November 29, 2006


Stupid people are breeding

As an expectant father I am trying to be more attuned toward parenting and to learn from what I see. The south is not the greatest place for accomplishing this.

The office is in a former hardware store directly across the street from the county courthouse, so we all get the fishbowl view of the various participants going to and fro the halls of justice. This week is one of the Superior Court's two or three felony calendar calls for the year, and as they are way backed up there is a plethora of the county's hard-luckers flickin' butts out front each day and taking all our parking spaces.

One particularly intense looking mouthbreather couple strolled by this afternoon. The woman, who had a child of about 1-2 years in her left arm, pulled out a cigarette and proceeded to tilt her head toward the child to serve as a windbreak for lighting the smoke. They were facing a mild fall breeze, and so her first exhale of smoke went directly into the kid's face.

I think all of us pro-choicers should document video footage of things like this. We could call our film "God Bless Margaret Sanger".


November 24, 2006


Attention shoppers

"We goin?" I said.

"Yep. Let's do it."

I had the ads from the turkey day edition ready - folded eight ways to a perfect display of the two items from one store and one item from another. One item's store opens at five, the other at six. We should be able to swing our great grab and be back to the house by seven.

Her enthusiasm for our task seemed diminished, hidden below a veneer of experience from years previous. I was as giddy as prom queen with a box of condoms, oh so ready to have my Black Friday cherry popped.

My first mistake, as assessed by the veteran queen of BF, was sitting down for a quick bowl of oatmeal, a little nourishment to help me stand out in the cold. “Your costing us, mister,” she said.

“You gotta be kidding me,” I replied.

“I most certainly am not. You’ll see – it’s brutal out there.” Her tone held wisdom, and so I scarfed the rest of my food down, poured the juice back, got dressed and was standing by the door ready to go as she was letting the dogs back inside.

I pulled out onto our dark country lane to begin the 15-minute drive to the mall. It was 4:27, and she knew we were running late. The cool veneer was being exponentially planed away as the miles and minutes rolled on. As we were leaving the house and three cars had driven by, she looked at me nervously. We knew people weren't out at this ungodly hour on the morning after Thanksgiving travelling to work. They were competition.

We came to the intersection with a busier road towards town, and waited at the stop sign as four more vehicles zoomed in front of us. “Dammit,” she said, her frustration not affecting my idiot grin. Our next turn was onto the road that the mall was on, and traffic was picking up vehicles from every cross street. She squirmed and sighed as we missed a green light by 10 seconds. A little compact sedan drove solitary in the opposite direction. “Ha! Where’s that fool think HE’s going?” she said, then looked sheepish as she grasped the absurdity of what she had just thought and the surreality of where WE were headed.

A light turned yellow – Starman mode! Very fast! “Go, go, GO!” she cried, visibly tensing and lurching forward. “Cool,” she said, calmed by our success.

“There’s a four-and-a-half car advantage in the right line,” I teasingly said a block later. She remained focus.

“Yeah, take it!” she screamed in my ear. I was starting to enjoy this a bit less.

We approached store number one, a big box electronics chain that had prices so low they were practically giving it away (okay, not really). We opted for parking in the home improvement store’s lot across the street when we saw the packed lot and line of several hundred people twisting around the end of the building. “I’ll get in line, you go up front to see if you need a voucher for the camcorder,” she directed firmly. I moved forward into a combination of lights from the parking lot and TV trucks – coverage you can count on at the front. Oh, the humanity!

I’ll confess right here that I failed in my first duty at the front of the line – a misunderstanding and miscalculation that led us to believe our item would likely be vouchered out by the time voucher dude got down to us. Her wheels turned furiously, pondering how to proceed to plan B with the aplomb necessary to keep us from having to enact any of plans C through H. “Okay, we’ll bag it here and head to the office supply store for your computer diddlybobs, then come back when the line’s down here, just in case the camcorder’s still available.”

She was like a field marshal in her execution of our duties. “Hail, Hail, Freedonia!” was the picture that came to mind.

Plan B was in full swing, and with vouchers obtained for items three and four, the marshal left me to carry on and dispatched herself back to store one to attempt a second offensive toward the camcorder. As her corporal I valiantly sailed through my mission with colors flying, and then the call came in over our communicators. “They’re out. I got within five people of the wizard of camcorders when he announced not nobody - not nohow!”

I was crestfallen - the prom queen deflowered and unrespected in the morning. “Come pick me up,” I said, pretty sure I needed that to be a double entendre.

As we pulled away via the secret back way that amazingly avoided traffic (another stroke of brilliant strategy from the marshal), I mousily fumbled with another ad I brought as a back up, and suggested an alternative store for the camcorder – not as good a deal, but hell we were committed and the plastic was burning a hole in my wallet already. The marshal resumed her cool, but was noticeably recharged by the possibility of completing our trifecta through a well-executed plan C.

We headed across town, inspired by the day’s good fortune and battle well-fought. I turned the radio up, closed my eyes and smiled a big crazy smile.


When Black Friday comes, I'll stand down by the door
And catch the grey men when they dive from the fourteenth floor
When Black Friday comes, I'll collect everything I'm owed
And before my friends find out I'll be on the road
When Black Friday falls you know it's got to be
Don't let it fall on me

When Black Friday comes, I'll fly down to Muswellbrook
Gonna strike all the big red words from my little black book
Gonna do just what I please. Gonna wear no socks and shoes
With nothing to do but feed all the kangaroos
When Black Friday comes I'll be on that hill
You know I will

When Black Friday comes, I'm gonna dig myself a hole
Gonna lay down in it 'til I satisfy my soul
Gonna let the world pass by me. The Archbishop's gonna sanctify me
And if he don't come across I'm gonna let it roll
When Black Friday comes I'm gonna stake my claim
I'll guess I'll change my name

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November 18, 2006


Georgia Songbird - a review

EG Kight at Music on the Square in LaFayette, Georgia
Saturday, November 11, 2006

Although it’s not possible to have a performance at this small café that is not intimate, EG Kight, an irrepressible and inspired woman of the blues, seems particularly adept to bringing warmth to her act with an audience at arm’s length. “I love little places like this,” she told me after the show. “I can be up close with the people.”

She exemplified that at her performance this night, as there didn't seem to be any strangers in the place. She called the older women “mama” and the young men (and me) “sugar.” She requested a pair of shades to wear for her gritty blues numbers, and when fans called out requests she obliged them often. At one point she put forth the claim that “you can write a song about anything,” and proceeded to prove it by requesting a topic from the audience and quickly putting together a few bars about it (it was either toothpaste or no-good men, I can’t clearly recall). In short, up on the stage EG Kight is comfortable, and marvelous.

EG hails from Dublin, Georgia, which is down “below the gnat line,” a reference to the prevalence of tiny bugs whose purpose in their short lifespan seems to be flying kamikaze into your eyeballs. South Georgians often tell tales of small animals being carried away by gnats, but I digress. She grew up on a farm and still lives on land once owned by her great granddaddy. She is low country to the bone, but her musical talent has also made her a woman of the world. She recently returned from a film festival in Torino, Italy, where between films she performed and lectured a bit. She said that American blues music is very popular over there, and music students just eat up the likes of Bessie Smith and Ella Fitzgerald. “Of course music is the universal language,” she said, “and no more so than with the blues - they love how you can hear it and feel it all in one.” To celebrate her experience she sang the old Dean Martin standard “Return To Me”, complete with a few verses in Italian.

Like many little girls in the south who grew up in musical families, EG cut her teeth on gospel, first performing in church at the age of four. She grew up into her teens performing country music, but relates how she had a “blues epiphany” of sorts when she first heard Koko Taylor. From that point in the mid-1990s her career shifted into having “blues as the backbone,” and has come into her own with a versatile voice that can range from a mournful yet sweet torch song melody to belting out blues gravel. She backs that up on her guitar with confident hands and a joyful demeanor as she moves them.

She performed two solo acoustic sets, nearly 30 songs in all, with a varied set list that included standards like “Stardust”, “Stormy Weather”, and “At Last” to blues classics like Koko Taylor’s “I Cried Like A Baby”, “Stormy Monday”, and “Mama He Treats Your Daughter Mean”. EG’s cover of the latter, a hit for R & B songstress Ruth Brown in the early sixties, was recorded live in August 2005 for her most recent album, the solo acoustic “EG Kight (live &) Naked”. The song held the No. 1 spot on XM Radio’s blues channel for several weeks. She also threw in a good bit of country, with a sweet rendering of Merle Haggard’s “Silver Wings”, and laid down Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues” with grit so true it was not necessary to suspend disbelief of it being sung by a woman. Another cover tune that was one of the highlights of the night for me was her sweet and soulful rendition of John Prine's “Angel From Montgomery”, a tune that, as was the case here, often moistens the edges of my eyes.

As a performer EG Kight also plays electric guitar with her band, and she has shared the stage with the likes of such a diverse bunch of musicians as George Jones, Taj Mahal, Delbert McClinton, Jerry Lee Lewis, Merle Haggard and Little Feat. As a songwriter she has built up a repertoire of several albums and honors to go with them. Highlights of her songs from the show at Music on the Square, which was professionally video recorded, included “attitude” songs like “Trouble With A Capital ‘T’”, an up beat blues shuffle with plenty of down and dirty gravel in her voice, and “Is It Me Or Is It Hot In Here?”
My favorite of her slow blues tunes was “Southern Comfort”, the title song from her 2003 release on Blue South Records, in which she tells her man that he don’t need no bottle, ‘cuz she’s like Southern Comfort for him. That's true for the ears of her audience as well.

If you’re interested in checking out some audio samples from EG's albums such as “Peach Pickin' Mama”, “Unlove You” and “Let The Blues Move You”, poke around her website a bit at

EG Kight performs at Music on the Square in LaFayette, Georgia. If you think her glasses are cool, you shoulda seen her boots! Look closely behind her and you might recognize some of the faces on the mural (in progress). And check out
Music on the Square


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November 08, 2006


Life on the oil slick

It's finally over.

There is likely no more intense time for a news writer than election season. This year wasn't so bad, mostly because the county registrar's office that has so consistently botched and/or otherwise delayed returns actually did a pretty good job yesterday. We were expecting to be up waiting on precinct totals until 1 a.m. but actually got wrapped up well before midnight. It was sweet relief.

So the good news came over the wire that Bush is a lame dick (yes, I left out the word "now"), and then the cherry of cherries in Rummy's exodus. It would be sweet ironic justice if it were actually into the desert for 40 years.

As for my neigborhood, it's still as red as a whore's ass after a cattlemen's convention. Nary a Democrat in this corner of the state got even 40 percent of the vote (some much worse), and the Republican incumbent guvnah handed his opponent's ass to him. And with the Democrat, who quite annoyingly ran as "The Big Guy," tilting the scales at 300, that's no small feets I tell ya. Although it looks as if Dems squeaked out a couple of important congressional victories around Savannah, Georgia is officially the thickest oil slick on the tidal wave of the national Democrats' successes.

Despite several cases of having to choose between giant douche and turd sandwich, I voted a split ticket. Interesting, though - in 28 races on the ballot (plus 3 constitutional amendments and six referendums - yeesh!) I voted for five Republicans, of which four lost, notably to double-decker turd sandwiches with extra toejam. Thankfully at least the two victorious Democrats I selected were the Attorney General and a state Supreme Court Justice, which is technically non-partisan, but her opponent had big red bucks backing him - she spanked him good. So I'm a firm believer in a left-leaning judiciary, go figure. Another Dem I voted for will face a run-off in a couple of weeks. If he loses then the state's Public Service Commission will be all Republican, and the greatest service they will likely perform is enriching their big utility interest donors.

Me and Beelers looked at each other today and wondered aloud what the hell we were still doing here. Well, he's a native and I'm bound by matrimony and a pending male heir, so I guess we're in it for the long haul. I take comfort in the proclamation of the Harrison, "All Things Must Pass." Even the turd sandwiches.


November 03, 2006


You put the lime in the coconut

Or is it the knee bone that you connect to the shinbone? Or is it the blue wire? Red?!

U.S. Web Archive Is Said to Reveal a Nuclear Primer
(a capsule from

Last March, the federal government set up a Web site to make public a vast archive of Iraqi documents captured during the war. The Bush administration did so under pressure from Congressional Republicans who had said they hoped to “leverage the Internet” to find new evidence of the prewar dangers posed by Saddam Hussein.

But in recent weeks, the site has posted some documents that weapons experts say are a danger themselves: detailed accounts of Iraq’s secret nuclear research before the 1991 Persian Gulf war. The documents, the experts say, constitute a basic guide to building an atom bomb.

Last night, the government shut down the Web site after The New York Times asked about complaints from weapons experts and arms-control officials. A spokesman for the director of national intelligence said access to the site had been suspended “pending a review to ensure its content is appropriate for public viewing.”

The documents, roughly a dozen in number, contain charts, diagrams, equations and lengthy narratives about bomb building that nuclear experts who have viewed them say go beyond what is available elsewhere on the Internet and in other public forums. For instance, the papers give detailed information on how to build nuclear firing circuits and triggering explosives, as well as the radioactive cores of atom bombs.

The campaign for the online archive was mounted by conservative publications and politicians, who said that the nation’s spy agencies had failed adequately to analyze the 48,000 boxes of documents seized since the March 2003 invasion. With the public increasingly skeptical about the rationale and conduct of the war, the chairmen of the House and Senate intelligence committees argued that wide analysis and translation of the documents — most of them in Arabic — would reinvigorate the search for clues that Mr. Hussein had resumed his unconventional arms programs in the years before the invasion. American search teams never found such evidence.

Sing with me!
I have to admit I'm feeling safer
I'm feeling safer all the time

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