Sunday, August 13, 2017

Reunion FAQs


In case you didn't know, my class at Wheeler High School, the class of 1977 (Motto: "The Gum Of Yesterday Is Left Under The Desks Of Today For The Children Of Tomorrow") is having our 40-year class reunion.

You know what that means: reminiscing about our hard lives.

"Yeah, kids today, don't know what's it is like having to get your lazy rump off the couch to turn a knob to change a channel. It was rough back then. You only had three of them. ABC, NBC, and CBS. But we liked it. We loved it".

"Yeah, they don't know what's it is like NOT having a Dunkin Donuts and Baskin-Robbins at the same place."

"Yeah, back in my day you only had one type of coffee! Black! The way God designed it in the Bible. Not the four hundred types you have today. I don't even know what a Latte is-I hope I never find out".

I am a part of the Reunion Committee and we have been meeting monthly at a local down-home, meat and three restaurant ( Motto: "Pay No Attention To That Health Inspection Score") to organize the reunion.  I am happy to present a FAQ- Frequently Asked Questions regarding the reunion.


When:  It is October 14, 2017.  This is a Saturday.

Time:  7:00 pm - 11:00 pm

Where:  Hilton Atlanta Marietta Hotel and Conference Center, 500 Powder Springs Street. Marietta, GA 30064.     It is the same location as the 20-year reunion and the last place some of us tried, in 70's style, to "get down".

Pretty Snazzy
Cost: Tickets are $65.00 each UNTIL September 1st when the price will raise to...dun-dun. DUN...$70.00 a ticket.


GAH, I mean, GAH, why so much? GAH:  When looking for a place to have a reunion we were faced with several options. All of the options cost money. Frankly, a lot of the less expensive options were disappointing.  The cost includes the rental of the ballrooms and a NICE SIT DOWN MEAL.

Ballrooms?  Yes, one for the dinner and one for getting down or getting up to boogie.

Is there going to be a program?    Yes. I will be Your Grand Host (YGH) and there will be some remarks by The Grammar Hammer himself, Marietta Daily Journal columnist Roger Hines.

You?   Yes.  I have a long association with Wheeler High School. I lived across the street from it for 10 years. I was married in the church next door.  I have written a book that sold into the dozens about Wheeler. Plus, I sleep with someone on the committee. (It is my wife. GAH!  Get your minds out of the gutter. GAH!)

Wait. Your wife wasn't in The Class of 77.  Can members of other classes come?   As long as you buy a ticket, we welcome members of other classes. Unless, of course, you want to spread propaganda about how your class was as good or better, then you can keep your filthy lies to yourself.

Can I Bring My Spouse?  Yes, with a purchase of a ticket.  Your spouse will want to bask in the glory of The Class of '77.

Do You Have A Website?  Yes, it is www.whs77.org.  I would like to take this opprotunity to -thank Sandy Dasinger Quarles, who designed and operates the website. The website has a Paypal link, which all of the kids are using nowdays. Or you mail a check to Sandy at 1047 Ven Villa Road, Marietta, GA 30062

She Went To Georgia Tech?   Yep and it came in handy because the rest of us (UGA grads and one lone Kennesaw State grad) can barely operate a cell phone.

How Should We Dress?   Cobb County has strict laws regarding public middle aged nudity, so you must wear clothes.  The type of clothes to be worn is "Dressy Causal" .  No tuxedos, no evening dresses, etc, like The Acadmey Awards.  It also means you don't dress like you are going to Wal-Mart.


No
No
 No


No
Yes. This came from a website about "Dressy Causal"
Yes






Most Important of All: Will there be a bar?  Yes, there will be a cash bar. While I don't know exactly what they'll have, they will have the usual: beer, wine, etc. Not sure if you'll be able to order an Onery Moscow Mule, but there will be plenty of loudmouth soup available. 

So, there you have it gang. If you have any other questions, just ask me either on this page or on Facebook.

www.whs77.org





Saturday, July 29, 2017

Trump's Pattern


To be honest, until 2015, I never paid that much attention to Donald John Trump.

I mean, I knew he was famous and I saw him on TV even though I never watch "The Apprentice".  I'm not much on reality game shows.

I knew he was rich, too. The kind of rich where people are sort of interested in your life but they don't know why. The kind of rich where you trade in wives. The kind of rich where you write books teaching schlubs like me how to get rich. The only problem with these books is the advice always reads like Steve Martin's "How to Make a Million Dollars and Never Pay Taxes ("First: Make a million dollars").

I heard Trump several times on Imus In The Morning.  This was back when he was a Democrat.

Sometimes he sounded like he knew what he was talking about and other times he didn't  Talk about foreshadowing.

Frankly, I didn't get Trump and didn't see why everybody found him fascinating.

Then, as political stories always mention, he rode down the escalator and began his run for the Presidency as a  Republican. I started paying attention.

Now after two years, in which saw Trump basically train wreck himself  into not only the Republican nomination  but into The White House itself, I can't say I understand Trump, but I've basically figured out his pattern.

First:  Trump says something outrageous or stupid or both.

Second:  Most of the news media reports Trump said something  outrageous or stupid or both.

Third:  Officials from The Trump Administration explain what Trump meant. ("What the President said should be taken figuratively and not literally".)

Fourth:  Trump gives an exclusive interview to a news personality and explains he literally said exactly what he meant.

Fifth:  Mike Pence starts measuring drapes in The Oval Office.

Sixth: Somebody on Twitter announces his/her hatred of  Trump and Ben Affleck as Batman.

Seventh:  Joe and Mika discontinue a heavy petting make-out session to condemn Trump.

Eighth:  Trump says "Mika is, at best, a six if you are wearing beer goggles, let's be honest".

Ninth:  Trump gives a speech or does something that makes actual sense.

Tenth:  You think, "Hmm, he just might be getting the hang of this Presidency business."

Eleventh:  Trump says something outrageous or stupid or both.

Trump is currently stuck in his Trump-mode in which nobody understands what  he is thinking or what his point might be because he doesn't make any sense.

He is currently treating Attorney General Jeff Sessions like a red headed step-child. He is going on Twitter bashing his Attorney General-the man he nominated and the man that works at the pleasure of the President. Trump wants Sessions to resign even though Trump could fire Sessions at any time.  It is almost like Trump thinks he going to owe Sessions unemployment compensation if he fires him.

It has gotten so bad that even Democrats are saying nice things about Sessions even though a couple of months ago you would have sworn they thought Sessions was The Grand Buffalo of The Nasty White Man's Club.

Sessions was one of the first elected Republicans to endorse Trump.

Last week, Trump hired Anthony "The Mooch" Scarmucci.   We quickly learn the "The Mooch" loves Trump even more than Trump loves Trump, which is something. He's got a Harvard degree and was a Wolf of Wall Street.   I listened to Scarmucci's press conference last week and he seemed like he was a sharp guy.

That was last week. This week,  Mr. Harvard Degree called a reporter for The New Yorker and  went on an obscenity saturated rant that would have made a sailor blush. He said something about Steve Bannon which A) I didn't think was possible  and B) made Bannon a sympathetic character (which I didn't think was possible either.)

Mr. Harvard Degree believes the entire problem in The Trump White House was Reince Priebus, The White House Chief of Staff.  Here is a transcript of a conversation Scarmucci had with the President.

Scarmucci:  "You know, this grease ball from Wisconsin, Richard, Wence, Wrench, Reebes whatever his name is?   He's the source of all of the leaks in The White House. Capiche?  I love you."

Trump:  "I was thinking the same beautiful thing!  What kind of name is Reince any way? Pfffft!  It's such a loser name and he smells like cheese!  Fire him!  No, wait. Have him resign. I don't want to pay him unemployment."

Scarmucci: "Great idea, Mr. President. I love you more now than I did a minute ago."


Priebus has now resigned and will be replaced by General John Kelly. General Kelly maybe the only person in the world that could tell Trump to shut his yap and focus on his job instead of Twitter. If he does, maybe Trump will stay at the tenth part of his pattern and get the hang of this Presidency business.






Friday, July 21, 2017

SunTrust Park: Questions and Answers


We finally did it!

We finally took in an Atlanta Braves baseball game at the brand spanking new SunTrust Park.

I have compiled answers to some frequently asked questions regarding the new stadium.

Who was Suntrust Park named after?   The new home of The Braves was named after a former President of South Korea, Suntrust Park.

Where is SunTrust Park at?   It is in the Vinings section of the city of Smyrna, Georgia that has an Atlanta mailing address.

How Do I Get There?  I am going to answer this as a 60-ish-year-old native of Cobb County. Go down the Four Lane and rat afore you git to Cumberlyn Mahl, thake a left. (Translation:  It is in the old Circle 75 area. Go south on Cobb Parkway and turn left. You are bound to hit an official Braves parking lot or a semi-official Braves gypsy parking lot.)  

Where do I park?   Glad you ask. There are about 14,000 parking spaces near SunTrust Park, depending on your definition of the word "near".  You can pay $21.00 to park at "Battery Red" which is right next door to the stadium. Or you can pay $1.00 and walk from Chattanooga.

What Is The Battery Atlanta?  It is a bunch of stores and restaurants to make you feel like you are in a quaint little neighborhood that just happens to have a Major League baseball stadium in it. The stores include Baseballism (features baseball related apparel)  and Sugarboo ("Dealer in Whimsy").   The restaurants include Wahlburgers (named after the famous Boston brothers who are famous for some reason) and Haagen Dazs (ice cream shop named after the first Dutch player in major league baseball.)

How Long Is The Wait At The Restaurants?   Three hours.

How Much Do Tickets Cost?   Tickets start at $9.00 if you want to watch the game from the roof of  SunTrust Park.  The tickets go up in price based on how close you are to the field. Those people you see on TV in the stands behind home plate: all are millionaires and are better than you.  Just a joke. Seriously, for a Wednesday night game on August 2, the best seats you can get cost $91.00 a ticket.

What is there to do when you get inside of the stadium?  You could do something wild like watch a baseball game.  If that's not your speed, you can go to wait in line to get into The Braves Clubhouse Store where you can buy official plastic Braves Clubhouse stuff, if you actually get in.  Or you can wait in line to get into the New Era cap store, which sells nothing but the various caps that are "official" Braves caps. Or you can go and look at the exhibits in Monument Garden, which is really neat. You can see Sid Bream's knee brace and marvel at the last century's pathetic attempt at health care.

What type of food is sold at the stadium?  Basic stadium grub. Nobody goes to a ball game to get braised leeks with Mozzarella and a fried egg. Good old fashion over priced artery clogging food.  You may be surprised to know they sell beer at the stadium. The cost:  what a good used car cost in 1986.  They also sell wine. No joke. Mom can zone out with a plastic cup of pinot noir white while you try to remember how to keep a box score.

Do They Sell Dippin' Dots, the ice cream of the future and did you buy some?  Yes. Of course.



Do They Do Anything Cool Between Innings?  Yes. This year the Braves have something called "Beat The Freeze" where a former track star (The Freeze) spots a fan a sizable lead in a race and then beats the fan by a sizable margin.  When I saw "Beat The Freeze", a young man turned to me and said: "That (bad word) is fasser than hale" (translation: "That gentleman is very fast"). The Freeze could be me in a race even if I was riding a horse.




How Much Would It Cost A Family of Four To Go To A Game?    A family of four could easily drop forty thousand dollars at a ball game. Loan officers are standing by to help you finance your evening at the ballpark.

Okay, you've been around a long time old man. Can you compare the parks?  Sure, Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium was dank. It smelled like beer. But it was where I saw Hank Aaron patrol in right field and Joe Torre catch.   Turner Field was like the new girl in school everybody said was hot, but was not. The field always seemed far, far away at Turner.  SunTrust actually looks and feels like a baseball stadium. There really isn't a bad seat in the place.

What Do You Like Best About SunTrust Park?   It is about 20 minutes, in traffic, from my house. Plus, The Dipping Dots, the ice cream of the future.






















Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Fake History


I ran across some "fake history" the other day.

On the Fourth of July, I was breezing through my Facebook feed when I ran across a post about "the inspiring story about the writing of The Star Spangled Banner".

I clicked on the post because I am an American History nerd and I've seen the actual flag that inspired the song.


Back in 1998, I took my then seven-year-old son to Washington, D.C. for vacation. We went to The White House, The Jefferson Memorial, The Lincoln Memorial, Arlington National Cemetary, Ford's Theater, Capitol Hill, and The Smithsonian Museums.  If you have never been to D.C., you really have to go even though it is a city (to quote President Kennedy) of  "Northern hospitality and Southern efficiency."

At The Smithsonian National Museum of American History, we saw the flag that flew over Fort McHenry.

Wow.  That's the only word that came to my mind. I was looking at the flag which caused Francis Scott Key to say: "And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air, gave proof thro' the night that our flag was still there".

The Facebook post linked to a Youtube clip which had an Evangelical pastor giving a sermon about "The Star Spangled Banner".

The only problem? Most of it wasn't true.

To be fair, he did correctly name Francis Scott Key as the writer of "The Star Spangled Banner".

However.

The preacher confused The War of 1812 with The Revolutionary War. He referred to The United States as "colonies", which they were not. He called Fort McHenry, "Fort Henry".  He said the British wanted to destroy the fort (wrong).  He said the British had hundreds of ships in the harbor (they had eight or nine).

An article from the Patheos website says:

"One part of .... (the) account almost seems to confuse the bombing of Fort McHenry with the U.S. Marines' attack on Iwo Jima during World War II. He described soldiers trying to hold up the American flag in the midst of the British bombardment with "patriots' bodies" piled up around the flagpole. This makes for a great image, but in reality only about five soldiers died in the attack and we have no evidence of such a flag-raising."

After the YouTube clip was over, I told my wife that almost none of this was true and I even whipped out my Kennesaw State University degree to prove it. However, a LOT of people who commented on it bought it hook, line, and sinker.

Here's some more history. This YouTube clip was made in 2011. Almost immediately, there was controversy about it and the pastor apologized for the story and admitted he used the story without checking the accuracy. And people are still sharing it.

Here's my handy guide for dealing with Fake History. This can be used with "Fake News", too.

*While it is true, to an extent, that "history is written by the winners", there are certain facts in history.  History says Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of United States. It is not an "opinion". It is a fact.  If someone misstates a fact, chances are a lot of what else will be said will not be right. For example, if someone doesn't know the difference between The Revolutionary War and The War of 1812, well, he might not know what he is talking about.

*Understand everybody has an agenda. Historians, news people, Presidents-everybody has an agenda.  Today, on social media, the most important thing are  "clicks" (i.e.: how many people "clicked" on a post). The more clicks, the better for the website.   Sometimes the search for truth loses out to the search for clicks. When this particular YouTube clip was released in 2011, it had 1.7 million clicks.

*Research it yourself. Learn which sites are reliable and which are not. I can tell you anything associated with Info Wars should be looked at suspiciously. The same goes for Vox and a bunch of other sites.

*Always be willing to admit when you were wrong. This YouTube clip was made six years ago and people are still playing it. The Pastor has admitted his mistake. Most people nowadays won't do this.

*Finally, admit that the dummies who majored in History come in handy sometimes.  Okay, you don't have to do that, but it would be nice. Francis Scott Key thinks so too.











Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Good Advice


"Good advice costs nothing and it's worth the price" ~ Allan Sherman


As luck would have it, I finished reading Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton's Doomed Campaign by Jonathan Allen and Aime Parnes a couple of days before Jon Ossoff's quest to be the only politician in America that didn't vote for himself crashed and burned.

I enjoyed reading it. It had a happy ending. Ha. Ha.

Seriously, the book documents the reason why Clinton lost: Clinton.

Hillary Clinton has been around for a long time and the reason for her wanting to be President basically boiled down to "I Want To Be The First Woman President and You Owe Me".

Plus, one of her campaign honchos was a "numbers guy". We all work with a "numbers guy". The guy that looks at the numbers and tells you "what they mean".  Most of the time, the interpretation of the numbers are "wrong".

I thought of that during the Handel-Ossoff race. The numbers guys were telling the Democrats the 6th District was ripe for the picking because Trump only won it by one percentage point. They didn't add this:  Tom Price won 65 per-cert of the vote, which means there was plenty of people that didn't vote for Trump voted for Price.

This meant a Democrat would have an uphill battle to win The 6th District.

However, the national Democratic party took it to mean you could run a very young political cipher who didn't even live in the district and win as long as you pour buckets of money (30 million dollars) into the district.

Oops. It didn't work out. Give me 30 million dollars and I could get my cat, Gracie Manis, elected to Congress.

It reminded me of what Dave Barry said about Democrats: "They're the kind of  people who'd stop to help you change a flat, but would somehow manage to set your car on fire."

Unlike most of the people on my side of the river, I am not gloating over the Democrats' problem. Okay, maybe a little. I mean, they sort of deserve it. They always act like they're on the "right side of history" and they are genetically cooler than everyone else.

However, it is important for the country to have a strong two-party system. It is important for the Democrats to learn the lessons of the past couple of election cycles. The lessons are not: A) Yell louder and B) Cuss More.

I am here to give my friends in the Democratic Party some advice.

1)  Cut Nancy Pelosi loose.  Like it or not the face of your party is this San Francisco dingbat. She always looks like to me that she's lost her keys in her purse.

2)  Stop "The Resistance" mess. Trump is not an existential threat to anything except maybe himself. Trump has proven, time and time again, that he's his own worst enemy. Get out of the way and let him mess up. Plus, it is just silly to walk around dressed up as genitalia.

3)  Cool it with The Apocolypse.  This is the Democratic response to anything President Trump says:  "People will, literally, die".  Steve Goodman had a song about his dad that said, "He'd get all mad and start to shout, I knew what was coming and I tuned him out".   The Democrats are like that. They get mad and they shout people will die.  And people that do not live in Democratic strongholds tune them out.

4)  Come up with your own proposals.  A fair criticism of The Republicans is they had eight years to come up with a replacement for Obamacare and they didn't have one.  Well, Democrats don't have anything except the status quo on a whole list of items ranging from healthcare (keep Obamacare) to immigration (there's no problem).

5) Celebrities.  Democrats have always paraded their whoop-de-do show business friends around. From Lauren Bacall presenting her gams to Harry Truman to The Rat Pack and JFK to Jimmy Buffett wasting away again with Hillary Clinton, the Democrats have always had the cool celebrities. It just doesn't matter much to regular people.



 6)  People.  For a party that claims to be a party of "the people", they sure spend a lot of time throwing shade on folks.  They seem to only like a certain type of people. You know, usually, people from the East or West Coast who have gone to all of the right colleges and universities. They really need to get into contact with their inner Bubba.

7)  Speaking of Bubba, one of the things Democrats really need to do study Bill Clinton. He showed you how to win. Okay, sure he had (has) problems with his zipper, but the man knew how to win votes and get things done. Even if it meant working with icky Republicans.

Of course, The Democrats will come back. About eight years ago, magazines had cover stories proclaiming the end of The Republican party. The Republicans changed. Or they at least tried to. The Democrats should at least try.


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

A Millennial Gettysburg Address


If  The Gettysburg Address was given by a Millennial Abraham Lincoln.


  
Like, um, it was about 87 years ago (isn't, like, a score 20 years, so it was 4 or 5 scores plus 7 years)  some old white dudes created this lit country they stole from the Native Americans conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. As if.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, which is almost as shook as the one Captain America had with Iron Man, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure. Personally, I'm actually for Captain America. My bro was for Iron Man probably because I was for Cap. I was like, chill. You know Captain America is twice the superhero Iron Man was. I mean, Captain America partied with Harry Truman and Samuel L. Jackson. You can't  party harder than that!

We are met on a great battlefield of that war. This Civil War-not the one in the Marvel Comic Universe.  You know, I really dig Wolverine from "The X-Men". I would totally be on whatever team Wolverine joined.

We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting-place. I mean, like whoa. Men came up here and like, died, for the country.  And I shouldn't just mention men. I should give a big shout out to the women that were here along with all of the Transgendered soldiers.

I'm going to tweet #Itisaltogetherfittingandproperthatweshoulddothis. Make sure you do it as well and maybe we can get this trending on Twitter.

But I guess, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground and we won't allow a Starbucks to be built around here, although I could go for a vanilla bean frappuccino right now.  My bro doesn't like Starbucks. He's a Dunkin Donuts man and that is so lame. My old man told me that they used to make the donuts at the actual Dunkin Donuts and how good the Dunkin Donuts smelled.  TBH, He's always going on and on about how something smelled in 1978. He's got a real historical nose. It is very annoying.

The brave dudes, gals, and people of other various genders, living and dead, who struggled here have apparently consecrated it far above our awesome power to add or detract. So that's pretty hundo p if you ask me.

The world will always note and long remember what I say here because I'm Abraham Lincoln and I have this great beard. I decided not to do the mustache part because I think it looks pretty woke already. You would not believe the grief I got for not doing the mustache. I can't even. I just can't even. I mean, it is my face, you know.

It is for us, you know, the living to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here. So let's all go and throw shade on those super sus people. They probably still use Blackberrys or even worse, flip phones like my grandparents  One time, my grandmother sent me a text. She said it took her three days to write it.  I just texted back "K" and then I got another text, three days later, asking me what "K" meant.  I told her it meant "okay". Three days later I got another text back saying we have a lot of weird words and phrases.  I told her it was like "23 Skidoo" or whatever they said back before they invented electricity.  At Christmas, she said something about "her will"  and how I won't be a part of it.   Sorry, not sorry.

It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the goals remaining before us--that from these BAE we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion--that we here highly, like promise, for real,that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation under God  shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.  Whoa, that is so on fleek!






Friday, June 16, 2017

Sames and Opposites


A squirrel is the same as a can
when there's a BB gun in my hand  ~ Demetri Martin



There has been a big brouhaha regarding President Trump.  You might have seen it, it has been in all of the papers.

The President fired FBI Director James Comey. The reasons vary from job performance to the "guy was just a big doody head - SAD!!!" (Presidential tweet)

Washington reporters and pundits have been comparing the Comey firing to "Watergate".  That's really nothing unusual. Washingon reports and pundits compare everything to "Watergate" because "Watergate" was the Big Kahuna. It was the one time they were actually right.

The question is: How does this compare to "Watergate"?  Lucky for you, I have a degree in history plus, as an added bonus, I have lived through this history. If you think coverage of Trump and Comey have gone overboard now, you haven't seen nothing.

But first, a little history lesson about "Watergate" from my Pulitzer Prize Award winning book, Surviving The Smokehole.
 
"(In the seventies) the President was Richard Nixon, who had been around forever and was almost as odd looking as Lyndon Johnson.  Nixon was involved in a political scandal called “Watergate” which was about something that did not involve sex like the President Bill Clinton scandals and therefore was fairly boring. Somehow, in the midst of this scandal, Vice President Spiro Agnew had his own little scandal and had to resign from office. Nixon selected House Minority Leader Gerald Ford to replace Agnew. Then, on August 9, 1974, my 15th birthday, Nixon resigned and Ford became President.   If you lived through this time, you know this is a very condensed version of what happened"

Here you learn some very important things. One, President Nixon was odd looking.  Two, "Watergate" had nothing to do with sex. President William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton twenty years later had a scandal that involved sex but people forgave him because we all just got the internet and the girl he was catting around with was maybe a six with thick beer goggles on.

You see, what had happened was President Nixon was running against George McGovern. McGovern was sort of like the Bernie Sanders of his day except McGovern had some sense.  While Nixon was no day at the beach, McGovern had the charisma of a pair of socks. Instead of thanking his lucky stars in drawing such a dud of an opponent, Nixon orders the break-in of The National Headquarters of The Democratic Party.

Nixon won by a landslide victory. But, he "covered up" his role in the break-in (like ordering it).  The Washington Post got involved with their reporters, Redford and Hoffman.  Soon it was revealed that Nixon had taped all of his conversations in The White House.

Americans were shocked in 1974 when the written transcripts of The White House Tapes were released.

Nixon:  "I don't give a <expletive deleted> about the lira"

Americans were shocked because we weren't quite sure what the lira was, but the President of The United States better care about it!

Soon, "The Smoking Gun" was found in one of the tapes.

Aide:  "What should we do today?"
Nixon: "Break into the headquarters of The Democratic Party and then lie about it for two years".

Shortly after that, President Nixon became ex-President Nixon.

There are people that think this is what will happen to President Trump.  I must admit, there are some days I wonder if he's going to finish the week much less his term. However, there are some big differences.

One, we are not sure there is even a crime. Maybe obstruction of justice, sort of, kind of.  It is simply not enough to have Trump impeached.

Two, the Democrats held both houses of Congress in 1974. If you haven't noticed, Republicans hold both houses of Congress now. Trying to shame them into impeaching Trump won't work.

Sure some of the things are the same. Odd looking Republican. He causes more problems for himself than his opposition. He is a carbon-based life form like Nixon. The Washington Post is all over it.

Other than that, it is like the difference between a squirrel and a can.





Sunday, June 4, 2017

Stunted


I imagine the meeting went something like this:

Kathy: " I need to do something that will draw attention to me and lead to more bookings at casinos."

P.R. Guy:  "Okay..."

Kathy:  "I know! Two words. SEX TAPE!"

P.R.Guy:  "Ew......."

Kathy:  "Wait, I got another one....."

The rest, as they say, is history. Comedian Kathy Griffin committed the most public act of career immolation since, gee, I don't know, John Rocker, with her infamous picture of her holding the severed head of the President.

I'm not sure who thought this was a good idea. I'm not sure if even The Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) would show this picture and I went to a Yoko Ono exhibit there one time.

The picture, which is protected First Amendment speech, wasn't really as clear as it was graphic. Was she saying she opposes Trump so much that she wishes she could cut off his head?  Or was it something more benign: " Hey, look at me"?

I couldn't guarantee it, but I think somebody in the Secret Service thought, "You know, an actor killed Lincoln"  But I doubt this little red headed woman would pose any real physical threat to our big orange President.

I think it was an immature, not well thought out, publicity stunt.  Griffin followed it up with an apology that was as sincere as a lap dance. Then she followed that up with a press conference which was as whiny as it was pathetic.

Griffin should have heeded the example of another entertainer:  Jayne Mansfield.

Mansfield was an "actress" in the late fifties and early sixties.  The nearest present day comparison I can think of is Pamela Sue Anderson.  Mansfield was an early Playmate for Playboy magazine, which meant she was, um, comfortable showing her body in an era in which body showing was not as celebrated as it is today.

She was famous for her publicity stunts. Here is a picture of the most famous one.


Yes, I Chickened Out








Mansfield was at a dinner in the honor of Sophia Loren, probably the second most beautiful Italian woman ever (just slightly behind my wife but ahead of Valerie Bertinelli and Marisa Tomei). Mansfield's decolletage was very exposed and one of her nipples made a cameo appearance for the photographers present. This explains Sophia Loren's stink eye in the above picture.

Of course, this made Mansfield very famous. It even helped launch the career of Dick Cavett. Cavett was a writer for Jack Paar's Tonight Show and wrote this introduction for Mansfield when she was on the show:  "And here they are, Jayne Mansfield".

Did you know Jayne Mansfield won a Golden Globe? Did you know that she made a couple of records with Jimi Hendrix (Yes, that Jimi Hendrix)?  Did you know that one of her kids is an actress on Law and Order: Special Victims Units?

Probably not. We mainly remember her for bending down and showing the world the puppies. Just like we won't remember Griffin for surviving one of the most difficult jobs in the world-walking into a room and making strangers laugh.

Mansfield's life was pretty troubled. Towards the end of her life, she made "personal appearances". One was at a store opening here in Marietta, Georgia in 1966. We went.  My mom said Mansfield showed up drunk.

Mansfield died in an auto accident in Mississippi. The urban legend had that she was decapitated. For the record, she wasn't.

The whole point of a publicity stunt is to attract attention. Griffin got it in buckets.  It turned out to be the attention she didn't want.  But she did perform a valuable public service.

It is not a good idea to make a political statement with a severed head. 

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

1977 vs 2017


For several months I have been a part of a planning committee that is planning The Wheeler High School Class of '77 (Class Motto: "Gimme Three Steps, Gimme Three Steps, Mister") Forty Year Class Reunion.

Forty years. Boy, that sounded like a longer period of time back in 1977 than it does now.

Back in 1977, here's how backward we were.

We had to get up off our butts and change the channel on our TV. Yes, I said it, butts (in 1977, butts was a semi-cuss word.). In the Atlanta area, your choices were channels 2, 5, 11, and 17. If you were some kind of nerdish-hippie-pinko, you also had channel 8, which featured shows where everybody sounded British.

Chances are you found something to watch. It may have not been very good, like "Ironside" which was about a disabled chief of police in San Francisco who bore a strange resemblance to Perry Mason. Or you happened upon "Cannon" which was about a fat private detective who really didn't do too much except eat and kind of jog after the bad guys.


Back in 1977, your phone was on the wall at home and not in your pocket. People used to travel, believe it or not, without having a phone on them. People just assumed you would call when you got there.

Your phone at home was not a camera. Your camera was your camera and it used "film". Once the film was used, you took it to the drug store and the drug store would send the film off to be "developed".  Most of these pictures you took were horrible. Out of focus, heads cut off.

If you did have a picture that was in focus with good lighting, someone always had their eyes closed.

Computers took up city blocks. The thought never crossed your mind that you would have a "personal" computer.  Now, you can carry one around in your pocket.

In 1977, "vinyls" were called "records".  "Records" were sold in "record stores". "Record stores" were all over the place and not just in Seattle.  You did not know when your favorite band or singer was going to release a record unless you worked at the record store, which you didn't because a) you were not cool enough and/or b) you didn't take drugs.

Just imagine the excitement. Mom is at Penny's scoping out the latest fashion and you're at the record store and you see the just released "Captain and Tennille" album. Your month is made right there. (Of course, I'm joking. I would have never bought a Captain and Tennille album.)

Now I bought plenty of Neil Diamond records. Something about a Jewish guy from Brooklyn singing "L.A.'s fine the sunshines most of the time. And the feeling is lay back. Palm Trees grows, rents are low, but you know I keep thinking about making my way back" spoke to a pimply seventh-grade southerner. I blame my mom.

The music of the '70's taught me many things.

For instance, if you are running down the road and you're trying to loosen your load, it is good to have seven women on your mind. The two that want to own you. The two that want to stone you. The one that is your friend. This is important because you have to find a lover who won't blow your cover.

Facts are fact: our music was just better back then. Hands down. No contest. Our music didn't suck.

Until disco, of course. For that, we apologize.

Suck. There's another 70's cuss word except is was spelled "sux". You could get detention for saying "that sucks" in school. Your mother would have gladly come down to the school and sign a permission slip allowing the Assistant Principal (in my case Mr. Hipsher) to poke you with a cattle prod.  ("Nah, ah'm gonna poek ewe wid dis here cattle prod and mahbay ewe want cuss no mo".)

Now you have a Carvana commercial which shows people singing and dancing about buying a car through Carvana and "it doesn't suck".  Mr. Hipsher needs to poke them with a cattle prod.



Our plans with the reunion committee are coming along nicely, thank you.

We hope our fellow classmates will come, October 14 at The Marietta Conference and rock and roll all night. And we'll party every day.

In reality, we will party every other day.  Okay, maybe we will party every other week.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Click 2017





For those of you that don't live in the Atlanta area, there is a special election to fill the seat of former Representative current Secretary of Health and Human Services Dr. Tom Price.  Aren't we lucky? We get to see all of the commercials!

The following is a transcript of my day in front of the TV Set trying to find something to watch.


"Hello, I'm Jon Ossoff. I'm running for the seat in whatever district this is to make a difference. Also a change. I'm willing to work with anyone, including all Democrats and maybe some of those stinky Republicans that want children to starve. I'm Jon Ossoff, and I approved this message because I want to make a difference. Also, a change."


_________________Click____________________


"My name is Karen Handle and you have got to elect me to something, OK?!  OMG, I lost to Nathan Deal who has the personality of a tree stump. OMG. Give me a break, will ya.   I'm Karen Handle and I approved this message because-OMG- I need a break."


_________________Click____________________


"Karen Handle has expensive tastes. She won't buy the store brands. NO! She has to buy the name brands. Karen Handle thinks she is sooooooooo much better than us. Paid for by the Committee That Thinks Karen Handle is Stuck Up."


________________Click______________________


"Jon Ossoff. He is about 14 years old and doesn't even have a driver's license. He's thinks he's so cool 'cause he made of movie.  He's also is in an inappropriate intimate relationship with Nancy Pelosi. Doesn't that make your flesh crawl? Nancy Pelosi. Intimate relationship. Jon Ossoff. Doesn't it make you sick?  Paid for by Georgians Against Nancy Pelosi Having Intimate Relationships With Skinny Young Men".


________________Click______________________


"While the state of Georgia was undergoing a budget crisis, Karen Handle was buying expensive chairs and lighting cigars with one hundred dollar bills given to her by the taxpayers. She was laughing with that awful laugh of hers, enjoying every second of wasting your hard earned taxpayer money.  Karen Handle. My mother won't let me use the word that describes her".


________________Click______________________


"I'm Jon Ossoff and I'm sitting on a porch of a house that may or may not be in whatever district this is and I want to tell you my plan. 1) Buy a house in whatever district I represent in Congress. 2) Deal with the fraud and waste in government by telling the government not to waste money. I would tell people that want to defraud the government they can't do it. 3) Switch all government cell phones to Sprint."


________________Click________________________


"My name is Dr Gyno and I'm real concerned about Karen Handle because she wants to cut funding to Planned Parenthood. You can't argue with me because I'm a doctor. Also, I had breast cancer. Boo-Ya!"


_______________Click_______________________

"Jon Ossoff.Look at him. Has he worked a day in his life? Honestly?


_______________Click_______________________


"Karen Handle.  The most dangerous place on earth is standing between Karen Handle and a box of donuts."


________________Click_____________________



"Jon Ossoff not only watches 'Twin Peaks' but he enjoys and understands it. What a weirdo!"


________________Click____________________


"Karen Handle likes expensive cars so she can run over kittens.  Is that the type of person we want in Washington?  A kitten killer?  Paid for by The People Against Kitten Killers in Congress"


_______________Click______________________


"You know what Jon Ossoff needs? A good sock in the snoot to wipe that Georgetown smirk off of his face".


________________Click__________________



"Karen Handle.  My God"



________________Click_____________________






 


Sunday, May 14, 2017

Then One Day


When you marry somebody, you really do marry into their family.

For example, when Lori and I got married, she married into a family with an Uncle Jimmy. My Uncle Jimmy was a Dust Bowl survivor who somehow met and married my Aunt Elizabeth (who he called "Lizbeth"). He took a job in Atlanta, Georgia. He got a small house in Marietta. They had a son, James, Jr. (Sonny). World War II came and Uncle Jimmy went off to war. He came back and soon Jimmy, Elizabeth, and Sonny welcomed into the world, Linda and Brenda. Elizabeth's younger sister moved from Mississippi to Marietta to help with the twins. The sister met my Dad.

I married into a family with an Uncle Andy and Aunt Peggie.

They did not have any children. Aunt Peggie's only blood nieces and nephew was my wife's family.

Uncle Andy was a banker who was a proud graduate of The Georgia Institute of Technology, Georgia Tech. He said he majored in "Jewish Engineering" (Business).

He was pretty high up in the bank. He handled a lot of important clients, including James Brown. I always laugh thinking about Andy giving his advice to The Godfather of Soul.

He was offered a job by Ted Turner. Really. This was right after Ted bought a tiny TV station in Atlanta. Andy said Turner really laid it thick, begging Andy to work for him.

One important note of Andy. He was the son of Greek immigrants. Andy had one Greek stereotype: he was tight with his money.  He told Turner, "Ted, you know I'm real conservative. What would you do if I advised against something because I didn't think it was the right financial move?"

Turner said, "I'd fire you".

Andy always had a great story. He was somehow involved with loaning the money to launch the Hooters restaurant chain.  Just when Hooters went national, one of the founders' girlfriends was that particular month's centerfold in Playboy magazine.  Andy had to escort her around the bank for a meet and greet. He said she was really good looking but was as dumb as a box of rocks.

Peggie was the sister of my father in law.  She had one of those lilting Southern accents you never hear anymore.  I would answer the phone and hear: "Ae-lynn. Is yore luvlay wife Low-ray theah? May ah spake to herr" (translation: "Alan, is your lovely wife Lori there? May I speak with her?)

She played golf. She was always participating in a "turnnament" (tournament). Peggie and Andy would travel all over the world to go "burd wachin" (bird watching).

The lady could make a quilt. We have, by a conservative estimate, about 400 Peggie quilts around the house. You can't buy quilts made any better.

They lived in a nice house near Chastain Park in Atlanta.  It wasn't gaudy or snooty. It was just classy, in the understated Old Atlanta way.  They decided to cash out the house and sold it to a couple who built a McMansion on it.

They moved to Smyrna, Georgia. One of their next-door neighbors was a former major league baseball player estranged from his wife. The wife showed up at his door one day armed and threating violence.  The Washington Post called Peggie and Andy for their comment. They didn't have any.

Soon the house in Smyrna became too much to take care off.  They sold it and moved to a senior living apartment in Buckhead.

Andy was in his 90's and his health was beginning to fail.  But his mind was sharp. Peggie was declining too. She often stayed confused.  They had to hire a team of caretakers to help them around the little apartment.

Then one day, the caretaker took Andy to the doctor for a scheduled appointment. When they returned to the apartment, Andy asked the caretaker to get the mail. The caretaker left. Andy locked the door. He walked into the bedroom where Peggie was lying in bed. He took his gun and shot Peggie. He turn the gun on himself and pulled the trigger again.

Even though it was on the news, we didn't find out until the next day. We don't watch a lot of local news during the week. Our housekeeper (yes, we have a housekeeper, shut up), who was their housekeeper for 30 years, sent my wife a text offering her condolences.  That's how she learned what happened to Aunt Peggie and Uncle Andy.

Neither the Atlanta Police or the senior living complex appear to have made an effort to contact any possible relatives on Peggie's side. My wife contacted the complex immediately ("Oh, I'm glad you called, we thought she had some nieces locally"). My wife, along with her sister and niece, were there the day before the incident for a visit and signed in noting she was seeing Andy and Peggie.

Apparently, nobody thought to check.

I always liked Andy. He was the original member of "I married a Stanley woman" club. He was always so sensible and thoughtful. He was absolutely the last person I would think would do something like this.

There was no note. My wife said he seemed like his old self the day before: sharp, didn't appear depressed or distracted.

Maybe he got some bad news at the doctor. Maybe they had a pact to go out together.

God knows why Andy decided to execute Peggie and then himself.

But I don't.  I doubt if I ever will.













Sunday, May 7, 2017

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly & The Not Sure


Lord have mercy, we have somehow survived the first one hundred days of the Donald J. Trump administration.

It has been interesting, to say the least.

Eight years ago, President Obama's first one hundred days was treated by the main-lame-stream media as The Dawning of The Age of Aquarius. The Moon was in the seventh house and Jupiter aligned with Mars. The string bean from Illinois via Hawaii would usher peace beyond understanding into the world.

Conservatives would drop their silly opinions and follow along with a President who was leading us to the right side of history. Our enemies, when confronted with a President of such charm, would immediately become our friends and work with us for the good of mankind. Dogs and cats would begin to get along. Stuff like that.

In contrast, President Trump's first one hundred days has been presented as APOCALYPSE NOW AND WE MEAN NOW! THIS IS NOT A DRILL! WOOP! WOOP! THIS IS NOT A DRILL!

Trump, who looks like one of Lex Luthor's experiments gone terribly wrong, somehow won the Presidency with help of the Russians and drug-addled white people from the Midwest. Instead of bringing out the best in people, he brings out the worst.

That is undoubtedly true.  Have you heard some comedians talk about Trump?  On Conan O'Brien, comedian Patton Oswalt said last year's election was a choice between an "insanely qualified woman and a racist scrotum dipped in Cheeto dust."  That's a real knee-slapper.  I would have said, "a lying skunk and a racist scrotum dipped in Cheeto dust" just so I wouldn't alienate half of my possibly paying customers. But, sometimes the jokes have to suffer when you are saving the world.

I know you are all wondering about my grade on the Trump's Presidency. I give it an "I" for "Incomplete".  It is way too soon to critique his Presidency. It is definitely a work in progress.




The Ugly

The Tweets. Somebody. Some big rich millionaire President Trump golfs with ought to tell him to knock it off with the tweets. As much as it "connects" him to the American people, it causes him a ton of problems that he would be better to do without. SAD!


His tongue. Just when it seems like Trump has "pivoted" and will become Presidential, he says (or tweets) something that makes him appear like a baboon. Nobody wants to know your theory of Andrew Jackson and The Civil War. Trump needs to read James 3:1-12 in the Bible. He needs to tame his tongue and just shut up.

Steve Bannon.  I know, I know. He is the whipping boy because of his supposed "Alt-Right" connections, but the guy doesn't know what he's doing and he's caused more problems than he's worth.

His Opposition.  Has anybody benefited more from his opposition than Trump?  From the asinine resistance march to the campus radicals who hate free speech, they make Trump sometimes seems reasonable compared to these people.


The Bad

The Inauguration Address. It. Was. Horrible.  Talk about a wasted opportunity. Former President Bush's review: "Now that was some weird shit".

Repeal and Replace Part One.   He set up a false deadline without understanding the deep divisions within his own party about Obamacare. Guess what? He thought he could bully Congressmen like he bullied his employees. Guess what? It didn't work. Guess what? It made Obamacare seem like the Thing That Wouldn't Die.

The Ban.  Ugh, talk about the Vigoro hitting the fan.  It was something done in haste and allowed the Left to do what they do best: run to the courts and start dreaming of which actor is going to play them in the ten part movie on Netflix.


The Good

Neil Gorsuch.  I don't think Trump would have been elected if he hadn't published a list of twenty judges he would select for The Supreme Court.  Gorsuch is a slam dunk. The opposition to Gorsuch didn't make sense except he was nominated by Trump. Therefore, Chuck Schumer lead his party straight into the nuclear option and now he looks like an idiot  He deserves it.


His foreign policy team. Trump has a pretty solid team with Mattis, McMaster, et.al. They seem mature with a clear understanding of the world. These are guys that could have served in any Republican or Democratic administrations. Anything is an upgrade from Ben Rhodes.

The Syria Bombing.  No, it doesn't solve Syria, but it at least reinforces "the red line" President Obama talked about.

Some of The Executive Orders.  My Lord, the Keystone Pipeline is a slam dunk. Obama could have done it, but he was so tied to the Environmental Lobby.

Not Sure

North Korea.  Like a lot of people, I'm worried about North Korea. It seems like Trump has somehow roped the Chinese into helping out with that loon over there. Maybe. I don't know.

Repeal and Replace Two:  Well, somehow, the President had to charm Republicans into doing what they said they would be doing for the past seven years. Of course, the left will have you believe the people will die in the streets just like they were doing in 2009. You remember stepping over all of those dead people on the sidewalks, don't you?








Sunday, April 30, 2017

Moving Forward


An existential crisis is a moment at which an individual questions the very foundations of their life: whether this life has any meaning, purpose, or value. 


Yes, it was, as they say, an existential crisis.  At least it was for me, in a way.

As you know, two weeks ago my old pal Barry Suttle died suddenly. No warning. Tuesday night, he was commenting on Facebook about how he loved Leon Russell's cover of "Jumping Jack Flash".

Wednesday morning he was gone.

I don't ever remember him mentioning having a cold. A couple of months ago, he mentioned chest pains. He went to the doctor. The doctor said it was gastric reflux.

As I mentioned in my previous post, Barry really encouraged me to write. He said I was good. He said I reminded him of Lewis Grizzard.

That still blows me away. Someone who knew me as a skinny, uncoordinated, zit-faced, four-eyed geek at Wheeler comparing me to one of my humor heroes now that I'm a tubby, uncoordinated, zit-faced geek with contact lenses.

On Blogger, you can see how many people have read your post. When the great Furman Bisher died, I wrote a piece called "Selah" (the Hebrew word for "ponder" which Bisher would sometimes end his columns).  It got a grand total of three reads. Three. ***

One was Barry.

After the initial shock of learning of his death, I became really numb. It was like nothing made sense to me.  Then I realized it was the first non-accident sudden death I had experienced.

My Dad's death was not a surprised. Neither was my mother-in-law's.  My father-in-law's death was surprising, but he was elderly and not in the best of health. Mom's was a shock too, but she was older and had lived a full life. My brother's niece called me one evening and said, "Your brother will die in 30 minutes".  So, even then, I had some time to prepare.

With Barry, I had no time to prepare. He was here one day. Then, he wasn't.

His memorial service helped me out a lot.  While there were tears, there were also some laughs.

The speakers told a lot of great stories:

  • Barry and Bobby singing "Let It Be" with Barry's hand written lyrics with this instruction: "Dramatic". 
  • Barry bringing Mike's Hard Cider Lemonade for use as the communion wine at a Bible study retreat. 
  • Barry drinking Scotch with Tony.
  • Barry retrieving his son's first college home run and getting stuck on the fence.

It struck me how Barry was the same with them as he was with me. Open. Honest.  I could ask him any question and he would answer me.  If someone else asked the same question he would give the same answer.

If I had to sum up Barry, I would say this. A lot of people tell you what they think. Barry told you what he saw. That's what umpires do. That don't tell you they think they saw a strike. They tell you they saw a strike.

I can't tell you how many people Barry told me he loved. It has to be in the millions. He saw a lot of good in people that frankly I had trouble seeing.  But, upon further review, he was right in what he saw.

We used to talked about sports, Wheeler, girls at Wheeler, and music. I never did tell him about one of my new favorite singers, Hayes Carll.  He's a Texas songwriter, kind of a mix of Jerry Jeff Walker and Jimmy Buffett. He has some really funny songs. One has this classic lyric: "We were making out like Bonnie and Clyde".

Carll has some serious songs and one is called "Long Way Home", which I've listened to a lot over the past two weeks. In the second verse Carll says:  "So what are we supposed to do? Just walk around forever blue?"

I thought about that a lot while trying to process Barry's passing.  I'm pretty sure he would not want me to walk around forever blue but instead to move forward with the time I have left. He would want me to be a good friend, a good employee, a good husband, a good father and father-in-law.

He would also want me to keep writing because he saw something good in it. Hey, who am I to question the umpire?




*** As of this posting, the blog post "Barry", has 3857 reads.






                






















Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Barry



It is always a shock to learn of someone's death, particularly someone as young and vibrant as Barry Suttle.

When I learned of the news, I said something I rarely say, "Oh, my God".  I was blindsided. As George Strait would say, it came out of a blue clear sky. 

He was my age. He just celebrated his 58th birthday. His best friend took him to Pebble Beach  in February. Barry hit a hole in one.

Barry was another Wheeler Wildcat. He was a very good football and baseball player.  Now my class was unusual-the "jocks" got along with everybody and didn't make us non-jocks lives miserable.

Even with that, I really didn't know Barry well until a little invention of Mark Zuckerberg came out: Facebook.

Barry accepted my friend request and soon we became big buddies.

He was friendly to everyone.  He had a great laugh. Once, I showed him the meme of the police horse getting yelled at by a far left protester. The meme said Why Are You Yelling At Me Lady? I'm A Freakin' Horse.  Barry roared when he saw it.

He always made it a point to compliment my blog. He liked my stupid "24 Recap", which frankly, I sort of lifted from Dave Barry.  He always encouraged me. Men in their fifties usually don't encourage other men in their fifties. He said I was just as good as anybody that writes for The Marietta Daily Journal. 

It is because of that  I dedicated my Kindle book Go Ahead and Humor Me to him. 

After his kids grew up, he sold the family business and went back to college to get his Masters' degree so he could teach high school English.

Barry was an umpire in the spring and summer. During the break of his games, he would go to his truck and read Shakespeare. Really.

He said it was tough going back to school. The other students were much more, er, millennial than he was, in every way, shape, and form. But he stuck it out and he got his Master's degree.

He was in a movie too!  He played an umpire (naturally) in "42" which is about Jackie Robinson. He had a line: "Play ball!".   He said it took only one take.

He was very proud of his children. His son played professional baseball for a while. His daughter was the apple of his eye. He became a grandfather just a few weeks ago.

I must admit I heard a voice when I learned of Barry's passing. It was the voice of David Gates.

Barry had a very elastic taste in music. One of the groups he liked was Bread. The lead singer on most of Bread's '70's soft hits was David Gates. Barry liked all of their songs.

Every Tuesday on Facebook, I post a "70's Song Lyric Challenge". It is mainly a goof to get people to talk to each other, which is one of the great things about Facebook.  

This past Tuesday, I posted a lyric from "Goodbye Girl" by David Gates. I haven't heard that song in years but I heard it on Pandora last week. I thought it was going to be a "stumper"- a lyric nobody would know.

Barry did.

I sent him an inbox message. "How in the world did you know that?"  He explained he loved sappy love songs.

So, when I learned of Barry's passing, I heard David Gates singing, "Goodbye doesn't mean forever".

Goodbye, Barry. As the another 70's song said, thank you for being a friend.










Sunday, April 9, 2017

Judge Not


  Judge not, that ye be not judged. ~ Jesus

Boy, if there has been one verse in the New Testament that people have learned it is Matthew 7:1. It was part of "The Sermon on The Mount", you may have heard about it. It has been in all of the papers.

Jesus is being, as we say, straight up. This is a direct command. Do Not Judge.

In Matthew 7: 2-3, Jesus goes on to say that how you judge is how you will be judged and you shouldn't be a hypocrite.

However.

It is tough not to judge people. It is almost as hard as not looking at a woman and lusting in your heart. That snared Jimmy Carter, so you know it is tough.

The problem comes in what is actual judgment. It really depends on your viewpoint.  If someone is criticizing you or something you like, they are are judging you and are on the wrong side of Jesus. However, if you are criticizing something or someone, you are simply rendering an opinion.

This recently came up during the startling revelation that Vice President Mike "Mike" Pence and his wife, Mrs. Mike Pence, do not have lunch or dinner with a member of the opposite gender, regardless of party affiliation, by themselves.

It is known in the Evangelical world as "The Billy Graham Rule". Billy Graham would never meet with a woman alone. Tongues wag, you know.

It is a pretty good rule for members of the clergy. It prevents misunderstanding, gossip, and a whole host of other issues.

The layman, well, it is probably a good idea, but it is not always possible.

For example, for years, I would eat lunch with various women I worked with and somehow we managed not to fool around in the breakroom.  I have also had lunch with female friends and everything was up and up. I told my wife where I was and at what time I was there. Plus, my wife has that app on her phone that tells her where I'm at all times.

My opinion: I think it is okay for a man and woman to have lunch together as long as they don't have sex for dessert.  My wife trusts me and I trust my wife.  Anyway, our lunch schedules now preclude us from having lunch with anybody, so this is a non-issue for us.

Even though I disagree with the Vice President, I understand the logic and it is really none of my business. If it works for them, it works for me.

However, Olga Khazan wrote in The Atlantic magazine that "women"(i.e. the staffers, etc in Washington)  "suffer" (i.e.: don't become famous) because of Pence's "Dudely Dinners".

She writes, "Pence is not the only powerful man in Washington who goes to great lengths to avoid the appearance of impropriety with the opposite sex. An anonymous survey of female Capitol Hill staffers conducted by National Journal in 2015 found that “several female aides reported that they have been barred from staffing their male bosses at evening events, driving alone with their congressman or senator, or even sitting down one-on-one in his office for fear that others would get the wrong impression.” One told the reporter Sarah Mimms that in 12 years working for her previous boss, he 'never took a closed door meeting with me. ... This made sensitive and strategic discussions extremely difficult.'"
 

Khazan correctly points out that if somebody is going to cheat, they're going to cheat.  If there's one thing Bill Clinton taught us was that. But, it is not too out of the realm of possibility that someone catching dinner every night with someone else might be slipping around.  However, you won't know until you know.

It is a topic we have to give each other some slack. If we shouldn't judge Bill and Hillary Clinton's marriage, which George Stephanopoulous said was "a mystery", we really shouldn't judge the Pence's marriage either.





















 

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Rhubarb


It was quite a shock to learn of the death of legendary Atlanta country deejay Warren "Rhubarb" Jones. Like most shocking deaths, it was due to a heart attack. He was 65 years old, which is sounding younger and younger to me.

Like most news now days, I first read about it on Facebook.

He came to Atlanta in the mid-80's to country music station WYAY. He was the lead morning man in their "Zoo Crew". Morning drive time radio had a lot of "Zoo Crews" back then. They were supposed to be wacky CRAZY people helping you to work.  Glenn Beck was in a "Zoo Crew " at one time.

As a listener, radio seemed fun back then. They were always giving away money, to the tenth caller. If not the tenth caller, it was the tenth caller with "the phrase that pays". Everybody had their favorite morning show. I was a Gary McKee man and listen to 94Q every morning. On my birthday, my wife would call the show and "The Birthday Monster" would wish me a happy birthday.

Soon, somehow, McKee was gone. Z93 became a "classic rock station". I listened to their morning show "Chase and Woodside".  Then one morning, they were gone too. They were replaced by "Slats". As soon I got used to "Slats", he was replaced by "The Greaseman" whose talents I never did recognize or appreciate.

I turned to Christopher Rude at 96Rock. Again, one morning, he was gone and replaced by a national show "John Boy and Billy".  By the time I got used to "John Boy and Billy", 96Rock brought The Regular Guys to town.  I listened to them, but they got fired. Soon, they were rehired. Then they were fired, again.

I turned to "Randy and Spiff".  One morning I went to a meeting at work and when I came back their oldies station had turned into a country station.  Then I went to STAR94 for Steve and Vicki. They were fired the next week.  I felt like a morning drive time radio albatross.

I read in the paper that Southside Steve Rickman (of The Regular Guys show) was going to join Rhubarb's show. I turned it over to Eagle 107.6.  It was an enjoyable show. Rhubarb played to the country hits. He introduced me to the great Kentucky Headhunters song "Dumas Walker" ("We'll get a slaw burger, fries, and a bottle of Ski").

He would have all of the comedians that dropped by Atlanta on. Colin Quinn sounded like he understood Rhubarb. Chelsea Handler actually asked if "Rhubarb" was his real name. She didn't sound like she was joking.

Of course, the radio station company that owned the Eagle sold out to another radio company that went belly up and sold to its present owners, Cumulus.  Cumulus changed formats and Rhubarb left Atlanta mornings after twenty years.

The old country music deejay during those twenty years earned his Master's degree and he ended up as a professor at Kennesaw State University.  He was a tireless supporter of the school and you rarely saw a picture of him without his KSU swag.

He was involved with his community. He held fund raiser after fund raiser, often with Charlie Daniels. It seems everybody knew Rhubarb, even if they never listened to his show.

I had one close encounter with Rhubarb.  There was a lady where I work who sat in a cubicle a couple of doors down from mine, who was a big Rhubarb fan. She had autographed Rhubarb pictures in her cubicle. One day, I stepped outside my cubicle and saw a man knocking on her door in full deejay regalia: sneakers with no socks, short pants, and a Hawaiian shirt.

It was Rhubarb. It was her birthday and he was coming to take her to lunch.

Of all of the entertainment mediums, local radio is the most intimate. You feel like you know these people when you don't. While some of them make good money, a lot of them don't and have two jobs.

But, unlike Hollywood or rock stars, you can actually reach out and touch them. They will smile and listen to you.  Rhubarb Jones smiled and listened. He actually had this unique concept that his listeners were his customers. I'm not sure present day radio actually understands this.

So, thanks, Rhubarb. Say hello to Hank and Elvis for me.




Wednesday, March 29, 2017

The History of An Entitlement (Updated)


This is the history of  how we got The Affordable Pizza Act.

Woodrow Wilson writes in an 1898 letter to a colleague that “I took the family out for a Pizza Pie as all good red-blooded American families should”.

This colleague wrote President McKinley urging mandatory Pizza Fridays.

In 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt said, “A man who doesn’t like pizza is a rapscallion and should be punched in the snoot, tarred, feathered and run out on the rails”.

In 1911, President William Howard Taft ate three pizzas at one sitting.

In 1925 a reporter said to President Coolidge: "I bet a fellow ten whole dollars that I could not get you to say two words about pizza!" The President responded: "You lose".

The campaign song for Alfred Smith in 1928 was “A Slice Would Be Nice”

 In 1933 as an effort to help struggling dairy farmers in Wisconsin, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt created the Wednesday Pizza Administration or The WPA. The Federal Government commissioned free pizza to be given out in special government stores called “Huts” every Wednesday.

The radio stations all over America played the songs “Hey You Let’s Chew” and "Tony, You're My Pepperoni".

After Pearl Harbor, the country was urged to cut down on its pizza consumption in order to show Hitler and Tojo we mean business.

In the 1948 Presidential race, President Harry Truman said, “The Republican Party wants to take away your pizza and I won’t let them do it".

 In 1952 Presidential candidate Dwight Eisenhower promises to go to Korea and hold the anchovies.

In the 1960 Presidential debates, John F.Kennedy said that there was pepperoni gap.

 In 1966, President Lyndon Johnson signed an executive order changing The Wednesday Pizza Administration into The Pizza On Friday Program (POFP) since the modern American family was very busy on this day.

In a 1972 interview at a Washington D.C. area Pizza Hut, President Richard Nixon denied ever having pizza.

In 1975, President Gerald R. Ford had the roof of his mouth burned by a New York Style Pizza.

 In 1979, President Carter signed an executive order allowing for federal funding of deep dish pizzas.

 In a 1986 compromise with the Democrats, President Ronald Reagan allowed citizens to substitute spaghetti for pizza if they wanted.

After a rousing convention speech in 1988, President George Herbert Walker Bush caves into Congressional pressure and signs legislation to allow specialty pizzas on the POFP.

 Bill Clinton wins the White House in 1992 promising bread sticks.

 In 2000, George W. Bush promises “buffalo wings with your pizza” while Al Gore promises “buffalo wings and the beverage of your choice”.

In 2008,  Illinois Senator Barack Obama wins The White House promising never to get your order wrong.

In 2010, President Obama signs The Affordable Pizza Act, which includes children being able to use their parents' coupons until the age of 26.

 In 2011, after years of an exploding Federal Budget, Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin proposes deep cuts to The Affordable Pizza Act. The poor and needy would still qualify; however, the middle class will be issued a coupon for use at their local Preferred Pizza Provider (PPP).

 The chairwoman of The Democratic Party, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, called Ryan and the Republican Party: “Pro starvation”. She added "People need food to eat. Pizza is a food. If they don't eat food they will die. Paul Ryan wants people to die."

In 2012, it is revealed that Republican nominee for President Mitt Romney has never seen a pizza.

While campaigning for re-election, President Obama says, "Whatever pizza you like, you can have that pizza.

In 2013, New York businessman Donald Trump tweets: "HEY DOMINO'S! MY ODER IS 45 MINS LATE! SAD!!

When The Affordable Pizza Act goes into effect in the fall of 2013, it turns out the only type of pizza available is cheese pizza, thin crust.

In a speech in 2016, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton claims to both love and hate pizza.

In 2016, New York businessman Donald Trump wins The White House, in part, by saying "Look, I know Papa John. Good friend. Great guy. Makes great pizza. I would probably make better pizza if I was in the pizza business, but I'm not. So, I ask Papa John, who is a great guy and big, big supporter, what can we do about the sorry, terrible, atrocious, Affordable Pizza Act? He said, now get this, that he didn't know. Now if PAPA JOHN doesn't know what to do about Pizza, we're in big trouble, believe me." 

In 2017, in an effect to repeal and replace The Affordable Pizza Act (aka "Obama-pizza"), Congressional Republicans somehow manage to set themselves on fire.







Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Trump Drinking or Ding-Ding Game


As long as everybody is going to yell at each other, we might as well develop a game.

I just read a Facebook post from Anne LaMott who is another of those Super Cool Christian writers that can say the word "shit" and get away with it.

This is what she partially said in her post.


"The pain, grief and sheer disbelief of a majority of Americans since November 8 can hardly be expressed. This can't actually be happening, but it is. It's On Beyond Zebra. We wake up wondering if, while we slept, Trump accidentally bombed North Korea because he got a little bug up his kadunkadunk at 3:00 a.m. Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner at the helm? Even my Republican friends are sick about Trump and Paul Ryan's draconian and insane budget. Just off the top of my head, they want to cut Meals on Wheels? Meals on WHEELS? It tuns (sic) out that Ryan has dreamed since college about how much food there will be for the rest of us when we stop free handouts to those greedy grabby gobbly sick and elderly people. 

People are afraid on (sic) turn on their phones: what bizarre thoughts and threats has Trump tweeted at dawn? Friends started smoking. Not to mention that everyone has gained the Trump Twelve."

Well.


First of all, it is "badonkadonk" not "kadunkadunk".



Secondly,  how could Trump "accidentally" bomb North Korea?  "WE WERE GOING TO BOMB CHINA BUT WE BOMBED N. KOREA! MY BAD. NOT REALLY". Not meaning to be all smart, shouldn't you worry more about North Korea bombing Japan and oh, South Korea?

Thirdly, about the draconian and insane budget. "Meals on Wheels" is not a federal program. It is a non-profit organization that receives funding from the states in Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) that the feds send out. The individual states determine how much money is given to Meals on Wheels. I'm sure you would be surprised to learn that CDBGs have been used in political pork barrel schemes.

I noticed she mentioned "Meals on Wheels" but not the funding for The Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars, which is scheduled to be eliminated entirely.  Oh, the humanity!  How can this republic survive without The Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars? I bet the EVIL Paul Ryan has been dreaming of this since middle school!

"People are afraid on (sic) turn on their phones: what bizarre thoughts and threats has Trump tweeted at dawn"  I'm not quite sure where Ann lives, but I haven't noticed anyone afraid to turn on their phones.  In fact, just about everybody I know keeps their phone on all the time.

"Friends started smoking."  Really?  Name one. Seriously, since we're blaming Trump for the pain, grief, and disbelief, it would be nice to know who deals with their candidate losing by reaching for a pack of Pall Malls, especially when they haven't smoked before.  We may not want to put those people next to the door in the airplane if you catch my drift.

"Not to mention everyone has gained The Trump Twelve".  I haven't gained twelve pounds since Trump was elected.  I did gain five pounds due to a milk shake binge I went on last September. Stupid Trump. He tweeted: GO AHEAD ALAN-HAVE THAT MILK SHAKE! (BTW, I MAKE THE BEST MILK SHAKES!)

But I'm not a person to get wrapped around the axle about all of this politics glob. I'm a person of action. So, I have decided to create a game that drinkers and non-drinkers can participate in.

The game is an homage to the "Hello, Bob" drinking game in which the contestants watched the old "Bob Newhart Show" and took a shot when somebody said, "Hello Bob".

There were a lot of "Hello Bobs" in this episode.


The rules are simple, you take a shot or you say "Ding-ding" (for my Baptist friends) when you are watching the news and you hear:

1. The President saying "fake news".

2. If someone says about the budget "People will die due to this budget"

3.  Double shot or ding if they add the word "literally" as in "People will literally die due to this budget".

4. Somebody says, "He says what's on his mind" like it's a good thing.

5. When somebody says "People will die due to the repeal of Obamacare"

6.  Double shot or ding if they add the word "literally"

7. Upon reading there has been a bank robbery in D.C., the President tweets that Barack Obama did it.

8. A celebrity takes five minutes of their precious time to remind you that Donald Trump is a Fascist.

9. The President starts talking about the ratings for "The Apprentice".


Feel free to add your own. Just watch out-you may have to be hospitalized for substance abuse.