Charlotte and I saw former Defense Secretary Dr. Robert Gates last night in Dallas at SMU's Tate Lecture Series. CNN's David Gergen interviewed the man who's spent the last five decades of his life in public service - from the CIA, to the Pentagon with a lot of stops in between.
Secretary Gates is a living legend (he's one of only a handful of living recipients of this country's highest honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom) and he's served five presidents going all the way back to Carter. His resume is solid gold and when he speaks world leaders listen.
Of course, having the most powerful military in the world at your disposal is a great way to get global attention. But, Gates comes across as more of a walk-softly-and-carry-a-big-stick kind of guy. He fielded Gergen's questions - and those from an almost capacity crowd at SMU's McFarlin Auditorium - with the same ease as Josh Hamilton taking batting practice.
He knocked every answer out of the park with a measured cadence that was one part experienced diplomat, one part pragmatist and one part Aggie (No mean comments please - I mean that in a GOOD way).
If you think the only threats to our national security are a zombie apocalypse and Iranian nuclear weapons, you're only half-right. Dr. Gates pulled back the curtain on his top picks for terror and he never mentioned zombies. Not. Even. Once.
Here are the four things that keep Dr. Gates up at night.
It's looking like Vladimir Putin is angling to become Russia's version of Texas governor-for-life, Rick Perry.
Bob and I have been housebound most of this year. After months of moving and making over our attic, we're ready to hit the road. We're planning treks to Napa Valley, New York City (to visit our one-and-only-son Cole!) and Gulf Shores, AL soon.
This was the day Ruffles decided he wasn't going to take crap from anyone...
Whether you're soaking up some warmth at the beach, by the fire or in the tub, you'll find a great escape in these four lively whodunits perfect for fall:
I'm thinking she should run for Congress.
Normally, I'm all about a BIG, roomy handbag. I need space for my keys, cell phone and wallet. Then there's that tape measure, the ever-essential lip gloss (or five) and all those coupons. Somebody's always having a sale!
We're remodeling Blogger HQ to take in some attic space and create a new home office. We've hired our favorite contractors Doug and Christine to tackle this job and basically turn our lives upside down for the next two months. Join us as we find out if remodelers and home owners can peacefully coexist and/or discover if it's OK to hide a body in a construction dumpster.
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The last time we talked about our remodeling project we'd just been picked as a "B" story for the HGTV reality series Donna Decorates Dallas. Those of you who know Charlotte please feel free to go EEEEKKK! right now. Trust me, she still is.
So we got THE CALL. No, not the call to move to the desert and start a cult - THE CALL telling us HGTV was coming over to film the first part of our episode. Yeah, I know we're just a "B" story, but hey, it's a "B" story that takes not one, but two filming sessions. How 'bout that!
We got the full Colleywood treatment. Makeup...tiny microphones stuffed down our clothes...and plenty of filming and more filming and still more filming. Seriously y'all, this is the real deal.
Charlotte didn't need it, but makeup artist Chelsea Lee made her "camera ready"...
The woman's a freakin' Rembrandt with a makeup brush. Here's what I looked like when I got out of Chelsea's chair...
So, what are they doing to the remodeled room? Will there be special effects? Rainbows? Unicorns dispensing Skittles? Do you wanna know what Donna Decorates Dallas is going to do to our Colleywood home....huh, do ya? Can't tell you...yet. See, there's this bunch of home & garden lawyers that have sworn us to secrecy and promised to take out their pruning shears if we talk. And if I DID tell you, I'd have to kill you. That would mean I'd probably mess up my hair and makeup on that late-night drive out to Aledo or Garland to dump your body. Now that Chelsea has me camera-ready, it's just not worth the effort. I promise to give you all the back story with pictures of everything and probably a video. Until then, here's a little behind-the-scenes peak at what our first HGTV filming day was like.
So, what are they doing to the remodeled room? Will there be special effects? Rainbows? Unicorns dispensing Skittles? Do you wanna know what Donna Decorates Dallas is going to do to our Colleywood home....huh, do ya?
Can't tell you...yet.
See, there's this bunch of home & garden lawyers that have sworn us to secrecy and promised to take out their pruning shears if we talk. And if I DID tell you, I'd have to kill you. That would mean I'd probably mess up my hair and makeup on that late-night drive out to Aledo or Garland to dump your body. Now that Chelsea has me camera-ready, it's just not worth the effort.
I promise to give you all the back story with pictures of everything and probably a video. Until then, here's a little behind-the-scenes peak at what our first HGTV filming day was like.
A few years ago Charlotte and I became empty nesters. Since Cole's an only child, we were among the first in our group to get the house back to ourselves. It seemed that everyone wanted to know what it was like to finally be the master of our domain after 18+ years.
Stay with me, it looks like we're going in.
Imagine if your neighbor, your co-worker or the clerk behind the counter at your local Starbucks was sent to kill you, but you had no way of knowing. This is the landscape debut author Trevor Shane has created in his breakout novel, Children of Paranoia (Dutton; Sept. 8, 2011).
The fast-paced, espionage-laced story depicts an ancient, underground war raging in the shadows of a world much like our own. The conflict is governed by rigid rules:
rule #1: no killing innocent bystanders.
rule #2: no killing anyone under 18.
We're giving away two autographed copies of Trevor Shane's breakout novel, Children of Paranoia.
Set in a dystopian landscape reminiscent of I am Number Four and The Hunger Games, this edge-of-your-seat thriller has surprising heart that will entice fans of Showtime's Dexter.
Click "Read More" for details on how to enter*. Contest ends Sept. 22!
Don't worry Boomers, we're not turning The Boomer Brief into a political soapbox, we're just telling you what we see. So, hold your hate mail, or at least include $20 with every letter so we can monetize this column. Please remember, The Boomer Brief is the Switzerland of the blogosphere - totally neutral with a deliciously rich, creamy, cheese-filled center.
I saw the first of what will likely be 454,345 presidential debates and I've come to this conclusion: RICK PERRY IS OUR NEXT PRESIDENT. No, this isn't an endorsement it's just what I'm seeing out here in the blogosphere.
Here are three reasons why the Lone Star State's governor-for-life is going to be the 45th President of the United States:
1. He's a good ol' boy
Governor Perry has that, Aw-Shucks-I-Just-Stepped-In-Cow-S*** attitude that's totally irresistible to the electorate. This country (even those not blessed to have been born in the South) has a long history of electing leaders it'd like to have a drink with. That's why Mitt Romney isn't the front runner. The dude's a teetotaler...and totally unelectable.
2. He's got good hair
I know you're saying, "Thank You Captain Obvious". But, Perry's got hair so good you'd think he was the result of a science experiment gone horribly wrong where Rod Blagojevich and Bobby Goldsboro somehow got together and had a son. Americans love presidents with good hair, that's why we lather, rinse and repeat every four years.
Serving salad is my favorite way to sneak more nutrient-rich vegetables into our meals. But who doesn't get tired of having the same, old lettuce-and-tomato medley? That's when I pull out The Everything Salad Book (Adams Media; 2011).
It was the first day of Kindergarten and even the teachers were saying he was mature for his age...
After spending ALL summer in skirts, shorts and dresses, I've been dreading pulling out the skinny jeans that are my go-to garment for fall. Sure, they look great with flats, booties or stilettos (another good reason to buy more shoes), but thigh-hugging denim is not always my friend.
Larry Felder is one of those Baby Boomers who never took his eyes off the prize. Years ago, Larry and wife Linda decided they wanted to move to Costa Rica when they hit retirement. They'd been coastal residents for years and decided that the people, terrain and quality of life in this Central American country made perfect sense to them. After years of research, planning and preparation, they took the big expatriate leap - left their family and art gallery back in lovely Port Aransas, Texas - and landed in the jungle near Playa Hermosa.