My Ten Favorite Movies (So far)

I don’t get to watch much TV, but I love movies. I was just reflecting on what my favorite movies are–those movies that come on cable and I have to watch them. Here’s a list, not in order of importance,  as of today:

  1. We Were Soldiers Once and Young
  2. Braveheart
  3. Roadhouse
  4. Tombstone
  5. Josey Wales
  6. Unforgiven
  7. All the Pretty Horses
  8. No Country for Old Men
  9. The Alamo
  10. Man on Fire

The Stranger in the Woods: A short review by the Bard of the South

The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit by Michael Finkel is one of the best reading experiences I’ve ever had with a best seller.

Generally, Rather than follow the Best Sellers List (which I’ve had suspicions about) I choose my readings (both fiction and nonfiction) based on my interests, my favorite authors,  and my favorite genres–history, biography, and memoirs. I was signing my book, The Rio Grande Valley ABC at The Twig, a fine independent book seller in San Antonio and conversing with the store manager and somehow our discussion drifted to this book. I bought the book immediately and had it read by the next day. It was an absolutely amazing read.

The book tells the story of Christopher Knight, a man of amazing intuitive intelligence, who disappeared into the Maine forest and survived there for twenty-seven years. I learned much more from this reading than I expected, though I’ve always had an interest in hermits, the ascetic monks, eremites, and secluded loners who have drifted through history, searching for solitude, surviving and sometimes shaping the civilizations they fled.

This is a psychological and societal study of survival and values, as well as a profile of a determined individual who even to the author Finkel is difficult to define, describe, and defend or defame.

I highly recommend this book. Read it, and you will learn much more about life, our country, and about nature than you realize.


Finkel, Michael. The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last       True Hermit. Alfred A. Knopf. New York: 2017.

“Fool that I Am” by Rita Coolidge: Chords & Lyrics

I’ve always loved this song since I heard it years ago in Grandy’s having a lunch with a friend, Robert Ables, in Columbia SC.  Coolidge had just (or was going through) a divorce with Kris Kristofferson when the song was published. Here’s the chords and lyrics. A video recording of the song is below. I’m working on my own arrangement for my show.

“Fool that I Am”

Oh, I tried to make the best of
G C (walk down)
All the sweet love that you gave me
Am (walk up to C)
Maybe I’m crazy
C B7 Em
But I keep on losing ground

Fool that I am, fool that I may be
Am D G
When will I ever know what’s true
C B7 Em
And if I found out differently
Am D G
Would I still love you?

Two hearts breakin’, two hearts achin’
Someone’s takin’ more than they gave
Trusting in someone
Who has no trust in me

Fool that I am, fool that I may be
When will I ever know what’s true
And if I found out differently
Would I still love you?


Read more:  Rita Coolidge – Fool That I Am Lyrics | MetroLyrics

Eastland County Texas Rest Area

On my way to Abilene to speak at the Abilene Writer’s Guild on Saturday, March 25, I stopped at the Eastland County Rest Area. The view from this facility (which had a tornado shelter!) was amazing. I also saw these markers inside that revealed some fascinating facts about the county. I think I discovered some future stories!

Snowflake Poem

I’m a little snowflake,
And quite a Democrat,
I live in mom’s basement,
I bet you can’t say that!

I’m a little cupcake,
I cried when I heard the news,
that Trump was our President,
And Pence is with him too!

My hair’s on fire from this election,
So I’m torn up with stress,
Therapy dogs hug me in my safe place,
And helps me through this mess.

My professor gave us crayons,
And hot cocoa when we cried,
She said it was the Russians’ fault,
And what Trump says is lies.

We snowflakes march together,
We chant and make pretty signs,
We’ve learned from our college,
How to keep America in line.

The DOC’s homeless thugs,
Protest and pick fights,
We snowflakes cheer them on,
Because our cause is right.

“The Moment I Tell You Goodbye” by David Olney: Chords and lyrics

Townes Van Zandt reportedly once said, “Dave Olney is one of the best songwriters I’ve ever heard — and that’s true. I mean that from my heart.”  I posted a YouTube video at the end of the post so you can hear the song. Here’s the lyrics and chords for this great song:

G                                 D
The ceiling will fall to the floor,
D                                  G
The window will walk out the door,
G                                   D
The old clock will run out of time,
D                                         G
And reason will run out of rhyme.

C                                             G
The sea will no longer be blue,
C                                             G / D
The truth will no longer be true,
G                            D
And everything left is a lie,
D                             G
The moment I tell you goodbye.

C                          G
Tomorrow will never begin,
C                         G / D
Forever will come to an end
G                             D
The sun will fall from the sky
D                                 G
The moment I tell you goodbye
G                                   D
The sun will fall from the sky
D                                     G
The moment I tell you goodbye.



In search of a Made in China Leprechaun for sale

I’m looking to purchase a leprechaun like the one in the photo below. He was made in China, so I suppose there must be thousands of him around, but my search has been unsuccessful. He was stolen from my car in the Rio Grande Valley.   Contact me at the address below if you know where I can find another to use for my Irish storytelling or if you have one I can purchase from you.

rickeyp at

Ten Important Words for College Students

Here’s a list of words I stress when teaching my college students. It should be obvious that many journalists, businesses, artists and employees also need them.

Important Words for My College Students

1. discipline – training, instruction, or correction that develops self-control, character or efficiency.

2. objectivity – not influenced by personal feelings or opinions in considering, discussing, or representing facts.

3. ethics – moral principles that govern a person’s behavior or the conducting of an activity.

4. work ethic – belief that hard work is intrinsically virtuous or worthy of reward. A person with strong work ethics is driven to do one’s best,  to be reliable, to be honest and fair with one’s employer and the society her or she serves.

5. integrity – doing the right thing in a reliable way, being honest and fair.

6. research – the systematic investigation into and study of materials and sources in order to establish facts and reach new conclusions.

7. sacred cow – an idea, custom, or institution held, especially unreasonably, to be above criticism. College should be the place where sacred cows come to die.

8. schedule – a plan for carrying out a process or procedure, giving lists of intended events and times.

9. serendipity – the unexpected discovery.

10. epiphany – A lightbulb moment, a sudden understanding or insight.

Happy Saint Dwynwen’s Day!

Borrowed from:  If you have interest in Wales or Welsh ancestors, you will enjoy being a part of this community.

What is St Dwynwen’s Day?

January 25th Wales has its very own patron saint of lovers. Saint Dwynwen is the Welsh St Valentine.

Brychan, a legendary 5th-century king of Brycheiniog had 24 daughters, of whom Dwynwen was reputedly the prettiest. She fell in love with a local prince called Maelon Dafodrill. Unfortunately her father, mindful of political advantage, had already arranged a marriage for her. Dwynwen was distraught. She hid in the forest and asked God to help her forget Maelon. She fell asleep and was visited by an angel in her dreams. The angel brought an elixir with the power to expunge her memories of her former lover and turn him into a block of ice.

God granted Dwynwen three wishes. Firstly she asked that Maelon be thawed. Secondly she wished that God would vouchsafe the dreams and aspirations of true lovers for all time. Thirdly she asked him to ensure that she never married. Upon fulfilment of these wishes and as a token of her gratitude, she dedicated herself to God’s service for the rest of her days.

Dwynwen moved to Llanddwyn, a small island on the west coast of Ynys Mon ( Anglesey ), where she founded a convent. After she died in 465AD a nearby well became a popular place of pilgrimage. The well was believed to contain sacred eels and fish which could predict the success or failure of relationships. Couples would consult the aqueous oracle to divine whether love and lasting happiness would be theirs. Scant remains of her church are still visible today.

After fading from folk memory for a time, no doubt as a consequence of the wider observance of Valentine’s day,  St Dwynwen’s Day has made something of a comeback in Wales recently. Here at AmeriCymru we want to do our bit to revive and promote this charming Welsh tradition. Don’t wait till Valentine’s Day to say ‘I love you’. Or better still do it twice!