Rednecks and Redskins

October 30, 2013

There is a big fuss going on lately concerning the name of Washington DC’s professional football team.
Like a lot of the miasma that comes out of Washington, I have ignored this tempest as it does not interest me, nevertheless, apparently the term “Redskins” offends some people.
Since I don’t have a dog in this fight, I don’t really care much one way or the other. However, on general principle, I believe if the owner of the team likes the name then, he should be able to keep it. I object to people who don’t have any financial interest in a business telling owners they need to change an aspect of commerce because it is offensive to them.
Heck, there are a plethora of people and things in this world that I find offensive, but I believe they can be offensive if they want. I just ignore them.
Nevertheless if the Redskins owner capitulates and changes the name, I suggest he could choose to name the team “The Washington Thin Skins” or perhaps  “The National Foreskins.”
Now the term “Redneck” is under no such pressure. In fact some of the very same people who maintain that Redskins is offensive , use the term Redneck with joy and delight. They hope using the term might offend people who happen to be rednecks. Which in fact it does not. All the rednecks I know are native-born Americans and the wear the term “Redneck” as a badge of honor.
They all have jobs, in fact they own their own businesses. Most of them feed America, either producing, transporting of preparing  the food this country eats.

They drive pick up trucks. Work hard, get their hands dirty and pay taxes. They like to hunt and fish and preserve and conserve their precious land.
When not working they like to party. They appreciate good whiskey and good women. The are among the breed of folks that help build this country.
I had several of my redneck friends visit St. Louis this past weekend, and the town and I will not soon recover.
Unlike their last visit, just the guys came up this time. It was a party from the moment they boarded their flight.
We spent the days going from one watering hole to another in the perfect fall weather. As I was the designated driver, I let them do the big partying, while we all enjoyed the world series baseball and the great restaurants Saint Louis has to offer.
I got them safely back on the plane and back to work this week.
I like Rednecks, I hope they never change the name.


** with sincere apologies to The Castaways.


What infernal serpent
Has lent you his forked tongue?
From what pit of foul deceit
 Are all these whoppers sprung?

Deceiver, dissembler
Your trousers are alight
From what pole or gallows
Do they dangle in the night?

…..The Liar, by William Blake  1810

Having been a chief executive at various times during my life, I have somewhat of an idea what a person in that position should know and do.
My role was managing a few thousand people in several cities with international connections.
Having this background and understanding that the biggest part of the job is KNOWING what your subordinates are doing, this recent spate of scandals by the Administration seems to me a deplorable situation… and the public denials are simply hogwash.
The President and/or his yes men, have lied to the American people in matters of deep importance.
From the Benghazi murders, to the Fast and Furious illegal activities, to the crimes of the IRS, patent denials came quick from the White House lie department that the President did not know anything.
In addition, the Unaffordable Healthcare Act train wreck apparently became a disaster without this President’s knowledge.
So, what did the President mean when he looked Americans in the eye and said if they liked their insurance plans and their doctors they could keep them? Oh, by the way, he added, for most people the cost will go down. More hogwash.
Now comes the embarrassing NSA mess of spying on our friends.
We have two-thirds of western Europe and half of south America mad at us for spying on them… our friends. Why would you want to listen to Angela Merkel’s phone calls to her dry cleaners anyway? She seems like a nice lady.
The White House of course denies knowing anything, but our spies say different and they have proof.
All of this leads me to wonder what the president does all day, if he is not finding out what his subordinates are up to.
I guess he decides what he is having for lunch, what golf course to play. Perhaps going over his football picks for the week or
placing orders for more Obama phones…and other pressing matters.
There are only two conclusions, one can reach in this sorry state of affairs, either the President really does not know what is happening around him or he is lying to the American people and the world.
Hardly the expected behavior of a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.

I think my late mother nailed this one 50 years ago when she said, ” All politicians are liars, and some are damned liars.”

The next time we select a President, we should require the candidate’s resume to contain a tad more experience than just a community organizer and a partial term junior senator.

With the World Series getting underway, many smart  Americans turn their attention away from politics to enjoy our national pastime.
Having watched baseball for nearly all of my 65 years, I can say with a high degree of certainty that this makes a lot of sense as baseball is infinitely better than politics.

First, there are rules in baseball. Such as 3 strikes and you are out. Baseball even has an official rule book. These rules are inviolate and they permit baseball to peacefully coexist with its players and fans. Not so with politics. Government changes its rules all the time, and chaos ensues. There is no rule book in politics.

Also, as Tom Hanks notes, there is no crying in baseball. However, crying and whining  are perquisites in politics.
In baseball, if you are a manager and you screw up, you get fired. Just Ask Dusty Baker, ex manager of the Cincinnati Reds.

In politics, if you screw up, you get protected or even promoted.

A few recent examples of this practice are:
–The Attorney General, has never been held to account for the illegal activities known as Fast and Furious.

–The IRS department heads despite being caught harassing political opponents of the president, have never been brought to account for their clearly un-American, illegal activities.

–The Secretary of State, has gotten a free pass over the tragic Benghazi affair. In fact, she is planning her own run for the presidency!

–And now we have the Secretary of Health and Human Services, being given praise by her boss while his showcase healthcare act is crashing like a gigantic Hindenburg. To top it off, she says the President did not know about the brobdingnagian problems with his “showpiece”  plan.
That tells me two things, either she is lying and he did know of the problems, or if he really didn’t know then he is an incompetent chief executive for not knowing the status of his hallmark activity. Either way, in the real worlds of baseball and business, both he and his subordinate would be fired.
Baseball, after 150 years, remains delightfully true to itself and the patrons of the game. Politics sadly can not say the same.


My friend, Keith, is the executive chef at a fashionable upscale restaurant in my little town in southwest Florida. He used to work on wall street, but gave it up to pursue his loving of cooking.

As an old F and B ( food and beverage) man myself, I often hang out with him and discuss the business. We talk, kitchen techniques. menus, marketing methods and the stock market. So last week when he told me to stop by, it was not unusual.

What was unusual was it was a Sunday and the restaurant is normally closed on Sunday.

He said there was some kind of private wedding party going on, so I could hang out with him in the kitchen and at the bar.
I arrived about 1 pm and Keith was in the kitchen along with sous chef Brad getting ready for the event. After chatting for a while and not wanting to be in the way, I went to the far end of the bar helped myself to a wine and turned on the football game.
Shortly thereafter, about a half a dozen women dressed to the nines, showed up with flowers and presents. They started decorating tables in the dining room.

In a little while Keith returned from the kitchen to check on the buffet table setup and talk with the waitresses. He then joined me at the bar.

“What kind of party is this?” I asked.
Keith looked up to see the decorated dining room, took a sip of his beer and said, ” I don’t know, some sort of wedding shower deal.”
“Wedding shower! I don’t know what that is…never been to one.”
” Me either” said Keith, ” I just cook.”
With that, more women started to arrive and Keith went back into the kitchen, I returned to watching the football.
Soon, the dining room was filled with women all dressed to kill. A few came up to the bar for drinks and chatted while the bartender served them.
One older lady about 80 or so, sat next to me and began talking. She was very interesting- a walking, talking  history book of the town. She told me the building we were in had been the town’s first and only bowling alley. It sported 4 lanes when it first opened. She also said she was born in the house next door in what is now a biker bar.
Grabbing her wine she said she needed to join the party, as she was the bride’s grandmother. I told her to have a good time and went back to the football.
Just then, Keith came back with a few shrimp he was serving and asked me to taste them.
“Perfect” I said. He then left to make sure the buffet was ready to go. The party was rolling pretty good judging from the laughter and clicking of high heels coming from the dining room.

I spent the next half hour or so talking to Keith and the occasional woman who came up to the bar for a refill. One smartly dressed young woman, who turned out to be the bride, even asked me if she could “fix me a plate.” Apparently, they all thought I was someone or something important just sitting at the bar like I was.

I declined.

Later, The ladies brought out a cake and began opening presents.

“Time to go” I said to Keith.

“Yeah, Me too.” He answered as we went out the door, leaving the restaurant to the ladies and their shower.

I have not written in this space for a while, basically, because I have not seen much I care to write about.
However,  the recent actions by the Federal Government are just too insane to ignore.
First, the train wreck that is the Unaffordable Heathcare Act is blowing up in the face of many Americans as they start receiving their premium notice increases for next year. Some many hundreds even thousands of dollars higher than before.

But here, I don’t understand the outrage. Where did these people think the money was coming from to insure 50 million previously uninsured? Santa Claus? Pennies from Heaven?
Then the automated health system does not work, despite costing over $600 million in tax dollars to develop.
At the same time we have the government shutdown and the bogus debt default threat. (There will be no default and even if there was, it would not amount to much. More media and chicken little politics at work here.)
Finally, last week, we had the shameful treatment of American combat veterans and visitors to OUR memorials by the Gestapo park Disservice police…a disgusting  outrage to Americans everywhere.

What a mean-spirited and deliberately hurtful action by a dictatorial, socialist, inept Administration which  granted permits to illegal aliens to protest on the same National Mall. What is wrong with these people?  Denying access to veterans, but letting lawbreakers use this hallowed ground.

Now, none of this has caused me distress because  it is what I have come to expect from Washington. But today I read in the paper that the cab drivers in St. Louis are introducing a “vomit fee” of $200 to be charged to anyone who heaves in their taxi.
The fact that there are a sufficient number of these unpleasant incidences to warrant an official vomit fee posted on the taxi’s rate card is remarkable and distressing at the same time.
It makes me recall the time I had a job driving a cab while in college. I usually worked evenings so I could study while waiting for fares.
The worse time was shortly after 1 am when the taverns closed and we were busy picking up drunks too inebriated to drive.
I was fortunate never to have a fare that required vomit cleaning of my taxi, , but one time I took this guy to the hospital. He stunk so bad, I had to open all the windows for about 30 minutes to clear my cab of the stink. It was mid February and a bracing zero degrees outside.
Now that will wake you up!
People in that little town never tipped much, maybe a quarter now and then, so I never made much in tips. (One fare I picked up outside a bar did however give me 3 cans of beer for a tip, which I took back to my dorm for after work cocktails.)

I did not get rich driving a taxi, but I did learn a lot about people and how they have to live.

I think, there should be a rule that the President and every member of congress be required to drive a cab before being elected so they will better understand the importance of the electorate they serve.