Category Archives: Holiday Post

Easter Means Even More This Year


12097112-jesus-resurrectionOne of the last things I told Mama before she lapsed into unconsciousness from which she would not awaken in this world was, “Mama, I’m not sure Heaven has special holidays, but if they do, I bet Easter is a huge one and you are going to be home in time for Easter, Mama.” At her funeral, I shared with everyone the hope of Easter and as Christians, Easter is our hope. Baby Jesus lying in a manger may be sentimental and precious to everyone, but the power and glory of the Gospel is not in Christmas, but in Easter.

Christmas doesn’t bother people all that much either. After all, thousands of people are born every second. The earth has over seven billion people on it and they were all born. Atheists and agnostics find it humorous that Christians believe a Child could be born of a virgin, but since they like to get gifts as well, Christmas gets a pass. Over time, it’s even become increasingly secularized.

Whereas a birth doesn’t cause much consternation, a death — now that’s a problem, but not an insurmountable one. People die in droves each moment; it’s not that hard to wrap a brain around. So Good Friday brings more good-natured ribbing from unbelievers who can’t fathom anyone willing to die as hideous a death as crucifixion in order to save the world from something as banal as “sin.” It doesn’t bother the scientific types that someone deluded enough to call Himself the Son of God died on a cross twenty centuries ago.

Easter doesn’t let anyone off the hook that easily. Now the unbelievers begin to rage and howl and use what Granny Wham would call “ugly language” if she were still with us. Easter takes that virgin born Child from Christmas who was killed on the Cross around 33 Good Fridays later and puts Him in a borrowed tomb THEN we Christians have the unmitigated gall to claim that three days later, that Good Friday Crucified, Virgin Born Christmas Child actually ROSE FROM THE DEAD.

I cannot and will not repeat the crudities I’ve seen written in comment threads all over the internet if someone made the audacious mistake of claiming Jesus was Resurrected and now lives and will return and reign. A favorite among lower class trolls is to refer to Him as “Zombie Jesus” and accompany the words with all sorts of offal remarks.

I try to stay calm and turn the other keyboard because I know something they won’t admit — Jesus did rise from the dead on that first Easter morning and I’m dead level certain of it because Christianity survived 2000 years for me to become a convert. Lies and mythmaking could possibly have kept a fake Messiah’s message going for a few years, maybe even some decades. Some false religions, as long as they are tolerant, can survive centuries.

But a religion that demands you base the safety of your immortal soul on the absolute fact a dead man rose from the dead? If that’s a lie, that movement is going to die off as soon as all the gullible people in Jerusalem who didn’t take the time to stop by an empty tomb die themselves. If Christianity is false, it is the greatest, most consistent, and most elaborately testified to hoax in history and from what I’ve seen of humanity, it is much easier for me to believe Jesus rose from the dead than to believe a bunch of humans, no matter how intelligent, could ever come up with something remotely resembling Christianity.

My Mama is dead to this world, but because He lives, so does she and because of that reality, I am not in the fetal position sobbing and thrashing about. I am looking forward to seeing her again one day . . . maybe soon.


Love y’all!

And So This Is Christmas


A_Christmas_CarolI just finished watching my favorite version of A Christmas Carol. In this rendition, Captain Jean Luc Picard plays the part of Scrooge and brings such a weightiness and excellent acting to the part that I tape the version each year to watch on Christmas Eve. As I told a friend of mine while chatting on Facebook tonight, I believe Dickens’ novella is the greatest story of a man finding redemption to be had outside the pages of the Bible. He starts the movie a hard-hearted miserly old . . . well, SCROOGE, but four ghosts later, he is a changed man who knows the meaning of Christmas isn’t presents or even family. The true meaning of Christmas is redemption.

Scrooge can find redemption for the same reason we all can, because a little over two thousand years ago, God was born in the flesh to a teenage virgin girl huddled with her betrothed in a dank odoriferous cave converted into a makeshift stable behind a cheap motel in the backwater town of Bethlehem in the equally backwater region of Palestine. That girl then wrapped God — creator of the Universe — in clean, but frayed cloths and laid Him in a feed trough and probably sang Him to sleep. Royal robes to old rags; angelic choir to a mother’s lullaby. All so that He could undo the tremendous mess His most prized creation had gotten the world into. He came as a baby with one purpose in sight — to die on a cross and save the world. Everyone born WILL die; He was born TO die . . . and save us all.

Atheists, scientists, other religions’ leaders down the centuries have tried to disprove that teenage girl ever had a child named Jesus. They’ve tried through time to say He never existed, and when they failed in that, they tried to say He existed, but He wasn’t God. I think they’ve failed at that as well.

See, the name of the holiday (holiday = holy day) is Christmas. Literally, that means Mass of Christ. Now I’m not going into all the theological historical arguments about Christmas being a usurpation of the pagan Saturnalia and Jesus not being born in December. I know all of those arguments and if you insist on hashing them out, give me an email in the comments and we’ll talk. Now, back to the name. A mass is a celebration so Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Christ. It’s right there in the name.

The name isn’t “Toymas.”

It’s not “Santamas”

It’s not “Treemas” or “Partymas” or “Frostymas.”

It’s not called “Shoppingmas” or “Retailmas” or “Giftmas.”

We don’t sing about “O Shopping Night” or “The First Black Friday.”

We don’t because no matter how much the rising tide of secularization tries to wash away anything Christian to do with Christmas, they haven’t thought to change the name. They’ve tried a time or two. Years ago it started with “Seasons’ Greetings” and today the most PC among us go with “Happy Holidays” (again:  holiday = holy day). Christmas is still on the calendar though. The name of the Federal holiday (holy day) is “Christmas” and not “Winter Holiday.”

The Roman Empire was one of the mightiest political entities ever. They tried to kill the holiday in the womb and stamp out Christianity, but they couldn’t get it done. Neither could Genghis Khan, Napoleon, Hitler, Stalin, or Mao and they ALL had more power than any of our Presidents have ever possessed.

Every gift you run around buying? You are constantly reenacting a central part of the Christmas story — the Magi bringing gifts to the Christ child. Every scrap of “holiday” music you listen to from Halloween to December 26th? Reenacting the angelic host announcing to the shepherds the birth of the Christ child. Wrapping all those gifts? Just like Mary wrapped our ultimate gift.

So try to stamp it out. Try to humbug it like Scrooge did, but at the end of it all, despite the best efforts of generation after generation of genuises, the message of Christmas is still Christ is Born. To quote the greatest showman wrestler of all time, Mr. Richard Fleer, aka Ric “The Nature Boy” Flair, “Whether you LIKE it, or DON’T LIKE it, sit down and LOOK at it, because it’s the best thing going today!”

Can I get a “whooooo?”

Love y’all, keep those feet clean, and Merry Christmas.


Thanksgiving 2012


Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

I wanted to take the time this morning to ponder some of the many things I am thankful for. It’s been a tough year in many ways with Mama being so sick and other difficulties Budge and I have encountered and tried to overcome with varying degrees of success. Still, it is a poor, poor life indeed that has nothing to be thankful for and I happen to have plenty.

  • First of all, I am thankful Mama is still with us this Thanksgiving despite fighting COPD tooth and nail this entire year.
  • I’m thankful for all my family — the ones I was born with and the ones I’ve chosen and who have chosen me over the years.
  • I’m thankful for Budge and the nearly 18 years she’s deigned to put up with me.
  • I’m thankful all my furry babies are happy and healthy for another year.

Of course, everyone can be thankful for such wonderful things, but I’m thankful for some stuff others might not think of.

  • I’m thankful to live in a country where the Antichrist can be elected President and defeated for President in the same night.
  • I’m thankful to live in a country where people have the luxury of getting to act like complete fools over a bunch of young men chasing a tough little odd shaped pumpkin up and down a cow pasture.
  • I’m thankful I’ve never been shot at to be free, but I am eternally grateful for every man and woman who HAVE been shot at for my freedom.

I’ve got some things to be thankful for others may not need. I’m thankful that:

  • some scientist somewhere figured out how to isolate whatever makes bupropion and venlafaxine do what they do so I can have a chance at a normal life.
  • even though three of the four are gone on now, I had over twenty precious years with the most wonderful grandparents anyone could hope to have.
  • my beloved Papa Wham — who worked hundreds of 16+ hour days at his service station in Fountain Inn — didn’t have to see the day we’d pay for water in a bottle AND air from a pump.
  • my sweet nephew Stoney and my beautiful niece McKenzie Grace came into my life in this past year.
  • Logan and Caitlyn Brown aren’t my nephew and niece by blood, but by love and that’s all matters anyway.

Being a former librarian, I’ve got some strange things to be thankful for, such as being grateful that:

  • 75 years ago this year, a little Hobbit went on a great adventure and wrote about it in the Red Book of Westmarch.
  • Peter Jackson finally gets to put that Hobbit’s story on the big screen next month.
  • 50 years ago, a precious lady wrinkled time.
  • 150 years ago this year, Prisoner 60214 was released from 19 years hard labor and had an encounter with a kind priest that changed his life and made literary history.
  • 60 years ago a doomed little pig met a very talented spider and the rest, they say, is history.

I’m also extremely thankful for all of you, my readers, who stop by and spend a few minutes with me. I realize time is precious these days and you have many things you can do when you’re online so the fact you choose to come here, some quite regularly to see what I’ve pounded out is gratifying to say the least.

So, know I love y’all and, as always, keep those feet clean and enjoy Thanksgiving with family and friends!



Popping Purple Vein Wednesday


After visiting two supermarkets this morning, I’ve decided to take a momentary break from my explanation of why I still believe in God to make some observations on goings on around me. First of all, did any of you know that Americans celebrate a holiday called “Thanksgiving”  on the fourth Thursday of November? EVERY November? Did you know this Federal holiday tradition dates back to George Washington? Did you know the fourth Thursday in November date was set in 1863 by President Lincoln and when FDR moved it a week earlier in 1939 and 1940 the country almost split again over such a foolish move?

If you knew any of these tidbits of information, you are much farther ahead of the curve than the three quarters of a million people crowded into Publix and Bi-Lo supermarkets on Fairview Road in Simpsonville this morning. From the way the grocery shoppers were treating each other and the personnel of the grocery stores, it seems they thought the holiday was several months away. I was so curious about the state of confusion I stopped in the middle of the Bi-Lo baking goods aisle and pulled up my calendar on my phone. Apparently I was right because November 22, 2012 appeared in bright red signifying a major holiday. Just to be sure, I used my calendar function to check the last several years and — sure enough — Thursday, November 24, 2011 AND Thursday, November 25, 2010 both had red outlines. I wanted to be absolutely certain this trend would continue, however, so I thumbed ahead and I can say with unflagging authority November 28, 2013; November 27, 2014; and November 26, 2015 are all outlined in red and have “Thanksgiving Day” in small font in the box for those days — all of which happen to be the fourth Thursdays of November in their respective years.

Of course the fact I undertook this small research project right in the middle of the aisle of the store containing flour, sugar, packaged nuts, and canned pumpkin almost caused a riot. Several sweet looking blue-haired elderly ladies bumped into me quite forcefully and purposefully with their buggies.

(Important Sidebar Information: I don’t like to act overly sectional in my writing, but I am somewhat proud of my Southern heritage — screwed up as it is — and I am especially sensitive about our accents and vernacular. Now having said that, in the South, we put groceries in a BUGGY, not a SHOPPING CART and if you don’t like it, well, bless your Yankee hearts you are in luck because Interstates 75, 85, and 95 all head north back to the Mason-Dixon Line so get thee hence and you won’t have to endure us poor benighted Dixie-dwellers. Just don’t come crying back when you are freezing your nether bits off  because they are covered in snow.)

I know at least one harried looking woman with a buggy full of Dixie Crystal and LibbyLibbyLibby Pumpkin Puree claimed my parents had, in fact, NOT been married at the time of my birth while another mom left off screaming frustrated obscenities at her three rambunctious offspring long enough to scream frustrated obscenities at me. She not only claimed I was descended from the genus Canis, but that I had untoward carnal knowledge of my female parent. Normally I would have given her a piece of my mind before soundly thrashing any adult male accompanying her for espousing such base slurs upon my character, but something of a maniacal glint in her eyes coupled with the way she was gripping  a family sized can of Hanover Cut Green Beans made me think she might possibly have some murderous intent in her heart  as well as the wherewithal to carry it out, so I let the moment — and her buggy of hellions — pass without incident. Discretion is, after all, the better part of valor.

This was by no means an isolated incident. I saw displays of outright “buggy-rage” in both stores I went into. In Publix, two women appeared destined to come to blows over the last box of 10X Dominos Confectioners Sugar in the store. While they were loudly discussing the merits of each others hair styles, weight, and clothes choices, I took the opportunity to actually slip behind them and take the aforementioned last box of powdery white goodness and beat a hasty retreat before the two amazonian brawlers noticed the object of their forthcoming gladiatorial contest had mysteriously disappeared!

Now I realize I was just as guilty of procrastination as everyone else in the stores and I actually have less of an excuse since I have much more time available to shop. Still, why get so angry and stressed out because YOU waited until the last minute to try to find an unbroken dozen eggs the day before one of the “egg-heaviest” holidays in the year? It’s not the little girl behind the register’s fault that you won’t stand up to your mother-in-law and refuse to make six pecan pies when she just called and asked you at 8:00 AM the day before Thanksgiving, just like she does every year. The Publix manager can’t help it that you are too much of a control freak to let your daughters and daughters-in-law help cook Thanksgiving dinner so you drive yourself to exhaustion for two days and then bite everyone’s head off at the meal before complaining bitterly that “no one wants to help me!”

The moral of the story is, it’s Thanksgiving. You knew it was coming so stop! Just stop! Quit trying to make everything perfect and just enjoy the family or friends you get to share the day and the meal with. Stop getting purple in the face and letting “that vein” pop out on your forehead over the 2 package limit on Philadelphia brand cream cheese. It could always be so much worse. Tomorrow’s Thanksgiving, folk. Today isn’t too soon to start practicing being thankful!

Love y’all and keep those feet clean and belts loosened!

Easter 2012


He said to them, "I am the Resurrection and the Life and whoever believes on Me, even if he dies, he shall live."

This is one of my posts that my atheist friends would probably just as soon skip. Having issued that caveat, Happy Easter everyone! I realize most of you are probably reading this after an Easter lunch that may or may not have included a follow-up Easter Egg Hunt because Easter Sunday means one thing all over — you are going to church!

Easter draws us to church like the Moon draws the oceans to make the tides. It’s the one Sunday of the year when anyone who has ever professed some sort of attachment to Christianity at some point in their lives knows that this Sunday he cannot get up and play golf (unless he is in the final round of The Masters) and she cannot lay in late to get extra beauty sleep.

Easter is the Sunday of beautiful new dresses, patent leather shoes, and really big, ornate hats. It is the Sunday of shirts with collars too tight and suits smelling of mothballs. Easter is the one Sunday out of the year when pastors, priests, and parishioners alike know and have known for years what the sermon or homily will be this morning. Some will sit in the pew or upon the folding chairs and wonder to themselves as they do each year, “Is any of what this person is saying real?”

My answer to that question is simple; “If — somewhere deep within you — you don’t believe any of this, then why are you here on this beautiful spring morning and not at the lake?” Christmas may have been overwhelmed by the culture to the point that only the most devout hold on to its true meaning, but not Easter. All the cute little bunnies and brightly colored eggs in the world can’t erase the real meaning of this day. People like Richard “The God Delusion” Dawkins may mock it, David Letterman may laugh at it, and many in the pews may question it, but EVERYONE knows that behind Easter is one simple, incomprehensible fact . . .

Jesus Christ rose from the dead.

For over 2000 years, skeptics have tried to tear down the Resurrection. They have advanced theory after theory about how Jesus didn’t really die on the cross or Jesus didn’t really exist at all or the Apostle Paul made the whole thing up. So far, they haven’t done a very good job because the Resurrection continues to resurrect lost lives.

I will be plainly honest with everyone. For the last several years, I’ve been plagued by doubts about nearly every aspect of my own personal faith. I’ve tossed out all my beliefs and rebuilt them. I’ve teetered on the edge of the chasm of atheism myself all because of several personal struggles that I’ve endured in recent years. Many times I’ve wondered if there’s really anything to any of it. Every time though, when my belief has reached its lowest ebb and my faith is in tatters and I wonder who really is right, one thing and only one thing burns in my mind as the one “doubt” that keeps me going. What is it?

Where’s the body?

Romans and Jews in the ancient world and a slew of modern cults and scientists have EVERYTHING to gain if Jesus really stayed dead. Think about it, Christianity destroyed the Roman Empire. You thought the barbarians did that, didn’t you? Well, guess what? The barbarians that sacked Rome were Christians. They were Arianist and had a few things off in their Christology, but they were Christians.

Where’s the body?

When the disciples started running around screaming about “He is risen, etc, etc”, Pilate and Caiaphas could have simply gone to the tomb with their escorts of guards, opened the tomb, put Jesus’ still dead body on a cart and wheeled it through the streets of Jerusalem. It would have been game, set, and match for this infant religion. When Peter caused such an uproar with his sermon on the Day of Pentecost, the authorities just had to go to the tomb and drag out the body. You put Jesus’ body on display in or around 33 AD and the last 2000 years look a whole lot different.

But they’ve never been able to do it.

People have asked me before how someone so intelligent as I supposedly am in so many other facets of knowledge can be so terribly  backward and ignorant about “Zombie Jesus?” I always say the same thing, “Habeas Corpus” which is Latin for “bring forth the body.” I don’t have the certainty I had as a child about how God works. I’m not clear on a lot of theological issues anymore. Still, at the end of the day, there’s the Resurrection and that means there is hope.

Hope that all the suffering that’s gone on down here isn’t for nothing. Hope that I’ll get to see my Papas and Grannies again. Hope that putting Mama in the grave won’t be the end of it all. Hope for something I’ve always felt around the edges but never have been able to put my finger on.

I’ve been called a fool for believing in Zombie Jesus, but considering all the foolish things I’ve done in my life, that’s the least of my worries. 2000 years ago, a bunch of scared women ran into a gathering of scared men and said angels had told them Jesus was risen. A little while later, The Man Himself appeared to them all and said, more or less, “I told you I would only be gone a little while.”

In the 20 centuries since then, a lot of people have given up a lot of things, including their own lives just to hold on to that hope. If it was good enough for all of them, I see no reason to let go of all my hope now. When all else is a big ball of confusion, the Empty Tomb still echos with the words, “He is not here; He is risen, just as He said.”

That’s good enough for me.

Love y’all and have a blessed Easter.


The Christmas Day Budge Channeled Gypsy


When the lead pic is Gypsy Rose Lee, you just KNOW this is gonna be interesting.

1675 years ago today, the still-nascent Christians first celebrated the Birth of Christ on Christmas Day; 1211 years ago, Charlemagne became the first Holy Roman Emperor; 945 years ago, William the Bastard took the crown of England; 235 years ago, Washington crossed the Delaware and defeated the Hessians; 193 years ago, the choir of St. Nikolaus Cathedral in Oberndorff, Austria performed “Silent Night” for the first time; 97 years ago, several groups of Allied and Central Powers soldiers spontaneously stopped the Great War to sing carols and play soccer; twenty years ago, the final President of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev resigned; fifteen years ago, child beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey was murdered (probably by her psycho brother); and two years ago, a crazy Nigerian tried to use his underwear to blow up an airplane.

These were all extremely important, memorable events to be certain, but none of them can match the Christmas morning ten years ago today when my beloved Budge made her burlesque debut on the back deck of our new home.

See what had happened was, it was Christmas morning and the two of us had breakfast in the living room in front of our tree, then exchanged gifts with each other. We were supposed to be at Daddy and Teresa’s for Christmas lunch at noon, so about ten o’clock, Budge went to get a shower while I took some of my new presents out to my workshop. At the time, my precious Jackie Boy and Beauregard (better known as Beau and Jack) were in their primes and I hadn’t yet taken the initiative to have their little testosterone factories shut down. Both of them were jealous of me and had scrapped quite violently before.

Even if you don't save a life, you may save a trip to the ER!!

While I was outside, I dropped something — I can’t even remember what — and when I stooped to get it, Jack ran up to me. Beau must have figured Jack was attacking me because he set into Jack ferociously. They were snarling and biting each other around the neck and generally tearing each others flesh (and my nerves) to pieces. Now I have been raised around dogs all my life. One of my earliest companions was a full blood American Pit Bulldog named Queen. I know dogs and dog behavior and one thing I knew to NEVER do was to get between two fighting dogs.

Well, I forgot myself in my desire to get this fight broken up. Beau was on top of Jack so I reached to grab his collar so I could pull him backwards. Just as my fingers touched Beau’s collar, Jack whipped around and tried to latch onto Beau’s neck. Unfortunately, my hand and wrist happened to be in his line of fire. He clamped down on my left wrist with malice and forethought. Pain exploded in my hand instantly, but just as quickly as he had bitten down, Jack released me.

I looked down at my wrist and four holes were spouting bright red gouts of blood. I grabbed my injured wrist with my opposite hand and staggered towards the back door. I was bleeding like the proverbial “stuck hog” and I didn’t want our utility room looking like an abattoir so I opened the back door, leaving a bloody hand print on the knob, and called out to Budge to please come to my assistance.

Now my Budge is a pretty cool-headed person and handles most emergencies well; however, she doesn’t handle ME being hurt OR large amounts of blood very well. She walked out to the back door wrapped in a towel fresh from the shower with her hair wrapped in a second towel. I recall her words being “Honey, I’m getting ready. What do you wa — OHMYGODWHATHAPPENED!!” I asked her for a clean towel so I could wrap my bleeding limb. At this point, I figured she would pick a towel out of the hamper that was at her feet or, failing that, she would take the towel from her hair.

I was wrong.

Ironically, this is one of Budge's favorite movies.

I heard her scream “HERE, TAKE THIS ONE!” and a towel fell at my feet. It was a pink towel and somehow, through the haze of pain and adrenaline, I remembered the towel on her hair being blue. I looked up and there stood my beloved wife au naturel.  She had stripped off her body towel and was standing on the back deck in a deep frost in front of God and everybody just as naked as the day she was born!

I managed to strangle out, “Um, baby?” and she came to her senses with a jolt and dashed back into the house. For about fifteen seconds, if anyone had been in either of our neighbor’s yards or driving by at a proper angle, he or she would have gotten a SHOW! Oh, that was a sight.

Once I got the blood contained, we spent about an hour of Christmas morning in the Hillcrest Hospital ER. Miraculously, the bite had missed any vital tendons or arteries. I ended up with four deep puncture wounds that hurt like CRAP as the nurse flushed them with iodine. Then I got a morphine injection and that was about the last clear thing I remember for the day.

We made it to Daddy’s about thirty minutes late, but by then the morphine was in control of my mind so I spent two hours in a recliner in a doze. We left Daddy’s and went to Charles and Missy’s for Budge’s side’s dinner. Again, I spent the evening in a recliner as Budge related the morning’s events. We made it home about eight that night and I was finally able to give in to the morphine completely and I was GONE to see the Wizard, so to speak.

Because I had such a great night’s sleep, I was able to get up really early the next morning. Budge and I had a fantastic day shopping the after Christmas clearances. To this day, we call it one of our top ten days ever!

And to think, it all started with a dog fight and a strip show 🙂

Love y’all and Merry Christmas, everyone!

Have a great day and keep those feet clean!

Thoughts on Veterans’ Day 2011


I would like to thank all the brave men and women throughout our country’s history who have served under arms waging war and keeping peace. It is because of the sacrifice in time, emotion, energy, and — all too often — blood, that the United States of America remains the envy of the rest of the world.

I wholeheartedly support our troops — past, present, and future. Always have, always will.

Having said that, I need to make clear that I am adamantly against the two current “wars” our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines have been fighting for the last ten years. Furthermore, even though I was not yet born, I stand retroactively and historically against every war and conflict this country has been involved in since 1945.

Again, to be crystal clear, I SUPPORT OUR TROOPS. My immediate family has sent many brave men to fight our country’s wars including my grandfather, father, father-in-law, and brother-in-law. If I pull back to look at my extended family, the number of veterans quickly becomes too great to list.  As a teacher, I watched more than fifty of my former students go off to fight. To my everlasting sorrow, two of them returned home in flag draped caskets after making the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

I have never admitted this to anyone before tonight, but I was prepared to leave college in 1991 to enlist in the US Army in order to fight in the First Gulf War (the semi- justifiable one) when it looked like we were up against a real army and it might be a somewhat long war. I went to Fountain Inn one early fall afternoon and spoke to Papa Wham alone. Papa, with his eyes tearing up, asked me to please not enlist. He said, “Frankie being in Vietnam almost killed Mama (he always called Granny Wham, Mama) and me. I don’t believe either one of us could stand to see you go to war.” I didn’t enlist, but even though I am grateful to have honored Papa’s wishes, I still feel like a little part of me is missing and I’ll never be able to hold my head quite as high as Papa Wham and Daddy with no test of combat under my belt.

Papa had passed away by the time of the 9-11-2001 attacks when I would again contemplate enlisting, but by then, I was 30 and the recruiters all said I was too old so once again, I did not get to fight. My deepest and greatest regret is having never served my country in uniform.

In any event, though I was willing to go fight myself, I do not support the way our military is being used and has been used for the last forty-five years.  I believe, and I feel justified in my belief, that our government, for whatever real or stated reasons has decided to make the United States the big brother / policeman to the entire world. We are spending our sons and daughters’ precious blood on soil where we have no business being fighting for causes that are not our own.

Please look through the following list of the MAJOR wars and conflicts America has participated in and see what we gained.

  • American Revolution — gained our independence and became a country.
  • War of 1812 — gained nothing for the US.  This war was so unpopular at the time the New England states almost seceded from the United States.
  • Mexican War — Our first aggressive war. We got most of the southwest, which we’d been claiming anyway for years. Oh, and we trained a whole generation of officers for the next war.
  • The War of Northern Aggression — The Confederate States were forced to remain in the Union at the cost of hundreds of thousands of lives both Blue and Grey.
  • The Spanish-American War — Our first war started and fought under completely false pretenses. We gained an overseas empire and a bad reputation.
  • World War I — We fought for one year and acted like we won the war single-handedly.  WWI put us on the world stage as a major player, but we could have just as easily sat it out and still emerged as a dominant power in the world. Wilson just HAD to get us in the fight though.
  • World War II — The continuation of the First World War after a 20 year intermission. We could have sat this one out as well so long as we kept Great Britain and the Soviet Union supplied from The Arsenal of Democracy, but the Japs had to sneak attack us (well, sneak attack for Pearl Harbor. FDR knew all about the coming attack) We gained nothing except superpower status. This is also when we started the annoying trend of blowing the hell out of an enemy and then going in and rebuilding them even stronger.
  • The Korean Conflict — Never a declared war. Still technically going on today since no peace treaty has ever been signed. We gained NOTHING from the Korean War except thousands of casualties and the basis for a mediocre but long running television show.
  • Vietnam Conflict — Never a declared war. We lost nearly 60,000 brave young men for NOTHING. Our government committed acts tantamount to TREASON against our troops then a bunch of dreadlocked hippies had the gall to spit on our boys as they came home. This war destroyed any innocence our country might have retained and gained us NOTHING.
  • Gulf War I — Bush I managed to get us cheap oil for a little while longer.
  • Gulf War II —  Bush II managed to get rid of Saddam Hussein in one of the most unjustified actions of aggression against another sovereign nation (albeit it a sorry, lowdown, and wicked sovereign nation) since we exterminated the Indians and paved the way for one of the only non-theocratic Islamic states in the Middle East to become a theocratic Islamic state. Oh, and also did away with what was left of Daddy Bush’s cheap oil.
  • War In Afghanistan — Ten years to kill one man and when we leave, and we WILL leave, the Taliban will come right back in and reinstall Islamic law, destroy all the schools we built with our boys’ blood, and start cutting women’s noses off again if they get “uppity”.

So, I support our troops whole-heartedly and will happily fight anyone anytime anywhere who think I do not. They are doing their jobs despite the government’s ability to tie their hands at every opportunity. They are fighting, not for “our freedom” because our freedom is not endangered by al-queda’s terrorists. Al-queda can kill Americans, but they cannot kill America and if we stayed out of their miserable God-forsaken countries, they wouldn’t be able to kill as many Americans. 9-11 was a lesson, but unfortunately, it has become the entire curriculum.

At the close of this Veterans Day, Thank You once again to all our Veterans, past and present, living and dead; and to our government let me say loudly and clearly,




What is it about adding a zero to an important anniversary that imbues that date on the calendar with extra mystique and weightiness? A child’s ninth birthday is not nearly as important as his 10th. No special gift marks a 49th wedding anniversary but the 50th deserves gold and the 60th, diamonds.  The only answer I can think of is that the additional import of a five or a zero is a nod to something deep within our inherently decimal nature.

Today, we add the first zero to the anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001 and the beginning of what is euphemistically known as The Global War on Terror.

This tenth passage of years means something more but I don’t really know why.

The victims trapped in the collapsing Twin Towers will be no deader. The passage of a decade has not lessened the heroism of the policemen, firefighters, and E.M.T’s who stormed the towering infernos that day, many dying with no idea what was waiting for them, only that people were in there who needed their help.

3652 days brings us no closer to understanding the thought processes aboard United 93 as high above a pasture in rural Pennsylvania, a plane full of doomed men and women rose up against the infamy, tyranny, and injustice of the moment and attacked where others may have retreated  or sat silent and in doing so saved an unknown number of lives at the cost of their own — passing into legend with the words, “Let’s roll.”

It’s been ten years now since our school secretary appeared at the window of my classroom door waving frantically for me to come over so she could utter the incomprehensible words, “They’ve just flown two planes into the Twin Towers!”

It’s a different world now.

Last night, Budge and I went to Cameron and Deuce’s home to watch football and between games, Laura brought out copies of Time, Newsweek, and The New York Times all dated September 12, 2001. The burning towers dominated each cover. Jacob, Cameron’s nine year old son, was fascinated by what he was seeing and reading and I faltered a time or two as I tried to explain the events of that day.

The Towers have never stood in Jake’s lifetime. The United States has never been wholly at peace in Jake’s lifetime. Budge has three classes of 4th graders who were all born in 2002. They know nothing about the America in which I lived my first 30 years.

How do you explain to a nine year old who is looking at the iconic photo “Falling Man” why a person would choose to jump out of a 100 story window rather than risk being burned alive? How do you describe or explain what “panic” really feels like? How can you help one so close to life’s beginning understand what goes through the mind of someone who knows without doubt that he has lived his last day, last hour, last minute?

Why does adding this zero bring the pain so close to the surface once more?

God only knows, and He isn’t saying.

Requiescat in pace, heroes and departed of 9-11-01. We, the living, have not forgotten.

Happy Fourth of July (yuck)


BAH! Humbug, I say!

Of all the holidays in the year, I like The Fourth of July least of all — even less than September 19th, which is Talk Like a Pirate Day. (That might not seem like much of a holiday, but if you’ve ever taught 3-5 in elementary school, you know the deal.)

It is safe to say that I absolutely LOATHE and DESPISE this overblown monstrosity of a midsummer excuse for a day off.

If someone ever decided to take Dickens’ novel A Christmas Carol and set it in America on the Fourth of July, I would HAPPILY play Ebenezer Scrooge and hand out copious amounts of humbugs to anyone who would listen. I suppose instead of the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future, I would be assaulted and browbeaten by the Ghosts of Edward Rutledge, Button Gwinnett, and John Penn!

Humbug, I say! Bring them on.

Ooohhh, John! I bet King George will be REALLY impressed with your big ol' signature!

Now I hope no one mistakes my lack of devotion to this insanity called July 4th for a lack of patriotism. I adore what the Fourth of July stands for . . . I just hate the celebrations surrounding it AND I think we celebrate the COMPLETELY WRONG DAY. If we’re going to call something Independence Day, then July 4th is ludicrous. A bunch of rich white men — about half of whom never picked up a musket in the Revolution — signed a big piece of parchment in a blazing hot hall in Philadelphia.


Signing the “Declaration of Independence” didn’t a bit more make this country free than me signing a million dollar record deal makes me able to sing. As a matter of fact, had things gone differently in just a mere handful of battles, skirmishes, and alliances, we’d still be members of the Commonwealth of Nations, if not the United Kingdom, and the Fourth of July would be another November 5th style Bonfire Night in the streets of London. The only difference would be the great drunken unwashed masses would burn Washington in effigy instead of Guy Fawkes. Read about what the Crown authorities did to HIM when they caught him and you’ll see just what would have awaited Jefferson, Franklin, and Co. if the French hadn’t taken pity on us (yes, there actually WAS a time when the Frogs could fight instead of retreat).

Who knows, maybe V would have worn a George Washington mask in the comics instead of a Fawkes visage.

Why yes, Mr. Cornwallis, sir, I believe we upstart rabble DID kick y'all's pompous British @$$es! (GW was from Virginia and therefore a Southerner and would have used y'all)

No, if we’re going to properly celebrate something, let’s celebrate October 19th!! THAT was our REAL independence day because THAT was the day an unruly mass of shopkeepers, merchants, tradesmen, and yeomen farmers (with a little — okay, a LOT of — help from the aforementioned French)  beat the most powerful army of the most powerful nation on Earth at a little place called Yorktown.  (Jeez, how can we owe the FRENCH our freedom of all people? The ignominy of it all.) THAT’S when we were free! Think about it — the US Navy has never named a ship the U.S.S. Declaration of Independence, now have they? On the other hand, at least TWO very important aircraft carriers — one of which is a floating museum about 200 miles from where I’m sitting — have been named U.S.S. Yorktown.

However, bad history isn’t the MAIN reason I despise the Fourth of July. No, I hate the Fourth of July for two much more obvious and realistic reasons. First, I am FAT and FAIR-SKINNED. Neither of those conditions makes for a great deal of enjoyment on a holiday that falls in the HOTTEST month of the year AND where everything — barbeques, the beach, the lake, etc — that people want to do is OUTSIDE.

Haven’t any of these Sol-worshipping lunatics heard about the Atmospheric Ozone Hole or Global Warming? Oh, that’s right, the GOP has control of part of Congress right now so Global Warming is a myth for another election cycle.

It’s CRAZY HOT OUTSIDE! How much fun can you have with sweat pooling in your nether regions?! I think not much, and have you ever SEEN what goes into most lakes? All that treated sewage water has to go somewhere. That’s another good reason for celebrating Yorktown instead of Liberty Hall — it’d be a WHOLE LOT COOLER!!

The REAL, MAIN reason for my loathing the Fourth of July, however, is simple. I. Hate. Firecrackers. I hate them with a passion the Bloods reserve for the Crips, the passion Red Sox fans reserve for Yankees fans, the passion Cleveland reserves for LeChoke. But you get the point.

I don’t mind the professional displays put on by people with the appropriate credentials to be dealing with high explosives. They are actually very pretty and if I can go to one and get a spot not surrounded by Rhode Island’s population squeezed onto a football field, I’ll gladly go.

No, I hate Roman candles, Black Cat firecrackers, and MOST OF ALL, bottle rockets. I hope a special circle of Hell awaits the Chinese fool who invented bottle rockets. Bottle rockets should be placed on the UN list of weapons of mass destruction. You might think that’s funny and a little overdramatic — but then you aren’t a TOAD! Think about it.

By far, though, the worst part of bottle rocketry comes from the “backyard artillery specialists” who have such great fun “shooting them off!” Personally, I think it’s a compensation thing, but what do I know. All I know is the bombardment starts a good week before the Fourth with just a few random pops, but come the night of “Independence Day” all Hell breaks loose in an all out aerial attack that terrifies my dog, sets many small brushfires, and keeps me awake in fear of my roof becoming a conflagration. It seems to me that the legislature should pass some sort of law that requires people who buy and set off these black powder menaces to at least have a minimum of three teeth. As another safety feature, the “firecrackers” should have some sort of audio amplified microphone that renders the explosive charges inert if the words “Hey y’all, watch this,” OR “Somebody whol’ my beer ‘n hand me that ‘ar lighter.”

We are talking about people (and I use that word loosely) who are not only willing, but delight in putting the stick of a bottle rocket in their anus and lighting it so their butt cheeks sear in the escaping flame and gift us with Eau de Fried Redneck.

Here’s an idea, Bubba; put the bottle rocket on THE OTHER SIDE. Maybe it’ll cook your genetic material and save us from your offspring. Imagine that. Bottle rocket as tool of natural selection — who’d have thought?

Well, all y’all who insist on roasting yourselves, have a good day today, wash your feet tonight, and remember that even if y’all drive me insane, ol’ G.S. Feet still loves you!

Til next time, have a good one!

My Father’s Day Gallery