All My Heroes Are Dying – Paul Kantner

BudLiteGood morning, y’all. What a  gorgeous day today and another scheduled for tomorrow. Looks like we’ve turned the corner on Winter, at least until we get our customary blizzard in late March. Just when you think it’s safe to start doing some planting, Mother Nature will throw you a curve. She just wants to let you know who’s in charge, I guess.

Another force to be reckoned with is Father Time, although he seems much more capricious in his choosing than Mother Nature. I found out today that Paul Kantner, one of the founders of the Jefferson Airplane has died. He was 74, which is a young man from where I’m standing. I know we all joke about how the “devil may care” life style of rock and rollers put’s them on a fast track to the Pearly Gates, but Kantner was a proponent of a clean lifestyle. At least by the standards of the rockers of the sixties.

I guess everyone has heard of the 27 club, stars who died when they were 27. There is a preponderance of 27 club members who were contemporaries of Kantner. Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison and Janis Joplin all died at age 27. While Kantner experimented with the mild altering drugs of the time, he drew the line at the debilitating drugs. He is quoted as saying, “Cocaine, particularly, is a bummer. It’s a noxious drug that turns people into jerks. And alcohol is probably the worst drug of all. As you get older and accomplish more things in life in general, you realize that drugs don’t help, particularly if you abuse them.” Kantner seemed to be more concerned with continuing to perform as long as he could, rather than becoming a “shooting star”. Kantner was still touring with the band in 2015 for their 50th anniversary. Amazing. 

I know that my first exposure to the Airplane was back in 1967 with the “Surrealistic Pillow” album. Back in the ’60’s we would typically buy an album to get the one song they played on the radio to promote the album. If there were two songs on an album you liked, it was an exception. There were a few groups that delivered on every cut, The Beatles, The Stones, Crosby Stills and Nash. Now there was this weirdo group from out on the “Left coast” that was producing sounds like we’d never heard before. “White Rabbit” was the reason you bought the album, but there was so much more. “Surrealistic Pillow” delivered on every cut and in a variety of styles. One of the songs on the album, “Embryonic Journey”, is still played as background music for PBS shows. This is fifty years later, and we’re not talking about classical music, we’re talking about mind blowing San Francisco sound rock and roll.

The ’60’s are a hard time to try to define. 1967 to 1970 were particularly difficult times in America’s history. While we were killing innocents in Southeast Asia, we were also killing our heroes at home. Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King were both killed in 1968. The Chicago Democratic convention was a study in revolution played out on the evening news. Thousands of kids faced off against the police of Chicago to demand a voice. Thousands of kids all over the country were standing up and demanding an end to the war and a voice in our politics.

Does art imitate life, or does life imitate art? The classic question, and as a teenager in the period, I can’t truly answer. Did the music of the Airplane shape my opinions of the world? Of course. But, did the times shape the music of the Airplane? Were musicians and song writers like Paul Kantner just more sensitive to the times and better able to articulate their feelings than the rest of us? I’m sure this is true. In any event, the music of the Jefferson Airplane gave voice to the feelings of millions of young period of the time. We all will remember Paul Kantner fondly, even though he was a hippie. Tongue firmly in cheek. 

Give a listen:




Twenty Feet From Stardom

BudLiteGood morning, y’all. It looks like we’re going to have a beautiful weekend. I think the Whiz O Meter has pegged Saturday as an “11”, even though the temperature range is from 34 to 64. Sunday is pegged as a “10” because, even though a high of 66 is closer to the optimum 70 degrees, there will be a cloud in the sky. I don’t know who is the bigger fool, Channel 11 for assigning days a value, like the knob of an amplifier, or me for following the fools who assign days a value, like the knobs of an amplifier.

Speaking of knobs on an amplifier, I took the opportunity to do a little band practice tonight with our band, The TackyOnes. It has been a stressful week, and there is nothing like turning up the amps to the mythical “11” in “Spinal Tap” and blowing out the stress through some power chords. We hold practice down at Axel Rhodes trailer in Number 24. That way we can point the amps towards the Chattahoochee National Forest. So far we’ve had no noise complaints from the wildlife living there. We do occasionally get complaints from the tenants about feedback. For some reason, feedback seems to be omnidirectional, and when we get a little too close to the mikes, we can emit an ear splitting discharge of sound. Hey, it happens to the best of them.

After practice, I came back to Number Two, showered, and headed to the Rec room for date night. Imagine my surprise to find that Mulva had pulled a documentary out of the Walmart $2.99 movie bin. Doubling that surprise was that the movie was about musicians, singers specifically, that spent their careers, “Twenty Feet From Stardom“. What a surprise, and a joy of a movie. The film takes a behind-the-scenes look at the world of backup singers. It  stars Darlene Love, Judith Hill, Merry Clayton, Lisa Fischer, Táta Vega, and Jo Lawry. Thrown in the mix are a lot of the stars that these folks were singing backup for, like Mick Jagger, Cheryl Crow, Sting, and Bruce Springsteen.

I guess Darlene Love was by far the most famous of the artists profiled. In addition to her singing, she also had a film career playing Danny Glover’s wife in the “Lethal Weapon” franchise. She was also a regular Christmas visitor on the Late Show. David Letterman apparently appreciated a good set of pipes. As good as Darlene Love is, I think the most impressive work shown in the film was Merry Clayton in the Rolling Stone’s “Gimme Shelter”. Clayton absolutely blew everyone off the stage, including Jagger. Talk about your great moments in rock history. It’s hard to not keep that song playing in your head for a few hours.

Anyway, the story is a great tribute to the people, who, while performing supporting roles, make the stars who they are. The movie also touches on the fact that being a successful backup singer is a very satisfying career. Not everyone wants to be a star, some folks just want to perform. The movie captured the heart and soul of the backup singers well enough to earn the best documentary Oscar for 2014. It looks like the film did very well at the box office and made a whole lot of money too. I hope the backups were cut in for a percentage of the profits, they certainly deserve a piece of the riches they help provide for others.

By all means check out “Twenty Feet From Stardom“. I think it’s on Netflix if you can’t find it in the $2.99 movie bin at your Walmart. Here’s a little taste.


George Washington’s iPhone

BudLiteGood morning, y’all. On the anniversary of the great SnowJam 2014, I’m going to take the opportunity to wax eloquently on the current state of non-public servants running for political office, and the ones who play them on TV. For those of you who don’t remember, on January 29, 2014, the collective officials of the state of Georgia decided that ten pounds of cure was worth more than an ounce of prevention, and decided to do nothing to help the working man.

Now, I’m not going to recount the hundred of things that our elected officials should have done to prevent the situation that caused people to get out of their cars on I285 and go to the bathroom in public view. In their defense, the folks trapped in their cars had no hope of getting to the next exit in time. It was all very well documented. From the response to this last week’s dusting, it looks like Nathan “Canwemakea” Deal has learned his lesson. For a while anyway.

There’s an old saying that, “A Republican is just a Democrat that’s never had anything bad happen to him”. I’m not suggesting that Governor Deal has converted, I’m just saying that mobs of folks with pitchforks and torches around the Governor’s mansion after the last debacle might have opened his eyes a tad as to what “serving the Public” is supposed to mean. We’ll see.

Anyway, the next group of people who want to serve the public by destroying the government were on the tube again tonight. Minus The Donald. Well, not really minus The Donald, they were just on different stages. I set up the Rec room as usual for the potluck supper, even though I figured the turnout would be lighter. I figured at least I’d get a good meal out of the process, even if the show wasn’t going to be as entertaining. I mean honestly, would the Barnum and Bailey circus be as entertaining without the ringmaster? Heck no, that’s why he’s got a job. Maybe it’s the same for the Republicans. They need a ringmaster to keep everyone interested. Maybe The Donald is the only thing keeping Ben Carson and twelve and a half million viewers awake. I’m just saying.

I filled my plate and headed up to the office to re-watch the documentary, “The Best of Enemies“, again. I can’t afford to drop any more IQ, and watching the two intellects of Buckley and Vidal throw verbal barbs at one another is very stimulating to me. I was headed back to the buffet for second helpings when I ran into the antithesis of intellect, Yuri Stinkherr. Yuri inquired as to why I was not watching the debates tonight with the rest of the crowd. Yuri felt that the candidates were actually having some very substantive policy discussions tonight. I believe I replied, “they’re all peas from the same pod”, or something to that effect.

Yuri took exception to my remark, and used his prodigious size to block my attempt at reaching another piece of cornbread. I took a step back, preservation being the better part of valor, and asked Yuri what was wrong. Yuri said there was nothing wrong with him, he was just tired of folks disrespecting candidates who were just trying to get us back to the values that the Founding Fathers had given us.

Well, I’m old, I’m tired, and Yuri looks like Gronkowski, that fellow that plays for the Patriots. I needed to speak slow and convincing, kind of like my life depended on it. I asked Yuri if he had a cell phone, and he pulled an iPhone 6 out of his pocket. Next I asked him what did he think would happen if he had walked into The Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia and passed his iPhone around for the Founding Fathers to see? I opined that he would probably be burned as a witch because the Founding Fathers had no concept of what the future was going to bring in technology. Yuri caught my point, without arguing that the iPhone in 1787 would just be a lump of plastic.

I finished off by saying I had no interest in people who wanted to take us back to an earlier time. I want to hear from candidates that are preparing us for the future, whatever it holds. I grabbed my cornbread and retreated to my office, feeling almost eloquent. I turned on Gore Vidal and William F. Buckley again and immediately felt intellectually stunted. Well, it was nice while it lasted. 


The Art of Discourse

BudLiteGood morning, y’all. The weather continues to improve as I am reminded that we are on the eve of the Great Snowjam of 2014. If you were not in the Atlanta environs, the anniversary probably holds no distinction for you. For folks in Atlanta, it was the apocalypse. It was the time when the Republican/Tea Party no government folks showed the brilliance of their philosophies by having a million people sit stranded in their cars for hours and hours.

Of course, the spin now is, that the public was at fault because they all left from work at the same time. Ignoring a hundred years of the quitting whistle going off at 5 o’clock every day, the Governor wants to deflect his ineptitude to the fact that everyone created a traffic jam by leaving for home at the same time. Just like they do every day. Two inches of snow brought a major metropolitan area to its knees, and the government was powerless to help.

Powerless, or the government’s lack of concern for the citizenry provided their raison d’etre for not preemptively providing services. The Repubican Tea Partiers have come up with this great concept of governing. Pay me to do nothing. Send me to the Capitol and I promise I won’t do anything but cash my check. What a great job if you can get it. It set my mind to wondering where this line of thinking came from, and, where Republicans turned the corner from folks like Teddy Roosevelt and Eisenhower to nut jobs like Ted Cruz.

Turns out, there’s a documentary that parallels the timing of the schism, and the documentary includes one of the major players. The documentary is “Best of Enemies”, and it details the debates between William F. Buckley and Gore Vidal prior to the 1968 elections. William F. Buckley was the founder and editor of  the National Review magazine, and from his podium he espoused the ideas that only the elite, of which he was one, should have any say. Now in his mind, he thought he was in favor of democracy, he just didn’t see how letting every one having an equal say was good for the country. Buckley also was not in favor of “big government”, and he despised programs that benefited the general population. He was a smart guy, well educated, and spoke with a patrician, condescending tone that I’m sure was cultivated to make him appear to be all knowing. Condemned by his own words, I’ll give you a Buckley quote on integration in the South and the struggle we were having: “The central question that emerges—and it is not a parliamentary question or a question that is answered by merely consulting a catalog of the rights of American citizens, born Equal—is whether the White community in the South is entitled to take such measures as are necessary to prevail, politically and culturally, in areas in which it does not predominate numerically? The sobering answer is Yes—the White community is so entitled because, for the time being, it is the advanced race.”  Ok, so now we know how the elite feel about preserving their place in a Democracy. Speaking for the regular folks is Gore Vidal.

Vidal is equally educated and extremely erudite. The fact that Vidal can claim more “roots” in the elitist area of society than his nemesis, Buckley, gives rise to the idea that Vidal came to liberalism as an intellectual process. Vidal was also a prolific writer. He wrote a great many histories of American figures, as well as eye opening fiction. While he was a progressive, and ran for office as a Democrat, he was very realistic about the American political system, as he asserts here, “There is only one party in the United States, the Property Party . . . and it has two right wings: Republican and Democrat. Republicans are a bit stupider, more rigid, more doctrinaire in their laissez-faire capitalism than the Democrats, who are cuter, prettier, a bit more corrupt – until recently . . . and more willing than the Republicans to make small adjustments when the poor, the black, the anti-imperialists get out of hand. But, essentially, there is no difference between the two parties.” Not exactly a yellow dog Democrat, but still well left of where Buckley operated.

The classic debates between Buckley and Vidal were hosted by ABC and are studies in intellectual mayhem. If either contestant had been capable of exploding his opponent’s brain by power of thought, they would have done it. The fact that the debates ended in Buckley calling Vidal a “queer” and threatening physical violence, points out the intensity of the feelings between them. It also points out the winner of the debates. “When you lose your temper, you’ve lost the argument”, as the old saying goes.

For an immediate increase in IQ, and an insight in to how Buckley convinced politicians, starting with Reagan, that government was the problem, not the solution, check out “The Best of Enemies“. You might have to watch it twice to catch it all. Having a dictionary close at hand is a good idea too.


The Battle of The Bulge

BudLiteGood morning, y’all. The cold temps have increased the usage of the gym here at the Rec room by an amount that does not seem to be consistent to the number of tenants. Between the running machines and the ellipticals, I’d say our “foot traffic” has increased by about ten fold. I’ve not identified any trespassers yet, but I will say it’s been quite a while since I’ve seen some of these folks.

I’ve not seen many of these folks on my daily walks around TackyToo, and I try to go twice a day, rain or shine. Either they’ve been going to town to do their workouts, or they are newly reborn with their New Year’s Resolutions. Either way, it’s a good thing, as long as they respect one another and wipe their sweat off of the machines. No one likes to bathe in someone else’s perspiration. Well, maybe there are some that do, but they need to do it in the privacy of their own trailers. We’re trying to run a family friendly place here.

Anyhow, looking out over the expanse of flesh, the sea of cellulite, as I try to paint the Rec room, is eye opening. Even the younger, more attractive members for our community, like Ms. Filet Minyon, seem to have picked up a pound or two over the Holidays. Not that anybody is keeping track of such, it’s just that no one seems to be immune to weight gain. I guess there could be some people who don’t gain weight like a bird adding feathers, but they are not here in evidence at TackyToo. Looking at the collective group of exercisers in the gym today, we all seem to be about a biscuit short of blividity, and that’s concerning. All but for Ms. Minyon of course. I suspect her diet plays a part. I think she told me she was a strict vegetarian. I suspect she’s a vegetarian that likes Holiday cookies.

Anyway, weight gain, or loss, is one of the topics I’ve had the occasion to watch first hand, and study for a long while. I’m well aware of the fact that aging reduces the hormones that help burn calories when we’re young. Not easy too accept, but a reduction of caloric intake should offset the loss of hormones, right? I mean, if I go from two quarter pounders with cheese, large fries and large coke for lunch to a chicken Caesar salad, I should have over compensated for the loss of hormones, right? My scales say, “no”, and not just “no”, but “heck no!” Why?

Some analysts want to point out our “sedentary” life style. They say that since folks don’t live on farms and do hard physical labor every day that that is the reason that America’s BMI is higher than Everest. I don’t see it. New York City had a population of a million people back in 1880. Were all of them blivits? Of course not. In fact, when America entered World War II there were so many potential inductees turned down for malnutrition that the school lunch program was introduced. Now, starvation is a good way to keep weight down, but I don’t think the school lunch program was the impetus for heart disease and diabetes. Ironically, it appears another government program was, though.

In 1971, Richard Nixon appointed Earl Butz his Secretary of Agriculture, and the industrialized farming of corn began. Soon every patch of dirt was growing corn, and contrary to those deeply held Republican ideas of a “Free Market”, corn prices were supported by the government. An over supply did not bring a drop in what the farmers would be paid, so they figured out more ways to over produce. The problem quickly became, what would we do with the surplus corn. Easy. Let’s make it into corn syrup, and add it to every other product that’s made. Don’t let cows or pigs range for food. Force feed them corn for quick growth. The massive usage of high fructose corn syrup, has permeated everything we eat or drink. If we eat anything that is not home grown, then HFCS will be a component of our diet.

Duke University has studied the phenomenon extensively, and has even produced charts that parallel the introduction of HFCS in our diets and the rise of obesity. Now the Duke scientists are talking about the scarring done to the liver by HFCS as being consistent with a heavy drinker. That’s double bad news for a drinker.

So while you’re doing your morning routine and asking yourself, “why won’t those pounds go away”, remember Richard Nixon fondly. I know I do.


Town Halls

BudLiteGood morning, y’all. The snow has all but melted and we are in for a week of “milder” temperatures, it looks like. The Whiz O Meter really wants to predict freezing rain and sleet for the incoming precipitation, but it’s too warm. I guess even the weather people have taken on the Republican mantle of predicting the worst to get more viewership. What’s that saying,”if it bleeds, it leads”? I’m sure psychologists have a term for this fascination with bad news. I think I’ll ask what the term is at my next tuneup.

Anyway, the TackyToo Rec room was pleased to host the Democratic debate potluck tonight. Due to the poor weather conditions, most of our Republican “fair weather friends” declined to attend tonight’s potluck and add their “two cents” to the discussion. I have to admit, I won’t miss their “two cents”, but, culinarily speaking, I will miss their covered dish. Al Katz’s wife, Tabby, brought her “world famous” green bean casserole. Alva Bread brought a dish of macaroni and cheese to add to the four pork loins I had grilled on the Big Green Egg. Mulva threw in a plate of jalapeno cornbread, and that was it. Alva Bread did offer up front to “help” with the leftovers. A dish of macaroni and cheese is a good investment for getting her brood fed for a couple of days, I guess.

Her husband, The Right Reverend Dale E. Bread, was not in attendance. I’m not sure what The Right Reverend would have brought to the party though. He seems to root for whichever group he’s in. Which is a bit of a mystery to me. How any clergy can endorse the hate rhetoric coming from the Republican party, specifically The Donald, is beyond me. I mean, pragmatically, if you round up all of the Muslims and send them back to Egypt, or wherever, it increases your market share, but it kind of kicks that “do unto others” concept square in the ‘nads. It certainly makes me wish the, “what would Jesus do?”, movement had made a bigger penetration, especially with the clergy. I guess everybody has their own concept of “doing unto others”.

The Democrat debates were held in “Town Hall” style, which I like very much. The contrast of having three candidates in a relaxed format, answering questions from the audience, is a profound difference to the Republican format. What we’ve come to expect from the Republicans is their Clown Car emptying out on stage with the “candidates” firmly chained to their podiums. The podium assignments are arranged by popularity, and so The Donald is always center stage. The Donald is so much the show that the networks keep a camera on him all of the time so they can show his facial expressions, picture in picture, while the other candidates talk. It is a perversion that reminds me of other great egos, like Mussolini, et al. The sheer number of candidates distort the time allowed for meaningful dialog to occur, even when the moderator tries to hold a candidate on topic. The debates are not so much debates as schoolyard trysts with the biggest bully always getting his way, lest he “take his bat and ball” and go home. Over filling the stage has to be a Republican strategy to mask the weakness of all of their candidates. Not so, with the Democrats.

I am happy to report civil, intelligent discourse about the ways to elevate the American standard and quality of life for all citizens from three very qualified candidates. In my humble opinion, they would all make excellent Presidents. The length of their term might be a question for a couple of them though. Here’s my thoughts:

Michael O’Malley – excellent choice for his policies. I also like his youth. He would make an excellent back up to the other candidates, while getting the national recognition he needs to pull off a presidential run. He took his coat off, he’s ready to go to work.

Bernie Sanders – I love him, I love everything he says. I just worry if elected, if a 75 year old man will make it to the end of his first term. That’s right Bernie, you’re 74, soon to be 75. I do hope that the acceptance of the label of “Socialist” by the young people following Bernie is a trend that has legs. A better educated populace will look at the standard of living sported by the Scandinavian countries and will not worry about political labels. Thank Bernie for that.

Hillary Clinton – I hope not “always a bridesmaid and never a bride” does not apply to Hillary. I loved her response to the young fellow pointing out that she had been fighting for Universal Health Care before he was born. I love the fact that she was able to take a “lemons”moment and make lemonade. She has the experience to do great things if elected.  Hopefully, Bernie will keep holding her feet to the fire to run as a Democrat, not Republican Lite. I mean once upon time Hillary worked to impeach Nixon, she shouldn’t forget her roots.

Well, there you have it. While Alva and the Republicans are left with leftovers, the rest of us have the opportunity to get off our hindquarters and make a difference. Whoever the candidate is, vote Democrat. And, like they say in Chicago, “vote often”!


Blessed Assurance

BudLiteGood morning, y’all. There’s still a good bit of the white stuff laying about. I am reminded of Granny Waller’s old saying, “it’s just waiting for another one to lay over it”. Which I guess is a way old people told the weather before they had the Channel 11 Whiz O Meter to throw them off track. I guess the logic was that if the temperature was cold enough to keep the snow from melting, it was cold enough to snow the next time precipitation moved into the area. Not as fancy as photos from the International Space Station, but probably as effective. Like I always say, you could just call somebody in Birmingham and see what it’s doing there. Birmingham weather usually takes about four hours to reach us, plenty of time to batten down the hatches.

Harsh weather always makes me think about folks like Granny Waller who might need special attention during storms. That’s one of the reasons I installed the generator here at the Rec room. Older folks, of which I am rapidly becoming one, would have a familiar, safe spot to stay until the weather abates. The Rec room is cinder block construction and would survive a pretty good tornado I suspect. If we get enough warning, folks can come here and hunker down and not worry about having their survivors being interviewed on Channel 11 Alive. Mulva says she’d “just die if she’d been killed in a tornado and I was interviewed on TV. I just kind of look at her and marvel at the logic. I do get her meaning, I just marvel at her way of expressing herself, sometimes.

Anyway, Mulva was clear about her opinion of the move of  The Full Gospel Original Church of God to Blairsville. It seems like there was an article in this week’s edition of the North Georgia News that was not exactly welcoming of the move of an “outlier cult” to the most prominent piece of architecture in Blairsville. Now, I think the folks at the Union County Jail might give argument to the Crystal Palace being the most prominent piece of architecture, but that was not what had Mulva’s fur ruffled. The phrase “outlier cult” stuck in Mulva’s craw so bad that she could barely talk. The article was right next to an article about a multi-convicted pedophile who had been arrested again. From the picture in the paper, the dude looked like he was ninety, even though they listed his age is 67. Well, jail does age a man.

Anyway, back to the point, Mulva was completely flummoxed by the sentiments expressed in the news article. The Full Gospel Original Church of God was gaining viewership each week in the telecasts on Channel 99 in Blairsville. Folks were coming from as far away as Columbus to the services, and the church was busting at the seams. The acceptance of the church by more folks was the reason the Elders had gone to Blairsville seeking out a larger sanctuary. The real estate agent, Ima Goochey, had been more than happy to take a year’s rent up front and allow the parishioners the opportunity to bring the building up to code. Now that the ball was rolling, the church was meeting outside resistance to the move. It was not like there wasn’t plenty of resistance already by the old-timers within the church to the move. The news article was giving the “stay in the valley” crowd another argument for staying put.

I’m guessing the strong emotions expressed by the Elders and the congregation were the background for the Reverend Helen Handbasket’s sermon this week, which was on “Wrath”. Truth be told, I don’t know who exactly the sermon was directed at. Part of the sermon seem to draw on some Old Testament, vengeful God, ideas that I assumed were directed at the “city slickers” in Blairsville who would try to take advantage of the The Full Gospel Original Church of God. The summation of the sermon seemed to be directed at the congregation, with an entreaty to calm their wrath for one another. The Reverend Helen Handbasket closed the sermon with Proverbs 15:1, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger”.

Fortunately for the TV viewing audience, the Reverend finished up in time to get the altar call and testament of faith in the telecast. The snakes looked a little sluggish, but, don’t we all this time of year?


After The Storm

BudLiteGood morning, y’all. Well Icepocalypse  didn’t leave us completely unscathed as reported yesterday. Surprisingly, it wasn’t the ice and snow, it was the subfreezing temperature that was the culprit. We had a couple of tenants with frozen pipes this morning. No matter how many times you warn folks about leaving their faucets on at a trickle to keep them from freezing, some folks just insist on seeing how bad a burst pipe can damage a trailer. Now they get to see it, and live with the damage, until they get it cleaned up. We have strict rules about who is responsible for what at TackyToo, and being an idjit is always the responsibility of the tenant.

One other unexpected inconvenience from the storm was the loss of the internet for a few hours. We have one of the major players in the internet serving our area, they’re called Windstream. I think they serve all of the areas that Comcast and Time Warner think are going to be a pain in the rear to service. Anyway, our lights flickered in the Rec room and then came back on strong. I figured “woo hoo”, the power didn’t go out, but then Yuri Stinker let out a curse as he slammed his giant paw onto the desk of the community computer. The internet had gone down while he was in the middle of renewing his NRA membership on line. His face was as red as a sunburned beet, and from the distension in his neck veins, I thought he was literally going to explode. I approached cautiously and applied my vast IT knowledge to the problem. I typed into the browser window and hit return. The computer thought for about ten seconds and then displayed a page that said “server not found”. Well there you have it folks, the internet was down.

I stuck my head out and checked the cable line from the Rec room to the pole on the highway, and it looked good. I promised Yuri I’d do everything I could to get service restored as quick as possible. I assured Yuri he was first in line when the internet came back, and that he would get his full fifteen minutes of time. I headed for the office to get my rolodex of “important numbers”, and placed the dreaded call to customer service. OMG! Push 1, push 6, speak English, don’t care what my balance is, and then, a human voice.

From deep in the bowels of a call center in deepest darkest New Delhi, a woman identified herself as “Amy”. “Amy” had a lot to say. I think most of it was about me adding more services, but some of it was aimed at troubleshooting my problem. She kept calling me, “Mr. Bud”, which I guess is nice, but those were basically the only words I could understand. I try real hard to not be a xenophobe, but this was really getting to me. I finally just started suggesting courses of action and having “Amy” agree with me. At least she could understand English, she just didn’t speak it. After twenty minutes or so of rebooting the modem we determined that “Amy” was helpless to fix the problem. “Amy” wanted to schedule an in home visit from a technician, would I be available next Tuesday from 5 to 7 in the evening? Why of course I would, what were my options? “Amy” and I said our fond goodbyes. 

About an hour later I get a call on my cell from “Clark”, from “Advanced Technical Support”.  “Advanced Technical Support” apparently means I’m going to go through the same routines as regular support, except in better English. Towards the end of my twenty minute conversation with “Clark”, he happens to mention that there is an outage in my area, and that it should be fixed by 8:30PM. Well, deep fry me and call me a hushpuppie. In measured tones I explain to “Clark” that if  “Amy” had told me my area was experiencing an outage, and to just cool my jets until 8:30, we would have avoided wasting a heck of a lot of everybody’s time. “Clark” promised to call me back tomorrow to see if I was fixed and he could cancel the in home visit.

Well, long story short, about 8:25 the internet came back on, and life sort of returned to normal. I called Yuri to tell him he was up, but he didn’t answer. I’m sure the NRA will give him another shot at renewing his membership. Namaste.



BudLiteGood morning, y’all. Icepocalyspe has arrived, and gone by. I hate to keep ragging on folks that seem really dedicated to trying to do a good job, like the folks controlling the Whiz-O-Meter at Channel 11 News, but they make it too easy. The rumors of our demise were greatly exaggerated. We got snow, we got sleet, but so far everything is passable. I bet I’ve got more ice in the ice machine at the pool than on the ground. Good news, and we are happy to have dodged the bullet!

The best news is, we kept power and I didn’t have to spend date night with my neighbors. It might have been a very emotional experience for many members of my posse here at TackyToo to have to sit through our date night movie. No, I’m not talking about the lovey dovey stuff, I’m talking about the subject matter of the movie. In memoriam of the Iran Hostage crisis’ thirty fifth anniversary, I had Mulva look for the movie “Argo” on her trip to Walmart. It was not to be found in the $2.99 bin. I think Mulva had to pay $9.99, but it was well worth it.

Now, why the movie may have caused distress to many members of the TackyToo Republican Party, is that the movie is about a successful spy operation that didn’t involve American Black Ops. Unlike movies about other American ventures, it didn’t resolve in the wholesale slaughter of all the foreigners when the operation went South. It was a movie about an operation that actually worked by using intelligence instead of firepower. How neat is that?

By the way, the story is about real events. Where the movie takes literary license is that it is presented as being an American led operation. It was not. The story is about how six diplomats at the American Embassy in Tehran were about to be in the same hostage boat as our other folks were. The six Americans sought asylum at the house of a Canadian diplomat, and from there the fun began. Through a series of quick moves and quick thinking, the Canadians got the American diplomats moved to a house that was considered safe. There they contacted officials in Canada for help in getting the Americans out of Iran.

Enter Ben Affleck as a CIA operative charged with the mission of getting the Americans safely home. Let me interject here that Ben Affleck is not my favorite. Don’t know why, it might have to do with a curiosity with his bust up with Jennifer Garner, can’t say. Affleck is a much better director to me than actor. I think the success of the movie proves Affleck’s directing skill. The movie received seven Academy Award nominations, and won for Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Film Editing. Not too bad for a movie that didn’t have Matt Damon in it.

Anyway, Affleck’s character concocts this wild story about a Canadian film crew that was going to use Iran’s deserts for a science fiction movie. Affleck and his crew arrive in Tehran, meet up with the Americans and start the ruse. All of the Iranian officials have to be convinced that the movie deal is a real project or Affleck has just added more hostages to the mix. The displaced Americans have to pose as members of the film crew that had already entered Iran to scout locations, but were then trapped by the revolution. Everyone has to appear to be a Canadian to leave the country with their new Canadian passports. Good tight drama all the way through.

The movie takes its title from a line uttered by John Goodman, which was hilarious when delivered. It was also the name of the ship which the Greek myth “Jason and the Argonauts” is based on. It’s nice to have a PG reference to tell the kids. It would also be nice to tell the kids the true history of the events. Outside of the Ben Affleck character, the operation was nearly all Canadian.

I would have been compelled to point that out to all of my neighbors if date night had exploded into a TackyToo sleep over. Fortunately it did not.


The Life Of The Party

BudLiteGood morning, y’all. Preparations continue for Icepocalypse 2016. I can’t say I’m looking forward to spending 24 x 7 with my neighbors here at TackyToo, but I’m willing to bite the bullet if everyone loses power. I do know getting a generator to back up the Rec room for power outages was the right thing to do. I just fear my tolerance for people who don’t share my world view is going to be sorely, sorely tested.

I can barely abide being in the same room with some of my neighbors for the Republican Debate potlucks, and that’s just four hours, every few weeks. Spending an extended period of time cheek by jowl with some of the residents here might turn me into a backslider. I’m serious! All day long folks have been dropping by to ask me if I’ve tested the generator, if I’ve got plenty of toilet paper and paper towels, if the paint smell is going to go away. These folks are truly pushing me to the brink. I couldn’t even sit down and enjoy the best news so far in the election cycle. Sarah Palin is endorsing The Donald. Honest to God, she’s already made a speech for him and everything.

Sarah, Sarah, Sarah, there’s so much, where do I begin? I guess we could start with what Sarah calls the “elephant in the room”. Sarah’s delinquent son, Track, now a veteran, is also now an alleged felon. Turns out, “family values” mom didn’t think it was important to mention to her son that he shouldn’t hit girls. During her endorsement speech of The Donald, Sarah wanted to blame everyone but herself and her husband for Track’s misdeeds. Sarah was even dragging President Obama into the mix for not “appreciating veterans” enough. Well, mercy me. I guess I’ll ask the question. Where was President Obama when Sarah’s little lovebug was cutting the brake lines on school buses so he wouldn’t have to go to school? It is rumored that Track’s volunteering for service avoided some time out in the Wasilla hoosegow. Probably not a miscarriage of justice, Track clearly needed the stability and discipline the service can provide. From the outcomes of his other misadventures, it is clear that Track does not make good decisions when left to his own devices. Must have been all of that time spent with his Mom.

Now, lest you think I’m just dumping on Sarah because of one kid who has a problem, let me introduce you to Bristol, Sarah’s oldest daughter. Bristol, who, “didn’t go to Harvard Law School”, was smart enough at eighteen to get herself a gig as spokesperson for the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. It was a role she was well suited for, having gotten pregnant when she was seventeen. Her work in unplanned pregnancies has continued with her second child born out of wedlock in 2015. I guess it’s easy work, and somebody’s got to do it. I particularly like her quote from a 2009 Good Morning America show where Bristol declared, “Regardless of what I did personally, abstinence is the only 100% foolproof way you can prevent pregnancy.” It’s good to know Bristol is still out there practicing what she preaches.

To be fair, any examination of the rest of the family that wants to teach us values, should bring up the “Thrilla in Wasilla”. The “Palin brawl” actually took place in Anckorage, but started in Wasilla. In a party with over seventy people in attendance, Track and his Daddy duked it out while Bristol punched the party’s host in the face. There are no reports that Sarah threw a punch. I’m surprised.

I’m not surprised that The Donald is willing to scrape the bottom of the barrel to try to pull out a win in Iowa. Sarah plays well with the Bible thumpers, or at least she used to. The Donald needs help with the sanctified Republican voters. Maybe the evangelicals are willing to look past Palin’s “do as I say, not do as I do”, hypocrisy and vote for The Donald. Who knows. Sarah’s message is bound to be more on point than The Donald’s “Two Corinthians“.

Hang on to your hats, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.