Promised Land

BudLiteGood morning, y’all. Well we scooted over to the Walmart in Blairsville to get our shopping in before the apocalypse of storms hit. We’re getting predictions of massive thunderstorms and combinations of hail and rain. One of the weather drones went on to say that while storm conditions were “moderate”, tornadoes were “likely”. I’m probably going to need to suss on that thought for a week or so. Tornadoes being “likely” while the storms were predicted to be moderate. Maybe I’m more sensitive than most, living in a tin house and all. In my dictionary, moderate storms and tornadoes don’t appear on the same page. Like I said, maybe I’m just sensitive.

Well, we got to the Walmart without having our car thrown into a ditch by crazy out of control moderate wind. Mulva headed to the produce section first thing. The strawberries are supposed to be coming in. We’ve been told that they are particularly sweet this year. I headed over to the electronics section to do my “dumpster dive” in the discounted movie bins. I uncovered a sleeper, at least for me. It was called “Promised Land” and starred Matt Damon. Matt Damon happens to be one of the few actors that Mulva and I both will watch anything he’s in.

I don’t know why that is with some actors. There are folks that Mulva likes that I can not abide. Same thing for Mulva. I can go on for hours about a particular actors credentials to no avail. If Mulva doesn’t like them, she doesn’t like them, and that’s it. Academy awards or not, once Mulva has made up her mind about an actor, he is set in stone. Matt Damon is set in stone, and that stone is high up on a pedestal. It’s good when we agree.

Well the plot of this movie is about a country boy who grew up on a farm and then went off to college and became “citified”. As the story opens, Matt Damon is being considered for a promotion that will keep him in the office of a major oil company based in New York City. Damon and his partner, played by Frances McDormand, head off into the wilds of Pennsylvania for one last field trip of signing up leases for drilling rights to the local’s land. There is a great deal made about farming not being what it used to be, and how this money from an oil lease would bring prosperity to their town and region. Early efforts are successful until Damon hits a speed bump in the form of Hal Holbrook. Holbrook’s character wants everyone to do more research on the effects of fracking and what it would mean for the land long term. There ensues a divide in the town between folks for and against, and then it gets really ugly when an environmentalist enters the town.

The environmentalist is played by John Krasinski, who does a very good job stirring up the locals in opposition to the drilling company. An interesting side note is that Krasinski and Damon wrote the screenplay for the movie from a story by Dave Eggers. The topic must have been close to the hearts of Damon and Krasinski.

The story itself is presented as an almost life and death decision for the townspeople. There is a huge back and forth with people voicing their opinions on a very emotional level on both sides of the issue. Some want the riches and the good life it promises. Others want to maintain their family farms as they have done for generations. It is a true, “neighbor versus neighbor” struggle. Mixed in with the struggle is a little romantic interlude, and you’ve got the makings of a really enjoyable Date night movie.

“Promised Land” was not a big blockbuster at the box office, nor did it win any significant awards. It was just a real life depiction of the struggle that farmers who have mineral deposits on their land face. I think most farmers around here would love to be faced with that dilemma. I know that I would be up to the challenge, if given the opportunity.


The Orange Party

BudLiteGood morning, y’all. It’s getting warm up here in the mountains and I’m going to need to wrap up my outdoor activities pretty soon. Even going out for a couple of hours to spread weed and feed sets me to cooking. I wear as few clothes as is prudent. I am ambivalent to hats, sort of. I get the idea of blocking the sun’s rays to prevent skin cancer, but I also know the hat is trapping heat. At my head. Where I need it the least. Does this qualify as a paradox? Something that is supposed to be good for you, but feels bad?

You know it’s funny, but I can’t think about the sun, and sun tans, without thinking about the folks that go to tanning booths. I have to admit, for folks that work outside on a regular basis it just seems like a silly affectation. Even though most of us just sport a “farmer’s tan”, at least we’re getting a good dose of healthy sunshine. I understand that that’s the reason the suicide rate is so high in Seattle. It rains so much there that the people don’t get “charged up” like they should by the sun’s rays.

Now I try to make allowances for folks who are city bound and aren’t able to get out into the sun on a regular basis. My ignorance of tanning booths is pretty complete. I don’t know if there is any vitamin D transported in a tanning booth. If so, I can give them a little more credence. Folks need that boost of vitamin D that comes from the sun. If you can’t get vitamin D from a tanning booth, then I guess it’s just a breeding tube for skin cancer. Not the way I want to go.

I was always amazed that former Speaker of the House, John Boehner, has been such a big fan of the “healthy glow” that can only be derived from the use of tanning booths. It seems that since his very early days in the House, when he handed out checks to other members of Congress for their consideration on tobacco industry issues, Boehner has been a heavy smoker. I guess I have some sympathy for a fellow that’s livelihood is tied to a deadly practice. I mean, coal miners keep going down in the mine even though they know it’s killing them. I’m guessing that Boehner’s handlers with the tobacco industry told him he needed to smoke as much as he could, and look healthy while doing it. Instead of the ashen grey pallor that a life long smoker gets, Boehner has this “healthy” orange glow. All things considered, I guess orange looks better than grey.

The Donald also appears to be a big user of tanning booths. I was struck funny a couple of weeks ago when The Donald appeared at a rally looking like Rocky the Raccoon. The white skin around The Donald’s eyes was big enough to indicate that ski goggles were used to protect his eyes while he was in the booth. Maybe that’s a tanning booth option. They give you the appropriate size goggles to match the outdoor activity that you’re hoping to fool folks into thinking you do. You can get the regular lid covers, ski mask or scuba mask. You’d just have to keep your stories straight to match the untanned skin.

The tanning booth would be an unlikely spot for bringing together political interests, but I’m sure stranger things have happened. John Boehner seemed to, kind of, sort of, get on the Trump bandwagon this week. Like all politicians, it’s hard to discern their true feelings. It may be that as a result of The Donald’s crushing wins this week in the primaries that the Old Guard has decided to embrace The Donald. For sure, if I was John Boehner I’d prefer to get on The Donald’s good side. “Cryin’ John Boehner” sounds even worse than “Lyin’ Ted Cruz”. It could be that we’re getting a prelude to the Fall match up for the Republicans.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Orange Party:



Breath of God IV

BudLiteGood morning, y’all. Sunny, with none of the rain we’ve been promised so many times. I feel we’re slipping right into Summertime without a chance for me to get acclimated. I’m not saying that I’m going to be out working in the 90 degree heat, because I’m not. I’m just saying I’d like a gradual raise in temperatures over weeks of transition. Some things it just takes longer to get used to, and heat is one of them for me. Seventies one week and nineties the next is just not fair.

Speaking of not fair, we were discussing the opinion held by one Evan “Bubba” Hoakum that his time had arrived. I was not the one to tell him that his ship would never come in, at least as regards pastorship at The Full Gospel Original Church of God. Pedigree aside, Bubba was not pastor material. Whether he ever had the potential can be debated. Certainly before the years of physical abuse took its toll, Bubba stood his best chance.

Contrary to Evangelical belief, sparing the rod just might be the best parenting. Especially if the rod is going to be used against the child’s head. Maybe Bubba had his best chance when DFCS came out to have a look when he was eight or so. I imagine it would have been very difficult for the DFCS agent to remove Bubba from his home, in spite of all of the signs of physical abuse. Bubba was the son of a well respected preacher in a small community where everyone knew everything about each other. More importantly, no one told anything about a member of the community to an outsider. The grammar school teacher that called DFCS to investigate the issue was gone the next year. Everyone learned a lesson, and went on about their business.

Bubba learned to endure his lot with a grin on his face, much like he was displaying to me from across the table at the IHOP. How he managed to keep his pancakes in his mouth while grinning in his toothless countenance was a great mystery. My guess is his table manners had been taught to him with as strict a dictum as his Bible verses. It is the pastor’s fate to break bread with as many members of his congregation as he can. Spewing food while asking the faithful to dig “just a little deeper” each Sunday might not have a positive result in the collection plate.

Bubba’s manners were sound. In fact, if it were not for the fact that “good sense had been beat out of him”, as Granny Waller used to say, Bubba had all of the tools. Bubba had been handling snakes as far back as he could remember. I suspect his daddy put one in the crib with him. The snakes responded well to Bubba, and even Old Ben seemed to up his deportment a notch when Bubba was in charge.

Bubba has a beautiful deep bass singing voice. It is the deep bass of a three pack a day smoker, without the occasional rasp and coughing. I assume that deep voice would carry a sermon well into the rafters, even at the Crystal Palace. Bubba’s knowledge of the hymnal is complete and allowed him to elevate his status to choir director when Ophelia Bottoms was moved to the Crystal Palace. I’m sure that the Elders moving Ms. Bottoms away from the clutches of the Right Reverend Dale E. Bread is one of the reasons that Bubba feels like the third time might be the charm.

I’m just guessing, but I bet that Bubba has a couple of dozen sermons memorized from years of hearing them repeated in church. I’m sure that in his mind, Bubba thinks that he is the “total package”, and should be the one making the altar call each Sunday. Now that the Right Reverend Dale E. Bread has gotten himself sideways with the congregation again at the “Little Church In The Valley”, Bubba senses that it is his, “why not me?” moment. I’m so glad it’s not me that has to dash his hopes again.

Of course the big question for me is, what the heck is going to happen to the Right Reverend Dale E. Bread? Being a greeter at the Walmart ain’t going to pay the rent, and that’s what we all should be concerned about with this latest bit of news. If we are all painfully honest with ourselves, the Right Reverend’s skill set seems to lend itself to being a gigolo. I just don’t know how much work there is in our area for the trade. I am equally unsure as to whether a hard working gigolo would make enough to support his brood.

I’m not interested in “doing the right thing” again, no matter how Mulva feels. If we want the “right thing” to happen, the Right Reverend needs to get his “issue” fixed. It might not fix his wandering eye, but he can get everything else that wanders taken care of. 

I keep all of my thoughts in, I don’t want to concern Bubba with any more information than he’s already got. He seems like he’s about ready to bust, and it’s not the pancakes. I pick up the check and tell him it’s my treat. Bubba says, “thank you”, and grins.


Breath of God III

BudLiteGood morning, y’all. I was promised rain and only received sprinkles, barely. I wonder if the sponsors of the Channel 11 Whiz O Meter feel as cheated as I do. I’m sure they’re spending big bucks to get their products mentioned during the twenty minutes or so of the news that the weather occupies.

I’m not sure that if I had a product, especially one that involved some precision, like dentistry, that I’d want to tie my fortunes to a show that was only eighty eight percent accurate. Eighty eight percent accurate is after giving themselves a fudge factor of plus or minus five degrees. Who would want to go to a dentist that promised to pull the right tooth eighty eight percent of the time, given a proximity factor of five degrees left or right? Not me for sure.

Speaking of dentistry, let’s get back to my Sunday update. I’m sitting across the table from Bubba Hoakum, who has come to the IHOP for the same reason I have, all of the pancakes we can eat. With Bubba, it’s probably more of a necessity than an indulgence. Bubba is missing most of his teeth, “North and South”, as Cat Stevens used to sing. I’m sure that eating only foods that required minimal chewing plays a part in Bubba’s razor thin body type. While my BMI is about 300, I’d calculate Bubba’s at about 10. He’s so thin you could read a paper through him, as Daddy used to say. In spite of Bubba’s various afflictions, he always has a smile on his face, and today is no exception. He is grinning like a mule eating briars.

Bubba opens with,”We missed you today in church”. I explain that I was in church, just not the “Little Church In The Valley”. I go on to say that when I go to the services at the “Crystal Palace” I can stop at IHOP and get all of the pancakes I can eat. My logic is unassailable, and Bubba can not counter. I duck my head back into the menu like there’s some big decision that needs to be made about whether I’ll have sausage, patties or links, bacon or ham. The waitress appears and I choose to go “whole hog” and get links, bacon and ham. Bubba opts for the pancake special and then we are left with nothing between us but the silence.

Bubba does not like silence and asks, “Did you hear what happened at church today?” His grin is from ear to ear, and his face is so red I think he looks sunburned. I reply, “no”, and I fear the worst. I can’t afford for the Right Reverend Dale E. Bread to have another incident, like before. I’m just starting to break even on carrying him and his brood for several months at TackyToo. I can’t afford for the Right Reverend to be hospitalized again, or worse yet, out of a job.

Bubba is bursting with the news and can’t contain himself, even though social convention might dictate that he should. The long and the short of the story is that Alva Bread, Dale E. Bread’s wife and mother of his seven children, was wearing a special pin that the Right Reverend had given her. The same pin was being sported today by Ms. Anita Goodman. According to Bubba, the two women noticed the similarity about the same time and flew into each other. Bubba did allow that it was more Alva Bread flying into Anita Goodman, but that Anita Goodman did give a good accounting of herself. Bubba related that Ms. Goodman did a fine job of defending herself, even though she was outnumbered five or six to one. Some of the Bread’s older children had joined in the fray. Devin, the eldest Bread, was doing the most damage with a hymnal he had picked up. Eventually both combatants were retired to their respective corners, or pews, and the service got under way.

Now, here is where Bubba’s face took on as serious a look as I’ve ever seen. “Bud, do you know what the sermon was on?” Bubba asked. Before I could answer, Bubba blurted out, “As you reap, so shall you sow”. The actual quote is from Galatians, 6:7, Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” To be honest, I’m not one for “signs”, but just about everyone that I know believes in a silent messaging system from the great beyond. Bubba was completely convinced that the “spirit” was working behind the scenes and setting the table for the day when Bubba would take his rightful place as the pastor of the church. Bubba believes that since his great granddaddy founded the church, and each of the first born sons had followed great granddaddy, that it is Bubba’s birthright. If “taking hits for the team” was a qualification for making the team, I’d say Bubba has paid his dues.

The reality that the sermon had probably been set at least a week ago did not occur to Bubba. The fact that the Right Reverend Dale E. Bread was not prepared to change his sermon on a moment’s notice did not challenge Bubba’s belief that the “Lord was working in mysterious ways”. 

Like the ham, I need to chew on this further.



Breath of God II

BudLiteGood morning, y’all. Things are looking good here in Nunsuch, Georgia. We have a chance that a much meeker version of the awful weather that’s been ravaging the Midwest will arrive tonight in our fair burg. I’m counting on a few thunder boomers with a gentle rain in between. As long as Mother Nature can provide a weekly soaking, I get to keep the park sprinklers off. Sometimes the water bill here at TackyToo looks like what the Air Force would pay for a toilet seat. With a little help from nature, we can keep TackyToo from becoming a debtor nation like the good old U.S.A. 

When we left my Sunday update, I was headed to my reward, Earthly not Heavenly, of all the pancakes I could eat at IHOP. Gorging myself at IHOP is an accommodation that Mulva and I have arrived at over the years for my presence at church. Since Mulva has to stay after the services to count the money and make the deposit, her day is pretty much taken by the church. I don’t seem to possess the same spiritual vacuum as Mulva, in that I don’t need to get recharged with the “Spirit” on a very regular basis. Rather than keeping me around whining and opining while Mulva tried to discharge her duties, it was determined that I was “free” as soon as the altar call was made. The extra gas spent on taking two cars everywhere was money well spent.

Putting on my Sunday finest, sitting erect and not falling asleep for an hour every week was a fair price for keeping peace in the family. Truthfully, I have gotten something out of attending services all these years. It’s comforting to nod your head in greeting to folks you’ve known all of your life, even if we don’t take the time to speak. It’s kind of a “I’m still here, and you are too”, that is an acknowledgement that we primates are social animals. Now, we could get the same feeling at a Unitarian church, or the library, I guess. It’s just a little more special when folks are attending an Evangelical church. When you throw in the snake handling, well, you’ve got a special group of people. Of course, the Reverend Helen Handbasket is doing her dead level best to mainstream our little cult. The weekly TV viewership is consistently raising by twenty percent each week. The new church, the “Crystal Palace”, is bursting at the seams. If the trend continues, we might be on the cusp of a national wave. We may find ourselves someday saying, “I was  cool before you even knew it was cool”.

The cool part is you don’t have to believe in any of it to be a part of it. I guess it helps to believe, but if you’ve been going as long as I have, you basically have all of the routines and rituals memorized. When the preacher says, “turn in your hymnals to page 325”, you say, “The Old Rugged Cross” before he, or she does. In fact, I’m humming “The Old Rugged Cross” to myself as I pour over the menu at IHOP. The tune is the same, but the word’s are different: “On a hill far away, stood an old Chevrolet, it’s fenders were battered and torn, then along came the Lord, in a ’48 Ford, and drove the old Chevy away”.

I must have been humming out loud because I was suddenly surprised to have Evan “Bubba” Hoakum slide into the booth across from me and pick up the verse. Since Bubba’s great granddaddy started The Full Gospel Original Church of God, it is no surprise that Bubba is singing the right words. I’m guessing that if Bubba knew the Chevrolet words he had them beaten out of him long ago. Since Bubba is a few bricks short of a load, I also suspect he may have had more than sacrilegious lyrics beaten out of him. 

Bubba is grinning like a dog that has found a long lost bone. Let me just say here that while Bubba has a warm, cheerful grin, it is almost completely bereft of teeth. It’s hard to say which, or how many, teeth were lost to neglect or corporal punishment. They are just no longer there. Bubba in his innocence does not realize how off putting his smile is, and I speculate is unable to control it. Even if Bubba knows how scary he appears, he doesn’t appear to be trying to hold his emotions in check. He is smiling to beat the band.

Why is Bubba so happy? We’ll talk about that tomorrow.


Breath of God

BudLiteGood morning, y’all. Another gorgeous day here in the mountains. This is kind of how I would think Heaven would be, if I gave credence to the belief of a hereafter. One thing is for sure, every day would be an “11” on the Whiz O Meter. Not being subjected to the weather drones from Channel 11 might be enough to qualify as Heaven by itself. I don’t need streets made of gold, or Heavenly choirs filled with seraphim. I just need moderate temps and I’m good to go.

The warmer weather has brought out a host of wildflowers along side of the highway into Blairsville. The dogwood and cherry trees are blooming and some of the Azaleas are showing their color. It was very rejuvenating to witness the greening up of the countryside as I headed into the services at The Full Gospel Original Church of God. I’ve missed the last two weeks at the Crystal Palace and I didn’t want to give anyone the impression I was playing favorites. While I have a monetary interest in the success of the Right Reverend Dale E. Bread, it is the Reverend Helen Handbasket’s brand of fire and brimstone that interests me. The Reverend Helen Handbasket has raised the bar for all of the preachers in this area, and her burgeoning congregation is the proof.

I got started a little bit earlier this week than usual. I wanted to see if I could actually get a spot in the parking lot, rather than walking from downtown Blairsville. As luck would have it, I snaked a space right as one of the gofers for Channel 99 was pulling out. I parked right next to the broadcast truck. I speculate the gofer was headed out for coffee, and it will probably be a long walk for him when he gets back. If I continue to feel guilty about snaking the space, I’ll offer up some supplication at the testament of faith. Generally these twinges don’t last long, so I’m pretty sure I’ll be over it by the end of the service. There are times when a failing memory comes in handy.

Mulva was waiting in our usual place, and I took my seat next to her on the aisle. We had the opportunity to chit chat and say hello to our pew neighbors before the lights dimmed, signalling the start of the show. The choir began singing “Faith of Our Fathers” in one voice as the congregation looked to the stage for the arrival of the Reverend Helen Handbasket. As she has done since the move to the Crystal Palace, the Reverend Helen Handbasket appeared as if by magic on the stage. I reminded myself again to search for a trapdoor when I get the opportunity. I’m fairly sure that the Reverend Helen Handbasket has not mastered the art of transmutation. If she has, that’s pretty miraculous by itself, if not, there has to be some physical reason that she appears so suddenly on the stage.

The Reverend Helen Handbasket is decked out in a lavender robe with white sash, trimmed in gold. I’m thinking the lavender robe must be some sort of tribute to Prince, who is still dead by the way. I know, no need for sarcasm, but the blurring of the lines between celebrities and deities has gone way too far for my taste. I have no problem revering the works of those who do good deeds and raise up those around them. I don’t know that I can name any rock stars that fill that bill. Maybe there’s a soup line somewhere or rehab facility being funded by Prince royalties. I promise to look into that.

The title for this week’s sermon was “Thieves in the Temple”, and I don’t recall having heard anything like it before. There were some references to the dishonest politicians and corrupt government officials stealing from the poor and middle class. There were also references to the dishonest people who work their way into your heart and turn out to be no better that the money changers that Jesus threw out of the temple. In my mind, it was as convoluted a sermon as the Reverend has delivered. From the folks pressing forward to take part in the testament of faith and the altar call, I was in the minority. It seemed that the majority of the folks got the message and wanted to come closer to share the “Spirit”.

Fortunately for me, I was over my twinges of guilt for stealing the parking space from the Channel 99 gofer. Since I felt no need to ask for absolution, I slipped on out of the church and cheerfully walked the fifty yards to my car. Next stop, the IHOP and all of the pancakes I can eat. Life’s good.


This And That

BudLiteGood morning, y’all. It was another gorgeous day in the Georgia mountains. I might get in the post card business if this beautiful weather keeps up. I could even get involved in the Chamber of Commerce promoting our area. Of course if I’m successful, it just ruins it for all of the folks that moved here to get away from the crowds.

We took the opportunity today to get away from the crowds a bit ourselves. We headed over to Amicalola Falls to see what we could see. If you’ve never been, it is described as one of Georgia’s “Eight Wonders of the World”. It’s pretty darn impressive, and the hike up there is well worth it. Just be sure you are attired properly. You’re probably not going to make it in flip flops. After all, it is the beginning of the Appalachian Trail.

There is just precious little on the TV to get excited about, and communing with Mother Nature is always a good way to gain perspective. To be truthful, Mulva was tired of getting greeted every time I saw her with, “Prince is still dead”. I don’t mean to be disrespectful of the dearly departed, but I don’t remember there being this much round the clock coverage when John Lennon was killed. Maybe Prince missed my generation, or I missed his, but I just don’t recall him burning up the airwaves with the hits. Just to satisfy my curiosity, I looked to see how many top ten records Prince has. I think the number is the same as CeeLo Green. I have a feeling that when CeeLo passes it’s going to be more of a, “former hip hop singer CeeLo Green died today, in other news….” Maybe I’m being tacky. I liked “When Doves Cry”, the song and the movie, but the coverage of his passing has far exceeded his impact on music, in my opinion.

It’s not like there wasn’t a lot of other news to cover. For example, Prince George met his first black man. It is important to note that the first black man that Prince George met, is the most powerful man in the world. Perspective is very important in these matters. A lot more time could have been spent on that. Although the time they did spend on the story resulted in the company that sells the Prince’s robe and slippers, Prince George, not other Prince, to sell out of the items. I’m assured that they are not just sold in the Buckingham Palace gift shop, but, like everything else in Great Britain, the Royals will get a piece of the pie.

It would have been very interesting to have more coverage of President Obama twisting arms in Great Britain trying to hold the European Union together. I would have appreciated an interview with the raving lunatic mayor of London, Boris Johnson. Johnson, who was born in New York City, and therefore an American, let loose on his home country. He accused America of being a “do as I say, not as I do” country. Johnson went on to say that President Obama must have been feeling some sort of Kenyan rage at the old colonial power. That’s some good stuff. Far more interesting than whether Prince was found in his pajamas or just a regular outfit, since the police weren’t qualified to judge the difference.

I’m not a big gossip person, but there has been some sort of riff this week between Kelly Rippa and Michael Strahan and their network. Michael didn’t show up one day, and then Kelly decided not to come in for the rest of the week. Kelly’s supposed to be at work next week, but Michael is gone. I mean, talk about your cultural icons that deserve news coverage, and are not getting it, go no further. Michael Strahan is such an icon that he has had the gap between his teeth trademarked. Think of it like Prince changing his name to an Ankh with scriggles. I’m not sure if it’s a positive thing to having your essence reduced to a symbol.

Seems like the story that will continue on deserves the most coverage, but I guess not. While being pounded incessantly with the “news” that Prince is still dead, we know nothing of why The Donald thinks the choice of Harriet Tubman for the face of the twenty dollar bill is a bad one. Seems like someone should sit The Donald down and plumb the depths of his reservations about Tubman. I bet there would be a lot more quotable moments than the “Prince is still dead” coverage.

For those of you who remember the early Saturday Night Live, I’d like to offer this bit of history to bolster my opinion:


Searching For Sugar Man

BudLiteGood morning, y’all. Another beautiful day in the mountains. The temperature is just right, and the recent rains cleared out enough pollen to make it tolerable. I was able to get my mulch spread and the weed and feed spread. It was a good workout without leaving me completely depleted. As long as the temperatures stay below 85, I’m good. Throw a gentle wind in and I’m even better.

So it was a good day to head back to the Walmart to do our part in keeping the economy going. I’m sure there’s not been anything more instrumental in getting the DOW above 18,000 than Mulva’s frequent trips to Walmart. If you think about the number of businesses and industries represented in a Walmart, there is sufficient opportunity for Mulva to effect the bottom line of thousands of companies. Maybe I’m just making one of those self centered observations that I am prone to do, one that places me as the hero of the story, when I’m really only a bystander. Regardless, I’m convinced Mulva is single handedly keeping our Walmart open.

I did my trips around the giant superstore while Mulva did hers. We always meet back at checkout counter number two. Number two, like our residence at TackyToo, is sometimes the only number I can remember. It’s a system that has worked flawlessly for years. If it works, don’t fix it, I always say.

Anyway, I picked up an unusual find in the $2.99 movie bin today. It was the documentary “Searching For Sugar Man” released in 2012. I had seen part of a “Sixty Minutes” piece on the topic some time back. I saw just enough of the “Sixty Minutes” piece to make me real curious. We were headed out to prayer meeting, and I didn’t get to see how the story resolved. Now for just $2.99, I’d get the complete down low on what I thought was a fascinating narrative. Most times, truth is stranger than fiction, and I’d say this Sugar Man story was one of those times. I couldn’t wait for 9PM to come so that I could close the Rec room and Mulva and I could begin our Date night.

Now, straight up, let me say this is not the Jennifer Aniston, Hugh Grant type of movie that Mulva prefers for our Date night. I can occasionally slip in an action movie if the stars are attractive. “Zero Dark Thirty” would be a good example. Academy Award winners will generally get a pass, just in the interest of staying current. I pointed out that “Searching For Sugar Man”  had won the Academy Award for best documentary, so we owed it to ourselves culturally to give it a watch. After all, Mulva loved “March Of The Penguins”, so a documentary was not that far fetched. Even if it was about somebody we’d never heard about.

Not having heard of Sugar Man, or Sixto Rodriguez, is kind of the point. The story starts in South Africa where a rumor has circulated that the most popular artist in South African history has  committed suicide. We are talking Elvis popular. We’re talking Beatles popular. The kind of popularity where ever kid knows every word to every song on the album. Rodriquez was the “bomb” in South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. Unfortunately, he was not as successful in the U.S. As a result of low record sales in the U.S., Rodriquez retired from the music industry and became a construction worker. He was completely unaware that he was crushing it in parts of the United Kingdom. Rodriquezs ignorance of his popularity was aided by the fact that his record producers were not paying him the royalties they owed him.

Without success in America, Rodriquez had no reason to suspect that he was ridiculously popular somewhere else. His fans in South Africa and Australia assumed he was dead since there were no tours or other news. The rumor of his suicide brought about the search for what really happened to Sixto Rodriguez. As the documentarians discovered more and more about the curious case of Rodriguez, it became more important to tell the story to a wider audience, and the movie was made.

As a result of the movie, Rodriquez has done some tours, and is releasing a new album. It was a great movie to give you a warm and fuzzy about life. Rodriquez took lemons and made lemonade, and you can’t ask a fellow for more than that. The fact that his lemonade stand only became famous later in life is a little ironic. Rodriquez was successful as a man, and a father in spite of the twists of fate. Give a listen:



Conspiracy Theories

BudLiteGood morning, y’all. The rains have ended but promise to come back. That’s fine, I’d love to have a long soaking rain once a week from now through September. They say that one day they’ll be able to control the weather and make it rain where it needs it. I can’t comprehend that, but I couldn’t comprehend cell phones that are little computers a few years ago. The wrist phone was something only envisioned by the creator of Dick Tracey, and now we have them. So maybe controlling the weather some day isn’t so far fetched.

Speaking of far fetched, did you see where the Saudi Arabians are all getting their panties in a bundle about the U.S. possibly relaxing the rules about private citizens suing other countries? It seems that the 9-11 survivors have chosen to educate themselves, read the 9-11 report and as much material as our government has released on the topic. The news stories seem to indicate that the survivors want to dump the blame for 9-11 on the royal family in Saudia Arabia. The Saudis are saying, “whoop, whoop, whoop, we’ve already got enough problems with oil at $40 a barrel.” 

It sounds like there’s tons of other stuff out there that hasn’t been released yet. You just know somebody has read it, and told it. My guess is that there are plenty of sympathetic congress people who know the dirt, but are not allowed to speak on the record about it. To me that means the congress people are sitting listening to their constituents grief, and feeling helpless, or guilty. Maybe the constituents are asking their congress people, “how did you let this happen to me, my family, my country?” Possibly the congressman says, “hey, it wasn’t me, it was the Saudis, but you can’t tell anyone.”

Maybe some documents got secretly released, or maybe the lawsuit is to disclose to the public everything the government knows about 9-11. We do know that 15 of the 19 of the 9-11 hijackers were citizens of Saudi Arabia. Now, where I come from, we call that “smoke”. Throw a high ranking Saudi family like Bin Laden in the mix, and the case gets stronger. It has long been rumored that the Saudi royal family has sponsored terrorism to get the disgruntled raising Cain with someone else. It would be nice to put that rumor to rest, and if a trial will bring out all of the truth about 9-11, I’m all for it.

On the flip side, President Obama is saying, “whoop, whoop, whoop, we can’t let this law pass.” I think President Obama believes in the, “people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw rocks”, adage. If we use the glass house analogy, the U.S. house is made of spun sugar. A recent study conducted by a research team from the University of Washington, Johns Hopkins University, Simon Fraser University and Mustansiriya University determined that over 500,000 Iraqis have died as a result of the U.S. invasion in 2003. If the Saudis are afraid of the survivors of the 2,996 Americans killed on 9-11, imagine what the U.S. liability to the survivors of over a half million Iraqis would be. I’m thinking we should all brush up on our Arabic. While I can give a grudging nod to the concept that citizens should be barred from suing sovereign governments, I totally and completely support the efforts of the 9-11 survivors to get to the bottom of things. The truth is out there, I think we all deserve to know it.

I, for one, am a big fan of the “Loose Change” conspiracy. It fits in with my concept that the Bush administration wanted to punish Saddam Hussein for trying to kill his daddy. Stealing Iraq’s oil fields was just lagniappe. Apparently, W’s pleas for “can’t we just drop a nuke on him?”, were channeled into a solution that had something for everyone. At least something for everyone in the Bush administration. W got the head of Saddam Hussein, and a reelection. Cheney got to pay back all of his friends at Halliburton for his screw up with Dresser Industries. Rumsfeld got way rich off of Tamiflu, and Chertoff made bank off of airport screening devices. A Win Win Win for the upper echelon.

I’d love to see what really happened on 9-11, even if I’m wrong. Maybe the 9-11 survivors suing the Saudis will reveal the truth.


Wrongly Accused

BudLiteGood morning, y’all. We’ve had some thunderstorms push through, and I ain’t complaining. After the thunder, we’ve had some nice gentle, continual rain. We needed the moisture. Some of the people that use Lake Lanier for recreation have complained that the lake level is down. They’re saying that the reason that the lake is down is because the Army Corps of Engineers is draining the lake early this year. Seems like the folks in Alabama and Florida are thirstier than usual. Not being a boater myself, I can’t offer an opinion as to whether their accusation is accurate or not.

Speaking of accusations, I caught a news blurb about an old fellow that had been released from jail for a crime he didn’t commit. Jack McCullough, who is 76 years old, was released from prison after serving five years of a life sentence. Where all of this gets real curious is that McCullough was convicted in 2011 for a murder that occurred in 1957. McCullough was accused of murdering a neighbor girl back when he was 18 or so. Now, he was not accused in 1957 when the crime occurred, he was accused in 2011. He was brought back to Sycamore, Illinois, his childhood home, from Seattle, Washington where he was living, to stand trial. In a trial that has now been overturned, McCullough was railroaded into a murder conviction. It seemed that the community had to have a perpetrator for what they described as their “9-11”.

To say the evidence was shaky is a vast understatement. Many people who had given police statements at the time of the crime are no longer living. To that end, McCullough was not able to face his accusers. His attorney was not able to question the accusers or offer a rebuttal to their testimony. Old eye witness accounts were read into the record that loosely described McCullough at the time. Teenage behavior being what it is, it probably described every other teenager at the time too. Testimony about wearing your hair in a ducktail is not as relevant in the ’50’s as one might think it is today.

The Innocence Project states on their website, “Eyewitness mis-identification is the greatest contributing factor to wrongful convictions proven by DNA testing, playing a role in more than 70% of convictions overturned through DNA testing nationwide.”  There are a bunch of reasons why eyewitnesses can get it wrong, which is why it is imperative that the physical evidence is unimpeachable. In this case, most of the physical evidence was missing or destroyed. A key piece of evidence, a doll that the killer was supposed to have touched, was missing. The DNA from the doll could have excluded McCullough, but it was no where to be found when the trial came about.

Probably the most damning point in this scenario is the fact that McCullough was forced to act as his own lawyer in his appeal process. The road to McCullough’s eventual freedom was started by a petition prepared by another inmate with paralegal training. The petition was denied, but caused the current prosecutor for Dekalb County, Illinois to review the case. When asked by the judge to comment on the appeal request, State’s Attorney Richard Schmack responded that he had found, “clear and convincing evidence”, that McCullough was innocent.

Well, the wheels of justice finally started rolling, and eventually McCullough was released. Interviews with McCullough detail that he will be, “living his life at one hundred mile an hour”, since he has so much time to make up. Truthfully, it was a wonder that McCullough had survived the length of time he did in prison, and not just because of his age. Prison inmates have a particular fondness for people that are accused of crimes against children. “Baby fondlers” they call them. I speculate that many prison inmates were abused themselves as children, and can imagine that they would have had a much different life had they not been abused. The inmates consider it a privilege to help society rid itself of child predators. McCullough is very lucky to have survived.

Currently, the Innocence Project has helped to free 341 wrongfully convicted people. Of those, twenty had spent time on death row. Just as important, the Innocence Project has found 147 actual perpetrators. Thank God there are people out there righting the wrongs of overzealous prosecutors and police. We need more of them.