Monday, October 15, 2018


Image result for dave and sugar
The worst type of
country music ever
I wrapped up my radio days doing the overnight show at WPOC in Baltimore, and this was in 1983, when country music still had at least a tiny tinge of country left. Sure, there was the evil Dave and Sugar influence, but George Jones and John Anderson and Hank Williams, Jr, and Ronnie Milsap were still making hits in those days, and I actually enjoyed listening to those songs all night long, waiting for sunrise over Hampden.

One of the bigger hits that spring was by a band called Alabama.Those guys were a money machine for RCA Records back in those days, cranking out hit after hit after hit. Their tune "Dixieland Delight" was outside the norm for country songs. Sure, it was all about going out "On a Tennessee Saturday night
Couldn't feel better
I'm together with my dixieland delight
Spend my dollar
Parked in a holler 'neath the mountain moonlight
Holdin' her up tight
Make a little lovin'
A little turtle dovin' on a Mason Dixon night
It's my life
Oh so right
My dixieland delight..."

But there was a fiddle finale and a change in tempo at the end of the record, which was not the norm then.

Well, now, even though the lyrics mention going out in the mountain moonlight on a Tennessee Saturday night, the song became a fourth-quarter favorite at the Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where the U of Alabama Crimson Tide entertains their fans, 101,821 at a time. The stadium sound system would play the song, and every would sing the lyrics exactly as performed by the band on the record, and all was well.  Good night!

Well, no.

It got to where the fans sang along, and added war cries about the opponents, things along the lines of "The heck with Auburn!" and "We don't care for Clemson any which way."  And then it got even saltier, so much so that they haven't even played the record since the Auburn game of 2014, in which Alabama was able to eke out a 55-44 win. They stopped playing "Dixieland Delight" because profanity was raining down from the stands on an Alabama Saturday afternoon!

But Alabama's Athletic Director, Greg Byrd, told the kids that they would play the song again, and if you were watching Saturday night, you heard the stands rocking to the song as the Tide rolled over Missouri, 39-12.  It took appeals from Byrd, running back Damien Harris, Coach Nick Saban’s wife, Terry Saban, and the student body president to get promises from fans just to sing the the “Dixieland Delight Done Right” lyrics: “ROLL TIDE” and “BEAT AUBURN, AND LSU, AND TENNESSEE TOO.”
Big Al, the mascot, lives in Alabama, where the Tuscaloosa.
From all I've heard, there were no major outbreaks of scurrility or obscene language among the faithful, and that would mean that a precious tradition has been restored.

And for other colleges seeking to engender a little enthusiasm in the stands, Alabama (the band) had dozens of other hits for you to play. If the score of your game is a bit too tight for comfort, how about "The Closer You Get"?  or if your team makes a big comeback, you could salute them with "Can't Keep A Good Man Down"!

Meanwhile, Roll Tide, I say! 

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Sunday Rerun: Playing the library card

There is a town in Texas, a state that seems to pride itself, with the exception of the good citizens of Austin, on becoming a barren land of howling lunatics, called White Settlement.

In 2010, the White Settlement Public Library, in need of cheap rodent control, hired a kitten right out of the local animal shelter. They named him "Browser," this docile grey tabby, and put him to work at once.

He must have been doing a fine job de-mouseulating the joint, and he was happy as a cat in a library until July, when some city hall worker got all worked up because he was told he could no longer bring his puppy to work.

Kwik Kwiz: What did the aggravated city employee do about being told he couldn't bring Poochie Dog to work?

a) he stopped bringing the dog to work and went back to work with renewed vigor and enthusiasm

b) he whined that the people at the library were allowed to have a cat
Elzie (you can see where his cowboy
hat mashed his hair down)

Of course he a) didn't and b) did. And this unnamed local drone got the matter before the White Settlement City Council, and during a meeting which surely rivaled the Philadelphia Congress sessions of 1776, the matter of Browser's continued residency at the libes was taken to a vote.

Only one councilperson, one Elzie Clement, 

 was catty enough to vote for giving Browser the gate. The others weren't feline like sending him back to the shelter, which is paid for by the city kitty.

Now, Mayor Ron White (not the comedian) (I guess) says Browser’s job title is now "Library Cat for Life."

"Browser is still employed and will be as long as he wishes to continue his duties as mascot and reading helper for the children at the library," White said.

(Not to mention his Mickey-hunting duties.)

Hizzoner the Mayor says he's getting litterboxes full of mail and messages for all over with support and offers to adopt Browser.

So it's a happy story all around, and, master storyweaver that I am, I saved the best for last:

Elzie Clements is a councilman no more, having been defeated in a landslide.


Saturday, October 13, 2018

The Saturday Picture Show, October 13, 2018

I've been ready for fall since spring! Now I've found the pot o' gold at the end of the rainbow.
It must be a great feeling for a home canner to see the pantry all stocked up for the winter.
I suppose that down in the southwestern US, they don't have the chance to see fall leaves turn to pretty colors, as we do. But they have rainbow cacti.
How many of us have felt like this duck early in the morning?
I remember reading that it would only take five CVS register receipts to reach the moon. Here's someone who turned theirs into a nice snug scarf.
Multicolored outdoor lights! There's nothing cooler EXCEPT snow-covered multicolored outdoor lights!
Cool as it might be to live in this mountainside A-frame house, I would really have loved to see it being built!
If you look at advertisements from the olden days, it seemed that very few Americans WEREN'T walking around stinky, with bad breath and unruly hair. Fortunately, someone invented soap, toothpaste, and Brylcreem hair goo.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Sweets for the sweet

If it's October, it's time to get the candy for the kids who may or may not show up at your door for Halloween!

It's a shame that we can't bake cookies or brownies or make homemade treats of any sort for the kids, but tampering incidents in the past have made people too wary of anything unless it's manufactured and sealed in a factory far away. A real shame, it is.

So you give out candy or you sit inside watching "Law and Order: SVU" in the dark, hoping that no one will knock on the door. If you choose to go the candy route, again, there are two choices:

  • Get the candy you like, the good stuff, that kids will like. This way, if you have leftovers, you have candy all winter, so when you come in from shoveling the driveway, you can grab a Snickers and munch away.
  • Get the candy you don't like, so that when you have leftovers, you can take it to work and leave it on the desk in the reception area. The bonus here is that you get to see that person from Accounting - the one suspected of pilfering lunches in the break room - gobbling an Everlasting Gobstopper outside his cubicle.

I like to find and share this list every year about this time., a bulk candy delivering service, runs data from all the states and figures out the three most popular Halloween candies in each. They get the figures from candy manufacturers and distributors. 

Image result for milky way candy
Once again here in Maryland, the #1 candy is Milky Way. You'll find Reese's Cups in second place, and Hershey Kisses in third. Those first two spots are the same as last year, but in 2017, Blow Pops came in third.

I mean, really. Who wouldn't rather have a Hershey Kiss?

For the record, our favorite, Milky Ways, aren't even in the top 10 nationally.  They roll out this way:

Reese's Cups
Candy Corn
Hot Tamales
Tootsie Pops
Jolly Ranchers

And once again, the horrible candy corn ("neither candy, nor corn" - Lewis Black) sneaks into the top 10. I cannot explain some things.

Thursday, October 11, 2018


Do you still drink soda?  Or pop, or whatever they call it where you live? Coke and Pepsi and Royal Crown and root beer and orange and grape and all their diet varieties?

I don't think they sell as much of that stuff as they used to, because that's why all of a sudden you see seltzer for sale, and man, do I love seltzer. No calories, no sugar, no sodium, just water with carbonation. You get that bubble-up tickle on the tongue and gullet without all the stuff that Coca-Cola crams in their cans: CARBONATED WATER, HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, CARAMEL COLOR, PHOSPHORIC ACID, NATURAL FLAVORS, CAFFEINE.

Does anyone ever have LOW fructose corn syrup?

Who needs all that when you can have a seltzer, and for my money, store brand cheapo seltzer is just as good as the high-test brands, where they soak you for water.

Take the LaCroix brand. Never heard of it a few years ago, and now they are selling at the rate of nearly $1 billion a year, and tripling their profits to $149.8 million since 2015.

So of course, here come the lawsuits and the legal mishegas. First came the SEC (and in that case, that means the Securities and Exchange Commission, not the South Eastern Conference.) The SEC wanted to look at the cannery's sales "metrics," even though we are not on the metric system here.

And then came a lawsuit, claiming that LaCroix is fibbing when they say they are "all natural" and that their seltzers are full of “chemical compounds that have been adjudged synthetic and/or artificial by the Food and Drug Administration.” One ingredient, linalool, is “used as a cockroach insecticide,” the lawsuit says.

So that means you won't find a cockroach in your Pamplemousse.

Anyone who watches lawyer shows on television ought to find a new hobby knows that you can get a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich, and anyone can file suit against anyone for any reason.

So just because someone filed a suit does not mean it's valid.

It turns out that the three ingredients mentioned in the lawsuit—linalool, limonene, and linalyl proprionate are derived from natural sources.

Remember, tobacco is a natural substance.

They squeeze Limonene from citrus peels. Some say it fights tumors. Linalool comes from more than 200 different species of plants, and we use it as a spice or scent.

How many times have you walked into someone's house and asked what the delightful aroma was, and they say "Linalool Candles!" ?

And Linalyl proprionate comes from kumquats and is therefore a hilarious word. It also might inhibit prostate cancer, and it's fun to say "kumquat."

Image result for seltzer
The late mayor Rob Ford of Toronto
tried to drink Canada Dry.
So to sum it up, none of those three things are known to be harmful to humans, and while the people who study these things at USC agree that linalool is used as a pesticide, they also remind you that just because it will off a roach doesn't mean it will harm you.

National Beverage, makers of LaCroix, contest the lawsuit’s allegations.  “Natural flavors in LaCroix are derived from the natural essence oils from the named fruit used in each of the flavors,” the company said. “There are no sugars or artificial ingredients contained in, nor added to, those extracted flavors.”

I recall a certain person I know delivering to me a pithy lecture about the snack foods I enjoy and how harmful Cheez Doodles could be. The fact that he was hooving on a Marlboro at the time only added to my amusement.

Have a seltzer and a smile! It's the real thing!

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

On the wing

I've heard of Gilbert Bates (Beaver's friend), Gilbert Gottfried (former AFLAC duck voice), Gilbert Arenas (basketball player), and Irish singer Gilbert O'Sullivan, but I'm sure I'm not alone again, naturally, in saying that I've never heard of Gilbert, Minnesota.

But if you aren't seeing as many birds winging around your house these days, it might be because they are all flying up to Gilbert, MN, where the town cops report that birds are getting stewed on fermented berries.

Last week, the Gilbert PD went on Facebook to warn the public that they're receiving "reports of birds that appear to be 'under the influence’ flying into windows, cars and acting confused.”
Here is a robin noshing on a crabapple.
There was an early frost in Minnesota, and people are figuring that the berries got chilled and now are fermenting, and that makes them alcohol-ish.

The Washington Post talked to one Matthew Dodder, who calls himself a “bird guy” from Palo Alto, California, and he says you can spot a drunked-up bird by looking at the way they fly. (There is no such thing as a birdie breathalyzer.)

“They’ll be flying kind of erratically,” he said. “We typically see them flying lower than usual through traffic. They’re just careless and they’re not looking for cars or other obstacles.”

Dodder says robins, cedar waxwings and thrushes are just the types of  birds to get gerschuntken, since those are the berry-eaters up there. And he goes on: “They just get sloppy and clumsy. They have actually fallen out of trees on occasion.”

The Gilbert Police Department, which clearly has very few felonies or other major crimes to handle, says on Facebook that we can expect the birds to sober up soon, so there is no need to leave out mugs full of strong coffee for them.  In other words, please don't call 911 unless you see “Angry Birds laughing and giggling uncontrollably and appearing to be happy” or “Tweety acting as if 10 feet tall and getting into confrontations with cats.”

The Audobon Society recommends that you put decals on large windows to keep birds from flying into them.

This wonderful world. There's something for everyone.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

It pays to live longer

I need to get to Missoula, Montana and have dinner at the Montana Club, where they have a special deal when it's your birthday: they give you your age off the bill, expressed as a percentage.  So let's say you turn 40 ("you turn 40"), and now let's say you tie on the feedbag at the club. Your salad, baked patootie and steak will be served with a savings of 40%!

So the older you get, the more you save at the Montana Club! A geezer such as I can really clean up, sure, but how about Helen Self?

She was 100 when she went for a birthday ride on a Harley.

Image result for helen selfAt 108, she made the exclusive list of "the two oldest people in Montana."

So now, she's 109, and off she went to the Montana Club. She had the breaded shrimp platter for $14.99, which came with a salad, a loaded baked potato and coleslaw. 

Nick Alonzo is the owner of the Club, and true to his word, he gave her a dollar and change and charged her nothing!

In return she gave him a kiss on the cheek.

On her way out, Self was heard to say, “I’ll come back next year,”  according to her daughter Shirley Gunter, 86. “Don’t tell his wife I kissed him.”

You gonna bet against her being there?