Monday, July 30, 2018

Progress Sort of Comes to Balsam Hill, but Chickens Out

"Political progress grows out of the barrel of a gun."
                                                  -- Mao Zedong

Balsam Hill, Tennessee was experiencing some cultural changes due to outsiders moving into the general area.

Now earlier there were city types from Nashville, Louavul (sic!), or Rolly (sic!) who found a mountain cabin to be to their liking. Now these in-state or nearby state types did not cause no ruckus, nohow! They were content to spend weekends and a week or two in summer in their cabins. And Billy Bob and Bubba, our not-so-dynamic duo, served as handymen/watchmen to their cabins when they weren't around. 

And some entrepreneurs brought pain relieving drugs to compete with that local polio weed (marijuana). And, bless their hearts, these city types had tastes for better wines than the local package store had been carrying. Things were good.

But Yankees also discovered they joys and unspoiled territory of Balsam Hill. And they also came - bringing along some foreign notions less welcome: zoning restrictions. And rules about decoration.

Gol-dern! Soon it was going to be against the law to have garden gnomes or plastic flamingoes or bottle trees. Now old grandpa Jethro's painstakingly collected Old Crow bottle tree would became illegal. And it took Old Jethro the better part of ten years' serious drinking to fill that tree! Neighbors considered it to be legendary!

And Miz Thomas. Now in honor of her five daughters, she had a bra tree in her front yard. Yessir . . . . them bras would have to go too. Anyway, the preacher Brother Bob argued that such things were showing the sin of pride. Especially Esmeralda's.

It took two men and a boy to look at Esmeralda, y'know.

And parking cars on cement blocks, such as they were, would be illegal. So the pride of Balsam Hill: the replica of The General Lee from The Dukes of Hazzard would have to go.

This comes from the exclusive worship of the bitch-goddess success. Although no one dared to erect a chapel in her honor. Too bad; it would have made a nice tourist attraction much like Crossville's Flying Spaghetti Monster monument.

However, things were not all bad: there were cheeses! Suddenly, hillbillies discovered the joys of brie! On crackers, no less!  Not to mention gorgonzola. Even if no one could spell it right. And some entrepreneurs brought pain relieving drugs to compete with that local polio weed (marijuana).

But getting back to the story. The locals were not diligent in exercising their right to vote (a local problem), so the outlanders got a majority on the County board and they decided to consider some ordinances restricting tacky property decorations. Yessir . . . . nothing dangling from trees, no indoor furniture on porches, no cars on cement blocks, no plastic flamingoes or garden gnomes. Not even little Disney mermaids in bird baths. Balsam Hill was going to be spruced up - neat as a New England village, you betcha!

Was Baslam Hill about to turn into a Connecticut town?

Well, on the evening those repressive measures were to be taken up by the council persons, it just also happened to be the first date of snipe hunting season. And there was lots of trucks parked by the Town Hall with loaded gun racks in their rear windows and sacks and sticks in the trunk.

It didn't even take a word to the wise. No, a word to the stupid would suffice.

You don't mess with the rights of people who tote guns. Even if they came to hunt snipe.

The town council tabled those repressive measures. Grandpa Jethro's Old Crow tree was safe.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

That Scene from Outlander

Last year the Starz television version of Outlander featured the famous (or infamous) spanking scene in which Claire gets spanked twelve times on her bare behind by Jamie for disobedience in a famously erotic power struggle. Apparently this particular episode attracted 1.2 million views, mostly women and girls, despite being in head-to-head competition at the time with the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. I guess they would rather see Claire's butt spanked than University of Kentucky's!

Since spanking is a recurrent motif in some bodice-rippers (women's slightly erotic historical fiction), it produced the occasional feminist complaint or interpretation. But 1.2 million viewers don't lie. I won't bore you with my interpretation of BDSM processes in that kind of scene.

Anyway, Tee Tina and Tee Boudreaux watched it; and some of the basketball as well. (Tee Boudreaux was really good to her to do that.) Anyway, losses by 'Nova and Kentucky pretty much wrecked their brackets.

Tina asked him afterwards if she annoyed him sometimes did he then ever felt like doing that to her (Cajun princesses can be prima donnas), and Tee Boo gave her a totally weird and puzzled look, with a W.T.F. written all over his face!* He denied it, and asked her, "What kind of question is that?"

Tina replied, "Oh, I was just curious." Girls do ask weird questions.

Tee Boo later confessed that he wondered whether Tee Tina had gotten a weird yen for that kind of treatment from having watched that scene, and went "Oh-oh . . . . trouble!"

Tina indicated no, and no trick question besides. Both of them were glad to clear that matter up!

Tee Boudreaux looked relieved that his girlfriend hadn't developed a kinky side out of the blue. Normal guys don't want to pretend to act like a jerk. Sometimes jerkiness just comes out anyway, but that's a horse of another color. 

They ended the evening like any civilized young couple by going out to have coffee and chocolate croissants.

*Guys look particularly cute with that W. T. F. look.

[No picture today: that one would be, like, ishy!]

Friday, July 20, 2018

The Legend of the Grunches

New Orleans has scads of legends, many from the 18th and 19th centuries which you can pursue if you have an interest. 

One of very recent origin (probably) is the story of the Grunches.

According to local legends, there is a race of misshapen albino dwarves (or lizard-like creatures) who prey on goats and dogs and sometimes humans. Their supposed hangout is in East New Orleans in the Little Woods area. Reports of seeing them come from time to time; often from teens who elected to park off a shell road for necking or serious fooling around and seeing a goat tethered or being eaten by one of these. The story is, if you see a tied-up goat, then get outa there pronto!

Supposedly these were creatures that were frightening enough that people tended to shy from them; and they became increasingly reclusive and dangerous with time.

After Hurricane Katrina and people began to move back into Lakeview and Gentilly (two New Orleans neighborhoods close by Lake Ponchartrain), stories began to circulate that you should not leave pet dogs or cats outdoors at night lest they be carried off by one of the Grunches. Probably those pets merely took French leave. Pets tend to do that sometimes. And there's always possible malevolent neighbors. No Grunches need apply as those who carry away pets.

These stories are like the spooky stories told elsewhere about the homicidal maniac with a hook on one of his arms. Anyway, the warning stands: Don't park along Grunch Road.

Gannon Road in Little Woods is the locale often referred to as Grunch Road, in case you're interested. Personally, I'd stay away due anyway to the often dangerous members of homo sapiens that to be around in that section of the city.


Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Grave Humor

A little beyond the grave humor. Some of these might be apocryphal. Others have been shown in Find a Grave*, for what it's worth.


Monday, July 16, 2018


I wish there was an excuse for wearing a kimono in public. They're so feminine and elegant!  However, wearing one in Tennessee or New Orleans (my two venues) is hardly practical.

Many people would misinterpret my wearing one as appearing in public in a bathrobe!  If I were to do that back home in New Orleans, I would qualify as a bona fide New Orleans eccentric, like Ignatius Reilly from A Confederacy of Dunces or Blanche Du Bois, from A Streetcar Named Desire.

I don't make the age requirement to be a New Orleans eccentric for a while yet. But there is a reservation for one more in my family!  Anyway, there's always room for high-maintenance eccentrics in New Orleans. And we always depend on the kindness of strangers!

Another nagging thought: If I were to wear a kimono, would that be committing the grievous sin of cultural appropriation? Oh well, maybe I should just wear a beach jacket instead! Maybe the lesser sin is to appear the slob!

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

BOTB: Angel of the Morning

I recently heard this song and found it to be surprisingly risqué considering the time it first came out back in the 1960's. Apparently, it was first offered for Connie Francis but she found it didn't fit in with her clean-cut image.  Chip Taylor wrote this song; and the version by Merrilee Rush and the Turnabouts and the Turnabouts charted #7 when it first came out in 1968. Enjoy!

Years later (1981), Juice Newton recorded a country pop version, which really made it big time. 

ABBA also covered it around the same time:

But there were numerous ones. Apparently, the time was ripe for a song about a woman's feelings about a one night stand. So there we have it for this one. So which one pleased you best (if any): Merrilee Rush's, Juice Newton's, or ABBA's? I hope this BOTB session pleases . . . .

Friday, July 6, 2018

Doberge Cake

A New Orleans traditional cake that has spread to the outlying nearby area is the doberge cake. To find a nice recipe for this overindulgent confection just click on this link:

By the way, it's pronounced "dobash cake" in New Orleans. It's so good! It was supposed have descended from a type of torte made in Alsace.

Yes, it's caloric. But, enjoy. Laissez les bon temps rouler!

Monday, July 2, 2018

A Custom on the Redneck Riviera

The expression "Redneck Riviera" has been around as long as people can remember. This is what it's about: It's a two-state strip of coast from Mobile County (AL) to St. Marks (FL). It's favored with pristine sandy beaches, a laid-back attitude among the locals, and good times for visitors. This is where the Real South goes for R and R and misbehavior.

Well, it's only a day's drive from Tennessee or Northern Alabama or Georgia. The water is a little coolish at Spring Break time, but it's still good for sunning and hanging around.

This was the attraction that drew Billy Bob and Bubba with their lady friends Tammy and Cynthia to the Coast for a good time under the sun. Yep; to that coastal den of iniquity: Gulf Shores.

Now, after having checked in (one couple asked for twin beds), they changed into swimwear and headed for the beach. And that Mecca of Music and Good Times: the Flora-Bama Lounge!

They soon got in the spirit of the place!

In that setting, it is de rigeur to try the Bushwacker! And another! And . . . . shall we say that it was a good thing that nobody had to drive far! 

Now one local custom is for ladies, if they feel like it, to add a contribution to the decor of the place by hanging their bra over a rope stretched across the room. Yes, this involves a partial disrobing; but that's part of the routine. (It pays to plan ahead for this eventuality, and wear one that is near the end of its effective use anyway.)

Well, our ladies got the idea, "Why not?"

Tammy the Redheaded Schoolteacher simply pulled her t-shirt off, removed hers, and basked in the glory of being noticed by all.  Her class never paid that kind of close attention, you bet!

But Cynthia got some second thoughts. She lifted her tee, barely showed her belly button (an innie), and stopped. She looked imploringly at Bubba. 

Bubba, ever the Southern gentleman, pulled off his shirt and somewhat covered Cynthia. Cynthia, emboldened, completed the process and restored her t-shirt.

Later on, Cynthia decided that Bubba was all right; and thought that perhaps she and Bubba could rethink the notion of twin beds.

Whatever happens in Gulf Shores stays in Gulf Shores. That's the way it should be.

Even Cynthia's bra.

The Flora-Bama's Decor