Archive for the ‘Childhood’ Category

Sauce for the Goose –

18 July 08

. . . seems to no longer be sauce for the gander. A couple of things have been in the news lately. The one you probably heard about was the dust-up between Whoopi Goldberg and Elizabeth Hasselbeck on The View. Of course, it is a totally dumb, totally liberal show and no rational person pays any attention to it. However, it is instructive to note that Mrs. Hasselbeck took issue with Jessie Jackson’s use of the word nigger. Her point is that if it is wrong for one person to use it – regardless of race – then it is also wrong for another person to use it – also regardless of race. Whoppi Goldberg told her that black people could use the word but that white people could not. Bull. The whole point of the Civil Rights movement was to secure equality for all citizens – which is really a Constitutional principle from the get-go. One set of rules for white and another for black was precisely what was being protested. Now we are told that blacks can say words that whites cannot? This is nonsense of the worst sort. This does nothing to foster better racial relations in this country. This does nothing to strengthen anyone. Let me point out that if the practitioners of this absurd viewpoint wish to keep pushing “whitey” that eventually there will be severe backlash. No matter what yardstick is used if the race-baiting is pushed into real conflict there is no way the black minority can win.

Incidentally, Whoopi used the Humpty-Dumpty defense for her stupid assertion.

…There’s glory for you!’

`I don’t know what you mean by “glory”,’ Alice said.

Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. `Of course you don’t — till I tell you. I meant “there’s a nice knock-down argument for you!”‘

`But “glory” doesn’t mean “a nice knock-down argument”,’ Alice objected.

`When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, `it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’

`The question is,’ said Alice, `whether you can make words mean so many different things.’

`The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, `which is to be master — that’s all.’

Alice was too much puzzled to say anything; so after a minute Humpty Dumpty began again. `They’ve a temper, some of them — particularly verbs: they’re the proudest — adjectives you can do anything with, but not verbs — however, I can manage the whole lot of them! Impenetrability! That’s what I say!’

`Would you tell me please,’ said Alice, `what that means?’

`Now you talk like a reasonable child,’ said Humpty Dumpty, looking very much pleased. `I meant by “impenetrability” that we’ve had enough of that subject, and it would be just as well if you’d mention what you mean to do next, as I suppose you don’t mean to stop here all the rest of your life.’

`That’s a great deal to make one word mean,’ Alice said in a thoughtful tone.

`When I make a word do a lot of work like that,’ said Humpty Dumpty, `I always pay it extra.’

`Oh!’ said Alice. She was too much puzzled to make any other remark.

`Ah, you should see ’em come round me of a Saturday night,’ Humpty Dumpty went on, wagging his head gravely from side to side, `for to get their wages, you know.’

(Alice didn’t venture to ask what he paid them with; and so you see I can’t tell you.)

Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass

In the real world, Humpty-Dumpty arguments are known to be logically fallible arguments where words are re-defined in opposition to their known and accepted meanings. Any truly rational (and reasonably educated) person can usually spot these phonies easily. Only the deliberately blind or ignorant are swayed by these stupid lies. Whoopi claims that blacks have adopted and redefined the word so that it is ok for black people to use it but not white. Anyone who buys this is stupid and or ignorant. Never mind political bias, either conservative or liberal. Behavior is either moral for all or moral for none.

The other example or rampant stupidity comes to us from the Brits. The National Children’s Bureau, which receives considerable British government funding, has issued a rather hefty set of guidelines for pre-school. Like 366 pages of bull, encouraging pre-school teachers and councilors to report children for racist tendencies and to “strongly encourage” them to give up their “racist attitudes”. Kinda reminds me of Nazi or Soviet thought police. Anyway, one of the real bad give-always for “racist tendencies” is that if the young kindergartener does not like being served spicy food, such as Indian, Pakistani, or some other highly spiced food. If said child even says “yuk” then the child has grave racist tendencies. The child must NOT react in any negative way to the “experience of other cultures”! One wonders if they will feed the Pakistani children ham sandwiches to see just how they will react. Highly spiced curry is not part of MY culture, but ham sandwiches are definitely a cherished part of my heritage. Do you think that they will use that test? I don’t. Racial insensitivity can ONLY be from white people. No one else is capable of racial insensitivity, bias, or bigotry.

Do you people not know hypocrisy when it bites you in the butt? Or are you merely concerned with making white western Europeans into a persecuted sub-class? I must firmly state that correct moral behavior applies equally to all people. There is no different set of rules for different race, religions, sexes, genders, or what have you. Anyone who thinks that different rules apply are exactly no different from any other bigot. The worst white racists are exactly the same as these bullshit black racists. The idiots who say that I am a racist because I don’t like Indian food are full of it. I don’t like the spicier Mexican, Thai, Indian, Korean, or whatever. I do like French, American, English, Japanese, Chinese (mandarin – not Szechwan), and many, many others. It has dead zero to do with racism and everything to do with my own taste buds. Period. And, as a by-the-way, I have considerable French blood. Escargot is part of MY racial heritage. If you will not eat escargot that makes you a racist and I AM OFFENDED! (Stupid – isn’t it)???!!! I am also an American Southerner – if you don’t eat the noble barbecue then you should be whipped for being such a nasty person – even if you don’t like it. What a ridiculous position. How ‘bout you eat what you like and I will eat what I like. There are people who like to eat shit. It is called Coprophagia. Are you a bigot if you do not share their tastes?

The thing to do is to see hypocrisy and bullshit for what it is and not tolerate it any longer. Golden rule applies to all. The Constitution (not to mention common sense) applies to all. When the white racists used the argument that black children learn differently from white children to justify separate (and mostly unequal) schools, it was morally reprehensible. And declared illegal. It is no less reprehensible when kooks like Jeremiah Wright use the same arguments to justify their bigoted positions. It is also still unconstitutional whether whites want to exclude blacks or vice-versa.

Equal rules for all or we descend into hell again. The stupid and the liberal (same difference) may buy this crap, but eventually the majority will react very negatively. Pendulums swing. We must stop this swing or the reverse oscillation will be even more powerful than it was in the past. No one of any intelligence or reasonable humanity wants that.

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Children Need to be Children –

3 May 08

I agree. But I part company with the majority of wishy-washy parents who use that phrase as an excuse to either ignore or spoil their children (or both).

The majority of people in this country seem to think that children should be engaged in perpetual play, preferably of the politically correct kind. Nonsense. The majority of history has the role of children helping with the daily work of the family from the time they can stand and walk. Children worked on the farm in rural areas and worked in the family business in urban areas. They bonded quite closely with the rest of the family, learned valuable life skills, and generally loved their parents and extended family fiercely. This is quite a contrast with the current crop of spoiled darlings that gets away from their families as fast as possible.

In order to correct the horrors of early industrialization and child sweat-shop labor we passed laws to prevent the exploitation of minors and to enable them to stay in school long enough to get a decent education. We swung the pendulum too far, as usual. Most of the kiddies now don’t have any reasonable chores to do around the house, and, even if they do (and they actually do them), they are usually solo without participation of the rest of the family. Most parents are content to let their little darlings sit in front of a TV or a computer soaking up porn (either of the mind or the body). Then later the kids are mall rats with nothing to keep them out of trouble. The parents would be better served by not sitting down after dinner to watch their own boob-tube, but rather to do meal cleanup and household chores as a family unit and then help/supervise with all the kiddies homework – every night. And to develop a hobby which would involve the whole family in something involving constructive activities, preferably with a learning curve involving useful skills that can be passed on to the kidlets.

The idea that life is constant play and that we have to be entertained every waking moment of the day does not produce rational, balanced, loving adults. It produces totally selfish, weak individuals who look for someone else to do the providing. It produces people who cannot successfully relate to others, resulting in failed marriages and damaged children. It results in people who cannot make and hold to the commitment required to be a successful and loving partner and parent. In short, look around at the products of this type of poor parenting. What you see is what you will get if you raise your children this way. Not a pretty picture, is it?

Pithy Comments –

10 April 08

Pacifists:

A pacifist is a coward. It depends on the individual whether it is physical cowardice or moral cowardice – or both. It is most certainly intellectual cowardice. The pacifist enjoys all the benefits of group membership without any of the responsibilities.

I find it of interest that the majority of the American pacifist groups are of the extremely aggressive terrorist mentality. “I will kill you if you do not give up your violent ways” seems to be the ideology that they espouse. I also find it of interest that they are willing to commit all kinds of indignities upon our people to keep us from defending ourselves. They do not seem willing to get in the way of those who attack us. If they were honest in their goals they would work to stop aggressors, not defenders. It is one thing to do their protesting where the force of law protects their lunatic behavior. It would be quite another thing to protest in the Middle East. Like I said – cowards.

The pacifists of the past used their cowardice to exempt themselves from the responsibilities and dangers of protecting themselves and their loved ones in time of danger. The current crop seems to not only dislike themselves – an excellent judgment – but they seem to hate this country enough to want no one to be able to protect himself or his family. Not only cowards but traitors as well. Know a leopard by his spots.

Morals:

We’ve lost any concept of morality. I’m not just talking about the lack of judgment in screwing anyone, anywhere, anytime, such that half the populous has HPV or some other form of venereal disease. I’m talking about any sense of personal integrity. People no longer seem to understand that lying diminishes their personal worth. They do not seem to base their lives on anything but expediency of the moment and the currently accepted ideas of the herd. Having warm, fuzzy concern for polar bears seems to be more important than forming a firm set of personal mores built on intense self-examination and careful thought. I’m not talking about kowtowing to Mrs. Grundy, but a careful evaluation and thoughtful formation of the standards guiding one’s conduct is a requisite for any rational human.

Politics:

Political positions should be formed after careful examination of the issues and people involved. If the people that line up with your particular prejudices seem to be good and moral people you are probably on the right track. It the people who align with your beliefs seem to be bums, criminals, adulterers, thieves and so forth, it might be a good idea to re-examine your position. You are judged by the company you keep.

Opinions:

Form opinions after careful examination of the facts. Not some nutcase group’s personal blowhard bogus information. Search out the facts. It is ok to take an expert’s evaluation in a field that you do not understand. But if it is a matter that you can comprehend with a little skull sweat, then you have the obligation to learn. Currently people argue from emotion and bias and tend to make up bogus facts and statistics to bolster their precious biases. Do not be swayed by emotional arguments. Get the facts. Be like Sgt. Friday – “Just the facts, ma’am, just the facts”.

Low self-esteem:

This is one of the biggest crocks there ever was. If you do not think much of yourself then it is not up to me to give you worth. It is up to you to become a functional and useful member of society. I can provide you with the opportunity to improve yourself, but I cannot do it for you. Don’t worry about how you feel about yourself, worry about developing some useful skills. Worry about treating others with courtesy and consideration. Worry about becoming useful. Others will recognize your worth. You will then have a decent opinion of yourself. Low self-esteem will not be part of your life. Liberals like to attack symptoms. Low self-esteem is a symptom. Don’t tackle the symptom. It may be that you are not worth much. Attack the cause. Become a worthwhile human. Cure the cause and the symptom will go away.

Respect:

I do not “give” you respect. You earn it. I acknowledge the respect that you have earned. This does not mean that you should feel free to affront the dignity of those who have not earned your respect.

Manners:

Manners are not an unnecessary phoniness. Manners are the little things that enable us to live together without unnecessarily causing anger and offense. Manners enable us to help make each other feel appreciated and good. This does not mean that we should be phony in our daily relationships. Not at all, but courtesy and consideration of others will go a long way toward making your daily life and the lives of those around you pleasant.

Life:

We cannot always control external events. We can control our reactions to those external events. 90% of how we are treated is determined by how we treat others. The golden rule is alive and well. It is a jim-dandy life rule whether you are a Christian or something else. If you are uncomfortable with a Christian concept then what goes around comes around or karma will do just about as well.

You have to respect other’s beliefs:

Nonsense. If someone chooses to believe that the earth is flat, the sun circles the earth, or the moon is made of green cheese it is crap. I don’t have to respect that. I will state that anyone is free to believe any preposterous crap that they like. But I don’t have to respect stupidity. Rosie may believe that the Twin Towers were brought down by our own government if she likes. But that is a really stupid position and I will say so. If someone wants to believe that the earth is supported on the back of a giant turtle, then that’s what they believe, but I don’t have to treat it with any degree of seriousness. I don’t have to ridicule it either. If someone is a Hindu with umpteen-eleven gods, fine. But don’t ask me to act as though that were some kind of truth. Neither will I denigrate them for that belief. Looks like we’ve got a couple of different cases here. There is reasonable religious belief, which, unless it is harmful, we must allow and not denigrate. If someone believes that anyone not of his faith will go to hell, fine. If the belief is that he should send anyone who does not share his faith to hell himself, there is a problem here. Then there are secular and/or political beliefs, which I feel totally comfortable ridiculing. Conspiracy theory, UFO nuts, or some of the wackier cults come to mind.

Environment:

You should keep your house clean. The same goes for the world that we live in. Responsible stewardship is good. This means sensible use of resources. Just as you should not throw your money down a cesspool so you should be frugal in the use of the earth’s resources. This means you should not trash the environment. Stewardship also means that it is perfectly fine to use the resources for our own reasonable uses. Contrary to some of the wilder-eyed nuts, the earth is not a goddess. The earth is our home and the home of future generations. We should use sensibly and pass it on to the next generations in good shape. A good steward passes things on in better shape than when he began.

Children:

Children are not miniature adults. They are incomplete adults. They require care, feeding, love, training, and discipline before they can become successful human beings. Discipline is just as important as any of the other factors. I’m not talking about beating a child. However, some children will require the occasional spanking. Some do not. You must carefully judge what each individual child needs at the time – and your responsibility is to provide what the child needs. Food, shelter, clothes, love, hugs, talking, spanking, medical, whatever. If you do not feed your child you are guilty of child abuse. If you beat your child you are guilty of child abuse. If you do not correctly (and dispassionately) discipline your child you are guilty of child abuse. That includes spanking where indicated and necessary. If you do not love and hug your child you are guilty of child abuse. If you do not impart a system of moral behavior to your child you are guilty of child abuse. If you do not teach your child how to function and earn a living you are guilty of child abuse. It is almost impossible to become a self-disciplined adult if discipline is not part of the growing and learning process.

I do favor spanking where needed. Discipline should be swift, dispassionate (don’t discipline when you are angry), and over quickly. The child’s mind does not work the same way as the adult. Prolonged punishment is not good. I’m always saddened when adults are afraid to discipline their children and let anger and resentment build up to a prolonged time. “You are grounded for a week” is crueler than a quick swat on the butt. A spanking will get the child’s attention, show the disapproval, and unless it is way too harsh, be over in a few minutes. At that time a loving hug can be beneficial. If you do elect to use spanking, be sure that when the discipline is over that the lectures and blame are over. If you are going to drag the emotional blackmail out then don’t use spanking, it is not fair to the child. You also cannot use spanking if there has been a significant period of time between the crime and the punishment. Spanking must be immediate to be of any use.

There are people who do not believe in spanking. That is also ok – if their children are disciplined in some other appropriate way. My observation is that the majority of those who do not believe in spanking raise self-centered, undisciplined brats. Not spanking should not be equated with not disciplining. Not spanking might well be considered child abuse in these circumstances.

Incidentally – giving the child what is needed is NOT giving what is wanted. Denying material junk may be what is best. It is not necessary for a child to have $150.00 shoes. It may, in fact, be quite detrimental to character development. Giving a kid a car on the 16th birthday may be the worst possible thing. Or it may be necessary. Personalities and circumstances determine the correct move at every turn. You gotta’ be smart to be a good parent. Smart and intelligent are not always the same thing. Sitting a kid in front of a TV or a computer may keep him quiet and be quite bad for him. Taking the time to have a family Monopoly game may be more beneficial. Reading to the kid may take some of your valuable time and energy. But it is worth it.

If you are not responsible enough to think all this through you should not procreate. If you are not willing to give the child anything needed – including your precious time and attention when the child needs it, not when it is convenient for you – then you should not procreate. If you cannot sacrifice 20+ years of your life to grow a successful human then you should not procreate. If you are not smart enough and tough enough to be your child’s parent, not his friend, then you should not procreate.

Exotics –

26 February 08

This is a lunch toasted open face sandwich of sorts that my mother used to make. I can remember them from back in the 1950’s. I have no idea where she learned these things or whether it was her own idea. I do know that they are very nice and tasty. I do know where the name came from. Sometime in the mid 1970’s I was having lunch with her several times a week and this was her go-to when she was tired or completely out of other ideas. She used to say “I guess we’ll have something exotic and unusual” and then do these. Therefore we started calling them exotics.

Skip forward to today and Herself and I still like these a lot. And we call them exotics in humorous tribute to my mother.

Bread (we like honey-wheat or pain de mie)
Cheese, cover the bread like cheese toast (cheddar, sliced about 1/8” or less)
Tomato, one good sized slice in the center
Bacon, 1 piece, divided into halves or thirds, centered on the tomato

We pre-cook our bacon about halfway (enough to render most of the grease), since Herself just cannot stand undercooked bacon.

Into the broiler until the cheese bubbles and the bread is crisp around the edges. Don’t worry if the bacon gets slightly charred. Adds to the flavor.

That’s all there is to it. Simple, satisfying, delicious.

Enjoy.

Herself Sez: I think this must be a Kentucky thing. My grandmother used to make them for me for lunch from time to time, too! Remember, my family was from the same area of Kentucky as your Mama’s family, m’dear. I don’t remember that we called them anything special, though.

Feminazis and Pigs – –

14 February 08

Feminists seem to think that males are no damn good, only suitable for siring children. Preferably female children. To be disposed of as soon as medically possible. (Very soon now). Then they should be castrated or shot or some such. If the unfortunate child is male, heaven help him. These gals just don’t like men. I don’t know whether or not most have even had trouble with men. Maybe they had bad relations with their fathers. Maybe not. Maybe they have been discriminated against by stupid men. Maybe not. Maybe they had bad experiences with men as young women. Maybe not. Isn’t it kind of stupid to hate half the human race? Wouldn’t it be better to work on figuring out why the hate is there? Is this hate any better than the hate of low whites for blacks? Is this any better than the hate of Moslems for the rest of the world? Ladies – hate is hate. It doesn’t matter how you justify it.

Lesbianism is a political statement for many feminazis. Now let’s not get into that business about born gay vs. choice. Both are true statements. Some are born that way. Check good current science. Some make the choice. Check the same science.

Male Chauvinist Pigs – A good description, actually. These guys are not gay, they just think that women are no damn good. Oh, they like sex with women – at least until their own orgasm. But they have no use for females other than as a sperm receptacle. And may even refer to women in this fashion. All they think that women are good for is keeping house, receiving sperm, and bearing children. Preferably male children. If the unfortunate child is female, heaven help her. Once the female has borne the children, she may or may not be kept around while the aforementioned MCP uses other women as sperm receptacles. These guys just don’t like women. Maybe they had lousy mothers. Maybe not. Maybe they had bad experiences with girls. Maybe not. Kind of stupid to hate half the human race, isn’t it? Why do these guys need to marry maids? Are they that desperate? Gents – you would be much happier and fuller people if you would work on getting rid of the hate and having better relationships.

Now, maybe I’m not very smart, but I don’t see a lot of difference between feminists and MCPs. Should we talk about Female Chauvinist Pigs? Should we use masculinists? Where is the difference here? Both groups hate the opposite sex. It is irrational in both cases.

Let us be logical here, people. Some of this may come from the horribly awkward business of going through adolescence. Boys are terribly awkward and extremely tender emotionally. They generally cover up fear and uncertainty with extremely boorish behavior. They can hurt adolescent girls horribly. And so many adolescent girls don’t intend harm and don’t realize the power they have over the poor, dumb boys whose brains have suddenly moved into their crotches. Fortunately, most boys come through ok.

Contrariwise – adolescent females are also emotionally fragile. They are changing and growing even more than the boys. New and unfamiliar hormones are driving them more that ever before. It is difficult to cope. The body aches and changes shape almost daily. The crude and boorish and sometimes cruel behavior of the boys doesn’t help. Fortunately, most girls survive ok.

The question is: What are we to do with those who are driven by hate? Now it is unfashionable to allow male pigs to put females down. While they can do it in private conversation without much fear of reprisal, acting like a male pig on the job will eventually get you crucified. None of the legal stuff helps the woman unfortunate or dumb enough to get into a relationship with one of these bastards, though. What to do about the female pigs? It is almost impossible to nail one for bad conduct on the job unless she is so egregious that you can get umpteen witnesses against her. You generally don’t have the private relationship problems with these gals because they won’t date men anyway. There doesn’t seem to be much of a level playing field here. Yet I maintain that the one is the same as the other.

I have probably enraged some feminazis by this writing. Feminazi is disrespectful. OK, so how is male pig respectful? Quid pro quo, ladies, quid pro quo.

Think on that a while.

Snow –

9 February 08

To a dyed-in-the-wool Southerner, snow is just another four-letter word.To some people, it is wondrous stuff. This would be mostly in climates where snow falls and it stays cold enough to keep the stuff as snow. These people who like this stuff usually do or depend upon winter sports types for economic gain.

Down here in the South, snow is a whole different critter. First off, we don’t have it enough to have a whole lot of heavy-duty road clearing equipment on hand. Secondly, we don’t usually get snow. We get a mixture of snow, sleet, rain – just makes a slushy goo that is neither pretty nor useful. We don’t have pretty fluffy stuff, we have a mixture that is pure treachery and usually just looks dirty.

About the most dangerous thing around here is a Yankee with a 4-wheel drive in an Atlanta ice storm. You can drive up I-400 and see them ploughed into the median about every half mile or so. See, Yanks are used to driving in snow. Even when we get snow, the temperature/humidity is usually just right to for ice on the roads. Now while you might be good at driving on snow, nobody is good at driving on ice. And the real capper is that we get black ice – a lot. Black ice is just about impossible to see. You just drive along happily on a fairly normal road until you hit black ice. Then you are toast with zero traction. Not a good thing at all. Chains would help on ice, of course, but we have such patchy roads with large clear spots between ice patches that chains just tear up your tires on our roads.

Of course, for a kid, even Southern snow is a goodness. We shut down the schools when snow hits. There is good reason for this. As I said, we cannot drive safely. Southern kids do all the normal snow stuff, or at least we did when I was a kid. Snowball fights. Snow angels. Snowmen. And the ubiquitous snow ice cream – with the attendant joke – don’t eat the yellow snow.

Snow ice cream is easy to make. My mother came from Kentucky and knew about such things. Get a bowl full of very clean, fluffy snow. Sprinkle sugar over it. Add vanilla extract. Mix in a bit of milk or cream and stir it all up. Eat it with a spoon. There’s nothing else in the world quite like it.

{{Herself Sez}}: My grandmother was from KY also, and my mother was born there, although she was raised in MS. We used to subscribe to Mathis Dairy (as did the Ol’ Curmudgeon’s folks) for our milk. Now, milk was not homogenized back then, so the cream rose to the top – hence the moniker: “cream-line” milk. My little grandmother would spoon some of that heavy top cream into the bowl with the snow along with some sugar.

Now-a-days, snow ice-cream just doesn’t taste “right.” Not just because my taste buds have grown older, but because the cream isn’t “right.” The heavy whipping cream has been “ultra-pasturized” so it will last nearly forever, but it is tasteless. Last time I was able to obtain raw milk, I realized that good taste was the same taste I remembered from childhood! So our attempts to be “safe” from food-borne illnesses has led to decreased flavor in the basic foods we eat. So we flavor them more with salt. More than we need, most of the time. Now, back to Himself:

As an adult I have lost the enjoyment of snow. It is mostly a pain in the butt that makes the roads treacherous and makes it impossible to get work done. But occasionally I can remember the delights of snow in the eyes of a child.

Crabs and stock cars –

7 February 08

Back in 1950s my father worked at the General Motors plant in Doraville, GA. It was called the BOP – Buick, Oldsmobile, and Pontiac were made there. My mother taught math at GA State University. It was convenient for them (and us kids) that the break between Summer and Fall quarters, the vacation my father could take, and the kids’ school break all lined up throughout the 50s. We would take off for vacation at that time every year. For a while we alternated between my mother’s sister in Mobile, Alabama and my godmother in Orlando, Florida. The trip was not too bad for the kids. My parents were pretty smart. We had a 1954 Chevrolet two door sedan, green with a white top. Other cars before that, but that is the one I remember best. I think it was the only new car my father ever bought. He got it at the GM employee discount. They would very carefully pack the back between the front seat and the back seat with suitcases, level with the back seat. Then padding, blankets and sheets would soften the platform. They kept my sister and me awake until it was time to leave. We would leave about midnight, and we kids would drop off almost immediately. The parents would drive through the night, alternating as necessary. You must remember, this was before the expressway system was built. It was all two-lane highways, maybe four-lane on occasion. You had to be very careful about speed traps near the smaller GA and AL towns. This I found out the hard way as a teen. 45 was 3 times the speed limit in some places. The kids would wake around eight or so, and we would arrive within a few hours. Less stress on parents and kids. I still get sleepy in a car if I’m not driving.

Herself Sez: He gets carsick, is what he gets. If he isn’t going to drive, I have to feed him Dramamine!

My aunt and uncle lived in a suburb of Mobile with the Indian name of Chickasaw, after the local tribe, Chickasha. Chickasaw is just about due north of Mobile, about 5 to 10 miles and was originally settled during the French period. We could always tell when we were getting close. There was a paper plant on the edge of town. Scott paper, I think. The inhabitants couldn’t smell it, which is typical of those who get used to a mill nearby.

My aunt’s husband was a Georgia Tech engineer who worked for a Mississippi barge company that freighted stuff from the headwaters in Minnesota down to the Gulf of Mexico. Other rivers connected the Mississippi to most of the Northern industrial states. I’m not sure exactly what his function was, probably something to do with load calculation or some such. I don’t think that my aunt worked. There were two cousins of the male persuasion, a year and 3 years older than I. The arrangement of houses was somewhat different, I don’t know if this was just in this neighborhood, or throughout Chickasaw. Anyway, the houses were completely reversed from the norm that we see here, houses face the street, back faces back. In that neighborhood, the houses faced each other, with a sidewalk running between front yards, and the back faced the streets. We would drive down to Mobile Bay, walk out on the piers and drop fishing lines and crab baskets into the Bay. The crabs were so easy to cook. Just put them in a pot of salted boiling water until they turn color. It’s probably easiest to just buy a commercial crab boil at the grocery, but if you want to roll your own, vary, add, subtract from the following base:

1/4 cup fennel seed
2 tablespoons black peppercorns
2 tablespoons coriander seed
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 cup kosher salt

Mix up the spices thoroughly and wrap it in cheesecloth. This is called a garni bag if you like the French version. Anyway, just plop the crabs in, preferably still alive, after the water comes to a rolling boil. It only takes 3-4 minutes. When they turn color pull them out, crack the shells and dig out the meat. Good drawn butter is the best. To draw butter just put a few sticks in a small saucepan, boil it gently until all the milk solids separate out. Ladle out the clarified butter into heated dipping tubs. Good stuff. Don’t forget the claws, that’s some of the best meat. BTW – you don’t get much meat out of a crab, most of it at the leg to body joints. Don’t try to eat the lungs, the largish white things on the sides.

If you wind up with fish and maybe mussels or clams you can do a fish stew. Just boil the crabs or shrimp lightly, and shuck them, fillet the fish and cut it up in chunks. Sauté some garlic and onions in olive oil in a heavy dutch oven. Add:

a quart of water
1 cup wine
4 chopped tomatoes
4 chopped potatoes
fistful of chopped fresh parsley
spices to suit:

You can try a pinch of cloves
pinch of cinnamon
1/2 tsp marjoram
1/2 tsp tarragon
about 10 to 20 grinds of fresh black pepper
add sweet red pepper flakes if you like.

Simmer all the ingredients for about an hour. Add any fish, the more variety, the better, and the shellfish. If you have clams or mussels, wait a couple of minutes before you add them. You don’t want to overcook. You want the fish to be done when the clams or mussels open. It takes in the neighborhood of 10 minutes for the fish. It takes about 5 minutes for clams. Add salt and pepper to taste. Easy on the salt until the end. If your shellfish are salt water, the liquor may add some salt as it mixes. Anyway, simmer for about 10 minutes or until the fish looks white and done and the clams are open. I like a good, strong garlic bread with this.

Garlic bread? Most people get a French loaf and bake it, slice it , and then try to run garlic butter down into the slices. There’s an easier way to get better bread: Smash several garlic cloves on your cutting board with the flat of the knife. Pull off any skin. Rough chop the garlic. Sauté it in a skillet with a good bit of butter, olive oil, or both. When the garlic gets soft start sautéing slices of a good rough bread until it is a light, golden brown on both sides. Add olive oil or butter and garlic as necessary so that each slice get a good coating. Greasy is better than dry. Now serve all this up with some fresh parsley garnish. I like some grated parmigiano reggiano (parmisean cheese) over the stew. Don’t use the canned crap. Get a small block of good, fresh cheese and a micro planer and do your own. Your taste buds will appreciate. Now you can fiddle with this to your every whim. Use beer instead of wine. Add any veggies that seem good. Different species of fish, different spicing. Do your own thing. There are no hard and fast rules, just enjoy.

Another activity that the men folk liked was the stock car races, this was in the early days of NASCAR, and stock car racing was just getting popular as an underground movement. NASCAR is really big business now. Enjoyed by millions, both men and women. Sometimes I think the women like it because the horribly loud noise and vibration, including subsonic, rattles their ovaries. I think the men like it because it rattles the women’s ovaries. I don’t like it because it hurts my ears. I may have worked in heavy chiller and boiler plants for too many years. Heavy bass hurts.

Another reason I just don’t care for it is that somewhere around 1955 we were watching the cars go around and around the oval when there was a truly horrible crash. One driver was killed, I think his name was Lamar Crabtree. Several others were injured. I just can’t watch a race and not get saddened by that man’s death. For those who do follow the races, I believe I remember that he was No. 3, same as Earnhardt. Anyway, I did drag race a bit when I was a teen – didn’t we all back then? But – I just cannot watch oval racing to this day. It was good to be a kid in the 50s.

Herself Sez: I can’t find a reference to a multi-car crash on a track in AL in 1955 or so. Searching for Lamar Crabtree I found one guy who drove at that time – and he died in 2003! Maybe it was a different Lamar Crabtree? I do try to keep Himself accurate in stuff like this. 🙂

The American Public Education Theme Song –

5 February 08

There was a song performed by Sam Cooke popular in late 1950s, early 1960s entitled Wonderful World. It was written by Sam Cooke, Lou Adler and Herb Alpert and was a rather catchy little song.If was on Sam Cooke’s debut album in 1958 and released as a single in 1960. The lyrics are a list of all the things that the guy does not know:

Don’t know much about history
Don’t know much biology
Don’t know much about a science book
Don’t know much about the French I took

Don’t know much about geography
Don’t know much trigonometry
Don’t know much about algebra
Don’t know what a slide rule is for

The conclusion to each verse is:

But I do know that I love you
And I know that if you love me too
What a wonderful world this would be

What does this have to do with the government schools? Well, in our society children are no longer taught anything of value, including proper behavior. They are not taught any hard, factual subjects, as witness the abysmal test scores. They are taught feel-good, social agenda crap that has no bearing on real life. The only purpose for this pap is to raise another generation of government dependant idiots. Please note that most of the top politicians and their children do go to decent schools. Schools of privilege and wealth. Private, non-government schools. Check the number of Harvard, Yale, or equivalent grads in the upper levels of government. Do realize that the normal public school grad cannot even begin to qualify for entrance into these schools.

The conclusion of each verse is equally relevant. The only thing that children are taught in this hyper-sexualized society is that if your crotch itches, you are in love and must scratch that itch. And it is socially acceptable to scratch your crotch itch with whatever will satisfy it. Man, woman, child, animal, old, young or whatever. Restraint is not in the vocabulary. Particularly self-restraint. Heaven forbid we should restrain sexual predators. Decent behavior is not in the vocabulary.

Yeah, this theme song is an oldie but goodie that is still relevant today.

Huh? –

29 September 07

I was raised an Episcopalian. In the South, in the 50’s, the Episcopalians were the movers and shakers and the intellectual elite. The Methodists had overcome their Holy-Roller past and had become solidly middle class. The personal magnetism and powerful oratory of Peter Marshall had put the Presbyterians on the map in the South. The Baptists were mostly lower class, but were moving up fast. The rest belonged to this, that or the other smaller protestant groups that I couldn’t tell apart. Back then, them that didn’t believe slept late, but didn’t mention it otherwise. Roman Catholics and Jews kept a very low profile. The Klan was still around.

In the Episcopal Church, the Book of Common Prayer of 1928 was used. The services were calm, dignified, rational and comfortable rituals. The sermons were somewhat warm, fuzzy and gentle exhortations to live the Christian Life. Usually not spelled out in detail. Sermons were also mercifully short.

I never really understood some of the thinking of the protestants. I used to go to church with my best friend, whose family belonged to one of those “sola scriptura” fundamentalist sects. I spent most of the service wondering what on earth the preacher was doing, other than trying to get more money in the plate. This was perhaps not entirely fair, but I didn’t have any background that would enable much deeper understanding.

They had the choir singing, usually pretty decent stuff. I rather like some of the more spirited protestant hymns to this day. And I really do like gospel music – both black and white – but that’s another story.

After the choir, they had this, that and the other prayers and announcements, but the main course was absolutely the sermon. Now, this preacher would really get all kinds of wound up. He would whoop and holler and jump up and down and grab the pulpit and duck down beside it and then jump up and pound on the bible. And sometimes I could follow him. Usually it seemed he was yapping about what would send you to everlasting hellfire. I seem to remember him as being somewhat fond of describing the torments. But – to be fair – this is 50 years later and is a bit fuzzy here and there. When he got exhausted/wound down – seemed to take about the same time every Sunday – then the choir would sing to the chink of money hitting the plate – mostly he liked the “quiet” money. Then another prayer and the choir would sing it closed.

One thing that I am quite sure of is that he would race around to the front doors at the end of the service so he could shake everyone’s hand as they left. I became convinced that this was a necessary part of the ritual. I clearly remember that at least every other person would shake the preacher’s hand enthusiastically and declaim “That was a real sincere sermon, preacher. Real sincere!” That to me has always been the most puzzling feature of all. Why is sincere so great?

Adolf was quite sincere in his hatred of the Jews. The Klan is sincere in its hatred of blacks. Farrakhan is sincere in his hatred of whites. Osama sincerely hates America. Satan is extremely sincere in his hatred of humanity.

Hatred is one the most honest and sincere of all human emotions. It is not, however, a Christian virtue. When we are infected we must pray and fast and strive to eliminate it from our souls, no matter how sincerely we hate.

So, why is sincere a Christian complement? Huh?

Old-fashioned drugstore soda –

9 September 07

They don’t have drugstore soda fountains anymore. At least, not around here. There’s all kinds of snazzy designer ice-cream stores around, though, with flavors God never heard of. I like the old, original type.

In downtown Atlanta there was a large drugstore right across from the W.W. Orr building. The Orr building was also called the Doctor’s building. It was built in the 1930s in an art deco style. There were panels around the base with relief castings (they weren’t really carved) showing the various aspects of the medical profession. I don’t remember the name of the drugstore, but it was also art deco. It had a huge soda fountain and the soda jerks could work magic right in front of your eyes. They could make floats that would give you a cholesterol attack just by looking at them. When they made a milkshake, they really shook it. Shaken, not stirred (or whipped). But, as far as I was concerned, the soda was the king of all.

Later, when my first wife and I lived in the North Atlanta section known as Brookhaven, the last real drugstore fountain in the Atlanta area was down the street. Unfortunately, a huge road project went through about 3 months later, so I didn’t get to enjoy it long. Ah yes, progress. Anyway, the only one there who knew what to do with the big old fountain was a little, dried up old woman about 75 or so, who had been working at that fountain since the forties. She wasn’t fancy in her movements like the soda jerks I remembered. Maybe she had been when she was younger. But she had an economy of movement that was nice to watch, and the end result was just as good as I had remembered.

You need a few things to really make an old fashioned soda, but you can compromise if you want.

First you need a gasogene. What! You didn’t read your Sherlock Holmes? Well, I never. Americans call a gasogene a soda siphon. There were two ways of making soda water. The old traditional calls for dissolving yeast in some 100° water, with a bit of sugar to let it eat and bloom. It is put into a pressurized container with a valve to release the water under pressure. The yeast makes CO2 as it grows, you see. The next way is to look up a soda siphon on the internet and get one (and extra chargers). This is usually a metal pressure bottle that will be filled to a predetermined level with good water. If you don’t have good water then filter it. If there’s any chlorine smell, let it stand awhile. Then you put the cap/valve assembly on. Then you pressurize it with a CO2 charger. These are the little metal bottles that were popular in the late 50s/early 60s for propelling rockets and other things. They were also used in CO2 pellet guns, I think. Shake it well. Now you have a metal container that has water with CO2 mixed in under pressure. This will benefit from being kept in the refrigerator between uses. (Makes great Scotch and Soda!). You can also use bottle soda water from the grocery, but I have noticed that it does not keep fizz and flavor for more than a minute or two.

Next you are going to have to decide whether to go whole hog or cheat on the whipped cream. There are a couple of ways to make it. If you have a whisk attachment for your mixer that will do. Chill your mixing bowl. Take chilled heavy cream and whip the daylights out of it while adding powdered sugar to taste. Start about ¼ cup sugar to ½ pint cream. Adjust later batches to taste. You can do this with a hand whisk if you are a masochist or need good arm exercise. Whip until it makes nice peaks. You can put the whipped cream into a plastic bag with a small corner clipped off and make a simple pattern. You can screw different nozzles on and squeeze out snazzy patterns. The nozzles can be gotten at any confectioner’s of baker’s supplier. Seal it off inside another bag and store in the refrigerator until the next use. You can also buy cream whippers on the internet. These are kind of like the gasogene, but with cream and sugar instead of water. They use N2O chargers, not CO2. Same size, so don’t get them confused. The main advantage is that these come with snazzy nozzles and make it easy to squirt nice patterns. Last method: cheat. Buy Reddi-Whip or something similar. Just be aware that this is not whipped and not cream. I listed these in order of ease. From pain-in-butt to easy. I also listed them in order of flavor. Sooper-Dooper-Fantastic to pretty good. Notice the inverse relationship so common in life and cooking.

Also it helps to have soda glasses. You can get them at the grocery. A long-handled iced-tea spoon is also handy.

Put a tablespoon or two of chocolate syrup in the bottom of the glass.

Add an equal amount of soda water.

Stir the daylights out of it to thoroughly liquefy the syrup

Add enough French Vanilla ice cream to get about an inch from the top, use fully rounded scoops and don’t pack it down. We want plenty of room for liquid.

Add some more chocolate syrup over the top.

Fill it up to about ½” below the rim with soda.

Add whipped cream in a nice sloping or rounded shape to fill it up.

Fit a cherry on top.

Now everything is optional here. Try a scoop of chocolate ice cream for the bottom. Use caramel syrup and Dolce la Leche ice cream. Add a small amount of good liquid vanilla – easy there, straight vanilla tastes terrible. Smells good though. Add some chopped nuts. Add some chopped fudge. Let you imagination run wild.

Enjoy!


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