Friday, February 27, 2009

Octuplet Mom

For the life of me, I do not understand why the "Octuplet Mom" is on all of the entertainment shows. Has our society stooped so low that a woman with eight babies is entertainment? I can see that it was news, when she had them, because people don't have 8 babies very often. But, entertainment? We don't need to know that she and her mother argue. We don't need to know that her father considers her emotionally unstable. We don't need to know that she lives in a small house that is about to be foreclosed. A neighbor was cited by the police for threatening the paparazzi with a gun. He just wanted them to get off of his property. The mom has been given a $1 million offer from an adult video company to appear in one of their movies. And, if she agrees to more than one, they will pay all of her hospital expenses. Is our country just a little crazy? And, who is the worst? Entertainment Tonight. And, guess which show has no way to contact them either through email or snail mail? Entertainment Tonight. I never really liked Wheel of Fortune, and it comes on here opposite Entertainment Tonight, but I have started changing the channel, when another story on the mom comes on ET. I do not condone the actions of the mom. I personally think she has some serious problems. And those babies, as well as her other children, are going to suffer greatly. But, let's all get a life and leave her alone.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Countdown Continues

I have just about moved everything to Columbia. I took the last of the boxes today. The only thing left to move is some furniture, and I am only going to take the things that I can carry out by myself. I had wanted someone to help me with a couple of pieces, but unfortunately no one came forward to help me, so some things will just have to stay. Maybe my roommate could sell them to make up for the rent I never paid him. I have two trash bags of clothes that I can no longer wear, so I guess they will be donated to Goodwill. So, what furniture will I be taking? There is a rocker that belonged to my Grandmother. There is a bookcase that belonged to my brother. There is a cardboard desk that I got from the Census, when I worked for them. There is a lightweight table that I got from Belk that they made for a display. There is a Sony stereo cabinet that I got from Rich's, when we closed the TV dept. There is my typewriter table that I use for my laptop. And maybe my bed frame. I sleep on the same mattress that my parents bought for me in 1962. The springs are poking me, and I have had to put cardboard boxes between them and me. It isn't the most comfortable sleep, so I am leaving the mattress. The things I am going to have to leave are three bookcases, my chest of drawers, my dresser, and two large Pioneer speakers that John Wrightenberry gave me. I haven't told my roommate yet that he is getting them. He told me tonight that I could stay here as long as he is, but I really need to cut and run. He can be nice. Sometimes. So, what else am I taking? I have the essentials--clothes, toiletries, medicine, a small TV, a radio, a box of papers, a box of stuff, and my bedding. That's really about it. I also have to go by Simple Pleasures in Simpsonville and pick up the autographs. Wherever I end up, I am going to need something to sell on the internet just to get some money coming in. I have not sold anything since Christmas and have felt like I have been denied from making any money. So, I can sell autographs, concert t-shirts, and custom caps. The memorabilia and records are in the storage facility, so I can't get to them right now. It depends on where I go. If someone takes me in Columbia, I can have better access to my stuff. If I stay in Greenville a while longer, I will have to just go with what is here, but I need to get back into that activity. Do I seem to be rambling? Yes, I guess so. So, the countdown continues. I don't know when. I can be very quiet. Just in case you may have an extra room. I need to be out by next week.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Winning Something

I haven't won much in my life. When I was in high school, I won some Best Speaker awards in Forensics. When I was in college, I won a few drama awards. At Belk, I won the Best Buyer Award and the Sexiest Legs Award. I think they gave me that one out of pity. Publishers Clearing House keeps telling me that I am going to be their big winner, but I think they tell that to everybody. At Rich's, my Lamp Department, which I was the only salesperson, was given the sales award for all the departments in the company. But, today I got an award in the mail for second place in the forelorn lovers contest put on by WUSA TV in Washington DC. They wanted stories of jilted love, so I wrote of an experience I had many years ago. I came in second. I got a small box of valentine candy, which I must admit I have eaten most of it already. The story I wrote about was true. I have already written about it here, so head back to July and read about it, if you dare. I must say, without getting too sappy, that I have won something much better than a tangible gift. I have won another day. Another day to live. And friends to share it with. I don't know how many more days I have. No one really does. But, given all that has happened over the years to me, that award means more than anything else. When I was in school and doing movies, I wrote an Academy Award speech. I thought one day I would get one. As I have gotten older, I have realized that maybe I won't ever get to make that speech. But, I still have it just in case. I can hope. Hope keeps me going. And believing. I don't have to win. Just one more day.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Ponderable Question

What is a ponderable question? It is something that makes you go hmmmmm. As an actor, I was trained to look at people and situations. See how people react and then use that to create a character. So, here is a ponderable question. Why do old people make faces at young children? And, why do the young children think the old people are funny? You don't see it as much with middle-aged people or younger. There is a movie out now with Brad Pitt called "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button". I haven't seen it, although I hear it is very good. It is about an old man who grows younger. Maybe there is a connection between the old and the very young. It used to bother the fool out of me, when I saw my father make faces at strange children. Usually, this took place in restaurants. He took joy in making these children laugh. Their parents thought it was cute, I guess, but it embarrassed me. I guess this is one reason why I haven't had kids. Maybe, you need to have had kids to fully appreciate the concept of old people making young children laugh. Maybe, it is a special talent you acquire by being a parent. Whatever it is, it makes me wonder. The jury is still out on that one. Maybe, I am a bit more like Clint Eastwood in "Gran Turino". Just a thought.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Not Morbid

Some of my posts have been pretty morbid. I am sorry for that, if I brought anybody down. Any regular reader will know that things have been pretty tough to keep going. But, I don't mean for this post to be morbid. My father's first job after seminary was at First Baptist Church in Spartanburg. He was the Minister of Education. In fact, I think he was the first one at any church in the Southern Baptist Convention on a full-time basis. One of the members of that church was a man named Mr. Bobo. He owned the local funeral home. He and my father became very good friends, and Mr. Bobo wanted Daddy to come to work with him as a mortician. My mother put her foot down and said no. She didn't want to be around dead people. So, Daddy thanked Mr. Bobo and went on with his religious education work. But, Daddy loved funerals. He loved to go to them and to perform them. And one thing that he was a stickler about was planning his own funeral. He wrote it out in great detail, as to who was to do what, and what songs were to be played. When Daddy died on September 28th, 1999, all I had to do was to take his funeral wishes and make the calls to the people who would be on the program. It was very easy. Daddy made it easy. And, his funeral went off without a hitch. My brother and I knew that he was smiling down from Heaven, and he was at peace. I must admit that I don't remember a lot about his funeral, because I was "comfortably numb" as in the Pink Floyd song. That was my way of coping. But, we respected his wishes. I have been to a lot of funerals in my life. I think it is a way of honoring the people who have passed on. The first funeral that I went to was my Grandfather's in Alabama, when I was 5. I didn't share quite the same excitement as my father had for funerals, but they are necessary. In the spirit of planning, I would like to put out my funeral wishes:
I would prefer Rev. Marshall Edwards or Rev. Tommy Huggins to conduct the service. It should start with a prayer, and then the reading of John 14.
After that, I would like Chris Sanders to sing "In My Life" by The Beatles.
After that, I would like the reading of Psalm 23.
After that, there will be the singing of the hymn "Amazing Grace". It's a family favorite.
After that, there will be the eulogy. Maybe Thom Stone could do that.
To end the service, Thom and Mary Ann Stone will sing "Smile" by Charles Chaplin, which will be used as a recessional.
I am not sure about where Marshall can be found, but Tommy is currently the pastor of the First Baptist Church in St. Matthews, SC. Chris lives in Antioch, TN. Thom and Mary Ann live in St. Matthews. So, that is about it. I want my funeral to be a celebration and leave it smiling. Not morbid.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day to you and yours. This is my day of mourning, to reflect on all of those past loves and what might have been. You know, I am a big fan of "what if". So, I am not giving out any candy today nor any cards. As a kid, we gave out valentines in our classes, and it was so traumatic, because every kid wanted to have the most. I wasn't very popular. You know that commercial on TV about the little boy with his knit cap as his security blanket? That could have been me. Now to the present day. I had to take another trip to the emergency room last night around 11. I was vomiting, and the pain would not go away. Not to gross any of you out, but I have also been constipated since Monday. It was a by-product of my medicine. I went to the drugstore yesterday afternoon and picked up a laxative. I hadn't taken that before, so I didn't know what to expect, but I believe that is where a lot of my discomfort was coming from. So, at 2, I took it. It said that it works from 6-12 hours. When 8 came around, nothing happened. The pain was worse. Finally, I asked my roommate to take me back to the ER. They were nice but scolded me on not making an appointment with a specialist, since I had apparently not passed the kidney stone. Well, if you don't have health insurance, and you don't have money, a specialist is probably out of the question. So, they did more tests on me. They drew blood and put a pain killer through my vein. That helped. Then, they had me drink a liquid to flush out my pipes. While that was taking effect, they did a sonargram on me. Lo and behold, the kidney stone that was supposed to be in my bladder was actually still in my kidney. A misdiagnosis from Monday. At around 2am this morning, the dam broke. The two laxatives kicked in, and boy howdy. There was a lot. By now, we had gotten back to the condo. I camped out in the bathroom, which is pretty small. I even brought in a blanket and slept on the floor for a while, until my roommate woke me up. I got myself back to my bed and passed out. My dear internal clock told me to wake up at 7, which I did and stayed up for about an hour. Then, I turned my internal clock off and went back to sleep, getting up around 1pm. I never have slept that long before, except the time I passed out for two days from drinking 22 beers in 3 hours, when I was in college. But, that's another story. I am a little groggy now, but not in much pain. I haven't taken any medicine today and had very little to eat, but I think I have turned the tide. Now, if only I can pass the stone. Maybe one day. If anyone reading this spots any mispelled words, you will get a free trip to Lesotho, courtesy of me. (Not really). Anyway, my very tight budget didn't plan on this. I am now down to $100 to my name. God help us all. Happy Valentine's Day.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Friday the 13th

Today is Friday the 13th. It is for superstitious people. Don't step on a crack. Don't spill salt. Don't break a mirror. And so on. I am not very superstitious, really only about the theatre. If I am performing, I do a few things that I do everytime. So, here is another secret. Before I go on, I use the same towel that I used at Anderson College, if I have to use make-up. The towel is a little gross, but it is like a security blanket. Another thing I do is exercise. I learned this at Presbyterian College. I was doing a play at a church once, and a woman saw me doing my exercises and thought I was Pentacostal. The last thing I do is find a quiet place and say a prayer. I started this at Anderson College. It is a simple prayer that asks God to give me peace and a clear head, and with hope that someone in the audience will get something out of my performance. So, that's what I do. This day also reminds us of horror films. You know, the Friday the 13th series, Halloween, Alien, and so many more. Horror films don't scare me much. In fact, Alien was a comedy for me, because when I saw it, it was in a theatre with a bunch of soldiers, and they laughed all through it. The scariest movie I have ever seen was The Ghost and Mister Chicken with Don Knotts. Why? The organ music. It put me under my chair. So, take this day with a grain of salt. It shouldn't be that bad, unless you see a black cat.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Emergency Room

Around 5pm yesterday, I developed severe abdominal pain. At first, I thought I had pulled a muscle in my back, because I had carried a TV downstairs to my car for another load to move. I took some Tylenol, but the pain wouldn't go away. Then, I thought it was a bladder infection. I had not had one of those in about 20 years, and that was the awfulest pain, but I had taken steps not to have one of those again. I put some Ben Gay on my back, but still no relief. Finally at 8:30, I asked my roommate to take me to the hospital. The pain was just awful, and I had to find out why. When I was 3, I had a hernia operation in New Orleans. My mother asked the doctor to take out my appendix too, but he forgot. So naturally, I thought that could be the problem, but I didn't have a fever. We got to the emergency room, and the initial diagnosis was a pulled muscle. After talking to the doctor, she ordered a CAT scan. That was a new experience. It actually was kind of cool, despite the pain. So, the doctor said that I had a 2cm kidney stone that had moved to my bladder. I don't know how big 2cm is, but it is big enough to cause pain. They gave me prescriptions for Flomax and a pain killer. I was there for almost 4 hours. My roommate was nice to take me to the drug store afterwards. I am feeling a little better this morning with some pain. I hope this too will pass, no pun intended. What else can happen to me?

Monday, February 9, 2009

The Orangutans

I am not big on evolution. I tend to believe that God created the heavens and the earth. But, if you visit the zoo, like I like to do, you will see a lot of human characteristics in the animals. Having been in retail for 30 years, I can tell you that humans act a lot like animals, so it is pretty much even. I wanted to write a bit though about the Orangutans. These animals are primates, and it is said that their behavior is much like humans. I can attest to that. There are 3 in the family. A mother. A father. And, a baby. The baby is old enough to climb but is still unsure about the ground. The father lies around. And, the mother watches over the baby, just to make sure it is okay. As I was watching them, the baby was hanging on a rope and swinging over toward its father. He would grab hold of the father and let go, swinging back and forth. The father allowed the baby to play with him for a while, and then he went over to another part of the area to lie down. Then, the baby went over to its mother and started to play with her. The mother took the baby's hand and played with it by moving it up and down. This went on for a while, until the baby went back to his father on the ground. They snuggled. I started getting a little teary, because I recognized some of those activities in things my parents did with me. My father was a little aloof, but when he did take an interest in me, it was very loving. During my mother's last days, she couldn't talk much, but she would grab my hand and swing it back and forth. Her grip was so strong that sometimes it would hurt, but I could feel the love from her hand to mine. Now, I don't want to have anybody say that I lived with orangutans, but you can see that they love and care for their baby, much like my parents loved and cared for me. I wish they were still around. I miss the love.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Some Passings

I don't like change. I like things to stay the same. Unfortunately, that isn't what life is all about. Life changes. That is the definition of life. Don't give the idea of change to Obama. He didn't define change. Things just change all the time. When I drive to Columbia, I go on the old road. That's what my father used to call it. The old road is the road that is not the interstate. I don't like interstates, because all the cars pass me on the highway, because my car won't go as fast as the rest. So, I go on the old road. After all, it is a slower pace. And, you get to see things. Things that change. Like the new house going up. Or the new cow in the pasture. Or the pond that is drying up. It is all about change. So, in the spirit of change, I wanted to tell you about a few passings. First, my friends leaving Macy's and those getting laid off. It is the nature of our economy or the lack thereof. Companies are getting rid of good workers and replacing them with some who can barely spell, much less work well. I am not going to get into a debate about who you think is best, but the customers will suffer. I went to a going away party in Columbia yesterday for some friends who are leaving Macy's. It was a time for laughs and tears. I am sorry that they are leaving, but they will find out soon enough what it is like to live without that stress. Macy's is a very stressful place. It wasn't like that when it was Rich's. Rich's was a family. Macy's is not. But, that was change. Sometimes, change is not good. Macy's will learn soon enough that laying off good workers will cause their business to suffer. When I asked to come back to Macy's, after leaving in 2007, I was told that I would not be hired back, because my credit performance was not good. I was expected to open charge accounts, and I didn't open enough. Never mind that I sold over a million dollars worth of stuff. It didn't matter. So, I moved on. And, their business suffered. As a part of change, they are doing away with gift wrapping services. It was all about customer service. Now, I guess customers will do like I have been doing for years--wrap their gifts in newspaper. Do that until newspapers stop printing. Some have already. Change. Today, I learned that a woman I worked with at Belk for a lot of years died on Friday. Her name was Louise Ritchie. She worked in the office and basically ran the store. Everyone came to her for advice. She was the bookkeeper. In some ways, she was harsh. But, if you were a friend, she was your best friend. Her husband was the warehouse manager, when I worked at the Belk warehouse in 1973. He was retired military. In understanding their personalities, things went well for all. He passed away several years ago, and now she is gone. I went to his funeral, and very few Belk people were there. I wish I could go to her funeral this afternoon, but it won't be possible. Maybe, I would see some old friends there. People that I need to see. But, I can't. If I had a decent car, I would go. But, it is on shaky ground. So, this story today is about passings. Passings are all about change. I don't like change.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

American Pie

Today is the 50th anniversary of the untimely deaths of Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, and the Big Bopper. They died in a plane crash, after appearing in a rock and roll show in Iowa. Even though I was alive at this time, I don't remember this event. I was just a little too young to appreciate how this event changed music at the time. I know, looking back on it, that these people died too young. Buddy Holly was a musical genius. He did a lot of things that no one had tried before. It could be argued that he was the father of other bands like The Beatles. It is funny how people influence other artists by their deaths. I suppose the first musicians to die that really impressed me were Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison. They all died within a year of each other, and I was really becoming aware of music. But, the music died for me when John Lennon was killed. Every generation has their own awful event like that. For some, it was Kurt Cobain. For others, it was Marvin Gaye. For still others, it was Rick Nelson. For still others, it was Andy Gibb. And, don't forget Elvis. The list goes on and on. I am sure that radio stations will play "American Pie" by Don MacLean today. It is a good song. Remember when they tried to ban it when it first came out? No? Read the history books. We have come a long way since 1971. But, I digress. Our lives revolve around pop culture. That's why I collect it. Events like this day 50 years ago are part of our history. They catapult others to succeed. That is what life is about. Don't let us forget.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Super Bowl

I just finished watching the Super Bowl. I was pulling for the Cardinals, since I usually pull for the NFC team. I guess it is because of my love for the Cowboys which is an NFC team. And, the Cardinals are in the same division as the Cowboys. Also, they were the underdog team. Just about all of the commentators wanted the Steelers to win. They had the best defense. They had the most experience. They were the better team. And, up until the last two minutes of the game, the Steelers were ahead. Then, the Cardinals came back and went up, but the Steelers finished the game as the winners. There were a few bad calls by the officials. That is usually the way. Blame the officials for keeping the other team in the game. There is a lot of blame to go around. Wait until next year will be the cry for the Cardinals. And many of the commercials were good. My favorite was the crystal ball for Doritos. I laughed out loud. And Bruce was great. I wish I had a copy of his performance. So all in all, the game was a nice break from my otherwise dark existence. I don't know what the next few days will hold. If anyone would like to help me keep going, email me at And to my few friends, thanks for giving me a reason to carry on. They know who they are. I just hope I can live up to their expectations of me. One more day...