Thursday, June 30, 2011

Gangster Wrap

We demand tighter national security, but when a 95-year-old terminal cancer patient is detained for 45 minutes at an airport in Florida and subjected to all sorts of searches, we say that's going too far.

Unless she had turned out to be a real granny, but had something planted on her by Al Qaeda.

Or, say, unless she had been a Birther terrorist male dressed up like a 95-year old female, carrying WMDs in his BVDs.

Then, if a disaster was averted, everyone would have said how great the airport security was.  Or, had the worst happened, everyone would be hopping up and down, saying, "You just can't TAKE that kind of CHANCE!  with peoples' LIVES!  so we need to screen everyone! Except me, I'm in a big hurry to get to Cleveland."

Meanwhile, out in sunny Cali, on-the-loose mob biggie James J. "Whitey" Bulger hid from the FBI for 16 years by shacking up with his dental hygienist girlfriend.  In fact, that's how the Feds got him...when they came to the door of his apartment in Santa Monica, they said "Open!" and he leaned his head 'way back, mouth agape.  From then, it was an easy matter to take his bib off and slip on the handcuffs, although the aging mobster did ask if he would be allowed to rinse.

But, it turns out now that he frequently crossed the Mexican border to go to Tijuana and purchase heart medicine.  Tight security there, eh?  The most wanted fugitive for the last 16 years slips in and out of the country more often than Michele Bachmann crosses that Illinois/Oregon border.  She does have a problem with geography, claiming that the shots fired in Lexington and Concord took place in New Hampshire, when in fact, any school kid could tell you that happened in the run-up to the Revolutionary War in Massachusetts.

Then this week, she shows up in Waterloo, Iowa, the place where she was born (although she has denied my repeated requests to see her birth certificate - so what is she hiding?) and claimed that John Wayne was born there.  Which he wasn't, but do you know who used to live there?  John Wayne GACY!

I'm hoping we can get more of this sort of humor from a woman who blamed the 1976 Swine Flu outbreak on a president who took office in 1977.  It's better than watching more "How I Met Your Mother" reruns.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Our sewers, ourselves

It's a little-known fact (probably because I just made it up) that Ralph Kramden was named for Ralph Waldo Emerson, who wrote essays on self-reliance and such.  Our fifth-grade teacher made us rewrite Emerson essays as punishments, in lieu of the tradition of writing "I shall not perform distasteful dance steps when Coach Apicella makes us square dance in phys ed" a hundred times.

Ralph Kramden was the central character in The Honeymooners, the great sitcom of the great Jackie Gleason back in the great days of television. Ralph drove a city bus; his buddy Ed Norton worked in the sewers.  But I'm certain that Norton was never part of this...

Modern Science now has the ability to take a spoonful of sewer water and test an entire city for drug use. As many a nervous job applicant with his pants in one hand and an empty specimen cup in the other has fretted, certain biomarkers are left behind in one's waste matter after one ingests certain drugs.

This testing is an important step forward, I guess, if you're out to test for such trends, but could there be a more yucky job?  Whether you're the person reaching down for a  jug o' sewer slop, or the one in a lab coat actually performing the test, you have to wonder: is this why I went to school and studied so hard?

And working in the wastewater treatment plant is no picnic either (figuratively or literally).  Working in the factory where they make cat food, being a hot-tar roofer or a penguin guano remover...none of these hold appeal for me.

I know that many people have these jobs and some might even enjoy them.  I am just glad that someone does them, so I don't have to!

So far, that is.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Scalias of Justice

The Supreme Court decided that banning the sale of violent video games to children would constitute curtailing the freedom of expression so cherished by the creators of BloodBath and Beyond and Die, Neighbor, Die and the other video games that young people of all ages spend hours on daily.  So this must be good for the kids.

Meanwhile, you can't get into a movie to see two people making love until you're of a certain age.  Justice Scalia, scribbling the majority opinion in the video game case, said that while the video games are disgusting, disgust is not a qualifier here.  So again, a couple of people get all nekkid and start doing the hibbidy-dibbidy on screen, and whoa, Nellie - you can't see that when you're only 17!  Nor can Nellie's partner. 

So the kids can't go to a movie, and wind up going home or someplace (do they still have Lover's Lanes?) and doing something else. 

Then they go home and break out the Xbox and fire up NARC or God of War.

And please, tell me again how if teenagers are not allowed to see the horizontal high jump, they will never think about sex!  Teenagers think about sex while they're doing algebra, while they're ringing up orders at Burger World, and even when they're not thinking about sex.

Teenagers who will spend time thanking Justice Scalia (seen at right making a disgusting gesture) tomorrow will be in line to buy the new Grand Theft Auto game tomorrow night.

Which half of that sentence is right? 

Monday, June 27, 2011

High School Consequential

I see on the TODAY show that some high schools are getting rid of the yearbook page whereupon the senior class makes predictions about which kid will wind up being a success and who will have the most kids and which incipient relationship will turn into a long-lasting marriage.

People who know about these things insist that being billed "most likely to succeed" puts unnecessary stress on a person, and they're quick to point out that Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and other richguy bigshots were not so designated at eighteen.  We don't know for sure how many people have taken the slight of not being chosen most-likely-to-succeed, and used it as a driving force to do well in their chosen field and earn big-time bucks just to show the yearbook staff that they don't know nothin'.

I think that being asked to make such predictions is a huge stress on the yearbook staff, anyway.  It's been my experience that a lot of the goofball heads from high school turn out to be the huge achievers in life, while many of the grinds who did all the homework, joined the right clubs and excelled all through senior high school find themselves high as a kite as they approach the era of senior discounts.   It's always hard to generalize.

See what I mean?

But, because I have a little extra time today, I thought I would give a little help to next year's yearbook staffs with this list of easily-voted-upon predictions for the class of 2012:
  • Most likely to be sorry for buying so many crappy cars
  • Most likely to spend a lot of time calling sports talk shows on AM radio, averring that their son could play third base better than the incumbent third baseman for the local nine
  • Couple most likely to be married most often
  • Most likely to appear on a reality show
  • Most likely to watch a reality show
  • Most likely to wear a t-shirt under a pinstripe suit
  • Most likely to eschew proper foundation garmentry
  • Most likely to find the happiness in life that comes from building healthy relationships, developing a rewarding vocation or avocation, and living the life that so many dream of, and very few seem to find
It's just my opinion, but that last one is the one for which high school seniors should aim.

And the great thing about life is, you can still aim for all that, no matter how long it's been since you finished high school (or not!)

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sunday Rerun: You Asked For It

Today I felt like Woodward, or Bernstein, maybe a little of both. It was strongly suggested to me, in quite an odd manner, that I ought to blog about certain events currently transpiring in the lives of two people I know. I tossed it around inside the old melon (only current other thoughts in there: another heartbreaking Orioles loss, and how good Kunzler All-Beef Franks are when grilled in beer and wrapped in a wrap) and figured, what the heck, the whole world needs to know this story, and if some hearts get broken along the way, well, remember: some will win, some will lose, and some are born to sing the blues.
I guess the way to begin weaving the tale is to illuminate the differences between the two people involved here. She was just a small-town girl, living in a lonely world. Later on, she took the midnight train going anywhere, and we all know where that leads! As for him, well, he's a city boy, born and raised in South Detroit. He was also fated to take the same midnight train going anywhere, but at least we know where he started out!

Well, they got involved with each other. Some say they met in a revolving door at the bus depot and just started going around together. But all the ingredients were there...a singer in a smoky room, a smell of wine and cheap perfume, and that's tough, because you can't smoke inside rooms any more, and have you ever tried getting the aroma of wine and cheap perfume out of a denim jacket? We heard later that she was working in a redundant position at a free dental clinic, because according to one of her postcards, "
For a smile they can share the night... It goes on and on and on and on" (italics mine.)
The night can be a lonely place, and the heart is a lonely hunter. She saw strangers waiting, up and down the boulevard, their shadows searching in the night. Apparently, some of the people she met worked as support poles for nocturnal illumination outlets, because in a email to his cousin Francie, he described "streetlight people, living just to find emotion, hiding somewhere in the night." It is very hard to hide when outfitted as a light pole, as Allen Ginsberg could have told you.

On the Fourth of July last year, we got word that someone had seen him on ESPN in that hot-dog eating contest at Coney Island, where he reported that he was working hard to get (his) fill. He told interviewers that it was true that everybody in the crowd wants a thrill at such an event, but when total abdominal stretch-out has been attained, the experienced competitive eaters among us are out there paying anything to "roll the dice" (euphemism for tossing one's cookies, as it were) just one more time.

Some WILL win, and some WILL lose, but only Robert Johnson, Howlin' Wolf, Bo Diddley and (debatably) Barry Manilow were born to sing the blues. Last we heard from our Greyhound lovehounds, they were attending a Matthew McConnaughey cinematic retrospective, where it truly seems like the movie never ends: it goes on and on and on and on.
Don't stop believing, you two crazy kids. Hold on to that feeling. Glad to be able to share your story, if only out of coercion.

And for the sake of the PowerPoint presentation for this saga, here's one of those charts that are often the last thing someone attending a daylong training session can remember from the post-luncheon part of the class:

Saturday, June 25, 2011

"If you're so nostalgic, take a bicarbonate of soda!" - Joe E. Ross

I guess I am prone to nostalgia, so I find myself watching That 70's Show because I miss the 90's so much.  That's when the show debuted, after all, 1998.  What a great decade!

But when you look at those old 70's reruns, and see the cast, I remember when the shows were all new and we all thought that Ashton Kutcher would wind up being the biggest star to come out of that bunch.  Now he is getting ready to replace Charlie Sheen in another sitcom.

Laura Prepon, tall and lovely Donna Pinciotti.  What's she doing lately? Haven't seen her.

Hyde?  That Danny Masterson guy?  Witness relocation, for all we know.

Topher Grace, Eric Forman.  He's in movies now and then; he always seems to be playing a young, conflicted college graduate.

Lisa Robin Kelly, Eric's promiscuous sister Laurie, is now appearing in North Carolina police mugshots for DWI.

Wilmer Valderrama, who was Fez, is now the voice of Handy Manny.  The woman I know who so closely resembles Donna Pinciotti, although much prettier and more capable, has a son who watches Handy Manny.  The circle is complete, my friends.

And so, as James Lipton would say, that brings us to the marvelous Mila Kunis.  Milena "Mila" Kunis, when she was trying out for the part, was told that all the actors had to be at least 18.  She said, "I'm going to be 18!"  Which was true.  Also true: she was 14 when she said that.

I am crazy about Mila Kunis, who was born in the Ukraine in 1983 and moved here in 1991 and learned to speak English by watching Bob Barker on The Price Is Right!  Mila Kunis, who not only played Jackie on the 70's Show but also is the voice of Meg Griffin on Family Guy, and if you don't think she is a great actress, well, think of how unattractive Meg is - Mila can even make herself sound haggy! That's acting, is what that is!  And she has been in movies such as Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Black Swan, and Extract.

She only got to this country twenty years ago and I'm glad she did!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Names Insane

The way life worked out, we have been childless, and unless there is something to that "Stork brought it" theory, it looks like we will remain that way.  But if I had the chance to name a baby boy, I would go with:

  1. Elvis
  2. Ralph
  3. Jim Bob 
  4. Earl
  5. Ray Lee
  6. Faron
  7. Sammy
  8. Fez
  9. Tony! Toni! Toné!
  10. Milton

Girl names?  oh, so easy - - 

  1. Connie
  2. Mildred
  3. Agnes
  4. Sandra Dee
  5. Peggy Jr.
  6. Liz
  7. Jenny (867-5309)
  8. Donna
  9. Jackie
  10. Judy! Judy! Judy!

So, if you or someone you know is expecting a baby, please call me and you can have any one of these names for absolutely no charge.  And, if you call before tomorrow night, we'll include  - free for nothin' - the name of a good counselor for when the kid comes screaming to you that he/she is being teased because his/her name is Kal-El Coppola*/Fifi Trixibell.**
* onetime movie star Nicolas Cage named his son for Superman's original birth name
** Humanitarian Bob "Sir Bob" Geldof and Paula Yates hung this moniker around their daughter's neck


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Odds are...

It just dawned on me that my father turned the age I'm about to turn,  the same summer I met Peggy.  I can't promise you much or be too sure of anything, but I know that Dad at 60 and I at 60 are two way different men. I do know that for sure.

I can't say with certainty that Newt Gingrich won't play third base for the Orioles next year. I wouldn't bet my life on whether or not a racehorse could beat a goat in the Kentucky Derby.  Chances are good that I won't get a call from Bon Jovi's management, saying, "Jon's sick with a sore throat and he wants you to fill in for him this weekend," but none of these things are outside the realm of possibility. 

I mean, look.  Anything is possible.  But you would see the Newtster manning the hot corner for the Birds, you'd see Bill E. Goat roaring down the homestretch at Churchill Downs, five lengths ahead of Shitferbrains, and you'd hear me singing "It's My Life" to an adoring throng outdoors at a ballpark before you would see my father, were he still among us, sitting back with a can o' suds and a Jackass DVD.

In fact, I was telling someone the other day, there are times I do things, and I feel like I'm getting heavenly intervention in my ear ("Now, connect the lead wire to the terminal, and wrap the ground around the box itself") as I do things, and every now and then I hear a voice, very dignified and somber, telling me  - asking me - what I'm doing.  This generally occurs when I am about to try to throw an extension cord over top of a telephone pole, or something else especially dunderheaded.  Dad knew what he was doing, and he advises me to this day.

Ryan Dunn, age 34 and now never a day more, was killed at 3:30 the other morning, speeding around outside of Philadelphia in his fast car.  The star of the "Jackass" oeuvres was, by all indications, drunk, and speeding.  Perhaps the fact that he got through so many stunts on tv and movies led him to feel that he was immortal. Maybe he heard some advice, and chose to pay no attention.  Don't know, and it doesn't matter now.  I can't guarantee you that you'll perish in a car crash if you're driving that car way too fast way too drunk way too late, but do you feel like pushing those odds?
The Dunn death car

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


I'm going to start this entry by saying that I have a lot of respect for John McCain as a man.  The degree of torture he endured as a shot-down flier in the Viet Nam war was beyond what most people could have tolerated.  All this followed the  pressure of being a third-generation naval officer - both his father and his grandfather were admirals - and so he has been driven to succeed.  About his mother, Roberta W. McCain, all one needs to know is that, according to his friends, when he calls her on the phone, he says, "Hello, Mother, this is John McCain."  Every time.

By all accounts, except for what you hear on FOX News, McCain is a mediocre senator, not known for writing or urging the passage of great laws. I try to imagine the slamming that a decent, family-loving man such as Barack Obama would have received had BHO come home from the war and dumped the wife who waited out those agonizing years, in order to marry a beer baron's daughter.  But, that's his deal.  

This latest venture by McCain to the frontiers of reason involves his claim that illegal immigrants are responsible for the wildfires that have burned 700,000 acres across Arizona.  McCain, who finished a distant second in the 2008 presidential election, had this to say on Saturday:

"There is substantial evidence that some of these fires have been caused by people who crossed our border illegally."

and then he said,
"They have set fires because they want to signal others. They have set fires to keep warm and they have set fires in order to divert law enforcement agents and agencies from them."

And then he offered the following substantial evidence.


Dude, if you have evidence of wrongdoing, you need to come forward with it.  If you don't then go sit down with a nice hot bowl of shut-it stew, as Doug Heffernan would say.
Latino officials and others were quick to point out that all that McCain was doing here is fanning the flames of intolerance, if you will.

McCain (2nd left) with Forest Service officials
A U.S. Forest Service official said that the widespread blaze was believed to have been caused by one "escaped campfire," but there was no reason to believe it was a campfire started by illegal immigrants.

McCain did not specify what sort of illegal immigrants he was speaking of, to be fair.  Quite possibly, he meant that we should check the status of actor Ryan Reynolds, who is a Canadian immigrant.  Or it could have been the erstwhile Oriole, Twin and Yankee pitcher, fun boy Sidney Ponson, who hails from Belize.   Let's not discount the possibility that martians landed in Phoenix and went camping, and made s'mores out of graham crackers, chocolate bars and the Sta-Puft Marshmallow man himself.  That could have been the source of the fire, right there, eh?

It must be nice to be a US senator approaching one's dotage, just going around saying whatever irresponsible thing one feels like saying, making unfounded allegations, blaming a whole group of people for what may have been an accident.  

I don't know who or what caused these wildfires in AZ.

And that's why I'm not saying that I do!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Loved Story

I've told this story a thousand times, but if you don't mind, I need to talk about it again.  June 21, 1973, was a wonderful day for me, in that my friends Sam and Maura, with Sam's birthday party just days away, wanted to me show up with a "decent" date for once, so they fixed me up on a blind date that started that evening and has really never ended.
That's how I look at this long, happy love affair in which Peggy and I find ourselves began with a look, and I fell in love the minute I clambered into her kitchen for the introduction.  I said, this is the woman I am going to marry and love forever, although I was wise enough not to say so out loud.  People regard such proclamations in a wary manner when one has just met a person.  I kept my own counsel, and managed not to say anything about getting married and being together forever and riding around in a succession of pickup trucks and buying our dream houses and enjoying the hell out of everything and everyone and, more than anything, being in love forever.

I knew it would happen.  So, that was Thursday night that we met, and bluebirds fluttered around chirping happily that evening, and then the next night we went to Sam's party but only had eyes for each other, and then I went back to work in fashionable Salisbury, MD, the legendary home of chicken magnate Frank Perdue. I was one of about two dozen people in Salisbury who didn't work for that chicken plucker.  I was a DJ.  I played music on the radio and cracked wise in between songs and commercials for "Mickey and Rene Butta's Salisbury Automatic Transmission" and the Lions Club Chick-N-Bar-B-Q. 

And Sunday night after work I came home to my fashionable bachelor apartment on the banks of the lovely DelMar drainage basin and called Peggy at 3 o'clock in the morning to ask her to marry me.

And she said yes!  And my heart still leaps!
Thank you, Peggy, for loving me and for marrying me and all!  I'll admit to being a big ol' handful o' commotion sometimes, and my zest for living, laughing and loving must be a cold shock to the system of someone so genteel, so graceful as you.  People say Peggy is so sweet and kind and reserved, and then the same people say that opposites attract.

Hey, wait a minute.  

Alls I knows is, 38 years later, here we are, our circle of love ever expanding.  Thank you, friends, for hugging us within that circle, and thank you, Peggy, for forming it with me.

I love you!  38 years on the way to together forever!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Murder, She'd Note

It was just about this time of year, seventeen years ago, when OJ Simpson changed in the public eye from star running back, commercial spokesperson and "Nordberg" in the Police Squad! movies to murder suspect and object of a slow police chase through Los Angeles.

All evidence would seem to point to OJ in the murder of his ex-wife Nicole and her new dude, Ron Goldman, but all that counts is that a jury found him not guilty, and even though a civil trial several years later found him civilly responsible, he is still innocent of the murder charges.  He is currently a resident of the Lovelock Correctional Center in Lovelock, Nevada, as a result of his 2008 conviction on  armed robbery and kidnapping charges.  Many people regard this as karma in the purest form, as it appears to some that Simpson skated on the murder rap, but is doing a minimum of nine years for slugging and threatening some guys whom he accused of ripping off his football memorabilia.  

I learned a long long time ago that things aren't always what they seemed, and so I can't say who really killed Nicole and Ron that night.  And being a nation of laws, we have to go by the jury verdict.  And, to be honest with you, as hot a topic as all this was in the mid-to-late 90's, it has almost acquired a patina of age in the years since, and seems to be similar to one of those fabled oldtime stories, such as when Harry K. Thaw shot an architect because that architect had despoiled Thaw's young wife (Evelyn Nesbit, pictured at left) during a previous relationship. Read that story and see how these people back in the early 1900s were the original swingers...White was into a weird fetish for young girls riding on the red velvet swing in his house.

Uh huh.

Or, take the big scandal from the 1920s when Ruth Snyder went to the chair for having her husband killed.  She and her boyfriend, Judd Gray, garroted the poor man because she preferred necking with Gray. All across America, people took time out from dancing the Charleston, drinking bathtub gin and wearing raccoon coats while dancing the Charleston and drinking bathtub gin to read the papers and their accounts of the trial, which ended badly for Ruth.  She became front-page news, all right (>>>>).  But now you rarely hear her name mentioned.

So, now I see that onetime talk show host Oprah G. Winfrey wants to drag OJ onto her new OWN cable channel and get him to confess to murder.  Before our very eyes, she'd have him confessing to crimes that had baffled cops nationwide for years.  I'm no lawyer, but my advice for The Juice here would be: "Don't answer your cell phone!  It might be Oprah! And you've got enough trouble as it is!"

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day

I just can't picture anything more touching than to see a bunch of baby birds, all peeping in the nest together!  These little hatchlings are currently residing up at Drew and Laura's!  Their mom and dad built a nice sturdy nest on the wreath in front of the house, and they await their turn to fly away.

I know that God called their wonderful Heidi The Dog home a couple of months ago, and maybe this is His way of reminding us that new life begins every day.  I know that Heidi is darting around up there on her little skinny legs, watching all of this.  I think she told the mom and dad birds that this would be a good place to build a nest!

Happy Father's Day to all!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Hugh Must Be Kidding

When most people see an 85-year-old man chasing after a 25-year-old beautiful woman, the first reaction is usually a chuckle, followed by a guffaw, a chortle, all-out giggling and then uncontrollable paroxysms of laughter.

Unless, of course, the golden-ager is ageless wolf Hugh Hefner, who is 85, for crying out loud.  Same age as my sainted Mom, and she has always had more sense than most people. Or, at least, more than Hugh Hefner.

The happy couple, in happier times
Hef, and his pajamas and his Pepsi, are about to be left at the altar, his plans suddenly altered because Crystal Harris, his sixty-years-younger bride-to-be changed her position on all this and now is to be regarded as his bride that ain't gonna be.  She is even featured on the cover of the July issue of "Playboy," billed as "Mrs Crystal Hefner" (hey - if she already got monogrammed towels, no problem!) in a move that was bound to move that tired old monthly past "Surf Kansas" and "Modern Spelunking" magazines in circulation.

Now it's turning out that there was a TV deal for all this commotion.  Someone was planning a reality show, but with a twist: old Crystal was planning to dump really old Hef at the altar, all on tape, but then no one ponied up any money for her, so she quit the whole deal.  But she did put out a new song on iTunes just hours before she packed up and ankled out on Hugh.

You hate to see someone who just doesn't know when to bow out gracefully.  At 85, it might be better to have some tapioca pudding and wait for the news or "Matlock," and then get to the Early Bird seating down at the Thai Tanic restaurant (where everything is prepared in sinks - get it?  Sinks!) The whole Playboy thing - the nudie magazine, the key clubs, the Jazz Hall of Fame - now seem as dated as anything else from the 50's.  A wiser Hefner would have stayed home and not planned a wedding with someone so young.  I mean, what would they have talked about on their honeymoon, once they got to Viagra Falls?

Friday, June 17, 2011

Act Your Age

"You're not a senior, are you?"

It was not the first time I had heard this question.  First time, I was a sophomore in high school, and had dared to be waiting for someone in the sacrosanct area known as The Senior Lobby.  An overly officious guy (I guess he was a senior) yelled at me with a demand that I either age two years in ten seconds or get the yell out of there.  Apparently, this was a huge deal, this area by the front door, decorated with Homecoming Dance posters, and access was only granted to those who had attained the rank of high school senior.  Even though we had a couple of sophomores who were old enough to drive, vote, buy beer and hold office in several states, this was a huge dealio, and my being there was enough to cause major problems while I waited for a buddy to lend me last night's Algebra homework. 

X = 3.25, as it turned out, was the right answer.  My answer was "a pierced thorax," and that was not the only time I turned in Biology homework in a math class.

We had an informal Sophomore Lobby, an architectural blunder that was a staircase leading to nowhere, where particular people congregated to hoove on Marlboros, until a female gym teacher, shod in sneakers, snuck up on us.  But that's a whole 'nother story.

I heard the "you're not a senior, are you?" question again after work the other day. I stopped at the Try 'N' Save for some green beans and blackberries, and the kid cashier, who looked like he just got out of high school himself, posed that question to me.  

"How old do I have to be to get a senior discount?," I asked, always looking to save a nickel.


"Daggone, two years short again."  


Is it worth it to drive an extra mile to a drugstore on Senior Wednesday when all one needs is horehound cough drops, Alka-Seltzer, and Dr Scholl's foam inserts?

How big a thrill is it to dine at Bob Evans and find, when the bill comes, that one was charged for a "SR PKCHP" and find out that means "senior porkchop," and it also means saving a buck or more?

I might just go get a fake ID so I can join a senior center!

Man Show Boy shows how it's done!

Fake ID used by intemperate First Daughter Barbara Bush


Thursday, June 16, 2011

Wreck on the highway

We came home on Saturday evening after treating ourselves to dinner at the fabulous Double T Diner, and the police had Joppa Rd, the main drag through our part of town, closed off down by the Senior Lifestyle Center, so we had to take another route.  Sunday morning, great neighbor Sam told us the newspaper said a guy was killed the night before in a motorcycle accident.

I checked it out, and it was one of those sad, sad things.  A guy driving an SUV was eastbound on Joppa, making a left onto Magledt Rd, the road that leads to our court.  He collided with a westbound motorcyclist, who had the right of way, according to the police.  

So what do we know?  Maybe the man making the turn didn't see the motorcycle, or maybe he saw him, but figured he had time to make the turn.   Maybe the   motorcyclist was going faster than he should have been; perhaps the SUV guy was distracted, or whatever.  Who knows?  Only two people know all about this, and one of them is gone.

I know a man who was driving to Ocean City late at night when a person who had been sleeping on the steel bridge that runs over the Wicomico River in the heart of Salisbury rolled off the bridge, into the path of my friend's car.  Fatal.  And that man driving was never the same happy, jolly guy after that. 

I keep getting the same two points out of this:  a) you never know when your life is going to change in a moment    and b) be careful in what you do, because you never know when your life is going to change in a moment.  Given the chance to relive last Saturday night, I'm sure the motorcycle guy and the SUV guy would do some things differently.  

It's a wonderful world, but please be careful in it.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Doobie Brother

Since I limit my drug use to dollar-store brand acetaminophen and ibuprofen, I can't really speak for avid consumers of marijuana, whose numbers are probably far higher than we straights can imagine.  Higher, get it?  Yeah.  What I'm saying is, people tell me that a lot more people are sparkin' up doobies and dragging on bowls than we think about.  Like the guy driving the car in front of you this morning on the way to work...and definitely that kid at the Kwik-E-Mart. We all know the warning signs.  The bloodshot eyes.  The general lethargy.  The constant hunger, known as "the munchies."  The lack of interest in school work, the finding of new, somewhat sketchy friends, the unexplained seeds in the pocket.  Except for the seeds, the same list could be called "Ways to spot a summer swimming pool team kid."

Woody Harrelson's advocacy aside, it's not for me.  I don't know how anyone else feels, but I would definitely be shocked to hear that some respected member of the community, someone widely regarded as a pillar of the community, member of various civic organizations and a hail-fellow-well-met all around routinely places late-night orders for half a dozen whole cheesesteaks with everything.

Anyway, there's no doubt that country music legend Willie Nelson is a big fan of smoking pot.  At 78, he's just a touch over the regular demographic group for that sort of thing, yet any rumors of his giving it up can just be chalked up to someone blowing smoke.  Last November, a suspicious odor coming from his tour bus led to his arrest.  Finding marijuana on Willie Nelson's tour bus must be as difficult as finding a cheeseburger at McDonalds.  Willie Nelson getting pinched in Texas for weed?  Unheard of, pard'ner. 

But then in March, the local County Attorney, Kit Bramblett, said that County Judge Becky Dean-Walker had ordered Nelson to perform "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain" in court as payment for his crime, but the judge said that was a "joke that got out of hand."  Justice cannot be served like tunes in a jukebox, she might have realized, just before some other joker was hauled into court and she took one look at him and may or may not have said, "Hang him!"

Two words that terrify me when used in conjunction with each other are "Texas" and "judge."  

So Willie, showing here just how great it's possible to look at age 78, paid his fine and court costs with a check to the tune of $787.  The man who wrote "Hello Walls" will be free again to look at his own walls.
The man who wrote "Pretty Paper" can buy more Bambu. And the composer of "The Party's Over" can party without having to worry about wearing a "Blackjack County Chain."

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

"Why does man kill? He kills for food. And not only food: frequently there must be a beverage." - Woody Allen

Here's an interesting story from the business world, where fortunes are made and lost overnight and men and women sit at computers all day and sell stocks and bonds and hogbellies:  Wendy's is selling their share of Arby's!

Oh no!  The article goes on all about how the people buying Arby's also own Moe's and Cinnabon and they are assuming 30 million dollars in debt and this one's stock went up and that one went down and furthermore and whereas...

Meanwhile, no one mentions that I can't stand the chow at either one of these chains.  Arby's Roast Beef - "R.B." - get it? - uses some sort of loaf process that takes roast beef chunks and some sort of gelatin and forms it into tubes.  It tastes like a gelatin tube to me. When they opened in the 60's, they used to roast the beef right in the window of the restaurant, with the meat hanging on a chain over a flame.  That location is now a Popeye's that is losing business to a Chik-Fil-A, except on Sundays.

Wendy's? I've had their burgers exactly twice in my life, and on both occasions I was reaching for the antacids before I reached the door to leave. Their process involves cooking the burgers well in advance and then leaving them to swim in some sort of hot juice until you order, whereupon the patty is removed from the pool by tongs and plopped on a roll.  The square patty on a round roll upsets my Feng Shui, and then I want Asian food and I head to Soon Phat or Wok 'n' Roll for my beef 'n' broccoli.

And I have this on good authority from a former Wendy's's chili is yesterday's burgers.  Just so ya know.

I just find it fascinating that grown men can sit and do these big biz-ness deals all day long and not get hungry.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Brakin' the Law

Here is the latest news out of Boulder, Colorado:  Boulder County is going to shell out $20,000 as a settlement to the tie-dyed citizen pictured below.

His name is Robert McIntosh.  Last October, he saw fit to drive through a school zone at 41 mph, where the limit is 20.  Objecting to this, Deputy Timothy Lynch pulled him over and went to write out a ticket.  McIntosh objected to that.  He felt that Deputy Lynch was "an ass," and said so out loud.  He also said "Screw you" to the cop, and not in the hardware sense, either. 

I would like to point out that McIntosh is 41, although he dresses like he just got back from Woodstock.  This is the sort of behavior we expect from an adolescent or a guy in a James Cagney movie ("All right you dirty copper, see?  Yeah! You caught me speeding, see?  But you can take that ticket and shove it right up your chain of command, see, because I know too much, see?"  

(sketch by police artist)
Wow, man, far out t shirt!
Even when Dick Cheney and George Bush, two of the coarsest individuals this side of the street bazaars of Beirut, got ticketed for DWI, they took their tickets like grownups and paid their fines.  Not so, McIntosh, who also found the temerity to tell the patrolman that a warning would suffice.  My warning would have been: I am going to ask you to stop talking to me before truly unpleasant consequences unfold here, but anyway.  The story says the officer warned Mr Big Mouth that there would be consequences if he didn't stop the verbal abuse, but Mr BM just kept right on yakety yak'in'.

On May 12 - just over a month ago - McIntosh's mouthpiece, a lawyer named David Lane, wrote a letter to Boulder County and threatened to file a federal lawsuit over all this nonsense.  

And Boulder about broke its neck!  "Run and get the checkbook!  Write this McIntosh a check for $20,000 and run it over to him and get him some pie and a cuppa mocha java too!  Quick, before he calls Washington on us and complains that our police don't like speeders or getting cursed at!"

Listen, bucko.  You're speedin' in a school zone, which is not as bad as Steppin' in a Slide Zone, but nearly. So take the ticket, go fight it in court, and go on your way. 

And keep a civil tongue in your head, please.  Police officers might have to take a little more verbal abuse than Aunt Mildred down at the Stitchery, but there might come a time you wished you hadn't heaped it on, you dumb son of a beach.

"I have said repeatedly that the First Amendment lives in a very rough neighborhood," Attorney Lane said. "I can't arrest you for telling me to go screw myself." I will agree that if the First Amendment lives anywhere near him, it does live in a rocky part of Boulder.  But let's not tell him to go please himself.  He'd probably charge us to watch.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

And after that the dark! And may there be no sadness of farewell, When I embark.

I see from watching "The Talk" that ageless pop singer Barry Manilow and ageless sitcom actress/diet expert Suzanne Somers have some sort of pact concerning their deaths, which is that, whoever dies first, the other is going to be responsible for planning their funeral.

Or "producing" a funeral, as Ms Somers, showbiz to the core, put it.  (When she said that, I had a vision of her in a headset with microphone and a clipboard, darting around the mortuary giving orders: "All right, cue the mourners...Rabbi, you're on..musicians, give me  "Looks Like We Made It", nice and tastefully slow...dirge-like..annnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnd dim the lights and we're on!"

Of course, I immediately started wondering how my final appearance will go.  And then I started fretting about who should go first...I or Peggy.  Normally, my policy is "ladies first," but not in this case.  I don't think I would be a very good cranky widower.  I would be the Arthur Spooneriest of all Arthur Spooners, the crazy uncle to top all crazy uncles.

I will now leave a space for all my nieces  - in the family and out - to rebut the above.

I'd like to think that there would be a great outpouring of humanity, with weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth, but I'll settle for a couple of dozen people rattling change in their pockets (male) or rooting through their purses for a Kleenex (female) while someone reminisces about the time I won a crab feast or how we used to go fishing at the lake, hoping that the fish would leave us alone, or how I used to go into grocery stores and pretend to be French.  I got that idea from Sebastian Cabot.   But after I have crossed that bar and am meeting my Pilot face to face, I hope there is jubilation back here.  There will be laughter aplenty when they read the will, I can promise you that!

Well, anyway, if I go first and Peggy is still here, her life wouldn't change too much, except if she wanted a nice big salad, because I'm the only one who can reach the top cabinets, which is where the big salad bowl and giant wooden salad pitchforks are.  Same with batteries for the remotes; they are up high above the Frigidaire, but I realize, the second call she would make after calling Digger O'Dell would be to CableTown to have them disconnect the TV, except for the Oprah Channel, and The Talk, 2 PM weekdays on CBS.

Which is how I got on this topic in the first place.  Don't worry, I'm not ready just yet.


Saturday, June 11, 2011

Out of their League

I had no idea that bowling was this big of a deal!  There was a Johnny Unitas Colt Lanes bowling place down the road apiece when I was a kid, and we would hang around there, hoping to catch a glimpse of the greatest quarterback ever to play in the NFL while we tossed the ball down the alley.  Eventually, the manager would come out and holler at us, claiming that throwing the balls down the back alley was hurting his business, so we'd come in and actually roll the balls toward the pins.

And I know that tens of millions of Americans wear shirts that look a lot like they came from Charlie Sheen's wardrobe so they can go bowling in a league, one or two nights per week.  Looks like fun, if a little overly noisy.  But the camaraderie must be worth it!

Now comes news via my local Patch that a local guy is charged with embezzling 47 thousand semolians from his local bowling league.  This is stunning news, not least because you read that the bowling league started out in 1896, long before most of us were born, and because there is a bowling league that has   had   $47,000 in its bank acct.   

So you read on, and it turns out that all the bowlers chipped in between $200 and $1,000, and this is the prize money that is now missing.  The treasurer is the one on the "hook," if you will, and you can only hope that he doesn't wind up in the "gutter."  Unless he's being "frame"d, he will have to come up with a better story than "the family had a party at my house while I was away, and when I came back, the money was GONE!"

Hey, whaddya know?  We should see if we can "spare" him any extra cash, so this doesn't "strike" him too hard.

I'm not saying anyone did anything; I don't know anything beyond what was in the Patch.  But I remember when a detective buddy of mine had to investigate a local clown organization for the same sort of thing: dues money missing.  His investigation in that case was hampered by the clowns' practice of only referring to each other by their clown name, so his notes on the case said things such as, "Mr Flopsy said that he saw Pee-Poe with a large stack of cash on the night that they all went to celebrate Baggy Britches's engagement to Miss Choo Choo."

The money was eventually recovered in that case, but still missing are one (1) six-foot Styrofoam hot dog and roll, and a pair of men's shoes, black, size 37.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Can't we all just be a hon?

We talked about the little part of Baltimore known as Hampden (HAM-den) right before Christmas, when this little brou-ha-ha started up down there ('down 'ere,' in local parlance.)

Our story so far: one woman with a sense of vision and business sense got in on the ground floor when someone - who ? - decided to take a formerly run-down-at-the-heels neighborhood and turn it into the happenin' part o' town.  She turned an old corner lunchroom into a diner and a bar and a gift shop, all for the point of celebrating the special Hampden-ness that B'more for years turned away from and then decided to embrace.  So the young people broke their necks to get down there, and they bought and rented houses and apartments, and moved their businesses in, and everyone prospered, and if you really got lucky, you went down there one night, had a "hot roast beef sammich" with gravy on the fries and a hot fudge sundae and you walked out and ran into John Waters of movie fame.

And so, Hampden kept growing and they had an annual celebration called Honfest.  For the benefit of our friends in far-flung places, "hon" is the everyday appellation that B'moreans bestow upon each other, as in, "Gimme a ham 'n' cheese on rye, hon" and the reply, "Hey, you want mustard on that, hon?"  We just say it all the time around here, hon. 

But the woman who copyrighted the word "hon" for her exclusive use in promoting her diner/bar/gift shop has put out an edict to all the shopowners all across the land.  Hear ye!  Hear ye!  At this year's Honfest, no one else can use the H-word in their ads, nor shall they sell any merchandise like those corny cats-eye glasses from the 1950's.  It's all copyrighted, hon!

This year's Honfest is this coming weekend. Already, there is a lot of talkin' 'round here about what this fiat will mean for the participants and vendors.  It's going to be a shame when the split hits the ban, and it winds up taking away from the aura that the area has built up for itself.

You have to wonder why this always seems to happen. People hit upon a good thing, and someone just has to wreck it for everyone because someone wants to make that one more nickel.

Now, I guess I won't be asked to judge the Miss Hon contest.  Ah, whaddya gonna do, hon?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Curb This Habit

To go with our high ranking in dozens of other categories, dubious (homicide rate) and pleasurable (best doggone drinking water in the nation!) it would appear that the Baltimore area can also lay claim to the title of the world capital of People Walking Down the Middle of the Street When There is a Perfectly Good Sidewalk Right There for Crying Out Loud.

It's not just kids shambling their way to the bus in the morning that I speak of. The other morning I was on the way to work and there, ankling right down the middle of the appropriately named Walker Avenue was a man, a woman, and, I guess, a baby. The woman was pushing a baby carriage, is all I know.  And they strolled along the macadam as if they were on the beach at St Tropez, just out for a stroll, la de da.  At length, they became aware that horseless carriages were trying to drive on the road and they headed for the curb in a desultory manner.

Ye Editor as a youth. Note lack of pavement.
Now, first of all, my Opie-esque childhood was spent out in the rural district where we had no sidewalks, forcing me to use my pogo stick on a somewhat rocky lawn, with amusing results. I became aware at an early age that if I wished to attain a later age, it would be salubrious to get out of the way of the oncoming cars, trucks, tractors and so forth.  We walked on the edge of the road, and still spent some time diving into hedgerows when a farmer drove along with his thresher or whatever the heck they called those things.  We never took the notion that the street was ours to walk or play ball in. 

No, I don't travel far, but I've been to New Jersey on a fast train, and I see how they operate up there.  I've been to Delaware, too, and the Carolinas, Georgia, Alabama and Florida, and in none of those places did I see any citizens strutting down the middle of a street like Parisians on the Champs Elysées, eating crêpes with girls named Suzette. 

I don't know how this local custom began, but I know that it's not high on the list of local problems.  All the bigshots with whom I have spoken (newsstand kiosk operators and parking lot attendants) regard this as a rather pedestrian issue.  And maybe that's the problem.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

"Hey There, Anthony Boy" (Chuck Berry)

In my formative years, I learned a very valuable lesson from a co-worker about a boss who was reputed to be tough and demanding.  "Just don't ever do anything to embarrass the organization," was the advice he gave me as we stocked the shelves with Rice-a-Roni (The San Francisco Treat!), and it's worth remembering.

If you think of marriage and family as an organization, the same principle applies.  Every time I hear of a Schwarzenegger, a John ("Johnny Reid") Edwards, a Mark Sanford, my thoughts go right away to the wife (and kids, if applicable) who bear the brunt of the misdeeds of the man.  Sometimes, you can hardly keep up with it, like when the governor of New York was caught paying for nookie and forced to resign, only to be replaced by a man who admitted on the day he was sworn in that he had carried on outside of his marriage. On the case of former governor Spitzer, CBS based a show called "The Good Wife."  Mrs Spitzer stood there at her hubby's weepy press conference, stoic and strong.  Most of the other wives have not, for good reason. 

I don't know much about Weiner (except that his career is over) but I bet I do know this much: he didn't have a lot of girlfriends in high school.  I mean, I was kind of between Don Juan and Don Knotts in that area, but I guess I developed the ability to exist in a relationship with a woman without feeling the need to send a photograph of my noodle to other women, which seems to be this Weiner's problem. If you have friends of both genders and you learn how to relate to the opposite sex in a fashion that is rewarding to you both, you don't even have those kind of urges.  I've long posited that it was the off-center guys who slunk around the hallways in a purple haze who had problems with women, and the guys who learned to appreciate everything about everyone had their share of fun and romance - no more, no less.
Maybe Mr Congressman Weiner spent too much time studying or something, and was not able to express himself to women in the conventional ways that men have, which include:
Hear this by clicking HERE

a) calling them and stammering for an hour
b) piling buddies into your car and driving past her house 127 times, and then, when she comes out to retrieve the recycling bin from down by the mailbox, saying, "Oh cool! I didn't know you lived here! Far out!"
c) taking them to dinner  - first at Taco Bell, then Red Robin, then Ruth's Chris's Ruth's House of Chris's Steaks
d) planning a love scene with as much forethought as Eisenhower gave to the Italian campaign 
e) going for rides in the country, picnics at Loch Raven, and taking their little nieces to the snowball stand
f) realizing that the woman knows best how to handle "d"
g) asking them to get married
h) showing up ON TIME, dressed as directed, and reasonably sober, for the wedding
i) remaining true and faithful "til death do us depart"

Meeting a woman online and sending her images of your junk does not make for a healthy relationship.  You can't take a dirty picture to the snowball stand and buy it a large Tutti-Frutti with marshmallow.

Well, you can, but then people would laugh at you.  Right, Anthony boy?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


Say what you will about the symbols of our modern America and its technology: electric cars on the foreseeable horizon, all of us connected via cell phone, hundreds of channels on cable, and the ability to carry around many hundreds of songs for private listening in a little iPod that's even smaller than the cassette tapes of which it replaces dozens.  I don't think I can top the sight I caught the other day on a court right around the corner from our Lazy 'C' Ranch.

It was a man teaching his little boy to ride a bike.  Now, what says more about the passage from tooling around the hood in a Big Wheel than the passage to a two-wheeler all one's own?  Think about it: it's a bond between parent and child, and another step on the road to liberated adulthood.  On the bike, at first, there will be rides around the corner to hang with friends, and then in a few years, longer rides to see someone who caught his eye during History class, and here we go.

But for now, the kid is just getting started, and even though I only caught a fleeting snapshot as I rolled on by, I saw enough to know that the dad had that "Come on buddy!  You can do it!" look of hope and inspiration going on, and the kid had that grim look of determination with the eyebrows knitted and even the little tongue stuck out between pursed lips: a sure sign of pure concentration. 

I ask you, what could be a better sign that the things that matter never really change?  The economy waxes and wanes, the world may or may not be coming to an end in May or October, and Sarah Palin might just ride that big ol' bus o' hers right up to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue someday soon. (Why not?  The White House is open to all tourists!  Just don't Tripp over your piety - or your history.) 

But show me a man or woman teaching their son or daughter to ride a two-wheeler, and I'll show you a sign that everything's gonna be all right with the world.  That worried look on the Mom and/or Dad as Junior or Sis take their first solo down to Elm St and back will soon be replaced with a smile as the children take their place in the world, and look back on the day when Mom or Dad gave them a little push, and more important, a little "You can do it!" attitude.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Let's Dance! Somewhere Else!

When the initial reports came out about police arresting people merely for dancing at the Jefferson Memorial, I thought maybe that was a little bit of overreaction.  It seemed that a couple of people just started doing the Lindy Hop under the stern, yet Jeffersonian, gaze of TJ himself, and got arrested just for moving their feet a little.

But no, this started as a flash mob, one of those gatherings of people with plenty of time on their hands who are available to show up whenever and wherever and start dancing or whatever.

Which is fine, at the proper venue.  They were out there again this past weekend, and they started dancing just to see if they could cause the police to show up, and what do you think happened?  The police had to come and make them leave.  

The flashmobbers then got all excited, thinking they were recreating authentic 60's street protest.  And so they got to holler at cops and yell about their rights and let things deteriorate to a point at which they had to be pushed and shoved away from the area where a sign clearly indicates that the Memorial is an area where people should remain quiet and peaceful.  No demonstrations are allowed.  It's posted.  Just like "No Smoking" or "No Parking" or "No Left Turn."  They're called rules, and we live by them, or people would light their Tareyton in your face or park in front of fire houses or turn left down one-way streets.

You see, back in the 60's, people took to the streets and marched in protest against things that really needed to be changed.  Segregation, and the war in Viet Nam, were blights upon our society, and it took a lot of people with a lot of courage to make those points and change the hearts and minds...and laws...of others yet unenlightened.

I nod with but slight appreciation at those who regard "dancing around the Jefferson Memorial while other people are trying to have a moment of quiet reflection about the brilliance of one of our founding fathers" as being an equal need.

It seems that the issue is that the US Court of Appeals ruled against those whose chief desire in life is to display their terpsichorean talents at the Memorial.  That's a pretty weak leg to stand on, people. 

I have an idea for those whose urge to Chicken Dance is so overwhelming.  Why not Electric Slide on over to some hospital or orphanage and entertain people?  Do something useful with your talents, instead of stirring things up just to stir things up. 

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Youth is wasted on the Young (Geo. Bernard Shaw)

Faron the Cat
He didn't live long enough to see himself enshrined in the Country Music Hall of Fame, but he was around when Charlie Brown's little rightfielder, Frieda (with the naturally curly hair!) had a cat named for him. That cat was a lazy cat, and you might remember the running gag in "Peanuts" about how Frieda would want to go into the library, which did not allow cats, so she would get other kids - and even Snoopy - to hold the kitty while she perused the books.  That cat was so lazy that Snoopy said,"They've finally developed a boneless cat."

That cat was named Faron, because cartoonist Charles Schulz admired country singer Faron Young quite a bit.  So did I.  Frankly, so did Faron Young admire himself quite a bit.  He never lacked for ego. Or talent.  It takes both to wear a jacket with the name of one of your many hit records emblazoned thereon, as seen in this picture from LIFE magazine in the 50's.  "Goin' Steady" was his first big one, to be followed by "If You Ain't Lovin' (You Ain't Livin')," "Live Fast, Love Hard, Die Young" (his first #1 song, inspired by the John Derek movie "Knock On Any Door" in which the young beau Derek says,"I want to die young and leave a good-looking corpse"), "I Miss You Already (And You're Not Even Gone)," "Hello Walls," "My Friend on the Right," "It's Four in the Morning" and "She Fights That Lovin' Feeling."  Quite a record of successful records, interrupted early on by a stint in the Army, and ended way too soon by the inexplicable taste shift that saw the public start to think that Olivia Newton-John was a country singer. 

Faron Young was country through and through, raised on a dairy farm outside Shreveport.  He was both coarse and sophisticated at once.  In 1972, he had a hit called "This Little Girl of Mine," and his shtick in concert was to select a little girl from the audience and have her sit on his knee while he sang the song.  It was a crowd-pleaser until he played Clarksburg, WV.  He claimed later that the little girl he chose there spat on him.  That part remains uncertain; what's known for sure is that the man with enough business savvy to start a trade newspaper called "Music City News" was foolish or impaired enough to spank the child on stage.  In those pre-web days, the story did not go too far, but you can just imagine the reaction we'd see today if, say, Brad Paisley smacked a kid during his show.  And rightly so.  

Life gave Faron a great voice and a gregarious personality.  He was known for great generosity and charity to friends and strangers just the same, and then he would turn on a dime (or, more accurate to say, a bottle cap) and be as nasty and hurtful as a guy can be. He rode his fine tenor voice to the top of his profession, and when tastes changed and his music wasn't selling so well, he did what they all do, signing with minor labels, trying to keep things going.  It didn't work, and so a lonely, bitter, Faron Young chose to end his life by a self-inflicted bullet in 1996.  Johnny Cash spread his ashes over a lake outside Nashville, and there ends Faron's tale.

But sometimes, early in the morning, if you pile into the SUV with me and hit the "play" button, you can still hear him sing hits like "Occasional Wife" or "Your Time's Comin' ".  Haunting, but true.