Thursday, November 11, 2010

Armistice Day

On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, they signed a treaty ending the war to end all wars. They made a holiday of November 11, and called it "Armistice Day." This was supposed to be a celebration of the end of wars.

Unfortunately, the factions in the world that came to be called the military-industrial complex were able to make a mockery out of the idea of a permanent peace. The rise of Adolph Hitler provided the warmongers with a perfect moral imperative to go to war.

War is not moral.

Now, that military-industrial complex has co-opted the holiday intended to celebrate peace and turned it into a day to honor war.

The ultimate survival of the human species depends on solving the civil problem of war (along with a lot of other problems we've created, like destroying our own environment through non-military means).

The solution to the moral quandary of how to deal with Hitlers, and other terrorists, is to prevent them, not to defeat them. It's only a lucky coincidence that the Nazis did not develop nuclear weapons in time to eradicate their opponents.

It is ultimately the responsibility of each individual to choose not to fight.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Fried Okra

We were visiting Lou in San Jose on the way out of California, and he suggested dinner at a barbecue joint.

Well, not really a barbecue joint, a bar where Uncle Frank, or in this case Uncle Frank's protege, serves barbecue.

The bar is called The Quarter Note, and they probably play music there. When we entered the bar it wasn't at all obvious that they served food, and since it was Friday night and there were only two patrons in the bar, one had to wonder about the viability of the establishment at all.

But we asked and they handed us a menu.

We ordered ribs and brisket. They were out of hushpuppies.

HOWEVER, one of the sides on the menu was fried okra. Put it this way, I go to cafeterias specifically to get their fried okra, and cafeteria fried okra is only okay.

When the waiter, who was also the cook (and a musician, he told us) said they were not only out of hush puppies but greens as well, I was steeled for the disappointment of not getting my okra. But no, he said, he still had okra.

Lou's girlfriend Maricella indicated she was not a big fan of okra, but we talked her into trying it.

Let's just say Maricella is now a Big Fan of Fried Okra. The portions were sizable, served in little cardboard dishes like you'd expect to hold french fries. The okra came hot out of the skillet, breaded lightly and perfectly crispy. We had three orders, plenty of fried okra for five, and we still asked for a couple more for dessert.

The fried okra was as good as any made by my mother, mother-in-law, or wife, and that's saying something.

So, if you're in San Jose and get a hankering for fried okra, you'll find the real thing at the Quarter Note.

Addendum: This just in. I realized on telling this story that the locale was perfectly suited for the product: barbecue.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Three Coins out of a Fountain

I found three coins today, two pennies and a dime. That's a lot of luck. Finding a single coin in itself is a thrilling moment, let alone three; especially what with three itself carrying a charm of its own.

The day didn't start so well, however. Braves, Tar Heels and Jackets all playing, and needing wins. Jackets lost, to N.C. State no less.

But the Braves won early, and the Tar Heels prevailed, I'd cashed my pennies.

Stilled owed ten-cents, I got an email from my pen pal.


Thursday, August 12, 2010

In the clutch

The cacophony from the back seat exceeded Gertrude’s tolerance level as she pulled up to the stop sign where her subdivision emptied onto the main road.

“Mommy,” shrieked the boy.

“Mommy,” echoed the girl, louder

The boy escalated the volume a notch, “Mommy!”

Mommy understood these were competitive jabs at one another more than pleas directed to her. She turned around and, with a sweeping, withering look, put an end to the discussion. She let the clutch out even as she was turning back to the front, but still distracted, she mistimed the accelerator and the car bucked to a stop. Next car’s an automatic, she thought to herself as she reached for the keys to restart the engine.


A dump truck flashed across her bow.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Tift Nifties

This is actually about coinage.

Tift Nifties (after Tom Swifties) was what I dubbed the practice over at Tift Merritt dot Net of converting syllables in words to include Tift's name in it, e.g., Certifticate of Merritt (I did not come up with that one, but it is extra perfect, say along with Merritt Tiftmas).

Like I said, this isn't about Tift Nifties (nor Tom Swifties), but about coinages, Tom noted freely. (Har har har, get it, "note" [vs. coin] and free vs. what you need coins for, anyway.)

Photo by permission.

If coinage was worth the paper it was printed on, then I wouldn't be slaving for Massah Duke, I'd be sitting in the counting house. But then, if a filbert blogged in the Forrest and nobody read it, would a Filbert Hockey (tm) score make a sound after digital photography eliminates the plastic film "tins" used as goals?

But I digress ("yes, you do - frequently").

I recently coined a new motto for my work group, "We put the 'we' in the Web" (tm).

I'll also flip a few mixed metaphors, "Water under the dam," and "The cat's out of the barn," being my favorites.

This naturally, from swerve of shore to bend of bay, brings us by a commodius vicus of recirculation back to today's coinage, "As even keeled as a prairie schooner" (tm).

Not sure what it actually means, but those (tm)'s are at least double entendred.

Monday, February 22, 2010


Quick update. Through 129 holes over the weekend, not only did we see no eagles, we did not even see any birdies. No eagles of the flying variety, either, although there were plenty of buzzards (cricling my golf game, perhaps).

Monday, February 15, 2010

Third Eagle

You may find it beneficial to follow me around next weekend.

Unable to play golf much this winter, I've spent the past two weekends walking around without a white ball to chase through the woods.

During a hike at the Harris Lake Wake County Park the other day, we paused on a bit of high ground to look out over the lake, when a large shadow swooped up from behind. My first thought was "heron," but when I looked up I was surprised to see the broad white tailfeathers of a Bald Eagle. It was exciting, if not altogether surprising. Eagles are known to nest around nearby Jordan Lake, and since Harris Lake is used to dissipate heat from the Sherron Harris nuclear power plant, what bird wouldn't be enticed to escape this winter's cold via a trip to a relatively warmer pond?

The next weekend, I just went for a walk around my local golf course, which, being covered in snow, was not in play. I strayed from the paved cart path to test the depth of snow on the untrodden sixth tee, and looking out in the direction of nearby Sunset Lake, I discerned a large bird flying toward me. Funny, it looked like it had a white head. Sure enough, a second eagle in as many weeks. (Since I was not able to band the first eagle, there's no guaranteeing the second eagle was not really just the first, reseen, of[f] course.)

Lest you think it commonplace to see eagles about, I will explain that these were my first eagle sitings in North Carolina while on foot, ever. And I've covered plenty of miles of would-have-been eagle habitat afoot over the last 41 years here.

Knowing how things seem to happen in threes, if you would like to see an eagle, I recommend you follow me around next weekend. The weather forecast provides some optimism for the possibility of golf. Who knows, maybe somebody in my group will hole one from the fairway.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Title Revised

Dear No Reader,

I googled "The Blog Nobody Reads" and discovered the article doesn't apply - they's more than one of 'em. So I'm compelled, or perhaps obliged, to change my title yet again.

I apologize for the conceit.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Free Press Kills Press Freedom

Almost an Onion headline, eh?

The newspaper publishing game was always, well, almost always, a business venture (maybe "Publick Occurrences Both Forreign and Domestick"* doesn't quite fit the profile), and as such I always contended that the only people who really had freedom of the press were the ones who owned the presses.

That aside, newspapers have always been provided practically for free. The dime or quarter we pay for the paper is really just payment to the person who delivers it, and at that it's a pretty good deal.

The functions that generate the paper itself, the reporters and editors, printers, tree growers, get paid by the advertisers. I should say, "got" paid by the advertisers.

So, in essence, we got our newspapers for free, and as we all know, there is no such thing as a free lunch, the demise of the newspaper is the result of the migration of advertising to other media.

One could argue that the Internet, to which much of the advertising is migrating, will become the "press," and since it ultimately is farther reaching, we will have greater press freedom. Unfortunately, the professional staffs of the newspapers are being replaced by the citizen staff of the 'net.

Will a mass medium of this sort rise to the occasion, or will the "facts" that get reported on the Internet, and more importantly the ones that win approval and shape public doctrine, be chosen based on their merit or their appeal?

*So this is what one gets for looking things up: Wikipedia reference for Publick Occurrences Both Forreign and Domestick: (double colons? what a concept; triple if you count the html tag (or should I say "tagge"?)

That was the first "newspaper" published in the American Colonies, well, more or less, and if you follow enough of the links you will discover, which I am surprised I did not know, the fourth page of the paper was left blank for citizen-written articles. So, well, maybe the ideas of a Popular Press and a Free Press shouldn't be separated.