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.

Corgis and terrapins

August 19, 2013

The Corgi breed of dog traces back some 800 years to the country of Wales.
Ancestors of the modern Welsh Corgi were used as herders for cattle and sheep. Their low profile and short stubby legs enabled them to avoid getting kicked while still permitting the dedicated herder to nip at the heels of the livestock. Corgis are the only herding dog able to herd ducks. They are consciencious and serious about their craft. Corgis are still in use today as herders.

My Corgi , Mikey has been known to herd neighborhood children, golf carts and just about anything that moves.
Yesterday, he added a new species to his herding resume. He found and herded a turtle. He boxed the surprised terrapin into a corner and held him, until I could rescue the reptile and deposit him in the woods.

mikey and mirdelMikey “holding ” his charge for my arrival.

Spring break road trip tips

February 21, 2013

As we approach the spring break driving season, as a public service, this Log is again providing driving tips to its readers in order that they may better protect themselves from the reckless behaviors of the less informed inhabitants of the highway..

Since there are over 200 million licensed drivers in the United States.  We must assume they fall into a normal statistical distribution pattern. That is 10% would be very good drivers. 20% would be good drivers, 60% would be average drivers and 10% would be bad drivers.  So, ten percent or 20 million people are bad drivers. These are the ones to watch for.

I have a question, do they even require driving tests anymore?

There is a lot of talk about cell phones and distracted driving. Let me tell you there are people out there who are distracted by their own breathing. They have no idea what the rules of the road are.

To protect myself against run ins with bad drivers., I have come up with a system of vehicle profiling. I know, everybody tells you that profiling is evil and you should not do it, but in my nearly 50 years of driving, it has proven to be a reliable measurement. I am sharing these  experiences and tips  with you.

Drivers of  BMWs and Porsches are aggressive, go fast drivers. They desire that everyone else get behind them. They are prone to tailgating at any speed and will pass on the right or left as fast as their shifting paddles will let them. Give them a wide berth.

Japanese or Korean made cars, especially if they are green don’t follow the rules of the road. They usually drive slow in the left lane and don’t understand the concept of right of way at an intersection. Be cautious when meeting these vehicles at a four-way stop.

Speaking of stops. The Missouri drivers handbook omits that chapter. Missouri drivers slow down for a stop sign but rarely stop.  Be watchful as they approach a stop sign, especially if the vehicle is a black SUV.

Florida drivers on the other hand will stop at the drop of a hearing aid or when trying to remember where they are going. This always happens in the left lane of Highway 41. Do not follow these cars too closely, particularly if they are early model big American cars.

Pickup trucks fall into two categories; old and new. The old pickups are more than likely to be full of some manner of household junk and tend to drive slow. They nearly aways have a broken tail light and the driver needs a shave and has a cigarette in hand  hanging out the window. The male drivers are just as bad.

The new pickups are jacked up behemoths with their huge tires singing as they wiz by you on their way to the next gas station. The drivers are usually young  and wear NASCAR tee shirts with the number 3 on them. Move over, let these monster trucks pass.

If you value your hearing, beware of stopping next to a boom box car at a traffic light. They are easily recognized by their deafening sound and vibrating side panels. There is stuff hanging from the rear view mirror and they are nearly always driven by young males in sleeveless tee-shirts. Be especially cautious if the driver is wearing a baseball cap on backwards and he appears older that eight. If he is eight or younger, he should not be driving anyway, but he can be forgiven if he has his hat on incorrectly.

Mini vans can be particularly  dangerous. Their drivers are predominately young females who are  either talking on the phone or yelling at the  kids in the back. They often drive fast and tailgate in a hurried effort to get where they are going to drop off the screaming kids.

I have many more profile examples, but these few will help you get started and be more watchful and safe in your travels.

One more thing, I don’t know why they even put turn signals on cars anymore. People don’t use them. The exception being  Florida cars whose left turn signal can not be turned off.

Have safe travels and a great spring break…if you can afford the gas!

!!!! WARNING!!!!

This post contains language of a disturbing nature. Proceed with caution if you are prone to having a queasy stomach, have eaten undercooked eggs recently or are about to operate heavy machinery.

…………………………………………………………………………..

As many of you know, through years of experience, I have learned to avoid dangerous situations such as bounce houses, ball pits and other venues where small children tend to gather with their cute but nevertheless germ infested hands and faces. This behavior in no way suggests that I have a W.C. Fields type phobia of children, as I adore the little homunculi. Rather it is my personal attempt to stay germ free during the sneezing season.

Unfortunately, my 4-year-old namesake grandson, Bennett Woodrow takes the other approach and abandons all caution to the ill wind in these situations. You remember Bennett Woodrow, he is the one who caused me to be put into my first and only timeout. (See Timeouts,  July 26, 2011 )

Anyway, being full of Christmas candy, fun and frolic after several gatherings with other small, germy people his size, the predictable result came about while riding in Aimee’s car. Bennett, while securely strapped in his travel seat, suddenly, without warning let fly a tsunami of oral projectile madness.

Being on the highway, it took Aimee several minutes to stop and when she finally did, and turned to view the back seat, her worst vomit nightmare was laid out before her.

The car was trashed.

Bennett was covered with his own emetic madness and the iPad he was holding was floating in what appeared to be some very unpleasant smelling oatmeal.

Cleaning up Bennett, was easy enough, he hoses down pretty well, and soon he was racing around again in his brand clean batman shirt looking for new piles of schmutz to adhere to.

With the car being detailed, ( by someone who no doubt deserves a very large tip!)  Aimee turned her attention to the iPad. She cleaned it up as best she could and gave it to Kent to take to the Apple store to see what the geniuses there could do about it.

Arriving at the store, Kent presented the machine to one of the geniuses and explained the problem in precise detail.

Kent: “This iPad is not working.”

Genius: After close examination of the machine, ” There is a lot of schmutz in here.”

Kent: ” That’s what I was thinking.”

I don’t know what happened next, but about an hour later, Kent arrived home with a replacement iPad, which was at once hermetically sealed to prevent any possible cross contamination.

I tell you all this because next week, Bennett and Co. will be coming to Florida to see me, my oranges and my cows. Not necessarily in order of their enthusiasm.

In discussing the planned events for the week with Aimee, she advised that they would be flying into Orlando to see Mickey and company. Then they would rent a car and drive to southwest Florida.

She noted that Bennett was especially anxious to pick oranges and do some  ridin’ and ropin’ with the cows. Adding that, after the car/iPad/projectile incident, it will be a great relief to let him run free on grandpa’s farm.

Oh yeah, I thought to myself.  what schmutz could he possibly get into in a cow pasture?

Well at least the car is a rental.

A few days ago, I found myself in Macon, Georgia.

When in Macon, I sometimes stay at the 1842 Inn, an antebellum mansion that is perfect for a weekend if you feel like playing Rhett Butler or Scarlett O’Hara. But, this time I was staying in a comfortable old place off in the woods.
As it was a crisp fall evening, I had the windows open and fell asleep early in the cool Georgian air.
Often, because of age or personal plumbing issues, I wake up in the middle of the night.

This night was no exception. But what woke me up? I laid there in the quiet, cool and listened.

Then I heard it,…the train whistle.

I looked at the clock It read 1:02.
The whistle sounded again and the train was getting closer. I felt the distinct, powerful roar of a tandem diesel locomotive. Knowing the train was only a few hundred yards away, I held my breath to hear that unmistakable  singing of steel wheels rolling on steel rails.

I tried to imagined what this freight train was hauling. Maybe some machine parts forged and crafted by Americans in Indiana. Or, maybe some coal from West Virgina destined to provide energy  to some southern city. But, I figured more probably it was hauling electronic gadgets and parts of questionable Chinese provenance.
My mind drifted as I thought about the first time I saw a long freight train. It was at my aunt’s house in Bradford, Pennsylvania. Aunt Bess was  part-time baker, part-time school teacher. Her husband, Carl was the Postmaster of the Bradford post office. They had a little house about 100 yards from the rail line. We would sometimes visit in the summer.

When we heard a train coming, us kids, siblings and cousins would run down to the tracks and wave furiously to the engineer to blow his whistle. When he did, we would shriek with delight as the magnificent machine roared by. We would then count the cars. Everybody got a different result, 89, 94, 85. Everybody but Trudy, she always got 92. Don’t know how she did it, I don’t think she could even count then, but she always said, “92.”
The train was gone now and silence once more embraced the Georgian night. I settled back to sleep.
After what seemed like a few seconds, another whistle, broke the silence as a new Macon cannonball express approached a grade crossing. I glanced at the clock. it read 3:06.
I turned on the light, picked up my iPad and googled diesel locomotives.

If they were going to keep me up with their chanticleerian arrivals, I was going to get to know them better.

Redneck rehab

August 20, 2012

I am in rehab this week.

It all started with arrival of my Florida farm friends last Thursday.

Because of the storms, their flight was diverted to Nashville so we were an hour and a half  late to our restaurant. But then, the wine started flowing and the  Italian food started coming.

Did not get to bed until after one am.
Five thirty the next morning. up and at ’em. Took Mikey for his walk. Stocked the coolers with beverages (both kinds, adult and juvenile.)

The party bus arrived at the Ritz to take us to Grant’s farm. There were 10 of us,  more or less for the private tour, arranged by Donna. It was  up close and personal with the animals.  So close in fact, one lady  had a little trouble with bison drool on her shirt.

Clydesdale Scott, agreed to have his picture taken with us.

Stallions and Geldings

We were at the farm over 3 hours and  only had to leave for lunch in the valley.
After a great lunch at Annie Gunn’s, the bus returned to the Ritz. My friends were at leisure while I restocked the coolers with more adult beverages and tried to rest in my chair. My Mikey alarm clock woke me up and we were off again.

This time our party bus, driven by Amanda, took us to Busch stadium to see the Cardinals play the Pirates. We were in a luxury suite provided by Sweetwood Citrus’ attorney, Chris. The setting was great. As C W exclaimed while looking out over the city back drop and the magnificent green field. “This is just like being there!”

The Cards lost in a close game,  but the party keep rolling back to the Ritz.
Got to bed once again after one am.
Up early Saturday with Mikey. Restocked the coolers (again) and met the bus for this mornings tour of St. Louis. I figured, the group would be slowing down, but no luck there.

Some however  did have luck during an unscheduled stop at the casino. While half of the group were touring
The Arch, the other “fast” bunch were touring the craps table. C W won $2000.  Spanky won 10 cents.

About noon we headed for lunch at, what a surprise, a sports bar, for a light lunch of ribs, pastrami on rye and sweet potato fries.

The afternoon was spent at my house where Mikey put on an impressive display of his golf cart herding skills. However, we missed the opportunity to contribute to the world somersault record at Art Hill,  because Woody got the times messed up…stupid Woody.

Before long, it was time for dinner at one of St. Louis’ prime steak houses. Delicious midwest beef was on the menu. The dinner went smoothly, marred only by the occasional wine spillage and a concern for an apparent wardrobe malfunction.

Again, in bed after 1 am.

Sunday was spent in prayer,  asking forgiveness and the ability to feel better… followed by what else, a champagne brunch at the Ritz and then a farewell to my friends.

When I told Matt, I was in rehab this week… in preparation for my trip to Florida in a week or two, he advised me that rehab is for quitters.

Oh, Brother!

Happy Ground Hog Day!

February 2, 2012

Happy Groundhog Day!
 
Unlike nasty, mammalian moles, groundhogs are cute, cuddly,  furry rodents that serve some useful purpose other than building tunnels and tearing up my backyard. Groundhogs are better weather predictors than those meteorologists on channel 2 and they actually turn a profit for their promoters. especially in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.  So much so that groundhogs have a special day set aside for them.
 
February 2nd has become one of those days in America where the popular celebrations are far more significant than the original “purpose” of the day. Possibly it is due to the success of the movie, ” Groundhog Day” with Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell. I love that movie and watch it every year. Did you know that in the movie Murray “lives’ Groundhog Day 38 times?
 
Donna hates it.
 
She says it is stupid because the same things happen over and over again. I say, that is what makes it so funny.
 
Punxsutawney Phil is a marmot.  On February 2 each year, the town of Punxsutawney celebrates their beloved groundhog with a festive atmosphere of music and food. During the ceremony, which begins well before  sunrise, Phil emerges from his temporary home on Gobbler’s Knob.(During the rest of the year, Phil lives in the town library.)
If you have never been to Punxsutawney Pennsylvania, you are  among the overwhelming majority of the people in the country. I have been to Punxsutawney one time and let me tell you there is not much there. It is located in rural mountainous western Pennsylvania. It is about 50 miles down the road from Driftwood which was where my mother grew up some ninety years ago. These isolated Pennsylvania coal towns have not changed much in all that time. So once a year, when the media world turns its attention to the midwinter diversion there is excitement and money on everyone’s mind.

According to the tradition, if Phil sees his shadow and returns to his hole, then we will have six more weeks of winter. If Phil does not see his shadow, spring will arrive early.  This year with all the snow and ice, Phil might just want to stay in his hole and keep warm.

Now,other communities have also tried to capture some of this spotlight… and media cash. We have seen dozens of cities and towns around the world vying for a bit of the groundhog magic money.Some don’t even use “real” groundhogs. There is General Beauregard Lee in Atlanta, Wisconsin Jimmy, Arizona Phil, Florida Phyliss and Chester of St. Louis to name a few. There are even groundhog  “imposters” in Berlin,Germany and I think the Japanese have one as well.

Well, whether he sees his shadow or not spring is still a few weeks away, so if you are too overwhelmed by all this, ice, snow and Groundhog excitement, make a fire in the fireplace, get some popcorn and watch the movie. You will like it.