Sunday, January 25, 2015

PONDERING THE HEREAFTER: (and making a suggestion for Google Blogger...)

           A confluence of recent events has me both concerned and intrigued by the possibility of my own demise.  I rarely dwell on the thought of death, and haven't spent more than five minutes of my entire life worried about the hereafter.  Once a person realizes decomposition is his/her only future upon reaching life's goal line, there's really no reason to worry about anything else.  EXCEPT maybe the post game celebration.  And that's why I've called you here today.  Both of you.

            Okay, here's why this subject is even on today's menu.  A few days ago I heard about a movie starring my favorite actor Robert Duvall.  It was a film made about an old hermit who (in real life) lived on the outskirts of my childhood hometown of Kingston in east Tennessee.  This old man had led a normal life until some violent, mysterious things took place, but after that he had taken to living way back in the hills out of contact with everyone.  One afternoon he began to worry about what people might say about him after his death, so he drove his mule and wagon into town to arrange for his own funeral, complete with eulogy, under the condition that he be alive to see the show.  He invited everyone in town to come tell a story about his dead ass, but wanted to hear what they had to say before he actually died.  The movie took several factual liberties with the real story of Felix Bushaloo Breazeale, but I recommend "Get Low" for anyone unfamiliar with his life and "funeral".

              Other things have had me pondering life and death, things that I'm not sure I should mention... but will, nonetheless.  Our blobber buddy Mooner is going through some hell on Earth dealing with the Big C, and his saga has been weighing on my mind lately.  On top of his struggles which are extremely serious, despite the fact that he retells them with great hilarity on his blog (, we're currently dealing with local probate courts after my lovely (and dangerous) wife's mom's recent death.  One of the things we're trying to get used to is raising the lively nine year-old niece of my wife.  Having a child in the house for the first time in decades is nothing short of hilarious AND traumatic to old farts like us.

             Yet another reason for this post was the surprise I received when I went over to visit the blog of America's wisest/funniest/strangest/sexiest lesbian writer Katy, whose own exploits make those of the aforementioned Felix Bushaloo Breazeale seem tame by comparison.  I'd provide a link to her site, but I'm not sure it's going to be linkable for a while...  You see, when I clicked to visit  her blog I was met at the door by a big bouncer who informed me only invited readers could come into the club.  Fearing the worst, I wrote an email to Katy to check on her status, and was told all's well, just locking it down for a few days... perhaps under construction, who knows?

                Any damn way, it made me wonder if anyone would bother to tell me or the rest of the world if something ever happened to my blogger buddies on the other side of the country.  I mean, if you came back to this site and nothing changed for two or three months, how would you know if I had died, or simply won a monster Powerball lottery and was sunning my ass on a clothing optional beach in Barbados?  Life's odd like that.  If you don't stay in touch with people, sometimes they up and die on you.  Or get stinky rich and move off to paradise without sharing the loot like they'd always promised.  People who get suddenly rich enough to want to vote for Republicans aren't common in my circle of friends, but I've heard of folks going over to the dark side once fortune has fallen into their laps.

              But I've digressed.

               So here's my idea for Google Blogger and Word Press.  They should invite bloggers to submit self-written "I'm outta here" obit eulogies for publication upon their passing.  Bloggers could designate an individual to deliver the news to those companies at the appropriate time, and upon notification Blogger or Word Press could publish the writer's obit as a farewell post on their blog.

               Which made me wish I had something memorable to say if that were actually an option.  It's sort of like the sense of "oh shit!" a person must feel the week before returning home for a high school reunion when he or she realizes they haven't done anything notable since the last time those people saw you.  No great American novels in your name, no Nobel Prizes, Grammy Awards, Oscars, or great accomplishments worth pointing out to the assholes you went to school with when you were young and had potential.

              So I'm going to start making a point to do remarkable things, just for the funeral.

              Right after this Bloody Mary and some scrambled eggs with homemade salsa.  And maybe a nap.

               Film at eleven.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

TENNESSEE'S GOVERNOR NAMED "RICHEST POLITICIAN IN AMERICA" (coming soon to a national stage near you...)

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam                     

          When many other states in the nation were expanding their Medicaid programs with money made available by the Affordable Care Act, several governors and legislatures in solidly Republican states balked at the idea of incorporating the despised "Obamacare", regardless of the fiscal soundness of such a move.  Even though the state of Tennessee is hemorrhaging over $2.7 million dollars a day(!), the Volunteer State's legislature has yet to take up discussion of passing the "Tennessee Plan" Governor Haslam has finally brought to the table. Hundreds of thousands of needy state residents are still without medical coverage, and yet our state is currently sending much needed tax revenue to other, more enlightened, neighboring states to use for their citizens.

            And the blood-red General Assembly has plenty of members who campaigned on the promise of repealing Obamacare, so there's no guarantee the governor's long awaited plan will gain the (legislatively mandated) approval of the state's representatives in Nashville.

            So a lot of people are hurting, and many of them don't have a chance at decent medical coverage without quick action by our state government.

            Meanwhile, things are anything but bleak at the Governor's mansion.  If you've filled up a vehicle with gas lately, you've probably noticed that the price per gallon has dropped precipitously in the last month.  Good news, right?  Actually, if your family owns one of the largest chains of truck stops and gas stations, those dropping gas prices are better than good, they're Frosted Flakes "GRRRR-EATE!"  Tony the Tiger great.  Lower oil prices by the barrel means higher profit margins for dealers at the pumps.  And if you happen to own more pumps than anyone else, you stand to make a LOT of money in the retail gas business these days.

             How much money?  Well, according to Forbes, our own Governor Bill Haslam has parlayed his 15% interest in family owned Flying J into quite a windfall of late.  Since August, Haslam's net worth has skyrocketed from $980 million to an estimated balance of $2 billion, making him officially the richest elected politician in America.

              I don't bring this up to be critical of the Governor's financial success.  His family has owned Pilot/Flying J for decades, and they've found creative ways to maintain an advantage over competitors.  Why, last year alone, Pilot agreed to pay a $92 million fine as a result of a federal investigation into an alleged rebate scam.  The Governor's own brother had enough spare cash lying around to be able to afford his very own NFL team, so he purchased the Cleveland Browns.  Life's good, if you're a Haslam.

              But if you're disabled, and don't have enough money to afford decent medical coverage for yourself or your spouse, life's not so good right now in Tennessee.  For over two years, the Governor has promised action on Medicaid expansion and has insisted his administration has been in discussions with the federal government to come up with an affordable plan.  In the meantime, the teabaggers in the state's legislature have passed a law making it necessary for the governor to get their approval before anything linking our state to Obamacare becomes a reality.  The powers that be assure us this will get done in an upcoming special session of the General Assembly.


               But there's no hurry.  Life's good, remember?

               Those of you who might not know much about our Governor Haslam should remember his name.  There are a lot of people around the country who see the political wisdom of adding a governor from a solidly red, southern state to the national ticket next year, and this particular governor has been getting a LOT of positive attention of late.  Even President Obama gave Tennessee a shout-out in last Tuesday's State of the Union address, and he's followed Haslam's lead in proposing free two year community college opportunities for all qualifying high school graduates.

                The richest politician in America could very well be a vice presidential candidate on next year's Republican ticket.

                Think about that the next time you're filling up your tank.  Or sitting in an emergency room with a pre-existing condition for which you have no medical coverage.


Tuesday, January 20, 2015


           I don't mean this as a slap toward the standard Christian ideal of marriage.  Wait... maybe I do, now that I've read over this list and some of the Biblical quotes used for references.

           There's a pastor in New York City named Dr. Stephen Kim who leads the Mustard Seed Church, and he's got an interesting post on a site called NYCPastor in which he offers a list of ten types of women a Christian man should avoid when looking for a wife.  It's a handy guide, if you're in the marriage market.  Or if you're bored, and need a good chuckle.

Dr. Stephen Kim of the Mustard Seed Church               

            Above all else, Dr. Kim advises men to look for a quiet, submissive woman.  In fact, "quiet" is way big in his way of thinking, and apparently, the Bible agrees.  

              “Besides that, they learn to be idlers, going about from house to house, and not only idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying what they should not.” (1 Timothy 5:13).
                 Any woman who tries to usurp her husband’s authority or even claims to be a co-leader with her man is gravely dishonoring the God who created her to be subject and obedient to her husband (Eph 5:22, Col 3:18, 1 Pet 3:1).
               Here's a quick rundown of Dr. Kim's list of women men should avoid:

Don't marry:
1) A non-Christian woman
2) A divorcee (unless she divorced her hubby for his sexual infidelity)
3) An older woman (they're harder to train, apparently)
4) A feminist (submissive feminists?)
5) A sexy dresser (high maintenance AND potential floozie)
6) A loud mouth (like I said, QUIET is SOOOOO important)
7) A child-hater (a woman who won't spawn is nothing but trouble...)
8) A wander-luster (take a vay-cay, but not every day...)
9) A career woman (they're to stay at home with babies, quietly tending house)
10) A devotionless woman (pray pray pray... quietly!)

               I find it interesting that there are still people out there who believe a woman's place is at her husband's side, sandwiches and children in hand, quietly nodding adoringly at whatever he has to say.  Obedient, silent, and submissive.

               Actually, though, these are great attributes for a family dog.  If you can find a good, devoted dog that doesn't bark too much, she's a keeper!



Sunday, January 18, 2015


            Shouldn't the Pander Express be fully loaded by now?

            I mean, people keep climbing aboard, waving their flags, making pronouncements, and smiling for the cameras in an almost daily parade of gung-holier-than-thou theatrics.  Just how big IS that fucking train, anyway!

            They're everywhere, these panderers.  From politicians, to talking heads on television, to the bloody Pope (a guy we had mistakenly thought was slightly more enlightened than the last few Popes), they keep climbing up to wave at us from the show car adorned with bunting and frills.  Surely the clown car is full by now, right?

            A couple of legislators in Mississippi have decided that state needs an official state book, and rather than choose one from an illustrious list of authors native to that state (William Faulkner, Eudora Welty, Shelby Foote...) they've picked a more universally revered tome for their proposal:  The Holy Bible.  Mississippi has a state bird, a state song, a state flower, tree, bug, and probably has a state animal, so why not a state book everyone in Mississippi can be proud of?  And really, what book is more beloved than the Bible?  Who doesn't think the Bible is the bestest book ever?

            Of course, choosing one religion's holy book over all the other holy books might be considered unconstitutional, given that whole "separation of church and state" thing.  But Representatives Tom Miles and Michael Evans don't see why there should be a fuss, since they got the idea first. They've got over 20 co-sponsors lined up from both sides of the political aisle, and who in their right mind would object?  Especially in Mississippi.  After all, are there even any other religions being practiced in the entirety of the state?  

             So there's that.  

             And while we're up, let's not forget the latest blast from the past coming from The Vatican.  Pope Francis thinks this whole Charlie Hebdo thing has gotten out of hand.  He condemned the violence in Paris, but warned folks that while freedom of speech was important, it was simply wrong to make fun of faith.  In fact, it seems to be where the Pope draws the line. One just can't "insult the faith of others."  That was spoken by a guy in a dress and funny hat, whose own church once slaughtered millions of heretics who had the audacity to believe in a different faith than that of his church.  Apparently, you can send crusaders to kill people who don't follow your church tenets, but you can't tease them because that would just be rude.

              And then there's our old buddy Glenn Beck.  Glenn says Christians in America should get special treatment, because ours is a "... Judeo-Christian nation".  And for once, I think I agree with Glenn Beck on something.

              I too believe American Christians deserve special treatment.  By qualified professionals, through tiny windows looking in on padded cells.

              In fact, given recent events, and the fact that most of the horrible shit taking place around the goddam globe seems to be related to some sort of perverted expression of organized religion, maybe it would be wise if we started rounding up "believers" so that we can better keep an eye on them.  

              Not really.  This was meant as sarcasm... if you're out there thinking of organizing a torches and pitchforks visit to my home.  Only kidding.  

              But then, we've seen how some religious people behave when people kid.

              If anything happens to me, tell my wife and kids I loved them.