Friday, March 15, 2013

The more things change...

     Admittedly, I'm hyper-sensitive where women are concerned.  I fret over everything from their safety to equality to manners where the fairer sex is concerned.  That's what happens when your formative years are spent in a house full of sisters and your adult life is a wife, a mother-in-law, nieces and, still, those sisters (all of whom probably sometimes feel smothered by my over-protection.)  I cringe at the way some men still talk around women.  I change the channel or leave the theater when a screen depicts violence against women (in any form.)  And, I'll admit, I'm often offended by gratuitous nudity in entertainment.  But don't revoke my man card just yet - I'm still pretty much the proud neanderthal I profess to be...but I'm also a gentleman.
     My chivalrous nature (I hear "Indiana Jones" music playing in the background when I refer to myself as  "chivalrous") is probably the reason two stories caught my eye this morning.  First, from a Fox affiliate somewhere in Connecticut.  On Wednesday a technician, a producer - maybe even some intern - made a very poor decision when choosing file footage to accompany a story about the celebration of National Women's Day being held at the state capitol.
     "....discussing women's accomplishments here in Connecticut..." but the video seems to have less to do with accomplishments and more to do with what the good Lord (or some surgeon) hath given.  To their credit, they tweeted out an apology, promising that they would "continue to recognize the great contributions of women in CT and around the world."   I'll give them a pass but I still have to ask - they had this file footage why?  What was the subject matter of the story for which this footage was gathered??

     "are we destined to be ruled, by a bunch of old white men..."

     I'll give the folks @ Fox in CT a pass....the "breast video" seems to be more about poor judgement and less about insulting women.  However, a nameless goober at a CPAC  event yesterday gets no pass.
Read the story here...
     I think the headline writer at the Huffington Post blew it.  Begala's comeback hardly qualifies as "epic." ("know you are!  what am I??")  I can think of many more clever retorts.  And I'm not going to blame everyone in the room for the comments made by one jackass.  Immature.  Sexist. Stupid.  In 2013 we're still equating a woman's appearance with her ability to do a job?   If I'm remembering correctly, didn't Mitch McConnell speak at these CPAC proceedings?  Did this infidel suggest a face-lift for Mitch? (after all, his neck is still moving 20 minutes after he's finished talking.)  How about John McCain - I bet he would've won in 2008 were it not for all those Vietnam scars!  
     Don't get me wrong - I'm NO Paul Begala fan.  As I said, his response wasn't exactly of the "ooooooooh,,,that's gonna leave a mark!" variety.  At first I thought he should've let the heckling be - you can't hear it on the video after all so we wouldn't be aware of it had it not been repeated.  Then this thought crossed my mind - was he just shrewd enough in the repeating of it so that those watching would know that this group of folks who declared (after getting their posteriors kicked last November) they would overhaul their image, lose their "old white guy" vision of America and be more sensitive to minorities, women and immigrants really hasn't crawled one progressive inch?  Is Paul Begala that smart?  (he is a politician after all, and even the stupid ones are pretty sly.)
     Here's what would really piss off the "old white guys" - A 2016 presidential ballot that has Condoleeza Rice on one side and Hillary Clinton on the other.  For me, THAT would be the first ballot I've seen in several elections that included two viable options   I'd be happy as punch (and I'm an old white guy!!!!!!!!)

Thursday, March 14, 2013


     Sometimes there really are no words.  Epic? Classic?  How about just "hilarious" ???    I read an interview  recently with the folk duo Brewer & Shipley.  If you think you've not heard of them you're wrong -  you'll recognize their greatest commercial success in just a minute.  In this interview, they mentioned that "Gail and Dale" from the Lawrence Welk Show had performed this song, declaring it a "modern spiritual."    Obviously, I had to find evidence.  Thank God for YouTube.  Make sure you're sitting down.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


"....Praise Father, Son and whole wheat toast..."
     Confession time - The "chimney cam" that CNN had in the lower corner of the screen during the news this morning made me chuckle.  ("forgive me father for I've sinned....It's been, well, NEVER since my last confession...see, I'm Methodist and we don't have fact, we really don't like to discuss what sinners we are with folks that ain't even family")   News folks love to make the day to day here on planet earth "breaking news" don't they? Though I don't darken the doors of a church like I should in my old age, I did grow up a fairly active United Methodist.  But I don't remember what happens when the North Georgia Conference chooses a new bishop. I'm pretty sure there's no smoke involved... unless someone brings some barbecue to the proceedings.  
     I jest - I'm not trying to make light of the sanctity of this selection for those of the Roman Catholic Church, I promise.  In fact, there lives in me a tinge of jealousy towards those who can lay claim to such antiquity in things of importance - whether it's your faith, your home, your city or your church.  I'm jealous of folks in other parts of the world that say things like "someone in my family's farmed this land for the last 500 years"  or "our offices are in a structure that was built in 1625..."   In our young nation, only Native Americans are afforded such legacy. 
     Speaking of Methodism, I've always been fascinated with its founder, John Wesley.  Any reading you can do on the person John Wesley (as opposed to the founder of a religious movement John Wesley) is time well spent.  He was the 15th born in a family of 19 children (yes, I said 19....fertility ran in the family - his mother Susannah was the youngest of 25 children born to a Puritan minister.)   The young John survived a fire in the family rectory in 1709, giving birth to the conviction in Susannah's heart that her son was destined for greatness.  She schooled all her children at home, insisting that they were able to read by age four.  But when he was 11, she sent John off to Charterhouse School in Godalming, Surrey (which - speaking of living artifacts  - is still in operation as an independent boarding school.)  The other day, while reading about his life as an 11 year old away at boarding school, I noticed that each day began with a breakfast of "bread, cheese and beer."  This probably kept any homesickness at bay as he was accustomed to beer with meals at home.  Susannah, you see, was quite the brewer and always kept her family supplied with beer.  Consequently, in addition to accidentally founding Methodism, in adulthood he also became quite a brew master himself.  He considered hard ("distilled") liquor the doorstep to hellfire and only to be used for medicinal purposes.  But beer was dang near a food group!      
     JUST DON'T POUR HIM A GLASS OF ALE THAT'S BEEN BREWED WITH HOPS!  In 1789, so distressed by brewers' tendency to reintroduce this "poisonous herb" back into their wort, he wrote a letter published in the Bristol Gazette that's every bit as much fire and brimstone as his sermons on "salvation by faith" (1738) or "Free Grace" (1739.)  From that letter to the Gazette:
Brew any quantity of malt, add hops to one half of this, and none to the other half. Keep them in the same cellar three or six months, and the ale without hops will keep just as well as the other. I have made the experiment at London. One barrel had no hops, the other had. Both were brewed with the same malt, and exactly in the same manner. And after six months that without hops had kept just as well as the other. "But what bitter did you infuse in the room of it?" No bitter at all. No bitter is necessary to preserve ale, any more than to preserve cider or wine. I look upon the matter of hops to be a mere humbug upon the-good people of England; indeed, as eminent an one on the whole nation as "the man’s getting into a quart bottle" was on the people of London.
      I'll probably not share this bit of history with my father-in-law.  A good southern Baptist, he takes great delight in ribbing me about us Methodists and our tendencies to have a sip now and again.  At family gatherings held at any home on my side of the family you can hear him  "Now which of these punch bowls is the Methodist punch bowl and which one is for Baptists?"  I'll not add any fuel to that fire!  I'm quite certain there's as many Baptists who imbibe, they just don't admit it.  I gather this from some wisdom my father once shared with me when explaining the difference between denominations - "Presbyterians are Baptists who will speak to you at the liquor store."  

"I am man, hear me roar..."
     Were I not such a loyal driver of Ford products (mostly large ones - I'm on my fourth F150) I just might go out and buy me a Subaru.  Have you seen their commercial depicting a father waiting with his little girl at the bus stop?  On what is presumably her first day of school he discusses his overly-protective nature as the reason he drives a Subaru.  He then gets in his very dependable Subaru and follows the bus to school to make sure she gets there ok.  What a treat!  A commercial where a man is depicted as something besides an all-thumbs, "Neanderthalish"  goober that only understands chicken wings, sports and naps on the couch!  You've seen these commercials - the ones where the cold medicine really needs to hurry up and work because Mom needs to save her family from the idiot she married that damn near burned down the house trying to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  Or the one for some cleaner so tough on stains it can even get the mud off the kitchen floor when jackass drags a hose in the house and tries to bathe a 700 pound St. Bernard in the kitchen.
     I'm going to channel my inner ad-executive and ask you to consider these: 
 -A beer that advertises itself as something that can help a married man get through THAT week every month ("When she reaches for Pamprin, you reach for a cold Bud.")  
-A pain reliever "so effective even headaches caused by a weekend with your mother-in-law are gone in just one dose!"
-Car insurance with an accident forgiveness clause anytime you drive your vehicle into a tree because she just wouldn't shut the hell up!!
-"When you tell her to get in the kitchen where she belongs and fix you a sandwich, make sure it's Boar's Head meat..."
     Those "The View" chicks' craniums would simultaneously explode.   Everyone from Gloria Steinem to Oprah to the ACLU would call for boycotts and lawsuits.  I use extremes for the sake of a joke, obviously. But still, my extremes aren't that much more overtly insulting than some of the stereotypes I see suggested by real commercials.  It's no longer an "Ozzie and Harriett" world.  Men are doing as much housework and shopping as their spouses.  My thanks to Subaru for recognizing this.  We're neanderthals but we have feelings for God's sake!  Can't someone just hug me?
(Full disclosure - none of the jokes I've made here apply to life in my house.  My bride is a better driver than I am and I worship the ground my mother-in-law walks on.)


Friday, March 8, 2013


    "I don't get no R-S-P-E-C-T around this joint..."

     Did you ever watch a game (any game/any sport) and despised both teams so much that you wished for a way they could both lose?   For me, it'd be  Notre Dame playing the University of Georgia...if anyone asked who I was pulling for I'd say "the meteor."   The same with the Phillies and the Dodgers.  Saints and the Cowboys.  You get the picture. I had similar emotions watching a video of  Skip Bayless and Richard Sherman go at it on ESPN's "First Take" on Thursday.   "Those that can't, talk about it"  vs. those that can generally makes for pretty good exchanges.  And, usually, I'm  able to differentiate between protagonist and antagonist in the drama that ensues.  Not this time - I was praying for spontaneous combustion in both chairs.  Bayless may, in fact, get paid just to play the jerk role...if so he does it well.  "Judge not..." and all that not withstanding I get the sense he's of the ilk that's quite certain the reason we have sporting events is so that they (the ones who consider themselves artists and paint with keystrokes and microphones)  can hone their craft.  "Aren't you just the cutest thing Joe Sports Fan...sitting their in your recliner pounding beer and chicken wings and thinking you know what's happening here!  No, there's a reason I'M the one with the press pass."  Richard Sherman, on the other hand, is everything we try not to like about professional athletes.  Ego and a mouth that's been known to write checks his body can't cash.  Not quite "money for nothing and chicks for free" but almost.  Remember his "golf clap" for Roddy White in the divisional round of the NFC playoffs?  AFTER he'd been smoked for 47 yards and 6 points?   He's the reason I'm president of the Trent Williams fan club.

     In case you missed this clash of egos...


     Hey, I've seen Jimmy Stewart pull off a filibuster....and you, Rand Paul, are no Jimmy Stewart.  I admire the stamina - physical and mental - required to pull of a filibuster - the only thing that could shut up Paul was his own bladder.  But  I'm not really buying what he's selling...because,see, I've seen it before.   It wasn't that long ago that folks on one side of the aisle were telling me to be wary of someone who's middle initial was "W."  They warned me that his "warrantless wiretapping" was going to infringe on all my civil liberties and ALL my inalienable rights!  The government would know everything from my favorite curse word to what's on my grocery list!!!!!!  Now, the other side of the aisle is working hard to push the same panic button for all us ignorant masses.   Drones are going to be doing everything from flying by my window to see what I'm reading and what I'm watching on television (there are certain times of the day that a passing drone looking in my window is going to get a view that will cause it to crash itself into the nearest mountain so as to remove the image from memory banks.)   Dear GOD, make it all stop!  Those that take the floors of our statehouses, chambers and rotundas and use such delusional paranoia to do nothing but push POLITICS (you CAN'T call it "governing," for God's sake)  are no better than the mental giants who jump on the pages of our social networking sites, sounding the daily alarm!  My Facebook page stays filled with these modern-day Paul Reveres.  They quote everyone from Nostradamus to Thomas Paine to tell me that our current president is in secret talks with the Canadians to buy up all of our libraries and churches and turn them all into hockey rinks!  "Please share if you don't want the world to end!!"
click here - David Weigel, Slate magazine says it better than I'm able to... 

"...tell me where is sanity..."

     If someone from another planet asked me "what is rock & roll?"  I'd tell them to listen to Alvin Lee and Ten Years After peel off "Going Back To Birmingham."  Alvin unexpectedly died Wednesday after some "routine" surgery.  Few things make you feel the passing of years as quickly as losing people and their craft (be it singing, acting, writing etc...) who became a part of you, especially in your formative years.  I stuck my foot squarely in my mouth when I came home one day many years ago and found my mother sitting on the couch crying.  I thought something horrific had befallen our family.  She looked at me and said "Bing Crosby died."  I said "SO??   You didn't even KNOW Bing Crosby??  Why are you crying?"  She gritted her teeth and said "it's not just that some singer died...something I've loved for a lot of years isn't around anymore.  One day you'll understand."   Damn, if she wasn't right.

"So I'm sitting on Jekyll Island, 
when I hear that Jerry Garcia died.
I take my cold beer and my coozie,
I look up and I toast the sky.
Seems everytime I turn around, 
something that always was is gone...
without a sound."

     I wrote that song in 1995, coincdentally 4 days after my first date with the woman that now shares my name (August 9, 1995.)  After our first meeting I went to the beach with my friends and she went to the mountains with her friends.  And, after only one date, I remember sitting on that beach and talking to The Almighty "God, please let this be her....I'm tired of wandering around.  Then when I heard that Garcia had died -  "see? I'm not getting any younger!"  
Take a listen...if you can't get into this forget it, 'cause you can't get into nothing at all....




Thursday, March 7, 2013


     "Hey, I'm came here to drink iced tea and kick butt....." 

     Proof that if there's something to talk about, there's someone talking about it.   Meet the "BBQ Jew."
"What happens when the chosen people choose pork"

     I found this blog linked on the Charlotte Observer website.     The keeper of this trove of information and entertainment tells us he has found either his "new best friend, or perhaps arch-enemy" working as editor of Texas Monthly Magazine.  This editor  is "one Jake Silverstein (a Jewish name if there ever was one.)"    Based on the fact that he allowed one of the latest issuesof Texas Monthly to be all about Texas barbecue, he's contemplating the notion that he's not the only "BBQ Jew." (that's really fun to say out loud...try it.)  I'm not sure if Jake was coming out of the closet as a "BBQ lovin' Jew" or simply catering to the masses there in Texas who are quite passionate about their BBQ (as any God-fearing American who knows how to make a killer rub should be.)   But I'm reminded of the wisdom of the late/great Ludlow Porch who, after a trip to Texas, said "Texans are very proud of their barbecue.  It's ok, but we have the same thing right here in Georgia...only we call it steak!  Everyone knows when you're talking 'barbecue' it's time to get a board and hit a pig between the eyes and dig a pit."  Hence, I'm thinking one can enjoy good 'cue in Texas, even if you're one of the chosen ones.  I laugh because I'm bitter - if I could cook a good brisket I'd be more willing to allow the fine folks in Texas to thump their chest and call whatever it is they're doing barbecue.  But chewing through my only attempt at brisket was like chewing through the backseat of a '69 Volkswagen I used to drive.  The fat in a pork shoulder is very forgiving and will give an over-done piece of meat some moisture.  Plus pig fat just tastes better...does anyone eat "beef rinds" while drinking beer and watching 'rassling? 
     Make sure to check out the "Why Jews shouldn't eat pork"'ll find it when you click on the "Jew-B-Q" tab.  I was aware of the "cloven hoof" and "cud-chewing" criteria -  but the rock badger was a new one on me. Shame on me for not being up on my Leviticus.

Leviticus 11:5 "And the rock badger, because it chews the cud but does not part the hoof, is unclean to you."
     I found the lovely portrait above at ""  the website for the Hosanna Lutheran Church in Houston, Texas. Pretty sure they were educating their folks on a bit of Judaic history, not broadcasting a warning on the evils of rock badger consumption (or swapping recipes.)  The fact that the good Lord felt the need to add this creature to the list of forbidden foods tells me they were being dined upon somewhere and He had to blow the whistle.  Hmmmm....being southern, I have, of course, a propensity for exploring exciting new sources of protein.  
     The verse I've quoted above is from the English Standard Version of the Bible, 2001.   Because inquiring (dysfunctional) minds want to know, I went out found that the King James version of the same verse reads:
"And the coney, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you."
At first I figured I'd happened upon the history behind the naming of that island in New York where they eat a lot of hot dogs (thus bringing my kosher food discussion full circle.)  Alas, "coney" is the old english name for a rabbit.  I can hear the King now, telling his scribes "what in the hell is a rock badger?  Just say it's a rabbit, nobody will know the difference."   Reckon why they don't have rabbit eating contests at Coney Island on the fourth of July?  I think they taste a lot better than greasy hot dogs.