Wednesday, June 29, 2011

From My Own Camera: One early morning

I arrived home from work around 6:30 a.m. last November 13 (a Saturday).  An early morning similar to the other 1,000+ I've experienced since I began working nights in mid-2005, it wasn't until I glanced through the kitchen window of where I was living at the time that I noticed the sky's overcast shade of blue had become engulfed by an aloft wave of rose-colored clouds.

The grass, mostly withered at this point of autumn, became illuminated from the distinctive luster of the clouds, causing the lawn to resemble a radiant field of wheat.  Like something from a Tim Burton movie, a vibrant rainbow likewise emerged, only to fade almost as soon as it appeared.  My surroundings went back to normal just moments later.

The pictures I took from that brief moment, less than 10 minutes altogether as I recall, barely do justice to what I observed.  But they're worth sharing nonetheless.

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Monday, June 27, 2011

Real Music: Chris Young

I love the South (even if you don't).  So here's a song called "Voices" which depicts the best of our regional attributes that'll bless your little heart.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sunday's Quote: The power of her posterior

Your first impression of Kim Kardashian was probably the same as mine:

Pretty face.

Why is she famous?

Whoa, that booty can’t be real.

Think whatever you want about the most prominent of the Kardashian offspring, but Kim's mojo is undeniable.  Known as much for her socialite exploits as her gravity defying rear-end, the legend of "reality" television's highest paid star has reached a magnitude that now expands well beyond the arena that ultimately made her fodder for tabloid headlines.

Once modestly recognized as both the daughter of attorney Robert Kardashian (part of the O.J. Simpson defense team) and the stepdaughter of Olympic gold medalist Bruce Jenner, Kim transitioned seamlessly into becoming an impresario of sorts whose success is only surpassed by her status as perhaps America's most amicable sex symbol.  And bearing in mind her string of past romances with equally famous athletes and entertainers, her recent engagement to Kris Humphries (pictured) should also come as no surprise.

Life with Kim has been good for Mr. Humphries.  A member of four teams in his eight-year NBA career, the formerly obscure journeyman averaged 10.0 points per game and 10.4 rebounds per game (a "double double") for the New Jersey Nets en route to his best statistical season thus far – an accomplishment he clearly attributed to Kim with the purchase a 20.5-karat diamond behemoth for his now-fiancĂ© that's reportedly worth $2 million.

True love has a place in the conversation.  But(t) make no mistake, it all starts with that unbelievably awe-inspiring caboose.  If you think a woman of Kim's considerable enormity can't make an average man leap tall buildings in a single bound, think again.  Indeed, so commanding is Kim's allure that it even caused another no-name pro athlete – NFL defensive back Bret Lockett in this case – to openly lie about Kim cheating with him, only to later confess than he had never even met her.

It's almost hard to blame the poor guy.  Heck, I'd marry Kim without even thinking about it.


"Cultivate your curves.  They may be dangerous but they won't be avoided."
– Mae West (1893-1980), American actress and icon in her own right

Editorial Sketch of the Week (retroactive to Saturday): The detachable ceiling(s)

© Adam Zyglis, The Buffalo News

Friday, June 24, 2011

Did You Know (or Care): S'more about the South

I've never been one to mince words about my region.  I embrace every bit of the South and accept it as being equal, at the very least, to the culture of all others.  Expanding any further on this point would invite a diatribe that most wouldn't bother reading anyway.  With that in mind...

* The Depression-era gangster George Kelly Barnes – aka, "Machine Gun" Kelly – was born here in Memphis to a wealthy family in 1895.  He graduated from Central High School and attended Mississippi State University for a time before dropping out.  Perhaps the most infamous criminal during the time of Prohibition, he spent the final 21 years of his life in prison, including a 17-year stint in Alcatraz.  He died on his 59th birthday.

* Beauregard, Alabama is a town of nearly 15,000 people located near Auburn University.  Named for General Pierre G.T. Beauregard ("The Hero of Fort Sumter" and the fifth-most senior general in the Confederate Army), both Auburn and Beauregard are situated in Lee County, which, of course, is named for General Robert Edward Lee.  And this, at present, is the only positive thing I have to say about Auburn.

* For over 60 years, before the mascot for Elon University became the Phoenix, Elon College in central North Carolina was fronted by the Fighting Christians.  The name change, accoriding to Wikipedia (via an uncredited source), resulted in 1999 because "many did not feel that the nickname was universal enough for a team making the transition to Division I athletics."

Translation: Any delineation of the Christians who founded the school, like most of the institutions of higher learning in our nation, are no longer acceptable because multiculturalism, and their ideological philosophies, now rule the roost.

To hell with their stupid labels.  I'll gladly root for the Christians.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

It's been one of those weeks

I strive to produce something that's worth at least a few moments of your time with every post.  Yet there are unexpected periods when I'm just...

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Sunday's Quote: The wisdom of Orwell

Becoming reacquainted with George Orwell over the past couple of weeks has been gratifying.  A studious philosopher despite his collectivist leanings, one might contend that the author of dystopian masterworks such as Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four was possibly at his best when writing about the English language itself – particularly when Orwell commingled his unease about the decline of semantics with the age-old conundrum of dodgy politicians who often exploit the ambiguities of dialogue for the mendacious purpose of simply getting elected (and re-elected).

Perhaps this sort of candidate would never stand a chance if the general electorate employed a greater sense of discernment.  Yet having known the type candidly, I have also found that such personalities – whether they are aspirant policymakers or not – possess the unique, if not unnerving and seemingly effortless ability to convey a sense of certainty among their enthusiasts.  And once that is achieved, being a wordsmith comes easily.

Here's Orwell to expand on that point:


"The word Fascism has now no meaning except in so far as it signifies 'something not desirable'.  The words democracy, socialism, freedom, patriotic, realistic, justice have each of them several different meanings which cannot be reconciled with one another.  In the case of a word like democracy, not only is there no agreed definition, but the attempt to make one is resisted from all sides.  It is almost universally felt that when we call a country democratic we are praising it: consequently the defenders of every kind of regime claim that it is a democracy, and fear that they might have to stop using that word if it were tied down to any one meaning.  Words of this kind are often used in a dishonest way.  That is, the person who uses them has his own private definition, but allows his hearer to think he means something quite different.  . . .

"In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible.  Things like the continuance of British rule in India, the Russian purges and deportations, the dropping of the atom bombs on Japan, can indeed be defended, but only by arguments which are too brutal for most people to face, and which do not square with the professed aims of the political parties.  Thus political language has to consist largely of euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness.  . . .

"The inflated style itself is a kind of euphemism.  A mass of Latin words falls upon the facts like soft snow, blurring the outline and covering up all the details. The great enemy of clear language is insincerity.  When there is a gap between one's real and one's declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish spurting out ink.  In our age there is no such thing as 'keeping out of politics'.  All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred, and schizophrenia.  When the general atmosphere is bad, language must suffer.  . . .

"Since you don’t know what Fascism is, how can you struggle against Fascism?  One need not swallow such absurdities as this, but one ought to recognize that the present political chaos is connected with the decay of language, and that one can probably bring about some improvement by starting at the verbal end.  If you simplify your English, you are freed from the worst follies of orthodoxy.  . . .   Political language – and with variations this is true of all political parties, from Conservatives to Anarchists – is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectful, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind."
– from the essay "Politics and the English Language" [1946] by George Orwell.  I cannot suggest this reasonably brief work of profound brilliance any more highly. 

Just Thinking Out Loud: The beauty of his Irish Catholic anger

There is perhaps one reason, above all others, why this man's show has performed so well in the cable (and sometimes network) ratings for over a decade: viewers know that every night, Bill O'Reilly will present something from the Left Wing that will result in their jaw hitting the floor.  And nobody else on television does it better because O'Reilly will gladly go where few rarely dare.  The occasionally boorish mannerisms notwithstanding, being in lockstep with O'Reilly's worldview isn't necessary to appreciate this culture warrior's mission, which could not be more appreciated by those who hold the deepest concerns about the welfare of our nation.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Those were the days

Despite being recognized today as much for dramaturgy as the choreographed (albeit, highly skilled) action for which this distinctive brand of showbiz was originally known, it remains difficult to call professional wrestling "fake" considering the plethora of injuries and premature deaths these combatants of the squared circle have braved for generations.

Yet there was a time, not that long ago, when questioning the validity of the acrimonious rivalries and blood-stained storylines was all but inconceivable.  That's why it was different then, which is what makes this impromptu little discovery from over 20 years ago so riveting:

c/o Professional Wrestling @

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Sunday's Quote: Monochromaticity & "The changing face of America"

The post from early this morning about the pernicious tanning compulsion among many in the White community reminded me of a curious remark I happened to watch MSNBC's Chris Matthews make during President Obama's speech to an assembly of West Point cadets in December 2009.  Evidently irritated by the high percentage of young White males in the auditorium, Matthews (who is also Caucasian) slid a comment into the mix about the "monochromaticity" of the crowd – a remark he and other liberal pundits normally reserve for Tea Party participants as a de facto means of insinuating racism, which is intended solely for the purpose of rousing dissention against the Right.

Such an observation also suggests that some of those young men – the future spearheads of The Long Gray Line – may not deserve to be there, in part, because of their particular brand of ethnicity, in essence declaring that many in the audience were present only because they are White and not because they had earned a place among their generation's elite.

This perspective, while bothersome and exceedingly dubious, has garnered some mainstream support.  Back in March, the Military Leadership Diversity Commission released a 130-page report declaring, among other things, that the U.S. military is "too white and too male," which, one might argue, is directly akin to both the increasing number of news stories about the changing face of America (Google it) and our President's unexpected dip in approval ratings among some of his formerly staunchest advocates.

Whether it's fear, apathy, or burn out from being hit with the inclusive liability of all racial matters the world has ever faced (while all others are conspicuously given a pass), White people are noticeably absent when it comes to discussions that center upon race.  So to help further my point (as only she can), and in honor of her new book, I will have Ann Coulter explain why circumventing such matters for the sake of avoiding the often delicate partisan ramifications is no longer an option:

"Republicans' defense of President Bush's immigration bill is more enraging than their defense of [former Supreme Court nominee] Harriet Miers.  Back then, Bush's conservative base was accused of being sexist for opposing an unqualified woman's nomination to the highest court in the land.  Now we're racists for not wanting to grant amnesty to millions of illegal aliens. …

"In 1960, [W]hites were 90 percent of the country.  The Census Bureau recently estimated that whites already account for less than two-thirds of the population and will be a minority by 2050.  Other estimates put that day much sooner.  One may assume the new majority will not be such compassionate overlords as the white majority has been.  If this sort of drastic change were legally imposed on any group other than white Americans, it would be called genocide.  Yet whites are called racists merely for mentioning the fact that current immigration law is intentionally designed to reduce their percentage in the population. …

"If liberals think Iraqis are genetically incapable of pulling off even the most rudimentary form of democracy, why do they believe 50 million Mexicans will magically become good Americans, imbued in the nation's history and culture, upon crossing the Rio Grande? …

"You can leave the country, you can renounce your citizenship – but you still owe taxes for 10 years.  The government does not allow us to stop supporting welfare recipients in America, millions more of whom it plans to import under Bush's bill.  That's not a free market – it's a roach motel. …

"In Samuel P. Huntington's book Who Are We? The Challenges to America's National Identity, he asks: ‘Would America be the America it is today if in the 17th and 18th centuries it had been settled not by British Protestants but by French, Spanish or Portuguese Catholics?  The answer is no.  It would not be America; it would be Quebec, Mexico or Brazil.'

"I don't want to live in Mexico, Quebec or Brazil.  But now I guess I have no choice, since 'open borders' means I can never leave."
– from "Bush’s America: Roach Motel" by Ann Coulter; June 6, 2007

Just Thinking Out Loud: Fear the burn

c/o New Jersey Guido
My fellow Caucasians are the only ethnic group on the planet that will knowingly bake themselves in a melanoma-causing apparatus for the conceited purpose of maintaining that look of "sun splash" we love to get after spending a few relaxing days at the beach.  Indeed our vainglorious pursuit of retaining a year-round glow is barely hindered at all by the innumerable warnings from the medical community regarding the long-term consequences imparted by such a hollow endeavor.

In an ironic twist, it seems that holding fast to the narcissistic conceptions about modern beauty and its implied benefits is the most surefire way to end up irreversibly burned.  So do yourself a favor and embrace your fair skinned European qualities.  After all, White people, there are far worse things than a complexion that's more pallid than you would prefer. 

Editorial Sketch of the Week: Misdirection

© Robert Ariail, Spartanburg Herald-Journal

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

From My Own Camera: Wandering, pt. 5

Concluding a mini-series of posts (1, 2, 3, 4) from the past several months, here are two more shots from my recurring journeys throughout Shelby County and beyond:

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A scenic shot of Mudville Rd. in Rosemark, Tennessee

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A small body of water (with railroad tracks in the background) in Atoka, Tennessee

Monday, June 6, 2011

People I Want to Fight: Rex Tillerson

Rex Tillerson, showing his pimp hand.
People I Want to Fight is new to this blog.  Not meant to be taken literally, this feature is intended only as a means of expressing dissatisfaction with those who, from the outset, appear to answer to nobody.  So in the interest of fairness, I've chosen to start with an individual from my own side of the geopolitical spectrum.

One of Glenn Beck's more noteworthy interviews occurred on the Headline News network (just prior to his departure for greener pastures at FOX) with ExxonMobil chief Rex Tillerson during the gas crunch of 2008 when the national average at the pump well exceed $4 per gallon.  Concerned that gas prices would continue to rise – and with a sufficient explanation nowhere in sight – Beck asked Tillerson if he could foresee a time in which prices would ever dip back to $2 a gallon.  Practically unmoved by the question, ExxonMobil's top dog merely chucked, almost proudly, and said "No," as if to also say, What are you gonna do about it?  Even now, some two or three years after I watched the interview, I am still taken aback by Tillerson's unqualified apathy to the plight of little people (like me) who are entirely responsible for his company's multibillion dollar profit margins each quarter.

Say or think what you want about Glenn Beck, who, in my estimation, is merely knocked for daring to assess and scrutinize a web of issues that many of our journalistic sentinels dare not touch.  In fact much of the disdain for the man himself is the result of the show he hosts which, for quite a while, drew more viewers than each of the competing programs on CNN, MSNBC and his former network, HLN, combined.

As for Tillerson, he has since backed off the laughter, stating recently that he believes the price for a barrel of oil should be around $35 less than what is being paid at present by most of the industrialized nations.  Though American "big oil" executives should not be held altogether responsible for the price gouging propagated by the 12 nations that control the near-monopoly OPEC has enjoyed for over three decades, Tillerson's impenitent brashness is a clear demonstration of an insolence that will most likely continue for the foreseeable future while the rest of us continue to reap the detrimental cost.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Sunday's Quote: When "historic" fades

Doing a bit of research about a future piece summarizing the Obama presidency and his chances for victory in 2012 led me to a point recently made by the guy pictured on the right (appropriately enough) who, like many, believes the elements of what got our 44th president elected will not factor in getting him re-elected:

"The historical nature and aspect of Obama's presidency has long since settled in, and now he's President of the United States, and now he is and should be held accountable like any other president would be.  All these surface characteristics are irrelevant.  The color of his skin, all of that means nothing -- and it shouldn't."
-- Rush Limbaugh; May 31, 2011

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Iconic Shot: Dave and The King

c/o The Official Elvis Presley Facebook page
Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl pays homage to Elvis at Graceland just prior to his band's show at the FedEx Forum here in Memphis on May 20, 2011.  I'm told the Foo boys played over 25 songs in their set, far more than the average concert normally lasts.  They do it because they care, which is just one reason why Kurt Cobain's former drummer is, quite possibly, the Elvis of Generation X.