South Carolina, a state I consider as somewhat serene, cultured and quiet, where people play golf in pastel polo shirts and white-linen chinos, eat crab pots, and enjoy a refreshing toddy on the porch, was one of the more interesting topics this week. 

First, my pal Dan retold a story about a discussion on a Tour of Charleston he and his wife took in  a few years ago.  The guide was relating how a person had to be able to trace their local ancestry back at least 5 generations to be considered a “South Carolinian”.   When asked what you would be considered if you say could only trace your South Carolinian roots back to say 4 generations, the guide replied…”Why you would be “OFF!”,a was anyone who didn’t meet the accepted criteria; anyone OFF wouldn’t be taken seriously and when described, native South Carolinians would describe them as, “well you know, he’s just OFF!”

 Then came the news results and stories regarding the State’s Democratic Primary and the winning candidate, one Alvin Greene, a 32-year-old unemployed and frankly, rather bizarre individual.  Alvin won the primary over a much more  mature well-considered and some say well-known judge and former state legislator, Vic Rawl. 

The losing candidate had campaigned vigorously according to all accounts and while his campaign funds only amassed a bit over 55 of incumbent conservative Senator DeMint’s 3.5 million dollar campaign budget, he was expected to win at least the Democratic nomination.

Alvin Greene won without campaigning, speaking, without staff, without a web site.  In fact he only checks his email once a week or so at the library and doesn’t own a cell phone.

He was also been arrested this past November and felony charges are pending for ” showing obscene Internet photos to a University of South Carolina student, then talking about going to her room at a university dorm.”

This whole store thing is simply mind numbing, stultifying, and bizarre!  So, given the nature of this campaign, I’ve taken the liberty of suggesting  Mr. Greene’s acceptance speech, in a manner that native South Carolinians should appreciate.

“First off, to the Democratic Party of South Carolina,  I ‘m not gonna back off just cause you got that far off look.   Ok, maybe I bit more off then I can chew with that sweet young thing and we got off on the wrong foot, but once she see’s I’m a bonafide US Senator she might not tell me to eff off. 

It’s not like I won Scot Free or got off on Vic’s loss.  So just ease-off and take a load off while I sit on the porch just a chip off the old block, where I might even nod off.  And maybe I’ll just take tomorrow off, I got no boss to tell me off, and  won’t be no skin off your back if I tell you off the cuff just where to get off. 

So I’m not calling this off, and you can call the dogs off.  Don’t try to the bite my head off,  there’s no need to fly off the handle. You’re getting off easy, maybe just off lightly South Carolina, you can;t just write me off!  

It could be worse, you could be Louisiana.”

The lastest new is that Mr. Greene has been certified by the Great OFF State of South Carolina as the OFFicial democratic candidate for the US Senate.  You guys scare the pants off of me!

Much Love,


No matter where I turn it seems we’ve all become, perhaps out of necessity, survivalists; not survivors, but survivalists.   The American Heritage dictionary defines a survivalist as: 

  • One who has personal or group survival as a primary goal in the face of difficulty, opposition, and especially the threat of natural catastrophe, nuclear war, or societal collapse.

It seems to be fundamentally different situation from that of a survivor; which according to the same source is someone who perseveres.  See a survivor’s done it, finished it, defeated it.  A survivalist on the other hand is on the perseverance treadmill, ever vigilant, constantly dealing with threats real and imagined.  The modern survivalist is inundated;  terrorism, BP’s Oil Debacle, the Taliban, the Great Recession, healthcare, identity theft, social oppression  and the cheerleaders of doom and gloom, (not me see Glen Beck.)   Have we evolved from the gun toting, forest deweling, toilet paper hoarding Survivalists and Militias so prevalent in the 1980s and 1990s, or have we all become  more common survivalists, yet more accepted and casually attired?

Consider again the Tea Party;  give Billy and Betty Jo Stump a Smart Phone, a mantra and change the camo into chinos; age them 11 years, add a Sarah Palin badge and viola, instant Tea Party activist!

Lately I’ve been focussed on a new kind of employment the “survival job“.   While I’m far from a coal miner, no need to shake coal dust from my hair, have a Canary at work,  or worry about black lung, I am not what I set out to be.  Neither are many of my friends and acquaintances.   Sometimes, when discouragement sets in, I’ve had to resort to an aphoristic behavior: I read the Desiderata.  It helps me to realize that it’s yet better here in the US then it is in most of the world.  Why else is our primary immigration issue one of influx and not outflow, it’s becuase we have something of value and we don’t want to lose it!  

So maybe as whacky and capricious as those Tea Partiests seem to me perhaps they’re doing some good.  I may just be tired, grumpy and fearful, but I hope to survive being a survivalist, I certainly pray I will.

Much Love! 


Please take our poll.

[polldaddy poll=3323864]

I may finally be able to get a chance to perform my orignal blues song,”Booger Blues“. in public for the first time since 1980!  We’ve even written the first new verse in over twenty years.  Here’s how it goes, (no in your head you need to supply the the music, something bluesey, like dum dummm, dummm dummm, dummm…

One day I’s jes driven’ down an ole lonely road,
a workin’ my finger in a boogie load.
I picked and dug,
boogies snot what I gots.
dam boogies hard as ole bubble gum!

<Chorus> I got the booger blues, dem sweet green boogie blues,
I picked and dug but dat dam old boogies hard as ole bubble gum…

Saw the Doctor, man were’nt no fool
done invented a boogie picken tool!
Doctor tells me, says “you’ll be fine..
jes sabe dem boogies, make ya some boogie wine!”

<Chorus> I got the booger blues, dem sweet green boogie blues,
I picked and dug but dat dam old boogies hard as ole bubble gum…

Fill up dat bottle
wit a batch o’ wine
Slap on a label call it
Chateau de neuf Nez 1989….

I love words.  Take today, I was  listening to a replay of  Fresh Air on NPR.  The storyline was , “ I Pledge Allegiance To Linguistic Obfuscation“.  Obfuscation just happens to be one of my fav words, I dare not eschew it!  So when Geoff Nunberg used the term “hapas legomenon” I was had.   First, I had to figure out how to spell the dam thing, yes I know that I could have read the transcript, but what’s the fun in that!

Anyway it get’s better.   So then I have to  “Google” “hapas legomenon” and low and behold I find it had a full set of siblings, dis legomenon, tris legomenon, and tetrakis legomenon! A whole Legomenon clan, I almost started singing “Happy Happy Joy Joy!”  Now here comes the fun part, hold on now, this is really bizarre, you can’t actually have a “”hapas legomenon” in a story like this becuase when you use it more than once,  it’s no longer a “”hapas legomenon”!  In this case it’s become, ready, a “tetrakis legomenon”, can you say OMG?

Here’s some more fun with words, mulilingual words.  There is the tried and true Babelfish and more recently I’ve begun using Google’s Translate engine becuase there’s more languages and you can romanize the characters.  I so much fun to start an email thread in English, translate to Greek, Latvian, Kurdish, Chinese, Filipino and back to English and try to see if you can make out the original message.  Finally here’s an old fun spot, the Dialectizer at www.  This tool has been on the web for oh geeeee almost decade, but it’s still a blast.  You can translate entries and pages into Elmer Fudd, Redneck, Cockney Jive, Swedish Chef and more.

So untiw we next time stay safe, happy and witewate. As them siwwy watins used to say…Semper Ubi Sub Ubi!

Oh and a special thanks to my third grade teachers back in way back in 1961  in Warrenton, Oregon who taught me phonics, true visionaries!

The Big D is my friend, he’s a young man who came into my family’s lives when he was just an infant.   I’ve known the Big D now for 20 years, initially only in a supporting role, when my Mother retired and took on the job of babysitting first him, and later his sister, we’ll call her Mighty Mite.

Over the years we spent a lot of time together, mostly becuase he brought my Mother such great joy; in return I helped him with his homework, helped his Dad coach his basketball team, even though I can’t dribble the ball than length of the court and back, and blew up the air mattresses when they spent the night at our house after watching the Kid’s Choice Awards.

Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to spend as much time with The Big D these past 5 years as I once did,  having moved 1500 miles away and starting my own family, and The Big D got big enough where he didn’t need a babysitter anymore, he is serving in the US Air Force now! 

The Big D never forgot my Mother and he had always shown her great love and affection.  My Mother passed this last January, and The Big D made sure to visit her in the Hospital.  She was the first person he visited when he got home from Boot and she was so proud of him in his dress blues, as were we all whe he wore those same dress blues as we said our last good byes to her at the Funeral Mass, where The Big D and Mighty Mite gave the readings.

The point I’ve been struggling to make is that The Big D has done something surprising, essentially he has made a personal dedication to my Mother’s memory in permanent ink.  The words from a song called One Step at a Time by Four Year Strong are:

“One step at a time
One foot in front of the other
I’m gonna get through this one way or another
Cause I know it’s warmer where you are
Cause no matter how far the view
I still always look up to you
I’ll always look up to you”

D, thanks for helping me remember Mom again, even though you made me cry.

Thanks and I really mean thanks, I love  you and so does Marge.