Saturday, May 31, 2008
Summertime has arrived. Anybody not from South Carolina wouldn't understand what we go through every year about this time. It gets hot. I know something about heat. I lived in Texas, where it got over 100 for three weeks straight. The roads melted. Here though it is the humidity which is a killer. Wanda used to say that she was about to sweat, when she got hot. I think we are supposed to perspire, but instead we sweat. When I was a kid, we didn't have air conditioning, and things were okay. As I have gotten older, it seems that I can't stand the heat. Maybe that's why you hear about the elderly dying in the summer without a fan. I am not saying I am elderly, mind you, but every day I get a little closer. When I went to Puerto Rico, they said be aware that it is going to be very hot. It was. Probably because it is closer to the Equator, or that it is near water. Either way, it was hot. So, I guess I will be sweating off a few pounds this summer. Joy joy.
Friday, May 30, 2008
"We the People" is one of those fundamental things in the USA. It is a phrase that is supposed to bring us all together. It is a phrase that creates one country, and we all want to sing "Kum Ba Ya". So, what has happened to us? President Bush is coming here tomorrow to speak at a commencement. Security will be tight for his visit, as it should be. After all, we are at war. There are a lot of people who want to do harm to him. But, we are the people. I may not have voted for him, and I may not agree with his policies, but he is the President. He holds a level of respect. So, he is coming here, and he will speak in a large stadium. It will hold way more people than will be there. But, the event is not open to the public. And to make matters worse, many of the faculty will not be there, because they disagree with Bush's policies. Let me have their seat. I want to see the President, because he is the President, and I have seen all the other Presidents of my lifetime. It will probably be the last time I will have this chance. So, unless I luck out tomorrow, I will miss seeing the President. And while we are on this subject, have you noticed that our candidates do not open their rallies to everyone? Just the ones who support the candidate. So, "We the People" may not exist anymore. Thomas Jefferson is rolling over in his grave. Our country is just for some of the people, not all of the people.
On the news yesterday was the death of Harvey Korman. He was a comedian and actor. I never watched "The Carol Burnett Show" growing up. I don't really know why, unless it was past my bedtime, but I have seen it in reruns later. Harvey was brilliant, although he and Tim Conway tried to break each other up. It was funny to watch. I really found him in "Blazing Saddles". His classic Hedley Lamarr will live forever. Funny people are in our lives to make us laugh and allow us to escape briefly from our problems. People have told me that I am funny. I guess I am on the outward look, but I am going to give you a bit of advice. Get to know the funny people. Almost all of them will have a deeper side. Usually, they are funny to escape from their problems, so it works both ways. If I have made some people laugh, then okay. If others have made me laugh, thank you. Thanks, Hedy. "It's Hedley!"
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Another day in paradise, trying to figure out things. The laptop didn't come with an instruction book. I guess they figure that a stupid person wouldn't get it, or that one could use the online help. After all, I am a guy. If the cam is accidentally on, one would know that. Guys do not read instruction manuals. I never have. So, just bear with me. It only took an hour to get to this point this morning. George Bush is coming to Greenville on Saturday. I hope I can see him, but the security is going to be very tight. As I have said before, I have seen every President in my lifetime, except Kennedy, so here's hoping. Not much to say today, but please don't lose interest in the blog. I will try to be more entertaining soon.
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
I got a new laptop today. You will have to bear with me, as I learn my way around it. It is a Gateway with a webcam, so I will try to be dressed when I type, just in case I activate it. No sense in getting grossed out. But, I think I will enjoy it. And for anyone who may think it was too expensive, you can thank George Bush for sending the check. We will see how it goes. My last computer I bought in 1996, so a lot has changed. Despite what some folks may think, I am not the most tech savvy out there, so it may be a little slow. Check ya later.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Well, boys and girls, we are back from a delightful weekend in Richmond, VA for our family reunion. The food was wonderful. The hotel was nice. And, the flight wasn't too bad. A little bumpy at first, but Bonine is a magic drug. I take back a lot of impressions from the weekend. I met a lot of cousins that I didn't know I had. Almost all of them have blue eyes, which seems to be a Merrill trait. I found out that we have a restored castle in France, and a gold mine in Alabama. I may be going to one or the other before too long. Keith, you and your wife were gracious and patient hosts. Thanks for that. It is truly amazing how much we all have in common. I guess we can blame it on the genes. Now that I have spent some time in Richmond, it will be nice to go back. I can't really say that about Cleveland, although I spent a total of about an hour there between the connections. I guess it is a nice place, but their airport needs to be the gateway to the city, and it didn't make that great of an impression. Since the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is in Cleveland, I would suggest a motif of that to put in the airport. Or something of the sports teams. Just a suggestion. Everyone should have a family reunion once in a while. It truly makes you feel special.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Tomorrow, I leave for a three-day trip to Richmond VA. I am flying, thanks to the graciousness of a cousin. The plane will go from Greenville to Cleveland OH before going on to Richmond. I don't really know why Cleveland, but I have never been to Ohio before, so it will be another state I can count. I think that will bring it to 30 states I have been to. I have been to Richmond before a couple of times. In fact, my parents used to live there before I was born. My father was on the staff of First Baptist Church. As an irony, on May 25th, it will be my parents' 71st wedding anniversary. A friend of mine named Paige got married around 27 years ago on May 25th, because she said it obviously was good luck for my parents. Paige and George are still married. The reunion that I am going to is for the people on my Mother's side. Many of them live in Alabama, which is where my Mother was from. They are all very nice people and have been successful in their chosen fields. I'm going, because I didn't get to go to the last one they had a few years ago. So, I am leaving on a jet plane, don't know when I'll be back again (actually I do). Have a happy and safe holiday.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
My mother was a very wise woman. One thing I remember her telling me was that I have a personality that is rather addictive. She didn't mean that in a bad way, such as alcohol or drugs. She said that if I ever fell in love with someone, that I would fall head over heels for her, and it would consume my life. Mothers are very intuitive. When I fell in love with Pam, it was a mind-altering experience. When I fell in love with Sandra, my life revolved around her. When I fell in love with Kare, I was going through my alcohol phase. When I fell in love with Wanda, she encouraged my creativity. Each time along the way, my love has been a time of being consumed by feelings and promoting my creativity. We may be heading in that direction again. So, addiction to love, much like the Robert Palmer song, does not have to be a bad thing. As long as I don't turn into a stalker. Then, we will have problems. So, how will you know if I am on that path again? I will start writing more songs. That is usually how it goes. For about 10 years, I had writer's block. That is a horrible feeling. Nothing is on my mind to express. A writer needs to write. In the past year, the words are starting to come back. So, we'll see.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
This post is for one person. Hopefully, they know who they are. I certainly do not know who I am. That is a result of acting most of my life. There was a great show that Christopher Walken did several years ago called "Who Am I This Time?" It is sort of my story. I got to be other people. I have been a wise man, a prophet, a bum, a teacher, a professor, a soldier, a detective, a strong man, a Jewish man, an old man, a church goer, a dancer, a football fan, a crazy man, a crook, and a funny man. As a result, sometimes I don't know who I truly am, but I am going to take a stab at it. I think I am creative, funny, smart, worldly, and sensitive. I am a big fan of all kinds of music and movies, except "Star Wars". I collect and sell things, and seem to have a knack for selling. I care about our country and am intensely patriotic. I am a news junkie and love to watch sports, especially football. I also watch a lot of TV, mainly crime shows and comedies. I have a brown belt in karate, or at least I think so. I have a master's degree in Communications. I like to travel, because it broadens one. I like food, as long as it is healthy most of the time. I am an actor and writer. I have also been known to direct. I am shy and have a hard time expressing my feelings one to one, which is why I am writing this. I know a lot about a lot of stuff and can converse on almost any subject, except for maybe nuclear physics. I even like Oprah, except when she does her habit of saying "Yes" to everything her guests say, to make her look like she knows what it is they are talking about. I also know something about computers, although I don't know near as much as some people think I do. So, to this person out there, just know that I care. Maybe one day, you will know that too. Think good thoughts. Friends forever.
A friend told me last night that a friend of hers was attacked over the weekend and is in the hospital. Apparently some guys wanted money. This brings up the topic of personal security. When is it okay to react and defend oneself, and when is it best to run? You never know how you will react, until you are put in that position. I have done both. In Switzerland, I defended myself and then ran. In France, I just ran. The key to all of this is to be aware of your surroundings. I learned early on to not go into an area that was questionable. If I did find myself in an area, establish a 3-foot perimeter. Some say 18 inches, but I think 3 feet is better. Be aware of everything. Try and act like you have eyes in the back of your head. I know this is easy for those after the fact, but if you try and not be the hero, and more of self-preservation, things will turn out better. Now, if anyone thinks I am advocating a bunch of wimpy people, think again. Every situation is different. But, being aware is half of the battle. If you are alone at night, talk out loud to yourself. Muggers don't like attacking crazy people. Also, don't dress to the nines. Don't look like you have money. I don't have that problem, because I don't have any money to begin with. It is best if you are in groups though. That way, you might outnumber the attackers. But, if the guy has a weapon of some sort, give him the money. You can replace that, but you can't replace your life. I know you have heard this all before, but it bears repeating. Be safe.
Monday, May 19, 2008
I have never been a big fan of country music. I like it okay, but not a real fan. The country music that I like is mainly stuff like Willie Nelson, Ricky Skaggs, Bluegrass, and the like. I suppose it would be mostly the old-school country music. The newer stuff reminds me of rock and roll from the earlier days. So, I watched the Country Music Awards show on TV last night. I wanted to see what the music was like, and I found it rather entertaining. It was upbeat, for the most part, and people seemed like they were having a good time. I realized that the rock and roll music that I had been writing for years could be made into country songs too. So, you singers out there, who can't write songs? Call me.
Saturday, May 17, 2008
I went to a tour today sponsored by a local church. They were giving tours of their church and cemetery. A lot of prominent people from Greenville were buried there, including the man who started the town. The church's people were all very proud of their church and did a good job in telling the story. So, I got to thinking. How many of us don't care what happened in the past? How many are just thinking about today and worrying about the future? The past is important, as long as you don't live in the past. I used to do that. I used to dwell on the things that happened to me years ago and lost sight of the present. A friend of mine told me today that I needed to be more positive about myself. Good advice. To those out there that I may have wronged in the past, I'm sorry for the umpteenth time. I can't tell that to BJ, which is one I'll just have to live with and move on. And to those out there who may want to move on with me, let's go. It is okay to remember the past. It is not okay to stay there. So, thank you to all of those who have come before us, and let's look to tomorrow.
Friday, May 16, 2008
When I went to an audition for the mini-series "Chiefs", they said they really liked me, and I did great. But, I was the wrong body type. I was supposed to play the deputy to Brad Davis. Brad was short and thin. I am tall and thin. But, they got an actor who was tall and fat instead. It didn't matter that I was more talented. I was the wrong body type. It is like that in life. Society cares more about how you look than what is inside. The same thing with relationships. How many times have you been attracted to a good-looking person? Not the ones with the good personalities. Not the smart people. Not the ones with a good sense of humor. It is the attractive types. If you look at the bridal pictures in the paper on Sunday, look to see how many are attractive. Will those relationships last? Hard to say. The problem I have had over the years is poor self esteem. I know I am not the most handsome man on the planet. I am not muy caliente, if that's how you spell it. I am not macho. But, I think I do have some good qualities. I am funny. I am somewhat lovable. I am sensitive and kind, usually. I am very creative, which makes me slightly quirky. So, to all you women out there, when you are tired of the pretty boys, let me know. I'm pretty loyal. Call me.
Another self-pity post. After all, it seems that I am the only one that has pity on me. Most people just want me to be the happy, funny guy who takes nothing seriously. When I am serious, people don't want to hear about it. That is why I have lost contact with some family and friends. They don't want to hear bad stuff, and they don't want to be bothered. So, for all of those out there who are still reading this, here goes. My mother told me early on that I was a miracle baby. She had some sort of operation so that I could be born. I don't know the details. So, I came along into a world of cruelty and unfairness. I got to thinking last night what if I wasn't born? Would the world be any different for others? Although, during one of my mind-altering states, when I was much younger, I discovered that I was once a 16 year old boy starving under a bridge in London in the 1600's. I don't know if we have previous lives or future lives. The jury is still out on that one. But, what if I had not come along? Would anyone care outside my immediate family? How much of an impact have I made on society? I would say marginal at best. Sure, I have brought joy into people's lives through my acting and music. I suppose I have made people happier by giving them a smile. I suppose that I have helped people have better lives through my retail experience. I may have even inspired some people to do better. But, when it comes down to it, would I have been missed if I had never come along? Would someone else done what I did? Am I that unique? Konnie seems to think so. She calls me a unique person. And if I left today, how many people would miss me? Probably several at first, but then the feeling would not be as strong as time went on. They probably would not be doing shows on me 10 years after the fact. There were three reasons why I got into acting. The first was to escape from my awful life. The second was that I could make good grades doing it. And, the third was the applause. The theatre was the only place where I would get applause. It certainly wasn't in real life. No hugs or kisses in real life. No smiles or people telling you that you did a good job in real life. But, in the confines of a theatre, people loved you. I think you have to have a stage experience to understand the emotional high from getting applause. I think I have rambled enough about this today. Thanks for letting me feel sorry for myself. I need a hug. But, since I am not going to get a hug from anyone, family or otherwise, why don't you hug someone and think of me? It won't be the same, but at least someone would remember me. Oh, but don't call out my name during an activity. I think you would get in trouble for that, and I don't need any more trouble. Have a good weekend.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
I have always believed that Lee Harvey Oswald did not act alone, nor did James Earl Ray. There are times in life when big events like that could not be accomplished by one person. I am not going to get into a discussion on history or controversy right now, but it brings up a point that needs to be discussed. As this is my 100th post in my blog, I wanted to talk today about the importance in my life of a few people, and how others want to see something different. I worked with a good bunch of people for almost 12 years, before I decided to make a life-changing decision. As much as I hated to leave these people, it became increasingly obvious to me that I was going to die and take others with me, if I didn't leave. The stress at work was too hard to take. It was much worse than the final days at Belk, and I didn't think anything could be worse than that. Incompetent people put in supervisory positions makes it impossible to work. But, having said that, I deeply care about a few people that I worked with. In particular--Joni, Peggy, Ne'cole, James and Deloris. I live such a spartan existence that it makes my heart jump for joy, when I see these people again. They make me laugh, and I can have meaningful conversations with them. It is a time that makes me feel alive. It is a time that I sorely miss. So, from time to time, I visit them. Now, there are other more shallow fringe people at my former job who murmur things. They spread rumors. They suggest theories that I am down there to try and get my old job back. If it meant that I wouldn't have to work with the incompetent managers, then yes I would like to come back. But, life is not like that. The reality is that it is not a rosy place. Why would I want to subject myself to that abuse again? I may be weird, but not that weird. I will admit though that I like to mess with some people's minds. "Let's give them something to talk about..." When I worked at Belk, being single around a lot of young girls was quite nice. I went out a lot with the girls to dinner, Carowinds, and other places. The store had a lot of rumors swirling about how many girls I was dating. I used to say that if all of that were true, I would be dead from a heart attack. But, I had friends. I believe in friends. I have life-long friends. People that I care about. People that I am concerned about. And, dare I say it without more rumors starting, people that I love. So, to all those shallow minds out there, who do not know me, go ahead and spread your rumors. It doesn't matter to me. And, to all my real friends, please let me go on loving you and thanks for letting me visit from time to time. It does my heart good. In closing today on my 100th post, I want to quote from a Carpenters song--"You've got to love me for what I am, For simply being me."
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
I have been selling stuff via mail order since 1988. That was when my father finally convinced me that I could make money selling my stuff. He just wanted it out of the house, because it was causing the foundation to sag, and one wall in my bedroom cracked. I began selling records, videos, and posters. I went to record shows and antique shows around South Carolina and into North Carolina. I got a reputation of being fair and honest with customers. I put ads in collector magazines. Then, the internet got big. I began selling on eBay 10 years ago and did okay. Mostly records, cd's, autographs, and memorabilia. A couple of years ago, I discovered Amazon, and have a store there. I was able to list a lot of things, including books, and have done okay there too. I really would like to open my own pop memorabilia store, so if anyone wants to contribute to that, feel free. I have "out-of-the-box" ideas on how to make it work. Without giving anything away, it would be a multi-media store. One thing I have found out about myself is that other people underestimate my abilities, and are pleasantly surprised. You see it in the deal about me being picked last for sports. You see it in folks being surprised about my acting talents. You see it in folks being surprised in my writing talents. And, you see it in folks being surprised about my selling techniques. So, all I ask is a chance. In the meantime, if you are looking for something in particular, let me know. I probably have it, or can get it for you.
Monday, May 12, 2008
I have to say that I am a very spiritual person. Sometimes, it is a little hard to be spiritual, but it has been a part of my life since day one. When I was 14, my parents sent me to summer camp in the mountains called Camp Greenville. I was having some pretty tough emotional problems, and they thought camp would be a good thing. There is a chapel on the side of the mountain called "Pretty Place". It is an open-air chapel with benches, and it looks out over the valley below. You must see it before you die. The campers went there the last Sunday before we were to leave for a service. The sun was just coming up. I saw a golden city on the horizon. I was not on drugs. I pinched myself, thinking I was dreaming, but I wasn't. The golden city had three skyscrapers, with the middle one being taller than the other two. There is no city like that within 50 miles of that place. I saw it, but no one else did. I was scared that I was going to die that day. When my parents picked me up that afternoon, I was sure that we were going to die in a car accident, but we didn't. I am convinced that it was a vision from God of Heaven. I cannot explain it any other way. The second vision came, when I was a freshman in college. One Sunday night, I was sitting alone in the baseball bleachers just thinking. It was a good place to get away and be by myself. There was a little fog and mist in the air. I looked across the field toward my dorm, and I saw a black and white picture in the air of a man sitting in a chair and surrounded by a woman and a girl. The girl I recognized as the girl I loved at the time who was Sandra. But, I didn't know who the other two people were. I got up from the bleachers and ran toward the picture in the air. The closer I got to it, the bigger it got. Then, when I got over to it, it went away. I was not on drugs here either. About a year later, I saw Sandra's parents for the first time. They were the man and woman in the vision. Psychic? Maybe. But, it was quite obvious that it was a sign of comfort and family, and I knew that Sandra and I were meant to be together, at least at that time. Things didn't work out in the long run, but it was nice while it lasted. You may not believe in visions, but I do.
I am a songwriter. I have written songs since the 4th grade, when I wrote a song called "People". The tune was pretty close to "Listen People" by Herman's Hermits, but my version was written 3 months before theirs was released. Maybe I was psychic, and I think I was too young to sue. Anyway, I found that my poetry could be used for songs early on. Later, I wrote songs that one could actually sing. One of earliest real attempts was a song I wrote on a plane, coming back from Europe. It was called "The Children's Song", and it was inspired by all the suffering we saw in Israel. I worked on that song for most of the flight. A few years later, I sent it to Pope John Paul II, because I was touched as to his caring for children. The Vatican sent it back to me, saying the Pope had blessed my song. When The Cobbwebs came along, and I needed to write songs for the group, I found that I could churn out songs pretty quickly. Usually in less than 30 minutes. If I am inspired, it happens fast. If I have to work harder, it can take days. But usually, the quicker the time--the better the song. I don't know where the words come from, but I am a firm believer in divine inspiration. My talent comes from God. That's the way it is. When I write, I have a basic melody in my head, and I put the words to that melody. I do it that way, because It is easier to get the beat down right. When I give the lyrics to Chris for him to do the music, he will put his own music to my words. Most of the time, the music is entirely different from my original thought process, but it works. Another trick is whether the song is going to be commercial or not. I can usually tell. Most of the time, I don't write a song to be commercial. I write from the heart. But, if I write something like "She Said Yes" and the companion "She Said No", then that would be more commercial than say something like "Fences". And what is the best song I have written so far? That's hard to say, as all of them are like my children, but if I would have to pick, I would say "Dream Girl", "Whole New World (No Regrets)" or "One More Time". Technically, those are the best. Maybe one day, others will think so too. And the worst? "Ode to a June Bug", but that's just my opinion.
Friday, May 9, 2008
Mother's Day is coming up on Sunday. Since some folks may be reading this at work, I thought I would share some things about my Mother. Her name was Mary Frances Merrill Durst, and she lived from 1915 to 2004. She was 38, when she had me. My brother was almost 8 years older, so we were raised sort of separately. Mother was very in to the arts. She loved to read, and was in a book club for a long time, until her eyesight began to fail. She got macular degeneration, which most of her siblings did, too. In 1964, she heard something about a band from England that was good. They were on the Ed Sullivan Show, and she suggested I watch it. That night, The Beatles zapped me through the TV. She also had a love for movies, and she shared that love with me. She especially liked James Bond movies. So, she was responsible for introducing me to my two big loves--The Beatles and James Bond. Daddy was gone a lot with his job, so Mother raised me. When we moved to Columbia, Mother had to learn how to drive. I went along with her, when she took driving lessons. That was quite an experience, but she did very well. She was a disciplinarian, but she also loved me very much. When she had her stroke in 1991 that left her paralyzed on one side and unable to speak at first, she would always smile. The people at the rehab center said how uplifting she was, and she always had a sweet spirit. When she began to speak again, it was mostly a whisper. I had to be an interpreter for Daddy, as he had a hard time hearing her. When you would ask her how she was doing, her usual response was "Oh fine", and then she would smile. Even though she was not doing well, she would smile. Toward the end of her life, she was having a hard time speaking again. I would sit with her, and she would smile, and we would hold hands. She would squeeze my hand so hard that it would hurt, but I could feel her love. When she died, I put a Paul McCartney button in her casket as a thank you for introducing me to the music. A Beatles song came over the muzak at that time. It was quite moving. Mother came from a family in Alabama that taught them not to cry. Crying was a sign of weakness. I only saw my Mother cry twice in her life. Once was when Daddy died, and once when one of her brothers died. I am afraid I didn't inherit that quality of not crying. As I write this, there are tears in my eyes. I miss my Mother, and I know one day we will be reunited in Heaven. So, on this Mother's Day, if your Mother is still living, say something nice. If she has passed away, think good thoughts. I thank God for my Mother. I hope you can do the same for yours. Have a good day.
Thursday, May 8, 2008
In 1969, there was a music festival called Woodstock. You may have heard of it. They made a movie about it, and their was a killer soundtrack. This event was one of those that made a big impact on me. I was in high school. My parents did not allow me to have long hair, so I was a short-haired hippie, and my nickname became "The Woodstock Kid". All hippies at that time had nicknames. There was Rainbow, Sunshine, and others. I was the Woodstock Kid. I even had my church friends over for a youth fellowship one Sunday night, and we played 3 sides of the soundtrack for our music. Some wanted to play the Fish Cheer, but we couldn't, even though they tried. When I went to college, I was able to wear my hair longer. It never went below my shoulders, but it was long enough to be a card-carrying hippie. And of course, I never washed it. Maybe that's why I am getting bald now. But, it was the idea of sex, drugs and rock n roll that appealed to me. I got involved in the anti-war movement, which we have discussed previously. I also got involved in some other stuff, that I think has been discussed, as well. But, alot was about the music. As the years have gone on, I have tried to see as many music acts as I could who were at the first Woodstock Music and Arts Fair. It has not been easy, especially since some of the folks are dead like Jimi, Janis, Jerry, and a few others. But, here is the list as it stands today: Mountain, Canned Heat, The Who, Crosby Stills and Nash, Richie Havens, Bob Weir from The Grateful Dead, Johnny Winter, and Tim Hardin. Peace and love.
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
As some of you may know, I have never seen "Star Wars" or any of the subsequent movies in the series. I love movies, and sci-fi movies, but I will never watch this one. I am sure it is very entertaining, but there is a perfectly good reason. When I lived in Texas, I worked for a store that sold toys. I was there, when the first "Star Wars" came out. There were toys and action figures for every character. As soon as we got them in, we would sell out. So, there would be mothers with small children coming in the store and wanting the toys. When I told them that we had sold out, the mothers would scream at me, and the kids would kick me. They would cry very loud. There was nothing I could do. They wanted me to make the toys, I guess. So, it really turned me off to the entire movie franchise, and I promised myself that I would never see the movies. I came close once, when one came on TV. I didn't know what it was and watched it for a couple of minutes. When I realized what it was, I cut it off. That was close. And, for those of you that think "Star Wars" is the greatest, consider this...there was a Swedish film that came out in the late 1960's called "Fanny Hill". It was an art film, as they used to call it in those days. The theme song was written by a Swedish guy. The theme to "Star Wars" was written by John Williams, but it is the exact tune to the "Fanny Hill" theme but in a different key and sped up. How do I know this? I used to have the soundtrack to "Fanny Hill", and of course heard "Star Wars" on the radio. So, did John Williams use the Swedish guy's music? Hard to say, but it is very curious. "Luke, I am your father".
Another example of how crazy our country has become was in the paper this morning. There is a college in South Carolina called Newberry. They actually wanted me to come teach there once, but I never did. The drive would have been too far. But, their mascot is the Indian. But, somebody complained to the NCAA that it wasn't politically correct to call them the Indians, so they are having to change their name to something else that they are going to have to vote on later. I went to Anderson College. Their mascot is the Trojans. That is also the name of a condom. Should the right to life folks complain about that name? I also went to Presbyterian College, which has the same initials as "politically correct". PC is far from politically correct in many ways. But their mascot is Blue Hose. What? It took me almost two years to figure that one out. It has something to do with Scotland and socks. But, could the Irish or people who don't wear socks complain about that name? TCU's mascot is the horned frog. We used to call it the horny frog. At any rate, are we making fun of a species? The University of South Carolina's mascot is the Gamecock. They were told a few years back that they couldn't say "Go Cocks", because it offended somebody, but folks still do it. The Gamecock is a fighting chicken or rooster. Is that offensive because of some people being arrested for training fighting birds for sport? Kind of like fighting dogs. Ask Michael Vick. And what about Georgia Tech? Theirs is the Yellow Jacket. A flying bug that stings. I am allergic to bug stings. I swell up. My uncle was so allergic, he would have to go to the hospital, if he got stung, or could have even died. Sounds like Georgia Tech should be more sensitive to allergies. So, the point I am making here is that you can take things a little too far. Just for your own agenda and seeing your name in the paper. Let's all just try and get along. Oh, and if the Indians are so upset about Newberry, why don't they change their official names to something like Apache Native Americans Who Aren't Really Native To This Country? If they were, they would be Eskimos.
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
First of all, let's say hey to Katie. Ooo. Katie Holmes? Katie Couric? Katie knows who she is. Hey, Katie and thanks for the kind words. Now to politics. The race between Barack and Hillary is getting nastier. Neither one wants to admit it, but it is. The funny one now is the gas tax debate. Okay, let's look at this rationally. What do Barack and Hillary do for a living? They are both senators. What are they mainly doing now? Running for President of the USA. Okay, who has the authority to put a lull on the gas tax? First, the House of Representatives and then the President of the USA, which in this case is George W. Bush. So, Barack and Hillary can promise the sun, moon and stars to voters to get them to vote in the primaries, but guess what? Neither one of them can actually do anything about what they promise. So, while the drivers of America are complaining about how much it costs to drive, nothing will be done. And by November, when we vote for a President between McCain, Nader, the Libertarian, the other parties, and whoever is the Democratic nominee, something else will come up to attract our attentions. So, without sounding racist or sexist, it basically comes down to either you want to vote for a woman or a black man. Forget everything else. Because they can't do anything. In SC, we had a Governor named Carroll Campbell. He was a good man, but he got elected because he was going to lower car insurance rates. Everyone wanted lower rates. Well, guess what? He couldn't do anything about the rates. So, just put all the issues out of your mind and think who would be more Presidential. It is going to be a long time until November.
When I was in school, there were three languages you could take. There was Latin for those folks either going into medicine or were Catholic. There was Spanish for those folks who thought French was too hard. And, there was French for those folks perceived to be a cut above those taking Spanish. I went with French, because my brother had French, and he helped me with understanding numbers and the alphabet. In junior high and high school, I took French. I had to repeat one year of it, because I failed. One year, I had a teacher who had dated my brother. I don't know wht happened, but I passed that class. Another year, I had a cousin as my teacher. I thought that would be a breeze. She failed me. You just never know. When I went to college, I took a language exam to determine where I would be placed. I could say hello and goodbye in French, so I was put in the advanced class. It consisted of reading books in French, so I had the French book in one hand and a French dictionary in the other. My teacher in college had dated my father. She passed me. So, when I visited Paris, I thought I was hot stuff. I had 5 years of French. I could speak it and write it. I knew what the words meant. My first day in Paris was quite eye-opening. A large man came up to me and said something real fast. I could tell he was asking directions, but that was about it. He was speaking a foreign language, and I had no clue. All I could say to him was "I don't know, I'm an American" in French. He patted me on the back and apologized, as he went away laughing. I found out later that the French they teach you in schools is the French they speak on the Riviera, and not Parisian French. The same thing happened on our tour to a Spanish teacher. When we got to Spain, she looked at the menu and couldn't read it. Her Spanish was Mexican Spanish, which is different than the Spanish they speak in Spain. A friend in my high school took Russian. That seemed to be popular in the late 1970's. Now, it's not. I think now it is Spanish or Chinese. I took a crash course in Spanish to go to Puerto Rico to teach kids one summer. I found it easy to learn Spanish after taking French. But, one thing that might help you about all of this is that you can go anywhere in the world and speak English. Most people are going to know what you are saying. However, if you take a stab at their language, they are going to respect you more. Also, you need to be good with gestures. Just be careful, because sometimes a gesture might mean something entirely different to them. Don't use the OK sign in Greece, for example. Maybe one day we will all speak the same language. The language of love and peace. We can only hope.
Monday, May 5, 2008
If there are any insurance salesmen out there, I do not wish to offend you. But, here's the story. On Saturday, I filled out a form to get info on health insurance. I was just curious as to how much it cost. So, about two seconds after I hit "enter", the phone rang, and it was an insurance salesman. Within 15 minutes, I had 3 other salesmen call me plus two others via e-mail. And this is on a Saturday afternoon. Sunday brought more e-mails giving me info on insurance plans. I know that folks are on commission, but this was like a feeding frenzy. It was quite amazing.
Happy Cinco de Mayo everybody. You know, when I lived in Texas in the mid to late 1970's, I had Hispanic friends. I went to Mexican restaurants, especially Joe T. Garcia's. I even lived behind a Mexican restaurant for a month and loved the smell every morning or cooking bread. But, we didn't celebrate Mexican holidays. We celebrated American holidays. They may have done different stuff on the 4th of July, and we may have done it with them, but it was an American thing. I am not opposed to people coming to this country from other lands. I am opposed to those people taking away our culture and replacing it with theirs. I was at a flea market yesterday in Greenville. If I had yelled out "Immigration", there would have been about six people left after the stampede. I like the Hispanics. They are good people. They are hard-working people. They are loving people. They are fun people. But, they should just remember that they live in America with the rest of us. So, since I have French and German heritage, I am just giving you fair warning that I will be celebrating Bastille Day and Octoberfest. Where's the nachos?
Sunday, May 4, 2008
I am not a fan of cell phones. I had a pre-paid one, but the minutes ran out. I think it won't work anymore. My belief is that cell phone companies have grown to rip-off the consumer. Why does everyone need a cell phone? Do we need to talk that much to others? I can see getting one if you have kids to keep up with them. But, what every happened to privacy. Sometimes, you just need to have time by yourself without distractions. Remember CB's? They were fun to have on trips. But now, cell phones are everywhere. So, I am now looking to get a cell phone. I think I want a pre-paid again, since my credit is bad. If anybody has any suggestions of what I should get, please let me know. I have a landline phone now, and I pay around $30 a month for it. So, I don't want to spend more than that for a cell phone. The only reason I would like one I think would be in case of an emergency. I still think they are evil.
Saturday, May 3, 2008
How do you know if you love someone? I used to know the answer to this question, but it has been a long time. Is it when you think about someone all the time? Is it when you lose sleep or can't eat? The problem I have had over the years has been that I tend to love those who are already attached to someone else. The one who wasn't killed herself over me, and I didn't love her. Between my extreme shyness and the need to deny my feelings, it is almost impossible to be happy. And then, if I tell someone that I love them, they usually just laugh and think I'm kidding. I guess because I try and not take things too seriously and try and make others happy, so if I am serious, they think I'm kidding. So, I think I may be going through this again. If I am, then I know how it will end. That's why I have never married. It always ends badly. I guess the other person will have to make the move. I never understood why the guy had to always be the one to ask the girl out. Why not the other way around? There is just so much pressure. We live in a liberated society, right? Sometimes, I need to be hit over the head to see things. I may have missed something somewhere along the line, when it came to girls' feelings. So, call me. I know I won't call you. I can't. I forgot how to use the phone. Friends? Yes, just friends. Nothing more serious. It never can be. I feel the walls going back up now. The walls keep me away from my true feelings. They keep me from being happy. Happy is not a word in my vocabulary. Okay, here we go with the self-pity. And, don't try and do any matchmaking. That hasn't worked either. Let me be miserable. I was asked recently if I knew anyone who was depressed. Hello? It's me. I've been around here such a long long time. Listen to the Todd Rundgren song. Then you'll understand. Sorry I wasted your time.
When I was in seminary, I took a class on millennialism. There are three basic philosophies. One is called "pre-millennialism", which means that you will be raised from your grave and go to heaven before the 1000-year war. The second is called "post-millennialism", which says that you will be raised from your grave and go to heaven after the 1000-year war. The third is "a-millennialism", which means that you will be raised from your grave and go to heaven at an appointed time. I fall into the third category. Most evangelicals go for the first category. Not too many folks believe in the second one. So, at the end of the class, the professor said he would tell us what he believed. But, on that day, he said that it really didn't matter what you believe, as long as the end result was the same--going to heaven. There are a lot of things out there that people fight over. But, in the end, it really doesn't matter, as long as the end result is where you want to be.
Friday, May 2, 2008
I have always tried to find the good in people. My parents said that was an admirable trait that I had. No matter how bad someone seems, there has to be a good quality that they have. But, I have run across an evil person. As I get older, I have seen that sometimes folks try to be evil to make up for their lack of being competent. I think that is the problem here. There is a woman I know who is the manager of a large store. It is the first time she has managed anything. To make herself big, and to consolidate her power, she has fired others or caused them to quit. She is very uncaring. If someone left, I would say not to take it personally. It's business. But, she makes it personal. I believe she is evil. I am a firm believer of what goes around, comes around. I just hope that she leaves before she makes more good people leave. I don't suggest that any harm come to her, but somebody higher up than her needs to open their eyes. It is the Peter Principle in action. My eyes opened, and I can see clearly now. It is going to be a bright sunshiny day.