Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Brief Appearance

Everything's in flux right now. Boss has resigned, an interim boss appointed, people who are scared that their jobs are in jeopardy are all running around being mean, stupid jackass assholes. Whew, that felt good to say that.

Transition; it's an amazing spectator sport in the quasi-political world.

Now, those of us not afraid of our jobs are cool as cucumbers, but we do find ourselves the victims of the stupid jackass assholes, and that pretty much sucks. But I intend to kill them all with kindness and be smoothe. I let one of them get to me last week and that will be the last time. He shall never rob me of another day of breathing and living.

Friend drlobojo told me something years ago that I've repeated over and over again to many who work with me and for me, and it's that some people get points by earning for themselves and other people get points by trying (and sometimes succeeding) to take them away from others. Guess which kind the stupid jackass assholes are?

I had a little tumble with me and my cane in the rain last night that has me off my feet yet again. I have been on and off depressed about that today, but if I look back, the good Lord has spared me many fits by the stupid jackass assholes at work over the past several months. The broken, but now healing, hip has been a blessing in many ways. So overall, I can't get too depressed (except for the fact that I will never have another danged day off for probably two years once I get back to work full time).

Another day or two perhaps, maybe I'll be okay.

Friday, June 09, 2006

An Open Letter to President Bush

Dear Mr. President:

In the immortal, if fictional, words of Dr. Benjamin Franklin “Hawkeye” Pierce, 4077th M*A*S*H, in a telegram sent to President Harry S. Truman (and copied to the Secretary General of the United Nations):

“Who’s responsible?”

I think you know the answer to that question, and it’s just two words, if you’re being honest – the answer, should you care to utter it, is:

“I am.”

Tell me if you plan to utter those words, as I want to book a skiing vacation waaaaaaay down under, if you get my drift.

It’s been a hell of a week for me, just thinking about life and people and war and politics and it’s given me food for thought.

I accidentally caught the documentary “Bush’s Brain” on the Sundance channel last Sunday morning. All throughout, my stomach churned, but particularly the whisper campaigns about Senator John McCain’s adopted daughter (she happens to be a child of color) and Max Cleland are subjects requiring the penance of many.

Who’s responsible? You are. Not Karl, not Karen, not any other suited youngster trying to be the perfect Alex P. Keaton in your campaigns -- YOU are responsible.

Our country is better than Abu Ghraib, better than what you forced Colin Powell to do at the U.N., better than the “sixteen words” and the close-to-assassination of Valerie Plaime. Who’s responsible? You are.

Our country is better than this war we’re in.

I’ve been watching hour upon hour of M*A*S*H while at home lately and the later seasons, in particular, are so good at making sure that the viewers understand the horrors of war. I get it. And Colonel Sherman T. Potter said to one young man in a very touching episode, “There’s probably been more stupidity completed in the name of manhood than for any other reason.” I think the good Colonel is right.

The Doctrine of pre-emption is one of those “stupidities” enacted in the name of manhood.

This morning, I read Newsweek. Cover to cover, something I rarely do.


The horror. The horror.

But of course, our Marines behaved as they did. Drugged, sensory-deprived. Hot, paranoid…are there no psychologists involved except for psy-ops in this nation’s military? Given the conditions, the behavior seen at Haditha is all but guaranteed.

The conditions we place our troops in right now in Iraq are indicative of man’s inhumanity to man.

And there’s only one man who’s responsible -- you. And even if you take the stage with a backdrop of repeated “buck stops here” messages, it won’t be enough. It's too late. Too many kids are dead.

Because you crossed the Rubicon; you crossed it when you used the word “crusade.” You added insult to multiple injuries when you declared "mission accomplished," and you can't take it back.

So, so sad.

With all due sincerity and respect for the Office,
A disenchanted subject.

And a big hello to the Domestic Spying folks who pick this up and read it, too, feel free to leave comments.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Mother's Day Away From Home

A few years ago, I began Mother’s day in a hotel in Olive Branch, Mississippi. Olive Branch is just south of Memphis and is a good halfway point when you’re driving from Oklahoma to Georgia. You’re past the scary parts of Memphis (the scary parts include the area surrounding Graceland, by the way; at least, they’re scary to a woman traveling alone).

I was traveling to a meeting in Atlanta and I was still in my yearlong avoidance of flying post 9/11/2001. I drove everywhere that year, traveling for work. This particular weekend, though, I was driving to Atlanta in a bit of a mood, because some MAN had decided that Mother’s Day was a good day to start a meeting; a meeting that would begin that evening with dinner.

I was feeling a bit down, even though I love traveling, because I was used to being with Bird on Mother’s day. Add to that, it was raining the entire trip across northern Mississippi and into northern Alabama towards Birmingham. Some of the trip through northern Alabama is really pretty and it was a nice little ride through all the green trees, hugged by more kudzu than I’d ever seen before.

After Birmingham, it’s a straight shot across Interstate 20 to Atlanta. I’d left early that morning and had been making good time. About halfway between Atlanta and Birmingham is Talladega, Alabama, home to the super speedway track where two of the always-exciting restrictor plate NASCAR races are held each year. I'd already decided to stop and see if it was open; even woke up earlier than I'd planned that morning, hoping to have time to maybe pop in and see the place.

At the Talladega Superspeedway is also the International Motorsports Hall of fame. It’s open seven days a week and I pulled into the museum/hall of fame building right at opening time, around noon on Sundays.

Inside are some of the greatest cars driven at Talladega by some of the greatest drivers. One section holds the remains of cars after having gone through a wreck at Talladega, called at each race “the big one” both here at Talladega and at Daytona, the NASCAR circuit’s other restrictor plate track. The mangled cars are amazing to see, they’re the fossilized remains of physics and feats of engineering. But the cocoon where the driver sat was sound in each of the cars on display.

There’s another section of the hall of fame that pays tribute to motorsports journalists and, since I’ve got some friends and acquaintences in that journalism niche, it was nice to see the awards given to them, especially the likeness of my adopted "pappy" (a Carolinian term of endearment for "grandpa") etched in bronze.

There was also a whole room, recently created at the hall of fame, honoring Dale Earnhardt. It was a hard room to visit, but mandatory for any of us who loved and still love the man.

And as I returned to the front of the building, the docent asked if I wanted a tour of the track. It was raining here, too, in Talladega, but not as heavily as I’d encountered earlier in the day. I was the only person in the building who wanted to brave the elements and take the tour. So I hopped onto a little bus, driven by one sweetie of a man whose southern drawl immediately made me feel relaxed and as comfortable as if I was sipping sweet tea on a hammock on my front porch.

He allowed as to how, when the races were going on, it was his job to man one of the trucks that cleans debris off the tracks. I was jealous of such a cool job.

And since it was just me with him, he took longer to give me the tour of the place than her normally does. He took me to places he doesn’t normally take tourists. He let me get a sense of the banking in the corners and we took a good look at the stands from pit row.

And then we went to Victory lane, still in the red and white checkered décor for the “no bull” races that were still going on at the time (before Winston Cup became Nextel Cup) and he hopped out of the bus and offered to take my picture.

So I stood in Victory circle in the very footprint that Dale Earnhardt himself had stood, not long ago, when he’d won his final Winston Cup race. The Talladega race in which he moved from 19th place to win in five – count them – FIVE laps. Dale’s win that day, his last, little did we know it, was one of the greatest feats of drafting acumen and sheer ballsiness ever witnessed in modern NASCAR history.

Little Kenny Wallace helped push him to victory lane that day, and I can remember Dale thanking Kenny for his part. In and out of the pack, Dale, larger than life, slingshotted himself into the winner’s circle that fabulous November day.

At home during that race, I’d darn hear hyperventilated, jumping up and down in my living room as Dale move up, position by position, and almost collapsed in front of the TV as he took the checkered flag.

I love the pictures that the sweet Alabama man took of me that day, standing where Dale Earnhardt stood after his amazing feat, after his final win as a Winston Cup driver. Sorry, I can't post them because they'd give me away. But I did enlarge one of the best ones and give it to my Daddy later that year for Christmas :-)

The photos from that day are some of my treasures and, as the tour guide dropped me off in the parking lot, he handed me a couple of souvenirs that he is supposed to share only with VIPs and with an engaging grin, wished me a Happy Mother’s Day in his sweet, humble and honest way. It was like I had a son for the day, that day, sent to make my day a special one.

I can barely remember the meeting that ensued that evening; I was still mentally in the air above Talladega and, even though a stupid work meeting caused me to me away from my Bird on Mother’s day, the good Lord made it up to me, giving me one of the best Mother’s Days that a mom could have when forcibly separated from her child.

I stood where my hero stood. Rain be damned, this Mother was one happy Mother.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Bare Escentuals -- Happiness in the Mail Today

This blog is going to mean more for girls than for guys, so just bear with me.

About a year ago, one of those nights when insomnia had me up flipping channels, I came across an infomercial for Bare Escentuals, a company that provides a truly revolutionary makeup for women that’s all natural. All natural, and that's not just a catch phrase. The makeup is called Bare Minerals. Not long after seeing the commercial, I decided to sign up and get the foundation makeup sent to me. You pick two shades that most closely match your skin tone and every 60 days, your supply gets replenished; also in your automatic shipment is always a special gift from Leslie Blodgett, President and CEO of Bare Escentuals. The gift is always something useful and wonderful.

I gave my sister some for Christmas. I gave some to Bird. We all love it. LOVE it! Last weekend, QVC had its 8th anniversary show – that’s eight years promoting Bare Escentuals. Leslie Blodgett always appears on the segments, too. You apply the foundations by blending the shades and buffing the products into your skin with soft brushes -- no messy foundations, no weird-smelling sponges, and your skin just automatically loves this stuff. They pitch it sometimes on QVC by saying it's so good for your skin, you can sleep in it. And that's true, believe me.

I never get really jazzed up about much, especially products that claim to make you prettier or younger or whatever, but this Bare Escentuals stuff, my goodness, there’s never been anything created that’s EVER been so FOR women than the products that Blodgett and her company create. It’s like you have a friend who created makeup just for you. I may even start sounding maudlin about it, but it's really heartfelt appreciation for the fact that the Bare Minerals makeup exists.

So last weekend, I watched two of the three segments that QVC had, with my laptop in my lap, set to the QVC page, and bought me a whole new summer wardrobe of makeup. Think about it – before long I’ll be getting to leave the house, back out in the world, and when I do, I’ll have all this pretty new makeup to use. I was having a ball, watching Leslie and the QVC hosts showing how to use the makeup on the lovely models…ER was, I think, amused, because all the new products were just making me so happy!

Now, those of you who know me know that I’m not at all what people would call “girly” but mostly it’s because all the stuff out there in the world of fashion isn’t really created to make our lives better or easier. High heeled shoes, yuk (though they do make your calves look great) – they actually harm you over the years of wearing them. Pantyhose? Surely the most horrid piece of female torture ever invented. Bras, girdles, you name it, stuff out there for women either hurts, confines you, binds you or wears you out by the end of the day at the office.

But the Bare Escentuals stuff is great for women and if I had the money, I’d figure out a way to own a franchise. It's something I can look forward to when this bum hip lets me go back out in the world!

But here’s why I’m even talking about this makeup today. Bad day, totally bad day. The pain from the broken hip particularly bad today; little problems at work crept up that people want fixed, but I can’t fix them from home. ER’d yelled a bit – not his fault, he was yelling at circumstance and not me – when he does that, he says, “I’m not yelling at you, I’m yelling NEAR you" :-) and that always cracks me up. I’ve been in this house for so long waiting for my hip to heal, gaining weight because I've been forced to be so sedentary (I swear, I look in the mirror and see the Pillsbury Dough Boy's red-headed sister), and feel nothing NEAR pretty (don’t get me wrong, I love my house and everything in it, even Ice-T, but I'm close to being ready to re-enter the world).

With all of that weighting me down, today, the mailman began to bring me my pretty new stuff from Bare Escentuals I’d bought last weekend. The QVC packages were stacked up in the mail box and I ripped them open like they were Christmas presents from Santa.

Pretty colors, soft brushes, ways to make my tired old face look fresher and healthier. Stuff that works, is pretty, girly, and it all just makes me happy to just look at it until such a time when I’m well again – really well – and can wear it all. The little containers of shadows and glimmers and colors, soft brushes and lip liners are all lined up beside me like little jewels, and I'm as tickled as a kid.

Check out their website or go to QVC’s site and look for their Bare Escentuals products. Leslie Blodgett probably has no idea that, at least for me, today, her products ended up making a bad day a much happier one for me.

So, so cool.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Photographic Memory

Three days ago, the mailman brought a package to the door. Actually, the mailman is a woman, but mailwoman doesn’t sound right.

I knew what the package was; it was something Mama and my sister told me was coming. I didn’t open it right away, though. I watched the still box sitting close to me for most of the day.

Finally, it seemed the right time to break the seal. So I opened it.

Inside was a photo album, wrapped tightly in bubble wrap and more tape than was necessary (we all love using too much tape in my family). And as I pulled back the bubble wrap, a stylish, French-themed, pink and black photo album revealed itself.

The cover of the album is all about style, the word PARIS gilt and in all caps, words like “haute couture” and “Le Bottier de L’ Elegance.” In a word, I’d say the album was “girly,” appropriate for Mama to send to her girls; my sister got one, too.

Mama had already told me what would be in the album in a sort of general way. Photos I’ve never seen before, taken by my great Aunt Sissie. Sissie isn’t her real name, but everyone calls her “Sissie” – she’s my paternal grandmother’s baby sister. Sissie is in her 70’s now, and on her, the nickname, granted her affectionately by her many siblings, doesn’t sound at all inappropriate.

For me and for my own little sister, Sissie is her name.

Sissie, to us, always seemed somewhat exotic. She lived (still lives) all the way west in Midland, Texas and Midland sounded pretty exotic, too, and far away.

The most generous and beautiful soul that ever lived, Sissie was a pal to us kids, a friend, even before we were old enough to go to school. We almost thought of Sissie as a peer, so tuned in was she to little girls. Sissie is still as fabulous and generous and loving as ever; I only use past-tense because I want to talk about Sissie from my view as a little kid.

On Christmas and all major holidays, Sissie was the photographer-in-chief for the family and she had the best cameras you could have – she was always on the cutting edge. Sissie’s flash attachment used those cool, single, clear-blue bulbs. When Sissie took a picture, the clear bulbs would flash, explode on the inside, and once used, they no longer held their cylindrical, shape nor their sharp, blue color. They looked more like storm clouds after they flashed – white, blue, mottled. With flecks of dark blue embedded in the cloudy surface.

When the photo was taken, you could hear the bulb pop. Loudly.

After Sissie took a shot, she’d pop the bulbs out of the silver flash attachment and insert another. We loved these used bulbs; they were like really pretty rocks or jewels. Sissie would let us play with the old bulbs under her watchful eye, but we knew that they’d burn our fingers if we touched them too soon. So we’d wait for those bulbs to cool on the chenille bedspread in my great-grandmother’s front bedroom. Sometimes, we’d touch them too soon and yes, they burned our fingers. But we’d follow along and collect all of the spent bulbs from Sissie’s flash. And play with them.

Sissie always used slide film. Since most of the folks we encountered still used Brownie cameras and the old 110 film, Sissie’s slides were also what we thought of as amazing, cutting edge, etc. The family would gather on occasions and look at Sissie’s slides, all together, during family events when she was probably also taking new pictures as well.

I know we’d especially watch the slide show in the summer time. The one room with the window unit air conditioner would be cool, the folks all lined up to watch the slide show. The room would be dark, and it would feel like nap time. We’d forget the horrid hot sun of our Texas summers for a little while. Christmas was what we watched and remembered, mostly.

The photo album mama sent me was laden with photographs that mama had made from some of Sissie’s slides. Sissie gave my folks some of the slides she had taken that had pictures of me and my little sister in them. Sissie really is the keeper of all the memories from Daddy’s side of the family. She made sure we’d have these memories for a long, long time.

The photos in the album are all from about 1964 through 1969, and as I flipped through the pages, I realized that my view of all my relatives, many now gone, is set during this particular time frame. The way I think of all these people is just as they are in these photos. I sort of put them in permanent memory storage in my brain as they were when I was little; they never aged.

And strangely enough, when I see my own face from that period of time, I can also jump back in my brain instantly and remember what I was thinking, how I was thinking, and remember so darned much happiness that it almost hurts. What I wouldn't give...

A tomboy, enabled by my farm-born-and-bred grandmother, there are Easter pictures where my little sister’s prancing around in her pretty yellow dress and stiff, white baby shoes. Beside her, I’m in my one-piece coveralls, long-sleeved denim, resembling mattress ticking, my outfit of choice when I was at my grandmother’s farm. Not the easiest garb for going to the bathroom, but the best for being on the farm!

We’d go to the little farm in north Texas (almost to Oklahoma) on most Sundays after church and, though I’d be forced into a dress for church purposes, I always had a sack with my coveralls in them. The minute that the requirement for wearing a dress was past, I’d be hopping into my coveralls. It was always something of a joke in the family, my dislike for dresses. Shoot, I’m still that way. Oh, I can dress to the nines and do my job well, but the minute I walk in the door at home, there goes the dress.

There’s a Christmas shot of me opening a shoebox, filled with four jars of my grandmother’s homemade chow-chow. I can remember opening that gift so clearly. It was the heaviest present I’d gotten that whole Christmas, and I couldn’t imagine what it was as I tore open the paper.

My grandmother wrapped her gifts in floral foil, because her sister-in-law owned the town’s florist shop and my grandmother could get that foil from my great aunt Thelma’s shop. Florist foil almost feels like fabric, and the gifts my grandmother wrapped each Christmas earned the description of “beribboned.”

A whole box of chow-chow. Just for me. Yum. I would eat it straight from the jar, or, using it in the way my grandmother taught me, I’d put a big glob on top of my pinto beans.

Beans. A once-a-week meal, back then. Comfort food for southern girls and boys.

All of those Christmases during my early years, I can remember the houses being just packed, packed with people. Big, Catholic families, with three and four generations, all gathered in a single house. Cousins, first and second and third; uncles, regular and great; aunts, great and regular. Grandparents, great-grandparents. Children from all side. The photos in my album show that I wasn’t dreaming -- the house really was full of people.

And in the pictures, my sister and I are fitted in between various relatives. We were the oldest, the first, in our generation, so early on, we're THE center of attention, the center of the photos. My little sister with her curly red hair and red lips and cheeks on various laps and me, hanging with the men, mostly, it seems. Daddy and Uncle David, second cousins like Danny or Ricky or Larry or Thomas.

Bee-hive hairdos on cousins and aunts like Barbara and Thelma and Leona and their girls, Cindy and Janet and Sherry and Chris.

White, flocked Christmas trees. My great grandparents, looking spry and fun, the way I remember them when I conjure them up in my mind. They loved pinochle, and most Sunday nights, my sister and I would play in their living room while mama and daddy and my great grandparents would play pinochle. Or moon or forty-two or regular dominoes.

Another photo of me, pulling my darling grandma in my new red wagon in my own house, right next to the floor furnace – oh, and I so remember my Pa Pa Henry bringing that wagon into the house; it’s seared into my brain. I wore a red outfit that day; I matched my way cool wagon.

My little grandma holding a beer in her hand in a whole lot of shots. My grandma (“Monnie” is what I called her) could out-beer-drink her own sons!

Pictures of me and my daddy, out on the driveway, playing, before my sister ever came around.

Daddy, young and cute.

Mama, looking pretty in a red dress.

Daddy, in a snapped-up red and white western shirt, one not unlike a little shirt I had at the time. Daddy holding my baby sister on his knee.

My Monnie and her daddy, “Grandpa,” smiling together at the pretty face of my baby sister.

My great Uncle Johnny, who, my goodness, was one hot number at the time, so handsome.

Rare, rare photos of me and my baby sister on my paternal grandfather’s knees. He, looking sickly, not too long before his death. He died way too young, in his 50’s, and my Monnie lived on almost 40 more years.

All of us, gathered around the upright piano.

A snap of me, wearing only panties, about four years old, caught by Sissie, snooping in stuff I had no business snooping in.

Me, lifting my skirt up to my neck, the better to show off my new cowboy boots from my godparents, Margaret and Albert.

A sweet photo of me with my Monnie’s smoke-gray cat, Josephine. Another with me and Josephine and “Lady,” Monnie’s beagle. We had “Lady One” and “Lady Two,” I’m not sure which “Lady” is in the picture.

In the background, a picture of D.C. and Marie’s house, my Monnie’s neighbors. They were cool; they had glass candy dishes in their house, always with ribbon candy in them.

The whole album, full of memories and relatives who are now scattered across the nation, back when we’d all gather in one place at one time, at least once a year.

My sister and I’ve talked about these pictures this week, and this we agree – boy, they make us miss our “Monnie,” our grandmother who died not too long ago, well into her 80’s. My sister has had to put the pictures aside a time or two, the hurt of missing our Monnie is just more than she can take sometimes.

We miss her, the little five-foot-two live wire that she was. Tiny but strong, Monnie was, and I can remember finally becoming taller than her when I was in third grade. Becoming taller than Monnie was a major life event.

Monnie’s hair was so fine that the Texas wind could blow her hair straight with one blast. To counter the Texas wind, she wore surgeon’s scrub caps when outdoors. A grandmother in a scrubcap was a perfectly normal thing to us, growing up. And she was smart, those caps sure did keep her hairdo looking good – until she went to the beauty shop the next week.

The photo album is a blessing, it reinforces that, at one time, we were all young. There really was a time when my eyes sparkled and the freckles across my nose and cheeks were new. There really was a time when I had the world in front of me.

And it's true, the little farm house that my Pa Pa built for my Monnie was ever bit as festive as I remember on holidays. My memories have all gotten a lovely and unexpected "booster shot."

The people around me all really did love me and my sister, and we were very, very happy girls. My dear great aunt Sissie was beautiful, seen in one shot with her friend Mary, holding my sister when she was about 11 months old. So pretty; I even keep Sissie and Mary in my brain at this age.

Heck, in the sixties, we were all beautiful. The whole family was.

And now, I’ve got the album to prove it. Thanks to my dear great aunt Sissie. And thanks to Mama, knowing that my sister and I would want these photographs, we’d want to treasure them – all static shots in time, proof of the people we loved and who loved us, too.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Woo-Hoo!!!!!! Finally!!!!

Yeah, baby -- live tornadoes; I could feel it coming all day.

ER laughed as I scheduled my late lunch in time for the sky to pop, and he teased me when I text'd him that an outflow boundary and later, the dryline, began to pop.

Jim, Chopper pilot from local TV station -- the most awesome weather stud ever! Thanks to his steady flying, ER got to see a live tornado being born. I've seen it several times and that's why I like to get the popcorn and drinks ready and settle down in front of the TV for some good old-fashioned tornado chasing. A little more of this seeing tornadoes being born, and I'll have ER as "into it" as I am. :-)

"RFD" -- ER learned that this has another meaning to the one he knew from his coverage of rural Texas. In weather lingo, that's "rear flank downdraft."

Rain-free-base. Gate-to-gate signatures on the doppler. Lower level lock. Shear.
Aren't the very WORDS great?

Spotting the wall cloud forming up real nice, I amused ER when I "called it" even before Mike, meteorologist from our NBC station, my personal weather guy I've stuck with since 1993 when I lived in Stillwater, did.

Chopper guy is good, too, but when he saw a scud cloud and wondered if there was a funnel spinning up, I told ER, "nah, that's inflow." The weather dude says, "that's some inflow." Score another "called it first" for Dr. ER.

I love the vocabulary, the rush, all of it, when it comes to weather chasing. I just wish this danged bone would heal so ER and I can go back out there, cameras in tow. Remember the shots I did from my 737 plane of storms over Kansas last year? I love shooting weather of all kinds. Well, and I'd link those photos, but I haven't bothered to learn the html biz.

And so here is all I need of y'all -- a patron to pay for me to become a temporary Sooner to get a late-in-life meteorology degree. I have all the common sense stuff down pat. Been directly in a big F4; had a near miss with the OKC tornadoes in 1999. Someone out there, I'm a good investment. I'd even be a Sooner to get that degree. All bids welcome.

Nowhere is weather coverage so good (nor so competitive) as right here in Oklahoma.
And we benefit from it -- whether that be for our safety or our watching for entertainment.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Big Valley Trumps Gunsmoke

Saturday mornings, so ER can have his favorite background noises going on in the house, I usually wake up to find one of the western channels on the TV -- bad thing is, The Big Valley comes on at 10am and every danged week, I get sucked into the show.

When I was a kid, we loved The Big Valley and my cousing Jarrod is named for Jarrod Barkley, believe it or not.

This morning, ER sits for a minute and is surprised to learn that the town closest to the Barley's ranch is Stockton. Yes, in THE valley. ER says he never watched a whole episode.

Goodness. Barbara Stanwyck, the matriarch of the Barkleys, as Victoria, seemed very severe to me when I was a kid. One of her leather, be-fringed western outfits from The Big Valley sits in the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. And it's TINY; Stanwyck always seemed larger than life in her roles and yet, she was a tiny slip of a thing.

My sister and I would "fight" over who we "got" for our boyfriends. I think most chicks probably fought over Heath (Lee Majors), but my sister and I fought over Nick (Peter Breck). Secretly, though, I had a soft spot for Jarrod (Richard Long; I know that he died, but can't remember when or how or why).

I told ER that I thought he'd have watched an episode if for no other reason than this -- Linda Evans was gorgeous when playing daughter Audra.

There's an episode in which a character played by Bruce Dern holds Victoria hostage....and he keeps referring to her as a "quality lady." Since then, my own family uses the phrase "quality lady" in our familial lexicon. We even refer to Dern as the "quality lady man."

My grandmother, mother, as well as me and my sister, watched Big Valley, with three generations of girls drooling over these Barkley brothers.

So I'm thinking ER gets a few E AND R points taken away because he's nenver seen Big Valley. And he scoffed when I declared that it's better-n-Gunsmoke.

Marshall Dillon wasn't hot. The Barkley boys were!