Listen up, folks.
January 18, 2022
December 15, 2016

Jeff Morgenthaler
March 30, 1949 - December 12, 2016

George Jefferson Morgenthaler (Jeff), 67, of Boerne, TX, passed away on Monday, December 12, 2016, at Methodist Hospital.

Jeff was born in Kansas City, MO on March 30, 1949, to Robert Eric and Dorothy Jean Morgenthaler, who preceded him in death. He grew up in Shawnee Mission, KS. He moved to CO to attend Colorado College in Colorado Springs where he earned a bachelor’s degree in history. After spending a year in Jackson Hole, WY, to indulge his inner ski bum, he attended the University of Denver College of Law and earned a doctor of law degree.

Jeff’s 25-year legal career in Denver and Houston spanned domestic and international mergers, acquisitions, financial transactions, corporate finance and corporate governance, primarily in the energy industry. He worked for Texaco as a baby lawyer and then in private practice for nine years. He served as senior vice president and general counsel of Apache Corporation and Frontera Resources. He is the author of Oil and Gas Title Examination, which has been the classic reference for attorneys and landmen for more than 30 years. He was a highly sought after speaker on oil and gas law and other topics.

Following his successful career as a corporate lawyer, Jeff moved to Boerne in 2002, where he owned and operated Mockingbird Books. Because customers kept asking for a local history, he wrote and self-published a book about Boerne. In 2006 he closed the book store to make room for writing and publishing.

Jeff is the author of several nonfiction books about the history of Texas, including the award-winning The River Has Never Divided Us and the landmark Promised Land: Solms, Castro, and Sam Houston’s Colonization Contracts. He created The Texana Foundation to encourage interest and excellence in preserving and writing Texas history. The foundation’s projects included writers' workshops and conferences, Texana e-book development, public library collection development, and underwriting and producing historical displays.

Jeff’s recent study of the historic Pinta Trail, based largely on the maps and surveys of the Texas General Land Office Archives (TGLO), prompted his interest in the TGLO’s map collection. He acquired and donated five historic maps to the TGLO Archives, which represents the largest single donation of historic maps to the Archives.

When not writing Texas nonfiction, Jeff designed and created websites for businesses and non-profits. He used his popular personal blog,, to contemplate and explain the cosmos.

Jeff possessed great intelligence and was an independent thinker. He had a way of looking through the clutter and distractions of a situation and seeing the essence that makes good decisions possible. He was a news and political junkie, serial small business entrepreneur and civic curmudgeon. He enjoyed calling the city of Boerne staff to task good naturedly, especially about their implementation of the sign ordinance. An accomplished chef and grill master, he recently took the grand prize in the 2016 Wang Dang Doodle Dutch Oven Cookoff. His intellectual curiosity was trumped only by his big heart, quiet acts of kindness and anonymous donations.

Jeff is survived by his wife of 20 years, Jeanne Buchanan; his daughters whom he adored Ann Morgenthaler of Ouray, CO, and Jean Morgenthaler of Centennial, CO; his brother Eric Morgenthaler of Mission, KS, and his sister Susan Morgenthaler of Fairway, KS; and his sisters- and brothers-in law: JoAnn and Mike Sibley of Denton, TX, Judy and Ted Arriola of Noel, MO, Janet and Cliff Show of Pasadena, TX, Joy and Arnie Preece of Idaho Falls, ID, Tom and Laurie Buchanan of Liberty Hill, TX, and Tim and Teresa Buchanan of Clear Lake Shores, TX.

Jeff chose not to have a funeral, preferring instead to be remembered at a BBQ shebang to be held in the new year. Jeff’s family suggests memorials to Save Texas History (

November 21, 2016

The streets around Trump Tower in New York City have become bedlam. And holding ten meetings a day with high-profile people who arrive in motorcades is totally screwing up traffic. Security is insane. So President-Elect Trump moved his meetings out to Trump International Resort in New Jersey. Mayor de Blasio should have given him a gold medal for that.

The media have been going ape over access, so Trump let them set up reporters and cameras outside the clubhouse front door. He could have told them to camp out at the front gate, because it's a private club, but no, he's trying to play nice. When an important guest arrives, he greets them at the front step. When they depart, he walks them to the door and waves to the cameras. This is historically transparent. As the New York Times noted, "Officials running President Obama’s transition in late 2008 took pains to keep under wraps his plans to select Hillary Clinton for secretary of state, and they orchestrated a secret meeting at the firehouse at Reagan National Airport to discuss keeping Robert M. Gates as defense secretary."

So the NY Times is celebrating Trump's remarkable openness, right? He's showing the media some love! Well, here's their headline: "Trump Turns Staid Process Into Spectacle as Aspirants Parade to His Door."

They just can't help themselves.

November 20, 2016

CNN's chubby, nerdy Brian Stelter is getting to be one of my favorites. This morning he was complaining about Donald Trump complaining about actor Brandon Victor Dixon complaining to Mike Pence about LGBT rights during the Hamilton curtain call.

Pence has said that he wasn't offended by the message and would let others decide whether it was an appropriate venue for the remarks. I can decide that: it was the wrong place and time, an impolite stunt that deliberately put the vice-president-elect on the spot in front of a mostly hostile crowd. You can say it privately, you can write a letter to the man, you can go on television and air your views and concerns, but when you have the stage and the microphone and you use them to single out an audience member sitting with family—that's just plain rude.

Anyway, so, Donald Trump blurted one of his trademark stupid tweets in response, provoking Dixon to somehow weirdly assert that he was having a "conversation" with Pence, and there's nothing wrong with that. We are so nuts.

This morning my man Brian Stelter topped it all. He asserted, with a straight face, that "I read something like that, Donald Trump saying, 'This should not happen,' and I think that has a chilling effect for artistic expression. After all, these performers were up on stage, they were performing art, even when they were speaking to the vice president-elect."

Really? That was art? And Trump's Twitter account is chilling artistic expression? Feels like a stretch to me. Okay, I guess I should consider this: Stelter, who complains loudly about Trump not giving the press enough access, opened his show by saying, "the president-elect is [having meetings with possible cabinet members] publicly, at his resort in New Jersey, putting on a show for the cameras." So when Trump doesn't let the press tag along, it's unacceptable, and when he does let the press tag along, it's putting on a show for the cameras. Brian, how about a cold compress and a nice nap? Close your eyes and mull over how holding meetings at Trump National Golf Club is some sort of public spectacle, given that they wouldn't let you past the front gate. It's a private club, bub. The camera is there because the press insists on having a camera there, pointing at a closed front door, telling the public absolutely nothing.

I've said it all along: Trump is an awful person and will likely be an awful president; that's no reason for the rest of us to abandon reason and perspective. Treat the man fairly; the truth is bad enough.

November 20, 2016

I would like to briefly mention that I absolutely killed 'em at the Wang Dang Doodle Dutch Oven Cook-Off. I made Oaxacan Holiday Posole. I took first place in the main dish category and the First Overall Wang Dang Doodle Prize.

I should now retire from competition, because I'll never match that performance again.

That's not my posole pictured, but it looks a lot like it.

November 16, 2016

Last night Deplorable Donald Trump took his family out for a steak dinner at the 21 Club. The restaurant is four blocks from his residence at Trump Tower. Because of the Secret Service, the trip was made in a ten-car motorcade with police, an ambulance and flashing lights.

Mister Trump did not take a pool reporter with him on the four-block jaunt. Oops. According to NBC News, "With his Tuesday night actions, the Trump Administration is shaping up to be the least accessible to the public and the press in modern history." The president of the White House Correspondents Association said that going to dinner without the press is "unacceptable." CNN's Brian Stelter used the same adjective in boldface type, then took it down.

It's going to be a long four years.

November 14, 2016

I've calmed down enough to make some observations about last Tuesday. I think there's a tendency to see the outcome as resulting from a massive surge in low-education angry white men. The facts don't play out that simply. The facts say that Hillary Clinton lost significant percentages of Democrat core constituencies to the Republican ticket. Hillary Clinton failed at what was supposed to be her campaign's biggest strength: the ground game.

In 2012, President Obama received 93% of the Black vote. Hillary Clinton garnered only 90%. That three percent shift didn't stay home—they voted for Donald Trump. Another significant percentage of the Black vote did stay home—estimated to be 11% higher than in 2012. Hispanic votes for the Democratic ticket dropped from 72% to 68%. Hillary boosted the women's Democratic vote about a half-point, to 56%—not much, considering, eh?

People without college degrees shifted from 52% Democratic to 54% Republican. Those numbers include the working class and the working poor of all races, who voted for Obama twice. Hillary lost them.

A lot of people are angry about how the election turned out. I submit that the focus of their anger should be Hillary Clinton, who failed to motivate traditional Democratic constituencies.

November 10, 2016
November 10, 2016

I just heard a nitwit on CNN tell Wolf Blitzer (damn, doesn't the guy ever sleep?) not to worry about President-Elect Trump redecorating the White House in garish gilt goo-goo, because the President can't change anything there—not even the private quarters—without the permission of the White House curator.

The curator can overrule President Trump? What's the name of your home planet?

November 10, 2016

I'm having trouble adjusting to this. I try to imagine the day-to-day workings of a Trump administration. I try to picture how it might deal with Congress, the UN, the media, real and perceived enemies and the demands of reality.

Cheer up, I tell myself, running a bunch of hotels and golf courses is complicated and demanding, and he's done a pretty good job of that. If he can deal with the AFL-CIO's hotel employee unions, he can sure as hell deal with Kim Jong-un.

The markets are up, so the smart guys must like what they see, right?

It's not helping. I've seen too much of the guy. I know how he works, how he thinks, what he's done.

My home county went 77 percent for Trump.

Wednesday morning the humor drained out.

November 8, 2016

Exit polling will tell the experts who won Florida by about 7 p.m. EST. But the polls will be open on the West Coast for another four hours, and the TV people don't want to influence votes out there. It will be interesting to see what the networks do. Hold the news if Hillary wins Florida, because that means she's almost certain to be president? Release the news if Trump wins Florida, because that means he has a shot at winning?

They might do what's best for the nation, but they'll definitely do what's best for ratings.

The Real Clear Politics average has Trump +0.4, which means total tossup.