Monthly Archives: May 2008

And We Get Bent Over Litter…

If you are familiar with “Get Your War On”, you probably know who David Rees is.  I did, but I was unaware that he donated the proceeds from his GYWO books to help this organization rid Afghanistan of land mines.

Land mines can lay dormant for years, then explode if a farmer or child or other innocent disturbs it.  Our precious cluster bombs often leave unexploded “bomblets” scattered around populated areas, and it is not uncommon for children to try and salvage them to sell, sometimes resulting in lost life or limb.

I wrote about depleted uranium years ago, after we peppered the Iraq countryside with shells.  That stuff just doesn’t go away, and it can render land unusable forever.

I mention these three things today, because a quote from Mr. Rees sums up best why I would pick Obama over Clinton and not look back.  Before I highlight the quote, I should refer the reader to Senate Amendment No. 4882, an amendment to a Pentagon appropriations bill that would have banned the use of cluster bombs in civilian areas.  Obama voted in favor of the ban.  Clinton did not.  Heres what Rees wrote:

I’m not a single-issue voter. But as Obama and Clinton share many policy positions, this vote was revelatory for me. After all, Amendment No. 4882 was an easy one to vote against: Who’d want to risk accusation of “tying the hands of the Pentagon” during a never-ending, global War on Terror? As is so often the case, there was no political cost to doing the wrong thing. And there was no political reward for doing the right thing.

But Senator Obama did the right thing.

Is Senator Obama perfect? Of course not. Nobody who voted for 2005’s wack-ass energy bill is perfect. Nobody who voted to reauthorize the Patriot Act is perfect.

But of the two remaining Democratic candidates, one decided her vote on Amendment No. 4882 according to a political calculation. The other used a moral calculation.



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Reedin, Rytin, Rithmatic, Whats The Extra Day For?

Seems a rural school district has decided to cut back it’s school week to 4 days due to high gas prices.  I’m mulling that over as i type this, part of me thinks its a great idea, part of me worries about child care costs for working Moms going up.  But, I have long advocated for shorter work weeks.  I think productivity would go up, and families would have more time together.

On a related note, for some reason I decided to tune in to local radio, where I was besieged by ads urging me to tell my Senator that Tennessee cannot afford to lose 80k jobs a year.  The ad stated “of coarse tennesseans want a cleaner environment, but….” and then goes on to basically debunk Global Climate Change and ANY regulatory steps to fight it.  Turns out, it was paid for by the Club For Growth.  Nuff said.


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Sorry for that title, its something Heartbreaktown would do…and shes been on my mind today.

Anyway, yesterday I wanted to change the spark plugs on my Rav4.  The Dealer near Rivergate wanted $300.00 for a tune up.  300.  American.  Ridiculous.  So i went to the parts store, bought my plugs, wires, and replaced my gap-setter, only to find that there is conflicting info on the web about how to remove spark plugs on a Rav4.  It really isn’t close to easy.  I’m no grease monkey, but I have tools galore and i ain’t afraid to use em.  I typically spend a solid week on maintenance of the various machines we have around here.  But this, well, flustered and bamboozled me to no end.  I called another dealer, and negotiated a fair price (relative) for just replacing my plugs.  I can do the rest.

So, I drive 25 miles, check in to the service dept, and made myself comfortable in the waiting area.  (Changing the station from faux news was an instant improvement, i should note.)  About 45 minutes later, the Service manager came in to show me my old plugs, which had some oil on them.  He also told me that my throttle was sticking, and that one of my wires was arcing.  He could alleviate all those nasty problems for around 600.00 bucks.  American.

Unbeknown est to him, I had heard him talking on the phone with another customer who had, (surprise!) the EXACT SAME ISSUES with her car!  I politely declined his generous offer and asked that he put my plugs in, change my oil, and let me be on my way, TYVFM.

On my way back to my seat, I overheard another service advisor telling yet another person something very similar.  I wonder if there is some car virus going around.

Sheesh.  These guys had a chance to earn my repeat business if they had just understood that i am on a budget, and i need to address the vehicle’s immediate needs.  Plus, don’t mark up the parts 300%…I know what shit costs.  Myopic, as usual.


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Like most men, I find that trying to wade into any feminist oriented debate is indeed a dangerous exercise.  Still, I’m keen to try and understand.  I was feeling hopelessly lost reading this article, I mean, I knew most of the words and everything, but it clearly wasn’t written for most people to understand, because I couldn’t make heads or split-tails of it.  (I couldn’t resist, sorry).  Anyway, a commenter summed it up perfectly.  AnninCa said:

I still don’t even understand this article.

Color me dumb.

Here’s what I know.

Women raise the children of America. And we do so in poverty. And that’s stupid thinking on the part of America.

So all else flows from our attitudes about this.

Call it whatever you wish.

But until we support the people who produce the next generation?

We have no room to complain about what that next generation dishes back.

I understood that.


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How To Get Aunt B On Yer Couch

Ok, there are an infinite number of ways…place a bag of Oreos or a carton of Ben & Jerrys on it, have one or more dark skinned, muscular spanish-speaking men sit there first, or, do it my way:

Whet her appetite by promising food, friends, and presents. She was here at sun-up. Then have her stand in the hot sun, watching The Primary Wife and Beantown Bob’s lovely and talented spouse plant marigolds around the garden. Do not feed her yet.

Next, when she runs low on Diet Dr. Pepper, suggest she not have another, but rather wait a few minutes and have an adult beverage. Let her sit quietly in the corner while she ponders this. Do not feed her.

When the guests start arriving, send her on a quick errand, like maybe to take a certain guest back down the hill to retrieve his car, which, for some reason, he thought would not be welcome in my driveway. Methodically begin to unpack the cases of alcohol your best buddy decided to bring with him. Find the 100 proof vodka. Tilt your head back and laugh maniacally and prepare Ms. B a Cape Cod, but do so only by rigidly following this recipe:

Fill glass with ice. Pour the 100 proof vodka into the glass while reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, and continue to pour until you say “with liberty and justice for all.” (If there is still room in the glass,  you have done something wrong, perhaps, say, omitting the “under God” part, but, no matter, simply add a thimble-full of cranberry juice. ) Take it to her ALONG WITH HER PRESENT. She will be literally bouncing in her seat, and will not want to spoil her gift-getting moment by complaining that her drink tastes a little strong. Repeat this several times. Do not feed her.

Tip: About the third or fourth time, don’t worry if you are out of presents for her…simply remove something from her purse which is always lying around, and pretend that you are giving it to her anew. Trust me, she will never snap to this clever ruse. Not once.

It is now time to introduce a shot of tequila, as long as it is not accompanied by any food.


Feed her the following things, in this precise order:

1. Chips and guacamole, infused with as much jalapeno as you can locate.

2. Tortilla Emplanada, Empesada, Embarcadero knishes with potato.

3. Fry bread. (Its really just Pita deep fried and cut into triangles, and there is curiously never enough to go around)

4. Cajun Shrimp Boil, with corn, sausage,potatos, and, of course, 21-25 shrimp.

5. Expertly grilled chicken breasts, lovingly basted with a secret but purchasable family recipe, and dusted with cayenne pepper.

6. S’mores.

7. Birthday Cake, preferably baked by an expert like The Missus. IMPORTANT SAFETY TIP! Remind B to blow out the candles before she plunges her face into the 4 inches of frosting atop said cake.

Surround her with the right mix of writers, aspiring playwrights, smart women with poor taste in hats, car salesmen, children, and gentlemen farmers, and wait. There will be raucous laughter, lascivious leering and ogling (mostly of the women), numerous bathroom trips, declarations of love, declarations of war, then….suddenly, you will notice that Aunt B has disappeared. Do not panic. You will soon find her sprawled out on your leather sofa, too “relaxed” to notice that the children are poking her with sticks and laughing gleefully. She will remain there until you have had your second cup of morning coffee.



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I Would Totally Kick Roy Acuff’s Ass

So, I’m doing due diligence, reading up on the history of the Opry.  I thought it was completely cool that when they moved it from the Ryman, they cut out a circle of wood where past performers had entertained countless audiences.  Then…I read this:

The popularity of the Opry shows was star driven. Until 1938, the show had emphasized instrumental performances. Any singer was subordinate to the band. All that changed when young Roy Acuff joined the cast that year. His performance of “The Great Speckled Bird” his first night forever changed the Opry.

Now, I know who to blame.  I have always maintained that there wasn’t enough time in most “country” music songs for the instruments to shine.  Its not that I don’t like singers, but, I really think it tilted too far the other way.  I know, I’m a musical Neanderthal.  Shoot me.


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Personally, I Prefer The Word “Eccentric”.

After picking up Beantown and his lovely wife at the airport, which was, btw, a bit of a ghost town, we headed over to Broadway. Bob wanted to go to Ernest Tubbs Record Store. Once there, he made a beeline toward a barrel filled with guitar shaped flyswatters. He bought 33 of them.

I don’t know what to say after that…


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In a minute, I’m heading out to pick up my friends from the airport.  It so cliche’ to say…but I am truly blessed with some very good friends, many of whom send the coolness meter soaring.

My work is done on the construction, the horses are back on Summer pasture, the kids excelled this year in school (Supermousey got ALL kinds of awards).

My good friend in Atlanta called me to say (try to imagine a heavy Greek accent) he had “fire my new cook, he was so slow, it took him two hours to watch 60 Minutes.”

There is nothing in my spam queue.


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What Should I Wear?

My good friend Beantown Bob is coming to visit.  Many of y’all don’t know this….but when i first moved to Tennessee, one of the first things i did was organize a fundraiser for MoveOn, and i booked my favorite band, (DADA) at 3rd & Lindlsey and got shunned by Music Row Democrats for not booking “local talent.”  i had no idea who was local talent.  Now, in my defense, I’m not a huge country music fan.  I like drums, and bass, and it is my opinion that bands should let their individual components shine instead of just augment the lead singer.  I like rock n roll for that reason. Aunt B makes fun of my love for Rush…but pick a song, and tell me that Alex lifeson doesn’t get your attention with his riffs, and that Neil Peart doesn;t blow your mind with his ridiculous tempo changes, and that Geddy’s bass doesn’t make him sound ten fucking feet tall.

Whew.  Sorry for digressing.  So, I consider Robert Ellis Orral a friend.  (ok, not a “oh look!  Bobs at the door!” kinda friend, but he takes my calls and has played some Democratic fundraisers for me, and he gave my kids some CDs.)  Gretchen Peterson played the MoveOn gig as well, and my point is that they are definately “local talent.”

I guess I’m still a little pissed. (I should note, that neither Sharon Cobb or Southern Beale ever shunned fact, they have both been very supportive).  Ok, back to Bob.  I really love Bob.  Between us, we managed to convince Democrats from 9 different States to volunteer to come here and help with the event.  So, yea, Bob is way cool.  The event was fun, and we made a little money for a deserving Not For Profit.

All of this disjointed background is my way of setting up Teh Big Story.  (Is that passe now?)

I’M GOING TO THE GRAND OLE OPRY!!!  Bob’s connects scored us passes!

So, I know enough about the Country Scene to get good and drunk, but after that…I’m completely lost.  I called Aunt B, and she seems to think I should honor Jimmy Martin and beat the shit out of Ricky Skaggs.  No sweat, if he is in fact there that evening.  Also, Aunt B is aware of the fact that I am a better than average clogger, and thinks I should use Saturday night as a showcase for my mad clogging skills.  Easy Peesy, Japaneesy.

What i really wanted to do was meet Minnie Pearl, but I am sorry to break this to y’all, but it seems she has recently passed.  Pity.  I really liked her.

The other thing i am dissapointed about is that, lo and behold, it turns out Carol Burnett was never part of the Grand Old opry, and that is just wrong.

Anyway, i’ll be content to be surprised.  But I don’t know what one wears to a Cracker Fest.  Do I run by Hicks R Us and pick up a sequined sombrero?  Do I attach spurs to my sneakers?  Help me, oh lovers of The Opry!  I have just days to prepare.

I want it noted that i am actually excited by the idea of listening to music without drums.

Whoda thunk it?


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75,000 turn out to see Obama.  Cut that number in half, it’s still staggering.


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