For Garfield, on the Occasion of his Funeral

September 16, 2008

He was a colorful cousin, a good neighbor, and the best damned yodeler in the county.

The Good Lord Made Him

So I Won’t Grade Him…

Garfield yodeled in September

When the beans turned alkaline

And pumpkins fizzled on my porch.

Boiled peanuts and the report of a pistol

Fired just for kicks in the dead dark

Sent Garfield out to squint at harvest moons

And warble like old drunk days

When more people heard him.


Bennigans slips the surly bonds…

July 29, 2008

Word is that America’s Favorite Sit-Down Chain Restaurant is no more.

Oh! Bennigans.  I haven’t eaten at one of you in a decade, but I remember you as being much superior to your Chilis and Appleby’s of the world.  I miss your be-flair’d wait staff, your green aprons.  I miss staring at the prestigious names of the  “Bennigans 100 Beers Club” members tacked to the cork board above your bar and wondering why I never heard one of my own friends say “hey, Bennigans is a cool place just to hang out.  Let’s join the Bennigans 100 beers club.”

Oh! Bennigans.  I think you were supposed to be Irish.  I can almost taste the honey mustard sauce that came with the disturbingly large Chicken Fingers on your signature Bennigans Chicken Fingers Platter.

You were indeed the home of 100 beers and 1000 welcomes.

TGIF had nothing on you, Bennigans.

I leave you with a bit of poesy from one John Gillespie Magee, Jr., poet and pilot in the Royal Canadian Air Force:

High Flight
by John Gillespie Magee, Jr.

Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth,
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds…and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of…wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up, the long, delirious burning blue
I’ve topped the windswept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, nor even eagle flew.
And while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space…
…put out my hand, and touched the face of God.


Me and Jesus (Got Our Own Thing Going)

July 16, 2008

Irreverence is another person’s disrespect to your god; there isn’t any word that tells what your disrespect to his god is. (Mark Twain)

So, between the spells of Righteous Indignation that come over me every time hucksters like James Dobson or Tom Delay  use the Lord’s name in vain, (i.e., pretty much every time they open their whore mouths) I’ve often thought that for the sake of my own soul’s serenity, I should focus more on GOOD things about Jesus.

It’s not an easy thing to do, considering the ubiquitous chorus of criminals, liars, and sheep who push their own Political Jesus Agenda with the same obnoxious volume as Crazy Joe down at the Car Corral in his craptastic commercials.

Fundamentalists rely on a basic faulty proof to justify their religious and political positions:

1) The Bible in inerrant.

2) We understand the Bible perfectly.

3) We base all of our religious, social, and political opinions on the Bible.

4) Therefore, all of our religious, social, and political opinions are inerrant.

This logic is easy enough to dispute.  Put aside for the moment the fact I’ve never heard anyone come close to offering a sensible rationale for believing the Bible to be inerrant, nor even try to offer a justification for why I should have faith in such a notion.  Even if the bible were all true in the literal sense, we wouldn’t be able to understand it, because we’re not nearly as knowledgeable as God is about things like, you know, GOD.

My point is this:  I don’t believe Jesus gives a damn how you interpret Old Testament scripture or the writings of Saul/Paul.  Unless, that is, you employ those interpretations to elevate yourself in your own mind above people to have the nerve to vote different, think different, live different, or even screw different than you do.  If this is what Jesus does for you, strokes your ego at the expense of your neighbor, then I’m not saying you’re not a Christian.  I’m only saying you’ve missed the point of being a Christian.

Because Jesus has nothing to do with that kind of vanity.  And that, my friends, is one VERY GOOD THING about Jesus.




James Dobson on Obama’s bible distortion.

June 24, 2008

“I think he’s deliberately distorting the traditional understanding of the Bible to fit his own worldview.”


Gitmo Followup

June 16, 2008

McClatchy study says maybe we held HUNDREDS of innocent people at Gitmo and elsewhere:

America’s prison for terrorists often held the wrong men

Why, oh why do they hate us?


America pushes back! (kind of)

June 12, 2008

I find it encouraging that the US Supreme Court continues to assert that Gitmo detainees are, in fact, human beings, despite the Bush administration’s arguments to the contrary. It’s a good sign that even a conservative court can draw a line in the sand, as it were, against the machinations of our self-proclaimed “war-president.”

Isn’t it scary that we’re at this point, though? That the executive branch of our government decided it was ok to take 500 prisoners from other countries, put them in a prison camp outside of US territory, torture them, and hold them indefinitely without even accusing them of anything? That congress has done nothing about it for 8 years? That only the Supreme Court has the balls to disagree, even in theory?

I was more than willing early on to give GW Bush a chance. When they told us Iraq was building massive stores of WMD and so we had to go in there, I thought, ok, if that’s true, then maybe we should go in there.

But that wasn’t true at all.

So I didn’t trust the bastards after that. Not one bit.

Still, when they told us they had found these awful terrorist types who were so damned awful that we had to keep them locked up at Guantanamo Bay (300 yards away from 4000 Cubans who are trained to kill us, as the line goes), I thought, that sounds reasonable.

Then they told us they were torturing those people.

And you know what struck me as soon as I heard it? That’s bullshit. That’s not what I have always been led to believe that America is about. The people who authorized that stuff are criminals.

So now, the line is that these people are so awful, so bent on our destruction, that after holding them for 2 or 4 or 6 years, our government can’t even say what they’ve done, for fear of jeopardizing our safety.

But then every once in a while, when international pressure is brought to bear, they release one.

Our bad. We thought for 6 years that you were a human dirty bomb and that your freedom posed an imminent threat to the existence of our nation. But then Canada called and told us you were ok after all. So, when we were waterboarding you, and you kept screaming that you had no idea what we were talking about terrorist activities, you were telling the truth!

Isn’t that ironic? You’re not mad, are you?

Would you be?


Goodbye for now, My Disco Bumpkins!

May 7, 2008

I’m leaving the country. Be back in a couple of weeks.

(By the way, congrats to WSJr for a resounding victory in the Bladen County Board of Education race!  And to my home state for giving Barry a boost last night!)


“Jay Leno” Speaks?

May 5, 2008

So, I received the following email from a relative this weekend.

It really does serve as a fascinating example of backasswardness and logic twisted to the snapping point.

I’m hoping that posting my own response (in red) on this blog will make me feel less inclined to further alienate myself from my extended family by doing a “reply all.” Take a look, and let me know what you think:

Too good not to pass onwell said.

—– interesting perspective by Jay Leno…

I hope you will all read to the end. Jay Leno puts it into perspective and makes us think about the pathetic negativity. That’s right, Jay Leno!! He may be a comic, but he has his head on straight.

Jay Leno wrote this; it’s the Jay Leno we don’t often see….

First off, Jay Leno obviously didn’t write this. Although, It’s as funny as most of his monologues…(Zing!)

“The other day I was reading Newsweek magazine and came across some poll data I found rather hard to believe. It must be true, given the source, right?

The Newsweek poll alleges that 67 percent of Americans are unhappy with the direction the country is headed, and 69 percent of the country is unhappy with the performance of the President. In essence, 2/3’s of the citizenry just ain’t happy and want a change.

This is true. The President’s approval rating has been below 35 per cent since October and has not cracked 40 per cent since September 2006.

So being the knuckle dragger I am, I started thinking, ”What are we so unhappy about?” Is it that we have electricity and running water 24 hours a day, 7 days a week?


Is our unhappiness the result of having air conditioning in the summer and heating in the winter?

I’m not sure I follow your logic, Jay Leno.

Could it be that 95.4 percent of these unhappy folks have a job?

Oh, I see what you’re doing here. Because we’re the richest country in the world, because we have it so good, we don’t have the right to disagree with our government.

Maybe it is the ability to walk into a grocery store at any time, and see more food in moments than Darfur has seen in the last year?

Hmm, Darfur. Darfur? They’re hungry there? So long as I’m fed, who cares?

Maybe it is the ability to drive from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean without having to present identification papers as we move through each state?

Unlike, for example, Palestinian people who can’t go to work because of Israeli fences and checkpoints in their neighborhoods. Yeah, we got it pretty good.

Or possibly the hundreds of clean and safe motels we would find along the way that can provide temporary shelter?

Or possibly the THOUSANDS of temporary shelters that Katrina victims STILL CALL HOME. (Some of which, by the way, are contaminated with formaldehyde).

I guess having thousands of restaurants with varying cuisine from around the world is just not good enough.

The food court at the mall doesn’t make up for the steady erosion of our civil liberties over the past 7 years? Crybabies.

Or could it be that when we wreck our car, emergency workers show up and provide services to help all, and even send a helicopter to take you to the hospital.

Or could it be the blatant neglect with which our government has treated returning veterans injured in Iraq and Afghanistan? Have you seen the crumbling military hospitals? Have you seen the statistics on mental illness among returning soldiers?

Perhaps you are one of the 70 percent of Americans who own a home. You may be upset with knowing that in the unfortunate case of a fire, a group of trained firefighters will appear in moments and use top notch equipment to extinguish the flames thus saving you, your family and your belongings.

Perhaps you are a Katrina survivor who was stranded for days on your own rooftop, or packed into the superdome, or forced to leave your home town for good and start over.

Or if, while at home watching one of your many flat screen TVs, a burglar or prowler intrudes, an officer equipped with a gun and a bullet-proof vest will come to defend you and your family against attack or loss.

My apartment has many flat-screen TV’s, and smells of rich mahogany.

This all in the backdrop of a neighborhood free of bombs or militias raping and pillaging the residents. Neighborhoods where 90 percent of teenagers own cell phones and computers.

In 2006, The Guardian,a British newspaper, estimated that 655,000 Iraqis had died as a result of the US invasion. These people’s neighborhoods ARE NOT free of bombs, militias, raping, and pillaging.

How about the complete religious, social and political freedoms we enjoy that are the envy of everyone in the world? Maybe that is what has 67 percent of you folks unhappy.

Maybe it’s the fact that the current president has endorsed the use of torture as an interrogation tactic, is responsible for atrocities in prisons we set up in Iraq, secretly set up detention facilities outside of US territory, and handed high-value prisoners over to nations that employ torture regularly, all in an effort to circumvent our own nation’s laws. Maybe some of us think these policies demean the very ideas upon which this nation was founded?

Fact is we are the largest group of ungrateful, spoiled brats the world has ever seen. No wonder the world loves the U.S. , yet has a great disdain for its citizens. They see us for what we are. The most blessed people in the world who do nothing but complain about what we don’t have, and what we hate about the country instead of thanking the good Lord we live here.

Perhaps we are each of those things. Perhaps our greatest failing, and the reason our nation has lost the respect of the rest of the world, is because we as a people fail to look beyond our own cushy circumstances and recognize just how bad some folks have it.

I know, I know. What about the President who took us into war and has no plan to get us out? The President who has a measly 31 percent approval rating?
Is this the same President who guided the nation in the dark days after 9/11? The President that cut taxes to bring an economy out of recession? Could this be the same guy who has been called every name in the book for succeeding in keeping all the spoiled ungrateful brats safe from terrorist attacks?

More than 4,000 US servicemen have died in the Iraq war. That’s more than died on 9/11. Plus more than half a million Iraqis, multitudes of Afghans…who has been made safe, exactly? Like most Americans, I was supportive of US efforts to break up terrorist networks, and even invade Afghanistan in order to disrupt Al Quaida and the Taliban. But, like 70% of Americans today, I fail to see how invading Iraq has done anything other than cause exponentially more deaths than any terrorist attack ever has.

The Commander-In Chief of an all-volunteer army that is out there defending you and me? Did you hear how bad the President is on the news or talk show? Did this news affect you so much, make you so unhappy you couldn’t take a look around for your self and see all the good things and be glad?

It does affect me that much when I learn that we launch a war based on false pretenses, torture our captives, and disregard the rule of law in our own country.

Think about it….are you upset at the President because he actually caused you personal pain OR is it because the “Media” told you he was failing to kiss your sorry ungrateful behind every day.

You think about it, Jay Leno. I’m not upset because of my own personal pain. I’m upset because of the pain of millions who have been harmed as a result of US policies over the past 7 years. Some of them live here, some overseas. They are people too.

Make no mistake about it The troops in Iraq and Afghanistan have volunteered to serve, and in many cases may have died for your freedom. There is currently no draft in this country. They didn’t have to go.

All the more reason to be prudent in the ways in which we deploy them. All the more reason to treat them with dignity when they return. All the more reason to hold our elected officials responsible when they abuse our military.

They are able to refuse to go and end up with either a ”general” discharge, an ”other than honorable” discharge or, worst case scenario, a ”dishonorable” discharge after a few days in the brig.

Re-read this last paragraph. I’ll give a dollar to anyone who can successfully defend this reasoning. Is the point here to dismiss the sacrifices made by our military personnel? The more I think about it, the sicker this reasoning sounds. You want to tell the family of a slain American soldier that maybe they should have taken “a few days in the brig” rather than go overseas and die? Shame on you, Jay Leno.

So why then the flat-out discontentment in the minds of 69 percent of Americans? Say what you want, but I blame it on the media. If it bleeds, it leads; and they specialize in bad news. Everybody will watch a car crash with blood and guts. How many will watch kids selling lemonade at the corner? The media knows this and media outlets are for-profit corporations. They offer what sells, and when criticized, try to defend their actions by “justifying” them in one way or another. Just ask why they tried to allow a murderer like O.J. Simpson to write a book about “how he didn’t kill his wife, but if he did he would have done it this way”…Insane!

Actually, US news organizations have been criticized since the invasion of Iraq for NOT SHOWING images of dead Iraqis, dead American soldiers, and the general carnage of war. Instead, as the New York Times reported last week, television networks have been employing retired military personnel as “analysts” who are trained and fed talking points directly from the Pentagon. But, let some white girl go missing in the Bahamas, and we’re in for months of wall-to-wall coverage.

Stop buying the negativism you are fed everyday by the media. Shut off the TV, burn Newsweek, and use the New York Times for the bottom of your bird cage. Then start being grateful for all we have as a country. There is exponentially more good than bad.

I just got a tax refund check from the government! So I can afford to ignore the suffering of millions who are less fortunate, and I have no reason to ask my government to act responsibly or hold it accountable for its actions.

We are among the most blessed people on Earth, and should thank God several times a day or at least be thankful and appreciative.

Amen. And with great privilege comes greater responsibility.

“With hurricanes, tornados, fires out of control, mud slides, flooding, severe thunderstorms tearing up the country from one end to another, and with the threat of bird flu and terrorist attacks, “Are we sure this is a good time to take God out of the Pledge of Allegiance?”

Whoa! Bird flu? Mud slides? Jay Leno, what are you smoking? And who said anything about the pledge of allegiance? Here’s an idea. Look beyond your own nose and care about people you don’t have to. Your government is you. Hold yourself and your government to higher standards. Speak up. Love.

That’s not whining, friend. That’s loving your neighbor as yourself. That’s democracy.

Jay Leno

Please keep this in circulation. There are so many people that need to read this and grasp the truth of it all.



April 28, 2008

Oh yes.  Took in Bruce and the E Street Band in Charlotte Sunday night.  My first Bruce experience.  Many thanks to Tom, who drove a million miles, and Mel, who offended all the right people.


Taking Patriotism Back!

April 16, 2008


Boy, I bet it’s tough to be a soldier.  Being an illegal alien is probably hard, too.  The soldier defends our country, while the undocumented worker props up our economy!

Doesn’t it seem strange that so many Republicans and Democrats are willing to send our soldiers to die in a neverending war whose beginning was based entirely on “faulty intelligence,” without holding the incompetent leaders who started the war accountable, or even considering a way to end it other than issuing some tripe about “staying the course?”

Doesn’t it also seem weird that many Democrats and Republicans are willing to support draconian immigration policies, so that our nation essentially invites these folks over here with jobs in abundance, and then does everything it can to make their lives miserable while they are here?

If that ain’t a backasswards way to go about running a country, then I don’t know what is!  And if you don’t believe me, then just look at the American Flag Butterfly carrying dogtags in its talons.

“I’m a sparkling American Flag Butterfly clutching dogtags in my talons, and I approved this message.”