Shots from The Bazaar in Beverly Hills’ SLS Hotel

Jan 8, 2010 by

We had dinner tonight in what was simply the most different place I've ever been to in my life.  Bar none.  Well, they had one, but trust me, for a kid who grew up in an air force family, who spent most of his teen and young adult life in Montgomery, Alabama, well, going to Bazaar at the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills was just plain different.  Christmas 2009 133

At check-in in the lobby, you are first treated to a black pig and a black horse.  The horse has a lamp shade over his head.  Then behind the check-in counter is a light wall with yellow type giving you options for what SLS might stand for. 

From the second you walk into Bazaar, you know you're somewhere different.  Here, sit down in the lit up red chair.  I kid you not. It's rubbery cushions have a red light in them. I cannot be making this up. 

   Christmas 2009 135 The food was high dollar and fancy pallet.  This was not a meat and potatoes place by any stretch of the imagination.  At one point they brought some cotton candy.  Yum!  What the heck, I just spent weeks working out, so why not.  Well, I bit into it and then was met with something squashy. 

My mind was playing tricks on me I thought.  I just bit into cotton candy.  You know, I could hear carnival sounds playing in my head.  And then the taste of the squish set in.  What in the world.  Okay, my pallet started recovering from the surprise.  Ah, what the hell is this, please?  Oh, that's duck liver covered with cotton candy.   Cotton Candy with Duck Liver, by @scrappinmichele

I'd show you a picture of the cotton candy, but you wouldn't believe me, and plus, it came out a little fuzzy.

Then there were these eggs that you were supposed to put on your tongue and then they popped.  I still hadn't recovered from the duck liver, so I passed.

The entire night was spent waiting for the meat and potatoes that never came.  For a partial Southern boy, this was not my idea of a night on the town, but I can at least now say I've been to Bazarre.

So what lies ahead tomorrow?  We're supposed to be downstairs for breakfast at 8 a.m. PST.

And now it's time to go to bed.

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How to take down Christmas lights and not need the fire department!

Jan 3, 2010 by

I hope everyone had a good laugh over the piece posted earlier about the Balch Springs Fire Department having to get me off the roof two years ago while trying to put up my Christmas lights.  Well, here's an equally funny video of me taking down the lights, without having to get up on the roof. 

Last year I used the same method and thought it would make a great video for this year.  If you remember in The Grinch Who Stole Christmas when he's going through a living room and has the magnet and he's zipping out nails and catching stockings in a bag as they fall, well, this might seem similar.  That's not to say I think what I did was Grinchy, but I know I got done with this a whole lot quicker than my neighbor did!

Enjoy.  It sure looked sad out in front of the house tonight with no lights.  But hey, just 11 more months and we can put them back up! 

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UPDATE: Why I cut 3,300 peeps from my @Twitter account & feel so much the better

Dec 29, 2009 by

UPDATE: The response to this has been overwhelming. Already this morning I've added 20+ new people to my followers and they're real people, all with very interesting tweets to share. (@tommywants, @GailPeckRauner, @JohnLCraig, @NetBizInsights, @Chellemaca, @shadowperson, @kampri, @RayBilodeau, @GrainTalk, @VAinParadise, @pseroogy, @walkfitmaster, @travelwithteens, @PerksBooks, @IRewardChart, @FitKidsOnline, @aafromaa  @bookBuzzr, @mikemyatt, @nicknoorani, @shanegibson, @shelisrael, & @mommyniri ) Please share this post and don't forget to hit the RSS button at the top to see what's next. 

I began using Twitter, the social media platform that limits messages to 140 characters each about a year and a half ago.  As of Sunday p.m I had about 9,650 people who were "following" me.  After two late nights and some clicking this evening, I'm now down to 6,350 and that's alright with me. 

Why you ask?  Simple.  It had gotten so impersonal I felt like I hadn't had a meaningful exchange on Twitter in as long as I could remember.  And I was tired, too, of all the messages that read: "Get white teeth by clicking here," or "Get 400 followers a day using this service."    I also got rid of a bunch of the nonsense associated with "Start your online business with us and you'll be making money from Twitter."  Maybe that works.  I kinda doubt it.  But it seems to me if they could be running a successful business venture on Twitter, they wouldn't have to be screaming from Twitterville to get others to do it. 

Social media is intended to be, well, SOCIAL.  It can't be such when you have 9,600 in your Twitter stream and you can't read what the real people are writing because you're seeing screens full of BS. 

And as I went through and purged any people I was following who haven't updated on Twitter since the mid to end of November 2009, or if I was following them and they weren't following me back out of common courtesy, I simply unfollowed them.  Some I even blocked. 

To its credit, Twitter has done a great job of getting rid of all those porn followers that were bugging all of us mid summer.  You know, @SAJS3492 and such.  (That's a made up Twitter name.  I hope.)  Click here and you can see my pictures.  Oy.  None of that was in my following pool, so I give them credit for finding all that crap and eliminating it. 

And while I went through my followings, I also began to create my lists.  Cool Moms is a fun list to keep up with.  So is Dads. And then there is one of Dallas/North Texas and then there are DaddyClaxton favs.  (If you're not on a list and think you should be, just let me know.) 

I also began getting iPhone updates of some of the people who I used to interact with all the time.  Already tonight, we've had some great conversations about what's going on in their lives and it feels so refreshing.

My new Twitter policy is going to be simple: I'd prefer you be a mom or dad Twitter user, but if you're not, that's okay, too.  I'm not, however, going to follow you if SEO, MLM or any other such lettering is in your screen name. If you've not tweeted in the past month, forget about following me.  If anywhere in your recent stream mentions white teeth or starting a business online or making money online, forget it.  If you're a porn site and you want me to look at your picture, forget it.  I'm married and I plan on staying that way.  And if you're going to follow me, then I follow you back and then you unfollow me just to pad your numbers, well, forget that, too.

I'm in the process of many other changes here on the blog and on  Those are going to be much needed, positive and helpful changes for all as we go into 2010. I encourage you to stay tuned.  If you're not following me on Twitter, I invite you to do so, given the parameters mentioned above.  I'm also on Facebook. And I also strongly encourage you to click the RSS feed button at the top of the screen by the URL. 

Stay tuned.  There's good stuff just around the corner. 

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The snows of Christmas Eve in Balch Springs, Merry Christmas Y’all!

Dec 24, 2009 by

I've spent nearly 24 hours during the last month sitting out in this sleigh.  Never did I expect there to be snow out here on Christmas Eve! 

 Christmas Snow 2009 40 (1)

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What kinds of treats will you be setting out for Santa tonight?

Dec 24, 2009 by

From my family's tradition, we will be setting out chocolate chip cookies on a Christmas plate that I had when I was a kid tonight.  And don't forget the milk. 

Christmas Cookies 31

What will you be setting out for Santa at your house? 


  1. We do cookies, milk & carrots. 
  2. Santa is requesting hot chocolate with a hint of Irish Mist…

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Holiday Reminders: Water the Christmas Tree, Check the Lights, Keep Christ in Christmas

Dec 9, 2009 by

Just in case your forgot, if you have a live Christmas tree in your house, it's still thirsty.  Did you water it today?  WATER YOUR LIVE CHRISTMAS TREE!

The past few years I've noticed as I was taking the lights off the tree that there was slight blackening taking place where the lights had gotten too hot against the tree.  This has lead me to burn the lights less and give them time to cool off in between when they're on and off.

Some people like to use shorthand notation to write Christmas.  (X-Mas.)  This often is offensive to Christians who often say, "Keep Christ in Christmas," and when you use X-Mas, that's what they're talking about.  And since his birth is the reason for the holiday to begin with, please, use the extra five characters. 

If you have kids, remember, when you leave, they're probably going through your best hiding places to see what they're getting. If you have things you don't want them to find, you either need to lock it up and keep the key on you, or keep them down the street at the neighbor's or your parents' house.

It's a season of joy and giving.  Try to do both this season.  Look past the stressors and strains and seek the peace and symbolism of the holiday.  And don't forget that giving is better than receiving.  Or so they say!

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DADDY’S CONCERNS: What story of adversity can you share to inspire others?

Dec 8, 2009 by

I'm adding a new section to this blog and calling it "Daddy's Concerns."  I'd call it Daddy's Cares, but that seems to be sort of TMed by Go Daddy! for their non-profit support efforts. 

As you may have read earlier today, I've made mention here in a Daddy's Concerns post of Dakota Dykes and Officer Phillip Davis who was gunned down in Pelham, AL last week. 

The point of this section will be to highlight someone/some who are experiencing the unusual trials of life caused by the unpredictable and unfortunate.  And through that adversity, it is my hope to find the hidden nuggets of strength, perseverance, or unfaltering faith that those enduring such experiences have displayed and show them to you for inspiration.  And if so happens that you feel so moved to reach out to offer kind words, financial assistance or other help, I'm all to happy to be a conduit for that kind of support.

Like I wrote last night, I've been treated to some tales lately of those who are enduring some incredibly hard situations.  In many ways, I thought what I've been experiencing the past six months has been unbearable, but it pales next to the little boy Dakota who may not make it to Christmas, or the family of Officer Davis who are left behind to make ends meet after he was senselessly gunned down last week.

If you have a person you'd like me to know about, post a comment here or anywhere else on the blog, or follow me on Twitter and then DM me.  There is great good we can provide others by sharing these stories and I'm asking you for your help.  So tell me, what's your story of great challenge and adversity?  What's been the great lesson you've learned from your struggles?  What can you share with others who might be in the same boat that will offer them comfort or guidance?  What's your story?  What would make a good example for the next Daddy's Concerns?

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