Saturday, January 1, 2022

Editor's Corner

 

By Mary E. Adair

January 2022

"An optimist stays up until midnight to see the New Year in.
A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves.“
William E. Vaughan, Journalist and Author.


A New Year! New plans, dreams, additions to the Family Tree, new friends, and likely, a few new bills. I try not to dwell on the latter because I'm one of those Greet the New Year persons. I get excited about new recipes, foods, ideas, inventions, new telescopes being launched into Space so we can learn new info about our galaxy and perhaps others, as well. What do you get excited about?


This is our largest issue in awhile. We always feature the annual forecast by Michael John Fierro, world renown Numerologist, who kindly supplied us with several columns a few years ago explaining for us what Numerology is and how it can be applied. Those columns can be viewed by clicking his byline with the article, "2022 -- A Universal 6 Year."


"Raymond Street II" is by Harmony Kieding from New England who now resides in Tonsberg, the largest city in Norway. Composed in free verse and lengthy, and detailing experiences and realities, we chose to highlight it in article form. This is her first occasion to appear in our eZine and we welcome her and her writings.


"The Ultimate Library-Akashic Records" an informational piece that describes in part, what the title means. This was received several years ago, but recent questions made it feasible to publish now.


"A Tribute to my Friend Randy Jackson," is by your editor's sister Melinda (nee Carroll) Cohenour, a classmate of his who remained a close friend. He is already missed, and the impact of his loss will affect many.


We welcome another new-to-our-pages poet, Judy Harris who delightfully regales us with her night before the big holiday accomplishing such a tasty repast along with her husband's help that they may add it to their "Christmas Traditions." Walt Perryman steps up with these poems: "About New Year's Eve," "The Trail of Life," "Words," and "Think You're Doing Good?"


John I. Blair, one of our most prolific poets who has been under the weather, sent three poems for January, "Raccoons on Parade,' "Responsibility," and "What's Afoot, Sherlock?" Bruce Clifford also shares three, "Living in the Age," "Here We Go Again," and "Hide Away Eyes," Three also from Bud Lemire (chosen to show this issue from the several he submitted which will be published at a later date) "A Happy New Year," "There's Still Hope," and "Too Hard To Ignore."


Judith Kroll's column "On Trek" discusses how unwarranted guilt can creep into our thoughts, and what she is thinking this time of year. "Cooking with Rod" by Roderick Cohenour who loves this time of year, realizes that when holidays run close together, leftovers can be a problem. His solution, features a recipe by his wife, honoring the tradition of having certain foods at the New Year to invite prosperity.


Melinda Cohenour who does "Armchair Genealogy" continues her project of helping to clarify comprehension of the history of DNA and its applicaton in numerous fields, with Chapter Two of this series. Marilyn Carnell whose column is "Sifoddling Along" admits to having some concerns as the worldwide Virus continues to affect everyone's lives. However, she has several suggestions to make the New Year productive for all of us.


Dayvid Bruce Clarkson, in "Reflections of the Day" admits it is a tough time of year to have experienced the loss of loved ones, and gives a beautiful tribute to his mother. Mattie Lennon in his "Irish Eyes" tells us what he's been reading and advises us to do the same. It's all about travel and the Irish Garda's certain special men who set fine examples for law enforcement anywhere.


In his column "Introspective," China based Thomas O'Neill mentions the many changes in the world of theology since his youth, but avers his personal faith as well. "Woo Woo" the column by Pauline Evanosky explains how calling on a guide can help one stick to their resolutions for the New Year.


Mike Craner and wife Susie, shared some heart-warming photos of their experiences in a nearby school, as Santa and his Missus, along with their youngest daughter as assistant. They are the backbone of this eZine which was co-founded by him and your editor. Mike keeps this informational and entertaining publication viable. Much love and appreciation to them every day. Thanks, Mike, for everything,!



Happy New Year!


Click on author's byline for bio and list of other works published by Pencil Stubs Online.
This issue appears in the ezine at www.pencilstubs.com and also in the blog www.pencilstubs.net with the capability of adding comments at the latter.


Tribute to my Friend, Randy Jackson

By Melinda Cohenour

May 18, 1946 - December 21, 2021

The grapevine was abuzz with news of a cute new guy in town. That had happened a couple of times before, of course. Usually, the new guy turned out to be a big disappointment. One New Guy heard about the buzz and decided to take advantage of it. He started asking out one girl after another. Each date was a one-time thing - worse yet followed quickly by this jerk's sarcastic comments. Pretty quickly that New Guy became Old News (and persona non grata!)


But this New Guy was very different. His name was Randy Jackson. His dad was a coach. And Randy was a really neat fellow. Good looking? Yes, but modest. Funny, kind, great sense of humor, and general all-around Good Guy. He was popular with the boys and girls. He played sports. He had a cool car. He had no pretentiousness about him. Randy and I became friends, too. Never dated but ran in the same social circle and often were at the same party or whooping it up at the Dingo (a cool drive-in owned by my boyfriend's dad), or even "tooling around" with other kids in his car.


A couple of years after Randy came to town, I became enamored with the Air Force serviceman who would become my husband and father of my kids. My time was completely wrapped up in his schedule. I left my innocent school days behind. That marriage was just before America became committed to the Vietnam fiasco called War. Soon after the birth of our first child, a boy, Johnny was deployed to Vietnam.


The war, long separation, awkward time of growing apart ... after seven years my marriage was over. By then I was living in Dallas and had become legal secretary, a paralegal in training to Bill Brice. Our most complex client was James K. Devlin, who claimed Brice as his mentor.


I mention this as my involvement with Jim Devlin would take me on a bit of a parallel path with my old friend Randy Jackson.


Devlin was a New Yorker, a Harvard graduate whose first job was as CEO of a company. He made snide remarks about Dallas as a town of good ole boys with zero appreciation of fine art and music. I countered by explaining he needed to explore the art and music native to Texas, including the new sounds emanating from Austin. I introduced Jim to Steve Fromholz and B. W. Stevenson, the Rubaiyat and Poor David's Pub, and many more cosmic cowboy artists. Soon Devlin, as was his nature, turned his interest in this "new" music into business. He would manage these artists, in return for publishing rights, and promote their careers. Devlin needed me to translate for him: suit-talk to Texas boot-scooter lingo. I had been drafted. So, for a crazy period of time, I took on the challenge. In addition to work for Brice at the law firm, I would fly to Austin, involve myself with Moonhill Management, oversee discussions with my musician pals ... now "proposed talent" and work with Devlin as he built a studio and turned it into Planet Dallas.


Meanwhile, my old friend from Monahans, Randy Jackson, had not only completed his bachelor's degree at Sul Ross but also gained his Master's in Education, engaged in his Doctoral Study at North Texas State in 1971-72, and become the Director of Admissions at Sul Ross from 1971-1974.


Randy made his big move in 1974, heading to Nashville and becoming the Tour Director for the Conway Twitty/Loretta Lynn tour for the next two years. Taking on a similar role for the Alabama/Janie Fricke tour over the following two year period, brought him close to Janie who would become his first wife. Although they later divorced, they stayed friends. Randy was just that kind of guy.


For seven years, from 1980-1987, Randy managed Charley Pride, becoming the CEO of Pride Management Company. Charley remained a close friend and mentor of Randy's, and was a constant supporter until his death.


While Randy was working in Nashville and dedicating himself to Charley Pride, he was also moving in many of the same circles as I. We met many of the same folks such as Willie Nelson and his ex-wife Connie, among others. Randy was a big fan of my friend and lover Steve Fromholz. We would often reminisce about these folks and exchange funny stories.


One story that struck Randy's funny bone was when I told him about my friend Meredith Spencer Anderson who had recently accepted a position in one of Devlin's companies and moved to North Dallas. Spence told of coming home one day to find Charley Pride mowing his lawn. Puzzled (not to mention SHOCKED), Spence greeted him. Charley related the story of a lovely woman stopping her car by his home the day before. She yahooed, then complimented him on the great job he was doing, then quickly jotted her name and address on a card which she pressed into his hand saying, "I need a good gardener at my new home "


Charley, being Charley, toted his yard-working tools to Spencer's home and went to work!


Seems Randy had heard the story many years before ... From Charley himself.


So many great memories of Randy Jackson. However, Randy and I had become much closer over the past six or seven years. Many was the morning I would see a Chat pop up from Randy. I am an inveterate night owl. Randy, an early (sometimes EARLY) riser. We shared our liberal political beliefs.and would spend time discussing the latest wrinkle on the political scene. Sometimes Randy just wanted to reminisce about an old school chum or exchange news of one of our shared celebrity friends. Randy consoled me when news of the accidental death of Steve Fromholz was published.


Randy Jackson had a heart the size of Texas. He was named Mr. Sul Ross recently. (A tribute to Randy was published by Sul Ross as well, extolling the many gracious ways in which Randy and his beloved wife Sherry had bestowed their time, money, and efforts toward bettering the school itself and the students.) Randy, more than once, took personal time to mentor a student whose needs outweighed his means. I know of one young man who, I understand, actually lived for a time with Randy and Sherry. Randy wrote to me, "It was worth it...I got my first Father's Day card from him."


Randy also shared my heartache surrounding the loss of our good friend and schoolmate Rocky Armstead. Randy was eloquent in his praise of America's Vietnam vets. My husband Rod served and Randy wrote to me, " Please tell your husband I appreciate his service.. I know words are not enough .. but thoughts of that era are with me constantly...We all must protect our world ... we must do better...

Rod sent a message back, saying his service had been given gratefully for people like Randy...a good man and honorable.

Randy replied: "Few realize how much many of us suffered all these miles away... Not to compare the suffering by any means but it was suffering nonetheless...I would go see my mother...each night at the end of the news they would reveal the "death count" and tell where the major battles were...mother would quietly go to the kitchen where on the refrigerator she had a map with locations of my brother's last location...the pain of uncertainty is cruel and unending... I have been to the wall twice... both times it brought me to my knees... crippled me, left me unable to speak or move... The sheer magnitude of those names... All the mothers and fathers... Sisters and brothers that will never fully recover...it is the most humbling of experiences... Few realize... But... In the class of '65...we all went to Nam."


One early morning I got this message from Randy:


I’m sitting on my porch reading a book a poetry that my mother gave me 30 years ago… I’m sending this to you because I don’t know anyone else who might understand… I got to Kipling.. "IF".. wow.. took me to my knees..

“ if you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken… Twisted by natives to make a trap for fools…
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken… And stoop and build them again with worn out tools…

“ if you could force your heart and nerve and sinew..To serve your fight long after they’re gone…
And hold on when there’s nothing left in you… Except the wheel that screams… Hold on”

I truly hope that Mr. Kipling is aware that (one old) man is sitting on the porch in the middle of a beautiful ranch in Texas 130 years later… And he is humbled by what he wrote.


Randy had a way with words, and a quixotic outlook on life. He was gifted with the ability to express himself in a way that plucked one's heartstrings. Four of his songs were published while he was in Nashville. He continued to commit his thoughts and dreams to paper, writing poetry and jotting phrases and inspiration in a journal he kept.

In his words, "I have written poetry since fifth grade but the event that really stirred my soul was when Monahans classmate Richard Russell presented his interpretation of "Julias Ceasar"... Richard's passion opened an entire world of literature for me. I will always be grateful to him for that morning in Mr. Windsor's English Class.

"I have a friend who is an artist.. she paints beautiful pictures from words... i paint words from pictures... Most of the things I write were from personal experience... I have carried a journal for years.. I write down things that touch or inspire me... I once was walking and sat down under a beautiful oak tree... It came to me what all that tree had seen... so I wrote it down...In fact I am certain I heard the tree say...
"I thought I heard you say my friend
For I am not a human,
I'm just an old oak tree..
and so goes the story told me by the old oak.. for a few more lines...


Randy graciously offered two of his poems for publication in pencilstubs: The Old Oak Tree and To My Daughter


Needless to say, my heart was broken when I received word Randy Jackson, my sweet, kind, funny, talented, loyal, creative, wise and wonderful friend of sixty years, had passed beyond the veil.


Click on author's byline for bio and list of other works published by Pencil Stubs Online.

Armchair Genealogy


By Melinda Cohenour

DNA: Complex. Tantalizing.
And Nothing Short of Miraculous -
Chapter Two

Last month we embarked upon our in-depth study of DNA, beginning with its history drawing directly from a source online (https://www.dna-worldwide.com/resource/160/history-dna-timeline.) This month we will complete our tracing of the history starting where we left off.



HISTORY OF DNA

1999 - First human chromosome is decoded

History was made when an international team of researchers accomplished the mapping of Chromosome 22 which contained 33.5 MILLION letters (chemical components).
This was a milestone but far from the culmination of the ongoing quest to decode human DNA. As stated in our source online:
"At the time, the sequence was the longest continuous stretch of DNA ever deciphered and assembled. However, it was only the first deciphered chapter of the human genetic instruction book - the rest was still to come."

2000 – Genetic code of the fruit fly is decoded

It may seem strange to include the decoding of a fruit fly's DNA among milestones that interest a genealogist; however it was found that the fruit fly's genetic structure is quite similar to that of mammals. Although researchers at the time had achieved the decoding of the most complex organism yet, we can contrast that with the Human Genome Project in this way: every fruit fly cell contains 13,601 genes compared to the 70,000 genes in every human cell!

2002 – Mouse is the first mammal to have its genome decoded

"In 2002, scientists took their next big step and decoded the genome of the first mammal – the mouse. The achievement allowed them to compare, for the first time, the human genome with that of another mammal. Amazingly, it emerged that 90% of the mouse's genome could be aligned with the corresponding regions on the human genome. Both the mouse and human genome also contained around 30,000 protein-coding genes. These discoveries highlighted for the first time just how closely mammalian species were genetically related."

2003 – The Human Genome Project is completed

What an incredible milestone! The observations of Charles Darwin less than 200 years earlier led him to suspect characteristics such as height, eye color, perhaps the very definition of a creature as a horse or pig or human, might be inherited by some unseen organic process. From that first proposed theory, damned at the time as opposing Biblical theories, to the extraordinary news that the international collaboration of geneticists, biologists, and scientists specializing in DNA had completed the sequencing of 99% of the human genome! Following the 2002 announcement the team had accomplished sequencing 90%, work proceeded to fill in the gaps.

"This final form contains 2.85 billion nucleotides, with a predicted error rate of just 1 event in every 100,000 bases sequenced. Surprises included the relatively small number of protein-encoding genes (between 20,000 and 25,000) and that there were similar genes with the same functions present in different species."

One of life's greatest mysteries had been revealed ... with magnificent advances yet to come, perhaps?

2013 – DNA Worldwide and Eurofins Forensic discover identical twins have differences in their genetic makeup

Prior to this discovery, it had been assumed monozygotic twins (created by the splitting of one cell) would be truly identical - even to their DNA identity.

" However, the team at DNA Worldwide decided to test this theory by combining Forensic DNA profiling and Genomic Sequencing. The scientists applied ultra-deep, next-generation sequencing and combined this with bioinformatics, sequencing the DNA from sperm samples of two twins and a blood sample of the child of one twin. The Bioinformatic analysis identified five differences (mutations), called Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) present in the twin who was a father and his child, but not in the twin uncle.

"These SNP differences were confirmed by Sanger sequencing and gave experimental evidence for the hypothesis that rare mutations in the genes will occur early, after or before the human blastocyst has split into two and that these mutations will be carried throughout the lifespan."

These findings have a significant impact in cases where legal forensics need to identify the identical twin perpetrating a crime or to resolve paternity issues.

2014 – Further Breakthroughs

"Throughout 2014 the world's scientists have continued to develop their understanding of DNA. Researchers announced in May that they had successfully created an organism with an expanded artificial genetic code. This success could eventually lead to the creation of organisms that can produce medicines or industrial products organically.

"There have also been breakthroughs in the medical field; the largest ever study into the genetic basis of mental illness has found more than 100 genes that play a role in the development of schizophrenia. These findings have the potential to kick-start the production of new drugs to treat this not uncommon psychiatric illness.

Geneticists have also made progress in the breakthrough field of epigenetics (the study of changes in organisms caused by altered gene expression). By studying pairs of identical twins, researchers in Sweden have found that changes in the expression of genes involved in inflammation, fat, and glucose metabolism could be behind the development of Type 2 Diabetes."

Future – Epigenetics, personalized medicine and greater individual responsibility

The creators of this website have done a marvelous service to those of us not only interested in the study of DNA but who utilize every advancement in our own search for truth:

Who Am I? Who Contributed To My Creation? Where Is The Child I Put Up For Adoption? Who Were The Couple Who Engaged In An Npe (Non-Parental Event) That Resulted In My First Husband Being Abandoned At Birth In The Miami-Dade Orphanage?

These are the issues we, as genealogists or family researchers, are tasked with resolving. The lack of documentation purposely caused by the desire to perhaps provide an adopted child and new family privacy or to protect the reputations of those whose illicit affairs resulted in abandoned children has presented brick walls throughout time. Now we have an incredible tool at our disposal: DNA, Shared Matches, messaging applications, social media ... allowing us to engage long-lost cousins or triangulate DNA Matches with a Common Ancestor in our family trees (always confirm other's research by documenting their profiles).

To wrap up this section, I must provide the creators of this marvelous website their own voice:

"So, what does the future hold for our understanding of genetics? In recent decades, epigenetics has been a ground-breaking area of developing research. Essentially, the term epigenetics means 'on genetics' and refers to the biological markers which influence what 'comes out' of the DNA sequence.

Research has found that there are a huge number of these molecular mechanisms affecting the activity of our genes. Incredibly, it has emerged that our life experiences and choices can change the activity of these mechanisms, resulting in changes in gene expression. Even more fascinating is that these changes in gene expression can be inherited, meaning that the life experiences of your ancestors can fundamentally influence your biological make-up.

These discoveries are likely to have a dramatic impact on the future of the healthcare system. We're beginning to understand that the choices we make can have a long-term impact on our health and can cause genetic level change, which could even impact future generations. Individual responsibility for our lifestyle choices is, therefore, more important than ever before.Another likely future development is the increased use of personalised medicines. Many genetic diseases are caused by mutated genes, but these can differ from one person to the next. By identifying these combinations, medicines can be tailored to the individual, providing the best possible treatment."


Well, good readers, that wraps our review of the History of DNA. This coming month we shall offer a Glossary of terms. This compilation is as much for your author's benefit as for yours. As our title suggests, DNA is a marvelous but COMPLEX subject.

See you next month! In the meantime, continue your research through Armchair Genealogy ... The wonders of the Internet.


Click on author's byline for bio and list of other works published by Pencil Stubs Online.

 

 

Cooking with Rod

 

By Rod Cohenour

Happy New Year!  Today is the day we follow traditions that dictate we Eat to Beckon Blessings in the New Year. All those tricks we set forth in this column back in January of 2018. And in February of 2017 we shared the many ways one can prepare the ultimate side for New Year celebrations - cornbread.

This year, my sweet wife has devised a really delicious dish that incorporates a few of the essential New Year food elements and cleverly utilizes Christmas leftovers in a fabulous way. Here is her recipe. 

Bon appetit~

M's New Year's Blackeyed Pea Soup.

Ingredients:

    * 1 bag 8 oz. Blackeyed Peas (or choose to use 3 cans prepared Blackeyed Peas, including liquid; see such directions below.) This for Luck.
    * 1 large onion, diced
    * 4 large carrots, dimed (for the Coins to come in the New Year of course)
    * 5 medium to large (not bakers though) potatoes, diced. (You might choose Sweet Potatoes instead.)
    * 4 stalks celery, remove strings and cut in half moons.
    * 1 to 2 tsps ground black pepper
    * 1 tsp garlic powder or granulated garlic
    * 1 tsp cumin
    * 1 can 28 oz. stewed tomatoes with peppers and onions. Make it Rotel spicy if you wish or the mild with Bell pepper.
    * 2 to 3 cups leftover turkey or ham, diced in about 1.5 inch pieces
    * 32 oz. Chicken broth
    * 1 small 6 - 8 oz. bag fresh spinach, rinse and remove tough stems. Why?- (for the Long Green Bills desired in the New Year)


Instructions:

    1. Pick through dried peas for bits of rock or dirt clods. Rinse thoroughly several times.
    2. Cover dried peas with water.
    3. Add a small amount of diced onion, a few half moons of celery (about 1 stalk), and season with a very small amount of the spices listed.
    4. Bring to a rapid boil then lower heat to allow peas to simmer until tender but not mushy.
    5. When peas are ready, remove to a large stew pot, liquid and all.
    6. Add potatoes, carrots, the rest of the onions and celery and half the broth. Simmer until carrots and potatoes are tender.
    7. Add meats, canned tomatoes, and the rest of the broth. Simmer until meats are heated thoroughly. The kitchen should be yielding some heady fragrance by now.
8. Just before you're ready to ladle this delicious soup into bowls, add the spinach leaves. Stir to slightly wilt and

SERVE! Add hot bread, maybe you opted to try one of our cornbread suggestions, fresh sweet creamery butter, a crisp salad, a tray of fresh crisp veggies like Bell peppers, radishes, green onions, and celery sticks, and some hot tea, cocoa, or even a spiced hot cider.


Note: In the event you choose to use canned Blackeyed Peas, ignore the first five steps. Start by adding the vegetables to a large stewpot in step 6. After step 7, add the canned Blackeyed peas to let them heat up. Stir well. Simmer very carefully as the canned peas should not be allowed to settle to the bottom and scorch. When ready, add the spinach, stir well and serve.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

Click on author's byline for bio and list of other works published by Pencil Stubs Online.

Sifoddling Along

 

By Marilyn Carnell

New Beginnings - January 2022

A New Year brings to mind a fresh start, a new beginning of our lives. This year the outlook is a little bleak. No one is sure what lies ahead. Covid variations are making us sick and afraid. Our government seems hell-bent on destroying itself. Yet, I think we should be optimistic. History has shown us that pandemics eventually wane, and mankind moves on to a new reality. We are going through one of the longest “down times” in dealing with the COVID pandemic. Our nation has survived other such times – the Civil War, WWI, WWII, the 1918 flu pandemic, economic upheaval, and more.


     Born in 1940, I have had many new beginnings in my life. Some predictable, some not. Some paths taken, some not. Like many, my life has been a roller coaster. Sometimes up, sometimes down. I can only take comfort in the old saying: “This too shall pass.”


     So how do we cope with the current obstacle – a pandemic that has a will of its own?


    We fight back. We get vaccinated, boosted, wear masks, stay isolated and socially distant. Every tool is available to us to survive. If you have high-risk factors (I have more than one.) be extra vigilant about protecting yourself and your loved ones. If you don’t, use those tools to protect others. It is your responsibility to not harm others.


    This is a time for reflection and making a new start with the new year. Make every attempt to leave behind behaviors and beliefs that are no longer useful and find new ways to reach out and help others. It is surprising how giving of yourself in service to others can improve your outlook and personal wellbeing.


    In the list of others include our suffering blue planet. It is difficult to believe that mankind could disrupt a well-functioning ecosystem in such a short time, but we did. Now is the time to resolve to find ways to stop this needless destruction and find new ways to reverse the damage.


This is a time to learn a new skill, pass on an existing one to younger people and find ways to enjoy every day. We won’t be 100% successful; no more than we were at keeping resolution lists that lasted only a few days, I am reminding you that it is possible to make a fresh start and I urge you to do so.

Together we can achieve mighty things.

Click on author's byline for bio and list of other works published by Pencil Stubs Online.