Francis, Shut Up!

—The Obscure Penguin— (Originally written Nov., 2018) My first play was “Merry Christmas Crawfords” in Junior High. I recently found the script stashed away in a plastic bin.  It’s funny what you keep.  It was a typical school play, a silly family story. Back then I was shy, or I should say cautious, because I […]

Discipline in an Age of Distraction

—The Obscure Penguin— (Originally written, Nov. 2018) Discipline is a bit like money.  We all want it but for most of us it isn’t easy to obtain.  It’s something of a catch-22.  The way to obtain discipline is to have discipline.  In another way it’s simple.  If you want something you focus on getting it.  […]

Teaching Why

—The Obscure Penguin— (Originally written Nov., 2018) I’ve always been bad at math.  I can do everyday math, of course, paying the bills, budgeting, doing the math it takes to survive.  In fact, I was once a cashier and I still know how to make change without scanning a product in a store.  Abstract math […]

Nazis Had Kids Too

—The Obscure Penguin— As I’ve lived in this American Dream I’ve come across extremes of rationalization about many things. We all rationalize a lot when it comes to the things we do.  To maintain our place in the dream we will be forced to make decisions sometimes that will try our conscience.  To be more specific, […]

The Easter Gift

—The Obscure Penguin— This photo was taken April 14th, 1968.  My family lived in Tolar, Texas while Dad was keeping us safe from the Communists in Vietnam.  It was a beautiful Easter Sunday and we had big plans that day.  However, the story actually begins in 1962 when I was in the first grade in […]

Texas Equivalence Measure

—The Obscure Penguin— For those poor souls who aren’t from Texas who simply can’t understand why Texans are the way they are, I’ve created this equivalence measure to try to communicate to them in their own language, describing what a Texan is: If I lived in New Jersey and hung out with Bruce Springsteen, that […]


—The Obscure Penguin— I’ve always heard a soundtrack in my life.  Like many people younger than I, I’ve listened to a lot of music.  I say it that way because my parents, who also appreciated music, didn’t have the same intense connection to it growing up the way I did.  My father used to give […]

Moving On

—The Obscure Penguin— Before the internet happened I had a different state of mind.  My father was in the Air Force.  As an Air Force brat, I was the perpetual new kid.  I went to eleven different schools growing up.  There were a lot of kids like me, but as a general rule, unless our […]

Pie a la Mode

—The Obscure Penguin— In the eighties Peggy and Rodney Collier came to visit my wife and me in England.  For those who have followed The Obscure Penguin, you know that Rodney and I hitchhiked to the Willie Nelson 4th of July Picnic in 1976 as our celebration for graduating from Amarillo College.  If you remember […]

The Hong Kong Incident

—The Obscure Penguin— Long ago, on the other side of the world I faced off against a Panamanian freighter and lived to tell about it.  When I was in the Air Force, stationed in the Philippines, I took a week-long vacation in Hong Kong.  It was one of those Clark Air Base tourist excursions to […]