Weekly Newspaper and Tourism Guide for Ward County Trans Pecos, Big Bend of West Texas
April 2, 1998
By Jerry Curry
In the reign of King Willie, whose concubines (all of whom
it is said are female) fight for million dollar checks from
In the reign of King Willie, who invokes executive privilege
to avoid investigations for assorted high crimes and
In the reign of King Willie, to whom being a friend and
confidant is truly dangerous,
In the reign of King Willie, when the Evil of Hedonism
stalks the land,
It is something of a balm for the soul to be the target of
an old fashioned money stampede which is what Monahans has
become ever since the Meteor Fall of 1998 a couple of
This came up in a conversation between myself and Everett
K. Gibson, who works at the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center
near Houston. Gibson is the man in charge of studying
Monahans '98 I and II. He plans to return them to the City
of Monahans in a couple of months where we might enshrine
them for future generations. I seem to recall one of the
World's Great Religions has a meteorite for one of its
venerated and most holy objects but I may be wrong.
Classified advertisements already had appeared by last
Thursday in The Monahans News placed by various individuals
who want to buy real Monahans Meteorites. Monahans
Meteorites are hot items these days. (The pun is intended.)
Some of these people are willing to pay $5000 for the first
rock on the market but most of them are quoting prices like
75 cents for the second and subsequent space rocks.
The episode is amusing because nothing bad happened. One of
those rocks might have hit someone as Orlando Lyles noted.
One missed his house and some other houses, plus a bunch of
basketball playing kids, by only about 50 feet. With
disaster avoided, it is permissible to smile. Monahans
Meteorite brokers are even asking The Monahans News if we
might have a spare meteorite or two. We don't. Gibson says
these guys (apparently women are too ethical to get into
such a business) are serious. He didn't say so but he left
the impression anyone who decides to sell a real Monahans
Meteorite to one of these people should make certain the
check clears before you hand over the rock and it wouldn't
be a bad move to introduce them to Police Capt. Dave Watts,
who knows the difference between a space rock and one from
Perch Pond. Watts also knows the difference between a flim
flam man and a legitimate collector.
One space rock broker (I think he says he is from New York)
suggests there have to be meteorites all over Monahans -
some, he says, might be gravel sized. I told him, "Not to my
This New York slicker says the people of Monahans will
discover more meteorites the next time it rains because the
wayfaring rocks will have knocked holes in the roofs of our
I reply: "Rain? Rain? I saw that on the Discovery Channel
once. I think it even rained here back in Ought-Eight."
The meteorite broker hangs up the phone on me.
Hospitals and enigmas
Saturday, May 2, voters in Ward County decide a county wide
issue on the same day they ballot in city and school
district elections. That county wide issue will be a
proposition that would deny or affirm Ward County
commissioners the option to lease or sell Ward Memorial
Hospital as one way to save the institution from its
continuing fiscal ailments. The election means absolutely
nothing. Economics have eliminated lease or sale as possible
ways to save the hospital. That was confirmed late Tuesday.
There is one factor none of us should forget. All voters
should remember Ward Memorial Hospital suffers from a dollar
crisis for which there are no easy answers. The principal
reason is Ward Countians with health insurance, private or
government, generally do not use Ward Memorial Hospital.
They seek care in other cities, principally Odessa.
Most Ward Memorial patrons are not covered by any form of
health insurance, private or government. The term is "self
pay" patient. Ward Countians certain to have health
insurance are bureaucrats - federal, state, city and school
district workers. Tax-subsidized Medicare and Medicaid cover
a portion of the others.
Most Ward Memorial patrons work for a living without health
insurance. Because they work, they do not qualify for
tax-supported Medicaid. Because many are not old enough,
they do not qualify for tax-subsidized Medicare. Most Ward
Memorial patrons simply cannot pay sometimes horrendous
medical bills although they do pay the medical bills of the
bureaucrats and those eligible for Medicare and Medicaid.
What if Ward Countians lucky enough to have health
insurance, subsidized by the taxes of those who do not have
health insurance, used Ward Memorial Hospital instead of
going elsewhere? At least part of the hospital's fiscal
ailments might be remedied. Medical services might be
retained for Ward Countians who cannot pay their family's
medical bills but who do pay them for almost everyone else.
Corpus Christi Witches
Have you heard about the witches in Corpus Christi? We are
not making this up. Ward County has problems with hospitals
and golf courses. We do not have a witch problem.
According to an Associated Press dispatch on March 26,
Frances Brazell was discovered in an empty district court
room in possession of a material authorities described as
used in the practice of witchcraft. A friend, Paul Avalos,
also said to be a witch, was to go on trial later for sexual
assault of a child during an alleged witchcraft ritual.
Avalos is still being tried. Brazell spent a week in jail
for contempt of court for the use of the witch powder. The
witch powder was black pepper. The lady carried the devilish
pepper in a pouch in her bra. It was not reported how the
pepper was found.
Learn from this incident. Do not carry black pepper in
unmentionable places. Do not use black pepper in Corpus
Christi. You may be mistaken for a witch.
I haven't been on the internet for over a week. I think this
is a new record for me.
It's not because I want to spend all my time in the real
world, it's just that we are temporarily 'without internet'
and haven't gotten around to turning it back on. Every once
in awhile, I sit down at the computer and think about what I
used to do before we got connected.
The computer is jam pack full of interesting stuff for the
rest of the family. My brother has his flight simulators,
Duke Nukem and the hundreds of other
shoot-'em-up-burn-'em-down games that he has amassed over
For my mother there are her computerized nursing books, drug
handbooks and business card / flyer makers. My father...well
there are hundreds of computerized irritations just waiting
to reach out and grab him. (Of his own creation of course,
the programs don't load themselves...shhhh! Don't tell him
After clicking through all of the choices on our computer, I
inevitably end up with my best friend lately...solitaire.
With all the technology at my fingertips I use it to shuffle
a deck of computerized cards for me...Oh, and to write a
column. Things that I could have done without a computer
years ago. Now it just seems pointless to shuffle a deck of
cards for myself or pick up a pencil when it's so much
easier just to click the computer keys.
Yes, I realize I have become lazy. Just like the rest of the
world that has chosen to let computers do our dirty work.
Am I upset by this revelation? Not really.
I am confident that if all the computers in the world were
gone (and yes, the internet too. *gasp*) I could still
function. Would it be as fun? Probably not.
Net Tip of the Week
Don't forget to pay your internet bill!
Copyright 1998 by Ward Newspapers, Inc.
Mac McKinnon, Publisher
107 W. Second St., Monahans TX 79756
Phone 915-943-4313, FAX 915-943-4314
Associated Press text, photo, graphic, audio and/or video material shall not be published, broadcast, rewritten for broadcast or publication or redistributed directly or indirectly in any medium.
Copyright 1998 by Ward Newspapers Inc.