Dad taught me well!
  As a teen, I gained possession of a 48 star American flag that was as big as a wall in my bedroom. I proudly put it up, saluted it and said the pledge every day for my dads sake. It stayed there until.....

   My father, Master Chief Charles Abraham Blocker was a 30 year Navy man and lay minister. He finished his career as the highest ranking enlisted man. At age 17 he lied about his age in order to join his older brother Uncle Jimmy in 1942 and made the Navy his career.
   I was always fascinated and proud of his chest of medals including the Navy Cross.  After those 30 years of traveling the Seven Seas, WWII, Korea, and many other assignments he came home straight from Vietnam. I was 15 and spent the entire day in the front yard in order to be the first to welcome him home.
  When he saw the flag covering my wall, he immediately stopped in his tracks. Without harsh words but rather with solemnity, he took it down with care. He carried this 12 foot flag reverently to the living room where we respectfully folded it. He then had mom find a clear wrapping for it and placed it on my dresser.
  Looking back, I am sure that the 48 star flag meant much more to him than I will ever know. He had defended and saluted that flag during his prime.
  I guess the fact that it was an out dated flag made me feel it was OK to make it a wall dressing. I was proud to own it and to look at it.
  The lesson stuck with me. 

This was the man who plucked me from a pitiful Japanese orphanage at age 5. He taught me the pledge, the Preamble, and sang patriotic songs with me as we polished his leather and brass from the beginning. His frog like bass was music to my ears. He taught me American pride and I was singing the anthem before I was speaking decent English!
  He praised me when as a Cub Scout, I helped with the morning flag raising in elementary school. When we went to Jacksonville Naval Air Base for groceries or medical, mom would drop me off at his office just across the road from the runway where the Blue Angels performed touch and goes. I was raised to honor the flag and what it stands for.
  I have always honored what the flag represents and will stand up for it ferociously.
  God Bless American and it's symbol of freedom, unity, and bravery.

 Thanks to Larry Faulkner for sending me this.
 Here is the code for the United States Flag.


Gazpacho! You are welcome!

Gazpacho w/Shrimp
By J.B. Blocker
   I have been craving fresh veggies. Guess my constant pushups when I want a cigarette has something to do with it. When my eat healthy gene or sensibility kicks in I have a tendency to go on auto-pilot when I grocery shop around the produce section.  
  This happened to me recently. There I was, looking at my cart filled with asparagus, avocados, cucumbers, various peppers, celery, romaine, red onions, and tomatoes without realizing I had spent nearly an hour in the fresh produce section. The problem is, I only really went to pick up beer, eggs, milk, and butter.
  Back at home, I am looking at my sink filled with veggies and I am thinking of what I am going to do with them.
  That’s when the spirit of my recently passed chef mentor, the great French Master Chef Jean La Font spoke to me.
  “Gazpacho”, he whispered!


The Man from Monkeys Eyebrow

Jim McGee, Plano City Council #7
jb blocker
 Indiana and Illinois meet western Kentucky at Ballard County. The Ohio River twist and turns like a great snake all along the northern Kentucky border. At one area, you see what people thought a monkeys head looked like. At the area where an eyebrow might be lies Monkeys Eyebrow, Kentucky.

  West of Paducah and Metropolis, (yes that’s Superman’s Metropolis sort of) the Ohio River valley features farms and ranches that trace their Irish roots to the migration of hardy families that spanned from 1840’s to the 1860’s. This was the time of the Potato Famines that left a million Irish starving to death.  Mixing with German immigrants, tiny communities sprang up. These were Protestant Irish. They were seeking their own religious freedom. With an Irish father and a German mother, Jim McGee and many like him were the melting point for the two cultures. “We were hard working country folks. We absolutely ate off of the land. We raised our own livestock and kept a family garden. We hunted and fished.  My Uncle Vern never wore a pair of shoes in his life.”
  Jim McGee can trace his roots back to the Civil War era. Their family farm still grows corn and carries on his great grandfather’s legacy. But the McGee School House Bell now resides in Plano, Texas. 
 “We got out of the dairy business, but not before I got all the experience I will ever want.” Young Jim McGee loaded up a ’65 VW Beetle and headed off to IU. I tried a couple of years of college, but I still wasn’t sure of the direction for my life.”
Full Service  
 “I had the opportunity to buy a gas stop after my 2nd year at university. The Clark Oil service station was nothing more than a gas, oil, and soda stop. The station was near Peoria but really off the beaten path. There was some industry nearby and the shift changes at the Pabst Brewery plant kept us busy.
 This was back when you pumped the gas, checked the oil and tires, and washed the windshield. Everytime!!! We were open all day and all night every day.  I usually worked double shifts and had eight employees that covered the rest.”
 “I took the opportunity to service vehicles very seriously.” Two years of owning the little gas stop gave Jim plenty of time to think and he was ready to discover America.

 For the next few years Jim was in the grain storage business. “We built corrugated round storage bins all over the Midwest. I did a good job and my responsibilities and area expanded. I enjoyed getting to know the agricultural communities across the heart land.”

Texas Bound
 “People ask me how I ended up in Texas. That’s an easy one! Sure, people talk about the opportunities, but for me, it was the people!”
 For friendly people, Texas hospitality has been a beacon for many all over America and even the world. It still is! Texas epitomizes the spirit of America’s range. Jim felt it like a magnet and in ’78 made Dallas his new home. It didn’t take long before the hope and promise of Plano lured him. The population was around 75,000.

Signs, Signs, let your Signs Shine!

What’s Your Sign?

  There are real people behind those signs! Do you get to know them before you vote? In today's electronic era, it is not that hard to study up on them and find out when they will be locally available.You can google, yahoo, bing, linked-in, facebook,twitter, etc.etc. 
   It is a pleasure for me to help you know that person behind the sign. Your responsibility as a concerned citizen is to take the time to know the candidates and then speak up for the ones you believe can be a dedicated voice you trust.
  They come in all sizes. They are on hats and shirts and pins. On the highways and byways, private property, personal property,and automobiles.
  They are about to be everywhere. Again!
  Some say that they are distracting, or that they are a nuisance, or even a driving hazard.
  Are they necessary? I say YES!
  And if you don't eventually have any signs in your yard, on your vehicles, or even worn on your shirts, hats, or luggage then I say 'You haven't become passionate about your leadership! And let me add, you have no right to complain!'
  You know how they say, “Can’t see the forest for the trees!” Well, very soon, we won’t be able see anything but the signs!
  Does the number of auto accidents go up during hotly contested races? That’s when there are multiple candidates in several races. Those signs are popping up again.
Do those signs influence you?
  Do you remember all the names of candidates you see covering every available green space or do you pull over and write them all down? Do you research these names on-line and then take the time to meet and hear them? 

  What effect do those signs have on you? Do they annoy, entertain, inform? You can leave a comment. 
A Good Sign
  I don’t know who they are, but they say that every yard sign is worth about 7 votes. Now that could be, give or take 3 or 4 for all I know. I don't much trust polls anymore. Those numbers can be manufactured into B.S.
  I never really understood when people wanted to be secretive about their voting preference. Just because we have a different opinion doesn’t mean I’m going to be mad at you. 
  I figure we probably still have more in common than we know. I am not afraid to ask people for their opinions or observations. I'm certainly not afraid to give mine!

Chef Ewald Scholz: Meeting a Legend

Meeting a Legend 
 by J.B. Blocker
  Ewald Scholz has brought elegance to the madness of perfection. Ask anyone. Perfectionist is always mentioned. 

  He is energized and driven by the soul of hospitality. The great chef is 'Front of House', 'Back of House', and all points in between. He proved to be a mentor and guide from a young age. No detail escaped him. He lived his historic culinary carrier with a whip and a rose. I have seen it in the many ways. 
  He has traveled the world of cuisine like Marco Polo and then presented what he has learned with thoughtful elegance. He has influenced thousands and charmed thousands more.
  I was visiting chef a few weeks ago on a Sunday afternoon. Chef and I were standing on his back patio when the doorbell rings. His story is so big that an inadvertent team has formed. Dotty Griffith and Gay Prewitt have joined Pete and myself to revel in the names and places that have been woven into his tapestry.
 Chef Pete Nolasco and his video recorder have arrived. Without hesitation he virtually sprints across his living room, kitchen, and foyer to get to the front. He doesn’t want the guest at his front door to have to wait to be greeted.
  “This man is ’83, undergoing chemo, and he has been waiting on my every thought since I had parked.”  50 yards away, he had walked to me in a hurry to open the gate for me.  He minds our seating and comfort. He allows me to make coffee but still provides iced water and searches for other possible needs.
  Much later, Chef Pete attempts to clear the table after a snack of perfectly chopped onions, thinly sliced salmon, a serving of mixed crackers and cheeses and a very nice wine. He curses, “Damn it! Leave that alone!” I mentioned this to one of his longtime friends a few days later who’s response is, “That probably offended him! He is the consummate host don’t you know!” 

  We had met a few other times but having only lived in Dallas for the past 24 years, I wasn’t part of his glory days. Actually, I was. I didn’t realize it until only recently.

  My 1st fine dining experience wasn’t until 1986 at the restaurant at the Stoneleigh. It was Ewald’s!

Dining at Ewald's

  One of my best friends (crazy wealthy) was celebrating his SMU Doctorate and flew me in from Amarillo. The special diner was being prepared by a famous chef and Richard had a room for me at the Stoneleigh. (my 1st stay in a motel with elevators)
  The tables were set for a movie scene. All the glasses, utensils, choreographed like a piece of art.


Ken Roberts: Collin College Trustee

Ken Roberts for Collin College: Campaign Platform:

 New Leadership with New Vision needs New Perspective.
  Our community has proudly watched Collin College grow and become an integral part of the ‘Collin County experience’. It has progressed from a ‘greenfield dream’ of a higher education institution through Quad C to its present status as Collin College. Collin College is no longer a rural community college of 30 years ago. It is changing to a suburban College which resides in a county that is attracting Fortune 500, Global 2000 giants. This progression needs to constantly review perspective.

  We are approaching another milestone in the development of Collin College. We have a new leader, a new President, Dr. Neil Matkin. We have had 2 outstanding Presidents. Dr. John Anthony for 14 years in the start-up and foundation stage and Dr. Cary Israel for 16 years in the formative and establishment stage. I will work with Dr. Matkin to facilitate the new vision of our progression. My perspective is to be the Board member to help us ‘to the next stage’.

HR experience:
  I bring vital experience not present on the board; 25 years of HR experience. The Human Resources mindset is that the employees are the most important asset of their company. We must communicate, recognized and retain all the outstanding teachers and staff that we have at Collin College.

Corporation Partnership:
  Another vital experience that I bring to the Board is current Corporate/Business experience. We need to enhance our relationships with corporations; just as TI with UTD and PISD. Barclays Bank, Liberty Mutual, State Farm, Ericsson, Huawei, Frito-Lay, Dell, HP and, of course, the crown jewel, Toyota have decided to move here. The primary reasons are business friendly attitude, quality of life, and the outstanding educational systems in our County. My perspective is based on the corporation type mindset like the Global 2000 tech company I am currently employed.

Service/Board Experience:
  I have the strong desire to serve the community.  I have served the people of Plano and Collin County for over 20 years on boards.  I work well on boards. I have served in positions up to president on boards involved in education (adult & student), civil, philanthropic, city and county.  I am engaged and contributory. I volunteer, build concessions and effectively relate my position and ideas to other board members. I am a graduate of Leadership Plano and other leadership courses to train myself as a doer and facilitator.  I am passionate for an idea but not obsessive or egotistical. 

I feel that with ‘New leadership with New Vision, will need a New Perspective’ to move to the next level.
Please vote for me as Collin College Trustee, Place 8 on May 9th (or before).

- J.B. Blocker is a media consultant based in Collin County in North Texas. Advertise with J.B. by calling 469-334-9962.

Matt Lagos knows Plano

What does Matt Lagos Know about Plano?

Matt's Facebook Page
 He was born and raised in Plano and he’s proud of it. Among his first memories is as a precocious preschooler at E.A. Sigler Elementary dressed as a crayon for Halloween. 
  Plano Wildcat football games on Friday nights were a big part of family life. They watched his older brother Jeff win back-to-back state championships in 1986 and 1987 under head coach Tom Kimbrough.  
  Growing up, Matt played baseball and even worked as a volleyball referee at PSA.  He was a league bowler at Plano Super Bowl and took piano lessons from his neighbor, Bonnie Gray. He also loved to sing in the choir at Haggard Middle School. He recalls singing at the Bluebonnet Classic at Vines HS with director Margie King. 
Dr. Doyle Dean, retired principal at Plano Sr. High while attending PSHS
  Young Matt attended Plano ISD schools Saigling, Haggard, Vines and graduated from Plano Sr. High in 1997. His two younger sisters played softball first in tournament play and later at Cheyenne Park for the Lady Wildcats. At his graduation ceremony at SMU’s Moody Coliseum, Matt remembers the valedictorian asking everyone to introduce themselves to a graduate sitting close by.  It was likely the first time they had met each other (his graduating class was almost 1400!). 
  Following high school, Matt entered the workforce starting at