Serious Nintendo Flashbacks and America’s Pastime.

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Hiroshi Yamauchi is dead. He was 85. He ran Nintendo for more than 50 years. He took Nintendo from being a traditional playing card company to a video game giant.

Thus began our downfall. The world would no doubt be a kinder gentler place today if Nintendo was still a playing card manufacturer. Who would ever dream or believe we would be put through such torturous, mind-wrenching calisthenics as was visited upon us by this great man’s genius.

I can remember when we played a board game that was just my speed. It was called Parcheesi and you gave a little toss of the dice, counted the number you threw and took that number of steps around the game board. When you got your man back around in front of you throw the exact numbers needed to walk him straight up to a safe, winning spot at the board’s center. Do this four times with all four of your playing pieces and finish ahead of your opponents and you got considerable bragging rights because you were the big winner.

You didn’t particularly win anything but you also didn’t waste valuable time counting little miniature bills of colored paper money like you did when you played Monopoly. I couldn’t stand Monopoly. You had to think about what you were doing playing Monopoly. Throwing dice and counting little mincing steps around the game board when you played Parcheesi was not stressful and that suited me fine.

Later on in life, if you had a computer whiz-child as a son, you soon learned you knew very little about his life. Not only could he teach other adults fifteen years your junior how to reach the seventh level of mystical ecstasy in a game mysteriously called “The Legend of Zelda” but you found all these game playing wizards had formed exclusive clubs. They used secret words we didn’t know and we were afraid to ask what the words meant. This was the fifty foot high brick wall we got lost behind. It was called Nintendo.

Then if you fast forward your life about thirty years, the Pinball Wizard has become a Gameboy Wizard and we were just one step away from being super-charged car thieves playing a dangerous fun and gun game called “Grand Theft Auto.” So your computer whiz-child  has led you straight into a fantasy land none of the whiz-kids seem to be able to escape. Today they have a real challenge in deciding what is real and what is fantasy.

It captured us all. It was great fun to shoot the electronic pistol at the Super Mario character as he hopped along and have him jump obstacles. It was so much fun many of us ruined the pistols by playing all night, falling asleep at the trigger and drooling on the gun. It was even greater fun to play Tetris on the Gameboy. We played Tetris so many times that the inside of the Gameboy screen looked like it had been sanded with a coarse abrasive. Then the Gameboy sadly ceased to work.

And now, thanks to Hiroshi Yamauchi we all live in fantasy land. Our movies and television shows are filmed in such a jerky spasmodic way that we do not have time to focus on a scene before it is snatched from our sight. I know this is all supposed to be artistic film making but all it is doing is giving our normal consciousness and processes of memory an attention span about like that of a South Georgia gnat.

Young people are refusing to get out and see what’s real in the world. They’re too busy playing games that are totally unreal. Those of us who are older no longer recognize reality because everything we look at is filmed in jerks and twists and spasmodic twitches. Artistic cameramen make wobbly films for directors who are masters of the jarring agitation because good stable, steady story lines are very hard to find. They have lost the ability to tell a good old-fashioned story. They make bouncy, quivering, shuddering movies which keep us perpetually out of focus.

It has the same effect on us that staring at a strobe light has on an epileptic. Few of us are much aware of our true surroundings these days and I contend that it is not so much Parkinson’s disease or Alzheimers that we should fear. We should be frightened by the people making movies and computer games that are causing the same symptoms in us as those in Parkinson’s and Alzheimers patients.

All this vibrating, convulsing and jiggling is nothing more than sight pollution of the worst kind. It has left us totally out of touch with our true surroundings. A scary thought is the people who are doing this to us are simultaneously doing it to themselves.

It is fitting to note that Hiroshi Yamauchi was said to care little about major league baseball but he agreed to buy the Seattle Mariners so they would be able to remain in Seattle. Otherwise they would have probably wound up in Florida. I suspect he understood what baseball has done for America (and Japan). He might even agree with me about the ill effects movies and computer games have on us all.

Probably not……..as of April of this year his net worth was estimated at $2.1 billion…… and buddy that ain’t peanuts…..or Cracker Jacks…..or baseball.

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Learn To Do the Tawny Crazy Ant Dance.

Aunt P, Bob Fowler and Ben

Coach Bob Fowler, Ben Swilley, Priscilla (Aunt P) Fraser Swilley at Albany (GA)High School Class of 1960 Reunion, 2010. Ben is not telling a lie. His lips are not moving. We lost Coach Bob way too soon and he is much missed.

Recently Katie Mae and I made a trip to our old home town of Albany, Georgia. While in Albany we visited our dear and wonderful sister-in-law, Priscilla, who is the widow of my late beloved brother, William Ashley. We affectionately refer to Priscilla as Aunt P.

We had to yell through a window to get her attention . She ran and opened a door for us and then she charged back into her laundry room where she went back to doing this amazing dance routine. I thought it was a new kind of Yoga Boogie. I had never seen anything even close to this except in old movies from the 1920’s.

She was putting a 21st century twist on dances from the Roaring Twenties. Aunt P was bringing back the Roaring Twenties of a hundred years ago all by herself in a laundry room in Albany, Georgia.  It looked as if she was dancing The Charleston, The Lindy Hop and The Black Bottom all rolled into one. I was fascinated. I had not seen Aunt P move that fast and for that long since 1972.

We finally pulled her over to our side of the room and got her to stop before her heart gave out. We thought it was best to stop her before we had to drag her lifeless body out of the wash room.

“My Gosh,” I yelled. “What has come over you?”  She kept pointing back toward the laundry room while all the time gasping, “We’ve got to get ’em. We’ve got to stop ’em.”

So I went back into the little room and sure enough, there were literally thousands of strange looking tiny tawny crazy ants running erratically in all directions. The only way you could attempt to control this mad invasion, if you didn’t have any ant spray on hand, was to stomp them. I even took a shot at it. I broke into a wild Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly inspired tap dance for at least 14 seconds. That’s about all the energy I could come up with on such short notice. I think I smashed three ants and I wear a size 12 shoe. My method seemed to be lacking.

It was kind of fun at first but I couldn’t last as long as Aunt P. She’s almost three months younger than I am. I quit dancing and attacked them by swinging wildly with the faithful old fly flapper. I was killing hundreds of them but there seemed to be an endless supply. I finally went out, got some super ant spray and subdued the mad masses.

Now I learn that we are being invaded by these new ants. I won’t bore you with the scientific name of this marauding invader but I can tell you the generic name is really “Tawny Crazy Ant.”  They are going to become so invasive that they will displace or eradicate other ant species. They may even wipe out fire ants. They are smaller than fire ants and they don’t bite (we are told).

Our problems are going to be their craving our food and our inability to keep them out of our homes. Another big problem is they are attracted to electrical boxes and outlets and this can cause electrical short circuits that are bothersome, costly and dangerous.

The good news for me is they probably will not come as far north as Athens because it gets colder here but for all my South Georgia pals, “Look out! Seal all your doors and food containers  and barricade your pantries.

Meanwhile, Aunt P is getting our musically inclined children and grandchildren to put together a YouTube film clip of her doing her version of “Aunt P’s Tawny Crazy Ant Dance.” She figures if a short fat kooky Korean kid who used to ride a stick horse can use that same stick horse riding motion to create a sensational international dance fad  and call it Gangnam Style and make tons of money with it, she knows her unique style of twisting, turning and ant stomping is going to make her one rich woman.

I’m going to be her manager.

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Zip, the Lovelorn Tortoise, Sprints For His Freedom.

Zip the Tortoise

Zip the Tortoise as seen in captivity somewhere near Carlton, Georgia. Photograph and whereabouts cannot be verified as it was found crumpled in the back pocket of denims worn by a small skink who reportedly escaped this same enclosure on a miniature skate board.

This is Zip. Zip is an African Tortoise who lives somewhere near Carlton, Georgia. You cannot possibly be any more surprised than he is that he’s in North Georgia. He doesn’t know how he got there and he doesn’t understand why. His owners insist on keeping him penned up in a hog-wire enclosure as a captive far from his homeland, The African Sahara Desert.

Zip weighs fifty pounds and he has made international news by means of a simple escape from the flimsy enclosure that

has robbed him of his freedom for some time now. The Associated Press has documented his escape and recent capture. News people really have their priorities convoluted these days. They are spreading the news all over the world about poor old Zip making a break for it but there is hardly a peep out of them about the reason for his daring flight.

I will tell you. It is all about love and news hawks do not understand old-fashioned love. Zip needs love. Zip is lonely. It is lovers’ season in the Sahara and Zip is stuck in the North Georgia hills trapped behind pig wire. There is no question that in today’s narcissistic atmosphere we are going to have to fight for true love. We must campaign for Zip’s freedom.

First we have to find him. He is said to be near Carlton, Georgia. we may never find Carlton, Georgia. They say over 250 people live in Carlton and we know about North Georgia people and firearms. Carlton residents own 800 guns. I think freeing Zip will cost us dearly in limb and life in a frontal attack.

It’s really serious business when you stop reptiles from doing what comes naturally. You are trying to change the course of nature. I’ll bet they wouldn’t like it one bit in Carlton, Georgia if Zip changed their town into a desert.

The part I love about Zip’s story is the rapidity and extraordinary agility he displayed in making good the break out. He shrewdly chose Friday the 13th as the day to go. Everybody is consumed with fears of voodoo spells, superstitions and half-hashed poppycock that is said to occur on Friday the 13th.

Nobody, in the midst of all those warped beliefs in the supernatural would ever dream the Zipster would run at full tilt and body slam the hog-wire fence. By the time the break in the fence was discovered, Zip was long-gone.

I use the phrase long-gone very loosely as you might imagine because, after all, this dude is a tortoise. He was on the run for nearly a full week before he was discovered just a half-mile from the house. He was really moving on.

He would have made good his escape but the poor guy had to cross a road and almost got a permanent spot in the nearby tortoise cemetery when a log truck had to swerve in the road to miss him.

As luck would have it, a female driver saw the truck swerve around him. She thought Zip was a bag of garbage in the road but there was a hint of something different about this particular trash bag. It had legs. It was moving.

I would like to believe that had she known this was all about love she would not have been so quick to call 911. The police arrived and they were quoted as saying he didn’t budge an inch once they got there.

I guess not. My gosh, the guy had been running flat out for almost seven days and he had managed to put a whole half-mile between him and his pen. As they say in the North Georgia hills, “He was flat wore out man.” He went all out for love and he lost.

The owner’s wife (Zip’s adopted mother) was really concerned about Zip getting hit by a car but she was even more concerned some of the locals might have made a stew known as turtle mull out of old Zip. I’ll bet turtle mull made from a fifty pound tortoise will last you through a couple of winters.

That’s pretty much it unless some of you want to get together and rescue Zip. My problem with a rescue is how are we going to tell him we are there to help him escape? He might think a bunch of nuts with a taste for tortoise mull stew are sneaking up on him and I think he has a pretty good bite. I saw his mouth in that picture.

I did get a chance to talk to the lady that spotted him and called 911. I wanted to know why she didn’t just bump him into the far ditch with her car so he could continue on his trek. She said she was afraid to get to close to him because she was driving one of those little Smart cars and Zip kept staring at it, licking the bumper and drooling on the tires.

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The Shepard Smith Great Oreo Cookie Caper.

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The Shepard Smith Great Oreo Cookie Caper and where is Shepard Now?

I’m really concerned by what seems to be a myriad of government conspiracies constantly swirling at our very feet every day of the week.

And now Shepard Smith is missing.

This all comes only three short weeks after Smith revealed to the Oreo Cookie lovers of the world that the Double Stuf Oreo Cookie does not contain double the amount of the stuffing that is in the old standard Oreo favorite.

I did not know Mondelez International owned Kraft Foods, Nabisco and Oreo Cookies. It looks to me as if Shepard Smith has opened up a whole can of worms for a 36 billion dollar a year industry and this can only be a super problem for them and for him.

Mondelez Global, LLC spokeswoman Kimberly Fontes was quoted as saying she can confirm the Oreo Double Stuf Cookie has double the stuf, or creme filling when compared with the base or original Oreo cookie. Really? Really Kimberly Fontes? Should we believe you? Who are you? Did you use to work for the US Government?

Are you an old NSA, IRS, CIA, FBI, or State Department employee. Please don’t tell us you use to work for someone in the US Congress. How will we ever believe you? My old friends are in their sixties and seventies now and we have never seen a US Congress person actually work. You did say you were not familiar with what is done in the classroom setting. So you are just a mouthpiece. You sound like a congress person. I will not be surprised to learn Congressional workers get a lot of free Oreo cookies.

Yep, Shep –  is gone! He said something about getting a bum shoulder fixed and then he was coming back like a whirlwind and will be working at a new job on the Fox News Network “Deck.” He did look a bit unsettled by my trained “conspiracy in the air” eye. Has Mondelez Global had an under-hand in having Shep sent to be a little league baseball announcer in Soddy Daisy, Tennessee?

What is a Deck? If you Fox news guys came up with this word couldn’t you have at least used a little more imagination? My gosh! You are news people. You are supposed to know a lot of words.

Did Mr. Roger Ailes decide to shake up and liven up his news broad casting empire? Did Mr. Ailes create the “Deck” concept? Do we now envision a huge air carrier type ship moving, not through the seas but over them with Shepard Smith broadcasting from the “Cloud?”

How is Shep going to be physically able to leap out of bed at a moment’s notice, as he so awkwardly described on his last night on the air. Anytime an international news story of great importance suddenly develops he’s got to report it. No one can physically be up and down to describe breaking news stories from all over the world at all hours of the day and night. That would make Shepard Smith really, really tired. I sure hope this doesn’t mean Old Shep is going to disappear.

Let’s pray the Great Oreo Cookie Caper has not done Shepard Smith in for good. Watch them all Shep! Keep a keen eye on the whole crowd.

You never know when a torpedo might slam you right off the “Deck.”

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Love, Women, Romantic Superstitions

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Never trust a large sow wearing moo-cow bedroom slippers with no matching handbag.

Lately I’m concerned that we are not teaching our younger people the old sayings and superstitions that will aid them in making good decisions in judging other people they might choose as friends or future mates.

This little list is by no means all inclusive. I am trying to stir your curiosity so you will further investigate our superstitions and folklore and pass it on to the younger folks. This just touches briefly on some of the old superstitions. We need to be teaching kids our past and we need to include the foolish along with the serious. This could teach them to know the difference between fact and fiction.

Hair – “For shiny, glossy, long and attractive hair, bury a twist of your hair under the roots of a white walnut tree in the light of the moon.”

“Silk pillowcases will cure frizzy hair, wrinkles, and zits.”

“Cut your hair at the waxing of the moon (full moon) and it will continue to grow. If you cut your hair when the moon wanes the growth will be slow. Throw the cut hair in a place where it will remain damp and your hair will grow to be thick and full. Burning your cut tresses will destroy new growth completely.”

Mirrors – Never break a mirror. “Mirrors have the power to confiscate your soul and if you break a mirror your soul will be trapped inside it.” Remember you will need your whole soul when you deal with a sorry man so be protective of your mirrors.

Marriage and Men – “Make the foot of the bed before the head                                       or else, my dear, you’ll never be wed.”

“Completely peel an apple so the peeling is in one piece. Throw the peel over your left shoulder. When the peel lands, look for it to have formed the shape of an alphabet letter. This letter will be the initial of the man you will marry.”

“Throw a shoe over your shoulder. If it lands with the toe pointed at the door, you will marry in one year.” Do not tear up the shoe. They are expensive. Do not hit the man of your dreams with the shoe.

Look for a man with a prominent or tip-tilted nose. He will make a fine husband. Be sure his ears are well shaped and not to narrow. The larger the ear lobes, the greater the intellect. Remember this: “Dimple on the chin – Devil within.”

“Trust not the man whose eyebrows meet for in his heart you’ll find deceit.” I read this many years ago and since that time I have always shaved my nose and between my eyes.

“My right eye itches and now I shall see my love.” I suspect this old saying resulted from allergies in the girl and probably coincided with “In the Spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.” Always emphasize the word “lightly” as you think of this and you will always know how to tell him what he can do with his “fancy.”

If he shows up with the left hind foot of a rabbit as a keepsake for you and to enrich you with great luck and fortune just remember what happened to the rest of the rabbit.

Crossing fingers was a sign used centuries ago for Christians to recognize other Christians it also was used to ward off witches. I don’t recommend too much of the finger-crossing routine because, if every time he tries to hold your hand, your fingers are all crossed up he might think you are crippled and you won’t be able to cook and wash dishes. You could scare him off.

Knocking on Wood – Good spirits were thought to live in trees and knocking on the tree was a calling up of the good spirits for protection. We still knock on wood but the old saying mentioned nothing about dead wood as in furniture or particle board computer desks and what if you wake a good spirit when you knock on his tree at an inopportune time? Will the good spirit be in good spirits?

My favorite superstitions came from a list of beliefs black people in the US are fond of quoting:

“Never buy your husband or boyfriend a pair of shoes as a gift.” I think this is great advice. Don’t give him the impression he can just walk away.

And the last one: “Don’t go to the zoo when you are pregnant.” This is excellent advice for if the tree spirits don’t feel particularly protective the day you go to the zoo you might wind up giving birth to an alligator.

There is a lot of truth in these old adages, beliefs and superstitions. Use the good ones and trash the others. Make the good ones work for you.

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Etymology – Mama Ro and my “Settle Down.”

Mama Ro 2 photo Mama Ro photo

Etymology boiled down to what we can understand is the history of a word. I don’t know why people have to be so fancy and name something a stuck-up word like etymology. Why don’t they just say It-a-word?

My word confusion began many years ago when I was a small child.  My mother referred to my back side as my “siddledown.” In those years She would threaten to blister my siddledown if I got too wild.

It took me a lifetime to figure out, that because she was a country girl, she had a country accent and she actually meant “settle down.” When we were young we all heard the older set admonish our animal like behavior with a stern, “Y’all settle down now, you heah?” I’m talking South Georgia here.

I think it goes far beyond a warning to “settle down.” It had to have been a pure form of Old English. I believe my mother was using a form of speech that went back hundreds of years from a time in England when the word was ‘setl’  which later became “settee.”

Visitors to a home in old England were invited to “settle down.” The invitation became, “settle down or set thee down” which was further corrupted into a name for the sofa itself and so the ‘setl’ became a settee.

I remember reading Charles Dickens’ novels where he referred to a “settee.” It is undoubtedly an old, old word.

My Mother’s people were from far out in the country in Colquitt County, Georgia and the word settee was used for many years before everybody became so dreadfully and generically educated. Now we all talk alike and it ain’t near as much fun to talk to strangers as it used to be.

My Dear Mother undoubtedly took the old settle down appellation and tacked it straight onto our backsides. She use to threaten to whip my settle down but she had put such a southern twist on the word “settle,” I thought she was saying, “siddle.” I’ll bet you good money that she did not make that name up on her own and at one time, in her neck of the woods, a lot of people called your fanny a “settle down.”

In later years she became incredibly self-educated. She was quite a reader and a learner and after I became a teenager I never heard her say, “siddle down, or settle down.”  I think she became more socially correct and just said your bottom or your fanny.

I also remember how she used to take a long “i” and stretch it out another two or three feet like a lot of southerners do. She also could pronounce a long “i” in such a manner it sounded like it had been smacked down and pressed with an old fashioned flat iron. Words like night, bright and light were said slowly and dragged out in a very long flat “i” pronunciation. In later years she had given up torturing the long “i” and pronounced it like everybody else.

Her first grandchildren had so many living grandparents that names for grannies were in short supply so Rozelle became Mama Ro and that’s how she was addressed by all of us for almost 50 years before she passed away in 2006 at the age of 93.

She was quite a gal and one of my greatest heroes. She taught me how to read and she taught me the love of many different styles and forms of good music. She was a great seamstress who made clothes for my brother, my sisters and me. She fed us well. Who could forget any of that, ever.

Thank you, Mama Ro. You were the greatest even if you did have a weird country name for our backsides.

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The Prancing Pig Partner.

I'm All Yours, Baby!

I grew up dancing. My father was such a terrific dancer that the people who later feasted with him at a Fourth of July Bar-B-Q celebration were said to be as good as any professional dancer you ever saw do the Johnson Junction Pig Jig. Unfortunately after he passed away we had no one left to bring home the bacon and we had to move to the swamp and grub for a living. I never got to dance much after that because dancing shoes were so expensive and in order for me to really dance well, I had to wear two pairs at a time.

 

Coming Soon – Corpulent Colonies.

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Fat Is No Longer funny.

Our Fat is getting to be serious business folks, not just in America but world-wide.

A news story from the end of July reports the sad case of Albert Buitenhuis who is a 50 year old South African man being kicked out of New Zealand because he is obese and the lard on his fat fanny puts him at risk of having cancer, hypertension, heart disease and diabetes.

Buitenhuis is not one of the lads pictured. He probably isn’t that fat. He is 5’8″ tall and weighs 286 pounds which puts his body mass index (BMI) at 40. For those of you who don’t know how to put a realistic number on all that fat you’re toting, a BMI of 40 is about 15 points higher than normal and I mean normal at its worst level. I’m 6’1″ and weigh 210 and I am in the mid-range between fat boy and obese man at 27.7. Normal is 18.9 to 24.9 It would be fantastic, health wise, to have a BMI of 20. Mr. Buitenhuis is already 10 points past obese on the charts and he’s only 50 years old.

Anyhow, Mr. Buitenhuis is facing deportation from New Zealand because health authorities there say his physical condition will eventually tax the country’s healthcare system and it will take big tax bucks to treat ensuing health horrors in the years to come.

So where does this leave us. We’re not just a an adult’s step away from being treated the same way right here in the country of our birth. We are actually only a baby step from big trouble at the table. Schools in 19 of our states are now conducting annual student weigh-ins and reports are sent to their homes to let the parents know if the child is considered fat or not.

Ever since the Great Obamacare Debacle began we have been worried about “Death Panels” made up of merciless, heartless, cold and cruel young medical providers denying us older folks treatment for any given number of reasons depending on who happens to be doling out our daily portion of scare tactics.

The Death Panels would probably come too late to snag me but I contend we don ‘t have to worry about Death Panels anyhow because we won’t be here long enough to be rejected for health treatment by arrogant young snips in white smocks.

Your more immediate worry is where do you want to go and where you happen to wind up once you get deported for being a porker. It will be called “Porker Deportation.” Porker Deportation will take place in the dead of the night for poor people. You will be far from the embarkations of the monied beautiful people in order to spare them the disgust of hearing your pathetic whining, grunting and oinking.

You will have to embark from old, previously abandoned docks in large port cities and you will board rusty, creaking, moldy hulks of World War Two supply ships to be held in dank holds of the ships until you reach a Corpulent Colony.

The Corpulent Colonies will be reminiscent of horror stories we read as kids about the leper colonies on bare and desolate islands and the French penal colony at Devil’s Island. You will get one chance and one chance only to lose that big gut and all those excess pounds. If you fail you can never come back. If you do manage to lose weight your fat loss redemption is good for one return trip home and you can stay only if you don’t backslide down that slippery lard slope.  If you regain the lost weight you have to appear before a Death Panel and they will take you out back and shoot you.

Of course that treatment is just for the poor. People with money can choose any island they like. They can go to Aruba, Bali, Bora Bora, or Jamaica or any place they desire. They will be given the opportunity to lose weight on three separate occasions and then, if they can’t keep the fat off,  they are fined half of everything they own and banished from the US for life.

This may sound like a the world’s sweetest  punishment but you must remember; you can only live on Mai Tais and Margaritas for so long. They are slower than the Death Panel but one day you will be discovered face down in your drink under a Tiki hut with a tiny, gaily colored parasol stuck up you right nostril.

P.S – Cigarette smokers who cannot be cured within a 24 hour period will be taken before the Death Panel and then taken out back and shot.

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