About me

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Because it's time

And two months earlier than expected.


The weather turned unusually cold in the span of 24 hours, prompting me to bring out the electric blanket this otherwise normal Sunday morning. The EB, not Easter Bunny, usually makes it's appearance towards the end of December, but with record October snows just miles above the border of Southern Gentility and Enlightenment coupled with my sad memories of two, maybe three, December snows last year, I fear risking inaction.

Besides, my piggies report being cool in the evenings, and while this report is likely the simple effect of a fan blowing directly across the lower half of the bed, it seems imprudent to risk pneumonia just for the sake of circulating air. Besides, the houseboy gets grumpy when rubbing clammy pigs.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The old home place

During our brief tour of Charleston, we stopped by one of the city government buildings. It was probably the primary city government building, but I'm a very poor tourist, and I don't take notes. If I have a detail wrong, I must beg forgiveness, though it's not likely either of us will ever know better anyway.

Nonetheless, a part of the building is pictured here. This is just a few steps inside, directly after the security show.


What we have here is a barred window to the old jail. I asked to go inside so that I could pay homage to my many relatives who have spent long weekends and seasons here. My request was declined. The attendant didn't see the merit in it. She also didn't see the humor either. You'd think she'd heard it before.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

We can't eat like this often

I believe we all know the rules. Moderation in all things, which means that denial is, generally, not prudent. Well, except in the matter of highly addictive things like meth, nicotine, and cinnamon buns. OK, go-go boys too.

We had a quick lunch yesterday, and the chosen target of our culinary attention was Smithfield's BBQ. The que here is decent. It won't kill you. It won't even make you wish it had. However, you must remember that Smithfield's is a chain, one that serves fast food BBQ, and while that serves a definite purpose, it also comes with a definite reality.

BBQ, slaw, and tater salad with a cup of water. Yes, it should have been sweet iced tea to be complete, but that's just too much decadence for the Examplar of Purity that is me. Besides, the pound-o-sugar messes me up, and I'm cutting back on the caffeination so I don't have to hear about it on my next trip to the clinic.

This being an Old Fart does have it's down side.

The real problem with Smithfield's is not that it's all about fast food BBQ; it's this.


Fresh, fried, homemade pork skins. Sometimes even with a bit of hair left intact. Yes, I could eat the entire bag.

Every culture on this planet has known hard times, some more recently than others, and the people of the American South, regardless of culture, are no exception. There was a time when nothing of an animal went to waste, right down to the hair. My daddy used to swear by a Tom Thumb, pork sausage stuffed into the pig's stomach. I remember eating pickled pigs' feet as a boy, and calling it good. My brother was speaking just the other day of coming home late in the evening to see Mama sitting at the table eating a pig's foot. I have a miserable uncle, one I can hardly bear, and his favorite part of a chicken is the neck. My grandfather always sought the back in the plate of deep fried chicken. My grandmother could make brains and eggs from which you would define the perfect breakfast if you were ever so lucky as to have it.

We don't much have to eat like that any more. However, we choose to eat like that now and again because it makes us warm inside, not so much from the indigestion as from the clear link to that from which we sprang, those humble beginnings that cast us upon a rocky shore to live or die, and live we did.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

In recovery from the NC State Fair

As though the traffic weren't bad enough, as though the parked cars all over creation weren't bad enough, as thought the fireworks late at night disturbing my slumbers weren't bad enough, as though riding my bike on a crowded dark street and being spotlighted like a deer weren't bad enough, the pitiful excuse for a $2 ham biscuit at the fair took the cake. My grandmother would have hung her head in shame over what I was served.

The biscuit was passable, though it was very much a beginner's biscuit. The real problem was the ham. It was smoked and sweet. Like sandwich ham. Sandwich ham! We will all agree that sandwich ham is usually good, especially in a sandwich, but I asked for what was advertised: A ham biscuit.

How much further can my people fall?

To help us all recover from this travesty, I made ham biscuits for the peeps at work. Here's how I did it.

The YouTube video.

A few of the peeps at work know the difference between a decent ham biscuit and an abomination such as I received at the State fair, and I can report that the bowl was about empty after an hour. I think they liked them.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Occupy Raleigh: Communication gives life and consequence

The Wall Street occupation appears to be spreading, and now, we even have media coverage. Odd, it seems, to have what we applauded in Egypt starting here, though so far without overt violence. That could change very quickly, however, and I worry for the innocents in that regard. Even in London, we saw this happen, though the take-away from the UK is to steal money, lots of it, not a half-liter of water. That take-away is formed by a light review of the sentences received by both trespasses.

So here we are in Raleigh. I attended what I thought was the first General Assembly, only to learn later that it was the second. Who knew? Here's the video from that evening.

The guys in the masks are spooky, and after speaking with them off camera, I question their sobriety. Well, they were sober. They're just not given to clarity of thought. If I felt as they expressed, I would not be drawing such attention to myself, and I certainly would have been elsewhere.

Nonetheless, the group is very loose knit, and keeping up with what was going on was difficult, at least at the distance I maintained. Yes, my fringe-dweller self kept me on the outer edges. I used the live tweets to keep me informed.

Yesterday, I found myself downtown again, and I decided to step over to see what the daily 6:30 gatherings look like. Yes, there's a video. There were, maybe 2 dozen peeps, and the task appeared to be learning how to vote by raising both hands. The part to be learned was adjusting the angle of the wrists to express a degree of agreement or concern. I would never keep those details straight, but we knew that already. They called this process one of establishing a consensus, but I question voting to achieve consensus. However, I was not facilitating, so my concern regarding consensus building is very much moot.

I see these activities as a natural consequence of corporate greed that appears to only grow, especially among the banks. Not so long ago, such a revolt would pass unnoticed. Now, we have nearly instantaneous worldwide communications, and for better or worse, communication gives life and consequence.

Most of us see that the cards are stacked against this little assembly in Raleigh. However, great things often arise from humble beginnings, and I found a certain prescience in the juxtaposition of this small group and the brass acorn that represents the City of Oaks. We could be in for interesting times.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

I saw Mary

Yes, Mary, the Sainted Mother of Jesus. I saw her with my own eyes through the screen on my phone. I was also looking through a fence covered in some sort of vine. She was about to swan dive into a pool.
And I was stone, cold sober. Looking at the picture now, I fail to see her as clearly, though I can find her with a little concentration. Of course, a picture is not the real thing. After the vision, I was blessed with a delightful early dinner or late lunch.
This was decidedly the best meal of my visit to Charleston, and I have to attribute that to the earlier vision. The rum and Diet also helped, I'm sure, as did the delightful company. Perhaps it'd be prudent to eat lunch at 3 P.M. more often after riding a bike through a historical district.

Now, just HUSH! It was Friday, and I did eat fish. That's about as pious as this heathen is going to get anytime soon, and it was still good enough for a vision.