... but my guess is that it/they will be.

    In the meantime, a sense of humor is not a bad thing to have. I've looked for but could not find this lady's dad's website,, she said ...

    Smiles are good.

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    Friday, November 25, 2011

    Count Gregore & Retro Metro OKC

    Collectively, Wayne Coyne and the Oklahoma Gazette's annual Halloween Parade have doubtless captured the fancy of the contemporary grizzly and ghoul market in the city. But, in my youth, the one and only person that did that was Count Gregore, also known as John Ferguson.

    One could not have possibly grown up in Oklahoma in the late 1950s through the late 1980s without knowing about the dreadful Count. From May 1958 until 1988, about 30 years running, WKY-TV's late Saturday night Shock Theater (beginning at 12 o'clock midnight) was broadcast throughout central and at least southwestern Oklahoma (but, as you will see from an interview below, it was evidently seen in other parts of the state as well). I graduated from Lawton High School in 1961, and, before doing so, our television antennas could be appropriately aligned to be able to pick up Count Gregore for Shock Theater parties with my Lawton High School buddies. This was before the days of cable television and during the days that house-top TV antennas in Lawton could be rotated to receive television signals emanating from Oklahoma City.

    The 83 year-old but still fearful Count will be the speaker at the December 12, 2011, 2nd Annual Holiday/Christmas/Whatever Party of Retro Metro OKC. This post features the history of Count Gregore — speaker at that meeting and festive occasion.

    Ann DeFrange, Oklahoman reporter, wrote a fine piece in 2008 which gives a better summary of John Ferguson's public life and the development of the character that he is most remembered for than I could. She wrote the following:

    Count Gregore Lives On
    John Ferguson Followed His Star
    By Ann DeFrange, The Oklahoman
    May 21, 2008

            Count Gregore, an Oklahoma television icon, turned 50 years old this month, although he appears to be ageless, John Ferguson, his creator, is 80 and almost as immortal.
            Ferguson and the Count scared generations of children in Oklahoma in the past half century.
            Ferguson describes himself growing up in Indiana as small, anemic, poor and a bad student. As a high school freshman, he was 5 feet tall and weighed 90 pounds. But, "I was a dreamer," he said. His mother's movie magazines and some acting classes offered an "escape mechanism" and in the 1950s, he went to Hollywood. He worked at a gas station until he managed an interview with the prestigious William Morris talent agency.
            He was told he'd never make a leading man, and that television was preempting movies. But in Hollywood he met Billie, married her 53 years ago, and moved to Oklahoma.
            He sold men's clothing in a Tulsa store. Upstairs was the studio of KVOO radio where Ferguson fell in love with radio. He narrates his life story like a radio drama.
            He followed his star, he said, behind a touring dog act and upstairs to a microphone. He coincidentally auditioned at a station in Muskogee the day they fired their announcer. Then he moved to that company's television station.
            In 1955, after he had been in the business for only 18 months, he got a job at WKY Channel 4 in Oklahoma City which had been in business only since 1949.
            He was staff announcer and ad salesman. The small-screen world was black and white and "everything was live, even commercials."
            Opportunities for creativity were ample, because there were no rules and no technology to rely on.
            He was one of the pioneers of the medium. His early contemporaries are a roll call of local broadcast history — Wakefield Holley, Joe Jerkins, Bill Howard, Wally Kinnan, Hi Roberts, Johnny Shannon, Steve Powell, Bill Thrash, Ed Birchall.
            But he kept thinking: "I'm an actor. I want on that stage so badly."
            In the afternoons, Channel 4 ran a kids' space adventure with a cast of one — Danny Williams. Ferguson developed his own character. "It had to be villainous, evil."
            Inspired by Ming from the "Buck Rogers" comic strip [ed. note — sorry Ann, but that would be from Flash Gordon, I'm pretty sure], he painted on a Van Dyke beard and mustache, shaped his eyebrows like V's, greased his hair to a point on his face and called himself the Duke of Nukedom.
            Williams added him to the script, which was more like a scenario, allowing the actors to spontaneously improvise.
            So, before "Star Trek," there was Bazark and Ubik. Sometimes one of them went to Earth and visited the Circle 4 Ranch, setting for another kids' show.
            In May 1958, when Williams moved to radio, WKY-TV planned a show to follow, "Saturday Night Wrestling." "Shock Theater" showed classic horror films with a live host, so Count Gregore came to live and stayed on local TV until 1988.
            Ferguson has appeared on every television station in Oklahoma City and made other appearances as Gregore. He and the Count frightened generations of children in Oklahoma, who had never played gory video games or seen sophisticated scare movies.
            He still uses his original cape. And he has the voice, a soft, but harsh whisper; the pointed eyebrows that bore into you and leave terror in your heart and a nostalgia for the good old days when scary was deliciously innocent.

    Retro Metro OKC 2nd Annual Holiday/Christmas/Whatever Party! The person you have been reading about above is the featured speaker.

    All Retro Metro members and their guests, as well as all non-members who have a passion for Oklahoma City history, are invited to attend. Click here for a PDF flyer describing this outstanding event.

    The party will be on December 12, 2011, at 6:30 pm at Bellevue Health and Rehabilitation Center's dining room, 6500 N.Portland, which is at the southwest corner of the Bellevue facility.

    Here's a map — the red arrow points to your destination.

    Hors d'oevres, soft drinks, and wine are provided.

    One provider is due singular attention: Ed Lynn, owner of Buffalo Wild Wings at 4130 NW Expressway, is donating 250 wings for the event, a magnificently generous contribution.

    Retro Metro OKC is more fully discussed in this blog post, but, briefly stated, Retro Metro OKC is a not-for-profit 501c3 organization which endeavors to make Oklahoma City history more accessible to anyone who wants to learn more about it. Its website is and its Facebook page is here.

    Videos. Here are some videos for you to enjoy ...

    The Oklahoman's Dave Morris & Angi Brus Intverview
    John Ferguson ... How He Got His Start, May 2008

    John Ferguson Describes Changes in Horror Films, May 2008

    The Count's Top 10 Favorites, October 2008

    Excerpts from Nightmare Theater
    KSBI-TV Channel 52, Cox Channel 6, October 31, 2011
    The Brain That Wouldn't Die

    When the Count appeared on Channel 5, his program was called Nightmare Theater (I don't know the dates). This past month, on Halloween, KSBI-TV Channel 52, Cox Channel 6, presented a special showing of Nightmare Theater for its audience, and it contained some video of the Count unlike what we've ordinarily seen, focusing on his singing and dancing capabilities!

    Nightmare Theater Opening & 1st Vampira Sequences (2:00)

    The Movie — The Brain That Wouldn't Die
    To save viewer pain, I've truncated the movie to 1 minute,
    57 seconds (opening title, head scene, closing title)
    Notice that the opening and closing titles are not the same.
    This 1962 movie was simply awful!

    The Count Sings With Vampira (3:17)

    The Count Dances With Jackie Short (2:42)

    The last two clips involving singing and dancing performances may have been from the July 2011 Improv Festival Oklahoma mentioned below, I don't know. For now, at least, the complete Nightmare Theater presentation is at KSBI's website: Part 1 and Part 2.

    Closing Notes. At right is a WKY-TV ad on Saturday February 2, 1974, featuring none but the fearful Count.

    A March 24, 1974, a note in the Oklahoman's TV section shows Mr. Ferguson looking at a drawing of himself, as perceived by a loyal fan. Ferguson hoped that the fan would identify him/herself so that recognition could be properly attributed — either that or maybe the Count had something more sinister in mind for the artist — who can say? His Channel 4 show ended in 1988.

    Even so, the Count continued to grace our television screens and civic affairs for many years. He hosted programs on Channels 4, 5, 25, 43, 52, and Cox Cable.

    Mr. Ferguson serves the public in other ways, also. He is presently a member of the Mayor's Committee on Disability Concerns. In 1981 he was a judge at the 3rd annual Paseo Harvest Moon Festival. On June 3, 1997, he was honored by fans and fellow performers at the "First Annual Gregore Retirement Roast" in Bricktown at Pearl's Crabtown. In April 2008, he was recognized at Muskogee's ninth annual Barebones Independent International Film and Music Festival for his contributions to Oklahoma television and media arts. In the October 28, 2008, Oklahoman, David Zizzo reported that,
    And Ferguson still can’t quite put his finger on why the count was — and is — so popular.

    "I'm surprised to this day," he said.
    But, in the article, Zizzo succinctly and accurately gave the explanation ...
    It's because Ferguson is so good at bad, or at least acting that way.
    In July 2011, he performed at and haunted the third annual Red Dirt Improv Festival Oklahoma at the City Arts Center, Oklahoma City.

    Tom Fowler wrote Ferguson's biography and hopefully copies will be available for sale and book signing. Also, check out John's Facebook page.

    Also, check out this Rosebud Radio link for a soon to be launched internet radio station which will broadcast Old Time Radio on Friday afternoons and nights, all day Saturday and all day Sunday. From 7:00 PM to 11:00 PM will be Count Gregore's Suspense Theater, which Rosebud Radio says will feature the finest mystery radio shows such as Boston Blackie, Perry Mason and The Thin Man, and from 11:00 PM to 3:00 AM Count Gregore's Theater of the Macabre is scheduled. His part of the schedule is in dark red, below:

    Very plainly, what Ann DeFrange said in 2008 remains true today, "Count Gregore Lives On!"

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    Wednesday, November 16, 2011

    Well, Shut My Mouth!

    Just when I kinda thought I'd correctly pigeonholed some if not most members of the Oklahoma City Council into one place or another, I'll be darned if I didn't have to eat my words at about 10:15 a.m. on Tuesday November 15, 2011, and I'm gladly eating them. And, you know, those words taste pretty good.

    I figured that Ed Shadid's pending motion to include sexual orientation in the list of protected employees, i.e., "The City of Oklahoma City will not discriminate against any applicant or employee because of race, color, creed, ethnic origin, religion, sex (to include sexual orientation), age, disability or political affiliation," had a fair chance of passing ever since Pat Ryan said that he favored the motion when Shadid first brought it to the floor on October 25, 2011.

    In my earlier post on October 19, I said, "One can make book on the odds that that if Ward 2 council member Ed Shadid moves approval of something, Ward 8 council member Patrick Ryan will oppose it."

    Well, I was dead wrong. Truth is, I would probably have said the same thing about Gary Marrs, but again I would have been dead wrong.

    Yesterday, at 10:15, by a vote of 7-2 which included both Ryan and Marrs on the "aye" side, City Council adopted Shadid's proposal and sexual orientation is now in the class of city employees who may not be discriminated against in hiring, firing, placement, and other workplace circumstances. The complete video of yesterday's lengthy discussion is presented in this article, below.

    Skip Background and Go Straight To The Videos

    Background. By way of background, at the October 18 Council meeting, Dr. Shadid wondered out loud why Oklahoma City didn't have such approbations in place concerning its city employees and on October 19 at his Facebook page he announced that, "Next Tuesday I will introduce resolution prohibiting discrimination among 4300 city employees based on sexual orientation."

    He did. On October 25, after lengthy discussion his proposal was deferred until November 15. Following that, even the conservative Oklahman did not come out against the proposal but did say in its October 29 editorial that it was proper that the matter was receiving public attention and deliberation.

    An October 25 Journal Record editorial by Ted Streuli was less reserved. Among other things, he said,
    And in this week’s metaphor, Oklahoma City Councilman Ed Shadid is the flag atop the pole. Shadid suggested that Oklahoma City should add a clause to its employment policy that says the city won’t discriminate against someone based upon sexual orientation.

    And as sure as the flag points north in a southerly wind, out came the hems, the haws and the unabashed bigotry. Posts on local news sites quickly revealed many wearing the cloak of ill-informed opinion over a suit of irrational hatred.

    Yep. The flag went up and the windbags started blowing hard. That was an easy prediction.

    In the council chamber, only Pat Ryan supported Shadid’s proposal. Meg Salyer, running the show in the mayor’s absence, remained neutral. Every other councilor squirmed like a sinner in the front pew.

    David Greenwell and Larry McAtee said they wanted to study it more.

    Study what, gentlemen? Whether it’s a good policy to allow discrimination in the city’s employment practices? Whether it’s OK to discriminate against this particular group but no other?

    Yet the biggest head-scratch of the day came from Skip Kelly, who is black. He said the city didn’t need to make a change unless empirical data showed it should. We didn’t need empirical data to prove that some employers refuse to hire people with disabilities. Or those older than 40. Or Jews. Or Muslims. And surely Councilman Kelly doesn’t believe we needed empirical data to prove that people of color face discriminatory employment practices. Some truths are self-evident.

    Here’s the test: If you can hear Bubba saying "I ain’t hirin' no (insert slur here)" then you can bet your last Southern Cross lapel pin that members of the group referenced have been victims of discrimination.
    Personally, I think that Mr. Streuli was over-broad when he said, "Every other councilor squirmed like a sinner in the front pew," most notably concerning Pete White who would be expected to favor Shadid's proposal and had voted against deferring the matter when the initial deferral vote was taken. But, to be sure, I was also scratching my head over Skip Kelly's remarks at the October 25 City Council meeting.

    The November 2, 2011, Oklahoma Gazette also carried a couple of relevant pieces. Clifton Adcock, who (in my opinion) has already distinguished himself as the preeminent journalist who covers local politics in the city, wrote a good summary of what occurred at the October 25 meeting (even though he did not report that Patrick Ryan said that he intended to vote for the proposal). In the same issue, part 1 of James Cooper's lengthy article on the local gay community was published, and in the November 9 Gazette issue, part 2 was published as well. In part 2, Cooper wrote,
    Victor Gorin, who used to write for the Gayly [Oklahoman] and still lives in OKC, recalled an encounter with law enforcement at Angles [a local pub frequented by the LGBT community].

    Just moments after leaving the club late one night with a friend, Gorin (pictured) soon realized he was alone and his friend was no longer at his side.

    "All of a sudden, I realized I was talking to myself," he said. "(The police) had grabbed him and taken him off in the patrol car, and then I thought, 'Victor, go home.'" Then, on Jan. 6, 1983, the tension between the police and the community reached a tipping point as the front door of Angles came crashing down.

    "That was the last straw," the owners told the Gayly [Oklahoman]. "That was the night that they took several people out and put them up against the patrol cars like they do when they frisk them, and took their night sticks between their legs and just beat the hell out of them, beat them on the back and everything else."

    Another Angles patron, Robert Bigger, allegedly encountered Van Schuyver after he left. Bigger claimed he was forced from his car before having his face smashed into the vehicle, according to The Daily Oklahoman.

    Bigger eventually filed a federal lawsuit against Oklahoma City and Van Schuyver. According to The Daily Oklahoman, Van Schuyver suggested that the chief of police at the time "specifically advised" him to treat the gay community on N.W. 39th Street with such force.

    Meanwhile, in February of that year, Cotton-Eyed Joes Inc. filed a federal lawsuit against Oklahoma City.

    The next month, Gravel reportedly hired former Oklahoma City Councilman Eric Groves, the same lawyer representing Angles, and blamed the mayor and the OKC police chief for their inability to stop police violence and harassment on N.W. 39th Street.

    Later that year, rather than face a prolonged, expensive legal battle, the original Angles owners offered to settle out of court and drop the lawsuit, but only if Oklahoma City made significant changes.

    The city obliged. On Sept. 13, 1983, the city reportedly settled the lawsuit for $1 in damages and agreed to pay approximately $28,000 in legal fees to the Angles owners.

    "The City Council did the right thing," Groves told The Daily Oklahoman. "This was a good solution to a tough problem."

    Moreover, the city agreed to provide gay-awareness training for its officers henceforth and obey a permanent injunction against the Oklahoma City police that prevented them from coming onto N.W. 39th Street and harassing the gay community. The City Council settled with Gravel, as well, and agreed to pay him $25,000.

    Van Schuyver reportedly resigned before a police disciplinary review board had a chance to make its recommendation. The city agreed to pay Bigger $15,000 to drop his suit.
    Mr. Cooper was one of the eleven citizens to speak at the November 15 City Council meeting. His video particularly appears below.

    The Videos. I've broken the November 15 discussion before City Council into segments so that you can look at either the parts you want or the whole of the discussion. Speakers are shown in the same sequence as they spoke during the meeting. As for citizen comments, I've selected a few which I considered deserving of individual treatment, presented immediately following the general citizen comments video. Other citizen opponent comments I've not singled out since none added anything substantive to the discussion presented here. That said, all 11 citizen speeches are in the main citizen video below.

    Ed Shadid (11:09)
    Skip Kelly #1 of 3 (6:42)
    Larry McAtee (6:16)
    Pete White (4:36)
    Kelly #2 of 3 (4:55)
    All 11 Citizens (37:35)
    Opponent Paul Blair (2:35)
    Proponent Muneer Awad (2:59)
    Opponent Tom Vineyard (3:59)
    Proponent Robert Lemon (4:28)
    Proponent James Cooper (3:37)
    Proponent Ryan Kiesel (2:48)
    Proponent Nathaniel Batchelder (2:38)
    Proponent Scott Hamilton (3:20)
    David Greenwell(4:48)
    Skip Kelly #3 of 3 (1:03)
    Gary Marrs & The Vote (5:12)
    The Final Vote (0:43)
    Conclusions. Every reader and listener will have his or her own conclusions about what happened concerning this resolution on November 15, 2011, and that's fair. We all have the right to speak, to form opinions, and/or to advocate what we personally think is "right." Since this is my blog, I'll give mine here.
    • I am proudest of ...
      1. Ed Shadid for having the ideals and courage to advocate those ideals so that others could follow, and, as well, whether they would or not. Shadid has already demonstrated his willingness to stand alone, if need be.
      2. Pete White for his unwavering support for the rights of all citizens ... with Shadid on the Council, he now has an ally in advocacy of and for the common men and women in our city.
      3. Patrick Ryan for setting aside his differences with Ed Shadid and announcing on October 25 that he wanted to be present to cast his vote for the resolution and for him doing so on November 15.
      4. Gary Marrs for having the gumption to search his conscience and speak and vote in favor of Shadid's resolution on November 15. Not even Ryan spoke on November 15, but Marrs did ... when he didn't have to.

    • Deserving Of Credit But No Cigars. Although all three voted for the resolution, only one spoke during either the October 25 or November 15 City Council Session.
      1. David Greenwell softly indicated his approval on October 25 but spoke ambiguously on November 15. Perhaps, one day, he will find more willingness to assume less of a wallflower and more of a leadership mantle, but in this matter he did not assume such a role.
      2. Mick Cornett voted affirmatively but he also chose not to speak at a time that leadership counted. For his vocal silence, he gets a "no cigar" vote from me.
      3. Meg Salyer spoke at neither session but did vote in favor of the resolution. But, for her vocal silence, she also gets a "no cigar" vote from me.
    • Council Members Who Disappointed. Two fall into this category.
      1. Larry McAtee. Ward 3's City Council member presented no surprise in his negative vote. That's just who Larry is.
      2. Skip Kelly. Ward 7's Skip Kelly's negative vote is not only one of my most surprising revelations, it is also my greatest disappointment. Skip, as an Afro-American, should be the 1st in line of the Council members to understand and grasp the notion that, in America, all minorities should be protected against the majority and citizen speakers like Paul Blair and Tom Vineyard. But, by his persistent advocacy on both October 25 and then again three times on November 15 and his vote on the latter day, he of all City Council members represents my personal greatest disappointment.

        I regard Skip as a friend. I know that he favors civil liberties being extended to all. Why he would vote as he did, and vocally objected as he did, on October 25 and again on November 15 remains beyond my understanding. One member at OkcTalk opines that he was pandering to his political base, but I truly hope that Skip is above that sort of thing when human liberties are involved. It is my hope that as time passes he will come to see, and have, a better day, and come to grasp that not only Afro-Americans should have protection under the law.

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