Friday, August 31, 2018

The Prettiest Town in Louisiana

MSN recently had an article listing the prettiest towns in each state.

Breaux Bridge was listed as Louisiana's Prettiest Town. (Pronounced "Bro Bridge.")

In an earlier post I described Breaux Bridge's quirky phone book that listed subscribers by nickname; probably a unique practice as phone books go; but very useful in a place where plumb everyone knows your nickname.

If you like, you can find the place that they consider the prettiest one for your state and others. This sight has them listed by state; so you can go forward or back in the alphabetical order. (Click left for Alabama through Kentucky; right for Maine through Wyoming.)

However, there is a reason to question the criteria that MSN used to select these 50 allegedly prettiest towns for each state. For example, the article lists Gatlinburg as Tennessee's prettiest town. Frankly, it's a tourist trap. Admittedly, not as tacky as Pigeon Forge; but it's tacky enough. Being surrounded by verdant mountains does help; but still, it's like putting lipstick on a pig.

How did it do with your state? Was MSN on target or totally clueless?

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Redshirting Children for School

When it comes to gaming things for their children, some parents come up with unique strategies.

For a long time, some parents would try to start their child's educational career by starting them in school early, so that they would complete their elementary and secondary education early; and start college at 16 or 17 rather than 18.

But lately, some parents have latched onto the strategy of redshirting their children: starting them in kindergarten or first grade a year later than anticipated. This has them in preschool (if available) at an older age than most.

These little moppets thus are likely to have a competitive edge as compared to their slightly younger classmates, both in terms of size and maturity. It's a calculated strategy in terms of both their physical and maturational abilities being somewhat advanced when they are a year older.

However, here's a possible fly in this ointment: the financial ability of parents to afford doing this may further the gap between parents who can afford to do this, and others. Preschools often cost extra.

There is a further possibility that this type of approach might boomerang if there is a critical optimal period for some learning experiences to take place; however, a year's difference is not likely to matter.

Anyway, it is amazing to what lengths some parents may go to in gaming the system. This is a whole new area for educational outcome research.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

A French Revolution Groaner

During the French Revolution, the common people were intent on ridding themselves of all vestiges of the royalty and nobility. 

The Reign of Terror ensued and all of the nobles were hunted down. Some were allowed to leave the country; however, most were executed at the guillotine. One nobleman in particular had sent his family into hiding in hopes of saving them. Soon he was caught. 

The crowd searched in vain for his family, but they were well hidden. Threats were made but he always replied, "I'll never tell!"

Finally the crowd dragged him to the guillotine and offered to let him and his family leave the country if he would only disclose their location. Again he replied, "I'll never tell!"

They dragged him up onto the platform next to the horrible machine and asked him again. Still he replied, "I'll never tell!"

They laid his neck across the cutting board and asked him once more. Again, he replied, "I'll never tell!"

They slowly hoisted the blade and again asked for the location of his family. Weakly he replied " I'll never tell!"

They waited to see if his resolve would fail, he remained silent. Just as the executioner pulled the release and the blade began to fall the Count called out "Wait, I'll tell, I'll t....."

The moral to this story, don't hatchet your Count before he chickens!

Friday, August 17, 2018

Playing Pool for Keeps

Grand Tina, while doin' physics and geometry at Bayou Teche High School, got herself a brainstorm.

It seems that the local rec center got some pool tables, despite some naysayers declaring that pool with the first step on the road to perdition. Anyway, folks figured that they might pussyfoot a mite further, as that game was fun and lotsa other stuff they could think of was too. And in the manner of Cajuns, it soon turned into a bettin' occasion.

Now the big insight that Tina had was that if a pool shot would hit the side of the table, it would reflect at the same angle on the opposite side. This was big; because she and Tee Boudreaux would use things like that to win bets off Texans and oil men and other strays comin' into the area and placing bets.

To help things along, she and Tee would act like dumb Cajuns, saying "Woo-eee!" and "Mon Dieu!" and muff a shot sometimes to make themselves look like plain amateurs or even dumb dorks. Now the local pool hall loungers soon got mindful of their antics, and would play them only for practice. 

Tina would use distractors: she would giggle, make antics and let Tee Boo try to show her how to pool; but the two were in cahoots and part of the sting. And Tina would wear her low-cut blouse and minimal demi-bra to provide a further distractor. 

It seems that the players were more interested in Tina's superstructure than how she was lining up shots. Especially when she shifted from a total goose mode to bein' a pool shark! And took those Texans big time!

The moral is, don't give into first impressions. Especially when playing pool.

Friday, August 10, 2018

A Problem With Golden Oldie Music

It seems like an unbeatable idea: have a radio station that specializes in classical popular music, often referred to as 'Golden Oldie' or 'Classical Rock' music.  Now, a casual reader of this concept might figure that anything in the pop/rock era that isn't on the current playlist might qualify.

However, in practice radio stations do this in a more time-restricted fashion. One station (WMTY) cites its range from 'the British Invasion to the Hippie Generation;' that is, from about 1960 to 1974, I guess. Others lean more to 1950s music. But even within those time frames there is some choosiness. I would guess that few older listeners would stand to listen to 'Yummy Yummy Yummy'! I swear; the lyrics were 'Yummy yummy yummy, I've got love in my tummy.' They call the subgenre bubblegum music. It's like swimming in molasses.

More recent music tends not to make the playlists. No 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' or "Baby One More Time.' Kid Rock and Christina Aguilera are not heard from. As a matter of fact: there's no stations that specialize in oldie music from 1995 to 2010, to my knowledge.

The golden oldie concept creeps also into restaurant background music. For dining establishments that don't use classical selections, it usually transpires that show tunes or adult-oriented songs constitute the noise-masking sounds. But, seriously, how often can we stomach "My Way"?*

I think that legislatures should require that each play of "My Way" should be followed afterwards by "The Thong Song."

I know you can take this as a squawk from another millennial with a sense of entitlement. However, we have our own Golden Oldies. For  God's sake, play some 1990's and 2000's pop also!

On the other hand, some Golden Oldie music is remarkable because of its badness. Years ago, Dave Barry wrote a Book of Bad Songs. Among those receiving dubious kudos were these gems: 

*If you're near a karaoke player, you're sure to hear someone stumble through this one. Some legislatures mandated that each karaoke session include this song, as if the original was not sufficient in its vileness!

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

The School Board Had a Thorny Problem

Sad to say, the Balsam Hill School Board had to take up a serious issue -- more serious than the after-school pickup parking or even fees for the lunch rooms. It seems that a solid citizen found something to complain about one of the teachers. Horrors!

Specifically, it was about Tammy, otherwise known as the Red-Headed School Teacher. 

Now Miz Grady noticed that she was shacked up with that feckless duo, Bubba and Billy Bob. And this interested her enough to get a good head of steam about the scandal of it all. And, moreover, she wore scandalous shorts or nightgowns on the porch: sometimes see-through and leaving little to the imagination. Miz Grady's brain conceived of threesomes goin' on, and other affronts to proper Balsam Hill morals! Truth to tell, she thought that Balsam Hill's moral climate had taken a turn for the worse lately and she was singlehanded going to set things right and proper. Yessir!

So Miz Grady, the community scold and in charge of everything proper, came before the School Board about a morals complaint regarding one of the teachers. The School Board, in its tried and true Southern fashion, ordinarily ignored such things: figuring that if things are running okay, then don't try messing with it.

Still, Miz Grady put things out in the open, on record. Gol-darn it! And that annoying local journalist Arthur Christy was in attendance, so they couldn't just ignore her complaint. So Chairman Jones declared that everything would just have to be discussed in executive session: School Board members only. This got rid of the newspaper reporter.

Mr. Parker was one of the deacons who took part in the infamous Party Bus ride with the strip show and lap dance that Tammy did while they took that bus ride over the Tail of the Dragon (US 129 south of the Park). He was not about to censure that high-strung little gal.

And Miz Wilma allowed that maybe she was just tryin' guys out before settling down. A wise move: don't get one that drinks too much or snores. 

Tom Rebbards opined †hat maybe Tammy needed both Bubba and Billy Bob to get enough feck between them. Those boys wouldn't call "sooey" to keep from being et by hogs.

And Miz Clara remembered when Bubba pulled her car outa the ditch after she had a few at a afternoon tea party (or so she explained it). 

Anyway, to make a long story short, the School Board came to a resolution.

The resolution was to buy Miz Grady a Paint-by-Numbers set, maybe to help her fill the extra time she had on her hands!

Now that's hill folk bein' subtle. Tellin' Miz Grady that she needed to take up a hobby.

Do you have any better solution?

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

The Flying Spaghetti Monster in Tennessee

Several years ago, Crossville, Tennessee had a display of some religious artifacts, and other symbols, that were displayed on the Courthouse lawn. One of those appearing was the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

Apparently most of the local people took it with a sense of humor.

And its appearance made national news.

Alas, his Noodley Appendage is no longer on display. 

But Cookeville, TN has a giant bikini-wearing pink elephant on water skis.