My iPod Has Issues – Heading to Hilton Head

16 Oct

It has been a busy week, and I have not been able to spend as much time blogging as I would like. The posts have been few and far between. That trend is going to continue because we are heading to Hilton Head, South Carolina over the weekend. Certainly, there will be some good stuff to write about when we return.Hilton Head

In the meantime, here are some selections from the old iPod.

“Ole Slewfoot” by BR-549

“I Won’t Mention It Again” by Ray Price

“Hello Darlin'” by Conway Twitty

“Good Times” by Chic

“In the Still of the Night” by The Five Satins

“Sweet Sixteen” by Big Joe Turner

“Miss You” by The Rolling Stones

“Baby Get Lost” by B.B. King

“You Left a Long, Long Time Ago” by Willie Nelson

“Heartbeat” by Red 7

“Children Go Where I Send Thee” by The Fairfield Four

“Steamroller Blues” by Elvis Presley

“Jezzebella” by Vintage Trouble

“I Ain’t the One” by Waylon Jennings and Jessi Colter

“Baby Let’s Play House” by Arthur Gunter

“Tears in Heaven” by Eric Clapton

“Too Close” by Clair Marlo

“Sirius” by The Alan Parsons Project

“Fat Albert Theme” by Dig

“Enter Sandman” by Metallica

As a famous general once said, “I shall return.”

The Future Preacher and the Bomb Threat

15 Oct

This weekend, we went to a wedding, and, as we made our way through the celebration, a blog post worked its way through my mind. It was about how women love weddings and get excited about every aspect of them, but men would just as soon be somewhere else. It was going to continue with the idea that weddings are to women like football games are to men.

For example, I have never understood why someone would get married in the Fall because it is in the middle of football season. Even if it is on a weekend when your team is not playing, your team might be playing on a future anniversary. Why cause that future conflict when there are tons of other weekends to get married on?

When I say that, my wife looks at me like I am insane. How can anyone place a football game over a wedding? It is because women and men view things differently. Football only takes place on certain dates at a certain time of year. People can get married on any day.

Anyway, I decided not to write that post because it would probably be stereotypical, sexist, not funny and argument-inducing. Instead, I am going to write about the preacher at the wedding.

The preacher and I went to high school together, and, although he was a class or two behind me, we worked in the principal’s office together. During our free period, we hung out in the office to answer the phone, run errands and do whatever else needed doing.

One afternoon, the office was packed with people. Parents were there to get kids out of school. Students were there because they had gotten sent to the principal’s office for getting in trouble. The phone was ringing off the hook. The future preacher was working the counter, and I was answering the phone. That is when I heard a voice say:

Bomb threat.

What did you say?

Bomb threat.

Then, he hung up.Bomb

There was a protocol when something like this happened. First, we were not supposed to say anything in front of other people. That is especially true when there is an office full of them. Second, we are supposed to immediately tell the principal. However, there was a problem. The principal was in a high level meeting with his assistants and members of the school board. One assistant principal, who in another life would have been an evil witch queen, made it clear that they were not to be interrupted. This was my chance to interrupt them.

I went to the office and knocked on the door before opening it. The assistant principal glared at me and asked:

What are you doing in here?

I ignored her and spoke straight to the principal. I explained that there had been a bomb threat. He told me to go back out and that he would take care of it. I am certain his plan was to wait until near the end of the class period. That way less class time would be interrupted. This was in the days before bomb threats were deemed all that serious, and it was probably a student playing a prank.

I shut the door and walked back to the main office. That is when I saw the future preacher with the phone in his hand and a shocked look on his face. Before I could stop him, he blurted out:

Bomb threat.

Apparently, the guy called back. Everyone in the office started scurrying around. The parents were freaking out, and the students were joining in.

I just turned around and went back to the meeting. I knocked on the door and opened it. The assistant principal glared at me and asked:

What are you doing here?

I ignored her and spoke straight to the principal. I explained that there had been another call, and everyone in the main office knew about it. He rolled his eyes and got on the loud-speaker. A few minutes later, everyone in the school was walking to the football field.

The story had a happy ending. The school did not blow up. People were able to get out of class for a few minutes. I got the chance to bother the assistant principal. A lot of that was made possible by the future preacher who performed the wedding this weekend. That would be the same wedding that made a lot of women excited. You would have thought it was a football game or something.


The Mysteries of WordPress

10 Oct

I have read a lot of posts about the inner workings of WordPress and the issues that bloggers have with them. You guys know what I am talking about. However, I have never had any problems with the platform. It is annoying to get accustomed to something and have it change, but, overall, WordPress has worked well for me.

With all of that being said, I have noticed something strange about WordPress and am wondering if other people have noticed the same thing.

Like many of you, I follow a lot of bloggers. Some of them post occasionally, and others post all of the time. When someone who writes all of the time suddenly stops, several ideas run through my mind. They could be traveling. They could be sick. They could be focused on their non-blogging lives. Heck, it could be anything. However, I never think that some mysterious WordPress force has made me stop following them.Mystery

That is exactly what I have been noticing in the past several weeks. I wonder what is happening with a blog that has not popped up in a while, and I go over to see what is happening. That is when I discover that I am no longer following them. I did not unfollow them and do not understand how they suddenly got clicked. I can only think that something inside of WordPress did it.

Also, it has happened with some of my favorites. Serendipity. Have Bag Will Travel. There are plenty of examples.

My questions are the following:

Has this happened to you?

What mysterious WordPress force is causing it?

The Moon and the Moody Blues

9 Oct

Over the past few nights, the moon has been full and bright to the point that it causes slight shadows. A few times, I have gone out and just looked at it. I took out the trash and spent a few extra moments in the driveway. I also walked onto the deck just to stare at the sky. The moonlight was almost blinding, and, both nights, low clouds floated by to give it that haunted look.

The moon has always fascinated me, and I have often taken time to look at it. Of course, the face is there. However, it is more than that. It is the closest celestial body, and it stands guard over the night. There are times when it makes the night darker and more mysterious. There are times, like the past few nights, when it makes the night lighter and brings clarity to a time of hiding.

Each time I study the moon, the same words make their way through my mind. They are not words that I put together. They are not words from some dusty poetry book. They are words from an album that I first heard a long time ago. The Moody Blues created Days of Future Passed and included the following verses.Moody Blues

The album begins with:

Cold hearted orb that rules the night,
Removes the colours from our sight,
Red is gray and yellow white,
But we decide which is right.
And which is an illusion?
Pinprick holes in a colourless sky,
Let insipid figures of light pass by,
The mighty light of ten thousand suns,
Challenges infinity and is soon gone.
Night time, to some a brief interlude,
To others the fear of solitude.
Brave Helios wake up your steeds,
Bring the warmth the countryside needs.

The album closes with:

Breathe deep the gathering gloom,
Watch lights fade from every room.
Bedsitter people look back and lament,
Another day’s useless energy spent.
Impassioned lovers wrestle as one,
Lonely man cries for love and has none.
New mother picks up and suckles her son,
Senior citizens wish they were young.
Cold hearted orb that rules the night,
Removes the colours from our sight.
Red is grey and yellow white.
But we decide which is right.
And which is an illusion?

I am not sure when I first heard the album, but these words have been with me since. There are other poems and songs about the moon, but that full and bright moon always brings these verses from the back of my mind. Like the night, the moon illuminates them and brings them from the hidden recesses of my memory.

My iPod Has Issues – Or Maybe Not

8 Oct

This History of American Music course that I am teaching has me digging deeper into my iPod than I ever have. I knew there was a bunch of stuff in there. Heck, I downloaded it all. However, I did not realize that depths of its knowledge. When I want to play a sample for the class, I find it on my iPod. It makes me realize that the iPod does not have any issues at all. It is simply steeped in music history.iPod

In honor of this newfound respect for the iPod, I have decided to explore its inner workings and see what is there. Besides, I cannot think of anything else to write about.

“Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love to Town” by Kenny Rogers and the First Edition

“Night Train” by Alvino Rey

“Wild World” by Cat Stevens

“America” by Neil Diamond

“Fast Car” by Tracy Chapman

“Luck Be a Lady” by Michael Civisca

“You Really Got Me” by The Kinks

“John Barleycorn” by Traffic

“Changes” by David Bowie

“When I Can Afford to Lose” by Will Hoge

“Save the Last Dance for Me” by The Drifters

“Sweet Tennessee” by Judah and the Lion

“The Road to Hell” by Chris Rea

“High Fever Blues” by Bukka White

“Don’t Cry” by Guns N’ Roses

“My Sweet Lord” by George Harrison

“All the Young Dudes” by Mott the Hoople

“Elevation” by Television

“Still” by The Commodores

“Jack and Diane” by John Mellencamp

Yeah, maybe my iPod is not as crazy as everyone thinks.


Is There a Place Like Home?

7 Oct

This weekend, we were tailgating with some friends before the Tennessee Titans game, which turned out to be historic for all of the wrong reasons. Anyway, the conversation turned toward moving. One of them said that she would like to move somewhere else, but that her boyfriend would never leave town. My wife, who has lived in different parts of the country, said that she knew when we married that we would live here forever.

I said that I have been lucky enough to have traveled in every state and have spent time in most of the major cities. I love visiting them, but I have never seen anywhere that is a better place to live than right here in my hometown. They both looked at me funny and said that other places have culture, art and different lifestyles. That is when I said that is true, but they are missing one thing. They are not home.Tennessee

I understand that a lot of people have to move for jobs and other reasons. Some people move because they hate where they grew up. Heck, there are people from my graduating class who left the day after the ceremony and have never been back. However, I have always thought it important to have roots and contribute to the place that made us who we are. It is a place of family and old friends. Like I said, it is home.

All that being said, the conversation made me think of an assignment that my therapist had me complete. I had to list ten places, other than here, where I would like to live. I remember most of the list, and I know that it would be slightly different if I did it today. That is why I am going to do it today. If I was going to live somewhere else, then it would be, in no particular order, the following:

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Durango, Colorado

Sonoma, California

Asheville, North Carolina

Maryville, Tennessee

Austin, Texas

Prescott, Arizona

Waialua, Hawaii

What do those places have in common?

I have spent time in each one and thought they were worth more than a visit. They struck me as good places to live. Some of them have rich culture, and others are just good towns.

None of them are huge cities where the buildings block out the sun. They have that small town feel with a little extra thrown in.

They all have great things around them. It would not take long to find a good hike or a another cool place to visit.

Will we ever move? You never know what the future holds. However, if it was going to be one of these places, then it would make the decision somewhat easier.



Movie Wisdom – James Westerfield Edition

6 Oct

The other day, I was flipping through the guide when I saw that Hang ‘Em High was on. As I always do when I see this movie on the guide, I turned to that channel and watched some of it. I do not think it is the greatest Western ever made. In fact, it has a “television set” feel. However, it is still one of my favorites.

As luck would have it, my favorite scene was coming up. It probably sounds morbid, but I really like the part where they are having the multiple hanging in the middle of town. Folks have filled the streets to see the spectacle and the condemned are brought to the platform. As the hangman puts covers over the heads of each man, they are asked if they have any last requests, and one of them says he wants a chaw of tobacco. Then, he spits before that put on the hood.

I have watched that scene a ton of times, but, this time, I decided to find out who wanted the tobacco. He is one of those character actors that you see in a lot of stuff, but I did not know who he was. It turns out that it was James Westerfield, and he was born in Nashville.James Westerfield

He was a guest star in a bunch of television shows and acted in a lot of movies. In his honor, I decided to see what wisdom can be found in his films.

From The Pride of the Yankees

All the arguing in the world can’t change the decision of the umpire.

People have to live their own lives. Nobody can live it for you.

From On the Waterfront

Do it to him before he does it to you.

Conscience… that stuff can drive you nuts!

Some people think the Crucifixion only took place on Calvary. Well, they better wise up!

Some people just have a face that sticks in your mind.

From The Shaggy Dog

Frankly, I think that dogs don’t like mailmen because… well, because sometimes they bring bad news.

There is nothing wrong with girls; they’re character building.

From The Absent-Minded Professor

There’s nothing in the rule book that says one team can’t jump higher than the other.

Desperate men do desperate things.

From Hang ‘Em High

When you take the devil into your mouth, you’re doomed!

When you hang a man, you better look at him.

We all have our ghosts.

From True Grit

Outside is place for shooting!

Looking back is a bad habit.

I would not put a thief in my mouth to steal my brains!

From The Love God?

When will the government stop interfering with private business?

If you love your country, you’ll publish a filthy magazine.

Yep, those are definitely words to live by.


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