The Mysterious Cootie Brown

6 Jul

We were having brunch with friends, and some people who looked like they had been rode hard and put up wet walked into the restaurant. As they slowly made their way to the table, one of our friends said, “They look drunker than Cootie Brown.”

I have heard this saying my entire life and have always wondered something.

Who is Cootie Brown?

It turns out that Cooter Brown – apparently Cootie is his nickname – has his own Wikipedia page and has been discussed in the Old Farmer’s Almanac. In both places, attempts are made to uncover the mystery of Cooter Brown.

During the Civil War, he lived somewhere along the border between the United States and the Confederacy. This could have been the Mason-Dixon Line between Pennsylvania and Maryland or it could have been at any point on the map.Mason Dixon

This meant a couple of things. He could have been drafted by either side, and he had family on both sides. Instead of making a decision between the two, Cooter decided to stay drunk for the entire war and make himself useless for military service.

Cooter’s years of drunkenness has been remembered through the annals of time, and he has become the personification of alcohol-induced goofiness.

A lot of people know his name, but I wonder how many people know the story of Cooter “Cootie” Brown.

Songs of the Year

3 Jul

When I put together the Songs of the Week post, I knew that this could be taken further. Why? Because there are a ton of songs that go along with the months. A Songs of the Year post could be easily compiled.

Except, I was wrong. Some days inspire more songs than other days. Likewise, some months inspire more songs than other months. Apparently, there are certain time slots that have little artistic value.

Despite the obstacles, I trudged through my iPod and other resources to put together my favorite songs of the year.Months

January – How can you beat Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, going to her gospel roots and singing “Amazing Grace”? Answer: You cannot beat that. Her live version, titled “Amazing Grace (Live at New Temple Missionary Baptist Church, Los Angeles, January 13, 1972)“, is the best version you will ever hear.

February – This month does not provide much in the realm of music. There are plenty of songs about February, but I do not know many of them. Of course, I could be prejudiced against February. With that being said, I will go with “February Stars” by Foo Fighters. It is as good as any.

March – Going after the fanboy traffic, I am picking “The Imperial March” from the Star Wars soundtrack. It is John Williams. It is Darth Vader. In other words, it is cool.

April – Now, we are getting into some good stuff. Straight off of the iPod comes “Pieces of April” by Three Dog Night. the singer is remembering a month-long romance. I wonder why they did not make it to May.

May – Speaking of May, there is an awesome song by Little Jimmy Dickens. “May the Bird of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose” was his top charting song and was inspired by Johnny Carson. Dickens is a cheapskate, and the chorus is what people say to him.

June – Dean Martin was the coolest of the cool. Frank Sinatra may have been the leader of the Rat Pack, but Dean Martin was the soul of the Rat Pack. No list is complete with him, which means “June in January” is next on the list.

July – It was written by Bruce Springsteen, but I am not a fan of his. For that reason, this month is represented by “4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)” as performed by The Hollies.

August – Wow, August has inspired hardly any songwriters. Does it not rhyme with anything? Just. Must. Au jus. There has to be something about August that is worthy of song. If you know of something, then let me know. I cannot find anything worthy of listing.

September – It is not his best, but “September Morn” is a decent Neil Diamond song. Have you ever taken your mom to a concert only to see women throw their underwear at the performer. It happened to me at a Neil Diamond show.

October – Deadmau5 was at Bonnaroo. In fact, that is the only thing I wish I could have seen at this year’s show. For that reason, “October” makes the list. One day, I will go to a Deadmau5 show.

November – It is the greatest Power Ballad of all time. It is the greatest video of all time. If Axl Rose had not been nuts, then Guns N’ Roses could have been the greatest band of all time. Ladies and gentlemen, “November Rain” is the best song on this list.

December – The year will end with a legend. Merle Haggard’s “If We Make It Through December” is about a man facing hard economic times. If he can make it through the disappointment of Christmas without gifts, then everything will be fine.

We made it through an entire year with August being the only disappointment. Do you know of any August songs? What about the other months?

A Natural High

1 Jul

In April of 2013, I wrote a post about movies ending with someone riding into the sunset, and, shockingly, that post was Freshly Pressed. My statistics shot out of the roof as people click on that post and commented. After a few days, the “Click on SBI” hysteria died, and the numbers returned to normal. That means that April of 2013 looks like a rodent going through the belly of a snake. There is a big bulge right in the middle.Fat Snake

Since that month, I have been looking for that point where this blog’s numbers will match the numbers of April 2013. However, I have been looking for it to happen naturally rather than through the artificial inflation of being Pressed.

June of 2015 turned out to be that month. For the first time, this blog reached the same numbers as it did two years ago. Hopefully, that happened because the posts are of better quality and more interest.

The posts that drove the June numbers were:

The Power of 601 – a celebration of the 601st post

A Name Change – the announcement of a new name for the blog

Name That Blog – the request for assistance in renaming the blog

Down in Monterey – an ode to the music festival

The Lafayette Expedition – a historic romp with my wife through a small Tennessee town

Thank you to everyone who read those posts and all of the other ones.

Songs of the Week

30 Jun

I was driving down the road when an old song came over my Sirius XM that I have not heard in a while. “Blue Monday” by Fats Domino is one of my favorites. That is probably because my dad is a fan of the piano player, which is a big deal because my dad is not a huge music person.

As the song played, my mind wandered to other songs about Monday. Then, it wandered to songs about other days of the week. Before realizing it, I conceived of a blog post about my favorite song for each day of the week.Week

This is not an original idea, but that keep me from this endeavor.

Sunday – This song came to mind in a nanosecond. “Sunday Morning Coming Down” was written by Kris Kristofferson and best sung by Johnny Cash. When I hear it, I visualize wannabe country music star walking the streets of Nashville.

Monday – Fats Domino’s Monday song inspired this post, but “Stormy Monday Blues” is my favorite song for this day. It has been recorded by a ton of people, but Bobby “Blue” Bland did it best.

Tuesday – “Tuesday’s Gone” is not about the day. It is about a woman being left behind. Lynyrd Skynyrd had more famous tunes, but, for me, this one ranks at the top. It was also on their first album.

Wednesday – Honestly, I cannot remember hearing a song about Wednesday. Upon searching, I found several but did not know any of them. I am not going to force it. I do not have a favorite Wednesday song. If you know of any let me know.

Thursday – Well, this post is falling apart. I cannot think of a Thursday song, either. However, I went searching and found “Thursday” by Jim Croce. Since Jim Croce does not have any bad songs, this one is my new favorite.

Friday – I am going deep for this one. Ward L. Chandler created the theme for Friday Foster, the movie starring Pam Grier. If you have never seen a Pam Grier movie, then I suggest you get on with it. She is awesome.

Saturday – There are a ton of Saturday songs, and I like a bunch of them. However, I am going to take it into the deep tracks with “Saturday Night in Oak Grove, Louisiana” by Tony Joe White. He never duplicated his “Polk Salad Annie” success, but this one is good because it perfectly describes a big night in a small southern town.

There you have it. A week of songs. What would your week look like?

Haunted Houses

29 Jun

When the weather is nice, we like to walk through the neighborhood. It is a good way to get outside and to exercise. As we walk, I find myself looking at the houses and wondering about the people who live in them.

Are they happy?

What television shows do they watch?

Did life turn out like they expected?

What are their hobbies?

Are they from here, or did they move in from somewhere else?

After many walks and many questions, I have come to a conclusion.

All houses are haunted.Haunted House

They are not haunted by ghosts but by the memories of the people who have lived in them. They are haunted by the lives those people lived and the events that happened within them.

They are haunted by the love; by the sorrow; by the happiness; by the sadness.

As those people move on, their accomplishments and failures linger in the air. The people who take their place may not feel them, but they are there. In the kitchens where meals were cooked. In the bedrooms where love was made. In the living rooms where arguments were had.

All houses are haunted.

Forcing the Issue

28 Jun

I feel that my best posts are created organically. They pop into my brain and make their way onto the screen in a free-flowing manner. They are not forced.

Sometimes, I force myself to blog, and the resulting posts are not my best. This is when I fallback on my iPod and movie quotes. As you can see from the past few posts, I am in time of writer’s block. Nothing is coming to my mind, and I have a couple of options.

I could not write.

I could force something that I really do not like.

Of course, there is a third choice. I could drive myself crazy trying to think of a good idea and pretend it is free-flowing.

For example, I could write about whether anyone would protest if this flag was flying over a state capitol.Flag CSA

I could also write about the 14th Amendment to the Constitution. We talk a lot about the Bill of Rights, but this one has always fascinated me. In fact, I would bet that most federal lawsuits are based on this amendment because it deals with civil rights. Section 1 reads:

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

This is the paragraph on which the Supreme Court based its decision concerning gay marriage.

The amendment was ratified in 1868. However, that process was fraught with problems. Most of the southern states refused to ratify it. I say most because Tennessee was the third state to pass the amendment, coming in behind Connecticut and New Hampshire. As a result, Congress, led by the Radical Republicans, passed the Reconstruction Acts. This meant that the remaining states of the old Confederacy had to pass the amendment in order to get back into the United States.

Oh yeah, those were the states that fought under that flag further up in the post. That was the first flag of the Confederate States of America. I bet a lot of people on both sides of the Confederate flag issue would not recognize it.

Interestingly, Abraham Lincoln did not think the states had the legal right to secede and planned on getting them back in with a pledge of allegiance from a certain percentage of each state’s voters. I wonder what would have happened with the 14th Amendment if he had still been alive. However, that is alternative history, and history is tough enough without thinking about what might have happened.

I could write about a song that I just downloaded, “Stole the Show” by Kygo. It also features Parson James. Anyway, it makes me think of how I used to handle relationships with women. However, that is too much information. Just know that I am happy to be married and have all of that behind me.

On second thought, I will put it this way. I always envisioned myself as Burt Reynolds driving into the sunset at the end of Gator. In other words, I was an idiot.

I could write about those things and a lot of other stuff that I have tried to cram into my mind. However, that will be forcing the issue, and I do not want to do that.

Movie Wisdom – Robert Redford Edition

27 Jun

I have been listening to the Jeremiah Johnson soundtrack that I bought a while back. The music takes my mind to a peaceful place – kind of like the mountains where Jeremiah makes his way.

Listening to the music also makes me think about the movies that Robert Redford has made. There are a bunch of good ones that should be great places to hunt for some wise words. With that in mind, I looked for Movie Wisdom in Redford’s films.Roy Hobbs

Remember the rules. I must have seen the movie, but the quote can come from any character.

From Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

Don’t ever hit your mother with a shovel.

Move in slowly, check out everything.

From Jeremiah Johnson

Elk don’t know how many feet a horse has!

Keep your nose in the wind and your eye along the skyline.

From The Way We Were

People are their principles.

From All the President’s Men

If you’re gonna do it, do it right.

From The Natural

Some mistakes you never stop paying for.

The only thing I know about the dark is you can’t see in it.

I believe we have two lives: the one we learn with, and the one we live with after that.

From Out of Africa

The Earth was made round so that we would not see too far down the road.

From Indecent Proposal

Some things are not for sale.

From The Horse Whisperer

Knowing is the easy part; saying it out loud is the hard part.

 

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