Indigo Insights

Sunday, November 30, 2003

I try not to be biased, but I had my doubts about hiring Stevie. His placement counselor assured me that he would be a good, reliable busboy. But I had never had a mentally handicapped employee and wasn't sure I wanted one. I wasn't sure how my customers would react to Stevie. He was short, a little dumpy with the smooth facial features and thick-tongued speech of Down syndrome. I wasn't worried about most of my trucker customers because truckers don't generally care who buses tables as long as the meatloaf platter is good and the pies are homemade. The four-wheeler drivers were the ones who concerned me; the mouthy college kids traveling to school; the yuppie snobs who secretly polish their silverware with their napkins for fear of catching some dreaded "truckstop germ;" the pairs of white shirted businessmen on expense accounts who think every truckstop waitress wants to be flirted with.

I knew those people would be uncomfortable around Stevie so I closely watched him for the first few weeks. I shouldn't have worried. After the first week, Stevie had my staff wrapped around his stubby little finger, and within a month my trucker regulars had adopted him as their official truckstop mascot. After that, I really didn't care what the rest of the customers thought of him. He was like a 21-year-old in blue jeans and Nikes, eager to laugh and eager to please, but fierce in his attention to his duties. Every salt and pepper shaker was exactly in its place, not a bread crumb or coffee spill was visible when Stevie got done with the table. Our only problem was convincing him to wait to clean a table until after the customers were finished. He would hover in the background, shifting his weight from one foot to the other, scanning the dining room until a table was empty. Then he would scurry to the empty table and carefully bus the dishes and glasses onto the cart and meticulously wipe the table with a practiced flourish of his rag. If he thought a customer was watching, his brow would pucker with added concentration. He took pride in doing his job exactly right, and you had to love how hard he tried to please each and every person he met.

Over time, we learned that he lived with his mother, a widow who was disabled after repeated surgeries for cancer. They lived on their Social Security benefits in public housing two miles from the truckstop. Their social worker, who stopped to check on him every so often, admitted they had fallen between the cracks. Money was tight, and what I paid him was the probably the difference between them being able to live together and Stevie being sent to a group home.

That's why the restaurant was a gloomy place that morning last August, the first morning in three years that Stevie missed work. He was at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester getting a new valve or something put in his heart. His social worker said that people with Down syndrome often had heart problems at an early age so this wasn't unexpected, and there was a good chance he would come through the surgery in good shape and be back at work in a few months. A ripple of excitement ran through the staff later that morning when word came that he was out of surgery, in recovery and doing fine. Frannie, my head waitress, let out a war whoop and did a little dance in the aisle when she heard the good news. Belle Ringer, one of our regular trucker customers, stared at the sight of the 50-year-old grandmother of four doing a victory shimmy beside his table. Frannie blushed, smoothed her apron and shot Belle Ringer a withering look. He grinned.
"OK, Frannie, what was that all about?" he asked.
"We just got word that Stevie is out of surgery and going to be okay."
"I was wondering where he was. I had a new joke to tell him. What was the surgery about?"

Frannie quickly told Belle Ringer and the other two drivers sitting at his booth about Stevie's surgery, then sighed.
"Yeah, I'm glad he is going to be ok," she said, "but I don't know how he and his mom are going to handle all the bills. From what I hear, they're barely getting by as it is."

Belle Ringer nodded thoughtfully, and Frannie hurried off to wait on the rest of her tables. Since I hadn't had time to round up a busboy to replace Stevie and really didn't want to replace him, the girls were busing their own tables that day until we decided what to do. After the morning rush, Frannie walked into my office. She had a couple of paper napkins in her hand a funny look on her face.

"What's up?" I asked.
"I didn't get that table where Belle Ringer and his friends were sitting cleared off after they left, and Pony Pete and Tony Tipper were sitting there when I got back to clean it off," she said, "This was folded and tucked under a coffee cup."

She handed the napkin to me, and three twenty dollar bills fell onto my desk when I opened it. On the outside, in big, bold letters, was printed "Something For Stevie".

"Pony Pete asked me what that was all about," she said, "so I told him about Stevie and his mom and everything, and Pete and Tony looked at each other and they ended up giving me this." She handed me another paper napkin that had "Something For Stevie" scrawled on its outside. Two $50 bills were tucked within its folds. Frannie looked at me with wet, shiny eyes, shook her head and said simply "truckers."

That was three months ago. Today is Thanksgiving, the first day Stevie is supposed to be back to work. His placement worker said he's been counting the days until the doctor said he could work, and it didn't matter at all that it was a holiday. He called 10 times in the past week, making sure we knew he was coming, fearful that we had forgotten him or that his job was in jeopardy. I arranged to have his mother bring him to work, met them in the parking lot, and invited them both in to celebrate his day back. Stevie was thinner and paler, but couldn't stop grinning as he pushed through the doors and headed for the back room where his apron and busing cart were waiting.

"Hold up there, Stevie, not so fast," I said. I took him and his mother by their arms.
"Work can wait for a minute. To celebrate you coming back, breakfast for you and your mother is on me."
I led them toward a large corner booth at the rear of the room. I could feel and hear the rest of the staff following behind as we marched through the dining room. Glancing over my shoulder, I saw booth after booth of grinning truckers empty and join the procession. We stopped in front of the big table. Its surface was covered with coffee cups, saucers and dinner plates, all sitting slightly crooked on dozens of folded paper napkins.

"First thing you have to do, Stevie, is clean up this mess," I said.
I tried to sound stern. Stevie looked at me, and then at his mother, then pulled out one of the napkins. It had "Something for Stevie" printed on the outside. As he picked it up, two $10 bills fell onto the table. Stevie stared at the money, then at all the napkins peeking from beneath the tableware, each with his name printed or scrawled on it. I turned to his mother.
"There's more than $10,000 in cash and checks on that table, all from truckers and trucking companies that heard about your problems. Happy Thanksgiving."

Well, it got real noisy about that time, with everybody hollering and shouting, and there were a few tears, as well.

But you know what was funny? While everybody else was busy shaking hands and hugging each other, Stevie, with a big, big smile on his face, was busy clearing all the cups and dishes from the table.

Best worker I ever hired.

[Author Unknown]

Saturday, November 29, 2003

OK. I admit it to any who have not assumed as much: My heart is with the US Marines. C'mon. I live with them!! But all branches of our military have a great supporter in me. At the moment, I don't personally know anyone in the Air Force, but I want to post this in case any may pass through.

Subject: Air Force

A US Air Force C-141 is scheduled to leave Thule Air Base, Greenland at midnight. During the pilot's preflight check, he discovers that the latrine holding tank is still full from the last flight. So a message is sent to the base, and an airman who was off duty is called out to take care of it.

The young man finally gets to the air base and makes his way to the aircraft, only to find that the latrine pump truck has been left outdoors and is frozen solid, so he must find another one in the hangar, which takes even more time. He returns to the aircraft and is less than enthusiastic about what he has to do. Nevertheless, he goes about the pumping job deliberately and carefully (and slowly) so as to not risk criticism later.

As he's leaving the plane, the pilot stops him and says, "Son, your attitude and performance has caused this flight to be late, and I'm going to personally see to it that you are not just reprimanded, but punished."

Shivering in the cold, his task finished, he takes a deep breath, stands up tall and says, "Sir, with all due respect, I'm not your son; I'm an Airman in the United States Air Force. I've been in Thule, Greenland for 11 months without any leave, and reindeer are beginning to look pretty good to me. I have one stripe; it's two-thirty in the morning, the temperature is 40 degrees below zero and my job here is to pump $hit from your aircraft. Now just exactly what form of punishment did you have in mind?"

(You know who you are!)

Lost Grandpa
I was at the Mall with my 5 year old grandson last week and we got separated. He approached a uniformed policeman and said,

"I've lost my Grandpa!"

The cop asked, "What's he like?"

The little boy replied, "Beer and women with big boobs."


Pregnancy Q & A
Q: Should I have a baby after 35?
A: No, 35 children is enough.

Q: I'm two months pregnant now. When will my baby move?
A: With any luck, right after he finishes college.

Q: What is the most reliable method to determine a baby's sex?
A: Childbirth.

Q: My wife is five months pregnant and so moody sometimes she's borderline irrational.
A: So what's your question?

Q: My childbirth instructor says it's not pain I'll feel during labor, but pressure. Is she right?
A: Yes, in the same way that a tornado might be called an air current.

Q: When is the best time to get an epidural?
A: Right after you find out you're pregnant.

Q: Is there any reason I have to be in the delivery room while my wife is in labor?
A: Not unless the word "alimony" means anything to you.

Q: Is there anything I should avoid while recovering from childbirth?
A: Yes, pregnancy.

Q: Do I have to have a baby shower?
A: Not if you change the baby's diaper very quickly.

Q: Our baby was born last week. When will my wife begin to feel and act normal again?
A: When the kids are in college.


A man is dining in a fancy restaurant and there is a gorgeous redhead sitting at the next table. He has been checking her out since he sat down, but lacks the nerve to talk with her. Suddenly she sneezes and her glass eye comes flying out of its socket towards the man. He reflexively reaches out, grabs it out of the air, and hands it back to her.
"Oh my, I am sooo sorry," the woman says as she pops her eye back in place. "Let me buy your dinner to make it up to you," she says.

They enjoy a wonderful dinner together, and afterwards, the theater, followed by drinks. They talk, they laugh, she shares her deepest dreams and he shares his. She listens. After paying for everything, she asks him if he would like to come to her place for a nightcap. And stay for breakfast the next morning. The next morning, she cooks a gourmet meal with all the trimmings.The guy is amazed!! Everything had been incredible!!!!
"You know," he said, "you are the perfect woman. Are you this nice to every guy you meet?"

"No, she replies..."
"You just happened to catch my eye."


A man comes into the ER and yells, "My wife's going to have her baby in the cab!" I grabbed my stuff, rushed out to the cab, lifted the lady's dress, and began to take off her underwear. Suddenly I noticed that there were several cabs, and I was in the wrong one.
--Dr. Mark MacDonald, San Antonio, TX

At the beginning of my shift I placed a stethoscope on an elderly and slightly deaf female patient's anterior chest wall. "Big breaths," I instructed. "Yes, they used to be," remorsefully replied the patient.
--Dr. Richard Byrnes, Seattle, WA

One day I had to be the bearer of bad news when I told a wife that her husband had died of a massive myocardial infarct. Not more than five minutes later, I heard her reporting to the rest of the family that he had died of a "massive internal fart,"
--Dr. Susan Steinberg, Manitoba, Canada

I was performing a complete physical, including the visual acuity test. I placed the patient twenty feet from the chart and began, "Cover your right eye with your hand." He read the 20/20 line perfectly. "Now left." Again, a flawless read. "Now both," I requested. There was silence. He couldn't even read the large letter on the top line. I turned and discovered that he had done exactly what I had asked; he was standing there with both his eyes covered. I was laughing too hard to finish the exam.
--Dr. Matthew Theodropolous, Worcester, MA

During a patient's two week follow-up appointment with his cardiologist, he informed me, his doctor, that he was having trouble with one of his medications. "Which one?" I asked. "The patch.The nurse told me to put on a new one every six hours and now I'm running out of places to put it!" I had him quickly undress and discovered what I hoped I wouldn't see. Yes, the man had over fifty patches on his body! Since incident, the instructions now include removal of the old patch before applying a new one.
--Dr. Rebecca St. Clair, Norfolk, VA

While acquainting myself with a new elderly patient, I asked,"How long have you been bedridden?" After a look of complete confusion she answered: "Why, not for about twenty years -- when my husband was alive,"
--Dr. Steven Swanson, Corvallis, OR

I was caring for a woman from Kentucky and asked, "So, how's your breakfast this morning?" "It's very good, except for the Kentucky Jelly. I can't seem to get used to the taste," the patient replied. I then asked to see the jelly and the woman produced a foil packet labeled "KYJelly."
--Dr. Leonard Kransdorf, Detroit, MI

A new, young MD when doing his residency in OB, was quite embarrassed in performing a female pelvic exams. To cover his embarrassment he had unconsciously formed a habit of whistling. The middle aged lady upon whom he was performing this exam suddenly burst out laughing and that further embarrassed him. He looked up from his work and sheepishly said: "I'm sorry. was I tickling you?" She replied, "No doctor, but the song you were whistling was: ''I wish I was an Oscar Meyer Wiener.
--name withheld to protect the truly "innocent"

A physician claims these are actual comments from his patients made while he was performing colonoscopies:
1. "Take it easy, Doc, you're boldly going where no man has gone before."
2. "Find Amelia Earhart yet?"
3. "Can you hear me NOW?"
4. "Oh boy, that was sphincterrific!"
5. "Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?"
6. "You know, in Arkansas, we're now legally married."
7. "Any sign of the trapped miners, Chief?"
8. "You put your left hand in, you take your left hand out. You do the Hokey Pokey...."
9. "Hey! Now I know how a Muppet feels!"
10. "If your hand doesn't fit, you must acquit!"
11. "Hey, Doc, let me know if you find my dignity."
12. "You used to be an executive at Enron, didn't you?"
AND FINALLY (drum roll and cymbal crash.....)
13. "Could you write me a note for my wife, saying that my head is not, in fact, up there?"


These are things people actually said in court, word for word, taken down and now published by court reporters. How did they keep from laughing while these exchanges were all taking place?

Judge: "Well, Sir, I have reviewed this case and I've decided to give your wife $775 a week."
Husband: "That's fair, your honor. I'll try to send her a few bucks myself."
Q: What is your date of birth?
A: July fifteenth.
Q: What year?
A: Every year
Q: What gear were you in at moment of the impact?
A: Gucci sweats and Reeboks.
Q: This myasthenia gravis, does it affect your memory at all?
A: Yes.
Q: And in what ways does it affect your memory?
A: I forget.
Q: You forget. Can you give us an example of something you've forgotten?
Q: How old is your son, the one living with you?
A: Thirty-eight or thirty-five, I can't remember which.
Q: How long has he lived with you?
A: Forty-five years.
Q: What was the first thing your husband said to you when he woke up that morning?
A: He said, "Where am I, Cathy?"
Q: And why did that upset you?
A: My name is Susan.
Q: And where was the location of the accident?
A: Approximately milepost 499.
Q: And where is milepost 499?
A: Probably between milepost 498 and 500.
Q: Sir, what is your IQ?
A: Well, I can see pretty well, I think.
Q: Did you blow your horn or anything?
A: After the accident?
Q: Before the accident.
A: Sure, I played for 10 years. I even went to school for it.
Q: Trooper, when you stopped the defendant, were your red and blue lights flashing?
A: Yes.
Q: Did the defendant say anything when she got out of her car?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: What did she say?
A: What disco am I at?
Q: Now doctor, isn't it true that when a person dies in his sleep, he doesn't know about it until the next morning?
A: Would you repeat that question, please?
Q: The youngest son, the 20-year old, how old is he?
Q: Were you present when your picture was taken?
Q: So the date of conception of (the baby) was August 8th?
A: Yes.
Q: And what were you doing at that time?
A: I resent that question.
Q: She had three children, right?
A: Yes.
Q: How many were boys?
A: None.
Q: Were there any girls?
Q: You say the stairs went down to the basement?
A: Yes.
Q: And these stairs, did they go up also?
Q: How was your first marriage terminated?
A: By death.
Q: And by whose death was it terminated?
Q: Can you describe the individual?
A: He was about medium height and had a beard.
Q: Was this a male or a female?
Q: Is your appearance here this morning pursuant to a deposition that I sent to your attorney?
A: No, this is how I dress when I go to work.
Q: Doctor, how many autopsies have you performed on dead people?
A: All my autopsies are performed on dead people.
Q: All your responses must be oral, OK?
A: OK.
Q: What school did you go to?
A: Oral.
Q: Do you recall the time that you examined the body?
A: The autopsy started around 8:30 p.m.
Q: And Mr.. Dennington was dead at the time?
A: No, he was sitting on the table wondering why I was doing an autopsy on him.
Q: Are you qualified to give a urine sample?
Q: Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for pulse?
A: No.
Q: Did you check for blood pressure?
A: No.
Q: Did you check for breathing?
A: No.
Q: So, then it is possible that the patient was alive when you began the autopsy?
A: No.
Q: How can you be so sure, Doctor?
A: Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar.
Q: But could the patient have still been alive nevertheless?
A: Yes, it is possible that he could have been alive and practicing law somewhere.


Those who do not learn from history are destined to repeat it.
The question: Just two generations ago, in 1923, who was:
1. President of the largest steel company?
2. President of the largest gas company?
3. President of the New York Stock Exchange?
4. Greatest wheat speculator?
5. President of the Bank of International Settlement?
6. Great Bear of Wall Street?

These men were considered some of the world's most successful of their day. Now, 80 years later, the history book asks us if we know what ultimately became of them. The answer:
1. The president of the largest steel company, Charles Schwab, died a pauper.
2. The president of the largest gas company, Edward Hopson, went insane.
3. The president of the NYSE, Richard Whitney, was released from prison to die at home.
4. The greatest wheat speculator, Arthur Cooger, died abroad, penniless.
5. The president of the Bank of International Settlement shot himself.
6. The Great Bear of Wall Street, Cosabee Livermore, also committed suicide.

However, in that same year, 1923, the PGA Champion and the winner of the most important golf tournament, the US Open, was Gene Sarazen. What became of him? He played golf until he was 92, died in 1999 at the age of 95. He was financially secure at the time of his death.

The moral: Screw work. Play golf!!. You'll live longer and be better off in the end.

Friday, November 28, 2003

Dear Dogs and Cats,

When I say to move, it means go someplace else, not switch positions with each other so there are still two of you in the way.

The dishes with the paw print are yours and contain your food. The other dishes are mine and contain my food. Please note, placing a paw print in the middle of my plate and food does not stake a claim for it becoming your food and dish, nor do I find that esthetically pleasing in the slightest.

The stairway was not designed by NASCAR and is not a racetrack. Beating me to the bottom is not the object. Tripping me doesn't help, because I fall faster than you can run.

I cannot buy anything bigger than a king size bed. I am very sorry about this. Do not think I will continue to sleep on the couch to ensure your comfort. Look at videos of dogs and cats sleeping; they can actually curl up in a ball. It is not necessary to sleep perpendicular to each other stretched out to the fullest extent possible. I also know that sticking tails straight out and having tongues hanging out the other end to maximize space used is nothing but sarcasm.

My compact discs are not miniature Frisbees.

For the last time, there is not a secret exit from the bathroom. If by some miracle I beat you there and manage to get the door shut, it is not necessary to claw, whine, try to turn the knob, or get your paw under the edge and try to pull the door open. I must exit through the same door I entered.

In addition, I have been using bathrooms for years, canine attendance is not mandatory.

The proper order is kiss me, THEN go smell the other dog's butt. I cannot stress this enough. It would be such a simple change for you.

To pacify you I have posted the following message on our front door:

Rules for Non-Pet Owners Who Visit and Like to Complain About Our Pets:
1. They live here. You don't.
2. If you don't want their hair on your clothes, stay off the furniture.
3. I like my pet a lot better than I like most people.
4. To you, it's an animal. To me, he/she is an adopted son/daughter who is short, hairy, walks on all fours and doesn't speak clearly.
5. Dogs and cats are better than kids. They eat less, don't ask for money all the time, are easier to train, usually come when called, never drive your car, don't hang out with drug-using friends, don't smoke or drink, don't worry about buying the latest fashions, don't wear your clothes, don't need a gazillion dollars for college, and if they get pregnant, you can sell the results.

[Thanks to Don, in the mountains of Virginia!]


If you know Indigo Insights, you know that 'revisionist history' is one of my most volatile buttons. I just can't abide folks who are guilty of twisting and skewing facts. Well, I have been severely chastised for doing just that and I hereby make a public apology. It seems my TEN THOUSAND post of November 25 had an error. I now learn that Terry Oglesby is not guilty of turning Chuck Myguts loose on an unsuspecting blog world. Chuck did it all by himself. No help from anyone. He is beholden to no one. And I am humbled and contrite.

Hopefully, my public mortification will set an example to other revisionists (whether malicious or inadvertent) to check their facts better.

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

You've got to be kidding! But Acidman is on a roll. Thanks A-Man.

H A P P Y T H A N K S G I V I N G Y' A L L

with Turkey music!

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

In January 2002, my oldest and dearest friend in cyber world, Chuck Myguts, began "redneckin", under the tutelage and encouragement of Terry Oglesby, The Inimitable Possum Man. As soon as Chuck learned to click "publish", he started in on me to get a blog too. He knew of my editorial background and my disability, and, sly old fox that he is, he prodded and pushed me down the path toward Blogdom. In his laid-back Alabama wisdom, I believe he felt that a blog would be an interesting thing for me to do that could be done inside, while at the same time keep my toe in the writing genre. I think Chuck had in-house "therapy" in mind, but whatever his motivations, Indigo Insights was born on February 4, 2002.

Beginning with a dozen or so visits a day, over the following months, the totals crept up to 30 to 40 visits per day. Since blogging is my hobby, numbers has never been the driving force behind my meager efforts, but I happened to notice last week that my visit total was approaching 10,000. I got a chuckle out of that because the Tall Dogs™ that Acidman talks about (including himself) get that much traffic in TWO DAYS!! It took almost two years for Indigo.

So imagine my "shock and awe" when I noticed yesterday that the grand total for Indigo Insights had exceeded 10,000! I thought there must be a mistake until, upon further scrutiny, I saw hundreds of referrals from The gracious Emperor Misha had linked Indigo's Sunday blog, The Cab Ride, and readers from his Rottweiler Empire had tallied up enough visits to put Indigo over the top for 10,000. I am very gratified that The Emperor liked my Sunday selection enough to mention it, proving once again there's power in power. ;) Many thanks to you, Misha, and to your readers for their meaningful comments. Thanks to you too, Juliette, for referring your readers. If Site Meter Summary is correct, there were 1248 visitors on 11/24/03. Holy Moly!

Fox News reports "Legal Secretary in Old Case Says Jackson Was Framed." The secretary has written a tell-all book. Read all about it.

In a remembrance of his childhood Canadian Thanksgivings, Peter Jennings noted how one year "my dad wrote 'smoke pot' in cloves on the very large ham." (Media Research Center CyberAlert, Monday November 24, 2003)

NC Senator Tony Moore (former Dem - 5th State Senate District) switched to the Republican Party, finally reconciling his party registration with his political, philosophical, and ideological principles. [Indigo: Here's his web page. Senator Moore is from my old neighborhood, Winterville, NC.]

One-third of medication errors in the nation's hospitals involve patients over age 65. And although most medical errors are not harmful, those that are fatal occur predominantly in seniors. Go here and read more words to the wise from WebMD on this danger. [or not -- Sorry this link doesn't seem to be working.]

Monday, November 24, 2003

No way Betsy doesn't have a staff of two dozen! How else could she find everything and link such pearls as this day after day? Thanks for linking this one, Betsy.

According to Dave Barry:
A new book has confirmed a theory that I first proposed in 1987, in a column explaining why men are physically unqualified to do housework. The problem, I argued, is that men -- because of a tragic genetic flaw -- cannot see dirt until there is enough of it to support agriculture. This puts men at a huge disadvantage against women, who can detect a single dirt molecule 20 feet away.

This is why a man and a woman can both be looking at the same bathroom commode, and the man --hindered by Male Genetic Dirt Blindness (MGDB) -- will perceive the commode surface as being clean enough for heart surgery or even meat slicing; whereas the woman can't even see the commode, only a teeming, commode-shaped swarm of bacteria. A woman can spend two hours cleaning a toothbrush holder and still not be totally satisfied; whereas if you ask a man to clean the entire New York City subway system, he'll go down there with a bottle of Windex and a single paper towel, then emerge 25 minutes later, weary but satisfied with a job well done.

Just as one gal's treasure is another gal's trash, so is one gal's hilarious another gal's boring. But to me this Barry article is hilarious. Read the entire masterpiece here.

This one is so important, I'm going to use it even though I can not trace backwards to where I found it. Profuse apologies to whomever referred me to this page. May you be tolerant of SM™. Operation Hero Miles is a great campaign to help our military personnel get free air miles to travel home for the holidays Another way to say thanks to the troops is through "Want to send a care package to Any Soldier in Iraq, but have no idea of what to send, who to send it to, or how to send it?" FAQs here. Check it out.

A new commenter on Sam's blog left another observation in response to her questions about God. (follow-up to PENSIVE, below, Nov. 20)

For you, the following might be a new way of thinking about God. It's what I know to be true.

The beginning of our lives here on earth is not the beginning of our existance as real, thinking people. We all existed before this life as spirits. As spirits we were limited. We could not experience all that God, having a tangible body, could experience. In order to achieve what he has we had to come to earth, recieve physical bodies, and learn how to use those bodies for good by experiencing hardship and evil. In order for us to learn we had to be given the right to choose for ourselves. Unfortunately, this means we are free to harm others and cause pain. This is difficult to fathom but it becomes easier when you realize that this life is not the beginning or the end. Also, it helps to understand that we can understand what something is without understanding what it is not. What I mean by this is, there is opposition in everything. We can't understand and desire the good without experiencing the bad. That is just a fact of life. Think of this life as difficult but worthy school. The rewards will be greater than you can ever dream when you graduate.

Dinky | Email | Homepage | 11.22.03 - 12:26 pm

Phillip Coons linked a liberal Army reservist wife with this (among other things) to say:
I don't have a flag sticker on my car or a yellow ribbon around the old oak tree. I know gay couples that should be married and straight couples that shouldn't. I want universal health insurance, over-funded public schools and a minimum wage that corresponds to the minimum amount of money it takes to survive. I think there are too many guns and not enough condoms. I wish people didn't have abortions and I wish they didn't commit suicide, but sometimes you have to let the people with the burden decide how to carry it. Mary Kay Clunies-Ross is a communications consultant in Seattle. Her husband is serving with the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment.

Kevin McGehee has finally had a "link hissy-fit". Go see if you can figure out just what the heck he's done now. And get back to me, if you can.

Ocean Guy links to a delightful piece by Rick Dinitz: Excerpts from Tractate Thanksgiving

Jack, over at Random Fate, posted some outstanding quotes yesterday. My personal favorite: God is too big to fit into one religion. -Robert A. Heinlein

Chuck's gone again. But he left a new fun tale about Uncle NoPass. Read "Robyn is your dog" and leave Chuck a comment requesting more NoPass adventures. Some of the WW2 tales would be very interesting, for instance. Not a whole lot of those vets around to tell their tales now.

Now has its own domain. This site is updated daily, so if you haven't seen it lately, go see the faces of heroes.


There are those who do it just for the show. And there are those who do it for real. There are those who tell you what they think you want to hear. And there are those who respect you enough to always speak the truth. There are those who merely go through the motions. And there are those who sincerely seek to create real and lasting value.

You can get by for a while just living on the surface of life, feeding on those things that are fleeting and meaningless. There will come a time, though, when you'll need and want something deeper, something with real nourishment.

And then you'll wonder why you ever wasted your time with all those shallow, insignificant things. The sooner you live for real, true to who you are, the better life will be.
-- Ralph Marston

Sunday, November 23, 2003

Twenty years ago, I drove a cab for a living. When I arrived at 2:30 a.m., the building was dark except for a single light in a ground floor window. Under these circumstances, many drivers would just honk once or twice, wait a minute, then drive away.

But, I had seen too many impoverished people who depended on taxis as their only means of transportation. Unless a situation smelled of danger, I always went to the door. This passenger might be someone who needs my assistance, I reasoned to myself. So I walked to the door and knocked. "Just a minute", answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor.

After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 80's stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940s movie. By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets. There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware.

"Would you carry my bag out to the car?" she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman. She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb. She kept thanking me for my kindness.
"It's nothing", I told her. "I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother treated".
"Oh, you're such a good boy", she said.

When we got in the cab, she gave me an address, then asked, "Could you drive through downtown?"
"It's not the shortest way," I answered quickly.
"Oh, I don't mind," she said. "I'm in no hurry. I'm on my way to a hospice". I looked in the rear-view mirror. Her eyes were glistening.
"I don't have any family left," she continued. "The doctor says I don't have very long."
I quietly reached over and shut off the meter. "What route would you like me to take?" I asked.

For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator. We drove through the neighbourhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds. She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl. Sometimes she'd ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing. As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, "I'm tired. Let's go now."

We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico. Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move. They must have been expecting her. I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.

"How much do I owe you?" she asked, reaching into her purse.
"Nothing," I said.
"You have to make a living," she answered.
"There are other passengers," I responded.

Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug. She held onto me tightly. "You gave an old woman a little moment of joy," she said. "Thank you." I squeezed her hand, then walked into the dim morning light.

Behind me, a door shut. It was the sound of the closing of a life. I didn't pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly, lost in thought. For the rest of that day, I could hardly talk.

What if that woman had gotten an angry driver, or one who was impatient to end his shift? What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?

On a quick review, I don't think that I have done anything more important in my life. We're conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments. But great moments often catch us unaware - beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.

~BUT ~

Friday, November 21, 2003

On November 21, 1789, North Carolina ratified the Constitution to become the twelfth state in the Union. The vote came approximately two hundred years after the first white settlers arrived on the fertile Atlantic coastal plain. (Rest of the story)


Ever notice how "ultras" tend to overreact? ANY ULTRA! TO ANYTHING! Yesterday, I linked to A Boy and His Computer (see The Boy Can't Stand It, below) and commented on presidential regional dialects. As a child, I listened to Franklin D. Roosevelt on the radio. His voice sounded much like Winston Churchill to me. It was not an unpleasant or objectionable voice, only different from what my young Southern ears were attuned to. I remember when JFK was president, he especially liked Vaughn Meader, a political satirist of the time. Meader appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show and became a national hit poking fun at the White House in the Massachusetts Kennedy-speak. It was good natured, however, and it was said that the president had Meader's records and enjoyed them very much. A lot of the material was cute, funny stuff about the children in the White House. No malice.

When I commented on The Boy's comments, I only intended to point out differences in presidential speaking, not politics. But here, read it for yourself:

Regional dialects in our presidents have always been amusing quirks. FDR sounded rather British. JFK never could say Cuba. LBJ talked more Texan than Bush. The southern drawl of Carter and Clinton was/is soft on the ears. None of them were ridiculed or sarcastically bashed. Why now?
.: Posted by Indigo :: :: :: Nov 20, 2003

The reply:

None of them were ridiculed or sarcastically bashed. Why now?

Well, that's just not so. I personally remember plenty of people making fun of Carter, and I know that plenty of people made fun of LBJ and JFK. Reagan, Bush and Clinton, not so much - as you said, they were softer on the ears. As to why now, well that's easy - he's the president now. It would kind of pointless to gripe about a former president.

Carter may have had a hick accent, but he was not a hick, he was probably the most articulate and well-spoken modern president. But even if he had been a banjo-playing caricature straight out of Deliverance, that doesn't make Bush any better. Whether you believe he's an idiot or not (I do, but I know lots of people don't), Bush is inarguably a terrible speaker. He always looks like he's smirking, and he's incapable of speaking without resorting to cliches and slogans. I find him and his whole lying gang to be an embarrassment, and the whole "nucular" thing just takes the cake.

(And another thing - what is with this whole "Clinton/Carter/JFK did it too" defense? Any time anyone criticizes Bush, it's even money that a Bush apologist will try to deflect it with a "well, Clinton did such-and-such" anecdote, as if that excuses the fucked-up things the Bush administration are doing. As if Bush and Co. have received even a fraction of the roasting Clinton got in the press.)
.: Posted by Ryland :: :: :: Nov 20, 2003

(sigh] It's times like this when I realize not having Comments may be a blessing!!! I wouldn't enjoy trolls.


Phillip Coons and his Delusional Duck spotlight an insidiously interesting new internet phonomena: Hi-Tech Bullying. Read it here. Probably in a neighborhood near you soon.

Finally found a sentient being in Donnie's chat room. Met the guy from Random Fate last night and now I KNOW JACK!



I guess you heard the big story - the Jackson 5 is getting back together. Well, it’s just for the police lineup, but hey!

Yesterday here in California police raided Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch in a criminal investigation, but they didn’t say what exactly they were looking for. That’s a switch: keeping Michael Jackson dangling!

Court TV reports that a 12-year-old boy has accused Michael Jackson of sexual abuse. Michael says he’s got an alibi, but it sounds kind of fishy. He claims that at the time in question he was with a 13-year-old boy.

Police are searching the Neverland Ranch looking for anything unusual. They found something unusual – like a girl.

Michael was not there. Three-month investigation, 70 cops, they should have called first. He wasn’t there. Jackson wasn’t at the ranch, he was in Vegas. Outside of the Neverland Ranch he spends most of his time in Vegas. It’s his favorite place. Because, you know, "what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas."

Authorities are apparently trying to get Michael to surrender. Why don’t they try candy? That’s how Michael gets kids to surrender.

If convicted, Michael could face up to eight years in prison. I don’t think he’s going to like the pony rides at San Quentin.

CBS has announced they’re going to pull the Michael Jackson special that was going to air later this month. In its place will be a new show, "CSI: Neverland Ranch."


I had a bad start to my day. I hate it when the mobile forensics lab pulls up to the driveway.

As you know, federal agents raided Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch out in Santa Barbara yesterday. If he’s not careful, this is the sort of thing that people might start to think he’s peculiar.

Michael was so upset that he contacted Rush Limbaugh’s housekeeper to get some sedatives.

Michael Jackson’s spokesman said that he had no comment because he didn’t know what the raid was about – well, that makes him the only one.

It was a huge deal. There were over 60 feds on the ranch property – they didn’t find much, but they did find O.J.’s knife.


"Mr. Goldblatt," announced little Joey, "there's something I can't figure out."
"What's that, Joey?" asked Goldblatt.
"Well, according to the Bible, the Children of Israel crossed the Red Sea, right?"
"And the Children of Israel beat up the Phillistines, right?"
"Er, right."
"And the Children of Israel built the Temple, right?"
"Again you're right."
"And the Children of Israel fought the Egyptians, and the Children of Israel fought the Romans, and the Children of Israel were always doing something important, right?"
"All that is right, too," agreed Goldblatt. "So what's your question?"
"What were all the grown-ups doing?"

[thanks to Kristi, Greenville, NC]

Thursday, November 20, 2003

Sam said "I'm not so sure I believe in ANYTHING spiritual anymore." Pennywit commented:

"Why do bad things happen to good people? Stephen King once answered that question in a short story: Bad things happen to good people because they can.

Deism supplies another answer. Deists believe that God is a "Great Watchmaker." The deist believes God set the universe in motion, and does not interfere with its function. The deists also don't believe in miracles or revelations -- they attempt to infer God's existence through reason or philosophy.

Another school of philosophy posits free will. Under this school, God wants people to do good, and instills in people the ability to do good, but God has also instilled free will. When people exercise free will to do evil, it saddens God, but he does not interfere because of free will.

Mark Twain's "The Mysterious Stranger" (whose 1916 release was later revealed as a literary fraud) posits what might be the bleakest view: God has endowed man with a Moral Sense, but that Sense allows man to enjoy immoral acts.

Other theories abound. One is everything is predestined. Another theory holds that God is evil. At best, it's a difficult question.

Were I a theist, I would lean toward the deist argument -- that God has chosen to set the world in motion, and does not interfere with its natural laws.

Pennywit | Email | Homepage | 11.19.03 - 7:06 pm | #


Michael Jackson?


How can one go to Harvard and still say "nucular"? How can one go to Harvard and still say "Cuber"?


The Last Supper would have been eaten the next morning -- cold.

The Ten Commandments would actually be only five -- double-spaced and written in a large font.

A new edition would be published every two years in order to limit reselling.

Forbidden fruit would have been eaten because it wasn't cafeteria food.

Paul's letter to the Romans would become Paul's email to

Reason Cain killed Abel: they were roommates.

Reason why Moses and followers walked in the desert for 40 years: they didn't want to ask directions and look like freshmen.

Instead of God creating the world in six days and resting on the seventh, he would have put it off until the night before to get it done.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Chuck has invited me to the God Bless Fort Benning Rally. That's an invitation I'd really like to take him up on, but due to geography, I'll be participating in the local Toys for Tots, sponsored by our Marines. Both of these are laudable causes and I hope everyone who can possibly respond, will.


If you missed Baldilocks yesterday, please go here and don't miss a single link. Most bloggers have probably already read this outstanding piece, but non-bloggers (like the majority of my readership) will miss it if I don't point them in the right direction. Also see "About Me" for Juliette's bio.

Just so you'll know what you'll be missing if you don't link, here's an excerpt:

"But surely, he would offer state-of-the-art medical attention and pensions to all of those Africans who lost livelihoods and aid to the families of the murdered. After all, these are our allies and the murdered and maimed were working alongside or for the Americans! Nothing from the "first Black President" but sincere-sounding words.

"To paraphrase the words of King Solomon, pretty words hide a wicked heart. Or a cowardly one, for that matter. This man knew all the right words to say to black Americans. Knew all the fronts to put on. Knew all the frauds to perpetrate. And we bought the game, hook, line and sinker. But when push came to shove, he abandoned all Americans, black ones, white ones and all the other ones. He folded like the empty suit that he is."

Monday, November 17, 2003

"Is there something in the water in Arkansas? Remember when Bill Clinton got famous and a bunch of half-semi-maybe brothers and sisters started to come out of the woodwork? Well, it's happening to Wesley Clark. A stepbrother has cropped up. At least Clark is being a bit more gracious about it than BJ was." Via Betsy via Lucianne. Also see Comments.

SM™ Redneckin'


Have you ever noticed that when you're of a certain age, everything seems uphill from where you are? Stairs are steeper. Groceries are heavier. And, everything is farther away. Yesterday I walked to the corner and I was dumbfounded to discover how long our street had become!

And, you know, people are less considerate now, especially the young ones. They speak in whispers all the time! If you ask them to speak up they just keep repeating themselves, endlessly mouthing the same silent message until they're red in the face! What do they think I am, a lip reader?

I also think they are much younger than I was at the same age. On the other hand, people my own age are so much older than I am. I ran into an old friend the other day and she has aged so much that she didn't even recognize me.

I got to thinking about the poor dear while I was combing my hair this morning, and in doing so, I glanced at my own refection........Well, REALLY ! Now even mirrors are not made the way they used to be!

Another thing, everyone drives so fast today! You're risking life and limb if you just happen to pull onto the freeway in front of them. All I can say is, their brakes must wear out awfully fast, the way I see them screech and swerve in my rear view mirror.

Clothing manufacturers are less civilized these days. Why else would they suddenly start labeling a size 10 or 12 dress as 18 or 20? Do they think no one notices that these things no longer fit around the waist, hips, thighs, and bosom?

The people who make bathroom scales are pulling the same prank, but in reverse. Do they think I actually "believe" the number I see on that dial? HA! I would never let myself weigh that much! Just who do these people think they're fooling?

I'd like to call up someone in authority to report what's going on -- but the telephone company is in on the conspiracy too. They've printed the phone books in such small type that no one could ever find a number in here!

All I can do is pass along this warning: Maturity is under attack! Unless something drastic happens, pretty soon "everyone" will have to suffer these awful indignities.


[PS: I am sending this to you in a larger font size, because something has caused fonts to be smaller than they once were too!]


Campbell's Soup will donate a can of soup to the hungry for every click received on a special web page.
According to, this one is true.

Here is an easy way to make a difference this holiday season: Campbell's is donating a can of soup to the needy for every person that goes to their site and votes for their favorite NFL team. Go to the site and it is right there, very easy to do. It will only take a few seconds of your time to fill some empty tummies with warm soup this winter. Please forward this message to everyone in your address book too. Thanks. [Note: Slow DL due to heavy traffic.]


Baghdadee, an ambitious Iraqi expatriate living in the US has started a bilingual Arabic/English group weblog project here. Mind you, this is Iraqi blog number 10! You can translate your comments into Arabic using this site to reach a wider audience of Iraqis. And to all Iraqis reading this, show your support by translating articles both ways and submitting them to Baghdadee and his crew to be published on their blog. You will be making a HUGE contribution to the Iraqi blogosphere. Link via Zeyad of Healing Iraq.

>^..^< New for Ocean Guy
>^..^< Dogs have owners. Cats have staff.
>^..^< Just going to church doesn't make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car. (Analogy: the "kittens in the oven" thing!)
>^..^< Email: indigoinsights [at] hotmail [dot] com

Sunday, November 16, 2003


The park bench was deserted as I sat down to read
Beneath the long, straggly branches of an old willow tree.
Disillusioned by life, with good reason to frown,
For the world was intent on dragging me down.

And if that weren't enough to ruin my day,
A young boy out of breath approached me, all tired from play.
He stood right before me with his head tilted down
And said with great excitement, "Look what I found!"

In his hand was a flower, and what a pitiful sight,
With its petals all worn, not enough rain or too little light.
Wanting him to take his dead flower and go off to play,
I faked a small smile and then shifted away.

But instead of retreating, he sat next to my side
And placed the flower to his nose and declared with overacted surprise,
"It sure smells pretty and it's beautiful, too.
That's why I picked it. Here, it's for you."

The weed before me was dying or dead;
Not vibrant of colors, orange, yellow or red.
But I knew I must take it, or he might never leave.
So I reached for the flower, and replied, "Just what I need."

But instead of him placing the flower in my hand,
He held it mid-air without reason or plan.
It was then that I noticed for the very first time
That weed-toting boy could not see: he was blind.

I heard my voice quiver, tears shone like the sun,
As I thanked him for picking the very best one.
"You're welcome," he smiled, and then ran off to play,
Unaware of the impact he'd had on my day.

I sat there and wondered how he managed to see
A self-pitying woman beneath an old willow tree.
How did he know of my self-indulged plight?
Perhaps from his heart, he'd been blessed with true sight.

Through the eyes of a blind child, at last I could see
The problem was not with the world; the problem was me.
And for all of those times, I myself had been blind,
I vowed to see the beauty in life, and appreciate every second that's mine.

And then I held that wilted flower up to my nose
And breathed in the fragrance of a beautiful rose
And smiled as I watched that young boy, another weed in his hand,
About to change the life of an unsuspecting old man.

Saturday, November 15, 2003
In the good days of Whitney Houston she had a hit song called "Greatest Love of All". It is a quite beautiful song with very moving lyrics: such as:

I believe the children are our future
Teach them well and let them lead the way
Show them all the beauty they possess inside
Give them a sense of pride to make it easier
Let the children's laughter remind us how we used to be

I thought of this song today when I read Glenn's "There Is No Black America". Glenn is a young generation black man who, when he's serious, has much wisdom to impart. I wanted to paste part or all of "There Is No Black America" here, but Glenn is also a computer wizard and apparently locked out C&Ping. This is all I could get: Yes, I realize that BET is Black Entertainment Television, but all black people don't like rap. All black people don't like jazz. Some black people don't like the fact that BET shows more commercials then actual content, or maybe that's just me.

Please take a minute to visit his site here and read the entire November 14 lead piece.


Tobacco Road Fogey gives a link to the blogging mother of a soldier in Iraq. Wish she had told who the politician was. Read her letter at A Soldier's Mother.

According to Gone South, the most complete blogroll of Iraqi bloggers is at Healing Iraq. I checked and Janis is right.

MAIL BOX - Don, Virginia

Three Southerners and three Yankees are traveling by train to the Super Bowl.

At the station, the three Yankees each buy a ticket and watch as the three Southerners buy just one ticket.

"How are the three of you going to travel on only one ticket?" Asks one of the Yankees.

"Watch and learn!" answers one of the men from the South.

They all board the train.

The three Yankee men take their respective seats but all three Southerners cram into a toilet together and close the door.

Shortly after the train has departed, the conductor comes around collecting tickets. He knocks on the toilet door and says, "Ticket please."

The door opens just a crack and a single arm emerges with the ticket in hand. The conductor takes it and moves on.

The Yankees see this happen and agree it was quite a clever idea, so after the game, they decide to do the same thing on the return trip and save some money.

When they get to the station, they buy a single ticket for the return trip but see, to their astonishment, that the three Southerners don't buy any ticket at all.

"How are you going to travel without a ticket?" says one perplexed Yankee.

"Watch and learn!" answers a man from the South.

When they board the train the three Yankees cram themselves into a toilet and the three Southerners cram into another toilet just down the way.

Shortly after the train is on its way, one of the Southerners leaves their toilet and walks over to the toilet in which the Yankees are hiding.

The Southerner knocks on their door and says, "Ticket please"...

I'm still trying to figure out how the South lost that war!

Friday, November 14, 2003

Baby Bear goes downstairs and sits in his small chair at the table, he looks into his small bowl. It is empty . "Who's been eating my porridge?!!", he squeaks.

Papa Bear arrives at the big table and sits in his big chair. He looks into his big bowl, and it is also empty. "Who's been eating my porridge?!!," he roars.

Momma Bear puts her head through the serving hatch from the kitchen and yells, "For goodness sakes, how many times do we have to go through this with you idiots?

"It was Momma Bear who got up first . . .

"It was Momma Bear who woke everyone in the house . . .

"It was Momma Bear who made the coffee. . .

"It was Momma Bear who unloaded the dishwasher from last night and put everything away . . .

"It was Momma Bear who went out in the cold early morning air to fetch the newspaper. . .

"It was Momma Bear who set the table . . .

"It was Momma Bear who put the cat out, cleaned the litter box, and filled the cat's water and food dish . . .

"And now that you've decided to drag your sorry bear-asses downstairs and grace Momma Bear's kitchen with your grumpy presence, listen good, cause I'm only going to say this one more time.


[I couldn't help myself, MB. It was so much fun!!]

Thursday, November 13, 2003

Nice surprise, being linked to Ken's Page. I think I may be a "musician magnet". Which is a good thing. Thanks, Ken.

The Train Man has a gripe. (scroll to "Little too much Thug") Why are they called "trolls" anyhow? Why not call them what they are: sociopaths?

My Redneck Guru is still MIA. Enough is enough, Chuck.

I'm just tickled to pieces that I can read JimsSpot now! Try it! You'll like it!

A liberal Marine, Sgt. Robert Ferriol, has his say here. Thanks to SKB for the link.

Cletus, of Compleat Redneck fame, has finally returned from resting on his Halloween laurels. That vampire wore him slam out.

Sam has some good blogs going today. Check 'em out.

Baldilocks explains AWOL so even I can understand it. A MUST READ!

Wednesday, November 12, 2003
Thanks to Kristi, here is one of the most fantastic dog videos I've ever seen. My cats surely can't do this -- but then, neither can that lazy Rottweiler!
DON'T MISS IT! UPDATE: This seems to be a difficult site to DL at times. Please don't give up.
UPDATE #2 -- ok Try This One.

Not new, but received again today. And it's still entertaining. Go here just for fun ---

Badeagle's words for Veteran's Day: On this great Veterans Day, Nov. 11, 2003, let's remember how really great a veteran's woman can be. Let's remember that true nobility in a woman, when her pride in her man is so complete that she will sacrifice her own security and love--for his honor, for the honor he has in giving his life from freedom. She lives through him. Her honor as a woman, is in his honor. Read his entire post here.

Please visit these blogs for authentic Iraqi perspective. These are revelations!
Alaa, The Mesopotamian
Zeyad, Healing Iraq
Nawar, Ishtar Talking
Ays, Iraq at a Glance
Baghdad Burning

>^..^< A Shriek from Momma Bear's den!!!
>^..^< Exonerate Lt. Col. Allen B. West


Up north: Chapstick in their back pocket and a $20 bill in their front pocket.
Down South: Louis Vuitton duffel with two lipsticks, powder, mascara (waterproof), concealer, and a fifth of bourbon. Wallet not necessary; that's what dates are for.

Up north: College football stadiums hold 20,000.
Down South: High school football stadiums hold 20,000.

Up north: Doug Flutie
Down South: Herschel Walker

Up north: Snow and ice.
Down South: Sunny, high in the mid-60s, lows in the 30s.

Up north: Expect their daughters to understand Sylvia Plath.
Down South: Expect their daughters to understand pass interference.

Up north: Male and female alike - woolly sweater or sweatshirt with jeans.
Down South: Male: pressed khakis (with flask of bourbon), oxford shirt and cap with frat logo. Female: ankle-length skirt, boots, oxford. (Note: flask with bourbon is stored somewhere.)

Up north: Take prospects on sailing trips before they join the law firm.
Down South: Take prospects on fishing trips so they don't leave for the NFL.

Up north: Statues of founding fathers.
Down South: Statues of Heisman trophy winners.

Up north: Also a physics major.
Down South: Also Miss USA.

Up north: Mario Cuomo
Down South: "Bear" Bryant

Up north: 5 hours before the game you can walk into the ticket office on campus and still purchase tickets.
Down South: 5 months before the game you can walk into the ticket office on campus and still be placed on a waiting list.

Up north: Students and teachers are not sure if they are going to the game because they have classes the next day.
Down South: It is considered a campus holiday. Many professors also cancel Thursday classes so everyone can get a head start for the game that night.

Up north: An hour before the game, the university opens up the campus parking area.
Down South: RV's sporting their school flags begin to roll in on Wednesday for the weekend's festivities. The real faithful come on Tuesday. The die-hards have been there since last week's game.

Up north: Wieners on the grill, beer with lime in it, listening to local radio station with truck tailgate down.
Down South: 30-foot custom pig-shaped smoker fires up at dawn. Cooking accompanied by live performance from the hottest band around. Males have at least a handle of bourbon for themselves. Females are given the choice of drinking beer or bourbon.
(Note: drinking beer will lead to them being blackballed from the rest of the group.)

Up north: You have to ask "Where's the stadium?" When you find it, you walk right in without have to wait in line.
Down South: When you're near it, you'll hear it. On gameday, it becomes the state's second largest city.

Up north: Drinks served in paper cup filled to the top with soda.
Down South: Drinks served in a plastic cup with the home team's mascot on it, filled less than halfway to ensure enough room for bourbon.

Up north: Stands are less than half full.
Down South: Crowd sings along in perfect 3-part harmony.

Up north: Nothing changes.
Down South: Cannon fire with a twist of bourbon.

Up north: Nice play.
Down South: Dammit, you slow sonofabitch tackle him and break his legs!!

Up north: My, this is a violent sport.
Down South: Dammit, you slow sonofabitch tackle him and break his legs!!

Up north: The stadium is empty before the game ends.
Down South: Another rack of ribs on the smoker. While someone goes to the nearest package store for more bourbon, planning begins for next week's party.

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

In reflecting on Veteran’s Day, I’ve been remembering veterans who have touched my life. No, I didn’t know any soldiers from the Revolution, but I do remember two Civil War veterans!

One of my sixth grade friends, Todd, lived with his Civil War vet grandfather. On a day that everyone was to bring a historical item to class to talk about, Todd brought his grandfather’s Civil War sword. It was breathtaking! To see the sword up close and touch it made such an impression on me. I can recall my awe to this day. Everyone in the little town where I grew up had seen the old veteran walking around town in his large-brimmed hat, with the beautiful, ornate sword swinging from his belt, but I actually touched it! And what an aristocratic gentleman! Wisps of snow white hair showing under the brim of his hat; erect, military-bearing; not on a stroll, but as if on a mission, in a brisk military gait; and the sword. Although not in uniform, the elegant old man, in his nineties by then, exuded military discipline and pride. In my adulthood, I could have kicked myself many a time for not getting to know my friend’s grandfather and having conversations with him.

My husband’s grandfather was also a Civil War veteran. He, too, was in his nineties by the time I knew him, but was frail and sick. I only saw him once, sitting in his rocking chair on the porch. . He didn’t communicate much by the time I met him. Perhaps he was still tortured by his memories of a Yankee POW camp in the cold north. (but that’s another blog)

No veteran from the Spanish-American War ever crossed my path. My grandfather could have served in that conflict that began in 1898, but he opted for another conflict and got married instead!!

The World War One veteran I knew was my father-in-law, Mark Twain. (No, not THAT one!) He served in the trenches of Europe and was one of the lucky ones who returned home unscathed. Mark told vivid stories of his war experiences until the day he died. He couldn’t remember what he had for breakfast, but he could relate with detailed fervor the ecstatic reaction of the soldiers when the bells tolled all over Europe signaling the Armistice.

World War II vets I knew were family members and family friends. Some came back. Some didn’t. Two uncles served in WWII. Uncle Wade was an Air Force bombardier who flew 20-some missions over Germany, came home on leave, and was killed in a car crash. Uncle Charlie, Army, chased French women around for a few months and came home with gifts from Paris. Other WWII military personnel that came into my young life: many Army; two Marines; one Navy Seabee; two Air Force paratroopers; one Merchant Marine.

No one I knew personally served in the Korean “police action”; however, an older lady, who I met after Korea, lost her son and only child there. He was a graduate of West Point whose body was never found and returned home. She took me to her local cemetery in 1963 and showed me his memorial stone. It disturbed her greatly that he had no grave – only a stone. Many mothers face this terrible tragedy after every war.

From Vietnam to the present, everyone knows someone who served. Grenada, Panama, Desert Storm, Bosnia, Somalia, Afghanistan, Operation Iraqi Freedom, plus others that I do not quickly recall. If you talk to a veteran today – or any day, for that matter – take a moment to thank him or her for your freedom and blessings and for their contributions and sacrifices to world peace and security.

UPDATE: From Uncle, from Rebel Yell, here's the best opening line of the day on the blogs I've read: "If you can read this, thank a teacher. But since you are reading it in English, you'd better thank a Vet."

Monday, November 10, 2003

November 11, is the anniversary of the Armistice which was signed in the Forest of Compiegne by the Allies and the Germans in 1918, ending World War I, after four years of conflict.

At 5 A.M. on Monday, November 11, 1918 the Germans signed the Armistice, an order was issued for all firing to cease; so the hostilities of the First World War ended. This day began with the laying down of arms, blowing of whistles, impromptu parades, closing of places of business. All over the globe there were many demonstrations; no doubt the world has never before witnessed such rejoicing.

In November of 1919, President Woodrow Wilson issued his Armistice Day proclamation. The last paragraph set the tone for future observances:
To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country's service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nation.

In 1927 Congress issued a resolution requesting President Calvin Coolidge to issue a proclamation calling upon officials to display the Flag of the United States on all government buildings on November 11, and inviting the people to observe the day in schools and churches...But it was not until 1938 that Congress passed a bill that each November 11 "shall be dedicated to the cause of world peace and ...hereafter celebrated and known as Armistice Day."

That same year President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a bill making the day a legal holiday in the District of Columbia. For sixteen years the United States formally observed Armistice Day, with impressive ceremonies at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, where the Chief Executive or his representative placed a wreath. In many other communities, the American Legion was in charge of the observance, which included parades and religious services. At 11 A.M. all traffic stopped, in tribute to the dead, then volleys were fired and taps sounded.

After World War II, there were many new veterans who had little or no association with World War I. The word, "armistice," means simply a truce; therefore as years passed, the significance of the name of this holiday changed. Leaders of Veterans' groups decided to try to correct this and make November 11 the time to honor all who had fought in various American wars, not just in World War I.

In Emporia, Kansas, on November 11, 1953, instead of an Armistice Day program, there was a Veterans' Day observance. Ed Rees, of Emporia, was so impressed that he introduced a bill into the House to change the name to Veterans' Day. After this passed, Mr. Rees wrote to all state governors and asked for their approval and cooperation in observing the changed holiday. The name was changed to Veterans' Day by Act of Congress on May 24, 1954. In October of that year, President Eisenhower called on all citizens to observe the day by remembering the sacrifices of all those who fought so gallantly, and through rededication to the task of promoting an enduring peace. The President referred to the change of name to Veterans' Day in honor of the servicemen of all America's wars.

Excerpts from All About American Holidays by Mayme R. Krythe.

Meaning of Armistice (Veterans) Day lost
By George McEvoy, Palm Beach Post Columnist
Saturday, November 8, 2003

Tuesday is Veterans Day, and here I am wishing again that it still was called Armistice Day.

Sure, part of my reason is nostalgia. It was called Armistice Day all the time I was growing up. My father revered Armistice Day, for it marked the conclusion of a terrible war in which he fought bravely, was wounded and gassed.

But there is another reason. Every time we change our longtime holidays, we tend to give the new day a title that's all but meaningless.

Once, we celebrated George Washington's Birthday and Abraham Lincoln's Birthday as separate holidays honoring our two greatest presidents. We morphed the two days into one and called it Presidents Day. Huh? Which presidents? Are we honoring Warren Harding and "Tricky Dick" Nixon along with Washington and Lincoln?

The reason for changing Armistice Day was simply that we had been engaged in more wars since 1918, and the veterans of those conflicts, too, wanted to be noted. As a veteran of World War II, I concur. But I wish we somehow could have kept the original name in there.

The thing is, Armistice Day meant something very specific and important. The very name pointed up the fact that the world wasn't paying attention in the heady atmosphere of 1918. If we had paid closer heed to the word used -- armistice -- we might have seen what was coming. (Read the entire article here.)

Sunday, November 09, 2003

I am a mother of three (ages 14, 12, 3) and have recently completed my college degree. The last class I had to take was Sociology. The teacher was absolutely inspiring with the qualities that I wish every human being had been graced with. Her last project of the term was called "Smile." The class was asked to go out and smile at three people and document their reactions. I am a very friendly person and always smile at everyone and say hello anyway, so I thought this would be a piece of cake, literally.

Soon after we were assigned the project, my husband, youngest son, and I went out to McDonald's one crisp March morning. It was just our way of sharing special playtime with our son.

We were standing in line, waiting to be served, when all of a sudden everyone around us began to back away, and then even my husband did. I did not move an inch... an overwhelming feeling of panic welled up inside of me as I turned to see why they had moved.

As I turned around I smelled a horrible "dirty body" smell, and there standing behind me were two poor homeless men. As I looked down at the short gentleman, close to me, he was "smiling". His beautiful sky blue eyes were full of God's Light as he searched for acceptance. He said, "Good day" as he counted the few coins he had been clutching.The second man fumbled with his hands as he stood behind his friend. I realized the second man was mentally challenged and the blue-eyed gentleman was his salvation. I held my tears as I stood there with them.

The young lady at the counter asked him what they wanted. He said, "Coffee is all, Miss." because that was all they could afford. (If they wanted to sit in the restaurant and warm up, they had to buy something. He just wanted to be warm).

Then I really felt it - the compulsion was so great I almost reached out and embraced the little man with the blue eyes. That is when I noticed all eyes in the restaurant were set on me, judging my every action.

I smiled and asked the young lady behind the counter to give me two more breakfast meals on a separate tray. I then walked around the corner to the table that the men had chosen as a resting spot. I put the tray on the table and laid my hand on the blue-eyed gentleman's cold hand.

He looked up at me, with tears in his eyes, and said, "Thank you." I leaned over, began to pat his hand and said, "I did not do this for you. God is here working through me to give you hope."

I started to cry as I walked away to join my husband and son. When I sat down my husband smiled at me and said, "That is why God gave you to me, Honey, to give me hope." We held hands for a moment and at that time, we knew that only because of the Grace that we had been given were we able to give.

We are not church goers, but we are believers. That day showed me the pure Light of God's sweet love.

I returned to college, on the last evening of class, with this story in hand. I turned in "my project" and the instructor read it. Then she looked up at me and said, "Can I share this?" I slowly nodded as she got the attention of the class.

She began to read and that is when I knew that we as human beings and being part of God share this need to heal people and to be healed. In my own way I had touched the people at McDonald's, my husband, son, instructor, and every soul that shared the classroom on the last night I spent as a college student.

I graduated with one of the biggest lessons I would ever learn: UNCONDITIONAL ACCEPTANCE.

Much love and compassion is sent to each and every person who may read this and learn how to


Saturday, November 08, 2003

Thanks to the Straight White Guy's link to The Messopotamian, I have a new daily read. Alaa, an Iraqi who just started blogging, had this to say in his first blog:

Tuesday, November 04, 2003 -- Hellow everybody. This is my first posting in the blogging world. Please execuse the clumsiness and not very professional style. I am an Iraqi and believe that more and more voices should come out of the country to inform the world. We live in difficult times, surrounded by danger. Hope to make some contribution to the communication between the Iraqi Ordinary Man and the western people, also to encourage dialogue between english speeking iraqis to exchange views and discuss our present predicament.

Alaa writes quite eloquently, and obviously from the heart, on his opinions of the current turmoil in his country. In reading his posts since November 4, I have gleaned more insight into Mr. Average Iraqi than I've ever had before. When you go to The Messopotamian to read Alaa's blog, do not miss the Comments. Much to be learned therein too.


Dear Friends and Family,

I hope that you will spare me a few minutes of your time to tell you about something that I saw on Monday, October 27.

I had been attending a conference in Annapolis and was coming home on Sunday. As you may recall, Los Angeles International Airport was closed on Sunday, October 26, because of the fires that affected air traffic control. Accordingly, my flight, and many others, were canceled and I wound up spending a night in Baltimore.

My story begins the next day. When I went to check in at the United counter Monday morning I saw a lot of soldiers home from Iraq. Most were very young and all had on their desert camouflage uniforms. This was as change from earlier, when they had to buy civilian clothes in Kuwait to fly home. It was a visible reminder that we are in a war. It probably was pretty close to what train terminals were like in World War II.

Many people were stopping the troops to talk to them, asking them questions in the Starbucks line or just saying "Welcome Home." In addition to all the flights that had been canceled on Sunday, the weather was terrible in Baltimore and the flights were backed up. So, there were a lot of unhappy people in the terminal trying to get home, but nobody that I saw gave the soldiers a bad time.

By the afternoon, one plane to Denver had been delayed several hours. United personnel kept asking for volunteers to give up their seats and take another flight. They weren't getting many takers. Finally, a United spokeswoman got on the PA and said this, "Folks. As you can see, there are a lot of soldiers in the waiting area. They only have 14 days of leave and we're trying to get them where they need to go without spending any more time in an airport then they have to. We sold them all tickets, knowing we would oversell the flight. If we can, we want to get them all on this flight. We want all the soldiers to know that we respect what you're doing, we are here for you and we love you."

At that, the entire terminal of cranky, tired, travel-weary people, a cross-section of America, broke into sustained and heart-felt applause. The soldiers looked surprised and very modest. Most of them just looked at their boots. Many of us were wiping away tears.

And, yes, people lined up to take the later flight and all the soldiers went to Denver on that flight.

That little moment made me proud to be an American, and also told me why we will win this war.

If you want to send my little story on to your friends and family, feel free. This is not some urban legend. I was there, I was part of it, I saw it happen.

Will Ross
Administrative Judge
United States Department of Defense


>^..^< A Very Special Cow -- Have you heard of the dyslexic cow who attained enlightenment? It kept on repeating OOOOMMM!

>^..^< Pay no attention to that man up in the deer stand.

Friday, November 07, 2003

Anyone who has ever stopped by before, knows that Indigo is the Cyber Cretin of Blog World. And if this is your first stop, just take a look at this page!!! Its half-empty, ill-conceived, poorly managed, blah page appearance is like Budweiser: It says it all. I used to think my difficulties in comprehending challenges in logic (i.e., anything numerical or electronic) were due to a total vacuum in the right hemisphere of my brain. Since exploring cyber world, and especially blogging, I'm now convinced it's simply unadulterated cretinism. It's embarrassing, but a fact of my existence. Each new technical conundrum I am faced with validates this theory.

Case in Point: Within the last year, due to one disaster or another, four telephones had to be replaced in my home. The latest this week. That's four instruction manuals to be learned in order to know how to do each necessary step in programming, etc. A new phone is like a new car to me - everything other than steering and braking must be relearned and no two are alike. Yesterday and today were spent in this endeavor. No success yet. But tomorrow is another day. (ain't it, Miz Scarlett?) Meanwhile, I have sent out an S.O.S. to #2 Grandson that if he "happens to be in the neighborhood" (75 miles away!) poor ol' granny could sure use his help.

~ Your house plants are alive, and you can't smoke any of them.
~ Having sex in a twin bed is out of the question.
~ You keep more food than beer in the fridge.
~ 6:00 AM is when you get up, not when you go to bed.
~ You hear your favorite song on an elevator.
~ You watch the Weather Channel.
~ Your friends marry and divorce instead of hook up and break up.
~ You go from 130 days of vacation time to 14.
~ Jeans and a sweater no longer qualify as "dressed up."
~ You're the one calling the police because those damn kids next door won't turn down the stereo.
~ Older relatives feel comfortable telling sex jokes around you.
~ You don't know what time Taco Bell closes anymore.
~ Your car insurance goes down and your car payments go up.
~ You feed your dog Science Diet instead of McDonalds leftovers.
~ Sleeping on the couch makes your back hurt.
~ You no longer take naps from noon to 6 PM.
~ Dinner and a movie is the whole date instead of the beginning of one.
~ Eating a basket of chicken wings at 3 AM would severely upset, rather than settle your stomach.
~ You go to the drug store for ibuprofen and antacid, not condoms and pregnancy tests.
~ A $4.00 bottle of wine is no longer "pretty good stuff."
~ You actually eat breakfast food at breakfast time.
~ "I just can't drink the way I used to," replaces, "I'm never going to drink that much again."
~ 90% of the time you spend in front of a computer is for real work.
~ You drink at home to save money before going to a bar.
~ You read this entire list looking desperately for one sign that doesn't apply to you, and can't find one to save your sorry old ass.

Wednesday, November 05, 2003
Welcome to the blog of Yahweh, the one and true God for the faith of Judaism. Yahweh would like to give mad props to Idiot Villager for hosting His page, as well as providing him with a spiffy email address. Yahweh has decided to start this blog in response to a lesser deity's recent success. You may well be asking yourselves, "Why would the one, true God need to stoop to the level of the God of Militant Islam?" The answer is simple: his message seems to be appealing to some people. Yahweh will use this blog to debunk the statements of The Pisk.
[Thanks to North State Blogger Silflay Hraka for this link.]

Death and Partisan Politics: There are those in this country who proclaim their concern and support for "the troops," but who in fact delight at each casualty report for base, partisan political reasons. Read the rest here.

When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar........and the beer.

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly, he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

So the professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous "yes."

The professor then produced two cans of beer from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the grains of sand. The students laughed.

"Now," said the professor, as the laughter subsided, "I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things--your family, your children, your health, your friends, your favorite passions--things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house, your car. The sand is everything else--the small stuff."

"If you put the sand into the jar first," he continued, "there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you. Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your partner out to dinner. Play another 18.There will always be time to clean the house, and fix the disposal. "Take care of the golf balls first, the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand."

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the beer represented.

The professor smiled. "I'm glad you asked. It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple of beers."
[thanks to JD, Greenville, NC -- home of the ECU Pirates!!]

And For all the UNC Grads who took that first semester class! [again from JD]
Little Johnny was in his 4th grade class when the teacher asked the children what their fathers did for a living. All the typical answers came up -- fireman, policeman, salesman, etc. Johnny was being uncharacteristically quiet and so the teacher asked him about his father.

"My father's an exotic dancer in a gay cabaret and takes off all his clothes in front of other men. Sometimes, if the offer's really good, he'll go out to the alley with some guy and make love with him for money."

The teacher, obviously shaken by this statement, hurriedly set the other children to work on some coloring, and took Little Johnny aside to ask him, "Is that really true about your father?"

"No," said Johnny, "He is the head coach of UNC Football team, but I was too embarrassed to say so."