Pokin’ the Pokes in Stillwater


Texas-Oklahoma State Pre-Game

Well, the Horns are hitting the trail across the Red River, on up to Stillwater, where the boomers started it all by shoving the Native Americans aside. The place was God forsaken and unpopulated until they decided to clear some brush weed for a university and there you have it, good ‘ol OSU and T.Boone’s money. Now a Jordanian friend, a fellow “hasher” of the Hashemite Hash House Harriers (a “drinking club with a running problem”) told me yesterday at a poolside party at the Aussie Embassy majestically overlooking the sun baked brown olive-tree laden hills of south Amman that he went to OSU and he said Oklahoma girls were among the finest he’d seen, said he was bug eyed his whole freshman year. Well, we had just done a noonday run in near 100 degree heat before swilling copious amounts of chilled Cooper’s ale that the Oz were serving up but I knew he was telling the truth. Willis Allan Ramsey said northeast Texas women are Texas gold and I reckon the same applies just a few miles north of the border. Must be the still waters. OK, this said, the Horns just need to trample through town like the real longhorns did more than a hunnert years ago, and get the hell out, not even stop for a poke, unless its pokin’ the Cowpokes — we want to see plenty of that.

Willie Earl’s Texas-Oklahoma State Pregame

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As I Lay Dying (thinking of Oxford and Mr. Bill)


Texas-Ole Miss Pregame

The Grove is famous for its partying, and Ole Miss had Archie and then he sired a couple lads who became even more famous than he did so I guess the Mannings are the first family in Oxford. But when I think of Oxford, Mississippi, I think of ‘ol Billy Faulkner, the guy who ate my lunch in my senior English project in high school in San Antonio. “The Sound and the Fury”, “Absalom, Absalom”, I read a few pages of each and soon was racing off to buy the Cliff Notes to take care of the analysis for the paper I had to write. My English teacher who loved Faulkner and his good buddy James Joyce more than anyone else called me out on the Notes, knew damn well I hadn’t cracked the books, grade “C”. I should have chosen Ernest H. but of course, she hated him as any female senior English teacher would and so I went political and paid for it! Now come to think of it, “September Morn” Helen teaches high school English, I believe, or at least she reads a helluva lot. Tell me, Helen, do you hate Hemingway and adore Faulkner?  Well, I want the Horns to go up to Oxford, kick some of that Ole Miss blue ass, and then go pay their respects to ‘ol Bill’s grave site, have a straight shot of bourbon whiskey, then tell him and Oxford to bloody well ‘eff off and then head back to Austin with good feelings. I would be grateful.

Pre-Game Ole Miss

Los Lobos Come to Austin


Texas – New Mexico Pre-Game

W.E., clearly, there is an air of discontent in Longhorn Land. If the score of tonight’s game is not something like 72-3, we could be looking at either a pitchfork rally on Guadalupe Ave, or maybe Longhorn Nation just enters a phase of malaise, like Jimmy Carter once said, where basically we just …don’t…give…a…shite, anymore. Nah, il n’est pas possible. Escuchar amigos, Los Lobos are better as a Chicano rock band from East LA than they are as a football team. It should be OK, really, tonight on the football field.

Willie Earl’s Texas-New Mexico Pregame

¡Chief of Party!


“Chief of Party”, amigos, is the position that all expat aid workers covet, at least
among those who do real development work with funding, as opposed to those underpaid dusty guerilla types who rattle around in C-130’s with flour sacks doing relief work, the work of God. Yeah, someone has to do it, but the quicker those cargo-panted pudnockers get out of the way the better. Enter the Chief of Party to get the development job done.

COP intrepidly wades in through red tape to save the natives and achieve sustainable development.

The Chief of Party (COP) is the emissary of development, leader of the mission, the all-powerful director of USAID projects with funding in the gazillions, commanding a staff
numbering anywhere from 25 to hundreds, the blessed one who is served tea first
and most frequently in the office. Never mind that the COP has the signing
authority of a dachshund. It’s the image and the allowances that count. Illusions
aside, what the COP really does is battle with the ever-meddling “home office”.
Every field commander throughout history can attest to it. Alexander the Great
and Genghis Khan were probably the last field directors in recorded times that
didn’t have to put up with a pain-in-the-arse HQ because they were the ones in charge. Whether it’s the Pentagon or your beloved development consulting firm HQ in Washington or its fabled ‘burbs, it’s no matter, they want to hold “their man or woman in the field” by the short and curlies, primarily due to concerns over “compliance”. They’ve watched in horror as the Office of the Inspector General sent a few unlucky fellow firms in the development aid industrial complex to the gallows, hooded and swinging slowly
in the wind, simply due to non-compliance, the evil of all evils within
the bureaucratic realm. By Gawd, it won’t happen to them, not on their watch! The unschooled younger expat aid worker (EAW) or bushy tailed project assistant at HQ who aspires to the field may see the storied COP as the master planner and director of all “technical” activities, the diffuser of innovation. The stark reality is the poor wanker spends most of

As HQ wants it…

his or her time “dotting the ‘I’s’ and “crossing the ‘T’s’” in contract “documentation”,
going through interminable rounds of combat with HQ to reach compliant nirvana and to get a bloody VP to sign on the bottom line of a paltry value contract to
get a few development thingies done. Best not to complain though, just salute
the snapping corporate flag, and continue to comply, as the illustration at right depicts…

To be sure, it’s a great title, Chief of Party. Who wouldn’t want that one? Anyhow, the home office thinks the COP is busy stirring pink gin and tonics just about
all the time, living high off the hog with all those tasty but taxable
allowances. You might as well comply with the image, folks. Where’s dinner
tonight? Be sure to serve the toddies with ice please, shaken, or stirred…it
really doesn’t matter, because life is hell in the tropics, sniffs the
ruddy-faced COP, dreaming of retirement in a villa in Phuket, with daily
massage scheduled at noon (not a minute before). Now that’s compliance…

Chief of Party, the toast of the aid world!