Tuesday, January 10, 2012


Well Memphis, in its own way is like most river towns all over the world. And modern times in the US, Memphis is like Detroit.

Ringed with exburbs where a decaying city can't reach for tax revenues, but middle class people are free from crime.

Memphis sits on the border of Mississippi. Some tax refugees live about 10 miles south of Memphis, but in the Magnolia state. This is important for two reasons.

First, Memphis can NEVER annex you, if your exburb is in Mississippi.
Second, crime in extreme north MS is amazingly low. That because people who do crime in MS go to Parchman. Parchman is a legendary prison.

So, just south of Memphis there are three towns, about ten miles apart in east/west direction; Olive Branch, Southaven, and uhmm, what's that other one?
I feel just like Rick Perry now...

Oh yeah! Horn Lake! Well, this concerns Southaven. It's an urban sprawl masterpiece with about 20,000 citizens.

The mayor is Greg Davis, and BOY, is he in trouble! He's finally come to attention of state auditors. It seems for past five years he's been padding the expense accounts... uhm, somewhat.

Like $176,000 of suspicious expenses. It's been painful to watch. He used his personal car and billed the city for mileage for example? Turns out he was driving about 50,000 miles a year on city biz.

Well, I've been a road warrior myself at times. You got to get up early to log 1,000 miles a week. And I don't see how that leaves one much time to be mayor.

Yes, he reimbursed the city for week long trip to an AZ spa with wife, where they also had some kind of motivational speaker thing.

Yes, some expenses he charged city for turned out to be purchases at an Ontario adult bookstore that caters to homosexual males. So now Mayor Davis is out of the closet.

This is old stuff, I bet the mayor of Babylon or Rome had similar problems at one point. What REALLY bugs me?

You get paid $140,000 a year to be Mayor of Southaven???? No kidding, Southaven, really nice town. Scarsdale it ain't though.

It has a very nice library, and I know where there's a picturesque old cemetery in the shadow of I-55 overpass, however? Southaven is the ONLY town I know of (and I've visited LOTS of places) where a McDonald's went out of business!

Yeah, no kidding! How the heck does a McDonald's end up with plywood over the windows? Well, the plywood is now covered with gang grafitti, so obviously there's no clue there!!!

It is stupid to pay an individual $140,000 for NOT doing a job, while ripping off taxpayers, that I could find a very capable woman who'd perform admirably at a salary of $70,000.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Atheists at Christmas

There was an article I saw today. Thirty percent of Christmas decorations made in China are now sold in China. Yeah, turns out Christmas is big business now among the coastal nouveau riche over there.

Well, it doesn't surprise me much. There's a whole class of people over there well educated, ambitious and eager to demonstrate they're cosmopolitan. It's about the same thing as a bald hillbilly using 'nouveau riche' in a sentence, I reckon?

Interesting that atheists have no problem celebrating Christmas. Makes me wonder who screwed up Christmas so much, that it's readily accepted as a purely secular event?

I guess the introduction of Santa Claus is the main culprit. Mr. Claus and the Easter Bunny are two rather incomprehensible characters to the holidays they're associated with.

But it's Christmas for atheists too. If they can't find comfort in Jesus' birth, it's good they have a time of gift giving and family.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Shame! Come back Shame!

See that's a twist on final line from a movie famous to people who are old enough to join AARP.

It's a well made film with Van Heflin, Jean Arthur, Jack Palance and Alan Ladd as the eponymous 'Shane.' Now eponymous? That just means there's a guy in the movie
named Shane, and the movie is called Shane. So it's eponymous. I like to throw in words like that now & then to prove I managed to stay awake during some of my night school classes.

The old TV show 'Kung Fu' owes a lot to the plot of 'Shane' actually. I watched that David Carradine show a lot as a kid. As an adult, I have some issues with 'Kung Fu.'

First, 'Kung Fu' likely won loads of Emmys, Golden Globes, etc. back in the day for being "bold... cutting edge... takes the Western genre to new places." Bold would've been hiring a Chinese actor for the lead role. I bet Bruce Lee would've taken that job.

Second, we should respect our elders. And sometimes that includes indulging in things they find entertaining. But I just wouldn't spend 15 years of my life trying to snatch a pebble from a blind guy, all right?

Third, I accept the Chinese are a wise and ancient race. But there just HAS to be a better way to take the BBQ grille out to the patio than one that leaves David Carradine's forearms horribly scarred. However, it's their culture, so none of my biz really.

So this movie 'Shane' was doing the 'Kung Fu' basic plot in the 1950's. This guy has death dealing skills but is now a 'man of peace.' That means you have to wait until the end of the show for him to dispatch the bad guys.

But that's not what I wanted to tell you about...

This culture along the way seems to have lost the concept of Shame, and I wish it'd come back. So look, we're friends here right? We can talk. There was no looting in Japan after the recent tragedy because that culture is very tight knit and everything you do reflects on your entire family.

It used to be like that in US culture too, only less vigorously regimented. Like back in the 1960's for example? If your son got his girlfriend pregnant, and then burned his draft card and ran off to Montreal? People would treat YOU noticeably different at Church, or the grocery store, etc.

Well that was wrong too, but it happened. Not to me personally; I've never been to Canada, but things like that happened. You do bad, people shun your entire family.

I'm not advocating a return to such Draconian levels, but Shame has value in a culture. And Shame hasn't ridden into the Sunset by any means. It's still here.

When Congressman Weiner's relatives walk into crowded rooms these days, I bet some people start talking about the weather, rather abruptly. Shame is still here, except as a behavioral deterrent for the individuals engaging in stuff that will totally embarrass a lot of good people once the weasel gets out of the box... or cat out of the bag if you insist on those pedestrian metaphors.

Shame! Come back Shame!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Cadillacs and Communists

So GM is providing complimentary Escalades for cast & crew to drive around China on their location shots in making a laudatory film about founding of the Chinese Communist Party...

This is yet another example of why I think anybody in 2011 who is taking LSD is pretty much wasting their money.

I can't even figure out all the ways this story looks like a Picasso painting.

'Cadillac' is firmly placed in American vocabulary as meaning 'top of the line.'
More than that, it's sort of a symbol of 20th century American striving for upward

I've never read 'Das Kapital' because I'm waiting for the movie to come out, however?
Kinda presume there's no 'striving for upward mobility' in Marxism.

Yet people are riding around in Escalades making a propaganda film about the founding of Chinese Communism. Am sure the film makers have some way to rationalize that.

And GM is providing the Escalades to stay cozy with the thugocrat regime. More Cadillacs are sold in China currently than are sold in the US. Got to make a buck after all, right? Well in this case, a Yuan I guess.

Now a funny thing about this? US taxpayers currently own 1/3 of General Motors. So the government could order GM not to cooperate in a film about how Mao was totally groovy. But that would kinda be Marxist, telling a mostly private biz how to conduct its affairs.

Yet there are people saying the US government should wield semi-Marxist control over GM to keep them out of this propaganda film deal. So I guess that means you have to act like a Marxist, else you're helping the Marxists.

Yep, anybody taking LSD in 2011 is wasting their money.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Navy SEALs Don't Squeal

Now how did that get out? And should I take it as having happened with some policy purpose in mind, or just juicy pseudo-gossip from people who should've known better?

This whole thing about they found porn at Bin Laden's house I mean...

What to type about first David? America's romance with elite military units, or the importance of keeping secrets, or the seeming stupidity of announcing to the world that porn was found at Bin Laden's house? Hmmm... hang on, I'm sensing the embryonic swirling mists of a semi-coherent narrative...

OK, I'm fairly sure that America first became enamored with uber-warriors during WW2.
There were the Marines slugging it out with the Japs on islands with funny names, and it sort of entered our collective consciousness about then, that ALL our fighting men were brave, handsome and above average, but those Marines were just badass badasses.

I'm not sure why as the decades rolled, smaller groups of warriors seemed to capture the pop culture imagination. There were the Green Berets in Vietnam. And there was Delta Force some in the 1980's. Not sure if we spent much time with the Army Rangers, but am pretty sure they got some attention along the way. Now it's Navy SEALs, the American ninjas!

Maybe our fascination with smaller units of uber-warriors stems from our fighting smaller wars after WW2... not really sure.

But I am pretty darned sure? It wasn't some Navy SEAL twittering to his girlfriend that announced to the world Bin Laden had porn. Those kinds of soldiers don't do stuff like that. They take themselves VERY seriously, and loose talk would be unprofessional in their world.

To them keeping secrets safe is part of the mystique of an organization to which they've devoted a big chunk of their lives. In government though, keeping secrets is an important part of doing biz. You never let anything out without a purpose.

What purpose is served by telling the world that Bin Laden had porn? The whole funeral at sea gag, I get that. Splendid idea really. Arabic culture loves shrines.

But I can only conclude allowing gossip on his DVD collection is amatuerish. For part of the Arab world, Bin Laden is their Pancho Villa or Robin Hood. They're not going to believe Bin Laden had "Confessions of a Naughty Cable guy" and it must look to them like an attempt to besmirch the memory of a slain General.

So much for 'winning hearts & minds' I suppose...

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Behinder I Get

Well the days just didn't grow legs and walk off, did they David? They must be around here somewhere!

Eh, feeling way around new job. Particularly active tornado season this year. Young woman seems to have disappeared into thin air about 20 miles east. All that kind of stuff can make a person trend reflective.

I gotta watch out for that crap! I don't want to become a deep, soulful person who speaks in hushed tones about the infinite. Nobody has much use for such people.

Like Socrates for example? I don't think he was ordered to drink hemlock because he was seen as undermining authority. Naw, probably not that at all! Mostly, just got to the point where he was annoying. So I don't want to be like Socrates.

The factory Food drive finishes up next week. I wouldn't call it a spectacular success in human terms. I sure don't think the local food bank will need its shelves reinforced due to our contribution.

But next year we do better.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

I Heart Heart

Some people might think being an intellectual requires me to be rather parsimonious in my praise for 'common' things, and reflexively dismissive of anything 'pop culture.'

It's not that way at all though. For example, while I will always dearly love the Marx Brothers, I sure do admire much of the 3 Stooges' work. Except for Shemp; he's just creepy.

My opinion, if one is stuck with being an 'intellectual' it should be defined as an expanded range of things to delight in, versus some snooty isolationist perspective.

Like that with music too. I really like Jim White, Tom Waits and 16 Horsepower. I realize that puts me in a minority. The mature view is to neither revel in the obscurity of things I appreciate, nor judge unfairly work with far wider appeal.
So I like Heart. I really really like Heart. But just the first 2 albums. The rest of their body of work is fairly pedestrian.

But 'Dreamboat Annie' and 'Little Queen' is some amazing stuff. Totally different than anything on the radio at the time. I'm listening to it right now. There's a defiant confidence in the music, quite rare for newbies. I'd say 'Dreamboat' is right up there with best 1st efforts in history of rock & roll; quite comparable to Lynrd Skynrd's first actually.

So I enjoy stuff other people like, OK? I just happen to like some weird stuff too.

Guess that applies to Tennessee as well. I enjoy looking at mountains in the morning. My favorite kind of mountains to look at are the killers who silently wait for unprepared fools. That's what I like to look at in the morning.

Instead, this morning I sipped coffee on my deck and looked down from my hilltop perch at the trees and rooftops of hillbilly land. There's a lot here to appreciate too though.

Never have felt myself a native of this land; more like some karmic diplomatic hostage, held with widely varying levels of courtesy at times, for the safekeeping of others. I really have no idea how it feels to be a native here, only that it must have its benefits.

Nor can I really understand how it feels to be a tourist here, only that it can be a really interesting place for tourists, with a knowledgeable guide.

So I'm going to gas up Mustang Lucy, and take my tourist son for a long ride.
"Heading out this morning into the sun"...

Well actually it's overcast. You ever try to find a song lyric that rhymes with 'overcast'? It's not easy, I'll promise ya that.

Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk...