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El Paso, R.I.P, and Books

Posted Jan 11 2009 5:40pm
A week ago today my grandmother on my Mom’s side passed away after a long illness. It was one of things where you hate for it to happen, but you also know that she is in a better place and not hurting any longer. Wednesday morning I was airborne to El Paso via Dallas with my parents to attend the Rosary and the Funeral. I was also asked to be a pallbearer which I gladly accepted. We arrived in El Paso and were met by my Uncle Skip in his full-on El Paso Sherriff uniform! So we had a “Police” escort through the terminal and out to the cars where we met up with my Uncle Beto and Aunt Rosa. My parents and I stayed with my Uncle Beto and Aunt Maribel in their beautiful home with their four tiny Chihuahua dogs. They are so small and so cute.

The Rosary Service was Thursday night and there was a private family viewing of grandma at that time and that is where I got to see and visit with family I had not seen since I was 18 or, in some cases, ever. I have a ton of cousins and 2nd cousins, and grand aunts and uncles, and I loved meeting or seeing again every single one of them. Friday was the Funeral itself after a private hour for the family that morning for the final viewing. The funeral procession had a police escort across town (which was really cool) to the small Catholic Church my uncle attends. The service itself was beautiful. With another police escort shutting down the roads along the way we then made our way to the Fort Bliss National Cemetery where grandma’s final resting place now is.

I had a wonderful time in El Paso getting caught up with Aunts and Uncles and Cousins and I wish I could have stayed longer. I hate the fact that it takes weddings and funerals to get everyone together, but I will cherish the time I had with them and look forward to the next time.

Rest In Peace, Grandma Nellie. I love you…

With all of the airplane and airport time I had over the last few days I was able to get through a couple of books, too.

The first one is The Appeal by John Grisham. It was an enjoyable read and was the story of a corporate giant that polluted a small town's water supply that resulted in a huge number of cancer cases and deaths. The first case against the company made it to trial and ultimately a huge sum of money was awarded to the plaintiff. Of course they appeal and here is where the story really lies. They were planning ahead to kill the appeal by picking an unknown small time lawyer and virtually buying him a seat on the Mississippi Supreme Court so he could vote in favor of the company. The thing I liked the most about this book was the interesting information it provided on Supreme Courts in America and it peaked my interest in the Supreme Court of Oregon, where I live. However, like most Grisham stories this one ended a bit abruptly and it wrapped up rather conveniently. He could have given it a lot more meat with another hundred or so pages, but that is not his style. But even with that being said it was a good read for something on the “lighter” side.

The other book I also got through this week was The Dirt: Confessions of the World's Most Notorious Rock Band. It was written by the members of Motley Crue and is an excellent auto-biography of the band. I’ve listened to the Crue since their first album and I’ve always loved their music. But, OMG. Talk about sex, drugs, and rock n roll – these guys were OUT. OF. CONTROL. Holy crap. I am amazed (as they are) that they are even alive today. Heroin, cocaine, Ecstasy, hard-liquor by the gallons every day of every week was the norm for them. I found it fascinating that these four individuals from different walks of life knew since they were small kids that they were each destined to be a Rock Star and it was amazing the way the universe brought them together to form Motley Crue. Each chapter of the book was written by a different member or manager of the band so it provided a different perspective on all the storylines and happenings from writing the songs, to Vince Neil’s (singer) drunken driving wreck that killed Razzle of Hanoi Rocks, to Tommy Lee’s (drummer) marriages and divorces to/from Hollywood starlets Heather Locklear and Pamela Anderson. From Nikki Sixx’s (bass) start in the potato fields of Idaho and streets of Seattle to Mick Mars’ (guitar) disease that makes him look the way he does. But their overindulgence of the drugs and sex were unbelievable in their sheer volumes. Amazing. I also enjoyed reading about some of the other names in the music (Ozzy, Areosmith, Van Halen, Bon Jovi, Ratt, etc…) and TV/movie (Rob Lowe, Shannon Doherty, Robert Patrick, etc) business that are also a part of this world. The other thing I found interesting and a bit sad is that these guys were blowing through millions and millions of dollars and basically were broke after a decade of playing sold-out arenas and stadiums and selling 80+ million albums worldwide. They were having trouble making house payments and car payments and buying food…but they always had the dough for drugs and alcohol. Sad, really. But ultimately they are now sober and clean (I think they still are) and on the comeback trail. I recently bought their newest release, Saints of Los Angeles, and it is based on this book and is a musical biography of Motley Crue based on this book. I think it is the best album since Dr. Feelgood and is the first studio album with all four members in 10 years. It rocks and I’m glad to see them back!

Now I’m on to A Champion's Mind: Lessons from a Life in Tennis by Pete Sampras. I played tennis for 20+ years (before triathlon took over all my time) and Pete ranks right up there with Jimmy Conners and John McEnroe as one of my all-time favorite players. I’ll let you know what I think of his book upon completion.

This week I’ll get back into the SBR groove after taking all of last week off after the marathon and we are headed to the Oregon Coast for some R&R, too. I can’t wait.

Thanks for stopping by…
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