The Cumberland Post

The Cumberland Post
My Backyard, Six Miles from the Cumberland River

Friday, December 23, 2011

Somewhere in My Memory is a Silent Night

My brother Dave has just about recuperated from his hip replacement surgery; he's been staying with us since he was discharged from the hospital, December 8. He went home to sleep in his own bed tonight, but he'll be back on Christmas Eve for our family dinner. Barry and his family are on the road, somewhere between Jackson, TN, and Nashville. If the good Lord's willing and the creeks don't rise, they should be in around 1:30 a. m.

It's getting to feel a lot like Christmas, even though we had rain all day long. Time for Christmas music.

I like this one. It's by John Williams and is from a famous and funny movie, "Home Alone." The song is "Somewhere in My Memory."
If you define "religious" as someone who follows a particular doctrine, you would not use the word to describe me. I was raised up in a church (and I'm glad for that), but I've spent a lot of time since then questioning that belief. This questioning was not bitter or angry (most of the time), but was done in an attempt to understand the ideas and principles of various religions. I'm not an atheist. Nor am I a faithful believer. Is there such a thing as a hopeful skeptic? Maybe that's what I am.

One thing is certain--I'm no scholar and I don't have all the answers. Matter of fact, I'm not sure I have any answers. But that hasn't stopped me. Over the years, I've read, thought, and led class discussions about the essential religious questions. Is there a God? What is His/Her nature? Is there an afterlife? Is morality possible without a belief in God? On balance, have the various religions (and their mythic structures) been harmful to civilization or helpful? I always found these questions and the answers that authors and students have proposed most stimulating.

I say all this as preface to the next Christmas song.

"Silent Night" is probably my favorite Christmas hymn. It brings back a happy memory from childhood: singing this song as part of a child chorus in a Christmas pageant in our old country church and understanding in my childlike way how important Christmas was and what it meant. Even now, in my 71st year, in my barnacled and skeptical dotage, I still feel very comfortable and content in the spirit that emanates from the melody and lyrics of "Silent Night." This version is by the gifted Andrea Bocelli.

Merry Christmas to any of my family who might read this. Joyce (I'm finally going to surprise you this year), David, Vicki, Roger and Lou Ann, Aunt Jo, Debbie and Mark, Larry and Judy, Sandy and Peter, and Helen and Joel. And all my other cousins and aunts and uncles and nephews and nieces.

Merry Christmas Ed (and Rae), Jeanne (and Max), George (and Sara), Bob (and Ellen), Andy, Buck, Deb, Staci, and Inno.

Merry Christmas to all my classmates and friends from Litton High, class of '58.

Merry Christmas to all my readers whoever you are and wherever you are.

And finally, merry Christmas to you, Joe Rose, you old scoundrel.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Coke and Candy Rocket Car

Y'all have probably seen this before, but it's new to me. I have no comment about this other than to say that I don't think I'll be mixing these internally in the near future.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Howlin' at the Moon

It's a clear, cold night in our part of the Holler. The moon's so bright it might look like that brilliant light everyone's supposed to see as they pass off of this mortal coil. When I took the trash out earlier, the woods in back of the house were quiet except for a solitary howl from a hound somewhere over the hill.

Everyone's asleep here at the Post. Brother Dave's downstairs in the guest bedroom catching some zzz's and recuperating from his hip replacement surgery. Joyce is sleeping peacefully in our bedroom. And I'm sittin' here at the old keyboard listenin' to Hank Sr. "Howlin' at the Moon."

It's been many years since I howled at the moon, but I guess I still got some of them "doggish ways."

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Remember Pearl Harbor

I was only a year and seven months old in 1941, so I don't remember the attack that brought us into WWII. I've read the history though, and it's my belief that, like 9-11, the Japanese attack should be remembered in vivid detail each year. Whatever political party we belong to, we need to be reminded of the price others have paid for our freedom and that there still are those in the world who would destroy it.

I've selected two You Tube videos. The first is a collection of photos that overlay a song written soon after the attack (that's Sammy Kaye's orchestra providing the music). This video was prepared by a blogger named Jim Cox.

Here's the second video: Roosevelt's speech to congress and to the nation (via radio) which he made the day after the attack. After the speech, it took congress only seven minutes to declare war on Japan.

Monday, December 5, 2011

A Roy Rogers Cowboy Song for My Brother Dave (and George and Sara)

My brother Dave had hip replacement surgery early this morning. Everything went smoothly and he's doing fine. I spent most of the day in the hospital with him and Joyce joined me this afternoon. When we left around 8:30 p.m. he was doing okay. They plan to have him up and walking tomorrow, and if all goes according to plan, Dave will come home with us on Wednesday or Thursday and spend a few days until he gets back on his feet.

As I noted in an earlier post, Dave is a cowboy at heart, and so I'm posting this song for him. And also for good friends George and Sara, who caught the cowboy spirit and moved up to Montana about a year ago. I don't know if they've bought a ranch yet, but they are living the life under the Big Sky.

If you want to see the simple lyrics to this tune check out this blog; there are also some great pics of Roy and his family. By the way, I don't how you readers feel about the art of yodeling (it's a touchy subject with some people), but Roy has a really fine example of cowboy style yodeling at the end. I personally enjoy a good yodel myself.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

An Old Cowboy Song by Rex Allen

When I was ten or eleven, Rex Allen was one of my favorite cowboy heroes. He made several singing western movies and had a successful recording career. Here's "I Ride an Old Paint."

Pipe Dreams

In a recent piece in the The Tennesseean about SEC football, David Climer says that while LSU coach Les Miles will probably take home SEC coach of the honors, Vanderbilt's first year coach James Franklin has earned consideration too. 

And he's getting it from his own school, Vanderbilt University. 

That's a pic of Franklin above, wearing his gold and black (Vandy colors) tie. Climer reports that a little under a year after his appointment, Franklin has negotiated a new contract and extracted a commitment from Vanderbilt to build a new indoor practice facility, something other coaches have desired but failed to get in the past. This success has come because in his first year as head coach Franklin won six games and came very close to beating Georgia, Arkansas, Florida, and Tennessee. And one other thing--the Franklin led Commodores are going to a bowl, just the fifth bowl in school history. 

I might also add that Franklin was recognized this spring as one of the outstanding recruiters in college football, and his first group of Vanderbilt recruits is said to be top notch, so look out next year. With a solid returning cohort of players and some great recruits, maybe those close calls against Georgia, Florida, and Tennessee will be chalked up in the win column in 2012. Let me do the math. That would mean a 9 and 3 season. Wow! 

And possibly in a couple years we could win the BCS championship. Beyond that, I can see a dynasty forming and many years of consistent wins over UT. In my crystal ball I can see LSU, Alabama, South Carolina, Florida and other SEC giants being ground to dust under the Vandy steam roller.

Okay, okay. I've got to get a grip, I need to back up and look at this objectively, fully utilize the critical skills I've developed over the years as a Cubs fan and as a follower of Vanderbilt football since the late '50s. 

Franklin is a great coach and I love his intensity on the sidelines and his refusal to buy into the well established defeatist culture. But there's a reason why this kind of culture has evolved. From 1986 to 2001 the school won only 18 games in SEC play. In three of those seasons Vandy had a 1-10 record and in five of the years were winless in the SEC. Since 2000, Vandy has a 36-93 record (14-74 in the SEC). This is also the school that has devoured some pretty good coaches over the past three or four decades, coaches who thought they could turn things around. And the one or two coaches (e.g. Steve Sloan) that did make a little difference, quickly moved on to other colleges. 

Let's face it. When the state university (MTSU) down the road in Murfreesboro, a school you probably put on the schedule because it could be an easy win, beats you up pretty bad, your prospects aren't that good. Yeah, I know, that happened several years ago, but still. 

How about this? When the local newspaper starts each and every season, year after year, with a story about how it might be possible for Vanderbilt to win 4 or 5 games, things aren't so rosy in your football program. The football Commodores have received the SEC Miss Congeniality Award more times than any team (that's the award they give you because the other teams were glad you were on their schedule and they got to kick your butt all over the field for 60 minutes).

So...let's take this Franklin thing a little slower. As I said, I think he's a great coach and an excellent motivator. But let's not get too excited yet.  

And as for that possible 9-3 record in 2012 that I fantasized about, after a reality check, I realize that's about as likely as the Cubs winning the World Series next year.

Okay. It could happen. Yeah, yeah. I know. Anything's possible. Vandy could go 9-3 and the Cubs could win the World Series for the first time since 1908.

But in my humble opinion a 9-3 record for Vandy in 2012 is about as likely as Obama reversing his delay of that Canadian Keystone XL pipeline, opening up off shore drilling, cutting taxes, eliminating several cabinet level departments, and initiating other deep federal budget cuts in order to balance the budget before he leaves office on January 20, 2013.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Some Dirty Rounder Took My Jelly Roll

Somewhere there's probably a train song I don't like. But I haven't heard it yet.

Doc Watson's "The Train That Carried My Girl from Town" has been one of my favorites for a long time. It's track #18 on my Best of Doc Watson: 1964-1968 CD which is practically worn out from repeated plays.

Doc apparently learned it from the recordings of white guitarist Frank Hutchison (who seems to have learned it from an unknown black musician); check out this you tube of the original Hutchison recording if you're interested.

At the beginning, it sounds like the speaker in the song misses his girl real bad--he says he's so desperate he wishes the train would wreck. You might think he's crazy in love with her and wants her back with him, but as the song progresses, it becomes clear that he's mad, angry. And it's because his girl has run off with another man.

Now, a man's bound to get upset if some "dirty rounder" takes his "jelly roll." And to make things worse for the poor guy, his girl also "had her hand in his money sack." No wonder he's so pissed off.

The flat picking is unbelievable. Phenomenal. It's in a class by itself. You can have your Santanas and your Claptons, and your Richards, I'll take Doc in his prime anytime. The driving beat and the repeated licks and runs on the lower strings suggest the power and speed of the train (and perhaps the pounding he'd give the both of them if he caught them).

Lord a'mercy, this music almost makes me want to get up and do a little buck dance. Almost.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Original Slow Rocker Knockers

Writer Tony Russell described Smiley Lewis as the "unluckiest man in New Orleans" because Smiley was the artist who found the formula for "slow rocking, small band numbers" like "Blue Monday" and "I Hear You Knockin'" only to have Fats Domino come along and grab the whole gig. I like Fats' version and Gale Storm's pop version and Dave Edmunds' '70s cover of "I Hear You Knockin'" as well, but to me, the original by Smiley is the best. The tinkling boogie woogie piano and those droning saxes warm the cockles of my crusty old heart. Smiley, you died too young, man. We need you now.

Called by many the "father of rhythm and blues" Louis Jordan (below) is listed as #59 on Rolling Stone's 100 Greatest Artists of all time.  If you're like me you probably thought Little Richard's 1957 cut of "Keep a Knockin'" was the first, but Louis' slower, less frenetic version came out in 1939 (and there are even earlier versions).

Man, I like this kind of stuff. I can see Joyce and me in one of those classy '30s movie-style night clubs drinking champagne and listening to a whole set of Jordan's pre war "jump blues."

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Country Roses

We're thankful for a lot around these parts. Joyce and I hope ya'll all have a grand Thanksgiving wherever you are.

We just had three days of rain and yesterday was overcast, but no rain. Sunny but cold for today, Thanksgiving. We've already had a couple of frosts and the Knockout Roses in our garden are all gone. Even the Mums are dead.

But we still got Country Roses. At least on You Tube...

Bouquet of Roses

A Room Full of Roses

Paper Rosie

I Threw Away the Rose

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Jag Is Gone

We sold our 2000 Jaguar XK8 which we've owned and enjoyed for three years. It was a tough decision but I finally decided that it was time. As I was preparing an ad for Craigslist, Joyce got her weekly phone call from her brother Larry who lives in Florida. They were chatting away and she mentioned that we were selling our car. Larry said he was in the market for a used Corvette to drive on weekends but that I should send him some pictures of the Jag, which I did. Larry (who loves buying, owning, and selling cars and has owned by his own count 182! of them) moves quickly when he makes a decision. He and his wife flew up on the weekend, bought the Jag at a fair price and drove it back to Florida. So Black Beauty has gone to a good home.

I keep telling myself that the XK8 was just a car, a mechanical, material object--metal, rubber, glass, and a little wood--and that there was no real emotional attachment. So, I won't miss that long rakish hood and the simple, open growl of her grill. It'll be easy to forget those sweeping, fenderline curves that gracefully swelled outward voluptuously just in front of the rear wheels. (Her "hipness" always reminded me of a Reubens painting when I stood behind her and gazed at those curves.) Oh, and I certainly won't lose any sleep over the sensuous feel of that beautifully crafted leather and burlwood steering wheel. The rumble of her big V8 heart is already a distant memory. Sigh.

Farewell, Black Beauty.

Sorry if I'm getting a little sappy here. Guess I'd better post a few of those pics I sent to Larry.

I'm slipping in a little BB King to close this out. You know the song. This version is from way back in 1971. I was driving a Pinto in those days...

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Egg on My Face

I'm up late licking my wounds. Vandy lost to UT.

I admit to being the worst sports prognosticator in the entire known universe. I usually only make predictions about teams I support, and usually those predictions turn out to be wrong. My teams (at least when I make a prediction) lose. Always. I would be a superstitious egotist to assume that my picks have anything to do with the actual loss, but damn if it doesn't seem that way sometimes.

Take the Vandy-UT game tonight. I was over at Andy's Place earlier and made some kind of wild ass prediction that the Commodores would whup the Vols. History of course was against me (UT had won 28 of the last 29 games against Vandy), but that didn't stop me. Besides my own emotion (as a Vandy and a Cubs fan, I rarely get to feel any of that stuff), I based my prediction on UT's 0-6 record in the SEC as well as comparative scores--how Vandy did this year against SEC opponents that UT also played. Anyway, to make a long story as short as I can...Vandy lost. In overtime. Andy, that yellow goo on the floor of your comments box is the egg that's running off my face. Que sera, sera.

'Bout time to hit the sack. Here's a wonderful old Johnny Bond tune that makes a perfect lullaby. "Stars of the Midnight Ranges."

Saturday, November 19, 2011

A Bloody Ballad

Union Station's Dan Tyminski with "Down in the Willow Garden." Recorded in rural Scotland, UK.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Harassment Claim Made by 4th Woman: Kim Kardashian Said to be "Devastated" by Encounter with Cain


Now that the buzz is dying from her financially successful 72 day marriage and the ensuing divorce, celeb Kim Kardashian is speaking out about her "devastating" encounter with Republican presidential contender Herman Cain.

According to Ms. Kardashian's publicist, Ino Butz who phoned the Post about what he termed a dreadful situation, the voluptuous reality show personality was forced to endure a ride in an elevator with Herman Cain who is seeking the Republican nomination for president. According to Butz, Ms. Kardashian said, "it was the most terrible 5 minutes of my life. The things that man said were disgusting." We asked to speak to Ms. Kardashian ourselves to clarify her charges, but Butz said she was so distraught she had been placed in the care of a physician who would not let her speak to the media. The Post suggested that based on Ms. Kardashian's history, the physician's regimen would be impossible for her to keep. At that point, Mr. Butz asked us to leave.  

Later in the day, the Post caught up with Mr. Cain at a restaurant in Manhattan. The Cainanator as he's called by some of his supporters was chowing down on a mess of turnip greens and cornbread. He laughed when we gave him Ms. Kardashian's quote. "What upset her is quite simple, really. I was minding my business, all alone in the elevator, contemplating the elegance of my 9-9-9 plan when that woman came on board. Although there was no need for it, she turned sideways and her butt brushed against me. It was most inappropriate and I told her so. She put her hand on my chest and told me she was attracted to political power. I told her to bug off, that I didn't have time for groupies. She said, "Don't you know who I am?" I told her I didn't know and didn't care. She started whimpering then, and, as we had reached my floor, I left her there on the elevator. As I exited, she shouted after me, saying I was a racist tea bagger. She was obviously very angry that I rejected her advances."

Later that day, the Post asked Cain if he would sue Kardashian for harassment. Cain laughed and said there'd be no sense in it because it would be just another case of "he said, she said." 

We asked about the elevator security camera tape, wouldn't that show what really happened? 

Cain said, "my finance director suggested that. He's always looking for creative ways to add to our campaign chest and we could make good use of some of those millions Ms. Kardashian got from !E. But when we checked into it, we found the hotel security system was run by a company owned by Michael S'Moore, the famous Hollywood crockumentarian, and their man on duty said that after checking with Mr. S'Moore, the videotapes had all been erased by accident. Seems Mr. S'Moore was eating a box of doughnuts while watching Ms. Kardashian's elevator antics and some of his sweetened drool dripped into the the cassettes, gumming up the works."

The Post tried to see Mr. S'Moore at his mansion in the Hamptons but we were told he was busy meeting with leaders of the OWS in his indoor pool; we were rudely escorted off the grounds of the palatial estate which according realtors in the area is worth 52 million dollars. The Tool who escorted us to the gate said none of S'Moore's money was earned via the capitalist system.

What system did he earn it in? we asked. "The system of the Artiste. Which is a system of the people but is not a system," said the Tool who left us then to ponder that impenetrable pearl of wisdom.

For more satire like this, check out Liberalstein: A Political Farce; now only $.99 on Kindle. Click the link to the left for more info.

Friday, October 14, 2011

For Montana George and Sara

By turning the numbers of the date 1968 around to 1986, my buddy George in Montana reminded me that twenty years after the Byrds album I wrote about in the last post ("Sweetheart of the Rodeo") a country sisters singing duo added an "s" and took that album name as the name of their group.

Though Sweethearts of the Rodeo had a success in '86 with "Since I Found You," their high ranked, successful single of the next year "Midnight Girl in a Sunset Town" launched their career in country music which continues today. The duo consists of sisters Janis and Kristine Oliver. Janis married Vince Gill (then in Pure Prarie League) in 1980. Kristine married Leonard Arnold who was a member of the band Blue Steel. Janis and Gill were divorced in 1997. The duo has stayed together over the years and recently worked on an album "Restless" which was supposed to be released in 2010, but according to their website, it's still not out but coming soon.

So, what were you doing in 1986-87? Me? Yeah you. Well, after 25 years in the classroom (and the waves, tsunamis really, of student papers that came in each semester), I was beginning to feel the first tiny flames of teacher burnout singeing my posterior. I still enjoyed my work, but confess that by then, a little of the luster had worn off my pedagogical pursuits. So, four years later in 1991, I was ready when the opportunity came to move in to administration. It took several more years, but that move was most important in terms of changing my perspective on politics. I think I'll probably try and write about that sometime on the Post.

Here's Sweethearts of the Rodeo with "Midnight Girl in a Sunset Town."

This duet with George Jones and Sweethearts of the Rodeo is probably my favorite of their stuff on youtube. "Travelers Prayer."

Hey, George. It's October and you're in Montana. Got that firewood stacked high enough?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Genghis Khan and His Brother Don

Where were you in 1968? Oh me. In 1968 I was 28. I'm never quite sure how they figure a generation, but by my calculations, that was like two generations ago.

Joyce and little Bo and I were living in Columbia, a small town about 35 miles south of Nashville. I was finally gettin' paid regular after another year in grad school. We (along with the bank) owned a big blue '65 Catalina four door. We had our first stereo (a Magnavox), our first color TV (RCA, I believe), a couple or three good friends (an artist, a writer, and a theater type), and at the time it seemed like we had the world by the tail. Maybe we did.

I still had lots of hair, even though it was already gray. I wore ties to work, big wide ones, double breasted sport coats, and my slacks were flared. Hell, everybody's slacks were flared. Our brains were even flared for awhile.

Sometimes on early Fall evenings we'd sit out under the car port and look at the spectacular sunsets courtesy of the strange smoke from the Monsanto Chemical company plant located on the outskirts of town. The sunsets looked absolutely, totally psychedelic, and we were not using drugs of any kind.

On weekends we and our friends drank Schlitz or Schoenlings' Little Kings Cream ale, ate ham sandwiches, discussed the Apollo program and the Vietnam War, pontificated about literature and art, and listened to the Weavers, Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, and Credence on vinyl. As far as I can remember, we didn't listen to any of the Byrds' stuff.

I listened to the car radio as I drove to work every morning, but I don't remember hearing the following song anytime that fall. "You "Ain't Goin' Nowhere" was written (and recorded but not released commercially at that time) by Bob Dylan a year earlier. The Byrds put it on their album "Sweetheart of the Rodeo" and released it as the lead single in August of 1968.

I don't particularly care for the Byrd renditions available on youtube and would have preferred the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band version for use here, but their youtube takes weren't up to the high and exacting standards of the Post's musical staff either. So, that leaves Dylan's version. Which is pretty damn good.

If I had heard this song back then, I think I would have remembered it because of it's almost narcotic, swaying, euphoric melody which makes me want to hear it over and over again. I love the lyrics (especially "Genghis Khan and his brother Don"); the whole damn shebang just makes me feel happy.

UPDATE: Dylan video removed, so here's the Byrds instead...

If you've got some time on your hands, you can read about the Byrds' troubles in making this, their first country album, here. You can read about how and why Dylan wrote it here. The Byrds were really ahead of their time with this fusion of  country and rock, predating such groups as the Eagles, America, Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, and Creedence. It's all interesting stuff, so interesting that it took up about 3 hours of my time while I could have been knocking this out and hitting the sack a little earlier.

One thing that caught my eye while reading wiki about the Byrds who recorded almost half of the album in Nashville was their experience at the Grand Ole Opry. As the first long haired hippies to play the Opry, they were greeted with catcalls, heckling, and booing from the audience as they tried to sing Merle Haggard's "Sing Me Back Home." That's the way things were in middle Tennessee back in '68. We didn't need no stinkin' hippies messin' with our music. :-)  Check out the whole story on wiki.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Wall Street Protesters Can Go Home, The Economy Is Healed

Satire Post

Washington, D. C. October 10, 2011

Bolstered by the unusual approaches (public sex, public evacuation, fury at New York Rangers hockey team owners, etc.) taken by the Occupy Wall Street protesters, President Obama today veered into the bizarre himself.

At the presidential press conference today, President Obama and press secretary Jay Carney walked briskly into the room. Carney approached the podium. "The President," Carney said, "has directed me to announce to you today that he's initiating a bold new approach in dealing with the American economy. That economy is, as you know, sick. Deathly sick. The first step in the President's new strategy is the appointment of a new presidential advisor, televangelist Benny Hinn."

The Rev. Hinn strode confidently into the Press room, shook hands with Carney and the President, and took a bow. The well known televangelist, famous for his spectacular incidents of public healing, wore his trademark Jodhpuri suit with brass buttons. Carney explained to the assembled journalists that the President had been meeting secretly with Hinn since the budget showdown with Republicans in August. "When it comes to the economy," said Carney, "President Obama has been thinking outside the box. He has spent the last few weeks learning the intricacies of Spritual Healing from the world recognized master of this powerful force, Benny Hinn. Mr. Hinn has shown this force can be applied successfully to the human body. The president is prepared to take this procedure to the next level, Spiritual Healing of Abstract Economic Phenomena . Today, President Obama will heal our sick economy."

President Obama stepped to the podium and nodded to Hinn who clapped his hands. The large double doors at the rear of the room opened and a large Brahma Bull and a tall black bear were led into the room by handlers and bundlers. Both animals were clearly ill, the bear coughing uncontrollably and the bull emitting loud gaseous farts. The lights in the room dimmed except for a spot on the President and a second one on the two animals. Carney then explained that the two animals were really symbolic entities which the the president would use in the ritual. "These sick animals represent our economy. Let the healing begin," said Carney.

The president began by staring silently at the assembled press corps. He said nothing. After a few minutes, several Fox News reporters began fidgeting and murmuring to themselves. Then suddenly, Obama fell to his knees and his eyes rolled back into his head. The stunned media representatives looked on in amazement as his body shook uncontrollably. After a time he sprang to his feet and moved to the side of the podium, his back to the reporters. He suddenly turned and reached out with his right hand toward the animals in front of him.

Several reporters were visibly moved by the president's actions. Chris Matthews fainted and Brian Williams swooned. Katie Couric touched the corner of her mouth with a tissue to dab at a fleck of drool. New York Times' columnist Paul Krugman was focused intently on the president.

"I say heal," said the president in a booming voice. "HEAL! Let the evil capitalistic demons come out of you. Let taxes rise and our wealth be distributed equally. Let the prayers of those young warriors who now occupy the Street that shall not be named, let those prayers be answered. Give them what they want. Let it come without effort. Reward our union brethren with unlimited power and let them all become workers for the State. Let all minorities receive reparations for our past sins. I say HEAL!" The president leaped off of the low stage and slammed his palm against the heads of both animals in rapid succession. "HEAL!" he said.

The Bear collapsed to the floor in a furry heap and the big bull belched and farted before crapping a large, steaming pile on the red carpet.

Carney quickly distributed information sheets explaining that the animals' response, particularly the bull's, was a vital part of the "spiritual purging process."

Times columnist Krugman said later, "I felt the energy, the power myself. That's why you caught me coming out of the bathroom. I was one with those animals. I felt what they felt. And I responded the same way. What we witnessed today was the most moving moment in American History. I'm certain that the congress will now give the President another 4 trillion dollars of stimulus . And I'm certain that not only the US economy will recover, but also the world economy, once we have purged ourselves of free market capitalism and replaced it with a more efficient statist economy. And I say to those valiant protesters on Wall Street and around the country. You can go home, now. Victory is yours. The One has delivered."

UPDATE FROM BP comment: Shortly after the presidential press conference, GOP candidate Herman Cain called one of his own. He said, "the only symbolic entity in the press room this morning was that stinking pile of bullshit. And we all know what that stands for--every one of the president's failed economic policies."

Monday, October 10, 2011

Autumn Leaves

Seems we're finally in an autumn state of mind here at the old Post. The nights are much cooler and the morning air has that crisp, fresh bite to it. The hackberries and the locusts are shedding their leaves and the maples and beeches down front are turning gold. The woods in the backyard are turning too, but they're not quite at the stage of my header picture yet.

So, I guess it's time for "Autumn Leaves." It was originally a French song, recorded in 1945 by Yves Montand and some French dame. The English version appeared in 1947 with lyrics by the great Johnny Mercer. Jo Stafford was the first to record it with those lyrics (I'm unsure about the date), and then Roger Williams took his instrumental piano version to number one on the charts in 1955. According to Wiki, this recording has been the only piano instrumental to reach number one. A Joan Crawford film with the title "Autumn Leaves" was released in 1956 and featured Nat King Cole singing the song over the titles.

There are many versions of this song with Johnny Mercer's great lyrics available on youtube, but I like this one,, by Andy Williams. Go ahead, call me square. Truth be told, I probably am.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Smokin' Olds and Sweet Buick Century

My friend Bob Bell sent this pic along.

In the '50s the cars were so cool they even needed a smoke now and then. Hey, don't "Bogart" that butt Olds friend!

Speaking of Bob, it's been too long since I posted a pic of his fabulous '55 Buick Century convertible, so it's time for another pic or two. 

This is one beautiful car. He was telling me recently about driving it for a couple of days to two separate car shows and how after that it took some time to adjust to the feel of a modern steering wheel after driving the Buick. Those old '50 cars had larger, thinner steering wheels and they weren't quite so responsive as the ones on today's cars. 

I mentioned car shows. At the 12th annual Cruisin' the Ridge car show held at the Joelton Baptist Church, Bob's Buick was selected from 160 other cars for the "Club's Choice" Award. As soon as Bob sends me a picture of the award, I'll post it here in an update. I think his Buick must have dazzled the judges; don't you love those stunning Kelsey Hayes wire wheels? The pics here are the ones I took this summer at the Nashville Fairgrounds which appeared in an earlier post. Congratulations, Bob, on a great car and a great win.

Monday, October 3, 2011

A Recurrent Feeling

Along about this time every year, I notice a temporary uplift, a boost in my spirits.

Almost anything can trigger it: a slight change in the color of the sunlight, the noticeable yellowing of foliage, perhaps a cool snap in the air, the smell of leaves burning, or the laughter of young men and women on a sidewalk. I first noticed this in the Fall semester of 1963 when, at the age of 22, I was a beginning college instructor at Eastern Kentucky State College in Richmond, Kentucky.

I remember climbing the old worn steps to my first class on the very top floor of old Roark Hall; the top floor was really a finished attic under a gable with only one small classroom. I was a little nervous and very excited to be beginning my career as a part of the best system of higher education in the best country in the world, the United States. As I came to the intermediate landing on the stairs and before I started up again, I glanced out the window by the stairs and saw the yellowing leaves of a tree below and some students passing on the sidewalk. I caught a brief glimpse of my own blurred reflection in the glass and thought, damn, I'm finally a college teacher. After three years of pork and beans and other sorts of even worse deprivation I'd put my little family through, I had reached a goal. It was great, although not quite as I had imagined.

But, my expectations were high that day, as I opened the door and entered. The classroom was cramped and the class itself was small, about 12-15 students, if my memory can be trusted. The students were quiet, not a good sign as I later learned (usually that meant not much discussion, which was always a killer for me since my method depended on that). It was a Composition II class which meant it was out of sequence and which explained the small number of students present. I don't remember much about how I, or that specific class. or any of the other four (2 other Comps, and 2 World Lits) I taught that semester performed, but I think we all must have done okay.

As the years passed, I always seemed to get that same feeling, either before the semester began, or sometimes a week or two after classes started.

I suppose the feeling I sensed that day as I climbed the stairs has got something to do with "youth," promise, hope (not the political kind, but the personal kind). And there's joy there too. I can't fully explain it. But it's a good thing. It's a bit fanciful I know, but I like to think this feeling and being around a new crop of young people every year helped keep me mentally young over the years.

Of course, neither the hope nor the promise was ever fully realized. We are, after all, human, and the goals we set, the aspirations we reach for are usually compromised by our imperfections and flaws. Or, if we do achieve something, it turns out to be full of contradictions and complications we never expected.

And in this context, I'm not just talking about the students I taught, but myself as well. And yet, I'm proud to say, that uplift, that faith, if you will, that I began each academic year with, never dissolved into cynicism. Like the eternal seasons, it came around every autumn, as regular as that first bracing cool snap. I eventually came to expect it and to count on its recurrence.

I retired in 2003 so I don't teach any more. And I rarely go back on the campus where I ended my career.

But funny thing. I still get that feeling. And I'm glad that I do.


Note: That's really a pic of the Roark Building, restored in 1964. My office was in back and down on the basement level in 1963, one of the perks of being a freshman, just out of grad school instructor. There were exposed and noisy pipes along the ceiling and up and down the walls, but it felt like an executive suite to me. I remember going down there and sitting at my desk after I heard the word from students that JFK was shot. I thought the whole world might fall apart. It didn't, but things certainly changed.

The other pic is also from Eastern. It's a shot of the infamous "ravine" where students still lounge between classes and sometimes make out on the grass. The strange looking structure in the pic is an outdoor theater; it was there in 1963 as well, and in good weather I sometimes sat out there and ate a sandwich at lunch.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

It's About Time

Damn, I'm a slacker. Just haven't felt like blogging lately.

It's not that I don't have any subject matter. I've got plenty. For example...

Our Disney Vacation. It was fun but very crowded. And hot. Very hot. Did I mention hot? Also expensive. The Disney people must own and control the entire middle of Florida.

McDonalds? Wendy's Olive Garden? Chili's? Forgettaboutit. The closest one was probably in Miami somewhere. Why am I a little bent out of shape about this?

Mainly because these are cheaper places to eat, which is nice if you're already spending so much for tickets that the total for the week would reduce the national debt by about 50%. Okay, I'm exaggerating. A little. Still, it was lots of fun, especially for the grandkids. And the hotel we stayed in was conveniently located in the park. A place called the Swan. It was the grandest place this old redneck has ever spent the night in. Here's a couple of pics of the place.

This first one is a picture of the front of the hotel. Note the giant concrete swans on top.

This pic is inside the Swan at a fountain in the lobby; note the big white swans in the fountain. I'm beginning to detect a theme here. Those two cool dudes in the shades sitting on the marble bench are Brent and Daniel. They are in the top 5 of all grandkids in the entire history of the world. Their brothers Jason, Jonathan, and Erich round out that top five, all five being tied for the top, number one ranking.

Well, we did have fun, lots of it. Especially after the first day or two because by then we learned to kick back during the day and go to the park during the late afternoon and evening hours when the temperature dropped down a bit and the humidity dropped as well (from about 223% to 98%). Joyce got a lot of needed rest during the day and joined us every evening for dinner and a ramble through the park.

Thinking about our vacation pushed the old retro button and I was reminded of the "Mickey Mouse Club." I'm not sure of the make of the old TV set in this youtube video; the title on the video says RCA, but I'm not sure because the title also says the show's from 1958 but confusingly the info note below says 1955. Anyway, the TV set we had in our living room in 1958 was a seven year old 17" Motorola Console. And, yes, it had been tuned to the Mickey Mouse Club at least a FEW times over the years. But the "Club" was an afternoon show and if we (my brother and me) watched anything at that time of day it would most likely have been an old western on a local show hosted by Ruff 'N Ready. But I digress, here's the "Club" intro song.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Day 1: On the Road

This Marriot Motel has a nice easy to use wireless set up, so I thought I'd see if I could post something about our trip today.

Left around 10 a. m. We're retired. We rolled out early at somebody's beck and call for over 30 years, so now we don't get up early for nuttin' or nobody.

Somewhere before Atlanta (or after it, I can't remember which) we saw a road sign that said "Hell is real." Actually, I do remember. It was before Atlanta. Had to be. I guess it was a kind of warning about the traffic and all. Yeah, that was it.

Got a Garmin GPS a couple of months ago. First time to use the thing . It's fun. Or was, after I finally figured out what the big word "Go" positioned right in the middle of the screen meant. Smooth sailing after that. And she (Virgileena?) of the knowledgeable voice led us through all 9 circles of Dante's Atlanta with nary a hitch. Sorry, but somehow my English teacher button got pushed. Or it could've been the pinto beans I ate for supper.

They seem to have a lot of pecans down here in Tifton, GA. That's where we're spending the night.

Tomorrow we enter the Gator state. Hope we don't see any.

Yore humble correspondent,
Dapper Dan

Mickey Mouse

Time for a little time off. Orlando beckons. Joyce and I will be with family and with this guy for the next few days...

Fifty-one years ago this Sunday (August 14), Joyce and I were married. I did a fairly long post last year for our 50th anniversary, and if you want to check it out, click on my Cumberland Post archives, August of last year. It's called "50 Years."

On our vacation, we will contemplate the fate of the BB (Black Beauty), the 2000 XK8 that's been a part of our lives for the last three years. I love the car, but I'm inclined to sell it. I don't drive it near enough, especially in winter. Here's a nice pic of Joyce and the BB taken last year about this time.

I'll check into the usual blogs while I'm gone, but probably won't comment or post any. Take care, and if the Lord's willing and the creeks don't rise, I'll see you back here in a little over a week.

An Opportunity?

The world seems to be in chaos. From the economic morass here in the U. S. to the British riots, Is it good news or bad news?

Ann Coulter comments on the British riots...
I guess we now have the proof of what conservatives have been saying since forever: Looting is a result of liberal welfare policies. And Britain is in the end stages of the welfare state....If Britain of 1939 were composed of the current British population, the entirety of Europe would today be doing the "Heil Hitler" salute and singing the "Horst Wessel Song."
The sociologists,of course, will say that the rioters were poor impoverished youth who were striking back at their rich oppressors. Coulter thinks the riots expose the consequences of a debilitating and demoralizing welfare state.

The Hoover Foundation scholar, Victor Davis Hanson, says that in the U. S. the economic problems underscored by the recent debt crisis are the consequence of our turning over the reins of government to the Technocrats for the past 30 years. Technocrats are individuals with high academic standing who possess some "specialized" knowledge. They are elected to or appointed to various government offices and because of their "specialized" expertise expect to be (and have been given) tremendous political power. He gives several examples: Barack Obama, Eric Holder, Larry Summers, Peter Orszag, Robert Rubin, Steven Chu, Timothy Geithner, John Kerry, John Edwards, Al Gore, etc. As the U. S. sees its credit rating downgraded and it staggering debt growing at an unsustainable rate, the utter and complete failure of this reign of Technocrats is becoming clearer daily. 

But Hanson says these unstable times are exciting and filled with potential. In  "A Tottering Technocracy," he says...
We are living in one of the most unstable — and exciting — periods in recent memory, as much of the received wisdom of the last 30 years is being turned upside down. In large part the present reset age arises because our political and cultural leaders exercised influence that by any rational standard they had never earned.
 In "The Best Opportunity for America in Fifty Years" Vincent Emilio writes...
This recent debt ceiling debacle is just a harbinger of things to come.  This is the first time in my lifetime that the tone of the public is "smaller government."  The people are finally realizing government is not the solution.  Government is the problem.  This is the best opportunity conservatives will ever get to change the tide.  It's a great day in America!  Change is coming and this time it will be a change for the good!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

1957: Come and Go With Me

I was 17 and life was definitely good. The cars were cool and the music rocked. Ford actually sold more '57 model Fords than GM sold Chevys during that year. My friend Wynne's father got a new powder blue '57 Fairlane 4 door. Straight shift, 245 hp T Bird V8. It would go.

I had a cash flow problem until I found work that summer at a dry cleaners as their curb boy. I kept that job all through my senior year, '57-'58. It seemed to me that Ford was doing okay, because at work, I was surrounded by Fomoco owners. One of the woman clerks had a '55 Ford and the other curb guy had a '54 Ford convertible. The boss's son, the manager, had a '57 Country Sedan.

But the boss guy himself, who smoked big stogies right down to the nub, drove a massive blue '57 Olds 88 4 door hardtop.

Another friend's dad (Wayman) bought what would become most everyone's idea of a '50s classic car,  a black '57 Chevy convertible with the fuel injected 283. I can remember the night he picked me up and gave me a ride in it, and my memory of one part of the ride, for some reason is as clear as if it happened yesterday. I remember we crossed Gallatin Pike at the red light on McGavock. Wayman was just easing it across, and cars on both sides of the Pike were stopped for the red light, the people inside checking out that sleek black beauty. The street lights and the neon were shining off of that thing something fierce. I was sitting in the vinyl red/silver passenger seat. The dash board was gleaming. It was a moment. One of those moments. And, even though I didn't own the car, I was a part of the scene. A conscious part of the beauty. I wouldn't trade that for a thousand American Graffitis. It's a good movie and all, but I think you know what I'm talking about.

Here's a Chevy commercial I may have seen one night while watching the old 17" b and w Motorola console.

And here are three songs I definitely remember from 1957. If you're one of my regular commenters, these are all going to be too old for you. But, trust me, they are all good. First, "Little Darling" by the Diamonds. I can hear this now, coming out of the radio in somebody's white '57 Fury as it rumbled slowly around the Krystal.

This one got a lot of airplay back in '57: the Everly Brothers first hit with Cadence records, "Bye Bye Love." Very influential harmony. This video is from 1964.

And finally, the Dell Vikings' "Come and Go With Me." I know some of you remember hearing this one. Hope you enjoyed this little trip back to 1957.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Maher Has Buyer's Remorse?

Speaking of hefty females in politics...

Liberals are beginning to pine for Hillary. Follow this Breitbart link and listen to Bill Maher and his guests as they discuss Obama's current status after the debt ceiling deal. It's just a little more than 2 minutes long.

In poker, players try to look for other players' tells.

In the big political poker game of one card draw between the Repubs and Dems, would Maher saying he has buyer's remorse and then posing the question "would Hillary be better?" and the astrophysicist guy's answer (he says "yes") be a kind of tell that they (the Dems) finally know they have a weak hand?

The card they've got in their hand is Obama, who's like the 6 of clubs (not spades, ain't going there) and they're wishing they had a Queen like Hillary.

Ain't politics fun?

UPDATE: Regarding the United States' current debt, Bob Bell sent me a little note from Dave Ramsey this morning...

From Dave Ramsey, radio talk show host, Nashville, TN:
If the US Government was a family, they would be making $58,000 a year, they spend $75,000 a year, & are $327,000 in credit card debt. They are currently proposing BIG spending cuts to reduce their spending to $72,000 a year. These are the actual proportions of the federal budget & debt, reduced to a level that we can understand." - Dave Ramsey

Sunday, August 7, 2011

A Lost Balloonist and the Debt Crisis

My friend Bob Bell sent me another good one yesterday...

A woman in a hot air balloon realized she was lost. She lowered her altitude and spotted a man in a boat below. She shouted to him, 
"Excuse me, can you help me? I promised a friend I would meet him an hour ago, but I don't know where I am." 

The man consulted his portable GPS and replied, "You're in a hot air balloon, approximately 30 feet above ground elevation of 2,346 feet above sea level. You are at 31 degrees, 14.97 minutes north latitude and 100 degrees, 49.09 minutes west longitude. 

She rolled her eyes and said, "You must be a Republican. 

"I am," replied the man. "How did you know?" 

"Well," answered the balloonist, "everything you told me is technically correct. But I have no idea what to do with your information, and I'm still lost. Frankly, you've not been much help to me." 

The man smiled and responded, "You must be an Obama-Democrat." 

"I am," replied the balloonist. "How did you know?" 

"Well," said the man, "you don't know where you are -- or where you are going You've risen to where you are, due to a large quantity of hot air. You made a promise you have no idea how to keep, and you expect me to solve your problem. You're in exactly the same position you were in before we met, but somehow, now it's my fault." 

My comment:

This little joke can be applied to any number of situations but let's take the recent budget "crisis" as an example. 
"You made a promise you have no idea how to keep." 

The money borrowed to provide bailouts and economic stimulus is at the core of the promise the liberal Democrats in congress and in the Obama administration made to the country that they could end the recession and create new jobs.

Of course, that didn't work. The recession worsened and joblessness is still above 9%. 
Since the plan didn't succeed, "You expect me to solve your problem."

To solve their problem, they expected (demanded) that the Republicans in congress capitulate to their demands to raise taxes (increase revenue).

"Somehow, now it's my fault."

Conveniently forgetting the four trillion dollar debt burden they added in 2008-2009 which created the problem, they now say the Republicans in congress are terrorists who held a gun to their heads and refused to let them raise taxes.

The joke is funny. But the reality is anything but.