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Tuesday

The Lone Star Sheriff's Image

Sheriff Keith Gary, 2nd from the left

You Can Always Learn


Behind his desk, Sheriff Keith Gary of Grayson County, Texas leans toward me and says, “You can quote me on this, I was wrong!”
 

Let me introduce you to my friend Keith Gary.
  Keith was a 5’7” former drum major in college and after graduation, an insurance agent. Somehow by fate, accident, or an act of God he found himself sporting the badge of a U.S. Marshall assigned to East Texas.
  You can call Keith a conservative. He served under Nixon but resigned rather than serve under the Carter administration. With the election of Reagan, he was reappointed. When Clinton was elected, he resigned again and was again reappointed by Bush.
  Now, truth be told, he might have been replaced or not. It doesn’t matter because he didn’t wait around to find out.
  In 1996, he was urged to run for sheriff in a county that had never elected a Republican. He ran against a long seated incumbent and along with two other Republicans began a trend. In 2013, all 23 elected county officials will be GOP!
  To say he is beloved in his county is a statement that I have found can be said for many long serving Texas Sheriffs. Keith is a gentle natured soul who displays courtesy and respect with the ease of a guardian angel.
  As a matter of fact, as I sit across from him in his office, or attend his Rotary luncheon, or wander around with him. I am ever fascinated by his frankness as we get to know each other. I think of a younger George Burns. I want to stick a short, fat cigar in his hands and take a picture, but he is not going for it.
The G-Man Look
  Sheriff Gary was just reelected for the 5th time and at age 77 has served some 44 years in law enforcement. He is spry and cheerful in the comforting way of a man who has seen it all and has learned ‘what not to get worked up over.’
  For the last 16 years he and his staff had dressed like G-Men. Sports jacket, white shirt, and tie. It was what he knew. He was comfortable with that clean professional look.
  Some of his officers had occasionally dropped hints of wanting to wear a Stetson with boots and jeans.  In the fall of this year, he called in his administration staff and detectives. “I had some discretionary funds available so I gave them the opportunity to go to the classic western look of boots, jeans, white shirt, and a cowboy hat and they jumped on the offer.” explains the sheriff.
   “I didn’t buy myself a Stetson, but the guys pitched in and bought me a fine hat. I really didn’t expect to wear it often at all but I really appreciated the gesture and am proud to own this hat.”
  As we mingled with Keith’s fellow Rotarians, I ask their opinion of the sheriff dressed in the western sheriff attire. They were big fans and we got a group ‘thumbs up’ photo.
  When we returned to his office after running around the court house meeting other county officials including Keith’s son Brian who serves as a District Judge, we talked about the effects of this new (or rather old) sheriff’s attire.
  “Deputies are reporting a great response with the public. I see now that in a suit and tie alone, my staff didn’t look like a Texas county sheriff, they looked like anyone in a suit.”
  “But I tell you, Gary continues, I can also see it in the pride of my staff and frankly, I feel pretty good about it myself. I thought I might wear this look every once in a while  but I find myself getting dressed in the morning and thinking, ‘Now who am I going to be in front of’ and I end up putting on the boots and grabbing this fine white Stetson!”
The Moral?
  I present to you a man who can stand before God and everyone else and say, “I was wrong!”
  It speaks a lot for Sheriff Gary, an elected official with all the power that comes from his vast experience to still be learning but there is more than that. To some, saying they were wrong taste like vinegar, to the wise, it taste like the honey of learning something good.


Sheriff’s and Their Stetsons

Tom Maddox is the sheriff of Sabine County.
   “My grandfather gave me my first boots and cowboy hat when I was 3 years old. I’ve been wearing them ever since! I believe that our Texas citizens respect the image of a sheriff with his boots and Stetson. But you need to remember your manners.
  I recently was invited into a home and before I could explain why they should vote for me the homeowner stopped me. He said, “You already have my vote. The fellow running against you came knockin and I invited him in. Do you know he didn’t have the decency to take off his hat when he came in my home!”
  Courtesy means a lot!”



Randy Brown is the sheriff of Medina County.
  At 6 foot 11 inches tall before he puts on his boots and hat, Randy is very likely the tallest sheriff in the United States. A modest man, I talked to his deputies to get this little nugget.
  Apparently, the sheriff’s staff often has lunch together. When they sit to eat they all remove their hats and pray before their meal. Many times someone comments that they appreciate seeing this Christian act from the sheriff and his staff. Someone questioned whether this was making a bit of a scene. The response!
  “We are an Openly Christian department! I am not going to hide my faith. We promote and provide access to religious studies and services. We even have Wednesday evening services at our county jail. When you are in our custody, we will behave in a Christian manner.”


Bob Holder is the sheriff of Comal County. His office is in New Braunfels.
  Bob has become one of my sounding boards. After 30 years as a Texas Highway Patrol officer and nearly 50 years of total law enforcement, he and his wife plan on travelling around on their Harley if he would be allowed to retire. He is another hugely popular Texas sheriff. Sheriff Holder has a deep resonant voice and an easy style that sounds like a voice God would use.
  “I remember the day I became a Texas Highway Patrolman. I remember how proud I was when I put on that hat. To this day, it is my opinion that the hat with the badge is a symbol. It means something historic, sometimes heroic, and considered trustworthy.”
  “My deputies are welcomed to wear their Stetsons with one exception. A law man doesn’t need to be fighting to keep his hat on in the wind when they are performing their duties. And they certainly don’t need to be chasing them! We had a good looking baseball cap made that they are also allowed to wear. Other than that, they need to been seen as a Texas Deputy Sheriff.”

Susan Pamerleau is the sheriff elect of Bexar County and a USAF Retired Major General. That's 2 Stars!

  The newly elected sheriff had someone else hat put on her upon the announcement that she was the newly elected sheriff. This picture was taken. Susan is proud of this photo and what it represents.
  "I respect the image of a Texas Sheriff and will also wear a Stetson when occasions call for them."
  This lady ran her campaign on her extensive organizational skills!

 
Dan Law is the current Pres.of the Sheriff’s Assoc. of Texas and the sheriff of Caldwell County.

   Sheriff Law is a big man! He could stand in a crowd of NFL linemen and fit in at 6’4” and a plus plus size.
  “It’s funny how people respond to you when you wear your Stetson. What really stands out is how people you know respond to you when you don't wear it. They kind of don't respond at all.
   As big as I am, I am amazed that people I know don’t recognize me in passing if I’m not in my Stetson. One time, I asked a friend why he didn’t introduce me to someone as the sheriff. His reply was, “You didn’t look like one!”



Writers P.S.
  I put on my first cowboy hat at age 15. My first job with a time card was at the Sunray feed yard. I’ve been wearing one ever since.
  I am always amazed at how many friends pass by me in the streets and at social events when I am not wearing my Stetson. The governors security staff are used to me appearing at some of his public appearances with camera in hand and taking up close pictures. I showed up at one event hatless and couldn't get close.
The Gov, Linda Schenk, yours truly.
  On the other hand, like many of my sheriff friends we are often stopped by tourist especially at the airport and asked to be in a picture with them. Me, probably because my belt has star centered conchs. When one group of oriental tourist at LAX came up to me, I introduced myself as J.B. Blocker. “Oh Walker Texas Ranger” they sang out. No, no, that’s Blocker not Walker! “ Ah! OK, take picture now prease!”
 I am the most comfortable and in my opinion often the best dressed in pressed jeans, polished boots, a white shirt, and my 30 year old Stetson.
  The image works for me even without the badge. It becomes magical when you have that Star on your chest!

- J.B. Blocker is a media consultant and historian/biographer.

Unexpected Danger! 2018 Drivers Traffic Stop Protocol




Common Sense and Courtesy
By J.B. Blocker
  With all the furor generated on the social media concerning the shooting of a man during a traffic stop, it occurred to me that many don’t seem to know how to behave if they are stopped! 
  To me it seemed that logic and courtesy were all that was necessary in order to make the stop as safe and painless as it could be considering the circumstances!
  
  I began my research by calling the ‘Best of the Best’ to help me get this right. These friends have served for years in several branches of Texas law enforcement. They include Sheriff Harold Eavenson the VP of the National Sheriffs Association, Carrollton Chief of Police Rex Redden, Director of the Texas Border Sheriffs Association Don Reay, Senate Candidate and past Top Texas Game Warden Peter Flores, Kirk Launius the GOP candidate for Dallas County Sheriff, Howe Chief of Police and License To Carry instructor Carl Hudman, and former Texas Highway Patrol/Texas Ranger Lee Young and Sheriff David Byrne to help sort out what rules have been approved and practiced by their various departments.
  Of course I might add that when Game Wardens and Texas Rangers make a stop, it is rarely for a traffic or vehicle violation.
  I did a lot of listening as they guided me through not only the regulations but also the reasoning behind the suggested actions for the officer and the driver. With their help I have compiled a 2017 Drivers Traffic Stop Protocol that should be an aid to the well being of the driver and officer alike.
It really boils down to common sense and courtesy. To which I respond, “Common sense seems to be a missing ingredient to a lot of people. Especially when they are being pulled over!”

  Since I took my license exam in the 70’s, I wasn’t really sure what the rules are on a Texas Driver’s License Exam. So let’s start there! 

Sunday

Coffee, Politics, News, and Fine Foods

Romancing the Bean Series
by Caffeine Cowboy

Tales from the Old County

Coffee Cantata by Johan Sebastian Bach


  “No daughter of mine will drink coffee!” declares Schlendrian. (Stuffy in German)  “­­But father, if I don’t have at least three small cups a day, I’ll soon be as dried-out as an un-basted roast!”

  Cleverly, Schlendrian proposes, “Fine, then make your choice, a husband or coffee!”  His willful daughter seemingly demurs to her fathers restriction but with a stage-whisper tells the audience, “Any man who wishes to win my hand must first promise to supply all of the coffee I want!”

  Amused by the Parisian fad for coffee, Bach asked the famed poet and satirist Picador to write a libretto with coffee as its theme.  The story mirrored the attitude of the German elite toward women and the middle-class. Coffee was too special for the commoner and coffeehouses were no place for a lady!


  Before public music halls existed in Germany, caf├ęs attracted music lovers by sponsoring performances by collegia musica (the association of private musicians).

  From 1720 to1740, Bach performed for the public and experimented with new pieces at Zimmerman’s Kaffeehaus in Leipzig.  The Coffee Cantata was first performed there in 1734.  It was a musical and community success.

The most famous coffee snob:


Wednesday

Recruiting a Winning Team

The Andrew Principle
Campaigning 101
jb blocker

John 1: 40  One of the two who heard John speak and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. 41 He found first his own brother Simon and said to him, "We have found the Messiah” (which translated means Christ). 42 He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, "You are Simon the son of John; you shall be called Cephas" (which is translated Peter)
  
  You don’t hear much about Andrew the apostle. We know he was one of the first to be chosen by Jesus along with James and John. Later in the Bible, he is the one who brings the boy to Jesus with the fish and loaves that feeds thousands. He is also at the resurrection. But Andrew is also mentioned for one other thing that has resonated throughout the ages.
  You see, Andrew met Jesus and went to his brother Simon to tell him he had found the Savior! Simon's named was changed to Peter. "Upon this rock I will build my church."
  That is some really good recruiting! That is like finding Babe Ruth and introducing him to baseball. 

I call it ‘The Andrew Principle’.
  In campaigning for a civic office, you really need a few Peters. He or She are the one who thousands listen to. They have a network, respect, and usually access to donors.
  But Peters are hard to get to.  They are very protective of their resources and are exceptionally aware of how their good name can be used or misused.  You often have to go through others they trust just to get to them.
  Every Peter has their Andrews. They can’t be that successful without dependable trusted people in their lives. Whether those are family or friends, they are the people who can unlock the doors that lead to the Peters.

Looking for Andrew

Monday

Simply refreshing Gazpacho


Gazpacho
By J.B. Blocker
   When my eat healthy gene kicks in I have a tendency to go on auto-pilot when I grocery shop around the fresh produce section.  
  That is when the spirit of my recently passed chef mentor, the great French Master Chef Jean La Font speaks to me.
  “Gazpacho”, he whispers! 
It has become one of my go to dishes. My really healthy comfort food. It gets even better on day two and three but it rarely last that long. I don't even use a bowl. I fill a mug and add some chilled shrimp if I have it ready.

Learning American

‘The Big Book’  (1893-1993) R.I.P.
Recognizing one of this country’s greatest teachers.   By JB Blocker

The Millennials don’t know about this. Much of the GenX Generation don’t either. As an immigrant from the ‘60’s, the Sears and Roebuck catalogue was one of my best friends. It taught me America!

  The first true Sears catalogue was produced and distributed in 1893. Many others were to follow. It became an iconic life line of what people wanted and needed across America. It you had a mailing address, you could own anything in those pages.
  Clothing, toys, guns, farm tools, kitchen, living room, garage items, even houses and cars stirred the imagination of families from the city streets to farms, fields, and newly discovered parts of this growing country.
  I remember in the early ‘70s listening to some old cowboys at the local pool hall in my panhandle farming community. They got in to a discussion about the new Christmas catalogue at the Montgomery Ward’s one day. 
  The talk started over the price of things. But the discussion moved to how they had been making their wish list from those catalogues most of their lives. Those pictures of what the world looked like outside of their world gave them reasons to save their money.
  Studying catalogues allowed America to become aware of the choices they never had before and how much money they would need to save.
  A few of those senior citizens also talked about the catalogues as a teaching tool. You could learn how to read while you were learning the value of all those items available from the pages of pictures, descriptions, and prices.
My Crash Course


Sunday

The Real Andy of Mayberry, Sheriff Booger Pruitt

 
  I started this 1200 mile plus road trip from Dallas to Amarillo and on to Dalhart in the far northwest corner of Texas. The return trip takes me back down west Texas before cutting east to DFW. I will pass through 37 of the 254 counties along the way and I try to fill my memory banks with identifiers for each of these counties.  
  On the way back from Dalhart and back to Dumas on the way to Amarillo I am seeing my home in a whole new way. I am thinking of bank robbers, cattle rustlers, and the evolution of the sheriffs of Texas all the way to it's modern day technology.
  I have sheriff friends all along the way, but I can't visit them all, I have to be in Garden City by morning for a very important interview.

Friday

PERRY COCKERELL is TEXAS, NAVY, and TRUSTED

Retired Navy Commander seeks Justice Seat
Gen. Petraeus and Cmd. Cockerell
  In September 2017 I began my campaign for Justice on Place 12 of the 5th District Court of Appeals. It was a great decision for me because it follows over 36 years of trial and appellate law Texas, the most of any of the candidates in my race.

  When I was licensed to practice law in 1981 and I stood to take the oath to become a licensed attorney in the State of Texas, it was one of the greatest days in my life.  I did not always know what lawyers do but I knew I would become one.
 
Attorney, Veteran, Historian
My experience is broad-based in state and federal courts in civil trial law with a diverse practice. I am Board Certified in Civil Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.
  I serve on the Council of the State Bar Appellate Section, the only candidate in the race to be elected on the council.  Only 15 appellate attorneys are elected statewide on this counsel. 
  I am co-chair of the Judicial and Section committee that serves to transcribe the oral histories of the former appellate justices on the court of appeals.  I have conducted interviews and handwritten and transcribed some of these histories that are available on the internet. 
  In addition, as a public service I write a monthly Judicial Profile on the local judges and justices in Tarrant County, a county that is not in the geographical boundaries of the Fifth District.  I spend several hours a month interviewing and preparing these articles for publication.  From studying these interviews for many years on what makes a good justice or judge I have a keen insight on how the Texas judiciary works.
  
 
In 1986 I enlisted in the United States Navy as a Petty Officer Third Class and was trained in the Navy Intelligence Program. In 1987 I was granted a direct commission and thereafter served faithfully once a month and for two and sometimes three weeks a year on active duty for the next twenty-eight years until I retired in 2014.
  During my service I was recalled to active duty three times.
  In 1990 I was recalled during Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii where I briefed Navy ships leaving the United States and headed to the Persian Gulf.  One of those briefs was to the U.S.S. Missouri (BB-63) in November 1990.  I remember the ship being stationed at Pearl Harbor while many came to see the ship on her last tour.
USS Missouri 1990
   I remember boarding the ship is a young lieutenant to give an intelligence briefing to the Captain, Executive Officer, and its officer crew in the officer’s wardroom.
  Only ninety days earlier I was practicing law in my office. I had no idea I would be on a Navy ship briefing the crew at Pearl Harbor.
  From 2001 to 2003 I was recalled to active duty to the United States Southern Command in Miami, Florida and later to NAS Fort Worth JRB where I served for 21 months on active duty.  I was sent abroad to Curacao to brief the Dutch Military and once sent to brief at the National Security Agency.
  In 2007 I was recalled to active duty and sent to Iraq where I served during Operation Iraqi Freedom and was stationed at various locations including Sadr City and in the Saddam Presidential Palace.    
 
Leaving Iraq
Bronze Star Recipient
Following my tour in Iraq I was honored with the Bronze Star. In 2014 I retired as a Navy Commander.
  I currently serve clients across the great State of Texas with cases pending in the Texas Supreme Court, the Second and Fifth Courts of Appeals and in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.
  Each year I provide pro bono services to the poor who need a trial and appellate attorney to assist them.
  I have also long-standing Republican credentials having been a precinct chair in Tarrant and Dallas counties.
  I proudly served as the legal counsel to the Tarrant County Republican Party and was a senatorial delegate to the Republican State Convention.

It is with this broad background of experience and the love for the law in Texas that ask for your vote on March 6.
'A Private War' by Cmd. Perry Cockerell


- J.B. Blocker is a media consultant based in Collin County in North Texas. Advertise with J.B. by calling 469-334-9962. Political ad paid for by the Perry Cockerell campaign. In compliance with the voluntary limits of the Judicial Campaign Fairness Act.