Wednesday, February 05, 2014
The Snow & The South
Snowpocalypse.  Snowtastrophe.  Snow-anu Reeves.  Whatever you want to call it, the latest winter disaster has come and gone.  And while we only got a few flakes here in Boneville, parts south and east of here were left paralyzed beneath two inches of snow and ice.

Personally, I prefer to call it Snownado, if only because I would hope to get Ian Ziering to star in the documentary.  In fact, I would like to copyright "snownado" at this time, as much as it is possible to copyright a thing by writing it in a blog.

Some have even chosen to use the occasion to poke fun at the South.  Oh sure, first we lose the Civil War, allegedly, and now this.  That's piling on a bit, don't you think?

I wonder if any of these union sympathizers are aware that a human being can drown in less than two inches of water.  And we all know where snow comes from, right?  Hang on, let me Wikipedia this....  Ah, just as I thought: frozen water! 

To understand snow in the South, you must first understand that actual snow and the possibility of snow are two very different things.

The possibility of snow is the more common occurrence.  Far more common.

Several times per winter -- I'd guesstimate twelve to fifteen -- our trusty local weathermen will call for a chance of snow.  This despite the fact we only get one or two measurable snows in a good year.  Is trusty the right word?

This forecast of snow sets in motion a semi-chaotic, yet selfsame response akin to kicking an ant hill, wherein thousands of people flock to their local supermarket to purchase two items:

Milk.

And bread.

For reasons I've yet to fully understand, this seems to be the number one key to surviving a Snowmageddon in the South.  Salt trucks, portable heaters, generators -- those things are nice.  But you first must have your milk and your bread or you will find yourself in an unspeakable state of... something... terrible.  I guess.

And if it's supposed to snow on Friday, don't wait until Thursday night to try and purchase your milk and your bread.  For then, my friend, you will have found yourself a real life character in one of Aesop's fabled... well, fables.

You will be the grasshopper, left with no bread and a pint of half and half, if you're lucky.  While the rest of the ants who prepared for the winter (storm) will be drinking their gallons of 1% and eating Sunbeam for days! 

Now once the possibility of snow is put forth by those prognosticators of nature, as you might guess that becomes the main topic of conversation anywhere you go.  "Do you think it's gonna snow?"  "Are y'all ready for the snow?"  "Man, I hope it snows!"  And of course, "Have you got your milk and bread yet?"

Another occurrence that has become popular in recent years is delaying or canceling schools at the mere mention of snow.  A few weeks ago, several school systems announced on Friday that they would be delaying school by two hours on Monday morning because there was a chance of snow on Sunday.  Which for some reason just makes me want to tell someone I'd gladly pay them Tuesday for a hamburger today.

I think just maybe we're paying a little too much credence to these extended forecasts.  As my friend (as I'm sure he would be if we had ever met) and Super Bowl commercial star Jerry Seinfeld once said, "If the five-day forecast were accurate, we'd only need to watch the weather every five days."

Now let's talk about that rare and wonderful phenomenon known as actual snow, as it pertains to the Deep South.

Actual snow dominates the conversation even more than the possibility of snow.  "It's snowing!!!"  "Is it snowing there yet?"  "Have ya'll been out to play in it?"  And of course, "Thank goodness I got my milk and bread yesterday."

If there is snow on the roads, even as much as a quarter of an inch, businesses close, schools close for days!  No one goes anywhere.  Quite simply, everything shuts down.  And we're fine with that.

We don't have some Joe Road Grader coming by every ten minutes to clear our roads.  You wanna know what we use to clear our roads if it snows?  Only a little ball of burning gases known as the sun.  Perhaps you've heard of it.

So without trivial things such as work, school, or driving to contend with, we are free to enjoy the snow as I believe it was intended:  As the central ingredient of snow cream.  That's basically some parts snow, some parts milk, some parts sugar, and a touch of vanilla.  Good thing we bought that milk.

We make snowmen, and snow angels. We go sledding, even though we have little to no sledding experience.  This sometimes leads to injuries and trips to the ER.  And we're fine with that.

But we don't drive.

That's what made last week's snownado aftermath so perplexing at first.  And yet, once I really thought about it, it made perfect sense.

We were driving.  ("We" meaning Southerners.)  It started snowing.  So we stopped our cars in the middle of the interstate, said "Eff this crap," and waited for somebody on an ATV to come and get us.  Fortunately, based on some raw data I accumulated by driving down a back road the other day and looking in people's yards, like 87% of Southerners own an ATV.

I did see on Twitter one of the Birmingham weathermen was apologizing for badly botching the forecast last week. That might help explain why so many were on the roads as if there were no possibility of snow whatsoever.

Naturally, there is another chance of snow in our forecast for this weekend.  Thereupon, I am reminded of one of Aesop's lesser known tales: 

The weatherman who cried wolf.

"April, all an ocean away / Is this the better way to spend the day / Keeping the winter at bay..."

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Monday, January 27, 2014
Music Monday: Whatever happened to Nelly
Thoughts and ruminations while watching the Grammys last night...

There's nothing like watching a few minutes of the Grammys (or listening to Top 40 radio) to make one realize just how out of touch one is with popular music.

What happened to Nelly?  I feel like the last time I was anywhere near knowing what was going on in hip hop Nelly was involved.

I've discovered something about myself while listening to Metallica:  I really prefer songs with words I can understand. 

On that note, I miss Adele.

I have developed an unhealthy disdain for Neil Patrick Harris, ever since he began dating Robin and How I Met Your Mother went down the toilet.  I'm sorry that was crass.  Allow me to rephrase: down the crapper.

You know what would be really cool?  If those robots turned out to be Milli Vanilli.

I wonder if the Grammys will bring back Nickelback in 2024 and let all the current artists say how inspired they were by them.  Yeah, probably not.

And introducing a brand new feature I like to call "Overheard in my living room while watching the Grammys." Or as it is less commonly known, IYROOBTY presents OIMLRWWTG:

"Good grief, what is with all the Band Perry ads during the Grammys?"
"Uh, that's Shakira."
#OIMLRWWTG

There.  Now you've gotten to experience what it's like to watch the Grammys with Bone.  And this way we didn't even have to have one of those awkward moments where we're sitting on the couch together and our hands touch and we wonder if we should just leave them there and see where it leads, or move them and never speak of it again.

Thank God.

Well, it's a Music Monday, on a Monday no less!  I feel safe in saying you'll never see this song on the Grammys.  And to date, I can't say I've ever actually heard it on the radio.  Boy, I really should be in promotions or marketing or something.

Over the past several years, I've gradually lost interest in much of what gets played on mainstream country radio.  Thankfully, there are still "country" options out there, you just have a dig a little.

I was introduced to the Randy Rogers Band 3 or 4 years ago.  According to Wikipedia, they are classified as "Texas Country," which to me sounds a lot like what used to be simply called country.

They are coming to Marathon Music Works in Nashville next month, and I'm hoping to go.  (After all, I do have a birthday coming up.)  This is my favorite song of theirs, and it always seems to come to mind when the weather turns cold.



"I'm just not same / I walk down these streets / I swear I hear your name / But it's just in my head / Wish you were in my arms instead..."

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Sunday, January 12, 2014
Rochester Woman Announces Retirement from Candy Crush
(This is the third article from/for my yet-to-be-established website, FakeOnion.com.)

Citing a fractured family life, general malaise, and the fact she doesn't even know the name of The Bachelor this season, Rochester's Anita Lyfe announced her retirement from the popular Facebook game, Candy Crush Saga, on Tuesday.

According to one co-worker, Lyfe had just completed level 417 when she put down her iPhone and said simply, "No mas."

When reached for comment, Lyfe deadpanned, "There's only so much jelly one person can clear." 

Asked later what she planned to do with the ten to twelve hours per day she spent playing Candy Crush Saga, the mother of two said she didn't really have any plans.  "I haven't thought that far ahead, to be honest.  Obviously, I need to catch up on The Bachelor.  And I guess I could try talking to uh, what's his name, my husband.  Or finding out what's going on with my kids in school."

When informed her oldest child had graduated from school last year, Lyfe appeared confused, as if she didn't quite understand the words that were being spoken.  And if only for that instant, some say she became an almost sympathetic figure.

As for a possible comeback, Lyfe didn't completely rule out the notion, saying only, "I mean, you never say never.  But right now, I don't care if I ever see another green Chiclet thingy, grape hexagon, or blue ball in my life!"

Lyfe also revealed she thinks she may have the beginning stages of carpal tunnel syndrome.  "Best I can tell from the WebMD symptom checker, it's either that, shingles, or osteomyelitis, whatever THAT is.  So I'm going with carpal tunnel."

The money they will save from in-app purchases will more than pay for her carpal tunnel treatment, according to Anita's husband, F. M. Lyfe.

"Sugar, ah, honey honey / You are my candy girl / And you got me wanting you..."

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Saturday, December 21, 2013
Death, taxes, and Santa Claus
I love Christmas music.

Silent Night.  Last Christmas.  Trans-Siberian Orchestra.  Walkin' 'Round in Women's Underwear.  You name it, I'm all about it.  (Wait, what?)

But there is one Christmas song that absolutely terrified me as a child, one yuletide tale of doom that kept me up nights, and to be honest, still makes me a little uncomfortable today.

The creepy carol I'm speaking of: Santa Claus is Coming to Town.

Maybe it's because when I was a kid, getting a bag of switches underneath the tree always seemed like a very real possibility to me.  That was the supposed consequence if you were deemed to have been naughty during the year.  And I was always quite confident I had NOT been nice.

(Yes, I'm aware many children were threatened with a lump of coal.  I would have given anything for a lump of coal instead!)

Today, let's examine just a few of the lyrics from this longtime holiday standard.  I think you'll see it's not all rooty-toot-toots and rummy-tum-tums.

You better watch out
You better not cry
You better not pout 


What?!?!  I'm EIGHT.  I'm probably never gonna be a Congressman.  When else am I supposed to pout?

I'm telling you why
Santa Claus is coming to town

It's so definite.  So final.  There's no chance he won't come.  All you can do is hope you survive it.

He's making a list
Checking it twice


See, if he only checked it once, maybe I could slide by.  This was the reasoning of my eight-year-old brain.  But he's checking it twice???  There's no way I make it.

He sees you when you're sleeping
He knows when you're awake

Um, in our neighborhood, we called that a Peeping Tom.  And he lived across the street and two houses down and all us kids were forbidden to go in his yard.  But seriously, a little stalkerish, Santa.

He knows if you've been bad or good 

Who is this guy?  God?!?!  What chance did I have?

So basically,  Santa Claus coming to town was like having judgment day every single year.  At a time in my life when I should have been dreaming of Larry Bird, the Dukes of Hazzard, and Smurfette, I was instead having cold sweats about a brown paper bag full of switches.  (I'm not sure why, but when I pictured them they were always in a brown paper bag, never anything nice like a book satchel or burlap sack.)

I would try to sleep, I would!  Close my eyes and pretend to sleep, but the words kept haunting me... He knows when you're awake.  Eventually, it all just got to be too much and I would get out of bed and run into the den in my Dallas Cowboy pajamas and tearfully confess all my sins to mom and dad.

"I'M the one who broke the window!  I'M the one who took the clothes off all the Barbie dolls!  And I'M the one who put the neighbor girl in the washing machine!"  (What?  I'm sure all of us have locked a child inside a large household appliance at some point in our lives.)

There was just so much pressure.  It's a wonder I didn't take up smoking.

Of course, there were toys under the tree again that year instead of switches.  And I would think to myself, "Wow, Santa must have made some mistake."

But somehow, I managed to squeak by every year.

And somehow, I still do.

"In the office there's a guy named Melvin / He'll pretend that I am Murphy Brown..."

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Monday, December 16, 2013
Man discovers innovative new way to improve life, career, relationships
(This is my second post for FakeOnion.com, a website that exists only in my mind.)

Harry Pitts has lived much of his life like most people -- giving effort only when it is absolutely required, and not really caring all that much otherwise.

But recently, Harry discovered what he says could be the secret to life -- trying.

"I've found that by actually trying, you can often do amazing things."

Pitts, 47, said the discovery hit him like a ton of bricks.

"I was home alone one day, and the heat didn't seem to be working.  So I was going to check the furnace, but dad has like a ton of bricks stacked in the basement, so I couldn't get to it.  Normally, I would have just waited for him or mom to get home, but I was cold.  So I told myself, I can move these bricks.  And golly gee, one by one, I did!"

Did he fix the heater?

"Well, no.  I'm not even sure that was the furnace I was looking at, but that's beside the point."

Though no scientific proof exists, Pitts claims his groundbreaking idea works in virtually all phases of life.

"Weight loss, career, you name it.  Even relationships.  Heck, I have a girlfriend for the first time in twelve years, all because I decided to walk up to a girl and ask her out."

Sound too good to be true?  Well, it just may be.

"There is but one downfall to my program.  Trying, as it turns out, takes quite a lot of effort.  So it may not be for everyone.  For example, now my girlfriend wants me to buy her gifts for certain occasions, and like, think of things for us to do all on my own!  She even suggested I move out of my parents' house.  I was like, 'Whoa, let's not get crazy here.  Don't you think we're moving a little too fast?'"

While it remains to be seen if trying is sustainable, brief spurts of effort do seem to help a little.  Keep in mind the sample size is very small, and trying may lead to other unwanted and unforeseen consequences, such as added responsibility and worst of all, expectations.

So for now, try at your own risk.

"I turned my microwave on and I cooked my chicken ravioli / The last ten years of my life I've been feeling kind of lonely..."

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Sunday, December 08, 2013
And they shall call his name...
I figure one of the most important decisions I will ever make is what to name my kids.

Right now, my life is all Frosted Flakes or Apple Jacks, NCIS reruns or Golf Channel, and take out the trash or see just how much more I can stack on top of the can without it falling.  (FYI, my record is 2 ft. 4 inches above the rim, wall-aided.)

But someday that will, in theory, change.  My decisions will begin to mean more, have more lasting consequences.  And I gotta tell ya, that freaks me out a little.

I'm pretty sure they hand out manuals at the hospital that give you tips on how to raise your kids.  But no one tells you how to name your kids.  

Oh sure, there's the Big Book of 60,000 Baby Names, but that's got like a thousand names.  Who among us can choose just one?  I have enough trouble trying to decide what kind of cereal to have.

So today I am relieved to be able to say I have made this important decision.  I have picked out names for my kids.  And I will reveal those to you now, with the understanding that you agree to sign a non-compete agreement at the end of this post stating that you will not steal my names.

If it is a boy, they shall call his name.... Luke.

Pros: It's Biblical.  It's one of the Dukes of Hazzard.  Also, easy to spell if he's not very studious.  And for every day of his life, I can (and will) say in a Darth Vader voice, "Luke.... I am your father."

Cons: There are no cons.

OK, I have to admit I stole that idea from Facebook.  But my girl name I came up with all by myself, as I'm sure you will have no trouble believing.

If it is a girl, they shall call her name.... Adrian.

Pros: About once a week when I'm letting her out at school, I'll purposely hide her lunch or a book or something, so that she "forgets" it.  Then just as she's almost to the door, in the midst of all her peers, I'll roll down the window and yell in my best Sylvester Stallone voice, "Yo, Adriaaaaaaaan!!!!!  You forgot your protractor."

Talk about years and years of fun.

Cons: Again, there are no cons.  For me, anyway.

I'm so thankful to have this major life decision behind me.  Now all I have to do is get their mother to go along with this.

But today, that seed has been planted.

Actually, that's probably a poor choice of words.

"Some gal would giggle and I'd get red / And some guy'd laugh and I'd bust his head / I tell you, life ain't easy for a boy named Sue..."

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Tuesday, December 03, 2013
The real meaning of NoShavember
Thirty days had NoShavember.  I made it through eleven.  It just got too itchy. (That's what she said?)

There shall be no pictures because, well, that would only serve to embarrass myself, as well as possibly some of my family.  Also, I did not take any.  That's a lie.  I took a couple, but the hair wasn't showing up to my satisfaction, so I deleted them.  Must've been bad lighting.

However, the entire experience has given me a new-found respect for the guys in ZZ Top, Duck Dynasty, and my uncle Carl.

I saw that many of the people participating in NoShavember were doing so to raise awareness for some charity or cause.  This sounded like an excellent idea.  So I dedicated my NoShavember to raising awareness of my own laziness, which was, ironically, the main reason I was even participating in the first place!

But it wasn't the only reason.

Once in a while a guy just needs to grow some hair on his face.  Amiright, guys?  Just to prove he can, or maybe for no reason at all. 

You see, those fertile facial fields are the last bastion of male expression and self-experimentation.  Sure, we still have the toilet, but no one gets to see what we do in there.  (FYI, it's mostly reading and pondering our how our life turned out like this.  Maybe an occasional nap.)

These little beard and moustache excursions?  This is all we have. 

We understand women are ultimately going to get their way in pretty much every other decision.  (I'm sorry my future son that I hope to have, if you're reading this, but it's true.)  We know your little ploys.  We know you got rid of our favorite shirt from 1987 and then pretended to be all dismayed and you "don't know WHAT could have possibly happened to it."

But somewhere along the way, a deal must have been struck, perhaps a line drawn.   Men said, "Enough!" 

You can put your frilly rugs and decorative lamps and froufrou throw pillows all over the house.  You can throw away our twenty-year-old clothes when we're at work.  You can even force us to begrudgingly pose for pictures and post them to your precious Facebook wall.  But this -- *admiringly rubbing my chin* -- this is where it ends.

So next time you see a guy sporting facial hair, no matter how hideous or 1970's-porn-star-ish it may be -- and it will be -- perhaps you'll have a little more compassion, maybe even a modicum of respect for those amber waves of keratin. 

Remember, he's just exercising his right to be a man.  In the only way that he knows.  The only way that he has.  Putting his manhood on display for all the world to see.

"They come runnin' just as fast as they can / 'Cause every girl crazy 'bout a sharp-dressed man..."

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Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Music Monday: The smell of hospitals in winter
Second jobs and time spent in waiting rooms have kept me away.

There was a hiking accident, then a three-and-a-half hour drive wondering if a loved one was OK and how bad she would be injured when I arrived.  (She was OK, mostly.  A kindly family of hiking Mennonites stopped to comfort her while waiting for emergency personnel.  A three-hour rescue operation followed, and yada yada yada, she'll be walking again in 8 to 12 weeks.)

There have been new and scary concerns about Nephew Bone.  Thankfully, an EEG and MRI -- two months apart -- were both deemed normal.  We have prayed for the best while fearing things unspoken.

Somewhere in the midst of it all was a stretch of seven days in a row spent in some hospital, doctor's office, ER, or other medical facility. I guess the worry and stress must have piled up on me, because I developed a cold sore for the first time in my life, then ran a fever for three days after.

There was a bit of good news, as I landed my first-ever paid writing gig.  It's nothing grand, but is exciting for me.  And it probably would have gotten its very own post but for everything else going on, so celebrating seemed out of place.

Oh, and if all that wasn't enough, I overflowed the toilet, flooded the bathroom, then came downstairs to find water pouring through the ceiling.  Long story short, if you ever come to my place and have a choice, don't sit in the recliner.

I have a confession.  It's really hard for me to focus on anything else right now because... herpes!  I have herpes!  And according to something I googled, it could have been lying dormant inside my body for years without me knowing!  With my swingin' lifestyle, I could have infected as many as five, yea, six girls over the past decade.  How can I live with myself?!?!

Unfortunately -- or perhaps very fortunately -- I could find no songs about herpes to feature on this week's Music Monday.  So instead, I have called upon an old friend.  (No, not Tone Loc, though that would have been super cool.  And how did you even know he and I were homies?)

I first heard Nate Ruess when he was lead singer of The Format.  For a while, their "She Doesn't Get It" held the coveted title of most played song on my iTunes.  After they broke up, I figured I'd never hear from him again.  Like an ex-girlfriend you long for wistfully who says she wants to stay friends but never answers her phone when you call.... as an example, I mean.

And then...

One glorious day two or three years later, I heard that unmistakable voice again.  "That sounds like the guy from The Format," I thought.  And it was.

He'd started a new band called Fun.  It was good to know that he had moved on and I.... well, he had moved on.

The Format never really became a huge mainstream band, so it's been kinda cool to see Ruess enjoy much success with Fun, even as my own success has remained almost eerily unchanged.

I like this acoustic version of "Carry On."



I would like to dedicate this song to all of us afflicted with herpes, the silent killer....... what?  What is carbon monoxide......

Oh my God!  I may never fall asleep again!

"The smell of hospitals in winter, and the feeling that it's all a lot of oysters, but no pearls..."

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