Teacher, teacher..

Teach the children well. If you can’t teach, you should be grateful to those who can..etc.  It’s school time again. I’ve been around teachers all my life. My dad was a teacher and I sleep with one*.  I am friends, both Facebook and in so-called real life, with many more. I am not necessarily speaking for anybody besides me.

Here in Nashville, and in Tennessee, veteran teachers have been buffeted and metaphorically  battered by state government and local government (not talking about Principals and folks in the schools).  Start with the stripping of the teacher unions to effectively negotiate, the attack on tenure, thanks to the new evaluation system that damaged morale more than anyone not teacher, or living with a teacher could understand, and now we have the latest insult: new teachers will be guaranteed a certain level of pay (higher than in the past), and current, veteran teachers get no raise.

To be very clear, it is not realistic to expect raises every year (either as a state employee like myself, or a local teacher).  Tenure should not be iron-clad, and a good evaluation process is extremely important to rid the school system of incompetent teachers, and much more importantly, to offer ‘course correction’ for those teachers who are generally doing a good job.  Nonetheless, the way this was all handled over the past few years was destructive. If you are a ‘specials’ teacher (art, music, PE), the basis of your evaluation made even less sense.

The state is tweaking the evaluation process, and I believe that system will improve. What the state and metro should also tweak is their approach to veteran teachers who have been pouring their heart, their time, and in many cases their own money into their jobs.

I laud the passion of my wife, Lynn Ownby Hutcheson, Abigail Reynolds, Linda Summey Slayton, Linda Sabol Hagan and many many others who really do care and should be honored (at least occasionally with a raise and an acknowledgement).

Once again, these words are my own, and my not be endorsed by any of the people listed above.

*uh, I should add I’ve been married to this teacher for nearly 35 years.



Filed under Uncategorized

‘A budget is a moral document’..

If you believe a political party can be judged by it’s proposed budget, then the Grand Old tea Party evisceration of Planned Parenthood (and no, abortions are NOT funded by the federal government) and their cancer screening services for the lower income women, the slashing of the WIC budget – a program that provides prenatals and infants with nutrition services and works with immunization to make sure that children are fully immunized, speaks volumes. No it won’t pass, but it ain’t remotely pro-life.


If anyone is serious about budget slashing, cut out the ethanol nonsense subsidies, the farm subsidies and more important figure out a way to manage medicare/medicaid spending, as well as not funding a project just because it is labeled ‘defense’.

The Bush administration dishonesty regarding funding for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars ‘off the books, while cutting taxes has left us in one of the worst recessions in recent history. Cutting taxes for the wealthiest did little to alleviate the problem. If these tax cuts really helped grow the economy and create jobs, then where the hell are the jobs?


I’m not even going to pretend that the Democratic party is seriously attacking budget bloat, but the GOP is doing nothing more than blaming the victims for the mess we are in, instead of trying to rein in the real swindlers who perpetrated the largest fraud in American history.  Income inequity is at the root of many of the uprisings we are witnessing around the world.  Busting unions and taking away nutrition services from pre-natals and infants may win points with the far-right base of the Tea Party, but it’s no way to run a country.


A balance between government over-reach and the social Darwinism proposed by the anti-government crowd is sorely needed.  Here’s hoping Obama and reasonable legislators on both sides of the aisle will figure that out..




Filed under Uncategorized

A few thoughts upon seeing the ‘Birth of Impressionism’ exhibit at the Frist

We made it under the wire, on the very last day.  Ironically, my wife and I were visiting the Musee’ D’Orsay when this exhibit opened in Nashville.  Having lived most of my life in the presence of art teachers, I always cherish an exhibit that is both inspirational and informative, and most of all surprising.  Impressionism is not my favorite period, but it did liberate the artist from the shackles of realistic painting..this exhibit does quite well in explaining the evolution of the genre, and gives one a greater understanding of the camaraderie and mutual inspiration of these revolutionaries.


My somewhat organized and loosely connected thoughts…


1) First of all, no textbook or print  can prepare you for seeing the Fifer by Manet or anything by Degas.  Manet’s palette is eye-popping in person, and his care in portraying his subjects is well demonstrated.  The kinetic energy of the ballet paintings by Degas move me especially, no little bit because my dad the art teacher loved Degas.


2) Hugh Hefner was not all that original (by several hundred years).


3) I wish I could have shared this exhibit with my dad. He told his many Art Appreciation students that the most beautiful form in the world was…well, related to item number 2 on my list! That thought, spoken aloud in the halls of David Lipscomb, probably surprised a few people.  I wished so much today that I could have shared the exhibit with him….me, being quiet for a longer period than normal..he, pointing out things that in fifty years, most people would never notice, and helping me understand the soul-shaking magnificence of what I was barely seeing..


Filed under Arts Sometimes Craftless, friends and family

It never fails – if i give it all away and don’t have love I didnt’ do anything..

One day not long ago I was walking with a friend back from lunch. We randomly encountered her husband at a stop light and I got to witness a chance kiss, thanks to a light that didn’t change. Tonight I witnessed a wedding of one of my daughter’s best friends and the inevitable kiss that was entirely not random. I know these people and have great affection for these people..I am not really an optimist about humankind (why I really can’t be classified as a modern liberal), but acts of love give me hope (and in a subdued side-note, make me quite happy).

Veering off somewhat, but I will get back to the above…

I have heard talk all my life about how we are the greatest country that ever existed. I believe such talk is fatuous because no one has lived in every country that ever existed, and to iterate the obvious, not too many years ago the city in which I reside was ruled by apartheid, and a hundred years before that we considered black people sub-human and not eligible for that ‘all men are created equal’ business. But, I hasten to say – I will put our Declaration of Independence and Constitution against any document, written or unfurled by law, and I will never believe it’s a fair fight. The rule of law, which does exist in many countries, was the basis of this country’s independence, and enabled this country to survive lawmakers whose behavior was beyond any law devised by any country outside of dictatorships.

Veering back slightly to the original paragraph..

I was raised on religion. There was spirituality sprinkled in there (not literally..we were C of C full immersion), but the church I attended and the school I attended often got lost in the rules and missed the point. This is not intended to be an attack on either, but my bigger point is that religion is man-made artifice and spirituality is something else all together. Ask a recovered addict what rule about dancing or issue about music in church got them through the tunnel. Proof-text is the dance of pinwheels on angels, but attacking spirituality or Christianity (or any ‘brand’ of worship) based on the nonsensical hate-filled horror show that the religious side show has perpetrated on mankind is missing the mark. Just as stating that America’s ideology and basis for governance is invalid based on the fact that many of our forefathers/mothers were slave-owners or accepted slavery as the righteous way of life. The rule of law endures all things.

I’m a long way from where I was, but I will put up these words against any creed or religious teaching in the world:

Love your neighbor as yourself. When asked who is your neighbor, I will extrapolate and tell you that your neighbor may be a Muslim, an illegal immigrant. My neighbor may be Sarah Palin or a red-neck bigot. That guy over there has a neighbor who hasn’t bothered to learn English and my other neighbor might be the son of Jerry Falwell. I find it hard to like those neighbors, much less love them, but the radical rule of law that is espoused by Christianity is that all these people are my neighbors, (damn it!) and I need to treat them like I want to be treated.

Even better – and I’d like to see this piece of poetry go head to head with any heavyweight doctrine in the world:

Love is patient. Love is kind. It is not jealous..it is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests. It is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices in truth. It bears all things, believes all things and hopes all things AND endures all things. Love never fails.

We fall short..we see that kiss…We see hope and we still get it wrong ever so often. But I want to live in a country where all men are created equal. Where life, liberty and pursuit of happiness is paramount. Where I am treated by people who don’t like me, the way I want to be treated. I want to live in that place where love will strip you to the marrow and lift you on the shoulders of giants.

Thanks to the people in love I have cited above..you know who you are..

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Filed under friends and family, golden rule stuff

There’s no ‘I’ in TEAM, but there is an ‘M’ (Meyer), or, No one is inVincible..

I recently finished Buster Olney’s wonderful book on former Lipscomb coach Don Meyer.  I’ve always been a fan of Meyer (never met him) from the time my dad and I were talking on the phone when I lived in Brooklyn.  He said, ‘there’s something really odd going on with the basketball program…i’m not sure how the team is going to do under this new guy (Meyer), but it’s going to be interesting to watch’.  I followed the program from afar, and when we moved back to Nashville, I probably watched the man coach over 100 games.

He is, and was rather odd and off-putting.  He has a perennial scowl and doesn’t appear friendly.  He barked at his players and paced the sidelines like a chained pit-bull.  He also coached basketball at a different level and was watching a different game than I (a huge college basketball fan) and many others ever notice.  Underneath that scowl and bundle of eccentricity was one of the most interesting and humble men I’ve ever read about.   If you get Meyer, you understand how a man can be humble but not weak, tenacious, but not addictive.

Read the book, (and check out a former Northern Dakota player’s book about Coach Meyers* as well).  What the Coach weaves in an almost mystical tapestry of aphorisms and stories is that no one player on a team, no matter how incredible or how untalented is any more or less part of a team than any other player.  You understand that Meyer has influenced hundreds if not thousands of young people to treat everyone as if they were the most important person in the room, no matter their so-called station in life.  You read the testimonials of the men who played for Meyer and you understand that Meyer made them better people (or actually help them understand what they had inside them to be better).

You read about former player’s tragedy and how the Coach and many former teammates traveled long distances to be support their teammate.  Some of the things you read make you think the man is crazy and destructive, but then you realize he’s doing what needed to be done to bring a person down to earth or just to realize how fortunate he really is.

You read about a man who lost a leg in a car wreck and then cancer was discovered when surgery was performed on the leg and how that didn’t begin to bring the man down.  The book is not hagiography or idolatry, but you begin to understand a man of immense faith who didn’t just talk about doing the right thing.

I once heard him speak on what was supposed to be parenting..instead we got time management, the importance of not drinking sodas and the difference between religion and spirituality (first time I heard anyone describe the divergence so well), and how to live properly you live in the moment.  What I at first thought was a rambling collection of odd (and interesting) thoughts became a brilliant lecture on parenting, not because he spoke one word about raising kids, but because he was talking about being healthy on every level.  You take care of yourself, don’t squander your time, and live in the moment and you will be one heckuva parent.

I once saw the man call a timeout with two seconds left in the first half when his team was leading by 28 points.  It was one of the most illogically timed time-outs ever, but like I say, the man wasn’t watching the same game as most of us.  He saw something he didn’t like, and he didn’t want to wait until half-time to discuss the problem.

He wanted to win, but playing well and playing the game correctly, living life well and living it in the moment and living in a state of humility and strength were what he taught.  Once you got that, winning was a brilliant side effect….good parenting was a brilliant side effect.

I really don’t have anything to add to the Vince Young saga that has dominated our city for the last couple of days.  I read about Meyer’s players and how they learned to handle adversity and how to treat others, and it just makes me sad that Young didn’t have someone like Meyer at an early age to channel that incredible talent.  I’m sad that concepts like team and handling adversity apparently don’t mean the same thing to Young as it does to the young men I read about in Olney’s book.

Much more importantly, I realize how I’ve squandered time, have been thoughtless and ranted and raved about my computer not operating quickly enough (among other things).  I think about the anger I’ve expressed towards the people I love more than anything in the world, and I know that none of those people I’ve talked about are perfect, but how fortunate we can be, if we just see what is right before our eyes.

“Happiness begins when selfishness ends”

“A fool despises instruction”

“Do the ordinary things extra-ordinarily well”

“You can measure somebody’s character by how they treat people that can’t do them any good or can’t fight back”

*The book about playing for Meyer is ‘Playing for Coach Meyer’ by Steve Smiley

Olney’s incredible book is ‘How Lucky Can You Be’..it deserves to sell brilliantly..



Filed under basketball, books, golden rule stuff, sports and education

Creepin’ Monday Blues..

Sunday in the PM, fighting off those creeping Monday blues..

wanted redemption from the Titans, but they gathered no moss

had to go and lose…

squabbling and fussing, a junkie needs his connection..

but the sign said CLOSED down at the Cupcake Collection..

Got those creepin’ Monday blues..

darkness clamping early, not in on the daylight ruse

too cold to walk it off, too little of  Sunday remains,

want a shake-em-up transition, but i get the whistle of the trains

leaving Sunday behind, a wistful backwards glance..

need some rocking and some rolling, goodbye sundown dance..

It’s those creeping Monday blues, getting in some licks..

feel like a city boy, taking wrong turns in the sticks..




Filed under oh the humanity.., poor poor me

Yeah, I watched the CMAs, but I’d rather hold Kort…

I had never watched the CMA Awards in their entirety, and I really still haven’t but I watched a lot more out of  curiosity this year, and not just to make fun out of the band that I’ll call Pascal Cats, so as not to be too mean.  Even though the sound was absolutely terrible from a TV perspective (and Twitter nation pronounced it no less a disaster in person), it is not my intent to be a musical snob and decry the escalating modernity of what once was truly country and western music.

Brad Paisley CAN play a mean guitar and Miranda Lambert has a great set of pipes, and even though I believe that Loretta Lynn pretty much blew everyone else off the stage, I don’t think anyone can say that the talent well has been capped and is nothing more than a nostalgia trunk show.  I will say that auto-tune apparently plays an important role in some of these folks recorded output based on their next-door-neighbor approach to tunefulness, but I’m really trying not to be mean..

Where I’m really heading is somewhere down the way from the Ryman is an alley called alt-country/americana/new country that artists seem to consigned into, if their sound is too folky, or actually too country.  Lucinda lives down there, along with Tom Russell, Rosanne C, Patty Griffin and a host of folks who folks who either hearken back (Jamey Johnson) or dabble brilliantly (Robert Plant & Elvis Costello), and then there are people who seem other-worldly (Gillian Welch) or ethereal (Julie Miller)…which brings me to my main point finally – there are records/albums/CDs so wonderful and pure and something i just can’t describe – you have to let the recording speak for itself.  The artists listed in this paragraph have all made such recordings and some of them do get recognized by larger audiences, but many are often niched and appreciated from a distance.

This year’s album was recently released here in the US and features a couple of Nashvillians who don’t sing one song written in the last ten years, and I promise you, is the best piece of country you’ll hear inside or outside the CMAs..The name of the duo is Kort  – one part Lambchop leader Kurt Wagner with this whiskey voice paired with the pure as branch water voice of Cortney Tidwell.  The songs are timeless, the harmonies divine and in some cases will break your heart.  Just buy the dang thing..please*

*I do not know either artist, nor do I receive compensation in any form for saying any of this (as if somebody would pay me). I just love good music, and frankly, I don’t give a damn what category…

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Filed under CMAs, music

Josh and Katie


This picture makes me happy. 


Filed under friends and family

Thirty-three years of wedlock, headlocks*, missing socks,good times, hard knocks, or, Elvis really did leave the building

On a steamy-hot day in August 1977, Elvis falls from his throne and checks out of the building. It was the 16th and I remember it well. We were at the end of a short honeymoon, having been wed on the 14th.

We were married in a Brooklyn brownstone owned by a dear friend. We celebrated with a few good friends and family members. We served poppy-seed cake. Keith Jarrett’s Koln sessions were on the stereo. We agreed to do a few things and rings were exchanged, and soon afterwards we drove across the Brooklyn Bridge into our Manhattan destination.

Two years before, I was sitting in an orientation with a bunch of other like-minded folk. We were all going to save the world starting in Brooklyn. Our group was split in two..one group moved to Brownsville (literally on the block where a young Mike Tyson was living). Our half moved a number of blocks to the east to a neighborhood called East New York (ENY abutted Queens, hence the confusing name). In our group was a bossy woman, a meekish woman who did at least speak, and an ultra-meekish woman who seemed to be mute, along with another young woman who would believe anything (we really did try hard to make up preposterous lies, but she seemed to fall for all of them).

I attempted to get to know the mute. I took her to the CITY, where we museum’d, ate Greek and walked and walked. She said little and I muttered to myself…lost cause. Our work overtook us. Our group ate together, planned lessons together, ate more together, cooked together, and were forced to go out together en masse every Saturday night for forced fellowship.

A girlfriend came into the scene for me. She was fun and smart and pretty and it was a good adventure for me. But, my heart was slowly being taken over by the curious mute who happened to be quite artistic and occasionally funny, who wore these corduroy shorts safety-pinned together way on up there…Those shorts became quite intriguing.

We fell in love, spent a week apart, and were both miserable without each other. We rendevoused upon my return to NY at a restaurant called ‘Z’ on Union Square. We ate mousaka and discussed marriage. There was no proposal..no need for that. We both knew and began to plan logistics. I forgot to tell my parents that my other girlfriend and I had broken up, so when I called to tell them the good news, they became rather confused considering they really had not heard much at all about my new love.

That spring became summer. We were making plans. Elvis was still eating peanut butter and banana sandwiches and we were getting MARRIED. August 13th arrived along with family and friends. After stashing everyone away at friends houses and hotels, we fell down exhausted on the floor of the living room in which we were to be married, realizing that we had arranged for beds for everyone besides us. We fell asleep on that floor. Several hours later we awoke, the coffee was made, the friends and the family arrived and we were wed.

We head to Manhattan and then two days later, Elvis up and dies. We head back to Brooklyn, to our project apartment and our jobs. We both end up working in Manhattan. We had little money but we had low rent and a yen to know the city. I may not have been unfettered, but I was alive, and in love.

Years pass, children are born, anger arises, fights occur, feelings are hurt, and we don’t know if we can really do this. Marriage..the full-tilt-12-rounds-for-life is hard work, and don’t let anyone fool ya. We reared some kids, and we did well and we did poorly. I loved, and I loved to be angry.

I’m the tilt-a-whirl the hyperbolic yak machine, impatient and yearning. I’m married to the steady the even and the deep. Her perseverance, her love, and her even threatening seriously to leave have saved my life. Love doesn’t progress in a steady line. The euphoria of young love is glimpsed occasionally, but the depth of all that shared experience and the underlying belief that we could make it work served us well.

Today is the 33rd anniversary of a grand experiment, a long-lasting love, and a life together. We are battle-scarred and we do know the buttons to push, but sometimes we have the grace to restrain. Those glimpses of that youthful euphoria do gift us with the memory of why we pulled together, and why despite some quite difficult times, we stopped and caught our breath, and we remembered.

Our kids become adults and they have rich lives if not monetarily rich.

Today is the 33rd anniversary of being married to a strong, beautiful and hard-working woman. I have often been not worthy. Grace has pulled me through. I am still in love, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. I would like to work on that second set of thirty-three years but I don’t take any moment beyond the one I’m in, for granted. I do know that my past and my future would be much the poorer if a mute from Kansas hadn’t opened up her life and her heart. It was clearly my charm and those safety pins..’

Happy Anniversary to the love of my life. I may have the world’s worst luck with electronic devices, printers and such, but my luck and fortune with you has been the best. Elvis hunka hunka’d off this mortal coil was a landmark passing and sad time for many. However, for me, and this is about me, the rumblings of Elvis death observed remind me that an anniversary is a coming and I best be aware. Thanks, Elvis, but the biggest thanks go to Lynn. *all headlocks are merely metaphorical in nature.


Filed under journey

Steve Turner for the 58th…(Turn, Turn, Turn..a time to build up..)

I’ve lived in the 58th State House District for nearly 6th years.  For most of those years, I’ve struggled to see and understand what our current state rep – Mary Pruitt – is doing to represent the north side of town.  Pruitt has served the community for a long time.  Her laundry list of organizations and associations is impressive.  Her lack of presence in our part of the community and her apparent lack of interest in my (and surrounding) neighborhood(s) negates the resume’ for me.  Ms. Pruitt deserves respect for her past, but continuing to vote for someone I’ve seen in our community three times* in six years doesn’t work for me.  Especially when we once again have a good alternative.

Steve Turner exudes energy, and he knows the north end.  I don’t agree with everything he has supported (I am not a big convention center fan in regard to the revenue drain) but the disagreement, even on that issue, is not a litmus test. Going forward, issues such as the digital divide and community development including jobs and education are issues that Turner seems to not only ‘get’ but has the knowledge and know-how to pursue positively.  His background in technology fits with the 21st century needs of our community.  His knowledge of our community and its issues is in stark contrast with his opponent, who in a recent visit to our neighborhood association had not bothered to bone up on any issues affecting our part of town.

My reach and my influence are probably laughable, when it comes to endorsements, but I am happy to vote for Steve Turner, and I urge any of you who are uncertain about the 58th, or uncertain whether to vote, please consider voting for Steve.  We live in an interesting and evolving district.  Our potential is enormous.  Turner gets the future.  Pruitt lives in the past.

*two of those times were when she was running for re-election/campaign appearances.

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Filed under community, endorsements, Folks in Salemtown & Germantown, politics

Paddle faster boys, I hear banjos, or, September’s song

I’m fifty-seven years old. My birthday is September.

When I was a kid, my dad was a shining star in a small solar system of David Lipscomb and local church of Christ planets. He was thoughtful, witty, handsome, and could make the kids who HAD TO BE IN ART APPRECIATION CLASS TO GRADUATE, suddenly realize they were being educated.

He was well-loved, respected and philosophically quite conservative. His foibles were known to me and a few friends, but they seemed trivial. He was a ‘pleaser’ and he struggled inwardly with not being good enough, but his public composure and speech belied any self-pity or obsession.

Living in that world was both stimulating and daunting. A young woman in chapel who I didn’t know proclaimed ‘WHAT HAPPENED to YOU?’ after seeing my dad walk out on the stage to participate in the chapel service, after I told her ‘that man’ was my dad. I never saw her again, because she realized she had blurted out something that most people would edit, and was most likely quite embarrassed. Her reaction did echo a question that has haunted me over the years.

I quit worrying about the gossipy neighbors who told me that I certainly wasn’t like my dad after I moved back to Nashville. They mixed resentment with their tea, and I understood their drink of choice. But, no, I wasn’t like my dad.

I don’t obsess over this short-coming. I love and respect many of the people in that world, but I can’t live in a place where I’m not my dad. We parted company well, and, other than some really hum-dinger, drawn-out, wall-shaking political arguments, we got along just fine. I just wasn’t him.

This is not intended to be a diatribe of failure..my dad loved me unconditionally, and I knew that every minute of his life that intersected with mine. I live my life ..my struggle is to stay centered..not to be him. I’m not eliciting ‘you are OKs!’..

These thoughts emerged again, because last night I was eating with my mom and we were talking about my dad. He died at what seems like a very young age now. He packed in a lot in his too-brief span.

He was only 58. Until last night my mom did not realize this September I will be the same age as my dad was when he died. It was hard for her to say out loud..she covered her face and began to tremor. She loves me despite the fact of who I am not.

I’m not hearing those banjos back there yet, even if I am about to turn 58.   I certainly don’t make those kind of predictions. Stuff, and my stomach, happens. I plan to live, until I don’t, and I will keep on laughing about ‘what HAPPENED to <me>”…I’m still figuring that out.


Filed under friends and family

The curious case of the non-missing rights, or, here’s your bill, what’s your hurry

Let me be the first to admit that the nation survived the Bush administration, and we came out of those years with our rights intact, despite the Patriot Act and the shoe n’ belt ecdysiast dance at the airport, despite the fact that a lot of us feared the worst.  But our fears were small-mashed-mini potatoes compared to the doom n’ gloom Obama hating fear baiting going on right now.

Let’s play a game.  Let’s pretend it’s tomorrow morning.  You walk out of your house.  Name ONE right you don’t have as you walk out of the house that you had when Obama took office.  I’m not talking about what you THINK will happen or speculation, I want to know one right you had back in 2008, you don’t have right now.

I keep hearing about how our rights are being trampled and we are going to be lucky to get out of this with a scintilla of freedom, but we’ve made it through a civil war, people being property, women being largely chattel, apartheid in many states, and the alien and sedition act.  We ain’t got nothing to compare to that.  And yes, I’m not thinking that any sane person wants this much debt, but I don’t see how any sane person would bet against this country.  We’ve been in bigger ruts than this (ask anyone who made it through the great depression).

But, let’s review those rights:

1st amendment: Clearly you can call the current President a socialist, a nazi, a communist, a Kenyan and a racist and do that all on the public airwaves, and not be jailed, so I’m going to say that the ‘free speech’ part of the 1st amendment hasn’t been abridged.

We don’t have a government established religion, we can assemble at the church, synagogue or mosque* of our choice, or stay at home and believe in no higher power than the person who invented the TV remote control.

So..1st amendment: INTACT

2nd amendment: This is quite ironic, and I certainly would say that Obama only gets indirect credit for this, but I’d say if you believe that the right to bear arms is more than just having a militia, you have hit the jackpot in many states.  In our fair state, you can now carry your gun (with a carry permit of course) to bars and to state parks.  In Louisiana, you can carry your gun into church now**.

We have a variety of militias, some state-sanctioned, and many not.  Unless the militia members attempt to blow up a federal building or take over a state, I’d have to say that militias are free to flourish.

So..2nd amendment: INTACT

3rd Amendment: Is anyone forcing you to house any soldiers?  Didn’t think so…

4th Amendment: Last I heard, police still have to have a warrant to enter your house for search and seizure. Probable cause appears to be intact***.

5th Amendment:  Anybody forced to incriminate themselves, not have the right to a grand jury??  I will agree that eminent domain has been abused, but that was by the Supreme Court before Obama was elected, so you can’t pin that one on him.

6th Amendment: You still get a trial..you still get a jury if you wish in a criminal case, you still get to question witnesses against you..anybody wanna seriously make a case that the 6th has been derogated?

7th Amendment: If you want a jury in a civil trial, you get a jury in a civil trial ($20 bucks and above).

8th Amendment: Ask any bail bondsman..Reasonable bail is still available where bail is appropriate.  One can argue that the death penalty is cruel and unusual punishment, but I don’t think you can pin that one on Obama.

9th Amendment: Once again, what rights are you missing as you walk outside your door tomorrow?

10th Amendment: One could reasonably argue that states rights have been eroded for the last 80 years.  Personally in some cases (civil rights, voting rights, environmental law), I’m grateful for the federal government.  My argument deals with personal rights and I’ll leave it to great scholars than me to argue this one.

It’s so easy to decry and proclaim, but if you look at it, we still live in a free country, riddled with imperfection.  My personal belief is that as long as mankind is involved, imperfection comes with the territory.  I firmly believe we have a great country, and it will still be a great free country tomorrow, in 2012, and in 2016.

*except in some parts of Rutherford County

** I’m pretty sure if guns had been allowed in churches in Tennessee during my youth that my personal history would have been greatly altered.  Not because people in my church would have intentionally fired their weapons, but because when people keeled over while falling asleep their guns might have fallen out of their holsters and accidentally discharged.  Believe me, I can ensure you that numerous people in my church would have at least been winged.

***Unless, of course, you are Hispanic, and State Rep Mike Turner sees you and decides you are an illegal immigrant.



Filed under apocalypse now, politics

That stupid Golden Rule

“Love that will not betray you, dismay or enslave you, It will set you free Be more like the man you were made to be.” Mumford & Sons

Here is the law I am proposing for the great state of Tennessee. Perhaps other states will follow along. Based on sheer appearance, we really don’t know how many Canadians are in our midst, working along side us, receiving food stamps, attending our hockey games and promulgating the myth that their bacon is superior. Seriously.

I’m thinking that every time a law enforcement agent sees a suspicious looking white person, every time a white driver is pulled over for a traffic infraction, every time a white person is hanging out on the streets and every time a white person behaves in any manner suspiciously, that a passport or birth certificate be demanded on the spot. If said white person cannot produce either document, he or she will be detained until a member of their family can produce one of the two documents.

Some would argue that a simple pronunciation test would suffice – ‘Sir, would you please say the words ‘house’ and ‘about’ or questioning the suspect about the life of Bobby Orr, but pronunciation tics can be un-learned and facts about Bobby Orr can be faked. It’s time we take back our state from the hockey-obsessed, weird-bacon loving Habs.

If the document cannot be obtained with 48 hours, the said white person will be incarcerated, at a cost to said white person of $200.00. Citizenship isn’t cheap my friends. If not proof of citizenship can be found, said white person will be flown to Detroit, and given fare to cross the Big Bridge. Since we are really not racial profiling but looking for suspicious behavior or odd driving, I’m sure NO ONE will object to this new law.

Note: I really do like Canada and at least one Canadian..

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Filed under golden rule stuff, irony may be the shackle of youth but I love it

What it’s gonna get me to watch the ‘LeBron James Vanity Special’ tonight.

Note: some of this is borrowed from The Sports Guy. I have embellished quite a bit..I AM interested in where LeBron goes because it definitely will effect the next few years of the NBA.

To watch the show I’m not asking, I’m DEMANDING the following:
1) All the GM’s in contention in the room with LeBron
2) A rose
3) Seacrest
4) A table with all of the hats of the teams in contention
5) the frozen head of Ted Williams
6) a song from the losing GMs after LeBron makes his choice – preferably a medley of ‘You’re No Good’, ‘I’m a Loser’, ‘Fat-Bottom Girls’ and ‘Halloween Head’ by Ryan Adams

The show opens with Seacrest introducing the GMs and making jokes about the enormous forehead of Jim Gray (the official host of the show). LeBron descends from the ceiling in some kind of chariot (kind of a reverse Elijah). LeBron dribbles around (with a basketball of course), takes a couple of trick shots, and then begins to eliminate the hats from the table. When he gets to the final two hats, he opens the box holding Ted Williams frozen head, and puts the ‘winning’ hat on Williams cryogenic noggin, and hands a rose to the ‘winning’ GM.

Seacrest interviews the crest-fallen ‘losing’ GMs. An army of small children (possibly the offspring of Shawn Kemp) rappel down the forehead of Gray. The show closes with the medley from the losing GMs while LaBron and the winning GM ascend into basketball heaven.

Otherwise, I’m just gonna get the news from my phone and skip the foreplay..

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Am-ur-i-can History – Texas style..

I was a history minor in college and still have quite an avid interest in the subject. I was lucky enough to be given an advance copy of one of the history texts approved by the Texas school board folks..it’s just a snippet, but I hope to get more chapters in the future..

Chapter 1: In the beginning the Intelligent Designer created the heavens and the earth. Before HE created light, HE created the dinosaurs and various fossils. He let them bump into each other looking for food-stuff that had not yet been created. On or about 2:00 PM on the first day (if there had been light or time), He killed the dinosaurs. Because He could. When He got around to creating light, He thought it would be quite fun to make it look like the light from the stars had already traveled millions of miles. He hadn’t come to creating the human-types yet, but He thought it would be really a lot of fun to mess around with them when He did get around to forming man from the mud that was yet to be processed. At first he thought that He would create something called the United States of America, but He thought that could wait until he came up with at least 10 rules for the human-types He was just about to create. So He created Man and added a lot more fossils just to mess around some more and said..Yes, this IS good.

After a few years of years of easy living, man had to go and screw it up by eating the one fruit in the world he was forbidden to eat. This was followed by many years of man mucking things up so much, thanks to excessive taxation, and overall government intervention, that the Intelligent Designer decided it was time for a do-over. Despite the valiant efforts of Hands-on-Tyre, the ensuing flood wiped out everyone except Noah and his family and a whole ark of animals. Noah wanted to sail for the United States of America, but sadly they were only a design in the eye of the Intelligent Designer….

Noah eventually landed pretty much where he started after the floods receded, and his family began to re-populate the earth.  Soon, things were as mucked up as they were before, so the Intelligent Designer decided that mankind in general was a brutish lot. Giving up, for the moment, on the entire mankind, He decided to choose a group of people and concentrate on them.

Not only would He choose them but He would give them a special sovereign  nation surrounded by tribes and war-loads who despised them mightily.  “Need to keep the chosen people on their toes”.  He then freed their collective selves from the bonds of the Egyptians without means of a messy over-rated Civil Rights movement. No need for protest when you have boils, locusts, blood-water, snakes and a really interesting form of primogeniture.

He gave directions to his chosen ones to their new land.  Unfortunately, the chosen lot while really good at mathematics, medical skills, negotiating and political thought were a bit low on the explorer gene.  No Vasco de Goldsteins in the bunch.  Forty years later, when they finally made it to their home, where they could practice their commandments as kind of an experimental lab for the later and greater United States of America, where despite their chosen-ness, they fell into the trap of excessive governmental intervention and were subsequently whisked to Babylon, the well-spring of many a fine tune.


And then after attending church for the third time that week, the men who became known as our Founding Fathers, were visited by Moses and told to build a new country, unfettered with excessive governmental intervention.  Thankfully, the colonial power, England, dressed their soldiers in red and marched in straight lines into battle and after a few years of developing the spirit of the 4th of July, the USA, the new and greatest Chosen nation won its independence from Great Britain.

So impressed were the dark-skinned Africans who suffered in a brutal clime, that many African leaders practically begged to work in America, free-of-charge, just so they could get away from the jungles and all the lions and vuvuzelas.  Thus ships were built to transport these willing souls who happily dedicated their lives to the servitude of their masters.

After many years of growing the southern economy, the purveyors of excessive governmental intervention decided that due to a rather odd interpretation of ‘all men are created equal’ found in our Declaration of Independence, it was quite possible that the servitude of the dark skin was somewhat illegal despite the love the slaves had for their masters.

So deep was this governmental intervention, that northern aggressors besieged and attacked the south.  President Lincoln, far exceeding his limited Presidential mandate, summarily freed the slaves, and the south was decimated.

Most of the good southerners who survived the war moved to Texas where they became the latest version of the Chosen People.

<snip>.  Texans are a strong and hearty breed and health care is not needed in these climes.

Sadly, that’s all the chapters I could find.

Unfortunately, this is the only fragment of the book I was able to purloin, er, borrow..

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Filed under irony may be the shackle of youth but I love it, travel, we don't need no education

Forced busing (Greyhound on our trail) or ‘Hush, hush, sweet Charlotte’, those convention center folks know what’s best..

If you missed the story, the Greyhound Bus Terminal down on 8th Ave South is in the big giant dinosaur footprint of the Nashville Convention Center.  Construction is well underway for the CC, and the only parcel of land not eminently domained into moving before now was Greyhound.

So, knowing full well that Greyhound had to make tracks, the city planning folks and the convention center folks decided to move the whole bus center grey and hound out to Murfreesboro Road around the Elm Hill Pike area.  They held some public hearings and the public hell ensued (jet-powered by some influential business-persons in the area), followed by the powers-that-be pulling up their tents and starting over..

It gets a little interesting (if lying publicly is considered interesting) at this point.  The Metro Convention Center (MCC) folks, in concert with Greyhound decide to opt for Plan B (more like Plan 9, but that’s another bad story), which was moving the bus-ers over to 11th and Charlotte where Hanson Chrysler used to peddle cars.   No public hearings this time…just an announcement via the Tennessean after all the decisions had been made.

Of course, a hue, cry and distress signals went up all over this part of town.  Local community organizers, chiefly Jason Powell over at Hope Gardens, pulled together a public meeting where we could question some of the decision makers.  It’s during this meeting (a meeting I attended, double-tweeting with Micchiato aka M. Byrd of Enclave), that the Metro Planning folks stated that the first move to the Murfreesboro Road spot was waylaid because of zoning.  This begs the question as to why the hell they planned the move over there in the first place (they didn’t know the zoning then???).

Meanwhile, our council-person, Erica Gilmore, who lives in Hope Gardens (one of the neighborhoods directly affected by the new location of Greyhound) apparently knew about the move, but chose not to share this information with anyone in her district until it hit the newspapers.

Obviously, there were not public hearings and there WAS plenty of hush-hush because the movers and shakers didn’t want a repeat of the shit-storm on the south end.  But, in the ‘hearing’ tonight, they claimed to be surprised at the opposition and thought that nobody would mind.   There was plenty of zoning mumbo-jumbo talk, after which we discovered (much to the surprise of community leaders who had supported downtown zoning changes) that the city could build/approve/encourage pretty much any dang thing they pleased and no one had to give notification.

Unbelievable.  So, when the convention folks were hard-pressed to explain why no notification was given to people who have businesses DIRECTLY ACROSS THE STREET from the proposed site, the response was: we were not required to give notification.  When in doubt always go for the flag or the bureaucratic answer.

Here’s a few other people who learned about the move in the paper: Precinct Police Commander Huggins, Councilman-at-Large Maynard, Freddy O’Connell (President of Salemtown Neighbors and a member of the MTA board), Jason Powell, President of Hope Gardens…the list goes on.

The good news..the move IS temporary.  They have a one year contract for the location (with the possibility of three consecutive one month contracts).  The bad news…there is a proposed final permanent location, but that location could not yet be revealed.  I think they learned a bit of a lesson here, but we’ll see.

Truth be told, I don’t think the Greyhound folks really are the culprit here…The MCC folks forced their hand and found a place for Greyhound to move, and told Greyhound to hit the trail.

I do have to wonder why Councilwoman Gilmore chose not to share the news.   I do wonder if some of the folks behind the ‘dais’ really believed what they were ‘selling’, and I really wonder how that Korean Restaurant on 11th that never has any customers will handle their new clientele…

Post-script: As always, Mike Byrd has the adult perspective on the story.  I do like my title though..


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The Appreciative Arts – A few sketches of appreciation…

After my friend Robert died and I wrote a heartfelt eulogy, containing thoughts and feelings that I had not bothered to share with Robert openly and completely before he died, I vowed to at least attempt to show my appreciation for the living, the people who love me, move me, kick my ass when it needs to be kicked and who, though certainly not perfect, appear to be well-centered, not just in their words, but in their actions. So far, I’ve written appreciations for a singer I don’t know and for this crazy, wonderful and wacky country that I love dearly. Now it’s time to move to a few folks I DO know.

Exception to the previous paragraph: My dad
My dad died at the RiDICuLous age of 59. I’m not that far away from that terminal year of my dad. I do not obsess about this..I don’t understand the complexity of genetics, but it does give me pause. My dad was an art teacher, and fashioned a world where respect for his Maker, love of sharing his passion about his art and his spirituality lead him to live one of the most blessed lives I’ve ever known. He was the child of the great depression and he wasn’t good at saying ‘I love you’ often. What I’ve come to learn (yeah, I got a piece of his wisdom)is that his every waking step with me though his life contained the words ‘I love you unconditionally’. He taught me that a man who understands and gives boundaries to his passion (a good number of feet from addiction), but who lives in his passion is a lucky man indeed. Ironically, this lead me to understand why Keith Richards is still alive. Watch the man when he is playing his guitar mid-song. You’ll understand.

My wife: I’ve told a few people this already, but I pulled the anti-Oedipal bit off..I married my dad. And I mean that in the highest extent of honor. My dad and wife, Lynn, were and are both incredibly hard working people. As an avid practitioner of one of the seven deadly sins (sloth), this has worked out quite well for me. I am as moved by her touch as when we were married almost 32 years ago (she may have touched me before that..) and I have come to understand, with some of that inherited wisdom, that I myself am a lucky man because of her. We’ve had some rough months, and even a rough year or two, but we both know it matters, and despite my occasional inanity, she puts up with me. Lynn, like my dad, is an artist and a true lover of the arts. When she is caught up in her painting, she glows, just like my dad in a classroom.

A few friends:
Roger Dinwiddie. I came to know Roger because my daughter is his daughter’s best friend. We spent some time together and I immediately was impressed. Sadly, when I was, in my younger years, around people who REALLY impressed me off the bat and seem to carry themselves in ways I can’t begin to attain, I often become aphasic and begin flapping and stuttering. Then I realized that the guy was way more impressive than I imagined. He’s a nationally known figure in education, the effects of bullying in education, substance abuse..and he’s the president of STARS. Look it up sometime..If I didn’t get aphasic when I met you, it’s because I’ve grown a bit, thanks to this guy!

More importantly, in my life (hey, this is still about me), he has been an incredible friend. Fierce, funny, inspirational and wise. If for no other reason than one phone call I made to him in anger (anger not directed at Roger), and he called ‘bullshit’ on my anger (I was actually totally irate with the person in the previous ‘sketch’). I was throwing verbal punches and just feeling so sorry for myself, the victim, the victim, the victim, and Roger called me on it, and told me that I had to get myself (he perhaps used another word at this point) together, and then proceeded to explain how to start. And he helped me walk through the fire to the beginnings of the truth (I didn’t have myself together, and like the cliche’ goes, when you are pointing one finger there are more pointing right back at yourself). It took a friend to get me to that point, and I am honored by his friendship. Plus he has one amazingly wonderful and talented and clever wife, Suzanne!

Dennis Dumbauld: Dennis is retired military. He’s in great shape, both mentally and physically. We don’t think alike or process alike. When I was getting whiny in something I wrote, he called me on it. I didn’t necessarily like his wording, but it didn’t take me long to realize something way more important. He was being a friend, and friends who are true, will call you on the things that need to be said.

Much more importantly, for his family, Dennis and his beautiful and wonderful and generous wife Josie, have molded a family that is individualistic and as healthy (in all aspects of life) as any family I’ve ever known. His kids are not perfect (similar to most kids), but they are so together. They have certainly figured a lot of this on their own, but it came to them quickly, because of Dennis (and Josie’s) completely unconditional love for those kids. His friendship is unconditional too. We process differently, but there are not many men I admire more than Dennis.

Another father and friend: Phil Kendrick

Phil is the brother of Robert, whose passing made me want to appreciate others in a more visible way while they are still here on earth. Phil has one of the greatest blueprints I’ve ever known for being a dad (his own dad). A brilliant combination of wisdom and humor cannot be repressed. He and his also-wise and wonderful wife, Karen, have fathered 5 boys and are now grandparents. I’ve told more than one person this bit: If a space alien landed and for some reason asked me to show him what a family should look like, I’d drive him out to Phil’s and tell the alien to shut up and observe. Seriously.

Another friend:
Susan Barber. Susan is the most generous person I have ever known (and it’s not like I wasn’t parented by generous people). She is steady and smart and funny and I have eaten lunch with her more times than anyone on the face of this earth, and I’m ready to go again (she’s out of the country and I’m missing her!). She gives her time and much much more, even though she keeps long work hours and participates (and has participated) in most every sport known to (wo)man. Leg and knee surgery have slowed her pace, but they have not stopped her from marathoning, playing soccer, playing tennis, playing golf, playing ultimate frisbee, inventing other games, and so many more things that I get tired just thinking about it.

At a time in my life when my wife needed a friend to help deal with me (I have been a pill more than once), Susan gave great assurance and friendship to Lynn, and had a lot to do with the healing process. There are many more, equally impressive deeds, but that is one that I will never forget, and one for which I am eternally grateful.

There are many many more of you out there. I plan to do keep this series going. But it’s late and I’m really missing my out-of-town wife and I can’t put off sleep much longer. Also, if you are on the list, I’m not asking for a loan or a reference.

In closing, I’d like to say a word about Don Finto, the man who led Belmont church from a small smattering of folks to a wondrous group of sojourners. Don spoke at Robert’s funeral.Even if you are not nearly on the same page spiritually with this man, and I really haven’t been around him much in years, and differ greatly in places, you cannot help but be moved by this guy.

My dad taught me something with his artistic eye that many people have heard, but few understand as well as a man of his observational powers. He explained that a person gets the face they deserve in the later years of their life. We’re not talking superficial standards of beauty here, but you probably know what I’m talking about. A negative person will have lines in their face that a centered person cannot (and should not) dream about. A centered person may be disguised as someone not so beautiful, but if you keep looking, you see untold depths. The fact that I may not be in the same place as Don Finto is not the primary point. The fact is that there is not a more beautiful 79 year old person on this planet…outside, in.


Filed under community, friends and family, golden rule stuff, journey

An appreciation, after the cascade, of Patty Griffin

Anyone who can read and/or hear in any fashion knows that we’ve been deluged with a cascade of famous people passing on..many of us have faced loss on a far more personal and poignant level. We often declare to others and to ourselves that THIS TIME we’ll treat others better, appreciate the small things, live life more fully, etc etc etc, only to find ourselves back in the rut of the day-to-day rinse lather repeat rhythm that weakens the resolve to climb higher and seek the noble.

It really is hard to change. I’ve promised myself that I will..and maybe I’ve grown (perhaps you more than I), but it’s easy to norm, and pretty natural.

After my friend Robert died, and I wrote an appreciation AFTER the fact, I have vowed to appreciate my friends more, openly and, at times, in writing. Patty Griffin isn’t really my friend, even though I wish I knew her. There are few celebrities I really want to meet. I think I’d have little to say and perhaps I’d be disappointed that they really aren’t much different than most.

Patty G is a singer and a songwriter of the highest level. I’m not sure what I’d say first, but I’d love to sit on the front porch with a coffee or some other brew and just delve into what she finds interesting. I’d love to tell her that ‘Long Walk Home’ should be taught in English classes everywhere because it’s a great short story in song, with hints that can be richly explored. I want to tell her that the first time I heard ‘Flaming Red’ in a Borders Book store listening station in Knoxville I knew I had found someone who moved me as much as Otis Redding and Sam Cooke did when I was a kid listening to WLAC on my transistor radio.

I love that Patty has such a big voice in such a small frame. I love the flaming red hair and when she croons and when she rocks. I’ve been to many of her shows, including the Ryman Aditorium concert that was later released as a concert CD (I told my wife after the show that this would make a great recording – I’m such a genius), a concert that made the audience members laugh, cry and actually shut up with the chatter. You really could have heard a pin drop. She’s that good.

‘Oh Heavely Day’ still brings chills. Nothing but ‘Blue Skies’ still elevates my spirit. I just wanted to say all this while someone I appreciate and adore is still with us…

Thank you, Patty.


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The Angina Monologues – Chapter 1, in which the narrator is asked to ‘Turn it Down’ (repeatedly)

I’m 12 years old and I hear ‘Like A Rolling Stone’ on the radio and I rush over to Zibart’s in Green Hills and I buy the single, and I play that sucker about 200 times in a row trying to figure out what this mad genius is talking about and then I turn the single over and it’s something called ‘Gates of Eden’ and I play that roughly the same number of times and it’s even more obscure, and somewhere in the middle of all that comes my mother’s voice asking me to PLEASE turn that awful music down and why would anyone want to listen to that, and then I turn it down a little bit, but that amazing Al Kooper organ just moves me so much and then I turn it BACK UP to 11 and the mother’s voice gets a little louder and I realize that I’m risking hearing my freakin’ father’s voice, which I do not want to hear in that context, so I turn it down, but in my heart, Dylan is ringing off the walls and peeling the paint on my closed bedroom door. The Beatles are on the hi-fi and they are twisting and shouting and I’m about to just explode because it’s that part of the song where they all go ah-ah-ah-ah in harmony each time going a little higher and I’m going a little higher even though the properties of marijuana are, as yet, unknown to me, and I’m singing my little butt off even though in no way, shape or form could my caterwauling be misconstrued as really singing, and I’m so happy I forgot that I had to go to church like 7 straight nights for a gospel meeting in which I will personally be stared at by 37 old women who are badgering me to be baptized but I’m stubborn like that and besides Bob Dylan saved me, John Lennon saved me, Chuck Berry saved me and I”m just about to start speaking in musical tongues when my mother’s voice high-pitches me upside the head: TURN IT DOWN. What’s a young skinny boy supposed to do? I can’t sing in a rock and roll band, but I’m starting to realize that I had the music in me, even if it is somebody elses music, lyrics and beat, and why do I have to turn IT DOWN? It’s my life, it’s alright ma, I’m only exceeding everything I knew before. I’m 16 and driving the Old’s wagon down the road and I”m picking up a date and I’m listening to Mick tell somebody to get off his cloud and I pick somebody up and they ask me to please turn it down and I want to say, IT”S THE STONES, but I realize that I won’t be going on many dates if I start yelling on one of my very first ‘car’ dates, so I turn it down, but I know already that this girl can’t be THE ONE because she wants me to turn down the Stones, the greatest rock n’ roll band that ever existed in 1968. I’m in love, I’m in college and her name is Gail and she appreciates the music and she grew up with the music playing loud, but she is tired of the loud and I’m trying to get her to understand that Lowell George is a freaking genius and she smiles and says yes, he’s good, but it is too loud and like a good boyfriend, I turn it down. Didn’t anyone understand that they were tearing another little piece of my heart?. My kid is about 5 months old and I’m married and it’s not my college girlfriend and I’m happy as the kid in Almost Famous and I’m arguing with my wife that if the kid is spoiled by having the music turned down low, he’ll never be used to hearing music correctly and he’ll cry at the drop of a turntable needle, and of course I lose that argument. Will I ever get to TURN IT UP? Many years later and the kids are grown (the very same damn kids who asked me to TURN the car radio down when I was driving them places) and we are not in a ‘good place’ and I feel at the end of a rope and I don’t know what to give (helpless, helpless, helpless) and I don’t know what to do, and then I hear this Patty Griffin song with tinge of gospel and a lot of soul and I sure she’ll love it and I can’t wait to play it for her when we go out on a Friday night and I’ve got it ‘cued’ up on the car CD player and I know she’s going to love it and we take off in the car and I crank it up thinking that this is my perfect gift to her, and of course she asks me to turn it down, and my heart just breaks in 15 places and I just want to turn around, go home and turn up some Stones, but you know the rest.


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What kind of idiot are you? It’s a pseudo Facebook quiz!

I’m not expecting you to answer any questions, because why would idiots answer questions (not that anyone reading this is an idiot)? They would assume, make silly-wild-ass guesses, postulate based upon nothing more they heard on talk radio or something their uncle told them when they were nine and it stuck for no other reason than the opinion came along with a stick of gum.

Do you forget to use your turn signal when you are changing lanes in heavy interstate traffic?

Do you forget to turn OFF your turn signal after you’ve driven a mile since you changed lanes?

Do you speculate on pivotal plot points OUT LOUD during the movie when others are merely content to silently contemplate those very points?

Do you repeat the same exact thing you just said three or four times, each time more loudly, when no one responds not knowing you are being ignored?

Do you yell at your computer when it’s moving too slowly for your taste?

Do you use anger to underline your point even though anger is the very thing that makes the person you are talking to quit listening?

Are you afraid to admit you like some TV show/movie/book/song/play just because the people around you are mocking that very piece of art?

Do you choose not to say I love you when it would be quite beneficial to the one you love?

Do you keep talking long past the time when it would be really good to just be quiet?

Do you avoid it hoping that maybe someone else will just up and do it?

Do you assume your friends know how much they mean to you just because you think about how much they mean to you?

Does fear stop you from doing the thing you need to do the most?

Do you really think you are in control?

Well, I’m one or more of that kind of idiot. You get to decide about yourself.

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