Damning the Spamming

I need some help here. The few hairs left on my head are 99.14% gray and when I look at myself in the mirror every morning, the color of my hair is my best reminder that I know next to nothing about computers. I don’t think I really need to know much as long as we have all these bright young people around who can answer my dumb questions.

But spamming is a totally different question. The young and brave of heart seem just as frustrated, confused and generally mad as hell as I am when I see spammy crap all over my monitor every day that has nothing to do with me. We absolutely must have a way to get back at these nut cases who continually waste our time. We are spending the better part of our lives dealing with pure junk that leaves us miserable and sick of having to look at something we do not want to see and did not invite into our cozy cloud.

Where are all the bright young minds that can help us? It would be fun to be able to spam spammers right back with a double dose of clutter as soon as they start clogging our airwaves with rubbish but all I really need is for some of y’all (y’all is Southern for y’all) to tell me how to get my hands on them.

I’m aware you already know this but let me go ahead and tell you why:

I turned 71 in November. I do not really need three shoe boxes full of Viagra. I do not want to spend the twelve cents the three boxes are going to cost me. I do not want any Viagra. I want to live a bit longer. Using Viagra to extend my life is not an option for me.

I do not want a Chinese wife. I do not want a Russian wife. I do not want to meet some woman under 50. I have a wife and her age is over 50 and her age is fine with me. She’s a buzz saw that I can’t begin to keep up with so why would I need two of them. Even if I could get a new one who is only 50, I thought I just made it clear that I would like to live a little longer. I don’t want to meet any young Christian women and, more importantly, I do not want to meet any women who are heathens, young or old.

I am sick of seeing my financial status simultaneously skyrocket and plummet. I am getting tired of seeing hundreds of offers of loans for weird sums ranging from $1,016.00 to $1533.00.

I have been warned many thousands of times that the new auto insurance laws in Georgia will allow me to insure seven vehicles for four dollars a year. After the warnings are issued, follow-up e-mails harshly chastise me for not heeding the first forty thousand warnings.

I used to like Dr. Oz but if I get one more message from him about trying out his diet plan, I’m having a doll made in his likeness by a local Hatian voodoo guru. The price includes six long sharp jabbing needles. Old Doc Oz is going to need a new cure. You’ll see him begging for relief on “The Doctors'” show.

The huge insult these despicable pieces of trash pile on to the vast heap of injury they deliver us daily is…..none of the illiterate bastards can spell or type. I just got one that says, “Disappointed with sexual helath?” I’ve got to be truthful here. I think I have always been disappointed with my sexual helath I showed this to Katie Mae and she said, “That’s health dumbo. They misspelled it.” I hated to tell her I thought it was Italian for somehow getting the heels of your feet involved in a sexual act. I don’t think she could have handled the thought.

So now if you young problem solvers can bring these people out of the cracks in the woodwork and go to work on them the outpouring of gratitude from the masses would be mind boggling. No telling how fast your financial status would skyrocket.

Why can’t you develop a fairly nonviolent program like the one the gamers are always using to blow their enemies to smithereens? I can see the spammer’s dirty words being machine gunned into tiny bits with the letters to each word falling into pieces smaller than confetti at their very own feet before he or she can even get a word off.

If that is too violent and not politically correct for some people how about rounding up a few spammers and bring them to me. The effect will be the same. When I get through with five or six of them (I tire easily) I’ll let the rest go. The word will spread like wildfire. I’m old. I still believe in corporal punishment. I have an iron post out back that I can chain them to. I will cane their sorry asses to within an inch of their worthless lives. There will be no more spammers on the East Coast. You folks out west can just go ahead and shoot the ones we send you. I know most of you are like me and don’t give much of a damn about whether to be PC or not to be PC.



Who Begat John Wayne?

Who begat John Wayne?

I used begat because I was afraid if I asked, “Who made John Wayne?” I would be accused of saying John Wayne was a “Made Man” in the mafia.

Surely our All American Hero of the Great Plains was sired by one of the premier western movie stars who came before him. His Daddy would have to be either William S. Hart, Hoot Gibson or Tom Mix. But no, no, it was none of the above. Hang with me because the shock will be tremendous when you learn the unlikely source of John Wayne, the solid rock foundation of our youthful development.

Remember all the western movies where the good guy wins and the bad guy, or more likely, a heap of bad guys bite the gritty dust. We were fascinated. We were mesmerized. The western movies made us into the many good citizens and maybe a few bad apples we later became. John Wayne did that to us. We are all spiritually cloaked by the “John Wayne Syndrome.”

He was the epitome of the real man. He was tough, hard as a slab of granite with a heart as large as a longhorn steer’s. He had courage, tenacity, honesty, integrity and all-of-the above plus much, much more all rolled up like a solid tumble weed into one big man. We loved him. We were him and he was us. We still are him. We can’t shake that persona.

So who turned Marion Robert Morrison into John Wayne and changed our lives forever?  Here’s how it all happened to us and it is the fault of Theodore Roosevelt, Henry Cabot Lodge and William Randolph Hearst.

Roosevelt would go on to become the 26th president of the USA. Lodge was a United States congressman in the House of Representatives and later in the US Senate from 1887 to 1924. Hearst was also a US Congressman but is most noted as an American newspaper publisher who built the nation’s largest newspaper chain.

According to Evan Thomas in his most interesting book, “The War Lovers,” in 1898 Roosevelt, Lodge and Hearst were hell bent on getting the United States into a war with Spain. They were all terribly disappointed because the sun was slowly setting in the west over the last great frontier for men of action. There were no more Indians to fight. There was no place these hardy lads could go to hear the boom of cannon and experience the thrill of a cavalry chase. They were fearless warriors with no place to wage war.

Who gave them the notion they were fearless warriors? The truth is they were all upper crust Easterners. They met at Harvard and were all members of The Porcellian Club which had only about twenty members and its only practical use was to provide them a forum for dining and heavy drinking. I suspect each of them was living in the shadow of his father whose strong presence cast a pall over any dreams, hopes and ambitions of the son. They were forever doomed to strive to prove their prowess and manliness to their fathers. Roosevelt was quoted as saying the only man he ever feared was his father.

Today in our society these three would appear to be foppish dandies or sissies.They were certainly different and peculiar. Even Roosevelt who later became President continued to project his manly demeanor all over the globe by killing thousands of wild animals and he appeared to always be trying to prove himself to other men yet there is no question he was a brilliant Renaissance man who could hold forth on practically any subject.

Lodge was born in the highest of Boston Brahmin blue blood snobbery. His Mother was a  Cabot. The old Boston toast or poem (a variation) to their social standing goes:                  And this is to good old Boston.                                                                                           The home of the bean and the cod.                                                                                  Where the Lodges talk to the Cabots.                                                                                  And the Cabots speak only to God.

Hearst was the creator of “Yellow Journalism.” Many of the stories published by his papers were manufactured to create sensationalism and to sell papers. Nowadays he is most widely known for being the main character depicted in  Orson Welles’ classic movie, “Citizen Kane.” His political power was derived from his ownership of thirty newspapers in the US and he was expertly adroit at wielding his power of the press.

Roosevelt was a Republican who became the leader of the Progressive (Bull Moose) Party. He seemed to be a liberal Republican except when it came to war and killing large animals with high powered rifles. He was forty years old when he insisted on using his political pull to get him in the US Army so he could join in the battle with the cavalry in making a mad dash up San Juan Hill in Cuba during the Spanish American War of 1898. That was his only year of military service. He longed to be a cowboy and his rambunctiousness was almost certainly curtailed, in a good and positive way by his wife, Edith.

To make a long story short, as it should be because it is so sad when you lose a hero like John Wayne, our three war lovers had a confederate in the Porcellian Club by the name of Owen Wister. A few years after they had all left Harvard, Roosevelt, Hearst and Lodge were busy stirring up our war with Spain after the the American ship, USS Maine was  blown up in Havanah Harbor. It probably was blown up by an onboard accident but the war lovers would have none of that explanation. Immediately employing every political resource they could muster, they blamed Spain for the explosion and Teddy got his golden opportunity to charge up San Juan Hill astride a galloping steed in a full blown cavalry charge. Cuba has never been the same.

If Owen Wister does not ring a bell with you, don’t worry. You know I’m duty bound to tell you about him. While the war lovers were stifling their boredom by engaging in stirring up a needless war between the USA and Spain, Owen Wister was attacking the same brand of boredom in his own unique way.

Wister’s father had him working in New York as a bank clerk. The story goes that Wister went west for his health which may be true but some people say Owen was tired of sitting at a desk in an office in New York City and after one visit to Medicine Bow, Wyoming, he was ruined forever. He fell totally in love with the great outdoors and the life of the cowboy.

The only trouble was the cowboy was much maligned in those days. The cowboy was lowly, nasty, unkempt, unshaven, cowardly, despicable, universally unpopular (and also not liked very much) until Owen Wister appeared on the scene.

And then in 1902 Owen Wister changed it all. The old Harvard Porcellian Club imbiber magically turned the lowly unloved cowboy into the Great American Hero that he has remained to us for well over a hundred years. Owen Wister wrote “The Virginian.”

“The Virginian” has been made into a movie four times and a fifth time it was revised into a “made for television” movie. It was also the long running television series that we so much enjoyed from 1962 to 1971 that starred James Drury, Doug McClure and Lee J. Cobb. “The Virginian” made famous a line that we have all heard before but bears repeating here. During a poker game, one player called the sheriff an SOB. The sheriff looked at the fellow and said, “When you call me that, smile.” Wister had his hero repeat that line in his book.

There were short stories and pulp dime novels about the Old West before “The Virginian” but never a novel of such scope and force. One year later, in 1903, the first Western Cowboy movie was filmed. The movie maker was The Edison Film Company and it was shot on a budget of $150.00. “The Great Train Robbery” was twelve minutes long and was a silent shoot ’em up with the bad guys robbing passengers on a train and then being chased by a posse of good guys who wiped out all the bad guys. The star was Broncho Billy Anderson.

And thus was born our love for cowboys, all the great old cowboy stars led by John Wayne who has been called, “The Bearer of Moral Absolutes.” This was the birth of the mythical Old West we still embrace and if you missed it because you are so young, I feel sorry for you but the beauty of today’s media allows you to seek it out and watch every minute of it. These were great stories of cowboys and Indians and lawmen and bandits.

So there you have it. I maintain that Owen Wister and his Harvard college swells created our hero, John Wayne. You can almost say that Owen Wister was John Wayne’s daddy. I know it was not Broncho Billy Anderson and at 5’2″ Buzz Barton was too short. He was the shortest cowboy star. Besides he was six years younger than John Wayne.

I could go on forever but I have to go downstairs and practice my gangly, gimpy sidewinder kind of walk up to the mirror, cock my head to one side and drawl, “Listen Pilgrim, and listen good!”






Giving Doomsters the Dump!

I don’t know about you but I’m pretty weary of getting a half-dozen e-mails every week from some group of whackos who want to sell me miscellaneous expert survival guides and tools. I wonder about the age of such idiots and how old they may be. I don’t know about these jerks but I’m into my 71st year and I think I know a little bit about surviving.

There is a serious backlash from some of those Mayan calendar flakes who are somewhere rubber-rooming and bouncing off the walls like frantic slinkies in their own strange world of freaky suspense. They are wigged out because we are all still here, living, laughing and kicking; December 21, 2012 passively arrived and sleepily left. Now it is just another date on last year’s calendar.

The Mayan calendar failed us. We were supposed to be wiped out in a cataclysmic upheaval of gigantic proportions and the dooms dayers are bitching and moaning because we were not smashed to smithereens and we are not now hurtling through space at two hundred light years per second. It is not a big secret that the beginning of the Mayan calendar was based on a mythical creation date. The Mayans and their calendar never mentioned anything about the end of the world or great earthly changes on December 21, 2012. They left those kinds of ignorant predictions for twenty first century morons.

It never stops! I remember in 1989 I had a truck driver and dispatcher I worked with tell me that in 1990 the world was coming to an end and to back up that promise they had two or three hundred reprints of a book that foretold the end of the world in 1990. I had truck drivers afraid to drive from Atlanta to Birmingham because they were scared they would drive off the edge of the earth. Many drivers were frightened. I had to sit them all down and rip the new cover off one of the books to show them the damned thing had first been published and printed in 1890. It was a hundred years old. The world did not end in 1890 and it was not going to end in 1990. I took care of the remainder of the books. Sometimes burning books ain’t all that bad.

We can never hope to patch all the cracks in the woodwork fast enough to keep these imbeciles from coming out of them. They come out of holes and from under rocks non-stop. But brace yourself and be strong. Keep your eye on them. There are multitudes of misguided people in this country and if you think this is a result of the dumbing down of America, you are wrong.

Many of these people are highly intelligent. That could be the problem. Colleges and Universities are turning out young people who are well read but only about certain subjects. Most have never cracked a history book since high school and few of them have the basics in walking around sense.

This is the scary part. There is a Doomsday Clock at the University of Chicago. It has been there since 1947. It is not a perpetual clock but the intellectual egghead reasoning for having such a clock is perpetual. It’s perpetually stupid. It’s set to tell us when the world is going to self-destruct, with our help of course. In 1947 the hands were set at seven minutes until midnight. As you might guess, the last second before midnight is your last chance to blink before imminent destruction and doom descends on our hapless heads. Seven minutes until midnight was decided on because by 1945 we had developed, created and used the atomic bomb. In later years, when the cold war was over, the minute hand was moved back to show 17 minutes until midnight.

Now the clock is at five minutes until midnight because 2012 was a brutal year with extended droughts, horrible hurricanes like Sandy, chemical and biological scares and nuclear disasters. So 2013 is the year. Yep, we’re in it again. We’re going to get wiped and swiped this year. I’m telling you, it never ends with this crowd of Bozo’s.

Now to ease your mind a bit, I’m going to take certain matters in hand and see if we can take some of that pressure off you. I have seen a picture of that clock at the University of Chicago and I believe that minute hand is just the right size to be of great use to us.

I have chosen Bubba Jack Johnson to go with me because he is going to be our Perpetual Pollyanna. Bubba Jack is always friendly, happy and smiling. He has few sad days. We are going to find that clock and rip that totally offensive minute hand off its dark face. We are going to use that once obnoxiously offending hand as our own terrible swift sword. To be merciful we’ll use only the flat side of the blade to soundly smack the bottom of anyone who might feel inclined to warn us of impending doom. After we have beat their dumb fannies into happy submission, we are going to find Chicken Little and beat his little butt until he chirps pessimistically no more.

If dooms day predictors are making you melancholy, just call me and Bubba Jack Johnson. We’ll show them the serious flat side of that clock hand and then toss them into the nearest dumpster. Once a doomster has been dumpstered, his outlook improves. He becomes more cheerful when he finally gets out of the big trash bin and realizes life in the real world isn’t so bad after all.

So cheer up! Be happy! There will not be a doomsday! Chicken Little is coming back South with us and we better not ever hear another sad peep out of him about the sky falling while we have our hands around his scrawny neck!

Dubious Dietary Deliverance

It’s wonderful in America how each new day produces something generated by brilliant minds that will change our very way of life and by, “our very way of life,” you know I’m talking about food.

If you still have a couple of spare tires around what used to be your waist and you seriously need some help with your odd brand of willpower in cutting back on your calorie consumption, then you have just hit your special day of Dietary Deliverance.

The same guy who invented the Segway has a new group of think-tankers who recently announced the invention of a personal stomach pump. It’s called the AspireAssist and it will suck partially digested food right out of your stomach. Other areas of your famished body may be desperately begging for more in-line fat to be shot straight to them but that ain’t the way it works. You now have the amazing ability to practically think yourself thin while, at the same time, robbing those starving extremities of 30% of the life producing sustenance you just consumed.

You heard it right the first time! You can pump off 30% of the food you just ate. After you pump the food out you’ve got to shoot some water back in there so everything still hanging around in your round-house remains loosey goosey. However, there are a number of considerations you should stop to consider before you spring for the pump.

Consider this: You have to get a surgically implanted port so you can hook up the pump. That’s how they get the castaway chow out of your stomach. They call it a Skin-Port but I’ll bet you it is not made from skin. You will have a plastic tube sticking out of your belly button. That might not be an inconvenience for anybody who gets into their mid-seventies and is burning rubber to hit 80. By then you may be an old bag supporting a lot of little bags but you don’t want to opt for a bag you don’t need.

Consider this: The present downside of the gadget is it can’t break up large foods. Foods that clog the system include chips, cauliflower, pretzels, broccoli, and Chinese food. I think if you can’t eat Chinese Food you might as well swear off eating any food at all and what about fat Chinese? What are they going to do? Why can’t they have a pump?

Consider this: The inventor Dean Kamen is the same guy who invented the Segway. He probably made a big chunk of change when Segway, Inc. was sold to a wealthy British entrepreneur. The Brit had owned the company only a few months when he drove his personal Segway over a cliff and into a river. He did not make it out alive. That could be an ominous omen.

Consider this: Dean Kamen’s father was an illustrator for Mad Magazine, Weird Science and EC Comics. You’ve just got to believe that the sense of humor in the Kamen household was extremely offbeat, peculiar and bizarre. If you don’t think Dean Kamen is weird, Google his name and read about the house he lives in. I like it. I think it’s great but it is also thoroughly and utterly weird.

To give Mr. Kamen some credit for his ingenuity I think we ought to mention advantages of his odd invention. The future will see this as an acceptable feeding tool and millions of on-the-go people are going to want one. Think of all the time you will save when you rush through a train station or airport and you don’t have time for a sit down meal. You go to a vending machine and drop in two or three dollars and a small tube of food will pop out. As soon as you get to your traveling seat, you unbutton the tiny flap on your special order shirt, uncover your Skin Port and you zap a meal right directly into your stomach. The purchased food tube is totally compatible with the Skin Port and is made with its own pump. You pump your MRE* right straight into your stomach and then discard the food tube/pump. You won’t get peanuts on the plane but peanut butter and jelly should be an easy fix.

Millions upon millions of dollars will be saved by people who no longer need extensive dental work because of wear and tear on their teeth. Esophageal reflux will be a thing of the past and bad breath may be blown away. The benefits are far too many to mention here but I’m sure you are already thinking of how easy it will be to prepare meals and to take 30% of what you have already eaten right off the top, if need be.

Consider this: I feel pretty sure that Mr. Kamen is moving too fast for our generation and his invention would likely be more practical around the beginning of the next century. We love our food too much and we don’t need some upstart inventor telling us how to dump it.

Anyhow,I’m thinking about a better new way of dieting. I’ll buy 35% less food and put rollers on the dining room chairs so they won’t be so hard to push back.

*MRE – Meals Ready to Eat – usually for military personnel

Dubious Health Tip #8 – Scent Therapy, One Way To Take It Off!

There is a weigh out there for you to lose weight without spending an arm and a leg but it might benefit some of you really big’uns to go ahead and sacrifice a couple of limbs for the sake of saving the rest of yourself. I just read a helpful little tip about distracting yourself if hunger fishtails you into a full blown spin-out. Do something that gets your undivided attention for a few minutes until your craving passes. I decided to fling myself head first into the nearest wall as a perfect distraction and it seemed to be working until I passed out. I got off the floor a few minutes ago. My head is hurting like hell and I am twice as hungry because of all that physical stuff like indiscriminate body flinging.

I decided that distracting and flinging is not for me. I think about food longingly and lovingly and my devotion to food and its life sustaining properties is constant. Insulin tells your body when to eat. My insulin is a real chatterbox and I have begun to wonder if they can’t put a stint in my fat fanny somewhere so I can tap into my endless insulin supply. I know plenty of diabetics who have to give themselves insulin shots every day and I just happen to have gallons of it on hand. There must be a lucrative market for insulin out there. If it is so easy to tap into the source, why can’t we push a little insulin straight to the buyers and bypass those greedy pharmaceutical companies at least until it becomes illegal. By then we should all be pretty well set, financially, and we won’t have to worry too much about an over abundance of the stuff. We’ll keep selling it on the sly.

Anyhow, that’s a thought for a future entrepreneurial venture but for now we’ve got to reduce the lard that so famously girdles our bountiful bodies.

There is a doctor named William Hirsch who is the neurological director of the Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago. I assume all this is still true. It has been a few years since I read this article about him and his research.

Dr Hirsch says that if you lose your sense of smell you are very likely to gain too much weight. He also says if overweight people can sniff the aroma of food, they will lose weight. He studied over 3,000 fat people (my words for fat people) who were each given an inhaler  that smelled like peppermint, banana, or apple. They had to sniff the inhaler whenever they felt hungry. This research was done over a six month period and though some folks would sniff it as few as 20 times a day,  there were a number of these hogs who were hitting the old inhaler 300 times daily. Overall they lost an average of 30 pounds each.

I think nobody knows my strange body and the serious food cravings I have, every waking moment, so I have some serious questions about the scent therapy. One of their theories is,  “Sniffing food somehow tricks the brain into thinking that the body is actually consuming food.” My brain has been weak since birth and it has become more feeble recently with encroaching age but my weak and feeble brain has never, never, never been tricked into thinking I was actually eating something when I was not stuffing food into my mouth.

Another theory is, “Inhaling a pleasant food aroma helps eliminate the subtle anxiety that often causes people to overeat.” I don’t know who came up with that phrase, “Subtle Anxiety,” but I can tell you there is nothing “Subtle” about my quest for food anxiety. I become grizzly bear ravenous and you best not step between me and the grub when the scent hits my nostrils. Sometimes a gluttonous anxiety hits me and I get physically ill if I can’t dive headlong into the grits. Most of the time I eat like a pig because I am a pig. Scent has little to do with it.

Doctor Hirsch and his group are well intended and I don’t doubt that scent therapy can help people, I just don’t happen to be one of those people.

A couple of suggestions his research provided that might aid you in controlling your diet was to sniff and inhale your food deeply before you begin to eat and to chew your food thoroughly. They say the more thoroughly you chew your food, the more scent is liberated. They also advised, if you can get away with it at the table, that you try blowing bubbles into your food. This way you maximize the the mixing of the food molecules with air molecules.

I don’t know about you and your dining partners, but if I start sniffing my food like an old hound dog at Katie Mae’s table, I’m going to have to learn how to eat…. with no teeth… after she takes most of them out with one punch. By the same token, if I spit on Katie Mae or her clean table while blowing bubbles into my food, I will have been slapped…. under the table…. where I can eat the rest of my meal on the floor…..with no teeth.

I’m curious about this scent therapy. I might try it, only when I’m far away from home. I suspect some of the folks in the study went into a food frenzy and chewed up the inhalers or swallowed them whole. The study doesn’t mention this. Another thing, Doctor Hirsch and his research group must have been in Chicago when they did this famous study. We are in the deep South and I can tell you if you start walking around sniffing on a little inhaler 300 times a day, the narc squad is going to bring a big dog around so he can stick his nose up your fanny to check you out. You are definitely going to look suspicious. Don’t do this down South!


Sara Joiner Eubanks – The Electronic Cyberspace Christmas Card


Posted on


Let’s stop and say a word or two to show our special thanks
to our sweet and dear old friend, Sara Joiner Eubanks.

Sara sent a Christmas card from The Cloud out there somewhere.
A beautiful snow blanketed village, a tree decorated with care.
Stars that twinkled overhead with a small chapel by the tree.
A Christmas scene like you always hoped and dreamed to see.

No reindeer were in the picture, no Santa flying above.
It was a perfectly gorgeous picture, filled with peace and love.
But no, your dream was shattered when suddenly what should appear?
It wasn’t an old fat dude in a sleigh and it wasn’t wee tiny reindeer!

Oh my God, I heard Katie Mae screaming, there’s a cow flying up there!
Get inside! I just took a bath and I washed and combed my hair.

And before you could say cow-chips, over that lovely and tranquil scene,
flew a Holstein cow with a halo on her head and her big wide back bewinged.
The cow was loudly lowing and it created such a sight,
we all came back out with our umbrellas and peered into the night.

The cow brought us Christmas spirit. A sprig of holly was on her bell
and as she mooed in that horrible voice, she sweetly waved her tail.
Her bag was full of the finest milk that money could ever buy.
Only one small problem occurred to us; this cow was on the fly.

So we went out and found a big tall stool and we milked her way up there.
On a long golden rope we lowered the pail with caution and tender care.

We took the pail to Granny Joiner and the eggnog she did fix.
The preacher brought a gallon of bourbon to add to Granny’s mix.
So this is the tale of Sara’s card and this is the story how…
We all got our Christmas spirit from the preacher, Granny and the cow.

I forgot to tell you the card said, “Holy Cow! It’s Christmas again,”
“Hope Your Holidays are Udderly Divine!”…I’m sharing this with a grin.
It all came together so beautifully; a Christmas that brings back a tear.
When Sara Joiner Eubanks sent that weird Christmas card…
with a cow instead of reindeer.

Click below to see the Crazy Card!


Dubious Health Tips `#7 – Self Preservation – Practice Lyming

If you are trying to hang on to whatever it is you have left, you have got to stay alert. Check  up on what’s happening around you. You young boomers can use me as a gauge. If you see I am further slowing down and taking more naps, then you should follow suit. As long as I am making that daily wake up call and managing to stand up fairly straight, you have a good example to follow. Laugh as much and as loud and as long as you can! If I fall over dead, do not continue to use me as a gauge. I will have set a bad example for you. Watch what’s going on around you. Some of this weird stuff can be good for you.

Watching and reading is how I learned about Lyming. Lyming is the fine old Caribbean art of doing absolutely nothing. I feel very strongly that we old timers should begin to practice lyming with no further delay. Most of us already know how to Lyme. We just need to make this a daily practice of some duration without serious interruption except for tragedies in your immediate vicinity, like a loved one falling down the stairs or a car running over you.

The secret is to Lyme artistically and creatively. It’s very important to position your body on a couch or bed in such a manner that your folks will know you are creatively lyming. If you don’t do this correctly they might think you’ve made your last meaningful decision and you need a quick dose of defibrillation.

I believe I was born to Lyme. I remember ordering hammocks made in Mexico years before Uncle Skip gave me the Pawley’s Island, multi-persons hammock. My Mexican hammock I complemented with a colorful steel rod topped with a whirling circular holder just the right size to hold a beer can. You stabbed the rod in the ground right by the hand you used most often to slake your thirst. I could spend hours in that hammock with the only downside being I had to occasionally get up to retrieve another cold beer from the cooler and put it in the beer holder. Back then they claimed alcohol killed brain cells so I had to watch the amount I consumed.  I knew brain cells in my head were a rarity and I couldn’t afford to kill many. I calculated the ratio to be one beer per one sacrificial brain cell. By my calculation I could cerebrally afford to drink two six packs before napping. It got really tricky after eight or ten beers trying to gracefully slip from the hammock without spinning myself into a cocoon. This was extremely dangerous because once entrapped in something resembling a butterfly’s first home, Katie Mae would leave me there for several days.

Now I’m an old hand at Lyming. I don’t use hammocks anymore. I can’t drink that much beer. It makes me go to the bathroom too often and all that spinning makes me fall down. You can Lyme anywhere. Give it a shot. It can’t hurt you unless, of course, you are supposed to be washing the dishes or doing yard work.

Don’t Be Such a Wuss! Get the Flu Shot!

I used to manage truck lines. It was unbelievable the number of big old tough truck drivers who would go to mumbling and moaning about having to take a shot to prevent the flu and, sure enough, most of them would not get the shot. They would swear that every time they had the shot, they would get sick with a bad cold or even the flu. I don’t doubt that some folks have a bad reaction to flu shots but I’ve got to believe most of these guys were indulging in a healthy dose of pansy needle fright. After all, the flu shot is made up from an “inactivated” vaccine. That means the vaccine is “dead” folks! Dead vaccines do not hurt you, unless of course you have already convinced yourself that it’s going to kill you.

Now the reason I brought all this up is there now is a flu shot that’s much stronger than the one they give the younger folks. I did not know this and I’m thinking you might not know it either. There is a shot for people 65 or older. It’s called the Fluzone High-Dose Seasonal Influenza Vaccine and all you old cowboy truck drivers can rest easy now in the sure knowledge that this shot really will kick your ass. You won’t have to make up any wussy stories about getting sick from a flu shot anymore. The Fluzone High-Dose vaccine contains four times the amount of antigen that is in regular flu shots. It is supposed to give you stronger immune responses and us old geezers and geezerettes need that extra immunity. The shot, as I said, really knocked me on my fanny so I went to bed earlier than usual. I was positive that I had pneumonia plus all three of the influenzas the shot was designed to prevent. I got up the next morning feeling great. This flu shot was tough on me but only for one evening. If the needle scares you, don’t watch. Some of these youngsters who give you the shot are impatient and they’re ready for five o’clock. Then they go down to Bill’s Bawdy Billiards and toss back a few while they play darts. That’s how they practice giving flu shots. Years ago I was one of the original needle-cowards but if I can handle this shot the rest of you can do it too.

The third tip I picked up a couple of days ago is one that you might use to preserve your bank account, sanity, and peace of mind, not necessarily in that order.

Be aware of scammers and other unscrupulous people who are out there just lurking in the shadows ready to jump out and take advantage of us. Scientists have just discovered that the reason we are so easy to scam as we get older is a physical change in our brain makes us less discerning and less suspicious of people who are lying to us. A part of your brain called the “Insular Cortex” grows cold, so to speak, and it does not flare up in recognition of certain signals that, at one time, would warn us when a dishonest bum was telling us a lie.

Watch out for them. Protect yourself When you are dealing with someone you don’t know well you might try using a mantra to make you more alert.  A mantra is a sound, syllable or group of words capable of creating a spiritual transformation in you when you use it appropriately. I say my mantras silently to myself. I use an off-prescription method in some of my mantras. When I am dealing with someone I suspect of wrongdoing, I use the mantra, “WOUTSOBIN.” It is pronounced “WHAT SOBIN.” I say it silently over and over to myself. It means “Watch OUT, SOB Is Near!!!”

You might not know what a mantra is but I’ll bet you know what an SOB is!

Be safe. Take care of yourself. Get that flu shot!


The Post Holiday Diet? Maybe 2014!

You know what you have to do now! You have to joyfully leap up and down and throw your whole body and soul into your New Year’s DDD resolution. DDD stands for Disgustingly, Depressing Diet. It is a fearful daunting endeavor but you said you were going to do it come  the new year. Now we are almost a week deep in the new year and you are still snacking at 2:00 AM.

Well, here we all are and I’m not sure if I possess deep resolve any longer and maybe I never did have deep resolve. The only thing deep about me is the distance from my belly button to my backbone and the deep stuff generated around my feet when I’m not telling the truth.

I just read a long article in the news about how to get your diet jump-started and how to keep it rolling and how to persevere even though you are having sweet, drool-producing thoughts constantly haunting you. The article was so boring I fell asleep three times trying to read it. Another thing, there were so many dumb suggestions in the piece that to remember them all you either had to have perfect recall or three pages of instructions taped to your forehead. To tell the truth I did not read all of it. This electronic age is so wonderful that you can toss a nuisance story like that with just one little click. You don’t have to wad and toss the paper and dispose of the trash later. You make one little click and you’re free of all that nonsense.

So how did you do on your annual holiday hiatus from watching your caloric intake or was your caloric intake more like a food sunami? I will admit, up front, that I am in pain from carrying an extra ten or twelve pounds around with me everywhere I go. I try to eat responsibly. I feel that I am responsible for eating everything on the table. There will be no waste. Remember what your Momma told you about all those little children starving in China? Well, they are all getting fatter too. They are getting rich from selling us the plates we use to hold all that food we can’t stop eating.

Maybe we can reflect further on this right before next Thanksgiving. If a fat attack doesn’t take us far away,  reflecting is probably all we are going to do because I can’t imagine any Geezerdom residents losing much weight.

My reflections are on my pre-holiday diet. I was doing pretty good until Thanksgiving rolled around. It was then that good Southwest Georgia friends shared with me an armload of quart bags full of shelled peanuts. They still had the skin on them and when Katie Mae fried a batch of them, and later, started roasting more of them in the oven, I ate peanuts twenty-four, seven.

For breakfast I would have roasted peanuts and grits. Some mornings I would have roasted peanuts and yogurt. Then I tried roasted peanuts with cabbage but the best meal I think I had was roasted peanuts and collard greens cooked with neck bone. After the roasted peanuts and turkey and dressing my clothes began to shrink and I knew I was in trouble but I couldn’t think of anything to do but eat some roasted peanuts and pumpkin pie. That was so good I tried roasted peanuts and ice cream on pecan pie.

The only thing I think I managed to do right was to sustain from drinking strong spirits. I did drink almost two bottles of beer with a meal one night at the Olive Garden but that was about it for me and alcoholic beverages. In a weak moment I looked for a bottle of Georgia Moon that I had hidden. I keep having flashbacks of drinking it with old friends. A  tiny flickering bit of memory makes me think I might have held a special prayer meeting over that bottle on New Year’s Eve of 1960. I couldn’t find it  I think it’s gone for good. Maybe that’s why I remember so little about 1961.

Back to dieting. All those diet gurus are now coming out of the woodwork and appearing on TV  so they can get paid outlandish sums of money to tell us how to lose weight. Don’t listen to them. They’re young. Advice from people like that could possibly kill us.

If we’re still here next year let’s plan to get together to discuss healthier eating habits and saner diets. It would probably be better to wait until about the middle of January (2014). We don’t want to rush into a drastic diet program that could ruin our health instead of improving it. I’ll work hard at it but I honestly don’t think I can get those peanuts out of my mind.


Happy 2013 From Athens-Dining South, New Year’s Day!

It’s New Year’s Eve and if you have ratcheted up past the big 70 and sailed past it to add on one more year like I have, I feel pretty sure, that also like me, you’re going to wear out that television screen and remote control this evening checking out the big city party action from the recliner that has held you captive for about five years running. You might have a small token toddy just to make you feel like you’re still in the game but you will be more likely to see the show playing on the on the backs of your eyelids before you see any big apple descend.

I should say don’t let it bother you but I already know you won’t. Just think of all the great grub you are going to have tomorrow because the South has an unequaled number of traditional dishes we so exuberantly feast upon come New Year’s Day! I am remembering the traditions now and I’m going to share them with you. You will know and love most of them just as I do but there may be a couple of surprises in here for you, just as there was for me.

Talking about a little toddy makes me want one but the acid alcohol produces in my battered body can render me speechless so nowadays a wild week for me would involve my having dinner and consuming almost two whole twelve ounce beers with the meal. That’s right. Two beers in one week! That’s just on a wild week. Normally I do not, cannot, drink any more. I miss it because it always made me happy but I would rather babble and run my mouth and the old demon rum steals my voice.

Anyhow I still have a pretty good stock of the liquid gold that used to make me so happy so I went plundering for a small bottle of moonshine someone gave me a few years ago. It was stored in a little plastic water bottle. Then I remembered. The booze burned a hole in the bottle and then ran out on into the cabinet and ate up half a shelf board before I noticed it. We had to have the cabinet sand-blasted. That moonshine could have put deep scars on a granite counter top. Probably it was a good thing I never tasted the stuff. I would have lost my voice a lot sooner. I remember it smelled like that expensive varnish they use on the decks of  yachts.

I tried to talk Katie Mae into buying me a bottle of Champagne Krug 1998 Clos d’Ambonnay so I could really bring in the New Year right but when I told her the bottle cost $2,200.00 she spoke very harshly, turned out the lights and left the room. I’m pretty sure if your bride of almost 40 years refuses to answer a pure and innocent question, leaves the room and simultaneously leaves you in the dark, your New Year is starting off a trifle rocky. I thought it wise to skip any more talk about the champagne.

So here we go:

Blackeyed Peas – That’s about all our folks had to eat after Sherman’s troops destroyed most of the Old South he got his hands on. The Yankees took all the food except for cowpeas (Blackeyed peas) and greens. The Yankees thought the peas and the greens were fodder for livestock and they never touched these two great food sources. This literally saved our lives. People who starve to death seldom propagate.

Blackeyed peas represent coins and also dining on the peas gives us the promise of great luck and plenty of everything we need for the coming year. Some children were told to eat at least 365 peas so every day in the coming year would bring sustenance aplenty. Others were paid a visit by the “Pea Fairy” who would leave them a penny for every pea they ate. To some people the peas meant friendship because peas grow in a pod and they are close together, like friends. Peace is also described as being a gift bestowed on blackeyed pea consumers.

A common tradition in the South is to leave three blackeyed peas on your plate uneaten. The three uneaten peas represent luck, fortune and romance. I’m going to leave two peas on my plate. I still need luck and fortune but my romance with the beautiful, sweet gal I married cannot be improved upon.

Collard Greens, Turnip Greens, Mustard Greens – You’ve got to have greens. Many people replace these greens with Cabbage. It’s all okay and it all represents money. The greens even look like folded money once it has been cooked (so they say). To me they look like collard greens, turnip greens, mustard greens or cabbage.

Greens, therefore, mean money, money, money for the entire New Year to come. Always refer to the the collards, turnips and mustard as a, “Mess Of,” when you are talking about a big pot of them. I’m not sure about the cabbage. Usually you hear G.R.I.T.S. speak of a, “Mess Of,” turnips, collards or mustard. For those of you who don’t know,G.R.I.T.S. are “Girls Raised in the South.”

I have to dwell for a moment on the greens that are so symbolic of our eagerly anticipated economic fortune because they are not going to be cooked to perfection if you don’t put some piece of a pig in the pot with them. There are a number of pork parts you can choose to complement the greens and when I say, “Complement,” I mean you are going to have to cook the pork in the same pot with that mess of greens.

You can use hog jowls, ham hocks, a ham bone, fatback, or whatever pig portion you desire but the flavor that ham gives the greens is unbeatable and unforgettable. Hog jowls are the chinny-chin-chin (sagging jaws) part of the pig and they are sometimes hard to find this time of year. Maybe hogs don’t grow jowls like they used to. If you cannot guess what fatback is you have not been living righteously.

The fatback ensures good health and consuming any piece of the hog will bestow progress, prosperity and wealth on you in the year to come. The pig is a symbol of progress because they always keep moving forward as they root and the hog teaches you humility because pigs don’t fly.

Skillet Cornbread – Southern skillet cornbread cannot be sweet! Many fine women from the South have emphasized that to me over the years and I have never been so foolish as to doubt them. Some families bake a dime in the cornbread or cook the dime in the blackeyed peas. The person who is served the dime while eating has a full year filled with a double dose of good fortune coming to her (or him).

The golden color of the skillet bread is a symbol of gold to be received for some folks. Others believe the cornbread represents humbleness. The ingredients are inexpensive so maybe that’s where the, “Humble,” part comes into play.

All I remember about cornbread, I learned from Coach Mullis and Jimmy Hall in high school geometry. Coach Mullis said, “Pie are square.” Hall, who was a mathematical genius (which Coach Mullis was not) said, “No sir, Coach, pie are round. Cornbread are square.” Everybody but Hall got to leave the class early that day.

I never agreed with either one of them because somehow I felt like it was all in the shape of the pan you used.

Chicken and Rice and Hoppin’ John – I ran into some controversy when it comes to rice for New Year’s day. Some folks eat tomatoes and riced cooked together. The tomatoes are to ensure a healthy heart. I love this particular dish but we never eat it on the first of January. We always have chicken and rice.

Many good cooks will put the rice and the black peas together with chopped onions and sliced bacon for a delicious Southern dish known as Hoppin’ John. The origin of the name is uncertain but it is believed to be a corruption of a Haitian Creole phrase for, “Blackeyed peas.” This phrase was undoubtedly corrupted by Southern plantation owners suffering from their first and worst hangovers of the year! If Hoppin’ John was served as a leftover the day after New Year’s Day, it was called, “Skippin’ Jenny.”

The chicken and rice had a couple of contrasting meanings for New Year’s day. Rice was thought to stand for, “Purity”  and to some people if you cooked the rice with chicken wings, the money would just fly in to your pockets. Others contend if you cook your rice with chicken, your money will fly out of your pockets during the oncoming year.

The only morbid belief I ran across was that you should never serve rice on New Year’s day because rice is white and white is the color of death.

Fish – I cannot recall eating fish on the first of January but some people will eat fish and they tell me the fish represents silver money that will come to you throughout the new year.

Desserts – People who have ring cake for dessert on the first day of the year will tell you the ring depicts, “The Circle of Life,” or “The Continuation of Life.”

Naturally, the favorite dessert in the South for the beginning of a new year is peach pie or peach cobbler. There are several words that define the meaning of having peaches for the new year. They range from humble, to health to sweetness and to my favorite which has to be,  “love.”

Since I probably will not have peaches for the first, I’m going to leave that third blackeyed pea on my plate. It’s a CYA move in the romance category.