Monday, February 28, 2005


220-word Erudite Redneck movie review: "Santa Fe Passage" (1955)

Synopsis by Office for Film and Broadcasting, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops:

Tangled Western in which an Indian-hating trail guide (John Payne) leads a wagon trainload of rifles through hostile Kiowa country, but along the way falls for the fiancee (Faith Domergue) of his boss (Rod Cameron) until learning her mother was a Kiowa. Directed by William Witney, the formula story has several big action scenes, a bit of comic relief (Slim Pickens), a long-winded romance and plenty of rugged Utah landscapes. Frontier violence and an anti-prejudice theme.

Excellent oater, this! Anti-prejudice? Well, for 50 years ago, I reckon. But the flick is teeming with political incorrectness, which is why it’s a good ‘un. Lots of “squaw” talk, and the heroine cries because she’s “just” a “half-breed Kiowa.” Sheesh.

Key to the Erudite Redneck’s interest in this movie is the setting, along the Santa Fe Trail between St. Louis and Santa Fe, N.M. The Cimarron Cut-off of said trail scooted across what is now the Oklahoma Panhandle.

Also key to the flick is that the antagonist is none other than Satank, the Kiowa chief. He was one bad ass in real life, although, of course, the movie depicts him as a caricature.

Horses clearly were harmed in the filming of this motion picture. Slim Pickens actually was still slim.


P.S. Ol’ ER is like a good rodeo bull today, fevered and slingin’ snot, so is home sick, mainly to pertect the innocent. (There’s another rant: If yer sick, stay the hell home!). I am feeding a cold – with the Western Channel. Yeehaw!


Speeders suck

If you routinely drive like a bat out of hell, like you own the road, without a thought for others, I hope you speed into a gas truck. Wrecks like that always make good art for the papers.

Oklahoma City police are cracking down bigtime on speeders on the Broadway Extension, the short superslab between Oklahoma City and the northern suburb of Edmond. There's a four-mile stretch there where you take your life in your hands because of speed freaks.

It's about time.

I am not without sin, but, come to think of it, I don't think I've ever gotten a ticket for speeding. No seatbelt? Yes. Headlight out? Yes. Careless driving? Yes, when I was all of 16.

Driving crazy on dirt or asphalt out in the country when you're the only one on the road is stupid -- but excusable, since the only one you'll hurt is yourself. Doing it in town is the height of irresponsibility -- and I hate all you idiots who do.

Same for tailgaters. The day I finally have enough will be the day I actually brace myself, hold on tight and let the stupid idiot in the compact car riding my butt slide up under the suddenly stopped rear end of my big truck and taste axle grease.

I would love to see $1,000 or $1,500 fines for speeding. Might slow some people down.

There. I do b'lieve that is a rant. I do b'lieve I feel a little better.


Saturday, February 26, 2005


But there is a downside

Anonymous, in Imperial Hubris: Why the West is Losing the War on Terror, (Washington, D.C.: Brassey's Inc., 2004, p. 82) points out that the World Wide Web, for those who would look, provides an:

"Internet library of war (that) lets Muslims groups and individuals and groups unaffiliated with al Qaeda or its allies train at their leisure at home and then conduct the attacks they concoct, operations that are planned and executed with almost no chance of being detected or interdicted. Obviously, at-home training also greatly reduces the need for would-be mujahideen to travel, thereby partially neutralizing the ability of governments to capture fighters via the traditional methods of watch-listing names, examining travel documents, and matching photos, fingerprints, or eye patterns. In short, the Internet’s jihad library facilitates the kind of unstoppable attacks that are the stuff of bin Laden’s dreams while degrading the ability of governments to use immigration, customs, and police services to apprehend traveling militants."

And alarmingly, Anonymous notes, the dispersal of desktop Internet publishing power, rather than allowing dissension to blossom -- as moveable type did by allowing individuals to own and read and interpret their own Bibles for themselves -- is allowing violent Islamic thought to coalesce and gain power, strength and influence.

Anonymous writes, "The Internet sites also play an important instructional role in regard to the world diffusion of religious studies supporting bin Laden’s call for defensive jihad. It has been particularly important for disseminating tracts by Sunni Islam’s Salafi sect, which is the most martial and fastest-growing Sunni sect. The Internet has served the jihadists’ cause, Sa’d al-Faqih’s Al-Islah website explained, by facilitating access to legal religious texts."

Anonymous quotes the site:

"A youth can now push a button and obtain information, which was until recently exclusive to the scholars of al-Hadith. Therefore, it is a paradox that information has served the growth of Salafist thought and that the challenges of globalization are now at the service of a project to return to legal religious texts and their hegemony over Islamic thought."

That ain't what the West might've hoped for, obviously. Ol' ER read awhile back that the problem with Islamism is that it had never gone through its own version of the Reformation.

But maybe it is. If the Catholic Church had succeeded in putting down the reform movements, its "success" would have cast Europe backward, back into its Dark Ages. Perhaps Islam is in the early stages of a reformation of sorts -- one that is failing.


Friday, February 25, 2005


Freedom rings! Liberty of thought!

By The Erudite Redneck

It dawned on me the other day just what this new vehicle for thought -- this blogosphere, this still fledgling new marketplace for ideas -- really means.

It is ushering in new births of freedom and liberty of expression in dark corners all over the world.

Blogging, my friends, is the modern equivalent of the advent of movable type. Truly. The printing press was one thing. Moveable type was another. The Internet was one thing. Blogging is another.

It's a true democracy of ideas.

Yet this fun thing that we enjoy makes the renaissance of ideas in Europe that attended Gutenberg's work in the 16th century, and even the explosions of liberty that followed the introduction of the VCR behind the Iron Curtain in the 1980s, absolutely pale in comparison.

For the tiniest glimpse at the genesis of a new era of real liberty -- not just "democracy, American style" -- go here. You will be humbled, as I am. I am barely worthy to offer my encouragement.

Godpseed, Amarji, godpseed. And may your own spirit soar!



About that ranch at Crawford

Friend of ol' ER's from college, Braingirl at Hoosiersatemybrain, a cowgal from the Oklahoma Panhandle now livin' in Indianapolis, has been writin' about El Presidente and his lil hacienda outside Crawford, Texas.

Some other person has been tearin' into Dubya, accusin' him of bein a poser or worse.

I've been scatterin' my thoughts in there some, too. It's pretty interesting readin' if you got any farmin'-ranchin'-rural blood in you atall.

Go here to see where it all started, with "Good Cowboys are Hard to Find," and go here to see where it has got to so far, "Details on the Bush Ranch."


Thursday, February 24, 2005


Record day

I don't know what got into y'all yesterday. This here humble lil ol' blog had a record number of hits: 179. The previous high was 122 in a day's time.

Musta been the whinin' me and carryin' on me and Trixie done! :-)

Y'all come back now, ya hear?



A civil yet sincere note to the former blog, now a full-fledged Web site, known as "yoco:: College Basketball"

Dude, I think you've done went and got too big for yer bloggin' britches. You want to have a Web page, cool. But it ain't a blog.

Don't make me register -- and I don't give a damn whether I can make up a name or not. Don't make me lie, 'cause I don't.

Make it easy for me to look, storm around the joint, and leave a comment, and sign my handle if I want, or not.

Drop the Erudite Redneck if you must. Yer original URL remains linked to my blog, and will as long as the redirect function works.

Ya caught me in a mood. I'll keep comin' around, but you might not hear from me -- unless you or somebody goes to seriously badmouthin' my Oklahoma State (Cow)Boys.

Of course, my blood pressure might go down some.


No offense intended, Sir.


P.S. In my wildest bloggin' dreams, some syndicate would pick up this here blog and turn it profitable -- or least create that possibility. But I wouldn't jumble it up so dang much and keep pretendin' it was just lil ol' ER puttin' put out a lil ol' blog.

P.P.S. Anybody who knows me knows ol' ER hates change, if it comes too much too fast. Friend, you changed too much, too fast.



This meme is way too long

Oh, what the heck.

1. My favorite color: Orange, even before Oklahoma State..

2. My favorite TV show: "Friends," I guess.

3. My favorite movie: "High Noon."

4. My favorite drink: Cow juice, 2 percent.

5. My favorite cookie: Pecan sandies, Keebler.

6. My favorite candy bar: Reese's.

7. My favorite chip: Fritos.

8. My favorite hamburger: My own, with beef-onion soup mixed in, and seasoned with thyme, Lowrey's, garlic powder and fresh ground pepper, grilled.

9. My favorite vehicle: 1970 Dodge Charger. My first car.

10. My favorite author: I sit literally surrounded by books and can't think of an author's name. I rarely read fiction, so I think in terms of topics, not authors. If I have to name one, maybe Grant Foreman, early Oklahoma lawyer-historian who broke much ground in Southwestern history.

11. My favorite song: "I've Never Been This Homesick Before," by Dottie Rambo.

12. My favorite singing group: The Beatles.

13. My favorite food: Ribeye steak, my way, which is very similar to the burger above, minus the soup mix, medium.

14. My favorite pet: Dog.

15. My favorite musical: "Oklahoma!"

16. My favorite male movie star: Tom Hanks, the greatest actor of our time.

17. My favorite female movie star: Jessica Rabbitt. OK, Meg Ryan before she got tired of being sweet.

18. My favorite male TV star: The Blue-Collar Comedy guys.

19. My favorite female TV star: The girls on "Friends."

20. My favorite clothes: Jeans. Boots. Sweatshirt. Ballcap.

21. My favorite computer: One that's paid for.

22. My favorite internet service: AOL.

23. My favorite kiss: Hershey's. !! OK, little daily smoochies shared with Dr. ER.

24. My favorite Web site: This one! Then, The Onion.

25. My favorite religion: Christianity. Odd to think of it as a "favorite." "What's your favorite internal organ?" Uhhh ...

26. My favorite religious flavor: Liberal Bapticostalistic Holy Roller (Reformed).

27. My favorite hobby: Reading, researching and writing history, and vegetable gardening.

28. My favorite wild land animal: Giraffe.

29. My favorite wild sea animal: Any of those really weird critters that live in the bowels of the oceans.

30. My favorite political party: Populist.

31. My favorite Congressman: Mike Synar, D-Muskogee, RIP.

32. My favorite president: Jefferson Davis.

33. My favorite national park: Little Bighorn National Battlefield in Montana.

34. My favorite national monument: Jefferson Memorial.

35. My favorite vacation spot: Washington, D.C.

36. My favorite exercise: Walking.

37. My favorite sleeping position: Anything that works, which ain't much.

38. My favorite time of day: Mornings, I think.

39. My favorite sexual position: My position? I am FOR it.

40. My favorite pickup line: "Hey, how YOU doin'?" a la Joey on "Friends."

41. My favorite charity: The United Baby Bird College Fund.

42. My favorite blogger: My favorites are listed.

43. My favorite newspaper: The Oklahoman.

44. My favorite cartoon: "Zits" in print, "Yosemite Sam" on TV.

45. My favorite superhero: Iron Man.

46. My favorite person: Unanswerable. Dr. ER, Bird, Mama ER, Brudder, Kent Kat, kith and kin ...

47. My favorite plant: Tomato! Rutgers variety.

48. My favorite Star Fleet Captain: James T. Kirk.

49. My favorite blond(e): All of 'em.

50. My favorite saying: "Live and let live" and "Let go and let God" have served me well.


Wednesday, February 23, 2005


Help Wanted

Sheelzebub at Pinko Feminist Hellcat, is lookin' fer some hired hands to help her run the world. Click on the link to apply.



Sounds about right

HST's demise was not as untimely as it might have seemed.

Then there's this:

The family is looking into whether Thompson’s cremated remains can be blasted out of a cannon, a wish the gun-loving writer often expressed, Brinkley said.

“The optimal, best-case scenario is the ashes will be shot out of a cannon,” he said.

Other arrangements were pending.

Click the link above for the whole story from MSNBC.



Freedom rings in New Mexico

Cockfighters get a break in New Mexico! Click the link above for news.


Tuesday, February 22, 2005


Calf rope! Pokes choke!

Nebraska: 74
Oklahoma State: 67

This here counts as two steps back, pards. Ol' Eddie was bearin' his teeth a lot tonight, to no avail. Just shows to go you: Fans IN Stillwater are as much a part of Cowboy magic as anything.

Makes Sunday at Kansas even more of a must win.



P.S. There's a gal in D.C. from North Carolina, a fiery and knowledgeable Demon Deacon, who owes me some ribbin'. Just bring it on, Hon. Ol' ER deserves it.


Worms! Worms for supper!

Trixie and I agree: If the comments on our blogs don't pick up soon (we are major ho's that way), we're gonna go eat worms!

Worms, I tell ya!

Just so's you don't think we're joshing, here's a recipe!




Ol' ER is feelin' a fairly mighty sense of loss. Hunter S. Thompson was hisself an erudite redneck of a sort. Kind of the George Carlin of journalism. An early inspiration -- or something. Hard to describe, actually.

So caught off guard by the news. HST, dead at 67, by gunshot, at his own hand. Scary. If HST saw no reason to go on, not even in an alcohol- and drug-induced haze, then what the hell are any of the rest of us thinking?

The only explanation can be that he found out he had some horrible inoperable malady and rather than stick around to write "Fear and Loathing: In a Colorado Hospice," or "Fear and Loathing: On the Cancer Ward," he decided to check out.

I b'lieve I will reread "Hell's Angels," the book, because he really was a great reporter, not just of the gonzo variety -- and that's where it all started for him.

Here are his works. Others I can attest to are "Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail," "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas," "Generation of Swine"
and "The Great Shark Hunt."


Monday, February 21, 2005


Rockin', racin', wrestlin'

Dear Abbey (Road),

Is it OK for a 40-year-old man whose last album purchase was a Johnny Cash CD to fall so completely in love with the music of a four-piece Aussie band of 20-somethings that he wants to run yelling into the street for everybody to go immediately and buy it if they even THOUGHT they liked the Beatles or the Stones?

Jet rocks. That's all I can say. If I wasn't in debt "up to my eyeballs" like the poor dude on TV, I'd go see 'em in Chicago this summer (staying safely in the back and away from the mosh pit, though; those young'uns scare fogies like me).

Good Lord. Rock'n'roll lives! I want to dance in the street, or in the back of my truck, or on a levee, or in a pasture -- or in any of the other places where we used to turn up the tunes and drink beer until the wee hours and partay.

Check out Jet.

Still Alive and Kickin' -- when there's somethin' worth kickin' about.

--- --- ---

Other stuff:

Speaking of tunage, blog pal Corndoggerel got quite a response when he asked readers to submit the worst covers ever, including my own contribution, which includes Joan Baez and The Band and "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down," among others. Just don't get me started.

The Daytona 500 was fine. Jeffy-poo winnin' is always hard to take, especially when be beats Junior so closely in the process. But you cannot begrudge Prettyboy his success. But GOD DELIVER US from another pre-race show like that one! They keep "mainstreaming" NASCAR, I swear I'll quit 'em! Until the next race. Sigh. The bastards have us by the short hairs and they know it.

My Oklahoma State Pokes kicked ou's butt on the wrestling mat Sunday. So cool to be there to see it in person.

Next OSU thing is basketball, Nebraska there Tuesday night.

Next in-person OSU sports thing for me will be O-State baseball vs. Arkansas Razorbacks on March 8 in Stillwater. It's a 3 p.m. weekday game. Ol' ER will be there with orange on!

Truth be told, ol' ER loves his Razorbacks purt' near as much as his Cowboys. The prospect of payin' out-of-state tuition, truth be told, is about the only reason he didn't wind up goin' to school up at Fay-ta-ville.


Sunday, February 20, 2005


Racin' and wrestlin'

Hoo boy. This makes two weekends runnin' that I've plumb wasted, when I have history-writin' projects to be workin' on. Still gettin' over that last semester, I reckon.

It WAS a killer, and ol' ER is still just a little bit clabber-headed as a result.

Yesterday was all watchin' a movie with Dr. ER, "The Hound of the Baskervilles," with her favorite Holmes actor Jeremy Brett. Then, we watched Oklahoma State pound the livin' daylights out of Bobby Knight's Texas Tech Red Raiders. Whoa. What a whupping.

Then, Dr. ER headed to Stillwater to have mom-Bird time with Bird on her 19th birthday, while ol' ER drove over to the Tractor Supply to buy some tall socks and then got drawn into a grandmamathon at a local beer join -- I mean, restaurant. Yes.

(This is a variation on the manly tradition of the mamathon, where a bunch of guys get all misty-eyed a drinkin' and start goin' on and on about how much they love-miss their mamas, about how cruel the world is-was to them, but how strong-loyal-perserverical they always are-were).

Came home and sat on the front porch, such as it is, smokin' a stinky stogy and readin' about newspaperin' in the Old West before poopin' out about 9-something.

Now, today. Today is the Highest Holy Day of the NASCAR religion. The Daytona 500. Note the new feature to the left and down a bit on this blog: NASCAR Headlines, courtesy of That's, a product of the Charlotte Observer.

Me and Dr. and Bird will start out watchin' the race on Bird's little TV in her dorm room, where ol' ER is fixing to head. But then -- and here's where my fella racin' fans think I've gone plumb batty -- I will stroll across Hall of Fame Avenue in Stillwater and sidle up to Gallagher-Iba Arena to watch Oklahoma State's No. 1 wrestling team put a collective pop-knot on the noggins of a bunch of young men wearin' the wrong colors and hailin' from ou.

What a conflict. My blood is oranger than my neck is red, I reckon, 'cause after really gettin' into wrestling this year, ol' ER can't even imagine bein' in Stillwater when it's goin' on, the Bedlam match especially, and not bein' there, the Daytona 500 notwithstanding.

Confession: Ol' ER has had sad, mixed feelings about Daytona since Dale Earnhardt died there four years ago. And my dislike for all things ou -- something ol' ER came by natural but got exacerbated livin' in Texas -- is pretty powerful fierce.



Saturday, February 19, 2005


Cop beat flashback

By the Erudite Redneck

Once upon a time when I was on the night cop beat at a paper at a small daily in Texas, the police scanner cracked with a "major-major," copspeak there for a bad wreck with at least one fatal.

It was 10:06 p.m. Deadline was 11 p.m.

This was 1989 -- no cell phone, no laptops. I had a two-way walkie-talkie-type radio that worked if I could get far enough over the horizon to get a line-of-sight connection. Didn't come into play on this story.

I roared out of the newsroom to the back alley, jumped in my 1989 4-cylinder Ford Ranger pickup and rushed to the scene, about 5 miles way. Pulled up as far as stopped traffic would let me. Continued on on the side of the four-lane highway, in the grass, puttering up just as close I could.

Jumped out. Ran up to the scene. I saw two '70s-era cars that had hit head-on. From where I stood, I could see one of the two dead drivers:

His left heel was sticking out of the back of his sock; the shoe had torn down the middle back of the heel; the threads in the seam just snapped like twigs -- because, as I found out from chatting with a cop-ID tech working the wreck, both cars were going in excess of the speed limit, which meant more than 55, which meant that because one driver was on the wrong side of the freeway and didn't know it, and the other driver was just driving along on the curve minding his own business, they hit at full force.

No interview took place. Just that chat with the cop. Didn't care what his name was. Didn't matter. I wrote down the color, type and other info of both cars, wrote down the precise location of the wreck, and what all the officials and such were doing at the scene; took note of the few gawkers who were standing around. I probably took note of the weather.

Got back in my pickup and rushed back the newsroom where I banged out about 8 inches on the wreck, on deadline. Turned it in at 11 p.m. sharp. 54 minutes from the time the scanner first cracked about the major-major.

Not anything close to an "all-encompassing story." But a story. Turned in on deadline. The next day we ran a brief that identified the dead.

I remember it because it was really a rush to go from sitting on my butt to rushing to a fatal, to rushing back to my desk, to banging out a story, all in 54 minutes flat. Something in the weather triggered the memory. It was about this time of year.


P.S. Today is my Bird's 19th birthday! Happy birthday to Bird!

P.P.S. Oklahoma State vs. Texas Tech today at 2:30 p.m. Bird will be in the stands, as usual. GO POKES!

P.P.P.S. No. 1 Oklahoma State wrestling team takes on No. 6 (or 7?) ou wrestling tomorrow at 2 p.m. Ol' ER will be there, between catching the first and last parts of the Daytona 500 on TV. GO POKES! GO HARVICK! GO JUNIOR!


Friday, February 18, 2005


My new favorite martini

Saw this on Emeril Live on the Food Network the other night, when I was too tired to reach the remote a foot away from the recliner – and it turns out to have been a worthwhile fit of laziness.

Large olives
Blue cheese
Almond slivers
Coarse-ground black pepper
Garlic cloves

Take some of the almond slivers and dump ‘em out on a cookie sheet and put in the oven at 350 for 10 minutes or so.

Meanwhile, take the jar of large olives.

Pour the brine into something and set aside.

Dump, coax, prod and otherwise manhandle the olives into something.

Get rid of the pimentos. They suck out real easy.

Take some blue cheese. The real stuff, not the dressing.

Usin’ a knife of some sort – I used a fancy spreadin’ knife with a red cowboy boot for a handle – poke as much blue cheese into each olive as you can. This takes awhile. It’s stinky. But not any more stinkier’n puttin’ blood bait on a fishin’ hook.

Take almond slivers out of the oven at about 10 minutes.

Now, stick two or three of the almond slivers in the blue cheese-filled hole of each olive.

Take the empty olive jar and pour, oh, an eighth-inch or more of coarse-ground black pepper in it.

Add 10 or a dozen garlic cloves.

Poke the blue-cheese-and-almond-filled olives back in the jar.

Pour the brine back in.

Waller it around some to get the pepper and garlic flavor mixed around.

Put it in the icebox and forget about it awhile.

Now, when it comes time for a martini, use vodka. Plain ol' Smirnoff is fine. Nothing fancy required, since you're fancyin' up this drink yourself. I like gin myself, but gin is already a little pungent – and these here olives are pheweee pungent enough on their own.

Make a martini. It’s “cool” in some quarters to skimp on the dry vermouth. Don’t. Otherwise, why not just drink a shot of vodka and forget about it? My personal ratio is 6:1 gin to vermouth – but in this case, vodka to vermouth.

Poke a couple of them fancy olives on a toothpick and put in a martini glass.

Pour your martini over them. Pour just a smidgen of the brine – just a good drop – in to make it a little dirty. (This is another variation for me, since I don’t like dirty martinis as a rule).


Halfway through your drink, take that toothpick out, clamp your choppers down on one of them olives and go to town. It will surprise you.

Believe it or not, the flavor of the roasted almond will barge its way past the blue cheese, the tangy olive and the vodka and announce itself first on your palate. Amazing.

Very nice. Very tasty.

Finish the drink. Eat the other olive. You’ve had your appetizer.


Wednesday, February 16, 2005


High School Interrogatory

I think this is cool. I'm told that such is called a "meme" -- I assume it's pronounced MEE-MEE, since it's "all about me." Feel free to copy, splain yourself and spread the love.

What year was it?

Late '70s-early '80s. Graduated in 1982.

What were your three favorite bands (performers)?

Merle Haggard. Beatles. Joan Jett and the Blackhearts.

What was your favorite outfit?

Boots, jeans, western hat, long-sleeve shirt. (But I protest; men do not wear "outfits.")

What was up with your hair?

All I know is I had an adequate amount of it then.

Who were your best friends?

Tom, now a police detective; Kent, now an insurance executive; some bandies; and some kids at church

What did you do after school?

Worked at a truck stop; ran around the river bottoms drinkin' beer, drivin' a 1970 Dodge Charger way too fast and ocassionally shooting at birds and small animals; and always studied. (the genesis of the erudite in this redneck)

Where did you work?

Various truck stops along Interstate 40 in Sequoyah County, in eastern Oklahoma; did a short stint washing dishes at a cafeteria in Fort Smith, Ark., which did more to inspire me to go to college than anything; hauled hay some; first paying job was hoeing watermelons in the aforementioned bottoms.

Did you take the bus?

Until I could drive. Until then, I rode a bus 3 miles TO school and about 40 miles home in the afternoon, through the bottoms (me and the bottoms go way back; seriously, one of my historical research interests has to do with a town that no longer exists there).

Who did you have a crush on?

Crush? Most any girl who seemed accessible with adequate mammary capacity. I did have a girlfriend, who broke up with me because I wouldn't go all the way; she got together with -- or "hooked up," as they say now -- with a second-tier friend of mine; she got pregnant; they got married.

Did you fight with your parents?

Just a little. Until September 1981, when after consuming too much Oklahoma 3.2 Coors and pork rinds, I stupidly drove home, failing to go "the back way" as instructed by my friends, got stopped by the town cop, picked up, stuffed in the back of the cop car, taken to city hall. Busted. The cop, who was 21 or 22, sort of roughed me up; he was shaken to discover when he actually bothered to look at my driver's license that the big redneck he'd slapped around was just 17. Probably could've got him in some major trouble. Naaah. A young and foolish ER got what he deserved. Mama did not speak to me for two weeks. Much worse than any fight. My dad took a swing at me once -- he was sitting; he swatted my butt -- when we got into a Bible verse joust. "Children, obey your parents," he said. "Fathers, provoke not your children to wrath," I said. WHACK.

Who did you have a CELEBRITY crush on?

Debra Winger. Sally Field.

Did you smoke cigarettes?

Just a few. But I started dipping Skoal, then Copenhangen, at age 11. And I quit July 6, 2003. Damn Walt Garrison's hide.

Did you lug all of your books around in your backpack all day because you were too nervous to find your locker?

I never heard of or saw a backpack used to carry books until I went to Oklahoma State in 1984.

Did you have a ‘clique’?

Maybe, if kids who sneak around the bottoms drinking beer is a clique. I also went to church every time the doors were open (Southern Baptist), so was part of the youth group; and I had some bandy friends I knew through church.

Did you have “The Max” like Zach, Kelly, and Slater?

OK, I had to look this up to get the reference. Our main hang-out was Merrill's Drive-In. Pool tables, pinball machines, burgers, barbecue and great seasoned fries -- the whole nine yards. Later came the Beacon, a kind of Sonic. Later came the Sonic.

Admit it, were you popular?

No clue.

Who did you want to be just like?

Uh, "Bud" on Urban Cowboy. Sort of. I wanted to have a good-paying job and have a wife and kids, raise some cattle. I did not WANT to live in a trailer house; but I would not have objected.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

A husband, dad and cattle raiser. The real-life version of life with a white-picket fence. Just make mine barbed wire.

Where did you think you’d be at the age you are now?

I could not think past the year 2000, when I would be 36, which seemed incredibly old. Every year since has been a total unexpected adventure for me. Imagine how Calvin (of Calvin and Hobbes) would feel if he woke up and in the night the cartoonist had drawn another panel onto the strip. That's sometimes how I feel. What? There's more? Bewildering.


Tuesday, February 15, 2005


Boone and Crockett chair

See, this is the advantage of bein' an erudite redneck. Ol' ER can read this straight, as it was intended, or while bitin' his lip to keep from crackin' up. 'Cause he can just see how some damnYankee -- OK, or Foxworthy -- might make a big joke out of it. 'Cause it IS funny, in a way.


NOTICE: This and other news stories, streaming audio and video, and
digital photos for your use are available at

Feb. 15, 2005
Boone and Crockett Club Endows $1 Million Wildlife Policy Chair at Texas A&M
Writer: Kathleen Phillips, (979) 845-2872,
Keith Balfourd, (406) 542-1888 ext. 208
Contact: Dr. Bob Brown, (979) 845-5777,

COLLEGE STATION – A $1 million Wildlife and Conservation Policy chair
has been endowed at Texas A&M University's department of wildlife and
fisheries sciences with a gift from the Boone and Crockett Club.
Club members donated $500,000, which was matched by funds donated by
the late Dallas philanthropist H.R. "Bum" Bright to the Texas A&M
Development Foundation.
The Boone and Crockett Club is the oldest conservation and hunting
ethics organization in the United States, said Bob Model, club president.
The club was organized in 1887 by Theodore Roosevelt.
"This endowment will greatly advance our ability to develop an enriched
academic, research and outreach program in conservation policy," said Dr.
Elsa Murano, Texas A&M University System vice chancellor and dean of
agriculture and life sciences. "In a state where the majority of land is
privately owned, having this type of effort will help ensure fact-based
decision making by state and federal government." ...


Monday, February 14, 2005


Civilization in Oklahoma

By the Erudite Redneck

Ol’ ER had cause to be present for a regular meeting of the Oklahoma Senate Business and Labor Committee this morning, and he came away plumb inspired.

Not because of anything on the agenda, although there were a few things worth supporting, includin’ a bill that would help Oklahoma’s poor lil ol’ lonesome distillery survive.

It’s called Old Russia. It’s a micro-distillery about a year old in downtown Oklahoma City. Bricktown, actually (old warehouse district turned into cool places, visitors).

Old Russia is struggling. Not because of the Babtists in this state – and I count myself amongst ‘em, to their consternation – but because of vestigial restrictions and steep fees that go back to Oklahoma’s dry days. Here’s the Web site:

Anyhoo, they need a little relief, taxwise and otherwise, and there is a bill in the hopper to provide it. It passed the committee, which, to anyone who remembers the days when an absolute truism in this state was “We will vote against liquor by the drink as long as we can stumble to the polls,” is a dadgum miracle in itself.

And no, no, it wadn’t that ol’ ER was overcome with emotion at seeing Sen. Frank Shurden, D-Henryetta, a-sittin’ there at the table – although ER was plumb pleased to actually lay eyes, finally, on the only dang friend the honest, law-abidin’ cockfighter has left in this state, apparently.

And ER ain’t kidding. There is a sign in this very home office within seein’ distance that says: “American Tradition: Only in the Land of the Free Does the Gamecock Crow.”

One of the first things the Afghanis did the instant the Taliban was run off was hold a cockfight. That is a true fact.

Oklahoma Sen. John Monks, wherever you are, just go ahead and spin in yer grave, because the communists actually have took over, as you warned us they would back in ’63. (Y’all all hit the books, or the ‘Net. I ain’t making any of this shit up).

But I’d gress.

‘Cause it wadn’t, as I said, any perticular piece of legislation afore the committee this mornin’ that got my patriotic glands all blood engorged and tingly. It was the dang process itself.

See, there was people there makin’ their case for this or that, and there were people there to oppose ‘em.

There was people there to be against this or that, and others there to support them.

There were lines drawn all over the place, and each and every person in the dadgum room was standin’ on one side or the other, sayin’ to everybody on the other side, “Hey, why don’t ya’ll come stand over here? Here’s why,” and then proceeding to make their case.

Now, some of this goes on in somebody’s office. But some of it was going on right here, just outside the committee room, today. As well as in the committee room.

And it’ll happen some more here, and there, and on the floor, of the Senate, and of the House, and probably some out in the dang parkin’ lot, and probably at someone’s huntin’ lodge or restaurant or bar or church or mama’s house or rib joint or whatever THE hell.

But not one damned person did, or will, blow up another one. Not one damned person did, or will, take out a machete and cut off an opponent’s head. Not a soul did, or will, pray to his “god” for the destruction of the other one.

Even if a fistfight or caning had broken out, somebody would’ve called the law – young’uns in uniforms with guns on their hips – and every damn person present would have deferred to their authority and to order in general.

That’s civilization.

The world is not ending.

It’s just that every goddamn – and I use that opprobrium deliberately and with meaning – every GD talking head on TV, the ‘Net and it looks like everywhere else wants us to THINK it is, for their own selfish ends.


Sunday, February 13, 2005


Books, boots, booze

By the Erudite Redneck

Yet again, ol’ ER is as proud of the books he left on the shelf yesterday as the ones he took home. That shows bibliophilic maturity.

Naaaah. Just means the debts incurred in grad school are voluminous, and, since ol’ ER can’t even walk across his home office – has to hop over rivulet of the flood of books, in fact, just to get his rear to his computer – because of recent acquisitions, he is bein’ damn picky about the books he buys these days.

Acquired, at a bookstore we didn’t know existed near NW 30th and Pennsylvania in Oklahoma City:

Grant Foreman, ed., A Pathfinder in the Southwest: The Itinerary of Lieutenant A.W. Whipple During His Explorations for a Railway Route from Fort Smith to Los Angeles in the Years 1853 & 1854 (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1941).

Speaks for itself, don’t it?

Also acquired:

Walter Prescott Webb, The Great Plains, paperback ed., (New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1931).

Webb’s seminal work -- “a compelling history of the great central plains and how this land has shaped the destiny of the American nation,” the cover blurb says – was the first big turn in American historiography after Frederick Jackson Turner’s the-closing-the-frontier-and-the-end-of-life-as-we-know-it hypothesis of 1893. Ol’ ER encountered it in grad school. Now it’s on his to-read stack.

So much for erudition yesterday. Now for the redneck realm:

Picked up a tub of mink oil, a gun-cleanin’ kit, an elk meat stick and a new pair of boots at the Bass Pro Shop at Bricktown. What a place. Shoulda listened to Bird. She TOLD me I’d dang near swoon. And I dang near did.

We skipped the Cowboy Hall of Fame. We did check out some of the artsy-fartsy shops in the Paseo area. Very cool.

One of the shops has a complete set of knightly shining armor for $3,999. Same joint had some phrenology heads and palmistry palms.

Heck, there’s a couple of artsy-fartsy bars down there ol’ ER didn’t know existed but are now on the to-do list next time Dr. ER leaves him without proper adult supervision.

Something tells me, though, that they won’t have Tennessee whisky on the drink menu, although I’ll bet they will have Beefeater gin, which means all will be forgiven.


Saturday, February 12, 2005


Big Saturday

Woo, he said, adding hoo!

Rather than plow into the long list of work I jotted down before hittin' the hay last night -- BUG OUT!

We've done decided to waste the day, Dr. ER and I.

Bass Pro Shop. There's one in downtown OKC we haven't been to yet. Fact is, ol' ER has never been in one anywhere. Dr. ER says I will be amazed.

Lunch somewhere downtown or close.

Arts-fartsy studio in the artsy-fartsy Paseo area of OKC has local and regional fartsy artists' work on display.

(OK, y'all might think this is weird. I'm the one who wants to go to the artsy-fartsy place. Dr. ER wanted to go to Bass Pro Shop. Go figure.)

Might swing by the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, but Dr. ER doesn't know that yet. (I have a coupon good for one free $8 entry). (See link at left to the museum, which is the single best and coolest thing in OKC).

OSU Cowboys baseball vs. Rice (Houston) onm the radio at noon, while we're drivin' around.

OSU Cowboys basketball vs. Texas A&M on TV at 5 p.m. We'll be home by then.

Bud Shootout (NASCAR pre-season pre-kickoff) is on after that.

What a fine Seinfeld-type day.


Friday, February 11, 2005


More testicles in the news

© Reuters 2005.

LONDON (Reuters) - A Welsh rugby fan cut off his own testicles to celebrate Wales beating England at rugby, the Daily Mirror reported Tuesday.

Geoff Huish, 26, was so convinced England would win Saturday's match he told fellow drinkers at a social club, "If Wales win I'll cut my balls off," the paper said.

Friends at the club in Caerphilly, south Wales, thought he was joking.

But after the game Huish went home, severed his testicles with a knife, and walked 200 yards back to the bar with the testicles to show the shocked drinkers what he had done.

Huish was taken to hospital where he remained in serious condition, the paper said.

Wales's 11-9 victory over England at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff was their first home win over England in 12 years.

© Reuters 2005. All Rights Reserved.

Click the link above for more news from Reuters.


Brush with Greatness ---------- Waylon Jennings

An occasional series.

By The Erudite Redneck

A light haze hugged the ground that night, with kids clustered here and there on blankets in front of a stage, the lit ends of their cigarettes shining bright, then low, like sluggish lightning bugs on a coolish summer evening.

It was the summer of 1982, my high school senior trip to Six Flags Over Texas. It was about 10 p.m., after a long day of all of us running all over the big amusement park between Dallas and Fort Worth.

It hadn’t occurred to anyone that high school kids shouldn’t be able to smoke tobacco. Of course, some of the haze wasn’t coming from tobacco if you know what I mean and I know you do. And there was a bottle here and there.

The band was warmin’ up. The familiar refrains of “Amanda” started up and out popped the star attraction: Waylon Jennings, bandanna ‘round his head just like his partner Willie Nelson wore it, with a bottle of Jack Daniels in one hand.

Waylon was in his own haze, with his well-earned outlaw attitude following him as he jumped around the stage like Pigpen’s cloud of dust or that bowl of Cream of Wheat that used to stalk people.

He started singing, “Aman-da-a, light of my life …” finished the chorus and the band started headin’ toward the first verse. Poor ol’ Waylon couldn’t remember the words – to his own song.

The band kept playin’ until it got back around to the chorus and Waylon started singin’ again. He handled the chorus, then the band started back into a verse and – danged if Waylon can’t do the song.

After two or three attempts, he finally took a big swig from his bottle of Jack and bellowed into the mike, “Hell, I just told ‘em I’d be here! I didn’t tell ‘em I’d be able to sing!”

Whereupon all of us redneck kids in the audience, and we were the majority, comin’ from where we did when we did, hooped and hollered and cheered and carried on.

Seein’ Waylon too s---faced to sing was a historical moment. We weren’t laughin’ at him, but with him.

But that wadn’t the Brush with Greatness. That came seven years later, in 1989.

Working at the paper in Texas, I got to do a phone interview with Waylon, to write a story to advance his comin’ to town for a concert. Havin’ been out of college all of two or three months, and bein’ therefore all full of journalism vim and vigor, I brought up the debacle at Six Flags.

Waylon had sobered up by 1989 – or at least he was sober at that time in 1989 – and he seemed sadly surprised when some kid at a paper in his home state had the cajones to bring up his drinkin’ days.

Well, hell yeah, I asked him about it.

He pretty humbly admitted as to how he was outta control back then but that he’d gotten his life together and all but he knew he’d always have to be answering questions about those days. Do tell.

Well, I felt bad for bringin’ it up, although I’d do it again. Sometimes you have to be mean – or at least act mean – to get a good story.

It’s almost called for when yer havin’ a Brush with Greatness, otherwise the Great will walk all over you – even a Great Singer-Songwriter and Great Texan like the late great Waylon Jennings.

(Click the link above to read ol' Waylon's obit.)


Thursday, February 10, 2005


Texans and testicles (dos chistes)

Funny Numero Uno:

Dr. ER brought me a T-shirt from San Antonio that is just PERFECT for any armchair historian of Texas and the Southwest:

It's got a old black-and-white pitcher of a bunch of well-armed lawmen. It says: "Texas Rangers. Fighting terrorism since 1835." Hooah! (Click the link above for a compact history of the Texas Rangers.)

Funny Numero Two-o:

A 3-year-old little boy was examining his testicles while taking a bath.
"Mama," he asked, "are these my brains?"
Mama answered, "Not yet."



Tuesday, February 08, 2005


Driftin' along with ER ...

It's pretty quiet at the ER household tonight. The kind of cold, rainy night that usually tosses me into melancholy.

Too tired to be sad, though (the brats and sauerkraut I had for supper last night woke me up about 2:30 a.m., and I never really got back to sleep), and I'm startin' to get a little bit concerned about some extracurricular projects I keep putting off because I don't have a grade hanging over any of them. SIGH. I have to have some kind of reward system, or I just drift. ... drift ...

Dr. ER is in Philadephia and won't be back until Thurday late, when she will crash and it will be like she's not really here, 'cause I just stay out of her way when she comes stumbling in from an extended trip like this one. ... drift ...

Bird is where Bird is, at college, and even with a coupla text messages a day ol' ER gets awful mopey without his favorite Redheaded Redneck Stepchild under foot. ... drift ...

I finished another book today -- source for a future "200-word Erudite Redneck book review -- and will start another one when I hit the hay. ... drift ...

I just watched a History Channel show on technology on the Old West. A teaser before the last commercial set promised to tell me something I probably didn't know about rhe Battle of the Little Bighorn. "Pshaw," thought ol' ER, him havin' read no fewer than 30 books and scholarly journal articles on Custer's demise about a year ago. They got me: The Sioux had repeating Winchester rifles. The Seventh Cavalry had single-shot rifles. Somehow I missed that in my readin'. On the other hand, most of my studyin' had to do with the politics surrounding the Northern Plains wars, not the hardware involved. ... drift ...

A coupla friends have noticed that I'm not bloggin' as much these days -- although this makes five posts in seven days, dang it! -- and it's because the busier I am the busier I want to be, and since earning the title "master," I've not been very busy at all, and I just ... drift ...



200-word Erudite Redneck book review: "The Economics of Innocent Fraud," by John Kenneth Galbraith

John Kenneth Galbraith, The Economics of Innocent Fraud: Truth for Our Time (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2004).

By The Erudite Redneck

This is a little bitty book (62 pages) that could be Galbraith’s swan song, since he’s, like, as old as Methuselah (97, actually). It’s in the spirit of an eighteenth-century pamphlet of social-political commentary.

Here are just a few of the scores of ideas he crammed into this tiny thing:

There IS no “public sector,” especially in the military; public money goes so directly into private hands, guided by private goals for selfish ends, that the notion of a “public sector” is laughable.

The pretense that shareholders have any power within the corporate structure of “public” companies is a joke; management has all the power.

The two are intertwined. Sadly, the joke is on all of us.

It’s all “hidden” under the guise of a “market system,” a label that sounds benign because it says nothing of the human players at work.

“Innocent” fraud? Galbraith: “Innocent, lawful fraud has an undoubted role in private life and public discourse … however, there is no spoken recognition of that fact. There is, to emphasize, no sense of guilt or responsibility.”

Galbraith’s ideas are as sharp as ever. The writing, however, is not his best. Legendary authors seldom get the editing they deserve.


Sunday, February 06, 2005


Brush with Greatness -- Dubya

An occasional series.

By The Erudite Redneck

In 1998, as city editor for a newspaper in Texas, I was a member of the Editorial Board. The group met with political candidates and got together weekly to discuss the issues of the day and to come to a consensus for upcoming unsigned editorials.

Then-Gov. George W. Bush came before the board twice that year, once during the primary season, then again before the general election.

Bush is as he appears.

At the moment, he appears to be ready to attack many domestic programs that lots of politically aware and socially conscious people hold dear. Watch the news Monday and Tuesday, when his budget will be everywhere. It will be a tight-fisted, cold-hearted conservative one. What a surprise -- NOT! He's a Republican, ain't he? Get mad. Or, be glad. Just don't anybody pretend to be surprised. There has been no more transparent president in my lifetime.

Dubya is bright, but no egghead. Sincere, but not angst-ridden. Familiar with issues, but not bogged down in detail.

Before the editorial board, he seemed to be above average, but not very -- and that is no insult. It's one of the reasons he comes across as one of the best of most of us.

I remember that one time, if not both, he pulled his chair out from the conference table and sat hunched over, his elbows on his kness, explaining his position on this and that issue. It was a casual editorial board, and he was a casual guy.

I remember that he seemed to be the kind of person who would make a good managing partner of an LLC or some other bidness with several equity holders, which is what he was, in fact, with the Texas Rangers organization. That also seems to be the way he runs the presidency.

He seemed to be a good ol' boy -- in the best sense. That's why it's hard for people like me to dislike him, whatever the issues.

What you see, and hear, with Dubya is what you get. That alone makes him admirable.


Saturday, February 05, 2005


To edit the Great American Novel

Lots to do today. No time for me to be creative, so y'all enjoy the link to The Onion. If your inner child is a writer or copyeditor -- or if you are a writer or copyeditor -- you will LOL.

Thursday, February 03, 2005


The "Last" Survey

I found this survey on someone else's blog, (thanks, Gem) and helped myself to it. The answers are ol' ER's of course.

Last Cigarette: Hmm. Tough one. But I'm sure it was a filterless Camel. Last dip of Copenhagen, my nicotine of choice, was July 6, 2003. Been gnawin' at least one piece of nicotine gum a day since. And I still smoke a cigar now and then. Maduro. Hoyo de Monterrey if anybody's makin' a birthday list. (May 2). :-)

Last Alcholic Drink: Glass of Geo. Dickel, Tennessee whisky, before supper last night.

Last Car Ride: Well, comin' home from work tonight. Last time with somebody else driving was somewhere to eat, probably, with Dr. ER driving.

Last Kiss: A good-morning-so-long smooch for Dr. ER this morning. She's on one of her bidness jags for a week. :-(

Last Good Cry: About a year ago, I had a real come-to-Jesus about what the church should do about homosexuals. Christians in general. OK, me for sure. With clarity, the message I got from On High was very simple: "Love 'em and let Me sort it out." I wept at my own previous arrogance. The epiphany came while looking at the United Churches of Christ Web site, and that's why it's linked to this blog.

Last Library Book: A bunch of books on Wal-Mart history, for a news feature.

Last Book Purchased: Odie B. Faulk, The Making of a Merchant: Raymond A. Young and TG&Y Stores (Oklahoma City: Western Heritage Books for the Oklahoma Heritage Association, 1980). From, which rules.

Last Book Read: This morning I finished Gone with the Wind, for the first time. Tonight I finished Jack Beeching, The Galleys at Lepanto (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1982).

Last Movie Viewed in a Theater: "Meet the Fockers." Silly flick, but Bird wanted to see it again, so she, Dr. ER and myself all loaded up and went to the neighborhood theater when Bird was home from college time before last.

Last Movie Rented: No idee. I jdid ust buy "The Outlaw Josey Wales" (Clint Eastwood) on DVD, though.

Last Profanity Uttered: That would be the f-word, muttered multiple times per day. It's a stress reliever.

Last Beverage Drank: Water, with a salad, for supper tonight. If water don't count, then a cup of work coffee, at work, this afternoon.

Last Food Consumed: Fresh gingerbread -- not a stale cookie -- for dessert at Souper Salad.

Last Phone Call: Bird called while I was finishing The Galleys of Lepanto while sittin' at Souper Salad. She was all excited 'cause I'm heading to Stillwater tomorrow for a work thing, and we're goin' to see Oklahoma State wrestle Missouri tomorrow night. And she just moved into a new suite in the dorm, and the weather will be nice this weekend for her drive Saturday to Norman to see her (boy)friend who, God love him, goes to ou.

Last TV Show Viewed: "Imus in the Morning" on MSNBC this morning. Saw Richard "Kinky" Friedman announce his candidacy for governor of Texas. His motto: "Why the hell not?" I would damn near change my residency to be able to vote for him. Texas, my Texas, is in a mell of a hess politically. The Kinkster -- author of "They Don't Make Jews Like Jesus Anymore" and many other great songs and mystery novels -- would be a real breath of fresh air.

Last Time Showered: Nunya. .. OK. this morning. Duh.

Last Shoes Worn: P.O.S. semi-"dress" shoes that are worn out and need to be replaced.

Last CD Played: I think it was a bluegrass CD borrowed from a friend. That or Lakota flute music picked up on last summer's trip to the Black Hills and Little Bighorn National Park in Montana.

Last Item Bought: The aforementioned salad and gingerbread.

Last Download: An update for my anti-virus software.

Last Annoyance: That I'm awake at 11 p.m. because I'm wired after a long day and tomorrow will be anther long day, and so will Saturday because I'm behind at work and will have to go in, and so will Sunday because I have some extracurricular (nonwork-related) writing to do and the dang Super Bowl demands my attention, and before you know it it will be Monday and I will still be behind because changes at work have created a kind of bottleneck that can't be fixed until the changes are complete. And I'm tired.

Last Thing Written: This sentence. No, that one. Dang it. OK, this one. Last real thing written: My weekly newspaper column.

Last Key Used: The period. See it above. Ha. Front-door key.

Last Words Spoken: "Hey, boys!" Earlier, when I fed Riker, our civilized Pembroke Welsh corgi, and Bailey, the white-trash not-very-damn-miniature Dachshund.

Last Sleep: Midnight to 6 a.m. today.

Last Ice Cream Eaten: Whatever was left in the bottom of whatever low-carb ice cream Dr. ER had in the freezer the last time I was overtaken with a need for ICE CREAM NOW, a week or so ago.

Last Webpage Visited: A Department of Defense page with the transcript of a news briefing today:


Tuesday, February 01, 2005


Redneck Lane at Erudite Way

By The Erudite Redneck

Oh man. Boy are my worlds fixin' to crash!

The Oklahoma Historical Society annual meeting (erudite) is in Muskogee April 29-30.

The annual Calf Fry at the Tumbleweed in Stillwater (redneck) is April 29-30.

(Hit the link above to find out about the famous dancehall, where Garth Brook met his ex-wife Sandy, and a million other redneck love stories have played out over the years. Nowadays, there's a rodeo arena, and the Calf Fry has become a real big to-do, with country stars performin' and such. And, for the squeamish, they serve pork sandwiches, as well as calf fries.)

Ol' ER will be in attendance at both, some way somehow.

Full disclosure, fer any Yankees, goths, freaks, geeks and any other societal marginalia lurkin' about: Calf fries = testicles of the young bovine. In fact another name for the event at Stillwater is the Testicle Festival.

Mighty, mighty good eating.

The funniest thing I ever saw calf fry-wise was at the prep for a big annual fry in Wichita Falls, Texas, where they served hundreds and hundreds of people as many as they could eat.

Now, the best way to prepare them is to whack off the outer skin, then slice the inner meat thin, so they get real crispy when you deep-fry them. I knew each of the four wimmin who were in the big industrial kitchen at the big to-do place in town, and I knew the reason they were a-whacking and a-slicing -- and a-drinking -- with such glee was because each of them had divorced sorry sumbitch husbands within the past year. All four of 'em.

I knew this because that had freed each of 'em up for two-steppin' purposes and I had availed myself of them on the dance floor a couple times apiece.

When I pointed out to 'em the glee with which they were a-whacking and a-slicing, they all saw how they was all taking out their anger at their former menfolk subconciously on said calf fries.

We all had a big ol' laugh -- but I kept my back to 'em and the sturdy professional-grade Pentax camera around my neck a-setting low and strategically placed just the same.


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