McGirt v. Oklahoma - thoughts on it and US Indian law more generally?
On Thursday the Supreme Court issued its opinion in McGirt v. Oklahoma, finding 5-4 that because Congress never took the steps to disestablish the reservations of the Five Civilized Tribes when Oklahoma was granted statehood, the eastern part of the state remains "Indian country", including Tulsa, the state's 2nd largest city. The direct impact of the ruling is that the state of Oklahoma does not have jurisdiction in that area over enrolled Native Americans who are accused of crimes outlined in the Major Crimes Act. Instead, Native Americans will be tried by tribal or federal courts, and a small number of Native inmates in OK will be eligible for retrials -- people on death row in particular will seek this because tribes generally do not allow the federal government to execute their members. Other than Gorsuch, who has experience with Indian law, the decision fell along party lines and the conservative dissent claims this will disrupt the governance of eastern OK more generally, and it won't simply stop with the state sending cases to federal/tribal courts. I don't really think the tribes are that interested in radically changing the status quo, although it probably gives them more leverage in their ongoing dispute with the governor (himself a registered Cherokee) over casino fees. Trump himself hasn't commented on the case but a lot of conservatives have already leveraged it as outrage bait and talk like this is a prelude to land expropriation which is absurd, although if you look at indigenous radlib twitter for too long you'd probably start to believe it. The decision could have not come at a worse time for inflaming people's perceptions; furthermore if I was black and in favor of reparations I would see this as an extremely strong argument in favor of it. I'm curious how people here feel about this, and the idea of tribal sovereignty more generally. There's a decent diversity of thought and I think most have more nuanced positions than "give it all back, kick the colonizers out". It's worth noting that most of the people living in these newly-clarified reservations are not enrolled in a tribe and I would say that before this case, it was not an issue that the tribes actively pursued so most people would have never considered that they are living under anything but the state of Oklahoma's jurisdiction. On the other hand, given how incompetent the OK government is, I wouldn't be surprised if there are a lot of people here who would be more than willing to let tribes take over providing services even if it meant they couldn't have electoral representation.
NORTH AMERICAN DNA TOUR DATES RESCHEDULED FOR 2021
As long as there’ll be music… we’ll be coming back again!! Our North American #DNAWorldTour dates have OFFICIALLY been rescheduled for next summer and we’ve got them all for you below. Thank you guys for helping us put safety first so we can all party together in 2021! Remember to hold on to those tickets since you’ll be using them for the rescheduled dates in each city! Stay home. Stay safe! -Kevin, Brian, Howie, AJ & Nick All tickets purchased for the original 2020 tour dates are valid for their corresponding rescheduled show. If you cannot attend the new date, please reach out to the point of purchase for more information. North American DNA Tour 2021 6/7/2021 - Los Angeles, CA @ Hollywood Bowl 6/9/2021 - Chula Vista, CA @ North Island Credit Union Amphitheatre 6/11/2021 - Phoenix, AZ @ AK-Chin Pavilion 6/12/2021 - Albuquerque, NM @ Isleta Amphitheater 6/17/2021 - Rogers, AR @ Walmart AMP 6/18/2021 - Irving, TX @ Toyota Music Factory 6/19/2021 - The Woodlands, TX @ Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion 6/21/2021 - Jacksonville, FL @ Vystar Veterans Memorial Arena 6/22/2021 - Tampa, FL @ MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre 6/23/2021 - West Palm Beach, FL @ iTHINK Financial Amphitheatre 6/25/2021 - Charlotte, NC @ PNC Music Pavilion 6/26/2021 - Raleigh, NC @ Walnut Creek Amphitheatre 6/29/2021 - Alpharetta, GA @ Ameris Bank Amphitheatre 7/2/2021 - Toronto, ON @ Budweiser Stage 7/3/2021 - Toronto, ON @ Budweiser Stage 7/7/2021 - Mansfield, MA @ Xfinity Center 7/9/2021 - Wantagh, NY @ Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater 7/10/2021 - Darien Center, NY @ Darien Lake Amphitheatre 7/12/2021 - Holmdel, NJ @ PNC Bank Arts Center 7/15/2021 - Camden, NJ @ BB&T Pavilion 7/17/2021 - Hartford, CT @ Xfinity Theatre 7/18/2021 - Virginia Beach, VA @ Veterans United Home Loans Amphitheater 7/20/2021 - Bristow, VA @ Jiffy Lube Live 7/22/2021 - Clarkston, MI @ DTE Energy Music Theatre 7/23/2021 - Burgettstown, PA @ S&T Bank Music Park 7/24/2021 - Saratoga Springs, NY @ Saratoga Performing Arts Center 7/27/2021 - Cuyahoga Falls, OH @ Blossom Music Center 7/30/2021 - Indianapolis, IN @ Ruoff Home Mortgage Music Center 7/31/2021 - Chicago, IL @ Hollywood Casino Amphitheater 8/1/2021 - St Louis, MO @ Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre 8/3/2021 - Englewood, CO @ Fiddler's Green Amphitheater 8/5/2021 - Salt Lake City, UT @ USANA Amphitheater 8/7/2021 - Wheatland, CA @ Toyota Amphitheatre 8/8/2021 - Concord, CA @ Concord Pavilion 8/10/2021 - Mountain View, CA @ Shoreline Amphitheatre 8/13/2021 - Auburn, WA @ White River Amphitheatre 8/23/2021 - Nampa, ID @ Ford Idaho Center Arena 8/25/2021 - Spokane, WA @ Spokane Arena 8/27/2021 - Vancouver, BC @ Pepsi Live at Rogers Arena 9/3/2021 - Montreal, QC @ Bell Centre 9/4/2021 - Quebec City, QC @ Videotron Centre 9/8/2021 - Lexington, KY @ Rupp Arena 9/10/2021 - Sioux Falls, SD @ Denny Sanford Premier Center 9/11/2021 - Wichita, KS @ INTRUST Bank Arena 9/12/2021 - Oklahoma City, OK @ Chesapeake Energy Arena BackstreetBoys.com
I made a list of content from the current wave of Boxsets and whether DGM sells them [Part 1]
You can find Part 2 here Based on a previous post, I decided to make a list of every disc from each of the currently available King Crimson boxsets. I do not include the content from the original Court of the Crimson King boxset from 2009 as that is long out of print and King Crimson is going to be redoing that set in the future. Where possible, I will include links to DGM if the discs are available for sale digitally through their store, in case you aren't interested in the sets as a whole, but might still want portions of them. If the disc is exclusive to the boxset, then I will make a note of it. This list is in order of when in King Crimson's history the boxsets cover, not necessarily the release order the sets came out in. For the sake of condensing the list as well as ease of reading the list, I will leave off the Discs that do not include studio releases as the main focus of this post is to show where on DGM Live you can purchase the content of the boxsets without having to purchase the entire boxset.
Sailors' Tales (1970-1972)
Sailor's Tales Having lost half the band after In the Court of the Crimson King, Fripp would convince Greg Lake and Michael Giles to return as session musicians for In the Wake of Poseidon, but after that he would need a new overall lineup if King Crimson were to continue. This second Lineup would encompass In the Wake of Poseidon post-studio recording through Islands. This boxset covers the Islands era of King Crimson at the beginning of the 1970's. It was released on November 10, 2017. CD Content-
In the Wake of Poseidon - Studio Album 2010 Stereo Mix
Cat Food (Single A Side)
Groon (Single B Side)
Cadence and Cascade (Guide Vocal; Greg Lake)
In the Wake of Poseidon (Take 3)
The Devil's Triangle (Part I Early Running Mix)
The Devil's Triangle (Part II Fripp/Tippett Overdubs)
The Devil's Triangle (Part III Steven Wilson Mix)
Peace - An End (Alternate Mix)
Lizard - Studio Album 2009 Stereo Mix
Indoor Games (Alternate Take)
Happy Family (Alternate Take)
Lady of the Dancing Water (Alternate Take)
Prince Rupert Awakes (Jon Anderson, Vocals 2017 Mix by David Singleton)
Prince Rupert Awakes (Keith Tippett, Piano)
Bolero - The Peacock's Tale (Original Studio Recording, Bass Overdubs: Tony Levin)
Prince Rupert's Lament (Alternate Take, 2015 Mix by Jakko Jakszyk)
Islands - Studio Album. 2010 Stereo Mix
Formentera Lady (Take 2, 2010 Mix by Steven Wilson)
Sailor's Tale (Alternate Guitar Takes, Remix by Alex R. Mundy)
Ladies of the Road (Rehearsal/Outtake, 2010 Mix by Steven Wilson)
Prelude - Song of the Gulls (String Section, Take 2)
Islands (Original Studio Recording, Vocal Overdub: Jakko Jakszyk)
This is available as disc 2 of the King Crimson Club Special Edition album called Ladies of the Road: Live 1971-1972. It is not available as a digital purchase from DGM Live, however, you can purchase a CD copy currently from DGM USA or from DGM UK
Larks' Tongues in Aspic: The Complete Recordings After the Islands Lineup Broke up, Robert Fripp would recruit Bill Bruford of Yes, John Wetton of Family, and David Cross to form the lineup that would run for the rest of King Crimson's 70's career. This Boxset picks up where Sailors' Tales left off, covering Late 1972 and 1973's Larks' Tongues in Aspic Studio Album. The boxset was released on October 15, 2012. CD Content-
Larks' Tongues in Aspic Session Reels - Not on DGM Live
This Disc has one track that is 1:19:16 long, which is every first take the band made during the recording of Larks' Tongues in Aspic, with studio talk between the band members and the engineer between each song.
Larks' Tongues in Aspic - Original 1973 Stereo Mix 30th Anniversary Remaster
US Radio Ad
Easy Money (edit)
Larks' Tongues in Aspic (Part II) - Not sure what is different on this. It is about 12 seconds shorter than the non-bonus Part II.
Alternate Takes & Mixes (Box Set has this listed as Disc 13. The DVD is Disc 12)
This is the tracklist for the Larks' Tongues in Aspic Studio Album made up of alternate takes or mixes of said tracks. The exception is that this disc has an extra Easy Money at the end.
Larks' Tongues in Aspic - 2012 Stereo Mix (Box Set has this listed as Disc 14. The DVD is Disc 12)
Starless. But not Bible Black? This Boxset takes place between Late 1973 and Early 1974, sandwiched between Larks' Tongues in Aspic and The Road to Red. This Boxset was released on October 20, 2014. CD Content-
Essentially, this disc seems to include live recordings that do not really fit anywhere else, including for example the complete Mincer improv minus the overdubs, the final tracks of University of Texas that didn't fit on Disc 21, Dr. Diamond from Atlanta, etc.
Palazzo Dello Sport, Udine, Italy March 19, 1974 - First half of Disc 7's Content
DVD Disc 2 Content
Stanley Theatre, Pittsburgh, USA April 29, 1974 - Not on DGM Live
More accurately, this is only a small portion of the concert. The whole concert is available in The Road to Red Boxset. This portion is not available separately on DGM Live, but the whole concert is on DGM Live. I will include a link to the concert under the concert in The Road to Red.
The Road to Red
The Road to Red Rounding out the end of the 1970's saga of King Crimson, as well as the Larks' Tongues era, John Wetton's and David Cross' tenure, and even the final tour before Robert Fripp discovers Dapper Dan in the 1980's, we have The Road to Red. This Boxset picks up days after Starless leaves off in 1974 and goes through the American tour King Crimson embarked prior to the release of Red. This boxset was released on October 14, 2013. CD Content-
On (and off) The Road After a nearly 7 year hiatus, King Crimson is back after Fripp brought back Bill Bruford and enlisted Americans Tony Levin and Adrian Belew into a very different iteration of King Crimson, one that wasn't even originally going to be called King Crimson. This box set covers this era, encompassing the 1980s and the associated studio albums of Discipline, Beat, and Three of a Perfect Pair. This Box set was released on October 28, 2016. CD Content-
This is a set of studio recordings made that would eventually be scrapped in favor of what would become Three of a Perfect Pair. This was previously available in the King Crimson Collector's Club, but this version has 2 additional tracks. The DGM Live purchase lacks the additional tracks as well. The additional tracks are:
Adrian and Robert
Three of a Perfect Pair
Absent Lovers- Not on DGM Live
This is not available as a Digital purchase from DGM Live, however you can purchase a CD copy of it from DGM USA or DGM UK.
Absent Lovers- Second half of Disc 7's content
Are you recording Gary? - Not on DGM Live
This disc is similar to Larks' Tongues in Aspic's Session Reels in that it is a behind the scenes look at King Crimson in the studio. The title track is 15 minutes of King Crimson jamming and chatting working out material. The other three tracks are essentially abridged versions of the three albums of the era showing various portions of the albums in work in progress states.
What's happening around town (Wed, Feb 26th - Tue, Mar 3rd)
Tulsa's event list.
Wednesday, Feb 26th
♪ Brown Bag It: Donald Ryan(Tulsa Performing Art Center - Tulsa) Start Time: 12:10pm The Brown Bag It free noontime concert series at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center happens the first Wednesday of the month. The series features some of Oklahoma's finest professional musicians performing in the PAC's Westby Pavilion. A commanding and dynamic pianist, Donald Ryan has been called "a music kaleidoscope, sparkling at everything he…
Build a Reader Storytime: Preschool(Owasso Library - Owasso) Start Time: 10:00am The best in children's literature, songs, games, finger plays, rhymes and other reading-related activities are shared with your preschooler. For ages 3-5.
♪ Chris Knight(Mercury Lounge - Tulsa) Start Time: 8:00pm CHRIS KNIGHT Almost Daylight "It's hard to know how people are gonna react," Chris Knight says of Almost Daylight , his ninth album and first new recording in over seven years. "I've written songs about a lot of different things going all the way back to my first record, and some folks still think ‘somebody kills somebody' is all I write…
Dog Play Wednesday presented by AARP Oklahoma(Gathering Place - Tulsa) Start Time: 9:00am Bark your calendars! All day, every Wednesday. But that’s not all! Once a month, Gathering Place will have a special event made just for you and your pup. Keep checking our events schedule to see Pup-coming activities you won’t want to miss. Our tails are wagging just thinking about it! Please note, all dogs must be on a leash. Dogs are not…
🍴 Ladies Night* with Janet Rutland(Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame - Tulsa) Start Time: 8:00pm DUET LADIES NIGHT TICKETING INSTRUCTIONS Duet Jazz offer a free ladies night the last Wednesday of every month. Ladies are free and are treated to a free glass of champagne. Gentleman are $10.00 When you get to the Purchase Ticket page here . it will say general admission ticket. Directly above it, click the blue- hyperlink that says PROMO CODE.…
♪ Lee Roy Parnell(Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa - Catoosa) Start Time: 8:00pm
♪ Live on the Patio: Bandelier(Mother Road Market - Tulsa) Start Time: 6:00pm Live on the patio: Bandelier! Bandelier formed in the summer of 2010 in a warehouse in downtown Tulsa. Frontman Ryan Allen, originally hailing from Texas, spent a lifetime exploring the vast roots of American music eventually turning the pianist and composer into a full-fledged songwriter. Today, the band's music can be traced back to those same…
Local Cheese Sampling(Mother Road Market - Tulsa) Start Time: 6:00pm Join us for Foodie Flight Wednesday at the K66 General Store at Mother Road Market for free samples of our original and hot pepper hellim grilling cheese, as well as the best fresh ricotta Oklahoma has to offer.
♪ NGHTMRE - The Portal Tour(Cain's Ballroom - Tulsa) Start Time: 7:00pm Cain's Ballroom welcomes NGHTMRE to Tulsa, OK on February 26, 2020 with Crankdat, WAVEDASH and Black A.M. YOU MUST HAVE A VALID iD TO ENTER! Advance Tier 1 - $20 + fees (limited quantity) Advance Tier 2 - $25 + fees Day of Show - $30 + fees Door - $30 Mezzanine (21+) - $40 + fees No re-entry! No smoking! No refunds! Support acts are subject to…
😂 Rob Little(Loony Bin - Tulsa) Thru Sat, Feb 29th
The Secrets of Sauerkraut(Tulsa Garden Center - Tulsa) Start Time: 6:00pm RESCHEDULED FROM FEBRUARY 5. Lacey Wissen of Dale & Daughter will demonstrate how to prepare cabbage for sauerkraut and will show the tools used while presenting on the process and benefits of fermentation. The presentation will be followed by a flavor sampling, a Q&A, and participants will get to pack their own jars to take home and ferment…
♪ Track 5.: Lee Roy Parnell(Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa - Catoosa) Start Time: 8:00pm Among the elite few who can be identified as a triple threat, multiple Grammy Award nominee Lee Roy Parnell established his career through his impressive guitar offerings, smooth, soul-drenched voice and top-shelf songwriting skills. He heads to Track 5. on Feb. 26 at 8 p.m.
Footloose(Broken Arrow Performing Arts Center - Broken Arrow) Day 1 of 2 Start Time: 7:30pm BAHS Drama presents "Footloose" Feb 27 - March 1! Tickets are on sale now. And the best part is you can buy tickets online at https://www.showtix4u.com/events/16313. Limited number of reserved seating available. Buy your tickets today! For more information call our box office at 918-259-5778
♪ The Freshmen(Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa - Catoosa) Start Time: 7:00pm
Play in the Fantasy Realm: Imaginary Friends(Oklahoma Center for the Humanities - Tulsa) Start Time: 7:00pm Play in the Fantasy Realm: Young Children's Relationships with Imaginary Companions Join us for an evening with Tracy Gleason, a developmental psychologist studying relationships, real and imagined, with a focus on young children's imaginary companions. Dr. Gleason will talk about the ways in which children interact with imaginary friends and…
😂 Rob Little(Loony Bin - Tulsa) Thru Sat, Feb 29th
Story Time(Gathering Place - Tulsa) Start Time: 4:00pm Fall in love with the magic found in children's books! Join us every Thursday at 4 p.m. and every Saturday at 9:30 a.m. in ONEOK Boathouse for Story Time from guest readers. Guest Reader Schedule Saturday, Jan. 25th - Gathering Place Education Team February Guest Readers: Saturday, February 1 - Gathering Place Education Team Thursday,…
🎭 William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream(Chapman Theatre - Tulsa) Day 1 of 2 Start Time: 8:00pm Purchase tickets online at utulsa.edu/tutheatre Adults: $15 Seniors Citizens (55+): $8 Students not from TU: $8 High School Students: 1 free ticket with school ID, otherwise $8 TU Faculty/Staff: $6 TU Students: Free opening night, otherwise $6
Friday, Feb 28th
70s/80s Throwback Night(Dennis R Neill Equality Center - Tulsa) Start Time: 6:30pm Your favorite gay disco is back open. Its time to have a ball. We have so much to learn about our history and such an exciting way to interact with it at OKEQ's Throwback Night: 70s/80s Edition. Join us for this FREE, all ages event with specialty drinks and cocktails, curated music, and all sorts of historical documents from Oklahoma's LGBTQ+…
♪ Aaron Lewis-Acoustic Songs & Stories(Brady Theater - Tulsa) Start Time: 8:00pm Aaron Lewis - Acoustic Songs & Stories 7pm Doors / 8pm Show On Sale Fri 11/1 10am
♪ Andrew Harmon(Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa - Catoosa) Start Time: 5:30pm
♪ Asphalt Cowboys(Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa - Catoosa) Start Time: 8:00pm
♪ DJ 2 Legit(Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa - Catoosa) Start Time: 6:30pm
♪ DJ Demko(Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa - Catoosa) Start Time: 6:00pm
♪ DJ Mib(Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa - Catoosa) Start Time: 7:00pm
Footloose(Broken Arrow Performing Arts Center - Broken Arrow) Day 2 of 2 Start Time: 7:30pm BAHS Drama presents "Footloose" Feb 27 - March 1! Tickets are on sale now. And the best part is you can buy tickets online at https://www.showtix4u.com/events/16313. Limited number of reserved seating available. Buy your tickets today! For more information call our box office at 918-259-5778
🍴 Gilcrease After Hours: Memories & Inspiration (FREE Admission)(The Gilcrease Museum - Tulsa) Start Time: 7:00pm Join us for an evening of cocktails and culture in celebration of our exhibition MEMORIES & INSPIRATION: THE KERRY AND C. BETTY DAVIS COLLECTION OF AFRICAN AMERICAN ART. Admission is FREE! Schedule and details to come. This program is funded in part by Oklahoma Humanities (OH) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). Any views,…
🎓 Jake Hertzog Trio(Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame - Tulsa) Start Time: 8:00pm Jake Hertzog is a critically acclaimed guitarist, composer and educator whose career to-date has spanned nine albums as bandleader across jazz, rock and classical new music styles. He has toured throughout the U.S., Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and India and performed and recorded with a diverse cadre of artists including Randy…
Madama Butterfly(Tulsa Performing Art Center - Tulsa) Thru Sun, Mar 1st Giacomo Puccini’s beloved "Madama Butterfly" comes to Tulsa during the Tulsa Opera's 2019-2020 season.…
🎓 Memory Gala 2020(Cox Business Center - Tulsa) Start Time: 5:30pm Alzheimer’s Association Tulsa presents "Memory Gala" to celebrate the impact and opportunity this milestone presents with a night centered around the Alzheimer's Association's goal to prevent and effectively treat Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias by 2025.
🏆 Oral Roberts vs. Incarnate Word(Mabee Center - Tulsa) Start Time: 3:00pm Oral Roberts Golden Eagles vs. Incarnate Word Cardinals First pitch is scheduled for 3:00 p.m. All tickets are buy one get one free. Tickets available online at MabeeCenter.com, over-the-phone at 918-495-6000, or in-person at the Mabee Center Ticket Office.
🍴 Teacher Happy Hour(Philbrook Downtown - Tulsa) Start Time: 6:00pm Oklahoma teachers are invited to drop in for a happy hour before our Women Who Changed Art (And a BIG Reveal!) event (free for Members, ticket required). Come meet up with other area teachers, talk shop, or just relax and grab a drink. Enjoy food, a cash bar, art, the incomparable Philbrook gardens, and best of all, other teachers. FREE for…
🍴 Vinyl Happy Hour(The Colony - Tulsa) Start Time: 4:00pm Bring your favorite vinyl to spin on our house sound system
🎭 William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream(Chapman Theatre - Tulsa) Day 2 of 2 Start Time: 8:00pm Purchase tickets online at utulsa.edu/tutheatre Adults: $15 Seniors Citizens (55+): $8 Students not from TU: $8 High School Students: 1 free ticket with school ID, otherwise $8 TU Faculty/Staff: $6 TU Students: Free opening night, otherwise $6
🎨 Women Who Changed Art (And a BIG Reveal!)(Philbrook Downtown - Tulsa) Start Time: 6:30pm Women have made major contributions to the history of art, and yet are rarely in the spotlight. Join Bridget Quinn (author of "Broad Strokes: 15 Women Who Made Art and Made History") and Philbrook curators as they discuss the significant impact of women artists throughout history and unveil new additions to Philbrook’s collection by women…
Saturday, Feb 29th
Madama Butterfly(Tulsa Performing Art Center - Tulsa) 1 day left Giacomo Puccini’s beloved "Madama Butterfly" comes to Tulsa during the Tulsa Opera's 2019-2020 season.…
continuing As I was picking myself up off the shooter’s shack floor, I glanced over to the TV. The ballplayers were all wandering around the field, looking skyward. Evidently, there was this hellacious explosion…even the television sports commentators were speculating as to what happened. Whoops. I looked out into the quarry. The wall that I had charged had receded some 75 feet. There was rather a large amount of shattered, blasted dolomitic limestone now in the quarry. Enough, I found out later, for a full month’s worth of orders. We never did find the blasting mats. I think they sort of evaporated. Luckily, the quarry is essentially an open amphitheater in plan view; basically a big hole in the ground with vertical limestone walls. The shockwave of the blast that didn’t spend itself shattering the limestone into which it was housed, blew out laterally, hit the opposite quarry wall, rebounded, and then dispersed, rather energetically, vertically upward. I set off car alarms for a 20 block radius. There were no broken home windows, as the lion’s share of the shock wave was redirected upward. Good thing there were no low flying zeppelins or dirigibles in the area... I waited the requisite time to allow for any loafers. There were none, so I jumped into the nearest wheel loader and began clearing the quarry floor. Hell, I had to so I could open the front gate. As I was clearing the floor, making pile number eight of the loose rock I had liberated, I heard the characteristic whoop-whoop of emergency vehicles. I parked the wheel loader, opened the front gate, and raised the green flag. That was enough blasting for one day. A few minutes later, three police cars zoom into the site. Two were local city cops, and one was a state trooper. “Hi, guys!” I waved, “Nice day, innit?” “Doctor Rock! We should have known.” One of the local boys groaned. “Hey, I did call you beforehand, as per procedure,” I said. Polack the cop walks up, just knowing I was responsible. “Yeah, but we didn’t figure on you terrorizing the entire city.” “Polack! How goes it?” I asked. The other local cop and the state trooper look to Polack, “You know this maniac?” “Oh, hell yeah. For years. Don’t worry, the good doctor is mostly harmless.” He chuckles. “Damn. OK. I guess everything’s OK. Just no more shooting today, please, Doctor. It’s going to take hours to calm everyone down.” He laments. “Yes, sir. I’m done for the day.” I reply, snickering slightly. The one local and state trooper depart, shaking their heads in amazement. This left Polack to follow me over to the shooter’s shack to mooch a cigar and whatever else he can find. “Jesus Hula-Dancing Christ, Rock. What the hell was that? I was all the way out in Whitewatosa and heard you.” He asks as he sneakily snakes a smoke out of my case. “Just some common chemicals in the proper proportions.” I snicker. “Which were?” he asks. I go in the back of the shed and toss him an empty container of one of the parts of the binaries I used. He catches it, reads the label, and drops it like a live grenade. “Binaries? Fuck! Like what you used at the tower?” he asks. “Yep. I used just a little more.” I reply. “Little more? Damn, as I said, we’ve been briefed on the stuff. This shit’s nasty.” He shakes his head. “Yeah. Fun, too.” I reply. Polack grabs a Sprechler’s Cream Soda out of the fridge as I opt for a cold Cream Ale and shot of potato juice. Hell, I was done for the day, so… We sit around and have a chat, just shooting the shit, as it were. Manly topics, so the conversation eventually steered over to guns. “Hey!” Polack remembers, “That’s right! You fucking owe me. Let me borrow that fucking cannon you carry. I want to show the chief a thing or two.” “Yeah, that’s right”, I agree, “When do you need it?” “This Friday, after shift. It’s the monthly qualifiers for us.” He notes. “Are pyromaniacs allowed in?” I ask. “To observe? Sure. To shoot? Nope. Insurance regulations.” He says. “What time?” I continue. “1800 hours.” He tells me. “I’ll be there. I’ll bring my gun and an assortment of loads. Hey, this could be fun!” I evilly smile. “Doctor. You’re doing that thing again. You’re grinnin’ like a shithouse rat. You know how much that scares me. Stop it.” He pleads. “No worries. Friday at 1800 hours.” I reply, grinning. Polack slurps down his Sprechlers, snitches another stogie, and squeals out of the quarry in a cloud of dense dolomitic dust. I arrive back at our flat, after stopping for two frozen custard Turtle Sundaes, to go. I give one to an appreciative wife and I ask her about her day. “Oh, went shopping with Oma. Got the cutest shoes, and a new purse, and…oh well, never mind. You’ll see.” Between bites of Turtle Sundae, she asks how my day went. “Oh, my dear. I had a real blast.” I replied, not lying in the least. Monday, after my first classes, I’m back in the faculty lounge, savoring a Greenland Coffee. There was the usual instructor chatter when Dean Vermiculari walks in. “Good morning, Dean!” I say. “Care for a sit-down and a coffee?” “Good morning, Doctor Rock. Yes, please to both.” He replies. I fix us both a fresh Greenland Coffee and return to our table. I hand him one and sit down to savor my soupçon. “How was your weekend?” I ask the Dean of the College. “Oh, very nice. Had a fine time catching some perch and crappie out on Lake Genever. I see you had a victorious weekend as well. Twice.” He smiles. “Twice?” I asked. “Well, your handling of the tower demolition made all the papers. Very, very well done, Doctor. I congratulate you.” He smiles. “Thank you, Dean. That means a lot. Just doing what I can with what I’ve got. But twice?” I replied. “It wasn’t front-page news, but I saw there was some, well, let us just say, ‘energetic activity’ out at the Silurian reef limestone quarry yesterday.” He grinned. “Oh, yes. I had a job to do and well, as I always say: ‘Nothing succeeds like excess.” I smile back. “Quite. This beverage you’ve created is really rather extraordinary, Doctor. Again, I thank you.” He tips his mug my direction in the age-old Midwestern salute. “It’s a little recipe I picked up on my last expedition to the northlands. I grew rather fond of the concoction.” I replied. “Ah, I see. Marvelous.” He smiles. “Thank you, Dean. High praise indeed.” I reply. “Which leads me to…ah, Doctor Rock. I have another favor to impose upon you.” He says, all serious. “Yes, Dean? How can I be of service?” I ask. “We, as you no doubt know, have many, many fine extractive mineral company connections. We actually receive quite a large amount of funding and endowments from them. They recruit here extensively for our young geoscientists. Now, since Dr. Pataariki has left for industry himself, I would like to appoint you as the College of Natural Sciences corporate liaison.” He explains. “Indeed?” I replied, too stunned for words for once. “Yes, indeed.” He continues, “It will require travel, mostly domestic, and delivering symposia at various companies on differing extractive geological subjects. You will also serve as host and university coordinator when they are present on recruiting tours. There will, of course, be additional remuneration to accompany the added responsibilities.” I slurped my coffee, thinking furiously. “Could I please first discuss it with my wife before I answer?” I ask. “Oh, Doctor. Of course, of course. Take your time. I will not require a reply until… tomorrow.” He smiles, finishes his coffee, thanks me again, and toddles out. “Yow, Es!” I exclaim, “This is one hell of an opportunity. It’s never before been offered to a junior professor. This will cement my tenure-track. It’s going to be a bitch with time, though. What do you think I should do?” “Well, Rock, honey, I think you should do…” Es begins. “No! None of that ‘do what you think is best’ stuff. I want your own thoughts, just like when I decided to go after my doctorate.” I explained. “OK, then.” Esme looks all serious like she’s going to deliver a bipartisan political speech. “Yes.” She says, firmly “That’s it?” I ask. “Yep. You asked I answered. We’ll make it work. We always do. You can’t let the Dean down. You will accept tomorrow without fear or qualms of your wife’s hesitations, of which I harbor none.” Esme proclaims. “Did I ever tell you of the myriad reasons I love you so?” I ask. The next morning I meet with Dean Vermiculari. He’s pleased that I accept and hands over to me the charter. Then the lists of company representatives, their contact information, and some other secret stuff that I can’t divulge right yet. A raft of oil companies will be coming in the late spring semester, so I need to contact each and every one to solidify dates, times and positions for which they’re recruiting. But that’s for then, I have something more proximal for now. I have a Friday appointment with Polack the cop at the town police shooting range. I arrive spot on time with my Casull .454 Magnum pistol, in its carry bag, along with a small duffel crammed with Pyrodex, Tannerite, and selection of specialty loads I had Herman the German, the inveterate gunsmith, create. Herman the German, his actual sobriquet, was this incredible gunsmith, craftsman, and all-around artillery specialist. Have any sort of problem with a rifle, shotgun, or pistol? See Herman. Gun holding too high? See Herman. Barrel warped? See Herman. Need solid gold projectiles for a certain one-off job? See Herman. Herman the German can sort it out. Just never ask him: “How?” “Ach! I’ve lived so long to learn, and you want it free? I’ll fix it, you pay, but I am only one knowing how!” Herman was a cranky old Kraut, and has lived here for as long as anyone can remember. Even my Grandfather had deferred to Herman when he had some particularly delicate machining operation that need special attention and was unique. As far as anyone knew, Herman had no family, but was never at a loss for friends. He was one of the most popular, and well known, but still oddly really unknown, kind of mysterious, old bastards in the entire community. Herman the German liked me because I could obtain for him certain high-energy things he couldn’t. All were entirely legal, but some were sort of out there in the gray zone. He also liked that I was educated, as he held education in the highest esteem. He also liked that I was of German extraction myself. I often made it a point to drop by with odd and unusual high-octane potables while never expecting anything in return other than a story or a shared cigar. Herman created some special loads for my .454 Magnum, which he prized. “I like your gun, Doctor Rock, it is so big! I can still see well enough to build things for it.” He told me one day over cheroots and Schnapps. Herman was a character to be certain. It must have been the pixie in him to dream up some of the specialty rounds he created for me to share with the local constabulary. He lived out in the county by himself in an old farmhouse. He had a full machine shop in his basement, complete with forge, metal handling equipment, and a firing test range. He handed back my .454, rather solemnly. “Doctor, I am afraid to say I couldn’t test all the special rounds I’ve created for you. I need to patch the hole in the cinder blocks in the downstairs range. Your gun punched right through the back…” he apologized. Now, Herman does all sorts of work on the local’s deer rifles, the police’s ordinance and has even worked some with the Baja Canada National Guard. Some of the little novelties he’s dreamed up for me are the first to escape his homemade basement test range. I felt oddly honored. After proving who I was to the nice range officer, I looked around trying to find Polack. “It’s 1550. Where the hell is Polack? I wondered. “Rock! Over here.” Polack calls to me. He motions me outside to the police department’s tactical outdoor range. I had thought all along he was referring to the indoors police target range. This might pose some problems. The tactical range was a series of clapboard shacks, all setup and designed to represent some downtrodden urban inter-city landscape. There were a couple of junked cars, broken sidewalks, storefronts, houses, bus stops…in short, all things necessary to replicate the seediest sections of a settlement where malefactors live and breed. The cops all run around this range, shooting at bad guy pop-up cut-outs and avoid the not-bad-guy pop-up cut-outs. They’ve got music blaring, firecrackers going off, all trying to re-create a shady deeply urban environment. Points are awarded by the accuracy of fire on the run, time to maneuver the course, and the ability of not gunning down innocent bystanders. It is not the best place to test a .454 Cusall. This hand cannon recoils like a fundamentalist Christian being solicited for donations to Anton LaVey, shoots flames and incandescent gasses like Smaug after a hard night of drinking and a stop at the Taco Bell buffet, is louder than a dime-store Karen demanding to see a Manager, and more powerful than a Ghost Pepper suppository. To quote Joe Piscopo: “It shoots through schools.” Especially faux-schools made of plywood. A .32 or .38 cop special is the correct weapon here; even a 9mm is a little heavy. Enough power to make a serious dent, easy on control, light on the recoil…a good tactical weapon. But, nothing succeeds like excess. Polack’s Chief is running around, capping off his ‘big ol’ .44 Magnum, and making the valley echo. He punches considerable holes in the pop-up cut-outs, but has such a hard time handling the recoil, his score is barely passable. Polack runs his test with his standard 9mm sidearm and qualifies easily. However, he’s nowhere near done with his Chief yet. I suggest to Polack we have a shoot-off. And since a .44 Magnum bullet ‘is so close to a .454 Magnum’, which it isn’t…the .454 Casull generates nearly 85% more recoil energy than the .44 Magnum; that we’d need something other than holes punched in plywood to judge the efficacy of each. We are literally just down the road from Max Yazzer’s farm and market. They’re the place you go for your Halloween jack-o-lantern. However, now, he has a surplus of melons. I think you can see where this is headed… I borrow Polack’s personal conveyance and run down to Max’s farm. I return with a trunk-load of elderly, overripe, cheap as chips, melons. Watermelons, Honeydews, Musks, and Casabas. We place them in strategic areas on the course, five for the Chief to find, and five for Polack. A .44 vs. a .454 melon-wise results in pretty much the same sort of mess: high-velocity fruit spatter. Although, the Chief was very impressed by the report of the .454. So, after running the tactical-melon course, clear demarcation of a winner was elusive. OK, OK, clever dicks. How about this? A standing shoot-off? We’ll set up 3 melons each at 30, 20, and 10 yards. Beginning at 30 yards, your time will be until you take out all three melons. But, they’re not going to be in a straight line, we’re going to make them somewhat camouflaged. You will stand in one small demarcated area, hunt those miscreant melons, and bring them to justice. Fastest time and greatest display wins, as determined by the Police Peanut Gallery. Polack and the Chief agree. The Chief goes first and dispatches the melons, with a fair amount of spatter, in 15.3 seconds. Not bad. Polack is next. He wipes out all the melons and creates some thoroughly impressive displays with Herman’s ‘special’ rounds. Normal ballistics for the .454 are, for a 250 grain (16 g) bullet, a muzzle velocity of over 2,400 feet per second, developing up to 2,800 ft-lb of energy. Herman’s hot loads are double that. Polack wins the day on impressive high-velocity melon distribution, but misses, so close, with a time of 17.0 seconds. Recoil’s a bitch. Then there are Herman’s ‘specialties’. The Chief is duly impressed and even comments that his ears are ringing even with the ear protectors. He asks to inspect the weapon. He is even more than duly impressed. Polack knows what’s up and asks the Chief if he’d like to give a whirl. Of course, the Chief can’t back down. Polack loads the .454 with 5 of Herman’s specialties: hollow-point rounds loaded hot, compressed, and tipped with alkaline earth metals, like metallic sodium and metallic potassium… We set up the nastiest, glorpiest, just barely-holding-together, overripe, laced with Tannerite (an impact-actuated low-explosive) watermelon at the ‘Concealed Carry’ distance of 5 meters. We slowly fade back into the distance to avoid the inevitable ‘Gallagher reaction’. The Chief fires one, and just nicks the top of the melon. Don’t laugh, with the type of recoil and heft of the sidearm, and tensing up in anticipation, it’s easy to be off the mark initially. The second round impacts dead-center. Now, alkaline earth metals and water don’t get along really well. In fact, their relationship is explosive. Especially explosive when delivered at 2,900 feet per second. The Chief catches a huge smattering of vitamin-packed watermelony back blast goo. He’s not entirely happy. He looks positively grisly with all that blown-up melon schmoo on his nice, neat uniform. He returns my gun and bans me from ever showing up at the police range again. Polack is on traffic duty for the next month. He figures it was well worth it. Back at the flat, Esme is shaking her head and wondering if I’ll ever grow up. “I may grow old, but I’ll never grow up.” I reply. I see I have several missed phone calls. Ah, me; no rest for the weary. Back to company-university liaison duties. After I had contacted these companies, I receive no less than 12 requests for symposia, talks, and seminars to be given to various level of industrial scientific employees in their respective companies. I am now slated to give academic conferences on stratigraphy, sedimentology, and seismic structural geology to different companies in Houston, Oklahoma City, Denver, Casper, Corpus Christi, New Orleans, and Tulsa. In the next 12 weeks, I’ll be giving no less than 8 talks in seven cities. I speak with Dean Vermiculari on how best to handle the situation. He understands and appoints two graduate student teaching assistants to handle my classes while I’m on the road. That relieves me of being physically there, but I still have to grade papers, compose lesson plans, and keep things running smoothly until finals. Besides giving the talks, there’s travel to oil fields, production facilitates, manufacturing plants, hotels, restaurants while I’m in town…the pace is excruciating. I’m gone more than I am at university. Plus in my time back home, I’m still the ad hoc master blaster for the limestone quarry. Then, there’s the companies arriving on campus, and the roles are reversed. Now I’m the welcome wagon and have to sort out the logistics of receiving the company representatives. I need to set up the colloquia to introduce the companies to the prospective students, arrange lodging, arrange passes for the university, transportation, “Meet-and-Greet’s, ad infinitum. I knew this was having a bit of effect on me when I came back to the flat after one particularly grueling ordeal of canceled flights, full hotels, missed connections and lukewarm reception by the company workers. “Hello”, I said, as I walked in the flat, “I believe you have a reservation for…” Esme just stood there, wondering if I was having a laugh. No, I wasn’t. I was completely hallucinating from road weariness, lack of sleep, jet lag, and total disorientation. This continued on for the next approximately 18 months. Esme was beginning to have second thoughts about all this. My teaching load was diminished by one whole introductory course. However, I was still flying hither and yon, delivering symposia, meeting with young geoscientists and getting to know the ins-and-outs of the Oil Industry. I found it particularly fascinating. Time marched on and it was once again it was the recruiting season. We had no less than eight oil companies visiting the university in their quest to swell the roster of their junior scientists. I’m still busier than a one-armed paperhanger in a windstorm, but have settled into a groove of sorts. I know the company recruiters and they now know me. I’ve actually struck up friendships with several. Particularly since I take them to the best local restaurants and bars after their recruiting duties are finished. I’ve met with recruiting representatives of Shrill Petrol, Mexxon, Nobil, Nocono Oil, Flug, Geddy, Brutish Petroleum, and Qexaco. The recruiting season is winding down and I find myself with Red (not Adair), of Nocono Oil. “Well, Doctor Rock”, Red states, “Another fine recruiting run. We’ve snagged two of your young geologists and one geophysicist. I’d say it was almost a perfect score.” We’re sitting in the Norton’s Steakhouse. After a couple of prime pink porterhouses, we’re working on the post-dinner double vodka and bitter lemon for me, and Lagavulin for Red. “Almost perfect?” I ask. “Yeah. There’s been this one small nagging concern from our company higher-ups.” Red continues. “What’s that?” I ask. “We need some more senior people. For one thing, we’ve recently opened a new petroleum laboratory down in our Houston office. Going to need some serious talent to run that show.” Red says. “I see”, I reply, “And…?” “We need mentors. Those with varied and far-flung knowledge. They must be well educated, global in experience and stature, with an [ahem] diverse set of skills.” Red notes. “Whew”, I agree, “That’s a tall order. You want my help with names of possible candidates? Is that it?” “Not as such, Doctor.” Red drains his drink, motions for me to do the same, and orders another round. Our drinks arrive and Red downs half his in one gulp. “Well, then”, I continue, “How can I help?” Red chuckles, “For someone so educated, you can really be thick as two short planks at times.” I sit back, and sip my Old Thought Provoker. The mercury-vapors light off. “No!” I say, incredulously. “Oh, yes.” Red smiles. “No?” I ask, slowly taking in the possible effects of what he’s hinting at… “OK, Doctor Rocknocker”, Red gets all serious and corporate, “We’d like to offer you a position at Nocono Oil as Senior Laboratory Manager and Head of Corporate Continuing Education.” You could have knocked me over with a grenade. I was stunned. I fumbled with my drink. “Red, you old con artist” I reply, “Is this a set-up?” Red, serious as a heart attack, looks directly at me and replies, “Doctor Rock, absolutely not, it’s a genuine offer.” He slides over a folder with some papers inside. “Here are the particulars.” Reeling, I accept the folder. I open it and right after the corporate logos and legal bullshit, I see a tall figure with a whole raft of zeros trailing behind it. I read furiously. The job would be both interesting and challenging. It would be in Houston, with travel and teaching at all other company outposts on a regular basis. I reexamine that figure from before and verify that I’m not now hallucinating. The job comes with furnished, corporate-paid housing, incredible benefits, loads of opportunity for advancement, more opportunity to travel, really generous vacation time… “Right. On the level?” I ask again. “Yep.” Red bluntly says. “Well”, I gulp, “you know I have to discuss this with Esme”, whom he’s met several times previous. “Of course, and you probably want to finish out the semester, correct?” red asks. “Oh, yes.” I reply. There would be a monsoon of paperwork and other grunt work I’d need to conclude or hand over if I were to accept this offer. “OK, then”, Red finishes his drink, motions for me to do the same, a real rarity; but I was in another dimension at this point. He orders another round and sits back, waiting on a refill. “You have two weeks to reply” Red states. “I know that’s not a terribly long time, but we need to fill this position ASAP. Can I ask for that? Your answer, yea, or nay, within a fortnight?” Red demands. “Yes”, I reply. “I at least owe you that.” And that was the end of the discussion for the night about me joining the private sector. We stayed a few more hours, chatting, smoking my cigars, and discussing everything but the lumbering elephant in the room. We part outside as I need to head back to our flat. Red wants to go downtown to one of those “Gentleman’s Clubs” he’s heard were so famous at the time. I was flummoxed the whole cab ride home. It was late when I returned, but I simply had to wake Es with the news. “Rock, for pity’s sake, its 2 o’clock in the morning!” Es protests. “Can’t this wait until later?” “Sorry, my dear” I reply, probably as serious as I ever had with Esme. “This is a potential game-changer.” “What is it? Are you OK?” Esme trembles. “Oh, I’m fine. Better than fine.” I reply. She’s relieved. “Then what’s so important?” she asks. “Um…how would you like to move to Houston?” I ask. “You going to teach at Cougar High (University of Houston)?” she inquires. “Nope. Brace yourself. I’ve been offered a job with Nocono Oil.” I finally spill the beans. Esme is slightly stunned and sits down. I go to the wet bar, fix me a bracing potato juice and citrus and Esme a stiff white Zinfandel. I hand her the wine and she is still semi-dazed and digesting the information. I slurp a good portion of my drink, retrieve her Sobranjes and me a cigar from my Turkmenistan humidor. I sit on the couch next to her and hug her soundly. “Esme? Es? Earth to Es? You in there?” I joke. “Oh, Yeah. Rock. Really? Hang on”, she leaves, returning with her housecoat as this might take a little time. “So?” I ask, “Your thoughts. Now! Immediately! Initial reaction!” I try to jar her back into reality. “Well, what do you want?” she asks. “C’mon, my dearest. You know I hate that. No, what do you think? What do you honestly think?” I reply. We both fire up our smokes, and I refresh our drinks. We return to the dinner table where Red’s folder lies. “Es, here. Look at this.” I say, sliding the portfolio over to her. She reads like a hungry man at a Vegas casino buffet. I can tell where she was stopped by something extraordinary. “This is for real?” she asks, “Red’s not pulling a fast one?” “Nope. It’s the genuine article”, I tell her, “He needs my reply within two weeks.” “Rock, Rock…I just don’t know. It’s a lot to process at 0230 in the morning. Let’s go to bed and have a think in the morning. You have the luxury of at least that amount of time.” She notes. “Right again, as usual”, I say, “Stuff it. It can wait.” We toddle off to bed. The next morning, over Cuban omelets and Greenland Coffees, we sort through the particulars. “Rock, it’s an extraordinary offer. But, do you want to leave teaching? I remember how you got all animated by Dean Vermiculari giving you the corporate liaison job and how that would improve your shot at tenure.” She notes. “I just don’t know. I’m still shell-shocked.” I tell her. “Let me go to school and we’ll pick this up tonight. We both have work to do no matter what. Oh, bloody hell. I hadn’t considered your job. Another wrinkle in the mess.” “Don’t you worry about that”, Esme smiles. “One catastrophe at a time.” “I do so love you.” I hug her soundly. “Think I should mention this offer to anyone at school?” “No. Definitely not.” Esme shakes her head. “Let’s figure this out on our own.” “I agree”, I say, kiss her and depart for school once again. The next week was a blur. Recruiting duties were dragging and I was being preoccupied. Even my students noted the lack of in-room explosions lately. I spend the next Saturday at the quarry, doing some small amount of blasting. I quiz the quarry owners about their progress in acquiring a new master for the quarry’s operation. “Oh, Doctor Rock” they gush, “You’re doing such a fine job, we haven’t really looked. Why do you ask?” “No particular reason at this time, I reply, “But perhaps you might want to begin looking” The chinks in my armor were finally starting to show. Sunday was spent out on Sliver Lake, with Esme and me chasing the elusive crappie, perch, and bucketmouth bass. It also gave us a chance to clear our heads from work, school and other such intrusions. We both needed a bit of downtime. Later that night, after a meal of beer-battered fillet of crappie and perch on the barbie, we sit down at the dinner table. The portfolio sits there, taunting us. I get up, makes us both our drinks, sit down and declare that this is it. “Es, darling” I say, “its nut-cuttin’ time. We need to make our decision.” “You’re right.” Es agrees, “Time for risk-reward analysis. Get some paper and some pencils.” We spend the next few hours listing the pros and cons of accepting the Houston position or staying here and pursuing my tenured professorship. After several hours, I stretch, stand, and go to the fridge. I retrieve the bottle of Bollinger Les Vieilles Vignes Francaises I had purchased the other day. I return to the table with the wine and the glasses, pop the cork and pour us both a glass of high-brow bubble water. I hug and kiss Esme like I had just returned from a long, solo expedition. “Esme, my darling. I’d like to propose a toast. First to us. Hа здоровый!” “Cheers!” Esme replies. “Secondly to Red, Dean Vermiculari, the quarry guys, Polack the Cop, and all the others that makes our life weird around here.” “Seconded”, Es echoes. “Finally: to Houston, Texas. Our new home!” I finally add. The next morning, Dean Vermiculari peers over the top of his pince-nez glasses. He’s not looking overly happy with me right now. “Why is it, Doctor, that everyone that receives the job of corporate liaison ends up going with corporate?” he asks. “Perhaps it’s just the exposure to another world that exists beyond academia.” I reply, truthfully. “Doctor Rocknocker,” the Dean gravely states, “I am not at all happy about your decision. We had great hopes for you here and you were riding right up the tenure track. Another five years and it would have been assured.” “Five years is a long time, Dean”, I state the obvious. “Yes, indeed.” The Dean replies frostily. “However, you are young. Perhaps you need to get this private sector nonsense out of your system, then you can return to academia where you belong.” “Perhaps, perhaps”, I reply. “Please, do consider this option down the road. You and your antics will be missed here, by students and faculty alike.” He says. “I will, Dean, I promise.” I reply “However, for now, it’s time for my boot heels to be wanderin’.” “Doctor, I will miss your strange and unique way of looking at life. I reluctantly accept your resignation at the end of the current semester and wish you all the best in your newest endeavors. Please remember us when corporate support for academia is mentioned in your new company.” he says. “I promise you, Dean, I will not forget what I’ve learned here and what you’ve taught. It’s the least I can do,” I reply. “I will never forget my roots.” “All I can ask”, he concludes. He stands to shake my hand. We shake and my audience is over. I resign from the quarry a week later. They haven’t found a new blaster but wish me well on my new journey. I tell them I’m here until the end of the semester, so I won’t leave them high and dry. I tell Polack the Cop about all the goings-on. “Who the hell can I roust for beer and cigars now?” He whines. “Let me know when you get to Texas if they need any cops. I wouldn’t mind trying’ that. Hell, maybe a Texas Ranger!” “A Cheesehead Ranger…?” I assure him I will and pass a box of cigars to him as a parting gift. He gives me a mayoral-signed get-out-of-jail-free card. “Now you can drive that old Harley just as crazy as you want.” He chuckles. “Thanks, Polack.” I say, shaking his hand. I didn’t have the heart to tell him I sold my bike a week earlier. Red was very chuffed with the news. “Snagged me a big one this time!’ He laughed, over the phone. There was enough paperwork, considerations and decisions to be made to last the remaining time Esme and I had in-state until our move. Already, a moving company had arrived, done inventory, and was preparing for our move to Houston. Esme resigned her position and decided she wanted to take some time off. She wanted to be a housewife, a colleague, and not have to work for once at an outside job. My new position allowed for that in spades. Besides with her credentials, anytime when she wants to re-join the workforce, there are myriad opportunities in the Bayou City. We made the choice of housing out west of town, in Katy, Texas. We could have chosen Sugarland, Addicks, Greenspoint, Greenway, or the Memorial area. However, these west Houston company properties were closest to the job and largest in square footage. My students got wind of my resignation and relocation. They threw me an unexpected farewell party at the Gast Haus. It was nickel-beer night and since they were footing the bill, it all worked out just fine. I would miss the old place. The camaraderie, the seasons, the university; hell my home these last many years. I’ve been on many, many expeditions, but I always returned home. Now, home was moving and was awaiting our arrival. Esme and I said our farewells to our families as well. We were the first through college, the first ones to travel international, the first Doctor in the family, and the first to leave the state. That’s a lot of familial firsts. I had to keep reminding everyone it wouldn’t be the last. Hell, we’re just moving to Texas, it’s not like we’re off to Greenland or Mongolia… [Gasp] We saddled up Es’s old Chevy Nova, took one last, lingering look in the rearview mirror, and said fare thee well to our previous lives. “We’ll be back. Someday. I promise” I told the city of our youth and young married adulthood. We decided to drive to Houston because we had the luxury of a bit of time. We needed the stretch to chew over some interpersonal and private things on the way to the next chapter in our lives. Besides, the weather was good, the roads ahead open and clear, and Texas had no ‘Open Container’ law, yet. We pointed the old Nova south and hit the gas. A week later, we’re wandering around our new house in Katy, Texas. Our belongings, scant though they may be, arrived the day after we did. Esme and I spent the next couple of day rearranging the house, buying necessary domestic bits and pieces, and getting to know our new neighborhood. First thing, though, Esme wanted to replace the old Nova. I concurred, but insisted we keep it as a second car and went out to purchase our first new car as a couple. I wanted a Land Rover. We ended up with a glossy black Toyota 4-Runner. Close enough. I was scheduled to show up at my new job the next Monday. I had my own parking spot, complete with “Reserved for Dr. Rock” painted on the bumper block. I was shown my new lab and was introduced to my seven laboratory assistants. I was shown the catalogs I could use to order what I needed and went over the requisition procedures. I was trotted around to meet the company CEO, CFO, CIO, VPs and many, many more company executives and managers. I’ve met with presidents and heads of state, I was impressed but not overly. They seemed like a more or less nice bunch of chaps. Almost exactly five weeks to the day from our arrival in Houston, I come home, yelling “Darling, I’m home!” Esme comes to greet me with a rib-rearranging hug. She tells me to sit at the dinner table, where my long hard day at the office drink, cigar, ashtray, and lighter are already set. “How was work, dear?” she asks, sitting down with her Perrier water. “Oh, it’s going great. The knotheads let me have an open-ended budget until I get the labs sorted just the way I want it. These guys pay their bills on time and I have carte blanche at Wards Scientific, and other supply houses. My crew is great, no interpersonal crapola, and hard workers. I can smoke in my office and no one dares give me shit about my cigars. I’m getting to know the exploration department quite well. They’re really interested in our expeditions and are more interested in my opinions of their new exploration directives.” Esme just smiles and sips her water. “Odd”, I thought. “That’s great, dear.” She says. “I am so glad to hear it.” “Me too”, I say, “How are you holding up after all these weeks alone?” “Oh, I’m getting used to it.” She smiles. And smiles. Beatifically. Glowing. “What?” I ask. “Remember what we talked about in the car on the way down here?” She asks. “We talked about a lot of things…” I say, suddenly my eyes grew very, very wide indeed. “Yes. You’re going to be a father. I’m pregnant, Rock.” Esme smiles.
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