Author Archives: yogisd7_wp

Abundant Life Building – former Oral Roberts Ministry Headquarters

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On my evening run I passed this big ugly hulk just south of downtown. It is the Abundant Life building that was built in the mid 1950’s by Oral Roberts as headquarters for his ministry. The building has been abandoned for many years now. It was last used as an office by Southwestern Bell in the 1980s. More information can be found at the Historic Tulsa and Abandoned Oklahoma sites. Abandoned Oklahoma has some shots of the interior including the marble entryway.

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The building is strange because it has no windows. It has changed hands several times and plans are announced for redeveloping it. I just cannot see how that would work for such a big ugly building with no windows. I hate to see old buildings torn down but it seems that options are few for this structure.

Wonder Woman – Rise of the Warrior, with Gal Gadot and Chris Pine

Sunday night the family’s last official act of vacation was going to the movies to see the latest Wonder Woman flick.  And it is fabulous. Gal Gadot has the title role and she is perfect. Sweet when she has to be, glamorous during a gala, and and fierce when fighting the bad guys or sticking up for the little people. Chris Pine plays British spy, Steve Trevor.

What is the story you ask? Diana is cavorting about with the other Amazons on their own island when somehow Trevor’s plane that he stole from the Germans (World War I) comes crashing into the sea followed by a German ship and boatloads of troops. The Amazons fight off the Germans and find out about World War I for the first time. Diana takes off, against orders, with Trevor to go back to London to report to the authorities, except she doesn’t really want to follow procedure, she wants to go to the front and fight bad guys.

So a battle ensures between the forces of good and evil and you will just have to go see for yourself which side won. This was a very satisfying movie to watch and as a rule I’m not a big fan of super hero movies. They spend a good amount of time developing character and the back story and the chemistry between Pine and Gadot is great.  I highly recommend the film. Also, everybody keeps their clothes on,  and the fighting scenes are not gory.

Check out the movie web site, games, more trailers, and lots of other good stuff.

KIllers of the Flower Moon by David Grann

Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann, a journalist for the New Yorker, is an amazing book. It is non-fiction and concerns the systematic murder of Osage Indians in the 1920’s in northeastern Oklahoma by white people for money. The money came from oil lands owned by the Osage Tribe. Revenue from the oil royalties and lease bonuses made the tribe very wealthy and the money was divvied up by “headrights” or shares in the revenue based on one’s ancestry. You couple that with a system whereby most Native Americans were deemed incompetent to manage their own affairs and had court appointed guardians to oversee their funds. This was a perfect storm for fraud, murder, and crime.

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The Indians were killed by poisoning, gunshots, and in one notable incident a house was blown up with dynamite. Not one murder was solved by the white people in power and some of those who tried to expose what was going on were murdered themselves. Law enforcement, doctors, undertakers, the judicial system were all involved in the scheme.

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Pawhuska, Oklahoma, county seat of Osage County where much of the events described in the book take place.

Enter J. Edgar Hoover and the brand new Federal Bureau of Investigation. Hoover sent a former Texas Ranger, Tom White to Osage County and told him to find the murderers and bring them to justice. White had a huge job at hand and brought in other agents in undercover roles and they were able to file charges, bring to trial, and convict in Federal Court the kingpin, William Hale, of the murders despite considerable local resistance. Grann calls Tom White one of the heroes of the situation but Hoover was jealous of the attention White was getting and made sure that he got all the credit for the conviction. Hale was implicated in about 27 of the murders.

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Bison at the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve north of Pawhuska, in Osage County

Hoover then declared victory and left town. The tribe new that there were lots more murders than that and that there was more than one person responsible and for decades the stories and suspicions were handed down in the various families. Gann did a lot of research including days at the National Archives going through old custodial records and grand jury testimony from long ago. He thinks that there were hundreds of murders and many many killers who were never brought to justice. This is an amazing book. Grann calls the treatment of Native Americans, the country’s “Original Sin.” This was an important story to tell and Grann does a great job of it.

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The oil still flows in Osage County

I was able to attend an event in Tulsa, sponsored by Booksmart Tulsa, where David Grann talked about the book. It was in a university auditorium and the the venue was packed. Osage County borders Tulsa County and there were many Osage tribal members in attendance including several direct descendants of the murdered people and there were several descendants of the murderers there. It was very emotional to see how this book by exposing the crimes and sins of the past had an effect on people today.

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Osage County is one of the prettiest places in Oklahoma

It made the question and answer part of the event very interesting. People would get up and thank Grann for writing the book and then they would say who they descended from. Grann already knew many of these folks from his research in writing the book. One could sense the mutual respect. One young man, a descendant of a victim, got up and made a good point about whether the book really did anything for the tribe or was it another example of a white man taking something from the tribe. Grann acknowledged the point without any defensiveness.

This is one of the most amazing books I have ever read.  I purchased my autographed copy at the event from Magic City Books.

Skywatch Friday – Road Trip Photos

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Friday, we ended our vacation by making the 13 hour drive from Alabama coast to Tulsa. I am always amazed by the drive.

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Everybody loves the Transylvania, Louisiana water tower.

I am amazed about how big our country is and how empty of people it is in many sections. As we travel through Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas one can see how the countryside has become depopulated. I am not sure that is good or bad, it just kind of is.

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I am also amazed by how beautiful the country is.

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And the wealth it generates. And I wonder how come it doesn’t translate to the people live and work on the land. Especially in the south. You can see a deep rooted poverty. How come we don’t see that so much in the northern midwest? Both areas are primarily agriculture based.

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Anywho, I just love the drive.

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Especially when we get to Oklahoma and are greeted by red skies.

Linking with Skywatch Friday

Life’s a Beach – In the Air, on the Ground, and in the Water

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Heather and Logan went on their parasailing adventure the other day. I didn’t go, the pics were taken by a boat hand.

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Up

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And then way up there!

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Before coming down for a little shark dip, and then the credit card went though and they went up again.

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While they were up there, I went to the beautiful Gulf State Park’s Backwoods Trail.

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And found some geocaches. No snakes, no bug bites (thanks DEET), but a few thorn scratches.

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Heather and I have taken several long beach walks along the Gulf underneath everchanging skies.

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And I have been crushing beers in the surf. That is what us guys do, we crush our beers. We have found some decent beer here finally. Alabama is a bigger beer wasteland than Oklahoma.

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And I found me a friend at the fishing pier at Gulf Shores. I’m not much of birdwatcher except for the big ones like this Brown Pelican.

Today, we are going on a Segway nature tour of the Gulf State Park. I’ll give you a report later.

Life’s a Beach – Birthday Edition

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Logan started his birthday on the beach, reading.

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It ended up raining and so the planned parasailing got put off for another day. We ended up doing a little shopping and running errands and such.

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He wanted dinner at Shipp’s Harbor, a nice restaurant that we all loved.

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It is in a marina. I love marinas. Looking at the different kinds of boats and seeing if I can tell which ones get used and which ones never get taken out.

We went to see a movie, “The Fate of the Furious”, part of the Fast and Furious franchise. It had some great scenes filmed in Havana with old cars and such. It also had a luscious Charlize Theron as a bad girl trying to steal nuclear launch codes. She commandeers a bunch of cars to go into driverless mode to attack the convoy that has the launch codes. Great scene.

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We also had birthday cake of course.

And so a great day was had by all.

Y’all Namaste’ – Life is a Beach – Redneck Riviera Edition

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Our first full day on the beach. Yoga!!! we didn’t join, we didn’t have the tops for it.

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We went on a family walk. We are going to celebrate his 19th while on this trip.  He is a regular beach bum. We used to go to South Padre Island for our vacations. Lots of Hispanic people would be there with their music on boom boxes. He’d really shake his diapered booty to rhythm, the young girls really loved dancing with him. He doesn’t really like reminiscing about stuff like that.

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Here’s Heather busting some moves.

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He’ll aways be our baby boy, even though he towers over both of us.

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Heather needed another bathing suit so we first we tried a beach place, and then this high end place with this fish fountain.

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And some nice condos right on the water.

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Later we went back to the condo, and with the kid walked down to our favorite beach bar, Florabama, right on the Alabama-Florida line. Quite a place this is, several different bars, inside and outside, we ate lunch and had a bushwhacker and headed back to the condo. Too many people.

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We got back and I took my little waterproof camera out in water. A wave happened by and knocked my prescription sunglasses off my face and into the water. I felt them hit my leg but I couldn’t find them. The way the current was going, they are probably washed up in Cuba by now. Oh well.

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We grilled burgers, and had dinner al fresco on the balcony.

A good time is being had by all. Today, the kid and his mom are going parasailing. I’m going to get some clip on sunglasses from Walgreens, geocaching, and have a beer at the marina where the parasailing is, and read some.

Namaste’ Yall

Skywatch Friday – Vacation Skies

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We are on vacation right now. We left early on Thursday and made a long drive to Mobile, Alabama. It was a gut buster but worth it. Our plan was to leave early from Mobile and get through the tunnel going to the east side of the bay. Sometimes, if you wait until the afternoon, the traffic backs up for hours. The plan worked. We got to Mobile, we got up and zipped through the tunnel with no wait. It was like getting a bonus day of vacation.

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What did we do with our bonus day. We made a side trip to Fairhope, a little town on the east side of Mobile, Bay. I had never heard of it but Heather said lets go, so we went. What a great side trip that was. It has a very nice old town with lots and lots of interesting cafes, shops, and galleries. We checked out an independent bookstore, Page & Pallette. What a great, not so little store, and the people who work there are READERS!! They have a huge “Staff Recommends” section and they know about those books and most of the other books in the store also. They have lots of books by regional authors. So we spent a lot of money on books, and ever dime was well spent.

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We took the scenic route cross country from Fairhope to Gulf Shores to our traditional first meal spot, Lulu’s. Lulu’s sits right on the intercoastal canal. I love watching the boats of all kinds, and barges and kayaks and everything else going up and down the waterway but we had something special.

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A seaplane landed right in front of us. They pulled up to Lulu’s dock and went and had lunch. What a Jimmy Buffett thing to do (no, it wasn’t him). By the way Lulu is Jimmy Buffett’s sister.

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So we got to our condo, got unpacked and ran out to the beach. Logan loves the beach. He is a regular beach bum. Shoot, we all are. Sorry about the tilted shot. I’m writing this post out on the balcony and I am not doing much editing.

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To balance things out, here is a pic off the back side of the condo last night. It is tilted the other way, so on average, it all balances out.

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And here is the view this morning. More to come!

I’m linking with Skywatch Friday

Family Life – The Kid is Mowing and Driving

Logan is growing up every day. Last year he graduated from high school, this year he finished his first year in college.

He has been mowing the yard for a few years now. He is getting better at it. He has figured out that it is not much fun. He hasn’t figured out that when you are mowing, nobody is messing with you. He is doing pretty good but left unattended he wants to go creative on his mowing pattern which would be okay if he got all the grass mowed. So he has some “mowhawks” I have to clean up. That’s okay by me. Making progress is the thing.

He got his Driving Learners Permit late last week. Sunday afternoon, after mowing and getting cleaned up we went to a local parking lot so he could drive around it very slooooowwwwly. This is going to work best if we go at his pace and so I imagine we will be doing parking lots turns for a while until he is ready to get on the road. We also regular driving lessons set for the near future. I think he is ready to learn how to drive.

Life is moving from one milestone to another and we are getting there.

Our World – Margaritaville Rest Stop

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Shadow Selfie – Cargo Shorts and All

Saturday afternoon, the kid had a friend visiting. We are long past the time where we need to monitor such visits. Logan and his friend just finished their first year in college and we have known his friend since preschool. So when Heather said something about a bike ride, it was like Sure!!

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I set my camera to take a pic every 20 seconds. It didn’t have much charge.

So I pressured up the tires and loaded up the bikes and off to the River Trails we went. We started at the little Park at Delaware and Riverside. I had found my little GoPro clone and its mount. I had it set to take a photo every twenty seconds.

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Beautiful blue skies to go with the stiff north winds today.

Off we went

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We passed the Swiss Family Robinson marching determinedly along the trail. Their legs are whiter than mine!!

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Near the eagle nesting area.

We passed a few people on these three wheel bikes. Our son never could learn to ride a regular bike. I can see one of these in his future. Don’t tell him!! If it is not a video game he is not interested. I can see one of these in my future!!

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That’s the new Margaritaville casino dead ahead

We got closer to the Creek Nation Casino we took the new trail around the river side of the facility. They did a great job. I hated the two stop lights encountered before. Now one can ride from where we started at about 91st street almost ten miles without crossing a road. Suits me. I don’t like crossing roads or riding on the roads.

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Plus we checked out their bike racks near their tiki bar and pool. What a deal, a bar steps from the trail. Us rugged outdoors people like convenience like that.

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Heather is always way in front of me!!

Then off we went, clear up to 36th street where the the trail is blocked due to the ongoing construction for A Gathering Place. I cannot wait to see what a $350 million dollar park is going to be like. Yep $350 million, privately funded. Check out the link.

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So turned around and headed south and stopped at Margaritaville for a little rest stop. It is actually pretty nice. Great little tiki bar. Decent beer draft beer selection. Now, if they would get some craft beers that would be awesome. I settled for a decent Landshark Lager and Heather had a margarita.

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It is a nice space with all sorts of seating and we enjoyed ourselves.

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This might be a regular stop for us. Especially being only 1.4 miles or so from where we started.

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Here we are. Notice the Fat Tire jersey courtesy of my sister Ellen (Check her out, she is currently posting about her and her husband’s  recent trip to Europe). It would be great if Margaritaville could sell it. And no, there is nothing wrong with my forehead. All the cushioning is gone from my bike helmet so I am going to get another one.

We had one drink and finished the ride. A good time was had by all.

I’m linking with Our Wold Tuesday