Author Archives: Alan Bates

Skywatch Friday – Bicycling and Michael Buble

Last Friday Heather and I went bicycling on Tulsa’s Riverparks Trails. It was very nice. Not too many people and not much wind, not much hills and a lot of fun. Kind of tricky navigating around the kids on the E scooters near the Gathering Place. Anybody besides me think that electric scooters and bikes should be banned from pedestrian and bicycle trails?

We finished up with a nice sunset, sorry for the blurry image.

Monday at lunchtime I noticed a bunch of Rock Star busses lined up at the Mayo Hotel. Except I don’t think it was a rock star, I am guessing that they were for Michael Buble.

That evening Heather and I went to the Penthouse Bar at the Mayo for a pre-concert drink. The concert itself was great. He is a consummate singer and really has a sense of humor. I have never seen an entertainer connect with their audience like he does. This is the third time that we have seen him and we will be back for me.

I hope that you are having a good week. I am linking with Skywatch Friday. Come join us!!

Our World – Tulsa Legends at Memorial Park Cemetery

As part of a solving a geocaching puzzle I had the opportunity to view some of the famous people buried at Tulsa’s Memorial Park Cemetery. It was really kind of interesting so who was buried there.

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Firsts up is Roy Clark. Those of a certain age, remember him in the television weekly comedy music show Hee Haw back in the 70’s. He was a great performer and projected a warmth while performing. He had hits on both the country and pop charts and was known as a great musician. He didn’t grow up in Tulsa but he called Tulsa home.

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And then Bob Wills, the godfather of everything musical in Tulsa and a co-founder of country swing music.

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He played for years at Cain’s Ballroom here in Tulsa which is still a music hall with quite a full schedule. His ghost is said to reside there.

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Leon Russell had the most elaborate monument and had coins, rocks, and other mementos from his fans on the front. (Roy Clark had coins on the back ledge of his monument for some reason.) He was active for over 60 years. Elton John called him a mentor. He was enrolled in both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

He played with Frank Sinatra, Eric Clapton, and others he is a legend.

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Underneath one of the benches at his grave site sits a hat like the ones he used to wear.

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And Sam Kinison. He was one mixed up dude. Lots of talent and very outrageous. Watch the following video at your own risk!

Strangely enough he started out in life as a Pentecostal Preacher and had to quit because he wasn’t making enough money. He went into comedy and got several big breaks.

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Oral Roberts, the father of the “Name it, Claim it” Prosperity Gospel is buried in a common grave next to his wife.

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He might be the most recognized preacher in history. He was an innovator in several fronts, with his prosperity gospel, tele-evangelism, and was founder of Oral Roberts University which is still going on although they separated from the family years ago. He was a character.

His life and ministry is still a conundrum to me. On the one hand he appears to have been a bit of a huckster. On the other hand, his University has done a lot of good. He was colorful, I’ll give you that.

And so that concludes my tour of the Cemetery. I love cemeteries. I google names on the tombstones and you would be surprised how much information is available. For instance I saw a gravestone for a man and wife and it just had birth dates and no end dates. I googled the names and found out that yes, they died but are buried in another cemetery. I am not going to name them because it happened pretty recently and I think I am friends with one of their offspring. So what’s the deal, why would somebody order a double gravestone in advance of the need and have it installed?

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This last guy is my favorite. Waymon Tisdale was a basketball player who played at the University of Oklahoma and later in the NBA. He quit basketball after twelve years in the NBA to concentrate on his first love, music. He played bass guitar in a smooth jazz band that he led. My wife and I used to go to a Jazz Festival here in Tulsa where Tisdale frequently played and he radiated such a friendliness and warmth from the stage and was totally approachable and well grounded.

He and his family lived in a house not far from where we lived at the time. In fact I would go running by his house in the early morning and it was pretty cool. They had young kids and a huge play area for them. It was nice but not superstar gazillionaire nice. His diagnosis with cancer and subsequent early death was a huge tragedy. I still don’t get how somebody so alive can be so dead.

Sorry, I didn’t intend for this to be so long but here it is. It could have been longer, especially if I had elaborated on some of the more entertaining tales of Oral Roberts.

I am linking with Our World Tuesday

Still Hiking Skywatch

This is kind of an “add on” to my last post about hiking on Tulsa’s Turkey Mountain last Sunday morning. Don’t tell me that I am the only blogger that milks all the posts he or she can out of an experience.

Turkey Mountain Pond Topaz

What are called ponds everywhere else are called lakes on Turkey Mountain. Don’t ask me why, its just the way it is. Whatever you call them, they are full which is unheard of this late in the summer. Want to know something else? (I am going to tell you anyway, so say yes, okay) I didn’t activate our lawn sprinkler system until this past weekend. It has rained so much we have not watered our yard once.

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The ponds are overflowing and the vegetation is lush. I was soaking in DEET so I didn’t get any tick or chigger hitchhikers thank goodness but I was kind of dumb and didn’t take any water which was a mistake even in just a three mile hike.

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It always lifts my spirits being out in nature. I didn’t really see anybody else. I love getting back home after my outings and checking instagram for Turkey Mountain. There were at least 25 other people claiming they were all by themselves. It is a testament on how big the area is that we can all be there and not get in each others way.

Do you have a place you can go to get away from it all? I hope so.

I am linking with Skywatch Friday

Sunday Morning Hike on Turkey Mountain

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Sunday morning I let my heathen pagan self run loose and decided to go on a hike on Turkey Mountain. Nobody was there!! I started from the lower parking lot and and after soaking myself with DEET headed up the hill. After I got to the upper parking lot I went on a modified Snake Trail route.

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Turkey Mountain was a rowdy place back in the day. Whisky stills, oilwells, farms and ranches. There are still remnants of houses and oilwells there. This is the remnants of a oilwell. A pump jack sat on the foundation closest to us and the motor running it was in the back. There are no longer any operating oil wells on the Mountain.

Turkey Mountain Leaf Detail Topaz

I was looking for color and I found these leaves turning color.

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Sorry for the fuzzy photo. Using the online wildflower id at discoverlife.org the nearest match was “Asiatic Dayflower.” Don’t know if I believe it or not. What do you think?

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The Snake Trail crosses this creek and then loops back across it again. This is in the vicinity of the last time I saw deer on Turkey Mountain. Sometimes when I am there late in the day when it is dark I can hear deer off down the creek. I guess it is deer, either that or a Sasquatch maybe.

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I have no idea, but I like the photo. Some sort of cluster of flowers I found.

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Black Eye Susan’s anybody?

I went a little over three miles and was exhausted. It was cool and overcast when I started but got hot and extremely humid before I was done. Like a dummy I didn’t bring any water. But hey, I had my Church on the Mountain. Congregation of one. We didn’t sing, we pondered, prayed and expressed gratitude for the many blessings that God gives us.

I am linking with Our World Tuesday

Skywatch Friday – 4th of July Edition 2019

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July 4, 2019 Tulsa Fireworks Display

It is July 4 Season where we celebrate the Declaration of Independence gaining our freedom from Great Britain. A day of fireworks and eating way too much. Our family will be going to Tulsa’s Veteran’s Park to watch the fireworks show, and eat too much.

Tulsa’s Gilcrease Museum has a certified copy of the Declarations of Independence and for the first time in several years they brought it out of the vaults and put it on display to the public and so I went and checked it out. It was awe inspiring to see it and astonishing to see how faded it was. They were allowing photographs and I did not take one because it would not have been a good photo. Still, being able to view such an ancient, important, and foundational document was uplifting.

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After I viewed the Declaration of Independence I wandered outside and found some flowers.

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I also found a fabric art installation by Rachel Hayes. I used by Lensball to take a photo of it.

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And I ventured further into their grounds (which are not gated and are free!!!) to the far end to see the Frontier Woman Statue. That lady has been churning butter and looking to see something for about twenty years now. Probably waiting on her husband to come home.

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And their is this cabin nearby. The door is always open and I always close it because there is nothing worth looking at inside and it takes a better photo with the door shut. Otherwise I get this big dark spot right in the middle of the photo.

Gilcrease Deer Sculpture

And I stopped by on the way back to the parking lot I stopped to say hello to the Twins. That is the name of this sculpture by Jay O’Meilia. I love it.

July 4, 2019 Tulsa, Oklahoma

Thanks for staying with me on this meandering SWF post, that doesn’t show much sky.

Skywatch Friday

Our World – The Taste of Summer

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I am not a vegetarian by any means but in the summertime I love fresh produce and fruit. The Tulsa suburb of Bixby used to be known for their truck farms and fresh produce. Will guess what the the flat lands with rich soil that make it suitable for farming is also loved by developers for building thousands of houses in nice subdivisions. So the truck and grass farms are rapidly disappearing but some of the produce places live on supplied from areas further away or even Texas, Arkansas, and Georgia.

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From a recent visit, some fresh peaches from Porter, Oklahoma.

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Local vine ripened tomatoes.

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From left to right, fresh green beans, new potatoes, corn on the cob and okra.

Luckily I’m married to a woman who knows what to do with fresh produce. We eat well all sorts of produce all summer long. Green beans and new potatoes, watermelon, cantaloupe, orkra, corn on the cob (and chowder), various peppers, marinated cucumbers and onion, and zucchini. Sign me up!! Not to mention peaches, plums, blue berries, blackberries, cherries and other fruit.

How about you? Do you have access to fresh fruit and vegetables? Do you like them?

I am linking with Our World Tuesday

Exchanging Postcards with Postcrossing

One of the things I really like about blogging is being able to personally communicate with people around the world who I normally would never encounter. The exchanges are pretty brief but over time I think I have a pretty good idea of who the person is and what their life is like and I think they have an idea of who I am.

Several years ago I joined Postcrossing, a free online service that matches up people to send and receive postcards. You don’t really exchange postcards with one person. You request an adddress from the site and they send it to you and once that party gets your card, then your address is given to somebody else, so it is kind of like a chain. By now I have sent and received about 217 cards over the several years I have participated.

You send a card and it takes about 10 days to a month for the party to get it and then it takes about that amount of time to get a card back. It works out that if I send a card once a week, then I get a card about once a week. Remember the days when getting the mail was fun? Postcrossing makes it fun again. I love getting the cards and reading the messages and making just another tiny little connection with somebody on the other side of the world.

The latest card I got is this one from somebody in Portugal. They wrote about tiles and their importance in Portugal and how they are used extensively in the buildings. I just love little tidbits of information like that. So far I have either sent or received cards from 43 different countries. It is a lot of fun. The site is free to use although you can donate if you want. The expensive part is buying the international stamps. Postcards can be as little or as much as you want to pay.

People are gracious about any card they get but in general they don’t like multi-photo postcards nor do they like advertising postcards. When you get a person’s address there is a link to a profile where they can state what their preferences are. I buy postcards a lot so I can generally get something close to what they like. So far it seems that the Oklahoma themed cards are the most popular especially those with a Native American theme such as maps showing where the original territories were.

So if you want to do a little armchair travelling Postcrossing may be for you.

Our World – Tulsa’s Downtown Churches

Tulsa is unique for having thriving downtown churches unlike many big cities where they are just barely hanging on. Here are three of them and a bonus photo.

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This is one of my favorite churches, the Catholic Holy Family Cathedral with its unusual three spires. This year it is 105 years old.

First Christian Church

Right down the street is the First Christian Church of Tulsa with its unusual tiled roof. It looks a little Middle Eastern to me.

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And my favorite, the Boston Avenue United Methodist Church on the very southern end of downtown. An zig zag art-deco masterpiece designed by Bruce Goff and Adah Robinson. It was barely finished when the Depression hit and church legend has it that the leading members had to work like crazy to keep it from being foreclosed and turned into a movie theater.

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This is the bonus photo. It is not of a church. It is the underside of the 21st street bridge over the Arkansas River in Tulsa. I caught it in the afternoon late enough to be lighted by the sun to the northwest (to the right roughly) and early enough where the light had some intensity to it. And I helped along a little with a Topaz Studio filter. It kind of looks like the inside of cathedral doesn’t it? Oh throw me a bone somebody!

There are several other very active vital churches downtown with interesting buildings. I’ll be posting about those later, maybe. I don’t plan my posts much.

I am linking with Our World Tuesday. Come join in!!

The RQ 4 Global Hawk Surveillance Drone

Airmen from Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D., welcome the first RQ-4 Global Hawk to the base May 26, 2011. The arrival marked the beginning of a new era of remotely piloted aircraft at the base. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Johnny Saldivar)

The big news last week was Iran shooting down an American Drone over the Strait of Hormuz. Our government claims that it was flying in international airspace and Iran says it was in their airspace. Subsequently our President authorized and then cancelled a retaliatory strike against Iran. I wasn’t paying too much attention the drone itself until I read in the news that it cost $190 million (other sources are saying $220 million), and it had a wingspan bigger than that of the Boeing 747 airliner (that turned out to be an untrue claim.)

Northrop Grumman : RQ-4A : Global Hawk
Photo posted to Flickr Commons by San Diego Air and Space Museum

So using my friend Mr. Google I checked the plane out. It has a wingspan of 130 feet according this US Air Force Fact Sheet and has achieved a flight time of 34 hours. It is cram packed with all sorts of surveillance and electronics gear and has no offensive capability. They can fly at 60,000 feet at a leisurely 310 knots and were considered hard to down with anti-aircraft missiles but not impossible.

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Photo posted to Flickr Commons by San Diego Air and Space Museum

We have had them operational since 2011 and we have about 30 or so in our fleet. (Or at least we did until last week.)

So anyway, I am glad that our President called off the strike although it kind of puts us in a weak position now. Beyond that though I found out about this amazing aircraft that gives us some amazing capability. I’d love to be able to see one of these airplanes in real life.

Interestingly, according to this Wired article, Iran has attacked American drones before causing one to crash in Yemen and the other escaped. They were the MQ-9 Reaper Drones which according the Air Force are designed for dynamic execution attacks and surveillance. In 2011 Iran downed an RQ 170 Sentinel Surveillance Drone. According the Wired article, Iran reverse engineered the Sentinel and deployed their own version which doesn’t make me too happy.